A Tale of Two Canonisations: Church in future will question their validity – SSPX

A Tale of Two Canonisations: Church in future will question their validity - SSPX

Nine years after his death, after an exceptionally rapid process, John Paul II will be canonized on April 27, 2014, together with John XXIII, who will have the benefit of a dispensation from a miracle so as to make possible a joint canonization.

Why this expedited procedure and this decision to unite the two popes in one and the same ceremony? Because, as was explained on the airwaves of Vatican Radio by Cardinal Paul Poupard, former President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Second Vatican Council should be regarded as a compass and its directions must be followed, in fidelity to the inspiration of its instigator, John XXIII, and along the lines of the application thereof which John Paul II constantly made, throughout his pontificate.

Although he was never able to obtain the trial that he demanded, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre was declared excommunicated latae sententiae for having consecrated four bishops, but above all for having ceaselessly denounced the rupture that the Council introduced into the Church’s bi-millennial Tradition, with its religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality and the reformed liturgy.

Someday the Church, disowning the unheard-of procedures that are currently followed, will determine the validity of this “canonization” and of this “excommunication”.
Fr. ALain Lorans

In the next issue of DICI, to be published on October 18: a study about the doubts concerning the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II. END.

(Click on photo of Archbishop Lefebvre, Founder of the Society of St Pius X, for source)

Well – is the SSPX correct? Will the Church in the future question the validity of these canonisations, due to changes in the procedures? Has sufficient time be allowed for investigation into the lives and writings of these two pontiffs? Has the investigation been sufficiently detailed, in depth, or has the whole thing been too rushed?

We will discuss the October 18th edition of Dici, where the SSPX doubts about these canonisations will be published, but, in the meantime, tell us your thoughts about the current edition of Dici. Is the SSPX right about this – or not?  WILL the Church in the future re-examine these canonisations and possibly invalidate them due to the “unheard of procedures” introduced to achieve them?

195 responses

  1. Assuming that the heading ‘a tale of Two Canonisations’ is based on a Dicken’s novel of some note, surely the heading should be ‘a tale of two twitties’? John Paul II and John XXIII, whilst not as bizarre as Francis, they did some pretty stupid things. Meeting leaders of false churches, religions and cults, kissing Korans, praying with Jews for the coming of the Messiah. Y’know it’s weird stuff. To think that they are ‘up there’ now offering up ‘their prayers like incense’ makes my spine tingle. They are in Hell, particularly John Paul II because he broke one of the Ten Commandments. ‘Thou shalt not have any strange Gods before me’, pretty sure he broke that one twice, a) when he prayed with Jews to their God for there Messiah and b) when he kissed the Koran. I was in conversation with two Catholic friends when I brought this up, and told them what I have just said, and they said it was justified because he was showing respect and love. But I don’t respect or love Islam or Judaism, I only reserve my undying love for Christ and His Holy Church. The last Pope whom I love and respect is Venerable Pius XII, I intensely dislike his worldly (in all senses of the term) successors.

    • Catholic Convert,

      I thought I (or someone here) had explained to you before that a Catholic may NEVER consign anyone to Hell. We do not know who is in Hell, and we can neither presume nor wish anyone to be in Hell. Nobody. Not Judas Iscariot, not Hitler, nobody. We always pray for the dead as though they are in Purgatory and, once canonised (in normal circumstances – these are the exception) we may pray to them as intercessors. I’ll continue to pray for the repose of the souls of both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

      Please be very careful about this matter, Catholic Convert. I know you are still under instructions and keen to learn the truth about being a Catholic – so that is one key truth that you must grasp without delay. It is a very serious sin to make that definitive judgement on any soul. We may warn of the risk of Hell but we may never consign anyone to Hell or presume anyone is in Hell.

      • The souls in purgatory can intercede for us can they not? I just thought they were unable to obtain merit for their own souls.

      • Well said Editor. That was a rash comment CatholicConvert. Think about the following factual story (found in Abbe Trochu’s excellent book on the Cure D’Ars, St Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney). A woman whose husband had committed suicide, by throwing himself off a bridge and drowning, was extremely distraught and went to Ars because she had heard of the famous parish priest there, and was looking for succour in her distressing situation. No-one in Ars knew of the woman’s situation. She saw the Cure D’Ars and he approached her totally unexpectedly. He said to the woman: ‘He is saved, he is saved!’. He explained that her husband, after jumping off the bridge and before hitting the water, had just enough time to make an act of repentance, and that this grace had been won for him by the Most Holy Virgin, for some small honour he has shown to Her some time before.
        Now, this isn’t to say that one can go around committing suicide or other mortal sin willy-nilly in the hope that the Blessed Virgin will always step in, in the nick of time, but it does show that no-one can judge. Objectively speaking he had committed suicide. Maybe people in that time thought he was in hell. But he wasn’t. And God showed the Cure D’Ars this.

    • We cannot know if either of these two souls are damned.

      To the best of my knowledge, the Church has never judged that a soul is in Hell.

      The most we can say is that these two souls are not worthy to be venerated as Saints.

      But even still, we cannot deny that they might be in heaven, which is possible.

      Canonisation is different to justification. The former is something that the Church does to help Christians follow a model of sanctity deemed worthy of imitation. The latter is the private judgement by God of an individual soul, which we cannot know.

      • I was writing and posted my response Editor, seconds after you must have posted yours. I didn’t want to write over you, since you’ve explained everything I wrote.

  2. I never understood how John XXIII was called good Pope John. It seemed like media hype. There is so much misinformation going about we have to be very careful about taking position too strongly until there is no doubt. However, we know that the legacy of Vatican II has been disastrous and we know that Jesus himself, in talking about the End Times referred to the “Disastrous Abomination set up in the Holy Place”. The Holy Place can only mean the Vatican or the temple in Jerusalem. Therefore we can at least consider the possibility of infiltration even up to the highest level.

    Editor has deleted part of this post which may be interpreted as supporting the sedevacantist position which we reject absolutely. The deleted portion of this comment includes a link to a sedevacantist site. Sedevacantist links will always be deleted.

    • John Skaclefree,

      I don’t have time to study the link you posted at 3.57pm but I am rather suspicious of the title that it may be a sedevacantist site – in which case, I’ll remove it, asap. Please be warned. Those sites are deadly and we do not encourage them at all. I have to be elsewhere shortly so cannot take time to study it right now but be prepared for it to be deleted on my return.

      If others come along to read it and find it is as I suspect, I’d prefer if it were not discussed. I will remove it asap and it would be a pity if I had to delete lots of comments at the same time! Don’t waste your energy folks!

  3. Editor

    You are right about the site that John Shacklefree put up.

    Editor has deleted the rest of this post – may be interpreted as supporting sedevacantist position.

  4. Comment removed.

    Please note that obscure “prophecies” which are the very stuff of sedevacantist sites, are best left there. Things are quite bad enough in the Church right now, without heaping coals on the fire. The more recent prophecies – of Quito, Fatima and Akita, are quite enough to help us understand the nature and genesis of this crisis, and to maintain our Faith throughout.

    I strongly recommend that you avoid these sedevacantist sites – they are seriously damaging to the Faith. Most importantly, please do not bring their poison to this blog. Thank you.

    ps I know you are still learning, Catholic Convert so I’m not mad at you … yet!

  5. “The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts so new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatise from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. …Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.” -Henry Edward Cardinal Manning.

    Doesn’t the SSPX ‘lurk’ in a way in it’s chapels? Just a thought.

    • Catholic Convert,

      “lurking” as you put it, is quite different from claiming that a bad pope is not a pope. Christ has promised to be with His Church until the end of time. The theologians who have studied the nature, limits and extent of papal authority, such as St Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, teach that no human being on earth can pronounce judgment on the pope. Only God can do that. Posthumously certain judgments may be made about a pontiff but a ruling pope is answerable only to God (even if the latest novelty, the Council of Cardinals, doesn’t agree!)

      The purpose of this thread is NOT to decide whether the two candidates for canonisation were “real” popes or not. THEY WERE POPES. Anyone who disagrees may go and enjoy the sede sites. Here, we acknowledge that the pope is the Pope as were all of those elected to the papal office since Pope Pius XII.

      This discussion is meant to be looking at the SSPX comments about the processes of the canonisations. Later, we will discuss their doubts etc about the canonisations.

      So, excuse me for not spelling it out in the introduction, but to me it seems obvious, what do you think of Fr. ALain Lorans SSPX, claiming that “someday the Church, disowning the unheard-of procedures that are currently followed, will determine the validity of this “canonization” and of this “excommunication”.

      Perhaps consider:

      (a) ARE the current procedures for canonisation “unheard of procedures”? Explain
      (b) Does it matter if a new procedure(s) is introduced in canonisations?
      (c) Is it likely that the Church in future times will question the validity of these fast track canonisations, especially the canonisations of the two Vatican II popes?

  6. I remembered the discussion before on the old blog about the Devil’s Advocate so I checked it out and the Devil’s Advocate is a necessary part of the process. I think, personally, that one process alone being ditched would mean that a future pope will invalidate these canonisations. I am firmly of the view that they are politically motivated to improve the image of the Church of Vatican II.

    Advocatus Diaboli
    (“Advocate of the Devil” or “Devil’s Advocate”).

    A popular title given to one of the most important officers of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, established in 1587, by Sixtus V, to deal juridically with processes of beatification and canonization. His official title is Promoter of the Faith (Promotor Fidei). His duty requires him to prepare in writing all possible arguments, even at times seemingly slight, against the raising of any one to the honours of the altar. The interest and honour of the Church are concerned in preventing any one from receiving those honours whose death is not juridically proved to have been “precious in the sight of God” (see BEATIFICATION and CANONIZATION). Prospero Lamertini, afterwards Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58), was the Promoter of the Faith for twenty years, and had every opportunity to study the workings of the Church in this most important function; he was, therefore, peculiarly qualified to compose his monumental work “On the Beatification and Canonization of Saints,” which contains the complete vindication of the rights of the Church in this matter, and sets forth historically its extreme care of the use of this right. No important act in the process of beatification or canonization is valid unless performed in the presence of the Promoter of the Faith formally recognized. His duty is to protest against the omission of the forms laid down, and to insist upon the consideration of any objection. The first formal mention of such an officer is found in the canonization of St. Lawrence Justinian under Leo X (1513-21). Urban VIII, in 1631, made his presence necessary, at least by deputy, for the validity of any act connected with the process of beatification or canonization. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01168b.htm

  7. No but why did the smoke come out white in 1958 for a long period of time on October 26, and then go black, with John XXIII being declared as Pope on October 28th. Also, Siri alluded to his ‘election’. Go on the Pope in Red site. No one is asking you to become a sedevacantist. Surely if, as we have ALL said, Pope Francis is separating himself from the Church by his recent statements, doesn’t that make him an anti-Pope?

    Imagine if Siri was actually elected in 1958, rendering his successors invalid, would that mean any future Consecrations of Russia would be invalid?

    • Convert,

      I think you need to learn to behave. You are very keen and that is commendable, but you are not yet a Catholic. Cradle Catholics of all ages are so confused, so it wouldn’t do anyone any good for someone who is not even a Catholic to start speaking about things he doesn’t really understand himself.

      Of course the Church will have to reexamine these canonisations at some point in the future. I also believe the modern papacies, with perhaps the exception of Pope John Paul I and Pope Benedict XVI, will have to be dealt with. Remember, popes have been posthumously excommunicated in the past. I think the Church will also have to deal formally with Vatican II. However, it is most definitely not for us to speculate about these things. Only a future pope or Council can deal with these things.

      In conclusion, read and think, Convert, but don’t try to run before you can walk.

      • ‘I think you need to learn how to behave’. I’m not 5, and I think I was asking reasonable questions, of historical pertinence. Also, I’m not running before I can walk, thats why I’m asking these questions, duh.

        • I suggest you read the editor’s wise words below and stick to the topic.

          What is your understanding the the canonisation process, Catholic Convert, and do you think the fast track canonisation of Pope John Paul II has undermined it? Please and thank you.

          • Listen, I oppose these Canonisations as much as you. I have had numerous arguments and borderline punch-ups over it. How can someone whose second miracle was dodgy at best, but who also received ‘blessings’ from voodoo and hindu witchdoctors, kissed Mein Kampf (also known as the Koran) and prayed with Protestant archlaymen be ever be considered a saint. Just don’t get me started on John XXIII. Didn’t he only do one miracle? Something is telling me he didn’t do one. They are political and nothing else.

    • I understand that report of white smoke was a misunderstanding of a reporters words. Cardinal Siri always recognized the Popes. He would not have done this if he knew otherwise it would have been a sin on his part.

    • Catholic Convert,

      Are you unaware of the fact that a cardinal elected in a conclave does not have to accept the papal office? This “Siri theory” is a complete red herring. Here’s a source which I hope will allow you to stop worrying about this nonsense. I would prefer not to have this thread disrupted by a sedevacantist red herring. In fact, I would prefer it so much that if there is any further discussion on it, all relevant posts, my own included, will be deleted. I’m getting quite fond of my “delete” button, so don’t tempt me!

  8. Does the Holy Father intend the canonizations to be infallible? Does he believe in infallibility?
    Is he going to declare that the two Popes practiced heroic virtue? What kind of virtue is currently needed to canonize someone, can it be really nice natural virtue?
    Who decides if someone is a Saint, the Holy Father or a particular Bishop?

    Archbishop Lefebvre will definitely be canonized in the future for heroically defending the Faith. The liberals and modernists don’t believe that because they don’t love the Faith. The conservatives don’t believe that because they are simplistic and because they act like Our Lord wants you to hide the truth in order to be obedient.
    I think it will be the same for the canonizations of Pope John and Pope John Paul. The liberals and Modernists want it and promote it because they don’t love the Faith. The conservatives will be uneasy but they will try to hide the truth from themselves.
    I’m always amazed when I read certain conservative blogs. The people can be worried about something the current Pope has said. They obviously are of goodwill. But it seems that more than anything they want to be talked out of their fears. I certainly disagree with those who run those blogs. Instead of teaching those people that the Pope is saying or doing things contrary to the Faith they try to neutralize any criticism. I think these poor people are being taught very bad habits. And in my opinion the one’s who run the blogs are enablers. Helping the weak to be weak. So of course, against all reason the majority of Catholics will welcome the canonizations of the two Popes and these canonizations will be used far and wide to convince souls that heroic virtue, most pleasing to God is to be found in the practice of religious liberty and false ecumenism.

    • I also think that Sedes try to hide the truth from themselves. This is not facing the truth. This is not strong. Love the Pope for Our Lord’s sake. Be obedient in all things except sin.

    • Theresa Rose,

      That link is extremely good, thank you for it. I read over onto the second page and this conclusion is exactly right IMHO

      “Three serious reasons authorize the faithful Catholic to doubt the merits of the new beatifications and canonizations.

      •Firstly, the reforms that followed the Council have produced as a consequence certain inadequacies in the process[10];
      •and secondly they have introduced a new collegial intention, two consequences that are incompatible with the soundness of beatifications and the infallibility of canonizations.
      •Thirdly, the judgment that occurs in the process involves a conception of sanctity and heroic virtue at the very least equivocal and hence dubious.

      In the context resulting from the postconciliar reforms, the pope and the bishops offer to the veneration of faithful Catholics authentic saints, but canonized at the conclusion of an inadequate and doubtful procedure.

      Thus there can be no doubt that Padre Pio, canonized after Vatican II, practiced the virtues in a heroic degree even though the new style of process that concluded with the proclamation of his virtues can only give one pause.

      On the other hand, the same procedure makes possible canonizations that would have once been unthinkable, in which the title of holiness is conferred upon faithful departed whose reputation is controversial and in whom the exercise of virtue in the heroic degree is not particularly outstanding. Is it certain that for the popes who have accomplished these newfangled canonizations, heroic virtue is what it was for all their predecessors until Vatican II?

      This unwonted situation can be explained by the confusion introduced by the postconciliar reforms. It cannot be dispelled without getting to the root cause and examining the soundness of these reforms.

  9. “Will the Church in the future question the validity of these canonisations, due to changes in the procedures? Has sufficient time be allowed for investigation into the lives and writings of these two pontiffs? Has the investigation been sufficiently detailed, in depth, or has the whole thing been too rushed? ”

    The Church in the future will definitely question these canonisations and no, sufficient time has not been allowed for investigating the two lives and yes the whole thing has been far too rushed.

    In fact, the huge number of fast track canonisations in recent years has made a mockery of the canonisation process. It’s actually quite embarrassing where it used to be something to be proud of.

  10. I agree it’s an unnecessarily rushed double canonisation, playing to the world rather than to God. I have no doubt though that these will never be reversed in future. I feel this would be unthinkable.

    • Michaelangelo,

      I wonder if you’ve read the link to the article posted by Theresa Rose? The deliberations of the various theologians over time reported therein, together with my own gut instinct leads me to the conclusion that these canonisations may well be overturned in the future.

      However, I now realise that I got the title of this thread wrong – completely. It should have read: “A Tale of Three Canonisations – two of which will be questioned in future…”

      When I posted the thread, you see, I had no idea that Pope John XXIII had a low opinion of Pope Saint Pius X. This, from Catholic News Agency:

      John XXIII spoke candidly at that time about some of his private opinions, including his low esteem for Pope Pius X, who had been canonized some years before. Source…

      Some nerve!

      • But, Editor, is it TRUE that Pope John XXIII actually said he had “low esteem” for Pope Pius X or was this the journalist’s slant? I know nothing of Pope Francis other than what I have read in the media and, frankly, I don’t trust the media. From personal experience, what one may say to a journalist and what that journalist subsequently prints, can give an entirely different impression.

        • In that case, Magdalene, I think the Vatican will make millions out of the “misreporting”.

          One swallow certainly doesn’t make a summer but an entire swarm, that is a different matter.

          It’s well past burying heads in the sand time Magdalene – blaming the journalist, blaming the translation – well past.

          I’ve already posted one translation somewhere on this blog from a reader fluent in Italian., If words mean anything, the pope has said what he said.

          The one correction given – that the word properly translated is not “conscience” but “ideas” (i.e. if everyone follows their own ideas about good and evil that is all we can do and the world will be a better place) is actually WORSE than what was reported.

          Preferring to believe that the pope isn’t saying the shocking things he’s reported as saying – when it has all been so widely reported and without a single denial from on high – is very foolish, to say the least.

          Odd, don’t you think, that so many different, unconnected journalists are given time to interview the pope personally (when he phones them to make arrangements) and then misreport him so “liberally” to coin a pun. I mean, why didn’t these journalists have some fun by claiming that he is going to insist that the old rite Mass is provided in every parish every day of the week? Or that women should return to the kitchen sink?

          Do you think Fr Lombardi might have headed for the nearest microphone to correct such misreporting? You bet your bottom dollar he would have issued a correction – immediately if not sooner.

          • I notice that people never question it when the media report good things about this pope. He’s humble etc. is never questioned. Just when he says things that are liberal and suddenly the media have misquoted him.

            Same with everything else, Magdalene also doubts the journalist who said Pope John XXIII held Pius X in low esteem. Why are Catholics so determined to believe that popes are devoid of human weakness or could say something that we don’t want them to say?

            It’s quite an eye opener seeing the reactions of most Catholics to these reports about Pope Francis. It tells me something when non-Catholics are most upset than many Catholics are!

            • Editor, Lily,

              It seems to me that you can see no good in Pope Francis and that anyone who does not wholeheartedly agree with you must be ‘shot down in flames’. How sad.

              • Magdalene,

                I don’t think this is really about the personal goodness or otherwise of Pope Francis. It’s about his Pontificate and the really terrifying prospect he represents to the Church from the point of view of supernatural faith, the true Catholic Faith and its necessity for salvation.

                It seems quite evident from his own words and statements that he is less concerned with those poor who have not Christ than with those who have not a bowl of soup and a slice of bread. With respect, His Holiness has his priorities seriously confused and it will cost the Church dearly.

                • Athanasius,

                  With respect, and believe me, I hold you in high respect, I cannot find it in my heart to condemn the Pontificate of Pope Francis. Its very early days and although I have misgivings about some of the things he is reported to have said, he is also reported to have condemned abortion when speaking to the Gynaecologists.

                  As regards your statement re the “bowl of soup”, does he have his priorities seriously confused? Were I to see someone starving, I would feed them a bowl of soup and a slice of bread before I fed them the Catechism.

              • Pope Francis is not a good pope. End of. I know nothing about him personally and presume he will be like most other people, with his good and bad points. He wasn’t elected to be a nice person but to be a good pope. He’s not.

                • “Pope Francis is not a good Pope. End of”.

                  Well, Editor, that is in keeping with your usual blunt statements, but it is your opinion, not fact. I don’t accept it and it may just be possible that some others won’t either.

                  • How can you say Pope Francis is a good Pope? There are great Popes and bad Popes. The last great Pope was Pius XII, and the most recent good, great at a pinch, Pope was Benedict XVI. Tell me how Francis is a great Pope? He wants to ‘accept’ gays and unmarried/cohabiting couples, refuses to speak about abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Didn’t Our Lady of Good Success promise that ‘the one who should speak will fall silent’. Francis is a key figure in the chastisement. Editor is right. We leave judgement only to God, but facts must be faced, and we can only articulate our arguments from the evidence in front of us.

  11. The magisterium is infallible in canonisation all the pre-Vatican 2 theologians teach it. doesn’t matter what process the canonisation took once a true Pope declares someone saint he is one and they will be no overturning of the declaration and if anyone wants to say that it’s an error they are saying the church has defected which is impossible

    • Inquisitor,

      The question you raise is covered in this excellent article, posted by Theresa Rose above.

      It seems odd to say that the processes are irrelevant when it was due to the rigour of the processes that theologians were led to believe they are infallible acts.

  12. Inquisitor, this matter concerns me greatly, and I wonder if you would be kind enough to elaborate on your comment, as your reasons for making it so confidently might help.

    I too, think that the indefectibility of the Church is the important issue here, and agree that the ‘process’ matters little, provided that its form (even if recently changed) has been approved by the Church.

    If this is so, then my faith will be seriously tested when these canonisations take place. The results of ‘Pope John’s Council’ make it impossible for me to believe that the spirit that inspired him to call it was the Holy Spirit, while, over his long pontificate, John-Paul II’s actions, contrary to the teaching of the pre-Vat. II Magisterium, continued to scandalise and cause measurable and irreparable harm to countless souls. Pope Francis, hell-bent on canonising these popes, has shown that the wrecking-ball will be wielded with even greater efficiency on his watch.

  13. INQUISITOR234

    You are absolutely right about canonisations being infallible acts. I read the two part article of Fr. Gleize and I think he is mistaken. Such are the confusing times we live in, thanks to a Modernist Church hierarchy, that even very good theologians like Fr. Gleize are left scratching their heads for answers, and sometimes getting it wrong.

    There is no way Our Lord would permit a Pope to formally declare a person to be a saint who is not a saint, regardless of flawed procedures. Canonisation is a matter that touches on Faith, hence it is not possible for one Pope to formally declare a person to have practiced virtue to an heroic degree, and to hold him up to the universal Church for veneration and imitation, only for another Pope to later declare that a mistake had been made. It is just not possible because that kind of error would render the Church’s teaching on infallibility permanently null and void.

    Having stated this, it seems equally inconceivable to me that Our Lord will permit the canonisation of John Paul II given the acts he committed against the Faith during his Pontificate. So my belief is that this canonisation will not happen, God will prevent it. If it does happen, then we will have to look at the wording of the canonisation act to see if Pope Francis has declared formally using his full Magisterial authority.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens between now and April 27 next year when the Modernists plan to canonise their revolutionary conciliar programme, which is really what these rushed canonisations are all about!

    By the way, I don’t believe for one second that Pope John XXIII had low esteem for St. Pius X. If he had then he would never have declared that the Mass must remain in tact and in Latin.

    • So you believe that Pope John hated Modernism and false ecuminism and tried to be obedient to Pope St. Pius X in ridding the Church of these errors?

      • 3LITTLESHEPHERDS,

        That’s not what I said! What I said is that I do not believe Pope John XXIII personally held St. Pius X in low esteem. It’s one of those alleged statements that cannot be proven or disproven, so is better left unrepeated for charity’ sake. It’s relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things anyway. I suggest we leave idle gossip aside and concentrate on what we know in fact. And even then let us maintain charity and respect for the Pontiffs.

        • But we can say Pope John didn’t seem to esteem nor follow Pope St. Pius X’s warnings.

        • Athanasius,

          Why do you doubt that news report about Pope John XXIII? I think it was from a Vatican agency source, if my memory serves me right (Zenit or CNA) so they have no reason to lie. Also, if we only talked about stuff that was absolutely proven, we’d not say a lot! I don’t think it’s idle gossip at all to quote something in the public domain.

          • Josephine,

            It is idle gossip if it has no other purpose than to denigrate the memory of a Pope. Perhaps you can tell me then what good purpose was intended when it was mentioned here?

            • I took it to be yet more evidence that Pope John XXIII was a modernist and since it was reported in a source that is very pro-the popes and Vatican, they obviously didn’t see anything untoward in it. Since this thread is discussing the canonisation of two popes it is very relevant to the discussion to discover that at least one of the two popes didn’t like another canonised pope. That’s not idle gossip but germane to the discussion.

        • I’he read part of that article Editor sites. It was a translation so it was a little strange. (I’m Italian but can’t translate Italian) If I remember, Pope John admits he was a Saint, but says he was a sad Saint, and that Saints are not supposed to be sad.

        • Just because you personally don’t think Pope John XXIII didn’t hold Pope Pius X in low esteem doesn’t mean he didn’t. Pope John XXIII believed the polar opposite of Pius X so I have no problem believing that report.

          • Josephine,

            You are of course free to believe any and all reports if you so choose. Personally, I like to give the benefit of the doubt and base my judgments on objective evidence, especially in matters relating to deceased Popes. By the way, Pope John XXIII was not as theologically “polar opposite” to St. Pius X as you assert. You should read up on John XXIII if you want to get a true measure of his Pontificate.

            • I have read a life of Pope John XXIII but even if I hadn’t his opening speech at Vatican II seemed to be the polar opposite of what Pius X would have said. Also you say you base your judgments on objective evidence yet you haven’t given any on this thread, in fact you rejected totally the evidence in that really good article posted by Theresa Rose by the SSPX theologian. Even people who have nothing to do with the SSPX find that article very helpful. You keep making statements about canonisation and infallibility without posting a single piece of evidence.

            • I think the comments attributed to Pope John about Pope St. Pius X show that he failed to grasp the very serious situation the Church was facing. He seemed to be critical of his warnings, calling him “sad”. I don’t have the quote but Malachi Martin said that when Pope John spoke about the prophets of doom everyone knew he was talking about the children of Fatima. He was an “optimist”. As was JPII and now Pope Francis.
              It isn’t even reasonable to be so happy. Most of the Catholic poetry that I’ve read is sad and poignant. Catholic art is poignant. Even you, Athanasius, are usually poignant, your style is like Pope Pius XII.
              Their’s something charismatic and jolly about the cult of man and the spirit of Vatican II. I’m not so sure it’s natural.

  14. Sorry Editor, your post went up while I was writing. I did read Teresa Rose’s link.last night but fear that it didn’t help a lot, as this matter of the indefectibility of the Church simply rears its head at me at every turn! One can talk and read oneself into and out of many corners, but for me indefectibility is the dead end.

    • It says in the article posted by Theresa Rose that one of the things the theologians grappled with was what type of infallibility there was at play in canonisations, because obviously there’s no direct divine revelation to say this person or that person is in heaven, so Fr. Gleize’s point about the process being crucial is important. I don’t see how anyone can say that the process doesn’t matter. What is the point of having a process then, why not leave it to the pope to say someone is a saint?

      • Lily,

        You will find that many of the early Church Fathers and other saints were declared to be in heaven without any kind of investigation process having taken place, at least not at the level we were used to just prior to Vatican II. So while the process is important for a number of reasons, it does not ultimately impact on the guarantee of infallibility when it comes to formal declaration.

        Also, it’s worth pointing out that if proof beyond all human doubt was a prerequisite for Catholics in the acceptance of all formal declarations of the Magisterium, then infallibility and indefectabilty would just be meaningless words and supernatural Faith would be superfluous. We have to believe, then, that the Holy Ghost ultimately protects the Pope from making erroneous formal declarations. It’s a matter touching Faith and Dogma.

        • Can you give us an infallible definition of “indefectibility”? That seems to be what your whole case rests on, that if these canonisations were questioned and declared invalid that the whole indefectibility of the Church would be in question (I don’t agree BTW) so it would be good to have an infallible definition of what “indefectibility” means.

          • Nicky,

            I’m quite sure you already know what indefectability means, but I’ll remind you anyway that it means that Our Lord protects His Church at all times, and in all ages, from any formal declaration by the Pope binding the faithful of the Universal Church to errors that oppose or threaten the Catholic Faith.

            It seems you presume beforehand that there will be occasion for inferiors in the Church to declare John Paul’s canonisation invalid. I suggest we wait and see, pray hard for Pope Francis and trust in Our Lord’s promise to protect His Church.

            Speculation at this moment in time is, I think, counter-productive. We have no idea what will happen between now and April 27 next year. My advice is let’s wait and see, pray and trust in divine providence.

  15. Wow! A timely entrance.. Welcome Athanasius. You help this struggling Catholic a lot!. I hope you’re right about this.

    PS I am going to Rome on 29th October for two weeks (a trip unfortunately deferred from a year ago – relatively happy times). As the convent I stay at gives out public audience tickets that I’m disposed to tear up, maybe someone here will have better advice about me going and trying to get up close and personal with a message in the papal ear’ole.

    • Hi Christina,

      Thanks for the welcome. I’m always glad to help if I can.

      It is a very real danger facing Traditional Catholics today that in the face of such scandalous Pontificates as they have witnessed since Vatican II, they slip into the error of becoming their own Magisterium. We have to be careful always to make the distinction between what we, as inferiors, are legitimately permitted, even obliged, to reject and what we must accept.

      The sedevacantists, for example, have formulated many subtle theological arguments to declare the conciliar Popes invalid. But we who have maintained our belief in Our Lord’s promise to His Church know that these arguments are fallacious and that we must reject them out of hand.

      I’m not saying that Fr. Gleize is anything like the sedevacantists, but the danger of formulating arguments in the way that he has is quite a dangerous road to go down.

      • Oops! Forgot to say, Christina, that you’re best to refuse the ticket for the Papal audience. What’s the point?

  16. Lily, of course there IS a process, but the Church herself decides what the process is to be and so can change it if and when she sees fit. She changed it comparatively recently, and I believe, as I said above, that because she is indefectible the proposed canonisations would be infallible. No-one can decide and claim that an earlier form of the ‘process’ should be invoked once tje Church has changed it. I believe, that, as Athanasius says above, Father Gleize is wrong and this is wishful thinking on his part.

  17. I asked an opinion on this from a traditional priest and here is his answer:

    “My position on this is that over time the popes reserved the power to canonise to themselves, and made of canonisation such a solemn definition, with so many safeguards built into the process, and so much of their authority bound up in it, that the common opinion of theologians is that canonisations became infallible. Nonetheless it would certainly be possible that the popes could downgrade the whole procedure to its earlier status, which was certainly not guaranteed by their infallibility.

    There is no doubt that canonisation was greatly devalued under John Paul II, with the requirements having been greatly relaxed. We cannot say, however, whether this has meant that the modern canonisations are or are not an exercise of infallibility (perhaps some future pope will clarify matters). Nonetheless we can say the following in any individual problematic case (e.g. if John Paul II were to be canonised): either their canonisation is infallible (in which case we know they have saved their souls by dying in the state of grace, which is certainly always possible), or it is not, in which case infallibility is not compromised. Even in the first case, an instance of infallibility need not be prudent or advisable (this is a general principle about all infallible acts); it merely entails that whatever is defined is free from error. Thus in the first case it would mean that JP II had certainly saved his soul, but would not necessarily mean that he should be considered a role model, or that his canonisation was a good idea.”

    • CROFTERLADY,

      I’m hearing what your priest/adviser is saying, but his remarks need qualification.

      First, if the Popes wanted to downgrade canonisations to non-infallible acts then they would have to declare that to be the case and not just drop the hint by undermining the process. Otherwise, the universal Church would be open to accusations of grievous error and universal confusion would reign as to exactly who is and who is not canonised.

      Secondly, no matter how greatly John Paul II devalued the process leading to canonisation, it is incumbent upon us as Catholics to maintain that he still enjoyed the protection of the Holy Ghost for each and every formal declaration he made. Otherwise, we must conclude (erroneously) that it is possible (given certain circumstances) for a Pope to teach falsehood on a formal level to the universal Church. What then becomes of the dogmas of infallibility and indefectability, especially as they pertain to solitary declarations of the Supreme Pontiffs?

      A lot depends on the words used by the Pope during the canonisation ceremony. Traditionally, these words leave no one in any doubt that the Pope is exercising his Magisterial authority over the Church in a matter that touches on Faith. If Pope Francis chooses a lesser form of words, not as explicit, then there may be some room to argue that he did not intend his action to be infallible. That’s the best we can hope for.

    • Crofterlady,

      That’s a very interesting comment from your traditionalist priest friend. There is no question about it, the process of canonisation is central – it’s nonsensical to dismiss the process. I’ve even heard those who claim on the one hand that the process is irrelevant, say on the other hand that they will scrutinise the decree of canonisation to see if it carries the full weight of magisterial authority. That is to say, they want to check that due process is followed. Of course! What intelligent person could possibly think otherwise?

      Catholics are not asked to leave their brains to one side in matters of Faith – Faith and Reason are neither in competition nor in opposition. The fact that the canonisation process was formulated very carefully over time to make it as trustworthy as possible, points to the truth that the pope is not “inspired” as to who is in Heaven or who is not, he is divinely ASSISTED to reach an infallible conclusion and thus, common sense dictates, there has to be some way of the Holy Spirit “assisting” – and of the rest of being confident that the Holy Spirit has assisted – otherwise, the heresy of an “inspired” pope holds sway.

      However, reading through the above comments it is clear that, with a clear mind at the ready, we are all actually in agreement.

      We all know that due process has NOT been followed prior to these beatifications and canonisations (no Devil’s Advocate, fewer or no miracles etc.) and we all agree that it remains to be seen if the process will be followed on the day itself. If the Pope does not make clear that this is a statement of canonisation which carries the full weight of papal authority, then future theologians will, of course, be able to question their validity. If (against the odds) the Pope does plan to make this an infallibly binding act of canonisation, then God will, no doubt, prevent it. I believe all of this has been said before during our previous discussions on the topic on this blog.

      Two things only to add regarding the likelihood of an infallibly binding Decree of Canonisation:

      Firstly, Pope Benedict stated in his book interview with Peter Seeward that he had no intention of ever using his “infallibility” – there would be no such statements from him.

      Secondly, Pope Francis has made it clear from the moment he appeared on the balcony after the conclave, that he prefers the task (and title) of Bishop of Rome to that of Pope. He is, therefore, highly unlikely to issue a Decree of Canonisation which claims the full magisterial weight of authority.

      The fact is, however, that unless God does prevent these canonisations, and notwithstanding a non-infallibly binding decree, massive damage will be done to the credibility of the Church. Tell the cheering crowds in Rome that this Decree is not, in fact, infallibly binding, that the theologians of the future may well call these canonisations into question, and then take cover!

      • I completely agree with you, Editor.

        I think some good Catholics will have scruples about these Canonizations. I also think Our Lord will provide some good priestly instruction, if they will just listen.

      • Editor,

        So it really comes down to the wording on the day. If Pope Francis does not issue a “Decree of Canonisation which claims the full magisterial weight of authority”, then we are entitled to question the canonisations?

        Would I be right in summing up the situation as follows? Given that Pope Francis prefers to be known as the Bishop of Rome, and also given the degree of his self-professed ‘humility’ which might make him reluctant to invoke his infallibility, the possibility remains that the wording of the declaration the Holy Father chooses to use on the day could render the canonisations non-infallible and therefore non-binding on the Church.

        So really, it all depends on how Pope Francis chooses to proceed. The abolition of the Devil’s Advocate and the relaxing of the rules requiring miracles isn’t really the issue. The issue is whether or not Pope Francis intends to invoke his infallibility and issue a binding declaration that Popes John XXIII and Pope Paul II are Saints.

        Out of interest, is there any source which would give the wording of the declarations used during Pope John Paul II’s many canonisations?

        • In answer to my own question……

          http://www.josemariaescriva.info/article/decree-of-canonization

          According to the above website, the Decree of Canonisation for Josemaria Escriva included the words –

          “…. We declare and define Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer to be a Saint, and We inscribe his name in the catalogue of the Saints, ordaining that, throughout the universal Church, he be devoutly honored among the Saints. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

          I take it that this is an infallible declaration, made by Pope John Paul II, that Josemaria Escriva is a saint in heaven, that he displayed the heroic sanctity we should all aspire to, and that we are obliged to venerate him.

          • AWKWARDCUSTOMER,

            Yes, both your posts are correct and that canonisation declaration of John Paul II is, without question, infallible.

            It’s also important to state that a declaration of personal holiness does not mean that the newly canonised did not fall into doctrinal error during his lifetime. That kind of scrutiny, of life-long doctrinal integrity, is usually only applied to Doctors of the Church.

            • Athanasius

              Your posts on this topic, both on this and a previous thread, have been very informative and helpful to me. I understand that “a declaration of personal holiness does not mean that the newly canonised did not fall into doctrinal error during his lifetime.” But the question remains – where do the parameters of this lie?

              You’ve stated elsewhere that you do not believe that God will allow these canonisations to go ahead. I have been wondering that too. It has occurred to me, as a result of reading this thread, that this could be achieved by Pope Francis failing to ensure that the declaration of canonisation meets the requirements for infallibility.

              • AWKWARDCUSTOMER,

                I’m very glad that I have been of some help to you, it’s not an easy time for any of us right now.

                I think this question of doctrinal integrity in the life of one proposed for sainthood is not so much a question of the errors he may have embraced as one of his culpability in embracing them.

                None of us can say that Pope John Paul II embraced the errors he did out of malice against the Church and divinely revealed truth. It is more likely that he embraced them in the belief that he was actually doing good for the Church, incredible as that may seem.

                Now, if they were proposing him as a Doctor of the Church then there would have to be very strict scrutiny of his beliefs and practices, particularly as Pope. But that’s not what they are doing.

                Rather, they are proposing him for canonisation on the basis of his personal sanctity. For example, and Pope Benedict should have learned from this example, they tried for years to get John Paul II to abdicate the Papacy as his Parkinson’s Disease encroached more and more. His response was that Christ did not come down from the Cross, neither would he come down from his. That was an act of heroic virtue.

                On the otherhand he kissed the Koran, which is against the Faith and he orchestrated the Assisi scandals, again in opposition to the Faith. So he manifestly failed in the virtue of Faith. That’s why I believe God will prevent his canonisation. It is a sad fact that his canonisation would lead many Catholics to believe that kissing the Koran was a virtuous act, etc. That’s why I’m sure it will either not go ahead or will not be defined with infallibility by Pope Francis. Hence the importance I placed on the words of the canonisation decree. I’m not sure I’ve made this as clear as I had hoped, but I’m sure you’ll catch my drift.

        • Awkward customer

          I don’t think that’s what editor said at all. I think she said the whole process would be examined and that even those who said they didn’t think the process mattered, still said the wording of the decree on the day would matter. As far as I understand it, editor thinks the whole process is important. Personally, I think that the absence of the Devil’s Advocate itself is sufficient to render both beatifications and canonisations invalid – that’s what a theologian was quoted saying on the Catholic Encyclopaedia quote that was posted on this blog last time we discussed this. It makes perfect sense to me.

          • Margaret Mary

            But the process is not covered by infallibility. That is the crucial point. Only the declaration of canonisation made on the day has the mark of infallibility, if made according to the correct formula, as Josemaria Escriva’s was.

            It seemed to me that Editor was conflating the process and the declaration. The process has changed over time and could change again. The Church has the right to do this. But it is only through the declaration made by a pope that the canonisation becomes infallible, provided the correct form is followed. For example,

            “…. We declare and define Blessed (N….) to be a Saint, and We inscribe his name in the catalogue of the Saints, ordaining that, throughout the universal Church, he be devoutly honoured among the Saints. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

            If, on April 27, Pope Francis makes this declaration on behalf of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, then with or without the Devil’s Advocate and no matter how many miracles are ascribed to each, we will be obliged to accept both as saints in heaven who displayed heroic virtue during their lives and are worthy of veneration and emulation.

          • Margaret Mary,

            Then you are led to the logical conclusion that the Pope does not have Ordinary Magisterial authority to declare infallibly by himself, and that is a heresy.

      • CROFTERLADY,

        Editor misleads you on a number of points. I will try to clarify with quotes followed by responses.

        “There is no question about it, the process of canonisation is central – it’s nonsensical to dismiss the process.”

        I am not aware that anyone has dismissed the process, which is obviously important in prudentially establishing the facts about the candidate’s sanctity, or lack thereof. But let us not lose sight of the fact that canonisations took place in the Church on the sole Magisterial authority of the Supreme Pontiff before procedural (investigative) norms were introduced.

        This strongly suggests that Papal infallibility in the matter of canonisations is NOT affected by flawed, downgraded or even absent procedures, important as they may be. To state otherwise is to denigrate the Pope’s Ordinary infallible Magisterial authority by making it subject to the investigations and conclusions of men in a matter that can never be fully proven by human endeavor. That’s why the Pope must have the guarantee of the Holy Ghost when he makes a formal declaration of canonisation. It’s the Pope who has the guarantee of infallibility, not the investigating body.

        “I’ve even heard those who claim on the one hand that the process is irrelevant, say on the other hand that they will scrutinise the decree of canonisation to see if it carries the full weight of magisterial authority. That is to say, they want to check that due process is followed.”

        The process and the decree are two completely separate issues, not remotely similar in authority. It is by the wording of the Papal decree that we discover if the Pope intends to declare formally and infallibly a canonisation, or if he merely wishes to proclaim to the Church what he and a few others think. Wording in these decrees is hugely important.

        “The fact that the canonisation process was formulated very carefully over time to make it as trustworthy as possible, points to the truth that the pope is not “inspired” as to who is in Heaven or who is not, he is divinely ASSISTED to reach an infallible conclusion and thus, common sense dictates, there has to be some way of the Holy Spirit “assisting” – and of the rest of being confident that the Holy Spirit has assisted – otherwise, the heresy of an “inspired” pope holds sway.”

        There is no defined heresy relating to Popes who thought and declared themselves inspired, so that statement is a bit of a red herring.

        Apart from this one observation I agree with the statement entirely, with the exception that the Pope would still be assisted by the Holy Ghost even if he had been negligent in the process. The alternative is a Church that depends less on God’s promises for its indefectability than on the fidelity of men!

        “…Pope Benedict stated in his book interview with Peter Seeward that he had no intention of ever using his “infallibility” – there would be no such statements from him.”

        This statement of Pope Benedict referred to EX CATHEDRA declarations, not those of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope. It is therefore incorrect to use this statement in the present debate since it suggests that Catholics may disregard the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope as not infallible. That would be heresy!

        Everything else I agree with, but we have to be very careful in this matter of Papal infallibility. It’s way too easy for Traditional Catholics to be led down the road of schism by these kinds of judgments.

        • Athanasius,

          Before, on this blog, you said you’d wait to read the decree to see if it was making these canonisations binding. That does seem to make it part of the whole process, so that we can work out if these are genuinely infallible canonisations or not. Now you are saying the decree has nothing to do with the process. I’m confused!

          Does a heresy have to be “defined” to make it a heresy? I ask because I often call the women’s rights (ordination) movement a heresy but it’s not defined, just a false belief, i.e. a heresy. Please tell me what your definition of a heresy is.

          • Margaret Mary,

            I think you may have misread my comments on the difference between process and decree. Process is important in any canonisation but the infallibility of the Pope does not depend on it. The wording of his decree, on the otherhand, will tell us whether or not the Pope intends to make his declaration infallible by means of the Ordinary Magisterium or just declare his opinion that the person is in heaven. I hope I’m getting this message across clearly, it’s not easy to explain. Words are very important with these Papal decrees.

            My definition of heresy would be any doctrine that contradicts the Traditional doctrines of the Church, such as denial of the Real Presence, the Immaculate Conception, etc. In other words, a denial of what has been established through infallible teaching.

        • Athanasius,

          You said “Apart from this one observation I agree with the statement entirely, with the exception that the Pope would still be assisted by the Holy Ghost even if he had been negligent in the process. The alternative is a Church that depends less on God’s promises for its indefectibility than on the fidelity of men!”

          You seem to be saying that God will bring about canonisations no matter the process. If that is right, can you explain how he does that?

          Also, do you think that the Pope is “inspired” by the Holy Ghost when canonising? I ask this because you said it’s not a heresy to say he’s inspired.

          Sorry if I’m misunderstanding but I’d like to try to be clear in my mind on this issue before April.

          • Margaret Mary,

            You wrote: “You seem to be saying that God will bring about canonisations no matter the process. If that is right, can you explain how he does that?”

            I cannot explain to you the mind and operations of God, I’m afraid, but I can say with certainty that He will act in such a way on the person of the Pope that the guarantee of infallibility and indefectability will not be breached. We have seen this magnificent working of God already by the fact that neither the New Mass nor the Modernist doctrines of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue have been imposed by the Popes on the universal Church. We have to trust more in God and less in our own judgments. Our Lord is in full control of His Church.

            “Also, do you think that the Pope is “inspired” by the Holy Ghost when canonising? I ask this because you said it’s not a heresy to say he’s inspired.”

            If it is a heresy to say that someone is inspired by God, then I’m afraid a good many of the saints, if not all, were heretics! There is nothing wrong in saying that a soul is inspired by God.

            Divine inspiration doesn’t come into play with a canonisation and I’m pretty certain I haven’t said anywhere that it does. Maybe you’ve read it in the comments of someone else, or just misunderstood the meaning of something I wrote.

            I repeat again that when the Pope canonises someone he does so with divine protection from declaring error. Personal inspiration has nothing to do with it. I hope this helps to clarify.

      • How often must it be repeated that he would not be pope at all unless he was the bishop of rome? Ergo, his essential title is bishop of rome, all the others stem from that. Gimme strength…

        • ECCLESIAM SUAM,

          You are correct of course, but let us also admit that Pope Francis has demonstrated a reluctance to call himself Pope. At the same time, there is a Pope Emeritus who should now be merely a Cardinal. It’s all very confusing for the faithful, and very scandalous.

  18. I found the low esteem John23 had for Pius X not a surprise. When we consider his reaction to the Third Secret of Fatima as abtruse locations he clearly had a low opinion of Our Lady’s commands. This would lead us to think he had a low opinion of the Church and its traditions so he instituted a Council to bring it up to date and follow the spirit of the times.

  19. Pope Francis actually reminds me of Pope John. I wouldn’t be surprised if he called a council.

    • Are you trying to kill me? Then again, it couldn’t be any worse than the last council.

      • It could be worse. But also the chance for some of the better Bishops to stand up for the Faith, like Archbishop Lefebvre. I hope.

        • Yes, likely to be worse.

          I don’t think they would invite the SSPX Bishops.
          In “A Catechism Of Modernism”:
          Q. If the Catholic who defends the Church is a learned man, what tactics do the Modernist employ against him?
          A. When an adversary rises up against them with erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack.

          I don’t think they would invite the SSPX, but there are some Bishops who could fight. I think one reason the SSPX was not regularized was because of the letters between Bishop Fellay and the 3 Bishops that were leaked. Bishop Fellay made it clear he was not afraid of a fight against the Modernists. He intended to fight once he was regularized. He had faith in his priests. The Modernists don’t want to encounter this, they would lose.

  20. All this argument about infallibility, its conditions and its limitations, is way over my head. It is confusing me to the detriment of my faith.

    What is actually meant by the assertion “Canonisation is normatively an infallible act“?

    i.e. Assuming, hypothetically, that the canonisation of Person A was proven to be infallible, what exactly would this mean:

    1.) It can be known with the guarantee of infallibility only that Person A is in heaven.

    2.) It can be known with the guarantee of infallibility that this person is in heaven, and that this is person is also an example of heroic sanctity, a fact which is true and bearing the mark of infallibility.

    These are two different things you will notice.

    If #1 is the case, it won’t harm my faith at all if the April canonisations go ahead.

    I hope the infallibility of canonisation applies only to #1. If it applies to #2 then I sure hope it will be proven that the April canonisations are not infallible, or instead that there is a divine intervention to stop them.

    If however #2 is the case, and it is proven that the April canonisations would be infallible, and they go ahead, then how can I possibly remain a Catholic? The Catholic Faith would have disproved itself. To continue to to believe it would be contrary to reason, like having to believe a circle can be a square. I would either have to apostatise or become a sedevacantist.

    I am not intending on becoming either, so don’t worry. However, my firm belief is that it doesn’t matter how much faith someone has, if one has the faith of a saint and reason is undermined, then faith won’t count for anything.

    Another question, mustn’t we assent to infallible teachings in order to be saved?

    • Miles Immaculatae,

      Your post sums up the problem nicely. I do not go along with the position that whatever the pope says on the day, we must believe these two popes are models of heroic sanctity. As you say it would be contrary to reason, knowing the damage they’ve both done to the Church.

      • It is not contrary to reason to believe Pope John Paul II is in heaven. It is quite possible Stalin is in heaven. These things are known only to God.

        It is harder to define what a ‘model of heroic sanctity’ is than what it isn’t. It clearly, undeniably isn’t somebody who orchestrated the Assisi events, revised the Holy Rosary, appointed Mahony to the Cardinalate, turned a blind eye to Maciel etc.. So it is contrary to reason to believe is Pope John Paul II is a model of heroic sanctity.

        And that is not a slur against him! Most of us aren’t. In fact the only two poes in the last few centuries who were declared such have been Pius V and Pius X. That’s a very small number out of a lot of popes.

        • Miles,

          I think you may be confusing heroic virtue with doctrinal integrity. I’m sure many will make the same mistake, that’s why these discussions are so dangerous.

          May I suggest that we all talk less about this and perhaps offer some rosaries and a penance or two for Pope Francis. It would, I’m sure, be more pleasing to God at this time than idle speculation about what may or may not happen on April 27 next year. I hope others will agree.

          • I don’t believe I have confused the two.

            You obviously accept that JPII’s doctrinal integrity is suspect. Me too. Does a person’s doctrinal integrity not affect someone’s sanctity? That’s absurd. For example, if I lived an impeccable life of moral virtue but I believed abortion wasn’t always wrong, nor that Our Lady wasn’t Immaculately Conceived, is it possible I could live a life of true holiness? I think the two are intrinsically linked.

            Do you think the problem with JPII is merely doctrinal? Do you think JPII practiced heroic virtue? I don’t. Lets consider some of JPII’s actions which had nothing to do with doctrine. Lets look at the Maciel scandal. He knew what was going on and did nothing about it. JPII literally had to die before Ratzinger could get to Maciel. Of course I don’t know the situation JPII was in so I can’t judge, but I would like there to be an investigation. How much did he know? How much did he ignore it? This is just one example.

            Doctrine aside, I am fed up with hearing about what a great guy JPII was. What happens if he is canonised and then scandalous stories purely about his moral character arise from people who personally knew him? This has happened before…

            We all know about Saint Josemaria Escriva. There is/was (at least in Opus Dei) a sickly character cult around him also. It later turned out he was an elitist snob, with a quick temper, who liked to eavesdrop on peoples’ private conversations. There are numerous other anecdotes form reliable sources as well. Good people wanted to testify these things before the congregation but they were turned away. When I was involved with Opus Dei I always had a suspicious feeling about him. My friend feels the same. I don’t like him. I never really did.

            Even if these accusations against Escriva are utterly unfounded and libellous, then he still shouldn’t have been canonised because of the public scandal it might have/has caused. I certainly am very scandalised by it. And when I knew Saint Josemaria (I am not mad, for it is possible to get to know saints through prayer and reading their works) my scandal was purely based on his past moral character, I knew absolutely nothing of his doctrinal integrity. I assumed he was trad.

            Doctrinal integrity aside, I am not convinced about the integrity of JPII’s moral character. I have a really funny feeling about it. That’s a private, subjective judgement, but that’s what I will follow. I have never heard any negative statements from people who knew him about his moral character per se. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. They just haven’t come up yet. I might be wrong. Let’s see.

            • Miles,

              My advice would be to pay less attention to hearsay and speculation and just concentrate on your prayers. It’s way too easy to get caught up in these stories and end up completely confused by it all. God knows the truth and He will sort things out in due course.

              Pope John Paul’s Pontificate was certainly bad for the Church and that’s why I doubt very much that he will be canonised. But I try to stick to what is know about people with certainty and to discuss it with charity and objectivity. That’s what Catholics are supposed to do. The other road is one that ends in a bitter spirit.

              • …that’s why I doubt very much that he will be canonised

                But can’t you see? That is speculation! There is a very great chance they will be canonised. If you shrug this off now you are setting yourself up to get hurt in April.

              • Frankly, there was a lovely spirit on this blog until quite recently. I always found that the bloggers here patiently answered questions and gave information plus interesting links so we can learn about our Faith.

                Your advice about paying less attention to hearsay etc. is not helpful. What’s wrong with hearsay? That’s often the first way people begin to learn about a subject.

                With all due respect, you seem to have set yourself up as supervisor of us all. I’ll probably get deleted for writing this although I’m trying to keep it polite, but basically I want to say that we’re all adults, so you don’t need to worry about us.

                • Josephine,

                  Hearsay is useless and debates such as this one, which Miles Immaculatae has already declared to have affected his faith, are very dangerous.

                  I have no wish or intention to be anyone’s supervisor on this blog, believe me. All I wanted to do was put some sense back into a debate that was rapidly heading in a bad direction that could only end in the rejection of the Pope’s Ordinary Magisterium.

                  I tried to do that with patience and with charity, like an adult, as you say, but a responsible one, bearing always in mind how easily souls can be damaged by careless talk. I’ve done what I can and now I’ll leave you in peace. I’m sorry you found my contributions so offensive.

                  • I said I was confused about finer points of teaching on infallibility and canonisation.

                    I said my faith is adversely affected by doctrinal distortions which push reason to its limits. Not by hearsay.

                    I have contributed to the hearsay on this blog. I don’t put it that negatively though. For example, I recently said there was a rumour going around that ++Marini might be appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. We need to be prepared for these kinds of things. We need to be ahead of things. We are in a war, a war of ideas, which is the most lethal kind of war. We are merely gathering and analysing intelligence, like any military force.

                    I have the capacity to examine critically the things posted here, so please don’t worry about me being influenced by hearsay.

          • We might be facing a crisis in a few months. It’s things like this that adversely affect people’s faith, including mine, as I have mentioned above. We have reason to worry. I suppose you are right in the sense we should trust in God’s Providence.

            I seem to remember you saying something about a divine intervention in a comment on a recent post on this blog. That of course is idle speculation. Although I could be mistaken [about you writing it].

            • Miles,

              I did write about a divine intervention on this blog, but it wasn’t idle speculation. It is recorded in a good many prophecies concerning these times. Fatima and Quito are just two such heavenly messages that speak of divine intervention during the great crisis.

              • I don’t think there are any prophesies specifically about a divine intervention in the canonisation of JPII and John XXIII in Fatima and other approved apparitions. To link “heavenly messages that speak of divine intervention during the great crisis” to such an exact event in the future is speculation in my book! Although I think you might be right.

          • I don’t agree and I think it is nobody’s place to presume that I am not saying rosaries and doing penance as well as trying to learn from this blog and others.

            • Josephine,

              I was not presuming that you did not offer rosaries and penances, I made a general statement that included myself. However, I am very pleased indeed to detect from your words that you are already offering up prayers and penances for the Pope and the Church. That is very good news.

    • Miles,
      Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, it’s difficult to sort out.
      Do you have a priest in the Society that you talk to? I always just wrote down my questions and sent them to my priest. He would always call me back. The Brothers are sometimes even better to ask.

    • Miles,

      Canonisation normally applies to the 1st point, i.e., canonisation means that someone is in heaven because of personal holiness, i.e., charity and the practice of moral virtues, but not necessarily because of intellectual correctness on matters of Catholic doctrine. I think we must say that only those saints who are declared “doctors of the church” are chosen by the Church to be imitated for the doctrinal integrity.

      • I completely disagree. The whole point of Canonisation is not merely to confirm whether souls are in heaven, but more importantly, to show additionally that these souls’ lives of heroic virtue and sanctity are worthy of imitation. Canonisation exists for our benefit.

        Why would the Church be interested in making infallible statements solely to determine who was in heaven? It doesn’t make sense.

        I wasn’t asking what canonisation was, but rather which aspects/parts of Canonisation get covered by infallibility. My concern is whether papal infallibility extends over the first point, or the second.

        • So do I. In the Catechism it says: “”God our Saviour desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So to say someone could be a canonised saint and they hold to false beliefs is just ludicrous.

          It’s always been my understanding that for someone to be canonised they had to be exemplary Catholics, and practise virtue to an heroic degree. Just having got into heaven is not a reason to canonise or at least it didn’t used to be.

          I’m also amazed at the idea that the procedures for canonisation can be changed. What about the statement that the devil’s advocate is essential. I thought that was an authoritative statement, that without the devil’s advocate the whole process would be invalidated. Can that be changed on the whim of a pope?

  21. Hi folks,

    I’m not going to try to answer everything on this thread – there’s just too much for a gal to cope with at this time of night. I’ll restrict myself to the following points in summary.

    1) we are living through a time of unprecedented crisis in the Church. We cannot think, speak and write as if things are “normal” – they’re not.

    2) it is in this context that we must interpret Father’s remark about the forthcoming canonisations and the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre, which I repeat here for ease of reference:

    “Someday the Church, disowning the unheard-of procedures that are currently followed, will determine the validity of this “canonization” and of this “excommunication”. (Fr. ALain Lorans, SSPX)

    3) it is again in this context of unprecedented crisis that we ought to reflect on the very scholarly article by Fr Gleize posted by Theresa Rose.

    4) none of us is in the business of denying the infallibly binding teachings of Holy Mother Church, nor are we in the business of denying the legitimate authority of any pontiff.

    5) nor are any of us stupid, or ignorant on the subject of infallibility and canonisations. Fr Lorans is not ignorant nor is Fr Michel Gleize, a theology professor.

    6) we all have a duty to keep our critical faculty alert in order to safeguard our Faith, during this time of crisis. It is in that context that we discuss the fact that there is a clear issue with these two forthcoming canonisations. It is disingenuous for anyone to imply that somehow by addressing the issues we are endangering our Faith and/or being disloyal or any other such sentiment.

    7) we ought to know, when reflecting on the problems posed by these canonisations, that in times of war, all (or most) of the usual rules are suspended. The Society priests who have written on the subject, clearly know that, too.

    8) Finally, thanks to all who contributed to this discussion. I’ll leave open the thread until we can add the second part of the Dici article on 18th October, and we’ll launch a new thread altogether on the subject in April (27th to be precise!) but unless someone has some fresh insights, I suggest we leave it there for now. I’ve just opened a fresh thread which throws some new light on the papal repubblica interview.

    God bless.

  22. I enter late into this controversy. It took me some time to read this entire thread, and then there is the time difference between my house (in the middle of the USA) and Britain. So pardon my tardiness. I also beg indulgence if I seem to contradict one or two of the prominent members here, as I am seldom on this blog and do not wish to offend those who are here regularly. Still there are a few points regarding the proposed canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II that I would like to make.

    1. Allow me to quote Athanasius:

    “Editor misleads you on a number of points. I will try to clarify with quotes followed by responses.

    “’There is no question about it, the process of canonisation is central – it’s nonsensical to dismiss the process.’

    “I am not aware that anyone has dismissed the process, which is obviously important in prudentially establishing the facts about the candidate’s sanctity, or lack thereof. But let us not lose sight of the fact that canonisations took place in the Church on the sole Magisterial authority of the Supreme Pontiff before procedural (investigative) norms were introduced.

    “This strongly suggests that Papal infallibility in the matter of canonisations is NOT affected by flawed, downgraded or even absent procedures, important as they may be. To state otherwise is to denigrate the Pope’s Ordinary infallible Magisterial authority by making it subject to the investigations and conclusions of men in a matter that can never be fully proven by human endeavor. That’s why the Pope must have the guarantee of the Holy Ghost when he makes a formal declaration of canonisation. It’s the Pope who has the guarantee of infallibility, not the investigating body.”

    My comment: There are really two points here, the weight of the canonical process and the pope’s ordinary magisterium.

    a) Regarding the canonical process being a relative “late-comer” to the act of canonization, we must consider a bit more of the history involved. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm), canonization as a formal process did not exist in the early Church, probably for the obvious reason of the persecutions. Martyrs were the only ones considered for veneration, hence the origin of the catalog of such saints in the Roman Martyrology. Nevertheless, bishops in the early centuries diligently inquired into the sanctity of the proposed saint and when sufficient proof was had, the bishop of a place approved the cult of that saint within his jurisdiction. When such approval was also given by the pope, the saint’s cult was then promulgated for the entire Church. Long after the age of the martyrs, and probably (in my estimation) by the time of the Renaissance, abuses by the bishops of this old process led to the popes restricting and codifying it for the Roman Pontiffs alone. So we cannot really say that canonization, as we now understand the term, ever took place with the pope ignoring or supervening the process that had existed previously.

    Even then, the codified papal canonizations took two forms:

    “Canonization, therefore, creates a cultus which is universal and obligatory. But in imposing this obligation the pope may, and does, use one of two methods, each constituting a new species of canonization, i.e. formal canonization and equivalent canonization. Formal canonization occurs when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremonies, orders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians, and the fame of his miraculous ntercession is uninterrupted” (http://newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm, emphasis mine).

    So the Traditional manner of formal canonization can only take place “after due judicial process,” which means that the canonization is being pronounced regarding the life of the person being judged in the process and on the basis of that process having been shown, as far as human prudence can ascertain, to have practiced virtue in an heroic degree and attained the crown. In other words, it is the judicial process which makes plain the meaning of the canonization. More on this later.

    b) The other kind of canonization, without the formal process, is the confirmation of the tradition, of immemorial custom, regarding the veneration (especially in the liturgy), virtue, and miracles of the blessed. In other words, this requires of the pope a confirmation of Tradition, and that is the use of his Ordinary Magisterium. As with points of doctrine, the canonization of a long-venerated saint is not regarded as an act infallible by itself. It is infallible because it confirms Tradition. If the pope were attempting to canonize someone whose virtues were not proven by long custom, whose miracles were not attested by ancient authors, etc., then he would be proposing for public veneration a novelty—and this is not part of Tradition and therefore not infallible. But this sort of canonization without canonical process has not been done in living memory. The last I can recall is that of St. Philomena whom Gregory XVI declared a saint based on the abundant miracles and testimony of her relics.

    2. “’I’ve even heard those who claim on the one hand that the process is irrelevant, say on the other hand that they will scrutinise the decree of canonisation to see if it carries the full weight of magisterial authority. That is to say, they want to check that due process is followed.’

    “The process and the decree are two completely separate issues, not remotely similar in authority. It is by the wording of the Papal decree that we discover if the Pope intends to declare formally and infallibly a canonisation, or if he merely wishes to proclaim to the Church what he and a few others think. Wording in these decrees is hugely important.

    “’The fact that the canonisation process was formulated very carefully over time to make it as trustworthy as possible, points to the truth that the pope is not “inspired” as to who is in Heaven or who is not, he is divinely ASSISTED to reach an infallible conclusion and thus, common sense dictates, there has to be some way of the Holy Spirit “assisting” – and of the rest of being confident that the Holy Spirit has assisted – otherwise, the heresy of an “inspired” pope holds sway.’

    “There is no defined heresy relating to Popes who thought and declared themselves inspired, so that statement is a bit of a red herring.

    “Apart from this one observation I agree with the statement entirely, with the exception that the Pope would still be assisted by the Holy Ghost even if he had been negligent in the process. The alternative is a Church that depends less on God’s promises for its indefectability than on the fidelity of men!

    “’…Pope Benedict stated in his book interview with Peter Seeward that he had no intention of ever using his “infallibility” – there would be no such statements from him.’

    “This statement of Pope Benedict referred to EX CATHEDRA declarations, not those of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope. It is therefore incorrect to use this statement in the present debate since it suggests that Catholics may disregard the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope as not infallible. That would be heresy!

    “Everything else I agree with, but we have to be very careful in this matter of Papal infallibility. It’s way too easy for Traditional Catholics to be led down the road of schism by these kinds of judgments.”

    My comment: I disagree. The decree canonization is declaring a saint based on the canonical process. Neither God nor the person being canonized is making a special revelation to the pope in his chambers or during the ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica. The person being presented for canonization is that person described and judged in the process. That is why the process is read, and least in summary, during the ceremony of canonization. The setting of the process, we can say, explains just who it is who is canonized. Therefore, logically, if the process if flawed, the canonization is flawed.

    This does not impugn papal infallibility. If canonization were a special act of the Holy Ghost on the level of those acts in definition of doctrine, eg., the Immaculate Conception, then it could not be the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium at all, but the Extraordinary Magisterium which would then be involved—and it would have to be obeyed without question. But this is not the teaching of the Church as explained by the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    “St. Thomas says: ‘Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.’ These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church” (http://newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm, emphasis mine).

    As we know, if the decree is not, even at the best of times, infallible in the manner defined by Vatican Council I, then it does not command the assent of divine and Catholic faith. Certainly with a truncated canonical process as its setting, such a decree is not of faith and not binding on the Catholic conscience. And please note: The definition of Vatican I did not speak to canonizations, it spoke to doctrinal and moral definitions. We have no infallible teaching of the Church on this matter of canonization, only the words of St. Thomas and the Church’s theologians.

    3. “’You seem to be saying that God will bring about canonisations no matter the process. If that is right, can you explain how he does that?’

    “I cannot explain to you the mind and operations of God, I’m afraid, but I can say with certainty that He will act in such a way on the person of the Pope that the guarantee of infallibility and indefectability will not be breached. We have seen this magnificent working of God already by the fact that neither the New Mass nor the Modernist doctrines of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue have been imposed by the Popes on the universal Church. We have to trust more in God and less in our own judgments. Our Lord is in full control of His Church.”

    My comment: Please note that something much more sacred than the process of canonization has in fact been sacrilegiously touched by impious hands: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In its original Latin, the Novus Ordo was not invalid, but, in the judgment of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Roman theologians he supervised, it was (and remains) un-Catholic and a departure from the theology of the Mass codified by the Council of Trent. This theological judgment was signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci and became subsequently known as the Ottaviani Intervention. Thus if the Roman Mass, which makes God substantially present, can be eviscerated by Protestant innovations, so also can the canonization of saints. Yes, Our Lord is in full control, but that does not mean that men cannot interfere with God’s will.

    4. “Nicky says: Can you give us an infallible definition of ‘indefectibility’? That seems to be what your whole case rests on, that if these canonisations were questioned and declared invalid that the whole indefectibility of the Church would be in question (I don’t agree BTW) so it would be good to have an infallible definition of what ‘indefectibility’ means.”

    “Athanasius says: Nicky, I’m quite sure you already know what indefectability means, but I’ll remind you anyway that it means that Our Lord protects His Church at all times, and in all ages, from any formal declaration by the Pope binding the faithful of the Universal Church to errors that oppose or threaten the Catholic Faith.

    “It seems you presume beforehand that there will be occasion for inferiors in the Church to declare John Paul’s canonisation invalid. I suggest we wait and see, pray hard for Pope Francis and trust in Our Lord’s promise to protect His Church….” (emphasis mine).

    My comment: I’m sorry, but this understanding of indefectibility is not the Catholic understanding. Here is the real definition: The Church “was to last to the end of the world, teaching, governing, and sanctifying men” [Michael Sheehan, D.D., Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Part I: Apologetics (Dublin: M.H. Gill and Son, 1948), p. 131]. When we speak of infallibility, we are talking about the protection of the pope and the Church from error by God’s special prerogative. But when we speak of indefectibility, we are talking about the Church, with everything that directly pertains to the Church, lasting to the end of time.

    Thus according to indefectibility, we must always have a pope because the papacy is integral to the Catholic Church. But this is no guarantee that—without otherwise fulfilling the conditions of infallibility—what this or that pope decrees or teaches will be free from error. Indefectibility cannot raise the pious belief that canonizations are infallible to the level of divine faith and make it binding on all Catholics. Normally, there would be no contradiction between a pious belief and the practice of the Church, but these are not normal times.

    What Catholics need to remember is the admonition of St. Vincent of Lerins, Father of the Church—and not Pope Francis’ reinvention of this saint’s words: “(I)n the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all… What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty. But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in various times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation” http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm, emphasis mine).

    Therefore, to conclude: Father Lorans and Father Gleize, with the entire Society of St. Pius X, are correct in their estimation of the forthcoming proposed canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. No one who has led a public life so scandalous can be canonized in reality, whatever pious-sounding words the present pontiff may use to justify their actions notwithstanding.

    • Gandalfolorin,

      Welcome back after a lengthy absence. And what an entrance! Thank you for your excellent comment, clarifying the key definitions of both infallibility (as it relates to canonisations) and indefectibility. A reader (who is not an active blogger) had phoned me the other day to cite his pre-Vatican II Catholic Encyclopaedia on indefectibility, pointing out, almost word for word what you’ve quoted here.

      Your explanation of the issues is crystal clear and thoroughly documented in Catholic Tradition, so I’m confident that we are all grateful to you – no need to worry about contradicting “the prominent members here” because our only interest is in learning the truth – Catholic Truth! We live in very confusing times (goodness, even the Pope is confused!) so none of us needs to feel awkward if anything we’ve written is not accurate. The most important thing is being corrected so that the truth shines through, and only an immature person objects to being corrected on that basis. We don’t DO “immature persons” here!

      Many thanks, Gandalfolorin – many thanks indeed.

      • Editor and all,

        Many thanks for your kind words. I will try to deserve them in the future by always posting something edifying.

        Meantime, I am still working on a lengthy reply to the latest by Athanasius. I hope it will help everyone to understand this issue more clearly by answering all arguments as completely as possible.

        May Our Lady protect and guide all of you!

        Gandalf

    • Gandalfolorin,

      Your post is highly informative and extremely helpful, thank you for it. You make the necessary distinction between infallibility and indefectibility, a distinction which is not understood, I’d say, by the majority of Catholics, even traditionalists. Also your definition of indefectibility is crystal clear and well sourced.

    • Gandalfolorin

      I can’t tell you how much your post has helped me understand this issue of canonization better. I’m so much clearer in my mind now. Thank you very much indeed.

    • Thank you. I think this is one of the best and most lucid posts on the subject of canonisation that I have read. Pope Benedict XIV was quite clear that the process was vital to the validity of a particular canonisation:

      “No important act in the process of beatification or canonization is valid unless performed in the presence of the Promoter of the Faith formally recognized”.

      Theological opinion ascribes canonisation to the infallibility of the Church rather than to the infallibility of the Pope which constitutes a subset of the former. However, the First Vatican Council failed to provide a definition of the infallibility of the Church and only defined the subset (viz papal infallibility). So we cannot accuse another Catholic of heresy of denying that canonisation per se is infallible.

      Further, Fr James T. O’Connor’s The Gift of Infallibility, citing Bishop Vincent Ferrer Gasser’s relation to the Council Fathers shows that even though the infallibility of the Church was not made the subject of a dogmatic definition (due to the Council’s abrupt cessation through the Franco-Prussian War), the schema that was to form the basis of the definition did not mention canonisation as belonging to this infallibility.

      • Augustine,

        “I think this is one of the best and most lucid posts on the subject of canonisation that I have read.”

        I’m not sure if you are referring to the entire thread or simply replying to Gandalfolorin’s comment but I’m presuming the latter – and I entirely agree.

        Of course, it’s absolutely scandalous that we are having to even think about these issues, and, as with everything else arising from this crisis, it is a scandal that the faithful are led into division on the matter. Always, the danger of papolatry rears its ugly head in such discussions, with many Catholics afraid to recognise that the papal office has its limits as well as the gift of (conditional of course) infallibility. And on the other, the danger of “a little knowledge” being a very dangerous thing. In saner times we could get away with thinking and saying that canonisation is an infallible act, but these days we really need to keep educating ourselves to make sure that we are not mistaken on the application of infallibility and the nature of indefectibility. Thankfully, the scholarly article by Fr Gleize, together with Gandalfolorin’s crystal clear comment, helps us to put these latest (proposed) canonisations into the wider context of the entire history of canonisations within the Church, and their relationship to infallibility. Theologians’ views are important, of course, but no theologian has the authority to teach – merely to advise etc. Just as well – or Hans Kung might have gotten his way and dispensed with the papal office altogether. As it is, it looks like he might be campaigning for the legalisation of assisted suicide in the near future.

        Until I read it on this blog, I’d never heard any Catholic claim that canonisation only meant that a particular person was in Heaven. Never heard that, ever. Every lesson, every sermon I’ve ever heard on the subject taught that the canonised saints are held up to the faithful as models of sanctity, models of virtue, and that we are, thus, encouraged to imitate their lives. None of us can judge Pope John Paul’s soul at his death, any more than we can judge any other soul. And I can safely say that we would all wish Pope John Paul II a short purgatory, especially given his physical sufferings towards the end of his life, but that is oceans away from suggesting that he could be a validly canonised saint. His public participation in pagan rituals alone, would test the Catholic assertion that Faith and Reason are not in opposition.

        The canonised were those who have been subject to the rigorous processes of the Church, whether informally, so to speak, in earlier times or through the more formal processes in use until recently, and they were, on canonisation, deemed worthy of both veneration and imitation.

        To those Catholics who insist that if the canonisations go ahead, that will be the end of it, due to infallibility, that these will be valid canonisations, I’d like to ask this: will you then speak of “Pope Saint John Paul II”? I am definitely not going to speak of “St John Paul II” – does that make me a schismatic? Or, would the fact that I’ve reported, over and over again in our newsletter, the various scandals involving Pope John Paul II, Assisi springing to mind, make me a monumentally mixed up gal not to say a blatant hypocrite, if suddenly I were to write reams of praise for our new “Pope Saint John Paul II”?

        As Gandalfolorin has pointed out, the Church isn’t in the business of canonising everyone who is in Heaven – we have All Saints day for the celebration of those souls who are in heaven but not canonised and thus not held up to the Church as models to be followed. You won’t find me complaining about that – just let me in and I’ll be satisfied with the lowest place, is my humble, oft-repeated prayer!

      • Augustine,

        I could show how your comment has taken quotes out of context to fit the general view here on this thread, as I did with Gandolfolorin’s post, but I’m not going to do that.

        Instead, I am going to say that I am greatly alarmed by what I have read in the works of both Frs. Gleize and Lorens and in the supplementary commentary which has followed on the CT blog.

        It is one thing to discuss why the canonisations in question should not proceed, but quite another to turn that debate into an intellectual platform for dismissing the infallibility of the Supreme Pastor of the Church when formally decreeing a canonisation by the unique power of his Petrine Office.

        In effect, what has been decided upon by the aforementioned SSPX priests, and confirmed by many here on this thread, is that the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope, when he decrees with authority as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church on a matter touching faith, such as canonisation, does not enjoy the charism of infallibility promised by Our Saviour.

        In other words, the Pope is only infallible when declaring ex cathedra (dogma) but is not otherwise protected by the Holy Ghost from introducing error into the faith through formal universal decrees issued by his own authority as Supreme Pontiff, particularly if certain subordinate processes in the lead up to the decree have been flawed or diminished.

        The latter proposition reminds me very much of the following statement condemned by St. Pius X in his Syllabus of Errors:

        “The “Church learning” and the “Church teaching” collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the “Church teaching” to sanction the opinions of the “Church learning.”

        The Catholic Encyclopedia clearly states, in relation to canonisations:

        the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.”

        In summation, I believe the discussion on the proposed canonisations of John XXIII and John Paul II has led to the manifestation of something altogether more frightening within Traditional Catholic circles. I mean of course the spirit of schism, cleverly disguised behind theological argument but always identifiable by its arrogance.

        • It is one thing to discuss why the canonisations in question should not proceed, but quite another to turn that debate into an intellectual platform for dismissing the infallibility of the Supreme Pastor of the Church when formally decreeing a canonisation by the unique power of his Petrine Office.

          Yes, well let’s not allow the actual definitions of the Church to get in the way of an emotional argument!

          The fact is, the impending canonisation of Pope John Paul II has forced Catholics to better understand what the Church actually teaches on the subject of canonisation. If this Pope, who acted so contrary to the example of the Martyrs, is pronounced a Saint then there will be far more debate over this topic than there already is.

          Let’s be clear here: I am not dogmatically (sic) stating that canonisation is not infallible, however, but, rather, there is no conclusive statement by the Church that states that it is infallible.

          • Augustine,

            That is exactly right. That is the core of the matter. Just before Gandalfolorin’s comment was published, I was on the point of emailing a traditional priest to ask him to confirm (what I’d already read in the Catholic Encyclopaedia online) that – notwithstanding the opinion of the majority of theologians – the Church has not given any definitive (or as you say “conclusive”) statement about the infallibility of canonisations. THAT is at the heart of this discussion. Gandalfolorin to the rescue! I was able to delete my email without sending.

            Therefore, to throw out accusations of “a cleverly disguised spirit of schism” for the crime of exploring and clarifying the teaching of the Church on this matter is disingenuous if not outrageous.

            Those who are – in a spirit of humility – seeking to understand the truth about canonisations are not “arrogant”. That is a highly uncharitable judgment to make. This thread has been respectful and intelligent. We are merely trying to marry the Church’s teaching that Faith and Reason are not in opposition with the same Church canonising, as a role model on a par with the great canonised saints of the Church, a pope who has, in your words, “acted contrary to the example of the martyrs” – I would add, contrary to the example of every other saint in the Church’s calendar. If that makes us schismatics, then, to paraphrase Shakespeare, there’s is something rotten in the state of Rome…

          • Augustine,

            “Yes, well let’s not allow the actual definitions of the Church to get in the way of an emotional argument!”

            That’s what I’ve been saying throughout this thread, more or less. There are no actual definitions of the Church concerning the infallibility of canonisations, but there is overwhelming support from St. Thomas Aquinas and the majority of the Church’s renowned theologians suggesting that it is generally held to be true that canonisations are infallible acts.

            As you rightly point out, though, the name of John Paul II as a possible candidate for canonisation has caused many people to go into emotional overdrive to the extent that they have lost trust in Our Lord’s promise and are now looking for loopholes to dismiss the inconvenient truth of what the majority of theologians are agreed upon.

            “The fact is, the impending canonisation of Pope John Paul II has forced Catholics to better understand what the Church actually teaches on the subject of canonisation.”

            What you actually mean is that some Catholics have used the situation of John Paul’s proposed canonisation to declare contrary to the majority of theologians in the Church and to the detriment of the Supreme Pontiff’s Ordinary Magisterial authority, as I have stated above.

            “If this Pope, who acted so contrary to the example of the Martyrs, is pronounced a Saint then there will be far more debate over this topic than there already is.”

            Only among certain types of Catholic. The majority of the Catholic faithful, even Traditional Catholics like myself, will not get involved in so dangerous a debate that threatens rebellion against the Ordinary Magisterial authority of the Pope. It’s not quite sedevacantism but it’s getting close.

            “Let’s be clear here: I am not dogmatically (sic) stating that canonisation is not infallible, however, but, rather, there is no conclusive statement by the Church that states that it is infallible.”

            I think it is just a tad disingenuous of you to state that you’re not dogmatically stating against the infallibility of canonisations when your entire contribution to this thread, as well as those of others, has been precisely to declare that, in your opinion, there is no infallibility in canonisations.

            As I’ve already pointed out, there may not be conclusive statement by the Church on the infallibility of canonisations but there is very good reason from the majority of theological opinions to believe that it is present. To conclude against that in favour of personal opinion, as many here have done, is pretty dogmatic in my eyes.

            I’m just sorry that those two SSPX priests raised this controversial issue by publishing dangerous theological treatises even before the event in question has taken place. There has been no little imprudence on their part!

            • Athanasius:

              “the name of John Paul II as a possible candidate for canonisation has caused many people to go into emotional overdrive to the extent that they have lost trust in Our Lord’s promise”

              That’s a very extreme view of this debate. What is the promise you talk about? Our Lord’s promise is just that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. We know that they won’t prevail. That does not mean that bad things won’t happen, very bad things, and that includes bad popes.

              You also say: “There are no actual definitions of the Church concerning the infallibility of canonisations but there is overwhelming support from the renowned theologians” but it’s the Church’s definition that matters, not the opinion of theologians as others have said. That is why we may discuss it without fear of disowning Catholic doctrine. You seem to be determined to believe what you’ve always believed even though it’s not what the Church teaches as something we have to believe. I think that’s a pity. As others have said, your setting yourself up for a shock on April 27th because no matter what the wording of the decree of canonisation is, if there has been no testing of these two pope’s lives in detail, no devil’s advocate to test the evidence given, then I cannot see how they won’t be open to question in the future, given that there is no official definition of the infallibility of canonisation.

  23. At least one Yahoo group is circulating this thread widely, pointing to Gandalfolorin’s comment.

    Once again, thank you Gandalfolorin.

  24. Gandalfolorin,

    Before addressing your post in general, which I believe you have gravely misunderstood from the Catholic Encyclopedia, I would first like to ask if you would be good enough to clarify the following statement:

    ”…In its original Latin, the Novus Ordo was not invalid, but, in the judgment of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Roman theologians he supervised, it was (and remains) un-Catholic and a departure from the theology of the Mass codified by the Council of Trent. This theological judgment was signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci and became subsequently known as the Ottaviani Intervention. Thus if the Roman Mass, which makes God substantially present, can be eviscerated by Protestant innovations, so also can the canonization of saints…”

    In light of the first line above, are you saying that in its vernacular form the Novus Ordo is invalid? This is the reading I took from your words, especially with the subsequent employment of the words “eviscerated by Protestant innovations” which suggest to me a firm statement that the Novus Ordo is stripped even of the essential elements for validity.

    I would also like to point out here that one cannot compare the non-infallible promulgation of Pope Paul’s New Mass with an infallible Papal decree of canonisation. We are debating only infallibility and indefectibility in this thread, so it seems to me irrelevant to introduce the New Mass into the debate. The Novus Ordo was a personal initiative of Pope Paul VI (an alternative, not replacement liturgy) which was not imposed on the Church with Magisterial authority and is not therefore binding on the faithful. Hence, it does not touch on the Church’s infallibility or indefectibility. Now I’ll get on with the case in hand.

    I think we are all more or less agreed that Pope John Paul II’s Pontificate was so scandalous to the faithful in so many of his personal initiatives, such as kissing the Koran, the Assisi affair, etc., that it is impossible that God could countenance his canonisation, since such a canonisation would lead the faithful to conclude (wrongly) that these various personal offences against faith were acts of virtue endorsed by the Church for imitation. Hence my contention that Our Lord will prevent this canonisation, if only by the manner of a changed form of Papal decree that will not impose his cultus with Magisterial authority on the universal Church.

    It seems appropriate here to insert this quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia so that everyone may have a better understanding of what a canonisation declares:

    ”What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope? Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven. The formula used in the act of canonization has nothing more than this:

    “In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast.”

    There is no question of heroic virtue in this formula; on the other hand, sanctity does not necessarily imply the exercise of heroic virtue, since one who had not hitherto practised heroic virtue would, by the one transient heroic act in which he yielded up his life for Christ, have justly deserved to be considered a saint. This view seems all the more certain if we reflect that all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552). This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification…”

    Now, you appear to argue, as do many others, that if the process leading to canonisation is flawed or diminished, then the Pope’s Supreme authority to declare infallibly in such a case is also flawed or diminished and therefore subject to rejection on the grounds that Papal infallibility in cases of canonisation is really only a matter of “pious belief,” not binding under pain of sin.

    This is not the meaning intended by the Catholic Encyclopedia, as the following quote amply demonstrates(note #3 in particular):

    ”It is well further to explain:

    • that infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error;
    • that it does not require holiness of life, much less imply impeccability in its organs; sinful and wicked men may be God’s agents in defining infallibly;
    • and finally that the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.”

    By the way, the aforementioned criterion applies equally to both forms of infallibility, ex cathedra and those of the Ordinary Magisterial authority of the Roman Pontiff.

    By “pious belief,” then, the Catholic Encyclopedia is merely clarifying that Catholic theologians have traditionally held it to be true that the Pope is infallible when issuing a decree of canonisation. This becomes patently clear when reading the full statement it quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, thus:

    …”Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.”

    This brings me to the following quote you use from the Catholic Encyclopedia, but with a flawed understanding of what is meant by “certitude?”

    ”…Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain…

    Please note that nowhere in that quote is there the slightest hint that disagreement as to the “quality of certitude” allows for doubt about the actual infallibility of the Papal decree. On the contrary, it lists three differing theological views as to why Catholics must accept the infallibility of such a decree.

    I will bring this post to an end with a couple of searching questions that all bloggers may wish to contemplate. They are as follows:

    1. What becomes of the infallibility guaranteed to the person of the Supreme Pontiff, i.e., when formally declaring canonisations (which St. Thomas tells us touches on the universal Faith of the Church), if subordinates in the Church accord to themselves the right to weigh acceptance or rejection based on their own conclusions?

    2. Surely, it makes a nonsense of Catholic belief in Papal Infallibility and confirms the Protestant argument that Popes can taint the Universal Faith with error by formal decree.

    Infallibility is a prerogative that belongs to the person of the Roman Pontiff, not to anyone – or anything – else. And I think it makes perfect sense to conclude that the indefectibility of the Church would be offended if one were to admit a formal error of the pope on matters of faith and morals in binding the universal Church to the veneration of a saint he officially canonises with the proper formula.

    Frs. Gleize and Lorens, by writing as they have, appear to be according to themselves an authority equal to that of the Magisterium of the Church. This is very dangerous since it is indicative of a schismatic spirit which gives credence to Archbishop Di Noia’s otherwise erroneous observation, made in his Advent letter to SSPX priests last year, that the SSPX has set up its own parallel Magisterium.

    I think Bishop Fellay needs to distance himself and the SSPX from these dangerous writings of Frs. Gleize and Lorens, which are sowing confusion amongst the Traditional faithful, lest Archbishop Lefebvre’s worst fears about the effects of a long-term separation from Rome becomes reality for his Fraternity and proves Archbishop Di Noia right.

    • Athanasius,

      “I think we are all more or less agreed that Pope John Paul II’s Pontificate was so scandalous to the faithful in so many of his personal initiatives, such as kissing the Koran, the Assisi affair, etc., that it is impossible that God could countenance his canonisation, since such a canonisation would lead the faithful to conclude (wrongly) that these various personal offences against faith were acts of virtue endorsed by the Church for imitation. Hence my contention that Our Lord will prevent this canonisation, if only by the manner of a changed form of Papal decree that will not impose his cultus with Magisterial authority on the universal Church.”

      I’m sorry but this just won’t wash. How can the Pope pronounce someone a saint in a form of words that will mean we can’t look up to that saint as a role model and imitate his behaviour? I’m sorry but it just doesn’t make sense. It’s much easier to make sense of the idea that there is a crisis in the Church and flawed canonisations may be taking place than to say this canonisation is a real canonisation and this pope who has caused such scandal (Assisi etc) is now a role model.

      I think you are setting yourself up for a fall on the day of the canonisations. I really do.

      • Josephine
        Hasn’t Athanasius said that Pope John Paul practiced heroic virtue by continuing on, and not abdicating the Chair of Peter when he was suffering from Parkinsons? He also said the canonizations only declared personal holiness not doctrinal soundness.
        Doesn’t this mean Athanasius will just accept the canonization if it happens?

          • It is very hard to criticise popes especially if they are about to be canonised so I do sympathise with his position, but the opinion of theologians is obviously questionable in fast track canonisations. I cannot imagine St Thomas agreeing to fast track canonisations being infallible..

        • Yes, that is the logical conclusion of Athanasius’s position. You would have to accept the canonisations and venerate the new saints as models of Catholic living. That’s what saints are for.

          • Josephine,

            You’re wrong! A formal decree of canonisation, says the Catholic Encyclopedia, merely states that a certain soul is in heaven (read my earlier post), it does not mention heroic virtue.

            My issue with the canonisation of John Paul II is that most Catholics, thinking as you do, will believe that they are being encouraged by the Church to imitate the doctrinal errors of that Pope when in fact it has only been declared that he is in heaven, nothing more.

            I can’t say what was the state of Pope John Paul II’s soul when he died, can you? So, if the Church declares infallibly that he is in heaven, a judgment only on where his soul is, are you going to say: No, no, he’s surely in Hell because of his heresies? But where his heresies formal or material? Can you declare on that? You see how complicated this is and how we cannot dare put ourselves in place of the authentic magisterium?

        • 3Littleshepherds,

          Quoting me out of context, as you have, is neither charitable nor constructive in this very serious matter.

          • What was your context? The whole thread is about the canonizations. You did say Pope John Paul practised heroic virtue. You were defending Pope John. I didn’t say it was bad to defend them

            • I see what you mean about taking you out of context now. I’m sorry. I thought you were saying that doctrinal integrity was unnecessary but that heroic virtue was necessary. It sounded to me like you were pointing out the virtues of the popes to show they were personally holy despite the scandal they caused. What you were actually saying is that we shouldn’t think a canonization make a Saint into a Doctor of the Church.

      • Josephine,

        I think I have made my position perfectly clear, which is that I trust in Our Lord’s promises to His Church. I will not start making distinctions between infallible decrees that I will accept and those I will not accept, no matter how intellectual the argument. That kind of spirit is Protestant and schismatic and I will have nothing to do with it. Others may make themselves a parallel Magisterium if they like, but not I.

        • Athanasius,

          You have made your position perfectly clear except for one thing. You have not said clearly that you will accept that these two popes are in heaven and set before the Church as role models, as is the case with every other canonised saint. Will you answer that clearly please? I’m not trying to set any traps, I am genuinely interested in seeing what is the logical conclusion of your position and if you really will accept these canonisations.

          • Josephine,

            I repeat that I do not believe that Our Lord will permit the canonisation of John Paul II for obvious reasons. However, if the Pope does canonise him, bearing in mind that the canonisation, if formally and properly decreed, would merely be stating that John Paul II is in heaven, then yes, I would accept it because the alternative is to dismiss the Pope’s Magisterial authority in favour of a personal and forbidden judgment that John Paul is in Hell. Where do you stand on that question?

            • Athanasius,

              What “personal and forbidden judgment?” I’ve never said Pope John Paul II is in Hell and just because someone is not a canonised saint doesn’t meant they’re not saved. There are private revelations of souls being in Purgatory for very long spells and for quite trivial (to us) things they’ve done in life.

              I do not agree with you that the alternative to believing that Pope John Paul II is a canonised saint (not that he’s in heaven) is to dismiss the Pope’s Magisterial authority. Others have shown that this is not about Magisterial authority, so I won’t copy and paste it all here again.

              • Josephine,

                Make no mistake that it is the Pope’s Magisterial authority which is at stake in this present debate. The canonisations in question are really just a platform for the discussion.

                By the way, others have not shown that this is not about Magisterial authority, as you claim. On the contrary, others have stated clearly, not least Frs. Gleize and Lorens, that it is precisely about Magisterial authority, and the possible circumstances under which we subordinate Catholics may choose to deny infallibility to that authority.

                • Athanasius,

                  I think you are playing with words. It’s about whether or not canonisations are infallible just because it is the opinion of some theologians (a majority) that they are, and whether their opinion comes from the following of a strict process of investigation. Also whether or not theologians’ opinions are the same as a formal statement from the Magisterium. It is my understanding that there is no formal statement making canonisations infallible and making that belief binding on us. Is there such a statement, do you know?

                  • Josephine,

                    Here is the formula used by the Popes for canonisations in recent years:

                    “In honour of . . . We decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast.”

                    Note the words “We decree and define.” If that’s not infallible then I don’t know what is.

                    • Athanasius,

                      I don’t find “define and decree” anything like as strong as the wording on the decrees for the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, for example, where the Pope states clearly that this is an infallible teaching. I really don’t see that phrase giving evidence of infallibility.

                      I also found this in the Catholic Encyclopaedia Online section on the scope of infallibility:

                      “It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, when canonization takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

                      I can see we’re not going to agree on this, so maybe call it a day now, although I’ve been reading through the recent comments and would be interested to know if you will be calling the new saint “Pope SAINT John Paul II” and “Pope SAINT John 23rd.” Knowing myself I would be causing arguments every time I heard it or saw a statue of the new saint or whatever. I’d be interested to know if you would have a problem saying “Saint” for these two new saints after the canonisation. That said, I think I’ll bow out now because we’re not going to agree and I think we’ve had all the arguments. Thanks, though, for the conversation.

    • After a long delay due to the length of this argument and my own schedule, I reply to Athanasius as follows.

      1. Athanasius commented:

      “Gandalfolorin,

      a. “Before addressing your post in general, which I believe you have gravely misunderstood from the Catholic Encyclopedia, I would first like to ask if you would be good enough to clarify the following statement:

      ”…’In its original Latin, the Novus Ordo was not invalid, but, in the judgment of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Roman theologians he supervised, it was (and remains) un-Catholic and a departure from the theology of the Mass codified by the Council of Trent. This theological judgment was signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci and became subsequently known as the Ottaviani Intervention. Thus if the Roman Mass, which makes God substantially present, can be eviscerated by Protestant innovations, so also can the canonization of saints…’

      “In light of the first line above, are you saying that in its vernacular form the Novus Ordo is invalid? This is the reading I took from your words, especially with the subsequent employment of the words “eviscerated by Protestant innovations” which suggest to me a firm statement that the Novus Ordo is stripped even of the essential elements for validity.”

      Reply: I shall be happy to clarify this point for you, though I had hoped I was already clear enough. Volumes have been written on this subject, which I trust you have seen and perhaps read in some depth. We know, therefore, that the Ottaviani Intervention did not pronounce a theological judgment on the validity of the Novus Ordo in the original Latin text, but only on its Catholicity. And the reason I mention it this way is that subsequently we have seen plenty of evidence that the Novus Ordo, if further innovated beyond the original Latin, can and has become invalid in increasingly scandalous numbers. We do not assume that any particular Novus Ordo Mass is invalid at the outset. But when we examine into various cases, as have writers more prominent than we, it can be plainly seen that invalidity occurs due to one or more defects, eg., due to the use of improper matter, as in the “cookie” Masses of iniquitous repute. There can also be defects in intention, to which problem the Archbishop himself spoke on more than one occasion when he questioned how we should judge validity when the seminary training of new priests was becoming progressively worse.

      Now the word “eviscerated” is not a theological term, so I cannot use it interchangeably with invalidity or any precise concept without explanation. But I wished, rather, to evoke the “disemboweling” of the Mass which had taken place at the hands of Bugnini and his innovators when seventy percent of the prayers of the Roman Mass were thrown out.

      b. To continue:

      “I would also like to point out here that one cannot compare the non-infallible promulgation of Pope Paul’s New Mass with an infallible Papal decree of canonisation. We are debating only infallibility and indefectibility in this thread, so it seems to me irrelevant to introduce the New Mass into the debate. The Novus Ordo was a personal initiative of Pope Paul VI (an alternative, not replacement liturgy) which was not imposed on the Church with Magisterial authority and is not therefore binding on the faithful. Hence, it does not touch on the Church’s infallibility or indefectibility. Now I’ll get on with the case in hand.”

      Reply: I am not comparing the papal promulgation of the New Mass to a papal decree of canonization. I am showing the parallel between what happened before to the sacred and what is happening now. Despite Paul VI not having promulgated the NO formally, nevertheless Bugnini had laid sacrilegious hands upon the Mass and dared to change it beyond recognition. That Paul VI would promote this horrible rite, even as his personal initiative, is itself a material sin of scandalous infidelity. And the Mass is much more sacred a matter than canonization. So my point is that, if it happened to the Mass, it can and probably has happened to canonization.

      Infallibility enters into this discussion of the proposed canonizations, but indefectibility does not. As I have pointed out from Monsignor Sheehan’s renowned apologetics text, indefectibility means that the Church as Our Lord founded it will last to the end of time. While it is true that all doctrines of the faith are organically intertwined, still this one is not central to what we are discussing here.

      2. To continue: “I think we are all more or less agreed that Pope John Paul II’s Pontificate was so scandalous to the faithful in so many of his personal initiatives, such as kissing the Koran, the Assisi affair, etc., that it is impossible that God could countenance his canonisation, since such a canonisation would lead the faithful to conclude (wrongly) that these various personal offences against faith were acts of virtue endorsed by the Church for imitation. Hence my contention that Our Lord will prevent this canonisation, if only by the manner of a changed form of Papal decree that will not impose his cultus with Magisterial authority on the universal Church.

      “It seems appropriate here to insert this quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia so that everyone may have a better understanding of what a canonisation declares:

      ”’What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope? Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven. The formula used in the act of canonization has nothing more than this:

      “’In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast.’

      “There is no question of heroic virtue in this formula; on the other hand, sanctity does not necessarily imply the exercise of heroic virtue, since one who had not hitherto practised heroic virtue would, by the one transient heroic act in which he yielded up his life for Christ, have justly deserved to be considered a saint. This view seems all the more certain if we reflect that all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552). This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification…”

      Reply: There was good reason I stopped quoting this entry from the Catholic Encyclopedia at the point I did. The part that I quoted was to give the facts, ie., the theological opinion of St. Thomas and the greater part of the theologians of the past. Now this part of the article which you quote begins the author’s speculation. After asking just what the pope is using his infallibility to define, here is the most pertinent passage:

      “I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that…”

      And then he goes on to give his opinion about what he thinks the canonization defines: the personal sanctity of the beatus. Of course he bolsters his opinion with further reasons, and what writer in his position would not? It is all very well to give his opinion, but it is and remains his opinion regarding the object of canonization, since as he admitted, “I have never seen this question discussed…” I am not bound even by human faith, much less by divine and Catholic faith, to hold that the object of papal infallibility in this matter is only that the beatus is in heaven with no reference to his heroic virtue, etc., as shown by the process.

      3. To continue: “Now, you appear to argue, as do many others, that if the process leading to canonisation is flawed or diminished, then the Pope’s Supreme authority to declare infallibly in such a case is also flawed or diminished and therefore subject to rejection on the grounds that Papal infallibility in cases of canonisation is really only a matter of “pious belief,” not binding under pain of sin.

      “This is not the meaning intended by the Catholic Encyclopedia, as the following quote amply demonstrates(note #3 in particular):

      ”’It is well further to explain:

      • that infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error;
      • that it does not require holiness of life, much less imply impeccability in its organs; sinful and wicked men may be God’s agents in defining infallibly;
      • and finally that the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.’

      “By the way, the aforementioned criterion applies equally to both forms of infallibility, ex cathedra and those of the Ordinary Magisterial authority of the Roman Pontiff.”

      Reply: Yes, these points are noted by the Catholic Encyclopedia, but they are noted for infallibility regarding faith and morals, not regarding canonization. If you had gone further, you would have found this:

      “Catholic theologians are agreed in recognising the general principle that has just been stated, but it cannot be said that they are equally unanimous in regard to the concrete applications of this principle. Yet it is generally held, and may be said to be theologically certain,… It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, when canonization takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century. Mere beatification, however, as distinguished from canonization, is not held to be infallible, and in canonization itself the only fact that is infallibly determined is that the soul of the canonized saint departed in the state of grace and already enjoys the beatific vision” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm#V).

      If we take the author at his word, then what he is saying is that canonization is an infallible act when it “takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century,” which is then expressed infallibly only in the statement by the pope that the new saint is already in heaven. In other words, this author states that the process does effect the determination of whether or not the pope is invoking his infallible authority in the matter.

      4. Continuing: “By ‘pious belief,’ then, the Catholic Encyclopedia is merely clarifying that Catholic theologians have traditionally held it to be true that the Pope is infallible when issuing a decree of canonisation. This becomes patently clear when reading the full statement it quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, thus:

      …”’Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.’
      This brings me to the following quote you use from the Catholic Encyclopedia, but with a flawed understanding of what is meant by ‘certitude?’

      ”’…Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain…’

      “Please note that nowhere in that quote is there the slightest hint that disagreement as to the ‘quality of certitude’ allows for doubt about the actual infallibility of the Papal decree. On the contrary, it lists three differing theological views as to why Catholics must accept the infallibility of such a decree.”

      Reply: You might have been more convincing if you had not prematurely ended the quotation above. I deliberately used the two parts together, since they tied into one item St. Thomas’ statement on “piously believe” and the teaching of the greater part of theologians on that same “pious belief.” So again:

      “St. Thomas says: ‘Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.’ These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church” (http://newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm, emphasis mine).

      Here, kindly note, we are taking St. Thomas at his word that it is to be “piously believed” that the pope is infallible in canonizations. If, as you say, “that nowhere in that quote is there the slightest hint that disagreement as to the ‘quality of certitude’ allows for doubt about the actual infallibility of the Papal decree,” then why is there such a wide diversity of opinion among theologians? What indeed does it mean then “many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church”? If the pronouncement is believed to be infallible not of divine faith, but only of pious faith, why introduce the difference between the two if there is no practical difference in what we are bound to believe? I see no reason why St. Thomas would have used “piously believe” instead of the more precise “supernaturally believe” unless he was distinguishing the degree of obligation of assent we have in this instance.

      This distinguishing of certainty is borne out in dogmatic theology. From Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott, (a text used in Society seminaries) we read the following under “The Theological Grades of Certainty”:

      1. The highest degree of certainty appertains to the immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God Revealing (fides divina), and if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that the truth is contained in Revelation, one’s certainty is then also based on the authority of the Infallible Teaching Authority of the Church (fides catholica). If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are “de fide definita.”

      2. Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiastica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper.

      3. A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated a such by the Church.

      4. A Teaching pertaining to the Faith, i.e., theologically certain (sententia ad fidem pertinens, i.e., theologice certa) is a doctrine, on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation (theological conclusions).

      5. Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally.

      6. Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata), which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church” [Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1974 from the 1954 original), pp. 9-10].

      So to summarize:

      1. There is no solemn definition of the Church regarding the infallibility of canonizations.
      2. As shown above in #4, if the infallibility of canonizations is theologically certain, as the Catholic Encyclopedia stated, it is not defined but is infallible by virtue of its connection with the doctrine of revelation.
      3. However, as shown in #5 above, this theological certainty is held by the general or common teaching of theologians, and is then a free opinion.
      4. Therefore the belief that canonizations are infallible is a common teaching, an opinion only, and is open to debate.
      5. And therefore, no one can be rightly called heretic or schismatic for doubting a canonization whose process has been vitiated.

      Lest it be concluded from what I state that I do not believe in the infallibility of canonizations per se, I must hasten to state that is not so. Let us see what other answers we can uncover.

      5. To continue: “I will bring this post to an end with a couple of searching questions that all bloggers may wish to contemplate. They are as follows:

      1. What becomes of the infallibility guaranteed to the person of the Supreme Pontiff, i.e., when formally declaring canonisations (which St. Thomas tells us touches on the universal Faith of the Church), if subordinates in the Church accord to themselves the right to weigh acceptance or rejection based on their own conclusions?”

      Reply: This we answered above in explaining the general teaching of theologians regarding this infallibility of canonizations. In fact, nothing becomes of this papal infallibility at all, for the pope in this situation would have failed to use it. The power he possesses is still there to use.

      6. Continuing: “2. Surely, it makes a nonsense of Catholic belief in Papal Infallibility and confirms the Protestant argument that Popes can taint the Universal Faith with error by formal decree.

      “Infallibility is a prerogative that belongs to the person of the Roman Pontiff, not to anyone – or anything – else. And I think it makes perfect sense to conclude that the indefectibility of the Church would be offended if one were to admit a formal error of the pope on matters of faith and morals in binding the universal Church to the veneration of a saint he officially canonises with the proper formula.

      “Frs. Gleize and Lorens, by writing as they have, appear to be according to themselves an authority equal to that of the Magisterium of the Church. This is very dangerous since it is indicative of a schismatic spirit which gives credence to Archbishop Di Noia’s otherwise erroneous observation, made in his Advent letter to SSPX priests last year, that the SSPX has set up its own parallel Magisterium” (emphasis mine).

      Reply:

      a. So our questioning a decree that is infallible only by the accord of common teaching is now comparable to the Protestant arguments against the papal authority? What kind of logic is this?

      b. You say it would be an offense against indefectibility “if one were to admit a formal error of the pope on matters of faith and morals in binding the universal Church to the veneration of a saint he officially canonises with the proper formula.” But it is not a “formal error of the pope on matters of faith and morals” at all. It is analogous to a definition of faith by the pope, but it is not the same. Here is Father Gleize’s lengthy explanation, which I think is worth quoting in full:

      “It remains to prove that this threefold judgment is infallible. To do so, we do not have at our disposition any argument of the supreme teaching authority, for the infallibility of canonizations has not been defined as a dogma.

      “St. Thomas limits himself to giving what would be the equivalent of an argument from authority: a reductio ad absurdum, which is, if you will, the authority of the first principles of reason and of logic. There are two reductions: denial of the infallibility of canonization would incur an unlikely, twofold detriment, one in the practical order, and the other in the speculative order.

      “The first reductio ad absurdum on the practical level: if canonization were not infallible, it might happen that the faithful would venerate a sinner as a saint; those who had known him in his lifetime would be led to believe on the Church’s authority that his sinful state was not in reality what it was; but that would result in confounding virtue and vice in the minds of the faithful, and this would be an error deleterious to the Church.

      “The second reductio ad absurdum is on the theoretical level: St. Augustine says that if there were an error in the teaching of divine revelation consigned to the Scriptures, faith would be deprived of its foundation; but just as our faith is based on the teachings of Sacred Scripture, it is also based on the teaching of the universal Church; hence, if an error were found in the teachings of the universal Church, our faith would likewise be deprived of its foundation; now God cannot deprive the faith of its foundation; hence, like the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the teachings of the universal Church, including canonization, must be infallible.

      “Dominic Bannez completes this argument by specifying that if one affirms the possibility of error in the canonization of saints, the Church Militant would be scandalized in its morals, its profession of faith would be made suspect, and the Church Militant in heaven would be insulted.

      “To corroborate these defensive arguments, St. Thomas then uses an argument of theological reason.

      ”The judgment of canonization is a judgment of the pope in a matter that implies a certain profession of faith, since to venerate a saint and imitate his virtues is to say implicitly that one believes he has attained the glory of heaven. Now, in these matters that touch upon the profession of faith, the pope’s judgment is infallible because of God’s promise. The judgment of canonization is hence infallible.

      “It is at this point useful to turn to clarifications given by John of St. Thomas in order to understand why the divine assistance is here required in particular. The judgment of canonization can be understood as a conclusion resulting from two premises.

      • The first is a formally revealed conditional: whoever perseveres to the end in the heroic exercise of supernatural virtues obtains an eternal recompense in glory.
      • The second is a probable fact attested by human testimony: such a one of the faithful did persevere to the end in the heroic exercise of the supernatural virtues.

      “The conclusion that flows from these two premises is thus obtained by means of testimony, and that is why it does not flow from a real, absolutely compelling, scientific demonstration.

      “The judgment of canonization involves a line of argument which the classical logicians would have considered as probable. We find there what must normally be proved in every theological reasoning, since the proposition stated in the conclusion in this case is linked, albeit indirectly, to a truth of faith.

      “This link is only indirect, for between the truth formally revealed and the conclusion intervenes the mediation of a truth the certitude of which is not that of faith. Though only indirect, the link exists, and the conclusion is rooted despite everything in a formal and explicit profession of faith.

      ”The difference that leads one to say that this argument is only probable is that, to establish a theological conclusion, one reasons from an evident and certain proposition of reason, whereas to establish the judgment of a canonization one reasons from testimonies. That is why divine assistance is necessary, precisely at the level of the discernment of the testimonies: infallibility cannot accompany an act in which one appeals to contingency and of which the certitude remains only probable.

      “One could object that if canonization is considered as infallible, it is placed on the same level as solemn, ex cathedra definitions, which seems inconceivable. Benedict XIV answers, with all of the most assured theological tradition, that such assimilation is, on the contrary, in the order of things.

      “Certainly, one cannot univocally reduce canonization to an infallible dogmatic definition; but one may nonetheless consider that the act of the infallible solemn magisterium happens in analogically various ways. An act of the pope having as its end the conservation of the common good of the entire Church is an act of infallible definition.

      Now, the pope conserves the common good of the whole Church not only when he acts strictly as supreme Doctor in teaching, but also when he acts more broadly as supreme Pastor in governing. The teaching of the doctor does not exhaust all the activity of the pastor. And it is incumbent on the pastor to make the laws that provide for the common good of the whole Church; as such these laws do not express formally revealed truth; but insofar as they are given for the good of the unity of faith, these are analogues of an infallible definition.

      “Let us add one additional reason to justify this analogy: we have shown above, based upon St. Thomas and his commentators, that if canonization is in consequence a model and a law, it is also formally and foremost a mediate profession of faith. One could already rightly assimilate it to a definition.

      “Canonization could be reduced to the exercise of the infallible and personal solemn magisterium of the sovereign pontiff as its secondary object. Among other authors, Fr. Salaverri cites several examples in which one sees that the terms employed by Popes Pius XI and Pius XII express without the least doubt their explicit intention to exercise a solemn, infallible act.

      “Archbishop Lefebvre would often say that Pope St. Pius V had “canonized the rite of Mass”: he meant thereby to signify the infallibility of liturgical laws by analogy with that of canonizations; and he thus supposed the latter as very probably equivalent to a personal act of the pope’s solemn magisterium.

      2.2 The doctrinal value of this infallibility

      “Benedict XIV shows that the theologians are not unanimous when it comes to pronouncing on the doctrinal value of the infallibility of canonizations.

      “Some think this infallibility is not a defined dogma of faith: among these are the Dominicans John of St. Thomas and Dominic Bannez, the Jesuit Francis Suarez and the Carmelites of Salamanca. Others think this conclusion is equivalent to a dogma of faith. Let us remark that the question is twofold: two aspects of the doctrinal value of the infallibility of canonization can be discerned.

      • There is the value of the faithful’s assent called for by the theoretical fact on which the judgment of canonization bears: is it of defined faith that a canonized saint is indubitably in the glory of heaven?
      • There is also the value of the infallibility of the act of canonization: is it of defined faith that the pope cannot be mistaken when he proceeds to an act of canonization? The authors (Benedict XIV, John of St. Thomas, and Bannez) are interested in both aspects, but give priority to the first.

      “Is it of defined faith that a canonized saint is indubitably in the glory of heaven? The most common thesis in theology is that in which one demonstrates that the glorification of a canonized saint can be infallibly defined not as of faith, that is to say as formally revealed, but as virtually revealed.

      “Denial of this truth does not entail the note of heresy because it is not a formally revealed truth and because its negation would only indirectly be detrimental to faith. If this virtually revealed truth is the object of an infallible definition in the context of an act of canonization, it will be defined, not as of divine and catholic faith, but as certain or of catholic faith; its denial would thus be erroneous or false; and according to John of St. Thomas, it would also be scandalous for the whole Church, for one would induce the faithful to sin by giving them a damned person for a model; impious, for it would go against the worship due to God; insulting, for it would go against the honor due to the canonized saint.

      “Is it of defined faith that the pope cannot be mistaken when he canonizes a saint? Benedict XIV affirms that the infallibility of the act of canonization is not yet defined as of faith but that it could be. In favor of this eventuality, one might consider that the Council of Trent teaches in its decrees that cultus must be rendered to the canonized, and that their relics are to be venerated.

      “In the Bulls of canonization the sovereign pontiffs pronounce an anathema against those who would call in doubt their declaration” (http://sspx.org/en/beatification-and-canonization-vatican-ii-2, emphasis mine).

      Comment: Now this is the line of reasoning I have always followed regarding the infallibility of canonizations. But the theological reasoning, as Father Gleize points out, is not binding under sin due to the level of truth here being defined. Father is also, in those paragraphs just cited, explaining infallibility as related to canonization as it has always been, not to canonization as it has been changed since the Council.

      7. You state: “I think Bishop Fellay needs to distance himself and the SSPX from these dangerous writings of Frs. Gleize and Lorens, which are sowing confusion amongst the Traditional faithful, lest Archbishop Lefebvre’s worst fears about the effects of a long-term separation from Rome becomes reality for his Fraternity and proves Archbishop Di Noia right.”

      Reply: Why should Bishop Fellay choose to distance himself and the SSPX from these writings, especially given the lucid adherence to the reasoning of St. Thomas as shown in the above paragraphs? There is no “sowing confusion amongst the Traditional faithful” here at all. But perhaps we need to proceed to Father Gleize’s analysis of the changes that have taken place in the process of canonization and see exactly what he states as the results of those changes. So to continue with Father Gleize:

      8. “The First Difficulty: 
Inadequacy of Procedure

      “The guarantee of infallibility does not dispense its holders from due diligence.
      The divine assistance that causes the infallibility of dogmatic definitions works providentially. Far from dispensing the pope from having to examine carefully the sources of Revelation transmitted by the Apostles, it requires this examination by its very nature.

      “During the First Vatican Council, the bishop charged with defending in the name of the Holy See the text of the fourth chapter of the future Constitution Pastor Aeternus defining the pope’s personal infallibility, laid stress on this point:
      The infallibility of the Roman Pontiff is obtained, not by way of revelation, nor by way of inspiration, but by way of divine assistance. That is why the pope, in virtue of his function, is bound to employ the means required in order to elucidate the truth sufficiently and to expound it correctly; and these means are the following: meetings with bishops, cardinals, and theologians, and having recourse to their counsels. The means will vary according to the matters treated; and we must believe that when Christ promised divine assistance to St. Peter and to his successors, this promise also included the requisite and necessary means so that the Pontiff could state his judgment infallibly.

      Comment: So, according to the records of Vatican I, the Holy See held that infallibility was “divine assistance” and that the pope “is bound to employ the means required in order to elucidate the truth sufficiently and to expound it correctly.” This would seem to indicate that the infallibility in question is not without bounds, but that it must meet certain requirements in order to be afforded the “divine assistance.”

      9. Continuing: “This is truer still for canonization: it supposes the most serious of human testimony attesting the heroic virtue of the future saint, as well as an examination of the divine testimony of miracles, at least two for a beatification, and two others for canonization. The procedure followed by the Church until Vatican II was the expression of the utmost rigor.

      ”The process for the canonization itself relied upon a double process carried out at the time of the beatification, one that took place before the tribunal of the Ordinary acting in his own name; another that depended exclusively on the Holy See.

      “The process of canonization comprised the examination of the brief of beatification, followed by the examination of two new miracles. The procedure concluded when the Sovereign Pontiff signed the decree; but before giving his signature, he held three consecutive consistories.”

      “By the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiæ Universæ of August 15, 1967, and the Motu Proprio Sanctitatis Clarior of March 19, 1969, Pope Paul VI modified this procedure: the essential innovation was the replacement of the twofold inquiry of the Ordinary and the Holy See by a single inquiry carried out henceforth by the bishop in virtue of his own authority and with the reinforcement of a delegation of the Holy See.
      The second reform took place following the 1983 Code of Canon Law with the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of John Paul II on January 25, 1983. This particular law, which the Code of Canon Law references, abrogated all previous laws pertaining to the matter. It was completed by a decree of February 7, 1983.

      “According to the new norms, the essential part of the inquiry is confided to the local bishop: he is the one who investigates the life of the saint, his writings, virtues, and miracles, and establishes the dossier sent to the Holy See.

      “The Sacred Congregation examines this dossier and makes its pronouncement before submitting everything to the judgment of the pope. Only one miracle is now required for beatification and, once again, only one for canonization.

      “Access to the dossiers for causes of beatification and canonization is not easy, which hardly affords an opportunity to assess the seriousness with which the new procedure has been implemented. But it is undeniable that by the very terms of the new procedure, it is no longer as rigorous as formerly. It realizes all the less the guarantees that should be forthcoming from churchmen for divine assistance to assure the infallibility of canonizations and, with greater reason, the absence of factual error in beatifications. Incidentally, Pope John Paul II decided to bend the current procedure (which stipulates that a cause for canonization cannot begin until five years after the death of a servant of God) by authorizing the introduction of the cause of Mother Teresa scarcely three years after her death. Benedict XVI has acted likewise for the beatification of his predecessor. Doubt can only be the more legitimate considering the wisdom of the Church’s proverbial slowness in these matters.

      Comment: Applying what was observed regarding infallibility—from the stand of the Holy See during Vatican I—to the process of canonization, Father Gleize now begins to show how that process was changed to its detriment. Beginning a “reform” of the process in the time of Paul VI, the rules began gradually to change. But then under John Paul II all the previous rules were abrogated. The entire process is to be done at the diocesan level, and the Holy See only rubber-stamps that process, with the number of miracles reduced to one apiece for beatification and canonization. We already know the results of this watering down of the process: unworthy people have been held up to the faithful for admiration, e.g. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.

      10. “Second Difficulty: Collegiality

      “An attentive examination of the new norms reveals that the legislation reverts to what was in place before the 12th century: the pope leaves it to the bishop to make a direct judgment of the causes of saints and reserves to himself only the power to confirm the judgment of the Ordinaries.

      Comment: This is the same error of antiquarianism condemned by Pius XII in regard to the Mass and the liturgy in general. In other words, the ploy to “return to what was done in the early Church” is really a signal that some innovation is being imposed. We cannot return the oak to an acorn, nor the process of canonization back to its pre-codified status.

      11. “As John Paul II explained it, this regression is a consequence of the principle of collegiality: ‘In light of the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council on collegiality, We also think that the Bishops themselves should be more closely associated with the Holy See in dealing with the causes of saints.’

      Comment: So John Paul’s rationale and justification for changing the process of canonization was collegiality as defined during Vatican II. But there is no doctrine of collegiality, regardless of what Vatican II ambiguously pronounced. Collegiality is an error, and any law built on that error is a house built upon sand.

      12. “But the legislation of the 12th century merged beatifications and canonizations as two non-infallible acts. This is what keeps us from simply assimilating the canonizations proceeding from the [conciliar] reform to the traditional acts of the extraordinary teaching authority of the Sovereign Pontiff; in these acts the pope is satisfied with certifying the act of a local Ordinary. This constitutes a first reason warranting a serious doubt that the conditions required for the infallibility of canonizations have been met.

      Comment: So we cannot accept across the board the new canonizations without further examination of their process, since according to the new rules of John Paul II, the pope merely confirms what the diocesan bishop has done.

      13. “The Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem of June 29, 1998, reinforces this doubt. The purpose of this document is to insert certain norms into the 1983 Code of Canon Law, additions made necessary by the 1989 Profession of Faith.

      “First, the infallibility of canonizations in principle is established. The 1989 Profession of Faith in effect distinguishes three categories of truths that constitute the object of the teaching of the supreme Magisterium: truths formally revealed and infallibly defined, truths taught authentically, and truths proposed definitively and infallibly because of a logical link or historical connection with formal Revelation.

      “In the Instruction Donum Veritatis of 1990, which is the authentic commentary of this Profession of Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger gives as examples of this third category: the reservation of priestly ordination to men, the unlawfulness of euthanasia, and the canonization of saints.

      “The 1998 Motu Proprio [Ad Tuendam Fidem] confers a greater authority to these two documents: the Pope teaches them as expressing his own teaching and inserts them into the Code of Canon Law. But then the text of Ad Tuendam Fidem establishes distinctions which diminish the range of the infallibility of canonizations, since it becomes clear that this infallibility is no longer to be understood in the traditional sense.

      “At least this is what comes across from a reading of the document drafted by Cardinal Ratzinger to serve as an official commentary of the 1998 Motu Proprio. This commentary specifies in what way the pope can henceforth exercise his infallible teaching authority.

      “Up to now we had a personally infallible and definitive act of the locutio ex cathedra as well as the decrees of ecumenical councils. Hereafter we shall also have an act that will be neither personally infallible nor definitive of itself but which will remain an act of the pope’s ordinary magisterium: the object of this act will be to discern doctrines as infallibly taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the episcopal College. Consequently, under this third category, the pope exercises an act of the magisterium which is infallible by reason of the infallibility of the episcopal College; and this act will be neither definitive of itself, for it will be limited to indicating what the episcopal College teaches.

      “Now, if one observes the new norms promulgated in 1983 by the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of John Paul II, it is clear that in the precise case of canonizations the pope, for the sake of collegiality, will exercise his teaching authority according to this third mode.

      “Taking into account both the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of 1983 and the Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem of 1998, when the pope exercises his personal teaching authority [magisterium] to proceed to a canonization, it seems that his will is to intervene as the organ of the collegial magisterium; thus canonizations are no longer guaranteed by the personal infallibility of the pope’s solemn magisterium.
      Would they be so in virtue of the infallibility of the ordinary and universal magisterium of the College of Bishops? Until the present, the entire theological tradition has never said that such was the case, and has always regarded the infallibility of canonizations as the fruit of a divine assistance granted only to the personal magisterium of the pope, which can be likened to ex cathedra pronouncements [locutio ex cathedra]. This constitutes a second reason authorizing us to entertain serious doubts about the infallibility of the canonizations carried out in conformity with the postconciliar reforms.

      Comment: I have highlighted the pertinent passages that should be understood here. When has the Church ever taught that the canonization of saints is an act of the pope’s ordinary magisterium? Or that the “universal magisterium of the College of Bishops” is the organ of infallibility in canonizations? This is a complete innovation, contrary to the whole Tradition of the canonization process. It clearly obscures the weight of the pope’s role in canonization, and in fact only points to a belief in the false “doctrine” of collegiality.

      14. “Third Difficulty: Heroic Virtue

      “The formal object of the magisterial act of canonization is the saint’s practice of the virtues in a heroic degree.

      “Just as the magisterium is traditional because it always teaches the same immutable truths, so also is canonization traditional because it ought always to point out the same heroic practice of the Christian virtues, beginning with the theological virtues.

      “Consequently, if the pope sets forth as an example the life of one of the faithful departed who had not practiced the virtues in the heroic degree, or if he shows them under a new perspective, as inspired more by the dignity of human nature than by the supernatural action of the Holy Spirit, one cannot see in what way this act would constitute a canonization. To change the object is to change the act.

      “This change of perspective is indicated to us by a sign. Since Vatican II, the number of beatifications and canonizations has taken on unheard of proportions. John Paul II alone conducted more canonizations than each of his predecessors of the 20th century in addition to all those of his predecessors combined since the creation of the Congregation of Rites by Sixtus V in 1588.

      “The Polish Pope himself explained the reason for this increase in the number of canonizations during a speech to the Cardinals during the consistory of June 13, 1984:
      Sometimes it is said that today there are too many beatifications. But besides reflecting the reality that, by the grace of God, is what it is, this also corresponds to the express desires of the Council. The Gospel is so diffused in the world and its message has so deeply taken root that it is precisely the large number of beatifications which reflects in a vital manner the action of the Holy Spirit and the vitality that He causes to spring forth in the domain the most essential for the Church, that of holiness. For it is in fact the Council that has spotlighted in a special way the universal call to holiness.

      “Hence this quantitative change is caused by a qualitative change. If beatifications and canonizations are henceforth more numerous, it is because the holiness to which they attest has taken on a different meaning: holiness is no longer something rare, but something universal.

      “This makes sense because holiness since Vatican II is considered a common gift. The idea of a universal vocation to holiness is the central theme of Chapter V of the Constitution Lumen Gentium; universal vocation brings about two consequences.
      Firstly, it is remarkable that this text does not mention at all the distinction between the remote call to holiness which in principle comes to all, and on the other hand the proximate (and efficacious) call which in fact does not come to all.

      “Secondly, it is also remarkable that the text is silent about the distinction between a common sanctity and heroic sanctity in which holiness properly so-called consists.[6] The very term “heroic virtue” does not appear anywhere in Chapter V of the Constitution Lumen Gentium. And in fact, since the Council, when theologians speak of the act of heroic virtue, they tend more or less to define it by distinguishing it from an act of simply natural virtue, instead of distinguishing it from an ordinary act of supernatural virtue.

      “This is a first reason authorizing us to doubt that the beatifications and canonizations accomplished since Vatican II are identical with what the Church has always intended to do until then by such acts.

      Comment: So it is universal salvation which has dictated the changes in the canonical process and the very evident change in numbers of canonizations as a result of lower standards. But logically, this must also mean these canonizations are not infallible.

      15. “This change of perspective also appears if one observes the ecumenical orientation of sanctity since Vatican II. The ecumenical orientation of sanctity was affirmed by John Paul II in the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint as well as in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente. The pope alludes to a communion of holiness transcending the different religions, manifesting the redemptive action of Christ and the outpouring of His Spirit on the whole of mankind.

      “As for Pope Benedict XVI, one has no alternative than to recognize that he defines salvation in the same ecumenical sense, which falsifies by the very fact the notion of sanctity, a correlative of supernatural salvation.

      “This is a second reason why one can only hesitate to see in the acts of the new beatifications and canonizations a real continuity with the Tradition of the Church.

      Comment: The popes, specifically John Paul II, negate the understanding of holiness we have always expected to see upheld by the canonization process by proclaiming that holiness can be found outside the Catholic Church. We already know where this material heresy has led the Church. Why should we be surprised that it also leads to fewer real canonizations?

      16. Conclusion (of Father Gleize)

      “Three serious reasons authorize the faithful Catholic to doubt the merits of the new beatifications and canonizations.

      • Firstly, the reforms that followed the Council have produced as a consequence certain inadequacies in the process;
      • and secondly they have introduced a new collegial intention, two consequences that are incompatible with the soundness of beatifications and the infallibility of canonizations.
      • Thirdly, the judgment that occurs in the process involves a conception of sanctity and heroic virtue at the very least equivocal and hence dubious.

      “In the context resulting from the postconciliar reforms, the pope and the bishops offer to the veneration of faithful Catholics authentic saints, but canonized at the conclusion of an inadequate and doubtful procedure.

      “Thus there can be no doubt that Padre Pio, canonized after Vatican II, practiced the virtues in a heroic degree even though the new style of process that concluded with the proclamation of his virtues can only give one pause.

      “On the other hand, the same procedure makes possible canonizations that would have once been unthinkable, in which the title of holiness is conferred upon faithful departed whose reputation is controversial and in whom the exercise of virtue in the heroic degree is not particularly outstanding.

      ”Is it certain that for the popes who have accomplished these newfangled canonizations, heroic virtue is what it was for all their predecessors until Vatican II?” (http://sspx.org/en/beatification-and-canonization-vatican-ii-3, emphasis mine).

      Comment: Father Gleize succinctly summarizes his conclusions. I have to agree with his logic. It is not that Traditional Catholics are rejecting the infallibility of the pope in canonization. It is that we cannot accept that the pope can use a compromised process and still be granted the protection of the Holy Ghost guaranteeing his infallibility. This idea that infallibility must follow a diligent process is upheld by the position of the Holy See during Vatican I, the last infallible ecumenical Council.

      To conclude: We therefore uphold what we should uphold in Tradition by maintaining doubts about these proposed “canonizations” of John XXIII and John Paul II.

      • Gandalfolorin,

        With the greatest respect, your post is both very lengthy and more or less a repeat of what you said some weeks ago in your original comments, so I will not bore the audience with a lengthy reply of my own.

        What I will repeat is that the Novus Ordo Mass situation is not remotely on a parallel with what is being discussed here because that Mass was never imposed on the Church by the Pope exercising infallibility.

        So, regardless of how scandalous its promulgation was, and despite all the invalid masses it may have inspired, the question we are dealing with at the moment is whether or not the Pope can make a formal decree binding the Church with infallibility which we are free to disregard on the grounds that the process leading to the decree has been altered to our dissatisfaction.

        There is no question that the wording of decrees of canonisation are of a binding nature, and there is no question (as the Catholic Encyclopedia asserts) that the Popes believe themselves to be infallible when they decree in the matter.

        So the issue comes down to whether or not Traditional Catholics are justified before God in rejecting, on the grounds that it has never been formally defined by the Church, the unanimous belief of the Church’s most eminent theologians, including St. Thomas, that Popes are guaranteed infallibility when they canonise saints. The question is especially important because canonisations touch on the universal Faith.

        I am not prepared to state by my own lights and on my own authority that the Popes no longer enjoy divine assistance due to a less rigorous process, I think that would be great pride on my part, similar in boldness to sedevacantism, so I reject seductive theological arguments that rob the Pope of his Ordinary Magisterial authority. Others may feel free to choose as they please but they should know that this new orientation is not in the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre.

        I am happy just keeping the faith and resisting novelties, others may wander into very dangerous, soul-threatening territory if they please. Not I!

        • Athanasius,

          I find your posts astonishing in the extreme. You quote selectively from the Catholic Encylopaedia, quoting what St Thomas says about infallibility without linking it to the obvious fact that the decision which he and other theologians reached, was formed against the background of the process of canonisation followed. Nowhere does St Thomas say that God will somehow inform the Pope of which candidates to canonise. That key fact seems to have passed you by.

          Since Gandalf’s lengthy and thoughtful attempt to answer you in detail has been summarily dismissed by you, I wish to highlight the following points from Gandalf’s latest excellent commentary because they are central to this debate:

          In attempting to answer Gandalf, you quote the following from the Catholic Encyclopaedia online:

          What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope? Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven. (emphasis added – what next follows, then, is the opinion of the writer):

          The formula used in the act of canonization has nothing more than this:

          “In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast.”
          (Ad honorem . . . beatum N. Sanctum esse decernimus et definimus ac sanctorum catalogo adscribimus statuentes ab ecclesiâ universali illius memoriam quolibet anno, die ejus natali . . . piâ devotione recoli debere.)

          There is no question of heroic virtue in this formula; on the other hand, sanctity does not necessarily imply the exercise of heroic virtue, since one who had not hitherto practised heroic virtue would, by the one transient heroic act in which he yielded up his life for Christ, have justly deserved to be considered a saint. This view seems all the more certain if we reflect that all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552). END.

          Gandalf replies to highlight the admission from the writer above, to emphasise that the above is merely his opinion:

          Gandalf writes:

          “I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that…”

          And then he (the writer of the Encyclopaedia) goes on to give his opinion about what he thinks the canonization defines: the personal sanctity of the beatus. Of course he bolsters his opinion with further reasons, and what writer in his position would not? It is all very well to give his opinion, but it is and remains his opinion regarding the object of canonization, since as he admitted, “I have never seen this question discussed…” I am not bound even by human faith, much less by divine and Catholic faith, to hold that the object of papal infallibility in this matter is only that the beatus is in heaven with no reference to his heroic virtue, etc., as shown by the process. END

          Gandalf quotes the following from the Encyclopaedia

          “Catholic theologians are agreed in recognising the general principle that has just been stated, but it cannot be said that they are equally unanimous in regard to the concrete applications of this principle. Yet it is generally held, and may be said to be theologically certain,… It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, when canonization takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century. Mere beatification, however, as distinguished from canonization, is not held to be infallible, and in canonization itself the only fact that is infallibly determined is that the soul of the canonized saint departed in the state of grace and already enjoys the beatific vision” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm#V).

          Gandalf adds:

          If we take the author at his word, then what he is saying is that canonization is an infallible act when it “takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century,” which is then expressed infallibly only in the statement by the pope that the new saint is already in heaven. In other words, this author states that the process does effect the determination of whether or not the pope is invoking his infallible authority in the matter. END.

          There is much more than I could reproduce from Gandalf’s first class commentary, but I get the feeling that were the Pope to issue a statement tomorrow to say that all canonisations since Vatican II are to be re-examined, not now considered safe, you would contradict him. It seems that your faith would be deeply affected by such an admission and so, with concern, I suggest that you do not read this topic any further. However, before you (advisedly) take your leave, I would add comment on only two things:

          Firstly, I challenge your repeated assertion that God will intervene to prevent the canonisations – whether from actually taking place OR by way of wording that does not bind. Allow me to dismiss the second with the obvious retort that someone is either a saint in heaven or not. The new saints will have to be honoured in the Church’s calendar, have their own Feast day, and all that goes with being a saint. Unless there’s a note beside these names in the missal to say that these are not “infallible” canonisations and you can take them or leave them (ridiculous) then that argument about the wording of the decree is a piece of nonsense. As to the other possibility which you float, that God will prevent the canonisations actually taking place, let’s see if there is “previous” on this:

          Well…

          God did not step in to prevent the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

          God did not step in to prevent the disastrous ( to date) election of Pope Francis I (and we hope, last!)

          God did not step in to prevent Pope Francis from telling the world it was not his place to “judge gays”

          God has not stepped in to prevent Pope Francis using the term “gay”

          God did not step in to prevent the shocking and heretical statements made by Pope Francis in interviews, including his unbelievable assurance to the atheist that there is no objective morality. As long as everyone follows his idea of the good and avoids evil, that is enough to make the world a better place.

          I could go on, and frequently do, but there is no point on this occasion. Your mind is made up and for some unfathomable reason you are determined to honour the forthcoming canonisations of two popes who have caused havoc in the Church, as canonised saints, worthy of the honours of the altar, a position you have imposed upon yourself because you hold false beliefs about infallibility in respect of canonisations, and you refuse to acknowledge that your belief in the obedience due to the “eminent theologians” is flawed on at least two counts: (1) theologians are not infallible and they have no authority to teach (2) the opinion (and that is all it is of theologians – and related supporting statements in various documents) that canonisation is an infallible act was formed against the background of the rigorous process of examination of the candidate’s life and the requirement of miracles.

          You simply cannot see, apparently, that the great St Thomas and other theologians whom you rightly revere, came to their conclusion that we may hold, as a pious belief, that canonisations are infallible acts, because they trusted the process leading to the act. It’s so bleeding obvious as our friends south of the border would say that I find it incredible that any Catholic would actually believe that somehow, in some mysterious way, God lets the Pope know that this or that candidate should be canonised. That is NOT how God works, and it’s not how infallibility works – ever. It is NOT the teaching of the Church.

          I’ll close now by quoting from Galdalf’s summary:

          The belief that canonizations are infallible is a common teaching, an opinion only, and is open to debate. And therefore, no one can be rightly called heretic or schismatic for doubting a canonization whose process has been vitiated. END.

          • editor,

            I thought I had made my reasons for not responding at length to Gandalf’s very long post perfectly clear. Despite its length, his post was more or less a repeat of the bogus argument he put forward some weeks ago, although I did take the point about “personal opinion,” which alters nothing in the grand scheme of things. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t address again the various points you quote from him.

            You may call my quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia “selective” if you will, but they carry the weight of Church teaching which you and others on this blog do not have.

            The fact is that you and these others have selected a single quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia and used it repeatedly out of context to support the novel idea that infallibility in canonisations, unanimously agreed upon by the Church’s theologians, has as its essential element for validity the process leading to the Papal decree. In other words, it is the process and not the Pope which is guaranteed infallibility. This is patent nonsense, dangerous nonsense, which is quite obviously exposed as such by the following:

            The 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia discusses the theological foundation for the infallibility of canonisation: “The dogma that saints are to be venerated and invoked as set forth in the profession of faith of Trent (cf. Denz. 1867) has as its correlative the power to canonize. … St. Thomas Aquinas says, ‘Honor we show the saints is a certain profession of faith by which we believe in their glory, and it is to be piously believed that even in this the judgment of the Church is not able to err’ (Quodl. 9:8:16).

            “The pope cannot by solemn definition induce errors concerning faith and morals into the teaching of the universal Church. Should the Church hold up for universal veneration a man’s life and habits that in reality led to [his] damnation, it would lead the faithful into error. It is now theologically certain that the solemn canonization of a saint is an infallible and irrevocable decision of the supreme pontiff. God speaks infallibly through his Church as it demonstrates and exemplifies its universal teaching in a particular person or judges that person’s acts to be in accord with its teaching.”

            Re-read that second paragraph and tell me that you still believe it is the process and not the Pope who is assisted with infallibility in canonisations.

            Incidentally, re the last paragraph of your post, while we may be free to discuss this or that aspect of what makes the Pope infallible when he decrees a canonisation, we are not free to deny the infallibility of the Papal decree itself, or to dismiss it as opinion when the theologians have clearly and unanimously attested to it’s touching on the faith of the universal Church. That would be “selective,” but selective with the Church’s doctrines in the way Protestants and schismatics are.

            • Athanasius,

              Do you think that, were he alive today, St Thomas Aquinas would offer the opinion that the forthcoming canonisations are infallible?

              • editor,

                I certainly do believe that St. Thomas would maintain his opinion, yes, and he would doubtless write to everyone on this blog as follows:

                That opinion is certainly erroneous which goes contrary to an opinion of theologians that is theologically certain. It may not be considered a heretical opinion strictly speaking, since it does not contradict a defined doctrine of the Church, but it is certainly contrary to Catholic doctrine. And I believe every instructed Catholic knows that it would be sinful to knowingly and willingly hold an opinion that is contrary to Catholic doctrine.

                • Athanasius,

                  I found this confusing:

                  “It may not be considered a heretical opinion strictly speaking, since it does not contradict a defined doctrine of the Church, but it is certainly contrary to Catholic doctrine”.

                  Can you explain what doctrine it is contrary to, to question the opinion of any theologian? Others have said that the Church has not made any official statement binding us to believe in the infallibility of canonisations. Is that true or not? If it is true then there is absolutely nothing wrong with having this discussion.

                  I have this question for you which has already been asked (editor or Josephine?) but not answered. Since you accept the changes that have been made to the process, can you explain how the pope knows that the two popes are worthy of canonisation?

                  • Michaela,

                    The doctrine is that the Pope is infallible when he defines a canonisation. That doctrine will become dogma when the Pope infallibly confirms this majority belief of theologians in the doctrine they and all informed Catholics hold to be true. I hope that clears up the confusion.

                    So, when people here venture opinions contrary to the established opinion of the Church’s theologians and all other informed Catholics, they contradict the doctrine of the Church. They are not strictly speaking committing heresy by this action, but they are acting contrary to the established doctrine and that is an imprudent and sinful act.

                    As regards your question of how the Pope knows the two popes are worthy of canonisation. I can’t answer that because I have no access to the process records and I don’t have Pope Francis’ confidence in the matter. Suffice it to say I still hold to the view that these canonisations will not be made formal and binding on the faithful. We’ll see.

                    • “That doctrine will become dogma”

                      How do you know that?

                      In the meantime, it stays a matter of opinion, according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

                      “all informed Catholics know this doctrine to be true”

                      Does this mean that anybody who disagrees with your position is not an informed Catholic? Is Fr Gleize, Bishop Fellay, not “informed Catholics”?

                    • You are completely wrong to say that anyone who questions these canonisations is contradicting the established doctrine of the Church. Yet again, here is the established doctrine of the Church, from the Catholic Encyclopaedia. You keep quoting from it but have missed this part:

                      “It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, WHEN CANONIZATION TAKES PLACE ACCORDING TO THE SOLEMN PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWED SINCE THE NINTH CENTURY.”

                      Sorry for the caps, but I don’t know how to bold type or put italics.

                    • Josephine,

                      What you refer to merely as “opinion” is the opinion of the Church’s theologians which is said to be “theologically certain,” so it is no mere opinion you oppose with your own.

                      “That doctrine will become dogma”

                      How do you know that?”

                      I know it because it has the weight of the Church’s theologians behind it, as well as the faithful. It is, as is stated, “theologically certain.” Or, as my quote from the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia puts it “It is now theologically certain that the solemn canonization of a saint is an infallible and irrevocable decision of the supreme pontiff.”

                      You finished with this quote and question:

                      “all informed Catholics know this doctrine to be true”

                      Does this mean that anybody who disagrees with your position is not an informed Catholic? Is Fr Gleize, Bishop Fellay, not “informed Catholics”?

                      First, it is not my opinion it is the opinion with “theological certainty” of the Church’s theologians. Anyone who opposes it with fallacious argument, such as has been spread recently, is certainly misinformed.

                      I would like to believe that Bishop Fellay has not adopted the error of Frs. Gleize and Lorens, we’ll see if His Excellency makes known his personal position. In the meantime, we can but hope and pray that Frs. Gleize and Lorens will re-evaluate their writings and make the necessary corrections before too much scandal arises. Neither priest is infallible, you know!

                    • Michaela,

                      Since there was no reply button on your post, I will re-print here your quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia followed by a few questions:

                      “It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, WHEN CANONIZATION TAKES PLACE ACCORDING TO THE SOLEMN PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWED SINCE THE NINTH CENTURY.”

                      I have provided quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia that carry the weight of majority theological opinion “theological certainty.”

                      What you appear to have quoted is a personal opinion from the author of the CE, which begins with “that is to say…” What theological weight does that quote have? Is there a reference to this statement being of “theological certainty?”

                      Further, what does the author mean by “solemn process?” Does he mean the investigation, the Papal decree, or a combination of both? The statement is not specific enough to warrant rejection of Papal infallibility in this matter that touches on universal faith.

        • Now Athanasius has made a further answer, to which I respond as follows:

          Athanasius says:

          1. “Gandalfolorin,

          “With the greatest respect, your post is both very lengthy and more or less a repeat of what you said some weeks ago in your original comments, so I will not bore the audience with a lengthy reply of my own.”

          Reply: I am very sorry to have to contradict you, my dear Athanasius, but my argument is not merely a repetition. I took pains over the last 10 days in order to make sure I had all the sources at my disposal that would enable me to prove at length that your position is untenable. I did not know we had an “audience.” But I do know there are plenty of readers here who are not bored at all, but rather the reverse.

          2. “What I will repeat is that the Novus Ordo Mass situation is not remotely on a parallel with what is being discussed here because that Mass was never imposed on the Church by the Pope exercising infallibility.

          “So, regardless of how scandalous its promulgation was, and despite all the invalid masses it may have inspired, the question we are dealing with at the moment is whether or not the Pope can make a formal decree binding the Church with infallibility which we are free to disregard on the grounds that the process leading to the decree has been altered to our dissatisfaction.”

          Reply: Again, the NO was not imposed using infallibility (and how could it be?), but nevertheless, it was imposed AS IF IT WERE INFALLIBLE. This is the argument that we heard day in and day out for 50 years: Rome has spoken; the case is closed—which was very convenient, but very inapt. It is just so now. We are being faced with the pope speaking in a manner which should be infallible, and which under the correct conditions is normally infallible. But, as has been amply demonstrated, the object and intention of that infallibility has changed enough to cast doubt on the act of canonization itself. So something that is not infallible will be imposed AS IF IT WERE INFALLIBLE. So there is definitely a parallel.

          This parallel is all the more apparent when we remember that Leo XIII judged Anglican orders based on their intent and setting, not just on the words and ceremonies employed.

          “30. For the full and accurate understanding of the Anglican Ordinal, besides what we have noted as to some of its parts, there is nothing more pertinent than to consider carefully the circumstances under which it was composed and publicly authorized. It would be tedious to enter into details, nor is it necessary to do so, as the history of that time is sufficiently eloquent as to the animus of the authors of the Ordinal against the Catholic Church; as to the abettors whom they associated with themselves from the heterodox sects; and as to the end they had in view. Being fully cognizant of the necessary connection between faith and worship, between “the law of believing and the law of praying”, under a pretext of returning to the primitive form, they corrupted the Liturgical Order in many ways to suit the errors of the reformers. For this reason, in the whole Ordinal not only is there no clear mention of the sacrifice, of consecration, of the priesthood (sacerdotium), and of the power of consecrating and offering sacrifice but, as we have just stated, every trace of these things which had been in such prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected, was deliberately removed and struck out.

          33. With this inherent defect of “form” is joined the defect of “intention” which is equally essential to the Sacrament. The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what, by the institution of Christ, belongs to the nature of the Sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the Sacrament”
          (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm, emphasis mine).

          Now you can argue ad nauseam that the imposition of the NO is not remotely related to the discussion at hand, but I think everyone here, and Traditionalists generally, will say you are wrong about that. As Leo XIII said (above), a defect of form, i.e. the process and what it manifests, or a defect of intention, i.e. “the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does” certainly gives us grounds to doubt the infallibility of the new canonizations. And this is Father Gleize’s and the Society’s argument: if the intention is to impose a “saint” to be honored by his placement on the NO calendar, to confirm collegiality and ecumenism, that is contrary to the mind of the Church and therefore cannot be infallible.

          3. You say: “There is no question that the wording of decrees of canonisation are of a binding nature, and there is no question (as the Catholic Encyclopedia asserts) that the Popes believe themselves to be infallible when they decree in the matter.”

          Reply: I must correct you. There is no question that the wording of the decrees of canonization WERE binding and that the popes BELIEVED themselves to be infallible when they decree(d) in the matter following the Traditional process and with the Traditional idea of canonization in mind. This we know from the long Tradition of the rigorous process of canonization in the Church. But we no longer know in any real manner that the pope, especially this present pope, believes in infallibility itself or in infallibility in regards to canonizations, or even that saints are any different from the rest of humanity inside or outside the One True Church. His words have betrayed his material lack of faith. And because of that scandalous defect of Catholic intention in everything the pope and his predecessors since Vatican II have manifested, we are surely free to doubt he is invoking infallibility.

          4. “So the issue comes down to whether or not Traditional Catholics are justified before God in rejecting, on the grounds that it has never been formally defined by the Church, the unanimous belief of the Church’s most eminent theologians, including St. Thomas, that Popes are guaranteed infallibility when they canonise saints. The question is especially important because canonisations touch on the universal Faith.”

          Reply: This issue is not “whether or not Traditional Catholics are justified before God in rejecting… that Popes are guaranteed infallibility when they canonise saints.” The issue is whether or not this pope is in fact using his infallibility to canonize these particular “saints.” We are not rejecting infallibility in this matter, but rather questioning whether it is invoked. It is plain from the sources I have quoted that we are free to question these “canonizations” and have the grave reason of our obligation to protect our faith to so question.

          5. You say: “I am not prepared to state by my own lights and on my own authority that the Popes no longer enjoy divine assistance due to a less rigorous process, I think that would be great pride on my part, similar in boldness to sedevacantism, so I reject seductive theological arguments that rob the Pope of his Ordinary Magisterial authority.”

          Reply: As I have been at some pains to demonstrate, I am not stating by “my own authority” that these canonizations are not infallible. I am citing sources which indicate we must question them. And as someone who has written extensively against sedevacantism, I am able to state with authority that the arguments the Society through some of its priests is using, and the arguments which I am using, do not resemble at all those of sedevacantists regarding the papacy and the loss thereof. It does not in the least impugn the legitimacy of the pope’s primacy or his infallibility to doubt that these canonizations have something wrong and un-Catholic about them.

          But your statement that our arguments “rob the Pope of his Ordinary Magisterial authority” is quite revealing. The entire argument of Father Gleize and others of the Society, and my own, is based on the pope Traditionally invoking something that is tantamount to his Extraordinary Magisterium, his solemn teaching authority touching on faith, in order to canonize. There is nothing in any of the authorities I have cited which indicates in the least that the popes would be relying on “Ordinary Magisterial authority.” This idea, that the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible in itself without reference to Tradition, is a Novus Ordo idea. It is based on the fuzzy notion that there is something between the Ordinary Magisterium and the Extraordinary Magisterium. But there is nothing between these two.

          The Ordinary Magisterium can be infallible only when the pope repeats what has always been the Traditional doctrine or morality of the Church. This is commonly found in the papal encyclicals in which the popes refer to their numerous predecessors, repeating their teaching, and adding their own weight in order to pass down again that teaching. If the pope does not invoke his predecessors’ teaching and imposes something new on the Church, that thing so imposed is a novelty, as happened in the imposition of the NO itself, and the act is far from infallible. The popes have never canonized anyone using their Ordinary Magisterium. Traditionally, they invoke something analogous to the Extraordinary Magisterium by defining the beatitude of a certain person, holding up his heroic virtues for our emulation, and imposing on the whole Church his cultus. But that this Traditional canonization is not what is now taking place is our argument.

          Athanasius, it is only found in the changes imposed by John Paul II on the canonical process, and in the rules that flow from these changes, that this notion of canonization by the Ordinary Magisterium is foundeded. If you accept the Novus Ordo explanation of canonization, then it is little wonder that we cannot agree on anything here.

          6. “Others may feel free to choose as they please but they should know that this new orientation is not in the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre.

          “I am happy just keeping the faith and resisting novelties, others may wander into very dangerous, soul-threatening territory if they please. Not I!”

          Reply: We are not choosing as we please. That is contrary to the evidence that has been presented. And what is or is not in the “spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre” is best left up to the SSPX and its authorities to decide—not to you. You are not “keeping the faith and resisting novelties” if you accept canonizations of popes who were liberals, public scandalizers, and material heretics. We do not perform anything “dangerous” or “soul-threatening” by judging what comes under our pervue: the protection of the faith which we must hold inviolate and the handing on of that faith inviolate to the next generation. We do not judge the pope or his infallibility, but we do judge his acts and whether they have been or will be part of the infallible Extraordinary Magisterium. If we cannot do that then we cannot judge anything the popes have done since Vatican II.

          • Gandalfolorin,

            “Again, the NO was not imposed using infallibility (and how could it be?), but nevertheless, it was imposed AS IF IT WERE INFALLIBLE…”

            No, it was not imposed as if it were infallible, at least not by the Pope and it is the Pope’s authority we are here debating. The fact that the bishops mislead the faithful into believing that the NO had been promulgated with infallibility has no bearing on the actual decree itself, and it is Papal decrees we’re discussing here. So I repeat – your parallel between the Mass and canonisations is a bogus one.

            ”We are being faced with the pope speaking in a manner which should be infallible, and which under the correct conditions is normally infallible. But, as has been amply demonstrated, the object and intention of that infallibility has changed enough to cast doubt on the act of canonization itself.”

            Nothing, in fact, has been “amply demonstrated.” Here’s the quote again from the Catholic Encyclopedia that trumps all fallacious argument that the Pope’s infallibility when decreeing canonisations is invalid by reason of flawed process:

            “The pope cannot by solemn definition induce errors concerning faith and morals into the teaching of the universal Church. Should the Church hold up for universal veneration a man’s life and habits that in reality led to [his] damnation, it would lead the faithful into error. It is now theologically certain that the solemn canonization of a saint is an infallible and irrevocable decision of the supreme pontiff. God speaks infallibly through his Church as it demonstrates and exemplifies its universal teaching in a particular person or judges that person’s acts to be in accord with its teaching.”

            Now you introduce another bogus argument, as follows:

            “…This parallel is all the more apparent when we remember that Leo XIII judged Anglican orders based on their intent and setting, not just on the words and ceremonies employed… “

            This is an entirely different situation, again not remotely similar to the matter under discussion, unless of course we are to judge today’s Roman authorities by the same standards that Pope Leo XIII judged a willfully schismatic and heretical sect. I will not entertain such a comparison, but I will say that even Leo judged the Anglicans primarily on words and ceremony.

            I have left out further comment from you about the NO for obvious reasons, but quote this continuation of the paragraph:

            “…And this is Father Gleize’s and the Society’s argument: if the intention is to impose a “saint” to be honored by his placement on the NO calendar, to confirm collegiality and ecumenism, that is contrary to the mind of the Church and therefore cannot be infallible.”

            Father Gleize appears to presume a lot on the back of the “if” word. At any rate, his theory is proved wrong by the Catholic Encyclopedia quote above.

            You state: “There is no question that the wording of the decrees of canonization WERE binding and that the popes BELIEVED themselves to be infallible when they decree(d) in the matter following the Traditional process and with the Traditional idea of canonization in mind. This we know from the long Tradition of the rigorous process of canonization in the Church. But we no longer know in any real manner that the pope, especially this present pope, believes in infallibility itself or in infallibility in regards to canonizations, or even that saints are any different from the rest of humanity inside or outside the One True Church.”

            Once again, you presume something that you cannot possibly know. You cannot know that the Popes no longer believe that they are infallible when they canonise. You may suspect, but you cannot know. You are therefore bound in charity to accord these Popes the benefit of the doubt, not rob them of their authority on the assumption, and it is an assumption, that they have lost the faith. The very words of the modern decree suggest that the Popes do, in fact, know that they are canonising with infallibility. But apart from that, what you are saying leads to the logical conclusion that Our Lord has permitted several Popes to formally introduce error into the faith.

            You continue: “His words have betrayed his material lack of faith. And because of that scandalous defect of Catholic intention in everything the pope and his predecessors since Vatican II have manifested, we are surely free to doubt he is invoking infallibility.”

            I think I made it clear before that, in fact, Our Lord has protected His Church from the material errors of the modern Popes. Hence, the New Mass was not infallibly imposed, nor ecumenism, nor religious liberty, etc. Canonisations, though, are decreed by the modern Popes with infallibility, as per the wording of the decrees. You must not make the mistake of confusing the Popes words and actions as a personal theologian with those of his Ordinary infallible Magisterium.

            You write: “This issue is not “whether or not Traditional Catholics are justified before God in rejecting… that Popes are guaranteed infallibility when they canonise saints.” The issue is whether or not this pope is in fact using his infallibility to canonize these particular “saints.” We are not rejecting infallibility in this matter, but rather questioning whether it is invoked.”

            I’m sorry but the debate on this blog has not been about whether or not the Pope will invoke infallibility with the forthcoming canonisations. Rather, it has been about rejecting any attempted decree with infallibility on the basis that the process leading to the decree constitutes the essential element for validity, and this, it is claimed is flawed.

            You wrote:“As I have been at some pains to demonstrate, I am not stating by “my own authority” that these canonizations are not infallible. I am citing sources which indicate we must question them.”

            What sources are they? I am not aware of any definitive sources quoted that extends to you or to any other subordinate of the Pope the right to doubt his Catholic Faith when canonising saints, making such judgments a basis for rejecting his infallible decrees. This is precisely the mindset of the schismatic and the sedevacantist, even if it does not stretch to outrightly dethroning the Pontiff. I challenge you to provide me with a single quote of Archbishop Lefebvre where he casts doubt on even one of the many canonisations decreed by Pope John Paul II. Good luck with that!

            You write: “It does not in the least impugn the legitimacy of the pope’s primacy or his infallibility to doubt that these canonizations have something wrong and un-Catholic about them.”

            Doesn’t it? Here’s that quote again from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

            “The pope cannot by solemn definition induce errors concerning faith and morals into the teaching of the universal Church. Should the Church hold up for universal veneration a man’s life and habits that in reality led to [his] damnation, it would lead the faithful into error. It is now theologically certain that the solemn canonization of a saint is an infallible and irrevocable decision of the supreme pontiff. God speaks infallibly through his Church as it demonstrates and exemplifies its universal teaching in a particular person or judges that person’s acts to be in accord with its teaching.”

            You write:

            “But your statement that our arguments “rob the Pope of his Ordinary Magisterial authority” is quite revealing. The entire argument of Father Gleize and others of the Society, and my own, is based on the pope Traditionally invoking something that is tantamount to his Extraordinary Magisterium, his solemn teaching authority touching on faith, in order to canonize. There is nothing in any of the authorities I have cited which indicates in the least that the popes would be relying on “Ordinary Magisterial authority.” This idea, that the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible in itself without reference to Tradition, is a Novus Ordo idea. It is based on the fuzzy notion that there is something between the Ordinary Magisterium and the Extraordinary Magisterium. But there is nothing between these two.”

            Here’s a correcting quote from a scholarly article on the SSPX Asia website presenting the true Catholic understanding of Magisterium.

            ”…Unfortunately this three-fold distinction between the Extraordinary Magisterium, the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium, and the authentic non-infallible Magisterium, has fallen into oblivion.
            This has resulted in two opposite errors in the crisis situation of the Church at the present time: the error by excess of those who extend papal infallibility to all acts of the pope, without distinction; and the error by defect of those who restrict infallibility to definitions that have been uttered ex cathedra.

            The error by excess actually eliminates the Ordinary Non-Infallible or “Authentic” Magisterium and inevitably leads either to Sedevacantism or to servile obedience. The attitude of the people of this second category is, “The pope is always infallible and so we always owe him blind obedience.”

            The error by defect eliminates the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium. This is precisely the error of the neo-Modernists, who devalue the ordinary papal Magisterium and the “Roman tradition” which they find so inconvenient. They say, “The pope is infallible only in his Extraordinary Magisterium, so we can sweep away 2000 years of ordinary papal Magisterium.”

            Both of these errors obscure the precise notion of the Ordinary Magisterium, which includes the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium and the ordinary, “authentic,” non-infallible Magisterium…”

            You can find the entire article here: http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/SiSiNoNo/2002_January/Popes_Infallible_Magisterium.htm

            You wrote:

            “…You are not “keeping the faith and resisting novelties” if you accept canonizations of popes who were liberals, public scandalizers, and material heretics.”

            I have accepted no such canonisations! What I have argued here is that canonisations thus far decreed by the modern Popes are infallible by reason of the wording of the decrees which show clearly the Pope’s intention to canonise with infallibility. The infallibility of such acts is also assured by the Catholic Encyclopedia quotation above and by the fact that the Church’s theologians are unanimous in agreement that infallibility in canonisations is “theologically certain.”

            I have made no declaration of acceptance of the forthcoming proposed canonisation of Pope John Paul II. On the contrary, I have declared that my trust in Our Lord’s promise to His Church, as well as in the evidence I’ve cited to prove infallibility, forbids belief that this canonisation will take place, at least in the sense of formal decree binding upon the Church. Others, choosing a different path, have taken to speculative theories on what does and does not constitute the essential element of validity for infallible canonisation. In other words, they have used the proposed canonisation of John Paul II to open a can of worms that actually casts doubt on the Ordinary infallible Magisterium even before any dubious canonisation has taken place. This is what I have taken issue with and what I believe Archbishop Lefebvre would have taken issue with. It is dangerous talk!

            • “I have made no declaration of acceptance of the forthcoming proposed canonisation of Pope John Paul II. On the contrary, I have declared that my trust in Our Lord’s promise to His Church, as well as in the evidence I’ve cited to prove infallibility, forbids belief that this canonisation will take place, at least in the sense of formal decree binding upon the Church.”

              This is a rather complex position to hold. You think that God will prevent the canonisations or the wording will be different from other canonisations so we can choose not to accept them.

              Two questions:

              1) are there any other canonisations of saints that are not binding upon the Church? If so, how do we know who these saints are? Some of us are given to making novenas so I’d like to know if any saints are possibly not real saints so I can pray to the ones the Church guarantees are saints

              2) what will you do if the wording on the decree is the same as every other decree. Will you accept that the two popes are canonised saints? It is not honest to keep saying you’ll wait and see because you don’t believe it will happen. You have to have your position so thought through that you can tell us if you will approve of these canonisations once they happen. I’ve noticed others asking this question in different ways but never an answer.

              I’ll asked Editor the same question to make it a level playing field. If these canonisations go through, with the usual wording on the decree, will you, Ed, recognise the two popes are saints?

              • I think Athanasius said at Oct. 10, 8:25 pm on this thread that he would accept the canonizations.

                • 3LittleShepherds,

                  Thank you for pointing us to that post because I’d meant (and forgotten) at the time to correct the false dichotomy:

                  Athanasius wrote: “yes, I would accept it because the alternative is to dismiss the Pope’s Magisterial authority in favour of a personal and forbidden judgment that John Paul is in Hell.”

                  Of course it is not true to say that because someone is not a canonised saint they are in Hell. I am on record somewhere on this blog as saying I will continue to pray for the repose of the souls of these two popes, since it is the Catholic tradition to always pray for the deceased presuming the grace of Purgatory. And elsewhere I have corrected another blogger, under instructions to become a Catholic, because he was free with his opinions about who may (or should be!) in Hell. I pointed out that we may never consign anyone to Hell. Ever.

                  In fact, however, Athanasius is being consistent and logical when he says that he would accept the canonisations. It would be ridiculous to argue for their infallible status and then NOT accept them.

          • Gandalfolorin,

            I’m really replying to Athanasius, since there’s no reply button at his posts, but glad to say thanks – your comments have really helped me. I’ve copied an extract from one of your posts to answer Athanasius below.

            Athanasius,

            The author of the Catholic Enclyopedia is not stating his opinion but is stating a fact when he says St Thomas’s opinion was based on the process in use in the Church since the ninth century. As others have already said more than once, how else could he have reached a decision about the infallibility of canonisations? I copied this below from one of Gandalfolorin’s posts because it shows the disagreement among theologians even at that time and shows why we are free to question these canonisations, since there is no decree binding on Catholics which fits the definition of infallibility from Vatican I.

            “St. Thomas says: ‘Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.’ These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church” (http://newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm).

            As we know, if the decree is not, even at the best of times, infallible in the manner defined by Vatican Council I, then it does not command the assent of divine and Catholic faith. Certainly with a truncated canonical process as its setting, such a decree is not of faith and not binding on the Catholic conscience. And please note: The definition of Vatican I did not speak to canonizations, it spoke to doctrinal and moral definitions. We have no infallible teaching of the Church on this matter of canonization, only the words of St. Thomas and the Church’s theologians.

      • Gandalfolorin,

        Thank you again for another superb reply to Athanasius who is determined to stick to his untenable position.

        As you pointed out in your summary (no.1) “There is no solemn definition of the Church regarding the infallibility of canonizations.”

        That is enough for us all to know. We await the unfolding of this shocking event, that is the canonisation of two popes who have done much damage to the Church, with much interest.

        • Josephine,

          “As you pointed out in your summary (no.1) “There is no solemn definition of the Church regarding the infallibility of canonizations.”

          That is enough for us all to know…”

          That is by no means sufficient grounds for priests and lay people to assume to themselves the authority to dismiss the infallibility of canonisations.

          The majority of the Church’s most eminent theologians are agreed on the infallibility of canonisations for the reasons I have already quoted and will quote again.

          From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

          “the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.”

          So much for the integrity of the process being the essential element for validity.

          Again, from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

          “…if we reflect that all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552)…”

          Note what is being said here! Theologians hold the Popes to be infallible when decreeing canonisations because the Popes believe that they are infallible when decreeing canonisations. See how it comes down to the Pope and his Ordinary Magisterial authority. The process argument, I state again, is bogus.

          I am not the one, then, who “is determined to stick to his untenable position.” Rather, it is you and others on this blog who oppose the most eminent theologians of Tradition, including St. Thomas, with unqualified and unsustainable arguments that effectively rob the Supreme Pontiff of his Ordinary Magisterial authority. I’m with the theologians of Tradition on this one. The novel proposal is yours, not mine.

  25. Athanasius,

    “Frs. Gleize and Lorens, by writing as they have, appear to be according to themselves an authority equal to that of the Magisterium of the Church”

    Is this not exactly what you are doing by claiming that the opinions of St Thomas and other theologians are sacrosanct? I think Gandalfolorin hit the nail on the head when he wrote: “We have no infallible teaching of the Church on this matter of canonization, only the words of St. Thomas and the Church’s theologians.” That is the most important statement on this thread. You have not addressed it.

  26. Nicky,

    Let us be very clear. This is not about me claiming that the opinions of St. Thomas and most other eminent theologians of the Church are sacrosanct. This is about Frs. Gleize and Lorens, and you and others on this blog who appear to think yourselves of such stature in wisdom and learning that you are free to dismiss the conclusions of these great saintly men, who, while not infallible in their judgments concerning canonisations, were certainly unanimous in their conclusions that canonisation decrees by the Pope are infallible.

    It is for me to echo this sound teaching and pious belief of the Church’s most eminent sons, not challenge it as though I were more gifted in holiness and intellect than they.

    Archbishop Lefebvre instituted the SSPX for the sole reason of preserving the Mass and the Sacred Traditions handed down, of which the teaching of the aforesaid theologians is an integral part. It was never his intention that his Fraternity start sitting in judgment of the Church’s official Magisterial authority, deciding what it will and will not accept as infallible teaching. This is a recent development which is, frankly, very worrying.

    • Athanasius
      I’d like your opinion.
      1. What facts did the SSPX use to reach their conclusions?
      2.Why do they believe it is not sinful to publish those conclusions?

    • Well, then I take it you disagree with everything they’ve written?
      My problem is the opposite. I have always been very careful so as not to call something a sin when its not. I remember when a Traditional Priest, not of the SSPX, but very good, started publicly saying that eating meat on Friday was sinful despite what everyone else was saying. I was teaching some children at the time so I asked an SSPX priest why the other priest was saying it was a sin. He said he didn’t know. And that many good priests believed it was not a sin. So if good priests differ in their conclusions there’s doubt, so how can there be a sin?
      I know abstinence has nothing to do with canonizations, so I’m just talking about doubt. If good priests, relying on the facts come to different conclusions that equals doubt. Doubt equals no sin.
      I don’t want to say something is a sin when it is not, or when there is doubt.

      • 3Littleshepherds,

        When those good priests you speak of conclude contrary to St. Thomas Aquinas and many other eminent theologians of the Church on the infallibility of the Pope when decreeing canonisations, that’s more than just doubt. That’s worrying!

  27. Here is Our Lady speaking to St. Bridget in her Revelations.

    ” Know that I was conceived without original sin, and not in sin . . . . Know that my Conception was not known to all because God willed it that way . . . thus it was pleasing to God that his friends would piously doubt of my Conception, and each would manifest his zeal, until the truth would be clarified at its foreordained time.”

  28. Imagine if John Paul II is in Purgatory, how can he be a saint? The same applies to any other saints.

  29. I followed the link Ed, and in turn I found the page concerning the Pope’s pronouncements on Atheists. The Vatican said Atheists go to Hell as they reject the Church, but what if an Atheist doesn’t know the Church is true and does good works? Or does invincible ignorance only apply if you believe in God? I feel the Catholic Church is a bit universalist. It says that if one knows the church to be true but rejects it or leaves it, you go to Hell, but then it says one can be saved by your works (Sheep and Goats) and invincible ignorance. I guess one can’t do moral charitable acts in public and immoral acts in private, and be saved by good works, one must be good all the time. It’s a little contradictory and confusing.

    • Catholic Convert,

      I posted the link to show that coins are being minted to mark the first year of Pope Francis’s pontificate, so I’m puzzled at your comments about atheists in that context. I presume you followed links given by the newspaper – not my intention. I’d expect you to be more concerned about the minting of coins to mark the Pope’s first year in office (rather over the top to say the least) than to be worried about the eternal destination of people who don’t give a jot themselves – atheists.

      There is nothing contradictory about the Church’s teaching on salvation. It is true that some people, including clergy preaching homilies on the subject, give the impression that the parable of the Sheep and Goats is all that there is to the Gospel but it is not the case. The teaching of the Church only makes sense in its totality. To say “the Church teaches this, but then it teaches that” is to manifestly fail to understand this truth. It’s NOT a case of sin in private and then hand a beggar some cash for tea and sandwiches, to make sure you’re saved. God is not fooled.

      Christ has said clearly what we have to do to be saved: “If you love Me you will keep my commandments”. That includes the command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and to feed the hungry etc. but not ONLY that. If we are kind to the poor and needy while flouting God’s moral law whether in our private lives or in public office, we should expect a very hard time on Judgment Day – and by no means presume that we will be saved. Nobody should presume salvation anyway. Presumption is a sin – the forgotten sin, it seems, if you listen to the average funeral homily.

      God will judge each soul individually. Only He knows whether a soul has genuinely sought the truth or not. (see “God wills that all men be saved through knowledge of the truth.” Catechism of the Catholic Church # 74, source 1 Tim 2:4. Emphasis in original.)

      However, since God accepts our free will choices, those who reject Him in this life will not find themselves forced to spend eternity in His Presence. Of that we – and atheists the world over – can be absolutely certain.

  30. One of our readers, not an internet user but interested in hearing about our debate on the canonisations, handed me a copy of a page from his pre-Vatican II Catholic Encyclopaedia this morning after Mass, pointing me to the definition of indefectibility. For the record, I reproduce it below:

    INDEFECTIBILITY: That quality of un-failingness in the Church, her constitution and ministration, promised by Jesus Christ in the words “Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt.xxviii, 20). Her indefectibility is seen externally by her triumph over the most terrible trials and dangers and her abounding life and health after nineteen hundred years of history; internally it has preserved her supernatural life and channels of grace intact through all the dangerous possibilities arising from human indifference, carelessness and ill-will. This special providence of God is technically called assistentia: we are aware of it both by faith and sight, but the manner in which it works is a matter of speculation. END

  31. The following is an extract from Bishop Richard Williamson’s ‘Letter to Benefactors’ while he was Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. I am re-publishing it here so that all may know exactly whose spirit they imitate when they use fallacious argument to reject Papal infallibility in modern canonisations.

    New Church “Canonizations”

    Dear Friends and Benefactors,

    The October 6 “canonization” of Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of the “Opus Dei”, like the September “beatification” of Pope John XXIII, launcher of Vatican II, re-opens an old and hurtful wound – how can the Catholic Church do such things? And if it is not the Catholic Church that is doing them, what is it?

    For indeed it is clear beyond any doubt that the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II, when she was still essentially faithful to Catholic Tradition, would never have beatified the Pope who initiated the Council which devastated that Tradition, nor canonized the founder of “Opus Dei”, an organization preparing the way for that Council.

    There is an abundance of quotes, proudly published by “Opus Dei” itself, to prove that Msgr. Escrivá shared and promoted key ideas of Vatican II. Here are two: Msgr. Escrivá himself said, “Ours is the first organization which, with the authorization of the Holy See, admits non-Catholics, Christian or non-Christian. I have always defended liberty of conscience” (“Conversaciones con Mons. Escrivá”, ed. Rialp, p.296). And his successor at the head of “Opus Dei” said about Msgr. Escrivá’s book “Camino”, “It prepared millions of people to get in tune with, and to accept in depth, some of the most revolutionary teachings which 30 years later would be solemnly promulgated by the Church at Vatican II” (“Estudios sobre ‘Camino’”, Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, ed. Rialp, p.58).

    Therefore, for Pope John XXIII to have been truly a Blessed, and for Msgr. Escrivá to have been truly a Saint, the Second Vatican Council would have to have been a true Council, or a Council true to Catholic Tradition. Which is ridiculous, as at least regular readers of this Letter know. Yet are not Catholic canonizations meant to be infallible?

    Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons. Firstly, the proposing of model Catholics to be venerated and imitated as Saints is so central to Catholics’ practice of their faith, that Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter. This being so, secondly, the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes’ solemn and infallible magisterium.

    But since Vatican II, firstly the models chosen for imitation are liable, like John XXIII and Msgr. Escrivá, to be chosen for their alignment on Vatican II, i.e. on the destruction of Catholic Tradition, and secondly, the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, that the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about “living tradition”, as though Truth can change?

    So this or that Saint “canonized” by John Paul II may in fact be in Heaven, even Msgr. Escrivá, God knows, but it is certainly not his “canonization” by this Pope which can make us sure of the fact. Nor need we then feel obliged to venerate any of the post-Vatican II “Saints”…”

    So this is not just about the canonisation of John Paul II, it is a declaration of rejection of all post-Vatican II canonisations.

    • I’m no apologist for Bishop Williamson but if this is your best argument, I’m not convinced. What he says is perfectly logical. WOULD Pope John Paul II or Mgr Escriva have been canonised prior to Vatican II?

  32. I have not commented on this thread or the previous thread. I have, however, followed the discussion with a mixture of interest and exasperation.

    Initially, I agreed that the forthcoming canonisations would be infallible. It is an awful thought for any Catholic to think that the pope would stand in front of the entire world, proclaim someone to be a Saint and for that not to be valid. Awful. I cannot even bear to think it.

    However, there are some key questions that I need clarified. I was speaking to another blogger at Mass this morning and they agreed that some parts of this discussion have been too overpowering. At times, the lengthy posts from either side have been quite off putting.

    So, I would like simple, straightforward answers to the following questions. This blog is about education, so if proponents of both sides of the argument could take the time to answer these questions, I would be most grateful.

    1. Surely canonisations means more than the canonised person is in Heaven? Doesn’t it attach a formal recognition that the canonised person is a role model, someone who, despite being a sinner, is an example to others and worthy of universal veneration?

    2. I have read that the church theologians (plural) have indicated that canonisation is infallible. However, the only name that is mentioned is St. Thomas Aquinas. Who are the other eminent theologians?

    3. Do the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the other unnamed theologians, constitute Catholic doctrine? I have read that they touch on Papal Infallibility, but this is wider than canonisation.

    4. Saint Thomas Aquinas, as venerable as he is, was a fallible human being (a very distinguished theologian it has to be said). However, do his words, thoughts and opinions, however meaningful and eminent, carry the weight of the Magisterium? Given his fallibility, weren’t his words to be taken with the context of his time?

    5. Despite extensive use of the Catholic Encyclopedia, there has been no other Church documents quoted. Is there an official document of the Church that declares canonisations infallible?

    6. In August 1976, His Archibishop Lefebvre said:

    “a grave problem confronts the conscience and the faith of all Catholics since the beginning of Paul VI’s pontificate: how can a pope who is truly successor of Peter, to whom the assistance of the Holy Ghost has been promised, preside over the most radical and far-reaching destruction of the Church ever known, in so short a time, beyond what any heresiarch has ever achieved? This question must one day be answered…”

    In 1998, Bishop Tissier De Mallerais said:

    “He said more than once about these popes – about Paul VI from 1976, and about John Paul II, after the prayer meeting of religions at Assisi in 1986 – that he did not exclude the possibility that these popes were not popes, that one day the Church will have to examine their situation, that a future pope and his cardinals might have to pronounce the finding that these men had not been popes. But for himself, he preferred to consider them as popes.”

    From what I can see, the SSPX priests in question have said that the proposed canonisations will have to be looked at again in the future. Isn’t this similar to what Archbishop Lefebvre said about the papacy of Pope Paul VI?

    7. If these canonisations go ahead, and the canonisation is infallible, what is the point of me continuing to attend the Traditional Mass at the SSPX church in Glasgow? If we have “Saint” John Paul II, the “Saint” of modern Catholicism, and that canonisation IS infallible, then surely I should give in and return to my local parish?

    Please accept this post in the spirit it is written – a confused Catholic who needs a bit more reassurance than the Catholic Encyclopedia!

    • Petrus,

      Believe me when I say that I wholly accept that you write with the very best of intentions.

      Your list of questions, however, arising from genuine disturbance in your soul and expressing the unease of at least one other blogger, confirms to me why this controversial subject should not have been raised in the public domain in the first place.

      What we have seen as a result of this imprudence is a series of quotes and counter-quotes being bounced back and forward between opposing Traditionalists, who sadly appear to be developing more and more of an appetite for subjects of controversy and scandal that divide and embitter rather than those which unite and edify.

      We have seen already what damage has been done to Traditional Catholics by the Bishop Williamson controversy, having done its rounds on the blogosphere. And now we are faced with this topic which is resulting in more confusion and bad feeling.

      I myself was approached quite disrespectfully this morning before Mass by a fellow blogger. That’s when I realised that this debate has not been inspired by the spirit of Our Lord. How could it be when the subject matter is that of subordinates in the Church Pontificating on the Ordinary infallible Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff?

      Perhaps it is because of these kinds of dangers that Ignis Ardens and Rorate Caeli were finally and rightly closed to comments. It’s not just the liberals who have a looney fringe, you know! We have to be vigilant for extremists on both sides during this unprecedented crisis in the Church.

      My own position, as I have stated several times already, is to wait and see and trust in God. Others may do as they please, but I will not allow these proposed scandalous canonisations to lead me into a schismatic mindset. Instead, I have decided that my time will be much better spent in praying extra rosaries for the Pope and for the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

      And on that note I bow out.

      • Athanasius,

        Allow me to reassure you – the other blogger to whom Petrus refers, was not complaining about this thread. Quite the reverse. I happened to speak to her after she had been talking to Petrus. She repeated to me, she said, what she’d told Petrus – that she didn’t have the confidence to comment because there was so much material to digest but she emphasised that she thought the discussion was important and helpful. And she was in no doubt that Fr Gleize is right to raise the issues. Incidentally, a number of times you have expressed the hope that Bishop Fellay distances himself from Fr Gleize and his article – a forlorn hope it seems, since I’m reliably informed that Fr Gleize’s article would not have been published on Dici without the approval of the Bishop.

        I’m also very surprised, and shocked, to hear that you were approached disrespectfully before Mass by a fellow blogger.That is quite appalling. Having had a few words with you myself as you approached me when I was arriving at church, I have to say I didn’t witness that – whoever that disrespectful blogger is, I hope he/she apologies. There’s no excuse for disrespect. Adults, especially Catholics and especially Catholic Truth bloggers, should be able to disagree on something without being disrespectful or using crudities. So, whoever that is, I hope he/she reads this and apologies.

        I don’t think it is fair, however, to characterise this discussion as you have done, as “not being inspired by the Spirit of Our Lord”. That is not at all fair and it is manifestly not true. The bloggers here are genuine souls, seeking to learn the truth. They are people from all walks of life, all states of life, many with families, small children to care for, and they devote a fair amount of time to reading and contributing to this blog, so I think you are rather unkind to belittle their goodness and concern for the truths of the Faith. None of us wants to harm the Church – and we would dearly love not to be having this conversation. The fact is that we are living at a time of unprecedented crisis and nothing is as it should be: “diabolical disorientation” is evident everywhere. Your every comment has been written as if we ARE living in normal times. Not so.

        Finally, er… with respect (!) we would be grateful if you would stop throwing the word “schismatic” around. You should know from your many laudable defences of the SSPX position that this is a ploy of modernists to frighten people away from the Society and to hide the truth about Vatican II, the new Mass etc. The definition of “schismatic” is, as you know perfectly well, someone who rejects the authority of the pontiff. None of us is guilty of that. So, by all means put whatever arguments you see fit, as forcefully as you like, but being dishonest, name-calling, that sort of behaviour only undermines your position. And with such a weak position, you really don’t want to be doing that!

        Smile!

    • Petrus,

      I will seek to respond to your questions by putting my replies in bold type:

      Initially, I agreed that the forthcoming canonisations would be infallible. It is an awful thought for any Catholic to think that the pope would stand in front of the entire world, proclaim someone to be a Saint and for that not to be valid. Awful. I cannot even bear to think it.

      I completely agree. We need to keep reminding ourselves, however, that we are living through the worst ever crisis to afflict the Church. Nothing is “normal” any more.

      However, there are some key questions that I need clarified. I was speaking to another blogger at Mass this morning and they agreed that some parts of this discussion have been too overpowering. At times, the lengthy posts from either side have been quite off putting.

      So, I would like simple, straightforward answers to the following questions. This blog is about education, so if proponents of both sides of the argument could take the time to answer these questions, I would be most grateful.

      1. Surely canonisations means more than the canonised person is in Heaven? Doesn’t it attach a formal recognition that the canonised person is a role model, someone who, despite being a sinner, is an example to others and worthy of universal veneration?

      That’s what we were always taught, both at school and in the pulpit. We have All Saints Day to remember and venerate all the non-canonised saints, but only those who could be held up as role models to imitate, were ever canonised. I cannot think of any other reason to canonise anyone – can you?

      2. I have read that the church theologians (plural) have indicated that canonisation is infallible. However, the only name that is mentioned is St. Thomas Aquinas. Who are the other eminent theologians?

      The other theologians named in the Catholic Encyclopaedia (!) are: St. Antoninus, Melchior Cano, Suarez, Bellarmine, Bañez, Vasquez, and, among the canonists, of Gonzales Tellez, Fagnanus, Schmalzgrüber, Barbosa, Reiffenstül, Covarruvias (Variar. resol., I, x, no 13), Albitius (De Inconstantiâ in fide, xi, no 205), Petra (Comm. in Const. Apost., I, in notes to Const. I, Alex., III, no 17 sqq.), Joannes a S. Thomâ (on II-II, Q. I, disp. 9, a. 2), Silvester (Summa, s.v. Canonizatio), Del Bene (De Officio Inquisit. II, dub. 253), and many others. In Quodlib. IX, a. 16.

      3. Do the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the other unnamed theologians, constitute Catholic doctrine? I have read that they touch on Papal Infallibility, but this is wider than canonisation.

      The writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas have had a huge impact on the Church and prior to Vatican II his thought was central to the seminary training of priests. However, neither St Thomas Aquinas nor any of the other named theologians (nor any other theologian) have the authority to formulate doctrine – they are not authorised to teach in the name of Christ; theologians have an advisory and a speculative/enquiring role. So, for example, in his deliberations on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Aquinas took some time to see the truth of the dogma that, from the moment of her conception, Our Lady was redeemed. His fear was that Our Lady would be presented as someone who did not need to be redeemed, whereas, of course, what the Church teaches is that she was – by exception amongst human beings – redeemed at the moment of her conception. Eventually, St Thomas agreed with this. So, that’s what theologians do – they speculate , enquire, and deliberate, using whatever information is to hand to help them in debate and to reach their conclusions. That’s exactly what happened when the theologians deliberated the status of canonizations: they examined the process in use at the time, and concluded that it would be safe to believe that these canonizations enjoyed the security of infallible status. Otherwise, they would have had to spell out precisely how a pope knows that this or that candidate is deserving of being raised to “the honour of the altars”. If Father Gleize is correct, and future theologians will re-examine certain canonizations, it will be interesting to learn of their deliberations and conclusions. We’ll definitely post a thread with the headline “Told You So!”

      4. Saint Thomas Aquinas, as venerable as he is, was a fallible human being (a very distinguished theologian it has to be said). However, do his words, thoughts and opinions, however meaningful and eminent, carry the weight of the Magisterium? Given his fallibility, weren’t his words to be taken within the context of his time?

      As already stated, no theologian has the authority to teach in the name of the Magisterium. They merely advise, enquire, speculate. And, again, as already said, yes, his words should be read in the context of his time in the sense that the process which influenced him and some of the other theologians (not all) to reach their conclusion about the infallibility of canonisations, has now changed, and that dramatically.

      5. Despite extensive use of the Catholic Encyclopedia, there has been no other Church documents quoted. Is there an official document of the Church that declares canonisations infallible?

      Not according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia (!) There we have a clear statement that no definitive and binding statement on the infallibility of canonizations has been made by the Church. I cannot think of any document on this subject – probably because it’s never been an issue before. We can expect one in the future, no doubt about it…

      6. In August 1976, His Archibishop Lefebvre said:

      “a grave problem confronts the conscience and the faith of all Catholics since the beginning of Paul VI’s pontificate: how can a pope who is truly successor of Peter, to whom the assistance of the Holy Ghost has been promised, preside over the most radical and far-reaching destruction of the Church ever known, in so short a time, beyond what any heresiarch has ever achieved? This question must one day be answered…”

      In 1998, Bishop Tissier De Mallerais said:

      “He said more than once about these popes – about Paul VI from 1976, and about John Paul II, after the prayer meeting of religions at Assisi in 1986 – that he did not exclude the possibility that these popes were not popes, that one day the Church will have to examine their situation, that a future pope and his cardinals might have to pronounce the finding that these men had not been popes. But for himself, he preferred to consider them as popes.”

      From what I can see, the SSPX priests in question have said that the proposed canonizations will have to be looked at again in the future. Isn’t this similar to what Archbishop Lefebvre said about the papacy of Pope Paul VI?

      I have never read or heard that before about the Archbishop, although one SSPX priest once told me that the Archbishop had considered the possibility of sedevacantism and rejected it. Like the Archbishop, I think we must acknowledge that these were popes, all right, but bad popes. Certainly not worthy to be held up as model Catholics, let alone model popes. Can you imagine having a debate on ecumenism and quoting non-canonized pre-Vatican II Popes against Pope SAINT John Paul II? No contest. And I think that’s the general idea… This is about canonizing Vatican II and putting an end to all talk of “crisis”. Already, I’ve heard one woman say that there’s no crisis in the Church. She is just fine with the canonizations and I’ve no doubt that she loves Pope Francis to death. Already I’m bracing myself for yet another Saint Francis.

      7. If these canonizations go ahead, and the canonization is infallible, what is the point of me continuing to attend the Traditional Mass at the SSPX church in Glasgow? If we have “Saint” John Paul II, the “Saint” of modern Catholicism, and that canonization IS infallible, then surely I should give in and return to my local parish?

      There would be absolutely no point, although the tea after Mass is delicious. If the forthcoming canonizations are truly infallible and binding on the faithful, then we’ve been wrong all along – there is no crisis in the Church, that woman I was talking to the other day is right and Catholic Truth will have to shut up shop. Every cloud has a silver lining…

      Please accept this post in the spirit it is written – a confused Catholic who needs a bit more reassurance than the Catholic Encyclopedia!

      Now you’re just trying to make sure you don’t fall off the pay scale… Worry not –your post is welcome, and taken in the spirit in which it is written. Only next time, try to keep it shorter. else you’ll never fit the description of the man in the old Scots song who was: “no a man to throw a word away”… You throw them away like you’re writing a dictionary – or should that be an encyclopaedia?!

    • I did not miss the point of your post. I did read the last sentence. Fr Gleize answered it in his article when he said that some canonisations, such as Padre Pio, would have taken place before Vatican II and gave good reasons. I am asking you if you think Pope John Paul II would have been canonised before Vatican II, or Mgr Escriva, given the things he said about religious liberty etc.

      Now will you answer my question?

  33. Athanasius,

    Since Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58) the Church has taught “officially” that no important act in the process of beatification or canonization is valid UNLESS performed in the presence of the Promoter of the Faith formally recognized.

    Since that was taught and believed for centuries then we can safely say that such a teaching belongs to the Ordinary Magisterium and therefore, infallible.

    But now we are supposed to believe that a pope can remove something which “guarantees” validity and this action of the pope falls under the umbrella of infallibility?

    If that’s true, then I’m taking my family away from the SSPX in Renfrew St and returning to my local parish of St Hans Kung of the impeccable Teilhard, on the basis that novelty is now infallible.

    Long live the revolution 😉

    • Ignatius,

      It might be OK to return to your parish of St Hans Kung now – according to a book review in the Catholic Times today “Hans Kung bids to ‘restore the Church to full health”

      Whether he plans to achieve this right away or just sometime before he kills himself, isn’t clear – he’s on public record considering assisted suicide, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

      Interesting times, eh?

  34. Further, the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia sums up the role of “Advocatus Diaboli” as:

    “[T]o prevent any rash decisions concerning miracles or virtues of the candidates for the honours of the altar. All documents of beatification and canonization processes must be submitted to his examination, and the difficulties and doubts he raises over the virtues and miracles are laid before the congregation and must be satisfactorily answered before any further steps can be taken in the processes. It is his duty to suggest natural explanations for alleged miracles, and even to bring forward human and selfish motives for deeds that have been accounted heroic virtues…His duty requires him to prepare in writing all possible arguments, even at times seemingly slight, against the raising of any one to the honours of the altar. The interest and honour of the Church are concerned in preventing any one from receiving those honours whose death is not juridically proved to have been “precious in the sight of God.”

    As the Catholic Encyclopaedia stated, “the interest and honour of the Church are concerned” in questions of canonizations, as the Faith of the Christian people and the integrity of the Church’s message is weakened if non-suitable candidates are raised to the altars. Thus, it would actually be a sin against faith TO NOT scrutinize the lives of candidates; to fail to ask sufficient questions about their sanctity would be to compromise the certitude of faith, at least subjectively in the minds of the faithful. This is why Lambertini quotes Fr. Bartoli, biographer as St. Robert Bellarmine, in saying that the desirable end in any canonization is “for the edification of His Church, for the glory of His name” and why Pope Alexander III chastises a bishop in 1173 for allowing a man unsuitably scrutinized to be honored as a saint, going so far as to declare, “You shall not therefore presume to honour him in the future; for, even if miracles were worked through him, it is not lawful for you to venerate him as a saint without the authority of the Catholic Church.”

    Devils advocate aside, in commenting upon the many canonizations of John Paul II, Cardinal Martins stated that John Paul II viewed his canonizations in the context of a “fulfilment” of the vision of Vatican II:

    “The first reason the Pope gave [for so many canonizations] was that he, by beatifying so many Servants of God, did no more than implement the Second Vatican Council, which vigorously reaffirmed that holiness is the essential note of the Church…Therefore, John Paul II said, holiness is what is most important in the Church, according to the Second Vatican Council. Then no one should be surprised by the fact that the Pope wished to propose so many models of holiness to Christians, to the People of God.

    The second reason is the extraordinary ECUMENICAL IMPORTANCE of holiness. In “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” the Pope said that the holiness of the saints, blessed and martyrs is perhaps the most convincing ecumenism, these are his words, because holiness, he said with even stronger words, has its ultimate foundation in Christ, in whom the Church is not divided. Therefore, the ecumenism we all want calls for many saints, so that the convincing ecumenism of holiness is placed in the candelabrum of the holiness of the Church”

    Devils advocate is removed because Ecumenism calls for many saints, and we’re supposed to believe that this is infallible?

    And to think I threw out a perfectly good tambourine.

      • Editor,

        (Tis Ignatius. Couldn’t reply under this name for some strange reason.)

        “Hans Kung bids to ‘restore the Church to full health”

        In Post-Conciliar Church speak = Heroic Virtue

        I can hear it now: St Hans, patron saint of Euthanasia.

        I found this link from the Society very interesting. Not too sure if it is the same link you’ve provided. This statement caught my attention:

        “Following Archbishop Lefebvre, we defend the second solution. We say that the new post-Conciliar legislation (new Mass and new liturgy, new canonizations, new Code of Canon Law) is not infallible and does not oblige because we have serious reasons to doubt its very nature as law.”

        http://sspx.org/en/beatification-and-canonization-vatican-ii-1

        • Dopey Dinah, Ignatius/Filiecclesia, (and here was me being nice to you thinking Filiecclesia was a new blogger! One lives and learns!)

          I’ve just checked my “invitations” list and notice that your invitation reads “Ignatius….” sent to Filiecclesia” so I presume you have two email addresses. If you create an avatar, remember that it will be attached to the email address you use. I was complaining last week (in your royal absence) that I’m getting sore eyes with all the WordPress avatars, so offered to create avatars for those who are not sure of what to do. I can do that in your dashboard but you need to email your email address and password for me to do so, as well, of course, as your chosen picture or instructions on what kind of picture to use. If you wish – no pressure, there’s a Specsavers not far away, don’t worry about me…

          Yes, the way things are going I would not be at all surprised if we soon have a Saint Hans Kung, Patron Saint of Euthanasia – and that before he’s gone to his theological debate with St Peter at the Pearly Gates.

          Different link but same article, I think. Probably easier to read as the Dici one reads as though it were typed in broken English!

  35. How about this?

    Pope Francis has declared the medieval mystic Angela of Foligno to be a saint, as described in this EWTN report –

    ‘In enrolling St. Angela in the Church’s official “catalogue of saints,” the Holy Father diverged from the normal canonization process and recognition of a second miracle attributed to the saint’s intercession, according to the Italian publication La Stampa. Exceptions from the normal canonization process, while rare, are not unprecedented and can be determined by the Pope.’

    http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=8608

    • Awkward Customer,

      The Pope may dispense with the process in cases such as this medieval candidate due to the remoteness of the cause, the fact that there are writings and whatever other testimony has been recorded – e.g. by her spiritual director, etc.

      Why the Pope would choose to do so at this time is quite another matter – I mean, it’s not as if we’re exactly short of saints, are we? Pope John Paul II canonised more saints than all of his predecessors put together, somewhat discrediting the very concept in the (that word again) process.

      Still, one thanks one for the very interesting link…

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