Sunday, March 3, 2013
Shooting Yourself In the Foot is More Than An Opinion
After the death of my Spiritual Father, the late great Fr. Gommar A. DePauw in 2005, I began attending Mass at the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV). They are a wonderful and dedicated group of priests led by Bishops Kelly and Santay who derive their episcopal orders from the late Bishop Alfred Mendez of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The group is officially sedevacantist, but they don't want to impose a theological "opinion" on anyone else. Hence, their sermons, like the one I heard today, are of the "nice, nice, sweet, sweet" variety where we talk about spirituality and never dare bring up the topic of sedevacantism directly.
To be sure, they make it clear that to receive Communion, one must be in the state of grace, fasting, and "embrace the Catholic Faith whole and entire, as it was always held before Vatican II." Furthermore, "one can not attend the Novus Ordo, the Motu/Indult Mass, or Masses of the Society of St Peter (FSSP)." They will only touch upon sedevacantism rarely, and then dance around the specifics as to why one must have nothing to do with the Vatican II sect. So they don't want to be controversial right? There are other things to discuss besides attacks on Modernist Rome, and sedevacantism is an "opinion" after all.
The sad result of not taking the heretics head on hit home today as I was preparing to go into the 8:30 High Mass. I was downstairs by the excellent book shop while those attending the 7 am Low Mass were starting to leave. The nice gentleman who takes care of the bookshop (I'll call him Mr. M) seemed very sad. We had spoken on several occasions and he knew I was with Fr. DePauw for many years. He started with Father back in the 1960s when he was the "only game in town" for the True Faith, Mass and sacraments. In 1978, when the Society of St. Pius X opened up, he attended Mass there because he wanted his two sons to go to their school and insulate them from the Modernism that had taken hold everywhere since Vatican II. Father DePauw never ran a school. Later, when nine priests split to form the de facto sedevacantist Society of St Pius V, Mr. M went with them.
This morning Mr. M said to me "I called the Ave Maria Chapel (Fr DePauw's chapel) this week to get my son's baptismal certificate. He's getting married." I congratulated him, though he seemed crestfallen. He continued, "He's marrying in the Vatican II Church. He said you're supposed to get married in the girl's parish. I'm not going, that's for sure." He looked like he was holding back tears as he turned and walked away.
Not to place blame on the good priests of the SSPV, but perhaps if his son heard sedevacantism preached loud and proud at least once a month and had not been educated in an SSPX school where the "pope" is accepted but Vatican II rejected, he would realize that saying his fiance's "parish" is another expression of Catholicism is ludicrous. The whole idea of sedevacantism being an "opinion" is itself absurd. Either the post-Vatican II popes are legitimate and must be obeyed (in which case Vatican II can't be bad and must be accepted) or Vatican II is heretical and those who adhere to it, including the post-Vatican II "popes" (with the next one on the way), are antipopes and must be rejected. To quote from Bishop Donald Sanborn:
Opinionism places the identity of the Roman Pontiff, i.e., whether Ratzinger is the Vicar of Christ or not, in the category of "theological opinion."
The very term opinion indicates that it is not certain whether he is or he is not the pope. It is impossible to hold, however, that there is a lack of certitude on this subject.
Those who hold that he is the pope point to absolutely certain signs: (1) a legal election which was universally accepted; (2) Ratzinger's own acceptance of the election; (3) Ratzinger's functioning as pope; (4) the universal acceptance of Ratzinger as a legitimate pope.
None of these things is uncertain. If one is using these arguments as evidence of his papacy, where is there any room for doubt?
Those who argue against his papacy use arguments which are in themselves certain and incontestable: (1) that he has promulgated to the universal Church false doctrines, false moral teaching, and evil disciplines; (2) that he has said heretical things and has acted like a heretic, even an apostate, on many, many occasions; (3) that he has appointed heretics and/or apostates to the Roman Curia and to episcopal sees, maintains them in power, and is in communion with them.
None of these facts is disputable or in doubt. They are sufficient, particularly no. 1, to prevent him from being pope.
So if you hold that he IS the pope, for the reasons alleged, how could you hold that it is a legitimate opinion to say that he is not the pope? If you hold that he is NOT the pope, for the reasons alleged, how could you say that it is a legitimate opinion to say that he is the pope? Where is the doubt? Where is there, in these arguments, any fear that the opposite side may be true?
The theological underpinning and the moral justification of the traditional movement is that Vatican II and its reforms are false and evil. They are a substantial distortion of Catholicism. Why do we establish an apostolate against that of Ratzinger and the local Novus Ordo bishop, except because the doctrines, rites, and disciplines of Vatican II and its reforms are contrary to faith and morals? If they are not contrary to faith and morals, then why do we have a traditional movement? Why are we doing this? What justification would we have to do it in the eyes of God?
If, however, it is certain that Vatican II and its reforms are contrary to faith and morals, then it is certain that they are not promulgated by the Church. If, in turn, it is certain that they are promulgated by the Church, then it is certain that those who promulgate them do not represent the Catholic Church. Then it is certain that Ratzinger is not the pope.
The conclusion that Ratzinger is pope carries with it necessary conclusions: that the doctrines, disciplines, and rites which he has universally promulgated are Catholic and not sinful. If Ratzinger is pope, then by the indefectibility and infallibility of the Church, the religion which he approves and promulgates is the Catholic Faith. One could practice it in all good conscience; indeed one must.
The conclusion, on the other hand, that the doctrines, disciplines and rites of Vatican II are false and evil, and contrary to Faith, religion, and good morals, carries with it a necessary conclusion: that the person or persons who have promulgated it do not have the authority of Christ. The infallibility and indefectibility of the Church, which come from the solemnly promised assistance of Christ, cannot bear that such a thing happen. One must conclude to Ratzinger's non-papacy, if one concludes these things about Vatican II
So it is impossible, logically and theologically to say, "I accept Ratzinger as pope, but I reject Vatican II and its reforms." Likewise it is impossible, logically and theologically to go the other way, saying, "I reject Vatican II and its reforms, but I accept Ratzinger as pope."
In other words, Ratzinger's papacy necessarily means the religion he promulgates is Catholic, and the non-Catholicism of Vatican II and its reforms necessarily means that Ratzinger cannot be pope.
The Society of Saint Pius X is guilty of the first fallacy, of accepting Ratzinger but rejecting his religion. They mount a worldwide defiance of him by the establishment of a parallel apostolate in which they try to lure souls away from him and his hierarchy.
The opinionist is guilty of the second fallacy. He rejects Vatican II and its reforms, but admits the acceptance of Ratzinger is theologically viable. It makes no sense.
If you have undertaken a resistance to Vatican II and its reforms, you cannot say that it is a legitimate opinion to hold that Ratzinger is the pope. To say this is to implicitly admit that you are not certain that Vatican II and its reforms are truly contrary to faith and morals. To be opinionist about Ratzinger is to be opinionist (and therefore doubtful) about the whole basis of the resistance to Vatican II.
If it is possible that Ratzinger is pope, then it is possible that Vatican II, the New Mass, the new sacraments, the new canon law, and ecumenism are Catholic. If it is possible that Ratzinger is pope, then it is possible that we are all wrong about Vatican II."
We are not wrong about Vatican II and the Counterfeit Catholic sect it spawned, so it's about time we ask all True priests to speak about sedevacantism often, in order to remind those born in the 1990s and later what happened, and why we fought so hard to give them the One True Faith of the One True Church. The Vatican II "parish" is NOT Catholic. If we Traditionalists fail to properly instruct our young members they will be ensnared in the ecumenical Frankenchurch--after all (they will protest), the guy in Rome might be the pope, so you can't enforce your opinion on me! I'd rather be with my friends and girlfriend/boyfriend in the closer Catholic church without all the rules. This is shooting ourselves in the foot, and it's not simply my opinion. Just ask Mr. M.