Several months ago, John Salza and Robert Siscoe were kind enough to provide me with a preview taken from their new book, True or False Pope? Refuting Sedevacantism and Other Modern Errors. (NB: This book provides an outstanding treatment of numerous “modern errors,” each of which are of great importance for us to comprehend at this time of crisis in the Church.)
Knowing both men, I wasn’t surprised to find that the text was well written; with copious footnotes and outstanding references. I was most impressed, however, with the balance they were able to strike in treating topics of great depth thoroughly, but in a way that is truly approachable.
In any case, I’m very pleased (and honored) to provide here an extensive interview with Mr. Salza and Mr. Siscoe about their new book. I can assure you, it’s well worth the read, and their book, even more so.
Interview with John Salza and Robert Siscoe about their new book, True or False Pope? Refuting Sedevacantism and Other Modern Errors
Question: What motivated you to write the book?
Salza/Siscoe: We’ve both written articles against the errors of Sedevacantism over the years, but, due to the extent and depth of the errors within the movement, a more thorough treatment was necessary.
Question: What led you to addressing this topic in the first place?
Salza/Siscoe: At one time, we ourselves wondered if the Sedevacantist thesis was a possible explanation for the current crisis in the Church. When we each began investigating the position about 10 years ago, it was not initially to refute it, but to see if it was true. It was our research into the movement that demonstrated all of the errors and contradictions that are so pervasive in the writings of the Sedevacantist apologists. What those who have embraced the Sedevacantist position in good faith based on these writings don’t realize, is that they have been led into the error by partial quotations (which are often misunderstood), bad theology, and unscrupulous Sedevacantist apologists who, unfortunately, seem more concerned with “proving” their position than they are with the truth. Let’s face it, most people don’t have the time to do extensive research into the topic, to look up relevant original quotations from dependable sources (some of which are in Latin) and to verify that they have been given the full translation, in the correct context.
Question: Beyond the amount of research that was required to write this book, what were your greatest challenges?
Salza/Siscoe: One of the problems one encounters when writing about Sedevacantism is that the various Sedevacantist groups are divided amongst themselves over the issues. Due to the division within the movement, it is impossible to address all the arguments in a single article. Furthermore, each group has multiple arguments used to defend their position. When one argument is refuted, they simply appeal to a different argument, which is the same tactic one encounters when responding to the arguments of the Protestants. Some of the arguments presented by the Sedevacantists might appear good on the surface, but as you dig just below the surface, the errors and contradictions are quickly discovered. It is these errors, just below the surface, that results in all of the division and infighting within the movement. The more we examined the Sedevacantist thesis, the more clear it became that a thorough refutation of the position, and the fallacious and contradictory arguments used to defend it, was long overdue.
Question: Since there are various Sedevacantist camps with so many differing opinions, what approach did you take in addressing all of the arguments?
Siscoe/Salza: We began each chapter by laying a solid doctrinal foundation for the issue at hand, citing Popes, Doctors, saints and some of the Sedevacantists’ favorite theologians. Once a solid groundwork was laid, and the correct doctrine of the Church clearly presented, we then quoted the Sedevacantist apologists directly, named them personally, and then demonstrate how their errors depart from the correct doctrine that was just demonstrated at the beginning of the chapter. This is how we generally proceed. The chapters on the Church’s ecclesiology are particularly foundational for understanding the errors of Sedevacantism, which are directly refuted in the chapters that follow. These chapters provide much light and clarity that will assist those who are trying to make sense of what is happening in the Church.
Question: Can you mention some of the disagreements and contradictions within the movement?
Siscoe/Salza: We find disagreements and contradictions over the most basic question of all – namely, how a heretical Pope loses his office. There are multiple opinions and various camps, or sects, within Sedevacantism over this question. For example, one very well-known Sedevacantist priest claims that a Pope who commits the sin of heresy – a violation against Divine law – automatically loses his office. Another well-known Sedevacantist lay apologist, who has his own band of followers, publicly disagrees with the priest over this question. Instead, he holds to the position that a Pope would only lose his office if he were guilty of the public crime of heresy (which is actually correct). Where the latter individual errs is in not realizing that the crime of heresy would have to be established by the public judgment of the Church, not “discerned” by the private judgment of individual laymen in the pew. A well-known Sedevacantist bishop (who has evidently studied the subject in greater depth than his two colleagues mentioned above) realizes that a Pope would only lose his office if he were guilty of the crime of heresy (not merely the sin of heresy); and, believe it or not, he also acknowledges that the crime would have to be established by the Church, and preceded by two ecclesiastical warnings (which is also correct). Prior to the declaration of heresy by the Church, this bishop concedes that a heretical Pope (or bishop) would legally retain his office.
Question: But how can this bishop be a Sedevacantist if none of the recent Popes have been warned or declared heretics by the Church?
Salza/Siscoe: Very good question. This bishop is a different kind of Sedevacantist. He holds to the completely novel theory that a Pope or bishop can legally hold office, yet not possess the authority of the office he legally holds. He claims that if a prelate is guilty of heresy (judged, of course, by private judgment), his heresy prevents him from receiving jurisdiction (a power of those who legally hold offices in the Church). According to this theory, the recent Popes were validly and legally elected and remain legal occupants of the papal office, but, due to their alleged heresies, they did not receive papal jurisdiction (i.e., God did not unite the man – the “matter” – to the pontificate – the “form”). In other words, he claims that while the Church determines who legally holds office, private individuals can decide for themselves which legal occupants possess jurisdiction. This branch of Sedevacantism claims that the recent Popes are only “material Popes” rather than “formal Popes.” This bishop and his band of followers believe that the Pope and all of the bishops of the world, currently in charge of the episcopal sees, legally hold office, but all of them – every single one – lacks the authority of the office they legally hold.
Question: Can you pinpoint the specific error of this thesis?
Siscoe/Salza: The first problem is that it is based upon the private judgment of the Sedevacantist and not the public judgment of the Church. And note that this private judgment – that the Pope and every single bishop is a heretic – is being made by those (this Sedevacantist bishop and his followers) who couldn’t even name a small fraction of the bishops without looking them up, much less do they know what they believe about Catholic doctrine. In other words, their claim that every bishop is a heretic is a rash judgment, which is forbidden. Second, the position is founded upon the erroneous belief that there is a metaphysical incompatibility between undeclared heresy and jurisdiction. The Church has never taught this. It is a pure novelty (and novelty has always been considered a sure sign of heresy). In fact, the position that there is a metaphysical incompatibility between undeclared heresy and jurisdiction is directly contradicted by a number of authorities that we cite in the book, most notably the explicit teaching of Pope Alexander III. Jurisdiction is not like the state of grace, which is automatically lost when a person commits a mortal sin. There is a metaphysical incompatibility between grace and mortal sin, but no such incompatibility between undeclared heresy and jurisdiction – at least not for one who legally holds office in the Church.
Question: If this Sedevacantist bishop claims that the Pope legally holds the papal office, what does he say about those who attend an “una cum” Mass (a Mass in which the Pope’s name is mentioned).
Salza/Siscoe: That’s another great question. We address this in the book, and it really demonstrates the absurdity of the position he and his followers hold. This bishop claims that it is absolutely forbidden to attend a Traditional Mass in which the legal Pope’s name is included in the canon. He actually claims that doing so is an act of false worship, which is an objective mortal sin against the First commandment. Think about that for a minute: he concedes that the recent Popes have all been legal occupants of the papacy (since they were legally elected and never declared heretics by the Church’s authority), yet he claims it is forbidden – an act of false worship – to attend a Mass in which their name – the name of the legal Pope! – is included in the canon.
And the absurdity doesn’t stop there. This bishop publicly promotes what he calls the “definitive article” on the subject of the “una cum” Mass, written by a Sedevacantist priest (the one mentioned earlier), who happens to disagree with the bishop’s theory (this priest believes a Pope loses his office due to the “sin” of heresy and that the conciliar Popes are not legal Popes). In the so-called “definitive article,” the priest actually claims that if a person attends a Mass in which the Pope’s name is included in the canon, he will receive no sacramental grace. He and his followers claim that the only way you will fulfill your Sunday obligation and receive grace from the Mass, is by attending a Mass that excludes the legal Pope’s name. Needless to say, they cite no authorities whatsoever to support the absurd position. We can only imagine how these clerics browbeat their congregations with such nonsense. This Sedevacantist bishop and priest will no doubt be surprised to learn that an ecumenical council of the Church explicitly condemned the practice of excluding their Patriarch’s name (or Pope if the Patriarch of the West) from the Church’s liturgies before a formal judgment by the Church.
It is quite surprising when one considers the horrible arguments that these Sedevacantist prelates, and their lay supporters, have gotten away with over the years. In the book, we call them out on their fallacious arguments. These same individuals have used equally bad arguments in an attempt to refute previous articles we (and others) have written against the Sedevacantist thesis. In the book, we also address their attempted refutations of our previous articles. The readers will see just how fallacious and far-fetched their attempted refutations have been. Many will also be surprised to see the dishonest tactics that are used by these Sedevacantist apologists to defend their position.
Question: Can you give some examples of the dishonest tactics you’ve encountered?
Salza/Siscoe: What we discovered in our research is that the Sedevacantist apologists repeatedly remove information from quotations that contradict their position. They will sometimes cut sentences short, and sometimes eliminate entire sections. What happens next is that other Sedevacantists (who are probably sincere) will simply re-post the partial information on their own websites, without realizing that the first person removed key information. We provide many examples of these editorial tactics throughout our book, and summarize some of the more egregious examples in our last chapter, which is titled “The Bitter Fruits of Sedevacantism.” Since most of the materials they cite as “proof” for their position are translations from Latin (which most layman don’t read), the Sedevacantist priests are some of the worst culprits in removing information and citing quotations out of context. We cite one Sedevacantist bishop, for example, who removed an entire section (more than two paragraphs), and another sentence, from a long quotation – and didn’t even provide an ellipsis for his readers (three dots indicating something was removed). He just cut out the part that undermined the point he tried to make (on disciplinary infallibility) and didn’t tell anyone. And he conveniently failed to include a complete footnote with page number. Apparently, we are the first ones to have taken the time locate and verify this quotation. A Sedevacantist layman, who currently resides in France, also cut short a sentence – twice in the same article – that contained a key phrase that contradicted the main point of his article (also on infallibility). Other examples are also provided. When you run across these tactics as often as we did in our research, it becomes very difficult to believe that these Sedevacantists – who happen to be the most public and popular defenders of the movement – are being honest.
Another tactic they use is to simply dismiss authoritative quotations that contradict their position. Sometimes they will justify doing so by saying, believe it or not, that the quotation is from “the wrong theologian” (which is defined as “a theologian who disagrees with them”); or else they will find some other way to get around the quote, such as saying the quotation is dubious or inauthentic. When a certain lay Sedevacantist apologist from Australia was presented with a quotation that he couldn’t reconcile with his position, the tactic he used was to actually claim the quote was “invented.” Problem solved…or so he thought.
Question: Did this Sedevacantist provide any evidence that the quotation was invented?
Salza/Siscoe: Not a shred. He simply asserted that it was invented by the author of a book that was published in 1904, expecting his readers to swallow his assertion whole (which most, unfortunately, do). Then, in his typical haughty fashion, this Sedevacantist apologist ridiculed the non-Sedevacantists who have cited the quotation over the years, declaring them to be “complete charlatans without the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself.” When a priest cited this quotation in an article, this lay apologist attempted to denigrate the priest’s good name by declaring that the priest had been “deceived by fraudulent quotes which he has carelessly lifted from some place unknown.” In other words, he claimed the priest was deceived due to his own carelessness.
We mention this incident in the book and then provide multiple references to the quotation from before 1904 (when this Sedevacantist claims it was “invented”). We even include a longer version of the quote, in the original Latin, taken from a book written 200 years before the 1904 book was published. After we completed our book, we also discovered that St. Bellarmine himself (this Sedevacantist apologist’s favorite theologian) referenced this same quotation in the early seventeenth century. We will see if the lay Sedevacantist apologist from Australia offers a public apology for his public detraction against those who have cited this authentic quote. If not, one might be tempted to believe that it is the public detractor himself who lacks “the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself.” Time will tell.
Question: Do you mention any other tactics they use to disregard authoritative quotations?
Salza/Siscoe: Yes, another tactic that they use is to declare, on their own authority, that the teaching of the theologian is heretical. One example that comes to mind (which we deal with in the book) is from the same layman from Australia, who used this very tactic to discredit a quotation from Suarez, which directly contradicts his personal opinion on how a Pope loses his office. He claims that the teaching of Suarez cannot be held because it is supposedly contrary to a teaching from the First Vatican Council, and also contrary to the teaching of St. Bellarmine. We demonstrate that he is wrong on both accounts. In fact, he will be surprised to learn that Bellarmine himself taught the same thing as Suarez. The only difference is that the teaching of Bellarmine was much more explicit than that of Suarez. But this Sedevacantist wouldn’t know that Bellarmine taught this because this particular quotation from Bellarmine has not been posted on Sedevacantist websites, where he apparently gets his information. He will find the quote in our book, along with many others that he will never find on a Sedevacantist website.
Question: To be clear, you don’t mean to suggest that everyone who holds, or attempts to defend, a Sedevacantist position is dishonest, right?
Salza/Siscoe: That’s correct. When we speak of dishonest tactics, to be clear, we are not implying that all Sedevacantists are dishonest, or that they all engage in tactics similar to those of the arrogant layman from Australia. We know that many sincere people have embraced the position in good faith as an explanation for the crisis.
Question: So am I correct in saying that you believe that those who now hold a Sedevacantist position stand to benefit as much, or more, than anyone from this book?
Salza/Siscoe: Absolutely. It is our hope that the Sedevacantists of good faith will read our book with an open mind. If they do so, they will see that the position they have embraced is not the answer to the crisis in the Church. It is, instead, a very serious error in itself, which leads directly to heresy.
Question: Can you explain how Sedevacantism leads to heresy?
Salza/Siscoe: It leads to heresy because it ends by denying essential properties of the Church. In the book, we refer to two distinct errors of Sedevacantism. The first is the simple error that that Popes since Pius XII have not been true Popes. The second error, which immediately follows the first (and sometimes precedes it), is that the entire Church, over which the recent Popes have reigned, is a false Church. To be clear, the second error doesn’t merely maintain that there is “a diabolical disorientation of the upper hierarchy,” as Sister Lucia spoke of, but a complete defection of the upper hierarchy. Not simply an infiltration and subversion of the Church (bringing about a Passion of the Church similar to that which Christ endured on Calvary), but a complete destruction of the visible Church and its replacement by an entirely New Church. This position cannot be held without denying essential attributes of the Church, especially the attributes of visibility and indefectibility.
Question: Can you elaborate on how the concept of a New Church denies the attributes of visibility and indefectibility?
Salza/Siscoe: First, regarding the term New Church, if one uses the phrase to refer to an organized body of men within the Church (a fifth column) who are seeking to bring about its destruction; or in a metaphorical sense to describe the general post-Vatican II liberal tendency – or, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, “the whole new orientation of the Church, which is no longer a Catholic orientation” – there is no problem with the term. The problem is when the term is used to mean that the entire visible Church has become a new entity – an actual, formal, New Church.
Question: But how does the idea of an entirely New Church lead to a rejection of the attributes of visibility and indefectibility?
Salza/Siscoe: There are a few reasons. First, when Catholics profess that the Church is visible, we don’t mean that it merely has visible people, or visible rites and ceremonies. Protestant denominations also have this material visibility. When we say the Church is visible, we mean it is both materially and formally visible. The material visibility of the Church is the object of the senses; the formal visibility is the object of the intellect. Formal visibility means that the Church is a visible society – a visible social unit – that can be recognized as the true Church founded by Christ. It is recognized as being the true Church by its four marks (One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic). While the Sedevacantists claim to believe in the marks of the Church, they are unable to point to any Church today that possesses all four marks. They argue that the Catholic Church of our day does not possess them, yet it is a fact (as we prove) that none of the Sedevacantist sects possess the four marks.
What this means is that, according to their own theory, there is no Church today that possesses the four marks – marks that will be with the true Church to the end of time. In fact, the only Church that even claims to possess all four marks is the Church that everyone in the world, except the Sedevacantists, identify as the Catholic Church. The inescapable conclusion of the Sedevacantist’s theory is that the gates of hell have prevailed against the visible Church, which is contrary to the promise of Christ and the attribute of indefectibility.
Second, it is important to realize that the promise of Christ, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail,” applies to the visible social unit (Pope, hierarchy, laity), and not to the individual members as such. Now, if the visible social unit had morphed into a New Church sometime following the death of Pius XII, it would mean that the gates of hell had prevailed against the Church (the visible social unit). Hence, it is not possible to hold the Sedevacantist position without denying at least one of the Church’s attributes, if not all three (visibility, indefectibility and infallibility). When you study the subject in depth, there is no escape from this conclusion. In fact, a former Sedevacantist seminarian released a book just a few months ago in which he explains that Sedevacantism logically led him to reject the indefectibility and infallibility of the Catholic Church (after which he joined a sect of the Eastern Orthodox). Indeed, the errors of Sedevacantism logically lead one right out of the true Church.
Question: If the Sedevacantists claim that the visible society and the hierarchy defected, where do they claim the Church exists today?
Salza/Siscoe: They will usually do their best to avoid this question. Some simply refuse to answer and call it a “mystery.” Others will retort by saying “Wherever it is, it’s not your New Church!” (which is an admission that they cannot answer the question). In fact, we quote a leading Sedevacantist apologist in the book who admits that most of his colleagues will not even attempt to answer this question, and that those who do usually fall into error. What we found is that those Sedevacantists who try to answer this question – i.e., where is the visible Church today? – end by professing the Protestant definition of the Church, which is that of an invisible Church with visible members. In our book, we quote them directly.
For example, one Sedevacantist bishop defines the Church as “those who adhere to the Catholic Faith.” In other words, the bishop reduces the Church to the Protestant concept of an association of visible members who profess the true faith, rather than a visible institution with a divinely established hierarchy that possesses divine authority. This is precisely the definition of the Protestant Westminster Confession, which says the Church consists of those who “profess the true religion.” A lay Sedevacantist preacher (and former Protestant minister), who we cite throughout the book, claims that the Church’s visibility means that the Church “is made up of visible people” and that the true Church today is found “in the hearts and minds” of true believers – which is a definition that would please the most anti-Catholic of Protestants. These quotations demonstrate that Sedevacantists have embraced the Protestant definition of the Church. Ironically, the Sedevacantists declare that the recent Popes are not true Popes because they have professed heresy, yet the Sedevacantists themselves publicly profess the Protestant heresy of an invisible Church consisting of “visible members.”
The Sedevacantist preacher, mentioned above, also claims the hierarchy of the Church (that is, the Magisterium) no longer exists. But he then rationalizes that “we are not lost” because, as he says, “we have the Magisterium of the past.” Needless to say, a “Magisterium of the past” does not suffice. As we show in the book, it is de fide that the Magisterium (composed of validly consecrated bishops with jurisdiction) will always exist. A visible legitimate hierarchy is linked directly to the indefectibility of the Church.
Question: Can you explain what you mean by a legitimate hierarchy?
Salza/Siscoe: A legitimate hierarchy is a hierarchy with both material and formal apostolic succession – that is, validly ordained bishops (the material element) who have received jurisdiction (the formal element) directly from the Pope, since only the Pope can grant jurisdiction to a bishop. If there have been no Popes since Pius XII, it means that all of the bishops currently in charge of the episcopal sees lack jurisdiction and, thus, are not legitimate successors to the Apostles.
Question: If there is no legitimate hierarchy, wouldn’t that mean the indefectible Church had defected?
Salza/Siscoe: Yes it would, as we clearly show in the book. And, as we also demonstrate, this poses an insurmountable problem for the Sedevacantist thesis, which Sedevacantists themselves struggle to explain. Most Sedevacantists know and admit that the true Church must always have legitimate apostolic succession (since this is an essential element of the mark of apostolicity). They readily admit that no Sedevacantist bishop possesses ordinary jurisdiction, yet they also claim the bishops of the Catholic Church (what they call the “New Church”) lack ordinary jurisdiction. They claim this because only a Pope can grant jurisdiction, and they deny that any of the recent Popes were true Popes. Therefore, according to their theory, none of the bishops in charge of the episcopal possess jurisdiction.
Question: But if they admit that their Sedevacantist bishops lack jurisdiction, and also claim that the bishops of the “New Church” lack jurisdiction, where is the legitimate hierarchy?
Salza/Siscoe: That is their dilemma, which they struggle in vain to explain. Our popular Sedevacantist apologist from Australia concocted the wild theory that a bishop appointed by Pius XII “must” exist somewhere. And since, according to his theory, there have been no valid Popes to accept this bishop’s resignation, it means that this unidentified “retired” bishop has retained his jurisdiction – even if he doesn’t know it! According to this theory, the unidentified theoretical bishop is the entire legitimate hierarchy of the Church.
But what is most telling is that this Sedevacantist apologist actually admits that if no such bishop exists, then “the Sedevacantist solution is wrong.” And how does our Sedevacantist friend “prove” that his theory is not wrong, and that a Pius XII bishop with jurisdiction still exists? He doesn’t. Instead, he puts the burden of proof on his opponents to demonstrate that such a bishop does not exist! That’s right. He engages in the logical fallacy of shifting the burden of proof. He claims (based on his private judgment) that all the bishops in charge of episcopal sees throughout the world lack jurisdiction. Then he claims that his opponents must disprove his novel theory by demonstrating that a Pius XII bishop does not exist!
To add to the problems with his theory, we should point out that even if a Pius XII bishop did exist somewhere in the world, the bishop would have to be a Sedevacantist who was never a member of the “New Church.” Why? Because, according to the Sedevacantists’ favorite canon from the 1917 Code (Canon 188.4), a bishop who “publicly defects from the faith” (which means publicly joins a false religion) automatically loses his office. In other words, the Pius XII bishop would have lost his jurisdiction automatically when he became a member of what the Sedevacantists call the “New Church” (in this case, his resignation would not have to be accepted by the Pope). And even if there were a hidden and unknown Sedevacantist Pius XII bishop somewhere in the world, such a fact would not save the theory from denying the formal visibility of the Church, that is, the existence of the visible social unit founded by Christ. This absurd theory just shows the lengths to which these desperate Sedevacantist apologists will go to defend their thesis. And remember, our Sedevacantist apologist admits that if no such bishop exists, the Sedevacantist thesis “is wrong.” And if his thesis is wrong (which it is, as this and other problems with the theory prove), it means he has been leading people into error and objective schism for many years.
Question: Do the Sedevacantists have any other theories to explain how a bishop with jurisdiction exists?
Salza/Siscoe: A flamboyant Sedevacantist priest who lives in the Cincinnati area, who recognized the absurdity of the layman from Australia’s theory (which he publicly ridicules as “The Bishop in the Woods Thesis”), came up with a different solution of his own to explain how there can be a bishop with jurisdiction. Unfortunately, this priest’s solution for the dilemma is perhaps even worse than “The Bishop in the Woods Thesis.” His solution is to explicitly reject the teaching of Pope Pius XII (a clear example of “recognizing” a Pope, while “resisting” his teaching) by claiming that bishops – and priests! – receive their jurisdiction, not from the Pope (as Pius XII taught), but rather directly from Christ! He claims that they receive jurisdiction at their ordination, and he does so by appealing to “Divine law” (this priest bases much of his erroneous argumentation on such nebulous appeals to “Divine law”). As we show in the book, this priest’s fellow Sedevacantists were horrified to learn about his erroneous position, which they realize is explicitly contrary to the teaching of Pius XII. And, as we also show in the book, this is not the only time that this Sedevacantist priest “resists” the teaching of one whom he “recognizes” as being a true Pope. Apparently, this priest, whose name is Fr. Anthony Cekada, doesn’t consider it to be rank hypocrisy when he ridicules and mocks true Catholics for recognizing and resisting Popes when he himself does the exact same thing. The difference, of course, is that Fr. Cekada is rejecting a traditional teaching of Pius XII, while those he criticizes are rejecting what he himself admits are novel teachings of the post-conciliar Popes. These sorts of contradictions are legion in Sedevacantism.
Question: In the book’s Foreword, Bishop Fellay mentions that the book addresses other errors of excess that depart from Tradition to the Right. Can you elaborate on this?
Salza/Siscoe: Yes. For the past five decades (and longer), Traditional Catholics have been fighting against the errors of Modernism and Liberalism which have infected the Church like a cancer. But, as usually happens, the reaction to these errors on the Left has caused some to overreact by going too far in the opposite direction. With the human condition as it is, such a pendulum swing is entirely to be expected. We address a number of these overreactions to the Right, which can be just as dangerous as the errors to the Left – especially for Traditional Catholics. The reason these errors are more dangerous for Traditional Catholics is because their sensus catholicus, which is flashing with lights and sirens in response to the errors on the Left, is less likely to alert them to errors of excess to the Right, since these can appear to be nothing but a refutation of a Liberal error on the Left. Because of this, it is easy for traditional-minded Catholics to inadvertently embrace an error of excess to the Right. The solution to the errors of excess in either direction is a firm adherence to Tradition, which, as St. Vincent of Lerins said, will never be led astray by any laying novelty – that is, by a lying novelty on the Left or on the Right. A sure sign that a Traditional Catholic is deviating too far to the Right is when he begins to reject the traditional teachings found in the older Catechisms and theological manuals. These doctrinal errors of excess to the Right are found quite commonly in Sedevacantism, but not only in Sedevacantism.
Question: What else is unique about this book?
Salza/Siscoe: Those who have endorsed the book have acknowledged that there is no other book quite like it, given the sheer breadth and depth of the material covered. For example, one seminary professor and rector has told us that the book contains the most thorough treatment of the doctrine, No Salvation Outside the Church, that he has seen in one single resource. The book also contains material on the deposition of a heretical Pope that you will not find elsewhere. This is the fruit of years of research, including a detailed analysis of translations from the original Latin texts from virtually all the theologians who have addressed the question of a heretical Pope over the last eight centuries.
During our research, we discovered something that we have never seen addressed before – that is, an interesting distinction between how the Jesuits and the Dominicans view precisely how a heretical Pope loses his office for heresy, which is a speculative question that the Church herself has never settled. These two opinions, and the differences between them, are addressed in precise, step-by-step detail. The reader will learn that the Jesuits (Bellarmine and Suarez) hold that a manifestly heretical Pope (determined by the Church’s judgment) loses his office automatically, with no further action by the Church. The Dominicans (Cajetan and John of St. Thomas), on the other hand, hold that the Church also plays a ministerial part in the deposition itself, by declaring the Pope vitandus (to be avoided). The precise details of each position, and the differences between them, are discussed at length.
It is critical to note that both opinions (whether one holds the Jesuit or Dominican opinion) maintain that the Church – and not private judgment – first establishes that the Pope is guilty of the crime of heresy, before the speculative question (Jesuit = ipso facto loss of office versus Dominican = vitandus declaration) is even reached. This material demonstrates that all Sedevacantists have misunderstood St. Robert Bellarmine who said “the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed,” since Bellarmine here was giving his opinion on the speculative question, that is, what happens to the Pope after the Church determines the crime. Bellarmine was certainly not arguing that a Pope would automatically lose his office when a person privately judges him to be a heretic while the Church continues to recognize him as Pope (which is how the Sedevacantists have interpreted Bellarmine). As an aside, we should also note that the Sedevacantist bishop, mentioned earlier, who holds to the material/formal Pope thesis, agrees with our assertion that a Pope, who is judged a heretic by private judgment alone, will retain his office. We should also note that, to our knowledge, the material in our chapters that discuss the deposition of a heretical Pope will not be found in any other book in the English speaking world.
Question: You have received some incredible endorsements. A number of them mention something you alluded to earlier: that the book covers much more than just Sedevacantism.
Salza/Siscoe: Yes, it absolutely does. It really addresses all of the issues that are on the minds of tradition-minded Catholics today, and this is also why it has received praise from both ends of the Catholic spectrum. The Church is undergoing a Passion similar to what Christ Himself experienced. From all appearances, it seems that God is allowing His Church to suffer everything that it is possible for it to endure without any of His divine promises being violated. It represents a real trial for the faithful. Just as Christ was virtually unrecognizable as He hung dying upon the cross, so too the Church today, in many respects, is unrecognizable as it follows Christ through its own bitter Passion. In such an extraordinary time as this – when the Church itself appears to be dying – Catholics are trying to make sense of what they are witnessing, and they are searching for answers to explain it.
This unprecedented crisis in the Church raises many difficult questions. The book addresses virtually all of the questions that Catholics today are trying to sort out, and others they have not thought of. We answer them, not by emotion (e.g., anger and disgust over what is happening to the Church), but by consulting the teachings of the Church and her best theologians. If we form our judgments and allow ourselves to be guided by sound doctrine, rather than emotion, it is surprising how much clarity we can have – even in the midst of the chaos and darkness of the present time. The book does just that: it answers the difficult questions based on the sound doctrine of the Church, not by emotion. One seminary professor described the book as a “North Star” to help guide Catholics through the present darkness in the Church. Bishop Fellay, who wrote the Foreword to our book, and others who have reviewed it, have argued that it is one of the most important books ever written on the post-conciliar crisis. So yes, it really is more than just a refutation of Sedevacantism. It is a book that every serious Catholic needs to read and study. All Sedevacantists owe it to themselves to read the book, since they have no idea how they have been mislead. And they will not find the information we have in the book anywhere else.
Question: How can people order the book?
Salza/Siscoe: The easiest way is to order on our website, at www.trueorfalsepope.com. The official release date is just before Christmas. Those who order now will receive it on the first shipment. It would make a great Christmas present for any Sedevacantist or tradition-minded Catholic. It will also be available in Catholic bookstores and on Amazon after the first of the year 2016.
From the parts that were pre-published online, it seems like a very comprehensive work.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12
VC2ers like Catholic Answers?
This is a self-referential circle of people w/the same opinion endorsing their own opinion. Who funded this book and who is publishing it? SSPX? The Foreword is by His Excellency, Bishop Bernard Fellay who writes “A comprehensive and definitive refutation, firmly grounded in ecclesiology, has been sorely needed. We thus pray that True or False Pope? finds its way to many Catholics of good will. Mr. Salza and Mr. Siscoe’s book will surely afford much clarity to the reader.”
This is a fact: The Catholic Church, the vehicle Jesus Christ left on earth to lead people to heaven, cannot lead ANYONE to hell. The Catholic Church is currently leading everyone who will follow them right smack dab into hell–grave sins of adultery, fornication, sodomy, abortion, euthanasia plus blasphemy, apostasy, false worship.
Your whole blog is to keep people from following the Catholic Church to hell — and yet, these false teachers you are warning against are popes, bishops and priests! Yeah, who is defrauding the populace? Well, just like in Jesus’ time there are quite a few groups: the corrupt priesthood, the holy holy holy Pharisees (SSPX, Christ the King Institute, CFN, Remnant, Fatima Center etc.) who actually spent most of their time trying to kill Jesus while begging for everyone to work together (ha ha), the scribes (Dr. Mirus, Phil Lawlor, O’Shea, Donohue, etc.) apologists for the corruption while feathering their nests… Can’t imagine John the Baptist soliciting to keep his “important (blog) apostolate” going or leading –maybe the high priests should have offered him a free trip to Rome (to lead a pilgrimage).
Just in my opinion:
[Luke 18:8] “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth-?”
With the acceptance of the false precepts of the 2nd Vatican Council, the Church of Rome lost the Catholic Faith.
By their refusal to keep God’s 11th Commandment [to Consecrate Russia to Our Most Holy Mother’s Immaculate Heart] the Popes and their bishops are ipso facto not living in the state of Sanctifying Grace.
God, having removed them from His Sanctifying Grace has left them orphans until they return to the true Faith [now held by the Remnant of Traditionalists].
It would seem until then, nothing they have ordained, consecrated, blessed, nor approved as worthy of belief has any validity giving rise to the proposition: “The entire Church of Rome is in Sedevacantism”
I’ll give the book a reading, because I respect Mr Salza’s work. But no one will convince me that Mr Bergoglino isn’t a heretic and a false shepherd, as well as the Cardinals who surround and support him. I have decided not to listen to him or anyone else from the VII clown museum. One does not need to be a lawyer to see what is going on. If hating the Catholic faith and trying to destroy it daily, such as denying Christ’s miracle of the multiplication for example, doesn’t make you a heretic, what does? This blog and others have catalogued the offenses enough already. So I don’t have the “authority” to “declare” him a heretic, but what I do have is the spirit of discernment, which any 5 year old with a sliver of faith has. (too bad there’s never a 5 year old around when you need him).
Michael F Poulin
…did I mention the daily dose of dhimmi-stockhom-syndrom- moslem-butt-kissing “we-all-worship-the same-god” happy horse dropping?
TWN wrote “This is a fact: The Catholic Church, the vehicle Jesus Christ left on earth to lead people to heaven, cannot lead ANYONE to hell. The Catholic Church is currently leading everyone who will follow them right smack dab into hell–grave sins of adultery, fornication, sodomy, abortion, euthanasia plus blasphemy, apostasy, false worship.”
Exactly, I’m not saying that I’m a Sedevacantist because I really am confused, I simply don’t know. I’m just a Catholic who is trying to live the Faith and raise my children. One thing I do know is that the NO is not Catholic, they have different beliefs than do Pre- Conciliar Catholics. So will someone please explain the following questions to me :
“It is critical to note that both opinions (whether one holds the Jesuit or Dominican opinion) maintain that the Church – and not private judgment – first establishes that the Pope is guilty of the crime of heresy….”
Ok so what happens when both the Pope & all those responsible to accuse him of obvious heresy are all heretics ??? Who is left to judge the Pope and depose him ? What happens when you get 6 Popes in a row all teaching heresy over a 60 plus year period and the only ones to stand up to them are the ones deposed ??
“Second, it is important to realize that the promise of Christ, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail,” applies to the visible social unit (Pope, hierarchy, laity), and not to the individual members as such. Now, if the visible social unit had morphed into a New Church sometime following the death of Pius XII, it would mean that the gates of hell had prevailed against the Church (the visible social unit). ”
We have to live in reality, the modern church has been over run, Rome has fallen, “The Gates of hell ” have prevailed over the current hierarchy, that’s just a fact. The question that isn’t asked ( Why Didn’t you ask such an obvious question Louie ??) is , where in their opinion is the Church? It sure as “hell” isn’t in Rome !!??!!
If what they are saying is that the Pre conciliar hierarchy hasn’t been over run and completely destroyed , then there are only two options in my view.
1. They just refuse to face reality.
2. Only SSPX and other Trad Bishops are all that’s left of the Church
3. The Catholic Church is a false religion whose time has finally run out
Do you mean two options, three options, or choose any two of these three?
The quote from Matthew 16:18 is often used by apologists , and people here, to mean that the earthly Church would never fail or be conquered by the forces of hell. But the quote when you read it doesn’t actually say that. A gate is a defensive structure and cannot go on the attack! Try a thought experiment: If one thinks of the Church as if IT were an attacking army, militant, and offensive, and NOT defensive, then the quote could mean Peter’s mission given to him by Jesus Christ was to go out, free captives, make disciples, so that “the gates of hell” would be broken down, and souls would be freed from its prison. I do not think the quote by itself supports what we all want it to support.
Matthew 16:17-18 17And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
Well said mpoulin, well said.
See how Mr. Salza and others make assumptions about “the gates of hell shall not prevail?
Mr. Salza-“The inescapable conclusion of the Sedevacantist’s theory is that the gates of hell have prevailed against the visible Church, which is contrary to the promise of Christ and the attribute of indefectibility. Second, it is important to realize that the promise of Christ, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail,” applies to the visible social unit (Pope, hierarchy, laity), and not to the individual members as such.
I think he and others read what they want to read into that particular Scripture. Has anyone ever heard of a battle where a gate was used as a weapon? Who says the Matt16:18 quote applies “to the visible social unit”? This I think is a mis-use of Scripture, a prime example of the worst Catholic Bible proof -texting.
All the points you raised are addressed in the book. According to the Church (not private opinion), the “gates of hell” are heretics and their heresies. For example, Pope Vigilius explains that the gates of hell are the “death-dealing tongues of heretics” (Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D.). Pope St. Leo IX referred to the gates of hell as “the disputations of heretics” (In terra pax hominibus, 1053 A.D.).
You asked: who says Mt. 16:18 refers to the visible social unit?Answer: Msgr. Van Noort explicitly teaches this in his manual of dogmatic theology.
In answer to Salza & Co.
“Taken from “The Greatest Conspiracy Ever”, Steven Speray
The single most common argument used by Vatican 2 Catholics against sedevacantism is, “it is impossible to go 50 plus years without a pope because Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.” The typical Novus Ordo Catholic will accept this argument without any thought as to how anyone calling himself a Catholic could hold to sedevacantism….One would think that sedevacantists must have thought about this before coming to this conclusion, right? Why on earth would sedevacantists not believe in Christ’s promise?…This argument is used in three ways: a. The Church failed by the Vatican I declaration of perpetual successors. See also objection number 7…..b. The Church failed by not having a visible church with a visible head and apostolic authority. See also objection number 26….c. True popes taught heresy and are heretics therefore the gates of hell prevailed because error is now in, through, and part of the Church….However, this argument is a misunderstanding of Vatican I, the nature of the Church, and specifically indefectibility….What are the gates of hell?…Pope Vigilius at the Second Council of Constantinople, in 553 called “the tongues of heretics” the “gates of hell.” Pope St. Leo IX, In terra pax hominibus, Sept. 2, 1053, said to Michael Cerularius that “the gates of Hell” are the “disputations of heretics.”…Based on Christ’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail, Popes Vigilius and St. Leo statements imply that heretics and their heresies will never overcome the Church. The Church will always exist without error….The very Scripture verse of Christ’s promise, used as the most common argument against sedevacantism, is precisely the verse on which sedevacantism rests….Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church had to go underground because the last 5 claimants to the papacy have been those heretics with death-dealing tongues as they have led astray many of the faithful with their heresies and acts of apostasy….The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church but it has prevailed against particular churches such as Rome today as it did with England in the 16th century…Rome is not “the” Church as the Vatican 2 Catholics would like to have us believe. It is only one part of the Church. No doubt, the pope is the head of the Church on earth, but Christ is always the Head of the Church. Every time a pope dies, the visible head is absent but Christ (the invisible Head) remains….If the papacy could be filled with a death-dealing tongue of a heretic, then the head of the church would be counted along with the devil, the father of lies….This is impossible since Christ with the pope is the Head of the Church. Christ is not in union with the devil, but a heretic is. Therefore, the pope cannot be a heretic nor formally teach heresy. This is what Christ meant when He said the gates of hell will not prevail….Pope Leo XIII called the Roman Pontiffs “the Gates of the Church” in his 1894 encyclical letter Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae….Therefore, the gates of the Church cannot be one and the same as the gates of hell…By claiming that popes can be formal heretics, Vatican 2 apologists are actually claiming the Gates of Hell have indeed prevailed without realizing it. This also means they are calling Christ a liar and worse, they are saying this is the law of the Church given by the Holy Ghost….Cardinal Manning of Rome said in 1861 that it is the universal testimony of the Church fathers that Rome will lose the faith in the end. He was speaking about the Great Apostasy, and we sedevacantists are following this universal testimony. If we sedevacantists don’t believe in Christ’s promise then neither did all the Church fathers. However, they knew what Christ meant when He said the gates of hell would not prevail….As long as one person holds the faith, the church exists in that one person…We know that the Church does not exist for the sake of the papacy or the rest of the hierarchy, but rather, it is the hierarchy that exists for the sake of the Church….We have seen in history Catholics living for centuries without any hierarchy. Japan is a prime example. The Church can and will survive till the very end. This is the promise….The Great Apostasy foretold in Scripture will surely be disastrous, and it happens around the time of the final antichrist just before the Second Coming….Christ said, “I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Yet when the Son of Man comes, will he find, do you think, faith on the earth?”…We know He was using hyperbole, but He was clearly emphasizing that it will be so bad that very few will actually profess the true faith. Christ never promised a pope in every generation. When He built the Church on Peter, it was on him and his faith, not necessarily his office. The Church has never stated otherwise. All of Peter’s successors must be in union with Christ, Peter, and Peter’s Faith to be part of the Church…There have been over 40 antipopes in history, and never were Catholics expected to be union with them just because these men claimed to be popes. Catholics had to make a judgment call whether or not these men were true popes or not. Some made the right call, some didn’t….St. Vincent Ferrer made the wrong call if Benedict XIII were not a true pope. He even declared the papacy vacant because things were so confusing, it didn’t matter whether there was a true pope or not…Today, it is not as confusing as in St. Vincent’s time. Never before in history has it been clearer than now. The last 5 claimants to the papacy are not true popes because of their extreme modernism and anti-Catholic practices….₩They reject over 5 dogmas found right in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Benedict XVI has even criticized the Creed, but that should not come to any surprise since he doesn’t believe it, as it has historically been understood. Being an extreme modernist, he, like his 4 predecessors, understands the Creed precisely as the Protestants who profess the same Creed….Anyway, the point is made that Christ’s promise is the reason for sedevacantism, not the proof against it….I suspect there is two reasons psuedo-catholics keep using this straw-man argument…The first reason is the belief in the nonexistent dogma that there must always be a pope in every generation….Just like the nonexistent Scripture teaching that the Scriptures alone are the sole authority for Christians, the psuedo-catholic rejects the historic Catholic Faith by ignoring clear and unambiguous papal teachings on what constitutes Catholicism and the gates of hell….Just as the Protestant will, in vain, give his personal interpretation of this and that Bible verse to demonstrate why Sola Scriptura is biblical, the psuedo-Catholic will, in vain, give his personal interpretation of this or that council and canon law to demonstrate how a papal interregnum cannot last more than a generation….In the end, it always comes back to Christ’s promise….The second reason is the good-ole-fashion bearing false witness against thy neighbor, because of the intense hatred of us Catholics who hold fast to the Catholic Faith…Notice how Vatican 2 “Catholics” are so very kind, considerate and understanding with the Muslims, Jews, and Protestants, but when it comes to traditional Catholics, watch-out!…Those Vatican 2 “Catholics” are not so kind, considerate and understanding. They get downright nasty and look downward on the traditionalists….It is not hard to figure out. After all, holding fast to Catholic Tradition means being more orthodox and conservative than those who like to call themselves “the orthodox and conservative Catholics” accepting every modernist novelty that comes down from Rome…My opinion is envy and sloth is the root cause of this hatred. Envy because their lack in holiness compared to sedevacantists. For instance, the traditional Roman Mass is infinitely more beautiful than the Protestant look-alike novus ordo mass…Also, sedevacantists follow the much more stricter 1917 Code of Law, with over 50 days of fasting throughout the year compared to 2 days in the Vatican 2 Novus Ordo Church. This is where the sloth comes in because the suffering that comes with changing to a much holier religion. Not to mention, there are very long travels for mass and the loss of family or friends comes with holding fast to traditional Catholicism….We sedevacantists are just viewed as weird or loony because we are so completely counter-cultural….Lastly, it would appear, contrary to their claim, psuedo-catholics don’t really believe in a Great Apostasy, antichrist, and Christ’s return…Whenever that time should happen, there surely will be men warning the faithful about the antichrist and the Great Apostasy, as we sedevacantists are doing now and being ridiculed and persecuted for it….However, pseudo-Catholics will keep disregarding the warning for it means the Second Coming would be imminent. The psuedo-catholic will take the Bible out of context and say, “no one knows the day or hour.”…The problem with this position is how can anyone be told and warned about the appearance of antichrist or the Great Apostasy? The psuedo-catholic position is illogical…Sedevacantists don’t claim to know the hour or day of Christ’s return, but we do know that it must be imminent because we are now in that period of the Great Apostasy. We also know that whatever antichrist is reigning at the time of the Second Coming will be the one…Right now, the current claimant to the papacy fulfills the prophecy of the final antichrist whether or not he is actually the one…If not he, perhaps the next imposter pope will be the one…Why would any Catholic think the antichrist would pose as a pope? It is precisely because the antichrist would need to deceive Catholics, since non-Catholics are already deceived in erroneous beliefs. Holy Scripture also seems to point in that direction…II Thessalonians 1:3-4, “Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”…Some have argued that the temple of God will be the old Jewish temple rebuilt, but a Jewish temple that rejects Christ would not be the temple of God…The Church Christ founded would fit as the temple of God and the head of that temple would be that of the papacy.”
One more point: In this interview nothing was documented and no sources were cited. In the book, everything is documented and multiple sources are cited to back up virtually every statement that is made.
And for the real theology of St Robert Bellarmine:
The phrase can mean the powers of hell generally too. It can mean the powers of death more likely. Let’s be honest, the Popes, speaking centuries after the Scriptures were written, were speaking parenthetically and were not actually interested in exclusively defining the interpretation of that Scripture, but were using it to prop up their battling of heresies of those times – right?
You use the Scripture to support indefectibility, and perhaps it does, but very weakly I think. There are other interpretations that are just as valid. What would a 1st century Jew hear when he heard the phrase? How about :
the gates of the grave Isa. 38:10
the gates of death Job 38:17
the gates of death Ps. 107:18
Which all tie together nicely with
Revelation 1:18 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition ) where Christ says:
18 And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.
Which to me seems to fit the context of the passage quite nicely.
I did order the book and I will read it as I said.
The ‘Song of Light’ : a Syriac hymn used by all East Syrian Christians on Sunday mornings
His glory he hath caused to shine forth in the world : and hath enlightened the lowest abysses : death is extinguished and darkness hath fled : and the doors of Sheol are broken.
Your shallowness is showing.
The question is what does the Church do about it? One can make a case for heresy etc. It may be obvious to even a seeing eye dog….but how does the Church proceed officially to remove a heretical Pontiff? It’s the same analogy of being an eyewitness to a secular crime. It is our private judgement/opinion the perp is manifestly guilty. However, it just that until the perp is caught, tried and convicted by the appropriate legal authority who has the power to try, convict, sentence, imprison (or remove). Until then our opinion is just that. Salza explains it clearly on his website (JohnSalza.com) in a long exchange with a Novus Ordo Watch (sedevacantist) apologist. It is well worth reading. Salza explains it very well.
Lot of confusion but then again that is what Modernist do? So your private opinion is the “Gates of Hell” have prevailed? Guess Christ was just joking and has been proven a liar? Says who? With respect and not for nothing but…”That’s a perfectly Protestant opinion”…..which if maintained puts one outside the Church.
May I suggest going to Salza’s website: http://www.johnsalza.com
and check out numbers 15 and 16 in his list under: “New Videos, Audio and Articles”. I am sure they are included in the book but he explains clearly the fallacies of the whole SV argument.
What you are saying in effect is that:
The Church may elect the Popes but your “personal opinion/judgement” determines whether they are valid or not?
That is prima facia “Protestantism” Period!
Read the book. I have ordered it as well. But you don’t have to wait. Go over to: http://www.johnsalza.com and check out items 15 & 16 in his menu on the first page. I have read a lot of Salza’s material. He is very gifted and explains complex subjects in an understandable manner. No polemics. Just facts and logic.
Although we have never faced a situation like the current crisis…the Doctors and Theologians did….It is clear and Salza covers it both in and out of the book.
Ditto Mr Siscoe’s reply to your shared commentary of Mr Speray He writes well but so do a lot of folks. I went to his website looking for background information and found “nada” on his education, background, bio, bonafides etc. which one would expect from folks purporting truth on issues like “sedevacantism” It would lend credence and support to his commentaries. The only relevant personal info I found was that he attended the NOM for 15 years and then woke up etc..
Again, he writes well but does not provide sources which are necessary when engaged in debates of this type.
Here’s some five yr. Old intellect from a 40 something yr. Old…if satan has entered the Chair of Peter, as has been profesied, and I believe has happened, than does that mean that satan is the pope? I just have a hard times contemplating all that pope francis does and then calling him “Holy” ” Father”..I just pray for his soul as a man who I don’t wish to go to hell. I tell my children SOME of what he’s doing. I can’t tell them EVERYTHING because children should not know of such evil. I guard my children from so much evil surrounding us and one of these things are the details of the evil teachings of pope francis. Isn’t that crazy? Children’s ears should not hear what the pope talks about? Let the children come to me …but don’t let them listen to this evil pope. I even do my best to avoid his disturbing countenance. He holds the title but he’s super evil, and he’s no “Holy” “Father”…I just am doing my best to seek truth and stay sane trying to figure this thing out. We are all at different levels of understanding. ..but I am repulsed by pope francis..so I guess I’m in a good place.
Our Lady of Good Success. ..pray for us.
P.S. I am repulsed by pretty much everything in this new order church. I know it goes back further thanV2. Obviously V2 didn’t happen overnight. I’m sure Our Lord will do more than spit it all out.
I am confused when Our Lady of Fatima says that the “Pope will have much to suffer. ” I just can’t imagine it being any pope I grew up with. Maybe this awesome pope is yet to come??? Will we know this pope?
Padre Pio …pray for us.
Mr. Salza, Louis Verrechio and the SSPX reject many parts of Vatican II documents, documents signed by the Pope and all the bishops at the council including Archbishop LeFebrve. Does that not put you into schism? Yet when I do the same to a single parenthetical phrase from Pope Vigilius, questioning his use of one interpretation , I do not have the same luxury as Mr Salza, who is a layman also?
All I’m saying is that to use Matt 16:18 as a proof text to prove indefectibility is weak. Saint Ephraim writing in the 3RD century took this phrase to mean “the gate-bars of Sheol” , in other words, the keys of death. So my interpretation of this passage is that Jesus is giving Peter the keys over life and death, that Jesus is more concerned here with the Resurrection, and not simply the attributes of the visible Church.
Since the Pope has the power to bind and loose, you must accept the Vatican II documents as part of the teaching of the Church, or else you are rejecting the Popes authority.
PS I noticed Mr Salza took down from his website all his writing on GEOCENTRISM. What happened? Doesn’t the Church teach that anymore?
“Msgr. Van Noort explicitly teaches this in his manual of dogmatic theology” ….So that means I have to hold with divine and Catholic faith anything a monsignier writes? Who gave him that authority? The Church does not even give St Thomas Aquinas that authority.
No matter how many Catholics believe Bergoglio is NOT the Pope, the fact remains that the WORLD believes him to be the Pope. Perception is REALITY whether that perception is true or not. Bergoglio is dangerous whether he is a TRUE pope or a FALSE pope. That is the saddest part of this whole discussion. I don’t think The Remnant petition for Francis to change course or resign will have much effect on him. However, it serves a wonderful purpose of documenting the tragedy of this horrible papacy. Information is power. Heaven help us all!
Thanks, Louie, for this important and timely post. One of the most wonderful things about the Catholic Faith is the amazing depth of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and holiness available for us to plumb. I’m reminded of St. Thomas saying after he put his pen down that all he had written was as straw before the ‘real’ knowledge of God. But we have so much!
If only we could all revel in our Faith! What pleasure is to be had in learning more and more and more as we go along. Our Faith should make us joyful – one of the few real, lasting joys here in this life is learning about this great gift. And this joy is to be had notwithstanding all the internal struggles between truth and error.
We are so privileged to have authors like Salza and Siscoe to do the heavy lifting for us. And you too, Louie. I’m glad you have changed your focus somewhat. Describing error, and railing against it must be tempered with learning Truth, and putting it out there with authority. That’s the Catholic way!
Don’t put words in my mouth jacobum. I never questioned whether the Popes election was valid or not. I have said previously that is the cardinals duty to judge his status. I and all Catholics do have the right and the duty to interpret Scripture in line with Catholic teaching and I do have the right and the duty to oppose anyone in the Church including the Pope when they teach obvious heresy. This blog exists for the same purpose – is it Protestant?
No further discussion will be done with you until you publish your real name and identity. I don’t debate screen pseudonyms.
Michael F Poulin
member of St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church
Michael, that means you recognize and resist Francis, who may be a heretic by our private judgment, but has not been declared so by the public judgment of the Church.
Our Lady of La Salette…… “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”
“The Church will be eclipsed, the world will be in consternation”
2 Thessalonians 2:2……So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
Michael, when the First Vatican Council defined papal infallibility, it referred to Mt 16:18 in the context of binding and loosing. It means the Pope cannot BIND the Church to heresy, that is, he cannot declare a heretical doctrine to be binding upon the universal Church as a matter of Catholic faith. And, indeed, while Francis may have spouted heresies, he and the rest of his conciliar predecessors have never bound the Church to heresy. That’s what “the gates of hell” not prevailing against the Church means. In addition to Vatican I, Pope Vigilius, Pope Leo IX and St. Thomas himself also refer to the “gates of hell” as heresies and heretics, which can never BIND Christ’s Church. I hope that helps.
Lucy……Our Lady said to my cousins as well as to myself that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the last two remedies which signify that there will be no others.
We expose the many errors of Fr. Cekada throughout our book, including the many errors he makes in his video “Stuck in a Rut.” In the video, he claims that the “later theologians” who agreed with Bellarmine (ipso facto loss of office) but required some sort of declaration for heresy, were actually referring to a declaration of vacancy for an office that was illegally held (he then attempts to commandeer canon 151 for this novel proposition). Fr. Cekada has failed to recognize that:
1. Bellarmine’s opinion on ipso facto loss of office presupposes that the Church already judged the crime of heresy through an ecclesiastical process, as we prove in the book.
2. Bellarmine’s opinion thus regards only the speculative question of when Christ severs the heretic Pope from the papacy after the Church judges him a manifest heretic (Bellarmine believed he lost his office ipso facto, Christ severing the bond immediately, without a further declaration by the Church, but the Church has not adopted this position).
3. Cajetan and John of St. Thomas held that the Church would also have to declare the Pope vitandus before Christ would sever the bond, since Christ would not sever the bond in secret without the entire faithful knowing the Church’s judgment that the Pope is a manifest heretic to be avoided. Fr. Cekada and the rest of his colleagues have failed to understand these distinctions.
4. Fr. Cekada’s use of canon 151 is entirely misplaced since that canon applies to the case where the office has ALREADY been vacated by an act of the Church’s judgment (here, judging one guilty of the crime of heresy). Thus, canon 151, like Bellarmine’s speculative opinion on the loss of office, presuppose the public judgment of the Church. Much more on Fr. Cekada’s errors in our book.
John please explain to a simple minded person like myself, what happens when those responsible for stepping up and giving a ” public judgement of the church ” to depose a heretical Pope are also heretics ?
Ok so me get this straight
Christ said ” The Church will always say 1+ 1 = 2 ”
For 1960 years that has been the case, but since then the Church has been taken over by people saying 1+ 1= 0,-3,5,6,7,8,9,10 , any number but 2, because if you say 2 then you are narrow minded.
I along with many others simply point this out and say the obvious ” Christ said this would not happen, but look it obviously has , so now what ?”
And your answer is that ” Well you must be a Protestant ”
Is there anyone else there that can solve this riddle ??
It is certainly true the Pope cannot bind a heresy on the Church, I don’t dispute that. What I am disputing is that we have to interpret Matthew 16:18 exclusively as a statement referring to indefectibility. It was not always so, and why I said that is because there is tradition in the Catholic Church as evidenced by St Ephraim the Syrian (Saint; Doctor) born at Nisibis, 306 died June, 373AD who in In his Nisibene Hymns refers to the Gates of Hell as the power of death.
Here are some examples that were recorded many years before Pope Vigilius and give some evidence for that belief and tradition:
Hymn 36: 13. The death of Jesus to me is a torment; I prefer for myself His life rather than His death. This is the Dead whose death (lo!) is hateful to me; in the death of all men else I rejoice, but His Death, even His, I detest; that He may come back to life I hope. While He was living He brought to life and restored three that were dead; but now by His death, at the gate of Hell they have trampled on me, the dead who have come to life, whom I was going to shut in.
14. I will haste and will close the gates of Hell, before this Dead, Whose death has spoiled me. Whoso hears will wonder at my humiliation, that by a dead man who is without I am overcome. All the dead seek to go forth, but this one presses to enter in. A medicine of life has entered into Hell, and has restored life to its dead. Who then has brought in and hidden from me, that living fire wherein have reposed, the cold and dark recesses of Hell?
Hymn 38 6. When He enters at the gate of Sheol, in place of John who preached before His coming, then will I cry Lo! He that quickens the dead has come; Your servant am I from henceforth, Jesu! Because of The Body I reviled You, for it covered Your Godhead. Be not angry, O Son of the King, against Your treasury; at Your command I have opened and closed. Though my wings be very swift it is at your nod I haste to every quarter.
Catholic apologists have always thrown out the verse as a slam dunk and wish me to shut up; I am trying to point out there was an earlier legitimate Catholic interpretation that fits the context of the verse much better. Let’s try to find out what the original writers wanted to tell us.
I have ordered your book and will give it a reading. Thank you.
Michael F Poulin
St Paul the Apostle Church
Thank you for such a wonderful post , I’m in the 5 yr old club also lol , asking the same questions, but all I’m getting in response is that I must be a Protestant for actually looking at a burning house and saying ” look fire “
Like I posted earlier I am still working all these issues out, I’m not a Sed but I don’t condemn them either, I simply don’t know either way right now. But let’s say Salza & Company are correct . According to the modern Church it doesn’t really matter !!!
This is taken from Novus Ordo Watch :
Answer: This answer will have two parts. First, let us assume this were true. Let us assume that, yes, we are just Protestants in reverse, we’re Martin Luther to the other extreme. So what? The Vatican II Church does not have a problem with that. In fact, Vatican II even says (see Vatican II’s Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 3) that as Protestants, we at Novus Ordo Watch “are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church” and — note well! — we “have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation” because “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using [us] as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.” There you have it! Lighten up already! We are very honored to be Protestants, since even God Himself makes use of us to save souls! In fact, when we baptize someone, we are using a liturgical action that “must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation,” so stop complaining about us being Protestants. You should be proud that we are Protestants! We expect you to give us episcopal rings and pectoral crosses, sign theological agreements with us, hold joint vesper services with us, and, when one of us passes to eternity, we expect you to imitate Benedict XVI and declare him to have been a “faithful servant” and to have “attained eternal joy”!
The Defendant (1901) from the chapter, “A Defence of Patriotism”:
“‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”
G. K. Chesterton
Steven Ray attempted to compile a list of definitively define Bible verses: http://www.catholic-convert.com/documents/BibleVersesDefinedByChurch.doc
St. Hilary of Poitiers, commenting on Matthew 16:18: “But in this bestowing of a new name is a happy foundation of the Church, and a rock worthy of that building, which should break up the laws of hell … and all the shackles of death.”
” You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The strength, therefore, of the Christian Faith, which, built upon an impregnable rock, fears not the gates of death,…”
St Leo the Great Sermon 62 On the Passion
Does this book bear an imprimatur and a nihil obstat?
“The Church also which He foretold by name stands strongly rooted, and lifted up as high as the vaults of heaven by prayers of holy men beloved of God, and day by day is glorified, flashing forth unto all men the intellectual and divine light of the religion announced by Him, and is in no way vanquished or subjected by His enemies, nay, yields not even to the gates of death, because of that one speech uttered by Himself, saying: ‘Upon the rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ “
Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) — Book 1
So you see guys, there was another Catholic interpretation of the phrase “the gates of hell shall not prevail” it can refer to the power of death… I didn’t make it up on my own, its not a “private opinion “, but it is in fact a valid view that has a history in the Church, held by Saints and a Doctor of the Church, and it is consistent with our view of the Resurrection, and the Lord descending into Hell and freeing the host of captives there. It just seems everyone’s forgotten about it.
Michael F Poulin
Thank you, Mr. Poulin, for these excellent quotes. I will be using my Christmas vacation to catch up on some Catholic reading, especially St. Alphonsus’ s book on heresies and their refutation. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
Thank you Lake Erie. Blessed Christmas and Peace to you and your family.
Michael, that St. Ephraim said the “gates of hell” refer to the power of death is entirely consistent with how the First Vatican Council interpreted the term as applied to papal infallibility and binding and loosing (and, thus, how I am interpreting the words). If the Pope could “bind” the Church to heresy, it would be the “death” of the Church. The Church is indefectible precisely because the Pope could never use his binding authority in such a way.
Such an argument (which suffers from an inherent flaw in logic) fails to distinguish between authority and the abuse thereof. If prelates in the post-Vatican II Church depart from Christ in their teachings and practices, then don’t follow them. It’s that simple. But an abuse of authority does not equate to a loss of office (and certainly not by the judgment of individual Catholics in the pew).
Thumbs, first, such an argument does not negate the fact that the Church’s theologians are unanimous that an ecclesiastical process is required – whether or not such a process would be initiated is beside the point. Second, you cannot assume that all those responsible for initiating the process “are also heretics.” That is mere speculation on your part. The fact is, bishops and even Cardinals have spoken out against Francis. Clearly, not all the bishops and Cardinals agree with Francis on matters of doctrine. That means such a process could in fact be initiated in the future. Third, until it happens, we simply acknowledge that we are in a crisis that Christ Himself is willing to permit His Church to suffer, just as He has permitted similar crises in the past. It won’t last a second longer than He wills to permit.
Dear Cortez, We are all suffering terribly the betrayal by the Pope and hierarchy generally. Of, course, one must protect ones children from the objective moral evil emanating continually from the Pope. God bless and protect you and your children.
Of course, rejection of the Faith is death – eternal death and damnation.
OK, it is consistent, but it does not look as if for the first 520 years the Church interpreted Matthew 16:18 it that way does it? The indefectibility interpretation- gates of hell = heretics and heresies, is a later development and I’m pretty certain you can see that. All the texts from Saints, and Doctors like Pope Leo the Great that I find on the subject previous to Pope Vigilius tell me the Church meant “the gates of hell shall not prevail” to mean the Resurrection of the Body , the conquest of death first and foremost. Indefectibility of the Church body is a later development that is now being used exclusive of the Resurrection interpretation and primary to it. No one hears “Resurrection” when they hear Matthew 16:18 anymore because they haven’t been trained to look for it. So now people are scared and confused they don’t even know what the Scripture means, they think Christ promised the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against the Church, and it looks like He lied, but this was never the original nor primary meaning. The Good News of the Gospel is the Resurrection. The Church is indefectible, but Matthew 16:18 isn’t the best Scripture at all to prove it, so let’s stop using it that way.
Michael F Poulin
Dear Thumbs, we all have a duty to denounce objective evil – objective departure from the fixed and known content of the Faith and moral law. No one could rationally argue otherwise.
Thank you the kind response. My question is if 99% of the prelates depart from the Church , ( as is currently the case)then what ?? And if 99 % of the prelates are apostates , then hasn’t ” the gates of hell ” prevailed ?
I guess we just have to accept the fact that we live in an age where the Catholic Pope needs to be openly disobeyed and verbally condemned, and where the Catholic Church promotes error that will lead souls to hell.
There a numerous responses online exposing your errors, backed up annotated and for free – no fee required.
At any rate I am no civil lawyer and I am certainly not a Roman Cathllic priest, an alter Christus.
PS. I would be interested to know according to your interpretation, what ‘authority’ Saint Athanasius had by which he abstained from the Arian mass and parishes and rejected its bishops? According to your interpretation these bishops and their mass kept their Catholicity and full authority until the Council of Constantinople clarified things . Likewise by what authority does the SSPX create a counter-church to the Novus Ordo, if, according to you, the Novus Ordo and its heresiarch retain full Catholicity?
The Siscoe-Salza thesis is just that. Picking and choosing theologians and parts of theologians, ignoring Popes and divine law, or reinterpreting the same to reach a pre-determined goal = to ‘validate’ resisting recognised Papal magisterium.
While the readers and disciples of the civil-lawyer R&R movement continue to commune with heresiarchs and live outside Catholicity, at least the real remnant continue to live without contradiction in the true faith.
Thanks Thumbs and Lynda for the condolences. An extremely intelligent and highly respected engineer once told me to think in extremes, simplify the math and use as little words as possible. If applied here: The rump of Satan resides in the chair. Yikes.
Pretty-pointless, really. Go to any local parish, offend God, inculcate error, and venerate belial in a cassock (SSPX included), practice Protestantism under the name of VII Novus Ordo Catholicism and cause scandal everytime you do, but God personally approves of this through his chosen theologians of specific time-frames accordingly sifted and interpreted by Novus Ordo communing laymen with nothing to lose by being so inspired.
So, warlocks and heathens and wolves, prowl, devour, rule in the name of Christ! This thesis remedies the confusion of St Paul. Christ and belial really are in concord.
PS. Serioysly, the above excerpts strike me not so much as a refutation of the fact that we have no pope, but rather as a defense of ‘new church’.
Dear Cortez, we are living through the Great Apostasy, and it’s hellish. We have always the authority and duty to oppose that which is objectively not in accordance with the Faith or even simply the Natural Moral Law.
Dear Rich, not the Holy Catholic Church of the supernatural realm, but evil-doing persons who occupy the highest offices of the visible Church. And it is all a terrible apostasy, and a scandal that such office-holders, from the pope down continue to hold their external offices of the visible Church (even though likely they’ve long ago apostatised and are thus already not members of the Church in the internal forum.) Lord, have mercy!
Perhaps Rich will correct me, but I think his comment was supposed to be ironical. Not to be taken any more seriously than the defense of heresiarchs and their institution presented in the main text of the post.
Exactly. Just pointing out the base absurdity of what, in all actuality, is now considered to be normal.
It’s not our “thesis.” It is the teaching of an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, Constantinople IV, which declares that Catholics are not to formally separate from their bishops by declaring them heretics who lost their office, before a judgment by the Church. You, of course, won’t find that teaching on any Sedevacantist website. Are you just ignorant of the Church’s teaching, or do you reject it?
You can lead a horse to water…
The best we can do is keep sin out of our lives and cling to Christ. We are in the water drowning and most in the Vatican II church hierarchy are throwing us millstones. Their boat is infested with shipworms and is sinking, and they cannot figure out why men are abandoning ship. Jesus Christ promised us he would always be there to grab us by the hand and lift us up when we call out to him. He is the door, the gate, the true vine, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life.
I recommend go to New Advent and read
Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII) Chapter 12 & 13
exactly, a gate of hell is a sin, and all sin leads to death.
One of my Catholic friends advises me: We have Scripture and Tradition and Magisterium, when one is unclear, look to the others. Now is the time to look to Tradition
No, it is your thesis. And you ignore the whole to tailor the parts. Folks in expensive suits promulgating a theory are not the Holy Roman Catholic Church and by your own tailoring neither your thesis nor the sedevacantists is in error until somehow officially made so. If you ever were up for an open disputation with a real Catholic priest, that would be worth paying for.
The Maccabees hid in the wilderness when they were fighting apostasy and the pagans, and they considered themselves the “True Israel” as opposed to their Quisling brothers who accommodated Antiochus
What has a Jewish pre-Christian sect to do with the Apostasy of the Dioceses?
The world has been missionized, and now we have the retrograde anti-Gospel of VII; the ‘newchurch’. What’s in a name? The Novus Ordo? What’s in a rite? The Novus Ordo. What’s in a new ecclesiology? The Novus Ordo. Where’s false-pope Waldo? In the Novus Ordo.
Mr. Salza: I wouldn’t be so quick to claim that Pope Francis has not sought to bind the universal church to a heresy. In his motu proprios regarding annulment that were directed to the eastern AND western churches there are problematic elements that seem to permit ecclesiastical authorities to annul marriages that have “irreparably failed” but are nonetheless not null in the traditional sense. In essence, the motu proprios can be interpreted to reflect and actualize in tbe law of the Church the heresy that valid marriages are dissoluble by the Church, i.e., ecclesiastical authorities have the power to annul otherwise valid marriages if they “irreparably fail” (become null) AFTER the nuptials.
These “reforms” apparently seek to regularize abuses of the annulment process that occurred in the US after VII.
We do suffer. If only we did not identify Christ with Judas, the suffering would be of service.
Salvemur, you refer to Fr. Cekada’s scholarship, and in response I provide you a point by point summary of (just some) of his errors, and how do you respond? You defer to “numerous responses online” which you claim “expose my errors” (yeah, right). That’s because you can’t answer my points by yourself. Regarding the Arian crisis, and every other crisis the Church has endured, there is a distinction between formal and material separation, the theology of which is evidently beyond your current learning. Our book will assist you.
Thumbs, the common opinion is that an ecumenical council (which Cajetan called an “imperfect” council) would have to determine if the Pope is guilty of heresy. If the Church were unable to convene an ecumenical council for this purpose (which would mean there is no longer a Magisterium), then, yes, the gates of hell would have prevailed. But since Christ promised this would not occur, we know that the Church will always be able to depose a heretical Pope. Whether the bishops and Cardinals actually choose to do so is another question.
So the definitive teaching of Constantinople IV is my thesis? Since when? You’ve just answered my question. It’s not those in expensive suits but rather the council Fathers of Constantinople that you disagree with. You just can’t bring yourself to admit it. Indeed, you reject the teaching of an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, which condemns the sedevacantist thesis. Hence, it is you, my friend, who departs from the teaching of the Church. This indeed is the end of Sedevacantism.
It is noted that one of the authors is monitoring the comment box this morning, but yet has not answered the simple question asked yesterday regarding whether his book received an imprimatur from his ordinary and a nihil obstat from the appropriate diocesan censor. My question was not rhetorical.
Did the canons of the Council of Constantinople IV arise in the aftermath of a schism or a heresy?
Dear Mr Poulin, Always and everywhere there is a duty to denounce and avoid material heresy – objective evil.
Cyprian, we devote four separate chapters, including one specifically on disciplinary infallibility, that will assist you with your question. In short, Vatican I did not define whether and the extent to which papal infallibility applies to disciplines; only that the Pope is infallible when he defines a doctrine on faith or morals to be held with Catholic faith by the universal Church (and Francis’ new annulment process, as harmful as it is, is not a definition of faith). Even if papal infallibility applies to certain universal disciplines imposed upon the Church, it would clearly not apply to cases where a Pope delegates authority to bishops, who do not receive the infallible assistance of the Holy Ghost.
We did not submit the book to our respective bishops (at least for this first print run). Rather, we submitted it to His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay and his expert theologians. Quite a few of my other books do contain an nihil obstat and imprimatur, but this process, in my own experience, can take another year to obtain, and we wanted the book out now, at this time, during this problematic pontificate. But now that the book is about to come out, we may consider submitting it for an imprimatur. How likely do you think we will get one – not due to the content, but due to the fact that Bishop Fellay wrote the Foreword?
Cyprian, yes, the canons arose out of the controversy concerning the deposition of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the matter of Photius. We also have a lot of material on the Nestorian heresy, which arose in this same area and served as a precedent for the Council Fathers. We show how St. Cyril (a Doctor of the Church) did not consider Nestorius as having lost his office under “Divine law” for preaching heresy until the Council of Ephesus condemned his heresy. We also show how St. Bellarmine (another Doctor of the Church) held the same. These are more historical cases which directly undermine the novelty of Sedevacantism.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Louie for this timely and brilliant post. I say this because for any serious Catholic troubled by the ongoing crisis in the Church this whole issue must at least raise its head, especially given that this pontificate has brought the post-conciliar revolution and its effects to the status of a clear and present danger. For me this is where the discussion needs to be and I think for many thinking Catholics this whole issue of the possibility of sedevacantism is a growing and pressing question with every passing week as we witness the Faith being constantly undermined from the highest authority.
There is no doubt that much of the sedevacantist analysis of the crisis in the Church is accurate and I think many traditionalists would agree with them on many points concerning the disastrous events and decisions that have led us to this sorry pass. Yet for me the fatal weakness in the sedevacantist position is that I can’t see anyway back from it, or to put it another way, how the Church can possibly be restored. It seems to lead to a dead end.
And yet the question remains, how can true Popes have signed off on ambiguous (and thats puting it mildly) Conciliar statements, presided over liturgical destruction, issued disastrous indults that sanctioned liturgical abuses, and of course in this next stage of papal “surprises” issued a doctrinally compromised teaching document like Laudato Si?
The response given by some is that there have been heretical or bad Popes in the past so we shouldn’t be that surprised is to my mind woefully inadequate. First of all, a morally bad Pope (as scandalous as that might be) is utterly different from the the notion of an heretical Pope. Mortal sin in the area of morality doesn’t mean we fall from the Faith, a Catholic in a state if mortal sin doesn’t stop being a Catholic. He may be a bad Catholic but a Catholic nonetheless. Falling into heresy, however, is a sin against the Faith and manifest persistence in it leads out of the Faith and he ceases to be a Catholic. Now, to say that there have been heretical Popes in the past I think needs to be treated with great reservation. Of course, we can’t see into individual hearts and minds so any sin of heresy that would lead to a falling from office would have to be formal and recognised as such (and who exactly declares it to be so is unclear). If we say that there have been Popes who were formal heretics then it raises enormous questions about infallibility and Christ’s promise to preserve the Church from error. Even the oft cited case of Pope Liberius during the time of the Arian crisis, as an example of Papal heresy, under close examination and study may not be as it has been portrayed.
I believe that in these times we are witnessing something never quite seen before in the Papacy, that is, the wholesale undermining of the Catholic Faith in subtle and clever ways that seek to change attitudes to the defined Catholic teaching not by outright formal denials but by changing the paradigm ( replacing it with a humanist
Eco religion). Yet having said that the innovators of this “new orientation” can not continue forever at that strategy. Sooner or later they will seek its formal recognition slowly but surely and we have seen that already beginning in documents like Evangelium Gaudium and Laudato Si already. The content of the awaited document after the recent Synod maybe of enormous importance in this regard. This is a Papacy like no other, it takes what was latent and destructive in the Concilar documents and brings them to their logical conclusions.
It is by this path we have arrived at this important question concerning sedevacantism and it must surely be to our benefit that we are facing this question head on. My thanks to Louie for allowing the discussion, its a brave step.
Titanic Passenger: “Why are my feet wet?”
Titanic Crewman: “Don’t you worry ma’am, this ship is unsinkable!”
DECEMBER 20, 2015
The Maccabees hid in the wilderness when they were fighting apostasy and the pagans, and they considered themselves the “True Israel” as opposed to their Quisling brothers who accommodated Antiochus
DECEMBER 20, 2015
What has a Jewish pre-Christian sect to do with the Apostasy of the Dioceses?
Sorry salvemur – I should have spelled it out for you. True Israel is True Church. Sometime a remnant of the True Church has to hide in the “wilderness” while the apostate leaders party it up in Rome. In other words, the True Catholic Faith lies with the remnant of faithful Catholic laity, and not the clergy. This is how God preserves the True faith in times of crises, by keeping the embers burning among the faithful. Peace and Blessings.
Michael F Poulin
“Modernist christians are simply cross-dressing idol worshipers. They aren’t Christians at all. They don’t want anyone loving God or serving God or obeying God or even thinking about God. There idol is Humanity and it will brook no rivals. They don’t put God in second place; they have banished Him altogether.”
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. You sir are a loyal son of the Church, if only we had Bishops with your conviction the landscape would look a lot different. That goes for all the posters on this board with such excellent insights, we are all brothers trying to walk this terrible minefield the modernists pushed us into.
I was just thinking, if by some miracle Francis woke up tomorrow and discovered Tradition, returned to orthodoxy , this debate would just go away…we would joyously embrace him !!!
” Please Lord shorten the time of our trail before we all fall into the pit”
Speaking of a future council , imagine the work cut out for those men!! I pray for the day when the Novus Ordo is sent back to hell from which it came, those protestant tables and ugly churches are smashed, the Vactican II documents are ashes, Modernists Popes condemned, and The Church again rises Glorious to the amazement of the world while Catholic armies overrun the satanic masonic republics and restore Christendom !!! Amen !
Dear Mr Salza, If you are still monitoring I have a question. Why did you remove all the material on GEOCENTRISM from your website? I am researching science vs. religion issues in the Church and I wanted to write a talk on it and planning on using some of your material as examples. What happened? Does the Church not teach this anymore?
John salza & robert siscoe i ask your thoughts please on
The babylonian talmudic zionist n/jew world order ?
Im not a sedevacantist but i do beleive francis is the biblical false prophet and the antichrist is soon to make an appearance onto the world scene
Thank you, Fr Mann, for being a faithful priest, willing to be unjustly treated in order to defend the Faith, and the true Church. Thank you for this edifying comment. How may one reach you to offer some support? God bless you and your holy priesthood.
I did send an email to you – I think, about a year ago.
Dear Mr Poulin, Did you read the three volume book, Galileo was Wrong, The Church was Right”, by Sungenis and Bennett? The first two volumes cover all the scientific experiments, etc., while the third deals with Church History.
Thanks Lynda, you did indeed. Thanks for your kind support and prayers. My email is Agostino57@hotmail.com
In case anyone is wondering, this is why I asked the question. There are provisions in canon law that cover the publishing of books and the circulation of books to the faithful that Messrs. Salza and Siscoe have apparently decided to ignore:
“Can. 827 §1 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 775 §2, the publication of catechisms and other writings pertaining to catechetical formation, as well as their translations, requires the approval of the local Ordinary.
§2 Books dealing with matters concerning sacred Scripture, theology, canon law, church history, or religious or moral subjects may not be used as textbooks on which the instruction is based, in elementary, intermediate or higher schools, unless they were published with the approbation of the competent ecclesiastical authority or were subsequently approved by that authority.
§3 It is recommended that books dealing with the subjects mentioned in §2, even though not used as basic textbooks, and any writings which specially concern religion or good morals, be submitted to the judgement of the local Ordinary.
§4 Books or other written material dealing with religion or morals may not be displayed, sold or given away in churches or oratories, unless they were published with the permission of the competent ecclesiastical authority or were subsequently approved by that authority. ”
Messrs. Siscoe and Salza have been holding out this book as a veritable textbook on anti-sedevacantism. If they are advertising it as a veritable textbook, §2 requires that the book be published with the approbation of competent ecclesiastical authority. Even if the book is not intended to be marketed as a textbook on anti-sedevacantism, §3 nonetheless recommends that the book be submitted to the local ordinary for approval. Finally, §4 requires that the book have been approved by competent ecclesiastical authority before it can be sold in churches and oratories.
In view of provisions §2 and §3, in order to demonstrate your docile submission to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority, don’t you think that your book should be withheld from publishing until it is approved? If you decide not to withhold the book from publication until it is approved, will you honor §4 and not sell the book at churches and oratories?
If it was the end of having non-commissioned with belial it would be the end of the Church, which cannot happen. Your thesis is tailored to reach your desired conclusion.
I look forward to another thorough expose of your errors by the sedevacantist clergy.
No, I wasn’t aware of that book – thanks for the tip. Science/religion debates are a favorite topic of mine
Apparently you did not understand my question. A careful reading of the motu proprios indicates that they apparently are formulated in view of an heretical understanding of Catholic marriage; i.e., implicit in the motu propios are an hererical understanding of Catholic marriage. The heresy is that marriages that are not null at the beginning nonetheless may become null after the nuptials if the marriage “irreparably fails”. This is a heresy. The traditional teaching of the Church is that valid marriages are beyond even the power of the Pope to invalidate.
Regarding the supposed delegation of authority to the bishops, it was not the bishops who promulgated the motu proprios – it was the Pope himself that issued the documents!
Since this is a situation where a discipline instituted by the Pope touches and sheds light on an article of the faith (i.e., the nature of Catholic marriage), the nature of Catholic marriage implicit in the documents may be viewed as an exercise of the infallibility of the Pope. Since the understanding of Catholic marriage implicit and undergirding the motu proprios – that valid Catholic marriages that were not null nonetheless may become null if they irreparably fail – is heretical, it would seem that the charism of infallibility that would protect the Pope from binding the universal Church to heresy did not do so in this instance. This begs the question – either the Pope is not infallible when seeking to bind the universal Church to a dogma, or that this man is not the Pope!
I’ll chime in here, though it may prove superfluous, with a couple comments:
– Canon law serves divine law, not vice-versa. The First Rule of the Church is the salvation of souls, and souls are being put in danger by the errors of sedevacantism (indirectly).
– A state of necessity exists in the Church, as referenced (but not defined!) in current canon law, in my opinion and, I believe, that of the authors of the book.
– Even if such a state does not, in fact, exist, the sincere belief that it does excises all potential canonical penalty for any action taken on those grounds.
SSPX Masses “venerate belial [sic]”? Pathetic. Do you expect to have any credibility posting that kind of nonsense?
But, let’s here it: How do SSPX priests serve the devil in their Masses? This had better be good.
Here’s a fact: You have not read the book. Thus, you cannot possibly have any kind of certainty that your accusations are accurate. It would seem they are based, essentially, on emotion, as is the entire sedevacantist enterprise, ultimately.
You are obfuscating the issue. The canon that you were relying on arose in the aftermath of the Photian Schism, which at the beginning did not involve heresy at all. That is, Photius and those acting with him made no accusation of heresy before they deposed the rightful ecclesiastical authority and Photius wrongfully assumed the vacated office. Since the canon was instituted in response to the schism, it is not seen how you could apply it to an entirely different fact pattern where the faithful withdraw obedience from a superior for professing/ teaching heresy from his office.
Just to make clear how outlandish your reliance on this canon is, how many sedevacantists have deposed ecclesiastical authority and assumed vacant offices with jurisdiction in your estimation?
Dear St Cyrian, No. 2 addresses Catholic schools; and No.3 is a recommendation. I understand from Mr Salza’s reply to you that there is no principled decision not to submit for the Nihil Obstat imprimatur, but that they wanted to get the book out to people as soon as possible, due to the crisis in the Church,and such a procedure would take a long time. And in the current state of the hierarchy, it would not surprise me if an imprimatur was refused because a book was wholly in accordance with the Faith, thereby showing the error of so much that is proffered by the hierarchy – many of them have done much worse! Lord, have mercy.
Bergoglio loves being Pope (whether True or False doesn’t make any difference to him) because he loves POWER. However, it is very clear that he HATES the papacy and is doing everything he can to destroy this Holy Office and the Catholic Church. No matter where you stand on this issue, Mr. Salza and Mr. Siscoe must be commended for defending the teachings and integrity of the Catholic Church. Their love for Our Lord and His Church can not be questioned. If only Bergoglio &Co. loved the Church with such devotion, we would not be in this mess. Thank you, Mr. Salza and Mr. Siscoe. The Princes of the Church should take a lesson from your faithfulness and courage. God bless you!
The thing is, to proclaim a heretic as Christ-in-proxy is anything but defending the integrity and teachings of Christ’s Bride. It is an unreasonable and faithless exercise. It is an exercise in damage-making.
To put the Siscoe-Salza thesis in context, there are recognise and resist priests of an education, a dedication and a brilliance far beyond these lay-next-gen’ who have hit a brick wall. But they simply cannot seem to accept that belial is anathema to Christ. The feelings and thoughts as to why, God only knows.
An important contribution: http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/sede-private-judgment.htm
Before ‘magisterially’ reaching a definition by one’s own ‘papal-protestant-prerogative’, be willing to ask, seek and knock. There are so many lay businesses trading on Novus Ordo versus tradition issues…don’t accept any without prayer, sacrifice, and recourse to true Catholic doctrine, dogma and discpline.
Of interest: https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/michael-matts-endorsement-of-true-or-false-pope-refuting-sedevacantism-and-other-modern-errors/
Melito, Bishop of Sardis 195AD
“But he rose from the dead
And mounted up to the heights of heaven.
When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity,
And had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
And had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,
he rose up from the dead,
and cried with a loud voice:
Who is he that contends with me?
Let him stand in opposition to me.
I set the condemned man free;
I give the dead man life;
I raised up one who had been entombed.
Who is my opponent?
I, he says, am the Christ.
I am the one who destroyed death,
And triumphed over the enemy,
And trampled Hades underfoot,
And bound the strong one,
And carried off man
To the heights of heaven.
I, he says, am the Christ. “
St Peter said:
Acts 2:23-28 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA):
23 This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain.
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it.
25 For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved.
26 For this my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope.
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
It may help if we answer ++Burke’s call to join a rosary crusade to “Storm Heaven … to dispel confusion”. Say a rosary on the 1st of each month “to flood souls with Grace and Light and Truth”. http://www.catholicaction.org/take_heaven_by_storm
Cyprian, I did understand your question; you didn’t understand my answer. Francis did not define a (heretical) doctrine which says a valid marriage is dissolvable, and further impose it upon the universal Church as a matter of Catholic Faith. He made no definition of faith. Yes, he attacked the doctrine through a disciplinary process that he delegated to the bishops, but the First Vatican Council did not say whether and to what extent the charism of infallibility applies to disciplines (and the charism certainly wouldn’t apply to ill-advised decisions made by bishops, even when delegated by the Pope). You need to evaluate such issues within the narrow parameters of infallibility that have been defined by the First Vatican Council. In our book, we show historical examples where Popes actually invalidated ordination rites of their predecessors (and intended to bind the universal Church to such decisions), which caused untold suffering for the Church (in this case, the consequences were even worse than what Francis has initiated, since the validity of the sacraments – approved by previous Popes – were not attacked through disciplinary powers delegated to bishops; rather, they were declared null and void by the Popes themselves; and this went back and forth for over a decade). These and many other historical cases alone show just how narrow the parameters of infallibility are, and what God has willed to permit His Church to suffer. If you follow the Sedevacantists, you would be forced to conclude that the gates of hell prevailed well before Vatican II.
Did I misunderstand, or is Cyprian appealing to an authority (the 1983 Code) that he himself rejects or at least holds as Modernist? Nevertheless, you misread canon law. First, there is no requirement that we submit the book to our diocesan bishops, even setting aside the case of necessity. Second, in case you didn’t know, the book was published by the U.S. Seminary of the Society of St. Pius X, over which Bishop Fellay is the Superior and thus the competent authority. Thus, the book can and will be lawfully used for instruction at the Society’s schools and sold in their churches. That means we are in complete conformity with canon law (not to mention that said provisions are suspended in cases of necessity anyway, where the good of souls is at stake, as is the case here). The more people attack our work using ad hominem and appeals to “authority,” the more it confirms that they have no arguments against the merits of our work. That’s why these types of exchanges are so fruitful.
Salvemur, you have proven to be an amateur; you have no substance, much less arguments; your final appeal to “sedevacantist clergy” shows that you are in over your head. If you read our book, you will see how we deal with these “sedevacantist clergy” – who, incidentally, hold diametrically opposed positions on the most fundamental questions, and thus vehemently disagree with each other (which is the nature of all sects that break away from the Church).
Cyprian, you also show yourself to be quite confused. First, Constantinople IV declares that no Catholic can formally separate from his bishop and declare that he has lost his office (whether for heresy or schism) before a judgment by the Church. If you want to argue that the canon “was instituted in response to the schism,” that doesn’t help your case, since declaring a bishop (or Pope) to have lost his office by one’s own private judgments IS AN ACT OF SCHISM that Constantinople IV condemned! Second, you characterize your position as a “withdrawal of obedience from a superior,” but that’s not what Sedevacantism is; that’s what the R&R position is. Sedevacantists don’t merely “withdraw obedience.” No, they declare, by their own private judgment and contrary to the public judgment of the Church, that the prelate has legally lost his office. You are quite confused.
Is Bishop Fellay your local ordinary? Does Bishop Fellay speak for local ordinaries responsible for NO churches in which this book may be sold? §3 recommends that a book like yours should be submitted to the local ordinary for approval before publishing. Did you even investigate your local ordinary’s reputation for orthodoxy before you decided not to seek his approval? Or are all NO ordinaries heretical in your estimation whose opinion the faithful can rightly ignore?
You’re supposed to be a lawyer right? You understand that law can develop from the general to the specific as the law responds to new facts, right? That a more specific later law can preempt an earlier, more general law, right?
The canon you are making reference to was instituted before the Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio was promulgated by Pope Paul IV. Pope Paul IV in his Bull established a different standard and treatment for the more specific situation where an heretical superior is involved.
In the Bull, when the faithful have determined that it appears that the Pope has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy they are permitted to withdraw their obedience from him and to avoid him as a heresiarch WITHOUT A FORMAL DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH.
Absent such permission avoidance of the putative heresiarch could be interpreted as a schismatic act on the part of the faithful. Apparently you did not appreciate this aspect of the Bull. The Bull specifically sets forth that the faithful can act in this manner with impunity, meaning the canon you make reference to from Constantinople IV would not be applicable and is effectively preempted in this specific case.
Just to simplify what you are doing by ignoring the Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, the Church instituted a broad canon at Constantinople IV that covered situations where inferiors behave in a schismatic matter with respect to a superior before the Church has officially acted. The canon requires that inferiors have to wait while the ecclesiastical authorities investigate the crimes of the superior and resolve what should be done before the inferiors take any action on their own part. Later Pope Paul IV promulgates a Bull that establishes a different treatment for situations involving an apparently heretical superior. In contrast to the treatment called for by the canon , the faithful are not required to wait until the Church acts before they can withdraw their obedience and avoid, e.g., the apparently heretical Pope. They can withdraw their obedience and avoid the heresiarch BEFORE the Church takes any action WITH IMPUNITY.
Others have accused you and your co-author of behaving in an agenda-driven manner, picking and choosing those authorities which support your position and ignoring/misconstruing those that don’t support your position. This is an excellent example of your behavior.
Your analysis is pedestrian. This is not difficult to understand. The Pope issued two motu proprios – one directed to the western church and another to the eastern church. The motu proprios hence effectively bind the universal church to a new discipline regarding marriage in general and annulment of marriage in particular.
The motu propios also touch and concern a sacrament of the Church, the sacrament of marriage and necessarily reflect an understanding of marriage. How can these motu proprios effectively regulate an aspect of marriage if they do not reflect in some way an understanding of the nature of that which they are seeking to regulate?
In any case, the nature of Catholic marriage is a doctrine of the faith – i.e., valid marriages are indissoluble. It is not seen how one could reasonably argue that the elements of the motu propios that reflect an understanding of the nature of marriage – an understanding that will guide the bishops in their handling of annulments – would NOT be protected by the charism of infallibility. To turn this on its head, if these documents reflected an orthodox understanding of marriage, they would likely be advanced as an infallible declaration on the nature of marriage in this respect.
Expert appraisal of the motu propios indicates that they reflect an heretical understanding of marriage – that initially valid marriages can irreparably fail and hence become null after the nuptials. This is reflected in some of the grounds advanced as providing a basis for a declaration of nullity and more particularly a CANON contained in each motu proprio that specifically advances the concept of irreparable failure of marriage.
You keep seeking to lay blame on the bishops but it is not the bishops who promulgated these documents that reflect an apparently heretical understanding of marriage it was the Pope himself.
Further, your whole analysis of the situation betrays a simplistic application of the concepts and your apparent ignorance of important teaching by a giant of the Church that should guide all of us in analyzing these situations.
Pope Francis is not a simple heretic publicly and clearly advancing a single heresy, e.g., a christological heresy. Pope Francis is not an arian he is a modernist. Hence at some point or another he will attack just about everything associated with the faith. But modernists are well aware of the laws of the church and how heresy/infallibility is to be assessed. They avoid attacking the faith out in the open and rather choose to attack in many and subtle indirect manners.
Pope St. Pius X gave an example of how modernists subvert the faith in Pascendi Dominici Gregis:
“But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil.”
Hence we should be measuring heretical modernists like Pope Francis by the standards advanced by Pope St. Pius X and not by the simplistic rote methods you apparently apply in these situations. I’m sure Pope Francis is expecting the naive and gullible to jump to his defense in exactly the manner you did in your reply – “aw, that’s easy he didn’t violate the charism of infallibility because he didn’t advance his teaching in the form of an explicit definition.” Marxists have a name for defenders like that.
Mr Salza, if you who live and breathe by the Novus Ordo ‘kode of kanon law circa 1983’, God is Good indeed for making myself a non-professional.
PS. Have you zero understanding of God through history and the Church in, but not of, the world? Do you honestly, hand on heart – by the Blood of Infinite Merit -, think you have divine remit to encourage thousands of confused folks to commune with the Novus Ordo Institution, rather than submit to Truth?
There are, and always will be, priests offering the Blood of Salvation unadulterated. Pray with these blessings. One thing is for sure, the grace to understand is shrinking – commensurate with indifference; in part.
What a relief that TWN has the answers and perhaps is the one we should be praying to!
More typical protestant, anti-Catholic sedevacantist drivel.
Cyprian, you are obviously running scared from Constantinople IV, and that is because that council condemned your private judgment deposition of bishops before a public judgment by the Church. So what do you do? You scramble for Cum Ex Apostolatus and argue that it overrules Constantinople IV by claiming that Paul allowed the exact opposite – private judgment deposition of Church prelates. You could hardly have advanced a more desperate argument, which shows that you have no argument against Constantinople IV. First, Constantinople IV and Cum Ex are addressing two entirely different situations (the former – private judgment of one who lawfully holds office; the latter – the public judgment of one PRIOR to his elevation to office). That means Cum Ex is not imposing a “different standard and treatment” and thus not overruling a standard it never intended to address, as any basic course in ecclesiastical jurisprudence would teach you. Strike One. Second, Cum Ex does not say that individual Catholics make the judgment (you simply assume such an absurdity). As our book demonstrates, all the canonists of the time (Borghesius, Massa, etc.) explained that Cum Ex required pre-election heresy to have been established as a crime by Church authority, and not individual laymen in the pew. Only such an official judgment would impede election or elevation. Strike Two. Third, we provide an abundance of information showing that Cum Ex Apostolatus, as a document of mere penal legislation, has no further legal force or effect in the Church. We even quote from Sedevacantists who admit the same (and your anticipated appeal to “Divine law” won’t help you since the Church teaches there is no metaphysical incompatibility with undeclared heresy and jurisdiction). Strike Three. All the arguments you have raised, we have already thought through and address in the book. So far, you’ve advanced nothing – which is to be expected. But keep them coming if you wish; it will help to further reveal the errors and absurdities of your position.
Yeah, and openly promoting the disobedience of the true pope is such a totally Catholic concept; im sure if we research it we can find a boatload of instances throughout the centuries where Catholics were encouraged to turn their back on the pope, pay him no mind and declare him guilty of spreading heresy (while still calling him the pope of course).
MPoulin, you said “There are other interpretations that are just as valid.” Of course, there are always multiple interpretations of verses, which can be true at the same time. There are traditionally four different “senses” of interpretation of the Scripture. One interpretation does not exclude another. They can all be true at the same time, provided, of course, there is not direct contradiction.
But Michael, just because there are other interpretations of the same verse, does not mean the interpretation of the popes quoted by Salza and Siscoe are wrong; nor does it mean the common interpretation of that verse (that the Church will never be overcome by heresy or destroyed) is wrong. Claiming that one interpretation excludes another is exactly what the Protestants do with the same verse. They claim that the rock upon whom the Church is built is not Peter, but Peter’s faith, and they quote the Fathers of the Church and several early Popes to defend their interpretation. The problem is not saying that “the rock” can mean Peter’s faith; the problem is excluding the interpretation that the rock also refers to Peter himself. You seem to be doing the same thing here. You found different interpretations of the same verse and are using them to exclude the interpretation of two Popes (and a council).
Michael, there you go, doing exactly what I said above. You are now rejecting a traditional interpretation of that verse in favor of another interpretation. Again, this is exactly what the Protestants do.
Both interpretations are true and the same time.
Salvemur, you are making this assertion before you have even read their book. It is clear that you have made up your mind and are not even willing to consider that you are mistaken.
Fr. Cekada just tried to respond to this interview and was immediately refuted (quite convincingly) by several commenters (See the Suscipe Domine forum). Reading Fr. Cekada’s reply, I think we can see what Siscoe and Salza meant by the bad arguments used to defend the sede-vacante position.
This is what I said about what the faithful can do in view of section VII of the Bull:
“In the Bull, when the faithful have determined that it appears that the Pope has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy they are permitted to withdraw their obedience from him and to avoid him as a heresiarch WITHOUT A FORMAL DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH.”
Note, I did not say the faithful could convene an ecclesiastical legal proceeding against, e.g., the heretical Pope, render a verdict at such a proceeding against the heretical Pope, depose the Pope, assume the office of the Pope, etc.
What you said I said:
“Cyprian, you are obviously running scared from Constantinople IV, and that is because that council condemned your private judgment deposition of bishops before a public judgment by the Church. So what do you do? You scramble for Cum Ex Apostolatus and argue that it overrules Constantinople IV by claiming that Paul allowed the exact opposite – private judgment deposition of Church prelates.”
You are accusing me of advocating “private judgment deposition of a bishop or a Church prelate”. Deposition of a bishop or prelate means the bishop or prelate is deprived of his office. How exactly did I argue that the Bull allowed the faithful to deprive a bishop of his office? Withdrawal of obedience/avoidance IS NOT EQUAL TO convening an ecclesiastical legal proceeding, rendering judgment at that proceeding, deposing the offending prelate, etc.
You do not want to respond to my arguments. You want to construct straw men that are unintentionally humorous caricatures of my argument and argue against them.
Also, please place your replies in the appropriate place in the comment thread or I will assume you are intentionally trying to frustrate the efforts of others to follow the disputation from beginning to end, e.g., to give others a false impression about who raised issues first, etc.
You’re now picking nits over the fact that you didn’t say, *in your last post*, that individual Catholics could decide the deposition of a bishop, even though that IS, in fact, your position? Are you not, in fact, a sedevacantist, who adopts one of the variants of that position, meaning that you believe the modern popes are not popes at all? Have you not argued that position in this space for the past year or more?
Or, perhaps your beef now is just that you did not assert that it is Cum Ex Apostolatus specifically that gives faithful the right or ability to depose clerics? “How exactly did I argue that the Bull allowed the faithful to deprive a bishop of his office,” you asked. You brought it up in the first place: “The canon you are making reference to was instituted before the Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio was promulgated by Pope Paul IV. Pope Paul IV in his Bull **established a different standard and treatment** for the more specific situation where an heretical superior is involved.” If you were not using the Bull to support your position that the faithful are invested with the power to depose (or decide deposition has occurred) via their own private judgment (a position that logic can quickly determine would result in just the sort of chaos we see in sedevacantist circles), why did you bring it up in the first place?
You’re behaving like a sophist.
These distinctions – material vs. formal heresy and the Body vs. the Soul of the Church – are exactly the critical ones to be made here. Conflating them is exactly what leads to the error of sedevacantism (one way or another).
Further, as has been pointed out, refusing submission to a prelate while acknowledging the general, inherent rights of the offices the Church (visible as she must be) says they hold is the Traditionalist recognize & resist position, not the sede position.
I think it would behoove the group for you to state what your position is and what you base it on. Such is laid-out in full on the part of your opponents.
Cyprian, your problem (one of many) is that what you say is not what Cum Ex says. You say Cum Ex gives you the right to assume a Pope has lost his office for heresy by an act of your own private judgment. Cum Ex does not say this, and neither does any other document ever issued by the Magisterium. Cum Ex simply says the Pope can be contradicted if he deviates from the faith (that is, we don’t follow his deviation). Let’s not be silly and accuse me of claiming you said there has to be an “ecclesiastical legal process” run by the faithful to depose the Pope. C’mon, I said no such thing. By private judgment deposition, I meant you, by your private judgment, determine that the Pope has lost his office for heresy (he has deposed himself by your own private judgment), before a judgment by the Church. And this is precisely what Constantinople IV condemns. You are trying to cover your wounds by saying you only mean we can “withdraw obedience,” but that is not what Sedevacantism is (I called you out on this point before). A Sedevacantist does not “withdraw obedience”; he publicly holds that the prelate lost his office, and thus formally separates from him. The Catholic, on the other hand, does withdraw obedience from to the extent he deviates from the faith, without, however, declaring that he has lost his office for the deviation, before a public judgment by the Church. Which one is it, Cyprian? Do you merely withdraw obedience, or do you declare the Pope has lost his office for heresy by your own private judgment, before the public judgment of the Church? As A Catholic Thinker pointed out below, you waffle with your terminology, and appear afraid to commit to the position you actually hold – and that is because you cannot defend it, at least against people who know what they are talking about.
Also, after some of your posts, I did not see a reply button, so I replied to the next nearest post. So I am not “intentionally trying to frustrate” the efforts of the forum. Note you said “I will assume you are intentionally…” That’s a manifestation of your disease of Sedevacantism; you assume the intentions of others; you have appointed yourself the judge of the internal forum of others, including the Pope. You, like most Sedevacantists, are of a bitter spirit. I have indeed responded to all your arguments, directly rebutting your attempt to use Cum Ex to overrule Constantinople IV, and you have provided no counter rebuttal. You simply accused me of not responding, and that shows, quite publicly, that you have no response to my rebuttal. This exchange is coming to an end.
Yes, they aren’t mutually exclusive.
With all possible respect, ISTM that the Holy Father is not nearly as black as he is painted. It is not out business to *declare* the Pope to be a heretic, formal or otherwise: that, IIRC, is for the Catdinals to do, since no Ecumenical Council can be convoked without the Pope. For Catholics to sit in judgement on the orthodoxy of Popes is wrong – what we can do, and ought to do, is pray for the Pope we have been given by Providence, rathet than accuse him, or lament that we do not have a different one.
“Where Peter is, there is the Church” – without communion with the Successor of Peter, or in opposition to him, how can we call outselves Catholics ?
Given that there have been problematic Papal utterances in the last 50 or so years, perhaps the answer, or part of it, is to put the most orthodox possible construction upon them. The problematic parts of V2 come in documents of the Catholic Church, issued by the authority of an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, for the good of Catholics, by the will of the Pope, through the instrumentality of Catholic bishops representing the whole Catholic world. Therefore, there has to be a *prima facie* case that the problem parts are to be taken in a Catholic sense. Whether one is talking of Dignitatis Humanae, Gaudium et Spes, Lumen Gentium, or any other conciliar text. And post-conciliar documents, up to the most recent ones, should be read in the same way: the presumption must always be that Popes and other bishops “intend to do” – and therefore, to teach – what the Church intends”, in the way and the sense the Church intends.
We are no danger if we obey Our Holy Mothet the Church – for she is both holy, and our mother. She has authority from Christ, and our business is love, to hear, and to obey her, unconditionally. If we love and obey her only in times of seeming prosperity, what love is that ? Love is shown to be genuine when tried by adversity, when things are not well in her, when there is a temptation to desert her because she is no longer healthy or prosperous. What sort of love o it, to desert the sick and wretched ? It is precisely when the Church is wretched, that we need to stand by her and not desert her. If Christ is Faithful to her – and He always is – then He is being Faithful to her now, just as He has been, and always will be. So, again, how can it be right for Catholics not to be faithful to her ?
One either sees Christ in His Vicar, and in the bishops of His Church, or one does not. If we can – then we should thank God for it, and ask for the grace to do so ever more clearly and lovingly and perseveringly. If ŵe cannot, then we should ask God for the grace to be enabled to do so. Either way, we should pray for the Holy Father and the other bishops, that they might be everything Our Lord Wills them to be. “Murmuring” against them as the Israelites “murmured” against Moses is not going to help them, or us. How is it possible to say “I believe in the Church”, if one does not accept that the Church as she is now, *complete with all her diseases, woes, scandals and troubles*, is, and always was, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Creed ?
STM this, of St Pius X, is very relevant to the thread and to our problems today: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/11/love-pope-no-ifs-and-no-buts-for.html
Is your last name Akin?
You were very patient. Thank you for your work in service of the One True Faith.
In fact, it is modern people who have totally rejected the original meaning, as witnessed by Saints and Doctors of the Church. I rejected nothing. Indefectibility of the visible Church has totally supplanted the original and primary meaning of the verse. I said it was a weak interpretation; I didn’t reject it, but there are better verses to use (such as “I am with you always”) Indefectibility of the visible structures of the Church was not the original interpretation of the Church itself, and probably not what the Apostles heard when Jesus spoke it. The verse does not exclusively apply to “heresies and heretics” which are just a tiny subset of sins. The whole reason I brought the subject up so the remnant would not lose hope.
Peter spoke of it on the day of Pentecost: “But God raised him up, having freed him from death because it was impossible for him to be held in its power”
(Acts 2:24). “He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption”
Most people reading this blog would say the “gates of hell” have prevailed against the visible Church – the Pope is a Modernist humanist, all his inner circle is, most of the bishops, most all of the priests and nuns are, and most of the laity. It’s safe to say the visible Church is sure on the ropes and probably will not recover without divine intervention. Since the Church is made up of more than her visible structures, I am sure that it is indefectible – but I’m not seeing that the pope and cardinals and bishops will not be prevailed upon.
@ACT: Regarding your first paragraph, it really is in the nature of badgering me, and upon close examination doesn’t make an argument I have to reply to. I will say this – Pope Innocent III, Pope Paul IV and by implication Pope St. Pius V all apparently believed a Pope could defect for heresy. I take their warning seriously, especially since the VII Popes have done, said and written things inconsistent with prior Church teachings and disciplines.
Your second paragraph reads into and mischaracterizes my argument. I said that in my estimation, Pope Paul IV made a narrow exception from Church law (which would include the subject canon) in the Bull regarding what the faithful may do when it appears that a prelate (including even the Pope) has deviated from the faith or fallen into some heresy – he permitted the faithful to withdraw their obedience from the prelate and to avoid him as a heresiarch. A review of my comment will reveal that I did not advocate anything more than that; e.g., that the faithful could perform the ecclesiastical functions to effect the deposition of the heretical prelate or even to choose someone to occupy the office.
For example, from my understanding of how the canon and the Bull would work together, if a group of the faithful were, in the case of a heretical prelate, to withdraw their obedience, avoid the heretical prelate, to effect the ecclesiastical operations necessary to depose the prelate and to choose a new prelate (the last two actions being done independent of LEGITIMATE Church authority) they would be guilty of schismatic acts for the last two actions, but not the first two. The Bull does not permit the faithful to perform whatever actions need be performed to actually effect the physical deposition of the prelate from his office, or to choose a new prelate so the Bull would not protect them from the Canon with respect to the last two actions.
Your third paragraph (the one mentioning the distinction between the body and soul of the Church) is making reference to issues I haven’t joined in this disputation, are separate from the disputation I am having with Mr. Salza, and are not stated with enough particularity for me to understand what you are precisely arguing so until you state your argument with particularity I can’t respond to it.
Regarding your fourth paragraph beginning “further”, please provide a citation to a leading sedevacantist priest or bishop who denies the inherent rights of the offices held by prelates they refuse submission to because I have heard several sedevacantist priests and bishops say exactly the opposite. For example, I have heard them say that although they believe the VII Popes may have been ipso facto deposed, they believe the primacy and other aspects of the papal office will persist until the end of time.
Throughout your argument you keep claiming that by withdrawing obedience from and avoiding an heretical prelate the faithful constructively depose the prelate. But a reference I found states that it is incorrect to characterize the eventual removal of an heretical prelate as “deposition” because by publicly and pertinaciously adhering to heresy the prelate self-deposes himself:
“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.”
This further bolsters my argument that you are incorrect to characterize withdrawal of obedience and avoidance of an heretical prelate as usurping of the Church’s authority to depose the heretical prelate because this authority states that the heretical prelate deposes himself.
This what I said:
“In the Bull, when the faithful have determined that it appears that the Pope has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy they are permitted to withdraw their obedience from him and to avoid him as a heresiarch WITHOUT A FORMAL
DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH.”
This is what you said:
“You say Cum Ex gives you the right to assume a Pope has lost his office for heresy by an act of your own private judgment. Cum Ex does not say this, and neither does any other document ever issued by the Magisterium. Cum Ex simply says the Pope can be contradicted if he deviates from the faith (that is, we don’t follow his deviation).”
So you say there is no support for my statement (reproduced above) in the Bull and that the Bull only states that a Pope may be contradicted.
You are wrong; the Bull fully supports what I stated. Further, the portion I rely upon appears in the legally operative portion of the Bull (the part that spells out the actual law established by the Bull) while the portion you rely upon appears in the preamble. That portion is teaching not law.
The portion of the Bull I rely upon is reproduced here:
“6. In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define:] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, . . . or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:
(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;
* * *
(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.
7. Finally, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity, We] also [enact, determine, define and decree]: that any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories: . . .the laity . . . shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs (the same subject persons, nevertheless, remaining bound by the duty of fidelity and obedience to any future Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals and Roman Pontiff canonically entering).”
Careful comparison of my statement above and the portion of the Bull I just reproduced here shows there is clear support for my position in the Bull.
You also state that nothing like this provision from the Bull appears anywhere else in the magisterium of the Church. That is wrong also. A very similar provision was enacted by Pope Julius II at the Fifth Lateran Council. The provision was enacted as part of a law that automatically deposed a Pope whose elevation to the Papacy occurred through simony. The portion of the relevant document is reproduced here:
“A further consequence is that the person [the Pope elevated through simony] elected in this manner is automatically deprived, without the need of any other declaration, of his cardinal’s rank and of all other honours whatsoever as well as of cathedral churches, even metropolitan and patriarchical ones, monasteries, dignities and all other benefices and pensions of whatever kind which he was then holding by title or in commendam or otherwise; and that the elected person is to be regarded as, and is in fact, not a follower of the apostles but an apostate and, like Simon, a magicianl and a heresiarch, and perpetually debarred from each and all of the above-mentioned things. A simoniacal election of this kind is never at any time to be made valid by a subsequent enthronement or the passage of time, or even by the act of adoration or obedience of all the cardinals. It shall be lawful for . . . all the clergy and the Roman people . . . notwithstanding any submission or oath or pledge given, to withdraw without penalty and at any time from obedience and loyalty to the person so elected even if he has been enthroned (while they themselves, notwithstanding this, remain fully committed to the faith of the Roman church and to obedience towards a future Roman pontiff entering office in accordance with the canons) and to avoid him as a magician, a heathen, a publican and a heresiarch. To discomfort him still further, if he uses the pretext of the election to interfere in the government of the universal church, the cardinals who wish to oppose the aforesaid election can ask for the help of the secular arm against him.
Those who break off obedience to him are not to be subject to any penalties and censures for the said separation, as though they were tearing the Lord’s garment .”
Comparison of the Bull and this document indicate that they are both very similar; the laity are permitted in both to withdraw their obedience and to avoid the heretical or simoniacal Pope without a declaration of the Church.
Next you said this:
“By private judgment deposition, I meant you, by your private judgment, determine that the Pope has lost his office for heresy (he has deposed himself by your own private judgment), before a judgment by the Church.”
As I reproduced in my reply to A Catholic Thinker immediately above, the authority states that it is incorrect to characterize whatever action is taken by the Church against the heretical Pope to remove him from the physical possession of the means of office as “deposition” because by publicly professing/teaching heresy the Pope self-deposes himself. The later action of the Church is not deposition. The recognition of the faithful that the heretical Pope has self-deposed himself is not deposition either; it is merely recognition.
Throughout this discussion you have not stated your position on how you believe an heretical Pope who has self-deposed himself will be removed from possession of the Office. One could conclude from your argumentation that you believe the self-deposition of the heretical Pope by himself is in some way not actual or complete until the Church takes some action or judges him but it is a condemned error that, for example, a personal examination must be made. This was condemned here:
“Pope Pius VI, Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, Condemned proposition: ’47. Likewise, the proposition which teaches that it is necessary, according to the natural and divine laws, for either excommunication or for suspension, that a personal examination should precede, and that, therefore, sentences called ‘ipso facto’ have no other force than that of a serious threat without any actual effect, – false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.’ (Denzinger 1547)”
Thus it would seem that the Church need do very little when an heretical Pope has self-deposed himself other than to convoke a conclave to elect a new Pope and maybe to sic the Swiss guards to effect the removal and ejection of the false claimant from the Vatican grounds.
Next you state this:
“A Sedevacantist does not ‘withdraw obedience’; he publicly holds that the prelate lost his office, and thus formally separates from him. The Catholic, on the other hand, does withdraw obedience from to the extent he deviates from the faith, without, however, declaring that he has lost his office for the deviation, before a public judgment by the Church.”
I’m only arguing for what the Bull permits me to do. Just as an aside, this is not a hypothetical question. This has real consequences. Another law of the Church proscribes excommunication for those who just patronize heretics:
“Pope Innocent III, IV Lateran Council, 1215 A.D.: ‘We decree that those who give credence to the teachings of heretics, as well as those who receive, defend, or patronize them, are excommunicated…'”
If you know that a prelate has professed/taught heresy, but you continue to attend his masses while rejecting his teaching can’t it be said that you are nonetheless still patronizing him by attending his masses? So it would seem to me that we had better pay attention to whether a religious is a heretic or not because we can be excommunicated for patronizing heretics.
Further, the approach you criticized as non-catholic (withholding obedience and separating from the heretic) is exactly what Pope Paul IV permits me to do in his Bull. He says I can withhold my obedience and avoid the heretic with impunity, I’m glad he permits me to separate from the heretic because if I did not I would be excommunicated for patronizing a heretic by the provision from Pope Innocent III at the Lateran Council of 1215.
To make it clear:
Pope Paul IV allows me to withdraw my obedience from and avoid an heretical Pope.
John Salza teaches that I am allowed to commune with an heretical Pope as long as I selectively reject his false teachings and accept his true teachings.
I’ll let the reader guess whose gospel I will follow.
Siscoe mentioned his credential in a previous article. Steve Speray has no training in theology. He mows lawns and delivers pizzas for a living. This is taken from Siscoe’s responses to one of Speray’s articles.
“Now, since Canon Hesse (RIP) is no longer here to defend himself, I think a quick comparison of the credentials of Canon Hesse and Steve Speray should tell us all we need to know. On the one hand, we have Canon Gregory Hesse, a priest of royal descent with a Ph. D from the Pontifical University in Rome in both canon law and Thomistic theology. He spent fifteen years in Rome, was best friends with a Cardinal, and served for two years as the secretary for Cardinal Stickler. Canon Hesse had all the necessary training and credentials to teach on these subjects.
“In the other corner we have we have Steve Speray, a layman with no formal training who mows lawns and delivers pizzas for a living. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly nothing wrong with mowing lawns and delivering pizzas for a living, but wouldn’t you think Steve might consider that, perhaps, a priest with a Ph. D in canon law and Thomistic theology might know just a little more about these weighty and complex issues than himself? Apparently not. But you can rest assured that if Steve ever discovers anything Canon Hesse said that he can “interpret” as supporting his position, suddenly Canon Hesse will be treated as an infallible authority, and anyone who disagrees with him will be treated as one who refuses to face the facts.
“Now, for the sake of accuracy I need to say that I don’t think Steve delivers pizzas any more. I say this because one of the last times I spoke with him he told me that he had read Apocalypse 13, and concluded that the Mark of the Beast (666) is “working for a female boss”. That was Steve’s private interpretation of that verse. And even though no one has ever taught such a thing, nevertheless, based on this private interpretation, and given the fact that Steve had a female boss, he had no choice but to quit his job. I’ll let the reader draw their own conclusion over Steve’s private interpretation and practical application of this verse.” (Taken from “Robert Siscoe answers Novusordowatch and Steve Speray”).
Let’s go through this top-to-bottom.
Yes indeed popes can fall into error. All here believe that. That has nothing to do with the Traditionalist vs. sedevacantist debate (and you’re the one who initiated the aspect of that debate you’re involved in here).
Next paragraph: I did not actually “read into” anything except to the extent necessary to attempt to decipher your current position. I did point out that you took umbrage with the discussion around Cum Ex Apostolatus when it was you who brought it up, apparently to support sedevacantism (given that you used it as ammunition against the authors of the book in question that debunks sedevacantism).
Here’s your big blunder (by which I mean no offense): “In the Bull, when the faithful have determined that it appears that the Pope has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy they are permitted to withdraw their obedience from him and to avoid him as a heresiarch WITHOUT A FORMAL DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH.” But, the bull doesn’t say that *at all* – read it carefully. It says that no *FURTHER* declaration is necessary to conclude invalid the elevation of a prelate,* after [implied] his having been determined a heretic*.
The bull *does not speak* to the question of how said determination is made – but the theologians do. And every one of them says that this must be a declaration by the Church, not by Joe Sixpack.
The above two paragraphs are very important. To reiterate: 1) Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio does not state that no “formal declaration of the Church” is necessary for an individual to decide to “avoid” a prelate. It does, however, imply – with the use of the word “further” – that the Church has, indeed, made a formal declaration of obstinate heresy at some point. 2) ALL of the theologians concerned with this question agree that it is the Church that decides formal heresy, which means that it is the Church that makes the necessary declaration, in the public sphere, for a prelate to be severed from the Body and thus lose his office.
You based your initial objection to Mr. Salza on this same error – that CEAO says that the faithful may depose (“avoid”) a prelate “WITHOUT A FORMAL DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH” (your words, your caps) when it doesn’t say that, literally, at all, and implies something entirely different. Have you read the bull, recently, or only read sede polemicists’ interpretation of it?
“Avoiding” a prelate is akin to declaring them deposed, but the bull in question does *not* grant the faithful the ability to do this on their own. As Cajetan and John of St. Thomas explained – as all the theologians who have weighed on this topic have concluded – a judgment by the Church is necessary for the faithful to avoid a prelate in the ecclesiastic sense. (And so, by consequence, Archbishop Lefebvre always met with the reigning pontiff as requested, as would any loyal son of the Church, which the Society has continued.)
The fact that you didn’t understand what I was referring to with “…material vs. formal heresy and the Body vs. the Soul of the Church…” demonstrates, I think, that you should spend some time reading what anti-sedevacantist interlocutors have to say. You should order the book under discussion or at least read the articles from Siscoe and Salza on the topic – that is, unless you’re already no longer a sedevacantist, in which case I think we all missed your declaration of change of affiliation.
I guess you misunderstood what I was saying with the paragraph that began with “Further…”. I thought it rather obvious: I wasn’t stating that sedevacantists believe Church offices don’t exist *at all*, but, rather, that they, in effect, depose by declaring prelates to whom the visible Church has granted said office to not actually hold it. Isn’t this about the most obvious thing in the world concerning sedevacantism? I was just pointing out what sedevacantism *is* – individuals declaring that men validly elected to the office of supreme pontiff are not really popes, according to what individuals ascertain.
Your mention of a “provision enacted by Pope Julius II at the Fifth Lateran Council” (sans reference) in your response to JS is also meaningless here as without any doubt the charge of simony involved was made by the Church, not Some Guy Wandering Through Town – again, note that the qualification is “any OTHER declaration”, implying some previous judgment of the Church. See how dangerous it is for laymen to become theologians with the ability to bind & loose? (I’m only shooting for the first half.)
Next, you said (to John), “…it is incorrect to characterize whatever action is taken by the Church against the heretical Pope to remove him from the physical possession of the means of office as “deposition” because by publicly professing/teaching heresy the Pope self-deposes himself.” This statement demonstrates that you’re completely missing the point. You have not even considered the counter-sede arguments. We know you haven’t read the book, but have you read any of the articles that Mr. Siscoe (for example) has published in the past couple years? We’re back to what I alluded to previously regarding Body & Soul: While the pope *may* depose himself in the private forum by the sin of heresy (that is, obstinate/formal, which only God can determine), the popes, the theologians, everybody says that the pontiff loses his office (an aspect of the public forum; the Body) only by an act of the Church. (Where the theologians differ is in the minor point of whether or not the declaration of the Church actually accomplishes the removal or only makes it public, but for the faithful this is immaterial.)
Cause, if it weren’t that way, we’d have the anarchy of every individual Catholic having (or getting) to decide which bishop is REALLY a bishop and which pope is REALLY pope. And that’d be crazy. As a matter of fact, it’d be exactly the craziness, with all the inherent spiritual faults and repercussions, that we see in the sedevacantist community.
At least read what your opponents are saying before making them your opponents.
I’m going to stop now regarding your specific objections because every one of them demonstrates the same lack of knowledge of the refutation of sedevacantism that you’re arguing against here. This isn’t hyperbole: It’s completely evident that you don’t just disagree with these arguments, you aren’t aware of them or don’t understand them.
At this point I honestly can’t tell if you’re playing word games or sincerely searching & questioning. I have no love affair with personal pissing matches and would rather spend time doing more productive things.
P.S. The article on the sedevacantist site you linked fails to make the same critical distinctions you do.
P.P.S. It is worth noting that in the aforementioned Suscipe Domine thread, Fr. Cekada, one of the world’s foremost sedevacantist leaders, offers an argument against the Fourth Council of Constantinople’s ban on private deposition of prelates that reduces immediately to this: “The authoritative Church teaching that says I can’t depose a pope doesn’t apply because the popes I want to depose are not popes because I have deposed them.” Most circular arguments meander a bit before coming around to their starting point, but not this one. Yes, this is serious, and it is a superb demonstration of how lost the “best” sedes are when confronted with what the Church really teaches. I pray that one day Fr. Cekada will renounce his errors and become a better advocate of the true faith. He has a keen intellect if only he would use it.
P.P.P.S. It’s not possible to reply to your post directly, as “maximum indentation level” has been reached – please do not assume this indicates that I’m attempting to make the conversation difficult to follow.
The gift of indefectibility plainly does not guarantee each several part of the Church against heresy or apostasy. The promise is made to the corporate body. That body consists of the Church here on earth, the suffering Church in Purgatory, and the Church in Heaven. I was attempting to relieve some anxiety here that the Church on earth is in such a troubled state.
Peace and Blessings
Michael F Poulin
Father’s argument there reduces very readily to: “The authoritative Church teaching that says I can’t declare a pope deposed doesn’t apply to me, because the popes I want to depose are not popes because I have deposed them.”
It’s really that simple. Indeed, this speaks volumes, as he’s no slouch in these matters.
Gregory of Nyssa (d. 394) quotes a prayer from Macrina addressing the Lord:
You crushed the heads of the serpent who seized us with his jaws in the
abyss of disobedience. Breaking down the gates of hell [hadon] and overcoming
the one who had the empire of death, You opened up for us a path to the
resurrection. Gregory – The Life of St. Macrina
“What marvelous and unexpected things Christ did! He loosed the soul from the bonds of death. He burst open the portals of Hades.”
Chrysostom – On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, Homily 9.22 .
To a 1st century Jew such as Jesus and His Apostles “gates of hell” meant death: “For you have power over life and death; you lead mortals down to the gates of Hades and back again” (Wisdom16:13).
In discussing death St Ambrose asks:
Or is this not the land of the dead, where there is the shadow of death, the
gate of death, the body of death? Therefore it is granted to Peter that “the
gates of hell [inferi] shall not prevail against him.” The gates of hell are
these earthly gates, on which account the psalmist also says: “You raise me
up from the gates of death” [Ps 9:(14)13]
Ambrose, Death as a Good 12.56
Have a nice Christmas everyone !!
Michael F Poulin
@ACT: Your first two paragraphs again are in the nature of badgering me instead of immediately joining the argument. Apparently you are hoping that people reading will adopt the same attitude towards me and stop reading before they get to your rebuttal of my arguments. Further, why do you use asterisks to denote quotations instead of quotation marks? That can’t be a little passive-aggressive dig at me, suggesting that I am an a**, can it?
Before I go further, I will note the arguments you have not responded to.
First, you have been adopting Salza’s argument regarding the operation of the canon from Constantinople IV condemning as schismatic the unlawful arrogation of legitimate Church authority to investigate, punish and depose prelates suspected of crimes. I suggested that Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio partially preempted that canon in cases involving heretical prelates. After Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, the faithful could no longer be accused of schism for withdrawing their obedience from / avoiding an apparently heretical prelate. If they went beyond those two actions, I suggested that their further actions would likely be viewed as schismatic and implicate the canon. You did not rebut this argument.
Second, I cited as controlling authority the law instituted by Innocent III that apparently excommunicates those who patronize heretics without necessarily adopting their views. John Salza and the R & R crowd ignore this law and claim the faithful can commune with prelates that they suspect of heresy with impunity. Note this law provides justification for the faithful not to read the name of the apparently hererical Pope at the una cum portion of the Mass. You did not respond to this argument.
Third, I cited as controlling authority the condemned proposition that Pius VI instituted after the robber council of Pistioa that condemned the notion that ipso facto sentences of excommunication are really in the nature of threats, and not final judgments of the Church that those lawfully governing the Church must act on and implement. This means that legitimate Church authority errs when they ignore and nullify an ipso facto excommunication by not taking the appropriate actions called for, i.e., removing the ipso facto deposed prelate from office and replacing him. Note the charism of infallibility is promised to the Pope in certain limited circumstances and not to Cardinals. Hence when there is effectively a dispute between a group of the faithful and the Cardinals about whether a Pope is an heretic and has been ipso-facto deposed there is no reason we should adopt the Cardinal’s inaction as proof that the Pope has not been ipso-facto deposed because the Cardinals have not been guaranteed infallibility in this situation – the lay faithful could certainly be right and the Cardinals wrong.
Now, to get to the rebuttals you actually presented. You suggested that I committed a grave blunder by eliding “further” from my paraphrase of paragraphs VI and VII of the Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio. I should have included the word “further” but that does not change the outcome. You argue that the word “further” must naturally refer to a previous ecclesiastical sentence or declaration of the Church – that is, paragraph VI only becomes operative when there is such a judgment or declaration on record so to speak.
My first rebuttal to this argument is that if Paul IV had meant to limit provision VI in this manner instead of phrasing the provision in the general language of “when it becomes apparent that the . . . pope has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy” he would have said “when a prelate of the Church who has previously been convicted of heresy or apostasy is elevated to the papacy”. Pope Paul IV wrote this Bull with great precision. In earlier sections of the Bull dealing with excommunication, Pope IV specified those earlier provisions become operative when a prelate is detected of heresy, confesses to heresy or is convicted of heresy. Pope Paul IV knew how to limit a provision to situations involving convictions by saying so in those precise words. The fact that he did not do so later in paragraph VI means that he did not intend to limit the scope of that provision to situations where the prelate has a prior sentence of excommunication.
My second rebuttal involves a discussion of how the understanding of automatic deposition has developed in the centuries following the promulgation of Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio. You argue that by eliding “further” from my paraphrase I am implying erroneously that ipso facto deposition occurs without ANY declaration of the Church when Pope Paul IV implies there MUST be a declaration somewhere when he uses the word “further”. But that is not how the canonists have understood this situation. For example Coronata, a renowned canonist of the 20th century had this to say:
Matthaeus Conte a Coronata: “2. Loss of office of the Roman Pontiff. This can occur in various ways: […] c) Notorious heresy. Certain authors deny the supposition that the Roman Pontiff can become a heretic. 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 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 Iuris Canonici. Rome: Marietti 1950. I:3I2, 3I6)
Note that Coronata indicates that automatic deposition for heresy of a Pope occurs by divine law “without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one.” So according to Coronata my elision of “further” is inconsequential because “without ANY sentence, without EVEN a declaratory one” (emphasis added) is the standard. Just to be precise a declaratory sentence in this case (if it were necessary- but it isn’t) would merely be a confirmation that the Pope, in fact, has been deposed. Coronata denies that even such a mere confirmation is necessary. Why is this? Because the Pope loses authority AS SOON AS HE MANIFESTS PERTINACIOUS HERESY. By arguing that not even a declaratory sentence is required Coronata and other canonists cut off arguments like you and Salza make by implication – that the Pope retains his authority until some sentence of the Church is rendered.
One might expect you to argue that this is just a lonely canonist who feels that way – but an Archbishop of the Church confirmed this understanding as well. This is reproduced from Steve Speray’s blog:
“The topic of a pope becoming a heretic was addressed at the First Vatican Council by Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, Ohio: ‘The question was also raised by a Cardinal, “What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?” It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.
If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, “I believe in Christ,” etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.” (The New Princeton Review, Volume 42 p. 648, also The Life and Life-work of Pope Leo XIII. By James Joseph McGovern p. 241)”
I have previously provided a citation to authority that indicates that to refer to the eventual removal of the Pope as “deposition” is technically incorrect because as the Archbishop indicates it is the Almighty himself and the heretical Pope that are doing the deposing. The later actions by the Church, even if they are declaratory in nature, do not refer to the deposition itself because from the perspective of the heretical Pope, the heretical Pope self-declares himself to be outside the Church and self-deposes himself for publicly professing heresy because he knows the Church established by Our Lord requires that he at all times profess the faith of the Church to remain a member.
So now we understand what Pope Paul IV meant by “further”. The Church ADOPTS the heretical profession of faith of the Pope as a legally operative declaration of the Church – the Pope, by his heretical profession of faith self-declares himself to be outside the Church and self-deposes himself from office – the Church takes him at his word, treats his self-declaration as an authoratative and binding confession, and any further action by the Church is merely ministerial in nature to fill an office that has been vacated by the tacit resignation of the Pope.
Now one might argue that this is only an archbishop, that no Popes have adopted such a position, but that would be wrong as well. Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi said this about the sin of heresy: “For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.” The sin of heresy itself is enough to cut a man off from the Church. Pope Leo XIII said this in Satis Cognitum about who can command in the Church: “No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church.”
Next you argue that no sane purpose would advocate the position I take that allows the lay faithful to withdraw their obedience from and avoid heretical prelates. It apparently offends your SUBJECTIVE UNDERSTANDING of how the Church should operate, but is your subjective understanding / emotional response controlling authority, especially when it is couched in merely a knee-jerk reaction devoid of any reliance on Church teaching? No, it isn’t controlling authority. Its laughable that you even presented such an argument and expect people to take you seriously.
Next you argue that the situation would devolve into the spectacle of the lay faithful (who you derisively lable joe sixpack – obviously you don’t consider yourself to be a joe sixpack type) introducing chaos into the Church. By implication you argue that the hierarchy of the Church has always been a reliable guide in times of confusion and that the lay faithful have not had a role to play in rejection of heresy. Both assumptions are not supported by either the Church, or by the history of the Church. For example, Pope Leo XIII quoted St. Augustine in Satis Cognitum approvingly when he gave the people (joe six-pack in your words) the first place in the rejection of heresy:
“’When we see the great help of God, such manifest progress and such abundant fruit, shall we hesitate to take refuge in the bosom of that Church, which, as is evident to all, possesses the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession? In vain do heretics rage round it; they are condemned partly by the judgment of the people themselves, partly by the weight of councils, partly by the splendid evidence of miracles. To refuse to the Church the primacy is most impious and above measure arrogant. And if all learning, no matter how easy and common it may be, in order to be fully understood requires a teacher and master, what can be greater evidence of pride and rashness than to be unwilling to learn about the books of the divine mysteries from the proper interpreter, and to wish to condemn them unknown?’”
Note that neither Pope Leo XIII nor St. Augustine mentioned that the hierarchy of the Church itself has had a leading role in rejection of heresy when acting outside of a council, for the history of the Church indicates that the hierarchy of the Church has often been very unreliable. Were the bishops of the Church during the Arian heresy reliable when upwards of 80% of the bishops were likely Arians? Was the hierarchy of the English church reliable when Henry VIII set up his own Church? Who first denounced Nestorius during the Nestorian heresy, the Church or a lay person? Who brought the Church the chaos of the Great Western schism, when the hierarchy subjected the faithful to the scandal of three persons claiming the papacy simultaneously?
Thus your appeals to emotion (the Church could not possibly operate in the manner I suggested), prejudice (you describing your fellow faithful as joe sixpack types) or history are both individually and as a whole unconvincing.
Next, you belittled my citation to the Lateran V council involving a simoniacal papal election, suggesting that it may not exist or I likely misrepresened it because I did not provide a citation. Thus you ignored the fact that John Salza denied in error that such laws could be found in the magisterium of the Church, either in the Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio or elsewhere. I paraphrased the law of Cum Ex, he denied that anything like my paraphrase appeared anywhere in the Bull or the remaining magisterium of the Church, and I showed him and you exactly where the support in the Bull is and elsewhere in the magisterium of the Church is and you pass over his error without comment and impugn my integrity. The fact of this error calls into question the reliability of his scholarship.
Here is the citation:
Regarding your analysis of the constitution you argue that obviously there must be some declaration or legal proceeding of the Church that is necessary before the election is nullified. In the constitution it only takes the confession of a Cardinal involved in the conspiracy of the election to invalidate it, and no further declaration is necessary. Nonetheless I admit the Church would have to announce this before any member of the faithful could act on it by withdrawing their avoidance from and avoiding the simoniacal papal pretender.
But what happens if the faithful themselves are witnesses to the simony or are made aware of it in some manner such that they believe there is a high probability that it actually occurred, all this happening without any formal declaration of the Church? For example, the Cardinals are all in on the simony and thus cannot be expected to denounce the election for the fraud it is. What happens if the faithful, acting on their actual knowledge of the simony or their reasonable suspicion that simony actually occurred withdraw their obedience from and avoid the simoniacal pope without a formal declaration from the Church, can they be accused of schism for their behavior?
Two canonists considered this precise situation and concluded that they could not:
“Finally, one cannot consider as schismatics those who refuse to obey the Roman Pontiff because they would hold his person suspect or, because of widespread rumours, doubtfully elected (as happened after the election of Urban VI) or who would resist him as a civil authority and not as pastor of the Church.” (Wernz-Vidal, Ius Canonicum, Rome, Gregorian, 1937, 7:398.)
and, “Neither is someone a schismatic for denying his subjection to the Pontiff on the grounds that he has solidly founded [‘probabiliter’] doubts concerning the legitimacy of his election or his power…” (de Lugo, Disp., De Virt. Fid. Div., disp xxv, sect iii, nn. 35-8)
Applying this approach to the situation of an heretical Pope, if the faithful have rightly applied the teaching of the Church regarding what heresy is, how it need be manifested publicly, how the heresy must be pertinacious, etc. they can scarcely be accused of schism for withdrawing their obedience from and avoiding the heretical Pope. Thus John Salza’s whole thesis is wrong: well-formed Catholics who conclude through the proper application of Church doctrine that it is highly like is that the Pope is a heretic cannot be accused of schism, never mind as belonging to a heretical sect he derisively calls the sedevacantist sect when they withdraw their obedience from and avoid the heretical pope. His teaching is erroneous and harmful. Why is it harmful? Because he counsels the faithful to remain in communion with such a Pope, when they can be excommunicated for that behavior.
Hi, Cyprian. Guess what – you get the last word. I’m done. As of the last reply, I spent some time wondering if you were honestly confused, but I’m no longer able to believe that. While it’s still possible you really are honestly confused (I can’t know your heart), it seems that you are not interested in understanding the critical distinctions you gloss over. Those distinctions hold the key to all your objections.
Now, some people – those who argue to win, mainly – tend to believe that having the last word means “victory”. People in the earnest search for truth tend to know better. Upon browsing your post, I’m content to let the record stand where it was.
But, you really should order this book. I would be willing to believe you might be able to get a copy pro bono.
The R&R crowd would probably recogize Satan himself if he someone occupied the papacy. On the other hand, Bergolio cant do any worse than the devil would. The resisters must have some deep psycological issues going on by having to recognize an apostate!
Right, you are, TWN. Why can you see the elephant in the front room, and all these geniuses think the Modernist imposters are true popes? They can’t be that stupid/ignorant of the Catholic Faith; though Mrs. Martinez back in 1998 wrote that once all the old folks are gone, the Catholic Faith will be unknown. I gotta ask, don’t you young people know how to read?? It’s all there, in the old books. Pope John XXIII was a Freemason, a Voltairian, and a heretic. Now, let me help: before the Vatican II Council, that mattered. A lot. Vatican II is nothing. You kids think it’s the new Sacred Scripture. Because it was total “Modernism”, it is total junk, null and void. I can hardly believe the idiotic comments on the internet. Sedevacantism is true, and the proofs are right there, staring you in the face. Wake up!
Yes Alphonsus Jr. goofy. By the way, Mr. Salza is a “repented ” Mason, and now he’s helping Catholics find their way. Right! It comes as no surprise that Salza is intelligent and articulate. Upper level Freemasons are like that. Is Siscoe a Lodge man? Ask him. If he says, “Yes” he may be subject to automatic execution. That’s the rule, as far as I know about the Secret Societies. I have trouble believing that any so-called Catholic could sincerely reject sedevacantism. But there you are, stumbling around in fairy tales.