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Why would Anybody be a Sedevacantist?! A Calm and Insightful Explanation

Seriously now…

Why would Anybody be a Sedevacantist?! 

Despite over seven years of the walking disaster that is Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”), there are still people in the world who seriously wonder why anybody would be a sedevacantist; and decades of misinformation (usually propagated by critics of the position) and poor education (often due to scarce resources) certainly haven’t helped things.

Novus Ordo Watch tries to offer a much-needed corrective to this lamentable state of affairs, and in that spirit we would like to draw everyone’s attention to the following video interview with the well-known sedevacantist priest Fr. Anthony Cekada, who passed away just last month.

Produced by True Restoration in 2011, it is a calm and insightful conversation in which Fr. Cekada explains very simply why only the sedevacantist position is the truly Catholic position to take with regard to the Vatican II Church and the apostasy it has engendered, and how we can know this for certain. As a former member of the Novus Ordo Church and also the Society of St. Pius X, Father narrates his own personal conversion from his original “conservative Novus Ordo” position all the way to Sedevacantism. He also addresses many common questions and objections, including:

  • All will be fine if we’re only loyal to the “Holy Father”
  • If Vatican II is interpreted in light of Tradition, there is no problem
  • It’s safer to just “recognize and resist” the Vatican II Popes
  • We can’t judge the Pope, but we can resist errors and heresy
  • St. Paul resisted St. Peter, he didn’t declare him a non-Pope
  • A bad father is still a father, so a bad Pope is still Pope
  • We will have to wait for a future Pope to decide the sede vacante issue
  • So then why don’t you just have a conclave and elect a new Pope?
  • If you can’t have a conclave, how will you ever have a true Pope again?
  • What about Fatima? Our Lady said the Holy Father would consecrate Russia!

Be sure to watch this video, because even if you don’t agree, at least you will understand Sedevacantism and why more and more people are beginning to embrace it.

Recorded before Francis’ 2013 election, the video has the advantage of making the case for Sedevacantism apart from any of Bergoglio’s shenanigans. Many people labor under the very erroneous notion that the trouble didn’t really start until Francis came along, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For more — much more — information about Sedevacantism and how to refute a myriad of objections and supposed refutations, please see our topical page on Sedevacantism here.

And please say a Hail Mary for the repose of Father’s soul.

Francis Watch, epizoda 45: Bratstvo, svjetska vlada i anti-Krist

Biskup Sanborn briše pod s Kaotičnim Franjom …

FRANCIS WATCH
Epizoda 45

Bratstvo, svjetska vlada i anti-Krist

Slušajte na zahtjev u bilo kojem trenutku – besplatno!

Sjajne vijesti svima: Vrijeme je za novu epizodu  Francis Watch-a!

Novus Ordo Watch sa zadovoljstvom sponzorira ovaj fenomenalni kvartalni podcast program u kojem voditelj Stephen Heiner iz True Restoration  analizira sa svojim uglednim gostom biskupom Donald Sanbornom, najnoviji kaos koji je počinio Jorge Bergoglio: čovjek koji tvrdi da je poglavar Katoličke crkve pod umjetničkim imenom “Papa Franjo”.

Najnovija epizoda je br. 45. Cijeli podcast možete slušati u SoundCloud playeru.

Za one koji možda nisu čuli, drugi redoviti gost na Francis Watch-uvlč. Anthony Cekada, preminuo je 11. rujna 2020., te molimo za Vaše molitve za pokoj njegove duše.

U ovoj epizodi, koja traje 1 sat i 51 minutu, Njegova Ekselencija i domaćin usredotočuju se uglavnom (ali ne isključivo) na  Franjinu novu encikliku Fratelli Tutti. Posebno razgovaraju o temama:

  • Franjine ideje o „Susretu i dijalogu“
  • Bratstvo čovjeka i Očinstvo Boga
  • Kako “Religije” navodno postoje da bi pomogle čovječanstvu
  • Navodna nužnost svjetske vlade
  • Dobri Samaritanac
  • Određena smrtna kazna
  • …i mnogo više!

Kao i uvijek, Francis Watch nije dosadan ni suh, već uzbudljiv, pronicljiv i informativan. To je istinska katolička provjera stvarnosti za modernističku havariju koju neprestano propagira lažni papa.

Dakle, ne propustite ovu epizodu Francis Watch-a! Sjednite, opustite se i uživajte u podcastu. Mogućnosti su da ćete puno naučiti. Također, svakako ga podijelite s prijateljima, članovima obitelji i potencijalnim obraćenicima. Emitiranje je dostupno za streaming i preuzimanje na zahtjev u bilo kojem trenutku. Sve epizode iz Francis Watch-a  i ostala ponuda dostupne su besplatno za javnost u FrancisWatch.org.

Da biste saznali više o organizaciji koja producira Francis Watch, posjetite Radio Restoration koji podržavaju članovi.

Više nevjerojatnih činjenica o Jorge Bergogliou, “Papi Franji”, potražite na našoj tematskoj stranici:

Zadovoljstvo nam je što možemo sponzorirati Francis Watch  za dobro duša i za veću slavu Božju. Na taj način pokušavamo djelomično ispuniti naš navedeni cilj da pomognemo educirati ljude u pravoj rimokatoličkoj religiji i osvijestiti ih o tome kako se istinsko katoličanstvo bitno razlikuje od lažne krivotvorine Novus Ordo / Drugovatikanske religije koja trenutno uzurpira katoličke strukture.

Ljudi koji bi željeli financijski podržati Novus Ordo Watch, mogu to učiniti ovdje.

The Vatican’s Hell Hall: The Weird Mysteries of the Paul VI Audience Hall

Infernal Art and Architecture in the Vatican

The Vatican’s Hell Hall:
The Weird Mysteries of the Paul VI Audience Hall

Darkness Visible: Eerie, shrieking skull-like faces seem to peer out menacingly from the base 0f La Resurrezione, an eight ton sculpture, as “Pope” Francis speaks during an audience on November 21, 2015 at the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican. It is only one of the many bizarre things associated with this auditorium. (image: Getty Images/AFP / rights-managed)

by Francis Del Sarto

G.K. Chesterton once referred to architecture as “the most practical and the most dangerous of the arts.” When it comes to the dangerous part of the equation, church-related edifices built with Vatican II mandates in mind should all come with the spiritual equivalent of boarded-up doors and windows, and prominently-displayed “CONDEMNED — KEEP OUT!” signs.

One of the foremost offenders in this regard, and perhaps the creepiest looking of of all, has to be the 6300-seat snake-head-like Hall of the Pontifical Audiences. As construction on it was completed in 1971 during the ill-begotten reign of Giovanni Battista Montini (“Pope” Paul VI), the building is more popularly known as the Paul VI Audience Hall (or the Aula Paolo VI in Italian).

Inside, on the stage behind the seated “pope” is a massive artwork allegedly depicting the Resurrection of Christ. We say “allegedly” because, unlike in conventional renderings, there is no joy to be found in it, no angelic Alleluias! singing the praises of Our Lord’s victory over the grave. Rather, it could more likely be taken for a glimpse into the horrors of hell or perhaps some tragic pagan epic, than it could pass for a scene of Easter glories. Both the hall and the sculpture will be treated in depth momentarily, but first it will be profitable to examine the Novus Ordo justification for such grotesqueries.

“Vatican II changes everything.”

A number of architectural styles have been wildly popular over the past half-century or so: modernisthyper-modernist, and post-modernist, chief among them. As for Catholic, not so much. One could even say there has been a concerted search-and-destroy effort to attack true Catholic churches whenever possible, either selling them to secular buyers or Protestant sects, levelling them to the ground in a scorched earth policy to usher in the Age of Strange, or gutting their interiors of all that made them worthy places for priests to offer the true Mass through a process that has been aptly described as “wreckovation”.

It would not be a stretch to say that post-Vatican II ecclesiastical architecture in many cases represents a deliberately anti-Catholic form of church design. The title of Michael S. Rose’s 2001 book on the subject pretty well describes those Modernist edifices: Ugly as Sin. Often it seems that the men designing those temples are deliberately seeking to make them as hideous and un-Catholic as they possibly can.

The title of this section is a quote by Father (or “Father”) Richard S. Vosko, a noted “liturgical design consultant” and wreckovator extraordinaire. He is a promoter of worship spaces for “happy people on the move”, and he “speaks reverently and respectfully of pagan cultic practices, but can barely say anything pertaining to the Catholic Church except by laughing uncontrollably”, as noted by the late Paul Likoudis in an article for The Wanderer in 2001. (Note that when a progressive speaks of “people on the move” or the popular Novus Ordo catchphrase, “a pilgrim people”, the moving does not denote a pilgrimage to, say, Rome or the Holy Land or to some indulgenced church or shrine — that would be a centuries-old traditional Catholic devotional practice. Rather, what is meant is the Modernist sense of Catholics moving from an orthodox belief system to an ever-evolving one, from the stability of immemorial objective truths to continually-mutating subjective experiences.)

So, when Vosko says that Vatican II represents “the end of stable religion”, it is most assuredly said in triumph. The Likoudis article already referred to showcases Vosko’s contributions to “Catholic” churches after the council and would be worth quoting in full. For copyright reasons, however, we must restrict ourselves to repeating only some salient portions (readers are encouraged to read the full text here):

In a revealing appearance April 3 [2001] at the University of Toledo’s Corpus Christi Chapel [see inside here], which he designed, Vosko bedazzled some 300 Toledo-area Catholics with his talk about building worship spaces for “happy people on the move,” showing himself as a man in movement.

…For 56 minutes, Vosko articulated his rejection of Christian teachings, his rejection of Catholic art, architecture, and ritual, his contempt for Catholics stuck in “old habits” of prayer and worship, as he attempted to explain what his new religion is all about.

In Vosko’s anthropological religion, the story of Jesus is a “myth” and Catholic rituals are not objectively different from Sioux sun dances or the Shamanic practices of Nepalese monks.

…He said “there’s a lot of debate in the Church,” because “some challenge the Church to a new direction” while “others cling to relics of a bygone era.”

…Art and architecture — said the art consultant for Roger Cardinal Mahony’s new cathedral and Bishop Matthew Clark’s cathedral renovation, among others — are only important insofar as they help people on their “inner search.”

How Corpus Christi helps people on their inner search is not clear. The edifice, described by one person in the audience as “very cerebral,” is appallingly stark. Except for the labyrinth in colored tiles on the floor, and the wood and upholstered chairs (no kneelers), the church’s sharp surfaces are entirely white, except for a two-story window, which frames the “sacred” pine tree just outside. A pyramid-shaped skylight at the peak of the church intensifies the whiteness. The chapel’s stations of the cross are set in the floor. A large granite immersion pool bubbles water in the gathering space. The overwhelming effect of Vosko’s edifice is that it would be more serviceable as a showroom for upscale sports cars.

…”Some people use tradition as a way of staying in a habit. We cannot stand still,” Vosko said as he continued walking around the labyrinth he designed into the floor of the chapel, “because life is too short.”

…During his lecture, Fr. Vosko expressed his preference for the church-in-the-round model, saying circles — citing Stonehenge, Indian tepees, and mandalas as examples — are powerful symbols, as is the labyrinth. He also defended Corpus Christi Chapel’s movable bare wooden cross, which he described as a “powerful totem that puts us in touch with that which can be.”

He told his audience that when he is retained as a consultant for a parish renovation, that “sometimes you have to strip away things … that get in the way, things that are just habits.”…

(Paul Likoudis, “Liturgical Design Consultant Reveals His New Age Religion”The Wanderer, Apr. 26, 2001)

What Vosko says in explaining his approach is more or less echoed by the vast majority of his fellow architectural anarchists, including the Modernist mind behind Paul VI Audience Hall, whom we will meet in a few moments.

Lex orandi, lex credendi — how we pray reflects what we believe, and vice versa. Just as the Modernist infiltrators realized that the most effective way to “re-educate” the faithful into accepting a false religion cast as “up-to-date Catholicism” was by radically altering the way they worshipped, in the form of a “New Mass”, those changes had to carry over to celebrants discarding traditional vestments in favor of cheap, undignified ones (aka “horse blankets”), changing the furnishings of the church (replacing the altar with a table, moving or even hiding the tabernacle, removing altar rails and kneelers, etc.), and ultimately replacing pre-Vatican II churches with late-20th century specimens of spectacular bizarreness, the unwritten rule apparently being: The designer is to be given complete freedom in choosing whatsoever style most greatly pleases him, provided it fits in with the faith community, and is approved by the local authorities. However, under no circumstances may the finished edifice appear to be, much less be able to function as, a Roman Catholic church.

This has been made abundantly clear over and over again throughout the world, so much so that any number of pictorial essays have been published to decry the outrages. Thus, for example, we see on the semi-traditionalist Tradition in Action the appropriately-titled “Churches of Hell”, where one can see a “church” that looks like a dunce cap, another with weird angles out of some German expressionist movie, yet others resembling a Shinto shrine or some type of occult building, etc.

Do you like origami? The Japanese art of making decorative shapes from folded paper can produce some lovely works; unfortunately, it’s not something that really lends itself well to church design — quite the opposite, to be honest. However, that fact did not dissuade some determined German Novus Ordos from erecting an origami-style “rest stop for the soul” along the autobahn, as reported here at Novus Ordo Watch back in 2017.

That same year, we also reported on the disgraceful new “basilica” at Fatima, which constituted one of many Vatican II church attacks on the 1917 apparitions. We wrote: “The ugliness of it all speaks volumes: It is the architectural expression of the Novus Ordo religion. For this reason alone it cannot be anything other than ugly” (“Blasphemy at Fatima: The ‘Basilica of the Holy Trinity’”, May 22, 2017).

Even secular web sites don’t fail to see the obvious, such as Thrillist, which published a feature entitled “The Nine Ugliest Cathedrals in the World” (eight out of nine are Novus Ordo, with the last one being an oddball Anglican “Cardboard Cathedral” in New Zealand). Check them out at your own risk.

Circling back around to the primary subject of this article — the Paul VI Audience Hall — we can’t leave this section without noting that the designer of the hall, Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), although a fairly prolific architect, was to our knowledge involved in only one other collaboration on a religious structure, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, in San Francisco, California, which is quite hideous in its own right:

St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, aka “Our Lady of Perpetual Agitation”
(image: Wikimedia Commons / public domain)

According to the cathedral’s entry on Wikipedia: “The design process was controversial. A preliminary design reminded one critic of ‘the effort of a camel and donkey to mate.’”

Not all have given it a negative rating, however. Two years ago, the eclectic Architectural Digest ranked it among the nation’s prettiest, but even in reporting that fact, a San Francisco-based website saw fit to open the article with this gibe:

Know[n] to few as Church of Mary of the Assumption or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, the church at 1111 Gough [Street] has been rechristened by San Franciscans as Our Lady of Maytag. (It also goes by the sobriquets “Our Lady of Perpetual Agitation” and “McGucken’s Maytag.”) One look at its washing machine agitator-like roof and you will see why.

(Brock Keeling, “Church of Mary of the Assumption named one of nation’s prettiest churches”Curbed San Francisco, Feb. 7, 2017)

The McGucken of “McGucken’s Maytag” is Bishop Joseph Thomas McGucken (1902-83), who ordered the erection of a cathedral to replace the previous St. Mary’s, which had been destroyed by arson in 1962. The new one was designed while McGucken was in Rome attending the Second Vatican Council, and it has been called the “first cathedral truly of our time and in harmony with the liturgical reforms of the Council” — by architecht Nervi himself.

The Horrors of Hell Hall (CAUTION: Frightening images ahead)

Freak Shows & Buffoonery: In between the usual progressivist platitudes heard in the Modernist echo chamber known as Paul VI Hall, inane spectacles serve as diversions, but the frivolity masks a darkness: The hall was built with the express intention of replacing the Church’s “relics of a bygone era” with Vatican II’s “new direction”, and quite successfully so.

Not far south of St. Peter’s Basilica, only a stone’s throw away, one can find the Hall of the Pontifical Audiences, which was solemnly inaugurated on June 30, 1971. It resides partly in Vatican City but mostly in Rome, and the Italian part of the building is treated as an extraterritorial area of the Holy See.

The following video clip provided by the Associated Press shows “Pope Saint” Paul VI and Pier Luigi Nervi during the opening of the hall (the first minute of the video has no sound):

Commissioned in 1963, the auditorium was built on land donated by the Knights of Columbus. Construction began in 1966. Paul VI and his successors have used it as an alternative to St. Peter’s Square as a venue for Wednesday audiences or when the weather is inclement. It stands as an ongoing mocking reminder to Catholics by their enemies that “Sorry, folks, but we’re running things now!”

Controlling adversaries in such close physical proximity to the Vatican is in line with something ominously declared some time ago, namely, how “within the eight city blocks that make up the Vatican State no fewer than four Scottish Rite lodges are functioning… Many of the highest Vatican officials are Masons.” Before scoffers dismiss this as the wild rantings of a traditional Catholic “conspiracy theorist”, let it be known that the man making the statement, far from being one of the faithful, was Carlos Vazquez Rangel, Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Masons of Mexico, who proudly made the boast during an interview with the political journal Processo (see John K. Weiskittel, “Freemasons and the Conciliar Church”, in The Athanasian XIV, no. 4 [June 1, 1993]).

We’ve already seen the thoughts of Fr. Richard Vosko, the “liturgical design consultant” responsible for guiding wreckovation in American churches. What he had to say about the thinking behind Novus Ordo church architecture is equally apropos the Paul VI Masonic Audience Hall: “Vatican II says we have to have a totally new understanding of what religion is.”

Architect Nervi was in complete harmony with this “new understanding”, which, when it came to sacred spaces, was to stand traditional thinking square on its head and to serve as “a challenge to conventional religious thought”. (It is noteworthy that one of his other chief projects assisted the aims of world government, when he was one of three architects who designed the UNESCO Headquarters aka the World Heritage Centre, which was completed in Paris in 1958.)

From an analysis of the Paul VI Audience Hall, we read:

Nervi’s Audience Hall is, at its core, an intersection of two profound ideas in his life’s work—the relentless search for the “truthful style” and the creation of an architecture of optimism. In a broader sense, the building serves to challenge (and ultimately redefine) ideas of what sacred architecture can and should be.

A prime example of this challenging or rethinking can be found in the material choices for the Audience Hall—

“Every element in the structure is in fact made of white cement, blended with special inert matter containing fragments of Apuan marble. All the surfaces are left exposed and no finishing material is used, ensuring that cement, traditionally considered a poor, sad material, is here given the same worth as the precious stones employed in the nearby basilica.”

Nervi’s decision to leave the ferrocemento unfinished has roots in modernist theory. Huxtable sees structure as “the basis of modern architecture.” If this is in fact the case, then Nervi’s work represents a clear articulation of modernist principles and perhaps even the “truthful style” he sought throughout his career. The materiality of the Paul VI Audience Hall is also a challenge to conventional religious thought, particularly pertaining to the design of sacred spaces. Nervi’s use of concrete, a “poor, sad material,” is no accident. It is a commentary on the futility of relying on precious materials to create a sense of the divine—in his Audience Hall, Nervi demonstrates that space achieves sanctity through structure and thoughtfully designed spaces, not expensive skins or claddings.

(Billy Griffits and John David Scott, “1971 Paul VI Audience Hall”; posted at Florida International University, n.d.)

Nervi’s style choices anticipate “Pope” Francis’ championing of what’s been referred to as the “church of the poor”, or the “miserablist church”, based on a Modernist postulate that the Church must be unadorned, as displays of pomp and grandeur are an affront to the needy. But not only, it is argued, should she eschew solemnity and dignity, she should consciously present a plain, even shabby, appearance, as achieved by Nervi as a statement against the Church’s architectural tradition. Yet, far from being an affront to the poor, the beauty of the churches were meant to give them a respite from the misery of their everyday lives, to give them a foretaste of Heaven, their true goal.

All of this reminds one of the lament of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, which goes in part: “I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments, and make her feel remorse for her historical past” (Mgr. Georges Roche, Pie XII devant l’Histoire [Montréal: Éditions du Jour, 1972], p. 52; trans. by Christopher Ferrara).

In recent years, the Vatican’s audience hall has become the subject of much scrutiny on the internet. Many critics, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, have raised questions about the weird, snakelike features of the building, both inside and out. It’s one of those things that, once seen, can’t be unseen.

The exterior shape of the building has been likened to the head of a pit viper, a resemblance enhanced in 2008 when its roof was retrofitted with photovoltaic panels. Yet it’s only after one goes inside that the full effect can be appreciated. If one stands at the far end of the hall and looks all the way down to the stage at the other end, where Francis and his four immediate predecessors have given their Modernist pep talks, there’s what looks like a gigantic viper staring back at one with the windows as the elliptical eyes so characteristic of the Viperidae family of reptiles. The stage is the mouth with pillars to either side of the middle shaped like fangs, the center aisle for a tongue, and the design of the ceiling and walls reminiscent of snake skin.

Indeed, visitors who wander into the hall initially unaware of its function could be excused for mistaking it for a museum of herpetology. If an architect had tried to give it that viperous visual effect, it’s not clear what he would have done differently. Have a look:

Any resemblance to the face of a viper is entirely accidental… 

Tradition in Action devoted one of its “Church Revolution in Pictures” features to the subject, in a post aptly entitled “Teaching from the Serpent’s Mouth”. After describing how different areas in the hall’s interior are suggestive of the reptile, the following cogent point is made:

If these analogies are objective, the Pope [sic] stands precisely in the center of the serpent’s mouth. It is from there that he delivers his speeches during his general audiences and special meetings. Quite different from speaking from the chair of Peter, the cathedra of truth. The conciliar Popes now deliver their new doctrine from the serpent’s mouth.

For those who may be unaware of the significance of speaking through the mouth of a serpent, the last such incident was recorded in Genesis 3:1-5. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work out too well.

In any case, there has naturally been no shortage of would-be debunkers. Some have written off the effect as merely created by the distortion of a photo taken using a fisheye lens. The trouble with that is that by doing an image search of the hall, it becomes abundantly clear that while such a lens would certainly increase the effect, there are simply too many photos showing the same effect that it would be a conspiracy in its own right to suppose that they were all taken with a fisheye lens or otherwise distorted, independently of one another and for no apparent reason. No, even Vatican Media itself publishes photos showing this viperous look, as can be seen in this picture of Francis’ Jan. 2, 2019 audience.

We can even see this effect in a shot taken from inside the building as construction was in progress. No optical effects, just a standard lens:

(image: arcvision.org / fair use) 

For some perspective, here’s a shot from the back corner:

Next is another straightforward look down the center aisle:

(image: Manuel Chacón-Palomares at historia-arte.com / CC BY 4.0) 

Interestingly enough, just on the very day of the release of the present article, the following photo was shared on Twitter by Vatican journalist Arthur Herlin. It depicts the auditorium having been transformed into a giant playground for the children of Vatican City employees. Once again, the reptilian vibe is present:

(image: twitter.com/arthurherlin / fair use) 

The hard-t0-miss “there’s a viper staring at you” effect is no doubt attributable in large part to the trapezoid shape of the building. Yes, you read that right: The edifice was not built in the shape of a rectangle but of a trapezoid (trapezium). This is highly significant because the trapezoid is considered the most Satanic of shapes in occultism, perhaps because its visual discordance — and frequent asymmetry — lends itself to disorientation and disharmony. For obvious reasons, we’re not going to link to Satanic web sites or to sites where Satanic rituals are explained, but suffice it to say that there is a Law of the Trapezoid and an Order of the Trapezoid connected with Satanism and occultism. People who must know about these things can do their own research.

The point is not that a trapezoid shape is bad in itself — it obviously isn’t — but that Satanists have a preference for its use and consider it highly suitable for their practices. They believe that it facilitates the demonic, that it gives certain energies to those who are sensitive to it, etc. Just as there is Catholic architecture, which uses shapes and designs that are particularly suited to the sacred worship of the Holy Trinity, so there is also anti-Catholic architecture, Satanic building design, which those pitiful souls use for their nefarious ends.

As far as the Paul VI Hall goes, its trapezoidal shape is hard to miss when viewed from above:

image: Maxar Technologies (fair use) via Google Maps street view (screenshot) 

Occultists’ love of the trapezoid would explain why some Novus Ordo altars are made in that shape and why — get this — “Pope” John Paul II’s body was placed in a coffin that was trapezoidal in shape, not merely when viewed from the top but also when viewed from the side. This is hardly an accident, and it speaks volumes. Of course the interreligious “meditation room” of the United Nations headquarters is also trapezoidal in shape.

Thus, it isn’t all that surprising that, once the Modernists had usurped the See of St. Peter, the first chance they got to build an auditorium meant to be a venue for papal events in the heart of Catholicism, they made it trapezoidal, odd, and sinister.

Still, some will write off the snake-head-like appearance of the building as some observers simply having overactive imaginations, seeing what’s not there — an example of the psychological phenomenon known as pareidolia (perceiving meaningful connections in unrelated objects, such as animals in clouds, a grinning face in a car’s grill and headlights, etc.). Like a Rorschach test, “conspiracy theorists” are just projecting their delusions. Nervi would never have intended to fashion something that looks like the head of a serpent, and, clearly, not everyone sees it. Right?

Granted, the human mind does tend to arrange unrelated objects to signify something else. But the arranging can come not only from the observer, it can also come from the designer. No one knows if Nervi had such an uncanny conception; but whether or not it was intended, the design easily lends itself to such an interpretation; and it is not unreasonable, given everything that has transpired in the Vatican since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, to point out that perhaps there is more than just inexplicable “oddity” here — perhaps there is deliberate Satanic intent.

But whatever the case may be, what definitely no one sees inside that barren hall is anything that in the least identifies it as being Catholic: There are no crucifixes or crosses, no religious paintings, no statues, or anything else to raise the heart and mind to God. Now that is not up to interpretation — the striking absence was a deliberate attempt by those tasked with furnishing the hall to reject Catholic ornaments (with one exception, to be mentioned shortly).

“Wait”, some Novus Ordo stalwarts may chide us, “how can you possibly overlook the striking artwork that’s situated directly behind the pope, and that rises high above him”?

Yes, how indeed does one miss a two-story-high elephant in the room?

A Frightful Centerpiece of Blasphemy and Sacrilege

Christ or Antichrist? Looming menacingly above Benedict XVI, and looking more like a creature from a horror film than the Savior of mankind, is what the artist described as Jesus Christ emerging from amid toxic smoke (“smoke of Satan”?) and human skulls after a nuclear Armageddon.

In 1977, on the occasion of Paul VI’s eightieth birthday and less than a year before his death, the Vatican was gifted with an enormous bronze sculpture that would prove to be the hall’s finishing touch. La Resurrezione (“The Resurrection”) is a Modernist nightmare image that shrieks the message of blasphemous rebellion stated somewhat less shrilly by its surroundings. As Atlas Obscura, a website dedicated to unusual places around the world, puts it: “If you want to talk to the Pope you will have to stare down this surreal vision of Jesus rising from a nuclear hell”; while another site, Lazer Horse, describes it as “intriguingly sinister”.

Elsewhere, comments randomly found around the internet use terms like “bizarre”, “frightening”, “ugly”, “ghoulish”, a “monstrosity”, “evilly horrific”, “demonic”, “gruesome”, “terrifying”, “depressing”, “strikingly weird”, “dark”, “oddly nightmarish”, and “Satanic looking”. So, suffice it to say, no one’s going to confuse it with the spiritually uplifting works of great Catholic artists from the past. But why must it be so diametrically opposite to the spirit of true sacred art? The compulsion to debase that which is holy, inherent in theological Modernism, necessarily carries over to its counterparts in other fields — it cannot do otherwise.

La Resurrezione replaced the original (and traditional) artwork that served as the backdrop for the audiences the first few years (it can be seen in the video from the Associated Press embedded above). In 2011, it received restoration work, lest this priceless treasure be lost to posterity. Unlike Pier Luigi Nervi, who seemingly left no specific clue as to whether there was any extra-architectural significance to the hall’s design, La Resurrezione‘s creator Pericle Fazzini (1913-1987) was quite specific when speaking about the message he intended to send with it. An obituary in The New York Times reports:

The Vatican commissioned Mr. Fazzini to provide a work for its modern auditorium. The result was “The Resurrection,” a statue depicting Jesus rising from a nuclear bomb crater.

“Suddenly there came to me the idea of Christ preaching peace for 2,000 years, and the place where He prayed for the last time: the olive grove of Gethsemane,” said Mr. Fazzini in a book about the work. “I had the idea of depicting Christ as if He were rising again from the explosion of this large olive grove, peaceful site of His last prayers. Christ rises from this crater torn open by a nuclear bomb; an atrocious explosion, a vortex of violence and energy.”

“The Resurrection” is molded in red bronze and yellow brass and measures 66 feet by 23 feet by 10 feet.

(“Pericle Fazzini, 74, a Sculptor for Vatican”The New York Times, Dec. 5, 1987)

According to the Wikipedia entry for the abominable piece, “The original work was done in polystyrene and the fumes of the burning plastic gave Fazzini a blood clot during its production.” Talk about the smoke of Satan!

Setting Christ’s Resurrection in an ahistorical, fictionalized late 20th century is quintessentially Modernist, because it is art that, supposedly, speaks to modern man. This was touched upon at Vatican II, when Gaudium et Spes, the council’s so-called Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, declared:

The Church acknowledges also new forms of art which are adapted to our age and are in keeping with the characteristics of various nations and regions. They may be brought into the sanctuary since they raise the mind to God, once the manner of expression is adapted and they are conformed to liturgical requirements.

Thus the knowledge of God is better manifested and the preaching of the Gospel becomes clearer to human intelligence and shows itself to be relevant to man’s actual conditions of life.

(Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, n. 62)

Fazzini’s final work, dedicated in 1987, was a hideous monument to Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo. You can view it here. It’s not quite as overtly sinister as his unorthodox take on the Resurrection, but every bit as peculiar (we can’t believe that the holy stigmatized spiritual son of St. Francis would be thrilled at this rendering of him, though he would take solace in knowing that he had undergone a similar indignity in bronze as his Divine Master).

Returning to La Resurrezione, as disturbing as it is when viewed from afar, it is no less so seen up close, especially when we zoom in on the head that’s allegedly that of Christ:

image: youtube.com (screenshot / fair use) 

Rather than Our Blessed Lord displaying the expression of one who has conquered sin and death and risen triumphantly from the grave, Fazzini’s version gives this “Jesus” a world-weary look of uncertainty and perplexity. It isn’t an expression that exactly strengthens the belief, devotion, and resolve of the faithful. Instead, the befuddled look they see upon that countenance manifests the doctrinal flux and confusion that overcame Catholics post-Vatican II, when they found themselves faced with a new religion emanating from what appeared to be the Catholic magisterium.

Beyond that, there is something else that brings this further into the creepy zone. It has been pointed out that the rather scraggly hair billowing out on the right of the photo when taken as a whole, bears a resemblance to a serpent’s head, so we’re back to the reptile connection again.

And then there is the odd coincidence someone found that when mirroring the left side of the statue, there appears something that looks eerily similar to the head of the Satanic Baphomet:

images: lazerhorse.org (cropped) and etsy.com (fair use) 

Some may say that’s straying too far down the rabbit hole, but at what point do the number of seemingly meaningful correlations connecting the hall and sculpture to diabolical symbolism reasonably cease to be coincidences and suggest deliberate planning?

And to throw in a distinctly sedevacantist what if?, there’s a certain conspiracy theory centered around the year 1958. This is just meant as a bit of fun speculation, but according to the so-called Siri Thesis, in that year Genoa’s Cardinal Giuseppe Siri was elected pope but was pressured to resign before he could appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s. According to one version, he was forced out by being told that if he didn’t, a nuclear strike would be launched on Rome, wiping out the Vatican and the entire college of cardinals, which was gathered there in conclave. As a result of his resignation, the suspected Rosicrucian Freemason Angelo Roncalli became Antipope John XXIII — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Following this hypothetical narrative, La Resurrezione would represent a celebration of the triumph of the 1958 coup, with the nuclear blast representing the threat through which occult forces were able to seize the reins of the Church, and the “risen Christ” (Antichrist?) representing the emergence of the Novus Ordo Sect — with a “New Resurrection” leading the way to a “New Pentecost”.

The occult connection to this? The excommunicated apostate Paul Roca (1830-1893), who had once been ordained a Catholic priest, had boldly predicted the takeover of the Vatican by dark forces, as though he had preternaturally obtained foreknowledge of Satan’s plan to destroy the Church. Roca, three of whose works can be found on the Index of Forbidden Books, wrote infamously:

I feel that divine worship, as regulated by the liturgy, ceremonies, rites, and rulings of the Roman Church, will suffer a transformation soon, at an ecumenical council. It will return the Church to the venerable simplicity of the apostolic golden age, and harmonize it with the new stage of modern conscience and civilization.

(Paul Roca, Abbé Gabriel; quoted in Rev. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga, The New Post-Conciliar or Montinian Church [La Habra, CA: Edgar A. Lucidi, M.D., 1985], p. 194; italics given. Fr. Sáenz y Arriaga‘s book was first published in the original Spanish in 1971.)

What Roca describes in this quote is, of course, precisely what was accomplished by the subversive Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.  (Of particular interest in this passage is how Fr. Annibale Bugnini, the chief architect of Paul VI’s “New Mass”, seems to have used it as part of his playbook in developing his liturgical revolution, as he too said the Church must restore the ancient norms, while contradictorily claiming to also seek to harmonize it with modern man, as though the aims were somehow compatible.

In his book Glorious Centennial, Roca wrote in the manner of the Modernists, à la Teilhard de Chardin, about an “evolving” Jesus. His choice of language in the passage is highly suggestive of the sculpture’s figure emerging from the radioactive gusts swirling around him: “Nobody will be able to stop Christ’s whirlwind,” he wrote (quoted in Sáenz y Arriaga, The New Montinian Church, p. 187; see scan here). Obviously, the Christ he had in mind is an occult counterfeit.

And that is obviously also the “Christ” of La Resurrezione:

The Vatican likes to use its audience hall also for concerts and similar events. The embedded photo carousel above shows images of La Resurrezione lit up for the occasions.

“And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan….”

This section heading is a quotation from the twentieth chapter of the book of the Apocalypse (verse 2), in which St. John speaks of an angel binding the devil, casting him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years and sealing him there so he can no longer seduce the nations. Once the thousand years are past, Satan is set loose to work evil again, but the good news — such as it is — is that it will be only for “a little time” (v. 3). Yet he will make up for his lack of time by amassing a vast army — “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” (v. 7) — to wage war against the faithful. This ties in with what St. Paul writes in one of his letters to the Thessalonians: “And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess 2:6-7).

God and His Church, however, will prevail. Satan and his minions shall lose decisively, and he, along with the beast and the false prophet, will suffer forever in a pool of fire and brimstone, after which comes the General Judgment (see Apoc 20:9-15; 2 Thess 2:8).

Where are we on this timeline? No one can say with certainty which milestones have been passed and which are still ahead, but given the state of the Church and the world, it’s probably safe to say we’re quite far along. In 1957, when interviewed by the Mexican Fr. Augustine Fuentes at her convent in Coimbra, Portugal, Sister Lucy of Fatima spoke with great gravity about the future. After stating that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sad because her message at Fatima wasn’t being heeded, Lucy declared:

But believe me, Father, God will chastise the world and this will be in a terrible manner. The punishment from Heaven is imminent.

Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that most offends God and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God because in this way, the devil will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.

(Sister Lucia of Fatima, Interview with Fr. Augustine Fuentes, Dec. 26, 1957; quoted in Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, vol. III: The Third Secret [Buffalo, NY: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990], pp. 504-505; underlining added.)

Now, while there is always going to be some debate as to whether a spiritual or a material chastisement is meant, it is the opinion of the present writer that there is no reason to necessarily conclude it must be only one of the two. Sister Lucy says God is to punish the world in “a terrible manner”, and how terrible would it be for there to be multiple fronts with which to deal, rather than but a single one? She very well could have had in mind a Pandora’s box out of which many evils would spring, so richly deserved by a world that has largely abandoned God and refused to heed Our Lady of Fatima’s call to repentance.

Regardless, there certainly cannot be much debate as to the meaning of the punishment being imminent. Whatever the nature of the punishment or its precise timeframe may be, “imminent” certainly doesn’t mean “many decades from now”. No, a reasonable inference is that when Lucy said “imminent”, she meant “right around the corner.” Just ten months after she made this statement, the fateful papal conclave was assembled to elect a successor to Pope Pius XII. Incidentally, in the same interview, she told Fr. Fuentes that Russia would be used by God as “the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world”.

The punishment from Heaven was indeed imminent, and it involved God allowing permission for a coup d’état in which a false pope would be installed. (Returning to the Siri thesis for a moment: It is Russia that is speculated to have made the nuclear threat.) This silenced the voice of St. Peter at the Basilica that bears his name and set in motion a tidal wave of Modernism that changed virtually every facet of Catholicism by means of a false councilfalse sacramentsfalse canon lawfalse annulments, etc. Most of these things took place during the 1963-78 reign of the very man for which the Paul VI Audience Hall was named, and this was possible only because he was a false pope and thus the divine protections guaranteed for the Papacy were not verified in him.

Also set in motion at the robber conclave of 1958 was the phenomenon Sister Lucy noted when she talked about how “the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God”. Within a decade there broke out the spiritual pandemic that is still afflicting the Church and the world today, and which is so amply documented on this web site.

Behind Francis: Ghoulish detail of La Resurrezione up close

The 2002 article “An Index of Catholicism’s Decline” by Patrick J. Buchanan uses the cold, hard statistical facts to spotlight the fruits of the Vatican II revolution: a rapid decline of priests, nuns, brothers, and seminarians, along with dwindling Mass attendance; a steep increase in marriages being declared null; “Catholic” school closings; and opinion polls showing a majority of “Catholics” who don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or in the necessity of confession. At the same time, acceptance of the so-called “divorced-and-remarried” as legitimate spouses grew, and of course the sinful practice of artificial birth control was not only declared acceptable but also used by most, and so the two-child family became the norm. Even the horrendous crime of abortion, the logical consequence of the acceptance of contraception, began to lose its stigma, to such an extent that today there are countless “Catholics” who either accept it as morally legitimate or at least defend it as a civil “right”, with no punitive consequences by the people who claim to be the lawful Roman Catholic authorities.

All of this came on the heels of Vatican II, which closed in 1965. Truly, in the Fatima seer’s words, “the souls of the faithful [had been] abandoned by their leaders”. Worse yet, the people who once had been their legitimate leaders remained in their positions and did the revolution’s bidding, and those who refused were replaced. Either way, then, the de facto “Catholic” hierarchs were the “false apostles [who] are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13), as St. Paul warned. They were “the hireling [who] hath no care for the sheep” (Jn 10:13), in the words of our Blessed Lord, and the situation persists to this day.

On top of that, we have the famous incident of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of a conversation between Christ and Satan, in which the devil was granted more power to destroy the Church. It was part of a vision the Pope is said to have had that led to the composition of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that Catholics are accustomed to recite after Low Mass. This vision is described, among other sources, in a 1935 booklet published by a Benedictine priest:

A rather peculiar circumstance induced Pope Leo XIII to compose this powerful prayer. After celebrating Mass one day he was in conference with the Cardinals. Suddenly he sank to the floor. A doctor was summoned and several came at once. There was no sign of any pulse-beating, the very life seemed to have ebbed away from the already weakened and aged body. Suddenly he recovered and said: “What a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” He saw what was going to happen in the future, the misleading powers and the ravings of the devils against the Church in all countries. But St. Michael had appeared in the nick of time and cast Satan and his cohorts back into the abyss of hell. Such was the occasion that caused Pope Leo XIII to have this prayer recited over the entire world at the end of the Mass.

(Rev. Celestine Kapsner, O.S.B., Begone Satan! [Collegeville, MN: Celestine Kapser, 1935], p. 24)

More detail regarding the actual content of the vision is related by Fr. Domenico Pechenino (1873-1950) in the Mar. 30, 1947 edition of La Settimana del Clero (p. 2):

…This is what happened. God had shown Satan to the Vicar of His divine Son on earth, just like He did with Job. Satan was bragging that he had already devastated the Church on a large scale. In fact, these were tumultuous times for Italy, for many nations in Europe, and a bit around the world. The freemasons ruled, and government hadn’t become docile instruments. With the audacity of a boaster, Satan put a challenge to God. — “And if you give me a little more freedom, you could see what I would do for your church!” — “What would you do?” — “I would destroy it.” — “Oh, that would be something to see. How long would it take?” — “Fifty or sixty years.” [–] “Have more freedom, and the time that you need. Then we’ll see what happens.”

(Translation taken from Kevin J. Symonds, Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael [Boonville, NY: Preserving Christian Publications, 2015], p. 44.)

In 1946, the Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano (1872-1952), related the “historical explanation” for the line in the St. Michael’s prayer that mentions that the demons “prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.” He had received it from Mgr. Rinaldo Angeli, Pope Leo’s long-time personal secretary: “Pope Leo XIII truly had a vision of demonic spirits, who were gathering on the Eternal City (Rome). From that experience — which he shared with the Prelate and certainly with others in confidentiality — comes the prayer which he wanted the whole Church to recite” (Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano, Dio — L’Uomo — Il Diavolo, 2nd ed. [Rome: Figlie della Chiesa, 1951], p. 20; trans. by Bryan Gonzalez).

Some sources claim that the timeframe the devil was given to attempt to destroy the Church is 75-100 years, but since it is not known what year should mark the starting point anyway — it is reasonable, but by no means necessary, to assume that it was the year of the vision — the discrepancy is not that important.

What adds to the difficulty is that the exact date of Pope Leo’s vision is disputed. However, if it happened on Oct. 13, 1884, as some assert, it would mean it took place exactly 33 years before the miracle of the sun at Fatima. Novus Ordo writer and researcher Kevin Symonds concludes that, based on his findings, we may “surmise that the vision may have taken place sometime between January 6, 1884 and August, 1886…” (Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael, p. 29).

Regardless of the precise start and end dates, we have certainly all been able to see the effects of this diabolical power surge, however long it lasted. In fact, it is possible that Pope Leo’s quick reaction to the matter — his institution of the St. Michael’s prayer to be recited throughout the Universal Church — actually delayed the start date for a significant amount of time.

Some may object that even if we assume as much as 100 years’ duration and start from the year of the vision, it would mean that after 1984, or perhaps 1986, the devil’s power was taken away again, which hardly jibes with our experience. However, this leaves out of account the fact that according to the alleged vision the devil received an increase of power for however many years, so it would merely be the additional power that would be taken away from him after the allotted time has elapsed.

Another point to be made is that while Satan still retains plenty of power after — just not as much as over that time span — it cannot be forgotten that he was able to build a tremendous amount of momentum for evil during those years. Thus he now has a huge army of human sycophants happily carrying out his agenda — some of them consciously and maliciously, others as useful idiots, some indifferently, and still others under the diabolical delusion that they are doing the work of God (cf. Jn 16:2).

But whatever the case may be about this or that alleged vision or other private revelation, the objectively verifiable facts demonstrate beyond doubt that a new religion has been established in the Vatican since 1958, a religion that is Masonic and Naturalist in essence, a religion that despises Catholicism. It is, quite manifestly, a religion that expresses itself in art and architecture such as can be seen in the dreadful “hell hall” that is the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican.

Vatican II really did change everything, didn’t it?

Viganò’s Theological Vortex: A Critical Commentary (Part 1)

A whirlwind of error and confusion…

Viganò’s Theological Vortex: A Critical Commentary
(PART 1)

In recent weeks, the now well-known former Vatican nuncio to the United States, “Abp.” Carlo Maria Viganò, has spoken at great length again about his position on the Second Vatican Council and the “conciliar sect” (his words) that emerged from it. On Sep. 1 and 3, respectively, the recognize-and-resist paper Catholic Family News published two of his latest monographs on its web site. They can be found in the following posts:

Upon reading these texts, we decided that a critical commentary on them would be fitting. Readers who may be a bit wary about reading sedevacantist criticism of Fr. Vigano, are encouraged to recall that we do give credit where it’s due: Vigano’s Jun 9, 2020 condemnation of Vatican II and the post-conciliar errors was outstanding, and we acknowledged as much. Unfortunately, Vigano has not drawn the logically necessary conclusion from his findings, with the inevitable result that he has now enmeshed himself in a theological quagmire from which he cannot escape except by recognizing that the “Popes” of Vatican II and the post-conciliar religion are not true Vicars of Christ.

Comments on Viganò’s Response to Stephen Kokx

Vigano’s letter of Sep. 1, 2020, is in reply to Stephen Kokx, a contributor to Catholic Family News, who had sent him a few questions about what, in his opinion, Catholics ought to do now. Since Vigano had suggested that Catholics separate from the Conciliar Church, Mr. Kokx inquired as to what such separation would look like — considering that Vigano acknowledges Francis as the lawful Roman Pontiff and so clearly isn’t telling people to abandon the notion that he is the Pope.

Vigano responded as follows:

While it is clear that no admixture is possible with those who propose adulterated doctrines of the conciliar ideological manifesto, it should be noted that the simple fact of being baptized and of being living members of the Church of Christ does not imply adherence to the conciliar team; this is true above all for the simple faithful and also for secular and regular clerics who, for various reasons, sincerely consider themselves Catholics and recognize the Hierarchy.

Instead, what needs to be clarified is the position of those who, declaring themselves Catholic, embrace the heterodox doctrines that have spread over these decades, with the awareness that these represent a rupture with the preceding Magisterium. In this case it is licit to doubt their real adherence to the Catholic Church, in which however they hold official roles that confer authority on them. It is an illicitly exercised authority, if its purpose is to force the faithful to accept the revolution imposed since the Council.

Once this point has been clarified, it is evident that it is not the traditional faithful – that is, true Catholics, in the words of Saint Pius X – that must abandon the Church in which they have the full right to remain and from which it would be unfortunate to separate; but rather the Modernists who usurp the Catholic name, precisely because it is only the bureaucratic element that permits them not to be considered on a par with any heretical sect. This claim of theirs serves in fact to prevent them from ending up among the hundreds of heretical movements that over the course of the centuries have believed to be able to reform the Church at their own pleasure, placing their pride ahead of humbly guarding the teaching of Our Lord. But just as it is not possible to claim citizenship in a homeland in which one does not know its language, law, faith and tradition; so it is impossible that those who do not share the faith, morals, liturgy, and discipline of the Catholic Church can arrogate to themselves the right to remain within her and even to ascend the levels of the hierarchy.

Therefore let us not give in to the temptation to abandon – albeit with justified indignation – the Catholic Church, on the pretext that it has been invaded by heretics and fornicators: it is they who must be expelled from the sacred enclosure, in a work of purification and penance that must begin with each one of us.

(“Abp.” Carlo M. Viganò, Letter to Stephen Kokx, Sep. 1, 2020; italics given.)

What Vigano proposes here is an utter ecclesiological train wreck. Let’s try to disentangle this so we can see more clearly the absurdity of what the retired nuncio is saying, namely:

  1. The establishment headquartered in Vatican City, and of which Pope Francis is the head, is the Catholic Church
  2. Catholics cannot mix with Conciliarists
  3. Conciliarists are those who, retaining the name of Catholic, publicly embrace and teach the errors and heresies of the Second Vatican Council, knowing them to be contrary to the prior Magisterium
  4. Those who adhere to the errors and heresies of Vatican II not realizing them to be contrary to the prior Magisterium, are Catholics, not Conciliarists
  5. Conciliarists are members of the Catholic Church, from which they should be expelled
  6. Some Conciliarists are members of the hierarchy
  7. Catholics are not permitted to abandon the Catholic Church

Is your head spinning yet?

This response clarifies nothing; rather, it makes it glaringly obvious that “Abp.” Vigano is making it up as he goes along and/or is looking to reconcile the irreconcilable, which he is forced to do if he wants to avoid Sedevacantism: Vigano maintains that Catholics cannot mix with Conciliarists, yet he also maintains at the same time that Catholics are mixed with Conciliarists in the same (Catholic) Church.

His response clearly does not square with traditional Roman Catholic ecclesiology, which is rather straightforward:

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 22)

Most men feel that the Church’s supreme head and shepherd should decide who are Catholics and who are not.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quartus Supra, n. 15)

In his letter to the Ephesians the apostle teaches that Christ established [the] ecclesiastical power for the benefit of unity. And what is this unity unless one person is placed in charge of the whole Church who protects it and joins all its members in the one profession of faith and unites them in the one bond of love and communion? The wisdom of the Divine Lawgiver ordered that a visible head be placed over a visible body so that “once so established, the opportunity for division might be removed.”

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Commissum Divinitus, n. 10)

Vigano is telling his followers that they must determine, on their own authority and — note well! — against the judgment of the (supposedly) legitimate Pope and the Holy See, what magisterial teachings are erroneous and heretical and therefore must be rejected. Furthermore, Vigano wants his followers to determine for themselves who is in good faith and who is in bad faith about the false conciliar and post-conciliar doctrines, and then somehow separate from those they have identified as being in bad faith, even if they happen to be their lawful pastors, and even though they are in full communion with the Pope and enjoy his approval!

Stated bluntly, Vigano is essentially saying that the Catholic Church can teach a truckload of Modernist garbage in her Magisterium — those who recognize that it is garbage and therefore refuse to submit, are Catholics; those who submit by accident because they’ve been deceived and don’t realize it, but wouldn’t submit if they did realize it, are Catholics as well; but those who recognize that it is garbage but submit to it anyway are not Catholics but heretics. In other words, the mere submission to the Roman Pontiff and acceptance of his Magisterium does not guarantee one is a Catholic at all, and in fact may even indicate that one is not a Catholic. That is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Pope Pius IX that “one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff” (Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, n. 17).

Clearly, what Fr. Vigano is proposing is a colossal theological train wreck. In fact, it includes or implies the very concept of schism he disclaims: Pope Pius IX warned that “the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all” (Quartus Supra, n. 12); and the 1917 Code of Canon Law makes clear that he who “refuses to be under the Supreme Pontiff or refuses communion with the members of the Church subject to him, … is a schismatic” (Canon 1325 §2; Peters translation). That is precisely what Vigano is advocating.

The fact that he accepts Francis as the lawful Pope does not get him off the hook — if anything, it aggravates the matter:

What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which We have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic Faith?

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu [Sept. 1, 1876], nn. 23-24; in Acta Sanctae Sedis X [1877], pp. 3-37; English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 433-434.)

Vigano might reply that his position is one of paramount obedience to the true Faith, made necessary by the fact that the lawful prelates, not excepting the Pope himself, have betrayed the Deposit of Faith. Yet such a rejoinder, too, is contrary to the traditional Catholic position and rebuffed by Pius IX and Leo XIII:

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, n. 17)

We congratulate you, therefore, on the fact that although you suffer, doubtless, at the defection of your brothers, separated from you by the breath of perfidious teaching, you are not troubled for all that, and are even being stimulated by their error to receive with greater willingness and to follow with more zeal not only the orders, but even all the directives of the Apostolic See; and by so doing you are certain that you cannot be deceived or betrayed.

(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Didicimus Non Sine; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 439.)

Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, n. 24)

The traditional Catholic teaching on the Papacy is as beautiful as it is clear: It is precisely by clinging to the Pope of Rome, to the Magisterium of the Apostolic See, that one’s orthodoxy cannot suffer shipwreck. Unlike all the other dioceses in the world — including Astana in Kazakhstan, we must point out to Athanasius Schneider admirers — it is the Roman See alone that has the divine guarantee of never defecting from the true Faith, because its head is the successor of St. Peter, to whom was promised an unfailing Faith by Christ the Lord (see Lk 22:32):

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; underlining added.)

Hence Pope Leo XIII taught: “Union with the Roman See of Peter is … always the public criterion of a Catholic …. ‘You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held’” (Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 13).

What Vigano is trying to do is split Catholic Truth from the Roman Church. And that is theologically fatal and by no means a safe alternative to Sedevacantism, although it is, alas, a popular one. What drives him to commit such theological suicide? It is the absurd recognition of Jorge Bergoglio as a true Pope, along with his five predecessors. That is what throws a monkey wrench into the clear and straightforward Catholic teaching, because it is impossible to reconcile the Catholic doctrine about the Papacy as the unfailing bulwark of the Faith with the idea that Popes can teach heresy and other errors in their magisterium. Such an attempt to square the circle cannot but result in further confusion, absurdity, and error.

The recognition of a public apostate like Bergoglio as the rightful Roman Pontiff is the linchpin that keeps the entire recognize-and-resist madhouse together. Remove that pin, and the traditional Catholic theology will fall into place.

How is Vigano’s idea of the Catholic Church much different from a Protestant church? What good is a hierarchy and magisterium that can teach heresy and other soul-endangering errors? And how does he claim that Vatican II contains errors and heresies (see his June 9, 2020 monograph) when his own “Pope” and almost the entire “Catholic hierarchy” tell him otherwise? Why would any potential convert from Protestantism be drawn to such a church as the only true Church established by Christ?

Holy Scripture calls the Catholic Church “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). Is that an apt description of the Vatican II Sect? Would not a more fitting term be the “operation of error” St. Paul warns about in the last days (2 Thess 2:10), or “the great harlot” St. John speaks of in the Apocalypse (17:1)? Why is it that the recognize-and-resist adherents seem to understand that virtually everything about the Vatican II Church is false — false doctrines, false saints, false Mass, false sacraments, false annulments, etc. — except the Pope? Why is he always genuine? Does it not stand to reason that a counterfeit church can emerge only from counterfeit authorities, that is, from false popes?

Vigano’s position does great damage to the traditional Catholic doctrine regarding the unity of the Church: The Catholic Church is one in Faith, worship, and government; whereas the church about which Vigano speaks is divided in faith, worship, and government. Keep in mind that in his response to Stephen Kokx, Vigano maintains that the Conciliarists “do not share the faith, morals, liturgy, and discipline of the Catholic Church” — and yet he claims they are part of the Catholic Church!

All the strength and the beauty of this mystical body [the Church] results from the firm and constant union of all the members of the Church in the same faith, in the same sacraments, in the same bonds of mutual charity, in submission and obedience to the Head of the Church.

(Pope Pius VII, Apostolic Constitution Ecclesia Christi, n. 1. English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 134.)

In his letter to the Ephesians the apostle teaches that Christ established [the] ecclesiastical power for the benefit of unity. And what is this unity unless one person is placed in charge of the whole Church who protects it and joins all its members in the one profession of faith and unites them in the one bond of love and communion? The wisdom of the Divine Lawgiver ordered that a visible head be placed over a visible body so that “once so established, the opportunity for division might be removed.”

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Commissum Divinitus, n. 10; underlining added.)

Our most beloved Redeemer, Christ the Lord, willed as you well know, venerable brothers, to deliver all men from the captivity of the devil, free them from the yoke of sin, call them from darkness into his wonderful light and be their salvation. When he had blotted out the handwriting of the decree against us, fastening it to the cross, he formed and established the Catholic Church, won by his blood, as the one “Church of the living God,” the one “kingdom of heaven,” “the city set on a hill,” “one flock,” and “one body” steadfast and alive with “one Spirit,” one faith, one hope, one love joined and firmly held together by the same bonds of sacraments, religion and doctrine. He further provided his Church with leaders whom he chose and called. In addition, he decreed that the Church will endure as long as the world, embrace all peoples and nations of the whole world, and that whoever accepts his divine religion and grace and perseveres to the end will attain the glory of eternal salvation.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Amantissimus, n. 1; underlining added.)

Indeed no true and perfect human society can be conceived which is not governed by some supreme authority. Christ therefore must have given to His Church a supreme authority to which all Christians must render obedience. For this reason, as the unity of the faith is of necessity required for the unity of the church, inasmuch as it is the body of the faithful, so also for this same unity, inasmuch as the Church is a divinely constituted society, unity of government, which effects and involves unity of communion, is necessary jure divino [by divine right].

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 10; italics given; underlining added.)

If these teachings are true — and they are — then it is absolutely impossible for the Vatican II Church to be the Roman Catholic Church.

Somehow, Vigano himself seems to realize this. For that reason, further on in his response to Kokx he speaks of a “conciliar sect”, “a strange and extgravagant Church” which “coexists, like wheat with the tare, in the Roman Curia, in dioceses, in parishes.” Although we have no problem agreeing that there is indeed a strange New Church around that falsely passes itself off as the Catholic Church, any attempt to locate that False Church as somehow present in and existing together with the True Church is necessarily dead on arrival, theologically. This kind of thinking, although no doubt very appealing to many semi-traditionalists, conflates Christ with Satan, truth with lies, salvation with damnation — all of which it locates in one and the same divine institution, even in the very same people at different times and in different senses. It makes the Immaculate Bride of Christ into a whore!

According to what Vigano is proposing, then, Francis would be the Holy Father and Vicar of Christ when he condemns abortion, canonizes a true saint, or extends faculties for confession and marriages to the Society of St. Pius X. Yet the same Francis would then turn into infernal Head of the Conciliar Sect when he teaches the moral licitness of adultery under certain circumstances, signs an apostate declaration on human fraternity, or declares that proselytism is solemn nonsense. It is a kind of theological version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Now imagine all of those things set forth in one and the same “papal” document!

Vigano’s mystifying ecclesiology would mean the complete disintegration of the Church into a hopeless free-for-all of more or less arbitrary resistance, perpetually. Is a certain episcopal appointment to a diocese an instance of the False Church or the True Church acting? You decide. Is the latest encyclical safe to read and embrace? Maybe ask Vigano first. Should this or that mandated liturgical change be implemented or not? Let’s see what “Bp.” Athanasius Schneider thinks about it. Is the newest canonized ‘saint’ a true one to be accepted, venerated, and imitated — or a dangerous charlatan to be cast aside? Check with ‘The Remnant’. Oh, and what about those newly-introduced criteria for declaring a marriage null? That depends — have you gotten along with your spouse lately? (wink, wink). Clearly, this is absurdity on stilts!

A False Church coexisting with the True Church would also create a practical impossibility: From the former, Viganò says, one is required to separate, whereas from the latter, one is not permitted to. Good luck with that!

In truth, Vigano’s idea of a coexisting Antichurch inhabiting the True Church is a clever intellectual fig leaf covering the naked truth that the establishment he recognizes as the Catholic Church is a heretical sect. It does not — and could not possibly — coexist with the True Church, any more than our Blessed Lord would share His Throne with Lucifer (cf. 2 Cor 6:14-16). Ironically, Vigano’s curious Church-Antichurch amalgamation bears a striking resemblance to Vatican II ecclesiology — it’s just not clear exactly how many elements of the one can exist in the other!

How does the former Vatican nuncio think his temerarious idea squares with the pronouncement by Pope Leo XIII that the Church of our Blessed Lord “makes no terms with error, but remains faithful to the commands which it has received to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time and to protect it in its inviolable integrity (Apostolic Letter Annum Ingressi)? Or with this beautiful truth enunciated by St. Cyprian and confirmed by Pope Pius XI: “The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly” (Encyclical Mortalium Animos, n. 10)? As St. Paul asked rhetorically, although in a slightly different context: “Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid” (1 Cor 6:15).

The motive behind Vigano’s disastrous theological position is clear, of course: Since he will not consider Sedevacantism as even a possibility, he must somehow force the square peg of the heretical Vatican II Sect into the round hole of the Catholic Church. But, as Pope St. Leo IX put it, “we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside which we believe that no one is saved” (Apostolic Letter Ejus ExemploDenz. 423; underlining added).

That the Church Jesus Christ established is not a church of heretics, should hardly be surprising, inasmuch as Our Blessed Lord’s promise that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [His Church]” (Mt 16:18) means precisely that the Church will never be overcome by heresy:

The holy Church built upon a rock, that is Christ, and upon Peter or Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome; thus Truth itself promises, through whom are true, whatsoever things are true: “The gates of hell will not prevail against it” [Mt 16:18]. The same Son declares that He obtained the effect of this promise from the Father by prayers, by saying to Peter: “Simon, behold Satan etc.” [Lk 23:31]. Therefore, will there be anyone so foolish as to dare to regard His prayer as in anyway vain whose being willing is being able? By the See of the chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail, been strengthened?

(Pope St. Leo IX, Apostolic Letter In Terra PaxDenz. 351; underlining added.)

All of this shows that people must choose between the Vatican II Church on the one hand, and Catholic truth on the other. The two simply cannot be reconciled, and that is why all attempts to be Catholic in it ultimately always end in failure and frustration.

The solution is obvious: We must affirm Catholic truth and therefore reject Bergoglio and his equally fake predecessors.

To be continued in Part 2. 

Father Anthony Cekada, R.I.P. (1951-2020)

September 11, 2020

Sedevacantist pioneer has died…

Father Anthony Cekada, R.I.P. (1951-2020)

The sedevacantist priest, author, and seminary professor Fr. Anthony Cekada has died at his parish residence in West Chester, Ohio. This was announced moments ago on Twitter by Bp. Daniel Dolan, pastor of St. Gertrude’s Church:

Fr Cekada died peacefully this morning, surrounded by prayer, and well fortified by the Sacraments of the Church. Please remember this good and generous priestly soul in your prayers. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning, with the wake Wednesday evening.

(source)

Fr. Cekada had been suffering from complications after a series of strokes. Years earlier he had received treatment for cancer. He was 69.

This post is only an announcement of his passing, asking everyone to offer prayers for the repose of his soul. There will be a tribute to Father’s contributions to the true Catholic cause in a future post.

Funeral arrangements with precise date, time, and location will be posted in the combox below.

Every death is an important reminder that one day God will call us to judgment too, and it may be sooner than we think (see 1 Th 5:2).

Réquiem aetérnam dona ei, Dómine, et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

 

No Bishop Pfeiffer: Feeneyite Fails at Attempt to Consecrate Bishop for SSPX-Resistance

Neal Webster botches episcopal consecration

No Bishop Pfeiffer: Feeneyite Fails at Attempt to Consecrate Bishop for SSPX-Resistance

Bp. Neal Webster mangles the essential words necessary for validity

Big news out of Boston, Kentucky: This past Wednesday, July 29, 2020, Bp. Neal Webster consecrated Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer a bishop for the SSPX-resistance. That, at least, is the official story. The truth is a bit more complicated.

But first, a little bit of context.

The Society of St. Pius X is a priestly society founded by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) with the approval of the local Novus Ordo bishop in Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1970. When on June 30, 1988, Abp. Lefebvre, joined by Brazilian Bp. Antonio de Castro Mayer (1904-1991), consecrated four bishops in defiance of “Pope” John Paul II’s explicit prohibition, the Vatican declared that all six bishops had incurred automatic excommunication for this “schismatic act”, and John Paul II subsequently warned all about “formal adherence to the schism”. After many years of an ecclesiastical “cold war”, eventually the Lefebvrists and the Vatican began talking again, and in 2009 “Pope” Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications against the four surviving bishops, with “full communion” still far off, however.

In 2012, as a reconciliation between the SSPX and the Modernist Vatican became a realistic possibility, some Lefebvrist clergy began to dissent and resist openly, the most prominent of them being Bp. Richard Williamson, one of the four consecrated by Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer in 1988. Some clergy began to leave the Society of their own volition, whereas others were expelled. On Oct. 24, 2012, the SSPX leadership under Bp. Bernard Fellay expelled Bp. Williamson, ironically, for failure “to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors” — as though any lawful authority (in the canonical sense) had ever appointed Fellay over Williamson. Thus, while Fellay could disobey his own superior (the “Pope”) all day long, Williamson was not permitted to disobey Fellay — but that’s not our topic now.

Before long, these former SSPX clerics began to form in a loose association called by various names, such as “SSPX of the Strict Observance” (SSPX-SO), “SSPX Marian Corps” (SSPX-MC), or simply “SSPX-Resistance.” Their idea is to be as hardline as the SSPX had been before the rapprochement with Rome began, and to oppose any “premature compromise” (source). They see themselves as the “real” SSPX and the true spiritual heirs of Abp. Lefebvre. Some of them gathered around Bp. Williamson, whereas others went their own way. This is where Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer comes in.

Fr. Pfeiffer had been expelled from the SSPX together with Fr. François Chazal in September of 2012. Whereas Fr. Chazal went to Asia, Fr. Pfeiffer ended up establishing his own “church, seminary, and convent”, dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Boston, Kentucky (aka “Pfeifferville”).

Fast-forward to July 29, 2020. Apparently with no prior public announcement, the Feeneyite Bishop (or “Bishop”) Neal Webster consecrated Fr. Pfeiffer a bishop in the Boston chapel (see full video here). It is not clear (to us, at least) whether Webster is a valid bishop because it is not clear whether he is a valid priest, and the validity of an episcopal consecration bestowed upon a man who is not a valid priest is doubtful. It is unnecessary to go into detail here, because the focus of this blog post is another: Even if Webster is a valid bishop, Fr. Pfeiffer’s episcopal consecration this past Wednesday was invalid. In other words, Pfeiffer is not actually a bishop.

The reason for the invalidity lies in the fact that Bp. Webster mangled the sixteen essential words that are absolutely necessary for the episcopacy to be conferred on a priest.

Before we look at the evidence for that, let us first review the applicable principles of Catholic sacramental theology:

15. — 1. – In the administration of the sacraments by fallible ministers it sometimes occurs that the matter and form are not rightly applied, due to inadvertence, negligence, error or deliberate will. In any case the objective change that results will be either substantial or accidental. Judgment of the quality of the change effected will be made not by the criteria of the physical sciences but in accordance with the common usage and estimation of prudent men.

2. – A substantial change takes place when in ordinary usage and prudent estimation the matter no longer remains of the same species and name as that determined in the sacrament (e.g., to use milk in baptizing), or when the words used in the form no longer retain the same sense (e.g., to say “ego to baptizo in nomine matris…”). A change is accidental when the matter remains the same in usage and name but altered in some accidental quality (e.g., to use leavened bread or a square host), or when the words of the form are different but retain the same sense (e.g., to say “ego te abluo…”).

16. — 3. – Regarding corruption or change in the sacramental form St. Thomas notes that, if the change in the words is at the beginning of the words, the sense is generally altered essentially or substantially, but not usually if the change takes place at the end of the words. If the corrupt forms cannot have other than a sacramental sense, they generally remain valid forms. Thus the separation of individual words of or syllables does not constitute a substantial alteration, unless the interval is long enough to alter the meaning of the sentence (more easily admissible when syllables are separated). In such a case the moral unity of the form as one complete prayer is destroyed by the interruption and also by such grammatical changes or mistakes as could actually change the meaning of the form. Substantial alteration may also be risked by faulty articulation or by clipping words through haste. In practice, where a complete word is de facto interrupted through a pause between syllables, it is advisable to repeat the word, unless the interruption is extremely slight.

17. — 4. A substantial change in matter and in form always invalidates a sacrament, whereas a purely accidental change does not have this effect. …

(Rev. Nicholas Halligan, The Administration of the Sacraments [Cork: The Mercier Press, 1963], nn. 15-17, pp. 8-9; italics given; underlining added.)

With this in mind, we can now consider the evidence of how Webster botched the Pfeiffer consecration.

In 1947, Pope Pius XII decreed:

…[I]n the Episcopal Ordination or Consecration, the matter is the imposition of hands which is done by the Bishop consecrator. The form consists of the words of the “Preface,” of which the following are essential and therefore required for validity:

“Comple in Sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam, et ornamentis totius glorificationis instructum coelestis unguenti rore sanctifica.”

[“Perfect in Thy priest the fullness of thy ministry and, clothing him in all the ornaments of spiritual glorification, sanctify him with the Heavenly anointing.”]

(Pope Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, n. 5; bold print added.)

As can be seen beginning at 59:10 in the video, Webster does not pronounce this sacramental formula correctly. What he actually says is very difficult to transcribe, so we won’t even try. Instead, everyone can listen to it for himself.

The following brief video clip shows how Webster mispronounces the essential words by comparing them to what he should have said:

Thus Webster has rendered the consecration of Fr. Pfeiffer invalid. That is also the judgment of sedevacantists Bp. Donald Sanborn and Fr. Nicolas Desposito, by the way, among others.

Still, not everyone will be totally convinced that Webster’s botching of the essential words rendered the sacrament invalid. Nevertheless, it is beyond any dispute that the mangled words have rendered the validity doubtful. In other words, we cannot know whether the sacrament was conferred or not.

However, in practice Catholic theology requires us to treat a doubtful sacrament as invalid, precisely because we have no certainty that it was in fact conferred validly:

In a doubt of the validity of a sacramental conferral, every sacrament may be repeated conditionally, and certain ones must be repeated. However, the doubt must be prudent and reasonable, since an imprudent and rash doubt causes an irreverence to the sacrament…. Certain necessary sacraments must be repeated lest grave damage to religion or neighbor result: Baptism, absolution of those dying in mortal sin, Extreme Unction for the unconscious moribound, Holy Orders, the consecration of doubtfully consecrated hosts.

(Halligan, The Administration of the Sacraments, n. 48, pp. 20-21; italics given; underlining added.)

It is obvious that there exists at least a doubt that is both prudent and reasonable with regard to how Webster pronounced the essential form, given the evidence provided above.

As someone who has rightly railed against the doubtful/invalid sacraments of the Novus Ordo Church, Fr. Pfeiffer should be most concerned about the status of his own validity as a “bishop.” In other words, he ought to hold off on donning that miter.

Inevitably, some people will claim that we’re saying Pfeiffer’s episcopal consecration is invalid only because he is not a sedevacantist. That is not so. There have been many episcopal consecrations in the past by non-sedevacantist traditionalists, and we always consider them valid — unless there is evidence to the contrary. Thus, for example, we do not dispute the consecrations of Bp. Jean-Michel FaureBp. Tomas de Aquino, or Bp. Gerardo Zendejas, all conferred by Bp. Williamson. Nor do we dispute the validity of the consecration of the Modernist Bp. Arêas Rifan (because one of his co-consecrators, Licínio Rangel, was a valid bishop) or the hippie Modernist Bp. Thomas Gumbleton (because he was consecrated in 1968, just before the Novus Ordo rite was introduced). We go by Catholic principle here, not by emotion, passion, or theological tit-for-tat.

Now if someone could just relay all this to Father Pfeiffer.

 

Just “Child’s Play”? Refutation of a Historian who says Vatican II Church will “Bounce Back” from Bergoglian Chaos

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Nothing to see here – move along?

Just “Child’s Play”? Refutation of a Historian who says Vatican II Church will “Bounce Back” from Bergoglian Chaos

Every so often, perhaps because they are exhausted by all the cognitive dissonance adhering to the Novus Ordo Sect while trying to be Catholic brings, certain conservative and semi-traditionalist writers and pundits will push the idea that despite the current morass, things really aren’t quite so bad after all. Compared to other periods of Church history, they contend, the present situation is not nearly so troublesome, or at least it is certainly not without equal precedent. In short: Relax, folks, we’ve weathered other storms before!

In 2018, for example, semi-trad apologist Paul Folbrecht made an argument to that effect as part of a lengthy attempt to refute Sedevacantism. We responded accordingly:

Others, who perhaps do not have the resources to look into Church history, do not even bother making a historical argument at all. They simply tell themselves that, despite initial appearances, nothing that has happened since the death of Pope Pius XII is anything the Church cannot do.

For example, take a look at what James D. at Camp of Saints posted recently. There we have a blogger who, apparently tired of fighting, decided to come off the fence — and jumped onto Bergoglio’s turf. Although acknowledging that he has “doctrinal differences” (!) with the man he believes to be the Pope of the Catholic Church, he conveniently decided that “[m]uch of what has changed in the Church since 1958 has been unwise. None of it has been illegal.” Apparently things like worshipping a pagan fertility goddess in the Vatican Gardens or making the declaration that God has willed a diversity of religions counts as merely “unwise” rather than “illegal” — terms that really have no meaning with regard to doctrine to begin with. In which case one wonders, of course, why the blogger has doctrinal differences with his “Holy Father”, if everything is but a matter of prudence or permission.

In any case, the “it’s really not so bad” argument does rear its unreasonable head now and again, and on Jan. 22, 2020, we saw such an example on a major news and commentary site, namely, that of the so-called National Catholic Register, where Vatican reporter Edward Pentin published an interview he had conducted with Dr. Carlos Eire, a distinguished history professor at Yale University with a Ph.D. from the same (1979).

In this post we will look at some excerpts from the interview and dissect them critically. Ed Pentin’s questions are italicized and in bold; Prof. Eire’s responses are in regular typeface:

Having studied the history of popes, do you think the grace of the office will overcome any challenges and controversies?

Oh, definitely. This is nothing compared to previous crises or previous popes. This is child’s play.

(Edward Pentin, “Church Historian Discusses the Papacy, Past and Present”National Catholic Register, Jan. 22, 2020)

With all due respect to the professor: Even if he takes a different overall view on the matter than we do here, to call the current post-1958 catastrophe “child’s play” is simply indefensible. It may perhaps seem like child’s play to a secularist, one who has no understanding of the Catholic Faith at all and only looks at externals, but to a Catholic or someone who means to be one, this comment is totally off the mark.

Yes, there have been very difficult periods for the Catholic Church in the past, but none comes close to what we presently experience, even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Vatican II Sect is the true Roman Catholic Church and its heads have been true Roman Pontiffs, as Eire obviously believes.

What periods in Church history does the professor have in mind when he claims that today’s madness doesn’t even compare? He will tell us later on in the interview, so we will wait until then.

As for his claim that the grace of the papal office will ultimately prevail, one must point out rather matter-of-factly that a true Pope is always divinely aided in the exercise of his office — in accordance with the promises of Christ — and not only “ultimately”: “Mother Church … possesses in the primacy of Peter and of his legitimate successors the assurance, guaranteed by the divine promises, of keeping and transmitting inviolate and in all its integrity through centuries and millennia to the very end of time”, Pope Pius XII said in his Allocution to the Consistory of June 2, 1944. He made no mention of the Popes getting it right only eventually, with intermittent defection from the Faith.

The divine assistance promised to St. Peter and his successors prevents any Pope from creating precisely the kind of apostate chaos Francis and his five predecessors have unleashed. The grace of the papal office is attached to the office, after all, and so it makes no sense to say that it will work out only eventually. Of what use would the divine protection of the Papacy be if it only worked sometimes or ultimately, when, “because our lifespans are short”, as Eire himself points out later on in the same conversation, “an individual might never see it”?

Continuing with the interview:

But critics say Pope Francis has impinged on doctrine, such as Amoris Laetitia.

Yes, but whenever there’s been any kind of doctrinal conflict or there has been any kind of logjam, it has come, it has gone, sometimes there’s a fallout, but it’s resolved. As with the Old Catholic church after Vatican I, there’s always some fallout, but the Church has survived the crisis.

This makes no sense. Yes, there was a “fallout” after Vatican I, but the crucial difference Eire misses is that it was the so-called “Old Catholics” who had “impinged on doctrine”, not the Pope! If there is “any kind of doctrinal conflict or … logjam”, then a Catholic must be on the Pope’s side, who is always guaranteed to be the safe bulwark of orthodoxy. That is the whole point of the Papacy, the very reason why Christ instituted it to begin with: “This chair [of Peter] is the center of Catholic truth and unity, that is, the head, mother, and teacher of all the Churches to which all honor and obedience must be offered. Every church must agree with it because of its greater preeminence — that is, those people who are in all respects faithful…”, Pope Pius IX declared in his encyclical Inter Multiplices (n. 1).

The Church survived all crises in the past because of the Papacy, not in spite of it.

Continuing with Dr. Eire’s response:

In my Catholic intellectual tradition course, which I co-teach with two colleagues, we’ve tried to get the students to realize that crisis is constant. The details of the crises might be different, and the intensity of the crises might vary, but for heaven’s sake, 70 years in Avignon — and then all the following years of the Great Schism of 1378 where you had not two, but at one point three rival popes — and the Church survived. Conciliarists deposed two popes and elected a new pope, but that only resulted in three popes.

If you were to cross the English Channel during that schism, if you crossed from England to France, you were immediately excommunicated. If you crossed from France to England, it would go the other way, because England recognized the pope in Rome, and France, of course, recognized the pope in Avignon and so there was a mutual excommunication.

It would be even more shocking because there at least you have to get into a ship and cross the water, but on the continent, you just go a few kilometers this way and there was another pope being recognized, and vice versa. So, we shouldn’t really get too concerned, because it will resolve itself.

Here the professor touches upon two anomalies in Church history: the Avignon papacy and the Great Western Schism. Both of these supposedly make the current nightmare look like child’s play by comparison. But do they really?

The “Avignon papacy” is the term used to refer to the time period from 1309-1376, when a series of Popes did not live in Rome but in Avignon, France. It was certainly a turbulent time for the Church, but if the main problem with Bergoglio today were that he resides in Paris, Berlin, or Buenos Aires instead of the Vatican, that could be considered child’s play by comparison to what we are truly witnessing.

The aftermath of the Avignon papacy resulted in the

In his interview with Pentin, Eire resorts to dangerously imprecise language: He speaks of “three rival popes”, of “two popes”, and again of “three popes”, when he knows fully well that there cannot be more than one legitimate pope at a time — any other

There is no denying the great evil that was the Great Western Schism. However, to say it makes the post-Vatican II catastrophe look like child’s play is simply not accurate.

For one thing, none of the papal claimants from 1378-1417 were apostates, as the Modernist Vatican II “popes” are, none more conspicuously than Francis. Secondly, although the problem of rival papal claimants can be resolved fairly easily by all claimants resigning voluntarily, the situation we find ourselves in today is of a different caliber altogether:

  • supposing, for the sake of argument, Francis to be Pope and the Vatican II Sect to be the Catholic Church, as Dr. Eire holds, this would leave us with a defected magisterium, a defected papacy, a defected church;
  • even with the reality of sede vacante since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, the situation is intolerable: a human remedy to the problem seems (seems!) beyond all possibility; confusion and disagreement reign everywhere, even among all those who acknowledge the true nature of the ecclesial situation

But no matter which of these two positions any particular reader of this blog takes, it is simply preposterous to say that it pales in comparison with the evil of the Great Western Schism. Far from it! If anything, the reverse is true.

As far as Eire’s claims of mutual excommunications go, certainly excommunication is no light matter. However, this does not really add anything of substance to the difficulty already acknowledged, for it goes without saying that no matter what claimant you accepted as the true Pope during the Western Schism, there was always at least one other claimant insisting that you had picked the wrong man and were worthy of anathema. Even a miracle worker as holy as St. Vincent Ferrer

Finding himself threatened with excommunication from all sides back then, a Catholic could take refuge in knowing that in the face of a perplexed conscience, if all alternatives seem to be equally sinful, and a choice must be made, then any of them may be chosen without sinning: “If the two alternatives appear equally wrong, and one must be chosen, either may be chosen without sin, for the agent is not free” (Fr. Henry Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 1 [New York, NY: Sheed and Ward, 1935], p. 72, fn. 1; italics added).

As agonizing and scandalous as that turbulent period of Church history was, what we have today is certainly not any less so, and in fact much worse, for we are not merely facing uncertainty with regard to who (if anyone) the Pope is, but with a colossal apostasy throughout the world, a magisterium that teaches heresy and other error, and a church that establishes evil liturgical and disciplinary laws and canonizes public sinners as saints. Would that the only problem were the true Pope living outside of Rome, or that there merely be a quarrel about which of three Catholics claiming to be Pope is the true one!

Returning now to the interview with Dr. Eire:

What is your opinion on cases where a pope has been accused of unorthodoxy or perhaps even heresy?

It is very rare. But again, there is no really big trouble unless Vatican I is invoked, unless infallibility is invoked. That’s where things would get hairy. Being a heretic and not speaking ex cathedra

Once again Prof. Eire shows himself dangerously misinformed on Catholic theology. His remarks reveal that he believes that unless a Pope proclaims heresy ex cathedra — which is impossible, anyway — then there isn’t really anything to worry about. This contention assumes, incorrectly, that Catholics only have an obligation to assent to ex cathedra statements. It also assumes, just as incorrectly, that whenever a Pope is not infallible, he could be heretical. But fallibility is merely the possibility of erring, not the possibility of erring heretically. An erroneous teaching is one thing; a heresy is something else altogether, as it constitutes a rejection of Divine Revelation.

The following two posts demonstrate, using pre-Vatican II Catholic sources, how the Papal Magisterium teaches the faithful and what kind of assent is owed to it:

If the Pope were capable of proposing heresy in his non-infallible Magisterium, then the entire Catholic doctrine on the Papacy would collapse, the Church would be deprived of all credibility, and the Papacy would not only not be a guarantor of orthodoxy but be a positively harmful institution constituting a danger to the salvation of souls. This is not only absurd but also directly contrary to Catholic teaching, which holds that “the teaching authority of the Church … in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men…” (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, n. 9).

The question of the possibility of a heretical Pope came up at Vatican I, of course, and was presented to the Deputation of the Faith for a response. Abp. John Purcell of Cincinnati, Ohio, who attended the assembly, relates the answer the council’s theological experts gave:

The question was also raised by a Cardinal, “What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?” It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.

If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, “I believe in Christ,” etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.

(Abp. John B. Purcell, quoted in Rev. James J. McGovern, Life and Life Work of Pope Leo XIII [Chicago, IL: Allied Printing, 1903], p. 241; imprimatur by Abp. James Quigley of Chicago; underlining added.)

This stands in stark contrast to the fairly nonchalant remarks made by Dr. Eire. (More on the Vatican I “heretical Pope” question can be read here.)

Getting back to the interview, Eire’s response continues:

And actually, most Catholics don’t know about the famous case that was invoked during the First Vatican Council, which was the case of Pope Honorius I, who in conversations with the patriarch of Constantinople expressed agreement with the heretical proposition about Christ — Monotheletism — the idea that the Christ had only one will, the divine will. Pope Honorius said, “Sounds right to me.” So, during Vatican I this was brought up as an example of popes not being infallible. But this is where the ex-cathedra cloud comes in: Honorius was not speaking ex cathedra. That was a private conversation.

The case of Pope Honorius I was debated up and down before, during, and after the First Vatican Council. The facts are not quite as the Yale historian presents them. Some years ago we published an exclusive translation of a series of lectures by Fr. Louis-Nazaire Bégin on the Honorius question, first printed in 1873. The author, a doctor of Sacred Theology who was later appointed Archbishop of Quebec by Pope Leo XIII (1898) and created cardinal by Pope St. Pius X (1914), shows that Pope Honorius “did not fall into heresy, and that the Sixth [Ecumenical] Council [i.e. the Third Council of Constantinople] did not condemn him as a formal heretic, but only as guilty of negligence.”

Here are some of the conclusions Fr. Begin reached after an exhaustive study of the subject matter:

We come now to a very serious question, one which touches the very heart of our subject. This is the question: Did Pope Honorius fall into the heresy of Monotheletism? I answer, “No!” Here I find myself to have for adversaries a throng of writers hostile to the Catholic Church. On the other hand, I am supported by men who are the most eminent for their knowledge and erudition.

In his first letter [to Sergius, Pope Honorius] repeats several times that “the Scriptures demonstrate clearly that Jesus Christ is the same Who operates in things divine and in things human;” that “Jesus Christ operates in the two natures, divinely and humanly.” Nothing could be clearer or more obvious! The heresy is right away knocked down. It is thus evident that Honorius confesses in Jesus Christ not only two natures, but also two wills and two operations. Thus, this Pontiff professes in his letters the Catholic truth; he rejects only the being used to express it, and this for reasons of prudence, in order not to appear to favor Nestorianism or Eutychianism, and also because Sergius astutely portrayed these new expressions as a cause of troubles in the Church and an obstacle to the return of Monosphysites to orthodoxy.

John, secretary to Honorius, who wrote the letter to Sergius and who must have known better than any other the thoughts of the Pontiff, said on this matter: “When we spoke of a single will in the Lord, we did not have in view His double nature, divine and human, but His humanity only…. We meant that Jesus Christ did not have two contrary wills, that is to say one of the flesh and one of the spirit, as we ourselves have on account of sin, but that, with regard to His humanity, He had but one natural will.”

Pope John IV gave to Honorius’s words absolutely the same sense. It is therefore quite evident that the doctrine of Honorius in his letters to Sergius is irreproachable from the point of view of sound theology, because in addition to the divine will, which no one has denied, he confesses the human will in all its perfection.

…[Honorius’] unique goal, and certainly a very praiseworthy one, was to maintain peace in the Church by preventing the introduction of new words and removing all obstacles to the return of heretics to the true doctrine.

Readers interested in the full text of Fr. Begin’s study of Pope Honorius can find it here:

Writing after Vatican I, the author had the benefit of being able to draw from all the research done in preparation for the council, from the acts of the council, and from its teachings. The book in which his treatment of the Honorius issue is included bears the required imprimatur of the Archbishop of Quebec, Canada. It is clear, therefore, that Fr. Begin’s study is a most reliable source — both in terms of assessing the facts of history and of ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy — for unraveling the confusing case of Pope Honorius according to the mind of the Church. It is unfortunate that Dr. Eire has apparently never come across it.

The interview continues:

That was very rare.

It’s very rare, but they did dig up his remains and throw them into the Tiber so it’s that rare. It’s been that rare. But for heaven’s sake, all the disagreements about the Immaculate Conception before it was pronounced a dogma — people fell on both sides, including the popes. But this pope is probably skating on the thinnest ice that anyone — not just living, but dead or watching — is. And they probably are [watching]. It must be that surprising.

Pope Honorius’ remains were thrown into the Tiber? Does Eire have a source to back that up, or is he confusing Pope Honorius with Pope Formosus (r. 891-896), whose corpse was dug up for the infamous Cadaver Synod and later thrown into the Tiber?

As the Catholic Encyclopedia relates:

… [Pope] Stephen VI lent himself to the revolting scene of sitting in judgment on his predecessor, Formosus. At the synod convened for that purpose, he occupied the chair; the corpse, clad in papal vestments, was withdrawn from the sarcophagus and seated on a throne; close by stood a deacon to answer in its name, all the old charges formulated against Formosus under John VIII being revived. The decision was that the deceased had been unworthy of the pontificate, which he could not have validly received since he was bishop of another see. All his measures and acts were annulled, and all the orders conferred by him were declared invalid. The papal vestments were torn from his body; the three fingers which the dead pope had used in consecrations were severed from his right hand; the corpse was cast into a grave in the cemetery for strangers, to be removed after a few days and consigned to the Tiber.

(Catholic Encyclopedias.v. “Formosus, Pope”)

We will not dwell further on the Pope Formosus case here, since it is incidental to the Pentin-Eire interview. It is clearly a vivid anomaly in the history of the Church, but one which neither disproves the Papacy nor Sedevacantism. St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, addressed the strange case in his De Romano Pontifice (Book IV, Chapter 12), in the portion of the book in which he answers objections concerning the orthodoxy of specific Popes.

The final portion of the interview we will look at is the following:

Could one argue that even if a pope changed the whole essence of the papacy, because the office is steered by Christ and the Holy Spirit, that in the long run it really wouldn’t matter? The pope could change it radically and it would still survive.

Oh yes, definitely. We have many examples, not just the popes, but councils that voted the wrong way and then it took some years, but things were corrected. It happens. But what’s always surprised me, both as a historian and a believer, is sort of the… let’s call it “the bounce-back principle,” an effect which you don’t normally see with human institutions. And that’s what I think is one of the more remarkable facets of the history of the Catholic Church.

Several things must be said here.

First, no Pope could change “the whole essence of the Papacy” because then the Papacy would be destroyed. Changing the essence of a thing means changing what that thing is, in consequence of which what the thing was before is no longer in existence. Such an essential or substantial change of the Papacy is impossible and absolutely precluded by the promises of Christ. Substantially changing the Papacy would mean substantially changing the Church, and that would mean defection from the Faith, defection from Christ.

This much should have been clear to Pentin but even more so to Eire. Let’s briefly review the Catholic doctrine on the matter. Pope Pius IX spoke of “the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ”, in which “truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever” (

The same Pope also taught very clearly:

To preserve forever in his Church the unity and doctrine of this faith, Christ chose one of his apostles, Peter, whom he appointed the Prince of his Apostles, his Vicar on earth, and impregnable foundation and head of his Church. Surpassing all others with every dignity of extraordinary authority, power and jurisdiction, he was to feed the Lord’s flock, strengthen his brothers, rule and govern the universal Church. Christ not only desired that his Church remain as one and immaculate to the end of the world, and that its unity in faith, doctrine and form of government remain inviolate. He also willed that the fullness of dignity, power and jurisdiction, integrity and stability of faith given to Peter be handed down in its entirety to the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of this same Peter, who have been placed on this Chair of Peter in Rome, and to whom has been divinely committed the supreme care of the Lord’s entire flock and the supreme rule of the Universal Church.

(Pius IX, Encyclical Amantissimus, n. 2; underlining added.)

His successor, Pope St. Pius X, likewise taught that “in spite of a great number of pernicious opinions and great variety of errors (as well as the vast army of rebels) the Church remains immutable and constant, ‘as the pillar and foundation of truth’, in professing one identical doctrine, in receiving the same Sacraments, in her divine constitution, government, and morality…” (Encyclical Editae Saepe, n. 8).

Clearly, then, a change in the essence of the Papacy is absolutely ruled out a priori by Catholic doctrine. Such a change, if it were possible, would mean a different papacy, just as a change in the essence of the Church would mean a different church. The latter, incidentally, is precisely what the Second Vatican Council engendered, thus exposing itself as a false council, ratified by a false pope: “…[T]he Church succeeded, during the second Vatican Council, in re-defining her own nature”, proclaimed “Cardinal” Karol Wojtyla, the future “Pope Saint” John Paul II, in his book Sign of Contradiction (New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1979), p. 17; see scan of page here.

Instead of accepting the Catholic teaching on all these things, however, Prof. Eire believes in and promotes the “bounce-back principle”, by which he seems to mean that the Church founded by Christ can defect into heresy at any point but in the future will right herself again and so “bounce back” into orthodoxy — “eventually”! It’s just too bad if one happens to die before the Great Bouncing Back and so, following Eire’s logic, has to either defect into heresy with the Pope or else refuse him submission and thus become a schismatic in the meantime.

Don’t worry, it’ll bounce back!

No, the “bounce-back church” of Carlos Eire is definitely not the Roman Catholic Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, in which, as we just saw, “truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change” (Pius IX). The Roman Catholic Church is infallible, not inflatable. It does not need to “bounce back” from heresy because it can never be in heresy to begin with.

She is, after all, “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

A Challenge to Recognize-and-Resist Apologists: Is it a Mortal Sin to adhere to Francis’ Teachings?

In light of Catholic teaching on the Papacy, that is…

A Challenge to Recognize-and-Resist Apologists: Is it a Mortal Sin to adhere to Francis’ Teachings?

The altar of the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican

Day in and day out we hear from the recognizing-and-resisting semi-traditionalists that this or that error of Vatican II or the post-conciliar magisterium is “not binding.” In a recent live interview on YouTube, semi-trad darling John Salza repeated it once again.

For the sake of argument, we will accept that claim precisely as stated: Certain papal teaching is not binding. That means, of course, that it is optional to embrace — take it or leave it. If it’s optional, however, one naturally wonders why they are so busy resisting it. We know the answer, of course: because they believe it is more than just not binding — it is, in fact, not permissible to adhere to because it is spiritual poison and contradicts what the Church taught for two millennia, often even the very Deposit of Faith directly.

Now of course the semi-trads don’t only resist their supposed Popes but also recognize them, meaning that they are just as certain that the men whose teachings they have decided are definitely not safe to embrace, are nevertheless definitely true Popes. These self-styled traditionalists also tell us that they adhere only to “what the Church has always taught”, and that is not optional.

To sum up, their position is:

  • what the Church “has always taught” is binding on Catholics
  • papal novelties, incl. errors and heresies, are not binding and not permissible to hold because they contradict “what the Church has always taught”
  • Francis is definitely the Pope

OK then. Since these people acknowledge that what the Church has always taught is not only true and correct but is binding on the Catholic conscience, let’s see what the Church has always taught about the Papacy, shall we? Once we’ve looked at that, we’ll apply it to the man whom the recognize-and-resisters are telling us is definitely — some even say infallibly — the current true Pope.

So first, let’s lay out the traditional doctrine.

We’ll begin with Pope Pius IX, who reigned for 32 years — longer than any other Pope in history — and issued plenty of magisterial documents. Among his rich teaching we find this:

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

(Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, n. 17)

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.

(Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7)

Nor can we pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that “without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.” But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.

(Encyclical Quanta Cura, n. 5)

Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 3)

However it has never been possible to prove oneself a Catholic by affirming those statements of the faith which one accepts and keeping silence on those doctrines which one decides not to profess. But without exception, all doctrines which the Church proposes must be accepted, as the history of the Church at all times bears witness.

…For any man to be able to prove his Catholic faith and affirm that he is truly a Catholic, he must be able to convince the Apostolic See of this. For this See is predominant and with it the faithful of the whole Church should agree. And the man who abandons the See of Peter can only be falsely confident that he is in the Church. As a result, that man is already a schismatic and a sinner who establishes a see in opposition to the unique See of the blessed Peter from which the rights of sacred communion derive for all men.

…All these traditions dictate that whoever the Roman Pontiff judges to be a schismatic for not expressly admitting and reverencing his power must stop calling himself Catholic.

But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all.

…Most men feel that the Church’s supreme head and shepherd should decide who are Catholics and who are not.

(Encyclical Quartus Supra, nn. 7-9,12,15)

But you, dearly beloved Sons, remember that in all that concerns the faith, morals, and government of the Church, the words which Christ said of Himself: “he that gathereth not with me scattereth” [Mt 12:30], can be applied to the Roman Pontiff who holds the place of God on earth. Ground your whole wisdom therefore, in an absolute obedience and a joyous and constant adherence to this Chair of Peter. Thus, animated by the same spirit of faith, you will all be perfect in one manner of thinking and judging, you will strengthen this unity which we must oppose to the enemies of the Church….

(Apostolic Letter Per Tristissima; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 419)

Now we come to Pope Leo XIII, who, not surprisingly, taught the same things:

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.

(Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua)

If in the difficult times in which Our lot is cast, Catholics will give ear to Us, as it behooves them to do, they will readily see what are the duties of each one in matters of opinion as well as action. As regards opinion, whatever the Roman Pontiffs have hitherto taught, or shall hereafter teach, must be held with a firm grasp of mind, and, so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed.

(Encyclical Immortale Dei, n. 41)

In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the [First] Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the Apostolic See.

Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.

(Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, n. 24)

Wherefore, as appears from what has been said, Christ instituted in the Church a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium, which by His own power He strengthened, by the Spirit of truth He taught, and by miracles confirmed. He willed and ordered, under the gravest penalties, that its teachings should be received as if they were His own.

Union with the Roman See of Peter is … always the public criterion of a Catholic …. “You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held.”

(Encyclical Satis Cognitum, nn. 9,13)

This is Our last lesson to you: receive it, engrave it in your minds, all of you: by God’s commandment salvation is to be found nowhere but in the Church; the strong and effective instrument of salvation is none other than the Roman Pontificate.

(Allocution for the 25th Anniversary of his Election, Feb. 20, 1903; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 653)

Pope St. Pius X echoed his predecessors as well because their teachings were precisely “what the Church had always taught”:

They [the Modernists] will learn many excellent things from such a great teacher [as Cardinal John Henry Newman]: in the first place, to regard the Magisterium of the Church as sacred, to defend the doctrine handed down inviolately by the Fathers and, what is of highest importance to the safeguarding of Catholic truth, to follow and obey the Successor of St. Peter with the greatest faith.

(Apostolic Letter Tuum Illud)

And this is why, when we love the Pope, we do not dispute whether he commands or requires a thing, or seek to know where the strict obligation of obedience lies, or in what matter we must obey; when we love the Pope we do not say that he has not yet spoken clearly — as if he were required to speak his will in every man’s ear, and to utter it not only by word of mouth but in letters and other public documents as well. Nor do we cast doubt on his orders, alleging the pretext which comes easily to the man who does not want to obey, that it is not the Pope who is commanding, but someone in his entourage. We do not limit the field in which he can and ought to exercise his authority; we do not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of other persons — no matter how learned — who differ from the Pope. For whatever may be their learning, they are not holy, for where there is holiness there cannot be disagreement with the Pope.

(Address to the Priests of the Apostolic Union, Nov. 18, 1912; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 4 [1912], p. 695; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 752)

We’re not done yet. “What the Church has always taught” was also laid out by Pope Benedict XV:

All know to whom the teaching authority of the Church has been given by God: he, then, possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune. The duty of others is to hearken to him reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says.

(Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 22)

The same can be said of Pope Pius XI:

Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

(Encyclical Casti Connubii, n. 104)

Finally, we come to the last (known) true Pope, Pius XII. Again we find that his teaching was no different either:

They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.

(Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 41)

The Pope has the divine promises; even in his human weaknesses, he is invincible and unshakable; he is the messenger of truth and justice, the principle of the unity of the Church; his voice denounces errors, idolatries, superstitions; he condemns iniquities; he makes charity and virtue loved.

(Address Ancora Una Volta, Feb. 20, 1949)

…[T]his sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith — Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted…. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me” [Lk 10:16]; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine.

(Encyclical Humani Generis, nn. 18, 20)

These are quite a few examples, and yet they are by no means exhaustive (you can find more here).

Now we’ll apply these teachings to Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”), the man we are told over and over again by the mainstream traditionalists is the true Pope. We will do that by replacing any mention of “Roman Pontiff”, “Pope”, “Vicar of Christ”, etc., with the phrase “Pope Francis” and/or make any other appropriate adjustments, indicated in bold red font.

This is how the above teachings read then:

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to Pope Francis. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See of Pope Francis. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make Pope Francis’ See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

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Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against Pope Francis’ Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while Pope Francis’ Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this See of Pope Francis, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.

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Nor can we pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that “without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See of Pope Francis, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.” But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.

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Since Pope Francis, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the apostolic see of Pope Francis (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of Pope Francis to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to Pope Francis.

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However it has never been possible to prove oneself a Catholic by affirming those statements of the faith which one accepts and keeping silence on those doctrines which one decides not to profess. But without exception, all doctrines which the Church proposes must be accepted, as the history of the Church at all times bears witness.

…For any man to be able to prove his Catholic faith and affirm that he is truly a Catholic, he must be able to convince the Apostolic See of Pope Francis of this. For this See is predominant and with it the faithful of the whole Church should agree. And the man who abandons the See of Pope Francis can only be falsely confident that he is in the Church. As a result, that man is already a schismatic and a sinner who establishes a see in opposition to the unique See of Pope Francis from which the rights of sacred communion derive for all men.

…All these traditions dictate that whoever Pope Francis judges to be a schismatic for not expressly admitting and reverencing his power must stop calling himself Catholic.

But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all, Pope Francis.

…Most men feel that Pope Francis should decide who are Catholics and who are not.

********************

But you, dearly beloved Sons, remember that in all that concerns the faith, morals, and government of the Church, the words which Christ said of Himself: “he that gathereth not with me scattereth” [Mt 12:30], can be applied to Pope Francis, who holds the place of God on earth. Ground your whole wisdom therefore, in an absolute obedience and a joyous and constant adherence to this Chair of Pope Francis. Thus, animated by the same spirit of faith, you will all be perfect in one manner of thinking and judging, you will strengthen this unity which we must oppose to the enemies of the Church….

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To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to Pope Francis.

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If in the difficult times in which Our lot is cast, Catholics will give ear to Us, as it behooves them to do, they will readily see what are the duties of each one in matters of opinion as well as action. As regards opinion, whatever Pope Francis has hitherto taught, or shall hereafter teach, must be held with a firm grasp of mind, and, so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed.

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In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of Pope Francis, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the [First] Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the Apostolic See of Pope Francis.

Wherefore it belongs to Pope Francis to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.

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Wherefore, as appears from what has been said, Christ instituted in the Church a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium, now exercised by Pope Francis, which by His own power He strengthened, by the Spirit of truth He taught, and by miracles confirmed. He willed and ordered, under the gravest penalties, that its teachings should be received as if they were His own.

Union with Pope Francis is … always the public criterion of a Catholic …. “You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Pope Francis is to be held.”

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This is Our last lesson to you: receive it, engrave it in your minds, all of you: by God’s commandment salvation is to be found nowhere but in the Church; the strong and effective instrument of salvation is none other than Pope Francis’ Pontificate.

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They [the Modernists] will learn many excellent things from such a great teacher [as Cardinal John Henry Newman]: in the first place, to regard the Magisterium of the Church as sacred, to defend the doctrine handed down inviolately by the Fathers and, what is of highest importance to the safeguarding of Catholic truth, to follow and obey Pope Francis with the greatest faith.
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And this is why, when we love Pope Francis, we do not dispute whether he commands or requires a thing, or seek to know where the strict obligation of obedience lies, or in what matter we must obey; when we love Pope Francis we do not say that he has not yet spoken clearly — as if he were required to speak his will in every man’s ear, and to utter it not only by word of mouth but in letters and other public documents as well. Nor do we cast doubt on his orders, alleging the pretext which comes easily to the man who does not want to obey, that it is not Pope Francis who is commanding, but someone in his entourage. We do not limit the field in which he can and ought to exercise his authority; we do not oppose to Pope Francis’ authority that of other persons — no matter how learned — who differ from Pope Francis. For whatever may be their learning, they are not holy, for where there is holiness there cannot be disagreement with Pope Francis.

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All know to whom the teaching authority of the Church has been given by God: Pope Francis, then, possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune. The duty of others is to hearken to Pope Francis reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says.

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Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor Pope Francis, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.
********************
They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to Pope Francis. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.

********************

Pope Francis has the divine promises; even in his human weaknesses, he is invincible and unshakable; he is the messenger of truth and justice, the principle of the unity of the Church; his voice denounces errors, idolatries, superstitions; he condemns iniquities; he makes charity and virtue loved.

********************

…[T]his sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith — Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted…. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters Pope Francis does not exercise the supreme power of his Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me” [Lk 10:16]; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine.

Well, dear recognize-and-resisters, how’s it going? Is your head spinning yet? Or do you perchance not believe in the Papacy?

Actually, though, we haven’t even gotten to the challenge yet. This was just the preparatory work to make semi-trads understand what the true doctrine on papal primacy is — you know, “what the Church has always taught” on that — and what it would mean if Francis were a true Pope.

Here, then, is our challenge to all recognize-and-resist traditionalists, especially those who like to proclaim that they will never be sedevacantists, whom they sillily claim to be schismatics and/or heretics:

Considering your firm belief that Francis is the Pope, in light of the traditional Catholic teaching on the Papacy laid out above, is it objectively a mortal sin to adhere to the ideas promoted by Francis in his official documents and discourses?

In other words: How do you reconcile the traditional Catholic doctrine on the Papacy quoted above with the idea that Jorge Bergoglio is a valid Pope, when the traditional doctrine requires you under pain of mortal sin to adhere to everything the Pope teaches and yet you resist what Francis teaches because you know it is poison and therefore (objectively) a mortal sin to adhere to?

So, have at it, fellows: John Salza, Robert Siscoe, Christopher Ferrara, Michael Matt, Brian McCall, Steve Skojec, Eric Sammons, Eric Gajewski, Matt Gaspers… go ahead, answer the challenge.

As of late, more and more people have been opining that we must wait for a group of Novus Ordo cardinals or bishops to get together in a so-called imperfect council to determine if Francis is a heretic and/or a non-Pope. It is amusingly ironic that oftentimes they are the same people who didn’t care too much for the judgments of the last council that came around.

We sedevacantists believe in the Papacy. Recognize-and-resisters believe in Bergoglio.

Which do you believe in?

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

The “But we’ve had Bad Popes before” Objection

Is Francis a “bad father but still your father”?

The “But we’ve had Bad Popes before” Objection

With the recent idolatrous, heretical, and blasphemous circus surrounding the Amazon Synod, Novus Ordo and semi-traditionalist authorities and apologists are once again offering false solutions to their hapless followers, solutions aimed at mostly one thing: the continued acceptance of Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) as the Pope of the Catholic Church, no matter how absurd and indefensible the idea may be — for the only truly intolerable view for them is that of Sedevacantism.

One of the most common objections one hears against Sedevacantism is, “But we’ve had bad Popes before” or, “A bad father is still your father!” People who think that such arguments can legitimize Francis are either not familiar with, or incapable of grasping, the difference between, on the one hand, Catholics who lead immoral lives, and, on the other hand, heretics.

Francis isn’t a bad Catholic. He manifests day in and day out that he is a non-Catholic. That’s the crux. Therefore, saying that we’ve had bad Popes in the past and they were still valid Popes, is totally beside the point. A man who professes the Catholic Faith whole and entire, no matter how wicked he may be, remains a member of the Catholic Church. Even if he hate God. Even if he be a murderer. Even if he be a sodomite.

God forbid, of course! Such a man, if he does not repent, will have an eternity of suffering in hell. His Church membership will have profited him nothing; his Faith, entirely dead because without charity, will not save him in the least. His knowledge of the True Faith will merely add to his misery in hell because he will have sinned with full knowledge of the sinfulness of his deeds.

Yes, all this is true. But such a man, if elected to the papacy, would still be a valid Pope, because what keeps a man from being validly elected to the papacy is not a lack of holiness but the public profession of heresy (among other things). In other words, what keeps him from being a valid Pope is not the commission of sins against morals (otherwise no one could be Pope, since we are all sinners), no matter how many or how grievous, but the commission of certain sins against Faith.

That is standard Catholic teaching and not controversial. Pope Pius XII put it best when he taught authoritatively in his beautiful encyclical on the Church:

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed….

Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. It is owing to the Savior’s infinite mercy that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet. For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit, and yet not be deprived of all life if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope, and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, nn. 22-23; underlining added.)

Note well, ladies and gentlemen: The only sins that by their very nature sever a man from the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, are the sins of schism, heresy, and apostasy. What this means is that these sins are such that committing them renders one a non-Catholic. A heretic, after all, professes a different religion than a Catholic, and so he cannot be a member of the Church, because one cannot be a Catholic and a non-Catholic at the same time. (The same goes, even more so, for an apostate. Schism is slightly different because it is a sin against charity and not against Faith, but this need not concern us here.)

Therefore, a schismatic, a heretic, or an apostate could not be a valid Pope, for this would mean that a man who is not a member of the Mystical Body can nevertheless be the head of that Mystical Body, which is a contradiction. The Catholic Encyclopedia, compiled during the reign of Pope St. Pius X, states very plainly: “Of course, the election of a heretic, schismatic, or female would be null and void” (s.v. “Papal Elections”).

To appreciate how important and serious this difference is between bad Catholic and non-Catholic, let us take a look at one of the most immoral Catholic Popes in history: Pope John XII, who reigned from 955 to 963. Prince Octavian (his birth name) was only 16 years of age when elected, and he was a complete moral reprobate:

Nothing in his life marked him for this office, and everything should have kept him from it. He was rarely seen in church. His days and nights were spent in the company of young men and of disreputable women, in the pleasures of the table and of amusements and of the hunt, or in even more sinful sensual enjoyments. It is related that sometimes, in the midst of dissolute revelry, the prince had been seen to drink to the health of the devil. Raised to the papal office, Octavian changed his name and took the name of John XII. He was the first pope thus to assume a new name. But his new dignity brought about no change in his morals, and merely added the guilt of sacrilege.

Divine providence, watching over the Church, miraculously preserved the deposit of faith, of which this young voluptuary was the guardian. This Pope’s life was a monstrous scandal, but his bullarium is faultless. We cannot sufficiently admire this prodigy. There is not a heretic or a schismatic who has not endeavored to legitimate his own conduct dogmatically: Photius tried to justify his pride, Luther his sensual passions, Calvin his cold cruelty. Neither Sergius III nor John XII nor Benedict IX nor Alexander VI, supreme pontiffs, definers of the faith, certain of being heard and obeyed by the whole Church, uttered, from the height of their apostolic pulpit, a single word that could be an approval of their disorders.

At times John XII even became the defender of the threatened social order, of offended canon law, and of the religious life exposed to danger.

(Rev. Fernand Mourret, A History of the Catholic Church, Vol. 3 [St. Louis, MO: Herder Book Co., 1946], pp. 510-511; underlining added.)

BAM! Did you get that?

Yes, there can be bad Popes, indeed. But in the exercise of their office they will be as orthodox and as Catholic as any other. Christ promised as much: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). That is the Catholic doctrine on the Papacy, backed by God Himself:

…the Church has received from on high a promise which guarantees her against every human weakness. What does it matter that the helm of the symbolic barque has been entrusted to feeble hands, when the Divine Pilot stands on the bridge, where, though invisible, He is watching and ruling? Blessed be the strength of his arm and the multitude of his mercies!

(Pope Leo XIII, Allocution to Cardinals, March 20, 1900; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 349.)

The Pope has the divine promises; even in his human weaknesses, he is invincible and unshakable; he is the messenger of truth and justice, the principle of the unity of the Church; his voice denounces errors, idolatries, superstitions; he condemns iniquities; he makes charity and virtue loved.

(Pope Pius XII, Address Ancora Una Volta, Feb. 20, 1949)

Thus, if one were to say that Francis is the Pope, one would have to conclude that all the Catholic teaching on the Papacy applies to him and that its guarantees are verified in him. To see how Bergoglio measures up, we have put together a handy little tool:

Unlike what so many prominent “traditionalists” have been spouting for decades, the Church is not guaranteed to have a Pope at all times; but when she has one, she is guaranteed to have one who’s Catholic. This is evident also because the Pope is the principle of unity in the Church and the proximate rule of Faith; he is the guarantor of orthodoxy and to him all must submit as a condition of their salvation (see Denz. 469). The idea that a public heretic could be Pope and teach in accordance with his heresies, would throw all of this completely out of sync.

Thus St. Robert Bellarmine, the Doctor of the Papacy, taught:

The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.

Now our adversaries respond that the Church ought to hear him so long as he teaches correctly, for God must be heard more than men.

On the other hand, who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off, not even and especially in those matters which are truly doubtful. Nor do Christian sheep have any greater judge or teacher to whom they might have recourse. As we showed above, from the whole Church one can appeal to the Pope yet, from him no one is able to appeal; therefore necessarily the whole Church will err if the Pontiff would err.

(St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter 3; Grant translation; underlining added.)

Whereas certain self-appointed recognize-and-resist traditionalists want to “unite the clans” so as to mount a unified defense against their “Pope’s” open heterodoxy, the Catholic Magisterium is quite clear that the only principle that can produce the unity of the flock is the Pope, who alone possesses authority over all Christians and who cannot lead the flock astray in matters of Faith and morals:

The vigilance and the pastoral solicitude of the Roman Pontiff … according to the duties of his office, are principally and above all manifested in maintaining and conserving the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God. They strive also to the end that the faithful of Christ, not being like irresolute children, or carried about by every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men [Eph 4:14], may all come to the unity of faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God to form the perfect man, that they may not harm one another or offend against one another in the community and the society of this present life, but that rather, united in the bond of charity like members of a single body having Christ for head, and under the authority of his Vicar on earth, the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Blessed Peter, from whom is derived the unity of the entire Church, they may increase in number for the edification of the body, and with the assistance of divine grace, they may so enjoy tranquility in this life as to enjoy future beatitude.”

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Pastoralis Romani Pontificis, March 30, 1741; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 31; underlining added.)

The Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff have primacy in the entire world. The Roman Pontiff is the Successor of Blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, true Vicar of Christ, Head of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all Christians.

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Etsi Pastoralis, May 26, 1742; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 32; underlining added.)

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua to Cardinal Guibert; underlining added.)

Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

(Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam)

Union with the Roman See of Peter is … always the public criterion of a Catholic…. ‘You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held.’

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 13; underlining added.)

…[T]he strong and effective instrument of salvation is none other than the Roman Pontificate.

(Pope Leo XIII, Allocution of Feb. 20, 1903; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 353)

What? You haven’t heard these things lately from your favorite semi-trad newspaper, blog, or clergyman? You don’t say! Try applying the above quotes to the Vatican II Sect and its “Popes”, and you realize very quickly that their goose is cooked. Is Francis, even in his official acts, “the strong and effective instrument of salvation”? Hardly! If there’s anything he’s strong and effective in, it’s causing loss of Faith and thus damnation.

Take a good look also at the dogmatic teaching of the First Vatican Council on the connection between the Papacy and the True Faith, a connection which is not merely incidental but essential and necessary:

To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors always gave tireless attention that the saving doctrine of Christ be spread among all the peoples of the earth, and with equal care they watched that, wherever it was received, it was preserved sound and pure. Therefore, the bishops of the whole world, now individually, now gathered in Synods, following a long custom of the churches and the formula of the ancient rule, referred to this Holy See those dangers particularly which emerged in the affairs of faith, that there especially the damages to faith might be repaired where faith cannot experience a failure. The Roman Pontiffs, moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical Councils or by examining the opinion of the Church spread throughout the world; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God’s help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic traditionFor, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” [Luke 22:32].

(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, n. 4; Denz. 1836; underlining added.)

It’s time to change the channel, folks. It’s time to stop imbibing the semi-traditionalist propaganda produced by The Remnant and its theological cousins.

As Catholics, we can take a debauched but Catholic Pope John XII over a “nice” but heretical Francis any day. Pope Pius IX reminds us of this once more:

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair [of St. Peter]; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7; underlining added.)

But the supposed “Chair of St. Peter” in the Vatican II Sect has tottered and fallen; it therefore cannot be the true and genuine Chair of St. Peter.

Where, then, is the true Pope? We do not know. For all we know, we do not have a Pope. The See of Peter has been either vacant or impeded since 1958. It has most definitely not been validly occupied by the impostors of the Vatican II Church (John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis).

But keep in mind: Though the Church may not always have a Pope, she will always have the True Faith. And for this reason alone we know that the Vatican II Sect cannot be the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So… now what, you ask? Now go and be a real Catholic.

 

Pope St. Pius X on Cardinal John Henry Newman

October 12, 2019

Was Newman a Modernist?

Pope St. Pius X on Cardinal John Henry Newman

 

Tomorrow, Oct. 13, Antipope Francis will pretend to declare Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-90) a saint. He cannot actually declare him a saint since such a privilege is reserved to the Pope, and if there’s one thing that lousy Modernist Jorge Bergoglio is not, it’s Pope of the Catholic Church.

In any case, the Novus Ordo Modernists have long hijacked Cardinal Newman for their own nefarious ends, spinning him into a forerunner of the Second Vatican Council, and consequently they have no objection to his canonization. Even long before the council, however, the original Modernists were already claiming to have a friend in Cardinal Newman, as we will see momentarily.

The impending worthless canonization of Newman by the Vatican II Sect is thus a golden opportunity to demonstrate that the celebrated convert from Anglicanism was certainly a Catholic. We need not undertake any lengthy in-depth study of his thought in order to be assured of this, for we can turn to the one man who, more than any others in the history of the Church, had the greatest authority, competence, and credibility to speak on the matter: We have in mind none other than Pope Pius X (reigned 1903-1914), the powerful progenitor of the Church’s anti-Modernist campaign, himself declared a saint on May 29, 1954, by Pope Pius XII.

On Sep. 8, 1907, St. Pius X released his landmark encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis against the doctrines of the Modernists. The following year, the local ordinary of Limerick, Ireland, Bp. Edward Thomas O’Dwyer (1842-1917), published a little 44-page book entitled Cardinal Newman and the Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (a paperback copy may be purchased here). What occasioned the publication of the latter was the fact that some of the partisans of the Modernism the Pope had just condemned were appealing to the celebrated name of Cardinal Newman in their defense.

Bp. O’Dwyer wrote:

…I observe that some of the persons who feel the severity of the Pope’s condemnation try to shield themselves under the venerable name of Newman. They would make believe that, in his writings, they can find, if not in express terms, at least in germ and embryo, the very doctrines for which they are now condemned, and they seem to hope that, in England, the name of Newman will be more authoritative on Catholic doctrine than the teaching of the Holy See. It is an uncatholic position, in principle, but it is as untrue to fact as it is unsound in faith. There is nothing in Newman to sustain, or extenuate, or suggest a particle of their wild and absurd theories. Newman was a Catholic to the tips of his fingers.

(Most Rev. Edward T. O’Dwyer, Cardinal Newman and the Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis: An Essay [London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908], p. 5; paragraph breaks removed.)

The remainder of the work is the author’s defense of the illustrious convert, showing that Modernists can lay no claim to the name of Newman.

On Mar. 10, 1908, Pope St. Pius X wrote a letter to Bp. O’Dwyer, commending him for his fine work defending the good cardinal and endorsing it wholeheartedly. The papal document was published in the Acta Sanctae Sedis, and we reproduce an English translation of it below for the benefit of our readers (taken from Michael Davies’ book Lead Kindly Light):

LETTER
In which Pope Pius X approves the work of the Bishop of Limerick
on the writings of Cardinal Newman.
To his Venerable Brother
Edward Thomas Bishop of Limerick

Venerable Brother, greetings and Our Apostolic blessing. We hereby inform you that your essay, in which you show that the writings of Cardinal Newman, far from being in disagreement with Our Encyclical Letter Pascendi, are very much in harmony with it, has been emphatically approved by Us: for you could not have better served both the truth and the dignity of man.

It is clear that those people whose errors We have condemned in that Document had decided among themselves to produce something of their own invention with which to seek the commendation of a distinguished person. And so they everywhere assert with confidence that they have taken these things from the very source and summit of authority, and that therefore We cannot censure their teachings, but rather that We had even previously gone so far as to condemn what such a great author had taught.

Incredible though it may appear, although it is not always realised, there are to be found those who are so puffed up with pride that it is enough to overwhelm the mind, and who are convinced that they are Catholics and pass themselves off as such, while in matters concerning the inner discipline of religion they prefer the authority of their own private teaching to the pre-eminent authority of the Magisterium of the Apostolic See. Not only do you fully demonstrate their obstinacy but you also show clearly their deceitfulness.

For, if in the things he had written before his profession of the Catholic faith one can justly detect something which may have a kind of similarity with certain Modernist formulas, you are correct in saying that this is not relevant to his later works. Moreover, as far as that matter is concerned, his way of thinking has been expressed in very different ways, both in the spoken word and in his published writings, and the author himself, on his admission into the Catholic Church, forwarded all his writings to the authority of the same Church so that any corrections might be made, if judged appropriate.

Regarding the large number of books of great importance and influence which he wrote as a Catholic, it is hardly necessary to exonerate them from any connection with this present heresy. And indeed, in the domain of England, it is common knowledge that Henry Newman pleaded the cause of the Catholic faith in his prolific literary output so effectively that his work was both highly beneficial to its citizens and greatly appreciated by Our Predecessors: and so he is held worthy of office whom Leo XIII, undoubtedly a shrewd judge of men and affairs, appointed Cardinal; indeed he was very highly regarded by him at every stage of his career, and deservedly so.

Truly, there is something about such a large quantity of work and his long hours of labour lasting far into the night that seems foreign to the usual way of theologians: nothing can be found to bring any suspicion about his faith. You correctly state that it is entirely to be expected that where no new signs of heresy were apparent he has perhaps used an off-guard manner of speaking to some people in certain places, but that what the Modernists do is to falsely and deceitfully take those words out of the whole context of what he meant to say and twist them to suit their own meaning. We therefore congratulate you for having, through your knowledge of all his writings, brilliantly vindicated the memory of this eminently upright and wise man from injustice: and also for having, to the best of your ability, brought your influence to bear among your fellow-countrymen, but particularly among the English people, so that those who were accustomed to abusing his name and deceiving the ignorant should henceforth cease doing so.

Would that they should follow Newman the author faithfully by studying his books without, to be sure, being addicted to their own prejudices, and let them not with wicked cunning conjure anything up from them or declare that their own opinions are confirmed in them; but instead let them understand his pure and whole principles, his lessons and inspiration which they contain. They will learn many excellent things from such a great teacher: in the first place, to regard the Magisterium of the Church as sacred, to defend the doctrine handed down inviolately by the Fathers and, what is of highest importance to the safeguarding of Catholic truth, to follow and obey the Successor of St. Peter with the greatest faith.

To you, therefore, Venerable Brother, and to your clergy and people, We give Our heartfelt thanks for having taken the trouble to help Us in Our reduced circumstances by sending your communal gift of financial aid: and in order to gain for you all, but first and foremost for yourself, the gifts of God’s goodness, and as a testimony of Our benevolence, We affectionately bestow Our Apostolic blessing.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s, on 10 March 1908, in the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
Pius PP. X

(Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Tuum Illud; original in Acta Sanctae Sedis XLI [1908], pp. 200-202; underlining and paragraph breaks added.)

This should definitively put to rest the suspicion that Newman was putting forward Modernist ideas. Obviously he had held many errors before his conversion, as an Anglican, but that cannot be laid to the charge of the Catholic Newman. Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-92), likewise a convert from Anglicanism but so different from Newman, declared at the latter’s passing: “We have lost our greatest witness for the Faith” (source).

Newman converted in 1845. He was ordained a Catholic priest on May 30, 1847. He never became a bishop, but Pope Leo XIII raised him to the rank of cardinal on May 12, 1879. (The rule that all cardinals had to be bishops was introduced by Antipope John XXIII in the early 1960s.) One of the reasons why Newman at times gives rise to confusion is that he employed his own peculiar vocabulary, he was not a systematic theologian, and he was not a Thomist or a scholastic. None of this should be too surprising, however, considering that the great Neo-Thomist revival of the 19th century did not begin until long after his conversion, with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Aeterni Patris, in 1879. [Correction: We have been informed since that the Thomist revival was already underway before, but mostly confined to Dominican schools, and that Leo XIII merely gave this movement papal impetus.]

People who are interested in investigating Newman’s theology in-depth and seeing its orthodoxy vindicated, are encouraged to consult, in addition to Bp. O’Dwyer’s book linked above, Fr. Edmond D. Benard’s work A Preface to Newman’s Theology (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1945). We had intended to make this work available as a free PDF download; however, we were not able to obtain the copyright as the publisher is going to re-release it into print in the near future.

A succint preview of what the reader can expect is found on the inside flap of the dust jacket of the original 1945 edition: “A PREFACE TO NEWMAN’S THEOLOGY is a close study of the great man’s Catholic orthodoxy. Was Newman a Modernist or did he have Modernist leanings? If so, he would be an unsafe guide. This question is here discussed with scholarly acumen. Some writers have criticized Newman’s teaching on the development of Christian doctrine. The arguments on this question also are carefully sifted and scrutinized….”

The author, Fr. Benard, was an incredibly gifted young priest who was just rising to prominence as a Newman scholar. He died a premature death in his study at the Catholic University of America, during a fire on Feb. 4, 1961, presumably of smoke inhalation. However, knowing all the evils that would afflict the Church and society afterwards, we can see what a great mercy of Almighty God it was to call him to judgment when He did. Fr. Benard died at the young age of 46, but he lived long enough to leave to posterity this magnificent vindication of Newman’s orthodoxy.

Traditional Catholics, then, should not allow the Modernists to claim Newman as one of their own, for he most certainly wasn’t. Not only learned authorities such as Bp. O’Dwyer and Fr. Benard but even Pope St. Pius X himself assure us of this.

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

The “Heretical” Popes (Part 1): Adrian VI

Setting the Record straight…

The “Heretical” Popes
Part 1: Adrian VI

[UPDATE 07-APR-2015: The First Vatican Council on the Question of a Heretical Pope]

There are two major lines of argument used by people who are rabidly anti-sedevacantist; that is, those who oppose the position of Sedevacantism not on account of evidence, real or imagined, but on account of a desire to see the position opposed for some other motive.

The first line of argumentation is to downplay the problems with the Vatican II “Popes” to make them seem less serious than they are. The second line of argumentation is to exaggerate the problems with some true Popes of the past to make them seem comparable to the situation we find ourselves in today, when outright apostates are claiming the papal office, especially Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and Paul VI.

As the heresies of Francis are so much out in the open now that anyone who wishes to retain some respectability and credibility can no longer deny them, it is the second line of argumentation that is now receiving renewed emphasis. On various blogs, forums, and web sites, claims are being made by some to the effect that “we’ve always had heretical Popes” — an outrageous and theologically as well as historically erroneous statement that is being uttered with a nonchalantness that could put Hans Kung to shame.

Boiling it down to the basics: The reason it is impossible for the Church to have a publicly heretical Pope is that this would destroy the unity of the Church, one of the hallmarks of her nature. The Church is necessarily united in Faith; if her head publicly held a different faith, she would cease to be one and be no better than the local Protestant church down the street, where each believer may disagree with any other, even with the pastor, about what the truth really is.

Already in Holy Scripture, St. Paul the Apostle refers to Holy Mother Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) and teaches that our Lord instituted the sacred hierarchy so that “we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ; that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:13-14).

Furthermore, the Catholic Magisterium has consistently taught that all Catholics must be subject to the papacy as a student is subject to his teacher:

“The vigilance and the pastoral solicitude of the Roman Pontiff … according to the duties of his office, are principally and above all manifested in maintaining and conserving the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God. They strive also to the end that the faithful of Christ, not being like irresolute children, or carried about by every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men [Eph 4:14], may all come to the unity of faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God to form the perfect man, that they may not harm one another or offend against one another in the community and the society of this present life, but that rather, united in the bond of charity like members of a single body having Christ for head, and under the authority of his Vicar on earth, the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Blessed Peter, from whom is derived the unity of the entire Church, they may increase in number for the edification of the body, and with the assistance of divine grace, they may so enjoy tranquility in this life as to enjoy future beatitude.”

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Pastoralis Romani Pontificis, March 30, 1741; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 31; underlining added.)

 

The Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff have primacy in the entire world. The Roman Pontiff is the Successor of Blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, true Vicar of Christ, Head of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all Christians.”

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Etsi Pastoralis, May 26, 1742; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 32; under-lining added.)

 

“Our desire is to maintain unity in the bond of peace; and We have no other motive, in exposing the deceits of those who abuse the names of the [Church] Fathers to give false meaning to their words. Let all understand that there is no teaching which the Fathers have more at heart than that all should be kept in unity, attached to this Chair [of St. Peter] which alone Christ has made mother and mistress of all the others.”

(Pope Pius VI, Decree Super Soliditate, Nov. 28, 1786; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 60; underlining added.)

 

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.”

(Pope Leo XIII, Letter Epistola Tua to Cardinal Guibert, June 17, 1885; underlining added.)

 

“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

(Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302; under-lining added.)

 

“Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity.

“For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Every one must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever. No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread themselves continually, to the increasing injury of Christian and civil society.”

(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes [1868]; underlining added.)

These quotes speak for themselves, and they are obviously incompatible with the idea that a Pope could be a heretic, and that when he is, each of the faithful needs to determine this for himself and “resist” him accordingly, lest he be led astray and be punished eternally.

If a true Pope could be a heretic and still remain Pope, then the Church would have no need of a Pope — then he would not differ in essence from the leaders of the Anglican sect, or of the Eastern Orthodox churches, or of the Protestant faith communities. He would just become a ceremonial head whose tasks might include that of guiding, directing, and inspecting, but who ultimately holds no genuine authority, in virtue of his office, to teach the Faith and whose teaching demands assent for the mere fact that he, the Pope, is the one who is teaching (cf. Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 20).

The one ecumenical council that dealt extensively with the dogmatic teaching on the papacy and the nature and authority of the Catholic Magisterium was the Vatican Council of 1870 (aka the “First” Vatican Council). Listen attentively to what the council teaches so eloquently:

To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors always gave tireless attention that the saving doctrine of Christ be spread among all the peoples of the earth, and with equal care they watched that, wherever it was received, it was preserved sound and pure. Therefore, the bishops of the whole world, now individually, now gathered in Synods, following a long custom of the churches and the formula of the ancient rule, referred to this Holy See those dangers particularly which emerged in the affairs of faith, that there especially the damages to faith might be repaired where faith cannot experience a failure. The Roman Pontiffs, moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical Councils or by examining the opinion of the Church spread throughout the world; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God’s help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition. For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” [Luke 22:32].

So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair, that they might administer their high duty for the salvation of all; that the entire flock of Christ, turned away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished on the sustenance of heavenly doctrine, that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one, and relying on her foundation might stay firm against the gates of hell.

(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; Denz. 1836-1837; underlining added.)

It should be obvious to all that this teaching cannot be squared with the idea of a Pope who is also a public heretic, that is, one who publicly professes a faith that contradicts the faith of the Catholic Church as received from the Apostles. Quite simply, if a Pope could be a public heretic, then Vatican I’s teaching was false. But this is impossible. Therefore, we know that a Pope cannot be a public heretic.

Nevertheless, time and again assertions are made by anti-sedevacantists that several Popes in the Church’s history were public heretics — the sole objective being, of course, to lend support to the argument that if these “heretical Popes” were still true Popes, then so must we consider Francis and his five predecessors of infelicitous memory likewise to be true Popes, at least until some future Pope should declare otherwise (in which case one would then have to ask why anyone should pay attention to that future Pope if the contemporary ones need not be heeded, since what applies to one Pope necessarily applies to all of them). The position is entirely driven by the desire to justify accepting the Vatican II “Popes” while not having to assent to their teaching or having to submit to their rule.

The names of the alleged “heretical Popes” in Catholic history are usually the following, in chronological order (though others pop up occasionally as well): Liberius, Honorius I, Stephen VII, John XII, and John XXII. We will examine each case one by one, and perhaps a few others, in several installments, of which the current post is but the first, although we must begin with a different name altogether: that of Adrian VI.

Although no one has accused Pope Adrian VI of heresy, we will begin our blog post series on the “heretical Popes” with his case because he is sometimes invoked as having taught and believed that Popes can be heretics. In fact, the infamous quote, “Many Roman Pontiffs were heretics, the last of them being John XXII”, is ascribed to Pope Adrian, and some eager anti-sedevacantists have been quick to circulate this suspicious quote on the internet because, if true, it would help their case tremendously. Yet, this attitude of “Let’s make a claim first and ask questions later” is not acceptable with regard to such a serious and important matter as the orthodoxy of the Vicars of Christ and Catholic teaching on the papacy in general, which is the most august office in the world.

So, let’s pose the question directly: Did Pope Adrian VI truly utter or even teach these words, and what is their source?

The fact is that Pope Adrian did no such thing. Rather, the words were uttered by the theologian Adrianus Florentius, who later became Pope Adrian VI (he retained his baptismal name, Adrian, even as Pope). The book in which Adrianus makes this assertion is his Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences of Peter Lombard, published in 1516 (and in other editions even before then). Adrian did not became Pope until 1522 and died the following year. The authenticity of the quote can be verified by consulting an original copy of the book, which is available online. We are producing here a snapshot of the paragraph that contains the passage in question:

Source: Hadrianus Florentius, Quaestiones in quartum sententiarum praesertim circa sacramenta (Louvain, Belgium: 1516), fol. XXIII [screenshot of p. 52 of PDF file provided by Google Books]

There is no doubt that this quote and its source are authentic. We see, for example, other Catholic theologians writing at the time of Adrianus Florentius or after — but before the Vatican Council of 1870, we curiously note — referring to Adrian’s quote. For example, Bp. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet of Meaux, France, uses the controversial quotation in Chapter 28 of his monograph Gallia Orthodoxa (1682).

Though in many ways recognized as a great theologian, Bossuet was also a proponent of Gallicanism and opposed the infallibility of the Pope, which was later defined as a dogma by the First Vatican Council, where this tenet of the Gallican school was condemned as heretical. At the time of Bossuet, however, a number of Gallican positions later condemned were still permitted theological opinions, or at least ones that were tolerated. This explains why Bossuet was able to hold this particular idea without being condemned at the time.

Gallicanism was a conglomeration of errors concerning the authority of the Pope mostly found in 17th and 18th-century France, though its origins go back to the 14th century. Over time, various Gallican propositions were condemned by the Church, most notably by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690 and Pope Pius VI in 1794, and most recently by the First Vatican Council in 1870, so that Gallicanism “is now professed only by the heretical sect of the Old Catholics” (Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, s.v. “Gallicanism”) — note well! It is perhaps no accident that a lot of the errors held and promoted by the Society of St. Pius X resemble those of Gallicanism, as their founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, was French.

Back to Bossuet. In the above-mentioned work, he approvingly cites Adrianus Florentius — who, at the time, was a theology professor in Louvain, Belgium — concerning the allegation that “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics”, though he admits that Adrianus wrote this not as Pope but as a theologian before he was raised to the Supreme Pontificate. Nevertheless, Bossuet argues, after Adrian had become Pope, he never retracted his original claim and even published his writings in Rome in 1522, that is, after becoming Pope. This is also the argument made by the rabidly anti-sedevacantist French blog La Question, which features an article on the topic here:

So, this seems like a slam dunk for the anti-sedevacantists, doesn’t it?

Well, not so fast. We need to be careful to distinguish evidence and facts from assumptions and conjecture. Let’s take a step back and list what we know and what we can reasonably infer:

  • Though not clearly proven, it is reasonably established that Adrianus Florentius made the claim that many Popes were heretics — unless the document was a forgery, which, however, would have to be proven
  • It is known that this was Adrianus’ belief before becoming Pope — he uttered it as a theology professor at Louvain
  • This belief, though erroneous, was allowed to be held at the time, or at least tolerated, as we can see from the fact that other theologians who held it, not only Adrianus Florentius but also Bossuet, for example, were not censured at the time (something that St. Robert Bellarmine points out, as we will see below)
  • It has not been directly proven, but merely inferred (albeit reasonably), that the edition of Adrianus’ writing after he became Pope still contains the claim that many Roman Pontiffs were heretics
  • The position taken by Adrianus and seconded by Bossuet was adhered to before the dogmatic teaching on the papacy by the Vatican Council of 1870
  • Even if we were to concede that it is possible for a Pope to become a public heretic and still remain a valid Pope, it is clear that Adrianus’ assertion that “many” Popes were heretics is definitely false
  • The only “Catholic” book we know of that still used the Adrianus quote after the First Vatican Council is Paul Viollet’s 1904 work L’Infaillibilité du Pape et le Syllabus [“The Infallibility of the Pope and the Syllabus”], where the author tries to back up his position that Popes can be heretics. This book, however, was subsequently examined by the Vatican and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books under Pope St. Pius X in 1908

Can you imagine what the anti-sedevacantists would say to us if as “proof” of our position we used a statement written by a Pope before he was Pope on the grounds that he did not retract it after becoming Pope and ordered (or simply didn’t prevent) the publication of his book during his pontificate? We’re talking here about people who do not think they are bound by teachings in papal encyclicals, by papal canonizations, by decrees of ecumenical councils, by universal church law, etc. Why would they care about what a Pope said before he became Pope — even if he allowed the document to be published once more after ascending the papal throne — about 350 years before the First Vatican Council?

It’s really funny how these anti-sedevacantists always demand nothing short of an ex cathedra pronouncement of us to prove our position, but somehow their position is definitively proved by every hiss or sneeze of anyone who wasn’t burned at the stake. The double standard is glaring and quite telling. Apparently, their arguments are determined not by what is true and reasonable, but solely by what helps support their desired conclusion.

But let’s look at some more evidence concerning the position taken by Adrianus Florentius, which he may also have held privately as Pope Adrian VI (we say “privately” because he certainly never made it part of his pontifical Magisterium). It’s not like no Catholic theologian or historian has ever written about this other than Bp. Bossuet and Paul Viollet. In fact, even St. Robert Bellarmine mentioned Adrian VI, as we will see later.

The famous French manual Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique [“Dictionary of Catholic Theology”] has an entry on Adrian VI, and devotes one paragraph in particular to the issue at hand:

In Quaestiones in IVum Sententiarum, the statement that the pope can err, even in something which touches upon the faith has been noted. But it is altogether wrong that certain adversaries of infallibility have seen in this a serious argument in their favor, or that even in our days, certain others pretend to be scandalized by it. Adrian wrote the book from which the citation is taken long before his elevation to the chair of Peter, and it obviously does not participate in any way in the authority of pontifical acts. There is, moreover, no proof that in the mind of its author the assertion applies to ex cathedra definitions; consequently, [the statement] is nothing more than a reproduction of a theological opinion we encounter many times before the sixteenth century, either from the pen of popes themselves or in documents they approved. Thus Innocent III wrote: ‘Faith is so necessary to me that, if for every other fault I am subject to the judgment of God alone, it is only for a sin I commit in a matter of faith that I become subject to judgment of the tribunal of the Church.’ And already even before this, one reads in the Decree of Gratian (dist. XL, c. vi) these words of Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz: ‘No mortal man should pretend to reproach [the Roman Pontiff] for his faults. For, established as the judge of all, he recognizes no judge over himself, at least as long as he does not commit an error against the faith.’ In these texts and many others like it, the pope is obviously spoken of as a private doctor.

(J. Forget, “Adrian VI”, in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique [Paris: Letouzey, 1913-50], vol. I, c. 461; our translation; some italics removed.)

So, in short, the key take-away here is that what Adrianus said, even if we grant that he ordered it reprinted while he was Pope, is nothing but a “theological opinion” which, at that point in time, was still permissible to hold, but which was certainly no longer acceptable since the First Vatican Council, whose teaching is irreconcilable with the idea that the Pope could be a heretic. Hence it is easy to see why Paul Viollet’s book was put on the Index, even though it actually carried an imprimatur from the local ordinary, Abp. Fulbert Petit (ouch!).

The argument about Adrianus Florentius on the “heretical Popes” is also made by the excommunicated “Old Catholic” heretic Johann von Döllinger in his condemned work Der Papst und das Concil [in English translation as The Pope and the Council (Boston, MA: Roberts Brothers, 1870), p. 306], which he wrote under his pseudonym Janus. The work was also put on the Index of Forbidden Books and was refuted by Cardinal Joseph Hergenröther in his 1870 book Anti-Janus.

Next, let’s go to an Italian resource. The Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastica [“Dictionary of Historical-Ecclesiastical Erudition”] says regarding Pope Adrian VI:

Adrian VI, Pope 228, formerly Adriano Florenzio, son of the craftsman Florenzio, was born on March 2, 1459 in Utrecht, Netherlands, and not in Sanzano in the diocese of Brescia, as stated without any good reason by the capuchin Mattia Bellintani (Storia di Salò, 1586). He received his degree in Leuven, and after that founded a college in that university which bears his name, which was later also named “Pontifical”. Someone noted that Adrian wrote (in 4 sent. de confirmatione): plures Pontifices fuerunt heretici (multiple Popes were heretics). Lodovico Vincenzo Goti excellently answers this accusation (tom. I verae eccles. cap II. n. 6): Adrian stated this while he was a theologian in Leuven; therefore, if his works were reprinted after he became Pope, without the removal of these words, one cannot say that he, as Pope, would support such a statement. How many times are works not reprinted without the author being aware of it, or with the author not being the last to make amendments? Later, Adrian received the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Leuven, then became dean of the cathedral, and finally vice-chancellor of the university. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, appointed him as preceptor of Charles, his grandson, also sending him as ambassador to Ferdinand, the King of Spain, who appointed him as bishop of Tortosa, in that kingdom. When Charles ascended to the throne, the king gave to Adrian full powers over all the aspects of his monarchy and, since Adrian had already been made Cardinal of Saints John and Paul by [Pope] Leo X after an inquiry of Maximilian, he left him as general inquisitor and governor of Spain for the whole time, before going to Germany and taking possession of that empire under the name of Charles V.

(Gaetano Moroni Romano, ed., Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastica [Venice: Tipografia Emiliana, 1840], s.v. “Adriano VI”, p. 104; our translation; some italics changed.)

Ah, so maybe the whole matter isn’t as clear-cut as some anti-sedevacantists would have us believe. Viollet, in his condemned work, mentions this reference and even quotes it (see p. 21, fn. 1) but claims it is improbable that Pope Adrian modified his work before being reprinted, or that it was reprinted without his knowledge or permission. All right, so now we’re down to arguing probabilities. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but let’s not act as though we had a clear-cut case here. In addition, let’s not forget that Viollet’s opinion appears in a book that has been condemned by the Church. So, which position had we rather side with?

At the end of the day, however, as already indicated, it does not really matter whether Pope Adrian had this work reprinted with or without this error, for the following two reasons:

  • The error was a permitted theological opinion at the time
  • The error in no wise became a part of his papal Magisterium

St. Robert Bellarmine himself in fact addresses the thesis of Adrianus Florentius in his monumental work De Romano Pontifice, first published by this name in the 17th century. He calls the opinion that the Pope can be a heretic and of himself (though not when making a definition at a council) teach heresy an opinion that “we dare not call properly heretical, for we still see those who maintain this position tolerated by the Church; yet it does seem completely erroneous and proximate to heresy and can rightly be judged heretical by the Church” (St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book 4, Ch. 2, in Opera Omnia, Book 1 [Naples: J. Giuliano, 1856], p. 478; now available in complete English translation here: On the Roman Pontiff).

Now notice one very important thing: St. Robert is writing in the 17th century, over 250 years before the First Vatican Council issued its dogmas on the papacy. This corroborates exactly what we’ve asserted in this post, namely, that before Vatican I, these matters were still being disputed among theologians, especially back in the 1500’s and 1600’s, when Adrianus and Bossuet were writing, and therefore some positions were then either allowed or at least “tolerated” (St. Robert’s word) that can no longer be held today, over 140 years after Vatican I. In fact, St. Robert — who, as of 1931, is a Doctor of the Church, we might add — already says in the 1600s that the position taken by Adrianus and many anti-sedevacantists today could with justice be condemned as heretical in the future. This had not yet been done back then, so the people who held it were not heretics, but it is significant that St. Robert says that it deserves to be condemned as heretical. No wonder books during and after Vatican I who maintainted this position were put on the Index.

Another point that ought to be brought up, even if just for the sake of historical accuracy, is that when Adrianus Florentius wrote that “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics” in his Quaestiones in Quartum Sententiarum, he said it merely in passing and not as part of a treatise on papal authority or the unity of the Church. Rather, the context was dismissing an argument made by a theological opponent regarding the sacrament of confirmation. The opponent had cited St. Gregory the Great to substantiate his point about priests being able to administer confirmations, and Adrianus, disagreeing, said that Gregory had been wrong, and besides (so the theologian Adrianus claimed), “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics”. That is the context of the controversial saying to begin with. This does not, of course, negate what he said, but it is important to keep in mind that Adrianus’ remark was incidental to a discussion on a completely different topic; it was an obiter dictum. In addition to that, we note that he was wrong, not only with regard to confirmation, but also with regard to the question of whether many Popes were heretics. This is something that tends to be glossed over: Adrianus’ assertion is false.

And thus we have demolished yet another misleading anti-sedevacantist argument. As you can see, it takes real research to properly understand such issues, and we Sedevacantists are greatly outnumbered by the (often paid) apologists of the much more popular and convenient “resistance” position, in which you can have all the advantages of the sedevacantist position without any of its disadvantages.

Alas, our critics have the “bully pulpit”. They have the prestige, the positions of authority, the applause of the majority, the fancy broadcasting equipment, and the money and the time to disseminate their position to a wide audience. But there is one thing we have that they do not: the truth. If you would like to help the mission of Novus Ordo Watch, we have listed 12 specific ways you can do so; and no, they do not have to involve money.

A few more closing comments are in order.

In the debate about Sedevacantism, whether the Chair of St. Peter has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, a lot of things are asserted by people who do not really understand the subject matter or who do not take the time to do real research. As we can see in the case of Pope Adrian VI here, it is very disappointing and troublesome to see anti-sedevacantists mindlessly recycle a quote of which they have no real knowledge other than someone having discovered it in a book put on the Index. They use the quote because it helps their case, regardless of what the truth of the matter may be. Such “research” and argumentation are reprehensible, and look at the consequences: They have now put in people’s minds the impious idea that a Pope does not even have to profess the true Faith in order to be Pope, in order to be the bulwark of truth and the principle of unity in the Church. The matter is absurd.

What’s also quite interesting is that these arguments and quotes brought forth by the anti-sedevacantists about the “heretical Popes” tend to be brought up, since 1870, only by people who argued against Vatican I. The only two “Catholic” books we know of since that council that use the case of Adrian VI to argue that Popes can be heretics are Dollinger’s and Viollet’s, and both were put on the Index. Not exactly a positive omen for our critics.

That’s why it is no surprise to see that, in general, any “resistance” quotes brought up by anti-sedevacantists are always from sources before 1870, when the First Vatican Council settled a number of teachings regarding the Papacy and the Magisterium. (Our TRADCAST 003 podcast deals with this matter at length.) Why will they not quote theologians after the council to justify their “recognize-and-resist” stance? Quite simply, because they cannot find any who teach such a thing, that’s why.

In Sacred Theology throughout history, you will always find positions at one time permitted and held that are later condemned or abandoned. This is to be expected, as the task of the theologian is to explain Catholic teaching and show its source in and harmony with Divine Revelation. Over hundreds of years, as theologians debate various issues, there will always be positions accepted that are later rejected by the Church as untenable, erroneous, or even heretical, and the history of the Church is full of precisely that, as the famous doctrinal document collection Denzinger (“The Sources of Catholic Dogma”) attests.

As we have insisted on numerous occasions in the past, it is absolutely essential to distinguish “heretical” Popes from immoral or “bad” Popes. The former is an impossibility, whereas the latter is, unfortunately, not unheard of in the history of the Church. The following resources we have produced will clarify this important distinction and explain the reasons why one is impossible and the other isn’t:

The Vatican II Sect and the resistance position of the Society of St. Pius X have done immeasurable damage to people’s understanding of Catholicism, especially the papacy. People are now accustomed to accusing real Popes (including the fake ones, inasmuch as they believe them to be real) of heresy without batting an eye. Yet notice how, even hundreds of years before Vatican I, St. Robert Bellarmine went out of his way to argue that such a thing was not even possible. If only St. Robert had had the wisdom of today’s resistance bloggers! He had no idea that the history of the Church is filled with “heretical Popes”, and neither did the fathers of the First Vatican Council! Martin Luther would be proud.

In truth, the situation is absurd. In their insatiable desire to see the Novus Ordo “Popes” as true Popes, while rejecting anything and everything from them that they find objectionable, the “resisters” have injected into people’s minds ideas that are entirely at odds with sound Catholic teaching, perverting their Faith to the point that they would never think of applying the clear teachings of the Catholic Magisterium on the papacy to Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, or Paul VI. They would never do so because they know that if they did, it would turn them into heretics. But you cannot fight heresy with more heresy, nor with schism. It is simply impossible to accept Francis and his five predecessors as true Popes (with all that entails, not just the verbal acknowledgment) and still be a Catholic. So, what follows? They cannot have been true Popes. It is a necessary conclusion.

Thus far our first post in our ongoing series The “Heretical” Popes. Others will follow in due time. As you can see, it is very easy to disseminate a quote one has picked up somewhere without knowing the background, and to accuse Popes of the past of having been heretics. But it takes real, painstaking research to disentangle the whole mess and find out what the truth of the matter really is.

 

in Novus Ordo Wire    

Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching

Not ‘recognize-and-resist’…

Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching

The sedevacantist blogger Steven Speray has recently released an important blog post we are happy to republish on this web site, with his permission. It concerns the foundational belief of those who try to be traditional Catholics while believing the “Popes” after Pius XII to be valid and true Vicars of Christ — the so-called “recognize-and-resist” position (R&R).


Pope Pius XI Squashes the Recognize-and-Resist Position

by Steve Speray (Aug. 27, 2019)

Can the faithful recognize and resist the pope? I dealt with this question in a 2015 article. However, I recently stumbled upon some teachings from Pope Pius XI that castigate the recognize-and-resist theology. I’ve highlighted the relevant parts within the context that contradicts R&R-ism.

In Mortalium Animos – On Religious Unity, Jan. 6, 1928, Pope Pius XI declared:

#5 Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians…

#7…There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it.

#11…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?

The words “recognize and obey” are exactly opposite to “recognize and resist.”  The R&R crowd doesn’t obey those they call the legitimate successors of Peter. They ignore them, resist them, and reject their teachings. They are most certainly trying to stand in the way of the Vatican II popes and implementing Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. Of course, the R&R crowd is correct in rejecting the Modernism of the Vatican II “popes”, but their justification for doing so in opposition to what is recognized as the papal authority, is heretical, blasphemous, and just plain stupid.

The underlying principle of Mortalium Animos is rejected by the R&R crowd. But then again, every papal document is an instance of the Roman Pontiff putting forth his papal authority for the faithful to obey, not to resist.

On Dec. 31, 1929, Pope Pius XI declared in Divini Illius Magistri – On Christian Education:

18. Hence it is that in this proper object of her mission, that is, “in faith and morals, God Himself has made the Church sharer in the divine magisterium and, by a special privilege, granted her immunity from error; hence she is the mistress of men, supreme and absolutely sure, and she has inherent in herself an inviolable right to freedom in teaching.’…

20.The Church does not say that morality belongs purely, in the sense of exclusively, to her; but that it belongs wholly to her.…

25. The extent of the Church’s mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ: “Teach ye all nations;” and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her or stand in her way. In the first place, it extends over all the Faithful, of whom she has anxious care as a tender mother.

The whole document is about the importance of getting a good, holy, and true Christian education, which can only come about by following and obeying the teachings of the Roman Pontiff and following his rules for this education. What’s the point if the Catholic Church is propagating error like every other religion, as the R&R proponents essentially claim?

The position of the R&R crowd makes the Catholic Church out to be the biggest hypocritical organization in the world. It would mean that the Catholic Church is more or less permitted to lead people astray with error, while all other religions are condemned by the Catholic Church for doing the same thing. It would mean only the Catholic Church gets to be heretical, while Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy are condemned by the Catholic Church as false religions when they do so.

That’s why the R&R position is heretical, blasphemous, and stupid.

On Dec. 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI promulgated Casti Connubii – On Christian Marriage. Once again, the pope emphasizes his authority over all the faithful. He declares in #104:

Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

The approach of the R&R crowd is to resist, dismiss, and disdain every papal teaching that they think comes short of proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas protected by infallibility. In principle, the R&R crowd is really no different than the liberals who reject the teaching of Casti Connubii on the authority of the Roman Pontiff as much as they do — they just apply it to a different issue (that of contraception; see #54).

The pick-and-choose mentality of the R&R crowd is what makes them the worst of hypocrites. They profess to be obedient and faithful Catholics but are neither.

Jesus told us where hypocrites go in Matt. 24:51 — and it’s not paradise.


Minor edits have been made to this post to enhance readability and consistency, with the author’s permission. The original can be found here.


 

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¿Quis ut Deus? Veritas Vincit

Defensor Blog ⚜️ Traditional Catholicism ⚜️ Apostolica Sedes Vacans

¿Quis ut Deus? Stat Veritas

Defensor Blog ⚜️ Traditional Catholicism ⚜️ Apostolica Sedes Vacans

Traditional Catholic Education

A Traditional Catholic(Sedevacantist) Site.

Call Me Jorge...

Defensor Blog ⚜️ Traditional Catholicism ⚜️ Apostolica Sedes Vacans

AMOR DE LA VERDAD

IGLESIA CATÓLICA igual en 2000 años hasta la muerte de Pío XII

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