Most Rev. Donald J. Sanborn
Ratzinger's Ecumenical One-World Church
Vatican II, John Paul II and Ratzinger’s “Superchurch”
"Unus Deus est, et Christus unus, et una Ecclesia eius, fides una, et plebs in solidam corporis unitatem concordiæ glutino copulata." - S. CyprianusI. State of the Question
“This communion exists especially with the Eastern Orthodox Churches which, though separated from the See of Peter, remain united to the Catholic Church by means of very close bonds, such as the apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, and therefore merit the title of particular Churches.”
“We have never wished to belong to this system which calls itself the Conciliar Church, and identifies itself with the Novus Ordo Missæ...The faithful indeed have a strict right to know that the priests who serve them are not in communion with a counterfeit church.”
“In the light of the foregoing, we see no other practical course to follow than...to condemn, reprove, and reject the poisonous errors of the Modernists, refusing the Catholic name to their tenets, worship, and discipline and thereby rejecting ecclesial communion with them.”
— Statement of Principles by
Twelve Catholic Priests
WHO IS IN COMMUNION WITH WHOM? This word communion has been used extensively by the modernists and Catholics alike, but what exactly does it mean? Wojtyla seems to be in communion with everyone and everything, including Hindus and Jews. On the other hand, the Catholics (i.e. those who adhere to the true Faith, otherwise known as “traditionalists”) are usually declaring themselves not to be in communion with either the Novus Ordo or some other traditional group. But is the word communion properly understood by all who use it? Is it understood in the same way by all?
II. The Catholic Notion of Communion
A. The Teaching of the Church
The notion of communion obviously concerns the unity of the Catholic Church, and is utterly incomprehensible without it. For communion is an unio cum, and this union with something implies a joining into one thing of many different things. The many different things in this case are the members of the Church; they are united into one thing, namely the Church. Because these otherwise disparate members are joined into a single entity, the Church, they enjoy with each other a communion, a mutual bond, which flows directly from their being constituted into one Body of Christ.
Pope Leo XIII spoke about the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ in his encyclical Satis Cognitum:
Furthermore, the son of God decreed that the Church should be his mystical body, with which He should be united as the Head, after the manner of the human body which He assumed, to which the natural head is physiologically united. As He took to himself a mortal body, which he gave to suffering and death in order to pay the price of man’s redemption, so also He has one mystical body in which and through which He renders men partakers of holiness and of eternal salvation. “God hath made Him (Christ) head over all the Church, which is His body.” (Eph. I:23-23) Scattered and separated members cannot possibly cohere with the head so as to make one body. But St. Paul says: “All members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ.” (I Cor. XII:12) Wherefore this mystical body, he declares, is “compacted and fitly jointed together. The head, Christ: from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly jointed together, by what every joint supplieth according to the operation in the measure of every part.” (Eph. IV: 15-16) And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. “There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord. This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts.” (St. Cyprian, De Cath. Eccl. Unitate, n.23)And so to set forth more clearly the unity of the Church, he makes use of the illustration of a living body, the members of which cannot possibly live unless united to the head and drawing from it their vital force. Separated from the head they must of necessity die. “The Church,” he says, “cannot be divided into parts by the separation and cutting asunder of its members. What is cut away from the mother cannot possibly live or breathe apart” (Ibid.) What similarity is there between a dead and living body? “For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church: because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” (Eph. V:29-30)
Pope Pius XII devoted an entire encyclical to this doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, entitled Mystici Corporis, wherein he states, “If we would define this true Church of Jesus Christ — which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church — we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression ‘the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ’— an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers.” Pope Pius XII develops this doctrine in the encyclical, drawing out the entire analogy of the Church to the Body of Christ.
Pope Leo XIII teaches that the unity of the Church is threefold: (1) the unity of faith, (2) the unity of government and (3) the unity of communion. The unity of faith is that unity which is effected by the common belief in and profession of the same truths revealed by God and taught by the Catholic Church. The unity of government is that unity which is effected by the submission of all of the faithful to the Roman Pontiff. The unity of communion , which is of special interest to us here, is that unity which is effected by the unity of government, and is the mutual bonds which exist among the faithful, resulting from their relation to one head. “Finally it [the Church] is the body of Christ — that is, of course, His mystical body, but a body living and duly organized and composed of many members; members indeed which have not all the same functions, but which, united one to the other, are kept bound together by the guidance and the authority of the head.” (Satis Cognitum no. 10) The Pope further points to the Fathers to support this close link between the unity of government and the unity of communion.
“To be in communion with Cornelius is to be in communion with the Catholic Church.” (St. Cyprian, Ep. LV, n.1) In the same way Maximus the Abbot teaches that obedience to the Roman Pontiff is the proof of the true faith and of legitimate communion. Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man...but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See. If he be in communion with it, he should be acknowledged by all and everywhere as faithful and orthodox.” (ibid. n. 13)
Pope Leo’s teaching is, therefore, that the unity of communion is the very unity of the Catholic Church itself considered as the body of the faithful. Pope Pius XII further points out that as the Mystical Body, the bonds of union which exist between the diverse members of the Church are supernatural and are superior to the bonds found in ordinary human societies:
"But if we compare a mystical body with a moral body, it is to be noted that the difference between them is not slight; rather it is very considerable and very important. In the moral body the principle of union is nothing else than the common end, and the common cooperation of all under the authority of society for the attainment of that end; whereas in the Mystical Body of which We are speaking, this collaboration is supplemented by another internal principle, which exists effectively in the whole and in each of its parts, and whose excellence is such that of itself it is vastly superior to whatever bonds of union may be found in a physical or moral body. As we have said above, this is something not of the natural but of the supernatural order; rather it is something in itself infinite, uncreated: the Spirit of God, who, as the Angelic Doctor says, “numerically one and the same, fills and unifies the whole Church.”(Mystici Corporis, n.62)
Popes also commonly use the term communion to indicate those bishops who are united to the Holy See. Thus Pope Leo says in Satis Cognitum,1 “These things enable us to see the heavenly ideal, and the divine exemplar, of the constitution of the Christian commonwealth, namely: When the Divine founder decreed that the Church should be one in faith, in government, and in communion, He chose Peter and his successors as the principle and centre, as it were, of this unity...No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church....But the Episcopal order is rightly judged to be in communion with Peter, as Christ commanded, if it be subject to and obeys Peter; otherwise it necessarily becomes a lawless and disorderly crowd.”
The notion of communion can be further inferred from excommunication. In the pre-1917 legislation, excommunications were either major or minor. Major excommunications had the effect of terminating membership in the Catholic Church, while minor ones merely cut the excommunicate off from the spiritual benefits of the Church. With the introduction of the 1917 Code, the difference between major and minor was dropped, but it is clearly defined as that censure “by which someone is excluded from the communion of the faithful.”2 In the rite of the reception of converts into the Catholic Church, the priest is instructed to pronounce the following formula over them, once they have completed their abjuration of error:
Auctoritate apostolica, qua fungor in hac parte, absolvo te a vinculo excommunicationis quam (forsan) incurristi, et restituo te sacrosanctis Ecclesiæ sacramentis, communioni et unitati fidelium in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.3
B. The Teaching of the Theologians
The common teaching of theologians concerning the unity of the Church is that the Church enjoys a threefold unity, that of faith, government, and worship.4 By the unity of faith, all believe the same supernatural truths, and are prepared to believe whatever should be taught by the Church in the future as having been divinely revealed. By the unity of government, all Catholics are subject to one visible Head, the Pope. By unity of worship, all of the faithful adhere to the same essential act of worship, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the same sacraments. Ecclesial communion for these authors is that union among the faithful which is the result of being members all of the same Church, united by these three principles of unity. “Haec tria coniunctim et formaliter accipienda sunt: conjunctim, quia non nisi simul sumpta unam totamque ecclesiam exhibent; formaliter, quoniam factum materiale cum firmo, stabili et constitutivo unitatis principio cohærere necesse est. Ita in sua unitate symbolica, hierarchica, liturgica consistit ecclesia indivisa in se et divisa a quolibet alio.”5 While this is the common teaching, there are a few notable exceptions.
Cardinal Franzelin speaks about communion in his De Ecclesia Christi. He first describes the threefold unity of the Catholic Church. The first is that of unity of faith and profession in the universal Church by which all adhere to and profess the same Catholic truths. The second is the unity of sacraments by which all the faithful are joined together and formed into one body of Christ. The third is the unity of communion in social life, by which all the particular Churches and individual faithful are theoretically and practically shown to be and recognized as members of one religious society. These three unities correspond to the triple power conceded to the Church by Christ: (1) the power to teach, (2) the power to sanctify, and (3) the power to rule. Ecclesial communion for Cardinal Franzelin, therefore, means one thing: to be in the same Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ.
Communio hæc est omnium fidelium inter se, cum Apostolis, cum Christo capite et cum Deo: “ut et vos societatem habeatis nobiscum, et societas nostra sit cum Patre et cum Filio eius Iesu Christo.” (1 Io. I 3)6
Cardinal Billot distinguishes the threefold unity of regimen, faith, and communion. The unity of regimen is that lack of division in the Church’s government, i.e., that it is ruled by a single person, namely the pope. The unity of communion consists “in the cohesion of all individuals and particular groups to one another, in the manner of compacted parts of one individual moral body, of which there are common goods, a common sacrifice, and common support.” 7 He is careful to point out that communion involves not only the submission of individuals to the Roman Pontiff, but also and at the same time their coordination with each other. For it is possible for many to be subject to one head, but not united to each other. For this reason, St. Thomas points out8 that schism is possible in two ways, either by refusing to be submitted to the Roman Pontiff, or by refusing to be in communion with the members of the Church subjected to him. The unity of faith consists in the fact that all assent to the articles of faith proposed by the Church, and are prepared to believe everything that may be proposed by the Church’s magisterium for belief.
A. Michel, writing in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, 9 speaks of the same threefold unity as Cardinal Billot, that is, of faith, regimen, and communion.10 His description of communion is very useful to our present topic:
There is, finally, a unity of communion between pastors and faithful and of the faithful among themselves. “That they may be made perfect in one!” (John XVII:23) This unity is a union in the mutual charity of the members under the direction of their leaders and this unity cannot be realized except by the life of Christ, the Head of the Church, circulating in the members of His Mystical Body. (Parable of the vine and the branches, John XV:1-12) Interiorly, therefore, this communion presupposes the participation of the souls in the life of Christ. Exteriorly it implies, first of all, the adherence of intellects to the same faith, as well as the cohesion of wills under the impulsion of the Supreme Head: thus to the exterior unity of faith and government, one must also add the coherence of the members among themselves, singuli alter alterius membra, as Saint Paul would say.11
It is clear from the author’s words that communion of the members with the head and with one another is dependent upon membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. One can legitimately infer from this that to declare that you are in communion with someone is to declare that you are in the same Mystical Body of Christ.
Cardinal Mazzella12 distinguishes the unity of faith and unity of regimen, and says that the unity of communion is the natural effect of the first two, and is the union of the members of the Church among themselves, and implies a mutual concurrence of all of the members toward the same end through the same means under the direction of one and the same government.13 He further points out that there is a unity of ritual (or cultus, as most would say), whereby all observe the same essential rites, the same sacraments, the same sacrifice, but that this unity flows from the unity of faith and regimen, since the unity of ritual cannot be lacking if there is a unity of faith and regimen.14 He therefore concludes that the unity of faith and regimen are the two essential unities of the Catholic Church. Communion, therefore, for Cardinal Mazzella is a natural effect of membership in the Catholic Church.
Fr. Dominic Palmieri, S.J. distinguishes unity of communion, faith, and ritual. Unity of communion for him is the social unity of the Catholic Church which arises from the fact that all the faithful constitute one society, all mutually cooperating toward the same end under the authority of one government. He says that this unity “excludes the multiplicity of Churches, where each would be complete societies unto themselves, each having its own government.” This unity of communion is what constitutes the Church as a single society. He further adds, “...and therefore whatever man or group should not be a member or part of it, would not be in any way the Church of Christ or of the Church of Christ”.15
Journet16 has a theory all his own about the unity of the Church, distinguishing unity of worship, unity of orientation, and unity of communion. To me it is surprising that he is able to leave out the unity of faith, which is mentioned by all theologians, and much more importantly, by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum. He places the unity of faith under the unity of orientation,17 which all others would call regimen or government, and refers to it as the unity of speculative orientation, distinguished against the unity of practical orientation. He describes the unity of communion as the unity of communication in a charity which derives from Christ.18
C. Body and Soul
In speaking about the Church, one must constantly keep in mind that it is analogous to a human body inasmuch as it is composed of a material part and a spiritual part. The spiritual part of man is the form which gives to the body its human nature and species, and is its vital principle. The Church’s spiritual and supernatural part, by analogy, is its faith, charity, grace, its divine power and authority given to it by God as well as all of the spiritual influence of Christ and of the Holy Ghost. The Church’s material part, on the other hand, is its visible society with its members and institutions.19 Consequently one must distinguish between an internal, spiritual communion and an external, corporeal communion. Many mistakes are made through a confusion of these two ways of being in communion. One is a member of the body of the Church if one is a member of the visible society, and is in communion with the members and the head of the Church; one belongs to the soul of the Church if one participates in the faith, charity, and grace of Christ, either imperfectly if he only has the faith, or perfectly, if he is constituted in charity and sanctifying grace. An occult heretic continues to be a member of the Church externally, although internally ceases to be united to Christ or His Church. The excommunicated, on the other hand, cease to be in communion externally with the Catholic Church, but may, through a perfect act of contrition belong to the Church internally. This distinction of membership is possible not because the body and soul of the Church are able to be separated, but because of the principle De internis Ecclesia non iudicat. Thus the Church maintains a communion with an occult heretic who is cut off, in the spiritual reality, from the Church, because the Church does not see or judge his interior disposition. Similarly, the Church maintains a lack of communion with the internally repentant excommunicate, who has been restored, in the spiritual reality, to the Church, but who has not manifested his contrition and received absolution. This distinction accounts for the possibility of the salvation of those who are not externally members of the Catholic Church, since through their at least implicit desire to belong to the true Church, it is possible for them to achieve the state of sanctifying grace and thereby belong to the true Church. Thus their adherence to the visible society of the Church is not re but voto.
It is important to point out at this juncture, however, that there is but one communion. Just as there is only one Christ, and only one Church, and just as the Body and Soul of Christ are perpetually united, as well as the body and soul of the Church, so there can only be one communion. Either you are in communion with the Church or you are not. There exists, however, a twofold way of being in communion, the one internal, the other external. One is in communion with the Church internally if he is in the state of sanctifying grace, that is, if he is justified by supernatural faith and charity, for it is impossible to be so justified without communion with the Church. The external communion consists of the mutual external bonds among the faithful, resulting from their relation to one visible head. The external communion, therefore, is caused by valid sacramental baptism, which has the effect of incorporating the baptized person into the body of the Church. This effect continues until some obstacle is placed in its path, which obstacles are excommunication, notorious heresy or schism.
Internal communion is invisible and undetectable. The Church never makes any judgment about it. When the Church speaks about communion, it is always in the sense of external communion, i.e., the integrity of the Body of Christ. If internal communion were all that were necessary for salvation, then no Church would ever have been necessary, nor rule of faith, nor magisterium, nor apostolic authority. It would all become useless and meaningless. This is why for those who are in the state of grace, but outside of the visible confines of the Catholic Church, it is absolutely necessary that they have a desire, at least implicit, to belong to the true Church of God externally, that is, to the body of the Church. Cardinal Billot states concerning those who belong to the soul of the Church: “Alterum [principium] est quod hanc ipsam habitualem gratiam nemo habet aut habere potest si nullo prorsus modo adhæreat ad visibile Ecclesiæ corpus, quia tunc caret medio quod est necessarium ad salutem, adeoque etiam ad iustificationem et gratiam quam per se salus consequitur.”20 He goes on to say that the defect of adherence in re can be supplied by an adherence in voto. This point is of extreme importance, namely that one cannot detach interior justification from adherence, in some way, at least in voto, to the body of the Church. For one cannot divide the body and soul of the Church; they are distinguished, but not separated. Furthermore, the interior life of grace is dependent upon the exterior, visible society of the Church. Cardinal Billot states, in comparing the body and soul of the Church to the body and soul of a man:
But at the same time remember that it is no more than an analogy, and that there are notable differences. The first difference is that in physical things body and soul are united in such a way that they form an unum per se. Such is not the case here, because both the body and the soul of the Church are composed of those elements which are added accidentally to men already constituted in their esse primum. The second difference is that in the human composite the soul gives to the body its “body-ness” viz. the existing substantial form from which the body has its whole order of perfect esse, namely esse, both corporeal esse, and animate esse, and thus concerning the other things (IIIa, q. 75, a. 6 ad 2um) But the mystical body of the Church is constituted in its esse corporis independently from the soul, because, as soon as you abstract from the interior habits of grace and of the virtues, it is then understood as a social binding together of members under a hierarchy endowed with a double power, both that of jurisdiction or rule, and that of orders or the dispensation of the sacraments. And therefore the body in this case is simpliciter a nature before the soul; in fact, it has in itself that by which ministerially or instrumentally the esse of the soul is caused. Hence we come to the third difference: the form of the body of the Church as it is abstractly a social body is different from that form [of the body of the Church] by which it is living by the life of grace. Although this last form is dependent in its own way on the prior form, and although it resides in the same subject, it in no way forms another church, but adds ultimate perfection to the one, true Church.21 [emphasis mine]
D. Summary of Catholic Teaching Concerning Communion
Communion consists, therefore, in a relation of member to head and of member to member of the Mystical Body. This relation is founded on the act of incorporation into the Mystical Body through (1) valid Baptism (2) the profession of the Catholic Faith, and (3) submission to the pope, the authority of the Catholic Church. All three things are necessary for the incorporation; the absence of one of them would effect a separation from the Mystical Body.22 The terms of the relation are the individual member, on the one hand, and the Head (Christ and His Vicar) on the other, or member and member. The relation is mutual, that is, both are subject and term to each other. The individual Catholic is therefore the subject of the communion which exists between him and the Head of the Body as a result of his subjection to the Head, and is also the term of the relation of communion which is subjected in the Head of the Church as a result of the dominion of the Head over the member. Likewise just as siblings are mutually related,23 so member is mutually related to member. Communion relies on this mutuality to survive, since the incorporation causes necessarily a mutual relationship. If it should break down on one or the other side, the whole relation collapses, since its foundation, its cause, which is incorporation, cannot produce the relation only on one side. Just as generation must necessarily produce a mutual relation, e.g., of father and son, so does incorporation into the Mystical Body, of member to Head, or member to member. It is impossible to have a “one-sided” or half-incorporation, since the body is a part of the substance, and substance does not admit of magis and minus. Either something is part of the substance or it is not; someone is either a member of the Mystical Body or he is not. If he is, communion exists; if he is not, communion does not exist. If, therefore, communion is broken on one end, it is necessarily broken on the other. If the Roman Pontiff, therefore, should refuse communion to someone, that person ceases to be in communion with the Roman Pontiff, since the relation must be mutual, or two-sided. He would be, therefore, outside the Church, since communion is a necessary effect of incorporation, and one cannot be incorporated without being in communion.
II. THE VATICAN II NOTION OF COMMUNION
A. Vatican II’s Heretical Ecclesiology
Cardinal Billot’s deep analysis of the body of the Catholic Church is very important in our present consideration. The very error of Vatican II and John Paul II is the lack of exclusive identification of the Mystical Body of Christ with the body of the Catholic Church. Vatican II sees the Mystical Body of Christ as all those who profess to be Christian:
That Church, Holy and Catholic, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit through the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government and who, combining into various groups held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or rites. 24
(Note that there is absolutely nothing in this definition which would exclude either the Orthodox or the Protestants.) This Mystical Body, furthermore, has been scandalously torn into many pieces over the centuries:
From her very beginnings there arose in this one and only Church of God certain rifts, which the apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries more widespread disagreements appeared and quite large Communities [sic] became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church — developments for which, at times, men of both sides were to blame.25
But the Spirit of Christ remains in these separated “ecclesial bodies,” and uses them as means of sanctification.:
But the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them [these separated Churches and Communities] as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.26
It is therefore the duty of these bodies to come together, just as a dismembered human body ought to be sewn together by surgeons, in order that the Mystical Body of Christ be no longer “split up.”27 Thus in the Vatican II view, the Mystical Body of Christ is much broader than the body of the Roman Catholic Church. By analogy to a human body, the Mystical Body would be the whole body of Christ, whereas the body of the Roman Catholic Church, or that of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox or Anglican, for that matter, is a member of this great Mystical Body of Christ. Just as the human soul is completely in the whole body and completely in each of its parts, so the Spirit of Christ, in this Vatican II ecclesiology, is completely in the whole Mystical Body and completely in each of its parts. All the parts, therefore, are truly the Body of Christ. They should break down their differences so that the communion among them is no longer “partial” but “full.” “...multiple efforts are being expended through prayer, word, and action to attain that fullness of unity which Jesus Christ desires.”28
This false doctrine can be further seen in the following passages:
From Vatican II:
From the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
This Church [the sole Church of Christ], constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. (Lumen Gentium, 8)
Such division [of Christian communions] openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the gospel to every creature .(Unitatis Redintegratio, 1)
Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity. (Lumen Gentium, 8)
All those, who in faith look towards Jesus, the author of salvation and the principle of unity and peace, God has gathered together and established as the Church, that it may be for each and everyone the visible sacrament of this saving unity. (Lumen Gentium, 9)
The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter...these Christians are indeed in some real way joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by his gifts and graces, his sanctifying power is also active in them and he has strengthened some of them even to the shedding of their blood. (Lumen Gentium, 14)
Can. 204 § 1
Christ’s faithful are those who,
since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are
constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate
in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of
Christ. They are called, each according to his or her
particular condition, to exercise the mission which God
entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world
§ 2 This Church, established and ordered in this world as a society, subsists in the catholic [sic] Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.
Can 205 Those baptized are in full communion with the catholic [sic] Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.
Can. 844 § 1 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic [sic] members of Christ’s faithful who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic [sic] ministers, except as provided in §§ 2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in can. 861 § 2 [emphasis mine].
From these passages, which are by no means exhaustive, we see the image emerge of the Vatican II ecclesiology: the “Superchurch,” i.e., “Christ’s faithful”, the People of God, the Church of Christ, composed of all those who look in faith towards Jesus, and which has been split up scandalously into various Churches, in which are found many elements of sanctification and truth, which are used by the Spirit of Christ as means of salvation. This Church of Christ “subsists in” (notice it does not say is) the Roman Catholic Church, which is joined in many ways to other Christians who do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety (read Protestants).
In the 1983 Code, the Superchurch is distinguished against the catholic [small “c” — sic] Church, which is the Superchurch subsisting in an organization on earth. The dead giveaway to the heretical notion of the Church is in Canons 825 and 84429, where there is a distinction made of catholic [sic] members of Christ’s faithful versus Christ’s faithful (christifideles catholici vs. christifideles, the latter being used most often). Careful reading of this Code reveals very astute wording of the canons in such a fashion that no one could strictly identify Christ’s faithful with the members of the body of the Catholic Church. Rather it becomes very clear that Eastern schismatics and Protestants are considered to be members of “Christ’s faithful” and members of the Church, since they are baptized, and “constituted the people of God.” Notice that no mention is made of impeding the effect of baptism through adhering to heretical or schismatic sects, the public profession of heresy, or by exclusion by competent ecclesiastical authority. Rather, if you are baptized, you are part of the People of God, Christ’s faithful, the Church.
Absolute proof that christifideles refers to all who claim the name christian, regardless of sect, can be seen from Canon 923:
Christifideles Sacrificium eucharisticum participare et sacram communionem suscipere possunt quolibet ritu catholico, firmo præscripto can. 844.
When one checks out Canon 844, lo and behold! It is the “eucharistic hospitality” canon! It is the canon which makes a distinction between the christifideles catholici and your ordinary christifideles, and defines the restrictions (the few which exist) on intercommunion. The conclusion is that christifideles of Canon 923 refers to all “christians” who may participate in the “eucharistic sacrifice” and “holy communion,” as long as they observe the distinctions and restrictions of Canon 844.
This conclusion is staggering , for it reveals that the 1983 Code of Canon Law is a veritable constitution for an ecumenical Church, in which carefully worded texts have retained the heretical Vatican II ecclesiology. It is the blueprint for the One World Church.
B. A Note on Communicatio in Sacris
A further confirmation of the heretical nature of the Vatican II ecclesiology is the fact that communicatio in sacris is permitted between Catholics and non -catholics. As everyone knows, this was always considered to be a mortal sin, and made one suspect of heresy. It was considered to be a grave sin because it was seen to be a sign of adherence to a false sect. The only time in which it was permitted was in danger of death, and this only because the extreme urgency of the moment removed from the act any quality of adherence to a false sect. Vatican II, however, has changed all this. Already in the 1960’s the Council authorized intercommunion with the Orthodox:
In view of the principles recalled above, Eastern Christians who are separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, if they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions, may be granted the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and the anointing of the sick. Furthermore, Catholics may ask for these same sacraments from those non-catholic ministers whose Churches possess valid sacraments, as often as necessity or a genuine spiritual benefit recommends such a course of action, and when access to a Catholic priest is physically or morally impossible.30
The 1983 Code has gone a step further, and permits the same access to “Catholic” sacraments to Protestants, and vice-versa. (Canon 844). This intercommunion is significant, especially with regard to the Holy Eucharist, since, by its very nature, this sacrament is the sign of the Church’s unity. It is one more confirmation of the fact that Vatican II and JP 2 teach that there is unity between the Roman Catholic Church and non-catholic sects.
Communicatio in sacris has always been abhorrent to the Roman Catholic Church, for the very reason that it is a sign of adherence to a false sect. Fr. De la Taille explains:
Quia autem omnis communio eucharistica est professio communionis ecclesiasticæ cum eucharisticam conficiente, tradente, sumente, ideo est regulariter illicita et damnosa, UTPOTE SCHISMATICA ATQUE HÆRETICA, communio corporis Christi, quamvis valide consecrati, accepta a sacerdote hæretico vel schismatico; sicut se excommunicat ab Ecclesia, qui accipit a sacerdote nominatim excommunicato.31
Indeque apparet, cur non liceat eucharistiam a ministris sectæ hæreticæ aut schismaticæ accipere. Quia enim eucharistia est sacramentum societatis christianæ, eo vel ipso qui communicat sacrificiis hæreticorum se perhibet ipsorum cœtui communicare; atque proinde sectam pro Ecclesia, Ecclesiam pro secta convincitur habere. Communicat ergo hæresi, sumens corpus et sanguinem Christi; estque illi panis ipse hæreticus, id est divisivus, quo sumpto, non consors fit, sed exors corporis Christi et Ecclesiæ. Quare Damascenus: 32“Omni vi proinde caveamus, ne aut ab hæreticis communionem accipiamus, aut iis demus,...ne participes pravi eorum sensus et damnationis fiamus. Nam si omnino adunatio est ad Christum et inter nos, omnino illis omnibus qui comparticipes nobiscum sunt adunamur secundum animi propositum. Ex proposito enim animi hæc fit coadunatio.”33
Saint Ignatius of Antioch warns against the use of a non-catholic Eucharist:
Studeatis igitur una eucharistia uti: una enim est caro Domini nostri Iesu Christi, et unus calix in unitatem sanguinis ipsius, unum altare, sicut unus episcopus cum presbyterio et diaconis, conservis meis; ut, quod faciatis, secundum Deum faciatis.34
C. Wojtyla’s Apostatical Ecclesiology
Wojtyla’s ecclesiology goes a step beyond Vatican II, a little step for man, but a great step for apostasy. While the Council seems to draw the line of the Mystical Body around those “who in faith look towards Jesus” — whatever that means — Wojtyla is ready to sign up the entire human race in the Mystical Body by the fact, as he says, that all are united to Christ by means of the Incarnation. With this principle, the Novus Ordites are in “communion” not only with the Anglicans and the Orthodox, but with everything: Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, spiritists, Jews, Great Thumb worshippers. You name it; they are in communion with it. Vatican II’s idea of the Church is heretical, since it identifies sects of heretics with the Mystical Body of Christ. Wojtyla’s ecclesiology is downright apostatical, since it identifies organized religions of pagans and idolaters with the Mystical Body of Christ. The truth is that in no way are pagans and idolaters, as pagans and idolaters, united to the Mystical Body of Christ. If, by some mystery of Providence and Predestination, they are united to the soul of the Church, and by desire to its body, it is in spite of their paganism and idolatry. It is due to an invincible ignorance of their error. Far from giving their rituals and beliefs credence by participating in them, the Church must vigorously condemn these false religions as works of the devil. Such has been the constant attitude of the Catholic Church throughout the ages. To recognize these pagan and idolatrous bodies to the level of being living members of the Mystical Body of Christ is nothing less than the abandonment of the name of Christian altogether, which is the very definition of apostasy. While Wojtyla retains the name of both Christian and Catholic, his notion of the Mystical Body of Christ and of the Catholic Church is apostatical inasmuch as it includes pagans and idolaters. It is no different from Freemasonry, in which the “brothers” each profess to be “christians”, but at the same time profess a fundamental unity with every other religion on the face of the earth, as somehow resolved into a great unity of the Craft. But the Church has always considered Freemasons to be apostates, and not merely heretics.
D. The New Ecclesiology Condemned by Pope Pius XII
This business of the Mystical Body extending beyond the body of the Catholic Church, is a theory which was much touted in theological circles in the 1950’s. The theory—or, better yet, the heresy—is this: that there is a “Superchurch” which consists of all men of good will, no matter what their religious profession, who are united to Christ by virtue of His Incarnation, (as if the similarity of nature between Christ and ourselves were enough to create a Mystical Body with Him as the Head and the human race as its members). This Superchurch is the one, true Church, and it “subsists” in diverse “churches” or “ecclesial communities”, which all, to a greater or lesser extent, share in the truth of Christ. This heresy reduces the body of the Catholic Church to a mere moral person, that is, an ecclesiastical corporation with a certain natural structure, governed by certain natural laws, with a certain natural unity. Unity of faith is reduced to an obedience to “church order,” which is to say, an external observance of the faith rules of the day, by which the church is preserved in order.35 This reduces the notion of orthodoxy to a purely legal observance of the prevailing theology of the day. Those familiar with modernism see its ugly face in this theory and practice. Pope Pius XII condemned this theory in his encyclical Mystici Corporis in 1943:
Therefore we deplore and condemn the pernicious error of those who dream of some kind of a false Church, a sort of society nourished and formed by charity, to which — not without disdain — they oppose another society which they call juridical.
He then declares that the juridical society was set up by Christ precisely in order to bring about sanctification:
But it is useless to introduce this distinction: they do not understand that for this very reason the Divine Redeemer willed the assembly of men set up by Him to be an organized society perfect in its kind, and equipped with all the juridical and social elements, to perpetuate on this earth the saving work of the redemption, and to attain this end He willed that it should be enriched by the Holy Ghost with supernatural gifts and benefits.
Therefore there cannot be any opposition or repugnance worthy of the name between what is called the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost, and the juridical function, received from Christ, of the Pastors and the Doctors; for — as in us the body and the soul — they complete and perfect one another, and they proceed from one and the same Savior, who not only said as He imparted the Divine Spirit, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” but also clearly gave the order, “As the Father has sent me, so I also send you,” and again, “He that heareth you, heareth me.”
In Humani Generis, the Holy Father condemns the idea that somehow the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are not one and the same thing:
Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.
This theory of distinguishing the body of the Catholic Church from the Mystical Body of Christ can be found expounded in an article published in the Nouvelle Revue Théologique of 1948, a Jesuit publication. The author of the article, a Fr. Morel, OFM Cap., proposes the doctrine that the Mystical Body of Christ is an invisible, spiritual society which is composed of everyone who is in the state of grace, be they Hindus, Catholics, Jews, Moslems, Protestants, etc. It has a much greater extension than the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics, the author contends are eminent members of the Mystical Body, whereas the others are simple members of the Mystical Body. The Roman Catholic Church is merely the Mystical Body par excellence, because it has the seven sacraments and the magisterium, and because it is to this that they are drawn by their implicit desire. Fr. Morel states that faith and grace can be had outside of the Roman Church.
The critical error here is not to say that there may be sanctified souls outside of the visible confines of the Roman Catholic Church, but to oppose or even distinguish the body of the Roman Catholic Church from the Mystical Body of Christ. For, as we shall see, there can be no sanctification outside of the visible confines of the Roman Catholic Church unless there is an order to — at least an implicit desire to belong to — the body of the Roman Catholic Church. The new ecclesiology, however, heretically distinguishes the Roman Catholic Body from the Mystical Body, as if there is some ecclesial body which extends beyond the body of the Roman Catholic Church.
This is exactly the error of Vatican II, John Paul II, and the New Code of Canon Law. The “Roman Catholic Church,” in this system, is reduced to a mere moral structure, a society of which the members are bound together by authority. In this it would not differ from General Motors. It is seen as merely an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ, for it is possible, according to this theory, to belong to the Mystical Body of Christ without belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. This utterly destroys the dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. For the truth of the matter is this, that he who is outside of the visible confines of the Roman Catholic Church, but who is in the state of sanctifying grace, is sanctified by means of his belonging in re to the soul of the Roman Catholic Church, and in voto to the body of the Roman Catholic Church. He cannot be sanctified unless he is in some way united to the body of the Church. Cardinal Billot says concerning the sanctification of those outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church:
The second [principle] is that no one has or can have this very habitual grace if in no way at all they adhere to the visible body of the Church, because then they would lack the means which are necessary for salvation, and which are therefore necessary for justification and grace which, per se, salvation follows.36 [emphasis mine]
He goes on to say that an in voto adherence to the body of the Church is sufficient, as long as certain conditions are met. He concludes that all the just belong to the soul of the Church, but that those who belong to the body re are primarily and more properly of the soul of the Church, because these are the ones by which the Church is designated, whereas the others (the members in voto) are merely reduced to the members re as something accessory is reduced to that to which it is attached. (Like a sidecar to a motorcycle.) Thus the truth remains clear that the Roman Catholic Church, body and soul, is identified with the Mystical Body of Christ, and that one cannot belong to one without belonging, in some way, to the other.
How does this Catholic doctrine compare with the doctrine of Vatican II and John Paul II? The essential difference is that the conciliar doctrine does not identify exclusively the body of the Roman Catholic Church with the Mystical Body of Christ, but merely as a corporate body, a moral person, in which the Mystical Body — the Superchurch — subsists. It is something like the way the soul animates the human body. It is found completely in all of its parts, that is, in the liver, the heart, the stomach, the bowel. So the Mystical Body animates the body of the catholic [sic] Church, but it also animates the bodies of many other “churches and ecclesial communities.” According to this heresy, therefore, the true Church of Christ — the Superchurch, the Mystical Body — can be found in many “churches.” According to John Paul II, all human beings (n.b. not only the just but all) belong to the Superchurch-Mystical-Body-of-Christ by virtue of the Incarnation. They manifest their religious experiences in varying ways and form religions, which, in most cases, enjoy a human structure and have a corporate body. The best, the most eminent, of all of these corporate religious bodies is the “Roman Catholic Church” because it has “fullness.” Thus to pass from the worship of the Great Thumb to the “Roman Catholic Church” is analogous to trading in your Chevrolet and buying a Cadillac. They differ only in quality, but they both are and accomplish essentially the same thing. In this system, therefore, the body of the Catholic Church loses its exclusive role of causing instrumentally the sanctification of souls. The body of the Catholic Church has this power to cause the sanctification of souls precisely because it is, exclusively, the Mystical Body, that is, a body endowed with supernatural powers from Christ. The identification of the Mystical Body with ecclesial bodies other than the body of the Roman Catholic Church, as if they were all parts of a whole, is to ruin the Catholic Church’s nature as the one, true Church of Christ. It denatures the Catholic Church, for it makes it only an incomplete body of Christ, a body which, for its perfection, needs to be united in communion with other ecclesial bodies. “Cardinal” Ratzinger, in a recent document, said: “This [the separation of Churches] in turn also injures the Catholic Church, called by the Lord to become for all ‘one flock’ with ‘one shepherd’, in that it hinders the complete fulfillment of her universality in history.” 37 Vatican II had said the same thing yet more explicitly:
Nevertheless, the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from effecting the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects.38
In other words, the liver is not much good without the heart, nor the stomach without the bowel.
One sees that this notion sets up the basis for a full mystical communion and a partial corporate communion with all religions. For all religions are members of the “Mystical Body” through Christ’s incarnation; they are therefore all united to a certain extent in this great body, but are divided by their differences in corporate structures, disciplines, worship, and dogmas.
The consequences are quite logical: all such organizations should recognize the existence of the Mystical-Body-of-Christ-Superchurch, and should strive to break down the administrative, dogmatic, and disciplinary obstacles between them, so that, one day, the Superchurch and the corporate body can be one and the same. Ecumenism is the practical consequence of this doctrine, as well as a notion of communion which is radically different from the Catholic notion.
E. Explanation and Critique of Partial Communion
Vatican II and JP 2 have elaborated a notion of partial communion of heretics and schismatics and even pagans with the Catholic Church. It can be found in the decrees of Vatican II, in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and passim in the speeches of Wojtyla. Is there any basis for this notion in Catholic doctrine?
Understood in the manner in which Vatican II and JP 2 understand it, the answer is no. Understood in a completely different manner, after the teaching of St. Augustine, the answer is yes.
First let us look at the traditional doctrine. The Church teaches that if a person is justified, his justification can only happen by means of the Catholic Church, since outside the Church there is no salvation. Pope Pius IX solemnly declared in an allocution to Cardinals in 1854: “Tenendum quippe ex fide est, extra Apostolicam Romanam Ecclesiam salvum fieri neminem posse.” Nevertheless it is a fact that the internal grace of illumination and movement is distributed more widely than the visible confines of the Apostolic Roman Church, since otherwise conversion to the true Church would be impossible, since it cannot take place without grace. Thus the Jansenist doctrine, Extra Ecclesiam nulla conceditur gratia, is condemned. These graces, however, conceded outside the visible confines of the Church, have as their end the conversion of the recipient to the true Church. Cardinal Franzelin states the doctrine very clearly:
Sicut ergo gratiæ extra Ecclesiam conceduntur ad formanda membra Ecclesiæ, si homines cooperari voluerint, ita gratiæ eædem omnes verissime dici possunt donari intuitu Ecclesiæ. Quicumque igitur extra corpus Ecclesiæ ad fidem et ad charitatem perducuntur, atque ita videntur salvari posse extra Ecclesiam, re ipsa ad supernaturales illas dispositiones et consequenter ad iustificationem et salutem non perveniunt nisi per verbum Ecclesiæ tamquam custodis depositi et per gratiam Ecclesiæ non quidem tamquam dispensatricis sed tamquam proximi finis, pro quo et cuius intuitu a Deo gratiæ conceduntur.39
Commonly theologians will say that this interior justification of a man outside the visible boundaries of the Church makes him belong to the soul of the Church actu and to the body of the Church in voto, at least implicito. Thus there is a basis for saying that there is a membership secundum quid in the Church, or an incomplete membership in the Church. Cardinal Franzelin:
...valet distinctio, ut aliud sit simpliciter pertinere ad Ecclesiam et esse tamquam membrum in corpore Ecclesiæ, tamquam civem in visibili regno Dei, atque rursum aliud sit secundum quid, et ut Augustinus loquitur, ex aliqua parte pertinere, ad hanc Ecclesiam et ad hoc regnum Dei in terris.40
The references from Saint Augustine are the following:
Sic etiam qui se ipsos a societate separantes, caritate violata, unitatis vinculum rumpunt, si nihil faciunt eorum quæ in illa [prima]41 societate acceperunt, in omnibus separati sunt : et ideo quem sibi sociaverint, si venire ad Ecclesiam voluerit, debet omnia quæ non accepit accipere. Si vero nonnulla eadem faciunt, non se in eis separaverunt; ex ea parte in texturæ compage detinentur, in cetera scissi sunt. Proinde si quem sibi sociaverint, ex ea parte nectitur Ecclesiæ, in qua nec illi separati sunt : et ideo si venire ad Ecclesiam voluerit, in eo sanatur ubi laniatus errabat : ubi vero sanus connectebatur, non curatur, sed agnoscitur; ne cum sana curare volumus, potius vulneremus. Itaque illi quod baptizant, sanant a vulnere idololatriæ vel infidelitatis; sed gravius feriunt vulnere schismatis.42
Est una Ecclesia, quæ sola catholica nominatur, et quidquid suum habet in communionibus diversorum a sua unitate separatis, per hoc quod suum in eis habet, ipsa utique generat, non illæ. Neque enim separatio earum generat, sed quod secum de ista tenuerunt; quod si et hoc dimittunt, omnino non generant. Hæc itaque in omnibus generat, cuius sacramenta retinentur, unde possit tale aliquid ubicumque generari; quamvis non omnes quos generat, ad eius pertineant unitatem, quæ usque in finem perseverantes salvabit...Sed qui superbiunt et legitimæ matri non adiunguntur, similes sunt Ismaeli, de quo dictum est, eiice ancillam et filium eius; non enim heres erit filius ancillæ cum filio meo Isaac. Qui autem pacifice diligunt legitimam patris sui coniugem, cuius legitimo iure generati sunt, similes sunt filiis Iacob, quamvis de ancillis natis sed tamen eandem hereditatem sumentibus.43
Therefore the Catholic Church, according to Saint Augustine, generates her own natural children in non-catholic sects, for as long as those sects retain something of what is Catholic. Neque separatio earum generat, sed quod secum de ista tenuerunt; quod si et hoc dimittunt, omnino non generant. For this reason, theologians commonly teach that infants validly baptized in non-catholic sects belong to both the body and soul of the Catholic Church, without distinction. They are considered to leave the body of the Catholic Church when they reach the age of reason and are presumed by the Church to voluntarily adhere to the heresy or schism. The Church makes no judgment about their interior dispositions, i.e., whether they continue to belong to the soul of the Church or not. If, through invincible ignorance of the true Faith, they recognize their false mother — the non-catholic sect, to use the image of St. Augustine — as their true mother, they would then continue to belong to the soul of the Church, and in voto to the body, as the interior grace of God would necessarily incline them to His true Church. On the other hand, qui superbiunt, that is, if they, through evil morals or culpable negligence of the truth, side with their false mother over the true, known as true, then they become outcasts, and in no way are said to belong to the Catholic Church.
That heretics in good faith belong to the Church incompletely and secundum quid is further supported by these words of Saint Augustine to a Donatist:
Qui sententiam suam quamvis falsam atque perversam nulla pertinaci animositate defendunt, et præsertim quam non audacia præsumptionis suæ pepererunt, sed a seductis atque in errorem lapsis parentibus acceperunt, quærunt autem cauta sollicitudine veritatem, corrigi parati, cum invenerint, nequaquam sunt inter hæreticos deputandi. Tales ergo vos nisi esse crederem, nullas fortasse vobis litteras mitterem.44
The doctrine of an incomplete membership in the Church is also supported by De Groot, O.P.:
Hæretici et schismatici, si bona fide errent, sunt ecclesiæ membra incomplete; perfecte, si cum fide caritatem servaverint, imperfecte, si fidem solam. Nam huiusmodi hæretici et schismatici, ecclesiæ, cui explicite obedirent, si instruerentur, adhærent implicite.45
Similar statements can be found in St. Thomas,46 St. Robert Bellarmine,47 Billuart,48 Billot,49 and others. About this kind of partial or imperfect membership in and communion with the Catholic Church there is no substantial dispute.
The variety of “partial communion” promoted by Vatican II and JP 2, however, is utterly different and alien to the Roman Catholic Church. Far from underlining this traditional doctrine about non-catholics erring in good faith, and their possible membership in the soul of the Church and in voto membership in its body, the Council and its sequaces are speaking about partial communion with the non-catholic sects themselves. They are not referring to well-meaning but unfortunate individuals who are caught up, through no fault of their own, in these false religions, but to the very schismatic and heretical organizations themselves. They are not speaking about an invisible communion which may exist in certain non-catholics as individuals with the Catholic Church, because they have the virtue of faith and charity, which communion, as Cardinal Billot says, is not membership in the Church in its proper sense. Rather Vatican II and JP 2 are speaking about an ecclesial communion of church to church. In a speech to the Roman Curia on June 28, 1981, upon his return from Africa (where he participated in who-knows-what), JP 2 made this statement:
In these truly plenary gatherings, the ecclesial communities of different countries make real the fundamental second chapter of Lumen Gentium which treats of the numerous “spheres” of belonging to the Church as People of God and of the bond which exists with it, even on the part of those who do not yet form a part of it.
This is communion in its proper sense, that is, communion as it refers to the body of the Church. To assert that there is even a partial communion between the Roman Catholic Church and non-catholic sects is overtly heretical, since it is directly contrary to the Church’s teaching :
Pope Pius IX: None [of these different religious societies among themselves and separated from the Catholic Church], not even taken as a whole, constitutes in any way and are not that one, Catholic Church founded and made by Our Lord and which He wished to create. Further, one cannot say in any way that these societies are either members or parts of that same Church, because they are visibly separated from Catholic Unity.50
Pope Leo XIII: Jesus Christ never conceived of nor instituted a Church formed of many communities which were brought together by certain general traits — but which would be distinct one from another and not bound together among themselves by ties which make the Church one and indivisible — since we clearly profess in the Creed of our Faith: “I believe in one...Church.”51
Pope Pius XI: It is absurd and ridiculous to say that the Mystical Body can be formed out of separated and disjunct members.52
Pope Pius XI: It is to depart from divine truth to imagine that a Church which one can neither see nor touch, which would be nothing more than spiritual in which numerous Christian communities would be united by an invisible bond, even though they are divided in faith.53
The notion of partial communion is also contrary to the four marks of the Church: its unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.
Partial communion with non-catholic sects is contrary to her unity, since unity is broken by adherence to condemned doctrines or by repudiation of papal authority. The fact that there should be certain doctrines in common does not form a bond, for the unity of faith is not merely a unity de facto, but de iure, that is, it is based on the universal acceptance of the teaching of the Catholic Church as the proximate rule of faith. No non-catholic sect so regards the Catholic magisterium, and therefore, on this point alone, there is no unity. Furthermore, all non-catholic sects repudiate papal authority as the supreme authority of Christ’s Church, and there is no partial bond here either. Rather the very principle of the Church’s unitas regiminis is utterly ruined by the rejection of papal authority.
Partial communion with non-catholics sects is furthermore contrary to the Church’s holiness, since it places the Church in union with sects which teach unholy doctrines, and who have unholy founders, and which, in most cases, do not have the means of sanctifying their “faithful.” Those who do retain valid sacraments, such as the Greek Orthodox, cannot be said thereby to he holy churches, since these sacraments belong to the Roman Catholic Church, and have been shamelessly and sacrilegiously stolen from her. Cardinal Mazzella:
Sacramenta illa, quæ retinent hæretici in sua secta, sunt veluti spolia, quæ ab Ecclesia discedentes secum asportarunt, sed quæ ad hanc pertinent: potest servus fugitivus pecuniam domini sui secum auferre; potest miles vexillum Imperatoris asportare: at sicut isti propterea non sunt se familia aut exercitu, ita nec hæretici de Ecclesia.54
Furthermore, their founders are not noted for holiness, particularly “let-the-maid-come-in” Martin Luther, and Henry VIII, that rotting mass of syphilis.
Partial communion is contrary to the Church’s catholicity, since, as all apologists clearly explain, no non-catholic sect is catholic, since they are confined to a certain place or time, and, lacking unity, cannot be catholic, since catholicity presupposes unity. Again Cardinal Mazzella:
Societates enim schismaticorum certe non sunt Ecclesia universalis: cum numquam ubique fuerint difusæ; neque haberi possunt uti pars Ecclesiæ universalis; cum initio schismatis ab illa vel ipsæ discesserint, vel expulsæ fuerint, ac separatæ maneant.55
Fr. De Groot explains why it is impossible that non-catholic sects have catholicity:
Hoc enim maximi momenti est, quod diximus: et ubique una. Et sane, si unitas desideretur, non est ecclesia catholica, sed ecclesiæ conspiciuntur, catholicitate fucata damnatæ; nulla ergo catholcitas materialis prodest, sed formalis requiritur. Quare S. Thomas: “unum — inquit — et idem est quod creditur a cunctis fidelibus: unde universalis seu catholica dicitur.” In Ephes. IV. lect. II. Et quoniam fidei unitas rectore uno sublato cogitari non potest, luce clarius est, catholicitatis notam a centro quodam unitatis ecclesiasticæ dependere.56
Finally partial communion is contrary to the Church’s apostolicity. For to be apostolic, the material succession of bishops — the pure succession to and possession of the see — is not sufficient, but rather formal succession is necessary, which is the enjoyment of the power of Christ to rule the church, which can only come from him to whom it was confided: St. Peter and his legitimate successor.
Furthermore to assert, as Vatican II and JP 2 boldly do, that the Holy Ghost uses these non-catholic sects as means of salvation is directly contrary to the Catholic dogma that outside the Church there is no salvation. Wojtyla states in Redemptor Hominis:
Does it not sometimes happen that the firm belief of the followers of the non-Christian religions — a belief that is also an effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body — can make Christians ashamed?57
and in Cathechesi Tradendæ:
It is extremely important to give a correct and fair presentation of the other Churches and ecclesial communities, that the Spirit of Christ does not refrain from using them as means of salvation.58
This wicked doctrine is clearly heretical for it contradicts the teaching of Pope Pius IX who, in the Syllabus, condemned the proposition,
“Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.”59
and in Singulari Quadam (Dec. 9, 1854):
Tenendum quippe ex fide est extra Apostolicam Romanam Ecclesiam salvum fieri neminem posse, hanc esse unicam salutis arcam, hanc qui non fuerit ingressus, diluvio periturum.
In summary, this theory — this heresy — of partial communion asserts that there is an ecclesial bond among all of the “communities” of the baptized, and a full communion among those baptized who are incorporated visibly into the “catholic” [sic] organization. This theory is heretical because it separates the Mystical Body of Christ from the body of the Catholic Church, as if you could somehow be attached to Christ by means of anything else but the Roman Catholic Church, body and soul. It must be remembered that even those who are sanctified outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church are sanctified by belonging in re to the soul of the Catholic Church and in voto to the body of the Catholic Church. Thus there is no “Church” which is in any way different from the body of the Catholic Church. There is no “People of God” which is not identified with the body of the Roman Catholic Church, no “Christ’s faithful” to be found outside of the visible confines of the Roman Catholic Church, since the Church makes no judgment about the interior good will or invincible ignorance of heretics, but rather legally presumes them to be formally what they profess to be — heretics. “In foro externo omnes, qui plenum rationis usum adepti adhuc perstiterunt in secta hæretica, ab Ecclesia præsumuntur et habentur hæretici.”60 As heretics, and as sects of heretics, they are outside of the Roman Catholic Church, which is one and the same as, and exclusively identified with the Mystical Body of Christ, the People of God, and Christ’s faithful.
F. The Branch Theory
The Vatican II ecclesiology is really no different from that proposed by the Anglicans in the nineteenth century, known as the “Branch Theory.” This theory held that the “Universal Church” consisted of three branches: the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox, and the Anglicans. Although not in communion with each other, they are, nonetheless, all part of the “Universal Church.” These Anglicans identify the “Universal Church” with the Mystical Body of Christ, which, as such, has no visible regimen, and therefore no visible head. They thus will not identify any one existing “Church” exclusively with the Mystical Body or “Universal Church.” Cardinal Mazzella quotes an Anglican by the name of Litton, who sounds just like Ratzinger:
Ecclesiæ particulares, aliter separatæ, unum sunt propter communem relationem ad unam veram Ecclesiam, seu Corpus Christi mysticum, et coniunctione cum ea.61
According to the Cardinal, they say that the unitas regiminis of the Catholic Church is better, and possibly even falls under precept, but is in no way essential, and can therefore be absent, without detriment to being the Church. When schism occurs within this “Universal Church,” that is, when one church breaks off from another, as in the case of the Orthodox and the Anglicans with regard to the Roman Catholic Church, the separation is not total and perfect, nor is it even a separation from the Roman Catholic Church inasmuch as it is true, but only inasmuch as it has been corrupted in the area of faith or morals. Therefore, there remains, according to this theory, an essential communion, in those things which are true and right, whereas communion is rejected in the area of erroneous doctrine, in superstitious worship, or tyrannical rule.62
Parenthetically, this Protestant idea of being in communion with what is right, and not in communion with what is wrong is exactly the position of Fr. Schmidberger’s group with regard to JP 2. They therefore accept certain New Church doctrines and disciplines, while rejecting others. They are in communion with JP 2 when he talks like a Catholic, and not in communion with him when he talks like a non-catholic.
The Branch Theory was condemned by the Church. In 1857 a society was founded in London called the Association for Promoting the Union of Christendom. In 1864, the Holy Office issued a letter forbidding Catholics to take part in it. In the letter Cardinal Patrizi mentioned that the members of the group are called upon to say prayers and offer “masses” for the intention that the three “Christianæ communiones, utpote quæ, prout supponitur, Ecclesiam Catholicam omnes simul iam constituunt, ad unum corpus efformandum tandem aliquando coeant.”63 Overwhelmed with grief by the blow, 198 Anglican divines wrote to Cardinal Patrizi asking him to reconsider, saying that they were asking nothing else from God than that “ecumenical intercommunion which existed before the schism of East and West.” His Eminence responded on November 8, 1865: “Id porro Sacra Congregatio vobis contigisse vehementer dolet existimantibus, ad veram Jesu Christi Ecclesiam pertinere, tamquam partes, Christianos illos cœtus, qui sacerdotii et catholici nominis hæreditatem habere se iactant, licet sint ab Apostolica Petri Sede divisi ac separati. Qua opinione nihil est, quod magis a genuina catholicæ Ecclesiæ notione abhorreat. Catholica enim Ecclesia...ea est quæ super unum Petrum ædificata in unum connexum corpus atque compactum unitate fidei et caritatis assurgit.” Beautiful!
This same condemnation was included in the schema on the Church which was distributed to the Council Fathers at Vatican I:64
Canon IV Si quis dixerit, veram Ecclesiam non esse unum in se corpus, sed ex variis dissitisque christiani nominis societatibus constare, per easque diffusam esse; aut varias societates ab invicem fidei professione dissidentes atue communione sejunctas, tamquam membra vel partes unam et universalem constituere Christi Ecclesiam; anathema sit.
G. Ratzinger’s Recent Document: Explicitly Heretical
This past June (1992) “Cardinal” Ratzinger issued an “official” statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, promulgated by order of JP 2, on the subject of communion. In it, he explicates this very heretical ecclesiology which we have just seen in Vatican II and the New Code in a somewhat veiled manner. Let us here analyze the salient statements of this document.
First of all, in paragraph four, we get a re-hash of JP 2’s apostatical incarnational theology: “Ecclesial communion is at the same time both invisible and visible. As an invisible reality, it is the communion of each human being with the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit...” Each human being? This sentence means that the whole human race, regardless of state of soul, is in invisible communion with the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. He continues: “...and with the others who are fellow bearers in the divine nature, in the passion of Christ, in the same faith, in the same spirit.” This means that all men are “fellow bearers in the divine nature,” 65participate in the effects of the passion of Christ, have the same faith, and have the same Holy Spirit. We then learn that the Church is the “link between the invisible and visible elements of ecclesial communion.” One must conclude from these statements that it is the role of the Church to gather together into one organization, into one visible communion, this whole human race which is already in invisible communion with the Blessed Trinity. The work of the Church is not, therefore, to convert, gather to itself and sanctify a sinful race which is estranged from God, but rather to gather into one organization a race that is already united to God. The Church’s work becomes one of mere “announcement” of a reality which already exists, something like a graduation or wedding announcement. This Ratzinger explicitly says in the following paragraph: “...she [the Church] is permanently open to missionary and ecumenical endeavour, for she is sent to the world to announce and witness, to make present and spread the mystery of communion which is essential to her, and to gather together all people and all things into Christ, so as to be for all an ‘inseparable sacrament of unity’.”
From here we move to the notion of the organization Church. In paragraph seven, Ratzinger defines the Church of Christ: “The Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, is the universal Church, that is, the worldwide community of the disciples of the Lord, which is present and active amid the particular characteristics and the diversity of persons, groups, times, and places.” Ratzinger therefore identifies the one, true Church of Christ with the “worldwide community of the disciples of the Lord.” This sounds more like the name of a church in a ghetto storefront than the Church of Christ. Where is there mention of the unity of faith, worship, and government? Of the Roman Pontiff? Of the hierarchy? Contrast Ratzinger’s definition with one given by Saint Robert Bellarmine:
Cœtus hominum viatorum eiusdem fidei christianæ professione et eorundem sacramentorum communione colligatus sub regimine legitimorum Pastorum ac præcipue unius Christi in terris Vicarii Romani Pontificis.66
Saint Robert’s definition leaves no room for extending the Church of Christ beyond the walls of that institution which is marked by the profession of the same faith, the use of the same sacraments, and the submission to the same authority, especially that of the Roman Pontiff.
Ratzinger then moves on to the subject of particular Churches. He does not define what he means by the term, but he does state that “the universal Church becomes present in them with all her essential elements.” (§ 8). The “Cardinal” develops the particular Church theme, stating that “the universal Church is therefore the body of the Churches.” [i.e., the particular Churches]. He emphasizes that in every particular Church “the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active.” (§ 9). Continuing in the same paragraph, he identifies the universal Church and the particular churches: “From the Church, which in its origins and its first manifestations is universal, have arisen the different local churches, as particular expressions of the one unique Church of Jesus Christ. Arising within and out of the universal Church, they have their ecclesiality in her and from her.” He then logically concludes that the communion which exists among the faithful is one and the same as the communion which exists among the particular Churches. (§ 10)
It is necessary to state here that, if one understands the universal Church to be the Roman Catholic Church, identified solely and exclusively with the Mystical Body of Christ, and the particular Churches to mean the dioceses headed by bishops who are in communion with the Roman Pontiff (i.e., Catholic bishops, as opposed to schismatic and heretical bishops), then “Cardinal” Ratzinger’s teaching is right on the mark. Unfortunately such is not the case, for he is going to apply this notion of particular Church to bodies which openly reject the authority of the Roman Pontiff. The first whiff comes in the second paragraph of section 10:
Moreover, one’s belonging to a particular Church never conflicts with the reality that in the Church no one is a stranger [emphasis original]. Each member of the faithful, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, is in his [emphasis original] Church, in the Church of Christ, regardless of whether or not he belongs, according to canon law, to the diocese, parish or other particular community [emphasis mine] where the celebration takes place. In this sense, without impinging on the necessary reflations [sic] regarding juridical dependence, whoever belongs to one particular Church belongs to all the Churches, since belonging to the communion, like belonging to the Church, is never simply particular, but by its very nature is always universal. [emphasis mine].
We will see in a minute that the “particular communities” to which he is referring are none other than non-catholic religions, heretical and schismatical “churches.”
Next we move into a little “eucharistic ecclesiology.” It simply means this: wherever there is a valid Eucharist celebrated, there also is the universal Church. Ubi eucharistia, ibi ecclesia. Ratzinger says: “It [unity or communion between the particular Churches in the universal Church] is rooted in the Eucharist because the Eucharistic sacrifice, while always offered in a particular community, is never a celebration of that community alone. In fact, the community, in receiving the Eucharistic presence of the Lord, receives the entire gift of salvation and shows, even in its lasting visible particular form, that it is the image and true presence of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” (§ 11).While it is accurate to say that Christ, as Head of the Catholic Church, is the principal priest in every valid Mass67, and that the Mass, by nature, is an ecclesial act offered by the whole Catholic Church68, it is nonetheless absolute blasphemy to say that the use of the Mass and of the Holy Eucharist in a non-catholic sect shows that “it is the image and true presence of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Rather the possession and use of these sacred things is sacrilegious on their part, for the very reason that the secondary priest does not belong to the body of the true Church to which the Mass and the Eucharist belong. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains it beautifully:
Et quia consecratio Eucharistiæ est actus consequens ordinis potestatem, illi qui sint ab Ecclesia separati per hæresim aut schisma vel excommunicationem, possunt quidem consecrare Eucharistiam, quæ ab eis consecrate verum corpus Christi et sanguinem continent: non tamen recte hoc faciunt, sed peccant facientes. Et ideo fructum sacrificii non percipiunt, quod est sacrificium spirituale.
Sacerdos in missa in orationibus quidem loquitur in persona Ecclesiæ, in cuius unitate consistit. Sed in consecratione sacramenti loquitur in persona Christi, cuius vicem in hoc gerit per ordiniis potestatem. Et ideo, si sacerdos ab unitate Ecclesiæ præcisus missam celebret, quia potestatem ordinis non amittit, consecrat verum corpus et samguinem Christi: sed quia est ab Ecclesiæ unitate separatus, orationes eius efficaciam non habent.69
Some saints and popes had some stronger words about schismatic Masses:
Pope Pelagius I: Unum Christi corpus unam constat esse Ecclesiam. Divisum ab unitate altare veritatem Christi corporis non potest congregare.70
Saint Cyprian: The schismatic dares to set up an altar and to profane the truth of the divine Victim by means of false sacrifices.”71 He also wanted returning schismatic priests to be reduced to the lay state, referring to them as those who “contra altare unum atque divinum sacrificia foris falsa ac sacrilega offere conati sunt.”72
Saint Augustine: Extra Ecclesiam Catholicam non est locus veri sacrificii.73
St. Leo the Great: Aliter [id est, extra Ecclesiam] nec rata sunt sacerdotia, nec vera sacrificia.74
Saint Jerome : God hates the sacrifices of these [ i.e., heretics] and pushes them away from Himself, and whenever they come together in the name of the Lord, He abhors their stench, and holds his nose...75
A valid Eucharist, therefore, does not in any way create the presence of the Church in these schismatic and heretical sects, but rather further condemns them, for their use of these sacred things is grossly sinful, in the objective order. The Holy Eucharist, by its very nature, is the sacrament of the unity of the Catholic Church, and to use It outside the unity of the Catholic Church is to pervert it. Ratzinger is trying to make the case that, because the non-catholic minister acts in persona Christi with regard to the valid consecration, he somehow makes present the Church in these blasphemous and sacrilegious uses of the Sanctissimum. The truth of the matter is that the only reason why the non-catholic minister is said to act in persona Christi at the moment of consecration, is that the power of the priesthood is something which cannot be removed by the Church. If the Church could remove it, it certainly would! Fr. Cappello explains this distinction clearly:
Sacerdotes præcisi, quamvis valide sacrificent nomine Christi, tamen non offerunt sacrificum, ut Ecclesiæ ministri et in persona ipsius Ecclesiæ. Sacerdos enim habet ex commissione Ecclesiæ, ut nomine eius oret, intercedat ac offerat, et, quoad hoc, potest Ecclesia privare sacerdotem præcisum, ne suo nomine sacrificet.76
The use of the valid Eucharist by schismatic and heretical sects is exactly analogous to the Philistines’ use of the Ark of the Covenant.
H. Time Out: A Résumé Thus Far
Let us step off Ratzinger’s heretical roller-coaster for just a moment in order to review the principles which he has set forth:
(1) The whole human race is in invisible communion with each of the members of the Blessed Trinity.
(2) It is the function of the Church to be the link between this invisible communion and visible, organizational communion.
(3) The Church of Christ is the universal Church, and is identified with what we call in the Creed, “the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”
(4) This Church of Christ is defined as “the worldwide community of the disciples of the Lord.”
(5) This Church of Christ, the universal Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, is identified with the “particular Churches.”
(6) The particular Churches have all the essential elements of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
(7) Wherever the Eucharist is validly celebrated in these particular Churches, there the Church of Christ, the universal church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of the Nicene Creed, is present.
Now Ratzinger, under an ironic pretense of being the Vatican’s theological watchdog — “dogma-dog” would not be an inappropriate title — against those who would want to separate the particular Churches from JP 2, goes in for the ecumenical kill. Sections twelve through sixteen are spent building up the necessity of the particular Churches to be united with the Roman Pontiff — very edifying. Finally the juicy part comes in Part V, entitled, “Ecclesial Communion and Ecumenism.”
I. The Ecumenical Kill
“ ‘ The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honoured by the name of Christian, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter’ ” This is a quote from Vatican II which is, as it stands, heretical. For, in the first place, as Cardinal Franzelin stated above, the Church presumes non-catholics to be formal in their heresy or schism, and when it speaks about them, the sense can only be taken in that way. Thus St. Fulgentius said “Firmissime tene...hæreticos atque schismaticos, qui extra Ecclesiam Catholicam præsentem finiunt vitam, in ignem æternum ituros.”77 The Fathers and the magisterium of the Church are filled with similar statements. According to the constant teaching of the Church, therefore, she is joined in no way to those who have placed a voluntary obex to the effect of their baptisms either by heresy or schism. Secondly, to properly apply the term “Christian” to someone who is outside the Catholic Church places a distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian Church. Such a distinction, however, is heretical, since it implies that one can be united to Christ — therefore “Christian” — without being united to the one, true Church of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. The term “Christian” is used improperly, purely descriptively, of those who claim to be followers of Christ, but who do not belong to the Catholic Church. The proper term is heretic. Thirdly, to “not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety” is not to profess it at all, for the Catholic Faith is the universal Faith, the Faith that is believed by all in its entirety. This Faith is Catholic precisely because all in the Catholic Church profess the teaching of the Church to be the rule of faith. But the heretics are heretics precisely because they reject the teaching of the Catholic Church as the rule of faith. What heretics may profess, therefore, are certain truths which happen to be common with those of the Catholic Faith, but they cannot be said to profess the Catholic Faith in any way whatsoever. Fourthly, it is repugnant that someone have the title of Christian who is not united to the Vicar of Christ.78Finally, and most importantly, the Roman Catholic Church is joined in no way to bands of heretics and schismatics, for, as we have seen above, the three principles of the Church’s unity are faith, worship, and government. Should even one of these principles of unity be lacking between two churches, there is no ecclesial unity and no bond at all. There is not some “half-church” or partial unity or communion, any more than someone could be “a little pregnant” or “a little dead.” Substantial form does not admit of magis et minus, the way accidental form does. One is or is not, therefore, pregnant, because either the new substantial form comes into the womb or it does not. One either is or is not dead, since the soul, the substantial form of the body either is or is not present in the body. Similarly one either is or is not in communion with the Catholic Church, since it is a moral person analogous to a real person, and does not admit of degrees of more and less communion.79 The most that can be said is that the Catholic Church has certain things in common with non-catholic religions, exactly in the manner in which two women wearing the same hat have something in common.. In no way are they said to be the same physical person because of this commonness, or even partially the same person.. Ratzinger continues:
“Among the non-Catholic Churches and Christian communities, there are indeed to be found many elements of the Church of Christ, which allow us, amid joy and hope, to acknowledge the existence of a certain communion, albeit imperfect.” Here we have the most explicit to date declaration of “partial communion” with heretics and schismatics, which has already been shown to be ruinous to the unity of the Catholic Church. “This communion exists especially with the Eastern Orthodox Churches which, though separated from the See of Peter, remain united to the Catholic Church by means of very close bonds, such as the apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, and therefore merit the title of particular Churches.” This sentence is loaded with heresy. In the first place, he boldly — unbelievably — declares that the schismatic sects of the East, though separated from the See of Peter, merit the title of particular Churches. When one goes back into the document, we discover what he is actually saying, since for Ratzinger, particular Churches are entities in which “the universal Church becomes present... in all her essential elements.” In each of them is “a portion of the People of God entrusted to a bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy.” (§ 7) He states that the universal Church is the body of the [particular] Churches. (§ 8) We can only rightfully conclude from this statement, therefore, that the schismatic sects are part of the Church of Christ, which, as Ratzinger says, is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the Creed. Such a doctrine is downright heretical. We must also conclude that submission to the See of Peter is not an essential element of the Church of Christ, the universal Church, the Church of our Creed, since in these particular Churches, “the universal Church becomes present in all her essential elements.” Ratzinger states openly that, although they are not united to the See of Peter, they merit (merit!) to be called particular Churches. Furthermore, Ratzinger claims, in a totally matter-of-fact fashion, that these sects have apostolic succession. While it may be claimed that they have an apostolic succession of orders, and even a material apostolic succession of bishops, the term “apostolic succession” refers to neither of these things, but rather to the formal apostolic succession of jurisdiction, coming from Our Lord Himself. Understood in this its proper sense, none but the Roman Catholic Church possesses apostolic succession. Indeed to concede apostolic succession to schismatic sects is to concede to them the note of apostolicity, as if it is possible to be apostolic while at the same time repudiating the Apostolic See! It is as absurd as it is heretical. In the context of saying that these sects merit the title of particular Churches, I think that it is perfectly legitimate to infer that Ratzinger intends this claim of apostolic succession in its full-blown heretical sense.
As if this is not enough, he next drops this theological bomb: “Indeed, ‘through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches, the Church of God is built up and grows in stature’,80for in every valid celebration of the Eucharist the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church becomes truly present.” This horrific statement means exactly what it says, that the true Church of Christ is present if there should be a valid Eucharist. Applied to the concrete, it means that the Church of Christ was present when every sort of heretic and schismatic ever celebrated Mass validly, which includes the Donatists, the Montanists, the Arians, the Luciferians, the Nestorians, the diverse Greek heretics of the early centuries, the Pelagians, Photius & Co., all validly ordained Protestants, such as Luther and Cranmer (but who probably offered invalid Masses due to lack of proper intention), the Gallicans, the constitutional clergy of the French Revolution (e.g. Talleyrand, a debauched apostate), the Petite Église, the Döllinger crowd, the Utrecht sect, and the Polish National Church, to mention only a few of the “valid” heretics and schismatics in the Church’s history. Rather than “objectively calling for universal communion with Peter” as Ratzinger absurdly claims in section 14, these “celebrations of the Eucharist,” valid though they be, cry to heaven for vengeance, for they are a blasphemous and sacrilegious use of the Blessed Sacrament, which, by its very nature, is a sign of the unity of the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
Ratzinger, obviously aware of his excess, qualifies the above statements with this feeble attempt at orthodoxy: “Since however, communion with the universal Church, represented by Peter’s successor, is not an external complement to the particular Church, but one of its internal constituents, the situation of those venerable Christian communities [sic] also means that their existence as particular Churches is wounded.” If we use the analogy of a wound in a body, which is obviously the case here, Ratzinger’s doctrine again comes up heretical. For a wound, no matter how severe, does not take away the integrity of the nature which is wounded. The precise theological phrase used with regard to the human nature affected by original sin is integra sed vulnerata. Thus a “wounded Church” is one which may be accidentally impaired, even imperfect, but one which is nevertheless substantially integral. When this simple analysis of common sense is applied to Ratzinger’s statement, it means that the repudiation of submission to the Roman Pontiff does not cause separation from the true Church — ecclesial death — but rather only a wound, an accidental imperfection, accidental in the sense that it does not ruin the essence. By analogy, the human nature, after original sin, has all of its constitutive metaphysical and physical parts, essence and existence, body and soul, together with all of its proper faculties both of body and of soul, but is wounded, that is, has a difficulty in correctly performing the acts of the faculties due to the effects of original sin. The notion that these “venerable Christian communities” — the Catholic would say “condemned heretical and schismatical sects” — retain their integrity as Churches, despite this wound, is attested to by Ratzinger in section seven, where he says that the “universal Church becomes present in them with all her essential elements.” Never was such a claim made about the Eastern schismatic sects in the history of the Church; nowhere can it be found in the teaching of the Church or of theologians. Rather all are emphatic that, due to their refusal to be subject to the successor of Saint Peter, these sects lack unitas regiminis, and simply do not belong to the true Church of Christ. Ratzinger in a single sentence, therefore, has dispensed with this essential element of the true Church, submission to the See of Peter. Thus not only are the Greek and Russian Orthodox, with their myriad sects, part of the Church of Christ, but also, according to this statement, the Utrecht Schism and any Old Catholic bishop who has managed to get his hands on valid orders, together with their adepts.
As if we are not already sufficiently nauseated, the Vatican’s theological watchdog adds: “The wound is even deeper in those ecclesial communities which have not retained the apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist.” These “ecclesial communities” are none other than protestant sects, thousands of them, scattered all over the world. They too are particular Churches in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is present in all her essential elements, wounded though they be. He is therefore maintaining that the following groups are particular Churches, the Church of Christ: the Lutherans (whose founder said Christ is an adulterer and a fornicator), the Anglicans (whose prayer-book says the worship of the Blessed Sacrament is idolatry), the 700 Club, Jimmy Swaggert’s ministry, Oral Robert’s religion, the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s church, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s church, the Mormons, Pentecostalists, Bishop Tutu’s church, the Greater Deliverance Temple of Apostolic Faith Church, the Greater St. James Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas, the King Solomon Temple Church of God in Christ, the Judgment Morning Ministries, the Universal Liberty in Christ Truth Kingdom, the Go Tell It Ministries, and, last but not least, God’s Storehouse of Eternal Love. All of these, according to Ratzinger, are particular Churches, wounded though they are, but in which the universal Church, the Church of Christ, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of our ancient Creed, “becomes present with all her essential elements.” For Ratzinger and JP 2, the Catholic Church is in communion with all of these heretical abominations. To extend the true Church to these machinations of the devil is heretical, downright heretical. Ratzinger and JP 2 are heretics, and they “authoritatively” teach this heresy to the Church. It is just one more example of the defection of doctrine in the Novus Ordo sect, and therefore one more sign that it is impossible that Wojtyla be pope.
We are not yet finished. The cherry on top of this stinking dungheap is this loathsome statement: “This in turn also injures the Catholic Church, called by the Lord to become for all “one flock” with “one shepherd”, in that it hinders the complete fulfillment of her universality in history.” From this we must conclude that the Catholic Church is also wounded, since it cannot be completely Catholic for as long as these particular Churches and ecclesial communities are not united under one flock and one shepherd, i.e., in one unitas regiminis. This statement is also heretical if it is understood to mean that for as long as there are heretics and schismatics, the Roman Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is deprived of something, is not perfectly Catholic. It clearly states that until the whole world is united as one flock in the Catholic Church, it sustains a wound, an imperfection with regard to its mark of catholicity. While it is true that the Church laments the loss of its faithful to heresy and schism, and while it is true that the Church seeks to convert the whole world as a function of its catholicity, it is in no way true that the Catholic Church is imperfect because heretics and schismatics exist. What may be said is that the catholicity of the Church is materially incomplete for as long as one person on earth remains unconverted to the Catholic Faith, but what may never be said is that the catholicity of the Catholic Church is formally imperfect or lacking, since this would constitute a defection.
This document is not only the work of the theological watchdog, but is the official teaching of JP 2, for at the end the following paragraph is found:
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Letter, adopted in the ordinary meeting of this Congregation, and ordered its publication. [emphasis original]
J. Some Practical Applications
Understanding that (a) communion means incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, and (b) the Mystical Body of Christ is, exclusively, the Roman Catholic Church, (c) the term communion always refers to the external, visible membership in the Roman Catholic Church, we may now apply the notion of communion so understood to the quotations given at the beginning of our article:
(1) We have already seen that the doctrine of JP 2, expounded by Vatican II and developed by Ratzinger, is nothing less than a declaration that he is in the same church as schismatics and heretics. This is an explicit declaration of self-alienation from the Catholic Church, of public defection from the Faith. For he has declared himself to be united to bodies of schismatics and heretics which do not profess the Catholic Faith, which profession is one of the criteria of incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ. By the standards of the Catholic Church, he has publicly declared himself to be outside the Catholic Church. We pray God that we live to see the day when Wojtyla’s defection from the Faith and from the Roman Catholic Church will be legally recognized and declared.
We have also seen that the Vatican II Kirchanschaung is no different from condemned nineteenth century heretical inventions.
(2) Fr. Schmidberger’s declaration that they are not in communion with a counterfeit church, the “Conciliar Church” which identifies itself by the Novus Ordo Missæ, is equally an implicit declaration that JP 2 is not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, nor the hierarchy in communion with him. But if not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, it is impossible that he be the Pope, since, as Pope Leo XIII said in Satis Cognitum, “it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church...”
(3) The twelve priests, in their refusal of ecclesial communion to the Modernists, is an implicit statement that they, the Modernists, are not members of the Roman Catholic Church. Since the “Princeps Modernistarum” is JP 2, it obviously concludes that JP 2 is not the Pope.
(Sacerdotium 5, Autumn 1992)
Leo I. Ep, LXXX ad Anatolium.
Leo XIII. Satis Cognitum.
Pelagius I. Epistola ad Joan. Patr.
Pius IX. Apostolic Letter Iam vos omnes.
Syllabus of Errors.
Epistola S. Romanæ et Universalis Inquisitionis. (16 Sept. 1864).
Pius XI. Mortalium Animos.
Pius XII. Mystici Corporis.
Fathers and Doctors
Saint Augustine of Hippo. De Baptismo.
De Fide et Symbolo.
Saint Cyprian. De Unitate Ecclesiæ.
Saint Fulgentius: De Fide.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Epistola ad Philadelphenses.
Saint Jerome: In Amos.
Saint John Damascene. De Fide Orthodoxa.
Saint Robert Bellarmine. De Ecclesia Militante.
Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologiæ
Second Vatican Council:
Decree Unitatis Redintegratio.
Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum.
John Paul II: Redemptor Hominis.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion.
Billot, Ludovicus Card., S.J. De Ecclesia Christi. Romæ: apud ædes Universitatis Gregorianæ, 1929.
Cappello, Felix M., S.J. Tractatus Canonico-Moralis de
De Groot, J.V., O.P. Summa Apologetica de Ecclesia
Christi. Ratisbonæ: Institutum
Librarium Pridem G. J. Manz, 1906.
De La Taille, Maurice, S.J. Mysterium Fidei. Parisiis: G. Beauchesne, 1921.
Franzelin, Ioannis Bapt. Card., S.J. De Ecclesia Christi. Romæ: Ex polyglotta S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1857.
Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald, O.P. De Revelatione.
Romæ: F. Ferrari, 1929.
Journet, Charles Mgr. L’Église du Verbe Incarné. Tournai: Desclé de Brouwer,
Mazzella, Camillus Card., S.J. De Religione et Ecclesia Prælectiones Scholastico dogmaticæ, Romæ: Forzani et Socii, 1896.
Palmieri, Dominico, S.J. Tractatus de Romano Pontifice.
Prati: Ex Officina
Libraria Giachetti, Filii et Soc, 1891.
Schultes, Reginaldo-Maria, O.P. De Ecclesia Catholica
Parisiis: P. Lethielleux, 1925
Zubizarreta, Valentino O.C.D. Theologia
Dogmatico-scholastica. Bilbao: Ed.
Eléxpuru Hnos, 1948
1 n. 13
2 Canon 2257 § 1. "Excommunicati sunt exclusi a consortio Ecclesiæ, utique donec resipiscant." P. Reginaldo-Maria Schultes, O.P., De Ecclesia Catholica Prælectiones Apologeticæ, (Parisiis, 1925) p. 96.
3 There is considerable controversy about the nature of excommunication, but the majority opinion is that one ceases to be a member of the Church when one is excommunicated.
4 E.g. De Groot, O.P., Schultes O.P., Zubizarreta, O.C.D., Berry, Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Hurter, S.J., Pesch, S.J. et al.
5 De Groot, J.V., O.P. Summa Apologetica de Ecclesia Catholica, (Ratisbonæ: 1906) p. 153.
6 Franzelin, Ioannis Bapt. Card. De Ecclesia Christi, (Roma: 1887).
7 Billot, S.J. Ludovicus Card., De Ecclesia Christi, editio quinta, (Roma: apud ædes Universitatis Gregorianæ), 1927. "Denique positive consistit in cohæsione omnium tam individuorum quam cœtuum particularium ad invicem sub eodem capite supremo, per modum compactarum partium unius individui corporis moralis, cuius sunt communia bona, sacrificium, sacramenta, et suffragia." p. 150.
8 IIa IIæ q. 39 a. 1.
9 article "Unité de l’Eglise", tome 15, col. 2175.
10 This threefold distinction is the same as that mentioned by Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum.
11 C’est enfin une unité de communion entre pasteurs et fidèles et des fidèles entre eux. "qu’ils soient consommés en un!" Joa., XVII, 23. Cette unité est l’union dans la charité mutuelle des membres sous la direction des chefs et cette unité ne peut être réalisée que par la vie du Christ, chef de l’Eglise, circulant dans les membres de son corps mystique. Parabole de la vigne et des sarments. Joa. XV, 1-12. Ainsi, intérieurement, cette communion suppose la participation des âmes à la vie du Christ. Extérieurement, elle implique d’abord l’adhésion des intelligences à la même foi, mais aussi la cohésion des volontés sous l’impulsion du chef suprême: ainsi, à l’unité extérieure de la foi et du gouvernement s’ajoute la sympathie des membres entre eux, singuli alter alterius membra, dira Saint Paul.
12De Religione et Ecclesia Prælectiones Scholastico-dogmaticæ, (Romæ: 1896) p.489.
13 Ita unitas quæ dicitur communionis seu caritatis, proprie respicit unionem membrorum inter se, et dicit mutuam conspirationem omnium sociorum ad eundem finem per eadem media sub directione unius eiusdemque regiminis: ex qua unione resultat, ut idipsum invicem sentientes, pacis vinculo unitatem custodiant. At quisque videt unitatem ac regiminis in Ecclesia necessario includere hanc communionis unitatem.
14 ibid., p. 490.
15 Palmieri, Dominicus, Tractatus de Romano Pontifice cum Prolegomeno de Ecclesia (Prati: ex Officina Libraria Giachetto, Filii et Soc., 1891), p. 252. "Hæc unio i.e., socialis dicitur quoque unio communionis; communicant enim invicem fideles: dicitur etiam frequenter ab Augustino unio caritatis. Verum caritatis nomine non intelligitur immediate virtus proprie dicta theologica, qua proximum propter Deum diligimus; nam hæc complectitur eos quoque, qui sunt extra Ecclesiam et qui proximum odit non ideo desinit esse in Ecclesia: sed intelligitur coordinatio ad ceteros fideles et subordinatio Pastoribus in unam societatem; quæ proinde per se est caritas socialis, dicitur vero etiam caritas simpliciter, quia speciem ipsius quamdam refert et ab ea determinari, veluti effectus, nata est. Unitas socialis Ecclesiæ non id postulat, ut quicumque sunt membra eius, pergant semper esse membra sive ad corpus eius spectare; sed requirit ut, quicumque et quotcumque sint qui recedunt ab aliis, Ecclesia manet semper una societas, no sit divisa in plures societates ab invicem separatas; ideoque quicumque homo vel cœtus non sit membrum vel pars illius non sit ullo modo Ecclesia Christi vel de Ecclesia Christi.
16 Journet, Charles, L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné (Tournai: Decclée, 1955), Vol. II p. 1277.
17 This seems to me to be extremely dangerous, since it reduces the faith to an obedience to a command, and gives to the truths of the faith an order to some end. For the motivum formale of the faith is not the authority of the Church, but rather auctoritas Dei revelantis. The Church’s proposition of the truths of the faith is the conditio sine qua non of belief. Analogically therefore, the lack of division of the Church’s faith is caused by the very unity of the Divine Essence, of which it is an image, and which infuses the supernatural virtue of faith in the members of the Church, and the conditio sine qua non of the Catholic unity of faith is the authoritative proposition of the Church. On the other hand the motivum formale of obedience to the Church’s laws, which accomplish the orientation of the faithful to their proper end is the authority of the Church. Hence the virtue of faith is supernatural quoad essentiam, having both an essentially supernatural object and an essentially supernatural motive, whereas the virtue of obedience is supernatural only quoad modum, although it has an object which is properly natural, it is nevertheless elevated to a supernatural end and "supernaturalized" by the essentially supernatural virtue of charity. It is therefore impossible that the same formal unity (i.e., of orientation) arise from these two principles which are specifically diverse. This is confirmed by the fact that the Church is not free to alter the deposit of revelation, which is to change the faith, but is free to change its laws according to the needs of the times. The Church’s power of regimen operates entirely differently from its power of teaching, for teaching, it merely infallibly proposes , but is not the author of, the revelation of God, whereas in the power of regimen it does not propose, but is the author of laws which bind the faithful together into a single society. In fact, the very orientation which the laws provide to the faithful derives from and is dependent on the unchanging divine deposit of faith. Thus the unity of orientation, i.e., the lack of division in the order of the members of the Church to their due end, is dependent upon the unity of faith, as it is the faith which determines the due end to which the Church must be ordered. Unity of faith and unity of orientation must therefore be formally distinct as principles of unity of the Catholic Church. It is possible that I have misunderstood Journet, but other things which he says in his book lead one to believe that he was influenced by the "new ecclesiology" somewhat.
18 This description seems to be a little skimpy in the light of the teaching of Pope Leo XIII and the unanimous teaching of theologians concerning communion, who define communion in terms of one’s membership in the Church and submission to its head. The description of Journet, it would seem , confines the notion of communion to that invisible communion which exists among all the just, even those outside of the visible confines of the Catholic Church. It fails, in my opinion to connect the notion of communion to the visible unity of the Catholic Church, and leaves the door dangerously open to "partial communion" with non-catholic sects.
19 Cf. Schultes, op. cit., p. 97.
20 Billot, op. cit., p. 332.
21 ibid., p. 277-278. Sed memento interim non esse plus quam analogiam, et valde notabiles differentias reperiri. — Prima est, quod in physicis corpus et anima uniuntur ad efformandum unum per se. Hic autem non ita, quia tam corpus quam anima Ecclesiæ iis constat elementis quæ hominibus in suo primo esse constitutis accidentaliter superveniunt. — Altera est, quod in composito humano anima dat corpori ipsam corporeitatem, utpote forma substantialis existens a qua corpus habet totum ordinem esse perfecti, scilicet esse, et esse corporeum, et esse animatum, et sic de aliis (IIIª, q. 75, a. 6 ad 2um). At corpus mysticum Ecclesiæ constituitur in esse corporis independenter ab anima, quia præcisione facta ab interioribus habitius gratiæ et virtutum, iam intelligitur socialis membrorum colligatio sub hierarchia instructa duplici potestate, tum iurisdictionis seu imperii, tum ordinis seu dispensationis sacramentorum. Et ideo corpus ibi est simpliciter natura prius quam anima, imo vero, habet in se id quo ministerialiter sive instrumentaliter esse animæ causatur. — Hinc tertio, alia est forma corporis Ecclesiæ secundum quod corpus sociale est præcisive, et alia forma eius secundum quod est vivens vita gratiæ. Quamquam posterior hæc forma ab illa priori suo modo dependet, et cum in eodem subiecto resideat, nequaquam facit alteram ecclesiam, sed uni veræ Ecclesiæ ultimam addit perfectionem.
22 Except in the case of infants, where only valid baptism is necessary. For this reason, the Church considers Catholics those children of heretics who are validly baptized, but who have not yet reached the age of reason. Upon reaching the age of reason these children of heretics are presumed to profess the same heresies and lack of submission to authority as that of their parents, and are therefore considered at that point to be outside of the Mystical Body.
23 There is a relation of fraternity subjected in both brothers, not just in one.
24 Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 2.
25Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, 3.
27 ibid., passim.
28 ibid., 4.
29 There may be other canons in which this distinction is found, but even one would be enough.
30 Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 27.
31 de la Taille, Maurice, Mysterium Fidei, (Parisiis: Beauchesne, 1921), p. 430.
32 De Fide Orth., 4, 13. P.G. 94, 1153.
33 de la Taille, op. cit., p. 487.
34 Epist. ad Philadelphenses, n. 4.
35 This idea can be seen in practice in the "disciplining" of "rebellious theologians" such as Hans Küng. They are not removed from membership in the Mystical Body of Christ due to their voluntary and public denial or doubt of truths revealed by God, having the effect of removing them from the unity of faith of the Catholic Church, but rather are merely told that they are "out of order" in their teachings, and cannot be considered a "catholic theologian". It is simply to say that they are not "in the mainstream." They continue, however, to be members of the church—the Novus Ordo Church—but they are not allowed to function as theologians.
36 "Alterum est quod hanc ipsam habitualem gratiam nemo habet aut habere potest si nullo prorsus modo adhæreat ad visibile Ecclesiæ corpus, tunc quia caret medio quod est necessarium ad salutem, adeoque etiam ad iustificationem etiam quam per se salus consequitur.." ibid., p. 332.
37 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church understood as Communion. (May 28, 1992)
38 Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, 4.
39 op. cit., p. 428.
40 ibid., p. 403.
41 In this case, the holy Doctor is referring to the Catholic Church.
42 De Baptismo, l. I c. 8. The word sanum here refers to the valid administration of the sacraments among the Donatists.
43 ibid., l. I c. 10 n. 14.
44 Ep. 43.
45 op. cit., p. 75-76.
46 "Adulti prius credentes in Christum sunt ei incorporati mentaliter; sed postmodum, cum baptizantur, incorporantur ei quodammodo corporaliter, scilicet per visibile sacramentum, since cuius proposito nec mentaliter incorporari potuissent." IIIa q. 69, a. 5 ad 1um.
47 Speaking of catechumens, he says that they pertain to the Church not "actu et proprie, sed tantum in potentia, quomodo homo conceptus sed nondum formatus et natus non dicitur homo nisi in potentia." De Ecclesia militante, lib. III c. 3.
48 He says that catechumens "non sunt re et proprie in Ecclesia," but, when they possess the virtue of charity, they are in the Church "proxime et in voto," "inchoative et ut aspirantes....., et ideo salvari possunt." De regulis fidei, dissert. 3, a. 2, § 3.
49 "Apparet deinde, omnes iustos, ubicumque in mundo exsistant, de eadem Ecclesiæ anima esse;...Apparet demum, eos primo et magis proprie esse de anima, qui de corpore non solum voto, sed re etiam exsistunt; nam ipsi sunt a quibus simpliciter Ecclesia denominatur, dum alii ad eos reducuntur sicut accesorium ad principale. "op. cit., p 332.
50 Apostolic Letter Jam vos omnes, September 13, 1868.
51 Satis Cognitum.
52 Mortalium Animos.
54 op. cit., p. 470.
55 ibid., p. 473.
56 De Groot, op. cit., p. 173.
57§ 6, 3.
58 § 32.
59 § 16.
60 Franzelin, op. cit., p. 406.
61 op. cit., p. 340.
62 ibid, p. 495. "Quoad unitatem vero regiminis, dicunt eam, quæ a Catholicis adstruitur, perfectiorem quidem esse, et fortasse cadere sub præcepto; minime vero essentialem: adeoque deficere posse, quin deficiat ipsa Ecclesia. Hinc docent obligationem servandi communionem cum Ecclesia, sicut et alias quasdam graves obligationes ex præcepto positivo, posse quandoque ob gravem circumstantiarum mutationem cessare; imo non tantum licitum, sed etiam obligatorium esse posse huic vel illi particulari ecclesiæ, vel ecclesiarum collectioni, a communione totius Ecclesiæ (seu, ut dicunt anglice, "the rest of the Church") se subducere. Tunc, aiunt, separatio non est totalis et perfecta, neque est ab Ecclesia quatenus vera; sed quatenus fide aut moribus, aut utrisque corrupta. Manet communio essentialis, in iis scilicet quæ vera et recta sunt; reiiciuntur tamen ea quæ in doctrina sunt erronea, in cultu superstitiosa, in regimine tyrannica."
63Epistola S. Romanæ et Universalis Inquisitionis, data die 16 Sept. 1864.
64But never voted upon, due to the Franco-Prussian War and the invasion of Garibaldi.
65An absolutely atrocious translation of divinæ consortes naturæ of 2 Peter I: 4.
66De Ecclesia militante, lib. 3, c. 2. Quoted in Zubizarreta,Theologia dogmatico-scholastica, I: Theologia Fundamentalis, (Bilbao: 1948), p. 267. Zubizarreta criticizes the definition "congregatio baptizatorum," saying: "Sed nisi recte explicetur de baptizatis, qui unam fidei professionem retinent, eadem suscipiunt sacramenta, et se subiiciunt auctoritati Romani Pontificis pro tempore existentis, manca est definitio. Hæretici enim et schismatici baptismum susceperunt, et nihilominus ad veram Ecclesiam minime pertinent..."
67See de la Taille, op. cit., Elucidatio XXIII.
68ibid., p. 428. "Et pro tanto omne sacrificium verum est revera sacrificium Ecclesiæ."
69IIIa q. 82 a. 7, corpus & ad 3um.
70Ep. ad Joan. Patr., P.L. 69, 412.
71De Unitate Ecclesiæ, c. 17. P.L. 4, 513.
72Ep. 72, c. 2. P.L. 3, 1048-1049.
73cf. Prosperum Aquitanum, Sent., sent. 15 P.L. 51, 430.
74Ep. LXXX Ad Anatolium, cap. 2.
75In Amos, V: 22, P.L. 25, 1033-1034.
76Cappello, Felix M. S. I.., Tractatus Canonico-moralis de Sacramentis, (Turin: Marietti), 1962, I, p. 462.
77De Fide, c. 37.
78Pope Pius XI stated in Mortalium Animos: "All true followers of Christ, therefore, will believe the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the august Trinity, the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff in the sense defined by the Ecumenical Vatican Council, with the same faith as they believe the Incarnation of Our Lord."
79Although, as I stated above, there is a distinction of belonging re and voto.
80 Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 15, §1.