Correction of the Correction
by Jonathan Arrington
Prefatory declaration: the author of this piece reached out to several signers personally (or those in service of their Excellencies) to request clarification or a continued discussion of the points at issue. He did not want to write this, nor does he judge himself worthy to be mentioned on the same page as these signatories. Still, love for truth compelled him to write something, poor and pitiable though the final result may be.
Thesis: Statements must be read and understand in context – at least in the context of immediately preceding or successive sentences.
The Signed Correction takes the words of Desiderio desideravi, both in Paragraph 5 and in Paragraph 6, out of context.
The omitted and neighboring sentences in the document provide the best means to interpret the document as it was intended.
The Correction substitutes this optimal interpretive tool for what they understand to be the worst words and misdeeds of Francis.
In an abundant zeal to correct those worst words and misdeeds, they have forced an unnatural interpretation on Desiderio desideravi
Statements made in regard to the Most Holy Eucharist:
“Faith alone is sufficient” 1
“It is from hearing alone that one believes” 2
“One drop of [Jesus’] blood can make me, unclean though I am, and the whole world cleansed of every heinous sin” 3
“He was about to be given over by a disciple to his rivals unto death, and before that he gave himself to [all] the disciples” 4
“What Christ did at that [last] supper, He showed that this same should be done in memory of Him” 5
“A strong faith solidifies what you don’t understand and see” 6
“Good men receive, bad men receive – although they enjoy the unequal recompense of life or death” 7
You can find the references for those audacious statements at the end of this, but St. Bonaventure could tell you immediately. Some will promptly get the point: statements about almost anything in the Catholic religion can easily be taken out of context – sometimes with more disastrous consequences than at other times. Peter Abelard’s [in]famous “Sic et non” and the entire Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas are good reminders of how careful we must be when we see what we (or others) think to be contradictions – especially with what we assume to be contradictions of authentic and binding Catholic dogmatic statements.
The world still does not know it, but everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word (cf. Ro 10:17).
This is supposed to contradict the following Canon from the Council of Trent:
If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, let him be anathema. [Si quis dixerit, solam fidem esse sufficientem praeparationem ad sumendum sanctissimum eucharistiae sacramentum, anathema sit.]
The authors tell us that the first two sentences above also contradict the modern Code of Canon Law, both of the Latin Church as well as that of the Eastern Churches. Below, we will see which canons they have in mind – and which they do not have in mind.
For some reason, the following sentence in the Apostolic Letter’s same brief paragraph was omitted from the Correction:
“The Church tailors such a garment to fit each one with the whiteness of a garment bathed in the blood of the Lamb.(Re 7:14) “
Again, the composers of the correction chose not to include the next sentence:
“We must not allow ourselves even a moment of rest, knowing that still not everyone has received an invitation to this Supper or knowing that others have forgotten it or have got lost along the way in the twists and turns of human living.” [SIC]
These two subsequent sentences expand on the simpler two previous sentences, both of which include a reference or two to Sacred Scripture, totaling at least four Biblical passages from which Francis draws his vocabulary – and that is when we don’t add his figurative description of those who haven’t received the invitation, or have forgotten it or are now “lost”.
It is again curious that these two sentences are missing in an accusation in which the accusers suggest that Francis betrays a Lutheran notion of faith in the document. Believe it or not, they will attempt to prove this written heresy in 2022 with the exegetical key of an impromptu answer to a question in an interview – from 2017 – when Francis mentioned a 19th century Lutheran convert to Catholicism, Ludwig von Pastor, and Luther’s “not mistaken” *intentions* (rather than *Luther’s specific beliefs about justification*). They assert that Francis has adopted Lutheran notions of Faith now because of what he said then – although Francis also named the convert to Catholicism, Ludwig von Pastor, who adopted the Catholic Faith and left the Lutherans.
Now, if you consult St. Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on Matthew 22 (and his Catena) for the proper interpretation of the Wedding Garment, Aquinas’ Commentary on Romans 10 for the sort of Faith mentioned there, and the great Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on those same passages, as well as a Lapide’s Commentary on Ch. 7 and Ch. 19 of St. John’s Revelation (all Biblical passages referenced by Francis in paragraph 5), you find something missing from the recent Statement: the Faith in question is well understood to be an “informed Faith”, i.e., Faith that is living in charity, or put as simply as possible: the Faith associated with this Nuptial Garment belongs to one who is in a State of Grace, i.e., not one who is in immediate need of sacramental absolution.
That’s not all: the whiteness of the garment – noted by Francis but conspicuously absent in the critique – and how that garment is “bathed in the blood of the Lamb” (likewise absent from the critique but there in Francis) is first cleansed in two ways, according to Cornelius a Lapide: by Baptism and the Church’s Sacraments. That is how the Catholic Church understands it. So, that and how the Church “tailors” the garment [confeziona su misura – confecciona a medida] was not revealed to readers of the Correction, although it was in Desiderio desideravi – and although the signatories would have us believe that Francis is saying something which “was condemned by the Council of Trent as a heresy”, specifically a denial of the efficacy and necessity of the Church’s means of salvation, the Sacraments. After all, the long citation from Trent’s Chapter on Preparation to Receive the Holy Eucharist Worthily mentions the Church’s sacraments, which are often said to “tailor” our Baptismal Garment. Perhaps that was an inadvertent slip by the authors of the correction and not an intentional misrepresentation or the hiding of “exculpatory evidence”.
Still, it is not just an omission of Francis’ latter sentences in Paragraph 5 that is glaring: this Statement claims that the words of Francis have a “natural meaning [that] contradicts the faith of the Catholic Church”. We have faith that, somewhere, there is a precise contradiction (as in *logical contradiction*) of what Trent states: <<The claim that faith is the only requirement for worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist>>, and that the authors surely accounted for the addition of “garment of Faith” and the subtraction of “worthy reception” in the supposedly opposed positions. Does an apparent contradiction disappear when Francis’ later words are taken into a fair and just account?
Or, should one first reference a Lapide on Rev. 19, Rom. 10, & Mt. 22 in order to have an idea of the potential support from Traditional Catholic Scriptural exegesis, as well as from the Thomistic liturgical texts referenced above? Cri[c]key! I’ve just revealed the author[ity] of those almost unbelievable “Statements of Faith” that I placed at the beginning! Let our Faith increase then.
What is written in the Statement is also beset with another serious flaw – in order to confirm the authors’ strained interpretation of Francis’ Desiderio desideravi, they have drawn on:
- Extemporaneous Obiter dicta from an in-flight press conference,
- A very selective (the Greek for this is “haireticos”) excerpt from an Angelus, mid-2021,
- Francis’ actions and admittedly cryptic but laconic response after the “Pelosi Mass”.
Also, most gravely, the Statement attempts to connect what Francis says in Paragraph 6: “Indeed, every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper.” with a prior year’s Angelus address. The Angelus is used as the primary exegetical tool, rather than any neighboring sentences in the following year’s Apostolic Letter. Normally this might not be so bad but here they took Francis’ final sentence – rather than as in Paragraph 5, in which the first two sentences alone were cited – and the final sentence is in isolation from these sentences that preceded:
“Before our response to his invitation — well before! — there is his desire for us. We may not even be aware of it, but every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us. For our part, the possible response — which is also the most demanding asceticism — is, as always, that surrender to this love, that letting ourselves be drawn by him.” I read the phrases “the most demanding asceticism”, “surrender to this love”, and I see words that seem to refer to a prevenient grace that requires “our response” and “our part”. That surely doesn’t describe Judas well – or even the hardened sinner who is not in the state of grace but would approach to receive Holy Communion. Yet, in the accusation, they are set as a natural pair – and that is only made more palatable when one does not read those two earlier sentences.
Finally, the signers must know that one cannot make a syllogistic step when there’s an argument from silence: “When asked about her [Pelosi’s] illegal reception of communion, Pope Francis expressed no disapproval of it.” Are the writers here justified in saying that Francis’ actual statement – concluding with – “That’s all I can say” [!] is a rebuke to Archbishop Cordileone for his justified application of Canon 915? That, in itself, is a fair question – but when we read Canons 330-334, we recall why recourse to Canon Law does not provide a neat solution to this accusation against a Pope. I heartily exhort you to read those Canons as soon as you can. You will find the link to the Codes at the end.
Finally, we should be surprised by the use of the word “heresy” in regard to the Pope, about whom in St. Thomas’ Summa IIa.IIae, Question 11, Article 3, r.ad 3, we read:
<<[C]ertain doctors seem to have differed either in matters the holding of which in this or that way is of no consequence, so far as faith is concerned, or even in matters of faith, which were not as yet defined by the Church; although if anyone were obstinately to deny them after they had been defined by the authority of the universal Church, he would be deemed a heretic. This authority resides chiefly in the Sovereign Pontiff. For we read: “Whenever a question of faith is in dispute, I think, that all our brethren and fellow bishops ought to refer the matter to none other than Peter, as being the source of their name and honor, against whose authority neither Jerome nor Augustine nor any of the holy doctors defended their opinion.” Hence Jerome says: “This, most blessed Pope, is the faith that we have been taught in the Catholic Church. If anything therein has been incorrectly or carelessly expressed, we beg that it may be set aright by you who hold the faith and see of Peter. If however this, our profession, be approved by the judgment of your apostleship, whoever may blame me, will prove that he himself is ignorant, or malicious, or even not a catholic but a heretic.”>>
Note the following citation of Pope Leo the Great, from the same place in the Summa:
<<“The enemies of Christ’s cross lie in wait for our every deed and word, so that, if we but give them the slightest pretext, they may accuse us mendaciously of agreeing with Nestorius.”>>
If you’ve made it this far, I ask you to consider the justice due – even to the Devil. Surely we’ve all seen “A Man for All Seasons”, so I leave you with this:
WILLIAM ROPER: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
SIR THOMAS MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
Whatever may come, may we not cut down the Divine Law of the 8th Commandment, and its corollary precepts. They’re there for our own safety’s sake and spiritual benefit. Likewise, let’s remember Fr. Ripperger’s Eighth Problem in Trad-dom: www.tumblarhouse.com/blogs/news/problems-in-the-traditional-catholic-movement. Then, we’ll be able to sing psalmody wisely (psallite sapienter) with St. Robert Bellarmine, author of the little known “De Romano Pontifice”.
Next in this series, the author will refute one signer’s assertion ( spread and praised by another signer), to wit, that the Pope is not the Head of the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, please pray for me, that I keep the Faith, once for all handed down to the saints.
Mr. Arrington never terminated his doctorate at the August institute where H.E. Schneider gloriously studied and where Dr. Rist was his favorite professor; he never even finished a once-begun Master’s in philosophy or classics, although he briefly taught Greek in the Angelicum’s Philosophy Department; he has dined with several signers, to his personal enjoyment, and intellectual profit and humility; he has never kept a job, house or apartment for longer than four years; he has a few meager gifts, but perhaps the fact that he speaks (yells?) Latin and Greek – Veterum Sapientiā – to his children is the only one of note.
1 – [Pange lingua]
2 – [Adoro te]
3 – [ibid. – yes, the “pellicane” likely refers to Our Lord’s Crucifixion, but this is part of a Eucharistic Hymn.]
4 – [Verbum supernum]
5 – [Lauda Sion]
6 – [ibid]
7 – [ibid]
Links to the Codes: https://www.vatican.va/archive/cdc/index_it.htm