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Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

A favorite line from Pseudo-traditionalists is “it’s not infallible.” They say “Pope” Francis’ apostolic exhortation wasn’t infallible, Vatican 2 wasn’t infallible, and the canonization of “Pope” Paul VI wasn’t infallible. What’s implied is the absurdity that when the pope issues decrees, encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, canon laws, or a universal catechism without the charism of infallibility, it means those teachings could be heretical.

The question about what’s infallible and what’s not is not the concern of this study. The only concern for now is the treatment of what is thought to be non-infallible Church teachings in the minds of psuedo-traditionalists.

In the case of the Vatican 2 religion, pseudo-traditionalists recognize that their religion has heretical tenets and are looking for a way to explain how their religion is still Catholic. They’ve spent too much time and energy to admit that the position of sedevacantism is the answer. Therefore, sedevacantism is out of the question.

In the case of Feeneyite sedevacantists, the argument is made that the Roman Catechism of Trent, Canon Law, and the Pope St. Pius X Catechism aren’t infallible. Therefore, the teaching of baptism of desire found in these three sources can be rejected because it’s heretical and contrary to John 3:5 and Trent’s canons. [1]

There are three main reasons why this pseudo-traditionalist novelty is absurd.

          1.  Heresy is a denial of Catholic dogma. Religious assent, both external and internal, is required for  non-infallible teachings of the Church. Religious assent can’t be given to heresy without loss of profession of  faith. The Catholic Church can’t require a denial of its own dogmas.

          2.  All non-infallible decrees, encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, canon laws, etc. would have to be taken with a grain of salt. Suspicion would necessarily follow from all of these teachings. Fear of error would always be present. 

          3.  Protestant churches are heretical even though they are not infallible. If the Catholic Church can promulgate heresy by universal catechism (for instance), it would be the height of hypocrisy for the same church to condemn Protestantism for promulgating heresy

Infallibility means there’s no possibility of error. That doesn’t imply the Church can be heretical outside the charism of infallibility. You won’t find heresy promulgated in any form by the Catholic Church. The possible errors that might be found in non-infallible Church teachings would be very limited. An example might be the Holy Office condemnations under Popes Paul V, Urban VIII, and Alexander condemning Galileo and/or heliocentrism. However, Pope Benedict XV rejects the absolute affirmation of geocentrism in In Praeclara Summorum.

All heresy is error, but not all error is heresy. The possibility of error in non-infallible documents should not be understood as a “possibility of heresy.”

Both sides [Vatican 2 traditionalists and Feeneyite sedevacantists] start with a [false] premise and work out how that premise is true by looking at everything anachronistically. That’s not how it’s supposed to be done. You don’t start with a conclusion and then try to find an argument to prove your conclusion by twisting, ignoring, and rejecting facts, evidence, and reason.

In 1958, Rev. John A. McHugh, OP. and Rev. Charles J. Callan, OP. explain in their Moral Theology study [3] how non-infallible teachings are to be regarded by the faithful and why.           

760.    Many tenets of the Church, indeed, have not the prerogative of infallibility–for example, decrees of the Popes not given ex cathedra, decisions of Congregations made with Papal approval, teachings of Bishops to particular members of the Church, doctrines commonly held by Catholics as theological truths or certain conclusions. These decrees, decisions, etc., receive not the assent of Catholic faith, but what is called religious assent, which includes two things, viz., external and internal assent. 

(a) External assent should be given such teachings–that is, the homage of respectful silence due to public authority. This does not forbid the submission of difficulties to the teaching authority, or the scientific examination of objections that seem very strong. 

(b) Internal assent should be given such teaching–that is, the submission of the judgment of the individual to the judgment of the teacher who has the authority from Christ and assistance from the Holy Spirit. This internal assent differs, however, from the assent of faith, inasmuch as it excludes fear of error, but not of the possibility of error, and it may later on be suspended, called into doubt, or even revoked. Pope Pius X in his Motu proprio, “Praestantiascripturae Sacrae” (Nov. 18, 1907), indicated the binding force of the decrees both of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of all doctrinal decrees: All are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future, in the same way as to the decrees which appertain to doctrine, issued by the Sacred Congregations and approved by the Supreme Pontiff; nor can they escape the stigma both of disobedience and temerity, nor be free from grave guilt as often as they impugn their decisions either in word or writing; and this over and above the scandal which they give and the sins of which they may be the cause before God by making other statements on these matters which are very frequently both rash and false. (Reaffirmed by the Biblical Commission on Feb. 27, 1934.)

761. The objects, therefore, which formally or reductively pertain to the virtue of faith, are as follows:

(a) Divine faith has for its object all the truths revealed by God as contained in the Canonical scriptures approved by the Church, and in the teachings received by the Apostles from Christ or the Holy Spirit and handed down to the Church as Tradition. Private revelations in exceptional cases may also be the object of divine faith. 

(b) Catholic faith has for its object all the truths formally revealed in scripture and Tradition that have been defined as such by the Church. The definitions of the Church are either solemn (e.g., those given in the Creeds, ex cathedra definitions of the Popes, decisions of Ecumenical Councils) or ordinary (e.g., those contained in the universal preaching, practice or belief of the Church, encyclical letters [see Humani Generis, n.20]). Equivalent to definitions are the condemnations of error opposed to revealed truths. 

(c) According to some theologians ecclesiastical faith has for its object all infallible decisions of the Church about matters not revealed, but connected with revelation, or necessary for the exercise of the teaching office of the Church. Such are: (i) definitions, that is, definitive declarations of theological conclusions or of dogmatic facts, disciplinary laws made for the entire Church, canonization of the saints, solemn approbation of religious Orders, express or special recognition of Doctors of the Church, declaration of the relation of private revelations to the public revelation; and (ii) censures, that is, condemnations of teachings, on account of falsity, as heretical, near to heresy, savoring of heresy, erroneous, rash, etc.; on account of their expression, as equivocal, ambiguous, presumptuous, captious, suspected, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, etc.; on account of their tendency, as scandalous, schismatical, seditious, unsafe, etc. Examples: The definitions concerning the sense of the book Augustinus, the suitability of the terms “consubstantial” and “transubstantiation,” the agreement of the Vulgate with the original scriptures, the lawfulness of the insertion of the Filioque.

(d) Religious assent has for its object all doctrinal pronouncements of the Church that are not infallible, but are yet official and authoritative. Examples are ordinary instructions and condemnations given by Pontifical Congregations and Commissions. The Syllabus of Modern Errors issued by Pius IX was most likely not an infallible or definitive document, although many of the errors it rejects are contrary to dogma, and hence, even apart from the Syllabus, they are to be rejected as opposed to Catholic faith. Likewise, many of its tenets are drawn from encyclical letters. Papal allocutions, radio addresses, and the doctrinal parts of Apostolic Constitutions, in themselves, are in this class. 

(e) Respect is due to the judgment of the Church even in non-doctrinal matters and where no obligation is imposed by her, on account of her position and the careful examination given before decision. Example: It would be disrespectful to reject without good reason a pious belief which the Church after mature deliberation has permitted to be held.   

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In a 1973 movie called The Conflict, a modernist priest played by Martin Sheen asks a traditional priest (played by Trevor Howard) how do we begin to define heresy today. The traditionalist gives the answer for the modernist by stating, “yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heresy.”

Never has this statement been truer than in today’s religion headed by “Pope” Francis.

In “Why Sedevacantism” I showed that if Vatican 2 is correct that “religious communities are entitled to teach and give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance” [DH 4] then Martin Luther would have been right when he declared “that heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit” and Pope Leo X and his papal bull condemning Luther’s teaching would be heretical.

On Aug. 2, 2018, the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, “Pope” Francis has now, once again, officially recognized Martin Luther’s teaching as orthodoxy by ordering the Catechism of the Catholic Church be changed on capital punishment. [1] (Catechism change and the Letter from the CDF.)

The key changes of the 1992 Catechism footnote an Oct. 11, 2017 address from “Pope” Francis to an audience of cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, catechists, and ambassadors from many countries on the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the catechism. The Catechism now implies that the Catholic Church in the past was ignorant to the dignity of the person after very serious crimes and attacked that dignity out of its ignorance.

In the Oct. address, Francis declared the death penalty is “contrary to the Gospel,” “is an inhuman measure,” “is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person” stressing that “here we are not in the presence of any contradiction with past teaching,” that this, “law of progress” he said, “appertains to the peculiar condition of the truth revealed in its being transmitted by the church, and does not at all signify a change of doctrine. One cannot conserve the doctrine without making it progress, nor can one bind it to a rigid and immutable reading without humiliating the Holy Spirit.” [2]

If only Luther could have lived to see this moment when Rome would say he was right all along. Why Luther would be considered a good Catholic today as even “Pope Saint” John Paul II paid homage to him and the Vatican said he was a “witness to the gospel.” In fact, if Luther lived today, he wouldn’t be so well-known. He’d fit right in with the Novus Ordo establishment.

It really is astounding how Protestant Rome is becoming. One of the doctrines held by the earliest Protestants (Anabaptists) was the unlawfulness of capital punishment. In De Laicis, Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine called this a “chief heretical belief” of the Protestant sects. [3]

Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori taught, “It is lawful to put a man to death by public authority: it is even a duty of princes and of judges to condemn to death criminals who deserve it; and it is the duty of the officers of justice to execute the sentence; God himself wishes malefactors to be punished.” [4]

The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent declared, “Execution Of Criminals: Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment¬ is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.” [5]

If this is not enough, I provide more information on how the Church ordered The Death Penalty for Sodomites.

Even when we see a clear reversal of Church teaching on morality, two well-known radio hosts on Relevant Radio, “Catholic” apologist Patrick Madrid and “Monsignor” Stuart Swetland insist that Francis is only making a pastoral change with no actual change in Church doctrine or is just applying a development of doctrine. You can hear the podcasts by clicking on the links provided at the footnote. [6] I haven’t listened to any other talk shows from Relevant Radio to see how they are dealing with this, but I can figure it’s probably all the same.

On July 3, 1907, Pope St. Pius X condemned as an error of the Modernist in Lamentabili, “53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable; but Christian society, just as human society, is subject to perpetual evolution.” Is this not what “Pope” Francis is advocating with his statements? Is this not what Madrid and Swetland are defending when they say that we have to understand this in “Francis’ way” or imply that doctrines can develop in the reverse?

It all comes down to the fact that all of them are modernists in the truest sense of the word, for they all hold that “Yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heresy.”

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Death Penalty

“2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.

Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, [1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
_______________________________________
[1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.”

“CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Letter to the Bishops regarding the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty

1. The Holy Father Pope Francis, in his Discourse on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, by which John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church, asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point that has taken place in recent times.[1] This development centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: “Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.”[2]
2. It is in the same light that one should understand the attitude towards the death penalty that is expressed ever more widely in the teaching of pastors and in the sensibility of the people of God. If, in fact, the political and social situation of the past made the death penalty an acceptable means for the protection of the common good, today the increasing understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes, the deepened understanding of the significance of penal sanctions applied by the State, and the development of more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens have given rise to a new awareness that recognizes the inadmissibility of the death penalty and, therefore, calling for its abolition.
3. In this development, the teaching of the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitæ of John Paul II is of great importance. The Holy Father enumerated among the signs of hope for a new culture of life “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defense’ on the part of society. Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform.”[3] The teaching of Evangelium vitæ was then included in the editio typica of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In it, the death penalty is not presented as a proportionate penalty for the gravity of the crime, but it can be justified if it is “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor,” even if in reality “cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender today are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (n. 2267).
4. John Paul II also intervened on other occasions against the death penalty, appealing both to respect for the dignity of the person as well as to the means that today’s society possesses to defend itself from criminals. Thus, in the Christmas Message of 1998, he wished “the world the consensus concerning the need for urgent and adequate measures … to end the death penalty.”[4] The following month in the United States, he repeated, “A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”[5]
5. The motivation to be committed to the abolition of the death penalty was continued with the subsequent Pontiffs. Benedict XVI recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty.”[6] He later wished a group of the faithful that “your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”[7]
6. In this same prospective, Pope Francis has reaffirmed that “today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned’s crime may have been.”[8] The death penalty, regardless of the means of execution, “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”[9] Furthermore, it is to be rejected “due to the defective selectivity of the criminal justice system and in the face of the possibility of judicial error.”[10] It is in this light that Pope Francis has asked for a revision of the formulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty in a manner that affirms that “no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and the dignity of the person.”[11]
7. The new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by Pope Francis, situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine.[12] The new text, following the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in Evangelium vitæ, affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes. This conclusion is reached taking into account the new understanding of penal sanctions applied by the modern State, which should be oriented above all to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the criminal. Finally, given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems, the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people. Certainly, it remains the duty of public authorities to defend the life of citizens, as has always been taught by the Magisterium and is confirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in numbers 2265 and 2266.
8. All of this shows that the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.
9. The new revision affirms that the understanding of the inadmissibility of the death penalty grew “in the light of the Gospel.”[13] The Gospel, in fact, helps to understand better the order of creation that the Son of God assumed, purified, and brought to fulfillment. It also invites us to the mercy and patience of the Lord that gives to each person the time to convert oneself.
10. The new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.
The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 28 June 2018, has approved the present Letter, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 13 June 2018, and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1 August 2018, Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.
Prefect
X Giacomo Morandi
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri
Secretary

[2] https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/10/11/pope-francis-death-penalty-contrary-gospel

[3] St. Robert Bellarmine, De Laicis, “Among the chief heretical beliefs of the Anabaptists and Antitrinitarians of our time there is one that says that it is not lawful for Christians to hold magistracy and that among Christians there must not be power of capital punishment, etc., in any government, tribunal, or court.” (p. 5)

[4] St. Alphonsus Liguori (Instructions for the People on the Ten Commandments and on the Sacraments) https://archive.org/stream/alphonsusworks15liguuoft#page/n467/mode/1up

[5] http://www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/trent/tcomm05.htm

[6] Listen to Patrick Madrid on the death penalty change here:
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-3-2018-hour-1/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-3-2018-hour-2/
and
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-7-2018-hour-2/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-7-2018-hour-3/

and Swetland can be heard here: https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/go-ask-your-father-for-august-7-2018/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/go-ask-your-father-for-august-2-2018/

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One of the main arguments made by pseudo-traditional Catholics is that the heretical novus ordo mass, Second Vatican Council, etc. did not fall under the realm of infallibility. Therefore, the Church [that gave us these things] is not actually heretical. They can resist these abominations and remain in the same church because they weren’t imposed or binding. The Church is still holy.

If we follow this logic, then Protestantism is holy and not actually heretical because Protestants don’t even claim infallibility.

The absurdity is glaring. The Catholic Church can’t teach heresy in any capacity. If it could, it would be essentially no different than the Protestant/Eastern Orthodox religions.

Some Protestants pray the Creed each week saying they believe in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church,” but their meaning of those words differs from the Catholic Church’s understanding. Vatican 2’s definition is closer to the Protestant understanding. The only difference is that it declared “the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic…subsists in the Catholic Church” which alone has “the fullness of grace and truth.” The Protestant and Eastern Orthodox religions don’t have the fullness thereof. According to Vatican 2, the “Church of Christ” which includes Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox is “one” even though formally divided. [1]

In principle, the pseudo-Traditional Catholic understanding is exactly like the Protestant/Vatican 2 understanding.

Although the “pope” (and most every bishop and priest) believes, promotes, and defends religious liberty, communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics, novus ordo mass, etc., the pseudo-traditionalists who vehemently oppose such things still believe they are one in faith with their pope and his faithful clergy. For them, formal division in dogma and divine law is canceled out because of their union with their pope or church. For Protestants, it’s canceled out because of their so-called union with Christ. For Vatican 2, it’s canceled out because of baptism.

The absurdity continues with the mark of holiness. For pseudo-traditionalists, heresy and abomination is canceled out because infallibility wasn’t used. For Protestants, it’s canceled out because sola scriptura is foundational. For Vatican 2, it’s canceled out because of the human condition which is fallen.

Whatever argument that’s employed by pseudo-traditionalists against sedevacantism, it always comes down to this: They want you to believe in the absurdity that oneness and holiness of the Church includes formal division, heresy, and abomination just like Protestantism and the teaching of Vatican 2.

 

 

Footnote:

[1] In an interview with the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI, stated:

“When the Council Fathers replace the word ‘is,’ used by Pius XII, with the word ‘subsistit,’ they did so for a very precise reason. The concept expressed by ‘is’ (to be) is far broader than that expressed by ‘to subsist.’ ‘To subsist’ is a very precise way of being, that is, to be as a subject, which exists in itself. Thus the Council Fathers meant to say: the being of the Church as such extends much further than the Roman Catholic Church, but within the latter it acquires, in an incomparable way, the character of a true and proper subject.”

Avery Cardinal Dulles, a member of the International Theological Commission: The Church of Christ is not exclusively identical to the Roman Catholic Church.  It does indeed subsist in Roman Catholicism but it is also present in varying modes and degrees in other Christian communities.” (Toward the Church of the Third Millennium: Verso la Chiesa del Terzo Millennio, Brescia: Queriniana, 1979)

Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, one of the main drafters of Vatican II documents, stated: “It is difficult to say that the Catholic Church is still one, Catholic, apostolic, when one says that the others (other Christian communities) are equally one, Catholic and apostolic, albeit to a lesser degree. —- at Vatican Council II, the Roman Catholic Church officially abandoned its monopoly over the Christian religion.”

To the contrary, Pope Pius XII repeatedly taught that “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.” (Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943, Humani Generis, #27, 1950.)

 

 

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I recently called Catholic Answers Live and the Right Here, Right Now radio show with host Patrick Madrid. Without being antagonistic, I just asked them some simple questions about membership in the Church, the Balamand statement, etc. What I got were discombobulated answers to the questions. The day I called Madrid’s show, he began talking how he’s about the truth and getting to the truth. But when I challenged him with papal declarations, he cut me off, and then he cut me short without dealing directly with the actual question. When I called back the next day to follow up on my question, I was told that I wouldn’t get on the program.

It’s funny really. Catholic radio criticizes mainstream media for misrepresentation, yet they do precisely what they condemn. Interestingly enough, Patrick Madrid spoke about hypocrisy the day I was told that I wasn’t going to be brought back on air to follow up on the Balamand statement. There’s nothing like criticizing hypocrisy while being hypocritical.

Anyway, below is my position that the so-called Catholic media won’t allow the public to hear.

Pope Pius XII repeatedly taught that “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.” (Humani Generis, 1950)

In Mystici Corporis Christi the same pope declared: “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, ….And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered — so the Lord commands — as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.”

Later in the same document, Pope Pius XII taught that heresy, schism, and apostasy severs one from the Body of the Church.

As a Catholic, I believe there’s only one true Church and that all other churches are false churches. It doesn’t matter how many truths a church has, if it has one error in doctrine, then it’s a false church.

The 1993 Balamand statement heretically teaches “that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity.”

It’s heretical because it implies that the one visible Church is divided. The Balamand statement implies that the one Church of God is made up of false churches, hence false religions. The Orthodox churches are in no way (formal or informal) part of the Church of God. On May 25, 1995, John Paul II, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, approved the Balamand declaration.

The 1999 JOINT DECLARATION with the Lutherans heretically states, “44. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ’s will.”

It’s heretical because it’s implying that Lutherans are part of the Body of Christ the Church, and that the Church of Christ is not visibly unified. This is a blatant rejection of the Dogma. John Paul II approved and blessed the Joint Declaration.

In an Apostolic Letter by Pope Pius IX to all Protestants and other Non-Catholics at the convocation of the Vatican Council, September 13, 1868: “neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity…

we exhort them warmly and beseech them with insistence to hasten to return to the one fold of Christ…

we await with open arms the return of the wayward sons to the Catholic Church, in order to receive them with infinite fondness into the house of the Heavenly Father and to enrich them with its inexhaustible treasures. By our greatest wish for the return to the truth and the communion with the Catholic Church, upon which depends not only the salvation of all of them…”

Notice that baptized non-Catholics are not members of the Body of Christ, and that they are guilty of the sin of separation since they are “wayward sons” and need to “return.”

Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos (1928) affirmed Pope Pius IX: “the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…”

In a Jan. 22, 2013 L’Osservatore Romano article titled: The divisions among Christians disfigure the face of the Church, it was written that Benedict XVI said, “One of the gravest sins ‘that disfigure the Church’s face’ is the sin ‘against her visible unity’, and, in particular, ‘the historical divisions which separated Christians and which have not yet been surmounted’”.

The two references of the “Church’s face” and “Against her visible unity” is a point blank denial of the dogma that the visible Church is one in faith.

Conclusion:

The Catholic Church has declared that the Mystical Body of Christ (Church of Christ) is the Catholic Church and that it’s visibly one in Faith. This is an Article of Faith, a dogma and highest form of Catholic doctrine.

Vatican 2 and the conciliar popes have declared that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. Other non-Catholic churches form part of the Mystical Body of Christ as well. Therefore, the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are not one and the same thing. The Catholic Church is visibly one, but the Church of Christ is not visibly one.

For 2000 years, the Church has declared that only those who are baptized and profess the true Faith are to be counted as really members of the Church, meaning in the external forum.

Vatican 2 and the conciliar popes have declared that all baptized persons regardless of profession of faith are to be counted as members of the Church in the external forum. All baptized persons have a “right” to be called Christian.

It’s gone from…

YES, the visible Church is one in Faith, to
NO, the visible Church is not one in Faith.

YES, the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, to
NO, the Church of Christ is not the Catholic Church.

YES, heresy, schism, and apostasy severs you from the Church, to
NO, heresy, schism, and apostasy only keeps you from the fullness of truth but membership in the Church is maintained.

YES, all baptized non-Catholics are outside the Church of Christ in the external forum, to
NO, all baptized non-Catholics are inside the Church of Christ in the external forum.

I often hear on Relevant Radio that no doctrine changed after the Second Vatican Council. Yet, one can easily see that there’s no continuity with the past on doctrines and dogmas concerning the nature of the Church.

What I’ve discovered over the years is that if a person is not willing to consider the possibilities that his position on religion is wrong, then no argument, no matter how brilliant or logical, will convince such a person of his error. He will not concede. Only those with the ability to consider the possibilities will be able to see and understand the facts, the arguments, and the truth.

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A friend of mine asked if I would respond in a short reply to a local column found in the Asbury Theological Seminary’s paper. Below is my reply.

The Historical Facts

Sola Scriptura is not found in Christian history prior to the Reformation. Not a single Church father can be used to justify its existence.

-Fourth century Catholic Bishop St. Athanasius was the first person to acknowledge the 27 books of the New Testament as we have it today.

-For centuries, the Church was unclear as to what precisely constituted the Word of God in Holy Writ. The Bible was first given by the authority of the Catholic Church affirming the Canon of Scripture in 380 AD at the synod of Rome.

 Two Brief Arguments against Sola Scriptura based on the Facts

-There is no inspired table of contents. Therefore, no authority could definitively provide a Canon of Scripture. An infallible collection of infallible books is impossible without an infallible authority outside of Scripture. Sola Scriptura-ists must hold that the Bible is a fallible collection of books necessarily leaving no absolute assurance that the Bible is God’s Word. A sure belief in the Bible is essentially groundless.

-The quantifying state of sola is one. The person interpreting Scripture or what Scriptures interpret others necessarily comes into play. The final authority simply comes down to the individual doing the interpreting. Practically speaking, it doesn’t work for a unified Church.

-Sola scriptura is a tradition of men that nullifies the Word of God, because the Word of God provides information that the Church makes the final decisions, not each individual (I Tim. 3:15, Matt. 18:17-18, Titus 2:15, Matt. 16:18).  

The Historical Alternative

-Believe that the Word of God is contained in both the Bible and in Sacred Tradition which is found in the practice of the Church and the oral traditions not written down (II Thess. 2:15).

-Accept the fact that Christ established one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church unified in faith doctrinally with the successors of St. Peter as the visible head of the Church. Believe the Catholic Church is infallible so that it can provide the infallible interpretation of the Word of God and the parameters thereof. This is the logical extension of Christ’s established authority. Since God can give fallible men the ability to write down the infallible Word of God, would God not grant His Church’s established authority the ability to provide the faithful the infallible interpretation of it? After all, Christians accept the Church’s authority in its decision on the Canon of Scripture.

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Last night, I sent three comments quickly exposing the lies of the following video:

No Apologies #120: Against the Sedevacantists

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92HxVOtqS10

Of course, they must have removed them so that the public won’t see the truth.

I don’t have exact copies of what I stated but below is close to how I remember it.

My first comment went something like this:

John Paul II wore a pagan stole act and actually participated in Zoroastrianism. Benedict XVI bowed towards Mecca in a Mosque while praying with Muslims. That’s active participation. Jesus eating with tax collectors and prostitutes has nothing to do with it. You don’t find Jesus praying with those who worship BAAL or Dagon. This is the issue. Bishop Hay was praised by Rome and the British bishops for teaching the Church’s condemnation of inter-religious worship as contrary to the Divine Law.

My second comment:

The conciliar popes (antipopes) reject the dogma that the Church is one in faith. They clearly explain how non-Catholics are members of the Church. For instance, antipopes Paul VI and Benedict XVI refer to Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs as “Pastors in the Church of Christ.” Can you explain how they are not rejecting the dogma based on these statements? They don’t believe in the Creed as the Church has always understood it, but rather as Protestants who recite the same creed.

My third comment:

You make up nothing but straw-man arguments. You don’t even get the position of sedevacantism correct. By the way, most sedevacantists are not Feeneyites.  SeptemberCatholic18 has made many videos against sedevacantism, but won’t debate a single sedevacantist because he knows that he’ll be exposed as a liar and fraud. Why don’t you make a video with a sedevacantist where both sides get equal treatment rather than hearing your side of the story with a misrepresentation of sedevacantism?

If the Franciscans were at least honest, they would have answered my comments, apologized for misrepresenting sedevacantism, and/or removed the video. But no, they aren’t honest. They removed my comments so that the world won’t see the truth. They are a bunch of liars and haters of Christ whom they claim to follow.

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Dear Patrick,

On Thursday’s show, Dec. 6, 2012, you stated, “starting in January onward, we’re doing a whole hour just on the phenomena of radical traditionalism, not just the SSPX, but folks we might affectionately call High Church Protestants…more Catholic than the popes, kind of a handy way of summarizing it.” [1]

This is not the first time you’ve called Catholics holding to the historic Catholic faith inviolate “High Church Protestants.”

Since Protestants are those who reject dogmas of the Church, my first challenge for you is to show that dogma that the SSPX, sedevacantists, etc. are rejecting which would make them Protestants. If you can’t do so, then I submit that you are guilty of bearing false witness against your neighbors, and expect a public apology on your radio show for your derogatory and slanderous remarks.

Please don’t resort to the argument that because traditionalists reject Vatican 2 they are heretics because as you and Tim Staples have admitted, Vatican 2 is not infallible in virtue of itself and therefore a rejection of it wouldn’t constitute a heresy. Also, Tim Staples has tried several times using the old straw-man that sedevacantists reject Vatican I’s definition of perpetual succession. Although, Tim has seen how his Protestant-like private interpretation of Vatican I is contrary to the explanation given by the Vatican’s own theologians, he continues, like the dishonest Mike Gendron, to perpetuate lies about the faith anyway.

My second challenge for you is to explain how your new religion founded in the 1960’s is not more like High Church Protestants when in Nov. 2011 your pope entered a Lutheran temple, praised the radical apostate Martin Luther, bowed towards their altar (which has no real sacrifice) and prayed alongside a woman bishop of that apostate religion that has been anathematized by Trent.

I’m sure Tim Staples thinks this was a good thing as he also stated that he thought it was a good thing for Benedict XVI to go into a mosque, arms folded, shoes off, and bowing towards Mecca as he prayed alongside the Muslim leaders of Islam. He first denied that it ever happened on the radio and even called it a sin. I guess a sin actually becomes a good thing to good ole Tim, as long as his pope is doing it.

You believe and follow Vatican 2’s new definition and explanation of the Church, which falls more inline with Protestantism. Protestants believe that the Body of Christ (the Church) crosses all denominational lines and that it subsists in all denominations. The only difference between Protestantism and Vatican 2ism is that the latter teaches that it has the fullness of truth. The historic Catholic Faith, which you reject, teaches that the Church of Christ is one and the same as the Catholic Church. It doesn’t “extend much further than the Catholic Church” as your pope explained the meaning of Lumen Gentium’s word “subsists” in place of “is.” Vatican 2 teaches that all who have been baptized are members of the Church of Christ, which is simply not true. Heretics (baptized) are not members of Christ’s Body. They’ve been cut off. We don’t assume that everybody is invincibly ignorant and really inside the Church. We also don’t assume that everybody who has been baptized in invincible ignorance remains invincibly ignorant. We don’t call these non-Catholics Christians, yet, your religion says they all have a right to be called Christians.

Can you explain how you are not the real “High Church Protestant?”

Lastly, the whole, “more Catholic than the popes” is incredibly immature. Popes can and have been wrong, and they have been corrected by inferiors. I could give many examples, such as St. Peter Damiani who proved to have known better about Holy Orders than Pope St. Leo IX.  Does that make the inferiors more Catholic? Of course not, because you can’t be more Catholic than another. One is either Catholic or not. The question is whether Benedict XVI is Catholic? I’ll be waiting to hear your explanation why he would be considered a Catholic when he apparently believes his actions in the Lutheran temple are good and righteous. If he believed that artificial contraception or homosexuality was good and promoted it, would you consider him a Catholic? All three are contrary to the Divine law, so what says Patrick Coffin?

I’ll be interested in hearing your one hour show in January devoted to traditional Catholicism. Catholic Answers has never been honest in the past about the subject, so it won’t be surprising to hear a terrible misrepresentation with a ton of straw-man arguments to go with it.

I will post this letter on my blog and any and all replies you send. Again, I expect a public apology on the radio if you can’t produce that heresy proclaimed by those traditional Catholics whom you label “High Church Protestants.”

Sincerely,

Steven Speray

[1] http://www.catholic.com/radio/shows/open-forum-7753

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The staunchest of all apologists on the Catholic Dogma EENS was Fr. Michael Müller C.SS.R. (1825 – 1899). He always submitted his works to two Redemptorist theologians (as his rule required) and to his religious superiors before publication.

One of his many great Catholic books titled “The Catholic Dogma” defended the Church’s teaching of BOD. He wrote that an invincibly ignorant person cannot be saved by his ignorance, but can be saved outside the Sacrament of Baptism. He also defended the true meaning of Pope Pius IX’s teaching on this topic.

Fr. Michael Müller, C.SS.R., The Catholic Dogma, pp. 217-218, 1888:

“Inculpable or invincible ignorance has never been and will never be a means of salvation. To be saved, it is necessary to be justified, or to be in the state of grace. In order to obtain sanctifying grace, it is necessary to have the proper dispositions for justification; that is, true divine faith in at least the necessary truths of salvation, confident hope in the divine Savior, sincere sorrow for sin, together with the firm purpose of doing all that God has commanded, etc. Now, these supernatural acts of faith, hope, charity, contrition, etc., which prepare the soul for receiving sanctifying grace, can never be supplied by invincible ignorance; and if invincible ignorance cannot supply the preparation for receiving sanctifying grace, much less can it bestow sanctifying grace itself. ‘Invincible ignorance,’ says St. Thomas, ‘is a punishment for sin.’ (De, Infid. Q. x., art. 1). “It is, then, a curse, but not a blessing or a means of salvation… Hence Pius IX said ‘that, were a man to be invincibly ignorant of the true religion, such invincible ignorance would not be sinful before God; that, if such a person should observe the precepts of the Natural Law and do the will of God to the best of his knowledge, God, in his infinite mercy, may enlighten him so as to obtain eternal life; for, the Lord who knows the heart and the thoughts of man will, in his infinite goodness, not suffer anyone to be lost forever without his own fault.’ Almighty God, who is just condemns no one without his fault, puts, therefore, such souls as are in invincible ignorance of the truths of salvation, in the way of salvation, either by natural or supernatural means.”

Fr. Michael Müller also wrote a catechism titled “Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine.” He writes:

Q. What are we to think of the salvation of those who are out of the pale of the Church without any fault of theirs, and who never had any opportunity of knowing better?

A. Their inculpable ignorance will not save them; but if they fear God and live up to their conscience, God, in His infinite mercy, will furnish them with the necessary means of salvation, even so as to send, if needed, an angel to instruct them in the Catholic faith, rather than let them perish through inculpable ignorance.

Q. Is it then right for us to say that one who was not received into the Church before his death, is damned?

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Because we cannot know for certain what takes place between God and the soul at the awful moment of death.

Q. What do you mean by this?

A. I mean that God, in His infinite mercy, may enlighten, at the hour of death, one who is not yet a Catholic, so that he may see the truth of the Catholic faith, be truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire to die a good Catholic.

Q. What do we say of those who receive such an extraordinary grace, and die in this manner?

A. We say of them that they die united, at least, to the soul of the Catholic Church, and are saved.

Q. What, then, awaits all those who are out of the Catholic Church, and die without having received such an extraordinary grace at the hour of death?

A. Eternal damnation.

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Reformation Day

On Oct. 31, 1517, the notorious Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on the Wittenberg door. Thus, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day.

Rome has come a long way since the 16th century. Last year, Benedict XVI bowed towards a Lutheran altar and prayed alongside a woman bishop inside a Lutheran church in Germany.

Since the Second Vatican Council, Rome now calls heretics and schismatics non-Catholic Christians or separated brethren, and even denies that they are heretics and schismatics: “The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection…. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” [1]

My local so-called Catholic radio station promotes Protestantism. On the Mike Allen Show, which Bishop Gainer blesses, Mike has common ground Wednesdays where he invites one of his many Protestant pastor friends from their own denominations to speak about their faith. Since the show is more secular than religious, they usually spend more time talking sports than religion, but anyway… Mike always asks his pastor friend to lead a prayer either at the beginning or end of the program. He then wishes his friend well in their particular religious faith and allows a short promotion of the respected religious church by the pastor. [2]

When Mike Allen was asked how his and Vatican 2’s views flow in continuity with the pre-Vatican 2 Church, he quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church (838) [3] and stated, “I do not see the difficulty in understanding that the Catholic doctrine has developed around the understanding of baptism’s salvific nature, keeping in mind the concept of invincible ignorance, that we are responsible for obedience only to the degree that we understand. For non-Catholic Christians, they are not fully initiated members, but have a ‘certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.’”

In reply to a question I asked on his radio show and to his above statements, I wrote to him: To say that all baptized persons deserve to be called Christians is to deny the existence of heretics and schismatics unless you change the definition of these terms to mean something other than how the Catholic Church has always understood them…

You said that you believed that your Protestant pastor friends are members of the Body of Christ the Church, but not with the fullness of the faith which comes with Catholicism. You even said that their religions are part of the Body of Christ, but not fully. Are you suggesting that they all are invincibly ignorant? In the external forum they are not members since Protestantism is not part of the Body of Christ. It’s anathema on many levels! Yet, at the end of your common ground shows, you actually wish them well in their false ministries which contain lies, half-truths, and heresies repeatedly condemned by the Church. We may wish non-Catholics well in their health and other things, but not in their false religions! Why would Christ say to shake the dust off our feet from those that don’t listen to the words? Because once you hear the truth, you’re no longer invincibly ignorant. Christ didn’t say to wish them well in their rejection of the Gospel, and Protestants do reject the Gospel!”

Of course Mike never replied to my email, but I did send him one more email today. It read:

Monsignor Fitzpatrick, Bishop of Boston, related this following true story at St. Michael’s College at Brussels, in November, 1862.

General X. (one of the ablest generals of the Northern Army in the war of 1860), first a Protestant, had had the happiness of hearing a simple, clear explanation of the Catholic religion. It was sufficient for the upright and noble man to make him see the truth and embrace Catholicism with all his heart. From that time, full of faith and fervor, he devoted himself, not only to living as a true Catholic, but also to procuring for other Protestants the grace of conversion. In a short time he won over twenty officers and wrote a book destined to furnish instruction for soldiers. We can well understand that he had not forgotten his wife, who was a Protestant, but he had the grief of see all the efforts of his zeal fail in this direction. Meanwhile, God permitted Madame X. to be attacked by an illness which reduced her to the last extremity. The General, after having exhausted to no purpose all the resources of faith and charity, seeing the sick woman on the point of dying in her obstinacy, recurred to a last means. He called in four Irishwomen whom he had in his service, and, with tears in his eyes, said to them: “My friends, you know my wife is a Protestant and that she is unwilling to hear the Catholic religion spoken of. She is going to die in her obstinacy and fall into Hell. I shudder at the thought of such a misfortune; it must be absolutely prevented if it is possible. Let us pray, then, to the Holy Virgin and do violence to her merciful heart.” Thereupon, the General drew forth his beads, and began to pray on his knees; the poor attendants did as much, and the whole five continued to pray for one hour. Then the general went to the bed of the invalid and discovered her in a sort of coma, out of her senses, without consciousness. At the end of some time, returning to herself and looking at her husband, she said to him in a very intelligible voice: “Call a Catholic priest.” The General believed at first that she was delirious and made her repeat what she desired. “I beg,” she said, “for a Catholic priest without delay.” “But my dear, you would not have one.” “Ah! General, I am entirely changed. God has shown me Hell and the place that awaited me in the eternal fire if I did not become a Catholic.” So the sick woman had the happiness of returning to the bosom of the Church. She even recovered here health and lived afterward as a fervent Catholic. Such was the narrative of the venerable Bishop of Boston; he had these details from General X.’s own mouth. [4]

CONDEMNED IN SYLLABUS OF ERRORS BY POPE PIUS IX: 17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII taught that Protestants are not in the true Church of Christ.

In 1875, the great Catholic writer Michael Mueller published the book Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine, which carried the imprimatur of Archbishop Roosevelt Bayley of Baltimore, which was apparently approved by Rome and praised highly by all. He wrote:

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.

Q. In what kind of Christ do they believe?

A. In such a one whom they can make a liar with impunity, whose doctrines they can interpret as they please, and who does not care what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.

Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?

A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.

Q. What follows from this?

A. That they die in their sins and are damned.

Father Mueller was simply reiterating the Church’s teaching on the matter as solemnly defined by the popes.

END

What shall we conclude about the baptized non-Catholics based on Mike Allen’s reply and Vatican 2’s teaching? It’s quite simple really.

We must conclude that all of them are just invincibly ignorant. That’s all.

In other words, we should ignore or reject the teaching of Christ found in Matt. 10:14 and Mark 6:11 since it can’t apply.

[1] (Second Vatican Council,Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, Chapter 1, para. 3)

[2] 1380 AM or 94.9 FM, The Mike Allen Show played at 5 to 6 pm Mon. through Fri.

[3] 838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.”322 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”324 (818, 1271, 1399)

[4] (The Dogma of Hell, Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J., PP. 98-100, TAN Books)

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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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