Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Q&A August AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Apropos:  Membership in the Church
New Rite of Confession?
The New Prefect of the CDF?
Q&A Archives


Our Lady of the Rosary
Words from the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Saints

     “Actually, only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed....  For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.”

~ Pope Pius XII,
Mystici Corporis, #22, #23.


Our Lady of the Rosary
New Rite of Confession?

    Question:  Would you care to comment on this personal experience and my reaction, as follows:

    I recently went to Confession to a NO [Novus Ordo] priest. After I confessed, his first response was “The Lord has already forgiven you." Then he added, "He is always with you. Be at peace.”  (He assigned a trifling penance; after I said an act of contrition he gave me absolution .)   My (silent) reaction to his initial comment, was “If the Lord has already forgiven me, why am I going to Confession?” To be honest, I believed that my sins had caused a rupture in my relationship with the Lord, that I had in one sense actually “lost” the Lord because of my sins. That was why I was seeking forgiveness! Instead his message was quite different, as I heard it—Frankly, I stopped going to NO churches around Christmastime  when I a attended a Public Penance Service whereat, after a couple of Scriptural readings, the Pastor gave everyone absolution and then added, “If anyone wants to go the Reconciliation Room or for a private confession, she or he (sic) is welcome to do so.” This seemed to me like a cockamamie view of Confession and Penance, a ‘putting the cart before the horse,’ if not a wholly non-Catholic view of sacramental Confession.—Not only has the Conciliar Church has given us “Luther's Mass,”  it has also given us “Optional Confession” just like the Lutherans and Anglicans, where the cleric neither “forgives nor retains” according to his judgment of the penitent's state of mind, and as understood by the mind of Christ in establishing the Sacrament, as recorded in Scripture. It seems that I received the other day an absolution in an “Unnecessary but perhaps ‘Salving but not really Saving’ Confession!”—A.H., Hornell, N.Y.

    Answer:  It is hard to know what goes on in the minds of NO clergy, for Modernism does not recognize objective truth about much of anything.  Indeed, Modernists seem to glory in ambiguity and contradictions.

One could, in fact, be forgiven of one’s sins prior to Confession if one were perfectly contrite—but, even then, a sacramental Confession should be made before receiving the other Sacraments if at all possible.  Being perfectly contrite is a rather subjective state, hard enough for the penitent to be sure of, and impossible for the confessor to know, so sacramental Confession is the obvious remedy for sin.

    It is possible that the questioner did not confess anything that a NO priest might identify as a sin.  “Bless me Father, for I have eaten non-union lettuce, drive an SUV, pollute the water, and have had judgmental thoughts about the “gay” couple next door” might have made him into more of a sinner than “eating meat on Friday, using contraceptives, and attending a Protestant church.”

    We have it on the highest authority—that of the man currently Pope Benedict XVI—that many NO priests do not believe that the Mass is the renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross.[1]  The forgiveness of sins comes from the Sacrifice of the Cross.  If one doesn’t believe that he is capable of renewing that Sacrifice, it would be logical for him to believe, as well, that he is not capable of forgiving sins.  These beliefs would be reinforced by the omission from the NO rite of ordination of any statement about receiving the power to offer Mass or to forgive sins.

    In the traditional rite, as the newly ordained receives a chalice of wine and paten holding an altar bread from the bishop, the bishop says:

    Receive the power to offer sacrifice to God, and to celebrate Mass for the living as well as the dead.  In the name of the Lord.  Amen

but in the 1968 rite of Pope Paul VI, has been replaced with the reception of the offertory procession and some encouraging words:

Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered him.  Know what you are doing [!], and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

    In the traditional rite there is a second imposition of hands upon the head of the newly ordained, as the bishop says:

Receive the Holy Ghost:  whose sins thou shalt forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins thou shalt retain, they are retained.

    This second laying on of hands and the words which accompany it are simply omitted from the NO rite.

    One has to question the validity of a Sacrament conferred by a priest who doesn’t believe in the Sacrament or his power to administer it.

    Modernists deal with what they believe to be the non-existence of objective truth by establishing a “dialogue” among the “acting persons.”  Consensus, with all of its vagaries, takes the place of objective truth or morality.  Disruption of the rapport between the “acting person” would seem, for the Modernist,  to be the greatest sin of all—a sin against consensus, a sin against Modernist “truth.”  To say something unkind or “judgmental” about a participant in the “dialogue” would be far worse than any sins objectively attributable to him.

    But here we have something that the “president of the assembly” feels qualified to forgive.  Those who have disrupted the assembly of “acting persons” may be reconciled to the assembly by one of its “presiders.”  This same notion would also seem to motivate the practice of the communal penance service mentioned by our questioner—what could be better than everyone being reconciled to everyone else with everyone consenting to this reconciliation by their presence?

    Actually, though, general absolution, like lay distribution of Holy Communion, and eating meat on Fridays, is permitted by the NO church only under extraordinary circumstances.[2]  But just as “optional” means “never” in the NO lexicon, “extraordinary” means “all or most of the time.”  (Note that these are the same people who accuse orthodox Catholics of “disobedience.”)

    c.961 §1. Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to many penitents at once without previous individual confession unless:

    1° danger of death is imminent and there is insufficient time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the individual penitents;

    2° there is grave necessity, that is, when in view of the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors available to hear the confessions of individuals properly within a suitable period of time in such a way that the penitents are forced to be deprived for a long while of sacramental grace or holy communion through no fault of their own. Sufficient necessity is not considered to exist when confessors cannot be present due only to the large number of penitents such as can occur on some great feast or pilgrimage.


    §2. It belongs to the diocesan bishop to judge whether the conditions required according to the norm of §1, n. 2 are present. He can determine the cases of such necessity, attentive to the criteria agreed upon with the other members of the conference of bishops.


    c.962 §1. For a member of the Christian faithful validly to receive sacramental absolution given to many at one time, it is required not only that the person is properly disposed but also at the same time intends to confess within a suitable period of time each grave sin which at the present time cannot be so confessed.


    §2. Insofar as it can be done even on the occasion of the reception of general absolution, the Christian faithful are to be instructed about the requirements of the norm of §1. An exhortation that each person take care to make an act of contrition is to precede general absolution even in the case of danger of death, if there is time.


    c.963 Without prejudice to the obligation mentioned in c.989, a person whose grave sins are remitted by general absolution is to approach individual confession as soon as possible, given the opportunity, before receiving another general absolution, unless a just cause intervenes.[3]

 Our Lady of the Rosary
New CDF Prefect?

    Question:  What is the CDF, and what are the implications of the appointment of the new Prefect?  Will this require a change of beliefs among Catholics?

    Answer:  The Catholic Faith has been revealed by God through the prophets of the Old Testament, and by Jesus Christ through His Apostles—since it is of divine origin, it is objectively true and unchangeable.

6. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.... Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.[4]

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is the modern name for the Universal Inquisition (erected 21 July 1542), which became the Holy Office (1908), and received its new name on 7 December 1965.[5]  On 28 June 1988, in the Apostolic Constitution, Pastor bonus described the functions of the CDF as follows:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Art. 48 — The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way.


Art. 49 — Fulfilling its duty of promoting doctrine, the Congregation fosters studies so that the understanding of the faith may grow and a response in the light of the faith may be given to new questions arising from the progress of the sciences or human culture.


Art. 50 — It helps the bishops, individually or in groups, in carrying out their office as authentic teachers and doctors of the faith, an office that carries with it the duty of promoting and guarding the integrity of that faith.


Art. 51 — To safeguard the truth of faith and the integrity of morals, the Congregation takes care lest faith or morals suffer harm through errors that have been spread in any way whatever....[6]

    Appointed by Pope John Paul II, Msgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller was ordained Bishop of Regensburg on 24 November 2002, and was appointed to head the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI on 2 July 2012, replacing the retiring William Joseph Cardinal Levada.

    As the question implies, Müller’s appointment is problematic for in print and in public he has espoused several heterodox notions incompatible with the CDF’s “duty to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world.”  In all cases we are speaking about matters that are clearly defined and which cannot change—“irreformable,” as Vatican I put it.  Msgr. Müeller is simply wrong, and his erroneous opinions should have no effect on the Catholic World.  Unfortunately, Müeller is not alone in the Conciliar church in holding these false notions.

    The notions in question include:

·         Acceptance of so-called “liberation theology.”

·         Denial of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother.

·         Denial of transubstantiation.

·         Acceptance of at least some Protestants as members in full Communion with the Catholic Church.

    The last of these errors is particularly interesting, for the new Prefect has been very vocal about traditional Catholics being separated from the Church.[7]  Amazing!  Protestants and Jews are part of the Church, Modernists are part of the Church—but those who profess and practice the Catholic Faith are not.  Pope Pius XII (see “Apropos” elsewhere in this issue) must be rotating in his grave!

    A summary of the Müller errors was published in March on the Internet’s Rorate Cæli Blogspot, titled “In charge of the henhouse?”  (There is a handsome picture of a fox at the top of the page.)[8]  We’ll take them one at a time in the order given.


Liberation Theology

: a religious movement especially among Roman Catholic clergy in Latin America that combines political philosophy usually of a Marxist orientation with a theology of salvation as liberation from injustice

~ Merriam-Webster[9]

    Proponents of liberation theology tend to emphasize the fact that Christ liberates us from sin—opponents tend to speak of it as “theology out of the barrel of a gun.”  In practice, the emphasis is on “social justice,” the liberation of the poor from oppression by the propertied class.  Msgr. Müller acknowledges himself to be a disciple of Gustavo Gutiérrez, whom identifies as:

    Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, O.P. is a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest regarded as the founder of Liberation Theology. He holds the John Cardinal O'Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He has been professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe. He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, and in 1993 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work. He has also published in and been a member of the board of directors of the international journal, Concilium.[10]

The same site gives about a dozen quotations from Gutiérrez’ writings:

“But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.” ― Gustavo Gutiérrez


“The theory of dependence will take the wrong path and lead to deception if the analysis is not put within the framework of the worldwide class struggle.” ― Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation


“The God of Exodus is the God of history and of political liberation more than he is the God of nature.” ― Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation

    The oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity,” and “the worldwide class struggle,” certainly have a Marxist ring to them.  Liberation theology has been criticized in at least two CDF instructions:  “Instruction on Certain Aspects of ‘Theology of Liberation’” of 6 August 1984, and “Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation” of 22 March 1986.  Gutiérrez was not named individually, but the CDF did reject the Marxist notion of inevitable class struggle throughout history, and the notion that Scripture may be interpreted in an exclusively political sense.  Likewise any sort of class struggle that would undermine the hierarchical nature of the Church.  The earlier document emphasizes the reality of liberation being, first of all, from sin.  The later document  places a greater emphasis on material equality, and reads somewhat like Pope Benedict’s Caritas in veritate.

    The mindlessness of Marxist class struggle is replaced by the organized effort of governments collaborating at the international level.  The United Nations is mentioned favorably in both documents (although not with the enthusiasm found in Caritas in veritate.  The later document  views technology as a source of inequality, and demands a sharing of education and resources between the rich and poor nations.  Neither document uses the words “foreign aid” but the idea is expressed, nonetheless.

    Perhaps the most troubling omission of the CDF—one bound to continue under a Prefect associated with liberation theology—was the failure to recognize the way in which wealth is actually created (You cannot redistribute what does not exist!);  the symbiotic nature of land, labor, capital and entrepreneurial ability;  and the God given right to possess what one has created.

    Presumably, the seventh and tenth Commandments are still in force, and the fifth still prohibits men and women from using personal or institutionalized violence in order to violate them.  Of course, the first three Commandments have taken a beating in recent years, so perhaps we can expect a new list from the CDF in the near future.                   [To be continued.]



[2]   New (1983) Code of Canon Law, c.960-963; c.230, 910; c.1251-1253.

[4]   First Vatican Council, Session IV, First dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ, 18 July 1870, chapter 4. 4. On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff


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