Here come the Contact Tracers. Who are they? According to Dr. Robert Levin, Health Director for Ventura County in California, they will be an army of people hired, trained and compensated by the government to identify “people who have COVID-19,” at which point the authorities “will isolate every one of them;” i.e., forced quarantine.
That’s just the beginning. Levin goes on, “We will find every one of their contacts and we will make sure that they stay quarantined.”
But what if the living conditions for the targeted persons are not conducive (in the State’s estimation) to quarantine in the home; i.e., no extra private bathroom, small quarters for multiple people, etc?
“We’ll be moving people like this into other kinds of housing that we have available,” Levin said.
Does this sound like incarceration? It should.
Levin said that his is just one of many counties in his state, and perhaps all states, that are launching similar programs. A simple online job search suggests that there are perhaps thousands of Contact Tracer job openings in the U.S.
Apple and Google have embarked on a joint effort to provide technology for Contact Tracing, Johns Hopkins is all in with the effort, and the ACLU (which is on the wrong side of damned near everything but has at times taken a stand on behalf of authentic personal privacy rights) is on board having drafted principals for the new initiative.
Bottom line, barring a swift and effective response aimed at stopping this madness, the Contact Tracers are coming to a family near you, maybe even your own.
Think all of this sounds bad? Once Contact Tracing begins, it’s all but certain to get worse.
According to CDC standards, when a person dies, if the patient presented with a simple cough and had also been in contact with someone merely suspected of having COVID-19 in the previous 14 days, that person can safely be counted as a “probable COVID-19 death” (and thus added to the official total of CV19 deaths), and this without ever having been tested. [i]
Is there any good reason to believe that the Contact Tracing program won’t adopt this same criteria for identifying people who pose a COVID-19 risk and then imposing its draconian quarantine measures upon them?
In other words, it’s more than reasonable to foresee that simply being in contact with a person merely suspected of having COVID-19 will be enough to land one, and all of one’s family members, and all of one’s contacts under a State imposed quarantine. No one has to die from COVID-19, no one has to be tested for the virus; in fact, no one even needs to have ever contracted it at all in order for countless persons to be forcibly placed in exile.
Based on this criteria, there won’t be enough “official” Contact Tracers on hand to do the job. What then?
In addition to the efforts of official tracers, we can likely expect the government to encourage ordinary citizens to report their friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. This is already happening in many places where violators of “social distancing” ordinances are being turned in.
The government may even begin offering Contact Tracer rewards to snitches. Just imagine the level of distrust and paranoia this would inject into otherwise peaceful settings. What a wonderful scenario for the forces of evil, who have already demonstrated their mastery of “divide and conquer” as a strategy for promoting their agenda.
If things should unfold in this manner – and I maintain that it appears highly likely that they will, if not nationally, in many locations – there simply won’t be enough room to incarcerate every person labeled as a contact risk and whose home isn’t conducive to quarantine. What then?
This means that we can expect those who are considered friends of the ruling regime (most likely a list including registered Democrats, socialists, homos, pro-abortionists, fans of euthanasia, open borders advocates, global warming enthusiasts, etc.) will be overlooked while conservative thinking, life affirming, religious minded citizens are rounded up with abandon.
Don’t think it can happen in good ol’ God Bless America?
Poke around online for 15 minutes and you can find plenty of footage of overzealous uniformed morons arresting and harassing law abiding citizens for daring to breathe fresh air. Go ahead, make an afternoon of it. In the meantime, here’s one that I was able to find after searching YouTube for all of 45 seconds.
Take it to the bank, folks, we will rue the day when Contact Tracing became a reality.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched a number of video presentations given by highly credible physicians and scientists who, using the government’s own data and guidelines, are calling into question the wisdom of implementing COVID-19 lockdowns.
The gatekeepers of information responded by banning many of them, forcing those who still value the scientific method – the accumulation of objective data through observation; the formulation of hypotheses; the conducting of experiments; the weighing of results and, based on these, the drawing of conclusions – to retreat to alternative platforms.
It occurs to me that these videos are very much like those detailing the disgusting reality of the genocidal procedure known as abortion. In other words, it seems rather plain that fear mongering corona-nazis and their supporters are no more willing to consider a genuine scientific explanation of virology and immunology than a radical pro-abortionist is willing to view the horrors of an actual abortion.
When this COVID-19 nightmare began, there were many in the “pro-life” community who, having succumbed to fear of the unknown and the media’s nonstop predictions of doom, were very much in favor of closing businesses, suspending recreational and religious activities, sheltering in place, etc.
As time has passed and the reality of the situation has become clearer, however, that number appears to have dwindled considerably.
As more time goes by, it seems reasonable to expect that, eventually, practically every single corona-nazi will also be a card carrying supporter of Planned Parenthood and other such operations; i.e., the two sides will more closely come to be identified along strict political party lines. In fact, we’re very close to that being the situation right now.
And what is the common thread shared by the corona-nazi/pro-abortion positions?
We can name many, but at the heart of each of these positions lies a willful refusal to even consider the truth that is readily perceptible to the intellect, a posture that necessarily includes an unwillingness to conform one’s opinions and actions in accord with said truth using the gift of reason.
In other words, in spite of any claims to the contrary, the corona-nazis among us reject the one true God who, in Christ Jesus, is Truth and Logos incarnate.
Sure, there are exceptions, like those who are at genuinely high risk from COVID-19 and may be overzealous in foisting their fears and concerns upon the broader society, but it appears to me that this is largely how things are shaking out.
But, but, religion and politics are two separate things!
To imagine that religion should, or even possibly can, be removed from politics is utterly laughable. It’s a position derived directly from the notion that “the State must be separated from the Church,” a thesis that Pope St. Pius X called, “absolutely false, a most pernicious error.” (Vehementer Nos 3)
Bottom line, folks, COVID-19, real though it is, is being leveraged by the ruling class as an excuse for tightening its grip on nearly every aspect of their subjects’ lives – public, private, economic, recreational and religious, with the latter being ground zero. (And you thought it was Wuhan or New York City!)
Truly, this is a battle between the godly and the godless; it is a precursor to the end times, even if only a dry run for that which will usher in the days of the Antichrist, a man understood by Saints and Doctors of the Church as a tyrannical figure who will demand to be worshiped as God.
St. John Damascene described the days of the Antichrist as follows:
During the first part of his reign — of his tyranny rather — he plays more the part of sanctity; but when he gains complete control, he persecutes the Church of God and reveals all his wickedness.
St. Hildegard von Bingen said of the Antichrist:
He will ally himself with the kings, the princes and the powerful ones of the earth.
St. Thomas Aquinas said:
As in Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead, so in Antichrist the fullness of all wickedness.
These reflections suggest that the Antichrist will be an inversion Our Lord, Christ the King. He will present himself as the real “King of kings,” a sovereign imbued with evil to whom the rulers of the earth will be subject, a tyrant who exercises control over the nations through them, deceiving the masses, persecuting the Church and her faithful, and demanding the worship that is due to God alone.
His coming to power will force men to take a stand; either to suffer the cost of remaining in truth, or to acquiesce to the demands of evil by accepting the mark of the beast.
One of the takeaways from this dreadful COVID-19 exercise is just how ripe the world appears to be for the coming of the Antichrist:
– Look at just how easily the forces of evil acting in the world today have managed to exercise near total control of the narrative in order to deceive the nations.
– See how quickly so many of the world’s rulers fell in line, consenting to the demands of self-proclaimed authorities – some eagerly, others more reluctantly.
– Consider how the lockdown was sanctimoniously sold to the naive as a life-affirming “We’re all in this together” initiative, only to be revealed plainly for the weapon against both God and humanity that it is.
– Witness how clearly the battle lines have been drawn between the godly and the godless as circumstances have forced everyone to choose a side.
– Note how swiftly the ruling class was able to separate the people from the Mass, from the Sacraments and from one another – all with barely a whimper from even so-called “traditionalist” churchmen.
It’s enough to make one wonder if the fulness of Antichrist’s time is come.
Over the past month, I’ve posted several articles in defense of the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King, in particular as reflected in the eminent freedom of His Church from the dictates of civil rulers in matters pertaining to her mission. This post will be far briefer.
During a recent press conference (via video, of course), Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte commented on his decision to continue his nation’s ban on public Mass, saying:
For weeks the Church has been trying to convince the government to allow the celebration of the Holy Mass, but for scientists it is still too risky.
This one sentence represents what certainly appears to be the mindset of most self-identified Catholics today – the government is in control of such matters, and so the most any churchman can do is try his best to influence the civil authority’s decisions.
This realization is causing many Catholics the world over to ask, Since when does the State have the authority to dictate terms to the Church?
Though typically uttered in a rhetorical sense, there is a definitive answer. Here, I will provide it; along the way, we’ll also discover both where and how.
When: December 7, 1965
Where: Vatican City
How: The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom
But wait! That document is all about demanding the very religious freedom we’ve lost!
This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right … Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed. (DH 2)
Pay close attention to what you just read, first, by making note of who is being addressed:
The Council is speaking directly to the State; that is, to the civil authorities that govern. The Declaration continues by making it perfectly clear to the State that the right to religious freedom most certainly can be impeded when doing so preserves just public order.
And who exactly is empowered to decide how best to preserve just pubic order? If you answered, “the State,” you are correct.
More could certainly be said about the conciliar text, but in the interest of keeping it simple, we’ll stop here.
CONCLUSION: If you, like so many other Catholics throughout the world, have been wondering, Since when does the State have the authority to dictate terms to the Church? please allow me to clarify:
The State never has, and never will, have authority over the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The conciliar church, by contrast, granted to the State the right to impede it from carrying out its activities in the name of public order.
Today, we are simply witnessing the results of that act.
If there was ever any question in your mind as to whether or not the institution presently operating in Rome under the direction of Jorge Bergoglio – the same that gave us the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo, and an avalanche of erroneous proclamations since – is the Holy Roman Catholic Church, hopefully recent bitter experiences, by the grace of God, have served to open your eyes.
In recent weeks, the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X once again became a common topic of discussion (and contention) in traditional Catholic media circles, or more properly stated, allegedly traditional circles.
For those unaware of what caused this latest round of debate, the details are unimportant. Suffice it to say that it has nothing to do with allegations of a sexual nature, but rather claims by some that the Society is schismatic and therefore should be treated as a pariah.
This, of course, is nothing new. In 2017, Cardinal Raymond Burke publicly stated that the SSPX is in schism. Given that he once served as the conciliar church’s chief canonist and is one of neo-conservatism’s most influential personalities, a firestorm naturally ensued.
After obtaining an audio recording of Burke’s comments, the story was broken HERE. Following are some highlights taken from the transcript:
Burke: The fact of the matter is that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is in schism since the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained four bishops without the mandate of the Roman Pontiff. And so, it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that’s under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.
About the four bishops that were consecrated by the archbishop, Burke said:
The requirement for having an excommunication lifted is that a person has withdrawn from his contumacy and now desires to be fully reconciled with the Church, but in fact that hasn’t happened.
Burke went on to suggest that the SSPX should be encouraged to do what it must in order to be “reconciled with the Church.”
The SSPX is schismatic. Its bishops are contumacious. Stay away from their liturgies. Refuse their sacraments. They need to be reconciled with the Catholic Church.
These are gravely serious charges, and they were no doubt taken to heart by many sincere, truth-seeking Catholics who know no better.
So, how did “traditional” Catholic media respond?
Answer: Its members responded as they have always responded to such ludicrous allegations; they defended Catholic tradition. They pointed out that to be separated from the error-ridden cesspool otherwise known as conciliar Rome is not only the opposite of schism, it is required of anyone who desires to hold fast to the one true faith.
As for Trad, Inc., their media personalities responded by straddling the fence, as men with neither testicles nor convictions are evidently rather comfortable doing. Among them, two in particular stand out – Steve Skojec of 1Peter5 and Michael Matt of the Remnant.
Skojec, at least as far as I can tell, didn’t directly address Burke’s comments. He had, however, already gone on record declaring his agreement with Cardinal Muller who said that “the SSPX [is] still in de facto schism,” as if such a canonical status actually exists.
In fact, Skojec even called it “an interesting new category.” So much for tradition. You can’t make this stuff up!
He went on to justify his non-position – one that allows him to claim at one and the same time, “I didn’t say the SSPX is in schism! I didn’t say they’re not in schism!” – writing:
After all, with whatever justification, the SSPX does not have any recognition in Rome or throughout the world-wide churches which are in unflawed communion with the Holy Father.
Ah, yes, the “recognition” of Modernist Rome, the same that gave us the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo and Jorge Bergoglio. That would settle the matter! Is there even a shred of cogent traditional thinking in that weak-kneed proposition?
More recently, on April 27, Skojec weighed in on “the status and theological positions of the Society of St. Pius X” with an equally pathetic non-response.
We’ll come back to that momentarily, but before we do, let’s consider the other notorious fence-straddler: Michael #UNITEtheNEOCONS Matt.
As far as I can tell, Mike has refrained from weighing in on the latest “SSPX is schismatic” dust-up. He had plenty to say about it, however, when Burke unjustly and publicly maligned the Society. In fact, he leaped into the fray in order to offer a passionate defense, not of Catholic tradition, but of the roaring lion of conciliar neo-conservatism:
There’s a little bit of an attack going on our buddy Cardinal Burke. I just think it’s really unfortunate … Burke is under a lot of, taking a lot of heat from some of our brother traditionalists for saying that the Society Saint Pius X is in schism still, which of course I don’t accept.
Great, but that’s just one side of the Remnant fence.
Cardinal Burke is a Pope Benedict guy, if you will, he believes in the Second Vatican Council, he believes the Second Vatican Council can be interpreted in light of tradition.
Indeed! Burke is a man-of-the-Council through and through. He uses his considerable influence to lead souls away from Catholic tradition, as evidenced by his attack against Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society that he established. And yet, in spite of this, here’s how Michael Matt chooses to use his own influence:
Certainly, my friends, when it comes to Cardinal Raymond Burke, we have a fellow traveler there.
A fellow traveler on the road to where, the conciliar church-of-man? No thanks, Mike. He goes on:
He’s chiefly concerned about schism, but in any case, it is Cardinal Burke’s job to be concerned about schism; that’s what he does. And now, again, I disagree with him with respect to the Society of Saint Pius X’s schism, but I don’t disagree with the sentiment.
If you’ve never before heard of a canonical judgment called the sentiment of schism, there’s a reason; it no more exits than de facto schism, each of which is a linguistic copout worthy of a slippery politician focused on widening his base, or, as the case may be, a FAKE traditionalist focused on filling his Big Tent (and his bank account).
Matt concluded his sentimental journey saying:
Let’s let Cardinal Burke concentrate on the formal correction that we’re all still hoping and praying is coming … So much depends on what he does next.
How’d that one work out for ya, Mike? Clearly, depending on Burke for anything in the cause of Catholic tradition is like counting on Bill Gates in the fight against coronavirus.
Now, back to Skojec: His position on the SSPX having matured over the last five years like a bottle of Boone’s Farm Pink, this past Monday, he revealed “the best conclusion I can come to…” regarding the status of the SSPX, and it’s just as one might expect:
All arguments aside, only Rome can settle the matter, and Rome has obstinately refused to do so. My own suspicion is that Rome is caught in a paradox of its own making: condemn the Society, and it condemns its own patrimony and perennial teaching; regularize the Society, as it is, and Rome is tacitly admitting that there is much wrong with the Second Vatican Council and the failed experiment that is the post-conciliar Church.
The “patrimony and perennial teaching” of Modernist Rome is perfectly clear to all but the FAKEST of traditional Catholics. And yet, once again, Skojec is happy to ride the fence like Gene Autry on Champion the Wonder Horse while deferring to their august judgment.
In other words, he’s claiming, It’s above my bloated pay grade! Once again, it’s all about having it both ways: See, neo-cons, I deferred to the authorities in Rome! See, trads, I was critical of the authorities in Rome, and I even took a shot at the Council!
The reason Skojec so often travels this duplicitous road (e.g., as in the case of Bishop Sheen) should be obvious enough: Playing both sides an issue, or tapping out altogether, comes without cost, dignity aside.
Speaking up like a man with Catholic conviction, by contrast, is all but certain to upset at least some of the donors that allow Steve to compensate his fine stable of highly educated and talented writers, each of whom has bills to pay and families to feed of their own. (At least one assumes that he compensates them for their invaluable work, apart from which the 1P5 cash cow will cease to produce milk, right?)
Long story short, folks, the SSPX is far from perfect – theologically, morally or otherwise. One need not look very hard on this blog to find my criticism of them on any number of issues. They’re also quite obviously not in schism, and when claims that they are get tossed about, very often the FAKES of traditional Catholic media end up showing their hands.
Debate about the status of the SSPX is far from being the only litmus test for fakery in this field, but it’s a damned good one. The results are in. Do with them what you will.
To be sure, the who, what, when and how in this case matters. Let’s hope and pray that the truth comes to light quickly so that justice – be it retributive, exculpatory or otherwise – can be served as may be appropriate. Following this, may our collective sight return to more important things, like seeing to it that Catholic tradition is faithfully taught, docilly received and vigorously defended – all for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
With this in mind, at present, my focus remains on the degree to which the SSPX is upholding its duty to stand up for the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King – the same that Archbishop Lefebvre identified as the central issue affecting the post-conciliar age.
At this, I wonder how many readers will jump off in search of more salacious content?
On March 24, in a post titled, SSPX UK renounces the Kingship of Christ, I called attention to the fact that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had issued an order that effectively prohibits the public offering of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, declaring:
We’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals … If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
In response to this unlawful edict from the State, Fr. Robert Brucciani, SSPX, District Superior of Great Britain, dispatched a letter to Society faithful stating:
An announcement this evening by the British PM has left us with no choice but to cancel all public religious ceremonies… [Emphasis added]
Even so, Fr. Jurgen Wegner, SSPX, District Superior of the U.S. District, had issued a statement on March 14 saying, we will follow the lawful government orders and all unnecessary public gatherings will be canceled, including Holy Mass. Such orders, however, are not lawful.
The exclusive authority vested in the Church concerning things of a sacred character is a direct consequence of the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King; to deny one is to implicitly deny the other. In other words, the stakes are extremely high.
On March 26, I sent a letter to Fr. Davide Pagliarani (which may be read HERE) calling his attention to this matter and begging him to issue a statement making the traditional doctrine clear. Whether or not my efforts motivated a response from the SSPX, I cannot say, but a response did in fact come.
THE SOCIETY ISSUES A RESPONSE
On April 10, the SSPX published an article by Fr. Arnaud Sélégny titled, A Reminder Concerning the Relationship Between Church and State.
As readers will soon discover, it is truly nothing more than a verbose defense, not of the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King and His Holy Catholic Church in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather of the State and its egregious encroachment upon the same.
Much of Fr. Sélégny’s essay is not directly relevant to the present discussion. Here, I will highlight those portions of the text that are. He begins:
The traditional ecclesiastical doctrine on the relationship between Church and State has been developed and tested over the centuries, sometimes in extremely difficult situations. It is useful today to avoid exaggerated or unsound judgements.
On this, every Catholic is in agreement. Fr. Sélégny continues, rightly pointing out:
…temporal things and temporal acts must be subject to supernatural acts. They must not only not oppose them, but even favour them by removing obstacles to the development of the spiritual life, and by providing it with everything morally necessary for its fulfilment…
Thus, temporal power must align itself with the spiritual power, not with regard to its temporal end, which is within its competence, but with regard to the spiritual end, in order to provide the Church with the help She needs for her own end…
She [the Church] received from her founder full authority over the baptised, to lead them to eternal life…
Fr. Sélégny then moves on to discussing “mixed matters,” which he describes as follows:
The mixed domain concerns matters which, in themselves, touch on the spiritual order, such as matters concerning worship, religious education, marriage and the religious state, but which are at the same time subject to civil legislation. Therefore, by their nature they are of interest to both the Church and the State.
He then rightly asserts:
In this mixed domain, it is in the name of its direct power over the spiritual that the Church acts and legislates.
Before we move on, Fr. Sélégny’s description of mixed matters demands a clarification inasmuch as the wording may be confusing to some. Catholic worship, religious education, marriage, etc. are not truly “subject to civil legislation.” One need only recall what Pope Leo XIII said about such a notion:
To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above things supernatural… (cf Immortale Dei) [Emphasis added]
In truth, worship, religious education, marriage, etc. are properly subject to the Church, not civil legislation, as if said legislation could lawfully bind the Church (e.g., Fr. Brucciani’s unfortunate comment: the British PM has left us with no choice!)
To be very clear, the State does indeed have care of religious matters, and it is called to legislate in such a way as to support the Church in carrying out her mission; it does not, however, have the authority to dictate terms to the Church regarding it.
At issue is the fact that matters may occasionally arise about which the powers of the Church and the powers of the State intersect and, therefore, mixed jurisdiction exists. Pope Leo XIII describes it as follows:
But, inasmuch as each of these two powers [Church and State] has authority over the same subjects, and as it might come to pass that one and the same thing – related differently, but still remaining one and the same thing – might belong to the jurisdiction and determination of both… (ibid.)
This is precisely what is taking place in our day as Catholic public worship is “subject to the power and judgment of the Church” (Pope Leo XIII, idib.) and yet the State does have the power to regulate public gatherings as necessary to safeguard the common good.
So, what if it should happen that the Church – to use a present-day example – exercises her power and judgment to rule “in spite of the current pandemic, the holy day obligation remains in force,” even as the State forbids any such public gatherings?
Pope Leo XIII spoke directly to this type of situation saying it would be a “deplorable contention and conflict” should “the Church and the State command contrary things” since, for the faithful, “it would be a dereliction of duty to disobey either of the two.”
The Holy Father then provided the answer, making it plain where the priority of power lies in such matters:
Wherefore, being, by the favor of God, entrusted with the government of the Catholic Church, and made guardian and interpreter of the doctrines of Christ, We judge that it belongs to Our jurisdiction, venerable brethren, publicly to set forth what Catholic truth demands of every one in this sphere of duty; thus making clear also by what way and by what means measures may be taken for the public safety in so critical a state of affairs. – Diuturnum
“For the powers that are, are ordained of God,” writes Poe Leo XIII, citing St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The Holy Father tells us that when both the Church and the State rule in a manner that reflects their divine ordination, there exists “a certain orderly connection which may be compared to the union of the soul and body in man.” (ibid.)
Just as it is with respect to matters both spiritual and corporeal, whereby it is incumbent upon the body to be ruled by the intellect and the will, each of which are powers that “belong to the soul alone” (Aquinas, ST-I, Q. 77, Art. 8), so too is it incumbent upon the State in mixed matters to align itself with the rule of the Church.
Today, with respect to COVID-19, “deplorable contention and conflict” exist for two reasons, both the Church and the State are behaving in violation of their divine ordination; the Church by failing to assert her prerogatives, the State by overstepping its own.
Fr. Sélégny, having once rightly stated, “temporal power must align itself with the spiritual power,” proceeded to make a stunning about face. This, after all, is the only way he could mount a defense of churchmen who behave as if the State is well within its bounds to order the Holy Catholic Church to cease inviting the faithful to participate in the Mass and the Sacraments:
However, at the same time, the Church recognises the right of the State to legislate in these [mixed] matters as well, and, as long as it is not a matter of faith or morals, She is ready to adapt to situations in which the prudence of both parties is involved. For his part, the prince – i.e. the one who directs the State – does not have the same obligation of obedience as in other matters, according to his sound judgement.
Is Fr. Sélégny really suggesting that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments do not pertain to faith and morals, and so the Church should simply follow whatever the civil authority may decree?
Evidently, he would do well to consider the words of Pope Leo XIII who taught:
Whatever, therefore in things human is of a sacred character, whatever belongs either of its own nature or by reason of the end to which it is referred, to the salvation of souls, or to the worship of God, is subject to the power and judgment of the Church. (cf Immortale Dei)
Would he, in light of this unambiguous teaching, wish to insist that Holy Mass and the Sacraments are not of a sacred character and therefore are subject to the power and judgment of the State?
Fr. Sélégny then makes an attempt to convince readers that there is precedence for churchmen willingly conceding authority to the State in sacred matters, a rather lawyerly manner of arguing in favor (or against, in the present case) of Catholic tradition.
He begins by pointing to St. Louis, King of France, whom Fr. Sélégny tells us, “refused to intervene with his royal authority against lay people in conflict with bishops on temporal matters.” [Emphasis added]
As mentioned, temporal matters are the proper domain of the civil authority, and no one is arguing otherwise. He then gives another example from the reign of St. Louis:
When requested by Pope Gregory IX, and again by Pope Innocent IV, he refused to start a war with the Emperor Frederick II…
A war? Another temporal matter! Clearly, Fr. Sélégny is grasping at straws, but things swiftly go from bad to worse as he writes:
Finally, we should also add that the Church has sometimes had to suffer from abuses of temporal powers, in these mixed matters. For as long as these abuses were not opposed to her mission to save souls, she tolerated them, according to the prudential judgement of her superiors.
Yes, you read that correctly; Fr. Sélégny is suggesting that the State forbidding public access to Holy Mass and the Sacraments, even going so far as to forbid baptism by name (as in the case of the British Prime Minister) is not opposed to the Church’s mission to save souls and therefore, should be tolerated.
Would it also be Fr. Sélégny’s opinion that the Church should tolerate the police interrupting Mass in order to enforce the State’s stay-at-home order, as happened recently at a Novus Ordo parish in Paris?
Fr. Sélégny, at long last, provides readers with his closing argument:
The regulation of public engagements, in this time of epidemic, is clearly a matter of temporal power. It so happens, that Catholic worship involves public gatherings. The question is therefore whether temporal power is within its right in making decisions with regard to Catholic worship, considered in its social dimension from the point of view of public meetings.
To ask the question is, in fact, to answer it, because it is clearly a mixed matter. To deny this right would be simply to obscure this chapter of Catholic doctrine.
One cannot help but wonder if Fr. Sélégny has any idea as to what Catholic doctrine (e.g., as briefly referenced above) actually states about matters of mixed jurisdiction.
Moving on, Fr. Sélégny then provides two specific historical examples of churchmen who, like so many of his SSPX brethren in our day, willingly submitted to the authority of the State during the Spanish Flu pandemic:
He informs readers that civil authorities in Switzerland had issued a decree stating:
Divine worship and religious gatherings may only be celebrated in the open air and far from built-up areas. Burials will take place without the public and only the next of kin may assist.”
In response, he tells us, “The ecclesiastical authorities complied with the decree issued by the civil authorities.”
Given the absence of any statements from the ecclesiastical authorities, it is impossible to say if this “precedent” truly resembles the current situation. One thing we can say for certain, however, is that even a dozen examples of churchmen behaving as if the Church is subject to the authority of the State in matters of mixed jurisdiction would not serve to make such behavior meritorious. It would still be irreconcilable with Catholic tradition.
Lastly, Fr. Sélégny cites what evidently is the only other precedent he could find; namely, that of Bishop John Regis Canevin of Pittsburgh who, in light of the Spanish Flu, stated:
When, in the judgment of the civil authorities, whose duty it is to safeguard public health, it becomes necessary to close churches and schools and take other strong precautions against epidemics of virulent disease, the only rule for pastors and people is to co-operate with the civil authorities of their district.
Might I remind readers that Pope Leo XIII had twice found it necessary to remind the episcopacy of the United States of Catholic tradition, via Encyclical Letter, concerning Catholic doctrine on matters of Church and State (see Longinqua and Testem Benevolentiae).
How telling it is that Fr. Sélégny turned to the example of an American bishop, with regard to matters of Church and State of all things, in his attempt to defend the behavior of the SSPX in its relationship with the civil authorities.
In all of my posts on the degree to which churchmen in our day have failed to stand up for the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King and the freedom of His Church, I have done so by citing papal magisterium at some length. It is striking that Fr. Sélégny’s 2,000-word essay includes no such citations in support of his conclusion. The reason is plain; none exist.
What Fr. Sélégny’s lengthy essay reveals is the extent to which the SSPX will go in order to defend its own, no matter how wrong they may be; in this case, turning its back on Christ the King, issuing blatantly contradictory statements, and ignoring entirely the “traditional ecclesiastical doctrine” it purportedly exists to preserve.