Monday, April 3, 2017

Resisting Heresy


 I'm a sedevacantist and proud of it. I wanted to make that clear from the outset because the subject matter of this post might provoke ire (hopefully not). On my post "Defending The Indefensible" of March 20, 2017, the question arose in the comments regarding the SSPX, namely, does the "recognize and resist" (R&R) position constitute heresy for those who hold it? I am not a theologian, nor have I ever pretended to be one. Having devoted time and research to this topic, I'm comfortable with my position before God. I will set forth the reasons for my opinion, and you may certainly disagree with me. I'm just a layman trying to make his Traditionalist Catholic way the best he can in this time of near universal apostasy. The question raised is a delicate one with many considerations. To the question, "Is the R&R position per se heretical?" my answer is in the negative.


Types of R&R

 1. There are those who claim to recognize and resist Bergoglio as pope while being in actual union with the false pope. The members of the Fraternal Society of St. Peter fall into this category. They assent to the legitimacy of Vatican II and its errors and heresies, as well as those of the post-Vatican II "popes."  They are outside the Church. If you belong to the Vatican II sect, you are not a member of the Church--your status is the same as a Protestant. These people are not the subject of this post as it is clear they are members of a false sect.

2. There are those who R&R Bergoglio as pope but are not in actual union with him. They reject the errors and heresies of Vatican II either by claiming that they are misinterpreted and can be understood in an orthodox sense, or they simply claim the teachings as non-binding because Vatican II was "only pastoral and not dogmatic." Some simply say the Council was null and void. They equally reject the errors and heresies of the post-Vatican II "popes" as non-binding because Bergoglio (or Wotyla, etc) was "not speaking in his official capacity as pope," etc. As Fr. Anthony Cekada might say, they have "a cardboard pope for display purposes only." These are the subjects about whom I am writing. 

What is the Definition of Heresy?

 According to theologian MacKenzie, the sin of  heresy is "an offense against religious faith. More precisely it is the rejection of one or more truths which must be believed with Divine and Catholic faith...They indicate the two doctrinal authorities whose testimony precedes an act of Catholic faith, viz., God revealing, and the Church authentically proposing." (See The Delict of Heresy, pg. 18) Therefore, when the Church's Magisterium proposes a truth to be believed as Divinely revealed, we must accept it or cease to be Catholic by committing the sin of heresy. 

 Furthermore, according to theologian Van Noort, "A proposal of revealed truth by the Church...can, according to the Vatican Council [1870 A.D.--Introibo] take place in either of two ways: either by solemn decree, or by the Church's ordinary and universal teaching." (See Dogmatic Theology, 3: 221; Emphasis in original). The second way is also called the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium ("UOM"). 

 The question is now more refined; "Is the recognition of a heretic as pope, by one who rejects his heresies and Vatican Council II, a matter which would constitute the rejection of an article of Divine and Catholic Faith?" That a heretic cannot be pope is true, but is holding the opposite view heresy? The proposition "a heretic cannot be pope" has never been the object of a formal ex cathedra definition by a pope or an ecumenical council. We must now turn to the question of the UOM. Has the proposition that a heretic cannot be pope been defined in that manner?

What Constitutes a Proposal of the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium?

 According to theologian Van Noort, "The major signs of such a proposal are these: that the truth be taught throughout the world in popular catechisms, or, even more importantly, be taught by the universal and constant agreement of theologians as matter belonging to faith." (Ibid, pg. 222). No popular catechism such as the Baltimore Catechism, or the Catechism of the Council of Trent has ever treated of such a profound theological matter. As to the theologians, the overwhelming majority agree that a heretic cannot be pope, and it was virtually unanimous since the First Vatican Council. However, theological giants such as  Cajetan, Suarez, John of St. Thomas, Bouix, and Journet all held that a heretic could retain the office of the papacy.

 While most certainly false, the Church has never formally condemned the opinions of those theologians as heretical. (Needless to say the SSPX trots them out while ignoring the development of doctrine since). St Thomas Aquinas teaches, "Anything is of faith in two ways; directly, where any truth comes to us principally as divinely taught, as the trinity and unity of God, the Incarnation of the Son, and the like; and concerning these truths a false opinion of itself involves heresy, especially if it be held obstinately.  A thing is of faith, indirectly, if the denial of it involves as a consequence something against faith; as for instance if anyone said that Samuel was not the son of Elcana, for it follows that the divine Scripture would be false. Concerning such things anyone may have a false opinion without danger of heresy, before the matter has been considered or settled as involving consequences against faith, and particularly if no obstinacy be shown; whereas when it is manifest, and especially if the Church has decided that consequences follow against faith, then the error cannot be free from heresy.  For this reason many things are now considered as heretical which were formerly not so considered, as their consequences are now more manifest." (See S. Th. I., Q. 32, Art. 4;Emphasis mine).

 The argument could be made that a formal definition was developing in favor of the proposition "a heretic cannot be pope." However, I don't believe that it meets the criteria for being dogmatic via the UOM because as Van Noort teaches, "Clearly if a truth is capable of being declared an object of divine-Catholic faith through the force of this ordinary and universal teaching, there is required such a proposal as is unmistakably definitive...and, consequently, as something necessarily to be believed by every Catholic." (Ibid, pg. 222; Emphasis in original).

If it were that clear, sedevacantism would have been the majority position from the beginning of the Great Apostasy, but it was not. There was great confusion about the sin of heresy (which causes automatic loss of office) and the crime of heresy as laid down in Canon Law. The very founder of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement, Fr. Gommar A. DePauw, JCD, was confused. So too were Bishop Kurz, Archbishops Thuc and Lefebvre, and Bishop Mendez. None of them were unclear as to Baptism of Desire and Blood being taught by the UOM, but not so with heresy and loss of papal office in this unprecedented time of near universal apostasy. I don't believe we can say that the UOM teaches "a heretic cannot be pope" as an article of faith, the denial of which constitutes heresy. We may know this NOW, but there is no pope and hierarchy with jurisdiction to formally declare it such.

The Lessons of the Great Western Schism

From 1378 to 1417, there were three men who claimed the Throne of St. Peter, and no one knew who, if anyone, was the true pope. De facto the Church was sedevacante for nearly 40 years until Pope Martin V was recognized by all. This proves (1) the Church can be without a pope for many years, (2) the Church can endure a long time without a pope, (3) in time of confusion we must be careful about what we do and say regarding calling those who want to remain in the Church "schismatics" and "heretics" (think: Fred and Bobby Dimond in today's crisis). No one wanted to be outside the Church, and no one wanted to deny the Faith. There are several reasons to be even more cautious in this post-Vatican II era, which makes calling anyone who id R&R a "heretic." 

1. Sedeprivationism. I'm a "garden variety" sedevacantist if you will. The Throne of St. Peter is vacant. Period. There are several theories advanced as to how we get a pope back, but that doesn't make Bergoglio "pope by default." If you look at what the theologians teach, heresy causes the automatic loss of papal office. The great Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches, " If ever a pope, as a private person,
should fall into heresy, he would at once fall from the pontificate." (Oeuvres Complètes. 9:232).

 However, there are sedevacantists who hold to the theory of the theological giant Bishop Michel-Louis Guerard des Lauriers, known as sedeprivationism.  This theologian actually drafted the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus which Pope Pius XII promulgated ex cathedra defining the dogma of Our Lady's Assumption both body and soul into Heaven. Bp. des Lauriers taught that a heretic is a material pope, not a formal pope. He holds papal office as a placeholder until he recants his heresy at which time God will bestow upon him the power and authority of the Petrine Office. I am (always) open to fraternal correction, but I find nothing in the writings of the approved theologians that make such a distinction. Does that make sedeprivationists heretics? No. It holds open the possibility that some connection between a heretic and an ecclesiastical office (not Church membership) can be maintained in the case of the papacy.

 This answers the objection, "How can you recognize someone as pope and not obey him?" Answer: You can't. However, sedeprivationists avoid the problem by stripping the office holder of the authority that normally comes with the office. In the case of some R&R (those of good will, not SSPX Bishops or Siscoe and Salza) they recognize Bergoglio on the condition that he is pope, and feel that they may withhold obedience since he may be "declared" not a pope someday. Remember that it is not schism or a denial of the fact that the pope must be obeyed if one suspects the person of the pope. According to theologian Szal, "Nor is there any schism if one merely transgress a papal law for the reason that one considers it too difficult, or if one refuses obedience inasmuch as one suspects the person of the pope or the validity of his election, or if one resists him as the civil head of a state." (See Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, p.2). For those who do not suspect his person or election, they may be culpable. Abp. Lefebvre definitely made statements showing he was open to the idea of sedevacantism.

2. No abjuration of heresy is required on the part of an R&R priest who becomes sedevacantist.

Bishop Mark Pivarunas, General Superior of the sedevacantist CMRI has declared the following:

"Although C.M.R.I. does not accept John Paul II as a legitimate successor of St. Peter, it does not consider such traditional priests (who offer "una cum" Masses) as schismatic. For, if such priests were schismatic in the canonical sense of the word, then they would be required, upon their recognition of the vacancy of the Apostolic See, to abjure their error and be received back into the Church.

"Nevertheless, it has never been the practice of any traditional bishop or priest to require this abjuration of error of any priest who at one time mistakenly recognized John Paul II as a true pope.

"This does not mean that C.M.R.I. in any way endorses the theological contradiction of those traditional priests who maintain that John Paul II is a true pope.

"Lastly, we exhort the faithful to use great discretion when they approach such priests for the Sacraments. This is especially true in regard to their children, who may be confused by their erroneous opinions on the Papacy and on the infallibility of the Church."

Bp. Mark Pivarunas, C.M.R.I., Superior General
The Priests of C.M.R.I.
August 10, 2002

Likewise, the SSPV has virtually the same position in regard to those who attend SSPX or independent R&R chapels and Churches.

3. The lack of desire to separate from the Church.
Many R&R priests recognize Bergoglio conditionally,if he is pope, because they fear being schismatic and out of communion with the Church. They are afraid of "getting it wrong" and maintain the faith while mistakenly recognizing a heretic as pope.

4. The unprecedented confusion in the Great Apostasy.
Unlike any time in the past, members of the Vatican II sect may think they are Catholic since the entire hierarchy fell. Lutherans knew they broke away from the Church, but not so today. Top theologians and canonists got it wrong at first. There are many things that cannot be resolved, and many things we have yet to fully understand.

Conclusion
I do not endorse the R&R position. It is dangerous and illogical. It is wrong! Some are of a bad will. I strongly suspect John Salza is still a Freemason, preventing people from leaving the SSPX as they move towards actual (and, yes, then heretical) union with Modernist Rome. The R&R need to see the light and join with us to end this apostasy and hopefully get a pope back.It doesn't per se make them heretics.It also, in my opinion, drives some away and they refuse to hear us if we call them "heretics" as opposed to informing them they are seriously mistaken, and the mistake could lead them to jeopardize their souls.

Remember the words of St. Peter, our first pope, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," (1 Peter 3: 15; Emphasis mine)

 Didn't even Fr. Cekada refer to the R&R as "sedevacantists who just don't realize it yet" ?  I mentioned this topic to a Traditionalist friend of mine, and he had sage words of advice, "There are a number of things in our time where we will probably not be able to have clear certitude but only opinions. In such a case it is advisable to remember that 'indoubtful things, liberty' (St. Augustine). Which is not to say that we ought to accept certain things, but only that they perhaps need to be tolerated." Let's hasten the day when the R&R will join us. Point out their errors, but let's not declare those of good will "heretics." Let's save our energy to fight all those in actual communion with the Vatican II sect. 

37 comments:

  1. You are correct,the 60's and 70's traditional catholics were confused and essentially on the wrong side of theological debate.
    That was long ago and I can see how and why that happened.
    Fr.McKenna (later Bishop McKenna) was YEARS ahead of the pack.

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  2. The SSPX leadership has moved that organization into the "Ecclesia Dei" position.They accept the beatification and canonization of the destroyers of the church viz:- JXXIII, PVI and JPII. It is no longer R&R but is an opportunistic body that exploited laypeople and emptied their pockets whilst all the while securing their own material future.

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    1. It does appear to be the case. However, as I often tell people, go by the individual priest, not the organization. Not all SSPX priests tow the party line. The SSPV came from them, and I'm told there are still "crypto-sedevacantists" among them.

      ---Introibo

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    2. I attend an SSPV chapel and they refuse me sacraments because I hold the Thuc line to be Catholic and valid.
      Do I gain any graces attending their holy mass?

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    3. The SSPV Mass? Yes! They are completely wrong on Thuc.
      It is their one major flaw
      ---Introibo

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  3. There is way too much "heretic" finger pointing among the Traditionalists. The finger pointing and heretic calling should be saved for Vatican II and the Novus Ordo!! If the Traditionalists could find a way to stop calling each other "heretics", and reserve their energies instead to "finger point" where it belongs, at the Vatican II sect, they might actually be able to accomplish something regarding the true enemy, the Vatican II sect!! Great article Introibo. Always look forward each Monday for your post!!

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    1. Thank you Joann! I'm glad there are people like you who want a United front against the Vatican II sect. Then maybe we can get a successor to Pope Pius XII !

      ---Introibo

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  4. 1. The SSPX may not be schismatic in the canonical sense of the word, but are so in practice. They recognise false popes as popes and yet they disobey him in matters of faith. Going to them for the sacraments would be to encourage disobedience. And are they to be judged on individual basis? Regardless of their individual position they are still under the umbrella of SSPX, sometimes for dishonest reasons. I know someone here in Nigeria who gets help from every group regardless of their position because he would not declare his position clearly.

    2. The idea that a heretic cannot be pope has been implied in many statements of popes. Pope Paul IV as good as said so when he declared as null the election of a heretic. While one can be excused if through ignorance he considers Francis pope, It's quite another thing to hold the opinion that a heretic can be pope. This implies that one can be a non-Catholic and pope as well.

    3. There may not be any papal declaration for Bishop des Lauriers' position but it is entrenched in catholic philosophy and theology. One can be a formal heretic while materially retaining an office, in the sense that even though he has lost the faith, he is still the person recognised as the holder, in other words he is the designated person. The thesis holds that although he is a heretic, he CAN be the pope if faith is restored to him. Form gives being, as the axiom goes in philosophy. The matter is disposed to form even if there is no form at the moment. I don't hold this position myself but I've heard his excellency bishop Sanborn expound the thesis, and it made a lot of sense to me. It is very far from being contrary to Church teachings. A "material pope" is no pope in reality, since form gives being simply speaking (forma dat esse simpliciter) but he is able to be pope when the obstacle of heresy is removed.

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    1. Dear Father,
      I agree with you that R&R is theologicaly wrong and dangerous.

      1. Priests should be judged on an individual basis. There are times when complete avoidance of a group in a region is justified. However none of this constitutes heresy.

      2. I agree it is implied. In similar fashion, the Immaculate Conception was implied with the words "Ave gratia plena" in the Gospel. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Conception did not thereby become dogma the rejection of which would constitute heresy until defined on December 8, 1854 by Pope Pius IX.

      3. Sedeprivationism puts the heretic in a unique position or it ceases to mean anything substantial. Was heretic Martin Luther a "material Catholic" needing the Faith to become a "formal Catholic"? We don't speak this way, and with reason. However, the material pope WOULD have a claim to the papacy. If true, an imperfect general council could not elect a pope while Bergoglio holds the See materially, only needing the Faith to claim formally the papacy. That's why I'm not a sedeprivationist. Only should it be proven correct by Bergoglio becoming Catholic and renouncing Modernism/ Vatican II and getting validly ordained/ consecrated would I accept it. Until such time I think we need an imperfect general council.

      We need the R&R to be shown the error of their ways and give up the fantasy that Bergoglio is "pope." I agree with you Father; this post is in no way to be construed as some kind of endorsement of the R&R position. My point is simply that, in my opinion, it is not heresy, and we should win as many over as we can to our side for a united front against Bergoglio and the Modernists.

      Your thoughtful comments are always greatly appreciated!

      God bless your work,

      ---Introibo

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    2. Father Nkamuke,
      I've heard you speak. If you don't mind my asking, can you reveal to what position you do hold? If you don't want to, I respect that. I thought that you held to the de Laurier thesis. I don't know how much time you spent at the MHTS in Florida with His Excellency Bishop Sanborn. But I recall an interview you gave before your return to your hometown. Thank you, Father.

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  5. Off topic!

    Atila Sinke Guimaraes the Editor of Tradition in Action has tried to decipher what may be the Third Secret of Fatima. His article can be read here:

    http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/g33ht_Decipher.htm

    THIS IS THE END RESULT OF HIS RE-ARRANGING THE MESSAGE OF SISTER LUCY:

    Now I am going to reveal the third fragment of the secret;
    This part is the apostasy in the Church!

    Our Lady showed us a Church, but this was a
    Church of hell, and an individual who I describe as the 'holy
    Father' leading a multitude that was praising the devil,
    but there was a difference from a true holy Father, the gaze,
    this one had the gaze of evil.

    Then we saw the same Pope entering a Church,
    after some moments, but there is no way to describe the
    ugliness of that place, it looked like a gray cement fortress
    with broken angles and windows similar to eyes;
    it had a beak in the roof of the building.

    Next, we raised our eyes to Our Lady who
    said to us: You saw the apostasy in the Church.

    Because the dogma of the faith is not conserved in Rome, its authority
    will be removed and delivered to Fatima. The cathedra [or chair] of Rome will be
    destroyed and a new one built in Fatima.

    In the kingdom of John Paul II the cornerstone of Peter's tomb
    will be removed and transferred to Fatima.

    This letter can be opened by the holy Father, but it must be
    announced after Pius XII and before 1960.

    If 69 weeks after this order is announced, Rome continues its
    abomination, the city will be destroyed.

    Our Lady told us that this is written, [in] Daniel 9:24-25 and Matthew 21:42-44.
    (thumbprint)

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    1. Interesting! However, I stay away from private revelations and the "true meaning" of them. Stick to knowing and growing in the Faith !

      ---Introibo

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  6. Introibo, what do you think will happen to the SSPX if you make the agreement with Rome Modernist?

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    1. If they join Bergoglio they are heretics who must accept Vatican II. They will be destroyed through invalid ordinations and consecration performed by invalid "cardinals" and even Bergoglio himself. They will then be little more than a trap for Traditionalists much like the Fraternal Society of St Peter (FSSP) leading people to perdition.

      ---Introibo

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  7. The post addresses the issue of whether the SSPX is heretical for believing Francis is the pope. What was not address are the reasons the SSPX MUST be considered heretical (and I am not even going to address why they are also schismatic). The following teachings are de fide:

    “Wherefore we teach and declare that by divine ordinance the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.”

    “Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that … the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy let him be anathema.”

    The primacy of the Roman Pontiff is de fide. The SSPX (and the R & R) denies these teachings on the primacy in word and in practice (hence the reason Fr. Cekada coined the term “Cardboard pope.”) Material pope / formal pope (Sedeprivationism) is another version of R & R. They are interchangeable positions that each deny the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Any theory that posits a Roman Pontiff without primacy is heretical.

    Those who wish to enter into communion with Sedevacantist chapels should be examined on their true belief on the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and abjure their errors in the same way one would have to abjure if they had belonged to a sect that denied the Immaculate Conception.

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    1. I disagree. While the Primacy is de fide the theologians teach that obedience is not due to one who "suspects the person" of the pope. Many R&R do so. Bp. De Laurier was a top theologian and a sedevacantist from the beginning. One would need Magisterial authority to condemn his thesis, which is ingenious.

      ---Introibo

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  8. Introibo - Do you have any postings on the correct Church teaching on "predestination"?
    Thanks.

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    1. That will be one of my topics in the next 2-4 weeks!

      ---Introibo

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  9. Dear Introibo, I've got four lawyers in my family and I detect some lawyer talk here. I think you would make a great defence lawyer. I mean this affectionately. :) I'm a sheep farmer and tend very much to black and white - "Let your yes, be yes, and your no, be no."

    1. "Is the R&R position per se heretical?" my answer is in the affirmative:
    "There are those who R&R Bergoglio as pope but are not in actual union with him." I disagree. They are in actual union with him:
    i. You have defined heresy.
    ii. Conciliar popes are demonstrable public heretics. The conciliar church is not the Catholic Church. These facts are acknowledged by Abp. Lefebvre and Bp. Fellay.
    iii. Heresy is a grievous sin, as is abetting, or defending heretics.
    iv. Automatic loss of Office, upon committing the sin of heresy against Divine law, is now Catholic doctrine. (Vatican I.) The opinions of Suarez, Cajetan, John of St. Tomas etc. are superseded and the theological question is now settled. (Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio and Vatican I.)
    v. Recognizing a man as Pope formaliter and resisting his authority and teaching, is the definition of schism.
    vi. Catholics are absolutely forbidden to pray with heretics.
    vii. Offering the Blessed Sacrament "una cum", in union with an heretic is the acme of actual union with an heretic.
    viii. Remember St. Hermegild who died rather than receiving valid Eucharist from the hands of an Arian heretic.

    2. They equally reject the errors and heresies of the post-Vatican II "popes" as non-binding because Bergoglio (or Wotyla, etc) was "not speaking in his official capacity as pope,"
    This is very debatable today, in the age of instant world wide communication, when the "pope" well knows that every word he utters is instantly disseminated to all. The lie that VII was not doctrinal, but only "pastoral" was refuted by Paul the Sick from his own mouth. An "Apostolic Exhortation" in which bergoglio denies eternal punishment in hell for unrepentant mortal sinners, (blatant heresy), is "not speaking in his official capacity as pope,"? What rubbish! (A.L. 297.)

    3. "That a heretic cannot be pope is true, but is holding the opposite view heresy?" Yes it certainly is:
    i. Solemn ex cathedra pronouncements on every theological debate raised, is neither possible, nor necessary. The Ordinary Magisterium is equally as infallible as the Solemn is; The Solemn is part of the Ordinary. Previous Magisteriums and the canons serve to guide in the absence of a living Pope.
    ii. There has never been an heretical Pope. (St. Robert Bellarmine; VI.) St. Robert considers this a sign from heaven that there never can/will be one.
    ii. The See of Peter is immune from error. (V I.)
    iii.The Catholic Church is Infallible and Indefectible. The Catholic Church cannot teach error, or anything detrimental to the salvation of souls. Catholic dogma.
    iv. If an heretic cannot be Pope,(which is true and settled), then logically, a formal Pope cannot be an heretic. Nothing can be itself and its opposite at the same time.

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  10. 4. "While most certainly false, the Church has never formally condemned the opinions of those theologians as heretical."
    i. So what? Why should it? During the stage of debate on a theological question, opposing views and opinions are perfectly acceptable. When authority rules on the matter, debate is over. Vatican I has ruled.

    5. "Clearly if a truth is capable of being declared an object of divine-Catholic faith through the force of this ordinary and universal teaching, there is required such a proposal as is unmistakably definitive..."
    I'm not sure what he means by "definitive". The Solemn defines. The Ordinary teaches.

    6. That there was confusion in the beginning, I have no doubt. Now, there is no confusion. These questions have been extensively investigated and debated. Catholic doctrine is clear on the matter.

    7. There is no conflict between the teachings of St. Bellarmine, St. Liguori, St. Francis de Sales, St. Antonius. Pope Pius IV, Vatican, I Wernz Vidal, Bigot etc., and Sedeprivationism. Automatic loss of Office consequent upon heresy and infraction of Divine law is totally accepted.
    To me the Cassiciacum Thesis, (sedeprivationalism), makes total sense. The crucial point is that we are dealing with two laws - the Divine law and the Canon law. The former is Divine, thus immutable. The latter is man made and mutable. Election is a legal process. If conducted according to canon law, by the proper legal authorities, the election is legally valid and the elected is legally elected, i.e. designated. However, certain qualifications are necessary for eligibility to be elected Pope - baptised, Catholic, male etc. An heretic is not eligible to be elected Pope, but if the legal authorities elect him anyway, then his election is legal, but void, (worthless). The conciliar popes were legally elected, i.e. they are in terms of canon law (only!), legal popes, (material popes; the stuff popes could be made from, if they were Catholics), but they have no form, (Authority,Office), because in terms of Divine law they are heretics and therefore not Catholics. If we want to make a vase, we take a lump of clay,(material), and we then mould it into the shape, (form), of a vase. A lump of clay is not a vase, because it lacks the form of a vase. A material pope lacks the form of a Pope. Think sacramental form and matter.

    This situation does not "indicate some connection between a heretic and an ecclesiastical office..." A usurper has no connection whatever with the Office he usurps. He does not fill the Office he occupies the Office, just as the thief occupies the house when the owner is absent.

    Bishop Pivarunas made his statement 15 years ago. I cannot see how any R&R can escape the charge of heresy. They are objectively heretics, many are material heretics, i.e. in ignorance of the fact they speak heresy and are therefore guiltless, but informed ones are public, pertinacious heretics. I humbly maintain the situation is sorted out now. Catholicism is absolute, never relative. There is the Catholic way and the other way. Sedevacantism is the correct Catholic response to our situation. We do not join forces with R&R "traditionalists" - we pray for their conversion.


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    1. Peter, nice commentary but there are some flaws in your reasoning. First, if Sedevacantism is true then the conciliar popes could not have been legally (materially) elected since Sedevacantism also holds that cardinals were all heretics. So to what office does Francis “legally” hold and in what Church, in your opinion? Second, as I mentioned above per the first Vatican Council, if they were legally (materially) elected bishops of Rome, then they inherited the Primacy which contradicts the Sedeprivationist thesis. Third, the Church’s infallibility extends to the universal and peaceful acceptance of an elected Roman Pontiff. Once again, if what you think makes sense (i.e., Sedeprivationalism) then you would have a contradiction with the Church’s infallibility in the election of the V2 popes. Fourth, if the Church could elect a heretic as pope than the Church would be fallible and defectible. I don’t have time to study and comment on the rest of what you wrote right now, but I will try to get to this during the week.

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    2. Dear Dr. Lamb,
      It is always good to hear from you! One of the purposes of this blog is to allow the open exchange of reasoned opinions in this awful time of the Great Apostasy. I'm glad when people write with thoughtful commentary. I think it helps all of us think and see more clearly, especially on topics which are not settled among Traditionalists, such as this one.

      I certainly respect your opinion, and you might be proven right someday, I'm always open to fraternal correction and submit to the judgement of Holy Mother Church, once restored.

      I respectfully disagree with you on this issue.

      1.i--Fellay and Lefebvre were all over the place, theologically speaking, in terms of the papacy. If you ever read the writings of Bp. Richard Williamson (good Lenten reading, it's so painful it will take time off your Purgatory!) he speaks of some strange dichotomy of a Church within a Church, i.e. "Eternal Rome" and "Modernist Rome," as if the Church was in schism with Herself. Furthermore, unlike Lefebvre, I do not consider Fellay to be of good will. I agree that the Vatican II sect is NOT the Catholic Church. I'm not sure about the Archbishop and Bp. Fellay

      1.iv. In order to be heresy, you must deny an article of divine and Catholic Faith. You might designate "a heretic can't be pope" as "proximate to the Faith," (intimately bound up with revealed doctrine, if not actually revealed) the censure for which is "proximate to heresy" but not heresy itself. It would be a direct sin against the Faith to deny it, but it would not separate you from the Church, as does heresy. (See theologian Van Noort "Dogmatic Theology" 3:290).

      Vatican I did not declare it a dogma of the Faith. "Cum Ex" is not dispositive as pertains to the declaration of a dogma.

      1.v. One is not schismatic if he "suspects the person of the pope" but recognizes his office, while refusing obedience.

      1.vii--"una Cum" would require a separate post, but the theologian Cardinal de Lugo taught in regard to UNDECLARED heretics, "“So as these heretics are not declared excommunicates or notoriously guilty of striking a cleric, there is no reason why we should be prevented from receiving the sacraments from them because of their excommunication, although on other grounds this may often be illicit unless necessity excuse as I have explained in the said places.” (See "Tractatus de Virtute Fidei Divinae: Disputatio" XXII, Section 1. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Alphonsus Liguori regarded Cardinal de Lugo as second only to St. Thomas as a theologian. Which pope, Congregation, or Bishop with Ordinary Jurisdiction declared these R&R priests heretics?

      1. viii St. Thomas More continued to regard the clergy in Reformation England during Henry VIII as fellow Catholics, and in fact on the very day he was summoned to take the Oath of Supremacy to the King, he received the sacraments from a priest who had himself sworn to it. The name of the King (Henry VIII) was mentioned in the Canon in England during that time. Henry was not formally declared a heretic until 1538, three years after the martyrdom of St. Thomas More. (Continued below)

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    3. 2. I agree with you, but this goes to my point that this unique situation has many scrambling for answers. They want to have a pope, so they recognize him "ON THE CONDITION HE IS POPE"--and are AFRAID of being wrong and out of union with a pope. They reject the heresy and errors, yet think he might/could still possess the office. They are WRONG but not heretical.

      3.& 4.& 5 The Vatican council (1870) never pronounced that "a heretic can't be pope" is a dogma. Proof that "a heretic cannot be pope" is not itself dogma by the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium can be demonstrated by comparing the issue to Baptism of Desire (BOD). BOD was taught in all catechisms around the world. The First Vatican Council considered it ripe for a formal definition as dogma. Neither is true of the pope issue under discussion. Top canonists (e.g.,Fr. DePauw) and theologians (e.g.,Abp. Thuc) were confused as to what was happening. Neither would have been confused about BOD!!

      6. Yes, but Catholic doctrine that is not dogma is not something the denial of which constitutes heresy. We are layman and clergy without jurisdiction to formally pronounce something dogma and its denial heresy.

      7. Sedeprivationism is brilliant, but not dispositive. If a heretic can claim legal election to the papacy, he has some connection. The thief in the house is not a "potential homeowner" yet the heretic designated pope can become pope. This rules out an imperfect general council electing the next pope, or Divine intervention. If we are waiting for Begoglio to renounce his Modernism to become pope, how can we take the designation away?

      I spoke with a priest of the CMRI in 2015. He told me (as of two years ago) Bp. Pivarunas stands by his declaration of 2002.

      God bless,

      ---Introibo

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    4. I mentioned the problem with material / formal pope and the primacy as well as universal acceptance. Regarding the latter, here is what Billot wrote: “Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [Pope falling into heresy], 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 the 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… 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.” If Billot is correct Sedeprivationism is refuted. Of course this quote poses certain problems for Sedevacantism too.

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    5. I don't hold to Sedeprivationism because its too much like R&R.
      Either he is Pope and the Novus Ordo is Catholic,or he is a non-catholic imposter and the N.O. is a false sect from an anti-Council.(I still reject every Pius XII change from 1951-1958)
      Personally I feel Bishop Lefebvre was of good will and had he lived 6 months-5 years longer he wouldi embraced sedevacantism publicly.
      His Sister has stated he talked like a sede in his last few years without outright proclaiming his stance.
      We will never know this side of the grave.
      He and many of his generation were understandably confused.
      I have nothing but respect for the 60's and 70's traditional Catholics.

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    6. I know of not one other theologian who agreed with Billot on the point that recognition "heals" all impediments--and it's doubtful Billot meant heresy. It would fly in the face of "Cum Ex."

      I agree that Abp Lefebvre might have seen the light on sedevacantism had he lived longer.

      ---Introibo

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  11. What we need is every traditional Catholic Bishop,including Bishop David Bawden,to meet,set up meetings,and eventually hold a conclave.
    Each group of different Episcopal lines could conditionally ordain &(Diaconate,priesthood) conditionally consecrate each other.In a perfect world the SSPX Marian Corps Bishops would be there.
    The traditional Catholic world has gone as far as it can go.
    As time goes by,there is more & more division and scandal.
    Maybe even Bishop Giles Butler Franciscans from NY could/would be there.(I mean that in all due respect.I like 90% of what i hear from that group)
    "That they may all be one"
    - St.Paul

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  12. I heard a rumor that Bp des Lauriers abandoned his famous thesis after Paul 6. He invented it to explain the apparent pontificate of Paul 6, who had seemingly been elected validly and accepted by the whole Church. But he didn't give any legitimacy at all to the antipopes who came after Paul 6, considering them to be open heretics holding no office in the Church. Des Lauriers died during the anti-reign of JP2.

    I have tried to track down this story and find out if it's actually true, but I have not been successful, and must just treat it as a rumor. However, it would be extremely interesting if true. And knowing that even des Lauriers himself ultimately abandoned that position would go a long way toward putting the whole strange system to rest.

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    1. You could ask Bp. Sanborn about this by leaving a message for him at the MHTS website & I believe also that Fr. Cekada covers this to an extent in his book "Of Human Hands"--which is also available on youtube in free segments which partially cover chapters of the book.

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  13. During the early years the SSPX could be excused for not accepting the sedevacantist position. However they have over the years stubbornly in arrogance refused to face the truth which is now obvious. Try to talk to an SSPX adherent and you will probably receive a refusal to address the relevant issues. As a whole if they continue in this vein God will allow them to believe worse and worse lies to their detriment. Already their list of heresies is growing and will continue to grow as time goes on if they don't repent. How many false beliefs will God overlook?
    Ignorance is one thing but malice changes it to become a damning heresy.

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    1. I know what you mean. Many R&R are NOT of good will. Siscoe and Salza, Bp Fellay, etc would fall into this category.

      ---Introibo

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    2. As a traditional roman catholic holding the sedevacantist position I find many (not all) of the big names in all camps to be of bad will.At the very least they refuse to work with each other and unite.
      After 50 plus years of never ending division and condemning each others holy orders,I have the impression a lot of them have an utter lack of concern for the church,laity,and the world in general.

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  14. Oh my word!
    https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/04/05/report-charges-cover-traditionalist-society/

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    1. Getting closer and closer to Modernism in faith and morals day by day. God help us all.

      ---Introibo

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  15. Dr. Peter Lamb, Introibo, Can a heretic confect a valid sacrament? If so? what are the conditions? Dr. Peter Lamb, at what point would you say SSPX is culpable of Heresy? Since you admit that there was confusion at the beginning? and that exonerates Archbishop Lefervre?

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    1. It is a dogma that heretics can validly confect the Sacraments. As long as they use the correct matter and form while having the intention to do what the Church does, it is valid (provided of course, that for the 5 Sacraments that require Holy Orders, they are validly ordained/consecrated). Please be aware that a valid sacrament is NOT thereby efficacious to salvation. To be valid, the above is all that is required. For efficacy unto salvation, the minister of the sacrament must be United to the Church (in personem Ecclesiam). For example, the Eastern Schismatics have all seven valid Sacraments, but since they do not have the Integral Catholic Faith and belong to the One True Church, it avails them nothing.

      ---Introibo

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