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Ecclesiastical Tradition and Teaching of Doctors of the Church

Traditionis Custodes - Ecclesiastical Tradition
Ecclesiastical Tradition

“It is unlawful to alter the established customs of the Church …Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.” – St. Peter Damien, Doctor of the Church.

“Let everything that conflicts with ecclesiastical tradition and teaching, and that has been innovated and done contrary to the examples outlined by the saints and the venerable Fathers, or that shall hereafter at any time be done in such a fashion, be anathema.” Second Council of Nicea.

“If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the Church, let him be anathema.” Second Council of Nicea.

New Doctrines are not Catholic. They are heresy. The Catholic Church considers heresy (disagreement with Catholic doctrine) to be a crime. As a crime, it consists of the outward and pertinacious manifestation of the sin.

Today, we are living in a time of the great crisis of Faith and morals. False mercy teaches that anyone can be forgiven without repenting, sanctified without giving up sin, enter Heaven without doing the will of God. The confusion is of such magnitude that it is not only subverting the temporal sphere, but also penetrates the walls of the Church itself.

“The fort is betrayed even by them that should have defended it.” – St. John Fisher.

“The great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer.” (Pope Pius X “Our Apostolic Mandate”  August 15, 1910)

“What is really going on is a war between Christ and the Antichrist on a scale never seen before, where the survival of the Catholic faith is at stake. I repeat: we are in a battle to preserve the Catholic faith, and all the battles being fought on various fronts, even those that are so important like moral truth, are only the terrain of confrontation in a war that is much deeper, involving metaphysics and religion. The most important thing in play is faith. But faith is preserved whole and intact or it is lost. You cannot preserve just parts of it according to taste or expediency”. (La Riscossa Cristiana – Rorate translation).

“For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.” [2Tim 4:3-4]

“All Novelty in faith is a sure mark of heresy” – St. Vincent of Lerins.

“Vatican II is the French Revolution of the Church.” – Cardinal Suenens, quoted in An Open Letter to Confused Catholics, P. 100

“It cannot be denied that a text like this (the Declaration on Religious Liberty) does materially say something different from the Syllabus of 1864, and even almost the opposite of propositions 15 and 77-79 of that document.”  – Fr. Yves Congar, Challenge to the Church, p.147

“It is clear that the decree on ecumenism does say, on several points something else than Pius XI’ Encyclical Mortalium Animos, and the declaration on religious Liberty says the contrary of several articles of Pius IX’s syllabus, as Lumen Gentium 16 and Ad Gentes 7 do say something else than “There is no salvation outside the Church’…” – Fr Yves Congar, Essais oecumeniques, p. 85

“If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text (Gaudium et Spes) as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus…Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789.” Cardinal Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 381-382

“The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phrase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary nor grafts things superfluous…but it devotes all its diligence to one aim: To treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to consolidate and to strengthen what was already clear; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined.” – Saint Vincent of Lerins, Commonitoria (5th Century).

“Therefore…let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding” – St Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium primum, 23, n.3

“And if some new contagion should seek to poison, not only a little part of the Church, but the whole Church at once then his (the Catholic’s) greatest care should once again be to adhere to antiquity, which obviously cannot be seduced by any deceitful novelty. “ Saint Vincent Lerins, Commonitorium, Chapter 3, section 7.

“Is it tradition? Ask no more!” Saint John Chrysostom

“Teach nothing new, but implant in the hearts of everyone those things which the fathers of venerable memory taught with a uniform preaching…Whence, we preach nothing except what we have received from our forefathers. In all things, therefore, both in the rule of faith in the observance of discipline, let the pattern of antiquity be observed.” – Pope Saint Leo the Great, Father and Doctor of the Church

“It is absurd and a detestable shame, that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old.” The Decretals (Dist. Xii, 5) Cited by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, II,I, Q. 97, art. 2

“Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God, therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.” – St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theoligica II-II, q. 104, art. 5, ad.

Concerning such things, St. Thomas Aquinas had this to say: “Well, these ones are false prophets, or false doctors, inasmuch as, raising a doubt without resolving it is the same as conceding to it.” (Sermon “Attendite a falsis prophetis”).

This is found in Session 7 Canon 13 on the “Sacraments in General:”

“If anyone says that the received and approved rites customarily used in the Catholic Church for the solemn administration of the Sacraments can be changed into other new rites by any pastor in the Church whosoever, let him be anathema.”

St. Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church, wrote in his Summa Doctrinae Christianae: “It behooves us unanimously and inviolably to observe the ecclesiastical traditions, whether codified or simply retained by the customary practice of the Church.” We see the same teaching set forth by St. Peter Damien, also a Doctor of the Church: “It is unlawful to alter the established customs of the Church…Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.”

“This you (the bishops of the world) will do perfectly if you watch over yourselves and your doctrine, as your office makes it your duty, repeating incessantly to yourselves that every novelty attempts to undermine the Universal Church and that, according to the warning of the holy Pope Agatho, “nothing that has been regularly defined can bear diminution, or change, or addition, and repels every alteration of sense, or even words.” – Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari vos 15 August 1832

“You are fortunate you have remained in the Church through your faith. You held fast to the foundations of the faith which has come down to you from the Apostolic Tradition…In the present crisis, it is they who have broken away from it.” Saint Athanasius, Doctor of the Church

The following words of St. Athanasius may help to give us conviction in the ongoing battle against modernism in the Church; that is ” Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to a handful, are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” (ca. 296-373) Apud Caillau and Guillou, Coll. Selecta Ss. Eccl. Patrum, vol. 32, pp. 411-412

“The Church has not just recently been given order and statutes. They were faithfully and soundly bestowed on it by the Fathers. Nor has the faith only just been established, but it has come to us from the Lord through His disciples. May what has been preserved in the Churches from the beginning to the present day not be abandoned in our time; may what has been entrusted into our keeping not be embezzled by us. Brethren, as custodians of God’s mysteries, let yourselves be roused into action on seeing all this despoiled by others.” – Migne, Patrologia Graeca, XXVII, col. 219.

“But you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even in the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and frequently accursed envy had wished to unsettle it, but has not been able.” Saint Athanasius, Festal Letters 29, 330 AD

Athanasius: “Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to a handful, are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” (ca. 296-373) Apud Caillau and Guillou, Coll. Selecta Ss. Eccl. Patrum, vol. 32, pp. 411-412

Basil the Great: “Of the dogmas and messages preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the Tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in matters ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce [Christian] message to a mere term” (The Holy Spirit 27:66 [A.D. 375]).

For, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! God hateth the proud and obstinate mind (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi, 49).

“Nor do we merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies, or what is called the spirit, of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savors of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties…. The law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: let there be no innovation: keep to what has been handed down.”  –Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922), Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914

All Catholics have a duty to help root out the Modernist ambition to revolutionise the Church and destroy to the true harmony that God had ordained for civil society for as Pope Felix III affirmed “To not resist error is to approve it, to not defend truth is to suffocate it . . . Whoever fails to oppose a manifest prevarication, can be considered a secret accomplice” (cited by Pope Leo XIII in his letter to the Italian bishops, Aug. 12, 1892).

“Henceforth the enemy of the Church is no longer outside the Church; he is now within.” – Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914), Encyclical E supremi  apostolatus, October 4, 1903

“In condemning us, you condemn the Church of all times. For what is there that She believed and taught that we also do not believe?” – Saint Edmund Campion, Martyr of the Anglican schism and heresy

“It is clear that the Novus Ordo no longer intends to present the faith as taught by the Council of Trent. Yet the Catholic conscience is bound to that faith forever.” – The Ottaviani Intervention

“It is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed.” – Pope Innocent III, De Consuetudine

“For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the Apostles and the new deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.” Vatican I, see Denzinger 1836

The Magisterium of the Church has solely the role of preserving and faithfully explaining this deposit of Revelation. This is what Vatican Council I says in the decree Pastor Aeternus:

The Holy Spirit has not been promised to the successors of Peter that, under His revelation, they might make known a new doctrine, but in order that, with His assistance, they sacredly preserve and faithfully set forth the revelation transmitted by the Apostles, that is to say, the deposit of the faith.

“That understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession (moving away) from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.” – Vatican I, see Denzinger 1800

“Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.” -St. Augustine

 “They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons.” – 1 Timothy 4:1

“When the pastor becomes a wolf, it is the flock in the first place, which has the duty to defend itself.” – Dom Prosper Gueranger, L’Annee Liturgique, Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pp. 340-341.

“Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being…” – Pope Saint Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate.

As Pope Leo XIII, citing his predecessor Felix III, teaches: “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed.” (Inimica Vis [1892]). The 1983 Code of Canon Law provides that the faithful, “according to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess… have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful…” (CCC § 212(3)). The canon does not provide “except when it comes to the Pope.”

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