by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
One of the primary and constant themes of the preaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ was that we should judge things according to the truth. And the truth regards not only what can be seen, but what cannot be seen, but inferred from looking at the facts with faith.
And He put us to the extreme test by what He did and suffered. Because if you only allowed yourself to be amazed at His miracles and to admire His teaching, His Passion was so much the utter contradiction of worldly logic, that mere human admiration would be shattered.
The other extreme test He put us to was to have faith that He was the Bread of Life come down from Heaven, and thus that He is truly, really and substantially there in the Blessed Sacrament. The eyes see bread and wine, but with faith, they see the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many ask me what is going on in the Church right now, and I have written an essay about this before. But now I want to approach the same problem from a different point of view.
The Vicar of the Christ Who ascended into Heaven
When Christ was about to ascend into Heaven, He said some truly marvelous words: All power in Heaven and Earth has been given to Me (Matthew 28:18 according to the Vulgate). This passage is often translated with the word, “authority”, not “power”, which if understood badly, as it often is, is understood to refer only to legal authority. But the Greek says, πᾶσα ἐξουσία, means the power to act. It is not just the right to act.
These words are tremendous because of their implication. Christ Our Lord, is not only God, but wields the Divine Power in all its fullness even as Man.
The import for us is that this God become Man is the author of the office of Saint Peter. Peter is not just the Vicar of Christ on earth. Peter is the Vicar of the Christ Who ascended into Heaven and wields all power to act, in Heaven and Earth.
This can be seen in the history of the Church. We Roman Catholics often boast about the Roman Church being superior to the other Apostolic Churches or more fecund in spreading the faith or having saints. We speak often as if this is because of the superiority of Western Civilization or of the Roman Culture, legal system, or philosophical or theological sciences in the West.
The Vicar of the Christ with all power to act
But the mystical truth is quiet other. It is not us, nor the work of our hands, it is the Office of Peter. For the Successors of Saint Peter hold the office of the Vicar of Christ. and not only of any Christ, but of Christ with all the power to act.
The man who in truth has this office, by his mere existence and our communion, with him, merits for us grace to act. He does not merit this by being a good pope or a bad pope, though if he be a good pope he manifests this more. No he merits it in a higher sense, because the Office of St. Peter has this instrumentality in the order of grace by its very nature as the Vicarship or Vice-Roy of Christ Jesus, Who has all power to act.
In this way, the last words of Our Lord on Earth, were a profound catechesis on the the nature of the Church and the order of grace. Our Lord was promising, by these words, that those who remained in communion with His Vicar, Saint Peter and his successors, would have the grace to accomplish His Final and Greatest Commandment: Go make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things which I commanded you!
The Petrine munus cannot be hidden
It follows then, that you cannot hide the effects of the Papal Office. You cannot bury them in your sins or wipe out its force by your personal defects. It exists and is empowered on a divine level, the human cannot overwhelm it. This is because as Vicar of the One who has all power to act, there is no greater instrument in all the cosmos to mediate that active power, than the Office of Peter.
And thus, all of us who are in communion with the true Successor of Saint Peter will have the graces to accomplish the will of God, not because we merit it for our personal good works, but because we obtain it by being in and remaining in communion with the Vicar of Our Lord and Savior.
Likewise, if you are not the true successor of Saint Peter you cannot hide it. It will be evident in the immorality, blasphemies, idolatries, loss of faith, loss of every virtue and finally total abandonment of the divine ministry. You can see that in the cult of Palmar, Spain, who claim to have the true pope, but whose popes leave office and marry women.
Interpret the signs of the times!
Likewise, if the man you follow as Pope is ordering you not to be a Bishop, not to be a priest, not to believe, not to pray, not to frequent the sacraments, not to have devotion, not to practice virtue, not to be chaste, not the resist the world, the flesh or the devil, in short, not to be a Christian…
Then I say you need to discern the signs of the times. Christ Jesus did not say, All power to not act in Heaven and Earth has been given to Me.
Thus, the conclusion is inescapable. You’re mistaken. The one you think has the petrine munus, does not have it, because if he did, he would have the power to act and communicate this power to all the Bishops and clergy in communion with him. But it has been 7 years that he and they have been in formal schism with the one who does have that power, and now, their spiritual batteries have run down, and are dead. And the lights of the Church, that is the Sacraments, have gone out.
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