Archive for November, 2019


In part 1, we analyzed statements made by John Salza in a youtube interview on sedevacantism. There were two things from the interview that stood out. First was how at 3:45, John Salza claimed that he and Robert Siscoe looked into sedevacantism with an open mind. Yet, they misrepresented every pope, saint, theologian, canonist, and sedevacantist on the topic. Second was how Salza pointed to his book “True or False Pope” which had big names endorsing it, such as Rev. Brian Harrison and the late Arnaldo Xavier de Salveira. Salza’s incompetence, which I’m pointing out, is also found in his book. Did Harrison or de Salveira not actually read the book or do they not know basic theology and law? One endorser told me that he didn’t agree on the specifics in the book but only the conclusion that sedevacantism is the improper way to deal with the crisis. Perhaps, this is also the case with Harrison and de Salveira. But if sedevacantism is the improper way to deal with the crisis, is it not also improper to deal with sedevacantism with straw-man arguments, bad theology, misrepresentations, and half-truths? The hypocrisy of anti-sedevacantists is astounding.


Salza’s Fifth Error – A pope denying the existence of hell would be material heresy.

At 1:13:35, Salza said, “If Francis indeed said that hell doesn’t exist, he made a materially heretical statement.”

Not only is Salza’s statement false, it’s ridiculous. It shows that Salza doesn’t know what material heresy is.

Formal and material heresy is terminology used to explain the individual advancing the heresy. When an individual inculpably advances a heretical proposition by inadvertence, it is said to be material heresy. The denial of hell is inexcusable. If Francis said hell doesn’t exist, he made a formally heretical statement.

Salza’s Sixth Error – Popes in the past have engaged in public acts of apostasy and heresy.

At 4:03, Salza said there were popes in the past that engaged in public acts of apostasy and heresy and “yet, they didn’t lose their office. In fact, we can’t think of one single Catholic bishop throughout the history of the Catholic Church who lost their office for heresy.”

As noted in part 1, St. Robert Bellarmine implied that Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, lost his office for heresy. He defected from the faith with his preachings. In today’s canon 188.4, Nestorius would be tacitly resigning from office without declaration. [1]

“And in a letter to the clergy of Constantinople, Pope St. Celestine I says: The authority of Our Apostolic See has determined that the bishop, cleric, or simple Christian who had been deposed or excommunicated by Nestorius or his followers, after the latter began to preach heresy shall not be considered deposed or excommunicated. For he who had defected from the faith with such preachings, cannot depose or remove anyone whatsoever.” [2]

Salza wrote a critique of me in his book on my position of Nestorius. On page 252, he wrote that Nestorius was deposed by the Council of Ephesus 3 years later and I was wrong to say Nestorius lost his office ipso facto immediately for preaching heresy. What Salza seems not to understand is that before the declared deposition at Ephesus, Nestorius already lost jurisdiction, which is why his excommunications were null. He lost his office. If he still retained his office, his excommunications would have been valid.

St. Bellarmine was using Nestorius as an example, for he just finished saying, “the Holy Fathers teach unanimously not only that heretics are outside of the Church, but also that they are “ipso facto” deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity. St. Cyprian (lib. 2, epist. 6) says: ‘We affirm that absolutely no heretic or schismatic has any power or right’; and he also teaches (lib. 2, epist. 1) that the heretics who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church. St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.) teaches that heretics and schismatics cannot have the keys of the kingdom of heaven, nor bind nor loose. St. Ambrose (lib. 1 de poenit., ca. 2), St. Augustine (in Enchir., cap 65), St. Jerome (lib. cont. Lucifer.) teach the same.”

As for claiming that popes in the past have engaged in public acts of apostasy and heresy, this is misleading, because Salza’s trying to say there’s historic precedent for his Vatican 2 popes.

The only so-called pope in history that might (and that’s a big might) be said to have voluntarily engaged in public acts of apostasy was John XII and he was deposed by Emperor Otto for apostasy. No warnings were given to John XII and he was finally murdered. He definitely lost his office the hard way, if he actually had the office to lose. Obviously, popes lose office when they die. It appears to be the common opinion that he was a true pope. If he were a public apostate, he would have lost his office. It’s that simple. However, no pope in history voluntarily engaged in a public act of heresy. Perhaps Pope St. Marcellinus was a pope Salza had in mind because at 38:08, he said Pope Marcellinus offering incense to the god Jupiter. If true, it was under duress and the pope succumbed to human weakness, later recovering and dying heroically as a martyr. St. Augustine didn’t believe the pope ever caved to apostasy. It doesn’t matter, because Pope St. Marcellinus can’t be compared to the Vatican 2 popes who have freely chosen to engage in their acts of apostasy and heresy over and over again, which Salza admitted from 7:40 to 7:50. He also admitted the Vatican 2 popes have attacked the First Commandment and Francis participated in false worship [of his own free will].

Salza’s Seventh Error – Sedevacantism produces bitter fruit and loss of charity.

At 48:48, Salza attributes sedevacantism of having bitter fruits and loss of charity.

I suppose Salza is applying to sedevacantism the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7: 16-20, by their fruits you shall know them. [3]

This is odd coming from a man who spent much time talking about the bad fruit found in his own church. Surely, he wouldn’t accuse the Catholic Church of producing bitter fruit and loss of charity. So what is the cause? Jesus told us that it’s not a what but who in verse 15:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15)

It’s not the Church or the position of sedevacantism. It’s people who choose not to follow the Catholic Faith. Haydock wrote in his bible commentary: “Beware of false prophets, or heretics. They are far more dangerous than the Jews, who being rejected by the apostles, are also avoided by Christians, but these having the appearance of Christianity, having churches, sacraments, &c. &c. deceive many. These are the rapacious wolves, of whom S. Paul speaks, Acts xx. Chry. hom. xix. Origen styles them, the gates of death, and the path to hell. Com. in Job. lib. i. Tom. 2.” [4]

Cornelius a Lapide wrote in his bible commentary that false prophets in Matt 7 refer to “false teachers, whether they be heretics, or Gentiles and Pagans.” He wrote about the bad fruit as 1. Of false doctrine; 2. Of bad morals and wickedness. Luther and Calvin have given examples in this age.” [5]

“Pope” Francis and the Vatican 2 popes have clearly produced bitter fruit and loss of charity. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing because they are false teachers bringing in false doctrine and bad morals and wickedness. Salza tells us we are duty bound to resist his popes when they bring false doctrine and bad morals and wickedness. Salza is indirectly calling his Vatican 2 popes wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The pope is a shepherd, not a wolf. Therefore, the Vatican 2 popes are not popes because they are not shepherds. They are wolves!

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He wouldn’t leave a wolf to be the head shepherd of His flock, but that’s exactly what Salza implies. It’s utter blasphemy!

Salza may have inadvertently directed us to the best argument for sedevacantism yet. I used this argument in 2010 [6] but have forgotten it. It’s time to start using it again.

Salza’s Eight Error – If it’s not infallible, it can be heretical.

At 1:06:30, Salza claims that sedevacantists believe that everything the pope teaches must be infallible.

No, sedevacantists understand that Non-infallible Church Teaching Can’t Be Heretical.

Salza’s Ninth Error – Sedevacantists use their own private rule of faith.

At 1:03:33, Salza said we sedes “are no longer Catholic because you choose to follow another rule, your own rule, or the rule of private judgment. You don’t follow the ecclesiastical magisterium.”

The very next question…

At 1:04:19, when Salza was asked, is it permissible to submit completely to the Magisterium of Francis? He answered, “No, we have a duty to recognize and resist him, to the extent he teaches what the church teaches, of course we follow it. But if he deviates from that, we have to resist it. I mean we have to know our faith. That’s different than what the sedevacantists do. The sedevacantists don’t recognize and resist. They simply don’t recognize. They don’t recognize that this is the Holy Father and that there is a magisterium…We submit to the magisterium unto the Holy Father and if he deviates, then we resist. It’s as simple as that. This is what’s been going on for 2000 years. This isn’t the first pope who’s deviated from the faith.”

The rule of faith for Salza is Salza’s private judgment. He submits or resists the magisterium when he determines the magisterium is teaching or deviating from the faith. However, when sedevacantists don’t recognize the magisterium that Salza resists (rejects), we use the rule of private judgment and aren’t Catholic. If Catholics are to judge the magisterium’s teaching on whether it’s faithful or deviating from the faith, what’s the point of the magisterium?

It’s true that we don’t follow the ecclesiastical magisterium of Salza’s church, but neither does Salza. He says he follows it, but he no more follows his magisterium than the liberals in the pews of his church.





[1] Canon 188.4, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “There are certain causes which effect the tacit (silent) resignation of an office, which resignation is accepted in advance by operation of the law, and hence is effective without any declaration. These causes are… (4) publicly defects from the Catholic faith.”

[2] (On the Roman Pontiff, 30)

[3] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. (Matt. 7:16-20)

[4] The Haydock Bible. Matthew 7:15.


[6] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/countering-the-anti-sedevacantist-position/





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Salza’s recent interview demonstrates how far from Catholicism he is. NovusOrdoWatch did an outstanding piece on Salza’s answer to a question they asked during the interview. I planned on posting a response to each lie, half-truth, contradiction, and absurdity, but it came out to be 4 pages long of Salza’s 60 plus errors alone. My rebuttals would have tripled the length of the article, which is too much for anyone to read, much less write. Therefore, I’m only going to highlight four main errors and continue with a part 2.

Salza’s First Error – A heretical notion of the Church’s holiness.

At 6:25, Salza implied that Vatican 2 and the new mass are contrary to the faith. He would reiterate this point several times throughout the interview. At 50:15, Salza said falsely that sedes have declared the Church to be defected all the while explaining how his church has defected into error and heresy and how we have a duty to resist it.

At 50:29, Salza said, “If you ask a sedevacantist where the Catholic Church is, they can’t tell you.” But Salza will tell you that his religion with heretical popes, cardinals, bishops and teachings from an ecumenical council and liturgy that’s contrary to the Faith is the Catholic Church. When asked at 1:13:36, which cardinals and bishops that are not professing heresy since they believe in Vatican 2, he couldn’t tell us a single cardinal or bishop that absolutely doesn’t profess heresy. He mentioned that he never heard a heresy from Burke and Schneider, but the problem is that they do hold to Vatican 2, which Salza says is contrary to the Faith.

All this concerns the second mark of the Church. The Church is holy but Salza’s understanding of holiness of the Church is the same as the Protestant understanding, not the Catholic understanding. See The Catholic Bottom Line – Part II

We’ve heard him preach it before, but at 50:50, he said, “The Church is going through her bitter passion just as Our Lord.” He’s actually right except he’s got the wrong church. His church is suffering because of his Vatican 2 popes, the so-called Vicars of Christ. For Salza’s religion to be that church would mean Christ was the cause of His own passion. Did Our Lord beat, scourge, and crucify Himself?

Salza makes clear that his church lacks the four marks that identify the true church. See Missing the Marks – The Church of Vatican 2

Salza’s Second Error – Heresy and heretics are occult until declared notorious by the Church.

At 8:55, Salza says Francis is not a manifest heretic according to the judgment of the Church. From 44:00 to 45:15, Salza claims that if the Church hasn’t judged heresy as notorious, it remains occult and that according to Cardinal Billot (at 44:47). At 1:07:35, Salza stated, “If the pope commits the sin of heresy, not the public and notorious act of heresy whereby he would lose his office, for example, if he privately denied the divinity of Christ, he would be a formal heretic and would severe his spiritual bond with the Church, but he would not be a heretic in the external forum unless he adheres to another religion or the church judges his sin as notorious.” At 1:01:21 – 1:01:59, In answering the question: Does Francis Profess Heresy? Salza answered yes, but continued to say that until the Church deems the heresy notorious, then it’s occult. Francis would only be considered an occult heretic.

Nothing could be farther from the truth or sillier. First of all, how could the Church judge a private sin notorious if no one knows it? A private or secret sin is the definition of occult.

Most, if not all, of Salza’s claims are false in the interview. So I’m sure Cardinal Billot didn’t make such a claim since the distinctions are found in canon law 2197 under the penal code no less. Popes and cardinals don’t fall under the penal code.

Rev. Charles Augustine makes the distinctions in his commentary on canon law:

  1. A crime is public if committed under, or accompanied by, circumstances which point to a possible and likely divulgation thereof. Canonists enumerate different degrees of publicity: almost occult (pene occultum), which is known to at least two witnesses; famosum or manifestum, which not only can be proved, but is known to many; and, finally, notorium. From this it will be seen that a real intrinsic distinction between a public crime and a crime notorious in fact can hardly be established. (We shall point out one distinctive trait below.) To fix the number of persons required for making a crime a public one is rather hazardous, though it may furnish a certain rule which will enable the judge to decide as to the secrecy or public character of a crime. Many canonists hold that at least six persons in a community, even the smallest (for in stance, a religious house of 10 or 12 inmates), must know of a crime, to render it public. Nor should there be any doubt about the character of the persons who are witnesses to the crime. Furthermore, the interest they may have in the crime should be weighed.
  2. A crime is notorious by notoriety of law (notorietate iuris) if it has become an adjudged matter, according to can. 1902-1904, or judicially confessed, according to can. 1750. Extrajudicial confessions do not render a crime notorious by notoriety of law. Here we must take issue with the assertion that the Code acknowledges such confessions. Thus it has been stated 14 that it would be a notorium juris if the bishop or vicar-general would catch a clergyman in flagranti! The Code contains nothing to that effect, but requires (can. cit.) a confession before the judge sitting in court.                                                                                                                                               A crime is notorious notorietate facti when it is publicly known and has been committed under such circumstances that it cannot be concealed by any artifice or be excused by any legal assumption or circumstantial evidence. The term nulla tergiversatione celari is equivalent to the other used in the Decretals. The second clause refers to imputability, which may be lessened by extenuating circumstances, according to can. 2201-2206. Hence not only the fact itself must be notorious, but also its criminal character. Thus, for instance, the fact of alienation may easily be proved by a legal deed, but whether it was criminal must be ascertained by other means; because it may be that the administrator or procurator had due permission and therefore acted lawfully. It is this element of inexcusability or of knowledge of the criminal character of the deed that appears to distinguish a public from a notorious crime. For the text manifestly lays stress on divulgation with regard to public crimes and emphasizes the criminal character as known and in excusable.
  3. Every crime which is not public, says our text, is occult or secret. The Code distinguishes a twofold secrecy, viz.: merely material (materialiter occultum), which exists when the fact is unknown, or known only to the perpetrator and a few reticent persons; and formal (formaliter occultum), when the moral and juridical guilt is unknown. An example may illustrate the distinction. If a percussor cleric orum beats a pastor at night, his identity may remain unknown, though the effects point to a crime; if the priest was beaten in a public row, there may be a reasonable doubt as to the real perpetrator. The authors, therefore, assumed that a crime committed at night could not be notorious or public. However, this theory cannot be accepted in this general sense. Take, for instance, a sacrilegious burglary. If a sufficient number of persons witnessed such a crime and recognized the perpetrator, the crime could not be styled occult. Neither does it seem true that a duel is always a secret crime, as some maintain. For although duels are generally held in a secret place, yet there are, as a rule, witnesses and signs which admit of a perfectly safe judgment that a duel has taken place. [1] 

It’s the public sin of heresy that causes a pope to lose office, which is that manifest and notorious act that needs no official judgment. How does Salza know that Francis professes heresy? Because it’s manifest! Duh. See The Sin of Heresy – Why John Salza and Robert Siscoe Get It Wrong (Part II) and A Note to John Salza: Heresy ‘Does’ Automatically Sever One from the Church

Salza’s Third Error – All theologians say that the pope has to be warned to establish that he is pertinacious.

At 9:08, Salza says sedevacantists have used and abused St. Robert Bellarmine.

No one is guiltier of using and abusing St. Robert Bellarmine than John Salza and Robert Siscoe. Salza misrepresents and maligns St. Bellarmine throughout his entire interview. We’ll see it highlighted again in his fourth error. At 13:30 to 13:44 Salza says that all the theologians say that the pope has to be warned to establish that he is pertinacious.

In fact, almost no theologian says warnings are necessary to establish pertinacity. They say the opposite. However, you will get a handful of theologians saying it such as John of St. Thomas, but no post 1917 code of law theologian and canonist says it.

St. Bellamine taught: “For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly be taken from him: for men are not bound or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple, and condemn him as a heretic.” [2]

This teaching from St. Bellarmine completely demolishes Salza’s entire thesis.

Even John of St. Thomas criticized St. Bellarmine for objecting to warnings. He wrote:

Bellarmine objected that the Apostle [St Paul] says that we must avoid the heretic after two admonitions, that is to say, after he clearly appears pertinacious, before any excommunication and sentence of a judge, as St. Jerome says in his commentary, for heretics separate themselves by the heresy itself (per se) from the Body of Christ.

And here is his reasoning:

  • A non-Christian cannot be Pope, for he who is not a member [of the Church] cannot be the head; now, a heretic is not a Christian, as commonly say the Fathers; thus, a manifest heretic cannot be Pope.
  • One cannot object that a character remains in him, because if he remained Pope because of a character, since it is indelible, it could never be deposed.  This is why the Fathers commonly teach that a heretic, because of heresy and regardless of excommunication, is deprived of any jurisdiction and power, as say St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose and Jerome.


“I answer [to Bellarmine] that the heretic should be avoided after two admonitions legally made and with the Church’s authority, and not according to private judgment…” [3]

Notice also that John of St. Thomas acknowledges that a manifest heretic is not necessarily one who has been judged by the Church. Salza doesn’t agree with the most important theologian on his side. John of St. Thomas believed a pope could be a heretic until judged by the Church as not the pope. Earlier in the same document he taught:

I answer that the pontiff cannot be deposed and lose the pontificate except if two conditions are fulfilled together:

  1. That the heresy is not hidden, but public and legally notorious;
  2. Then that he must be incorrigible and pertinacious in his heresy.

If both conditions are fulfilled the pontiff may be deposed, but not without them; and even if he is not unfaithful interiorly, however if he behaves externally as a heretic, he can be deposed and the sentence of deposition will be valid. [4]

Salza’s Fourth Error – A pope as pope can be convicted of heresy.

At 14:21, Salza claims to be quoting Bellarmine as saying the pope as pope can be convicted of heresy.

Here’s what Bellarmine states: Therefore, the true opinion is the fifth, according to which the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church. [5]

Notice that being judged and punished by the Church happens after the pope ceased to be pope by himself.

At 16:27, Salza claims that St. Robert Bellarmine calls the judgment “the antecedent judgment. It’s the judgment that must precede the ipso facto loss of office.”

St. Robert Bellarmine said no such thing. The good saint said the loss of office happens immediately. He gave the example of Nestorius.

“And in a letter to the clergy of Constantinople, Pope St. Celestine I says: The authority of Our Apostolic See has determined that the bishop, cleric, or simple Christian who had been deposed or excommunicated by Nestorius or his followers, after the latter began to preach heresy shall not be considered deposed or excommunicated. For he who had defected from the faith with such preachings, cannot depose or remove anyone whatsoever.” [6]

Nestorius lost jurisdiction and could not depose or excommunicate anyone after he began to preach heresy. He was not warned. He was not judged by bishops or the pope to have lost jurisdiction until after the fact he already lost it, which is why Pope St. Celestine declared that his excommunications were null at the time. They recognized what had already taken place, viz., Nestorius was no longer a member of the Church by his own doing and he didn’t join another religion. He defected from the faith by preaching heresy alone. This teaching from Bellarmine, again, demolishes Salza’s entire argument.

See also Canon 188.4 and Defection of Faith – Why John Salza and Robert Siscoe Get It Wrong (Part III)

To be continued…John Salza on Sedevacantism – Part 2




[1] https://archive.org/details/1917CodeOfCanonLawCommentary/page/n3549

[2] (On the Roman Pontiff, 29).

[3] http://www.dominicansavrille.us/on-the-deposition-of-the-pope-part-2-of-2/

[4] http://www.dominicansavrille.us/on-the-deposition-of-the-pope-part-1-of-2/

[5] (On the Roman Pontiff, 30).

[6] ibid.


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