I really don't know what to say when someone comes up with an outlandish theory, then it gets proven wrong, and the person still trumpets it as something good. This is what happened with Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X of the Strict Observance (SSPX-SO). A few years back, Williamson came up with a novel idea to escape the iron clad logic of the sedevacantist position: the Concilliar "popes" are not guilty of heresy because of "mind rot" which prevents them from realizing they're heretics. Fr. Anthony Cekada ripped the idea apart, calling it "mentevacantism" (i.e. "the mind is vacant") and showing how (once again) Williamson makes assertions with no reasons and evidence from theologians and Magisterial documents to back them up. After the drubbing he took from the critique of Fr. Cekada, you think Bp. Williamson would drop the the idiotic and unsupported idea he spawned. No such luck.
In his recent e-letter entitled Eleison Comments, Bp. Williamson resurrects his idea and, making an allusion to Fr. Cekada as a "hard-biten sedevacantist" who ridiculed his idea as "mentevacantism," states that the "label will do"! To show how utterly without merit the ideas of the "recognize and resist" so-called Traditionalists really are, I will set forth Williamson's latest explanation of his theory, and give a condensed version of why it remains theologically untenable.
1. Bp. Williamson's Thesis
- Since the Protestant Reformation, men have been steadily liberating themselves from God.
- To do this they must liberate their minds from reality, because all reality comes from God.
- This is "mind rot" or "mentevacantism" because God designed the human mind to "run on reality" not fantasy.
- From 1517 to 1958 the popes "beat back the mind rot" but it was infecting the faithful and clergy.
- In 1958 "even if Cardinal Siri was elected" (!) the "liberals" had the ability to force John XXIII upon the world
- "But what is a liberal? He is a dreamer, living not in the real world but in a Wonderland of man’s own fabrication. However, as more and more human minds switch off reality and launch into the dream, so he has less and less chance of realizing what he has done, because more and more the world all around him is being taken over by the Wonderland"
- "Then the Conciliar Popes are not wholly conscious villains, because in their sick minds they are serving the true Church by changing the old Church out of all recognition, by Wonderlanding it."
- Even in the case of Paul VI, he wept over vocations, condemned contraception, and issued a "Credo of the People of God" so even with him, Our Lord kept His promise to "look over Peter."
Got all that? Now for a real reality check:
2. The Teaching of The Church
(a) As theologian Prummer taught “The power of the Roman Pontiff is lost: …(c) By his perpetual insanity or by formal heresy. (Manuale Iuris Canonci (1927) pg. 95. In other words, if Francis is off having tea in Wonderland and "out of touch with reality" he would still not be pope for those who are out of touch with reality (e.g. schizophrenics) are precluded from papal office.
According to Wernz-Vidal: “Barred as incapable of being validly elected [pope] are… those afflicted with habitual insanity.… By falling into certain and perpetual insanity, the Roman Pontiff would automatically lose pontifical jurisdiction… For the certain and perpetual insanity of the Roman Pontiff (not doubtful or temporary) is the equivalent to death, and through death the Roman Pontiff certainly loses his jurisdication.” (Wernz-Vidal, Jus Canonicum [Rome: Gregorian 1938] 2:415, 2:452)
If Francis is too crazy to be guilty of heresy because he's out of touch with reality, he's too crazy to be pope!
(b) Williamson sets up a totally false principle: Modernism empties the mind of the capacity to recognize truth — and absolves the individual of responsibility; evil is really produced by a sick society, so no individual has personal responsibility for his/her actions. This is what secular liberals do to to exonerate criminals; it wasn't his/her fault because of the conditions of the society in which he was raised, hence we must be lenient when they murder, rape, and steal. Catholicism teaches that we are responsible as individuals, and societal conditions are no excuse for sin. Heresy is sin.
(c) Williamson's mentevacantism is a natural outgrowth of being an Apb. Lefebvre sycophant who checks his brains at the door. As an astute commentator on my post "Pater Noster?" observed: "You ever notice SSPX guys begin each sentence with 'what would the Archbishop do?'. Or 'what would the archbishop think?' Etc..They (SSPX) act as if ABL is Jesus Christ." Indeed. They should wear a necklace "WWLD"--"What Would Lefebvre Do." Ask the SSPX or SSPX-SO about any topic and you get the same answer that conflicts with Church teaching! The New "Mass" is evil, but not promulgated correctly so it's not binding. Vatican II was "just pastoral" and not binding. The excommunication of the Archbishop and the four priests he consecrated was "unjust" and "invalid" because of a "state of emergency." And the list goes on and on and on.
Bp. Williamson talks about the Vatican II sect being "in Wonderland," but it's his false and ridiculous ideas that get "curiouser and curiouser." He would like us to think Francis has an empty mind, but it's the bishop's own head that seems to have space for rent. In the words of Lewis Carroll:
“I don't think..." then you shouldn't talk, said the Hatter.”