On 29 April, Bergoglian News Agency published an interview with Robert Spaemann, a renowned professor of philosophy who served as a papal advisor during the last two pontificates (according to my count, anyway).
The topic of conversation concerned the dreadful document Amoris Laetitia, and Spaemann’s sharp criticism of the text as offered therein continues to garner worldwide attention; in particular, the following:
“That it is an issue of a breach emerges doubtlessly for every thinking person, who knows the respective texts.”
Well, apparently, Spaemann now has some doubts.
In a follow-up article published on 20 June, Spaemann back peddled on the notion of a “breach,” writing:
What I wanted to say was that several of the Holy Father’s expressions are contrary to the words of Jesus, to the words of the Apostles, as well as the traditional Doctrine of the Church.
One should only speak of a breach when a Pope clearly and explicitly teaches something by formally invoking his apostolic authority – so not casually in a footnote – that contradicts the aforementioned doctrinal tradition … Even if what the Holy Father expressed does not fit well with what I read in the scriptures and what comes to me in the Gospels, then it is not a sufficient reason to speak of a breach…
Apparently, in citing the formal invocation of “apostolic authority,” Spaemann is referring to the First Vatican Council’s dogmatic definition of papal infallibility:
The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church — is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals; and consequently that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of their own nature (ex sese) and not by reason of the Church’s consent. (Denzinger no. 1839 — old no. 1680).
With this in mind, doubtlessly every thinking person will not fail to see the folly of Spaemann’s latest argument.
The Holy Ghost simply will not allow a pope to explicitly teach that which is contrary to the words of Jesus, to the words of the Apostles, as well as the traditional Doctrine of the Church by formally invoking his apostolic authority.
If, however, as Spaemann suggests, this is the “only” situation that rises to the level of a “breach,” then one can never use the “B” word with respect to a papal proclamation.
This looks like a page taken straight from Cardinal Burke’s book, Oh, but it’s not magisterial!
Speaking of Cardinal Burke, where has the esteemed Doctor of Canon Law been these past several weeks as Archbishop Gänswein pleaded the idea of a “transformed” and “expanded” Petrine ministry (we’ll return to this momentarily), and Jorge the Horrendous openly declared that the “great majority” of sacramental marriages are invalid?
All of this said, the word “breach” has no place in this conversation; rather, let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we?
The reality is that Amoris Laetitia contains unadulterated blasphemy and blatant heresy, but good luck finding a churchman, philosopher or theologian (or Catholic commentator for that matter) with the spine to call these evil things by their proper names.
All in all, Spaemann’s commentary is worth reading. He offers well-reasoned, cogent, Scriptural criticism of Amoris Laetitia in terms that would make most bishops blush. As such, it does have value.
Even so, he appears to have succumbed to the ludicrous notion that those of us who are presently living through this terrible crisis are somehow unqualified to render certain firm judgments; in favor of deferring in some way to the wisdom of persons yet to come.
For instance, Spaemann ended his first interview by stating:
Every single cardinal, but also every bishop and priest, is called upon to preserve uprightly the Catholic discipline of the sacraments within his realm of responsibility and to confess it publicly. In case the Pope is not ready to make corrections, it remains reserved for a later Pope to officially make things right.
While all of this is true, personally doing, preserving and speaking the truth is only half of a faithful response; missing is the responsibility that every single one of us has to condemn blasphemy and heresy by name regardless of the source. We need not wait for the verdict of history, or the advent of a future pope to so defend the truth.
As for cardinals and bishops, they have a special duty to plainly denounce grave errors and to caution the faithful against them. They also have an obligation to publicly challenge a dangerous pope should he prove to be recalcitrant in his offenses against the Faith; all for the salvation of souls.
In short, there is no reason whatsoever for any well-formed Catholic to presume himself incompetent to render judgment and to speak out publicly when the Faith is so very clearly under attack.
Even so, we see this same weak line of argument being applied to the matter of Benedict’s resignation, with most Catholic commentators as yet unwilling to touch the situation with a ten foot pole.
Provided one isn’t so naïve as to think that Archbishop Gänswein was freelancing in his presentation of 20 May; i.e., merely offering a personal opinion that does not accurately reflect Benedict’s true intentions (good luck making that argument), one cannot help but draw some grave conclusions as to the validity of his so-called “resignation,” and likewise, therefore, the conclave that followed.
Consider, if you will, how Benedict’s Declaratio of 11 February 2013 would have read if the would-be Pope Contemplatus had spoken his intentions as plainly as Archbishop Gänswein did:
I hereby declare that I am taking a step that has never before been taken by a pope: With full freedom I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005. However, I am not abandoning the Office of Peter — something which would be entirely impossible for me.
Rather, my intent is to profoundly and permanently transform the Petrine ministry; expanding it, so as to include an active member to be chosen in an upcoming conclave, while I myself shall remain a participant in said munus as the contemplative member. In this way, I shall endow the papacy with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi-shared ministry.
Allow me to repeat it once again — my intent is entirely different from that of Pope Celestine V, who after his resignation in 1294 would have liked to return to being a hermit. I, by contrast, shall continue to live within the Vatican; I shall continue to wear the white papal cassock, and I shall continue to be addressed as His Holiness.
My friends, it doesn’t take a doctorate in sacred theology, a canon law degree, the grace of Holy Orders, or a perspective afforded only to those who dwell in the future in order to know that the scenario described above represents an utter impossibility.
Had Benedict stated his intent in this way, is there anyone with even a drop of Catholic credibility who would have spoken of the alleged conclave that followed as anything other than a charade, and the man it allegedly “elevated” as anything other than a pretender?
The bottom line is simple – some things (like the blasphemy and heresy in Amoris Laetitia, as well as the impossible nature of Benedict’s intentions with respect to transforming the Petrine ministry) are so clearly incompatible with the true Faith that no authentic soldier for Christ can fail to recognize them as such; much less fail to condemn them and their consequences plainly within whatever sphere of influence one has.
Essentially claiming that “it’s above my pay grade” to do so is neither humility nor wisdom; it’s a dereliction of duty.
Having two popes wouldn’t be so bad if one of them was (aka) Catholic.
Spaemann, like Burke, Sarah, and (I am sad to say) Schneider, is part of the Bergoglian Vatican’s smokescreen. While they protest and claim to be upholding “conservative” values, even a cursory look will show whose mark they bear. It is truly tragic, because any of them could have been another Lefebvre, but they showed their true colours when the storm broke.
There must be another banquet somewhere in the USA tonight, where Cardinal Burke can be spotted.
“The authority delegated by Our Lord to the Pope, to the bishops and to the priesthood in general is at the service of the faith in His divinity and of the transmission of His own divine life. All the divine or ecclesiastical institutions are meant for this end. All the rights, all the laws, have no other end but this. To use the laws, the institutions and the authority to annihilate the Catholic Faith and to no longer communicate life, is to practice spiritual abortion or contraception. Who would dare to say that a Catholic worthy of his name could cooperate in a crime worse than corporal abortion?
“That is why we submit ourselves and are willing to accept all that which is in conformity with our Catholic faith, such as has been taught by her for two thousand years, but we refuse all that which is opposed to it.
“They object: you are judging the Catholic faith. But is it not the most serious duty of all Catholics to judge the faith (the doctrine) that is being taught to them today by that which has been taught and believed for twenty centuries and which is written in the official catechisms such as that of Trent, of Saint Pius X and in all the catechisms before Vatican II? How have all the true faithful acted when faced with heresies? They have preferred to shed their blood rather than betray their faith.
“That the heresy come to us from someone that be as elevated in dignity as possible, the problem is the same for the salvation of our souls…”
It would seem the Church of Rome is no longer One [but many] Holy [but wholly] Catholic [but Protestat] and no longer Apostolic but [ecumenical].
Let me know if they ever recover their sanity and Consecrate Russia to Our Holy Mother’s Immaculate Heart and reveal the entire contents of the 3rd Secret. Until then, I want nothing to do with them.
Dear OldTradCat: That would be a praiseworthy first step, but much more is needed to restore any sort of sanity to the Church of Rome. The restoration of the Liturgy, and a return to Thomistic theology, are both essential, as is a thorough purge of all homosexuals and their enablers from the hierarchy.
“missing is the responsibility that every single one of us has to condemn blasphemy and heresy by name regardless of the source. We need not wait for the verdict of history, or the advent of a future pope to so defend the truth.”
Well said Louie! A speaker in our parish was using the same line of logic Cardinal Burke was using “oh that is not binding so let’s not talk about what Francis wrote in his exhortation”. Since when or ever in this history of the Church any heresy was taught Ex Cathedra or by an dogmatic Council? That is the whole reason of the teaching of Vatican I on Papal Infallibility.
Thank you, Louie, for your clear writing. I am wondering…
In light of all of this mess about Ganswein’s presentation and Benedict’s resignation being invalid, I had to go back and re-read your excellent post of April 19, concerning the talks between Bishop Fellay and Francis. When I read it in April, I was in total agreement with everything you said, including when you suggested in this post (or in another) that it is in the nature of being Catholic to want Rome to recognize the jurisdiction of the Society that already exists anyway… and that we cannot condemn Fellay for simply talking to Francis. Now, however, I find myself reconsidering the whole question. Since it appears that Francis is not the Pope, (and even if he were, just considering the height of the scandals he has caused) would it not therefore be more prudent at this time for Fellay to cease all discussion with Rome? It seems to me that the SSPX being “recognized” under this particular “Pontificate” cannot accomplish the good that was originally sought by achieving such a recognition, and may further the collateral damage from the reign of Francis. For if such a recognition ends of splitting the SSPX, when it is perhaps an anti-pope conferring the “recognition”… then this seems to me to be clearly disadvantageous. In a future post, I would love to know if you are reconsidering any of the points you made on April 19, just because of this news of Benedict’s non-abdication. Thank you and God bless you!
— ends *up* splitting– (sorry for the typo).
That brings up another question. If jorge passed away and Benedict was still alive, would the next man elected automatically become an anti-pope?
The purging of sodomites is a wonderful fantasy, but I fear they have too many powerful enablers.
Here’s an open letter from Bishop Fellay to Pope John Paul II in 1999:
“Most Holy Father,
In 1986, Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer considered that it was their duty to publicly reprimand You, according to the example of Saint Paul (Gal. 2:11), on account of the Assisi prayer meeting, to which You invited the principal world “religions.” This public sin against the first commandment of God and against the first article of the Creed, this great offense against the Sovereign Majesty of the only true God, One and Three, caused an immense scandal to the faithful.
How could You, Vicar of Christ, Vicar of the solus Sanctus, solus Dominus, solus Altissimus, place Yourself as one among the represenatives of the “religions” which deny His divinity? How could You humiliate the Catholic Church, the only Spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:26,27) by bringing it down to the level of organizations founded not by God, but by the will of man (Jn. 1:13)? How could You invite the followers of “religions” which refuse the only Mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5) or which, by denying the existence of one only, personal God are nothing more than atheism and idolatry? How could You justify this invitation by affirming that the Holy Spirit dwells mysteriously in every man, whereas Saint Paul teaches the contrary (Rm. 8:9)?
At the same time as You are going to renew the Assisi scandal, October 28, at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, we dare to solemnly protest against this sin, and invoking the authority of Your quite recent predecessors, and to confront You with the condemnation that they made of this, as well as of the underlying errors: Pius IX in the Syllabus (Propositions 16-18); Leo XIII condemning the Paris Congress of Religions (Letter of September 15, 1899) and Pius XI in Mortalium Animos. By these “inter-religious” meetings You do not confirm Your brethren in the Faith. Much to the contrary, You promote an immense indifferentism and You provoke division within the bosom of the Church. Moreover, the humanist, earthly, and naturalist themes taken up at these meetings cause the Church to fall down from its entirely divine, eternal and supernatural mission to the level of the freemasonic ideals of world peace outside of the only Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Archbishop Lefebvre saw in this disastrous event of Assisi one of the “signs of the times,” which permitted him to proceed legitimately with episcopal consecrations without Your consent and to write to You that “the time for an open collaboration has not yet come.” The past thirteen years of Your Papacy have failed to wipe away these signs in any way at all, nor their disastrous consequences for the Church, nor the would that they have inflicted on the hearts of faithful Catholics.
To this first cause of sorrow is to be added the signature, on October 31, of the Common Declaration of the Catholic Church and the World Federation of Lutheran churches on Justification. How can You permit signature of this Declaration, after Cardinal Cassidy, in the name of the Catholic Church, has contradicted its text on serious points, uncovering its errors and ambiguities?
Your Magisterium, ratifying in this manner the anathematized error of the simul justus et peccator (at the same time just and a sinner), the ambiguity on the nature of grace, and on the free and meritworthy co-operation with it, loses its credibility.
These very serious words are inspired only by our love of our Mother, the Holy Catholic Church, of the Holy Apostolic See and of the Pope.
Please accept, Most Holy Father, the expression of our filial devotedness.
+ Bernard Fellay
Auxiliary Bishop in the service of the Society of Saint Pius X
“As for cardinals and bishops, they have a special duty to plainly denounce grave errors and to caution the faithful against them. They also have an obligation to publicly challenge a dangerous pope should he prove to be recalcitrant in his offenses against the Faith; all for the salvation of souls.”
Well, good luck with that. Bergoglio and the whole nest of rats need to be cleared-out before anything remotely resembling the Catholic Church begins to return to normal. Until that time, this festering boil on the body Catholic will continue to grow until it is finally lanced by another Pope St. Pius X. And good luck with that too since peering over the horizon it doesn’t appear likely that anything of the sort is coming up behind.
And now, of course, there’s +Fellay with his constant attempts at deal making with this rogues gallery of masons, pederasts, and other assorted perverts. And why this is is anyones guess. I think +Fellay has spent too much time reading Trump’s “Art of the Deal”.
I knew all I needed to know about Bp Fellay after the Sebastian interview. If and when he denounces jorge and the vatican 2 church and stops worrying about being regularized by them, I’ll happily admit that I misjudged him. I may really be wrong on this, but I do believe he is a good man who has simply lost focus.
If Abp Lefebvre were alive in 2016 I think the SSPX would already be totally severed from rome….I dont think Lefebvre would have stood for what has gone on over the last 25 years since his death.
Dear Rich: your words ring true. Though we cannot judge his heart, Bp Fellay is being very imprudent in even appearing to come into union with the diabolical Bergoglio.
In the meantime, the usual “apologists” continue to waffle about this high priest of darkness:
Thanks GeorgeB…..and also thanks for reminding me why I avoid that site like the plague. I just tried to register on that site for the sole purpose of “kindly” rebuking Ms. Arnold but apparently new registrations have been temporarily disabled.
I figured out years ago that the concept of “religious submission” to the non-infallible words of a pope or a council is itself a novelty invented at V2. The enemy thinks he’s covered all the angles
Good thing for the faithful that novelties aren’t binding on us in any shape, matter or form
Good job Louie articulating it.