“Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics” Debate

– The Important Quotes

 

Brother Peter Dimond

 

IN THIS ARTICLE:

-THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

-THE QUOTES THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS USE ARE NOT TO THE POINT

-THE FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE PROVES OUR POSITION ON THIS MATTER

-MORE PROOF FOR THIS POINT ON NOTORIOUS IN FACT

-THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE ON THE LACK OF “CONCEALMENT”

-THE COUNCIL OF BASEL ON THE LACK OF “CONCEALMENT”

-THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE USE OF THE TERM “HERETIC” IN DOGMATIC DEFINITIONS AND IN THE CHURCH’S ECCLESIASTICAL LAW

-TWO OTHER EXAMPLES OF THIS POINT

-THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS’ MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL:

R.I., ERIC, DAVE, AND MORE

-R.I.’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

-ERIC’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

-DAVE L.’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

-REFUTING THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL AND “SUSPECT OF HERESY”

-EMPEROR FREDERICK II WAS DECLARED TO BE “SUSPECT OF HERESY” BY THE FIRST COUNCIL OF LYONS; HE HAD ALREADY BEEN DECLARED EXCOMMUNICATED FOR NUMEROUS THINGS

-THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL ON AVOIDING PEOPLE AFTER A DECLARATION OR DESIGNATION – NOTICE THE HARMONY

-MIXED MARRIAGES – A REALITY FATAL TO RADICAL SCHISMATIC THEOLOGY

-ONE RADICAL SCHISMATIC’S PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS THE MIXED MARRIAGES ARGUMENT

-MORE DESPERATE AND IRRELEVANT ARGUMENTS

-THE FIFTH LATERAN COUNCIL

-THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS’ BIG ERROR ON THEIR FAVORITE QUOTE

-ST. THOMAS DEFINITELY TEACHES THAT ONE MAY RECEIVE COMMUNION FROM, AND HEAR THE MASS OF, AN UNDECLARED HERETIC – THIS DESTROYS THE POSITION OF THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS

-ZOOMING IN ON THE POINT IN ST. THOMAS

-ANOTHER QUOTE FROM ST. THOMAS CONFIRMS THE POINT

-THE “ST. THOMAS IS NOT INFALLIBLE” ESCAPE TACTIC

-THE 1917 CODE OF CANON LAW CONTRADICTS THE SCHISMATICS

-INTERESTING QUOTE FROM ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA

-ENGLAND

-CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

 

THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

 

Readers of our website know that I recently engaged in a debate with a radical schismatic.   Here are the links:

 

Windows Media Audio; YouTube Video

 

The debate concerned whether it’s lawful to receive sacraments from certain undeclared heretics during this crisis and apostasy.  The debate dealt with an extremely important issue: the principles relevant to receiving sacraments from undeclared heretics and related matters.  It was satisfying to be able to confound the radical schismatics who have so viciously, so arrogantly, and so wrongly attacked MHFM and other true Catholics on this point.  We believe the debate highlighted the true position, and demonstrated the malice and ignorance of the radical schismatics. 

 

The purpose of this article is simple: since so many documents and citations were covered in the debate, it’s helpful for people to see the most significant ones in writing. 

 

THE QUOTES THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS USE ARE NOT TO THE POINT

 

The following two quotes are typical of what the radical schismatics bring up when they attempt to condemn true Catholics.  They condemn us for holding that one may receive sacraments from some (not all) undeclared heretics who celebrate a traditional liturgy but accept Antipope Benedict XVI or deny the salvation dogma.

 

Council of Carthage: "One must neither pray nor sing psalms with heretics, and whoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergy or layman: let him be excommunicated."

 

III Council of Constantinople, 680-681: “If any ecclesiastic or layman shall go into the synagogue of the Jews or the meetinghouses of the heretics to join in prayer with them, let them be deposed and deprived of communion [excommunicated]. If any bishop or priest or deacon shall join in prayer with heretics, let him be suspended from communion.”

 

As it was demonstrated in the debate, these quotes are not to the point.  That’s because the condemnations against going into the “meetinghouses of heretics,” etc. refer to sects, groups, and churches which are notorious in law (i.e., they have been declared excommunicated) or notorious in fact (i.e., they openly and without any concealment reject the Catholic faith).   Examples of such churches in our day would be Protestant churches, Eastern “Orthodox” churches, Old “Catholic” churches, etc. – in short, obviously non-Catholic churches.  All such “meetinghouses” and sects have been specifically declared to be avoided (e.g., see Graves Ac Diuturnae, 1875, of Pius IX on the “Old Catholics”) or they openly and without concealment reject the Catholic faith.  The following quote from the First Council of Constantinople proves that this was the sense and meaning of the ecclesiastical decrees on groupings of heretics and avoiding the assemblies of heretics.

 

THE FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE PROVES OUR POSITION ON THIS MATTER

 

First Council of Constantinople, 381, Canon 6: “But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against orthodox bishops.  And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime [already] cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition to them.” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14, p. 183)

 

Notice that in this ecclesiastical decree, they refer to heretics as: 1) those who have been specifically anathematized (i.e., declared, notorious in law) or those who set up meetings/conventicles in direct opposition to the true Church – and thus openly and without concealment reject the Catholic Church (i.e., notorious in fact). 

 

When the councils refer to avoiding “meetinghouses of heretics” and “non-Catholic churches,” they are, like this canon, referring to groups, buildings and sects that are notorious in law (declared) or notorious in fact (openly non-Catholic in the external forum).  This should be obvious even to the Catholic sense of any person who considers this issue; for there is an obvious difference between an Eastern “Orthodox” individual, who doesn’t conceal his rejection of the Papacy, and a “traditionalist” heretic under Benedict XVI, who conceals his rejection of Catholic teaching under a false claim of fidelity to Vatican I’s teaching on the Papacy.  The “concealment” of the latter could render him less notorious in the external forum, even though it doesn’t “excuse him” for obstinately adhering to a heretic. 

 

MORE PROOF FOR THIS POINT ON NOTORIOUS IN FACT

 

The Code of Canon Law contains the distinctions between public, notorious in law, and notorious in fact.

 

Canon 2197.1-4, 1917 Code of Canon Law:

“A Crime is public: (1) if it is already commonly known or the circumstances are such as to lead to the conclusion that it can and will easily become so;

(2) Notorious by notoriety of law, [if it is] after a sentence by a competent judge that renders the matter an abjudicated thing, or after a confession by the offender made in court in accord with Canon 1750;

(3) Notorious by notoriety of fact, if it is publicly known and was committed under such circumstances that no clever evasion is possible and no legal excuse could excuse [the act]

(4) Occult, if it is not public; materially occult, if the delict is hidden; formally occult, if imputability [is not known]…”

 

To summarize the Definitions:

Public = commonly known or can be commonly known

Notorious in law = declared

Notorious in fact = public and so notorious that it cannot be concealed or excused

 

Since the meaning of notorious in law (declared) is obvious, we must continue to focus on notorious in fact.  As we see above, the lack of “concealment” or “evasion” is the key in rendering something notorious in fact.  The crime of the person who is notorious in fact cannot be concealed.  While there are numerous examples we could consider, the Eastern “Orthodox” rejection of Vatican I is an excellent one.  There is no concealment: they don’t accept the Papacy.   They openly and without evasion reject it.  They are, therefore, notorious in fact.  Such a priest is openly non-Catholic and must be avoided. 

 

In the decrees of the councils and popes, we repeatedly see that the inability or failure to “conceal” a crime is what renders it notorious in fact.   That means that the absolute obligation to avoid a heretic in every case comes:  1) if he has been declared; or, short of such a declaration, 2) if he is so notorious that he cannot conceal or excuse his crime in law.  We find this distinction throughout Church history.

 

THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE ON THE LACK OF “CONCEALMENT”

 

Pope Martin V, Council of Constance,Ad Evitanda Scandala,1418: “To avoid scandals and many dangers and relieve timorous consciences by the tenor of these presents we mercifully grant to all Christ's faithful that henceforth no one henceforth shall be bound to abstain from communion with anyone in the administration or reception of the sacraments or in any other religious or non-religious acts whatsoever, nor to avoid anyone nor to observe any ecclesiastical interdict, on pretext of any ecclesiastical sentence or censure globally promulgated whether by the law or by an individual; unless the sentence or censure in question has been specifically and expressly published or denounced by the judge on or against a definite person, college, university, church, community or place. Notwithstanding any apostolic or other constitutions to the contrary, save the case of someone of whom it shall be known so notoriously that he has incurred the sentence passed by the canon for laying sacrilegious hands upon a cleric that the fact cannot be concealed by any tergiversation nor excused by any legal defence. For we will abstinence from communion with such a one, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, even though he be not denounced.” (Fontes I, 45.)

 

In this decree we see that one has to avoid: 1) those who have been declared (notorious in law) or 2) those who have not been declared, but struck a cleric and the evidence for this cannot be “concealed by any tergiversation.”  Tergiversation means “equivocation” or “falsehood.”  In other words, it must be so clear that it cannot be hidden even by dishonest argumentation.  This is another example of the point made above concerning the Eastern “Orthodox,” who do not and cannot conceal their rejection of the Papacy. 

 

THE COUNCIL OF BASEL ON THE LACK OF “CONCEALMENT”

 

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, Sess. 20, Jan. 22, 1435: “To avoid scandals and many dangers and to relieve timorous consciences, this holy synod decrees that henceforth nobody shall be obliged to abstain from communion with anyone in the administration and reception of sacraments or in any other sacred or profane matters, or to shun someone or to observe an ecclesiastical interdict, on the ground of any ecclesiastical sentence, censure, suspension or prohibition that has been promulgated in general by a person or by the law, unless the sentence, prohibition, suspension or censure was specifically or expressly promulgated or pronounced by a judge against a specified person, college, university, church or place, or if it is clear that someone has incurred a sentence of excommunication with such notoriety that it cannot be concealed or in any way excused in law. For the synod wishes such persons to be avoided in accordance with canonical sanctions. By this, however, it does not intend any relief or favour to those so excommunicated, suspended, interdicted or prohibited.”

 

In this decree we also see that those who must be avoided are: 1) those who have been declared (notorious in law) or 2) those who, without a declaration, have so notoriously incurred excommunication that it cannot be “concealed” or “excused” in law (notorious in fact).  Notice that there is a distinction between one’s ability to conceal a crime and one’s ability to excuse it.  When I asked the radical schismatic to explain this distinction in the debate, he found himself at a loss.  The radical schismatics cannot deal with this distinction because it refutes their false position and highlights our true position.

 

For example, a priest who offers a traditional liturgy under Benedict XVI, who has seen the evidence that Benedict XVI cannot be the pope, cannot “excuse” his adherence to him.  He is guilty of heresy for obstinately adhering to him.  But he might be able to “conceal” his crime and rejection of Catholic teaching under an alleged fidelity to Vatican I, an alleged fidelity to the teaching that “no one can judge the Holy See,” etc.  While this “concealment” doesn’t excuse him – he is still guilty – it could render him not notorious in fact. 

 

Thus, we can see that the councils of the Middle Ages contain the same teaching as the First Council of Constantinople, canon 6, on the assemblies of heretics.  The “heretics” and clearly non-Catholic “meetinghouses of heretics,” which must be avoided absolutely, are: 1) those that have been declared or 2) those that notoriously reject the Catholic Church without “concealment” – notorious in law or notorious in fact.  Decrees concerning one’s obligation to avoid the “meetinghouses of heretics,” etc. are not referring to priests or groups who celebrate a traditional Catholic rite and profess to hold all Catholic teachings, but are actually heretical. 

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE USE OF THE TERM “HERETIC” IN DOGMATIC DEFINITIONS AND IN THE CHURCH’S ECCLESIASTICAL LAW

 

One point on which I spent some time in the debate was the distinction between the way the Church uses the term “heretic” in its dogmatic decrees and in its ecclesiastical law.  We know that, according to the Church’s dogmatic teaching, all who dissent from an authoritative teaching of the Church are heretics without any declaration.  However, the Church’s ecclesiastical laws have used the term in a different sense.  The case of Martin Luther is a prime example.

 

Martin Luther was an obvious heretic before he was declared to be such.   Certainly we are not saying that you cannot recognize someone as a heretic until the Church’s declaration.   Rather, we are examining the issue of when the absolute obligation to avoid a heretic in every case kicks in. 

 

In studying the papal bulls relating to Martin Luther, one will discover that he wasn’t considered to be a heretic in the Church’s ecclesiastical law until he was declared such.  At that point, the absolute obligation to avoid him was imposed.

 

Luther was not declared a heretic in the Church’s ecclesiastical law until the bulls Exsurge Domine and Decet Romanum were published.

 

Pope Leo X, Exsurge Domine, June 15, 1520: “But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council… Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures….  If, however, this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices, much to our regret, should stubbornly not comply with the mentioned stipulations within the mentioned period, we shall, following the teaching of the holy Apostle Paul, who teaches us to avoid a heretic after having admonished him for a first and a second time, condemn this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices as barren vines which are not in Christ, preaching an offensive doctrine contrary to the Christian faith and offend the divine majesty, to the damage and shame of the entire Christian Church, and diminish the keys of the Church as stubborn and public heretics.”

 

Notice that Pope Leo X is teaching that the absolute obligation to avoid a person in every case comes with the declaration.  While someone like Luther was clearly a heretic even before this declaration, this is an example of how the Church understood the obligation of avoiding the assemblies of heretics.  It refers to those declared, like Luther, or those who are so notorious that their crime cannot be concealed in law.

                                                              

The bull Decet Romanum was the final bull against Luther.  It illustrates the same point.

 

Pope Leo X, Decet Romanum, Jan. 3, 1521: “II.  We have been informed that after this previous missive had been exhibited in public and the interval or intervals it prescribed had elapsed [60 days]and we hereby give solemn notice to all faithful Christians that these intervals have and are elapsedmany of those who had followed the errors of Martin took cognisance of our missive and its warnings and injunctions; the spirit of a saner counsel brought them back to themselves, they confessed their errors and abjured the heresy at our instance, and by returning to the true Catholic faith obtained the blessing of absolution with which the self-same messengers had been empowered; and in several states and localities of the said Germany the books and writings of the said Martin were publicly burned, as we had enjoined.”

 

“Nevertheless Martin himself—and it gives us grievous sorrow and perplexity to say this—the slave of a depraved mind, has scorned to revoke his errors within the prescribed interval and to send us word of such revocation, or to come to us himself; nay, like a stone of stumbling, he has feared not to write and preach worse things than before against us and this Holy See and the Catholic faith, and to lead others on to do the same.”

 

Notice that the absolute obligation to avoid him and those who adhere to him comes now with the declaration:

 

“He has now been declared a heretic; and so also others, whatever their authority and rank, who have cared nought of their own salvation but publicly and in all men's eyes become followers of Martin's pernicious and heretical sect, and given him openly and publicly their help, counsel and favour, encouraging him in their midst in his disobedience and obstinacy, or hindering the publication of our said missive: such men have incurred the punishments set out in that missive, and are to be treated rightfully as heretics and avoided by all faithful Christians, as the Apostle says (Titus iii. 10-11).”

 

“III. Our purpose is that such men should rightfully be ranked with Martin and other accursed heretics and excommunicates, and that even as they have ranged themselves with the obstinacy in sinning of the said Martin, they shall likewise share his punishments and his name, by bearing with them everywhere the title "Lutheran" and the punishments it incurs.”

 

“… We prescribe and enjoin that the men in question are everywhere to be denounced publicly as excommunicated, accursed, condemned, interdicted, deprived of possessions and incapable of owning them. They are to be strictly shunned by all faithful Christians.”

 

Notice again that the declaration imposes the obligation to avoid.

 

As we see, the term “heretic” is used in different senses in the Church’s ecclesiastical law and in its dogmatic pronouncements.  These facts demonstrate that when, in its ecclesiastical law, a Church decree speaks of the obligation to avoid, in all cases, heretics – it is referring to those declared (notorious in law) or those who are so notorious that they cannot even conceal it (notorious in fact).  It is not necessarily speaking of undeclared heretics who profess to uphold all of Catholic teaching and conceal their deviation from it. 

 

TWO OTHER EXAMPLES OF THIS POINT

 

Pope Clement VII, Bull Excommunicating King Henry VIII, July 11, 1533: “… by this same sentence, after due deliberation had, in virtue of Our office, We pronounce the aforesaid Henry [VIII] to have fallen, to his own damnation, under the censure of the greater excommunication, and to have brought upon himself the other censures and penalties in the aforesaid Brief expressed… and We command all the faithful to avoid him.” (Rev. Dr. Nicholas Sander, The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, p. 103.)

 

Notice the announcement of the obligation to avoid him.

 

Pope St. Pius V, Regnans in Excelsis, Against Queen Elizabeth, April 27, 1570: “Therefore, resting upon the authority of Him whose pleasure it was to place us (though unequal to such a burden) upon this supreme justice-seat, we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.”

 

Even though Elizabeth was already an obvious heretic who was cut off in reality from the Church, she is not legally considered “cut off” until the Church’s declaration, which rendered her notorious in law.  That reference to “cut off” becomes very relevant when we consider the teaching of St. Thomas on whether one may receive Communion from, or hear the Mass of, an undeclared heretic.

 

THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS’ MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL:

R.I., ERIC, DAVE, AND MORE

 

In the recent debate, I spent some time focusing on some crucial passages in the Fourth Lateran Council.  It’s one of the most important parts of the debate, for it serves to illustrate how the radical schismatics, vociferously proclaiming they are correct, are in fact dead wrong.  To illustrate the full scope of their error, I must give a little background.  The dispute began years ago when we pointed out that the Fourth Lateran Council makes this statement. 

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, 1215: “Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics… If however, he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater the punishment.  If any refuse to avoid such persons AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN POINTED OUT BY THE CHURCH [postquam ab ecclesia denotati fuerint], let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction.”

 

We emphasized that this passage legislates – consistent with our position and the points I’ve been covering – that the absolute obligation to avoid people who offend in these areas comes “after they have been pointed out by the Church.”  Recognizing that this contradicts their position, the radical schismatics were up in arms.  They decided to look at the decree (something they probably hadn’t done until we led them to it), and they vehemently attacked our argument.  They called it outrageous, mortally sinful, dishonest, and more.  Why?

 

Their response centered on the fact that the passage in question mentions “believers who receive, defend or support heretics.”  They said that we had misled people because “believers who receive, defend or support heretics” are not necessarily heretics.  (As an aside, it’s only in this instance that they say that those who “defend and support” heretics are not heretics.  In all other cases, they would quickly denounce such persons as heretics.)  They argued that while the Council teaches that believers who receive, defend or support heretics don’t necessarily have to be avoided until “they have been pointed out by the Church,” heretics must be avoided without a declaration.  In an attempt to bolster their position, they pointed to another part of the same decree, on those “suspect of heresy.”  It says:

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, on Heretics: “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person.  Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction.”

 

Pointing to this passage, the radical schismatics said essentially: “The Dimonds are completely wrong.  The same decree says that those ‘suspect of heresy’ must be avoided by all!  If those ‘suspect of heresy’ must be avoided without declaration, how much more must we avoid heretics! 

 

By “suspect of heresy,” they understood individuals who had not been declared.   

 

R.I.’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

 

Here’s how a radical schismatic named R.I. articulated the issue in an attempt to contradict our position.  Notice that he considers those “suspect of heresy” in the decree of the Fourth Lateran Council to be those who are “automatically excommunicated” (i.e., undeclared individuals).

 

R.I., FBM, on the Fourth Lateran Council’s passage above: “Note very carefully that those who are only suspect of heresy are struck with the anathema of automatic excommunication and must be avoided by all Catholics until they prove their innocence (that is, if they are innocent). And if they persist in the excommunication for one year, they are automatically denounced as heretics.  How much more, then, must all known heretics be avoided…”

 

He also says:

 

R.I. “Note very carefully that the ―such person [sic] referred to are not heretics nor those suspect of heresy but those who defend or support heretics. Hence only those who support or defend heretics must be sentenced by a judge before being avoided by Catholics.  And the previous parts of the decree quoted above teach that all heretics (sentenced and unsentenced) and all those suspect of heresy are automatically condemned and hence must be avoided by Catholics.”

 

He considers those suspect of heresy “automatically” struck and uses this to prove that you must avoid such individuals before any declaration.  Radical schismatic Eric Hoyle (who is also an astounding apostate who simultaneously and publicly professes that the Vatican II “Benedictines” are the true “Benedictines”) made the same argument.

 

ERIC HOYLE’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

 

In a recorded conversation with Luke Stevens (another radical schismatic), Eric Hoyle was discussing our argument on the Fourth Lateran Council.  He told Luke essentially that the Dimonds don’t know about this “other passage” (on “suspect of heresy”).  Hoyle thought we were unaware of it, and waxed confident (in his ignorance of the issue) about how he thought the passage completely disproved our position.  Little did he realize that he didn’t know what he was talking about, as we will see.  Not only were we aware of the passage, but we were the only ones among them who actually understood what it meant because apparently we were the only ones among them who had carefully read the councils. 

 

Like R.I., Eric Hoyle concluded that those “suspect of heresy” in this passage were those undeclared.  He also wrote an e-mail on this point to someone we know. 

 

Eric Hoyle to Keith McKay on the Fourth Lateran Council: “There is a passage in the previous paragraph to the Fourth Lateran Council quote we discussed, which I emailed to you:

 

Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person.  Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction.  If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics.”

 

Do you believe the same council that wrote this would consider it acceptable to attend the Mass of a priest who is certainly a public heretic, whether or not an ecclesiastical judge had addressed the matter?  Obviously not.”

 

Hoyle was so confident in his argument on this matter that he even called our argument on the Fourth Lateran Council (and related matters) “trash.”  As we will see, it’s actually his knowledge and understanding of the issue that is trash.

 

DAVE L.’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

 

Making the same argument as the two radical schismatics described above, Dave L. attacked our position and argument on the Fourth Lateran Council.  He called our argument “buffoonery,” and asserted concerning the decree: “Keep in mind that we are still talking about non-heretical people who have been excommunicated for in some way helping a heretic…” 

 

In other words, he adopted the same argument as the schismatics above: that the passage we cited only concerns believers who defend and help heretics – not heretics or those suspect of heresy.  Heretics and those suspect of heresy must be avoided without a declaration, they claim. 

 

Dave continues: “To the Dimonds, those gatekeepers of hell: This decree has NOTHING to do with HERETICS being pointed out by the Church, O ye lying wolves! The whole thing is talking about those whom the Church has excommunicated for DEALING FAVOURABLY WITH HERETICS, even if they are not heretics themselves.”

 

Again, he brashly asserts that the Council is not in any way teaching that heretics or those suspect of it must be avoided after having been declared, but that the declaration only referred to believers who help heretics.  He concludes by saying: “The Dimonds are making a mockery of good willed souls who truly want the truth.  They are undeniably evil and do not be surprised if they are laughing at all of their followers behind closed doors.”

 

Many other radical schismatics made the same argument about the phrase “suspect of heresy,” and how such persons must be avoided without a declaration, including Eli, the schismatic I recently debated. 

 

If you heard the debate, you know what happened.  Their massive blunder was exposed, their arrogant false accusations were demolished, and their ignorance of the councils was made plain for all to hear.

 

It should probably be added that after we exposed all the radical schismatics in the debate – for they all make the same arguments – including Eli, R.I., Dave, Frank, Eric, etc. ad nauseam – schismatic Dave is now lying about his position on the matter.  Rather than admit he was completely wrong, he now pretends as if he understood all along that when Lateran IV referred to those “suspect of heresy,” it was referring to those declared!  Needless to say, this is an outrageous lie, as we can see from his obnoxious assertion quoted above.  He boldly (and wrongly) declared that it’s false to hold that the Fourth Lateran Council taught anything about heretics being declared or pointed out by the Church.

 

REFUTING THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL AND “SUSPECT OF HERESY”

 

The key point in refuting the radical schismatics on this matter is realizing that when the council speaks of those “suspect of heresy,” it is referring to those who are declared suspect of heresy.  That’s what they didn’t know because they had not studied the councils.  While the schismatics in small group communications wrongly thought we were unaware of this passage, the truth was just the opposite: I recognized their mistake the first time I saw their argument.  I knew that the phrase “struck with the sword of anathema” referred to a declared penalty.

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, on Heretics: “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person.  Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics. Let secular authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defense of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the church in good faith.”

 

That phrase, struck “with the sword of anathema” (anathematis gladio),  or the similar one, “the sword of excommunication” (excommunicationis gladius),  is frequently used by councils.  It refers to a declared excommunication.  Here are two other examples:

 

Pope Callistus II, First Lateran Council, 1123, 20. “Having in mind the examples in the traditions of the fathers, and discharging the duty of our pastoral office, we decree that churches and what belongs to them, both persons and possessions, namely clerics, monks and their lay brothers, as well as those who come to pray and what they bring with them, are to be under protection and not be harmed. If anyone dares to act contrary to this and after recognizing his villainy, has not properly made amends within the space of thirty days, let him be banished from the bounds of the church and be smitten with the sword of anathema.”

 

Council of Trent, Sess. 25, Decree on Reform, Chap. 3- “Although the sword of excommunication is the very sinews of ecclesiastical discipline, and very salutary for keeping the people in their duty, yet it is to be used with sobriety and great circumspection; seeing that experience teaches, that if it be rashly or for slight causes wielded, it is more despised than feared, and produces ruin rather than safety. Wherefore, those excommunications, which, after certain admonitions, are wont to be issued with the view as it is termed, of causing a revelation, or on account of things that have been lost or stolen, shall be issued by no one whomsoever, but the bishop; and not then, otherwise than on account of some circumstance of no common kind which moves the mind of the bishop thereunto, after the cause has been by him diligently and very maturely weighed ; nor shall he be induced to grant the said excommunications by the authority of any secular person whatever, even though a magistrate; but the whole shall be left to his own judgment and conscience, when, considering the circumstances, the place, the person, or the time, he shall himself judge that such are to be resolved on.”

 

As we see, the First Lateran Council and the Council of Trent both use the “sword of anathema” or the “sword of excommunication” to describe a declared sentence.  By its use of the term, the Fourth Lateran Council is teaching that those who are declared “suspect of heresy” must be avoided, just as it taught that believers who help heretics must be avoided “after they have been pointed out by the Church.”  And there’s more to prove the point.  Let’s quote the First Council of Lyons.

 

EMPEROR FREDERICK II WAS DECLARED TO BE “SUSPECT OF HERESY” BY THE FIRST COUNCIL OF LYONS; HE HAD ALREADY BEEN DECLARED EXCOMMUNICATED FOR NUMEROUS THINGS

 

Pope Innocent IV, First Council of Lyons, 1245, bull of deposition of Emperor Frederick II: “Further we informed him that our ambassadors were ready on our behalf to hear and treat of peace, and even of satisfaction, should the emperor be ready to make it with regard to all those things for which he had incurred excommunication… To say nothing about his other crimes, he has committed four of the greatest gravity, which cannot be hidden by evasion. For, he has often failed to keep his oath; he deliberately broke the peace previously established between the church and the empire; he committed a sacrilege by causing the arrest of cardinals of the holy Roman church and of prelates and clerics of other churches, both religious and secular, who were coming to the council which our predecessor had decided to summon; he is also suspect of heresy, by proofs which are not light or doubtful but clear and inescapable. ”

 

As we see, in the First Council of Lyons, Emperor Frederick II had already been excommunicated when he was considered “suspect of heresy.” 

 

Therefore, when the Fourth Lateran Council says that, “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation… Let such persons be avoided by all… ” it is referring to people who are declared.  This is perfectly consistent with our position, and completely contrary to the position and arguments of the radical schismatics.  They were completely wrong about the Fourth Lateran Council, and their pride has been confounded once again. 

 

Second, the fact that the Fourth Lateran Council is referring to a declared penalty when it talks about those “suspect of heresy” is clear from the context.

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, on Heretics: “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person.  Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics. Let secular authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defense of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the church in good faith.”

 

Notice that those who shall have been “found” to be suspect of heresy are to be condemned as heretics “if they persist in the excommunication for a year.”  This proves that the time period during which they were considered “suspect of heresy” began with a declaration of excommunication.  In fact, during this period of Church history, when councils refer to “excommunication,” they almost always refer to a declared sentence.   Hence, those “suspect of heresy” are those who have been declared to be suspect, and obviously such a formal declaration carries with it an obligation for others to avoid those persons.

 

After the period during which they are “suspect” elapses, another declaration would come which would declare or “designate” them as heretics (as the same decree teaches).  All designated or declared heretics must of course be avoided, as we see in many decrees.  These facts demonstrate just how wrong the radical schismatics consistently are, and how they misapply Catholic teaching and the decrees of councils.  They were actually mocking our argument on the Fourth Lateran Council, but they only demonstrated the falsity of their position, as well as their lack of a deeper knowledge of the subject matter.  

 

But there’s more.  Notice that in this passage (from the same decree of the Fourth Lateran Council) we see that “heretics” themselves must absolutely be expelled when they have been “designated” by the Church. 

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3 on Heretics: “Let temporal authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defence of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the Church in good faith.”

 

This passage is an example of the Church’s designation or declaration having been issued before there is a strict obligation, in every case, to avoid someone or act in a related manner.  This applies to “believers who receive, defend or support heretics”; it applies to those “suspect of heresy”; and, as we see here, it applies to “heretics” themselves.  In fact, we already saw that “heretics” in the Church’s ecclesiastical law are those who have been declared or are so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law.   Simply put, the radical schismatics couldn’t have been more wrong. 

 

THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL ON AVOIDING PEOPLE AFTER A DECLARATION OR DESIGNATION – NOTICE THE HARMONY

BELIVERS WHO DEFEND HERETICS – “POINTED OUT”

 

 

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, 1215: “Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics… If however, he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater the punishment.  If any refuse to avoid such persons AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN POINTED OUT BY THE CHURCH [postquam ab ecclesia denotati fuerint], let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction.”

 

THOSE “SUSPECT OF HERESY” – STRUCK WITH DECLARATION

 

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, on Heretics: “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person.  Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics.”

 

“Struck with the sword of anathema” means a declaration (First Lateran Council; Council of Trent – see this article)

“HERETICS” - DESIGNATED

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3 on Heretics: “Let temporal authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defence of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the Church in good faith.”

Moreover, those who are “heretics” in the Church’s official ecclesiastical law, are those who are declared or notorious in fact, as this article shows.

 

I will close this section on the Fourth Lateran Council by pointing out how the radical schismatics, lacking any cogent response to the devastating facts we just covered, are forced to multiply their irrelevant arguments.  They re-quote the following (true) passage from the same decree, even though it’s completely irrelevant to the precise issue we are discussing.

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, on Heretics: "We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy raising itself up against this holy, orthodox and Catholic Faith which we have expounded above. We condemn all heretics, whatever names they may go under."

 

They emphasize that this infallibly condemns all heretics automatically, without declaration, no matter what names they go under.  That’s true, and completely irrelevant.  Either they are lying or they still haven’t grasped the distinction between: 1) the fact that heretics can be rejected as non-Catholics without declaration; and 2) the absolute obligation to avoid a heretic in every case in the Church’s ecclesiastical law comes with the Church’s “declaration” or “designation,” or if the heretic is so notorious that he cannot conceal his crime in law.  #2 is the issue under discussion – not #1; and, as the passages above make abundantly clear, the Fourth Lateran Council clearly teaches that heretics, as well as those suspect of heresy and believers who defend heretics, are to be avoided in accordance with the Church’s declaration, or if someone’s crime is so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law.

 

MIXED MARRIAGES – A REALITY FATAL TO RADICAL SCHISMATIC THEOLOGY

 

In the debate with Eli, I brought up the fact that the Church has permitted mixed marriages.  While the Church does not recommend mixed marriages – it actively discourages them – it’s a fact that marriages between Catholics and heretics have been approved by popes on certain occasions.  In addition to other points, this fact is fatal to the radical schismatics’ argumentation.  That’s because they argue that to knowingly communicate in a sacrament with a heretic is necessarily to communicate in the sin of the heretic.  They analogize it to a contagious disease that is transmitted by touch: if you knowingly receive it from someone infected, you get the disease.  That line of argumentation, while appealing to the emotions, is completely wrong; and it is refuted by the reality of mixed marriages.  That’s why the radical schismatics get extremely uncomfortable when they begin to discuss mixed marriages. 

 

In marriage, the two people exchange the sacrament between each other.  That means that a Catholic is actually exchanging the sacrament of matrimony with a heretic. 

 

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (#6), May 27, 1832: “Once the Bavarian faithful understands this necessity of maintaining Catholic unity, admonitions and warnings to them against joining in marriage with heretics will certainly not be in vain.  If on occasion some grave cause should suggest such a mixed marriage, they will then apply for a dispensation from the Church and observe the conditions We mentioned above.”

 

If communicating with a heretic in a sacrament necessarily entailed communicating in the sin of the heretic (catching the disease), then the Church and the popes would have defected in approving mixed marriages (and thus approving mortal sin).  The fact that the Church did approve such marriages on occasion proves that communication in a sacrament with a heretic does not necessarily entail communication in the sin of a heretic. 

 

So, what causes the sin in communicating in the sacrament with a heretic?  The sin is caused by communicating with them despite (against) the Church’s prohibition, as we will see in St. Thomas Aquinas.  That’s why the issue is not whether you know if someone is an undeclared heretic, but rather where the Church has drawn the line about avoiding such undeclared heretics in all cases.  As the debate showed, the Church has made it clear that until someone is declared, or is so notorious that his heresy cannot be concealed in law, it is not necessarily a sin to receive a sacrament from him (especially in a necessity).

 

The radical schismatics have no answer to the reality of mixed marriages and the Church’s past allowance of them.  Their only recourse is to dishonestly distort the issue.  In the debate, Eli switched the topic and argued that the Church never approved going to a heretical minister for marriage.  That of course is true but completely irrelevant.  It has nothing to do with the point.  We agree that the Church hasn’t approved going into a non-Catholic church or seeking out a non-Catholic minister to witness the marriage.  The point is that in marriage the two people exchange the sacrament among themselves, and therefore, in a mixed marriage, the Catholic is exchanging the sacrament with a heretic. 

 

ONE RADICAL SCHISMATIC’S PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS THE MIXED MARRIAGES ARGUMENT

 

One extremely dishonest radical schismatic named Dave attempted to respond to our point about mixed marriages in this way:

 

Dimond brought up the Sacrament of Matrimony, mixed marriages to be exact, as an example of "permission" by the Church to commune sacramentally with heresy… Just as a catechumen would have been permitted to join parts of the Mass, on account of his placing himself in subjection to the Church (by which fact he is agreeing to be subject to the rites of the true religion and the true God), the mixed marriage was only ever permitted when the non-Catholic spouse pledged subjection to the Church in all things spiritual, namely agreeing to raise the children Catholic, to let them attend Catholic school, Catholic worship, etc., and promised to keep silent about any heresy.  In other words, mixed-marriages, when allowed by the Church, were NOT communion with heresy, and all effort was made to banish heresy from them.”

 

He responds by arguing that 1) we say the Church permitted people to commune sacramentally “with heresy.”  To anyone who possesses even basic reading ability or listening skills, this is an obvious lie.  We pointed out that to communicate in the sacrament with a heretic is not necessarily to communicate in the sin of the heretic – i.e., it is not to communicate “with heresy.”  The Church’s past approval of mixed marriages proves that fact.  He lies, however, and says we say that the Church allows communication “with heresy.”  When people engage in such willful distortion, it’s because they have no argument.  It’s also a mortal sin to so clearly distort the words of another.

 

2) He then argues against our point by declaring that mixed marriages were only allowed when the non-Catholic pledged submission to the Church in all things spiritual, agreed to raise the children as Catholics, etc.   This is another distortion. 

 

Only a true convert pledges submission to the Church in all things spiritual, but the Church approved marriages with heretics (see Gregory XVI above) who didn’t necessarily remain silent about their heresy and certainly did not submit to the Church in all things spiritual.  Thus, he lies again. 

 

Moreover, the fact that the Church approved such marriages only when the non-Catholic party agreed to raise the children Catholic is obvious and irrelevant.  We must ask the person: What’s your point, sir?  The non-Catholic, who agrees to raise the children as Catholics, is still a heretic, not a Catholic.  Thus, the fact remains that communication in the sacrament with such a heretic does not necessarily involve communication in the sin of the heretic – exactly our point.  Therefore, it’s possible to knowingly communicate in the sacraments with a heretic and not necessarily communicate in the sin of the heretic.  The Church’s approval of approaching a heretic for confession in necessity is another example.

 

As we can see, they have no answer to this fact because it destroys their entire line of argumentation.  They can only distort what is said or bring up obvious and completely irrelevant facts.  

 

By the way, the radical schismatic whose argument is refuted above (Dave), after having come to the knowledge of what was occurring with the Vatican II Church through our information, then returned to the Vatican II sect and the New Mass.  That is to say, after he had been fully convinced of the sedevacantist position; after he had seen all the evidence of the New Mass’ invalidity; after he had seen all the proof on our website for the antipopes’ astounding apostasy (!), he went back to the Great Harlot.  He also changed his position on the salvation dogma and water baptism many times in this period.  He eventually changed his position again, and rejected the Vatican II Church.  He said he needed to become a priest.  He said he was a prime candidate for the priesthood because people notice him when he goes out.  He called our monastery, spoke to Sr. Anne, and said that people would listen to what he says because he’s “tall,” “really good-looking” and “well-built.”  He said this repeatedly.  Obviously, a person who would say this is filled with vanity, wickedness and pride – a prime candidate for the promotion of diabolical schism.

 

Now that we’ve refuted his truly pathetic argument, let’s proceed.

 

MORE DESPERATE AND IRRELEVANT ARGUMENTS

 

Since their other misconceptions and standard responses were refuted in the debate, the radical schismatics now have recourse to a different quote.  This quote, by the way, is another example of one they use after we had posted it in our “Quote of the Day” section for years. 

 

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, 553: “The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy.  What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned (Titus 3:10).”

 

They argue that this proves you must absolutely avoid – have nothing whatsoever to do with – a heretic who has been automatically condemned by the divine law (i.e., an undeclared heretic), even if he hasn’t been declared by the Church.  This argument is easily refuted, and it would not last 30 seconds in a debate.  In an e-mail to a radical schismatic who cited this passage, I responded by saying: Does that quote from Constantinople II mean, in your view, that you must "have nothing to do" with a heretic in marriage?  Does it mean that a Catholic could never marry a heretic?  Answer.

 

Understandably, he didn’t answer the question, even though he wrote back on other matters.  That’s because he can’t provide an answer to the question that is consistent with his argument.  In answering the question, he would refute his argument.  The answer to the question is no: the passage doesn’t prove that a Catholic must “have nothing to do” with a heretic in marriage.  It doesn’t mean a Catholic couldn’t marry a heretic; for, as we saw above, Catholics did marry heretics on occasion with the approval of the Church.  It doesn’t prove that a Catholic could never communicate in a sacrament with an undeclared heretic.  So, what does the quote prove for their argument?  Nothing.

 

It’s simply a re-statement of Titus 3:10, and it means that heretics must be rejected as outside your communion and alien to your Church and faith, once it’s clear that they’ve incurred the divine automatic excommunication.   We of course agree: anyone you know is a heretic must be considered condemned.  He must not be endorsed, supported, or regarded as within your communion.  However, it does not address or pertain to the precise question of whether it is absolutely necessary to avoid an undeclared heretic in every case, especially a necessity.  In fact, the context of the decree quoted above wasn’t addressing that issue at all.  It dealt with rejecting heretics as damned and separated from God.  As we saw already in the Church’s decrees that do address the issue of avoiding heretics in every case, the absolute obligation to avoid people in every case kicks in with the Church’s declaration, or when he is so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law.

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, 1215: “If any refuse to avoid such persons AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN POINTED OUT BY THE CHURCH [postquam ab ecclesia denotati fuerint], let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction.”

 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, 1215: “… expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the Church in good faith.”

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, on Heretics: “Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, [A DECLARED PENALTY] … Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics.”

 

THE FIFTH LATERAN COUNCIL –

THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS’ BIG ERROR ON THEIR FAVORITE QUOTE

 

In the writing of the radical schismatics, the following quote from the Fifth Lateran Council appeared perhaps more than any other.  The following translation is how they would basically always present the passage.

 

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8: "And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted. We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the Catholic faith."

 

After quoting it, they would argue that this statement dogmatically declares that whoever holds a heresy must be automatically avoided in every way.  For example, radical schismatics Dave and Frank declared with glee: “[Fifth Lateran Council]: In every way, except for the reception of the sacraments dear DimondsContradicting the dogmatic Council, dear Dimonds?”

 

Their argument was quite wrong, as I demonstrated in the debate. 

 

Without even getting into an examination of the Latin (which exposes their error), someone with a truly Catholic sense (an attribute the schismatics don’t possess) should have detected the weakness of their contention.  How could the Church dogmatically define that whoever dissents from Catholic truth must be avoided in every way?  Dogmatic statements admit of no exceptions.  If that were a dogma, the Church could never have allowed a heretic to baptize; it could never have approved mixed marriages; it could never have approved approaching a heretic for confession in a necessity; it would have required Catholics to always not communicate in domestic affairs with heretical family members, etc.  For those reasons, the schismatics’ understanding of the quote should have been rejected right off the bat.  If they had a Catholic sense, they would have recognized that the passage doesn’t mean what they would like it to mean.

 

The truth is that the passage we are considering – and precisely, the second part which concerns avoiding heretics – is a statement of the Church’s ecclesiastical law at the time.  It puts forward a general principle of operation that must be understood and applied by the Church.   It is not a dogmatic definition.  And when one consults the Latin, the schismatics’ error is further highlighted.

 

Latin: “Cumque verum vero minime contradicat, omnem assertionem veritati illuminatae fidei contrariam, omnino falsam esse definimus, et ut aliter dogmatizare non liceat, districtius inhibemus: omnesque huiusmodi erroris assertionibus inhaerentes, veluti damnatissimas haereses seminantes, per omnia, ut detestabiles et abhominabiles haereticos et infideles, catholicam fidem labefactantes, vintandos et puniendos fore decernimus.” (Tanner, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 605)

 

A better translation is as follows:

 

“And since truth cannot contradict truth, every assertion contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith, we define to be absolutely false, and it is not licit to teach otherwise, we strictly forbid (or curb) it: all those who cling (or adhere) to erroneous assertions of this kind, as it were sowing heresies which are condemned, we decree them to be about to be shunned and punished in every respect as detestable and abominable heretics and infidels undermining the Catholic faith.”

 

The key part is “fore decernimus.”  Decernimus is “We decree.”  Fore is the future infinitive of the Latin verb “sum” (I am).  The present infinitive is esse; it means “to be.”  Fore literally means “to be about to be.”  It is frequently translated as “will be.”  Thus, the Council is saying that those who sow such false assertions are about to be or will be shunned and punished as heretics.  That is to say, they will be sent through the processes to be declared heretics and shunned, as we saw with previous councils.  The radical schismatics are wrong again.  They would obnoxiously bring this quote forward over and over, and wrongly attempt to condemn true Catholics with it, when a true understanding of the passage actually contradicts their position.

 

ST. THOMAS DEFINITELY TEACHES THAT ONE MAY RECEIVE COMMUNION FROM, AND HEAR THE MASS OF, AN UNDECLARED HERETIC – THIS DESTROYS THE POSITION OF THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS

 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III., Q. 82, A. 9, Whether it is permissible to receive communion from heretical, excommunicate, or sinful priests, and to hear mass said by them?: “I answer that, As was said above (5,7), heretical, schismatical, excommunicate, or even sinful priests, although they have the power to consecrate the Eucharist, yet they do not make a proper use of it; on the contrary, they sin by using it. But whoever communicates with another who is in sin, becomes a sharer in his sin.  Hence we read in John's Second Canonical Epistle (11) that "He that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works." Consequently, it is not lawful to receive Communion from them, or to assist at their mass.  Still there is a difference among the above, because heretics, schismatics, and excommunicates, have been forbidden, by the Church's sentence, to perform the Eucharistic rite.  And therefore whoever hears their mass or receives the sacraments from them, commits sin. But not all who are sinners are debarred by the Church's sentence from using this power: and so, although suspended by the Divine sentence, yet they are not suspended in regard to others by any ecclesiastical sentence: consequently, until the Church's sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass.  Hence on 1 Corinthians 5:11, "with such a one not so much as to eat," Augustine's gloss runs thus: "In saying this he was unwilling for a man to be judged by his fellow man on arbitrary suspicion, or even by usurped extraordinary judgment, but rather by God's law, according to the Church's ordering, whether he confess of his own accord, or whether he be accused and convicted."

 

This passage is devastating to the false theology of the radical schismatics.  St. Thomas is addressing whether one may receive Communion from, or hear the Mass of, a heretic, schismatic, excommunicate, etc. 

 

He says: “… consequently, until the Church’s sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass.”  He makes it clear – consistent with all the other facts we’ve been covering (Fourth Lateran Council, etc.) – that the absolute obligation to avoid the heretic, the excommunicate, etc. comes with the Church’s sentence being pronounced. 

 

ZOOMING IN ON THE POINT IN ST. THOMAS

 

There are a number of points on which we must focus to properly understand this issue.  Even though his article deals with heretics, the radical schismatics claim that St. Thomas is not talking about heretics in the aforementioned passage.  They exclude heretics from the passage, just as they do with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, even though the article (in which the passage is contained) deals with heretics.  They must arbitrarily exclude heretics from the discussion; for if St. Thomas is teaching that one may receive Communion from an undeclared heretic and hear his Mass, their entire position crumbles.   As a result, they argue that Thomas was only talking about sinners who are not heretics when he declares that “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass.”  Their contention is refuted by a careful consideration of the context and other passages in St. Thomas.

 

To thoroughly refute their argument, we must notice that St. Thomas draws a distinction between 1) those who are suspended by the divine sentence, and 2) those who are suspended by the Church’s sentence.  He says that the heretics and the excommunicates must be avoided because they have been suspended by both.  He also says that sinners, although suspended by the divine sentence, “have not been suspended in regard to others by any ecclesiastical sentence.”  He is contrasting the sinners with the heretics, etc., who have beensuspended in regard to others” by the Church’s sentence.  This is a key point.  The sin comes in communicating with someone who has been “suspended in regard to others” by the Church’s sentence.

 

Does the language “suspended in regard to others” refer to an automatic penalty or a declared penalty?  It refers to a declared penalty, in the external forum, that suspends a priest in view of the other faithful.  St. Thomas is teaching that this suspension “in regard to others” has occurred in the case of the heretics, excommunicates, etc. who must be avoided.  Since they have been “suspended in regard to others” by the Church’s declared penalty, it is a sin to communicate with them in the sacraments.  However, “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced,” it can be lawful.   This also confirms our point, that the sin of communication in the sacraments with a heretic is triggered by doing it against the Church’s designation, etc.

 

Our understanding of this passage is supported by the fact that when St. Thomas speaks of an “ecclesiastical sentence” (i.e., an excommunication by the Church), he almost always refers to a declared (not an automatic) penalty.  Here’s an example.

 

St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, Supplemental Pt., Q. 21, A. 3, Relating to Excommunication: “I answer that, By excommunication the ecclesiastical judge excludes a man, in a sense, from the kingdom.”

 

Our understanding of St. Thomas’ teaching is also confirmed by the fact that St. Thomas uses the words “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced,” it is lawful to receive Communion from them.  Consider the word “pronounced.”  Does that refer to an automatic penalty, or a declared one?  It clearly refers to a declared penalty, which is “pronounced” in view of the Church.  An automatic penalty simply “takes effect” or is “incurred.”  If St. Thomas were referring to an automatic penalty, then he would simply say: “until the Church’s sentence takes effect…”  He wouldn’t say “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced.” 

 

Moreover, in the passage above, do you remember St. Thomas’s reference to “the Church’s sentence”?  He says: “… consequently, until the Church's sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass…”

 

Well, here’s a different passage in which St. Thomas refers to the Church’s “sentence,” and he describes it as a declared penalty.

 

St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, Supplemental Pt., Q. 21, A. 4: “An excommunication may be unjust for two reasons. First, on the part of its author, as when anyone excommunicates through hatred or anger, and then, nevertheless, the excommunication takes effect, though its author sins, because the one who is excommunicated suffers justly, even if the author act wrongly in excommunicating him. Secondly, on the part of the excommunication, through there being no proper cause, or through the sentence being passed without the forms of law being observed.”

 

He is clearly referring to the Church’s “sentence” as a declared pronouncement, not an automatic one, contrary to what radical schismatics desperately argue.  All of this demonstrates just how wrong they are on this matter.

 

Moreover, in those days, the automatic penalty was referred to as the “divine sentence.”  Thus, when St. Thomas says that he’s not talking about the divine sentence, but the pronouncement of the Church’s sentence, it’s obvious that he’s not talking about an automatic excommunication. 

 

With all of this considered, it’s quite obvious that St Thomas is teaching that it can be permissible to receive Communion from, or hear the mass of, a priest if he has not been “suspended” by the Church’s “pronouncement” in a (declared) “sentence” that suspends him “in regard to others.”

 

Hence, St. Thomas is teaching that since heretics, excommunicates, etc. have been pronounced against in a declared penalty, “suspended in regard to others,” one may not receive Communion from them or attend their Mass.  However, “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass.”  That is to say, it can be lawful to receive Communion from, and attend the Mass of, an undeclared heretic.  This is exactly our position, and it destroys the position of the radical schismatics.  Their false position would require them to condemn St. Thomas Aquinas as a heretic who rejected the apostolic faith.  In fact, consider how closely St. Thomas’ language on this point parallels the quotes we already covered from the Fourth Lateran Council (in the same century), on avoiding people after the Church’s pronouncement. 

 

ANOTHER QUOTE FROM ST. THOMAS CONFIRMS THE POINT

 

To further refute the schismatics on St. Thomas, we need to examine this passage, for which they have not the slightest semblance of a response.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Suppl. Part, Q. 38, A.2: “I answer that, on this question four opinions are mentioned in the text (Sent. Iv, D, 25). For some said that heretics, so long as they are tolerated by the Church, retain the power to ordain, but not after they have been cut off from the Church; as neither do those who have been degraded and the like. This is the first opinion. Yet this is impossible, because, happen what may, no power that is given with a consecration can be taken away so long as the thing itself remains, any more than the consecration itself can be annulled, for even an altar or chrism once consecrated remains consecrated for ever. Wherefore, since the episcopal power is conferred by consecration, it must needs endure for ever, however much a man may sin or be cut off from the Church…. Wherefore others said that even those who are cut off from the Church can confer Orders and the other sacraments, provided they observe the due form and intention, both as to the first effect, which is the conferring of the sacrament, and as to the ultimate effect which is the conferring of grace. This is the second opinion. But this again is inadmissible, since by the very fact that a person communicates in the sacraments with a heretic who is cut off from the Church, he sins, and thus approaches the sacrament insincerely and cannot obtain grace, except perhaps in Baptism in a case of necessity. Hence others say that they confer the sacraments validly, but do not confer grace with them, not that the sacraments are lacking in efficacy, but on account of the sins of those who receive the sacraments from such persons despite the prohibition of the Church. This is the third and the true opinion.”

 

In this passage St Thomas is discussing ordination.  Those points aren’t relevant to our topic.  What is extremely relevant to our topic is the fact that this quotation shows that St. Thomas (and other authors of his time) distinguished between two classes of heretics.  Those who are “tolerated” by the Church are those who have not yet been specifically declared by a judge to be heretics and to be avoided.  These “tolerated” heretics are automatically severed from the Church for denying the faith, but they haven’t been declared.  Those who have been “cut off” are those who have been pronounced against by a judge in a declared sentence. 

 

Now, notice that in the quote above St. Thomas says that a person who communicates in the sacraments with a heretic “who is cut off” from the Church necessarily sins.  Remember, those who have been “cut off” are those who have been officially pronounced against.  There is no doubt, therefore, that he is teaching that the absolute obligation not to communicate in the sacraments with a heretic applies to heretics who have been declared against: those who have been officially “cut off.” 

 

If St. Thomas were teaching what the radical schismatics say, he obviously wouldn’t have mentioned only those who are “cut off” from the Church.  Certain radical schismatics say that whoever knowingly communicates in the sacraments with anyone he recognizes to be a heretic necessarily sins, even if that heretic is undeclared and meets certain conditions.  What St. Thomas says disproves their position.  He is saying that to communicate in the sacraments with a heretic who has been officially “cut off” is a sin, but he doesn’t say that about undeclared heretics.  This passage from St. Thomas confirms our points about the previous quote we discussed.  As our debate showed, the radical schismatics have no answer to this argument or to the distinction St. Thomas employs here.  They can only ignore it. 

 

In this vein, I should quickly mention a few other dishonest arguments the schismatics employ.  A few schismatics will quote St. Thomas in Summa Theologica, Supplemental Pt., Q. 38, A. 2, Obj. 1, in which the objection (not necessarily St. Thomas) says that a heretic cannot absolve.  However, the schismatics don’t quote St. Thomas’ reply to the objection, in which he states that he’s referring to those who are “cut off.”  Heretics who have been officially “cut off” or “suspended in regard to others” by a declaration cannot have jurisdiction, and thus cannot absolve.  

 

The schismatics will also dishonestly quote St. Thomas in Summa Theologica, Pt. III, Q. 82, A. 7, Reply to Obj. 2, in which St. Thomas says that in no case may a heretic lawfully consecrate the Eucharist.  The schismatics actually present the quote as if it’s addressing whether one may lawfully approach an undeclared heretic, when St. Thomas is not addressing that issue at all.  As the article (7) makes clear, he’s addressing whether a heretic sins by consecrating.  He says yes, “they act wrongly, and sin by doing so.”  That’s what he refers to when he says, in reply to Obj. 2, that in no case may a heretic lawfully consecrate (i.e., without sin).  He is not addressing whether a Catholic may approach an undeclared heretic for the sacraments.  As we saw above, when St. Thomas addresses that matter, he clearly teaches that “until the Church’s sentence is pronounced,” and they are “suspended in regard to others,” it is lawful to receive Communion from them or hear their Mass. 

 

Also notice that in the following decree, in which Queen Elizabeth was officially declared a heretic by the bull of Pope St. Pius V, she was then referred to as “cut off.”  This confirms the point that the reference to “cut off” (in the above context) is to a declared heretic.

 

Pope St. Pius V, Regnans in Excelsis, Against Queen Elizabeth, April 27, 1570: “Therefore, resting upon the authority of Him whose pleasure it was to place us (though unequal to such a burden) upon this supreme justice-seat, we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.”

 

THE “ST. THOMAS IS NOT INFALLIBLE” ESCAPE TACTIC

 

Since St. Thomas confirms our position, and refutes that of the radical schismatics, they frequently retort: “Well, it doesn’t matter because even if you are right about St. Thomas, he is not infallible.”  That response doesn’t work, however, as I showed in the debate. 

 

It doesn’t work because we are not dealing with a position that is proven by reference to specific dogmatic decrees.  In those cases, one must see and understand the specific dogmatic evidence and the arguments involved, and then reject them, to be a heretic.  That’s why someone like St. Thomas could simply be wrong, without being a heretic, for teaching falsehood on “baptism of desire.”  With this issue, however, the schismatics maintain that the idea one may knowingly receive a sacrament from a heretic is contrary to the Catholic faith since the beginning.  They argue that holding such an opinion is inimical to, and incompatible with, the very possession of the Catholic faith.  They declare that this issue is connected to the basic profession of the Christian faith incumbent on any Catholic.  Hence, they hold that to ever knowingly approach a heretic for a sacrament is a mortal sin, and that whoever taught otherwise (in whatever century) did not have the Catholic faith and was a heretic. 

 

Therefore, when we prove that St. Thomas teaches, consistent with the other facts I’ve covered, that one may receive sacraments from and hear the Mass of an undeclared heretic, it buries their position.  If the schismatics were consistent, they would have to call St. Thomas a heretic who perverted and did not profess the apostolic faith; but that would of course condemn the Catholic Church which has raised him up as a saint and teacher. 

 

THE 1917 CODE OF CANON LAW CONTRADICTS THE SCHISMATICS

 

Canon 2261.2-3, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “… the faithful may for any just cause ask the sacraments or sacramentals of one who is excommunicated, especially if there is no one else to give them (c. 2261.2).  But from an excommunicated vitandus or one against whom there is a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, the faithful may only in danger of death ask for sacramental absolution according to canons 882, 2252, and also for other sacraments and sacramentals in case there is no one else to administer them (c. 2261.3).”

 

This canon also refutes the position of the radical schismatics.  It clearly teaches that the faithful may receive sacraments from excommunicated persons, especially if there is no one else to give them the sacraments.  In response, the schismatics are forced to arbitrarily exclude heretics from “excommunicated persons,” even though there’s nothing to support such exclusion.  In fact, the Code contradicts them by including heretics among “excommunicated persons.”

 

Canon 2314.1, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “All apostates from the Christian faith and every heretic or schismatic: 1. Incur by that fact excommunication.”

 

Canonists of the time don’t exclude heretics from this discussion.  Moreover, canon 2262.2 references the Council of Constance’s decree, Ad evitanda Scandala.  According to Cardinal De Lugo (a prominent 17th century theologian), that decree allowed reception of sacraments from certain undeclared heretics.  While we don’t agree with everything else De Lugo said, we believe his position on this matter is correct.

 

Cardinal de Lugo addresses this issue about receiving sacraments from a priest who holds a heretical position:

 

 “The second chief doubt is whether we may communicate with an undeclared heretic only in civil and human affairs or even in sacred and spiritual things.  It is certain that we cannot communicate with heretics in the rites proper to a heretical sect, because this would be contrary to the precept of confessing the faith and would contain an implicit profession of error.  But the question relates to sacred matters containing no error, e.g. whether it is lawful to hear Mass with a heretic, or to celebrate in his presence, or to be present while he celebrates in the Catholic rite, etc.

 

But the opposite view [i.e. that attendance at such a Mass is lawful] is general [communis] and true, unless it should be illicit for some other reason on account of scandal or implicit denial of the faith, or because charity obliges one to impede the sin of the heretical minister administering unworthily where necessity does not urge.  This is the teaching of Navarro and Sanchez, Suarez, Hurtado and is what I have said in speaking of the sacrament of penance and of matrimony and the other sacraments.  It is also certain by virtue of the said litterae extravagantes [i.e. Ad evitanda scandala] in which communication with excommunicati tolerati is conceded to the faithful in the reception and administration of the sacraments.

 

“So as these heretics are not declared excommunicates or notoriously guilty of striking a cleric, there is no reason why we should be prevented from receiving the sacraments from them because of their excommunication, although on other grounds this may often be illicit unless necessity excuse as I have explained in the said places.” (Cardinal John de Lugo S.J. (1583-1660), Tractatus de Virtute Fidei Divinae: Disputatio XXII, Sectio.)

 

Since the 1917 Code completely contradicts their position, many radical schismatics simply reject it altogether, as well as the popes who reigned during that period. 

 

INTERESTING QUOTE FROM ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA

 

In the debate, I made reference to an interesting quote from St. Cyril of Alexandria.  St. Cyril, a doctor of the Church, played a prominent role (arguably the most prominent) at the Council of Ephesus, and in the condemnation of Nestorius. 

 

We and others have pointed out that after Nestorius taught heresy, Catholics could have (and some did) reject him as outside the Church and devoid of Catholic authority.  They came to that correct conclusion before any official deposition of Nestorius occurred.  However, to illustrate how the Tradition of the Church makes it absolutely obligatory in every case to avoid someone after the declaration is issued, this quote is important.

 

St. Cyril of Alexandria, to Pope Celestine, obviously after Nestorius’ lapse: “We have not confidently abstained from communion with him (Nestorius) before informing you of this; condescend, therefore, to unfold your judgment, that we may clearly know whether we ought to communicate with him who cherishes such erroneous doctrine.” (NPNF, 2nd Series, Vol. 14, p. 192)

 

This quote is another example of the principle I’ve been covering in this article and which I explained in the debate.  The absolute obligation to avoid someone in every case comes with the declaration, or if it’s so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law. 

 

ENGLAND

 

When the Protestant revolt occurred in England, there were priests who administered true Communion to remnant Catholics in the traditional rite of the Church.  However, some of these priests were compromised heretics who simultaneously distributed the heretical and invalid Protestant bread to false “Catholics.”  This is reported in The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, in the section authored by Fr. Edward Rishton.  Rishton was a Catholic priest who was tried and condemned to death with Blessed Edmund Campion.  He explains what was occurring:

 

“She [Elizabeth] also compelled the people to frequent the churches as before, and according to the act, inflicted a fine of one shilling upon every one who should be absent [from the New Mass] on holy days.  And thus by force or fraud it came to pass that the largest portion of the Catholics yielded by degrees to their enemies, and did not refuse from time to time publicly to enter the schismatical churches and to hear sermons therein, and to receive communion in those conventicles.  At the same time they had Mass said secretly in their own houses by those very priests who in church publicly celebrated the spurious liturgy, and sometimes by others who had not defiled themselves with heresy; yea, and very often in those disastrous times were on one and the same day partakers of the table of our Lord and of the table of devils, that is, of the blessed Eucharist and the Calvinistic supper.  Yea, and what is still more marvelous and more sad, sometimes the priest saying Mass at home, for the sake of those Catholics whom he knew to be desirous of them, carried about him Hosts consecrated according to the rite of the Church, with which he communicated them at the very time in which he was giving to other Catholics more careless about the faith the bread prepared for them according to the heretical rite.” (Fr. Edward Rishton, The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, orig. published 1585, Tan Books, 1988, p. 267.)

               

Fr. Rishton was martyred with Blessed Edmund Campion.  Therefore, we think that most would consider Rishton to have been a true Catholic.  He explains that some Catholics were receiving the true Eucharist from priests who had compromised with heresy – priests who distributed the heretical and invalid Protestant bread.  Rishton says that the Catholics who received the true Eucharist from such priests – again, heretical and compromised priests – were more careful about the faith.  Fr. Rishton obviously doesn’t condemn these people as heretical for receiving Communion from such heretics; for he recognized that it was a necessity, that they didn’t agree with the heretic, partake in his heresy, or receive the invalid bread which he gave to others.

 

As we can see, Fr. Rishton and the Catholics of that period did not view this issue as the radical schismatics do.  The radical schismatics would have to condemn Fr. Rishton as a heretic.  All of this demonstrates how their position is false, schismatic and contrary to the understanding of the Church throughout history. 

 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

 

In this article I have examined some of the most significant quotes that were covered in the debate.  However, many other points were covered in the debate and that’s why we strongly encourage people to listen to it, if they have not done so.  While heretics and schismatics can sometimes get away with deceptive arguments in writing, it’s a different story in an interactive debate.  

 

If you listen to the debate, you will hear that my opponent attempted to quote the Council of Laodicea as infallible.  I refuted his point by informing him that Laodicea is not infallible, but rather a regional council that actually omitted the Apocalypse from its list of the sacred books.  He also used a false quote from Pope Clement’s famous epistle, wrongly applied Pius IX’s Graves ac diuturnae, and more.  

 

We also discussed one of the primary dilemmas posed by radical schismatic theology.  That concerns their false position that every church at which an undeclared heretic is present becomes, by that fact, a non-Catholic church or a notorious “meetinghouse of heretics.”  In the debate, we discussed some of the ridiculous implications of the schismatics’ position in that regard.  It would mean that every pre-Vatican II church, which professed to be Catholic and offered a traditional liturgy, at which there was an undeclared heretic who believed in salvation outside the Church (e.g., Fr. Denis Fahey’s church),  would have been a notorious, non-Catholic “meetinghouse of heretics.”  In probing this matter, schismatic theology is exposed for the illogical and demonic farce it is. 

 

Failing to understand the points covered in this article, and rejecting the evidence which should have given them pause, the radical schismatics wind up crashing headlong into outrageous views on ecclesiology.  Most of them conclude that all the people attending any traditional Mass since Vatican II were ipso facto non-Catholic, and some have condemned popes going all the way back to Pope Leo XIII.  That is just one example of a dark end to their fatal mistake and prideful schism.  Proverbs 16:25- “There is a way that seemeth to a man right: and the ends thereof lead to death.” 

 

It should also be emphasized that while we are pointing out that Catholics may receive sacraments from some priests who are undeclared heretics in this time, no Catholic may agree with or support such a priest in any way.  Moreover, we are only talking about priests who are validly ordained, administer valid traditional sacraments and meet certain conditions.  For a discussion of which priests might fall into this category as acceptable options for the sacraments, see our “Where to go to Mass” section.

 

 

LINKS TO THE DEBATE

Windows Media Audio; YouTube Video

 

www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com

www.vaticancatholic.com

 

(Note: the bolding and emphasis in this article, such as italics and underlining, were my own and not necessarily that of the source quoted).