Opera Omnia of St. Robert Bellarmine vol. 2: On the Church

De Controversiis Volume 2 On the Church
De Controversiis Volume 2 On the Church
Contains On Councils, On the Church Militant and On the Marks of the Church
$29.00

The first volume on the Church is finally here! We have at last completed the first volume of Bellarmine’s treatise on the Church to accompany the one volume on the Roman Pontiff.
This volume contains Bellarmine’s treatise on Councils, on the Church Militant and on the Marks of the Church. These books constitute a marvelous treatise in Ecclesiology which lays down the principles made use of by all subsequent theologians. The first book is on the nature of Councils, which traces the history of Councils, who calls them, etc. The second book deals with the Authority of Councils, and treats that one essential question of whether a Council is above a Pope. In book three, Bellarmine takes up the question of who constitutes the Church Militant, whether the Church is visible, and whether evil members are still members? Lastly, he takes up the Marks of the Church, expanding the four marks of the Creed into 15 marks discernible in the Church throughout her history which prove the Catholic Church is true and the churches of the Protestants are false.
This tour de force is absolutely necessary for a proper understanding of Catholic ecclesiology. We have attached a sample chapter!

Sample Chapter:

Book 2 ch. 12: Whether the authority of a Council is greater than Scripture

WE spoke on the authority of Councils considered absolutely, now we must speak on the same by a comparison to other principles of faith, i.e. the written word of God (and for traditions the reasoning is the same), and the Pope. The heretics of this time everywhere cry out that we subject Scripture to Councils. Calvin, in the Institutes, book 4, cap. 9 §14, says: “To subject the oracle of God in this manner to the censure of men that it would be ratified because it pleases men is an unworthy blasphemy which is commemorated.” Similar things are discovered everywhere in the writings of the others. Moreover, this is not our blasphemy, but is their strawman. For Catholics do not subject the Sacred Scripture to Councils, but places it before them; nor is there any controversy on this point. But if some Catholics sometimes say scripture depends upon the Church, or a Council, they do not understand this in regard to its authority, or according to what it is, but in regard to the explanation and in regard to us.
Therefore, it must be observed that there is a manifold distinction between Sacred Scripture and the decrees of Councils, from which it is understood that Scripture is put before Councils. 1) Scripture is the true word of God, immediately revealed, and in a certain measure at God’s dictation according to what we read in 2 Peter 1:21 “Inspired by the Holy Spirit the holy men of God spoke,” and in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is divinely inspired.” Nevertheless, it is not so understood to mean that all the sacred writers had new revelations and wrote things of which they were ignorant beforehand. It is certain that the Evangelists, Matthew and John, wrote those things which they saw while Mark and Luke wrote those things which they heard, as Luke himself declares at the beginning of his gospel: “Just as they handed it down to us who saw from the beginning.” (Luke 1:2).
Therefore, the Sacred Writers are said to have had immediate revelation, and wrote the words of God himself, because either some new and previously unknown things were revealed by God, according to that in Psalm 50 (51):8, “You have made known to me the uncertain and hidden matters of your wisdom”; God immediately inspired and moved the writers to write the things which they saw or heard and directed them so that they would not err in some matter. Just like an epistle may truly said to be of a prince and dictated by the prince, even if he that transcribed the dictation already knew what he was going to write, so it is said to be and really is the immediate word of God which was written by the Evangelists at God’s inspiration and direction, even if they wrote the things which they saw or heard. But Councils do not have, nor write immediate revelations, or the words of God, rather they only declare what indeed the word of God is, written or handed down, and how it ought to be understood; besides, they deduce conclusions from it by reasoning. Consequently, when Councils define what are the canonical and divine books, they do not cause them to be of infallible truth, but only declare that they are such.
So even the Council of Trent, in session 13, c. 1, when it defines that those words: “This is my body” must be understood properly, not figuratively, it did not publish but declared the word of God. And when the Council of Nicaea defined that Christ is homoousion (consubstantial) with the Father, it drew the conclusion from the Scriptures in which it is precisely contained that there is one God, and the Father is God, as well as the Son, from which it necessarily follows that the Father and the Son are of the same substance and divinity. Likewise, in the sixth Council, when it defines that Christ had two wills, divine and human, it drew the conclusion from Scripture in which it is contained that Christ is perfect God and perfect man.
The second distinction arises from this first, and is that the sacred writers ought not labor much in in producing these books; for it was enough if they would labor by writing or dictating if they were giving prophecies; or to the chief point by recalling to memory what they had seen or heard, and thought the words which they should write, if they were writing histories or epistles or something similar. But the Fathers in Councils ought to seek the matter itself, i.e. to investigate conclusions by disputation, reading and reflection. For that reason, we read in Acts 15 in the first Council that there was a great deal of questioning. Ruffinus witnesses about the Council of Nicaea in book 10, cap. 5, hist. Ecclesiasticae, in regards to Acts 15 the fathers of the Council say: “It has been seen by the Holy Spirit and us,” i.e. the Holy Spirit assists our industry and diligence. But the sacred writers only attribute the things which they write to God and this is why the prophets so often repeat: “Thus speaks the Lord.”
The third is that in the Scripture there is no error whether it is treated on faith or on morals, and whether some general thing is affirmed, even common to the whole Church, or some particular thing pertaining to one man. But it is both certain and of the faith that without the grace of the Holy Spirit no man is saved, and Peter, Paul, Stephan and certain others truly had the Holy Spirit and were saved, seeing that the same Scripture witnesses that both are most true, but Councils can err in particular judgments.
The fourth is that in Scripture not only teachings, but even each and every word pertains to faith. We believe no word in Scripture is in vain or not correctly placed, but in Councils the greater part of the acts does not pertain to faith. For disputations that are prefaced, or reasons which are added, or the things that are advanced to explain and illustrate matters are not de fide, rather only the bare decrees and not even all of these, but only those which are proposed as de fide. Sometimes Councils define something not as a decree but as probable, such as when the Council of Vienne decreed that it must be held as more probable that grace and the virtues are infused into infants at Baptism, as it is contained in Clem. uni. de Summa Trinitate et fide Catholica. But when a decree is proposed as de fide, it is easily discerned from the words of the Council because they usually say they explain the Catholic faith or they must be held as heretics who think the contrary; or what is most common, they say anathema and exclude anyone from the Church that thinks the contrary. But when they say none of these, the matter is not certain de fide.
Next, in the very decrees on faith, not the words but only the sense pertains to faith. It is not heretical to say that in canons of Councils some word is superfluous or not correctly placed, except perhaps the decree were formed from the word itself, such as when in the Council of Nicaea they decreed the word o`moou,sion must be received, and in Ephesus the word Qeoto,kon.
The fifth is, that Scripture does not need the approval of the Pope to be authentic, but only that its authority would be known; but Councils, even legitimate and general ones, are not ratified until they are confirmed by the Pope, as we showed in a previous question.
But certain men object. Gratian, in d. 19, can. In canonicis, affirms the decretal epistles of Popes ought to be numbered among the canonical Scriptures, and in d. 20, can. Decretales, says the canons of Councils are of the same authority with the decretal epistles, therefore even the canons of Councils are numbered among the canonical Scriptures; consequently the Scriptures are not placed before Councils. Besides, St. Gregory says that he venerates the first four Councils as the four books of the Gospels (lib. 1 epist. 24).
I respond twofold to Gratian.
Firstly, he was deceived from a corrupted codex which he held to be of St. Augustine, for he attributed that canon to Augustine (lib. 2 doct. Christiana, cap. 8); but the true and corrected codices of St. Augustine do not have what Gratian relates but differ by far. Augustine does not say that the epistles that the Apostolic See usually gives or receives are canonical Scripture, as Gratian read, but a judgment on holy writings that pertain to the Churches and chiefly to those which are Apostolic Sees or merit to receive epistles, such as are Rome, in which Peter sat and to which Paul wrote; Ephesus, in which John sat and to which the same Paul wrote, and certain others.
I say secondly, with this error posited, Gratian did not mean to say that decrees of the Popes are properly sacred and canonical Scriptures like the Gospels or the Psalms, but that they are holy writings so as to distinguish them from profane writings, and canonical so as to distinguish them from the sacred writings of the Fathers, which are not rules nor have the authority to oblige. Although the canons of Popes and Councils are distinguished and placed after the divine Scripture, nevertheless they may and must be called sacred writings as well as canonical, just as the seventh Council, in act. 3, calls decrees of Councils divinely inspired constitutions. Nay more, Innocent, cap Cum Marthae extra de celebratione Missarum, calls the teaching of St. Augustine a sacred writing: “He does a martyr an injury that prays for him,” serm. 17, from the words of the Apostle. Moreover, that Gratian felt the decrees of Councils must not be equated with the divine scriptures properly so called, is clear from 36 caussa, quaest. 2 can. Placuit, where he placed the opinion of Jerome, because it was fortified with the testimony of divine Scripture, ahead of a decree of a Council.
I respond to that of Gregory: it sounds like a similitude, not equating, as that of Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect just as your heavenly father is perfect.” Or if it would sound like equating, it will need to be said that Gregory does not compare the Councils with the Gospels in all things, but only in the same certitude whereby it is spoken of in the Scriptures as well as in the decrees of Councils. Since both are of infallible truth, they can be said to be equally certain; but just as Councils are not of a greater authority than the Scripture, it remains that we explain at least whether the authority of an ecumenical Council were greater than that of the Supreme Pontiff.

Defense of the Catholic Priesthood against Martin Luther – St. John Fisher

Defence of the Priesthood - Fisher
Defence of the Priesthood - Fisher
$17.00

To the extent that St. John Fisher is remembered at all, he is remembered as the one Bishop that refused to pinch incense to Henry VIII. Yet, he was also a holy Bishop and an expert Theologian. Those familiar with the Mediatrix Press reprint of the Life of St. John Fisher by E.E. Reynolds, will know that St. John Fisher was a model for all Bishops. Yet his theological writings, which are mostly in Latin, had not been translated at all until the 1930’s. Fr. Hallet translated the shortest but no less important of St. John Fisher’s works, his defense of the priesthood against Martin Luther.

In these pages we see that it is Fisher, not Luther, who is the true witness to the gospel, defending the Catholic priesthood by the Scriptures, the Fathers and reason, while quoting Luther directly in his refutation.

While responding to Luther, Fisher lays out several Axioms and proves them one by one in

order so that as the pages turn, it is abundantly clear that Fisher is following the Scripture completely, while Luther’s position is increasingly indefensible. It is no wonder that Fisher was the only opponent of Luther that that the latter did not and could not answer.

Given that it is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, what better work could be published, to help dispel some of the confusion engendered by those who wish to celebrate Luther in ignorance of what the great heresiarch had actually taught. Anyone seeing this will immediately see that it is Fisher who is the witness to the Gospel.

On the Church Militant

On the Church Militant
St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
With a foreword by Dr. Michael Sirilla

ISBN-13: 978-0692736760
ISBN-10: 069273676X
178 pages

$18.00

Mediatrix Press continues its publication of St. Robert Bellarmine’s De Controversiis with his work “On the Church Militant.” In this work, Bellarmine lays out the principles that will ground the discussion of the Church throughout his remaining treatises on the subject. He begins with the notion of Church, the Catholic teaching of what the Church is, then a discussion of those who are and are not in the Church, as well as whether great sinners and secret heretics might be in the Church, concluding with a discussion of whether the Church is visible and whether it could defect. Bellarmine makes use first of Scripture, then the Fathers and finally logic and reason to refute the first Protestants who lived in his time and draw together all the teachings of ancient heretics and their refutations, resulting in clearly demonstrating that the Catholic Church’s Ecclesiology has never changed.

St. Robert Bellarmine’s theological writings on the Church of Christ constitute an invaluable treasure not only for Catholics, but for the commonweal and eternal salvation of humanity itself. This is no slight exaggeration. His is the very first independent theological and dogmatic treatise on the Church. Patristic and medieval Catholic authors treated on the mystery of the Church, to be sure; but they provided no free-standing treatment de ecclesia. Bellarmine’s is the first and the best of its kind.

-Dr. Mike Sirilla

 

On the Church Militant – Pre-order

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On the Church Militant
St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
200 pages
$14.99 Pre-Order

Mediatrix Press continues its publication of St. Robert Bellarmine’s De Controversiis with his work “On the Church Militant.” In this work, Bellarmine lays out the principles that will ground the discussion of the Church throughout his remaining treatises on the subject. He begins with the notion of Church, the Catholic teaching of what the Church is, then a discussion of those who are and are not in the Church, as well as whether great sinners and secret heretics might be in the Church, concluding with a discussion of whether the Church is visible and whether it could defect. Bellarmine makes use first of Scripture, then the Fathers and finally logic and reason to refute the first Protestants who lived in his time and draw together all the teachings of ancient heretics and their refutations, resulting in clearly demonstrating that the Catholic Church’s Ecclesiology has never changed.

Pre-order today, this work is expected in May 2016.

On the Roman Pontiff by St. Robert Bellarmine

On the Roman Pontiff (De Romano Pontifice)
Vol. 1, books I-II by St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
ISBN-13: 978-0692453643
$22.00

De Controversiis: On the Roman Pontiff, Vol. 2
By St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
349 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0692678756
ISBN-10: 0692678751

$25.00

 

 

On the Roman Pontiff, in five books
St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
683 pages
ISBN 0692705708

$35.00

 

For the first time, St. Robert Bellarmine’s treatise on the Papacy is available in English. In volume one, St. Robert Bellarmine lays down the foundation of the Papacy by demonstrating that:

  • Monarchy is the best of all governments;
  • That Christ established a Papal Monarchy (by an exegetical commentary of Matthew XVI and John XXI);
  • That Peter succeeded in this monarchy;
  • Proving this by early Popes, Councils, the Fathers and Law;
  • What would happen were the Pope a heretic?

Volume 2 takes up the remaining sections of Bellarmine’s great defense of the Papacy. There, he refutes the arguments of the early Protestants on three major points:

 

  • That the Roman Pontiff is not Antichrist
  • That the Pope is infallible in definitions on faith and morals as well as authoritative in Ecclesiastical laws
  • That the Pope, while he is not the lord of the world, nevertheless has indirect temporal jurisdiction in civil affairs when it is for the sake of the faith.

In the second volume we see again Bellarmine’s splendid argumentation, based first of all in Holy Scripture, strengthened by the consensus of the Church Fathers and buttressed by arguments from later Theologians and reason.

In book 3, Bellarmine shows the many contradictions and faulty reasoning used by the first Protestants in arguing that the Pope is Antichrist while also giving exposition to the authentic understanding of the passages of Scripture that speak of Antichrist. After covering presenting the testimony of Scripture and the Fathers on the signs that must precede Antichrist, Bellarmine shows how none of this agrees with the Roman Pontiff. [Note, the standalone volume Antichrist that we recently published is an abridgement of this book.] He also refutes the fable of “Pope Joan”.

In book 4, Bellarmine argues why the Pope is infallible when he defines on faith and morals and proceeds to defend Popes whom Protestants and others argued had erred while defining faith. He continues to a discussion of law, and why it is not contrary to the Gospel for the Pope (or a Bishop over his diocese), to make laws that bind the faithful, refuting the teaching of John Calvin.

In book 5, Bellarmine takes up the question of the Popes power in civil affairs. Protestants had argued that the Pope tyrannously usurped the rights of sovereigns and that they meant to rule the world directly in civil affairs, while some canonists overly attached to a more medieval view were of a similar persuasion. He then proceeds to demonstrate that the Pope’s temporal is indirect, that he can intervene for the sake of the faith when excommunicating sovereigns. The protestants argued that a Bishop could not also be a temporal prince. This point is interesting in light of the fact that many, perhaps even most Catholics today hold to a position similar to the Protestant view Bellarmine refutes in this book.

It is also available in one volume!

New! Antichrist by St. Robert Bellarmine

Antichrist

by St. Robert Bellarmine
Translated by Ryan Grant
with a foreword by Fr. Philip Wolfe
223 pages

$17.00 (plus shipping)

Antichrist_frontAntichrist
St. Robert Bellarmine
Translated by Ryan Grant
With a Foreword by Fr. Philip Wolfe, FSSP

$8.00 Kindle (Purchase on Amazon)

In Antichrist, St. Robert Bellarmine turns his deep knowledge, scholarship and devotion to the Holy Church toward the task of refuting what was in that time the dogma of all Protestantism, namely, that the Pope is the Antichrist. Bellarmine, in argument after argument, shows both how Antichrist cannot be the Pope and who he really will be based first and foremost on the testimony of Holy Scripture, secondly on the Fathers of the Church, thirdly from the Theologians and reason.

From the Foreword:

I am delighted that the eschatological mission of the Holy Fathers Enoch and Elias, so well testified to in Sacred Tradition, but virtually forgotten in our day and age, will become more widely known. “We owe a real debt of gratitude to Ryan Grant for bringing this work to a wider audience. I pray that it receives a very wide reading. -Fr. Philip Wolfe, FSSP

What others are saying: (continuously updated)

Mr. Grant has once again done the Catholic world a great favor by making available yet another mini-treatise of the great Counter-Reformation Doctor, St. Robert Bellarmine, rightly feared by all the Protestant controversialists as one who shreds every anti-Catholic argument with cogent reasoning and an encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture and Tradition. This translation of the saint’s probing commentary on the identity and work of Antichrist is more pertinent than ever, not only because the Protestant arguments he is dealing with have never entirely disappeared, but also because we are living in an age of exponentially intensifying evil that might well make many Catholics wonder if we are living in the end times. Since Antichrist is the very herald of the end times, it behooves us to study carefully his features and characteristics, as drawn for us by St. Paul and other inspired authors. -Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Wyoming Catholic College

Here is a timely book for an age when many are looking around for the Antichrist, often seeing foreshadowings of him here and there. Is he alive? Is he walking the earth? In seeking to answer these questions, many in the past (i.e., various Protestants leaders and writers) have actually aided his coming by becoming Antichrist themselves. To avoid this pitfall, read this excellent book penned by a holy doctor of the Church. —Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB

In the history of the writings about the Antichrist, other than the Fathers, the text of St. Robert Bellarmine is of prime importance.
-Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD

This is an excerpt for On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2, which will appear soon. This translation of Antichrist is the first translation of this work into English in 400 years.

 

Papal Error?

Papal Error?
A Defense of Popes said to have Erred in Faith

St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
125 pages.
ISBN: 069256599X

$11.00

$5.99 Kindle!

St. Robert Bellarmine again takes up his pen to defend Popes who historically were said to have erred in faith.

This little work is an excerpt from Bellarmine’s larger treatise On the Roman Pontiff, book 4, which follows after the assertion of what was already universally taught at that time, but not completely understood nor decreed by the Church’s solemn magisterium, that the Pope was infallible in his teaching on faith and morals when teaching the whole Church. These chapters then, being 8-14 of that work, follow to test and prove this claim historically, wherein he posits exculpatory evidence against claims that 40 Popes had grievously erred in matters of faith.

Much as with the doctrine of Papal infallibility itself, St. Robert Bellarmine does not endeavor to show the impeccability of Popes, rather that in matters of faith, where the Popes are actually authoritative, they did not err. Some matters treated here are the objection of certain Protestants, while others are even of Catholics who are confused on the decrees or behavior of certain Popes.

These chapters were used as a blueprint at Vatican I by the fathers of that Council to further scrutinize these cases and be sure of the limits and nature of papal authority.

Bellarmine thus lays out four basic propositions; Two of these Catholics must believe with divine faith per the subsequent decree of Vatican I (which was no less incumbent upon the believer in Bellarmine’s time, though then it were the universal teaching of all theologians), namely that the Pope is infallible when judging matters of Faith and Morals and defining these as matters that must be believed by all the faithful. This particular distinction is important, for the Pope, outside of this very narrow category, does not enjoy infallibility, thus in private letters, private teaching, their acts, behavior, etc., Popes can give scandal, they can give opinions that are in fact false, but they cannot teach the whole Church and bind it to believe error.

To quote Bellarmine himself: “For to this point no Pope has been a heretic, or certainly it cannot be proven that any of them were heretics; therefore it is a sign that such a thing cannot be.” (On the Roman Pontiff, book 4, ch. 6.)

In this treatise Bellarmine endeavors to show that this is the case.

On the Roman Pontiff, by St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.

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At long last, the very first translation of St. Robert Bellarmine’s masterpiece of a theological tract on the Papacy.

For the first time in history, St. Robert Bellarmine’s work, De Romano Pontifice, On the Roman Pontiff, has been translated and made available in English!
In this Theological treatise, St. Robert Bellarmine takes on Protestant as well as Greek Orthodox objections to the Papacy.
This Volume contains books 1 and 2, with 3-5 forthcoming in June. These two books take up two subjects:
First, that Christ established the Primacy of Peter by means of an Ecclesiastical Monarchy, which takes up subjects as diverse as: What is the best form of government? Why it is fitting the Church’s government should be a monarchy; Exegetical Commentary on the Lord’s words in Matthew 16 and John 21, along with copious Patristic testimony.
The second subject, which is taken up in Book 2, is whether Peter has successors in the Ecclesiastical Monarchy, wherein Bellarmine defends the Church’s position on: The true history of Peter; that Peter truly went to Rome; that Peter was truly a Bishop there; that upon his death he was succeeded by men in the Ecclesiastical monarchy, as well as its proof from the Fathers, then through all the refutations, Bellarmine asks what would happen if the Pope were a heretic.
This important work was foundational to the thought of the Council Fathers at Vatican I, where Bellarmine enjoyed as great a prestige as St. Thomas Aquinas at the Council of Trent.

Click the links above to purchase, or purchase on Amazon.

To assist us in getting the next volume out, namely to have sufficient funding to acquire a faster editor, please consider donating to this effort, even as little as $20. More details here.

On the Marks of the Church – St. Robert Bellarmine

On the Marks of the Church
by St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
152 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0692368602
$18.00

 

On the Marks of the Church Hardcover
St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
Translated by Ryan Grant
164 pages
6×9
ISBN: 978-1-329-74689-3

$27.00

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St. Robert Bellarmine was not only the most prolific apologist of the 17th century, but of all time! Yet the loss of Latinity has relegated his valuable work to obscurity. Here at Mediatrix Press, we have proposed to change that.

Therefore, we have produced the first ever translation of St. Robert’s “On the Marks of the Church” into English, translated by Ryan Grant, the translator of the Canisius Catechism. In this valuable work, Bellarmine lays out no less than 15 Marks of the true Church, which are all developed from the 4 given by the Creed of the Council of Constantinople (second half of what we call the Nicene Creed). Bellarmine contrasts these marks with the marks posed by Protestant teaching, so as to show where the true Church really is. It is a short read, at 135 pages, but is beautiful and hard hitting on every point. A segment describing some miracles and anti-miracles at the end is especially enjoyable.

De_notis_ecclesiae_Page_003 De_notis_ecclesiae_Page_044 De_notis_ecclesiae_Page_045

This book would not be possible without the kind donations made to the Bellarmine Project! For more information, or to donate, visit our Bellarmine Page.

Thank you and God bless our readers!

A Small Catechism for Catholics

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100 pages
Translated into English for the first time in 300 years! The Parvus Catechismus Catholicorum is now in print, with a new translation by Ryan Grant.  This catechism includes instruction on:

-The 3 Theological virtues and the Creed
-The Our Father, Hail Mary, and 10 commandments
-The Sacraments
-The Duties of Christian Justice (morals)
-Testimony from the Scriptures which support the Catholic faith.
-Artwork from great painters such as Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Eyck.

This volume, the third and smallest of St. Peter Canisius’ small catechisms, is a beginning to our efforts to translate his other works, such as the much larger Summa Doctrinae Christianae. Nothing else like it exists in English! We’re breaking historic ground, and hope to do much more. This book also includes a foreword by Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD.