A Pilgrim’s Visit to the Arch-Basilica of the Most Holy Savior

popularly known as

Saint John Lateran

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Last Friday, I had the grace to make a pilgrimage to the Arch-Basilica of the Most Holy Savior, popularly known as Saint John Lateran, the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome.

It is called an Arch-Basilica, because of all the Churches in the world it is the Chief and Head and Most important, being the very Cathedral of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. It is called a Basilica, from the Greek word for royal, because it was placed under the protection of the Roman Emperor, Constantine, during whose reign it was built. So important was this Church in the history of Christianity, that all the Churches in the world, named “Christ Church” bear a name which traces originally back to this structure.

The land on which the Basilica was built was originally a Fort of the Imperial Cavalry bodyguards, and then passed to the Laterani family. It came into the possession of the Roman Emperor Constantine through his marriage to Fausta, the daughter of Maxentius.

After his victory at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine donated it to Pope Militiades sometime before or during 313 A.D. At that time, there was a palace on the site, which had belonged to Fausta. It was converted into a Catholic Church.

The Basilica was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, who made the adjacent palace his personal residence. Here the popes resided for centuries. It was here Saint Francis met Pope Innocent III and received verbal approval for his first Rule. Even, to this day, alongside the Basilica one finds the Curia, or Chancery, of the Diocese of Rome, as one can see in this photo to the right.

In the 10th Century, the Basilica was rededicated to Saint John the Baptist, by Pope Sergius III. Saint John was the archetype of all Christian holiness (cf. Luke 7:28) and especially of hermits and prophets. So a great number of Churches were dedicated to him throughout Christianity.

In the 12th Century, Pope Lucius II rededicated the Basilica to Saint John the Apostle, taking into account the growing understanding of the holiness of this Saint and protector of the Blessed Virgin. Today, the Arch-Basilica bears the full name: Arch-Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at the Lateran.

The facade, or front, of the Arch-Basilica is an imposing structure. On Top, at the Center, there is a wonderful statue of Jesus Christ holding His Cross. On each side are statues of great Popes and Saints.

As you can see, the front of the Church has pillars which support a large upper balcony. This is called the Loggia of the Basilica. Both Saint Mary Major’s and St. Peter’s also have loggias. When a new Pope is elected, he normally greets the faithful from the Loggia of St. Peter’s and from the loggias of the other Basilicas during his first visits.

Basilicas according to Church law are directly subject to the Roman Pontiff, being considered as churches belonging to the Diocese of Rome. The symbol for a Basilica, therefore, is the Papal Umbrellino and Keys, as you can see in this bass-relief at the base of one of the pillars of the facade of the Arch-Basilica.

The wreath strewn below the keys is a traditional symbol of honor and dignity, being a depiction of a wreath made of laurel leaves as used by the ancient Romans for festive occasions.

The Lateran Palace, immediately adjacent to the Basilica was the residence of the Popes from 313 to 1309, or approximately the 1000 year reign spoken of by Saint John in the Apocalypse. A fire damaged the site in 1307 and 1361. Pope Clement V, who was a Frenchman, moved his official residence to Avignon in 1309, which began the long Avignese Capitvity, against which Saint Catherine of Sienna railed during her lifetime: the idea that the Bishop of Rome should be residing hundreds of miles away in France was a scandal to Christendom, and represented the extreme dissonance of the medieval notion of princely power, able to do what it liked, with that of the spiritual authority of the Pope.

The second fire so damaged the Basilica and residence, that when the Popes returned to Rome, they never again resided at the Lateran.

As you enter the Portico of the Facade of the Arch-Basilica, if you look to the left, you can see the Statue of Constantine, the founder of the Church, on account of his donation of the land. He is depicted in imperial style in a manner aping the pose of the first imperator, Augustus Octavian.

The Portico is decorated with elaborate marble flooring and beautiful friezes and imagery. The only ghastly ugliness is the Holy Door which is closed except for the Holy Years. It is made of case bronze by some wicked and demented artist, and was so ugly, I decided not to photograph it.

This reminds us, that Roman Basilicas are like history books, they record the events in the life or death of the Church down through the ages. The Arch-Basilica is no different, as it contains within numerous funerary monuments to Cardinals and Noblemen who greatly assisted the Church of Rome in their ages, and whose dying wish was to be buried or remembered in the Cathedral of the Eternal City.

As you can see, the Arch-Basilica is not as large as the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, which I showed you two weeks ago, but it is stupendous in its own way. The floors are covered with inlaid marble of many colors, in the style popular in the late Middle Ages. The pillars on each side of the Nave each feature an enormous statue of one of the 12 Apostles, in imitation to the decorative style at the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter’s.

The Ceiling is magnificently ornamented, as you can see in these two photos:

And, here:

The center piece, of course, is the High Altar, which appears to have escaped the desecrations of the Aggiornamento, for the most part (ironic, since after the Council the Bishops of Rome allowed the desecration of altars throughout the world, but protected that of their own Cathedral).

In the above photo, one is looking directly at the side altar of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the distant background. In the foreground, to the left, is the High Altar, which free stands at the head of the Nave of the Church.

In the photo above, a close up of the high altar of the Archbasilica. Medieval high altars often had canopies built over them, to prevent birds from leaving dirt upon the altar, if they happened to enter the Church when the doors were open.

In this photo, seen above, you can see the entire Canopy above the High Altar. Throughout the ages, various legends arose about why this canopy was so large. On my first visit to Rome in 2004, I was told by a guide that the relics of Saints John the Baptist and John the Apostle were kept above the altar, to protect them from the medieval devotion called, “relic theft”. In the middle ages, the Canons of this Basilica often claimed that the Ark of the Covenant was kept at the High Altar. This was not true, however.

Of all the funerary monuments in the Arch-Basilica, the most famous of them all is found to the left of the High Altar, on the back wall of the Church. It depicts Pope Leo XIII in all the vigor and triumph of his spirit.

Here is a close up of the statue of this great Pope.

This, without a doubt, is what a pope should look like and dress like.

Unlike Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls or Saint Peter’s Basilicae, this Arch-Basilica puts on display no great relic of any Saint. A pilgrim can obtain a plenary indulgence by visiting, and the mere opportunity to stand at the center of the Catholic Church, as one does, in this Church, is a worthy enough pilgrim’s goal.

May we all never forget and every foster a deep and profound sense of gratitude and reverence for the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. And may we dedicate our lives, fame and fortunes to ever defend Her from all enemies, both outside and within, so long as we live.

 

May She be a light for you in dark times, when all other lights go out

Behold your Mother!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

These words of Our Divine Redeemer echo throughout the ages. They resound from Mt. Golgotha, from the pages of Sacred Scripture, in the memories of St. John the Evangelist, in the preaching of the Apostles and first evangelists. They are recalled in the divine liturgies of the Church, are meditated upon by the prayers of the Saints, explained in their writings, emblazoned in art and music, in churches and paintings and frescos and statues. They have become the call to arms of saintly founders and are the mottoes of monasteries, convents, priests and bishops and cardinals.

Beautiful words, consoling words, words of confidence and words of hope. I personally think that in their own way, these words of Jesus from the Cross are the most beautiful in all the pages of the Bible — the most encouraging among all the words men have or shall ever hear.

I remember reading a study on the Shroud of Turin, which explained the exact manner in which, according to this holy relic, the Body of Jesus hung from the Cross, and the exact manner of His Death. The study pointed out that when Jesus in the moment of death shouted out and laid down His Most Sacred Head, He did so in a very telling manner. This final position of Our Lord’s Head is recorded in the blood and sweat stains of the Sacred Shroud.

What made this description so poignant was what the author observed about these facts in his summation — namely, that Our Lord Jesus Christ in the very final moment of His earthly life did a thing which remained the only thing He could do: that is lay down His Head in a very significant manner. In such a manner as would enable Him to look straight down to the right hand side of the foot of His Cross.

As I wondered why this was, there came to me a wonderful and most consoling realization. Have you ever noticed paintings of the Crucifixion? I would dare say that most of them depict Our Blessed Lady standing at the foot of the Cross with St. John and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross. But Mary is nearly always under Christ’s right arm, that is to say, on the right side of the Cross.

A conclusion presses itself upon our devotion: that in the last moment of His Life, Christ Our Lord made a decisive effort to make sure that the very last gaze of His mortal life would be filled with the vision of the sorrowful and most compassionate face of His Mother, Mary.

I don’t think we Christians can think of this long without being very much touched at heart by it, and even brought to tears by it, especially if you have made it the habit of meditating on the Passion, as all the Saints recommend us to do, or have at least been awakened to this holy exercise by Mel Gibson’s recent and literally stunning film, “The Passion of the Christ.” I think, weak creatures that we are, that this is especially true if we have had the personal experience of being at the death bed of a mother or father or son or daughter. The reality of how ephemeral our existence is inescapable in such moments. And it is only natural and fitting that we should burst out in tears at such tragic separations – something which is not unfitting, since as our Holy Religion teaches us, death is unnatural – and Jesus Himself cried at such occasions.

Of course being God Almighty, Jesus had no need of consolations in the Hour of Death. Indeed many a Saintly author speculates that to drink the very dregs of the bitterness of His Passion, He forced Himself to look upon the woeful suffering of His Mother in that last moment of His Life, so as to offer the merit of a Son’s Heart torn open at the sight of a Mother’s suffering, as the very last and final oblation to the Father for our salvation.

Yes, I do believe, that in that last moment, Christ received the compassion of His Mother, received Her Sacrifice of Himself, and looked upon Her in His death as if to say, “Look! Since I go now to the Father, I receive and take from Thee all that Thou has borne for My Sake with Me here and throughout all Thy life up to this day, and throughout all Thy life until I call you hence to be with me! I take it with Me to the Father, to offer it to Him forever in union with My Own Sacrifice.”

I think too many of us forget that the very last moments of Christ’s Passion were very Marian. The Holy Spirit Himself teaches us this, when the Evangelists cite the fact that Christ did not say, “It is consummated!” until first He said, “Woman, behold Thy son; son behold thy Mother!”

These marvelous words are, as it were, the “Ite Missa Est” of Golgotha. With them, Christ the High Priest completes and finishes His Sacrifice, and lays down not only His Head but now His whole human Life, accepting death and allowing His soul and body to be split asunder in the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross.

Now just as the Passion of Our Lord is the most central Mystery of our divine Religion, so the final moments and words of Our Lord from the Cross ought to be something very central to our interior life of prayer and meditation. For if Our Lord went to such lengths as to ensure and enable our remembrance of Him by promulgating the Holy Mass and ordaining the Apostles with His own powers as High Priests, saying, “Do this in memory of Me!”, how much must He want that we remember that which He did for us, and especially the very crowning moment of that Salvific Event!

Of course there are many graces, especially of consolation and encouragement for anyone who mediates on Sacred Scripture, and most of all, who meditates on the life of Jesus and Mary. And this is a very exquisite consolation that few find or enjoy in this life, trampled and trammeled as we are by the hubbub of daily life and the plethora of the modern means of mass communication. How sad and tragic, that so many, for example, make it a daily ritual to read the news, yet give not a thought to spending some quite time alone, with the doors of their room shut, or in some solitary place, meditating on all that Jesus and Mary did and said and suffered for our sake.

One of the great truths which we can mine from these final words of Our Lord, by means of meditation, is that which will teach us something of the magnitude of how much confidence we ought to have in the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

If we but consider that “before the foundation of the world” God had been considering and pondering from eternity all the details of creation — not as an architect who draws up plans and changes this or that, perfecting the project day after day, right up and even often during construction, but as the Infinite Eternal, Omnipotent and Most Wise uncreated Intelligence, Full of Charity and Truth, conceiving in the depths of His Divine Heart the most wonderful and stunning manifestations of His Divinity — we must certainly stop and ponder once again, and more and more, these words of Our Lord, “Behold thy Mother!” For in them are hidden great treasures of grace.

If we but recall the reason why God became Man, that it was to save our sorry souls from the eternal perdition of Hell, to which we all would have voluntarily wandered to by the end of our lives, born as we are, bereft of sanctifying grace, of faith, hope and charity for God, we can taste in mind something, however so small, of the savoriness of the remedy of these words: “Behold thy Mother!” “Thy” here means “you and I”, “each one of us”, “all of us”, “believers and those yet to believe”: “all of us in need of salvation and redemption”, howsoever much grace we have already received.

And since this is why Christ came and suffered and died: this final proclamation of the King of the Ages must have everything to do with the revelation of the ultimate means of salvation.

I believe Our Lord gives us His very own infallible commentary on this passage in the same Gospel of St. John, as He speaks with Nicodemus under the cover of night. “Unless you be born of water and the Holy Ghost…” He says. It is Our Lord Himself who uses the metaphor of birth for justification. It follows that being newborns in grace, we need a Mother.

This conclusion is inescapable, when we consider that the One who uses this metaphor is the Same as the One who created all living things, and who made us male and female, establishing some of us father or mothers for others of us: who in short preordained the human family within the original and individual necessity of our corporal being.

We must ask ourselves, then, “What was Our Lord thinking of when He spoke those wonderful words at the crowning moment of all that He would merit for us?” In His human mind, all the saints tell us that He knew all about creation, past, present, and future; foresaw all of us and all of our sins and good deeds, foreknew all of our thoughts and feelings and all of the movements and inclinations of our hearts. But just as importantly, as Our Divine Master and Teacher, in that final moment He considered all the pious questions of all His faithful who would beg him in prayer to explain something more to them about the meaning of His Life, Suffering and Death, especially at this final moment.

And so, these words, “Behold thy Mother” are without doubt the Answer of Christ to all our questions regarding the meaning and significance and importance of His Passion.

“Have confidence, I have overcome the world!” says Our Lord to the Apostles at the Last Supper. These words find their historical consummation, without doubt, in the Passion and Death, and point to the meaning of these words He speaks to St. John, “Behold thy Mother!” They indicate to us that all that Christ would do would be both truly victorious, and hence that the remembrance of it should be a source of confidence for us.

And we can draw much confidence from these words of Our Lord to St. John. Yes, Christ has died and is Risen, and yet though He has ascended into Heaven, to sit at the Right Hand of the Father, and with Him, at the end of Her earthly life, His Mother, to intercede for us before the Face of God the Father, it nevertheless remains no less true, that He has given His Blessed Mother to us, to be our Mother! Our sweet Mother!

If we but consider the greatness of Mary’s holiness, the spotlessness of Her purity, the inviolability of Her Virginity, the excellence of Her Faith, the magnitude of Her Charity, the strength and firmness of Her Hope, and every other virtue which is Hers beyond the measure of men and angels, and if we but consider that this Wonderful, most Splendid and beautiful of women is now Our Mother! I say, who cannot be encouraged, who cannot be moved, who cannot be warmed at heart, stirred to a sweet delight, stirred to reach out in spirit to Her, to embrace Her and kiss Her and enfold both body and soul in Her embrace, embracing Her with soul and body likewise – to bury, as it were, oneself in Her Maternal Bosom, as a little child does, when seeing its Mother after a long absence, it runs swiftly and immediately up to Her, jumping into Her arms and hugging Her with every affection!

But if we consider even more, that this Woman, is not only Our Mother, but the very Mother of God, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Daughter elect by the Father, the Queen of Angels and men, the Mediatrix of Grace, the Co-redemptrix of the Universe, I say, who cannot be stirred to confidence, seeing that in Her are the treasures and means to obtain every good thing, every medicine of soul and body.

But what is most consoling and encouraging about the Blessed Virgin, being Our Mother, is that She is always listening to and observing and watching over us, and She is very able and powerful and willing to grant us our pious wishes and prayers, if we but ask with great confidence.

Perhaps you have seen little children who are brothers and sisters vying with each other for their mother’s affection or intercession. If one receives some special favor, the others are not slow in asking, begging, insisting, demanding the how and why of how they obtained it from her. How zealous they are! How innocent! And How Simple! Should not we be similar, when we hear of what Our Lady has done for some of Her children!

Yes, I am sure you have heard at least once of how Our Lady helped some saint: but it is more encouraging, I believe, to consider how She has helped some sinners, even more so than some Saints.

One such wonderful story is that which Our Lady did to a poor mule driver in Spain some 400 years ago. He was a very poor man, and not learned at all. I do not think he could even read or write. All he could do for a living, was lead his mule along the mountain paths nears his village, carrying cargo over the mountain pass for various merchants in the locale. He would rise very early in the morning, pack some food for the journey, load up his burrow, and walk up the mountain, arriving at the end of the day on the other side, where, having unloaded the same animal, and rested at a friends house, he would eat and sleep and rise the next day, to do the same thing, on the return trip.

And so he lived his life and scratched out a meager living for his wife and son and father and mother who lived with him in his two room shed.

But one day, the mule slipped as it clopped its way along the mountain path. And to save it and its load this poor mule driver ran quickly to the other side and did all he could to prop up the animal so that it would not slip and fall. But though he had done this successfully on many occasions, this time he failed, and the animal and all its cargo came crashing down upon him, knocking him to the ground.

He screamed, Oh how he screamed in agonizing pain!

Very soon the other peasants leading their own animals along the way, came running to help him, and succeeded in getting his animal up. It was then he discovered that he could not stand – he had badly injured his leg. The villagers came and took him in a stretcher to his home and to bed.

As the days passed it go no better. And when the local priest came to visit him, he assured him that it would not get better, and that the only hope was to arrange to be carried to the University Hospital at Salamanca.

It was a long a costly journey, but his best friends and relatives did him this favor.

Needless to say, by the time he arrived, gangrene had set in and there was nothing the doctors could do, but cut off his leg at the mid of the thigh.

For a mule driver, this was little better than death, for it meant that he could not work at his trade: and no work meant no pay, and no pay meant that he, though the only bread winner at home, could no longer support his family.

His friends and relatives bore him home and left him at home in his bed. And to add upon all his sufferings, as soon as they had left his home, his wife and parents turned on him with the most bitter and disgusting insults, saying: “What good are you to us now! It is all your fault! We are all going to starve on your account! Did you return home thinking we are going to take care of you!”

And with that this poor man pulled up his blanket, prayed desperately to Our Lady, and went to sleep, filled with the most bitter remorse and sorrow, bereft of any hope and overcome by the pains of sorrow and betrayal no less painful than the surgery wounds of his leg.

But this, thanks be to God, is not where this poor man’s story ends, but rather where a most consoling story begins. For that night, as he slept, he dreamed.

And in that dream, he saw Our Blessed Mother.

And this is what he dreamed: he saw himself sick in bed, and into his room stepped the Blessed Virgin, covered in a shining blue mantle, and looking upon him with such a tender compassion, as if She had come to him, on a sick call. And as he rejoiced at heart to see Her loveliness, She opened Her mouth and said to him, encouraging him as She touched his legs, “Be healed!”

In the morning, the man awoke, and as he had not yet opened his eyes, for it was dark still, he called to mind the dream that had given him such confidence. And he said to himself in his heart with the simplicity of a child, “O, how good you are to me, Blessed Virgin! I prayed to you, when I had no other hope, to help me! And you in your kind charity have given me such a consoling dream to lessen all my sorrows when I have suffered such a tragedy as this!” And so he reposed, until the sun had arisen, and his wife has gotten up and gone out.

After she left, he tried to make himself comfortable in bed. He suddenly felt so odd. The doctors had said that, although they cut off his leg, that it would feel that it was still there for some time still. And so it was: under his covers he could still feel his leg!

But as he looked down the bed, what he saw was all wrong. He saw not one, but two bulging points where his foot should be.

Two?, he thought to himself: Yes, I can still feel my leg, as the doctors said I should on occasion, for it is a trick of the nerves, but I should not still see two feet!

At that the memory of his dream came back to him and he ripped his covers of the bed to find TWO perfectly healthy legs!

He jumped from the bed and began to scream with joy: A Miracle! A Miracle!

Soon the whole village was gathered around his house and word spread far and wide of what the Blessed Virgin did for him.

And for our confidence, it happened that this story came to the ears of the King of Spain, who sent a commission of royal investigators to record and interview all the facts and testimony. They even went to the University of Salamanca and interviewed all who had assisted at the amputation of the peasant’s leg. They even unearthed the coffin in which it was buried. And they found it empty, but for the blood stained wrappings which once bound it fast!

Today, on the sight of the poor man’s bedroom, stands a magnificent Basilica to commemorate this miracle of confidence.

Let us therefore, have great confidence in the Blessed Virgin, who is in truth and has been made so forever, Our Mother! That She does and will and wants to grant us the things of which we or our loved ones, or some poor soul, is truly in need of.

We don’t need to be saints to receive Her favors. We just need to ask with humility, sincerity!

Therefore, let us pray and beseech Her everyday with unbounded confidence! And lest us offer up such prayers as this:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known,
that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
implored Thy assistance,
or sought Thy intercession,
was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence,
we fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother!

To Thee do we come; before Thee do we stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions,
but in Thy gracious mercy hear and answer us. Amen.

CREDITS: The Image of our Lady, is known as the Theotokos of Jerusalem, and is found at the Church of Her Domition in Jerusalem. See https://medium.com/@ierosolhmitissa/the-true-story-of-the-uncreated-and-miraculous-holy-icon-of-the-most-holy-theotokos-b25e9cfebca5. The title of this post is an adaptation of a line from J. R. R. Tolkein’s, Two Towers.

A Meditation on Proverbs 16 is the cure for the failed Renunciation

Book of Proverbs: Chapter 16

(Latin text is the Clementine Vulgate. The English translation of each paragraph by Br. Bugnolo)

[1] Hominis est animam praeparare, et Domini gubernare linguam. [2] Omnes viae hominis patent oculis ejus; spirituum ponderator est Dominus. [3] Revela Domino opera tua, et dirigentur cogitationes tuae. [4] Universa propter semetipsum operatus est Dominus; impium quoque ad diem malum. [5] Abominatio Domini est omnis arrogans; etiamsi manus ad manum fuerit, non est innocens. Initium viae bonae facere justitiam; accepta est autem apud Deum magis quam immolare hostias.

1. It belongs to man to prepare the soul, and to God to govern the tongue. 2. All the ways of a man lie open to His eyes; a weigher of spirits is the Lord. 3. Reveal to the Lord thy works, and thy thoughts will be set aright. 4. Each and every thing has the Lord wrought for Himself; the impious, too, for the evil day. 5. An abomination to the Lord is every arrogant (man); even if it be done hand in hand with others, he is not innocent. The beginning of the good way is to work justice; it is, moreover, more accepted before God than the sacrifice of holocausts.

[6] Misericordia et veritate redimitur iniquitas, et in timore Domini declinatur a malo. [7] Cum placuerint Domino viae hominis, inimicos quoque ejus convertet ad pacem. [8] Melius est parum cum justitia, quam multi fructus cum iniquitate. [9] Cor hominis disponit viam suam, sed Domini est dirigere gressus ejus. [10] Divinatio in labiis regis; in judicio non errabit os ejus.

6. By mercy and truth is iniquity redeemed, and in the fear of the Lord does one turn away from evil. 7. When the ways of a man are pleasing to the Lord, He also converts his enemies to peace. 8. Better is a little with justice, than the enjoyment of much with iniquity. 9. The heart of a man arranges his own way, but it belongs to the Lord to direct his steps. 10. Divination is on the lips of the king; in judgement there shall not err his mouth.

[11] Pondus et statera judicia Domini sunt, et opera ejus omnes lapides sacculi. [12] Abominabiles regi qui agunt impie, quoniam justitia firmatur solium. [13] Voluntas regum labia justa; qui recta loquitur diligetur. [14] Indignatio regis nuntii mortis, et vir sapiens placabit eam. [15] In hilaritate vultus regis vita, et clementia ejus quasi imber serotinus.

11. Weight and balance are the judgements of the Lord, and His works all the weights for the measure. 12. Abominable the kings who act impiously, since the throne is made firm by justice. 13. The will of kings, just lips; he who speaks upright words shall be loved. 14. The indignation of the king, the messengers of death, and the wise man shall placate his wrath. 15. In hilarity, the face of the king, life, and his clemency as an evening downpour.

[16] Posside sapientiam, quia auro melior est, et acquire prudentiam, quia pretiosior est argento. [17] Semita justorum declinat mala; custos animae suae servat viam suam. [18] Contritionem praecedit superbia, et ante ruinam exaltatur spiritus. [19] Melius est humiliari cum mitibus, quam dividere spolia cum superbis. [20] Eruditus in verbo reperiet bona, et qui sperat in Domino beatus est.

16. Take hold of wisdom, because she is better than gold, and acquire prudence, because she is more precious than silver. 17. The paths of the just turn aside evils; the guardian of one’s own soul keeps his own way. 18. Pride precedes destruction, and before a ruin the spirit is exalted. 19. Better is it to be humbled with the meek, than to divide spoils with the proud. 20. The learned in word shall find good things, and he who hopes in the Lord is blessed.

[21] Qui sapiens est corde appellabitur prudens, et qui dulcis eloquio majora percipiet. [22] Fons vitae eruditio possidentis; doctrina stultorum fatuitas. [23] Cor sapientis erudiet os ejus, et labiis ejus addet gratiam. [24] Favus mellis composita verba; dulcedo animae sanitas ossium. [25] Est via quae videtur homini recta, et novissima ejus ducunt ad mortem.

21. He who is wise in heart shall be called “prudent”, and the one sweet in speech shall perceive greater things. 22. A fountain of life, the erudition of the one possessing her: the doctrine of fools is fatuousness. 23. The heart of the wise man shall teach his mouth, and shall add grace to his lips. 24. A comb of honey, well ordered words; the sweetness of the soul, the health of one’s bones. 25. There is a way which seems right to a man, and his last steps on it lead to death.

[26] Anima laborantis laborat sibi, quia compulit eum os suum. [27] Vir impius fodit malum, et in labiis ejus ignis ardescit. [28] Homo perversus suscitat lites, et verbosus separat principes. [29] Vir iniquus lactat amicum suum, et ducit eum per viam non bonam. [30] Qui attonitis oculis cogitat prava, mordens labia sua perficit malum.

26. The soul of the one laboring labors for itself, because his own mouth compels him. 27. The impious man digs up evil, and on his lips a fire burns. 28. A perverse man incites arguments, and the verbose sows division among princes. 29. The iniquitous man milks his own friend, and leads him through a way which is not good. 30. He who with stunned eyes thinks of depraved things, as one biting his own lips perfects evil.

[31] Corona dignitatis senectus, quae in viis justitiae reperietur. [32] Melior est patiens viro forti; et qui dominatur animo suo, expugnatore urbium. [33] Sortes mittuntur in sinum, sed a Domino temperantur.

31. A crown of dignity the old age, which is found upon the ways of justice. 32. Better is the patient one to the strong man; and he who dominates his own spirit, than the victorious besieger of cities. 33. Lots are cast into the lap, but they are sorted out by the Lord.

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There is more than ample doctrine here to put in proper perspective how evil it would be to presume to dispose of the Petrine Munus in a divided or bifurcated papacy, and how such an act of pride would bring destruction upon everyone in the Church. Also, how humility does NOT consist in being patient with the evils one has brought upon the Church, but rather in undoing the evil done and returning to the example of all previous popes, who served until death, or resigned the whole papal office and ministry, keeping nothing for themselves.

For more information about what I speak, see Ann Barnhardt’s post on Ganswein’s talk at the Gregorian University.

CREDITS: Latin text, from the Clementine Vulgate, online. Photo from https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/monastic-views-lectio-divina-2162 an article on Lectio Divina, showing a Benedictine monk of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, Silver City, NM.

Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal Renunciation could be invalid

AAC Chair Throne Pope John Paul II

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Don’t let anyone tell you to shut up, when you point out that some are saying the renunciation of Pope Benedict was or could be invalid.

Don’t let them coerce you by telling you that it is absurd to suppose that a Papal act be invalid.

Don’t let them get away with such a claim!

Why?

Because, no less that Pope John Paul II declared that a papal resignation could be invalid!

First, the FACTS of the Laws

And not only declared, but he enshrined the possibility into the Papal Law on Conclaves: Universi dominici gregis, n. 3, where it says in Latin:

3. Praeterea statuimus, ne Cardinalium Collegium de iuribus Sedis Apostolicae Romanaeque Ecclesiae ullo modo disponere valeat, nedum de iis sive directe sive indirecte quidquam detrahat, quamvis agatur de componendis discidiis aut de persequendis factis adversus eadem iura perpetratis, post Pontificis obitum vel validam renuntiationem.(14) Curae autem sit omnibus Cardinalibus haec iura tueri.

Which in good English is:

3. Moreover, We establish, that the College of Cardinals not be able to dispose in any manner of the rights of the Apostolic See and Roman Church, much less to detract anything from them either directly or indirectly, even though it be done concerning the resolution of disputes or the prosecution of deeds perpetrated against the same rights, after the death and/or valid renunciation* of the Pontiff. (14) Moreover, let it belong to the care of all the Cardinals that these rights be watched over.

* The reference to a “valid renunciation” is to Canon 332 §2, which lays down 2 reasons for an invalid renunciation (lack of freedom in renouncing the petrine munus, and lack of due manifestation of the renunciation of the petrine munus).

Some would like to have it that Canon 332 §2 is merely laying down the requisites to be observed in a papal resignation, and that it does not exist to be used by anyone, let alone a layman, to discern or determine when a resignation is valid or not.

The assertion is a perfect form of gas-lighting: You cannot let the masses use the Code of Canon Law, you cannot let them read the Papal Law on Conclaves, but if they do, you must convince them that what they see does not mean what it says or that what they read there is something they cannot use in an argument or apply to any particular case! Thus might be the counsel of any modern day Screwtape to his Trad inc. minions.

This objective is supported by the absurd arguments being used to attack those who are examining the resignation, such as that argument evinced by Mr. Sammons the other day:

Evidently, if we take Mr. Sammons at his word, he must rail against Pope John Paul II, against the Papal Law on Conclaves and against the Code of Canon Law of 1983, all which admit the possibility of an invalid renunciation! — Evidently railing against Popes is o.k., so long as you recognize that they are popes. — This seems to be the new dogma of Trad Inc. Even though Catholic Tradition holds that in nothing can a pope be judged but faith.

Having seen this form of gas-lighting, we must begin to ask ourselves, “Whom we should listen to or obey? A Layman or Pope John Paul II?”

After all, to turn Mr. Sammon’s rhetoric against him: What does it matter what Mr. Sammons wants?

Second, the Implications of the Law

As it has been amply proven that Pope John Paul II held that a papal renunciation could be invalid, we should use the intellects God gave us to use and think about what that means. We should not let the gas-lighting false apostles, out there, stop us from thinking.

First, if a papal renunciation could be invalid. That means that objectively speaking it could be invalid. That means that it can be recognized by men who are capable of knowing objective reality. That means that men should recognize it if it be, and should NOT harken to any propaganda to ignore the problem. Because, obviously, if Pope John Paul II wanted us to listen to propagandists who do not want us to see that a resignation was invalid when it was invalid, he would never have mentioned that there could be an invalid resignation.

Second, that means that the Church has the duty to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid, since the Code of Canon Law binds everyone in the Church. The Papal Law on Conclaves binds the Cardinals, and so they are also obligated to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid.

Third. Now how is anyone to do that? Pope John Paul II shows us how in canons 40 and 41, where everyone in the Church who has an office is obliged to examine the administrative act of his superior to see if it is effective and authentic. Though canon 41 speaks only of acts which are null or inopportune, clearly an invalid resignation is both.

That means it was the duty of all the Cardinals as of 11:45 AM, February 11, 2013, when the Consistory ended (approximately, as I do not know the precise minute of termination) until today to examine the act. If the act was invalid, they were obliged to omit the Conclave, and if they find now that it is invalid, they are obliged to say the conclave was invalid.

CONCLUSION

So you see, now, how wrong Cardinal Burke was, when he condemned a whole category of Catholics as “extremists” if they doubted that Bergoglio was the pope. Because if that doubt arises from an invalid resignation, then they are not only NOT extremists, they are the most faithful Catholics in the Church, and they are doing what all Cardinals should have done and still refuse to do!

No, your Eminence, there are No Extremists here, but there are a lot of Presumptuous Princes!

Now almost no one in the Church is a canon lawyer, but a good number of the Cardinals are. And if you have studied canon law or civil law, then you know a general principle of law which is applicable in this case:

A cessation of power is never to be presumed!

As I mentioned previously, this general principle of law is enshrined in Canon 21 (and implied in many other canons, such as canon 40). It is really a summation of common sense. Because if one presumed the cessation of power, then the rule of law would break down, because presumption has a way of inclining to disorder and chaos, in particular, to the kind of disorder and chaos we have seen in the Church for nearly 7 years.

Now a papal renunciation pertains to a cessation of power, as the learned and eminent Canonist I spoke with recently admitted. Therefore, we cannot presume a pope has validly resigned. The presumption, rather, is that he has not resigned. Presumption here refers to the inclination of our judgement prior to seeing the facts and evidence.

Now Canon 332 §2 says that a pope resigns when he resigns his munus.

But Pope Benedict in his act of Feb. 11, 2013, renounces the ministerium he received.

Therefore, at this point, before any further study, each and every Cardinal had the duty to presume that the renunciation was invalid. He had to presume this, because, the presumption of law requires that he hold that there has been no cessation of power, when a pope renounces ministerium instead of the required munus.

Canon 17 then requires the Cardinals to examine the Code of Canon Law (as I did here) to understand the proper sense of terms, or the canonical tradition (as I did here), or the mind of the Legislator (as was done by Father Walter Covens here).  But all of these conclude the renunciation of ministry does not effect a renunciation of the papacy.

So who is the extremist now? The Catholic who holds, as he should, to what the law presumes? Or the Cardinal who did not do his duty nor his homework but rails at Catholics who have done what he neglected to do? Presuming against the very presumption of the law.

It almost seems as if the Cardinals were already inclined to rid themselves of Pope Benedict, and so, whether he was in error or not, whether he wanted to  bifurcate the papacy or not, whether the renunciation was valid or not, they did not bother one iota to due their due diligence before convening in Conclave. — If there ever was a reason to doubt the validity of the Conclave of 2013, this is the first and prime of them all!

Third, Action Item:

Ask your favorite priest, Bishop or Cardinal, when did he apply canons 40 and 41 to the Papal renunciation?

Because in those 2 canons, all who hold an office in the Church — even the simple priest who is no longer mentioning Benedict in the Canon of the Mass, where the name of the Roman Pontiff is named — all, I say, had the duty to examine the Latin text of the Renunciation and determine whether it fulfilled the requirements of the Latin text of Canon 332 §2. So ask them, “On what day and hour, in what place and with what books and references did you do your duty specified in canons 40 and 41 as regards the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013, called, “Non solum propter”?” — You have every right to ask this question, before listening to anything they say about the renunciation, because obviously, if they never did their duty, they have no moral right to tell you anything about what the Act of Renunciation means, let alone, to regard anyone else as the Pope, other than Benedict.

(For more information about Canons 21, 40 and 41 and what should have been done on Feb. 11, 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI read his Act of renunciation, see here).

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CREDITS: The image of the Pope is from https://agrellcarving.com, who carved the Throne on which he is sitting and which produces other fine products of furniture (This is not a paid advertisement, but the image is copyright by Agrell Carving).

“Reformer”, ever the by-word for “Shepherd of Apostasy”

IMG_20191205_090427284

An Example of Pop Art on the Streets of Rome.

Who was the real John Knox? And why does it matter today?

To answer this question, The From Rome Blog republishes, with permission the Essay by Frank Dougan, on Edwin Muir’s Knox: an exposé of the person and life of the “Reformer” of the Catholic Church in Scotland in the 16th century.

Edwin Muir’s, John Knox.

by Frank Dougan

I found a copy of Edwin Muir’s book ( John Knox ) at The Andersonian Library within Strathclyde University where I was studying Scottish History.

I tried to obtain this book from City of Glasgow Libraries to no avail.

First published by Lowe and Brydone Ltd. London in 1929 “The Life and Letters Series No. 12.” ( John Knox: Portrait of a Calvinist. ) I find much of Muir’s work sympathetic to Knox, Robert Burns is quoted on the opening pages as writing; ‘Orthodox ! orthodox, wha believe in John Knox, Let me sound an alarm to your conscience’.

Edwin Muir wrote his preface;

‘For this biography I have gone chiefly to the writings of Knox himself, and to the usual contemporary records. The Reverend Dr. M’ Crie’s and Professor Hume Brown’s Lives have also been of help, but my particular gratitude is due to Andrew Lang’s ( John Knox and the Reformation ) the one biography I have found which attempts to be critical.

My reading of Knox’s life disagrees with that of most of his other biographers since M’Crie. It is on the whole supported, however, by the eighteenth century estimate represented by David Hume and Burns.

If I show bias it is not, at any rate, theological bias.

The object of this book is somewhat different from that of the biographies which I have mentioned: it is to give a critical account of a representative Calvinist and Puritan.

The temper in which I have attempted this may perhaps best be described as realistic; I have attempted to tell in contemporary terms how a typical Calvinist and Puritan lived, felt and thought.

With the historical figure I am not particularly concerned’.

As one may note the date of publication was similar to D. H. Lawrence’ banned book and at the height of Catholic persecution in Scotland at the hands of John White the Church of Scotland’s sectarian and racist moderator.

I will relate to a few examples from Muir he writes about Knox;

‘Between 1540 and 1543 we find him engaged as an ecclesiastical notary, and up to March of 1543 he was certainly in the Catholic Church.

Of the life he led during this time his fellow reformers tell us not a word, but the Catholics maintain that he was notorious for his immorality, and even assert that he was guilty of committing adultery with his step-mother ( his father’s second wife ). Such is the early Knox as history and scandal disclose him.

Archibald Hamilton claimed that Knox was distinguished as a young man by his licentiousness; that he had always three whores at his heels; and that moreover, he committed adultery with his step-mother.

There is finally the question whether or not Knox had any hand in the Rizzio murder. The evidence that he had is once more contained in one letter from Randolph to Cecil. In this letter Randolph gives a list of the accomplices of the murderers, and another marked ‘ all at the death of Davy and privy thereunto’.

At the bottom of this is written ‘ John Knox, John Craig, preachers’. It has been adduced as a confirmation of Knox’s guilt that he fled from Edinburgh on the same day as the murderers’.

Muir describes what was a new development in the life of Knox;

‘ At Berwick, too, one of those friendships with women began, which were to play such a great part in Knox’s life. In his congregation was a certain “ Mrs. Bowes”, the wife of Richard Bowes of Norham Castle, a fort about six miles up the Tweed.

She was the mother of five sons and ten daughters.

Her husband was not in favour of the new doctrines; her family, too, were in the main cold.

Her fifth daughter, Marjory, (13) came with her to hear the sermon, and presently the preacher ( Knox ) and the young girl became engaged.

She ( Mrs. Bowes ) was probably about fifty when Knox became intimate with her, till then Knox had thought that no creature had ever been as tempted as he; the beloved mother ( of fifteen children ) pursued him wherever he went with vivid descriptions of her fleshly weaknesses’.

I know I have related to these subjects on earlier passages by other writers though I feel that I must introduce Muir’s work and perhaps draw some conclusions as to why the Church of Scotland’s appointed fault finder Harry Reid takes pain to advise readers of (Outside Verdict) not to read Edwin Muir’s ( John Knox ) biography.

Harry Reid was a director with the Sunday Herald’s ‘Book Review’.

Strangely one has to search for this book as there doesn’t seem to be many copies around Glasgow libraries perhaps the publishers should re-print and let the world see why the former editor of the Glasgow based broadsheet the Herald advises censorship.

Edwin Muir writes about letters from Knox to Mrs. Bowes and vice-versa:

‘ When he was deprived of the comfort of her ‘ corporal presence’ Mrs Bowes fulfilled the conditions to perfection. She was older than he, she was already his prospective mother-in-law. His pride would have recoiled from an intimacy in which he received reassurance and gave none. He could luxuriate in the voluptuous relief which her weakness provided’.

The Protestant Church, that Knox founded, chained people by the neck and castigated them in the most horrendous manner for sexual discrepancies…. yet Scotland’s greatest hero as Harry Reid calls him….

Muir continues his examination of Knox’s correspondence:

‘ My wicked heart loveth the self, and cannot refrain from vain imaginations’.

Writing to Mrs. Bowes that his heart was ‘ infected with foul lusts’ she was beset by the recondite sins of Sodom and Gomorra, was a strange repository for Knox’s imperative confessions.

Fear was to become an instrument in his hands, an instrument which he rarely laid aside, and which sometimes got beyond his control.

He threatened when he could make good his threats; he threatened still more wildly when he could not. He threatened his friends when they disagreed with him; he threatened his enemies when they could afford to laugh at him. He threatened Mary ( Tudor ) of England when he was flying from her; he threatened Elizabeth when he hoped to get a favour out of her. Where insensibility was shown in his threatenings, he took refuge in hatred.

Three women, Mary of England, Mary of Guise, and Mary Stuart, were unimpressed by his lightenings; he revenged himself by slander and prophecies of plagues where he could not by civil wars’.

The more I research the life of John Knox I continuously have to reassure myself that Protestants and Presbyterians really believe that this man was a Christian?

Muir goes on:

‘ Ever since he had met Wishart nine years before Knox had been in the habit of prophesying. He prophesied on grave and on trifling occasions; he prophesied reasonably and unreasonably; he prophesied above all wherever he could not get his own way; he prophesied against Sir Robert Bowes because Sir Robert would not accept him as a suitor for 13 year old Marjory’s hand.

The prophecies arose to wild heights of fantasy; in ideal conditions he contemplated an orderly and exhaustive slaughter of the Catholics. Then the prophet had become the man; now all the passions, all the envies, the hatreds, the cruelties of the man were triumphantly subsumed in the prophet. These passions, envies hatreds, cruelties, by the same transmutation became the passions, envies, hatred, cruelties of God.

His search for God and for comfort, his perplexity over why he had fled ( from England ) his rage of resentment tipped him sheer into abysses of self-deception touched with Sadism which no other reformer had plumbed.

At their most grandiose his prophecies about the future of England were almost like the ravings of a madman.

Edwin Muir was an academic, novelist, poet, Norton Professor of English at Harvard University, he had also been Director of the British Council at Prague in 1946 and Rome in 1949, he has a long list of distinguished works to his credit with major book publishers which can be viewed on the web.

His book on John Knox should be read by anyone wishing to investigate Reformation history particularly the mis-doings of Knox’s philosophies.

Professor Muir wrote:

‘ The instrument ( Knox ) had cursed Mary Tudor ( the Queen of England ) and had publicly advised her assassination, Calvin and Bullinger, however, had refused to back him’.

He narrates about Knox at Frankfurt then moves to 1556 Knox had been in Scotland to marry Marjory for the purpose of concealing his affair with her mother Sir Robert Bowes was hunting for them.

Muir goes on:

‘ He arrived in Geneva with Mrs. Knox, Mrs. Bowes a servant, and a pupil called Patrick. He was now married to Marjory, and accordingly we hear nothing more of her, except that she bore him two children, ‘ and then she died’. The same silence henceforth covers the irrepressible Mrs. Bowes ?’

It seemed that Knox had found a safe haven in Geneva with his wife and her mother for a while:

‘ Yet, in spite of all this, in spite of his power in the congregation and the solace of Mrs. Bowes and Mrs Knox’s company, he still longed for the comfort which only other men’s wives, it seemed, could give him in full measure.

‘Ye wrote that your desire is earnest to see me’ he said in a letter to Mrs. Locke in London, a few months after he had settled in Geneva with his family.

‘ Dear sister, ( he addressed Marjory the same in his letter to her ) if I could express the thirst and languor which I have for your presence, I shall appear to pass measure. Yea, I weep and rejoice in remembrance of you; but that would evanish by the comfort of your presence, which I assure you is so dear to evanish by the comfort of your presence’.

What was the comfort which he longed for so earnestly ? It was the same which he had found once in Mrs. Bowes’ friendship, a friendship which, it was clear, however, no longer quite satisfied his needs. His urgent necessity during these years, in fact, seems to have been to surround himself with mothers. He secured Mrs. Bowes already; to secure another a trifling relaxation of principle would surely be justifiable’.

Unfortunately for the millions who have been indoctrinated into Presbyterianism who have had to suffer severe consequences over hundreds of years for any relaxation of principles, as this was a luxury only for their great leader and his disciples.

Muir continues:

‘Mrs. Locke came to Geneva in the following May, in spite of the opposition of her ‘ head’ who was left behind in London. She appeared with her son Harry, her daughter Anne, and a maid called Katherine. The adventure began disastrously. Anne died a few days after arriving’.

Knox was about to write his book ( The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women ).

Professor Muir quotes him:

‘ How abominable before God is the empire and rule of a wicked woman, yea, of a traitoress and bastard’.

In this passage Knox is referring to Mary Tudor the Queen of England obviously he saw her as illegitimate. Actually Mary Tudor’s mother was Catherine of Aragon the first queen of Henry V111, she had previously been married to Henry’s elder brother, Prince Arthur, in 1501 ( the marriage allegedly being unconsummated ) and on his death in 1502 she was betrothed to Henry and married him on his accession to the throne in 1509.

Of the six children she bore only Mary survived, desirous of a male heir Henry divorced Catherine contrary to the law of the land regardless if it was also the law of the Church.

Perhaps Knox is referring to Henry and Catherine’s marriage as illegitimate because she had been married to his brother which was also illegal then and the only legitimate heir to the English throne was Mary Stuart whose grand-mother was Henry’s sister.

Professor Muir describes some of Knox’s views on women from his book:

‘ Knox began to look about him anxiously for all those proofs of woman’s infamy which the exordium promised. Man, he found, drawing on his knowledge, was strong and discreet. Woman, on the other hand , was mad and phrenetic. Was it reasonable that the passionate should rule the calm and the strong? Women, moreover, had been known to die of sudden joy, to commit suicide, to betray their country to strangers, and to be so avid of domination that they murdered their husbands and children. Knox reasoned ( about women ) ‘ where there was no head eminent above the rest, but that the eyes were in the hands, the tongue and mouth beneath the belly, and the ears in the feet’.

These are the writings of John Knox if a modern day psychiatrist were to examine these works and not know who the writer was, he could easily be seduced into thinking perhaps this was Adolph Hitler’s ‘struggle’.

Edwin Muir continues his narrative:

‘ Knox’s attitude to woman, it will be seen, sometimes changed with extraordinary rapidity. On Mary Tudor’s accession to the throne he had begged God to illuminate her heart with pregnant gifts of the Holy Ghost and to repress the pride of those who would rebel; after his flight his prayer was to send a Jehu to cut off her days.

When Mary of Guise was behaving with great toleration to the Protestants in Scotland she had been ‘ a princess honourable, endowed with wisdom and graces singularly,’ but now that he had heard about the pasquil she, like all other queens was a monster.

His mother had perhaps died when he was young; he had ‘ known’ his stepmother.

Two mothers were at present waiting for him in Geneva. Mrs. Bowes and Mrs. Locke ( and his child bride ) were obviously not real mothers. Mary of England and Mary of Guise ( and later Mary Stuart ), he was equally convinced, could not be real queens’.

It seems quite clear that Knox betrayed everyone around him including his own father by having an affair with his stepmother and anyone that he came into contact with including Wishart who he was with on the night of his capture, Knox was carrying his sword, Cardinal Beaton, Rizzio, Lord Darnley, Mary Stuart and the women who surrounded him in a Charles Manson maniacal devotion.

Calvin was also betrayed by him on the publication of the ‘First Blast’ as Knox had it secretly printed in Geneva with no writer or publisher’s names Calvin was outraged as condemnation poured upon reformers in Europe.

Professor Muir goes on to report the ideology of ‘Der Fuhrer’ of Scotland’s Presbyterian’s:

‘ Any Protestant had obviously, therefore, the right to kill any Catholic; it was the collective duty of the Protestants, however, to exterminate the Catholics ‘en masse’. His letters from Dieppe showed an ungovernable temper and an imagination delighting in cruelty. His Appellation from Geneva could only be the work of a mind corrupted by a monstrous doctrine. His letter showed not merely an extreme insensibility to human sufferings; it lingered sickeningly in a delighted contemplation of them. To the powerful he counselled violence and cruelty’.

After some months in Dieppe, Knox returned to Scotland when Elizabeth had taken the English throne after Mary Tudor died, and he found himself in the midst of turmoil.

Muir creates a vivid picture of the nobles who were to work with Knox, the professor wrote:

‘ If one were to accept the description of the sexes in ‘The First Blast’, she (Mary of Guise) might stand as the masculine type and Knox himself as the feminine. In the battle between them calmness, self-control, reason, dignity were all on Mary’s side….. frenzy, vituperation and back-biting all on the side of Knox who was a man of notorious probity’.

Muir goes on about the destruction of the Catholic Churches and monasteries after Knox’s return to Scotland he wrote:

‘ The destruction of the religious buildings and works of art in Scotland has been debated by ( Protestant ) historians, antiquarians and theologians at length and with acrimony. Two examples, showing the fluctuations of opinion among Knox’s admirers, may be cited.

Dr. M’Crie’s apology is perhaps the most extra-ordinary.

He begins by treating the matter with elephantine facetiousness.

‘ Antiquarians,’ he said, ‘ have no reason to complain of the ravages of the reformers, who have left them such valuable remains, ( ruins ) and placed them in that very state which awakens in their minds the most lovely sentiments of the sublime and beautiful by reducing them to-ruins. The liberty which the Protestants demanded from the Regent ( Mary of Guise ), in fact, was twofold; they asked leave to worship as they liked, and to pull down monasteries and churches.

By open profession they considered both these claims equally legitimate.

It was only by the grace of God that British Protestants especially Scottish Presbyterians never ruled Italy, France, Spain, Prague, Austria, Russia, Greece etc. with all their wonderful ancient monuments and churches which would have been obliterated and destroyed by the serial Protestant-culture-wreckers who make the Barbarians and Huns look like pacifists.

Professor Hume Brown wrote about the desecration of Scotland’s heritage:

‘ In these blind outbursts, ‘ he said, ‘there was no expression of real religious feeling; it was simply the instinct of plunder, the natural delight in unlicensed action which in ordinary times is kept in check by the steady pressure of law’.

Muir disagrees with Hume Brown by writing;

‘ ( Hume Brown ) contradicts himself in another passage, for those blind outbursts had, he admitted, Knox’s ‘cordial approval’.

The destruction, then was essentially a policy rather than a blind outburst.

It began as early as 1540; it was continued by Paul Methuen, the first man in Scotland to set up a purified Church, Knox set the work going on a large scale.

Andrew Lang says bitterly: ‘The fragments of things beautiful that the Reformers overlooked were destroyed by the ( deranged ) Covenanters’.

A monument to Robert the Bruce among other things was destroyed in the religious frenzy.

Knox was the only reformer of great reputation who encouraged a general destruction of works of art, and he felt his isolation.

Calvin was severe enough in his reprobation of beauty, but robbery and pillage, even of Catholic property, his orderly mind could not abide’.

Professor Muir pursues the Knoxite desecrations:

‘ In his letter to Mrs. Locke he told, as we have seen, how the ‘ brethern had sacked the religious houses in Perth and threatened the priests with death. In his ‘History’ the priests were not threatened, and the looting was the work of the ‘rascal multitude’, not of the brethern. His mind refused to rest under such a monstrous accusation; the whole business in Perth now seemed more confused than ever, but the probability steadily grew that the mob had destroyed the monasteries. When he took up the pen they had destroyed the monasteries’.

The examination of the works, deeds and mind of Knox has baffled Scottish historians on how they could best present a picture of the ‘demented one’ into a picture of a responsible and Christian man whom so many of them depend upon as the founder of the Scottish Presbyterian movement, that they have staked their reputations on because of their involvement within Protestantism and the bitterness and hatred that it requires to keep its leaders in their mansions and palaces that they inhabit, not to forget their dedication to nepotism.

Edwin Muir explains about the (Book of Discipline) and some of his findings he wrote:

‘ Its most fundamental idea was the corruption of man’s nature, and its policy had necessarily, therefore, to be a policy of espionage and repression.

Its sole instrument for keeping or reclaiming its members was punishment.

It was to show its dual qualities to the full in the next century of Scottish history, with its ‘prophets’, its sadistic Kirk Sessions, its instances of intrepid constancy, its intolerance, its murders smiled on, its deeds of moderation execrated, its array of villains and of martyrs, but, above all, its stiff-necked blindness to the more spacious ideas which were moving mankind.

It is symbolical that the Book opened with a command to persecute, and almost closed with a plea for the extension of the scope of Capital punishment, its faults were a lack of understanding, an incapacity for human charity, and, above all, a consciously virtuous determination to compel and humiliate people for the greater glory of God’.

I ploughed my way through mountains of reference books and documents while attending Strathclyde University with other ‘mature’ students of various religious persuasions, I was shocked to hear that in the year 2003 many reasonable Protestants have been led to believe even in recent years that Roman Catholics had an inferior education, and many thought that was the reason why so many Catholics were refused employment with Protestant employers.

One could easily point the finger at Rangers Football club and the many world class Scottish Catholic footballers who were forced to ply their trade in England and abroad, who could have been performing and passing their talents on to Scottish kids, many of these great’s such as Billy Bremner, Joe Jordan, Lou Macari etc. would have been a bonus to Scotland if sectarianism was wiped out not only on sporting arenas, but in the general society where there are countless highly intelligent and well educated Catholics.

How can any nation on earth be successful when a large percentage of its population are discriminated against we have seen the brain drain from Scotland for centuries and the nation is impoverished in so many walks of life.

Professor Muir continues;

‘ As idolatry and adultery became feebler in Scotland, however, adultery rose in importance.
In the next few years there is scarcely a remonstrance of the ministers which does not contain a despairing injunction to Parliament to punish adultery with death’.

There is something that Muir wrote that intrigues me, he wrote that Knox arrived in Geneva with a student named Patrick on another page he writes this statement by John Knox:

‘ That great abuser of this commonwealth, that poltroon and vile knave Davie ( Rizzio ), was justly punished ( stabbed to death in front of 6 months pregnant Mary. Queen of Scots) for abusing of the commonwealth and for his other villainy, which we list not to express, by the council and hands of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, Patrick, Lord Lindsay, and the Lord Ruthven, with other assistors in their company, who all for their just act, and most worthy of praise’.

Was this the Patrick who was with Knox at Geneva that he congratulates for the heinous murder of Rizzio, who as one can clearly see from Knox’s pen that even after Rizzio was dead, the venomous hatred boiling and spitting from the mind of Knox.

If this was the same Patrick then this verifies Randolph’s letter to Cecil over Knox’s guilt in the murder. Muir concludes his biography of Knox and notes these items after he explained his last days he wrote:

‘ The man ( Knox ) who in England proclaimed that subjects were bound to obey their prince; who in Dieppe incited subjects to murder their prince; who in Geneva exhorted the faithful in Scotland to depose their prince; who in Scotland helped to drive one prince after another from the throne while loudly proclaiming his loyalty; who maintained that two brutal murders were admirable in the sight of God, and that a third, less brutal, must be wiped out by the execution of an unfortunate woman ( Mary Stuart ) who had no direct part in it, and whose guilt could not be proved; who pursued that woman to disgrace and destruction.

This man was clearly not that model of consistency and strength which history and his biographers have set before us.

He was rather a man who, when his object required it, was always ready to contradict himself, and used any means which suited him’.

Edwin Muir’s biography of John Knox is not well known in Scotland but thanks to Harry Reid highlighting his name in ( Outside Verdict ) and my determination of finding the copy that I have scrutinised from the Andersonian Library at Strathclyde University.

Professor Muir goes on;

‘ Another thing which may be reasonably attributed to Knox is the Kirk Session.
To describe the sordid and general tyranny which this fearful institution wielded for over two hundred years would be wearisome and would take too long.
It is only necessary to say that the time-honoured Scottish tradition of fornication triumphantly survived all its terrors’.

I have endeavoured to describe the sordid and general tyranny which the fearful institution wielded over Scotland for over four hundred years, along with the lies and propaganda that they have perfected to art form.

On the last pages of his informative biography Muir questions about the first hundred years of Presbyterianism in Scotland he writes that:

‘The ‘nearest-lying country’ could show Shakespeare, Spencer, Jonson, Marlowe, Donne, Milton, in poetry and the drama; Bacon, Browne, Taylor, Claredon, in prose; the beginnings of modern science; and music, architecture, philosophy, theology, oratory in abundance’.

Caustically Muir asks:

‘ Was it the influence of Calvinism which preserved Scotland from that infection’ ?

The infection of culture, arts, academia and every form of human enjoyment and liberty had been obliterated from Scottish society except for those who maintained the evil philosophies such as the leaders of Presbyterianism who are still trying to enforce these doctrines of oppression.

Edwin Muir continues with his conclusion:

‘ Calvinism, in the first place, was a “faith” which insisted with exclusive force on certain human interests, and banned all the rest.

It lopped off from religion music, painting and sculpture, and pruned architecture to a minimum; it frowned on all prose and poetry which was not sacred.

Calvinism in short, was a narrow specialised “kind of religion”, but it was also a peculiar religion- a religion which outraged the imagination, and no doubt helped, therefore, to produce that captivity of the imagination in Scotland.

Looking down on the island of Great Britain in the century which followed Knox’s death, the Almighty, it seemed, had rejected Shakespeare, Spencer, and Donne, and chosen Andrew Melville, Donald Cargill and Sandy Peden ( John White, Ian Paisley and Jack Glass ).

And if His choice was restricted to the godly, it was equally strange, for He liked the translators of the Scots version of the Psalms, and rejected Herbert, Vaughan and Crashaw’.

Trying to understand Calvinists is a difficult chore especially in the 21st century where it is the Catholics that have all the pressure upon them over divorce, abortion, the birth pill and celibacy yet these issues are enshrined within the Catholic faith, and I don’t notice droves of Catholics flocking to join Protestant Churches which allow all of these questions to be freely accepted, while the Roman Catholics have to deal with the consequences of their conscience.

Protestantism is a follower of fashion and we all realise that there are so many different fashions and tastes as can be witnessed by the hundreds of Protestant sects who claim to be Christian and no doubt the ‘latest’ Jedi-Knights will soon be demanding recognition.

Professor Muir continues:

‘How could the country have avoided its fate of becoming for over a century an object-lesson in savage provincialism?
Hume, Burns, and men like them, it is true, lifted it from its isolation for a time during the next hundred years.What Knox really did was to rob Scotland of all the benefits of the Renaissance.
Scotland never enjoyed these as England did, and no doubt the lack of that immense advantage has had a permanent effect.
It can be felt, I imagine, even at the present day’.

The quotes from Dr. Muir’s biography of John Knox were written during the 1920s when Catholics were being persecuted on the streets of Scotland therefore I feel confident to credit him with first hand on site experience.

The work of Edwin Muir terrifies Presbyterian’s such as Harry Reid even though it was written during the 1920s, this shows the desperation that people such as he and his collaborators are in, because they know that their evil tyranny and subjugation of the Roman Catholic faithful, is about to be trampled into the annuls of extinction.

 

A Father of Lies cannot be the pope

A Father of lies cannot be pope, because, since Christ prayed for Peter that his faith not fail, a man who is pope could not give himself up to perpetual lying about matters of faith and morals and everything else. Therefore, either one must call Christ a liar, in His claim to be God and the beloved Son of God, or one must hold that Bergoglio is not the pope. There is no middle ground.

The safer ground is to hold that Christ told the truth, and that the Cardinals, who hold Benedict’s resignation to be valid, are in error. As a rule of practical conscience, one must chose always that which is not evil, even if your peers consider it is politically incorrect. You may not particularly care if Christ is God, but on the chance that He is, you better not call Him a liar. Likewise, no one ever taught that the Cardinals are infallible on anything, so why believe their novel claim?

Unfortunately, after Feb. 11, 2013, a legion of false apostles sprouted up, or might I say, a legion of devils took possession of a lot of men’s minds and hearts.

There are a lot of false voices out there. Unlike Mr. Walker, in the video above, they want to gaslight you into not believing in what you see and hear on a daily basis, and they want you to idolize the Cardinals in their judgement of a canonical act, wherein the Cardinals have no more authority to judge than you or I do, and then they want you to draw the conclusion that Bergoglio is not the worst pope ever by comparing him with some evil man of he past (such as Dr. De Mattei recently attempted), so that you remain in communion with a public idolater, blasphemer, heretic and apostate. Because, as Mr. Walker says of these false apostles, to them “Nothing is more important than being in communion. …. Sounds like Hell, doesn’t it!”

I say, there is nothing more ignoble in a man, than that he be a boot-licker. Because such men to not worship God or Christ, they worship their career or their visible superior. And that is a sin of idolatry, even when your superior is or seems to you to be the pope.

As it stands, Bergoglio was never the pope, because Pope Benedict never resigned the papal munus, nor has he ever indicated that he has ever intended to resign it, because he considers the munus to be the grace and vocation of the Papal Office, to which he gave his irrevocable “yes”, never to be taken back (cf. Final Address, Feb. 28, 2013).

 

Pope Benedict’s Renunciation is invalid for 6 Canonical Reasons

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As Catholics begin the effort to make known to the clergy that they were defrauded of their loyalty to Christ’s Vicar on Feb. 28, 2013, it is important to have at hand a short summary of the canonical problems in Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of Feb. 11, 2013, Non solum propter. (Official text here at Vatican website)

Here is such a short summary.

6 canonical errors in the Act of Renunciation

  1. In the Act, the Roman pontiff renounces “the ministry committed to him through the hands of the Cardinals” on the day he was elected. But canon 332 §2, in the official Latin text of that canon, requires that the renunciation be of the petrine “munus”, that is the Papal Office (cf. canons 331, 333, 334, 749). Therefore, the act is NOT a renunciation of the papacy. Thus, in regard to canon 332 §2, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS. And if it  be said or thought to be an act of renunciation of the papacy, then the assertion or estimation is false by reason of Canon 188, which declares IRRITUS any renunciations of office vitiated by substantial error, that is by an error which touches the substance of the act (which, in this case, is constituted by the essence of the act as an act of renunciation of the munus, not of the ministerium).*
  2. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff does not name the office by any proper canonical term, and thus the act is also an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be duly manifested (rite manifestetur), since that which is not named is not manifest.
  3. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff’s liberty regards that which he does, not that which he does not do, which, since he does not do it, whether he be free to do it or not, is not expressed. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be freely executed (libere fiat).
  4. In making a declaration of renunciation, instead of renouncing, the act is also an ACTUS NULLUS, because canon law does not regard declarations to be canonical acts. They are merely announcements. (cf. Penal section on announcements regarding persons who have incurred latae sententiae excommunications ipso iure).
  5. In making what appears to be a renunciation of the papacy, without naming the papal office as required by Canon 332 §2, the man making the declaration, inasmuch as he is the man, who received the office and who is attempting to separate himself from the office, had need to obtain from the man who is the Pope, an express derogation of the terms of canon 332 §2, in virtue of canon 38, and since he did not, since no concession of derogation of that requirement is mentioned in the act, then by reason of canon 38, the act, which is both contrary to the law of Canon 332 §2 and gravely injurious of the right of the faithful to know who is the true pope and when he has canonically resigned, is an ACTUS SINE EFFECTU, that is an act which lacks all effect.
  6. Finally, in renouncing “the ministry”, the Roman Pontiff posits a legal act which is not foreseen in the Code of Canon Law, since no canon therein speaks of a renunciation of ministry. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS according to the norm of law. Therefore, in accord with canon 41 no one with an office in the Church has any duty to recognize it.

__________

* I do not include substantial error as one of the canonical errors in the Act, because the act was never one of a renunciation of the papal office. The argument that substantial error vitiates the act, technically, has more to do with the mis-perceptions or false claims made about the canonical value of the act, than with the act itself. Speaking of substantial error is thus necessary when discussing it with someone who is operating under the false premise that the Pope renounced the papacy, but eventually one must talk about the reality of what the Pope actually said on that day, and distinguish that reality from the misperception which was published to all the world.

POST SCRIPT: Note that in the title of this post I use the word “invalid” in the common sense of an act which does not effect what one thinks it effects, but properly speaking the term should be “vitiated” or “erroneous”, because as you can see from the list of 6 canonical errors, 3 regard nullity, 2 regard invalidity, and 1 regards being without effect.