Small Charities Coalition

The San Luigi Orders Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom has been a member organization of the Small Charities Coalition and Charity Trustee Network since September 2013. The Small Charities Coalition has recently announced that it intends to close in March 2022. As yet, there is no alternative organization for small charities in England that are below the financial threshold for registration with the Charity Commission; should there be one in the future, we will consider joining it.

While the charitable status of the Trust has been unaffected by this news, it has been decided that in view of the present existence of multiple incorporated bodies that represent the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi, the Trust has fulfilled its purpose and should be dissolved.

On “Traditionis custodes”

The Apostolic Letter “Traditionis custodes” issued by Pope Francis recently has caused considerable concern to those who have a devotion to the Tridentine Rite. It has been necessary before responding to analyse carefully the detail of the Apostolic Letter itself, its accompanying documentation, its context, and then the responses of others to its contents. In our response, it is also necessary to set out certain priorities, so that we are seen both to uphold our brethren in full communion with the Holy See and also to state in truth the position from where we ourselves stand.

The latitude in interpretation in the language of the Apostolic Letter itself would permit an intelligent and literal interpretation that would, perhaps surprisingly, allow it to be interpreted as supportive of the status quo within the obedience of the Holy See, with the addition of some key caveats. Having examined a wide range of responses, including from the bishops of the Roman obedience, we find that some bishops are indeed minded to take this approach. Others have more regard to the modernist context that surrounds the Apostolic Letter, and have interpreted it in such a way as to lead them to prohibit the celebration of the Tridentine Rite either partially or fully within their dioceses, or to require of their traditionalist parishioners that they give explicit written assent to the provisions of the Apostolic Letter and the Second Vatican Council as a condition of continuing their chosen form of worship.

It is difficult not to have sympathy for some of the issues that the Holy Father raises. He says truthfully that the Church is divided and that the basis for at least some of this division is adherence to the Tridentine Rite and an opposition to the modernist reforms of Vatican II. Again, we are aware that it is possible to interpret the decisions of Vatican II in a traditionalist rather than a modernist light, but this is a minority viewpoint and not one that seems to be in evidence in the context of the current Apostolic Letter. Rather, it seems to us that the Holy Father is making explicit a dilemma for those of the Roman obedience. Firstly, he appears to want unanimity in both the full acceptance of Vatican II and on the modernist interpretation of Vatican II that he himself holds along with the majority of Catholics. Secondly, for those who are unable in conscience to accept this, what he is taking away is the prospect of forming a distinct traditionalist community within the Church that has the capacity for growth and ultimately for influence. The spirit of the Apostolic Letter is that the Tridentine Rite, where not extinguished altogether, is to be driven to the margins. This comes at a time when the traditionalist expressions of the Church have been those that have been growing in the most visible way, particularly among the young, and where there have inevitably been other questions that have arisen as a result of the cognitive dissonance between the expression of traditionalist worship and teaching, and the modernist emphasis of the Papacy.

As Christians, our aim should be to bring healing where there is division, and wherever possible not to be the cause of further division. It would not be possible to be involved in the work of ecumenism without having as an aspiration that such work would result in new ways of working together and of emphasising the fact that, however disparate our churchmanship, much more still unites us than divides. A starting-point for such work is a respect for those who differ from us. These differences ultimately reflect the fact that mankind is diverse, not uniform, and if we are to have the proper regard for the fact that each one of us is made in God’s image, we should avoid crude or sweeping attempts at collectivisation or centralization.

The history of the Church is not one of papocentralism nor of the Church as a centrally governed direct hierarchy. The government of the Church has historically been entrusted to its bishops, who have differed widely in their theology and polity while preserving the deposit of faith. The place of the Pope in such a structure is certainly not entirely without an obvious overarching power, but it is much more in line with the Orthodox view of the Papacy as a primacy of honour rather than one of jurisdiction. Had the present Apostolic Letter been issued some centuries ago, the view that might have been taken then would have been much more equivocal than in the modern Church. It could well have been said, and it would not have been without significant scholarly support, that if a Pope were to err in his teaching or polity, it was largely permissible to ignore any such aberration without significant spiritual or practical consequences accruing.

Our first priority in considering a response to Traditionis custodes is that of the salvation of souls. This is the supreme law of the Church. The Declaration of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith Dominus Iesus (2000) states,

“Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church. (IV:17)

We are then given the conditions for a church to be a “true particular church”, viz. Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist. In practice, the second condition is only possible if the first is present.

Moreover, such separated churches are not separate in that they do not belong to the Catholic Church, “The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”. In fact, “the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities”.

Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.

It follows that the separated churches draw upon the same divine essence as the (Roman) Catholic Church. They are elements of a single church, not a sign of a church that consists of many disparate parts. It follows that they are as much partakers of the Holy Roman Church as is the Holy See. It is then for them to define the nature of their relationship with Rome.

Our concern in writing is not that those traditionalists under Papal obedience should now consider attending the Traditional Latin Mass in separated churches and communities, although that may in certain cases be an option for them to consider. They do not need to leave the Roman Catholic Church in order to do so; Canon 844(2) of the current Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law states, “Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.” 

Rather we would wish that those who find themselves in spiritual crisis due to the Apostolic Letter should have a clear understanding of their priorities. The first priority must be to ensure that the sacraments they and others receive are unambiguously valid. We do not say at all that the text of the Mass of Paul VI is not valid, but we do say that where the Mass of Paul VI is accompanied by an overtly modernist interpretation it may give rise to doubts in the mind of the faithful who are aware of the opposition of modernism and Marxist so-called “liberation theology” to the inspired and settled teaching of the Church through the ages. Likewise, assent to both Vatican Councils requires the faithful to profess beliefs about the Church that are not in accordance with the tradition of the Church but instead speak of modernism and the desire for a centralised, “managed” church that is at odds with its history before the past two centuries. Lastly, we should remember that obedience to the teachings of the Pope is not a sine qua non for the faithful, particularly if those teachings are perceived to be partisan or at variance with the unambiguously valid tradition of the Church. Tradition is not the preserve of the Pope to change or abrogate; it is the preserve and treasure of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. The title of the Apostolic Letter is accurate in that tradition has guardians; a guardian values and nurtures his charge rather than destroying it.

We should also approach these problems from another perspective; if a person feels that the Tridentine Rite and traditionalist theology draw them closer to Jesus and offer them the spiritual nourishment necessary for their journey in faith, who should stand in their way? Should such people be force-fed modernism, or alternatively forced out of full communion with the Pope altogether? The Pope speaks of division in his writings, and yet it seems that (presumably inadvertently) his response to that division will act to proliferate that division still further, and intensify the polarisation between traditionalists and modernists that he says he wishes to heal. We find that the response of a number of Roman Catholic bishops in supporting the continued celebration of the Tridentine Rite within their dioceses is encouraging and to be commended. Where bishops are minded to prohibit its celebration, they are presumably aware that they are forcing a set of difficult and heart-rending choices upon the faithful. At their most extreme, these questions may lead some traditional Catholics to embrace the beliefs known as sedevacantism or sedeprivationism which we do not endorse.

We note that some papocentrist Catholics who belong to groups and societies who have seen fit to attack us in the past have seen the Apostolic Letter as an opportunity to be seized to promote their modernist views. One such writer says of Vatican II and the replacement of the Tridentine Rite with the Mass of Paul VI that “in the opinion of the most recent Popes, many of these things that were antiquated and no longer had any place in today’s modern society just had to go so as not to continue to shock or offend in the modern age.” Such ideas, whether held by the recent Popes or not, are both shameful and heretical. The Church is not concerned with “shocking” or “offending” others. Indeed, the precepts of the Christian faith, for which many of the saints embraced martyrdom, should rightly shock and offend any who oppose them, be they modernists or Marxists. Of course such opponents of tradition are also opposed to the ideas of traditional monarchy and of the nobiliary traditions within the Church.

Let us remember that we are not called to be of this world (John 15:19); and indeed many of the problems which the early Christians encountered in ancient Rome have unfortunately returned amid the crisis of faith of our world during the past century. Jesus has the answers to these problems, and any who find answers that are inconsistent with His teachings are to be regarded as false shepherds.

We note that there is reference in the Pope’s writings to the Society of St Pius X, which continues the expression of the Roman Catholic Church as the church was constituted before Vatican II. We find the position of the SSPX unsatisfactory because its insistence on upholding Vatican I creates a tautology. The SSPX at once upholds the incorrect proposition that the Pope is infallible, and yet refuses to accede to Vatican II despite its blessing and active promulgation by the “infallible” Pope Paul VI and all his successors, together with the college of bishops. The truth is that the Pope is not and never has been infallible; infallibility is attributed solely to the college of bishops not merely of the Roman Catholic Church but instead of the entire undivided Church speaking through an Ecumenical Council under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Within a profoundly divided Church as we see today, there can be no valid Council.

It follows logically that the only consistent and accurate voice representing Tradition within the Roman heritage is that of the Old Catholic understanding, accepting the pre-1870 position of the Church and adhering to neither Vatican Council. The Old Catholic position incidentally has been on numerous occasions affirmed as theologically consistent with the position both of the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion. Moreover, Roman Catholic canonists of the past century have repeatedly stated that the sacraments of the various branches of the Old Catholics are valid notwithstanding their partial or impaired communion with the Holy See.

The Tridentine Rite remains the normative liturgical form within our communion and is understood in the context of a traditional liturgical interpretation. Not being in full communion with the Holy See, we are not bound by the Apostolic Letter as a matter of discipline, though as always we should consider the views of the Pope with the respect that they are due. We continue to hold Pope Francis in prayer and also pray for the healing of the Church so that Jesus’ own prayer may be fulfilled, “that all may be as one” (John 17:21).


The Catholicate of the West issues a Perpetual Charter to the American World Patriarchates

The Catholicate of the West has issued a Perpetual Charter to the American World Patriarchates, a historic Orthodox federation of communions with which it has enjoyed intercommunion for several decades.

The AWP has been without an Apostolic Administrator since the death of Patriarch Yuri in 2013. However, it is not a federation that is dependent on a central administration, consisting instead of a loose grouping of independent patriarchs and their churches which call upon a common identity and heritage within the AWP.

Several clergy of the AWP have joined the Catholicate of the West recently and the issuing of a Perpetual Charter is intended to support their ministries and maintain their identity and heritage. It is open to other clergy of the AWP to join the Catholicate of the West should they wish, but it is also recognized that because of the diffuse and decentralized nature of the AWP there will be other clergy of the AWP who will be outside the Catholicate.

The Catholicate wishes to make its position clear on several issues that have been the source of controversy. Firstly, it has never been the case that the AWP has been the hereditary possession of the Ryzy family.

Secondly, there is no basis for the appointment of an Apostolic Administrator other than following his election by the AWP patriarchs worldwide in synod. The position of Apostolic Administrator will be vacant until such an eventuality.

Thirdly, Michael James Kline of Independence, Missouri, of whom we have written elsewhere, was never a member or patriarch of the AWP during the lifetime of Patriarch Yuri and has no legitimate authority over the AWP or its patriarchs, nor does he have the authority to appoint an Apostolic Administrator. Kline was consecrated by Patriarch Yuri, but as the document of consecration makes clear, this was for the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and not for the AWP.

>>Perpetual Charter and history of the AWP


R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast – “To what extent do religious organizations have a fons honorum to grant titles and awards?”

by R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast – reproduced with permission from

About the author: Rudolph Andries Ulrich JUCHTER VAN BERGEN QUAST, LLM, FSS is a lawyer and Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. He is the honorary president of the Family Association of the Barons von Quast (Familienverband der Freiherren von Quast), a Swiss Verein. Main interests: international law and finance, international relations, banking, statistics and the law, art, culture and history. 

In earlier articles, I examined the fons honorum of certain historical dynasties, like the former monarchs of Georgia, Rwanda and Hawaii. This article investigates, from a legal perspective, the fons honorum of religious organizations to grant titles and awards. I will demonstrate that this fons honorum is based on religious freedom and the freedom of association. Although international law does not define religion, it does identify religion with conscience, and enumerates a number of manifestations of religion that are to be protected.

The freedom of religious manifestation

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), guarantees the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in relation to the State. From a European law perspective, there are three aspects to the aforementioned freedoms: internal, external and collective aspects.

  • Regarding the internal aspect, the aforementioned freedom is absolute. This freedom concerns deeply held ideas and convictions that are forged in a person’s individual conscience and therefore cannot in themselves prejudice public order. Therefore, these ideas and convictions cannot be subject to restrictions by State authorities.
  • With regard to the external aspect, the freedom is not absolute but relative. This freedom to manifest a person’s beliefs is limited, because it can affect or even threaten a country’s public order. While religious freedom is primarily a matter of individual conscience, it also implies, inter alia, freedom to “manifest [one’s] religion” alone and in private or in community with others, in public and within the circle of those whose faith one shares. Article 9 lists a number of forms which manifestation of one’s religion or belief may take, namely worship, teaching, practice and observance (European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and Others v Moldova, judgment of 13 December 2001, ECHR Reports 2001-XII, § 114 et seq. and case-law cited).
  • Most of the rights recognised under Article 9 are individual rights that cannot be challenged. However, some of these rights may have a collective aspect. Accordingly, the ECtHR has recognised that a Church or ecclesiastical body may, as such, exercise on behalf of its members the rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention (ECtHR, 12 June 2014, Martinez Fernandez v. Spain, Comm. 1104/2002, U.N. Doc. A/60/40, Vol. II, at 150 (HRC 2005).

Freedom of conscience and of religion does not protect each and every act or form of behaviour, motivated or inspired by a religion or a belief. In other words, Article 9 of the ECHR protects a person’s private sphere of conscience, but not always any public conduct inspired by that conscience. It does not allow general laws to be broken (Pichon and Sajous v. France (dec.), no. 49853/99, ECtHR 2001-X).

As religious communities traditionally and universally exist in the form of organized structures, Article 9 ECHR has to be interpreted in the light of Article 11 ECHR which safeguards associative life against unjustified state interference. Seen in this perspective, the believer’s right to freedom of religion includes the right of a religious community to function peacefully; free from arbitrary State intervention. This autonomous existence of religious communities is indispensable for pluralism in a democratic society and is thus an issue at the very heart of the protection which Article 9 affords (Hasan and Chaush v. Bulgaria [GC], no. 30985/96, § 62, ECtHR 2000-XI; Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and Others, cited above, § 118; and Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Metropolitan Inokentiy) and Others v. Bulgaria, nrs. 412/03 and 35677/04, § 103, 22 January 2009).

There exist a vast number of cases where the ECtHR decided regarding the wearing of religious clothing and the use of symbols. Under Article 9(2) ECHR, the right to freely manifest one’s religion can only be restricted under certain cumulative conditions. These restrictions must (i) be prescribed by law; (ii) be necessary in a democratic society by fulfilling a pressing social need; (iii) have a legitimate aim (these aims are mentioned in Article 9(2) ECHR); and, (iv) the means used to achieve that aim must be proportionate and necessary. The right not to be discriminated against can, according to the ECHR, also be restricted under certain circumstances, where a similar justification test is applied. In addition, article 51(2) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EUCFR), is a similar test that also applies to restrictions on the rights in Articles 10 and 21 EUCFR. The bans on the wearing of religious clothing or symbols are justified under Article 9(2) ECHR.

The freedom of religion or belief is also guaranteed by article 18 of the (mondial) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Regarding the use of religious expressions, the United Nations issued the following statements:

Art. 6 (c): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, “To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;”.

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981

4 (b): The Commission on Human Rights urges States, “To exert the utmost efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and religious expressions are fully respected and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to desecration or destruction;”.

UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 2005/40 on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 19 April 2005

UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 2005/40 on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 19 April 2005

Para. 4: “The concept of worship extends to […] the display of symbols”. Para. 4: “The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as […] the wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings […].”

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Comment No. 22: The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18): 30/07/93, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22. (General Comments), 1996-2001.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Comment No. 22: The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18): 30/07/93, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22. (General Comments), 1996-2001.

The aforementioned legal frameworks show that religious freedom and the liberty to manifest this freedom by symbols is a fundamental human right and protected by international law, that is incorporated by states in national law. In my opinion, religious freedom also includes the freedom to grant titles and awards when issued in the context of religious customs, symbols and honorifics. Therefore, the fundamental human rights of religious freedom combined with the freedom of association are the source of authority of religious groups for legally and legitimately granting such titles and awards.

Case studies

Roman Catholic Church

The so-called “Bologna Mozart” was copied 1777 in Salzburg (Austria) by a now unknown painter from a lost original for Padre Martini in Bologna (Italy), who had ordered it for his gallery of composers. Today it is displayed in the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale in Bologna in Italy. Leopold Mozart, W. A. Mozart’s father, wrote about this portrait: „Malerisch hat es wenig wert, aber was die Ähnlichkeit anbetrifft, so versichere ich Ihnen, daß es ihm ganz und gar ähnlich sieht.“ (Letter of Leopold Mozart to Padre Martini in Bologna from Dec 22, 1777, MBA II, pp. 204f, No. 396).

At the age of 14, the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) left Salzburg to go on tours to Italy, accompanied by his father, the musician Leopold Mozart (1719-1787). Their principal destinations were Verona, Mantua, Cremona, Milan, Parma, Bologna, Florence and finally Rome, which he reached on 10 April 1770. When Pope Clement XIV was informed of the child prodigy, he received Mozart and his father in a private audience on their return from Naples two months later, on 4 July 1770. On that occasion, the Pope conferred the Order of the Golden Spur on young Mozart (Jahn, 1856, pp. 199-205; Cardinale 1983, pp. 35-42), thus making him a Papal Knight of the Golden Spur. The following day, Mozart received his official insignia, consisting of ‘a golden cross on a red sash, sword, and spurs,’ emblematic of honorary knighthood. In 1777, Mozart had his portrait painted with the star-encircled cross of the order on his coat.

The papal patent of 4 July 1770 for the award stated:

Inasmuch as it behoves the beneficence of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See that those who have shown them no small signs of faith and devotion and are graced with the merits of probity and virtue, shall be decorated with the honours and favors of the Roman Pontiff and the said See.’

Vatican secret archives 2009, p. 183

It is interesting to examine the capacity in which the pope issued the diploma. Roman Pontiff refers to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. An apostolic see is an episcopal see (a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction) of which the foundation is attributed to one or more of the apostles of Jesus or to one of their close associates. In Roman Catholicism, the apostolic see refers to the See of Rome. Therefore, both references to the fons honorum are of a religious nature. Although the Papal States on the Italian Peninsula were under the direct sovereign rule of the pope at that time, the fons honorum for the diploma is based on religion, instead of public law. It has an internal character within the church structures.

Currently, the Pontifical Orders of Knighthood are secular orders of merit of which the membership is conferred by a direct decision of the Pontiff. The diplomas given to recipients of the most popular Pontifical Orders, the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr (reorganised by Pope Pius X on his own initiative, motu proprio,Multum ad excitandos” on 7 February 1905), and the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (established on 1 September 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI), are issued in the capacity of pontifex maximus. Although this designation has been used in inscriptions referring to the Popes for some centuries, it has never been included in the official list of papal titles, which is published yearly in the Annuario Pontificio. The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio mentions “Supreme Pontiff of the whole Church” (in Latin, Summus Pontifex Ecclesiae Universalis) as the fourth title, the first being “Bishop of Rome“. The title pontifex maximus appears in inscriptions on religious buildings and on coins and medals. Awards are gazetted in Acta Apostolica Sedis, the Gazette of the Holy See. Diplomas of appointment are issued by the Secretariat of State. Papal knighthoods are personal. Perpetual succession is no longer granted.

The Order of Saint Sylvester is intended to honour Roman Catholic lay people who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts. According to Pope Gregory XVI’s Papal Brief of 1 September 1831, the Order of Saint Gregory is an order of merit to be bestowed on gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honoured by a public expression of esteem by the Holy See (see: appendix 1, underlined sentence).

Clearly, the orders of knighthood focus on religious merit and are issued in a religious capacity. I have not seen an explicit reference to the capacity of the pope as sovereign of the Vatican State. The latter capacity is referred to as the temporal power of the church: the rule of the Church in earthly possessions and the authority of the Pope over civil territories belonging to the Church, as in the former Papal States. This power is an addition to his dominion in spiritual matters and becomes necessary if freedom from civil power is to be assured. The church’s temporal power is presently exercised in relation to the Vatican City State since the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The term may also refer to the exercise of political influence by the bishops formerly through landed estates and currently through financial and other means. The aforementioned orders of knighthood are not issued as part of the Vatican’s temporal power; they are awards, issued for religious merit and therefore have a religious nature.

Considering the foregoing, from both a historical and a legal perspective, for centuries, Popes have exercised their religious fons honorum to grant titles and awards. These awards have an internal effect. They are part of the religious structure of the Roman Catholic faith and are logically recognised as such by the Vatican City State. Other states may choose to either allow their citizens to wear them or to forbid them. The latter could be in breach of religious freedom, as guaranteed by international law.

Abbey-Principality of San Luigi

Since 1970, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from about 650 million in 1970 to about 1.3 billion in 2020. The Church has circa 415.000 priests. As the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. It is interesting to compare this huge organization to a small religious group, like for example the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi, based in the United Kingdom.

The history of the Abbey-Principality, is described on its webpage:

Continue reading “R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast – “To what extent do religious organizations have a fons honorum to grant titles and awards?””

Apostolic Episcopal Church: On the use of aborted foetuses in Covid-19 vaccines

The new scandal, the new nightmare, the tomb of the Pope’s Roman Catholic Moral Theology: aborted babies used for making COVID-19 Vaccines.

by Professor Luca Scotto di Tella de’ Douglas

Bioethics was born after the most terrible experiments made on prisoners during the Second World War II by the Nazis and the Japanese allied to the Nazis. Dr. Mengele and Dr. Ishii without any ethics, pity, mercy, or compassion tortured and killed a huge quantity of human beings who were used like guinea pigs. Now after some decades in the name of profit and for a few months of supposed protection –  a shield from Covid 19 – we discovered the skeleton in the closet, the vaccines proposed as a great solution are based on the torture and death of innocent babies, aborted. Several vaccines are made in cells from foetuses aborted for example, decades ago. They include vaccines against rubella, hepatitis A, and chicken pox/shingles.

We don’t need to be saints in order to raise a firm ethical objection to this cruel and merciless, barbaric and inhuman trivialization and banalization of Human Life that, for profit and career is not any more considered as sacred but a mere tool for making money. The manufacture of this group of unethical vaccines using such ethically-tainted human cell lines demonstrates profound disrespect for the dignity of Human Life which for us comes from God and which deserves to be respected in depth. A true “hara kiri”, a suicide, was made by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life (that should after this be renamed FALLING) when it declared in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2017 that in the absence of alternatives, Catholics could, in “good conscience”, receive vaccines made using historical human fetal cell lines. This means that if there is a risk for health, a Roman Catholic can ask legally and with a pure conscience, to the scientist, to have a medicine (a vaccine is a medicine) without even asking how it was produced. If in that production they were partners in crime, accomplices in horrible acts such as abortions, who cares. This is something profound, serious and shameful that has nothing of Christianity about it; it is simply abominable even for a non-Christian and for an Atheist Man of Good Will.

The current Pope and the  Vatican approve of Catholics receiving vaccines manufactured using human fetal cells by abortion “only” in the absence of alternatives but this is also equivalent to justifying the dirty trafficking of organs sold, for example by countries where the death penalty is in force and the organs of executed criminals are sold. The important thing is to get what you need, ethics are of no use, obviously, morality is something heavy and impractical, better to be cynical, selfish and not ask too many questions.

Let us ask ourselves this, would Jesus, the Christ, ever approve, in order to create a medicine, to have innocent babies killed in small pieces in the womb of Mothers? To order this butchery of fetuses and consciences?

The Apostolic Episcopal Church strongly condemns the purchase and use of aborted human foetal corpses for so-called “scientific” uses. The AEC firmly calls on drug companies to work to create ethical medicines and vaccines that reject certain shameful uses of Human Life.

Mgr. Vilatte writes to Prince Guy de Lusignan, 1893

The Abbey-Principality has recently been sent a copy of an important letter of Mgr. Joseph-René Vilatte (1854-1929) (who would become Prince-Abbot Joseph III of San Luigi in 1899). The letter is dated 29 December 1893 and is addressed to Prince Guy de Lusignan (1831-1906), a Patron of the Order of the Crown of Thorns.

At the time of writing, Vilatte had been Grand Master of the Order of the Crown of Thorns for just six months, having succeeded the Rev. Gaston Fercken. The Order was the first Western-style order of chivalry to be established under the Orthodox Church rather than Rome, when in 1891 the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV approved the refoundation under Fercken of the former medieval Order of the Crown of Thorns. In 1899, it would unite with the separate branch of the Order that had been founded in 1883 by the first Prince-Abbot of San Luigi. Vilatte was consecrated Metropolitan for the Old Catholics of America by the Syrian Orthodox Church in 1892.

The letter makes it clear that problems had arisen in the Order under Fercken. According to Vilatte, Fercken had appointed as members of the Order several Parisian journalists. Mutual jealousies ensued and the Order found itself the victim of  controversy and outright falsehood in the Parisian press. These developments had clearly occasioned Prince Guy’s concern and prompted him to write to Vilatte, who was at that time at his American missions in Wisconsin.

In writing, Vilatte directs a few barbs towards Rome which in his view had departed from Catholic faith and tradition in the First Vatican Council (1870) of still-recent memory. He speaks of the Order “refusing the infallible Pope’s blessing”, referring to the doctrine of Papal infallibility which had been central to the decrees of the First Vatican Council and which he did not accept. He then makes it clear that the Order of the Crown of Thorns is a Catholic order without being either Roman or Papist, since it had turned to Orthodox authority in the place of a fallen Rome.

A full transcript of the text of the letter follows:


Je suis profondement chagriné de voir les mensonges qui sont publiés dans les journeaux de Paris, au sujet de notre Saint Ordre.

Mais je puis vous assurer que depuis que j’ai l’honneur d’être le grand Maître de l’Ordre de la Couronne d’Epines, pas un seul français a été reçu dans l’ordre par moi. Les personnes qui ont demandés leur admission depuis 6 mois ont étés refuses elles étaient tous de Paris.

Si quelques personnes sont indiqués de notre Ordre la faute retourne sur mon predecesseur le Rev. Fercken. Qui malheureusement a reçu des journalistes qui sont jaloux les uns des autres. De là les mensonges etc etc.

Pour le future je puis vous assurer que l’ordre marchera dans le progrets et pour la défense de Jesus crucifié.

La France est un pays romain, soumise au Pape de Rome, il suffit pour notre ordre de la couronne d’Epines de refuser la benediction du Pape infaillible pour que les journaux français soient en harmonie avec le Pape de Rome pour maudire et mépriser les Ordres religieux qui sont Catholiques sans être romains ou papiste.

Dans l’espérance que vous comprendre la situation de notre St. Ordre. J’ai l’honneur de vous informer que pas un seul français a merité l’honneur depuis 6 mois d’être reçu par moi dans l’Ordre, et que personne a Paris pas selon que dans les autres pays n’a le droit ou l’autorité de conferer les brevets.

Dans l’espérance Monseigneur, que Dieu et la très St Mère vous combleront de benedictions pour cette nouvelle année.

J’ai l’honneur de vous saluir

+J R Vilatte

Kewaunee Co.

This is translated into English as follows:

December 29, 1893 United States

To His Royal Highness
Mgr. Guy de Lusignan,
Paris – Neuilly


I am deeply saddened to see the lies that are published in the newspapers of Paris, about our Holy Order.

But I can assure you that since I have the honour of being the Grand Master of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, not a single Frenchman has been received in the order by me. The people who applied for admission in the past 6 months were refused; they were all from Paris.

If some people are indicated to be in our Order the fault goes to my predecessor the Rev. Fercken. Who unfortunately received some journalists who are jealous of each other. From them come the lies etc etc.

For the future I can assure you that the order will work for the benefit and for the defense of Jesus crucified.

France is a Roman country, subject to the Pope of Rome, it suffices for our order of the Crown of Thorns to refuse the infallible Pope’s blessing, for the French newspapers to be in harmony with the Pope of Rome to curse and despise Religious Orders which are Catholic without being Roman or Papist.

In the hope that you will understand the situation of our Holy Order. I have the honour to inform you that for 6 months not a single Frenchman has deserved the honour of being received by me in the Order, and that no one in Paris, nor in other countries, has the right or authority to grant its brevets.

In the hope, Monseigneur, that God and the Blessed Mother may fill you with blessings for this new year.

I have the honour to greet you

+ J R Vilatte

Kewaunee Co.