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The following study is taken from my 2009 book, The Greatest Conspiracy Ever.

The Accusation: Sedevacantism contradicts The First Vatican Council.

When asked how sedevacantism contradicts the passages of Vatican I, an immediate misrepresentation of sedevacantism and Vatican I is given. Straw-man arguments are common with anti-sedevacantists. Therefore, we will go through each point of Vatican I and explain how sedevacantism doesn’t contradict the council. The quotes from Vatican I will be in green and italics.

Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Sess. 4, July 18, 1870: “But, that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing Peter over the other apostles He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities, upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected, and the sublimity of the Church might rise in the firmness of this faith.”

Part 1 of Argument: [Since sedevacantism holds that the papacy has stopped, the perpetual principle and visible foundation failed.]

Answer: Sedevacantism is not a position that holds that the papacy has stopped. The context of Vatican I is that Peter is Head over the faithful as the faithful are in unity with him.

Does this mean or imply there must always be a pope? No. The office is what Christ established. The office of the papacy is perpetual and visible when it’s vacant. If it meant that there must always be one holding the office, then this Vatican I statement fails every time a pope dies. The papacy endures forever even if the Chair of Peter is vacant. Every time a pope dies, the Chair is vacant, but the papacy remains with the perpetual principle, as does the visible foundation.

Anti-sedevacantists falsely interpret this passage to mean that there must always be a pope, but if that were true, Vatican I failed with the death of Peter.

The perpetual principle means two things. The Chair of Peter was intended to be filled (not that it would be filled if Christ comes during an interregnum period) at some point after the death of the last pope, but no time limit was ever given and the ability to fill the office is always present. Also, the Office of Peter is perpetually over the Church regardless if it were filled. In other words, the teachings of past Popes remain as the primary authority of the Church along with Holy Scripture and Tradition. Never does a past teaching become equal to or less than a teaching from a mere bishop or some other person. However, perpetual principle does not mean there must always be a pope actually in the Chair. Therefore, sedevacantism is not contrary to this passage of Vatican I.

Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Sess. 4, Chap. 2:

Chapter 2.
On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs

  1. “Moreover, what the Chief of pastors and the Great Pastor of sheep, the Lord Jesus, established in the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual salvation and perennial good of the Church, this by the same Author must endure always in the Church which was founded upon a rock and will endure firm until the end of time.”

Part 2 of Argument: [Sedevacantism does not believe the Chair of Peter will be successfully filled until the end of time.]

Answer: Vatican I is not saying that the Chair of Peter must be successfully filled until the end of time. It is saying the PRIMACY of Peter and his successors must remain until the end of time. Does this mean there will always be a pope? Absolutely not!

Does this mean there will always be a pope in office until the end of time? Absolutely not! Christ could return during an interregnum period. Therefore, the papal office need not always be filled till the end of time.

The line of argumentation by Vatican 2 apologists is faulty. If Christ came a year after Pope St. Marcellinus died, then Vatican I would have already have failed, since it was three and half years after St. Marcellinus died before St. Marcellus was elected. Perpetual does not mean always having a pope in office.

  1. “For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and forever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood.”

Part 3 of Argument: [Sedevacantism cannot hold that Peter lives and resides forever if there is no forever.]

Answer: Sedevacantists do not believe there is no forever. This passage means that as long as there is a pope in office, Peter exercises judgment in him, and this is how He lives forever. This passage doesn’t even imply that there would always be a pope in office as it couldn’t without failing each time a pope dies or voluntary leaves his office.

  1. Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the Church which he once received.

Part 4 of Argument: [Sedevacantism can’t hold that guidance and truth can be given to the whole Church since there may never be another pope.]

Answer: This argument doesn’t reflect the passage. Does this say there will always be a pope? No, it says that whoever succeeds the Chair of Peter has the same primacy as Peter did for the truth to remain.

  1. For this reason it has always been necessary for every Church–that is to say the faithful throughout the world–to be in agreement with the Roman Church because of its more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that see, from which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into the structure of a single body.

Part 5 of Argument: [Sedevacantism can’t have a single body, since there may never be another pope.]

Answer: Every time a pope dies, the Church remains a single body. Even when the Church went three-and-a-half years without a pope, the Church remained. Does this passage mean there will always be a pope? No, it says that each individual church is to be in “agreement” with the See of Peter. It doesn’t imply that the Roman Church (everyone but the pope) has authority over individual churches when the Chair of Peter is empty since the “effective leadership” is in the pope who alone has supreme authority.

We are always to be in conformity with the Roman Church, not the counterfeit Roman Church.

  1. Sess. 4, Chap. 2, [Canon]: “Therefore, if anyone then says that it is not from the institution of Christ the Lord Himself, or by Divine right that the blessed Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church . . . let him be anathema. or that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.”

Part 6 of Argument: [Sedevacantism doesn’t believe the Church has had perpetual successors.]

Answer: There are two ways of looking at this Canon. Both ways are harmonic with sedevacantism.

One way of understanding this passage is that there will always be successors to the papacy. We’ve had perpetual successors up to Pius XII. Now we are in an interregnum period still waiting for the next pope to be elected. Since Vatican I does not give a time limit on an interregnum period, it cannot be argued that sedevacantism is going against Vatican I.

Some Vatican 2 apologists argue that the interregnum period ends with the death of the last cardinal. However, several theologians, such as Cardinal Billot after Vatican I, have taught that the College of Cardinals could become extinct, and a new pope can still be placed in Peter’s Chair.

Another way of looking at this and perhaps the best way is there is perpetual successors IN THE PRIMACY because the Eastern Orthodox recognize that Peter has successors but not in the primacy. The pope is the successor of St. Peter in the primacy perpetually, meaning, every time there is a pope until the end of time, he is a successor in the same primacy with the same authority as St. Peter.

Now notice what follows, “or that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.”

This counters the Protestants that don’t believe that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of Blessed Peter in this primacy.

The first part counters the Eastern Orthodox that recognize that Peter has successors but not in the primacy. The second part counters the Protestants.

This explanation flows with the overall statement because the first part is countering the argument that Peter’s successors have primacy, and the next part “or that the Roman pontiff” is countering the argument that popes are not Peter’s successors.

None of the Vatican I statements say there must always be a pope or else every time a pope dies, Vatican I statements would fail. This argument from Vatican I is a straw-man argument against sedevacantism and it is used over and over.

Part 7 of Argument: [Since sedevacantists say John XXIII through Francis I are not the successors of blessed Peter, they have anathematized themselves.]

Answer: This argument is placing “Benedict, JPII, etc” in place of the word “Roman pontiff” and therefore sedevacantists must be saying that whoever is presumed to be the Roman pontiff is not the successor because there must be a successor in the office until the end of time.

This is not what the statement is saying.

Sedevacantists believe the Roman Pontiff is the successor of Peter but don’t believe John XXIII through Francis are the Roman Pontiffs. Article 1 is referring to the “OFFICE” which does hold the primacy until the end of time regardless if one is actually holding the office. Vatican I never states that there will always be a pope in the office. It couldn’t say that or it fails every time a pope dies.

And just because someone is presumed to be pope doesn’t mean he actually is pope. Only a Catholic can be pope. If one is a public heretic, his election to papacy cannot be valid regardless if everybody thinks it is.

The “OFFICE” will always hold the primacy and this is what Catholics say when trying to convert Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. When sedevacantists attempt to convert them, they always tell them that they must accept the papacy and believe that it holds the primacy over the whole church, knowing that the office is vacant.  All sedevacantists believe Peter’s successors hold the primacy and always will till the end of time.

The entire argument against sedevacantism from Vatican I is adding words to Vatican I with a meaning other than the original intent.

Anti-sedevacantists use Vatican I to say that sedevacantists don’t believe in perpetual successors. This is a lie. Now, if Vatican I says there must be a pope every 4 years, then sedevacantists are in trouble. However, this would only prove the Gates of Hell have prevailed.

Of course, when valid elections take place, then there will be a pope in office perpetually. Heretics cannot vote. Heretics cannot be elected. Heretics cannot hold the office of papacy. This is the crisis today.

The next parts of the argument have been added this year 2019 because of arguments presented by the Eastern Orthodox.

Part 8 of Argument: [Concerning infallibility, it would be a useless doctrine if Rome could defect because perpetual succession would be lost.  ​NOTE: The Sedevacantists’ position that Rome defected, right or wrong, is the reason they lost perpetual succession and cannot elect a legitimate bishop of Rome.]

Answer: It is not the position of sedevacantism that Rome has defected in the technical sense. When we say Rome has defected or apostatized, we are referring to one aspect of Rome, viz., the vast majority that makes up the Roman Church. The argument, then, concerns indefectibility, which applies in two different ways, whether the Church can defect into heresy and/or the disappearance of the Church from the face of the earth. If the whole church defected into heresy, then it would effectively disappear from the face of the earth. The doctrine doesn’t include a particular church which could disappear either into heresy/apostasy or just die off.

The See of Rome or Roman Church is the only church where indefectibility is assured. All other churches can defect individually, however, I submit that not all could defect together. Just as the body can’t exist without a head, neither can the head exist without the body. Therefore, the Body of the Church must exist as much as the Head.

As long as there is a congregation in or connected to Rome that holds the Faith, the Church of Rome still exists in that remnant, and it just so happens that true Catholic congregations still exist in Rome today.

What’s unique about the Church of Rome is that the rest of the Church can provide its head but it could not provide a Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop of Canterbury, or Bishop of New York.

Therefore, perpetual succession is not lost despite the circumstances. The perpetual principle is still present and will continue to be present. Cardinals are not needed in extreme circumstances as experts such as Cardinal Billot taught. A general council could provide a pope or as theologian and as professor Francisco de Vitoria OP (1483 –1546) points out, “Even if St. Peter would have not determined anything, once he was dead, the Church had the power to substitute him and appoint a successor to him … If by any calamity, war or plague, all Cardinals would be lacking, we cannot doubt that the Church could provide for herself a Holy Father…Hence such an election should be carried out by all the Church and not by any particular Church. And this is because that power is common and it concerns the whole Church. So it must be the duty of the whole Church.” (De Potestate Ecclesiae)

Saints and the Fathers of the First Vatican Council discussed what would happen if the Pope defected into heresy. See Vatican I’s Declaration is Foundation for Sedevacantism

Defection into heresy by a pope doesn’t imply a defection of Rome since a defected pope is no longer part of Rome. In fact, the same can be applied to every particular church. When the Patriarch of Constantinople defected into heresy, he defected out of the Church, therefore, the office of patriarch didn’t actually defect. When Nestorius defected, as one example, he was called an imposter by Pope Pius VI. In other words, he was no longer the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Again, we are always to be in conformity with the Roman Church, not the counterfeit Roman Church.

Part 9 of Argument: [If an antipope or even antichrist rules the Roman Church, then the Roman Catholic Church defected.]

Answer: An antipope sitting in Rome doesn’t mean the Church has defected. Many antipopes have sat in Rome, but they aren’t sitting in the Chair of Peter. A proposed antichrist sitting in Rome is no different than an antipope sitting in Rome. An antichrist wouldn’t be ruling anymore than an antipope rules. The Catholic Church is never ruled by an antipope just as the Eastern Catholic Church was never ruled by Nestorius when he defected.

What we find in every argument above is someone looking for a reason to reject the Catholic position of sedevacantism and/or the Catholic Faith. They all fall short.

The solution some Eastern Orthodox members give to the position of Catholic sedevacantism is to join them. The problem, however, is two-fold. First, which Eastern Orthodox religion should we join? There is no Eastern Orthodox Church. It’s the Russian Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, etc.

Who has the final say as to which one is the most true Eastern Orthodox church? I have to say “most” true because none of them are 100% true. See Eastern Orthodox is Not the Way

It comes down to each individual’s opinion as to who is true orthodox and what is true orthodox doctrine. This is not so in the Catholic Church, which has laid down very clearly who is a member of the Church and what is Catholic dogma.

The second problem with the Eastern Orthodox religions is that it embodies the very thing we Catholics despise. Joining an Eastern Orthodox religion is to join an ecumenical religion of the world.

Most, if not all, Eastern Orthodox churches belong to the satanic World Council of Churches. See https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches and read the names of the Orthodox churches which are united to this satanic fellowship.

It gets worse. Among the Eastern Orthodox leaders who took part in one of the most evil gatherings ever, the Assisi Events of 1986, 2002, and 2011, were Bartholomeos I, the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople; Ignace IV Hazim, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and of all the Orient; several metropolitans and dignitaries of the patriarchates of Moscow, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, and of Orthodox churches in Cyprus, Poland and Albania.

I suggest the reading of my THE DIABOLICAL ASSISI EVENTS and understand why there’s no excuse for such abominable gatherings.

Lastly, the Eastern Orthodox has good relations with the Novus Ordo religion of antipope Francis. If the Eastern Orthodox had an ounce of holiness in it, you would not see the antipopes of Vatican II attempting to reconcile with them in the manner in which they going about it.

The following video does not speak well for the Eastern Orthodox because the Vatican II popes would stay far away from them if the Eastern Orthodox were holy and true.

The video shows Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I kissing Pope Francis’ head during an ecumenical prayer at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. The two apostates will participate in an ecumenical liturgy and sign a joint declaration in the ongoing attempt to reunite the churches.

It just so happened that antipope Francis had prayed with Muslims facing Mecca in the Blue Mosque earlier that same day. [1] Bartholomew undoubtedly approved. 

If the best comeback an Eastern Orthodox apologist has to defend such nonsense from their religion is to recognize and resist, we despise that heresy as well.

Eastern Orthodox is not the way. It practices the very thing we hate about the Novus Ordo religion of antipope Francis. Why would we want to join them?

As I’ve said before, the Roman Catholic Faith is the faith found in all generations since Christ and if this faith is not it… then nothing else is.

 

Footnote

[1]  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-turkey/pope-francis-prays-in-istanbuls-blue-mosque-idUSKCN0JD09U20141129.

Pope Leo XIII taught in Satis Cognitum (SC) 5: “‘It happens that, as in the human body, some member may be cut off a hand, a finger, a foot. Does the soul follow the amputated member? As long as it was in the body, it lived; separated, it forfeits its life. So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic – the life of the spirit follows not the amputated member’ (S. Augustinus, Sermo cclxvii., n. 4).”

The pope continues in SC 8: “‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, when in His Gospel He testifies that those who not are with Him are His enemies, does not designate any special form of heresy, but declares that all heretics who are not with Him and do not gather with Him, scatter His flock and are His adversaries: He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth’ (S. Cyprianus, Ep. lxix., ad Magnum, n. I).”

In both instances, Pope Leo XIII is describing public heretics for he uses the analogies of the body and its members and the flock which gathers or scatters.

So the public heretic is not a Catholic and member of the Church.

Therefore, a Catholic cannot privately believe his pope is a public heretic for it would mean that he privately believes his pope is not a Catholic and member of the Body of the Church. A non-Catholic and non-member of the Catholic Church can’t be at the same time the Head of the Catholic Church.

Ironically, those members of the Vatican 2 religion who have privately judged their Vatican 2 pope to be a heretic have made a judgment against the judgment of their church, which they argue is a dogmatic fact and call a heresy and mortal sin for rejecting.

See here.

John Salza and Robert Siscoe have recently attempted to refute my article on the Sedevacantist Saint Vincent Ferrer [1] in their Feb. 2019 piece, claiming St. Vincent Ferrer was never a sedevacantist. [2]

They published the quotes that demonstrate that St. Vincent and others became sedevacantists, such as “withdrew their allegiance” and “It was not until 1416, when pressed by Ferdinand, King of Aragon, that he (St. Vincent) abandoned him.” Fr. Stanislaus M. Hogan O.P. implied that it was St. Vincent Ferrer that convinced King Ferdinand when the Saint told the king, “they were justified in withdrawing their obedience to Benedict.” [3] (The facts about the case are obviously disputed.)

I originally got the idea of posting an article about the great Dominican St. Vincent Ferrer from reading Henry Gheon’s book on the saint. [4] On page 143, Gheon uses the words, “withdrawal of obedience.” The Catholic Encyclopedia also uses the word, “obedience.” [5]

When good Catholics say they withdraw allegiance and obedience and abandoned a papal claimant, it logically means that they no longer recognize the claimant as pope. It is clear from the record that St. Vincent and the Spanish sovereigns no longer recognized Benedict XIII as pope. They were in effect declaring the Chair of Peter to be vacant because they did not recognize the other papal claimants at that time.

When Salza and Siscoe read “withdraw their allegiance,” “withdraw of obedience,” and “abandoned him,” it means that Catholics can withdraw allegiance, obedience, and abandon a pope even though he’s still recognized as such. That’s because that’s what they do with their pope Francis. They apparently advocate formal schism as a legitimate act against a pope.

They should read their own Catechism by their pope John Paul II about schism. It states,schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” [6] These men don’t submit to their pope or hold communion with the members of the Church under Francis. They reject Vatican 2, the new mass, and the novus ordo establishment but they want us to recognize their pope they don’t submit to.

Salza and Siscoe stretch the opinion of John of St. Thomas, Fr. Laymann, Cajetan, and Suarez to justify their 60 plus year church with heretical popes. All of these men would have long abandoned their opinions if they lived today. Besides, the great canonists Wernz/Vidal taught:

The fourth opinion, with Suarez, Cajetan and others [John of St. Thomas, Fr. Laymann, etc.], contends that a Pope is not automatically deposed even for manifest heresy, but that he can and must be deposed by at least a declaratory sentence of the crime. “Which opinion in my judgment is indefensible” as Bellarmine teaches. [7]

Bellarmine was clear that a Pope who remains Pope cannot be avoided.” [8]

Salza and Siscoe quoted Fr. Wernz about the legality of doubtful popes in their article but they readily admit that he’s wrong about the legality of heretical popes because he and canonist Fr. Vidal agree with St. Robert Bellarmine over John of St. Thomas. Salza and Siscoe quote from many sources but only agree with them when it suits them. They cite theologians and canonists as if they carry more authoritative weight than their own popes whom they avoid and withdraw obedience.

It gets better. Salza and Siscoe argue that St. Vincent Ferrer didn’t declare the Chair of Peter vacant because on the same day he withdrew obedience he also “declared anew” that Benedict was the true pope.

The edict is proclaiming that Benedict was (not is) the true pope. It’s implying that he, apart from the other claimants, held the legitimate claim to the Pontificate. The very next line reads, “but that, since he would not resign to bring peace to the Church, Ferdinand had withdrawn his states from the obedience of Avignon.” Benedict no longer will be recognized for what he claims to hold.  He can claim the papacy all he wants but he won’t be recognized as pope. Salza and Siscoe want to read the passage that Benedict is still the pope but St. Vincent and Ferdinand won’t obey him as pope, as they do with their pope Francis. That’s called schism.

Did St. Vincent Ferrer use private judgment [own authority not against the Church’s]? You bet he did and so did the Spanish sovereigns. However, Salza and Siscoe argue that it was legally done as if there were Church laws on how to depose a pope. They point to article III of the Treaty of Narbonne where it was agreed in Dec. 1415 that “Benedict’s said Obedience cannot legally recognize any Pope, unless the See becomes vacant, either by the Death, or by the voluntary Abdication, or by the deposing of Benedict; the Council, before they elect another Pope, shall proceed to such Deposition in due Course of Law…” [9]

Salza and Siscoe write that, “This entirely refutes the claim that those at the time, such as St. Vincent, who believe obedience could be withdrawn from Benedict did so because they thought he had already lost his office, and that the See had become vacant. According to the Article, which was agreed to by both sides and confirmed by the Council itself, the only way they could consider the Papal See vacant, is if he died, abdicated or was legally deposed by the Church (or legally declared not to be Pope, if your prefer).”

First, the treaty has no authority to lay down a law for the Church and it was not a legal or binding law of the Church whatsoever. The Council of Constance was partly condemned for the idea that the Church had power over the pope and to depose him. Whatever the kings thought best at the time was fixed by St. Vincent, who told them they were justified in withdrawing obedience.

Salza and Siscoe will have you believe that the great theologians and saint held to the later condemned proposition of Constance. Their story is the real fable. Benedict was deposed by the Council July 26, 1417 but St. Vincent and the Spanish sovereigns withdrew their obedience Jan. 6, 1416. They didn’t wait until Benedict was deposed. They already didn’t recognize him as pope and were making that clear to him and the world on Jan. 6, 1416.

Dominican Bishop Ranzano writes, “After having long endeavoured to move Peter de Luna to resign his pretensions to the papacy, but finding him obstinate, he advised King Ferdinand to renounce his obedience in case he refused to acknowledge the council of Constance; which that prince did by a solemn edict, dated the 6th of January, in 1416, by the advice of the saint, as Oderic Raynold, Mariana, and Spondanus most accurately relate, The saint laboured zealously to bring all Spain to this union, and we sent by King Ferdinand to assist at the council of Constance.” [10]

Salza and Siscoe make much of the “doubtful pope” argument for the reason why St. Vincent and others could legitimately withdraw obedience. Yet, St. Vincent Ferrer didn’t think Benedict XIII was a doubtful pope. In fact, he wrote treatises explaining why Benedict was the true pope without a doubt.

Salza and Siscoe’s arguments don’t make sense. They argue, St. Vincent withdrew obedience because Benedict was always a doubtful pope which is no pope at all. St. Vincent didn’t use private judgment even though he convinced Spanish sovereigns that Benedict should not be submitted to.

If the great theologian St. Vincent thought Benedict was a doubtful pope, why would he think it necessary for legal action to rid Benedict from a pontificate he didn’t hold? If he didn’t use private judgment, what Church authority gave him the authority to convince Ferdinand and others to withdraw obedience?

Every time I read an article by Salza and Siscoe, I think of the Bible passage by St. Paul: “And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.” (Thess. 2:10-11)

In case you missed it from my previous articles, the topic of a pope becoming a heretic was addressed at the First Vatican Council by Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, Ohio:

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

“If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, ‘I believe in Christ,’ etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.” (The New Princeton Review, Volume 42 p. 648, also The Life and Life-work of Pope Leo XIII. By James Joseph McGovern p. 241)

Notice that he states that the Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him. Why, because, he is no more Pope than either you or I. That’s not what Salza and Siscoe believe or practice.

The same Vatican council quotes another great Dominican who lived in the day of St. Vincent Ferrer on the issue of a pope who becomes a heretic. St. Antoninus, O.P. (1389-1459) declared, “In the case in which the pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off. ‘A pope who would be separated from the Church by heresy, therefore, would by that very fact itself cease to be head of the Church.  He could not be a heretic and remain pope, because, since he is outside of the Church, he cannot possess the keys of the Church.’”  (Summa Theologica cited in Actes de Vatican I. V. Frond pub.)

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/the-sedevacantist-saint-vincent-ferrer/

[2] http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/p/st-vincent-ferrer-sedevacantist.html

[3] https://books.google.com/books?id=jWBF8sNnuosC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=St.+Vincent+replied+that+since+Benedict+XIII+had+resisted+all+attempts+to+procure+the+union+that+was+so+necessary,+and+since+his+conduct+gave+scandal+to+all+the+faithful,+they+were+justified+in+withdrawing+their+obedience+to+Benedict.+This+decision+was+confirmed+by+the+assembly+of+Bishops+convened+by+Ferdinand+and+representing+the+obedience+of+Avignon.%E2%80%9D+%5B&source=bl&ots=Ql0j-f7xnZ&sig=ACfU3U3mexUVUpJaZYOc_sV-7zluyg3ZcA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiYs9OS5t_gAhUEb60KHZ5DBLEQ6AEwAHoECAEQAQ#v=onepage&q=St.%20Vincent%20replied%20that%20since%20Benedict%20XIII%20had%20resisted%20all%20attempts%20to%20procure%20the%20union%20that%20was%20so%20necessary%2C%20and%20since%20his%20conduct%20gave%20scandal%20to%20all%20the%20faithful%2C%20they%20were%20justified%20in%20withdrawing%20their%20obedience%20to%20Benedict.%20This%20decision%20was%20confirmed%20by%20the%20assembly%20of%20Bishops%20convened%20by%20Ferdinand%20and%20representing%20the%20obedience%20of%20Avignon.%E2%80%9D%20%5B&f=false

[4] St. Vincent Ferrer, Gheon, Sheed & Ward, 1954.

[5] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15437a.htm

[6] http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

[7] Jus Canonicum by the Rev F X Wernz S.J. and the Rev P Vidal S.J. (1938) Chapter VII. Translated by John Daly.

[8] St. Robert Bellarmine in De Romano Pontifice, 30

[9] https://books.google.com/books?id=B0WPqThQowMC&pg=PA549&lpg=PA549&dq=Article+IIII+But+as+Benedicts+said+Obedience+cannot+legally+recognize+any+Pope,+unless+the+See+becomes+vacant,+either+by+the+Death,+or+by+the+voluntary+Abdication,+or+by+the+deposition+of+Benedict;+the+Council,+before+they+elect+another+Pope,+shall+proceed+to+such+Deposition+in+due+course+of+law%E2%80%A6+%5B&source=bl&ots=HuFtMVfrYy&sig=ACfU3U1rb85fqEAc18TFpNzwqlmlXFnG9A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiu5YbC2t_gAhVGX60KHcJLDP4Q6AEwAHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=Article%20IIII%20But%20as%20Benedicts%20said%20Obedience%20cannot%20legally%20recognize%20any%20Pope%2C%20unless%20the%20See%20becomes%20vacant%2C%20either%20by%20the%20Death%2C%20or%20by%20the%20voluntary%20Abdication%2C%20or%20by%20the%20deposition%20of%20Benedict%3B%20the%20Council%2C%20before%20they%20elect%20another%20Pope%2C%20shall%20proceed%20to%20such%20Deposition%20in%20due%20course%20of%20law%E2%80%A6%20%5B&f=false

[10] From his life, written by Ranzano, Bishop of Lucera, in order to his canonization, in Henschenius with the notes of Papebroke. See Touron, Hommes Illustres de l’Ordre de St. Dominique t. iii.; Fleury, b. cx.  http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/ferrer.htm

 

 

 

 

In 2014 and 2015, I replied to the argument against sedevacantism that it’s a dogmatic fact that a pope is a valid pope when he’s accepted by the practical universal acceptance of the Church. [1]

Many theologians have taught that God “cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately.” [2] Therefore, it’s argued that sedevacantism is impossible because the practical unanimous consent of the Church recognized as popes, John XXIII and Paul VI.

My rebuttals to the argument in 2014 and 2015 were that the practical unanimous consent of antipope Boniface VII and Pope Paul IV’s teaching that a heretic is not pope even if he’s recognized by the whole Church prove the argument wrong. [3]

Before saying the theologians are wrong, notice that they don’t all say the same thing. Card. Billot says, “whole Church” but doesn’t tell us what “whole Church” includes. If he means every single person, then the argument against sedevacantism doesn’t work. He doesn’t tell us if the acceptance must be absolute or moral.

Rev. Berry says, “practical unanimous consent” but doesn’t tell us if he means unquestionable, moral, implicit, explicit, or legal consent. He doesn’t tell us how the consent must be expressed. Is it by words or tacit? How could we know how it was fulfilled?

If we use the sacraments as an example, we have a moral certitude that they are valid, but not with an absolute certitude. We know that valid form, matter, intention, and minister are needed for valid sacraments. We don’t question the validity of the sacraments unless evidence to the contrary is presented. In other words, when something is found that would invalidate the sacrament. We see examples of this with marriage, which is presumed valid until impediments are presented and annulments granted. When I go to Confession, I presume the priest to be valid. However, if evidence came forward that the priest wasn’t a true priest, there would be a question as to whether my confession was valid. I would want to know all the facts and if the evidence is more than mere hearsay, then the Confession becomes doubtful. You can’t accept a doubtful sacrament as a valid sacrament. We can’t accept a doubtful pope, either, and for the same practical reasons. [4]

Therefore, if Billot and Berry meant an absolute acceptance or unquestionable consent presented in words, then it is possible to reconcile their statements with sedevacantism and the elections of John XXIII and Paul VI.

However one interprets the theologians, it’s only an opinion of theologians and not a Church teaching or law of the Church. The doctrine of opinions, which is not Church doctrine, is not infallible and it’s not binding. [5]

The argument using the opinion of these theologians that the Church can’t be wrong about its pope is further marred by the fact that the whole Church recognized one of the three doubtful popes during the Great Western Schism. Not only was the whole Church in error over the papacy, it was divided over the papacy, which in all practical purposes might be worse than having one false pope. We have another instance in history where the vast majority accepted antipope Anacletus II and the minority accepted Pope Innocent II until St. Bernard of Clairvaux convinced the majority to change positions. By the way, he did this on his own authority.

There’s also the teaching by some theologians that popes can’t be occult heretics. [6] The implication is that if one of the popes in history were an occult heretic, he wouldn’t have been a true pope even though the whole Church recognized him. Perhaps, it would be argued that we’ve never had an occult heretic pope, but how could anyone know? This minority opinion seems to fly in the face of the opinion that God cannot permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimate. Someone might argue that Billot also says “adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” Therefore, the adhesion guarantees no occult heretic. However, Billot didn’t think an occult heretic can’t be a pope, so using his argument doesn’t work.

When I wrote my book, “Papal Anomalies and Their Implications” I noted that the greatest anomaly is the fact the Church has never defined what makes a pope a pope or defined all who have been popes. The Church has recognized popes who were never elected and who were invalidly, unlawfully, and unjustly elected. Since the conclave, the Church has recognized popes who are secretly elected and all we have is the testimony of the cardinals.

All we know for sure is that only a man can be elected. If he’s not baptized, he must get baptized. If he’s baptized, he can’t be a heretic/apostate. That’s about it. We have Pope Hadrian V who was never consecrated bishop, ordained priest, or crowned pope. The minimum age of a pope is not defined either. Pope John XII was elected at 15. Were these true popes? Again, the Church has never defined all who have been true popes.

My belief is that God protects the Church from doctrinal error regardless. Yet, we see so many Catholics accept the heresies of the Vatican 2 popes. How did God protect the Church with John XXIII and Paul VI?

I answer the question this way. There are two aspects to the Church, the faithful and her official teachings. When we say the Church teaches, we don’t mean everyone except the pope. The faithful who are not pertinacious in their errors are not heretics. They remain members of the Church, although, in an abnormal way, because they are worshipping in a non-Catholic new mass. It does seem strange that it’s possible that a vast majority of faithful could be so deceived, but God has allowed it.

I’m reminded of what Rev. M. P. Hill, S.J taught about the future Church after explaining the strangeness of the Great Western Schism: “But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree. [7]

Many of the faithful didn’t accept the heresies of Vatican 2 because they were unaware of them and those who knew better rejected them. This made the Vatican 2 popes suspect.

What I’m specifically referring to in my statement that God protects the Church is in her official capacity for teaching. Antipopes have no authority to make official teachings. Vatican 2, for example, was not ratified by a true pope. Its teachings are not the Church’s teachings. Division and scandal immediately arose during the council. Although a false pope was practically universally recognized at least morally with silent implicit consent, Vatican 2 was not.

Bishop Blaise Kurz was one bishop at Vatican 2 that rejected the heresies of the Council and ordained Gunther Storch who would later be made bishop by Bishop Guerard des Lauriers. Archbishop Lefebvre said in an interview that 250 bishops supported him in opposition to the council because it had erred. [8]

Going back further, John XXIII’s document Pacem in Terris was rejected by an expert in theology. Rev. Saenz Y Arriaga, Ph.d. (carried 3 doctorates in theology, philosophy, and canon law) questioned/rejected John XXIII as pope and his acts. [9] He was not alone. His friends Frs. Adolfo Zamoro and Moisés Carmona would later be made bishops by Archbishop Thuc. The three Mexican priests suspected Paul VI as an antipope from the beginning. There’s no reason to believe these are the only Catholics in the world who rejected Vatican 2 and the Vatican 2 popes especially since these men had Catholic followers.

The Catholic Church has survived both in doctrine and in the Faithful. The argument using the opinion of the universal acceptance of a pope is crushed by history, a papal bull, and the fact that the faithful, which includes bishops, priests, and theologians, have kept it going.

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/robert-siscoe-caught-in-his-own-trap-against-sedevacantism/

https://stevensperay.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/steven-speray-responds-to-robert-siscoe-and-the-remnan1.pdf

[2] Cardinal Billot – Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi Vol I pp 612-613:

“Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope falling into heresy], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately. Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.

Rev. Sylvester Berry: “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, p. 290)

[3] Pope Paul IV’s bull, Cum ex apostolatus  officio of 1559, declared: In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define:] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy: (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless; (ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity)through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation; (iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way; (iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain; (v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone; (vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.

[4] Rev. Francis X Doyle, S.J. 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….” (The Defense of the Catholic Church, 1927, Fr. Francis X. Doyle, S.J.)

[5] § 7. Theological opinions are free views on aspects of doctrines concerning Faith and morals, which are neither clearly attested in Revelation nor decided by the Teaching Authority of the Church. Their value depends upon the reasons adduced in their favour (association with the doctrine of Revelation, the attitude of the Church. etc.). A point of doctrine ceases to be an object of free judgment when the Teaching Authority of the Church takes an attitude which is clearly in favour of one opinion. Pope Pius XII explains in the Encyclical “Humani generis” (1950): “When the Popes in their Acts intentionally pronounce a judgment on a long disputed point then it is clear to all that this, according to the intention and will of these Popes, can no longer be open to the free discussion of theologians” (D 3013). (Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 9)

  1. Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of the free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally”
  2. Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata). which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church. (Ibid. p. 10)

[6] Ioannes de Turrecremata (Juan de Torquemada), Summa de Ecclesia, lib. 4, pars 2 c. 18, IIIa via;

Francisco Suárez, De fide disp. 9, sect. I, nn. 5, 13, 18 (Opera, vol. 12, pp. 246, 248-249, 250-251);

Luis Molina, Concordia (Ed. crit., Oniæ-Matriti, 1953), p. 3, q. 14, a. 13, disp. 46, n. 18, pp. 283-284;

Charles-René Billuart, Summa sancti Thomæ (ed. Palmé, nova editio), vol. III, diss. 3, a. 2, §IV, pp. 299-301;

Johann Baptist Franzelin, Theses de Ecclesia Christi, th. 23, pp. 402-423;

Michelitsch, §202;

Fraghi, De membris Ecclesiæ, 90;

Stolz, 32;

Journet, vol. II, 1064;

Zapalena, vol. II, 389.

[7] The Catholic’s Ready Answer [1915] p. 287.

[8]  http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/defense/inview.htm

[9] The New Montinian Church, ch xii and xxii. Also, on p. 329, Fr. Saenz Y Arriaga writes: About John XXIII we can say that he tolerated and fostered heresy, although, at least so it seems, he did not undersign and ratify it.

On p. 342, he writes: As time passes and events occur, ail forecasts agree as to the principal evil forces behind it, namely, the deviation and manifest turnabout of the hierarchy and the ambiguous Vatican Council II, which intended to create a new pastoralism without firmly resting it on the immutable dogmas of our Catholic Faith. Both of the last two Pontiffs have indisputably interrupted the harmonious unity of the Church’s Tradition and Magisterium. That is why I have always maintained that as long as we keep on trying to save John XXIII, Paul VI, and their pastoral council, we shall find ourselves in a blind alley.

 

Today is President’s Day for the United States and I thought a little fascinating video is in order. Abe Lincoln was born in my home state of Kentucky. The following video was originally from HighImpactFlix.

 

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that God positively wills the diversity of all religions? [1]

The Vatican 2 apologist says, “It is heresy and contrary to Catholicism that God positively wills the diversity of all religions. However, Pope Francis didn’t say ‘positively’. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t mean positively wills it.

The average Catholic responds, “You need to give him the benefit of the doubt because the text logically implies a positive will and you hope he doesn’t mean what he plainly says. How about all those ‘Catholics’ out there who read the document as it stands and understand Francis to mean ‘positively’ wills and agree with it? Are they not permitted to believe as the pope by the words he uses to make declarations? Can the pope be the source of error where the entire flock of Christ is poisoned with heresy because of his faulty words (but he didn’t mean what he says)? ”

Every Vatican 2 “Catholic” should be asked the following questions:

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that the Blessed Virgin Mary wasn’t born a saint and that she has defects as the Church? [2]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that Jesus had to beg forgiveness from Joseph and Mary? [3]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that sins of the flesh are the least serious sins? [4]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that religious liberty to blaspheme Christ in public is a God-given civil right? [5]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that the visible Church is divided in faith and that Protestant religions are part of the one Church of Christ? [6]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that there’s no Catholic God? [7]

Or is the Pope the only one permitted to believe in these abominable heresies?

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://novusordowatch.org/2019/02/apostasy-francis-diversity-of-religions/

[2] https://novusordowatch.org/2018/12/francis-denies-immaculate-conception/

https://novusordowatch.org/2013/09/francis-church-has-flaws-like-mary/

[3] https://novusordowatch.org/2015/12/francis-says-jesus-sinned/

[4] https://novusordowatch.org/2019/02/francis-least-serious-sins-flesh/

[5] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/rev-brian-harrison-responds-to-my-article-on-patrick-madrid-and-religious-liberty/

[6] https://novusordowatch.org/2015/11/francis-all-baptized-members-of-church/

https://novusordowatch.org/2018/06/francis-world-council-churches/

https://novusordowatch.org/2018/03/catholic-church-world-council-of-churches/

[7] https://novusordowatch.org/2013/10/no-catholic-god-francis/

The following 12 arguments made against sedevacantism have a flip-side, which works against the one making the argument. The purpose of this work is not to refute or give credence to the argument. It merely shows that sedevacantism exists precisely because the flip-side of the argument actually came first.

 

1. Argument: The Church can’t go 60 plus years without a pope.

Flip-side: The Church can’t go 60 plus years with heretical popes.

 

2. Argument: The Gates of Hell have prevailed if the Vatican 2 popes aren’t true popes.

Flip-side: The Gates of Hell are running the Catholic Church if the Vatican 2 popes are true popes.

 

3. Argument: Theologians said universal acceptance makes for a true pope.

Flip-side: Theologians say heretics can’t be popes.

 

4. Argument: Sedevacantists are divided over which popes are true.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo Catholics are divided over dogmas of the Faith.

 

5. Argument: Apostolicity is only found in bishops with ordinary jurisdiction.

Flip-side: No one in the Novus Ordo religion has ordinary jurisdiction.

 

6. Argument: Sedevacantists haven’t elected a pope.

Flip-side: The Novus Ordo religion hasn’t elected a pope who’s Catholic.

 

7. Argument: Sedevacantists privately judge that there’s no pope.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo “Catholics” privately judge that their popes err in good faith.

 

8. Argument: Sedevacantists reject the teachings of theologians on universal acceptance.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo “Catholics” reject the teaching of theologians on what makes a person a formal heretic.

 

9. Argument: Sedevacanism is a form of Protestantism.

Flip-side: Protestantism is revered by the Vatican 2 popes who promote and uphold Protestant beliefs.

 

10. Argument: Sedevacantism didn’t exist until the 1960’s.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 religion didn’t exist until the 1960’s.

 

11. Argument: Sedevacantists have left the Church.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 religion left Catholicism.

 

12. Argument: Sedevacantists reject Vatican I’s teaching on perpetual succession after Peter until the end of time.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 popes reject Vatican I’s teaching: a). to reject and condemn [all] the errors contrary to Catholicism. b.)  that the “meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.”