Truth Does Not Change:
If We Lose Dogma, We Lose Our Soul
by Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L., S.T.D. (Cand.)
As is shown by the book, The Devil’s Final Battle, we are living today in the midst of the Great Apostasy which was foretold in Sacred Scripture. This apostasy, Cardinal Ciappi tells us, begins at the top of the Church. Cardinal Oddi tells us that in the Third Secret Our Lady is warning us against apostasy.
One of the first and greatest bulwarks and defenses against apostasy is to have a firm grasp of and adherence to the dogmatic definitions of the Catholic Faith. It is precisely the dogma of the Faith that Our Lady speaks explicitly about in the beginning of the Third Secret when She says: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” The “etc.” written down by Sister Lucy herself, clearly indicates that Our Lady said more.
Every Fatima scholar agrees that Our Lady went on to say that in other parts of the world, the dogma of the Faith will be attacked and not preserved as it should, it may even be lost altogether. We must not allow ourselves to be victims of this creeping apostasy all around us. We must save our souls and save our dogmatic truths.
In our time many Catholics — priests, bishops and Cardinals, as well as lay persons — are losing the sense of dogma. They are forgetting that if they do not safeguard their faith sufficiently, so that they culpably deny or even doubt one dogma — a doctrine of the Catholic faith that has been infallibly taught by Jesus Christ through His Catholic Church — then they commit a mortal sin. If they do not repent of this sin and make a worthy confession (or an act of Perfect Contrition on their deathbed) then they shall go to hell for all eternity. Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that sins against Faith are among the greatest of sins.
Some people are losing the sense of dogma because they do not sufficiently guard their minds against false ideas, teachings and doctrines which seek to supplant or to suppress or to undermine their Catholic faith. Others, by never trying to understand or not seeking to know what the real teachings of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church are, do not even recognize that they have bought into the lies of the age which exclude them from accepting the teaching of the Gospel in one or many points.
We are in fact living through the age of Apostasy: the period of time foretold in Sacred Scripture by Jesus Christ Himself, as well as by St. Paul. The sin of heresy constitutes denying one or more dogmas of the Faith, and this is a mortal sin that sends souls to hell. Yet apostasy is much worse. The sin of apostasy is the rejecting of all (or much of) the Gospel. And this age of Apostasy is upon us.
Some fall into apostasy through ignorance, never knowing even the fundamentals of the Gospel. Others fall into it because they have learned the fundamentals and held to them for only a while. These are like the seed that did not fall on good ground; they do not take precautions to safeguard their Faith against false doctrines, and these false doctrines choke their faith so that they fall away. Others fall away because they have followed the bad example of blind priests, bishops and Cardinals who teach false doctrine. These false teachers who profess heretical doctrines — and there is no shortage of them in the Church today — scandalize the souls entrusted to them into heresy and apostasy.
Sister Lucy, in the early 1970s, called them “blind guides”. It is no wonder that she has been silenced.
We must recover the sense of dogmatic Truth. And if a priest, bishop, Cardinal or even a Pope were to say something or do something which explicitly or implicitly teaches some heretical doctrine, we must abhor and resist it. We must defend our own soul, and to the extent we can, we must defend the souls of others by resisting the heretical statements from no matter what quarter. Even if it were the Pope to say such things.
Most Catholics are unaware that there have been instances in Church history when a Pope either taught heresy, or failed in his duty to suppress heresy. And if it happened before, it can happen again.1
For example, Pope Nicholas I said that Baptism was valid whether administered in the name of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity or in the name of Christ only. In this Pope Nicholas was mistaken. Baptism in the name of Christ only is not valid.2
Pope Honorius, in order to justify a compromise with heretics, said in 634: “We must be careful not to rekindle ancient quarrels.” On this argument, the Pope allowed error to spread freely, with the result that truth and orthodoxy were effectively banished. St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, almost alone, stood up to Honorius and accused him of heresy. Eventually the Pope repented, but died without repairing the immeasurable harm he did to the Church due to his compromising principle. Thus, the Third Council of Constantinople cast its anathema upon him, and this was confirmed by Pope St. Leo II. (See D.S. 561)
Pope John XXII said at Avignon, on the Feast of All Saints, 1331, that the soul does not enter the Beatific Vision until the resurrection of the body, at the last day. After which, the Pope was rebuked by the theologians from the University of Paris. They rebuked the Pope because they knew that this theory of the Pope was a heresy. It wasn’t until shortly before John XXII died in 1334 that he recanted his error.3
Faith is Paramount
The Deposit of Faith is the foundation of our salvation. It is the foundation of the papacy. It is the foundation of the sacraments. If the Deposit of Faith is not safeguarded, there is nothing in the Church that is safe from attack. This attitude of the primordial importance of safeguarding each and every one of the dogmas of the faith is not just my opinion. It is the solemn teaching of the Catholic Church. One of the Catholic Creeds which we are all bound to believe starts as follows: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.” (D.S. 75)
This obligation surpasses the law of charity to the poor or to our neighbor — it is before all good works. The obligation to the faith is more important than the respect or deference owed to Pope, bishops, priests or family and friends. St. Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:8) We must not listen to such a preacher who contradicts traditional Catholic teaching.
What will happen to us, especially at this time of General Apostasy, if we do not love the Truth above our fellow men, above the love we owe our priests and bishops, above the love we owe even Popes? What will happen if we do not love the truth above wealth, position and human respect? Then we can come under the following curse of God: “And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.” (2 Thess. 2:10-11)
This recovery of the certitude, of the vital importance and the absolute necessity of dogmatic truth as infallibly defined for all times is crucial if people are not going to be taken in by the general apostasy all around us.
To save your soul it is not enough to follow this or that priest, this or that Cardinal or bishop — not even this or that pope — no matter how widely acclaimed they are, if they contradict one infallibly defined dogma.
Some ignorant priests and teachers say, “We do not pay attention to dogmatic definitions of a previous age; we follow the ‘living Magisterium’.” (I do not exaggerate; I heard them with my own ears. At first, I could hardly believe what was being said — by priests who claim to be faithful, fervent and traditional.)
In other words, what these foolish and ignorant “teachers” are saying is: We will follow Cardinal Ratzinger or some other Cardinal of the Vatican or even the Pope himself, no matter what — even if one of them contradicts explicitly the solemn infallible definition of a previous pope, or of a previous Ecumenical Council infallibly confirmed by a previous pope.4
These blind leaders reason as follows: God is pleased with us because we are humble, because we are obedient, and God placed those men as Pope and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over us. These people go on to say that it is you who will not submit who are in error, who will be punished by God for not believing the “living Magisterium”.
Such thinking is, in fact, “the operation of error” to “them that perish” (see 2 Thess. 2:10-11) that “God shall send them” because they “have not believed the truth” and they “have consented to iniquity”.
Would God allow a person to be deceived like this? How could He, someone asks? In answer, we have the teaching of St. John Eudes and of Sacred Scripture.
St. John Eudes explains that the most terrible chastisement God can send to His people are bad priests (that obviously includes bad bishops, Cardinals and could include even a pope). Here is what St. John Eudes says:
“The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than charity and affection of devoted shepherds …
“When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, ‘Return O ye revolting children ... and I will give you pastors according to My own heart’ (Jer. 3:14,15). Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge upon the people in consequence of sin.”5
As is documented in The Devil’s Final Battle6 and elsewhere,7 we have the infiltration of all kinds of corrupt people into the priesthood. It is obvious that God is very angry with His people because of all the bad priests we now see in the Church, most visibly in the clerical scandals.
We must remember that God sends punishments and chastisements and warnings to us in this life, as St. Alphonsus notes, so that we will take heed to His warnings while there is still time, before it is too late for us. The scandals in the clergy are clear signs that God has very much reached the end of His warning. The hour is late; we at least must wake up by doing penance for our sins and praying most fervently for God’s grace and mercy at this time, for ourselves as well as all those God has entrusted to our care. But those scandals are not limited to perverted and corrupt priests and bishops. Worse yet is the corruption of our Catholic faith by so-called “defenders of the Faith”. Those who claim the “living Magisterium” takes precedence over the infallible, unchangeable dogmatic definitions are misleading countless souls to hell.
The perversion by priests, bishops and Cardinals who tell us that there is no need for unbelievers to convert to the Catholic faith8 is a greater perversion than pedophilia — as horrid as pedophilia is. This heresy — even if it is promoted by Vatican Cardinals, even if it were to have the support, implicit or explicit, of the Pope — does not change one bit the perversity of such teaching. Those who defend such teaching of the “living Magisterium” have either lost their faith, or have been completely ignorant of it all their lives. But their ignorance does not necessarily excuse them from grievous sin in this matter.
The Catholic Faith — the Deposit of Faith handed down to us from Jesus Christ that every Catholic must believe in order to save his soul — teaches us among other things:
1) God is the author of our Faith.
2) God must be believed because what He tells us is the Truth.
- Since God is all-knowing, He cannot be mistaken or only have part of the truth;
- Since He is all holy, He cannot lie to us. He may permit us to be deceived because we do not love the truth, but He would not ever lie to us.
3) Since God tells us the Truth and since each and every article of the faith is true because God has revealed it, it follows that:
1) What was true in 33 AD is also true in 2003 AD;
2) What was defined as true by the Church
• in 325 AD at Nicea • in 1438-45 AD at Florence • in 1545-65 AD at Trent • in 1870 AD at Vatican I
is still true today.
That is, Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. So when the Council of Florence defines that neither Jews nor heretics nor schismatics will enter the Kingdom of God unless they repent of their error before they die, then that is the truth for all time.
Father Gruner on the set of FATIMA: “The Moment Has Come”, the only television program spreading the full Fatima Message and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
What the Saints and Councils Tell Us
Yet the objection is raised: But if a later pope says something different, says the opposite, is he also not the Pope? Does he not have the same power as a previous pope? How therefore can you go wrong following a later pope who contradicts an earlier pope?
Of course the first thing we must do is to determine if the later pope or even the current pope — really said something that explicitly contradicts the solemn infallible teaching of an earlier pope. But if in fact he has, then the later pope is wrong. The reason is that the role of the pope is not to invent new doctrine, not to teach new doctrine, but to hand on the Deposit of Faith revealed by God, and to defend and to explain the Deposit of Faith. The First Vatican Council teaches:
“And the Roman pontiffs, according to the exigencies of times and circumstances, sometimes assembling oecumenical councils, or asking for the mind of the Church scattered throughout the world, sometimes by particular synods, sometimes using other helps which divine Providence supplied, defined as to be held those things which with the help of God they had recognized as conformable with the Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic traditions. For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith delivered through the Apostles.”9 (D.S. 3069-3070)
So once a Pope has taught that something is part of the Deposit of Faith, we know that it is indeed the Truth that God Himself has revealed.
And since the first quality of truth is that it cannot contradict itself, we therefore know that a later pope cannot come along and teach a new doctrine. If he did, the new doctrine cannot be true, because it is contrary to what God taught and confirmed by the earlier definition.
So there cannot be a “living Magisterium” that can come along and teach a new doctrine in God’s name. Because God is the author of Truth and not falsehood. And God cannot and would not teach a lie to be the truth, nor could God command someone to believe a lie. Nor would God authorize, or even pretend to authorize someone to teach a lie as if it were the truth.
Thus such “living Magisterium” is attempting to steal teaching authority from God, and usurping the true, the real, the actual Magisterium.
Now the real scandal is that today there are high-ranking Churchmen even in the Vatican who teach heresy and who falsely claim it is the truth and claim it is what the Catholic Church officially, magisterially teaches. But they are still teaching heresy. We know this because we know by divine and Catholic Faith that even a Pope cannot change Catholic Dogma. We know that because we have the solemn, infallible definition of the First Vatican Council which reads:
“Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our Savior, the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the sacred council, We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in discharge of the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, is, by the divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and that, therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, irreformable. But if anyone — which may God avert! — presume to contradict this our definition, let him be anathema.”10 (D.S. 3073-3075)
Since dogmatic definitions are infallible — that is, since they cannot fail to explicitly enumerate what is the precise truth that God Himself is endorsing, guaranteeing — then such definitions cannot be changed, cannot be reformed. They are irreformable. They cannot be reformed by a priest, a bishop, a Cardinal, a whole Council or even by the Pope himself — the present one or any future pope. This is what the Church teaches. If a person does not believe this, he is no longer a Catholic — he has been cut off, excommunicated, put out of the Church by his heresy.
So you can see we need to recover the dogmatic definitions of the Catholic Church. We must recover them in our minds and our hearts and in our daily thinking, speaking and actions. We must hold onto our Faith whole and entire. We must not allow ourselves to lose our dogmatic Catholic Faith even if priests, bishops and Cardinals claim that the Pope agrees with them. Even should a pope contradict the Faith, we must take the attitude taught us by the Catholic Church of all ages. We must follow what the Doctors of the Church have taught. These Doctors were promoted as Doctors because the Church tells us their doctrine is certain; that we are secure in following their teaching.
St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, taught in his work on the Roman Pontiff, even the Pope may be rebuked and resisted if he threatens harm to the Church:
“Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these acts are proper to a superior.”11
Likewise, the eminent Sixteenth Century theologian Francisco Suarez (whom Pope Paul V praised as Doctor Eximius et Pius, i.e. “Exceptional and Pious Doctor”) taught as follows:
"And in this second way the Pope could be schismatic, if he were unwilling to be in normal union with the whole body of the Church, as would occur if he attempted to excommunicate the whole Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if he wished to overturn the rites of the Church based on Apostolic Tradition. … If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to right customs (morals), he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defense.”12
Even the Pope may legitimately be resisted when he takes actions that would harm the Church. Quite simply, as Pope St. Felix III declared: “Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it.” Members of the laity and lower-ranking clergy are not exempt from that injunction. All the members of the Church are subject to it. We thus have a duty to speak out.
St. Thomas stated that if the faith is in danger because of what a bishop or even a pope says, the prelate must be rebuked in public to safeguard the faith. Basing himself in Sacred Scripture — Galatians 2:11 — St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest Doctor of the Church, says:
“It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, ‘Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects’.”13
We must preserve the dogma of the Faith. In the great Apostasy, a great number of people lose their path because they do not preserve the dogma of the Faith sacrosanct in their minds, hearts and souls.
Let us also not forget to take heed to Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words to Sister Lucy of Fatima: "Pray a great deal for the Holy Father".
1. To the objection, "The Pope can never teach or promote heresy because he is infallible", we must answer: The Pope is not infallible in everything but only in certain conditions which are strictly defined and solemnly taught by the Catholic Church, particularly at the First Vatican Council. For more on this subject, see "Mission Infallible" by Jonathan Tuttle in The Fatima Crusader, Issue No. 66, page 23ff. See it also on our web site at http://www.fatima.org/library/cr66pg23.html.
2. See John Henry Newman, Certain Difficulties, (London, 1876), cited in Michael Davies, Lead Kindly Light: The Life of John Henry Newman (Long Prairie, Minnesota: Neumann Press, 2001), pp. 181-182. See also Dz. 229, Dz. 297A, Dz. 430, Dz. 482.
3. Catholic Counter Reformation, June 1973. For more, see The Popes, a Concise Biographical History, edited by Eric John, published in 1964. Recently republished by Roman Catholic Books, Harrison, New York. See also Dz. 530; D.S. 1000.
4. Editor’s Note: See the example given by Father Paul Kramer in his article "The Impending Great Chastisement Revealed in the Third Secret" in this issue.
5. Saint John Eudes, The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations, (New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1947) pp. 9-10.
6. The Devil's Final Battle, edited and compiled by Father Paul Kramer, (The Missionary Association, Terryville, Connecticut, 2002) pp. 39, 47-48, 51, 53, 58, 61, 124, and see Footnote #24 on page 299. See also the website at www.devilsfinalbattle.com/ch5.htm.
7. For documentation on the homosexual infiltration of the Catholic Church, see "Clerical Scandals and the 'Negligence of the Pastors'" by John Vennari, The Fatima Crusader, Autumn 2002, Issue 71, pg. 15 ff. See it also on our website at www.fatima.org/library/cr71pg15.htm.
8. Cardinal Walter Kasper, based in the Vatican, defied the defined dogma that "outside the Church there is no salvation" when he said, "…today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would 'be converted' and return to being 'Catholics'. This was expressly abandoned at Vatican II." Adisti, Feb. 26, 2001. English translation quoted from "Where Have They Hidden the Body?" by Christopher Ferrara, The Remnant, p. 68. See also The Devil’s Final Battle June 30, 2001.
9. Vatican Council I, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870. Taken from the book Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, (TAN Books and Publishers) p. 254.
10. Vatican Council I, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870. From Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, pp. 256-257.
11. De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, Chap. 29, in Opera omnia, Neapoli/Panormi/Paris: Pedone Lauriel, 1871, vol. I, p. 418.
12. Francisco Suarez, De Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16.
13. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q33, Art. 4, Ad. 2.