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The Holy Ghost and the Catholic Church

Pastoral Letter by Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI


Pentecost Sunday

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

The feast of Pentecost commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles, and we are reminded about a very important truth of our faith — that the Holy Ghost abides with the Catholic Church forever in a union which is both absolute and indissoluble. This truth of our faith is particularly important for us today when the situation in the Church has become so grave and perilous.

During the past thirty years since the advent of the Second Vatican Council, new doctrines previously condemned by past popes and councils have been introduced into the Church which have lead to a widespread loss of faith on the part of Catholics.

The heresies of religious indifferentism, false ecumenism, and false religious liberty have been disseminated within the Church through various decrees of Vatican II, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law, the new Sacramental rites, and last but not least, the New Mass (The Novus Ordo Missae). These errors have been treated in great depth in the past, and it is not necessary to expound upon them again. Suffice it to say, the Catholic Church has consistently taught the same faith for over 1900 years, and then with the coming of the Second Vatican Council, a situation unprecedented in the History of the Church has occurred. When has it ever been witnessed in the history of the Catholic Church that an Ecumenical Council would encourage false ecumenism which was condemned by Pope Pius XI as "tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God Himself"? When has it ever been witnessed that Church Laws would legislate the administration of the Holy Eucharist to heretics and schismatics without their conversion to the Catholic Faith? When has it ever been witnessed that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would be replaced within the Church by a Lutheran Commemoration of the Last Supper? We are witnessing nothing less than the Great Apostasy which St. Paul foretold in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians:

“We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ... Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first...” (2 Thess. 2:1-3).

The important matter for us to consider is the erroneous position of some traditional clergy and laity. They would attempt to walk a theological fence by their condemnation of the heresies of the Conciliar Church on one hand, and on the other their insistence that the very ones responsible for the promulgation of these heresies still remain Catholic and hold authority within the Church. To hold such a theological position would be to imply that the Holy Ghost has failed in His Divine Assistance to the Church, for Christ so promised to the Apostles and their successors:

“And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of Truth.” (John 14:16).

To hold such a theological opinion is also to imply that Christ failed when He promised to remain with His Apostles and their successors:

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matt. 28:19).

Furthermore, this theological position implies that Christ has lied to us when He promised “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” (Matt. 16:18), and also that “He who hears you (the Apostles and their successors) hears Me” (Luke 10:16). It is truly remarkable to read the publications of some traditional societies in which one will find both scathing language condemning the Conciliar Church of Vatican Council II and protestations of loyalty and obedience to the hierarchy of the said church.

As an example of this untenable theological position, let us consider the two following statements of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. In the first statement, we find an accurate assessment of the Conciliar Church (the Church which emanated from Vatican Council II). In the second statement, we find the most contradictory theological position — that the Conciliar Church is the Catholic Church, that if the Conciliar Church does not return to the traditional Catholic Faith, “it will be the end of the Church” and “it seems that the Holy Spirit has taken a vacation”.

“REFLECTIONS on Suspension ‘a Divinis.’ July 29. 1976. Archbishop Lefebvre:

“We are suspended a divinis by the Conciliar Church and for the Conciliar Church, to which we have no wish to belong.

“That Conciliar Church is a schismatic Church, because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship, all already condemned by the Church in many a document, official and definitive....

“The Church that affirms such errors is at once schismatic and heretical. This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic. To whatever extent Pope, Bishops, priests, or faithful adhere to this new Church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church....”

This statement by Archbishop Lefebvre could not have been expressed more appropriately. “This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic.”

Then, we find a change of course in his interview with Stephano Paci, a reporter for the international magazine, 30 Days found in the July - August 1988 issue. This interview followed the episcopal consecrations which the Archbishop had performed on four of his priests.

30 Days, July - August 1988 issue:

QUESTION: “And now, what do you foresee will be the future of the Fraternity in its relations with the Church of Rome?”

LEFEBVRE: “I hope that within a few years, four or five at the most, Rome will end up coming to an agreement with us.”

QUESTION: “And if this does not happen?”

LEFEBVRE: “Rome would remain far from the Tradition. And it would be the end of the Church. Since I recognize in the pope the successor of St. Peter I am not one who considers the See of Peter vacant; I do not say this Pope is a heretic. But his ideas are heretical, and they have already been condemned by previous pontiffs and they lead to heresy. To see how the authorities have acted since the Council, it seems that the Holy Spirit has taken a vacation.”

These statements, “it would be the end of the Church,” and ”it seems that the Holy Spirit has taken a vacation,” are simply preposterous. The Catholic Church is indefectible and infallible. Nevertheless, these are the “logical” conclusions from the false premises that somehow the hierarchy of the Catholic Church have officially promulgated heretical teachings and have officially and consistently put them into practice over the past thirty-some years and yet have still retained their authority within the Church.

No, the Conciliar Church is not Catholic. The Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, does not abide with it, nor is Christ with it.

Nor can there be, as some traditional clergy and laity imagine, two Catholic Churches — one being the modernist Conciliar Church and the other being the traditional Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mystical Body of Christ, June 29, 1943, clearly stated:

“It follows that those who are divided in faith and government cannot be living in the one Body such as this, and cannot be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.”

The traditional clergy and laity who recognize the hierarchy of the Conciliar Church as Catholic should consider the reality of their position — they are divided in faith and in government with the Conciliar Church.

Henry Cardinal Manning, the great defender of the doctrine of papal infallibility and primacy, at the Vatican Council in 1869-1870, beautifully expressed the assistance and the indissoluble union of the Holy Ghost with the Catholic Church:

“The indissoluble union of the Holy Ghost with the Church carries these two truths as immediate consequences: first, that the unity of the Church is absolute, numerical, and indivisible, like the unity of nature in God, and of the personality in Jesus Christ: and secondly, that its infallibility is perpetual.

“St. Cyprian says, ‘Unus Deus, unus Christus, una Ecclesia.’ And this extrinsic unity springs from the intrinsic — that is, from the presence and operations of the Holy Ghost, by whom the body is inhabited, animated, and organised. One principle of life cannot animate two bodies, or energise in two organisations. One mind and one will fuses and holds in perfect unity the whole multitude of the faithful throughout all ages, and throughout all the world. The unity of faith, hope, and charity — the unity of the one common Teacher — renders impossible all discrepancies of belief and of worship, and renders unity of communion, not a constitutional law or an external rule of discipline, but an intrinsic necessity and an inseparable property and expression of the internal and supernatural unity of the mystical body under one Head and animated by one Spirit. It is manifest, therefore, that division is impossible. The unity of the Church refuses to be numbered in plurality.”

So, despite the confusion and destruction caused by the Second Vatican Council, let us remember the true Church of Christ — the Catholic Church — is infallible and indefectible, for the perpetual assistance of Christ and of the Holy Ghost guarantees the purity and the integrity of the promulgation of the faith of the Apostles and their successors.

May the Holy Ghost enlighten and guide us and His Immaculate Spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, intercede for us in these most difficult times.

In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

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