In the Traditionalist movement, there are two groups that have emerged with faulty solutions in response to the heresy of Vatican II. There are those who, while fully acknowledging Vatican II and the "popes" whom followed taught error, nevertheless refuse to accept the state of sedevacante (i.e. "recognize and resisters"). At the opposite end, we have those who realize the See of Peter is vacant, but erroneously believe that we can just go out and elect a new "pope" (the so-called "conclavists" with "Pope" Michael, among other strange and self-anointed "pontiffs.")
I felt the need to write this post in light of some recent developments and warn my readers to steer clear of both these groups.
I. Recognize and Resist
These individuals, mostly associated with the Society of St. Pius X, have found a rabid partisan of their position from a former SSPX bishop, Richard Williamson. Bp. Williamson had been expelled from the Society and founded the Society of St. Pius X of the Strict Observance (SSPX-SO). In his e-mail newsletter, Eleison Comments, we find His Excellency ranting about alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in his attempt to save the "papacy" of Francis. (See my post of 11/3/14)
Now Bp. Williamson has come up with a theological novelty--- partial Indefectibility! What is this, you ask? First, he takes a quote from Pope Pius XII without citation about how if material Rome should crumble".....even then the Church would be in no way demolished or split. Christ’s promise to Peter would still hold true, the Papacy would last for ever, like the Church, one and indestructible, being founded on the Pope then living .”
(Emphasis his) Then, he intones that sedevacantists can only see their way through the problems of Vatican II by denying that the "Concilliar Popes" are really popes. (I thought popes were Catholic by definition. The very fact he claims they are somehow other than Catholic should make him think again). Finally, he quotes Our Lord, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit and an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit
(St. Matt. 7:18). However, a tree that is part
good and part
bad, can bring forth good and bad fruit!! (Seems like Williamson is buying into the whole Vatican II ecclesiology---there are elements of a good tree in one which is half-bad!)
Therefore, since no one is all good or all bad, the Vatican II "popes" are not entirely bad. Williamson tells us Paul VI wept for a lack of vocations. (He caused them with the Council, and probably wanted more sodomites to join) Ratzinger "hankered" after Tradition (he wanted to ensnare Traditionalists and destroy the remnant of the True Church). Frankie wants to "bring men to God" while "dragging God down to men" (Sure. That's why he tells us "There is no Catholic God," atheists can go to Heaven and "proselytism is nonsense.") Hence, they will not be able to kill off the Church, but we must "resist their Liberalism." Bp. Williamson denies the dogma of the Indefectibility of the Church. She CAN NOT give partial truth and partial error. A pope CAN NOT give that which is evil to the Church. The fact that the "Concilliar Popes" have done so, is evidence that they have defected from the Faith and lost their authority as the unanimous consent of the theologians clearly teaches. He denies that the Church can never be without the papacy, but can be without a living pope for years. As theologian Dorsch teaches:
“The Church therefore is a society that is essentially monarchical. But this does not prevent the Church, for a short time after the death of a pope, or even for many years, from remaining deprived of her head. [vel etiam per plures annos capite suo destituta manet]. Her monarchical form also remains intact in this state.…
“Thus the Church is then indeed a headless body.… Her monarchical form of government remains, though then in a different way — that is, it remains incomplete and to be completed. The ordering of the whole to submission to her Primate is present, even though actual submission is not…
“For this reason, the See of Rome is rightly said to remain after the person sitting in it has died — for the See of Rome consists essentially in the rights of the Primate.
“These rights are an essential and necessary element of the Church. With them, moreover, the Primacy then continues, at least morally. The perennial physical presence of the person of the head, however, [perennitas autem physica personis principis] is not so strictly necessary.” (de Ecclesia 2:196–7).
At this point, I feel as if Bp. Williamson has stepped over a line into heresy. A "partially good" Church is simply untenable in Catholic theology. Personally, I could not in good conscience receive the sacraments or attend Mass with Bp. Williamson, unless and until he recants this novel and heretical idea. "Secret apparitions" are looney. Public profession of a partially good/partially bad Church which can give evil, is just plain un-Catholic. Speaking of looney......
I've had a follower of "Pope" Michael adding comments to my post on Sedeprivationism (see my post of 11/10/14). I think he is a man in good faith searching for the truth, but has been lead astray by a man who is non compose mentis. He thought I was name-calling and being uncharitable. So, I will reprint my response to his comments with some additions to his attempted rebuttal.
So let's look at David Bawden's (aka "Pope" Michael's) claims.
1. "Pope Michael and his group of Catholics informed the world they were going to hold an election, but only a few showed up."
In 1990, I was a 25 year old science teacher in NYC and a Traditionalist for nine years. I never received any "invitation" to a so-called "conclave." Nor did Fr. DePauw, or any of the approximately 100 Traditionalists I knew at the time. In a time before modern computers and the social media, how did he (a) determine exactly who were and were not qualified for this conclave, and then (b) send them an invitation? Was there a full page ad in the NY Times or Washington Post that I missed? You claim a "mob" made Boniface VI pope. I would hardly call six people in Kansas, with no link to Rome (as was the case in those days), a "mob" that can make a pope.
2."Numbers do not determine the validity of an election."
What does determine its validity? Theologians spoke of an imperfect general council with specific rules, but no pre-Vatican 2 theologian ever taught that some Catholic in Kansas can just decide to invite some "real Catholics" to his house next to the barn and whoever shows up constitutes the electors. Moreover, I would like ANY citation from a reputable pre-Vatican 2 theologian who teaches that women can participate in a conclave. Bawden's mother, a neighbor's wife, and one Theresa Benns,(who is the "theologian" that engineered the whole concept of a farmhouse conclave) were "electors". All this makes his "election" a farce. Furthermore, Benns does not argue that Traditionalist orders are invalid but illicit. She makes the same discredited arguments about "rightly ordained and sent" clergy, which "Home Aloners" always make. See Fr. Cekada's excellent refutation "Home Alone?" available at traditionalmass.org.
3. "If you believe the SSPX are schismatic as a sedevacantist, hence they would not be called to elect a pope as they are outside the Church."
I do NOT believe the SSPX are schismatic and outside the Church. They refuse to accept the obvious--we have no pope. They are schismatic in the PRACTICAL order, i.e., if Francis is pope they can not refuse communion with him and decide what they will and will not obey. However, you can't be schismatic in reality if there is no pope to whom you refuse obedience. As long as they are not in actual communion with apostate Rome (they are not) and reject the errors of Francis and Vatican 2 (they do) they are not outside the Church.Your assertion that "to adhere to a false Bishop of Rome is to be out of communion with the Church" only holds true if you actually submit to Francis, or wrongly believe Bawden to be "pope."
4. Bawden has dubious orders. After much investigation, I was able to dig up the name of "Bp" Bob Biarnesen as his ordaining and consecrating prelate. Why would a "bishop" who is in communion with Michael remain such an enigma? Why hasn't he been appointed "cardinal"? He allegedly received his orders in the Duarte Costa line which is rife with problems. Like Thuc, Duarte Costa and his lineage conferred orders on unfit candidates. In regards to Archbishop Thuc, any orders deriving from "Pope Gregory XVII" (an illiterate chicken farmer) must be considered null and void, since he did not possess the minimum theological training to have a presumption of validity in conferring the sacraments. They same can be said of "Bp" Bob. There is no proof he ever was ordained and consecrated, or what comprises his own theological training (if any). The fact that he is kept in virtual secret by Bawden tells me he's got something to hide.
5. Interestingly, Ms. Benns, to whom you post a link in another comment, is back to being a Home Aloner after denying the validity of Michael--the very "conclave" she set up. Her article is prolix. I suggest you have several hours to kill before attempting to read it. After claiming to be an expert at research and writing, she fails to tell us why we should believe her after her vaunted skills set up an antipope, placing his followers outside the Church and leading them to Hell. Since she was a follower of Bawden she publicly placed herself outside the Church. As all Traditionalists (she claims) have illicit orders and no jurisdiction at all, there is no one who can receive her abjuration and grant her absolution, thereby virtually ensuring her damnation--at least according to her own whacky "theology."
6. "Additionally, what gives the sedevacantists the right to delay electing a pope?"
How about the lack of all things necessary to do so validly? An imperfect general council is much more complex than inviting your parents and next door neighbors to the farmhouse. Before a new claimant can be recognized, the errors of Vatican 2 must be substantially recognized as non-Catholic. We are seeing that now with those claiming that Ratzinger is still "pope" and even others toying with the idea. Next October, we may see widespread rejection of Frankie, with the his probable permission for adulterers to receive the Novus Bogus cracker ("communion"). You deny this principle but supply no proof. In the case of Protestants, they KNEW they were outside the Church. In the case of the Vatican II sect, many believe themselves as authentically Catholic. It's a unique situation.
7. "Pope Michael is not seriously disturbed. If he is incorrect, he is merely in error. A sedeprivationist or sedevacantist "priest" ordained under "Bp." Sanborn claimed that one who would even consider Michael as pope is mentally ill. However, the same charge could be brought against sedevacantists - it is really a distraction from the issues and logically arguing them."
Anyone who thinks mommy and daddy can elect you pope in the farmhouse has issues. (To be charitable). The SSPV, CMRI, and other independents who base their rejection of Vatican II and the current papal claimant on strong theological principles, and have sound seminaries with great theological formation, can hardly be said to have mental problems. Furthermore, you impugn the orders of Traditionalists without ANY theological justification.
8."I am not aware of many, or any sedevacantists addressing the conclavist issue - which is probably because once they study it they become conclavists."
I am a sedevacantist. I have studied conclavism. I'm well-educated (teacher and lawyer). Now you know one such case! Come to NY, and I'll introduce you to many others like myself!
9. "I hope this was helpful!"
It helped reinforce my conviction that conclavism is a dead end. It will also help my readers to see likewise. I hope Mr. Bawden gets the help he needs. Charles Manson doesn't think he has problems and he has explanations for why he's sane as well. You ask me:
"What help does he need? Who is to provide it? I think if anyone reads his books, especially the “Will the Catholic Church Survive the 20th Century”, they wouldn’t allege he is insane but merely in error if they disagree with him. He writes cogently and has thought these things out more than any other “traditionalist” I have seen (with Benns). Give him a chance by focusing on your particular problems you have with his position. Don’t you want him to save his soul? Therefore, if you see that he is in error, don’t you just want to help him to know the truth and save his soul? I want ALL of us to get to heaven. We must find the truth and help others to find the truth. At present I think he’s got the correct position. All of the various positions should be collected together and evaluated. We are at present working at that."
I don't know who "we" are, unless you're working on the "pope's" farm. What help does he need? Psychological. Who is to provide it? A psychiatrist in Kansas I suppose would be a good start. I read "Mein Kampf" but I still think Hitler was both evil and disturbed. Yes, I want him to go to Heaven, so let's get him some help, and maybe he can do so. I want you to save your soul as well. That's why I'm urging you and all my readers to stay away from the "recognize and resist" crowd, as well as self-anointed "popes" whose knowledge of theology would actually be funny if it wasn't so pathetic and carried such dire consequences.
In sum, we are in a state of sedevacantism, and God will show us a way out in His good time. Don't believe in a half-good Church or a half-sane wannabe "pope."