John C. Pontrello
January 3, 2021 ~ I found this old article in a stack of stuff and wanted to post it. I believe Barbara Linaburg is now deceased. If I'm mistaken I will correct this. I did not know her but I knew people who were close to her. I retyped the article as I have it, including the author's emphases. The copy in my possession is missing some lines. If anyone has this article and could fill in the blanks I would appreciate you contacting me. ~jp
Epikeia Sent Me
By Barbara J. Linaburg
I would bet my life that before the so-called traditionalist movement stepped forward with their priests and bishops to "carry on the Church" and "hold the traditions," that not one Catholic in one hundred million had ever heard the word epikeia. Yet for several years now, epikeia has become a catchall word for these clergy to do basically what they darn well please for something they call the higher good, which supposedly is in the realm of saving souls!
In this framework, Catholics are being bamboozled into thinking that whatever epikeia is- it must be a good thing. And because they lack the knowledge, education, and therefore the understanding of epikeia, they have been deceivingly led to believe that this so-called "higher power" lets Father bypass the many laws instituted by Christ and His Church before Vatican II, in order for him to carry on with his self-appointed mission to give them a Mass and Sacraments. This is deceiving because epikeia does no such thing and never did.
I know of one "priest" who claims his "marriage" was sanctioned under the aspects of epikeia. Even a few of the "independent priests" claim epikeia as their passport for in-house Masses to the Recusant Catholics who stay home. Recusant is the word used for a Roman Catholic who refused to attend the services of the church of England or to recognize its authority during the 16th-18th century. The "home aloner's" concept isn't even an original thought and never should have been used. Oh well. Now we know who we are and why. There have also been priests who claimed that epikeia sanctioned their being consecrated a bishop outside of the normal channels of the Church. Epikeia does none of these things, nor does it even remotely come close to condoning these things.
Basically epikeia refers only to civil legislative laws of man, for man by man! Epikeia allows (without getting into theological terminology), a person to correct the written law with the presumption that the legislator, had he foreseen that person's case, would not have held the person to the law if he had broken it for a worthy cause. St. Alphonsus defines epikeia as "a presumption, at least probably, that the legislator in a certain set of circumstances did (or, would) not wish to bind (the subject)."
For an example, the legislator had wisely decided that for the safety of the common good, the speed limit through the city should be set at 15 M.P.H. Now here is where epikeia is applied: You and your elderly mother are coming into this city to do some shopping, when all of a sudden she passes out. Now you need to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible, but the hospital is way over at the other end of the city. So in this case, you may assume that the legislator would not hold you to the 15 M.P.H. speed law, but would have, had he foreseen your case, allowed you to prudently exceed the speed limit in order to get your mothers the help she needs sooner. This is how you would apply epikeia!
St. Thomas clearly explains that epikeia is a judgment of a subject about the case at hand, and not about the law itself. He stresses the point that the lawmaker cannot foresee all possible cases; and so, with the common good as his aim, he frames the law in accordance with what happens in most instances. He further states that "...no man has wisdom so great that he can take into consideration all individual cases; and therefore he cannot adequately express in words all those things that are fitting for the end which he has in mind. And if the legislator were able to consider all cases, it would not be fitting that he mention all, in order to avoid confusion; but he should formulate the law according to what is of most usual occurrences." (Sources: Studies in Sacred Theology, op.cit.pg.20)
I have come across certain writings from traditional clergy who have quoted St. Thomas and ______________"necessity knows no law." ____________________________________________________to their _________________________________________law" when using epikeia!
How sad it is today that Catholics won't go study these things on their own. And, how easily we have been led astray because we have forgotten how Father Martin Luther and others led their uneducated Catholic followers right out of the Church and into Protestantism. Catholics fail to understand that by putting more faith in Father than they do in Christ and His Church, could be hazardous to their souls.
It was the opinion of St. Antonius (+1617) that some rather grave reasons must exist to warrant the uses of epikeia before one may disregard the words of the law not at pleasure, but from necessity. And the great theologian Suarez (+1617) denies that the public good must be a concern in order that epikeia be used licitly. Any "private individual may use epikeia in his own favor, provided that to observe the letter of the law would be a grave inconvenience."
I think that we can clearly see from the teaching of these great men that epikeia, as it is being applied today by certain clergy, is an abusive use of the meaning of the word. For epikeia will not support their views that the mind of the lawgiver, had he foreseen the crisis in the Church, would sanction their function outside the perimeters of Church laws, because the man, Christ had already foreseen all difficulties that pertained to His Church. Christ does not come to knowledge as does man; He is all knowledge from the beginning.
Epikeia will not bestow upon a priest or bishop the power which he does not now possess to do things the Church has forbidden, nor can it restore the power which Church law(s) have withdrawn from him, such as jurisdiction. A priest still requires a mandate from Rome to function as a bishop, and no matter how grave the necessity, epikeia can never supply this defect. A legislator (lawyer, judge, etc.) working for the state, has never set up powers for priests or bishops in the Church.
If Catholics are interested in saving their souls and are interested in pleasing God above all things, then they are going to have to turn first to prayer and ask the Holy Ghost for guidance through this maze of deceit thta is thriving so freely in, not only the camps of the Novus Ordo, but also in the renegade camps of the so-called traditionalists. Next, they will have to study their faith past their Catechism in order to know if the Church has ever allowed any of the shenanigans being pulled on them to see if they come from God. Then, (and this is the hard part), they will have to face the reality that they have been bamboozled by wolves in sheep's misconstrued ideas, and false concepts, etc.
The path between the Novus Ordo and the traditionalist is narrow, and few there are that are on it. This is the ONLY path that leads to Heaven, and only if we follow Christ and His Church and keep the faith He gave us. Avoid Paul 666 and his church, Thuc and Lefebvre and theirs, because epikeia won't restore to any of them the Four Marks that are now missing!