Editor Introduction: We borrow from a supplement to #78 of Approaches , the following translation of a profession of faith by twenty-five priests from the diocese of Campos, Brazil, issued on Easter of this year, 1982. We bless these courageous priests and hope that they will have many imitators throughout the world. We also thank the publisher of Approaches , Mr. Hamish Fraser, a valiant defender of the faith, for the translation and for having brought the proclamation to our attention.
We believe firmly in all that our Holy Mother, the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, believes and teaches, and in this Faith we wish to live and die, since only in the Church is God honored and salvation found.
We believe that Jesus Christ has founded one only Church, the Catholic hierarchical Church, whose chief pastors are the Pope and the Bishops in union with the Pope, and whose aim is to ensure that the men of all ages reach the salvation obtained for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, together with all the benefits that radiate from it, and to promote on earth the REIGN OF OUR LORD (Mt. 28, 19-20). To do this, the Church does not preach a ‘new doctrine’ but, with the aid of the Divine Holy spirit, faithfully explains the Deposit of Faith received from the Apostle and religiously reserved by her. (Vat. Council I.)
We profess perfect communion with the See of Peter, in the legitimate successor to which we recognize the primacy and government over the Universal Church, pastors and faithful, and nothing in this world would separate us from the Rock on which Jesus Christ has founded his Church. We believe firmly in papal infallibility as Vatican Council I has defined it. We respect the power of the Holy Father, which is supreme even if not absolute or without limits. It is subordinate to and cannot contradict Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the definitions already proclaimed by the Church in her constant Magisterium. Moreover this power cannot be arbitrary or despotic, such as to impose unconditional obedience or absolve subjects from personal responsibility. We owe unconditional and unlimited obedience only to God.
We are Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman and shall be so till death, with the grace of God, and no power or authority will drive us from Holy Church.
We profess the Catholic Faith in an integral and total manner, as it was always professed and transmitted by the Church, by the Sovereign Pontiff, by Councils, and therefore in loyal and perfect continuity and consistency, without excluding a single article of faith .
We reject and anathematize , with the same firmness, all that has been refuted and condemned by Holy Church.
Together with all the popes, we condemn heresy and all that can favor it: we particularly condemn Protestantism, liberalism, spiritism, naturalism, rationalism, and modernism, in all forms and variants whatever, just as the Popes have done.
We reject equally, together with the Popes and in the same way as they have done, all the consequences of these errors.
For these reasons we comdemn the present heresy that takes the name of “Progressivism “, an improper name besides, since it is nothing but the repetition of errors long ago condemned by Holy church.
We accept therefore the entire applicability of the words of St. Paul: “Even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven preach to you a gospel different from that which we have preached, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:8)
Thus, the tendencies of whatever sort emanating even from persons in authority, whenever they be contrary to traditional Catholic doctrine as it has always been taught, giving free rein to the errors already condemned by the Popes and by the Councils, demand from our conscience a formal rejection .
We affirm in consequence that, whenever contradiction becomes manifest between what is taught today and what Tradition teaches, there is a duty to follow what was always taught by all and in every part of the church, because only this is truly and properly Catholic (St. Vincent of Lerins, Comm., Ench. Patr. 2168).
For all these reasons, and to be consistent with what the Church our Mother has always taught us in her constant Magisterium, with the Faith of our baptism, of our confirmation, of our first Communion and of our priesthood, in order not to be perjurers and contradict what we have always believed — for all these reasons — we reject :
The New Mass , whether in Latin or in the vernacular, since “it represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXIII of the council of Trent” (Letter of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to Paul VI of 5 : 10.69). In fact the new Order of Mass obscures the expressions intended to underline the Eucharistic dogmas, bringing the Mass close to the Protestant supper and not accentuating the clear profession of the Catholic Faith.
The New Moral Theology , subjective, opportunist, contaminated by permissive liberalism, in which little or nothing any longer constitutes a sin.
The Profanation of the Church by dress always considered immodest, just as by certain kinds of music and instrument already rejected by the church for her places of worship.
The New Theology of modernism that founds the whole Catholic Religion on the evolution of the religious instinct of the first Christian communities.
The New Catechism , purveyors more or less covertly of the modernist errors and not infrequently vehicles of subversive political doctrines.
The Theology of Liberation , based on a new interpretation of the Gospel, completely opposed to the teaching always held by the church, and calculated to favor Marxist machinations.
The Trends Towards Socialism and Communism that manifestly contradicts the whole social doctrine of the church and scorns the excommunications Pius XII directed against those who collaborate in any way with Communism.
The Secularization of the Clergy , causing grave scandal to the faithful and the inevitable impoverishment of Christian life.
The Conforming to the Spirt of the World on the part of the clergy and the faithful in complete opposition to the teaching of Our Lord and to the spirit of mortification, teaching and example of Jesus Crucified.
The Reform of the Seminaries , carried out in line with these new tendencies.
The Obsessive Concern for Human Progress that leads to disregard for the specific purpose of the church, which is the salvation of souls.
The Dilution of true spirituality in a vague religious sentimentalism .
The Ecumenism that makes the Faith grow cold and makes us forget our Catholic identity, seeking to negate the antagonism between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial (cf. II Cor. 6 : 14-18), and leads to a panchristianity ‘a most grave error and capable of destroying the foundations of the Catholic Faith at their base’ (Enc. Mortalium Animos of Pius XI).
Religious Liberty , understood in the sense of an equalization of rights between truth and error, giving supremacy to a supposed subjective right of man, to the prejudice of the absolute right of Truth, of Good, of God, and as a consequence laicizing the State, rendered agnostic towards the true Religion.
The Horizontalism of the Religion of Man , that concretizes what St. Pius X calls the ‘monstrous and detestable iniquity proper to the time in which we are living, through which man substitutes himself for God’ (Enc. Supremi Apostolatus).
Democratization of the Church by means of a collegial government in opposition to the hierarchical and monarchical constitution given to her by Our Lord.
Laicisation of Society , that brings to life once more the cry of the Jews at the death of Jesus refusing to accept His social Kingship and not even recognizing in Him the Supreme Legislator of human society.
Thus, in the name of the Faith, with tranquil conscience, we reject all those who introduce the ‘smoke of Satan’ into the church and apply themselves to her self-destruction (cf. Paul VI, aloc, of 7 :12:68 and 29.6:72).
We love, praise, and adopt all the traditional practices, uses and customs of Holy Church, that have contributed, and do contribute, so much to the sanctification of the faithful, among them, for example:
Auricular Confession ;
Esteem for the Contemplative Life that ought to have pre-eminence over the active life.
Use of the Cassock and of the Habit by priests and religious, that marks so well their separation from the spirit of the world and keep consciences alert to the spirit of Christ;
Veneration of Images and relics of the saints;
Communion Received on the Tongue and [While] Kneeling , in token of respect and adoration;
Penances and Mortifications , internal and external;
The Ornamentation and Magnificence of the Churches, which contribute so much to the splendor of worship;
The Solemnity and Popm of Their Ceremonies , that so impress and move the good people, stimulating their devotion;
Latin in the Liturgy , a factor of the unity and universality of the Church, a precious casket befitting the sacredness expressed by the liturgical prayers;
Gregorian Chant , which has nourished piety for so many centuries.
In particular we wish to profess and spread a deep and burning Devotion to the Mother of God , in whose Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, and Universal Mediation we believe. We maintain that such practices of devotion, principally the Holy Rosary , have a special efficacy for the sanctification of souls and the triumph of Holy Mother Church.
We profess a convinced acceptance and a sincere love of holy priestly celibacy , one of the sources of pastoral zeal that constitutes a firm response to the hedonism in which the neopagan society of our day is immersed.
Our position is not one of rebellion, nor of disobedience, or contestation, but of fidelity . It is a question of loyalty to the Faith of our baptism, to our priesthood, to our legitimate superiors and to the faithful.
We do not judge the consciences of others, since this judgment belongs to God; we only claim the right and exercise the duty of every Catholic. We confront what is taught today with what was always taught; we hold on to what is of the Church and refuse what serves only for her self-destruction, whoever promotes it whether knowingly or unknowingly.
We are not against progress if it represents an organic development of Revelation; we are against that false “progress” that is not consistent with Tradition but in discontinuity with it.
It is not a matter of indiscriminate attachment to the past, but of clinging to the Faith which does not pass away.
We believe in the permanence of the Doctrine traditionally taught by the church and in the objective sense of the formulas that express the dogma and truth that Holy Church teaches.
We believe that the truths of Faith remain absolutely independent of the ways of thinking and living of men, since Truth comes from God through the Church and her Tradition and does not arise from the instinct and religious feeling of the people.
We have absolute certainty that our position is legitimate, not by virtue of our arguments and ideas, but because we take our stand on that which the Church herself has taught us and in such a way that we could make our own the words of St. Augustine when he exclaimed that, if what we believe were an error, then God himself would have deceived us.
We have firm hope that within a short time the Church will have overcome the current crisis she is living through, and , dissipating the darkness of heresy, will return to shine out as always, as a glorious beacon to the nations: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ (Matt. 16, 18)
We love from the bottom of our hearts our Mother, the Holy Church, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman. For her we wish to give our lives if it is necessary.
Campos, Easter 1982
(25 signatures are appended — 5 Monsignori and 20 other priests)
Mons. Licinio Rangel
Mons. Benigno de Britto Costa
Mons. Francisco Apoliano
Mons. Ovidio Simon
Mons. Henrique Conrado Fischer
Father Emanuel Jose Possidente
Father Fernando Areas Rifan
Father Jose F.M. Collaco
Father Edmundo G. Delgado
Father Jose Moacir Pessanha
Father Eduardo Atahyde
Father Antonio Alves de Siqueira
Father Jose Olavo Pires Trinidade
Father Elcio Murucci
Father David Francesquini
Father Antonio Paula da Silva
Father Jose Eduardo Pereira
Father Jose Gualandi
Father Jonas dos Santos Lisboa
Father Geraldo Gualandi
Father Jose Ronaldo de Menezes
Father Alfredo Oelkers
Father Jose Onofre Martins de Abreu
Father Alfredo Gualandi
Father Gervasio Gobato