Friday, 5 January 2018

We're All Traditionalists Now...

'So, if you could just discard 99% your cherished beliefs that would be great.'
A stranger pontificate in history shall likely never be found. More bloody pontificates? More violent pontificates? More corrupt pontificates? More edifying and glorious pontificates? Yes to all these, but the award for strangest pontificate shall surely go to Francis.

Everything about this papacy has been strange, confusing and unsettling, disturbing and worrying. I liked that description from the bishops of Kazakhstan - 'alien'.Yes, much of this pontificate has been foreign and 'alien' to Catholic sensibility, to Catholic feeling and to Catholic tradition. Jorge Mario Bergoglio sidled into the Seat of Peter with astonishing confidence and he lost no time in laying out the scope of his radical agenda still unfolding in real time. Clearly nothing in the same room as him is to be marked safe.

All along, however, tradition - at least some Catholic tradition - has been an uneasy ally of the man from the ends of the earth. He needs it. He lives off it. Without it, he dies! Tradition is the only thing that gives Francis the oxygen he has to say the things he says and be heard and taken seriously. It is an unspoken yet mysterious agreement that a Press which is nearly entirely secular in outlook continues to print and pay attention to the things that the Pope says, acknowledging insodoing that in some way the Pope is set apart from the rest of the Catholic Church in authority and enjoys within the Church greater power than does your average parish priest or bishop. In this area, the world reports the Church strictly on the Church's own terms. This is helpful for the Church when 'the man at the top' is a true believer and your average parish is ran by a heretical loon, but less helpful for the Church when these roles are reversed.

Indeed for Pope Francis, those papal traditions which actively engage the confidence of the Faithful are retained and they must be, despite being a 'radical' or even a 'revolutionary' in his own reported words. For example, for Francis the wearing of a white cassock and pectoral Cross are valuable items retained, while those that are deemed superfluous and unnecessary are dispensed with, such as wearing red shoes and enjoying living quarters in the Apostolic Palace. The white cassock is worn at all times to tell you he is Pope and enjoys great authority. Now here is a conveniently helpful tradition, no? The symbolism and message is clear. No other colour of cassock would do, even for a 'radical'. If anyone needs a white cassock, it is, in fact, a radical. Every Pope needs respectability. The red shoes are never worn to remind you that he does not tread the path of his predecessors, or honour the blood of Christ and His martyrs, but is striking out on his own path, one that looks upon Catholic tradition generally with something of a sneer. Such things are just silly traditions!

Yet it is, in reality, only Catholic tradition that keeps Pope Francis where he is, firmly in the limelight and its only Catholic tradition that makes him a problem. If we dispense with tradition, he's just another priest wearing a different garb.

If the Pope were just another Catholic bishop or priest there is no reason why his opinions should be treated with any greater import than that of a bishop of a diocese in Kazakstan. It is only Catholic tradition that allows Francis and his co-workers the opportunity to persuade people that Amoris Laetitia is very, very important and should be taken very, very seriously by the whole Church. It is only Catholic tradition that maintains that 'Peter has spoken, so you best consider his words and take them to heart'.

After five years, it is clear that Francis and the St Gallen 'mafia' who thrusted him into global prominence need the papacy far more than the papacy needs him and them and the papacy serves Francis in a far greater capacity than he serves the papacy. Did you know that his actual job specification calls upon him to safeguard and defend the Deposit of Faith he has received and teach it to others? He doesn't do this, but is happy to utilise the great privileges that the papacy accords him to spread his personal opinions on everything and often to contradict the Magisterium of his predecessors. And just to illustrate how tiresomely painful this trend has become, we have pianist-theologians such as Stephen Walford to make apparent to us just what kind of knots we can tie ourselves up in if we decide that only an utterly schizophrenic attitude towards Catholic tradition will serve the Church of the 21st century.

Such men advance the position that a Pope is exonerated from all charges that he has made a treasonous departure from the clear and consistent teaching and practice of the Church by virtue of simply being Pope. In fact, not only is a Pope automatically exonerated from such charges, but these charges must in turn be applied to all those malefactors and 'dissenters' who would dare to challenge him or oppose his blatant attempt to undermine the perennial teaching of the Church on Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. As Ed Condon writes today, we need to acknowledge too that changing discipline on Holy Communion is only the start of the revolution. In this reasoning, even if the Pope, to quote Francis, himself quoting St Ignatius of Loyala at the time, declared that 'black is white' and 'white is black', the Faithful would be bound to believe and accept it, putting aside all and any reason in their possession. Do you see just how wonderfully Catholic tradition, painted by him as untrustworthy and unreliable, serves Pope Francis? It goes something like this:

'Before I was Pope, I was a heterodox Cardinal. I sneered at much of what the Church confessed as Her teaching and secretly worked to undermine it. Before I was a heterdox Cardinal, I was a heterodox Archbishop. I sneered at much of what the Church confessed as Her teaching and secretly worked to undermine it. Before I was a heterodox Archbishop, I was a heterodox priest. I sneered at much of what the Church confessed as her teaching and secretly worked to undermine it. There might have been a time in my ecclesiastical career when I was what you could call 'orthodox' in my Catholic belief, but if there was such a time, I do not remember it. I have not dispensed with any of my erroneous interpretations of the Church's teachings, nor my wilful unbelief in Her doctrines, but see, now that I am Pope, that which was once true is no longer true and my own beliefs, divorced from the timeless teachings of the Church, separated from the tradition, which depart even from the Church's Lord, are, in my person as Pope, made credible, in fact more than credible, they are to be believed by the whole Faithful.'

Yes, the Office of the Papacy can apparently turn a heretic into a sage, but it is the Office that is transformed, not the heretic. Is this what the Church believes? Or is this rather what Protestants have traditionally believed about the power and duties of the Pope? Becoming Pope, it would seem, does not so much confer upon the one who sits on the Chair of Peter a teaching charism and the solemn obligation to confirm the brethren and the Church's children in the infallible Christian doctrine handed down from Christ to His Apostles to the present day, it confers something far more awesome than this, it confers the sanctification, perhaps even the deification of an individual's private beliefs, even if these beliefs contradict Jesus Christ the Divine Founder and Lord of the Catholic Church, to whom it has hitherto been expected that each Pope serves, some well, some poorly. If a heretic becomes the Pope, the heretic can apparently rejoice not only that his own persistence in error has been changed into glorious integrity in the truth, but because he has the right and even the obligation to confirm the whole Church in his errors, which are now made holy and laudable, thus sweeping aside the entire tradition as well as the doctrines of Jesus Christ Himself.

'I've got some second-hand doctrine to sell you at a very, very good price.'
In this ridiculous proposition, never, never, no never, could any Pope be a confidence trickster who uses and abuses his sublime and august Office to deceive the Faithful into believing the absurdity that the words of Jesus Himself are 'too rigid', that the words of St Paul are not to be trusted, that it is beyond a great number of the Church's children to uphold in their daily lives the moral law, that the divine law written itself on the hearts of the Faithful is ambiguous, transient and changeable and not to be trusted as it is given. Never. That could never happen. Well guess what, one day the Church may be forced to acknowledge that precisely that happened!

The tradition of the church, since the rise of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, apparently upholds that we must pay attention to someone who makes the statements of a rebellious and apostate bishop, especially when he becomes a Pope and especially because he is Pope. He cannot be challenged, he cannot be questioned, and he certainly can never lose the special charism that comes with being Successor of St Peter. He can never be a Judas who betrays his Lord for nobody knows what. He is, as Pope, always great, glorious, above reproach and you must obey or else. Without the tradition and the generous honour and respect which tradition and traditionalists give to each and every Pope, Francis would be a nobody, nothing in the Church. Nobody need listen to him without tradition. In the light of tradition, Francis is made into somebody to be believed, even when tradition itself condemns his statements outright because tradition says, 'Listen to the Pope, he speaks with God's mandate and authority.'

However, if we are to ask what is more important in the Church, tradition or the Pope, we might ask what or who confers crediblity on who or what. Is it the Pope who breathes life into Tradition, is tradition his personal plaything or is it tradition that actually gives oxygen, airtime and legitimacy itself to a Pope? Interesting, isn't it? When we have discovered the answer to this question, we shall know better who to believe in this current crisis because Francis has made this question very relevant to today's debates.

For we are told now that we must listen and adhere to Pope Francis's maxims in Amoris Laetita because he is the Pope. We are told we must listen to the Pope because of what Jesus said about the Pope and, wait for it, because of Catholic tradition. It is Catholic tradition that tells us that we must give great weight to what a Pope teaches. Yet we are told that something is blinding us to the wonderful light that is the Pope's vision for the Church which contradicts what Catholics have always believed. What is it that is blinding us? Yes! The tradition of the Church is blinding us! Of course! How foolish we have all been!

Here is, in all its paradoxical glory, the current position of the men who would have Catholics renounce what Catholics have always believed since the time of Christ and the Apostles concerning Holy Communion, adultery, sin, sacrilege and even apostasy.

You must listen to Pope Francis because that is the Catholic tradition.
Catholics have always accepted papal teaching!

Catholic tradition is standing in the way of Pope Francis's radical overhaul of the entire nature of the Catholic Church.

Or, put another way...

You must cast aside Catholic tradition and listen to Pope Francis.

You must listen to Pope Francis because the Catholic tradition tells you you simply must!

Does anyone, Stephen Walford, find the above to be something of a contradiction?

Ah, they can't call people who oppose Francis's anti-Catholic agenda 'Protestants'. Oh, how much they must wish they could. They must call them 'dissenters' because to use the word 'Protestants' as a derisive term would be offensive to the Protestants with whom TeamFrancis are trying to smooth over differences. How hilarious it all is! But in fact, the current position of men such as Stephen Walford is inherently Protestant because it propagates the Protestant myth that somehow the Pope is so powerful that not only is he is master and commander of the Church as its visible Head, but that on assuming the Office of the Papacy, we apparently believe he becomes superhuman, more God than man, more to be worshipped and venerated than Christ Himself, that he is given not just the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, but is himself Heaven's high King enfleshed on Earth, since only a man who has been conferred the dignity of not merely sonship but Lordship, of divinity, who ranks equal to God Himself could be granted the privilege of altering divinely revealed Truth. Funny, isn't it? Why haven't any Popes tried what Francis is trying on the Faithful before? It's almost like they believed in God or something, that they themselves had to render account to someone other than themselves. After all, it cannot be convincingly argued that Amoris Laetitia is merely be a response to the times because there is nothing inherently new about divorce and remarriage, is there?

Men such as Mr Walford believe that they have a 'winning line' in telling Catholics, while insulting us and our intelligence, that the Pope is head of the Church and anyone who objects to the alteration of the Catholic Faith ('which isn't being altered really, so just believe and shut up') is rigidly adhering to tradition but dissenting from the dissident Pope who was a dissident Cardinal and a dissident Archbishop and probably dissident priest. For those who wish to suspend their rational faculties, that's really the end of the debate. For those who don't, in reality, it is only the beginning of the debate which should sound a little like this...

Why should Catholics believe and give assent to a papal document and its papal interpretation that appears to support the overthrowing of Catholic morality, tradition and belief for 2,000 years? 

The answer comes, 'because the Pope says so'. 

Why should we listen to this Pope? 

The answer comes, 'Because Catholic tradition tells you to'.

What is more important for Catholics to believe, Catholic tradition or the Pope who distances himself from it? 

The answer comes, 'The Pope!' 


The answer comes, 'Because Catholic tradition tells you to! Catholics have always listened to the Pope!' 

But Catholics have always believed that the Body and Blood of Christ is Holy and should not be received by those in grievous mortal sin, for to do so confirms the guilty in their own condemnation. Is this not true?

The answer comes at long last...'It was true then but it is not true now, it is 2018 and you must let go of those cherished beliefs that tradition has led you to believe! Jesus wants this!'

Why? How can I be sure?

'Because the Pope says so! He is in charge 'round here. Never, ever let go of this cherished belief that tradition has led you to believe!'

But I thought you told me to dispense with Catholic tradition? So I should dispense with listening to the Pope oon this?

At last, the answer comes...'No! Oh, just shut it!'

Ah yes, we are all traditionalists now and don't you deny it Mr Walford. It is just that some of us believe the Catholic tradition safeguards us from an errant Pope and that Popes are themselves subject to the Sacred Tradition, and yes even Popes are subject to the Word of God. Not just some, or one, but all. This Pope - and you yourself - would have us abandon the entire tradition of the Church but one - a very convenient one it is for him and those he employs in his work of deception - that the Pope has authority over all Christian doctrine and practice so you'd better obey. Now we see how useful is tradition, so sneered upon and scorned by Pope Francis and those who he is getting to do the dirty work of discrediting those who stand up for Jesus Christ, who suffer slanderous attacks for doing so. Very useful! Sometimes! For some causes! Like the destruction of Christian morals!

There's only one reason Stephen Walford is getting published in La Stampa and that's because he is 'on-message' in the Vatican's war on Christians - those who believe and uphold the all the doctrines of Christ. Mr Walford, the day you go 'off-message' and question the legitimacy of Amoris Laetitia and the interpretation given to it by its signatory, is the day they drop you. That's the day you lose what influence you have. Your goodwill and loyalty are being used. Your integrity is not welcome, nor is your intellect valued, only your subservience to the chief and your reinforcement of the Pope's misleading message. Like many, you have been taken in by the deceitful charms of those who desperately need 'theologians' willing to publicly defend the indefensible and attack the innocent and just, while thinking that they are doing God a favour. It is not too late for you to turn and to fight for Christ's doctrines, for the safeguarding of the dignity and honour of the Blessed Sacrament and for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis will reward you in this life. Jesus Christ will reward you in Eternity.

I pray you and Pope Francis do exactly that, turnaround, and after that the Pope in particular does whatever is necessary to strengthen the brethen in the Faith taught for 2,000 years as soon as he can. In Pope Francis's case, that might mean doing the decent thing and resigning, confessing that he has misled the Faithful, and that it would really serve the Church better to have a Pope who could credibly convince others that he believed the Catholic Faith, rather than what we currently have - a Pope intent on transplanting his own 'alien' beliefs into the papacy and from the papacy into the whole Catholic Church and then calling those weird beliefs 'Catholicism'.

Willing 'theologians' have tried very hard to convince the sceptics, the doubters and the waverers on Amoris Laetitia and its official papal interpretation, but I'm afraid there is neither excuse nor precedent, loophole nor any possible justification for what the Pope is trying to do. Why? Because the same tradition that tells us to take what Popes say very seriously and to give what he says special credence, honour and deference, also tells us that the what he is currently saying in Amoris Laetitia is anathema to the Faith and encourages the destruction of the Church, the profanation of the Eucharist and the perdition of souls. To Catholics, nothing is actually meant to be more important than Jesus Christ and if His most famous rival in 2018 must be a Pope, then there is no difficulty or scandal in choosing Christ and following Him despite what the Pope tells us to believe instead. If I must choose, I will choose the entire tradition of the Church on this, and you can keep the only part of tradition that Francis wishes you to maintain, that is - loyalty to him - yes, even unto the betrayal of Christ Himself. Yes, you can have that, if that's what you want. It is your choice. It is the choice that any Catholic on the face of the Earth with a dog in this fight, that is, an immortal soul to save, may eventually have to make.

Pray for an end to this crisis and for the liberty and exaltation of Christ's Bride, that She may be freed from the tyranny of error and the dictatorship of relativism.


Deacon Augustine said...

That poor piano teacher is a living example of a Catholic who has been sacramentalized, but who has never been evangelized. He has no "personal passionate relationship with Jesus" as one bishop I know describes the essence of Catholicism, but rather he has an entirely vicarious relationship with Jesus.

It is a relationship lived vicariously through his relationship with the Pope and hence any doubt cast upon the reliability of the Pope immediately puts his relationship with Jesus and the Catholic Church entirely in jeopardy.

In many ways we can be thankful for this pontificate in that it has brought out into the light the de facto idolatry which lies at the heart of many Catholics' faith. It is an idolatry which transgresses the First Commandment and places souls in grave danger of damnation. Please God the next Pope will have the courage and true humility to put an end to all this sacriligious pope-worship.

Mary Kay said...

Nicely done, Laurence! I so hope the theologian in question reads this. He could use a little lesson in logic.
Happy New Year to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Shut up you sniveling sniveller!

Is it you whose saying I'm crazy or childish, I'll get you got, cretinous cretin person.

philipjohnson said...

Laurence.The best writing that you have done on this subject!Bergoglio is a Heretic and Anti-Catholic in extreme.I pray for his soul every day but follow two thousand years of Tradition despite the Wretch.Off to Latin Mass in the morning for the feast of the Epiphany!!

Lepanto said...

I used to argue with Mormon acquaintances that, because their current president could contradict the teachings of past presidents, it was clear that their 'church' was false because Truth is clearly unchangeable. The argument always confounded them. Happily I am no longer in contact with them or they would just point at Francis and I would be confounded.

Leo D. Lion said...

Jesus I Trust In You


Kathleen1031 said...

Wonderfully written, I would like to print out especially your last paragraph, it contains so much. I really appreciate the point that all traditions must go save one, listening to the pope and agreeing with every word. If it weren't so tragically true it would be humorous.
Deacon, something to consider, you are repeating Protestant-talk. Catholics have always had a personal relationship with Christ, but for their own reasons the Catholic heads have adopted Prottie-talk so as to form that One World Church they seem to be striving for. For 2000 years Catholics have had that relationship with Christ, we didn't need Luther the heretic nor his followers to point it out.
Lawrence, well put, we do have to make a choice, and if there is one good thing to come out of the misery of observing our church and faith be utterly dismantled, it is that eventually we arrive at The Choice. Who are we going to believe, Christ, or the Pope? It has become that simple, and every person, every Catholic, has to make up their mind. We are following Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. We have no qualms at all about considering this poser anathema. He has proven it by departing from the true faith so many times.

Kathleen1031 said...

Leo D. Lion...well put.

Melanie said...

I read about a Pope, Pope John XII, who lived a life of debauchery, prior to & during his reign. If he believed in God, he showed no signs of loving Him as he was known to have actually raised a toast to the devil himself. Do you know what he changed in our beautiful religion handed down to us by the Apostles of Jesus Christ? Nothing, not one thing. It was like a miracle. I can’t help but notice that something is wrong here because a paradox is only apparent. One of the things that are going on in this contradiction simply isn’t true. For my part, I believe the Apostles.

Deacon Augustine said...

Kathleen1031, something to consider: if Catholics have always had a personal relationship with Christ (which they have or should have) why is it "Protestant-talk" to say so? Surely this is a case of Prods taking from the Catholic Faith and making it their own?

Whatever, in the case of Mr Walford, he clearly seems to put his relationship with the current Pope at a far more important level than his relationship with Christ. Effectively he is saying: "If Christ says "A" and the Pope says "B", I will say "B" because the Pope has said it and he is Pope NOW, despite the fact that Christ and all the popes before this one have said "A". Thus this Pope is more important than all 260+ other popes and even Christ Himself for no other reason than that he is the one who holds office NOW.

This is not Protestantism, this is sheer bloody-minded Pope-worship.

Anonymous said...

The deacon is a protestant convert, so it's no surprise he's pulling out the old false protestant accusations against Catholics, but he is right that Catholics like Wolford are suffering from a form of papal idolatry.
Let's hope that it is Catholic Tradition that finally brings an end to this disastrous papacy.

Steve D.

Annie said...

You have stated the truth beautifully. Inside my head more and more I call myself part of the Remnant. It's almost as if we're back to the days of the catacombs - soon we'll be drawing pictures of fish to discern if our friends and neighbors are also followers of the Way. I must say that Pope Francis has deepened my understanding of history and of what it must have been like for the early Christians who had to deal with their own insane emperors. The capriciousness, the playing off of courtiers, the contradictory decrees, the sulks, the favorites, the banishments, the hatred of anyone who opposes him - it's all there.

john haggerty said...

Kathleen calls Martin Luther a heretic. Here are Martin's own words, Kathleen.

'Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and God has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us ...'

On the internet you can see photos of a statue of Guillaume (William) Farel that stands outside the cathedral of Neuchatel in France.

A contemporary of Luther and a preacher of renown, Farel is holding the Bible above his head with the pages turned towards the people. (Catholics by church decree were not allowed to read the Bible unless by permission of their bishop.)

Corruption in the church had been a problem since the 14th Century.
Hus was burned at the stake in Prague about a hundred years before Luther.
As he was dying Hus said, 'You are only burning a goose, but one day a swan will arise.'
Many saw Martin Luther as that swan.
A widespread mood for reform was prevalent all across Europe; John Calvin was a faithful Catholic until he saw reformers being burned in Paris; his conversion began after he had witnessed this act of atrocity.
The reformers had no intention of starting a new church; they were trying to save Rome from its sins and false teaching.
A bishop who read William Tyndale's faithful translation of the New Testament said, 'Either this is not the Gospel, or the church is teaching something quite different.'
Tyndale was burned and so were his Bibles.
The popes kept a torture chamber for 'heretics' even after Luther's death.

See 'Salvation is all of God - Martyn Lloyd-Jones' on the Reformed Spirit website.

Anonymous said...

Le pape c'est moi et après moi le déluge, that's the guy living in a first class hotel called S.ta Marta, he's a real tragedy for the RCC, end of. Good article, Mr. Bones, as always

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Papacy opposed to Apostasy are as Christ against belial. Bread or stones? Christ against belial. Catholicism versus Novus Ordoism is Christ against belial. A long interregnum is perfectly within Catholic teaching, though a mystery. The Apostasy of Christ's Vicar and the adultery of His Bride, is un-Catholic, against Christ.

Will He find faith? If one does not know the Bride, one does not know the Bridegroom. Put another way, if one prefers the whore to the Bride...

PS. Time is getting short.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Haggerty: You wrote: " (Catholics by church decree were not allowed to read the Bible unless by permission of their bishop.)" What is your source for that statement? Tyndale's 'faithful translation'? The whole point is that it was not - see St Thomas More on the subject.

Physiocrat said...

Perhaps Cerularius was right about Popes after all. The Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria came to the same conclusion separately and independently.

I you want to get out from under a heretical leader there is always Patriarch Kyrill happy to accept those who believe the Catholic faith in its entiry.

The Bones said...


We have a leader, Christ, Who is Head of His Body the Church - the Catholic Church

Physiocrat said...


So what when the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth, teaches his own thing?

john haggerty said...

To Mr Bellord:
The Catholic layman is under the authority of his parish priest, who in turn stands under the authority of his bishop.
A Catholic friend of mine asked his P.P. for permission to hold a prayer meeting in his home. Permission was granted, my friend being a regular communicant.
Once (not now) lay Catholics had to ask permission to read the Bible.
Guillaume Farel was ordered to hand over his Bible to his bishop, but refused.
The R.C. church is very much a hierarchy.
For instance, a cardinal can only be questioned by another cardinal or by the pope.
This explains why no one dared question Cardinal Keith O'Brien.
The hierarchy as the source of spiritual authority was threatened by the Bible.
Protestant Bible societies were condemned by Pope Clement X1 in 1713 (Dogmatic Constitution); by Pope Pius V1 in 1794 (Auctorem fidei); by Pope Leo in 1824 (Ubi Primum); Pope Pius V111 in 1829 (Traditi Humilitati); by Pope Gregory XV1 in 1844 (Inter Praecipuas); by Pope Pius IX in 1866 (Quanta Cura); and by Pope Leo XIII in 1897 who declared:
'All versions of the Holy Bible, in any vernacular language, made by non-Catholics, are prohibited; and especially those of the Bible societies.'
Thomas More did not like Tyndale's translation, but then More watched coldly as the English reformers were burned at the stake.
More was haunted by Tyndale whom he declared to be 'everywhere and nowhere'.
It took Queen Elizabeth I (excommunicated by the pope) to order that a copy of the vernacular Bible be placed in every English parish church.
Within recent memory the Protestant Bible Society gave away free copies of the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible to the people of Spain.
Many Spaniards were ignorant of their own Bible.
Pope John Paul II advised the Catholic faithful in Mexico not to speak to Bible believing Protestants.
It is true that the Douay-Rheims Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate in 1610, but permission to read it had to be sought from the parish priest.
The church supervised every aspect of the life of the laity including their reading diet.
As historian James Gairdner said:
'To place such a weapon as an English Bible in the hands of men who had no regard for authority, and who would use it without being instructed how to use it properly, was dangerous not only to the souls of those who read it, but to the peace and order of the church.' (Lollardy and the Reformation in England volume one).
Devotional Bible reading undermined the authority of the priesthood; ultimately it undermined the authority of the all-powerful popes many of whom declared themselves to be 'another Christ on earth'.
It was Pius IX who said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life.'
In contrast to such papal pretensions, Protestants from John Calvin to John Wesley encouraged the common people to attend Bible reading classes.
In the pages of the New Testament men and women learned of Christ's finished work on Calvary.
In the Bible they found assurance of their salvation.
I am glad that all my Catholic friends can now turn to the Bible in their devotional reading.

The Bones said...


Then our leader is still Christ and the Holy Catholic Church still belongs to Him, she is His Bride.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Haggerty: You are just repeating Protestant myths. The Catholic Church required that translations of the Bible be authorised by the Church so as to avoid mis-translations which often reflected a heterodox view. Thus the Church did not allow the reading of Protestant translations such as Tyndal's which were not authorised by the Church.

What is your source for saying that the laity were forbidden to read the Douai-Rheims versions without the permission of their Bishop?

Banjo pickin girl said...

Nicolas, I think a cursory search of historical documents will show that it was the custom for there to be a Bible on a reading stand in every parish so anyone could read it.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Banjo p g: Quite right. One just has to read King Alfred the Great's preface "On the State of Learning in England" and the contemporary translations of the Bible into Old English. See:

Deacon Augustine said...

John Haggerty illustrates the ignorance which bedevils Protestant apologetics and their total inability to extrapolate back into previous periods of history.

Some basic facts as to why there was no widespread access to the Bible prior to the 15th century:

1) The printing press was not invented until some time between 1440-1450 AD. There were no books of any sort which were readily available to the masses until then.

2) Bibles were produced in the Scriptoria of Religious houses - copied painstakingly by hand - and took the major part of the average monk's lifetime to complete. Hence they were rare and highly valuable.

3) Due to their scarcity and high value most churches could only afford one copy and that was chained in the church to make sure nobody nicked it.

4) As the Word of God was only written in the original languages which Pontius Pilate nailed above Christ's head on the Cross (Latin, Greek and Hebrew) most of the population could not read them anyway.

5) Even if the Bible had been written in the vernacular, only the educated elite could have read it as the majority of the population was illiterate. What use is a Bible to somebody who can't read, unless he has somebody else to read it to him?

Prior to the arrival of the printing press most people learnt their faith by rote - from word of mouth. They were also taught about the events recorded in the Bible from the frescoes, icons, and murals which adorned every church - until the iconoclastic Protestants arrived and whitewashed it all away.

As for Calvin being shocked out of his Catholicism on seeing "Reformers" burnt at the stake - what hogwash. He was all too happy to burn the Anabaptists at the stake in Geneva and set about it with gusto.

Protestantism as we know it could only ever have been invented in the 15th century or later. Its existence was entirely predicated on the invention of the printing press and the only demand for it came from some of the literate classes. It is as alien to the religion of the New Testament as the English Communion Service which was forced an an unwilling English population was alien to our ancestors.

john haggerty said...

Papist and Prod myths abound, Mr Bellord; I grew up in the West of Scotland where we Catholics had to endure bigotry and discrimination.
We prayed to statues (or so they taunted us) and we had large families (another taunt) because we wanted to 'take over' Protestant Scotland.
Does that mean there was no truth to the claim that Ireland and Spain were 'priest ridden'?
Irish thinkers and social activists had to reckon with the power of the Church.
John Charles McQuaid, the Archbishop of Dublin, stipulated in 1944 that no Catholic could enter the Protestant University of Trinity College without his consent.
Do you really suppose that a lay Catholic in the 17th Century could purchase the Douay Bible without the consent of his priest?
For one thing he bought the Bible FROM the priest.
If he was encouraged to read the Bible it was as a way of reducing his time in Purgatory; my late father's Douay Bible carries this assurance of 'Indulgences' along with the Bishop's Imprimatur.
'The bedrock of the church was the parish,' as Mark Greengrass points out in 'Christendom Destroyed - Europe 1517-1648'.
And those parishes 'covered the length and breadth of Western Christianity,' Professor Greengrass writes. 'That was where the vast majority of the population attended Mass, made their offerings, confessed and took communion once a year.'
There were translations of the Psalms and the Gospels into Old English during the Dark Ages; there was Bede's Gospel of John (lost) as well as the Wessex Gospel and the Old English Hexateuch.
And there were Gospels in Old High German.
Margaret Deanesly thought that Bible translations were easier to produce in Germany where the decentralized nature of the Empire allowed for greater freedom; but these copies were seized and burned by the Inquisition. (See The Lollard Bible and Other Medieval Bible Versions, Cambridge University Press).
Some of the Lollards were hanged with their Bibles round their necks.
Rome 'owned' the Bible and only one trained by the Church could be expected to understand the many hidden meanings of the Scriptures.
The dominance of Latin can hardly be emphasized too much.
Savanarola was trained at San Marco in Florence, one of the city's most fashionable religious houses.
Historian Lauro Martines writes: 'A passing remark in at least one of the friar's sermons reveals that the convent had turned away many applicants from the more humble social ranks, because they were untutored in Latin.'
The Protestant faith succeeded because of the popularity of the vernacular Bible; it would hardly have been so explosive if the Catholic Bible had been as readily available.
In Colchester, Essex, a man in the 16th Century named Pykas received a copy of the Epistles of St. Paul from his mother with the inscription: 'My son, live according to these writings and not according to the teaching of the clergy.
See The Reformation in England (volume one) by J.H. Merle d'Aubigne who recounts this story and who writes:
'The 16th Century did more than its predecessors: it went straight to the fountain (the Holy Scriptures), cleared it of weeds and brambles, plumbed its depths, and caused abundant streams to pour forth on all around.'
Erasmus saw a day when men might sing snatches of Scripture to the plough and women recite Gospel passages to the tune of their weaving shuttle.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Deacon Augustine: Thank you for that. However just in case you are misunderstood the Gospel was available in the vernacular (Old English or Anglo-Saxon) at the time of King Alfred:

Aelc thara the thas min worde, and tha wyrcth, bith gelic thaem wisan were, se his hus ofer stan getimbrode. Tha com regen and micel flod, and thaer bleowen windas, and ahruron on thaet hus, and hit na ne feoll.

This is Matthew 7 about the man who builds his house on stone. (I have had to substitute th for the thorn which is often mistaken for a y as in ye olde).

King Alfred when encouraging the production of books in English for the sons of free men in 890 laments an earlier period prior to the Viking invasions when books in Latin were much more freely available.

Also the Lindisfarne Gospels created in about 700 AD were interlined with a translation into Old English in about 970 AD.

King Alfred writing in 890 in order to encourage the production of holy books for the sons of well-off free men laments an earlier period, prior to the destruction of the Viking invasions, when books in Latin were more freely available.

john haggerty said...

To Deacon Augustine:
I agree with all five points of your statement.
As for my 'Protestant apologetics', is that what I am doing? Perhaps.
We readers of history try to make sense of the Reformation.
Christopher Hill's landmark study of the English Revolution, 'The World Turned Upside Down' did just that, although Trevor-Roper thought that Hill placed too much emphasis on such groups as the Diggers and Ranters.
Is it 'hogwash' to suggest that Calvin was profoundly affected by the burning of the Paris 'heretics'?
His biographers from Carew Hunt to TLH Parker were fairly sure that the experience was a turning point for Calvin.
It is hard to know because Calvin said almost nothing about his conversion, and little about his personal life except for his grief at the death of his wife.
Calvin's persecution of the Catabaptists is a disturbing part of his strange story.
Catabaptists were a fascinating group consisting of visionaries, heterodox anarchists, German spiritualists and Italian rationalists.
There is a useful talk on YouTube by Erwin Lutzer: 'John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli and the Drowning of the Anabaptists'.
The Israeli writer Amos Oz said that the children of cruel parents often grow up to do cruel things.
Amos Oz said that the state of Israel grew out of the cruel history of Europe - not that he defends Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Perhaps the cruelties of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli came out of the cruelty of Mother Church's persecutions - the Reformers just repeating the cycle of burnings and torture.
But look at what the Reformation achieved in the next generation.
The Church of Scotland was the first form of democracy my country knew.
And Calvin's Commentary on the Gospel of St. John (published by Eerdmans in two volumes) is in my opinion a masterpiece.
In 2009 Eerdmans published 'The Calvin Handbook' edited by Herman J Selderhuis with invaluable contributions from over 50 Calvin scholars.

Thanks Bones for letting me go off-topic.

Physiocrat said...

@John Haggerty

Any good that Protestantism did was no more than a partial weeding out of post-schism growths. Unfortunately the baby was thrown out with the bathwater. The legitmate criticisms of the reformers were already being made by the Orthodox in the tenth century. In the 450 years after that, there was yet more development of doctrine and praxis made without the agreement of the entire body of the Catholic church.

Sola scriptura got in the way of a restoration of Orthodoxy in the West.

john haggerty said...

Point taken, Physiocrat.
But what are you putting higher than 'Sola Scriptura'?
What are you putting higher than 'Only Faith', 'Only Christ'?
What did we throw out that the blood of Christ Jesus does not give us?
Is it the transubstantiated Host which I was taught to worship as a child?
Is it the Apparition which calls itself Mary and declares itself (blasphemously) to be the Co-Redemptrix?
Is it post-Thomas theology or Canon Law?
Is it kissing the ruby ring on Cardinal Keith O'Brien's right hand?
Is it bowing before the Pope and kissing his Gucci slippers?
Tell me what I need over and above the free Gospel of Grace?

Francis Schaeffer said there are 4 great questions for the Christian.
Why is there sin?
Why is there death?
Who is Jesus Christ?
Why did Jesus Christ come into the world?

Do I need the Roman system of church government to answer those 4 questions?
Do I need to enter St Peter's Basilica which was built on the sale of plenary indulgences?
Do I need to hear a concelebrated Mass by the Pope and his silken-clad bishops?

I wish you could come to the plain Evangelical churches I go to in Glasgow and pray with those humble people who have been born again in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I wish you could hear the metrical Psalms in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
I wish you could hear the Spirit-anointed preaching by men who know and love the Bible.

Watch the films on YouTube called 'I Shall Not Die' to have an idea of what the Gospel means.

Physiocrat said...

Sola scriptura is a snare. In the first place there are issues with redaction and translation. We can never recover the authors' meaning.

What stands above scripture? The continuing Apostolic tradition which gave us the scriptures, but which also includes interpretation, liturgy, Catholicity and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ on the altar. None of that is to be found in Protestantism.

What you are complaining about are post schism Roman accretions. Every one of them.

Go and find yourself a proper Orthodox parish. They are thin on the ground but not as rare as all that. Greek, Russian or Serbian will do and the natives are friendly.

Physiocrat said...

"But what are you putting higher than 'Sola Scriptura'?"
The Apostolic church which gave us the scriptures

"What are you putting higher than 'Only Faith', 'Only Christ'?"
Both faith AND good works.

"What did we throw out that the blood of Christ Jesus does not give us?"
Protestantism does not give its people the Blood of Christ, really present.

"Is it the transubstantiated Host which I was taught to worship as a child?"
Protestantism does not give its people the Real Presence. Christ really present in the eucharistic elements should indeed be worshipped, for it is God Himself.

"Is it the Apparition which calls itself Mary and declares itself (blasphemously) to be the Co-Redemptrix?"
Post schism accretion.

"Is it post-Thomas theology or Canon Law?"
Post schism accretion.

"Is it kissing the ruby ring on Cardinal Keith O'Brien's right hand?"
The bishop is the person around whom the entire Catholic church gathers as the One Body of Christ on earth. The person you mentioned was an unfortunate choice. You might reasonably ask how that came about.

"Is it bowing before the Pope and kissing his Gucci slippers?"
Who does that?

"Tell me what I need over and above the free Gospel of Grace?"
The Catholic church, eucharist, confession, and a priesthood to provide those things and a bishop to act as a focus of unity.

"Francis Schaeffer said there are 4 great questions for the Christian.
"Why is there sin?
"Why is there death?
"Who is Jesus Christ?
"Why did Jesus Christ come into the world?"

"Do I need the Roman system of church government to answer those 4 questions?"
You do not need that particular system but churches have to be regulated to ensure that they teach the true faith and not some distortion or invention. There are 30,000 Protestant sects. How do you know which one is teaching the Christian truth?

"Do I need to enter St Peter's Basilica which was built on the sale of plenary indulgences?"
It depends on what you want to do there.

"Do I need to hear a concelebrated Mass by the Pope and his silken-clad bishops?"
You need a eucharist celebrated by a priest in communion with Christ's Apostles and the entire Catholic church on earth and in heaven.

"I wish you could come to the plain Evangelical churches I go to in Glasgow and pray with those humble people who have been born again in the Lord Jesus Christ."
One does not go to church to be with nice or even saintly people. One goes to obey the Command of Jesus Christ, to Take and Eat my body (John 6, and many other references). That is not to be found in a Protestant church.

"I wish you could hear the metrical Psalms in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland."
Yes, they sing them in our local Catholic Masses. They are all in the Catholic hymn book.

"I wish you could hear the Spirit-anointed preaching by men who know and love the Bible."
How can you be certain that they are interpreting the Bible in accordance with the tradition of the Church?

The Bones said...

Physiocrat - you make some good points but please do not recruit for the Orthodox church on my comments section. It's a Catholic blog.

john haggerty said...

As Bones says, you do make good points, Physiocrat.
I have worshipped in the Greek Orthodox Church in the West End of Glasgow just as I sometimes attend Mass in the Catholic Cathedral in Clyde Street.
Protestants often present a travesty of Orthodox and Catholic belief; I do not make myself popular when I tell them so.
Further contention arises when I suggest to Protestants that they learn from Catholics and Orthodox regarding contemplative prayer and meditation.
However I do think your soteriology is flawed, at least as you present it in your statement.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh was converted by reading the Bible.
Citing church councils and schisms is fine by me, but I should remind you of T.S. Eliot's line: 'History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.'
When it comes to contrived corridors we could look into the forged Decretals and the supposed Donation of Constantine; on these false foundations the mighty power of the Roman Church was largely built - and this is pre-schism.
The claim to universal supremacy in the church was made by Leo I and renewed by Gregory the Great (590-604) on the same grounds.
When in 588 John the Patriarch of Constantinople assumed the title of Universal Bishop, Gregory objected - using such terms as antichrist etc.
So the schism over 400 years later has deep roots.
In this period we see the papacy reach unprecedented heights of power under Pope Inoocent III and Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) during which time we see the Fourth Crusade and the persecution of the Albigenses. Post-schism as you rightly remark.
Boniface's Unam Sanctam reads, 'we declare, state, define and pronounce that for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pope is altogether necessary for salvation.'
The Reformed movement looked into all these things including the doctrine of Transubstantiation that came out of the Lateran Council of 1215 and is unknown in the early church.
Historians of classical philosophy would love to have authentic manuscripts as reliable as the earliest New Testament documents. Biblical exegesis stands under God's infallible Word.
Whether in his disputes with the Pharisees or in the temptation in the desert with the devil, Christ always referred to Scripture and never to tradition.
As R.C. Ryle (1816-1900) the Anglical bishop of Liverpool said:
'There are instances in which people are converted without the word (I Peter 3:I). But as a general rule, God's truth is the sword of the Spirit. By it he teaches, and teaches NOTHING else but what is WRITTEN in the Word.'

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