First, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to Robert Siscoe for his very well written and extensively referenced article. He’s given all of us much to consider.
In the article, Robert proposed a syllogism. The presumption on which it is based needs clarification in that it may (even if only inadvertently) lead readers to believe that “the Church” and/or “proper authorities” actually have the right to “judge [the pope] a formal heretic.”
In reality, only the pope can so judge himself.
Before we continue, it is extremely important to define “private judgment” as stated in Robert’s article.
NB: We are not discussing it in the Sedevacantist sense wherein one may presume to have the personal authority to act as judge and jury; finding a pope (or popes) guilty of formal heresy and thus no pope at all. Rather, “private judgment” in the present context is nothing more than discerning objective realities through the lens of our Holy Catholic faith; something all of us must do in order to remain faithful.
With this understanding in mind, it is indeed my opinion (or “private judgment” if you prefer) that Francis has judged himself a formal heretic; the implications of this self-judgment being plain. In addressing my opinion, Robert has kindly provided us with what amounts to his own private judgment.
Like Robert, I do not claim to have a definitive answer; much less do I propose to have the authority to enforce my observations. (More on enforcement momentarily.)
One of the links Robert provided goes to a web page where he addresses “how or when a heretical Pope loses his office.” There, he set the tone for our efforts here very well:
The Church has never taught how or when Christ would sever the bond uniting the man to the office. All we have are theologian opinions, which vary greatly … The various opinions of the theologians and canonists regarding this issue fall into the category of speculative theology, or “questions of law”. Only the Magisterium has the authority to settle such questions, and it has never done so. 
Consider very carefully what Robert stated: All we have are theologian opinions, which vary greatly.
So, faced with Francis – a man that all well-formed Catholics recognize as causing tremendous unprecedented damage and division in the Church – what are we to do?
It is my sincere belief that Our Lord wills that we should use reason, logic and intelligence – applied with sensus Catholicus – to discern the objective reality of the present situation as best we are able. This, in fact, seems rather necessary if we wish to preserve our faith amid today’s unprecedented ecclesial tempest.
The footnote that Robert provided (above) seems to concur. It reads:
No canonical provisions exist regulating the authority of the College of Cardinals sede Romana impedita, ie., in case the pope became insane, or personally a heretic; in such cases it would be necessary to consult the dictates of right reason and the teachings of history. (Original Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol III, p. 339)
With Francis, we find ourselves in uncharted territory. What “the teachings of history” and the insights of theologians past actually do provide must be carefully evaluated in the light of present day circumstances.
As Robert and I go about sharing our opinions with you, our readers, you will discover that some of the available theological opinions make logical sense; while others seem downright incompatible with the dictates of right reason alone (to borrow a phrase from the Catholic Encyclopedia).
In his article, Robert provided an excellent example of the latter when he quoted John of St. Thomas (JST) as follows:
“It cannot be held that the pope, by the very fact of being a heretic, would cease to be pope antecedently [prior] to a declaration of the Church.”
For the record, JST firmly rejected the notion that the Church has any authority over a pope. So, if we understand, as we must, “heretic” to mean a pope who has judged himself a formal heretic, the above statement is seriously problematic.
A formal heretic is cut from the body of the Church and no longer among its members. In order for a man to be pope (head of the body), however, he must be a member of the body. On this all agree.
And yet, JST is suggesting that an undefined period of time can pass (as the “declaration of the Church” is awaited) when such a man can at once be a formal heretic in “very fact” (a man cut from the body of the Church) and the pope (head of the body).
Clearly, this is an offense against right reason since a thing cannot be and not be at one and the same time. No amount of explanation can possibly overcome such an obvious contradiction. Keep this well in mind as we proceed as the “law of non-contradiction” is going to factor heavily in this discussion.
Citing “A New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law” by Beal, Coriden, and Green, Robert suggested that a remedy to the contradiction may be found in Canon 194 which reads:
Can. 194 §1. The following are removed from an ecclesiastical office by the law itself:
1º a person who has lost the clerical state;
2º a person who has publicly defected from the Catholic faith or from the communion of the Church;
3º a cleric who has attempted marriage even if only civilly.
§2. The removal mentioned in nn. 2 and 3 can be enforced only if it is established by the declaration of a competent authority.
The Commentary claims (and Robert apparently agrees):
“The officeholder remains in office, and the actions which require the office are valid, until the declaration or removal is communicated to the officeholder in writing.”
Once again, we are presented with a glaring offense against right reason; either officeholders are removed (as Canon 194 plainly states) or officeholders remain in office until (as the Commentary claims). It cannot be both.
The Canon itself makes no distinction whatsoever between the loss of office/removal therefrom and its “effectiveness” – a word found only in the Commentary; i.e., nowhere in the text of the Canon.
Beal, Coriden, and Green (and Robert) would have us believe that violating officeholders are removed by a written declaration.
Canon 194, however, states nothing of the kind; it is very plain: “The following are removed … by the law itself.”
The Commentary errs in presuming to equate enforcement (addressed in Canon 194 §2) with “effectiveness” (introduced in the Commentary), but they are not one and the same.
The Canon simply says that the law “can be enforced” (NB: can be, not must be) only on condition of an authoritative “declaration,” but only after having made clear that the effect (“are removed”; i.e., are rendered removed) has already been accomplished (“by the law itself”).
Perhaps an analogy from civil law will prove helpful.
ANALOGY: A man lawfully executes the sale of his home. By his own action, the seller’s loss of ownership is immediately effective. The lawful owner (proper authorities) can henceforth “enforce” the seller’s loss of ownership (already made effective) but only on the basis of an authoritative declaration establishing the loss (e.g., a deed duly executed). Clearly, “enforcement” and “effectiveness” are rather distinct.
Thus, Canon 194 in no way remedies JST’s violation of the “law of non-contradiction.” In fact, the Canon tends to favor my opinion; not challenge it.
In the interest of space, some bullet point comments on other portions of Robert’s article:
– Asserting that a formal heretic would remain Pope “as long as the Church continues to recognize the man as Pope,” also represents an offense against right reason as explained above.
– Arguments concerning ordinary bishops are not entirely relevant as they are under the authority of the Church unlike the Bishop of Rome who is entirely unique. Such arguments must be scrutinized with caution.
– The Bull of Martin V as cited is addressing the degree to which “one will be obliged” (i.e., juridically bound) to “avoid communion” with a manifest heretic. This is not directly applicable to the matters under discussion here, at least, at the present stage.
– Billuart as cited is addressing the specific matter of sacramental validity; arguing, “the Church is granting permission to the faithful to receive the sacraments from heretics” (as opposed to obliging them to avoid the heretic). Again, this is not directly applicable to the matter at hand.
– The premise stated: “If it were the responsibility of each Catholic in the street to determine for himself if the Pope is a formal heretic…” does not accurately reflect my position; namely, that a private person can discern the objective reality of a pope who has judged himself a formal heretic apart from a declaration of the Church.
– As for the possibility that “Mr. X” and “Mr. Y” may end up with opposing ideas, I would urge our readers to prepare for the very real possibility that Cardinal X may declare that Francis is an antipope, while Cardinal Y may insist that he is the pope.
If and when this happens, do you know what we will be left with?
You guessed it – we will have no choice but to use right reason, logic and intelligence applied with sensus Catholicus in order to discern the objective reality with which we are faced.
At this, in defense of the Minor Premise that Robert proposed I will provide answers to the following questions:
– Has Francis judged himself a formal heretic?
– How might one know if he has or he hasn’t?
– Is it for the “proper authorities” alone to discern whether or not Francis has judged himself a formal heretic, or can a private person do so?
For insight, we will turn to the 18th century theologian Fr. Pietro Ballerini as quoted on Robert’s website. In so doing, we will find that Ballerini’s treatment not only supports my position; it is also entirely harmonious with right reason.
But alas, in an effort to keep these articles manageable in length, I must save this exercise for my next contribution to “Point / Counterpoint.”
Click here for Point / Counterpoint 2: Robert Siscoe
The problem as I see it is this: it appears we will have to wait until a majority of Catholics judge privately that ‘something must be done about this Francis because he makes, and promulgates, heretical statements and thus excommunicated himself.’
Then/at the same time, we will have to wait until a majority of Bishops/Cardinals judge privately that ‘something must be done about this Francis because he makes, and promulgates, heretical statements and thus excommunicates himself.’
THEN we wait for a majority of Bishops/Cardinals come out in PUBLIC, in a FORMAL way and tell Francis they are on to him, and request a retraction. If he tells them to take a hike there is nothing, sort of wrestling him out the door, that they can do until he dies – when his heretical teachings can be condemned and overturned. If he retracts all is well and we thank God for a reprieve. (I suppose Bishops/Cardinals could forcibly remove Francis from Office – but unless all Bishops/Cardinals/Priests/Faithful agree we will have schism.)
Until these two things occur in my opinion all this discussion is useless. The discussion that needs to be held is between Catholics, and between Bishops/Cardinals. With the end that all are taught the truth, in direct opposition to what Francis teaches. Then no matter what he says or does until he dies souls will be saved in spite of him.
I guess we also need to ask what is the “end” of the argument from both sides? What result do we want to see? What result can we expect? Who are we trying to convince? If everyone on the planet judges Francis to he a heretic, what happens next? If Bishops/Cardinals don’t see what we see, what happens then?
It’s one thing to go back and forth with this, but we have to look at what we want from it, and what the reality of the situation truly is.
The latest edition of The Remnant has an excellent and informative piece on this very issue…I commend you to read it.
Rorate Caeili has a new post by Dr. John Lamont that will be of interest to this discussion. He says Bergoglio must be warned twice by the Cardinals before he will be considered a formal heretic. Only after that will he lose his office. He says not responding to the Dubia isn’t enough for the pope to be considered a formal heretic. He also says the Cardinals will commit a mortal sin of omission if they fail to warn him. What a time to be alive!
Does anyone know the canons in Canon Law that mandate warnings before one becomes a manifest or formal heretic? Pre and post VII canons would be nice to have in order to compare them.
The reason I ask is because it is my understanding that warnings are only needed to draw out the obstinacy of a secret or occult heretic and not necessary for an already manifest heretic where pertinacity is proven in other ways.
Does sedevacantism (necessarily) entail that priests ordained in the New Rite are not real priests, since Paul VI was an antipope if sedevacantism is true?
I need to know since I have been going to an indult TLM. But in fear, I avoided the indult Mass on Sunday and went to sedevacantist chapel instead.
Not all sedevacantists believe that. That question too raises lots of controversy. This issue illustrates perfectly the damage done by Paul 6. No one had any doubt about validity prior to the new rites. Now, all is in doubt.
Personally, I would not fear an indult TLM. Yet there are those who do because of the validity issue. All this confusion because of Paul 6.
I don’t think so. The Church has recognized the validity of ordinations in some heretical sects. It just depends on whether the ordination rites have changed substantially. Most Sedes do believe the new rites have changed substantially but I have not been convinced of their arguments. As far as jurisdiction goes for absolution, the same state of necessity argument the SSPX uses can apply to the Sedes.
If someone is an antipope, that means they can’t do anything, right? So a new rite of ordination/consecration would have zero validity, right? Hence, my question.
“The Church has recognized the validity of ordinations in some heretical sects.” Which ones?
In modern times, the Orthodox Sects. However, they lack ordinary jurisdiction. I am sure the Arians also in the past. I don’t have the quote from Bellarmine handy at this moment but he makes mention of it. I will post it later tonight.
Also, the Anglican rite was rejected as being invalid because of it changing substantially, not because it changed.
Re:Michael65: Quote: ”  If someone is an antipope, that means they can’t do anything, right?  So a new rite… would have zero validity, right? ”
1 – No, due to a little thing called Supplied Jurisdiction, by which the Church gives jurisdiction to people without it who appear to have it, but really don’t. Look it up.
2 – Ditto + it would depend on valid minister, matter and form, which the new rite has, presumably.
@sedevacantists: do your research better.
You begin by asserting that Siscoe was using nothing but “his own private judgement,” but that’s not the case at all: He provided extensive references from not only the Church’s best theologians, but canon law and a binding conciliar anathema as well. In fact, there is absolutely no real source in the history of the Church that has ever suggested that the reality of ecclesiastical office, which is a public matter (of the Body), could be subject to anything other than the judgement of the Church.
(4th Constantinople: Let him be anathema who formally separates from a bishop without judgement by the Church.)
This territory is not actually uncharted – it’s identical, in form, to the case of Pope John XXII’s teaching heresy publicly, for example. Of course, there was a huge difference in weight & effect since that pontiff’s error was trifling compared to what the current pontiff *seems* to be suggesting. (And that’s still all we can say with certainty, since he has not publicly, directly confirmed any specific position that is a direct denial of a de fide teaching.) But, in form, the cases are the same: A supreme pontiff publicly teaching error. Actually, John XXII was *worse*: unlike Pope Francis, he publicly held to a specific position. Francis still refuses to do that. (Did you notice that he refused to respond to the questions of the dubia?)
Calling John of St. Thomas’ teaching “illogical” to me belies a lack of understanding of the nature of ecclesiastical office and, in a more extended sense, of the critical distinction between the Body and the Soul of the Church. In your explication of his teaching, you implicitly misquoted him: He said “heretic” but you said “formal heretic” in your response. That is a critical matter.
“While it is true that some modern theologians have taught that the loss of office would occur prior to the declaratory sentence, **it would not take place as long as the Church continues to recognize the man as Pope**.” You ignored that. Yet, the dogmatic fact argument is unassailable. If we could not rely on the fact that public acceptance of a pope by a moral unanimity of the Church was an infallible sign of the office, *nothing in the Church would be certain*.
Not even the brave cardinals opposing him with all their might have any doubt that the pope is the pope.
You state, “Robert suggested that a remedy to the contradiction…” yet Siscoe referenced no “contradiction” – only you did. There’s no contradiction at all in what the Church has always taught regarding how ecclesiastical office is regulated: The Church does it, and that’s that. Yes, that of the Bishop of Rome – the Supreme Pontiff – is a special case in that his See is prime and he has no personal judge on Earth, but by no means is this a justification for Catholics to ignore everything the Church teaches about ecclesiastical office in general. (If anything, this means it is *more difficult* to unseat a pope, not less difficult.)
Despite the impossible mess of contradiction you see in the Church’s wisdom, and your insistence that this situation is “unprecedented,” we have things like this (in addition to the example of John XXII):
“This law of the Church is confirmed by many historical examples, such as the case of the 19th Century Archbishop of Paris, George Darboy, who publicly professed heresy and then refused to recant even after being warned by Pius IX. Yet, in spite of this, since he had not been declared a heretic by the Church, the Archbishop retained his office and was even invited by Pius IX to take part in Vatican I. No one at the time, including the Pope, thought that his publicly heretical statement and evidence of pertinacity resulted in his loss of office.”
Going back to dogmatic fact, consider this: The election of Pius V was invalid: Let’s say there was a conspiracy in his favor. Thus, he was never pope, despite what the Church new. Thus, his ratification of Trent is null, and thus the dogma Trent defined are actually not infallible truth – what now? The Church has answered that: The Church accepting a man as pope is a *dogmatic fact*; it *in itself* is infallible assurance that he IS pope.
There is no theologian that has ever contradicted that teaching.
And, an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church anathematized any who would dare to declare a prelate opposed on their own authority.
Dogmatic fact is unassailable for any Catholic who hasn’t lost his wits, or just hates the pope so much he has to believe he’s not really the pope. As of now, the pope is the pope; that’s a fact (no pun intended).
Pope John XXII held a theological position on the last judgment that was at odds with contemporary theologians. At the time the Church had yet to make a declarative judgment on the issue and therefore it was not heretical to hold that position. Pope John XXII did not formally teach this opinion nor promulgate it. He recanted the position before he died and it was not till later that the Church formally taught on the matter. There is no comparison in the case of Francis and Pope John XXII.
Re: Michael@OLoFatima –
Would the Church give jurisdiction to a non-Catholic antipope?
St. Bellarmine- De Controversiis On the Roman Pontiff, Vol. II: Books 3-5
I speak now to the second point. Innocent speaks in that place about those who were baptized or ordained by heretics, when they were polluted by the same heresy. Those of this sort receive the Sacrament of baptism, or of ordination, but they do not receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be present in heretics. And in Ordination, not only do those ordained by heretics not receive grace, but they do not have the right exercise Orders. The ordaining Bishop loses that right through heresy, nor can he give what he does not have.
Who does not know that Catholics that are baptized by heretics are truly baptized, and likewise those who are ordained by them are truly ordained, even when the ordaining Bishop was a heretic and remained so, at least in regard to the [sacramental] character?
Does Cum Ex Apostolatus make John of St. Thomas’ position to be untenable today?
“…in my opinion all this discussion is useless.”
I think that’s the best contribution made to this discussion!
Whether Pope Francis is a formal heretic or only a material one, is, irrelevant for practical purposes… at least to the layman or simple cleric. We don’t have to wait for a formal declaration from anyone. 90% of what comes out of his mouth contradicts Church teaching therefore the course for us is clear: “Though an angel from heaven were to preach a gospel different to that which you have received, let him be anathema”. Until he recants and corrects his errors, he is a danger to our faith and is to be kept out of harms way.
“This law of the Church is confirmed by many historical examples, such as the case of the 19th Century Archbishop of Paris, … No one at the time, including the Pope, thought that his publicly heretical statement and evidence of pertinacity resulted in his loss of office.”
Question: was Msgr Darboy a danger to the Faith of those whom over whom he had influence? When did he become so- was it before he was formally condemned, or when he first fell into heresy?
Formal legal processes take time, but if the danger is now, we must act now.
If I was Msgr Darboy’s subject, I’d be doing my best to keep my children as far away from his influence as possible!
Same applies to Francis.
Typo in the second-to-last paragraph: “opposed” should be “deposed” (of course).
The teaching was still de fide (an implicit dogma) before it was formalized.
John XXII taught his opinion publicly for an extended period of time, even, I believe, freely acknowledging it was at odds with Tradition.
The pope recanting on his deathbed demonstrates what that is relevant here? Should we allow Francis that opportunity before we depose him?
Indeed we have more than a comparison here – we have a good analogy even if, again, Francis’ practical harm to the faithful is much greater. Don’t worry – he will pay for it. No one escapes the Judgement.
Yes, indeed, we must act now, by publicly calling out Francis on his errors, as Traditionalists have been doing, and by formally engaging him, as those cardinals most faithful to Christ have now begun.
@Catholic Thinker: How does your dogmatic fact argument apply in the following situations:
Two Popes passed legislation covering simoniacal elections and elections where an heretic is elected.
For example, in the case of a simoniacal Papal election, Pope Julius II enacted a constitution that, among other things, rendered the election null and void. A simoniacal papal election is an election arranged through bribery; i.e., the papal office is purchased. The law enacted by Pope Julius provided in part as follows:
“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 each and all of the cardinals, even those who consented to the simoniacal election or promotion, even after the enthronement and adoration or obedience, as well as for all the clergy and the Roman people, together with those serving as prefects, castellans, captains and other officials at the Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome and any other strongholds of the Roman church, 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.” [Caps added for emphasis]
Pope Paul IV enacted similar legislation in his Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio that was mentioned by Pigg0214. When it appears that a papal claimant has deviated from the faith or fallen into heresy from a time prior to his elevation, Pope Paul IV enacted the following legislation:
“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, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:
(i) the promotion or elevation, EVEN IF IT SHALL HAVE BEEN UNCONTESTED AND BY THE UNANIMOUS ASSENT OF ALL THE CARDINALS, shall be null, void and worthless;
(ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity) THROUGH THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE OFFICE, OF CONSECRATION, OF SUBSEQUENT AUTHORITY, NOR THROUGH POSSESSION OF ADMINISTRATION, NOR THROUGH THE PUTATIVE ENTHRONEMENT OF A ROMAN PONTIFF, OR VENERATION, OR OBEDIENCE ACCORDED TO SUCH BY ALL, NOR THROUGH THE LAPSE OF ANY PERIOD OF TIME IN THE FOREGOING SITUATION;
(iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way;
(iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain;
(v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone;
(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.” [Caps added for emphasis]
Is it your opinion that these two Popes didn’t understand the dogmatic fact argument, which would seem to render portions of their legislation null and without effect upon their respective enactment?
Yes, if he appeared to be the Pope when elected. Right up until he is formally recognised as a heretic and deposed by said Church, after which point, no.
It is not for his benefit, but ours. If it were not for that, millions would have invalid confessions unbeknown to them because the bishops their priests got faculties from were not true diocesan bishops and had no faculties to give, because they had not been appointed by a true pope. Hence the Church thinks ahead and gives supplied juristriction to the various members of the clergy (priests, bishops, pope) so that their actions toward us will always be valid, even if they did not actually have the jurisdiction required for those acts.
This was explained in Robert Siscoe’s article the other day and is a well known principle of Church governance.
Very simple explanation. If you take the teaching of the Church about dogmatic facts, and then compare it to the teaching of Paul IV, you arrive at the conclusion that Paul IV was presenting a hypothetical that will never be realized.
The Apostle Paul used a similar hypothetical when he wrote, “if an angel from heaven preaches another gospel, let him be anathema.” Does that mean an angel FROM HEAVEN can actually preach another gospel? Of course not. Presenting a hypothetical does not prove that it can actually be realized.
Billot used this argument when defending his opinion that a pope cannot become a heretic, even thought Pope Innocent said if a pope DID become a heretic he could be judged by the Church.
Billot says that just because Innocent III said the Church can judge a pope IF he becomes a heretic, does not prove that it can happen.
Cardinal Louis Billot: “The authorities who object [that a Pope becoming a heretic is a real possibility] do not prove anything. First they cite the statement of Innocent III, in his Sermon 2 on the consecration of the Supreme Pontiff, where, speaking about himself, he says: ‘Faith is necessary to me to such a degree that, although I have God alone as judge of [my] other sins, I could be judged by the Church only by reason of a sin that is committed in the faith.’ BUT SURELY INNOCENT DOES NOT AFFIRM THE CASE AS SIMPLY POSSIBLE, but, praising the necessity of faith, he says that it is so great that if, WHETHER OR NOT IT IS IN THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY, a Pontiff should be found deviant from the faith, he would already be subject to the judgment of the Church by the reason that was stated above. And indeed it is a manner of speaking similar to that which the Apostle uses when wishing to show the unalterable truth of the Gospel: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Billot, de Ecclesia, p. 630)
This explanation of Billot can be used to explain the teaching of Paul IV. The difference is that we have certitude that the hypothesis presented by Paul IV will never be realized, since it would contradict a dogmatic fact, while the hypothesis of Innocent III, if realized, would not do violence to any Church teaching.
The reason Marcel Lefebvre Consecrated four Bishops in 1988 was to insure that there would be Catholic Priests. A reasonable person can infer from this that the priests of the Novus Ordo are objectively, not Catholic.
The schismatic Eastern Orthodox Rite.
It doesn’t necessarily entail it. It is not a core part of the thesis. However, taking up that thesis allows one to investigate the issue regarding validity of Paul VI’s 1968 rites of Orders without worrying about what that entails.
In other words, if Paul VI, (who also gave the New Church the horrible, horrible Novus Ordo Missae, which is not a Catholic rite because it deliberately supresses Divine Catholic truths) was not a true pope, then it is possible that he could issue new rites – are radically different to the traditional ones (of which there is no doubt) and that they could be invalid or doubtful. There would be no guarantee that they are safe.
If you don’t trust the Novus Ordo, then why would you trust the new 1968 rites of Orders?
To me, the issue is left at gravely doubtful, and the Church will one day settle the matter. In the meantime, we are forbidden to receive doubtful Sacraments. I would recommend the sede chapel, or the SSPX, regardless of what you think of Montini or Bergoglio.
I agree. For me it is a matter of treating Francis the same as if he was formally judged a heretic, ie: an informal but practical ‘Anathema sit’- we maintain his legal legitimacy, but not his moral legitimacy… in anything. We don’t need to get bogged down in lawyer speak.
What I am afraid of is those who argue that because we must accept him to be Pope (because it is beyond our power to depose) we must sift what he says and obey the good and disobey the bad. This has unfortunately become the new line of the SSPX with the sad consequence that they have become so careful not to condemn unnecessarily, that the end up missing the boat and not condemning at all. But as I see it it is dangerous because a) we get into a habit of scrutinising the Holy father and judging him in everything, instead of stating the obvious: ‘he’s fallen into error and until he fixes that problem, I’ll carry on living my life according to the perennial teachings of the Church; b) the errors of liberalism are so perverse that they creep into everything, and some of the worst statements of a liberals can be passed off as completely orthodox so we very easily swallow the poison with the cake (see Louie’s excellent post on the dangers of Lumen Gentium 25 which even Archbishop Lefebvre thought was OK). Finally c) the average layman, priest and even bishop, does not have the training to distinguish the errors (which the example of Archbishop L above demonstrates.)
When someone in authority starts to be a danger to the Faith, we cant trust him in anything, nor can we trust our ability to always sort the wheat from the chaff. The safest course is to live within the secure bounds of what the Church has always taught and done, and keep ourselves as far from what may influence us to the contrary…which for now, unfortunately, is Pope Francis
Exactly. He did the consecrations because he had grave doubts about the 1968 rites, esp. Episcopal consecration.
In the church of JPII, you could do anything you wanted, pray with anyone you wanted, facilitate pagan devil worshippers to perform their ceremonies and pray to their gods in Catholic Churches, participate in their rites, go to their temples, pray with Muslims, kiss their book, bow your head in a synagogue when the Jews pray for the Messiah to come and a hundred other acts of what Pius XI called APOSTASY. The only thing that would get you “excommunicated” would be to pass on the rite of Holy Orders to the episcopacy and perserve the Catholic Priesthood, undoubtedly valid sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Tom, where there is doubt regarding validity of a sacrament, one is FORBIDDEN to receive it. Unless the indult priest was ordained before 1968/1969, or was ordained in the SSPX or the old rite by a Bishop consecrated in the old rite, one must not go. To simulate a sacrament is a sacrelige.
It would have zero guarantee of validity, especially since the changes are so radical in the 1968 new rites.
This means there is an objective, positive doubt about validity, and we are forbidden to attend or receive sacraments that are even merely probable. There must be moral certitude. If the laity forbids the laity from attending or receiving doubtful sacraments, then She obviously expects us to be sufficiently catechised according to our state to tell the difference. We are therefore held responsible by the Church on this matter.
Sorry, >>>”if the Church forbids the laity”<<<
I wish there was an edit function!
No, it’s my opinion that you don’t understand the dogmatic fact argument. Dogmatic fact overrides canonical irregularities – it “heals [them] in the root.”
As I said, without the dogmatic facts of papal acceptance the Church collapses to nothing. What’s your assurance that Pius V’s election wasn’t invalid and thus, by your argument, his papacy? Were you given a divine revelation on this matter, and every other pope that has created or ratified dogma?
I strongly suggest you spend a lot of time over at trueorfalsepope.com. I don’t think you have. You need this.
The Papal Subject –
Do you as a layperson (assuming you are one) have the authority to decide which rites are valid or not?
Salza and/or Siscoe criticized Peter Dimond on this point: “Here we have a Sedevacantist bishop who correctly declares that the validity of his ordination concerns questions of fact that must be resolved by the Church. But Pete Dimond claims that the validity of all the ordinations in the new rite of Paul VI since 1968 is a question of fact (and law) that he – a layman with no formal education in sacramental theology – can resolve on his own, which he pretends to do dogmatically. Dimond does not even respect the true and correct opinion of his fellow Sedevacantist bishop.”
Other quotes from the same page –
“[T]he Church alone – not Pete Dimond and friends – has the authority to resolve such profound theological questions, such as which sacramental rites are valid and which are not. When it comes to such questions, Christ tells us to “hear the Church” (Mt 18:17). As we explained in our book, the staunch, anti-Modernist Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani approved Paul VI’s new rite of ordination with no problems whatsoever, and that was a year before he did raise objections concerning Paul VI’s new rite of Mass. If it was up to individual Catholics, or even non-Catholics (e.g., Sedevacantists), to police the validity of the Church’s sacramental rites, everyone would effectively be their own Magisterium and their own Pope, which is the mentality we see in Protestantism.”
“And as we show in our book, it is not possible for the Church, with the same members and hierarchy, to have morphed into a false Church without the gates of hell having prevailed against it. ”
“What this means, in effect, is that the form of the new rite of Paul VI, in and of itself, sufficiently signifies the sacramental effect for validity, even without the need of any ancillary prayers that refer to the office and function of a priest.”
What are your thoughts in light of these quotes, The Papal Subject? And what do you think of the article I linked to?
pigg0214: You’re mistaken if you believe that bull to be supportive of the dogmatic sede position. See True Or False Pope (Ch 12), and/or this essay:
– Is it for the “proper authorities” alone to discern whether or not Francis has judged himself a formal heretic, or can a private person do so?
No, not ‘discern’ but to make effective, yes. A private person can discern that him and his wife were not validly married and will seek an annulment, his traditional Catholic Pastor may agree 100%, and they may be right 100%, yet there is no amount of pontificating that will render formal judgment until the judgment comes from the proper authority. Their own judgment is moot until authority issues forth legitimately, and that authority is ultimately given by the hand of God.
Louie, clearly at a disadvantage on this subject. A little humility on this will keep you straight.
@JPeters and Catholic Thinker: You need a third to take your position because then I can liken you to the three monkeys – “see no evil hear no evil etc.” The point of that image is that your denial of facts is unpersuasive if you are covering your eyes and ears so you are preventing yourselves from seeing or hearing those facts.
My first query directed to you regarding the dogmatic fact argument, is it your position that it ALWAYS canonizes a claimant as pope-in-fact DURING his lifetime? JPeters interprets the dogmatic fact argument in such a manner that it nullifies legislation of Pope Paul IV. But Pope Paul IV in the portion reproduced above was talking about a living Pope, as was Pope Julius II. Both legislated that if certain facts came to light after a Papal election then those facts could nullify the election even if there was universal acceptance by the Church of the putative papal claimant.
Since there are two putative claimants alive at the moment. how can you eliminate as a possibility that facts may come to light that implicate either of both of the legislation mentioned and make the claims of these two men to the papacy untenable? In other words, the dogmatic fact argument is not yet ripe for application to a living Pope because there is always the possibility that facts may come out that render his claim to the papacy untenable.
My second query regarding the dogmatic fact argument, is it your belief that the Church has universally and peacefully accepted the pontificates of putative Pope Francis as well as the other V2 claimants? As I understand the dogmatic fact argument, that is a necessary predicate for the dogmatic fact argument to be applicable.
In assessing the universal and peaceful acceptance of the papal claimant, I came upon two quotes that shed some light on this issue:
“It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff. But if during a certain time he had not been truly and universally accepted by the Church, during that time the Pontifical See would have been vacant, as it is vacant on the death of a Pontiff”
St. Alphonsus Liguori.
“Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope heretic], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it’; and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days’. For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows, as will become even more clear by what we shall say later. God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately. Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions. Let this be said in passing against those who, trying to justify certain attempts at schism made in the time of Alexander VI, allege that its promoter broadcast that he had most certain proofs, which he would reveal to a General Council, of the heresy of Alexander. Putting aside here other reasons with which one could easily be able to refute such an opinion, it is enough to remember this: it is certain that when Savonarola was writing his letters to the Princes, all of Christendom adhered to Alexander VI and obeyed him as the true Pontiff. For this very reason, Alexander VI was not a false Pope, but a legitimate one. Therefore he was not a heretic at least in that sense in which the fact of being a heretic takes away one’s membership in the Church and in consequence deprives one, by the very nature of things, of the pontifical power and of any other ordinary jurisdiction.” Cardinal Billot
First, St. Alphonsus teaches that if there isn’t universal acceptance, the putative papal claimant isn’t Pope. Second, Cardinal Billot states as follows: “For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows, as will become even more clear by what we shall say later.”
So Cardinal Billot suggests that universal acceptance should be something more than just an empty affirmation – it has content and must be demonstrated in practice. Now the Pope is the ruler of the universal Church, and is charged with the respective responsibilities of teaching, ruling and sanctifying the Church. As mentioned by Cardinal Billot regarding the teaching office aspect of the papacy the Pope is the “living rule of faith”. The extent to which the Church has accepted the Pope as the teacher, ruler and sanctifier of the Church then should be the measure of whether there is universal and peaceful acceptance of the Pope.
In other words, if the reality of the situation is that a morally significant portion of the faithful, while giving lip service to the putative pope’s claim to the office but in practice reject his teaching, reject his rule and reject his ability to sanctify them, how can it be said there is universal and peaceful acceptance of the claimant?
In fact, can’t it be said that the mere existence of an institution like the Society of St Pius X undercuts the dogmatic fact argument? Doesn’t the SSPX reject the teaching and rule of the V2 claimants and not only deny that the claimants can sanctify them but also argue that the claimants are a danger to their faithful? In what sense then can it be said that the SSPX peacefully accepts the V2 claimants?
Since the genesis of the dispute regarding putative Pope Francis involves the institution of marriage, it is interesting to quote what the Society has to state about the reliability of the marriage tribunals of the NO church:
“The declarations of nullity given by post-Conciliar ecclesiastical tribunals are often doubtful. Do we have the right to supply for this deficiency, by the means of tribunals functioning within the Society of St. Pius X?”
What do I think?
I think you should read the responses to Salza and Siscoe’s book by the same people it calls out. John Lane, for one, still posts articles on the Bellarmine Forums, but the discussions are closed. You should not allow the matters to stop with S&S. They have been shown to be shoddy and poor in their research and scholarship, and I would not put too much weight in their position.
Compared with Sacramentum Ordinis by Pope Pius XII, in which he laid out clearly what the essential formula for a valid sacrament of Orders is, and then to compare it with the new 1968 rites of Paul VI, raises serious doubts. I don’t know if they are valid or invalid. I leave it open. In the meantime, a doubtful sacrament is as good as an invalid sacrament, and we are forbidden to receive or approach them.
These same people who produced an abomination such as the Novus Ordo Missae, which eliminated not only the essential theology of the Mass as defined by the Council of Trent, and replaced it with a parallel of a protestant Lord’s Supper, but also tampered with the very words of consecration itself, raising serious doubts regarding Form and Intention, then why would I trust them to tamper with the essential formula of the Sacrament of Orders, and introduce radical changes that contradict what Pius XII said was necessary?
So I stay away.
We are witnesses to practically UNIVERSAL APOSTASY. The cause is the radical modernist changes that came into the Mass and the Council, and trickled through the whole Church.
If you want to defend it, then defend it. Go to the Novus Ordo. Go to the very “worst” one in your diocese, because as long as your modernist heretical bishop has not shut it down, it has his approval and must be ok. Bring your wife and kids too. See how it works for you being in communion with these people. But I’m not coming with you, and I’m not going to be one of their useful idiots.
Sorry, many syntax errors in the above. I hit post too soon and can’t edit it. I trust you will get the gist!
I agree with your assessment but do not believe there is doubt. If one looks at the V2 sect as just another schismatic rite then they would have valid sacraments. I dont blame you for avoiding indult TLMs since all that V2 and the NO has brought is nothing but doubt and ambiguity.
Siscoe and Salza often criticize people for making private judgments only to go on and then make their own. They are a good source of historical information but they often ignore historical data that does not support thier position.
If I see a man on the street murder another man, I as a witness to this crime know that this man is a murderer long before the court officially convicts him. We are witnessing Bergolio apostasizing and we do not need the court to tell us so. Especially since the court cannot be trusted at this juncture. Which leads me to another problem. I was taught the church was indefectable. If I cannot believe what this “pope” teaches, why should I believe what the other Popes taught? If Bergolio is pope then the church has defected, no?
They attribute a quote to Pope Adrian IV saying popes teach heresy, which is completely false. It was from a book that was on the Index.
Such shockingly poor scholarship should highlight the fact to their followers that they are unreliable and untrustworthy.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to call you an idiot.
Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has studied the issue re 1968 rites of holy orders and says publicly that they are invalid.
Salza goes to the SSPX Mass.
Cyprian: “Since there are two putative claimants alive at the moment. [sic] – are you dreaming? There is ONE papal claimant who has been accepted by a moral unanimity of the Church since his election. (And, there is one pope who resigned who has repeatedly reiterated that he has NO claim to the papal throne.)
You clearly do not understand what papal acceptance by a moral unanimity means. You show no sign of having read, much less understood, what the theologians teach on this issue, *on the whole*.
“In what sense then can it be said that the SSPX peacefully accepts the V2 claimants?” – are you possibly serious? Can anyone really believe the sophistic arguments you make? As EVERYONE knows, the Society has always, from day one, recognized the pope as pope. That is why they have always met with him and given him due honor as the supreme pontiff. That is why there has always been an image of the current pontiff in every Society chapel. You appear to have no understanding at all of the Recognize & Resist position, which is, of course, completely opposed to sede vacantism – thus, for instance, the Society’s enthusiastic support of “True Or False Pope.”
So, here you are again – a year or more after you vacated these premises after having been completely routed by myself, Salza, & others. It appears your time in the wilderness has done you little good in the way of wisdom.
I cannot not waste more time debating you here. I debate for the audience, and to them, at this point, I simply offer the reference to True Or False Pope.
Sede vacantism is a logical dead-end, which anyone who uses their intellect instead of their will can see. The dogmatic fact argument – which is unassailable in itself – is one of at least three sede killers I know of. Another is that a ecumenical council of the Catholic Church infallibly condemned the sede position, *even considering offices lesser than supreme pontiff.* You are still preaching sede vacantism, and my conversation with you ran its course long ago.
Tom, what a Pope teaches has nothing to do with the indefectability of the Church. The Pope is not the Church. This is a common error we see today. I’d google Papolotry.
Concerning your murder analogy – no one questions the objective sin you mention. What is in question is whether or not the murderer, if he’s the mayor, loses his office because he murdered somebody. Civilly, the answer is no, not until he’s convicted, impeached, whatever. Same in the Church. Pope Francis clearly is sowing at best ambiguity, at worse heresy but cannot be thrown down from his office as the Church has taught that the Pope cannot be deposed. The Pope can be a sinner like the rest of us. It goes against Vatican I to suggest or believe otherwise. Since the Pope can be, and is a sinner, he can fall among any sin; heresy is one of those, schism is another. It does not influence the charism of infallibility since that only takes place under strict conditions as defined in V1.
As an aside, I must make a comment about Catholic Thinker’s rhetorical technique. I intend this to be edifying for the reader, but if you are not interested skip to the next paragraph. First, CT frequently employs gaslighting. “Gaslighting” is a psychological stratagem that an aggressor uses against a target person to make the target person question himself or herself by becoming self-conscious or doubting one’s ability and, in a worse-case scenario to even doubt their sanity. How does he do this? Instead of just dealing with the facts of an argument he is always questioning his opponent’s understanding of an issue, claiming they don’t have access to the right sources, bringing in unrelated gratuitous side issues to an argument to tar his opponent with in the view of fellow thread-readers etc. and notice he does all these things from a self-appointed position as “Catholic Thinker”. I have criticized his style before and it seems he just doesn’t trust his arguments enough to do without his stratagems. Second, in his most recent response to me, he is resorting to new techniques that anyone who has been around the law will recognize. The first is – if the law favors you argue the law if the facts favor you argue the facts if neither favor you pound on the table and attack the person of opposing counsel. The second is dump a losing argument (dogmatic fact) as soon as you realize it isn’t working because the only things that continuing the argument will do is annoy an audience and possibly prejudice them against you in the future.
Now regarding CT’s claims about who won or lost an argument last year my recollection is that I asked Salza a question that he never got around to answering and Salza importantly demonstrated that he wasn’t a reliable expositor of church legal history because I generally referred to the provisions of Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio and he claimed that no such law existed. Not only did I correct him by pointing him specifically to Cum Ex, I also brought to his attention a constitution by Pope Julius II that had very similar provisions and of which he was apparently unaware. Regarding the question I asked that Salza never got around to answering I first asked him if True or False Pope bore an imprimatur. He said it did not. Then I asked him whether he had ever presented the book to the appropriate diocesan censor and he never answered. It did not surprise me that he didn’t answer the question because the reason may have been that he engaged in private judgment regarding the reliability of NO bishops generally and his bishop specifically and decided on his own not to seek their approval. If that, in fact, was the reason, Salza would have to admit that he is guilty of “private judgment deposition” of his own bishop, and also guilty of “rash judgment”- another charge he leveled against sedes in the interview he had with Mr. V.
Now to the arguments regarding the applicability of “dogmatic fact” to the present situation. It is noted that Siscoe has made it one of his bases for his position, and CT made reference to it in arguing with fellow thread participants. When someone (me) joined the argument and asked that he contend in an effort to decide whether the dogmatic fact theory is applicable he didn’t want to go into the details – he wants you to take it on faith that it is determinative of the issue. I made reference to his gaslighting and this is what he said:
“Dogmatic fact is unassailable for any Catholic who hasn’t lost his wits, or just hates the pope so much he has to believe he’s not really the pope.”
In other words, you’re cray cray crazy if you don’t take CTs word for it – the essence of gaslighting.
Now regarding the question of who actually understands the doctrine CT had this to say:
“Dogmatic fact overrides canonical irregularities – it ‘heals [them] in the root.’”
This is incorrect. “Dogmatic fact” is the name of the doctrine involved. It isn’t what overrides canonical irregularities.
This is what Cardinal Billot had to say about the application of the doctrine:
“Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the AFORMENTIONED ADHESION OF THE CHURCH HEALS IN THE ROOT all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” [Caps added for emphasis]
Thus the dogmatic fact doctrine doesn’t heal all doubts about a papal claimant ipso facto – it is dependent on a predicate fact – the acceptance and adhesion of the Universal Church to the papal claimant. As St. Alphonsus stated if there was a period of time that the claimant had not been truly and universally accepted by the Church then during that time the pontifical seat would have been vacant.
This mistake by CT is unintentionally enlightening though. He knows that the prospect of a doubtful Pope is frightening to most Catholics. Thus he misrepresents the dogmatic fact doctrine by giving short shrift to the adhesion question and reducing it to the mere fact of election proves that a papal claimant is pope-in-fact.
In addition, he ignored my argument that the reality is the SSPX doesn’t accept the Pope in any of his capacities – whether it be teacher, ruler or sanctifier of the Church. In view of this how can there be moral unanimity if such a large body of the faithful don’t accept the pope?
As another example of how the SSPX rejects the rule of the Pope this is a citation to the USCCB which describes how bishops are selected:
I am sure the most readers are well aware that the SSPX selects their own bishops without any input from the Pope.
Further, CT totally ignored my reference to two instances of papal legislation that render the application of the doctrine to a living claimant problematic because the legislation provides that it is applicable – nullifying the election of a claimant – even if there is apparent acceptance of the claimant by the universal church.
The distinction between the body and soul of the Church is a crucial one which is often neglected. It really explains how a given pope can retain the papal office (of the visible, body of the Church) while publicly and obstinately attacking that which Catholics are bound to uphold, showing himself to all of right reason as being an enemy of God and the Holy Faith.
Very perspicacious regarding the distinction between personal discernment and duty, and pronouncement of the Church. As for the murder analogy, I used that in a comment under Mr Siscoe’s first point. It is the difference between personal knowledge and right reason (even of everyone) and the effective, definitive judgment of the relevant body with jurisdiction (the state or the Church).
Dear Cuff of Copee , You explain matters critical to the issues under consideration with great clarity and simplicity. I hope many people benefit from your gift – by your being a teacher, for instance. I used to be able to (fairly well) identify and explain the critical issues in a given problem but for some years now struggle with substantial cognitive impairment due to a chronic illness. God bless.