Thursday, February 7, 2019

Blessed Pope Pius IX


Today marks the anniversary of the death of Bl. Pope Pius IX, who reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church for 32 years – from 1846 to 1878. It is very difficult to visit the Eternal City and not see a bust, a statue, a coat of arms, a painting or a portrait of this magnificent Pope who gloriously filled the Chair of Peter during extremely turbulent and violent times. 

During his pontificate, he drew the line of demarcation between the Church of God and the world of Satan, between what was Catholic and what was anti-Catholic. Immediately after his election in 1846, Pius IX became Rome’s chief object of attraction. He became the most popular and esteemed Pope, especially during the long years of suffering, for which the very prophetically apt title of “CRUX DE CRUCE” was chosen for him.


“So far as ceremonial was concerned, nothing could be more gorgeous than the services at St. Peter’s as conducted by Pope Pius IX. For such duties no one could be better fitted; for he was handsome, kindly, and dignified, with a beautiful, singing voice… At the close of the service, the Pope, being borne on his throne by Roman nobles, surrounded by Cardinals and Princes, and wearing the triple crown, gave his blessing to the city and to the world. There must have been over ten thousands of us in the piazza to receive it, and no one could have performed his part more perfectly.”

~ Andrew Dickson White


His works of charity were well-known during his lifetime. His person (and his pontificate) added to the glory of Rome – that seat of the universal empire that conquered and transformed much of the known world in all aspects. Rome was made even greater and more glorious when Pius reigned in Rome. The Eternal City, baptized in the blood of the martyrs and made stronger through persecution, became more celebrated under the reign of Pope Pius IX, the father of Christendom.

“I have seen many pious priests in the performance of their sacred functions; but never before did I behold a countenance more intensely expressive of piety, or so illumined with the heavenly brightness which outwardly manifests the working of the spirit within. It seemed as if it were suffused with a light from above. Heart, and mind, and soul appeared to be absorbed, as they really were, in the sacred ceremonies in which he assisted; and not for a second's space did his attention wander from his devotions. He communed as truly with his God in the midst of that splendid crowd, and with hundreds of eager eyes riveted upon him, as if he were kneeling in his private chamber, and asking for another day of strength to meet the difficulties of his exalted but perilous position.”

“There have been great and illustrious pontificates in the history of the Church, pontificates that stand prominently forth by the personal holiness of the Pope and the great works he accomplished for the Church of God, or the great sufferings he underwent in her defense. These pontificates mark distinct epochs in ecclesiastical history; and with them posterity will range the remarkable reign of Pius IX.
The length of years during which Divine Providence has sustained him in his eminent position; the personal sanctity which breathes forth in all his actions; the zeal with which he has met the spirit of an unbelieving age, that seeks to destroy alike the organization and the faith of the Church; the defining of an article of faith called for by the piety of a world, the convoking of a general council, the heroism and serenity displayed amid the vicissitudes and misfortunes that have chequered his career; exile, spoliation, imprisonment; a great heart afflicted by the sight of the evils visited on those who adhered to him and to the cause of God; all these conspire to invest Pius IX and his pontificate with a halo peculiarly his own.”
~The Life of Pius IX


“To the Clergy and People of Rome:

The majesty of the omnipotent God has recalled to himself the sovereign pontiff Pius IX, of blessed memory, according to the sad news just imparted to us by the most eminent Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, to whom it belongs to make known to the public the death of the Roman pontiffs.
At such an announcement, the Catholic people in every part of the world, devoted to the great and apostolic virtues of the immortal pontiff and his sovereign magnanimity, will weep. But, above all, are we most supremely sorrowful; we, O Romans! Since today has unhappily terminated the most extraordinary and glorious pontificate which God has ever conceded to his vicars upon earth.
His life as pontiff and as sovereign was a series of widespread benefits as well in the spiritual as in the temporal order, diffused over all the churches and nations, and in a most particular manner upon his Rome, where at every step monuments of the munificence of the lamented pontiff and father are met with.
In accordance with the sacred canons, in all the cities and important places solemn obsequies and suffrages for the soul of the departed pontiff should be made until the Holy Apostolic See be provided with a new head, and prayers should be made to the Divine Majesty for the speedy election of a successor to the deceased, whom we can never sufficiently lament.”
Given from our residence, the 7th of February, 1878.

R. Card. Monaco, Vicar
Placido can. Petacci, Secretary

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Dolan-Cuomo Affair

The Dolan-Cuomo affair

Recently, many faithful Catholics publicly asked Cardinal Dolan to excommunicate Gov. Cuomo for the abortion bill he signed into law, which is an open and defiant declaration of war on human life, made in the image and likeness of God Himself. Well, wasn’t His Eminence upset!

The Most Eminent Sir went on Sirius XM and defended his inaction by saying: “I’m a pastor, not a politician.” He feels that “the Far Right” (a.k.a. faithful Catholics) unjustly criticizes him for being “too conciliatory,” and that they expect too much from him who is simply “some fat balding Irish bishop” with not “much clout.”

          He then encouraged the faithful to “do something about it.” In fact, he did more than that: he blamed THEM for being inactive, for not speaking up! According to him, “our folks” (a.k.a. faithful Catholics) unlike those in the Jewish, Muslim, and gay communities, do not speak up! And pointed the finger at the faithful who do not do anything to show that their votes count and that they should make it clear to Gov. Cuomo that they won’t vote for him if he doesn’t keep the “essentials of the faith.” (We’re not so sure that His Eminence actually knows --or cares about-- what the essentials of the faith are, but let's move on).

          Well, color us stupid, but His Eminence’s responsibility does not depend on whether the faithful do their job or not – he must do his job as the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of NY and as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, regardless of whether others do theirs or not. Besides, the faithful would not be the legitimate authority to issue an official declaration that Gov. Cuomo has incurred a penalty for his notorious and scandalous delicts.

His Eminence then went on to say that he feels it would be “completely counterproductive” to excommunicate the governor because Cuomo wants to be seen as being persecuted by the Church, to make himself a martyr in the eyes of the public by being officially excommunicated, and His Eminence does not want to give him that! Well, at the rate at which he has been doing things, Cardinal Dolan is also depriving himself of the palm and crown of martyrdom!

          The Christian Religion, established by Our Lord Jesus Christ as a perfect society for the salvation of souls, from the very beginning, has exercised the right and the authority to excommunicate scandalously delinquent and contumacious members, of which Gov. Cuomo has definitely been one for a very long time, and a very public one at that! Excommunication is “a penalty by which a baptized person, delinquent and contumacious, is deprived of some spiritual goods, or goods annexed to spiritual things, until he ceases to be contumacious and is absolved” by the legitimate authority. This used to be employed not only as a corrective (for the benefit of the sinner in question), but also as a protective (for the benefit of all the faithful) measure, so that other Catholics would not follow the evil example, as well as avoid the company, of the openly contumacious sinner. It was not only for the purpose of punishing the delinquent member, but also to DETER others from following the bad example of the excommunicate by placing before the faithful in a public and official manner the gravity of the punishment (as well as the gravity of the sin).

          Obviously, since Vatican II, bishops in the badly wounded Catholic Church have been reluctant to teach and correct evil members of the Church. We might think that a possible reason could be that they themselves have been doing and allowing so many horrible things for which they themselves should be punished with excommunication, so they do not want to call attention to that weapon of the Church and have the faithful clamor for it to be used against them (the bishops themselves). And to be fair, these days, the Bishop of Rome would be the first one to be kept in mind for such corrective measures! And that is why Gov. Cuomo thinks he can quote Pope Francis to support his sinful behavior and say that he is “with the pope” on certain issues. But that specific Bishop will be judged by a much Higher Authority when Divine Providence decides it is the best time. For now, we’ll focus on the Episcopal Shepherd here in New York.

          It is also possible that the lack of incentive to excommunicate public, contumacious members could be due to the fact that such members would also have to be avoided by the faithful and they would also not be allowed to receive the Sacraments. And in such case, Gov. Cuomo could, in all sincerity, point the finger at so many priests and bishops who should not only not be in church, but shouldn’t be celebrating Mass or conferring any of the other Sacraments due to their egregiously and embarrassingly uselessness as shepherds of souls, with many of them behaving more like wolves than shepherds!

And, again, the current Ordinary of the Diocese of Rome would be the first one at whom the finger would be pointed. And given that, as can be safely assumed and asserted, none of these people in question have any remorse of conscience about what they do (that they should not do) and what they do not do (that they should do) – in this context, the whole matter of dishing out excommunications simply does not even enter the realm of possibilities. It does not enter their minds and hearts that the virtue of religion demands that a sacred thing not be exposed to profanations, and that they should not let public, shameless sinners such as Gov. Cuomo anywhere near any of the Sacraments (save for the Sacrament of Confession, but we can bet that that’s the one Sacrament he does not care for at all).

          St. Jerome and St. Augustine used to compare excommunication to the expulsion of Adam from Paradise, given that it would be an “exile from the Church of God,” the city of God on earth. They also (as the Church always did up until Vatican II) thought it imperative that an organization/society whose principal aim is the sanctification of its members should have the right and the duty to expel from its communion obstinate members who persistently scandalize others and bring religion itself into disrepute by their disgraceful manner of living – even the pagan religions of old employed such measures! Yet Cardinal Dolan wants the faithful to do what is the responsibility of the Bishops to do. He seems to forget that when the hour of his judgment arrives, he’ll have to give an account of his own actions, not those of the faithful (unless what the faithful do wrong is due to his eminent failure as a shepherd).

          Don’t get us wrong, Cardinal Dolan seems to be “very upset” with Gov. Cuomo and his recent ghoulish actions! But, of men like that, who are afraid to say the simple governor of New York should be excommunicated, who forget that in the old days the Church excommunicated princes, kings, and emperors (!), not much can be expected. In fact, it is our belief that when Gov. Cuomo passes to the next life, Cardinal Dolan, if he is still in this world and still driving the Archdiocese of NY to the ground, after the fashion of the Schismatic Orthodox with their leaders, will give him the most solemn of funeral services – whatever that means in the New Order – with the most inspiring byzantine panegyric in which the faithful Catholics (a.k.a. “the Far Right”) will be publicly told how Gov. Cuomo was the wisest, holiest, and most persecuted and misunderstood of men!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Invalidity of Anglican Orders

Does the Question of Anglican Orders Admit of Further Investigation?
Q. As the late decree of the Pope declaring the nullity of Anglican Orders is not an infallible utterance, does it not leave the question as it was, a case for further investigation? Of course, it commands and will receive the obedient acceptance of all Catholics, as a matter of submission to law. This, however, does not make belief in its being infallible as a matter of divine Catholic faith necessary.
May it not be somewhat like the decree of Pope Stephen, who ordered all who had received ordinations from his predecessor, Formosus, to be re-ordained?
~I. N.

Response. The Pontifical Decision regarding the nullity of Anglican Orders is not of a nature to command the same internal assent which is to be given to an infallible utterance regarding a doctrine of faith or morals. It is a judicial sentence as to the proper application of certain laws or forms to an established fact. Hence, it is a misapprehension on the part of Anglicans to assume that the Pope pretends to settle an historical fact by an appeal to infallible authority, that is to say, as if the infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost had revealed to him the nature of such a fact.
          Not at all. The Pontiff simply collects all the accessible evidence which establishes beyond human doubt the credibility of a certain fact. Having ascertained that fact he pronounces that it stands as an infallible evidence that the Anglican Orders administered for a full century were not the same as the priestly Orders of the Catholic Church, and that the difference, as he shows, was one of essentials. Nor can the fact, upon which the Papal judgment rests its logical conclusion of the invalidity of Anglican Orders, be held as doubtful. It is admitted by Anglicans, as well as by those who differ from them (and fully established by documents at hand and known to both parties) that the Edwardian Ritual was used (by law established) in the entire Anglican communion for more than three generations. If the heads of a church make a public avowal of Protestantism in the expressed sense of excluding a priestly ministry (such as is conveyed in the priestly Orders as administered from the days of St. Augustine in England); if that same form of Protestantism is declared by the supreme ministers of state to be the religion of the land; if it is incorporated in the ritual book which declared the norm of public worship; if it is acknowledged in the confessions of the apologists and theologists of the Anglican establishment down to the present day —you cannot say that this Protestantism was not a fact, nor that it was Catholicism.

          It boots nothing that some modern Anglicans of a more pronounced tendency toward the old forms of worship call the Edwardian Ritual a Catholic Ritual, and hence claim the validity of the Orders administered according to its forms. Surely, we who are Catholics, by the admission of all—at least so far as our sacramental worship and the sacerdotal continuity is concerned—should know what Catholic Orders are, and what the Church holds them to be. Indeed, our chief theologian, the Pope, is the very one who is asked for an expression on a subject which he must surely be at home with, and which he could not very well distort or exaggerate to the prejudice of anyone, for there are some more theologians, past and present, who have had knowledge on the same subject, and who establish an important recourse to the fountain of Catholic truth.
          Hence, as the fact of the use of the Edwardian form is unquestioned, and as the difference between that form and the Catholic form in essentials is easily ascertained, the Pope did not have to seek information beyond that of historical evidence and Catholic doctrine. What he had to do was to show his readiness to have the topic discussed, lest anyone be kept from the fold by false pretense or the influence of blinded guides. The Papal utterance thus stands, not as an infallible declaration, but as a judicial sentence which practically admits of no appeal or reversal.

I say practically, because the possibility of a further discussion theoretically is not excluded by the Papal document. It may, indeed, be that not all the facts concerning the Edwardian ordination have been ascertained. Nevertheless, one thing is assured, that, whatever facts may come to light, they cannot alter the evidence at hand. They may cause new investigation and fresh discussion, not with a view of changing the verdict of Leo XIII, which is that of his predecessors only confirmed, but in order to satisfy anxious minds who have been led to think there is no evidence against Anglicanism
Yet even this chance of ever having the question recalled for examination by the Holy See is practically null; each past declaration has lessened the probability of a reopening. There has been no changing in the judgment of the highest court of appeal for three centuries, and Leo’s words do not indicate the likelihood of a change in the future. “Wherefore,” says the Pontiff, “strictly adhering in this matter to the decrees of the Pontiffs, our predecessors, confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own motion and certain knowledge, We pronounce and declare that the ordinations conferred according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and void.”
~The American Ecclesiastical Review (1897, Vol 16)

Friday, January 11, 2019

La Grande Chartreuse: A Lonely Island of Prayer

It is without doubt a very solitary life, that of a Carthusian father. On ordinary days he only leaves his cell three times—at night (10:30) for the great night service, in the morning for high mass, in the afternoon for vespers, and on these three occasions the cell is exchanged for the chapel of the monastery. At those hours you would see the white-robed monk with his white cowl shading his face, noiselessly coming from his house or cell into the cloister, passing silently into his stall in the chapel, and then without a word to any mortal, only the whispered or chanted words to God, returning after service all silent to the solitude of his cell.

Is he ever weary of this strange, prayer-filled, lonely life? What thoughts occupy him, as day after day, year after year, after that brief visit to the chapel, he comes back to that silent home of his? Does he regret the movement and stir of the life he has left behind? Does this solitude and silence pall upon him, weary him? They say not. The general of the Order spoke to me of the serene, quiet happiness of the fathers. There is never a vacant cell. There are many we know waiting for a chance to fill one of these strange, silent homes. Everyone connected with the Order with whom I have spoken, bears the same unanimous testimony. The happiness of these silent, praying men seems to be deep, unbroken, real.

The especial work of the monks of the Grande Chartreuse is not the care of the sick and afflicted, but they maintain homes for the suffering poor, their revenues being sensibly augmented by the great sale of their famous liqueur, manufactured at a distillery a few miles distant from the monastery, and into the composition of which many herbs growing on the slopes of the Alps largely enter. The secret of the liqueur is rigidly kept. But the raison d'etre of the life of a monk of the Chartreuse without doubt is prayer. Such a life, where all is sacrificed for this one end, may not be our ideal of life surely. The busy man of the nineteenth century seeks more definite, more tangible results than the Carthusian father: He would aim at the blessed guerdon of the honoured philanthropist, at the laurels of the great soldier, at the applause ever given to the successful writer.

The solitary believes that only in the silence of his cell—a silence rarely broken, save by the solemn chant and psalm of his more public services, shared in with his brother monks—comes that whisper of the Eternal, the vena divini susurri, which teaches him the language of communion with God, which dictates the words of those earnest, passionate prayers to his God, by which it is his belief he can best help his brothers and sisters struggling and suffering in the world.
Who among us who believe in the mighty power of prayer would dare to cast a stone at these devoted men, who, in pursuit of what they deem the highest ideal of life, have given up all that men hold dear and love—home, friends, love, rank, fame, ease, comfort. They have voluntarily cast all these prized things aside, and only live their grave, austere, perhaps joyless lives, to help in the way they deem most effective, their suffering, erring neighbours.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmass 2018 Schedule - Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC

(128 West 37th Street, NYC)
Monday, December 24 – Masses for Late Advent
7:00AM, 7:30AM, & 12:15PM – (English)
1:15PM – (Latin High Mass)
Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
12 noon—1:30PM
Masses for the Solemnity of Christmas – Holy Day of Obligation
Monday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
4:00PM (English)
12 Midnight (Solemn High Tridentine Latin Mass)
The Midnight Mass will be preceded by Exposition & Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament beginning at 10:00PM with the singing of Christmas Carols at 11:00PM and Benediction at 11:30PM. Midnight Mass will begin with the Procession to the manger and Blessing of the crib at 11:45PM.
Tuesday, December 25 – Christmas Day
1:30AM - (Low Tridentine Latin Mass at Dawn)
9AM - (Low Tridentine Latin Mass)
10:30AM - (High Tridentine Latin Mass followed by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament)
12:30PM (English)
5:00Pm (English)
12 noon—12:30PM
CHRISTMAS FESTIVE RECEPTIONS – There will be TWO festive receptions in the Parish Hall: one immediately following the Christmas midnight Mass and another one immediately after the 10:30am Mass on Christmas Day.
Parishioners who would like to help with the receptions should speak to Maria Ignacio (cell phone: 646-371-2582).

Friday, November 30, 2018

Forty-nine years ago today ...

Pope Paul VI forced the New Order of the Mass on the entire Church by means of the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, thus attempting to put an end to the most glorious jewel in the Church’s liturgical crown: The Traditional Roman Mass (with its Roman Canon), which, in essence – as Paul VI himself admitted – goes back, at least, to St. Gregory the Great.
The false doctrinal and spiritual “riches” he claimed would come from the innovations based on “ancient liturgical sources” never materialized. Under the pretense of going back to ancient and primitive practices, the immemorial sacred Roman Canon was mangled and replaced with other “Eucharistic prayers” that no Apostle or Church Father had ever prayed!
The Roman Mass that had been used for centuries in Latin in a unified manner for greater “purity of worship” was forcefully replaced with something that represented “both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass,” as had been solemnly established by the Council of Trent.
As Paul VI himself admitted, “The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries, we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, Gregorian chant.”
Well, wasn’t he right about the sacrifice part! But he was clearly wrong about the supposed benefits the use of the vernacular would bring. It is widely known that the Anglican church had the most beautiful English for its liturgy, but it is also widely known that it was useless because it was done before empty pews in comparison with the Catholic Church that had churches full of people devoutly praying the Mass in Latin!
Because of Paul VI’s decision to deprive the Church of her immemorial rites, ceremonies, and language, generations of Catholics have helplessly undergone the violent profanation of all that the Christian centuries held supremely sacred. Catholic Worship was rendered unrecognizable by a militant and pernicious anti-Roman spirit, as well as by incredible abuses of every kind and in every sector.
The changes were a triumph for a protestantized mentality that would have made Luther himself proud. It took the innovators and progressives less time and effort than it took Protestants to savagely tear, violently sever, and mercilessly mangle the sacred unity of the one seamless garment – the Catholic Church.  They chose to “divide and conquer” (divide et impera) in vehement opposition to Our Lord’s prayer “that they may be one” (ut unum sint).
YET, almost 40 years after Paul VI’s violent attempt to destroy Catholic Worship, the traditional Roman Mass made a triumphant return: The Catholic world was officially told that the immemorial Roman Mass was never abrogated, and that there were requests for its greater use not only by people who grew up with it, but also by young persons who “have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.”
The liturgical Reconquista has gone on in many places because it is realized that it was THE Roman Mass, for which Martyrs died, for which the Church was persecuted and shed tears of blood, that gave the faithful immeasurable treasures of piety and devotion and built a universal Christian civilization that no other religion or form of worship could accomplish.
As Tito Casini said in The Severed Tunic: “Armed with faith, we fight and we will fight, for Israel and within Israel, for the Church and within the Church, mindful of those words ‘non veni pacem mittere sed gladium,’ offering to God even this our pain in having to go to war against ‘enemies’ who are our beloved brethren, laymen, like us, or clerics.
And this is done with the realization that our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Cæsar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our enquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours.” ~Fr. Adrian Fortescue

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Iconoclasm by Fr. Adrian Fortescue -- Part III

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): Iconoclasm

For Part II

For Part I

There was an echo of these troubles in the Frankish kingdom, chiefly through misunderstanding of the meaning of Greek expressions used by the Second Council of Nicaea. As early as 767, Constantine V had tried to secure the sympathy of the Frankish bishops for his campaign against images this time without success. A synod at Gentilly sent a declaration to Pope Paul I (757-67) which quite satisfied him. The trouble began when Adrian I (772-95) sent a very imperfect translation of the Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea to Charles the Great (Charlemagne, 768-8l4). The errors of this Latin version are obvious from the quotations made from it by the Frankish bishops. For instance, in the third session of the council Constantine, Bishop of Constantia, in Cyprus had said: “I receive the holy and venerable images; and I give worship which is according to real adoration [kata latreian] only to the consubstantial and life-giving Trinity” (Mansi, XII, 1148). This phrase had been translated: “I receive the holy and venerable images with the adoration which I give to the consubstantial and life- giving Trinity” (“Libri Carolini”, III, 17, P. L. XCVIII, 1148). There were other reasons why these Frankish bishops objected to the decrees of the council. Their people had only just been converted from idolatry, and so they were suspicious of anything that might seem like a return to it. Germans knew nothing of Byzantine elaborate forms of respect; prostrations, kisses, incense and such signs that Greeks used constantly towards their emperors, even towards the emperor’s statues, and therefore applied naturally to holy pictures, seemed to these Franks servile, degrading, even idolatrous.   The Franks say the word proskynesis (which meant worship only in the sense of reverence and veneration) translated to adoratio and understood it as meaning the homage due only to God. Lastly, there was their indignation against the political conduct of the Empress Irene, the state of friction that led to the coronation of Charlemagne at Rome and the establishment of a rival empire. Suspicion of everything done by the Greeks, dislike of all their customs, led to the rejection of the council, but did not mean that the Frankish bishops and Charlemagne sided with the Iconoclasts. If they refused to accept the Nicene Council, they equally rejected the Iconoclast synod of 754. They had holy images and kept them: but they thought that the Fathers of Nicaea had gone too far, had encouraged what would be real idolatry.

The answer to the decrees of the second Council of Nicaea sent in this faulty translation by Adrian I was a refutation in eighty-five chapters brought to the pope in 790 by a Frankish abbot, Angilbert. This refutation later expanded and fortified with quotations from the fathers and other arguments became the famous “Libri Carolini” or “Capitulare de Imaginibus” in which Charlemagne is represented as declaring his convictions (first published at Paris by Jean du Tillet, Bishop of St-Brieux, 1549, in P. L. XCVIII, 990-1248). The authenticity of this work, sometime disputed, is now established. In it, the bishops reject the synods both of 787 and of 754. They admit that pictures of saints should be kept as ornaments in churches and as well as relics and the saints themselves should receive a certain proper veneration (opportuna veneratio); but they declare that God only can receive adoration (meaning adoratio, proskynesis); pictures are in themselves indifferent, have no necessary connexion with the Faith, are in any case inferior to relics, the Cross, and the Bible.

The pope, in 794, answered these eighty-five chapters by a long exposition and defence of the cult of images (Hadriani ep. ad Carol. Reg., P. L., XCVIII, 1247-92), in which he mentions, among other points, that twelve Frankish bishops were present at, and had agreed to, the Roman synod of 731. Before the letter arrived the Frankish bishop; held the synod of Frankfort (794) in the presence of two papal legates, Theophylactus and Stephen, who do not seem to have done anything to clear up the misunderstanding. This Synod formally condemns the Second Council of Nicaea, showing, at the same time, that it altogether misunderstands the decision of Nicaea. The essence of the decree at Frankfort is its second canon: “A question has been brought forward concerning the next synod of the Greeks which they held at Constantinople [the Franks do not even know where the synod they condemn was held] in connexion with the adoration of images, in which synod it was written that those who do not give service and adoration to pictures of saints just as much as to the Divine Trinity are to be anathematized. But our most holy Fathers whose names are above, refusing this adoration and serve despise and condemn that synod.” Charlemagne sent these Acts to Rome and demanded the condemnation of Irene and Constantine VI. The pope of course refused to do so, and matters remained for a time as they were, the second Council of Nicaea being rejected in the Frankish Kingdom.

During the second iconoclastic persecution, in 824, the Emperor Michael II wrote to Louis the Pious the letter which, besides demanding that the Byzantine monks who had escaped to the West should be handed over to him, entered into the whole question of image-worship at length and contained vehement accusations against its defenders. Part of the letter is quoted in Leclercq-Hefele, “Histoire des conciles”, III, 1, p. 612. Louis begged the pope (Eugene II, 824-27) to receive a document to be drawn up by the Frankish bishops in which texts of the Fathers bearing on the subject should be collected. Eugene agreed, and the bishops met in 825 at Paris. This meeting followed the example of the Synod of Frankfort exactly. The bishops try to propose a middle way, but decidedly lean toward the Iconoclasts. They produce some texts against these, many more against image-worship. Pictures may be tolerated only as mere ornaments. Adrian I is blamed for his assent to Nicaea II. Two bishops, Jeremias of Sens and Jonas of Orléns, are sent to Rome with this document; they are especially warned to treat the pope with every possible reverence and humility, and to efface any passages that might offend him. Louis, also, wrote to the pope, protesting that he only proposed to help him with some useful quotations in his discussions with the Byzantine Court; that he had no idea of dictating to the Holy See (Hefele, 1. c.). Nothing is known of Eugene’s answer or of the further developments of this incident. The correspondence about images continued for some time between the Holy See and the Frankish Church; gradually the decrees of the second Council of Nicaea were accepted throughout the Western Empire. Pope John VIII (872-82) sent a better translation of the Acts of the council, which helped very much to remove misunderstanding.

There are a few more isolated cases of Iconoclasm in the West. Claudius, Bishop of Turin (d. 840), in 824 destroyed all pictures and crosses in his diocese forbade pilgrimages, recourse to intercession of saints, veneration of relics, even lighted candles, except for practical purposes. Many bishops of the empire and a Frankish abbot, Theodomir, wrote against him (P. L. CV); he was condemned by a local synod. Agobard of Lyons at the same time thought that no external signs of reverence should be paid to images; but he had few followers. Walafrid Strabo (“De. eccles. rerum exordiis et incrementis” in P. L., CXIV, 916-66) and Hincmar of Reims (“Opusc. c. Hincmarum Lauden.”, xx, in P. L. CXXVI) defended the Catholic practice and contributed to put an end to the exceptional principles of Frankish bishops. But as late as the eleventh century Bishop Jocelin of Bordeaux still had Iconoclast ideas for which he was severely reprimanded by Pope Alexander II.

Iconoclasm by Fr. Adrian Fortescue -- Part II

For Part III
For Part I

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): Iconoclasm

The Empress Irene was regent for her son Constantine VI (780-97), who was nine years old when his father died. She immediately set about undoing the work of the Iconoclast emperors. Pictures and relics were restored to the churches; monasteries were reopened. Fear of the army, now fanatically Iconoclast, kept her for a time from repealing the laws; but she only waited for an opportunity to do so and to restore the broken communion with Rome and the other patriarchates. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Paul IV, resigned and retired to a monastery, giving openly as his reason repentance for his former concessions to the Iconoclast Government. He was succeeded by a pronounced image-worshipper, Tarasius. Tarasius and the empress now opened negotiations with Rome. They sent an embassy to Pope Adrian I (772-95) acknowledging the primacy and begging him to come himself, or at least to send legates to a council that should undo the work of the Iconoclast synod of 754. The pope answered by two letters, one for the empress and one for the patriarch. In these, he repeats the arguments for the worship of images, agrees to the proposed council, insists on the authority of the Holy See, and demands the restitution of the property confiscated by Leo III. He blames the sudden elevation of Tarasius (who from being a layman had suddenly become patriarch), and rejects his title of Ecumenical Patriarch, but he praises his orthodoxy and zeal for the holy images. Finally, he commits all these matters to the judgment of his legates. These legates were an archpriest Peter and the abbot Peter of St. Saba near Rome. The other three patriarchs were unable to answer, they did not even receive Tarasius’s letters because of the disturbance at that time in the Moslem state. But two monks, Thomas (abbot of an Egyptian monastery) and John (Syncellus of Antioch), appeared with letters from their communities explaining the state of things and showing that the patriarchs had always remained faithful to the images. These two seem to have acted in some sort as legates for Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

Tarasius opened the synod in the church of the Apostles at Constantinople in August of 786; but it was at once dispersed by the Iconoclast soldiers. The empress disbanded those troops and replaced them by others; it was arranged that the synod should meet at Nicaea in Bithynia, the place of the first general council. The bishops met here in the summer of 787, about 300 in number. The council lasted from 24 September to 23 October. The Roman legates were present; they signed the Acts first and always had the first place in the list of members, but Tarasius conducted the proceeding, apparently because the legates could not speak Greek. In the first three sessions Tarasius gave an account of the events that had led up to the Council, the papal and other letters were read out, and many repentant Iconoclast bishops were reconciled. The fathers accepted the pope’s letters as true formulas of the Catholic Faith. Tarasius, when he read the letters, left out the passages about the restitution of the confiscated papal properties, the reproaches against his own sudden elevation and use of the title Ecumenical Patriarch, and modified (but not essentially) the assertions of the primacy.

The fourth session established the reasons for which the use of holy images is lawful, quoting from the Old Testament passages about images in the temple (Ex., xxv, 18-22; Num., vii, 89; Ezech., xli, 18-19; Hebr., ix, 5), and also citing a great number of the Fathers. Euthymius of Sardes at the end of the session read a profession of faith in this sense. In the fifth session Tarasius explained that Iconoclasm came from Jews, Saracens, and heretics; some Iconoclast misquotations were exposed, their books burnt, and an icon set up in the hall in the midst of the fathers. The sixth session was occupied with the Iconoclast synod of 754; its claim to be a general council was denied, because neither the pope nor the three other patriarchs had a share in it. The decree of that synod was refuted clause by clause. The seventh session drew up the symbol (horos) of the council, in which, after repeating the Nicene Creed and renewing the condemnation of all manner of former heretics, from Arians to Monothelites, the fathers make their definition. Images are to receive veneration (proskynesis), not adoration (latreia); the honour paid to them is only relative (schetike), for the sake of their prototype (for the text of this, the essential definition of the council, see IMAGES, VENERATION OF). Anathemas are pronounced against the Iconoclast leaders; Germanus, John Damascene, and George of Cyprus are praised. In opposition to the formula of the Iconoclast synod, the fathers declare: “The Trinity has made these three glorious” (he Trias tous treis edoxasen). A deputation was sent to the empress with the Acts of the synod; a letter to the clergy of Constantinople acquainted them with its decision. Twenty-two canons were drawn up, of which these are the chief:
·       canons 1 and 2 confirm the canons of all former general councils;
·       canon 3 forbids the appointment of ecclesiastical persons by the State; only bishops may elect other bishops;
·       canons 4 and 5 are against simony;
·       canon 6 insists on yearly provincial synods;
·       canon 7 forbids bishops, under penalty of deposition, to consecrate churches without relics;
·       canon 10 forbids priests to change their parishes without their bishops consent;
·       canon 13 commands all desecrated monasteries to be restored;
·       canons 18-20 regulate abuses in monasteries.
An eighth and last session was held on 23 October at Constantinople in the presence of Irene and her son. After a discourse by Tarasius, the Acts were read out and signed by all, including the empress and the emperor. The synod was closed with the usual Polychronia or formal acclamation, and Epiphanius, a deacon of Catania in Sicily, preached a sermon to the assembled fathers. Tarasius sent to Pope Adrian an account of all that had happened, and Adrian approved the Acts (letter to Charles the Great) and had them translated into Latin. But the question of the property of the Holy See in Southern Italy and the friendship of the pope towards the Franks still caused hard feeling between East and West; moreover an Iconoclast party still existed at Constantinople, especially in the army.
Twenty-seven years after the Synod of Nicaea, Iconoclasm broke out again. Again, the holy pictures were destroyed, and their defenders fiercely persecuted. For twenty-eight years, the former story was repeated with wonderful exactness. The places of Leo III, Constantine V, and Leo IV are taken by a new line of Iconoclast emperors — Leo V, Michael II, Theophilus. Pope Paschal I acts just as did Gregory II, the faithful Patriarch Nicephorus stands for Germanus I, St. John Damascene lives again in St. Theodore the Studite. Again, one synod rejects icons, and another, following it, defends them. Again, an empress, regent for her young son, puts an end to the storm and restores the old custom — this time finally.

The origin of this second outbreak is not far to seek. There had remained, especially in the army, a considerable Iconoclast party. Constantine V, their hero had been a valiant and successful general against the Moslems, Michael I (811-13), who kept the Faith of the Second Council of Nicaea, was singularly unfortunate in his attempt to defend the empire. The Iconoclasts looked back regretfully to the glorious campaigns of his predecessor, they evolved the amazing conception of Constantine as a saint, they went in pilgrimage to his grave and cried out to him: “Arise, come back, and save the perishing empire”. When Michael I, in June 813, was utterly defeated by the Bulgars and fled to his capital, the soldiers forced him to resign his crown and set up one of the generals, Leo the Armenian (Leo V, 813-20), in his place. An officer (Theodotus Cassiteras) and a monk (the Abbot John Grammaticus) persuaded the new emperor that all the misfortunes of the empire were a judgment of God on the idolatry of image-worship. Leo, once persuaded, used all his power to put down the icons, and so all the trouble began again.

In 814, the Iconoclasts assembled at the palace and prepared an elaborate attack against images, repeating almost exactly the arguments of the synod of 754. The Patriarch of Constantinople was Nicephorus I (806-15), who became one of the chief defenders of images in this second persecution. The emperor invited him to a discussion of the question with the Iconoclasts; he refused since it had been already settled by the Seventh General Council. The work of demolishing images began again. The picture of Christ restored by Irene over the iron door of the palace was again removed. In 815, the patriarch was summoned to the emperor’s presence. He came surrounded by bishops, abbots, and monks, and held a long discussion with Leo and his Iconoclast followers. In the same year, the emperor summoned a synod of bishops, who, obeying his orders, deposed the patriarch and elected Theodotus Cassiteras (Theodotus I, 815-21) to succeed him. Nicephorus was banished across the Bosporus. Till his death in 829, he defended the cause of the images by controversial writings (the “Lesser Apology”, “Antirrhetikoi”, “Greater Apology”, etc. in P. G., C, 201-850; Pitra, “Spicileg. Solesm.”, I, 302-503; IV, 233, 380), wrote a history of his own time (Historia syntomos, P. G., C, 876-994) and a general chronography from Adam (chronographikon syntomon, in P. G., C, 995-1060). Among the monks who accompanied Nicephorus to the emperor’s presence in 815 was Theodore, Abbot of the Studium monastery at Constantinople (d. 826).

Throughout this second Iconoclast persecution, St. Theodore (Theodorus Studita) was the leader of the faithful monks, the chief defender of the icons. He comforted and encouraged Nicephorus in his resistance to the emperor, was three times banished by the Government, wrote a great number of treatises controversial letters, and apologies in various forms for the images. His chief point is that Iconoclasts are Christological heretics, since they deny an essential element of Christ’s human nature, namely, that it can be represented graphically. This amounts to a denial of its reality and material quality, whereby Iconoclasts revive the old Monophysite heresy. Ehrhard judges St. Theodore to be “perhaps the most ingenious [der scharfsinnigste] of the defenders of the cult of images” (in Krumbacher's “Byz. Litt.” p. 150). In any case, his position can be rivalled only by that of St. John Damascene. (See his work in P. G., XCIX; for an account of them see Krumbacher, op. cit., 147-151, 712-715; his life by a contemporary monk, P. G., XCIX, 9 sq.) His feast is on 11 Nov. in the Byzantine Rite, 12 Nov. in the Roman Martyrology.

The first thing the new patriarch Theodotus did was to hold a synod which condemned the council of 787 (the Second Nicene) and declared its adherence to that of 754. Bishops, abbots, clergy, and even officers of the Government who would not accept its decree were deposed, banished, tortured. Theodore of Studium refused communion with the Iconoclast patriarch, and went into exile. A number of persons of all ranks were put to death at this time, and his references; pictures of all kinds were destroyed everywhere. Theodore appealed to the pope (Paschal I, 817-824) in the name of the persecuted Eastern image-worshippers. At the same time Theodotus the Iconoclast patriarch, sent legates to Rome, who were, however not admitted by the pope, since Theodotus was a schismatical intruder in the see of which Nicephorus was still lawful bishop. But Paschal received the monks sent by Theodoret and gave up the monastery of St. Praxedes to them and others who had fled from the persecution in the East. In 818, the pope sent legates to the emperor with a letter defending the icons and once more refuting the Iconoclast accusation of idolatry. In this letter, he insists chiefly on our need of exterior signs for invisible things: sacraments, words, the sign of the Cross, and all tangible signs of this kind; how, then, can people who admit these reject images? (The fragment of this letter that has been preserved is published in Pitra, “Spicileg. Solesm.”. II, p. xi sq.).

The letter did not have any effect on the emperor; but it is from this time especially that the Catholics in the East turn with more loyalty than ever to Rome as their leader, their last refuge in the persecution. The well-known texts of St. Theodore in which he defends the primacy in the strongest possible language — e. g., “Whatever novelty is brought into the Church by those who wander from the truth must certainly be referred to Peter or to his successor ... Save us, chief pastor of the Church under heaven” (Ep. i, 33, P. G.., XCIX, 1018); “Arrange that a decision be received from old Rome as the custom has been handed down from the beginning by the tradition of our fathers” (Ep. ii, 36; ibid., 1331 —were written during this persecution).

The protestations of loyalty to old Rome made by the Orthodox and Catholic Christians of the Byzantine Church at the time are her last witness immediately before the Great Schism. There were then two separate parties in the East having no communion with each other: the Iconoclast persecutors under the emperor with their anti-patriarch Theodotus, and the Catholics led by Theodore the Studite acknowledging the lawful patriarch Nicephorus and above him the distant Latin bishop who was to them the “chief pastor of the Church under heaven”. On Christmas Day, 820, Leo V ended his tyrannical reign by being murdered in a palace revolution that set up one of his generals, Michael II (the Stammerer, 820-29) as emperor. Michael was also an Iconoclast and continued his predecessor’s policy, though at first he was anxious not to persecute but to conciliate every one. But he changed nothing of the Iconoclast law and when Theodotus the anti-patriarch died (821) he refused to restore Nicephorus and set up another usurper, Antony, formerly Bishop of Sylaeum (Antony I, 321-32).

In 822, a certain general of Slav race, Thomas, set up a dangerous revolution with the help of the Arabs. It does not seem that this revolution had anything to do with the question of images. Thomas represented rather the party of the murdered emperor, Leo V. But after it was put down, in 824, Michael became much more severe towards the image-worshippers. A great number of monks fled to the West, and Michael wrote a famous letter full of bitter accusations of their idolatry to his rival Louis the Pious (814-20) to persuade him to hand over these exiles to Byzantine justice (in Manse, XIV, 417-22). Other Catholics who had not escaped were imprisoned and tortured, among whom were Methodius of Syracuse and Euthymius, Metropolitan of Sardes. The deaths of St. Theodore the Studite (11 Nov., 826) and of the lawful patriarch Nicephorus (2 June, 828) were a great loss to the orthodox at this time. Michael’s son and successor, Theophilus, (829-42), continued the persecution still more fiercely. A monk, Lazarus, was scourged till he nearly died; another monk, Methodius, was shut up in prison with common ruffians for seven years; Michael, Syncellus of Jerusalem, and Joseph, a famous writer of hymns, were tortured. The two brothers Theophanes and Theodore were scourged with 200 strokes and branded in the face with hot irons as idolaters (Martyrol. Rom., 27 December). By this time, all images had been removed from the churches and public places, the prisons were filled with their defenders, the faithful Catholics were reduced to a sect hiding about the empire, and a crowd of exiles in the West. But the emperor’s wife, Theodora, and her mother, Theoctista, were faithful to the Second Nicene Synod and waited for better times.

Those times came as soon as Theophilus died (20 January, 842). He left a son, three years old, Michael III (the Drunkard, who lived to cause the Great Schism of Photius, 842-67), and the regent was Michael’s mother, Theodora. Like Irene at the end of the first persecution, Theodora at once began to change the situation. She opened the prisons, let out the confessors who were shut up for defending images, and recalled the exiles. For a time she hesitated to revoke the Iconoclast laws, but soon she made up her mind and everything was brought back to the conditions of the Second Council of Nicea. The patriarch John VII (832-42), who had succeeded Antony I, was given his choice between restoring the images and retiring. He preferred to retire and his place was taken by Methodius, the monk who had already suffered years of imprisonment for the cause of the icons (Methodius I, 842- 46). In the same year (842) a synod at Constantinople approved of John VII’s deposition, renewed the decree of the Second Council of Nicaea and excommunicated Iconoclasts. This is the last act in the story of this heresy.

On the first Sunday of Lent (19 February, 842) the icons were brought back to the churches in solemn procession. That day (the first Sunday of Lent) was made into a perpetual memory of the triumph of orthodoxy at the end of the long Iconoclast persecution. It is the “Feast of Orthodoxy” of the Byzantine Church still kept very solemnly by both Uniats and Orthodox. Twenty years later, the Great Schism began. So large has this, the last of the old heresies, loomed in the eyes of Eastern Christians that the Byzantine Church looks upon it as a kind of type of heresy in general that the Feast of Orthodoxy, founded to commemorate the defeat of Iconoclasm, has become a feast of the triumph of the Church over all heresies. It is in this sense that it is now kept. The great Synodikon read out on that day anathematizes all heretics (in Russia, rebels and nihilists also) among whom the Iconoclasts appear only as one fraction of a large and varied class. After the restoration of the icons in 842, there still remained an Iconoclast party in the East, but it never again got the ear of an emperor, and so gradually dwindled and eventually died out.