Audio Sancto: Ghosts in the Dark: Updated

Someone just emailed me a link to an audio recording of a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent in the Extraordinary Form from the website Audio Sancto.  The sermon is entitled “Quo Vadis Petre–Where Are You Going, Peter?

I will have some things to say about it an a subsequent post.  In regard to the content, for now I want simply to mention that I find it completely reprehensible.

But my reason for this post is a beef I have in general with Audio Sancto, a website with which I have been vaguely familiar with for some time.  I never liked the idea that they withheld the names of the priests whose sermons they post.  Their explanation is that if they were to publish the names, the priests would be inundated with requests for explanations and questions, etc.  Since the priests whose sermons are posted are so busy with pastoral responsibility, we are told, this would make their lives very difficult.

I do not find Audio Sancto’s explanation for withholding the names of the priests adequate for the following reasons: 1) The laymen who run the sight are themselves anonymous. There is not a soul in the world who is willing to take responsibility for Audio Sancto, at least not on the website,  nor anywhere else as far as I have been able to ascertain. 2)  I know a number of priests, including myself up until recently, who regularly post sermons under their name.  Unless you have the notoriety of Fr. Barron or someone like that, the precautions taken by Audio Sancto are not that necessary.  3) I find it hard to believe that anyone would organize a website in this completely anonymous fashion with many priests and technical people involved unless they felt that accountability was to be avoided.

In my opinion, especially when media content pertains to the faith, if you are not prepared to put your name on what you are producing, then you have no business posting it on the Internet. You produced it, recorded it, uploaded it and posted it.  You (singular or plural) are responsible for it.  Period.  You want to use a pseudonym, fine, but don’t play the sock puppet and make sure that you can be contacted at least by email at a known address.

On the Audio Sancto “contact” page, there are no names and you are only presented with a message form, so you don’t even have access to an email address.  Furthermore, the ghosts of Audio Sancto inform the potential interlocutor that, since the website is run by laymen (“from the beyond”), they cannot answer theological questions.

(Since I began writing this post, the ghosts have included large red type on their contact page that reads: “NB: Messages sent via this page ARE NOT read by priests!” (See comment below.)

Another reason I am posting this is because the ghosts of Audio Sancto fail to indicate on the website their own perspective on Catholic life, or even whether or not they are regularized Catholics, that is, not members of the Society of St. Pius X or another “irregular” group.  The individual who sent me the sermon was under the impression that the priest who delivered it was a member of a regularized Traditional Mass community, but I find that a little hard to believe.  I have no idea what the truth is in this matter, so I want to make clear that I am not insinuating anything.  I just find it hard to believe that a priest in a ecclesiastically approved community would give such a disrespectful and arrogant homily directed against the person of Benedict XVI.

People in good faith are listening to the sermons on Audio Sancto, many of which I am sure are excellent, not realizing that some of those sermons may be laced with poison and are not properly labeled.

To Audio Sancto and all involved:  Have the courage to take personal responsibility for your actions or stop publishing your opinions on the Catholic Faith.

Update, February 24, 2013:  The audio file of “Quo Vadis Petre” has been removed from Audio Sancto.  I commend them on this action.

I discovered this from a comment by Timothy Ephesus.  See below.

Just saying.


78 thoughts on “Audio Sancto: Ghosts in the Dark: Updated

  1. Ave Maria!
    Thank you Father for this perspective, I never even considered the “catholicity” of the sermons on Audio Sancto. I have discovered some of the priests names (or at least I assume) while listening to the homilies on the website. The names are of FSSP priests. Of the homilies, up until this latest installation, that I have listened to that reference the Holy Father, or the Church have been very supportive and unwavering loyal. This one took me by surprise.

    Given the perspective you offered concerning anonymity while preaching the faith, I’ll have to re-evaluate my support for the website. Again, thank you.

    God bless

  2. Father, I have said this before, but I think saying it againg could be helpful to other people. Since Summorum Pontificum was launched Tradicionalists blogs or websites became very popular or have overflowed the internet, at least the Catholic blogsphere. And I have realized the huge care of these tradicionalist to hide their identification. I think your thought are very opportune and the way of many tradicionalists making apostolate are vey suspicious.

  3. So where is the name on this blog write up to take responsibility for what they wrote? You knock the audiosancto group, who I know the names of & speak to them & they are not schismatic or anything & which IF you did listen to things & put 2 & 2 together you would have known that was a Fathers of Mercy priest that spoke that sermon & since when is a sermon time to tar & feather a priest?! Can the priest not state his opinion on such things? This isn’t Church teachings he was speaking about. Ever thought emotion was involved like disappointment or such? Not a very charitable post at all. Seems like you have a personal grudge for some reason.

  4. Most of us that are affiliated with FSSP or ICK or an indult parish recognize these voices and priests. I have yet to hear an SSPX priest or not recognize any of the voices.. Many of us frequent homeschool conferences,where these priests speak, we listen to Audios from places like ” Keep the Faith” and frequent blogs that pertain to the EFM… We dont want anymore watered down Catholicism. We have had enough of that in the last 50 years.

    Everyone in the blogosphere knows that when yourun a blog and have your name on it- ESPECiALLY priests, in any given day you can get over 500-1000 emails from people who want to discuss a specific audio or have a question… Why wouldnt that be overwhelming? People are craving for the truth and are re-learning the fullness of the faith that so many of us have been duped of.

    BTW- WHO are you and how do we Contact you?

  5. I find this part curious: “Since I began writing this post, the ghosts [at Audio Sancto] have included large red type on their contact page that reads: ‘NB: Messages sent via this page ARE NOT read by priests!'” The author must have been working on this post for quite a while; the wording of that page — and the size and coloring of the letters — goes back to 2008, possibly even to 2007 when the site was initially launched. The reason is simple: we were getting very detailed, soul-baring emails because it was assumed that priests were reading the emails. It is only fair to make it clear that this is not the case.

    Anonymity: when Audio Sancto launched the team was strictly charged to keep the identities of the priests concealed (there is one exception to this rule — email me and I’ll tell you if you’re interested). You can doubt the reasons for this if you like, but they are as stated.

    As for “no direct email” there is a technically expedient reason for that; if you want to know why send a message via the page and be sure to ask “why is this the only obvious way to email you?” and I’ll give you a peek behind the technology curtain and explain why. Alternatively, if you would like to write a letter you can send it to:

    Audio Sancto
    12120 State Line Road #201
    Leawood, KS 66209

    Rather than imply malice through innuendo and suggestion, I invite the author of this blog post to contact me and discuss it like educated, adult Catholics. I especially invite the author to contact us before posting his/their opinion on this past Sunday’s sermon.

  6. Mrs. Choina

    He is Father Angelo Geiger of the Fransicans of the Immaculata, his order runs and runs many other media apostolates. I don’t think he is making any statements here out of ignorance of what it is to run a blog or a website many of his homilies both audio and video are on his website, on you tube and

  7. The devil finds all types of ‘playgrounds’ to throw sand in our faces to blind us; especially on the Internet!

    Wake up! You are all criticizing priests; sons of Mary! The unknown priest is critizing the Vicar of Christ on earth for a decision he made to resign! And which one of you is going to apologize to the other? Satan is striking, with great force, and he is dividing brother from brother over petty things. Don’t you know that the moment we lose our peace the evil one has taken a foothold?!
    “My peace I give to you…” says, Jesus. The moment you give that peace away, even for what seems to be holy things (ie defending positions on blogs, state of affairs with Holy Mother Church…) you have weakened your own fortress against the wiles of Satan. It sets you (us) up for resentment, bitterness, anger, hate, revenge. Once those feelings enter our hearts it isn’t easy to get rid of them! It’s like a cancer.

    One of the unfortunate things about blogs (e-mailing) is that we can write very unkind words quickly, and in the fraction of a second it takes to hit the ‘send button’ our words are put in cyber space for all to see, and, unfortunately, we don’t take the time to reread what we have written and say to ourselves, “Is that what I really mean? “Is this offensive to God, or to the person receiving it?”

    I listened to the homily of the anonymous priest twice yesterday, and although I found it lacked great charity toward the Pope and Holy Mother Church, he made some points that even I agree with, and I am no Traditionalist. Even I used the words on February 11th, “Where are you going, Peter?” I was disappointed that the Holy Father wasn’t following the model of his friend, and predecessor, Pope John Paul II. But after some prayerful reflection I realized that God ordains or He permits things to happen. And considering the condition of Holy Mother Church these days this could be a very good decision for all of us. We also need to remember that God works in myterious ways…”His ways are not our ways”. My God, Holy Mother Church is walking the path of Calvary, and instead of helping to carry that cross with love, mercy, understanding, and prayer, we bicker among ourselves, and the cross gets carried alone….again.

    We are in the Lenten season; a season with the message of mercy written all over the readings! Why don’t we reflect on the message of mercy for one another? If you think of it, it was the lack of mercy of those around Jesus that put Him on the Cross in the first place!
    Let’s keep Christ’s peace within us, and show mercy to others this Lent. I am sure this would please Jesus and His Most Holy Mother a great deal.

    My 2 cents.

  8. “I know a number of priests, including myself up until recently, who regularly post sermons under their name.” Which sermons on AudioSancto are yours, Father? I would like to listen to them. Thank you.

  9. +JMJ+

    Dear Father,

    I see that Audio Sancto has already responded, but I have a few points to add after reading this blog post.

    You wrote: “Another reason I am posting this is because the ghosts of Audio Sancto fail to indicate on the website their own perspective on Catholic life, or even whether or not they are regularized Catholics, that is, not members of the Society of St. Pius X or another “irregular” group.”

    From this link on the website:
    “The priests you hear in the recordings on this website are Catholic Priests, in good standing with their local ordinaries and Rome, incardinated with normal faculties and jurisdiction, and serving in North America.”

    You wrote: “I never liked the idea that they withheld the names of the priests whose sermons they post.”

    The anonymity helps with the “cult of personality” problems that we often face in our media soaked lives. There is a focus on the message being shared rather then who is sharing it. I realize that some “cult of personality” is unavoidable…. people recognize voices, mannerisms… etc. — but the anonymity helps to reduce this influence.

    You wrote: “The laymen who run the sight are themselves anonymous.” and “You produced it, recorded it, uploaded it and posted it. You (singular or plural) are responsible for it. Period. You want to use a pseudonym, fine, but don’t play the sock puppet and make sure that you can be contacted at least by email at a known address.”

    As you noted pseudonyms are fine. (I am fond of the one I often use.) In this case the pseudonym for those working to provide these sermons is “Audio Sancto”. It should be noted that it is fairly easy to get in touch with Audio Sancto, and that there are technical reasons for forcing someone to use a form on a website. — I have personally used this form, and received a prompt response via email. I believe Audio Sancto is also accessible on the Face Book ‘social network’.

    Lets not forget those anonymous souls who helped copy religious texts and Sacred Scripture through the ages of the Church. The texts, message, even Sacred Scripture — that is what is important. If we can’t judge a message on its own merits without knowing the character of the one that delivered the message… we are in a sad position.

    I believe that Audio Sancto takes responsibility for the content that is posted.

    Begging your blessings,

  10. @Steve Cunningham on February 19, 2013 at 7:23 am

    My name and email address are at the bottom of nearly every page on this blog.

    @Liz Choina on February 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Just my opinion, like most everything on the Internet, but if you are not prepared to take responsibility for what you produce and post, then you should be doing something else. We are all entitled to our opinions. At least you and I are willing to take the heat for them.

    Apparently, the commenters here are not looking very hard for my name and email address. It’s not difficult to find.

    @Audio Sancto on February 19, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I stand corrected on the NB message on your contact page, and I apologize for my statement.

    Thanks for posting your email and physical addresses.

    Who had the authority to “charge” you with anything? You suggest that someone outside Audio Sancto gave you and your associates some kind mandate, or do I misunderstand you?

    But it is not just the absence of sacerdotal responsibility for the content, which as I have already said, does not seem to me to be reasonable. (If one is not willing to stand by what they say and spread publicly, then they simply have no business saying it.) It is also that there is no one on the planet at all who is willing to take personal responsibility publicly for the content on Audio Sancto.


    The sermon that led me to post this is a blistering excoriation of Pope Benedict, implying that he is not really being honest about his real reasons for abdicating and then claiming that he is abandoning his responsibility. You think that is a legitimate opinion, then take personal responsibility for it. You don’t have the courage to take responsibility for it then do something you feel more comfortable with.

    BTW, a sermon is not a place for promulgating one’s personal opinions. Of course, it is hard to keep them entirely out, but the mandate of the Church to a priest is to speak for the Church. I know what the response will be to this. And my reply will be: “Then take personal responsibility for it.”

    But I am amazed that there is such a thin-skinned reaction to my critique, given the nature of the sermon that provoked it. I don’t find your reactions inappropriate or uncharitable. I am just amazed.

  11. Barbara on February 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm said: Edit
    “I know a number of priests, including myself up until recently, who regularly post sermons under their name.” Which sermons on AudioSancto are yours, Father? I would like to listen to them. Thank you.

    Barbara in the quote you included, I neither state nor imply that I ever posted sermons on Audio Sancto. You will find that my sermons originally were posted on, and cross-posted elsewhere, including on YouTube.

  12. Based on the unusual circumstances that led to our Holy Father’s abdication, I think some levity it is warranted in this situation. We are all deeply saddened, for me personally, and other deeply faithful Catholics I have spoken too, whether justified or not, considering we really don’t know what our Holy Father has been through, or in prayer what he has discerned that led him to this decision; the current situation leaves many with a heaviness and confusion.

    The fact that this has not happened in 600 years, leaves us sort of hanging in the balance in regards to what the norms are for a Pope that is still alive and yet the chair of Peter will be empty, not because of a death or some grave illness, we just don’t know.

    I am very concerned that the Papal resignation will set an unwanted precedence. I hope that this does not become some politicized affair. The question many people are asking, when is it OK for a Shepard to leave his flock?

    I don’t at all recommend a Pope bashing, however I can see how people are feeling unsettled a feeling that their Father left them. I have heard some say, what does his resignation say about the year of faith?

    In a world surrounded on all sides by the tides of secularism, relativism, and progressive modernist thought, should we not be immovable like a rock? Should we not as Catholics be counter culture? Again, this is no slight against our dear Holy Father, who I think has done a tremendous job, especially regarding the Liturgy, allowing Traditional Mass to prosper, and his outreach to the Anglicans and other ecumenical outreach, to bring them into the Ark. But it does make one wonder, is not God’s grace sufficient, such as the case with St. Paul? I believe our Holy Father acted in true humility…only time will tell if this decision was for the good of the Church. I sure hope so, we need more than ever a good, strong, and Holy Pope that will not back down to whims of the world.

    And so, I love and will dearly miss Pope Benedict, and only God knows what his reasons are. All we can do is speculate, which I would not recommend. I am merely stating that for the first time in a very long time, without any outward signs of sickness or incoherent thought, on the part of the Pope, I think in some respects it has left many confused and shaken. It’s really strange we have a Pope and yet we don’t have a one. I really think many people are just really shocked by this news. And for me personally I would have liked him to continue. Maybe he could have taken it a bit easier in his remaining years. He still seems very sharp and very coherent. In the wake of Pope John Paul II, it seems now that you have to be a globetrotter, which was never the case in the past. Maybe, we as faithful Catholics, did not pray enough for him?

    Only time will tell and we have to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and that this guidance will lead all Catholics to a deeper faith, trust, devotion, reverence, and hope. If it is any consolation we have been through worse in our history. So we should pray this Lent and offer sacrifice that the Holy Spirit fill the conclave to help them select a new Pontiff, who by his zeal for us will be pleasing to Almighty God. That he be a man after his own heart.

    Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee. In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph!

  13. After listening to this homily, I also find it reprehensible. It is representative and symptomatic of the old -and new- trendy fads among Catholics to inject suspicion on the legitimate authority of the magesterium, and on the papacy itself. It is a dangerous attitude that confuses and divides Catholics at a time when we need Catholic unity. It is also sympomatic of a lack of faith. The papacy has been through much worse than anything that modern times can throw at it. Christ is the Rock and the church will prevail no matter what. All Catholics, especially those who consider themselves to represent orthodoxy, need to have a little faith, stop sowing seeds of doubt and suspicion and stop throwing stones.

  14. Larry, and all those questioning the Holy Father’s decision….LET IT GO.
    Take the Pope’s words at face value. He’s 85 years young, and has had a pace maker for years. He is Benedict, not John Paul II, not Pius X, not John XXIII….he is Benedict. He is humble, prayerful, wise, and should invoke our heart felt prayers for his remaining years; you know compassion.
    The Bride is hemorrhaging. She is suffering just as the Bridegroom (Jesus) did. What makes us think for a moment it would be any other way. The Church and Christ are to be one in mind and heart. “Do you not know I must drink this cup?”
    Jesus’ message has always been to trust in Him. He will not leave us orphans. Jesus keeps His promises.
    The Divine Mercy image given to St Faustina to give to the world says, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

    “Trusting fully in Your Infinite Mercy and in the maternal intercessions of Mary.”
    “Jesus, I trust in You”
    “Totus Tuus”

    These should be our only words.

  15. Larry Betson on February 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

    And so, I love and will dearly miss Pope Benedict, and only God knows what his reasons are.

    But Larry, the Holy Father has stated exactly what his reasons are. And they are perfectly consistent with his words and actions over the whole of his pontificate. There is really no surprise or some dark mystery if you just look into the matter.

    I understand that the good father may have been reacting out of emotion and that his words may reflect the unspoken sentiments of many. But the sermon was also conspiratorial and cast the Holy Father in position of betrayal. This is unwarranted, unfair and disrespectful.

    It is really very simple. One’s unpleasant emotions are not a justification to attack the person of the Holy Father.

    Okay, it was a lapse of judgment. And even though this lapse is serious because the words were preached from the pulpit during Mass, in my view it is still excusable. But the beginning of justice in this matter would require the anonymous priest and the very anonymous gentleman at Audio Sancto to take the sermon off the website and do what they can to make sure that the file is not distributed any further than it already has been.

  16. Yes, your right, sadly in our weakness, we sometimes let our passions dictate, instead of using our higher will. I must and WE must ask for this gift of His grace to subdue working on an emotional level. Sometimes it’s best, if we don’t have virtue enough, to keep quiet and still. As our Lord said, be not afraid. I really think that’s what this boils down to, our fears and lack of complete abandonment and submission to God’s Holy will.

    Thank you Father Angelo for your clarity, it helps much.

    On a side note, thank you and the Friars of the Immaculate, for your videos and sermons, they have helped me immensely, been listening to your podcast for years. Keep up the good work.

    Praise be Jesus and Mary!

  17. Father Angelo, I know the following is off topic, but I think you will enjoy it.

    Unique Papal Election

    As the cardinals were heading to Rome for a papal conclave, the media had declared the Italian bishop Giuseppe Sicola as the frontrunner. Cardinal Patrick Murphy of Ireland was considered the second choice. After the cardinals had selected Patrick Murphy as the new pope, Cardinal Giuseppe Sicola asked the cardinals why they had not chosen him. One highly respected cardinal told him that he was the first choice, but they could not accept the fact that the Vicar of Christ would be referred to as Pope Sicola.

    A Wise Bishop

    Bishop Fiddle of the diocese of Ferndale refused to accept an honorary doctor of divinity degree from a Catholic university because he did not want to be referred to as Bishop Fiddle, D. D.

  18. This was a magnificent sermon, and the criticism which it is attracting from some quarters seems quite amazing. Many of the priest’s criticisms on the terrible crisis of Faith in the Church are simply restatements of things you can find in the writings of preconciliar popes like St. Pius X (he even quotes Paul VI on the “self-destruction” of the Church!)

    On the other hand, the hostile reactions to this sermon seem to proceed from that very poisonous error which has sprung up in the last decades, which believes that a good and loyal Catholic can NEVER criticize any action of the reigning pope. The fact is that such a belief is an actual error which is rejected by the Church herself. The First Vatican Council set very distinct limits on papal infallibility; outside of those limits, popes can err and have erred. What would these commenters have said had they lived during the reign of a Pope John XII, whom Luidprand describes as having died while committing adultery, or a Pope Stephen VII, who dug up the corpse of his predecessor and desecrated it before throwing the mutilated cadaver in the Tiber River? Would you have defended these wicked deeds and considered these popes as being “guided by the Holy Spirit”? What if a pope kisses a book which blasphemes Our Savior, prays with animist pagans, who–according to Scripture–worship the devil (Psalm 95:5), and asks John the Baptist to protect Islam, as one recent pope notoriously did? It would be blasphemous to suggest that wicked deeds are inspired by the Holy Spirit, for the Church has formally condemned these sort of things for 2,000 years.

    I see nothing “reprehensible” about this sermon; what is reprehensible is the attitude of blind and unquestioning adhesion to ANYTHING which a pope says or does, even if those things be contrary to Catholic praxis. About razing the bastions, it is simply a fact that Cardinal Ratzinger spoke favorably of this uncatholic idea in his book “Principles of Catholic Theology” (pg. 391): “The fact is, as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that the ‘demolition of the bastions’ is a long-overdue task.” But Cardinal Ratzinger was wrong to endorse this program, and the disastrous apostasy infecting the Church for half a century is undeniable proof that he was wrong.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, writing centuries ago, said that superiors can and should be resisted if they do anything harmful to the Faith. St. Paul the Apostle gave us an explicit example of this behavior, resisting Peter to his face (Galatians 2:11). Would that the critics follow the example of these saints, and the advice of Bishop Melchior Cano, in avoiding the uncatholic idea that popes are above reproach. As Bishop Cano said, “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.”

  19. Mike on February 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm:

    The Sovereign Pontiff has universal authority in the Church as Pastor and need not be infallible in order to govern the Church and expect reverence and obedience (cf. Mediator Dei 65). “Pastoral” does not mean “non-infallible,” but pertaining to the role of shepherd.

    St. Thomas says that the public correction of one’s prelate exceeds the bounds of fraternal correction and, therefore, should not be undertaken except by someone who is in someway an equal, as St. Paul was in respect to St. Peter. Ordinarily this ought to be done in private except where scandal to the faith is involved.

    If you presume to be Paul to Peter and you really believe that your opinion is so compelling and necessary in respect to your disagreement with the Vicar of Christ then that is your business. I would not be able to take it seriously, nor do I in the case of this homily or in respect to the presumption of Audio Sancto.

    This being said, I have more respect for the priests of the SSPX, et al. who, when they have decided that this is the course of action which they must take, do so by taking full personal responsibility for their actions. To beat one’s chest in self-righteousness and then hide behind internet anonymity is not very edifying or compelling.

    St. Thomas also says that if one is going to make an accusation against another he ought to be willing to put it in writing and sign it.

  20. Fr. Angelo,

    I am aware of the First Vatican Council’s teaching on the papacy, and I did not say, nor do I believe, that all non-infallible papal deeds may be freely disregarded. I am instead referring to an attitude based in error, and seeming in evidence on this comments list, which accuses anyone critical of the pope as “lacking faith,” being “disobedient” or disregardful of the Magisterium, etc. As ecclesiastical history amply proves, the fact is that popes can commit error, and have committed error, and that arguments from authority don’t automatically prove outside of the limited sphere in which that authority is truly incapable of erring. Many people seem to disregard this possibility of papal error more out of wish fulfillment to simplify their faith and make the pope out to be utterly incapable of error, even though such pious desires are not and never could be part of Catholic teaching.

    About St. Thomas, as you yourself concede, he actually said the following: “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.” (ST II-II, q. 33, a. 4, ad 2). Traditionalists would certainly argue, and with perfect justice, that actions like kissing the Koran, the Assisi scandals, and like events most certainly pose a very serious danger to the Faith. I could give you specific example of people led into actual error because of the postconciliar ecumenical scandals. I think I’m familiar with more than one person who has actually lost his faith because he is unable to conceive of how things solemnly condemned by past popes can be suddenly embraced by recent popes. And feeding such people platitudes about trust and obedience would only strengthen their belief that Catholicism is irrational, whereas traditional Catholicism actually offers an intellectual credible response to these problems.

    I find your comment about presumption, Peter, and Paul to be a subtle form of ad hominem fallacy. It’s a problem often encountered in traditionalist vs. conservative polemics; the conservative side, rather than addressing the substance of traditionalist arguments, instead criticizes tone, attitude, alleged spiritual defects (as with your “presumption” remark), and so forth. But in reality none of these points, even if they were true (which I dispute) have anything to do with the debate. The debate is about whether the pope’s actions are in objective conformity with Catholic praxis, and it doesn’t matter whether the person leveling those criticisms is one of the greatest saints who ever lived or a catankerous wretch whose pride rivals that of Lucifer. What matters is the objective truth of the critique, not the character defects (real or imagined) of the one making it.

    Your additional criticisms seem to surpass the bounds of reasonableness in seeming to accuse Audio Sancto priest(s) of “self-righteous” chest thumping. Where could you possibly get that idea from any of their sermons? I and many others have benefited greatly from the content, and the fact that the priests preach anonymously is more totally irrelevant (although I have met some of the priests personally, and it is quite easy to figure out their identities, since they sometimes identify themselves by name). The site gives very plausible and just reasons for this decision: they would be–and according to the site master, apparently actually were–inundated with e-mails and/or calls detailing highly personal spiritual matters which no busy parish priest could possibly have time to attend to while also maintaining care over his parish. The fact is that preaching in any number of parishes in this country is utterly absymal, and therefore the AS site does a great service to Catholics by providing them with rich spiritual fare about the spiritual life, the lives of the saints, the Faith, and yes, even necessary criticism of authorities where the occasion calls for it.

    As for the content of the sermon, the priest largely stuck to simple and undeniable facts: no pope has ever resigned for the reasons Benedict XVI is now resigning, Celestine V included, as cardinal Benedict XVI made remarks favorable to “razing the bastions,” whereas this program is not compatible with the teaching of St. Pius X, Leo XIII, Pius XI, etc. regarding the duty of Catholics to PRESERVE (not tear down) those bastions (e.g., the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas).

    Finally I disagree with your statement that criticisms of the pope such as mine or this priest’s are simply “opinions,” since all of my criticisms I can back up with citations from preconciliar popes which clearly reject some of what recent popes have done. For example, Pope Pius XI, in Mortalium Animos, explicitly rejected Assisi-type meetings as being based on an error: “For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy…So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.” (n. 2, 10)

    These meetings, which Pius XI says can never be approved by Catholics, were nevertheless convened by the last two popes. This is not my “opinion,” Fr. Angelo. It’s a simple and dispassionate reading of preconciliar papal teaching, which all Catholics, yourself, myself, and recent popes included, are obliged to follow.

    God bless you, Father.

  21. Mike on February 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    For the record, the full quote of St. Thomas is as follows:

    To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy ministry.” It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

    Actually, I am not criticizing primarily “tone or attitude.” And let us dispense with accusations of ad hominem attacks connected with spiritual defects. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Quo Vadis Petre? is nothing if not a criticism of spiritual defect.

    My critique concerns an unwillingness to consider the Holy Father’s reasoning. There has been prima facie prejudice against the decision of the Holy Father, and the priest in question fails to give his congregation relevant information, namely, that the Pope Benedict has held this choice to be a possible one in principle for a long time and implied that he would consider such a choice in the event he believed he could no longer fulfill his duties. The Holy Father does not seem to be given any reasonable presumption which in his case should be very great considering his office.

    You said:

    Finally I disagree with your statement that criticisms of the pope such as mine or this priest’s are simply “opinions,” since all of my criticisms I can back up with citations from preconciliar popes which clearly reject some of what recent popes have done.

    Simply breathtaking. So the sermon is not just this priest’s opinion. I guess, then, it is magisterial and we are all obliged in conscience to accept it as a matter of faith, and anyone who disagrees with it is both unreasonable and lacking in virtue. This is a fundamental problem with traditionalism: the inability to distinguish between personal and private judgements of no magisterial weight and the actual teaching of the Church.

    But then again, my real critique in this post was not the substance of the priest’s sermon, but the fact that he and the masters of Audio Sancto, and yourself, for that matter, talk a big talk, but hide behind anonymity. Take responsibility for your choice to blast out your opinions in the public forum or do not present yourselves as ministers of justice in respect to an alleged dereliction of duty on the part of the Vicar of Christ.

    Benedict XVI has spent practically his whole life in the service of the Church. He has suffered and continues to suffer for her welfare. Yes, I believe the Lord is working through him. But even if you do not, perhaps you can still learn from his example. At least he can take his lumps.

  22. Father Angelo wrote: “But then again, my real critique in this post was not the substance of the priest’s sermon, but the fact that he and the masters of Audio Sancto, and yourself, for that matter, talk a big talk, but hide behind anonymity.”

    Father, I emailed you and explained in detail why Audio Sancto has an easy to use “contact us” instead of an email address listed. I also explained in greater detail why the priests are anonymous on the site. It is incredibly disingenuous to put forward the position that you don’t know anything about the “behind the scenes” operation of Audio Sancto after I’ve reached out to you. You should, at the least, drop the complaint that you don’t know who the laymen are because we don’t matter: it’s the message of the Faith and the Gospels that matter. As I stated in my email, I am willing to discuss with you — via email, skype, or telephone — at great length the reasoning for everything you find suspicious. If you choose not to take me up on this then, in fairness, you need to drop this “they are anonymous cowards!” position.

  23. I have had a difficult time dealing with the Pope stepping down. I would have liked him to remain Pope as those before him, for things to remain just as they have been. The past few days I have made peace with it. Have you seen recent photos of him? He does not look well at all. If he is stepping down, I trust his reasons for doing so. It must be so difficult for him.

    Two sections of Scripture have helped me –

    From John 6 –

    “Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
    Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

    John 17 –

    “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am* they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known,* that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

    This Year of Faith is certainly turning out differently than I expected, but it can be an opportunity to witness to perhaps an ever greater call to faith and trust. I believe my focus should now be on praying for Our Holy Father during this difficult time, the Church and our Cardinals as they prepare to elect his successor. Our Church was established by Jesus, The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and always will.

    In Christ,

  24. @Audio Sancto on February 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

    You seem to miss the obvious. My position is clear. If you and the others are not wiling to take personal responsibility for the content on your sight, when, in fact, your content is completely public and controversial, then you have no business publishing it.

    Even so, none of your reasons indicate why the “laymen” of Audio Sancto need to be anonymous.

    And lastly, if you are not wiling to do the right thing, why should I believe you? The entire operation is working in the dark. There is absolutely no one wiling to take personal responsibility for the content on Audio Sancto. You obviously have something to hide.

    My conclusions are perfectly reasonable.

  25. I think most people would think it unwise to buy merchandise from an internet site that didn’t identify itself in any way. How much more important is your spiritual life?

    In Christ,

  26. Audio Sancto is not selling any merchandise. The sermons are free to download, and require no special information from the downloader in order for him to hear them. Thus, it costs nothing to try the site out should one so desire, and then judge how helpful the content is based on its own merit. Not all lay people out on the internet desire for their identity to be known across the internet, for reasons that are no more complicated or sinister than that they just desire to be private (NB: my own pseudonym). The option to contact the site admin. with issues seems to me to be an adequate avenue for one who is concerned with the content of a sermon one hears. To me it comes down to two points: firstly, “internet etiquette”, on which it seems people of good faith are free to disagree; and secondly, whether the wisdom or prudence of the pope’s action be legitimately investigated. We see that it can, in a prudent, well read, and charitable way.

    I beg your blessing, Father, and thank you for the work you do for Christ’s Church.

  27. Flo,
    Sorry, the point I was trying to make is material things have far less value than our spiritual lives and if we take certain precautions with things of less importance, we should be so much more vigilant about things of a spiritual nature.
    In Christ,

  28. I am not disturbed so much by anything that the priest actually said in his homily. A reasonable lawyer’s argument can be made based on his thesis. I have also heard another priest espousing the same sentiments on a local radio show, so this is not a stray notion from a stray priest. His position is circulating. Who isn’t moved, afterall, by the “Quo Vadis Petre” bit of scripture used against the prevailing wisdom that lauds the pope’s decision as an act of courage and abject humility? It gives me pause, I will confess. I confess also to having had a feeling wash over me that strange morning when i first heard that the pope was abdicating, as i flipped on the radio and reached for my razor,.That curious feeling, from the gut, simply said “this isn’t right… is it?” Yet, despite some intrepidation, I trust that the Holy Father and further, The Holy Spirit, know what they are doing.Further, there is a pope we are all likely familair with who is said to have overheard a conversation between Our Lord and Satan regarding the faith and destiny of the last century. Could it be that the inhabitant of the Chair has insights, unseen?

    Regarding our passionate priest, I am mainly bothered by the fact that he chose the pulpit on Sunday as the vehicle to utter these thoughts. He is entitled to his opinion, Had this merely been a conversation in the rectory between pastor and associate, we’d have no problem. However, he has a grave responsibility to not mislead the people. The pope’s announcment is a week old. The priest cannot know that he is correct in his opinion at this early date. He cannot know that the Holy Father is wrong. Therefore he cannot say it from the altar. Further, he amplified his mistep by posting it on line, broadening the effects of his words. I trust that this priest is motivated by a love for the institution of the church, and the office and ministry of the pope. I fear he has simply been rash and allowed his emotions to cloud his better judgement.

  29. Fr. Angelo,

    My comment on “opinions” was referring to the criticisms of Cardinal Ratzinger’s remarks on “razing the bastions,” the ecumenical novelties of his pontificate, etc., not the decision to abdicate. I already provided an example taken from the teaching of Pope Pius XI, so it is false to accuse traditionalists (as conservatives so often do) of “private and personal judgments,” etc. Repeating something false over and over doesn’t make it true.

    Your comments against the procedure of Audio Sancto seem to be a departure from the critical issue, which is whether some of the recent popes’ actions can be truly defended as compatible with preconciliar Catholic praxis and teaching. The quibbles about anonymity and the rest are a side issue, and not a compelling one. There doesn’t seem to be anything “reasonable” about your claim, which reads sensationistically, that they have “something to hide.” What, exactly? Would you post your complete name, place of residence, address, daily schedule, and various other details at the beginning and end of each of your blog posts? No? Then is it reasonable to conclude that you, too, must have “something to hide”? No, it’s not reasonable. Audio Sancto has explained that the essential purpose of the sermons is to spread the Catholic Faith. Claims made in the sermons–I’ve listened to them–are extensively documented with references to popes, councils, saints, Doctors, etc. Perhaps Audio Sancto wishes to avoid the specter of the “celebrity priest” cult of personality which has cropped up so perniciously in the last decades, and whose pernicious results we can see in the fallout when such priests take a fall. It’s false to say that no one takes responsibility for what is posted, since the contact info, as the Audio Sancto moderator has already noted, is readily available for anyone to contact them. Since the laymen who run the site aren’t the ones preaching, there is no need for them to provide their own information (although one of them has even provided an address in this very thread, so your continuing criticism of this point appears to make no sense).

  30. Yes, Father, I know. At the end of the day, the Holy Spirit is driving the bus,…not Father Anonymous, nor the SSPX. I’ll have faith in that fact.

  31. Greetings Father,

    You might also notice that on the ‘ghost’ of a page left… all the comments are deleted. The main page and archive no longer contain links to the sermon. Even the feed has been updated.

    I hope this provides you with some evidence that there is responsibility / accountability in what might seem like a black box.


  32. I have to say that I am deeply disturbed by the Priest who runs this website and his unjust and uncharitable responses to the good people who run Audio Sancto, as well as the wonderful Priest that can be heard on it. I find his attacks unjustified and despicable. When I call to mind the disasterous last 50 years that the Church has endured, coupled with the failure of those who should have fought harder against this travesty but but inatead chose to keep silent, and considering the wonderful Truths of the faith that can be found on Audio Sancto, I want to take priest to task! Are you discrediting the whole of Audio Sancto because of one comment you didn’t care to hear? Are you attacking faithful and holy priest due to a comment that hurt your sensibilities? Are you truly desirous of upsetting the good and faithful Catholics who have worked tirelessly FOR NO COMPENSATION over 10 years, only for the sole desire of the Truth being told and for the salvation of souls!?!?! Shame on you Father! Shame on you! This is NOT what I expect from any man of the cloth whose only interest should be that all souls be saved! I pray for an end to this most unkind and unwarranted attack. To Jesus Through Mary +

  33. John,

    Perhaps you should be a little more careful with your attacks. My criticism of Audio Sancto and the priest who delivered the sermon is specific and limited. The answer to all your questions is no.

  34. Father,

    Your comments are more offensive and uncahritable than anything said in the sermon you reference on Audio Sancto. Nothing was said in that sermon that had not already been said by many of the Novus Ordo priest and apologists (not just conservatives, but some of the liberal ones as well). In addition, learned men, such as de Mattei (Church Historian) and Radaelli (Catholic Theologian and Philospher), as well as Pierre Dulau & Martin Steffens (Catholic Philosphers), also conlcude with thoughts much along the lines of this priest. In fact, Radaelli prepared a 13 page response to the Pope’s announcement and it is quite eloquent and yet very harsh at the same time.

    And for the record, the Pope absolutely did not say why he was abandoning his ship when he announced his abdication. Go back and reread. He does not say the HE is of ill health or having any troubles with his mind. In fact, the Vatican came out afterwards and clarified that he does not have any serious medical conditions or issues of the mind. Cardinal Burke also clarified this in subsequent interviews of his own. In addition, the Pope’s own actions indicate that he is of very sound mind as he spoke to a group of priests and seminarians after his announcement for 40 minutes off the cuff. Not to mention that were he not of sound mind, he could have stated that he was abdicating of his own free will.

    I don’t know why the Pope has chosen to do what he has done. He may very well have what he considers a good reason and he may have the best of intentions. That does not change the fact that this is a disasterous move for the Church and the reprecussions will be grave – they are already showing themselves to be.

    So, we pray for the Holy Father but we cannot stick our head in the sand.

    Oh, btw – please direct me to the page on your blog that specifically identifies who you are, where you are, etc. I did come to see your name and email at the bottom of this page but to be honest, I found the location kind of obscure and difficult to find.

    Also, I have emailed with Audio Sancto via the form on their website and have always received an email back. From that point on our correspondence took place by email and I have never had any issues with getting a reply from them.

  35. I are just a unwashed Texian and so I am confused here. Did not the FI publish Msgr Gherardini’s book, which asks many questions about the Council? Are poets not sometimes more correct in discoverin truth than those who adhere to logic and legalism? Does not the anonymity of the priests at mean that one judges their sermons on content instead of who they are? And for information, I have heard the same priest to whose venting you objected to, say in another audiosancto sermon, that one should go to confession often, to a priest with faculties from the local bishop. I strongly doubt, therefore, that he is SSPX or “independent”, in fact I am almost certain that i do know who he is, and i can guarawntee you he ain’t one of them folks. I highly recommend his 2012 Lenten Mission series “Climbing the Mountain of God”, and maybe even more so his brother priest’s 2009 mission, also on audiosancto, on “The Passion of the Church”, that father’s southern accent makes it sound like Bear Bryant hisself come down to spell it out.

    Don’t y’all FIs go gettin’ into the compromising with the world frame of mind, now, y’ here?

  36. @MaryCatherine on February 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Mary Catherine,

    You can check out my response to de Mattei here.

    It is interesting that you excuse Radaelli’s harsh words about the Holy Father but find the fact that I think the preacher should take public responsibility for statements made in public “offensive and uncharitable.”  But we are all entitled to our opinion, aren’t we?

    And for the record, the Pope absolutely did say why was abdicating:

    In his abdication statement:

    After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry . . . . in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

    Then, two days later at the Wednesday audience:

    I have done this in full freedom for the good of the Church, after much prayer and having examined my conscience before God, knowing full well the seriousness of this act, but also realizing that I am no longer able to carry out the Petrine ministry with the strength which it demands.

    Then obliquely at the discourse to the Roman Clergy the next day:

    For today, given the conditions brought on by my age, I have not been able to prepare an extended discourse, as might have been expected; but rather what I have in mind are a few thoughts on the Second Vatican Council, as I saw it.

    And again at the Wednesday audience yesterday:

    In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God earnestly in prayer to enlighten me with his light to make me take the right decision not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also new, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make tough choices, suffering, having always before the good of the Church and not themselves.

    But I understand that you do not think that the Holy Father has sufficiently explained himself to you and that you still feel as though he is abandoning ship (even though his is 85 and claims that he does not have the strength any longer to do what needs to be done).  If he let you read his personal medical files would that satisfy you?  No, I understand that the traditionalist position demands that there be a conspiracy behind it.  You certainly are entitled to your opinion, and I respect you for attaching your name to it.

    BTW, Cardinal Pell’s statement actually supports my position.  Both he and the pope, according to Pell, understand the possible liabilities of the decision.  But Cardinal Pell also thinks that the Church is in need of someone who can pull the administration of the Church together.

    You say:

    I don’t know why the Pope has chosen to do what he has done. He may very well have what he considers a good reason and he may have the best of intentions. That does not change the fact that this is a disasterous move for the Church and the reprecussions will be grave – they are already showing themselves to be.

    Again, you are entitled to your opinion.  However, I believe the pope knows better than you.

    Mary Catherine, I am sorry it was hard for you to find my name.  But we can both be thankful that you did find it.  Actually it is on every page.  Or you could just google Mary Victrix. There is no big secret, unlike with Audio Sancto.

  37. @Woody on February 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm


    Traditionalists are nothing if not admirers of logic and legalism and your Texan shtick looks like cover for another attempt at both.

    The logic the logic of the traditionalists is not as airtight as they think it is. Fortunately, Catholics have the Vicar of Christ to lead them through the quagmire.

    But the idea that someone who actually believes what the pope says and supports it is “compromising with the world”—now that is poetry. Heavy, man.

  38. Fr. Angelo,

    It’s true that Catholics have the Vicar of Christ to lead them. The Vicar of Christ, for instance, who said that the Holy See has never allowed participation in pan-religious gatherings such as Assisi I, II, and III (cf. Mortalium Animos). Or the Vicar of Christ who said that peace can only come through Christ (cf. Quas Primas), contrary to another pope’s assertion that peace can be encouraged by the practice of false religions (cf. papal audience, Jan. 1, 2011). And then there’s the Vicar of Christ who condemned Luther (Leo X), only to be seemingly contradicted by another pope, who praised as “Christocentric” the thought and spirituality of a man condemned as a heretic by a Roman Pontiff (cf. papal speech, 9/23/2011). The great thing about Catholicism is that the teachings of all those past Vicars of Christ not only have just as much authority as any present teaching, but in some respects even more so, for once a past Vicar of Christ has definitively settled some doctrinal matter, no future Vicar of Christ can contradict him. In Catholicism, being recent doesn’t mean being right. Neo-conservatives answer the obvious discrepancies which I noted with appeals to a mythical entity known as the “hermeneutic of continuity,” but unless this hermeneutic is capable of justifying a denial of the principle of non-contradiction, it’s not going to be able to dissolve the obvious contradictions between past and present.

    I’ve followed these debates for many years, watching the traditionalists present reasoned arguments based on preconciliar Magisterial teaching, waiting for conservatives to come up with a similarly sourced reply, and instead watching them return with insults, name-calling, a tool kit full of spurious accusations (“schismatics,” not in “full” communion, etc.). Each time I observe this by now predictable charade, it only strengthens the conviction that traditional Catholicism is where theological correctness is to be found. A system which had good support for its position would have offered it by now. Neo-conservative Catholicism hasn’t offered it, because it doesn’t have any. The sole fall-back position is belief in a sort of papal impeccability: if the pope says that something is true, it is. No need for proof; simply accuse any dissenters from this doctrine of “disobedience” or other moral failings. You’ve hinted at this in one of your replies, saying, “However, I believe the pope knows better than you.” The trouble is that boilerplate appeals to authority of this sort are exactly an instance of what I’m speaking about. If the pope is speaking fallibly (and on the “hermeneutic of continuity,” he is, unless you wish to advance the astounding opinion that his 12/22/05 address was in fact an ex cathedra pronouncement), you cannot appeal to his fallible statements as though they were infallible. The fact that the pope is very intelligent is also irrelevant, since many intelligent people throughout history have erred grievously on highly important matters. The rightness or wrongness of a given pope’s statements and actions is measured by an objective standard–the Catholic Faith–which cannot without circularity be defined as “whatever the pope says.”

  39. Mike,

    Thank you for so eloquently presenting the traditionalist position. Just to make things clear . . . again, this post expressed my objection to the lack of personal responsibility taken by the preacher of the sermon and Audio Sancto for something said in public, which essentially expounds the traditionalist position. I though it also worthwhile to help clarify the fact that Audio Sancto is a traditionalist organization. I happen to think transparency is a good thing. Thank you for helping me make this point.

    Actually, there is an essential distinction to be made between papal documents and the pope. So yes, all magisterial teaching must be reconcilable with ordinary and extraordinary magisterial teaching already established, but it is, in fact, the Sovereign Pontiff’s competence to make this determination, not that of a theologian, professional or amateur. So you feel authorized to play magisterial documents off the living pope. That is up to you. Whatever conclusions you come to are your opinion and have no magisterial authority. Essentially what you are doing is using magisterial documents the way Protestants use the Bible.

    In fact, the supreme magisterial jurisdiction of the person of the Roman Pontiff is not limited to the extraordinary protection of infallibility. His power of jurisdiction in matters of faith, morals, discipline and government is supreme, universal, absolute, and immediate over the whole Church and each of its members. To deny this is heresy.

    That theologians may have problems reconciling the modern magisterium with previous definitions is nothing new. Archbishop de Noia has indicated the way they can handle this without acting as a parallel magisterium or in a way that constitutes a rejection of the Roman Pontiff’s supreme jurisdiction.

    Seriously, Mike, what you say about the lack of reasoned arguments, insults, name-calling and spurious accusations could be just as validly said if one inverted the tags “traditionalists” and “conservatives.” I have seen both sides. And in respect to the traditionalists, I have seen all these aberrations directed toward the person of the Holy Father. Get real.

    Really, seriously, I never cease to be amazed at how traditionalists can be so blind to the fact that it is not always the other side. A case in point: you say that I am implying a moral failing when I suggest that the pope knows better than anyone commenting here. But what about the preacher who proclaims from the pulpit that the Holy Father is guilty of a moral failing when he, as the Supreme Pontiff, makes a judgment about a matter which is solely his to make?

    All this being said, I have far more respect for you and those like you who are plain spoken, unlike the crypto-traditionalists who talk out of both sides of their mouth, play the sockpuppet, or otherwise hide their intentions and what they really believe.

  40. Fr. Angelo,

    Thank you for your reply. I think something you said strikes at another critical difference between traditionalism and conservatism:

    “So yes, all magisterial teaching must be reconcilable with ordinary and extraordinary magisterial teaching already established, but it is, in fact, the Sovereign Pontiff’s competence to make this determination, not that of a theologian, professional or amateur.”

    I’m not sure how you would justify this assertion, since the reconciliability of past teaching with present teaching is something which exists (if it does exist) in the nature of things. It isn’t something which comes into being because the pope says that it does, and to claim this is once more to promote the error of “papal impeccability,” to make of the pope a sort of doctrinal totalitarian figure who could conceivably add 2+2, get 5, and then impose this new arithmetic as Catholic truth by the mere fact of his having uttered it.

    Let’s take an example I cited, since it is a very clear contradiction: Pius XI’s teaching that peace can come only through Christ (Quas Primas): “And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations.”

    Here is what Benedict XVI said, Jan. 1, 2011: “[Assisi III] will aim to commemorate the historical action desired by my Predecessor and to solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

    Pius XI teaches that peace can come ONLY through Christ. Benedict XVI denies this; he says that peace can also come through the practice of religions which reject and blaspheme Christ (Judaism, Islam, etc.). Now the contradiction between these two is not something which we must wait for the pope to confirm for us (and obviously if Benedict XVI believes this error, then of course he’s NOT going to confirm this). Contradiction which is manifest is something recognizable by even the simplest intellects, and there’s no precedent in Church teaching for encouraging people to abdicate their basic reasoning powers by refusing to acknowledge contradiction where it is found. In fact, there is a strange inconsistency in such a suggestion: you would have to hold that our reasoning powers, though unable to recognize the most basic errors (e.g. blatant contradiction between two popes) are nevertheless capable of making the act of judgment needed to judge that the pope is a reliable authority who ought to be followed. But if our intelligence cannot recognize the first sort of contradiction, then it cannot recognize anything, including papal authority, since St. Thomas points out that the ability to recognize contradiction is the basis for all else.

    You also said this:

    :”So you feel authorized to play magisterial documents off the living pope. That is up to you.”

    No, it’s not up to me: it’s up to the objective correspondence (or lack thereof) between past and present teaching. You are attempting to take an objective matter and render it as my own subjective conclusion, but I’ve noted that the clash is in the objective, external order, because it is. I’m not playing documents off each other; the documents already play themselves off each other, and I am merely pointing out the clash.

    You said finally:

    ” Whatever conclusions you come to are your opinion and have no magisterial authority. Essentially what you are doing is using magisterial documents the way Protestants use the Bible.”

    No, my conclusions are nothing else than the conclusions stated by Pius XI. My conclusion is that peace can only come through Christ, not through false religions, as Benedict XVI claims. Where did I get this conclusion from? From the teaching of Pius XI, which means that it DOES have Magisterial authority and is not my “opinion.” Repeating the direct teaching of a pope is not “my opinion.”

    Your comment seems at least to tend towards making of the Catholic religion a sort of Gnostic cult where no Catholic can ever know his faith until and unless the pope tells him what to believe, even if the pope tells him something totally different than past popes told him. Thus if the next pope is an out-and-out Modernist and a heretic (and by the way, Saints Francis de Sales, Alphonsus Liguori, and Robert Bellarmine, all Church doctors, if I recall all hold that a pope can become a heretic), according to your argument this pope could directly deny the Resurrection of Christ and then, when a traditionalist calls up some Magisterial document from the past saying that this makes him a heretic, you could object that such a traditionalist is being Protestant, and is merely offering his opinion, and that it is for the new Modernist heretic pope to decide for us whether his heresies are conformable with past Magisterial teaching. Surely you see the problem with your proposed procedure, Father? You almost seem to make the pope stand above the Faith, whereas the First Vatican Council taught that everyone, including the pope, is subject to the Faith, to which even the pope owes obedience and which he is not empowered to change.

    Finally, Father, I note that you unintentionally validate my original criticism, that conservative anti-trad arguments consist predominantly or exclusively of only two elements: 1. Invocation of papal authority as an absolute and unquestionable standard (papal “super-infallibility”), 2. Name-calling of traditionalists who don’t accept element #1

    In this very post you have resorted to the very tactic which I mentioned: imply that traditionalists are Protestants. This is the one universal remedy for conservatives to marginalize traditionalists and turn attention away from the argument and onto the person, an ad hominem fallacy. But to call me a nasty name or imply the same would refute absolutely nothing of what I said; instead it would expose the lack of good support for your own claims. If you had a serious and well-reasoned rebuttal of what I said, you wouldn’t need to imply that my method is Protestant. You would simply offer your rebuttal and let its persuasive power speak for itself. Since you haven’t done this, I conclude as before: the name-calling is simply a screen for a lack of adequate rebuttal.

  41. Mike,

    You should stop asserting the straw man of “papal impeccability.” I have never claimed or implied it. What I did do, however, is indicate the universal doctrinal jurisdiction of the Holy Father, the denial of which has already been condemned as heresy. It does not mean that he is always infallible. It means that it is his jurisdiction—given him directly by Christ—alone to settle doctrinal controversies.

    You claim that you have arrived at your conclusions by way of mathematical or metaphysical necessity. You argue that things are not different because they cannot be different and, therefore, you assert that your conclusions are not merely your personal opinions, but truths that are self-evident or established apodictically. Essentially what you are saying is that the pope is a heretic and that no intelligent person of good faith can conclude otherwise unless they are able to personally refute you to your satisfaction.

    If I have mischaracterized your position, then please let me know. Are you perhaps a sedevacantist (irrespective of the current interregnum)? It is an honest, sincere and pertinent question.

    I will deal with the theoretical problems concerning you position, including your charge of gnosticism, more specifically and more at length in my next post.

    The theoretical problems with your position are translated into praxis by means of proof-texting. Hence, you validate my criticism that you treat Church documents the way Protestants treat the Bible. All the time, Protestants, who are better equipped with knowledge of the texts of the Bible prey on average Catholics by using texts against texts, and texts against tradition. The average Catholic is often overwhelmed. What really separates us from the Protestant is not only the additional texts of the magisterium, but its living authority, residing in the Holy Father.

    In respect to the example you give of the Assisi day of Prayer in 2011, Pope Benedict both in the remote and immediate preparation for the day of prayer, indicated that the day needed to be interpreted in the light of what he had said in Dominus Iesus, and that the purpose of the meeting was not syncretistic, but was directed toward the proclamation of the truth that Christ’s kingdom of peace, does not come with the “force of arms,” but only with the “force of the Cross.” He specifically references St. Paul and the sword of martyrdom he is often depicted with. It also signifies that his “only weapon was the message: ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor 2:2). And his preaching was not based on ‘plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power’ (v. 4).” Pope Benedict says that if we want to be “bearers of the kingdom of peace,” that like Christ and St. Paul

    we must be willing to pay in person, to suffer misunderstanding, rejection, persecution in the first person. It is not the sword of the conqueror that builds peace, but the sword of the suffering, of whoever gives up his/her own life.

    The person of the Vicar of Christ proclaims Christ wherever he goes, whether by word or action. The meaning of the Assisi event was made clear. He never claimed that “peace can also come through the practice of religions which reject and blaspheme Christ (Judaism, Islam, etc.).” What he claimed is that the demands of peace require us to live and die like Christ. You in no way have proven by evidence that Pope Benedict contradicts previous teaching. What you claim to be mathematical reasoning is just proof-texting.

    Don’t forget that the traditionalists have an a priori prejudice in the matter. The pope does not need to prove to Catholics that he is right. He is, after all, the pope. If supernatural faith was based primarily on compelling arguments then it would not be supernatural, and it would not be faith.

    I am well aware that you can come up with any number of conflicts between various texts, actions and disciplines. I may or may not be able be able to refute you. But your arguments are not quite as airtight, self-evident and apodictic as you make them out to be. The basis of your problem lies in the failure to distinguish assertions that are contradictory from those which are contrary. It is for this reason you fail also to distinguish between what is your opinion and what is Church teaching. I am afraid the problem with logic lies on your side.

    This problem extends to your accusing me of the logical fallacy and ad hominem of name-calling. The analogy with Protestantism is appropriate because yours is the same error of judgment. The analogy was based on an argument that I actually made about a doctrinal error, not about personal behavior. Just because I disagree with your argument and present a counter argument does not mean that I am attacking you personally. That is like making the statement “You are mistaken,” is name-calling.

  42. Hello Father, and thank you for your reply.

    No, I didn’t anywhere say that the pope was a heretic, and I don’t see how anything besides an intention to put words in my mouth could have lead you to say this. A heretic is someone who denies what is de fide divina et Catholica, but nowhere did I accuse the pope of denying a defined dogma (although I believe I pointed out that numerous Doctors of the Church allow for the possibility of a pope’s falling into heresy; I hope you will not imply that they are all being “Protestant” in their method of theologizing?)

    My argument is quite simple: Here’s what Pius XI said about ecumenism, here’s what Benedict XVI said, and using the most basic form of intuitive common sense, which all rational beings possess from a young age, anyone can see that the two cannot be reconciled. The principle of non-contradiction is the fundamental basis of all thought and all reality, and no intellectual act, including the act of faith, can be made without presupposing it. You are effectively denying the power of human reason to detect manifest contradiction. Manifest means that all one needs to do is place the words side by side and observe that they cannot be simultaneously true. I’ll give another example, from the same two popes:

    Pius XI: “So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.”–Mortalium Animos

    Cardinal Ratzinger: “Against this background we can now weigh the possibilities that are open to Christian ecumenism. The maximum demands on which the search for unity must certainly founder are immediately clear…As regards Protestantism, the maximum demand of the Catholic Church would be that the Protestant ecclesiological ministers be regarded as totally invalid and that Protestants be converted to Catholicism; the maximum demand of Protestants, on the other hand, would be that the Catholic Church accept, along with the unconditional acknowledgement of all Protestant ministries, the Protestant concept of ministry and their understanding of the Church and thus, in practice, renounce the apostolic and sacramental structure of the Church, which would mean, in practice, the conversion of Catholics to Protestantism and their acceptance of a multiplicity of distinct community structures as the historical form of the Church…none of the maximum solutions offers any real hope of unity.”—Principles of Catholic Theology, pg. 197-8

    Cardinal Ratzinger says that expecting Protestants to convert to Catholicism is a “maximum solution” offering no “real hope of unity,” and as pope (8/19/2005) he rejects the idea of the “ecumenism of the return.” Pius XI teaches that for Protestants to convert to Catholicism is the ONLY way to have real unity, and explicitly DEMANDS the ecumenism of return as the sole possibility.

    Once more I maintain that yes, we have here a certain contradiction, as sure as the contradiction between someone claiming that a triangle has only 3 sides and another saying that it has 4. You can literally place the words right next to each other and see that they say two completely opposed things. You will accuse me of “prooftexting,” but I accuse anyone who denies this obvious contradiction of forfeiting the foundations of reason. And if you can’t be sure of the principle of non-contradiction, then you can’t be sure of anything, including the fact that pope is speaking or that what he says is true or reliable. Deny a Catholic’s ability to see contradiction and you deny everything, including the foundations of faith.

    Not only can anyone see this (who hasn’t already made up his mind to never criticize the reigning pope for any error, no matter how obvious), but even the protagonists themselves will sometimes admit that there is a contradiction. Here, for instance, is then-Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, speaking of ecumenism:

    “The ecumenical movement grew out of a situation unknown to the New Testament and for which the New Testament can therefore offer no guidelines.”–Fr. Ratzinger, Theological Highlights of Vatican II, pg. 72

    Now first of all it is false to say that there is any human situation “unknown” to the New Testament. But importantly, then-Fr. Ratzinger bluntly admits that what he and his ideological comrades are doing is something which has no basis in Scripture or Tradition. But if it doesn’t exist anywhere in the Deposit of the Faith, then it is at best a waste of time and at worst dangerous to spend as exorbitant an amount of time on such a project as the postconciliar leaders have spent on it, when by their own admission there is no basis for it in the sources of Revelation.

    Whether or not someone is a sedevacantist is wholly irrelevant to the debate at hand (and this would be another example of poisoning the well by apparently trying to dismiss someone’s argument by associating them with a position which is odious in the eyes of most mainstream Catholics). It would be like asking me in the middle of the debate if I have ever jaywalked, as though to suggest that this would somehow cast doubt on the worth of my subsequent arguments. But although it is not at all pertinent, I will clarify that no, prior to February 28th of this year, I was not a sedevacantist.

    I don’t think your continued efforts to depict me as resembling a Protestant succeed in any way, nor have you answered my charge of quasi-Gnosticism.

    Protestants reject the Real Presence, reject the papacy, reject Purgatory, the communion of saints, 5 of the 7 Sacraments, etc. I don’t believe any of those errors. Protestants believe that the rule of Faith is Scripture interpreted by one’s private sifting of the texts. I believe that the rule of Faith is Scripture and Tradition as authoritatively expounded by the Catholic Magisterium. The two regula are utterly different, and therefore it is false to say or imply that I am or in any way resemble a Protestant.

    Ironically you use a prooftext yourself by citing the pope’s words, Dominus Jesus, etc. What you are doing there is interpreting a papal text. But recall that you denied me the same right to use a papal text (the text of Pius XI), claiming that my merely quoting Pius XI’s condemnation of ecumenical outrages like Assisi is a quasi-Protestant “prooftexting” method. Father, please clarify for me why my quoting Pius XI to defend a point is “prooftexting,” yet your use of Benedict XVI’s text is not. Then please explain how you are being consistent in your apparent belief that no Catholic can ever use a clear and unambiguous papal text to point out an error made by a pope, since such use would be “private interpretation of a Magisterial text,” but at the same time, you have permitted yourself to quote from and interpret Benedict XVI’s text without being ensnared by this same “Protestant” accusation, which you conveniently use to tar others who do exactly the same thing which you are doing.

    Your belief, as I said, seems to lead to this impossible quandary: no Catholic can ever know his faith or what it means, because even if he has a papal definition or clear text right in front of him, he must interpret it and filter it throught the lens of his understanding in order to grasp its meaning. But when I do this very thing with Pius XI’s teaching, you accuse me of a form of Protestantism. It follows that you cannot be sure, Father, whether Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, or whether He rose from the dead, because in order to know that the Church has taught this you must read and then interpret a text, creed, or teaching which states this, but nevertheless, your interpretation is perpetually at the mercy of some future pope who might come along and “reinterpret” this teaching, at which time you have bound yourself to believe whatever he says, even if it blatantly contradicts past teaching.

    My question for you is this: why does the Church bother to define things or write teachings down, if the faithful can never read and understand what they mean, since doing so means that they are “privately interpreting” some Magisterial text? For that matter, how could you even know that what the living authority (the pope) says is true? In order to make sense of his words you must interpret them, but you can’t interpret papal words, because that’s what I just did, upon which you straightaway accuse me of prooftexting.

    Ironically, in this very post have effectively validated my point about “papal impeccability” with this comment. You say that the pope is not always infallible, then basically say that he is, because he never needs to prove that he’s right (which he would need to do in some cases if he was speaking fallibly, i.e., so as to be able of erring): “The pope does not need to prove to Catholics that he is right. He is, after all, the pope.”

    In other words, the pope doesn’t need to conform his words and actions with faith or reason. He doesn’t need to be rational or logical in what he says, nor does he need to conform to any standard external to himself, as Vatican I teaches that he does. Your claim essentially says that if the pope opens his mouth and words come out, then those words must be true, because it is the pope who has spoken them. I’m not sure what system of thought this belief is derived from, but it is most certainly not the Catholic system, since the Church explicitly rejects this cultish attitude towards the person of the pope:

    “For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.”–First Vatican Council

    In other words, the pope is bound just like you and me to the Faith, not vice versa. The pope has no authority to change the Faith, and since Pius XI teaches that Catholics CAN know their faith, it follows that they are also capable of knowing if and when a pope contradicts that Faith:

    “These two commands of Christ, which must be fulfilled, the one, namely, to teach, and the other to believe, cannot even be understood, unless the Church proposes a complete and easily understood teaching…”–Mortalium Animos

    Pius XI says that the Faith can be “easily understood,” which means that people can also easily see when something contradicts it. Nothing of what you said in any way exonerates Benedict XVI from his participation in the scandalous events of Assisi. I agree with you that the nature of the event was very clear: it is very clear from Sacred Scripture (Psalm 95:5) and from the constant teaching of the Church throughout millenia that the spectacle at Assisi of an African witch doctor evidently reciting a prayer to a demon inside a Catholic church is an abomination in the sight of God, and one which all saints would unanimously have condemned with outrage.

    My claim about Benedict XVI’s exhortation to practice false religions has gone unrefuted; you simply issue a bald denial of it without actually showing why it is wrong.

    Here’s the quote I was referring to:

    “It will aim to commemorate the historical action desired by my Predecessor and to solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”–Benedict XVI, 1/1/2011

    Benedict XVI invites members of “every religion” (and thus he includes religions which blaspheme and deny Christ) to “live their own religious faith,” i.e., to practice religions which consist in outraging and denying Our Savior. It’s right there on the page, Father. I’m sorry that the implications of Benedict’s statement are so uncomfortable that people feel obliged to literally deny plain and obvious error, but that’s what he said, and there’s no way to deny it.

    Now it won’t do to accuse me of “prooftexting” anything here, because this objection in no way shows that I am wrong. Yes, of course I am using a text as “proof” of what I say; how else could I possibly demonstrate contradiction? If I didn’t offer some textual proof you would accuse me of inventing the accusation; if I do offer a text you accuse me of “prooftexting.” Heads you win, tails I lose. You’ve said that my arguments are not “airtight.” Very well, then please refute them. Otherwise these remarks come across as rhetorical hand-waving.

    I would like to conclude by challenging something you said about the next pope, that you will apparently obey him without condition, and that you reject any attempts to classify him as “not traditional enough,” etc. This idea of unconditional obedience exposes you to the following problem, Father. In the coming conclave are a number of cardinals who have done things as cardinals which are disgraceful. For instance, you may remember years ago that Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote a document about the Mass which was so awful that EWTN’s Mother Angelica (who is very loyal to the Holy See, and certainly no traditionalist) as I recall more or less publicly accused the cardinal of denying the Real Presence.

    Against all logic and reason Cardinal Mahony has been allowed to participate in the conclave. Suppose that he is elected, Father, and suppose that he writes an encyclical repeating the content of his cardinal’s pastoral letter criticized by Mother Angelica. Will you carry out your promise to “obey” even if a Pope Mahony bluntly denies the Real Presence?

    Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany will also be voting. Cardinal Kasper, you may recall, publicly stated that Vatican II “abandoned” the idea that ecumenism involves converting non-Catholics to the true Faith. If a Pope Kasper emerges from the conclave, Father, will you obey this nonsense because he’s pope?

    The idea of blind and unquestioning obedience is the mark of a cult, not of a Catholic. Catholicism is the religion of both faith and reason.

  43. Mike,

    Thanks again for sticking with this exchange.

    I think you would have to agree that the starting point of this discussion and the only reasonable presumption of the Catholic faithful is that the Holy Father has universal and immediate doctrinal authority over the whole Church and each individual, regardless of whether a particular teaching of his is irreformable by nature or not. This is not simply a legal question. The contrary assertion about the nature of papal authority is heresy. In other words, the pope does not need to prove he is right or that he is acting infallibly in order to command obedience in doctrinal matters. This is already “in possession.” The burden of proof is on anyone who would assert that any particular teaching does not command obedience.

    We should also agree that the character of the Holy Father’s authority is not natural but supernatural: He who hears you hears me, and the gates of hell shall not prevail, etc. The authority of the Holy Father comes from Christ, not from man. Of course, that does not mean he can invent anything, nor can he right what is wrong or vindicate a falsehood. He is always and only the guardian of the deposit of the faith. Even so, the nature of the papacy is that is an instrument of divine providence in such a way that even the gates of hell shall not prevail. Whatever mistakes a pope may make, and history shows that at times they can be huge, there is an overarching protection of divine providence on the Church through his office. The pope is not impeccable, nor is he always infallible, but by means of the providence exercised by God through the papacy, in spite of the human element, the Church is indefectible. The kind of presumption enjoyed by the pope should reflect this fact.

    The principle of non-contradiction in respect to epistemology states that a something cannot be true and not true at one and the same time and under the same respect. The parameters that define the principle in regard to time and respect are essential. Apparent contradictions may not be contradictions at all if one takes account of differing times and circumstances. I say “may,” because, obviously some things do not change no matter what the time and circumstances. I assume that you are asserting that the questions of interreligious dialogue and ecumenism are such issues. But this is not immediately apparent, particularly when the Vicar of Christ claims that time and circumstances are such that a different approach is required. What he says is in possession, until proven otherwise. For a believing Catholic, the burden of proof is not, and cannot be on him. If the contrary were true, we would only have to believe the pope if we judged that he had argued his case sufficiently, and then really only when he defined doctrines in the most solemn way possible.

    But you seem to suggest that the (apparent) contradiction is so blatant, undeniable and so resistant to any possible clarification that it is like the fact that a triangle has three sides, and, therefore, no one need presume the Holy Father is correct because he is obviously and undeniably promoting a falsehood. You seem to be saying that the contradiction is self-evident, and self-evidently resistant to any other interpretation.

    This is why I said that you fail to distinguish between contradictory statements and contrary statements. When Pius XI said that joint assemblies had never been allowed because only the maximum solution was acceptable, and then decades later, Vatican II and fifty years of papal teaching says that ecumenism, properly understood, is now necessary because the maximum solution is not currently attainable, we are dealing with contrary, not contradictory statements.

    I am sure you will continue to argue that I am wrong, but argue you must, because we are not examining a triangle and simply apprehending how may sides it has.

    You assert that the alleged contradiction in the Assisi event is also self-evident and that while one pope claimed that peace can only come through Christ, another claims that it could come also from the practice of non-Christian religions. You are entangling yourself in another logical error, namely, the undistributed middle term, in which “peace” is not used in exactly the same sense both times (hence, no contradiction). In the first instance irenicism is rightly condemned because unity of many religions can never be attained without the denial of truth. In second instance, peace is sought without denying the truth of the Catholic faith, because the alternative, which is more violence, is unacceptable. The claim that some measure of common belief in the transcendent character of the natural law can contribute to the lessoning of violent conflict is not the same thing as claiming that Catholics may deny what separates them from other religions in order that all religions can be united.

    Your failure to distinguish between contradictories and contraries is related to your decontextualized use of magisterial texts. When brought together the result is a fairly transparent example of prooftexting. Your airtight system does not allow for any examination of presumptions or of the possibility of a different meaning of a text than the one you have ascribed to it because the whole system of traditionalism depends on not questioning any of its assumptions. Once you admit that you might be wrong, and that there might be a real legitimate dispute that can only be resolved by the one Christ authorized to resolve such problems, the game is over.

    No, I have not been prooftexting. I am simply following the reasonable presumption of any Roman Catholic that the Holy Father knows what he is talking about and that any apparent contradiction is just that, only an apparent contradiction. I am not privately interpreting anything. I accept without condition the living magisterium. I accepted what Pope Benedict taught. I will accept what his successor teaches. Furthermore, the reference to Dominus Jesus is not prooftexting, 1) because it is not even my reference, but that of Pope Benedict, and 2) because belongs precisely to the context of Assisi, as its author was the initiator of the Assisi Day of Prayer and himself pointed to DJ as the hermeneutical key to the event.

    All this being said, do I make any magisterial claims for anything I have said here, that is, I do not assert that any moral obligation is imposed by my having made any claims on this blog. Roman Catholics have no obligation to follow anything I say because I said it. However, they are obliged to follow what the pope says in his capacity of his office, just because he said it in the capacity of his office. That is defined doctrine.

    The resemblance of your position with that of Protestantism does not consist in a denial of Catholic dogma, but in private judgment that leads you to “protest” against the living magisterium. You argue that this is not the case because the postconciliar magisterium is self-evidently wrong. The moment you admit that things are not so self-evident as you claim is the moment you will be convicted of private judgment.

    I will discuss the charge of gnosticism in a post I am currently working on. However, in the comment in which you first made the charge, you really do not, in my opinion, make much of a case for it, and I am not even sure how you would define gnosticism. In what way do I claim to have special or hidden knowledge? In what way am I engaging in intellectual elitism, magic or dualism? What exactly are you talking about? Or are you suggesting that because I claim that the faith of the Church is dependent on the faith of Peter, that I am a gnostic? Are you saying that I regard the pope as some kind of gnostic guru and the rest of us don’t know anything unless he dictates it to us? But that is precisely what I am not saying. All I am saying that the purpose of his office is precisely to settle matters of dispute. In fact, that is in particular the reason why and the occasion when his doctrinal authority is so important. The fact that I appeal to the Holy Father for the resolution to doctrinal problems has nothing to do with skepticism, as you seem to assert. It is exactly the opposite. I would suggest that you are the one who is danger of skepticism since your certitude is dependent on your airtight system that cannot tolerate any real testing.

    What I said about the supernatural character of the papacy can be said to a lesser degree about the conclave and about the election of the next pope. You are right that there can be all kinds of problems with procedure and the electors and the result can be less than optimum. Recently, I read a quote from J. Ratzinger in which he disagreed with the idea that the Holy Spirit directly chooses the pope, and claimed that rather the Holy Spirit guarantees that the choice will not be ultimately a complete disaster. There is a measure of divine providence even in those areas that are not guaranteed to be perfect. I am a Roman Catholic. Our Lord said: He who hears you hears me. That has to be the starting point. Papal deviance needs to be proven at a very high standard. Even then, there is no pretext for the establishment of a second magisterium. You have proven nothing. Your basic argument is that your opinions are not merely opinions because what you hold is obvious, undeniable, self-evident, mathematically and metaphysically certain.

    If and when Pope Mahoney denies the real presence, we will be dealing with a completely different situation than the one you have presented. I doubt very much that it will happen because of the overarching protection of divine providence. But if he did it would not take the SSPX and Michael Voris to point out the problem. In regard to our discussion, that straw man will not walk.

    None of what I have said is to suggest that there are not plausible reasons to be concerned about some conciliar and postconciliar teaching. But those who have such concerns should air them in the proper way. It seems to me that you would justify the use of the mass media as an instrument of public resistance and propaganda, precisely because you believe your position to be so self-evidently factual. If that were actually the case, I would be more sympathetic, but not entirely. Even so, it is one thing for a theologian to present his findings to the magisterium and air his objections, and ultimately obey. It is one thing for Paul to correct Peter. It is another thing any Joe Catholic, even Father or Bishop Joe Catholic to catechize the faithful in suspicion of the Holy Father and to form them to resist him.

    You had better pray that you are right. But so far, none of what you claim is self-evident or argued apodictically.

  44. Timothy,

    The distinction is important. I would agree with everything DvH says except with his opinions on the novus ordo, which were written some 35-40 years ago.

    I have focussed on obedience in respect to matters of faith for two reasons: 1) because faith is a kind of obedience and 2), because the context of this discussion has to do with the practical implications of faith. We have not been merely talking about internal dispositions relative to a particular doctrine, or to matters that are wholly practical. We have been talking about public resistance to the teaching authority of Peter, whose universal jurisdiction in matters of faith is not limited to its extraordinary function.

    The traditionalists argument justifies everything from public resistance, propaganda and the sowing suspicion of the Holy Father in the minds of the simple faithful to separation from the regular jurisdiction of the Roman Church, and the celebration of the sacraments without jurisdiction. I would identify this as “disobedience” justified on the alleged necessity to resist doctrinal error on the part of the pope.

    That is what we are talking about. It is why I objected to the sermon on Audio Sancto in the first place, and it is why I believe that the least one can do, if one is compelled to take that public and confrontational course of action is to take personal responsibility for it.

  45. Thanks for your reply, Father.

    You criticize me on a number of occasions for wrongly considering my case airtight, bluntly dismiss my argument by saying that I haven’t proven anything, and advise me to pray that I end up right, thereby apparently implying that I have some reason to fear that my defense of preconciliar papal teaching will jeopardize my salvation (although it’s not clear whether you consider that advice to be equally applicable to someone holding to the position opposite mine, which–I would contend–involves the implicit rejection of teachings by preconciliar popes).

    But of course simply to say “You’ve proven nothing” is not to justify that claim. As far as I can see, you make two general attempts to justify it:

    1. “The pope deserves the benefit of the doubt.”

    I would agree with you, if there were in fact any legitimate reason for doubt. But at least some of what the last 2 popes have said and done doesn’t admit of any doubt. Let me offer a few more examples, examples which truly are airtight, so much so that even some of the neo-conservatives generally become uncomfortable when presented with them.

    The first example is John Paul II’s kissing of the Koran. The Koran contains blasphemies against Our Lord; among other offenses it denies Christ’s divinity, a heresy formally condemned at the very first of the Church’s ecumenical councils. There are martyrs in the Church’s liturgical calendar who literally died rather than do the very sort of thing which John Paul II did, under no apparent duress, and for which, as far as I am aware, he never publicly offered a statement of apology or regret (and let’s recall that John Paul II’s pontificate was filled with papal apologies which garnered criticism and distress from various corners, perhaps even from some of his admirers; his failure to apologize for this Koran-related scandal thus certainly didn’t proceed from any unwillingness to offer expressions of public abasement).

    Now I maintain that it is a self-evident fact of faith and reason that a book which blasphemes Our Lord cannot be shown public signs of respect and affection without an objective transgression being committed. There’s no prooftexting here, no Protestantism, no heresy, no private judgment (I’m citing the Church’s public judgment, e.g., the canonization of the Franciscan proto-martyrs, who died renouncing Islam). If John Paul II was right to do this, then the Church was wrong for 2,000 years in criticizing this sort of behavior.

    You may say my case isn’t airtight; if not, please prove it wrong (bearing in mind that my take off point is the Church’s own condemnation of this sort of behavior, not some principle which I personally invented one day, so that to prove me wrong would in essence entail trying to prove the Church wrong).

    The second example is John Paul II’s prayer with animist pagans during the Aug. 1986 visit to Togo. In his own words: “The prayer meeting in the sanctuary at Lake Togo was particularly striking. There I prayed for the first time with animists.” The trouble is that the Church believes that the gods to whom pagans and polytheists pray are not real gods, but devils (cf. Psalm 95:5).

    The third example would be Benedict XVI’s praise of Martin Luther, 9/23/2011, when the pope claimed that Luther’s thought and whole spirituality was “thoroughly Christocentric.” You may recall that one of Luther’s (in)famous sayings was “Sin boldly.” Luther was condemned as a true heretic by Leo X, which disqualifies his teaching or thought from being centered on Christ, as Benedict XVI claimed that it was. Either Luther was a heretic, i.e., not centered on Christ, because heresy is a mortal sin against Christ, or else Luther’s thought was centered on Christ, in which case Leo X was wrong to condemn him for heresy and the Church was wrong to reprobate his deeds for the last five centuries. The contradiction is once more not a nebulous or hard-to-see thing, but an obvious fact. Demanding obedience to the pope isn’t going to obscure this fact.

    The fourth example is Benedict XVI’s attempt, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, to “overturn” Leo XIII’s condemnation of the errors of the Italian priest Antonio Rosmini (cf. 2001 CDF document). Here is the clearest example of contradiction yet: Cardinal Ratzinger explicitly rejected Leo XIII’s teaching, claiming that it was “superseded.” There’s no need to speak of possible misinterpretations here; the cardinal himself specifically singled out the pope’s teaching as that which he was “overturning” (please don’t ask me to explain how a cardinal is capable of nullifying solemn doctrinal teachings of a pope, particularly when you yourself have stated that popes have supreme doctrinal jurisdiction in the Church. If popes have this supreme authority, then how could Leo XIII’s teaching be thrown away by a cardinal?)

    Now I contend that these and many other like examples which I could offer show that there is a pattern of behavior among recent popes which means that there no longer exists a “doubt” from which they can benefit. They have done things a number of times which the Roman Catholic Church explicitly repudiates or condemns or of which she otherwise disapproves. I’ve provided the citations and could provide others. There’s no reasonable grounds for doubting that they intend to follow a line different from the line which the Church has followed in the past. At times you will find them bluntly admitting this, as John Paul II said (Redemptor Hominis): “Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council…” John Paul II speaks of things “utterly new” and previously “quite unknown,” words which should ring alarm bells for Catholics, since Vatican I says that the Holy Spirit does not protect the pope in inventing new doctrines, but only in guarding the old and already-known patrimony of the Church.

    This first tactic which you use is in brief a dyed-in-the-wool appeal to authority. The pope is really smart and knows what he’s doing, ergo, people shouldn’t question him unless they have really good reasons. When I present really good reasons, you simply tell me that they aren’t really good, apparently because the pope doesn’t think they’re good. But that’s an obvious circularity. And as you know, the medievals said that the appeal to the authority is the weakest of all arguments.

    2. Your second attempt at vindicating papal actions, as with ecumenism, is to hold that Pius XI’s teaching was good for that time, but that times have changed, and that the recent popes have judged the situation to call for a different tactic.

    I think this attempt implicitly acknowledges that there is no way to reconcile the two approaches on the surface; you are effectively conceding that there is a clear clash, but you try to salvage the clash by appealing to circumstances.

    The problem is that nothing in Pius XI’s words suggest that his teaching is in any way bound to some specific time. It is simply false to imply that the 21st century world is somehow greatly different in its needs vis ecumenism than was the 1930’s world of Pius XI. This was one of the tendencies of Vatican II and its aftermath, to present “modern man” as somehow a new sort of species, a wonderfully sophisticated creature for whom the old ways weren’t good enough, and who had to have all sorts of new modes of teaching and discourse to be appropriately engaged. But Pius XI’s teaching on the contrary was absolute: peace only comes through Christ, not just in the 1930’s, but always. Protestants must convert to the true Church, not just in the 1930’s, but always. St. Pius X in fact noted that the tendency to hold that truth changes with the times like this is a part of Modernism. Pius XI explicitly states that the idea of joining forces with all false religions to combat modern secularism and atheism actually undermines the anti-atheist cause by giving the impression that religious divergences really don’t matter.

    A problem that you did not address is that Benedict XVI encourages non-Catholics to practice false religions. It doesn’t matter why he encourages this; the very fact of encouraging a Jew, a Moslem, a pagan, etc. to actively practice religions which reject Christ, which deny His divinity, which deny His Real Presence, and whose very existence is objectively offensive to God, this very encouragement is by itself a scandal. Nothing you said about wishing to avoid violence in any way minimizes this, and I could give you numerous quotes from past popes which reject this sort of idea (although I wonder if it is worth the time to do so, as I might only be accused of “prooftexting” in that case). You say that you are not prooftexting, but only appealing to the pope’s own words: Father, that’s exactly what I did. I quoted Pius XI’s words; that is my source for holding that Catholics may not participate in pan-religious gatherings like Assisi. Pius XI explicitly forbids this. If I am prooftexting by quoting a pope, then you are also. If you are not, then neither am I.

    The fact that you need to invoke DJ as a “hermeneutical key” only further validates my point: the Assisi meetings are so far from being a clear expression of the Church’s teaching on ecumenism that the pope is obliged to refer people to a lengthy document in order to make sense of his actions. Where else in Church history, Father, did a pope do something so scandalously ambiguous that he was obliged to refer the faithful to a complex theological text to have them figure out what he was trying to do? Has that ever happened prior to Vatican II?

    And the observation that scandal and evil took place isn’t simply my private judgment; Church authorities agree with me, or rather, I agree with them. Here’s what Cardinal Silvio Oddi said of Assisi I, for instance:

    “On that day … I walked through Assisi … And I saw real profanations in some places of prayer. I saw Buddhists dancing around the altar upon which they placed Buddha in the place of Christ and then incensed it and showed it reverence. A Benedictine protested and the police took him away … There was obvious confusion in the faces of the Catholics who were assisting at the ceremony.”–Cardinal Oddi, “30 Dias,” Nov. 1990

    Please explain how anything in Dominus Jesus would offer the “hermeneutical key” to explain why putting a Buddha status on top of the tabernacle is anything less than an abominable and monstrous sacrilege in the sight of God (and further how it could ever be acceptable to try to “commemorate” this tremendous scandal with a second and then a third rendition!)

    3. My reference to Gnostism responds to the idea, rejected by Pius XI in Mortalium Animos, that the faithful are incapable of recognizing contradictions to their faith, and that we must effectively await the clarifications of our enlightened betters who will share with us the ineffable gnosis which allows us to reconcile, for instance, the condemnation of Luther’s heresies with the praise of Luther as “Christocentric,” the condemnation of the doctrines of the Koran with the canonization of someone who kissed it, the reprobation of demon worship with active sharing in prayer with pagans, etc. You appeal to the intelligence and authority of the pope, to a presumption that he is right, etc., but none of that actually resolves any of the dilemmas I pose, but instead makes an appeal to some unknown or hidden resolution which we hope exists, and this wish for a mysterious and hidden future resolution justifies ignoring a present contradiction.

    I would like to note, finally, that all my beliefs I take from the Magisterial teachings noted. None of this is my private judgment. Accusing me of private judgment repeatedly doesn’t prove that anything of what I said is my private judgment, because it’s not: I am citing the public judgment of the Church, and I gave plenty of citations to prove the point.

    You claim that I am “protesting” against the Magisterium, but this is absolutely wrong, unless you wish to defend the truly amazing claim that the aberrations and errors I point out, Assisi, etc., are actually Magisterial teachings of the recent popes?! Really, Father? If I believed that Koran kissing and the like was a formal declaration of the postconciliar Magisterium, I would be obliged by sheer logic to become a sedevacantist tomorrow.

    I think the main issue here is that I start with facts: the Church taught this in the past, the Church cannot contradict her own teaching, and yet some of the recent actions contradict the past. You simply state baldly that the contradictions are not contradictions, but you don’t really show that they aren’t, even after I’ve lined the statements up right next to each other where in some cases almost a word-for-word discrepancy is apparent.

    You seem on the contrary to start with a theory, the desire to preserve which leads you to reinterpret, ignore, or mystify the facts: the pope must always be assumed to be right, and if it seems clearly that he is wrong, we must twist the facts around to make them agree with the theory. One starts with facts and out of them forms a theory; the other starts with the theory and into it tries to squeeze the facts.

    Finally, I don’t think you answered my question about a Pope Mahony, a point I find compelling: what if he is elected, and what if he writes an encyclical denying the Real Presence, Father? You say that we should give popes the benefit of the doubt. I say that it would make more sense to assume that he is a heretic or an invalid pope, thereby preserving the Church’s bimillenial teaching on the Real Presence, rather than assuming that the Church’s 2,000 year old teaching should be “reinterpreted” or changed (which it cannot be) just to preserve an exaggerated allegiance to someone who claims to be the pope. Further, I think your comment here is revealing: you admit that this would be obvious, and we wouldn’t need the SSPX to tell us that a contradiction existed. But in fact look what happened when the pope appointed Bishop Mueller as CDF head, Mueller who made this remark about the Real Presence:

    “In reality, the body and blood of Christ do not mean the material components of the human person of Jesus during his lifetime or in his transfigured corporality. Here, body and blood mean the presence of Christ in the signs of the medium of bread and wine.”

    He spoke of Holy Communion as “community with Jesus Christ, mediated by eating and drinking the bread and the wine.”

    When people pointed out the scandal of his remarks, neo-conservatives rushed to shoot these concerned Catholics down, shaming them because they weren’t “trusting the pope” who appointed Mueller, even though his remarks are quite obviously not clear re-statements of the Church’s teaching.

    I have little doubt that if the next pope is a heretic who comes out denying the Real Presence, we will see the same phenomenon: people will be more willing to put in doubt the Church’s traditional formulation of the dogma of the Real Presence, rather than hold that the pope made an error. And it will be precisely because of this exaggerated, over-the-top ultraMontanism which admits a theoretical chance that the pope might err, but which in practice finds every conceivable excuse to explain away the aberrations or other scandals which his actions involve, on the specious grounds of “obedience.” We see this in your very words: you promise unconditional obedience to the next pope. But if your obedience truly has no conditions, Father, then it will not even have the condition that the pope be orthodox, and thus if he denies the Real Presence, you have bound yourself to follow him into heresy. You don’t need to be a traditionalist to see this notion of obedience is not the Catholic one, with due respect.

  46. Pingback: Gnostic Catholic? | Mary Victrix

  47. Mike,

    I have not denied the plausibility of traditionalist arguments. I have stated that such plausibility does not justify open resistance against the Holy Father and the consequent political and propaganda campaigns that have occurred. Further, I have argued that if one wants to openly oppose the Holy Father, then justice would demand that they take personal responsibility for their actions.

    First of all, we will have to leave it to the observer to decide for themselves whether your position is self-evident or not, in particular as it regards the legitimacy of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue as officially taught by the Council and the postconciliar popes. Ultimately, whether the teaching of Mortalium Animos is in se irreformable is not for you or I to decide.

    Of course there is a clash, but it is a clash of pastoral practice not a clash with irreformable doctrine. Your claim that Pius XI’s teaching is absolute is based on the a priori assumption that a text is absolute because that it does not say that it is not. What exactly does that prove with metaphysical certitude? And the fact that not every instance of ecumenism and/or religious dialogue might have been carried out perfectly does not mean that the postconciliar teaching is illegitimate. Abusus non tollit usum.

    There is no question that there has been a crisis in the wake of this changes, and that such changes involve risks. It involves a risk to engage directly with non-Catholic religions, because some might interpret this as teaching that all religions are the same. But that is not what the postconciliar popes believe and that is not what they have taught. Is the postconciliar teaching as clear as preconciliar teaching? No. That is why there is a need for a hermeneutic of continuity. Would it be better, all things being equal, to be as clear as possible? Of course. But if the postconciliar popes believe that conditions in the modern world necessitate involvement interactions that require more complex decisions and consequently more nuanced teaching, this does not contradict previous teaching, unless you insist on being a literalist and demand that a text has the last word. We are not talking about a dogmatic text here. If we were you would be a sedevacantist.

    That the risks were not worth taking and that the subsequent crisis from which we are emerging vitiates the reforms themselves you cannot prove metaphysically. You are morally certain that it was a mistake. The postconciliar popes have been morally certain that it was not. They have authority to teach from Christ himself. You don’t.

    You fail to distinguish between metaphysical and moral certitude about what might possibly change and what in itself cannot change, and, therefore, you do not distinguish between what is contrary and what is contradictory. I know you are morally certain. But you are not metaphysically certain. There is nothing I can say to change your mind because you insist that your conclusions are self-evident and because you insist on using texts as the last word. For you the Word of God is a text, like it is for the Protestants.

    For instance, Pope Benedict says Luther was “thoroughly Christocentric,” and previous popes said he was a heretic. Therefore you say, Pope Benedict is teaching error, and you are metaphysically certain of it. But Pope Leo X does not say that Luther was not Christocentric, does he? He says that he was a heretic. Is it metaphysically impossible for the theology of a heretic to be centered on Christ in some sense? This is the problem of what I identified as your pretense of having airtight arguments and claiming everything you say is self-evident.

    In terms of your remarks about facts and theory, the fact is the pope is the Vicar of Christ. A text is not. I am not bending anything to fit a theory. I am beginning with a reasonable presumption and I know the difference between a contradiction and a contrary.

    Again, the Pope Mahoney bit is a straw man because, as you have so clearly pointed out, we are not talking about anything de fide. This discussion is not about that, is it? What do your quotes from Cardinal (not Pope) Mahoney prove, anyway? So now, you present a slippery slope argument because I defend Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity. And so in a month’s time I am, perhaps, going to be blogging about how I no longer believe in the real presence because the pope told me not to? This is just more traditionalist paranoia. It is also a complete non sequitur.

    Here is my response to your charges of gnosticism and argument from authority.

  48. Pingback: The Dark Horse | Mary Victrix

  49. These homilies are excellent!!! Very Catholic, and we have been sheep without a Shepard for far too long, we Catholics need to discern on our own, the teaching of the true church because the majority of Bishops in at least the Canadian Catholic Church are diabolical Heretics. Pray, Hope, Trust!!!

  50. So sad that groups like the SSPX are misleading so many souls. I believe Pope Francis will bring some much needed unity to the Church. Many people of other faiths and even those who have lost faith are inspired by his words and actions and see him as a great leader. .

    Another amazingly beautiful Homily given by Our Holy Father at the Chrism Mass!!! What inspiring message for the priesthood..of Christ, for us all!

    I pray that those who are separated from the Church may hear the Shepherd’s voice and come back home.

    Wishing everyone a Blessed Triduum!
    In Christ,

  51. Pingback: Behind the Looking Glass, and It Ain’t Pretty | Mary Victrix

  52. so just curious… if somebody were to send me a link to an Audio Sancto homily, would I be committing a sin in identifying the priest? If so, would it be a mortal sin?

    • Joseph,

      The homilies are public by nature. They were delivered in the public liturgy in the first place and then the homilists have permitted them to be posted on the Internet. There is nothing inherently private or confidential about the content or author of any of these homilies. If the homilists felt they had a moral right to anonymity they should not have given the homilies in a public liturgy and they certainly should not have recorded them and then posted them on the Internet.

      No, it would not be a sin.

  53. Dear Fr. Geiger
    one of those priests on there gave a talk that say it’s dangerous for Catholics to be a part of 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Do you think this is true??? I have found them to be very helpful in helping me combat my addiction. Now I am very worried about my soul after hearing this, and I can’t get it out of my mind… please give me your input. Thank you and God bless you!

    • I am no expert on AA, but I have heard and read a bit and I know there are different schools of thought. See here on Catholic involvement with the AA. Fr. Ford S.J. who is mentioned in the above link wrote this. In it, he quotes Fr. Hardon, who expressed a favorable opinion of AA. That was 1960, but as far as I can see, Fr. Hardon never pronounced on the matter again. Father John Harvey adapted the 12 step program for Courage, and this has been used effectively to help deliver those afflicted with same-sex attraction from sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments.

      The potential danger of AA is religious indifferentism, but with in a Catholic setting, or when it involves a person who is properly catechized, the program can be effective. It is not a substitute and should not be treated as a substitute for a sacramental life, but the 12 steps and the fellowship seem to be effective means to aid in the formation of the acts of the penitent (confession, contrition, satisfaction) in the sacramental forum and to do so consistently. If, on the other hand, one uses a 12 step program as a substitute for traditional spirituality, then obviously there will be problems. But again, if AA helps one to do the things that are absolutely necessary for true repentance, such as avoiding the proximate occasion of sin, breaking the habit of vice and forming the habit of virtue, then it is accomplishing something good.

      Both priests and faithful are free to have their own opinions on the matter, but what one says from the pulpit ought to be chosen circumspectly so as not to give anyone the impression that one’s merely personal opinions are the teaching of the Church.

      You would do well to discuss the matter with your confessor.

    • God bless you Daniel! I will keep your recovery and your discernment in my prayers Great reply from Fr. Angelo; I would just like to add a great orthodox Catholic Dominican priest named Fr. Emmerich Vogt has got some great resources on his website that you can check out He’s been on EWTN several times, and he always says things that I find very helpful. May you know Our Lady’s comfort for you at this time.

  54. The website makes it pretty clear, the sermons are withheld by request out of respect for the priests parish ministry. I don’t see why you need to know their names anyway. Like the sermon that was taken down mentioned, we do not have an index of forbidden works anymore. You should be able to take the arguments at face value even if they are SSPX priests (even though they are fully regularized FSSP priests.)

    But actually, if you listen to the sermons enough on audiosancto and video sancto (youtube), it’s not hard to figure out the names of the priests. I personally am aware of the first names of all the priests on the site.

    And as far as the sermon which was taken down, I’ve listened to it numerous times, I have it saved on my computer. I fail see any problems with it. It is certainly convicting, but it’s not heretical in any way, he talks about the papacy and asks us to pray for the election of the next Pope. What could possibly be wrong with that? I find that is the main problem people have with audiosancto, nothing is heretical, they just bring up issues certain people don’t want brought up.

  55. One of the things that I’ve noticed from the Video Sancto YouTube channel is that in addition to having YouTube video versions of the talks that are on the Audio Sancto website, there are also videos of talks by Fulton Sheen that have the EWTN logo on them. I seem to recall from a talk from Raymond Arroyo that EWTN had to go through a legal process in obtaining the rights to own and broadcast these videos of Bishop Sheen. Did the person(s) at Video Sancto ask EWTN for permission to post these videos on their YouTube site? Also, what about the Peter Kreeft audio files that have been made into these videos? Does Dr. Kreeft know about this and has he given his approval? If not, some very serious copyright violations could be in order, and thus some grave offenses against the 7th, 8th, and 10th Commandments.

  56. I have met some of these priest. Thier colleges know who they are. They are high ranking and been seen on EWTN television network. No one on both sides of the coin wants thier identity revealed.

  57. Fr. Shannon Collins and Fr. Sean Kopczynski are the two CPM priests on that website. Neither of their profiles are on the Fathers of Mercy websites anymore, maybe due to some radical reactionary views. Fr. Kopczynski has stated his skepticism in his talks about the fullness of the Third Secret of Fatima being revealed (despite what Pope Benedict has told us). Also, I listened to the talk where Fr. Collins talks about “modern sports and idolatry”. This talk was filled with some downright false facts; He says that the 100 hour war in 1969 between Honduras and El Salvador came solely because of a soccer game. No, it did not. Anybody who takes the time to research this from good academic sources will quickly discover that there were many, many mounting tensions between the two countries, mainly due to land ownership disputes between poor Salvadorian farmers who had migrated to Honduras and owned land there illegally. In 1962, Honduras successfully enacted a new land reform law. This created problems for Salvadorans and Hondurans who were married. Thousands of Salvadoran laborers were expelled from Honduras, including both migrant workers and longer-term settlers. This general rise in tensions ultimately led to a military conflict. Also, he also talks about the Munich massacre of the 1972 Olympics where he says the entire Israeli team was killed, implying that it was their soccer team. Well, this was NOT even a soccer team, it was a group of 5 athletes (mostly weight-lifters), 2 referees, and 4 coaches-11 Olympic participants from Israel. Bishop Olsen did not to allow Fr. Collins to give the parish mission at Fisher Moore college last year, maybe part of this was due to irresponsibilities in scholarship.

  58. There’s a kind of circular reasoning that audi sancto brings us that goes like this. “If you have any doubts about our fidelity, judge us by what we say.” Well, if we were competent to make such prudent judgments, we wouldn’t need any sermons.

    Personally, I listened to the several audio sancto (sensus fidelium on youtube) sermons and did not disagree with any of the doctrine. I thought the voices of the priests sounded spooky and unstable though. I also wondered why one of the sermons would put so much emphasis on “kissing” as a mortal sin. To me, it was as if the homilist were saying, “I demand you all be as miserable as I am!”

    In one of the above responses, Fr. Angelo was invited by a poster to “prove me wrong”. This is laughable to me, because whenever someone asks for proof, he puts himself on the throne and asks you to dance to his satisfaction. What’s with the “proof” these days? Isn’t it enough to reason? God wants us to believe; He never gave us “proof” in any strict sense. So when someone says “prove me wrong”, he’s 1) trying to lure you into an unbeatable match, because he has no intention of ever conceding, and 2) trying to create a false impression that he, personally, has no dog in the fight, but must obey the dictates of cold logic.

    To sum up, I agree with Fr Angelo’s position – we’re not Jehovah’s Witness pamphleteers. The “priests” (whatever, who knows) from audio sancto, may be “sincere”, but for me, intellectually wearisome.

  59. Wow, I was trying to find out who one if these priests is because he does missions and I want to ask our parish if we can invite him for our next mission, and found this page. I had no idea the anonymity is an issue. This post is a few years old but if anyone is interested, there are at three priests I’ve heard who’s identity is known but not stated on the sermon. One of them is wonderful and a parish I frequent. He is not even in a traditional latin mass parish, though they do have a traditional latin mass once a week in the evening only. These three priests are not in schism. If this helps anyone. Does anyone know who the priest with the southern accent is?

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