St. Catherine of Siena quote source?


" There are times when those who obey . . … are heading for Hell." (St. Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 1376.)

This has been floating around the Internet. Can anyone post a link or book citation in which the entire letter or correspondence can be found?

Humiliavit semet ipsum factus oboediens usque ad mortem mortem autem crucis


Thanks! It disappeared before I could copy it. I’m pretty sure I remember this quote to be false. I can’t find my link to the letters anymore. I’d also appreciate verification on this one and the other one given (I didn’t get a chance to copy that one either).

It would seem to fly in the face of this quote which I have verified before (again, link gone).

From St. Catherine of Sienna’s letter to Brother Antonio of Nizza:

“For divine obedience never prevents us from obedience to the Holy Father: nay, the more perfect the one, the more perfect is the other. And we ought always to be subject to his commands and obedient unto death. However indiscreet obedience to him might seem, and however it should deprive us of mental peace and consolation, we ought to obey; and I consider that to do the opposite is a great imperfection, and deceit of the devil.”


If anyone would have the background, it would be Itsjustdave1988. How about sending him a PM and asking him to look it up for you. Dave has access to a lot of St. Catherine’s letters and has publicly denounced some of the nonsense circulating about St. Robert Bellarmine’s quotes as well. :wink:


Already did that. I’m pretty sure he’s the one that debunked the false quotes the last time. Just can’t be 100% that this was one of them but I seem to recall that it was.


Yes, this is a fabricated quote. When a Lefebvrist first quoted this letter to me at Patrick Madrid’s forum, I asked him to cite the source. He couldn’t. When I provided him a internet link to all the letter of St. Cathering to Pope Gregory (a link which no longer works), he quibbled about how it might have come from a differnt translation. :rolleyes: Yet, if you read all all the letters of St. Catherine to Pope Gregory, nothing even resembling this quote is authentic. Furthermore, it is totally contradictory to what she wrote in her other letters.

While the link to St. Catherine’s letters is no longer active, all the letters to Pope Gregory are included in *St. Catherine of Sienna As Seen In Her Letters, *translated and edited with introduction by Vida Dutton Scudder, London, New York: J.M. Dent and E.P. Dutton, 1905.

The excerpt from St. Catherine’s letter to Brother Antonio of Nissa (above) should remove any doubt with regard to St. Catherine’s understanding of obedience to the Vicar of Christ.


Mucho thanks, Dave. I’ve become quite meticulous in making sure that any quotes I see or use are actually true after you debunked that one before. It’s truly amazing how much made up stuff is out there.


Hey…I found another link that works…


Thank you, Dave.


Thanks, Dave. I just found it myself!


Here is another source from her Dialogue pg. 116, Treatise on Obedience:

When He returned to Me, rising to Heaven from the conversation of men at the Ascension, He left you this sweet key of obedience; for as you know He left His vicar, the Christ, on earth, whom you are all obliged to obey until death, and whoever is outside His obedience is in a state of damnation, as I have already told you in another place.


I’ve seen other quotes too. I just don’t think you’ll find St. Catherine contradicting herself in her letters. :shrug:


Not only St. Catherine, as if she was the only saint to be directed to obedience by the Lord. :dts: Funny thing about saints - they all have a habit of saying the same thing. Anyone else need the quotes, or was this sufficient?


I still had some feelings that the SSPX were doing the right thing when I read St. Catherine’s Dialogue. But after reading it, I could no longer support their position and actions.


Genesis, do you think that’s why St. Catherine is deliberately misquoted? After all, since she is a Doctor of the Church, her words would really need to be discredited if the SSPX wishes to keep some semblance of truth.


Oh goody, now I can post some truths for all of you, who so obviously have tried to bait me…

I found this for all of thee who would rather deceive than stand for truth:

“Alas, alas, alas, most holy father! The first day that you came to your own place, you should have done so. I hope in the goodness of God and in your holiness that what is not done you will do. In this way both temporalities and spiritualities are won back. God demanded that you do this–as you know that you were told–that you care for the reformation of Holy Church, punishing its sins and establishing good shepherds; and that you make holy peace with your wicked sons in the best way and most pleasing to God that could be done; so that then you might see to uplifting with your arms the standard of the most holy Cross against the infidels. I believe that our negligence and our not doing what could be done–not cruelly nor quarrelsomely, but in peace and benignity–(always punishing a man who has done wrong, not in proportion to his deserts, for he could not endure what he deserves, but in proportion to what the sick man is in a condition to bear)–are, perhaps, the reason why such disaster and loss and irreverence toward Holy Church and her ministers has befallen. And I fear that unless a remedy is found by doing what has been left undone, our sins may deserve so much that we shall see greater misfortunes; such I say as would grieve us much more than to lose temporal possessions. Of all these evils and sorrows, wretched I am the cause, through my little virtue and my great disobedience.”

This passage says it all. Here is the source:
page 96

Also this on page 94: St. Catherine of Siena to Pope Gregory XI

“Since He has given you authority and you have assumed it, you should use your virtue and power: and if you are not willing to use it, ***it would be better for you to resign what you have assumed; more honour to God and health to your soul would it be.***”


Sigh! And? Where does this have anything to do with our obedience to the pope? Nobody here has said the pope cannot personally err. St. Catherine, I believe, in this letter, was urging the pope to discipline his priests. I noticed you have yet to find the two quotes you gave.


If you want to be clear on obedience to the pope, you need look no further that the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is consistent Catholic teaching that obedience is not good in itself, but only according to the end to which it is directed. Obedience to evil or error is evil. Given that one pope was excommunicated, one pope deposed, and about forty others taught heresy, according to the Dogmatic Vatican Council I, there is obviously evil and error in “obeying” some popes.


It’s a shade more nuanced (and thus, more insidious, because it’s about the same as the fundamentalist Protestant technique of proof texting). They accurately quote the source…but only the bits they like.


Hey, Bear, I’m BACK!


What is insidious here is the insertion of the insinuation of fundamentalist Protestantism, this is the oldest neo-catholic novus ordo chestnut in the book…the protestantized novus ordoites trying to suggest that those who hold fast to tradition are protestantized! My sides are aching from laughter.

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