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“This is the most thoroughly researched and articulately presented book of its kind. Whether you are a Sedevacantist, or researching the movement, this book is irreplaceable. Brilliant!” [1]

TIM STAPLES
Director of Apologetics and Evangelization
Catholic Answers

Tim Staples calls brilliant a book that heretically explains:

a. How the Church can be heretical by law and decree.
b. How the pope can lead the Catholic Church into heresy and error.
c. How anyone, including the pope, can publicly, repeatedly, and knowingly reject the Catholic Religion altogether and still be a member of the Church.

Catholics believe:

a. The Catholic Church is spotless in all her doctrines, laws, decrees, and liturgies. (Popes St. Zosimus, St. Hormisdas, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI, and Pius XII.) [2]
b. The Pope guards the Church from all heresy and error. He doesn’t and can’t believe, instigate, lead, or promote heresy and error against the Faith. (Pope Leo XIII.) [3]
c. Only those are to be accounted really members of the Church who have been regenerated in the waters of Baptism and profess the true faith. (Pope Pius XII.) [4]

Salza/Siscoe and company utterly reject the above three Catholic beliefs. Apparently, Tim Staples does too.

Footnotes:

[1] http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/p/endorsements.html

Further reading: The Anti-Sedevacantist Syndrome

[2] Pope St. Zosimus in Quamvis Patrum traditio 409 AD, Pope St. Hormisdas in Libellus professionis fidei 517 AD, Pope Pius IX in Quanta Cura 1864 and the First Vatican Council, Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum 1896, Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas 1925, and Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi 1943 and Haurietis Aquas 1956.

[3] Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum 1896.

[4] Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi 1943.

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I recently received a comment in my Against Tim Staples page that stated, “Tim Staples is correct, this blog is lame.” What was lame was the comment since no examples were given.

So let’s take a look back at five examples of Tim Staples’ argumentation against me.

1. On the late Protestant leader Br. Roger Schultz: Tim Staples said Br. Roger Schultz converted privately to the Catholic Faith in 1972 and Ratzinger did nothing wrong by giving him communion. In fact, Schultz claimed that he never broke communion with his Protestant sect. [1] Therefore, Staples was incorrect.
2. On the infallibility of Church Disciplines: Tim Staples said, “I am saying that Church disciplines are not infallible… [again] Disciplines are not infallible…. You guys cannot make the proper distinctions between dogma, doctrine and discipline.” Yet, five popes and at least seven highly respected theologians stated or implied that Church disciplines are infallible. [2] Therefore, Staples is incorrect again.
3. On religious liberty: Tim Staples denied that post-Vatican 2 Rome gave men a right to be wrong, when in fact Vatican 2 taught the contrary. [3]
4. On papal elections: Staples said that electing a pope without cardinals can’t be done because of the law, and therefore, sedevacantism is debunked by this fact. I quoted three theologians that claimed that the cardinal-elect could become extinct or unable to elect a future pope, and therefore the normal law would be suspended under extraordinary conditions. Staples has absolutely no authorities to back his arguments, but rather creates laws that don’t exist. Tim also wrote: I argue that a true Pope cannot be elected without the law of the Church. Yet, I gave him historic examples of true popes unlawfully elected and not elected at all despite the laws. [4] Staples once again is incorrect.
5. On praying and worshiping with non-Catholics: Staples said that it was a good thing when Benedict XVI bowed towards Mecca and worshiped with Muslims as Muslims do, barefoot with arms folded in a Mosque. The Catholic Church has always and everywhere repeatedly taught that praying and worshiping with non-Catholics is contrary to the Divine law. In 1729, the Holy Office even taught that praying with non-Catholics was contrary to the Natural and Divine law, which confirms the Holy Scriptures in II Cor. 6.14-16. [5]

[1] http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2008/08/conversion-of-brother-roger-of-taize.html
http://www.traditioninaction.org/Questions/F016_SchultzConversion.html
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/206302?eng=y

[2] Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei, 78 (1794): “as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, – false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.” (Denzinger 1578; DS 2678)
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.” He confirms it again in Quo Graviora, 4-5 (1833):
Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Sept 13, 1907: “Venerable Brethren, the principles from which these doctrines spring have been solemnly condemned by Our predecessor, Pius VI, in his Apostolic Constititution Auctorem fidei.”
Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 66 (1943): “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.”
The Theologians
Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D. Dogmatic Theology 2:91 (1958): “The Church’s infallibility extends to….ecclesiastical laws…. the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree…. If the Church should make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer either be a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life.”
P. Hermann, Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae (4th ed., Rome: Della Pace, 1908), vol. 1, p. 258: “The Church is infallible in her general discipline….”
A Dorsch, Institutiones Theologiae Fundamentalis. Innsbruck: Rauch 1928. 2:409: “The Church is also rightfully held to be infallible in her disciplinary decrees…”
R.M. Schultes De Ecclesia Catholica. Paris: Lethielleux 1931. 314-7: “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….”
Valentino Zubizarreta Theologia Dogmatico-Scholastica. 4th ed. Vitoria: El Carmen 1948. 1:486: “ Corollary II. In establishing disciplinary laws for the universal Church, the Church is likewise infallible…”
Serapius Iragui, Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae. Madrid: Ediciones Stadium 1959. 1:436, 447: “Therefore, when the Church establishes disciplinary laws, she must be infallible.”
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…”

[3] Tim Staples said to me, “You misrepresent the teaching of the Church. The Church does not teach there is a “right to be wrong,”

Quoting DH of Vatican2, I wrote: “in religious matters, nor prevented from acting according to his conscience, whether in private or in public, within due limits….Therefore this right to non-interference persists even in those who do not carry out their obligations of seeking the truth and standing by it; and the exercise of this right should not be curtailed, as long as due public order is preserved.”

False religions are “wrongs” and Vat2 is saying that these “wrongs” have rights in the public square.

Staples replied: That is not what the document says. That is what you said. The Church is emphasizing the right of every person to worship God free from coercion and violence which is contrary to nature as well as nature’s God. “Within due limits” has to be understood in the context of our tradition just as the rest of the document does.

I responded: This is not what the document says. That is what you say. It doesn’t say “worship God” but instead says, “In religious matters” which can be in any way with any god. This is wrong but the document says this is a right. It also says that they can do it in public and in writing, without hindrance.

Staples continued: You lie when you say “Vatican 2 says men have a right to be wrong.” I’ve read every word. It is not there.

I replied again: I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I’M HEARING. I SHOWED YOU WHAT VATICAN 2 states. You are the liar, unless of course, you don’t think being a practicing non-Catholic is wrong. Am I wrong in my position as I email, write articles, and convert people out of your novus ordo religion? If so, do I have a “right” to do this? You’re so blind.

Staples final reply: You have the right to practice what you believe free from coercion. The government has the right to say it is Catholic and to pass laws that give preferential treatment to the Church. However, the government does not have the right to use coercion to force you to be Catholic. You have the freedom ‘within due limits” to practice your faith in your non-Catholic sect.

My last nail in Staples’ coffin: You can’t answer the question (Am I wrong is my position?) without subverting your own argument. You said nowhere in Vatican 2 does it give man the right to be wrong. You said I was lying by saying it did. I asked you if I was wrong in what I believe and do with it, and do I have a right according to Vatican 2? You didn’t answer the question. You are the liar!

[4] OPEN LETTER TO TIM STAPLES OF “CATHOLIC ANSWERS” AND HIS TWO REPLIES https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/open-letter-to-tim-staples-of-catholic-answers/

[5] http://www.lulu.com/shop/steven-speray/latitudinarian-maxims-the-divine-law-on-catholic-communication-in-religion-with-non-catholics-contrasting-the-past-with-the-present/paperback/product-21532016.html

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Hello Tim,

My replies below…

Tim: Hello Steven,

Since I have been around and around with you on this for scores of pages in the past (I am sure we went well over a hundred), I don’t see the need to do this all again. I will respond to this one email, but I really don’t see how any good will come of another several hundred pages with you. Don’t you agree? So please do not expect another back-and-forth because it is not going to happen.

SPERAY2: I didn’t start this thing. I simply asked if you believed if Vatican 2 was infallible in virtue of itself. After you gave your answer, you attacked me on sedevacantism which I had no intention of getting into. So I’m going to defend myself and my position.

Tim: See below:

Dear Tim Staples,

On Catholic Answers Live, July 10, 2012, you gave the wrong answer on three separate points against me on the position of sedevacantism.

First point:

Tim, you argued that since Church law requires that only cardinals can elect a pope, sedevacantism fails because it adherents recognize that the cardinal elect is extinct and there is no way to get another pope. Thus, Christ’s promise of the gates of hell not prevailing, failed, because Vatican I dogmatically defined that there are perpetual successors until the end of the time.

Your argument is a straw-man, because you misrepresented the law and its application. The inability to apply a church law can’t prohibit the Divine right that Peter has successors. Vatican approved experts explain:

“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)

Tim: As I said on the air, I would need magisterial authority here. In order to make a claim that papal law could be declared null and void and a “General Council” could exercise such authority I would need to see it taught by the Church and not just by a “Vatican approved expert” as you claim.

SPERAY2: What Church teaching is Cardinal Billot rejecting by saying the cardinal-elect could become extinct? I would like to see that magisterial teaching that states what you’re implying, Tim.

Tim: There are multiple problems here. First, a “General Council” has no authority without a Pope.

SPERAY2: It would have the same authority as the conclave. Why wouldn’t it?

Tim: Second, the Great Western Schism was not settled by a Council taking authority over the Pope.

SPERAY2: Agreed!

Tim: It was settled when Pope Gregory XII graciously submitted his letter of resignation at the Council of Constance. If he had not done so, the Council would have had no authority to depose him and the subsequent election of Martin V would have been invalid.

SPERAY2: Not exactly. You’re assuming Gregory was a true pope. He most certainly was recognized as one by many and his stepping down allowed for Martin to come into the picture, but it wasn’t over yet. Clement VIII was elected and some confusion still remained until Clement abdicated, and then there was absolutely certainty.

Tim: You are presenting a conciliarist argument here, but conciliarism was condemned by both Pius II in his Papal Bull Exsecrabilis and by Vatican I, both of which you acknowledge as valid.

SPERAY2: I’m not presenting a conciliarist argument at all, because I’m not saying that a council had anything to do with it. I’m arguing that reasonable doubt remained until one claimant was left and he was recognized by the rest of the faithful.

“.. . 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)

Tim: Interesting theory, but no Church teaching to back it up.

SPERAY2: Where’s the Church teaching to back up your theory, Tim? At least, I present experts that support my position. Can you cite an expert to support yours?

“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)

Tim: We have the testimony of Scripture in Acts 1 with St. Peter clearly stepping in and declaring how Judas’ replacement would be chosen and the testimony of our fourth Pope St. Clement who explicitly tells us that the apostles did in fact make provision that after their deaths “other approved men should take up their office” (see Pope St. Clement I, Letter to the Corinthians, 42, 44).

SPERAY2: I have no problem here, so how does it apply. Vitoria isn’t disagreeing with it, he’s saying “even if” and then the position I’m advocating still works.

Tim: Also, I would note that as a matter of history, the entire Catholic world received Pope John XXIII as Pope and not only the Cardinals who elected him. The whole Church has also received each of his successors right down to Benedict XVI. A handful of disgruntled clergymen does not the Church make.

SPERAY2: Not everybody. Dr. Elizabeth Gerstner never accepted Roncalli. She was the Vatican insider who leaked out that Roncalli was going to be elected because it was all planned ahead. She knew them all personally. There are 10,000 Catholics who never received Benedict XVI as pope. Also, Pope Paul IV was clear that it didn’t matter if a heretic is acknowledged as pope by the whole world such a person is not pope. I submit that this teaching is part of the Divine law which is immutable. So your argument is moot.

Hence, the experts presuppose that the cardinal elect could become extinct despite Church law. So, who should we listen to? Tim Staples or the Vatican approved experts?

Tim: Listen to the teaching and directives of the Church.

SPERAY2: So where is that Church teaching that teaches your theory on this matter?

Also, I could point out that the Catholic Church had many true popes in the past who were unlawfully elected. Popes Vigilius, St. Eugene, John XII, and Alexander VI are just a few examples. Therefore, from historic precedent, it’s not absolutely necessary to have a true pope through lawful election. This being said, if Benedict XVI renounced his errors, got conditionally consecrated bishop, we radical traditionalists would accept him as pope for the good of the universal Church. After all, some antipopes in the past just assumed the Chair of Peter by the acceptance of the faithful. If it happened before, it could happen again.

Tim: You assume the nefarious events that surrounded the elections of these Popes means they were invalid.

SPERAY2: I didn’t say they were invalid. They were valid, but they were unlawfully elected.

Tim: The law concerning elections has changed over the years. The Popes have the authority to change those laws. Vigilius’ crimes of simony and at least complicity in murder do not invalidate his election.

SPERAY2: I never said it did. I said he was a pope, but he began unlawfully.

Tim: St. Eugene being elected while his predecessor was still Pope is an interesting case. His election, it is presumed, was validated after the death of St. Martin.

SPERAY2: St. Eugene started off unlawfully. He wasn’t pope until St. Martin abdicated.

Tim: John XII was quite the immoral fellow, but there is nothing about his election that is in question.

SPERAY2:  Oh yes, there was. His election violated the decree of Pope St. Symmachus (March 1, 499 A.D.) forbidding agreements during a pope’s lifetime about the choice of his successor.

Tim: Though some argue against it, there was most likely simony involved in Alexander VI’s election, but the Cardinals certainly and freely elected him.

SPERAY2:  The papal law at that time forbade simony as a nullifying factor in papal elections. Pope St. Pius X changed it. Alexander VI was unlawfully elected.

Tim: And this leads to another point. Even among the various theories of how a Pope could be “deposed” (all of which I reject),

SPERAY2: I agree with you. No one can depose a pope, except the pope himself.

Tim: you first have the theory that an Ecumenical Council could do so (which is absurd because a Council has no authority apart from the Pope as I said).

SPERAY2:  I absolutely agree that a council can’t depose a true pope.

Tim: You also have the theory that the same people who elected the Pope could depose him. Or you have the theory that “the whole Church” could elect or depose. Though I reject all of these theories, none of them apply in the case of sedevacantists today.

SPERAY2: I agree with you 100%. I would even go so far as to say those theories are contrary to the Divine law, and yes, they don’t apply in the case of sedevacantism, because the position of sedevacantism doesn’t hold to anything like that. Only a pope can depose himself.

Tim: The Cardinals who elected Pope Blessed John XXIII were alive and well for years after his election without a peep. The Universal Church received and loved Pope John and all of his successors.

SPERAY2: I submit that this is radically false, but even if it were true which it is not, it doesn’t mean a thing. The whole Church could possibly recognize an antipope as it has done before.

Tim: And I don’t recall Vatican II ever deposing him. So even if any of these theories were true, this little “sedevacantist” sect does not fit the criterion. A couple or three bishops do not make an Ecumenical Council. A handful of sedevacantists (relatively speaking) do not equal “the whole Church.”

SPERAY2: Believe it or not, I agree with this statement 100%. The problem, Tim, is that you don’t really understand sedevacantism at all. You think that you do, but you’ve simply got us wrong.

When asked if you could provide the Church teaching that gives an interregnum limit, you said the Church gave it with Pope Pius XII’s decree and the death of the last cardinal. This is your mere private interpretation of the law which contradicts the experts and simple logic. You may disagree with sedevacantism, but you can’t use the false argument that a true pope can’t be elected without cardinals.

Tim: I argue that a true Pope cannot be elected without the law of the Church.

SPERAY2: The Natural and Divine laws are also part of the Church, but you are incorrect, because I just demonstrated how we have true popes apart from the law of the Church.

Tim: And he certainly cannot be elected by a handful of disgruntled bishops fifty-four years after the election of the last Pope.

SPERAY2: To a certain extent that may be true, because I don’t automatically exclude all novus ordo Catholics as outside of the Catholic Church. Many are just in error, but they are certainly Catholic.

Tim: You do not have the law of the Church on your side.

SPERAY2: I do have the law on my side because I don’t hold to what you think I’m holding. Again, I gave an alternative with Benedict XVI himself.

Second point:

Tim, you argued that we know who the true popes were during the Great Schism. I submit that you may believe who they were, but you can’t say with absolute assurance.

Again the experts explain: “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.)

Tim: It has been believed generally by the overwhelming majority of theologians for hundreds of years now that Gregory XII was the valid Pope who resigned at Constance. My faith is not rooted in the details of past elections, it is rooted in Matthew 16:18-19 as it has been definitively understood in the Church at least since Vatican I. God cannot go back on his own word. He said the gates of Hell would not prevail and they cannot. Your sect bases its existence on nothing but the opinions of this theologian and that theologian.

SPERAY2: That is where you are wrong. I agree with your statement above except the last sentence. You’re not presenting a case against me, because you don’t understand sedevacantism at all.

Tim: And even those are taken out of context. There is nothing in those statements that says they would agree with your interpretation of them nor would they have necessarily agreed with your application of them. You say I don’t have absolute assurance of the line of Gregory XII. You don’t have absolute assurance of anything.

SPERAY2: Of course, I do. You’re not paying attention.

The official list of popes, Annuario Pontificio, is technically not an official Catholic document. It isn’t authoritative and binding on Christians. The Catholic Church has never defined who all has reigned as Roman Pontiffs. As a matter of fact, the Annuario Pontificio has altered the list several times. Boniface VII was removed from the list in 1904 after a thousand years of recognition as true pope.

Tim: I think you are stretching the truth when you say Boniface VII was recognized as true pope for a thousand years. That may well be true, I don’t know, but there is no evidence he was ever validly elected.

SPERAY2: What difference does that make?

Tim: That I do know. And though there is little information at all about Popes of his time, we do know that he was dragged through the streets naked and mutilated after death. He did not seem to be the most beloved of Popes. And he did commit murder a couple times in attempting to gain the Papal throne. While that would not invalidate him per se it does seem to cast some question as to his validity. But again, my faith is not resting in the particulars of history surrounding our 264 successors of St. Peter (depending of course on how many times you count Benedict IX). It rests in Christ and the teachings of the Church, in particular for our purpose here, Session Four of Vatican I, which graces us with infallible assurance that there is and always will be (except for the interregnum periods, which are provided for in the law of the Church) a successor of St. Peter on the throne in the Bishop of Rome.

SPERAY2: I see that you don’t know your papal history very well and that is fine. You’re right about the rest, and I have always agreed with it.

Tim: Your sect is left to a situation where there is no Pope and there is no valid way to elect one.

SPERAY2: What? I explained how we can have a lawful election, and I demonstrated how to have valid pope through an unlawful election. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about! By the way, we aren’t a sect. You’re the sect since you can’t find the Vat2 particulars of your religion prior to Vat2.

We are free as Catholics to accept or not accept the Roman line during the Great Schism.

Tim: Yes, but we are not free to conclude from that that Pope Pius XII was the last valid Pope.

SPERAY2:  I didn’t say or imply it. I’m giving historic precedent. That’s all.

Third point:

Tim, you denied that Benedict XVI ever bowed towards Mecca. This fact is so devastating that you and Catholic Answers Live have to deny that it ever happened, but it most certainly did as you can read here: http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/m012rpRatzingerInMosque.html

Tim: This is an example of why it is near impossible to have a meaningful discussion with you, Steven. You misrepresent what I say time and again. This is just like the old days. And it is never enough with you to simply disagree respectfully, you have to publish every word I say and try to make me (or any of your opponents) look as bad as you can. I truly feel sorry for you.

SPERAY2: This is simply untrue! You said Benedict XVI never bowed towards Mecca. If I’m publishing every word you say and you look bad, that’s not my fault. I’m trying to show people the truth which Catholic Answers doesn’t do all the time.

Tim: But at any rate, what I said was the Pope did bow and pray. In fact, I did a little more research and found that he took off his shoes as well. I’m sure you are upset about that as well. I am not. This he did out of respect. I think that is a good thing. The Pope simply bowed and prayed in the same direction everyone else did. And yes, it was toward Mecca. And BTW, this is also the same direction as Jerusalem. Hmmmmm.

SPERAY2: But you said he didn’t bow towards Mecca and that’s my point. Why couldn’t you just admit that you were wrong instead of falsely accusing me of misrepresenting you? BTW, Benedict XVI also folded his arms like the Muslims and I’m sure you think that’s a good thing too. Shoes off, arms folded, bowing towards Mecca while praying with Muslims, and you think this is a good thing! I rest my case!!!!

Tim: But why do Muslims bow to Mecca in the first place? It is believed that the Ka’aba (the black square building toward which Muslims face) contains an altar that was built by Abraham, our Father in the Faith according to Scripture. The Pope may well have been praying in the direction of Mecca to show our solidarity with Muslims in our belief in the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I really don’t believe he was rejecting Christ and acknowledging Muhammad as his prophet, nor was he involving himself in some sort of syncretism. The reason why I did not agree with you is because of your conclusion from the fact that he bowed and prayed, not that he bowed and prayed. You assume the worst; I choose to give the benefit of the doubt unless I can be given reason not to. Reason that you and your article did not supply.

SPERAY2: Inter-religious worship is what you think is a good thing. I’m sorry, but this is where you depart from historic Christianity.

Tim, you stated that bowing towards Mecca would only constitute a sin and not a loss of the pontificate. Are you more Catholic than your pope? Benedict XVI doesn’t think it’s a sin. He promotes his actions as good Catholic discipline. Last year, he bowed before a Lutheran altar and prayed with a woman bishop. Watch the devastating video here: http://youtu.be/UD53KzHx-2Q By the way, would this be a venial or mortal sin for a knowledgeable theologian like Ratzinger?

Tim: Once again you misrepresent me. I said, “even if he did” fall into some sort of sin that would not result in the loss of his pontificate. I did not say he actually did. Can you at least see why I would not want to have an on-going dialogue with you? Just like last time where I spent an enormous amount of time trying to help you, I have to spend a huge proportion of the time just correcting your mis-representations of what I say. No, thank you. This will end my discussion with you.

SPERAY2: You also misrepresent me, when I’m trying to help you. You didn’t get the difference between unlawfully elected and invalidly elected. What about bowing towards the Lutheran altar and praying with a women bishop? Good thing, too?

Benedict XVI, as did John Paul II, teaches and promotes inter-religious worship which the Catholic Church has always taught as contrary to the Divine law. In 1986, John Paul II actually wore a pagan stole as he actively participated with a priestess in a Zoroastrian worship ceremony. Look at photos here: http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A281rcJPII-Zoroastrian.htm

Tim: I’ve been down this road with you before. Why are you doing this again?

SPERAY2: What are you talking about? You never dealt with this with me.

I could give many more examples but these suffice. Your “great popes” aren’t mere sinners, but radical apostates. Apostates aren’t popes! We have many saints who gave up their very lives for refusing to bow or worship in pagan temples. John Paul II and Ratzinger even receive public blessings from shamans. Read one such example: http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A111rcWojtylaShaman.htm

Tim: There is a qualitative difference between being forced to offer adoration to false Gods and freely choosing to acknowledge legitimate agreements we have with other religions. But here we go again. We’ve done this before. And for a lot of pages. In fact, I still have all of them.

SPERAY2: There is a qualitative difference between being forced to receive blessings from heathens and freely choosing to be blessed by heathens. There’s also a qualitative difference between being forced into pagan temples and wearing their outfits and freely choosing to do so. Your “popes” freely do so and that’s my point!!!!

The Church considers blessings from heretics as curses, but your Vatican 2 popes think nothing of receiving blessings from heathens. Canon XXXII states, “It is unlawful to receive the blessing of heretics, for they are rather curses, than blessings.” (The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 14, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995)

Tim: A heretic is someone who has knowingly and willingly left the Catholic Faith that they possessed. That canon does not apply to a situation where a person of another religion wishes to bless someone.

SPERAY2: The principle most certainly applies.

The Vatican 2 popes mock the papacy established by Christ, the Catholic Faith and the blood of those martyrs, all the while Catholic Answers defends these claimants to the papacy as greats.

Tim: Just as before, you haven’t given me any examples of this.

SPERAY2: You’re right, this discussion is useless.

The fact remains, however, that Benedict XVI bowed towards Mecca which you denied on the radio with your outright silly explanation about how you might accidently bow towards Mecca while praying in your California chapel.

Tim: That was called an “analogy.” The reason why I gave it is because I was trying to help you to see that bowing and praying in a Mosque does not mean that one is committing a sin ipso facto. It may mean, as I said before, he is acknowledging what we have in common with Muslims. This is not heresy nor is it a sin.

SPERAY2: That is not what you meant on the radio. Come on, Tim.

In my first question over the radio, you were dishonest in your reply about your debate several years ago with Sungenis over the infallibility of Vatican 2. Back in 2003, Sungenis clearly explained that Vatican 2 was not infallible in virtue of itself and you argued against him because (as you wrote), “It was an Ecumenical Council that was ratified by the Pope and used language that was very clear, for example, as I said before, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. Did you catch that word ‘Dogmatic’?”  Based on your position now, you couldn’t admit that back then, you were wrong and Sungenis was right. I have the full debate on file.

Tim: I have it as well. And Bob and I agreed that there is much in Vatican II that is infallible, but there were no new infallible declarations made extraordinarily. That is what he meant by “it is not infallible.” He was correct. I just thumbed through our dialogue and I did not see anywhere where I claimed that there were extraordinary infallible statements. But if I did, I would be wrong. However, I did see where I pointed out that there are other means whereby the Church can declare something infallibly. For example, the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. I pointed out that we have to listen to the language of the Council (do we see words like, “we must believe…” or “the Church holds definitively…” or words to that effect), and if we have teachings that have been repeated in the Church over time, we may well be seeing infallible teaching communicated in that way as well. Let me use another analogy. Pope John Paul II, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,  declared the Church does not have the authority to ordain women and it uses very strong language. However, it was not an ex cathedra statement. But does that mean it was not infallible? By no means! It was infallible by virtue of the fact that it was repeating what was already the teaching of the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. We may well have examples analogous to this from the Council. For example, when the Council taught, in Gaudium et Spes 22, “… we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery.” Is this a new and infallible declaration of the Extraordinary Magisterium? No. But it may be (notice, I said “may be,” which means good Catholics can disagree on this) that this is a reiteration of a teaching that was already infallible by the fact that it is taught by the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium. In fact, I argue that this statement has antecedents as far back as the Council of Trent, in Pope Leo XIII, John Paul II and more, but at any rate, that is just an analogy.

Lastly, Patrick Coffin and you manipulated the discussion and used the 10 second delay in airtime to edit out my comments you didn’t want to deal with. My views were therefore misrepresented to an audience unsuspecting of your tactics. In the end, you made me and sedevacantism look foolish over the airwaves. If you were so sure that you’re right, then you would have given both sides a fair hearing. I only got a couple seconds to answer before you interrupted with your long replies (several minutes apiece). What you did is supremely dishonest, and uncharitable.

Tim: Actually, I let you speak while you interrupted me more than once.

SPERAY2: Not true. You never let me speak.

Tim: The only time I interrupted you is when you started plugging your website while refusing to answer the question at hand.

SPERAY2: I was trying to plug my website because you weren’t letting me speak. I knew as soon as I started to say something, you would interrupt me, and you did.

Tim: And I don’t have to “make” sedevacantism look foolish. It does that all by itself. It is a foolish position to take.

SPERAY2: Then you should have had no worries letting speak. Clock the time I spoke after you went after me on sedevacantism.

When it comes to topics concerning the papacy and sedevacantism, you should call yourselves Not-so-Catholic Answers Live.

Tim: In your opinion, which is ultimately what your sect is based upon. Your opinion and the opinions of others. Your sect is void of any Magisterial authority precisely because you have left the living Magisterium of the Church.

SPERAY2: Right back at ya!

Tim: God Bless,

Tim

Sincerely,

Steven Speray

TIM STAPLES REPLIES AGAIN IN ANOTHER LETTER BELOW

Tim,

I knew you couldn’t resist replying to me again. Now I will leave you with another reply since you ignored or misrepresented the issues as usual.

Steven,

As I said before, after 118 pages with you before I am not going to re-argue everything. But I did read your letter and I must say it was painful to read. When I said the whole world accepted the elections of John XXIII, you said, “Not everybody. Dr. Elizabeth Gerstner never accepted Roncalli.” Dr. Elizabeth Gerstner. Really? Is that really your answer?

SPERAY: That’s right. She’s not the only one, of course, but she is important because she proved that something was wrong. But you also said that the whole world accepted Benedict XVI and that’s simply false. You forgot 10,000 Catholics who rejected him on the basis that he is a radical modernist. You know, the kind of guy who likes to invite pagans to pray to their pagan gods, or bows toward Mecca with Muslims in a Mosque, and towards Lutheran altars and praying alongside women bishops. But you know what, my original letter was about 3 wrong answers you made and instead of admitting that you’re wrong, you’ve attacked my position more and have made this a debate about sedevacantism. My intention was not to debate sedevacantism, but to simply show where and why you were mistaken on those 3 points.

Moreover, if you don’t know the difference between a Papal conclave, which has the authority of the Pope behind it, and a group of bishops without Papal authority, I don’t know what to say.

SPERAY: Why would a group of bishops not have the same authority as a papal conclave in extraordinary circumstances? If you can’t understand the simple explanation of the experts, I don’t know what to say.

There is a qualitative difference here akin to the difference between a dog and a human being. There is a substantial difference between the two.

SPERAY: Are you serious? That’s the best you can do? It’s hard for me to believe you had the nerve to send this to everybody. I asked you to give me that magisterial teaching that supports your theory which Cardinal Billot is rejecting and you give me nothing, but a… I don’t know what to say.

I will leave you with this. You can multiply theories from Cardinals long past and recount disciplinary documents from over 1,500 years ago that have been superseded all you want, but Pope St. Pius X and later Pius XII (long after Cardinal Billot, BTW) declared the way in which Popes would be chosen. Roma locuta est, causa finite est.

SPERAY: UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES, WHICH I AGREE! The law about only cardinals electing was in play during Billot’s time too. That’s why Cardinal Billot stated, “if it is impossible to follow the regulations of papal law” THEN WHAT, TIM?Your Protestant-like personal interpretation of the law isn’t found anywhere in Church teaching or even by theologians. You can’t cite one source to support your theory. Thanks for proving me right again!

Whatever the Pope binds on earth is bound in heaven.

SPERAY: No kidding?

Though these matters are not infallible, that does not mean the Holy Spirit does not guide the Pope. The Holy Spirit guides the Church even in matters juridical. For Catholics, when the Pope speaks the matter is settled and the power of heaven will move heaven and earth to back up the Church. You may have had an argument a few hundred years ago (though even then there would need to be more things happen to give your sect claim to even a hint of a legitimate argument), but the Holy Spirit saw your little sect coming. The Church (the Kingdom of God) is as a grain of mustard seed (Jesus said that, remember), it starts small and grows becoming more and more distinguishable and defined.

SPERAY: You sound like a fifth-grader. I cited an approved manual by a famous Bishop and I believe that manual was used in the Pontifical Schools in Rome and yet, you can’t admit that you were wrong.

The Church has moved on from Conciliarism. It has moved on from questions as to whether or not a Pope’s personal sins can depose him automatically. They cannot.

SPERAY: You obviously didn’t read my reply very well or you wouldn’t have stated any of this. I don’t believe in conciliarism, and I don’t believe that a pope’s mere personal sins can depose him. So what is it, Tim? Where do we stand? You don’t know, because you don’t care to know. Your reply shows just how you’re being deliberately ignorant on the subject.

I have already gone over the difference between a Pope losing his authority de more verse de jure. All of your questions concerning the election of Popes have been answered by our Popes. The Pope has spoken. There is nothing more to say. We’ve been back and forth on this and a lot more.

SPERAY: You may do good against Protestants, but you lose every time to Catholics.

The way I see it, your sect has lost the Faith because it lost its faith in God to keep his word. Read Luke 22:29-32 and notice the emphasis on 1. the juridical authority of the Popes and bishops in union with the Pope (notice the emphasis on Jesus making the Apostles “judges”) and 2.

SPERAY: Another fifth-grade answer, from one who refuses to know where we stand. You don’t have the faith at all, unlike Sungenis who knows that inter-religious worship is contrary to the Divine law. I can recognize Sungenis, Tradition in Action, etc. as Catholics even though they reject sedevacantism. I respectfully disagree with them, on that point. However, you’re a radical modernist who hates the traditional Catholic Faith, and what’s worse, you’re egotistical. No one at Catholic Answers is quite like you. Akin, Keating, and Serpa, at least sound humble, but not ole Tim. He’s got to go overboard with the Scripture verses to show how much he knows. I could listen to Jimmy all day answer questions. I don’t want to sound uncharitable, but someone has to tell you. I’d be surprised if at least one of your co-workers didn’t think the same. Go ask them to give you an honest answer, and if they all think I’m nuts, then maybe it really is just me.

It is the devil that loves to intervene in these matters juridical to divide the Church. Unfortunately, your sect has fallen prey to the Devil’s schemes to divide the Church resulting in a few disgruntled clergy and laity throwing pebbles to try and knock down Mt. Everest.

SPERAY: I feel like I’m having rocks thrown at me by a child in elementary school.

Finally, if I couldn’t help you in 118 pages of back-and-forth, I don’t think 118 more will help. So please note for the record that I will not respond to any more emails from you.

SPERAY: We’ll see, but I suggest you keep quiet too, since you keep digging yourself a deeper grave.

Believe it or not, Steve, I respond to hundreds and hundreds of emails. I have to be judicious about who I spend time with as there are only 24 hours in a day. I have spent more time on your emails than 99% of people who email me. But there has to be a time when someone decides to stop. That someone is going to be me and that time is now. So please respect my decision on this and leave me out of any further of these email exchanges.

God Bless,

Tim Staples

SPERAY: I’ll be praying for your conversion, at least one of humility if nothing else.

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