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 Fioretti of St Thomas, from sworn testimonies at the canonisation enquiry – Part III: The Miracles after his Death

This is the final part in our series summarising and re-ordering of the testimonies given in St Thomas’s 1319 canonisation enquiry.[1] These are not just pious stories written by hagiographers: they are sworn testimonies recounted under oath by respectable men, both from the clergy and from the nobility. We see amongst the laymen even civil …

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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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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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Theology and the Interior Life – How do they help each other? Fr R. Garrigou-Lagrange, 1943

Editors' introduction: Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP, the respected thomist theologian of the twentieth century, needs little introduction. He addresses an extraordinary range of topics in his writings. He was a teacher at the Angelicum university in Rome, where his students included two very different figures: Mgr Joseph Clifford Fenton and Karol Józef Wojtyła, later John …

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Membership of the Church: Part IV – Schism & Excommunication

Introduction In the first three parts of this series, we have seen that: The Catholic Church is a perpetually visible society which must therefore consist of members whose identity is discernible by the senses;The sacrament of baptism is necessary and sufficient for constituting an individual as both a subject and a member of the Catholic …

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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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The implicit and tacit expressions of the ordinary magisterium – Chapter IIIb of Fr J.M.A. Vacant’s nineteenth-century work on the magisterium

What is a Father of the Church? What authority do Doctors and theologians have in the Church? And what of the role of the liturgy? This is the second half of Vacant's long Chapter III. The first half considered how the ordinary magisterium teaches directly and explicitly, and how it makes use of secular learning. …

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