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This past week, I was given a choice to compromise my Catholic faith or resign from my position of employment after 16 years of faithful service. In all that time, I hadn’t missed a single day of work, nor was even late once. I chose to resign, which has cost me dearly in normal family expenses. Before, we were barely making it, but now we’re taking “living on Divine Providence” to a whole new level.

In order to compensate for some of the pay loss, I’m offering to sell first editions of 4 of my books in EBook format for a total of $12. Lulu transcribed these books in EBook format and I’ve found a few misprints in them. However, all the information is there. The books included are:

The Greatest Conspiracy Ever

Baptism of Desire or Blood

Catholicism in a Nutshell

The Key to the Apocalypse

You can read a brief description of the books here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/catholicwarrior

My favorite and by far my best book, Papal Anomalies and their Implications is not in Ebook format…sorry.

In order to purchase the 4 Ebooks, payment can be sent to Paypal account catholicwarrior@juno.com . Upon email receipt, I will send by email the Ebooks in the attachment section. Just make sure you give me the correct email address in the comment section. Please allow 48 hours for a reply.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, especially prayers!

 

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Rev. Dominique Boulet, SSPX has written a dossier on sedevacantism which is used by Dr. Robert Sungenis as a definitive argument against the position of the sedevacantism. [1]

A full rebuttal to the dossier has been written by Mr. John Lane. [2]

These are but two of a long list of articles and debates written on sedevacantism. However, I can safely say after reading and studying all the arguments against sedevacantism presented by anti-sedevacantists, it all boils down to one thing.

Whether it’s the SSPX, Dr. Robert Sungenis, Rev. Brian Harrison, Tradition in Action, or The Remnant’s Christopher Ferrara (all of whom I like very much), they all have essentially the same argument against sedevacantism:

POPES NEED NOT BE CATHOLIC.

There’s nothing that a conciliar pope can do to be considered an antipope. The conciliar popes have and continue to reject the dogma that the Church is one in faith. They reject the Divine law of God and the oft-repeated Church condemnation against inter-religious worship. Dozens of times have they worshiped with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Voodooists, pagans, and Protestants. The conciliar popes do whatever they want despite what the historic Faith requires and demands of them. They are full-blown apostates, but in the minds of the anti-sedevacantists, the conciliar popes are true popes and no one can say otherwise.

While it’s true that many anti-sedevacantists aren’t scared to say why and how their popes believe, teach, and promote the very antithesis of the Catholic faith, they become wimpish and senseless when forced to apply the logical implication of their arguments. Anti-sedevacantists appear to check their brains at the door and give every excuse under the sun how we can’t judge the conciliar popes when the same anti-sedevacantists spend much of their time and effort writing in judgment why this pope was not Catholic there and that pope is not Catholic here. These anti-sedevacantists know very well that their popes aren’t Catholic, but apparently it doesn’t matter. Popes don’t need to be Catholic. Of course, everyone else does, but not the man who heads the Church. That’s what they’re arguing regardless of what angle they do it from.

We know that true popes can’t be judged and deposed, but antipopes most certainly can be. The questions then, are not whether a pope can be judged and deposed, or whether a pope can lose his office through heresy (which he would) since the question doesn’t apply to the current position.

The questions are whether the man claiming the office is the pope. Was he ever the pope? Was he ever Catholic? Who says so? Does the majority make that determination? Can a notorious heretic attain the Chair of Peter? Can a man who is seriously suspect of heresy attain the papal office? Can we have a doubtful pope?

The Catholic Church has already answered many of these questions, and historic precedents answer other questions. [3]

We Catholic sedevacantists are often accused of leaving the Catholic Church. Even if we’re wrong, that wouldn’t necessarily make us outside of the Church. Catholics can simply be in error in good faith. Again, who’s really left the Church? Is it those who hold fast the Catholic Faith; or is it those who don’t as they manifestly go against it over and over?

This is not difficult to understand even though anti-sedevacantists make it appear so.

Popes need to be Catholic through and through. That’s the true Catholic position.

Whether they realize it or not, the above mentioned anti-sedevacantists have actually departed from the Catholic Faith by acknowledging radical apostates as Catholic popes. By doing so, they are denying or rejecting canon law [4], and infallible Catholic teaching that the Church is without heretics. [5] Sure, they will deny that their popes are actual heretics even though they’ll tell us over and over why this pope is heretical and that pope is heretical. Anti-sedevacantists won’t apply the logical implications.

Lastly, if we acknowledge that the Church has given us harmful, evil, and/or crippled practices, such as the new mass with altar girls, etc., and imperfect sacraments, which the anti-sedevacantists do admit, then we must also admit that the indefectible Church has defected, because the Church has solemnly declared that She can’t do what these anti-sedevacantists claim. [6]

We Catholic sedevacantists are not throwing the baby out with the bath water. We’re simply acknowledging who is Catholic and who’s not. If a theologian, such as a papal claimant, manifestly goes against the Catholic Faith over and over, then he’s not Catholic and therefore, not the pope. We have every right to say that an antipope is an antipope. As a matter of fact, it’s our duty as Catholics.

 

 

[1]       http://www.catholicintl.com/index.php/component/content/article/69-sedevacantism/135-the-insanity-of-sedevacantism

 http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

[2]       http://strobertbellarmine.net/books/Concerning_A_SSPX_Dossier_on_Sedevacantism.pdf

[3] Pope Paul IV declared the Divine law in Cum ex Apostalatus that a heretic can’t be elected pope. All post-1917 Code canonists agree and teach that heretics and schismatics are barred from papal elections by Divine law. Yet, Pope Paul IV implied that it’s very possible that the College of Cardinals could possibly attempt to do such a thing; and if they did, Pope Paul said the election would be null, legally invalid, and void, even if the whole world recognizes as valid a pope who’s really a heretic.

On doubtful popes, 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

Historic precedents have proven that the majority is not always right about who’s the pope. The whole Church has mistakenly recognized several antipopes in the past. Read my book Papal Anomalies and their Implications.

[4] Canon 2314.1 states that all heretics incur ipso facto excommunication. An explanation of canonical penalties by Professor of Canon Law, Rev. P. Charles Augustine, O.S.B., D.D.:

“2) The penalties here enunciated are twofold: censure and vindictive penalties; besides, a distinction is drawn, according to can. 2207, n. 1, by reason of dignity, between laymen and clerics.

The censure inflicted is excommunication incurred ipso facto, which per se requires not even a declaratory sentence… Note that the term moniti [warnings] (2314 §1, n. 2) does not refer to the incurring of the censure. Consequently, no canonical warning or admonition is required.” (A COMMENTARY ON THE NEW CODE OF CANON LAW, Volume VIII, Book V, Penal Code, Canon 2314, pp. 275-276; B. Herder Book Company, Imprimatur by John J. Glennon, Archbishop of Saint Louis, Friday, August 25, 1922)

In addition to Augustine’s explanation of Canon 2314, Augustine also explains in Canon 2315 that there are three types of suspicion for heretics.

“Violent suspicion amounts to morally certain proof…and is to be considered as a positive proof and therefore rather falls under can. 2314.

Interestingly, under Canon 2315, repeated warnings are to be given to suspected heretic clerics, and if they don’t amend themselves, shall be deemed heretics and liable to the penalties thereof.  Heretics wouldn’t have to be warned again and again to fulfill Canon 2314.2.

[5] Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208: “By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Cantate Domino,” 1441: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics…”

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. “…But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith.”

[6] Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 66 (1943): “Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments.”

Van Noort in Dogmatic Theology: “The Church’s infallibility extends to….ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living….But the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree as intimated above.”

P. Hermann in Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae: “The Church is infallible in her general discipline. By the term general discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics, or the administration of the sacraments. . . . “If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible.”

What is meant by universal when concerning laws and disciplines….R.M. Schultes De Ecclesia Catholica. Paris: Lethielleux 1931. 314-7: “The infallibility of the Church in Enacting Disciplinary Laws. Disciplinary laws are defined as ‘ecclesiastical laws laid down to direct Christian life and worship’….. The question of whether the Church is infallible in establishing a disciplinary law concerns the substance of universal disciplinary laws – that is, whether such laws can be contrary to a teaching of faith or morals, and so work to the spiritual harm of the faithful….Thesis. The Church, in establishing universal laws, is infallible as regards their substance. The Church is infallible in matters of faith and morals. Through disciplinary laws, the Church teaches about matters of faith and morals, not doctrinally or theoretically, put practically and effectively. A disciplinary law therefore involves a doctrinal judgment…. The reason, therefore, and foundation for the Church’s infallibility in her general discipline is the intimate connection between truths of faith or morals and disciplinary laws. The principal matter of disciplinary laws is as follows: a) worship….”

Examples given….Joachim Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa. 5th ed. Madrid: BAC 1962. 1:722,723: “3) Regarding disciplinary decrees in general which are by their purpose [finaliter] connected with things which God has revealed. A. The purpose of the infallible Magisterium requires infallibility for decrees of this kind…. Specifically, that the Church claims infallibility for herself in liturgical decrees is established by the law of the Councils of Constance and Trent solemnly enacted regarding Eucharistic Communion under one species. This can also be abundantly proved from other decrees, by which the Council of Trent solemnly confirmed the rites and ceremonies used in the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the Mass.”

The Eastern rites have always practiced Communion under both species, and the Western practice is considered a “universal” discipline of the Church. The sacraments are different in each rite of the Church, but they are all and each spotless.

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I corresponded with the late Michael Davies by email a few times, but I was still going through the process of learning about the current situation. Mr. Davies was very gracious with me and I will always remember him for his sincerity and kindness. Recently, I was going through some old files and found this little article I wrote against Michael Davies. The original article by Davies was sent to me by a dear friend to keep me out of sedevacantism. I decided to respond to it and email it back. My friend never commented further and I lost touch with him until the other day when I bumped into him at the grocery. Below is a cleaned up version of my reply to my friend and the late Mr. Davies.

 Heretical Pope?

 

DEBUNKED

By Steven Speray

2005

 

The late Michael Davies attempted to debunk the sedevacantist position with an article entitled “A Heretical Pope?” However, the debunker Davies has been debunked by his own logic. The comment section (in bold) is a response to each point made by Davies.

I like to start off by stating that there is no such thing as a heretical pope unless you mean a material heretic in which case he would just be a Catholic Pope in error.

DAVIES: Claims have been made that one or more of the “conciliar popes”, that is to say Pope John XXIII and his successors, were heretics and therefore forfeited the papacy. Those who include Pope John Paul II in this category claim that we have no pope and that therefore the Holy See is vacant, sedes vacante, which is why such people are referred to as “sedevacantists”. They claim that this poses no theological problem as the Holy See is vacant during the interregnum between pontificates. Some of these interregna have been very long, the longest being a vacancy of two years nine months between the death of Clement IV in 1268 and the election of Gregory X in 1271.

Comment: This is inaccurate. The longest interregnum period was three and half years between the death of Marcellinus in 304 and the election of Marcellus I in 308. However, the point is made that the Church remained visible despite the fact there was no pope for such a long time. However, when antipopes reign and only a few Catholics can recognize just who’s the true pope, the condition can be far worse then when there are long interregnums. Great theologians have suggested that the Great Schism was actually a generational interregnum. We’ll see the explanation in a minute.

DAVIES: In such cases the visibility of the Church is not impaired in any way as the Holy See is administered by the Cardinal Camerlengo until a new pope is elected. The Camerlengo, or Chamberlain of the papal court, administers the properties and revenues of the Holy See, and during a vacancy those of the entire Church. Among his responsibilities during a vacancy are those of verifying the death of the Pope and organizing and directing the conclave.

Thus, even when the Chair of Peter is not occupied, the visible, hierarchical nature of the Church is maintained.(1) Thus the situation during such an interregnum cannot be compared to the situation that the Church would be in if Pope John Paul II is not the legitimately reigning pontiff as there would be no visible source of authority capable of convoking a conclave to elect a new pope.

The theological weakness of sedevacantism is an inadequate concept of the nature of the Church. Without realizing it, they believe in a Church which can fail — and such a Church is not the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Comment: The Great Schism is a historical precedent against what Davies is asserting. There was uncertainty as to who truly reigned as pope for an entire generation.  The visible hierarchical nature wasn’t clear. 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)

It’s true that the Church cannot fail and this is precisely why we have the position of sedevacantism. Sedevacantists don’t misunderstand the nature of the Church, but Michael Davies does. Davies claimed that several sacramental disciplines were seriously flawed, such as the novus ordo missae and the new rite of Holy Orders. In other words, Davies believed the Church failed many times in its practices which he acknowledged doesn’t square up with the historic Faith. However, the Church has infallibly taught through its universal and ordinary magisterium that She is infallible even in disciplines. For instance, Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 9 (1832): “Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or branded as contrary to certain principles of the natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the Church and her ministers are embraced.” The good Pope continued in Quo Graviora, 4-5 (1833) how disciplines in the Church are without error.

Davies most certainly called the new mass and the new rite of orders crippled and imperfect.

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 66 (1943) taught: “Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors.”

Not only do the popes teach the infallibility of laws and disciplines of the Church but so do all the theologians. Van Noort stated in his Dogmatic Theology: “The Church’s infallibility extends to….ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living….But the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree as intimated above.”

P. Hermann taught in his Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae: “The Church is infallible in her general discipline. By the term general discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics, or the administration of the sacraments. . . . “If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible.”

I could go on and on with many more theologians, but the point is made.

The Church cannot do the things Davies claimed happened. Davies simply didn’t believe in the teaching of the Church on laws and disciplines. Davies was right about the problems with the sacramental disciplines, thus we see the bad fruit what can only come from a counterfeit church.

DAVIES: The Church that He founded cannot fail, for it is indefectible (i.e. it cannot fail).

Comment: That’s right! It cannot fail in its disciplines, laws, and teachings. It also cannot fail by ceasing to exist. But Davies believed it did fail with Vatican 2, the New Mass, etc, which is why he resists much of it. However, the papacy is not the Church. The Church has never defined the length of an interregnum. Therefore, long interregnums don’t imply a defected Church. The Church is made up with those true believers that hold the Faith. The Gates of Hell can’t prevail. Christ told us so. His promise will remain true till the end. According to the Church, the Gates of Hell are the tongues of heretics and the heretics themselves.

DAVIES: It will continue to exist until the Second Coming as a visible, hierarchically governed body, teaching the truth and sanctifying its members with indubitably valid sacraments. To state that we have no pope is to claim that the Church is no longer visible and hierarchically governed, which, in effect, means that it has ceased to exist.

Comment: This is utter nonsense. If Davies were correct, then the Church ceased to exist each time a pope died and especially when it went several years without the pope. Again, the Great Schism proves Davies wrong. Sedevacantists have valid bishops, which means the hierarchical governed body is still visible.

DAVIES: Catholic theologians accept that a pope could lose his office through heresy, but it would have to be such notorious heresy that no doubt concerning the matter could exist in the minds of the faithful, and a statement that the Pope had deposed himself would need to come from a high level in the Church, most probably a general Council.

Comment: Not according to Popes Innocent III and Pius VI, St. Robert Bellarmine and others. They used the words IPSO FACTO, which means automatically. No need for a high level authority to depose him. In fact, it’s a heresy to claim that a general council could depose a pope. No one can depose a pope except the pope himself. But for the sake of the argument, what happens if ALL the high level authorities believed in the same heresies as the “pope” they must depose because of his heresies? Not a very good policy, is it?

DAVIES: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre warned in 1979:

“The visibility of the Church is too necessary to its existence for it to be possible that God would allow that visibility to disappear for decades. The reasoning of those who deny that we have a pope puts the Church into an inextricable situation. Who will tell us who the future pope is to be? How, as there are no cardinals, is he to be chosen? The spirit is a schismatical one. . . And so, far from refusing to pray for the Pope, we redouble our prayers and supplications that the Holy Ghost will grant him the light and strength in his affirmations and defense of the Faith.”

Comment: The Church has already given us the answer to this objection.

“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,Vitoria)

“.. . by exception and by supplementary manner this power (that of electing a pope), corresponds to the Church and to the Council, either by the absence of Cardinal Electors, or because they are doubtful, or the election itself is uncertain, as it happened at the time of the schism.” (De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii,Cajetan, OP)

“When it would be necessary to proceed with the election, if it is impossible to follow the regulations of papal law, as was the case during the Great Western Schism, one can accept, without difficulty, that the power of election could be transferred to a General Council…Because natural law prescribes that, in such cases, the power of a superior is passed to the immediate inferior because this is absolutely necessary for the survival of the society and to avoid the tribulations of extreme need.” (De Ecclesia Christi,Billot)

Not only do we have the Church telling how popes can be elected without normal canonical procedure from the cardinal elect, but historic precedent has given us several true popes through unlawful elections, such as Pope Vigilius and Pope St. Eugene I.

I will deal the final blow to Davies’ sad commentary in italics at the very end.

DAVIES: Documentation

The question of whether the Holy See is vacant must be considered from three aspects, that is whether a pope could become an heretic and forfeit his office; what constitutes heresy; and whether any of the conciliar popes can be considered to be heretics within the context of this definition.

1.   Can a pope forfeit his office through heresy?
Comment: Sedevacantism holds that the conciliar popes never held the Chair of Peter. Therefore, the question doesn’t apply at all. The real question Davies should be asking is: Can a heretic be elected pope and remain a heretic?

The problem which would face the Church if a legitimately reigning pope became an heretic has been discussed in numerous standard works of reference. The solution is provided in the 1913 edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia: “The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”(2) Many theologians have discussed the possibility of a pope falling into heresy, and the consensus of their opinion concurs with that of The Catholic Encyclopedia. The Pope must evidently be a Catholic, and if he ceased to be a Catholic he could hardly remain the Vicar of Christ, the head of the Mystical Body. St. Robert Bellarmine taught: “The manifestly heretical pope ceases per se to be pope and head as he ceases per se to be a Christian and member of the Church, and therefore he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the early Fathers.”(3)

Comment: St. Robert Bellarmine used the words “automatically” when referring to a pope losing his office by falling into heresy. At that point the Church would be judging a heretic, not a pope. The fact remains that it’s a real possibility, but it doesn’t apply to the modern day position of sedevacantism since there was never a papal office to lose.

Saint Robert was, of course, discussing a theoretical possibility, and believed that a pope could not become an heretic and thus could not be deposed, but he also acknowledged that the more common opinion was that the pope could become an heretic, and he was thus willing to discuss what would need to be done if, per impossible, this should happen: “This opinion (that the Pope could not become an heretic) is probable and easily defended . . . Nonetheless, in view of the fact that this is not certain, and that the common opinion is the opposite one, it is useful to examine the solution to this question, within the hypothesis that the Pope can be an heretic.”(4)

The great Jesuit theologian, Francisco de Suarez (1548-1617) was also sure that God’s “sweet providence” would never allow the one who could not teach error to fall into error, and that this was guaranteed by the promise Ego autem rogavi pro te . . . (Luke 22: 32). But, like Bellarmine, Suarez was willing to consider the possibility of an heretical pope as an hypothesis, particularly in view of the fact, he claimed, that several “general councils had admitted the hypothesis in question”.(5)

Comment: In other words, Suarez was willing to consider that a pope need not be a Catholic at all. This is clearly impossible from the 1917 Code of law and the Vatican I teaching on the Church, both of which Suarez didn’t have in his day.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) did not believe that God would ever permit a Roman Pontiff to become a public or an occult heretic, even as a private person: “We ought rightly to presume as Cardinal Bellarmine declares, that God will never let it happen that a Roman Pontiff, even as a private person, becomes a public heretic or an occult heretic.”(6)

Comment: Again, it’s still a real possibility which St. Alphonsus admits when he stated, “If ever a pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he would at once fall from the pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notoriously and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.” (Verita della Fede, Pt. III, Ch. VIII. 9-10). 

If, per impossible, a pope became a formal heretic through pertinaciously denying a de fide doctrine, how would the faithful know that he had forfeited his office as he had ceased to be a Catholic?

Comment: We just read what Sts. Alphonsus and Bellarmine say. It’s automatic. The universal teaching of the popes, saints, and theologians is that it happens automatically, and no declaration is even needed.

It must be remembered that no one in the Church, including a General Council, has the authority to judge the Popes. Reputable authorities teach that if a pope did pertinaciously deny a truth which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith, after this had been brought to his attention by responsible members of the hierarchy (just as St. Paul reproved St. Peter to his face), a General Council could announce to the Church that the Pope, as a notorious heretic, had ceased to be a Catholic and hence had ceased to be Pope.

Comment: Sure, but it’s not absolutely necessary as the Church has taught.

It is important to note that the Council would neither be judging nor deposing the Pope, since it would not possess the authority for such an act. It would simply be making a declaratory sentence, i.e. declaring to the Church what had already become manifest from the Pope’s own actions. This is the view taken in the classic manual on Canon Law by Father F.X. Wernz, Rector of the Gregorian University and Jesuit General from 1906 to 1914. This work was revised by Father P. Vidal and was last republished in 1952. It states clearly that an heretical Pope is not deposed in virtue of the sentence of the Council, but “the General Council declares the fact of the crime by which the heretical pope has separated himself from the Church and deprived himself of his dignity.”(7)

Comment: He also stated, “Through notorious and openly revealed heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment of the Church…”(Ius Canonicum. Rome: Gregorian 1943. 2:453). Many other canonists teach the same.

Other authorities believe that such a declaration could come from the College of Cardinals or from a representative group of bishop, while others maintain that such a declaration would not be necessary. What all those who accept the hypothesis of an heretical pope are agreed upon is that for such a pope to forfeit the papacy his heresy would have to be “manifest”, as Saint Robert Bellarmine expressed it, that is notorious and public (notorium et palam divulgata).(8)

Comment: Torquemada didn’t hold to this view. He believed a pope would lose his office even if not manifest. However, it doesn’t really matter since the position doesn’t apply to today’s sedevacantism.

A notorious offence can be defined as one for which the evidence is so certain that it can in no way be either hidden or excused.(9) A pope who, while not being guilty of formal heresy in the strict sense, has allowed heresy to undermine the Church through compromise, weakness, ambiguous or even gravely imprudent teaching remains Pope, but can be judged by his successors, and condemned as was the case with Honorius I.

Comment: Has no bearing on the situation today.

2. What is heresy?

There has never been a case of a pope who was undoubtedly a formal heretic, and it is unlikely in the extreme that there ever will be one.

Comment: Until now.

This will become evident if some consideration is given to examining precisely what constitutes formal heresy. The Code of Canon Law defines an heretic as one who after baptism, while remaining nominally a Catholic, pertinaciously doubts or denies one of the truths which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith.(10) It teaches us that by divine and Catholic faith must be believed all that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, that is, the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church and proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church or by its Ordinary Universal Magisterium.(11) No teaching is to be considered as dogmatically defined unless this is evidently proved.(12)

A doctrine is de fide divina et catholica only when it has been infallibly declared by the Church to be revealed by God. Hence this term does not apply to doctrines which one knows to have been revealed by God, but which have not been declared by the Church to have been so revealed (de fide divina); nor to those which the Church has infallibly declared, but which she does not present formally as having been revealed (de fide ecclesiastica); nor to those which the Church teaches without exercising her infallible authority upon them. If a doctrine is not de fide divina et catholica, a person is not an heretic for denying or doubting it, though such a denial or doubt may be grave sin.(13)

Comment: Agreed!

3. The Conciliar Popes

It should now be apparent that there is no case whatsoever for claiming that any of the conciliar popes have lost their office as a result of heresy. Anyone wishing to dispute this assertion would need to state the doctrines de fide divina et catholica which any of these popes are alleged to have rejected pertinaciously.

Comment:The conciliar popes reject the dogma that the Church is one in faith. They hold that some non-Catholics, such as Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs are “Pastors in the Church of Christ.” The conciliar popes reject the Divine law that forbids inter-religious worship. They believe, teach, and promote radical false ecumenism, which is technically heretical, since the Church infallibly asserted it in the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople using II Cor. 6 to do so.

There’s no question that the conciliar popes are heretics!

There is not one instance which comes remotely within this category. The nearest one can come to a formal contradiction between preconciliar and post-conciliar teaching is the subject of religious liberty. It has yet to be shown how they can be reconciled.(14)

Comment: I gave two examples that are clear and unambiguous.

It is possible that the Magisterium will eventually have to present either a correction or at least a clarification of the teaching of Vatican II on this subject. Neither the pre-conciliar teaching nor that of the Council on religious liberty comes within the category of de fide divina et catholica, and so the question of formal heresy does not arise.

Comment: Again, no sedevacantist believes the “popes” lost their office making this entire latter piece of work by Davies a real waste of time. All true Catholics believe they were never any valid elections to begin with. All of the last five claimants were null and void from the start.

All of the claimants were heretics before their elections, which according to Pope Paul IV in Cum Ex Apostolatus would make their elections null and void.  This teaching is the Divine law.  “Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity.” (Marato, 1921, Institutiones luris Canonici)

More astoundingly is the fact that there are other ways to determine whether one is an antipope, which never is included by those who attempt to debunk sedevacantism.

Case in point: the Church infallibly taught that She cannot give us a harmful discipline and to render all ambiguous teachings as heretical. Even Davies has admitted Rome has given us harmful disciplines. He even wrote a book about the ambiguities and “time bombs” of Vatican 2.  If Davies is correct, then either the Gates of Hell have prevailed or the “conciliar popes” are ipso facto antipopes. Thus, there is no need for a judgment call on them for being heretics because they did something the Church infallibly taught can’t happen.

Also, the Church in one of her most respected councils, held in 398, presided over by the great St. Augustine, declared: “None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergyman or laic, let him be excommunicated”. (Coun. Carth. iv. 72 and 73)

Do not John Paul 2 and Benedict XVI fall under these anathemas? A pope must follow those canon laws that apply the Divine laws.

What is interesting about this is I found it from an organization that rejects sedevacantism by using Davies’ article, yet refuses to accept the very decrees by a Council, which it advertises elsewhere in other articles. Is this not the ultimate hypocrisy?

However, Davies’ claim that none of the “conciliar popes” can be found remotely or in one instance of falling into heresy is incomprehensible.

All of them, by their teachings and practices of Vatican 2 itself, have pertinaciously rejected Pope St. Pius X’s condemnation of modernism, the synthesis of all heresies. You won’t even find mention or reference of this most important document in the new “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

All them embrace, teach, promote, and defend the synthesis of all heresies, which makes them all heretics of the worst kind.

All of them fall under the anathemas condemning interreligious worship. Paul VI fell under the anathema of Trent of instituting a new rite of liturgy in the Roman Rite.

Davies never once addressed the most abominable of all heresies in Vatican 2, which is the doctrine of Antichrist. LG 16 and NA 3 of Vatican 2 clearly teach by implication that one can reject the divinity of Jesus and blaspheme the Most Holy Trinity, but at the same time worship the one true God.

Michael Davies was either incredibly blind or simply ill-willed about the Catholic position.

 

Endnotes

1. Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1917), vol. III, p. 217.
2. CE, vol. VII, p. 261.
3. Saint Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice (Milan, 1857), vol. II, chap. 30, p. 420.
4. Ibid., p. 418.
5. F. Suarez, De legibus (Paris, 1856), vol. IV, chap. 7, no. 10, p. 361.
6. Dogmatic Works of St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri (Turin, 1848), vol. VIII, p. 720.
7. Wernz-Vidal, Jus Canonicum (Rome, 1942), vol II, p. 518.
8. Ibid., p. 433.
9. Op. cit., note 92, Wernz-Vidal, (Rome, 1937), vol VII, pp. 46-47.
10. Code of Canon Law: Old Code, Canon 1325; New Code, Canon 751.
11. Denzinger, 1792; CCL: Old Code, Canon 1323; New Code, Canon 750.
12. CCL, Old Code, 1323, §3; New Code, 749, §3.
13. T. Bouscaren & A. Ellis, Canon Law, A Text & Commentary (Milwaukee, 1958), p. 724.
14. M. Davies, The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty (The Neumann Press, Minnesota, 1992).

 

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