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In 2014 and 2015, I replied to the argument against sedevacantism that it’s a dogmatic fact that a pope is a valid pope when he’s accepted by the practical universal acceptance of the Church. [1]

Many theologians have taught that God “cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately.” [2] Therefore, it’s argued that sedevacantism is impossible because the practical unanimous consent of the Church recognized as popes, John XXIII and Paul VI.

My rebuttals to the argument in 2014 and 2015 were that the practical unanimous consent of antipope Boniface VII and Pope Paul IV’s teaching that a heretic is not pope even if he’s recognized by the whole Church prove the argument wrong. [3]

Before saying the theologians are wrong, notice that they don’t all say the same thing. Card. Billot says, “whole Church” but doesn’t tell us what “whole Church” includes. If he means every single person, then the argument against sedevacantism doesn’t work. He doesn’t tell us if the acceptance must be absolute or moral.

Rev. Berry says, “practical unanimous consent” but doesn’t tell us if he means unquestionable, moral, implicit, explicit, or legal consent. He doesn’t tell us how the consent must be expressed. Is it by words or tacit? How could we know how it was fulfilled?

If we use the sacraments as an example, we have a moral certitude that they are valid, but not with an absolute certitude. We know that valid form, matter, intention, and minister are needed for valid sacraments. We don’t question the validity of the sacraments unless evidence to the contrary is presented. In other words, when something is found that would invalidate the sacrament. We see examples of this with marriage, which is presumed valid until impediments are presented and annulments granted. When I go to Confession, I presume the priest to be valid. However, if evidence came forward that the priest wasn’t a true priest, there would be a question as to whether my confession was valid. I would want to know all the facts and if the evidence is more than mere hearsay, then the Confession becomes doubtful. You can’t accept a doubtful sacrament as a valid sacrament. We can’t accept a doubtful pope, either, and for the same practical reasons. [4]

Therefore, if Billot and Berry meant an absolute acceptance or unquestionable consent presented in words, then it is possible to reconcile their statements with sedevacantism and the elections of John XXIII and Paul VI.

However one interprets the theologians, it’s only an opinion of theologians and not a Church teaching or law of the Church. The doctrine of opinions, which is not Church doctrine, is not infallible and it’s not binding. [5]

The argument using the opinion of these theologians that the Church can’t be wrong about its pope is further marred by the fact that the whole Church recognized one of the three doubtful popes during the Great Western Schism. Not only was the whole Church in error over the papacy, it was divided over the papacy, which in all practical purposes might be worse than having one false pope. We have another instance in history where the vast majority accepted antipope Anacletus II and the minority accepted Pope Innocent II until St. Bernard of Clairvaux convinced the majority to change positions. By the way, he did this on his own authority.

There’s also the teaching by some theologians that popes can’t be occult heretics. [6] The implication is that if one of the popes in history were an occult heretic, he wouldn’t have been a true pope even though the whole Church recognized him. Perhaps, it would be argued that we’ve never had an occult heretic pope, but how could anyone know? This minority opinion seems to fly in the face of the opinion that God cannot permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimate. Someone might argue that Billot also says “adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” Therefore, the adhesion guarantees no occult heretic. However, Billot didn’t think an occult heretic can’t be a pope, so using his argument doesn’t work.

When I wrote my book, “Papal Anomalies and Their Implications” I noted that the greatest anomaly is the fact the Church has never defined what makes a pope a pope or defined all who have been popes. The Church has recognized popes who were never elected and who were invalidly, unlawfully, and unjustly elected. Since the conclave, the Church has recognized popes who are secretly elected and all we have is the testimony of the cardinals.

All we know for sure is that only a man can be elected. If he’s not baptized, he must get baptized. If he’s baptized, he can’t be a heretic/apostate. That’s about it. We have Pope Hadrian V who was never consecrated bishop, ordained priest, or crowned pope. The minimum age of a pope is not defined either. Pope John XII was elected at 15. Were these true popes? Again, the Church has never defined all who have been true popes.

My belief is that God protects the Church from doctrinal error regardless. Yet, we see so many Catholics accept the heresies of the Vatican 2 popes. How did God protect the Church with John XXIII and Paul VI?

I answer the question this way. There are two aspects to the Church, the faithful and her official teachings. When we say the Church teaches, we don’t mean everyone except the pope. The faithful who are not pertinacious in their errors are not heretics. They remain members of the Church, although, in an abnormal way, because they are worshipping in a non-Catholic new mass. It does seem strange that it’s possible that a vast majority of faithful could be so deceived, but God has allowed it.

I’m reminded of what Rev. M. P. Hill, S.J taught about the future Church after explaining the strangeness of the Great Western Schism: “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. [7]

Many of the faithful didn’t accept the heresies of Vatican 2 because they were unaware of them and those who knew better rejected them. This made the Vatican 2 popes suspect.

What I’m specifically referring to in my statement that God protects the Church is in her official capacity for teaching. Antipopes have no authority to make official teachings. Vatican 2, for example, was not ratified by a true pope. Its teachings are not the Church’s teachings. Division and scandal immediately arose during the council. Although a false pope was practically universally recognized at least morally with silent implicit consent, Vatican 2 was not.

Bishop Blaise Kurz was one bishop at Vatican 2 that rejected the heresies of the Council and ordained Gunther Storch who would later be made bishop by Bishop Guerard des Lauriers. Archbishop Lefebvre said in an interview that 250 bishops supported him in opposition to the council because it had erred. [8]

Going back further, John XXIII’s document Pacem in Terris was rejected by an expert in theology. Rev. Saenz Y Arriaga, Ph.d. (carried 3 doctorates in theology, philosophy, and canon law) questioned/rejected John XXIII as pope and his acts. [9] He was not alone. His friends Frs. Adolfo Zamoro and Moisés Carmona would later be made bishops by Archbishop Thuc. The three Mexican priests suspected Paul VI as an antipope from the beginning. There’s no reason to believe these are the only Catholics in the world who rejected Vatican 2 and the Vatican 2 popes especially since these men had Catholic followers.

The Catholic Church has survived both in doctrine and in the Faithful. The argument using the opinion of the universal acceptance of a pope is crushed by history, a papal bull, and the fact that the faithful, which includes bishops, priests, and theologians, have kept it going.

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/robert-siscoe-caught-in-his-own-trap-against-sedevacantism/

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

[2] Cardinal Billot – Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi Vol I pp 612-613:

“Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope falling into heresy], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately. Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.

Rev. Sylvester Berry: “The practically unanimous consent of the Bishops and faithful in accepting a council as ecumenical, or a Roman Pontiff as legitimately elected, gives absolute and infallible certainty of the fact”. (The Church of Christ, p. 290)

[3] Pope Paul IV’s bull, Cum ex apostolatus  officio of 1559, declared: In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define:] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy: (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless; (ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity)through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation; (iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way; (iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain; (v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone; (vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.

[4] 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….” (The Defense of the Catholic Church, 1927, Fr. Francis X. Doyle, S.J.)

[5] § 7. Theological opinions are free views on aspects of doctrines concerning Faith and morals, which are neither clearly attested in Revelation nor decided by the Teaching Authority of the Church. Their value depends upon the reasons adduced in their favour (association with the doctrine of Revelation, the attitude of the Church. etc.). A point of doctrine ceases to be an object of free judgment when the Teaching Authority of the Church takes an attitude which is clearly in favour of one opinion. Pope Pius XII explains in the Encyclical “Humani generis” (1950): “When the Popes in their Acts intentionally pronounce a judgment on a long disputed point then it is clear to all that this, according to the intention and will of these Popes, can no longer be open to the free discussion of theologians” (D 3013). (Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 9)

  1. Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of the free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally”
  2. Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata). which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church. (Ibid. p. 10)

[6] Ioannes de Turrecremata (Juan de Torquemada), Summa de Ecclesia, lib. 4, pars 2 c. 18, IIIa via;

Francisco Suárez, De fide disp. 9, sect. I, nn. 5, 13, 18 (Opera, vol. 12, pp. 246, 248-249, 250-251);

Luis Molina, Concordia (Ed. crit., Oniæ-Matriti, 1953), p. 3, q. 14, a. 13, disp. 46, n. 18, pp. 283-284;

Charles-René Billuart, Summa sancti Thomæ (ed. Palmé, nova editio), vol. III, diss. 3, a. 2, §IV, pp. 299-301;

Johann Baptist Franzelin, Theses de Ecclesia Christi, th. 23, pp. 402-423;

Michelitsch, §202;

Fraghi, De membris Ecclesiæ, 90;

Stolz, 32;

Journet, vol. II, 1064;

Zapalena, vol. II, 389.

[7] The Catholic’s Ready Answer [1915] p. 287.

[8]  http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/defense/inview.htm

[9] The New Montinian Church, ch xii and xxii. Also, on p. 329, Fr. Saenz Y Arriaga writes: About John XXIII we can say that he tolerated and fostered heresy, although, at least so it seems, he did not undersign and ratify it.

On p. 342, he writes: As time passes and events occur, ail forecasts agree as to the principal evil forces behind it, namely, the deviation and manifest turnabout of the hierarchy and the ambiguous Vatican Council II, which intended to create a new pastoralism without firmly resting it on the immutable dogmas of our Catholic Faith. Both of the last two Pontiffs have indisputably interrupted the harmonious unity of the Church’s Tradition and Magisterium. That is why I have always maintained that as long as we keep on trying to save John XXIII, Paul VI, and their pastoral council, we shall find ourselves in a blind alley.

 

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Today is President’s Day for the United States and I thought a little fascinating video is in order. Abe Lincoln was born in my home state of Kentucky.

 

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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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http://radtradthomist.chojnowski.me/2019/01/vatican-fraud-exposed-sworn-declaration.html

 

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On Oct. 17, 2018, The Remnant Newspaper Blog posted John Salza’s, “Has Pope Francis Lost His Office for Heresy?” [1] If it looked familiar, it’s because it’s a rehash of Salza’s June 9, 2017 article, “Note to Sedevacantists: Heresy Does Not Automatically Sever One from the Church,” which I thoroughly refuted here.

Michael Matt asks in the comment section why sedevacantists attack John Salza if we all agree that Francis is the enemy. To answer Mr. Matt, a reply must be posted elsewhere, since the Remnant Newspaper will censor any sound argument against Salza.

There are two points concerning Matt’s question and Salza’s article, which is a consistent theme in their material concerning papal heresy/loss of office.

The first is how Salza blasphemes Christ and the Catholic Church.

He writes that a Catholic pope, “departs from his predecessors by attacking basic Catholic moral teaching (e.g., indissolubility of marriage; exclusion of adulterers from Holy Communion, etc.).” and “In light of Francis’ unprecedented attacks on Church doctrine and practice, some traditional Catholics, in seeking a solution to this papal crisis, are unfortunately being tempted to embrace the theology of the Sedevacantists.”

He concludes, “Indeed, how a true Pope could promote these evils.” Salza qualified those evils to be “clerical heresy and sodomy disfiguring the Church in an unthinkable way.” 

This is total heresy and blasphemy.  True popes don’t attack Church doctrine and practices and promote clerical heresy and sodomy. A true pope is the rock of truth as Christ and Vatican I declared. It’s upon this truth that sedevacantism (Catholicism) rests. The Gates of hell are not the popes as Salza most emphatically implies they are. See here and here. 

The second point is how Salza picks and chooses which popes of whose authority he will and won’t accept. He tells us how to interpret and accept Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi. However, Salza doesn’t think the Vatican 2 papal teachings at Vatican 2 or their encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, canonizations, or general laws are to be accepted, at least, not all of them.

Salza quotes St. Robert Bellarmine, Revs. Laymann, Billuart, and Sylvester Berry as trusted authorities but utterly rejects as authoritative the teachings of his popes “St.” John XXIII, “St.” Paul VI, and “St.” John Paul II. 

Salza and the Remnant crew have no foundation of authority.

Lastly, Salza does get something right for a change. He writes that popes who openly leave the church would cease to be popes. What Salza gets wrong is what “openly leaves the church” means. He quotes St. Bellarmine on how Novation openly left the Church, but omits Bellarmine’s teaching on Nestorius openly leaving the Church. As I’ve repeated in past articles, St. Bellarmine writes in De Romano Pontifice:

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.

Defecting from the faith is openly leaving the Church. It happens by preaching heresy! The canonists all say this specifically!

Salza quotes Rev. Sylvester Berry on how innocently professing heresy, while wanting to be united to the Catholic Church doesn’t make one a heretic. Salza then applies Berry’s teaching to Francis as if Francis really wants to be Catholic and united to the Catholic Church, therefore, he’s not truly a heretic. The problem is that Salza has already admitted several times that Francis is attacking the Catholic Faith. There’s no reason to believe that Francis wants to be united to the real Catholic Church. He wants his false heretical religion to be called the Catholic Church. The conciliar popes are heretics because they KNOW they are going against the Catholic Faith.

Salza’s argument runs contrary to St. Bellarmine and Pope St. Celestine I’s explanation of Nestorius, who they said “defected from the faith with such preachings [heresy].”

“Defection of Faith” is how anyone including the pope tacitly resigns his office which resignation is accepted in advance by operation of the law, and hence is effective without any declaration. Can. 188.4 

The canonists of the 1917 code have explicitly refuted Salza’s position with canon 188.4 which utterly demolishes his entire argument. That’s why the Remnant completely ignores Can. 188.4 in a serious discussion on the issue. See here for more on Can. 188.4

 

Footnote:

[1] https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/4145-has-pope-francis-lost-his-office-for-heresy

 

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Mr. Hutton Gibson has been most gracious to me over the years. He helped me with my grammar and edited out a hundred typos from my book, “Papal Anomalies and their Implications.”

Happy 100th Birthday, Mr. Gibson!

Godspeed to you!

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First, we’ll briefly look at Calvinism.

Calvinism is a theology named after the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, which is held by many Protestants today such as the Presbyterians, Baptists, and others. One of its principle components is the doctrine of election. In a nutshell, it means that God for all eternity has determined which part of mankind He will save by looking out on the whole horizon of individual persons and giving grace only to a certain number of them to be saved (the elect). In the end, all of these graced given persons will be saved because this grace according to Calvinism is irresistible. The rest of the world God leaves to be damned because He does not give them grace to be saved.

The foundation for this theology is to avoid saying man has anything whatsoever to do with his own salvation. God does it all and He will make it happen.

So when we come to the Scripture passage 1Tim.2:3-4, “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” John Calvin taught in his commentaries that “all men” referred “to classes of men, and not to individual persons.” He understood that if God desired all individual men to be saved, then He couldn’t just leave men to be damned without giving those help through grace. In Calvinism, grace is irresistible and man can’t reject it, therefore, those given grace will be saved and those not given grace will not be saved.

The implication of Calvin’s doctrine is that God positively predestines part of mankind unto damnation. In other words, God created part of mankind for hell, not heaven.

Calvin’s doctrine comes apart at the seams when he attempts to explain in his commentary Matt.11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Concerning this passage, Calvin wrote, “He now kindly invites to himself those whom he acknowledges to be fit for becoming his disciples. Though he is ready to reveal the Father to all, yet the greater part are careless about coming to him, because they are not affected by a conviction of their necessities. Hypocrites give themselves no concern about Christ, because they are intoxicated with their own righteousness, and neither hunger nor thirst (Matthew 5:6) for his grace. Those who are devoted to the world set no value on heavenly life. It would be in vain, therefore, for Christ to invite either of these classes, and therefore he turns to the wretched and afflicted.”

The problem here is the Calvin believed in the total depravity of man’s will after the fall of Adam and Eve. This means that without grace, the will to do good or even desire it is dead in man. A dead man can do nothing for himself. He has not the will to do as he ought. Therefore, God has to awaken the dead will of man or else man can only will to do evil because that is his only desire. Calvin’s theology must assume that absolutely all men are careless about coming to Christ without grace and he can’t hunger or thirst for God’s grace without grace. It would be impossible to set a value on heavenly life with a totally depraved will to do good or desire it. Either all men despise the grace of God or they don’t know about it to despise it.

So while Calvin says, “the greater part [of mankind]” he knows that it has to be all. He is trying to make a distinction that doesn’t exist in his theology to fit the Scripture passage. None of the distinctions he makes above exists in a totally depraved world in his own theology.

But Calvin really drops the ball when he wrote, “we must bear in mind what I have said, that Christ stretches out his hand to all the afflicted, and thus lays down a distinction between his disciples and those who despise the Gospel. But we must attend to the universality of the expression; for Christ included all, without exception, who labor and are burdened, that no man may shut the gate against himself by wicked doubts.”

So it is with Calvin, Christ tells “all, without exception” “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” According to Calvin, Christ knows full well that no one can come to Him without Christ giving them grace to do so and yet He doesn’t give all mankind the grace to do what He asks of them. Christ cries crocodile tears for the lost. He could give them the grace, but won’t do so. He lets them all go to suffer eternal fire because He doesn’t desire all individual persons to be saved. Obviously, we agree that those who go to hell are in rebellion to God and deserve it, but all are in rebellion to God unless God provides the means to be saved. Unless God provides the means, then it must come down to the fact that He created souls for the purpose of suffering the eternal fire of hell.

Calvin’s theology is completely demonic because it really makes Christ Evil on two fronts.

In Catholic theology, God creates all men for heaven. Although, He foresees who will not be saved, He nevertheless gives all men the possibility to be saved through His Grace. There’s a mystery behind how and why man accepts or rejects the grace of God. The fate of unbaptized infants who never had the chance to make a decision appears to conflict with the above statement. However, there’s another point of view here. Since the Church has declared that those who die in original sin only, do not share in the eternal punishment with those who die in actual sin, God has mercy on them by letting them die early because He knows that they will reject Him if given the opportunity. God desires their salvation for He created them to know, love, and serve Him but God’s foreknowledge is also aware that they will not do so. For reasons known only to God, He had a particular mercy on them.

Now we come to Feeneyism. There are different levels of Feeneyism but the one specifically referred in this study is the one that says that any person not baptized by water will be damned.

As the Church grew over the centuries, so did its extension over the earth. In fact, the Roman Catechism states, “the Holy Scriptures inform us that the general judgment will be preceded by these three principal signs: the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, a falling away from the faith, and the coming of Antichrist.”

This means that throughout the Church’s 2000 year history, the Gospel has not always been preached throughout the whole world. The implication is that not everybody since the time of Christ has even known about Him. Keeping in mind that Catholic theology understands I Tim. 2:4 that God desires all men to be saved to mean each and every individual, how do we reconcile this with the fact that not all men have been able to know Christ to be saved? Those ignorant of Christ because of their own doing are different from those invincibly ignorant. The question concerns the invincibly ignorant not the others.

The Feeneyite says all of the invincibly ignorant are damned. If this is so, how is this different from Calvinism concerning Matt. 11:28 that God only provides the possibility to be saved to a certain number of people, which necessarily implies that God created part of mankind for hell?

The case of unbaptized infants wouldn’t apply to all of mankind because of Matt. 11:28, the fact that adults suffer unfathomable suffering in hell, and there’s no reason to think all mankind would have rejected Christ since over time people converted as the gospel spread.

It would seem that God wouldn’t allow a competent adult to die invincibly ignorant. God would have to make Himself known providing an extraordinary way at least to those “sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all heart and ready to obey God” (Pope Pius IX).

However, Feeneyism takes it to the next level because it’s one thing to be ignorant and it’s another to know Him. With Feeneyism, knowing, accepting, and loving Christ is not enough. Some Feeneyites argue that perfect love of God is impossible without the sacrament of Baptism.

In Catholic theology, fallen man needs the grace of God to know, love, and serve Him, which is our very purpose of existence. For the Feeneyites, either one can or can’t know, love, and serve God without Baptism, but Heaven is still out of reach without the sacrament. The implication is that God created souls for the purpose of hell.

In Calvinism, if a man has the grace to desire and do good, he will do good and be saved. With Feeneyism, God may grant the grace to a catechumen who responds by knowing and accepting Christ waiting on the Church to baptize him but God still sends him to hell if he happens to die before then.

The typical Feeneyite will argue that God will send a missionary or a miracle of one to the goodwill persons to be baptized. The problem with this argument is that we have catechumens die before baptism and we aren’t to judge their hearts to be ill-willed. Also, the Church has already taught by implication that the Gospel has not always been preached throughout the whole world. This implies that it is needed in order to reach those of goodwill. Lastly, we have unbaptized saints who shed their blood for Christ.

At this point, one might ask why then should the Gospel be preached throughout the world? The answer is seven-fold:

First, God desires that His Church be established in a normal way.

Second, sanctification is higher with the sacraments.

Third, knowing Christ during life is better than discovering Him only at death.

Fourth, the more we know Christ as we live, the more we can love Him now and forever.

Fifth, the world with Christ is better than a world without Him.

Sixth, the Glory to God is greater with Christ being known, loved, and served on earth.

Seventh, the will of God is not that we discover Him only at death, but as soon as possible.

In conclusion, Calvinism and Feeneyism share the same diabolical character that God desires only a select few to be saved and positively wills the others to damnation. For them, the implication must be that Jesus claims to love and have died for all men but in reality, he taunts and mocks the helpless knowing full well that He created them for nothing but eternal suffering in the lake of fire.

 

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