Bro. Michael Dimond, O.S.B.'s
by Alexis Bugnolo
Recently very many Catholics throughout the United States of America received a copy of a Magazine, entitled A VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, Issue #1, published by Most Holy Family Monastery of Fillmore, NY 14735-8755. This publication contained the following articles, "Has Rome Become The Seat of the Antichrist?", "Immodesty, Marriage and NFP", "Why is the New Mass Deadly?", and "Outside The Church There is No Salvation." Since many who received this wish to know what a Traditional Catholic should think of the arguments presented by Bro. Michael Dimond, O.S.B.,1 a brief comment is in order.
"Has Rome Become The Seat of the Antichrist?"
The validity of the concusion of any argument is founded upon the truth of its propositions and its logical form. Therefore I will constrain my comments to the crucial elements. First it is nothing new to say that "Rome will become the Seat of the Antichrist." Already in the writings of St. Francis de Sales [Catholic Controversy, Tan Books] one finds this expression. St. Francis de Sales says that it was God's will that St. Peter go to Rome so as to effect the chaining of the Beast for the "1000 years" spoken of in the Book of the Apocalypse. This 1000 years is according to the Fathers a symbolic time referring to the flourishing of Christianity on Earth. St. Francis explains that as long as the Roman Pontiff reigns over Rome the "Beast" will remained chained. However in the Last Days the city of Rome will revert to its former paganism and become the Seat of the Antichrist. Note however, that St. Francis de Sales said that the Pope as Successor of St. Peter is the one appointed by God to appose the Antichrist and the Beast. To equate the Pope with the Antichrist is the dogma of Protestantism and even of the some eastern schismatics.
Secondly it is important to keep a historical perspective. The City of Rome was ruled by the Popes until September 20, 1870 when General Cadorna took the city and annexed it to the Italian Republic. Since then it has been the seat of the "Green House" one of the world Headquarters of Masonry. St. Maximilian Kolbe as a student, himself requested permission to evangelize the Masons who worked in the Green House, in which no doubt, like every Masonic Temple there is a cult of the Devil [cf. the classic Masonic Tome: Dogma & Morals] The expressed purpose of Masonry, as explained by that nefarious book, is the restoration of the ancient paganism of Egypt and Babylon, but in a better form, namely, in an manner organized to overthrow the True Religion revealed to the People of Israel and consummated in Christ Jesus, which is now present in the Catholic Church. This is what Pope Leo XIII was referring to in his prayer to St. Michael which prefaces the official rite of exorcism. It has nothing to do with Vatican II.
Thirdly, it is important to remember that there is a difference between heresy and ambiguity. Heresy is the explicit and pertinacious post-baptismal denial of a teaching that hs been defined by the Magisterium as one to be held de fide divina et catholica definita, that is defined as to be held with divine and catholic faith. All other assertions, however bold or gross are not heresy de jure and thus cannot cause the forfeiting of an ecclesiastical office, whether in the old or new Code of Canon Law. Ambiguous statements are therefore essentially impossible of being heretical, inasmuch as they are ambiguous. Furthermore, even if one said or taught something manifestly heretical, one is not guilty of the sin of heresy until one refuses to be corrected. Then one becomes pertinacious.
An enlightening case in point is that of Pope John XXII who reigned in the early 14th century. During a homily he declared that no one, not even the Saints, behold the beatific vision; only the just after the Day of Judgment at the end of time. At this a brave Dominican Friar publicly accused the Pope of heresy. In response (for Pope John had a fiery temper) the Pope excommunicated the friar for heresy [i.e. claiming the Pope could fall into heresy]. The head of the Order of Preachers then conferred with the learned theologians of his order and decided that in conscience he had to press the issue. Thereupon every Dominican preacher in the City of Rome, on the same day, began to denounce the Pope's statement from the pulpits. This infuriated Pope John XXII and at the conciliatory efforts of his Cardinals, he appointed a commission to examine the deposit of faith regarding the question of when the beatific vision is enjoyed by the Saints. The commission found that from time immemorial Catholics have always believed that the souls of the Saints go straight to Heaven and behold the Beatific Vision. Informed of this result the Pope received the Sacrament of Confession, publicly declared that he had spoken not as the Successor of St. Peter, but as a private theologian. The next day, he dropped dead. His immediate successor [Benedict XII] immediately issued a bull declaring the correct teaching to be de fide divina et catholica definita. Regarding the question of a Pope falling into heresy go to Michael Davies essay.
Fourth, Bro. Dimond's chief charges of heresy against Pope John Paul II are entirely false. First, the teaching of Dignitatis humanae (the Vatican II Document on Religious Liberty) regards a question of the natural law and a matter that has never been proposed before or after by the Church as teaching to be held de fide divina et catholica. Even if Dignitatis humanae contradicted Pope Leo XIII's Immortale Dei (November 1, 1885), both Pope John XXIII and Paul VI unanimously agreed that Vatican II documents did not intend to teach infallible doctrine (cf. "Theological Weight of Vatican II" for references). And hence Pope John Paul II's reaffirmation of Dignitatis humanae is not heretical. The teaching of Dignitatis humanae vis-á-vis the teaching of Popes Leo XIII, Pius IX etc. has been subjected by the traditionalist Dominican Community to a 10 year theological inquiry, that included an examination of every Papal Document on the topic. For a copy of their findings you can write the Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer. It has also been shown that Dignitatis humanae did not contradict the teaching of former Popes [cf. "Piux IX, Vatican II, and Religious Liberty" for a discussion}.2 As for Pope John Paul II's statements on the Redemption of mankind, one must remember the distinction, long held in Catholic Theology, between the objective and subjective Redemption. The Objective Redemption is the work of wining the graces of the Redemption, which work Christ (and Mary with Him) worked on Golgotha. The Subjective Redemption is the actual application of those merits to individuals. "To say that Christ redeemed all men from the power of the devil" is a perfectly Catholic statement. But to say that all men are saved simply because they are members of the human race, is quite another thing. All the statements Bro. Dimond brings forward on the question of the redemption can easily be understood as regards the objective redemption. In cases of such distinctions as these, the speaker always is due the benefit of the doubt, for charity thinketh no evil.
Fifth, as regards all the other statements, even if the Pope did say them as quoted (which is not at all proven since Bro. Dimond's footnotes are so vague and cite second hand sources), Christ never promised that the Pope, as a person, would not fall into error, just that he would not impose heresy on the Church. There are many things erroneous in theology, philosophy and in other sciences which if held would not destroy the habit of supernatural faith in the soul of the person who held them. Error by definition is a theological category that comprises statements which are counter to truths of theology, philosophy, etc., which themselves not directly deal with matters which have been revealed by God and defined as being so revealed by the Church. In short, holding error does not make one a heretic. And as such, one would still be Pope even if in error. Even St. Alphonsus dei Liguori admits this: "For who will not deny that the Pope can be obnoxious because of his errors?" [Theologia Moralis, vol. 2, n. 135, critical edition]. Needless to say that any other sin, such as sacrilege, blasphemy, fornication, etc., does not make the Pope a heretic.
Then there are Bro. Dimond's misquotes. Take for example his quote of Vicesimus Quintus on p. 7, left column. He quotes the Pope saying, "attached themselves only and uniquely to the previous liturgical forms very deplorably held as the one authority of the integrity of the Faith." Whereas the Pope said, "altri, purtroppo, si sono ripiegati in maniera unilaterale ed esclusiva sulle forme liturgiche precedenti intese da alcuni di essi come unica garanzia di sicurezza nella fede." Which in English is, "others, unfortunately, have attached themselves in an unilateral and exclusive manner to the preceding liturgical forms, understood by some of them as the unique guarantee of security in the Faith." If this is true of one quote, that is in a publically accessible document, how much more of other quotes presented by Bro. Dimond in obscure, rare publications?
Finally, I ask what is to be gained by Bro. Dimond's assault on the legitimacy of Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul IV? If there has not been a true pope since Pope Pius XII then the Church has failed and Christ is a liar when He said, "The gates of Hell will never prevail against it (My Church)".
Is Bro. Dimond, calling Our Lord Jesus Christ a liar? Better to pray for Our Pope, sinner though he be, that he may find grace, mercy, and strength to carry his heavy office faithfully until death.
1: Bro. Michael Dimond, styles himself as O.S.B., that is a member of the Order of St. Benedict. However the author of this essay has been informed (1/22/2000) that this is not the case: that is, that Bro. Dimond has never been a member of that Order.
2: The Catholic Dogma: It is false to say that the state which recognizes
the Catholic Religion as the truth Faith cannot coerce its citizens to prevent
the public expression of false religions. Corollary: It is
false to say that the State which does not recognize the Catholic Religion as
the true Faith, can coerce Catholics to prevent the public expression of their
Since Dignitatis humanae precinds from the distinction of true and false religion, and from the state which is explicitly Catholic and that which is not so; what it says in general terms is comprehensible either in an absolute sense, or in a relative sense.
In an absolute sense it does contradict Catholic teaching. Whether any popes have spoken on a matter or not, is only 1 criterion of catholic teaching. Clearly Sacred Scripture and Tradition teach implicitly and explicitly the Catholic Dogma, which is enunciated above. And so when understood in absolute terms, that is as speaking of religious liberty as referring to all religions whatsoever, the teaching of Dignitatis humanae is false and pernicious, since it contradicts this dogma, though it does affirm the corollary as a consequence.
But if understood to have been issued in regard to the rights claimed by the Catholic Church vis à vis the state, it does not contradict the Dogma or any previous papal teaching, obviously, because then it intends to speak only in favor of the corollary. In this manner it is understood to speak of religious liberty in a relative sense, that is, as implicitly referring to the Catholic Religion only, wherein "religious liberty" is meant only in the proper sense of the term, that is "to practice the Catholic Faith".
Since DH does not state the sense in which it teaches, it does not bind Catholics to the absolute sense, that is, to the denial of the Dogma, or thus to hold that it formally teaches an error; even though most who accept it, hold this sense and this error.
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