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Robert Siscoe’s latest article “Pope Celestine III’s Error on the Indissolubility of Marriage” published by the Remnant Newspaper is historically and theologically flawed throughout.

I recently posted a comment after the article from Cardinal Manning who taught precisely the opposite to Siscoe’s conclusion. The Remnant Newspaper removed my comment. In fact, the Remnant Newspaper has removed dozens of my comments over the years that expose their lies and misrepresentations. The Catholic World Report, Crisis Magazine, and others have removed my comments as well. I’m not the only one who gets censored in order that these pseudo-catholic publishers can save face.

Fr. Paul Kramer was also censored by the Remnant after sending a comment correcting all the errors of Siscoe’s article.

Fr. Kramer’s excellent reply proves that CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC are not the only fake news outlets. The outrageous lies published by the Remnant Newspaper are inexcusable.  After being corrected, they remain obstinate in their sin against Christ and the Catholic Faith.

Below is Fr. Kramer’s rebuttal.

I have read the relevant Latin texts of Celestine III, and of Innocent III. They were ruling on two different cases. Gregory (incorporating Celestine’s ruling into Canon Law) ruled that the husband who defected from the faith out of hatred for his wife, thereby forfeited his matrimonial rights, so that the wife was not bound to return to her first husband, but was free to enter the monastic life, even with the husband opposed; and that the husband could marry the former infidel wife, converted to the Catholic faith, only after the death of the first wife.

Innocent ruled on a case referred to him by Bishop Hugo of Ferrara, that the wife of a man who defected into heresy could not remarry. Two entirely different cases. Celestine & Gregory did not rule that the woman could divorce and remarry, but only that she was not bound to return to the first husband, and was free to enter religious life, even against the opposition of her husband, who had forfeited his matrimonial rights. Celestine did make the error of basing his correct ruling on an erroneous interpretation of the Pauline Privilege, and thus condoned the woman’s second marriage — however, his error was not expressed in a magisterial teaching, but was only an erroneous opinion expressed in a legal case, upon which he correctly ruled that the woman was no longer bound to return to the first husband. He expressed an erroneous opinion that the woman’s second marriage was legitimate, but that was not his RULING, but only an erroneous basis for a CORRECT RULING that the woman was free to enter religion against the will of her first husband.

Siscoe’s claim that, “The case eventually reached Pope Celestine III (d. 1198), who considered the matter and judged that the woman should remain in her second adulterous union, rather than returning to her true husband”, is utterly false. Likewise, Siscoe’s claim that Celestine TAUGHT the error in his magisterium [1] is false, and likewise, his claim that Gregory IX incorporated into Canon Law [2] a ruling allowing divorce and remarriage is absurdly nonsensical, and only demonstrates how utterly incompetent he is in Canon Law and Theology.

[1] “The erroneous judgment of Pope Celestine highlights the limitations of papal infallibility by showing that a true Pope can, as part of his teaching office (Magisterium), render a judgment that contradicts divine revelation and confirms a person in objective mortal sin.”

[2]  “Celestine’s Error Incorporated into Canon Law” : “The limitations of Papal Infallibility is further highlighted by the fact that the error of Pope Celestine was later included in the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX (known as Quinque Libri Decretalium), which was the first collection of Canon Law promulgated by a Pope for the universal Church.” And, “this non-infallible papal judgment confirmed a woman in the objective state of adultery.”

Fr. Paul Kramer B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div., S.T.L. (cand.)

 

Siscoe’s article:

 

http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/3047-pope-celestine-iii- s-error-on-the-indissolubility-of-marriage

 

The page of Gregory IX’s Decretals, quoting Celestine III’s ruling:

 

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/cul/texts/ldpd_6029936_002/pages/ldpd_ 6029936_002_00000336.html?toggle=image&menu=maximize&top=199px&left=70px

 

Innocent III’s ruling:

 

Quanto te magis novimus in canonico iure peritum, tanto fraternitatem tuam amplius in Domino commendamus, quod in dubiis quaestionum articulis ad sedem apostolicam recurris, quae disponente Domino cunctorum fidelium mater est et magistra, ut opinio, quam in eis quondam habueras, dum alios canonici iuris peritiam edoceres, vel corrigatur per sedem apostolicam vel probetur. Sane tua nobis fraternitas suis literis intimavit, quod, altero coniugum ad haeresim transeunte, qui relinquitur ad secunda vota desiderat convolare et filios procreare, quod, utrum possit fieri de iure, per tuas nos duxisti literas consulendos. Nos igitur consultationi tuae de communi fratrum nostrorum consilio respondentes, distinguimus, licet quidam praedecessor noster sensisse aliter videatur, an ex duobus infidelibus alter ad fidem catholicam convertatur, vel ex duobus fidelibus alter labatur in haeresim, vel decidat in gentilitatis errorem. Si enim alter infidelium coniugum ad fidem catholicam convertatur, altero vel nullo modo, vel saltem non sine blasphemia divini nominis, vel ut eum pertrahat ad mortale peccatum, ei cohabitare volente: qui relinquitur, ad secunda, si voluerit, vota transibit. Et in hoc casu intelligimus quod ait Apostolus: “Si infidelis discedit, discedat. Frater enim vel soror non est servituti subiectus in huiusmodi,” et canonem etiam, in quo dicitur, quod “contumelia creatoris solvit ius matrimonii circa eum, qui relinquitur.” Si vero alter fidelium coniugum vel labatur in haeresim, vel transeat ad gentilitatis errorem, non credimus, quod in hoc casu is, qui relinquitur, vivente altero possit ad secundas nuptias convolare, licet in hoc casu maior appareat contumelia creatoris. Nam etsi matrimonium verum quidem inter infideles exsistat, non tamen est ratum. Inter fideles autem verum quidem et ratum exsistit, quia sacramentum fidei, quod semel est admissum, nunquam amittitur; sed ratum efficit coniugii sacramentum, ut ipsum in coniungibus illo durante perduret. Nec obstat, quod a quibusdam forsan obiicitur, quod fidelis relictus non debeat iure suo sine culpa privari, quum in multis casibus hoc contingat, ut si alter coniugum incidatur. Per hanc autem responsionem quorundam malitiae obviatur, qui in odium coniugum, vel quando sibi invicem displicerent, si eas possent in tali casu dimittere, simularent haeresim, ut ab ipsa nubentibus coniugibus resilirent. Per hanc ipsam responsionem illa solvitur quaestio, qua quaeritur, utrum ad eum, qui [vel] ab haeresi vel infidelitate revertitur, is, qui permansit in fide, redire cogatur. [Dat. Lat. Kal. Maii 1199.]

 

http://www.kingscollege.net/gbrodie/Timeline%201199%20Quanto%20te.html

 

Pope Innocent III: On the Bond of Marriage and the Pauline Privilege [From the letter “Quanto te magis” to Hugo, Bishop of Ferrara, May 1, 1199]

405 Your brotherhood has announced that with one of the spouses passing over to heresy the one who is left desires to rush into second vows and to procreate children, and you have thought that we ought to be consulted through your letter as to whether this can be done under the law. We, therefore, responding to your inquiry regarding the common advice of our brothers make a distinction, although indeed our predecessor seems to have thought otherwise, whether of two unbelievers one is converted to the Catholic Faith, or of two believers one lapses into heresy or falls into the error of paganism. For if one of the unbelieving spouses is converted to the Catholic faith, while the other either is by no means willing to live with him or at least not without blaspheming the divine name or so as to drag him into mortal sin, the one who is left, if he wishes, will pass over to second vows. And in this case we understand what the Apostle says: “If the unbeliever depart, let him depart: for the brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind” [1 Cor. 7:15]. And likewise (we understand) the canon in which it is said that “insult to the Creator dissolves the law of marriage for him who is left.” [from Isaac406 But if one of the believing spouses either slip into heresy or lapse into the error of paganism, we do not believe that in this case he who is left, as long as the other is living, can enter into a second marriage; although in this case a greater insult to the Creator is evident. Although indeed true matrimony exists between unbelievers, yet it is not ratified; between believers, however, a true and ratified marriage exists, because the sacrament of faith, which once was admitted, is never lost, but makes the sacrament of marriage ratified so that it itself lasts between married persons as long as the sacrament of faith endures.

Summary: 1) Quanto te affirms that true marriage does exist among unbelievers, (notwithstanding the fact that they do not regard marriage as indissoluble.)

2) Quanto te affirms that a marriage between believers is “ratified” because of the”sacrament of faith.” A ratified marriage remains even if one of the partners should renounce their faith.

3) The Pauline Priviledge is affirmed and the groundspermitting the convert to remarry are expanded to include not only

a) convert who have been deserted by the unbelieving spouse, (as per Paul) but also, b) a convert who would be subjected to blasphemy by an unbelieving spouse who remains, or, c) a convert who would be led into mortal sin by a spouse who remains.

How the unbeliever’s blasphemy or drawing to mortal sinamounted to the forteiture of the unbelievers marriage and how these acts were to be proved were not determined by these decretals.

The implication of course was significant: a valid, consummated marriage between Christian and unbeliever was dissoluble.

 

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epic fail 5

 

John Salza’s and Robert Siscoe’s new book, “True or False Pope – Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors” is selling fast according to the authors. They boast that the first print is almost sold out and claim the scales are now falling from the eyes of some (former) sedevacantists. They recently wrote an article claiming the book hasn’t been refuted, yet all their recycled arguments were answered long before their book was published. In my last post, I demonstrated how Salza/Siscoe’s book has already been refuted by Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi. In this post, more catastrophic errors will be presented.

Salza/Siscoe’s main argument hinges on how the loss of office occurs. Canon law defines it. Not once in 700 pages did Salza/Siscoe present an expert’s commentary on canon 188.4 because no canonist supports them. Salza/Siscoe use their private judgment on how the canons are to be interpreted.

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.”

Salza/Siscoe argue the following four points.

1. Loss of Office from canon 188.4 is a severe vindictive penalty.

Salza/Siscoe write:

The sin of heresy alone, which has not been judged and declared by the Church, does not result in the loss of ecclesiastical office for a cleric. The loss of office for a cleric is a vindictive penalty, and there is a process in Church law which must precede vindictive penalties….

This also means that the loss of office for a cleric must be imposed (ferendae sententiae) by Church authority [70] which makes the loss of office a “vindictive penalty.” Footnote 70 – In the old 1917 Code, there was an exception to this rule for the more severe vindictive penalty (canon 188, §4). This topic will be discussed at the end of this chapter. (True or False Pope – Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors, p. 260, emphasis mine.)

Salza/Siscoe are entirely refuted by Fr. Gerald McDevitt. His work “The Renunciation of an Ecclesiastical Office,” published by Catholic University of America, is an invaluable resource for those interested in understanding the loss of office. On pp 115-117, McDevitt writes:

In treating of public defection from the faith, Coronata notes that the tacit renunciation which results in consequence of this defection is not strictly the effect of penal sanction. 10 (Institutiones, IV, n. 1864.) This statement is quite true. Certainly the tacit renunciation cannot be considered a penalty for a religious profession, which according to canon 188, n.1, effects a tacit renunciation. There is certainly nothing in such an act that would warrant a penalty. Even with regard to the acts in canon 188 which constitute crimes the writer believes that the tacit renunciation is not inflicted as a penalty. This fact seems quite clear to the writer, especially in view of the manner in which the Code refers to the tacit renunciation in the canons which treat of penalties. The quotation from the following two canons will serve to demonstrate the distinction that the Code makes. Canon 2168, § 2, in treating of the procedure against non-resident clerics, states the following:

In nomitione Ordinarius recolat poenas quas incurrunt clerici non residents itemque praescriptum can. 188, n. 8…

Canon 2314, in dealing with the crime of those who are guilty of heresy or apostasy, reads as follows:

§ 1,3. Si sectae acatholicae nomen dederint vel publice adhaeserint, ipso facto infames sunt et, firmo praescripto can. 188, n. 4, clerici, monitione incassum praemissa, degradentur.

The same procedure is followed in the other canons which make mention of a tacit renunciation. It is plainly evident that a distinction is being made between the threatened or enacted penalty on the one hand, and the tacit renunciation called a penalty. It is always set off in a separate ablative absolute clause when it is enumerated with penalties. For this reason the writer is of the opinion that a tacit renunciation is not to be classified as a penalty. The authors do not expressly designate it as a penalty, but they do list it along with the penalties when they consider the juridic effects consequent upon specific crimes. 11 (Vermeerch-Creusen, Epitome, III, 513; Coronata, Institutiones, IV, nn. 2178, 2196.

The direct purpose of this discussion was to demonstrate that cardinals are subject to the prescriptions of canon 188. Concomitantly the presentation of the arguments served the further purpose of clarifying that in this canon the law is not imposing a penalty, but is rather accepting the specified acts as tantamount to an express renunciation of office. It may here be noted also that a tacit renunciation and a privation of office are very similar, but that the law nevertheless consistently places them in different categories.

Fr. McDevitt continues under “Conclusions” page 156:

8. A tacit renunciation of an ecclesiastical office is not a presumed resignation; it is a true resignation admitted by the law as equivalent to an express renunciation.

9. A tacit renunciation of an ecclesiastical office is not a penalty, even though some of the acts which effect such a renunciation are criminal acts. Therefore, Cardinals are subject to the prescriptions of canon 188.

Salza/Siscoe, who arrogantly and obnoxiously attack sedevacantism on canon law, are proven wrong by the experts and it gets worse for them in the following points.

2. Public defection means joining another religion, public heresy alone doesn’t qualify.

Salza/Siscoe:

(Note that “public heresy” and “public defection from the faith” are two different things. Sedevacantists have failed to grasp this point when they attempt to apply canon 188, §4, to the conciliar Popes.)…

As we will see below in our discussion on canon 188, §4, the old 1917 Code of Canon Law taught that in the extreme case in which a prelate publicly defects from the Faith by joining a non-Catholic sect, he is deposed without the need of a declaratory sentence. (ibid. p. 281)

Tacit resignation for public defection from the faith occurs when a prelate joins a non-Cathlic sect, not when he simply makes a heretical statement (judged so by private judgment). Canon 2314, §3 confirms this… (Ibid. p. 286)

In an article, titled, A Point-By-Point Refutation of Mario Derksen on Nestorius A Case of “Cherry-Picking” Theology and “Butchering” Canon Law, Salza/Siscoe write:

Speray needs to show us where “Rev. Augustine explains ‘tacit resignation’ in canon 188.4 is public heresy, not just joining another religion,” or he needs to retract his statement. Will he?

We have searched Fr. Augustine’s book thoroughly and found nothing that corroborates Speray’s claim. We’ve found a total of two references to Canon 188.4 in the entire book. One is found in the quotation we cited (page 280, footnote 13), and the other is on page 276.

Salza/Siscoe claim to have thoroughly searched and found nothing that corroborates my claim, yet Fr. Augustine writes in his commentary under canon 188.4 on page 161:

(4) Defection from the Catholic faith, if public, deprives one of all ecclesiastical offices he may hold; not, however, mere schism, if unconnected with heresy.

Fr. Augustine doesn’t mention joining another religion. He simply says office is lost by heresy, if public, schism doesn’t suffice by itself.

On page 86, in his “A practical commentary on the Code of canon law,” professor of canon law, Fr. Stanislaus Woywod translates c. 188.4 defection of faith:

(4) If a cleric has publicly lapsed from the Catholic Faith.

On page 139, from “The Renunciation of an Ecclesiastical Office,” Fr. Gerald McDevitt writes:

The defection of faith must be public. It is to be noted immediately that adherence to or inscription in a non-catholic sect is not required to constitute the publicity that the canon demands.

See below for McDevitt’s full commentary that defines defection of Faith as simply heresy and apostasy under canon 1325.

Very Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac taught in his “General Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law,” pp. 349-350:

Loss of Ecclesiastical Offices. Canons 185-191 “applies to all offices, the lowest and the highest, not excepting the Supreme Pontificate.” (p. 346)

(d) Public defection from the faith, by formal heresy or apostasy, with or without affiliation with another religious society. The offense must be public, that is, generally known or liable to become so before long. (Can. 2197.)

Salza/Siscoe quote Ayrinhac on deposition for canonical crime, but fail to quote him on canon 188.4 concerning the loss of office and public defection of faith. Whenever Salza/Siscoe see something from a canonist that doesn’t corroborate with their position, they simply ignore it and search out whatever appears to be in their favor to win the argument.

I’ve already shown in past articles what Pope St. Celestine and St. Robert Bellarmine say on defection of faith. Again, St. Robert Bellarmine:

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.

Nestorius didn’t join another religion, yet he defected from the faith by heresy alone! Many more examples could be given.

3. Canonical warnings are necessary before Can. 188.4 is effective.

Salza/Siscoe:

As we will see below in our discussion on canon 188, §4, the old 1917 Code of Canon Law taught that in the extreme case in which a prelate publicly defects from the Faith by joining a non-Catholic sect, he is deposed without the need of a declaratory sentence. Nevertheless, the formal deposition would have to be preceded by a canonical warning (to confirm pertinacity), but it would not require a declaratory sentence of the crime. (ibid p. 281)

The reason why Salza/Siscoe think warnings are necessary is because they erroneously hold that loss of office is a vindictive penalty where warnings play a part in the punishments. However, Salza/Siscoe admit on page 45 that warnings are not always necessary. They write in footnote 40:

40 “Neither is it always demanded in the external forum that there be a warning and a reprimand as described above for somebody to be punished as heretical and pertinacious, and such a requirement is by no means always admitted in practice by the Holy Office” (De Lugo, disp. XX, sect. IV, n. l57-158, cited in “Essay on Heresy,” by Arnaldo da Silveira).

However, Salza/Siscoe claim on the same pages of their book that the pope is the exception to the rule, but they don’t cite the full context of De Lugo who continues…

For if it could be established in some other way, given that the doctrine is well known, given the kind of person involved and given the other circumstances, that the accused could not have been unaware that his thesis was opposed to the Church, he would be considered as a heretic from this fact… The reason for this is clear because the exterior warning can serve only to ensure that someone who has erred understands the opposition which exists between his error and the teaching of the Church. If he knew the subject through books and conciliar definitions much better than he could know it by the declarations of someone admonishing him then there would be no reason to insist on a further warning for him to become pertinacious against the Church.

So while Salza/Siscoe admit that other clerics wouldn’t always need canonical warnings because they should know better, the pope would always need canonical warnings even though he should know better, too. That’s the kind of logic Salza/Siscoe use in their futile attack against sedevacantism.

Canon laws clearly spell out how canonical warnings always come from superiors. Popes might be warned, but not canonically, because canonical warnings can’t be given to popes.

Popes and cardinals don’t suffer ecclesiastical penalties found in the penal legislation of the Fifth Book of the Code of Canon Law. Therefore, they don’t get warned. More importantly, Canon 1556 tells us: The First See is judged by no one. Yet, Salza/Siscoe keep arguing that popes can be judged for crimes, issued canonical warnings, and then suffer ecclesiastical penalties for those crimes. It is one absurdity heaped upon another absurdity.

Canon 188 is not a penalty. It requires no warnings because it’s a tacit resignation.

4. Professing public heresy is not openly and publicly leaving the Church.

Salza/Siscoe:

As we will see below in our discussion on canon 188, §4, the old 1917 Code of Canon Law taught that in the extreme case in which a prelate publicly defects from the Faith by joining a non-Catholic sect, he is deposed without the need of a declaratory sentence. Nevertheless, the formal deposition would have to be preceded by a canonical warning (to confirm pertinacity), but it would not require a declaratory sentence of the crime. In fact, this extreme case may be what Bellarmine was actually referring to in De Romano Pontifice, when he wrote:

“This is the opinion of all the ancient Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: ‘He would not be able to retain the episcopate, and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’ According to what St. Cyprian affirms in this passage, even had Novatian been the true and legitimate Pope, he would have automatically fallen from the pontificate, if he separated himself from the Church.

This is the opinion of great recent doctors, as John Driedo (lib. 4 de Script. et dogmat. Eccles., cap. 2, par. 2, sent. 2), who teaches that only those separate themselves from the Church who are expelled, like the excommunicated, and those who depart by themselves from her or oppose her, as heretics and schismatics. And in his seventh affirmation, he maintains that in those who turn away from the Church, there remains absolutely no spiritual power over those who are in the Church. Melchior Cano says the same (lib. 4 de loc., cap. 2), teaching that heretics [those who have turned away from the Church] are neither parts nor members of the Church, and that it cannot even be conceived that anyone could be head and Pope, without being member and part (cap. ult. ad argument. 12).”131

By referring to heretics as those who “separate themselves from the Church,” who “turn away from the Church,” and who “depart by themselves from her,” Bellarmine is referring not to those who merely profess a heretical proposition, but to those who openly leave the Church (no longer accepting the Church as the rule of faith). (ibid. pp. 281-282)

Professing heresy is openly leaving the Church and no longer accepting the Church as the rule of faith. All heretics “separate themselves from the Church,” “turn away from the Church,” and/or “depart by themselves from her.”

As proved in Part II of this series, Pope Pius XII declared in Mystici Corporis Christi that the sin of heresy severs an individual from the Body of the Church by its very nature. A severed individual cannot hold office in the Church. Salza/Siscoe deny the pope’s teaching. 

At the end of this study, Fr. Gerald McDevitt explains in, “The Renunciation of an Ecclesiastical Office” why Salza/Siscoe are wrong again.

Most Reverend Eric MacKenzie wrote on page 19 in his – “The Delict of Heresy”:

The heinousness of apostasy and heresy is found in the fact that misbelieve or unbelief is a blasphemous imputation of error deceit to God Himself. A further blasphemy is at least implicit, in that the apostate or heretic thinks, or seems to think, that he has some means of distinguishing truth from error, which operates more certainly and more infallibly than does God’s own Infinite Intelligence. Hence, sins against faith are basically blasphemies against God Himself. As such they are considered, next to odium Dei, the most heinous that man can commit. Nor is there any essential distinction between the guilt of heresy and of apostasy, since the same blasphemy is implicit in both.

Nowhere in Bellarmine’s above paragraphs do we see that joining another sect is a necessary requirement for defection of faith. In fact, we’ve already seen how St. Robert Bellarmine taught that Nestorius defected from the faith by heresy, and not joining another religion. Salza/Siscoe/SSPX etc. are so bent on not seeing the truth, that they twist simple concepts into absolute nonsense and think they’ve won the argument.

Because no expert canonist supports Salza/Siscoe, they dig themselves a deeper grave by using Novus Ordo non-canonist Rev. Brian Harrison for support on canon 188.4. Salza/Siscoe write:

What exactly does the canon mean by “publicly defected from the Faith”? The Sedevacantists interpret it to mean that if they privately judge a Pope to be a heretic, he has therefore “publicly defected from the faith,” which means his See (Sede) is vacant (vacat: hence sede vacante). But is this really what the canon under tacit resignation means? No, not at all. To quote Fr. Brian Harrison:

“Canon 188, §4 states that among the actions which automatically (ipso facto) cause any cleric to lose his office, even without any declaration on the part of a superior, is that of ‘defect[ing] publicly from the Catholic faith’ (‘A fide catholica publice defecerit’). However, to ‘defect publicly’ from the faith, in this context, clearly means something a lot more drastic than making heretical (or allegedly heretical) statements in the course of public speeches or documents. This particular cause of losing an ecclesiastical office is found in that section of the Code dealing with the resignation of such an office (cc. 184-191), and is part of a canon which lists eight sorts of actions which the law treats as ‘tacit resignations.’ In other words, they are the sorts of actions which can safely be taken as evidence that the cleric in question does not even to want to continue in the office he held up till that time, even though he may never have bothered to put his resignation or abdication in writing.”136

A simple review of the explanation of this canon, as found in the canonical manuals, explains precisely what the Church means by “public defection from the faith.” The statement does not apply, as Fr. Harrison correctly notes, to a person who merely makes a heretical statement. Public defection from the faith refers to a prelate who publicly joins a false religion, either formally or informally.

This is tacit resignation recognized by law (Canon 188.4) and therefore the vacancy is one de facto et iure [by fact and by law].”138

Tacit resignation for public defection from the faith occurs when a prelate joins a non-Cathlic sect, not when he simply makes a heretical statement (judged so by private judgment). Canon 2314, §3 confirms this when it provides:

“Canon 2314: (3) if they have joined a non-Catholic sect (Si sectae acatholicae nomen dederint) or publicly adhered to it (vel publice adhaeserint), they are ipso facto infamous, and clerics, in addition to being considered to have tacitly renounced any office they may hold, according to canon 188.4, are, if previous warning proves fruitless, to be degraded” (emphasis added). Furthermore, as noted above in Canon 2314 and in the quotation from Fr. Augustine, even in this extreme case in which a cleric publicly defects from the faith by joining a non-Catholic sect, the prelate must be duly warned before being degraded or “deposed.” Thus, even when a cleric openly leaves the Church (by joining another religion), thereby abandoning his office (which is de facto vacant due to his “tacit resignation”), he must first be warned by ecclesiastical authority before he is formally deposed (or degraded) by the Church.

This is also confirmed by Fr. Ayrinhac’s commentary on the 1917 Code, wherein he notes that a cleric who “formally affiliates with a non-Catholic sect, or publicly adheres to it” is only deposed after being warned. Wrote Fr. Ayrinhac:

“If they have been formally affiliated with a non-Catholic sect, or publicly adhere to it, they incur ipso facto the note of infamy; clerics lose all ecclesiastical offices they might hold (Canon 188.4), and after a fruitless warning they should be deposed.”139 [Footnote139] Ayrinhac, Penal Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law, p. 193. Note: “A deposition is an ecclesiastical vindictive penalty by which a cleric is forever deprived of his office or benefice and of the right of exercising the functions of his orders.” Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), vol. IV, p. 737. (ibid. pp. 284-286)

Clearly, canon 188, §4 in no way supports the Sedevacantist position, since: 1) none of the conciliar Popes have publicly defected from the faith by joining a non-Catholic sect; and, 2) they have not been warned (which the canon requires before deposition, or “degradation” occurs). Without even addressing whether or when canon law applies to the Pope, the foregoing analysis demonstrates that the Sedevacantists’ effort to commandeer this canon in support of their thesis is categorically misapplied and thus completely erroneous. It also demonstrates why such critical issues are left to the public judgment of the proper authorities in the Church, and not the private judgment of individual Catholics in the street. (ibid. p. 287)

We just read Salza/Siscoe’s private interpretation of canon law and their misunderstanding of Very Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac’s commentary. They state, “A simple review of the explanation of this canon [188.4], as found in the canonical manuals, explains precisely what the Church means by “public defection from the faith.”

Yet, they don’t cite a single manual on canon 188.4 because not a single canonical manual claims that public defection from the faith requires adherence to a non-Catholic sect.

On pp. 136-140 in “The Renunciation of an Ecclesiastical Office” Fr. Gerald McDevitt clarifies defection of faith in canon 188.4:

Since it is not only incongruous that one who has publicly defected from the faith should remain in an ecclesiastical office, but since such a condition might also be the source of serious spiritual harm when the care of souls is concerned, the Code prescribes that a cleric tacitly renounces his office by public defection from the faith. Prior to the Code the law imposed a privation of office and benefice on a cleric for such a crime. This penalty was certainly imposed upon those clerics who were publicly guilty of heresy and of apostasy, but because of two apparently contradictory laws it was disputed whether the penalty applied also to those who were publicly guilty of schism. The present law attaches a tacit renunciation instead of a privation of office to a public defection from the faith. Since canon 188, n. 4, uses a general terminology, it necessary to determine the meaning of defection of faith and also to determine the extent of publicity that is required if the act of defection is to become the basis for a tacit renunciation of office.

Since three specific crimes, namely, heresy, apostasy and schism, will enter this discussion, it is necessary to give the definitions of them as found in the Code. These definitions are contained in canon 1325, §2, which reads as follows:

Post receptum baptismum si quis, nomen retinens christianum, pertinaciter aliquam ex veritatibus fide divina et catholica credendis denegat aut de ea dubitat, haereticus; si a fide Christiana totaliter recedit, apostate; si denique subess renuit Summo Pontifici aut cum membris Ecclesiae ei subiectis communicare recusat, schismaticus est.

These definitions are quite clear. Apostasy is a total defection from the faith, while heresy is only a partial defection, but as MacKenzie remarks (The Delict of Heresy in Its Commission, Penalization, Absolution, The Catholic University of America Canon Law Studies, n. 77 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1932), p. 19), they are essentially the same, since the rejection of any one truth involves the same blasphemous attitude towards God that is involved in a denial of all the truths.

The authors are not in agreement as to whether schism is to be included in the meaning of the term “defection of faith,” as used in canon 188, n. 4. Augustine, Blat, Toso and Coronata do not regard schism as constituting a defection from the faith as understood in canon 188, n. 4. since schism as such does not essentially militate against the possible retention of the faith even in its entirety. Maroto, Vermeersch-Creusen, Cocchi and Sipos, on the other hand, consider schism pure and simple as sufficient to constitute a defection from the faith and hence to call for the application of the sanction enacted in canon 188, n. 4. Heneghan includes those who are guilty purely of schism in his interpretation of the clause, “qui notorie aut catholicam fidem abjecerunt,” in canon 1065, § 1. The expression which Heneghan interprets in this manner is substantially the same as the expression employed in canon 188, n. 4, which reads as follows: “A fide catholica publice defecerit.”

According to the strict interpretation of the words contained in canon 188, n. 4, and of the definition of schism, it must be admitted that the canon does not indisputably comprehend the condition of pure schism, since in its essence schism does not denote defection from the faith, but rather connotes a violation of obedience and charity. However, one could doubt that the law intends to exclude the consideration of schism from this canon, for in canon 2314, §1, n. 3, which provides penalties for the public adherence to a non-catholic sect, cognizance is taken of canon 188, n. 4, with the words “firmo praescripto can. 188, n. 4.” Since the wording of canon 2314, § 1, n. 3, applies to a schismatical sect as well as to a heretical one, and since the application of canon 188, n. 4, is confirmed in this canon, on could reasonably be led to conclude that the wording of canon 188, n. 4, means to comprise also the condition of pure schism.

In practice it will be extremely rare that a case of pure schism will arise, for almost invariably and all but inevitably some heresy will be joined to it. This is especially true since the time of the solemn definition of the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. If, however, there should arise a case of pure schism on the part of a cleric, the writer believes that the cleric would not lose his office by a tacit renunciation since the sanction of canon 188, n. 4, is of but doubtful efficacy in view of its questionable comprehension of the condition of pure schism, and especially since the effective application of that sanction involves the forfeiture of a vested right.

The defection of faith must be public. It is to be noted immediately that adherence to or inscription in a non-catholic sect is not required to constitute the publicity that the canon demands. The defection must be public according to the definition of publicity which is found in canon 2197, n. 1:

Delictum est publicum, si iam divulgatum est aut talibus constigit aut versatur inadiunctis ut prudenter iudicarit posit et debeat facile divulgatum iri.

The authors are in agreement that this is the type of publicity postulated for making the defection a public one. Thus the defection from the faith may be public by reason of the fact that it is already known to a notable part of the community. The law does not prescribe any special number as being necessary to constitute a notable part of the community. Determination of this point is left to man’s prudent judgment. Besides being public by reason of actual divulgation, the defection from the faith may be public also because of the fact that the circumstances force one to conclude that it will be easily divulged in the future. Thus if even only a few loquacious persons witnessed the defection from the faith, or if the sole and only witness was a taciturn person who later threatened to divulge the crime because of an enmity that has arisen between him and the delinquent, the delict would be public in the sense of canon 2197, n. 1.

A cleric, then, if he is to occasion the tacit renunciation of his office, must have defected from the faith by apostasy or heresy in a public manner according to the explanation just given. Since the writer holds the opinion that tacit renunciation is not of the nature of a penalty, he holds also that the prescriptions of canon 2229 concerning excusing causes with reference to latae sententiae penalties do not apply to the case of a tacit renunciation of office on the part of a cleric who has perpetrated the act which is mentioned in canon 188, n. 4. Thus the writer believes that even if it were thinkable that a cleric was excused from incurring excommunication involved in a defection from the faith in view of the prescriptions of canon 2229, § 3, n. 1, he still would lose his office by a tacit renunciation. In this regard a tacit renunciation is like an irregularity, which, while in many respects it looks like a penalty, is nevertheless not a penalty in a truly canonical sense.

John Salza and Robert Siscoe have been proven wrong about Nestorius, Cardinal Billot, St. Robert Bellarmine, Popes Pius XII and St. Celestine, the Councils of Constantinople IV and Vatican I, the four marks of the Church, and now the canonists have thoroughly refuted and exposed their canon law folly. They have lied about sedevacantism and sedevacantists, like Cekada, Derksen, and me.

Just like the devil who was defeated at the Cross but continues with the lies and bringing millions of souls down to hell with him, Salza/Siscoe will continue to write more ridiculous articles, brag about how many souls they’ve converted, how many books they’ve sold, and how awesome they’re arguments are by telling everyone that their book has never been refuted.

The next installment of this series will deal with Salza/Siscoe’s huge omissions in their book against sedevacantism. These omissions prove sedevacantism, the reason why Salza/Siscoe don’t have them in their book.

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Michael Matt is the editor of the anti-sedevacantist newspaper The Remnant. Below is how his endorsement of Salza/Siscoe’s book reads. [1]

“For 50 years we at The Remnant have fought against the false conclusions of the Sedevacantist thesis. We have insisted that, despite the revolution, the Church is still ours–our castle, our home, our mother and we cannot abandon her. Taking their lead from St. Athanasius during the Arian crisis, John Salza and Robert Siscoe have elevated the discourse of this pivotal debate to an entirely new level that encourages Catholics to keep the old Faith and fight for our Church under siege. This book serves notice to the occupiers of the Catholic Church: Traditional Catholics are not going anywhere. We’ll stay and we’ll fight until all of “our buildings” are in the hands of Catholics once again.”

-MICHAEL MATT
Editor, The Remnant newspaper

Mr. Matt begins by saying the conclusion of sedevacantism is false and ends by endorsing the conclusion of sedevacantism.

The conclusion of the sedevacantist thesis is that Francis and his supporters have the Church under siege and have taken over “our buildings.”

Salza/Siscoe’s book is saying Francis I and his supporters are Catholic.

During the Arian heresy, the Arians were not members of the Catholic Church. It’s the sedevacantists that follow St. Athanasius’ lead, who taught to shun the Arians and to avoid those who worship with Arians even though they themselves hold to the true Faith. (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 26, pp. 1185D-1188C) [2]

Michael Matt is one of those that worship with the new Arians today as he condemns the position of St. Athanasius that sedevacantists are following.

 

Footnotes:

[1]True or False Pope Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors
[2] Latitudinarian Maxims – The Divine Law on Catholic Communication in Religion with Non-Catholics, p. 49, Steven Speray, Confiteor.

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“David and Goliath” by Gustave Doré (1832-83)

Click below to read the best defense for the position of sedevacantism

The Gates of Hell and the Gates of the Church

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The above image is Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople as seen in Northern tympanon, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Click below, then click again to read…

Canon 10 of the Fourth Council of Constantinople

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Cincinnati Archbishop John Baptist Purcell
Addressed the issue on the papacy at the First Vatican Council

1. The First Vatican Council declared “this See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error.” [1]

The fathers of the First Vatican Council found forty papal errors before declaring the See of Peter always remains unimpaired by any error. The context of the council’s declaration concerns salvation by adherence to the teachings of the Catholic Faith, which includes theological conclusions, dogmatic facts, declarations, definitions, condemnations, laws, and disciplines. However, theological opinions are not part of the Catholic Faith and popes can err in opinions where the Church hasn’t made an official pronouncement.

For instance, in 1336 AD, Pope Benedict XII officially defined that the blessed souls of the dead “see the face of the triune God immediately after death.” However, in a homily five years earlier, Pope John XXII taught the blessed souls do not attain the Beatific Vision until after the General Judgment. This only constituted a theological opinion in his day because the particular judgment had not yet been defined. Therefore, Pope John XXII erred, but not against the Catholic Faith, which defined the teaching after Pope John’s death. The First Vatican Council certainly recognized how John’s erroneous theological opinion didn’t deny a formal Catholic teaching, thus John’s pontificate was truly unimpaired by any errors against the Catholic Faith.

Since popes always remain unimpaired by any error against the Faith, they need never to be judged, warned, or declared to have gone against the Faith. Those who argue that such a pope would need to be warned assume that a pope can be impaired by error in order to be warned. This theological opinion, found in the teachings of John of St. Thomas, Cajetan, and Suarez, is now considered heresy by the First Vatican Council’s declaration. If ever a pope should publicly go against the faith, he would lose his office at the moment of his error since he can’t err and remain pope at the same time. As seen in footnote [1], Vatican I taught in the address about the pope:The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.

Those who argue that a declaration is needed before the faithful are to ignore, resist, or reject the fallen pope assume either the faithful are to be in union with an antipope until a declaration, which is absurd, or that a defected pope remains pope until the declaration, which is a blunt denial of Vatican I and the Catholic Faith.

Since the Vatican 2 popes are impaired by errors against the Catholic Faith [2], they can’t be true popes, or the First Vatican Council is wrong and the Catholic Faith is just another false religion.

All so-called traditionalist Catholics, such as the SSPX, and their publications and websites, such as The Remnant, Catholic Family News, and Tradition in Action necessarily reject the Catholic Faith, and the infallible teaching of the First Vatican Council’s declaration that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error.

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[1] Vatican I declared, “For the fathers of the Fourth Council of Constantinople, following closely in the footsteps of their predecessors, made this solemn profession: ‘The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true Faith. For it is impossible that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Who said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ (Matt. 16:18), should not be verified. And their truth has been proved by the course of history, for in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept unsullied, and its teaching kept holy.’ …for they fully realized that this See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord and Savior made to the prince of his disciples, ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou has turned again, strengthen thy brethren’ (Luke 22:32)

So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair, that they might administer their high duty for the salvation of all; that the entire flock of Christ, turned away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished on the sustenance of heavenly doctrine, that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one, and relying on her foundation might stay firm against the gates of hell.”

The topic of a pope becoming a heretic was addressed at the First Vatican Council by Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, Ohio: “The question was also raised by a Cardinal, ‘What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?’ It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.

“If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, ‘I believe in Christ,’ etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.” (The New Princeton Review, Volume 42 p. 648, also The Life and Life-work of Pope Leo XIII. By James Joseph McGovern p. 241)

 

[2] Many examples can be provided to establish the fact that Vatican 2 popes are impaired by errors against the Catholic Faith. However, the following two suffice:

[a.] The Church of Christ is not one in Faith…because the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are not one and the same thing. False religions and their members form part of the Church of Christ in the external forum. For example: The 1993 Balamand Statement approved by John Paul II on May 25, 1995, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, declared:

13. In fact, especially since the panorthodox Conferences and the Second Vatican Council, the re- discovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church – profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops – cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.

14. It is in this perspective 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. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavour of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).

[b.] Communicatio in Sacris is condemned by Sacred Scripture and runs contrary to the divine law, which is why the Catholic Church has many times proscribed interreligious worship through law and decree as being an abomination (like Benedict XVI worshipping with Muslims in a Mosque and with Lutherans in Lutheran churches, John Paul II worshipping with a Zoroastrian priestesss in 1986, and Francis I worshipping with Jews, Muslims, Protestants, etc.). The Second Vatican Council, nevertheless, approves and encourages joint religious events, while the conciliar popes made ecumenism a priority of the highest order and took such great pains to showcase before the whole world events like Assisi I, II, and III. The latest Assisi Events in 2011 exhibited a Voodoo warlock singing to the goddess Olokun in front of an altar in a Catholic basilica. Following the customs of Voodoo possession, the warlock asked to be possessed by the goddess.

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Steven Speray responds to Robert Siscoe and The Remnant

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The Remnant’s Fiasco

Note: The above article is a revised edition. I revised it because I wanted to be fair with Robert Siscoe who thought I misrepresented him. The original article had Siscoe’s name on the title. He asked me to remove his name and then threaten me if I didn’t. Out of charity I removed his name. His threats meant nothing as I told him over the phone.

Since then, Siscoe has posted a note of his own against me claiming: After Mr. Speray read the following refutation of his piece, he entirely re-written his original article and reposted it on his website.

This is not true. I didn’t entirely rewrite the article. I actually kept nearly all of the original. I had to change the following: THIRD ERROR: The automatic penalty of excommunication for clerics is in the internal forum only. Because Siscoe claimed he never said it. However, I have a witness who will testify that Robert Siscoe did in fact say it and then lied about it when I posted the article.  Siscoe continues…

He provided his readers with no indication that he made any changes. In fact, he retained the original date.  The completely revised article is now posted on Novus Ordo Watch with the original title and original date. This is this sort of dishonest tactic that causes many to doubt the sincerity and honesty of the Sedevacantists. The original version was saved by this author and is available upon request.) I have the original to prove it. 

Siscoe was sent my revised version BEFORE he published his version and then makes these accusations.

Siscoe and Salza are big hypocrites who do what they denounce others for doing or what they falsely claim others are doing.

I have the original version of the article, too. I don’t take back anything I said in the original.

Since the publication of this article, Robert Siscoe wrote a reply titled “Answering a Sedevacantist Critic.” I wrote a response to his silly piece here:

https://stevensperay.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/steven-speray-responds-to-robert-siscoe-and-the-remnan1.pdf

 

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