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Archive for the ‘Sedevacantism’ Category

 

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

Continuing…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The very next question…

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

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

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

 

 

 

Footnotes:

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

[2] (On the Roman Pontiff, 30)

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

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

[5] THE GREAT BIBLICAL COMMENTARY OF CORNELIUS À LAPIDE

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is his reasoning:

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

Answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…John Salza on Sedevacantism – Part 2

 

 

Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

[6] ibid.

 

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Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that God positively wills the diversity of all religions? [1]

The Vatican 2 apologist says, “It is heresy and contrary to Catholicism that God positively wills the diversity of all religions. However, Pope Francis didn’t say ‘positively’. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t mean positively wills it.

The average Catholic responds, “You need to give him the benefit of the doubt because the text logically implies a positive will and you hope he doesn’t mean what he plainly says. How about all those ‘Catholics’ out there who read the document as it stands and understand Francis to mean ‘positively’ wills and agree with it? Are they not permitted to believe as the pope by the words he uses to make declarations? Can the pope be the source of error where the entire flock of Christ is poisoned with heresy because of his faulty words (but he didn’t mean what he says)? ”

Every Vatican 2 “Catholic” should be asked the following questions:

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that the Blessed Virgin Mary wasn’t born a saint and that she has defects as the Church? [2]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that Jesus had to beg forgiveness from Joseph and Mary? [3]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that sins of the flesh are the least serious sins? [4]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that religious liberty to blaspheme Christ in public is a God-given civil right? [5]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that the visible Church is divided in faith and that Protestant religions are part of the one Church of Christ? [6]

Are you permitted to believe as “Pope” Francis that there’s no Catholic God? [7]

Or is the Pope the only one permitted to believe in these abominable heresies?

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://novusordowatch.org/2019/02/apostasy-francis-diversity-of-religions/

[2] https://novusordowatch.org/2018/12/francis-denies-immaculate-conception/

https://novusordowatch.org/2013/09/francis-church-has-flaws-like-mary/

[3] https://novusordowatch.org/2015/12/francis-says-jesus-sinned/

[4] https://novusordowatch.org/2019/02/francis-least-serious-sins-flesh/

[5] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/rev-brian-harrison-responds-to-my-article-on-patrick-madrid-and-religious-liberty/

[6] https://novusordowatch.org/2015/11/francis-all-baptized-members-of-church/

https://novusordowatch.org/2018/06/francis-world-council-churches/

https://novusordowatch.org/2018/03/catholic-church-world-council-of-churches/

[7] https://novusordowatch.org/2013/10/no-catholic-god-francis/

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The following 12 arguments made against sedevacantism have a flip-side, which works against the one making the argument. The purpose of this work is not to refute or give credence to the argument. It merely shows that sedevacantism exists precisely because the flip-side of the argument actually came first.

 

1. Argument: The Church can’t go 60 plus years without a pope.

Flip-side: The Church can’t go 60 plus years with heretical popes.

 

2. Argument: The Gates of Hell have prevailed if the Vatican 2 popes aren’t true popes.

Flip-side: The Gates of Hell are running the Catholic Church if the Vatican 2 popes are true popes.

 

3. Argument: Theologians said universal acceptance makes for a true pope.

Flip-side: Theologians say heretics can’t be popes.

 

4. Argument: Sedevacantists are divided over which popes are true.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo Catholics are divided over dogmas of the Faith.

 

5. Argument: Apostolicity is only found in bishops with ordinary jurisdiction.

Flip-side: No one in the Novus Ordo religion has ordinary jurisdiction.

 

6. Argument: Sedevacantists haven’t elected a pope.

Flip-side: The Novus Ordo religion hasn’t elected a pope who’s Catholic.

 

7. Argument: Sedevacantists privately judge that there’s no pope.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo “Catholics” privately judge that their popes err in good faith.

 

8. Argument: Sedevacantists reject the teachings of theologians on universal acceptance.

Flip-side: Novus Ordo “Catholics” reject the teaching of theologians on what makes a person a formal heretic.

 

9. Argument: Sedevacanism is a form of Protestantism.

Flip-side: Protestantism is revered by the Vatican 2 popes who promote and uphold Protestant beliefs.

 

10. Argument: Sedevacantism didn’t exist until the 1960’s.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 religion didn’t exist until the 1960’s.

 

11. Argument: Sedevacantists have left the Church.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 religion left Catholicism.

 

12. Argument: Sedevacantists reject Vatican I’s teaching on perpetual succession after Peter until the end of time.

Flip-side: The Vatican 2 popes reject Vatican I’s teaching: a). to reject and condemn [all] the errors contrary to Catholicism. b.)  that the “meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.”

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One main argument in defense of the Vatican 2 popes is that they err in good faith. In other words, they aren’t pertinacious.

A recent commenter named “Xavier” on this site admitted that Benedict XVI’s belief, practice, and promotion of inter-religious worship was “mad.”

A few examples of Benedict’s inter-religious acts include:

          Benedict XVI prayed in a mosque with Muslims as Muslims (barefoot with arms  crossed) towards Mecca on Nov. 30, 2006.

          On March 14, 2010, in a Lutheran temple in Rome, Benedict XVI preaches on the anniversary of the joint declaration on justification which implied that the Lutheran religion is part of the one Church of Christ and the visible Church is divided. In 1983, John Paul II went to the same Protestant temple for the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth.

          On September 23, 2011, Benedict XVI met with the Lutheran council in Erfurt, Germany and celebrated an ecumenical service in the chapel of the Lutheran monastery of St. Augustine. Benedict bowed towards their empty altar and prayed alongside a woman bishop.

            The 2011 Assisi Events witnessed Voodoo Warlock Wande Abimbola from the Nigerian Yoruba Voodoo sect singing a hymn to the goddess Olokun and calling her down to be possessed by her (which apparently happened) at the Assisi Basilica of Holy Mary of the Angels. Benedict XVI promoted this event giving demons a place of honor in a Catholic Church.

I challenged Xavier to tell me what this means concerning his pope. Is Benedict XVI a dummy, mad, pertinacious, or possessed? His reply was that he erred in good faith, “without pertinacity.”

In other words, Xavier is saying his pope is a big dummy. Poor Benedict the great theologian of Vatican 2 and pope of the same religion didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong. Of course, Xavier knows better, as does every Catholic from children to adults whether Novus Ordo, SSPX, or sedevacantist.

To say Benedict was erring in good faith is like saying a priest who celebrates sodomite “marriages” is erring in good faith. It’s absurd! There is no excuse for him.

Benedict is no dummy! He is a trained theologian and these acts are clearly and unambiguously contrary to the Faith. They are so clear that every Catholic knows better. Xavier’s reply shows that he doesn’t want to accept the reality that his now ex-pope is a radical heretic.

When it’s obvious that someone is knowingly going against the Catholic Faith, pertinacity is presumed. For the sake of the argument, if Benedict really was erring in good faith, it’s not to be presumed. 

St. Robert Bellarmine makes this point when he taught,

“For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly be taken from him: for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple, and condemn him as a heretic.” (De Romano Pontifice, II, 29)

Since pictures speak louder than words, would it be right for Catholics to presume the clerics in the following links are erring in good faith? (WARNING: GET BARF BAG READY!)

A priest who advocates celebrating sodomite marriages: https://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A778-Ibero.htm

Six bishops concelebrating mass with two female Protestant ministers: >https://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A771-Romaria.htm

A priest promoting lesbian art in a Cathedral: https://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A808-Lesb.htm

“Cardinal” Schonborn inviting a transvestite to speak at the Vienna Cathedral (not to mention the dozens of other things he has done): https://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A759-Concha.htm

A priest inviting a drag queen to deliver the homily at mass and raise the Chalice after consecration: https://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A712-Drag_Br.htm

Why would we presume these “clerics” are innocently promoting these abominations? And if we don’t presume these clerics are erring in good faith, why would we grant that presumption to the Vatican 2 popes in their abominations? By the way, the Vatican 2 popes are doing absolutely nothing about the thousands upon thousands of abominations by their clerics. Instead, the Vatican 2 popes install sodomy friendly bishops all over the place and the homosexual problem is getting worse.

By saying they are erring, you’re admitting that you know better (as all Catholics know better). If you know better, how can trained theologians acting as popes not know better?

As always with these Vatican 2 pope defenders, everyone has to believe in the Catholic Faith except the pope.

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The Catholic Church has never answered the question, but I think it’s safe to say that it can’t go on indefinitely. What we do know is that the Church can exist a very long time without a pope. I thought we should revisit the question since the old accusation against sedevacantism keeps coming up despite the fact it’s been dealt with many times.

One of the longest interregnums in church history was three and half years between the death of Marcellinus in 304 and the election of Marcellus I in 308. It appears that we may have had a much longer interregnum in church history. Case in point is the Great Western Schism. Which side had the true pope?  The Church has never answered the question. It’s generally held that the Roman line was the true line. However, it’s been argued that there were no true popes throughout that whole period.

Rev. Francis X Doyle, S.J. explains: “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….” [1]

Rev. M. P. Hill, S.J taught in his The Catholic’s Ready Answer [1915]:

“The Great Western Schism, as it is generally named by historians, furnishes an interesting illustration of succession established with absolute certainty after a period of what was considered in some quarters as doubtful succession. The schism lasted thirty-nine years. The first of the Popes whose title was questioned was Urban VI (1378)…There can be no doubt that a lawful successor to the See of Rome was appointed in the person of Martin V, by whose election the schism was healed. The point we insist on is that there has been a succession of legitimate pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XV. If during the entire schism there had been no Pope at all — that would not prove that the office and authority of Peter was not transmitted to the next Pope duly elected. [2]

Fr. Hill says the schism lasted 39 years because he was going by Pope Martin’s election date in 1417. However, there were other papal claimants during that year. Benedict XIII was the Avignon Pope and was deposed by the Council of Constance in 1415. Can popeless councils legitimately depose true popes? A doubtful deposition deposing a doubtful pope doesn’t remove all doubt. Doubt about the Benedict XIII papacy might still exist until his death in 1423. Clement VIII was elected June 10, 1423 to replace Benedict. He later abdicated on July 26, 1429 and recognized Martin V, thus ending the Great Schism without a doubt. Some believe the schism ended after Benedict XIII was deposed and Martin was elected as Fr. Hill believed. If you go by Clement’s abdication and recognizing Martin, that would put the schism at 51 years.

Regardless, 39 or 51 years, we have two reputed authorities teaching that the Church can go for a very, very long time without a pope.

We also have another eminent theologian and professor (chosen by several different bishops to be their theologian at different Synods) who wrote about the Great Western Schism. Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly taught that an “interregnum covering the whole period” was not “impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ.” [3] Perhaps, one should consider seriously what he says on page 287 of his book.

“The great schism of the West suggests to me a reflection which I take the liberty of expressing here. If this schism had not occurred, the hypothesis of such a thing happening would appear to many chimerical [unrealistic]. They would say it could not be; God would not permit the Church to come into so unhappy a situation. Heresies might spring up and spread and last painfully long, through the fault and to the perdition of their authors and abettors, to the great distress too of the faithful, increased by actual persecution in many places where the heretics were dominant. But that the true Church should remain between thirty and forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head, and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be. Yet it has been; and we have no guarantee that it will not be again, though we may fervently hope otherwise. What I would infer is, that we must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. We know with absolute certainty that He will fulfil His promises; not allow anything to occur at variance with them; that He will sustain His Church and enable her to triumph over all enemies and difficulties; that He will give to each of the faithful those graces which are needed for each one’s service of Him and attainment of salvation, as He did during the great schism we have been considering, and in all the sufferings and trials which the Church has passed through from the beginning. We may also trust He will do a great deal more than what He has bound Himself to by His promises. We may look forward with a cheering probability to exemption for the future from some of the troubles and misfortunes that have befallen in the past. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree.

 

Footnotes:

[1]The Defense of the Catholic Church, 1927, Fr. Francis X. Doyle, S.J.

[2] https://archive.org/details/catholicsreadyan00hill/page/n10

[3] (Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly, The Relations of the Church to Society – Theological Essays, 1882) http://www.cmri.org/02-long-term-vacancy.shtml

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Both the pseudo-traditionalists “Catholics” and the Eastern “Orthodox” have attempted to argue against the position of sedevacantism using Pope Pius IX’s Etsi Multa document [1] .​ They claim Pope Pius IX condemned sedevacantism over a century ago. The relevant passage of the document reads:

Further Heresies

They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters.  Incredibly, they boldly affirm that the Roman Pontiff and all the bishops, the priests and the people conjoined with him in the unity of faith and communion fell into heresy when they approved and professed the definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council. Therefore they deny also the indefectibility of the Church and blasphemously declare that it has perished throughout the world and that its visible Head and the bishops have erred. They assert the necessity of restoring a legitimate episcopacy in the person of their pseudo-bishop, who has entered not by the gate but from elsewhere like a thief or robber and calls the damnation of Christ upon his head.

Yet they do not blush to call themselves Catholics and Old Catholics, while in their doctrine, novelty, and number they show themselves in no way to be either old or Catholic. Certainly the Church rises up with greater right against them than it once did through Augustine against the Donatists. Diffused among all people, the Church was built by Christ the Son of the living God upon the rock, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail, and with which He Himself, to Whom all power in heaven and on earth is given, said He would be with until the consummation of the world. “The Church cries to her Spouse: Why do certain men withdrawing from me murmur against me? Why do these lost men claim that I have perished? Announce to me the length of my days, how long I will be in this world? Tell me on account of those who say: it was and is no longer; on account of those who say: the scriptures have been fulfilled, all nations have believed, but the Church has apostatized and perished from all nations. And He announced and the voice was not vain. What did He announce? ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Moved by your voices and your false opinions, it asked of God that He announce to it the length of its days and it found that God said ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Here you will say: He spoke about us; we are as we will be until the end of the world. Christ Himself is asked; He says ‘and this gospel will be preached in the whole world, in testimony to all nations, and then will come the end.’ Therefore the Church will be among all nations until the end of the world. Let heretics perish as they are, and let them find that they become what they are not.”[8]

Pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” and Eastern “Orthodox” claim that sedevacantists are just “Old Catholics” with a new name.

As usual, these anti-sedevacantists fail to make key distinctions, which prove they don’t know what they are talking about.

Contrary to the belief of “Old Catholics”, Catholic Sedevacantists do not hold that the Roman Pontiff can fall into heresy when teaching a doctrine for the whole Church. I personally don’t think the pope can fall into heresy at all.

Catholic Sedevacantists don’t believe there was a Roman Pontiff at Vatican 2, or that all the bishops necessarily fell into heresy at Vatican 2, or there’s no Church among all nations.

What’s most bizarre about this accusation is how both psuedo-traditionalist “Catholics” and Eastern “Orthodox” actually do believe Vatican 2 is heretical and was approved and promulgated by a Roman Pontiff. The pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” are more like the “Old Catholics.”

As for Eastern “Orthodoxy,” they are just the precursors to Protestantism. You’ll find both using the same absurd and blasphemous arguments against the Catholic Church. In this case, it’s a straw-man argument against sedevacantism.

 

Footnote:

[1] Etsi Multa http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9etsimu.htm

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Many may be unaware that the majority of theologians maintain that the destruction of the buildings and even the complete uninhabitability of the city of Rome itself would in no way necessitate the destruction of the Roman local Church.

When Catholics say Rome has defected or fallen, they mean the majority of clergy and laymen, not necessarily every single person.

We might say the Church in England apostatized during the Protestant Revolt because of the Archbishop of Canterbury along with the vast majority left the faith. However, quite a few people remained faithful including many priests. Therefore, in one sense, the Church of England fell, but in another sense, it did not fall, because part of the Church still existed in the Catholic remnant.

We might even say the whole Church has apostatized, but we don’t mean it in the sense that contradicts the dogma of indefectibility. We simply mean the vast majority of clergy and laymen. There are still thousands if not millions of Catholics all around the world.

In the cities around me, Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll find pockets of devout Catholics holding the Faith. Every year, Catholics pop up within 15 miles from my home that no one within our community knew exited.

In the past, the faithful survived Japan without priests for 300 years. Korea was founded by laymen who stumbled upon Catholic materials left by the Chinese and Japanese. “The Spirit breatheth where he will and thou hearest his voice: but thou knowest not whence he cometh and whither he goeth. So is every one that is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8).

Since these facts are true, there’s no reason to believe that there’s absolutely no one left in the Eternal City. In fact, there are over a dozen Catholic communities operating openly all across Italy, including a seminary. It just so happens that one of those communities is the Oratorio San Gregorio VII located in Rome less than a half mile from the Vatican.

It has been held by the Catholic Church that the vast majority of Catholics will leave the faith at the end of time, including those in Rome. There are many different opinions among theologians how this will happen, but all agree that it will happen. Cardinal Manning tells us, “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.” [1]

Manning continues, The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts so new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatize from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism.” [2]

In no way does this opinion contradict the First Vatican Council’s decree on the indefectibility of the Roman Church, when you understand everything properly.

Each and every time the First Vatican Council refers to the “Roman Church” it does so inseparably from the Roman Pontiff, whether it concerns the permanence of the primacy of Peter in the Roman Pontiff, or on the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, or the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff.

The Council makes it abundantly clear that the Roman Pontiff is what makes the Roman Church pre-eminent and mother of all Churches.

Indefectibility of the Roman Church is secured by papal infallibility. What’s interesting about the dogma of infallibility of the Roman Pontiff is that theologians have speculated about what happens if the pope should fall into heresy as a private theologian, because as a private theologian, the man and not the papal office falls.

Through the Roman Pontiff’s charism of infallibility, the Roman Church never falls.

Where the Pope is, there is the Roman Church. Even when the Chair of Peter is vacant, the Roman Church exists in view of the successor who is awaited. The office never disappears. Therefore, the Roman Church never disappears.

When the popes ruled in Avignon, France, they were still the Bishops of Rome. The Pope is always the Bishop of Rome regardless as to where he is located.

Often Catholics say, “The Church teaches…” which means “the Roman Church teaches…” which really means “the Pope teaches…” Therefore, the Roman Pontiff is the Roman Church in the practical application thereof.

When we speak about the Church’s indefectibility, we aren’t necessarily talking about the people. The Church must have bishops. The primary reason why we say England defected is due to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other English bishops. The one faithful Cardinal and Bishop, St. John Fisher was martyred.

Indefectibility of the Roman Church lies in the Roman Pontiff and the ability to have future Roman Pontiffs.

Lastly, an antipope sitting in Rome doesn’t mean the Church has defected. Many antipopes have sat in Rome, but they aren’t sitting in the Chair of Peter.

Pontrello points to the dubious prophecy of LaSallette (which was condemned by Rome) that, “Rome will become the seat of the antichrist” and then states, “As already shown, proposing that the Holy See can defect at the end of time is heresy…”

This prophecy (although not approved) of LaSallette wouldn’t mean the Holy See defects. A proposed antichrist sitting in Rome is no different than an antipope sitting in Rome.

The pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church is Peter who forever lives, presides, and exercises judgment in his successors.

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861, London: Burns and Lambert, pp. 79.

[2] ibid. p. 88.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Death Penalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Holy Week is here and we’re about to see a bunch of R&R sedevacantists apply the law of epieikeia to the 1955 missal of Pope Pius XII. Their reasoning is simple. They have passed judgment on the decision of the Apostolic See and therefore have done exactly what is forbidden by the First Vatican Council when it infallibly declared:

  1. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful [52], and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment [53]. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon [54].

Not only has Vatican I declared that its judgments are not to be judged, it also declared that:

  1. For in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished.
  2. That this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error.

Therefore, no judgments can be made without rejecting the above two declarations. See Should the 1955 Missal Be Rejected?

Unfortunately, R&R sedevacantists have determined by private judgment against Pope Pius XII that the 1955 missal:

  1. Has false principles and practices.
  2. Marginalizes the Social Kingship of Christ.
  3. Is naturalistic.
  4. Undermines the proof of Christ’s Resurrection
  5. Undermines the proof of malice Jews had for Christ after His death.
  6. Leads to the New Mass.

R&R sedevacantists also reject the fast law of Pope Pius XII where he extended the Lenten fast on Holy Saturday to midnight and they reject the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the same pope established on May 1st of the liturgical calendar.

 

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