Catholic Truth Challenge: Come Debate With Us, Monsignor Loftus …

Catholic Truth Challenge: Come Debate With Us, Monsignor Loftus …

I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the awful column penned by Mgr Basil Loftus in the Catholic Times. To say it’s “awful” is akin to saying there’s a bit of unrest in Iraq these days.

The man doesn’t have a Catholic thought in his head and his utter hatred for the authentic Catholic religion is tangible in just about every sentence. He expects to be allowed to get away with his attacks on the Church but won’t tolerate any criticism of himself  –  click on the image in order to read some history of the Monsignor’s (some would say “almost violent”)  reaction to criticism.

Last week, he re-defined Natural Law, to permit (need you ask) artificial contraception, homosexuality, cohabitation, blah blah.  Of course, he didn’t say that he was re-defining Natural Law; he blamed the “Synod Agenda” for the forthcoming Synod on the Family. That’s his modus operandi:  oh, it’s not li’l ole me, saying this, it’s this obscure theologian, or that heretic or … the “Synod Agenda”. 

Anyway, this week he took a swipe at Father Thomas Ladner, the Austrian priest unjustly (and at any other period in Church history, incomprehensibly) punished for teaching the Faith. (See Challenging Young people to live the faith relevant to today’s everyday life, Catholic Times, 15 August, 2014)

In the Gospel according to Basil, the case of Fr Ladner “illustrates how much change was needed in the way the Church approaches religious education for children”  adding “this 36 year old young fogey – who affects an everyday style of clerical dress – shovel hat, cassock and exaggeratedly full Roman collar – which was never in vogue in Austria, where priests wear secular dress – has been suspended by his bishop from teaching religion to children.  Ladner’s ‘out of date terminology’ and an insistence on the starker aspects of the ‘four last things’ – death, judgement, Hell and Heaven – were judged by the diocese concerned to be ‘unsuitable’ for the age group of the children concerned.’ “

To justify this baloney, Loftus (he is on record with his disapproval of titles such as “Monsignor” so forgive me if I indulge him in this respect) cites Pope Paul VI’s “insistence on a ‘re-examination of methods of pedagogy in religious education’, arguing that “Only if religion is taught in the same fresh and inspired way that, for instance, mathematics is taught today, will it be seen to be relevant…”

The problem with this rigid application of contemporary pedagogy is that it ignores the experience of great saints and Doctors of the Church like St Thérèse of Lisieux, who said she had been so well taught about her Faith that by the time she was three years of age, she knew that she loved God and wanted to give her life to Him.

I know we have an almost inexhaustible list of the faithless who might vie for our vote in a “Heretic of the Year” competition, but Loftus really has to be in the lead. His writings have long been suspect but since the election of “Holy Father Francis” his attacks on the Faith have become increasingly bold and more imaginative. Today, he is trying to convince us all that “innovations” are a good thing in the Church: remember that cry of Pope Saint Pius X: “Far, far from our priests be the love of novelty”? Forget it.  Loftus exhorts us to “appreciate such new developments in doctrine as we now have in the fields of ecumenism, and to acknowledge the need to correct previous errors, such as those in Pius XI’s Syllabus of Errors, which have now been rectified by the innovations of Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom.” He goes on: “Today, moral theology and doctrine are coming together in the wake of the acceptance of evolution and the rehabilitation of Teilhard de Chardin, as theologians look again at what has been taught about the nature and transmission of Original Sin, as well as re-examining the concepts of personal moral responsibility in actual sin.”

Loftus has left us. No question about it.  His hatred of all things traditional and truly Catholic breathes heavily throughout his every column in the Catholic Times, Scottish Catholic Observer and now, I’m told, the Universe. So much for the Catholic papers being a means of spreading the truth. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.

There’s sufficient here already to give a flavour of the extent of Loftus’s faithlessness, which expresses itself very nastily, as for example, when he refers to the sacred vestments as “the kind of diaphanous lace frippery usually seen only on the tea-tables of elderly spinsters…”  And this, under a large picture of priests offering the traditional Latin Mass –  for which, of course, Loftus manifests a particular and diabolical hatred. (see Getting rid of lace garb in the liturgy, Catholic Times: 12 February, 2012)

He’s also on record with his mockery of anything approaching childlike faith; devotions, including Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament are belittled in another article.  Here, we read: “In a real sense, too, our spiritual life has to move on from just the Baby Jesus, or indeed any other aspect of Jesus, to the realisation that Christ’s own life is oriented to the Father… [and then] at Pentecost, we have come of age…In Pantomime terms the Holy Spirit has usurped Christ’s role as principal boy in the Church.” (We are Kingdom people growing up in the Faith, Catholic times, 12 June, 2011).

Close to blasphemy you say?  You may be right.  Thing is, there’s no way to express our concerns about Loftus. Letters to the Editor (certainly the ones I’ve written and others that I’ve seen when readers kindly send me copies they’ve submitted) do not get published OR if they ARE published, there’s a rebuttal alongside from Loftus. This is highly unprofessional of the Editor, of course, but that’s the way they’ve decided to deal with anyone who dares to criticise this priest-columnist.  Don’t ask me how much he’s paid for his attacks on the Faith – I won’t speculate except to say it’s too much, far too much, and as he will find out at his Judgement, definitely not worth the consequences of undermining revealed doctrine, God’s natural moral law, and thus creating doubt in souls.

In the absence of any other means of making our concerns known to this priest, therefore, we’ve decided to challenge him to defend his writings in a public debate.  I, moi, will debate with him, and at least one other blogger has agreed to be supporting speaker.  All will be revealed in due course. If, that is, the Monsignor is up to the challenge.  Catholic Truth will host the event, so what do you think – will he? Won’t he?

And we  are willing to extend the challenge to any priest in the UK who would like to defend their decision to make the Catholic papers available for sale in their churches. They are selling poison, damaging the Faith of Catholics who are living at a time of great crisis in the Church and who trust their priests to give them bread, not stones.

So, Monsignor, you first. Will you take up our challenge?

Fathers – any of you willing to debate with us?

Defending the indefensible is tough, right enough  – no question about it. So let’s see if any of them will try.

Comments (121)

  • Dr John Dowden

    The nice thing about ‘Scottish Catholic Truth’ is that, even after a spell away from blogging here, one comes back to the same mixture of confident assertion, coupled with egregious error.

    So we are assured that ‘the fact is that he [Benedict XVI] is now only Cardinal Ratzinger’. No hint there whether, after his resignation it might be ‘Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger’ or ‘Benedict, Cardinal Ratzinger’ but either way the notion is sadly mistaken.

    The Lefebvrist schism has perhaps been on the go for long enough now for its adherents to forget the rules but, within the Roman Church itself, the basic rules remain that a cardinal’s ‘title’ is a not personal honour, it is an ecclesiastical office. It is held normally for life but it has occasionally been vacated for other reasons. By far the most common reason to vacate a title, other than by death, is election to another office, the bishopric of Rome.

    The facts are that Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia on 30 November, 2002 and vacated this title on election as bishop of Rome on 19 April, 2005, Ostia and Rome being what the canonists have long called ‘incompatible’ major benefices (which cannot be held in plurality). Benedict XVI, as he became, then almost immediately appointed Angelo Sodano to his own former title of Ostia on 23 April, 2005, an office Cardinal Sodano currently holds.

    So, the fact is that after he resigned the see of Rome, professor dr hab. Ratzinger’s ecclesiastical title is ‘bishop emeritus’. Having ceased to be a cardinal before his resignation as bishop, he no longer dresses as a cardinal and appears in the garb of his emeritus position. His successor as bishop of Rome would have been (and is) perfectly entitled to appoint the bishop emeritus as a new cardinal to a new title but he has chosen not to do so.

    Adherents of a Dead Popes’ Society are at perfect liberty to moan about either (or both) of the living ones (and even perhaps to make daft assertions about prisoners in the Vatican) but that is no reason to misrepresent (for unsuspecting readers) the canonical position established over the better part of a millennium. The ‘catholic truth’ is that, having resigned, Benedict, bishop emeritus of Rome, is by no stretch of the canonical imagination ‘only Cardinal Ratzinger’.

    The fact is that, in persistently asserting this basic canonical error, this blog is talking through its (red) hat. Less of a ‘Catholic Truth Challenge’ than an intellectually-challenged ‘Catholic Truth’.

    August 19, 2014 at 10:45 pm
    • editor


      You do talk a load of… times. 😯

      When Fr Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman, was asked about title and dress for Pope Benedict post-resignation, he said there was no question about it, the pontiff would return to being “Cardinal Ratzinger” (or if you must, “Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger” although that’s not what Fr Lombardi said, but what the heck) and also that he would be dressed in the same black clerical garb as every other cardinal in the Church. It was – as we know – not to be, because novelty is the in-word, the buzz word, in the Vatican these days. There is no such office as “Pope Emeritus” and never has been, but then you are not a Catholic, so you couldn’t be expected to know that.

      Now, Leo’s far too busy these days and I sure don’t have the time to devote to Educating Dowden, so we won’t keep you, Dowden, dear – and, in any case, I believe your beloved Anglican (lack of) communion needs your help. Well, let’s face it, they need all the help they can get. 😀

      August 19, 2014 at 11:39 pm
      • Dr John Dowden


        Thank you for the ad hominem points – a pretty fair sign that the other side of any debate is lost for anything else to say.

        Ignoring the fallacy, there is no big issue: CT is wrong. There is no telling whether you have misunderstood your Fr Lombardi, when asked about the title and dress. You are right that there is no such office as ‘Pope Emeritus’ – the bishop of Rome resigned his former – but there remains an honorific title of ‘emeritus’ for former holders of an office.

        Where you are clearly wrong, however, is not to understand the concept of a cardinal’s ‘title’. The fact is that the former Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger vacated his ‘title’ – as has been explained – and his title is now held by another individual. Benedict XVI is ‘emeritus’ and (if yesterday’s press is to be believed) and Francis is considering retirement, Benedict will presumably become the senior emeritus and Francis the junior. Three living bishops of Rome (none of them any longer cardinals) would be interesting.

        So I needn’t keep you: the bishop emeritus of Rome does not appear in the lists of cardinals for the simple reason that he no longer holds a cardinal’s title – no amount of evasion or bluster can get round that one. By the same token, the names of bishops such as Fellay and Williamson do not appear in the lists of Roman-Catholic bishops for the simple reason that they hold no such title – not even a title in partibus. But then you probably attend a catholic church a lot less often than I do, so you needn’t be expected to know that.

        It is a challenge to master the finer details.

        August 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm
      • Athanasius

        Dr. D.,

        Prior to Benedict’s “resignation” the only two Popes in history to step down both “abdicated.” Once they had abdicated they returned immediately to their former title of Cardinal.

        It is you who fails to understand the hierarchic offices of the Catholic Church and how those offices traditionally function. But that’s ok, you’re an Anglican and so ignorance of the sacred offices of the Church is expected of you. Not so the Modernist/liberals in Rome who should know that Popes cannot “resign” office, and at any rate cannot retain ‘Pope’ in any form of personal title once they have “abdicated.”

        You, like they, make the classic error of confusing divinely appointed office in the Catholic Church with the board of a corporate company. The Pope is not a CEO, he’s Christ’s Vicar on earth, particularly chosen by Christ to rule unto death, not unto retirement.

        Consequently, it is only for the most serious of reasons, exemplified by only two abdicating Popes in 2000 years, that a Pontiff leaves office. Old age and weariness are not sufficient reasons for Peter to abandon office. Research the words “Quo Vadis, Domine?”

        August 21, 2014 at 2:00 am
    • Athanasius

      Dr. D.,

      Theologically speaking, if you told me it was raining outside I would run to the window to check. It’s pretty obvious you’re an Anglican.

      Maybe you would be better employed looking at the very serious issues presently tearing Henry’s invented church to pieces. Do yourself a big favour, ditch the rebellion and come home to the Church of your forefathers. I promise it will result in your getting the grace to see the truths you clearly cannot see right now.

      August 19, 2014 at 11:57 pm
      • Dr John Dowden


        It is easy enough to see that you evade the point, but the fact remains you are mistaken is saying that the bishop emeritus holds a cardinal’s title.

        Maybe you would be better employed discovering the role of all three of Henry VIII’s children in creating the reformed English Church. ‘Henry’s invented church’, as you call it, died with him – there was never another adult male to be supreme head and never another vicegerent. The present English establishment is substantially the creation of Elizabeth I and her parliaments and convocations. If you don’t happen to know British history – no harm in that – it might be wiser not to comment sooner than add to the blog’s tally of egregious error.

        Unless one’s forefathers (or, to be less sexist, forbears) were Irish, Polish, Italian or Lithuanian, few indigenous Scots could ‘ditch the rebellion and come home to the Church of [their] forefathers’ by joining the Roman-Catholic Church. No significant number of native Scots ever knew the Tridentine rite – our forebears followed the Sarum or Aberdeen use. Even as regards the Italian mission to the Irish, so far as I understand it, the church authorities have given up long since on the notion of ‘return ecumenism’. And then there is the problem of whether the Scottish ‘returnees’ should head for the two-priest Ordinariate in Scotland or for the schismatic two-chapel Dead Popes’ Society. Faced with that choice, ‘piskies do best to stay where the Good Lord put them.

        The truths you clearly cannot see right now is that all ad hominem arguments aside, Benedict ceased to be a cardinal on accepting election and has not been appointed to a cardinal’s title since.

        The challenge in a debate is to answer a point or concede it, not simply to evade try to it.

        August 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm
      • Confitebor Domino

        ”the two-priest Ordinariate in Scotland”

        That’s two more priests than the ‘piskies have!

        August 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        Confitebor Domino,

        “The two-priest Ordinariate in Scotland: that’s two more priests than the ‘piskies have!’

        You are entitled to the eccentric view that Leo XIII and Cardinal Gasquet understood British history; you are even entitled to ignore the ‘Dutch touch’ if you like. But the problem remains you ought not to forget the various Roman-Catholic priests who quietly give up on unsupportable beliefs (or on celibacy being enforced by a rather less than celibate set of bishops).

        When they slip away, they have to go somewhere and three guesses where they usually fetch up? You will find a Roman ‘refugee’ mass in Edinburgh just as easily as any lefebvrist offering. And the ‘piskie hymns tend to be better!

        Poor old Catholic Truth: tries hard to be clever but is ignorant of the facts. CT for fecund error!

        August 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm
      • Confitebor Domino

        I think your humour-detector needs recharging!

        I am well aware that some Catholic priests, having abandoned their calling, have pitched up in ‘piskie-land.

        However, as they chose to abandon the one true fold of the Redeemer it’s highly likely that their “masses” will be invalid owing to defect of intention. I don’t say they are definitely invalid in every case – but they can hardly be recommended as a safe option.

        In any case, Catholics are obliged to assist at Mass in a Catholic rite.

        August 23, 2014 at 7:11 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        Confitebor Domino,

        Careful. In context, ‘ritus’ means rite in the sense of Latin Rite, Maronite Rite, Uniate Rite and so on – a particular church. It does not mean rite in the sense of the Ambrosian, Aberdeen, Sarum or Roman ‘Use’ or set of liturgical customs. The Novus Ordo of 1570, the Tridentine rite or Extraordinary Form or Older Use (not that it is old, older) does not constitute a rite within the meaning of the act. So the Roman rules mandate attendance at a Catholic Rite, meaning Western, possibly Uniate but not Orthodox or Anglican or SSPX. The SSPX is not in full communion with the Roman-Catholic church, its bishops have no episcopal title and its priests no parochial jurisdiction. Like the Orthodox, Roman law would see their ministrations as valid but not licit.

        On the whole it is unwise therefore to cast aspersions on Edinburgh’s Roman Refugees – the only real difference between them and the Edinburgh Lefebvrists is that they are schismatics out-and-proud while the SSPX are still in the closet. It is just as well for us all that the Good Lord does not take the Code of Canon Law particularly seriously: littera enim occidit Spiritus autem uiuificat. No reason to spoil your Sunday.

        August 30, 2014 at 6:57 pm
      • Petrus


        This is utter tripe. The SSPX celebrate the Roman Rite of Mass. The SSPX has an irregular canonical status, but cannot ever be compared to the heretical and schismatic Anglicans.

        The Vatican has never said that the SSPX are not in “full communion”. Indeed, various cardinals have been keen to stress that this is an “internal issue” and not an ecumenical cause.

        I would concentrate in saving your own soul instead of sticking your nose into internal matters of the Catholic Church? Doctor Dowden? More like Doctor Dolittle….or should that be “Know Little”?

        August 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm
      • Athanasius


        Dowden is either ill informed or intellectually dishonest when he says the SSPX is schismatic.

        While it is true that the SSPX is declared to be “not in full communion” with Rome, there is a vast difference between that state and the state of formal schism, which the Anglicans entered into under Henry VIII and have continued to the present day.

        Rome has made it perfectly clear that its declaration on the SSPX is NOT a declaration of formal schism, but rather an observation that the SSPX and the Roman authorities are not one in their understanding of Vatican II and its reforms. There is no question now, nor has there ever been a question, of the SSPX’s fidelity to the Holy See and to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

        The SSPX merely opposes the Pope in certain matters of Papally introduced or permitted novelties that are contradictory of the faith handed down and quite obviously dangerous to that faith. Protestants on the contrary oppose the Pope in all matters at all times, rejecting his divine election as the Vicar of Christ and his supreme authority over the church on earth. This is the massive difference between the SSPX and true schismatics who are cut off from the true vine.

        Dowden should know the difference, so I’m finding it difficult to excuse his obfuscation in the matter. The most senior Roman authorities have made it perfectly and publicly clear that the SSPX is NOT considered to be in schism with Rome. Hence the recent permission granted to French SSPX priest to celebrate Holy Mass at the tomb of St. Pius X in St. Peter’s Basilica.

        August 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm
      • Confitebor Domino

        You are one of those people who could start an argument in an empty room!

        I merely paraphrased canon 1248 ‘celebratur ritu catholico‘. There is little point in berating me for the fact that the CIC uses ritus in a plethora of different senses. In this case the meaning is well enough understood – Roman rite, Dominican rite, Ambrosian rite etc etc – but not a protestant rite.

        I see Petrus and Athanasius have addressed your anti-SSPX nonsense so I shall resist the temptation to chide you any further!

        August 30, 2014 at 11:38 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        Confitebor Domino,

        I don’t know about starting rows in empty houses but there sure are a lot of errors coming out of ‘traditionalist’ blogs. (Ed: my advice, then, is to avoid them.)

        The problem is very simply that the only way to read ‘ritus’ in the sense of ‘vsus’ (liturgical use) in the first part of the canon is quietly to ignore the obvious fact that in the second half it clearly means ‘rite’ as in Uniate (jurisdiction). The legislator is considering the case (common in the east) where, e.g. a Uniate cannot easily attend his or her own rite locally and is considering whether to attend a nearby Orthodox (and familiar) liturgy or an available (but unfamiliar) Latin Rite. If one is interested in truth, ‘ritus’ in this context, requires attendance at a church in full communion, not irregular, not impaired, full. In most cases therefore the law is intended to mandate Uniate for Latins and Latin for Uniate.

        Ed: I take it you think you’ve just proven that we are not permitted to attend SSPX chapels? Wrong. That’s not what the Vatican says. Catch-up, Dowden.

        I happened to have got an interesting view on this from the horses’ mouth – Roman clergy attending a conference, including a couple of Scots exiles. It is apparently expedient (with fitful negotiations still under way) to turn a blind eye to the irregular goings on in private chapels. When, however, the Chancellor of ‘the Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen’ has to make a clear legal statement there is no disguising the fact that the ‘canonical irregularity’ which is being made regular is ‘a schismatic act’.
        (Ed: you really need to catch up, Dowden. A “schismatic act” is not what you seem to think it is, Sugar Plum. The SSPX is not in schism, end of.)
        They are keeping quiet in public in Scotland but it slipped out inadvertently in (of all places) eastern Europe ( Only link I can find is in a Slavonic language (Ed: fancy that – we are surprised…) (but if your Czech or Slovak or Polish is up to it) that sure looks like a ‘schismatic state’ – if not take my word for it, I’m a doctor. To quote the blessed St Basil of St Fawlty’s Towers: don’t mention the S*****.
        (Ed: Dowden, it is such a very true statement, isn’t it, “a little learning is a very dangerous thing”. Listen, I lived in Aberdeen for 5 years. Trust me, no cleric there has anything to teach anyone about the SSPX. You need to get with the programme, Honey Bunch. I repeat, since repetition is the mother of education, that the SSPX is not in schism but I refuse to waste a single second giving you more evidence. Instead, allow me to tell you that I have no more intention of wasting my precious time dealing with your (for the most part) nonsensical comments than you have of accepting the facts we offer here. So, if you post any more anti-SSPX propaganda, it’ll be deleted. Be warned.)

        So looks to me as if the legal context is being ignored: the law means find your local Ukrainians (if there are any) or other eastern rite in full communion. Did someone complain about twisting meaning?
        (Ed: never mind “twisting meaning” – few, if any of us, have a clue about YOUR meaning. You talk in riddles and frankly, I am very tired of it. I am up to my eyes and have very little time at my disposal. Having to deal with bloggers who are unable to keep to our very simple house rules and thus have to be put into moderation really irks the life out of me; it is not something at the top of my wish list. Clue: it’s not even three quarters way down my wish list. So either talk sense, stop ignoring the facts and make a sensible contribution to our discussions or find an Anglican blog with a couple of Philadelphia lawyers on hand to decipher your incomprehensible chatter. And may the Anglican “god” go with you…)

        September 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm
      • Athanasius

        Dr. D.,

        By “Henry’s invented church” I was meaning the church founded on divorce and adultery. I will say, though, that matters have greatly deteriorated in recent decades with the embracing of much more radical anti-Scripture innovations. Many Anglicans have already opened their eyes to the truth and returned home. You should do likewise.

        August 21, 2014 at 2:12 am
      • Dr John Dowden


        ‘Henry’s invented church … founded on divorce and adultery’.

        Do sort out your canon law (not, it seems, your strong point). Jack Scarisbrick demonstrated years ago that in the King’s Great Matter there was (on Catherine’s own testimony) an undispensed ‘impediment of public honesty’. Henry was, therefore, in law a bachelor and adultery cannot have been the canonical offence. Henry’s petition (and Cranmer’s decree) was for an annulment, not a divorce. And the present, 1558-63, settlement of the English Church is founded on the work of Elizabeth not Henry.

        So apart from Henry’s church being Elizabeth’s work, there being no adultery and no divorce, you get it right. Zero out of three – CT’s fecund error strikes again.

        August 23, 2014 at 6:09 pm
      • Athanasius

        Dr. D.,

        I cannot answer so ludicrous a post. You’re getting desperate when you throw in that kind of attempted defence of so clear an evil as Henry’s break with the one true Church. The next thing you’ll be telling us is that he didn’t die of syphilis but of a broken heart!

        August 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm
      • Athanasius


        It is not a question of liturgical rites and local customs. One belongs to the true Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ ONLY if and when one accepts with all one’s forebears the divinely established truth that “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” If you reject Peter (the divinely established Petrine See), you reject Christ. It’s really that straightforward.

        August 21, 2014 at 2:26 am
      • editor


        Sincere thanks for your replies to Dowden – I am swamped right now with other newsletter business, so you have saved me a fair bit of time. Your most recent comment “it is not a question of….” sums up, beautifully, Dowden’s Dilemma. He’s not a Catholic and it shows, sadly, in his various misinterpretations and misunderstandings about the origins, nature and purpose of the Church, plus his failure to comprehend the nature and extent of the current crisis in the Church.

        August 21, 2014 at 10:14 am
      • Athanasius


        I’m happy to have been of some assistance. But do you think Dowden will pay the least attention to what I’ve written? I would like to think so but I fear he’ll carry on regardless. Oh well, we can but speak the truth and let others make of it what the choose.

        August 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm
      • Dr John Dowden


        Athanasius may have ‘saved you a fair bit of time’ but that is no excuse to evade a point you find uncomfortable. You continue to suggest Benedict would ‘return to being “Cardinal Ratzinger” (or if [I] must, “Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger”)’.

        Your dilemma may stem from the fact that the SSPX’s schismatic acts isolate their adherents from the broader stream and since the SSPX bishops are not part of the Roman hierarchy, adherents of their schism may become out of touch. There is little point in repeating what has been said – the facts are clear, ‘Joseph Cardinal, Ratzinger’ has ceased to exist; Benedict, bishop emeritus of Rome is (happily) still with us but he is not a cardinal and did not participate in the last conclave.

        But it may help clarify your mind to explain that, in Roman canon law, every cardinal holds a ‘title’, an ecclesiastical office (which can in some circumstances be vacated or resigned). A cardinal’s ‘title’ has a specific meaning and is in no sense a purely personal status or life-long honour. Thus Scotland’s own dear Keith Michael Patrick, Cardinal O’Brien holds the ‘title’ of cardinal priest of Santi Gioacchino ed Anna al Tuscolano. He will hold this title until he dies, is promoted cardinal bishop, resigns, is asked to resign, or is elected bishop of Rome. He will then cease to be a cardinal (as did Benedict).

        But, if you still think you are right and Benedict has somehow ‘reverted’, do give us the name of his ‘title’. The challenge will not take up much of your time to check the lists. It will take you no time at all to find the name of the bishop emeritus on these lists. None at all: he is not there, for the beautifully simple reason that he is (no matter what you say) not a cardinal.

        So, a simple challenge: name the alleged cardinal’s ‘title’, his titular church, or concede the point.

        It will not help debate with your allegedly errant monsignor if you find it impossible to admit a mistake even where the error is manifest. Is there no end of CT’s fecund errors?

        August 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm
      • Athanasius

        Dr. D.,

        Poor, misguided man! First of all, Cardinal Ratzinger did not participate in the last conclave because his age barred him from doing so, not because he is still by any stretch of the imagination regarded as above the rank of Cardinal in the Catholic Church.

        It is clear from his abdication of the Petrine See (read my earlier answer to your claim that it was resignation not abdication), that the former Pope Benedict XVI can in no wise be considered a Pope emeritus or Bishop emeritus of Rome by reason of his irrevocable renunciation of that office. Hence, he defers to his previous rank in the Church of Cardinal, in the present case Cardinal priest. At any rate, it would be more accurate to refer to him as Father Ratzinger than Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, a title that makes no sense whatsoever given his renunciation of it. He has ceased to be Pope in any capacity, even an honorary one, but he has not ceased to be a priest. This should be really straightforward for you to understand.

        August 23, 2014 at 8:03 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        Fecund error strikes again. Cardinals are not debarred from attending conclaves on the grounds of age – they attend and take part in discussions; they are simply debarred from voting.

        As bishop emeritus, Benedict did not attend either phase of the process for the very simple reason that he had ceased to be cardinal years before. So your intervention is ill-informed but there is no real reason to suppose people who spend their time in schismatic circles keep up with the thinking in ecclesial body they have left behind.

        It did however allow the editor to wriggle out of naming the alleged ‘title’ which the alleged ‘cardinal’ Ratzinger allegedly holds in the Roman Church.

        If the consensus here is correct, and the Bishop Emeritus of Rome holds a cardinal’s title, it ought not to be beyond the wit of a whole consensus of schismatics to name it. Simple question: what is the alleged cardinal’s alleged title? At the moment there are 210 to choose from and it is easily possible to discover the title of any living cardinal. No great challenge.

        Name his title.

        Or, alternatively, concede that (for once) the ‘traditionalists’ are wrong. The bishop emeritus is not a cardinal.

        August 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm
      • Athanasius

        Dr. D.,

        You clearly do not understand the irreversible supernatural nature of priestly elevations in the Catholic Church, so I’ll try to make this is as simple as I possibly can.

        The only two Popes in history to have abdicated the Papacy prior to Benedict XVI immediately returned to using the title of Cardinal. They automatically resorted to this dignity because it was clearly ludicrous to hold on to a title in any form that they had just renounced. Indeed, the nature of the Papacy is such that it cannot admit two Popes at the same time, even if one does call himself “Emeritus.”

        It was fully expected that Benedict would return to being Cardinal Ratzinger, an expectation held even by Benedict. That Pope Francis chose to introduce the novelty of the “Emeritus” Pope and deny Benedict his proper title post-abdication is matter you will have to take up with Francis.

        What I will say is that the absence of a titular church or of an assignment to a particular office does not affect Ratzinger’s due title
        of Cardinal, a dignity bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II that can never be revoked.

        He did not cease to be a priest when he was made bishop, neither did he cease to be a bishop when he became a Cardinal. Likewise, he did not cease to be a Prince of the Church, a Cardinal, when he was elected Pope. He may have been raised to higher office by God for a time, but he reverted back to Cardinal when he renounced that supreme office, which has the peculiarity of being the only ecclesiastical dignity in the Catholic Church to forbid more than one claimant at a time. That he does not now appear to have a Cardinal’s title since his abdication is a juridical and not supernatural issue. It does not detract from the fact that he is at the present time simply a Cardinal Priest of the Holy Catholic Church, no more, no less.

        August 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        There is a good opportunity, now that Athanasius has (very wisely) thrown in the towel on this one, to tidy up the residue of error.
        Ed: Athanasius has not “thrown in the towel” but has very wisely decided not to waste his time casting pearls before swine. I would have hoped that someone so obviously keen to prove himself intellectually superior would have been able to tell the difference. As for the stuff I see rabbiting on about “abdication” versus “resignation” I’ve put a link from the Catholic Encylopaedia in another one of your comments which should help you to see why the terms are often used interchangeably, without having to worry your little head about Latin nouns and verbs. Gimme a break.

        ‘ … only two Popes in history to have abdicated the Papacy prior to Benedict XVI’: never mind the ‘abdicated’, two? At least three resigned in the last millennium.

        ‘immediately returned to using the title of Cardinal’: Gregory XII who had previously been a cardinal priest was appointed afresh to a completely new title as cardinal bishop (a new appointment could easily have been made for Bishop Benedict but was not)

        ‘What I will say is that the absence of a titular church or of an assignment to a particular office does not affect Ratzinger’s due title of Cardinal, a dignity bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II that can never be revoked’. It is seldom revoked (there may be a Scottish exception to the rule in the offing) but the office (it is not a personal ‘dignity’) is surrendered by accepting election to higher spheres. Joseph Ratzinger, indeed, has ceased to exist – the name is Benedict, Bishop Emeritus. (Ed: if it makes you feel better…. I’ve never heard him called that but then I’m not an Anglican…)

        ‘a dignity bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II’ – more nonsense! Paul VI. Ed: gerragrip. Pope JP II named Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect of the CDF – any Catholic might make a slip of the tongue. Again, Dowden, you show yourself to be less than honest and keen to insult.

        ‘he is at the present time simply a Cardinal Priest of the Holy Catholic Church, no more, no less’: simply untrue he ceased to be a Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman (get it right! – Ed: it’s this sort of pettiness which reveals you NOT to be a truly educated man, Dowden, with respect. We’re writing comments on a blog not a blankety blank university thesis.) Church on 5 April, 1993 and ceased to be a cardinal bishop on 19 April, 2005. As of 28 August, 2014, 9 cardinal-bishops, 162 cardinal-priests and 39 cardinal-deacons of SRE are listed. The bishop emeritus is not among them. (Ed: you are totally confused. Nobody is saying Cardinal Ratzinger IS STILL LISTED as a cardinal, only that THAT is the only title to which he can, traditionally, lay claim. there is no such title in the Catholic Church as a “Pope Emeritus”. Get it now? )

        No one here (from the editor) down can name the alleged title – it does not exist. Ed: the title “Cardinal” exists, but “Pope Emeritus is a novelty. I really don’t think you’ve understood the elementary point being made, so why not lay down your arms and leave the matter be? You are not a Catholic Dowden. Get over it.

        The moral is not to believe everything you read here – errors abound (Ed: you should know. You’ve hooked your star to the Anglican wagon which was built on error). For accurate comment on the traditions of the Scottish Church one cannot do better than the wonderful work of that superb Latinist, Dr John Dowden. (Ed: who?)

        Editor: Dowden, again a load of “who shot John” I have neither the time nor inclination to go into details although I threw in a couple of corrections as they jumped out at me; to be frank, am only releasing these latest posts because of the time you’ve obviously spent trying to convince us that we’re all ignorant. Happily we know better, but then we have to do our bit for ecumenism, and humouring you is as good a way as any.

        September 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Dr John Dowden,

        I’ve seen you before speaking about the “Dead Popes Society”. I’ve never heard of that. What is it – would you explain?

        Thank you.

        August 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm
      • Summa

        You won’t receive a reply I fear. However if you ask him about the Dead Sects Society, he may have infinitely more knowledge and provide for you some response.

        August 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm
      • Frankier


        Maybe he means the Dead Hopes Society of which he will no doubt be a member.

        August 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm
      • Dr John Dowden

        Margaret Mary,

        Simple enough explanation. I am a slow learner and came here thinking I had found a blog for those of our separated Roman brethren (and sistern) who were interested in the traditions of the Scottish church. I assumed, at first, that ‘SSPX’ (never heard of it before!) was some of enthusiasts’ club – a sort of steam railway preservation society for a sturdy old 0-4-0 called ‘Tridentine Rite’. It took me ages to discover that I had fetched up among a bunch of schismatic actors, whose leaders have no actual place in the Roman-Catholic hierarchy.

        I grew up thinking of Roman-Catholics (some of my distant relatives used less polite words) as supporters of the bishop of Rome. But the editor here, in full exercise of the Magisterium invested in her, does not for example accept the canonisation of St John Paul the Great as valid – canonisation being almost the only occasion when (in practice) a bishop of Rome ever explicitly claims to be infallible and acts accordingly. No pope here!

        The really peculiar thing in this blog is that a passing ‘piskie is likely to get dog’s abuse for not belonging to the One True Ecclesial Body and be urged to turn (or ‘return’) ‘home’ pronto. But the very people loudly advocating a good dose of popery for others do not accept the pope’s decrees themselves.

        You have to see the funny side of that one – a blog endlessly quoting every daft thing any dead pope has ever said (and the more extreme and ultramontane the utterance the better) but yet completely unwilling to accept the decisions of either of the two living ones (or indeed anything much post-1958).

        Some Russians think it has been downhill all the way since Old Uncle Joe died and a certain sort of preppy, nostalgic American has their Dead Poets’ Society: nothing modern is good. So it seems to me that here at CT we have a ‘Dead Popes’ Society’. A bit like the nostalgic American thing but not so preppy.

        August 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm
  • Frankier

    Dr J D

    You’ll be glad to get that burden of totally useless information off your chest.

    You should sleep well tonight unless you are choked up with it.

    August 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm
    • editor


      I know it’s off topic but I couldn’t help thinking of you when the news was reported today about the comic at the Edinburgh Fringe who won some daft award for the best one-liner, which ran “I decided to sell my hoover. Well, it was just collecting dust”… I thought “That’s the kind of thing Frankier would say!”

      You have to laugh!

      August 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm
      • Athanasius

        My personal favourite was Les Dawson’s “We always knew when the mother-in-law was coming to visit, the mice started throwing themselves in the traps.” Priceless!

        August 20, 2014 at 12:00 am
      • editor

        Or Les Dawson’s rebuke to the lorry driver who knocked his mother-in-law down: “did you not have enough room to go around her?” to which the lorry driver replied: “I had enough room, I didn’t have enough petrol”!

        Happily his mother-in-law had a sense of humour and enjoyed his jokes.

        August 20, 2014 at 8:26 am
      • Frankier


        Why not ask a doctor who is all clued (or glued) up on the Catholic (and Anglican) faith to help tackle Msg Bru, sorry, Loftus?

        August 20, 2014 at 11:22 am
  • Constantine the Great

    But what would be the point of a debate, any debate in fact, since you would just repeatedly state the teachings, doctrine, dogma and/or Magisterium of the Catholic Church is incontrovertibly true and can never be changed or altered in any manner, or under any circumstances.

    I remember listening to you on BBC radio discussing something with Caroline Farrow, can’t remember the subject, but it was the same approach, grinding her down until she finally agreed with you.

    August 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm
    • editor


      That’s where a very clever debating motion would come into its own. Worry not, we’ll have him cornered in no time.

      Any and all suggestions for said debating motion will be most welcome.

      PS you could say the same about the Mgr’s column. Why hasn’t the editor asked himself what’s the point of just attacking doctrine and morals week after week. “We’ve been there, done that, bought the proverbial T shirt” you’d think he’d have said long ago.

      August 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Are you sure that this debate will actually be between Catholics? My Baltimore Catechism informs me thus:

    Q. 554. Could a person who denies only one article of our faith be a Catholic?

    A. A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all.

    In a similar way, St. Tomas Aquinas stated that ‘he who rejects one article of Faith, does not have Faith, either formed or unformed’.

    Therefore given Baz Loftus’s egregious and venom flecked diatribes against the tradition and doctrines of the Holy Mother Church, can he really be said to be ‘Catholic’.

    IMHO, I believe this to be an ecumenical gathering more than anything else, as Loftus is a Protestant in all but name. He is akin to a remora that has attached itself to a shark’s belly. Naturally, one cannot ignore a cancer and just expect it to go away, so you need to cut out the whole tumour. I think on the whole that Catholic Truth’s proposal is evangelism at it’s best, and if Ed’s spiritual chemo session doesn’t cure him of his errors, I don’t know what will. I pray that he will accept, but, given that it is an ecumenical gathering, I just hope that Ed doesn’t turn it into an Assisi style fiesta.

    Also, would be grateful if you could provide a link for Fr. Thomas Ladner. I typed his name in on google but nowt came up.

    August 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm
    • editor


      I can promise you faithfully that there will be no Assisi style fiesta where Catholic Truth is concerned. Definitely not.

      I’m amazed you got no results when Googling Father Ladner. I got a string including this one

      August 20, 2014 at 5:03 pm
  • randy

    The worlds population has doubled in 60 years with abortion and contraception. a billion people today did not have access to clean water.Americas water consumption is unsustainable with todays population.

    Thank god for abortion and contraception.

    August 22, 2014 at 3:32 am
    • Josephine


      I presume you also thank God for wars and the massacres being carried out by Isis? If you think it is OK to cut down on the world’s population by killing unborn babies (contraception is also abortifacient) then that has to be your logical position.

      The truth is we are an aging society and so now the governments of the west are looking to kill the elderly.

      Thank God for the Catholic Church, which is the only institution standing against the culture of death.

      August 22, 2014 at 7:58 am
      • Frankier


        That is all we ever hear now is that we are an ageing society. I haven`t heard of anyone living to 125 which should now be the case since we have been an “ageing society” for around 30 years now.

        I assume that what is meant is that the elderly greatly outnumber the young nowadays but it is conveniently kept quiet that the main reason for this is down to the slaughter of the unborn millions by abortion.

        August 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm
    • Therese

      It’s Satan who should be “thanked” for abortion and contraception; not God.

      Have you ever seen an abortion, Randy? I hope not; I hope you are speaking out of ignorance (inexplicable though that would be these days).

      You’re not a not a Catholic, I trust?

      August 22, 2014 at 9:04 am
    • Athanasius


      Maybe your time would be better spent thanking God that your mother didn’t contracept or abort to stop you from entering into the world. Your comments are those of a completely selfish individual. I’ll tell you what, go watch a video of an abortion, if you have the courage, and then see where you stand in the matter. Of course we all know you’re never going to expose your conscience to that kind of shocking reality. So utterly tragic!

      August 22, 2014 at 9:08 am
    • Frankier


      If what you say is true then abortion and contraception will hardly solve the problems. It would be like me throwing a brick into the sea to try and raise the water levels.

      If we can get extract enough oil and deliver it around the world to keep billions of wheels turning surely we could return the compliment by supplying the billion you talk about with clean water. It`s not as if we are short of it in this country alone.

      August 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm
    • catholicconvert1

      Hang on…you’ve just proven Catholics right by pointing out that abortion and contraception doesn’t work when you said ‘the World’s population has doubled in 60 years with abortion and contraception’.

      Surely we need more young people to sustain society in the future, instead of the golden oldies who will need looking after. But hang on…once all young people have been killed off, the oldies will be left to fester, and the government will kill them off!!!


      August 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm
  • JARay

    The Diocese of Leeds is “sede vacante” at the moment. Indeed it has been for over a year. I regret to have to say that I know Basil Loftus. We were in the same class at school. Another former schoolboy (no longer a boy) did meet him by chance and Bas let him know that he wanted nothing to do with him! I think that I can say the same about Bas..

    August 23, 2014 at 11:01 am
    • editor

      Leeds may be without a bishop but Aberdeen – where Loftus lives and writes – isn’t, and every priest is answerable to the bishop of the diocese in which he resides and works. The Bishop of Aberdeen (Hugh Gilbert) clearly agrees with him or he’d soon put a stop to his nonsensical-through-to-heretical writings.

      On the personal level, sounds like a lovely man 😀

      August 23, 2014 at 11:23 am
      • Athanasius

        I wrote to Bishop Gilbert about him and received no reply. More evidence of the woeful neglect of bishops today. The Church is presently rudderless!

        August 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm
  • bededog

    I just wondered if anyone had seen Basil Loftus’s letter in the Tablet today – I reproduce it here:

    “Chris Larkman (Letters 16 August) suggests that pope Francis should consider the future of the Congregation for Divine Worship. He very obviously is already doing so. Alone among the Congregations its top officials have not been confirmed in office , but after 18 months still enjoy only provisional approval. Its increasingly bizzare attempts at rubrical micromanagement are regularly ignored, not least by Francis himself, who not only washes women’s feet but is at ease with concelebrants who dispense with chasubles, and one looks in vain for a Communion plate at his Masses. Parishes follow this lead, and also ignore totally impractical edicits which forbid eucharistic ministers from purifying chalices after Communion, or occupying a priest’s “sacred space” in the sanctuary. For many years, its top officials have been frustrating liturgical growth, openly promoting Tridentine-rite liturgy, and inn some cases then migrating to offices even more directly concerned with that rite. The Congregation has no credibility, not least after the English translation of the Mass.”

    As usual, he doesn’t miss a chance to take a swipe at the Tridentine Mass. What a creature.

    August 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm
    • Athanasius

      Yes indeed, Bededog, Mgr. Loftus has clearly lost the Catholic Faith and is intent on causing others to abandon it. God have mercy on this pathetic creature and on those other enemies of the Faith who give him column inches to destroy souls. Thanks for posting this latest outrage.

      August 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm
  • Dr John Dowden

    There is a challenge to debate and in a sense discussion of ‘abdication’ vs ‘resignation’ is a side issue. It does however illustrate the fact that ‘Catholic Truth’ bloggers are often wrong in debate – but do tend stubbornly to persist in error even after it is pointed out. That is a minor outrage and no encouragement to genuine debate..

    According to Petrus, the other side in this debate fails to understand simply because they are Anglicans and ignorance is to be expected of them. Modestly and charitably put: I somehow or other imagine that debater must have had the good fortune not to go to one of these dire universities frequented by Ignorant Anglicans, such as Oxford or TCD.

    A Trinity man, the real Dr John Dowden, was the pioneer of using medieval canonical sources explore the history of the Scottish Church. I imagine he knew his Mansi rather better than to (wrongly) suggest ‘[o]ld age and weariness are not sufficient reasons for [a pope] to abandon office’. Read the actual law and one will see Mansi requires no reason be given. Read Benedict’s deed of resignation and one sees that it gives none – the only special feature of a papal (as distinct from episcopal) resignation is that no authority has to accept it. In law, such a resignation is complete in and of itself – a ‘renuntiatio’ where no ‘acceptatio’ is required.

    If, in CT’s ineffable superiority, Petrus will pardon a mere Ignorant Anglican attempting an elementary guide to canon law, I suggest readers start with the origins of the 1917 code. The relevant passage is originally from Boniface VIII (who was under fire partly because a predecessor had resigned). Boniface VIII’s canon (included in the ‘Liber Sextus’) is the ultimate medieval source used in 1917 and 1983 and the original decree has the Latin title ‘de renunciatione’. So my respectful submission is that the word chosen by Boniface (and used by Benedict) translates into English as ‘renouncement’, ‘renunciation’ or ‘resignation’. There is (self-evidently) a Latin word for ‘abdication’ but it is not used in the canonical texts. Remember, too, that a fundamental principle of canonical interpretation is that one has to assume that, in the selection of particular words, the legislator (Boniface VIII, reiterated by others) is making a deliberate choice of word. Petrus is, therefore, quite wrong: popes can (and do) ‘resign’ – the present bishop of Rome raised the possibility of his own resignation only a few days ago, acknowledging the example of the bishop emeritus.

    Any doubts readers might still have about the word used can be resolved by using a concordance. The relevant portion of 1917 (which may be more palatable to lefebvrists than the code of St John Paul the Great) is “Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex renuntiet, ad eiusdem renuntiationis validitatem non est necessaria Cardinalium aliorumve acceptatio”

    Use the concordance to the Acta Sancta Sedis text to discover what the Latin word ‘renuntiet’ normally signifies in other canons, and one discovers ten citations in the code. They cover any resignation ‘ad beneficium’, even as humble as ‘parochus’. So, unless one argues a humble curate or a mere vicar can meaningfully ‘abdicate’, the proposition confidently asserted here is simply not true. Bishops of Rome, no less than curates, can resign their benefices. ‘Abdication’ is not the canonical word. Correctly, it is ‘renunciation’ or ‘resignation’. It be an Ignorant Anglican saying so but that is entirely irrelevant to the truth: on any view – Anglican or Orthodox or Roman-Catholic or Lefebvrist, ‘renuntiatio’ means ‘resignation’.

    It remains therefore a source of continuing wonderment that a blog which is loud in support of a relatively modern Latin liturgy,- one never used in Scotland till modern times – is bone ignorant when it comes to the meaning of quite ordinary medieval Latin words – if in canonical doubt read the admirable Dr John Dowden’s admirable books. If push comes to shove and you do have to trust a schismatic, ignore the lefebvrists and stick to the Anglicans: at least they have decent universities, a half-competent grasp of Latin, play fair in debate – and can identify fecund error.

    August 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm
    • Athanasius

      If you were even halfway faithful to your Trinity education you would not have attempted to hide in the middle of your lengthy, mostly meaningless script the obvious falsehood that the Latin word “renuntiet” meaning “renunciation” is closer to “resignation” than “abdication.”

      Much more is required to make renunciation = resignation than just the coincidence that both words sound similar and both begin with the letter ‘r’.

      The difference between abdicating a position and resigning one lies primarily in the irrevocable nature of abdication. Once an office or throne is abdicated, a return is not legally possible. Unlike resignation, abdication is not a matter of the relinquishment of a position to an employer or a superior. Instead, it is the absolute and final renunciation of an office created specifically by God or an act of law.

      In the case of a Pope, the meaning of the Latin word “renuntiet” in the quote you gave must then be understood in the Catholic Traditional sense of its meaning as irrevocable “abdication” of an office that has no higher authority on earth. The interpretation is exactly the same as when Edward VIII abdicated (renounced) the British crown.

      Good try, Dr. D., but not quite good enough!

      August 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm
      • Dr John Dowden


        Sorry if you found the text meaningless but there are limits as to how far one can simplify matters for those who find the exact meaning of Latin legal concepts difficult.

        The catholic ‘sense’ is (you say) that, ‘the meaning of the Latin word “renuntiet” … must then be understood in the Catholic Traditional sense of its meaning as irrevocable “abdication” of an office …’. I’ll grant you that Roman-Catholics in Scotland were, traditionally, a miscellaneous rabble of half-educated immigrants. The Scottish taxpayer has, however, been pumping money into a separate denominational education system ever since 1918 and the Vatican has even posted an English translation of the 1983 code for those who find the sense of traditional Latin a challenge.

        It is unfair therefore to mislead readers with talk about ‘the Latin word “renuntiet” meaning “renunciation”’. Think about it. ‘Renuntiet’ is (very obviously) some part of a verb’s conjugation. ‘Renunciation’ is (equally obviously) part of a noun’s declension. There is no way in God’s green earth that ‘renuntiet’ could possibly mean ‘renunciation’: it means ‘if he shall resign’. Subjunctive following ‘vt’, as every schoolboy knows.

        It is for readers to make their own judgments but the fact is that in Roman-Catholic canon law any bishop (including the bishop of Rome) can resign. I used the 1917 Latin text because I know adherents of the (oft-corrected error removed by editor) SSPX often prefer not to recognize the 1983 code of St John Paul the Great but check the Vatican website’s English version, and they do translate Boniface VIII’s texts using the verb ‘to resign’. Boniface used the ordinary canonical word which covers any resignation of any benefice. It cannot reasonably be translated ‘abdication’.

        If readers still think you may have a valid lexical point despite the manifest grammatical ignorance, it so happens that, by a miracle of modern technology, traditionalists can read a sixteenth-century printing of the most significant canonical discussion from Boniface VIII’s time:

        It considers ten possible objections to the proposition that a pope cannot resign, and knocks them down one by one in thirty-one folio sheets (62 pages). Thus for example point six (chapter xii, fol. 19r-v) considers the analogy that a pope is, as it were, married as universal pastor to his bride, the universal church. The argument was that just as couples cannot be released ‘till death us depart’, the parties can be released only by death (mancipatus ecclesie obsequiis). The text gets out of this one by suggesting that while a pope cannot resign his orders as a bishop (a lifetime bond) he can resign a merely jurisdictional office which is not analogous to marriage and so is not a lifetime commitment. The point is that, in its medieval context (and there are sixty pages of this stuff so the meaning in context is clear) the word was understood as ‘to resign’ – popes do not ‘abdicate’ and they do not ‘divorce’. That is why the book was called ‘De Renvntiatione Papae’. Read the thing and see.

        Alternatively, contemplate the virtues of silence. Leave any refutation (which in this instance is going to be tricky since in a canonical context the root verb really does translate as ‘to resign’) to people who can tell the difference between the third person singular subjunctive of a verb and the various cases of a noun.

        Ignorant intervention is especially unwise in debate: (personal insult removed by editor) and people only suspect ignorance, open it and you may confirm their suspicions. Give up quietly – you are plainly out of your depth in this sort of debate – so why persist in the fecund senseless error?

        August 30, 2014 at 7:05 pm
      • Athanasius


        I stopped reading your post when I got to the part that declares the SSPX to be “schismatic”. This is a false statement that you have made repeatedly despite correction by others. It is a declaration by you that has no basis in fact and is, in fact, contradictory of numerous authoritative statements from the highest sources in Rome.

        I therefore consider you to be an intellectually dishonest man who has no scruples about twisting the truth to win a debate. On that account I shall not debate further with you and I would respectfully request that you do not post here again. This blog is for people who at least have a little integrity.

        August 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm
      • editor


        With some regret, I am now going to moderate your posts. You persistently repeat errors already corrected and then introduce obscure sources which you treat as infallible and which the rest of us do not have the time (nor indeed the inclination) to check out thoroughly. When bloggers have taken the time to do so in the past – notably Leo, despite his very busy schedule – your errors have been exposed for all the world to see, but still you persist in repeating them. Now, I note you have taken to personal remarks in your latest reply to Athanasius. Sorry, Dowden, but that’s the final straw. Moderation it is, much as I would prefer not to do so, but a gal can only take so much ignorance, so to speak. You kept ignoring me at your peril. Judgement Day has dawned…

        Since I am extremely busy these days, with all sorts of additional pressures, including family illness, to contend with, I’m afraid your posts will languish in the moderation queue until I have time to remove the repetitious errors, personal insults etc. Be patient.

        God bless.


        Anyone who names Dr John Dowden will also find their posts going into moderation so if you do wish to comment on anything he has written please shorten his name to Dowden.

        August 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm
      • Fidelis


        With due respect, I think it is ridiculous to post a link to an ancient document which is all in Latin. I could never read that, and I doubt if many of us could, including you.

        That sort of thing only weakens your argument. If you had quoted from it in English, the relevant bits, that would have been of interest, but I’m really not fooled by a link to an ancient document without any translation on your part, just your interpretation.

        August 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm
  • Dr John Dowden


    You doubt (‘with due respect’) that ‘many of us’ can read the Latin text given in the link, ‘including [me]’ and suspect I am trying to ‘fool’ people by a link to an ancient document without any translation, just interpretation. One of the joys of anonymous blogs is that bloggers might be anyone – it is unwise therefore to make assumptions about what they can and cannot do.

    Still, just to correct another of the blog’s fecund misconceptions: in the link, the Preface runs CVR ET QUANDO SCRIPTVM SIT HOC OPUS Philippvs Pulcher Gallorum Rex in Tantam discordiam cum Bonifacil VIII Pontifice Maximo peruenerat, which translates as ‘How and when this book was written: Philip the Fair, King of France, had a major dispute with Pope Boniface VIII.’ To construe detail, technically, the text says ‘King of the Gauls’ – genitive plural for the people, we would use the singular of the country, ‘king of France’; Boniface is called by the pagan Latin title ‘pontifex maximus’. Text, well how about Folio 15 (verso) DE RENVNTIATIONE … inter quos & ecclesiam fpirituale coniugium habet effe … Incipit feptima pars huius Capituli, declarans quomodu habet effe fpirituale coniugium, & quomodo potest folui ….’ Which, being interpreted is, ‘Concerning resignation [bishops] between whom and their church there is held to be a spiritual bond and in what manner it may be dissolved … Here begins the seventh part of this Chapter setting out the nature of this spiritual bond.’ No big deal reading any of that, not least for people interested in Latin liturgies. Satisfied?

    Anthanasius offered a common ‘traditionalist’ mistranslation. By ill luck he managed to introduce an uncommon little error all of his own, not knowing a Latin verb from a noun. I offered the context from the concordance – ‘renuntiet’ is used for any benefice and a vicar can hardly ‘abdicate’. No, stubborn error maintained. At which point I tried the fourteenth century – it was possible I was wrong – but no, up pops this great thing given in the link: no ‘abdication’ in sight, ‘resignation’ galore and some stuff on ‘dissolution’ and ‘separation’: the discussion was of any bishop resigning. So, my translation, the concordance to the code of canon law, the medieval context and (it turns out) the translation given on the Vatican website, all agree on ‘resignation’.

    Point is ‘abdication’ is an utter a complete mistranslation. Heaven alone knows why it is stubbornly insisted on. There is no harm in arguing the rules ought to be changed and that the next man to decide to retire should ‘abdicate’. What is just plain wrong is to falsify the past and then persist in the fecund error. Resident bloggers here might win an argument against the Vatican, but against Mr Newman’s university – ‘dominus illuminatio mea’?

    Editor: you really do know how to make a mountain out of a molehill, Dowden. You really should get out more – or at least check out the Catholic encyclopaedia more, as you will see they interchange “abdication” and “resignation” – with appropriate explanation.

    September 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm
  • editor

    I’ve re-opened this thread in order to post an article which Athanasius submitted to the Scottish Catholic Observer correcting errors in Mgr Loftus’s column dated 29 August, which, for technical reasons, according to the Editor, she didn’t see until, in her view, it was too late to publish. Since it is our view that it’s never too late to do the right thing, we publish the article here:

    (SCO, 29/8/14) BY ATHANASIUS…

    It is always advisable to know a little about the Church’s teaching and the history of the Second Vatican Council before venturing to read the articles of Mgr. Basil Loftus.

    The reason for this is that Mgr. Loftus is a disciple of what is known as the “Novelle Théologie,” French for ‘New Theology’. As such, his revisionist works are generally misleading; presenting a view of the faith and of historical events which is inconsistent with both tradition and the facts.

    I have often countered these slanted writings of Mgr. Loftus in the Scottish Catholic Observer and elsewhere, writings which are almost entirely constructed around the names and theories of the Church’s most heterodox and censured theologians just prior to Vatican II.

    Now I find myself obliged to counter him again, this time to defend Our Lady’s honour against a less than subtle undermining of it in his article of August 29.

    First, a brief summation of what Mgr. Loftus wrote. He wrote in approving terms of how the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council came to dismiss a singularly prepared document on the Glories of Mary in favour of a less explicit text on the Blessed Virgin incorporated into Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church.

    Hinting, as he is wont to do, that many of Our Lady’s existing titles are at best theologically untenable and at worst the product of false and excessive piety, a common accusation of Protestants in regard to the Church’s Marian doctrine, Mgr. Loftus proceeded to recount how Karl Rahner S.J. played a crucial role in the suppression of the document in question.

    He cited, for example, Rahner’s influence at the Fulda Conference in Germany and the part he played in convincing the bishops of the northern countries to oppose a separate conciliar document on Our Lady on the grounds of the “unimaginable harm” such a document would do.

    No explanation was given by Mgr. Loftus as to precisely what Karl Rahner meant by “unimaginable harm” or how this might manifest itself, but it is not too difficult for us to work it out.

    Following Rahner’s intervention, the bishops at the Fulda Conference wrote to the General Secretary of the Council recalling how the Lutheran German bishop Dibelius had declared in 1962 that the teaching of the Catholic Church on Mary was one of the major obstacles to ecumenical unity.
    So there it is. The “unimaginable harm” feared by Rahner was the insurmountable barrier this eminently Catholic schema on the Glories of Mary would have raised against ecumenical relations with Protestants.

    Hence, for Rahner and a handful of other radical progressivist theologians at the time, it was of the utmost urgency that this separate Schema on Our Lady be suppressed, the more so because it included a proposal to extend her Litany with the titles ‘co-redemptrix’ and ‘mediatrix of all graces’.
    For Protestants, such an extension of honours to include the two prerogatives of Mary which they regard as the most abhorrent of all her titles would most certainly have resulted in an immediate cessation of ecumenical collaboration.

    It has always been the contention of Protestants that these particular two titles attributed to Mary contradict divine revelation which teaches that Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between man and God. Hence, they consider these Marian titles to be blasphemous.

    In truth, it is the Protestants who border on blasphemy by their belief that it is possible for mortal men to exceed God in the honouring of the Blessed Mother.

    At any rate their error arises from the equating of ‘co-redemptrix’ with ‘co-redeemer’ and their confusing of ‘mediatrix of all graces’ with ‘author of all graces,’ by which flawed reasoning they falsely conclude that the Catholic Church holds Mary to be a divine person.

    In fact, the Catholic Church teaches that the title ‘co-redemptrix’ refers to Our Lady’s unique and perfect human ‘co-operation’ with her Divine Son Jesus in the Redemption of mankind, which He alone wrought by His passion and death on the Cross.

    As for ‘mediatrix of all graces’, it has been the overwhelming view of the Fathers, saints and popes from the earliest times that since Mary was the perfectly preserved channel by which the Author of Grace entered into the world to Redeem it, so He has willed that all the graces of the Redemption continue to be dispensed via this same channel.

    As St. Louis de Montfort and St. Alphonsus so admirably put it, Mary is “the neck” that joins Jesus Christ “the head” to His “Mystical Body”, the Church. Consequently, no grace comes to men from Christ that does not pass through Mary. She is therefore ‘mediatrix of all graces’ by divine election, not by divine right. Sadly, space does not permit here a more detailed study of this excellent Marian doctrine.

    Suffice it to say in conclusion that Karl Rahner shared the Protestant spirit and mindset in regard to these titles of Our Lady, which is hardly surprising given that his theology had already been condemned by Pope Pius XII in the Encyclical Humani Generis and that he had been subject to Vatican censure for many years up to 1962, forbidden by the Holy Office to teach or publish his theories, particularly those touching on Mariology and the Eucharist.

    On that note I would like to advise Mgr. Loftus to choose his company more wisely in future. I would also like to inform him that a petition is currently circulating in the Church bearing the signatures of 6 million Catholics from around the world, amongst them many Cardinals, Bishops, priests and religious. It is a plea to the Holy Father to formally define the fifth and final Marian dogma, that of Mary ‘co-redemptrix’ and ‘mediatrix of all graces’.

    I can think of no better way to explain this joyful turn of events than to quote the title of Mgr. Loftus’ own article: “Like any mother, Our Lady has her own way of getting things done”. END.

    What can I say, except, “game, set and match”. With bells on!

    September 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm
    • Michaela


      A great article. A couple of observations jumped out at me.

      First you wrote the following:

      “I have often countered these slanted writings of Mgr. Loftus in the Scottish Catholic Observer and elsewhere, writings which are almost entirely constructed around the names and theories of the Church’s most heterodox and censured theologians just prior to Vatican II.”

      This reminded me and tuned in with the way the post-conciliar popes only quote other post-conciliar popes. They never quote the previous popes. It all tunes in with the idea that the Church only started up in 1960s after the Council.

      The second thing that jumped out at me was this part of your article:

      “Hinting, as he is wont to do, that many of Our Lady’s existing titles are at best theologically untenable and at worst the product of false and excessive piety, a common accusation of Protestants in regard to the Church’s Marian doctrine, Mgr. Loftus proceeded to recount how Karl Rahner S.J. played a crucial role in the suppression of the document in question.

      He cited, for example, Rahner’s influence at the Fulda Conference in Germany and the part he played in convincing the bishops of the northern countries to oppose a separate conciliar document on Our Lady on the grounds of the “unimaginable harm” such a document would do.”

      That bit reminded me or confirmed that ecumenism and the goal of a one world church is really what is behind all the “reforms” of Vatican II.

      Shame on the editor of the SCO for not publishing that rebuttal of Mgr Loftus’s errors and showing how his thinking is strongly influenced by heretics. Well done you for writing it anyway. It will get a wide readership here, and that is all to the good.

      September 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm
    • Confitebor Domino

      Thank you for taking the time to post that response by Athanasius, and to him for writing it.

      Most fitting on this, the feast of Our Lady’s holy name.

      September 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        I hadn’t realised this was the feast of the holy name of Mary – yes, then, it is a great article to post today.

        Thank you Athanasius, for showing up Mgr Loftus in all his ignorance.

        He really needs our prayers and so I’m saying a Hail Mary for him on this feast.

        September 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm
    • Nicky

      A first class article by Athanasius. It’s no wonder the SCO didn’t want to publish it. He blows Mgr Loftus’s “theology” about Mary right out of the water.

      Well done, Ath.

      September 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm
    • Josephine


      An excellent article. I was horrified at this:

      “Hinting, as he is wont to do, that many of Our Lady’s existing titles are at best theologically untenable and at worst the product of false and excessive piety, a common accusation of Protestants in regard to the Church’s Marian doctrine, Mgr. Loftus proceeded to recount how Karl Rahner S.J. played a crucial role in the suppression of the document in question.

      He cited, for example, Rahner’s influence at the Fulda Conference in Germany and the part he played in convincing the bishops of the northern countries to oppose a separate conciliar document on Our Lady on the grounds of the “unimaginable harm” such a document would do.”

      How could any Catholic, let alone a priest, even think that a document on Our Lady could do “unimaginable harm” in the world?

      The answer is no Catholic could think that. Mgr Loftus is an apostate. That’s the only explanation.

      September 12, 2014 at 8:54 pm
  • Athanasius


    Yes, you point out the essential parts of what I was saying, which is precisely that the Church has been subjugated since the 1960s under the new Gospel of the Modernists – not a Gospel of truth or of holiness but of absolute worldliness. No wonder they hate Sacred Tradition! What they preach today is incompatible with 2000 years of Church teaching and that’s why they can only speak of Vatican II as if the Church only began at that time. Poor deluded souls!

    Thanks for your kind comments and for excellent comments.

    September 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      That is it in a nutshell, where you say “what they preach today is incompatible with 2000 years of Church teaching and that’s why they can only speak of Vatican II.”

      Well said – that is it in a nutshell. It explains why Mgr Loftus only uses post council popes and “theologians” to explain his theories.

      September 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm
  • Benedict Carter

    Loftus has written some evil blog replies to me in the past, on the subject of the Mass if I remember correctly. What I noted from his comments to me (not knowing at that time who he was – I’d never heard of him) was the virulence and bitter hatred he has for the Church before the Revolutionary Year Zero of the Second Hellish Council.

    This hatred for the Old Mass is so prevalent amongst the clerical progressives that maybe Sister Lucia really meant “possession” when she talked to Father Fuentes about “diabolical disorientation”.

    September 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm
  • Athanasius

    I am grateful to Editor for publishing my article on this thread and to all contributors for their subsequent moral support, which is clearly borne of a true Catholic love for Our Lady. Once upon a time the writings of Mgr. Loftus would have been restricted to a weekly column in the Morning Star. It says everything about the “spirit of Vatican II” that he is today a regular contributor “in good standing” to two of Britain’s more senior Catholic publications. There are times when words simply fail to express the tragedy of it all!

    September 13, 2014 at 1:07 am

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