What People Are Commenting
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Concordats, Heretics & Third Orders

Concordats & Catholic States

Dear TIA,

Regarding the recent question in What People are Commenting, as to changes after Vatican II in Church-State relations, here is a list of countries whose concordats were modified by the Vatican to remove references to Catholicism as the official state religion:

“The following suggests a classification of the post-Vatican II concordats. Significant steps have been undertaken by the Holy See with countries which named Catholicism as the state religion in both their Constitutions and concordats such as Spain, Italy, Colombia, Argentina, Monaco, Peru, and Malta.

"The mention of state religion disappeared from all new concordats signed after 1964. It was the wish of the Holy See to avoid these statements which looked like privileges and were incompatible with the doctrine of the neutrality of the state." Quoted from The Position of the Catholic Church Regarding Concordats from a Doctrinal and Pragmatic Perspective, by Roland Minerath, which can be read here.

There is actually a website dedicated to keeping an eye on all of the Vatican concordats throughout the world, called Concordat Watch. The rather sinister motivation behind this site is that "concordats represent a fundamental threat to both democracy and human rights."

     Peace of Christ,

     Frank M. Rega


Relations with Heretics


I have visited your website for several years and appreciate your content.

I read the article entitled "A Catholic Must Have No Relations with Heretics" tonight, and had some practical questions about its meaning for us today.

Is there anyone I could discuss this further with?

     Thanks for your time,


TIA responds:

Hello W.S.,

Thank you for your compliment.

You may send your questions to us. We will be glad to respond as soon as we can amid our writing and research.


     TIA correspondence desk


‘These Are Not Lay Celibates’

Salwa Bachar, (from Facebook)

Re: Models of Lay Celibacy in History

These are not lay celibates as we understand most single laity to be today. These took vows of virginity. Show me where laity take vows of celibacy or become lay religious through third orders today?

The vast majority of laity do not take vows of celibacy or join religious houses in 3rd orders. Most by far are waiting around hoping to get married. Often when they cannot find a partner they start to prattle on about the single state like it a vocation.

This is the problem with laity taking on roles of teaching on social media they twist certain things to suite their worldview same as modernist clerics even if laity claim to practice authentic Catholicism.


TIA responds:


We did a little search on Social Media and found out that you are a married man.

Before answering your various objections, let us observe that a Catholic gentleman should not address a young lady, who chose to dedicate her life to be celibate, in the rude way you did.

Your lack of courtesy is disgusting; it is equivalent to spitting in the bowl of soup that you offer her and us to eat.

Now, the objections:

Your conclusion is that lay people should not post Catholic doctrine on Social Media because this is the role of priests. If lay people do so, they twist doctrine, like the modernists, to fit their own worldview, and are not authentic Catholics. 

Three violent accusations in just one sentence: Laity cannot teach on Social Media; they twist doctrine like modernists; they are not authentic Catholics.
  1. Regarding the way you present your objection:

    1. Since you are a layman, how can you teach us this conclusion without falling into your own condemnation? Can you not see that your position is essentially contradictory?

    2. In order not to be contradictory, you should be speaking on behalf of a priest or have consulted a priest on this topic to speak with such strong certainty against any lay person who writes on Social Media. In either case, you may take this answer as a response for both you and your mentor priest.

  2. Regarding the content of your accusations:

    1. If what you pretend were true – that only priests can teach – you would be condemning two of the models presented by Miss Bachar in her article: St. Catherine of Siena, who taught Popes and helped them to resolve the Schism of Avignon and return to Rome. Yes, Mr. N.A., the Popes were wrong and the lay woman was right…

      You would also be condemning St. Joan of Arc, who was just a girl (a lay young woman) who showed a whole country the right path of God that it had left. The girl was right, Mr. N.A., the Bishop who condemned her to be burned alive was wrong…

      It is sad to see that you probably did not read those two brilliant examples that pulverize your conclusion… If you would have read it, you would have saved yourself the public inconvenience of passing as a clown or a fanatic.

    2. Regarding your second conclusion – no one can defend his own worldview, because it would be to twist reality and act like modernists – it is absolutely indefensible.

      Everyone who professes the true Faith has the right to defend publicly his own point of view in the Church, be he a layman or a clergyman, be it on Social Media or elsewhere. If he is wrong, the due religious authority has the obligation to correct him.

      This right is especially timely today when the correct position of the Church regarding one of the options of life we have – religious life, marriage and lay celibacy – is being systematically ignored and eroded.

    3. You affirm that the examples quoted by Miss Bachar are not lay celibates, because two of them – St. Catherine of Siena and St. Rose of Lima – were Third Order members and three took a vow of virginity – King St. Wenceslas, St. Rose of Lima and St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes. So, you imagine that all the historic proofs she offer are null and void and you rush to the conclusions we analyzed above.

      Now then, in two articles she offered 14 examples of lay celibates – of which only four fell under your critique. You did not even mention the eight others who proved your evaluation wrong. For example, in the beginning of the article that ignited your fury, Miss Bachar quotes the case of St. Cizy of Besaçon, who was a general of Charlemagne’s army, not a member of Third Orders and did not have a vow of virginity. Your omission of eight of the cases she quoted is neither a good example of impartiality nor of historical objectivity. You seem to have had your mind already made before reading these articles.

    4. Now, let us go to the point that you imagine to be the strongest in your position. You believe that lay persons cannot be members of the Third Orders and cannot make a vow of virginity, otherwise they would become religious.

      Let us see how the Code of Canon Law of 1983, in force today as you requested, defines the Third Order:

      “Canon 303 – Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute are called third orders or some other appropriate name.”

      The American Society of Canon Law comments on this canon:

      The old code distinguished three types of associations of the faithful: secular third orders, confraternities and pious unions. Canon 303 retains only the first type, third orders. But it expands its meaning.

      In the old code, a secular third order designated lay persons living in the world the spiritual and apostolic values of a religious order composed of men (first order) or women (second order) (canons 702-706).

      “The new code permits associations of the faithful to be called ‘third orders’ if their members participate in the spirit of any religious institute while living in the world
      . …” (Canon Law Society of America, New Commentary of the Code of Canon Law, New York: Paulist Press, 2000, pp. 404-405) (our bold)

      Therefore, both the Code of Canon Law of 1983 as well as the Code of 1917 used the term third order to refer to lay persons living in the world. It is used precisely in the meaning employed in the articles of Miss Salwa Bachar. So, Mr. N.A., you are wrong again.

    5. The last point that remains in your objections is that you imply that to make a vow of virginity configures a religious state of life.

      Canon 1191 of Code of Canon Law of 1983, which defines and regulates vows today, reads:

      Ҥ 1 РA vow, that is, a deliberate and free promise made to God about a possible and better good, must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion.

      “§ 2 – Unless they are prohibited by law, all who possess suitable use of reason are capable of making a vow.” (ibid., p. 1416)

      Therefore, all Catholics may make a private vow of virginity, chastity, celibacy or another without, by this action, entering the religious state of life.
So, our general conclusion is that you, Mr. N.A., were not correct in any point of your critique.

We hope that next time you will be more courteous in your approach, read more carefully what is written, be more impartial in your evaluations and less hasty in your conclusions.


     TIA Correspondence Desk


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted August 8, 2019

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA

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