Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

December AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin



Immaculate Conception - A Private Revelation?

Common Priesthood of the Baptized?

Neo-liberal Capitalism?



Immaculate Conception - A Private Revalation?

    Question:  At an Indult Mass, while I was traveling, the priest spoke about a recent apparition of the Blessed Virgin, in which, he said, all Catholics are required to believe.  After Mass, when  I questioned him about the need to believe in a private revelation, he cited the Immaculate Conception as a private revelation to Saints Catherine Labouré and Bernadette of Lourdes, which Pope Pius IX declared a doctrine of the Faith.  Can this be?

    Answer:  No, it cannot and is not.  But it does demonstrate a problem associated with attending the Modernist church.  The Modernists are anxious to publicize alleged revelations that confirm teachings of the conciliar church like “ecumenism” and the concept of a “living magisterium” capable of changing the teachings of the Catholic Church over time.  The “dialogue” and the “dialectic” must be made to appear approved by heaven!

    The Blessed Virgin is believed to have appeared to Sister Catherine Labouré on November 27, 1830, and given her the design for the Miraculous Medal, which does refer to Mary being “conceived without sin.”  This was not at all a new concept, and there seems to have been no theological instruction as to what the inscription meant.  At most, this private revelation may have given encouragement to Pope Pius IX to declare the Immaculate Conception a doctrine of the Faith in 1854.  The apparitions at Lourdes (11 February 1858 and seventeen times thereafter) took place after Pope Pius’ declaration.

    While the Immaculate Conception was not declared to be the required belief of Catholics until 1854, it had long been the teaching of many of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

    In a paper on his website, Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D lists a number of the Church Fathers who explicitly taught the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin:[1]

    St. Ephraem (d.373) writes: “Those two innocent…women, Mary and Eve, had been (created) utterly equal, but afterwards one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life.” St. Ephraem also refers to Mary’s sinlessness in this address to Our Lord: “You and your Mother are the only ones who are immune from all stain; for there is no spot in Thee, O Lord, nor any taint in Your Mother” (St. Ephraem, Sermones exegetici, opera omnia syriace et latine, 2, Rome, 1740, 327).

    References to Mary’s Immaculate Conception became more and more explicit and developed throughout the first millennium of Christianity. To quote a few examples:

    • St. Ambrose (d.397) refers to the Blessed Virgin as “free from all stain of sin” (St. Ambrose, Exposito in Psalm 118, Sermon 22, No. 30, PL 15, 1599).

    • St. Severus, Bishop of Antioch (d.538) states: “She (Mary)…formed part of the human race, and was of the same essence as we, although she was pure from all taint and immaculate” (St. Severus, Hom., cathedralis, 67, PO, 8, 350).

    • St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (d.638), refers to Mary’s pre-purification in this address to the Virgin: “You have found the grace which no one has received…. No one has been pre-purified besides you” (St. Sophronius, Oral in Deiparae Annunt., 25, PG 87, 3246-3247).

    • St. Andrew of Crete (d.740) tells us that the Redeemer chose “in all nature this pure and entirely Immaculate Virgin” (St. Andrew, Hom. 1 in Nativ. Deiparae, PG 97, 913-914).

    • Theognostes of Constantinople (c.885) makes explicit reference to Mary’s sanctification as taking place at the moment of conception: “It was fitting indeed that she who from the beginning had been conceived by a sanctifying action…should also have a holy death…holy, the beginning…holy, the end, holy her whole existence” (Theognostes, Hom. in Dorm. Deiparae, PO, Graffin-Nau, 16, 467).

    In addition to the Fathers of the Church, we have the magisterial pronouncements of Popes and Councils:

    • Under Pope Saint Martin I, Mary was described as “immaculate” by the Lateran Council of 649, which condemned those who disbelieve (Dz. 256).

    • It is sometimes objected that Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), considered to be the Church’s standard of theological orthodoxy denied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception!  This is wrong on several counts:

    In a commentary on the works of Peter Lombard, the young Thomas wrote:  “Purity is increased by withdrawing from its opposite: hence there can be a creature than whom no more pure is possible in creation, if it be free from all contagion of sin: and such was the purity of the Blessed Virgin who was immune from original and actual sin.” [I Sent., d.44, q.1, a.3, ad 3–emphasis supplied].

    In Summa Theologiae III q.27 a.2 Saint Thomas seems to deny the doctrine, but the problem here is more medieval biology than theology.  Conception was thought to be more like an agricultural process—the man planted a “seed” in the field of his wife; after a period of time the “seed” germinated, and then God infused a soul.  The “seed” was biologically inherited from Adam, and could be sanctified only after germination and “ensoulment,” thought to be forty or eighty days after intercourse.  Saint Thomas also had to contend with those proponents of the Immaculate Conception who held that Mary had no need or redemption—an obvious heresy.

    Finally, we have a piece written by Saint Thomas in Later life, a commentary on the Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary):  “For she was most pure in the matter of fault and incurred neither original nor mental nor venial sin.” [emphasis supplied].

    • In 1476, Pope Sixtus IV issued the Constitution Cum præexcelsa, in which he matter-of-factly mentions the Immaculate Conception as something for which to thank God (Dz. 734), and, in 1483, the Constitution Grave nimis, which condemned those who disapproved of honoring the Immaculate Conception in preaching or in the Mass and Office approved by the Church (Dz. 735).

    • The Council of Trent, in discussing original sin, specifically excepted the Virgin Mary from its stain, and renewed the condemnations of Sixtus IV (Dz. 792).

    • Pope Saint Pius V, among the condemned propositions of Michael du Bay lists “73. No one is free from sin except Christ; hence the Blessed Virgin died because of sin contracted from Adam....” (Dz. 1073).

    • Pope Alexander VII, in 1661, not only proclaimed the Immaculate Conception, but explained that “her soul, from the first instant of its creation and infusion into her body, was preserved immune by a special grace and privilege of God, from the stain of original sin, in view of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ, the redeemer of our human race....” and renewed the condemnations of Sixtus IV (Dz. 1100).

    When the time came for Pope Pius IX to issue Ineffabilis Deus, declaring the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, the document contained a long list of examples of the immemorial nature of the dogma.[2]  Only toward the very end, after exhaustive demonstration, is the dogma defined in a single sentence:

“We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.” [Dz. 1641]

The Immaculate Conception is a dogma revealed by God, at least as early as the time in Genesis when he promised the devil, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”[3]  To be at enmities with the devil, one would be totally and perpetually sinless. 

Common Priesthood of the Baptized?

    Question:  I read that “The archdiocese’s [of Vienna, Austria] 660 parishes will be merged over the next decade into around 150 larger parishes, each served by three to five priests and offering regular Masses.... Mr. [Michael] Prüller told the American Catholic News Service that falling numbers of clergy and laity had made the changes necessary. He said smaller affiliated communities within the parishes will be run by lay volunteers authorized to conduct the Liturgy of the Word.”  Earlier, Vienna’s Archbishop Christoph Schonborn told reporters:  “We have to free ourselves of the traditional image that the Church is present only where there’s a priest and stress the common priesthood of all baptized,”[4]  What is this “common priesthood of the baptized”?

    Answer:  It is largely a Protestant notion, tied up with the failure to recognize the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and the need for an ordained Apostolic Succession to propagate the Mass and Sacraments.  Martin Luther held that any man or woman chosen by the parish was capable of leading the church in the Lord’s Supper.  For Luther, the Mass was nothing more than a symbolic reminder of the Last Supper—that played heavily on our Lord’s much more general statement about prayer in common:  “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”[5]  The same phrase was employed by Pope Paul VI when he introduced the Novus Ordo, a protestantized rite devised by his committee of Protestant ministers.[6]

    Appeal is often made to Saint Peter’s First Epistle written to the churches at Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia:

    But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:  that you may declare his virtues....[7]

    Laymen, “authorized to conduct the Liturgy of the Word” do not constitute a priesthood, and will offer no Mass—apart from having the benefit of hearing the Gospels, this will be much like the Minyan of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue.  Perhaps additional parishes can be closed by partnering with the synagogues.  (Just joking, but please don’t pass this on to Cardinal Schonborn.)


"Neo-liberal Capitalism"?

    Question:  What is “neo-liberal capitalism,” and of what concern is it to the Congregation for the Doctrine  of the Faith (CDF)?  What is “vulture capitalism”?

    Answer:  “Capitalism” is a word coined by Karl Marx to disparage free enterprise.  Marx implied that businessmen were concerned with nothing other than money (capital).  Apart from being incorrect in this assumption, it misses the fact that “capital” includes all productive goods, and not just money.  For example, the plumber who owns his own truck and tools, even though he is employed by a plumbing company, should be called a “capitalist,” on par with the banker or stock broker.  “Neo-liberal capitalism,” and “vulture capitalism” are similar attempts to discredit legitimate businesses and businessmen.

    The unfortunate connection to the CDF arises from a paper (“Mis experiencias con la Teología de la Liberación”—“My experiences with Liberation Theology”) given by its highly confused Prefect, Archbishop Gerhard Müller on the occasion of his receiving an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.[8]  In no way do Müller’s Marxist economic thoughts reflect the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church, which has condemned Socialism and Marxism.  For more on Müller, see the August, September, and October issues of this Bulletin.[9]

    “Venture (not vulture) capitalism” refers to investors financing a start-up company by buying its stock and then taking an active part in that company’s management—certainly a win-win situation if the investors are competent.  Liberals have been critical of venture capitalists buying the low priced stock of existing businesses on the brink of bankruptcy, separating the profitable elements of the business from the unprofitable, and coming away with stock worth more than they initially paid for it.  Employees in the unprofitable sectors are likely to wind up unemployed, but this seems preferable to having everyone laid off and the company stock becoming worthless.  Only utopian thinking would prefer this latter outcome, but the utopians have come to refer to the first outcome as “vulture capitalism.”

    The “vulture funds” against which Archbishop Müller rails are slightly different:

One expression of unscrupulous neoliberal capitalism is “vulture funds”, for example. Unscrupulous speculators have specialized in dealings with debts of entire countries. When a country incurs payment difficulties, these “vultures” buy debts with high reductions on the original amount and then demand a markedly higher sum with more and more accrued interest.

In a very simple way, the country is taken into definite misery. In the late 1990s, Peru was the victim of an ‘investment strategy’ that with an investment of $11 million, made a profit of 58 million. The consequences for people – children, the elderly, the sick, for the whole social structure of a country are accepted as logical consequences. Pure profit is the only goal.[10]

    The Archbishop is suggesting that a country ought to be able to borrow $58 Million that it doesn’t intend to pay back—he is endorsing grand larceny.  Debt collection is one of the most difficult aspects of any business, and many do sell their uncollectable debt for pennies on the dollar—$11 Million sounds expensive to acquire a risky $58 Million debt..  Such collection efforts are regulated by the laws of the nation in which the debt is contracted—no one breaks anybody’s legs or threatens anyone’s children.

    There is no mention of who made the $58 Million loan, or why.  One has to suspect political cronyism or politically motivated loan guarantee by someone wanting to gain power over the Peruvians—rational bankers do not loan out $58 Million without seeing a very convincing business plan explaining how the loan will be serviced.  Perhaps it was the “usual suspects” at the U.N. who want to be the world’s central bank—an idea supported by the “justice and peace” crowd at the Vatican![11]

    And, what was the money for?  In Europe people are rioting because irresponsible politicians made them expect to see lush salaries and benefits paid by the government.  Central bank bailouts are conditioned on “austerity measures,” meaning that people will not be able to take eight weeks of annual vacation or retire at age sixty, as they were promised by government—promises that never should have been made because they cannot be kept.  Look for population limitation as well—it goes with the inherent inefficiencies of socialism.

    The “children, the elderly, the sick ... the whole social structure of a country” should never have been made dependent on government—only private enterprise is capable of making them safe.


[6]   General Instruction on the Roman Missal, 3 April 1969, para. 7.

[7]   1 Peter ii: 9  emphasis supplied

[10]   “My Experiences with Liberation Theology” op.cit.

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