Using Scripture to Defend the Catholic Faith Part 3 | 10Out2014 17:34:38



Interview Host

Guest: John Salza
Topic: Using Scripture to Defend the Catholic Faith Part 3

(Cornelia) Hello, and welcome once again to the program “Our Lady’s Army of Advocates”. There is a Conference taking place in East Haven, New Jersey. My name is Cornelia Ferreira and I have here with me again John Salza, who’s been one of the speakers at the Conference talking on the Scripture as the basis of the Catholic Faith, and he has written this book, uuh, “The Biblical Basis For Tradition” which I hope our readers will try to get, and goes in detail into the basis of Scripture as the basis of our faith.

 And John, welcome to the program again. Uuh, the last time we were talking about the infallibility of the Pope and the infallibility of the Church in certain strict conditions and formulas. Now, one of the questions of infallibility that has recently been raised because of the chaos in the Church is beatifications and canonizations, specially of the recent ones, of two Popes, post-Concilium Popes. So,  how does that fit into this… what is the Church teaching on infallibility, when they declare somebody to be a saint, for instance?

(John) Sure. The Church has never solemnly declared that a canonization is infallible, ok? And I’m not sure the Church will ever solemnly declare that because it would seem to me that knowing whether someone is in Heaven is outside the jurisdiction. However it could be done because the principal reason for canonizations is to hold up somebody as a model of heroic virtue. That’s the principal reason. The necessary result of that is the assumption that, well, because that person lived a life of heroic virtue they are in Heaven among the blessed, ok?

But the Church has never said definitely that canonizations are infallible. Now, theologians have held that position, we might even say that is a common theological position –

(Cornelia) Most Catholics believe that.

(John) Yes, that most Catholics believe it. Pope Benedict XIV strongly implied it, although he was speaking as a private doctor, but he did. Saint Thomas Aquinas was of that opinion although Saint Thomas also said that if something is based upon human testimony it could be erroneous, so there’s nothing definitive about that. And so in light of these recent canonizations, you know, a lot of apologists and scholars have concluded that canonizations cannot necessarily be infallible. Now, I haven’t taken that approach because I’m not sure I’m ready to disagree with some of these great theologians. I mean, there is a position that because a canonization is so connected to revealed truth, has to be infallible because the Pope is making a solemn declaration.

So, the way I’ve approached this, Cornelia, and it’s a very difficult topic, because we’re talking about two Popes who were responsible for some of the greatest destruction of the Church in the Church History. How can this possibly be? I have approached this from the standpoint of whether the canonizations are even valid under Church law, because it seems to me if a canonization is infallible then it must necessarily be valid first; that valid is a first and necessary step to whether something is infallible. As I read the legislation that John Paul II put into place, and this is the legislation that Pope Francis has used to canonize John XXIII and John Paul II. That legislation first says that the candidate’s writings must be free from doctrinal or moral error. It’s extremely important. That’s the first point. The second point is –

(Cornelia) That was put out under John Paul.

(John) That is under John Paul. It’s a Divinus Magister Perfectionis, I think is the document in Latin. But the 2nd point is that determination has been delegated to the local Bishop – Krakow – in the case of John Paul II. Under the pre-conciliar process – and this process existed for about a thousand years, the Pope was the principal investigator, the Pope appointed what they would call a “Devil’s advocate” who really was a lawyer who would go into the tribunal of the Church and try to discredit the witnesses by showing that this person did not live a life of heroic virtue. It was critical to the process.

Now this is why scholars are coming out and saying “Because the new process does not have a Devil’s advocate and because the new process does not require the requisite two miracles for beatification and two miracles for canonization it can’t be infallible”. I agree with that, but I’m stepping back and I’m saying: I think it’s even more fundamental. And that is because it’s clear that the writings of these Popes are contrary to faith and morals. John XXIII wrote about religious liberty, that man has a right to worship as his conscience fits. I can go on and on about the writings of John Paul II. Even their participation in non-Catholic worship, both of them, under the 1917 code of Canon Law, which existed during their Pontificates, even till John Paul II 1983, even existed during part of John Paul II’s Pontificate. You know that the 1917 code declared if anyone worships in common with a non-Catholic they were suspect of heresy? And the understanding was if they persevered in that practice they would be a manifest heretic.

(Cornelia) That’s right.

(John) And outside the Church. So it is crystal clear that we have, objectively speaking, things that are contrary to Catholic faith or morals. As I presented my argumentation…

(Cornelia) We are talking here now, but things like the Assisi peace meetings, and all the dialogue, interfaith dialogue, which started out with “Oh, we are getting together to pray, but we are not praying together.” Remember that? It was the first Assisi meetings, but now we’re praying together. So we’re getting back to the Canon law of 1917, which says that that is forbidden.

(John) That’s right. It’s a pure modernist spin on words which is absolute non-sense. But, you know, be that as it may, common worship with non-Catholics has always been prohibited. Saint Paul says “Do not yoke yourself with unbelievers, it’s detrimental to faith and, by the way, it’s an offense against God, it’s sin against the first Commandment. Ok?

(Cornelia) Exactly.

(John) It’s the bottom line. It’s contrary to Divine Law, I don’t care what Canon Law says – it’s contrary to Divine Law.

(Cornelia) Well, Canon Law is based also on the right Law.

(John) Yes, it is, but as I think of the 1983 code I don’t care, I don’t care about the fact the Code doesn’t mention it because it’s Divine Law, whether it mentions it or not. But that’s the praxis. Even the doctrine of John Paul II, I mean, John Paul II is on record, you know, saying that non-Catholics sects are part of the Roman Catholic Church, that they have an apostolic mission and so forth.

(Cornelia) And there’s truth in them and we have to recognize the truth in them and so forth.

(John) And again, I don’t proclaim to be any authority about these matters in terms of making a definitive judgement. I’m using what Saint Thomas said. Saint Thomas said against a fact there is no argument. If we talk about objective facts here and if the law of the Church says that a candidate’s writings must be free of doctrinal or moral error, and it is a fact that these two Popes wrote things contrary to the Catholic faith, against the fact there is no argument. I am not saying that I have the authority. I’m saying against the fact there is no argument. The fact is under the current law of the Church those causes could not proceed to the Holy See.

But the problem here, Cornelia, is under John Paul II’s legislation he delegated that determination to the local bishop. This is the era, the Vatican II’s era of collegiality, where now the bishop’s. In John Paul II’s legislation says it. It says: “We want to have the bishops have a more vigorous role, a proximate role to beatifications and canonizations. Well, guess what? The bishops are not protected with any note of infallibility by the Holy Ghost. Only Saint Peter and his successors are. And so that undermines the process from the very beginning. And after the bishop… I mean, how can the bishop conclude… that’s been overlooked, ok? The fact that there’s things contrary to faith and morals.

Under the current process that cause should have never proceeded. But it did proceed and when it gets to the Holy See, the Holy See simply looks at the dossier (8:55) and takes a vote. And then after the vote it’s given to the Holy Father and he makes the declaration. Now, a catholic could say, a novus ordo catholic could say, “Hey, wait a minute! The Pope made a solemn declaration here, and by virtue of his declaration that’s infallible. Even the sedevacantists will argue that. What’s our response? Well, this isn’t a perfect analogy but I would liken it to sacramental theology where you need to have valid form but you also need to have valid matter. You need to have valid matter. Nobody is disputing that Francis did not use valid form here.

(Cornelia) So that’s the words.

(John) He did. He used the words. But these candidates were not valid matter for canonization because under Church Law they didn’t meet the test of writings and practices being free from doctrinal and moral error. It’s as simple as that. Even… if the Pope uses invalid manner in his sacraments, they’re invalid. It doesn’t matter if he’s the Pope or not. It’s the same thing with canonizations.

And so, you know, there is this error of excess, it is often called, where Catholics, and the sedevacantists say anything that the Pope does is infallible including canonizations. Well, that is not true. You need to meet certain requirements under the Church’s current legislation. Then, of course, you have what we would call the error of defect where the Pope is only infallible if he uses his extraordinary magister, and that’s not true either. Ok? But in this case we have the error of excess here where just because the Pope made a declaration, if you look at the process, the process does not…

(Cornelia) So the process is flawed.

(John) It is! If you say that one thousand years establishes ecclesiastical tradition that was guided by the Holy Ghost. You could use that argument and of course a thousand years is a long time, right? You know, the Roman Rite! You know, in essence is probably 1.500 years old. We think it dates back to the Apostles, but it’s in essence. A thousand years is a long time to establish a process for canonization. Once you deviate from that process, all bets are off. You don’t know if there’s assurance there.

The other thing I would mention is in Vatican I when they talk about the Holy Ghost assistance – to the Holy Father, it says that the Holy Father will receive divine assistance when he proclaims a doctrine on faith or morals. Now there are two points to this. Number one: a canonization is not per se a declaration of a doctrine on faith or morals. The fact that somebody is a saint is not part of the Deposit of Faith, right?

(Cornelia) Right. 

(John) I mean, the person lived after the Deposit of Faith.

(Cornelia) That’s right.

(John) That’s the first thing. You know, but even assuming that’s the case, does this meet the Protocol, does this meet the requirements of the Church? And we can conclude that they have not. They have not. And this divine assistance, again, even assuming canonizations are infallible, the divine assistance does not apply to the Holy Father because the Holy Father is not the prime investigator anymore of the canonization process, you see?

(Cornelia) Yes, it’s at a much lower level.

(John) It’s at lower level. Clearly these bishops aren’t being given divine assistance because Christ didn’t promise it to them. So for these reasons, I conclude that validity is even in question before we get to the question of infallibility.

(Cornelia) All this is a very serious topic because, I mean, people are being led astray as to… it’s not even the two popes that we’re talking about, even some of the other saints that have been canonized the last twenty years or so, starting with pope John Paul II. He canonized I’m not sure how many, but a whole heap of people that are risky in, you know, in belief as far as we are concerned, whether we should believe in them or not. I mean, they’re liberals and, you know, we could go… So the same flawed process, it’s not just the two popes. It goes back to what? 20 years, would you say, or something like that?

(John) Indeed, Catholics

(Cornelia) Twenty or twenty five years?

(John) Catholics need to embrace the philosophy of Saint Thomas because against a fact there is no argument. I do not need an authority to tell me certain things that are objectively true because God has given me my reason to know these things, right? And you’re right, many canonizations, Jose Maria Escrivá, I mean, his own delegates didn’t want his canonization to happen. They claimed he was a liar, they claimed that he lied about his

(Cornelia) Where the Devil’s advocate goes, then all these claims are thrown out, this is where the trouble is. So that was a very clever move to remove the devil’s advocate.
(John) Of course, of course it was.

(Cornelia) Because it doesn’t matter what you say against the person. If they want that to go through, it’s going to go through.

(John) It’s completely contrary to reason.

(Cornelia: That’s right.

(John) Even if you put the theology aside and the process aside, how come this happened within what? eight years or so, nine years – why so fast? Why can’t we wait fifty or a hundred years? This has never happened, how long did it take, you know, Saint Thomas, Fischer, Moore, I mean, it took four hundred years, Joan of Arc, all these saints.

(Cornelia) Of course, there are some saints that were done faster, like Saint Anthony of Padua I think, for instance? But his holiness was so known, the miracles when he was alive and so on and so forth. So that speaks for itself, you know?

(John) Saint Pious X, his devil’s advocate was so rigorous that you know what they found? They found he smoked a cigarette a day and he said Mass in 25 minutes or less. That’s all they found, but that’s how rigorous the process was. Can you imagine the mountain of evidence that exists objectively against this? This is why we’re in a crisis. It’s an example and a manifestation of the crisis.

(Cornelia) It’s a terrible problem, and I think this is only going to be solved by Our Lady of Fatima when the consecration is done and hopefully everything will come back into place in the Church, and John thank you so much for your explanation of infallibility and the canonizations, and thank you for being with us again, and thank you for being with us on the program Our Lady’s Army of Advocates.


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