Monday, February 22, 2021

The Genderbread Person


The latest battle for the heart and soul of Christian Civilization (whatever is left of it) consists in a battle for the minds of the young. Abraham Lincoln is credited with having said, "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Not just the government, but the faith and morals of humanity will be definitively shaped by what is taught to the children. Satan wants a generation of perverts because they serve him well. Think of the sodomites planted by the Communists in the seminaries. They continue to reap the evil fruits of the bad seeds sown.

Do you know the Genderbread Person? If not, you need to—and especially if you have children. The Genderbread Person ("GP") is the centerpiece of an entire curriculum for students starting in elementary school (as young as first grade), explaining how to identify the "LGBTQ identities." In a lesson plan entitled Genderbread Person and LGBTQ Umbrella (See here is what children will be taught:

LGB all represent sexual identities. And the T represents a gender identity, as well as an umbrella term for many gender identities. Queer means different things to different people, for some it describes sexuality, for others their gender, for others both. When we say “sexual identities or sexual orientations” what we are talking about are the ways we categorize and define who we are attracted to, romantically, sexually, or otherwise. When we say “gender identities” we are talking about the ways we categorize and define our genders….

Gender is best understood when broken up into three parts: gender identity (which is how you, in your head, define and understand your gender based on the options for gender you know to exist), gender expression (the ways you demonstrate gender through your dress, actions, and demeanor), and biological sex (the physical parts of your body that we think of as either male or female). Let’s talk about these one-by-one. 

Gender is now taught as three different parts of a human as the GP (shown at the top of this post) is designed to show as a visual aid. The consequences of this teaching are staggering. Reality is independent of what I’m aware of in my head, yet the GP curriculum is teaching children the exact opposite. According to this perverse curriculum, objective reality can change depending on what is available "in your head." The whole raison d'etre of the GP is to remove gender from the realm of objective reality to subjective preference or experience. Likewise, Modernism also removes God and the things of God from objective reality to subjective experience.

 As a result of this brainwashing, there are more and more confused children who want to be "identified as transsexual" and "transition" (figuratively and often surgically) to the opposite sex. 

How did we get to such a sorry state? In this post I will explore Gender Theory, its origin, its consequences, and how to shield yourself and your children from this evil. 

WARNING! This post contains some discussion of abuse and sensitive matters that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised---Introibo

What is "Gender Theory"?
As seen above, it is the false and unscientific idea that each person is made up of different aspects of each gender. It is broken down as follows:
  • Sex has to do with the body/biology (genitals, chromosomes, etc.)
  • Gender Identity concerns the "self-awareness" of who you are "in your head"
  • Gender Expression is how someone presents themselves to others in terms of clothes, actions, mannerisms, etc.
  • Attraction is who or what someone is attracted to sexually; men, women, even animals (beastiality)
Allegedly, everyone has a gender identity which may or may not conform with their biological sex. 

The Four Falsehoods of Gender Theory
1. Binary is bad.
The claim: There are more than two genders. 

The truth: God created male and female--period. It is the very basis of the sodomites' "LGBT" label. Lesbians are women attracted to other women. "Gays" are men attracted to other men. Bisexuals are men or women attracted to both men and women. Transgenders are men or women who want to live as the opposite sex. 

2. Gender is a spectrum.
The claim: There are many different genders on a whole spectrum of identity.

The truth: There are many different ways we express masculinity and femininity because we are all different people. That doesn't imply there are roughly seven billion different genders. The reality remains that we are male or female. According to ABC News, there are 58 genders (See Does anyone even know what "Two-Spirit" means and how it differs from being "Genderqueer" or "Neutrois"? Sheer insanity.

3. Man and Woman are merely "social constructs"
The claim: The social roles of men and women differ according to time, place, and culture. There is nothing objective about those terms.

The truth: Social roles may change, but sexual differentiation is based on biological facts, not social constructs.

4. Gender identity is separate from biological sex.
The claim: How we live our lives is independent from our genitalia.

The truth: A comprehensive survey of the scientific evidence was published in 2016 in The New Atlantis. It discussed over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences. It concluded: 

The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex--that a person might be "a man trapped in a woman's body," or a "woman trapped in a man's body"---is not supported by scientific evidence. (See Meyer and McHugh, "Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences," The New Atlantic: A Journal of Technology & Society, 50, Fall 2016, pg. 8; Emphasis mine).

The Invented Vocabulary of a Warped Ideology
The following words and phrases are made up by gender theorists to make them sound as if what they are peddling is real instead of jabberwocky. 

Assigned at Birth: This made up phrase refers to the sex given on a person's birth certificate. It's as if some nurse puts a label in an arbitrary and capricious manner on a baby. The obvious attempt is to, once more, dissociate biological sex from gender. To label a child with male genitalia as a boy and female genitalia as a girl is biologically factual regardless of what that child may "feel like" in the future. Only in rare instances of a child born with a true intersex condition, having genitals of an ambiguous nature, would the term really apply.

Cisgender: "Cis" means "on the same side" implying that your gender lines up with your biological sex and plays into the lie that they can be separated. If anyone asks me if I'm cisgender, I always reply, "No, I'm a man." 

Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs) and Gender Neutral Pronouns (GNPs): This allows men who consider themselves women to call themselves "she" and "her" while women who think they are men can call themselves "he" and "his." Gender neutral pronouns such as "they" and "them"  are also used. About a year ago, I was reading an article in the New York Times. A trans-pervert was stopped from going somewhere and it read, "They were refused entry." As someone who reads English it was confusing because I thought several people were prevented from going some place when it was just one person. There are also made up pronouns like ze (pronounced "ZEE") and hir (pronounced "HEAR.").

Transphobic: A fictitious mental disorder by which people who don't believe there are 58 genders and you can "pick your pronouns" are thereby psychologically unsound, hateful, and bigoted. It is a way to bully Christians and those with traditional values not to speak out or else they will face consequences.  

Some Inherent Contradictions in Gender Theory: 
  • Gender Theorists want gender dysphoria not regarded as a mental illness, but as something to be celebrated. This includes "transition surgery" at a time when insurance and health professionals should concentrate on cancer, heart disease, COVID, and never on unnecessary surgery to further the cause of mental and/or moral problems
  • Gender Theorists insist that "gender is fluid," yet once you have surgery the damage is done permanently--there is no "going back." How is this "fluid"?
  • The idea of "gender fluidity" being natural, goes contrary to surgical intervention. It doesn't "just happen naturally" as is claimed
Gender Theory's Origin: Perversion and Marxism
There are ten (10) individuals who made Gender Theory a force in modern society. I want to cite E.S. Williams, Lessons in Depravity, [2003],for much of the information in this section. 

1. Karl Ulrichs (1825-1895)
A nineteenth century German jurist and sodomite who campaigned for "homosexual rights." He advanced an esoteric and occult idea that homosexuality was innate because there was a female soul trapped in a man's body and vice-versa for lesbians. The term “Uranian” had been coined in the 1860s by the German Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, who used “Uranian” (frequently Germanised as Urning) to signify those who experienced “a congenital reversal of sexual feeling”. “Uranian” was also a term much used in astrological and esoteric circles – usually in reference to the planet Uranus, which was associated with “awakening the soul from lethargy, and bringing it into strange conditions and hazardous enterprises”. Esoterically, at the time, the influence of Uranus was very much bound up with the idea that human culture was entering a New Age.(See; Emphasis mine). 

2. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
The so-called "Father of Psychoanalysis," was an Austrian atheist who denied children had a latency period but were sexual from birth. God was a projection for the need of a father-figure, and shame regarding sex acts of any persuasion were not healthy. Freud's Projection Theory commits the genetic fallacy in logic. This occurs when you try to discredit an idea based on its origin. Even if belief in God came from an unconscious desire for a father-figure, this doesn't prove God non-existent. Perhaps the very reason we have such a desire is because Our Creator made it innate within us to seek Him out. But was Freud a man who "had it all together" and was a convinced atheist? Dr. Paul Vitz, a former professor of psychology at New York University, and a former atheist himself, gives us some insight into Freud in his book Sigmund Freud's Christian Unconscious. [1988]

Here are some interesting facts on the "Father of Psychotherapy:"
  • Freud was very interested in occult phenomena such as telepathy and poltergeists
  • On Saturday evenings, he would frequently play tarock - a form of a tarot card game associated with the Jewish Kabbala
  • In 1937, when he was urged to flee Nazism, he responded that his real enemy was the Roman Catholic Church
  • Was a cocaine addict and his excuse was  "I was making frequent use of cocaine to reduce some troublesome nasal swellings." 
  • The Catholic psychiatrist Gregory Zilboorg concluded: "Religion was, for Freud, a field of which he knew very little and which moreover seems to have been the very center of his inner conflicts, conflicts that were never resolved."
(See also The Freudian Fallacy: Freud and Cocaine by E M Thornton [1986]).

3. Magnus Hirschfeld (1894-1956)
Hirschfeld was a sodomite doctor and activist. He founded the Institute for Sexual Science at Berlin in 1919. He oversaw the first "sex reassignment surgeries." The most famous was that of Einar Wegener portrayed in the 2015 movie The Danish Girl. Hirschfeld believed all people were a mixture of male and female. In 1930, he gave the first scientific lecture on "transsexualism."

4. Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956)
Alfred Charles Kinsey, was raised the son of a strict Methodist Sunday School teacher. He went to Bowdoin College where he majored in zoology, and developed a fascination with insects. He continued his studies at Harvard after graduation. He eventually severed all ties with his parents, and declared himself an atheist. Some of his biographers portray him as shy and disinterested in sex, but later biographers unearthed Kinsey's personal correspondence, wherein it was revealed he was a bisexual with a strong sexual desire for young boys.

His career as a "sexpert" began when the Association of Women Students at Indiana University (where he taught zoology/biology) asked him to teach a marriage course on human sexuality for engaged and married students. Kinsey went to great lengths to keep his personal dark predilections a secret. When Ralph Voris, one of his best friends, died, Kinsey drove from Indiana to Ohio with his wife Clara. He had a wife and kids as a "cover" for his deviance. Once in Ohio, he removed correspondence from Voris' office in which Kinsey brags to Voris about his collection of "gorgeous" photos of homosexual men. 

  Kinsey revolutionized the world with the publication of his books Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (published in 1948 and 1953, respectively). It was based on 350 questions on a questionnaire that asked such things as when (not if ) the interviewees had participated in sado-masochism, homosexual acts, pedophilia, and bestiality. His assistants, Clyde Martin, Paul Gebhard, and Wardell Pomeroy, were all required to be filmed performing sex acts with others either at the university or in the attic of the Kinsey home. The questions were so sick, that most of the respondents were either those who engaged in unnatural sex acts or were incarcerated sex offenders. The peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet decried the research as having "questioned an unrepresentative proportion of prison inmates and sex offenders in a survey of normal sexual behavior." In a 1992 telephone interview, Paul Gebhard, one of Kinsey's assistants, admitted that some of the men interviewed were convicted pedophiles.

 As a result of his pseudo-scientific research, the American public began to see homosexuality and pornography as normal. Kinsey believed no sex act was unnatural, nothing was off-limits, and you could define your sexuality any way you wanted. He even approved of beastiality.

5. Harry Benjamin (1885-1986)
Benjamin was an associate of Kinsey. In 1966, he wrote the first textbook on transsexualism. In the book, he argued that Darwinian evolution proved gender fluidity, and pioneered the idea that if someone thought they were the wrong sex, the body should be made to align to the thoughts rather than helping them mentally so their mind would conform to objective biological reality. Benjamin (like Kinsey) endorsed a book by their friend Rene Guyon, The Ethics of Sexual Acts, [1948], which advocated pedophilia and its decriminalization. 

6. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957)
An Austrian medical doctor and psychoanalyst, Reich taught that suffering and cruelty in society are due to Christian morality. In his 1933 book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, he argued that fascism arose from sexual oppression. He was pressured to leave Catholic Austria and came to the United States where he promoted sex education for children, so they could become sexually active and "liberated." In the 1940s he promoted divorce, contraception, abortion, and promiscuity. He eventually settled in Arizona where he came to believe that the planet was under attack by UFOs and his father was an extraterrestrial. 

7. John Money (1921-2006)
A psychiatry professor, Money campaigned to legalize pedophilia and the "freedom to change gender." He co-founded the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic. His most famous case involved David Reimer, whose circumcision had gone wrong. Money pressured the boy's parents to agree to an experimental surgery in order to "change the little boy into a girl." Money wanted to prove gender is all about socialization and not biology. Since David had a twin brother named Brian, if David (now called Brenda) could be successfully raised as a girl, while twin brother Brian would be a boy, his theory would be vindicated. 

It would be later revealed that Money forced the two children to engage in incestuous acts with each other while he photographed them. When David found out the truth about being a boy, he wanted to transition back. Not being able to do so, he tragically committed suicide at age 38. As a result of the abuse, Brian became a drug addict and died from an overdose at age 36. (See David van Gend, Stealing from a Child: The Injustice of "Marriage Equality."[2016], pgs. 152-153). 

8. Robert Stoller (1924-1991)
A Professor of  Psychiatry at UCLA, Stoller presented his ideas that gender and biological sex are distinct and separate in his influential book Sex and Gender (1968). He denied that there was any distinction between normal and perverted sex; the only thing that is wrong is to infringe on the rights of other people. 

9. Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)
An Italian Marxist, Gramsci believed in the complete overthrow of Christian morals in society. Complete license to act as you wish (especially in sexual matters) was of paramount importance, and must only be curtailed when absolutely necessary by the State. You achieve this by distancing youself from the label of Marxism, and use the language of "equality" and "freedom."

10. Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)
Marcuse was a Marxist philosopher and sociologist. His lasting and destructive legacy was destroying any confidence in objective truth. He achieved this by claiming words don't actually mean anything; they are just tools to achieve what the writer or speaker wants. It is often called "critical theory" and has had great success. (For more on this topic, please see last week's post by A Simple Man [my guest-poster] entitled "What's In A Word?"---Introibo).

The evil influence of these characters, exacerbated by the Great Apostasy of Vatican II, has brought society to a place where one can say with a straight face, "A man can be a woman and a woman can be a man."

The Evil Consequences of Gender Theory
The Yogyakarta Principles, were written by a group of self-anointed "human rights experts" in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (See They urge that governments must accept Gender Theory, and must consider as "unlawful discrimination" any attempt to oppose it. If successful, the following ideas, if expressed, could come with legal sanctions:
  • Marriage is only between a biological man and biological woman
  • Sexual activity is restricted to married couples
  • Children have a right to know their parents and be brought up by one father and one mother
  • Human beings are male and female from birth
Other consequences:
  • In NYC, a person who intentionally and repeatedly refuses to use an individual’s preferred pronoun would be subject to fines (that could reach as high as $250,000 for multiple violations) under the law passed in 2015. (See
  • A male rapist in the UK identified as a woman and was allowed to go to the prison for women, even though biologically male. The result? "Karen White" sexually assaulted a real female prisoner. (See 
  • The current occupant of the White House wants transgenders to compete on sports teams of the gender with which they identify. This means smaller, lighter, and less strong girls will compete against boys pretending to be girls.
  • Wellesley College has adopted this admission policy:
Wellesley will consider for admission any applicant who lives as a woman and consistently identifies as a woman. Therefore, candidates assigned male at birth who identify as women are eligible to apply for admission. The College also accepts applications from those who were assigned female at birth, identify as non-binary, and who feel they belong in our community of women. Those assigned female at birth who identify as men are not eligible for consideration for admission.  (See So if you're a man who thinks you're a woman you can go to a college for women. If you're a woman who thinks she's a man, you cannot be admitted. 
  • We are enabling the mentally ill who are suffering gender dysphoria and who need psychological help. They should not be told to "celebrate who they really are." Just as anorexics are treated so they don't see their emaciated bodies as "obese," (and we do not tell them their perception is correct), we must do the same for those who suffer gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria used to be called gender identity disorder, but was renamed under political pressure from sodomite groups who objected to the term "disorder." They want it removed from the DSM (book of mental health issues) altogether unless it is defined in such a way as to make those who have the condition automatic candidates for surgical reassignment to the opposite sex. 
The Assault on God
Two Vatican II sect "theologians" have come out in favor of Gender Theory. Will they be censured or excommunicated? (Rhetorical question). 

Michael G. Lawler and Todd A. Salzman, both LGBTQ-positive theologians at Creighton University, Nebraska, argue against Catholic documents such as 2019’s “Male and Female He Created Them,” from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, and 2020’s “Compassion and Challenge,” from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri. These documents fundamentally misunderstand transgender and intersex experiences. Because of this misunderstanding, the conclusions drawn by the church amount to further discrimination against an already targeted group....The theologians assert that reliance on the Genesis account of a male-female binary consistently conflates biological sex with socially-constructed gender and diminishes the mysterious power of God, limiting God to creating only male or female. By diminishing the incomprehensible creative power of God, these documents diminish the humanity and dignity of God’s own creation. (See

These theologians are teaching the old heresy of Gnosticism. Gender Theory downplays the body and exalts subjective feelings. This false distinction between mind and body led those Gnostics of old to claim Christ only rose spiritually, not physically, from the dead. As Bergoglio is a religious relativist, I wouldn't be shocked if it seeps into relativism everywhere else. I could see him entertaining the idea of a woman who thinks she's a man ("trans-man") as eligible for ordination. No wonder John Paul the Great Apostate sounds profound with his inane "Theology of the Body;" "The body of a man is made for the body of a woman." What used to be common sense is now praised by Vatican II sect "conservatives" as "deep analysis." 

Protecting the Children
If you have children, you must protect them at all costs. If you are not near a Traditionalist school, and they must attend public school, here are some suggestions.

1. Teach them about the Faith. 
Children are too young to learn about perversion, but never too young to learn the truths of Holy Mother Church. Let them understand God created male and female--period. Anything else taught is evil.

2. Don't let them be bullied in the name of "anti-bullying."
They should never be told by school officials (teachers, principals, etc) that they must agree with the beliefs or actions of others. Disagreement is not hatred, bullying, or a mental disorder (e.g. "transphobic"). Bullying is wrong, but it also means your child's religious and ethical beliefs must be respected--otherwise it's discrimination against Traditionalists. 

3. Do not allow stereotypes to influence them.
Just because a girl is a "tomboy," or a boy is shy and sensitive, is no indicator that they are sodomites or "trans." Don't allow anyone to tell them otherwise.

4. Demand to know the school's curriculum, and demand religious exemption if it offends faith or morals.
You have a right to know what your child is being taught. Do not allow them to be subjected to brainwashing curriculum which has nothing to do with genuine learning.

5. Always be aware of everything your child reads, watches, and who they have as friends.
Many books, TV shows, and movies portray perversion in a positive light. Know your child's friends. Unless their parents are Traditionalists they may buy into Gender Theory and tell your kids it's normal.

Gender Theory is a lie that is embraced by many and is beginning to seriously shape our legal and educational systems. Even the Vatican II sect is on board by tolerating it and refusing to strongly condemn and extirpate it. It won't be long before Bergoglio fully embraces it; after all, "Who am I to judge?"

I remember the innocent kids' song The Gingerbread Man. In the near future we may have Traditionalist kids singing:

Run, run, run as fast as I can, don't want any coercion
So you’ll never catch me, you evil Genderbread Person
I ran from the sodomite and his trans-woman wife too.
You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

Monday, February 15, 2021

What's In A Word?


To My Readers: For the first time since January of 2020, I'm on vacation! The only week I could take was the week Lent begins. Thankfully, I'm close enough to a Traditionalist Chapel where I am, so I can enjoy activities with family and friends while keeping my religious obligations as well. This Lent, I'm working on becoming less of a hotheaded man--a lifelong struggle. I have made improvements (believe it or not) but I still have much work to do. Being abrasive and quick to anger often becomes a way of life as a NYC lawyer. Thanks to my guest poster, A Simple Man, for providing this week's post. Please pray for this most pious and intelligent young man that God may keep him strong in the One True Faith and bless him abundantly. He is helping me to keep this blog going in order to spread and strengthen the Faith in these perilous times. I will return with my own post next Monday, 2/22/21.

On January 18th, I published a post against one Aaron Debusschere a Vatican II sect apologist, who attacked my charge of heresy against the Vatican II document Gaudiam et Spes on his blog. On February 13th, Debusschere responded with a post addressed as a "letter" of sorts to A Simple Man. In his post, he accuses me of not addressing his arguments (!) and not wanting "rational discourse." I'll let Simple Man decide if and when he wants to reply via a post here, on The Romantic Catholic (Debusschere's blog), or via private e-mail exchange. I added an Addendum to my post of 1/18/21 as it was easy enough to show that Debusschere--like every Vatican II sect apologist I've encountered---is clueless. You can read the Addendum after the Conclusion section here: 

At the top of the post remains the link to Dubusschere's blog. I think you might enjoy it, along with the fine post below by A Simple Man.

God Bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

What's In A Word?
By A Simple Man

What is a female, at least as far as humans go? It’s a seemingly simple question. Insofar as we are considering the most general case, dictionaries from decades past would provide rather straightforward answers:

“Among animals, one of that sex which conceives and brings forth young.” – An American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, online version of the original 1828 edition

fē′māl, adj. of the sex that produces young: pertaining to females: […] —n. one of the female sex, a woman.” -  Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (Part 2 of 4: E-M)  originally published in 1908, online version hosted by Project Gutenberg

However, if you were to turn to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary in its most current form [as of December 8, 2020], you would find the following under the definition of female (bold is emphasis mine): “of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs; having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.” These terms introduce ambiguity.

In like manner, Webster’s 1828 dictionary and Chambers’s 1908 dictionary define males as the sex with the capacity to procreate or beget young. The modern Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition for male likewise reads like a gender-swapped version of the definition for female, including “having a gender identity that is the opposite of female.” Needless to say, this has placed circular reasoning within the two definitions themselves, so as to render the concepts of male and female nonsensical; using these modern definitions makes equivocation and homunculus arguments (the latter being an informal fallacy where a concept is explained in terms of the concept itself, without first explaining the original concept) impossible to avoid.

Some might argue that that’s the point; after all, if you cannot agree on basic definitions, then how can anyone make proper arguments, or reason rightly?

Why is language important? Although it would be erroneous to say that thought is impossible without language (as one medical study from 2016 regarding people with global aphasia has shown), it cannot be reasonably denied that language is the principal means by which humans communicate with each other. As languages have changed and evolved throughout the centuries, new words have been invented to designate new things (i.e. computer, telephone, rocket, etc.), while others have fallen into general disuse or restriction to specialized fields, sometimes to the point of becoming obsolete (when’s the last time you heard the words accable, conspurcation, pickeer, or regest?). However, even as languages change, and certain words may shift in spelling or form, the essence of the things that those words refer to does not change in the process. This is especially important with fundamental aspects of reality and human nature, since a poor or erroneous understanding of fundamentals will result in a skewed understanding of reality.

Although there are philosophical variations with regards to how definitions are considered or interpreted (as the Winter 2019 edition of “Definitions” from the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy demonstrates), our focus will be descriptive definitions, which not only aim to communicate the meaning of a particular thing (whether it be an object, a concept, an idea, and so on), but also aim to be sufficient in that meaning. In other words, a descriptive definition is one that should provide an adequate understanding of what the object being defined, in fact, is. [ASM’s note: to be even more specific, we are looking at descriptive definitions in a “real” sense, aiming to describe the essence of the thing in question. This is in contrast to a “nominal” sense, wherein the definition seeks to describe the ideas we have about the thing in question, even if those ideas are entirely separate – or even contrary – to the real essence of the thing itself.]

How are we able to provide definitions at all? Per St. Thomas Aquinas, our ability to understand corporeal things is due to the intellectual power of the soul. In particular, regarding to how we acquire intellectual knowledge, he says: “I answer that…Aristotle chose a middle course. For with Plato he agreed that intellect and sense are different. But he held that the sense has not its proper operation without the cooperation of the body; so that to feel is not an act of the soul alone, but of the "composite." And he held the same in regard to all the operations of the sensitive part. Since, therefore, it is not unreasonable that the sensible objects which are outside the soul should produce some effect in the "composite," Aristotle agreed with Democritus in this, that the operations of the sensitive part are caused by the impression of the sensible on the sense: not by a discharge, as Democritus said, but by some kind of operation. For Democritus maintained that every operation is by way of a discharge of atoms, as we gather from De Gener. i, 8. But Aristotle held that the intellect has an operation which is independent of the body's cooperation. Now nothing corporeal can make an impression on the incorporeal. And therefore in order to cause the intellectual operation according to Aristotle, the impression caused by the sensible does not suffice, but something more noble is required, for "the agent is more noble than the patient," as he says (De Gener. i, 5). Not, indeed, in the sense that the intellectual operation is effected in us by the mere impression of some superior beings, as Plato held; but that the higher and more noble agent which he calls the active intellect, of which we have spoken above (I:79:4) causes the phantasms [ASM’s note: a phantasm, as St. Thomas uses it philosophically, is the likeness of a particular thing, or the means by which representations of real things are perceived and understood by the intellect; see ST I, q. 84, a. 7, ad 2 & ad 3 for more.] received from the senses to be actually intelligible, by a process of abstraction. According to this opinion, then, on the part of the phantasms, intellectual knowledge is caused by the senses. But since the phantasms cannot of themselves affect the passive intellect, and require to be made actually intelligible by the active intellect, it cannot be said that sensible knowledge is the total and perfect cause of intellectual knowledge, but rather that it is in a way the material cause.” – ST I, q. 84, a. 6

In other words, it is through the senses of the body that our intellect perceives concrete things; from these perceptions, our intellect is capable of abstraction, by which we can understand the object as it is. (Such a process is not to be confused with subjective experience in the sense often used in modern times, which asserts that our encounters with things cannot provide any objective information about them. Objective information is necessarily true regardless of who subjectively experiences it.) Thus are we capable of attaining knowledge; furthermore, it is through this process of apprehension and abstraction that we are able to generalize, and understand things which are universal or immaterial. (Questions 84 through 89 of the First Part of the Summa Theologiae consider the acts of the intellect and how we are capable of understanding. However, the chosen excerpt suffices for the topic at hand.)

Per the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, the essentials of knowledge are as follows: “Knowledge is essentially the consciousness of an object, i.e. of any thing, fact, or principle belonging to the physical, mental, or metaphysical order, that may in any manner be reached by cognitive faculties. An event, a material substance, a man, a geometrical theorem, a mental process, the immortality of the soul, the existence and nature of God, may be so many objects of knowledge...Knowledge supposes a judgment, explicit or implicit. Apprehension, that is, the mental conception of a simple present object, is generally numbered among the cognitive processes, yet, of itself, it is not in the strict sense knowledge, but only its starting-point. Properly speaking, we know only when we compare, identify, discriminate, connect; and these processes, equivalent to judgments, are found implicitly even in ordinary sense-perception...Truth and certitude are conditions of knowledge. A man may mistake error for truth and give his unreserved assent to a false statement. He may then be under the irresistible illusion that he knows, and subjectively the process is the same as that of knowledge; but an essential condition is lacking, namely, conformity of thought with reality, so that there we have only the appearance of knowledge. On the other hand, as long as any serious doubt remains in his mind, a man cannot say that he knows. "I think so" is far from meaning "I know it is so"; knowledge is not mere opinion or probable assent...”

To summarize, we are able to provide descriptive definitions of things because our intellect is capable of apprehending these things as they are. To deny this capacity of the intellect is to implicitly abolish the very possibility of objective truth, for we would be unable to truly differentiate between things in themselves, and thus unable to differentiate between truth and falsehood.

What are the consequences of abandoning this approach to knowledge? To deny the possibility of descriptive definitions requires an epistemological and metaphysical worldview that is incompatible with Catholicism, and Thomism in particular. As has been seen from various figures in past centuries, their attempts to abandon the realism of Scholastic philosophy has resulted in numerous, often contradictory theories of knowledge. In particular, René Descartes’s decision to start from a position of absolute doubt has ushered forth entire schools which reject or distort the traditional concept of metaphysics altogether; without Descartes’s starting point, we may never have arrived at the notorious ideas of individuals like John Locke (who, as an empiricist, aimed at dethroning Aristotelianism and Scholasticism from the universities), Immanuel Kant (who professed that he “had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”, restricting knowledge to an empirical realm such that God and the soul were unknowable by the human mind; furthermore, he insisted that we are incapable of experiencing things in themselves), and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (whose ideas have been acknowledged as the precursor to existentialism [ASM’s note: Introibo recently wrote about some of the errors of existentialist philosophy in “Encountering Error], phenomenology, and the philosophies of more notorious individuals like Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche).* Thus have we meandered our way to the modern world, where mainstream philosophy and epistemology have become so deranged that objective truth is rejected altogether: “If there were objective values, then they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe.” – Mackie, John Leslie. Ethics: inventing right and wrong. London, Penguin Books, 1977, p. 38 [ASM’s note: J.L. Mackie (1917 – 1981) was an Australian philosopher known for being a moral skeptic and a staunch atheist; the aforementioned book infamously opens with the claim that “there are no objective values.”]

Such is the scourge of the philosophies employed by Modernism, which has been covered before on this blog. Papal condemnations of Modernists and their ideas are many:

“[…]Let us turn for a moment, Venerable Brethren, to that most disastrous doctrine of agnosticism. By it every avenue to God on the side of the intellect is barred to man, while a better way is supposed to be opened from the side of a certain sense of the soul and action. But who does not see how mistaken is such a contention? For the sense of the soul is the response to the action of the thing which the intellect or the outward senses set before it. Take away the intelligence, and man, already inclined to follow the senses, becomes their slave. Doubly mistaken, from another point of view, for all these fantasies of the religious sense will never be able to destroy common sense, and common sense tells us that emotion and everything that leads the heart captive proves a hindrance instead of a help to the discovery of truth. We speak of truth in itself — for that other purely subjective truth, the fruit of the internal sense and action, if it serves its purpose for the play of words, is of no benefit to the man who wants above all things to know whether outside himself there is a God into whose hands he is one day to fall...” -  Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists), 1907, par. 39

“[…]There are to be found today, and in no small numbers, men, of whom the Apostle says that: "having itching ears, they will not endure sound doctrine: but according to their own desires they will heap up to themselves teachers, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables" (II Tim. iv. 34). Infatuated and carried away by a lofty idea of the human intellect, by which God’s good gift has certainly made incredible progress in the study of nature, confident in their own judgment, and contemptuous of the authority of the Church, they have reached such a degree of rashness as not to hesitate to measure by the standard of their own mind even the hidden things of God and all that God has revealed to men. Hence arose the monstrous errors of "Modernism," which Our Predecessor rightly declared to be "the synthesis of all heresies," and solemnly condemned. We hereby renew that condemnation in all its fulness, Venerable Brethren, and as the plague is not yet entirely stamped out, but lurks here and there in hidden places, We exhort all to be carefully here and there in hidden places, We exhort all to be carefully on their guard against any contagion of the evil, to which we may apply the words Job used in other circumstances: "It is a fire that devoureth even to destruction, and rooteth up all things that spring" (Job xxxi. 12). Nor do We merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety...” – Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum (Appealing for Peace), 1914, par. 25

“[St. Thomas’s] teaching with regard to the power or value of the human mind is irrefragable. "The human mind has a natural knowledge of being and the things which are in themselves part of being as such, and this knowledge is the foundation of our knowledge of first principles" (Contra Gentes, II, 1xxxiii). Such a doctrine goes to the root of the errors and opinions of those modern philosophers who maintain that it is not being itself which is perceived in the act of intellection, but some modification of the percipient; the logical consequence of such errors is agnosticism, which was so vigorously condemned in the Encyclical Pascendi… if we are to avoid the errors which are the source and fountain-head of all the miseries of our time, the teaching of Aquinas must be adhered to more religiously than ever. For Thomas refutes the theories propounded by Modernists in every sphere, in philosophy, by protecting, as We have reminded you, the force and power of the human mind and by demonstrating the existence of God by the most cogent arguments…It is therefore clear why Modernists are so amply justified in fearing no Doctor of the Church so much as Thomas Aquinas.” – Pope Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem (On St. Thomas Aquinas), 1923,  par. 15, 27

In conclusion, it is incumbent upon us in these days to stand up for objective truth, to articulate the importance of acknowledging reality as it is, and to point out the errors which spawn from ignoring such. Even in the face of those who would scream that we are simply being “intolerant” or “bigoted”, we must affirm and uphold the intrinsic value of definitions which describe things in themselves. Ambiguous and subjective terms are a recipe for logical and rhetorical disaster, as can be seen from the actions and behavior of those who can say (with a straight face!) that a human born with male genitalia and chromosomes is, in fact, a woman; that a marriage can include sodomitical, zoophilic, or even objectophilic relationships; that non-Catholics do, in fact, possess means of salvation separate from Jesus Christ and His Church; and so on.

To behave as if such definitions (and the concepts derived from them) are arbitrary or irrelevant is to reject your God-given nature as a rational being.


* For additional reading about the philosophy of Descartes and his intellectual successors compared to that of St. Thomas Aquinas, I highly recommend the essay written by the Traditionalist Mario Derksen titled “Against the Skeptics: How Thomist Realism Refutes Radical Skepticism”; it covers more details (which were glossed over in this post for the sake of brevity) regarding the origin of modern philosophical skepticism and how St. Thomas explains the workings of human knowledge.

Monday, February 8, 2021

What's So Ordinary About Authority?


To my readers:
Three weeks ago, I published a rebuttal to a Vatican II sect apologist's blog entitled  The Romantic Catholic.  The author of said blog attacked my critique of the inherent errors and heresies in the Vatican II document Gaudiam et Spes which I published last August. To my dismay, a blogger I rebutted in another post before (I refer to him as "Contra" from his blog entitled Contra Sedevacantism) went into the comments section of The Romantic Catholic to calumniate me. Ad hominem name calling, and the false accusation that I'm a "liar," yet unable to substantiate such an attack on my personal character, was what he had to offer. Contra has a small blog of rehashed Siscoe and Salza material against sedevacantism and now has self-published a "book" of sorts which can be downloaded. It is more Salza garbage with generous helpings of bad theology and fallacious reasoning thrown in the mix.

My guest poster, A Simple Man, took it upon himself to refute Contra's work. I consider what he wrote a masterpiece, and I am pleased to publish it as this week's post. I am blessed to have such a man aboard to help me in my work! I hope you enjoy reading his post as much as I did. As for Contra, I think his book is invaluable and downloaded it. After all, you never know when there will be a "spike in COVID" and the government may lock us down again. If so, with Contra's book handy, I need not worry should there be a dearth of toilet paper. ---Introibo

What's So Ordinary About Authority

By A Simple Man

It should go without saying to the long-time readers of this blog that debate and arguing (not to be confused with quarrelling) go hand in hand with being a sedevacantist in this day and age; after all, this theological position is (as of this writing) a distinct minority amongst those who call themselves Catholic. As such, those who have come to hold this belief are doubtless familiar with the many arguments raised for and against it. Sometimes, however, it seems like old territory gets retread over and over again. Alas, the battlefield is often not one of our choosing, and so we must take arms.

To set the stage: on August 10, 2020, Introibo published a post expanding on the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes (“On the Church in the Modern World”), promulgated on December 7, 1965 at the tail end of the Second Vatican Council. The focus of that post was on the various theologians who helped compose it, as well as certain errors contained within it. Months later, on January 10, 2021, a gentleman by the name of Aaron Debusschere made a reply to this post on his own blog, attempting to defend Vatican II against Introibo’s argument. Eight days later, Introibo published his counterargument to Mr. Debusschere.

Mr. Debusschere is not our focus today. Rather, it is an individual who goes by the pseudonym Contra Sedevacantism, who published a pithy reply to Mr. Debusschere’s post that essentially consisted of libelously disparaging Introibo (“[Introibo] is a moron…he’s so steeped in his own lies that he actually believes them…focus your attention on [those] who aren’t steeped in sin.”) before hawking his e-book Contra Sedevacantism: A Definitive Refutation of Sedevacantism (which, after perusing it, appears to be a retread – to some degree at the very least – of material and arguments already utilized by John Salza and Robert Siscoe of True or False Pope? fame, with some personal commentary by Contra mixed in). Readers of this blog might be familiar with that name, since Introibo and Contra crossed swords just last June, as seen in this post and the comments that followed.

Since the arguments presented by Contra in his e-book have been largely addressed before by others (as but one example, Novus Ordo Watch has published dozens of articles in response to Siscoe and Salza), I don’t want to walk over old ground; instead, I will be focusing on certain assertions and comments made by Contra, in the hopes of highlighting the difference in mindset with regards to authority in the Conciliar Church versus that of the Catholic Church. (All words by Contra will be in red from this point forward.)

With regards to his Introduction, Contra states the following: “[Some sedevacantists] will argue given the infallibility of the ordinary papal magisterium (which is a common theological opinion, albeit not de fide) that John XXIII must have been invalidly elected given the heretical content of Pacem in Terris.” In the interest of clarification, I inquired with Contra about his terms on his own blog, to which he then answered promptly:

1.       When you say “ordinary papal magisterium”, are you referring to the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, or something else? I'm referring to the ordinary or authentic magisterium of the Pope. Some notable theologians, among them Fr. Joseph Fenton whom I cite in the book, argue that the pope's infallibility is not limited to extraordinary modes of teaching, but extends to his ordinary magisterial acts when he intends to teach definitely.

2.       What is your source regarding the theological note you assign to that statement (namely, “common theological opinion” vs. “de fide”)? Whether it is a common theological opinion (sententia communis) or [m]erely probable, I can't say for certain, but it is held by several notable theologians such as Billot, Fenton, Franzelin, and Ward.

The reason I wished to be specific is due to a trend I’ve noticed throughout the years (starting while I was a member of the Conciliar Church): namely, “if it’s not infallible, then it can be contradicted or changed later on down the line.” The problem that comes from this mindset is that it artificially and erroneously constrains the very Teaching Authority of the Church into a false dichotomy of “infallible” vs “not infallible”.

First of all, what is “infallibility”? Per the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, infallibility is “in general, exemption or immunity from liability to error or failure; in particular in theological usage, the supernatural prerogative by which the Church of Christ is, by a special Divine assistance, preserved from liability to error in her definitive dogmatic teaching regarding matters of faith and morals.” Furthermore, being distinguished from both Divine Inspiration and Divine Revelation, infallibility “means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error; that it does not require holiness of life, much less imply impeccability in its organs; sinful and wicked men may be God's agents in defining infallibly; and finally that the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.” (Source: Toner, P. (1910). “Infallibility”. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved January 29, 2021 from New Advent:

Normally, infallibility is discussed with regards to ex cathedra pronouncements by the Roman Pontiff on matters of faith and morals, definitive decrees from Ecumenical Councils, and the doctrinal teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church. However, given the vast quantity of decisions, letters, and judgments promulgated by Catholic bishops throughout the ages, there is much which does not possess the character of infallibility. Does this then mean that that which is not infallible can then be ignored or discarded?

On the contrary, there is a level of assent which Catholics are obliged with regards to various decisions made by lawful authority. A brief selection of references follows (bold is emphasis mine):

"Having now inquired into the obligations of Catholics in regard to infallible pronouncements of the Church, there remains to be considered a third class of authoritative decisions which also have a binding force upon the faithful. The Church does not in all her pronouncements intend to exercise in full her supreme prerogative of infallibility. The reason for this we may suppose to be a merciful regard for human weakness, and a desire to give erring souls every opportunity of retractation before the final definitive sentence goes forth which would cast them out of the fold if they remained obdurate. Hence she frequently utters, in the exercise of her authority to teach and govern Christ’s flock, words of warning, exhortation or direction, in virtue not of her infallibility, but of her ordinary ecclesiastical authority. When she thus speaks, it is without doubt the duty of Catholics to listen and to submit their judgment to that of their pastors. This assent is one of religious obedience rather than of faith, though. It does pertain, in a certain degree, to the latter virtue…After all, when the Church speaks, even when she does not speak with all the weight of her infallible utterance, she does invariably give us safe guidance; for, though the speculative truth or falsity of some matter which she treats in this particular way may be, for a time, a matter of question, there can be no question at all that a Catholic is practically secure in listening to the voice of those whom God has set as bishops and pastors to rule the Church." (Source: Fr. Hughes, Henry George. (1906). Essentials and Non-Essentials of the Catholic Religion. Notre Dame, IN: The Ave Maria Press. pp. 26-27, 31. Italics in original. Electronically available in the public domain.)

"In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the apostolic see. And how fitting it is that this should be so any one can easily perceive. For the things contained in the divine oracles have reference to God in part, and in part to man, and to whatever is necessary for the attainment of his eternal salvation. Now, both these, that is to say, what we are bound to believe and what we are obliged to do, are laid down, as we have stated, by the Church using her divine right, and in the Church by the supreme Pontiff. Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live." (Source: Encyclical Letter Sapientiae Christianae, Addressed by the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic world in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See. Promulgated on January 10, 1890. Retrieved January 29, 2021 from Papal Encyclicals Online:

"To formulate and to discuss the criteria by which an infallible utterance may be diagnosed as such is another task for the theologian, and in any case is beyond the scope of this paper. For our purpose it is sufficient to register the fact that much of the authoritative teaching of the Church, whether in the form of Papal encyclicals, decisions, condemnations, replies from Roman Congregations – such as the Holy office – or from the Biblical Commission, is not an exercise of the infallible magisterium. And here once again our cautious believer raises his voice: “Must I believe it? The answer is implicit in the principles already established. We have seen that the source of the obligation to believe is not the infallibility of the Church but her divine commission to teach. Therefore, whether her teaching is guaranteed by infallibility or not, the Church is always the divinely appointed teacher and guardian of revealed truth, and consequently the supreme authority of the Church, even when it does not intervene to make an infallible and definitive decision on matters of faith or morals, has the right, in virtue of the divine commission, to command the obedient assent of the faithful. In the absence of infallibility the assent thus demanded cannot be that of faith, whether Catholic or ecclesiastical; it will be an assent of a lower order proportioned to its ground or motive. But whatever name be given to it – for the present we may call it belief – it is obligatory; obligatory not because the teaching is infallible – it is not – but because it is the teaching of the divinely appointed Church. It is the duty of the Church, as Franzelin has pointed out, not only to teach revealed doctrine but also to protect it, and therefore the Holy See “may prescribe as to be followed or proscribe as to be avoided theological opinions or opinions connected with theology, not only with the intention of infallibly deciding the truth by a definitive pronouncement, but also – without any such intention – merely for the purpose of safeguarding the security of Catholic doctrine.” If it is the duty of the Church, even though non-infallibly, to “prescribe or proscribe” doctrines to this end, then it is evidently also the duty of the faithful to accept them or reject them accordingly. Nor is this obligation of submission to the non-infallible utterances of authority satisfied by the so-called silentium obsequiosum. The security of Catholic doctrine, which is the purpose of these decisions, would not be safeguarded if the faithful were free to withhold their assent. It is not enough that they should listen in respectful silence, refraining from open opposition. They are bound in conscience to submit to them, and conscientious submission to a doctrinal decree does not mean only to abstain from publicly rejecting it; it means the submission of one’s own judgment to the more competent judgment of authority.(Source: Canon Smith, George, Ph.D., D.D. (April 1935) “Must I Believe It?” The Clergy Review, vol. 9. Original article comprised pp. 296-309. Italics in original. Retrieved January 29, 2021 from Novus Ordo Watch:

"An astonishingly large number of prominent theologians can be found among those who take no adequate cognizance of the encyclical letters in their treatises on papal infallibility. These men content themselves with an examination of and a theological demonstration for the formula by which the Vatican Council defined the Holy Father’s infallibility. Bishop Joseph Fessler, the Vatican Council’s secretary, used this approach in his reply to the “Old Catholic” Schultes. The famous and highly influential Cardinal Cammillus Mazzella followed the same line, as did Archbishops Richard Downey, Valentine Zubizarreta, and Horace Mazzella, Bishop Michael d’Herbigny, Canon Auguste Leboucher, and Fathers Sylvester Berry, Hugo Hurter, Sylvester Hunter, Bernard Tepe, Raphael Cercia, Basil Prevel, Gabriel Casanova, and Gerard Paris. As a group these writers frequently give the impression that they consider only those truths proposed by the Holy Father solemni iudicio as infallibly defined, to the exclusion of those truths which he sets forth ordinario et universali magisterio. Another very imposing group of theologians explicitly list the papal encyclicals, at least in a general way, as non-infallible documents. Bishop Hilarinus Felder, Msgr. Caesar Manzoni, and Fathers Emil Dorsch, Reginald Schultes, Antonio Vellico, Ludwig Koesters, Ludwig Lercher, and Aelred Graham teach thus in their treatises. The same view is set forth by Fr. Mangenot in his excellent article on the encyclicals in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, by Fr. Lucien Choupin in his outstanding monograph, by Fr. Thomas Pegues in his frequently quoted article in the Revue thomiste on the authority of the encyclicals, and by Canon George Smith in his brilliant study on this subject in the Clergy Review. Fr. Jean Vincent Bainvel, along with Choupin and Schultes, incidentally, refers explicitly to the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII and classifies them as non-infallible, while the article of Pegues was written as an answer to a question sent in to the Revue thomiste about the doctrinal authority of Pope Leo’s encyclicals. Fr. Herman Dieckmann classifies the doctrine contained in papal encyclicals with that of the Roman Congregations. The distinguished theologians who deny the papal encyclicals the status of infallible documents teach, none the less, that the faithful are bound in conscience to accord these letters not only the tribute of respectful silence, but also a definite and sincere internal religious assent. To this end many of them, like Fr. De Groot, apply to the encyclicals a teaching with the eminent and brilliant Dominic Palmieri had developed about the Catholic attitude towards non-infallible teaching in the Church. Pegues, in his Revue thomiste article, makes this application with his usual clarity. ‘Hence it follows that the authority of the encyclicals is not at all the same as that of the solemn definition, the one properly so-called. The definition demands an assent without reservation and makes a formal act of faith obligatory. The case of the encyclical’s authority is not the same. This authority (of the papal encyclicals) is undoubtedly great. It is, in a sense, sovereign. It is the teaching of the supreme pastor and teacher of the Church. Hence the faithful have a strict obligation to receive this teaching with an infinite respect. A man must not be content simply not to contradict it openly and in a more or less scandalous fashion. An internal mental assent is demanded. It should be received as the teaching sovereignly authorized within the Church. Ultimately, however, this assent is not the same as the one demanded in the formal act of faith. Strictly speaking, it is possible that this teaching (proposed in the encyclical letter) is subject to error. There are a thousand reasons to believe that it is not. It has probably never been (erroneous), and it is normally certain that it will never be. But, absolutely speaking, it could be, because God does not guarantee it as He guarantees the teaching formulated by way of definition’.(Msgr. Fenton, Clifford Joseph, S.T.D., S.T.L., J.C.B. (August 1949) “The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals.” The American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 121. Original article comprised pp. 136-150. Italics in original. Bracketed footnotes removed for sake of readability.) 

"In the light of [previously mentioned] Thomistic principles, we can clarify the assent required in the case of Papal pronouncements in matters of belief and opinion. Belief. When we accept a statement on the extrinsic grounds of the authority of him who states it, we make an act of belief. Thus, we believe things taught by the Pope in his Ordinary Magisterium. But this act of belief is by no means an unreasonable, or irrational act. My will does not “do violence” to my reason, and “force” it to accept something against which, on rational grounds, it rebels. This is, I grant, the picture that critics of the Church’s Teaching Authority like to paint, but it is an absurd caricature…When the truth to be believed is presented to us by the Pope, the intellect, lacking intrinsic evidence for the truth itself, nevertheless does have a tremendously powerful and eminently rational extrinsic reason for assent: the authority and doctrinal competence of the Supreme Teacher of Christendom. This reason, since it is extrinsic, does not coerce the intellectual assent; it is not a necessitating reason, but it is a sufficient reason; and only on the intellectual judgment that the Papal Teaching Authority is a sufficient reason does the will move the intellect to assent…So far we have been dealing with the assent required for what is set forth by the Pope as a certain truth. Admittedly the truth is not guaranteed by the charisma of infallibility; also, in the case of belief, the certitude is neither metaphysical nor physical. But we do have a high degree of moral certitude of the truth itself. When the Pope, however, calls upon our assent in a matter of opinion, there are other elements to be considered. Opinion. Opinion, of its very nature, does not include certitude of the proposition opined; certitude always involves freedom from any fear of error, but opinion “accipit alterum oppositorum cum formidine alterius.” [ASM’s note: in other words, an opinion accepts one of two opposites, though with the fear that the other may be true.] It would seem that the assent required in the case of an opinion is more complex than that we give to a proposition set forth as containing a certain truth. Before examining briefly the nature of the psychological act, however, it must be noted that the Sovereign Pontiffs certainly do require a dutiful submission to the Teaching Authority in matters of opinion…What constitutes, exactly, the “internal religious assent” that we elicit in a matter of opinion? I think it is two-fold. As regards the opinion itself, we do not, of course, have certitude that what the proposition states is true. If we did have that certitude, we would no longer be in the field of opinion, and it is precisely as an opinion that the matter is presented to us. Motivated by the authority and competency of the Holy Father, we hold the matter precisely as an opinion. This is one aspect of the act of assent we make regarding a matter of opinion. I believe, however, that there is something more than this required for the integral unconditional internal assent we owe to the Pontifical assent even in the field of opinion. We also assent unconditionally, with no fear of error, to the fact that the opinion the Pope sets forth is well founded and safe, and is the opinion that we as Catholics are to act upon and follow. This two-fold view of the act of assent safeguards both the psychological reality involved and the docility due to the Teaching Authority of the Holy Father. There remains just one final word to be said in this section regarding the religious quality of the assent. Even where infallibility is not involved, nevertheless our assent, while not as intimately connected with divine faith as is the “fides mediate divina” we give to pronouncements regarding the secondary objects of infallibility, does ultimately depend upon our faith in the Teaching Authority of the Vicar of Christ on earth. We assent as Catholics; with the humility and docility and whole-heartedness proper to a religious act. We assent not hesitatingly, not grudgingly, but gladly; not as slaves but as men eminently free. For we have seen the Truth, and it is the Truth that makes men free." (Source: Fr. Benard, Edmond D. (June 25-27, 1951) “The Doctrinal Value of the Ordinary Teaching of the Holy Father in View of Humani Generis.” Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America. pp. 94, 96-98. Italics in original. Retrieved on January 29, 2021 from

The preceding citation is well worth reading in its entirety, particularly for the opening pages that go into great detail regarding magisterial terminology. However, I believe the point has been well made.

To summarize, even when the full force of infallibility is not invoked in the magisterial teaching of the Church or the Roman Pontiff (be it solemn or ordinary), there is an obligation to assent externally and internally on the part of Catholics, corresponding to the degree and force of what is being promulgated. (This, incidentally, ties into why the Church’s theological qualifications specify the type of sin and censure that is attached to a denial of a given teaching, as elaborated by Fr. Sixtus Cartechini, S.J. in his 1951 work De Valore Notarum Theologicarum. For example, denying a dogma is a mortal sin directly against the virtue of faith, carrying with it the censure of heresy and – if outwardly professed – automatic excommunication; to contrast this, denying a certain teaching (usually a truth held unanimously by the theological schools as derived from revealed truth with multiple steps of reasoning, lesser in rank than a “dogmatic fact” or a “theological conclusion”) is generally a mortal sin of temerity, carrying with it the censure of temerarious; and so on.)

It is precisely in light of the prior citations (and many more not referenced here) that McHugh, O.P. and Callan, O.P. concisely state the moral principles regarding the assent owed by Catholics:

760. Many tenets of the Church, indeed, have not the prerogative of infallibility—for example, decrees of the Popes not given ex cathedra, decisions of Congregations made with Papal approval, teachings of Bishops to particular members of the Church, doctrines commonly held by Catholics as theological truths or certain conclusions. These decrees, decisions, etc., receive not the assent of Catholic faith, but what is called religious assent, which includes two things, viz., external and internal assent.

(a) External assent should be given such teachings—that is, the homage of respectful silence due to public authority. This does not forbid the submission of difficulties to the teaching authority, or the scientific examination of objections that seem very strong.

(b) Internal assent should be given such teaching—that is, the submission of the judgment of the individual to the judgment of the teacher who has the authority from Christ and assistance from the Holy Spirit. This internal assent differs, however, from the assent of faith, inasmuch as it excludes fear of error, but not of the possibility of error, and it may later on be suspended, called into doubt, or even revoked. Pope Pius X in his Motu proprio, "Praestantia scripturae Sacrae" (Nov. 18, 1907), indicated the binding force of the decrees both of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of all doctrinal decrees: All are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future, in the same way as to the decrees which appertain to doctrine, issued by the Sacred Congregations and approved by the Supreme Pontiff; nor can they escape the stigma both of disobedience and temerity, nor be free from grave guilt as often as they impugn their decisions either in word or writing; and this over and above the scandal which they give and the sins of which they may be the cause before God by making other statements on these matters which are very frequently both rash and false. (Reaffirmed by the Biblical Commission on Feb. 27, 1934.)

761. The objects, therefore, which formally or reductively pertain to the virtue of faith, are as follows:

(a) Divine faith has for its object all the truths revealed by God as contained in the Canonical scriptures approved by the Church, and in the teachings received by the Apostles from Christ or the Holy Spirit and handed down to the Church as Tradition. Private revelations in exceptional cases may also be the object of divine faith.

(b) Catholic faith has for its object all the truths formally revealed in scripture and Tradition that have been defined as such by the Church. The definitions of the Church are either solemn (e.g., those given in the Creeds, ex cathedra definitions of the Popes, decisions of Ecumenical Councils) or ordinary (e.g., those contained in the universal preaching, practice or belief of the Church, encyclical letters [see Humani Generis, n.20]). Equivalent to definitions are the condemnations of error opposed to revealed truths.

(c) According to some theologians ecclesiastical faith has for its object all infallible decisions of the Church about matters not revealed, but connected with revelation, or necessary for the exercise of the teaching office of the Church. Such are: (i) definitions, that is, definitive declarations of theological conclusions or of dogmatic facts, disciplinary laws made for the entire Church, canonization of the saints [ASM’s note: Note well, Siscoe and Salza, if you ever happen to read this], solemn approbation of religious Orders, express or special recognition of Doctors of the Church, declaration of the relation of private revelations to the public revelation; and (ii) censures, that is, condemnations of teachings, on account of falsity, as heretical, near to heresy, savoring of heresy, erroneous, rash, etc.; on account of their expression, as equivocal, ambiguous, presumptuous, captious, suspected, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, etc.; on account of their tendency, as scandalous, schismatical, seditious, unsafe, etc. Examples: The definitions concerning the sense of the book Augustinus, the suitability of the terms "consubstantial" and "transubstantiation," the agreement of the Vulgate with the original scriptures, the lawfulness of the insertion of the Filioque.

(d) Religious assent has for its object all doctrinal pronouncements of the Church that are not infallible, but are yet official and authoritative. Examples are ordinary instructions and condemnations given by Pontifical Congregations and Commissions. The Syllabus of Modern Errors issued by Pius IX was most likely not an infallible or definitive document, although many of the errors it rejects are contrary to dogma, and hence, even apart from the Syllabus, they are to be rejected as opposed to Catholic faith. Likewise, many of its tenets are drawn from encyclical letters. Papal allocutions, radio addresses, and the doctrinal parts of Apostolic Constitutions, in themselves, are in this class.

(e) Respect is due to the judgment of the Church even in non-doctrinal matters and where no obligation is imposed by her, on account of her position and the careful examination given before decision. Example: It would be disrespectful to reject without good reason a pious belief which the Church after mature deliberation has permitted to be held.

762. Though the truths of faiths are many, the duty of believing imposes no great burden on the believer. Thus: (a) it is not required that explicit belief be given to all the teachings of faith; (b) it is not required that one distinguish the particular kind of assent in case of uncertainty, but it suffices to yield assent according to the mind and intention of the Church. Example: When a group of propositions is condemned under various censures, no indication being made of the censure that applies to particular propositions, it suffices to hold that all of them are false, and that to each of them applies one or more of the censures listed.

(Source: Fr. McHugh, John A. and Fr. Callan, Charles J. (May 24, 1958) “Part II. Special Moral Theology: Art. 1. The Virtue of Faith – The Object of Faith.” Moral Theology: A Complete Course Based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the Best Modern Authorities. New York City: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc. para. 760-762. Italics in original. Retrieved on January 29, 2021 from Project Gutenberg:

Even if we were to assume (for the sake of argument) that something like Amoris Laetitia was merely Francis’s opinion, could we even deign to classify it as safe for Catholics to assent to?

This is the unfortunate scenario that Contra Sedevacantism finds himself in, as seen from his concluding thoughts on page 263 of his e-book: "Indeed, it is easy to see that the vast majority of bishops share the Pope’s ideas about false ecumenism, false religious freedom, etc.  It is therefore impossible to imagine in the current circumstances, a judgment of a General Council which would declare the heresy of Pope Francis. Humanly speaking we see the situation is hopeless.  We must wait that the Providence, in one way or another, shows the way to overcome this impasse.  Meanwhile, it is prudent to maintain the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and pray for the Pope, while resisting his “heresies”." I can certainly tell you what won’t overcome this impasse: recognizing as the Roman Catholic Church an institution that, among other things

  • Universally promulgates a “Mass” formulated by Modernists with the help of six Protestant theologians to replace the traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Rite, emphasizing the presence of Christ in the gathered assembly at the expense (and the denigration, I would argue) of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the Mass’s character as a propitiatory sacrifice;
  • Promulgates disciplinary and liturgical laws that not only allow non-Catholics to partake of the sacraments without having to abjure their errors and reconcile with the Church (to the point of lessening the extreme degree as to what a sacramental emergency traditionally entailed, especially with regards to the Eucharist), but allows public communication (and even active participation!) in non-Catholic rites of worship (contrast paragraph 964 from McHugh and Callan’s Moral Theology and Canon 1258 §1 from the 1917 Code of Canon Law with Part IV of John Paul II’s Directory for the application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, promulgated on March 25, 1993 to “the Pastors of the Catholic Church” with the additional hope that the Directory would be “useful to members of Churches and ecclesial Communications that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.”);          
  • Regularly promotes and participates in “interfaith” gatherings with heretics, schismatics, infidels, and pagans, most notably in the Assisi Interreligious Prayer meetings in 1986, 1993, 2002, 2011, and 2016;
  • Publicly issues a joint declaration with the Lutheran World Federation that the modern Lutheran Church’s doctrine on justification (as of October 1999) does not fall under the condemnations of the Council of Trent, when the declaration’s own descriptions of that doctrine run afoul of Trent’s solemn anathemas.

I could go on. Does the above sound like an institution which cares about the salvation of souls?

Some other miscellaneous tidbits from Contra’s e-book, commented on in no particular order:

-          Contra blanketly condemns sedevacantism as heretical, per the very title of Chapter 1 (“Sedevacantism  is Heretical”). Notwithstanding the simple retort that every Catholic is a sedevacantist during a papal interregnum, it is simply false strictly speaking to state this unequivocally (notwithstanding certain old and/or fallacious arguments to the contrary). As but one example, to profess an extended papal interregnum does not entail a direct denial of the perpetual nature of the Church’s governance or her indefectibility. Interestingly enough, on pp. 77-79, Contra directly quotes one of Introibo’s comments from his post “Contra Catholicism” when discussing the matter of an extended papal interregnum; aside from Contra saying that “an extended interregnum is not intrinsically incompatible with the necessity of ordinary jurisdiction” (and I’m not sure why he would respond with this, given that Introibo explicitly says that “Ordinary jurisdiction is not necessary” is but a possible solution of the two he provided), he caps off that section by stating “laws of purely ecclesiastical origin would cease to be binding when they become harmful to the Church…supposing an extended papal interregnum was possible, the requirement of a papal mandate for episcopal consecrations would be suspended at least temporally [recte temporarily].” This, in rather few words, sounds like an application of the principle of epikeia, which a lot of sedevacantists cite with regards to the decisions they make in this day and age, so…good on Contra for coming to an agreement, I suppose?

(I also don’t know why he responds to Introibo’s second solution with “the quotation by Fr. Salaverri is inapposite, since no one is denying the hypothetical possibility of a heretical Pope.” There are actually a lot of people who deny the possibility of a heretical Pope, even as a hypothetical, for there are many (yours truly included) who consider it a blanket contradiction in terms.

-          Contra argues that St. Robert Bellarmine rejects the Great Apostasy. The specific citation Contra references (pp. 203-206) from Bellarmine’s On the Church Militant argues against the Protestants of his day who were arguing that a Great Apostasy of sorts had already occurred in the past, and were trying to attribute such a falling away to the Catholic Church. It is fallacious to assert that Bellarmine thereby rejects in general the idea of the Great Apostasy, since – notwithstanding eschatological debates and common opinions regarding when and how the end times will begin, when and where Antichrist will arise, etcetera – not all who profess belief in the Great Apostasy (sedevacantist or otherwise) necessarily believe that all Catholic bishops will thereby apostatize as a result (and this is not even getting into those who think that what we are facing now is simply a lesser apostasy, akin in scope to the Arian Heresy, the Byzantine Iconoclasms, or the Protestant Revolution).

       Furthermore, given how much ink Bellarmine spilt debating Protestants (who had all been subjects of the Catholic Church a mere generation or two before his birth), it wouldn’t be beyond the saint’s imagination to envision or conceive of a great falling away of the lay faithful at the very least, especially in light of the stark terms with which he describes the persecution of the Antichrist in Chapter VII, Book III of De Romano Pontifice: “in the time of Antichrist, on account of the atrocity of persecution, the public office and daily sacrifice of the Church will cease…” (For the record, I don’t think the Antichrist has become manifest yet, since the daily sacrifice of the Church is still ongoing.) As such, Contra’s statement in the subsequent section (regarding Henry Cardinal Manning’s reliance on Bellarmine and other theologians for his prophecy) – “Bellarmine offers six counterarguments to protestant claims of the Pope being the antichrist.  The same arguments utilized by Bellarmine can be applied to sedevacantist claims.” – falls flat, because being a sedevacantist does not necessitate a concurrent belief that we are now living through the Great Apostasy of end times prophecy (even though I acknowledge that there are some who do believe this). Furthermore, in the interest of fairness, I would argue that there are many sedevacantists who use the term “Great Apostasy” in a looser sense, referring to the general coarsening of morals and decrease of faith in the leadup to the actual Revolt, and the emergence of Antichrist; for as the same Cardinal Manning states elsewhere: “Such, then, is the Revolt, which has been gathering strength these 1800 years, and ripening for the hour when it shall receive its leader and head.” (Source: Fr. Manning, Henry Edward, D.D. (1862) The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ (2nd ed.). London: Burns & Lambert. pp. 103.)

-          Contra argues that sedevacantists who reject Vatican II are akin to Protestants that judged and rejected the Council of Trent. (pp. 185-186) First of all, the very first condition cited from Bellarmine – “[The Protestants] require that before [an Ecumenical] Council occurs all the acts of the Council of Trent be invalidated.” – isn’t one that sedevacantists generally profess (the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are the vacancy pushers who go back to a time before Trent, but I can comfortably say that they’re a distinct minority). Secondly, this assumes the very fact that’s under dispute: Contra argues that sedevacantists reject an ecumenical council, while sedevacantists argue that Vatican II (in light of everything which was promulgated afterwards) wasn’t a true ecumenical council to begin with. Third, to compare Trent to Vatican II is erroneous, since – in letter, in spirit, and in fact – much of Trent has been repudiated by Vatican II and its fruits. (On a tangential note, why exactly is being equated with a Protestant a bad thing, to use the Conciliar Church’s standards? After all, are Protestants not also “means of salvation”? It would only be a problem if Contra believes that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, but that wouldn’t be a very “ecumenical” attitude.)

-          Contra states that (assuming, for the sake of his argument, that the Second Vatican Council is heretical), per canon 2316 of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code, the entire body of bishops would be suspect of heresy if they accepted Vatican II. However, “then the formal visibility of the Church would be undermined since the note of apostolicity of doctrine would be called into question.” First of all, Canon 2316 explicitly states that “whoever in any manner willingly and knowingly helps in the promulgation of heresy, or who communicates in things divine with heretics against the prescription of Canon 1258, is suspected of heresy.” It is easy for some to make claims in hindsight, but there are many sedevacantists who honestly acknowledge the confusing reality of what was occurring at that time for those who lived through it. If someone as orthodox and erudite as Monsignor Fenton struggled to reconcile Vatican II with what came before, then how can we readily claim that all of the bishops at that Council “willingly and knowingly” promulgated heretical doctrine? (I can’t help but note that on pp. 174, Contra underlines “helps in the promulgation of heresy” but not “willingly and knowingly”, which changes a great deal. Decades later, ignorance of the errors promulgated can be deemed less excusable in light of their rotten fruits, but at that time? A lot of people were confused by the changes introduced and what came after them.) Secondly, it strikes me as disingenuous to use suspicion of heresy as a means to discredit sedevacantism (at least with regards to the Church’s formal visibility), while at the same time arguing elsewhere that suspicion of heresy is not as big of a deal that sedevacantists make it out to be in light of various caveats (see pp. 7 with regards to John XXIII, pp. 154 with regards to suspicion of heresy vs. notorious heresy,  pp. 168 with regards to canonical warnings, and so on). After all, if the entire body of bishops became suspect of heresy because of Vatican II, yet weren’t warned (hypothetically speaking) about the cause of their suspicion, then how can Contra say that the formal visibility of the Church is negatively impacted in any meaningful way?

-          Contra argues that, with regards to Lumen Gentium, “the purpose of altering the phrase from "est" to "subsistit in" is to recognize those material elements of the Church (e.g., sacraments, power of orders) that reside in other ecclesial bodies, whereas it is only the Catholic Church which is the form or singular instantiation of the Church of Christ.” Notwithstanding that this conception of ecclesiology would have been utterly foreign in the eyes of the Church’s Magisterium prior to Vatican II, none other than Joseph Ratzinger comments on the Council’s discrepancy with what was taught prior: “We now ask the following question: what really was the idea of the Council on the universal Church? It cannot be rightly said that the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith tacitly identifies the universal Church with the Roman Church, or de facto with the Pope and the Curia…With this expression, the Council differs from the formula of Pius XII, who said in his Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi: "The Catholic Church “is” (est) the one mystical body of Christ". The difference between subsistit and est [conceals] within itself the whole ecumenical problem.” (Source: Ratzinger, Joseph. (19 September 2001) “The Ecclesiology of the Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, ‘Lumen Gentium’.” L’Osservatore Romano (Weekly Edition in English). pp. 5. Retrieved on January 30, 2021 from EWTN:

Alas, by the time Ratzinger ‘became Pope Benedict XVI’ (as Contra would assert), his complaints about misinterpretations of Vatican II still did not result in a return to the traditional understanding of true ecumenism: “Two rules are generally regarded nowadays as fundamental for interreligious dialogue: 1. Dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at understanding. In this respect it differs from evangelization, from mission; 2. Accordingly, both parties to the dialogue remain consciously within their identity, which the dialogue does not place in question either for themselves or for the other. These rules are correct, but in the way they are formulated here I still find them too superficial. True, dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at better mutual understanding – that is correct. But all the same, the search for knowledge and understanding always has to involve drawing closer to the truth. Both sides in this piece-by-piece approach to truth are therefore on the path that leads forward and towards greater commonality, brought about by the oneness of the truth. As far as preserving identity is concerned, it would be too little for the Christian, so to speak, to assert his identity in a such a way that he effectively blocks the path to truth. Then his Christianity would appear as something arbitrary, merely propositional. He would seem not to reckon with the possibility that religion has to do with truth.” (Source: Ecumenical Meeting Apostolic Journey to Cologne on the Occasion of the XX World Youth Day, Addressed by Benedict XVI to Representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. Delivered on August 19, 2005. Retrieved on January 30, 2021 from

(Ratzinger’s proverbial word salad stands in stark contrast to Pope Leo XIII in paragraph 8 of Satis Cognitum: “Whatsoever [Jesus Christ] commands, He commands by the same authority. He requires the assent of the mind to all truths without exception. It was thus the duty of all who heard Jesus Christ, if they wished for eternal salvation, not merely to accept His doctrine as a whole, but to assent with their entire mind to all and every point of it, since it is unlawful to withhold faith from God even in regard to one single point.” If Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; if the Church He founded is the pillar and ground of the truth; then what good does it do for the Christian in Ratzinger’s hypothetical ‘dialogue’ to compromise on the Truth so that he may have “greater commonality” with someone who does not possess it? Alas, this modern emphasis on “dialogue”, as understood by the Conciliar Church, has had the practical effect of minimizing the essential importance of evangelization and conversion. Case in pointRatzinger once advised a Lutheran to not convert to Catholicism, and so she died a Lutheran in 2014.)

There are more things I could comment on, but I believe this post has gone on long enough.

In conclusion, Contra has put himself in the unenviable position of arguing in defense of a religion whose visible head – the putative sign of unity for the faithful, the stable rock of faith and doctrine, the means by which one is supposed to know whether or not they’re even Catholic – is objectively contrary in his teachings on faith and morals (infallible or otherwise) to that which came before; furthermore, it is a religion whose hierarchy (from all appearances) uses its ordinary authority to regularly promote and promulgate non-Catholic practices, morals, and teachings. However, in the end, if you don’t like what one bishop says, you can simply go to one you do think is sufficiently orthodox; thus does one bid farewell to the Chair of Unity!

Even though Contra asserts that Providence will provide the way to overcome this harrowing ‘pontificate’, he has already conceded that which is non-negotiable, letting the metaphorical fox into the theological henhouse: by conceding that the Vicar of Christ can teach error and falsehood in his capacity as the Pope – but only so long as it’s not “infallible” – Contra has implicitly condemned the ordinary authority of the Roman Pontiff, and ultimately that of the Church herself.

Even though I agree that this particular crisis will be ultimately resolved by God’s Providence, I can at least take solace in the possibility of a true Pope returning to the Chair of St. Peter; one who “even in his human weaknesses…is invincible and unshakable,” to quote Pius XII from his 1949 address Ancora Una Volta.

Contra and his fellow “Recognize & Resisters” can’t even claim that much, for their doctrinal and theological presuppositions implicitly reduce the Roman Pontiff to…well, just one more ordinary man among many.

[ASM's Addendum, dated 02/09/2021: After further clarification, I misinterpreted the formatting of the Google Doc e-book I referenced while originally writing this post. The 'concluding thoughts' I had attributed to Contra were actually part of a larger citation related to a work of John of St. Thomas that had been translated and annotated from the Latin to French by the post-Vatican II Dominican Rev. Pierre-Marie (subsequently translated into English by Rev. Juan Carlos Ortiz), retrieved from the website of a French monastery openly dedicated to Marcel Lefebvre. The 'concluding thoughts' are therefore ostensibly those of Pierre-Marie, and not Contra. He has further clarified that he is not a "Recognize & Resister", and maintains that "there is nothing intrinsically incompatible with heresy existing in the ordinary magisterium." I leave it to the reader to try and square that particular circle.]

[ASM's 2nd Addendum, dated 02/10/2021: As of yesterday evening, Contra has deleted my original comment thread on his blog post. As such, this guest post is currently the only known record outstanding of the questions I originally asked him prior to publication.]