THE APOSTOLIC SEE

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POPE BONIFACE X


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Sancta Sedes, Papa Bonifatius X

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The Catholic Church Cannot Promulgate Dangerous or Harmful Laws

October 5, 2014

Private Epistle #5


It is impossible for the Catholic Church to promulgate dangerous or useless laws. This has been dogmatically defined by the Roman Pontiffs.  Even so, the number of heretics who claim the Catholic Church has passed dangerous and harmful laws are almost innumerable today, even many who falsely claim to be Catholic!  For example, many teach that the laws for the crusades and the inquisitions were somehow evil.  Pope Pius VI was one of the first Pontiffs to address this horrific doctrine that the Church could possibly promulgate dangerous and harmful laws and other disciplines, which was being taught by the liberal heretics of his time. He declared in his infallible brief Auctorem Fidei (Against the Synod of Pistoia) in 1794:

The prescription of the Synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced 'in every article that pertains to the faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline', it adds 'in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to maintain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new covenant to endure, but moreso, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition or materialism'; insofar as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, -false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.


Pope Gregory XVI, one of the most holy Pontiffs of recent memory, of whom Boniface X is most fond, and especially vociferous against the increasing tendency of liberal heresy, reiterated this same doctrine in his infallible Encyclical Mirari Vos in 1832:

In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, "the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord." It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes. Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop." Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.


Clearly, the Pontiffs opposed any idea that the laws of the Church could be: contrary to the natural law, crippled, imperfect, useless, burdensome for Christian liberty, dangerous, harmful, leading to superstition, or leading to materialism.  

Now of course, canonists and even laymen must be mindful that the laws of the Church can sometimes be hard to understand, and must be interpreted properly.  First, canon laws must always be interpreted in light of both dogma and Divine law.  Dogma and Divine law are of a higher nature than canon law, and canon law must always be subservient to these higher teachings of dogma and Divine law.  Thus, when a man carefully with a holy intention seeks to interpret canon law rightly, he must always give way in his interpretation first to the clear Divine laws and dogmas that both oversee the canons. Bachofen, a prominent canonist of the nineteenth century, writes concerning the general principles of canonical interpretation by private persons:

Private interpretation, viz, one given by jurisconsults not commissioned by the lawgiver, or by expert canonists (doctors), must be made in conformity with certain rules which are necessary for the right understanding of ecclesiastical- in fact of all- law. These rules are, of course, generally obeyed also by the authentic interpretors, but they are of importance especially in private interpretation and for those who wish to read and study Canon Law rightly. These rules are briefly the following: Canon 18- Leges ecclesiasticae intelligendae sunt secundum propriam verborum significationem in textu et contextu consideratam; quae si dubia et obscura manserit, ad locos Codicis parallelos, si qui sint, ad leges finem ad circumstantias et ad mentem legislatoris est recurendum. [Translated]. Ecclesiastical laws must be understood according to the proper meaning of the words considered in their context; if the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be had to parallel texts in the Code, if there are any, to the purpose of the law and the circumstances surrounding it, and to the mind of the lawgiver. Ecclesiastical laws must be interpreted in light of their wording, as borne out by the context. Hither belong various rules culled from the Roman and the Canon law: “Ubi verba non sunt ambigua, non est locus interpretationi”; “verba sunt intelligenda secundum propriam significationem” (i.e. in their usual and common signification); “verba generalia generaliter sunt sumenda” and “Ubi lex non distinguit, neque nos distinguiere debemus.” The context too must be considered, for it may be useful to compare words or sentences in the order or connection which they have with one another. … The mind of the legislator must, of course, first and foremost be deduced from the words of the law. Circumstances, context, subject, etc., also help to disclose the mind of the legislator, as well as the ratio legis, which is called the soul of the law…. But we must guard against the assumption that the true mind of the legislator may be carried into the text. Hence if all the means so far enumerated fail in discovering the true mind of the legistlator , nothing is left but to make direct inquiry by petitioning the competent authority. Therefore, we sometimes read “iuxta mentem” and the “mens” is set for explicitly; but sometimes it must be guessed at, as said before.


Clearly, the interpretation of canon law can become rather complicated, and is subject to potential exceptions and contextual issues that must be carefully sorted by the private interpretor. This is vastly different from the interpretation of dogma, which is always literal and has no recession or exceptions to its meaning. One must carefully consider context, and also seek out the mind of the legislator. Dogma, on the other hand, is always interpreted literally and without any recession or exceptions to its meaning:

Hence too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be a recession from this meaning under the name of a kind of deeper understanding. (Decree on Faith, Vatican I, Pope Pius IX, 1870 ex cathedra)


Therefore, dogma is not subject to any interpretation.  It is to be understood exactly as it is declared, with no exceptions.  And could it be otherwise?  Dogma is the highest teaching authority in the Catholic Faith.  If it was somehow unclear or exceptions could be made, no one could arrive at certainty in their attempt to follow God, and God would have kept us in ignorance of how to be perfect in His sight. Certainly, one could not use informal magisterial statements or fallible catechisms to interpret solemn declarations and dogmas, such would be highly irrational and counterproductive, and overturn the order of authority.  Yet, that is what virtually every Vatican II sect heretic does today.

Pope Boniface X is aghast at the incredible number of terrible books available in all kinds of modern formats.  Even searching in the nominally “Catholic” sections of book peddlers and other marketplaces puts one’s soul in terrible danger, as a number of self proclaimed Catholic authorities are actually liberal heretics who do not know the slightest thing about the hierarchy of Catholic teaching (dogma being highest authority, and always literal).  These wicked and disgusting people, who hated the truth, have attempted to remake the faith into their own image, to make it palpable for modern heretics.  Rather than submitting their souls humbly to teachings they like and also may dislike (and if they dislike the teachings then satan has already entered their hearts), they instead ignore the teachings they dislike so that they can please themselves.  They will all depart into the fires, for they did not serve God, but their own selves.  For example, many today attempt to deny the holiness of the Crusades and the Inquisitions, as promulgated by the Roman Pontiffs.

As a result of the dogmas concerning canon law quoted above (Auctorem Fidei and Mirari Vos), many many many heretics, both liberal and traditional, have brought themselves into condemnation, because they deny the important teaching on the goodness of the laws of the Church.  For example, a wicked traditional heretic who has formed an heretical group called “Mary’s Little Remnant”, known as Richard Ibranyi, teaches that the 1917 code has promulgated evil laws, and blithely disregards the dogmas quoted above!  In fact, there was a time when he disregarded these laws, but still considered Gregory XVI and Pius VI to be valid popes.  But as he steeped deeper into his vicious and dark errors, he now no longer even considers these men to be valid popes, and is more of a protestant heretic than a Catholic! Both Richard and those with him are on the path to hell.

Richard Ibranyi and other traditionalist heretics teach that Canon 737 of the 1917 code on baptism is a bad law:

1917 Code of Canon Law: “Canon 737. Baptism... the Sacrament which, if we are to attain salvation, must be either actually received or at least desired”.


He claims this canon teaches salvation upon one’s death can be obtained merely by having a desire for baptism.  He claims that since dogma teaches that baptism in water is necessary for salvation, this law must be bad.  But the law does not teach that merely by having a desire for baptism you can attain salvation on death without water baptism.  If this were a dogma, it would teach this, because its meaning could have no recession under any circumstances.  But this is not a dogma, it is a canon law.  This canon law can’t teach salvation on death by desire for baptism, because it has been defined dogmatically that water baptism is necessary for salvation before your death.[1]  Remember, one must always subordinate canon laws to divine law and the holy dogmas.  This is because divine laws are immediately from God, and God cannot change his moral nature, as he is eternal and perfect; and also because dogmas are declarations of truth on pain of eternal damnation, and the defined truth of God, required to be held on pain of anathema and immediate separation from the Catholic Church as a heretic, can never change. Therefore, there must be another way to interpret this canon law.  The proper way is this: if a man earnestly and righteously desires baptism, God will make sure that this man will be saved from his sins prior to death and attain to salvation, by the actual washing of water baptism (i.e. God will providentially ensure this man gets truly baptized in water before his death). In other words, a holy and righteous desire for baptism will move God to providentially ensure that you receive the actual sacrament of water baptism.  Thus the canon could be thought of as being read this way: “Baptism… the sacrament which, if we are to attain to salvation [from our sins], must be either actually received or at least desired [since God will see our desire and get us to the sacrament of water baptism].”

Heretics also teach that some other canons from the 1917 code are harmful.  They are not harmful of themselves.  It is true that some of the theologians that drafted these canons could have been heretics, since the theology behind some of the canons appears to compromise certain dogmas if the canons are not read carefully.  The harm comes from the uneducated illiterate mind of a bad Catholic on the way to heresy, or heretic, who has not studied the faith, not from the canon itself.  We will cite the additional canons below, and show that when they are interpreted properly, by putting defined dogma at the highest level and interpreting them to conform to the highest dogma, that they are not dangerous:

1917 Code of Canon Law: “Canon 1239. Unbaptized persons may not receive ecclesiastical burial, with the exception of catechumens who, through no fault of theirs, die without having received baptism, and therefore to be regarded as among those baptized.”


This canon law is easily understood, if one properly understands dogma.  One might believe this canon allows one to give catechumens a Catholic burial and consider them as saved.  But actually, it doesn’t.  It is impossible to consider unbaptized dead catechumens as “among those baptized”, since those baptized are Catholics.  It has been dogmatically defined that the sacrament of baptism is necessary for salvation. [2]  Therefore, if this canon is to be able to be useful and applicable in every case, it is clear that the phrase “no fault of theirs” is the key. Apparently, every catechumen who has died prior to baptism, died through their own faults and sins.  It is taught that God desires the salvation of all men.  Thus, if God deprived the dead catechumen of the sacrament, it would have to be precisely because the catechumen was at fault in some way.  If he was not at fault and had no sin, God would have kept him alive and the catechumen would have been baptized to fulfill God’s salvific will, since there would be nothing hindering it.  One might then retort, well doesn’t that make this canon “useless”?  No, because the statement is only a part of the entire canon 1239, which is quite useful in its first part, where it says unbaptized persons may not receive ecclesiastical burial.  Thus, as a whole, this particular disciplinary canon is not useless.  Further, it could be argued that the second portion of the canon is also useful- for teaching- since it shows that if catechumens die before baptism, it must be due to some fault of theirs, since no one who is unbaptized can be saved and considered baptized, according to Catholic dogma.  Since dogma forbids us to regard such men as baptized, in every case, it must be then that canon 1239 always points us to the idea that these men had a fault, which caused their death prior to baptism, since the other conclusion of the canon “and therefore to be regarded as among the baptized” is untenable in light of dogma.

1917 Code of Canon Law: “Canon 1258. It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics. At funerals of non-Catholics, at their marriages, and similar solemnities, provided there is no danger of perversion or scandal, passive or merely material presence on account of a civil office or for the purpose of showing respect to a person may be tolerated for a grave reason…”


This canon law is not imperfect or bad in and of itself.  Imperfect and bad people can certainly misinterpret this law, but the law itself is not bad.  The key is what does “no danger of perversion or scandal” mean?  The canon says that the person can have a passive presence, which presumably would mean passive as far as participating actively in the false rites of course.  You could be active in other ways. But the canon goes further, for in order not to cause “scandal” you would have to denounce the heretics at the service as well, loudly and clearly.  Titus 3:5 declares that we may associate with heretics for the purpose of warning them up to two times.  This is a Divine law.  Thus, if one has not yet warned a particular heretic up to two times, it would appear a Catholic could attend this service without causing scandal, if the Catholic loudly proclaimed at the service that it was from the devil, and even smashed the idols or other false items present at the service.  Thus, properly interpreted in light of the Divine law, this canon is not imperfect or bad.  Indeed, this kind of loud denunciation of the false rites “shows respect” to the dead person, by informing his friends and family that are still alive, that if they do not change their ways, they too will end up in hell just like the dead person.

 1917 Code of Canon Law: “Canon 746: An infant shall not be baptized while still enclosed in the mother’s womb as long as there is probable hope that it can be baptized when born… If the fetus was baptized in the mother’s womb, it shall, when born, be baptized again conditionally.”

One fails to see what any issue the heretic Ibranyi has with this canon.  If there is probable hope that can infant can be baptized when born (which means a substantial chance), then the infant need not be baptized in the mother’s womb, as it would cause needless danger to the mother and infant both.

Canon laws have exceptions, must be understood in light of context, and ultimately according to the mind of the lawgiver (the iuxta mentem).  Canons are not always literally interpreted like dogmas.  Heretics fail to understand this important principle. Similar to protestant heretics who believe that scripture is easy to interpret and is always literal (when it clearly is not, or they would be cutting off their hands and gouging out their eyes (Mt. 5)), a heretic also often uses scripture quotes and tries to understand all canons as though they are literal and universal every time.


FOOTNOTES

[1][2] The holy church has dogmatically defined, without the ability to recede or make exceptions to the dogma in any way, that baptism must be with real and natural water, with a real minister, with the form “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, and that baptism is necessary for salvation.  Council of Florence Cantate Domino, Pope Eugene IV, ex cathedra 1492: “Holy baptism holds the first place among all the sacraments, for it is the gate of the spiritual life; through it we become members of Christ and of the body of the Church.  Since death came into the world through one person, unless we are born again of water and the spirit, we cannot, as Truth says, enter the kingdom of heaven. The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water, either hot or cold. The form is: I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacraments, Canons on Baptism,  1547, Pope Paul IV, ex cathedra:  “CANON II.-If any one saith that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, let him be anathema… CANON V.-If any one saith that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary unto salvation, let him be anathema.”  (Remember, you can’t make any exceptions to these dogmas.  Vatican I teaches dogmas can have no recession from their declared meaning).