Should You Go to a CMRI Mass or Take

Part in the Worship of Other Traditionalists?

+ + +

How Denial of Common Dogma, Automatic Excommunications

& Religious Separation Are Inextricably Bound Together, and Why

These Considerations Also Apply to the SSPX, SSPV, FSSP & etc.


+++ 1. Are CMRI Masses an Option? +++


My dear reader, the answer to this question is simple:






Because the CMRI notoriously & pertinaciously denies the Salvation Dogma.


How so?


Most if not all CMRI clergy and laity will say they believe in ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ --- they’ll even decry the espousal of religious indifference and religious liberty at Vatican II. However, what most if not all of them mean by ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ and what a real Catholic means by ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ are two very different things.


The CMRI means, “Only if a person knows he can’t save his soul outside the Catholic Church, then --- and only then --- there is no Salvation outside the Church for him.” Whereas, to the contrary, the Catholic Church has always meant, “Whether or not a person knows that he can’t save his soul outside the Catholic Church, there is, most literally, no Salvation at all, ever, outside the Church for him.”


If you understand this without protest, my dear soul, there is hardly any more to be said.


+++ 2. Salvation Is Narrow, Ignorance Is Broad +++


Yet do you doubt the narrowness of the Church’s teaching in this matter, dear reader, while thinking yourself Catholic? Then you need to read the short articles found here and also here. Too, bear in mind the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who warned us, “Enter ye [all of you] in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait [not wide] is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” (Matthew 7:13-14 DRC, all emphasis & annotation added)


Nevertheless, it’s pretty obvious. Because why bother with missions when much of the world --- due to not knowing any better and a presumably sincere desire to do their best --- is destined to enter Heaven regardless of believing in the Catholic Faith? And why endanger a soul by giving him explicit knowledge about this Faith when, left as he is in his ignorance, he’d probably go to Heaven, whereas, if told about Catholicism in explicit terms, he’d most likely reject it and wind up burning in Hell as a result? Why even bother saying there’s ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ when the phrase can’t possibly apply to so many human beings in existence due to the qualification of an ‘invisible connection’ to the Catholic Church via an ‘invincible ignorance’? The qualification about ‘invincible ignorance’ and ‘invisible connections’ in this case is not then a mere qualification --- as if it were only a little unimportant footnote on the side --- but the main point, rendering the phrase ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ woefully inadequate if not outright deceptive!


Because there’s not, truly, ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ if, in fact, all sorts of people find salvation visibly outside the Church by means of an ‘invisible connection’. Nevertheless, were we to stubbornly insist that the ancient & hallowed phrase of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ means ‘invisible connections’, as well, then what is the point of authoritatively pronouncing that there’s ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ when no one can even begin to know for sure who is actually on the inside of this Church due to an ‘invisible connection’ via an ‘invincible ignorance’… and who is not?


Where is the logic in that?


The Church in this case should never have taught ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ to start with! The phrase is obviously a warning… a caution lest we not take seriously the need to be inside the Catholic Church in order to save our souls. Thus, if made into a mere hypothetical ‘observation’ --- which for countless souls can’t be known for sure whether they’re inside the Church or not --- then what in the world is the phrase for?!? It serves no purpose; it is meaningless. Indeed, it’s a big, fat, huge lie!


+++ 3. Don’t Be Lulled Just Because Popes Haven’t +++

Yet Condemned ‘Salvation Through Ignorance’ by Name


Nor should we be lulled into unwariness by the fact that no pope in the last century or two has clearly & explicitly condemned, with infallible authority, the notion of ‘invincible ignorance’ saving someone who is visibly outside the Catholic Church and thus in the practice of false religion. A notion need not be condemned explicitly to be explicitly opposed to what the Church has already clearly & explicitly proclaimed with infallibility. Both history and magisterium are stark:


No self-proclaimed Roman Catholic in ancient times ever dared to believe ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ to have any loopholes, qualifications or exceptions whatsoever. Indeed, as the Athanasian Creed of the 4th century makes vivid against the possibility of someone laboring under ‘invincible ignorance’ while believing in the Arian heresy of old, the precise opposite was starkly upheld!


Again go to this article to see that the Solemn Magisterium is plain; there is no room left in their statements for the possibility of an ‘invincible ignorance’ saving someone who is, in actuality, visibly outside the Church. Such an idea is a novelty. It is an innovation of the last five hundred years which plainly contradicts what Catholicism has taught since the beginning of Christianity nearly 2000 years ago. Ergo, we do not need an explicit condemnation by name --- of the idea of ‘invincible ignorance’ saving anyone --- to know that it is rank heresy, just as Roman Catholics did not need the explicit condemnation by name of Arianism in AD 325 at the Nicene Council to be sure --- prior to 325 --- that Arianism was heretically opposed to what had been taught since Christ & His Apostles!


For instance, let us look at a papal bull from 1302, one of my favorite examples of the Salvation Dogma defined infallibly without room for any loopholes or qualifications like ‘salvation through invincible ignorance’ left in place:


“Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins.... Therefore, if the Greeks [Eastern Schismatics, what are today called adherents of ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’] or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors [not subject to the supreme authority of the papacy], they must confess not being the sheep of Christ [then they must admit that they don’t truly belong to Christ and hence aren’t really Christians], since Our Lord says in John ‘there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.’ ....Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII’s Unam sanctum, emphases & annotations added)


This is my favorite infallible definition for obvious reasons; several others exist. But Boniface VIII’s Unam sanctum is perfect… because how can anyone in his right mind read what he said and not realize that he is requiring explicit knowledge of the Catholic Faith in order to save your soul? I mean, think about it. How could any human creature be subject --- in obedience --- to the Roman Pontiff (the Pope!) if he doesn’t actually know that the Pope is the Visible Head of Christ’s Roman Catholic Body? The Eastern Schism had been around for several hundred years by the time Boniface wrote this --- hence, if the Holy Ghost knows these latter generations of Easterners are laboring under an ‘invincible ignorance’ that can let them be saved despite not actually obeying the Papacy, then why would He have allowed Boniface to say what he infallibly said? Because Unam sanctum very vividly & irrefutably states, “….that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”


No exceptions, no loopholes, no qualifications permitted, period… it is the language of total exclusion. And yet it is therefore logically impossible for this absolute necessity to be met unless someone explicitly knows that the Catholic Church exists and that a legitimate Bishop of Rome is the visible head of this Catholic Church. Do you see, dear reader? Do you comprehend why a condemnation by name against ‘salvation through ignorance’ is not needed in order to know, with infallible certainty, that it is a heresy against the Catholic Faith? Not to mention that ancient Catholics never understood ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ to mean anything other than that explicit knowledge of the Catholic Religion is utterly necessary for an adult of sound mind to save his immortal soul!


And if that weren’t enough, consider this --- that so-called ‘invincible ignorance’ is a double-edged sword. People who think it can save someone, do so almost always applying it to someone with a sound mind. That is to say, they think someone who has a God-given mind to see things and know things can, nevertheless, be ‘invincibly ignorant’ about something. (This is why, until recently, such people said unbaptized babies go to that part of Hell called the ‘limbo of the babes’, strangely unaware that if anyone at all is ‘invincibly ignorant’ then it would be infants. Why wouldn’t God take these little ones, of all people, into Heaven if ‘invincible ignorance’ is so efficacious and God is so merciful in the way they like to say?) Whereas the only truly invincibly ignorant persons are babies, as well as those who are mentally impaired or insane from earliest youth. Only they couldn’t possibly ever know what they need to know about something!


Or hasn’t God given most human beings minds to know and understand? Hasn’t He made it obvious to anyone without an axe to grind (read: atheists, agnostics and other philosophical materialists) that there is a Creator and that our creation is organized for a particular purpose? Isn’t it, then, sensible & rational to ask Who this God is and what our purpose may be? Is it not right & reasonable to beg this Creator to tell us what we must do to please Him and so meet our purpose in this existence? And is God unwilling to answer such a request, is He incapable of hearing it? Or unable to respond with explicit testimony about the Catholic Faith?


Starkly not. This is why ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ in its most ancient & narrow sense is not uncharitable of God. God can bestow the graces to convert anyone, anywhere and anywhen in this life! There is no one beyond His reach. Anyone can become Catholic if they want to… and even if they don’t know, to begin with, that the Catholic Church exists. The conversion of individuals and nations is replete with examples of miraculous intervention by God --- even before missionaries from the Church came to them. And yet, if the notion of ‘salvation through ignorance’ were true, then that same ‘invincible ignorance’ makes anyone, including Catholics, subject to ultimate uncertainty in this life.


We repeat:


If ‘salvation through invincible ignorance’ were true, then nobody --- and I mean nobody --- can have any hope of knowing what he needs to know in order to please God. Anyone at all could be ‘invincibly ignorant’… even if they’re Catholic! Think about it. How would you know that you’re not ‘invincibly ignorant’? If you’re ‘invincibly ignorant’ then you’re ignorant, too, about yourself being ‘invincibly ignorant’! The notion of ‘invincible ignorance’ applying to people with sound minds thus calls into question everything that anyone thinks they know.


After all, how can we be sure we know it? What if we’re wrong? What if we’re ‘invincibly ignorant’ and can’t know any better? I mean, isn’t that what we claim about those who we say couldn’t possibly know about the Catholic Faith, that it’s the True Religion? Don’t such people go around thinking, honestly, that their religion (or lack of religion) is the correct position to take? Don’t they consider it impossible, or highly unlikely, that they’re mistaken? So how can this same principle not apply to us, to those who are Catholic? What if we’re wrong? What if we’re ‘invincibly ignorant’ and just can’t know any better? How are we supposed to be sure about what we think we know when something called ‘invincible ignorance’ exists that can afflict people with sound minds, making it impossible for them to know what they ought to be able to know?


Do you see the irrational trap that comes from a mixed up idea of what ‘invincible ignorance’ really is?


Don’t get me wrong, dear reader:


The Hierarchy ought to speak up and act in order to keep souls from being confused and deceived into everlasting hellfire; notwithstanding, wise Catholics cannot in the meantime pretend that the matter is unclear or undecided when it is not. Moreover, we have no functioning Hierarchy right now due to the Great Apostasy raging in our midst. Consequently, we cannot afford to wait for the Solemn Magisterium to act when it might take who knows how many decades longer to occur… and when it is not necessary to know, based on what the Hierarchy has already authoritatively declared in years past, that the notion is anathema to our Faith. In short, our God-given minds can make logical conclusions based on what has been already clearly & explicitly taught by the Hierarchy. Anything beyond this --- like clear & explicit condemnations by name --- is pure gravy. They’d only make what is already clear, even clearer.


Meanwhile, the Catholic Church since the very first century has always sought to evangelize everyone everywhere lest IGNORANCE cause souls to die without the Catholic Faith and become damned forever!


+++ 4. How to Know the CMRI Teaches Heresy: +++

Just Ask Them


So why does the CMRI believe in their much wider road to salvation based on ‘ignorance’?


Because they’re a snapshot of Catholicism in the United States during the mid-20th century. By this point, after two or three generations of instruction, the Baltimore Catechism had infected almost all members of theU.S. Church with the idea that ignorance of the Catholic Faith, allied with good intentions, can save you. An early edition of the Baltimore Catechism in the late 1800s was relatively modest. It merely advanced the notion that validly baptized persons (which would usually mean only certain types of Protestants) could save their souls if they were ignorant about the Church. Then, once that idea had taken root and there was no outcry against it, the overseers of the Baltimore Catechism by the mid-1900s then dared to extend the notion to all non-Catholics, whether or not they had been validly baptized, and thus no matter what religion they were.


Yet how can we know that the CMRI believes in this, you might wonder?


Easy. Just ask them. Call up a CMRI priest by phone. Make an appointment. Or drop in to his parish and see if he has a few minutes to speak. Be pleasant, of course. There’s no need for rudeness. Make small talk, if you wish. But get to the point after a while. Say something like, “Father, I was wondering. If a Hindu dies as a Hindu, unconverted to the Catholic Faith, will he go to Heaven?”


It’s important to phrase the question carefully. CMRI folk are like the Arian heretics of old. The Arians used orthodox ways of saying things. They employed typical Catholic words & expressions. Ergo, the usual way of saying things wouldn’t reveal them for what they were. You had to ask really specific questions that would elicit really explicit responses in order to reveal what they truly believed. For example, you couldn’t just say, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” That wouldn’t get anywhere. They’d only say, “Yes.” Rather, you’d have to ask something like, “Do you believe that Jesus, as the Son of God, is God from all of Eternity, an Uncreated Being, equally as much God as He is a man?” Then you’d sit back and watch them squirm. Then they’d become silent or refuse to answer, or mumble something unintelligible, or give a non sequitur that didn’t address the actual query, etc., etc.


Likewise the CMRI-type person. Simply asking if they believe in ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ won’t get anywhere. They’ll just say, “Yes.” You have to be specific. Zero in on the key thing that distinguishes a relatively ‘conservative’ salvation heretic from someone who holds the Salvation Dogma correctly. Get down to the bottom of what they mean by Catholic words & expressions. For instance, what do they mean by ‘no Salvation outside the Church’?


Does this orthodox way of saying things mean for them what the Church has always meant to say? Or does it not mean something very, very different from what Catholics of old intended to say by it?


That’s the real concern. That’s what truly matters. That’s the nitty gritty. So ask them:


“If a Hindu dies without converting to the Catholic Church, can he go to Heaven?”


Given that the person is orthodox, he’ll say something like, “Absolutely not. A Hindu must convert to the True Religion in order to have hope of salvation. Outside the Catholic Church there’s no chance to save your soul.” Whereas a CMRI person might respond along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be able to say. Only God knows the state of that Hindu’s immortal soul.” To which you would then need to rejoinder:


“Okay, let’s say he was a really nice guy. Very sincere and tried his hardest to be good. But he didn’t know about the Catholic Church and was perfectly content being a Hindu. He had no desire to become Catholic, and certainly wasn’t trying to profess the Catholic Faith. He died a confirmed Hindu. Can this particular Hindu ever go to Heaven?” To which the CMRI person will probably retort along the lines of, “If he’s invincibly ignorant and follows the law of God as best as he knows how, then, yes, he could go to Heaven. He would have an implicit desire for baptism and be invisibly joined to the soul of the Church. Only God knows precisely who these people are, or how many of them exist. We cannot judge.”


Voilá! Heresy revealed and made plain as day.


But, just to be fair, ask him again in a slightly different way. Say something to the effect of, “Father, I just want to make sure I understand you. If a Hindu dies as a Hindu --- not actually practicing the True Faith or even trying to be Catholic in any way at all --- are you saying, then, that this particular Hindu can, dying in the practice of his Hindu religion, go to Heaven?”


This will make certain his answer wasn’t a fluke or an accident, but that he truly meant to say it. And again, if he’s from the CMRI, having been trained and catechized by them, then he’ll repeat something to you like what we’ve already stated above. He might even get irritated at you, or become impatient, and refuse to answer again. Because this topic tends to rub a lot of people the wrong way. They don’t like the implications of the Church’s obvious and unqualified teachings about salvation.


How can I know this?


Because I’ve talked to people who are like this. I’ve also talked to other people that have talked to people who are like this. And I’ve read what many people have to say about them talking to people who are like this. It all boils down to the same thing… people who are like this don’t want to believe in ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ like it’s always been meant to be understood by the Catholic Church. They want to make the Narrow Way of Salvation into a Much Broader Road unto Salvation; they want to do away with the need for explicit knowledge of the Catholic Faith and change it into invincible ignorance about the Catholic Faith. In this way no one needs to become literally Catholic in order to be saved, and they are spared the trouble of upholding this truth in the sight of those who don’t want to believe it.


+++ 5. How to Know the CMRI Teaches Heresy: +++

Read Their Stuff


But are you too lazy or too shy to ask these questions, my dear soul?


Then get hold of the CMRI’s magazine, The Reign of Mary. Precisely speaking, get hold of the Winter 1992 issue, Vol. 24, No. 70. In this particular issue --- of which the overall magazine functions as a kind of official mouthpiece for the organization as a whole --- you will find an article entitled, “The Salvation of Those Outside the Church”. In it you will discover plenty of statements that prove their adherence to the Broad Road of Salvation via invincible ignorance and an invisible connection to the Catholic Church. I am not certain, but I believe this issue is still available through back-ordering if you visit their website and email them about which older magazines are in print.


In the meantime, there is testimony on the Internet about this issue of their magazine. The sources aren’t necessarily good Catholics, yet it is not to be discounted merely because of that. It can be found in multiple places and is strong circumstantial evidence of the CMRI’s adherence to salvation heresy. There is also the proof of the Baltimore Catechism that CMRI parishes use in teaching their members; to my knowledge, every one of them relies on an edition printed in the last 130 years. Simply look at one of these copies and you will find, in a section about the Church, the claim that ‘ignorance’ can save a person despite not professing the Catholic Faith or really visibly belonging to the One True Church. Nevertheless, if that isn’t enough, the CMRI’s present website in at least one spot offers testimony to their heresy. When comparing Vatican II teachings with the infallible teachings of Roman Catholicism --- and especially what the Church says about religions that don’t claim to be Christian, in contrast to what Vatican II said about them --- the CMRI in an online article says:


“The attitude of the Catholic Church towards pagans, Mohammedans and Jews has always been clear --- there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Even supposing a person were invincibly ignorant of the true Church, he must still follow the natural law to be saved (implicit baptism of desire).” [Retrieved 18 July 2011 from, paragraph one, all emphases added]


The evidence is clear, then, my precious soul. Whether you are industrious enough and brave enough to talk to them yourself or not, asking specific questions about the nature of salvation, the proof is there. At the very least, if you are of good will but are too nervous to talk to them about this matter, then you must be exceedingly cautious, knowing that there is very good reason and numerous testimonies to cause you to suspect them of salvation heresy. To think otherwise is foolhardy, if not wicked.


+++ 6. May We Not Get the Sacraments +++

from Heretics When We Have No Other Option?


Yet why should you avoid them if this is so? Aren’t the sacraments terribly important for a Catholic to receive? Without proper Catholic priests, can’t we justify ourselves in going to these heretics in order to get the Blessed Sacrament as long as we don’t espouse their heresies as our own?


The answer to the last query is stark --- absolutely not. But if you doubt or are uninstructed about this matter, then please go here to find out more. Your immortal soul is at stake and you cannot afford to be stubborn, arrogant or careless in this matter. The webpage at this link will quickly but more than adequately inform you about the authoritative mind of the Church in this kind of situation.


Briefly, though, ponder these two canon laws and why the Holy Church thought fit to include them in Her regulations: “It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1258, Paragraph 1) And: “A person who of his own accord and knowingly helps in any manner to propagate heresy, or who communicates in sacred rites [in divines] with heretics in violation of the prohibition of Canon 1258, incurs suspicion of heresy.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2316. All emphasis or annotation added in this and the previous quotes.)


Meanwhile, reflect on a little bit of history, easily authenticated by anyone with access to a good public library or the World Wide Web. Did the Church of Rome in the past one thousand years since the Schism of the East ever permit Catholics to go to the masses of Eastern Schismatics (self-styled ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’) when no other mass was available? Was this ever a permissible option?


The rejoinder is facile: never.


In short, the Roman Catholic Faith comes before the Roman Catholic Mass. You must first have the Catholic Faith whole & entire in order to have the privilege to receive the Holy Eucharist, and, if in a position where no Catholic priest is rightfully available to you, you are not then allowed to attend a non-Catholic mass --- no matter how validly consecrated the Eucharist may be --- to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament from the hands of a man who is not truly Catholic or who knowingly serves those who are notorious & pertinacious heretics or schismatics. Indeed, it is this public & obstinate display of heresy or schism ---  either from himself or in those  he serves ---  which makes his Eucharist illegal, i.e., not lawful to receive… and regardless of its validity (realness) otherwise, as good sense and canon law make clear!


To do so would be tantamount, through your visible and voluntary presence at their services of public prayer or worship, to joining with them religiously, of pretending to be in spiritual communion with them as if both you and they belong to the same divine body and profess the same divine faith. You, at a bare minimum, are suspect of heresy by doing so.


We say again:


Your fully aware and willful participation in their worship or prayer is, in the eyes of God and His Catholic Church, acting like the two of you are religiously united, espousing the same dogmas and obeying the same leadership. It is, in the judgment of both God and Church, the same in appearance as becoming a heretic or schismatic, just like them, and regardless of an orthodoxy that you may keep hidden in your heart. You are, at a bare minimum, to be suspected of heresy or schism by doing this.


That pretty much sums it up.


+++ 7. Isn’t There a Loophole If Heretics +++

Aren’t Yet Officially Condemned by the Church?


“But what about the Hierarchy?” you might say. “Doesn’t the Magisterium need to rule and make it plain that so-and-so is off-limits to worship with? Until then aren’t we off the hook --- at least technically --- in joining with the public prayers of heretics? Doesn’t the Great Schism of the West demonstrate this, doesn’t the example of the Arian Heresy prior to the Nicene Council reveal this principle?”


My dear & precious soul, think very carefully. You may have genuine concern, yet I suggest to you that your real motive, deep down, is a fear of isolation or the lack of sacraments. In other words, you are afraid of not having anyone with whom you may join in worship on Sundays and socialize with as if everyone involved is a Catholic, or you are aghast at the pain of being deprived of the Eucharist. Completely alone is how you would feel, with neither human companionship (or very limited companionship) nor sacramentally divine companionship to assuage you in your grievous trial.


I do not mock you for this concern. I understand it. I go through it myself. I therefore sympathize.


Let us remember, though, that Jesus Christ went through an identical suffering. More than we can imagine, he felt isolated from everyone around him. Only His Blessed Mother could even begin to truly comprehend His Divine Nature & Mission. In the desert alone for forty days, without food or drink, he faced hideous temptation by the Devil and yet remained firm in God’s Catholic Testimony. In His Passion and on His Cross, He hung bleeding & dying, bereft of all comfort and with most of His disciples having completely abandoned Him. He even exclaimed in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A cry that went unanswered, for He died in His Misery.


We, too, as real Catholics can cry out the same words in our agony during the Great Apostasy. Except for this --- Jesus was sinless & guiltless, undeserving of what He suffered. We are great sinners, and deserve everything we get. Nevertheless, we must imitate His Constancy. We must duplicate His Patience. We must suffer forlorn until the bitter end, if that is what God requires.


That said, formal pronouncements or rulings from the Hierarchy can be very helpful… but they are not always necessary. If the conflict is over a common dogma --- something that every true Catholic with at least an average mind must know & profess in order to be Catholic to begin with --- then any Catholic with at least an average mind can know when a common dogma is being professed publicly in a right fashion and when it is not. Otherwise, how in the world could he know that he himself is Catholic by professing this common dogma? Ergo, where common dogma is being notoriously & pertinaciously denied or opposed --- i.e., the denial or opposition is obviously public and no good excuse for the appearance of this objective wickedness exists --- then we may be sure of this:


That the denier or opponent is not Catholic.


We can be sure because notoriety (something known to the public, whose meaning is clear, explicit and beyond rational dispute) and pertinacity (the same thing repeated at least two or three times with no reasonable excuse left for it, especially after a charitable admonishment) make it stark.


+++ 8. Automatic Excommunication Is the Key +++


And if not Catholic, then the denier is excommunicated. For how can you be a visible part of that which you visibly deny? And if denying what makes a man Catholic in the first place, then how can you remain Catholic when you deny these things, these common dogmas? Which is why the Church decrees:


“All apostates from the Christian faith, and all heretics and schismatics: (1) are ipso facto [by this very fact] excommunicated.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2314.1, all emphasis & annotation added)


To say “ipso facto” (Latin for ‘by this very fact’) is the same as to say that the excommunication is ‘latae sententiae’. In other words, that it is automatic, no official declaration from the Hierarchy needed to make it happen. The relevant part of the Hierarchy (say, a bishop with jurisdiction over the particular man in question) may, if willing and able, make a formal declaration in the matter later on. However, this declaration would merely affirm what has already taken place --- to wit, an excommunication that occurs through the force of canon law by the very fact of the crime itself. A crime against God’s Religion that any good Catholic could recognize as such due to its public, and hence visible, nature, and which is morally certain because of its obstinate commission, i.e., it’s obviously not a fluke or accidental thing.


Delicts [offenses] of heresy and apostasy are dealt with most severely…. [D]elicts against faith are visited with her heaviest punishments. The heretic immediately incurs excommunication, and is liable to further vindictive punishments. The reason is plain. Heresy indicates such a destruction of the Christian character of the delinquent, and, being externalized, has such potentialities of hindering and preventing the teaching of revealed truth to others, that immediate and decisive action must be taken to prevent any spread of the contagions of error.” (The Delict of Heresy by Rev. Eric MacKenzie, page forty-three. Published by The Catholic University of America in 1932. All emphasis & annotation added.)


Fr. MacKenzie, who wrote the book cited above from which we quote, was, as far as I can tell, a salvation heretic like practically everybody else going by the name of ‘catholic’ in the United States during the 1930s. Nevertheless, his The Delict of Heresy has much good information in it, orthodox information which explains authoritatively exactly what I have been saying. Namely, that automatic excommunications are automatic precisely because the person excommunicated can no longer be a visible part of that which he visibly denies, and thus must also be cut off from those who are still Catholic so as not to inflict on them the spiritual disease --- heresy or schism --- that he espouses. Waiting for an official condemnation in this case before acting like the excommunication is certain would be needlessly reckless… allowing deadly teachings or rebellion to spread where an immediate remedy is necessary to stop the destruction of even more precious souls! If the crime is notorious & pertinacious denial of common dogma, then no more certainty is needed; the Hierarchy cannot make any more sure that which is already sure due to it being a stark public fact. A later formal decree would only serve to clarify things for Catholics who are ignorant & untaught, or who themselves are quietly obstinate about this same crime. As another canon law expert from the early 20th century states:


“A penalty latae sententiae [Latin for ‘given (already passed) sentence’], whether corrective or vindictive, binds the delinquent ipso facto [by this very fact] both in the external and in the internal forum, provided he is conscious of the crime [meaning, in the case of common dogma, that he meant to say or do what he said or did against the dogma and even if he doesn’t know it’s dogma to begin with; or, as is the case with deeper dogma, that he both meant what he said or did against the dogma and also actually knows it’s a dogma, if only after being admonished].... The text continues [the text of the particular canon law being discussed, which is Canon 2232.1]: and in the external forum no one is allowed to demand this self-execution of this penalty on the part of the delinquent unless the crime is notorious…. which leaves the issuance of a declaratory sentence to the discretion of the superior and demands it only when the parties insist or when public welfare is at stake.... A declaratory sentence does not constitute a penalty, but simply affirms that a penalty has been incurred, and hence throws the penalty back to the moment when the crime was committed.” (A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, Vol. 8, Bk. 5, pp. 102-4. Published by W.E. Blake & Sons, Ltd., in 1922. All italicizing of Latin words and quote in English from canon law in the original published text. All other emphases & annotation added.)


By the way, in the commentary above the word “conscious” is essentially equivalent to the requirement for ‘pertinacity’. That is to say, the apparent crime (of word or deed against the True Religion) must not have been a fluke or accident, but actually intended by the one who speaks or acts. For crimes against common dogma, at least two or three incidences of the same kind against the Catholic Religion are necessary to make it surely “conscious” and hence ‘pertinacious’… and even if the offender does not know, for some reason, the common dogma he is violating (in which case he was never Catholic to begin with and his lack of true Catholicity is only now being revealed by his very public & repeated mistake). For crimes against deeper dogma the same requirement holds --- of at least two or three incidences of the same kind against the Catholic Religion --- but one must also make sure that this person knows about the deeper dogma (which is deeper because it is not part of that minimum absolutely necessary to make a person of sound mind Catholic to start with). Without this specific knowledge about the deeper dogma a fellow Catholic cannot justly presume the offender to have intended to offend… which is why, normally, crimes against deeper dogma need a functioning Hierarchy in order to judge the situation rightly, and why, normally, crimes against deeper dogma do not incur automatic expulsion.


+++ 9. Does the Great Schism of the West Excuse Us? +++


Which brings us to the Great Schism of the West. This schism was not over common dogma; it was not even a division over deeper dogma. In fact, it had nothing to do with heresy. It was a confusion over the arcane rules of papal election. In short, there was a dispute about who, amongst two (and later three) viable candidates, really was elected pope. No one rejected a claimant because he was heretical --- they rejected him because they didn’t think he’d been rightly elected.


Nonetheless, knowledge of arcane rules of election is not needed to save one’s soul: thus why Catholics could be on the wrong side during this Great Schism and not automatically suffer God’s Wrath. A person could be genuinely confused, literally unable to know who he should support & obey. This is, as it were, a very real example of ‘invincible ignorance’, an ignorance that, in this particular case, Heaven neither demands it must be overcome in order to save one’s soul nor guarantees to aid you in overcoming as if it was absolutely necessary to save your soul. As a result, even saints were on opposite sides during this horribly chaotic period while still being, in truth, actual saints. Consequently, one could not correctly presume automatic excommunication if someone chose the mistaken side. Schism between Catholics back then was objective yet not necessarily culpable; wise Catholics pardoned their opponents for splitting during this unavoidably troubling but mostly venial, or utterly inculpable, confusion.


Once this Great Schism was over, though --- all Catholics uniting under the leadership of Martin V, who was elected pope at the end of 39 years of division --- a problem demanded Martin’s attention. Lots of priests in the area of Germany were living in concubinage (having a wife, which was legally forbidden to the clergy in the western part of the Catholic Church) and good Catholics, stung by their consciences, were refusing to participate in certain priests’ masses due to these priests being accused (whether satisfactorily proven or not) of committing this scandalous public sin and thus highly suspect.


What should the pope do?


Martin V responded with a document called Ad evitanda scandala, which was part of a German concordat that the Holy See agreed to in 1418. The text of this document relieved Catholics of any presumed duty to avoid such accused or disputed priests in matters of religion until the proper Church authority ruled against them and passed public sentence. Or, to put it another way, no one would be held guilty of going to such a priest (who was actually living in concubinage) for the sacraments until higher Church authority with jurisdiction in the matter ruled against the priest and publicly excommunicated him, forbidding his parishioners from going to his masses.


+++ 10. Why Ad evitanda scandala Can’t Apply to Heresy +++


Yet can this same papal document justify us in going to a CMRI mass?


Not at all. What Martin V did in the fifteenth century only applies to Catholics who are declared excommunicated, not heretics or schismatics who are automatically excommunicated.


The point?


A heretic or schismatic is a heretic or schismatic in the eyes of others as soon as his crime is notorious & pertinacious. There is thus no ultimate need for a higher Church authority with jurisdiction to do what is already automatically done via Canon Law, or to make plain what is already factually stark. That is to say --- and as we’ve seen prior to this --- Church’s Canon Law makes excommunications of notorious & pertinacious heretics or schismatics an automatic thing. It does not need a bishop with jurisdiction to rule formally and make a public announcement. An announcement from someone in authority might be helpful, providing guidance for confused Catholics or strong boundaries for rebellious Catholics, but the excommunication itself occurs whether or not a Church authority says something, and the blatancy & obstinacy of the heresy or schism itself makes it plain and inarguable for any good-willed Catholic of sound mind to see. It happens regardless of a jurisdictional bishop speaking up publicly.


We say once more:


Automatic excommunications are automatic! An official declaration can only affirm what has already occurred by operation of the Church’s Canon Law. Where heresy or schism is notorious & pertinacious, Catholics do not need a jurisdictional bishop to formally rule or announce in order to know that the crime of heresy or schism exists and that its punishment of excommunication is carried out.


And why would that be again?


Because automatic excommunications are automatic.


Automatic… as in, it happens automatically. No need to do anything official to make it happen. The process is ready to go on its own, all set up beforehand in the Church’s Canon Law, and is instantly put in motion as soon as the crime of heresy or schism comes out into the open for any real Catholics to see.


It’s automatic.


Indeed, think about it carefully. Why would the Church even bother putting anything into Her Canon Law about automatic excommunications (‘latae sententiae’ that occur ‘ipso facto’) if this kind of excommunication can never be known until the Hierarchy issues a formal declaration?


The whole thing is pointless.


Because if no one can know it happens until an official declaration, then the person who is supposedly excommunicated ‘automatically’ is still treated by everyone around him as if he is a part of the Churchas if he’s not excommunicated. Hence, to be honest & logical, the Church in Her Canon Law would instead have to say that the excommunication takes place only after the proper ecclesial authority makes a public announcement --- and not that it occurs automatically!


I beg the reader’s pardon for being repetitious. However, in years of experience I’ve found this canonic principle is only rarely understood. It’s like a sticking point, either because someone truly didn’t know about it at all (and prior to the Great Apostasy, when did a Catholic have to know about this principle, how often would they have needed to act on it?) or else they’ve heard about it but are nervous or stubborn concerning its application (and before the Great Apostasy, there was always a Hierarchy to depend upon despite some excommunications being automatic… whereas now, without a functioning Hierarchy, if the laity doesn’t know, who’s left to identify those people that are automatically cast out?).


+++ 11. Driving It Home: +++

Automatic Expulsions Are Automatic


Consequently, let us review evidence from the Church’s Canon Law one more time:


“All apostates from the Christian faith, and all heretics and schismatics: (1) are ipso facto [by this very fact] excommunicated.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2314.1, all emphasis & annotation added)


And what does this canon law, or other canon laws like it, mean?


Delicts [offenses] of heresy and apostasy are dealt with most severely…. [D]elicts against faith are visited with her heaviest punishments. The heretic immediately incurs excommunication, and is liable to further vindictive punishments. The reason is plain. Heresy indicates such a destruction of the Christian character of the delinquent, and, being externalized, has such potentialities of hindering and preventing the teaching of revealed truth to others, that immediate and decisive action must be taken to prevent any spread of the contagions of error.” (The Delict of Heresy by Rev. Eric MacKenzie, page forty-three. Published by The Catholic University of America in 1932. All emphasis & annotation added.)


That’s pretty clear. But could it be made any clearer?


“A penalty latae sententiae [Latin for ‘given (already passed) sentence’], whether corrective or vindictive, binds the delinquent ipso facto [by this very fact] both in the external and in the internal forum, provided he is conscious of the crime [meaning, in the case of common dogma, that he meant to say or do what he said or did against the dogma and even if he doesn’t know it’s dogma to begin with; or, as is the case with deeper dogma, that he both meant what he said or did against the dogma and also actually knows it’s a dogma, if only after being admonished].... The text continues [the text of the particular canon law being discussed, which is Canon 2232.1]: and in the external forum no one is allowed to demand this self-execution of this penalty on the part of the delinquent unless the crime is notorious…. which leaves the issuance of a declaratory sentence to the discretion of the superior and demands it only when the parties insist or when public welfare is at stake.... A declaratory sentence does not constitute a penalty, but simply affirms that a penalty has been incurred, and hence throws the penalty back to the moment when the crime was committed.” (A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, Vol. 8, Bk. 5, pp. 102-4. Published by W.E. Blake & Sons, Ltd., in 1922. All italicizing of Latin words and quote in English from canon law in the original published text. All other emphases & annotation added.)


Excellent. But I’m still wary. Can I see this topic stated still another way?


Ipso facto denotes the automatic character of the loss of membership of a religious body by someone guilty of a specified action. Within the Roman Catholic Church, the phrase latae sententiae is more commonly used than ipso facto with regard to ecclesiastical penalties such as excommunication. It indicates that the effect follows even if no verdict (in Latin, sententia) is pronounced by an ecclesiastical superior or tribunal.” (Entry for ‘Ipso facto’ at, paragraph three, under the subheading of ‘In religion’ and retrieved on 28 July 2011. Italicizing of all Latin words in original text. All other emphases added.)


My dear soul, the facts are plain. As a layman in the Catholic Church, we do not always need a Hierarchy in order to know, with moral certainty, that excommunication has taken place when it comes to heresy against common dogma. All we have to see is that the crime is both notorious and pertinacious. Given these things, then we can reasonably conclude the excommunication was automaticaccomplished by the force of canon law itself, without need of official ruling or public announcement from a Hierarchy.


How, then, does this apply to Pope Martin V’s Ad evitanda scandala?


Even if someone did not want to admit that Martin V intended his words in Ad evitanda scandala to apply solely to a Catholic guilty of a public crime against morals (such as priests in the western part of the Church openly having wives), the force of the Church’s Canon Law as authoritatively issued in 1917, centuries after Martin V’s papal document in 1418, thereby supersedes --- causes the earlier law to no longer have the force of current law --- the older law. In reality, this is not the case. The evidence is sufficiently vivid for a thorough historian to see that, while Martin V may not have composed this document as carefully as he should, he was not consciously going against a necessarily wise and millennia-old tradition concerning the automatic excommunication of all notorious & pertinacious heretics or schismatics… that notion only came about in the following century or two, theologians of a modernist bent misinterpreting his intent --- perhaps on purpose --- in order to avoid the fulfillment of an ipso facto expulsion, of those guilty of a public crime against faith, from the Church’s Sanctuary.


This explanation, by the way, applies to St. Thomas Aquinas’ words in his Summa Theologica, too. Certain clever people will cite him where he makes a distinction between priests who are heretics, schismatics & excommunicates and those priests who are merely sinners. That is to say, between a priest who is a notorious & pertinacious heretic or schismatic and thus automatically excommunicated, if not excommunicated already in some non-automatic but formal way… and those who are simply great sinners (but not against dogma!) in a very public way, or at least publicly accused of some serious moral crime. We cannot treat these latter priests (who allegedly sin against morals), the saint asserts, as excommunicated until the Hierarchy investigates the matter and officially says so.


The correct interpretation of St. Thomas’ words on this topic is hugely obvious when you read their full context and don’t have an axe to grind (read: a prejudice that you’re determined to ‘prove’ regardless of what the truth is). The aforementioned clever people, though, insist that the term ‘sinners’ has to refer to heretics, schismatics & excommunicates --- and despite what the context makes clear! (Not to mention that, even if Thomas meant what they mistakenly want to think, God gave the charism of infallibility to popes in their official capacity and not to doctors of the Church in what they write.) Then, turning to something Pope Innocent III solemnly stated via the 4th Lateran Council, they pretend that Innocent ‘proves’ their mangling of St. Thomas’ words. Which is utter nonsense --- but more on that below in chapter thirteen in just a moment.


+++ 12. Does the Arian Heresy Excuse Us? +++


Bringing us to the Arian Heresy. For here we do have a dispute over dogma. Indeed, a clash over common dogma, which makes all the difference in the world since notorious & pertinacious denial of common dogma causes a person, if Catholic to begin with, to be automatically excommunicated. This is part of the Church’s Canon Law, as we’ve seen again and again, and it’s because no one can be joined to that which he does not actually submit. After all, if your arm did not agree with your head or wish to acknowledge its own proper function in your body, constantly disputing with and violently attacking the rest of the body --- there being no way to make the arm behave and submit to its place in the sensible scheme of things --- then could that arm remain a part of your body?


Absolutely not. It would have to be removed in order to safeguard the rest of your body.


Even so with the notorious & pertinacious heretic or schismatic. He opposes the proper function of Christ’s Body, the Church, or refuses to submit to the Church’s Visible Head, a legitimate pope. And if there’s no way to get this heretic or schismatic to behave himself and submit to his place in the scheme of Christ’s Ecclesial Body, then he must --- for simple good sense, the sake of honesty and the welfare or survival of members of the Church --- be excommunicated.


In the case of a deeper dogma or a more challenging & complex problem, the excommunication would normally need to be officially ruled upon and announced in order to take effect.


Not so the notorious & pertinacious denial of a common dogma.


This is dogma that anyone of sound mind must know so as to be a part of Christ’s Body in the first place. Ergo, it is dogma that anyone of sound mind can recognize --- provided the denial is both notorious and pertinacious --- is being denied. And since it must be believed so as to be Catholic to start with, then its denial is equivalent to an arm refusing to submit to its place in the scheme of things, constantly disputing and violently attacking its own body. Therefore, the denier must be automatically excommunicated, to protect the body, as we’ve already seen from canon law itself.


We reiterate:


The notorious & pertinacious denier of a common dogma is automatically excommunicated. The excommunication is not contingent on an official pronouncement by the Hierarchy… it is automatic. An official pronouncement might be good; it might avoid confusion or obstinacy on the part of certain Catholics. But it is not --- we repeat, not --- necessary for the excommunication to take place. An automatic excommunication occurs whether or not it is later officially announced. And it does so because any real Catholic can know when notorious & pertinacious heresy has taken place.




The Arian heretic denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. And yet the Divinity of Jesus Christ --- His Eternal Divinity before all creation as One of Three Persons in the Godhead --- is a common dogma, taught by Jesus & His Twelve Apostles and included in the Apostle’s Creed since the very first century. As a result, when a Catholic became Arian and denied Christ’s Divinity, he was automatically excommunicated from the Church and ceased to be Catholic.


This is not speculation, nor is it debatable. It is canon law and thus hard fact.


Consequently, when a Catholic priest or bishop went bad at that time, during the fourth century when Arianism struck terribly and spread widely throughout the ranks of the Church, a good & wise Catholic could know, with complete moral certainty, that he was not to have anything to do, religiously speaking, with this excommunicated Arian. And he could know because a common dogma was being notoriously & pertinaciously denied, and that, therefore, an automatic excommunication --- as well as automatic loss of office --- had taken place.


+++ 13. The Problem of Confusion Amongst Catholics +++


All the same, not every Catholic is equally knowledgeable. Plus, novel situations can arise that no one has ever yet faced, including the clergy. This was the case with Arian Heresy in the early AD 300s. On top of this, Arian heretics were --- as we noted before --- famously difficult to tease out into the open. They used the same Catholic words & phrases, they professed the same Catholic formulas & creeds, they worshipped in the same Catholic devotions & ceremonies. You could not always know, merely on the surface, what they meant. Hence, how were they to be recognized for their heresy?


This is why confusion was rampant, at least in the first few decades of the heresy’s ascendancy. At first, most real Catholics didn’t even know that anyone was an Arian heretic to start with. Then, when aware of the rise of Arian Heresy, many real Catholics didn’t know how to identify, for sure, exactly who was an Arian heretic. Next, when finally aware of a particular someone’s Arianism, many (maybe even most) Catholics didn’t know that this particular someone could no longer be Catholic due to an automatic excommunication. And, if that were not enough, even if aware of the Arian’s automatic ouster from the Church, many Catholics didn’t realize that, when a priest or bishop is a notorious & pertinacious Arian heretic, they should no longer participate in his masses or receive the sacraments from him… and despite the fact that he hasn’t yet been officially declared as so with both a formal and public pronouncement from the Hierarchy.


This is because the Arian Heresy was massive, quick & unprecedented. It’s also because most laity --- and even much of the clergy --- never study these things or think about them deeply. Ergo, how are they to know what to do in the face of such a crisis?


This is why I am writing what I am writing, to make Catholics aware of these things today, right now.


Which then brings us to the point about Pope Innocent III and the 4th Lateran Council that we mentioned in chapter eleven just above. Because he solemnly approved the Council where it stated:


“Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics… If any refuse to avoid such persons after they have been pointed out by the Church, let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction.” (4th Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, in AD 1215)


As already hinted at, certain clever people make much of the clause “…after they have been pointed out by the Church…” Aha! say they. Innocent III makes it plain that a Catholic doesn’t have to avoid these heretics in matters of religion until the Church has officially declared them to be heretics.


In reality, though, this is not the case. How can we know?


Because Canon Law provides for automatic excommunication of all notoriously pertinacious apostates, heretics & schismatics. “All apostates from the Christian faith, and all heretics and schismatics: (1) are ipso facto [by this very fact] excommunicated.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2314.1, all emphasis & annotation added) Automatic, as in the Hierarchy does not have to act further or announce publicly to make it happen. It already happened… automatically. Ipso facto, by the very fact of the notorious & pertinacious apostasy, heresy or schism itself. And what have we seen that Canon Law also says?


“It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1258, Paragraph 1) And: “A person who of his own accord and knowingly helps in any manner to propagate heresy, or who communicates in sacred rites [in divines] with heretics in violation of the prohibition of Canon 1258, incurs suspicion of heresy.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2316. All emphasis or annotation added in this and the previous quotes.)


Therefore, if you take part in the religious services of those who are automatically excommunicated, then you are committing an objectively unlawful act (Canon 1258.1), a deed that is against the Most Holy Law of both God and His Church. And if you know people are automatically excommunicated --- or if you ought to know, just not facing up to your God-given obligation to figure it out --- then you are not only committing an unlawful act by taking part in their religious services, but you are as well incurring the suspicion of heresy (Canon 2316) by doing so.


It is to this that the 4th Lateran Council was referring. To wit, not every Roman Catholic is equally knowledgeable. If they were, then I wouldn’t have to write this article, telling Catholics that they shouldn’t have anything to do with the CMRI or other so-called ‘traditionalists’ because of their salvation heresy. But inasmuch as these purported Catholics do go ahead and participate in the sacraments of the traditionalists, then it’s unlawful to do what they’re doing, whether or not they know any better. And inasmuch as they do so of their own free will, knowing that these traditionalists are indeed heretics, then they make themselves fall under suspicion for holding the same heresy as the traditionalists.


And that’s what the Lateran Council was talking about. If the heretic is a heretic because he denies a common dogma, then many Catholics are going to be confused, not knowing what to do since they don’t know that notorious & pertinacious heretics against a common dogma are automatically excommunicated even without a formal declaration from the Hierarchy. Such confused Catholics then end up, oftentimes, religiously mingling with these automatically excommunicated heretics, committing an objectively unlawful act by doing so. Nevertheless, their guilt is excused or reduced in the meantime by their inculpable ignorance. Once the Hierarchy makes a formal declaration, though… ah, well, then they have no excuse left, do they? The Church has spoken and they should know better. Or, if the heretic is a heretic because he denies a deeper dogma, then Catholics must normally wait until the Hierarchy investigates carefully so as to have moral certainty in the matter and rule officially.


In either case, the conclusion is clear:


Once the Church makes a formal declaration, no Catholic is excusable and will be excommunicated by a vigilant Hierarchy for mingling religiously with heretics who have been pointed out. Whereas, before a formal declaration is made, such a Catholic --- who mingles religiously with those who are notoriously and pertinaciously heretical against a common dogma --- is not excommunicated but, if doing so of his own free will and knowing that those he mingles with are notorious and pertinacious heretics, he makes himself look like he may hold heresy and so, in the sight of other Catholics, comes under reasonable suspicion of being a heretic.


This is what Pope Innocent III and the Lateran Council were talking about, and it’s because simple laymen… and even priests and bishops… can get confused, not knowing the right thing to do. Which is understandable. I mean, isn’t confusion the very nature of heresy & schism when it arises?


+++ 14. Modernism… the +++

Greatest Crisis the Church Has Ever Faced


It certainly is. And we are facing a crisis equal to the Arian Heresy of the 4th century, which afflicted the Church until the AD 600s. Indeed, we are facing a crisis that exceeds the Arian Heresy. For this is the Great Apostasy near the time of the end with Christ’s Return and, like a corresponding bookend to the Arian crisis near the time of the beginning of the New Testament with Christ’s Advent, we face the Modernist Heresy of the eighteenth century (which is when this horrible scourge spread in earnest amongst Catholics, although its origin, like Arianism in the AD 300s, was even earlier).


How much longer will it last?


I know not. I do know, though, that we cannot begin to battle it effectively, not even in our own personal lives, until we know the facts and act accordingly. Catholics not knowing the facts --- or not caring in spite of knowing the facts --- are what allowed the Modernist Heresy to flourish. Likewise the Arian Heresy. And until Catholics knew the facts --- and cared about them --- the Arian Heresy was not defeated effectively. Fortunately, the Church held the Nicene Council in AD 325, primarily to combat Arianism. The great and saintly Athanasius was a mighty blessing, bringing clarity and resolve to its bishops’ minds about how to stand against what was, at that time in the fourth century, the greatest threat to Catholicity that had ever existed.


Now we face an even greater threat… and I am no Athanasius. Yet nobody is totally off the hook as a result. We are still called upon to stand up in the face of confusion, where clarity resides in our minds, in order to fight the enemy that confronts us. And, to make matters worse, we have no functioning Hierarchy to defend us like good shepherds. We are sheep all alone facing the wolf.


How will the lamb survive?


By depending humbly on God’s Graces. St. David, though but a boy, bravely faced the giant warrior, Goliath, and slew him. So we, too, may use our little slingshot, armed with the small stones of Catholic Truth which our Mother, the Holy Church, has placed at our disposal in Her rocky streambed. For while Her sacramental waters are denied us to a great extent, apart from the fount of baptism --- this being our just punishment for our sins during these apostate times --- Her Solid & Foundational Rock is still there, just as safe and sure as ever to stand upon, if only you know where to put your feet.


And that Rock… each of Her small stones… is your weapon: truth against lie.


Catholics in the AD 300s finally saw the truth that was already at their disposal, and acted accordingly. They separated from Arian heretics and refused to receive sacraments from the hands of notoriously & pertinaciously heretical priests or bishops. The Hierarchy had to officially act before many of them could know what to do in the face of an unprecedented crisis. However, no such excuse is left for us. We have the Church’s Canon Law and we have nearly two thousand years of Church Teaching & History to guide us, if only we know how to humbly hear, humbly acknowledge, and humbly obey these lessons.


The lesson is stark in this case. We cannot fraternize religiously with notorious & pertinacious heretics against a common dogma. Most, if not all, CMRI adherents uphold salvation heresy, which is the root of the Modernist Heresy. They are really no different, in the final analysis, from the rest of the world. They just don’t go quite as far as the rest of the modernists, and hold on to a lot of Catholicity. Nevertheless, Catholicism is a whole package. You either have all of it, or none of it. To wit, you either profess all of the Church’s common dogmas, or else lose the advantage of every common dogma by denying one.


+++ 15. God’s Mercy Overlooks Confusion for a +++

Time, Yet Then We Must Face Facts and Cut Off from Heretics


There is no middle ground. Some people get involved in the CMRI, not knowing they espouse salvation heresy. Perhaps some people in the CMRI privately profess the Salvation Dogma while knowing full well that their CMRI comrades uphold heresy. Whichever --- and as we said previously --- the result is still the same:


The appearance of upholding falsehood by everyone involved, including the privately orthodox man.


And again, those who truly don’t know about the CMRI’s salvation heresy are excused (at least for a time) for mixing religiously with these notorious & pertinacious heretics. They are not excommunicated right away for their religious communion with excommunicated heretics, although they necessarily come under suspicion of holding heresy due to their mingling with them for prayer & worship.


Notwithstanding, such ignorant souls can only remain ignorant for so long. Or, should we say, they can remain inculpably ignorant for only so long. After a while, the period of grace expires. The soul of sound mind --- of at least average intelligence --- should have known better. He should have seen the clues or heeded the explicit warning and investigated or prayed or thought about the matter much more carefully. He should have taken the situation seriously, and not taken it for granted.


Such is the case with the CMRI. I can understand how certain souls get involved with them. I myself had a dalliance with them for a few years. They’re sedevacantist and serve the sacraments. They seem, on the outside, to be very, very, very Catholic. And to whom else can you turn during these dark days? I therefore have great compassion on those who use the CMRI to receive the sacraments or to have spiritual companionship while they themselves, personally, espouse the Salvation Dogma and not the salvation heresy of the CMRI. I do not expect them, necessarily, to see the light all at once. Nor do I expect, necessarily, that they will break off communion with these heretics instantaneously.


What I do expect is for them to take my words seriously, and to think, investigate & pray earnestly. I expect them to humbly beg Heaven’s Help, that they may not be blind to their sins or the sins of others in their actions, especially when it comes to the matter of religion & worship. I expect them to realize that they’re not all-knowing or never-wrong, and that they --- along with everyone else in this world --- must use his God-given mind rightly, in order to distinguish truth from falsehood and right from wrong.


In a word, I expect them to care about what God & His Church command us to do.


+++ 16. Where the Salvation +++

Heresy of the Traditionalists Comes from


Moreover, what we have said here about the CMRI applies to other traditionalist outfits, too. For instance, the SSPX, the SSPV, the FSSP, and so forth and so on. How so? Because they, too, fail to uphold the Salvation Dogma correctly. They, too --- most of their adherents, if not all of them --- espouse heresy against the ways & means of our salvation, which is God’s Holy Roman Catholic Church, and which is at the root of Modernist Heresy and resultant Great Apostasy of our evil times. Why would they do this?


The short & immediate answer is the same as with the CMRI:


Because they are a freeze-frame of American Catholicism in the mid-twentieth century right before the Great Apostasy erupted out into the open with Vatican II. And pretty much all Catholics of the United States raised in the 1900s were instructed from the Baltimore Catechism. This catechism, in its words about the Church, teaches that those who, “…through no fault of their own…. do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will….” may “be saved….” (Baltimore Catechism No. 2, revised edition of 1941, Question #168)


This revised edition from 1941 of the catechism was preceded by an earlier version of the Baltimore Catechism issued fifty-six years before. There they merely asserted, “It is possible for one to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church, provided that person: 1) has been validly baptized; 2) firmly believes the religion he professes and practices to be the true religion; and 3) dies without the guilt of mortal sin on his soul.” (Baltimore Catechism No. 3, version of 1885, Question #510) Only Eastern Schismatics or certain Protestant Heretics bothering to baptize someone validly, there being few or no Easterners living in the United States at that time, we see that they had to have been, logically speaking, talking about Protestants as the primary potential candidates for getting into Heaven without actually being Catholic. We realize, too, that they were a bit more conservative about the possibility of non-Catholics being saved than were their successors a couple of generations later in 1941, who in their version of the Baltimore Catechism only insisted that someone “love God” and “try to do His will” --- any need for a valid baptism being tossed to the side and forgotten altogether, not to mention any troubling concern about mortal sin being on the non-Catholic’s priceless soul.


Yet why did the writers of these catechisms even dare to say such things about salvation in opposition to the constant & unchanging Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church from most ancient times, which was utterly narrow & exclusive, as well as opposing the infallible definitions later on from Holy Church in tighter and tighter terms against such a heretical notion, thereby closing off all ‘loopholes’?


Because the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1884 --- a local (not a general or ecumenical and hence not infallible) council of the bishops of the United States --- directed a catechism to be produced expressly for Catholics in America to use. This council was presided over by the US primate, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Gibbons. It is a widely recognized fact that Gibbons was an Americanist, a philosophy condemned by Leo XIII in one of his papal documents addressed to this very Gibbons. Americanism says Catholics must condone separation of Church from State, and that certain teachings of the Church must be downplayed (such as ‘no Salvation outside the Church’) while others highlighted (such as charity for those who are poor) in order to avoid offending those who are not Catholic and win their favor.


By this time in history, the late 1800s, a good half or more of the US bishops were Americanist, and salvation via some sort of ‘invincible ignorance’ was taught in the seminaries of our nation. Ergo, all that remained for them was to plant their salvation heresy in the premiere US catechism of the past century-and-a-half and so make certain the notion would spread to all of our Catholic citizens, completing a victory that was already won for a great minority of the laity and in more than half of the clergy.


Yet do you doubt what I say, my dear soul? Then look at any ancient catechism of the Catholic Church. You will not find a single word breathed about the possibility of salvation for those who are not actually Catholic, or who are not catechumens and thus consciously trying to be Catholic. Indeed, examine the Church’s greatest catechism ever --- the Catechism of the Council of Trent, or Roman Catechism, as it is known --- and tell me if you can find even the smallest hint of the idea that ignorance of the Catholic Faith can ever save anyone into Heaven!


You will search in vain. I know, because I’ve looked.


+++ 17. How ‘Salvation Through +++

Ignorance’ Originated and Then Spread Everywhere


The notion of some sort of ‘invincible ignorance’ saving anyone did not arise until the discovery of the American continents by European explorers. Then the existence of huge numbers of natives who had been heathen since the time of Christ (or so some Catholics assumed) caused some theologians to speculate, based on Thomistic thinking, that maybe God takes ‘good willed’ heathens into Heaven even without knowledge and profession of the Catholic Faith. St. Thomas Aquinas had already established in the Church’s membership the widespread idea of ‘baptism of desire’ for those catechumens who die ‘accidentally’ before receiving the laver of regeneration, and he had demonstrated logically how an ignorance that is invincible must protect certain souls from incurring guilt from sin that certainly is objectively committed, and even if willfully so… consequently, thought some thinkers (such as Albert Pigghe --- who focused primarily on the plight of Muslims who had never heard the Catholic Gospel --- Francisco Suarez, John de Lugo and others), why wouldn’t God let ignorant & sincere natives enter Heaven despite their objective sin against the One True Faith by being heathen or infidel?


Weren’t they ignorant, and unassailably so, all the way over in the Americas, far far away (they assumed) from any contact with missionaries since the time of Christ? Wouldn’t this make them invincible in their heathenry, wouldn’t God admit them, of all peoples, into Heaven as an exception to the rules provided that they were sincere in their efforts to do what’s right and aren’t in mortal sin against moral commandments?


So the new theologians reasoned. And this is where the modern form of the salvation heresy --- a form which accentuates the importance of ignorance as a reason why, say they, God cannot, without horrible cruelty, condemn such souls to Hell --- came from, which was seized on by Talmudic Jews and their Gentile servants, the Freemasons, as a tool to corrupt Catholics in their religious thinking after the Protestant Rebellion and the later lies of the so-called Enlightenment made the soil fertile. By the 19th century this kind of belief had penetrated into European theological thought deeply, even in the Catholic nations (read several papal encyclicals from the first half of the 1800s, which warned vehemently against this contagion, to know that this is true). And by the late 1800s, it had essentially won dominance over American theologians. All that was left was to enshrine it in a catechism.


Of course, it doesn’t help that salvation heretics often cite three of Pope Pius IX’s documents as ‘proof’ of the saving efficacy of ignorance. Two of these texts (Singulari quadem and Quanto conficiamur moerore) are mangled illogically. Anyone of fair & intelligent mind can read the entire context of Pius’ words --- not limiting themselves to the highly restricted quotes that such people always cite --- and see that, far from upholding ‘salvation through ignorance’, he was a champion of the timeless dogma of ‘no Salvation outside the Church’ in its unchanging & narrow meaning of the Catholic Faith being necessary to explicitly know in order to save your soul. The third, Singulari quidem, is actually their strongest card. In its English translation, it really does look, on the surface and isolated from everything else, like he’s touting ‘salvation through ignorance’. So why shouldn’t we follow their lead in this matter? Because we don’t truly know he said in Latin (the language he approved the text in) what we read in English; the quote has an entirely orthodox interpretation (namely, that he was talking about the unavoidable ignorance of baptized children being raised as heretics who die before they reach the use of reason); and the document is fallible. Hence, we don’t have to believe it upheld ‘salvation through ignorance’, but even if it did, we’re not required to believe it since Pius didn’t invoke his charism of infallibility. (Curious readers may find out more on this website in Chapter 6 of Was Benedict XV an Antipope? Additional information is in Chapter 11 of The Hideous Schism of Catholic Fundamentalism.)


In any case, no real Catholic should be unduly disturbed by the fact that catechisms or theologians can be wrong, and even heretical, in their teachings. It is a tragedy, but it’s also possible. This is because no one except a pope is guaranteed the charism of infallibility. And even a pope is only infallible when he teaches officially from the Throne of St. Peter on Faith & Morals to the Church! Ergo, catechisms and theologians --- or popes when they speak unofficially, or on topics other than Faith & Morals --- can be mistakeneven heretical! This ought not to be, and, thank God, it’s rarely ever the case during good times and in piously Catholic countries. But it can happen. Truly, saints have foretold that it would happen near the end, and we are now seeing the prophecies fulfilled during the Great Apostasy.


Nonetheless, a reader might worry, doesn’t this undermine the Church’s Infallibility?


Not ultimately. Because the Church Herself does not fail when a member (pope though that member may be!) falls and proves unfaithful. Her Catholic Gospel is obscured by these failures of Her individual members, and the Saving Truth can be brought into disrepute or forgotten. All the same, that Truth remains unvanquished and available as long as somewhere in this creation it still exists. And God promises us that this Truth will triumph in the end. The key in the meantime is to compare carefully what we read or hear in recent centuries with what we read or hear in the earliest centuries. In other words, to hold fast to Catholicity & Apostolicity!


Unsure what a theologian of the past five centuries teaches? Then compare his words with those of the earliest Church fathers, who were marvelous theologians. Are they compatible? Or do they contradict inescapably?


Is a more recent catechism like the one from the Baltimore Council suspect? Then compare its words to the words of older catechisms from previous centuries. Are they compatible? Or do they contradict unavoidably?


Does a pope of more recent times speak carelessly or misleadingly? Then compare his words to those of more ancient popes (remembering that not everything a pope says is infallible, nor everything that he does without sin). Are they compatible? Or does the later pope fudge or get ambiguous?


This is how we keep things clear during our confusing times. And this is why I’ve established this website, The Epistemologic Works, that you, my dear soul, may have a Catholic Light shining in the Apostate Darkness, round which you may gather and by which you may navigate securely into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus permitted the Arian heretics of old to assault Our Faith by denying the Incarnation of God Almighty, and He likewise permits the Modernist heretics of today to assault Our Faith by denying the Ecclesiation of This Same Almighty God. God become Man, His Body become the Church. Either one denied --- and its absolute necessity for our salvation not believed --- is a heresy against common dogma and will damn our priceless, immortal souls.


But most of the CMRI doesn’t believe in salvation heresy merely because of some papal documents from Pius the Ninth; not many of them probably even have a clear idea of what Pius is supposed to have said. No, they believe in salvation heresy for far simpler & immediate reasons --- because that’s what they were taught while growing up. Hence why all of these traditionalist outfits are the same, when you get right down to it, about salvation. Because they all, each and every one of them, highly revere and venerate the Baltimore Catechism. This is what their leaders were raised on. This is what they learned from. Ergo, in their minds, the salvation heresy is infallible orthodoxy… and even though, as we’ve noted above, no catechism has ever been decreed infallible!


Therefore, my precious soul, you must learn to avoid all religious contact with these heretics. Don’t receive the sacraments from CMRI, SSPX, SSPV, FSSP or anyone like them. This includes independent priests and parishes. Unless you know for a moral certainty that they do not uphold salvation heresy, then you should not even begin to entertain the notion of mingling with them religiously --- period.


+++ 18. Other Problems With Traditionalists, +++

And a Somber Yet Merciful Warning to the Reader


Not that salvation is their sole problem.


E.g., CMRI parishes usually let complete strangers go to the communion rail to receive the Eucharist. These strangers could be Hindu or Muslim or atheist or blatant adulterers for all they know, and they would still place the Flesh of God upon their tongues in the Most Holy Eucharist! This is a crime of the highest order, and --- even if the CMRI was truly orthodox --- would cause good Roman Catholics to refrain from taking part in their masses.


Too, CMRI clergy act as if they are a functioning (albeit truncated) Hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church. But even if they were truly Catholic, they could not exercise real jurisdiction without a reigning pope having granted them their specific duties & boundaries! Ergo, a good Catholic is wise to avoid their masses for that fact alone. For, while Church’s Canon Law clearly permits clergy to act in certain unusual or urgent situations without actual jurisdiction (the correct understanding here being that the Church gives the priest or bishop a ‘supplied jurisdiction’ for such unusual or urgent situations) --- and the ancient principle of epikeia (Greek for ‘reasonableness’) allows Catholics to objectively break Church Law in certain unusual or urgent situations so as to achieve the greater good of the Church, which is the salvation of souls, and which the lawmaker could not foresee, or expect us to comprehend, before the legislation was written --- bishops & priests are forbidden, valid and licit though they may be, to go around acting like they can set up their own jurisdictions without the approval of a proper authority over them. Which, in the case of a priest, means a bishop with jurisdiction, and, in the case of a bishop, means a legitimate pope, who is the universal bishop with jurisdiction over all other bishops.


Notwithstanding, my dear reader, we cannot expect everyone to know and understand these things all at once. It will take time. We will have to be winnowed down until each person is revealed for what he is: whether truly Catholic or not, and, if truly Catholic, whether wise or foolish… or somewhere in the middle. A soul might not know the commandment of God or His Church for a while during our difficult times. Such is often the case with the CMRI. There is, then, a time of mercy granted both by God and His Church to these souls in order to figure it out, provided they have the common dogmas whole & entire to start with. Without these common dogmas they are not even Catholic. But given that you are truly Catholic, my dear reader, then you must not abuse this mercy or exceed the time granted. You have a rational mind for a reason --- to figure things out. And you have a free will for a reason --- to choose to do the right thing. And you have fellow Roman Catholics (however few we are) for a reason --- to sharpen each other, honing one another’s sanctity and spiritual knowledge to a fine edge.


I am doing my duty. I have written these words. Now it’s up to you, dear soul, to do yours.


May the Celestial Love of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary enflame your heart with a holy desire to know the truth necessary to please God and do the good that He demands of us regardless of our circumstances, even unto the shedding of our blood! Amen.


+ + +


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