Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Q&A  September AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Q&A Archives
Apropos-Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer
Profession of Faith?
Contradiction of the Doctrine of the Faith?

Our Lady of the Rosary
Words from the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Saints

    St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that there is no obligation to make a profession of faith at every moment. But when the Faith is in danger it is urgent to profess it, even if it be at the risk of one’s own life.

    Such is the situation in which we find ourselves. We live in an unprecedented crisis of the Church, a crisis that attacks her inner essence, in her very substance which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Catholic priesthood, two mysteries essentially united because without priesthood there is no sacrifice of the Mass and therefore no form of worship. It is also on this foundation that the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is built.

    For this reason, because the conservation of the priesthood and the Holy Mass is at stake, and in spite of the requests and pressures of many, I am here in order to accomplish my duty: to make a public profession of faith.

    It is painful to witness the deplorable blindness of so many confrères in the episcopate and in the priesthood who do not see or do not want to see the present crisis nor the necessity to resist the reigning modernism in order to be faithful to the mission entrusted to us by God.

    I want to manifest here my sincere and profound adherence to the position of His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre, dictated by his fidelity to the Church of all centuries. Both of us, we have drunk at the same spring which is that of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.

    May the Most Holy Virgin Our Mother, who at Fatima has warned us in her motherly love with regard to the gravity of the present situation, give us the grace to be able by our attitude to help and enlighten the faithful in such a way that they depart from these pernicious errors of which they are the victims, deceived by many persons who have received the fullness of the Holy Ghost.

~ Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer,
Bishop emeritus of Campos, Brazil
On the occasion of the consecration of bishops
for the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X
30 June A.D. 1988.

From:  David Allen White, The Mouth of the Lion,
Kansas City: Angelus Press 1993, pages 241-242


Questions and Answers from the Parish Bulletin


Our Lady of the Rosary
Profession of Faith

    Question:  What is a profession of Faith, and who must make one?

    Answer:  A profession of Faith is a statement of belief in the truths of the Catholic Faith.  It may be a fixed set of words, like the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, or the Tridentine Profession of Faith.  The first of these is recited at Baptism, usually by the God-parents as proxies for the one being Baptized.  It, or something like it, would be required for Baptism is the admission of a soul to the community of believers.  The Apostle’s Creed is also recited at the beginning of the Rosary.  An interrogatory form is used at the Easter Vigil (Do you believe in ....)  The Nicene Creed is recited or sung on Sundays, many feasts of our Lord and Lady, and on the feasts of Doctors of the Church.  It is required of the priest at such Masses, and it would seem improper for those participating in the Mass to remain silent if they are able to say/sing it.  The Athanasian Creed, largely a statement of beliefs about the three Divine Persons is recited at Prime on Sundays by those who recite the Divine Office.  The Tridentine Profession of Faith is recited by baptized adults being received into the Catholic Church, and an interrogatory form is required of those about to be Consecrated bishops.

    Apart from these ceremonial occasions, Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us:

    ... it is not necessary for salvation to confess one's faith at all times and in all places, but in certain places and at certain times, when, namely, by omitting to do so, we would deprive God of due honor, or our neighbor of a service that we ought to render him: for instance, if a man, on being asked about his faith, were to remain silent, so as to make people believe either that he is without faith, or that the faith is false, or so as to turn others away from the faith; for in such cases as these, confession of faith is necessary for salvation.[1]

    One would be required to acknowledge one’s belief before sincere inquirers who want to know more, and before persecutors who want one to deny the beliefs of the Catholic Faith.  There is a tacit denial of the Faith when the believer allows someone to publically speak against the Faith or its truths without correction.  The obligation to correct those who espouse errors is stronger for those who have been Confirmed, and stronger yet for those in religious life or Holy Orders.  We have the example of Saint Paul who “withstood [Saint Peter] to his face” for tolerating the errors of those who required early Christians to keep the Mosaic Law of the Jews.[2]  Peter himself told the authorities of the Temple, “we ought to obey God, rather than men.”[3]  Echoing Saint Peter, Saint Thomas reminds us that God is above every authority, ecclesiastical as well as civil.[4]


 Our Lady of the Rosary
Contradiction of the Doctrine of the Faith

    Continued from last month:  Last month we mentioned the newly appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, and the strange notions he has expressed in print:

·                Acceptance of so-called “liberation theology.”

·                Denial of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother.

·                Denial of transubstantiation.

·                Acceptance of at least some Protestants as members in full Communion with the Catholic Church.

    Last month we discussed the Marxist leanings of “liberation theology.”  Since that last writing some odd ideas of his concerning miracles and the bodily resurrection of our Lord have been brought to public attention.  We will address all of these in due time.

The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mother

"If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary as really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned."
~ Lateran Council 649 AD (DZ 503)

    The concept of Mary’s perpetual virginity includes a number of aspects.  Most importantly, our Lady conceived the Son of God by the “overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.”  No human male was involved in the conception of her Son Jesus Christ, nor was Mary ever involved with a man in that way at any time during her life.  In giving birth, Mary suffered none of the damage that one might expect from the passage of a child through the birth canal of a virgin.

    Yet, concerning Archbishop Müller, Marco Tosatti reports for La Stampa:

    In his 900-page work "Katholische Dogmatik. Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie" (Freiburg. 5th Edition, 2003), Müller would have denied the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary claiming that the doctrine is "not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth (such as the birth canal not having been opened, the hymen not being broken, or the absence of birth pangs), but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature."[5]

    Catholic theology is not invented by men sitting in arm chairs, speculating about what the masses are likely to accept. or what might make an inspiring example for them to emulate.  Not even the Pope can expect new public revelations or create doctrines that are not based on existing revelation.  It is always reasonable to ask “How do we know that?” or, “On what basis do we know the things we are asked to believe?”  A good example of a Pope anticipating such questions is found in Ineffabilis Deus, the Apostolic Constitution in which Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.[6]  Only after many paragraphs discussing the history and sources of the doctrine did Pope Pius define the doctrine which must be believed by all the faithful.

    So then we can ask, “How does the Church know the truth of the things It teaches about the virginity of Mary.

    The first evidence is found in Sacred Scripture:

    [18] Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. [19] Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.  [21] And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: [23] Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.[7]

    The same evidence is found in Saint Luke’s Gospel:

    [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [8]

    One might still ask how we know that Mary remained a Virgin after the birth of Jesus—Matthew 18 speaks of Mary and Joseph “before they came together,” perhaps implying a different arrangement later—Mark 3 and Luke 8 refer to the “brethren” of Jesus, perhaps brothers or sisters.  The word “until” does not imply a change of condition later on.  “He never took a drink until the day he died” does not imply drinking after death!  The Psalmist prophesied of Christ: “In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken sway.”—the peace and justice of Christ do not depend on the presence of the moon![9]  The word used by Mark and Luke to indicate “brethren” is “ἀδελφοί—adelphoi” which means “kinsmen”—a blood relative, a relative by marriage, or even a member of the same ethnic or cultural group.[10]  Perhaps more to the point, Jewish law allowed divorce and remarriage, but the woman who took a second spouse became unclean with respect to the first—it is inconceivable that Mary would have done anything that would make her unclean with respect to God, her “first” spouse![11]

    Yet, still, we might ask how we know that the process of birth would not have damaged the physical aspects of Mary’s virginity.  In the liturgy and patristic writings of both the Eastern and Western Church there are numerous references to the post partum virginity of our Lady.[12]  Saint Thomas tells us:

    I answer that, The pains of childbirth are caused by the infant opening the passage from the womb. Now it has been said above (28, 2, Replies to objections), that Christ came forth from the closed womb of His Mother, and, consequently, without opening the passage. Consequently there was no pain in that birth, as neither was there any corruption; on the contrary, there was much joy therein for that God-Man "was born into the world," according to Isaiah 35:1-2: "Like the lily, it shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise."[13]

    In the lessons of our Lady’s Saturday Office alone, we have the testimony of Saint Ambrose (January and July), Saint Jerome (February and April), and Saint Augustine (May).   Even Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin professed her perpetual virginity.[14]  Councils in the Lateran and at Constantinople condemned those who denied her perpetually intact virginity.

    “But how did they know?”  How did these fathers, doctors, and bishops of the Church—as well as the heretics—know that Mary remained perpetually a physically intact virgin?  It hardly seems to be the sort of thing about which anyone would have asked her.  Is this just one of those things which the theologians decided because they thought it was “fitting”?—a rather tenuous basis upon which to be issuing condemnations.  The actual basis is found in the book of Genesis.  “To the woman also [God] said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children....”[15] The physical trauma of giving birth is the result of original sin.  But as she was conceived without sin, Mary was subject to none of the pains and damaging effects of childbirth.

    “It is written (Ezekiel 44, 2): ‘This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it...’ What means this closed gate in the house of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that ‘no man shall pass through it,’ save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - ‘The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it,’ except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of her? And what means this - ‘It shall be shut for evermore,’ but that Mary is a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth.” ~ Saint Augustine (ca AD 430)[16]

    Earlier we quoted Archbishop Müller as saying that the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is “not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth ... but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature.”  Now really, don’t all of the actions of Christ among men show forth “the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature”?  Doesn’t the doctrine of perpetual virginity have its own unique and specific meaning, beyond the general influences of God on human nature?  Doesn’t the doctrine of perpetual virginity, first and foremost mean that, in actual fact, Mary was perpetually a virgin?!?!

    In future writings we will consider that Archbishop Müller does not recognize miracles as “a breaking of the laws of nature.”[17]  He seems to think of the miraculous as a sort of delusion on the part of the observers, and not something that has objective reality: “The contemporary film camera would have neither recorded the resurrection [of Jesus] event....”[18]  Likewise he holds that: “The meaning of faith in the virginal conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit does not reveal itself in the context of a biologically exceptional case.”  Parthenogenesis (virginal conception) is very rare in the animal kingdom, and for most species (certainly for humans!) it is a laboratory curiosity.[19]  In saying that the begetting of Jesus “does not reveal itself in the context of a biologically exceptional case,” Archbishop Müller is strongly suggesting that our Lord had a human father.

Perhaps Archbishop Müller’s appointment to the CDF came during one of Pope Benedict’s “senior moments”—perhaps the Holy Father thought he was appointing a Prefect for the Contradiction of the Doctrine of the Faith.

[To be continued.]


[1]   Summa Theologica II II Q.3, a.2

[5]   In Rorate cæli blogspot, “In charge of the henhouse?”

[7]   Matthew 1: 18-23   [emphasis supplied].

[8]   Luke 1: 30-35   [emphasis supplied].

[11]   Cf. Deuteronomy xxiv: 1-4

[13]   Summa Theologica  III Q.35 a.6


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