What about violent Saints, warrior Saints & Soldier Saints etc? Q&A’s on Gospel Nonviolence 3

“What about all the Saints who have been involved with violence? Should they be struck from the Calendar of Saints? Were they Saints?”

St James the Moorslayer – Violence a legitimate imitation of Christ? No.

Obviously St Joan of Arc is a top candidate in this issue, but I will also try to address several of the other big names too like; St Louis IX, St Vladimir of Kiev, St. James the Moor Slayer, St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Francis, St Dominic, Constantine and on.

Again this is a very common question. My answer has been essentially – “They were wrong”. Should they be struck from the Calendar? my answer – “if they continue to be a rallying point of error, then yes”. Were they Saints? my answer – “I hope so, but certainly not because they were violent, they would be Saints because of Gods Grace”. But because there are a lot of people who esteem St Joan of Arc (she’s a bit of a banner for Catholic women, especially the more traditionalist, and of course all the French and St Joan has been made practically the patron of Traditionalism) so I needed some help on this.

Father Emmanuel McCarthy wrote an excellent article on St Joan of Arc – A Warning to End the Constantinian Era Not a Loophole to Continue the Constantinian Era.

FrECM: As regards Constantine he is not a saint in the Roman Catholic Church but he is in the Orthodox Churches. The formal declaration of sainthood is considered an infallible declaration. But, it is infallible only to the extent that it declares a person is in heaven. St. Thomas Aquinas justified burning Jews and heretics at the stake, yet he is a saint. As Dorothy Day use to say, “If you follow a saint in what he did that was not Christlike, you go to hell.” All saints with the exception of Mary are sinners. All saints have engaged in culpable and non-culpable evil. The infallible statement of canonization goes only to the person being in heaven, not to anything else. All else is non-infallible. I want, hope and I pray daily that all go to heaven. If “X” person is there regardless of how ignorant, wrong or delusional he or she is, then, “Thank God!” But, we must remember non-culpable ignorance is not sin, just as non-freely chosen activity is not sin. Only God knows how free any person was and what in fact that person knew at the moment he or she acted. And,“The supreme attribute of God is mercy” (John Paul II, in his Encyclical, Dives et Misericordia – Rich in Mercy). So, judgement about whether one has sinned or not, whether one goes to heaven or not is God’s, but that does not change the teachings of Jesus, the Original Tradition of the Church or the Gospels in regard to how the follower of Jesus is called to live. What is worthy of imitation in the life of a saint is discerned by evaluating his or her actions in light of the words and deeds, teachings and promises of the Word (Logos“made flesh,” Jesus—not vice-versa.


Is Gospel Nonviolence communism? Q&As on Gospel Nonviolence 2
Gospel Nonviolence is pacifist liberalism? – Q&As on Gospel Nonviolence 1
Guest Article – St Joan of Arc


Sedevacantism? Sedevacantists? No, not a great idea.

Sedevacantism describes the situation when the See of Peter is vacant. This happens during the interregnum once one Pope dies (or abdicates) and another is elected.

There exists a minority of Catholics who are convinced (in varying degrees) that since some date (which also varies) in the past, Papal Succession has ceased and that the See of Peter is vacant.

Put like that, to some, it may seem laughable, but it is no laughing matter. These Catholics have often reasoned their positions out very thoroughly, and have become so convinced that this is the case, that it is almost impossible for them to recant.

There is a lengthy article on Sedevacantism on Wikipedia, which is a good (if not lengthy) read. Always bear in mind, that with Wikipedia, you don’t know who the author is, or his authority on the matter.

Suffice to say Sedevacantism is a problem, and it needs to be dealt with. The main problem is around the liturgical reforms of the 20th Century and Vatican II. Goes like this:

  1. The liturgy and Church teaching was changed
  2. The liturgy and Church teaching should not have changed
  3. The Church can’t err (see my post on the Indefectability of the Church)
  4. Therefore the current visible Church is not the real Church (or a variation which says the Pope who is responsible is to blame, therefore, he is a manifest heretic and therefore there is no Pope)

Simple, clear reasoning. But they have omitted one very important factor; human beings. We’re not machines, it’s not black or white. We live in a world of shades of grey. The Church can’t err, but she can certainly, in her human aspect, forget. Like forgetting, that if anyone violates the truce of God (making War on any other day than Mondays to Wednesdays during Summer and Autumn)  and after the third admonition does not make satisfaction, shall be anathematized (First Council of the Lateran)… well, so much for all the Catholics during every war that has ever happened since 1123…

Go ahead, look through the Ecumenical Councils that have been convoked, read their promulgations, see how much has been forgotten.

If a person forgets to leave his handbrake on and the car kills a child, the person will not be charged of murder. It is a terrible horrendous thing, but truthfully they are innocent (and likely to be their own judge, jury and punisher). To err, is to know one is doing something wrong, and to do it anyway. Just like any sin, it requires, matter, knowledge and forethought.

Some conspiracy theorists, posit that the Popes knew that messing around with the Liturgy was wrong and maliciously chose to do it with forethought. Well, if that was the case, there would be very serious implications for the person who occupies the office (not the office itself).

The problem, is that these conspiracy theorists are not psychic, they cannot prove the level of culpability of those they accuse (how much did they know, how much forethought was given, was there malicious intent? etc), and those that they accuse cannot defend themselves because they have gone to their Eternal Judgement. So based upon these two problems, we, as followers of Christ, we must adhere to “innocent until proven guilty” and de mortuis nil nisi bonum (“speak well of the dead or not at all”). Then we must wait until our lives are over to see who’s in heaven and who’s not. Only then will we know with certainty (bar the case of Miracles – more in another post another time).

Which means that the only position a Catholic can take in good conscience is that the See of Peter is occupied. Sure the Liturgical demolition and the loopy liberalisation which followed in “the spirit of the Vatican Council” were horrendous. And anyone who disagrees with that is suffering from some serious…

…to the facts. It’s been a disaster, of almost Protestant Reformation scale. But while it is an ontological tragedy, it is a very human disaster, deriving from very human mistakes.

Someone pointed out something which I believe is very insightful;
The majority of modern Popes have been treating their Pontificate like temporal despots, they can do as they will, create this, do that, go here, go there. They have lost the understanding that the Pontificate is a Stewardship, that they are charged to keep things, to look after them and not to act in a self-willed manner, for they are the steward of something which is not theirs. And not ours either, for that matter.

Consider the Papacy in the light of this Parable:

A certain man planted a vineyard and made a hedge about it, and dug a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it to husbandmen; and went into a far country.

The Holy Gospel according to St Mark (12:1-5)

Now imagine the Man comes home, and finds that the husbandmen have dug up the hedge, destroyed the winevat, taken down the tower, and made the vineyard into a dairy farm. It might be a great dairy farm, the lead Steward may be very proud of his work, “look how great a dairy farm I have made for you”. But the Man says “But I wanted a vineyard…”.

This is the world we live in, where people, ordinary human beings, no greater, no less, than you or I, think they know best. They are often unaware of the subtle voice which says “choose your own way” which I mentioned in the post Habemus Papam – Pope Francis – Gift of the Holy Ghost? is not the voice of God. Christ constantly calls us to be Stewards, to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded” (Mt 28:19-20).

The Liturgy is part of Sacred Tradition, not the Magesterium, the Magesterium is not called to innovate, discard, or lay waste to Sacred Tradition, the Magesterium is called to be a Steward of Sacred Tradition, and therefore also the Sacred Liturgy.

But just because the human occupants of the Magesterium of the Church, forget this mandate, and start doing things which they probably shouldn’t, it is not justification for accusing that the See of Peter is vacant.

Sedevacantism is bunk. Get back in the Ark and start helping to repair the holes, bail out the water and moor the Ark to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.

Vision of St John Bosco of the Church


Habemus Papam – Pope Francis – Gift of the Holy Ghost?
Indefectibility of the Church

Indefectibility of the Church

Is this you?

So we believe the Church is Indefectible, which means, she cannot by her very nature, err from the Truth. This is true, in that the Church has taught that Jesus Christ, is “the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. She has continued to proclaim his Gospel for all to hear every day, at every Mass, since the beginning.

Does the Indefectibility of the Church mean that the Gospel Truth cannot be obscured? No, the dogma is clear, She can’t defect from the Truth, that’s all.

It is true, Cardinals have to take oaths, Popes have preached Crusades, the Gospel is not lived out literally in the lives of Catholics (in Holy Orders or not), but that does not mean that the Church has defected from the Truth.

I think it is fair to say that on the whole we have ceased to practice the Faith as it is presented in the Gospels. I can certainly list the times today that I have not loved my neighbour as myself. My sin is always before me. But, the grace is, in knowing that I do not do the good which I ought, I know, and therefore I can do something about it. I have can begin to change, to turn around, away from, the old way, and towards the only Way.

Despair begins when we deny the mystery of things, and I can certainly vouch for the baffling mystery of how the Lord has permitted the Truth to be so obscured.

But I know that my job is to work on myself and not to worry about the wider workings of the world.