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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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I was emailed the latest YouTube video [1] by the Dimond brothers, “St. Gregory Nazianzen rejected ‘Baptism of Desire’” and asked to refute it. When the Dimond brothers do good work, it’s great, but this is not one of those moments. I believe Brother Peter Dimond makes a serious flaw in his argument in this video and once again gives sedevacantism a bad name.

It would appear on the surface that St. Gregory Nazianzen rejected the doctrine of Baptism of Desire, but did he really? Below is a quote which has the same substance that St. Gregory N. often repeats in his teachings.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, 381 AD: “Of those who fail to be baptized some are utterly animal and bestial, according to whether they are foolish or wicked. This, I think, they must add to their other sins, that they have no reverence for this gift, but regard it as any other gift, to be accepted if given them, or neglected if not given them. Others know and honor the gift; but they delay, some out of carelessness, some because of insatiable desire. Still others are not able to receive it, perhaps because of infancy, or some perfectly involuntary circumstancewhich prevents them from receiving the gift, even if they desire it…I think that the first will have to suffer punishment, not only for their other sins, but also for their contempt of Baptism. The second group will also be punished, but less because it was not through wickedness as much as through foolishness that they, brought about their own failure. The third group will be neither glorified nor punished by the just Judge: for though unsealed they are not wicked. They are not so much wrong-doers as persons who have suffered a loss….If you were able to judge a man who intends to commit murder, solely by his intention and without any act of murder, then you could likewise reckon as baptized one who desired Baptism, without having received Baptism. But, since you cannot do the former, how can you do the latter? I cannot see it. If you prefer, we will put it like this: if in your opinion desire has equal power withactual Baptism, then make the same judgment in regard to glory. You will then be satisfied to long for glory, as if that longing itself were glory. Do you suffer any damage by not attaining the actual glory, as long as you have a desire for it?” [2]

The doctrine of Baptism of Desire doesn’t mean one only has to desire baptism. That would be foolish to believe. Even the Sacrament of Confession is required for those in mortal sin who don’t have perfect sorrow or contrition. If a baptized mortal sinner died on his way to Confession without perfect contrition, he will go to hell. His mere desire for the Sacrament of Confession will not avail him any hope for salvation, even if he’s sorry for his sins because he only fears the just punishment for them (imperfect contrition).  However, with perfect contrition, the Sacrament of Confession is not absolutely necessary for salvation. Unbaptized persons don’t fall under the law of grace, so each and every sin committed only adds to their downfall state. All their sins are likened to mortal sins. If perfect contrition is required for baptized persons in mortal sin to be saved without Confession, then by logical extension, perfect contrition would necessarily be required for unbaptized sinners.

Therefore, the doctrine of Baptism of Desire implies that one must have perfect sorrow or contrition, too. Merely desiring baptism wouldn’t suffice. The doctrine is also known as Baptism of Repentance or Perfect Charity. The term desire used as the expression for the doctrine implies a longing to please God. It doesn’t mean a mere wish for the sacrament because of what the sacrament can do.

If a catechumen should die who believed in the Catholic Faith, desired baptism because he wanted to be Catholic and was afraid of going to hell, he will not go to heaven because his sorrow was imperfect. Perfect contrition requires that a person is sorry for his sins because he offended Almighty God, whom the person longs to please, not merely because he fears eternal punishment. Imperfect contrition is all that is needed for the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession, but perfect contrition is needed without them. This is Catechetics 101.

Was St. Gregory Nazianzen referring to those who had perfect sorrow, or only with those who merely desired the sacrament? St. Gregory N. clarified it a little. Merely intending to be baptized through desire wouldn’t suffice and it’s obviously true that desire isn’t equal to the actual thing. St. Gregory N. was clearly not rejecting the doctrine of Baptism of Desire in his explanation, since Baptism of Desire requires much more than merely desiring and intending to be baptized.

With that being said, St. Gregory Nazianzen also taught, let us speak about the different kinds of Baptism, that we may come out thence purified. Moses baptized Leviticus xi but it was in water, and before that in the cloud and in the sea. I Corinthians 10:2 This was typical as Paul says; the Sea of the water, and the Cloud of the Spirit; the Manna, of the Bread of Life; the Drink, of the Divine Drink. John also baptized; but this was not like the baptism of the Jews, for it was not only in water, but also unto repentance. Still it was not wholly spiritual, for he does not add And in the Spirit. Jesus also baptized, but in the Spirit. This is the perfect Baptism. And how is He not God, if I may digress a little, by whom you too are made God? I know also a Fourth Baptism— that by Martyrdom and blood, which also Christ himself underwent:— and this one is far more august than all the others, inasmuch as it cannot be defiled by after-stains. Yes, and I know of a Fifth also, which is that of tears, and is much more laborious, received by him who washes his bed every night and his couch with tears; whose bruises stink through his wickedness; and who goes mourning and of a sad countenance; who imitates the repentance of Manasseh Ninevites Jonah 3:7-10 upon which God had mercy; who utters the words of the Publican in the Temple, and is justified rather than the stiff-necked Pharisee; Luke 18:13 who like the Canaanite woman bends down and asks for mercy and crumbs, the food of a dog that is very hungry. Matthew 15:27” [3]

The fifth type, which according to St. Gregory Nazianzen, is a different kind of baptism that we may come out purified, fits the bill for Baptism of Desire as the doctrine is understood. Could St. Gregory Nazianzen’s baptism of tears be referring to the doctrine of Baptism of Desire as it’s properly understood? He implies that this Baptism of Tears justifies. The phrase is different but it has the same substance. I’m only giving a possible counter argument. St. Gregory N. may very well be against the doctrine of Baptism of Desire, but the argument I propose is reasonable.

Usually the Dimond brothers are thorough, but this is huge. Brother Peter Dimond calls defenders of Baptism of Desire dishonest even when they’ve seen that quote produced in the video and as Dimond states, “they will [continue to] say that St. Gregory himself favored Baptism of Desire.” [4]

I wonder if the Dimond’s have seen this teaching on the five different baptisms that according to St. Gregory Nazianzen, that we may come out purified. If so, why did they not address it? What else could have St. Gregory N. meant? Could it be that Brother Peter Dimond is being dishonest here?

Also, notice that St. Gregory N. refers to Baptism of Blood as the fourth kind of Baptism that we may come out thence purified.

The Dimond brothers are against Baptism of Blood too, which appears to be contrary to this same Saint, Doctor, and THE theologian of the Church, Gregory of Nazianzen. The Dimond brothers call Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood, “Erroneous traditions of Man” [5] and teach that you must reject these doctrines to be Catholic.

The Dimond’s reject Baptism of Blood because of a misunderstanding of Exultate Deo by Pope Eugene IV and the canons from the Council of Trent. For instance, Exultate Deo was referring to those who didn’t persevere in the Church. In other words, those who left the Church with the intention of remaining outside of the Church couldn’t be saved by shedding their blood for Christ, which is quite true. It wasn’t attempting to denounce the doctrine known as Baptism of Blood, since this doctrine refers to those who never entered the Church to begin with, much less persevering in it. The canons of Trent simply mean that man can’t opt out of the sacraments and the sacraments are absolutely necessary for salvation under ordinary conditions. That’s all. Even Trent’s Catechism, edited by St. Charles Borromeo, and promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, explicitly teaches the doctrine of Baptism of Desire. The Dimond brothers are quite aware of its teaching and call the Catechism of Trent, “clearly erroneous.” [6] Their explanation is laughable. They actually attempt to say the Catechism of Trent teaches exactly the opposite to Canon 4 of the council when examining Canon 4 with the other canons. Too bad St. Charles Borromeo didn’t understand the plain meaning of Trent after studying it so carefully. Hey, while I’m at it, throw in Pope St. Pius V who promulgated the catechism explaining the meaning of the council while completely teaching contrary to the council.

So what’s the real point of the video? We must reject Baptism of Desire because St. Gregory Nazianzen rejected it (at least the Dimond’s think so)? How about the Dimond brothers accepting Baptism of Blood, since St. Gregory Nazianzen taught that baptism of blood is “nobler than the others”?

The biggest problem with the argument proposed by Brother Peter Dimond is that many doctrines today were not accepted by saints and doctors of the Church. It doesn’t really matter if St. Gregory Nazianzen rejected the doctrine. The Dimond’s video is much like a Protestant’s argument that would use Catholic saints that approved millenarianism, or three doctors of the Church, Sts. Anselm, Chrysostom, and Aquinas, who all taught that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a sinner.

However, the Church, through the councils, popes, and laws confirm Baptism of Desire, and now, those same saints would be obliged to accept it. I wrote a whole book about Baptism of Desire and Blood, where I systematically debunk all the arguments used by the Dimond brothers. [7]

Brother Peter Dimond states in the video, “Baptism of Desire is really, in many ways, the key to the great apostasy.”[8]

How can this be when it is implicitly and explicitly taught by many popes, such as Popes Pius IX, St. X, and Benedict XV? After all, the Dimond’s argue that the sacrament of Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation under all conditions and that it’s a dogma. [9] Why do the Dimond brothers accept these three men as popes who outright reject this notion? The Dimond brothers’ defense of these popes, and the many saints that professed a Baptism of Desire, is that they were not obstinate in their beliefs. In other words, the Dimond’s want you to think these popes and saints were a bunch of dummies and didn’t know their faith very well, but we can know better now that they (Dimond’s) have clarified it for us. These popes and saints have fallen in the trap that is the key to the great apostasy, but in ignorance.

According to the Dimond brothers, the official laws of the Church, Canons 737 and 1239 of the 1917 Code, with the backing of Popes St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, and XII, promote the key to the great apostasy. The Dimond’s argue that the law is not protected by infallibility, but they miss the point. We have the Church in her official laws promoting heresy and laying out the groundwork for the great apostasy.

I submit that the laws are infallible, especially when this particular law (if not others) is understood in both East and the West, making it universal.

The Dimond brothers attempt to prove that the law is not infallible, “So, since this issue is tied to the Faith and not merely disciplinary, either the Catholic Church was wrong since the time of Christ for refusing ecclesiastical burial for catechumens who died without baptism or the 1917 Code is wrong for granting it to them. It is either one or the other, because the 1917 Code directly contradicts the Traditional and constant law of the Catholic Church for nineteen centuries on this point which is tied to the Faith.” [10]

This is obviously wrong thinking. Because laws are tied to the faith doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t be changed. The traditional and constant law of the Church for over a thousand years was that everyone could receive the Eucharist under both kinds. However, the Church in the West changed it so that the faithful could only receive the Host. Are we to suppose that either the previous law or the current law is wrong? Of course not. The law of Communion was changed to help the faithful understand that Christ is fully present under each species, not that the Church believed that Christ didn’t fully exist in each species before the change in law. Refusing burial to unbaptized catechumens doesn’t mean the Church rejected some notion that Christ wouldn’t or couldn’t save them. It could have been practiced for other reasons, such as placing the emphasis on the importance of the sacrament. It’s also possible that the Church didn’t know one way or the other, therefore, no presumption was made. It appears that this law of suppression wasn’t universal anyway.

The reasoning given by the Dimond brothers is simply faulty. The fact remains that the Church, according to the Dimond’s, has permitted, promoted by law, and taught in catechisms a major heresy. So major, in fact, that it is the key of the great apostasy.

Also made mention in the video was a statement from the Roman Breviary [11] about St. Gregory of Nazianzen, which the Dimond’s also use on their website. Roman Breviary, May 9: He [St. Gregory] wrote much, both in prose and verse, of an admirable piety and eloquence. In the opinion of learned and holy men, thereis nothing to be found in his writings which is not conformable to true piety andCatholic faith, or which anyone could reasonably call in question.”

Brother Peter thinks this somehow means that Baptism of Desire is not conformable to the Catholic faith. According to Brother Peter’s own argument, he must accept Baptism of Blood, since St. Gregory N. taught it and nothing in his writings could be reasonably called into question. The same Roman Breviary also states that St. Emerentiana was only a catechumen when she shed her blood for Christ. According to the Dimond brothers, the Roman Breviary is wrong, and that St. Emerentiana was baptized by water before her martyrdom. They say this because they reject Baptism of Blood. Therefore, they shouldn’t be using the Roman Breviary on St. Gregory of Nazianzen against Baptism of Desire advocates.

Brother Peter stated that “all of these individuals who defend Baptism of Desire in our day, also believe souls can be saved in false religions.” [12] This is so absolutely ridiculous. If men can be saved in false religions, then there would be no need for some Baptism of Desire. The whole point of the doctrine of Baptism of Desire is so that men in false religions get inside the Catholic Church to be saved. Outside the Catholic Church, there is absolutely no salvation. [13]

Lastly, Pope St. Siricius was referred about 18 minutes into the video as one who rejected the doctrine of Baptism of Desire. Is it true?

Pope St. Siricius wrote in his Letter to Himerius in 385:

“As we maintain that the observance of the holy Paschal time should in no way be relaxed, in the same way we desire that infants who, on account of their age, cannot yet speak, or those who, in any necessity, are in want of the water of holy baptism, be succored with all possible speed, for fear that, if those who leave this world should be deprived of the life of the Kingdom for having been refused the source of salvation which they desired, this may lead to the ruin of our souls. If those threatened with shipwreck, or the attack of enemies, or the uncertainties of a siege, or those put in a hopeless condition due to some bodily sickness, ask for what in their faith is their only help, let them receive at the very moment of their request the reward of regeneration they beg for. Enough of past mistakes! From now on, let all the priests observe the aforesaid rule if they do not want to be separated from the solid apostolic rock on which Christ has built his universal Church.” [14]

Does this quote by Pope Siricius deny the doctrine of Baptism of Desire or refute through implication that it is impossible to be saved by Baptism of Desire?

Those who by necessity desiring water baptism may very well be lost because Baptism of Desire is not accomplished by merely desiring it. This has been explained earlier. There is always the fear that those who die without the Sacrament of Baptism, may be lost because we do not know for sure if they had perfect contrition along with their desiring and faith.

Pope Siricius says delaying such infants or men “may lead to the ruin of our souls.” In other words, it would be a sin to delay them.

The second part of the quotation reiterates the first part. Perfect contrition may not be present along with their faith, and the Sacrament of Baptism is their only help to bring them to salvation.

If we reexamine the Catechism of Trent on p. 180, it states, “In Case of Necessity Adults May be Baptized at Once.”

Why does the Catechism say this if it just stated three paragraphs earlier “should any foreseen accident make it impossible for adults to be washed in the salutary waters, their intention and determination to receive Baptism and their repentance for past sins, will avail them to grace and righteousness?”

Is the Catechism of Trent contradicting itself? Of course not. The doctrine of Baptism of Desire requires repentance of sins (which, of course, must fall under perfect contrition), faith, and desire. The Sacrament of Baptism does not require perfect contrition.

Pope Siricius is saying the same thing as the Catechism of Trent.

The Dimond brothers are bent on rejecting Baptism of Desire. Therefore, every time we see it taught by law or in an official catechism, they conclude that it’s simply incorrect and the popes are just ignorant of their faith.

Every time a quote is produced by some saint that appears to reject Baptism of Desire, never do the Dimond’s give it the benefit of the doubt that it might be referring to a mere desiring rather than all that is needed to fulfill the doctrine of Baptism of Desire. Besides, saints can be wrong and many of them have been wrong, not that St. Gregory Nazianzen was wrong, since he actually refers to a Baptism of Tears that justifies.

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=010Z5IVO8Wg&list=UUqqN2e5-zgkQhHOs-ailqBQ&feature=plcp&context=C4e71afbFDvjVQa1PpcFOrlUvUjKwmCdeS_sPc3DnPbDMLu3xwHes
  2. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310240.htm (Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2, 1012)
  3. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310239.htm
  4. Time: 12:41 through 13:04 
  5. P. 2 http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf
  6. P. 136
  7. http://www.lulu.com/shop/steven-speray/baptism-of-desire-or-blood-a-defense-in-brief-ad-majorem-dei-gloriam/paperback/product-14920112.html
  8. Time: 5:00 through 5:15 of video
  9. PP. 13, 139, 167 at http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf
  10. P. 160 at http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf
  11. Time: 10:50 through 12:05, also p. 167 at http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf
  12. Time: 12:23 thought 12:3o
  13. https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/baptism-of-desire-and-blood/
  14. Fr. Jacques Dupuis, S.J. and Fr. Josef Neuner, S.J., The Christian Faith, Sixth Revised and Enlarged Edition, Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1996, p. 540.

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According to the infallible decree of Pope Eugene IV, at the Council of Florence in Session 8, on Nov. 22, 1439, Exultate Deo,All these sacraments are made up of three elements: namely, things as the matter, words as the form, and the person of the minister who confers the sacrament with the intention of doing what the Church does. If any of these is lacking, the sacrament is not effected.” [1]

Popes, such as Pope St. Pius X, have taught that “It is well known that to the church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything on the substance of the sacraments. (Ex quo nono).” [2]

Session 21, Chapter 2 of The Council of Trent taught, “It [Council of Trent] declares further that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments, without violating their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them.” [3]

Pope St. Pius V, in De Defectibus, implies that the substance is the meaning.

During the Protestant Revolt, the Anglican Church altered the rite of Holy Orders. On June 20, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued the Bull Praeclara carissimi, which stated “that anyone not properly and correctly ordained was to be reordained.”  On Oct. 30, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued the papal brief, Regimini universalis, against the bishops consecrated in the Anglican rite that “anyone ordained to the rank of bishops or archbishops by rites other than those used by the Church are not properly and correctly ordained.” The proper and correct way for ordination and consecration comes from the “customary form of the Church.” [4]

In 1896, Pope Leo XIII specified in Apostolicae Curae the cause for the invalidity of the Anglican Orders: “From them has been deliberately removed whatever sets forth the dignity and office of the priesthood in the Catholic rite. That form cannot be considered apt or sufficient for a Sacrament which omits that which it must essentially signify. 28. The same holds true of episcopal consecration. For to the formula, “Receive the Holy Ghost”, not only were the words “for the office and work of a bishop”, etc. added at a later period, but even these, as we shall presently state, must be understood in a sense different to that which they bear in the Catholic rite. Nor is anything gained by quoting the prayer of the preface, “Almighty God”, since it, in like manner, has been stripped of the words which denote the summum sacerdotium [high priesthood]…. So it comes to pass that, as the Sacrament of Order and the true sacerdotium of Christ were utterly eliminated from the Anglican rite, and hence the sacerdotium is in no wise conferred truly and validly in the episcopal consecration of the same rite, for the like reason, therefore, the episcopate can in no wise be truly and validly conferred by it, and this the more so because among the first duties of the episcopate is that of ordaining ministers for the Holy Eucharist and sacrifice…. Being fully cognizant of the necessary connection between faith and worship, between “the law of believing and the law of praying”, under a pretext of returning to the primitive form, they corrupted the Liturgical Order in many ways to suit the errors of the reformers. For this reason, in the whole Ordinal not only is there no clear mention of the sacrifice, of consecration, of the priesthood (sacerdotium), and of the power of consecrating and offering sacrifice but, as we have just stated, every trace of these things which had been in such prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected, was deliberately removed and struck out.[5]

Other parts of the ceremonial rite, known as the signification ex adjunctis, clarify the meaning of the form. Pope Leo XIII was referring to the signification ex adjunctis of the Anglican rite, which omits all the references of the meaning of the priesthood therefore, being the essential cause of the demise and invalidation of the rite. In other words, the form can take on a different meaning with signification ex adjunctis, which it clearly does in the Anglican rite. As Pope Leo XIII taught in Apostolicae Curae, “Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, must both signify the grace which they effect and effect the grace which they signify.” The signification ex adjunctis found in the Anglican rite demonstrated that their sacramental form didn’t “signify the grace which they effect.”

The reason for pointing out this solemn and infallible condemnation of the Anglican rite of Orders by Pope Leo XIII is due to the fact that, when it made its big splash in the Catholic world, Paul VI’s new 1968 rite came bearing precisely the same deficiencies as the condemned Anglican rite.

The form for the Sacrament of Holy Orders was infallibly taught by Pope Pius XII in Sacramentum Ordinis, Nov. 30, 1947: “But regarding the matter and form in the conferring of every order, by Our same supreme apostolic authority We decree and establish the following: … the form consists of the words of the preface of which the following are essential and so required for validity:

Grant, we beseech You, Almighty Father, to these Your servants, the dignity of the Priesthood renew the spirit of holiness within them, so that they may hold from You, O God, the office of the second rank in Your service and by the example of their behavior afford a pattern of holy living.” [6]

In the new 1968 rite, the essential phrase “so that” is missing, which affects the substance. Without “so that” what was implied isn’t necessarily the same. Pope Pius XII taught the necessity of this phrase “so that” in order for the validity of the sacrament and to remove all doubt about it.

However, the 1968 rite does more than merely leave out a simple phrase in the form. It eliminated all references to the summum sacerdotium [high priesthood] in the signification ex adjunctis, as did the Anglican rite. Wouldn’t you know, the Anglican Church has no problem with Paul VI’s new rite, unlike the traditional Catholic rite. As you’ll find in the Anglican rite, words like: sacrifice, priesthood, and mass are present, but they are ambiguously phrased. For example, “offering sacrifice to God” is not the same as “offering THE sacrifice to God.” Everyone offers sacrifice to God, and the faithful can only offer THE sacrifice through the priest, but without the high priesthood, THE sacrifice to God is impossible. Therefore, there are two types of priesthood: the priesthood of all believers, and the ministerial [high] priesthood. The distinction must be made in favor of the high priesthood, with the understanding that this priesthood represents Christ and not the faithful.

Paul VI’s novel 1968 rite eliminated and abolished the following:

“Receive the power to offer the Sacrifice to God and to celebrate Masses for the living and the dead.”

“Theirs be the task to change with blessing undefiled, for the service of thy people, bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Thy Son.”

“Receive  the Holy Ghost, whose sins you  shall  forgive, they are forgiven them, and  whose  sins you shall retain, they are retained.”(John 20:22)

“Be pleased, Lord, to consecrate and sanctify these hands by this anointing, and our blessing. That whatsoever they bless may be blessed, and whatsoever they consecrate may be consecrated and sanctified in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“For it is a priest’s duty to offer sacrifice, to bless, to lead, to preach and to baptize.”

“The new priests then promise obedience to their bishop who ‘charges’ them to bear in mind that offering Holy Mass is not free from risk and that they should learn everything necessary from diligent priests before undertaking so fearful a responsibility.” 

“That Thou wouldst recall all who have wandered from the unity of the Church, and lead all believers to the light of the Gospel.”

“The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, come down upon you, and make you blessed in the priestly Order, enabling you to offer propitiatory sacrifices for the sins of the people to Almighty God.”

The hatchet job to the rite for bishops is more drastic. It’s also more important than the rite for priests since bishops make priests. If any doubt is found in the episcopacy, then those priests whom they ordain automatically become doubtful. Invalidity must be presumed when there is reasonable doubt. [7]

In Sacramentum Ordinis, Pope Pius XII declared: “But regarding the matter and form in the conferring of every order, by Our same supreme apostolic authority We decree and establish the following:… in the Episcopal ordination or consecration… the form consists of the words of the ‘Preface,’ of which the following are essential and so required for validity: Complete in Your Priest the fullness of Your ministry, and sanctify him, adorned (as he is) with the ornament of all glorification, with the dew of heavenly anointing.

Pope Pius XII’s intention was to settle the matter once and for all to clear up the mess and remove all doubt for priests and bishops. But within 21 years, Paul VI completely changed it all again, especially the rite for bishops. The new rite: “So now pour forth upon this chosen one that power which is from You, the governing Spirit whom You gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by Him to the holy Apostles, who found the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.” [8]

Do the two forms mean the same thing? What do we find in the signification ex adjunctis but more eliminations and abolishment. For instance, the bishop elect was once asked to confirm his belief in each article of the Apostles’ Creed, and if he would, “anathematize every heresy that shall arise against the Holy Catholic Church.”  However, Paul VI’s new ecumenical rite did away with these all important aspects of the rite. Other words and prayers were eliminated in the new rite, such as:

“A bishop judges, interprets, consecrates, ordains, offers, baptizes and confirms.”

And

“Give him, O Lord, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven… Whatsoever he shall bind upon earth, let it be bound likewise in Heaven, and whatsoever he shall loose upon earth, let it likewise be loosed in Heaven. Whose sins he shall retain, let them be retained, and do Thou remit the sins of whomsoever he shall remit… Grant him, O Lord, an Episcopal chair.”

The Anglicans have no problem with new rite because all things absolutely Catholic have been removed. According to sacramental requirements taught as the customary form of the Church by Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII, the new 1968 rite of Holy Orders by Paul VI is lacking that which is required for validity, at least, it appears so. Therefore, serious and reasonable doubt about the validity of the new rite is present and an honest Catholic cannot in good faith accept it. The real kicker is that a true pope can’t do what Paul VI has done, namely, create reasonable doubt about the sacraments. The new rite by Paul VI is the bad fruit Christ instructs his followers to recognize in order that we know and “beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matt. 7:15)

  1. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Georgetown Univ. Press, Vol. 1, p. 542; Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 695
  2. http://www.rore-sanctifica.org/bibilotheque_rore_sanctifica/06-magistere-sacrements/1910-st_pie_10-ex_quo_no_no-substance_des_sacrements/St_Pie_X_Ex_Quo_No_no_26_octobre_1910.pdf3.
  3. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils
  4. Bishops and Reform in the English Church, 1520-1559, by Kenneth Carleton, and The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, by Rama P. Coomaraswamy, pp. 321-322, Apostolicae Curae, Promulgated September 18, 1896 by Pope Leo XIII
  5. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm
  6. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12SACRAO.HTM
  7. Pope Innocent XI, in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679
  8. The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, by Rama P. Coomaraswamy, p. 330

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Apparently after Rev. Shannon Collins made himself look foolish in public through my website, he felt the need to redeem himself. Collins did a two-hour interview with Robert Siscoe in an attempt to debunk sedevacantism. The interview was sent via a member of the Regina Pacis Community lead by Rev. John Rickert, FSSP of Lexington, Kentucky. Below is my open letter to the individual who regarded the interview as the definitive answer against the position of sedevacantism.

Dear _ _ _,

Thank you for providing this interview between Rev. Shannon Collins and Robert Siscoe. I listened to both talks all the way through, and I must tell you that this is one of the most dishonest talks I’ve ever heard on the subject. I’ll admit that it’s clever enough to fool the ignorant Catholic, but I’ll provide the proof why it’s contrary to the law and teachings of the Catholic Church according to the Catholic Church, and not the private judgment and interpretation of Shannon and Siscoe. I will also post this letter on my website for the world to see.

1: In Interview #1, Shannon and Siscoe quoted from Suarez and a French canonist on jurisdiction. Their conclusion was that if a heretical priest can provide valid sacraments (which is true), then such a person has jurisdiction in the Church.

What they fail to do is distinguish between different types of jurisdictions.  If what they say is true then Eastern Orthodox Patriarch heretics/schismatics would maintain their offices within the Catholic Church. Of course, this is absurd. An example would be the Patriarch of Constantinople. His sacraments are valid, but does that mean that he is a member of the Catholic Church? Of course, not.

Priests remain priests forever regardless, but the office of the papacy is an entirely different type of office than that of the priesthood.

The two quoted theologians are entirely incorrect by simple logic.

But then again, Benedict XVI did call these heretical/schismatic Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs, “Pastors in the Church of Christ” because Benedict XVI doesn’t believe the Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church as he plainly admits. So Benedict XVI might agree with Shannon and Siscoe’s reasoning.

2: Canon law was severely misrepresented by Shannon and Siscoe. They brought up the issue of being suspect of heresy, but they failed to give the expert explanations of the following canons which debunk their conclusions.

Vatican approved Professor of Canon Law, Rev. P. Charles Augustine, O.S.B., D.D explained in Canon 2315 that there are three types of suspicion for heretics.

“Violent suspicion amounts to morally certain proof…and is to be considered as a positive proof and therefore rather falls under can. 2314.”

Canon 2314.1, ignored by Shannon and Siscoe, states that all heretics incur ipso facto excommunication.

Augustine explained can. 2314:

“2) The penalties here enunciated are twofold: censure and vindictive penalties; besides, a distinction is drawn, according to can. 2207, n. 1, by reason of dignity, between laymen and clerics.

a)The censure inflicted is excommunication incurred ipso facto, which per se requires not even a declaratory sentence… Note that the term moniti [warnings] (2314 §1, n. 2) does not refer to the incurring of the censure. Consequently, no canonical warning or admonition is required.” (A COMMENTARY ON THE NEW CODE OF CANON LAW, Volume VIII, Book V, Penal Code, Canon 2314, pp. 275-276; B. Herder Book Company, Imprimatur by John J. Glennon, Archbishop of Saint Louis, Friday, August 25, 1922)

The Assisi Events qualify much more than a merely suspicion of heresy. These events are so outrageous that even Rickert called them contrary to the First Commandment, yet Rickert never dealt with the implication of them. These Events, no doubt, fall under the rubric of “violent suspicion.”

Now look at this devastating teaching from another expert in Canon law which Shannon and Siscoe never mention.

Canon 2200.2, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “When an external violation of the law has been committed, malice is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proven.”

“The very commission of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for juridical presumption of heretical depravity… Excusing circumstances have to be proved in the external forum, and the burden of proof is on the person whose action has given rise to the imputation of heresy. In the absence of such proof, all such excuses are presumed not to exist.” (Rev. Eric F. Mackenzie, A.M., S.T.L., J.C.L., The Delict of Heresy, Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1932, p. 35. (Cf. Canon 2200.2)

3: In both interviews, Shannon and Siscoe spend a great amount of time explaining why warnings are absolutely necessary to establish manifest heresy.

First, St. Robert Bellarmine never said a pope is to be warned! They quote the great saint and completely mangle his plain words: A pope who is a manifest heretic automatically (per se) ceases to be pope and head of the Church, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church.  All the early Fathers are unanimous in teaching that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction. St. Cyprian, in particular, laid great stress on this point.”

If it takes warnings and such, then it wouldn’t be automatic and immediate. Once a pope loses his office, of course, he will be judged and punished by the Church. It happens after he’s no longer a member of the Church!

Secondly, another Professor of Canon Law, R. P. Udalricus Beste, O.S.B., I.C.D., explains “Not a few canonists teach that, outside of death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy. In the latter case, a pope would automatically fall from his power, and this indeed without the issuance of any sentence, for the first See [i.e., the See of Peter] is judged by no one.

“The reason is that, by falling into heresy, the pope ceases to be a member of the Church. He who is not a member of a society, obviously, cannot be its head. We can find no example of this in history.” (Introductio in Codicem. 3rd ed. Collegeville: St. John’s Abbey Press, 1946)

Warnings can only be given by superiors and it is up to their discrepancy to decide the fate of their inferiors. All the examples Shannon and Siscoe give from Daly, don’t apply to the papacy at all. They completely confuse the issue between the papacy and everyone else. Nearly an hour is wasted by Siscoe reading from Daly’s work only to misapply it to the subject of sedevacantism. Besides, Daly holds to the position of sedevacantism. Do Shannon and Siscoe really think Daly missed the point, which he spent several pages explaining? If they were going to use Daly’s work, why did they not use his explanation for sedevacantism and debunk that? Instead, they take Daly’s work out of context and used it as a pretext.

4: The approved apparition of Our Lady of Good Success –“Then the Church will go through a dark night for lack of a Prelate and Father to watch over it...”

According to the prophecy, this happens during the 20th century. What could this mean except that the Church will be without a pope? How many prelates and fathers watch over the whole Church? I only know one and he’s called the pope.

Besides, we know this regards the whole Church, because Our Lady is speaking about the collapse of the priesthood throughout the whole Church due to this lack of a prelate and father.

Shannon and Siscoe mention this quote but they don’t deal with it at all. They completely dismiss this particular prophecy altogether as meaning nothing. THIS IS DISHONEST! They even go so far as to say that Our Lady and Heaven are against sedevacantism right after Our Lady clearly teaches it! AMAZING!!!!

5: Shannon and Siscoe sort of reference the prophecy that Rome will lose the faith and drive away the pope, but they don’t tell you the whole thing. It reads, Rome shall apostatize from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. …Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.” (Cardinal Manning, 1861)

Sedevacantism holds that Rome did drive away the Vicar of Christ. It all depends on how you interpret it. Shannon and Siscoe want it to mean that the pope had to flee from Rome and hide somewhere, but that’s not what it says. It could mean that but it doesn’t have to. Our interpretation actually fits the whole thing just fine.

6: The subject of Pope Liberius’ fall from the pontificate was brought up but notice, they didn’t stay on that subject long, because it proves them wrong and us right! After all, Liberius never actually became a heretic, according to St. Robert Bellarmine. However, the saint said that the mere appearance of heresy was enough to reject one as the pope, and it was right to vote in another pope while a true pope lived. What happened to those warnings that were supposed to be given first to establish that Liberius was first a manifest heretic? Was St. Robert Bellarmine contradicting himself? Of course not, because Shannon and Siscoe lied about what St. Robert Bellarmine actually taught concerning the pope.

Warnings are not needed, because no one can warn a pope as if an inferior could do something about it. No one can declare or depose a true pope. That’s the teaching of the Church. The First Vatican Council taught that the pope has jurisdiction over the whole Church, not that the whole Church has jurisdiction over the pope.

Imagine saying, “Hey Pope (X), if you don’t…. we’ll declare and depose you, because we have power over you.” Besides, this is impractical. What if the pope is orthodox, and a council declares the pope a heretic, when in fact the council is heretical, but you the layman don’t know who’s right? Who do you follow? According to Shannon and Siscoe, you would follow the council, because they are implying that the other authorities of the Church have power over the pope. In other words, Shannon and Siscoe are contradicting the First Vatican Council. If the common opinion ever held that the Church can depose a true pope, then the First Vatican Council dispelled that notion for good.

7: Only 5 theologians ever taught that a pope can be a heretic. Shannon and Siscoe mentioned two of them. I know of 3 more. None of them are saints, all of them have been shown to be in serious error by either the popes, saints, or the Vatican approved experts! All 5 of these erroneous theologians actually argue that a pope need not be a Catholic, and Shannon and Siscoe act like that is the correct position despite the numerous teachings from the popes, saints, and doctors.

8: Shannon and Siscoe fail to mention Cum Ex Apostolatus by Pope Paul IV which absolutely destroys every part of their arguments! Pope Paul IV taught that even if a heretic is elected by all the cardinals and is followed in obedience by everyone in the Church, such a person is still not the pope! THAT IS THE DIVINE LAW! It can’t be superseded by anyone or anything.

9: Shannon and Siscoe quote St. Francis de Sales: “Now when he (the Pope) is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See.” (The Catholic Controversy, Tan Books, pp. 305-306)

Shannon and Siscoe argue that St. Francis de Sales was teaching that the Church must deprive or declare the pope deprived before a pope loses his office. THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME ARGUMENT MY BROTHER USED LAST YEAR. Below was one of my explanations to him.

If the pope no longer has the dignity of pope and is no longer Catholic and is out of the Church, what is St. Francis de Sales saying the Church must deprive him from if his apostolic see has already been lost? WAS ST. FRANCIS DE SALES AN IDIOT? No, because the natural occurrence of events should follow. If a pope loses his office, the Church shouldn’t continue to recognize him as pope and allow him to occupy the Lateran. The Church should deprive him and declare him deprived, of course. That doesn’t mean that the antipope must continue as pope UNTIL the Church deprives him and declare him deprived.”

Shannon and Siscoe must think St. Francis de Sales was an idiot, too!

Throughout both interviews, ole Shannon snickers in the background because he thinks that he and Siscoe keep providing the answers against sedevacantism, only they make themselves look like buffoons in the process.

10: Shannon and Siscoe imply that the conciliar popes have not crossed any line of manifest heresy. Oh really?

Ratzinger rejects the Catholic Church’s teaching on inter-religious worship which has more historical and papal teachings than artificial contraception which has the same level of authority. THESE TWO ISSUES ARE ON THE EXACT SAME LEVEL OF MORAL TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH! Would you follow Ratzinger if he believed artificial contraception was good and promoted it as good?

Ratzinger rejects the teaching of the Catholic Church that “The Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church” as taught by Pope Pius XII and the entire history of the Church. The word “subsists” automatically implies that it’s not the same. Again, Ratzinger says the “Church of Christ extends much further than the Catholic Church.” THIS IS AS MUCH A HERESY AS SAYING MARY WAS NOT IMMACULATELY CONCEIVED!

Ratzinger believes that it’s okay for women/girls to assist at the altar during mass. This has been condemned as intrinsically evil by Pope Gelasius, Innocent IV, and Benedict XV. It’s impossible for a true pope to believe as good the intrinsically evil practices of women serving at the altar, JUST AS it is impossible for a true pope to believe as good the intrinsically evil practice of homosexuality. Would you leave Rome if pope Ratzinger said homosexuality is okay? If so, then you must leave for saying it’s okay for women to serve at the altar.

I know how upsetting this is. I used to go to mass daily for over 15 years. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly for a week after I realized all this stuff!

Sincerely,

Steven

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