Pope Leo XIII – On the Duties of Laymen to Study and Spread the Faith

We are like an army battalion, trapped behind enemy lines for decades. Our battalion's officers have either died, or defected to the enemy - or at least made their loyalties so doubtful that we cannot have recourse to them. We are not in clear contact with the rest of the army. We are on our …

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The Loss of Ecclesiastical Offices – Part I: Is Holy Church Unprotected?

Image: Nestorius, who St Robert Bellarmine, St Celestine, St Nicholas and Cardinal Billot say lost his power to depose and excommunicate when he began preaching heresy. Wiki Commons. This is the first part of an essay by Mr John Lane, edited and expanded by S.D. Wright. It concerns the nature of law, offices and jurisdiction, …

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Learning Sacred Theology – Part III: Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Fathers, and Canon Law

This three-part series is about how laymen can go about learning the sacred science of theology, in accordance with its proper methodology and structure. I have freely gathered together notes, ideas and reading lists from various sources, particularly the Bellarmine Forums.[1]  Up until this point, we have been going through the stages in the order …

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Learning Sacred Theology – Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium

In Sapientiae Christianae, Pope Leo XIII taught that it is a duty for laymen to study and spread the Catholic faith. He wrote: "In order to safeguard this virtue of faith in its integrity, we declare it to be very profitable and consistent with the requirements of the time, that each one, according to the measure …

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Is it valid? The proximate matter of Baptism

The proximate matter of Baptism is the use of the water [...] in such a way that in the common estimation of men an ablution has been performed. Prümmer, Handbook of Moral Theology 1956, 552.3 (paid link) Defects of matter (and related issues) and necessary actions Explanation of this table follows below. Defect:verdict:The water is poured once, rather than in …

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“That Golden Book”: On the Roman Catechism, and a review of Baronius Press’s edition

This essay consists of two parts: Part I - Review of Baronius Press's edition of the Roman Catechism Part II - The Roman Catechism itself Historical backgroundThe authority of the Roman CatechismClergy and theologians on the CatechismComparison with the modern catechismThe Roman Catechism and the crisis in the ChurchThe nature and structure of this Catechism. …

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Pope Honorius and Roberto de Mattei IIIb: Magisterial Heresy? Trust in the Church

“Have they forgotten who these Romans are, whose faith was praised by the Apostle himself, and in whom 'error cannot find access’?”St Cyprian [1] This essay continues my response to Professor Roberto de Mattei’s call for the Catholic world to “unite […] on the basis of the Tradition of the Church.”[2] Throughout this series I …

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How the ordinary magisterium expresses itself – Chapter IIIa of Fr J.M.A. Vacant’s nineteenth-century work on the magisterium

Chapter III of Vacant's work is long, and so the WM Review is publishing it in two parts. This first part addresses the express teaching of the ordinary magisterium, and the second will consider its implicit and tacit teaching acts. This part also describes the ways in which the Church makes use of natural sciences …

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The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church – Chapter I of nineteenth-century work on the magisterium by J.M.A. Vacant

We are pleased to present another section from this study by J.M.A. Vacant, in which he addresses the concept and the authority of the ordinary and universal magisterium. We previously published Chapter VI of this work, on the Pope's personal exercise of this magisterium. Fr Vacant was a professor of the Major Seminary of Nancy, …

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Membership of the Church: Part III – Public Profession of the True Faith

In this part we will examine the second condition of membership, that of public profession of the true faith. In part one of this series, we saw that the Catholic Church could be defined as: “The society of men who, by their profession of the same faith, and by their partaking of the same sacraments, make up, …

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