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On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See

By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Our conference on the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the sedevacantist position, is most important, for it is a theological position which is very misunderstood, often misrepresented, and emotionally difficult for many groups. But before we proceed on this topic, it is paramount to stress that it is because of our belief in the Papacy and in Papal Infallibility that we necessarily must reject Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI as legitimate Popes. Many accuse us of rejection of the papacy. That is furthermost from the truth.

In our earlier conference, we made reference to the main errors of religious indifferentism, false ecumenism and religious liberty which have infected the Conciliar Church of Vatican II. It is for us to demonstrate that the true Catholic Church—the Pope and the Bishops in union with him—could not promulgate such errors to the universal Church, and that no true Pope could promulgate a defective liturgy (Novus Ordo Missae) and a sacrilegious law (1983 Code of Canon Law 844.3 and 4 Communion to non-Catholics). It is for us to demonstrate that men who promulgate heresy are heretics; and as such, they lose the authority in the Church

Although we can consider many different aspects of our position with the papacy, it will be sufficient for us today to limit our studies to a few main premises upon which our conclusion (the vacancy) rests.

The first premise to consider is the infallibility of the Catholic Church. What is this attribute of the Church? How does it provide clear and compelling evidence against Benedict XVI and the Conciliar Church?

The attribute of infallibility means the inability and impossibility of the Teaching Magisterium to err when teaching the universal Church on matters of faith and morals. As Vatican Council I taught:

“Moreover, by divine and Catholic faith everything must be believed that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, and that is proposed by the Church as a divinely revealed object of belief either in a solemn decree or in Her ordinary, universal teaching.”

The possessors of infallibility are:

a) the Pope,
(The Pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra).

b) the whole Episcopate,
(The totality of the Bishops in union with the Pope is infallible, when they, either assembled in general council or scattered over the earth, propose a teaching of faith or morals as one to be held by all the faithful).

Many are familiar with the concept of infallibility in the “ex cathedra” pronouncements of the Pope and also in the decrees of an Ecumenical Council, but they are not familiar with the concept of the infallibility of “the ordinary, universal magisterium of the Church.”

What is the ordinary, universal magisterium?

For a clear and concise answer, we read in The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott:

“The bishops exercise their infallible teaching power in an ordinary manner when they, in their dioceses, in moral unity with the Pope, unanimously promulgate the same teachings on faith and morals. The Vatican Council expressly declared that also the truths of Revelation proposed as such by the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are to be firmly held with ‘divine and catholic faith’ (D 1792). But the incumbents of the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are the members of the whole episcopate scattered over the whole earth. The agreement of the Bishops in doctrine may be determined from the catechisms issued by them, from their pastoral letters, from the prayer books approved by them, and from the resolutions of particular synods. A morally general agreement suffices, but in this the express or tacit assent of the Pope, as the supreme Head of the Episcopate, is essential.”

Clearly, the Vatican II church, Benedict XVI (with his predecessors, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) and the Vatican II bishops have promulgated in their “ordinary and universal magisterium” the errors of religious liberty, false ecumenism and religious indifferentism. This has been the constant theme of the Conciliar Church for the last 40 years!

And in particular, with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae and the sacrilegious Canon 844, 3 and 4, we find it an impossibility that a true pope could have officially enacted such an erroneous liturgy and legislation. When we consider the area of infallibility, we find the object of the Church’s infallibility is two-fold as described by Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

a) “The primary object of the Church’s infallibility is the formally revealed truths of Christian Doctrine concerning faith and morals.

b) “The secondary object of the Church’s infallibility is truths of the Christian teaching on faith and morals, which are not formally revealed, but which are closely connected with the teaching of Revelation.”

Included in the secondary object of infallibility are the following:

  1. theological conclusions;
  2. dogmatic facts;
  3. the general discipline of the Church;
  4. approval of religious orders;
  5. canonization of saints.

Why must these areas be objects of the Church’s infallibility?

An excellent explanation is found in Christ’s Church, by Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D.:

“The charism of infallibility was bestowed upon the Church so that She could piously safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation, and thus could be in all ages the teacher of Christian truth and of the Christian way of life.”

“It is evident from Christ’s promises that the magisterium, the teaching office of the Church, was endowed with infallibility so that She might be able to carry out her mission properly, that is, to safeguard reverently, explain confidently, and defend effectively the deposit of faith.”

“The security of the deposit requires the effective warding off or elimination of all error which may be opposed to it, even though only indirectly. This would be simply impossible without infallibility in the matters listed above.”

Here it would be well for us to focus on a further explanation of the secondary object of infallibility, in the area of the general discipline of the Church.

Once again, let us read from Christ’s Church, by Van Noort:

“The Church’s infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain. By the term ‘general discipline of the Church’ are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living.”

“The imposing of commands belongs not directly to the teaching office but to the ruling office; disciplinary laws are only indirectly an object of infallibility, i.e., only by reason of the doctrinal decision implicit in them. When the Church’s rulers sanction a law, they implicitly make a two-fold judgment: 1) ‘This law squares with the Church’s doctrine of faith and morals;’ that is, it imposes nothing that is at odds with sound belief and good morals. This amounts to a doctrinal decree.”

Proof:

“—From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might safeguard the whole of Christ’s doctrine and be for all men a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. But if the Church could make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer be either a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. It would not be a guardian of revealed doctrine, for the imposition of a vicious law would be, for all practical purposes, tantamount to an erroneous definition of doctrine; everyone would naturally conclude that what the Church had commanded squared with sound doctrine. It would not be a teacher of the Christian way of life, for by its laws it would induce corruption into the practice of religious life.

—From the official statement of the church, which stigmatized as ‘at least erroneous’ the hypothesis that the ‘church could establish discipline which would be dangerous, harmful, and conducive to superstition and materialism.’”

“The well-known axiom,Lex orandi est lex credendi(The law of prayer is the law of belief), is a special application of the doctrine of the Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters. This axiom says in effect that formulae of prayer approved for public use in the universal Church cannot contain errors against faith or morals.”

How could the Catholic Church continuously renew the unbloody Sacrifice of Calvary in the Holy Mass and then abruptly substitute it with a Lutheran ”memorial of the Last Supper?” How could the Catholic Church so firmly legislate in her laws against interfaith and intercommunion, as fostering religious indifferentism, and then suddenly abrogate these laws and permit these undertakings?

Are we to suppose that the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, has suddenly changed His mind and allowed contradictions in matters of the Faith, the Mass and her universal laws? Are we to suppose that Christ suddenly abandoned His Church and let her fall into error and heresy>

Yet, it is primarily this issue of infallibility that divides those who call themselves traditional Catholics. Some traditional Catholics reject the errors of false ecumenism and religious liberty of the second Vatican Council, the new Protestant memorial of the Last Supper—the Novus Ordo Missae—and the heresies of the New Code of Canon Law (1983) and yet insist that the very authors of these errors are still Christ’s representatives here on earth. In reality, they say that the Living Teaching Magisterium of the Church has erred and has led the majority of Catholics into error, and continues to err. Such a conclusion is nothing less than to deny the infallibility of the Church.

There can be no doubt that the Conciliar Church has erred. Not only in 1965 at the conclusion of Vatican Council II, but also for the past thirty years in its ordinary universal magisterium. How can it be any more clear — this Conciliar Church is not the Catholic Church!

As Pope Leo XIII taught in Satis Cognitum:

“If the living magisterium could be in any way false—an evident contradiction would follow, for then God would be the author of error”.

And also the First Vatican Council (1870), in the Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, infallibly taught:

§213 “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) would 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…”

§216 “… For they fully realized that this See of St. Peter always remains untainted 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).

“Now this charism of truth and of never-failing faith was conferred upon St. Peter and his successors in this Chair, in order that they might perform their supreme office for the salvation of all; that by them the whole flock of Christ might be kept away from the poison of error and be nourished by the food of heavenly doctrine; that the occasion of schism might be removed, the whole Church preserved as one, and, secure on its foundation, stand firm against the gates of hell.”

Unfortunately, there are some who would falsely claim that popes have officially erred in the past; they refer to Pope Honorius and Pope Liberius. However, this is simply not true. To refute this, we read from the book The Vatican Council and its Definitions by Cardinal Henry Manning (1870):

“I will, nevertheless, here affirm, that the following points in the case of Honorius can be abundantly proved from documents:

  1. That Honorius defined no doctrine whatsoever.
  2. That he forbade the making of any new definition.
  3. That his fault was precisely in this omission of apostolic authority, for which he was justly censured.
  4. That his two epistles are entirely orthodox; though, in the use of language, he wrote as was usual before the condemnation of Monothelitism, and not as it became necessary afterwards. It is an anachronism and an injustice to censure his language, used before that condemnation, as it might be just to censure it after the condemnation had been made.

“To this I add the following excellent passage from the recent Pastoral of the Archbishop of Baltimore:

“That case of Honorius forms no exception; for

1st Honorius expressly says in his letters to Sergius, that he meant to define nothing, and he was condemned precisely because he temporized and would not define;

2nd Because in his letters he clearly taught the sound Catholic doctrine, only enjoining silence as to the use of certain terms, then new in the Church; and

3rd Because his letters were not addressed to a general council of the whole Church, and were rather private, than public and official; at least they were not published, even in the East, until several years later. The first letter was written to Sergius in 633, and eight years afterwards, in 641, the emperor Heraclius, in exculpating himself to Pope John II, Honorius’ successor, for having published his edict — the Ecthesis — which enjoined silence on the disputants, similar to that imposed by Honorius, lays the whole responsibility thereof on Sergius, who he declares, composed the edict. Evidently, Sergius had not communicated the letter to the Emperor, probably because its contents, if published, would not have suited his wily purpose of secretly introducing, under another form, the Eutcyhian heresy. Thus falls to the ground the only case upon which the opponents of Infallibility have continued to insists. This entire subject has been exhausted by many recent learned writers.”

In the case of Pope Liberius, we find in Volume III of Radio Replies by Fr. Leslie Rumble, M.S.C. and Fr. Charles Cortez:

“In their efforts to refute the Catholic Doctrine, enemies of the Church have ransacked history in hope of finding a pope who has taught heretical ideas. They thought they had found such a pope in Pope Liberius, arguing that he subscribed to the Arian heresy condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. But let’s take the facts:

“Liberius became pope in the year 3 52 A.D. From this outset he fought against the continued efforts of the Arians to corrupt the faith.

“The emporor Constantius, himself an Arian, seized Pope Liberius by force and exiled him to Berea in Thrace.

“It is said that to escape this exile and induced by fraud and threats, Pope Liberius signed a formula dreamed up by the Arians. But historical research has shown that it is doubtful whether he signed the documents at all.”

The second premise to be used to demonstrate the vacancy of the Apostolic See is that heretics who cannot be members of the Church, likewise cannot hold positions in authority within the Church. John Paul II’s repeated acts of false ecumenism with the false religions of the world are, in the words of Pope Pius XI, “tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God” — in other words, apostasy!

This particular issue of the loss of the papacy by heresy is supported by many canonists and theologians:

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop and doctor of the Church said:

“Now when the Pope is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church…”

St. Robert Bellarmine said:

“A Pope who is a manifest heretic automatically ceases to be Pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”

St. Alphonsus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, said:

“If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.”

St. Antoninus said:

“In the case in which the Pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that very fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off.”

At Vatican Council I 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.” (The Life and Work of Pope Leo XIII by Rev. James J. McGovern, D.D., p. 241).

Canon #188.4 of the Code on Tacit Resignation:

“There are certain causes which effect the tacit 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) if he has publicly fallen away from the faith.”

Wernz-Vidal’s Canon Law, an 8-volume work published in 1943, states: “Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact (ipso facto) is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment by the Church… A Pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.” And also: “A doubtful pope is no pope.”

In the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia we read:

“The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be Pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”

Pope Innocent III also said:

“The Pope should not flatter himself about his power, nor should he rashly glory in his honour and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged. In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.’”

Theologian Caesar Badii (1921):

“Cessation of pontifical power. This power ceases. .. (d) through notorious and openly divulged heresy. A publicly heretical pope would no longer be a member of the Church; for this reason, he could no longer be its head.”

Theologian Udalricus Beste (1946):

“Not a few canonists teach that, outside of death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy. In the latter case, a pope would automatically fall from his power, and this indeed without the issuance of any sentence, for the first See (i.e., the See of Peter) is judged by no one . . . The reason is that, by falling into heresy, the pope ceases to be a member of the church. He who is not a member of a society, obviously, cannot be its head.”

The Rev. Matthew Ramstein, D.D. in the Manual of Canon Law states:

“By divine law the Pope, once elected, holds office for life. But in addition to the death of the incumbent, the papal office may become vacant if the pope should resign, or fall into heresy, or lose the use of reason … If the Pope should happen to fall into heresy, he is no longer a member of the Church, must less its head. It is understood that the Pope cannot be guilty of heresy when he speaks infallibly ex cathedra. The supposition is only possible should the Pope teach heretical doctrine in a private capacity.”

In the Defense of the Catholic Church, Rev. Francis X. Doyle, S.J., states in Paragraph 402, The Loss of the Primacy:

“The Supreme Pontiff can lose the Primacy in these ways: 1. By voluntary resignation, as in the case of Celestine V. 2. By open heresy, by which he ceases to be a member of Christ’s Church. This, however, while not contradictory to reason, is hardly conceivable. 3. By Insanity. 4. By death.”

Matthaeus Conte a Coronata (1950) states:

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he (the Roman Pontiff) would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.” (Institutiones luris Canonici, Rome: Marietti 1950 1:312,316).

A. Vermeersch, I. Creusen (1949) writes:

“At least according to the more common teaching, the Roman Pontiff as a private teacher can fall into manifest heresy. Then, without any declaratory sentence (for the supreme See is judged by no one), he would automatically (ipso facto) fall from a power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess” (Epitome luris Canonici, Rome: Dessain 1949.340).

Eduardus F. Regatillo (1956) states:

“‘The pope loses office ipso facto because of public heresy.’ This is the more common teaching, because a pope would not be a member of the Church, and hence far less could he be its head” (Institutiones luris Canonici, 5th ed. Santander: Sal Terrae, 1956.1:396).

Pope Paul IV (1559):

“Further, if ever it should appear that any bishop (even one acting as an archbishop, patriarch or primate), or a cardinal of the Roman Church, or a legate (as mentioned above), or even the Roman Pontiff (whether prior to his promotion to cardinal, or prior to his election as Roman Pontiff), has beforehand deviated from the Catholic faith or fallen into any heresy, We enact, decree, determine and define:

— “Such promotion or election in and of itself, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals, shall be null, legally invalid and void.

— “It shall not be possible for such a promotion or election to be deemed valid or to be valid, neither through reception of office, consecration, subsequent administration, or possession, nor even through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff himself, together with the veneration and obedience accorded him by all.

— “Such promotion or election, shall not through any lapse of time in the foregoing situation, be considered even partially legitimate in any way…

— “Each and all of the words, as acts, laws, appointments of those so promoted or elected — and indeed, whatsoever flows therefrom — shall be lacking in force, and shall grant no stability and legal power to anyone whatsoever.

— “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power” (Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio,16 February 1559.

One objection raised against our position of the vacancy of the Apostolic See is that heresy is principally a crime (“delictum”) against canon law — and a pope, as supreme legislator for canon law, is not himself subject to it.

However, the case of a heretical pope, rather, pertains to heresy as a sin against divine law — for the canonists clearly state that it is divine law that precludes a heretic from obtaining or retaining papal authority:

“Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity” (Marato, Institutiones luris Canonici [1921] 2:184).

“Appointment to the Office of the Primacy. 1. What is required by divine law for this appointment… Also required for validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are excluded….”

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority” (Coronata, Institutiones Iuris Canonici [1950] 1:312,316).

Given the hypothesis of a heretical pope, says Cardinal Billot, such a pope would automatically lose his power because he would be cast outside the body of the Church “by his own will” (De Ecclesia Christi, 5th ed., [1927] 1:632).

It is not a crime against canon law that deposes a heretical pope, but his public sin against divine law.

Furthermore, among the theological motives that are presented by the Society of St. Pius X to maintain their nominal recognition of Benedict XVI against the sedevacantist position, we find a quote from Fr. Peter Scott:

“Nevertheless, it is preposterous to say, as the sedevacantists do, that there has not been any Pope for more than 40 years, for this would destroy the visibility of the Church, and the very possibility of a canonical election of a future Pope.”

The answer to their first “difficulty” as to a lengthy interregnum (a vacancy in the Papal office) is found in the history of the Church during the Great Western Schism which occurred between the years 1378 and 1417. From 1378 to 1409 there were two claimants (one in Rome and one in Avignon) to the Papal office; then in 1409, a third claimant (from Pisa) came on the scene.

In regard to this confused state of affairs in the Church during the Great Western Schism, there is a most interesting theological point found among the teachings of Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J., He was one of the leading theologians of his time, having been theologian to Cardinal Cullen of Armagh at the Synod of Thurles; theologian to Bishop Brown at the Synod of Shrewsbury; theologian to Bishop Furlong at the synod of Maynooth; and having been named professor of the Catholic University in Dublin. In 1882, Fr. O’Reilly published a book entitled The Relations of the Church to Society in which he asserted that a vacancy of the Holy See lasting for an extended period of time cannot be considered incompatible with the promises of Christ and the doctrine of the indefectibility of the Church:

“We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all throughout, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope — with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum.”

During these difficult times in which the Novus Ordo has replaced the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in which false religions have been invited by the Conciliar Church to render false worship to their gods in the churches of Assisi, are we not witnessing nothing less than the Great Apostasy foretold by St. Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (II Thessalonians 2:3-8)?

As for the second “difficulty” proposed by the Society of St. Pius X against the sedevacantist position, that there would be an impossibility of a future Papal election if the See of Peter were vacant since Vatican II, we read in The Church of the Incarnate Word by Monsignor Charles Journet:

“During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election (Cardinal Cajetan, O.P., in De Comparata, cap. xiii, no. 202). However, in case of permission (for example if the Pope has provided nothing against it), or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true Cardinals are or who the true Pope is, as was the case at the time of the Great Schism), the power ‘of applying the Papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the universal Church, the Church of God” (Ibid., no. 204).

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

From the Lectures of Father Messias D. Coelho
on the Message of Fatima (August, 1967)

Editor’s note (CMRI): Fr. Messias D. Coelho, an outstanding authority on the message of Our Lady, was the editor of the Portuguese religious newspaper, The Message of Fatima, as well as professor in the seminary at Fundao, Portugal. Although his English is not the most fluid, his words are an important historical commentary on the Fatima Message. This article is the eleventh in this series of lectures, transcribed by Howard Earp from audio recordings. We believe that this is their first appearance in a periodical.

 


Those of us who have made a consecration to Our Lady belong to her in a special way, more than others who have not consecrated themselves to her. If Our Lady came to Fatima to ask us to accomplish our own daily duties, she herself is always giving us proof that she too is accomplishing her own duties towards those who are consecrated to her. Let me give you some examples.

The day before yesterday we saw some slides on the shrines of Our Lady, one of which was the shrine of Pontmain. Pontmain was a small village which had been consecrated to Our Lady. There were thirty-nine men of Pontmain who were soldiers in the French-Prussian war. This was a terrible war in which the Prussians took a third of France, expelled French people from the country, and captured the emperor. Many people were killed. When we go on our pilgrimage to these sanctuaries, we will see a monument in every town to those who were killed during the course of three wars: the French-Prussian war, World War I, and World War II.

Thirty-nine men from Pontmain went to war. On the day they left Pontmain the parish priest invited them to Mass. He celebrated a special Mass for them, and then made a consecration of them to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the end of the ceremonies he told them, “You may go out with joy because I assure you that every one of you will come back safe.” That is just what happened: all of them came back alive and safe. If you go to Pontmain and visit that church, you will find there a marble stone with the inscription that thirty-nine soldiers of Pontmain are grateful to Our Lady because all of them came back alive and safe from the war.

Why were these men so much protected by Our Lady? Because they belonged to her more than the others. They were in the worst battles, where most of the French soldiers were killed. What was it that protected those soldiers? Our Lady. She had a special right to defend them. They were more hers than the others because they had made a special consecration.

Let us look at an example showing the protection of Our Lady over something that is consecrated to her. The last apparition of Our Lady approved by the Church was, as you know, in Banneux. In this town there is a miraculous fountain Our Lady reserved for those who suffer. Banneux has now a big name — Banneux Notre Dame — which means Banneux of Our Lady. Do you know why? Because in the beginning of this century, the parish priest, along with the mayor of Banneux, consecrated this village to Our Lady. To remind everyone of this consecration they added, with the approval of the authorities, the name of Our Lady to this village, which is now called Banneux of Our Lady.

Then came the Second World War. As you know, Belgium was invaded first by the Germans, who destroyed many towns as they went across the country, even in the southern part called Arlon near Liege. Liege was almost completely destroyed by the Germans. Then Belgium was invaded again by American and British soldiers when they defeated the German army. Many other towns were almost completely destroyed.

In the small town of Banneux, however, no one was killed. Not even a window pane was broken by a bomb. It was not harmed at all, even though it was in the middle of the invasions. Why? This was due to the protection of Our Lady. She has the right to use us as she wants, and she has a special duty to protect us, just as others have of defending their children from every danger. She uses all her power to defend us after our consecration because we completely belong to her, just as we use all our power to defend our homes from our enemies. If enemies attack our home we call the police; we do all we can to protect our homes because they are ours. This is our obligation. Our Lady feels that she is obliged to defend us.

Who can be consecrated to Our Lady? What is the effect of consecration in ourselves? We have only seen the effect in Our Lady; let us now see it in ourselves. There are three things. First of all, according to this precept that we have seen, once we have been given to Our Lady, we should rely on her; we should trust in her. The second effect, now that she has a right over us, is that we should live this consecration. And what does that mean?

The most essential requirement is that we should desire everything that she wishes. Here at Fatima she revealed her will. “Why do you come to this earth?” Lucia asked. And she revealed why she came. “What do you want from us?” And she told us what she wanted. What she wants is the living of her Fatima message. So let us see what makes up the essential parts of the message of Fatima. We can sum them up in three points, prayer, penance, and the Eucharist.

Prayer. Our Lady made many requests for prayer. There is vocal prayer and there is mental prayer. She asked for fifteen minutes meditation, as you know. She made a demand for a prayer that is both mental and vocal — the Rosary. In the Fatima message we should distinguish between what is essential and what is not essential, what Our Lady demands and what she invites us to do. Her message has some invitations and some orders. The order here is the Rosary, “I want you to say the Rosary every day.” She does not say, “I ask you” — she says “I want.” The Portuguese word that she used is quero, which means “I want” you to say the Rosary every day. So say the Rosary. This is the most essential part of her order: the DAILY ROSARY. So only those who are willing to say the Rosary every day can be consecrated to Our Lady — only those who are willing. It may be that some do not say the Rosary every day because they have difficulties that excuse them. But they should always want to do so if possible; otherwise they will be against her wish. This is what she wants, “I want you to say the Rosary every day.”

The Eucharist. There are many things about the Eucharist in the Fatima message. The Eucharist was carried in the hands of the Angel, as you know. The priest offers the Eucharist in the Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Mass we offer Christ to God. We have Christ in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in all-night vigils, and so forth. What is the most essential point regarding the Eucharist upon which Our Lady insisted? The Communion of Reparation on First Saturdays.

Before going on, let me tell you that this Communion is different from the devotion of the First Five Saturdays, which is only for five months. When you have completed five months, you have finished the devotion. Of course, you can repeat it, but to receive the grace that Our Lady promised, you need only five months. The Communion of reparation on First Saturdays, however, is for your entire life. You are to receive Holy Communion in reparation on First Saturdays every month you are able to go to Holy Communion. The confession of reparation, the rosary of reparation, the meditation of reparation — these belong to the other devotion, the devotion of the Five First Saturdays. The latter devotion is to attract the grace of salvation for yourself: “For those who do this, I promise to be present at the hour of their death with all the graces they need.” That is different. Our Lady asked for this to give peace to the world, to stop war. By this act of reparation, we offer her the Body and Blood of Christ — which, as you know, is infinite — and she in turn offers It to God. This is what reparation means: we give everything to her and then she gives it to God.

Those of you who have difficulties in going on the First Saturday can do so on the following day, Sunday. To do this we should have two things: first of all, a just reason — not any reason, but a just reason; and second, a priest to approve this reason. You may have to do this if your schedule does not fit into the parish schedule. You are allowed to change this for yourself, for your children and your relatives. Of course, you may go to Communion every day.

Penance. There are many aspects of penance in the Fatima message: the penance Our Lady ordered, and the penance she asked for, inviting us. The children were doing penance when they found the rope and tied it around their waists to suffer, and when they ate things that only beasts eat, and drank dirty water from the lake. They did many things like this.

What is the penance that Our Lady orders from us? It is only this: first of all, to accept every suffering coming from God with submission. Let us consider another point which will make this more clear: to accomplish our daily duty as perfectly as possible, as Christians always should do. This is the penance Our Lady ordered.

How can we know when our suffering comes from God? Very easily. Everything that does not come from your own will comes from God, even when it comes through someone who is a pagan, because there are only three origins of pain and suffering:

1) The natural law. We suffer because of the natural law. We are cold in winter and hot in summer. Because of the law of gravity, a stone may roll down a mountain as we pass by and hit us and kill us. All these laws were made for our good, although sometimes the result is suffering. Where does this suffering come from? It comes from Him Who made the law — God.

2) Our own limitations. Sometimes we wish to know everything — about medicine, architecture, art. We may wish we knew all languages. We may wish to visit every country. But it is impossible. We want to know everything, but we cannot. We may want to love everyone, to help everyone who is suffering. We should like to give them money, to comfort them and give them joy. But it is not possible. We may have not the money; we may have not the time. We have limitations. Who gave limitations to our knowledge, to the possibilities of what we can do? God. Therefore every suffering coming from our limitations comes from God.

3) The last point, the third origin of our suffering is the abuse or misuse of our human liberty, our freedom. I will tell you why. There is, for example, a man who marries a woman and has children. But instead of being a good father he spends his time playing and spending all his money. His wife is hungry and children are hungry. They have no money, no bread. His children are innocent; they have no fault. They suffer because this man abused his freedom, his free will. It was God Who gave us our liberty, and the power of using and abusing our liberty. He values so much our freedom that He prefers that we have this power even if it is abused by some. Therefore suffering from others’ abuse of their freedom comes from God.

Every suffering, therefore, that does not come from our own will comes from God: whether through the natural law, our own limitations, or the misuse of human freedom. Our Lady asks us to accept these sufferings, to accept every suffering that God sends us with submission.

Quotes from Theologians Supporting the Sedevacantist Position

Bull of Pope Paul IV — Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559

“Further, if ever it should appear that any bishop (even one acting as an archbishop, patriarch or primate), or a cardinal of the Roman Church, or a legate (as mentioned above), or even the Roman Pontiff (whether prior to his promotion to cardinal, or prior to his election as Roman Pontiff), has beforehand deviated from the Catholic faith or fallen into any heresy, We enact, decree, determine and define:

— “Such promotion or election in and of itself, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals, shall be null, legally invalid and void.

— “It shall not be possible for such a promotion or election to be deemed valid or to be valid, neither through reception of office, consecration, subsequent administration, or possession, nor even through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff himself, together with the veneration and obedience accorded him by all.

— “Such promotion or election, shall not through any lapse of time in the foregoing situation, be considered even partially legitimate in any way . . .

— “Each and all of the words, as acts, laws, appointments of those so promoted or elected —and indeed, whatsoever flows therefrom — shall be lacking in force, and shall grant no stability and legal power to anyone whatsoever.

— “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.”

Coronata — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1950

Appointment to the Office of the Primacy.

1. What is required by divine law for this appointment . . . Also required for validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are excluded. . . ”

“It cannot be proven however that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher, cannot become a heretic — if, for example, he would contumaciously deny a previously defined dogma. Such impeccability was never promised by God. Indeed, Pope Innocent III expressly admits such a case is possible.

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.”

Marato — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1921

“Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity.”

Billot — De Ecclesia, 1927

“Given, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.”

CANON 6.6

All former disciplinary laws which were in force until now, and are neither explicitly nor implicitly contained in the Code, shall be regarded as having lost all force, unless they are found in the approved liturgical books, or they are laws derived from the natural and the positive divine law.

A. Dorsch — Institutions Theologiae Fundamentalis, 1928

“The Church therefore is a society that is essentially monarchical. But this does not prevent the Church, for a short time after the death of a pope, or even for many years, from remaining deprived of her head. [vel etiam per plures annos capite suo destituta manet]. Her monarchical form also remains intact in this state . . .

“Thus the Church is then indeed a headless body . . . Her monarchical form of government remains, though then in a different way —that is, it remains incomplete and to be completed. The ordering of the whole to submission to her Primate is present, even though actual submission is not . . .

“For this reason, the See of Rome is rightly said to remain after the person sitting in it has died —for the See of Rome consists essentially in the rights of the Primate.

“These rights are an essential and necessary element of the Church. With them, moreover, the Primacy then continues, at least morally. The perennial physical presence of the person of the head, however, [perennitas autem physica personis principis] is not so strictly necessary” (De Ecclesia 2:196-7).

Fr. Edward J. O’Reilly, S.J. — The Relations of the Church to Society, 1882

“We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all throughout, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope —with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum.”

Msgr. Charles Journet, The Church of the Incarnate Word

B. The Church During a Vacancy of the Holy See

We must not think of the church, when the Pope is dead, as possessing the papal power in act, in a state of diffusion, so that she herself can delegate it to the next Pope in whom it will be recondensed and made definite. When the Pope dies the Church is widowed, and, in respect of the visible universal jurisdiction, she is truly acephalous.* ‘But she is not acephalous as are the schismatic Churches, nor like a body on the way to decomposition. Christ directs her from heaven .. . But, though slowed down, the pulse of life has not left the Church; she possesses the power of the Papacy in potency, in the sense that Christ, who has willed her always to depend on a visible pastor, has given her power to designate the man to who He will Himself commit the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, as once He committed them to Peter.

*During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, says Cajetan, the universal Church is in an imperfect state; she is like an amputated body, not an integral body. “The Church is acephalous, deprived of her highest part and power.”

Msgr. Journet — The Church of the Incarnate Word

“During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election (Cardinal Cajetan, O.P., in De Comparata, cap. xiii, no. 202). However, in case of permission (for example if the Pope has provided nothing against it), or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true Cardinals are or who the true Pope is, as was the case at the time of the Great Schism), the power ‘of applying the Papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the universal Church, the Church of God.”

Cajetan, O. P. — De Comparatione Autoritatis Papae et Concilii

“. . . by exception and by suppletory manner this power (that of electing a pope), corresponds to the Church and to the Council, either by the inexistence of Cardinal Electors, or because they are doubtful, or the election itself is uncertain, as it happens at the time of a schism.”

Billot — De Ecclesia Christi

“When it would be necessary to proceed with the election, if it is impossible to follow the regulations of papal law, as was the case during the Great Western Schism, one can accept, without difficulty, that the power of election could be transferred to a General Council.”

“Because ‘natural law prescribes that, in such cases, the power of a Superior is passed to the immediate inferior, because this is absolutely necessary for the survival of the society and to avoid the tribulations of extreme need.”

Vitoria — De Potestate Ecclesiae

“Even if St. Peter would have not determined anything, once he was dead, the Church had the power to substitute him and appoint a successor to him… If by any calamity, war or plague, all Cardinals would be lacking, we cannot doubt that the Church could provide for herself a Holy Father.

“Hence such an election; ‘a tota Ecclesia debet provideri et non ab aliqua partuculari Ecclesia.’ (“It should be carried by all the Church and not by any particular Church.”) And this is because “Ilia potestas est communis et spectat ad totam Ecclesiam. Ergo a tata Ecclesia debet provideri.’” (“That power is common and it concerns the whole Church. So it must be the duty of the whole Church.”)

Cajetan:

“Immediately, one ought to resists in facie, a pope who is publicly destroying the Church; for example, to want to give ecclesiastical benefits for money or charge of services. And one ought to refuse, with all obedience and respect, and not to give possession of these benefits to those who bought them.”

Silvestra:

“What is there to do when the pope wishes without reason to abrogate the positive right order? To this he responds, ‘He certainly sins; one ought not to permit him to proceed thus, nor ought one to obey him in what is bad; one ought to resist him with a polite reprehension. In consequence, if he wished to deliver all the treasures of the Church and the patrimony of St. Peter to his parents; if he was left to destroy the Church or in similar works, one ought not to permit him to work in this form, having the obligation of giving him resistance. And the reason for this is, in these matters he has no right to destroy. Immediately evident of what he is doing, it is licit to resist him. Of all this it results that, if the pope, by his order or his acts, destroys the Church, one can resist and impede the execution of his commands.’”

Suarez:

“If the pope gave an order contrary to the good customs, one should not obey him; if his intent is to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it is lawful and valid to resist; if attacked by force, one shall be able to resist with force, with the moderation appropriate to a just defense.”

St. Robert Bellarmine:

“Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff that attacks the body, it is also licit to resist (him) who attacks the soul, or who disturbs the civil order, or, above all, he who intends to destroy the Church. I say it is licit to resist by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of that which he wills. It is not licit, with everything, to judge him impose a punishment, or depose him, for these actions are accorded to one superior to the pope.”

St. Francis de Sales:

“Now when the Pope is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church . . . ”

St. Robert Bellarmine:

“A Pope who is a manifest heretic automatically ceases to be a Pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori:

“If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.”

St. Antoninus:

“In the case in which the Pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that very fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off.”

Wernz-Vidal — Canon Law, 1943

“Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact (ipso facto) is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment by the Church… A Pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.” And also: “A doubtful pope is no pope.”

Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913

“The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be Pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”

Pope Innocent III:

“The Pope should not flatter himself about his power nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged, In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.’”

Matthaeus Conte a Coronata — Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1950

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he (the Roman Pontiff) would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.”

A. Vermeersch — Epitome Iuris Canonici, 1949

“At least according to the more common teaching; the Roman Pontiff as a private teacher can fall into manifest heresy. Then, without any declaratory sentence (for the Supreme See is judged by no one), he would automatically (ipso facto) fall from power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess.”

Edward F. Regatillo — Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1956

“‘The pope loses office ipso facto because of public heresy.’ This is the more common teaching, because a pope would not be a member of the Church, and hence far less could he be its head.”

by CMRI

New Book defending Baptism of Desire and Blood: “Contra Crawford”

from Novus Ordo Watch

Compelling, orthodox, easy to read!

A New Book defending Baptism of Desire and Blood:

Contra Crawford: A Defense of Baptism of Desire & Periodic Continence

by Dylan Fellows and Christopher Conlon

The sedevacantist laymen Dylan Fellows and Christopher Conlon are the authors of a new book defending the Catholic position on baptism of desire and baptism of blood as capable of supplying the sanctifying grace of the sacrament of baptism. This Church doctrine has been denied by a number of confused souls both inside and outside of Sedevacantism, especially in the United States, in the last few decades.

The name that is commonly (although not quite correctly) given to this erroneous denial is “Feeneyism”, because the first major figure to hold that those who die with the baptism of desire or blood will nevertheless go to hell was the Jesuit Fr. Leonard Feeney (1897-1978) in the 1940s. On Feb. 12, 1953, Pope Pius XII excommunicated Fr. Feeney for grave disobedience, after Feeney had persistently refused to obey the order to travel to Rome (all expenses paid) to appear before the Holy Office to explain his doctrine (see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 45 [1953], p. 100).

The title of Fellows’ and Conlon’s book is Contra Crawford because what occasioned it was a new controversy about baptism of blood and desire stoked by the Rev. Mr. Dominic Crawford (pictured left as a seminarian in 2012), to whom it is a direct rejoinder. Crawford was an ordained transitional deacon in the sedevacantist Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI) before leaving the order in late 2016 or early 2017. The Superior General, Bp. Mark Pivarunas, had challenged the deacon on his errors, giving him 18 direct questions to answer. This he did, first, in a 14-page response, and later, in a more comprehensive booklet of 57 pages. Complete scans of all three of these documents — His Excellency’s challenge and Crawford’s two sets of replies — are included as appendices in Fellows’ and Conlon’s Contra Crawford. This gives the reader the full picture and ensures that everyone can see objections and replies in their full and original context.

The book, which was first released in August of this year, is available for free in electronic format or for a modest price in paperback:

What makes Contra Crawford particularly powerful is that at the outset it provides an overview of howthe Church teaches the faithful, what Catholics have an obligation to accept, and what infallibility is and when it enters into the picture. This is crucial to understand because the Feeneyite error begins as an error in method, one that tragically distorts how the Church was commissioned by Christ to teach her children.

Incidentally, some additional good resources on the topic of baptism of blood and desire are:

Another error promoted by the Rev. Crawford (one that is likewise shared by some other sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists) is the idea that periodic continence (aka the rhythm method) among married couples is intrinsically evil and therefore never permitted. Yet the truth is that ever since the question first came up in the nineteenth century, the Church has consistently permitted its use under certain restrictive circumstances. Contra Crawford traces the history of the Church’s magisterial response to the question, explains the moral principles behind it, and shows that arguments against it are unsound and are based on an incomplete and distorted view of Catholic teaching on the subject. The authors also make clear that the licit practice of periodic continence is not the same thing as the common Novus Ordo practice of “Natural Family Planning”, which they point out “is in violent contradiction to Pope Pius XII’s guidelines” (p. 86).

Overall, Contra Crawford makes for a very pleasant and easy read. The authors explain for the average layman the necessary theological concepts sufficiently but without dwelling on them more than is necessary. This ensures that the book is neither overly complex nor woefully superficial; it is neither simplistic nor insufferably dry. More difficult-to-understand concepts are illustrated by means of examples the reader can relate to. Each chapter ends with a brief bullet-point summary to allow for a quick review of the material presented, and a bibliography at the end provides information for further reading.

It is thus with great pleasure and excitement that Novus Ordo Watch joins Bp. Mark Pivarunas in highly recommending Contra Crawford. The Catholic world owes a debt of gratitude to Dylan Fellows and Chris Conlon for this excellent work!


Please note: There will be no combox for this post. Since the issues discussed in Contra Crawford are somewhat peripheral to the overall mission of Novus Ordo Watch, and since we do not want to have to invest in the time and resources needed to moderate the endless debate this post is sure to trigger, there will be no comments at all permitted for this post.

Image source: archive.org (screenshot) / cmri.org
License: Fair use / fair use

Chaos Frank explains the Sixth Commandment

from Novus Ordo Watch

It is customary for the false popes of the Novus Ordo Sect to offer a catechism lesson during their weekly General Audience. This is the place where “St.” John Paul II, for example, made known his notorious sexology known as the “Theology of the Body” over a span of several years in the early 1980s. Naturally, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) has retained this custom, as he loves nothing better than spewing his Modernist ideas in front of a large audience.

The series of catechetical instructions Francis is currently offering is on the Ten Commandments. This is a precarious move, considering that since his exhortation Amoris Laetitia in 2016, the Ten Commandments have been effectively reduced to the status of Ten Ideal Situations or, more bluntly, the Ten Suggestions. Since the main focus of Amoris Laetitia is that pesky Sixth Commandment — “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14) — it was clear that Francis’ catechesis on that point was going to be of particular interest to us.

Bergoglio gave his intructions in two separate audiences, held on Oct. 24 and 31. The full transcripts of both, translated into English, can be found here:

We will now take a critical look at some of what he said in these audiences.

Francis begins as follows:

In our itinerary of catecheses on the Commandments we come today to the Sixth Word, which has to do with the affective and sexual dimension, and states: “Do not commit adultery.” The immediate call is to fidelity and, in fact, no human relationship is authentic without fidelity and loyalty.

(Oct. 24, 2018)

Notice that right after quoting what the commandment actually says, the Argentinian Jesuit immediately shifts the focus away from that and onto human relationships in general. While one may perhaps talk about “fidelity” in a wider sense eventually in such a catechism lesson, that is not at all what should receive the primary attention.

Bergoglio then proceeds to talk about love, fidelity, friendship, surrogates to true love, and maturity — all not unrelated to adultery but certainly not the primary focus. When he finally gets around to talking about marital fidelity, he dishes out the vague idea that the engaged parties “are in need of basing themselves on the solid ground of the faithful Love of God”. Precisely what this is supposed to mean, he does not explain. After stating that “the fidelity of God must enter our existence and infect us”, he points out that only in Christ “there is love without reservations and afterthoughts, complete donation without parenthesis and the tenacity of acceptance to the end.” Again, one is left to supply one’s own interpretation. His claim that “[t]he human being has need of being loved unconditionally” is likewise bound to be misunderstood by most hearers.

As is typical for a Modernist, Francis is trying to distract from what the commandment is primarily about by extending it to so many rather peripheral things that eventually the original meaning is lost, diluted in an ocean of concepts and phrases introduced by the so-called Nouvelle Theologie, the “New Theology” condemned by Pope Pius XII in 1946 (Allocution Quamvis Inquieti) and 1950 (encyclicalHumani Generis).

Aside from the quotes of the actual commandment, a cognate of the word “adultery” appears exactlyonce in his Oct. 24 catechesis, when he says: “This Sixth Commandment calls us to turn our gaze to Christ, who with His fidelity can remove from us an adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart.”

The Ten Commandments, Francis Edition

In his second installment, that of Oct. 31, the Jesuit antipope returns to the topic and teaches:

Ever on the path of love, we can ask ourselves: to whom is this command of fidelity addressed — only to spouses? In reality, this command is for all; it’s a paternal Word of God addressed to every man and woman.

(Oct. 31, 2018)

There we go again: The “Pope” deals with what the commandment directly forbids — the breaking of the marriage vow — only in a very peripheral way. His main focus is elsewhere.

Francis continues:

Let us recall that the way of human maturation is the course of love itself, which goes from receiving care to the capacity of offering care, from receiving life to the capacity of giving life.

To become adult men and women means to be able to live the spousal and parental attitude, which manifests itself in the various situations of life, such as the capacity to take on oneself the burden of another and to love him without ambiguity. Therefore, it’s a global attitude of the person that is able to assume the reality and is able to enter into a profound relationship with others.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

At this point, most of his hearers will have tuned him out. No matter how “profound” the Modernist elite may think they’re being here, this kind of catechesis has the (intended) effect of communicating nothing of substance. It’s all fluff. This becomes even clearer in what he says next:

Who, then, is the adulterer, the lustful, the unfaithful one? It is an immature person, who has his life for himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own contentment. Therefore, to get married, it’s not enough to celebrate the marriage! One must undertake a journey from the “I” to the “We,” from thinking of oneself to thinking of two, from living alone to living in two: it’s a good journey; it’s a beautiful journey. When we succeed in de-centering ourselves, then every act is spousal: we work, we talk, we decide, we encounter others with a welcoming and oblative attitude.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

Masterful! Bergoglio has managed to turn the simple-enough-to-understand command “Thou shalt not commit adultery” into a hodgepodge of phenomenological musings about immaturity, journeys, encounter, oblation, assuming realities, global attitudes, and who knows what else.

So, according to Club Francis, does “an immature person, who has his life for himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own contentment” now have to confess the sin of adultery? Or is the Jesuit pretend-pope simply trying to say that adultery is a sin of immaturity? The former is absurd; the latter is trivialization on steroids. In fact, here it is appropriate to recall Francis’ teaching that given certain circumstances, those who are guilty of real, literal adultery — that is, those unfaithful to their marriage vows by engaging in relations with someone other than their lawful spouse — can sit back and relax and “recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that [their habitual adultery] is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal” (Francis, Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, n. 303)!

By proclaiming such nonsense as, “[w]hen we succeed in de-centering ourselves, then every act is spousal”, Francis is introducing a most dangerous theological time-bomb that is just waiting to explode. If every unselfish act is “spousal”, and if sodomites can act unselfishly, then it follows that sodomites can engage at least in some spousal acts (remember, “positive elements”!). From there it is not far to concluding that sodomites can have a quasi-spousal relationship and therefore ought to be extended certain privileges, benefits, and blessings, precisely in accordance with their “spousal” actions. This, it will eventually be argued, must be recognized because it is the “lived experience” of certain people, against whom unjust discrimination must be avoided.

See how this works? All it would take now is another “apostolic exhortation” that draws the necessary conclusions, add a little more talk about the authentic dynamism of mutual self-communication, and the mess would be complete.

Francis keeps going at full throttle:

In this sense, every Christian vocation — now we can extend the perspective somewhat, and say that every Christian vocation is, in this sense, spousal. The priesthood is so because it is the call, in Christ and in the Church, to serve a community with all the affection, concrete care and wisdom that the Lord gives. Aspirants to the role of the priest are of no use to the Church — no, they are of no use; it’s best that they stay at home –, but men are useful whose heart the Holy Spirit touches with a love without reservations for the Bride of Christ. In the priesthood, the People of God are loved with all the paternity, the tenderness and the strength of a husband and a father. Thus consecrated virginity in Christ is also lived with fidelity and joy as a spousal and fecund relationship of maternity and paternity.

I repeat: every Christian vocation is spousal because it is a fruit of the bond of love in which we are all regenerated, the bond of love with Christ, as the passage of Saint Paul, read at the beginning, reminds us. From its fidelity, from its tenderness, from its generosity we look with faith at marriage and at every vocation, and we understand the full meaning of sexuality.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

So… Precisely what does all this have to do with adultery? Oh yes, that was the topic Francis was supposed to teach on, wasn’t it!?

The (not unintended) effect of such a travesty of a catechesis is, of course, the utter confusion and bewilderment of the hearer. This is one of the main reasons why Novus Ordos have virtually no grasp of their religious doctrines. Who could fault them? What they are offered in the name of Catholicism are elusive and ephemeral concepts that have their origin in 20th-century philosophy, and such cannot nourish the soul.

It is no accident that the Church has enshrined in her canon law that the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas must be taught in schools and seminaries (Canon 1366 §2), and that “the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own” (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Studiorum Ducem, n. 11). Moreover, Pope Pius XII has explicitly condemned the idea that any other philosophy could be substituted for it, as though it were a matter of expressing the same truths by simply using concepts and ideas more familiar to modern man (Encyclical Humani Generis, nn. 14-18).

The fateful effects of the New Theology are even more visible when its Modernist gobbledygook is contrasted with genuine Catholic teaching. For example, concerning the Sixth Commandment, the traditional Roman Catechism, promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in the 16th century, teaches with great simplicity and clarity:

The bond between man and wife is one of the closest, and nothing can be more gratifying to both than to know that they are objects of mutual and special affection. On the other hand, nothing inflicts deeper anguish than to feel that the legitimate love which one owes the other has been transferred elsewhere. Rightly, then, and in its natural order, is the Commandment which protects human life against the hand of the murderer, followed by that which forbids adultery and which aims to prevent anyone from injuring or destroying by such a crime the holy and honourable union of marriage ­­a union which is generally the source of ardent affection and love.

Two Parts Of This Commandment

This Commandment, then, resolves itself into two heads; the one expressed, which prohibits adultery; the other implied, which inculcates purity of mind and body.

What this Commandment Prohibits

Adultery Forbidden

To begin with the prohibitory part (of the Commandment), adultery is the defilement of the marriage bed, whether it be one’s own or another’s. If a married man have intercourse with an unmarried woman, he violates the integrity of his marriage bed; and if an unmarried man have intercourse with a married woman, he defiles the sanctity of the marriage bed of another.

Other Sins Against Chastity Are Forbidden

But that every species of immodesty and impurity are included in this prohibition of adultery, is proved by the testimonies of St. Augustine and St. Ambrose; and that such is the meaning of the Commandment is borne out by the Old, as well as the New Testament. In the writings of Moses, besides adultery, other sins against chastity are said to have been punished. Thus the book of Genesis records the judgment of Judah against his daughter-in-law. In Deuteronomy is found the excellent law of Moses, that there should be no harlot amongst the daughters of Israel[Deut 23:17]. Take heed to keep thyself, my son, from all fornication [Tob 4:13], is the exhortation of Tobias to his son; and in Ecclesiasticus we read: Be ashamed of looking upon a harlot [Eccl. 41:35].

In the Gospel, too, Christ the Lord says: From the heart come forth adulteries and fornications, which defile a man [Mt 15:19]. The Apostle Paul expresses his detestation of this crime frequently, and in the strongest terms: This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication [1 Thess 4:3]; Fly fornication [1 Cor 6:18]; Keep not company with fornicators [1 Cor 5:9]; Fornication, and an uncleanness and covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you [Eph 5:3]; Neither fornicators nor adulterers, nor the effeminate nor sodomites shall possess the kingdom of God [1 Cor 6:9].

Why Adultery Is Expressly Mentioned

But the reason why adultery is expressly forbidden is­ because in addition to the turpitude which it shares with other kinds of incontinence, it adds the sin of injustice, not only against our neighbour, but also against civil society.

Again it is certain that he who abstains not from other sins against chastity, will easily fall into the crime of adultery. By the prohibition of adultery, therefore, we at once see that every sort of immodesty and impurity by which the body is defiled is prohibited. Nay, that every inward thought against chastity is forbidden by this Commandment is clear, as well from the very force of the law, which is evidently spiritual, as also from these words of Christ the Lord: You have heard that it was said to them of old: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. [Mt 5:27-28]

What this Commandment Prescribes

Purity Enjoined

We now come to explain the positive part of the precept. The faithful are to be taught and earnestly exhorted to cultivate continence and chastity with all care, to cleanse themselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God [2 Cor 8:1].

First of all they should be taught that although the virtue of chastity shines with a brighter lustre in those who make the holy and religious vow of virginity, nevertheless it is a virtue which belongs also to those who lead a life of celibacy; or who, in the married state, preserve themselves pure and undefiled from unlawful desire.

Reflections which Help one to Practice Purity

Impurity Excludes From Heaven

The first kind consists chiefly in our forming a just conception of the filthiness and evil of this sin; for such knowledge will lead one more easily to detest it. Now the evil of this crime we may learn from the fact that, on account of it, man is banished and excluded from the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all evils.

Impurity Is A Filthy Sin

The above­mentioned calamity is indeed common to every mortal sin. But what is peculiar to this sin is that fornicators are said to sin against their own bodies, according to the words of the Apostle: Fly fornication. Every­ sin that a man doth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body [1 Cor 6:18]. The reason is that such a one does an injury to his own body violating its sanctity. Hence St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says: This is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God. [1 Thess 4:3-5]

Furthermore, what is still more criminal, the Christian who shamefully sins with a harlot makes the members of Christ the members of an harlot, according to these words of St. Paul: Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot is made one body? [1 Cor 6:15-16] Moreover, a Christian, as St. Paul testifies is the temple of the Holy Ghost [1 Cor 6:19]; and to violate this temple is nothing else than to expel the Holy Ghost.

Adultery Is A Grave Injustice

But the crime of adultery involves that of grievous injustice. If, as the Apostle says, they who are joined in wedlock are so subject to each other that neither has power or right over his or her body, but both are bound, as it were, by a mutual bond of subjection, the husband to accommodate himself to the will of the wife, the wife to the will of the husband; most certainly if either dissociate his or her person, which is the right of the other, from him or her to whom it is bound, the offender is guilty of an act of great injustice and wickedness [1 Cor 7:4].

Adultery Is Disgraceful

As dread of disgrace strongly stimulates to the performance of duty and deters from the commission of crime, the pastor should also teach that adultery brands its guilty perpetrators with an unusual stigma. He that is an adulterer, says Scripture, for the folly of his heart shall destroy his own soul: he gathereth to himself shame and dishonour, and his reproach shall not be blotted out [Prov 6:32].

Impurity Severely Punished

The grievousness of the sin of adultery may be easily inferred from the severity of its punishment. According to the law promulgated by God in the Old Testament, the adulterer was stoned to death [Lev 20:10; Jn 8:5]. Nay more, because of the criminal passion of one man, not only the perpetrator of the crime, but a whole city was destroyed, as we read with regard to the Sichemites [Gen 34:25]. The Sacred Scriptures abound with examples of the divine vengeance, such as the destruction of Sodom and of the neighbouring cities [Gen 19:24], the punishment of the Israelites who committed fornication in the wilderness with the daughters of Moab [Num 25:4], and the slaughter of the Benjamites [Judg 20]. These examples the pastor can easily make use of to deter men from shameful lust.

Impurity Blinds The Mind And Hardens The Heart

But even though the adulterer may escape the punishment of death, he does not escape the great pains and torments that often overtake such sins as his. He becomes afflicted with blindness of mind a most severe punishment; he is lost to all regard for God, for reputation, for honour, for family, and even for life; and thus, utterly abandoned and worthless, he is undeserving of confidence in any matter of moment, and becomes unfitted to discharge any kind of duty.

Of this we find examples in the persons of David and of Solomon. David had no sooner fallen into the crime of adultery than he degenerated into a character the very reverse of what he had been before; from the mildest of men he became so cruel as to consign to death Urias, one of his most deserving subjects [2 Kgs (2 Sam) 11-12]. Solomon, having abandoned himself to the lust of women, gave up the true religion to follow strange gods [3 Kgs (1 Kgs) 11]. This sin, therefore, as Osee observes, takes away man’s heart and often blinds his understanding [Os 4:11].

(The Catechism of the Council of Trent, trans. by Fr. John A. McHugh and Fr. Charles J. Callan [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982], pp. 431-436; some formatting changed. This chapter is also available online here.)

It’s important to quote this at some length because such simple, clear, and forceful teaching is absent from all the Modernist junk Novus Ordos are subjected to in our day. We encourage every reader to click on the source link and read the entire chapter because we had to cut it short. The Catechismcontinues to talk about the means of safeguarding oneself from falling into this terrible vice of impurity and how to practice the opposite virtue.

After reading the above lines from the Roman Catechism, every adult understands what the Sixth Commandment forbids and what it prescribes. It’s not hard to understand. And did you notice? There’s nothing in there about encounter, journey, maturity, authenticity, self-gift, or anything else that sounds impressive at first but ultimately leaves one only with theological heartburn.

What Francis offered at his General Audiences on Oct. 24 and 31 was perhaps a poetic-phenomenological reflection on human relationships, but it was most certainly not a catechesis on the Sixth Commandment.

For those who would like to read more real Catholic catecheses on the Sixth Commandment, we suggest the following (both can be read for free online):

Back in August, Francis spoke to youths off-the-cuff about what it means for husband and wife to be “one flesh” (see Gen 2:24; Mk 10:8). The subject is simple enough, one would think, although whether it is appropriate to talk about before a large audience of adolescents is another matter. In any case, this is what he said: “A man cannot grow, in marriage, if his wife does not grow. And the woman cannot grow, in marriage, if her husband does not grow. And this is unity. This is the meaning of ‘one flesh.’ They become ‘one’ because one makes the other grow.” Just how that idea might square with what St. Paul said on the topic will have to remain a mystery:

Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh.

(1 Cor 6:15-16)

So much for the New Theologians’ claim that they are going back to the sources of theology — the official name is ressourcement theology — for their ideas.

If the meaning of being “one flesh” is essentially that the one spouse helps the other to grow, there is no reason why sodomites should not be able to marry one another. Aren’t they, too, capable of helping each other grow? Here we see, once again, how Francis’ theology is tacitly laying the groundwork for the perversion of Holy Matrimony, under the guise of offering a more profound explanation of its essence.

It is perhaps important to make clear that of course not everything Francis says in his catechesis on the Sixth Commandment is false or bad. If that were the case, he would never be successful in misleading so many people. It is the half-truth that is the worst kind of lie, precisely because it contains enough truth to attract listeners in the first place. A drink that is obviously poisoned would never seduce anyone to consume it; but if the poison is offered as part of a pleasant-tasting fruit juice or strong cocktail, many will unwittingly want to drink it.

Keep in mind that what makes Novus Ordo catecheses so dangerous is not necessarily only what is actually said but also (and sometimes, primarily):

  • what is not said
  • where the emphasis is placed
  • what is said in a vagueambiguous, or confusing way

The good thing is that probably most Novus Ordos who read Francis’ catechesis will have no idea what he actually said and thus not be able to even so much as summarize — much less retain — it.

Another example of the dangerous New Theology may help. Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (“Pope Emeritus” Benedict XVI) is a main proponent of it, and it really shows.

Whereas Pope Pius XI gave a very simple and straightforward definition of original sin as “the hereditary but impersonal fault of Adam’s descendants, who have sinned in him (Rom. v. 12). It is the loss of grace, and therefore of eternal life, together with a propensity to evil…” (Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, n. 25), Ratzinger had a slightly different take on this fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion:

It must … be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin-damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it.

(Joseph Ratzinger, ‘In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, trans. Boniface Ramsey, OP [Eerdmans, 1995], pp. 72-73; view scan here.)

Got it?!

Didn’t think so. The Neo-Modernist way is to drown the audience in so much verbiage about relationships, coherence, authenticity, horizons, etc. — all under the pretext of offering a more profound theology, of course — that in the end the hearer has no idea what is actually being said.

In the above passage, Ratzinger denies Catholic teaching on original sin. For him, original sin does not consist in a deprivation of sanctifying grace but in a damage in human relationships encountered by every human being. Inasmuch as this denies that original sin is transmitted through natural generation, his error rises to the level of heresy (see Denz. 790).

But this is not our topic now. We have dismantled Ratzinger’s gobbledygook about original sin at greater length and in more depth at this page:

More gibberish by another major New Theologian can be found in “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Muller’s heretical ideas about the Holy Eucharist. Supposedly describing the Last Supper, the German “master theologian” writes:

Jesus takes the gifts of bread and wine into his hands. In this way he unites them directly with his bodily presence. His words of institution make them into signs in which he himself becomes communicable in his entire historical and bodily presence as the Son of the Father. Jesus prays to the Father the prayer of thanksgiving, the Eucharistia. In this grateful abandonment of the eternal and the incarnate Son, he takes bread and wine into his obedience and his love for the Father. He now hands the bread and wine to the disciples. In this offertory gesture his devoted love for us shows itself, as does his willingness to make the offering of his life a sign of the love of God for men, which [love] asserts itself in history. At the same time, however, he allows the disciples to participate in his act of abandonment to the Father for us. Whoever, therefore, consumes these gifts of bread and wine, partakes in a real way of the humanity of Jesus and his entire destiny, that is to say, of his body and blood. He enters thus into the reality of the New Covenant, that is, [into] loving fellowship with God, which has become communicable in the revelation of the unity of love of Father and Son. Thus bread and wine are not, of course, representational symbols but reality-symbols, because they share in the reality-content of the human and bodily self-giving of Jesus and, on account of the words of institution, make this reality present.

(Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Mit der Kirche denken, 2nd ed. [Würzburg: Johann Wilhelm Naumann, 2002], p. 47; our translation.)

More about Muller’s defection from the Faith can be found in this post:

You get the idea. The New Theology is the vehicle which the Novus Ordo Sect uses to destroy the Faith, exactly as the great Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964) warned, who was an implacable foe of this false theological system.

Before we conclude this post, let’s take a moment to consider what Francis could have said to his audience about the Sixth Commandment. We already saw how traditional Catholic sources explain this subject. To illustrate the matter further, it may help to simply list a few specific things the “Pope” could have said instead:

Francis could have…

  • instructed people on the nature of the marriage bond and how it arises
  • emphasized that the marriage bond is intrinsically indissoluble and lasts until the death of one of the spouses
  • pointed out that sometimes heroic sacrifice may be required of the married under pain of mortal sin
  • contrasted valid natural marriages (in which at least one person is not baptized) with the sacrament of matrimony (between the baptized)
  • warned about the dangers of mixed marriages (in which one party is not Catholic)
  • reminded people that the only primary end of matrimony, to which all other ends are subordinate, is the procreation and education of children, wherefore it is never licit to engage in an act that frustrates this end
  • denounced the terrible epidemic of divorce (esp. in conjunction with “remarriage”) and condemned how man continually tries to put himself above the law of God in this regard
  • criticized various excuses that are commonly made to justify various sins against chastity
  • used the opportunity to explain how to guard oneself against temptations to purity
  • denounced the porn industry and pointed out how, in accordance with Christ’s teaching, adultery begins in the heart (see Mt 5:28)
  • reminded people that more souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason
  • reminded people that guarding one’s eyes and dressing modestly is necessary to preserve purity

Yes, Francis could have talked about all of these things, but instead he decided to drone on about the coherence of authentic relationships and the “spousal actions” of those who are not married.

It is incredible what utter theological garbage is being foisted on the unsuspecting masses at “papal” audiences in our day. It is truly tragic because so many of the attendees are surely sincere people who simply mean to be good Catholics. And look at what they are fed!

The good news is that the Vatican II Sect is its own undoing. This kind of pseudo-theology cannot sustain itself long-term. It has made itself irrelevant precisely in its desperate desire to appear relevant to modern man, with the end result that now it is relevant to no one.

The false Vatican II Church is doomed to collapse from the consequences of its own apostasy.

Against the “Loyal Opposition”: How Recognize-and-Resist Traditionalism neutralizes the Catholic Faith

from Novus Ordo Watch

A reality check for Burke, Schneider & Co.

Against the “Loyal Opposition”:

How Recognize-and-Resist Traditionalism
neutralizes the Catholic Faith

by Francis del Sarto

On May 18, 2018, during his Rome Life Forum keynote address at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, “Cardinal” Raymond Burke declared: “We cannot fail to observe that the situation which Pope Pius XI described in 1925 has only grown worse in our time, and attempts ever more to infiltrate the life of the Church herself and to corrupt the Bride of Christ by an apostasy from the Apostolic Faith” (see video recording, 12:51ff. min mark). Now there’s a sound bite to make one sit up and take notice! Finally, it would seem, a Novus Ordo churchman with courage enough to speak out about the subversion that’s attacking the Catholic Church, a churchman doing his duty to cry wolf when the flock is in danger. And that’s exactly the take coming from Pete Baklinski, a columnist for LifeSiteNews, one of the Forum’s sponsors, when he refers to Burke as “a foremost defender of orthodoxy within the Church today….”

Burke’s appearance was one of many this year by high-profile adherents of the recognize-and-resist (R&R) position, who have been featured at public lectures, giving voice in opposition to the ultra-radical agenda of “Pope” Francis. Considering the great hoopla surrounding their appearances, one could almost imagine them being billed as the “Champions of Tradition” in 2018. However, the “championing” of Tradition and “defending” of orthodoxy by these speakers is found to be a good deal wanting in substance.

Redefining Tradition in “Light” of Vatican II

Before examining some of the remarks from these speakers, a review of one of the false principles underlying their position will be beneficial. The fallacy is illustrated by “Cardinal” Burke, who in his speech invoked not only documents from Popes St. Pius X, Leo XIII, and Pius XI, but also those of Vatican II and “Popes” (“St.”) John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as if they all somehow represented one and the same magisterial continuum.

This is one of the ways at least some of the R&R proponents show that in their minds there really isn’t a great deal they need to resist when it comes to the post-Vatican II reforms, only the “abuses” of those reforms. They appeal to the same “conservative” Benedict XVI to invoke a concept of what he called “the hermeneutic of reform” that has come to be better known as the hermeneutic of continuity. This he expounded in his 2005 Christmas address to members of the Novus Ordo Roman Curia, which corresponded with the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the so-called Second Vatican Council.

The address is an important expression of neo-Modernist thought, for therein he discusses two contrasting ways to view the Council and subsequent reforms, a dichotomy that would help define his “papacy”. Among many recognize-and-resist apologists there is a grave and fundamental misunderstanding of what he teaches that works to their great disadvantage in discerning the contours of the battlefield upon which the Church Militant finds herself.

Midway through his talk, Benedict arrives at its thematic crux and poses the following question: “Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?” And he then proposes an explanation:

Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

(Antipope Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005)

Benedict first looks at what he refers to as the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”. Proponents of that position, who tend to come from the so-called progressive wing of the Novus Ordo Church and from the media, commonly invoke the “spirit of Vatican II” they say is embedded in the conciliar documents, and they read between the lines. This highly interpretive reading of them

…risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.

These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council’s deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

By contrast, the second mode of interpretation does not involve any break with Catholic Tradition at all, but proposes that the council had merely recast the Church’s perennial truths in such a way as to help contemporary people better understand and embrace them. Or, using the parlance of our time, to rebrand those truths. Again, states Benedict:

On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

He also cites a passage of “Pope” John XXIII’s 1962 speech inaugurating the Council on how “authentic doctrine … should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another….”

This claim of continuity with “the ancient doctrine of the deposit of the faith” ostensibly should resonate with the Society of St. Pius X and others of the R&R mindset in such a way as to get them to shift the emphasis of their concerns away from active resistance in favor of a more docile acceptance of Modernist Rome — which is precisely what can be seen with the SSPX’s own rebranding of recent years. Besides, it surely had a precedence of sorts with the assurance its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, once gave to “Pope” John Paul II when he wrote to “Cardinal” Franjo Seper, then the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “…I subscribe to the phrase of the Holy Father which asks that one accept [Vatican II] ‘in the light of tradition and the constant Magisterium of the Church’” (Letter to Franjo Seper, Apr. 4, 1981; published in 30 Days, July/August 1988, p. 16). Of course this idea of reading Vatican II “in light of Tradition” is just an exercise in wishful thinking and cannot change the novel realities of the Council one iota.

What Benedict XVI then says by way of comment on the John XXIII quote is rather disturbing:

It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived. In this regard, the programme that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding.

(Antipope Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005; emphasis added.)

There is very real reason for concern whenever someone says an ecumenical council “demands new thinking” about the truths of the Faith. It is one thing to say that the same truth is presented in a new way, which could be problematic unto itself (see Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, nn. 15-16), and entirely another to demand that Catholics rethink their Faith. This is simply Modernism being passed along to the faithful through a semantic sleight of hand. The tactic of theological subversion through subversion of language has long been a ploy of the enemies of the Church, which is one of the reasons Latin has always been favored as the lingua ecclesiae (language of the Church).

One R&R proponent who has shown that he has at least some grasp of the problem with what Benedict is trying to foist on Catholics is the Spanish writer José María Permuy. In an interview published by Rorate Caeli, he answers the question, “Why cannot this concept be accepted?”, as follows:

Because it is a half-truth, well-intentioned as it may be. It is certain that there are conciliar texts that are susceptible to two or more interpretations. There, precisely, lies the problem. If these texts were clear, there would be no room for diverse interpretations. The fundamental problem, therefore, is not the subjective interpretations that are made, but the ambiguities and the objective contradictions made in some of the affirmations of the Second Vatican Council in comparison with the Magisterium of all time.

It is true that over the years the Popes have tried to clarify doctrinal issues, such as the primacy of the Pope or the necessity of Christ and His one true Church for salvation.

It is no less certain that on other occasions, the Popes, including Benedict XVI, have promoted, in theory or in practice, conciliar ideas contrary or alien to the Tradition of the Church, such as the separation of Church and State, ecumenical and interreligious prayer meetings, the recognition of the “martyrdom” of heretics and schismatics, the translation of the Mass into the vernacular and the progressive introduction and permission for Communion in the hand, extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, altar girls, etc… Francis is doing nothing but taking these erroneous ideas to their logical conclusions.

(José María Permuy, in Adfero, “The myth of the Hermeneutic of Continuity”Rorate Caeli, July 18, 2017)

Needless to say, Mr. Permuy is wrong to intimate that real popes could “promote” — note the vague phraseology — ideas contradicting magisterial teaching, yet he is right to assert that certain Vatican II texts do constitute “ambiguities and objective contradictions” with Tradition and therefore, implicitly, constitute rupture or discontinuity with it. Incidentally, since he mentions Francis, who is a person of interest in the present study: It may come as a surprise for some readers to learn that despite his freewheeling style, which seems light years removed from the faux conservatism of Benedict XVI, Bergoglio is on board with the “no break with Tradition” nonsense of his predecessor, as seen in this report:

Returning to Benedict’s curial address, after his assertion that Vatican II “demands new thinking” concerning the Faith, he takes this a step further, informing us that “the Council had to determine in a new way the relationship between the Church and the modern era”. What new relationship? He begins by listing a number of old conflicts, such as “during the 19th century under Pius IX, the clash between the Church’s faith and a radical liberalism and the natural sciences”, which “had elicited from the Church a bitter and radical condemnation of this spirit of the modern age”, that must now be discarded in favor of a new-found attitude of tolerance and understanding. In practice, this meant following John XXIII’s radical reappraisal of Communism and other movements hostile to the Church, a sugar-coated betrayal of millions of victims of cruel regimes that went like this: “…who can deny that those movements, in so far as they conform to the dictates of right reason and are interpreters of the lawful aspirations of the human person, contain elements that are positive and deserving of approval?” (Antipope John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in Terris, n. 159).

By now, something peculiar is evident. Through some strange sub-context it would seem that this supposed continuity with Tradition is beginning to bear some of the very subjectivism manifested in the “spirit of Vatican II’s” hermeneutic of rupture. But surely such cannot be. Quite the opposite, Benedict proposes that the two are part of one process:

It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church’s decisions on contingent matters – for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible – should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.

On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.

(Antipope Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005; emphasis added.)

Here Ratzinger’s commitment to Hegelian philosophy appears once again, as it would less than two years later when he applied it to the Sacred Liturgy in his “Apostolic Letter” Summorum Pontificum, as was pointed out on this web site before:

While many of Benedict’s recognize-and-resist cheerleaders were hailing Summorum Pontificum as a gift from above and were acting as though “Pope” Ratzinger had just overturned Vatican II, Novus Ordo Watch was among the unpopular few who pointed out that, contrary to the impression a superficial reading of the document might give, Summorum Pontificum was but the latest dangerous ploy of a devious antipope who has been undermining Faith and Liturgy pretty much from the beginning of his priesthood (ordained in 1951, the young Fr. Ratzinger was suspected of heresy by the Holy Office during the very same decade).

One of the most obvious blasphemies Benedict XVI’s document contains is the bold, gratuitous, and easily-disproven claim that the traditional Roman rite of Pope St. Pius V and the Modernist Novus Ordo rite of “Pope” Paul VI are but “two usages of the one Roman rite”. Not only does our response to Summorum Pontificum … refute this absurd position, it also points out that the celebrated motu proprio appears to contain one of Ratzinger’s favorite tools: Hegelian philosophy.

In a nutshell: The German idealist philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) held the idea that all reality is Absolute Spirit, which manifests itself in world history. History consists of and advances by means of a constant interplay of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. According to Hegel, contradictions (in his terms, a “thesis” being opposed by an “anti-thesis”) are necessary to arrive at a “higher level of truth” (the so-called “synthesis”). This triad is called the Hegelian dialectic, and it repeats itself continuously (with each synthesis becoming a new thesis, which is then opposed by its corresponding antithesis, both of which in turn generate another synthesis, etc.) until it culminates in the Absolute at the end of history. Needless to say, Hegelianism is radically incompatible with Catholicism.

(“Ratzinger, Hegel, and ‘Summorum Pontificum’”Novus Ordo Wire, June 6, 2017)

More on the Hermeneutic of Liturgical Continuity

It’s worth looking a bit more at the practical ramifications of the Hegelian hermeneutic of Summorum Pontificum for the future worship in the Novus Ordo church, and those who seek admittance into that sect, such as the SSPX, because the ultimate goal isn’t merely a “pro-choice” option to attend one or the other of the so-called “two usages of the one Roman rite”, but bringing together the traditional Mass (thesis) and the Paul VI pseudo-Mass (anti-thesis) into a single unholy hybrid of the two (synthesis).

Just months after the issuance of Summorum Pontificum, Atila Sinke Guimarães of Tradition in Action wrote an article entitled “Heading to a Hybrid Mass.” In it, he noted that Heinz Lothar Barth, a professor of classics at the University of Bonn who is associated with the SSPX, had been sent a letter in 2003 by then-“Cardinal” Ratzinger, which reads in part: “I believe that in the long term the Roman Church must have a single Roman Rite … The Roman Rite of the future should be a single rite, celebrated in Latin or in vernacular, but standing completely in the tradition of the rite that has been handed down…” (published in The Tablet, February 16, 2008, p. 36; Dr. Barth has since confirmed the veracity of the claim that he received this letter).

And lest it be believed that perhaps the Society of St. Pius X doesn’t know what’s in store for it, should its “synthesis” with the Conciliar church be fully achieved, let’s have a quick look at part of a 2013 article found on the SSPX’s official U.S. District web site, concerning a talk “Cardinal” Kurt Koch gave regarding Summorum Pontificum, a document he strongly supports.

The title, “Koch admits: New Mass is a rupture with Tradition”, is misleading and inaccurate in a way that will be familiar to those who have followed the Society’s news releases through the years: At no point in the article, even where Koch is directly quoted, does he attack the pseudo-Mass, any more than does the document he is promoting; rather, what he is actually said to have stated was that “the post-conciliar liturgical reform is considered in large circles of the Catholic Church as a rupture with tradition and as a new creation”. For someone to say that others “consider” there to be a rupture with Tradition is quite different from saying that he agrees with that assessment, which of course he doesn’t(after all, he’s cheerleading for the false hermeneutic of continuity narrative).

Far from finding the “ordinary form of the Roman Rite” an area of concern, he brings Benedict’s “glad tidings” of the vision of a Hegelian liturgical evolution:

Cardinal Koch was even more explicit in his analysis of the ultimate goal of this initiative, namely that the traditional and new Masses will eventually evolve together into a common rite, namely, that both are to disappear:

“Benedict XVI knows well that in the long term we cannot remain with a coexistence between the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the Roman rite, but that the Church will again need in the future a common rite… However, given that a new liturgical form cannot be decided in an office, as it requires a process of growth and purification, for the time being the pope stresses above all that the two forms of use of the Roman rite can and must enrich one another mutually” [Zenit, March 17, 2011].

(“Koch admits: New Mass is a rupture with Tradition”sspx.org, Aug. 23, 2013)

That Ratzinger would apply the same dialectic to liturgical matters that he did to doctrinal ones, resulting in a Modernist distortion of the perennial Catholic axiom lex orandi, lex credendi (loosely, “the law of prayer is the law of belief”, meaning that how we pray reflects what we believe, and vice versa), is exactly what should be expected from someone like him. As a young priest he had a postdoctoral thesis (Habilitationsschrift) about the theology of St. Bonaventure rejected and turned back to him for revision, on the grounds that it contained “a dangerous modernism that had to lead to the subjectivization of the concept of revelation” (source). Ratzinger himself mentions this incident in his autobiography Milestones: Memoirs, 1927-1977, Chapter 8. The professor assessing the dissertation was Michael Schmaus (1897-1993).

And, yes, consistent with what was noted above about Francis’s support of Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” in general, he is on the same page with its liturgical implications, as well. Last autumn Novus Ordo Watch relayed some disturbing news that Una Voce Federation in Malta had reported on its blog:

Reliable sources close to the Holy See have indicated that sometime in the second half of 2018, the Novus Ordo Lectionary and Calendar are to be imposed upon the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass.

The new Roman Missal will become available on the First Sunday of Advent 2018 but the Vatican will allow a two-year period to phase it in. These changes are expected to be much more drastic than what was envisaged in Universae Ecclesiae that states:

25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently. (emphasis ours)

The Vatican approved societies and institutes, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter and the Institute of Christ the King, will likely apply for exemptions, but all requests are expected to be turned down. The only exception seems to be the SSPX, which might be granted a temporary exemption, to ensure that an agreement is reached between the SSPX and Rome. However, if the exemption granted will be of a temporary nature, more SSPX priests are expected to join the so-called Resistance (formerly known as SSPX-SO) under Bishop Richard Williamson and more will go independent. This would make the traditional Catholic movement more fragmented than ever before.

(“Breaking News: Massive liturgical changes expected in 2018!”Pro Tridentina (Malta), Oct. 8, 2017; italics and bold print given.)

Immediately, Mr. John Zuhlsdorf — “Father Z” — ridiculed Una Voce’s news by telling his readers, “No. Won’t happen. Can’t happen”. Of course, this is the same intrepid blogster who once assured his readers that Bergoglio was safe, not a Modernist, not even a liberal (see a typical example post here). How’s that working out for him now?

Of course, other naysayers have claimed Francis desires to eliminate Summorum Pontificum altogether as an option, noting his ridicule of young people attracted to the traditional Latin Mass as too “rigid” and his predilection for the Montini “Mass”, even in its craziest versions:

Yet even leftist academic, reporter, and inveterate Bergoglio apologist Massimo Faggioli conceded in a February 2018 article published in Commonweal (a journal that boasts that it “has been credited with helping prepare American Catholics for Vatican II and its aftermath”) that despite the “pontiff’s” abhorrence for the true Mass and even anything that remotely smacks of tradition in the Novus Ordo Missae (such as the presider offering it ad orientem — that is, facing East), fears of such an assault are unfounded:

Pope Francis is clearly not a liturgical traditionalist, and while he has respected the provisions made for traditionalists by his predecessor, his motu proprio Magnum Principium (September 2017) was intended to correct Rome’s recent tendency to “Latinize” and “curialize” liturgy. But while some traditionalists are worried that this pontificate is a threat to the liberties they acquired under Benedict, Francis is not about to abrogate Summorum Pontificum. That means that the two-track status quo is going to remain the status quo for a long time. Theologians often say that, at fifty years, the reception of Vatican II has just begun; one could make the same point about the movement for the “reform of the reform”: it has only just begun.

(Massimo Faggioli, “Extraordinary Divisions”Commonweal, Feb. 21, 2018; underlining added.)

However, in the same article Faggioli links to what he calls the “untruthful statements” of “Cardinal” Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, who in 2016 publicly said Bergoglio had instructed him to look into the hybridization of the so-called “ordinary” and “extraordinary” forms of worship. The Tablet, an international ecumenical publication self-described as“committed to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council”, reported as follows:

Speaking in London yesterday at the Sacra Liturgia conference, he said the Pope had asked him “to study the question of a reform of a reform and how to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite”. The cardinal said that if the Church is to “achieve what the [Second Vatican] Council desired, this is a serious question which must be carefully studied and acted on”.

(Megan Cornwell, “Cardinal Sarah to conduct study into Ordinary and Extraordinary Mass forms”The Tablet, July 6, 2016; italics added.)

Less than a week after this article, the same Tablet published the one Faggioli saw fit to link, reporting that a Vatican directive contradicted points made by Sarah, though it did not refute his remark that Francis had instructed him to conduct a study on the “mutual enrichment” of the two liturgies. (Faggioli seems to be picking a fight with his rhetoric, claiming that Sarah’s statements were “untruthful”, when inaccurate would have been a less emotionally charged term.)

“Cardinal” Sarah is an interesting member of the Curia under Bergoglio, for although he was appointed by Francis himself to head the Vatican office overseeing “divine worship”, he at least “talks the talk” of someone with sympathies for the traditional Mass. Almost a year to the day of his Sacra Liturgiaaddress, Sarah was still promoting Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic of liturgical continuity. Again, from The Tablet:

Cardinal Sarah, writing in French magazine La Nef to mark ten years since Summorum Pontificum, now wants to reconcile the rites with a new, shared calendar for when feast days are celebrated along with ensuring both forms of the Mass use the same scripture readings at the same time. Under Benedict XVI a committee worked for many years in this area but to no avail.

The Guinean prelate’s move is on the one hand a conciliatory move given the cardinal has been largely promoting the wishes of traditionalists during his period in office.

In his article, the cardinal calls for an end to the phrase the “reform of the reform” an idea pushed by those who want the ordinary form of the Mass to be more like the old rite.

“Reform of the reform’ has become synonymous with dominance of one clan over the other,” the cardinal writes in French. “This expression may then become inappropriate, so I prefer to speak of liturgical reconciliation. In the Church, the Christian has no opponent!”…

But while the cardinal is calling for reconciliation, he also wants the ordinary version of the Mass to take on elements from the extraordinary such as more use of Latin and encouraging priests to say certain prayers in silence. In April of this year, Cardinal Sarah denounced the “disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy” and said that the Church after Vatican II had abandoned its “Christian roots”.

In his Le Nef article, the cardinal also proposes the newer form of the liturgy adopt the following: communion to be received kneeling and on the tongue, the inclusion of “Prayers at the Foot of the Altar” which take place in the old rite and for the priest to ensure that after consecrating the host that the fingers which touched it remain united.

The cardinal states that those who use the old rite of the Mass to call Vatican II into question are “gravely wrong” but also states that council’s reforms did not “contradict” what had gone before.

“It would thus be wrong to consider the two different forms of liturgy as showing two opposing theologies,” he explains.

“It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,” the cardinal writes. “For now, there is still violence, contempt and hurtful opposition that destroys the Church and pushes us farther [sic] away from this unity that Jesus prayed for and died on the cross for.”

To supporters of the old rite, he stresses that the liturgy is not a “museum object” but instead can be “fruitful for the Christians of today.” Cardinal Sarah also argues it is essential that those attending the extraordinary form have a form of “active participation” in the liturgy, and that the scripture readings – which are often read in Latin – are understood by people in the pews…

(Christopher Lamb, “Cardinal Sarah wants ‘liturgical reconciliation’ between old and new forms of Mass”The Tablet, July 13, 2017; underlining added.)

The rhetoric is very telling, as he’s utilizing Hegelian language, or, more properly in the present context, Ratzingerian language. When Sarah speaks of “liturgical reconciliation”, he intimates that something that will greatly help facilitate it will be for those who use “the old rite” to finally get over criticizing Vatican II, since the reforms didn’t contradict pre-conciliar teachings. There are no “opposing theologies”, only different approaches, and “a common reformed rite” (not two forms of it) is the goal. That’s the endgame for the liturgical Modernists; but, as seen elsewhere in the passage cited, for now the short term aim is “mutual enrichment”: a shared calendar and Scripture readings, while the Novus Ordo “Mass” will adopt some traditional trappings, such as the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (or Table, as the case may be), kneeling for “Communion” and receiving on the tongue (Sarah may have a difficult time initially getting full–or even substantial–compliance for that, if it ever happens), while Latin Masses in the “extraordinary” form will need to loosen up by adding vernacular readings and more “active” participation, and become generally more comfortable with how it’s done over at “Saint” John Paul II’s parish.

This is all about moving towards an unholy confluence of the immemorial Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass with the invalid, Protestantized memorial meal of Paul VI. Again, the process leading to that confluence is the liturgical analogue to Benedict’s dialectical quote cited earlier in this analysis: “It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists.”

And so there is also this liturgical aspect to Francis’s public support for the “hermeneutic of continuity” myth developed by Ratzinger. Given that support, given the continuing presence of “Cardinal” Sarah, a vigorous proponent of “the Hybrid Mass” as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, and given Bergoglio’s desire to finally bring about the assisted suicide of the ever more compromised SSPX, it seems that the rumor set forth by Una Voce of a forthcoming standardized Roman lectionary and calendar for traditional worshippers is far more likely to become reality than the shutting down of the Ecclesia Dei Commission and Summorum Pontificum. Indeed, the liturgical reconciliation is almost surely a matter of not if, but when. Still, now that an institutional-sized can of worms has been opened through “Archbishop” Carlo Viganò’s so-called “Testimonies” since August 25, Modernist Rome may need to put its attempts at liturgical alchemy on the back burner for the time being.

Apostasy, Infiltration, and “Cardinal” Burke

Fast forward to dangerous Modernism in the Age of Bergoglio. Despite “Pope” Francis’s claim to discern a continuity between pre- and post-Vatican II teachings, if there was ever a poster boy advertising the Nouvelle Théologie’s formal rupture with the true Roman Catholic magisterium, surely it would be “Chaos Frank”. Naturally, many in the recognize-and-resist crowd will argue that Bergoglio is an anomaly, yet even that raises another important question: How can a man who has shown beyond reasonable doubt that he simply does not profess the Catholic Faith and didn’t profess it even in the years leading up to his election, be seriously regarded as a true successor to St. Peter even for a moment?

For someone to call Jorge Bergoglio a heretic would be to do him a profound injustice, not because it falsely suggests he denies a dogma of the Faith, but rather because his denial of the Faith is so pervasive that only the word apostate is adequate to express his utter contempt for all things Catholic. Indeed, it almost would be possible to construct a veritable anti-catechism drawn from his endless talks, writings, and actions. Here is a mere Forrest Gump sampler from his truly prodigious output of heterodoxy:

  • Prefatory to the following is a Francis quote that encapsulates so many of his “pontifical” pronouncements: “And it comes to my mind to say something that may be foolish or perhaps a heresy, I don’t know.” (As shown in the link, he is proclaiming religious indifferentism, which is a heresy indeed.)
  • Preached that “God does not exist” on one occasion, and declared that “There is no Catholic God” on another.
  • Taking up the Ratzingerian/Hegelian “hermeneutic of unity in difference”, he has joked that Holy Trinity does not possess perfect unity but merely an outward show of unity, while in reality the Three Persons are constantly bickering.
  • Continuing his “humorous” attack on the divinely revealed conception of the Godhead, he characterizes (or, more precisely, caricaturizes) the Holy Ghost as a “calamity” or “disaster”, and this “because He never tires of being creative!” Synonyms for “calamity” include messruin, and disorder, yet Francis is supposedly speaking about the Holy Ghost’s creativity. (Who would speak in such a way? Those who think in Hegelian terms, of course, not to mention the Freemasons with their motto: Ordo ab Chao — Latin for “Order out of Chaos”.)
  • To prevent this list running on for pages, here is a breakdown of some more of his seemingly bottomless pit of errors, including brazen heresies, taken from the article Anathema sit Bergoglio by Miles Christi: “the need for an ‘ecological conversion’; the call to pardon ‘gays’ for having been ‘discriminated against’ by the Church; the building of a ‘new humanity’ through a ‘culture of encounter’; the Church and Synagogue have ‘equal dignity’; Mary and the Church have ‘defects’; Luther was not mistaken on the doctrine of justification; Catholic States are incompatible with the sense of ‘History’; the Muslims are ‘children of God’; the death penalty for criminals is ‘inadmissible’; one day the human species will be extinguished; there is no Catholic God; the multiplication of loaves did not happen; God used evolution and he is not a ‘magician’; Christian marriage is only an ‘ideal’; the language of the Lutherans and the language of the Catholics concerning the Eucharist are ‘the same thing’; the Church in the past has had “inhumane behavior” but since Vatican II she has learned “respect” for other religions… The list is endless.” A more comprehensive list can be found here.

The Bergoglian assault on every phase of Catholic life is so unrelenting and seemingly inescapable that it is difficult to believe that he is simply doing this haphazardly — which speaks to the possibility that he is carrying out an agenda, that he is following orders from an unseen master.

For the past two centuries or more there have been plans carried out for the internal subversion of the Catholic Church by groups seeking to corrupt her irreparably. There are numerous proofs of this, from the revelations of ex-Communist official Bella Dodd about the goal of infiltrating seminaries to produce a generation of anti-clergy to the opening of the Verona Papers from Soviet intelligence, where it was shown that there had been successful penetration of groups such as the Holy Name Society. However, for the purpose of this study, only one such effort will be linked here, showing how Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII both ordered the publication of the Masonic “Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita”, which called for the corruption and destruction of the Church from within:

Could Bergoglio be part of this infiltration of the Church, either raised into it or else at some point early in his life recruited and won over to her enemies? Quite likely. Everything we know of his formative years up to the present indicates as much. What is known of his youth and young adulthood is derived in large part from his reminiscences: how he delighted in reading a Marxist publication, how one of his bosses was a “fervent Communist” whom he “owe[s] a huge amount” and whom he calls “that great woman” who “taught me so much about politics” — as reported by George Neumayr.

That this is something he’s carried into adulthood is evidenced by him:

Then there was his infamous response to a question posed in November 2016 by the Italian atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari, where Bergoglio stated: “It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians” (source). (In answer to those employed 24/7 in the Francis Damage Control Unit, who have been known to say the Scalfari’s interviews aren’t trustworthy, let it be countered that the Vatican has had nearly two years to repudiate the statement if it is inaccurate, but has not done so. Therefore, it stands as written.)

With all this overwhelming evidence against Francis, a forceful response from “Cardinal” Burke in the keynote address leading off the present study would have been most appropriate. He is, after all, someone who claims to represent the interests of the Catholic Church, and LifeSiteNews titled the article accompanying the video, “Cardinal Burke: Catholics must let Christ reign as King in face of ‘apostasy’ within Church”.

But, no, nothing of the kind. All the title amounts to is so much clickbait. There’s a big clue as the word apostasy is enclosed in quotation marks, which can be taken, principally, in a couple of different ways: either to (1) highlight that this is a word actually used by Burke in his speech, it being a direct quote; or (2) to qualify the word as to suggest it isn’t being used in a literal manner. No matter how it’s meant, there is nothing in either the accompanying article or video that indicates Burke means business.

In a speech lasting nearly 40 minutes, he would have had ample time to name names. After all, an assertion that the enemies of the Church today are attempting to “infiltrate the life of the Church herself and to corrupt the Bride of Christ by an apostasy from the Apostolic Faith” is a serious charge, even if he’s off by many decades concerning an infiltration that was attempted and apostasy that was introduced, but which to a large degree have succeeded.

Of course, the “Cardinal” doesn’t bother to name names, and how could he, since he only devotes a scant 25 seconds to the subject of apostasy. In fact, he gives so little time to a subject that he supposedly deems to be of great importance that it might as well be John Paul II’s “silent apostasy” to which he alludes. Most people who fashion themselves Catholics have little to no idea what has transpired, content to live their lives in blissful ignorance, so Burke could have provided them with a real wake up call, and exposed the subversive agenda, because as laudable and important as speaking on the Kingship of Christ and the Sacred Heart is, the enemies of the Church like Francis are not going to leave voluntarily, but must be routed by the Church Militant — through prayer, yes, but also by casting the bright light of truth upon these machinations of the Evil One.

It must be understood that Raymond Burke is doing nothing that hasn’t been done on any number of occasions by leaders in Modernist Rome, which is to suggest the problem, but never getting to the heart of it. Similar bold statements can be seen from Paul VI’s famous “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church” to John Paul II’s empty warning about “a silent apostasy” in the Church, when all the while they were among the chief perpetrators of both. Similarly, the late Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the chief Novus Ordo exorcist of Rome, who seems to have had somewhat traditionalist leanings (he held that Hell laughed at the so-called new rite of exorcism, as it was completely ineffectual), once declared: “The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences” (source). Yet even there he was apparently too naive to really see what was happening, or perhaps too married to the Novus Ordo establishment to fully break away, as he once ridiculously maintained that the Modernist subversive John Paul II had performed a successful exorcism in St. Peter’s Square.

So where’s “Cardinal” Burke’s version of the silent apostasy leading? At this point in time, absolutely nowhere, and perhaps that’s exactly where he wants it to be. Just who is promoting this apostasy at which he thunders? He apparently isn’t saying. It may be so much bluster simply interjected into his speech to help perpetuate his mythical “Champion of Tradition” persona. And to make it quite clear to any doubters, Burke is emphatically not pointing fingers anywhere close to Bergoglio’s direction. For verification, look no further than a Catholic World Report interview from December 19, 2016:

CWR: Just to clarify again, are you saying that Pope Francis is in heresy or is close to it?

Cardinal Burke: No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy. I have never said that. Neither have I stated that he is close to being in heresy.

(“Cardinal Burke: ‘No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy’”Catholic World Report, Dec. 19, 2016; bold print given.)

No problem, then, for “Cardinal” Burke; clearly, he didn’t have Francis in mind when he made the remark about enemy infiltrators trying to corrupt the Church with apostasy. If more proof is needed, the September following the interview, Bergoglio appointed him to the Apostolic Signatura (this shouldn’t be lightly dismissed, as it is a curial position in the highest judicial authority of the Novus Ordo).

Far from accusing him of any such thing, on more than one occasion, Burke has gone out of his way to not only defend Francis, but even to act implicitly as a salesman for some of his departures from the Faith, including his ridiculing of Catholics for being “obsessed” with opposing abortion, birth control, and “gay rights”. In a 2014 essay reassuring conservatives that they could trust Bergoglio, the “Champion of Tradition” wrote:

The Holy Father, it seems to me, wishes to pare back every conceivable obstacle people may have invented to prevent themselves from responding to Jesus Christ’s universal call to holiness. We all know individuals who say things like: “Oh, I stopped going to Church because of the Church’s teaching on divorce”, or “I could never be Catholic because of the Church’s teaching on abortion or on homosexuality”. The Holy Father is asking them to put aside these obstacles and to welcome Christ, without any excuse, into their lives. Once they come to understand the immeasurable love of Christ, alive for us in the Church, they will be able to resolve whatever has been troubling them about the Church, His Mystical Body, and her teaching.

Surely, persons whose hearts are hardened against the truth will read something very different into the approach of Pope Francis, claiming that, in fact, he intends to abandon certain teachings of the Church which our totally secularized culture rejects. Their false praise of the Holy Father’s approach mocks the fact that he is the Successor of Saint Peter, totally grounded in the Beatitudes, and that, therefore, with humble trust in God alone, he rejects the acceptance and praise of the world.

(Greg Kandra, “Cardinal Burke: Pope Francis seeks to ‘pare back every conceivable obstacle’ to Christ”Patheos: The Deacon’s Bench, Feb. 21, 2014)

The following April, “Cardinal” Burke was at it again, this time assuring Catholics in an interview featured at Crux that Francis “hasn’t done anything to contradict [Catholic] teaching”:

Burke complained that there are individuals who try to neutralize him by making him an enemy of the pontiff, or by claiming he’s ready to lead a schism.

“I’m not resisting Pope Francis, because he’s done nothing against doctrine,” Burke said. “I don’t see myself at all in a fight against the pope. As a cardinal, I just try to be a teacher of the faith.”

Talking about an alleged tension between doctrine and mercy, which emerged as a fault line during the last synod, Burke said any such contrast is inadmissible.

(Ines San Martin, “Cardinal Burke denies rift with pope, warns of ‘gay agenda’ for Synod”, Crux, Apr. 1, 2015)

And you say you’d like even more proof that Burke is nothing but a progressive in retro-look outfits? Okay, he has expressed support for the same subversive Hegelian dialectic “Hybrid Mass” envisioned by Benedict XVI. In 2011, his first year as a member of the Novus Ordo “College of Cardinals”, he stated as follows about his support for Ratzinger’s “reform of the reform” scheme: “It seems to me that is [sic] what he has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the ‘reform of the reform,’ if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent” (David Kerr, “Cardinal Burke reflects on his first year in the Sacred College”Catholic News Agency, Nov. 28, 2011).

How, then, to view Burke? He’s recognize-and-resist, but not too much of the latter. He’s the Conciliar equivalent of a High Anglican, who happens to be in a different part of the Modernist sect, but still firmly in it. To use a neologism, he and Francis can be described as frenemies (an oxymoronic portmanteau of “friends” and “enemies”), meaning they don’t always get along and have fundamental differences, but they can work together when the need arises. When this is all taken into account, Burke’s sound bite is seen as so much hot air disguised as a stirring call to arms. If you want the quintessential member of Bergoglio’s loyal opposition, there are few that can vie with Raymond Leo Burke for that most dubious of “honors”.

“Bishop” Schneider and the Cathedra of Truth

Rome was also the venue for a symposium titled “Catholic Church: Where are you heading?”, which occurred a little over a month prior to the one that featured “Cardinal” Burke. One of the principal speakers was “Bishop” Athanasius Schneider, whose address “The Apostolic See as the Cathedra of Truth”, contains some of the more provocative content to be covered here, even though he never once mentions “Pope” Francis by name either.

Before turning to his remarks, a bit of biographical background is in order to show that “Bishop” Schneider grew up on Modernism along with his mother’s milk, being all of four years old when the Second Vatican Council came to a conclusion. By the time he was ordained a “priest” in 1990, the Vatican II revolution had already been in motion for a quarter century, John Paul II had already conducted the apostate prayer meeting at Assisi, and Archbishop Lefebvre had successfully defied the future Koran kisser by consecrating four bishops.

Despite his early immersion into the tainted waters of post-conciliar theology, Schneider somehow seems to have avoided being completely consumed by the exposure and has retained a semblance of Catholicism in his thinking. Sadly, this is also compromised by his qualified embrace of the Ratzingerian “hermeneutic of continuity” wizardry. For example, he’s all for getting attendees of the “New Mass” to assume the more reverent posture of receiving the invalidly consecrated bread on their tongues while kneeling — an idea about as sensible as trying to cure a tumor by covering it with a bandage.

This “love the traditions, but don’t hate the reforms” mentality carries over into his talk and destroys much of its value, as he has no trouble invoking both Pope Leo XIII and the first “pope” of the Modernist Revolution, John XXIII, to argue his case. “Bishop” Schneider declared:

Since the mid-third century, Saint Cyprian has used the term “cathedra” to indicate the power of the Roman Church, by virtue of the Chair of Peter from which, he says, the unity of the hierarchy derives (cf. Ep. 59, 16). Saint Jerome also wrote: “I decided to consult the Chair of Peter, where is found that faith that the mouth of an Apostle has exalted; I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there, where once I received the garment of Christ. I follow no other primacy than that of Christ; for this reason, I put myself in communion with your beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter. I know that on this rock is built the Church” (Letters I, 15, 1-2).

The charism of truth is entrusted by God first to Saint Peter and to his successors, the Roman Pontiffs, whose seat is consequently called the cathedra of truth par excellence. Given their ministry of truth, the Roman Pontiffs must continually be aware that they are not the owners of the cathedra of truth, but its servants and vicars.

(Athanasius Schneider, “The Apostolic See as the Cathedra of Truth”; in Diane Montagna, “Bishop Schneider: The Pope is not the ‘owner’ of truth but its ‘servant and vicar’”Life Site, Apr. 7, 2018)

These are implicit proof texts for Sedevacantism that he supplies, as it should be obvious that Bergoglio in no way represents a cathedra (chair) of truth, but a carnival of error.

Earlier in the same speech, Schneider had unwittingly cited sources that even more definitively demonstrate the sheer untenability of the recognize-and-resist position:

The Fourth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople taught: “In the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been professed. … in it all true strength of the Christian religion is found” (From the formula of Pope Hormisdas, endorsed by the Fathers of the Fourth Council of Constantinople). And the First Vatican Council taught: “The See of Saint Peter remains always immune from every error by virtue of the divine promise made by the Lord, Our Savior, to the Prince of his disciples: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith might not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ This indefectible charism of truth and faith was therefore divinely conferred to Peter and his successors in this Chair, in order that they might exercise their exalted office for the salvation of all, so that the entire flock of Christ, taken from the poisonous pastures of error, might be nourished with the food of heavenly doctrine and that, after having eliminated what leads to schism, the entire Church might remain one and, supported on its foundation, might stand firm against the gates of hell” (Pastor aeternus, chap. 4).

(italics given)

With this quote alone “Bishop” Schneider has just indicted Bergoglio, whether intended or not, for the latter has shown such contempt for God’s revelation and the teachings of the Church that in a public video he’s declared in a completely off-handed way that the next words out of his own mouth “may be foolish or perhaps a heresy, I don’t know” (source)! In other words, he doesn’t care if he spouts nonsense or, worse yet, denies Catholic dogma, which shows the heretical depravity of his mind.

On a similar note, Canadian media “priest” and Bergoglio appointee “Fr.” Thomas Rosica declared: “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’” Note that this statement, made in late July of this year, has never been disputed or refuted by the Vatican, and neither has Rosica retracted it. And why should they, as it is in line with everything Francis has shown himself to be about.

One subject that Schneider focuses on that is worthy of special mention is the great enmity the Devil has for the Holy See. Concerning this, he notes:

Throughout the course of history Satan, the father of lies, continually attacks the Church, and especially the cathedra of truth, which is the Chair of Peter. Through the inscrutable permission of Divine Providence the attacks of Satan against the Roman cathedra have in rare cases had the effect of a temporary and limited eclipse of the Papal Magisterium, when some Roman Pontiffs have made ambiguous doctrinal statements, thereby causing a temporary situation of doctrinal confusion in the life of the Church.

Let us reiterate that the “ambiguous doctrinal statements” are primarily a phenomenon of Vatican II and the post-conciliar “popes”. Any examples prior to that have been shown to be largely resolvable, as demonstrated in our study, “The Limits to Invoking ‘Papal Lapses’ as a Justification for the Recognize-and-Resist Position: A Response to Dr. Peter Kwasniewski”, published on this site in September.

Whatever pre-Vatican II issues there may have been in a few circumstances — such as the cases of Pope Liberius or Pope Honorius I — such pale in comparison with the unbounded novelties, errors, heresies, and blasphemies from the “Holy See” of the past 50+ years. Furthermore, what has gone on in recent times in no way represents the Catholic Church and the Cathedra of Truth but are, demonstrably, manifestations of the Modernist cult and its artificial pseudo-pontiffs.

Ironically, “Bishop” Schneider follows this by bringing up Pope Leo XIII’s exorcism prayer to St. Michael, claiming that the pontiff saw Satan as stirring up a bit of “a temporary situation of doctrinal confusion”, yet this passage from that prayer shows something far more disturbing was on the Pope’s mind when he penned it:

On men depraved in mind and corrupt in heart the wicked dragon pours out like a most foul river, the poison of his villainy, a spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy; and the deadly breath of lust and of all iniquities and vices. Her most crafty enemies have engulfed the Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, with sorrows, they have drenched her with wormwood; on all her desirable things they have laid their wicked hands. Where the See of the Blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth have been set up for the light of the gentiles, there they have placed the throne of the abomination of their wickedness, so that, the Pastor having been struck, they may also be able to scatter the flock.

(quoted in Athanasius Schneider, “The Apostolic See as the Cathedra of Truth”)

Clearly, more than a mere skirmish was being envisioned, and while machinations of the Freemasonic enemies of the Church of that time were the direct concern of the pope, what is set forth in such a telling phrase as “a spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy; and the deadly breath of lust and of all iniquities and vices” is also quite apropos of the Novus Ordo, all the way from its doctrinal and liturgical distortions to its child abuse, and perhaps particularly, “Pope” (“I am the devil”) Francis and all his works and pomps.

“Bishop” Schneider seems to have some traditional (or, at least, quasi-traditional) sensibilities, but it’s time for him and others of like mind to see that it is not consistent with right reason or the Catholic Faith to hold that a full-blown partisan of error such as Bergoglio can in any way legitimately occupy the cathedra of truth in which “the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been professed…” [Fourth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, quoted by the First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor AeternusDenz. 1833].

Novus Ordo Watch has pointed out at length the absurdity of trying to squeeze the error-laden Bergoglio through the stencil of the Catholic Papacy. The result will inevitably be a distortion, either of Bergoglio or of the Papacy:

Francis is incapable of being Pope, rendered so by divine law. One way to prove it is to assume he isPope and then show the absurdity that follows. That’s what is done at the above links.

Catholic Family News Conference: Tell Bergoglio He’s in Error

Another conference trying to grapple with the Bergoglian “pontificate” this year was the Catholic Family News Conference held near Chicago in April. There, not only were names named, but the ringleader, one Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was denounced directly. Even the title of the conference pulled no punches: “The Weapons of Our Warfare”.

The mindset of the speakers resembled that animating the famous Dubia, something of a challenge that was being submitted in the guise of a clarification. Except this time, they stepped up the rhetoric. For example:

Christopher Ferrara, a lawyer and prolific Catholic writer, delivered a strongly worded speech emphatically urging Catholics not only to put forth the Church’s perennial teachings but to expose the problematic teachings coming from Pope Francis.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Ferrara said “the most effective opposition to what has to be seen now as the most wayward pontificate in the history of the papacy will have to come from the upper hierarchy.”

Such an opposition would come in the form of a public statement made by a significant number of Cardinals that would declare Pope Francis is “in error, that he’s attempting to impose error upon the Church, that his effort to pass off these errors as ‘authentic magisterium’ is a fraud…and that the faithful cannot follow this pope in his errors,” Ferrara said.

(Stephen Kokx, “Cardinals should declare Pope Francis ‘in error’: Catholic lawyer”Life Site, Apr. 16, 2018)

There’s only one problem with this proposal by Mr. Ferrara, which was also supported by other speakers at the conference, but it’s a significant one: The premise that members of the (purported) hierarchy are empowered to resists a (purported) pope on matters of Faith or morals goes directly against the teaching of the most illustrious Catholic theologian on the subject of the Holy See, St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church. In his masterwork, De Romano Pontifice, he writes in defense of papal primacy that:

The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.

Now our adversaries respond that the Church ought to hear him so long as he teaches correctly, for God must be heard more than men.

On the other hand, who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off, not even and especially in those matters which are truly doubtful. Nor do Christian sheep have any greater judge or teacher to whom they might have recourse. As we showed above, from the whole Church one can appeal to the Pope yet, from him no one is able to appeal; therefore necessarily the whole Church will err if the Pontiff would err.

(St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter 3; translated by Ryan Grant as On the Roman Pontiff [Mediatrix Press, 2016], vol. 2, p. 160.)

This is not only the teaching of one particular Doctor, whoever illustrious, it is also the teaching of the Catholic magisterium.

The real solution to a scenario in which a pope defects from the Faith and wanders off into heresy would, of course, be for the bishops to convene what is called an “imperfect council” (imperfect because a council requires a pope to ratify it, which in that case wouldn’t be possible) and declare that the pope had fallen into heresy and that from that moment (per St. Robert) he had by that very fact ceased to be a member of the Church and thus also her head. (Note: The imperfect council would merely be pronouncing on what had occurred by means of the pope’s lapse from orthodoxy. It would not — and could not — remove him from office; it could only declare officially that the pope has removed himselfby his falling away. Whether a pope can actually defect into heresy is another matter altogether and disputed among theologians — St. Robert was treating it as merely a theoretical question.)

Other speakers at the same “Weapons of Our Warfare” conference advanced the R&Rs’ familiar erroneous “heretic pope” hypothesis:

Church historian Roberto de Mattei said “true devotion” to the Chair of St. Peter requires Catholics to speak out against “the heresies” being promoted by Pope Francis, who, despite propagating heresy, remains the pope.

Canadian Dominican priest Fr. Albert Kallio O.P. echoed de Mattei’s words. “Even if the pope is a heretic…that does not at all mean that by that very fact, ipso facto as we say in English, he would cease being pope.”

Rejecting the claim that Pope Francis has lost his office, Fr. Kallio said, “Even those who hold that a pope who is manifestly a heretic loses automatically his office [believe] that the manifestation required before the pope would lose his office takes place by a declaration declared by the authority of the Church, namely the bishops.”

It seems God is allowing “a sort of eclipse” of the Church for the moment, he concluded.

(Stephen Kokx, “Cardinals should declare Pope Francis ‘in error’: Catholic lawyer”Life Site, Apr. 16, 2018)

Now, while an eclipse of the Church is something that is evident to anyone paying any attention at all to the post-Vatican II disaster, the reality is that it’s much closer to a total eclipse than Fr. Albert or his fellow speakers would be willing to admit.

While his “eclipse” remark is open to some interpretation, this is not the case for what he said about a properly declared “manifestation” supposedly being required for a pope to lose his office. This is incorrect on multiple counts.

“Even those who hold that a pope who is manifestly a heretic loses automatically his office…” Let’s stop there for a moment and go straight to St. Robert Bellarmine, who makes a point of stating that this very teaching can be traced back to the earliest Catholic writers of note:

…[A] manifestly heretical Pope per se ceases to be Pope and Head, just as per se he ceases to be a Christian and member of the body of the Church. Therefore he can be judged by the Church and punished. This is the opinion of all the old Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.

(St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter 30; translated by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., in Bellarmine, Controversies of the Christian Faith [Saddle River, NJ: Keep the Faith, Inc., 2016], p. 839. An alternate translation of the entire chapter is available online here.)

In other words, this is the common Catholic teaching, which the Church regards as theologically certain and which is at least implied in Vatican I’s Pastor Aeternus and subsequent theology. It is no surprise, in fact, that when this council was asked what would happen if a Pope were to become a heretic, the answer given was that he would immediately cease to be Pope. Abp. John Purcell of Cincinnati, Ohio, once related the anecdote:

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.

(Abp. John B. Purcell, quoted in Rev. James J. McGovern, Life and Life Work of Pope Leo XIII [Chicago, IL: Allied Printing, 1903], p. 241; imprimatur by Abp. James Quigley of Chicago; underlining added. See also our commentary on this anecdote here and here.)

So yes, we sedevacantists are very comfortable aligning ourselves with this safest of positions, which is unquestionably orthodox.

In the second half of his sentence, Fr. Albert claims that even those who believe a manifestly heretical pope would ipso facto lose the office agree “that the manifestation required before the pope would lose his office takes place by a declaration declared by the authority of the Church, namely the bishops”. But this is simply not true, at least not if he’s talking about real Catholic theologians and canonists from before Vatican II. It’s rather astounding that Fr. Albert would make such an elementary mistake in theology, particularly since it required him to mix two contradictory opinions on the “heretical pope” question; but perhaps it’s understandable given his training with Society of St. Pius X-affiliated Dominicans based in Avrillé, France.

Still, it remains to be seen whether his learning would be so lacking as not to know the meaning of “by that very fact” (ipso facto), “automatically”, and “manifest”. No additional “manifestation” of a declaration by bishops is required for the pope to lose his office, as it’s already been lost as an automatic ipso facto consequence of the manifest heresy. Heresy is manifest when it is openly divulgedand there is no circumstance that could reasonably excuse it, such as a temporary loss of reason through drunkenness (regarding other excusing factors, see Rev. Anthony Cekada, “Sedevacantism and Mr. Ferrara’s Cardboard Pope”, 10.C). Canon Edward Mahoney, an expert on moral, canonical, and liturgical matters before Vatican II, underscored that no legal declaration is required for something that is already manifest:

Occasionally, when a fact may sometimes be uncertain, ecclesiastical authority issues a statement affirming that certain groups of persons have, in fact, committed a delict…. Laws, however, must regard what usually happens and the common estimation of men, and when a fact is manifest it would be absurd to expect some authority to affirm what is already well known.

(Canon E.J. Mahoney, Priests’ Problems [New York, NY: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1958], p. 441)

Thus, in the case of a pope who is a manifest heretic, no declaration would be necessary for him to lose the pontificate, which is also what is stated verbatim in Canon 188, n. 4: “Any office becomes vacant upon the fact and without any declaration by tacit resignation recognized by the law itself if a cleric publicly defects from the Catholic faith” (Peters translation; underlining added). This is not to say that such a declaration wouldn’t be useful, only that it wouldn’t be necessary in order for him to forfeit his office, which, again, happens ipso facto and automatically. If this were not so, the bishops would not be able to assemble in an imperfect council to begin with (which the pope could just declare null), nor would they be authorized to issue a declaration against him, since the pope would then still be their superior requiring their full submission, and he would certainly not allow them to declare him a public heretic.

In other words, as long as it is manifest that the Pope has committed heresy in a public way (“public” as defined in Canon 2197, n. 1), and as long as there is no reasonable excusing factor present, he is no longer Pope. It is the openly divulged deed itself which makes the fall from office factually notorious, as canonists would say. The legal declaration by the bishops would merely add to it what is called legal notoriety (see Canon 2197, nn. 2-3) and would trigger the convening of a conclave.

That our position on this is correct is easily verified simply by consulting some of the relevant books from before Vatican II. For example:

A pope cannot be deposed from his office. An heretical pope necessarily ceases to be head of the Church, for by his heresy he is no longer a member thereof; in the event of his still claiming the Roman see a general council, improperly so called because without the pope, could remove him. But this is not deposition, since by his own act he is no longer pope.

(Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, 3rd ed. [New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1958]; underlining added.)

It sounds like Fr. Albert and those who agree with him are desperately trying to make “by the fact itself” and “by his own act” mean “the act of bishops deciding that the pope committed this act”. But this is entirely contrived and presumably custom-tailored to avoid the sedevacantist conclusion. It is also not in harmony with what Pope St. Celestine I declared with regard to the point in time when the manifest heretic Nestorius lost his office, namely, at the moment he began preaching heresy (not the moment he was officially declared to be a heretic by the proper authority), as demonstrated here.

Another point to note is that if Fr. Albert were correct in his position, then it would follow that until that bishops’ declaration comes (what if the bishops disagree amongst each other, by the way?), all the pope’s pronouncements and other official acts would still be valid and binding on Catholics — including any heretical statements he would make. Does Fr. Albert submit to Francis’ false teachings contained in Amoris Laetitia and his countless addresses? Of course not. The truth is that Fr. Albert and his R&R confreres are able to be so generous in accepting Francis’ claim to the papacy because they reserve the right to be the final arbiters on whether or to what extent they will allow Francis to govern and teach them — which is hardly the orthodox Catholic attitude towards the papacy, as can be seen here.

Professor de Mattei Plays Theological Darts while Blindfolded

For our final example of the ridiculous lengths to which these recognize-and-resist speakers will go to avoid drawing the logical conclusions about Bergoglio, we turn to the well-known Italian academic, Roberto de Mattei, Associate Professor at the European University of Rome and one of those who addressed the Catholic Family News Conference in April.

The title of his lecture was, “Tu es Petrus: True devotion to the Chair of Saint Peter”, and were one to extract a single sentence from it to encapsulate his main idea, it might as well be this one: “True devotion to the Papacy expresses itself in an attitude of filial resistance, as happened in the Filial Correction addresses to Pope Francis in 2017.” Selecting the Filial Correction as an example of true devotion to the papacy is a dart off-target right out of the gate for him; in reality, it’s just the opposite of true devotion, because it’s a document that shows an abject ignorance of what that requires. As Novus Ordo Watch pointed out:

There is so much to be said about this Filial Correction and the signatories’ idea that a Pope need not be a Catholic to be Pope, that the papal magisterium can be corrected by inferiors, and that Francis may not be culpable for teaching these seven heresies they are solemnly condemning in this document.

(“Bergoglio takes a Blow: ‘Filial Correction’ accuses Francis of Heresy”Novus Ordo Wire, Sep. 24, 2017. A more detailed follow-up on the Filial Correction and its aftermath can be found here.)

So, for de Mattei, this posture of “filial resistance” or loyal opposition is the proper approach to the crisis at hand. And this, of course, is the essence of the R&Rs’ absolute refusal to acknowledge any attempt to call into question the rightful authority of Francis as Vicar of Christ, which can in a sense also be called defend-and-deny as they fiercely defend his legitimacy against solid evidence to the contrary, while simultaneously denying anyone else the right to challenge the dubious claim, sometimes even to the point of vilification.

Thankfully, Professor de Mattei is fairly sober in his estimation regarding the vacant see position, though he raises a major issue he has with its ecclesiology, while implicitly appealing to Ratzinger’s “hermeneutic of continuity” as his go-to proof:

Today, there is a modernist infiltration inside the Church, but there are not two churches. This is the reason why Fr. Gleize judges speaking of the “Conciliar Church,” as inaccurate, affirming that two churches, the Roman and the Conciliar, do not exist [Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX, “Angelus”, July 2013]. And this is also the reason for which we need to be careful of speaking of the “Bergoglian church,” or of “the new Church.” The Church today is occupied by churchmen who betray or deform the message of Christ, but it has not been substituted by another church. There is only one Catholic Church, in which today cohabitate in a confused and fragmentary way, different and counterpoised theologies and philosophies. It is more correct to speak of a Bergoglian theology, of a Bergoglian philosophy, and, if one wishes, of a Bergoglian religion (or irreligion!), without coming to the point of defining Pope Bergoglio, the cardinals, the Curia and the bishops of the whole world as a “Bergoglian church.” Because, if we were to imagine that the Pope, the cardinals, the Curia, the world’s bishops comprise as a whole, a new Church, we would have to legitimately ask ourselves: “where is the Church of Christ? Where is her social and supernatural visibility?

And this is the principal argument against sedevacantism. But it’s also an argument against that inflated traditionalism, which while not declaring the vacancy of the Seat of Peter, thinks itself able to kick out of the Church the Pope, cardinals and bishops, and de facto reduces the Mystical Body of Christ to a purely-spiritual and invisible reality.

(Roberto de Mattei, Tu es Petrus: True Devotion to the Chair of Saint Peter”Rorate Caeli, Apr. 10, 2018. Note: The Fr. Gleize  mentioned is Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, professor of theology at the Society of Saint Pius X’s seminary in Écône, Switzerland.)

Where is the Catholic Church? Prof. de Mattei is not wrong to ask the question, but the answer is most definitely not found in the Vatican II church, in which one can be as Modernist as Hans Kung and Richard Rohr or as traditionalist as Athanasius Schneider and Atila S. Guimaraes, and still be considered a member of the same religion. Where is the visible unity of Faith in that religion?

Ironically, at the very same conference at which de Mattei spoke, Fr. Albert stated, as noted above, that God was presently allowing “a sort of eclipse” of the Church, while “Bishop” Schneider spoke of “a temporary and limited eclipse”. Again, this may be open to different interpretations, but what is not open to interpretation is the basic definition of the word eclipse, which is the obscuring the visibility of an object by the presence of another that interferes with it.

That there would be an obscuring of the Church and the Papacy of some kind is clear from Sacred Tradition, as demonstrated in the following posts:

Although different interpretations of the Church’s eclipse have been advanced, the most appropriate one would be analogous to a solar eclipse, where the Moon overshadows the Sun. This is particularly appropriate in the context of the crisis of faith now occurring, for we see the life-giving light and warmth of the spiritual Sun (the true Roman Catholic Church; cf. Apoc 12:1) temporarily giving way to the darkness and frigidity of a life-denying Moon (the “Conciliar Church” of the Modernists).

The first sentence in the passage from Professor de Mattei just cited is indicative of why this section’s heading alludes to blindfold darts: “Today, there is a modernist infiltration inside the Church,” he states, “but there are not two churches.” Again and again in his talk, he will make a point that is right on target, only to negate its effect by following it with something way off the mark. Yes, there has been a Modernist infiltration, according to de Mattei, yet somehow this doesn’t constitute a Modernist takeover of the external apparatus of the Church to form a counterfeit “Catholic Church”, it doesn’t constitute the predicted “counterchurch” (Mgr. Fulton Sheen), the “Church of Darkness” (Ven. Anne C. Emmerich).

Ironically, at last year’s Rome Life Forum sponsored by Voice of the Family, it was the Vatican II Sect’s own “Fr.” Linus Clovis who spoke of an “Anti-Church” that “is now attempting to pass itself off as the true Church”, and that Bergoglio’s infernal exhortation Amoris Laetitia has “prompted the anti-Church to emerge from the shadows in clear view of all the faithful.” What puts the icing on the cake is that Prof. de Mattei himself was present at this conference as one of the speakers. It looks like he and “Fr.” Clovis need to have a chat!

In any case, de Mattei attempts to explain this novel ecclesiology as follows:

The Church today is occupied by churchmen who betray or deform the message of Christ, but it has not been substituted by another church. There is only one Catholic Church, in which today cohabitate in a confused and fragmentary way, different and counterpoised theologies and philosophies.

In other words, there hasn’t been an eclipse of the true Church by a false church, but “only one Catholic Church, in which today cohabitate in a confused and fragmentary way, different and counterpoised theologies and philosophies” when Catholics must hold that the true Church “makes no terms with error, but remains faithful to the commands which it has received to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time and to protect it in its inviolable integrity” (Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Annum Ingressi)? How can an institution that issues heresies and other false and impious teachings be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church “in which the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, and holy doctrine celebrated” (Vatican I; Denz. 1833)?

It can’t, of course, and therein lies the dilemma of Prof. de Mattei and others who adhere to such a fanciful ecclesiology. The fundamental flaw in their reasoning was exposed by another academic, Mr. John Daly, in 2002:

Saying that there’s “a modernist infiltration inside the Church” isn’t exactly worthy of a news headline, because it’s been the state of affairs that has bedeviled her for over a century, and aside from a brief successful counterattack by the Vatican during the reign of Pope St. Pius X, it has been a malignancy that subsequently enjoyed a more or less continual secret growth until it emerged a fully formed and formidable antagonist whose commanders successfully wrest the reins of power from truly Catholic churchmen at the election of John XXIII and especially the so-called Second Vatican Council, gleefully proclaimed by arch-Modernist “Cardinal” Leo Suenens as “the French Revolution of the Church”. (Suenens’ name appeared on a list of 120 high-ranking Church officials who purportedly were secretly members of Freemasonry, and he definitely fit the bill.)

What was the French Revolution but the Jacobin overthrow of the legitimate Catholic government under King Louis XVI, and it’s replacement by an illegitimate one drawn up in the haunts of atheistic secret societies, and, just like ecclesiastical radicals of Vatican II and its aftermath, dedicated to the Cult of Man? Archbishop Lefebvre quoted Suenens further regarding the relationship:

“One cannot understand the French or the Russian revolutions unless one knows something of the old regimes which they brought to an end… It is the same in church affairs: a reaction can only be judged in relation to the state of things that preceded it”. What preceded, and what he considered due for abolition, was that wonderful hierarchical construction culminating in the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. He continued: “The Second Vatican Council marked the end of an epoch; and if we stand back from it a little more we see it marked the end of a series of epochs, the end of an age”.

(Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, An Open Letter to Confused Catholics, Ch. 14)

Suenens is clearly drawing the parallel of Vatican II with two violent ungodly upheavals — the French and Russian Revolutions — and asserting that the “old regime” — that is, the Church — had to be abolished: That which God established, man would now tear asunder! This is why we see some peculiar terms coming out of the council, such as the “new Pentecost” of John XXIII and, of course, the “new springtime” of John Paul II (a glance at the venomous fruits of which reveals not so much as a vestige of the venerable Church of past epochs).

Perhaps an illustration on a smaller scale will help show the limitation of de Mattei’s position. Suppose a covert Modernist was able to secure a position as a seminary professor, and, initially mixing his theological poison under the appearance of sound doctrine, was able not only to maintain his post, but gaining some prominence, used his tenure so as to bring others of his ilk to the school. So, the infiltration of that seminary had begun in earnest.

Still, the vast majority of the faculty were true Catholics, and voiced concern to the rector, who also was orthodox in his thinking, but lax in governing the school. This laxity soon allowed the subversive element begin to turn the tide, and soon Modernist professors had significantly gained in number. The seminary was still Catholic, but in a weakened way. Eventually, a new rector took over — a Modernistrector — and he began to systematically remove the true Catholic professors and replace them with apostates, until the death grip was complete. All the new faculty had to accept the principal new orderteachings — some did so wholeheartedly, others grudgingly, but all fell into line: At that point, the seminary and its rector were Catholic in name only.

This is precisely the situation we see with the Vatican II sect. The days of the initial infiltration have long passed, and the outward structures of the Church are now completely in the hands of Modernists. Their false council is the line of demarcation, the litmus test all members of their hierarchy must accept, the grain of incense offered to Paul VI’s “cult of man”. Therein we see the “old school Modernists” like Burke, Ratzinger, Sarah, and Schneider, who either feign Tradition by dressing up in the garb of “continuity” or have gullibly bought into that false hermeneutic, whereas Bergoglio and his bloc are in blatant search-and-destroy mode against all things Catholic, no apologies offered! What the Bolsheviks were a century ago, or what Antifa is today in the secular world, the Francinistas are when it comes to the things of God — a breed of brutal spiritual terrorists.

Returning to Professor de Mattei’s follies, we’re confronted with this:

Limiting ourselves, then, to a generic denunciation of the errors which oppose the Tradition of the Church, isn’t enough. It is for us to call out by name, all those who inside the Church profess a theology, a philosophy, a morality, a spirituality, in contrast with the perennial Magisterium of the Church, no matter what office they may occupy. And today we must admit that the Pope himself promotes and propagates errors and heresies in the Church. We need to have the courage to say this, with all the veneration which is due to the Pope. True devotion to the Papacy expresses itself in an attitude of filial resistance, as happened in the Filial Correctionaddresses to Pope Francis in 2017.

But there isn’t only a tempus loquendi (a time to speak). There is also a modus loquendi (way to speak), a way with which the Catholic expresses himself. The correction has to be filial, as it was, respectful, devout, without sarcasm, without irreverence, without contempt, without bitter zeal, without gratification, without pride, with a profound spirit of charity, which is love for God and love for the Church.

In the crisis of our days, every profession of faith and declaration of fidelity which disregards the responsibility of Pope Francis, lacks strength, clarity and sincerity. We need to have the courage to say: Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the confusion which exists today in the Church; Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the heresies which are circulating in the Church today.

The responsibility, finally, cannot not involve the cardinals who keep quiet, and who remaining silent, do not perform their duty as counselors and collaborators of the Pope.

(Roberto de Mattei, Tu es Petrus: True Devotion to the Chair of Saint Peter”Rorate Caeli, Apr. 10, 2018; italics given.)

This is perhaps the most important passage from his entire lecture to fully appreciate the foolishness of the “filial resistance” stand, because while it superficially appears to accurately address the issue, in truth it is neither consistent with the Magisterium nor does it face the reality of the crisis.

In the first instance, he’s maintaining that “the Pope himself promotes and propagates errors and heresies”, and that the proper thing to do is to tell Bergoglio that “you are the first one responsible for the confusion which exists today in the Church; Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the heresies which are circulating in the Church today.”

If only Novus Ordo Watch could get a 300 days’ indulgence for every time this erroneous R&R claim is made (i.e., a pope can lead the entire Church into error and that he can/must then be “corrected” by his inferiors), they’d be racking up years of temporal punishment remitted by now! As a matter of fact, it was already refuted earlier in this article by St. Robert Bellarmine, and we also recommend people have a look at Bp. Donald Sanborn’s assessment of this common error:

A “correction” implies two obvious problems: (1) that we cannot trust the teaching of the pope; (2) that we should trust the teaching of the correctors.

What is the purpose of a pope if he is subject to correction by a self-appointed Board of Correctors? Who assists the Board of Correctors? The Holy Ghost? Where in Sacred Scripture or Tradition is a Board of Correctors mentioned?

To set up a system of “correction” of heretical “popes,” done by self-appointed “correctors,” implies that it is quite possible that a Catholic pope promulgate heresy to the entire Church, and quite normal that self-appointed “correctors” come to the rescue.

It means that the infallibility of the Church rests with a board of self-appointed correctors.

In such a case, why do we need a pope? Why not just have the Board of Correctors?

(Bp. Donald Sanborn, “Correctio Filialis”In Veritate, Oct. 18, 2017)

Above and beyond Bp. Sanborn’s simple application of reason and St. Robert’s authority as the Doctor of the Papacy, however, de Mattei and his kindred spirits have a far greater barrier to surmount with the following magisterial teachings of genuine Roman pontiffs:

When one loves the pope one does not stop to debate about what he advises or demands, to ask how far the rigorous duty of obedience extends and to mark the limit of this obligation. When one loves the pope, one does not object that he has not spoken clearly enough, as if he were obliged to repeat into the ear of each individual his will, so often clearly expressed, not only viva voce, but also by letters and other public documents; one does not call his orders into doubt on the pretext – easily advanced by whoever does not wish to obey – that they emanate not directly from him, but from his entourage; one does not limit the field in which he can and should exercise his will; one does not oppose to the authority of the pope that of other persons, however learned, who differ in opinion from the pope. Besides, however great their knowledge, their holiness is wanting, for there can be no holiness where there is disagreement with the pope.

(Pope St. Pius X, Address to the Priests of the Apostolic Union (Nov. 18, 1912); in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 4 [1912], p. 695)

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua)

Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me” [Lk 10:16]; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 20)

If Professor de Mattei is really interested in showing filial devotion to the man he mistakenly believes to be the pope, then he must also show it towards those who unquestionably were successors to St. Peter, and to their solemn pronouncements on the unwavering fidelity due by Catholics to the supreme pontiff. In particular, St. Pius X was absolutely unequivocal on the topic of the proper attitude of the sons of the Church with respect to the Vicar of Christ when he stated: “When one loves the pope one does not stop to debate about what he advises or demands, to ask how far the rigorous duty of obedience extends and to mark the limit of this obligation. When one loves the pope, one does not object that he has not spoken clearly enough…” and “…one does not oppose to the authority of the pope that of other persons, however learned, who differ in opinion from the pope. Besides, however great their knowledge, their holiness is wanting, for there can be no holiness where there is disagreement with the pope” (emphases added). In other words, one does not do what the recognize-and-resist adherents are advancing as a “solution” to the Francis conundrum.

Of course, we can now hear de Mattei directly level criticism at Novus Ordo Watch and others who are harsh in the way they speak of “Pope” Francis, as not being in line with the modus loquendi [way to speak] he maintains is proper for Catholics addressing or talking about the “pontiff”, as has been seen by those who produced 2017’s Filial Correction: “The correction has to be filial, as it was, respectful, devout, without sarcasm, without irreverence, without contempt, without bitter zeal, without gratification, without pride, with a profound spirit of charity, which is love for God and love for the Church.”

Here he tosses out a number of darts, and a few do indeed find the target, yet by accident. Yes, critics of Francis should be without pride (anyone always should be) and bitter zeal (but still zealous for the truth), without gratification (save the satisfaction of standing up for the Faith), without irreverence (towards those who deserve reverence, i.e. excluding false shepherds), and operate from a spirit of charity, which we ought to do in all things at all times.

But why should one show the least bit of respect to a Judas posing as a St. Peter (cf. 2 Cor 11:13 )?! To be reverent to such a one is to be irreverent to Christ and to every legitimate pope who ever lived. To be truly devout is to stand up against the traitor and not to kneel before the reprobate, kiss his ring, and look for his worthless “blessing”. And it is not wrong per se to use sarcasm (a biting form of irony) in such a case, so long as it is done with care and prudence (concerning this matter, see also “True vs. False Charity” and “Can we only attack an Argument and never a Person?”).

Keep in mind, we are not talking about a doctrinally wayward pope supposedly needing to have his magisterium corrected (as shown, a theological impossibility) but a false pope promoting Modernism, and in such a case it is instructive to once again turn to St. Pius X, that implacable foe of that vile cesspool, “the synthesis of all heresies”, which, as he said, seeks to “lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers” (Encyclical Pascendi, n. 3).

Did St. Pius say we should be respectful to Modernists like Bergoglio, and perhaps even reverence them, as the recognize-and-resisters urge their followers to do? Hardly. To Cardinal Andrew Ferrari of Milan he declared: “These miserable wretches, whom by the command of the apostle St. John we should refuse even to greet, for the apostle St. John says that we should not greet these who are heretics” (source). Although the same pontiff was well-known for being meek and mild-mannered — he was a saint! –, he shocked listeners with this response to those seeking him to take a conciliatory policy towards the Modernists:

Kindness is for fools. They want them to be treated with oil, soap and caresses, but they should be beaten with fists! In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can! War is not made with charity, it is a struggle, a duel. If our Lord were not terrible, he would not have given an example in this too. See how he treated the Philistines, the sowers of error, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the traitors in the temple. He scourged them with whips!

(source; these quotes were reportedly collected from the St. Pius X beatification/canonization proceedings)

As long as Professor de Mattei and others of like mind continue to wear their blindfolds marked “Bergoglio is the Pope” and “The Novus Ordo Sect is the Catholic Church”, as long as they ignore St. Pius X foretelling Francis and the leaders of the post-Vatican II as “the sowers of error, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the traitors in the temple”, they are doomed to repeatedly miss the bullseye — even if they hit the target from time to time.

De Mattei engages in some measured language throughout. There’s a “modernist infiltration”, but he never calls Bergoglio a Modernist. (Even the “great negotiator”, the SSPX’s Bishop Bernard Fellay, once donned his Captain Obvious cape to describe him as a “genuine Modernist” — still the pope [sic], mind you, but of the rare genuine Modernist variety — wink, wink!)

Similarly, he says Francis “propagates errors and heresies” and is “responsible for … heresies”, but like Burke and others in the R&R fraternity, he can’t quite bring himself to actually call the renegade from Argentina what he is: a heretic, if not an outright apostate. Call it plausible deniability, call it wiggle room, call it hedging your bets; but whatever you call it, Professor de Mattei doesn’t seem in any hurry to connect the dots. He speaks of a “Bergoglian theology”, “Bergoglian philosophy”, and “if one wishes, of a Bergoglian religion (or irreligion!)”, but not following his own logic, refuses to speak of a “Bergoglian church”, because it puts him into the uncomfortable position of conceding that a counter-church exists in opposition to the true Church, and he knows Bergoglio cannot be the head of both.

It would be a good idea for R&R stalwarts (and sedevacantists, too, for that matter) to take a refresher course in St. Pius X’s documents related to Modernists, as at no time in history have those miscreants gained so much power: Pascendi Dominici Gregis (the encyclical delving deeply into the heretics’ doctrines), Lamentabili Sane (a syllabus of their principal errors), and the Oath Against Modernism (required to be sworn by clerics and seminarians before “Pope” Paul VI treacherously eliminated it to usher in that “New Springtime”).

Those three decrees are known to all Catholics conversant with the subject of Modernism, but there is a fourth one with which the faithful tend to be less familiar, but which is also of vital importance: the motu proprio Praestantia Scripturae, “On the Bible against the Modernists”. Praestantia begins by reviewing of how the Pontifical Commission on the Bible was established by his predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, in 1902 to be a bulwark of orthodoxy to defend Scripture against the buffeting of Modernist novelties, and concludes with a call to vigilance on how books smacking of Modernism must be removed from seminaries and publishing houses. But it is in the middle section that we find the the teeth in Pius’s anti-Modernist policy that people sometimes overlook:

Moreover, in order to check the daily increasing audacity of many modernists who are endeavoring by all kinds of sophistry and devices to detract from the force and efficacy not only of the decree “Lamentabili sane exitu” (the so-called Syllabus), issued by our order by the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition on July 3 of the present year, but also of our encyclical letters “Pascendi dominici gregis” given on September 8 of this same year, we do by our apostolic authority repeat and confirm both that decree of the Supreme Sacred Congregation and those encyclical letters of ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against their contradictors, and this we declare and decree that should anybody, which may God forbid, be so rash as to defend any one of the propositions, opinions or teachings condemned in these documents he falls, ipso facto, under the censure contained under the chapter “Docentes” of the constitution “Apostolicae Sedis,” which is the first among the excommunications latae sententiae, simply reserved to the Roman Pontiff. This excommunication is to be understood as salvis poenis, which may be incurred by those who have violated in any way the said documents, as propagators and defenders of heresies, when their propositions, opinions and teachings are heretical, as has happened more than once in the case of the adversaries of both these documents, especially when they advocate the errors of the modernists that is, the synthesis of all heresies.

(St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Praestantia Scripturae; underlining added.)

Noting the underlined parts, a strong case can be made that St. Pius X’s condemnation of Modernism involved papal infallibility, at least to an extent, and certainly hurled the most serious penalties from the Church’s highest authority against these “partisans of error” (Pascendi, n. 2). Modernists, no less than other apostates, are automatically outside the Church. When Professor de Mattei makes his point about Modernist infiltration but misses — or simply refuses to acknowledge — the vital point that those responsible for such an ongoing infiltration, such as Bergoglio, are cut off from the Church, his analysis misses the reality of today’s crisis by a mile. It’s time he finally removed the blindfold so that he will be able to point others in the right direction as well.

Out on a Limb: “Loyal Opposition” and Its Shaky Allegiance to Tradition

Shifting metaphors, what we’ve seen with these speakers is something akin to a man sitting in a tree with saw in hand. He begins to saw at the limb he’s on, oblivious to the fact that he’s on the outside portion of the limb, and continued sawing will lead to him plummeting to the ground.

For them, the limb is filial resistance, which seems to be a secure approach, since they want to maintain their loyalty to “the Holy Father”, all the while not seeing that the tree trunk is the Catholic Faith — Sacred Tradition — and the saw represents the divider between sound and unsound doctrine. Their resistance toward one who “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” is well founded, but what places them on the wrong side of the saw is a double fallacy: (a) a misunderstood devotion misdirected towards a false pope; and (b) the idea that they are in a position to read the ecclesial riot act to a valid Roman pontiff, as they believe Francis to be. Such an approach gets the man in the tree nowhere but to the hospital, if he’s lucky; and it gets the “loyal opposition” nowhere but to a cul-de-sac of an unresolved problem that is not going to go away by itself.

If any of the R&R apologists honestly think Bergoglio is concerned with dubias, filial corrections, or petition drives begging him to resign or stop this or that synod, their level of self-delusion is colossal. He is on a mission to destroy, and until they realize the Modernist paradigm for what it is, they will continue their futile attempts to the barely concealed delight of the Argentinian apostate.

Pope St. Pius X, pray for them!

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