A Tale of Two Canonisations: safety of the infallibity in doubt – SSPX…

A Tale of Two  (Problematic) Canonisations: the doubts - SSPX

On September 3, 2013, at the consistory held in Rome, the Pope announced that François would proceed to canonization of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and John Paul II (1978-2005) in a single ceremony on 27 April 2014. From the beatification of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, September 3, 2000, and Karol Wojtyla, the 1 st May 2011, the Society of Saint Pius X issued a very serious reservations…

Conclusion.

“Three serious reasons to justify the Catholic faithful to doubt the validity of the new beatification and canonization. First, the reforms that followed the Council led to some shortcomings in the procedure and secondly, they introduce a new collégialiste intention, two consequences that are inconsistent with the safety of the infallibility of beatification and canonization. Third, the judgment takes place in the trial involves a design for the less ambiguous and therefore dubious holiness and heroic virtue. In the context of the post-conciliar reforms from the Pope and the bishops proposed to the veneration of the faithful genuine Catholic saints canonized but after a weak and questionable procedure. Thus the heroic virtues of Padre Pio, canonized since Vatican II, no doubt, even though we can waver before the new style of trial that led to proclaim his virtues. On the other hand, the same procedure makes possible canonization once unthinkable, where the title is awarded to the holiness of the faithful departed whose reputation remains controversial and in which the heroic virtue does not shine with a brilliance badge. Is it sure that the intention of the popes who have completed the canonization of a new kind of heroic virtue is that it was for their predecessors, until Vatican II? This new situation is explained by the confusion introduced by the post-conciliar reforms. We can not dissipate unless they attack the root and to consider the merits of these reforms. ”  (emphasis added)  Read more 

The first part of this discussion took place here

34 responses

  1. Once again we enter into the very dangerous territory of questioning the infallibility of post-conciliar canonisations, even before any really dubious canonisation has taken place!

    I still have in my mind from many years ago the teaching of a few SSPX priests who had me convinced for a while that the new ordination rite meant that many parish priests ordained after the Council were not actually ordained at all. It took me a good while, with the grace of God, to realise that Our Lord would never permit this to happen in his Church, and so I stopped listening to such priests. Thankfully, they were in the minority and have since left the SSPX to take their place with properly schismatic and/or sedevacantist groups.

    Now we find ourselves debating a question which is even more dangerous than the ordination one, a question which I believe has been raised prematurely at best and which could cause as much scandal to souls as the (not as yet declared) canonisations it challenges.

    The argument presented against the canonisation of John Paul II (I’m not so sure about John XXIII) is certainly very convincing. It raises genuine concerns about his scandalous Pontificate, which any Catholic with a sense of the Faith will instantly recognise and acknowledge. It is truly inconceivable that God would allow such as John Paul II to be raised to the dignity of sainthood, unless, of course, the Catholic Faith taught for 1,950 years up to Vatican II was a lie, which is impossible. I make no judgment here on the soul of John Paul II; I merely point out that the faithful would not distinguish between the man and the Pope, mistaking his Papal errors for acts of virtue.

    There is also very good reason to question the reformed post-Conciliar beatification and canonisation processes, and even to accuse the modern Popes of recklessness in regard to these new procedures.

    Let’s be frank, the canonisation of John Paul II is being pushed unscrupulously by a liberal regime which appears to have lost its understanding of true supernatural virtue and which is now only desperate to legitimise its programme of Post-Conciliar revolution, a revolution that has completely obscured the Traditional Catholic Faith by the internal spreading of Modernism, “the Synthesis of all heresies,” as St. Pius X called it. This is the “diabolical disorientation” of the Third Secret of Fatima referred to by Sister Lucy and confirmed by Cardinal Ciappi.

    But note this and note it well! At no time since this Modernist revolution began in the 1960s has a modern Pope formally and universally imposed error on the faithful. Whether we consider the New Mass, Communion in the hand, the abuse of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or any other abuse now visible in every parish, none of these things has been imposed infallibly on the Church. Not a single one of these atrocities has been made binding on the faithful.

    So, are we now to consider that, having protected His Church so clearly these past 50 years, which, incidentally, is a magnificent example of the Divine protection guaranteed by Our Lord to His Church, that Christ Our Lord will permit the Pope to formally declare John Paul II to be a saint, a declaration which touches on Faith and which, regardless of process failings, would be considered by the entire Church as a binding act having Divine approval by reason of an official declaration made by the Supreme Pontiff exercising his Ordinary Magisterial authority?

    We need to be absolutely certain about what these few theologians in the SSPX are proposing. The logical inference from their argument, which we would have to accept if we accept the argument, is that every canonisation declared since the new procedures came into force in the Church, is at best doubtful and at worst invalid.

    This throws the entire Church into official confusion, since the calendar of saints would no longer be trustworthy. It also plays havoc with the majority of holy theologians of Tradition who concur that the Pope is infallibly protected when formally declaring a canonisation. It is an unthinkable and irresponsible position to place ourselves in, much less advocate to others!

    Like the SSPX in general, I have the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre which is to keep the old faith by refusing novelty. It never has been my remit, nor will it ever be, to go beyond that duty with clever argument that effectively encroaches into forbidden areas of what I will and will not accept as infallible Papal teaching.

    If I were to go that far, then I would be no better than the average sedevacantist who, using very sound theological argument to demonstrate the scandal of Pope Paul’s New Mass, and other like reforms which he inflicted on the Church with apparent nonchalance, finds himself in the entrenched and soul-threatening position of declaring Paul VI and his successors anti Popes.

    As I have stated before, this question of John Paul’s canonisation is premature and dangerous. It is a debate which should not be raised at this time. Rather, we should await the ceremony itself, trusting in Our Lord’s promise, which may well be confirmed again in the wording of a Papal decree that is informal and not therefore binding on the Church.

    In the meantime, let us by all means highlight the errors of Pope John Paul’s Pontificate, but with charity and with care not to scandalise souls with fruitless debate that none of us is qualified nor authorised to enter into.

  2. “So, are we now to consider that, having protected His Church so clearly these past 50 years, which, incidentally, is a magnificent example of the Divine protection guaranteed by Our Lord to His Church, that Christ Our Lord will permit the Pope to formally declare John Paul II to be a saint, a declaration which touches on Faith and which, regardless of process failings, would be considered by the entire Church as a binding act having Divine approval by reason of an official declaration made by the Supreme Pontiff exercising his Ordinary Magisterial authority?”

    I think the talk about wording is a red herring. The Church either makes someone a saint or it doesn’t. These popes will be pronounced saints and there will be the pictures and the statues of them everywhere in parish churches and people’s homes, novenas, medals to “Pope Saint John XXIII” and “Pope Saint John Paul II”. It cannot possibly matter how the Pope words these canonisations.

    The point that stuck in my mind after the previous thread that there has been no formal statement by the Church on the infallibility of canonisations that makes that belief binding on us. That, to me, is the most important fact of all. Why do you put so much stress on the wording of the decree, but no stress at all on that fact – that there is no wording making canonisations binding in the first place?

    “This throws the entire Church into official confusion, since the calendar of saints would no longer be trustworthy”

    I beg to differ, because in the article it makes the point that there are post-Vatican II canonisations that can be trusted, they give the example of Padre Pio, because of the huge amount of testimony of his sanctity.

    • Surely the problem is any reason behind the ‘rule change’ relative to elevation to sainthood.

      I would like to be informed as to how this dramatic change took place and the person(s) who promulgated the same.

      • Sixupman,

        Me, too: I would like to know how the dramatic change in the process came about. It’s the process which is the key issue. It is astonishing that this is not obvious to any Catholic. The opinion of theologians that canonisations are infallible acts, was BASED UPON the rigour of the process. That is stated clearly in every Catholic encyclopaedia, before and after Vatican II that I’ve consulted. How on earth could it be otherwise? If not scrutinising the process, what were these eminent theologians studying/taking into account, in their deliberations? Were they arguing that the Holy Ghost would “inspire” a pope when he considered a candidate’s holiness? Holy Father, here’s Joe Bloggs. Do you think he was a holy man, could we canonise him? A lot of people liked him. He helped the poor… Ridiculous. Of course not.

        The grace of infallibility works by divine assistance, not inspiration. Anyone can feel “inspired” (to write a poem, say a prayer, give a donation to Catholic Truth (!) ) but that is not how infallibility works. The Holy Spirit ASSISTS the pope and we know that it has worked because, until now, the Pope did not bypass the rigorous system of scrutiny of the candidate, miracles and testimony of sanctity from many sources. That lets me out, for starters. But if this new (non) process is accepted, all I need to do is get a few pals together, bribe them to campaign for the introduction of my cause, preferably on the day of my funeral, and hope nobody makes the Vatican any the wiser. Patent nonsense.

        It seems unbelievable than any Catholic would argue that a candidate who has not undergone any scrutiny, the office of Devil’s Advocate having been dispensed with by a current candidate (truly you couldn’t make it up) would consider it disloyal to question such canonisations. As if the SSPX theologian would introduce this debate lightly. The same argument for fidelity to Tradition applies to this process as much as to any other aspect of the Faith. If popes dispense with Tradition in any major area of the Faith, then they are in the realm of making it up as they go along and no Catholic is bound to adhere to such novelties. On the contrary, as Archbishop Lefebvre taught, we are bound to reject them.

        I’ve asked a few people if they will refer to, pray to “Pope Saint John Paul II” or “Pope Saint John XXIII”. I’ve yet to hear a “yes” to that question.

        Anyone say “yes” on this blog?

      • SIXUPMAN,

        I can’t say that I’m familiar with how these process changes came about, so I’ll leave that for now.

        What I will say instead is that I believe the argument to be flawed which insists that strong process = valid canonisation and weakened process = invalid canonisation. If that were true then it would be to the process and not the Pope that infallibility was guaranteed, i.e., the extent of the Supreme Pontiff’s Ordinary Magisterial authority would be dictated by subordinate forces in the Church. Besides this, the fallacy is exposed by the fact that Popes decreed canonisations before any recognised process was in place.

        While it is true that the opinion of theologians was partially based on the rigour of the process, there is no statement from them to say that a less rigorous process would automatically nullify the infallibility of a Papal decree of canonisation. This has been falsely deduced to support a fallacious argument. These are very important issues for the Church that are not as clear cut as they may first appear. The legitimate authorities must declare on these matters in future, not us.

        And let us remember this qualifying statement in 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.”

        And let us think about this statement, noting that it does not mention dependency upon “the process:”

        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).

        Obviously, when we understand correctly the teaching about Papal infallibility, i.e., the protective assistance of the Holy Ghost, not personal Papal inspiration, then we know that there could never be such a ridiculous situation in the Church as that of bribing a few well placed people to have someone canonised. That kind of suggestion is not conducive to respectful and reasoned debate. Yes, it truly is “patent nonsense” that I for one have never promoted or hinted at.

        That having been said, and given that the Pope believes himself to be decreeing a canonisation with infallibility (see above quotes), it is quite evident that if the proposed canonisations of John XXIII and John Paul II are to be ruled invalid because of flawed process, then all canonisation that have resulted from the same process, including Padre Pio, must likewise be ruled invalid. We cannot pick and choose which canonisations we accept and which ones we reject on the basis of our personal take on the lives of those declared saintly, especially when we have argued that the entire modern process nullifies infallibility in these declarations. This is arbitrary reasoning in matters way beyond our authority.

        Finally, permit me to say that it is patently false to assert, like some, that this debate over the infallibility of canonisations follows the same principle of fidelity to the Traditional Faith that the SSPX normally follows. Every novelty rejected by Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX until now has been rejected on the basis that said novelties were introduced without the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Pope, and often contrary to it and to the teaching of the Popes before Vatican II. On this occasion, however, there is actual doubt being cast on the Supreme Pontiff’s authority in a matter in which he does consider himself to be infallible. This is a seismic shift in SSPX policy which is extremely dangerous. I am certain that Archbishop Lefebvre would have stamped it out rather quickly.

        As for deciding whether or not I would pray to “St. John Paul II.” I do not even contemplate the question since, like the Archbishop and others, I trust in Our Lord’s promise to His Church more than in my own opinion. I still say this canonisation will never be made official and binding by the Pope. Hence, I do not presume to propagate dangerous theories based on what I think might happen if God appears to fail His Church next year and allows the Pope to bind the faithful to a decree that undermines the Faith of the Church. Thankfully, I know where to draw the line.

        • “What I will say instead is that I believe the argument to be flawed which insists that strong process = valid canonisation and weakened process = invalid canonisation”

          The problem is there isn’t really any process at all now, not just a weakened process. Doing away with the Devil’s Advocate is just unbelievable and if it doesn’t bother you, it bothers me. It doesn’t make any sense to say that insisting on the true process means it’s the process not the pope that is infallible. Frankly, that doesn’t make any sense to me at all. If the process didn’t matter why did the likes of St Thomas base his belief on infallibility on it?

          The canonisation process has already lost a lot of its credibility as Pope John Paul II canonised more saints than all of his predecessors put together, so I don’t suppose there’s much point in losing much sleep over two more.

          • Well Lily, if there is now no process then there can be no canonisations whatever at any time until it is restored. That’s the logical conclusion from your statement.

            In fact, there is a process, albeit undermined, so the gates of Hell have not prevailed after all. It bothers me greatly that it is so undermined, but not to the extent of declaring it non-existent and announcing all canonisations from henceforth to be invalid. That is a too-simplistic and extremely dangerous route to take.

        • “As for deciding whether or not I would pray to “St. John Paul II.” I do not even contemplate the question since, like the Archbishop and others, I trust in Our Lord’s promise to His Church more than in my own opinion. I still say this canonisation will never be made official and binding by the Pope.”

          Athanasius,

          You’ve lost me there. How can an infallible act not be binding on the faithful?

          • Margaret Mary,

            It’s really quite simple. If the Pope doesn’t make it binding, then it is not binding. That’s why I’ve said all along that we should read carefully the text of the canonisation, assuming Our Lord ever allows it to proceed that far.

    • Lily,

      “I think the talk about wording is a red herring.”

      Not so! The wording is everything, the difference between whether the Church has formally defined and decreed or not. Paul VI did not define and decree the New Mass; nor have the errors of ecumenism, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, etc., been defined and decreed. If they had been then we would have been obliged to obey and accept them. Yes, words are everything.

      “The point that stuck in my mind after the previous thread that there has been no formal statement by the Church on the infallibility of canonisations that makes that belief binding on us. That, to me, is the most important fact of all. Why do you put so much stress on the wording of the decree, but no stress at all on that fact – that there is no wording making canonisations binding in the first place?”

      That statement is the real red herring since it is quite obvious that the Church has held many things to be infallible long before they were stated formally. The fact that you appear to be ignoring is that most eminent theologians in the Church, St. Thomas amongst them, are in agreement that canonisations are infallible. So, in fact, you are setting your opinion against theirs by declaring to the contrary. In other words, you are in opposition to Traditional Catholic belief. That’s why I won’t go sown that route, insisting instead that we must wait and see what happens and then consider the words spoken by the Pope during the ceremony, if it ever takes place.

      “I beg to differ, because in the article it makes the point that there are post-Vatican II canonisations that can be trusted, they give the example of Padre Pio, because of the huge amount of testimony of his sanctity.”

      No, it is I who begs to differ! If the article argument is followed to its logical conclusion then there can be no exceptions to the flawed beatification and canonisation processes. Padre Pio does indeed stand out from the many hundreds canonised by the modern Popes, conspicuous by the numerous miracles attributed to his intercession. However, his process was still a flawed one by the standards set in the article, by which I mean it would still have to be considered a collegial, not Papal, investigation that was carried out without Devil’s Advocate. Numerous miracles are not the criterion by which canonisation is decided upon.

      Anyway, even if Padre Pio’s case was sound there are still hundreds more canonisations since Vatican II, not so conspicuous by their proofs, that would, as I said, throw the calendar and Church into confusion. The article quoted, then, presents a bogus argument.

      • I’m sorry, but I think it’s your logic that is confusing. You think that as long as the pope uses certain words there won’t be a problem. But I don’t understand this. Will these two popes be saints or not, if the wording is not what you think it should be?

        Here is the bull of canonisation of St Josemaria. Is this a binding canonisation because it doesn’t seem very strongly worded to me.

        The complete text of the Bull of Canonization is as follows:

        DECRETAL LETTERS

        Honors of Sainthood are Decreed for Blessed Josemaría Escrivá

        POPE JOHN PAUL II
        Servant of the Servants of God for a permanent record of the matter

        Domine, ut videam! [Lord, that I might see!] (cf Lk 18:41), Domina, ut sit! [Lady, that it might be!], Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam! [All together with Peter to Jesus through Mary], Regnare Christum volumus! [We want Christ to reign!] (cf 1 Cor 15:25), Deo omnis gloria! [All the glory to God!] (cf Roman Canon, Doxology). In these aspirations one can trace the entire life story of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá. He was barely sixteen when he began to recite the first two aspirations, as soon as he had the first inklings of God’s call. They expressed the burning desire of his heart: to see what God was asking of him, so that he might do it without delay, lovingly fulfilling the Lord’s will. The third aspiration appears frequently in his writings as a young priest and shows how his zeal to win souls for God went hand in hand with both a firm determination to be faithful to the Church and an ardent devotion to Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. Regnare Christum volumus! [We want Christ to reign!]: these words aptly express his constant pastoral concern to spread among all men and women the call to share, through Christ, in the dignity of God’s children. God’s sons and daughters should live for the purpose, to serve Him alone: Deo omnis gloria! [All the glory to God!]

        He framed this program of Christian holiness in the context of one’s normal daily duties and tasks, for which reason he may rightly be called “the saint of ordinary life.” Indeed, his life and message have taught countless Christian faithful, particularly laypeople, engaged in the most varied professions, to transform their ordinary work into prayer, service of others, and a path towards holiness.

        Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9th, 1902. He was ordained a priest on March 28th, 1925.

        On October 2nd, 1928, the Lord gave him the light to see what He had planned for him: on that day, he founded Opus Dei. Thus, a new pathway of life was opened in the Church, so that all men and women —without distinction of race, class or culture — might realize that they are called to the fullness of charity and to the apostolate, each in their own place in the world. Indeed, the ordinary circumstances of life are the place where the Lord calls us and the hinge upon which our loving response turns. Josemaría Escrivá teaches that work, if it is carried out with the help of God’s life-giving grace, is a wellspring of inexhaustible fruitfulness. It is a means of lifting up the Cross and placing it on the summit of all human activity, so that the world is transformed, as it were, from within, according to the Spirit of Christ, and reconciled with God.

        Josemaría Escrivá’s work on behalf of priests, both on his own and through the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which he began on February 14th, 1943, makes him a shining example of concern for priestly holiness and brotherhood.

        In 1946, he moved to Rome and there, out of apostolic zeal, he constantly labored to spread the Christian message throughout the world, always fully in union with the Roman Pontiff and desirous of serving all the local churches. He inspired a vast range of initiatives to promote the dignity of the human person, to the great benefit of society and the further advance of the Gospel.

        On his many trips to the countries of Europe and Latin America, he carried out a tireless work of catechesis. His reputation for holiness drew many men and women to hear him.

        On June 26th, 1975, at noon, he was stricken by a heart attack and rendered his soul to God. His body now lies in the prelatic church of Opus Dei, dedicated to Our Lady of Peace, where faithful from around the world frequently go to pray.

        After his death, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer’s reputation for holiness spread, and many scientifically-inexplicable cures, as well as hundreds of thousands of spiritual and material favors, have been attributed to his intercession.

        We ourselves solemnly beatified the Founder of Opus Dei on May 17th, 1992, in St. Peter’s Square.

        As the number of favors attributed by the faithful to the intercession of Blessed Josemaría continued to grow, the Promoters of the Cause chose one cure and presented it to the Holy See so that, after careful examination, it might permit Blessed Josemaría to be numbered among the saints.

        In 1994, a process was initiated regarding this miraculous cure in the Archdiocesan Curia of Badajoz, Spain. On December 20th, 2001, after the customary investigations were concluded in the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints with an affirmative result, the decree on the miracle was promulgated in our Presence. Then, having heard the favorable opinions of the Cardinals and Bishops gathered in Consistory on February 26th, 2002, we established that the rite of Canonization be celebrated on October 6th of the same year.

        Therefore, today, in a solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Square, before an immense multitude of the faithful, We have pronounced the following formula: In honor of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity, for the uplifting of Catholic faith and the increase of Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and our own, after careful deliberation, having called frequently upon God’s help, and with the advice of many of our brother Bishops, 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.

        And what We have declared, We desire to be in force both now and in the future, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

        Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, the sixth day of October, in the two thousand and second year of our Lord, of our Pontificate the twenty-fourth.

        I, John Paul
        Bishop of the Catholic Church

        Marcello Rossetti, protonotary apostolic

        • Lily,

          Here is the part of that decree that makes it unquestionably binding on the Church.

          “In honor of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity, for the uplifting of Catholic faith and the increase of Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and our own, after careful deliberation, having called frequently upon God’s help, and with the advice of many of our brother Bishops, 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.

          And what We have declared, We desire to be in force both now and in the future, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.”

          • If the Pope uses those words when he canonises popes John Paul II and John XXIII, will you then accept that these two popes are canonised saints?

              • Athanasius,

                You are failing to make important distinctions. It has already been pointed out to you that Padre Pio’s sanctity was widely attested, his miracles and bilocation etc known far and wide. He would have been canonised in the early church and he would have been canonised in the pre-Vatican II Church, so there is no problem at all with his canonisation. That is the point made in the Dici article and it makes perfect sense.

                I have no problem accepting the canonisation of Padre Pio for that reason. I will have great difficulty accepting that I should honour Pope John Paul II as a canonised saint, irrespective of the wording the Pope chooses to use.

                I notice that you didn’t actually answer Lily’s question: will you accept these canonisations if Pope Francis uses the words which are published from the decree for St Josemaria? If you don’t answer, then your position could be interpreted as ambiguous – not wanting to burn your bridges.

                • Michaela,

                  I am not, as you assert, failing to make distinctions. Rather, it is you and others who are trying to introduce distinctions between those whose canonisations we can accept and those we cannot accept.

                  The proposal being put forward is that the modern canonisation process is now so flawed that it cannot be trusted. Hence, say opponents, we must doubt the infallibility of all canonisations that have resulted from this process, except those we personally declare to be sound, like that of Padre Pio who was so obviously holy.

                  The problem you have there is that no matter how many miracles and bilocations Padre Pio performed, there is always the possibility of deception. Canonisations are not based solely on miracles, you know, there is a lot more to the process.

                  No, what makes Padre Pio’s canonisation certain for Catholics is the Pope’s infallible decree assuring us of the fact. It has absolutely nothing whatever to do with our ability to discern and declare on individual cases, which would be to rob the Church of its authority and to place infallibility with the people.

                  Regarding my not answering Lily’s question as to whether or not I will accept the canonisation of John Paul II, should it eventually be decreed solemnly with the same authority and words used in Padre Pio’s canonisation. Well, I thought I had made my position perfectly clear on that.

                  I do not believe that Our Lord will impose the canonisation of John Paul II on the Church, even if a ceremony of sorts does go ahead, and so I refuse to be drawn further in the matter. I have said all along that I trust in Our Lord’s promise to His Church, so why should I oblige those who indulge in idle speculation by answering questions about things that have not yet come to pass, and probably never will?

  3. I do think there’s a big chance Pope Francis won’t use words like “I solemnly declare John Paul to be a saint….” It’s more in keeping with his style to not declare something. Look at his consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart. He didn’t mention the world, the Immaculate Heart, nor the word consecrate.

    • Pope John Paul II didn’t use “solemnly declare Josemaria to be a saint” – does that mean he’s not a saint?

      • Lily,

        The Pope doesn’t have to use the word “solemn” to make the act he is pronouncing a solemn act. See the quote above for the words that make the act solemn.

  4. Athanasius, have you listened to the conferences of the late Canon Gregory Hesse? He touched on something that I think is pertinent. He stated that before the 1940s the Church did not define what the matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders really was. The majority of theologians believed that the matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders were the chalice and the paten that the seminarian holds onto while he is being ordained to the priesthood. This is why they were instructed to hold onto them tightly. Pius XII used his infallibility to define that the matter is actually the imposition of hands, which is not what the majority of theologians believed. (And if I’m not mistaken, I believe the imposition of hands is in Scripture).

    So my question to you is if the majority of theologians can be wrong in this case, a subject touching on the validity of a sacrament, then why can’t they be wrong when it comes to the subject of the infallibility of the canonizations of saints?

    • Thurifer,

      I have just been reading Sacramentum Ordinis, the document by which Pius XII infallibly declared on what was required for valid ordination. It is not at all clear from that document that a majority of theologians prior to 1940 were wrongly of the mind that the chalice and paten, rather than the imposition of hands, constituted the essential matter for validity. In fact, Pius mentions some theologians, not a majority. Can you tell me where you got the information that most theologians were wrong on this prior to Pius’ declaration?

      • Well I should correct myself because Canon Hesse does say many rather than most. However, the source is in his conference on the validity/invalidity of the Novus Ordo. You can watch it here:

        He starts talking about Sacramentum Ordinis around the 4:00 minute mark. It’s a two hour long conference but definitely worth listening to in case anyone is interested.

  5. Thurifer,

    With respect, I do not believe that a parallel can, or should, be drawn between these two entirely different situations, although I grant that it appears at first glance that such a parallel can be drawn.

    My reason for saying this is that Pius XII resolved the question of what constitutes the correct matter for valid ordination with an infallible declaration. In the case presently under debate, just two priests and some lay people are asking us to accept their assurance that the Church’s theologians are collectively wrong in a matter which has far reaching consequences, both as to the infallibility proper to the Ordinary Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff and the numerous canonisations decreed since Vatican II.

    Given the gravity of the question, I prefer to side with the Church’s theologians, including St. Thomas, by asserting that canonisations, because they touch on the universal faith of the Church and because the Pope believes himself to be infallible when he decrees them, are valid despite real or imagined flaws in the process leading to the formal declaration.

    If the majority belief of the Church’s most eminent theologians is incorrect, then it is for the Pope at some later date to define the correct matter. I do not believe they are wrong, however, for the very grave reasons quoted. All I’m saying is that I will not presume to sit in judgment of the Ordinary Magisterium and to assume to myself a greater understanding in so great a question. My duty as a lay Catholic is to keep the Traditional Catholic Faith by refusing novelty. I am neither qualified nor graced to go beyond that remit.

  6. N O T I C E . . .

    As he promised, Gandalf has posted a lengthy, thoroughly documented comment on the previous thread – don’t miss it. Scroll to October 19, 2013 at 8:38

    We don’t usually have two threads with topics so closely linked running at the same time, but this is the exception to the rule. I should have, perhaps, closed the previous thread but, in any case, bloggers are free to respond here if they prefer.

    Allow me to respond here, briefly, myself by saying – thank you, yet again, Gandalf, for your crystal clear comment, demonstrating beyond doubt that to question these canonisations is NOT to challenge infallibility or indefectibility. Bring back Vatican I ! Could not be clearer. Thank you.

  7. I found it quite odd that Gandalf should appear again after some weeks of absence with more or less a reiteration of his first comments (which are anything but crystal clear). I have responded accordingly, albeit with a much shorter post for the sake of clarity, not to mention sanity! Gandalf’s argument is, frankly, bogus, despite its many lines of seductive deduction.

  8. Athanasius,

    You are coming across as prideful – unable to admit that you are wrong in the face of the very clear evidence. You describe Gandalf’s argument as “bogus” which is insulting and well off the mark.

    The bottom line is, as other people have said, is that there is no solemn definition on the subject of the infallibility of canonizations which means they are still up to debate, as Gandalf has argued lucidly. At the best, they are only infallible as a matterof “pious belief” anyway, so I don’t know why you are so het up about the whole thing.

  9. Josephine,

    I will thank you to maintain charity and not turn this debate into a personal battle by hurling insults. It is never a good sign when people resort to insult.

    My use of the word “bogus” was the most accurate way of describing Gandalf’s argument, there is nothing remotely insulting in the employment of such a word. It was a statement of fact, nothing more.

    As for your accusation that I am “prideful,” I have had that one thrown at me by Modernists for many years. It’s unusual for Traditional Catholics to resort to such baseless nonsense.

    The reason I am “so het up about the whole thing,” as you put it is because I believe you and the others here on this blog are very gravely in error, and leading others into error by making public judgments that you have neither the right nor the authority to be making in respect to the Ordinary Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. You have all entered into really dangerous territory with apparent ease and self-righteousness. I have been one of the staunchest supporters of the SSPX for 25 years and I wouldn’t contemplate going this far.

  10. Here is some more food for thought:

    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.”

  11. Here is some more food for thought:

    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.”

    • Athanasius,

      Your latest posts contain nothing new. You are only repeating the same quotes but not answering the questions. You stick only to quoting about infallibility, not canonisations and infallibility which is not defined as binding. We have the opinion of some theologians which were based on the process in use in the Church until the 9th century. How many times?

  12. I found this on Rorate:

    “An emerging portion of the Ratzingerian iceberg, Sandro Magister, a journalist at L’Espresso, a star among Vaticanists, releases in his blog chiesa every week, and at times every day, severe criticisms of Pope Francis: “Martini Pope. The Dream Come True,” on October 15; “Encyclicals have a new format: the interview,” on October 7; “Ricca and Chaouqui, two enemies in the house,” on August 26; “The Francis transformation”, on October 3; among not few others.

    But he is not alone: “Francis is in the process of founding a new religion opposed to Catholic magisterium” (Mattia Rossi, Il Foglio, October 11); “We do not like this pope” (Alessandro Gnocchi and Maria Palmaro, in Il Foglio on October 9 – they were removed from the staff of Radio maria [because of this article]); “Flock before doctrine? We risk losing both” (Rino Cammilleri, Il Giornale, October 10).”
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/10/press-sumary-dangerous-dilemma-of-two.html

    I can’t think that this pope will do anything infallibly – and I apologise if I offend anyone, but it just seems so amazing to think he is going to go through a canonisation ceremony for two popes who may be judged in history as two of the worst popes ever.

  13. I think the society priests have done a good job showing that there are some doubts. I have no reason not to trust them. They have to make judgements based on the facts and it looks like they’ve used more facts than Athanasius will consider. I don’t see how the priests are wrong after all the more symptoms the patient has, the easier it is to arrive at a diagnosis.
    However, Athanasius and others may be right that God will not let the Pope cause such scandal. We’ll see. Anyway a future good Pope will make everything right again. How can we be responsible for modernist junk we can’t even understand? I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

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