17 June, 2019 (Mark Anthony - St. Mark the Evangelist) - On the 31st May 2019, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Ordinary Form and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in the Extraordinary Form, a document commonly called the Declaration of Truths was signed by various prelates, chief amongst them Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. This Declaration contains 40 corrections, or rather, reaffirmations of Catholic truth, that counter prevalent errors/heresies in the Church in our time.
This Declaration was published to the public via the National Catholic Register on Pentecost Monday, which since 2018 is now the Memoria of Mary, Mother of the Church. Can it be denied that Our Lady is behind this Declaration? It was signed on the feast of her Visitation, and made public on the feast honouring her as Mother of the Church. Is this not Our Mother working to correct Her erring children, who have wandered so far from the narrow path and ended up on the broad path that leads to Hell?
I would highly recommend all take the time to read it, if they haven’t already. It is surely a sorrow of any truly Catholic heart that the very fundamental teaching of our holy Religion – the very Deposit of Faith left by Christ to His Church – must now be re-taught to the Faithful, because many in the Church, including amongst the clergy, have simply lost the Faith.
I cannot but state here that such a Declaration being issued by cardinals and bishops should not have to be warranted. Such a declaration should be published by the Supreme Teacher himself, making clear and manifest to all that heresy will not be tolerated in the Church, and the wilful leading astray of the Faithful of Christ will – nay, must – be punished. The likes of Fr. James Martin, SJ, running around publishing his heresies unopposed – yea, even approbated by bishops – is a manifest proof that, not Europe only, but the Church is suffering an apostasy which, unlike in the days of John Paul II, is not so silent anymore (1).
The 40 points of the Declaration of Truths are broken into four parts. The first is titled The Fundamentals of Faith, the second is The Creed, the third is The Law of God, and the fourth is The Sacraments. As stated earlier, they annunciate the basic teachings of the Church on these four topics, and as some have pointed out, without publicly stating it, some of the points are clearly a correction of errors written or spoken by Pope Francis.
Indeed, what we need is a new Syllabus of Errors, in the same vein as that of Bl. Pius IX and St. Pius X. We need an official papal document issued from the Vatican, which expressly condemns the many heresies of our times. I can think of several that I would compose were I the Roman Pontiff:
If any say that in the Mass there is not offered to Almighty God a true, propitiatory sacrifice, and that at the Words of Consecration the substance of the bread and the substance of the wine do not convert into the substance of the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of Jesus Christ, which conversion the Roman Church rightly calls transubstantiation, and that the Most Holy Eucharist is merely a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ, let him be anathema.
If any say that the Lord Jesus Christ did not bodily resurrect from the dead, and that His resurrection was merely the preaching of His doctrines by the Apostles, let him be anathema.
If any say that a man can put aside his lawful, sacramental spouse, and cleave to another, or that he can merely obtain a civil divorce only, and not be lawfully dissolved of his marriage by the sentence of the Church in a declaration of nullity, and that such a state of divorce and remarriage is acceptable to either God or the Church, and that such an one can morally receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist without any intent to obeying the very teachings of Christ and His Church, and be absolved of his mortal sin through the Sacrament of Penance, let him be anathema.
If any say that the holy Commandments, which God commanded to be kept in the beginning when He spoke them forth unto the holy Lawgiver Moses, and which, in the fullness of time, Christ our Lord commanded to be kept in order to enter into eternal life, cannot be kept, or that they are unjust and unmerciful, thus charging Our Lord with being a tyrant, or that God may even command for some to violate His Law, let him be anathema.
If any say that Almighty God creates or inspires certain men to engage in unnatural vice, or that those who practise any sexual immorality of any kind are pleasing to Almighty God, let him be anathema.
If any say that it is not the duty and privilege of the Roman Pontiff to publicly correct and punish erring or heretical persons, most especially if they be ranked amongst the Levites or the Apostolic College, and that the execution of his just sentence is opposed to the Gospel of Christ, let him be anathema.
If any say that the Catholic Religion is not the one, true Religion, outside of which no man can be saved, or that the false religions of men are of equal weight to it, or that the Catholic Religion was not founded by Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, and that He commands that adherence to this most holy Religion is required and necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.
If any say that there does not exist an eternal region of suffering, which the Church calls Hell, and which the Lord referred to as Gehenna, and that the souls of the damned and the spirits of the rebel angels who followed Lucifer are not justly imprisoned there for all eternity, or that we cannot state with exactitude that there are truly and really souls suffering therein, let him be anathema.
If any say that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary charged the Most High with deceiving Her as regards to the Sacred Passion of the Lord, or that She was ignorant of the same Sacred Passion, or that She was not eminent in all of the virtues, or that She was not preserved free from all stain of Original and actual sin, or that She was anything less than the perfect creature which Almighty God was pleased to create, or that the Church is erroneous in Her zealous honouring of this Most August Virgin, let him be anathema.
If any say that it is moral and just for a woman to put to death her unborn child, or that such an act is part of her dignity as a woman or part of the natural rights conferred upon her by Almighty God, and that such an act is not truly infanticide, let him be anathema.
You see, it’s not so hard to compose simple statements condemning the heresies of our times.
I wish to end my short commentary here with a reproduction of a letter that I sent to Cardinal Burke, thanking him for what he has done - and is doing - for Christ and the Church. I sent the letter to him on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, 13th June 2019.
Peace and Salvation to you!
In every age when the Church’s teaching is brought into question, and when heresy and error is published to the annoyance and irritation of the Faithful, Our Lord, ever solicitous for the care of His Church, never fails to raise men strong in faith and wise in Divine mysteries, to preach boldly the true Faith, to the exultation of the Church.
In these latter days, when Holy Mother Church is beset by so many tempests of every kind, and is assailed every day by the gates of Hell, which Our Lord promised would not prevail, and when also the bond of unity is strained and severed and the Magisterium is brought into ill-repute and is rejected by so many Catholics, both cleric and laic, Almighty God, never to be mocked, has been pleased to raise certain men of the Sacred Order to be eminent preachers of His Doctrine, and it cannot be denied that Your Eminence is truly one of those men chosen by Him.
Though the virtue of humility may demand that Your Eminence may refuse such an honour, yet the same virtue also demands that men recognise in truth when the grace of God has touched a particular soul, even if that same soul does not recognise it. And I pray that you may permit me, a poor sinner, to give thanks to the Lord of Mercy for what He has chosen for you, namely, that you should be a Father to so many who ceaselessly cry out for Truth to be once again proclaimed in the Holy Church.
In particular, I wish to thank Your Eminence for what you have done in defence of the Gospel of Christ, especially in the last few days when Your Eminence, along with certain of your brother bishops, most notably His Lordship, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, another man blessed and chosen by God to be a preacher of Truth, has published the Declaration of Truths, in which you list 40 points that counter errors prevalent in our day. It is indeed a most sorrowful thing that the most fundamental teachings of our holy Religion have to be preached again. And, may I be so bold as to say that, as a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism, and thus having knowledge of what it is like to not have possession of the truths of the Catholic Faith, I cannot contemplate as to how any sound Catholic could give up the beauty and clarity of the Church’s Teaching and Tradition for error and confusion, or settle for anything less than the very Deposit of Faith entrusted by Christ to Mother Church.
I must also briefly state, with every respect and homage for His Apostolic Person, how grievous it is to my soul, and to the souls of all faithful children of the Church, that our Most Holy Father has, to date, kept silence on so many things, and by his silence seems to refuse to clarify his own position, let alone the position of the Church Herself. I can only praise Your Eminence for your patience and diligence in trying to solicit from the Roman Pontiff the fulfilment of his august Office, namely, to be the Supreme Teacher of the Faith. And I, a poor and weak sinner, lament that I can only augment your work by my prayers, and can only aid the Holy Father in his supreme burden of shouldering the Church Universal by my prayers, works, penances and, alas, by my tears. I pray that His Holiness, the Vicar of Christ, may finally bring an end, by Divine Assistance and to the best of his ability, the confusion in the Church, and thus silence those voices who rail against the Church’s Teaching.
In fine, may I deem it a privilege to bear witness to your work, and a great honour to address Your Eminence in this brief letter, though I find myself unworthy to address so great a Prince of the Church as Your Eminence.
I pray that Almighty God, through the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Mother of the Church and Destroyer of Heresies, and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, may continue to bless Your Eminence, along with your brother bishops, in your arduous task of defending the Faith. And may the Lord in His mercy find you worthy to bear the crown of eternal life as a reward for the work which you perform for His glory and for the honour of the Church.
Having a continual remembrance of you always in my prayers, and asking the blessing of Your Eminence, I am,
Yours respectfully in Christ,
Mark Anthony Beale
(1) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, 28th June 2003, 9.