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Dear Louie,

I want to briefly follow up my last letter on why I hold to the position of sedevacantism.

First, I’d like to re-present what I believe to be an irrefutable argument found here: The Gates of Hell and the Gates of Church.
This is a must read.

As I partly demonstrated in the above article, there’s a flip-side to the Chair of Peter argument which concerns the Church itself. Is the religion of the Vatican 2 popes the Catholic religion? See Missing the Marks: The Church of Vatican 2.

There are two basic questions we Catholics (who hold to sedevacantism) ask those who recognize but resist the Vatican 2 popes concerning the marks of the one true Church:

1. How can you claim oneness in faith when you’re divided doctrinally in faith as much as Protestantism?

I’m not talking about a material division where Catholics innocently and mistakenly believe falsely, but a formal division where those claiming to be Catholic knowingly reject doctrines, laws, practices, and a liturgy of their pope. Surely, you don’t believe in the same heresies as your pope?

2. How can you claim holiness in faith when you don’t acknowledge holiness in all promulgated doctrine, law, discipline, and liturgy? Surely, you don’t believe that holiness only concerns dogmas of the Faith?

Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Steven Speray

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Louie Verrecchio has recently posted a charitable article against the position of sedevacantism on his website AKA Catholic here.

I sent him the following letter to his contact information info@akacatholic.com

Dear Louie,

I appreciate the thoughtfulness and charitable article that you’ve written on your position against sedevacantism. I can even read a tone of love for your sedevacantist neighbors. Thank you!

I’m one that holds to the position of sedevacantism and have written many articles against Salza and Siscoe on the subject so I’m very familiar with the arguments. Please forgive me if my bluntness comes across as uncharitable. I don’t mean it that way at all.

I would like to note that when canon law was promulgated in the 20th century, the entire warning system to determine formal heresy exists only in the Penal Code. Popes don’t fall under this part of canon law, therefore, warnings against popes, are meaningless insofar as the law is concerned.

Even for clergy who do fall under the penal code, formal heresy is presumed by law. The canonists spell out when, how, and to whom warnings are given.As far as the law is concerned with popes and their office, canon 188.4 covers it. According to that law which is not a penalty, a pope who publicly defects from the faith which is defined by the law as public heresy or joining another religion, tacitly resigns from office WITHOUT declaration.

You state: It is now up to the so-called “proper authorities” to issue a formal declaration making this “known to all the Church” for precisely the reason given by Fr. Ballerini – “so that he might not cause damage to the rest” – and to go about making arrangements for a conclave to elect a new pope.

But hasn’t the rest already been damaged by the Vatican 2 popes? Heresy is everywhere and it all can be traced right back to the Vatican 2 popes with their decrees, practices, promotions, and omissions.

F.X. Wernz, P. Vidal (1943): “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. 2:45.)

Udalricus Beste (1946): “Not a few canonists teach that, outside of death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy. In the latter case, a pope would automatically fall from his power, and this indeed without the issuance of any sentence, for the first See [i.e., the See of Peter] is judged by no one.  (Introductio in Codicem. 3rd ed. Collegeville: St. John’s Abbey Press 1946. Canon 221)

Again, Wernz/Vidal: 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. Finally, there is the fifth opinion – that of Bellarmine himself – which was expressed initially and is rightly defended by Tanner and others as the best proven and the most common. For he who is no longer a member of the body of the Church, i.e. the Church as a visible society, cannot be the head of the Universal Church. But a Pope who fell into public heresy would cease by that very fact to be a member of the Church. Therefore he would also cease by that very fact to be the head of the Church.

Thank you for your time!

God bless you!

Steven Speray

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