Answers given by Father Carl Pulvermacher
Q. What is the Charismatic Movement and is it the same as Pentecostalism? J. S., Dickinson, Texas
A. Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement are one and the same. It is an uninstitutional church originating outside the true fold of Christ. Its members are mixtures of Protestants, Catholics and even non-Christians. It is essentially a substitution of emotion for faith, good will for sound doctrine. It is a religion bereft of the Cross, in which there is only communal good will and shared joy. Superstition is one of its attributes, and self-hypnosis is frequently evident in their meetings. It is a stepping stone to occultism. As there is nothing new under the sun, charismatics have actually renewed the ancient heresy of Montanism, which tried in A.D. 170 to revive the phenomenon of early Church charismatic manifestations. They claimed to have a direct channel to the Holy Spirit, who really was not in the Church until their movement came along. The Catholic Church rejected this false religion, together with Tertullian, the most famous Montanist, or Pentecostal, and this condemnation still holds to this day in spite of Suenens and Paul VI.
Q. Can one go to Confession to a priest who says the New Mass? If not, what can one do about Confession? J. E. T., Mexico, Mo.
A. Under normal circumstances a Catholic may not ask the Sacraments from a schismatic, heretical, or censured cleric (c. 822). In grave necessity (danger of death) one may ask such a one for Baptism or Absolution, if there is no other priest available.
The Sacrament of Confession is notable in that it needs both power of Orders and power of Jurisdiction. One who says the New Order Mass is at least a material heretic, and heretics or apostates have no jurisdiction over members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Therefore I say the Catholic penitent may not go to Confession to a New Order Mass priest because he is at least a material heretic and has lost his jurisdiction.
But who is to judge each case as to moral guilt? Who knows the internal dispositions of the new order priest or the poor penitent? I believe people and priests today are so often totally confused that the all-wise God will be the judge. It also looks like time will solve this problem. In Holland where Vatican II practices are so far ahead of other places, the practice of Confession is almost non-existent. One can scarcely find a priest there who will hear confessions. Even in our beloved country confession is becoming less common. Perhaps a few more years of updating and continued Vatican II progress will have our confessionals relegated to dusty museums.
So what can one do? The Catholic penitent must go to a lawfully ordained priest who has jurisdiction to absolve. For valid absolution there must be Divine authorization and right intention. For Jurisdiction there must be permission to administer the Sacraments granted by lawful Church authority. In cases of Common Error and Doubt of Law or Fact, the Church supplies jurisdiction (c. 209). The only thing a Catholic can do is to abstain from mortal sin, or in case of a slip, find a priest who has not compromised his faith. A priest who thinks nothing of giving a fake new order mass on Sunday—what can you expect from him in the Confessional on Saturday night?
Q. What were traditional Catholics formerly called? H.N., Monett, Mo.
A. Roman Catholics! But, I rather dislike the word "traditional" for it is not a Catholic word. It is a term used by the apostates to make us feel we are something other than faithful Catholics. They say there are Progressive Catholics, Middle of the Road Catholics and Traditional Catholics. We are Roman Catholic and have every right to be called that because we hold firmly to all the teachings of our Holy Mother the Church, and to her Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We are Roman Catholics and we work out of Roman Catholic Centers! Let us not let them steal our name or tack an apostate adjective on us. We are Roman Catholics and they are Apostates!