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Canonizations Are Infallible

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By Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B.

*Note: This article is the second part to newsletter #4, Antipope John Paul II’s Canonization of Josemaria Escriva reveals Schism among most “traditionalists.

In this Article:

- Fr. Moderator says that Canonizations are not infallible

- St. Thomas Aquinas says that Canonizations are infallible

- St. Alphonsus, St. Bonaventure, and St. Robert Bellarmine say it is heresy to deny the infallibility of Canonizations

- The Apostate Mother Theresa of Calcutta

The “Father Moderator” of a very popular “traditional Catholic” website is telling people that Canonizations by Popes are not infallible.  And he is influencing large numbers of people to this position.  He is making the argument that Canonizations are not infallible in an attempt to justify his untenable position, which is to reject John Paul II’s Canonizations but still maintain that John Paul II is the Pope.  Fr. Moderator knows that if Canonizations are infallible then John Paul II cannot be the Pope.  Here is what he says.

Fr. Moderator, FAQ 10, “Canonizations, Post-Conciliar: “It has been frequently bandied about that canonizations are unquestionably ‘infallible.’  Such a position is not fully consistent with the teachings of the Doctors of the Church, including the Supreme Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas.  In particular, the new process of investigations for canonization promulgated by John Paul II has brought into question the accuracy of the canonizations.  In fact, he is turning out beati and sancti in numbers unprecedented in the history of the Church and has thereby depreciated the cultus of the saints.  And this at a time when Novus Ordo Catholics have become thoroughly ignorant of the most important saints of the Church’s history, such as St. Augustine and St. Dominic. There is now serious question whether these rushed-through modern candidates have been scrutinized sufficiently or whether mistakes have been made because of rushed investigations (which used to take centuries) and because of “P.C.” concerns.  Fortunately, Catholic theologians through the centuries have provided a bailout for such a situationCANONIZATION IS NOT INVARIABLY HELD TO BE AN ACT OF PAPAL INFALLIBILITY, and is certainly not a primary exercise thereof.  St.  Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibet 9.c.16) holds that the pope may err in this, as in other matters where his decision depends on the truth of human testimony.  St. Robert Bellarmine holds that it is quite possible for the pope “to err in particular controversies of fact which depend chiefly on human information and testimony.”

First, notice that Fr. Moderator says that “Catholic theologians have provided a bailout,” but yet he doesn’t even directly quote one to prove his point.  He describes his argument on the supposed fallibility of Canonizations as a “bailout” because he knows (as stated already) that if Canonizations by Popes are infallible then John Paul II is not the Pope.

Second, Fr. Moderator tells us that St. Thomas taught that Canonizations are not infallible and that the Pope can err in this matter.  Is this true?  Did St. Thomas Aquinas actually teach that Canonizations are not infallible?

Fr. Moderator also implies that St. Robert Bellarmine taught the same.  Is this true?  Did St. Robert Bellarmine indicate that a Pope could err in such a matter?

Before considering the answer to these questions, dear reader, please consider the illogic of the argument being made here by Fr. Moderator.  Fr. Moderator is referencing a Saint (Thomas Aquinas) to “prove” that Saints may not really be “Saints.”  Think about that.

But if Saints may not be Saints – in other words, if Canonizations are not infallible, as Fr. Moderator claims – then what does quoting Thomas Aquinas prove, for then “Tom” isn’t even a Saint!  And, in fact, if Tom is not a Saint – if the Church could have erred in declaring him to be such, as Fr. Moderator says – then Tom is also not a Doctor of the Church, because (according to Fr. Moderator’s argument) the Church could have erred in that as well.  Thus, if Canonizations are fallible then Thomas Aquinas is not “the Supreme Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas” as Fr. Moderator illogically calls him – he would then be just good ole “Tom.”  To put it simply: Fr. Moderator, don’t quote a Saint to “prove” your position when you don’t even believe that there are any definite Saints!

In fact, the main reason that St. Thomas’ opinion does hold considerable weight is precisely because he is a Saint and a Doctor of the Church.  But he is neither if Canonizations are not infallible.  Thus, one can see that Fr. Moderator’s argument is self-refuting and illogical.

Third, the question must be answered: is it even true that St. Thomas Aquinas said that Canonizations are not infallible, as Fr. Moderator claims?  The answer is No.  St. Thomas taught just the opposite!

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, “Beatification,” 1907, p. 366: “In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: ‘Since the honor we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints, we must piously believe that in this matter also the Church is not liable to error.”

We can see that Fr. Moderator is completely wrong.  St. Thomas Aquinas stated that canonizations are infallible; and he even stated this in the very place (Quodlib. IX, a. 16) where Fr. Moderator says St. Thomas said the opposite!!!

Further, look at what St. Alphonsus had to say about this issue, in agreement with the teaching of St. Bonaventure, St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, 1759, p. 23:“To suppose that the Church can err in canonizing, is a sin, or is heresy, according to St. Bonaventure, Bellarmine, and others; or at least next door to heresy, according to Suarez, Azorius, Gotti, etc.; because the Sovereign Pontiff, according to St. Thomas, is guided by the infallible influence of the Holy Ghost in an especial way when canonizing saints.”

St. Alphonsus says exactly what we said in newsletter #4, that it is heresy – or something tantamount to heresy (and something tantamount to heresy is also heresy) – to suppose that a true Pope can err in Canonizing Saints; and St. Alphonsus references St. Bonaventure, St. Robert Bellarmine and others. 

But this should be obvious to any Catholic.  For if Canonizations by Popes were fallible and non binding, one would be free to reject every single Saint in Catholic history.  But such a notion is ridiculous; for if the Catholic Church can err in Canonizing Saints then it can err in promulgating the true Canon of Holy Scripture or proclaiming the Immaculate Conception or anything else.

St. Francis De Sales: (+1602): “…to say the Church errs is to say no less that God errs, or else that He is willing and desirous for us to err; which would be a great blasphemy.” (The Catholic Controversy, p. 70.)

When a true Pope Canonizes a Saint, he speaks from the Chair of Peter (ex cathedra).  The formula for Canonizing Saints is below; and the formula below is the formula which was used before Vatican II.  It is also the formula which is currently used by Antipope John Paul II, including when he “Canonized” Josemaria Escriva on Oct. 6, 2002.

“In honor of the Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the growth of Christian life, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and Our Own, after lengthy reflection, having assiduously invoked God’s assistance and taken into account the opinion of many brothers of ours in the episcopate, we declare and define “x” to be a Saint, and we enroll him in the Catalogue of the Saints, and we establish that in the whole Church he should be devoutly honored among the Saints.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

To deny something that a Pope proclaims on Faith with this formula is outright heresy.

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, Session 4, Chap. 4: “[We] teach and explain that the dogma has been divinely revealed, that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when [1) carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority [2] he explains a doctrine of faith or morals [3] to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that His Church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.  But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathema.” (Denz. 1839)

A Canonization is an ex cathedra (infallible) pronouncement because it fulfills the three conditions required for a Pope to speak infallibly, as defined by Vatican I above.  The three conditions are as follows:

1) Speaking as Supreme Pastor in Virtue of Apostolic Authority – When a Pope Canonizes a Saint, he speaks as Supreme Pastor and in virtue of his apostolic authority, which is the first requirement for an ex cathedra pronouncement.

2) Faith or morals – When a Pope Canonizes a Saint, he speaks on a point of faith, which is the second requirement for an ex cathedra pronouncement.

3) To Be Held by the Universal Church – A Canonization is to be held by the universal Church because the Pope explicitly says so in canonizing.  He says:  “…we establish that in the whole Church he [x] should be devoutly honored among the Saints.”  In Canonizing, the Pope further “declares and defines” that the Saint is in heaven, which demonstrates that the declaration and definition is binding on the Church.  Thus, Canonizations fulfill the third and final requirement for an ex cathedra pronouncement.

Thus, a Canonization is unquestionably an ex cathedra (infallible) declaration, as the Saints above attest to.  To obstinately call it into question is a mortal sin against faith; it is heresy; it is a denial of Papal Infallibility; and it is a denial of the indefectibility of the Catholic Church, as the above Saints and Doctors of the Church – including St. Bonaventure, St. Robert, St. Alphonsus and St. Thomas Aquinas – confirm.  And it should be noted that even if one or more of these Saints did teach that Canonizations were fallible (which they didn’t), it wouldn’t change the fact that Canonizations are infallible because it is a demonstrable fact that Canonizations are ex cathedra pronouncements when declared with the form above.

But this “sin” and “heresy” of rejecting the infallibility of Canonizations, as the Doctors of the Church describe it, is spreading through the “traditionalists” with alarming rapidity, simply because large numbers of the “traditionalists” recognize that John Paul II’s “Canonizations” are obviously false; but many of them refuse to see the truth that he is not a Pope.  Thus, by refusing to accept the truth that John Paul II is a non-Catholic Antipope, they are falling into the position of rejecting the solemn Canonizations of the one they deem to be the Pope, which is a “sin” and “heresy,” according to the Doctors of the Church.

We were truly appalled that there was basically no outrage or even commentary on the SSPX’s rejection of John Paul II’s Canonizations among the so-called “traditionalists.”  The SSPX declares that Canonizations are no longer infallible, but who cares?  That was the attitude of most of the heretical “traditionalists.”  Who cares if the SSPX is calling into question all the Saints? Who cares if they think a Pope can err when speaking from the Chair of Peter?  Who cares: they offer a valid Latin Mass – is the attitude of most in the Traditionalist movement today.  But this attitude is not pleasing to God; it is quite displeasing to Him, as it rejects the divine protection that He Himself conferred upon St. Peter and his successors.

With their declaration that they no longer accept the infallibility of Canonizations, the SSPX has reached a new low.  They have become quite similar to the Eastern Orthodox.  They have thoroughly rejected the dogmatic truths on the Papacy and Papal Infallibility.   And their wicked heresy is spreading quickly because of priests like Fr. Moderator who reject Papal Infallibility.  The heresy is also spreading because many of the laypeople don’t care much about the Faith and continue to support the heretical SSPX.

One of the ways by which Fr. Moderator was able to mislead his readers on this issue was to pervert the nature of the question.  In attempting to articulate his heretical argument that Canonizations are not infallible, the reader will notice that Fr. Moderator speaks about how St. Thomas and St. Robert supposedly said that a Pope can err in a decision based upon human testimony.  That may be true, but that is irrelevant.  The issue is not whether or not a valid Pope can make a mistake on a decision purely based on human testimony; no one disputes this.  The issue is whether a Pope can err on a matter of Faith proclaimed to the whole Church and declared in virtue of his apostolic authority.  And the answer to this, as St. Thomas, St. Robert and the rest agree, and as I have shown, is a resounding no.  And this is why Fr. Moderator could not even bring forward one direct quote from any Saint stating that Canonizations are not infallible; but he effectively and slyly misled his readership by switching the nature of the question and misrepresenting the authorities he claimed to reference.

I now quote again the incredible declarations of Bishop Williamson and Fr. Peter Scott of the Society of St. Pius X on this issue.  These declarations by these two leading SSPX voices are incredible simply because of how heretical they are.

Bishop Richard Williamson of SSPX, Dec. 6, 2002, From St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary: “Therefore, for Pope John XXIII to have been truly a Blessed, and for Msgr. Escriva to have been truly a Saint, the Second Vatican Council would have to have been a true Council, or a Council true to Catholic Tradition.  Which is ridiculous, as at least regular readers of this Letter know.  Yet are not Catholic canonizations infallible?”
Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible… But since Vatican II… there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, that the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility
“So this or that Saint ‘canonized’ by John Paul II may in fact be in heaven, even Msgr. Escriva, God knows, but it is certainly not his ‘canonization’ by this Pope which can make us sure of that fact.  Nor need we then feel obliged to venerate any of the post-Vatican II ‘Saints’…. Similarly Church infallibility does not mean that the Church’s teachers will never teach untruth by, for instance, dubious ‘canonizations’, only that, amongst other truths, the truth of the Christian sanctity will never be totally falsified or silenced…  However, it might be advisable not to profit by his Newchurch ‘canonization’ to venerate him officially or in public, insofar as that might be liable to give to other Newchurch ‘canonizations’ a credit which is not due to them.”

All of this is a clear rejection of Papal Infallibility; and it is a “sin” against faith and it is “heresy,” as St. Alphonsus calls it.  It is declaration that the Catholic Church has officially erred, an idea which, according to St. Francis De Sales, is a “great blasphemy.”  Here is how Fr. Scott of the SSPX articulated his heresy.

Fr. Peter Scott, Nov. 1, 2002, from SSPX’s Holy Cross Seminary in Australia:“A typical example of this was the shameful and highly questionable canonization of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer last October 6… ‘After having pointed out that the process was uncanonical and dishonest, they had this to say: ‘It (the canonization) will offend GodIt will stain the Church forever.  It will take away from the saints their special holiness. It will call into question the credibility of all the canonizations made during your Papacy.  It will undermine the future authority of the Papacy’…  Their letter will certainly turn out to be prophetic, for in time they will be proven to be right in their assessment concerning Escriva … For all the reasons that they give, we cannot possibly consider this ‘canonization’ as a valid, infallible Papal pronouncement.  We trust that he is in heaven, but we cannot possibly regard as a Saint this herald of Vatican II….”  (SOUTHERN SENTINEL – No. 3 – November 2002)

All of those who agree with or support the SSPX, after being aware of these facts, are sinning gravely against Faith.

MOTHER THERESA OF CALCUTTA

Mother Theresa of Calcutta was recently “beatified” by Antipope John Paul II, and he plans on “Canonizing” her soon.  It is no exaggeration to state that Mother Theresa of Calcutta was one of the greatest apostates in history.  After John Paul II held his idolatrous interreligious prayer meeting in Assisi in 1986 where, among other abominations, the Dalai Lama placed a Buddhist statue on top of the Tabernacle, Mother Theresa referred to the day as “the most beautiful gift of God” (Time Magazine, Nov. 10, 1986).

A recently released book, Everything Starts From Prayer, Mother Teresa’s Meditations on Spiritual Life for People of all Faiths, also shows Mother Theresa’s thorough rejection of the Catholic Faith and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  In the foreword, Anthony Stern quotes one of her most famous statements, which reveals the demonic spirit of Mother Teresa’s work:

“I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.”

This is apostasy from Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith.  Mother Theresa also stated:

Some call Him Ishwar, some call Him Allah, some simply God, but we have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things: to love and be loved. What matters is that we love. We cannot love without prayer, and so whatever religion we are, we must pray together.” (quoted by Marian Horvat, What About the Orthodoxy of Mother Theresa?)

The false gods of the non-Christian religions are demons (1 Cor. 10:20; Psalm 95:5), as 2000 years of Catholic Tradition have taught.  So, in short, Mother Theresa believed that God (the Most Holy Trinity) and demons (the false gods of the heathens) are one and the same.  She’s quite a candidate for Canonization, isn’t she?  Mother Theresa manifested her approval of demon worship and religions of the devil (non-Christian religions) consistently, as the following quotation points out.

“This is not an isolated statement taken out of context. It is one of many such testimonials indicating Mother Teresa’s general attitude of indifference to what creed a man professed…. Stern recounts the following incident as another example of her ecumenical spirit in action: Once, when Mother Teresa was ministering to a dying Buddhist man, a visitor overheard her whisper, ‘You say a prayer in your religion, and I will say a prayer as I know it. Together we will say this prayer and it will be something beautiful for God (Foreword, Everything Starts From Prayer).’” (Marian T. Horvat, What About the Orthodoxy of Mother Theresa?)

In Mother Theresa, A Pictorial Biography by Joanna Hurley, we read the following on page 68 about Mother Theresa’s Order, The Missionaries of Charity:

“A Catholic Order, The Missionaries of Charity is nonetheless ecumenical in its work.  The nuns bury the dying they have nursed according to the rites of each individual’s religion, and they observe local holidays [of the other religions] along with those of the Church.  Here a group of young nuns help children light sparklers for Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights.” (Courage Books, 1997)

Ladies and Gentlemen, this means that the nuns of Mother Theresa’s Order not only approved of but actually participated in the pagan rites of non-Christian religions.  This is Satanic!  On page 68 of this book, there is a picture of the nuns of Mother Theresa’s order lighting the sparklers for the Hindu festival of Diwali and they have gigantic smiles on their faces!  This is sin against the Faith of the worst kind; nay, it is religion of Antichrist – where man (and his personal preference for false religions) supersedes and replaces Jesus Christ.

A friend of ours from Canada recently called the Superior of one of Mother Theresa’s convents there.  Our friend said, “How come Mother Theresa never tried to convert anyone?”  The “Mother Superior” responded: “It is the ultimate respect for the human person to respect his religion.”  “Mother Superior” told our friend that these non-Catholics are going to heaven even if they reject Christ, as long as they are “good people,” for that’s what matters, according to her.  This means that man and his choice of religion are greater and more important than Christ.  It actually means that man is God; it is therefore the Gospel of Antichrist, and Mother Theresa was its main false prophet and exemplar (outside of Antipope John Paul II), who cloaked her apostasy in purely natural works which gave her the appearance of true charity when in fact she had none.

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (#9), Jan. 6, 1928: “… the foundation of charity is faith pure and inviolate…”

Hebrews 11:6- “Without Faith it is impossible to please God.”

Pope St. Pius X, Editae Saepe (#28), May 26, 1910: “As a matter of fact, however, merely naturally good works are only a counterfeit of virtue since they are neither permanent nor sufficient for salvation.”

Mother Theresa fed and clothed the bodies of many people, but she left their souls starving for what they needed most, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  She deprived these souls of the only thing that really mattered, and therefore was not their true friend, but their enemy.

Luke 12:4-5: “[Jesus saith] And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell.  Yea, I say to you, fear him.”

John 17:3- “Now this is life everlasting, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

John 8:23-24:“… for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sin.”

1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life.  And this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son, hath life.  He that hath not the Son, hath not life.”

I bring up this issue because it is likely that Antipope John Paul II will soon “Canonize” the apostate Mother Theresa, who exemplified some of the worst religious indifferentism of any of the members of the Vatican II sect.

So, what will the “traditionalists” under Antipope John Paul II do then?  Will they actuallyaccept her as a “Saint”?  If they are willing to believe that Mother Theresa is a Saint, who promoted and participated in Satanic false religions, then they might as well admit that they think that the Church of Christ = the Church of Antichrist, since they would be honoring as a glorified Saint one who exemplified and believed the doctrine of Antichrist to the fullest.  Truly, they might as well accept the Dalai Lama as a Saint or the founder of the Church of Satan.

Or perhaps when Mother Theresa is “Canonized” by Antipope John Paul II the false traditionalists will adopt the same heresy as the SSPX, rightly condemned by the Saints and Doctors as “sin” and “heresy,” which simply rejects the infallibility of “Canonizations”?

Or perhaps they will wake up and realize that Rome has lost the faith and become the Seat of the Antichrist (Our Lady of La Salette) and break communion with Antipope John Paul II and his counterfeit Vatican II sect and realize that he has no authority to Canonize because he is not the Pope?

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 4, Chap. 4, ex cathedra: So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair….”

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 4, Chap. 4, ex cathedra: “… to this Holy See …. where faith cannot experience a failure.”

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 4, Chap. 4, ex cathedra: “… knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: ‘I have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren (Lk. 22:32).’”

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 4, Chap. 4, ex cathedra: “…. in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, and holy doctrine celebrated.’”

St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, 1759, p. 23:“To suppose that the Church can err in canonizing, is a sin, or is heresy, according to St. Bonaventure, Bellarmine, and others; or at least next door to heresy, according to Suarez, Azorius, Gotti, etc.; because the Sovereign Pontiff, according to St. Thomas, is guided by the infallible influence of the Holy Ghost in an especial way when canonizing saints.”

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