My Commentary on the Declaration of Truths (part 3)

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3]

The Sacraments

30. In the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, a wonderful change takes place, namely of the whole substance of bread into the body of Christ and the whole substance of wine into His blood, a change which the Catholic Church very fittingly calls transubstantiation (see Fourth Lateran Council, c. 1; Council of Trent, sess. 13, c. 4). “Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine” (Paul VI, Apostolic letter Solemni hac liturgia (Credo of the People of God), 25).

~ True.

31. The formulations by which the Council of Trent expressed the Church’s faith in the Holy Eucharist are suitable for men of all times and places, since they are a “perennially valid teaching of the Church” (John Paul II, Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 15).

~ Yes, but this does not preclude the use of additional formulations, figures, and explanations, which might provide further insights into this mystery.

32. In the Holy Mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to the Blessed Trinity and this sacrifice is propitiatory both for men living on earth and for the souls in Purgatory. The opinion is, therefore, wrong that says that the sacrifice of the Mass consists simply in the fact that the people make a spiritual sacrifice of prayers and praises, as well as the opinion that the Mass may or should be defined only as Christ giving Himself to the faithful as their spiritual food (see Council of Trent, sess. 22, c. 2).

~ True.

33. “The Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence” (Paul VI, Apostolic letter Solemni hac liturgia (Credo of the People of God), 24).

~ Why do we need this document to represent to us select quotes from magisterial teaching? It reminds me of discussions in certain online forums, where cut-and-paste quotes are used in place of a real discussion of issues and controversies.

34. “The unbloody immolation at the words of consecration, when Christ is made present upon the altar in the state of a victim, is performed by the priest and by him alone, as the representative of Christ and not as the representative of the faithful. (…) The faithful offer the sacrifice by the hands of the priest from the fact that the minister at the altar, in offering a sacrifice in the name of all His members, represents Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body. The conclusion, however, that the people offer the sacrifice with the priest himself is not based on the fact that, being members of the Church no less than the priest himself, they perform a visible liturgical rite; for this is the privilege only of the minister who has been Divinely appointed to this office: rather it is based on the fact that the people unite their hearts in praise, impetration, expiation and thanksgiving with prayers or intention of the priest, even of the High Priest himself, so that in the one and same offering of the victim and according to a visible sacerdotal rite, they may be presented to God the Father” (Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, 92).

~ Same comment as above.

35. The sacrament of Penance is the only ordinary means by which grave sins committed after Baptism may be remitted, and by Divine law all such sins must be confessed by number and by species (see Council of Trent, sess. 14, can. 7).

~ Jimmy Akin has denied that actual mortal sin must be confessed in number: “So there you have it. Kind and number. Obviously, there are exceptions to this requirement.” No, there are no exceptions to this or any other dogma. Heretic.

~ Paragraph 35 is inaccurate. Rather than “grave sins”, it should say “actual mortal sin”, since not all objective mortal sin have the full culpability of actual mortal sin. Also, for persons who do not have access to Confession — which is everyone other than Catholics, Orthodox, and a few other schismatic groups — the “ordinary” means for the forgiveness of actual mortal sin is perfect contrition.

~ Sometimes perfect contrition forgives actual mortal sin without the person calling to mind, and explicitly repenting from, each and every actual mortal sin. Just as the baptism of desire can be implicit, so too can perfect contrition be implicit, either by sorrow for one particular grave sin, or by an act of love of God or neighbor, in full cooperation with grace. Even in the Confessional, it often happens that a person forgets an actual mortal sin, and it is still forgiven, by this same principle of implicit contrition.

36. By Divine law the confessor may not violate the seal of the sacrament of Penance for any reason whatsoever; no ecclesiastical authority has the power to dispense him from the seal of the sacrament and the civil power is wholly incompetent to oblige him to do so (see Code of Canon Law 1983, can. 1388 § 1; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1467).

~ True. But as the world becomes ever more sinful, this conflict will continue to be a problem.

37. By virtue of the will of Christ and the unchangeable Tradition of the Church, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist may not be given to those who are in a public state of objectively grave sin, and sacramental absolution may not be given to those who express their unwillingness to conform to Divine law, even if their unwillingness pertains only to a single grave matter (see Council of Trent, sess. 14, c. 4; Pope John Paul II, Message to the Major Penitentiary Cardinal William W. Baum, on March 22, 1996).

~ This document does not have the authority to declare the will of Christ nor to decide authoritatively what is and is not a correct understanding of Tradition. Peter holds the keys. If he wishes persons to be able to receive Communion, who are baptized, Catholic, and not conscious of unrepentant actual mortal sin, the may do so. The public state of their sins is not an absolute condition, preventing reception, and which is beyond the authority of Peter to dispense.

~ In the confessional, according to the Council of Trent, the confessor is judge and may use his own judgment as to whether to forgive or withhold forgiveness from the penitent. This document does not have the authority to command all priests to abide by its judgment.

38. According to the constant Tradition of the Church, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist may not be given to those who deny any truth of the Catholic faith by formally professing their adherence to a heretical or to an officially schismatic Christian community (see Code of Canon Law 1983, can. 915; 1364).

~ False. That is not the constant Tradition of the Church. The Church has long given permission for Communion to be received by Orthodox Christians, who are in fact a schismatic Christian community. Moreover, Protestant spouses at a mixed Catholic marriage Mass are permitted to receive the Eucharist.

~ Moreover, the signatories to this document are publicly asserting heresy (as discussed in part 1). Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider in particular are in a state of public formal schism for their rejection of the authority of Pope Francis, and for publicly speaking as if they have the role to oversee the Roman Pontiff and to decide if he has gone astray.

~ The signatories to this document are, de facto, in a state of schism, as it is a schismatic document which not only implicitly accuses the Roman Pontiff of heresy, but also seeks to submit him to their pretended authority, instead of them submitting to the authority of Peter.

39. The law by which priests are bound to observe perfect continence in celibacy stems from the example of Jesus Christ and belongs to immemorial and apostolic tradition according to the constant witness of the Fathers of the Church and of the Roman Pontiffs. For this reason, this law should not be abolished in the Roman Church through the innovation of an optional priestly celibacy, either at the regional or the universal level. The perennial valid witness of the Church states that the law of priestly continence “does not command new precepts; these precepts should be observed, because they have been neglected on the part of some through ignorance and sloth. These precepts, nevertheless, go back to the apostles and were established by the Fathers, as it is written, ‘Stand firm, then, brothers and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter’ (2 Thess. 2:15). There are in fact many who, ignoring the statutes of our forefathers, have violated the chastity of the Church by their presumption and have followed the will of the people, not fearing the judgment of God” (Pope Siricius, Decretal Cum in unum in the year 386).

~ Does the above paragraph mean that married men who become priests — a practice that has been continuous since the early Church — may not have relations with their wives (as Dr. Ed Peters claims)? If so, that would be a grave error. Otherwise, the paragraph would seem to only mean that the number of married priests should not be increased, which is a matter of degree and cannot really be called a law or a perennial witness.

40. By the will of Christ and the Divine constitution of the Church, only baptized men (viri) may receive the sacrament of Orders, whether in the episcopacy, the priesthood, or the diaconate (see John Paul II Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 4). Furthermore, the assertion is wrong that says that only an Ecumenical Council can define this matter, because the teaching authority of an Ecumenical Council is not more extensive than that of the Roman Pontiff (see Fifth Lateran Council, sess. 11; First Vatican Council, sess. 4, c. 3, n. 8).

~ The last part of paragraph 40 is correct. Not only an Ecumenical Council may decide the question of whether women can be ordained as deacons. The Roman Pontiff may decide that question by his own authority.

~ The first part of paragraph 40 is a grave error. The Magisterium has never decided the question as to whether women can be ordained as deacons. So this document usurps an authority which the document itself admits is given only to Popes and Councils. Pope Francis may decide to ordain women deacons, and if he so decides, the teaching and decision is binding on the universal Church. All things to the contrary not withstanding.

May 31, 2019
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop emeritus of Riga [Latvia]
Tomash Peta, Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana [Kazakhstan]
Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda [Kazakhstan]
Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana [Kazakhstan]

The above signatories are automatically excommunicated for public formal schism, as this document asserts a pretended authority over the Magisterium and the Roman Pontiff. They are guilty of publicly teaching heresy and other grave errors, which by their own admission means they should not be given Communion. And like all heretics and schismatics, they are automatically excommunicated.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to My Commentary on the Declaration of Truths (part 3)

  1. Matt Z. says:

    Does not Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have to know that they are in error to be excommunicated? Maybe they are doing their best to follow what they know is true. If they are excommunicated, then the liberal Bishops would be excommunicated as well. What Bishops do we follow then. Can you give me a list of 5 solid orthodox Bishops?

    • Ron Conte says:

      First, they are both clearly publicly schismatic (formal schism), as they have rejected submission to the Roman Pontiff, and are attempting to cause him to submit to them. Schism carries the penalty of excommunication. Second, every heretic mistakenly believes, in their pride, that they are not in error. So, no, the definition of heresy does not include adhering to what you know to be error. Who does that? It is sufficient that they know that they are rejecting the papal magisterium itself, and that they know that Peter and his successors are the Rock on which the Church is founded. They also have a moral obligation to look into Church teaching, for guidance on this subject. And either they have done so and rejected it, or they have not done so, which is a grave sin of omission. They are speaking to the whole Church, pretending to have the authority to decide what is and is not correct doctrine, and they have not bothered to consider the teaching of the Magisterium on the immunity from error and never-failing faith of the Popes:

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