1983 Letter

December 26, 1983 St. Stephen Martyr
Dear Friends,

You may wonder why this letter is not addressed to any one of you by name; I thought since what I have to say I want to say to all of my friends, I would write one letter rather than many. Recently in praying and restudying some important issues I have changed my conclusions. Also I am changing my manner of acting in this time of trouble seeking always the will of God. It is hoped that some of the information I will present will assist you in your struggle for perfection.
First a few ground rules on how to interpret the information I present. Church laws from whatever source must be taken in the traditional interpretation according to the norms laid down by the Church. This means that when a new law reiterates the old practice of the Church, then the interpretation by the fathers and doctors of the Church on application are to be followed. Laws are to be interpreted in there more restrictive sense in most cases. Let us not attempt to refashion law to our personal benefit ignoring the Will of God. Remember God has had a hand in the formation of these rules for our benefit; it is even possible that He in his providence moved the fathers of the Church to leave us a ground work to work from, when all else has failed.
As for my conclusions, take them at face value. I will attempt to make my points clear. If you think that I am in error, show me my error that I may correct my faults. However I must ask that you show me teachings of the Church to show my error, when possible; not just the sayings of most modern day ‘theologians’, as they like us are prone to error. If you think that I am right then the course is obvious. Above all pray! Pray for me that I may speak rightly and pray for yourselves that you may think rightly. If you will not pray for me because you think me to be on a sure course to Hell, then you will be partially responsible if I should go there..
Now I shall proceed with a brief covering of the New Church.
To say that we have no clear guides from Rome or elsewhere in positions of authority in the Church, I must also say that a, state of apostasy exist, in some and inaction in others. “Apostacy: Apostasy from the Faith (a fide) is the act by which a baptized person, after possessing the true Christian Faith, totally rejects it. … A person is an apostate whether he joins a non-Christian religion, as Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or falls into unbelief, atheism, materialism, agnosticism, rationalism, indifferentism or “free thought”… Apostates remain subject to the laws of the Church.” (from ‘A Catholic Dictionary’ by Donald Attwater) Canon 1325 further states in part, “Any baptized person who, while retaining the name of Christian, obstinately denies or doubts any of the truths proposed for belief by the divine and Catholic faith, is a heretic; if he abandons the faith entirely, he is an apostate;…” This is where many of the hierarchy stand, that is in heresy or apostasy. They therefore incur the penalties for same. Canon 2314 states, “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties:
1) ipso facto excommunication;
2) (see copy of various canons attached)
3) … clerics who publicly abandon the Catholic faith lose, every ecclesiastical office ipso facto and without any declaration.”
So there it is, most of our clergy have left the Church in essence. I have included some of the results of excommunication in the section where I provide complete copies of all quoted canons. If you read that section you will see that those ecclesiastics, who have publicly abandoned the faith have lost any claim to any power or jurisdiction over us and we cannot obey them. However a note of caution, We cannot judge with accuracy the position of, the Pope. Canon 218 places above the penal law, and gives him universal jurisdiction over the Church. To insure his free exercise of this, he cannot be judged by any human authority and deposed. We must obey any just command, and cannot follow any sinful one. Since these last popes have not commanded, but rather wished and hoped, we have no obligation. i
As for the new rites of the Sacraments, I consider each and every one in doubt. If you hold this opinion also, you as I cannot attend these doubtful Sacraments. We have no obligation to doubtful sacraments, but our obligation is to stay away until the doubt is solved by the lawful authority. One can easily see how we have been and are being confused.
Now comes the big question. Since we have said that we can no longer attend the New Ordo, and since our pastor is not providing definitely valid Sacraments, what should we do? Before I attempt to answer this question, I would like to lay down the ground rules the Church gives us. Obviously we must insist on valid Sacraments. If we doubt the validity we may not, under pain of sin, partake of these doubtful Sacraments, except possibly under danger of death. However I personally believe that danger of death might take away the sinfulness of the act, but am by no means sure of that. The safe course is to stay away from doubtful sacraments.
Next comes licitity or legality as a requirement in the Sacraments. What is licitity? Why is it necessary? Is it necessary? First of all licit Sacraments are valid. Licitity means according to the rules of the Church. Since God gave the protection of the Sacraments to the Church, She has the right to make rules concerning the dispensing of the Sacraments. Before Vatican II this was very simple. If the Pope and local Bishop said it was OK then you could reasonably assume that it was. In other words the laity did not have to worry as someone else saw to it that everything was right. Well these same people, who used to protect us are collaborating with the enemy. We cannot rely on them any more. We can however read Canon law, despite the notion by some priests and bishops that we cannot. This does not mean that we are infallible and cannot make mistakes. There is only one person, who can claim that; and he only in certain cases. Again I suggest prayer before tackling these important questions.
Canon 682 states, “The laity has the right to receive from the clergy the spiritual goods and especially the necessary means of salvation, according to the rules of ecclesiastical discipline.” We may demand our rights, but may only accept them according to the rule of the Church. As with all rights there are limits. If this was not insisted upon we could go anywhere for the Sacraments, not only now but 50 or 100 years ago.
So what are the rules of the Church? I shall briefly cover the rules for the Sacraments. Canon 733 requires the adherence to the liturgical rules in the celebration of the Sacraments. Canon 738 requires that the pastor or his delegate officiate at Solemn Baptism. Canon 742 allows that in cases of necessity any person may administer private Baptism. By necessity I mean as Nathaniel Webster put it, “that which cannot not be.”
Remember this definition of necessity as it is all important. Private Baptism is that as described in the Catechism, “I baptize thee, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”
Confirmation should be administered by the local ordinary (canon 783) and in a Church (canon 791). Mass should be said on a consecrated altar (canon 822), in a Church or public oratory (canon 822), by a priest in the state of grace (canon 807) vested in cassock and the vestments of his rite (canon 811) and assisted by a server (canon 813). Extreme unction should be conferred by the proper pastor (canon 938).
In danger of death any priest may hear a confession, baptize and/or confer extreme unction. For any other dispensation from these laws some superior must grant it. Remember these rules must be followed as they were instituted for the protection of us, the faithful, and of the Sacraments as in canon 807 for instance.
Next I shall cover some of the requirements for Holy Orders. First your must be ordained by or with the permission of your own bishop, that is the bishop of your diocese. (Canon 955). Canon 974 requires the following: Moral character, canonical age, due knowledge, reception of the preceding orders, observance of time intervals between orders, canonical title.
Both Confession and Marriage require Jurisdiction for validity. Jurisdiction is the right to command in the spiritual forum. A pastor has the right to command that a certain night spot not be visited for spiritual reasons. He also has the right and duty to see to it that his parishioners make their Easter Communion. Local Ordinaries have the right of excommunicate in certain circumstances. “For valid absolution of sins, the minister requires beside the power of orders, either ordinary or delegated power of jurisdiction over the penitent” (canon 872) Ordinary jurisdiction is like unto the parents power over minor children. Delegated is like that granted to a baby-sitter or teacher. In both cases the parent may limit the power given or state that if little Johnny does certain things that the parents will discipline rather than their delegate. All Confessions except those heard in danger of death are in danger of invalidity. St. Thomas does allow for Confession to other than a priest in case of necessity as efficacious as fulfilling the penitents part of the Sacrament. However if a priest who is capable of validly absolving is found all sins since the last valid Confession must be confessed as the Sacrament has not yet been received. This is like unto the perfect act of contrition. (See Summa Theologica Supplement Question 8 Article 2 and 3 copies attached) As for marriage although the priest witnessing may not have canonical ability, the marriage is most probably valid. In fact canon law makes provisions for marriage without a priest, when the proper pastor is not available. As long as there were two witnesses and the proper consent, until a matrimonial court (ecclesiastical not civil) decides otherwise the marriage is considered valid. I believe that all who married in these adverse conditions in good-faith before a priest (even if it would be proven that the priest was not validly ordained) is valid.
Briefly I have outlined the general rules of the Church. Now a word on the minister of a Sacrament. All illicitly ordained priests act illicitly in all but danger of death situations and should be avoided. The following are illicit: All separated Eastern rite clergy (even if acting in good faith), all Old-Catholics, all excommunicated .and suspended clergy. Those who are in good faith do not sin in their actions, but we sin in receiving the Sacraments from them. Two errors must be avoided: “If it is valid it is good” and “I must have the Sacraments (at any price)”.
Now you may say to me, “But these times are so bad” or “how could anyone foresee these problems”. I agree the times are bad, probably the worst ever seen. There are three ways of gaining a dispensation from the letter of the law. Of course there is no dispensation from Divine Law. First way is a dispensation from a superior, who is capable of granting a dispensation. Second comes from the law itself, as in case of danger of death. The third is in emergency situations, that is particular situations which were not foreseen by the law maker.
Every bishop, priest or layman, who works outside the letter of the law must appeal to number three, emergency situation. Those who appeal to Canon 209 for supplying jurisdiction in common error, misdefine common error. Common error is when a cleric is believed to possess jurisdiction which he actually does not possess. This belief must be by a majority of those in the parish, diocese or whatever area of jurisdiction is in question. The second part of that canon deals with doubt of the law or fact. When in doubt of law use the old interpretattan or the mind of the lawgiver. Same for the other, that is use precedents established unless the law has changed substantially from the time of the precedent. “The letter (of the law) killeth, but the spirit giveth life” Obviously a law is enacted for the majority of cases. If however on a certain occasion, a law would be detrimental to the community for which it was made dispensation may be sought. First however you must try the authority unless there is a time problem. Let us say you visit a friend, who lives alone. You see through the front window that they are unconscious on the living room floor. What would you do? Break and enter and summon help. Although breaking in is illegal, you can see why it must be done in this case. However next week you can’t choose a house at random and bust down the front door, without similar cause. The spirit of the law is to protect you from breaking and entering, not from having your life saved. Saving your life is more important than the ordinary law in the above case.
St. Thomas lays down the following principals for interpreting human law. First law is ordered to the common good. In the case of ecclesiastical law it may also be to prevent sacrilege, that is to protect God’s rights. Law is made by an authority and promulgated by same. Law is to direct us to good and away from evil. Laws should be possible. Just laws bind in conscience. For a dispensation St. Thomas requires three conditions: sudden risk needing instant remedy in which the proper authority cannot be consulted. It is not our place to expound what is useful but it is the duty of authority. Just as all authority comes from God not from the people. Even in this country, we choose who receives the authority, but once he takes office we cannot remove him but through law. “If however the peril be so sudden as to not to allow the delay involved by referring the matter to authority, the mere necessity brings with it a dispensation, since necessity knows no law.” (Summa part I-II question 96 article 6) “Necessity: that which cannot not be.” “It is not ours to judge the law, but it’s application as in danger of death any priest may absolve.” As I will soon demonstrate, I believe that these laws still apply to protect us from error and scandal.
My last statement logically leads to a brief discussion of Tradition­alists and their organizations. First any traditionalist organization may be recognized by its ‘marks’. Every organization is going to save the Church and therefore mankind. Their mission is divine and this supplies all the authority they need. No other organization is capable of this task. Most also go as far as to say that those, who are not in the organization are outside of the Church. Also detractors are against God and His Blessed Mother and will be punished. In some cases already have. Most seek to supply the Mass and Sacraments to their followers. Usually outside the jurisdiction of the Church.
The Society of Saint Pius X is first as they were the first to appear in this country, that is still effective. From November 1,1970 to June 29, 1976 they operated licitly in several Swiss dioceses. According to Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre all ordinands to that date were ordained licitly with canonical title. However all chapels outside of those dioceses and those in from the date of suspension all operate illicitly. Lefebvre accepts as his superior Pope Paul VI yet disobeys a lawful command to close a diocesan pious union. The pope has that authority. Therefore Lefebvre is in disobedience. Quo Primum only gives a valid and licit priest permission to say the tridentine Mass privately, publicly if a Church is available according to the rules of the Church. It gives no permission to set up chapels, districts or to ordain men to the priest-hood. All the seminarians I knew in Econe knew this. Therefore they are ordained illicitly and incur ipso facto suspension from exercise of their orders. This is why I am glad to not have received orders from Lefebvre. Lefebvre had only the right to say private Mass and to speak out against the errors of Vatican II, which now some of his priests claim he is embracing.
What about Archbishop Ngo-Dihn Thuc? He does not accept John Paul II as valid successor of S. Peter. On April 9, 1951 Pius XII Issued an excommunication most specially reserved to the Holy See for consecrating bishops without the express permission of the Holy See. (Canon 2245 AAS 43-217) This law is to protect the faithful especially in communist countries from bad bishops. It is also a strengthening of an old law which only called for suspension. Maybe there is necessity, so this might not apply. However what can they legally do? Not what Fathers Musey and Vezelis are. These two bishops are now claiming that they control two dioceses in the US, which they created. According to Fr. J Vida Elmer, who referred to ‘Sede Vacante Apostolica’, says that during a sede vacante no new jurisdictions maybe set up. If this is so, then they are in violation of Church law. Considering their insistence on the Sede Vacante theory is fact, and promulgating same; they should either elect a pope, which they can’t do, or repent. If we have no pope, where will we get one? Someone show me from the history of the Church how this could be accomplished.
Other mass oriented groups are rapidly tearing themselves apart. They dispute over the pope, money, jurisdiction etcetera. One tool of the enemy is divide and conquer. These groups effect this intentionally or not. If something is truly of God would it not grow and have unity? These groups also propagate the ‘Mass at any price’ error. Also the ‘ordination at any cost’ error, which I have seen much of. Remember in England in the time of Henry VIII, those priests who accepted Henry as head of the Church. Place yourself there. Could you, knowing the facts, attend the Masses of those priests. There was no doubt as to validity until Cramner. How about France under Napoleon, when priests were forced to sign the ‘Civil Constitution of the Clergy’ or lose there parishes or worse. Could you go to a signatory of that document knowing that the Pope forbade signing under pain of censure? the answer is no. In fact the Cure of Ars made his first Communion in a barn, because of this problem. Can we ignore the laws of the Church? Obviously in those times it was better to miss Mass and obey God than to receive Holy Communion in an unlawful manner. The Mass is not most important, the Holy Faith is. See I Kings 15 copy enclosed.
If I were to say that the Mass is the most important, I could do several things. First I could go and buy ordination, because the importance of the Mass out ways the detriment of simony. Or if you won’t accept that, let me go find a good Old-Catholic, who is in good faith; would you come to my Mass? After ordination I could say Mass and probably should several times a day, because of its importance. (shades of Palmar de Troya) While I’m at it, why don’t I get consecrated bishop and ordain all my friends. See the absurdity. I could go on with ordaining married men and young boys. Think of a priest as a bishop for a minute. If you can attend his Mass, you could recommend that I accept ordination from him.
Now to an interesting organization. This organization offers no Mass to its followers except at its home offices. They support the ‘Mass at any price’ theory and are ardent followers of it. They also have laymen distribute Holy Communion at their New York office; supposedly Bishop Castro de Meyer gave permission. If he could give this permission, which I doubt, he could only give it in his diocese. This group is the TFP. Return to the middle ages is part of their ideal, which might not be to had. But can we, who live in sewers, understand the beauty of a meadow? The mentality of this age is so far off the ideal, that an immediate return is impossible without divine intervention. If you don’t believe me, read St. Thomas on usury; I was surprised. If St. Thomas lived now he would either go crazy or be locked up for his lunatic ideas. We need to try for a perfect age, an age without sin. Like all good things, you start at home. The TFP lacks catechetics. One person described most of their members as broken records incapable of independent thought. Ask them a good hard question. Also what is the counter-revolution? How can we restore civilization without good sound thinking people? This is what they should do, but aren’t at least not locally.
This brings me to the Millenialists, of which I consider them one group. When we save the Church a better age, an age of peace will come onto the world. From where? Who is going to run things? Their particular group, who else. Most of this Millenium, Reign of Mary, Time of Peace, is from private revelation, which I will cover later.
Traditionalist: any person or group, which seeks to solve the present problems outside the Papacy (i.e. the laws of the Church).
What about Fr. Joe Blow, independent priest? I am assuming that Fr. Blow here is in good standing, or was before taking leave from his diocese or order. Also I am assuming that Fr. Blow has not incurred any of the ipso facto (by the very fact) excommunications or suspensions. What can Fr. Blow do? He sees the seriousness of the problems of our time. In addition he may have another problem, food, clothing and shelter. The first solution that comes to mind, is for Fr. Blow to start a quasi-parish for someone. He may join an organization; if he does, then what I apply to organizations applies to him at least for the moment. However Fr. Blow may be wiser, and sees the inherent problems of organizations. My suggestion to him is to retire if possible, and write and speak against the errors of Vatican II if possible. If Fr. Blow can’t retire and eat, then beg, that is find some family to take him in. All the while fulfilling his obligations under divine and canon law.
A priest is obliged to the following: To say Mass several times a year at least privately, to say daily the Divine Office, to lead a holy and praiseworthy life, to fulfill the duties of any office he may still hold. You will notice that he is not obliged to provide the faithful with the Sacraments outside the laws of the Church. He is obliged to respond, if summoned in a case of danger of death. I suggest also that Fr. Joe Blow not venture into the chapel business.
What have I left us? Not much to speak of. We cannot legally set up chapels. Despite how good the priest is, there are inherent dangers, which cannot be avoided. This I have learned first hand in the last year right here in St. Marys. As soon as you bring in a priest, someone wants to organize a board (the many names used do not change the reality of the matter). This board then will attempt to regulate ecclesiastical matters to some extent operating a chapel, collecting money, determining Mass times, finding priests to say those Masses etcetera. The laity does not have any right to operate in this manner. The Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy, and any attempt to make it one will only remove those involved from the Church eventually. One priest has suggested that we “look to the East”. That is the valid and licit Eastern Rites. I consider this a temporary solution, and therefore suggest extreme caution. Many of the younger priests are no different than their Novus Ordo counterparts. I feel no obligation to pursue this course, but believe it may be pursued if available with caution. Above all pray.
If you are not already bored to death with all this reading, I would like to spend a moment on prophesy. First I am going to totally ignore all private revelation. In fact for the most part I am staying with the prophesies of Our Lord to the Apostles as related in Matthew, Mark and Luke (complete text attached). These are the only prophesies we must believe. All others are approved in the negative; that is they are free from doctrinal error and may be believed. However I place only the Marian apparitions in this category. Other private revelations may have been tampered with before they finally get down to us. So again exercise caution. Also except for direct quotes, the following is my opinion and may or may not be correct. Do not think that I am claiming infallibility; I only propose one possible answer.
These parallel cover two events, the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. I will only discuss the application to the end of the world. “Take heed that no man seduce you:” First warning of Our Lord to us especially in this time of rampant error. “For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.” “Go ye not therefore after them.” -This I believe will occur earlier on, and last some time. It is possible this refers to the false Christian religions. It could also refer to the modernists of Pius Xths time. Then the reference to nation against nation et cetera; This is obviously being fulfilled at this time. “Now all these things are the beginning of sorrows.” “For they shall deliver you up to councils…” (i.e. the present day court system) “And the gospel will be preached to all nations.” Maybe this is the Catholic missionary work up to Vatican II. “And you shall he hated by all men.” Because the true faith is so opposed to present day civilization. They say, “Do your own thing”; and condemn us for doing what is right. “And the charity of many shall grow cold. ” That is the true love of God, charity, will grow cold. “He that perseveres to the end, he shall be saved.” Obvious, those who do not follow evil will see heaven.
“When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation… standing in the holy place: he that readeth understand.” When you see the Novus Ordo, understand the prophesies of God. Also until this time no one could properly understand. “And woe to them that are with child…” The temptations “placed before children are terrible: sex education and promiscuousness, Rock and Roll, bad television, ‘peer pressure’, teenage rebellion. Against these and others all parents must fight. This is referred to as the time of the worst tribulation the world will ever see. Read the enclosed Summa reference on the final conflagration Article 8. St. Thomas states that the fears and persecutions shall cleanse our souls before the end. Do we not all fear for our salvation and that of our children? Let me paraphrase the next section. “For there shall arise false alter-Christuses (priests) and false visionaries and shall show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect” “If therefore they shall say to you: behold they have Mass in St. Marys go ye not out: behold there is Mass in Joe’s house, believe it not.”
“And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light. …” There will be no return to the faith, no millennium, no reign of Mary. ii Immediately: without intervening agency or cause, without delay, at once, instantly. (Webster’s Dictionary) “So you also, when you shall see these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors” “Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass away till all these things be accom­plished.” Generation: the period of time between the birth of one gene-ration and that of another (about 30 years) (Webster’s Dictionary). It could also mean that those born in 1960 will for the most part see the end.
Watch and pray. It is closer than any of us would allow ourselves to believe. We are in the great apostasy. We have total confusion. There is an almost total failure of what is good. The Pope and bishops no longer lead us on the sure path to salvation. True “I will be with you all days, even unto the consummation of the earth.” Christ did not say how. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. But define for me the Church, Mystical Body of Christ. As Daniel predicted the continual sacrifice has been taken away. Let us wake up and smell the coffee.
I plan to take the following actions based on the above principals:
1.Pray and do penance and amend my life
2.Stop settling for second best in the Mass and Sacraments, therefore
No more participation in extra-canonical or traditionalist Masses.
3.Continue my studies although there is little hope for ordination
4.Fulfill my divine law obligations (which I will enumerate some)
B.Holy Communion once in your life (however impossibility excuses)
C.Follow the Ten Commandments
In essence I am acting like the settler, who lived hundreds of miles from a Church. Did they go to Hell for not attending Mass? Would they go to Hell for not attending Mass at an Old-Catholic Church even if it were next door? Truth does not change.
What should you tell your children? I suggest the truth in so far as they are capable of understanding. We are suffering for the sins of our fathers as well as our own. Remember the principal, “We get the government we deserve.” “The good suffer along with the bad.” True you may not deserve this, but not my will but God’s will is important.
“To err is human, to remain willfully in error is satanic”, St. Augustine

FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA, and give me the grace to see it and the strength to do it. May God bless you and yours. Please forgive the length, and if you believe I am in error please correct me, as I wish only the truth.

David Bawden