By Father Gregory Chukwudi Obih
Traditional Catholics all over the world are already familiar with the recurrent charge of being disobedient. Many a time after trying to explain the crisis in the Church since the Second Vatican Council to our interlocutors we end up hearing things like: Yes, but you still have to obey the pope, and the bishops and priests. If not then you are outside the Church! This insistence on obedience at all costs is due to an improper understanding of the distinction between true and false obedience. According to the great theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, true obedience is a balance between twin errors of defect and excess which are disobedience and false obedience. The apparent obedience of many Catholics today to the modernist Church leaders comes under false obedience, not true obedience. But we know from scripture and sacred tradition that faith is superior to obedience. Obedience is the servant of faith.
BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS OF OBEDIENCE:
Ignoring all the warnings of the freemasons to infiltrate and corrupt the Catholic Church through an ecumenical council in the 20th century, Pope John XX111 went ahead to convoke the Second Vatican Council in 1962. This council was hijacked as soon as it started by a small group of determined modernists who wanted to reform the church and bring it closer to the expectations of the modern world. This was achieved through the baptism and acceptance into the Church of the three principles of the French revolution of 1789: Liberty, equality and fraternity; freemasonic principles previously condemned by the Church. Religious liberty was accepted to mean the right of each person to worship as he chose. This destroyed the mission to unbelievers since all religions are now valid means to God. Collegial equality destroyed papal authority and gave democratic power to bishops’ conferences who now checkmate the pope at every turn. Ecumenical fraternity destroyed all efforts to convert Protestants to the true Catholic faith, since they are said to have means of salvation. Everything in the church was changed in order to realize these revolutionary principles which negated Catholic principles of the past 1,900 years. The traditional Latin Mass was cast aside because it was too Catholic and anti-ecumenical. It is an obstacle to ecumenical fraternity. A new protestant-friendly Mass was composed with the help of 6 Protestant pastors in order to foster false ecumenism. This new Mass is open to innovations, experimentations, adaptations, inculturation and all imaginable novelties. It favours heretical opinions and leads to loss of faith. But it was imposed on Catholics in the name of obedience. Catholics were asked to accept this new Mass because it was decreed by the ecumenical Vatican 11 council. But the Second Vatican council was a pastoral, not a dogmatic council. As such, it demands only assent of obedience, not assent of faith. Since it did not define doctrine as previous councils have done, it dispensed with the help of the Holy Ghost and committed many errors in making prudential judgements that opened the Church to evil influences. Even Pope Paul V1 acknowledged this: ‘We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God; it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation...we thought that after the council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties.Perhaps we have been too imprudent.’(June 29, 1972, Homily on the 9th anniversary of his coronation).
WHAT IS OBEDIENCE?
Faced with a situation in which a post Vatican 11 hierarchy, infected as it is by the ‘smoke of Satan’ which has eclipsed Catholic truth, (Cf. Our Lady of La Salette, 1846: ‘Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist...the Church will be in eclipse.’) what is the state of obedience today? What should be the response of Catholics to false teachings coming from official Church leaders who are determined to implement the modernist teachings of Vatican 11? Obedience is the carrying out of orders from one’s lawful superiors with the intention of carrying out their will. Catholics prize obedience because of Christ’s own example, and because in their lawful superiors they see the representatives of Christ Himself. It is the teaching of the Church that obedience is part of justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, which are in turn subordinate to the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Faith is greater than obedience! Therefore if obedience acts to harm the faith, then a Catholic has a duty not to obey his superior. According to St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God, therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.’(Summa Theologica 11-11Q. 104). Cardinal Juan de Torquemada(1388-1468) was an influential theologian responsible for the formulation of the doctrines defined at the Council of Florence. On the issue of obeying shepherds whose teachings mislead the faithful he gave this rule to be followed by Catholics for all time: ‘Were the pope to command anything against Holy Scriptures, or the articles of faith, or the truth of the sacraments, or the commands of the natural or divine law, HE OUGHT NOT TO BE OBEYED, but in such commands he is to be disregarded. Thus it is that Pope Innocent 111 states (De Consuetudine) that it is necessary to obey the pope in all things as long as he himself does not go against the universal customs of the Church. But should he go against the universal customs of the Church, ‘‘he need not be followed.’’ St. Paul himself had warned in Scripture: ‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema’ (Gal. 1:8).
FAITH AND TRADITION:
The truths of the Catholic faith were received even by Jesus Christ Himself as a tradition or handing down from His Father. (Jesus answered and said to them: ‘My doctrine is not mine but His that sent Me’ John7:16; Jesus said to them: ‘Amen, Amen I say to you, the Son cannot do anything of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing: for what things soever He doth, these the Son also doth in like manner’ John5:1-9; ‘For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent Me. He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should speak’ John 12:49.)
In the same way, Our Lord hands the faith down to us as a tradition through those of our lawful superiors who are obedient to the faith, Cf. John17:8, ‘Because the words which Thou gavest to Me, I have given to them.’
But many Catholics, forgetting that Catholic obedience is relative to the Faith and Tradition, think obedience is an absolute, with only one opposite, disobedience. They are mistaken. True obedience has two opposites, disobedience and false obedience.
Disobedience is error by defect. It is the sin of our first parents and the origin of all sin in the world. The disobedient person says: My own conscience is my absolute authority; the pope has no authority over me; I owe no respect to any superiors; I will not obey men, even pretending to be servants of God, be they bishops or priests; I protest against the leaders of the Church claiming to have authority; Church punishments like excommunications and suspensions are meaningless; I will attend no Catholic Mass.
False obedience is error by excess. The person who practices false obedience says: The Church hierarchy is the absolute authority. Obedience has no limits; the pope is infallible in everything he says and does; I may never criticize any superior under any circumstances; I will obey the bishops and priests even when they disobey God by forsaking Tradition; whoever protests against anything a Church official does or says is a Protestant; even unjust or improper suspensions or excommunications are legally binding; I will attend even a protestantized and pentecostalized Mass if my superiors tell me to.
Those who practice false obedience make the boast of the freemasons come true: ‘We will destroy the Catholic Church through holy obedience.’
He who practices true obedience knows that the demands of faith are superior to the demands of obedience. True obedience recognises that God, through His Catholic Church has absolute authority over my conscience, BUT in the last resort God meant me to judge if His hierarchy is departing from His teaching. Obedience to men has limits. Cf. Galatians 1:8-9; the pope as the vicar of Christ is given by Christ direct authority over the whole Church, BUT he is not infallible in everything he says or does; lawful superiors are to be respected as the representatives of Christ, BUT if they depart gravely from the Catholic faith, I may even rebuke them in public. Cf. Galatians 2:11-14. This is why the layman, Eusebius, openly rebuked Nestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, when the Archbishop was falsely teaching on Christmas-day of 430AD that Mary cannot be called Mother of God. A truly obedient Catholic will gladly obey the appointed servants of God, legitimate bishops or priests, BUT not when he knows they are leading men away from God; he will always respect the Church authorities as such, BUT need not follow Church leaders who violate the traditions of the faith; Church punishments are terrifying instruments of God’s law when valid, BUT when they are without foundation they are not valid. Cf. 1917 Code of Canon law, 2242 and the 1983 Code 1321. A truly obedient Catholic must attend the Catholic Mass BUT knows he is not obliged to attend the Paul V1-Bugnini Mass, or new Mass of 1969, also called the Novus Ordo or Vatican 11 Mass, because it favours heresy and destroys the Catholic faith. In this matter, he must obey God, rather than men, cf. Acts 5:29. Pope Leo X111(1878-1903) upheld this true obedience when he wrote: ‘And there is no reason why those who obey God rather than men should be accused of refusing obedience; for if the will of rulers is opposed to the will and the laws of God, these rulers exceed the bounds of their own power and pervert justice, nor can their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null.’ (Diuturnum Illud).
Some may object: But by defending disobedience to modern church officials in some cases, are you not encouraging anarchy and confusion in the church? Reply: By no means! It is the modernists who are causing anarchy and confusion by disobeying sacred traditions. Modernists believe that dogma can change to meet the expectations of different epochs in history. They always strive to bring church teaching ‘up to date,’ forgetting that God does not change and His truths are always the same. Modernism was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in PascendiDominiciGregis of 1907.
CATHOLIC OBEDIENCE MUST ALWAYS BE TO THE FAITH!
So it was in the days of St. Peter:
‘Where there is a proximate danger to the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was subject to St. Peter, rebuked him publicly.’ (From the Commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Epistle to the Galatians 2:14. So it must still be today: ‘ All disciplinary authority, all obedience to a bishop presupposes the pure teaching of the holy Church. Obedience to the bishop is grounded in complete faith in the teaching of the holy Church. As soon as the ecclesiastical authority yields to pluralism in questions of faith, it has lost the right to claim obedience to its disciplinary ordinances.’ (Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand in,The Devastated Vineyard. Chicago, 1973, pp.3-5)
Listen to the warning of Paul V1 on the smoke of Satan that has spread widely within the official Catholic Church since Vatican 11: ‘The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church EVEN TO ITS SUMMIT. Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world and INTO THE HIGHEST LEVELS WITHIN THE CHURCH.’(Pope Paul V1. Address on the 60th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, Oct. 13, 1977). Today, Catholics are those who are faithful to Tradition and reject all the errors opposed to it. You remain IN THE CHURCH if you keep the Catholic faith, not if you a part of a modernist parish or diocese adulterating the faith in the name of Vatican 11. Those who keep the Catholic faith, whole and entire, constitute the Catholic Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. When it was objected to St. Athanasius(296-373), ‘You have the bishops against you’ he answered with faith: ‘That proves that they are all against the Church.’ Ponder the advice of St. Vincent of Lerins: ‘When a foulness invades the Church, we must return to the Church of the past.’
FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE, NO EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY; FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE, NO EXPLANATION IS POSSIBLE!
July 20, 2014