Lumen gentium 14

A reading from Lumen gentium:

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

Winston Salem Journal has this:

Catholics start new church in Hickory

By: MICHAEL GORDON | McClatchy-Tribune
Published: August 13, 2012


Our first reading Saturday comes from the Book of Kings, with an angel nudging an exhausted and distraught Elijah, telling him to get up and leave.

The Rev. Tom Sanford and his congregation have done just that.

Sanford left the Catholic priesthood more than a quarter-century ago. But now he’s back behind the altar. He’s pastor of a new spiritual community, born out of his frustration with what he believes is the philosophical backsliding of the Catholic Church.

Sanford started Blessed John XXIII Ecumenical Church around Easter, and he’s starting small. When he walks down the aisle to “We Gather Together,” three worshippers stand and sing along.

Yet Sanford and his flock say there’s a larger point beyond their small numbers: They have left the Catholic Church to become better Catholics.

While millions of followers of the worldwide church vigorously debate Vatican positions on birth control, women, liturgy and the balance of priest-lay authority, the members of the Pope John Church have taken the added step of breaking with Catholic leaders.

Sanford believes church traditionalists are trying to undermine 50 years of church reforms set in motion by the worldwide councils known as Vatican I and Vatican II. [cf. Lumen gentium 14.]

The final straw came early this year: the church’s decision to reinstate the original 1963 [?] English translation of the Mass. Supporters say the wording better reflects the beauty of the traditional Latin liturgy. Critics call it clunky. More importantly, Sanford believes, it springs from a philosophical retrenchment, “and I couldn’t abide by it.”


Good luck to them.

Perhaps there is an empty Anglican church where they are.  They would benefit from the prescriptions of Romanorum coetibus.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jordanes says:

    The final straw came early this year: the church’s decision to reinstate the original 1963 English translation of the Mass. Supporters say the wording better reflects the beauty of the traditional Latin liturgy. Critics call it clunky.

    An unwittingly hilarious conflation of Summorum Pontificum with the new English translation of the reformed Roman Missal.

    What a surprise — a journalist ignorant of his subject nevertheless writing a news story about it. THAT never happens.

    Happens a lot when they try to write about the Catholic Church.

  2. thefeds says:

    It breaks my heart to see people leave The Church, but honestly, if they honestly believe this tripe, then good bye and good riddance! At least they’ve made a choice and acted on it. Jesus saying that he will vomit out lukewarm believers rings in my ears.

  3. Will D. says:

    Right around Easter, the church opened in the chapel of Jenkins Funeral Home in Newton.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  4. APX says:

    Young looking crowd they are…

    I guess we can presume that this is still a valid, but illicit, Mass. *sigh*

  5. DLe says:

    The captions in the Charlotte Observer seem to have it right, though: what you’re seeing is “catholic” — not “Catholic”.

  6. Michelle F says:

    “and I couldn’t abide by it.”

    Well, at least he scores points for honesty.

  7. contrarian says:

    Churches start up all of the time. In the protestant world, I can imagine that a church
    of three or four, when it first starts out, is pretty typical.
    Some make it. Some don’t.

    None get any press. And why should they? A start up church isn’t really newsworthy.
    But! Start up a church in explicit opposition to the Catholic Church, and you’ll get a write up.
    Gotta laugh, I guess.

  8. Imrahil says:

    The first time I ever saw Vatican I acclaimed as a reform council.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Even with only there people, the photos show catholics will always be terrified to sit next to each other in the first pews. I wonder if they had EMHCs also?

  10. Jonathan says:

    *Even with only three people. Bah…

  11. Sissy says:

    “They left the Catholic Church to become better Catholics.”

    Hmmm, sort of like: “I’m going to kill you in order to heal you.” No thanks.

  12. PostCatholic says:

    It is, at least, intellectually honest.

  13. wmeyer says:

    PC: “It”? After a string of posts, it is impossible to determine to which antecedent you might be referring.

  14. PostCatholic says:

    I was referring to the act of leaving the Catholic church once one can no longer reconcile it with conscience, wmeyer. I think it is a mistake that many people stick around hoping to “change from within” a structure that they have no possible input in changing.

  15. Michael_Thoma says:

    I’m sure Bishop William Murphy would like to read/hear Fr. Ed Sheridan’s thoughts on how the Church is “backsliding” and “not building on VC2″… When those in leadership today agree with kooks like this defrocked ex-Catholic minister, who should the faithful turn to for sound teaching?!

    Fr. Ed Sheridan was ordained in 2007, that’s only 5 years ago. “We’re coming up on the anniversary of Vatican II, and it seems like we’re taking all these wonderful things and moving them backwards, rather than building on them,” he says. “I wish he hadn’t made the decision to leave. The church is the church. If we don’t agree with it, we just hope and pray that it will change. … I guess the frustration just got to him.”

    Read more here:

    Fr. Ed, what is frustrating to you? You have multiple degrees in Theology and Philosophy – please articulate your frustrations point by point so that they can be addressed. Perhaps you too need a re-education seminar.

  16. Michael_Thoma says:

    Photos of minister and full congregation – my fav is the EMHC (totally necessary).

    Btw – could it be that this group is actually (ironically) named after (antipope) John XXIII Cossa, while the legitimate John XXIII Roncalli would have nothing to do with these dysenters and would turn over in his grave at the mere mention of being associated with them!

  17. Michael_Thoma says:

    Wrong Fr. Ed Sheridan — my mistake. The liberal, undisciplined one in NC is retired.

    Just read that Mrs. Sanford is remaining in St. Aloysius Catholic Church, despite her husband wandering off – hopefully her prayers and fasting can bring him and trio back!

  18. Supertradmum says:

    APX, On this blog, there already has been clarification on licit and valid as to Mass and Eucharist. Those who are still confused can check out the links and tags. If a priest in intention, according to both Trent and Leo XIII, desires to separate from Rome, his Mass is not longer licit and his Communion no longer valid. Not too long ago, here, several persons posted the links to the truth about this. On the Vatican website, Apostolicae Curae, is one of several links, as well as Sacrosactum Conciluim and the Trentian statements on ordination and the Eucharist. One can also check out

  19. Bender says:

    the legitimate John XXIII Roncalli would have nothing to do with these dysenters and would turn over in his grave at the mere mention of being associated with them!

    Indeed. Here are the actual thoughts of Blessed Pope John XXIII on the matter —

    “[The] Church must once more reaffirm that teaching authority of hers which never fails, but will endure until the end of time. . . .
    “The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy. . . .
    “Its intention is to give to the world the whole of that doctrine which, notwithstanding every difficulty and contradiction, has become the common heritage of mankind—to transmit it in all its purity, undiluted, undistorted. It is a treasure of incalculable worth, not indeed coveted by all, but available to all men of good will.
    “And our duty is not just to guard this treasure, as though it were some museum-piece and we the curators, but earnestly and fearlessly to dedicate ourselves to the work that needs to be done in this modern age of ours, pursuing the path which the Church has followed for almost twenty centuries. . . .
    “What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith, without forfeiting that accuracy and precision in its presentation which characterized the proceedings of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council. What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms. For this deposit of faith, or truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing; the manner in which these truths are set forth (with their meaning preserved intact) is something else. . . .
    “The Church’s anxiety to promote and defend truth springs from her conviction that without the assistance of the whole of revealed doctrine man is quite incapable of attaining to that complete and steadfast unanimity which is associated with genuine peace and eternal salvation. For such is God’s plan. He ‘wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’”
    –Blessed Pope John, Opening Address to the Second Vatican Council, October 11, 1962 (emphasis added) (confirming the hermeneutic of continuity)

  20. JKnott says:

    “Yet Sanford and his flock say there’s a larger point beyond their small numbers: They have left the Catholic Church to become better Catholics.”

    If they want to become better real Catholics, St John of the Cross’ “The Ascent of Mount Carmel” would be a good place to start, or for that matter, “The Baltimore Catechism” for children.

  21. fvhale says:

    How sad to read this news on the memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who wrote: “It is obedience and obedience alone that shows us God’s will with certainty. Of course our superiors may err, but it cannot happen that we, holding fast to our obedience, should be led into error by this. There is only one exception: if the superior commands something that would obviously involve breaking God’s law, however slightly. In that case the superior could not be acting as a faithful interpreter of God’s will. … He himself makes his holy will known to us through his vice-gerents on Earth and draws us to himself, and through us – for so he has willed – draws other souls too, and unites them to himself with an ever more perfect love. …. Through obedience we transcend our own limitations and align ourselves with God’s will, which, with infinite wisdom and prudence, guides us to do what is best. Moreover, as we become filled with the divine will, which no created thing can resist, so we become stronger than all others.” (Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings for August 14.)

    I shall pray for this man. I have heard of others who “in the Spirit of Vatican II” feel the need to enter schism and form “intentional eucharistic communities” (i.e. Protestant churches not in communion with the Pope and the hierarchy). I have heard and read of many priests who left the Church in the 1970’s out of early disappointment that the Council did not go as far as they wished (particularly elimination of celibacy). It seems that now, as the Church continues her pilgrimage of understanding and implementing the Council, and with a good number of “nostalgic” gatherings for the 50th anniversary (and yearning for “the good old days”), there is a wind of schism blowing, and I have heard and heard of several unhappy priests of the same generation as this gentleman. The photography of him clinging to the old translation “Sacramentary” is just sad. Oremus invicem. Leave the “church planting” to the Protestants, and learn the blessing of holy obedience following our Lord who “emptied himself and became obedient.”

  22. eulogos says:

    Supertradmum, I still think you are wrong. Apostolicae Curae stated that the Anglican priests, according to their own formularies were not ordained to a sacrificial priesthood; there was no intention in that ordination of “doing what the church does” in making priests. Likewise, according to the early formularies, an Anglican minister would not have the intention of offering sacrifice. That was not because of their separation from Rome, but because of Protestant theology, both of the Eucharist, and of justification.

    That it is possible to be separated from Rome and to be a true priest and offer a valid Eucharistic sacrifice is shown by the existence of the Orthodox, whom the Church in many documents has declared to have a valid priesthood and a valid Eucharist. So your idea about this has to be mistaken.

    The Orthodox themselves have the idea you have about validity. They, or many of them, believe that there are no sacraments outside the Church (ie Orthodoxy.) But this is just not the Catholic view.

    These poor deluded folks are attending a valid but illicit mass. (Unless the priest clearly intends NOT to be offering the eucharistic sacrifice of the Church, and I doubt this. A bit of fuzzy thinking won’t do it. )
    They may be eating and drinking to their damnation, of course, unless God has mercy on them for their poor understanding of what the Church is…and woe to those responsible for that!

    Susan Peterson

  23. eulogos says:

    I notice that this ex-priest’s wife has stayed with the real Catholic Church. That must have made for some interesting marital discussions.
    Susan Peterson

  24. Clinton says:

    Jonathan @ 6:36AM, you point out that there were but three congregants at that service,
    and then wondered (facetiously) if they had an EMHC. I must confess that I laughed aloud
    at that. Then Michael_Thoma @ 9:46 pointed out that the news photos show an EMHC in
    action… Oh, the humanity!

    Now I realize that these people are playing games with their own salvation, which is after all
    the only truly serious matter in all of creation. Their actions could end up having horrible
    consequences. And yet, it just goes to show that there is nothing so grave that we humans
    cannot place a shiny cherry of absurdity atop our trainwreck sundaes.

  25. MargaretC says:

    I noticed that, even in a virtually empty chapel, nobody sat in the front row.

    I have wondered for some time whether anyone who claims to be acting at the promptings of “conscience” can accurately distinguish between “conscience” and “ego.” Think about it for a a minute. The great founders of the Protestant Reformation, men of great learning and high principle, split Christendom asunder due to “conscience.” Did that conviction anesthetize them to the ensuring chaos, destruction, and violence?

    I, too, noticed that “Father” Sanford’s wife has remained in her Catholic parish. I’d really, really like to be a fly on the wall at their dinner table conversations….

  26. Johnno says:

    “The first time I ever saw Vatican I acclaimed as a reform council.”

    I bet he would’ve said Trent too, but the word ‘Vatican’ is the only one he remembers… and the name is likely the only part he has right with regards to anything about VI and VII…

  27. tonesing says:

    What no clay paten and chalice? Someone’s gonna take his Call to Action membership care for that one…

  28. Trad Tom says:

    Am I the only one who finds PostCatholic tiresome? Isn’t there some non-Catholic, whiny, “I-used-to-be-Catholic-but-now-I’m-so-much-wiser” blog he could skulk about?

  29. Trad Tom: Am I the only one who finds PostCatholic tiresome?


    First, this is my blog, which means it is like my living room. You are a guest here. So is PostCatholic.

    Second, although many of the people who comment here are in basic agreement on issues, I don’t want this place to be an echo chamber. Different views are welcome, so long as they are articulate and decently expressed.

    Third, try to see these differing points of view as an opportunity to exercise your brains, wit and charm.

    There aren’t many liberals around here because they rapidly turn nasty and I kick them out. However, I have also quite happily kicked trads out of the combox when they get nasty … and they do.

    I hope my position is clearer.

  30. VexillaRegis says:

    I would really like to play the harpsichord IRL at your Western saloon, Fr. Z :-)!

  31. robtbrown says:

    Trad Tom says:

    Am I the only one who finds PostCatholic tiresome? Isn’t there some non-Catholic, whiny, “I-used-to-be-Catholic-but-now-I’m-so-much-wiser” blog he could skulk about?

    His case is not unique: Someone thinks he wants to be a priest, begins studies, then legitimately decides not to continue. Afterwards, he is unable to reconcile his own faith (which seemed to be leading him to Holy Orders) with not being ordained.

    Of course, before Vat II there were many young men who began studies, then decided not to continue, who didn’t lose the faith. The difference now, IMHO, is there is so much subjectivism in the Church that it’s harder to sort out these matters.

  32. Trad Tom says:

    Thanks, Father Z !! Thanks, robtbrown!! I guess I need to be less Pharisee, and more Publican.

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