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SSPX Compromise & Nature of Conscience

SSPX Capitulation
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Mr. A.S. Guimaraes,

You say in your article on the TIA website of 2 April 2008 that the SSPX has a group of priests within it who are seeking regularization of the position, and that of the four bishops, three are going to follow suit also. These statements come from a recent L'Osservatore Romano interview with Cardinal Hoyos.

Coincidentally, Fr. Zendejas of the Ridgefield retreat house has put out a newsletter with an insert from the statement of Archbishop Lefebvre about 'The Nine'. We received this newsletter within the past two weeks. My wife and I did not understand the timing of the added insert, but now that I have read your article, today I am getting quite concerned.

Do you really think this is happening behind our backs, so to speak, that the Bishops of the SSPX and some priests are going to capitulate, even immanently?

I am attending an SSPX Chapel... You say the following, "I know of insiders in the SSPX who are intelligent; notwithstanding, they are completely blind to the most evident fact when it demonstrates that this or that one of their Bishops is compromising."

I have had just such a conversation with an SSPX priest or two about "checking one's brain at the door" in order to become "a member of the chapel." I have no intention of disengaging my brain under any circumstances and I would be very grateful if you would do two things.

First, please keep a close and objective watch on things within the SSPX and report on them as you have previously.

Second, please look into the newsletter insert I mentioned and try to ascertain the reason for its appearing recently; that is, was it just coincidence or is it confirmation of the contents of the Hoyos interview?

     With gratitude and prayers,

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Helpful Comments
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Dear Atila,

Thank you for your comments to EJ.

They are very helpful.

In Our Lady,

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A Long Held Suspicion
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Dear Mr. Guimaraes,

Regarding your commentary on Cardinal Hoyos' interview and his statements about the SSPX, I noticed that one item was not discussed.

Cardinal Hoyos stated that Archbishop Lefebvre signed all the documents of Vatican II. Since you have expressed that you do not believe that Hoyos was lying in the interview, then it would seem that you agree he signed them all.

Why didn't Archbishop Lefebvre resist at the time of Vatican II and refuse to sign any of the documents? Does this not signal a problem already existed before the SSPX was founded?

It would seem we cannot trust the Novus Ordo, the SSPX, or the indultarians.

I do not trust ANY organization of men claiming to speak for God at this point (though some might). Every time I have in my short life, I have found such organizations to be led by liars and hypocrites.

I blame myself first, for putting trust where none was deserved. I will not be fooled again.

     In God I Trust,

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Good and Bad Conscience
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Dear TIA,

I had to react to the "Ratzinger's Subjectivism" post.

By several Popes (Leo XIII, St. Pius X and Pius XI), St. Thomas Aquinas' exposition of Catholic doctrine was confirmed as faithful, certain and above all the other expositions.

According to St. Thomas in Summa Theologica, conscience is "knowledge applied in an individual case". Knowledge is about truth only because any error destroys knowledge. Thus, according to St. Thomas Aquinas and Catholic Faith, conscience is only good, and thus indeed in every person the highest, objective and infallible norm which of necessity comes from God.

Thus, conscience is not subjective and fallible as most people erroneously think. Thus, conscience cannot go against God or against Catholic Faith or against any truth or against any good whatsoever. Thus, anyone who does anything wrong (e.g. reject Catholic Faith), of necessity does it against the conscience and in error.

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church was also established by God because the whole Catholic Church, of which the Magisterium is a part, was established by God. Since God cannot go against Himself, it seems that it is absolutely impossible that what comes from God (conscience) can go against that what also comes from God (the Magisterium).

However, if the Magisterium of the Catholic Church could teach contrary to the Catholic Faith, then in such cases conscience, being good only, would always go against the Magisterium without any sin whatsoever.

What is Magisterium of the Catholic Church? Can the Magisterium of The Catholic Church teach contrary to Catholic Faith?

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church are all Catholic Bishops including that Pope as its Head with the exclusive task to faithfully preserve, transfer and interpret revealed Divine teachings of Catholic Faith.

In the case when the Pope alone or in communion with other Catholic Bishops solemnly and definitively decides a question of Faith or Morals and binds all faithful by such a decision or decisions, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church cannot teach contrary to the Catholic Faith because it is led by the Holy Spirit. This is the Solemn Magisterium of the Catholic Church acting definitively.

In any other case, the Magisterium of The Catholic Church can teach contrary to Catholic Faith because the majority of Catholic Bishops who make up the Magisterium can teach contrary to Catholic Faith and the Holy Spirit. The best proof for that truth besides Vatican II is the famous period of struggle with the Arian heresy when many Catholic Bishops succumbed to it.

Thus, since it can indeed happen that Catholics are by conscience bound to disobey the Magisterium when it teaches contrary to the Catholic Faith or Morals (as St. Paul resisted St. Peter, the first Pope (Galatians 2:11-14)), the first sentence of Card. Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI is true and not false ["Conscience is the highest norm and... one must follow it even against authority. When authority - in this case the Church's Magisterium - speaks on matters of morality, it supplies the material that helps the conscience form its own judgment, but ultimately it is only conscience that has the last word"]

However, according to St. Thomas, conscience can be laid aside and a person can act contrary to it. Thus, although it is true that conscience is the highest and objective norm, it is plainly false that it has the last word regarding a person and the teachings of the Catholic Faith: if all people had followed only their conscience, no sin would have been committed including sins against Catholic Faith. Thus, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, as for all human acts, human will always has the last word, and thus it alone ultimately decides whether a person will act in accordance with his conscience or against it.

Conscience can have the last word only when a man after his death renders his account to God, but it cannot have the last word on earth. Thus, taking into consideration the context of the paragraph written by Card. Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI [see above quote], it is obvious that its end contains a huge error.

Since there are some important things to be mentioned as to Mr. G.R.'s comment on Card. Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI's text, and this is already a very long comment, I will leave that for another (hopefully soon) post.

     Regards in JMJ and all the Saints,


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TIA responds:

Dear Mr. B.B.,

We thank you for your interesting note. It makes it very clear that originally conscience is good and well oriented.

The last article by Mr. Arnold on conscience, Card. Ratzinger's Subjectivism, which gave rise to the comments of our reader G.R., presupposed his previous explanation of conscience in the article The Parasite and the Lemmings, which seems to agree with your observations.


     TIA correspondence desk.

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted April 8, 2008

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The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA

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