Law was on the books from 1967 to at least 1983…
Historical Tidbit: ‘Pope’ Paul VI permitted active Catholic Participation in Eastern Orthodox Masses
About a month ago, we published an article demonstrating that the Catholic Church teaches that she is infallible not only in her dogmas but also in her universal laws and sacramental rites — not in the sense that these could never be changed, but rather, that they could never be in themselves impious, heretical, sacrilegious, or otherwise harmful.
In his magnificent encyclical letter on the Mystical Body of Christ, Pope Pius XII taught this explicitly:
Certainly the loving Mother [the Church] is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors. But it cannot be laid to her charge if some members fall, weak or wounded. In their name she prays to God daily: “Forgive us our trespasses”; and with the brave heart of a mother she applies herself at once to the work of nursing them back to spiritual health.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 66; underlining added.)
This is only reasonable, considering that the mission Our Blessed Redeemer gave to His Church is not only that of teaching but also of governing and sanctifying souls for the sake of their eternal salvation.
There is no need to repeat here all the arguments adduced in the original article; we will simply refer the interested reader directly to it:
In the present post, we will take a look at a particular curiosity we did not know about until a certain Twitter user pointed it out just recently: In 1967, the Vatican released an initial directory governing the implementation of ecumenism, which permits and encourages the attendance of Catholics at Eastern Orthodox Masses (yes, we know they’re properly called Divine Liturgies in the East).
To be more exact, it was only Part 1 that was published in 1967, with Part 2 following in 1970. The directory bears the title Ad Totam Ecclesiam, from the opening words of its preamble. The full text of Part 1 is published in the official Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. 59 (1967), pp. 574-592; Part 2 is published in the Acta, vol. 62 (1970), pp. 705-724.
Both parts were given the official approval of ‘Pope’ Paul VI (r. 1963-1978), on Apr. 28, 1967, and on Apr. 16, 1970, respectively, as noted at the end of each document:
[For Part 1:] In an audience granted to the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, 28 April, 1967, the Sovereign Pontiff Paul VI approved this directory, confirmed it by his authority and ordered that it be published. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
[For Part 2:] The present Directory the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Paul VI, in the audience granted on the 16th day of April, 1970, to John Cardinal Willebrands, president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, approved and confirmed by his authority and ordered that it become part of the public law. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
The English translation of the original Latin can be found, respectively, in Canon Law Digest VI (pp. 716-734) and Canon Law Digest VII (pp. 801-819).
Now, we say this was an “initial” directory because it came right on the heels of the false Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and served as a first attempt to implement the council’s new doctrines and attitudes — recall that ecumenism was a novelty that had just been embraced for the first time, contrary to prior magisterial teaching — many years before the Code of Canon Law would be revised to align it with the false teachings of Vatican II. This prototype of a directory would eventually be replaced in 1993 by the enormous Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism of the Polish apostate ‘Pope’ and ‘Saint’ John Paul II (r. 1978-2005), which is still in use to this very day.
The 1993 Ecumenical Directory of John Paul II has its own evil laws, as we have demonstrated before, including (but by no means limited to) the law that a bishop may allow a Catholic church to be used by heretics and schismatics for their own formal public worship, and if they need liturgical objects for a “worthy” celebration of their religious ceremonies, then of course the ‘Catholic’ bishop may lend them those as well:
- Remember when John Paul II allowed “Communion” for PROTESTANTS?
- Speaking of Intercommunion: Why did Francis gift a Eucharistic Chalice to a Lutheran Pastor?
- Vatican’s Rules on Communion for Protestants could be relaxed further
- Sacraments for Non-Catholics in the 1983 Code of Canon Law
However, in the present post, we will not concern ourselves with the directory of 1993. Instead, we will focus on what the 1967 Ecumenical Directory legislates in article n. 47 concerning Catholics joining in non-Catholic worship, namely:
47. A Catholic who occasionally, for reasons set out below in n. 50, attends the Holy Liturgy (Mass) on a Sunday or holy day of obligation in an Oriental Church, is not then bound by the precept to assist at Mass in a Catholic Church. It is likewise a good thing if on such days Catholics who for just reasons cannot go to the Holy Liturgy in their own Church, attend the Holy Liturgy of their separated Oriental brethren if this is possible.
(Secretariat for Christian Unity, Directory for Implementing the Decrees Promulgated by the Second Vatican Council on Ecumenism, n. 47; in Rev. T. Lincoln Bouscaren and James I. O’Connor, eds., The Canon Law Digest VI [New York, NY: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1969], p. 730.)
How outrageous this is we will demonstrate shortly, when we contrast it with the traditional Catholic doctrine from before Vatican II.
First, let’s have a look also at article n. 50, which n. 47 points to as being the location where the reasons are set out that supposedly justify the “occasional” active participation in the worship of the Eastern Orthodox religion:
50. Catholics may be allowed to attend liturgical services of our separated Oriental brothers if they have a just cause, for example, arising out of a public office or function, blood relationship, friendship, desire to be better informed, etc. In such cases there is nothing against their taking part in the common responses, hymns and actions of the Church in which they are guests. Receiving Holy Communion, however, will be governed by what is laid down above (nn. 42 and 44). Because of the close communion referred to earlier (n. 40), local Ordinaries can give permission for a Catholic to read lessons at a liturgical service, if he is invited. These same principles govern the manner in which a separated Oriental Christian may assist at services in Catholic churches.
(Directory, n. 50; in Canon Law Digest VI, pp. 730-731.)
Thus we have proof positive that the 1967 Ecumenical Directory is talking about active, formal cooperation in non-Catholic worship, even if Holy Communion is not received. However, even the latter is not ruled out entirely:
44. Besides cases of necessity, there would be just cause for encouraging the sharing of each other’s sacraments if special circumstances make it materially or morally impossible over a long period for one of the faithful to receive the sacraments in his own Church, so that in effect he would be deprived without legitimate reason of the spiritual fruit of the sacraments.
(Directory, n. 44; in Canon Law Digest VI, p. 729.)
This is simply nuts!
To further illustrate the outrageous absurdity of the 1967 Ecumenical Directory, we will also quote the preceding article:
46. Those Oriental Christians who, in the absence of available confessors of their own Church, spontaneously desire to do so, may go to a Catholic confessor. In similar circumstances a Catholic may approach a confessor of an Oriental Church which is separated from the Apostolic Roman See. Reciprocity should be maintained here too. Both sides should of course take care to arouse no suspicion of proselytizing.
(Directory, n. 46)
What a terrible affront to Almighty God and sound doctrine! Gone are the days when care had to be taken not to cause scandal or endanger one’s faith (esp. by the heresy of Indifferentism) — now care has to be taken not to proselytize the non-Catholic! What utter insanity!
What the Directory establishes here is a horrendous evil: It presumes to permit formal communicatio in sacris (communication in sacred things) through the active participation in the public worship of a false religion. That, however, is something that is intrinsically evil, as we will show momentarily, meaning it is evil not on account of some external circumstance but in its very nature. As such, it does not admit of exceptions and is in fact always a mortal sin, objectively speaking. Yet the 1967 Directory states it is “a good thing” — though only “occasionally” and for a “just cause”! — to assist at the heretico-schismatic Masses of the Eastern Orthodox, when just a few years prior every confessor would have told the penitent it’s a mortal sin!
Indeed, in 1948 the Holy Office issued a canonical warning regarding ecumenical gatherings, pointing out that “since acts of mixed worship have also been posed not rarely both within and without the aforesaid gatherings, all are once more warned that any communication in sacred affairs is totally forbidden according to the norm of Canons 1258 and 731, § 2″ (Decree Cum Compertum; underlining added).
Now, of course the 1967 Directory bases its newly-found “permission” to violate the total prohibition against common worship on Vatican II’s decree on ecumenism, which states: “…some worship in common (communicatio in sacris), given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not only possible but to be encouraged” (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 15). Funny how what was intrinsically evil in 1948 is “to be encouraged” less than 20 years later!
The whole matter is quite grotesque, but then it simply manifests the typical contradictory and deliberately vague approach of Vatican II, where everything is stated and also its opposite, somehow. Indeed, if one had to summarize the council in a single word, it would probably be the word “however”: Something is permitted, but not really; it is not forbidden, but not encouraged either; one could do it, but shouldn’t, although one may, at least with the permission of the local bishop or if some suitable circumstance suggests it; etc., ad nauseam. It is a nightmare!
We see this, for example, in Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 8:
In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers “for unity,” and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” [Mt. 18, 20].
Yet worship in common (communicatio in sacris) is not to be considered as a means to be used indiscriminately for the restoration of Christian unity. There are two main principles governing the practice of such common worship: first, the bearing witness to the unity of the Church, and second, the sharing in the means of grace. Witness to the unity of the Church very generally forbids common worship to Christians, but the grace to be had from it sometimes commends this practice. The course to be adopted, with due regard to all the circumstances of time, place, and persons, is to be decided by local episcopal authority, unless otherwise provided for by the Bishops’ Conference according to its statutes, or by the Holy See.
(Vatican II, Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 8; bold print added.)
What an insufferable mess!
Contrast this with the utterly clear Catholic position before the council:
§ 1. It is not licit for the faithful by any manner to assist actively or to have a part in the sacred [rites] of non-Catholics.
§ 2. Passive or merely material presence can be tolerated for the sake of honor or civil office, for grave reason approved by the Bishop in case of doubt, at the funerals, weddings, and similar solemnities of non-Catholics, provided danger of perversion and scandal is absent.
(Latin original here; English translation from Edward N. Peters, ed., The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2001]. Purchase through this link benefits Novus Ordo Watch.)
We might add here that the traditional law of the Church also legislates an automatic suspicion of heresy against those who violate Canon 1258:
Whoever in any manner willingly and knowingly helps in the promulgation of heresy, or who communicates in things divine with heretics against the prescriptions of Canon 1258, is suspected of heresy.
(Latin original here; Peters translation.)
The reason why the Church legislates an absolute prohibition against formal participation in the sacred rites of non-Catholics is that such participation is intrinsically evil, thus contrary to the divine law:
It is unlawful for Catholics in any way to assist actively at or take part in the worship of non-Catholics (Canon 1258 [1917 Code of Canon Law]). Such assistance is intrinsically and gravely evil; for (a) if the worship is non-Catholic in its form (e.g., Mohammedan ablutions, the Jewish paschal meal, revivalistic “hitting the trail,” the right hand of fellowship, etc.), it expresses a belief in the false creed symbolized; (b) if the worship is Catholic in form, but is under the auspices of a non-Catholic body (e.g., Baptism as administered by a Protestant minister, or Mass as celebrated by a schismatical priest), it expresses either faith in a false religious body or rebellion against the true Church.
(Rev. John A. McHugh & Charles J. Callan, Moral Theology [New York, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, 1958], n. 964; bold print added.)
In a study dedicated to the question of religious communication with non-Catholics, Fr. John Bancroft (1910-1954) summarizes:
Formal communication in public non-Catholic worship is intrinsically wrong, and has a multiple morality, being against faith, religion, and charity. Hence canon 1258, § 1, is not merely ecclesiastical prohibition, but is an expression of the divine law. Active participation in such worship is a formal communication.
(Rev. John R. Bancroft, Communication in Religious Worship with Non-Catholics [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1943], p. 140; bold print added.)
The author treats the matter quite thoroughly on pp. 39-55 of his book. In his preface he explains: “The Catholic Church has a unique position; it is the only Church in which public worship can legitimately be given to God, and this by His own manifest decree” (p. vii). It goes without saying that hell would freeze over before such “triumphalist” words would ever come out of the mouth of a Vatican II ecumenist — and that is another testimony to the substantial rupture between the pre- and the post-Vatican II doctrine.
Indeed, just how badly Vatican II ecumenism contradicts the prior perennial Catholic doctrine on the Church, can be gleaned from the following articles:
- Vatican II’s New Doctrine on the Church (Introduction to Sedevacantism, Part 1)
- Christian Unity without Catholicism: Francis spews Ecumenical Bilge at General Audience
- Ecumenism instead of Catholicism: Francis misleads Eastern Orthodox Monks
- The Vatican and the Ecumenical Movement: From Stern Condemnation to Enthusiastic Approval
- Vatican celebrates 60 Years of Ecumenism: How it Contradicts Catholic Doctrine
- Francis dumps Truckloads of Heresy and Error in Address to Ecumenical Audience in Bahrain
- No False Unity: Cardinal Stritch’s Rebuff of the Ecumenical Movement
Nothing, however, renders the substantial change (and therefore genuine contradiction) between the pre- and post-Vatican II teachings regarding religious unity more obvious than the official practical application of the new doctrine. Any loopholes one may think to have found in the theoretical-doctrinal discussion are absolutely closed up by the norms for practicing ecumenism. In other words, if there is any doubt about what the Novus Ordo authorities believe about the Catholic Church and about false religions, how they practice ecumenism very much gives it away, that is, clarifies what they believe.
Thus it is as clear as night is from day that the ecumenism of the Vatican II Church is heretical, anti-Catholic, and wholly incompatible with traditional Catholic doctrine on religious unity, such as is spelled out, for instance, in Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Satis Cognitum (1896) or Pope Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos (1928). Anyone who maintains that the Novus Ordo magisterium is right on ecumenism is necessarily saying that the perennial Catholic teaching before the council was false. The one or the other has to go. And go it does, for present-day ecumenists certainly reject the traditional Catholic teaching, something they never cease to flaunt in one way or another.
Returning now to paragraph 47 in the 1967 Ecumenical Directory, we must note that it was tacitly overturned in 1983 when John Paul II issued the revised Code of Canon Law, but certainly no later than 1993 with the new Ecumenical Directory:
The former Ecumenical Directory of 1967 granted a privilege permitted Catholics to fulfill their Sunday and holy day obligation at the divine liturgy of a separated Eastern church. This privilege was suppressed in the 1993 Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism.
(John M. Huels, O.S.M., on Canon 1248; in John P. Beal et al., eds., New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law [New York, NY: Paulist Press, 2002], p. 1445. Purchase through this link benefits Novus Ordo Watch.)
In footnote 84, the editor adds: “One could argue that the privilege had already been revoked in 1983 by this canon [Canon 1248] since it made no exception for the separates Eastern churches”.
We take note, then, that the norm regarding joining actively in the heretical-schismatic Masses of the Eastern Orthodox was so bad, so manifestly contrary to the divine law that not even the über-ecumenist John Paul II saw fit to retain it!
Let us be clear, however, that the fact that this outrage was rescinded in 1983 (or 1993) in no way salvages the New Church, for the balloon had already been popped, thus exposing the Vatican II Sect for the anti-Catholic fraud that it is.
Therefore, we summarize as follows:
In light of the fact that
- the Catholic Church cannot promulgate universal disciplinary laws that are in themselves sinful, harmful, heretical, sacrilegious, or evil in some other way, since she is infallible in these matters, as explained and demonstrated here;
and in light of the fact that
- what the 1967 Ecumenical Directory legislates is intrinsically evil, sinful, and harmful;
therefore, it follows necessarily that
- the 1967 Ecumenical Directory did not come from the lawful ecclesiastical authority.
- the 1967 Ecumenical Directory came from Giovanni Battista Montini (‘Pope Paul VI’) in an official ‘papal’ act, as documented in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis;
therefore, it follows necessarily that
- Giovanni Battista Montini was not the lawful ecclesiastical authority; that is, he was not the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Exit ‘Pope’ Paul VI and his abominable Ecumenical Directory.
Image source: composite with elements from Shutterstock (Evgeny Prokofyev; SviatlanaLaza)