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Dogmatic Theology, (Volume II), Christ’s Church

Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church,
by Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D. 

CHAPTER III
The Properties of the Church

The Church’s properties are those qualities which flow from its very essence and are a necessary part of it. Authors differ somewhat in enumerating these properties; and some distinguish between properties and endowments. But the difference seems to concern method and terminology rather than the matter itself. Seven properties, then, can be listed: visibility, indestructibility, infallibility, unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. Since visibility and indestructibility have already been considered, there remain for discussion only the last five.

Article I

THE CHURCH’S INFALLIBILITY

1. Meaning of the Term

The word infallibility itself indicates a necessary immunity from error. When one speaks of the Church’s infallibility, one means that the Church can neither deceive nor be deceived in matters of faith and morals, It is a prerogative of the whole Church; but it belongs in one way to those who fulfill the office of teaching and in another way to those who are taught. Hence the distinction between active infallibility, by which the Church’s rulers are rendered immune from error when they teach; and passive infallibility, by which all of Christ’s faithful are preserved from error in their beliefs.
Passive infallibility depends on and is caused by active infallibility: for the faithful are kept free from error in religious matters only by loyally following their rulers. Consequently, it is limited by the same restrictions as is active infallibility, and it will therefore suffice to treat only the latter. Active infallibility may be defined as follows: the privilege by which the teaching office of the Church, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, is preserved immune from error when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals.

The words through the assistance of the Holy Spirit indicate that this freedom from error is something derived; the words when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals limit this inerrancy to definite subject matter.

II. Errors

1. Protestants in general ascribe infallibility to no church, at least to no visible church. The Puseyists were willing to grant it to some sort of ideal Church made up of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Anglican communions. The Pistoians asserted that infallibility, like all sacred power, had been given principally and directly to the whole body of the faithful, but to rulers only as agents of that body. The Jansenists of Holland seem to follow the same opinion, since they demand for an infallible decree: (a) that delegates or representatives of the whole “Church” be gathered together for a ecumenical council; (b) that these delegates agree that the doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith and that it has always been accepted by the whole Church; (c) that their judgment be ratified universally by the Church throughout the world.

2. Modernists, since they acknowledge not even a divinely established teaching office, naturally do not admit that the privilege of infallibility was granted this office. The doctrinal or dogmatic authority which they themselves grant the Church’s rulers means only this: that these rulers are to be watchfully alert for what may, at any given period, be going on in the Christian consciousness, so that they may give it apt formulation. Of course the formulae must be modified as soon as they no longer correspond with the new mentality and the evolution of religious consciousness. In fact, in the Modernist system, the duty of doctrinal authority is not to see to it that there is never any change in the believing or in the understanding of the absolute and immutable truth preached from the beginning by the apostles. This authority is rather to take care that that be maintained which may seem best adapted to the cultural level of each generation. (1)

The first step in the treatment to follow will be a demonstration of the fact of infallibility. Next in order will be a study of its object or extent, and finally an investigation into its nature. The special discussion of the subject of infallibility fits more conveniently into the second section of this treatise. Suffice it to mention here, in anticipation of the fuller discussion, that that subject is both the body of the Church’s rulers together with its head, in other words, the Roman Catholic college of bishops, and the supreme ruler of the whole Church, the Roman pontiff.

Ill. The Fact of Infallibility (2)

PROPOSITION: When the teaching office of the Church hands down decisions on matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent, it is infallible.

This is a dogma of faith.

The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church’s rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fulness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.

Although this proposition has never been defined in the precise form in which it is here stated, it is a dogma of faith by reason of the universal teaching of the Church. Moreover, the Vatican Council did define that the Roman pontiff “enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished His Church to be equipped in defining a doctrine of faith or morals.” (3)

Proof:

1. From the promises of Christ. (a) Christ said to the apostles in the Last Supper discourse, “And I will ask the Father, and he will grant you another Advocate to be with you for all time to come, the Spirit of Truth … he will make his permanent stay with you and in you … but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and refresh your memory of everything I have told you” (John 14:16-17, 26). “But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will conduct you through the whole range of truth” (John 16:13). Then, after His Resurrection, He added, “…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence … you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth” (Acts 1:5, 8).

Two things are promised in these texts: the Holy Spirit, as the Teacher of truth (a) will come upon the apostles to imbue them with an exceedingly rich knowledge of the Christian religion; (b) He will remain with them forever. The purpose and the result of both these aids is that the apostles will preach Christ’s religion pure and unabridged “even to the very ends of the earth.”

The former promise has in view especially the first communication of the Christian religion and, furthermore, at least in the strict and full sense, refers to the apostles alone. The latter promise, which is concerned more directly with the practice and preservation of this religion, cannot, in view of the words themselves(4) and of the purpose intended, be limited to the apostles personally; but embraces the apostolic college as it is to continue forever. But if the Holy Spirit is to remain with the successors of the apostles forever, and is to be in them that they may be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth, He will doubtless keep them from error when they define Christian doctrine. For would they really be witnesses of Christ if they corrupted His doctrine in even one point and unjustifiably demanded the assent of all to a falsehood?

(b) “Absolute authority in heaven and on earth has been conferred upon me. Go, therefore, and initiate all nations in discipleship … and teach them to observe all the commandments I have given you. And mark: I am with you at all times as long as the world will last” (Matt. 28:20). These words contain a promise to the apostolic college, as to a perpetual institution, of continuous and effective aid in teaching all nations the religion of Christ (see no. 20). But this aid certainly includes infallibility, for if they could err at times in defining Christian doctrine, the purpose of the aid would not be realized.

Furthermore, the force of Christ’s promise is highlighted in an extraordinary manner by the obligation enjoined on all men to accept the doctrine preached by the apostles and by their successors throughout all ages: “He that believes … will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Could our Lord have imposed this obligation without any limitation or restriction, and under the threat of eternal damnation, if He had left to posterity a teaching authority which was liable to error?

2. From the testimony of the Apostle. St. Paul: I write these instructions to you, so that … you may know what your conduct should be in the house of God which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Tim. 3:14-15). Truth purely and simply is the whole body of truth leading to eternal salvation: Christian doctrine in its entirety. The Church considered absolutely, i.e., the universal Church, is called a thoroughly solid pillar of this truth,(5) because it bears and supports the truth as an unshakably solid pillar supports a building. But it would not be the pillar and bulwark of the truth if it could shift from the truth in even one matter. Therefore we have here a direct statement of the infallibility of the Church as a whole; but one can immediately deduce from this the infallibility of the teaching office, since the whole Church depends on this office for its knowledge and profession of the truth.

3. From the testimony of the early fathers. They have left, in unmistakably clear or at least equivalent terms, testimony to their belief in the infallibility of the teaching office or, what actually comes down to the same thing, of the Church itself.

St. Ignatius:

Live in harmony with the mind of God. Surely, Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, for His part in the mind of the Father, just as the bishops, though appointed throughout the vast, wide earth, represent for their part the mind of Jesus Christ.—Epistula ad Ephesios 3. 2; ACW translation.

Now, if those who do this to gratify the flesh are liable to death, how much more a man who by evil doctrine ruins the faith in God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such a filthy creature will go into the unquenchable fire, as will anyone who listens to him. The Lord permitted myrrh to be poured on His head that He might breathe incorruption upon the Church. Do not let yourselves be anointed with the malodorous doctrine of the Prince of this world.—Ibid. 16. 2-17. 1; ACW translation.

St. Irenaeus:

One should obey the presbyters [bishops] of the Church, for they are the successors of the apostles and along with episcopal succession have received the sure charism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father.(6)

Tertullian makes sport of the thesis that

the Holy Ghost sent by Christ and asked of the Father for this very purpose, viz., to teach the truth, neglected His duty by allowing the Church to understand and to believe otherwise than what He Himself taught the apostles. — De praescriptione 28.

St. Athanasius: “The only words you need for answering those [paradoxes of the heretics] are the following: ‘This is not the teaching of the Catholic Church’” (Epistula ad Epictetum 3).

St. Jerome: “I was able to dry up all the rivulets of false assertions with the one sun of the Church” (Altercatio luciferiani et orthodoxi 28).

St. Augustine:

Many tongues and various heresies speak in opposition … hasten to the tabernacle of God, hold fast to the Catholic Church, depart not from the rule of truth, and you will find in this tabernacle asylum from the tongues which wag in opposition. — Enarrationes in Psalmos 30. 3. 8.

The Catholic Church wages war against all heresies. It can give battle, but it can never be vanquished. All heresies have gone forth from it [the Church] like useless branches pruned from a vine; but it remains itself firmly fixed in its roots, in its vine, in its love. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. (7)

4. Theological argument. The Church, according to Christ’s promises, is indestructible (no. 19); but it would fail through corruption if it strayed from the true teaching of Christ; and it would so stray, indeed inevitably, if its teaching authority were to err at any time in defining points of doctrine.

Corollary

Since even in the Old Testament period the revealed religion was to be piously safeguarded, theologians usually bring up at this juncture the question of the infallibility of the Synagogue. Opinions vary, but, here, in sum, is that of Cardinal Franzelin.(8) (a) The Aaronic priests undoubtedly exercised authoritative teaching power in sacred matters; but there is no sufficient proof that the charism of infallibility was granted this ordinary teaching body. However, (b) even at that time God was watching over the preservation of sacred doctrine, and He did so in a manner suited to the special character of that stage of religious development, when revelation was not only to be safeguarded but also to be steadily increased. He effected this increase through new revelations made to the prophets, whose mission, however, was directed no less to the safeguarding of already promulgated revelation than to its further unfolding. Consequently the teaching office of the Old Testament comprised two elements, the ordinary teaching office of the priests and the extraordinary teaching office of the prophets; and so, considered in its entirety, it guarded the deposit of faith with infallible sureness, inasmuch as the prophets corrected any mistakes which the ordinary teachers might possibly have made.

IV. The Object of Infallibility

In the definition given above the object of infallibility was expressed in these words borrowed from the Vatican Council: “when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals.” It remains now to fix more accurately the meaning and the scope of this formula. This will be done on the basis of the words of Christ and of the apostles cited in the course of the proof; and on the basis, too, of the purpose for which the privilege of infallibility was granted.

It is important to pay attention above all to the word doctrine; for infallibility concerns the teaching office and so has as its special object doctrines, or at least doctrinal decisions by which some truth is presented to be believed or maintained by everyone.

The formula, “a doctrine of faith or morals,” comprises all doctrines the knowledge of which is of vital concern to people if they are to believe aright and to live uprightly in accordance with the religion of Christ. Now doctrines of this sort have either been revealed themselves or are so closely allied with revelation that they cannot be neglected without doing harm to the latter. Consequently the object of infallibility is twofold: there is a primary and a secondary object.

PROPOSITION 1: The primary object of infallibility is each and every religious truth contained formally in the sources of revelation.

By a religious truth is meant anything (doctrine or fact) which pertains to religion, i.e., to faith and morals, and insofar as it does pertain to it. The various ways in which a truth can be formally contained in the sources of revelation will be explained in the treatise on Faith. According to all Catholics, the present proposition is a dogma of faith.

Proof: That religious truths contained formally in the sources of revelation are the object of infallibility calls for no explicit demonstration.

That infallibility extends to each and every one of these truths, whether they be matters of intellectual concern or of practical action, is clear: (1) from the words of Christ, who promised His assistance to the apostles and sent them forth to teach the nations “to observe all the commandments I have given you,” and who promised them the Spirit of truth who “will teach you everything.” (2) from the express purpose of infallibility. If the latter did not embrace all these truths, one could be doubtful about almost any single truth; for where could one find a criterion for distinguishing fundamental from not-so-fundamental truths?

Sequel

To the primary object of infallibility belong specifically:
1. Decisions on the canon, or the material extent, of Sacred Scripture, or on its true meaning in passages dealing with faith or morals.
2. Decisions acknowledging and explaining the records of divine tradition.
3. Decisions on the selection of terms in which revealed truth is to be presented for belief (dogmatic terminology, creeds, dogmatic decrees).
4. Decisions on doctrines directly opposed to revealed truth (condemnation of heresies). For he who knows with infallible certainty the truth of a proposition knows with the same infallibility the falseness of a contradictory or contrary proposition.

PROPOSITION 2: The secondary object of infallibility comprises all those matters which are so closely connected with the revealed deposit that revelation itself would be imperilled unless an absolutely certain decision could he made about them.

The charism of infallibility was bestowed upon the Church so that the latter could piously safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation, and thus could be in all ages the teacher of Christian truth and of the Christian way of life. But if the Church is to fulfill this purpose, it must be infallible in its judgment of doctrines and facts which, even though not revealed, are so intimately connected with revelation that any error or doubt about them would constitute a peril to the faith. Furthermore, the Church must be infallible not only when it issues a formal decree, but also when it performs some action which, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of a doctrinal definition.

One can easily see why matters connected with revelation are called the secondary object of infallibility. Doctrinal authority and infallibility were given to the Church’s rulers that they might safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation. That is why the chief object of infallibility, that, namely, which by its very nature falls within the scope of infallibility, includes only the truths contained in the actual deposit of revelation. Allied matters, on the other hand, which are not in the actual deposit, but contribute to its safeguarding and security, come within the purview of infallibility not by their very nature, but rather by reason of the revealed truth to which they are annexed. As a result, infallibility embraces them only secondarily. It follows that when the Church passes judgment on matters of this sort, it is infallible only insofar as they are connected with revelation.

When theologians go on to break up the general statement of this thesis into its component parts, they teach that the following individual matters belong to the secondary object of infallibility: 1. theological conclusions; 2. dogmatic facts; 3. the general discipline of the Church; 4. approval of religious orders; 5. canonization of saints.

Assertion 1: The Church’s infallibility extends to theological conclusions. 
This proposition is theologically certain.

theological conclusion is a proposition which by genuinely discursive reasoning is deduced with certainty from two premises, one of which is formally revealed, the other known with natural certitude. It can be strictly a matter of intellectual knowledge, like the fact that the Son proceeds from the Father by a process of intellectual generation; or it can be a matter of practical knowledge, like the fact that one may not directly abort a foetus to save the life of the mother. To assert that the Church is infallible in decreeing these conclusions is to affirm implicitly that it is infallible in rejecting errors opposed thereto; the principle is the same for both.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible in matters so closely connected with revelation that any error in these matters would constitute a peril to the faith. But theological conclusions are matters of this type. The conclusion is obvious.

Major. 
It is evident from Christ’s promises that the teaching office of the Church was endowed with infallibility so that it might be able to carry out its mission properly: to safeguard reverently, explain confidently, and defend effectively the deposit of faith. But the realization of this purpose demands the extension of infallibility to related matters, in the sense explained above. Here is the reason. The security of the deposit requires the effective warding off or elimination of all error which may be opposed to it, even though only indirectly. This would be simply impossible without infallibility in related matters. If the Church were infallible only in the field of revealed truth and not in that of matters annexed thereto, it would be like a general who was assigned to defend a city but was given no authority to build up defenses or to destroy the material which the enemy had assembled. It would be like a caretaker to whom the master of the house had said, “Take care that my house doesn’t burn down; but don’t put out any flames as long as they remain merely nearby”!

Minor. Every conclusion is so connected with its premises that a denial of the conclusion involves necessarily the denial of at least one of those premises. Now one of the premises upon which every theological conclusion rests is a truth evident from reason, and since no one can very well deny such a premise, there is danger that an error in the conclusion may give rise to an error about the revealed premise.

2. From the mind of the Church. The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken. But the fact is that the Church has often and openly expressed its conviction of being infallible in the matter of theological conclusions. It has expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines which, while not directly opposed to revealed truths, are opposed to theological conclusions. See, e.g., DB 602, 679, 1542, 1748.

Assertion 2: The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts.

This proposition is theologically certain.

dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with dogmatic facts: “Was the Vatican Council a legitimate ecumenical council? Is the Latin Vulgate a substantially faithful translation of the original books of the Bible? Was Pius XII legitimately elected bishop of Rome?” One can readily see that on these facts hang the questions of whether the decrees of the Vatican Council are infallible, whether the Vulgate is truly Sacred Scripture, whether Piux XII is to be recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church.

From the time of the Jansenist controversies, theologians have understood by the term “dogmatic fact” especially the following question: “Is such and such a doctrine (orthodox or heretical) really contained in such and such a book?” The Jansenists in fact admitted the Church’s infallibility in a question of right or of dogma, i.e., the Church could decide whether this or that doctrine (considered in itself and prescinding from the book in which it was said to be expressed) was heretical. But at the same time they denied its infallibility in a question of fact, e.g., whether this (heretical) doctrine was really stated in such and such a book, as, e.g., Jansen’s Augustinus.(9) One can readily see that a determination of this fact would determine whether one could or could not maintain and defend the doctrine of this book.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible in those related matters in which an error would constitute a danger to the faith. But dogmatic facts are matters of this kind. The reason should be obvious from the examples alleged above. What good would it do to proclaim in theory the infallible authority of ecumenical councils if one could licitly doubt the legitimacy of a specific council? What good would it do to acknowledge the inspiration of the Sacred Books in their original forms — forms long ago extinct — if one could not definitively establish the substantial fidelity of copies of the original, and of the translations which the Church has to use? Could Christians be effectively protected against errors in their faith if the Church could not warn them against poisonous fare, such as are books which contain heresy or errors in religious matters?

2. From the practice of the Church, which (a) often resolutely and officially repudiated heretical writings as e.g., the Thalia of Arius in the Council of Nicaea and the works of Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus; (b) declared the Vulgate to be authentic at the Council of Trent,(10) and the Canon of the Mass to be free of any error; (11) (c) asserted specifically in the case of Jansen that “reverent silence” about a dogmatic fact is not at all adequate, “but that all faithful Christians must condemn as heretical in their hearts as well as with their lips the opinions [which the Church has] condemned in the five aforementioned propositions of Jansen’s book, opinions which the very words of those propositions quite clearly state.” (12)

A famous objection is that concerned with the Three Chapters (Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia and his works; some of the works of Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus, and the letter of Ibas, a priest of Edessa, to Mans of Persia, all of which works favored Nestorianism). The Council of Chalcedon is said to have approved these works and the Second Council of Constantinople and Pope Vigilius subsequently to have condemned them. Consequently, they say, at least one of them was in error about a dogmatic fact. But this conclusion is not justified, for although the fathers of Chalcedon, after having expressly condemned Nestorianism, accepted Theodore and Ibas as members of the Council, they passed no explicit decision regarding the Three Chapters.(13)

Corollary

The Church does not usually pass judgment directly on the dogmatic fact itself; but on the proposition which, through the medium of a dogmatic fact, is deduced from a revealed premise (either through a true reasoning process or through a merely explanatory syllogism). Of course, whatever the Church declares directly must be maintained by everyone, e.g., that the Vulgate contains the word of God; that Pius XII is head of the Church; that the doctrine of this or that book is heretical. It arrived at these decisions in the following manner: every faithful translation of the inspired books contains the words of God; but the Vulgate is a faithful translation; therefore, … Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is head of the Church; but Pius XII was legitimately elected; therefore, … Any book containing this doctrine is heretical; but such and such a book contains this doctrine; therefore, … Since then, the Church’s decision is concerned more directly with the conclusion deduced from revelation with the help of a dogmatic fact, rather than with the dogmatic fact itself (which is assumed in the decision rather than directly affirmed), dogmatic facts can rightly be called not only secondary but also indirect objects of infallibility.

It may help to mention that several theologians treat this question a bit differently. For they understand by the term “dogmatic fact” not a premise drawn from history, on which the conclusion would depend, as in the examples above, but the conclusion itself, e.g., that the Vulgate contains the word of God or that such and such a book is heretical. If one prefers this view of the matter, he will then define a dogmatic fact, in the words of the illustrious de Groot, as “a fact in which a doctrine is expressed.” (14)

One may wonder what name is to be given the conclusion, following the view proposed above. To answer that, a distinction is necessary. If the conclusion is the result of a real reasoning process, it is to be called a theological conclusion. But if the syllogism is merely explanatory, then it expresses a truth formally but implicitly revealed. The precise meaning of this distinction will be explained in the treatise on Faith (no. 200).

Assertion 3: The Church’s infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain.

By the term “general discipline of the Church” are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living. Note the italicized words: ecclesiastical laws, passed for the universal Church.

The imposing of commands belongs not directly to the teaching office but to the ruling office; disciplinary laws are only indirectly an object of infallibility, i.e., only by reason of the doctrinal decision implicit in them. When the Church’s rulers sanction a law, they implicitly make a twofold judgment: 1. “This law squares with the Church’s doctrine of faith and morals”; that is, it imposes nothing that is at odds with sound belief and good morals. (15) This amounts to a doctrinal decree. 2. “This law, considering all the circumstances, is most opportune.” This is a decree of practical judgment.

Although it would he rash to cast aspersions on the timeliness of a law, especially at the very moment when the Church imposes or expressly reaffirms it, still the Church does not claim to he infallible in issuing a decree of practical judgment. For the Church’s rulers were never promised the highest degree of prudence for the conduct of affairs. But the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree as intimated above — and to such an extent that it can never sanction a universal law which would be at odds with faith or morality or would be by its very nature conducive to the injury of souls.

The Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters, when understood in this way, harmonizes beautifully with the mutability of even universal laws. For a law, even though it be thoroughly consonant with revealed truth, can, given a change in circumstances, become less timely or even useless, so that prudence may dictate its abrogation or modification.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might safeguard the whole of Christ’s doctrine and be for all men a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. But if the Church could make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer be either a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. It would not be a guardian of revealed doctrine, for the imposition of a vicious law would be, for all practical purposes, tantamount to an erroneous definition of doctrine; everyone would naturally conclude that what the Church had commanded squared with sound doctrine. It would not be a teacher of the Christian way of life, for by its laws it would induce corruption into the practice of religious life.

2. From the official statement of the Church, which stigmatized as “at least erroneous” the hypothesis “that the Church could establish discipline which would be dangerous, harmful, and conducive to superstition and materialism. (16)

Corollary

The well-known axiom, Lex orandi est lex credendi (The law of prayer is the law of belief), is a special application of the doctrine of the Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters. This axiom says in effect that formulae of prayer approved for public use in the universal Church cannot contain errors against faith or morals. But it would be quite wrong to conclude from this that all the historical facts which are recorded here and there in the lessons of the Roman Breviary, or all the explanations of scriptural passages which are used in the homilies of the Breviary must be taken as infallibly true.(17) As far as the former are concerned, those particular facts are not an object of infallibility since they have no necessary connection with revelation. As for the latter, the Church orders their recitation not because they are certainly true, but because they are edifying.

Assertion 4: The Church’s infallibility extends to the approval of religious orders. This proposition is theologically certain.

The religious state is essentially the observance, under obligation of a vow, of the evangelical counsels recommended by our Lord Himself. But every congregation or order follows its own constitution, its own laws for living the evangelical counsels and for attaining its own special purposes. The present discussion, therefore, has to do with the approval of this constitution, and furthermore, with that solemn and definitive approval which is reserved for the sovereign pontiff and by which a congregation is established as a religious order in the strict sense of the word.(18)

Practically the same thing is to be said about the approval of orders as was said about the general discipline of the Church: it is an indirect object of infallibility by reason of the doctrinal judgment which it implies. No one claims that the Church is infallible in the decree of practical judgment — as, for instance, whether, in view of the circumstances, it would be expedient to allow the foundation of the new order — but only in the doctrinal judgment — as, for instance, whether such and such a constitution is an apt instrument for the acquiring of Christian perfection.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might be forever a trustworthy teacher of Christian truth and perfection. But it would certainly not be, if it could approve, by a definitive decision, a constitution opposed to the gospel or to the natural law. It is useless to object that an error in this sort of affair would harm not the universal Church, but only the members of this particular order. Of course it would harm the latter immediately and most of all, but indirectly it would affect the whole Church; for when an order is solemnly approved, it is recommended to the whole Church as a fit means for acquiring perfection, so that no one may licitly impugn it from this point of view.

2. From the solid conviction of the Church, which, when approving orders, expresses itself in such a way as to make it sufficiently clear that it considers decisions of this type to be infallible. For an example of such a decision, see Pesch, Praelectiones dogmaticae, I, 545.

Assertion 5: The Church’s infallibility extends to the canonization of saints. This is the common opinion today. (19)

Canonization (formal) is the final and definitive decree by which the sovereign pontiff declares that someone has been admitted to heaven and is to be venerated by everyone, at least in the sense that all the faithful are held to consider the person a saint worthy of public veneration. It differs from beatification, which is a provisional rather than a definitive decree, by which veneration is only permitted, or at least is not universally prescribed. Infallibility is claimed for canonization only; (20) a decree of beatification, which in the eyes of the Church is not definitive but may still be rescinded, is to be considered morally certain indeed, but not infallible. Still, there are some theologians who take a different view of the matter.

Proof:

1. From the solid conviction of the Church. When the popes canonize, they use terminology which makes it quite evident that they consider decrees of canonization infallible. Here is, in sum, the formula they use: “By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the apostles Peter and Paul and by our own authority, we declare that N. has been admitted to heaven, and we decree and define that he is to be venerated in public and in private as a saint.”

2. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible so that it may be a trustworthy teacher of the Christian religion and of the Christian way of life. But it would not be such if it could err in the canonization of saints. Would not religion be sullied if a person in hell were, by a definitive decree, offered to everyone as an object of religious veneration? Would not the moral law be at least weakened to some extent, if a protégé of the devil could be irrevocably set up as a model of virtue for all to imitate and for all to invoke? But it cannot be inferred: therefore the Church must also be infallible in authenticating the relics of the saints; for (a) the Church never issues so solemn a decree about relics; and (b) the cases are not parallel, for in the case of relics, it is a question of relative cult, while in that of the saints it is one of absolute cult.(21)

Corollory

Several considerations urge the conclusion that the Church’s infallibility extends also to equivalent canonization, formerly quite common. By this means, without any formal decree of canonization, a deceased person gradually came to be venerated by the universal Church. However, formal and equivalent canonizations arc not at all on the same plane; in the latter the consent of the supreme pontiff can be taken as purely permissive, in much the same way as the veneration of a beatified person is sometimes permitted the universal Church. Some scholars are led by this observation to think that it is not absolutely impossible that someone who is not a saint might appear among those who, without being formally canonized, have a commemoration or even a full office in the Breviary. The papal approval of the Breviary, they say, as far as they who have not been formally canonized are concerned, amounts to nothing more than an order that no change be made therein. This is not a definitive decree, but rather permission to continue the traditional cult.(22)

Scholion: Is the fact of the Church’s infallibility in matters related to revealed truth itself a revealed truth?

In each instance we have proved the infallibility of the Church’s teaching office in matters related to the deposit of revelation from the express purpose of infallibility and from the mind of the Church. It is, consequently, clear that this infallibility is at least a conclusion from revelation; indeed a conclusion whose validity the Church itself has sanctioned at least by its practical attitude and mode of action. But serious reasons incline us to state that this extension of infallibility — not of course to each of the items considered individually above, but to related matters in general — is a formally revealed truth. There is no doubt that our Lord promised His Church the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), who would teach “the whole range of truth” (John 16:13); the apostle calls the Church the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Tim. 3:15).(23) What, then, does the word “truth” or the phrase “the whole range of truth” mean in these texts: just revealed truth, or all the truth which the Church, in view of its special purpose, must know with certainty? The answer seems to be that since the terms are general, and the purpose of the Church militates against their being restricted to revealed truths, they must doubtless be understood as referring to all doctrines which concern Christian faith and morality either directly or indirectly. In other words, they must include also matters connected with revealed truth.

This is why Cardinal Franzelin could in the following way describe the general proposition of infallibility in related matters: this assertion, “as all theologians agree, is so certain that its denial would be an error, or even, in the opinion of many, a heresy, even though it has not as yet been explicitly condemned as heretical.”(24)

V. The Nature of Infallibility

1. The privilege of infallibility is not merely actual absence of error, but the impossibility of erring. It is of course a supernatural gift, and since it works not to the advantage of the recipients themselves but to that of the whole Church, it is a gratia gratis data or charism. It is often called “the charism of truth.”

2. Infallibility must not be thought of as a habit permanently residing in the minds of the Church’s officio! teachers, a habit which would express itself in the making of a dogmatic definition, as e.g., the habit of faith expresses itself in an act of supernatural faith. It is rather a privilege which depends for its exercise on some objective external help. This privilege can be called habitual in the sense that it was promised by a definite divine decree. But it is in actual existence only when something is being defined.

3. The efficient cause of infallibility is the assistance of God or of the Holy Spirit. This assistance:

a. is a help inferior in nature to revelation and inspiration; furthermore,
b. it can involve any kind of influence which God may choose to use in order to turn away the teacher’s mind from what is false and to lead him to a sure knowledge of the truth.

As for a: this assistance differs from revelation, through which some new doctrine is received from God. “For,” says the Vatican Council,(25) “the Holy Spirit was promised to Peter’s successors [and the same holds good for the Roman Catholic episcopate] not that they might, as a result of His revelation, make known a new doctrine, but that with His assistance they might reverently safeguard and faithfully explain the revelation handed down by the apostles, i.e., the deposit of faith.”

It is different from inspiration, through which a document is written in such fashion as to be the Word of God and comes from the mouth of God in such a way that God is its principal author and man the instrumental author only. A decree issued under divine assistance, however, is the word of the Church, and its principal author is the pope or a council. It is a question here of inspiration in the strict sense, such as that which the sacred authors enjoyed; any divine assistance could be loosely referred to as inspiration.

As for b: God assists at least negatively by preventing an arrival at an erroneous definition. But it seems that we must go further and say that whenever, and to the extent that it is necessary, God also positively guides the Church’s teachers to a correct knowledge and presentation of the truth He has entrusted to the Church. The means, natural or supernatural, which divine Providence selects for this purpose, can be quite varied, and can operate internally or externally.(26)

4. The divine assistance does not render at all superfluous the hard work and study of men, the investigation of the sources of revelation, etc.; it rather supposes and includes these elements. In actual practice, the usual preamble to doctrinal definitions includes not only the request for divine light, but also the most careful theological research. Consequently, those who object that the promise of divine assistance fosters indolence do so without justification. However, infallibility (or the inability to err) does not depend formally on human industry, but on divine assistance. And so no one can spurn a definition of the Church on the pretext that it is not backed up by adequate research; when a definition has once been issued, one can be sure that the Church’s official teacher did not act precipitously, but did all the necessary preliminary research; or else, if he did act rashly, that his rashness did not adversely affect at least the truth of the definition. All this is, of course, only a supposition, for it seems much more reasonable to hold that the Holy Spirit would never allow the Church’s rulers to act rashly in issuing doctrinal definitions.

5. The assistance promised the Church’s rulers extends to the threefold function which they must fulfill with regard to religious truth. (a) They are infallible witnesses of revelation, in that they always reverently safeguard the deposit entrusted to the Church; (b) they are infallible teachers of religious truth, in that they always faithfully interpret and explain revealed doctrine; (c) they are infallible arbiters of controversies, in that they always decide without error questions which have arisen on matters of religion.

Sequel

The rule of faith. It seems timely to add here a few remarks on the rule of faith. This term signifies the standard or norm according to which each individual Christian must determine what is the material object of his faith.
Protestants claim that the written Word of God, Holy Scripture, and that alone, is the one rule of faith. Catholics, on the other hand, even though they, too, admit that our faith must be regulated in the final analysis by the Word of God — including tradition as well as Scripture — hold that the proximate and immediate rule of faith — that rule to which each of the faithful and each generation of the faithful must look directly — is the preaching of the Church. And so, according to Catholics, there exists a twofold rule of faith: one remote and one proximate. The remote rule of faith is the Word of God (handed down in writing or orally), which was directly entrusted to the Church’s rulers that from it they might teach and guide the faithful. The proximate rule of faith, from which the faithful, one and all, are bound to accept their faith and in accordance with which they are to regulate it, is the preaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium.(27) The following assertions concern the proximate rule of faith.
1. The Church’s preaching was established by Christ Himself as the rule of faith. This can be proved from Matthew 28:19—20 and Mark 16:15—16; the command to teach all nations certainly implies a corresponding duty on the part of the nations to believe whatever the apostles and their successors teach, On the other hand, there is no notice anywhere of Christ’s having commanded the apostles to give the people the doctrine of salvation in writing, and never did He command the faithful as a whole to seek their faith in the Bible.(28)
2. The Church’s preaching is a rule of faith which is nicely accommodated to people’s needs. For (a) it is an easy rule, one that can be observed by all alike, even the uneducated and unlettered. What could be easier than to give ear to a magisterium that is always at hand and always preaching? (b) It is a safe rule, for the Church’s teaching office is infallible in safeguarding and presenting Christ’s doctrine. (c) It is a living rule, in accordance with which it is possible in any age to explain the meaning of doctrines and to put an end to controversies.

Notes.

1. See the decree Lamentabili, propositions 6, 62-64; encyclical Pascendi (DB 2093); Oath against Modernism (DB 2147).
2. See J. C. Fenton, “The Church and Catholic Dogma,” AER, 120 (1949), 123 ff.
3. Constitution Dc ecclesia, chap. 4,
4. It is with utter improbability that some have tried to interpret the words of John 14:16, “for all time to come” and those of Matt. 28:20, “as long as the world shall last” — as “to the end of this age,” i.e., the apostolic age.
5. In vain some Protestants, basing themselves on no good reasons, but forced by the need to holster their position, have tried to refer the words “the pillar and bulwark of truth” either to Timothy or to the mystery of the Incarnation. They would read as follows: “… the Church of the living God. The pillar and bulwark of truth and something clearly great is the sacrament of piety which has been manifested in the flesh.”
6. Adversus haereses iv. 26. 2; see iii. 24. 1.
7. De symbolo ad catechumenos 1. 6.
8. De ecclesia, Thesis 3, 2.
9. It was, then, not a question of this fact, viz., whether the five condemned propositions (DB 1092 ff.) can be found verbatim in the book Augustinus; much less whether Jansen maintained in the secret of his soul and intended to teach the doctrine expressed in the five propositions. Obviously the “mind of the author” which is condemned is nothing other than the meaning which the words of the author objectively express according to the usual norms of interpretation.
10, Session 4.
11. Session 22, chap. 4; and canon 6.
12. Constitution Vineam Domini of Clement XI (DB 1350).
13. See Hefele, Conciliengeschichte (2nd ed.), II, 798 if.; Hergenrother-Kirsch, Kirchengeschichte, I, 602 if. See P. Hughes, op. cit., I, 342 ff.; H. M. Diepen, O.S.B., Les trois chapitres au Concile de Chalcédoine (Oosterhout, 1953).
14. De ecclesia (3rd ed.), p. 318.
15. An example may help to clarify the matter. If the whole Christ were not present under the appearances of bread alone, the law forbidding lay people to drink from the chalice would offend against the faith. Or if the words increase and multiply (Gen. 1:28) constituted an ordinance binding every individual man, then the law of celibacy would be opposed to right morals. The same conclusion would hold if virginal purity were morally impossible for men.
16. The bull Auctorem fidei (DB 1578).
17. See Benedict XIV, De servorum Dei beatificatione, lib. IV, pars II, chap. 13, nos. 7-8. Very many bishops asked the Vatican Council for an appropriate revision of the Breviary on some points “which seem not at all square with established historical fact and sound scriptural exegesis” (Coll. Lac., VII, 874; see VII, 844, 882). There should be nothing surprising about this. At the time the Roman Breviary was edited, the critical apparatus now our disposal was simply not available.
18. On a lower plane than this solemn approbation, there are also: (a) episcopal approbation; (b) permissive papal approbation; (c) commendatory papal approbation. These are all treated in works on canon law.
19. See N. Scheid, “Die Unfehlbarkeit des Papstes bei der Heiligsprechung,” ZkTh (1890), p. 599; F. Spedalieri, Dc Ecclesiae infallibilitate in canonizatione sanctorum quaestiones selectae (Rome, 1949); for a critique of latter work see TS, 12 (1951), 249.
20. The names of canonized saints are inserted in the Roman Martyrology, but this work contains other names besides. That is why scholars, following the lead of Benedict XIV, warn us that the presence of a person’s name in the Martyrology is not conclusive proof that that person is enjoying the bliss of heaven. See N. Paulus, “Martyrologium und Brevier als historische Quellen,” Der Katholik, I (1900), 355.
21. Absolute cult or worship is directed to a person; relative cult is directed to some object or other, not because it possesses any intrinsic worth in itself, as a person would, but because it is connected in some way with a sainted person. See A. Aldama, S.J., Sacrae theologiae Summa, III (Madrid, 1953), 469.
22. See N. Paulus, art. cit., p. 359; A. Spaldak, “Zur geplanten Emendation des romischen Breviers,” Der Katholik, I (1905), 290; Bainvel, De magisterio, p. 111.
23. See J. C. Fenton, “New Testament Designations of the Church and of its Members,” CBQ, 9 (1947), 286.
24. De Traditione et Scriptura (3rd ed.), p. 123.
25. Constitution De ecclesia, chap. 4.
26. See Heinrich, Dogmat. Theol. II, par. 90.
27. The Symbols (Creeds, i.e., those formulae in which the Church’s teaching authority sums up the chief points of its preaching in view of the needs of different ages), are also called rules of faith. But they are material rules of faith, while the formal rule of faith is the preaching itself.
28. An appeal to John 5:39 is in vain: (a) from the context, the verb ereunate seems to be the indicative rather than the imperative (Kleist-Lilly: You have the Scriptures at your finger ends; Confrat. NT: You search the Scriptures); (b) even granting that it is the imperative, the text still proves nothing. From the fact that Christ refers the unbelieving Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, to the sacred books of the Old Testament that they may learn therein of his divine mission, it does not at all follow that He intends every individual Christian to draw his faith directly from the Scriptures.

(Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1957. pp 102-124.)

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.


 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

Bouix on the “Heretical Pope”: A big Nothingburger from John Salza and Robert Siscoe

Another irrelevant argument… 

Bouix on the “Heretical Pope”: A big Nothingburger from John Salza and Robert Siscoe

More than three years after the release of their book True or False Pope? A Refutation of Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors, John Salza and Robert Siscoe are still busy wasting everybody’s time.

On May 14, they posted on their web site an English translation of an excerpt from the 3-volume book Tractatus de Papa, ubi et de Concilio Oecumenico (“Treatise on the Pope and the Ecumenical Council”) written by the French canonist Marie Dominique Bouix (1808-1870). Bouix took the unusual position that if a Pope as a private person were to become a heretic, he would not lose the pontificate in any way, nor could anyone take it from him. In other words: If a Pope were to become manifestly heretical, he would still be Pope, and no one would be able to do anything about it.

The question of the Papa haereticus — that is, what would happen if a Pope were to become a heretic in his private capacity — was debated among theologians for centuries before the First Vatican Council (1870). Five different positions emerged in the course of the dispute:

  1. That the Pope cannot become a heretic even in his private capacity, so the question is moot.
  2. That a Pope who becomes a heretic even only internally (by pertinaciously assenting to heresy in his mind) would immediately and automatically fall from the pontificate.
  3. That a Pope who becomes a heretic does not fall from the pontificate, regardless of how manifest his heresy is.
  4. That a Pope who becomes a heretic loses the pontificate only after a declaration by the Church.
  5. That a Pope who becomes a heretic automatically falls from the pontificate as soon as his heresy is public and manifest.

Out of all the theologians who argued in depth about this subject, so far only one has been declared a saint and, more pertinently, a Doctor of the Church. It is St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621). He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930 and declared a Doctor of the Church by the same pope the following year.

In his monumental work on the Papacy, De Romano Pontifice (“On the Roman Pontiff”), St. Robert argued that “[i]t is probable and may piously be believed that not only as ‘Pope’ can the Supreme Pontiff not err, but he cannot be a heretic even as a particular [=private] person by pertinaciously believing something false against the faith” (Book IV, Chapter 6). In other words, Bellarmine believed that out of the five opinions enumerated above, Position 1 was the most likely to be correct.

In the event, however, that Position 1 was not correct and a Pope could indeed become a heretic, Bellarmine insisted on and argued convincingly for Position 5, that such a “heretical Pope” would immediately and automatically cease to be Pope, without the need for a declaration or other ecclesiastical intervention:

Although Fr. Bouix, like Bellarmine, also believed that Position 1 was the most likely to be correct, he held that if it was possible for a Pope to become a heretic, then this would not affect his holding of the Papacy at all — in other words, he supported Position 3 as the correct one, although in his Tractatus de Papa it is numbered differently, namely, as Position 4. He concludes:

Certainly, just as to Suárez and many others, myself included, it seems more probable that the Pope, even as a private person, cannot fall into heresy. But in the hypothesis that the Pope could become a heretic privately, I would absolutely deny that he is ipso facto deposed, or capable of being deposed by any council.

(D. Bouix, Tractatus de Papa, vol. II [Paris: Lecoffre, 1869], p. 666, trans. by Gerardus Maiella; in “Bouix On The Question of an Heretical Pope”True or False Pope?, May 14, 2019.)

It appears that Salza and Siscoe are now trying, as they have done in the past with other theologians, to advertise this as some kind of a “refutation” of the Sedevacantist position, which is identical to that of Bellarmine. St. Robert called the position Bouix takes “exceedingly improbable” and said that “it would be the most miserable condition of the Church, if she should be compelled to recognize a wolf, manifestly prowling, for a shepherd” (De Romano PontificeBook II, Chapter 30).

But what is perhaps even more significant, Bouix seems to be the only theologian who defended Position 3. The non-sedevacant Brazilian layman Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira (1929-2018), whom Salza and Siscoe happily advertise on their site as endorsing their book, remarks: “This third opinion … is defended by one sole theologian, among 136 ancient and modern theologians whose position on this matter we could verify” (Da Silveira, Can the Pope go Bad?, trans. by John Russell Spann [Greenacres, WA: Catholic Research Institute, 1998], p. 31); and again a bit later: “…it has against it the practically unanimous Tradition of the Church” (p. 36); “We remind the reader that of 136 authors whom we consulted, only Bouix defends this opinion” (p. 36, fn. 16).

Moreover, the position Bouix takes is not even that taken by Salza and Siscoe themselves, nor does it apply to the case of the manifest heresies of “Pope” Francis, for Bouix explicitly states that he is talking only about the case of a Pope who becomes a heretic as a private individual, not a “Pope” whose private heresies become part of his magisterium, as is clearly the case with Francis:

There is no sufficient reason why Christ should be thought to have provided that a Pope heretic would be able to be deposed. Surely that reason would be the vast detriment which would come to the Church unless such a Pope were deposed. But that reason is not valid; as much because the Pope heretic is not so harmful an evil that the Church therefore must necessarily be ruined and perish; as because the remedy, the Pope’s deposition, would be a much worse evil. And firstly, the heresy of the Pope about which this question is moved, is not so grave an evil that it is necessary to think that Christ had willed the deposition of such a Pontiff. The matter is only of private heresy; not which the Pope professes as the Pastor of the Church and in his Papal decrees or acts, but to which he adheres as a private doctor, and only in his private sayings or writings. What is more, so long as the Pope, whenever he defines and speaks Pontifically, teaches the right faith, the faithful are sufficiently safe, although at the same time it would be clear that the same Pope privately adheres to some heresy. All would readily understand that the opinion argued for by the Pope as a private doctor lacks authority, and he is only to be followed when he defines and relates the faith ex officio and with Pontifical authority.

(Bouix, Tractatus de Papa, vol. II, p. 670; underlining added.)

Precisely what, then, are Salza and Siscoe attempting to accomplish by putting up Bouix’s theological argumentation concerning the Papa haereticus?

It seems they are trying to amass writings from theologians that dispute the position taken by sedevacantists regarding “heretical Popes”. There is only one problem: With one possible exception (one that we still need to investigate fully), as far as we have seen, all the “evidence” they have published in that regard comes from books that were written before the First Vatican Council, which promulgated rich teaching on the Papacy such as the following:

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 I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; Denz. 1837; underlining added.)

The ecclesiastical approbation given to Bouix’s Tractatus de Papa is dated Aug. 20, 1868, almost two full years before the promulgation of Pastor Aeternus. The first two volumes were published in 1869, the third in 1870. The translated excerpt published by Salza and Siscoe is from volume 2.

In addition, one should keep in mind that although Bouix was writing roughly 250 years after Bellarmine’s death, he was writing before St. Robert was canonized or declared a Doctor of the Church, or even beatified (his beatification took place in 1923). In other words, although he certainly took Bellarmine’s argumentation into consideration as coming from a most capable and renowned theologian, he did not have the privilege of learning from SaintBellarmine, Doctor of the Church.

The notion of a “heretical Pope” — at least the kind the world has seen in the Vatican II “popes” since the 1960’s — is impossible to reconcile with the teaching of Pastor Aeternus. Whoever doubts it is advised to take our special papacy test with regard to the manifest heretic Jorge Bergoglio. Our test replaces every mention of the phrase “Roman Pontiff” in the conciliar constitution with the words “Pope Francis” — and the results are… interesting:

Although Vatican I did not address the issue of the Papa haereticus directly in its dogmatic constitution on the Papacy, the question did indeed come up during the deliberations, and the deputation on the Faith responded to it. Abp. John Purcell of Cincinnati relates what happened and how the council answered:

After Vatican I, the alternatives to Position 1 and Position 5 were abandoned, and instead we find theologians in agreement that a “heretical Pope” would automatically cease to be Pope:

…it cannot be proved that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher, cannot become a heretic, for example, if he contumaciously denies a dogma previously defined; this impeccability was nowhere promised to him by God. On the contrary, [Pope] Innocent III expressly admits that the case can be conceded. But if the case should take place, he falls from office by divine law, without any sentence, not even a declaratory one. For he who openly professes heresy places his very self outside the Church, and it is not probable that Christ preserves the Primacy of His Church with such an unworthy individual. Consequently, if the Roman Pontiff professes heresy, he is deprived of his authority before any whatsoever sentence, which [sentence] is impossible.

(Rev. Matthaeus Conte a Coronata, Institutiones Iuris Canonici, vol. I, 4th ed. [Rome: Marietti, 1950], n. 316c; our translation; underlining added.)

For more examples of what theologians writing after Vatican I have said about the scenario of a “heretical Pope”, please see our informative commentary on the recent “Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church” accusing Francis of heresy:

Quite frankly, the Bouix text Salza and Siscoe have presented is a big nothingburger: So they found a theologian writing before Vatican I who argued that a Pope cannot lose his pontificate at all, no matter how manifestly heretical he is. So what? In Church history you can find all sorts of theologians writing on disputed questions before they were settled by the Church, including a position on the Beatific Vision by St. Bernard of Clairvaux that was later declared to be heretical (see Fr. Joseph Sagüés, On the Last Things, p. 298, n. 30).

The real question is: Is it possible to affirm of the Novus Ordo “popes” everything the Catholic Church teaches about the Papacy and still remain faithful to the Catholic religion of Pope Pius XII and his predecessors? But we all know the answer to that.

By the way: Bouix’s Tractatus de Papa ends with the words: “Scripta mea omnia judicio ac correctioni Romani Pontificis subjicio” — “I subject all my writings to the judgment and correction of the Roman Pontiff” (vol. 3, p. 436).

Would John Salza and Robert Siscoe do that?

 

in Novus Ordo Wire    

The Case Against Roncalli

I learn quite a lot thanks to my readers. Each week in the comments section, there are many good discussions. Most are on the same topic as the post, but not always, and that’s fine by me. When I’m challenged on a topic I often re-think my position, to get a better understanding both for my own edification and that I may be of more informative value to my readers. I believe in the axiom,”He who does not understand his opponents’ point of view, doesn’t fully understand his own.” Last week, a comment was made by someone who objected to my designating Roncalli (John XXIII) as a false pope. He had challenged me on this point about a year ago, and I was going to research my position more thoroughly, but alas, life so often gets in the way of our plans.

This time, I started to research the topic and my findings were most fruitful–resulting in this post you’re now reading. Anyone who wishes to read the whole thread between my interlocutor and myself may do so by referring to the comments section of last week’s post. In sum, he said, “Sedevacantists recognize Paul VI onwards as pseudo-popes based on SOLID, IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE. For some reason you’re not applying this standard to Roncalli…Again, I don’t know if Roncalli was an usurper. Neither do you, so perhaps you should pull back on DECLARING him a pseudo-pope, and instead just state that YOU believe he was problematic to the point that YOU have your doubts that he was genuine. ” (Emphasis in the original).

In this post, I will put forth the reasons, proving beyond a reasonable doubt, that Roncalli must be objectively dismissed as a false pope. There’s so much that could be written, but I will confine myself as best as possible to make it terse and get the point across without delving into all aspects of his life. Hence, you will not see, for example, accusations that he was a Freemason addressed. I might touch on such issues in another post. This one will suffice for the stated purpose.

Angelo Roncalli: A Brief Background
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the man who would convoke the Robber Council Vatican II, was born the fourth of thirteen children in 1881. He was born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in an Italian village. Roncalli studied for the priesthood, and completed his doctorate in Canon Law the same year as his ordination, 1904.  He became Professor of Patristics at the Lateran University in 1924, only to be relieved of his post within months “on suspicion of Modernism.”
In February 1925, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri summoned him to the Vatican and informed him of Pope Pius XI’s decision to appoint him as the Apostolic Visitor to Bulgaria (1925–1935). He was subsequently consecrated a bishop in 1925 by Cardinal Porchelli. On 12 January 1953, he was appointed Patriarch of Venice and raised to the rank of Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca by Pope Pius XII. After the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958, Roncalli was allegedly elected pope on the eleventh ballot occurring on October 28th. He took the regnal name of John XXIII. Interestingly, this was the first time in over 500 years that this name had been chosen; previous popes had avoided its use since the time of Antipope John XXIII during the Great Western Schism several centuries before. Both his name and his “reign” would be an appropriate foreshadowing of the Vatican II sect which he helped to create.
Preliminary Considerations
1. A pope who falls into heresy— as a private individual— automatically loses his papal authority by Divine Law.
 According to Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus Liguori, “If ever a pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he would at once fall from the pontificate.” (See Verita della Fede, Pt. III, Ch. VIII, 9-10).
According to Wernz-Vidal, “Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact [ipso facto] is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgement by the Church….A pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.(See Ius Canonicum. Rome: Gregorian [1943] 2:453).
2. A heretic is incapable by Divine Law of attaining the papacy.
 According to theologian Baldii, “Barred as incapable of being validly elected [pope] are the following: women, children who have not reached the age of reason, those suffering from habitual insanity, the unbaptized, heretics and schismatics…” (See Institutiones Iuris Canonici [1921]; Emphasis mine).
According to canonist Coronata, “III. Appointment of the office of the Primacy. 1. What is required by divine law for this appointment: …Also required for validity is that the appointment be of a member of the Church. Heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are therefore excluded.” (Institutiones 1:312; Emphasis mine)
3. If one has a reasonable suspicion regarding the election of a pope, he may be considered as a doubtful pope, and therefore no pope in the practical order.
According to theologian Szal, “Nor is there any schism if one merely transgresses a papal law for the reason that one considers it too difficult, or if one refuses obedience inasmuch as one suspects the person of the pope or the validity of his election, or if one resists him as the civil head of a state.” (See The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, CUA Press [1948], pg 2; Emphasis mine).
Remember that we need not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt (moral certainty) but SUSPICION. A reasonable suspicion in civil law is seen as more than a guess or hunch but less than probable cause. It is based on “specific and articulable facts,” “taken together with rational inferences from the circumstances.” Hence, if someone were elected pope, and coerced into resigning, he would remain pope. Any subsequent Cardinal “elected” could not attain to the papacy even if not a heretic. Moreover, with the death or true resignation of the man elected pope (at a time subsequent to the invalid election), it would not thereby automatically make the invalidly elected cardinal the Vicar of Christ.
Was Roncalli a Heretic Prior to His Election?
  • In the biography by Lawrence Elliot entitled I Will Be Called John:A Biography of Pope John XXIII,[Reader’s Digest Press, 1973] it is recorded that as early as 1914, Roncalli was accused of Modernism while a teacher at the seminary at Bergamo. Cardinal De Lai, Secretary for the Congregation of Seminaries, formally reprimanded Roncalli, saying: “According to the information that came my way, I knew that you had been a reader of Duchesne [an author of a three volume work placed on the Index of Forbidden Books  for teaching Modernist tenets—Introibo] and other unbridled authors, and that on certain occasions you had shown yourself inclined to that school of thought which tends to empty out the value of tradition and the authority of the past, a dangerous current which leads to fatal consequences.” (pg. 59)
  • For ten years (1905-1915), Roncalli was secretary for Bishop Radini Tedeschi, a Modernist sympathizer. Roncalli describes him thus: “His burning eloquence, his innumerable projects, and his extraordinary personal activity could have given the impression to many, at the beginning, that he had in view the most radical changes and that he was moved by the sole desire to innovate…[Tedeshi] concerned himself less with carrying out reforms than with maintaining the glorious traditions of his diocese and with interpreting them in harmony with new conditions and the new needs of the times.”(See Leroux, John XXIII: Initiator of the Changes, pg. 10) Bp. Tedeschi wanted to “update” traditions by re-interpreting them with the “needs of the times.” Sound familiar?
  • He received the red hat of a cardinal from the hands of French President Vincent Auriol in 1953 at Roncalli’s own insistence. Auriol was a committed Socialist, of whom Roncalli said he was an “honest socialist.” Pope Pius XI had stated, “No one can be, at the same time, a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.”(See Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno [1931], para #120)
  • While working in Bulgaria, Roncalli became well acquainted with Eastern Schismatics. His heretical ecumenism shone through “Catholics and Orthodox are not enemies, but brothers. We have the same faith; we share the same sacraments, and especially the Eucharist. We are divided by some disagreements concerning the divine constitution of the Church of Jesus Christ. The persons who were the cause of these disagreements have been dead for centuries. Let us abandon the old disputes and, each in his own domain, let us work to make our brothers good, by giving them good example. Later on, though traveling along different paths, we shall achieve union among the churches to form together the true and unique Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (See Luigi Accattoli, When A Pope Asks Forgiveness, New York: Alba House and Daughters of St. Paul, [1998], pp. 18-19; Emphasis mine.) Do the schismatics share the same faith with the One True Church? Obviously not.
  • According to Renzo Allegri (translated from the original Italian Il Papa che ha cambiato il mondo, Testimonianze sulla vita private di Giovanni XXIII, pg. 66) a Bulgarian journalist named Stefano Karadgiov stated, “I knew Catholic priests who refused to go into an Orthodox Church even as tourists. Bishop Roncalli, on the contrary, always participated in Orthodox functions, arousing astonishment and perplexity in some Catholics. He never missed the great ceremonies which were celebrated in the principle Orthodox church in Sofia. He put himself in a corner and devoutly followed the rites. The Orthodox chants especially pleased him. (Emphasis mine)
  • The import of Roncalli actively participating in false worship cannot be understated. Participating in false religious worship, according to the approved canonists and theologians, is a manifestation of heresy and/or apostasy. According to theologian Merkelbach, external heresy consists not only in what someone says, but also dictis vel factis, that is “signs, deeds, and the omission of deeds.” (Merkelbach, Summa Theologiae Moralis, 1:746; Emphasis mine)
  • Nor is this an isolated report of Roncalli participating in prayer with those outside the Church. According to John Hughes in Pontiffs:Popes Who Shaped History [Our Sunday Visitor Press, 1994], “He [Roncalli] became good friends of the Reverend Austin Oakley, chaplain at the British Embassy and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal representative to the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch. Even more unusual were Roncalli’s visits to Oakley’s chapel, where the two men prayed together.” (Emphasis mine). Furthermore, according to Kerry Walters in John XXIII (A Short Biography) Franciscan Media,[2013], Roncalli once proclaimed from the pulpit that Jesus Christ “died to proclaim universal brotherhood.” (pg. 14)
Did Something Strange Happen at the 1958 Conclave?
 1.  There were several top contenders for the papacy after the death of Pope Pius XII. Fr. DePauw, my spiritual father, made it known to me that his personal friend, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, who was in charge of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, was so certain he would be elected, that he had already picked out his regnal name as Pope Pius XIII. Other strong contenders included Cardinals Agagianian (Modernist sympathizer), Lercaro (Modernist sympathizer), and Siri (anti-Communist and anti-Modernist like Ottaviani). The U.S. government was very interested in the election, as the Cold War was in high gear, and they wanted another staunch anti-Communist like Pope Pius XII.
In October of 1958, there were only 55 Cardinals in the world, the lowest number in decades because Pope Pius knew so many bishops were suspect of Modernism. It was the “second wave” of resurgent Modernism. Pope St. Pius X had driven the Modernists underground, but had not extirpated them. So why did Pope Pius XII give the red hat of a Cardinal to Roncalli? Contrary to what many think, the Church doesn’t simply excommunicate clerics on a whim. The fact that they were censured or held suspect of heresy is the Church doing Her job. The hope is to reform those who go astray and bring them back into the fold. Even the great St. Pius X gave the worst Modernists time to reform before excommunication. To be clear, the Church is in no way infallible when it comes to ecclesiastical appointments. Choosing someone as a Cardinal does not relieve their censure or suspicion of heresy automatically.
Pope Pius XII had a back-stabbing Judas as his confessor; Fr. Augustin Bea. Bea was thought to be anti-Modernist, but at Vatican II he worked for the passage of Nostra Aetate, the heretical document on non-Christian religions. He was an ecumenist to the extreme and wanted the Jews “absolved” for their crime of Deicide. Could he have protected Roncalli, having the ear of Pope Pius and convincing him he was “reformed” and/or not electable as pope? This is one of many possibilities, but the crux of the matter is it does nothing to absolve Roncalli of his false teachings and even without ecclesiastical excommunication, he would have been removed from the Church by Divine Law for profession of heresy.
2. Confusing white smoke signals appeared and American intelligence had allegedly found out that Cardinal Siri had been elected pope. Then the smoke was black. White smoke signals mean that a Cardinal had been elected and accepted his election as the new pope. This has lead some to speculate that Siri was elected pope (“Gregory XVII”) and was forced to resign. Therefore Roncalli’s election was null and void. I don’t accept the “Siri Theory” for good reason.

See my post http://introiboadaltaredei2.blogspot.com/2015/02/one-question-siri-cant-answer.html for my thoughts on the “Siri Theory.” Is it possible some other Cardinal was elected, forced to resign (which made Roncalli’s election null and void), and then lost office by going along with the Modernists? It’s a possibility. Lest anyone say there is no evidence of seriously confusing smoke, according to Kirk Clinger, “The partly white, partly dark smoke confused even the Vatican radio announcers. They had to apologize frequently for their error. The column of smoke which rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel was first whitish, then definitely white, and only later definitely black.” (See A Pope Laughs: Stories of John XXIII,Holt, Rinehard, and Winston[1964], pg. 43)

3. The most convincing report I heard was that both Cardinals Ottaviani and Siri were unable to muster the two-thirds plus one vote to be elected. As a result, a group of “moderates” convinced most Cardinals to give their votes to Roncalli as a “transitional” pope. He was 77 years old, and (so the reasoning went) wouldn’t do much. Could there have been threats to a Cardinal that got elected and he was forced to resign? At least two Cardinals present made disparaging statements about what transpired at that conclave, which is highly suggestive that there was something seriously wrong. They were Cardinals Ottaviani and Spellman.
4. Does this give us a reasonable suspicion, such that we may doubt Roncalli’s election? Reasonable suspicion is a low standard of evidence, so I’d say definitely so. However, there is more than ample proof Roncalli was a heretic prior to his election and therefore could not attain to the papacy. Finally, let’s not forget that a cause can be discerned by examining the effects. For example, the intelligent design of the universe points to a Creator. Likewise, if the man who came out of the conclave did what a true pope would not (indeed could not) do, we can safely say he wasn’t elected pope.
5. Roncalli, as “pope” rehabilitated every major heretic that had been censured under Pope Pius XII and had them as approved periti (theological experts) at Vatican II. These heretics included the likes of Congar, de Lubac, and Hans Kung, among many others, none of whom were required to abjure any errors. Roncalli promoted ecumenism. He ordered the words removed from the prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus : “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism.” He changed the Good Friday prayers so as to remove the phrase “perfidious (i.e., faithless) Jews.” He modernized the Mass, Breviary, and Calendar. He was friends with Socialists, Communists, and Freemasons, none of whom he sought to convert. Are these the actions of a true Vicar of Christ?
Pacem In Terris: Heresy On Earth
The death-knell for those who wish to consider Roncalli pope lies in the fact that he professed heresy in his encyclical Pacem In Terris, published April 11, 1963. This section of my post is taken from the work of Mr. John Lane called John XXIII and Pacem in Terris. I give full credit to Mr. Lane for his incredible research  and incisive analysis. I have condensed the pertinent parts of his article in this section and included some of my comments and research, which I mixed in.—Introibo
The encyclical Pacem in Terris, was about “establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty,” and in addition to the Church, it was addressed “to all men of good will.” The heretical proposition is the opening sentence of paragraph #14. The official Latin version, published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (“AAS” –Acts of the Apostolic See), No. 55, 257-304 is as follows:

In hominis juribus hoc quoque numerandum est, ut et Deum, ad rectum conscientiae suae normam, venerari possit, et religionem privatim et publice profiteri. 

In English it means, “We must include among the rights of man that he should be able to worship God according to the rightful prompting of his conscience and to profess his religion privately and publicly.”
Those who defend Roncalli will point out (correctly) that the Church teaches humans have the right to profess and practice only the Catholic religion which is the One True Church, outside of which no one is saved. Error has no rights. There is nothing wrong with this statement in Pacem (they contend) because the word rightful modifies the “prompting of his conscience” such that it implies that one is not simply entitled to follow his conscience in the worship of God unless his conscience is rightful (i.e., in accordance with the One True Church). What no Catholic can declare is that each person should be able “to profess his religion privately and publicly.” This implies (as we shall see) that one can profess any religion, be it the True Religion or any of the myriad false religions, both privately and in public; which idea is heretical and condemned by the Church.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The possessive adjective “his” does not appear in the official Latin text published in the AAS. However, its interpolation by translators (including the official English text available on the Modernist Vatican’s website) is by no means unjustified for two reasons:

(a) Latin very rarely includes such adjectives, frequently showing them to be  understood from the context.
(b) Abundant evidence shows that John XXIII’s true meaning is represented by the inclusion of “his”–which evidence will be examined.

If you read the sentence without the word “his” it admits of an orthodox interpretation: i.e., people have the right to profess religion publicly and privately provided it’s the Catholic religion. Nevertheless, we cannot omit that word without altering the intended sense of the encyclical; a sense that is unabashedly heretical. Let no one protest that this is an exercise in mere semantics. The semi-Arian heretics, under pressure from the Emperor, were prepared to submit to every syllable of the Nicene Creed except they rejected the statement that Our Lord was consubstantial (homo-ousion) with the Father, but He was merely (homoi-ousion) of like substance, not the same substance. One letter marked the all important line between Catholic doctrine and heresy.

It is beyond dispute that the meaning Roncalli wished to convey, and to which he consciously lent his (alleged) “authority,” was that each person has the right to profess his religion—whatever that religion may be–both privately and publicly. Here is the evidence:

1. The encyclical was not, as traditionally done, addressed only to the members of the Roman Catholic Church, but to “all men of good will.” If it was only addressed to Catholics, one could argue that they would know that “his” religion is the Catholic religion, because only the Truth may be openly professed and preached. After all, he would then only have Catholics as his intended audience. It is completely unreasonable to expect Jews, Mohammedans, Protestants, and Eastern Schismatics (among other non-Catholics) to obtain that understanding from the context. The only reasonable conclusion at which they would arrive is that the encyclical guarantees every single one of them the objective moral right to practice and professhis particular false religion in public.

2. The 32nd edition of Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum [The Enchiridion is a compendium of all the basic texts on Catholic dogma and morality since the Apostolic Age. Commissioned by Pope Pius IX, it has been in use since 1854, and has been regularly updated since] was edited by Fr. Schonmetzer and has the offending sentence tagged with a footnote referencing the Masonic United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) article 18:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

This passage is irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine, yet it is linked to the very sentence that would make a reader believe that everyone is free to express his religion in public, no matter if it is the true religion or not. It would suggest that Roncalli was conscious of that portion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as he penned Pacem in Terris. If this does not contradict Catholic teaching, nothing does.

As Pope Gregory XVI taught: “Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care…This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it.” (See Mirari Vos [1832], para. #13 and 14).

The defenders of Roncalli will protest that there is a “lack of evidence” that Roncalli authorized the footnote; but such objection fails miserably. The authors of the Enchiridion are selected precisely to ensure that their references and explanations will meet with official approval of the Holy See, and any remark misrepresenting the mind of same would meet with a public rebuke and a retraction demanded by Rome, which was far from the case. Moreover, the involvement of the editors of the 32nd edition is more demonstrable than in any prior edition. It was the first time that the passage of Pope Pius IX’s condemnation of religious liberty was omitted.  The startling omission is explicable only on the basis that it was intended to conceal the explicit contradiction between Pacem in Terris and Quanta Cura. 

This passage was omitted: From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity” viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching “liberty of perdition;” and that “if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling.” (See Quanta Cura [1864], para. #3).

Clearly, it cannot be reasonably maintained that those who took such great care to arrange the suppression of the “offending” part of Quanta Cura were not also responsible for the footnote to Pacem in Terris which concerned the same subject.

3. That fact that the sentence from Pacem in Terris must be understood in connection with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is confirmed by the fact that in Pacem itself, the Masonic United Nations and its Declaration are commended and praised in paragraphs #142, 143, and 144. Roncalli said of the Declaration “It is a solemn recognition of the personal dignity of every human being; an assertion of everyone’s right to be free to seek out the truth, to follow moral principles, discharge the duties imposed by justice, and lead a fully human life. It also recognized other rights connected with these.” (para. #144; Emphasis mine). An encyclical is carefully read over by the Pontiff before signing and promulgating it. Moreover, high ranking theologians craft it at the direction of the pope. Each word is carefully chosen. If these “other rights” written in the Declaration did not include the infamous “right” to religious liberty, is it not obvious this would have been made clear?

4. The encyclical was roundly praised by the Masonic lodges and the secular media both of which promote religious Indifferentism and religious liberty through supporting separation of Church and State.

5. The Church cannot (and does not) teach ambiguously in expressing theological truths. Any deliberate ambiguity must be interpreted against the orthodoxy of the one teaching ambiguously. Propositions that are ambiguous or admit of interpretations that are either orthodox or heterodox are deemed “heretical by defect.” This is also the case with propositions that are true, but are calculated to omit pertinent truths or terms they ought to include. The following proposition of the Jansenist Pseudo-Synod of Pistoia was condemned:
“After the consecration, Christ is truly, really and substantially present beneath the appearances (of bread and wine), and the whole substance of bread and wine has ceased to exist, leaving only the appearances.”

In 1794, Pope Pius VI condemned that proposition in the Apostolic Constitution Auctorem Fidei because “it entirely omits to make any mention of transubstantiation or the conversion of the entire substance of the bread into the Body, and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood, which the Council of Trent defined as an article of Faith…insofar as, through an unauthorized and suspicious omission of this kind, attention is drawn away both from an article of Faith and from a word consecrated by the Church to safeguard the profession of that article against heresies, and tends, therefore, to result in its being forgotten as if it were merely a scholastic question.”

Summation: It is impossible to excuse Roncalli (John XXIII) from the charge of heresy by arguing that this sentence can admit of an orthodox interpretation, because it does not. Even if, ad arguendo, it could so admit of an orthodox interpretation, Roncalli would still be guilty of heresy by defect because it has been shown that the obvious sense of the sentence, taken in both text and context, is incontrovertibly heretical.

Conclusion
What, then, are the practical and objective conclusions we can deduce from the so-called pontificate of “Good Pope John”?
  • He was influenced and kept friends with Modernists, Masons, Socialists and other sworn enemies of the Church from his earliest days in the priesthood
  • He was removed from his teaching post on suspicion of heresy (Modernism)
  • He worshiped and prayed with heretics and schismatics
  • He made an overtly heretical statement regarding Catholics and Eastern Schismatics having the “same faith”
  • The conclave of 1958 was surrounded by suspicious activity and lead many to believe that someone else had been elected pope prior to Roncalli
  • After his “election” Roncalli rehabilitated all the living censured theologians under Pope Pius XII and had them actively serve as theological experts during Vatican II
  • Roncalli taught the heresy of religious liberty in Pacem in Terris; he paved the way for its adoption at Vatican II in the heretical document Dignitatis Humanae

Therefore,

1. It is morally certain that Roncalli was not pope since at least the promulgation of the heretical encyclical Pacem in Terris of April 11, 1963. A true pope cannot teach heresy.
2. Was Roncalli “pope” from October of 1958 until April 11, 1963? In a word: No. We know a cause by the effect it produces. If you see someone who’s sick, you know it’s caused by an illness, even if you can’t diagnose exactly what illness it is. Pope’s do not rehabilitate heretics, promote ecumenism and teach heresy. It is highly more probable than not that Roncalli was a heretic at the time he entered the conclave and never attained to the papacy in the first place. It is also possible (but not likely) that someone else was elected pope and resigned under duress, making Roncalli’s subsequent “election” invalid. There’s more than sufficient evidence prior to the promulgation of Pacem in Terris that we can suspect the validity of his election (due to heresy, election of another, or both) to treat him as a dubious pope –which is no pope in the practical order.
I could write dozens of posts on “Evil Pseudo-Pope John.” However, I hope this one will be sufficient to put to rest the arguments of those who are “agnostic” about his “papacy” and think he might have been pope. Finally, for those who have even the slightest qualm of conscience or scintilla of doubt remaining, let me add that Bergoglio “canonized” him a “saint.” The same Argentinian apostate who gave us “St.” John Paul the Great Apostate and “St” Paul VI, gave us “St” John XXIII. If that’s not enough to make you realize the destruction he caused, and for which the Vatican II sect praises him, no amount of information can wake you from your denial.

The Anti-Father

If you ever heard the Vatican II sect “priests” talk about the Gospel in their “homily,” you would get the idea that the books of the Bible are more or less a bunch of nice stories that teach us to be kind because “God is good all the time.” They denigrate “born again” Protestant ministers, not for their many and genuine heresies, but because they “falsely” believe the Bible to be the inspired and infallible Word of God. At the same time, (so we are told), in the days pre-Vatican II, Catholics were “not allowed” or “discouraged” from reading the Bible on their own. In this way, they were prevented from seeing that the Bible is a nice collection of myths, stories, and some truths to encourage us to believe in a nice God and His Son Who was “the greatest man (sic) on Earth.”

If you’re wondering how we got to this sorry state of affairs, modern Biblical scholarship was infected by the Modernists in the wake of Vatican II. The seeds were sowed in the late 19th century, and one man in particular did more damage than all the others. Alfred Firmin Loisy was born in France on February 28, 1857, and died June 1, 1940. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1879, but was off-course in his spiritual life. He obtained his theology degree in 1890. Loisy claimed in his journal that he had a “fever for glory” and wanted to become a “Father of the Church.”(See McKee, The Enemy Within the Gate [1974], pg. 23). His arrogance and diabolical hatred for all things traditional Catholic, led to him becoming one of the “Fathers of Modernism” and of the Vatican II sect, which his influence helped to spawn in 1964.

As we shall see in this post, Loisy was particularly critical of the Bible, and is even called in some circles the “Founder of Biblical Modernism in the Catholic (sic) Church.” It is because of him, and his intellectual/spiritual disciples, that the true teaching regarding the Bible was discarded.

Ridding The Bible of “Myths”
Loisy argued against the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the reliability of Genesis’ creation accounts, and against the historical dependability of the Bible in general. As a result, he was removed from his teaching position at the Institut Catholique.  After his dismissal, he was made a chaplain at a girls school at Neuilly. In 1900 Loisy became lecturer at Ecole des hautes Estudes at the Sorbonne, where he was able to continue spreading his ideas as a Modernist. Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Providentissimus Deus in 1893 condemning the errors of Modernist Biblical criticism.
 Undaunted, Loisy continued to write heretical books, using Modernist Biblical criticism. In particular, Loisy:
  • Denied the authority of God, the Scriptures, and Tradition
  • Denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ
  • Denied Christ was omniscient
  • Denied the Redemptive death and Resurrection of Christ
  • Denied the Virgin Birth
  • Denied Transubstantiation
  • Denied the Divine Institution of both the papacy and the Church

In December of 1903, Loisy’s books were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office with the full approval of Pope St. Pius X, who had just been elected pope in August of that year. On January 24, 1904, Loisy wrote to the saintly and thoroughly Anti-Modernist Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val. The Cardinal was the right hand man of Pope St. Pius X, and with good reason. Cardinal Merry del Val was everything Loisy was not: humble and pious. Moreover, the Cardinal was an intellectual giant, having not only a Doctorate in Sacred Theology as an approved theologian, but he also earned a doctorate in philosophy and licentiate in Canon Law. He did not fancy himself a “Father of the Church” but actually penned a “Litany of Humility.” Some ascribed the authorship to another, but the Cardinal recited it daily, nevertheless.  His cause for sainthood was introduced in 1953, and in my opinion, had Vatican II not happened, he would have an “St.” before his name.

Loisy told the Cardinal in his letter that “I accept all the dogmas of the Church.” This was an unabashed lie, because at the same time in his journal he wrote, “I have not been Catholic in the official sense of the word for a long time…Roman Catholicism as such is destined to perish, and it will deserve no regrets.” (Ibid, pgs. 32-33). The wise Cardinal was not satisfied, as he knew all too well how Modernists lie and conceal their true intentions by giving different meanings to dogmas. A Modernist could say, “I believe in the Resurrection of Christ (insofar as he lives on; not materially, but in the minds of His followers).” The part in parentheses is never said aloud. Cardinal Merry del Val continued to advise Pope St. Pius that more stringent measures needed to be taken.
Finally, in 1907, His Holiness Pope St. Pius X condemned 65 Modernist propositions in his famous declaration Lamentabili Sane. Of those 65 propositions, fifty (50) were taken from the works of Loisy. Enraged, Loisy realized that there was no reconciliation possible with the Church and his heresy. He now made plain what he had heretofore keep close to his vest when he wrote publicly, “Christ has even less importance in my religion than he does in that of the liberal Protestants: for I attach little importance to the revelation of God the Father for which they honor Jesus. If I am anything in religion, it is more pantheist-positivist-humanitarian than Christian.” On March 7, 1908, Loisy was solemnly excommunicated by Pope St. Pius X. He became a college professor, forsaking his clerical status, and died unrepentant in 1940.
The Condemnations of Lamentabili Sane
Here are just some of the propositions (all solemnly condemned by St. Pius X) which Loisy propagated in regard to Holy Scripture:
4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church’s Magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.
7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments She issues are to be embraced.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.

10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete[interpreter of the Bible] must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

In Defense of God’s Word
The attacks of Loisy and the Modernists on Sacred Scripture lack merit, even apart from a theological perspective. The following is taken and condensed from the work of A. Anderson, a lawyer who attacked the alleged logical basis of the Modernists’ faulty exegesis. Anderson shows that the Modernists cannot maintain their position in regard to Sacred Scripture being “unreliable”— even in the purposeful absence of theological proof. What makes his work, entitled A Lawyer Among the Theologians, (Hodder and Stoughton, [1967]) truly masterful, is how he demonstrates that the Gospels are historically reliable while fighting Modernists “on their own turf” by using the best secular evidence, and not invoking any theological authority.
Reasons for Accepting the Gospels as Historically Reliable
As a form of literature, the Gospels are unique, for they were written by believers to confirm the readers in their faith or to bring to faith those who did not yet believe. Since the Christian faith is rooted in history, the Evangelists were concerned in reporting what actually happened, and therefore the religious aim of the Gospels is not a valid reason for rejecting them as historically inaccurate or unreliable.
1. Two Evangelists explicitly claim they are reporting historical facts. St. Luke begins his Gospel by telling us that he has been at pains to gather reliable information about the events he plans to chronicle in order that Theophilus, for whom he is directly writing, may rest assured that his faith in Christ is based on well-established fact. The order in which he recounts the facts is not strictly chronological, but in its main outlines Luke’s account of the public ministry of Jesus tallies with those of Sts. Matthew and Mark. St. John also presents his Gospel as a record of facts which serve as a warranty for faith in Christ.
2. The Evangelists, even if they wanted to, could not have made up the story, for the central figure is so tremendous and the story of His life so unique as to be beyond the power of human imagination. Even John Stuart Mill, a rationalist philosopher who rejected the supernatural said, “Who among His disciples or among the proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings of Jesus or or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the simple fishermen of Galilee; certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers.”
3. The Gospels had to pass the scrutiny of men who had witnessed the events that were recorded, and were hostile to the Christian claims.
4. Historical and archaeological research have revealed that the Gospels depict with striking exactitude the very complex social and political order that prevailed in the Middle East in the third decade of the first century, an order that was completely destroyed in 70 A.D. The Evangelists’ reliability in recording these items creates a presumption that their testimony on other matters is true as well.
5. A crucified Messiah was completely out of step with regard to Jewish expectations. The Jews were expecting a Messiah, but not a suffering Messiah, and still less an Incarnate Deity. Even if they thought the Messiah was to be the Son of God, even the most learned rabbis of the day would NOT think Him to be born in a stable, spend thirty years in obscurity as a carpenter, and end His life on the ignominious death of the cross. Christ therefore was, in the words of St. Paul, a “stumbling block” on the path to faith. (1 Corinthians 1:23).
There is non-Christian testimony from pagan historians which corroborate the unique life of Jesus Christ. These writers include:
  • Flavius Josephus
  • Tacitus
  • Suetonius
  • Pliny the Younger
Conclusion
The Modernists have come to destroy all that is good, beautiful, and true. The would be “Church Father” Alfred Loisy was the quintessential Modernist, seeking to destroy the Church and replace Her with a One World Religion. He began attacking the reliability of the Bible, and the Vatican II sect continues with the de-supernaturalized “social Gospel” which reduces the Faith to little more than worldly concerns and advocates for Socialism/Communism. One of Loisy’s most noted sayings was, “Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom, and what arrived was the Church,” as if Our Lord never intended to found a Church. Loisy admitted to being a “pantheist-positivist-humanitarian” –a man devoid of the Faith.
Bergoglio and his false hierarchy are Loisy’s successors in heresy and apostasy. They proclaim a mythical Jesus (“There is no Catholic God”) Who founded no Church (“proselytism is solemn nonsense”) and lets you do what you want (“Who am I to judge?”). The only thing our SSPX friends need to recognize is that the Vatican II sect is not the Roman Catholic Church, and then resist the sect by admitting sedevacantism— thereby joining the fight against it.

41 comments:

  1. Admit sedevacantism? The only thing harder than admitting you were wrong is admitting you were fooled. SSPX and the other cottage industry resisters have painted themselves so far in the corner that they have become blinded by their own spin.

    Reply

  2. Tom,
    True. I guess miracles do happen? At least we can hope so—for all our sakes!

    —-Introibo

  3. Thank you, Introibo, for displaying the correct attitude one should take towards the SSPX.

    If one believes that all of the SSPX clergy are engaged in a false opposition designed to ensnare souls, one probably spends a good deal of time slapping their own head (ala Mel Gibson in “Conspiracy Theory”) while breathlessly ranting about various conspiratorial organizations. *Wild look in the eyes is optional.

    If one thinks that the SSPX has been somewhat infiltrated by the enemy, all the MORE reason to fervently pray for all of the good and holy SSPX clergy that aren’t traitors to our Lord.

    As sedevacantists we believe that they’ve concluded wrongly. This doesn’t mean we’re better or are “the chosen ones.” Far from it. Many of us are only right due to favorable circumstances.

    Did St. Monica revile and disown Augustine? It is incumbent on us to pray fervently each day for tne intention that the SSPX and their adherents see the truth. We also have a moral responsibility to see the very best in others until that is no longer possible. So from a starting point of the SSPX being horribly wrong on serious religious matters, tbey are to be pitied rather than be excoriated. Prayed for rather than uncharitably criticized.

    We’re all in this together. We all ultimately want the same thing – Heaven.

    Reply

  4. @anon7:28
    Well stated my friend!

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  5. Is their any difference between the SSPX and the Indult?

  6. The title of this article “The Anti-Father” reminds me of a statement by Frankie the Fake stating that “God is Father and also Mother”. Leave it to Frankie the Fake to spread confusion and modernism. Since Frankie is into and a practicing New Ager himself, perhaps he is telling many of the feminists and New Agers that it is ok to pray to God as “Goddess”? I also wonder if he will change the Our Father to “Our Father and Mother” in the Vatican II Sect?
    See link below:

    https://www.lastampa.it/2019/01/16/vaticaninsider/the-pope-god-is-father-and-also-mother-and-always-loves-even-criminals-TDZFfyjpVfPqOD6mpRYprJ/pagina.html

    Reply

  7. Joann,
    No doubt “feminist theology” has taken hold since Vatican II. Bergoglio will lead people into EVERY EVIL. There was a “priest” in Boston when Ratzinger was “pope.” He was baptizing babies “In the name of God the Creator, and of Jesus the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.”

    Some parents questioned its validity, and much to that “priest’s “ chagrin, even the Modernist Vatican declared them null and void and to be unconditionally repeated!!

    Be assured that under Francis, he wouldn’t perturb an invalid Sacrament!

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  8. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. Matthew 7: 21-23

    I hate to say it, but I bet Alfred Firmin Loisy wishes he believed in the bible and in the Church now.

    I’m surprised the Novus ordo hasn’t talked about making him a “Doctor of the Church” like some have in regards to Teilhard de Chardin.

    Reply

  9. @anon5:39
    Oh, give them time! Teilhard shall be their “doctor,” Loisy shall be their “father,” and since its inception the V2 sect has had Satan for their lord and master.

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  10. The seeds of Modernism were sown in the 17th century, when many theologians downplayed the condemnation of Galileo by the Holy See, insolently maintaining that the last word had not been had not yet been spoken on the subject of heliocentrism. By the second half of the 19th century, not a single theologian held to the biblical view of cosmology, and all without exception accepted heliocentrism. By the mid-20th century, scarcely a single one held to the Genesis account of creation, and evolutionism was all the rage in theological circles. Small wonder, then, that the Modernists were able to just waltz in and take the fortress unopposed. For the institutional Church had already been gut-shot by the craven capitulation of modern churchmen to the impious ravings of modern science. Therefore, the task of the Modernists couldn’t have been easier. It was like drowning puppies.

    Reply

  11. George,
    Good to hear from you again! It’s been some time since you last commented.

    Are you claiming that geocentrism is “dogma” or Catholic doctrine the denial of which is a mortal sin against the Faith?

    Two responses:
    According to Theologian Salavarri, “…decisions of this kind [regarding Biblical Commissions, condemning Galileo, ] are not absolutely infallible nor irrevocable; therefore the assent due to them, although anyone rightly ascents to them without a prudent fear of being in error (I.e., morally certain) , still it is not absolute nor absolutely irreformable.” (See “Sacrae Theologiae Summa” Volume IB, pg. 701).

    2. Pope St Pius X solemnly approved the following two answers and decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on 6/29/1909 in response to several queries:

    Question # 7: “Whether, since it was not the intention of the sacred author, when writing the first chapter of Genesis, to teach us in a scientific manner the innermost nature of visible things, and to present the complete order of creation but rather to furnish his people with a popular account, such as the common parlance of that age allowed, one, namely, adopted to the senses and to man’s intelligence, we are strictly and always bound, when interpreting these chapters to seek for scientific exactitude of expression?”

    Answer: In the negative.

    Question # 8: “Whether the word yom (‘day’), which is used in the first chapter of Genesis to describe and distinguish the six days, may be taken in its strict sense as the natural day, or in a less strict sense as signifying a certain space of time; and whether free discussion of this question is permitted to interpreters?”

    Answer: In the affirmative.

    Therefore, one is free to accept or deny geocentric ideas and the idea that Earth is only 6,000 years old. The decisions of the time referred to in Genesis was approved by The Foe Of Modernism himself—Pope St Pius X.

    That there were Modernists seeking to infiltrate the Church prior to V2, conceded. That the approved theologians all taught error, denied. For this would ascribe error to the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium which is impossible lest the Church defected. (Heresy)

    Notice how vigilant the Church was in condemning Loisy and his ilk. So were Roncalli and Ratzinger censured. It was only after Roncalli usurped the Throne Of St Peter did we get to this point.

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  12. Introibo: “It was only after Roncalli usurped the Throne Of St Peter did we get to this point.”

    Hi Introibo,

    We’ve previously had a conversation about the strict requirement for solid evidence before we can observe that an individual is a papal usurper or pseudo-pope.

    As noted previously, the world hasn’t yet been graced with the exhaustive and definitive article by Fr. Cekada wherein he deals the killer blow to Roncalli’s papacy by demonstrating clear-cut actions and words that would’ve doubtlessly eliminated any possibility of Roncalli attaining or maintaining the office of pope. We know that John Salza demolished a facile argument put forth by Bp. Sanborn. Others have unsuccessfully sought to show heresy in “Pacem in Terris.” There are the persistent rumors of Freemasonry, etc. But nothing presented thus far has any probative value insofar Roncalli being a pseudo-pope. There is plenty demonstrating that Roncalli was a very bad egg, sailing close to wind of heresy (he is on file as being “suspected of Modernism”), but it appears that solid evidence to convict him has not yet surfaced.

    Arising from the preceding are three immediate questions.

    1) Should we or can we refer to a papal claimant as a definite usurper without a standard of evidence that clearly demonstrates this?

    2) Considering all of the mystery (e.g., white smoke appearing at one stage during the 1958 conclave), and confusion wrought by rumors and known, dubious associations Roncalli had with bad actors, is this enough to put John XXIII/Roncalli into a “doubtful pope” category, thus enabling informed Catholics to flee him like one would run from doubtful sacraments?

    3) Do you now have any unimpeachable/solid evidence clearly showing that Roncalli was a definite false pope?

    Please discuss.

  13. Roncalli has many flaws as you rightly pointed out. Let’s first review this general principle from Theologian Szal:
    “Nor is there any schism if one merely transgresses a papal law for the reason that one considers it too difficult, or if ONE REFUSES OBEDIENCE INASMUCH AS ONE SUSPECTS THE PERSON OF THE POPE OR THE VALIDITY OF HIS ELECTION, or if one resists him as the civil head of a state.” (See “The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics” CUA Press [1948], pg 2; Emphasis mine).

    Do we have reason to suspect the election of Roncalli? Yes.

    John XXIII
    Was removed from his teaching position at the Lateran University under “suspicion of Modernism.” He was on a list of suspected Modernists as far back as 1925, and which list was kept at the Holy Office.

    Received the red hat of a cardinal from the hands of French President Vincent Auriol in 1953 at Roncalli’s insistence. Auriol was a committed Socialist, of whom Roncalli said he was an “honest socialist.” Pope Pius XI had stated, ” No one can be, at the same time, a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.”

    Promoted ecumenism. He ordered the words removed from the prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus : “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism.” He changed the Good Friday prayers so as to remove the phrase “perfidious (i.e., faithless) Jews.” He further modernized the Mass, Breviary, and Calendar.

    He made the following statement which is isolated, yet enunciates a heretical idea:
    In his encyclical Pacem In Terris (1963), he stated in paragraph #11, “Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public.”

    I really don’t see how he can escape the charge of heresy and either lost office or never attained it.

    Could the Siri Theory be true ? Possibly. I don’t buy it, but I try to follow the evidence where it leads. US intelligence DID report only an hour or so after the original white smoke that Giuseppe Cardinal Siri was elected as Pope Gregory XVII.

    Finally, According to Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy, there was someone deeply into the teachings of Rudolf Steiner; one Angelo Roncalli, who would become “Pope” John XXIII and convoke the Second Vatican (Robber) Council! Coomaraswamy writes, “Then in 1924, after the death of his beloved bishop [Bp. Tedeschi], he [Roncalli] was called back to Rome and given a minor post in the Association for the Propagation of the Faith. At this time he also became a part time Professor of Patristics at the Lateran University, only to be relieved of his post within months “on suspicion of Modernism” and for “teaching the theories of Rudolf Steiner” (See The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, World Wisdom Press, 2006, pg. 134 & Footnote 17, pg. 154).

    Rudolf Steiner was an open occultist.

    In 1958, would a Catholic have reason to suspect Roncalli? The average Catholic, no. But with over 60 years of hindsight we DO. Hence, a doubtful pope is to be treated as no pope at all.

    —-Introibo

  14. Thanks for all that, Introibo.

    We’ve been through all this before. You’ve said nothing new. I don’t find your reasoning convincing.

    Bottom line: What you’ve listed is not solid evidence for heresy or apostasy.

    Your “cumulative” approach does not magically add up to Roncalli being a heretic/apostate/non-Catholic. What we need is a minimum of ONE example where it can be CLEARLY shown WHAT crime Roncalli committed and HOW that crime caused him to lose the faith/cease to be a Catholic.

    Rumors of being a Freemason, Freemasons claiming he was one of their own, rumors of being a Communist, hearsay in books, hearsay about what American security agencies thought at time, theories about Cardinal Siri being elected, Steiner being an occultist, your view of a passage out of Pacem in Terris, etc. etc., don’t even begin to approach proof for Roncalli being a false pope. As a lawyer, I think you know what I’m saying is true. And Canonical legal standards are what Roncalli must be judged against, and not, for example, a “preponderance of evidence” based on hearsay.

    What I was seeking was your thoughts on whether a Catholic today can legitimately put Roncalli in the “too hard basket,” DESPITE the FACT that one would be doing so based purely on a wealth of rumor, innuendo, unverified facts, etc. That’s what our “doubt” would be/is based on. Let’s be very clear about that. Based on a complete lack of solid evidence, I hardly think one can go about 100% declaring Roncalli an usurper. That’s not how justice works.

    Heavily in Roncalli’s favor is:

    1) Compelling, is that Roncalli was suspected of Modernism (heresy) as early as 1925 yet was never brought before the courts.

    2) Although the average Catholic layman wasn’t aware of Roncalli’s shenanigans, Church authorities certainly were. Everything you’ve mentioned was seen by the authorities.

    3) Compelling, is that Roncalli sat unchallenged (for years) as Cardinal under Pope Pius XII, right up until Pius’ death in 1958.

    4) None of the traditional clergy use your arguments. They obviously don’t think that what’s on your list suffices as examples that would prove the case against Roncalli. Again, where is Fr. Cekada’s article clearly showing that Roncalli was a false pope?

    Introibo: “I really don’t see how he can escape the charge of heresy and either lost office or never attained it.”

    Again, we need a minimum of ONE example where it can be CLEARLY shown WHAT crime Roncalli committed and HOW that crime caused him to lose the faith/cease to be a Catholic.

    I simply don’t know whether Roncalli was an impostor or not. Therefore I can’t declare him to definitely be an usurper.

  15. Even if I concede we don’t know if he’s an imposter or not, the fact remains that there is enough evidence TO SUSPECT his election.
    Teaching occult theories and being removed from a teaching post are FACTS. What was written in Pacem in Terris is religious liberty.

    Is this enough (plus the white smoke and verified reports from American intelligence) to be SUSPICIOUS of his election? Yes. It is enough to refuse obedience and treat him as a non-pope, even if he were valid.

    —-Introibo

  16. “verified reports from American intelligence”

    Are you talking about the story that the FBI or CIA had documents that Siri was elected? That story is extremely questionable. I believe the only source for it is an anti-Catholic book by someone whom I heard was an apostate from being a trad. He made that claim in his book, citing a document in the archives of the CIA. Several people have filed Freedom of Information requests for the document cited in the footnote, and the response has always been that no such document exists.

    Contrary to popular belief, the author who made this claim was never a federal agent, but only a journalist, and thus did not have special access to the CIA archives. The footnote that cited a specific CIA document was changed in subsequent editions of the book and replaced with a vague reference to “CIA sources” or something equally vague. Numerous people have contacted this author requesting more information about this whole situation, and he refuses to discuss it.

    All in all it looks pretty bogus to me.

  17. Introibo,

    Geocentrism is not a dogma, as it was not solemnly defined. However, it was determined by the Holy See to be the correct interpretation of Scripture. On what grounds, then, would any obedient Catholic deny it to be the correct interpretation? On no good grounds, that’s for sure. And yet, not merely some, but absolutely ALL of the theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries did in fact deny it. And here we are in the Great Apostasy. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    You say that Salaverri considered the Galileo decision to be fallible. Of course, he would have to say that, since he obviously had no intention of assenting to it. Show me a theologian that is willing to assent to the decisions of the Holy See, and I will listen to him. The rest aren’t worth too much.

    As for the decisions of the Biblical Commission, Question #7 is not to the point, as none of the Fathers (nor anyone else, for that matter) ever considered themselves “strictly and always bound, when interpreting these chapters to seek for scientific exactitude of expression?”

    On the other hand, Question #8 merely allowed (for the time being) the opinion that yom may mean a certain period of time, rather than a single 24-hour day. This question doesn’t bind the Catholic conscience to anything. Moreover, we are still bound to follow the common interpretation of the Fathers on Scripture, and ALL the Fathers interpreted yom to be a 24-hour day, except for St. Augustine, who believed that God created all things in a single instant, and the “days” were symbolic. Not a single Father considered yom to mean “a certain space of time,” and neither should we.

    But my main point is that the Modernists were not a sufficient cause to destroy the institutional Church.

    Reply

  18. George,
    The Church can never be destroyed, it was just driven underground—and I’m sure that’s what you meant.

    I hope you see where the problems lie:

    1. The Church defected as She was unable to prevent Her approved theologians from teaching something (geocentrism) that an obedient Catholic has “no good grounds” to reject. Yet all the popes allowed this to go unchecked.

    2. Show you a theologian Willing to assent to the decisions of the Holy See? Van Noort, Salaverri, Dorsch, Tanquerey, McHugh and Callan, etc. If they weren’t willing to submit to decisions of the Holy See, they would have been censured. Obviously, even St Pius X was a Modernist sympathizer and a weak pope since he did nothing to correct the theologians of his day.

    3. You claim:
    “Moreover, we are still bound to follow the common interpretation of the Fathers on Scripture, and ALL the Fathers interpreted yom to be a 24-hour day, except for St. Augustine, who believed that God created all things in a single instant, and the “days” were symbolic. Not a single Father considered yom to mean “a certain space of time,” and neither should we.”

    Yet, why would Pope St Pius X approve a decree that would allow you to contradict the common teaching of the Fathers on Scripture, something you say we are “bound” to do. Does this not make the decision of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and its approval by Pope St Pius X wrong??

    —-Introibo

  19. Not exactly relevant, but the term “institutional Church” makes me very uncomfortable in the way it seems designed to create a distinction between the Catholic Church and an institution called the “institutional Church”. Obviously for a Catholic there is no distinction between the two. Creating new terms to make a distinction between two things that our Faith teaches are identical seems like a bad idea.

  20. The institutional Church is merely an aspect of the One, Holy Catholic Church, which I have thought up to illustrate that part of the Church that has defected. It can be defined as the Catholic Church in its aspect as a unified and coherent network of diverse ecclesiastical communities subject to a hierarchy that possesses from God the authority to teach and govern it. Since it is clear that this aspect of the Church no longer exists, it can be rightly said that the institutional Church has been destroyed.

  21. Introibo,

    Again, thanks.

    There is enough evidence to suspect his election IF, as I said before, one is allowed to suspect based purely on a wealth of rumor, innuendo, unverified facts, etc. Are we?

    Teaching occult theories and being removed from a teaching post are NOT FACTS. The first is a story that was retailed by Dr. Coomaraswamy, and the second is a FACT, but it’s ALSO a FACT that Roncalli remained in place as a Cardinal under Pope Pius XII, and is therefore presumed to be papabile.

    No. What was in Pacem and Terris was NOT religious liberty, and I pointed it out last time we discussed this. I think you need to review that exchange and your responses.

    Since when do Catholics rely on the CIA and FBI to learn when their new pope has been elected? I’ll grant that something unusual happened with the smoke, but none of the Cardinals came out at the time and denied John XXIII’s election.

    Introibo: “Yes. It is enough to refuse obedience and treat him as a non-pope, even if he were valid.”

    Who says that you can declare that suspicions based on this, particular, set of flimsy “evidence” is enough to refuse obedience and treat him as a non-pope, even if he were valid? No one. That’s “Introibo’s Law.”

    Sedevacantists recognize Paul VI onwards as pseudo-popes based on SOLID, IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE. For some reason you’re not applying this standard to Roncalli.

    Again, Fr. Cekada and other clerics aren’t using your reasons. Fr. Cekada avoids John XXIII for precisely the same reason he avoids Pius XII’s liturgical changes. He hasn’t taken the huge bundle of rumors, false ideas about Pacem in Terris etc., and then declared that they create suspicion to enable one to definitively declare Roncalli an usurper.

    Again, I don’t know if Roncalli was an usurper. Neither do you, so perhaps you should pull back on DECLARING him a pseudo-pope, and instead just state that YOU believe he was problematic to the point that YOU have your doubts that he was genuine.

    Reply

  22. I have an excellent memory but I don’t remember every exchange I’ve had with readers over the course of nine years. I believe Pacem in Terris to promote religious liberty. If you wish to argue it go right ahead.

    When do Catholics rely on the FBI and CIA for information about a conclave? Since the information is now public and declassified and casts a serious doubt over the election. A specific cardinal with a specific papal name was mentioned.
    See https://novusordowatch.org/fbi-consultant-cardinal-siri-elected-pope-1958/

    That is real credible FACT that there is serious concerns over the 1958 conclave. None of the Cardinals denied Roncalli’s election because if the resignation of the other elected cardinal was coerced, its invalid. Later, Siri may have genuinely resigned with no duress but that has no retroactive Force with regard to Roncalli.

    Fr Cekada And the other Traditionalist clerics don’t use this line of reasoning. Who cares? They have no ordinary jurisdiction and none were approved pre-V2 theologians or canonists as was my spiritual father, Fr Gommar A DePauw, JCD. The SSPV denies the validity of Thuc bishops. Fr Cekada would have us believe an Una Cum Mass is mortal sin, but you can freely avail yourself of elderly V2 apostate priests with valid orders for Confession outside the danger of death. I follow no one blindly in this age of the Great Apostasy.

    If Roncalli is not an objectively doubtful pope as per Theologian Szal, you must submit to him.

    Therefore,
    The 1962 Missal with the name of St Joseph in the Canon and the elimination of the people’s Confiteor, the Misereatur, and Indulgentium must be the only Mass for you. (Ironically, SSPX refuses to eliminate those prayers). Do you attend the Mass of 1962 and acknowledge it as the normative Mass?

    Frs. Congar, de Lubac, Hans Küng and other censured heretics were all rehabilitated by Roncalli without abjuration of heresy. Do you accept them as approved Theologians?

    The whole group of theologians implicitly condemned by the Encyclical Humani Generis in 1950 had been called to Rome at the behest of John XXIII and also rehabilitated. Do you accept them?

    He rehabilitated Montini. All the cardinals he appointed are valid. Paul VI should therefore be accepted until November 21, 1964 when he signed Lumen Gentium. You might want to update your Mass to the first steps of the Novus Bogus in January 1964.

    A doubtful Sacrament is treated as no Sacrament in the practical order. Ditto for a dubiously elected pope. If there is no objective doubt, one must submit.

    If you want to consider him pope, go ahead. You might want to rethink that while you read approved Theologian Kung.

    —-Introibo

  23. Introibo,

    Thanks, yet again.

    We debated recently, about a year ago or so. I did argue successfully against your notion that Pacem in Terris contains heresy. You’ve forgotten. But it’s there in one of the threads.

    Go read the NOW article again. There’s no probative value. It’s admitted that the information cannot be verified. For all we know it could’ve been completely fabricated. Therefore all else you say that flows from it (the report) is inadmissible.

    Do you exclusively attend Pian Masses? Have you dictated to the SSPV that they must use the 1958 Missal because you believe Pius XII was the last true Pope? If not, do you stay home alone?

    As for all the rest:

    Introibo: “A doubtful Sacrament is treated as no Sacrament in the practical order. Ditto for a dubiously elected pope. If there is no objective doubt, one must submit.”

    Excuse me, but you haven’t even proved he was a “dubiously elected pope.” Therefore it looks like you must submit. Time to dust off your copy of Theologian Kung’s manual?

    You’ve proved nothing other than Roncalli was a bad pope. (I wish you could prove otherwise.)

    Tell me Introibo, did Fr Gommar A DePauw, JCD, approved theologian and canonist, ever write a formal theological opinion, laying down the proof that Roncalli was a false pope? Did he, perchance, use Roncalli’s poor taste in rehabilitated theologians as a reason why he ceased to be a Catholic? If he (your authority and spiritual father) didn’t, are you bound to accept Roncalli and his theologians? It works both ways. Btw, did Fr. DePauw even give an informal opinion on John XXIII? His informal opinion is as good as anyone else’s, so if he had one I’d like to hear it. By the way, was Fr. DePauw a sedevacantist? If so, when did he come to the sedevacantist conclusion?

    Last time we spoke, you said you were going to go away and do some research. This is what I was asking for this time: A minimum of ONE example where it can be CLEARLY shown WHAT crime Roncalli committed and HOW that crime caused him to lose the faith/cease to be a Catholic.

    You haven’t supplied.

    I’m uncertain about John XXIII. I simply don’t know. I look for solid evidence. You’re certain without having solid evidence. That’s the difference between us.

    But only God knows for certain.

    On that basis I prefer not to definitively declare Roncalli was an usurper.

    P.S. One moment it’s high praise from you for Fr. Cekada, next moment it’s “Who cares about him!” Fr. Cekada is a prolific writer. It IS significant that he hasn’t written condemning John XXIII, whether you think so or not.

  24. You: We debated recently, about a year ago or so. I did argue successfully against your notion that Pacem in Terris contains heresy. You’ve forgotten. But it’s there in one of the threads.

    Reply: With a 90 hr. plus work week and a family, I have a hard time believing I can do this much, so please don’t expect me to go looking for an exchange a year ago. If you want to debate it hear fine. Roncalli took a line right from John Courtney Murray’s heretical religious freedom.

    You: Go read the NOW article again. There’s no probative value. It’s admitted that the information cannot be verified. For all we know it could’ve been completely fabricated. Therefore all else you say that flows from it (the report) is inadmissible.

    Reply: Did you read the following?
    Such are the claims of Paul Williams, former consultant of the FBI, researcher, and author. Despite Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made to the United States government, we have so far been unable to get copies of the cited declassified intelligence documents, and thus we cannot verify whether Williams’ claims about what these documents say are accurate. However, the mix-up in smoke signals of the conclave of 1958 is verifiable historical fact, recorded in the newspapers which reported on the conclave day of October 26, 1958, such as the New York Times and the Houston Post.

    As proof of this, we are producing below in PDF format the front pages of two American newspapers that reported on the conclave. Both of them mention the white smoke and the official announcement of a successful election on October 26 (two days before John XXIII), with everybody expecting the appearance of the new Pope, who, however, never did appear (keep in mind that white smoke is not produced until the Pope-elect has accepted his election):

    Download PDF: “New Pope: False Signals: [Vatican] Radio tells of election, bells sounded in error”, The Daily Gleaner, Oct. 27, 1958, p. 1
    Download PDF: “Cardinals Cast 8 Ballots Without Choosing Pope”, Newport Daily News, Oct. 27, 1958, p. 1
    So, at the very least we know that the conclave had indicated the election of a true Pope two days before Angelo Roncalli claimed the pontificate.

    Dr. Williams’ claims regarding the election of Cardinal Siri as Pope Gregory XVII and its subsequent suppression, are very significant for the Catholic Church because it is not possible for anyone, including “French cardinals,” to “annul” an accepted papal election. Nobody is able to take a valid papal election away from the Pope — only the Pope himself can resign, and even then there are restrictions as to the validity of a resignation: “Resignation is invalid by law if it was made out of grave fear unjustly inflicted, fraud, substantial error, or simony” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 185). It is not possible to validly elect another Pope if a true Pope is already reigning.

    If, then, a true Pope — whether Cardinal Siri or anyone else, for that matter — was already reigning when Cardinal Roncalli was chosen, this would guarantee, per divine law, the invalidity of the election of John XXIII, no matter how many people recognized him as the true Pope afterwards.

    To prevent any misunderstanding, please note that Novus Ordo Watch does not endorse or recommend Dr. Williams’ book The Vatican Exposed, which is anti-Catholic to a large extent. We make reference to it only because the information it shares regarding the conclave of 1958 appears to be based on the OBJECTIVE FINDINGS of the U.S. intelligence community and hence would seem to be sufficiently reliable. (Emphasis in Original)

    (Continued below)

  25. Remember that we need not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt (moral certainty) but SUSPICION. A reasonable suspicion in civil law is seen as more than a guess or hunch but less than probable cause. It is based on “specific and articulable facts”, “taken together with rational inferences from the circumstances. Even a 1L would concede reasonable suspicion under these facts and circumstances.

    You:Do you exclusively attend Pian Masses? Have you dictated to the SSPV that they must use the 1958 Missal because you believe Pius XII was the last true Pope? If not, do you stay home alone?

    Reply: Yes, Pian Masses ARE NORMATIVE. It should be followed, but it is not heretical to follow pre-1955. I asked if you believed they are normative. You deflected answering. Have I mentioned this to the SSPV. YES. To SEVERAL PRIESTS AND A BISHOP. I cannot “command them” into doing otherwise.

    You:Excuse me, but you haven’t even proved he was a “dubiously elected pope.” Therefore it looks like you must submit. Time to dust off your copy of Theologian Kung’s manual?

    You’ve proved nothing other than Roncalli was a bad pope. (I wish you could prove otherwise.)

    Reply: Your wish came true> I’ve proven reasonable suspicion. If you don’t think rehabilitating hard-core Modernists, combined with all the other articulated facts and circumstances raises a reasonable suspicion, you need to dust off a law book and some books on basic logic–Bayesian probability would be a good place to start.

    You: Tell me Introibo, did Fr Gommar A DePauw, JCD, approved theologian and canonist, ever write a formal theological opinion, laying down the proof that Roncalli was a false pope? Did he, perchance, use Roncalli’s poor taste in rehabilitated theologians as a reason why he ceased to be a Catholic? If he (your authority and spiritual father) didn’t, are you bound to accept Roncalli and his theologians? It works both ways. Btw, did Fr. DePauw even give an informal opinion on John XXIII? His informal opinion is as good as anyone else’s, so if he had one I’d like to hear it. By the way, was Fr. DePauw a sedevacantist? If so, when did he come to the sedevacantist conclusion?

    Reply: You missed my point entirely (no surprise). Traditionalist clergy are not approved theologians or canonists. They have the minimum training, and no one has Ordinary Jurisdiction. Fr. DePauw’s was at least a canonist. There is currently no infallible head so don’t cite to e.g., Fr Cekada as a stand alone authority. Capiche?

    I submit he taught religious liberty, he was suspect of Modernism, he was removed from his teaching post, and we have strange circumstances surrounding his election (to say the least). All of this gives reasonable suspicion because the conclave gave the white signal, withdrew it, and the man who emerged wasted no time rehabilitating Modernist theologians along with other actions that a pope would not do. If you can cite another pope who rehabilitated large numbers of censured theologians in one fell swoop, I’d like to see it.

    You:You’re certain without having solid evidence. That’s the difference between us.

    Reply: I’m certain there is reasonable suspicion, that is enough.

    You: One moment it’s high praise from you for Fr. Cekada, next moment it’s “Who cares about him!” Fr. Cekada is a prolific writer. It IS significant that he hasn’t written condemning John XXIII, whether you think so or not.

    Reply: I give praise when it’s due, and castigate when necessary. He’s a prolific writer, conceded. He hasn’t written on Roncalli–that’s all it proves, unless you can read minds or he has told you otherwise. Interesting that what you find significant becomes so. but all the evidence surrounding Roncalli doesn’t even add up to reasonable suspicion. Hopefully, you’ll never need to sit on a jury.

    —Introibo

  26. Introibo,

    Thanks for all that.

    Introibo: “Could the Siri Theory be true? Possibly. I don’t buy it, but I try to follow the evidence where it leads.”

    Neither do I, and unlike you I don’t think it raises reasonable suspicion. The white smoke is mysterious but not enough to definitively declare Roncalli a papal usurper. But suddenly a theory you “don’t buy” is used to apply a secular law definition of “reasonable suspicion” to Roncalli’s election. Here are the FACTS -No one in the actual conclave raised the alarm at the time. None had a reasonable suspicion/raised doubts about the election result. We’re talking about Cardinals whom were actually present versus a lawyer from NY opining about “reasonable suspicion” decades later/second guessing these Cardinals and the election that not one of them raised the alarm about. Explain that?

    Of course I read the article. It’s full of the usual speculation, and it’s admitted that it’s not been verified. Anonymous sources told anonymous sources that Siri was elected. (Told the Americans fairytales for all we know).

    No deflection. You’re the one who ignores your opponents’ points. Let’s say I thought that the Mass of John XXIII was the normative Mass. (Btw, it may be.) I’d be in no position to force clergy into saying it. The Pian Mass is not heretical. Should I attend SSPV or CMRI or just stay home alone? You’re the one who misses points.

    I don’t have time to continue at the moment. I’ll get back to you later.

  27. The Siri Theory —-that Siri remained pope, and has a successor somewhere, I don’t buy. That he (or another) could have been elected and forced to resign is a possibility.

    No one raised the alarm as to Roncalli’s election. Explanation: it is possible that the one elected resigned under duress, but they thought it to be legitimate.

    Facts: Roncalli was under suspicion of Modernism, was a Socialist sympathizer, and was removed from his teaching position.

    Facts: There was a strange conclave where it seemed a pope was elected, then it changed, then Roncalli appears. There is evidence that American intelligence thought Siri had been elected.

    Fact: Roncalli begins to rehabilitate ALL THE MODERNIST AND CENSURED THEOLOGIANS. Something a real pope would not do. Combine that with Pacem in Terris and all the rest and you’ve got a reasonable suspicion.

    You don’t need a law degree to figure THAT ONE OUT.

    —-Introibo

  28. How is this passage from Pacem in Terris heretical: “Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public.”? Notice it says “right dictates”. This qualification of “right” saves it from heresy; if the passage had left “dictates” undefined then a case could be
    made against its orthodoxy. I have doubts about Roncalli’s being a pope; I have no doubts that Montini and successors were/are non-popes.

    Regarding Cardinal Siri: he openly accepted Roncalli, Montini, Luciani and Wojtyła as Vicars of Christ as well as Vatican 2 and the Bogus Ordo, so, regardless of what happened at the 1958 conclave, he wasn’t a pope either.

    I read the following on Novus Ordo Watch some time back:
    “As we all struggle to explain fully what has happened to the Catholic Church since the death of Pope Pius XII, it would behoove us to acknowledge that we simply do not have all the facts; that is, we do not know everything that has transpired, for example, with regard to the conclave of 1958. This is where the whole Novus Ordo Sect mess started, and right from the beginning New York’s Cardinal Francis Spellman had a choice remark to make about the new “Pope”, Angelo Roncalli, who had assumed the name of John XXIII: “He’s no Pope. He should be selling bananas” (John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman [New York, NY: Times Books, 1984], p. 261). If only he had!

    Interestingly enough, Spellman “refused to place John XXIII’s coat of arms either at St. Patrick’s [cathedral] or the chancery” and instead “had a life-size wax figure made of Pius XII” (ibid.). Did Spellman, who of course had participated in the secret conclave, know something we can only speculate about? This is the same Cardinal Spellman about whom Mgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton wrote in his personal diary that he was “coming out of the [1958] conclave looking white and shaken” (Fenton, Personal Diary: “My 1960 Trip to Rome”, entry for Nov. 2, 1960). Whatever transpired in that most fateful conclave, we know from the results that it was not of the Holy Ghost.”
    In connection with the above, see also https://novusordowatch.org/wp-content/uploads/fatima-2018-like-sheep-without-shepherd-derksen.pdf .

    Reply

  29. Leo,
    I agree with much of what you say; you make salient points. As to Pacem in Terris, according to the Pontifical Academy Of Social Sciences, “Interestingly, it was along this latter front that the move was made directly toward the subject of religious liberty during the first session of the Council (11 October to 8 December 1962). Only eleven days after his opening al- locution, Pope John raised the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity to the same rank as the Council Commissions, thus empowering it to submit schemata. In the preparatory phase to the first session, two draft texts on the Church (Scheme Constitutionis de Ecclesia) included a chapter entitled ‘On the Relations Between Church and State’. Had the issue re- mained in that context, it would have been considered solely in the light of ecclesiastical public law. Now, having been empowered to submit schemata, Cardinal Bea’s Secretariat produced a document that was first en- titled ‘Freedom of Cult’, and a few months later,‘On Religious Freedom’.6
    Second, in December of 1962, shortly after learning from his physicians that he had a terminal cancer, Pope John instructed Msgr. Pietro Pavan of the Lateran to draft a new encyclical, which would be called Pacem in terris. The drafting committee understood that one sentence in particular would have a direct effect on the schemata being drawn by the commissioners – ‘Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public’.7 (§14) But, in order to allow the Council to exercise its full deliberative weight, these sentences on religious liberty were carefully, even somewhat ambiguously, written.
    Published on MaundyThursday,Pope John christened Pacem in terris his ‘Easter gift’.8 It was also called his ‘last will and testament’, because he died on 3 June 1963. For our purposes, it was his own, indirect schema for a number of issues that would come before the second session of the Council (29 September to 4 December 1963), including religious liberty. (See http://www.pass.va/content/dam/scienzesociali/pdf/acta17/acta17-hittinger.pdf).

    That encyclical helped the enemies of the Church and under Canon 2315, that puts one under suspicion of heresy. That’s my take. In any event I thank you for adding to the evidence that we have REASONABLE SUSPICION as regards Roncalli’s election—-and that’s good enough!

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  30. Introibo,

    Introibo: “Your wish came true> I’ve proven reasonable suspicion. If you don’t think…”

    Wrong. You THINK my wish came true. Big difference. You’ve proven nothing. Every traditional Catholic ALREADY knows that Roncalli was a bad egg. We don’t need you to prove that. There are two aspects to this which you convenient leave enjoined. 1) Solid evidence that the election was invalid. 2) Solid evidence that Roncalli was a heretic/apostate/non-Catholic. As far as 1: You have confusing smoke signals at the beginning of the 1958 conclave followed by unfounded “possibilities.” That’s it. That’s the sole reason for your “unreasonable suspicion” regarding the legitimacy of the election. Confusing smoke signals and an unverified US intelligence report which, if it were verified, has every “possibilty” of being riddled with disinformation.

    But confusing smoke signals have apparently occurred previously.

    https://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Hutton_Gibson

    “In the early 1990s, Gibson and Tom Costello hosted a video called Catholics, Where Has Our Church Gone?[26] which is critical of the changes made to the Catholic Church by the Second Vatican Council and espouses the Siri Thesis that in 1958, after the death of Pope Pius XII, the man originally elected pope was not Angelo Roncalli, but another cardinal, “probably Cardinal Siri of Genoa” (a staunch conservative candidate and first papabile). Gibson stated that the white smoke which emanated from a chimney in the Sistine Chapel to announce a new pope’s election was done in error; black smoke signifying that the papacy was still vacant was quickly created and the public was not informed of the reason for the initial white smoke. A still photograph of a newspaper story about this event is shown. “Had our church gone up in smoke”? asked Gibson. He stated that the new pope was forced to resign under duress and two days later, the “modernist Roncalli” was elected pope and took the name “John XXIII”. In 1962, Roncalli, as Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council.[26] In 2006, Hutton Gibson reversed his position on the Siri Thesis, asserting that this theory was based on a mistranslation of an article written on October 27, 1958 by Silvio Negro for the evening edition of the Milan-based Corriere della Sera.[27] A similar event also happened in 1939; in that case a confusing mixture of white and black smoke emanated from the Sistine Chapel chimney. In a note to Vatican Radio, the secretary of the Papal conclave at the time, a monsignor named Santoro said that a new pope, Eugenio Pacelli, had been properly elected regardless of the color of the smoke. Pacelli took the name Pius XII.[28]”

    As for 2: The Catholic Church doesn’t excommunicate people due to “reasonable suspicion.” One is not declared a heretic due to suspicions. We don’t decide that such and such a bidhop is a heretic based merely on a suspicion. There was plenty of opportunity to deal with Roncalli IF the Church had any real evidence against him. Instead, he ended up Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice under Pope Pius XII. By the way, Roncalli banished Bugnini. He didn’t resurface until after his death. The fact is that your secular law definition of “reasonable suspicion” (of Roncalli being a heretic) is NOT enough for you to definitively declare Roncalli an usurper. Thank God these matters don’t rely on secular lawyers arbitrarily deciding that there’s “reasonable suspicion,” and therefore “X bishop is no bishop at all!”

    To be continued…

    Reply

  31. Your ignorance shows. Reasonable suspicion regarding an election allows one to consider the one elected a dubious pope. You don’t need moral certitude.

    Hutton Gibson’s assertions do not jibe with the objective facts put forth since; and which I cited from NOW above.
    Let me give another example:
    if your neighbor had been Michael Jackson would you allow your child to spend the night there with a friend? Why not? He was never convicted of child molestation. However, he thought there was nothing wrong with a 44 year old sharing a bed with children because “nothing sexual went on” and all he does is give them hot milk and cookies before sleeping in the same bed with them, which he believed “the whole world should do.” Combine this with all his other bizarre behavior, and It would be reasonable to suspect he might be a child molester.

    Not enough to convict of anything but enough to be suspicious! That’s all I need and what I’ve got!

    —-Introibo

  32. Introibo,

    Your ignorance is astoumding.

    Your so-called “reasonable suspicion” is unfounded. Unfounded in terms of the election, as I’ve just shown, and unfounded as far as suspecting Roncalli and then using that to definitively declare him a heretic. Reasonable suspicion cannot be used to declare prelates heretics. That’s the point. What, precisely, don’t you understand about that? It’s not the principle that’s the problem, it’s your application of it that’s problematic. So spare me your recycled Michael Jackson examples. And for, I hope, the last time: the US security agency report is UNVERIFIED. Hutton Gibson’s presentation of FACTS obviously trumps your suite of “ifs,” “possibilities” and unverified reports which could be a whole lot of disinformation. See, it works both ways. Even if you can manage to dig up the report, I’ve already cast doubt on it due to it coming from an anonymous source/s to an anonymous sources/s in US intelligence; everyone knows that disinformation is a large part of spycraft.

    Btw, you missed my point when I referenced Fr. DrPauw. Am I surprised?

    1) I was not using Fr. Cekada as a Church authority.(I subsequently explained why I referenced him.) You assumed I was, then went on a little tear. But, oddly, you threw Fr. DePauw in as an example of a true canonist and theologian, so my questions relating to Fr. DePauw still stand. You deflected. Now, I’ve got another question re: Fr. DePauw.

    First. Do you now admit you were wrong about Roncalli preaching heresy in Pacem in Terris? If you still cling to your error, do you acknowledge that you are, stubbornly, almost on your own with that? But far more impottantly, DID Fr. DePauw object to Pacem in Terris at the time, declaring it was heretical? Did the learned theologian Guerard des Lauriers? How about Cardinal Ottaviani? Any of the distinguished, conservative churchmen of the time? Anyone? Anyone at all? (Why not? It’s obvious heresy, right?) Answer: No. Just the lawyer from NY in 2019.

    I rest my case.

    I’m uncertain about Roncalli. The difference between us is that you think you can definitively declare people to be heretics purely on your suspicions which you (erroneously) deem to be “reasonable.” I don’t.

    In charity. When you make comments along the lines of praising Fr. Cekada when it’s warranted and castigating him when necessary, you sound capricious, atbitrary and narcissistic. Just sayin’…

    And I noticed that your Lenten resolution went out the window. I was very polite, but you started to become rude, so I retaliated. Will you now go back to following your own rules, please?

    Reply

  33. 1. Hutton Gibson’s report is verified? Yeah. I suggest you reread NOW article. The papers reported FACTS about the conclave and the mix up. Gibson also has plenty of citations that Roncalli was a Freemason including Theologian Arriaga. But since it doesn’t meet you manufactured requirements for “proof” you will conveniently discount it.

    2. The facts remain that Roncalli was censured, there was a mix-up of smoke at the conclave, and Roncalli appears rehabilitating ALL the censured theologians alive from Pope Pius XII. Something unprecedented and no pope would do. Read the proof offered by Leo above regarding the actions and sayings of Cardinal Spellman WHO WAS THERE. Is that good enough for you? How about the fact that Cardinal Ottaviani was so sure of his election he even had his names picked out as Pope Pius XIII. Ottaviani told Fr. DePauw, “There was something seriously wrong.” (With the conclave).

    Did Fr object to Pacem at the time? Yes. He said it was “offensive to pious ears.” See also my reply to Leo.

    I’m glad you rested your case. I just wish you were a lawyer opposing me. You’d make my work so much easier and my lawsuits so much easier to win.

    Finally, how about this quote from Roncalli:
    “Catholics and Orthodox are not enemies, but brothers. We have the same faith; we share the same sacraments, and especially the Eucharist. We are divided by some disagreements concerning the divine constitution of the Church of Jesus Christ. The persons who were the cause of these disagreements have been dead for centuries. Let us abandon the old disputes and, each in his own domain, let us work to make our brothers good, by giving them good example. Later on, though traveling along different paths, we shall achieve union among the churches to form together the true and unique Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    (See Luigi Accattoli, When A Pope Asks Forgiveness, New York: Alba House and Daughters of St. Paul, 1998, pp. 18-19.)

    Do you believe that the Eastern Schismatics and the True Church have “the same Faith”?

    Is this not heresy? Or does it not constitute evidence?

    Finally, if you don’t like the way I come off sounding, please don’t interact with me and presume to tell me how to run my blog. I have been more than charitable.

    —-Introibo

  34. Introibo,

    1. I suggest you actually read the Gibson report again. It references an Italian newspaper report that rolled off the presses during the 1958 conclave. It’s verifiable history. It has far more credence than the fairytale you’re using to claim “reasonable suspicion” about the election. I haven’t manufactured any requirements for proof. The Church doesn’t allow one to declare prelates heretics based on reasonable suspicions which are based on fairytales. That’s what you’re doing. Yes, I’ll discount all hearsay or similiar evidence. This isn’t a cruddy, civil case in a New York court with low evidentiary requirements.

    2. So Roncalli was censured. That automatically makes him a heretic; but if it doesn’t, don’t worry, a mix up with the smoke – just like what happened at the election of Pius XII – is enough to reasonably suspect the election. Yeah. What Leo relayed was interesting, but in NO WAY DOES IT SUFFICE AS HARD EVIDENCE AGAINST THE VALIDITY OF THE ELECTION. I wouldn’t even doubt it on the strength of that information.
    It’s merely stories from books written by people about other people using third hand information. Zero guarantee of accuracy. Do you believe every story you read? And Spellman’s banana remark sounds like it was made due to a personal dislike of Roncalli. Again, what’s missing are the firsthand accounts from those present that there was something seriously wrong with the election – threats, violence, coercion, duress. There’s none. Just unspecific “he said, she said” “evidence.” Cardinal Ottaviani seems very confident, but so were others, including Cardinal Siri, according to the popular stories. What a PITY that Ottaviani didn’t ELABORATE when he spoke to Fr. DePauw. It’s ALWAYS the way. No real evidence. But tell me, did Fr. DePauw opine that Roncalli was ipso facto excommunicated for “rehabilitating” those theologians, or is just you unsuccessfully trying to establish the false and novel corollary that no true pope would do that?

    3. You still haven’t answered my questions about Fr. DePauw. Did Fr. DePauw publicly or even privately state that Pacem in Terris was heretical, and as a result John XIII was a heretic and no pope at all?

    4. You reopened my case. I only wish I could oppose you in court. I’d never lose a case.

    5. Wow! I agree that that quote from Roncalli sounds bad. I found it on the Dimond Bros. Feeneyite website, along with all their hearsay “evidence” about Roncalli being a Freemason. Its authenticity is immediately dubious. Thing is, and what you can’t seem to grasp, Roncalli was never brought to trial for heresy, tried and convicted. He was “suspected of Modernism” in 1925, and then went on to become a Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice under Pope Pius XII.

    What I’m still after is a minimum of one example where it can be clearly shown what crime Roncalli committed, when he committed it, and how that crime caused him to lose the faith/cease to be a Catholic.

    Finally. No, I like interacting with you. I just thought you were sounding a bit unfriendly. I realize now that I was obviously just imagining it. My bad.

    Reply

  35. 1. Please read the newspaper reports embedded in the NOW report that is HISTORY. Not speculation.

    2. You’re conflating two separate issues. (A) Roncalli being a heretic and (b) being invalidly elected. If Siri had been elected and coerced into resigning and Ottaviani was elected, his election would be invalid, although he was definitely not a heretic.

    So, if we have reasonable suspicion that the election may be invalid that is enough to cast him a dubious pope. Remember that the standard is SUSPICION. That does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    2. Now let’s see what we have:
    A censured cleric removed from his teaching position. His friends are Socialists and Freemasons. There is suspicious smoke and reports from American intelligence that another cardinal was elected. There are two Cardinals present at the conclave who thought something was wrong. Roncalli begins rehabilitating all the censured heretics.

    Taken together, is there reason to suspect that Roncalli was not validly elected given the circumstances and his behavior—especially after he became “pope”? You bet.

    Consider reasonable doubt is a low standard of proof. It cannot be arbitrary and capricious.

    3. Fr DePauw was sede since at least 1999, and would not discuss details. I answered what he thought of Pacem at the time and the document was praised by the Masonic Lodge.

    4. Before you could even hope to compete you’d need to learn evidentiary standards and not conflate issues.

    5. I have the book. The quote is legitimate. This is the genetic fallacy, something is wrong or dubious because of its origin. The National Enquirer is a rag, but they correctly reported John Edwards was cheating on his wife. Interesting too, is that you don’t immediately find Hutton Gibson automatically suspect. Do you deny the Holocaust too? Not enough evidence? Everything bad in the world is the result of Jews?

    Never brought up on trial for heresy. Neither was de Lubac, or sodomite Baum. Neither was Montini. How did HE lose office if there was no trial?

    There is reasonable suspicion such that we may hold Roncalli as a dubious pope, which is no pope in the practical order.

    —-Introibo

  36. Introibo,

    Firstly. YOU, in fact, were the one who was conflating the two issues -election/heresy. I pulled you up on it in a previous post. I distincly separated the two because you were combining them.

    Did you carefully read anon @ 8:22’s post? I did. It confirms all I said about your use of a fairytale to claim reasonable suspicion. You can’t claim reasonable suspicion using the NOW fairytale about the FALSE story from the fraudulent anti-Catholic author about the supposed US intelligence reports claiming Siri was elected. Anon @ 8:22 put paid to your reasonable suspicion claims using that nonsense as a reason. NOW had old NEWS reports about the smoke confusion. So what? There were similiar reports in 1939 when there were similar problems with the smoke at the election of Pope Pius XII.

    I don’t have time at the moment to answer your entire post, but I will later.

    In the meantime, when fif you first formulate your “argument” about “reasonable suspicion” and put it in writing here?

  37. I want to thank you for inspiring me. If you would be so kind, I’m doing my next post on John XXIII, and we may pick up in the comments on Monday where we leave off today.

    I’ve always said I’ve learned a lot from my readers and I mean it. Had it not been for you coming back again about Roncalli, I wouldn’t have started my research into him again, and see things from a fresh perspective.

    Thank you my friend for challenging me. The unchallenged mind can’t grow. We may not agree, but I respect your intellectual pugnacious proclivity. It’s a good thing to have! Until Monday!

    God Bless,

    —-Introibo

  38. Anonymous May 15, 2019 at 12:28 PM:
    You said: “Spellman’s banana remark sounds like it was made due to a personal dislike of Roncalli.” Note that Cardinal Spellman also stated: “He’s [Roncalli] no Pope.” This sounds more than an affirmation of a personal dislike. Pacem in Terris was an unfortunate encyclical, but it can’t be convicted of explicit heresy. What Roncalli said about the “Eastern Orthodox” looks heretical to me!
    By the way, when you said, “We know that John Salza demolished a facile argument put forth by Bp. Sanborn”, what were you referring to?

    Reply

  39. Hello Leo,

    Thanks for your post, but most of all for your correct assessment of Pacem in Terris not being heretical. Not unlike yourself I have my personal doubts about John XXIII, but they certainly don’t warrant me declaring he’s a heretic based on what’s in Pacem in Terris. That wouldn’t be just.

    Leo: ‘Note that Cardinal Spellman also stated: “He’s [Roncalli] no Pope.” This sounds more than an affirmation of a personal dislike.’

    I agree that it’s a positive assertion. It could easily be merely an affirmation of a personal dislike and distrust of Roncalli’s overall abilities. Just as is the following affirmation made by a sales manager of a car dealership: “He [Fred] is no car salesman. He should be on an assembly line in a cannery.” This speaks to Fred’s ability/suitability/skillset etc.

    But let’s say this [Spellman’s] comment was somehow meant to mean Roncalli wasn’t legitimate. Where’s the followup from Spellman? He was a Catholic Cardinal. If he had the solid evidence that Roncalli was an usurper – for whatever, legitimate reason – why did he just make a cryptic comment; an (alluring, nowadays) allusion to Roncalli being a fraud and then just leave it at that?
    Again, what’s missing are the firsthand accounts from those present that there was something seriously wrong with the election – threats, violence, coercion, duress. There’s none. Just assorted cryptic comments posing as evidence. But one thing seems to be beyond any doubt – Spellman was no fan of Roncalli. And unless or until we get a clarification of the statement, it must be interpreted as I’ve indicated, else we do gross INJUSTICE to both Spellman and Roncalli.

    I was referring to the article by Salza on their website. I assumed Introibo had seen it. Although Salza concludes correctly, he does it in his usual dodgy manner. From memory, Salza – big advocate of not using hearsay evidence to prove religious points (I agree) – ends with using the old, recycled statement Roncalli SUPPOSEDLY made on his deathbed when he SUPPOSEDLY learned that the Council was taking a wrong turn, to wit: “Stop the Council! Tell them to stop the Council!” – or words to that effect.

    Young Johnny Salza is an insufferable hypocrite, no doubt about that!

    Reply

  40. Knowing now what we know about Roncalli, would any of you let him teach the Faith to your children? I wouldn’t because from what I know about him now, he seems to have a different idea as to what the Catholic Faith entails then his predecessors. For that doubt alone, I would avoid any of his teachings.

    Reply

  41. PS-you can substitute any conciliar claimant to the Papacy in the place of Roncalli and you would get the same answer. NO

Does “Universal Acceptance” Guarantee a True Pope?

When the Argentinian apostate, Jorge Bergoglio, became “Pope” Francis just over six years ago, all Hell broke loose (both figuratively and literally). The heresies and blasphemies that came forth from his mouth (Proselytism is solemn nonsense, there is no Catholic God, who am I to judge, etc.) even had some Vatican II sect “conservatives” (e.g., Society of St Peter) starting to wonder if sedevacantism might not be true after all. Bergoglio’s actions, even before his “election,” lead some prominent sedevacantists (e.g., Fr. Anthony Cekada) to change the direction of Traditionalist arguments. It is not only Catholic teaching that if a pope falls into heresy as a private teacher he loses his authority, it is equally true that a heretic cannot attain the papal office in the first place. The unanimous consent of pre-Vatican II canonists teach that the invalidating prohibition against electing a heretic is a matter of Divine Law, which admits of no exceptions or dispensation.

According to canonist Badius, “c) The law now in force for the election of the Roman Pontiff is reduced to these points… Barred as incapable of being validly elected are all women, children who have not reached the age of reason; also, those afflicted with habitual insanity, the unbaptized, heretics and schismatics…” That pretty much does away with having to argue about “trials to depose a pope” because the heretic never became pope. In order to prevent the “recognize and resist” (R&R) camp from seeing the light, along came former (?) Freemason John Salza and his buddy Robert Siscoe with a duplicitous argument to keep things nice and dark. They assured the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and all other R&R adherents that “peaceful and universal acceptance” of someone elected pope is a dogmatic fact which assures us the person so elected must be pope. The full article can be read here: http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/p/peaceful-and-universal-acceptance-of.html. In this post I will expose some of the purposeful misrepresentations, and omissions of fact, that were necessary to make their phony case for a “true pope.”
A Half-Truth is a Bigger Lie
Those who tell half-truths are twice as deceitful, because they employ a truth to make a falsehood easier to accept. This will become apparent with Salza and Siscoe soon enough. They begin their article thus:
The legitimacy of a Pope, who has been elected peacefully and accepted by at least a moral unanimity of Catholics, is infallibly certain.  His legitimacy falls into the category of a dogmatic fact, which is a secondary object of the Church’s infallibility. This is the unanimous teaching of the Church’s theologians.
In support of this contention, they cite to theologians Berry and Van Noort. I will turn to their citation of Van Noort first.

In the following quotation, Msgr. Van Noort further explains the infallibility of dogmatic facts. He also explains that the infallibility of dogmatic facts is qualified as “theologically certain.”  Those who depart from tradition by rejecting a doctrine that is qualified as theologically certain are guilty of a mortal sin

“Assertion 2: The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts. This proposition is theologically certain. A dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, [but] on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with dogmatic facts: ‘Was the [First] Vatican Council a legitimate ecumenical council? Is the Latin Vulgate a substantially faithful translation of the original books of the Bible? Was [past tense] Pius XII legitimately elected Bishop of Rome? One can readily see that on these facts hang the questions of whether the decrees of the [First] Vatican Council are infallible, whether the Vulgate is truly Sacred Scripture, whether Pius XII is to be [present tense] recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church.” (Christ’s Church, p. 112)

What they omit two pages later is telling. From Van Noort, “Of course whatever the Church declares directly must be maintained by everyone, e.g., that the Vulgate contains the Word of God; that Pius XII is the head of the Church;that the doctrine of this or that book is heretical. It arrived at these decisions in the following manner: every faithful translation of the inspired books contains the words of God; but the Vulgate is a faithful translation; therefore…Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is the head of the Church; but Pius XII was legitimately elected; therefore…Any book containing this doctrine is heretical; but such and such a book contains this doctrine; therefore…” (See Christ’s Church, pg. 114; Ellipses in original).  The dogmatic fact is deduced through a true reasoning process.

There is a true revealed major premise: “Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is the head of the Church.” The minor premise is conditional. Hence, “but Francis was NOT legitimately elected; therefore…”
That is why theologian Szal tells us, “Nor is there any schism if one merely transgresses a Papal law for the reason that one considers it too difficult, or if one suspects the person of the pope or the validity of his election, or if one resists him as the civil head of a state.” (See The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, [1948], pg. 3; Emphasis mine).   How could someone suspect the validity of a putative pope’s election and not incur the sin of schism if all it takes to assure his validity is a group of heretical “cardinals” to declare one of their own “elected pope”? Note also that Szal is talking about all members of the Church having the excuse of suspecting the validity of a pope’s election, not only Cardinals or other clerics.

It’s also ironic that Van Noort states on pages 114-115, “The Church’s infallibility also extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain. By the term “general discipline of the Church” are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living...[the Church] can never sanction a universal law which would be at odds with faith or morality or would be by its very nature conducive to the injury of souls. (Emphasis in original) Let’s get this straight. Salza and Siscoe want us to accept the heretical pretenders since Roncalli up to Bergoglio as “pope.” Yet, they then proceed to reject their pope’s ecclesiastical laws for the direction of Christian worship. Do they not reject the Novus Bogus “mass” because it is conducive to the injury of souls? However, the very theologian they cite (as well as the unanimous consent of all other theologians) teaches this is an impossibility. Nor can they escape the charge of a schismatic mentality, in choosing what laws to obey and which to toss aside. Consistency, wherefore art thou? It’s not to be found among the R&R.

Now, I turn to their citation of theologian Berry:
The following, taken from Fr. Sylvester Berry’s Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, The Church of Christ, further explains these principles:

…”DOGMATIC FACTS. A dogmatic fact is one that has not been revealed, yet is so intimately connected with a doctrine of faith that without certain knowledge of the fact there can be no certain knowledge of the doctrine. For example, was the [First] Vatican Council truly ecumenical? Was Pius IX a legitimate pope? Was the election of Pius XI valid? Such questions must be decided with certainty before decrees issued by any council or pope can be accepted as infallibly true or binding on the Church. It is evident, then, that the Church must be infallible in judging of such facts, and since the Church is infallible in believing as well as in teaching, it follows that the practically unanimous consent of the bishops and faithful in accepting a council as ecumenical, or a Roman Pontiff as legitimately elected, gives absolute and infallible certainty of the fact.” (The Church of Christ, pp. 288, 289, 290)

Notice the term “practically unanimous,” which is distinct from “mathematically unanimous.” A practically unanimous acceptance does not require acceptance by 100 percent of professing Catholics; it is rather a morally unanimous acceptance, which represents the “one mind” of the Church. As we will see later, the fact that individual Catholics reject the legitimacy of a Pope does not mean he has not been accepted by a morally unanimous consent.

Seems like a pretty air-tight argument they’ve got going, right? Here’s what theologian Berry tells us on page 229 of the exact same theology manual (and conveniently omitted by Salza and Siscoe):

“A DOUBTFUL POPE. When there is a prudent doubt about the validity of an election to any official position, there is also a similar doubt whether the person so elected really has authority or not. In such a case, no one is bound to believe him, for it is an axiom that a doubtful law begets no obligation—lex dubia non obligat. But a superior whom no one is bound to obey is in reality no superior at all. Hence the saying of Bellarmine: a doubtful pope is no pope at all.‘Therefore,’ continues the Cardinal, ‘if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign, so that a new election may be held. But if he refuses to resign, it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter, for although the bishops without the pope cannot define dogmas nor make laws for the universal Church, they can and ought to decide, when occasion demands, who is the legitimate pope; and if the matter be doubtful, they should provide for the Church by having a legitimate and undoubted pastor elected. That is what the Council of Constance rightly did.” (Emphasis mine)

How can there be a doubtful pope if he is peacefully and universally accepted? Didn’t theologian Berry know what he was writing in his own manual? I can hear the objection of Salza already, “Berry was talking about a case where there was not practically unanimous consent.” Objection overruled.

1. At no point does theologian Berry explain exactly, or in what manner, “practically unanimous consent” is achieved. The majority of Cardinals and members of the Church accepted Antipope Anacletus II, and a minority of cardinals and members of the Church accepted Pope Innocent II until St. Bernard of Clairvaux convinced the majority to change position (which he did on his own initiative). Again, what constitutes the “practical unanimous consent”? Salza counters that the election was “contested” and therefore did not acquire “peaceful and universal acceptance.” He defines the concept as:  The ‘peaceful’ aspect refers to the election not at once being contested; the ‘universal’ aspect refers to the entire Church learning of the election and not at once contesting it. Says who? Salza and Siscoe!  Citing to theologian Billot, they extrapolate the principle that: The universal acceptance is considered to exist when the election becomes known and is not contested by the Church, and is accepted by the prelates. It continues: In John of St. Thomas’ day, such acceptance would happen gradually as the news spread throughout the Church and the word.  But in our day, when news spreads throughout the world almost immediately, the universal acceptance would be manifest very quickly. This means (it is alleged) that if the legitimacy of someone declared as elected to the papacy is not contested almost immediately, his legitimacy is infallibly certain. So if you’re not quick to protest the “papacy” of one who celebrates Chanukah and participates in Protestant false worship by immediately posting something on Instagram and Twitter, he’s the “pope”–to whom you must submit (but only when you feel like it).

Theologian Doyle explains: “The Church is a visible society with a visible Ruler. If there can be any doubt about who that visible Ruler is, he is not visible, and hence, where there is any doubt about whether a person has been legitimately elected Pope, that doubt must be removed before he can become the visible head of Christ’s Church. Blessed Bellarmine, S.J., says: ‘A doubtful Pope must be considered as not Pope’; and Suarez, S.J., says: ‘At the time of the Council of Constance there were three men claiming to be Pope…. Hence, it could have been that not one of them was the true Pope, and in that case, there was no Pope at all….” (See The Defense of the Catholic Church, [1927], pg. 124) It is therefore possible that the entire membership of the Church could have accepted one of those men who was not pope, as the Vicar of Christ.

Ad arguendo, if this manufactured definition regarding “peaceful and universal acceptance”of Salza and Siscoe were accepted, there is also the problem of who must contest this election, and how quickly.Salza and Siscoe would have us believe that the moment a group of heretical “Cardinals” elects one of their own, he immediately achieves “peaceful and universal acceptance.” This is their own made up definition, as there is no unanimous consent of the theologians, nor official Church decree declaring such to be the case. If Siscoe and Salza’s version of the “facts” is accepted: Who needs to contest the election? Cardinals? Bishops? How many Cardinals or bishops would have to “contest” the election? If one sufficient? At what numerical point does the “contesting” become enough? How is this contesting to be done? In writing? Publicly? Privately to the one elected in the prescience of witnesses?

Another big problem for them: Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio. This is the decree of Pope Paul IV of 1559. The pontiff decreed that if ever it should ever appear that someone who was elected Roman Pontiff had beforehand “deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into any heresy,” his election, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals would be “null, legally invalid and void.” Salza and Siscoe respond with four points:

  • The decree is “manifestly unjust and problematic.” No. It’s simply restating the Divine Law which Canon Law states and all canonists teach; “For the validity of the election as regards the person elected, it suffices only that he not be barred from the office by divine law — that is, any male Christian, even a layman. The following are therefore excluded: women, those who lack the use of reason, infidels, and those who are at least public non-Catholics.” ( See theologian Cocchi, Commentarium in C.J.C, 2:151)
  • Cum ex Apostolatus has been derogated and hence is no longer in force. No need to rebut that contention as the decree simply reiterates DIVINE LAW, which admits no exceptions
  • It can be merely hypothetical that the situation of a heretic being universally accepted could happen. Yeah. Right. Sure. Popes don’t make decrees for hypothetical situations incapable of being fulfilled. It’s analogous to a papal decree declaring what to do should the pope fall into error when speaking ex cathedra.  It can’t happen, so no pope would waste his time writing such nonsense
  • Lastly, the legitimacy of a Pope who has been universally accepted is qualified as “theologically certain.”  This would not be the case if the Church interpreted the aforementioned teaching of the problematic, and now obrogated, papal bull, Cum ex Apostolatus, as meaning an illegitimate Pope can be universally accepted as Pope by the Church. It is also theologically certain that Divine Law prevents heretics from obtaining the papacy, so it’s Sicoe and Salza who get “universal acceptance” wrong. Re-read theologian Van Noort in context; it’s theologically certain if and only if the election comports with Divine Law. We have moral certainty that the sacraments we receive are valid if they are performed with the requirements of Divine Law, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, making it dubious because, e.g., the priest was heard leaving out essential words of the form. So too, we can have moral certainty that the pope is legitimately elected unless we have proof to the contrary, which we do

2. There is strong evidence that theologian Berry was discussing the Church in normal times, not during the Great Apostasy, of which he writes in the same manual cited:  “The prophesies of the Apocalypse show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition of the Church of Christ. Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of pope, and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church…there seems to be no reason why a false Church might not become universal, even more universal than the true one, at least for a time.” (See Berry,  The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, [1927], pgs.65-66; Emphasis in original). A Church of Satan with false sacraments and the false prophet playing the part of the pope, with “more universality” than the True Church? How could there be such a false pope if he had “practically unanimous consent”? Its obvious that the term is not concretely applied by theologian Berry, and in any case, would not apply in the time of Great Apostasy. Are we to expect apostates from the Vatican II sect to try and sort things out for us?

3. Finally, theologian Berry does not give a different definition to dogmatic facts than theologian Van Noort.
Hence, we argue, “Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is the head of the Church.” The minor premise is conditional. Hence, “but Francis was NOT legitimately elected; therefore…”

Disposing of Some Other Falsehoods
To go through all the other points of Salza’s article in detail would require several posts. Nevertheless, I will briefly point out their inherent flaws. Should anyone want to challenge me on any point they think I did not address, I will be happy to debate them in a neutral forum.
  • Appeals to authorities before 1870. Salza and Siscoe are fond of citing theologians prior to the Vatican Council (1869-1870). That’s when there was a lot of Catholic doctrine settled regarding the papacy  and made it untenable to hold a number of theories that had still been permissible to hold up until that time. Citations to theologians Cajetan, Suarez, and John of St. Thomas are therefore plentiful. citations to post-1870 theologians and canonists are conspicuously absent or twisted out of context as demonstrated above with Van Noort and Berry
  • False definition of a public heretic. They claim that a “public heretic” was not, and could not be elected by the Church, since a public heretic is “a public member of a heretical sect (e.g. a member of the Baptist Church), not a Catholic…who is guilty of the sin of heresy.” Wrong.  According to theologian McDevitt, “A cleric, then, if he is to occasion the tacit renunciation of his office, must have defected from the faith by heresy or apostasy in a public manner…” Further, “It is to be noted immediately that adherence to or inscription in a non-Catholic sect is not required to constitute the publicity that the canon [188] demands.” Finally, “..even if only a few loquacious persons witnessed the defection from the Faith…the delict would be public in the sense of canon 2197, n. 1” (The Renunciation of An Ecclesiastical Office: An Historical Synopsis and Commentary, [1946], pgs. 136-140; Emphasis mine).
  • An incredible implication. Do members of the R&R celebrate Chanukah with Jews? Do they participate in false worship with Protestants and kneel before a so-called “bishop” to receive a “blessing”? To do so would be the mortal sin of communicatio in sacris and a denial of the One True Church. Consider also, ” As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those ‘penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop’ projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.” (See http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350910bdc4.html?eng=y) Participating in these ecumenical services with Protestants and Jews is, in the words of Pope Pius XI, “altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” (See Mortalium Animos para. #2) Yet, somehow if such a “cardinal” is pronounced “pope” without public abjuration of heresy, how does he attain the papacy? Does the “universal acceptance” somehow “undo” his heresy? Or does it mean his actions, contrary to all Church teaching pre-Vatican II, was not heretical? No attempt at an explanation of this is made.
Conclusion
The disingenuous duo, Salza and Siscoe, would have us believe that an impediment of Divine Law which prevents a man from attaining the papacy is somehow “cured” by a fanciful definition of “peaceful and universal acceptance.” They twist and misrepresent theologians Van Noort and Berry. They give a false definition of “public heretic.” Finally, they show themselves as the ultimate hypocrites, for we must accept Francis as pope because it is a “dogmatic fact,” yet they do not accept the dogmatic fact that the Church is infallible in matters pertaining to the general discipline of the Church, such as the Novus Bogus “mass.” They pick and choose what decrees of their “pope” and dogmatic facts they will obey. Isn’t that the very etymology of heretic–“able to choose”? What they refuse to accept is the proposition, “What’s wrong is wrong, even if everyone is wrong, and what’s right is right, even if no one is right.”
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