This, of course, means that whoever desires to be saved _ which is the fruition of justification _ must first of all believe what the Roman Catholic Church believes and teaches.
The recent "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" of the Lutheran World Federation and the Modernist post-Vatican II Church has caused not a little controversy.
The first reality that must be addressed is not what Lutherans have to say about "justification" yesterday, today or tomorrow. It is what the Roman Catholic Church teaches that must be accepted.
The Church did not begin with the arrogant monk, Martin Luther. Consequently, any talk or terminology of "reforming" is an absurdity which does not deserve the serious consideration of serious and intelligent people _ not to say, men of good will.
St. Athanasius was born near the year 295. He was born in Egypt, probably in Alexandria. His great battle was against the heresy of the Arians (So called because of its leader, Arius).
The attacks upon the doctrine and discipline of the Church never ceased from the time that the Pharisees were instrumental in the crucifixion of our Lord and the martyrdom of the Apostles. Why should our times be any different?
It is only the heretical Modernists, headed by the Polish Jew, Karol Wojtyla, who are eager to tear down 2000 years of doctrine defended by great Doctors and martyrs of the Church. The Roman Catholic Church continues in the remnant faithful despite the overwhelming number of those who have sided against the Church's unchangeable defense of truth.
There does not seem to be much point to argue or dialogue over matters outside one's competency. Nor does it make much difference what these "ecumenical" liberals declare. The reason is not based on any spirit of malice, but on the simple truth.
It is sufficient to deny one doctrine of the infallible teaching authority of the Church to become guilty of denying everything. Perhaps a conscientious consideration of this truth might sober the promoters of religious indifference for the sake of a superficial worldly unity more akin to that earthly unity realized by Satan in his kingdom.
Before speaking or arguing about "justification" and how it is brought about, it might be better to build on a solid foundation of humility and truth added to a clear understanding concerning the mystery of divine grace.
What most people lose sight of when they engage in ecumenical dialogue is that the very thing they seek to establish is impossible because the supernatural can only be understood with the light of supernatural grace.
Grace, however, is lost through sin and nothing destroys grace more rapidly than apostasy from the true faith. This, of course, is the situation with all those outside the Roman Catholic Church _ and even those who are heretics yet remain in what is perceived to be the visible Church. All, without exception, have not only lost supernatural grace, but have been cut off from any hope of regaining it because of their obstinate adherence to error.
The Church is a body constituted organically and hierarchically, endowed with the vital means of sanctification, that is, with Sacraments. She is composed of individual members and does not exclude sinners. She is the body of Christ. Christ is the Head of this body, invisibly and extraordinarily. The visible and ordinary Head is the Roman Pontiff. "Our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth." (Mystici Corporis, Pope Pius XII).
Even though Bishops enjoy the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff (Jesus Christ) as does the Roman Pontiff, they are nonetheless subordinate to the Universal Pastor, namely, a legitimate Pope.
Grace and charity are lost through any sin. Faith, however, is lost by any sin against it. Heresy, then, deprives the heretic of supernatural grace, and therefore of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, since justification is the gift of the Holy Ghost as the object of knowledge and love, it follows that those who have been and continue to be in heresy are deprived of justification and salvation.
Furthermore, they are in no position to "dialogue" with the Church which they have unfortunately abandoned and have denounced.
Admittedly, this basic and simple truth is most unpopular. But, truth was never popular among the leaders of heresy and schism. The true Church does not "dialogue" nor does She debate. The true Church, following the example of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, teaches divine doctrine.
Jesus did not prepare His Apostles to go out into the world and "dialogue". He prepared them and sent them into the whole world with the command to teach all that He had taught them and to tell the world that those who believe and are baptized will be saved; and those who do not believe will be condemned.
The Church as Christ's Mystical Body enlightens those who belong to Her because it is Christ Who gives the light.
"Holiness begins from Christ; and Christ is its cause. For no act conducive to salvation can be performed unless it proceed from Him as from its supernatural source. `Without me,' He says, `you can do nothing.' If we grieve
and do penance for our sins, if, with filial fear and hope, we turn again to God, it is because He is leading us. Grace and glory flow from His inexhaustible fullness" (Mystici Corporis).
The Church has always taught that God alone is the efficient cause of justification. By this, the Church means the Three Divine Persons as the principal cause without excluding instrumental and meritorious causes.
Much depends upon the definition of "justification." What is it? Justification is the gift of the Holy Spirit as an object of knowledge and love.
If, then, those who engage in "ecumenical" dialogue and issue "declarations" regarding supernatural truths which alone the true Church preserves and teaches, what logical conclusion can be drawn regarding these ecumenists? It would seem that there can be only one logical conclusion: These "ecumenists" have no right to speak in the name of the Roman Catholic Church and to make "deals" with those who still cling to their ancient errors. Neither one nor the other has supernatural grace. And, lacking supernatural grace because of their respective errors against the faith, they and their disciples lack justification and the hope of salvation.
"Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit" (Athanasian Creed) This means that anyone who does not hold to this faith entire and inviolate will certainly perish for all eternity. This is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which no heretic, either ancient or modern, whoever he may be may negate with any modern "insights". As the great Bishop of Meaux said of Protestantism: "You change; and that which changes is not the truth."
Like Modernism which chokes the Church today, Protestantism is always "an open question" _ meaning, of course, that there is no way of assailing Protestant doctrine because there really is none.
The very principle of Protestantism is not a principle of life, but a principle of dissolution. It cannot formulate a definite doctrine because as soon as it attempts to do this, it mutates into various sects.
The fundamental principle of Protestantism is the substitution of private judgment for public and lawful authority. This is the only point of contact among the different Protestant sects. This is the basis of their mutual resemblance.
However, if they would at least act upon this fundamental principle in theory and practice, it may be said that they were at least consistent in their error. Even though they may cast themselves into hell, at least there would be some system to their error. For, as Our Lord said to the Pharisees, even hell is organized and has a head.
If the words and acts of these "deformers" are examined, it will be found that they made use of this principle only as a means of resisting the authority which controlled them, but they never planned to establish it permanently. They labored to upset lawful authority, and it was for the purpose of usurping the command themselves. In this, they followed the example of every revolutionist in every country.
Everybody knows that Luther carried his fanatical intolerance to great extremes. He could not bear the slightest contradiction, either from his own disciples or anybody else without giving way to the most senseless fits of temper and most unworthy outrages.
Henry VIII of England, who founded in England what is called the `liberty of thinking,' sent to the scaffold those who did not think as he did. It was the same with Calvin: at his instigation, one Servitus was burnt at the stake.
One need only read carefully the Encyclical Letter of Pope St. Pius X on Modernism to see that this same hypocrisy is practiced by the Modernists who hold the Vatican captive. Rejecting the sound doctrine and discipline of the true Church, all these heretics and schismatics proudly defy anyone who would call them to right order.
Every "reformer" (Read: revolutionary) proclaims the principle of free examination for the sole purpose of making use of it against legitimate authority. And as soon as they could, they tried to impose upon others the yoke of their own opinions.
Their constant endeavor was to destroy the authority which comes from God in order to establish their own upon its ruins.
If the patient reader of good will would only think seriously upon the above statement, it will become clear why we at The Seraph place "Traditionalists" in the same class with other heretics and schismatics.
Note well: It is always a rebellion against divine authority _ and only secondarily a defense of doctrine.
It is always a painful thing to be forced to give proof of this assertion _ even though the proof is not hard to find _ because one cannot present the most incontestable of them without calling to mind words and deeds which not only cover with disgrace the founders of Protestant sects, but are of such a nature that they cannot be mentioned without a blush, or written without a blotch upon the paper.
Return to Contents
Return to Homepage.