Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Princes of the Church...

I have a lot of smart readers so let me throw this question out there...

Who came up with the birdbrained idea that Bishops are supposed to be 'princes'?

'Princes of the Church'??

It isn't from Christ or of Christ as His directives were to flitz about preaching truth with nothing but the sandals on their feet and to follow the path to His Marrtydom, which most of them did.

Bishops (and in fact priests) give up their families, possessions, homes and if necessary their very lives to be a beacon to uphold the moral precepts of the Catholic Church in a hostile culture.

They are not princes and laity has to stop creating the thrones for them to sit their weak, craven and indulgent fannies upon. It is enabling and an obstacle to the merits of their vocation: They are martyrs.


Anonymous said...

Carol, realign yur tiara.

It is Cardinals who are princes of the Church, not Bishops.


Anonymous said...

And some of them (both bishops and cardinals) are "princesses".

Maria said...

PRINCE OF THE CHURCH. A cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, so called because he is considered the ecclesiastical equal to the prince of a reigning civil society. He is responsible only to the Pope and may be deposed by him alone.
Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary

I did not know this. I am sure there is more history to this. I just don't knoe what it is.
And some of them are princesses, rodlm arse off!

Maria said...

Here is a little more history about Cardinals taken from a site called Religious Studies:

"...Cardinals have traditionally been entitled to the same honours as royal princes. This is the origin of Article 21 of the 1929 Lateran Treaty, which stated: "All Cardinals shall enjoy, in Italy, the honours due to Princes of the Blood". The term 'Prince of the Church' is still occasionally used in relation to cardinals, though historically the term had a wider meaning...

In his apostolic constitution Postquam, issued in 1586, Sixtus V stated that, just as the Pope represents St Peter, so the cardinals represent the other apostles. They are the "counsellors and assistants" of the pontiff: they are "like his eyes and ears and the most noble parts of the sacred head, and his foremost limbs, put in place by the Holy Spirit". Sixtus also describes them as "the brightest lights of the Church, the foundations of the temple of God, and the pillars of the Christian commonwealth".

A decade later, in 1596, Henrique Henriques wrote in his Summa Theologiae Moralis:

The principal and pre-eminent dignity after that of the Supreme Pontiff is now that of the Cardinalate.... The duty of the Cardinal is to assist the Supreme Pontiff, as the Apostles assisted Christ through exercising their ministries. It is said that this duty derives from the time of the Apostles.... Cardinals are called by the Apostolic See to govern the universal Church.... Certain insignia of this rank were instituted by Pope Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons in the year 1243: that Cardinals might ride on horseback and make use of a red and purple galero or hat, as if they are ready to defend the faith with their blood and at the risk of their lives. They swear to defend the faith in this way when they are appointed....

You can read the rest at:

Carol: Good thing Sixtus isn't around lol! I don't think he'd be happy w/ whay he might encounter...

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

And some of them (both bishops and cardinals) are "princesses".


I'm not joking.

Word verification: eatfutsy.

I'm sure the "princesses" do at some of these Roman trattorias

I'm beginning to think that Blogger's word verification system has prophetic insight, as well! ;)

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Back to this whole issue of "princes of the church."

I believe it goes back at least to medieval times, when a secular, hierarchical system of royalty existed. ("Dukes," "Earls," "Counts." etc.) Instead of challenging the prevailing system (being "countercultural," as a lot of Catholics say these days), the Church adopted that system for its own use -- along with the benighted sense of entitlement and institutional arrogance that accompanied it -- and justified it through the use of "apostolic succession."

Don't forget that in medieval times, the peasants and shopkeepers were viewed as peons -- much like the laity has been viewed for centuries by the hierarchs.

None of this reflects the way Christ wanted His disciples to exercise authority, as John 13-16 reveals.

Only through massive repentence and rejection of these benighted attitudes and institutionalized arrogance can the Church be saved. Otherwise, it will constitute the vast majority of the population of "goats" at Christ's left.

Anonymous said...

Nothing has changed much.

We're still peons good for only one thing - $$$$.


Jerry said...

Prince of the Church was an honor. It still is.

The Church is a kingdom, a perfect society. The pope rules it as St. Peter's successor, and he possess absolute and universal jurisdiction. These things are de fide and can be found in Pope Loe XIII's encyclical on the unity of the church. Here are some highlights (emphasis added):

"Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles and their successors to the end of time to teach and rule the nations."

"by the fact that the bishops succeed the Apostles, they inherit their ordinary power, ... [they] are most truly called the ordinary pastors of the peoples over whom they rule."

"The Church is typified not only as an edifice but as a Kingdom."

I bring up "edifice," the "house built upon the rock," because this view of the Church, as a bastion or fortress, is under attack, just as is the primacy of the pontiff. This attack, which is now within the Church, was taught by Hans Urs von Balthasar. He called it Razing the Bastions wherein the Church triumphant gets brought down to a lowly status of searching for truth along with everyone else. von B referred to the Church as a "hollow shell." He claimed that his program was carried out at Vatican II. Unfortunately, the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger repeat and affirm von Balthasar's program.

We must therefore fight against the notion of lowering the pope and bishops from the dignity that Our Lord bestowed upon them, especially in these times when those in the Church are among her greatest enemies. To think that the Church's regal structure was (is) somehow incompatible with her mission is to say that She got it wrong for more than a millennium. That's not possible.

Maria said...

How intersting and enlightening, truly, Jerry. Thanks. I suppose it could also be said that there are some princes are doing a poor job of defending Her, al la Mahoney, yes?

Maria said...

How intersting and enlightening, truly, Jerry. Thank you . I suppose it could also be said that there are some "princes" of the Church who are doing a poor job of defending Her, al la O'Malley, yes?

Maria said...

How intersting and enlightening, truly, Jerry. Thank you . I suppose it could also be said that there are some "princes" of the Church who are doing a poor job of defending Her, al la O'Malley, yes?

Jerry said...

Maria, I'd say a majority are undeserving of the title of prince. These post-Vatican-II cardinals are, in fact, a mockery of themselves. By affirming the program of deconstruction of the Church in the V-II document "Gaudium et spes," these men are to pursue a new opening to the world and shed their supposed haughtiness of the past. However, they are now ever more aloof, ever more imperial, and ever more contemptuous of those who would dare challenge them. The new facade is a sham.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, what you described is not what Christ had in mind for His Church!

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20: 25-28)

At what point in Catholic history since Peter's death can you say that bishops and popes have obeyed this edict? Vatican II is not the issue; human nature is the issue, and human nature (especially its sinful aspects) trumps all theologies, philosophies and histories.

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.(Luke 22:24-27)

How many of these "princes of the Church" act like servants? They act more like political power-brokers and middling bureaucrats who want to protect their little turfs at any and all costs.
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean...Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them." (John 13-1-17)

You can quote "Upon this rock I will build My Church" all you want but the historical fact of the matter is that the hierarchy has acted in apostate fashion for the past 1,500 years, at least, when it comes to following these mandates of true leadership. The hierarchy has sacrificed its Petrine mandate on the altar of political power, social privledge, wealth and a class structure that treats the laity as peons. You may rest assured they will be judged by God, and found wanting:

Jerry said...

Jerry, what you described is not what Christ had in mind for His Church!

Do you mean me or Pope Leo XIII? I'm sure I could find more popes who describe the apostolic succession and the exercise of authority in exactly the same way.

Do you mean that the hierarchy in any century is generally found to exhibit corruption, that they often fail to live up to the charge of their office, and abuse their authority? I'll agree with that. Or, what I think you mean, is that the structure of governance over the last 1500 years or so is fundamentally flawed, i.e., that the popes and bishops since about the 6th century have acted against the Holy Ghost and the Words of Our Lord, in "apostate fashion" as you say? And further, that they have actively defended this false model of governance, as I quoted from Pope Leo XIII, teaching that "ruling" is willed by Christ when that is not so? That's generally what Protestants say. It's also what the new theology says, and folks like Avery Dulles whom you referenced awhile ago.

If you are saying the latter, then what do you mean by "Petrine mandate?" If the mandate doesn't come with universal authority, then it can't bind or loose, nor can it perpetuate the mandate. It could not require that every man submit to the pope to be saved.

Maybe this is a good point on which the "Petrine mandate" lives or dies: Must every person be subject to the Roman Pontiff to be saved, or not?

Carol said...

Petrine, schmetrine. Peter was crucified upside down. That is their petrine mandate.

Too much water over the damn making nice and frau-frau events rubbing elbows with tyrants and murderers looking to be treated like a prince.

They were never to be princes.

Jerry said...

Boy, the Church just had it wrong all those years.

St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, from the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia.

Jerry said...

But Carol, what is it you are hoping for when you post articles exposing the malfeasance of Cardinal O'Malley? Do you want somebody to do something about him? Who? Why would you have any hope that somebody could straighten out the mess in Boston? Furthermore what do you expect the better situation to be? What should be taught in schools? What should Sunday Mass look like? Says who? Is it a matter of getting enough popular support, e.g., throw it up for a vote? (Enough already?)

Anonymous said...

And so we see Carol's protestant core coming out.

"For when you are in subjection to the bishop as to Jesus Christ it is clear to me that you are living not after men, but after Jesus Christ, who died for our sake, that by believing on his death you may escape death. Therefore it is necessary (as is your practice) that you should do nothing without the bishop, but also in subjection to the presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ our hope, for if we live in him we shall be found in him," St. Ignatius to the Trallians.

"Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any one be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God's priests, and think they can communicate secretly with some; while the Church, which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of priests who cohere one with another," St. Cyprian. Letter LXVIII.

"You, therefore, O bishops, are to your people priests and Levites, ministering to the holy tabernacle, the holy Catholic Church; who stand at the altar of the Lord your God, and offer to Him reasonable and unbloody sacrifices through Jesus the great High Priest. You are to the laity prophets, rulers, governors, and kings; the mediators between God and His faithful people, who received declare His word, well acquainted with the Scriptures. You are the voice of God, and the witness of His will...." Apostolic Constitutions, ii-iv.25.

"Under the old law he who disobeyed the priests were put outside the camp and stoned to death by the people, or else he was beheaded and expiated his contempt with his blood. But now the disobedient persons is cut with the spiritual sword, or he is expelled from the church and torn to pieces by ravening demons," St. Jerome, Letter XIV.

"Hear also Christ saying, 'All whatsoever they bid you observe', that 'observe and do.' Thou despisest not me, but the Priesthood; when thou seest me stripped of this, then despise me; then no more will I endure to impose commands. But so long as we sit upon this throne, so long as we have the first place, we have both the dignity and power, even though we are unworthy. If the throne of Moses was of such reverence, that for its sake they were to be heard, much more the throne of Christ." St. John Chrysostom. Homilies on Colosians. Homily III.

"I believe it is the devil, who, seeing that there is no path which leads more quickly to the highest perfection than that of obedience, suggests all these objections and difficulties under the guide of good." St. Teresa of Avilla. Book of Foundations.

Anonymous said...

Get lost Paul.

Great quotes, but Carol has no problem with obedience.

Carol said...

Thanks Anonymous - you took the words right out of my mouth.

Christ warns us about the wolves and the last thing He and His Church does is instruct us to follow them.

Jerry - I'm not quite sure I understand your point. Of course we expect the government to treat our Bishops with the respect they deserve as successors to the Apostles. That does not make their vocation 'princes'.

As successors to the Apostles, they inherit their vocation. All but one were executed. There was not a 'prince' among them.

The flaw in the 'prince' ideology is manifested in Cardinal O'Malley's relationship with Ted Kennedy. He is not following Christ and the Apostles.

Alternately,reflect on Bishop Chaput.

We don't reduce our expectations that the government treat Bishop Chaput with respect, but he is the example of the apostolic vocation that follows the path of Christ.

In a priest, we see the same flaw manifested in Bryan Hehir. Alternately, Fr. Landry is following Christ and the Apostles.

How the government treats both of these men as priests, as far as I am concerned, was not the topic of discussion but I wholeheartedly agree with you that Catholics expect them to be treated with dignity and respect.

I don't think that is how the story pans out but if it makes you sleep better at night, I'm all for it.

O'Malley and his omissions is the avoidance of his apostolic vocation. He is on a mission to be liked and respected so he can fundraise. When the wolf comes for the flock, he hands them over.

What is my objective? Expectations?

I don't have any. I'm simply doing what Christ asks me to do - blowing the trumpet to warn the flock of the wolves. While doing it, some have taken a look in the mirror and unraveled themselves from the web. For me, it's a win/win situation.

Jerry said...

I think we have different meanings of "prince." I'm not talking about a head of state. Yes, there were ecclesiastical heads of territories, but that's not necessary anymore. The pope has the authority to rule, even to command armies as in the Crusades. This isn't his mission, but he can use that authority as necessary. St. Peter exercised capital punishment on liars (Acts 5), an image of the authority he has over souls.

My point is that the "Petrine mandate" conveys great authority, beyond what any prince ever had or will have. It is necessarily so. Therefore, titles of honor, such as prince, are quite appropriate for the pope and his appointed rulers of the Church. The pope's authority to clean up Boston can't be separated from his princely dignity.

The bottom line (as long as we got that all straight) is don't pull any punches when it comes to an evil prince. I think it's even fair to run him out on a rail as long as you deliver him alive to the pope.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, let me answer the questions you posed to me thus: Read Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 23.

In the Ezekiel passage, the prophet rails against "false shepherds." Yet at no time does he question the existance or necessity of the Aaronic priesthood.

In Matthew's passage, Christ criticizes the arrogance, pomposity and sense of entitlement of the Pharisees, not their office.

The question is not one of theology but of behavior.

The "Petrine mandate" means only that the Church is to be based on St. Peter's assertion of Christ's identity as Messiah, and is to be run by people (such as St. Peter)who agree with that assertion. It's not a license for those successors to grab power, amass wealth and titles, build secular political influence, create class distinctions or tyrannize the laity. Even a cursory reading of Scripture would make that clear.

The kind of interpretation that you and Leo XIII favor runs counter to St. Paul's assertion of a "priesthood of all believers." That doesn't mean jettisoning a priesthood that consecrates the Eucharist; it means that all the redeemed have equal status before God, and all have equal responsibilities to seek holiness.

The interpretation you favor also runs counter to St. Paul's assertion that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female" in Christ. IOW, all artificial and even natural earthly demarcations pale in significance to one's status as "redeemed through and by Christ."

Jerry said...

So, Joseph, Pope Leo XIII is off base. Let's consult two more popes to see if you win the trifecta (hopefully not).

From the encyclical Mirari vos, Pope Gregory XVI (Context: the pope had been under attack and called an army to his defense.)

2. We had to use Our God-given authority to restrain the great obstinacy of these men with the rod. (1 Cor 4:21, citation in original)

From the Syllabus of Errors, Ven. Pope Pius IX. The following propositions are condemned as erroneous:

23. Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals.

24. The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect.

26. The Church has no innate and legitimate right of acquiring and possessing property.

27. The sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs.

34. The teaching of those who compare the Sovereign Pontiff to a prince, free and acting in the universal Church, is a doctrine which prevailed in the Middle Ages.

I think error no. 34 kind of nails this whole thread, don't you? Would you say that Gregory XVI and Pius IX are off base, too? If so, should we question some or all of their other teachings? Again I'll ask, must every person be subject to the Roman Pontiff to be saved, or not?

Carol said...

Jerry, I love your zeal for the House of the Lord.

We are wordsmything. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said about the authority of the Pope. All doctrinal.

You lose me with your assertion that calling them 'princes' is an infallible teaching.

Are they rulers? Of course.
Is there a hierarchy? You betcha.

Christ's Kingdom is not here on earth and their vocation is that of a martyr.

Jerry said...

You lose me with your assertion that calling them 'princes' is an infallible teaching.

I don't think I said that. It's not doctrine. It's just that the term has been used from the beginning in reference to St. Peter, and it's an appropriate comparison. Pope Pius IX makes this rather clear in no. 34.

I guess I don't have a problem with "prince." Even for cardinals. Even though some of them are named O'Malley, Mahoney, Bernardin, McCarrick, Law, Wuerl, Wojtyla, Ratzinger, Cushing, de Lubac, Dulles, Dearden, etc.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, you suggest that salvation depends on submission to the Pope. Well, what if the Pope promotes teaching that runs counter to both Scripture and Tradition?

Please read the following carefully, then get back to me:

Jerry said...


I guess you don't believe submission to the pope is necessary for salvation.

I skimmed your article. It seems right on the mark. It's a shame that JPII went against the death penalty. However, that is small potatoes compared to what any sedevacantist can pull up on him. As far as I'm concerned, Pope Benedict has made statements, prior to his elevation, that are heretical and even more devastating with regard to fundamental doctrines such as Original Sin. For a detailed overview of this, please visit the site War Against Being. I should add that the author, James Larson, is avidly anti-sedevacantist, like me.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, here's why I posted the link to my article. Many Christian leaders think they know the truth but upon closer examination, either have little (if any) grasp of it, are completely ignorant of it or reject it entirely for their own theories (as JPII did with capital punishment).

That's why I don't believe one must submit to the Roman Pontiff (or to any earthly Christian leader) to be saved.

Besides, such a statement effectively places any such leader over and above Christ Himself! The Pope is a vicar and no vicar is greater than the power he represents.

Salvation only comes through submission to Christ by embracing His atoning sacrifice as one's own and by obeying Him through the guidance of the Holy Spirit...which, sadly, is at variance with all too many churches these days.

Otherwise, Christianity becomes nothing more than Scientology, with blind obedience and group loyalty replacing faith.

Jerry said...

Then you deny Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, A.D. 1302. Here is his final ex cathedra pronouncement:

"Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

Our Lord demands that men be subject to those whom He ordained. The bull explains this in greater detail. Your reasoning is Protestant.

Carol said...


There is a moment in scripture when Christ is giving Peter his authority and He tells Peter that whatever he binds as teaching, so shall even Christ Himself bind.

There is no other way. Christ had to close the gap between mortal limitation of a Pope to receive His guidance and the flock to whom He predicates salvation upon His Church's definitive teaching.

Jerry is absolutely right that you have been misguided by protestant theology.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry and Carol, if the Roman Pontiff fails or refuses to submit himself to obvious divine revelation (which was the case w/JPII and capital punishment), isn't effectively submitting to such a man an act of apostacy?

And if the Holy Spirit is supposed to keep the Pope from preaching error in "faith and morals," then where was the Holy Spirit when JPII was forming his teaching on capital punishment -- which, you can't tell me, isn't an issue of morals?

And if Catholics are supposed to submit to a pontiff who is incorrect on such a major issue, then what's the difference between Catholicism and Scientology, when it comes to the behavior of the faithful?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Finally, Jerry and Carol, if salvation must mean submission to the Roman Pontiff, are all Protestants and Orthodox who do not convert irrevocably damned?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

And if all Protestants and Orthodox are irrevocably damned despite faith in Christ, then isn't the Catholic Church saying that allegiance to it is more important than allegiance to God and His Son? And, if that's so, isn't that another form of idolatry?

Carol said...


I can't help you out of this one. You have to be willing to open yourself to submitting to it, and you are not.

I don't know what you think is so objectionable about JPIIs teaching on Capital punishment. I don't see anything that opposes Church teaching. Further, given the number of criminals across the world, the number of criminals executed fall well within the margins of saying that its use is rare. You don't have to be a math major to figure it out. Take the year 2010. Add up criminals convicted in every country across the world. Then add up the number of executions and do the percentage.

If a Pope is in error and teaches the flock that error and sin results, the flock will not be held accountable for following his counsel. Those of us who are in a state of grace don't have to worry about Christ closing this loophole because we won't be following those errors. This is to capture innocent/naive/intellectually challenged people.

We are speaking about the matrix of teaching and how it relates to salvation - and how Christ closed a loophole of mortal flaws, sin and other intellectual limitations of mortal men. If we are idolatrizing anything, we are idolatrizing Christ's One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. You have to separate it out to understand why Christ set the structure up this way.

Jerry said...

Joseph, I didn't realize that capital punishment was part of divine revelation. In any case, JPII did not bind us to his opinion. It does, however, show us that there was something very unTraditional about his mind. As for binding statements from him, the only one I recall was on the ordination of women.

Popes can err, but in matters of faith they cannot bind us to error. You need to make the case that JPII has taught heresy from the Chair, but even more, you need to have it judged by the proper authority, which can only be the pope himself. This is what Abbe de Nantes tried to accomplish, for he knew that if the pope could be forced to confirm or deny, he will confirm the true faith. Short of having a judgment, we stay under the pope's authority. But that isn't the same as parroting his opinions, which would be idolatry.

We have the assurance of the first Vatican Council that there will always be a pope, and that his faith cannot fail. The latter is in accord with Our Lord's prayer for St. Peter which the Council declared to apply to all Peter's successors. Hence, even if it is hard to see how these recent popes could be called faithful, we know that somehow the good God has kept their faith from failing. This is the only way to maintain the unity of the Church.

Yes, all Protestants and Orthodox who fail to convert before passing will be damned. Pope Boniface's declaration cannot be interpreted otherwise.

Allegiance to the Church is identical to allegiance to God and His Son. God made it so because He made us to cleave to a tangible, visible authority. That you would separate the two tells me that you don't accept that God would grant His authority to men, namely, that what a man would bind on Earth would be bound in Heaven. You know as well as I do that this is a fundamental claim of the Catholic Church, i.e., that She has Divine authority to bind and loose. Either God did create such an authority, or He did not. If He did, then you had better submit to it.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Joseph, I didn't realize that capital punishment was part of divine revelation.

Then you didn't read my article very carefully. Compare the following:

“Murder is forbidden….Any person who murders must be killed. Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image (Genesis 9: 5-6, New Living Translation).”

“Abolition of the death penalty … is only one step towards creating a deeper respect for human life. If millions of budding lives are eliminated at their very roots, and if the family of nations can take for granted such crimes without a disturbed conscience, the argument for the abolition of capital punishment will become less credible... (Cardinal Renato Martino, November 1999)

“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life...A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil...I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.” (Pope John Paul II, January 1999)

There is absolutely no way that any intelligent person can reconcile Martino's and the late Pope's statements w/the divine imperative on this issue recorded in Scripture.

Word verification: retru

How I wish....

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

JPII did not bind us to his opinion.

Then, Jerry, why didn't he make the distinction? Moreover, why did he make a statement that not only was contrary to scriptural revelation, but to his own catechism, as well?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

We have the assurance of the first Vatican Council that there will always be a pope, and that his faith cannot fail.

And this would relate to the prophecies of St. Malachy how? I'm not saying that those prophecies are necessarily correct. But there's an obvious disconnect between them and the statements from Vatican I that you cite.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

As far as capital punishment being part of divine revelation, St. Paul said it best: "The wages of sin is death." The Mosaic Law makes that plain; just look at the number of capital crimes enunciated there. God will it to be that way because He wanted the Israelites to become a society tht reflected His principles and revelation.

Frankly, that's why Christ died. He shed His blood as the perfect atonement for sin.

Christ did not die to create an institution of latter-day Pharisees, which the Catholic Church's has become has become. He died to redeem those who would embrace His sacrifice as their own (you'd have to study the OT, especially the Pentateuch, to understand the necessity of blood atonement; it would take too long for me to do here).

Jerry said...

Here's his "highest level" statement, from the encyclical Evangelium Vitae:

"It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society."

This and the CCC allow for the death penalty. Furthermore, "absolute necessity" is undefined, so how could this be binding? That his reasoning is flawed -- ignoring the traditional teaching on retribution -- is unfortunate, but that doesn't mean you must reject the traditional understanding.

Don't get me wrong. This is an egregious undermining of tradition on the part of the pope. This is part of the grave chastisement from God we're living through today. Once Pope John XXIII colluded with Russians to prevent a condemnation of Communism at Vatican II, God has given us over to wolves. But the Church still prevails.

As for the prophesies of St. Malachy, that's neither here nor there. It's not dogma, not even close, and is open to various interpretations.

Carol said...

Thank you Jerry for so beautifully explaining this to all of us.

Joseph, I don't understand where you got all this from. It is definitely protestant.

The wages of sin is death is a metaphor for the spiritual death that accompanies sin. I've heard a lot of poppycock in Massachusetts, but never has anyone tried to translate it's meaning to we are supposed to kill people who sin and it is the basis for the Church's teaching on Capital punishment.

I would have to review JPII writings on the death penalty but while I thought they were imprudent timing given the confusion of the masses, I thought it was completely in tune with the Catechism.

In any event, as Jerry has explained, every time a Pope writes something, does something, says something, opines about something, it isn't scribed in the archives as definitive Church teaching.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Carol, I'm not saying we should kill people who sin. I'm saying that God demands the execution of murderers because murder is the ultimate descecration of the divine image in humanity. If Genesis 9:5-6 doesn't mean that, then what does it mean?

Besides, the idea of the "wages of sin" being "death" means more than you think it means. It means complete (and, eventually, permanent) isolation from the Source of all life, God both this life and the next. Perhaps that's what you mean and I'm misunderstanding you.

As far as the Mosaic Law is concerned, I obviously didn't make myself clear. The Mosaic Law reflects God's attitude toward all sin, since nothing sinful can enter His Presence, unless it has been redeemed and sin atoned for. That doesn't mean we should execute, for example, homosexuals, Sabbath-breakers or disobedient children, let alone all people who sin. If we did that, there would be nobody left on Earth. But the whole idea behind Israel's implementation of the Mosaic Law was to reflect Israel's status as God's oracle to the world and Israel's responsibility to reflect God's nature as a people.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

In any event, as Jerry has explained, every time a Pope writes something, does something, says something, opines about something, it isn't scribed in the archives as definitive Church teaching.

So how is the average Catholic supposed to know how to discern between definintive Church teaching and personal opinion, especially on a subject like capital punishment for murder? You say, "read the cathechism." Fine. But what happens when a Pope's statements on an issue such as capital punishment contradict the catechism? The quotes I cited from JPII and Martino are abolitionist in nature; the catechism's teaching isn't. Moreover, the vast majority of bishops in the West (such as Chaput) have taken an abolitionist approach because they think that the Church teaches abolitionism. If bishops and archbishops can be confused, what do you think will happen among the clergy and laity?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, regarding certain papal statements being infallible, I'm under the impression that infalliblity comes into play only in matters of faith and morals and has only done so twice in Church history: when defining the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, neither of which have anything to do with your citations from Leo XIII, Gregory XVI or Pius IX.

Jerry said...

I don't know where folks come up with the notion that infallible pronouncements happened only twice. Another time was in Vatican I in the definition of ex cathedra. Another time was Pope Boniface VIII, quoted above, because the statement fits the criteria outlined in Vatican I. (I once had a priest tell me that, because Boniface came before Vatican I, that ex cathedra didn't apply. What balderdash!)

We are assured that the "ordinary magisterium" is also infallible. By this I understand that a teaching can be regarded as revealed truth if it has been the consistent teaching of popes and councils. (I'm sure I can find plenty to back up what I just said, but I'm not going to do so today.) This is why I quote multiple popes speaking in official capacity to show that the pope has a divine right to rule, has universal jurisdiction, and even has authority to use the sword if necessary. I could quote more popes if it would help you believe this truth.

Is Piux IX's Syllabus infallible? It cannot be taken lightly, as have some who have dared to call Vatican-II a "counter syllabus." The pope took special care to compile specific errors and handed it to the universal Church, not merely to some bishop's study group. All the teachings are consistent with papal teaching both before and after Pius IX. For example, the insanity of freedom of the press was also condemned by Gregory XVI.

So, you decide if you want to stand at your judgment and speak against Boniface VIII, Pius IX, Gregory XVI, Leo XIII, and more. You tell God that His popes got it wrong all those centuries, that they're a bunch of pharisaical hypocrites guilty of imposture.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, let me focus on two of your comments:

...the insanity of freedom of the press...

Jerry, do your realize that such "insanity" makes it possible for you and me to comment on Church issues w/o interference from the state? Do you also realize that such "insanity" enables Carol to pursue the truth w/o such interference?

If you favor the Church having a special, privleged relationship with the state, do you realize that people like Carol likely would be threatened with excommunication, imprisionment or worse simply for revealing the truth about episcopal misdeeds?

Moreover, do you realize that God -- as the ultimate free Being in the universe -- created humanity in His own free Image? Yes, sin marrs that image but does that mean that God has destroyed the prototype, as it were?

Finally, do you realize that thousands of devout American Catholics -- such as my father -- fought to defend the very "insanity" that you so deprecate through the words of two Popes? You might as well go to a national cemetery and spit on their graves.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

So, you decide if you want to stand at your judgment and speak against Boniface VIII, Pius IX, Gregory XVI, Leo XIII, and more. You tell God that His popes got it wrong all those centuries, that they're a bunch of pharisaical hypocrites guilty of imposture.

I don't need to do that, Jerry. God already will have judged such men and found them wanting.

How do I know this? Because the fundamental thrust of their words justfying the papacy's political and military perogatives so contradict the Messiah's own life and words that seeking those perogtives can, with some justification, be viewed as an act of apostacy.

Christ never sought political power. When the masses tried to make Him a king after He fed them miraculously, He fled. Nowhere did Christ tell any of His disciples to see political power.

I find it highly interesting that, in response to my scriptural arguements, you respond with papal proclamations. Do you believe that Scripture is divinely inspired? If so, then how do you square the passages I cited with the papal proclamations you site... since they are, invariably, at odds with each other?

Michael said...

When did this blog become an instrument of Feeneyism and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Pius IX's encyclical "Quanto conficiamur moerore" of 10 August, 1863 addressed to the Italian bishops, he said:

"It is known to us and to you that those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin."

Jerry said...

I find it highly interesting that, in response to my scriptural arguments, you respond with papal proclamations.

I find it highly interesting that papal proclamations carry no weight to someone who calls himself Catholic. I won't be haggling over Scripture with you, Joseph. I learned long ago that most discussions with Protestants come down to a standoff between my interpretation of my favorite verses and their interpretation of their favorite verses. The first pope warned us about those using Scripture "to their own perdition."

I find it highly interesting that a supposed Catholic would pit the pope against Scripture; that he would belittle the argument of a brother in the faith for his reliance on the teaching of the Pontiffs.

Furthermore, I find it highly interesting that a supposed Catholic is unaware of the longstanding apologetic work of popes, Fathers and Doctors, clearly defending the institution, primacy and authority of the Roman Pontiff, relying on both Scripture and Tradition. Do you deny that it exists? Do you imagine that, should I publish an essay in these comboxes, you would be swayed to submit to the Pontiff? Or do you simply reject it?

On the subject of freedom of the press, or more accurately, license of the press, you take to hyperbole in accusing me of spitting on soldiers' graves. By you logic, I could infer that your relatives and mine died to protect the right to publish pornography and pro-homosexual literature. Nonsense. As even good Americans rightly limit the more egregious publications, a Catholic country would further abide by the Index (remember the Index of Forbidden Books?). The press in a Catholic country would not be prohibited from publishing truth, but rather, would be held accountable for lies and heresy. That would be a good thing.

As for blogging, my only justification for opening my mouth is necessity. Yes, I will have to answer for my posts and for daring to assume the authority to speak on Catholic matters. I strongly suspect that, while I will be punished for many intemperate remarks, my fate would be much worse should I have remained silent.

Jerry said...

Hi Paul, er, I mean "Michael." Fr. Feeney hasn't been mentioned, nor the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To jump there, you had to be aware of my prior posts on Bryan Hehir Exposed where you, under the name of "David," went into an irrational fit over my mentioning the name of Fr. Feeney. Is that your plan here, too?

Ven. Pope Pius IX also said that it is a sin the say there is salvation outside the Church. He further declared, in Vatican I, that the without the Catholic Faith no one has ever been justified. You don't do justice to Pius IX to take his words out of context.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, the problem isn't the rejection or acceptance of papal teaching, ultimately. The problem remains how the actions and attiudes of many Popes square with revelation. Obviously, the Church will have sinners until Jesus comes. But when recognized authorities manifestly reject revelation for their own perogatives, what's a believer to do?

When you cited papal proclamations, I assumed you supported those statements. Am I wrong?

As far as freedom v. license is concerned, it's up to the individual to be morally responsible for his actions. On a thread concerning abortion, I stated tht the "pro-life" movement could best counteract abortion by encouraging teenagers to develop moral and ethical responses so their hormones do not rule them, and to stand alone (if necessary) against a culture that sexualizes them from an early age. Those are things that society has lost the will to do.

What you say about the press in a Catholic society sounds great. Unfortunately, human nature has other ideas. Just look at the vast majority of Catholic journalism today, from L'Osservatore Romano to the archdiocesan newspaper. When the editors and reporters haven't sold out to the hierarchy, the've sold out to their own views (American, Commonweal, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, etc.)

Regarding Scripture v. Tradition, both should reinforce each other, not contradict each other. Claiming that such political and temporal perogatives as those cited by Pius IX, for example, are "Tradition" effectually debases Tradition as a source of revelation, since all temporal perogatives will eventually pass away.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Jerry, my point wasn't to insult you and I apologize for doing so. My point was to say that, given the ideas you cited (such as Pius IX's about "the insanity of the freedom of the press"), certain practical consequences follow.

Besides, the fact that people abuse freedom doesn't necessrily mean that freedom is bad. This is where, I think, Pius IX got on the wrong track. Tares invariably grow with wheat, as it were. But we have the choice to be one or the other. The analogy isn't the greatest (since grains have no consciousness) but you get the point.

Michael said...

Jerry, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I haven't posted on the O'Hehir site as Tom, Dick, Harry, Paul or even my real name Michael. Sorry, I can't take credit for being one of your imaginary friends (or enemies as the case may be).

Father Feeney was a holy and excellent priest who fell into error. I don't get apoplectic over a mention of his name. His supposed followers and the St. Benedict Center, the Slaves etc. are a different matter. I pray that Benedict XVI's recent efforts will be successful in re-integrating them into the Church.

The Pius IX quote speaks for itself and you will have to also explain away CCC sections 846-848. As an enthusiast I am sure you will spin like crazy to so so.

Jerry said...

The spin is all yours, "Michael." I failed to note your falsified translation of Pius IX, replacing "eternal torment" with "eternal punishment." For even the aborted suffer eternal punishment, though without torment.

Somehow you know things about me, such as my affiliation with St. Benedict Center. Would you want to let me in on it? Would you want to explain your insulting tone, too? Especially to Carol. Why shouldn't I be suspicious of your identity?

Michael said...

Jerry, it is possible to discern things without stalking someone. You are personally unknown to me.Until you regularize yourself with the Church, I'd prefer to keep it that way. It's still, Michael

Jerry said...

I see. You're just an average Catholic who happened by this blog and became concerned that someone quoted Pope Boniface VIII. So you kindly interjected yourself to see if we'd like to discuss extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

Whoops. That's not how you joined in, was it?

"You are personally unknown to me." Ha! I'm sure we've never met in person, yes. Good mental reservation!

I guess there's no apology coming to Carol. Rather, you continue with more insulting accusations, assuming I need regularization with the Church.

I think your game is over. As a blog policeman sufficiently versed in the crime of "Feeneyism," as you call it, you would know that both entities that go under the name of St. Benedict Center are fully Catholic, as the bishops of Worcester and of New Hampshire will affirm. Why should I not accuse you of calumny?

As this is Carol's site, it's not my place to tell you to go police another blog. But I'm done with this exchange. God bless.

Michael said...

You've found me out. I have your lodgings and your car bugged. I fly a black helicopter and buzz around the St. Benedict Center on a daily basis.

I'm also a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Illuminati. I've been waiting to pounce for a very long time. Finally you implied the magic words "extra ecclesiam" and my dark lords ordered me into action.

As hard as it it is for you to accept, everything is not a conspiracy against you.

Carol said...


I'm deeply concerned about the errors you are posting here. Please drop me an email, I'd like to talk to you privately. (I would also ask that you stop posting these errors here)

I normally don't let these kinds of errors post up, because I'm concerned about the uncatechized presuming what they find on a Catholic website is Catholic. We all had to learn the hard way that our local parishes do more damage to theology than they teach It and this dynamic spreads everywhere. But, I let it play out because Jerry was doing such a great job bringing Catholic teaching into the discussion.


Most of the stuff about Feeneyism thankfully, goes right over my head. I once read the Catechism of Trent an some resources given to me by an individual who was trying to convince me the Chair of Peter was sede vacante since Vatican II and all of Her Sacraments were invalid.

Since there is no way that Christ would offer salvation by way of some kind of a secretive process outside of His own Church,I never really immersed myself into the theology that debunks the poor souls who fell off of the ship starboard.

Jerry, to my knowledge, has always led sedevanists back to Our Lord's Church.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Carol, specifically what errors are you referring to?

Carol said...

Joe, Beginning with the errors in your comments regarding the authority Christ gave to the Chair of Peter to loosen and bind teaching to which even He submits Himself to, and to which we are therefore subject, which gives birth to the other errors which Jerry has been addressing in this thread.


Shoot me an email.