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Incredible Creed of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

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By Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C.

The Witnesses of Jehovah constitute one of the most vigorous and spectacular religious propagandist bodies of the present day.  Throughout the world an army of persistent enthusiasts tramp from door to door, urging people to adopt their teachings as a matter of life and death.  They claim to have made over a million converts in recent years, chiefly in America; and they have been written up in the “Saturday Evening Post”, “Collier’s Weekly” and the “Reader’s Digest” as a phenomenon of both national and international importance.

This new sect originated in the U.S.A., to which the world owes Mormonism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventists, Father Divine, and so many other strange religious outbreaks.  Charles Taze Russell, a draper of Pittsburgh, afterwards known as “Pastor” Russell, was the founder of the movement in 1872.  Nathan Homer Knorr, its present head, prefers to say, “We broke in on the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1872.  And that leads us to the question of names.

EVOLUTION OF A NAME

No modern movement, in its efforts to establish itself, save perhaps that of the Communists, can rival the Witnesses of Jehovah in the technique of masquerading under ever-changing titles.

Russell began by preaching what he termed the “Millennial Dawn,” and his followers soon became known as “Millennial Dawnists.”  Before long, however, Russell had adopted the title, “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society.”  In 1896 this was changed to “The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.”  In 1909 he thought the “People’s Pulpit Association” sounded better, the headquarters of which he established at Brooklyn, New York.  In 1909 he resumed the title “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.”  In 1914 the work was being carried on as the “International Bible Students’ Association.”

The same tactics were adopted in the publishing of literature.  In 1919 a magazine, “The Golden Age,” appeared.  In 1937 this same magazine was appearing as “Consolation.”  In 1946 its name was changed to “Awake.”  These constant changes compelled those who had refuted the movement under one name to begin all over again; and whilst they were catching up with current fashions, the Russellites were enabled to gain enough recruits to get firmly established.

At last came their present and apparently permanent name.  In 1931 Judge Rutherford decided that henceforth the “Millennial Dawnists” would be known as the “Witnesses of Jehovah.”

Nathan Knorr now tells us that “Jehovah God is the Founder and Organizer of the Witnesses on this earth,” and that He Himself indicated this as “the appropriate designation of His earthly ministers.”  Surely it is strange that Russell himself, the founder of the movement, had no notion of that!” For Russell died in 1916, fifteen years before this discovery was made.  And whence came the discovery?  In 1931, Judge Rutherford came across the text in Isaiah 43:10, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.”

That Isaiah the prophet had the Russellites in mind over 700 years before Christ is an absurd supposition for which not an atom of proof exists.  Anticipating that difficulty, Nathan Knorr protests, “We have not arbitrarily assumed this God-given name.”  Why not?  “Well, we are witnessing, aren’t we!”  is his reply.  “What we are doing proves that the name is applicable to us.”  But to what are these people witnessing?  Certainly not to the truth revealed by God, as we shall see.  If merely witnessing, no matter to what one witnesses, makes one a messenger of God, then Communists, who are witnesses par excellence with their world-wide propaganda on behalf of Marxian Socialism, have more right than the Russellites to pretend to a divine commission.  But Nathan Knorr just by-passes these difficulties.  “God,” he writes, “has always had His witnesses.  Abel first; then a long line through from Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah to John the Baptist.  Taking pre-eminence over all is Christ ‘the faithful and true Witness,’ Who designated others.  “Ye shall be witnesses to Me unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)  Jehovah’s Witnesses are merely the last of this long line of God’s earthly servants.”

There is, of course, no proof whatever that the Witnesses of Jehovah have any connection with the previous witnesses mentioned.  Moreover, their doctrines are a flagrant contradiction of the teachings of those previous witnesses.

CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL

Charles Taze Russell was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1852, the son of a draper who later established his business in Allegheny.  Charles became an earnest worker in the local Congregational Church, but was soon obsessed with an overwhelming horror of hell and the gloomy prospects of the Calvinist theology of that time held out the mass of humanity.  Charles went about chalking up in all kinds of places warnings of hell for unbelievers; and in 1869, at the age of 17, tried to convert an atheist whom he happened to meet.  But the atheist destroyed Russell’s own faith, and he became an infidel also.  Never again would he believe in hell!

Russell, however, although he had given up attending church, could not leave his Bible alone, and soon he discovered that the could believe in the Bible without believing in hell –  for the simple reason, he says, that the Bible does not teach the existence of hell at all.

At the age of 20 he began preaching this “good news,” and with “no hell” as a most attractive plank in his platform, soon gained followers.  He sold the draper’s business he had inherited from his father, and in 1878 assumed the title of “Pastor Russell,” founding a new religion of his own.

He became a prolific writer, at first borrowing his ideas from the works of J. H. Paton, of Michigan, USA, published under the title of “Day Dawn”.  Russell proclaimed these ideas as his own divinely-inspired doctrines, merely substituting the title “Millennial Dawn” for “Day Dawn” to distinguish his system from Paton’s.  Later he changed to the less recognizable Studies in the Scriptures.

Russell claimed to have written more explanatory books on the Bible than the combined writings of Paul, John, Arius, Waldo, Wycliffe, and Martin Luther, whom he said to have been the six great messengers of the Church preceding himself.  He began, as did the founders of so many other Adventist sects, with the idea that the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment were near at hand; and then ranged over the whole of Sacred Scripture, claiming an infallibility far beyond that claimed by any Pope, as an interpreter of God’s revelation.  His followers accepted him as the “Seventh Messenger” or “Angel” referred to in Ezekiel 9, and held that he would rank next after St. Paul in the “gallery of fame” as an exponent of the Gospel of Christ, the Great Master.

Yet, what kind of a man was this Charles Taze Russell?  He was certainly an expert at making money, whether in the drapery business until he sold it, or by investments in mines and real estate, or by the selling of his books, and of “miracle wheat.”  Unfortunately, he was legally compelled to restore to the purchases the money he had obtained for his miracle wheat, on the score that it had been dishonestly extracted from them.  But honesty was not Pastor Russell’s predominant virtue.  Under oath in court at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1913, he declared in support of his claims to be an expert Scripture scholar that he knew Greek.  Handed a Greek New Testament, he was forced to admit that he did not know even the Greek alphabet; and that he knew nothing of Hebrew or of Latin, despite his pretensions to a knowledge of those languages also.  Not to know such languages is no crime, of course.  But to make lying pretensions to a knowledge of them is scarcely in keeping with claims to be a prophet of God; whilst to do so under oath is the still worse sin of perjury.

Not less unbecoming in this self-styled prophet was the fact that his wife divorced him in 1897 on charges of adultery with two different women, a stenographer and a housemaid; and that the judge flayed him, after granting the divorce, for his general ill-treatment of his wife.  To avoid payment of the alimony ordered by the court, Russell promptly transferred his property, worth over $240,000, to the “Watch Tower Bible” and “Tract Society.”

Russell died on October 31, 1916, in a Santa Fe train near Pampa, TX on his way to Kansas City; and he is now seldom mentioned by the Witnesses of Jehovah.  This man, once held by his followers to rank next after St. Paul in the “gallery of fame,” has been practically forgotten by the later generation dominated by his successor.

JUDGE J.F. RUTHERFORD

At the time of Russell’s death there was a man named Joseph Franklin Rutherford serving a prison sentence in Atlanta on a charge of sedition during the first world war then raging.” This man, on his release from prison, took over control of the Russellite organization.

Rutherford was born in 1869, and became a lawyer in 1892.  Chosen as attorney for the organization, he was shrewd enough to see its possibilities, and threw in his lot with it.  As president, he wished to be known by the impressive title of “Judge Rutherford,” though he was never officially appointed as a judge.  His forceful personality set the movement definitely on its feet.  He poured out unending books and pamphlets to keep the publishing business going, teaching new doctrines of which Russell had never heard and often quite opposed to what Russell himself had taught.  It was he, as we have seen, who devised in 1931 the new title “Witnesses of Jehovah.”  The prominence he gave to the slogan, “Millions now living will never die,” brought crowds flocking to hear him wherever he was billed to speak.  But, alas, he was not one of the millions fated not to die.

On January 8, 1942, Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford bade goodbye to this world in the palatial villa he had built at San Diego, CA, as an official residence pending the return of the Lord to judge the living and the dead.

NATHAN HOMER KNORR

On Rutherford’s death, Nathan Homer Knorr was elected as president of the Watch Tower Organization.  Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1905, he was converted to the Russellites at the age of 16 through reading some Watch Tower publications.  In 1923, aged 18, he became a full-time preacher on Sundays, working as a packer and shipper at the Brooklyn headquarters on week-days and devoting his evenings to the study of the Bible as interpreted by Russell and Rutherford.  In 1932 he became general manager of the Brooklyn publishing offices; in 1934 was elected to the Board of Directors; and in 1942 was chosen as successor of Judge Rutherford, in whose place he still reigns supreme.

“THE NEW CHRISTIANITY”

The Witnesses of Jehovah conceive it to be their first duty to denounce all other religious bodies.  Rutherford declared that “religion was introduced into the world by the Devil.”  “For more than three years,” he declaimed, “Jesus continued to proclaim the truth and to warn the people against the practice of religion.”  “For religion,” declared Rutherford, “dishonors and reproaches the name of Jehovah God, whilst Christianity honors and vindicates the name of Almighty God.  This is why true Christians are always persecuted by religionists.”

It is clear from this that Rutherford uses the word religion in a sense all his own.  Asked to define it on one occasion, he said, “Religion is any form of worship practiced by creatures in recognition of some real or supposed ‘higher power,’ and which practice finds support or authority only in the teaching handed down by tradition.”  That the doctrines of Russell and Rutherford are but the teachings of men, to be handed down amongst the Witnesses of Jehovah by tradition does not seem to have occurred to him!

Asked to define Christianity he replies, “Christianity means the worship of Almighty God in spirit and in truth, in accord with the commands of God and teachings of Jesus Christ.  None other are Christians.  There is no such thing as “Christian religion,” because religion and Christianity are exactly opposite and diametrically opposed one to the other.”  Which, of course, is absurd.

Christianity is religion, and is the true religion as opposed to all false religions –  including that of the Witnesses of Jehovah, as will be seen in the course of this document.

HATRED OF OTHER CHURCHES

One of the main duties of the Witnesses of Jehovah seems to be to pour out a torrent of abuse against all Christian Churches, particularly against the Catholic Church.  This, of course, is not a new trick.  Every would-be founder of a new religion has had to commence by denouncing all previous religions, else how justify his new departure at all?  In 1860, just 12 years before Russell thought of it, the Seventh Day Adventists had declared that all Churches except that of the Seventh Day Adventists have been deceived by Satan through the agency of the Papacy into the observance of Sunday.  All of them constitute “Babylon,” and are rejected by God. But this is particularly true of the Catholic Church, presided over by “Antichrist” or the “Beast” in the person of the Pope.

Following this same line, Russell had said that, in 1878, God had rejected all existing Churches, constituting the Russellites as His only spokesmen thenceforward.  But Rutherford did not like the implied admission that the Churches were all right till Russell appeared on the scene.  He declared that, after the resurrection of Christ, the Devil at once set to work and built a great empire, the Papacy.  Later, the Devil inspired the creation of various Protestant Churches –  all of them, including even the Seventh Day Adventists.  All priests and all Protestant clergymen are of the Devil, said Rutherford.  They are enemies of God, and are simply “Antichrist.”  Nathan Knorr tells us that “by 1881 growing differences in basic beliefs had created an immense chasm between the Witnesses and the orthodox Churches.”  The “growing” differences were due to the Russellites inventing new and unheard-of doctrines manufactured by themselves during the period from 1878 to 1881.

If, however, all Churches are to branded as evil, what of the Witnesses themselves?  They meet this difficulty by denying that they are a “Church” or a “Denomination.”  They say they can find no justification for a “Church” or a “Hierarchy” of any kind in the Bible.  That will impress nobody who has any real knowledge and understanding of the contents of the Bible.  For much is there which the Witnesses of Jehovah say they cannot find, whilst much that they claim to find there is not there at all.  But let us see what they have to say of themselves.

They claim to be but the precursors sent by God to warn men of a “Theocratic Kingdom” at present in the making.  And they alone, of all men in this world, belong to that Theocratic Kingdom.

CIVIC DISLOYALTY

Insisting that they owe their sole loyalty to this Theocratic Kingdom, Witnesses of Jehovah refuse the duties of earthly citizenship.  The world, they say, is divided into tow opposed groups, that of the “Theocratic Kingdom,” and that of “Satan’s Organization.”  “Satan’s Organization” includes all Churches and Governments.  And just as amongst the Churches the Papacy is the “Beast” par excellence, so amongst the nations are America and Great Britain.

“In the formation of the Hague World Court of the League of Nations,” wrote Judge Rutherford, “Great Britain and America took the lead, and this is proof that the Anglo-American Empire is the two-horned beast.”  (Light, Vol. II, p. 98)  The “British Israelites” won’t like that, for they claim to have proved from the Bible that Britain and America form between them the chosen people of God!  But we can leave the British Israelites and the Witnesses of Jehovah to settle that matter between themselves.

In the meantime, consistently with their false principles, the Witnesses refuse to salute the flag of any earthly nation, are conscientious objectors to all forms of military service, and say they will fight only for Jehovah and His people –  which means for their own opinions against all who oppose them.

As a consequence of their refusal to fulfill the New Testament admonition, “Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature for God’s sake; whether to the king as excelling, or to governors sent by him.  Fear God.  Honor the king” (1st Peter 2:13-17), many Witnesses of Jehovah have been fined or jailed, whilst in Australia and New Zealand during 1940 their organization was declared illegal.  The New Zealand Attorney-General said at the time that they were devoting themselves to “vilification of religion, of their fellow-citizens, of the State and of the Government.”

PERSECUTION COMPLEX

The Witnesses complain that they are persecuted for their religious beliefs, quite inconsistently with their denial that their system constitutes a religion.  But in any case their complaint is unjustified.  Small sects get into trouble only when their practices transgress common decency.  If the Witnesses are constantly running afoul of their communities, it is because they themselves make vile and insulting onslaughts on the religion of others, and delight in utterances of the most outrageous civic disloyalty.

“For conscientious cussedness on the grand scale,” wrote America’s Saturday Evening Post, when dealing with this subject, “no other aggregation of Americans is a match for Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Defiance of what others cherish is their daily meat.  They hate all religions –  and say so from the house-tops.  They hate all Governments with an enthusiasm that is equally unconcealed . . . . For being generally offensive they have been getting their heads cracked, their meetings broken up, their meeting-houses pillaged and themselves thrown in jail.

Nathan Knorr argues that the persistence of the Witnesses in spite of severest persecution, mobbings, beatings, tar and feather outrages, imprisonment and even death, is nothing less than miraculous and a sure proof of their divine mission.  That the fanaticism and obstinacy by which he himself would explain the reckless zeal of Mahomet’s followers could apply to the Witnesses themselves does not seem to have occurred to him.  Certainly the same inducements have been held out to them, a deadly fear of a greater evil happening to them should they quail before lesser fears, and magnificent promises of temporal rewards should they die in the cause of the prophets Russell and Rutherford!

A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION

Strangely at variance with their denunciation of all “organized religion,” “Churches,” “hierarchies” and “clergy,” is their own formation of a highly organized and hierarchal religious society by the Witnesses of Jehovah!

Nathan Knorr, in his official contribution to “Religion in the Twentieth Century”, begins the exposition of his system by asserting that no man is leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses, since “Jehovah God has appointed Christ Jesus as their Leader and commander.”  But he declares that Christ directs affairs through a “visible organization” with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

The visible head on earth of this visible organization is Nathan Knorr himself.  He is surrounded by a Board of Directors, as the Pope is surrounded by a College of Cardinals.  Throughout the world there are local congregations called “Companies,” which meet in “Kingdom Halls.”  But each “Company” has “organizational servants” to oversee all activities.  Full time field-workers, aided financially by the Society, are called “Pioneers,” and there are over 6500 of these.  Every active Witness of Jehovah, however, is regarded as “a minister ordained and commissioned by God, not by man,” and must go from house to house selling books in the territory assigned to him by his superior officers.

But if all are ordained, consecrated and commissioned by God, what is this but a hierarchy or an organized sacred body of men with a divinely-given and graded authority?  And how can Witnesses of Jehovah pour scorn on religion and on the clergy of other Churches, yet claim exemption from military service on the plea that they are all “ministers of religion,” as they do?  As for “organized religion,” no Church has a more concentrated government than they.  The Year Book for 1940, page 47, lays down the law:

“Every thirty days each and every branch office in operation on the earth . . . makes a report in writing to the president of the Society, setting forth in detail the work accomplished during the month.  At the end of the fiscal year all branch office . . . will submit to the president in writing a report covering the activities of the Society during the year.

BIG BUSINESS

Mention of the “fiscal year” leads to a consideration of the organization’s business activities.

The attack on “organized religion” comes badly from one of the most highly organized religious societies in the world.  In the same way, never was there such a religious racket as that of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which declares all other Churches to be “rackets,” engaged in “big business.”

Pastor Russell founded that Society as a worldwide publishing and distributing agency for his own writings; and Judge Rutherford kept it going for the same purpose.  It has become a great money-making concern.  The publishing house at Brooklyn pours out an amazing stream of books, pamphlets and periodicals.  Since World War I, they have distributed more than 485 millions of these in over 80 different languages.

Judge Rutherford said that these books and pamphlets are sold at “a little more than cost price,” and that the “negligible profits” go to the International Bible Students’ Association.  At an average of a penny profit per sale, over two million pounds would have been raked in.  As the average profit would be fourpence or even perhaps sixpence, 10 million pounds profit over the period mentioned would be nearer the mark.  Wisely, the Year Book says that no financial statements are published, as enemies would use them “to hinder the work of the Society.”

One thing is certain.  Despite its vast income, the Society devotes none of its resources to any public works of charity.  Challenged at the American Radio Commission’s inquiry, Secretary Goux, of the Russellites, admitted that their New York property alone was worth over a million dollars, and that he could not say how much the general holdings of the Corporation were worth.  When Mr. Sirovich, assisting the Commission, asked, “Outside of preaching, have you done anything for the poor devils who find themselves economically deprived of a living, and in starvation and hunger, or penury and want?  Have you taken any of that money to help them?”  Goux replied, “That is not the purpose of this activity.  That is not the purpose of this Association.  The commission entrusted to Jehovah’s Witnesses is to bear testimony among the people.

Bearing this testimony, which means distributing Rutherford’s booklets, are 22,304 travelling salesmen called “Publishers,” going from house to house in their assigned districts.  These people, for the most part, work for nothing, being engaged during the week in ordinary secular employment and devoting all their free time to “field service.”  Nathan Knorr explains, “Sincere persons, converted by literature, engage in the work of distribution. 

New converts, on becoming active workers, are given a card of identification to show they are recognized as “ministers of God.”  It’s a psychological phenomenon that so many credulous people can be so duped and conditioned into becoming voluntary agents in such an enterprise.  But nothing succeeds like success.  In 1919, at Cedar Point, Ohio, USA, 8000 Witnesses met in Convention and “girded themselves for publishing work.”  At the same place, 1921, 20,000 Witnesses acclaimed the slogan, “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise the King and the Kingdom.”  In more prosaic words that meant, “Propagate Rutherford’s teachings and sell his books.”  In 1946, at Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 80,000 Witnesses were filled with similar enthusiasm.

In all this, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society never stands to lose.  Voluntary distributors pay for the books they receive; and if they give them away, do so at their own expense.  Many such distributors return, not only the full price of the books, but additional donations from their own earnings in their secular jobs.

A further technical factor contributing to wide sales is that, as the books are offered for a “donation,” and not “sold,” no hawker’s license is necessary, sales are not taxable, and business may be done on Sundays.  It has all been very shrewdly devised.

Of course people have first to be converted to the new religion before they will work for it with such devotedness; and the religion to which they have been converted we must now examine more closely.

“BIBLE-CHRISTIANS”

The Witnesses of Jehovah claim to be “Bible-Christians.”  Nathan Knorr tells us that “the Bible is God’s inspired Word, handed down for those now living in the last days.”  How he knows it to be God’s Word, who handed it down, and why it is for those now living in the “last days” any more than for those who lived in previous ages, are subjects he prefers not to discuss.  All he says is that Charles Taze Russell found “no Christian denomination teaching what the Bible contains,” and therefore “began a thorough study of the Bible, particularly concerning Christ’s Second Coming and Millennial Reign.”

Unfortunately, Pastor Russell, inspired by God if we can believe his first followers, does not seem to have been very successful.  After his death in 1916, Judge Rutherford took over and promptly began to teach doctrines very different from those of Russell.  Internal dissension in the movement followed.  But, writes Nathan Knorr, “Rutherford and the Directors were overwhelmingly supported. The beaten and disgruntled opposition force withdrew and set up an independent organization,” splitting up “into many little groups of no consequence.”

Judge Rutherford, then, remains the supreme prophet of the movement, and his interpretations of the Bible have become the Witness dogmas.  Whilst the Witnesses say that they rely on what the Bible says, they rely on what Judge Rutherford tells them it says.  To the Broadcasting Commission of 1934 Secretary Goux said, on behalf of the organization, that Rutherford’s explanations of the Bible are not human opinions, but inspired by God.  Papal claims to infallibility are indeed mild in comparison with that!

In his explanations of the Bible, Rutherford followed no accepted principles of interpretation, whilst of critical scholarship he knew absolutely nothing.  To support his theories he took any text he pleased, almost at random, and made it mean whatever he wished!

Still, his disciples insist that they are “Bible-Christians.”  They say that, whilst they do not believe in the “Christian Religion,” they do believe in “Christianity.”  They have a way of speaking all their own, which is very difficult to follow; but it will be enough to show that their system contradicts almost every basic Christian teaching.

“JEHOVAH GOD”

One of the first peculiarities met with in this new religion is the strange use of the expression “Jehovah God.”  Nathan Knorr complains that “the masses of Christendom do not even appreciate the fact that “Jehovah” is God’s name.”

But God certainly has not got a name to distinguish Him from other “gods,” as Nathan Knorr himself is distinguished by his first name from others with the same surname!  Nor is even the word “Jehovah” truly Biblical.  The original authors of the Sacred Book knew nothing of it.  They wrote in Hebrew the word Yahweh, which meant literally He who is.  Yahweh, therefore, was an alternative name for God, not a kind of “Christian name” to identify God from among other divinities. “Jehovah God” is an expression found nowhere in the Bible, and is a combination of words grotesque in the extreme.

Again, Judge Rutherford tells us in his book, “Reconciliation,” that the “constellation of the seven stars forming the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God –  the dwelling place of Jehovah.”  What kind of a God is Rutherford’s who dwells on a star?  And how can the Pleiades, themselves not eternal, constitute the eternal throne?

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity Rutherford categorically denies.  “Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advanced” he writes, “than that of the Trinity.  It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil.” “Reconciliation,” (p. 101).  That Christ Himself commissioned His followers to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” carries no weight with Rutherford and his disciples.  They have abandoned Christianity for Unitarianism.  Christ for them is not the Eternal Son of God, nor is the Holy Spirit a Divine Person.  Rutherford says that the Holy Spirit is any power or influence exercised by God.  But Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit as Personal. “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, He said, “whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.” (John 14:26)

But let us look al little more closely at Rutherford’s doctrine about Christ.

CHRIST

One of the most vital questions in the Gospels is, “What think you of Christ?  Whose son is he?” (Matthew 22:42)  Christians have ever replied to that with the unhesitating proclamation of faith, “Son of the Living God.” But not so the Witnesses of Jehovah.

These Witnesses agree that Christ existed before He was born into this world, but say that He was himself only a creature –  the first creature made by God and used as an instrument for the creation of all else.  Russell tells us that he was “Michael the Archangel”!  When, millennia after his creation, this creature became man, his nature was completely changed from angelic and spiritual to material and human.  “In obedience to God, he gave up his spirit-being and was born of Mary as a wholly-human being.”  Apparently that was the end of Michael the Archangel, a fact St. John unfortunately forgot when writing his Apocalypse, for there he has Michael still existing side by side with the Christ into whom Russell declared him to have been transformed!

But let us go on.  When Christ died on the Cross, according to the Witnesses, he was merely a man, and his death was the end of him; completely and absolutely the end.  But a “spirit-being” emerged from the tomb to become “a” god, not “the” God; which apparently was better than being merely Michael the Archangel who had existed in the first place.

This doctrine that Christ was three successive and independent beings: Michael the Archangel, the man Jesus, and the semi-divine king of the new world, is certainly not the Christian doctrine, whatever else it may be.  Most intelligent people will rightly estimate it as fantastic nonsense.

And what becomes of the basic fact in the Christian religion –  the resurrection of Christ?  “If Christ be not risen,” says St. Paul, “then is your faith in vain.” (1st Corinthians 15:17)  The Witnesses of Jehovah deny that he is risen.  “The man Christ,” they say, “is dead forever.”  “The Person who died,” Russell tells us, “remained dead, and he will never be seen again in his human nature.”  What became of his body?  Russell says that no one knows.  He suggests that possibly it was dissolved into gases, or super-naturally removed by God to be preserved until He chooses to produce it as a grand memorial or trophy of Christ’s work.  But it will be only a material corpse.

But we are told not to worry.  If Christ is not risen in the long-accepted Christian sense of the word, he was raised a “spirit-being,” receiving immortality and divinity as a gift from God.  It is all very baffling.  If the “person who died remained dead,” who was the person receiving immortality and divinity?  If God created a new being to enjoy those privileges, then that new being wasn’t Christ but somebody else!  Yet Russell goes on to say that Christ, despite his remaining dead, returned to his disciples after the resurrection in separate “body-appearances” specially created for each occasion!

At the ascension, Russell tells us that Jesus, no longer human, was exalted as a “spirit-being” to the divine nature; and that he remains an invisible spirit, having no longer any connection with our human nature.  But if “the person who died remained dead,” Jesus is not merely no longer human –  he is no longer in existence!  Russell may be able to think in such queer ways, but he has no right to pretend that he is giving to his followers anything like the genuine New Testament doctrine.

“THE SECOND COMING”

Let us turn now to what is really the starting-point of the Russellite system.  It is not without significance that it begins at the end and works backways from that, instead of attempting to follow divine revelation in the order in which God gave it.  For Russell, as we have seen, began by concentrating on Christ’s Second Coming and His “Millennial Reign.”  A theory having been decided upon in that regard, all else had to be distorted to fit in with it.

Russell took over from the Adventists the idea that the end of the world was very near at hand.  By a mysterious process of mathematical calculation from the prophecies, he “discovered” that the Second Coming of Christ actually took place in 1874.  If people had not the slightest idea of this, it was because they had been led astray by Acts 1:11: “This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come, as you have seen Him going.” Russell says that the Apostles did not see Him going, for He went invisibly as a spirit.  And, in 1874, He returned invisibly as a spirit.  But not yet to this earth.  He returned only to the “upper air.”  In 1878, Russell further discovered, the apostles and other members of the “little flock,” a favored few, were raised to meet the Lord, and they are hovering about with Him also in the “upper air.”

In 1914, because that was 2520 years after the defeat of Zedekiah in 606 B.C., there came the “end of the times of the Gentiles.”  In that year, we are told, Satan began to wage a ferocious war against Christ and the saints in the “upper air,” and simultaneously “nation rose against nation” on earth in the first world-war.

Russell firmly believed that 1914 would mean the great final battle of Armageddon, the end of the world as we know it, the descent of Christ from the “upper air,” and His enthronement as King on earth for a Millennium –  after which thousand years the Final Judgment would take place.

When that did not happen, the Witnesses of Jehovah, undismayed by failure, moved the event up several times to 1916, 1918, 1924, 1928, etc., until Judge Rutherford hit on the ingenious explanation that the Second Coming (to the “upper air”) took place as Russell had said in 1874. Christ was enthroned as King (in the “upper air”) in 1914; and in that year, juridically at least, the world as we know it came to an end.  In fact, and literally, the final destruction of all earthly kingdoms and Churches in the great final battle of Armageddon has been postponed –  until the Witnesses of Jehovah have completed their work of proclaiming the good news of Christ’s enthronement and of warning all nations of the impending catastrophe!

Here we see again almost the same tactics as those adopted by the Seventh Day Adventists.  William Miller, the Adventist, had calculated that the Second Coming of Christ would occur on 21 March 1843.  When that failed, he said that 21 March 1844 was the correct date.  He had merely made a slight mistake in his calculations.  When that also failed, he moved the date forward to 22 October 1844.  But, alas, nothing happened.  Then there arose an Adventist named Hiram Edson, who had it “divinely revealed” to him that Christ did come on the last date after all, but not by returning to this world.  On that date, He entered a “heavenly sanctuary” to begin investigating the records of all mankind, to find out who were good and who were evil.  Mrs. Ellen G. White, the accepted prophetess of the movement, then discovered that as soon as Christ has finished auditing the books in the “heavenly sanctuary,” He will descend to earth to execute judgment –  and that will take place any moment now!

Rutherford working on the same lines, refuses to say just when God will decide that the Witnesses of Jehovah have completed their witness-work –  but it will be any moment now!  He even went so far as to insist that it would be within the lifetime of his own generation.  Hence his slogan, “Millions now Living will never Die.”

It is of little use to draw the attention of Witnesses of Jehovah to the series of failures in the predictions of their inspired prophets.  When the end of the world did not come on schedule, and Russell died in 1916 instead of living to see it, as he expected, Rutherford offered his followers the consoling thought that, as Ezekiel was dumb for a year, five month and twenty-six days, so a similar period after the dumbness of Russell in death might elapse before the end.  Twenty-six years elapsed, and then Rutherford himself died in 1942, instead of remaining among the millions who would live to see the end.

But petty details like that cannot avail with the Witnesses of Jehovah against the whole magnificent scheme in which all others are to receive a fearful drubbing whilst they themselves are to be preserved from harm and elevated to eternal bliss as co-rulers of the world with Christ!

ARMAGEDDON

The battle of Armageddon, which Witnesses of Jehovah interpret literally with no allowance for apocalyptic symbolism, will begin any moment now, despite its having been unaccountably delayed for nearly forty years.  The trouble is, apparently, that Satan has not yet had sufficient time to increase all the woes to the intense degree predicted by Scripture for the transition period.

However, the signs of the times obviously indicate that the full measure has been practically attained.  Christ, with His hosts, will soon descend from the “upper air,” and in a great cataclysms the whole world will be cleansed of all wickedness and evil-doers, safety from which will be found only in God’s organization –  that of the Witnesses of Jehovah.  And what then?

THE MILLENNIUM

In the Book of the Revelation (Apocalypse) 20:6, St. John speaks of Christ reigning for “a thousand years.”  The true interpretation of that expression, in keeping with the whole character of the Book, must be symbolically and not literal or numerical.  It means simply “for a long period,” and refers to the whole interval between the birth of Christ into this world and His Second Coming to judge the living and the dead.

Russell and Rutherford, however, won’t have that.  They take the Millennium literally, and declare that the Second Coming of Christ will precede it.  When Christ comes again, it will be reign for exactly a thousand years on this earth; and then will come the Final Judgment.  There is a slight confusion as to dates.  Some Witnesses say that since Christ came again in 1874, the Final Judgment will be in the year 2874; but other say no, and that the period will be from 1914 till 2914.

Russell apparently held that there are to be seven millennia.  The year 1874, according to him, was the exact 6000th year from Adam’s creation.  That geologists have discovered human remains belonging to the Neolithic and Paleolithic Ages, dating back to at least 20,000 years ago, was unknown to him, and would not have worried him had he known of it.  For he allowed no evidence of any kind to interfere with his theories.  There had to be six millennia to correspond with the six “working-days” of creation; and there had to be a seventh as the “Sabbath” of millennia, and the last of them.

Since the Lord has already returned –  invisibly –  He is even now ruling the world in the “Millennial Reign,” and using the Witnesses to publish the fact.  The “Theocratic Kingdom” has arrived.  But the fullness of Christ’s reign cannot come until after Armageddon, the battle between Christ and His enemies, which has been so unaccountably delayed.

After Armageddon, according to Russell, all the dead who have ever lived will be raised to life and be given a second probationary period under much more favorable conditions, with Satan bound and a continual evangelistic campaign to help them to make the right choice.

Even on the basis of 6000 years of history wrongly held by Russell, this would mean over 250 million millions of people on this earth simultaneously, covering it so thickly that not all would be able to sit down together!  Russell’s successors, having had their attention drawn to the absurdity of this, now say that not all who have ever lived will return, but only those “faithful ones” who were not so incorrigibly wicked as to forfeit any claim to a second chance.  The latter will just remain in their state of annihilation.

DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY

The doctrine of annihilation at death leads to the problem of the nature of the human soul.  According to Russell and his followers, man has not “got” a soul; he “is” a soul.  And his soul is his body.  When a man’s body dies, his soul just ceases to be.  There is no spiritual soul, immortal of its very nature.  “Death,” says Russell, “means total annihilation.  There are no souls anywhere awaiting a resurrection.  No human being who has ever lived and died exists any longer.

Russell was not impressed by any of the references in Scripture to the living reality of the Patriarchs and Prophets after death, such as Abraham, Moses, Elias, Samuel and others.  When confronted with the words of Christ to the dying thief, “Amen, I say to thee –  this day thou shalt be with me in paradise,” he said that the proper Greek reading of the text is, “Amen, I say to thee this day –  thou shalt be with me in paradise.” With all the Greek scholars of the world against him, this man who did not know even the Greek alphabet, tells us that the Greek meant that!

But on Russell’s own principles, how can he hold that there will ever be a resurrection of anybody?  There’s nobody to resurrect!  Resurrection does not mean extinction and re-creation.  Completely non-existent beings cannot receive bodies as before.  If the dead are completely out of existence, any newly existent beings will be completely different beings, and not those who previously lived at all!

Yet Nathan Knorr, instead of saying, “Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in resurrection, they believe man possess an immortal soul,” inconsequently says just the opposite.  He argues that precisely because they believe in resurrection, they do not believe man possess an immortal soul!  However, though we won’t exist to come back, according to the doctrines of the Witnesses of Jehovah, we are all going to come back to have our second chance during the Millennium –  unless, of course, we are among the “millions now living who will never die.”

THE SECOND CHANCE

During the “Millennium,” then, in the “Theocratic Kingdom,” men will again be offered eternal life, on the terms of the New Covenant.  This life is not our only probation.  Despite the fact that nowhere in the Bible is hope held out for any further probation after death; despite the express teaching of Scripture that “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); despite the evident finality of Our Lord’s warning, “This night thy soul will be required of thee” (Luke 12:20), the Witnesses tell us that we are to have our lives all over again, and that nothing that took place in this life is going to count.  All will depend on the way we behave under the much better millennial conditions.

As the “Millennium” has already commenced, one would think we should be living under those conditions now!  But things haven’t been running to timetable.  However, as soon as the Witnesses of Jehovah have sufficiently witnessed, Armageddon will be upon us, the resurrection of the dead will take place, and all men will be able to try again.

JUDGMENT

At the end of the Millennium, in 2874 or 2914, will come the Final Judgment.  God will then establish His new world of righteousness, and completely vindicate His name.  Satan, who has been imprisoned for the thousand years, will be let out to spread evil by crafty means.  All will then be tempted and tested.

Those who survive successfully this final testing will be divided into two classes.

The first class, called the “Consecrated Class,” or the “Overcoming Class,” will be a “little flock,” limited to 144,000, as declared in the Book of Revelation.  These will go as spirit-beings to the upper air, to live and reign with Christ the divine in a kingdom not of this world.  They will have “inherent” life, eternal, and emancipated from the necessity of all food and nourishment.  Needless to say, these will all be Witnesses of Jehovah, though which Witnesses of Jehovah will share this “heavenly glory” with Christ is an anxiety to the more than a million present members of the organization!

The second class will consist of all the rest of the saved.  These will be left in that flesh and blood which cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  This earth will be their eternal home.  “The righteous rule of the heavenly Kingdom,” writes Nathan Knorr, “will descend earthward and effect the answer to the prayer:  Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”  The saved on earth will constitute the “other sheep” as opposed to the “little flock” in the heavenly places.  They will fulfill God’s plan to extend Edenic conditions earth-wide, and have it inhabited by a righteous race of men and women; and in them will be fulfilled God’s promise of the earth to the meek, to be their inheritance.  These will not have “inherent” life, but will live on earth’s food supply in everlasting peace, free from war, oppression, sickness and death.  And they will increase and multiply and populate the earth.  What will result from a constant multiplication of human beings in this world, with no one ever dying, can only be left to the reader’s imagination!

And what of those who do not survive successfully their final testing?  They will be annihilated, together with the Devil and all his angels.  The Witnesses of Jehovah deny all suffering in another life.  The dead, they say, are non-existent; therefore there is no purgatory.  At the Final Judgment, the willfully wicked will be exterminated; therefore there’s no hell.  When the Bible speaks of hell, according to them, it merely means the grave.  Any hell of eternal punishment is just a myth.

SECRET OF SUCCESS

This brief glance at the inconsistent and almost incoherent system of religion invented by Pastor Russell and amplified and altered in many ways by Judge Rutherford, leaves on wondering how it manages to thrive.  Witnesses of Jehovah will say that the fact of its growth surely argues to its truth.  But other sects with totally different doctrines, yet of similar expansion, would have to be admitted as true on that score.  So we must look elsewhere for an explanation.

Firstly, it must not be overlooked that the Witnesses of Jehovah make their appeal chiefly to professing Christians who have drifted from their Churches, and who know little or nothing of Christian doctrine.  When these people hear the Churches they have forsaken denounced, they find quite a consolation in the thought that, not they themselves, but the “Churches” are to blame for their neglect of religion.  Their lingering attachment to a vague Christian sentiment then makes then listen sympathetically to claims by agents of the “International Bible Students’ Association” that what is needed is a return to Bible Christianity.  And they know so little of their religion that they fail to realize how opposed to the teachings of Christ is the mockery of the Bible put before them by the Witnesses in the name of “truth.”

Secondly, among such lapsed Christians, besides ignorance, credulity and superstition are very prevalent.  Figures from the Department of Justice in USA indicate that less than one per cent of the Witnesses of Jehovah have had a secondary education, whilst fifteen per cent have had less than a normal primary education.  Credulity and superstition have moved them to accept on the authority of Charles Taze Russell and Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford what has been put before them.

Thirdly, for this they were disposed by world conditions, their own uneasy conscience, and their innate pride.  One of the greatest assets of the Witnesses of Jehovah has been the failure of scientific progress to produce Utopia.  The world’s poverty and insecurity have made many of the poorer classes clutch at the idea of the early return of Christ, with an ensuing peace and security.  Their own uneasy conscience over the neglect of their duties to God has been consoled by the new doctrine that there is no hell.  Ingersoll, it is true, had denounced the idea of hell.  But he was an infidel, and could scarcely be trusted.  Yet here were teachers from God assuring them in the name of religion that hell does not exist.  Such an assurance could not fail to appeal to such people.

Meantime, the constant repetition of extravagant threats about the fearful fate soon to overtake Christendom, to escape which one had only to become a Witness of Jehovah and devote oneself to selling booklets, had an additional effect.  It is a fact that the atom-bomb scare in America has given a new boost to the Witnesses of Jehovah, many people imagining the end of the world and Armageddon to be really at hand.

Nor must we overlook the subtle appeal to pride and covetousness; the pride of knowing, like the Gnostics of old, esoteric and occult doctrines which the greatest of Christian theologians have failed to grasp; the pride of becoming masters of the world, triumphing like a kind of religious proletariat over the religious capitalists who remained faithful to the spiritual treasures they themselves have forsaken.

These and many other reasons account for conversion to the Witnesses of Jehovah.  Truth certainly does not.

ESTIMATE

What must be our estimate, then, of this new religion?  Can we regard it as other than an absurd, false, blasphemous and extremely dangerous travesty of Christianity?

The absurdity of the whole sorry scheme, so utterly unworthy of an infinitely wise Creator, is surely self-evident.  The predications of Russell and Rutherford, the self-appointed prophets of the movement, have been proved false over and over again, compelling them to have recourse to subterfuge after subterfuge.  For the Creeds of Christendom, embodying the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), we are given a new creed, one of deadly novelties and fallacies.  The doctrines of the Holy Trinity, of the Divinity of Christ, of the Personality of the Holy Spirit, of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and of the Church as established by Him are all blatantly denied.  The New Testament teaching about the Eucharist and the Sacraments is ignored as if it did not so much as exist.  The immortality of the human soul is rejected.

The positive doctrines of this freak religion –  for thus only can it be rightly described –  are ridiculous in the extreme.  What reasonable person could believe that Christ, though He did not rise from the dead, was supplanted by some newly created “spirit-being” who as “a” god, but not “the” God, and who returned to the “upper air” of this world, there to be enthroned as King, in 1874!  Who could believe that there He –  or this substitute being –  is waiting until the Witnesses have witnessed sufficiently to His plans, when he will descend for the great final battle of Armageddon and for a millennial reign of a thousand years on this earth, after which He will turn this earth into an eternal, material paradise!

Spiritually, the whole system is utterly bankrupt.  One will read through the whole flood of literature published by this Russell-Rutherford organization without finding any inculcation of the basic Christian virtues of humility, of repentance of sin, or of charity.  No genuine love of God or of one’s neighbor finds expression there.  There is no emphasis on character-building, on self-conquest, on the necessity of taking up one’s cross and following Christ Our Lord.  The supreme message of this caricature of Christianity is “Read, believe, and sell Russell’s and Rutherford’s books, speak of God as ‘Jehovah’ and of all Churches and Governments as ‘Antichrist’ –  this do, and thou shalt be saved!”

The very doctrine of this system, that people can sin with impunity in this life, cannot but encourage wickedness, immorality and depravity.  “God never punishes, either in this life nor in the next,” declared Russell; despite the fact that the law of retribution is insisted upon all through Sacred Scripture.  However badly people behave in this life, according to the Witnesses of Jehovah, it does not really matter, since our moral choices now have no effect whatever upon our eternal future.  All are annihilated at death, and there’s no purgatory, no hell.  If, as Russell says, all are to be raised again and given a second chance, everything will depend on how we behave then, not on how we behave now.  Witnesses of Jehovah even say that the more wicked a man has been in this life, the more likely he is to make good in the next!  And even if he doesn’t, he will merely be put painlessly out of existence, to experience no future evil consequences whatever of his contemptuous defiance of God.

No one who retains any real respect for Holy Scripture, for God, for Christ, for his fellow-men, for his own human dignity and intelligence, can do anything but reject utterly this counterfeit religion invented by Russell and Rutherford, and so pathetically propagated by their deluded Witnesses of Jehovah.

NIHIL OBSTAT: W. M. Collins, Censor Dioc.

IMPRIMATUR: D. Mannix, Archiepiscopus Melbournensis

Copyright 1974 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.

Originally published by Fathers Rumble and Carty Radio Replies Press, Inc.
St. Paul, Minn., U.S.A.

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Mass…In Latin? Why In Latin?

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It has been said that the use of any language in itself was immaterial, but in its consequences, or in view of the commands of the Church, it is by no means immaterial. The Church has wisely ordered the Latin tongue only to be used in the Mass and in the administration of the Sacraments, for several reasons.

Latin was the language used by St. Peter when he first said Mass at Rome. It was the language in which that Prince of the Apostles drew up the Liturgy which, together with the knowledge of the Gospel, he or his successors the Popes imparted to the different peoples of Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, and Poland.

From the time of the Apostles down, Latin has invariably been used at the altar through the western parts of Christendom, though their inhabitants very frequently did not understand the language. The Catholic Church, through an aversion to innovations, carefully continues to celebrate her Liturgy in that same tongue which apostolic men and saints have used for a similar purpose during more than eighteen centuries.

Unchangeable dogmas require an unchangeable language. The Catholic Church cannot change, because it is the Church of God, Who is unchangeable; consequently the language of the Church must also be unchangeable.

Mass is said in Latin because a universal Church requires a universal language. The Catholic Church is the same in every climate, in every nation, and consequently its language must be always and everywhere the same, to secure uniformity in her service.Variety of languages is a punishment, a consequence of sin; it was inflicted by God that the human race might be dispersed over the face of the earth. The holy Church, the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ, has been established for the express purpose of destroying sin and uniting all mankind; consequently she must everywhere speak the same language.

It is a fact well known that the meaning of the words is changed in the course of time by everyday usage. Words which once had a good meaning are now used in a vulgar or ludicrous sense. The Church, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, has chosen a language which is not liable to such changes. The sermons and instructions, and in short everything that is addressed directly to the people, are all in the language of the country; even the prayers of the Mass are translated in almost every Catholic prayerbook, so that there can be no disadvantage to the Catholic worshipper in the fact that the Mass is celebrated in the Latin tongue; especially as the pastors of the Church are very careful to comply with the injunctions of the Council of Trent, to instruct their flocks on the nature of that great Sacrifice, and to explain to them in what manner they should accompany the officiating priest with prayers and devotions best adapted to every portion of the Mass. 

In the second place, faithful Catholics know well that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the self-same sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered to His Father on the Cross, because both the Priest and the Victim are the same; their faith in the Real Presence is abundantly sufficient to enkindle devotion in their hearts, and to excite in their souls appropriate acts of adoration, thanksgiving and repentance, though they may not understand the prayers which the priest is uttering. For this reason it is that the faithful, pressed by different wants, go to the adorable mysteries of the Mass, never thinking of the language in which they are celebrated. Some, moved by the force of calamities, hasten thither to lay their sorrows at the feet of Jesus. Others go to ask for some grace and special mercy, knowing that the heavenly Father can refuse nothing to His Son. Many feel constrained to fly thither to proclaim their gratitude, and to pour forth the love of a thankful heart, knowing that there is nothing so worthy of being offered to God as the sacred Body and Blood of the eternal Victim. More press forward to give glory to God and to honor His saints, for in the celebration of these mysteries of love alone can we pay worthy homage to His adorable Majesty, while we bear witness to our reverence for those who served Him. 

Lastly, men hasten to Mass on the wings of charity and compassion, for it is there that they can hope to obtain salvation for the living and rest for the dead. Thus to the thirsty pilgrims through the rocks of the desert do the fountains of water appear. Thus do the generation of those who seek justice received benediction from the Lord and mercy from God their Savior.

Pity for those who know not this heavenly Sacrifice! What a misfortune to see one driven from this Eden, and yet to do nothing to obtain the favor of readmittance! How unhappy too are those Catholics who, though knowing it, by their unpardonable indifference deprive themselves of this exhaustless mine of inestimable riches.

The above was taken from Chapter 37 of the book The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Fr. Michael Muller, C.SS.R., available from TAN Books.

Objection: If the Mass is in Latin, no one can understand a thing because it is said in a language that is no longer spoken.

Response: It is true that Latin is no longer spoken ordinarily, but in order to follow this Mass without difficulty, bilingual missals are available which have on one side the text of the Latin prayers which the priest says and on the other side the translation in the every day language of the people. With a bit of practice, it is within the reach of everyone to unite himself with the prayers that are said. In addition, to want to understand everything of the Divine Mystery, which is the Sacred Mass, is impossible, mystery by definition is a truth that one cannot fully comprehend.

Conclusion:

“The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism in respect of the Sacred Liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with laws and rubrics, deserve reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, (…) that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. They are, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast days – which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation – to other dates; those finally who delete from the prayer books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.

The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth.” (Pius XII: Encyclical Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947)

http://www.olrl.org/new_mass/

God Bless BJS!!

Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on the “Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970” (July 7, 2007)

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POPE BENEDICT XVIAPOSTOLIC LETTER 
GIVEN MOTU PROPRIOSUMMORUM PONTIFICUMON THE USE OF THE ROMAN LITURGY 
PRIOR TO THE REFORM OF 1970

The Supreme Pontiffs have to this day shown constant concern that the Church of Christ should offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty, “for the praise and glory of his name” and “the good of all his holy Church.”

As from time immemorial, so too in the future, it is necessary to maintain the principle that “each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition.  These are to be observed not only so that errors may be avoided, but also that the faith may be handed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of faith (lex credendi).” [1]

Eminent among the Popes who showed such proper concern was Saint Gregory the Great, who sought to hand on to the new peoples of Europe both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture amassed by the Romans in preceding centuries.  He ordered that the form of the sacred liturgy, both of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office, as celebrated in Rome, should be defined and preserved.  He greatly encouraged those monks and nuns who, following the Rule of Saint Benedict, everywhere proclaimed the Gospel and illustrated by their lives the salutary provision of the Rule that “nothing is to be preferred to the work of God.”  In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman usage, enriched the faith and piety, as well as the culture, of numerous peoples.  It is well known that in every century of the Christian era the Church’s Latin liturgy in its various forms has inspired countless saints in their spiritual life, confirmed many peoples in the virtue of religion and enriched their devotion.

In the course of the centuries, many other Roman Pontiffs took particular care that the sacred liturgy should accomplish this task more effectively.  Outstanding among them was Saint Pius V, who in response to the desire expressed by the Council of Trent, renewed with great pastoral zeal the Church’s entire worship, saw to the publication of liturgical books corrected and “restored in accordance with the norm of the Fathers,” and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

Among the liturgical books of the Roman rite, a particular place belongs to the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and over the centuries gradually took on forms very similar to the form which it had in more recent generations.

“It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and, when necessary, clarified.  From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.” [2]  Such was the case with our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, Saint Pius X[3], Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII.

In more recent times, the Second Vatican Councilexpressed the desire that the respect and reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. In response to this desire, our predecessor Pope Paul VI in 1970 approved for the Latin Church revised and in part renewed liturgical books; translated into various languages throughout the world, these were willingly received by the bishops as well as by priests and the lay faithful.  Pope John Paul II approved the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. In this way the Popes sought to ensure that “this liturgical edifice, so to speak … reappears in new splendour in its dignity and harmony.” [4]

In some regions, however, not a few of the faithful continued to be attached with such love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms which had deeply shaped their culture and spirit, that in 1984 Pope John Paul II, concerned for their pastoral care, through the special Indult Quattuor Abhinc Annosissued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty of using the Roman Missal published in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII.  Again in 1988, John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, exhorted bishops to make broad and generous use of this faculty on behalf of all the faithful who sought it.

Given the continued requests of these members of the faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and having listened to the views expressed by the Cardinals present at the Consistory of 23 March 2006, upon mature consideration, having invoked the Holy Spirit and with trust in God’s help, by this Apostolic Letter we decree the following:

Art 1.  The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.  The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the samelex orandi of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage.  These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy.  The conditions for the use of this Missal laid down by the previous documents Quattuor Abhinc Annos and Ecclesia Dei are now replaced as follows:

Art. 2.  In Masses celebrated without a congregation, any Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use either the Roman Missal published in 1962 by Blessed Pope John XXIII or the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, and may do so on any day, with the exception of the Easter Triduum.  For such a celebration with either Missal, the priest needs no permission from the Apostolic See or from his own Ordinary.

Art. 3.  If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so.  If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.

Art. 4.  The celebrations of Holy Mass mentioned above in Art. 2 may be attended also by members of the lay faithful who spontaneously request to do so, with respect for the requirements of law.

Art. 5, §1  In parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 Roman Missal.  He should ensure that the good of these members of the faithful is harmonized with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

§2  Celebration according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII can take place on weekdays; on Sundays and feast days, however, such a celebration may also take place.

§3  For those faithful or priests who request it, the pastor should allow celebrations in this extraordinary form also in special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.

§4  Priests using the Missal of Blessed John XXIIImust be qualified (idonei) and not prevented by law.

§5  In churches other than parish or conventual churches, it is for the rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6.  In Masses with a congregation celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be proclaimed also in the vernacular, using editions approved by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7.  If a group of the lay faithful, as mentioned in Art. 5, §1, has not been granted its requests by the parish priest, it should inform the diocesan bishop.  The bishop is earnestly requested to satisfy their desire.  If he does not wish to provide for such celebration, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Art. 8.  A bishop who wishes to provide for such requests of the lay faithful, but is prevented by various reasons from doing so, can refer the matter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which will offer him counsel and assistance.

Art. 9, §1  The parish priest, after careful consideration, can also grant permission to use the older ritual in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance and Anointing of the Sick, if advantageous for the good of souls.

§2  Ordinaries are granted the faculty of celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation using the old Roman Pontifical, if advantageous for the good of souls.

§3  Ordained clerics may also use the Roman Breviary promulgated in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII.

Art. 10.  The local Ordinary, should he judge it opportune, may erect a personal parish in accordance with the norm of Canon 518 for celebrations according to the older form of the Roman rite, or appoint a rector or chaplain, with respect for the requirements of law.

Art. 11.  The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, established in 1988 by Pope John Paul II [5], continues to exercise its function.  The Commission is to have the form, duties and regulations that the Roman Pontiff will choose to assign to it.

Art. 12.  The same Commission, in addition to the faculties which it presently enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See in ensuring the observance and application of these norms.

We order that all that we have decreed in this Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio take effect and be observed from the fourteenth day of September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the present year, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the seventh day of July in the year of the Lord 2007, the third of our Pontificate.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

[1] General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, 397. 

[2] JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus (4 December 1988), 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

[3] Ibid. 

[4] SAINT PIUS X, Apostolic Letter given Motu Propio Abhinc Duos Annos (23 October 1913): AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus (4 December 1988), 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

[5] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.

© Copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana

The Prayer in Which We Offer Ourselves to God Lesson 3

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In a humble spirit and a contrite heart, may we be accepted by Thee, O Lord, and may our sacrifices so be offered in Thy sight this day as to please Thee, O Lord God.

Just as soon as the priest has offered the chalice to God, he makes the prayer that begins with the words, “In a humble spirit.” At that moment you will see the priest bowed a little over the altar. This prayer gives us a time during Holy Mass to offer ourselves to God. In this prayer we offer to God our thoughts, words, and deeds.

In the lesson in the meaning of sacrifice, you learned that the victim of sacrifice is not only an offering but a sign. It is a sign that those who offer the sacrifice desire also to give themselves to God.

The prayer, “In a humble spirit,” asks God that the priest and all those who are offering the Mass with him may be received by God. It tells almighty God that when they offer His Son to Him at the Consecration of the Mass, they are also offering themselves.

What does it mean to offer ourselves to God? It means that we desire to give Him everything we think and do and say all day long. Now if it is our purpose to do this, then we must try to please God in everything we think and say and do. We must try our hardest not to do anything that will displease Him.

We please God most when we do things that show Him we love Him and love our neighbor for His sake. How can we be sure we are loving God and our neighbor? We can be sure we are doing this if we obey the Commandments of God and of the Church, and if we help those in need as much as we are able.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Confiteor Lesson 3

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Altar Boy: I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary, ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.
Altar Boy: Amen.
Priest: May the almighty and merciful God grant us pardon, absolution, and full remission of our sins.
Altar Boy: Amen.

After reciting Psalm 42, the priest bends way over. He is praying the Confiteor. This prayer gets it’s name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. Confiteor means “I confess.” Most children first learn this prayer when they are in second or third grade.

The Confiteor is a prayer that speakers of sorrow for sin. First, the priest recites the prayer. He tells God he has sinned. Then the altar boy says the same prayer. The Confiteor is said as a preparation to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the priest.

The prayer, as it is given at the beginning of this lesson, is just as the altar boy says it. When the priest makes this act of sorrow for his sins, one word is different. The priest says “and to you, brethren” instead of “and to you, Father.” The priest is telling the people that he has sinned. He wants them to know that he is sorry for having offended God.

When we pray the Confiteor, we want it to mean what it says. If this is true, we must hate our sins. We show God that we are truly sorry when we are determined to try our hardest not to do them again.

It would help us if, when we pray the Confiteor, we would think of the sin we commit which is most displeasing to God and ask His help not to do it again. We prove our sorrow by keeping away from sin.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

A Terrible Warning

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In 1984, just before retiring at a venerable age, the diocesan Bishop of Niigata, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, in consulation with the Holy See, wrote a pastoral letter in which he recognized as being authentically of the Mother of God, the extraordinary series of events that had taken place from 1973 to 1981 in a little lay convent within his diocese, at Akita Japan. Hence in Akita we are dealing with a Church approved intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary as sure in this respect as Lourdes or La Salette or Fatima.

The message of Akita, authenticated by Bishop Ito, is a continuation of Fatima. The chastisement threatened is truly terrible – far worse that the possibility of annihilation of several nations prophesied at Fatima. Akita is absolutely consistent with prophecies of Scripture.

The first message received by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa on June 6, 1973 was a call for prayer and sacrifice for the glory of the Father and salvation of souls. The second message,  August 3, 1973, was for prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices to soften the Father’s anger.

The third message on October 13, 1973, the actual anniversary of the final visions and miracle of Fatima is as follows; “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the pope, the bishops, and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by the Confreres. The Church will be full of those who accept comprises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

“The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.”

In his pastoral letter approving the events of Akita as supernatural, the Bishop of Niigata said: “After the inquiries conducted up to the present day, one cannot deny the supernatural character of a series of unexplainable events relative to the statue of the Virgin honored at Akita (Diocese of Niigata). Consequently, I authorize that all of the diocese entrusted to me venerate the Holy Mother of Akita.”

Concerning the messages, His Excellency said: “As for the content of the messages received, it is no way contrary to Catholic doctrine or to good morals. When one thinks of the actual state of the world, the warning seems to correspond to it in many points.” His Excellency explained that he had taken eight years to give this judgement because of the importance and the responsibility in question. “The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith has given me directives in this sense,” the Bishop said, “that only the Bishop of the diocese in question has the power to recognize an event of this kind.”

The events of Akita have been confirmed by definite miracles, two of which are cited by the Bishop in his pastoral letter. While the warning given by Our Lady at Akita is terrible, the message, as the Bishop points out , is basically a repetition of the Message of Fatima. Our Lady stressed the importance of praying the Rosary, and above all of accepting from God whatever He may send in the course of each day…whatever suffering…and to offer it up in a reparation for so many sins committed throughout the world at this time. Our Lady begged especially for prayers for bishops, priests, and religious, and for reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady said: “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering to the Father, together with all the victim souls who console Him, the sufferings endured by the Son on the Cross, by His Blood and by His very loving Soul. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can appease the anger of the Father.”

To the little religious community where Our Lady gave the messages, she asked that it “live in poverty, sanctity itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages of so many men.”

The apparitions and events in Akita, Japan, center around a three foot high statue of Our Lady with a Japanese face in the chapel of the Eucharisitic Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. These supernatural happenings involve Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, one of the Sisters in the convent, to whom Our Lady gave Her messages. Sister had been very ill, requiring about 20 operations. When the apparitions began, she was nearly deaf. On June 12, 1973, when she opened the tabernacle for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a very strong light came from it and filled the entire chapel. This happened for three days. When Sister asked the other Sisters if they had seen anything out of the ordinary, they said no.

This strong light also came from the tabernacle on the feast of Corpus Christi. When Sr. Sasagawa told the Bishop of Akita (who was visiting the convent on the feast) of this, he advised her to keep it in her heart. On the Vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart that same year, Sr. Sasagawa’s guardian angel appeared to her and asked her to pray the Fatima decade prayer after each decade of the Rosary. In 1973 this prayer was not well known in Japan, and Sister had trouble understanding it. But the Sisters began to recite the prayer and it has now spread throughout Japan.

On the same occasion as the apparition of her guardian angel, a wound in the form of a cross appeared in the hollow of Sr. Sasagawa’s left hand and began to bleed. The bleeding ended on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following Friday, the wound bled and stopped the next day. This continued for a month. Sister’s guardian angel later spoke to her in chapel. Although nearly deaf, she heard the angel saying: “Pray not only for yourself, but for the people of all nations. The world today is wounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus through so much sin and ingratitude.” After hearing this, Sister heard a voice come from the statue in the chapel: “My daughter, you obeyed me very well, you have renounced everything. This deafness is a great suffering for you. Have patience, you will be healed. It is a trial. Pray in reparation for all people. Pray much for the Holy Father, for the bishops and for priests.”

On July 6, 1973, a bleeding wound appeared on the right hand of the statue of Our Lady in the chapel. On other days, the face of the statue bled. Sister’s guardian angel told her: “This flowing of blood is significant. It will be shed for the conversion of men and in reparation for sins. To the devotion of the Sacred Heart add the devotion to the Precious Blood.” Other messages followed. About a month after seeing the wound in the right hand of Our Lady’s statue, Sr. Sasagawa heard: “My daughter, if you love Our Lord, listen to me. Many people in the world grieve Our Lord. I ask for souls who will console Him, and who will make reparation. The Heavenly Father is preparing a great punishment for the world. Many times I have tried with my Son to soften the anger of the Father. I presented to Him many atoning souls who make reparation by prayers and sacrifices. That is what I ask of you. Honor poverty. Live poorly. You must keep your vows, which are like three nails to nail you to the Cross – the nail of poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Beginning on September 20, 1973, the statue began to sweat from the face to the feet. Tears began to flow down the face. Also, a very pleasant odor was felt in the chapel. This happened many times in the presence of others, including the Bishop. In all, the statue wept a total of 101 times. On October 13, 1973, there was a serious message. “As I said before,” Our Lady said, “if mankind does not repent, the Heavenly Father will inflict a very serious punishment on the whole world; a punishment the likes of which has never happened before. Many people will perish. Pray the Rosary often. Only I can prevent the disaster. Whoever entrusts themselves to me will be saved.” The statue continued to weep and other messages followed. Pilgrims came and many received answers to their prayers. Then, in 1981, Theresa Chon, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer, was miraculously healed through the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. This healing was well documented by Fr. Joseph Oh of Seoul, S. Korea.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Ito said that it would have been difficult to believe in a message from Our Lady that is so terrible, unless there was overwhelming proof that it was indeed from Her. But he points out that the terrible chastisement of which Our Lady speaks is on the condition: “If men do not repent and do not better themselves…” The Bishop added it is a serious warning, while at the same time one perceives in it the maternal love of Our Lady. In Her message warning the world of the annihilation of a great part of humanity, She said: “The thought of the loss of numerous souls makes me sad.”

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How do we repent and better ourselves? Repentance is a “sorrow of heart and detestation for sin committed with the resolution not to sin again.” (Trent.sess.xiv,cap.4). Once mortal sin has been committed, an act of contrition is necessary for salvation (this is of faith from Scripture and Tradition). To be effective contrition must be genuine, must comprise all mortal sin committed, must spring from a motive that has reference to God and include a hatred of sin as the greatest of evils (this is the common teaching of theologians). Contrition is termed perfect when it arises from the pure love of God; by perfect contrition, sin is forgiven even before it is manifested in the sacrament of Penance, though the obligation of confession remains. What are the sins most prevalent today which are calling down God’s wrath upon us? We see wholesale violations of the first three Commandments. The first Commandment: I am the Lord Thy God, thou shall not have strange God’s before me.” In summary, we find in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X and the Baltimore Catechism, that the First Commandment forbids idolatry, superstitution, spiritism, tempting God, sacrilege and sins against Faith. The Catechism then asks “How does a Catholic sin against Faith?” Answer: “A Catholic sins against Faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by taking part in non-Catholic worship! This, indeed, is a powerful indictment against the present ecumenical practice that has swept through and disfigured the Church since the 2nd Vatican Council.

The Second Commandment forbids using the Lord’s Name in vain (blasphemy). If we consult the Catechism of the Council of Trent’ s treatment of the Second Commandment, it teaches that those who support heresy, and “distort the Sacred Scriptures from their genuine and true meaning,” are guilty of sins against the Second Commandment. Thus, those who distort the meaning of Scripture, namely Protestants, are, in the objective order, guilty of this sin, because their perversion of Sacred Scripture is an irreverence to the Holy Word of God.

The Third Commandment deals with keeping holy the Sabbath Day. It is evident for all to see that Sunday has become a day of business as usual. People doing unnecessary work, places of business opened with people shopping without any regard to the Third Commandment which strictly forbids all unnecessary work and doing business on Sunday.

The Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill. We see a blatant disregard for this Commandment in the slaughter of some 3500 babies every day by Abortion with very, very few doing anything to bring about an end to this human carnage.

Now we come to the Sixth Commandment, which violation causes more souls to go to Hell than any of the other Ten Commandments. The Sixth Commandment is transgressed by Divorce which leads to adultery when either of the two spouses remarry. (Mark 10:11, 12) (Matt. 19:6) (Cor. 7:10, 11), Fornication, Homosexuality or Sodomy. (Rom. 1:27) (2nd Peter 2:6) (St. Jude 1:7). We see the Sixth Commandment horribly violated by immodest dress. Modesty and purity have practicality vanished from our society. (1 Tim.2:9-10)

This impending chastisement can be averted if enough people pray the Rosary daily and do penance which Our Lady requested at Fatima in 1917.

Our Lady of the Rosary Library http://www.olrl.org

God Bless BJS!!

Ecclesiastical Materialism

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Introduction. From the title, one might expect that I would be writing about avarice among the clergy. I am not addressing that at all, however. Recently I received from an old friend, who is a Novus Ordo conservative, a note in which he invited me to come back “to Rome — and the true Church — outside of which there is no salvation.”

His invitation, although made with all good intentions, nevertheless prompted me to write this response. What he means is that I should give up my repudiation of Vatican II and its subsequent reforms, submit to the local bishop, and be somehow “regularized” within the structures of the Novus Ordo.

First response. My first response is the
following. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there is one true Church of Christ, and only one, which is the Roman Catholic Church. The Novus
Ordo teaches that the Church of Christ merely “subsists in” the Catholic Church. (Lumen Gentium)

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that outside of the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation. The
Novus Ordo teaches that outside the Roman Catholic Church there is salvation, namely that non-Catholic
religions are means of salvation. (Decree on Ecumenism,
Catechesi Tradendæ of John Paul II)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns religious liberty. The Novus Ordo teaches religious liberty. (Decree on
Religious Liberty)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns the idea that the college of bishops has
supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church. The Novus Ordo teaches this condemned doctrine, known as collegiality. (Lumen Gentium)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns adultery and fornication in all
cases. The Novus Ordo teaches that these are morally acceptable in certain cases. (Amoris Lætitia)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns as a mortal sin of sacrilege the giving the Holy Eucharist to non- Catholics. The Novus Ordo approves of it. (1983 Code of Canon Law)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns the use of birth control devices as mortally sinful and intrinsically evil. The Novus Ordo permits birth control devices for prostitutes. (Ratzinger,
“Benedict XVI,” in a published interview)

What I have responded above is only a smattering of the myriad dogmatic, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary contradictions between the Roman
Catholic Church and what we call the Novus Ordo. We could provide the endless list of heresies and blasphemies of Bergoglio. But these things are well known.

The four marks of the Church. I will add to this first response the four marks of the Church.

(1) The Roman Catholic Church is one in faith, that is, in order to be Catholic all must profess the same dogmatic and moral teachings which are taught by the
Roman Catholic Church. The Novus Ordo has no unity of faith, and as we have seen, has no continuity with the Catholic past in any of the essential aspects of the Church’s unity.

(2) The Roman Catholic Church
is catholic, that is, universal, since it preaches a single doctrine to the whole world. Since the Novus Ordo lacks unity in doctrine, and lacks continuity with the
Church’s past in matters of doctrine, it cannot have the mark of catholicity. For catholicity presupposes unity.

(3) The Roman Catholic Church is holy. The Novus Ordo is unholy, because it condones evil disciplines, preaches condemned doctrines and heresies, leads people into error and sin, and promotes the evil New Mass, promotes abominable ecumenical acts with non-Catholic religions, and condones
sacrilegious liturgical practices.

(4) The Roman Catholic Church is apostolic. The Novus Ordo has abandoned apostolic doctrine and discipline, and teaches and does what is contrary to this sacred apostolic deposit.

Come back to what?

My friend’s invitation makes it sound as if the Catholic religion is intact in the institutions he wants me to embrace. It is as if it is the year 1950, and that I have wandered off into schism because of my pride. If this were true, I would return immediately. But there is an elephant in the room.

The elephant is this: The Novus Ordo is innovation, is heresy, is alien to the religion revealed by God and taught by the Roman Catholic Church.

It is as much a break with the past as the heresy of Martin Luther was. What is different, however, between Martin
Luther and the Novus Ordo? There is this significant difference: Martin Luther was excommunicated and subsequently founded his own church.

The Novus Ordites have never been excommunicated, and have never founded their own church. This difference is the key to understanding the present problems in the Catholic
Church.

Ecclesiastical materialism. Now I will explain ecclesiastical materialism. The Roman Catholic Church has a visible aspect and an invisible aspect. What is visible is the external profession of faith, the administration of the sacraments, and the visible government. What is invisible is the grace and assistance of the Holy Ghost which infuses the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, the authority to govern, and the indelible character on the soul in Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

The Holy Ghost, furthermore, assists the Church by an invisible influence in its promulgation of doctrine, morals, liturgy, and discipline, in such a way that these things are free from error. It is this invisible assistance which guarantees the infallibility and indefectibility of the
Church.
All of these qualities are invisible, but are nonetheless what make the Catholic Church the one, true Church of Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation. These invisible qualities have made the Catholic Church for two thousand years the unchanging, permanent, always consistent and coherent institution of divine truth in a sinful, ignorant, and ever-fluctuating world.

Even the administration of the sacraments has an external and internal aspect. The external aspect is the visible rite itself. The internal aspect is the validity of the sacrament, whereby it confers the grace it signifies. It is therefore possible that the external rite be observed and administered, even
though, through some internal and invisible defect, the sacrament is not valid.

In our discussion here, we are saying that what is left of the authority of the Church in the Novus Ordo is merely the material or visible aspect of authority,
that is, persons designated to receive authority. What is lacking to them is the divine authority, and the divine assistance which necessarily accompanies it.
Body and soul. Just as the soul is the life of the body, so it is authority which gives life, so to speak, to the person who is designated to be pope or bishop. It is to say that a mere election or appointment is not sufficient. The authority must come to him from Christ, the Invisible Head of the Church, in order that
he be a true pope or a true bishop.

This authority is transferred only on condition that the designated person have the intention of promoting the objective and proper ends of the institution over which he is placed. It is for this reason that the president-elect of
the United States does not obtain power in November
when he is merely elected, but in January when he is inaugurated, and only on condition of swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He must swear that he intends to lead the country to its
objective and proper ends. Were he to fail to so swear, he would fail to obtain the power, and would remain a president-elect, a president only materially, until such time as the Congress removed the election from him.

What has happened to the Church since 1958.
What we are facing in the Novus Ordo is this: Modernists, by remaining secretive for decades, managed to obtain by the normal and legal process of appointment and designation, a position in the Church to which authority is normally connected. So John XXIII was elected pope in 1958. By a defect, however, the authority, which is invisible and which is given byChrist the Head of the Church, was never transferred to John XXIII and his successors. What was this defect? It is that they intended to pervert the Church, and to lead it in a direction contrary to its nature and purpose given to it by God. In a word, they wanted to
transform the structures and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church into a huge vehicle of their
Modernism. This evil intention is what has blocked the flow of authority from Christ into them. Without this authority they remain non-popes, false popes.

The bishops who have embraced this perversion of Catholicism are also false bishops for the same reason.
That the authority of Christ and the assistance of the Holy Ghost are lacking can be seen from the
Hiroshima effect of Vatican II.

The Novus Ordo religion — essentially Modernism — has wrecked all of the institutions of the Catholic Church. What is left is only a lifeless shell of these institutions. There are the same physical buildings. There are the same
institutions of government. There is still a functioning Vatican. There is still a diocesan bishop. There is still a chancery. There are pastors appointed.
There are functioning parishes. There are rectors of seminaries, the few that are left.

What we are seeing here, however, is merely a carcass of the Church’s authority. It is something like
a dead whale which has washed up on the shore. These institutions, both the buildings and the government, constitute, from a purely material and
visible point a view, a continuity with the past. Internally and invisibly, however, they are full of doctrinal, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary
corruption. The stench of death rises from them, that is, the stench of heresy and all of its effects.

Everything is infected with gangrene: the Mass, the rites of the sacraments, the catechism, doctrine, morals, attitudes. We see the effects of this infection, as well, in the emptying of the seminaries, convents and religious houses of all kinds, in the breathtaking
decline of religious belief and practice, especially among the young, in the nauseating and disgusting conduct of the clergy, even to the point of sodomitic orgies in the Vatican, enhanced with both drugs and liquor, which recently took place, and was reported in the major newspapers, e.g., the London Times.

The Novus Ordo popes, consequently, are mere “cadavers” of real popes, inasmuch as they sit in the chair of Peter, wear the uniform of a pope, but have no power from Christ to teach, rule and sanctify in His name.

My second response. My second response, therefore, is that the Novus Ordo conservatives are
ecclesiastical materialists. They can see only the continuity of lifeless institutions from pre- to post-Vatican II, and from that they conclude that salvation consists in adhering to these lifeless institutions. They see only the material side of the Church, its visible
side, and turn a blind eye to the absence of the invisibles of the Church, especially the assistance of the Holy Ghost in keeping the Church free from error and defection. The Novus Ordo religion is one big error and defection. The fact that error and defection can be found in it is an infallible sign that the invisible assistance of the Holy Ghost is not with the Modernist “popes” and “bishops.” They have no authority to rule, no matter if they are maintaining
the buildings and governmental institutions of the Church.

An analogy. To illustrate my point, I will make an
analogy to a hijacked airplane. Imagine a scene in which terrorists, who have come through the ranks of the airline as uniformed, licensed, and authorized
pilots, one day show their true colors by announcing that the airplane will be flown into the side of a building. They slit the throats of anyone who tries to
stop them. From the outside, the plane is flying as normal. Inside there is chaos, terror, and horror. The Novus Ordo conservative could be compared
to the passenger who would say: “For as long as we are still flying, and the pilots are authorized and uniformed pilots, and the airline logo is still on the
plane, there is nothing to fear.”

The sedevacantists are those who have done something to stop the evil pilots, and who have had the common sense to declare that if the pilots intend the ruination of the aircraft and its passengers, they do not have the authority to pilot the plane. These sedevacantists are considered “extreme” and “misled” by the passengers who are consoled — indeed blinded — by the purely external signs of the normal functioning of the plane. These are the Novus Ordo
conservatives. A carcass of authority.

The Novus Ordo conservative looks merely at the carcass of authority
and government, which is really the only thing left intact since Vatican II, and from it concludes to the identity of the pre- and post-Vatican II religion. He
fails to understand that if the invisible qualities of the Church do not vivify the visible institutions of the Church, then these institutions are dead in the
practical order.

The Catholic Church, as the Church founded by Christ and assisted by the Spirit of Truth, always retains these institutions of the papacy and episcopacy and her faithful are always attached to them. Therefore in this present hijacking of these institutions, the Church does not lose her power to
teach, to rule, and to sanctify, for these pertain to her divine constitution. Just as the solution to the hijacked
airline is to wrest the control of the aircraft from those who would pervert its function and destination, so the solution for the Church is to wrest control of these sacred institutions from the Modernists so that once again the government of the Church may
function normally.

In order to wrest control, however, it is first necessary to identify the hijacker and to proclaim what is common sense: that he who intends the destruction of the aircraft and its passengers does not have the authority to pilot the aircraft. Likewise the Modernist, though sitting in a papal or episcopal throne, does not have the authority to pilot the Church.

The worst thing anyone could do in such a case is to reassure Catholics that because we find these Modernists sitting in the papal throne or episcopal
throne, then for that reason they must have the authority to rule the Church. It is as absurd as to say that because the hijacking pilots are seated in the cockpit, they have the authority to pilot the plane and we must obey them.

The Novus Ordo conservative, in remaining loyal to the Modernist “authorities,” stymies and paralyzes
a proper and efficacious reaction to the problem in the Church. He invites everyone to rally to the Modernists, and to spurn and condemn the sedevacantists as schismatics. If the four Novus Ordo cardinals who presented the Dubia to Francis had the
courage to declare him a non-pope, for reason of heresy, the Catholic Church would be on the road to recovery. Instead, they were careful to tell Francis that they were not sedevacantists. Cardinal Burke, one of the Dubia cardinals, stated in an interview in
December that if Francis were a public heretic, he would no longer be the pope.

Leave Rome? Who has left Rome? It is not to leave Rome, the one true Church, to be faithful to Catholic doctrine, liturgy and discipline. It is not to leave Rome to denounce as Modernism, the worst
heresy to assail the Church according to Saint Pius X, the aberrations of Vatican II in doctrine, liturgy, and discipline. It is not to leave Rome to declare that those who deviate from the true faith cannot rule the Catholic Church.

It is to leave Rome, however, to embrace the new religion of Vatican II, and to associate with the authority of Christ those who have devastated, in a matter of fifty-nine years, counting from 1958, the magnificent Catholic Church, built up for centuries by true popes and bishops with the assistance of the
Spirit of Truth. For Rome is the Church, and the Church is the Faith.

All of these discussions always revert to a single question: Do the reforms of Vatican II constitute a new religion, different from the Catholic religion? If
they do, then the position of the sedevacantists is correct. For it is impossible that the Church, assisted
by the Holy Ghost, could promulgate to the whole world a false religion. If, on the other hand, they do not constitute a new religion, if indeed there is
continuity of true doctrine, liturgy and discipline, then the sedevacantist is wrong and the Novus Ordo conservative is right. So it is pointless to talk about
anything else unless this single burning question is answered.

His Excellency Bishop Donald Sandborn Most Holy Trinity Seminary

God Bless BJS!!

​On the Commandments of the Church 

Taken from The Sinner’s Guide by the Venerable Louis of Granada chap. 38

Besides these sins against the Commandments of God there are those against the commandments of the Church, which also impose upon us a grave obligation. Such are the precepts to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation; to confess our sins at least once a year, and to receive the Holy Eucharist at Easter or thereabouts; to pay tithes to our pastor, and to observe the days of fasting and abstinence prescribed by the Church. 
The precept of fasting is binding from the age of 21 and upwards; that of abstinence obliges all who have attained the age of reason. The sick, the convalescent, nursing women, women in pregnancy, those whose labors are severe, and those who are too poor to afford one full meal a day, are exempt from the law of fasting. There may be other lawful reasons for dispensation, for which the faithful ought to apply to their pastor or confessor, and not take it upon themselves to set aside the law of the Church.
The difference between abstinence and fasting should be remembered. By fasting we mean eating only one full meal in the day, with a slight collation in the evening. By abstinence we mean giving up the use of flesh-meat. It should be borne in mind, therefore, on Ember days and at other times of fast, that the law is not fulfilled by simply abstaining from meat. Unless you are excused by some of the reasons given above or by dispensation, you must observe the fast by eating only one full meal, with the collation in the evening, and a warm drink, with a cracker or small piece of bread, in the morning.
In regard to hearing Mass, we must endeavor to be present at the Holy Sacrifice not only in body but in mind, with silence and recollection, having our thoughts fixed upon the mystery of the altar, or upon some other pious subject. The recital of devout prayers, especially the Rosary, is an excellent means of keeping ourselves united with God. If we are at the head of a house we must be careful to see that all under our charge hear Mass, not only on Sundays, but also on holy days. Too much laxity regarding holy days is apt to prevail among those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. They should remember that the obligation to hear Mass on a holy day is the same as the obligation to hear it on Sunday. Consequently, they must make serious and sincere efforts to comply with this duty. To attend an early Mass may involve the loss of a little sleep, but they should remember that these holy days occur but seldom, and that they must do something to atone for their sins and to merit the kingdom of Heaven.
Parents and employers will have a severe account to render to God if they cause or permit those confided to their care to neglect this sacred duty. When there is a just reason, such as the care of the sick or any other pressing necessity which prevents Mass, we are released from the obligation.

God Bless BJS!!

77 Graces & Fruits To Be Derived From Devout Attendance At Holy Mass

As taken from The Incredible Catholic Mass by Fr. Martin von Cochem 1704 In German and republished in English in 1997 by Tan Books and Publishers inc.


  1. For your salvation, God the Father sends His beloved Son down from Heaven.
  2. For your salvation, the Holy Spirit changes bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ.
  3. For your sake, the Son of God comes down from Heaven and conceals Himself under the form of the sacred Host.
  4. He even abases Himself to such an extent as to be present in the minutest particle of the sacred Host.
  5. For your salvation, He renews the saving mystery of the Incarnation.
  6. For your salvation, He is born anew into the world in a mystic manner whenever Holy Mass is celebrated.
  7. For your salvation, He performs upon the altar the same acts of worship that He performed when on earth.
  8. For your salvation, He renews His bitter Passion in order that you may participate in it.
  9. For your salvation, He musically renews His death and sacrifices for you His precious life.
  10. For your salvation, He sheds His Blood in a mystic manner and offers it up for you to the Divine Majesty.
  11. With the Precious Blood He sprinkles your soul and purifies it from every stain.
  12. For you, Christ offers Himself as a true burnt offering and renders to the Godhead the supreme honor which is its due.
  13. By offering this act of worship to God, you make reparation for the glory which you have failed to give Him.
  14. For you Christ offers Himself to God as a sacrifice of praise, thus atoning for your omissions in praising His Holy Name.
  15. By offering to God this oblation which Christ offers, you give Him greater praise than do the holy Angels.
  16. For you Christ offers Himself as a perfect sacrifice of thanksgiving, making compensation for all failures on your part to render thanks.
  17. By offering to God Christ’s act of thanksgiving, you make ample acknowledgement of all the benefits He has bestowed upon you.
  18. For you Christ offers Himself as the All-powerful Victim, reconciling you to the God whom you have offended.
  19. He pardons you all your venial sins, provided you are firmly resolved to forsake them.
  20. He also makes reparation for many of your sins of omission; when you left undone the good you might have done.
  21. He removes many of the imperfections attaching to your good deeds.
  22. He forgives you the sins, unknown or forgotten, which you have never mentioned in Confession.
  23. He offers Himself as a victim to make satisfaction for a part, at least, of your debts and transgressions.
  24. Each time you hear Mass, you can do more to pay the penalty due to your sins than by the severest work of penance. 
  25. Christ places to your credit a portion of His merits, which you may offer to God the Father in expiation of you offenses.
  26. For you Christ offers Himself as the most efficacious peace-offering, interceeding for you as earnestly as He interceded for His enemies on the cross.
  27. His Precious Blood pleads for you in words as countless as the drops which issued from His sacred veins.
  28. Each of the adorable wounds His Sacred Body bore is a voice calling aloud for mercy for you.
  29. For the sake of this propitiatory Victim, the petitions proffered during Mass will be granted far sooner than those that are proffered at other times.
  30. Never can you pray so well as while present at Mass.
  31. This is so because Christ unites His prayers to yours and offers them to His heavenly Father.
  32. He acquaints Him with your needs and the dangers to which you are exposed, and makes your eternal salvation His particular concern.
  33. The Angels also who are present plead for and present your poor prayers before the throne of God.
  34. On your behalf the priest says Mass, by virtue of which the evil enemy will not be suffered to approach you.
  35. For you and for your everlasting salvation he says Mass, and offers that Holy Sacrifice to God Almighty.
  36. When you hear Mass, you are yourself in spirit a priest, empowered by Christ to offer the Mass both for yourself and others.
  37. By offering this Holy a Sacrifice you present to the Blessed Trinity the most acceptable of all oblations.
  38. You offer an oblation precious indeed, of greater value than all things in Heaven and earth.
  39. You offer an oblation precious indeed, for it is none other than God Himself.
  40. By this Sacrifice you honor God as He alone is worthy to be honored.
  41. By this Sacrifice you give infinite satisfaction to the Most Holy Trinity. 
  42. You may present this glorious oblation as your own gift, for Christ Himself gave it to you.
  43. When you hear Mass correctly, you perform an act of highest worship.
  44. By hearing Mass you pay the most profound reverence, the most loyal homage, to the sacred humanity of Our Lord.
  45. It is the best means whereby to venerate the Passion of Christ and obtain a share in its fruits.
  46. It is also the best means of generating the Blessed Mother of God and increasing her joy.
  47. By hearing Mass you can give greater honor to the Angels and Saints than by reciting many prayers.
  48. By hearing Mass devoutly, you can also enrich your soul more than by anything else in the world.
  49. For in this act you perform a good work of the highest value.
  50. It is a signal exercise of pure Faith, which will receive a great reward.
  51. When you bow down before the Sacred Host and the sacred chalice, you perform a supreme act of adoration.
  52. For each time that you gaze reverently upon the Sacred Host, you will receive a recompense in Heaven.
  53. Each time you strike your breast with compunction, some of your sins are remitted to you.
  54. If you hear Mass in the state of Mortal sin, God offers you the grace of conversion.
  55. If you hear Mass in the state of grace, God gives you an augmentation of grace.
  56. In Holy Mass you spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ and drink His Blood.
  57. You are privileged to behold with your eyes Christ hidden under the sacramental veil, and to be beheld by Him.
  58. You receive the priest’s benediction, which is confirmed by Christ in Heaven.
  59. Through your diligence in hearing Mass, you will also obtain corporal and temporal blessings. 
  60. Furthermore, you will be preserved from many misfortunes that would otherwise befall you.
  61. You will also be strengthened against temptations which would otherwise have vanquished you.
  62. Holy Mass will also be to you a means of obtaining the grace of a holy death.
  63. The love you have shown for Holy Mass will secure for you the special succor of Angels and Saints in your last moments.
  64. The remembrance of the Masses hears in your lifetime will be a sweet solace to you in the hour of death and inspire you with confidence in the divine mercy.
  65. They will not be forgotten when you stand before the strict Judge and will incline Him to show you favor.
  66. You need not fear a long and terrible Purgatory if you already, to a great extent, attoned for your sins by frequently assisting at Holy Mass.
  67. One Mass devoutly heard will do more to mitigate the pains of Purgatory than any act of penance, however difficult of performance.
  68. One Mass in your lifetime will be of greater service to you than many said for you after death.
  69. You will attain a high place in Heaven, which will be yours for all eternity.
  70. Your felicity in Heaven will, moreover, be increased by every Mass you hear on earth.
  71. No prayers offered for your friends will be as efficacious as a single Mass heard and offered on their behalf.
  72. You can amply recompense all your benefactors by hearing Mass for their intention.
  73. The best help, the greatest consolation, you can afford the afflicted, the sick, the dying, is to hear Mass for them.
  74. By this same means you can even obtain for sinners the grace of conversion.
  75. You can also earn for all faithful Christians saving and salutary graces.
  76. For the Suffering Souls in Purgatory you can procure abundant refreshment.
  77. And if it is not within your power to have Mass said for your departed friends, you can by devout assistance at the Holy Sacrifice release them from the tormenting flames.

“If Christians only knew how to profit by Holy Mass, they might acquire greater riches than are to be found in all things God has created.” – Father Sanchez
God Bless BJS!!