Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Fruits of the Mass: Are all valid Masses equal?

(From December 2012 issue of Catholic Family News)

The Fruits of the Mass

Are all valid Masses equal?

By Robert J. Siscoe

Traditional Catholics realize that the Traditional Mass is superior to the new Mass, but how do we answer those who claim that all valid Masses are equal? They rightly point out that any valid Mass is a renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, which is of infinite value, and then conclude by saying that as long as a Mass is valid it, too, is of infinite worth, and hence equally efficacious for those who participate. They might concede that a scandalously celebrated Mass will have a negative effect on the subjective disposition of those present, which may then lessen the amount of grace they receive, but then insist that neither liturgical abuses, nor an unworthy priest, nor watered down prayers or profane music, per se, will lessen the efficacy of the Mass or the fruit to be derived from it.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value

When considering the efficacy of the Mass, we must distinguish between the intrinsic value and the extrinsic value. The intrinsic value refers to the Sacrifice itself. Since the Mass is essentially identical to the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, which was itself of infinite worth, the intrinsic value of any Mass is infinite. In Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, we read:

“The intrinsic value of the Mass, that is, its peculiar dignity and efficacious power of itself (in actu primo), is infinite, on account of the infinite dignity of the Sacrificial Gift, and of the Primary Sacrificial Priest”. (Pg. 414)

With respect to the extrinsic value of the Mass, we must a make a distinction between the extrinsic value in relation to God to whom it is offered, and the extrinsic value in relation to man for whom it is offered. Since God is an infinite being, capable of receiving an infinite act, the adoration and thanksgiving offered to God by the Sacrifice is itself infinite. (1) But since man is a finite creature who is incapable of receiving infinite effects, the effects of the Mass in relation to man – which are referred to as “the fruits of the Mass” - are limited. In his magnificent book, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Fr. Gihr states that the external value of the Mass in relation to God is indeed infinite, and then adds:

“But the case is different when the Eucharistic Sacrifice is considered in its relation to man. From this point of view it aims at procuring our salvation and sanctification, and is, consequently, a means of grace, or rather a source of grace, bringing us the riches of heavenly blessings. (…) The fruits which the Sacrifice of the Mass obtains for us from God are only finite, that is, restricted to a certain number and determining measure… The Sacrifice of the Mass, therefore, with respect to man can have only a restricted efficacy, and in its fruits is capable of only limited application.” (2)

The same author goes on to explain that the limited efficacy “does not lie in the essence or value of the Sacrifice, since it possesses infinite power for producing every effect”. Rather, “the final and decisive reason for the more or less plentiful application of the sacrificial graces is the will of Christ, in other words, is to be sought in the positive ordinance of God”. (3) While the Mass itself is an infinite source of grace, when it comes to “the distribution of His gifts, God requires our cooperation”. (Gihr)

The Fruits of the Mass

The fruit that an individual derives from a particular Mass is not based solely on their personal piety and devotion, which is only one factor that determines the amount of grace they receive. There are other factors as well that have a bearing on the efficacy of a particular Mass, such as the holiness of the priest, the external glory given to God by the ritual, and even the general holiness of the Church in its members. These external factors affect the amount of grace a person receives, in such a way, that the devout hearing of one mass can derive greater fruits than an equally devout hearing of another mass.

The Holiness of the Church

One factor determining the efficacy of the Mass is the general holiness of the Church in its members at a given time, including the bishops and reigning pope. Regarding this point, the Catholic Encyclopedia says “the greatness and extent of this ecclesiastical service is dependent on the greater or less holiness of the reigning pope, the bishops, and the clergy throughout the world, and for this reason in times of ecclesiastical decay and laxity of morals (especially at the papal court and among the episcopate) the fruits of the Mass, resulting from the sacrificial activity of the Church, might under certain circumstances easily be very small”.

On the same point, Fr. Gihr wrote: “But since the holiness of the Church consists in the sanctity of her members, it is not always and invariably the same, but greater at one period than another; therefore, the Sacrifice of the Church is also at one time in a greater, at another in a lesser degree pleasing to God and beneficial to man”. (4)

Since this factor is based on the moral condition of the Church as a whole, it will have an equal effect on all Masses offered at a given time in history. The next several factors, however, are based on specific circumstances which have a direct effect on the efficacy of individual Masses.

The Priest

St. Thomas teaches that the fruits to be derived from a particular Mass are based, in part, on the holiness of the priest celebrant who intercedes for the faithful, “and in this respect there is no doubt but that the Mass of the better priest is the more fruitful”. (III, Q 82, A.6)

A Mass celebrated irreverently by an unworthy priest, or worse still, by one who violates the rubrics, will be less efficacious, and therefore produce fewer fruits than a one celebrated by a holy priest who says Mass with devotion and follows the rubrics with precision. Hence, as Fr. Gehr notes, “the faithful are thus guided by sound instinct when they prefer to have Mass celebrated for their intentions by an upright and holy priest, rather than by an unworthy one…”. (5) St. Bonaventure said “it is more profitable to hear the Mass of a good priest than of an indifferent one”.

Cardinal Bona (d. 1674) explained it this way: “The more holy and pleasing to God a priest is, the more acceptable are his prayers and oblations; and the greater his devotion, the greater the benefit to be derived from his Mass. For just as other good works performed by a pious man gain merit in proportion to the zeal and devotion with which they are performed, so Holy Mass is more or less profitable both to the priest who says it and to the persons for whom it is said, according as it is celebrated with more or less fervor”.

The Ritual

Another factor determining the efficacy of a Mass is the degree of external glory it gives to God. In this respect, not all Rites are equal; neither does a low Mass have the same efficacy as a High Mass. On this point, Fr. Gihr says:

“The Church not only offers the Sacrifice, but she moreover unites with its offering various prayers and ceremonies. The sacrificial rites are carried out in the name of the Church and, therefore, powerfully move God to impart His favors and extend His bounty to the living and the dead. By reason of the variety of the formulas of the Mass, the impetratory efficacy of the Sacrifice can be increased… also the nature of the prayers of the Mass and even of its whole rite exerts accordingly an influence upon the measure and nature of the fruits of the Sacrifice. From what has been said there follow several interesting consequences. Among others, that, on the part of the Church, a High Mass solemnly celebrated has greater value and efficacy than merely a low Mass. (…) At a Solemn High Mass the external display is richer and more brilliant than at a low Mass; for at a solemn celebration the Church, in order to elevate the dignity of the Sacrifice, manifests greater pomp, and God is more glorified thereby. (…) This grander and more solemn celebration of the Sacrifice is more acceptable to God and, therefore, more calculated to prevail upon Him to grant us, in His mercy, the favors we implore; - that is, to impart greater efficacy to the petitions and supplications of the Church.” (6)

If “the nature of the prayers of the Mass and even its whole rite” have an effect on the fruits of the Mass, it does not bode well for the Novus Ordo, which, to use the words of Cardinal Ottaviani, “represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent” and “has every possibility of satisfying the most modernist of Protestants”. (7)

Even the decora has an effect on the efficacy of a particular Mass: “If we use objects that do not fit the majesty and the exalted nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we can actually detract from the extrinsic merit. Ugly things please God less, and thus merit less”. (8)


On Calvary, our Lord offered His Passion and Death to the Father in order to merit our salvation. At the Mass, He offers Himself to the Father and applies the fruits of His Passion to us. But as we have seen, the fruits of the Mass are finite in their application, and contingent on many factors. The holiness of the priest, and the manner in which he says the Mass, will affect the fruits of the Mass. The greater the solemnity and grandeur of the Mass, the greater will be the graces God pours out on those who assist. When we consider the liturgical shipwreck that is the Novus Ordo Missae, and the scandalous manner in which the Mass is often celebrated, is there any wonder why the Church is in the condition it is today?
Let us recall the strange and even ominous words used by Paul VI when he introduced the new Mass to the world in November of 1969. He wrote:

“We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new Rite of the Mass. This new Rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent… a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. … This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed… We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect. … we must prepare ourselves. This novelty is no small thing. We should not let ourselves be surprised by the nature, or even the nuisance, of its exterior forms. … We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment”. (9)

Is it any surprise that a Mass described by the Pope who published it as “a many-sided inconvenience” and “nuisance”, which would cause “the feeling of annoyance”, “regret”, and “bewilderment”, would have a greatly diminished external value, and end in disaster for the Church - something that even Cardinal Ratzinger was forced to admit? In his book Milestones, which was published in 1997, he wrote: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”

Many clear thinking people foresaw, from the outset, the disaster that would result from the Protestantized new Mass. In the Critical Study of the new Mass, signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, they wrote: “To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was both the sign and pledge of unity of worship, and to replace it with another which cannot but be a sign of division by virtue of the countless liberties implicitly authorized, and which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic religion is, we feel in conscience bound to proclaim, an incalculable error”. They further wrote: “It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law”.

Whatever the true motive was for Paul VI publishing the new Mass, and illicitly and unjustly suppressing the true Mass, let us do our duty and request that Pope Benedict XVI abandon the “reform of the reform”, and instead set in motion the abrogation the reform.

1) Ibid
2) Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, pg 137-138
3) Ibid pg. 138-139
4) Ibid pg. 144
5) Ibid pg. 143
6) Ibid pg 144-145
7) Ottaviani Intervention
8) The Merits of a Mass, Fr. Ripperger, FSSP
9) Pope Paul VI, General Audience, November 26, 1969)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dignitatis Humanae

Dignitatis Humanae

True and False Notions of Human Dignity


By Robert J. Siscoe


On August 15, 1910, Pope St. Pius X issued the encyclical Notre Charge Apostolique, in which he condemned the errors of the Sillon.  The Sillon was a movement in France that promoted a form of social modernism (1), which sought to rebuild society on Masonic and Enlightenment principles incompatible with the Catholic Faith.


One of the fundamental errors of the Sillon was a false notion of human dignity, which flowed from an equally false notion of human liberty.  Pius X wrote: “The Sillon has a praise-worthy concern for human dignity, but it understands human dignity in the manner of some philosophers, of whom the Church does not at all feel proud. The first condition of that dignity is liberty, but viewed in the sense that, except in religious matters, each man is autonomous.”


The false notion of liberty and human dignity, which was advocated by the Sillon, was later expanded to include freedom of religion, in such a way that man’s dignity was said to bring with it the right to violate the First Commandment by professing any religion or none, as well as the right to express religious beliefs in the public forum, with no distinction being made between the true religion revealed by God, and “sects of perdition” (2 Peter 2:1) founded by men that St. Paul refers to as “lying teachers”.  We see this false notion of human dignity expressed in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which states:


“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”


Today, this false notion of human dignity has infected many within the Church, including high ranking prelates in Rome, who not only proclaim that men have a right to profess a false religion, but go further by encouraging them to do so.  Rather than preaching the saving truth in charity and warning them of the damnable errors they are entangled in, these misguided prelates encourage members of false religions to be faithful in carrying out their religious practices. This madness is due, in large part, to a false notion of human dignity. 


In order to sort out the confusion over this subject, we will distinguish between natural and supernatural dignity in the domain of being, and natural and supernatural dignity in the realm of acting.  We will then consider the false notion of human dignity, which proclaims for man the right to do that which God forbids.


The Realm of Being


On the ontological level – in the realm of being – man possesses the natural dignity of having been created in the image of God, that is, with a rational intellect and free will.  St. Augustine said: "Man's excellence consists in the fact that God made him to His own image by giving him an intellectual soul which raises him above the beasts of the field" (Gen. ad lit. vi, 12).


The rational intellect confers upon man natural liberty, or free will, (2) which is “the faculty of choosing means fitted for the end proposed.” (3)  Since only rational or intellectual creatures possess freedom of choice, man is the only material being that possesses the dignity of liberty.  “Liberty” wrote Leo XIII, “the highest of natural endowments, being the portion only of intellectual or rational natures, confers on man this dignity - that he is ‘in the hand of his counsel’ (Ecclus.15:14) - and has power over his actions.” (4) 


Man’s intellect enables him to know God and His law, while his natural liberty enables him to freely obey God’s law.   But due to original sin, man’s natural dignity has been corrupted, and consequently “darkness has spread over the mind, and the will has been inclined to evil”. (5) The result is that man’s intellect, which was made for truth, often errs in its judgment of truth; while his will, which was made for the true good, often errs by desiring and choosing a false good.  As a result of original sin, men are born into this world separated from God and inclined to evil, “under the power of the devil and death,” (6) and are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3).  Consequently, the man who dies with his natural dignity alone, even if such dignity has not been further corrupted by actual sin, will “immediately descend into hell.” (7)


Supernatural Dignity


In order for a man to obtain the supernatural end for which he was created - namely, the beatific vision of God in heaven - he must possess a dignity infinitely superior to that which he has by nature.   For man to enter into eternal life he must possess the supernatural dignity of sanctifying grace, which elevates his soul to the supernatural level through the infusion of Divine Life, thereby making him a “partaker of the Divine Nature,” (2 Peter 1:4) a “new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17) and an adopted child of God (Eph 1:5).  This supernatural dignity is absolutely necessary for salvation. 


For man to possess sanctifying grace, he must also possess, in the realm of being, the habit of supernatural faith, which is a divinely infused virtue that perfects the intellect and enables man to believe, by faith, the revealed truths necessary for salvation.  If a single revealed truth is knowingly rejected, the habit of faith is lost entirely (8) and since without the Catholic Faith it is impossible to please God (9), one who denies a single article of Faith cannot possess sanctifying grace – the supernatural dignity necessary for salvation. 


The false notion of human dignity, in the domain of being, denies that man has been corrupted by original sin and claims the man is essentially good by nature.  It claims that man possesses a divine principle as part of his nature, and is in the process of evolving into God.  Human life, as such, is said to be “sacred”; therefore whatever offends or harms Man is considered as an offense against God – at least what becoming a God.


The Realm of Acting


Man’s rational intellect and free will confer upon him moral obligations that do not apply to irrational creatures: man is morally bound to follow the Eternal Law, accept the truths God has revealed, and willingly obey them. 


Man’s liberty is not an end in itself, but rather a means to the rational attainment of an end.  The proper object of the will is “that good only which is in conformity with right reason” (Libertas). And since it is contrary to right reason for an intelligent being to turn away from the end for which it was created, man’s natural liberty (free will) must be exercised within the moral boundaries established by God, which are intended to direct man to the supernatural end for which he was created.  If man acts contrary to right reason, he is guilty of sin and thereby abuses his liberty.  Man’s moral liberty, which is the power to choose means that lead him to his proper end, is ordered to and limited by its object, and therefore subject to and restricted by the Revealed Law of God. 


When man uses his liberty within the boundaries of God’s law for the rational attainment of the end for which he was created, the greatest good can be achieved; but when he abuses his natural liberty by disobeying God’s law, he thereby turns away from his end, falls into sin, and the greatest evil results.   Hence in the realm of acting, by the use man makes of his inborn dignity, the highest good or the greatest evil can result, as Pope Leo XIII explains:


“But the manner in which such dignity is exercised is of the greatest moment, inasmuch as on the use that is made of liberty the highest good and the greatest evil alike depend. Man, indeed, is free to obey his reason, to seek moral good, and to strive unswervingly after his last end. Yet he is free also to turn aside to all other things; and, in pursuing the empty semblance of good, to disturb rightful order and to fall headlong into the destruction which he has voluntarily chosen” (Libertas).


The true dignity of man consist, not in doing what he pleases, but in doing what he ought; for only by doing what he ought will he attain the supernatural end for which he was created, and obtain the ultimate happiness for which he yearns.


Perfection of Our Dignity


The object of the intellect is truth, and the object of the will is the true good.  Therefore, the intellect is brought to perfection by adhering to the truth, and corrupted by adhering to error; while the will is perfected by choosing the true good, and corrupted by choosing a false and merely apparent good.


Now, just as the human intellect has the two-fold function of reasoning and understanding, so too the human will (man’s liberty) has the two-fold function of desiring and choosing. (10) But the will, which is the faculty of choice, is incapable of distinguishing a true good from a merely apparent good.  Therefore, the will must be directed in its choice by the intellect, which judges what is truly good, and directs the will thereto. (11)


As a result of the Fall, man’s will has been weakened and his intellect darkened.  The result is that the will tends to choose, not according to the judgment of reason, but according to the disordered desires of concupiscence; and the darkening of the intellect results in man’s reason often being mistaken in its judgment.  When this happens, even if the will follows the judgment of reason, rather than the desires of the lower nature, the false judgment will misdirect the will in its choice, and both will fall into corruption.  Pope Leo XIII said: “If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption” (Immortale Dei).  


To rectify this defect and provide man with the necessary knowledge to lead him to his supernatural end, God revealed the Divine Law, which perfects the intellect by filling it with truth (both natural and supernatural), so that it can direct the will to the true good. 


Intrinsic and Extrinsic Principles of Right Action


In addition to the revealed law of God, there are intrinsic and extrinsic principles that serve to perfect the intellect and will in their respective acts.  The intrinsic principles are virtuous habits, both natural and supernatural, which enlighten the mind to the truth (both speculative and practical) and direct the will to the good.  Natural virtues are habits acquired by man, while supernatural virtues are habits infused into the soul by God, and further developed by man.  These virtues perfect man by enlightening his mind to the truth and strengthening his will to choose the good. (12)


The extrinsic principles of right action are law and Divine Grace.  Law is a dictate of practical reason promulgated by one in a position of authority, the purpose of which is to guide man to his proper end by forbidding what God forbids and encouraging what God commands.  “Law is the guide of man’s actions”, wrote Leo XIII; “it turns him toward the good by its rewards, and deters him from evil by its punishments” (Libertas).    The written law rectifies the potential defect in the intellect by presenting it with the truth, while the sanctions attached to the law serves to impel the will to choose the true good.  Authority, which is a moral force impelling man to the good, also serves as an extrinsic help for right action. (Romans 13:1-5)  But the most excellent of the extrinsic helps is Divine Grace, which is a supernatural act of God that perfects the mind by enlightening it to the truth, and simultaneously moves the will to the true good.


These intrinsic and extrinsic principles help to rectify the potential defect in the intellect and will, and thereby safeguard the true dignity of man.


To conclude this point, the true dignity of man, in the realm of acting, consists in embracing the truth revealed by God (which perfects the intellect) and obeying God’s law, which leads man to the end for which he was created.


Supernatural Dignity in the Realm of Acting


When man possesses the supernatural dignity of sanctifying grace in his soul, he also possesses supernatural charity in the will, for “the virtue of charity has its foundation in grace, as a property in an essence.” (13)  The virtue of Charity perfects the will and serves as a supernatural principle that enables man to love God above all things, his neighbor as himself for the love of God, and perform meritorious acts worthy of a supernatural reward.  Without supernatural Charity in the will, man’s good deeds are considered “dead works”, and therefore cannot merit an eternal reward. “All works that are generically good” wrote St. Thomas, “are said to be dead, if they be done without Charity, inasmuch as they fail to proceed from the principle of [supernatural] life.”  (14)


False Notion of Human Dignity


Now that we have covered the true notion of human dignity, we will consider the false notion as it pertains to the realm of acting.  The erroneous notion of human dignity that is so widespread today is base based on Naturalism, and flows from the Masonic notion of “liberty”, which is embraced and promoted by the adherents of Liberalism.  This error essentially maintains that, since man is by nature free (in the realm of being), he should be free to do as he pleases (in the realm of acting), as long as he does not physically harm another man. (15)  It considers human liberty as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end.  It denies the moral boundaries for our liberty, and ends by equating liberty with license.


The false notion of human dignity ignores the Divine Law (which perfects man’s intellect), and claims that human reason is the sole principle and judge of truth.  Human reason is considered absolutely sovereign and therefore subject to no external authority.  It is independent of its object (truth), and therefore has a right to create its own “truth”.  In his encyclical against the Sillon, Pope St. Pius X referred to this as “intellectual emancipation in the name of human dignity.”


Man’s “dignity” requires that he be faithful to his own “truth” and not degrade himself by adhering to the truth of another – including that which has been revealed by Almighty God “who can neither deceive nor be deceived”.  Any truth imposed on man by an external source is said to be “tyranny over the mind of men” (16) and therefore contrary to his dignity.  For a Liberal, the idea of Divine Revelation being imposed by an external authority is an absolute horror.  “To believe in a revealed Religion, imposed by an exterior authority over human reason”, wrote Fr. Roussel, “is without doubt very humiliating for the liberal, and therefore, profoundly immoral.  It is a crime of high treason and a sacrilege.” (17)   


Therefore, in order to preserve man’s “dignity”, the preaching of the Gospel must be replaced by dialogue, and all forms of proselytism rejected.


The adherents of the false notion of human dignity oppose, what they call, “indifferentism”, but they understand indifferentism in such a way that each man must remain faithful to his own “truth” (whatever that may be); and since religion itself is considered nothing but an external expression of each man’s “truth”, it follows that forbidding someone from freely practicing their peculiar religion is an affront to his dignity – an intolerable crime for anyone who respects the dignity of man.   


Toleration for error is, therefore, the cardinal virtue for a Liberal, since for him the intellect is not brought to perfection by adhering to the truth revealed by God, as from an external source, but by being faithful to his own “truth”, regardless of how far his “truth” has deviated from reality.  The one crime that will not be tolerated is the “intolerance” of the Catholic who maintains that his religion alone is true.  Such a person is said to be guilty of the high crime of triumphalism, since he considers “his” truth to be superior to that of another.   This attitude is simply unbearable for the Liberal and his false notion of “the dignity of man”.


In reality, as we have seen, man’s true dignity is brought about by adhering to the truth revealed by God and following unswervingly after his supernatural end, and is corrupted when he embraces the errors of a false religion, since, as we have seen, “if the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption.” (18)


The false notion of human dignity also considers the human will to be sovereign and independent, and therefore the source of its own law.  Accordingly, the will is brought to perfection, not by obeying God’s law and striving after its final end, but in obeying only itself.  Any law that does not proceed from the will of man is said to be a violation of his dignity, as an autonomous and independent being.   Commenting on this point, Pope St. Pius X said:


“Finally, at the root of all their fallacies… lie the false hopes of Sillonists on human dignity. According to them, Man will be a man truly worthy of the name only when he has acquired a strong, enlightened, and independent consciousness, able to do without a master, obeying only himself ... Such are the big words by which human pride is exalted, like a dream carrying Man away without light, without guidance, and without help into the realm of illusion in which he will be destroyed by his errors and passions whilst awaiting the glorious day of his full consciousness. And that great day, when will it come? Unless human nature can be changed, which is not within the power of the Sillonists, will that day ever come? Did the Saints who brought human dignity to its highest point, possess that kind of dignity?”


According to this notion of human dignity, man should be guided exclusively by his own reason and will, with no reference to the saving truth revealed by God and His Divine Will.  He is subject to no truth, law, or authority, that does not proceed from himself.  The true notion of authority is an insult to those who adhere to this false notion of the “dignity of man”, since it proceeds from an external source and seeks to impose moral obligations on an “independent and sovereign being”.   Authority, therefore, must come from man; it must flow, not from the top down, but from the bottom up, lest man’s dignity be offended by obeying a command he himself did not willingly enact.  Regarding this point, Pius X wrote:


“The Sillon does not wish to abolish political authority; on the contrary, it considers it necessary; but it wishes to divide it, or rather to multiply it in such a way that each citizen will become a kind of king. Authority, so they concede, comes from God, but it resides primarily in the people and expresses itself by means of elections or, better still, by selection. However, it still remains in the hands of the people; it does not escape their control. It will be an external authority, yet only in appearance; in fact, it will be internal because it will be an authority assented to…. But Leo XIII absolutely condemned this doctrine in his Encyclical ‘Diuturnum Illud’....”


The practical consequence of the false notion of human dignity is that man is his own god, “autonomous and independent”: human reason must be free to think for itself, without reference to God’s revealed truth; liberty is the faculty of doing what he pleases, irrespective of God’s law; external authority is tyranny, and obedience is servitude.  Man must be free to do as he pleases, and any higher law that seeks to hinder his “liberty” is considered to be contrary to his “dignity”.  As Fr. Roussel explains, the false notion of human dignity “manifests an anarchical and deregulated liberty in every domain.  Absolute autonomy of the individual, of his reason and will, the liberty of thought, of conscience and undefined progress even unto the deification of man… all this is plainly ridiculous and absurd.  It merits only disdain from any healthy and realistic mind.” (19)


The only acceptable law is one that protects his precious “liberty”, and the “right” to do what he pleases.  His motto is that of Lucifer ‘Non-Serviam’ – I will not serve, and his justification for this crime is his “dignity”. 


Fr. Roussell explains that this sin of Liberalism and its false notion of human dignity is “incomparably greater than the sins of the flesh because it destroys the most important and most excellent of all faculties, the intelligence.  It is a truly Satanic sin because it is the only one that he, Satan, could commit and is therefore inspired directly by him.  [It is] a radical and nearly incurable sin.” (20)




Since the close of Vatican II, the Liberal spirit of the Sillon and their false notion of human dignity have invaded the Church from top to bottom, resulting in the great apostasy that has spread throughout the world.  The false notion of human dignity is the underlying error of false ecumenism and the Assisi style “prayer meetings”, and is serving as the impetus for the establishment of a One World Church.  With this in mind, we will close with the following prophetic words of Pope St. Pius X:


 “We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization … has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of 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 ever come) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer.” (21)


1 Fr. Loisy, who was excommunicated by Pius X for promoting Modernism, admitted that the Sillon was a form of social modernism.  He wrote: “Pope Pius X, who pursued all genres of modernism, condemned social modernism by striking against the Sillon.”  In Ubi Arcano Dei , Pius XI condemned social modernism “no less decidedly than…theological modernism.” (#61)

2 Summa, Pt 1, q 83, A 1: “And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will.”

3 Libertas

4 Ibid.

5 Singulari Quaden, Pius IX, Denz. 1643

6 Council of Trent, Denz. 793

7 Council of Florence: “the souls of those who depart [this life] in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell….” Denz. 693

8 Summa. Pt II-II, Q. 5, A. 2; Satis Cognitum #9 by Leo XIII

9 Council of Trent, Denz 787; Heb. 11:16

10 Summa, Pt 1, Q 83, A 4

11 See Libertas #5

12 Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, Fr. Fahey. Pg. 154

13 Ibid, Pg. 44

14 Summa, Pt III, Q 89, A 6

15 The Declaration of the Rights of Man states: “Liberty is the power of doing what we will, so long as it does not injure another.”

16 Referring to the imposition of Christian doctrine on men, the Liberal Thomas Jefferson said: “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

17 Liberalism and Catholicism Pg. 31

18 Immortale Dei

19 Liberalism and Catholicism, Pg 19

20 Ibid. pg 45

21 Notre Charge Apostolique