Readers Caught in a Net of Ignorance
It is estimated that at least 100,000 dolphins and whales are tragically caught in fishing nets in a given year. I would estimate that BetrayedCatholics receives at least 100,000 views every year, which means that there are 100,000 chances of being trapped in a net of ignorance. The inhumanity is unreal.
In her BetrayedCatholics article, “Traditionalists were incapable of receiving valid consecration,” Teresa Benns has again demonstrated to the world that she simply does not comprehend the difference between sacramental and jurisdictional power of the holy orders. Benns says:
“Pope Pius XII did not nullify anyone’s Orders, as Traditionalists sneeringly allege against those questioning the validity of their pseudo-clergy: he withdrew the power of those attempting to confer them without the papal mandate during an interregnum, so that whatever they did had no effect. And this is assuming they ever validly received any Orders in the first place which only a true pope could determine! The ACT of episcopal consecration (or ordination) is not nullified — the ones attempting to convey Orders and those attempting to receive them are declared incapable of ACTING and receiving. This is a very important distinction. You can scarcely nullify something that could never take place to begin with,” (Original emphasis).
BetrayedCatholics, Not Pius XII
Let us first get one thing straight, Pope Pius XII is dead, so not only did he not nullify any sacraments (which is a thing impossible), neither did Pius XII declare anyone incapable of acting and receiving orders. That was and is Teresa Benns, who has been saying the same thing–against fraternal correction–for over a decade if not longer.
If anything, it is the law of Pius XII which limits the powers of individuals in the Church from acting or receiving, not the man himself. THIS is a very important distinction, because it really makes plain and obvious that the only person adjudicating anything here is Teresa Benns, who has gotten it into her head that she is some kind of canon lawyer. It is a really sad thing.
Now, let us return to the quote above. Benns claims that Pius XII (but in reality his law) withdrew the power of those attempting to confer holy orders, but that this is not a nullification of the orders as such. She says, “The act of episcopal consecration (or ordination) is not nullified…” I may forgive the readers of BetrayedCatholics for being confused on this whole affair of whether the Sedevacantist holy orders are valid or not, when they have to wade through such doctrinally-devoid drivel in order to make heads or tails of the question. If, according to Benns, Pius XII withdrew the power to confer holy orders, then he nullified the holy orders the conferrer had. What power was being withdrawn but for the power of the conferrer!?
The so-called important distinction that Benns is trying to make is a complete figment of her imagination, and not a product of any activity of ratiocination, or, what is more likely, the distinction Benns is trying to make is a product of her will instead of her intellect. She wants the Sedevacantist clergy to be invalid. She needs the Sedevacantist clergy to be invalid. Why? Because if they are not, she will have been wrong for over a decade. That’s why. It really is a sad thing.
So, what does the Church teach concerning the conferring of holy orders by heretics, schismatics, and the excommunicated? As usual, let us turn to the Angelic Doctor, who is not animated by any personal interest in being right, but, guided by truth and charity, and is a true master and teacher of Catholic doctrine. The Theologian teaches in the article, “Whether heretics, schismatics, and excommunicated persons can consecrate?” that, yes, even those outside the Church can confer the sacraments:
“Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii): “Just as Baptism remains in them,” i.e. in heretics, schismatics, and those who are excommunicate, “so do their orders remain intact.” Now, by the power of his ordination, a priest can consecrate the Eucharist. Therefore, it seems that heretics, schismatics, and those who are excommunicate, can consecrate the Eucharist, since their orders remain entire.
“I answer that, Some have contended that heretics, schismatics, and the excommunicate, who are outside the pale of the Church, cannot perform this sacrament [like Teresa Benns of BetrayedCatholics]. But herein they are deceived, because, as Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii), “it is one thing to lack something utterly, and another to have it improperly”; and in like fashion, “it is one thing not to bestow, and quite another to bestow, but not rightly.”
“Accordingly, such as, being within the Church, received the power of consecrating the Eucharist through being ordained to the priesthood, have such power rightly indeed; but they use it improperly if afterwards they be separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication. But such as are ordained while separated from the Church, have neither the power rightly, nor do they use it rightly.
“But that in both cases they have the power, is clear from what Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii), that when they return to the unity of the Church, they are not re-ordained, but are received in their orders. And since the consecration of the Eucharist is an act which follows the power of order, such persons as are separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication, can indeed consecrate the Eucharist, which on being consecrated by them contains Christ’s true body and blood; but they act wrongly, and sin by doing so; and in consequence they do not receive the fruit of the sacrifice, which is a spiritual sacrifice,” (Summa Theologica, III.82.7).
The distinction between sacramental power conferred in holy orders and jurisdictional power received in holy orders but through the Church, has been hashed out here before. The teaching of the Church on this matter is so well established and so beyond dispute, that to doubt it seems at the very least to smack of heresy. I am not inclined to believe Teresa Benns is a formal heretic, but I do believe she is so woefully inept at making proper distinctions, that those who feel the need to read her, should be made aware of how really unreliable she is.
And that is why I speak out against Benns. It is not because she is a bad woman. On the contrary, she is very nice, and a good Catholic. But she is not a good teacher, because she does not know what she does not know, and that really is a really sad thing.
The Ignorance of Teresa Benns
It is taken as almost de fide among Home Alone Catholics that Teresa Benns knows what she is talking about. This is such a dangerous thing, because it sets up the cult with the cult leader. Now, as one friend of mind has told me, it is common that people flock to leaders, because it is a matter of human nature. And I agree with him. No man is an island, and we all, even the most individual and independent among us require authorities and teachers and leaders. And I am not convinced that these can be sought for in the past. Rather, I think it is human nature to reach out to the living for a living voice to be guided by.
Since the take over of the hierarchy and authoritative offices in the Church by infidels, we Catholics must find substitutes of the Teaching Church which will do at least the job of instructing the ignorant. But the ignorant cannot instruct the ignorant. I have tried, as well as others, to instruct Teresa Benns’s ignorance, but her sense of self-importance is so inflated, that nothing gets through to her. The ignorance of Teresa Benns is not in her intellect. She is very smart, and probably borderline genius in memory capacity. She recalls very well, and is very keen intellectually, especially if one considers that she is well past her prime.
But there are two powers of the soul, the intellect and the will, which move and are moved. The intellect can move the will, but the will can also move the intellect, and indeed blind it by desiring that which it should not. I believe this is what is happening with Benns in this whole business about validity of holy orders. She desires that which she should not, and so her intellect is blinded by her desire.
If we are ever going to see an end to the outright error and possible heresy of BetrayedCatholics on the score of holy orders being invalidly conferred, Teresa Benns must first right her inordinate desire. She must put truth and authentic Catholic doctrine ahead of her own pet ideas she so desperately desires to be true. Until that happens, I am afraid she will forever be a blot on the Home Alone Catholic community, that is, until such a time that she is no longer looked upon as a leader of Home Alone Catholics. Then she may quietly recite her silly little arguments in the corner of the web where they are safely ignored and not heard.
Answering an Obvious Objection
“You’re just bad-mouthing Benns because YOU want to be that leader of Home Alone Catholics!” I can hear BetrayedCatholics loyalists shouting at their computer monitors. How to answer such an objection? Well, first, I would answer the objection by saying it is utterly true. That’s right. I do want to be a leader of the Home Alone Catholics because I believe I can offer instruction for the ignorant in lieu of the Catholic hierarchy. Of course, I only claim the ability and aptitude to be a kind of catechist, and make no pretension to anything more.
But the objection is incorrect if it means that that was my motive for correcting Benns. I desire to be helpful to my fellow Home Alone Catholics quite independent of Benns, and, as you may recall, at one time I was contented and happy to serve right next to her. We collaborated on a number of things together, and we were happy of the mutual support. But all that changed when she could not be instructed in her ignorance, and built a wall between us.
For those who will allow themselves to be helped along and guided by straightforward instruction on the Catholic Faith, and encouragement on the road to Heaven, I am here. For those who would rather give their attention and follow the ramblings of one Teresa Benns, on account of some affinity to her, then I leave you alone. I have noticed a considerable drop-off in comments and interaction and traffic since I parted ways with BetrayedCatholics. This was to be expected, but that doesn’t make it right.
For those who love the truth in its entirety, for those who love the faith undimmed by the spot of pride, for those who yearn for fellowship, if only online, CatholicEclipsed is here. I have hopefully proven myself to be a trusted guide and friend you can learn from and talk with, and even fraternally correct when proven wrong, unlike Benns, who is not trustworthy as a guide, blacklists her friends, and couldn’t be corrected to free all the dolphins in the sea from tuna nets.