John Salza’s and Robert Siscoe’s new book, ‘True or False Pope – Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors’ is to sedevacantism what Loraine Boettner’s book ‘Roman Catholicism’ is to Catholicism. Yet, it has been heralded by the SSPX and other pseudo-traditionalists, and was thoroughly examined by a top SSPX theologian to assure nothing in it was contra Catholicism (at least, that’s what I’ve heard).
Because the book has more errors than found in Jack Chick’s tracts, only the major ones will be covered in a series of articles.
I, for one, have been thoroughly misrepresented in the book. As this is true about me, it’s also true about everyone else, including the popes, saints, canonists, and theologians. Their book doesn’t refute sedevacantism, but it does refute itself as you’ll see in a minute.
On pp. 157-160 of Salza/Siscoe’s book, two arguments are made:
(a.) Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporis Christi the crime of heresy severs an individual from the Body of the Church.
(b.) The sin of heresy is in the internal forum only.
Salza/Siscoe just repeated an old argument by John Salza in a rebuttal article against an Anastasia. Salza writes:
“The sin of heresy alone does NOT ‘sever the person from the Body of the Church’ because sin is a matter of the internal forum [emphasis his]…
Anastasia: Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi(# 23), June 29, 1943: “For not every offense, although it may be a grave evil, is such as by its very own nature [suapte natura] to sever a man from the Body of the Church [ab Ecclesiae Corpore],as does schism or heresy or apostasy.”
J. Salza: Again, Pope Pius XII is referring to the “offense” or CRIME (not SIN) of heresy, which severs one from the Body of the Church, after the formal and material elements have been proven by the Church. After the crime has been established, the heretic is automatically severed from the BODY (not SOUL) of the Church without further declaration (although most theologians maintain that the Church must also issue a declaration of deprivation). 
The Latin version of the phrase in Mystici Corporis Christi reads: “Siquidem non omne admissum.” Most all translations render the phrase, “For not every sin” including the Vatican’s own website. Salza/Siscoe declare from their own private judgment that the word is to be understood as a crime, not sin. Of course, they don’t provide any translation or commentary that renders it as crime, except their own.
If Pope Pius XII was referring to sin, then Salza/Siscoe’s entire position and argument against sedevacantism goes up in smoke. In their book, they actually accuse sedevacantists of professing “that the internal sin of heresy alone severs a person from the Body of the Church”  despite the fact I replied to Robert Siscoe and the Remnant: “Siscoe completely misrepresents and confuses Mystici Corporis Christi by Pope Pius XII by introducing the subject of internal sins and falsely attributing the internal forum as a basis for the sedevacantism. Sede’s don’t believe that internal sins separate someone from the Body of the Church.”
All of Salza/Siscoe’s arguments presented in their book have already been answered one way or another. So let’s do it again.
1. Was Pope Pius XII intending to mean crime rather than sin?
2. Is the sin of heresy in the internal forum only?
3. Does it matter whether the pope was referring to crime rather than sin?
In his encyclical, Pope Pius XII continued the next two sentences, “Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin” and “Let everyone then abhor sin” using the Latin, “peccando” and “peccatum.” What is clear from the context is that Pope Pius XII was referring to sin and redemption, not crime and punishment.
The Ecclesiastical Review presented an article on the Mystical Body and Church Coextensive containing the following paragraph:
“Mortal sin, as such, does not break the tie which binds a man as a constituent member to the visible Body which is Christ’s. Only such a sin as public heresy, schism, or apostasy does that, and then only because such a sin breaks the tie of visible unity with the Body. Just a natural body, when some one of the extremities grows atrophied and turns black, until at last the soul seems to have withdrawn from that part of the body and the object of the whole body’s solicitude and care until amputation makes it cease at last to be a member, so the Catholic in mortal sin remains a member of the Mystical Body – though a dead member, and continues to be the object of innumerable medicinal activities on the part of the Soul and the other, living members as long as public heresy, apostacy, or the like does not definitively put an end to his membership.” 
As we see, it’s the sin that severs an individual by its very nature.
Robert Siscoe’s favorite theologian and professor, Msgr. Van Noort most certainly understood Pope Pius XII as referring to sin, not crime. He writes:
b. Public heretics (and a fortiori, apostates) are not members of the Church. They are not members because they separate themselves from the unity of Catholic faith and from the external profession of that faith. Obviously, therefore, they lack one of three factors—baptism, profession of the same faith, union with the hierarchy—pointed out by Pius XII as requisite for membership in the Church. The same pontiff has explicitly pointed out that, unlike other sins, heresy, schism, and apostasy automatically sever a man from the Church. “For not every sin, however grave and enormous it be, is such as to sever a man automatically from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy” (MCC 30; italics ours).
By the term public heretics at this point we mean all who externally deny a truth (for example Mary’s Divine Maternity), or several truths of divine and Catholic faith, regardless of whether the one denying does so ignorantly and innocently (a merely material heretic), or willfully and guiltily (a formal heretic). It is certain that public, formal heretics are severed from the Church membership. It is the more common opinion that public, material heretics are likewise excluded from membership. Theological reasoning for this opinion is quite strong: if public material heretics remained members of the Church, the visibility and unity of Christ’s Church would perish. If these purely material heretics were considered members of the Catholic Church in the strict sense of the term, how would one ever locate the “Catholic Church”? How would the Church be one body? How would it profess one faith? Where would be its visibility? Where its unity? For these and other reasons we find it difficult to see any intrinsic probability to the opinion which would allow for public heretics, in good faith, remaining members of the Church. 
Robert Siscoe actually quoted from the same page from Van Noort’s work in his article against me in his dishonest attempt to explain Mystici Corporis Christi as referring to internal sin.  Novus Ordo Watch used the Van Noort quote against Salza to show that Pope Pius XII was referring to sin, but Salza/Siscoe continue to ignore the facts and use their own private interpretation in their book to make false accusations against sedevacantists.
The canonist Michels writes:
Because the act of heresy is an erroneous judgment of intelligence, to commit the sin of heresy it suffices to knowingly and willingly express this erroneous judgment in opposition to the Church’s magisterium. From the moment that one sufficiently knows the existence of the rule of the faith in the Church and that, on any point whatsoever, for whatever motive and in whatever form, one refuses to submit to it, formal heresy is complete. 
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains the gravity of the sin of heresy, and twice used the phrase “guilt of heresy.” Later, the CE speaks of “heretics as being guilty of crime” distinguishing the difference between how one can be guilty of sin or crime. Every time Salza/Siscoe see words like “guilt” “notorious” etc., they automatically assume canonical terms for crimes, when in fact, one can be guilty or notoriously sinful.  Salza makes the same mistake in his rebuttal to Anastasia by confusing the phrase “by its very nature” which was referring to Divine law, with “automatic” which Salza refers to Church law.
Salza/Siscoe’s argument proves that they know that the Body of the Church, that Pope Pius XII exclaims, refers to the external forum, which is why Salza/Siscoe tried to say that offense is a crime rather than sin. But if the pope meant crime, which he obviously did not, does that help Salza/Siscoe’s cause?
It is only when the sin of heresy is externalized that the individual IS guilty of a crime, and subject to judgment in the external forum of the Church, and punishable by the penalties contained in the penal legislation. However, the crime of heresy doesn’t cease to be the sin of heresy, both remain.
Salza/Siscoe argue that the crime of heresy must be established by the Church after the fact. They argue that establishing the crime comes through warnings. Only after the Church establishes the crime, then that crime severs the individual by its nature. Think about that absurdity for a minute.
An individual doesn’t commit a crime when the Church establishes it. The Church establishes what was already committed. Therefore, if it’s the crime of heresy that severs an individual from the Body of the Church by its very nature, Salza/Siscoe have just refuted themselves and lose the debate anyway. But as we’ve seen, Pope Pius XII was referring to the sin of heresy that severs one from the Body of the Church by its very nature.
By using the translation “offense” rather than “sin”, Anastasia gave John Salza just enough rope to hang himself and his partner in crime (or is it sin) Robert Siscoe whose collaboration on their 700 page book was just debunked by one sentence from Pope Pius XII!
And to think, there’s a catastrophic mistake in their book that makes this pale in comparison.
 True or False Pope-Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors.
The Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 103, Oct. 1940 –No. 4., Mystical Body and Church Coextensive, pp 324-325
 Dogmatic Theology Volume II: Christ’s Church, Van Noort, p. 241-242
 Answering a Sedevacantist Critic: Siscoe attempted to explain Pope Pius XII’s teaching:
“Msgr. Van Noort answered the same objection by explaining that the internal sin of heresy (and loss of faith) only separates a person from the Body of the Church dispositively, but not formally. He wrote:
‘internal heresy, since it destroys that interior unity of faith from which unity of profession is born, separates one from the body of the Church dispositively, but not yet formally.’
In other words, the sin of heresy disposes a person to be separated from the visible Church, but the actual separation does not take place until the Church itself renders a judgment (unless, of course, the person himself rendered the judgment by openly leaving the Church ). Because the Church, itself, does not judge internals (de internis ecclesia non judica), for the sin to be judged, it must be public; and needless to say the judgment of the public sin must proceed from the proper authorities, not from the individual Catholic in the pew, as sedevacantists imagine.”
Siscoe puts his little spin on Van Noort. Needless to say? Who says, besides Salza/Siscoe, the public sin of heresy can’t be recognized by individuals? Siscoe also referred to the sin of heresy and crime of heresy interchangeably without making proper distinctions.
 De Delictis et Poenis, 1:140, taken from Jerry Ming’s Open Letter to Mr. John Vennari