“David and Goliath” by Gustave Doré (1832-83)
Click below to read the best defense for the position of sedevacantism
Posted in Catholic Answers Live, Catholic Family News, First Vatican Council, John Salza and Robert Siscoe, Sedevacantism, The Remnant Newspaper, Tradition in Action on December 17, 2015| 2 Comments »
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.” 
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 , 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 , 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.
 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)
 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.
This Sunday, conciliar popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized.
Everyone knows that canonizations are infallible, yet Christopher Ferrara, The Remnant crowd, and Tradition in Action know that John XXIII and John Paul II are not saints.
What will they do?
Since the gates of hell can’t prevail, they will either have to acknowledge John XXIII and John Paul II as saints, or they will have to become sedevacantists.
However, I’ll bet they will attempt to discredit the canonizations by claiming the canonization ritual will be faulty somehow. That way they can maintain their position and stay away from sedevacantism.
We’ll leave the light on for them, just in case they come to their senses.
Even though “Tradition in Action” continues to hold to the absurd position that the pope need not be a Catholic, their website does have many great things. Their stories on saints are a must read for every Catholic.
However, one thing that stands out particularly is their Revolution in Pictures section. They literally have hundreds of pictures of the counterfeit Catholic Church operating throughout the world. A couple of times a year I view them, and every time, I shutter when I think about just how evil our world is. How terribly lost most “Catholics” are!
To me, these pictures are but a glimpse of hell on earth. The wickedness is unbelievable.
I showcase 41 images from their site. I’m truly glad that Tradition in Action is doing this valuable, yet dirty work.
Warning! Some are graphic and shouldn’t be viewed by younger people.
“Pope” Francis I and his native land
World Youth Day photos
The Crazy Masses and Priests
Communicatio in Sacris
The Churches of Hell
The Conciliar Popes
Here we are December 2011, and Tradition in Action continues to misrepresent sedevacantism in its latest article, “To Pray or Not to Pray for the Pope.”
While you’re absolutely right that “we can do nothing about any “bad” Pope (real or imagined)… No Catholic on earth is empowered to do anything about a bad Pope, certainly Catholics are unable to “declare” anything, to remove him, or judge him as a non-pope,” you’re absolutely wrong that, “charitable groups of “Sede Vacantists” [think they] are able to do this.”
You quote St. Robert Bellarmine that we may resist a pope who would destroy the Church stating, “This indicates that a Pope may possibly work to “destroy the Church” in some capacity. Yet, he remains the Pope.”
However, St. Robert Bellarmine distinguishes between mere bad popes, and popes who cease to be popes through heresy. In the very same writing, which you omit, the great saint continues,
“Now, a Pope who remains Pope cannot be avoided, for how could we be required to avoid our own head? How can we separate ourselves from a member united to us?
This principle is most certain. The non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits (ib. c. 26). The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member; now he who is not a Christian is not a member of the Church, and a manifest heretic is not a Christian, as is clearly taught by St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2), St. Athanasius (Scr. 2 cont. Arian.), St. Augustine (lib. de great. Christ. cap. 20), St. Jerome (contra Lucifer.) and others; therefore the manifest heretic cannot be Pope…therefore, also the Pope heretic ceases to be Pope by himself, without any deposition…the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head,…For even bad Catholics [i.e. who are not heretics] are united and are members,…but manifest heretics do not pertain in any manner, as we have already proved.”
We most certainly can resist a true pope, who orders one to sin, or tries to destroy the Church through reverie, licentiousness, murder, and war, but a pope who becomes a heretic ceases to be a true pope automatically. St. Robert Bellarmine lays the foundation principle of sedevacantism quite nicely.
Also,the last five conciliar popes never lost their pontificates, because they never had it! Thus, your statement, “Any “anti-popes” you can read about were never, in the first place, legitimate Popes who occupied the Petrine office validly” is precisely the current sedevacant position.
The scholarly Rev. P.C. Augustine, OSB in his commentary on the Code of Canon Law, 1923, whom you quote, also provides the principles of sedevacantism using Canon Law.
It’s not about taking matters into your own hands. It’s about obeying Church law and the Catholic Faith. If you actually followed all of the teachings of the Church and the 1917 Code of Law, you wouldn’t be praying for and resisting what isn’t there, a true pope.
I would like to say that you have one of the best and most informative websites on the web. I especially like your history page and anything written by Dr. Horvat. The story about Antonio Margil is simply awesome! Your pictures of the revolution bring out all kinds of emotions. They are both funny and disgusting. I’m glad you post them for the world to see.
The purpose, however, for this letter is to address your position of resistance against sedevacantism.
You stated, “Even though there is a serious probability that the conciliar Popes can have fallen into heresy and, as such, stop being Catholics before God, they continue to be recognized as Popes before the visible Church. For them to cease to be recognized as Popes, one of two conditions must be met: either the due authority must declare them heretics, or their heresy must become known throughout all the Catholic Church.
Until this happens, they are still Popes before the visible Church.” (TIA Responds to “Your Position of Resistance Is Wrong; Sede-Vacantism Is Right”)
You have clearly demonstrated by your own website that the “conciliar popes” are heretics by their rejection of historic teachings.
These rejections or heresies have been published by the Vatican’s own newspaper, spread all over the internet, and have for all intents and purposes become known throughout the world much less the Catholic Church.
Yet, by your own admission, one of the conditions has been met for them to cease to be popes.
So, why are you still resisting rather than outright rejecting them?
If not, then how must your condition, of a universal known heresy, be met?
Surely, not every single Catholic must know those heresies or else the condition is essentially impossible.
Now, whether everyone recognizes these as heresies is another story.
You continue, “This is a simplistic solution based on an extremely simplistic reasoning: because the Popes fell into heresy they completly lost the papacy, and the entire Church who follows them is no longer Catholic. Like many simplistic solutions, this one is wrong, it cuts the living flesh of the Church, and the new institutions that adopt it run a grave risk of falling into Protestantism.”
Of course, sedevacantists don’t believe the entire Church who follows them is no longer Catholic. Material schism does not make one a non-Catholic. Therefore, Catholic sedevacantists are not cutting the living flesh of the Church, but yet, you do recognize your “popes” who have already been cut away from the Church by automatic anathemas as those living within the Church.
Also, those sedevacantist churches are not new institutions unless they reject the historic faith as well.
However, many of those who call themselves Catholic know the heresies of the “conciliar popes” and still praise them as saints and heroes of the faith. Even the world famous “Catholic Answers Live” radio show has told its listeners to stop reading your (TIA) website since it attacks the pope.
What good is the requirement that the heresy of a pope must be universally known if everyone you hold as living members of the Church believes and supports the same heresies?
Therefore, your understanding of your own required condition is flawed.
You also say that the other requirement is that, “due authority must declare them heretics,” but what authority?
You use Dan O’Connell’s quote, “The fact of the matter is the Pope cannot lose his office unless by an act of God, as Pope Boniface VIII clearly and infallibly teaches in Unam Sanctam (Novemebr 18, 1302): “Therefore, if the temporal power (the State) errs, it will be judged by the spiritual power (the Church); but if a minor spiritual power errs, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all (the Pope) errs, it can be judged only by God, and not by man.”
What if God delays in correcting the situation? Well, we wait and pray and follow what the Church has always taught.” (Sede-vancantism?)
A pope who loses the faith is not the pope.
If a pope could be a heretic until everyone must recognize the heresy or heresies, then you have the gates of hell actually running the Church until it’s recognized. In other words, you would have a non-Catholic as head of the Catholic Church.
Where is your condition found in Church protocol?
If we interpret Unam Sanctum the way O’Connel and TIA does, then we’d be forced to say that Sts. Robert Bellarmine, Francis de Sales, and Alphonsus Liguori were rejecting Pope Boniface VIII.
St. Robert Bellarmine’s resistance approach was for civil matters only. You may resist a pope who would attempt to destroy the church “if” as Bellarmine states, “he tries to kill souls by his bad example” but this quote has nothing whatsoever to do with resisting disciplines, and doctrines.
St. Bellarmine couldn’t possibly be referring to doctrines, disciplines, or laws because in the following chapter in the very same writing De Romano Pontifice, St Bellarmine states as a matter-of-factly that a pope can become a heretic and if he does then he would automatically lose his office. This means that a pope cannot destroy the church by giving us false doctrines, disciplines, etc because he would not be pope if held to false teachings that would destroy the church. It is that simple!
Also, sedevacantists don’t believe the last 5 claimants to the papacy were validly elected in the first place, so the argument is moot anyway.
God corrects the situation by immediately removing a manifest heretic. This is what the Church has always taught.
Therefore, your other required condition also has a major flaw.
Lastly, O’Connell’s argument against sedevacantism with the charge that a “Pope can do no wrong” is a straw-man.
The fact is there is a time for resistance as in the case of Peter’s wrong doing in Galatians or as in the case of Pope Stephen who held a mock trial of the deceased Pope Formosus. My reference to St. Bellarmine’s teaching is the answer for rightly resisting a pope.
However, there is a time for outright rejection of so-called popes as in the cases of antipopes Boniface VII, Anacletus II, and, of course, now, as affirmed by the other teaching of St. Bellarmine.
O’Connell’s argument that Christ was against sedevacantism for recognizing Annas and Caiphas as the High Priests is another straw-man.
He states, “Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the proper example when He said in Matthew (23: 2-3): “The scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say and do not.” No sede-vacantism there.”
Didn’t they reject Jesus?
Now are we to obey them and also reject Jesus because Jesus said to obey them in “all things”?
O’Connell’s interpretation is silly.
He is arguing that sedevacantism is an impossible position and that a pope remains one even if he were to become an apostate.
Even you, TIA, have given conditions on when a pope loses his office. Not so according to O’Connell since he believes that Christ is against sedevacantism under all circumstances.
The Office of the Papacy has a much higher standard than the High Priest of the Old Covenant since the Papacy is that of the Vicar of Christ.
This is why the Church through its Saints, Doctors, and theologians has told us that the popes cannot be heretics since heretics and their heresies are the gates of hell according to Popes Vigilius and Leo IX.
If Benedict XVI, who rejects The Syllabus, and the condemnations against Modernists, is a true pope, then Christ’s promise has failed indeed!
O’Connell’s argument makes a mockery out of Christ’s promise and I’m quite surprised that you posted it.
I will post this open letter on my website and await for your reply.