Question: If the Religious Orders and Congregations that were once Catholic in their faith are now following the heretical Masonic ideology emanating from the enemy-occupied Vatican, where can a young man or lady go who feels called to the religious life?
J.F., Pittsburgh, PA
Before going into detail with an answer to this question, I would like the concerned reader to keep in mind the words of Pope Pius XII in his address to the clerical students of Rome in June 24, 1939:
"Canon law likewise is directed to the salvation of souls; and the purpose of all its regulations and laws is that men may live and die in the holiness given them by the grace of God."
To brazenly and blatantly disregard the laws of the Church is to live and die without the holiness of God's grace.
A genuine vocation is a 'call' from God. It is not something a person gives to oneself, although it must be felt within oneself. Such a call is a grace from God. Therefore, it is of a supernatural order.
Being a call to a higher supernatural state within the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, such a desire can only be realized, theologically speaking, according to the order established by the Holy Ghost in the true Church.
There are monks and nuns in many quasi-religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Protestantism. There are now, sad to say, many 'religious' in the New Order Church (Post-Vatican II Church) and what is even more heartbreaking: among those who seem to have jumped from the fire, only to land in the frying pan. These latter are self-styled 'Traditionalists.'
It is safe to say, that the original Religious Orders and Congregations founded for the most part by men and women divinely-inspired and now canonized as saints no longer exist.
Some external vestiges of former days still may be seen: Some wear a kind of visibly distinct garb which does not signify much; and, of course, they hold the properties and buildings bought and built by Roman Catholics. Much like the situation in England when the king declared himself 'head' of the new Church (which still calls itself 'Catholic') and murdered all the monks, friars and nuns who would not deny their faith and embrace the Anglican Church under the civil authority, present-day Roman Catholics have been forced by their conscience to leave the once-blessed solitude and serenity of ancient cloisters.
As a result of the deliberate destruction of the well-established Religious communities, those who escaped the first wave of attack upon Christendom did not realize that they were to face even a more subtle deceit: the undermining of genuine vocations by means of religious communities outside the supernatural order of the Roman Catholic Church.
It is essential to the supernatural life of grace, therefore, the spiritual life, that a person be in right order with the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. No one is saved outside the true Church either directly or indirectly, by explicit or implicit belonging to the true religion. The reason is simple enough: the whole idea of 'religion' is to bring mankind back to God - not away from God.
Everything that is false is opposed to what is true. Consequently, all the 'good will' in the world will not make true that which is false.
No one can be living the life of the Holy Ghost who is not in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.
It is, then, an absurdity and against sound reason to think that it is possible to be serving God and saving one's soul by associating oneself with some group having a few familiar accidental signs of religious life. Anyone can build a 'monastery' or a 'convent;' anyone can copy the familiar garb of a monk, friar, nun or Sister. There are, unfortunately, many such cases today where someone decides to 'found' some kind of 'Order.'
Therefore, it is by way of grave warning that uninformed or unsuspecting souls take care lest they be lured into thinking they are 'dedicating themselves to God' in response to an inner call. For the most part, they will never answer that call and will fully realize this on Judgment Day. Meanwhile, those who are enamored with their illusions and delusions will continue to seduce the unwary. It would seem that there would be less guilt in becoming a Bhuddist monk or nun than associating oneself with spiritually dangerous 'independent' groups! At least with Bhuddists, one would find some natural peace in natural contemplation; whereas with the others who deceitfully claim to be 'Christian' or 'Catholic' there is little chance of even that much.
The game of Satan is to copy, to disguise his wiles under the appearance of good. This is why all heretics have an element of truth to them: no one would be deceived by them unless the apparent truth did not distract the viewer away from the error.
Since all this 'ecumenism,' it is not clear whom we see when we see a man dressed in a black suit and wearing a Roman collar. In the past, this was a certain sign of a Roman Catholic priest. The same was true of someone wearing a Religious habit: it was a visible sign of a Roman Catholic man or woman belonging to one or other of the Religious communities approved and recognized by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church.
No one just starts a Religious community in the Roman Catholic Church. Whenever the procedure established by the Church is ignored, it is a sure sign that the grace of God is not inspiring such action.
Despite the many seeming differences witnessed in the various religious institutions, they all have this in common: they embrace the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.
But, it may justly be argued: So do almost all the non-Catholic monks and nuns! Tibetan monks and nuns live in poverty, chastity and obedience. Will this life of self-denial save them? No, it will not. Such a life can only save when it leads them to supernatural faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, either in re or in voto.
You will admit, I am sure, that God's divine providence guides all the affairs of His creation. More specifically, God's divine providence does not cease to operate no matter how degenerate mankind may become.
If we desire to know, love and serve God in this world, it is essential that we serve Him in the manner in which He has inspired and guides the Church. The Church is, after all, His. It is His will that we must seek out and lovingly embrace. Anything else would not only be a waste of time, it would be a spiritual disaster.
We must keep in mind that it is not we who choose God; but, God chooses us! It is His holy will that we are to seek; not our own! It is His purposes that we are to desire to realize; not our own.
Because this simple truth is so essential to our salvation, Satan uses many ruses to divert us from its realization.
What is the safe and sure way of proceeding? We must follow the wisdom of the Church. Let me explain.
The Church has set down practical rules for the good order of things in Her life of grace. Let me quote from these rules which are called 'laws.'
First of all, let me say that I am not considering anyone but those who claim to be Roman Catholics, that is, those who have visibly separated themselves from the heretical Modernist Church of Vatican II with its most visible promoter, "John Paul II."
This man represents a new religion with new dogmas, new morals, new rituals and new laws . Anyone claiming him as one's leader is obliged to follow his doctrines, rituals and laws.
We Roman Catholics would do well to condense our sentiments in the all-embracing desire of St. Francis of Assisi who was the 'vir catholicus et totus apostolicus.' That is, the 'completely Catholic and Apostolic man.' Whoever we are and whatever our state in life, this should be our desire and goal: to be completely Catholic and apostolic, not just in name and aspiration, but in deed.
Before the great Council of Trent - which the false "Vatican Council II" attempts to overturn - the Church suffered not only from heretics outside Her bosom, but also from rampant anarchy within. Bishops were roaming all around Europe, neglecting their duties; priests - especially those who managed to get themselves ordained by some errant bishop - were everywhere; Religious who had made vows in Religious Orders easily dispensed themselves from their obligations; and the laity, generally speaking, justified their own excesses by appealing to the example of their spiritual leaders.
It took a firm hand to put order where anarchy and chaos reigned almost supreme. From chaos, God was able to bring a great impulse for holiness among many. Spiritual sloth grudgingly gave way to fervor and zeal; holy men and women were inspired by the Holy Ghost to rekindle the spirit of Religious fervor in torpid, worldly - wise ecclesiastics and monks, friars and nuns. Sentimental and ephemeral piety gave way to soldier-like realism of the battle between Lucifer and Christ, between the worshippers of the Star of Rempham and the worshippers of the Star of David: Jesus Christ.
Having prefaced, more or less, the purpose of Religious life, let us now look into the practical mechanism - how and what has to be done.
First of all, we must examine the 'group.' This means: Who is the inspired founder of the particular group? This is where it all begins. Even if a Pope desired a reform of morals and a return of heretics and schismatics to the true Church, he already knows that it is the Holy Ghost who does the calling and as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, a Pope discerns whether it is the Holy Ghost inspiring, or perhaps an evil spirit intent on doing more harm to the Mystical Body than good.
The first test, therefore, is to determine the spirit moving the individual, or individuals, involved. It would take us far afield to cite all the Fathers of the Church regarding the necessity of external approval from a legitimate authority in the Church for anything that is done in the Church's name.
It is not the 'founder' who determines whether or not his or her project is the will of God. This is the prerogative of the divinely established hierarchy.
The Holy Ghost does not and cannot inspire personal ambition disguised as religious fervor. This is nothing more than pride. And pride is the enemy of God because pride is a lie and God is Truth.
This does not mean that an individual considering a good work in the Church is conscious of the disguised motive prompting such a desire. Lucifer is very shrewd and cunning. He will not try to deceive a well-intentioned soul to be disobedient. On the contrary, he will confuse the unwary soul into believing that what he or she proposes is nothing but God's will. But, how can such a person be certain that it is not a pious illusion?
This is where the divinely established hierarchy plays the decisive part: It is only when a visible authority in the Church gives the approval to such a venture that the proposed work may reasonably be accepted as God's work.
Therefore, the Church wisely lays down the following norms that govern the Religious State and all those who embrace it.
The Code of Canon Law describes the four elements that make up the religious state:
1. A fixed or stable manner of life. Stability or permanency belongs to the very nature of a state. A person who enters into such a state is no longer free to give it up. Such are the married state, the clerical state, the religious state.
2. Common life: This means two things: (a) membership in a society which enjoys moral personality under a determined superior and a definite rule; and (b) dwelling together under a common roof, sharing common lodging and board with others. Common life is essential to the religious state, and even today a religious who has been promoted to the episcopal dignity and lives outside his community remains a religious. Common law, however, today demands community life as the general rule. Thus, canon 606 forbids superiors to allow their subjects to dwell outside the religious house for more than six months, except for the purpose of studies.
3. The observance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience are fundamental to the religious state. For the religious state is a state of Christian perfection, not indeed to be exercised, as in the case of bishops, but to be acquired, that is, members of the religious state may not have actually acquired perfection, but they are being taught and trained in the way of obtaining Christian perfection. Now, the normal state of acquiring religious perfection demands the removal of all, not merely of some of the impediments to Christian perfection, which arise from the threefold concupiscence. This is obtained by the practice of the evangelical counsels, which are required and are sufficient for the purpose.
4. By means of the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. The reason for the vows is to give stability and firmness to the observance of the evangelical counsels. They are the bond which binds the person striving after perfection to the perpetual observance of the three counsels, and thus they provide the permanency required in the religious state.
Canon 487 prescribes that the religious state, as described above, is to be held in honor by all. For the religious state owes its origin to Christ Himself who by word and example exhorted His followers to the observance of the evangelical counsels, and granted His Church the power to establish and govern religious orders whose members bind themselves by vow to strive after perfection by the observance of the three counsels. This approval of religious orders on the part of the Supreme Pontiff or of an ecumenical council is an exercise of the prerogative of infallibility which they enjoy.1
Moreover, the purpose for which the religious state was instituted is the most useful and excellent after which man can strive. Finally, members of the religious state have brought honor and glory to the Church during the centuries by the sanctity of their lives, by the beneficence of their good works, and by their contribution to the development of the arts and sciences.
The Church explains the use of terms in Her laws. (c.488). Religious institute (Religio is understood as follows: The Latin term "religio" retains its canonical meaning in two English phrases. A person is said to "enter religion," and to make the "vows of religion." Ordinarily, the word "religion" in English means religious belief such as a system of faith and worship, or the virtue by which a person exercises such worship.
The word 'religion' is here used in the canonical sense to mean a 'religious institute' or more simply an 'institute.'
Here follows the practical definition of a religious institute. It is defined in Canon 488,1, as "a society approved by legitimate ecclesiastical authority, the members of which strive after evangelical perfection according to the laws proper to their society, by the profession of public vows, either perpetual or temporary, the latter to be renewed after fixed intervals of time.
A society is a body of physical persons striving after a common purpose, by using the same means under the direction of legitimate authority. Such a society must be approved by legitimate authority - because there is question here of a moral collegiate person which can come into being only by public authority by means of a formal decree of erection (c. 100, para.1). Laws proper to the society are required - namely rules and constitutions by which the members are bound to strive after evangelical perfection. Public vows are those which, according to canon 1308, para. 1, are accepted in the name of the Church by a legitimate ecclesiastical superior. Private vows, on the contrary, are taken without being accepted by the Church. Public bows may be perpetual or temporary. In the latter case, however, they are to be renewed on the day on which they end c.577,para.1), otherwise the stability required for the religious state would be absent.
What is an Order? An order is an institute in which solemn vows are taken; a Congregation is an institute in which only simple vows are taken, either perpetual or temporary; a monastic congregation is a confederation (union) of a number of independent (sui juris) monasteries.
The monasteries of the Order of St. Benedict are united into fifteen congregations, two of which, the American-Cassinese and the Swiss-American, include most of the Benedictine monasteries in the United States.
An exempt institute is an institute of either solemn or simple vows which has been withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary.
Obviously, before an institute can be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary (Who, practically speaking, is the local Bishop), it must have been in the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary.
A pontifical institute (iuris pontificii) is an institute which has received approbation or at least the decree of praise (laudis decretum) from the Apostolic See.
A diocesan institute (iuris diocesani) is an institute erected by a local Ordinary which has not as yet obtained the decree of praise.
For our present purposes, this should suffice to give the reader a fundamental idea of the religious state.
There are other distinctions made for a precise implementation of good order. We now must consider the next logical step in the establishment of this moral collegiate person. We must look to the laws governing the foundation of a religious institute of whatever kind.
The foundation and suppression of a religious institute are governed by canons 492-493. Article 1 of canon 492 states that "Bishops only (exclusive of the Vicar Capitular and the Vicar General) have the power to found religious congregations. They may not, however, found or allow such congregations to be founded without consulting the Apostolic See. In the case of tertiaries living in common, aggregation to the first order by act of the superior general is likewise required (c.492,para.1).
A congregation founded by a Bishop is and remains a diocesan congregation, even though in the course of time it be extended to other dioceses, and it remains entirely subject to the Ordinaries in whose dioceses it exists, according to the prescriptions of the law, until such time as it receives pontifical approbation, or at least the decree of praise. (c.492,para.2).
Neither the name nor the habit of an institute already in existence may be taken by those who are not legitimate members of the same, nor by a new institute. (c.492,para.3).
There are other canons pertaining to this subject which concern Bishops and, consequently, there is no need to repeat them here.
What has been stated above concerns the foundation of a congregation of some kind. The foundation of a religious order is different. Kindly note this well:
The establishment of a religious order is reserved to the Holy See (c.220). The last order approved by the Holy See was the Order of Penance in 1784 and was suppressed in 1935.
Hopefully, not only the kind reader who posed the question, but all our valued readers, friend and foe alike, will profit from the serious consideration of what has been written for the instruction of all those who profess to be Roman Catholics and desire with the grace of God to live according to the doctrines and disciplines of that same Roman Catholic Church.
The conclusions that necessarily follow from the objective consideration of the laws of the Church governing the foundation of a religious institute should be self-evident to all men of good will.
Rather than name all the pretended "religious institutes" established by laymen or clergymen, whether secular or religious, it would be correct by a process of elimination to state that the only Religious institute left in the Church that meets the criteria for legitimacy is the community of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan Friars) with headquarters in Rochester, New York, USA.
This friary of the Franciscan Order was established by Fr. Louis Vezelis, OFM with the mandate of now-deceased Minister General of the Order, Very Rev. Augustine Sepinski, OFM.
Very Rev. Augustine Sepinski, OFM was the last legitimate Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, having been succeeded by the Modernists who have embraced and promoted, and continue to promote, the heresies spawned by them and their colleagues in and after Vatican II.
Fr. Louis Vezelis, OFM (now Bishop Louis Vezelis, OFM) had been sent by the Minister General of the Franciscan Order to South Korea for the purpose of establishing the Franciscan Order in Korea. This mandate has never been revoked by any legitimate superior of the Order, any other claims not withstanding.
In view of the fact that the foundation of a religious institute invokes the infallibility of the Church - being the work of the Holy Ghost - it is no small matter for anyone to engage in such actions. Likewise, it is a grave error to support by one's word or temporal aid such self-proclaimed 'religious institutes' of whatever kind.
It is a contradiction in terms to profess the Catholic faith and to disobey the wise laws dictated by the sacred authority (hierarchy) of the Church. How, for example, can anyone honestly claim to be observing the vow of obedience to a legitimate superior who has no canonical authority? It is impossible to strive for perfection in any group that is not in communion with the visible authority established by God and assured in its continuity and continuation by Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Holy Ghost.
Even the devils obey Lucifer because even hell is united, otherwise it could not exist. Once the right order in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ is understood, it will become glaringly evident that all those who have started their own organizations and usurp the name 'Catholic' are united not by the same faith, but by the same infidelity which manifests itself in scandalous disobedience to the visible authority remaining in the remnant Church.
No more fitting conclusion can be found close to our times than the holy sentiments and thoughts of Padre Pio:
"Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where good is wanting, there is no love; where there is no love, God is absent; where God is absent, there is no heaven."
1Emphsis added to draw particular attention to the importance of Church authority in the founding of religious communities.
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