The Gentils' Apostle, by Il Greco

Profession

I.Invariability of the Faith’s DepositII.  Apostolicity of Our Holy ReligionIII. Traditional Liturgical Practice & Old Sacramental Discipline IV. Sacerdotal Ministry in its Antique ExtensionV. Ecclesiastical Society —  VI. Augustinian SpiritualityVII. Nullam partemVIII. The Church is in the Bishop

I. Invariability of the Faith’s Deposit

— Rejection Of Novelties

 

‘O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called.’ — I Tim., vi, 20.

 

As it was said, the goal of the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord is to practice the Christian life according to Tradition, the Word of God and the Holy Canons. It does not intend to be a reaction or to be in reaction towards certain facts characterizing the modern era. The Concord does not define itself neither as an answer nor as a solution to the problem posed by the neo-Catholic Church stemming from the changes which started around about 1962.

Rejecting any novelty, any variation in the faith and behaviour, it simply intends to correspond to the nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church, as it has been since the Messiah has inaugurated the New Covenant by Calvary’s expiatory Sacrifice.

According to S. Vincent’s expression in his Commonitorium, it believes and professes with no reservation, that…

‘Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. … This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent.’

 

Vatican Council, proclamation of Papal infallibility's dogma.

II. Apostolicity of Our Holy Religion

— Catholic Religion Did Not Begin With The 19th Century —

 

This Catholic profession of faith, which includes everything taught and imposed to the believers by the conciliar as well as papal Magisterium, motivates the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord to strongly affirm that the Christian religion did not begin to exist with the 19th century.

Unfortunately, many people think that the Catholic religion was in a state of imperfection before the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and that of the papal infallibility.

Now, if we admit that these notions have always belonged de facto to the Church’s general belief, which excludes the fact that the ancient Catholics were an ignorant — if not miscreant people — on the other hand it is the interpretation many Catholics have given it, which poses a problem.

In fact, the notion of progress was introduced in the Catholic forma mentis during the 19th century, it was held triumphantly by the Ultramontanes who saw in the — illusive — triumph of papacy a fore-running sign of the definitive victory of the Church, not only over the ungodly world, but especially over apostolic Christianity which had reigned until then. During the 19th century the face — if not its substance — of Catholicism has radically changed.

The rigour of the Gospel’s commandments, the hierarchical functioning of the Church and the traditional organization of the City have been replaced by a system which already showed an openness to the world and the open-mindedness of a religion enamoured of novelty. Molinism imposed itself almost universally as the best way not to frighten the worldly; laxity in behaviour not to push away the non-believers; and above all, laity invented by Veuillot and his school gave birth to a category of ‘believers’ who were committed to take their revenge on eighteen centuries of ‘clerical oppression’!

Traditionalism is not powerless and fruitless because of its loyalty to the ‘Church of all times’ but rather, because it is the promoter of the 19th century’s novelties, the innovations of those, funny enough, who were at the time the greatest enemies of the ‘Lumières’, of the Revolution and of liberalism — and who were in reality their most brazen adapters.

The 19th century bishops — whose authority and integrity had never been so ill-treated than by the so-called ultra-Catholic militants —, saw their principles as subversive not only for the ecclesial hierarchy, but also for the social order as such. In fact, a layman who thinks he is the defender of the Church acts as if his position placed him outside of the hierarchy which structures the mystical Body of Christ.

To the principles applied by the traditional Catholic society as it was in reality — and for which the spiritual and temporal Princes were responsible for — the 19th century innovators opposed a new society project, based on a reconstructed Church, founded on the notion of a pope with an unlimited power, supported by militant lay people, which clergy was but a mere auxiliary, while the very notion of episcopacy was questioned, argued and reduced to nothing.

Since then, the faithful of Catholic religion have become but the for-runners of modern society so much so that there is hardly any contemporary aberration which cannot find, in a way or another, its remote origin in some writing of the most serious authors of the 20th century who fall within this radical reform of religion movement… Egalitarianism, feminism, gender, etc., all this is the consequence of contempt shown towards ‘the old paths’ (Jer. VI, 16), ‘the ancient bounds which our fathers have set’ (Pr. XXII, 28).

‘Two loves have built two cities: the one, selfish and impure, has made the earthly City; the other, social and sacred, is the heavenly City’ says Our Holy Father Augustine (De Genesi ad litteram, IX, 20).

Therefore the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord views the sacerdotal ministry as the pontifex office, the link between God and men, and more exactly his people (the domesticos fidei, Gal. VI, 10). This people is not a cybernetic or voluntarist entity, but truly a society of baptized living in the conditions of a normal sociability.

Pope Pius X.

III. Traditional Liturgical Practice & Old Sacramental Discipline

— Turning Back to the Old Paths —

 

This is the reason why the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord does not offer ‘mass centers’ where believers could ‘take the sacraments’ holding one’s nose, or closing one’s eyes or ears. The Church is not a potluck; and even less a spiritual supermarket, where each one can grab the goods he needs to make up his own Catholic-like religion.

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord highly professes that the Priest is the minister of the sacraments and as such, according to the apostolic teachings and the conciliar canons, is the only judge concerning the giving of the Sacred Mysteries. Neither baptism nor holy communion are rights; receiving absolution is even less so, unless one considers the Priest as a free dispenser of sacraments and that the character he has received makes of him the slave of those who, by the way, can do very well without him.

The Priests of the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord are aware of the fact that misuse of the sacraments is the reason ‘there [are] many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.’ (I Cor. XI, 30).

Consequently, do they practice S. Charles Borromeo’s prescriptions to Confessors, seeing to it that the maxims of the Gospel, and not those of worldliness (with a Catholic coating), be implemented, as far as human weakness can allow. The primacy of charity, i.e. of the love of God, is vital for Priests themselves as well as for those Providence has entrusted to them.

In order to correspond as much as they can to the requirements of our holy Religion, the Priests of the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord are careful that sexes be separated in Church, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law (Can. 1262, 1); that clothing be modest at all times, and that women be veiled at least at Church.

Our community does not think it useful nor necessary to increase indefinitely its appearing on the Internet and the various numerical platforms, which rather belong to ‘the pride of life’ as S. John terms it (I Jn. II, 16).

On the other hand, using the Master’s divine words, to those who would like to know the Catholic religion and the practice of the ordonated means of salvation the Church will provide till the end of times, we just say :

‘Come and see’ —S. Jn. I, 39.

May we add that the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord Priests celebrate the S. Pius V’s mass, and read the Breviary according to S. Pius X’s Apostolic Constitution Divino affalu.

Furthermore, since the reforms started under Pius XII were but the way leading to the alteration of mass and all sacraments, the Concord’s Priests do not take into account the innovations such as the new Holy Week of 1955.

 

IV. Sacerdotal Ministry in its Antique Extension

— Lay militancy and structural disorder —

 

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord loathes the lay organizations meant to ‘form’ believers, so that the sacerdotal ministry is reduced to give that which laity can in no way give to themselves directly.

It disapproves the practice which consists in encouraging wide-ranging reading, which generally produces an unbelievable confusion of minds, and opposes to the pastoral work a great mess of ideas inextricably muddled up. Because, ‘the lips of the priests shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth: because he is the angel of the LORD of hosts’ (Mal. II, 7).

The pastor’s dealing with the flock is governed by charity. Now, charity is only found where God’s order reigns, and we know, as S. Paul says, that he is not the ‘God of dissensions, but of peace’ (I Cor. XIV, 33) according to the saying: pax tranquillitas ordinis, ‘Peace is well-ordered concord.’

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord professes that it is only insofar as lay people are ordonated, — i.e., are in the ecclesial order, of which they are an intrinsic part although the lowest level that true love and dedication be found in Clerics towards them. Thus, ‘by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another’ (S. Jn. XIII, 35).

Deus caritas est (I Jn. IV, 7). The ecclesial order is the first condition for the state of grace to exist and bare its fruit to the glory of our heavenly Father (cf. S. Matt. V, 16).

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord intends to train its scolasts so they be able to carry out the sacerdotal ministry in the maximum of its possibility, spiritual as well as temporal, by giving them an appropriate instruction, in conformity to the Church’s Tradition and the Christian world view. Concerning lay people who would like to benefit from the liturgical and social life, it recommends them to do their utmost in order to really fit into the order of things wanted by God: ‘Ye young men, be subject to the ancients’ (I Pet. V, 5).

 
 

V. Ecclesiastical Society

— Rejection of the Social Contract Under All Its Forms —

 

Since one century and a half, almost all the Catholic enterprises are founded upon the concept of social contract: all that has been done, and God knows the great amount of endeavour, are based upon the agreement between individuals of same persuasion who have decided to unite so that ‘things may change’.

This fundamental defect has been the reason for the failure of the greatest, the finest and the cleverest attempt to oppose the damaging effects of Modernity, such as the 20th century Catholic Anglo-Saxon Agrarian Movement.

The modern individual is integrated in the traditional society by the channel of the legitimate depositories of temporal power, in the same manner as any individual being a child of wrath (Eph. II, 3) is incorporated in the Church by the laver of regeneration (Tit. III, 5) without which no man can be saved, by no merit of his own but by pure grace (Eph. II, 5), and by the channel of Priests or to be more precise of Bishops.

No one can assume citizenship in Jerusalem: it is by an act of humility he is made able to enter. The Catholic city is not tomorrow’s utopia, built by ‘men of good will’ (according to the common misinterpretation among neo-Catholicism), but rather the life context attainable hic et nunc as soon as one fits into the order of things such as the Creator and Legislator-God has determined and instituted it.

With God’s help, the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord is affirmative, not in reaction. The new context brought about by the 1789 Revolution, commonly known as Modernity, is the inversion of the social order wanted by God. Was it due to the subversive work of such or such group or organisation is not the most important; what constitutes the major problem for the Catholic religion, is that the 20th century refoundation of Catholicism was only possible through the gains of the Revolution, i.e., the ecclesiastic hierarchy losing its effective authority, liberty of press, liberty of speech and complete impunity of clergy denigrators.

Without the French Revolution, Catholic journalism and laymen self-appointed preachers would have never existed. Through men like Veuillot, Drumont and their clerical emulators, the spirit of ‘Lumières’ has permeated deep into the Catholic forma mentis, and has subverted it more effectively than by any intrigue of the Church’s enemies…

Saint Augustin, by Botticelli.

VI. Augustinian Spirituality

— Rejection of Apparitionism and Sensationalism —

 

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord acknowledges the different schools of spirituality the Church has allowed and encouraged as valuable. It nevertheless remains that the mixing of kinds, the simultaneous use of many methods and especially eclecticism, which are the direct consequences of the universal accessibility (through the printing democratisation) of texts normally reserved for Priests and those under their guidance , all this produces an unprecedented spiritual confusion.

Our Fathers’ spirituality is the only one observed by the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord’s Priests, which keeps away from private revelations as well as interest for great and wonderful things above them (Ps. CXXX, 1). Under their direction, the believers follow the sure way of the Word of God, from which man mainly lives (Deut. VIII, 3 ; S. Matt. IV, 4), and of prayer which is to be ‘unceasing’ (I Thess. V, 17).

Allegorical representatio of the sede vacante on a Bas-relief of St. John Latran Archbasilica

VII. Nullam partem

— Rejection of the Post-Modernist Church —

 

It is the same principle of precaution which leads the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord to keep a firm position towards the neo-roman Church which bears the name of Catholic now days. Its intention is not to follow the usual habit of traditional circles who constantly insult the authorities, although many admit they have a certain amount of legitimacy.

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord is unable to recognise in H.H. Francis 1st anything else than the head of a neo-Church, completely different from that of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s, which still exist and is called by the Holy-Ghost ‘a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, nor any such thing, but holy and without blemish.’ (Eph. V, 27).

It does not rejoice over the misfortunes happening in the neo-Church because of its moral depravation, considering that human trials are nothing compared with the progressive adulteration of Catholic doctrine, discipline and of the forma mentis which naturally lead to the Post-Modernist Church.

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord is aware that the event called ‘IInd Vatican Council’ was nothing but the stabilisation of a global reform movement, started with the 1801 concordat, and hastened by the lay militants taking over the Apostolic hierarchy.

The challenge issued at the time of converting Modernity by persuading it it was but the ungrateful daughter of Christianity (dixit Father Rohrbacher, Histoire universelle de l’Eglise catholique, Paris, 1850, t. I, p. XXVII) and taking advantage of the thrones overthrow to inaugurate an era of triumphant Christianity, was lost.

From one reform to another, the rituals have been transformed, to the point where there is no doubt the Orders given by the Post-Modernist Church are as invalid as those given by Anglicans.

All this is not good. Therefore, the Priests of the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord do not pray in union with H.H. Francis Ist, according to S. Cyprian’s words: ‘To support a false bishop of Rome is to be outside of the Church communion.’

They do not see in him ‘a true pope, although heretic’, neither a ‘truly heretical pope’, nor a ‘material pope’, nor an ‘anti-pope’, but just a blind head leading other blind men to the pit where they will fall together (S. Luke VI, 39). But they are very careful not to ‘blaspheme majesty’, being content to say with the Archangel S. Michael: Imperat tibi Deus (Jude I, 8-9).

Consequently, the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord has taken note of the de facto et de jure vacancy of S. Peter’s apostolic See, and thus subscribes to the theological conclusion generally known as the neologism Sedevacantism.

The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord clerics cry to the chief corner Stone in Sion (Eph. II, 20, cp. Is. XXVIII, 16) with prayers and supplications for the return of a pope upon the throne of S. Peter, confessing it is impossible for the Church to normally live without Christ’s Vicar having primacy in its midst, so to ‘confirm [his] brethren’ (S. Luke XXII, 32) according to Christ’s order whom he is the incorruptible image on earth.

 

VIII. The Church is in the Bishop

— Rejection of the Notion of Diminished Episcopacy —

 

However, the Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord does in no way discredits the nature and function of the episcopacy unlike the 20th century Ultramontanism.

Indeed, after his confession of the Son of God’s divinity, Christ said to S. Peter:

‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father, who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build by Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.’ — S. Matt. XVI, 17-19

Peter’s name is linked to his confession, whose name was Simon, before. This confession on one hand has a divine origin (S. Peter only says what he receives from the heavenly Father, therefore, his speech is without error; otherwise, it is not the Holy-Ghost speaking through his lips); on the other hand, since it refers to the divine-humanity of the Messiah, it constitutes the stone on which Christ builds his Church. That is why S. Paul, co-worker with S. Peter, writes:

‘you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God: built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone in whom all the building framed together, groweth into a holy temple of the Lord.’ — Eph. II, 19-21

Peter bears the Name of Our Lord Jesusthe Stone, who builds the Church on Himself. That is the interpretation of the majority of Church Fathers.

On the other side, when calling the apostolic college, Christ did not call Peter first who, in turn, would have received the command to call the other apostles. Yet, quite often did Christ have others do some actions he did not want to do himself: baptize for example (S. Jn. IV, 2), or when having resurrected Lazarus, he told his disciples to loose him (S. Jn. XI, 44), or when he gave the risen son back to his mother (S. Luke VII, 15).

Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the Keys to S. Peter, making him prince, arbiter, head, i.e. the guarantor for the Apostles’ unity as apostolic college (S. Matt. XVI, 18); and at another time, he directly said to all the disciples:

‘As the Father hath sent me, I also send you… Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them and whose you shall retain, they are retained.’ — S. Jn. XX, 21-23

The bishops the Apostles’ successors are submitted to the pope as to their prince; but they are part, with him, of the headship of the Church, not of the body. They are the ‘brothers’ of Peter, not his sons. If the pope is the guarantor of doctrinal unity, the apostolic college (who is also guarantor of doctrine, at its own level, since the Council, that is the assembling of bishops, does not get its power from the pope but only depends on him as arbiter for the ratification of its decrees), so then, the apostolic college and, therefore, each bishop in particular is responsible for the perpetuation of the hierarchical existence of the Church as body.

The bishop is a genitor: being the depository of the fullness of priesthood, his intrinsic mission is to bear priests and bishops, who will secure the perpetuity of the Church. The administration of the Church is his raison d’être; he is one of its Princes, and not just a papal legate. If a crisis happens at the papacy level, it is part of the bishop’s duty to take care of the continuity of the Church’s structure.

The papal mandate for the consecration of bishops is an administrative detail, not a condition for the validity of the consecration; in times of crisis its absence can in no way prevent its liceity, because the bishop carries in himself the sufficient reason of his function. That is the origin of licit: all he does is really proper to the Church. Of course, it is in accordance with the epikeia, in other words: the principle of application of right according to righteousness (S. Thomas of Aquinas, IIa-IIae, q. 80, 5) that the consecrating bishop presupposes that, in ordinary conditions, the mandate would have been provided by the Holy See.

No doubt the bishops remain submitted to the pope, but they have in themselves their raison d’être which they do not have from the pope as such.

The Ultramontanes great mistake, and Lamennais’ the first of them, is to have asserted that the bishop is to the pope what the priest is to the bishop: just an extension. Now, that is absolutely wrong and contrary to traditional ecclesiology in general.

The sacerdotal powers are the following: to offer the holy Sacrifice of Mass, to bless, to preside over, to preach and baptize.

The Priest’s power is a participating from the bishop’s, whose own powers are, as for him: to judge, to interpret, to ordonate, to offer (the Holy-Sacrifice), to baptise and confirm. The idea of ‘reduced episcopacy’ (épiscopat diminué) is a recent invention, which tends to deprive the bishops from the apostolic character.

They sever the bishop from his raison d’être, by abusively submitting him to the pope’s power.

The fact that he be the Prince of the Apostles does not reduce them to being mere Church officials, delegated administrators, with no intrinsic reality. By the ring given to him, the Bishop weds the Church, whose children are his.

Our Fathers seriously considered S. Ignatius’ words:

‘See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father … Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. … Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. … Whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. … It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does in reality serve the devil.’ — Epist. ad Smyrnoeos, cap. VIII

Therefore each bishop is a Prince of the Church, a successor of the Holy Apostles, placed at the head of a portion of believers, first of all by the grace of God, then secondly, in ordinary circumstances, by that of the Holy See.

Did S. Gregory the Great not say:

‘God forbid that I should ever violate what our Fathers have established in each Church in favour of my Brethren in priesthood. I would injure myself if I would disrupt my Brethren in the possession of their rights.’

The whole Antiquity gives evidence of this; and modern authors cannot really invalidate eighteen centuries and a half of tradition. The Augustinian and sacerdotal Concord keeps in mind the words of the great bishop of Geneva:

‘The very glory of God demands that the Episcopal Order be respected in the authority which depends of its institution.’

If the Bishops could diminish in their pastoral raison d’être, then the believers could also in their nature of sheep of God. Now, it is not surprising, that the expansion of militancy corresponds to the decline and the destruction of traditional episcopate theology.

If Christ could cease to be the Good Shepherd, then could the Bishops cease to be his vicars. Now, the words from Scripture are positive:

‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather together the lambs with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom, and he himself shall carry them that are with young.’ (Is. XL, 11) Christ ‘goes after that which is lost until he find it and when he hath found it doth he not lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing’ (S. Luke XV, 4-5).

A priest cannot hear confession when he is not under a bishop’s obedience, because he does not have the fullness of priesthood: he is bound. On the other hand, since the bishop is not a pope’s extension, he can — in times of crisis — validly and lawfully consecrate without a mandate.

He bears in himself the reason of his mission, unlike the priest. All the sacraments given in obedience to a Catholic bishop are valid and lawful.

Thus, we could imagine a Church composed of bishops and lay people, rather than of priests and lay people; the priest is not necessary to the Church unlike the bishop. Unless being in a truly extraordinary situation, not only a Priest without bishop should not hear confession, but he should also abstain from saying mass!

‘The Church is in the bishop, as the bishop in the church’, says S. Cyprian. Where the bishop is, there is the Church; where a priest submitted to a bishop is, there is the Church; where a rebellious priest is, the Church is no longer: his sacraments are fruitless, illicit and sacrilegious.

‘Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world’ says Our Lord (S. Matt. XXVIII, 20). Unless one is protestant, this presence is understood as being the sacramental presence.

Now, without a priest, no Holy Sacrament; no bishop, no priest; but without a pope (temporarily, in any case), it is the bishops’ duty to perpetuate the functional hierarchy of the Church, which makes its theological visibility (i.e. its factual existence, truly structured).

Consequently, Our Lord’s word means: whatever the circumstances may be, there will always be bishops, because without them, the Church would disappear.

Now: ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’, the Church!