Q. The `modernized' ritual for Catholic burial uses the color white instead of black at the funeral rites. Besides, the celebrant frequently teaches the people that the deceased `is now with God' or similar words to that effect. Is this heretical, or is it just a question of accidental changes in the funeral rites?

A.R., Rome, NY

A. Pope Pius XII tried to stem the tide of Neo-Modernism which finds expression in many a heretical ritual such as the purported service of "Christian Burial."

In his Encyclical letter `Mediator Dei,' Pope Pius XII clearly stated: "The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism in respect of the sacred Liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof."

Particularly cited by this Roman Pontiff are the presently universal abuses: "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred Liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table-form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the Divine Redeemer's Body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."

To say that someone "would be straying from the straight path" in embracing the above-mentioned practices, i.e., returning to the primitive table-form, excluding black from the color of vestments, etc., means to be taking a path leading away from the Catholic faith. A "crooked path" does not lead to the heights of spiritual contemplation nor to salvation. Whatever leads away from the straight path is worthy only of condemnation. Does deliberate, obstinate disobedience to the laws of the Church merit emulation rather than condemnation? Does it matter if everyone begins to follow the lead of the disobedient and haughty `renewers'?

After all, we are just dealing in semantics when we speak of `reformers' with regard to the heretics who fomented the first Protestant revolution, and then use the term `renewal' with the Protestant heretics of the 20th century.

`Ecumenism' is nothing more than another buzz word for `great apostasy.' And we all know who is in the forefront of `ecumenism.'

The rule for prayer determines the rule of belief. This rule is the inverse of `the rule of belief determines the rule of prayer.' The sacred Liturgy expresses our beliefs. If, then, the prayers and ceremonies differ from those which the Church has once decreed and used, then the new ones must be deemed heretical since they now express a different belief.

It was the Archbishop of Louisville, KY, who accurately confessed the truth concerning the New Mass and the Old Mass (Tridentine Mass). He said that the reason the Tridentine Mass is no longer used is because it expresses a religion that is not of our times. This is the same as saying that the Church of `today' no longer believes what the Church of `yesterday' believes. Plainly, we are talking about two different Churches. This, of course, is totally unacceptable to an intelligent Catholic who knows that the Church cannot change Her beliefs. Yet, here we have an alleged Archbishop stating that the Church has changed Her beliefs and does not seem upset about it in the least. In fact, this Archbishop Kelly of Louisville opted for the new Church - the Church of Vatican II. He certainly read the signs right: otherwise he would not be an Archbishop; he would be only a hunted priest loyal to Jesus Christ and His Mystical Body.

Discarding the black vestments follows the discarding of the Catholic faith regarding the existence of hell and purgatory. If, as they say, you don't have to pray for the deceased but to the deceased because she or he is already in heaven amounts to the denial of hell and purgatory.

The Catholic belief in this matter is defined by the great Council of Trent: "If anyone saith that, after the grace of justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema." (Canon 30).

If the practice commonly taking place in churches today is not a direct and brazen denial of what has just been cited from the decrees of the Council of Trent, one would be at a loss to imagine what more would be needed to declare such persons who perform or assist at such heretical rituals heretics!

The services conducted for the deceased today amount to a `canonization' ceremony which assures the living that the departed is in heaven. Such an attitude is extremely presumptuous, deceptive and completely detrimental to the deceased who may very well be in Purgatory (If he or she is fortunate!) and in need of our prayers. But, no one prays for souls in a place of expiation that does not exist. The result: the deceased are deprived of the meritorious prayers of those among the living on this side of death.

Anyone who denies the existence of Hell or Purgatory, ought to deny the existence of Heaven. If there is no place of punishment, why should there be a place for reward? Reward is something merited for having done something good; and punishment is merited for doing wrong. If there is no punishment, it means that there is nothing that can be done to merit it. So, too, if there is no reward, it means that there is nothing to be rewarded. Conclusion: There is neither `good' nor `evil.' Do you think any normal, sane person would accept such ridiculous conclusions?

Besides, the testimony of the Holy Scriptures contradicts such ideas. Whom are we to believe, God Who inspired the Holy Scriptures, or the theological anarchists who have made themselves `God'?

Is such a practice an expression of heresy? It most certainly is.

You would like some evidence of this, would you not? Let us begin with the most evident.

Without the special help of God the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification.

This is a doctrine defined by the Roman Catholic Church. Anyone who denies this doctrine is a heretic and automatically excommunicated from the Church.

The Second Council of Orange that the regenerate also must constantly pray for the help of God so that they may attain to a good end, and that they may be able to persevere to the end. (Canon 10, Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

The Council of Trent states: "If anyone shall say that he will for certain with an absolute and infallible certainty have that great gift of perseverance up to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1545-1563, Canon 16).

This same Council of Trent teaches that: "If anyone shall say that he who is justified can either persevere in the justice received without the special assistance of God, or that with that [assistance] he cannot: let him be anathema." (Canon 832).

Does it not appear to you, then, that those clergymen and their followers who presumptuously attribute to the deceased a special state of grace are in complete opposition to the clear teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? Words carry the ideas and the ideas are the internal manifestation of what one believes. Obviously, then, the services which you describe are without a doubt heretical. And, what do we call people who perform heretical services? Yes, we call them `heretics.'

You are surprised that this unorthodox practice is to be found all over the world, are you not? When you recall the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians that the first sign of the end of the world is the great falling away from the true faith, you will easily understand that the many heretical expressions by clergymen of all ranks is universal. Actually, it takes only one error against the faith to constitute heresy. We are witnesses to numerous heresies. Anyone who cannot see this must surely be spiritually blind, and consequently, a heretic with the rest.

Does it make any difference who the person is that denies the faith by such words and deeds? A heretic is a heretic no matter who he is or where he is. He is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic Church regardless of the false perception based on accidental and superficial appearances to the contrary. What does this mean? It means that those who have followed the last true Pope, Pope Pius XII, have been and are heretics. They and all those who follow them can only be considered as heretics.

Should this be difficult to understand? Not in the least. However, consequences of this truth are difficult to accept. For this, we must humbly pray for God's grace for the courage needed to accept not only the truth, but also the consequences.

Return to Contents

Return to home page.