On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply (I)

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JMJ

Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine
Staunch defender of the Faith and the rights of the Apostolic See

“Unfortunately, your position boils down to: criticize ‘the pope’ but don’t dare do so to the SSPX, thereby effectively attributing infallibility to the Society, and judging ‘the pope.’” – Rob, a Sedevacantist

It is rather unfortunate when one ascribes to another a position without carefully: ascertaining first the principles upon which the latter stands; and, examining the terms he employs – whether they actually correspond to the distinctive shades of reality which must not be confused. To do so would be presumptuous.

Principles:

Pretension does not ground one in truth. Now, of all those who claim to be adhering still to God through His Holy Catholic Religion, amidst the loss of faith throughout the Catholic world most especially in Rome (according to the last phrase of the Second Memoirs of Sr. Maria Lucia, C.D., of Fatima – introducing the “Third Secret of Fatima”; cf., also our post “The Great Tribulation”), only the Sedevacantist (sedes, Latin for “chair”; that is, the Chair of St. Peter in Rome vacant for many decades now either since the reign of Pope John XXIII – who called Vatican II into session in 1962 – or of Pope John Paul II) position then is the orthodox Catholic – and not the position of Abp. Lefebvre and his Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX). The Sedevacantist position therefore is of God.

Upon examination, the Sedevacantist position reveals how its Catholic claim is rather a falsity. Now, a Catholic is one “bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience [to the Roman Pontiff]” (Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870). But the Sedevacantist position claims that there is now, for many decades already, no “true” Roman Pontiff under whose jurisdiction its adherent must still be subject. Therefore, a Sedevacantist is not a Catholic.

If the visible Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ is to last even to the consummation of the world, “so in His Church [the same Lord and Master] wished [the Roman Pontiff, successor to St. Peter, under whose jurisdiction are all the baptized subject] to be even to the consummation of the world (cf., Vatican I, ibid.). This indefectibility of the Church is a dogma which Catholics profess but the Sedevacantists, in claiming that there is now no “true” Roman Pontiff, negate. Pope Pius XII teaches that Our Lord Jesus Christ in “continuing Himself to govern the Church… rules it visibly through His personal representative on earth [that is, the pope] (Mystici Corporis Christi, 38).” In another instance, the same Pope reiterates that the Church is “An immense kingdom… made up of men united among themselves by visible bonds, and like an immense flock guided by a single and sovereign Shepherd, it cannot dispense with an organ of government, a hierarchy of persons…” (Ministry of the Word, message to all newly-weds of Jan. 21, 1942). To say that the Church has lost her visible head, and with it the potestas docendi, or the Teaching Body of the Church – as the Sedevacantist position claims – is to make Our Lord a liar Who promised that I am with you all days until the end of time (Mt. 28.20), and to nullify “the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church” (Roman Catechism, TAN Books, p. 102). St. John Chrysostom says that “the Church would fail if it were not for its Head, who is the centre of its unity, as a ship would be wrecked if deprived of its pilot” (in Frs. Spirago-Clarke, The Catechism Explained).

The Sedevacantist position then “is in vain [flattering itself to be the orthodox Catholic], if one is separated from the Chair of Peter on which the Church is founded” (Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem, Mar. 17, 1856). “He who dares to withdraw from the unity of the Roman Church is excluded from the divine mysteries [and that] ‘he who eats of the Lamb outside this holy Church’ [which] must be united to and supported by the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, ‘is reprobate’” (Pope Pius IX and quoting St. Jerome, Commissum Divinitus, May 17, 1835). Therefore, to those who adhere to the Sedevacantist position: “he who observes not this unity observes not the law of God, holds not the faith of the Father and the Son, clings not to life and salvation” (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896). In this regard, the Sedevacantist approaches rather a Protestant position which reduced the Church into that erroneous notion of a mysteriously invisible communion after having confused the failings of the popes as the failure of the See of St. Peter – which Office, rather than the occupant, carries the guarantee the Divine Lord and Master spoke to Peter: I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not (Lk 22.32).

That thy faith fail not…

Doubtless, numerous facts establish the material heresy committed, in particular, by Pope John Paul II through his words, decisions, and actions. But the Sedevacantist position will never be able to establish the case of formal heresy –which alone could strictly and technically qualify Pope John Paul II as “heretic,” so it says – in the absence of a higher juridical authority over the former Pope (or Popes) censuring and, if there was pertinacity in error (subject to the determination of the same higher juridical authority), pronouncing against him/them a condemnatory judgment. By this, the Sedevacantist position exhibits clearly a proud spirit in arrogating to itself a juridical position which it should rather patiently reserve to that Holy Pope for “neither by Augustus, nor by all the clergy, nor by religious, nor by the people will the judge be judged: ‘the first seat will not be [juridically] judged by anyone’” (Roman Council of 860-63 under Pope St. Nicholas I).

Granted there was the case of formal heresy, even then this in no way would call for the Sedevacantist position of casting off completely the Catholic yoke of “hierarchical subordination and true obedience” to the Roman Pontiff [which “’true’ obedience” rather necessitates the ‘resistance’ once exhibited by the Apostle St. Paul in rebuking St. Peter to the face (Gal. 2.11) and taken up again by Abp. Lefebvre (and his Society) vis-a-vis the impious and, often, sacrilegious novelties (most especially in the realm of divine worship) of the Roman Pontiffs for the more than four decades past. We read in the original version of Pope Leo XIII’s Little Exorcism: “Now most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness the Church… Where the seat of blessed Peter and the throne of Truth was established like a light for the nations, there they have set up the abominable throne of their wickedness, so that having once struck the pastor they might scatter the flock.” Now, side by side with the secret instructions of the Carbonari (the Italian Freemasons) on the one hand, and the circulation of the “humanitarian principles” of the French Revolution by the Popes themselves (from John XXIII) on the other, we can see the fulfillment of Apoc. 2.12-13 where Our Lord addresses the Angel (that is, in Scriptural language, the bishop) of the Church in Pergamus thus: I know where thou dwellest, where the seat of Satan is… However, the Word of Truth tells us the state of the bishop of that Church which Satan desired to possess for his seat: Thou… hast not denied my faith. To the Protestants, then: the Pope is not the Antichrist. And to the Sedevacantists: the Church of Rome once headed by Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and now by Pope Benedict XVI, has yet to overturn – nor will ever overturn – the infallible solemn pronouncements of the Chair of St. Peter with equally infallible solemn pronouncements to the contrary!

Our Lord, in further addressing the Roman Pontiff through the words of the Book of the Apocalypse thus: I have against thee a few things (2.14), does not in any way betray him to be a fraud usurper of the throne. Rather, He urges the Roman Pontiff to exercise the fullness of his sovereign apostolic authority in putting order in the Church by fighting against the agents whom the father of lies sowed within.

The confusion then of the Sedevacantist position with material and formal heresy does not lend any credence whatsoever to its arrogated juridical assertion that Pope John Paul II was a “heretic” and therefore had ceased to be a lawful visible head of the Church. Even on this point, Sedevacantists have no ground on which they could attempt to extricate themselves from being subjects of the reigning Roman Pontiff and still claim that they are Catholics. What more to negate – as by force of necessary logical conclusion of their publicly avowed position – the indefectibility of the Church through the Roman Pontiff which is a guarantee of the Divine Lord and Master!

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About Ignis Dei

The Teresian Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - the (traditional) Discalced Carmelites of Catholic Resistance who adhere to the true God Whom generations of holy Catholics throughout the ages past have known, loved, served, and worshipped only in the Traditional Latin Mass - "the NORM [of the Roman Rite] IN PERPETUITY" (Pope St. Pius V, "Quo Primum") and upon which is built the Traditional Catholic Order constituted by God and ruled by the Sovereign Roman Pontiff "for obedience to the Faith" (Rom. 1.5). On our position, see our blogposts "Our 'Great Reversal'" and "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'."
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5 Responses to On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply (I)

  1. Sedevacantists says:

    Stephan:

    I am French but I will to try to express things as accurately as possible. Hope to be understood.

    You said “To say that the Church has lost her visible head, and with it the potestas docendi – as the Sedevacantist position claims – is to make Our Lord a liar Who promised that I am with you all days until the end of time.”

    1. Falses popes, Vacancy through History ?

    Acta Sedes Pius X (Volume I, Paris Edition) is a chronological list of official (Annuario Pontifico) popes and anti-popes.

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    this list can be supplemented by information provided by Guerin (The general councils and individuals, Bar-le-Duc 1872)

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    Rohrbacher (Universal History of the Catholic Church).

    From there, a statistic can be established, covering nineteen centuries of the papacy, with the exception of the twentieth century.

    Of a total of 300 (100%), there were:

    – 244 legitimate popes (81%)

    – 56 imposters (19%), 45 anti-popes (15%) and 11 doubtful popes (4%). “Pope doubtful” « Papa dubius, papa nullus ».

    Exemples of vacancy of the Holy See:

    * Vacancy (25 October 304 – May 27, 308) between St Marcellin and St Marcel first three years and seven months.
    • Vacancy (November 29, 1268 – September 1, 1271) between St. Clement IV Gregory X and two years nine months.
    • Vacancy (l st April 1292 – July 5, 1294) between Nicolas and St. Celestine V IV: two years three months.

    NB:

    Doubtful popes (= null popes accordong Acta Sede) during the Great Schism (1378-1417): Thirty-nine years (if one adds the lineage of schismatic antipopes of the conciliabul of Bale, it happens even at seventy years old!) .

    2. The possibility of vacancy in Laws and Liturgy.

    * In Canon Law: The vacancy is evoked by Can 100&102, 151, 241

    * Pope St Pius X had so successfully predicted the vacancy of the Holy See that he gave a comprehensive settlement in this situation: Vacante Sede Apostolica, 25 December 1904. In addition, he created expressly for this occasion the Canon 241.

    * The Missalae Romanum gives the order when the Holy See is vacant to omit the words “Una cum tuo Papa nostro famulo N”.

    * Lucius Lector (The conclave, Paris nd, published under pope Leo XIII) has written no fewer than 784 pages on laws and ceremonies governing the conclave and the vacancy of the Apostolic See.

    * V. Martin has written a book on vacancy (The cardinals and the Curia, courts and offices, the vacancy of the Apostolic See, Paris 1930)

    3. The possibility of vacancy according to Commentators of Holy Scriptures, Great Theologians?

    * “The Fathers of the Church’s most illustrious, the most renowned theologians, commentators of Scripture, the highest authorities of the Church, have expressed about papacy. Moreover, they agree to say that Satan will succeed in his project so that the church will end, as it began, with a gigantic struggle with Rome, back to paganism…” Bishop Gaume, protonotary apostolic, doctor in theology at Prague University, made knight of St Sylvestester’s order by Pope St Gregory XVI,…. In “La situation actuelle”1868 p.23 or 26

    ( See also in Suarez, De Antichristo, lib. V, c. VIII, IX ;

    in Bosio, De Signis Ecclesiæ, lib. XXIV, c. VI ;

    in Corn. a Lapide, in c. XVII et XVIIII Apocal. ;

    in Bellarmin, De Sum. Pontif. Iib. III, c. XIII ;

    in Malvenda, de Antich. lib. IV, c. V ;

    in Baron. Annal. an. 58, etc., etc.)

    * The city of the popes, returned to the city of the Caesars, this is the ultimate destiny of Rome and the last triumph of Satan. How incredible this apostasy would be, if she was not announced thousand times? Bishop Gaume , ibid.

    * “Rome will return to its splendor and pagan idolatry. Pagan, it will strip the Supreme Pontiff of his temporal power, and drive. Coated with its ancient power, it will use it to persecute the Saints with more fury, and the martyrs will be sacrificed with more cruelty than the first Caesar . ” Corn a Lapide .ibid Romanam urbem tunc redituram ad pristinam suam gloriam pariter et idololatriam. Corn. ibid. Ad paganismum rediens Christum et Christianos ac maxime Pontificem persequetur, expellet vel occidet. Id. – Sanctos persequetur acerbius et martyriis crudelioribus afficiet, quam sub imperatoribus ethnicis passi fuerint. Malvend. ubi supra.

    * “The abolition of the temporal sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ through the decay of of the Pope, as sovereign prince, that, my friend, the goal towards which parricide, for several centuries, the so-called Christian nations …” Bishop GAUME, ibid in letter V

    * “Christ has allowed this: that the Antichrist, the head of all the schismatics, would sit in the temple of God, his own (true believers) would be exiled, and those who do not belong to God one day occupy the seat of Peter. ” Blessed Peter, De miraculis libri duo, liber II, ch.16; Bol. T.14, page 473

    * When the storm is more violent, when the Church will be without pilot “… in Abbe Arminjon, in Fin du monde présent et mystères de la vie future, One of the favorite book of St Theresa of Lisieux .

    * “As punishment for his apostasy, Rome shall perish. God will help this great ruin to avenge the blood of old and new martyrs so that Rome will be watered. The Romans therefore will be punished more severely than others because they have sinned most grievously. Descendants of former persecutors or inhabitants of the city, they will become integral with the iniquities of their ancestors, by wanting to restore the glory to Rome, its splendor and its power under paganism ” Bishop Gaume ibid. quoting Corn a Lapide.

    Men who hold this position, are the biggest names in Christian history. They include Tertullian, Lactantius, Cyril, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Victorin, Œcuménius, Cassiodorus, Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Bellarmine, Suarez, to Cornelius Lapide, Bosio, and twenty others, and alios viginti. Dedicated to the blood in Rome and the Church. Their works were received with respect as the source of true doctrine, are the torches that the past has handed over to the present to illuminate the future.

    * At last a text of St. Francis of Assisi which more a prophecy rather than a commentary of Hoy Scriptures. This is the literal translation of the Latin text contained in the very official “Opera Omnia” of St. Francis of Assisi (Ecclesiasticus Printing Library – Paris 1880, Column 430).

    “Having called his brother shortly before he died (+ 1226), he warned of future troubles, saying: My brothers are acting forcefully, have the firmness and be waiting for the Lord. A great period of tribulation and affliction in which great dangers, temporal and spiritual embarrassments will rain, the love of many will cool and iniquity of the wicked abound. The power of demons will be bigger than usual, the immaculate purity of our religious congregation and others will be faded to the point that very few among the Christians want to obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with a heart sincere and perfect charity.

    At the decisive moment of this crisis, a person not canonically elected, raised to the papacy, will seek to address many connected to the deadly poison of his error.

    Then the scandal will grow, our religious congregation will be divided among several others will be completely destroyed, because their members will not object but consent to the error. There will be so many and such opinions and divisions among the people, and among religious and clergy so that if these evil days were not shortened, as announced by the Gospel, even the elect would fall into the error (if it could be possible), if in such a hurricane they were not protected by the immense mercy of God.

    So our rule and our way of life will be violently attacked by some.

    Terrible temptations will arise. Those who have been proven very well receive the crown of life. Eternal woe to those who are only lukewarm by putting their hope in their lives of religion, who will not resist the temptations strongly allowed for the testing of the elected.

    Those in the fervor of the spirit will endeavor to piety with charity and zeal for truth, will receive persecution and insults as disobedient and schismatics. As their persecutors, spurred by the evil spirits will say that it is a great tribute to God to kill and remove from the land these “bad” men.

    Then the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted and He will save them because they have trusted in Him. And then to comply with their Lord, they will act according to the Faith and they will choose to obey God rather than men, earning through death to eternal life. Refusing error and perfidy, they will absolutely not fear death.

    Then the truth will be held in silence by some preachers, while others deny it.

    The sanctity of life will be held in derision by those who profess outwardly, that is why Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them not a worthy pastor, but an exterminator. ”

    Christian Tackett:

    Following a little of your logic on this, for Our Lord’s promise (to be with us even to the consummation of the world) to be valid, there must be a sitting Pope in the Chair at all times, correct? If Our Lord wanted and willed to establish the Papacy to always have a constant, (with no interval!) visible head, He would have done so; however, He did not. There is a period between Popes…this period has lasted days, weeks, months, and at times, years. There is nothing that is “in stone” that states how long a vacancy can go on for; the Pope must have the Faith of St. Peter in order to be guided by the Holy Ghost. St. Peter’s Chair and the Papacy continues Our Lord’s teaching authority even though there is not a true Pope sitting in it currently (Vatican I counted over 40 antipopes!) and whenever a true Pope passes on; the Papacy continues, and Its teachings continue the work of Our Lord and His Holy Apostles, and yes, continue to give life. Sounds like you are confusing the terms Pope and Papacy.

    Robert:

    I appeal to your conscience now with a quote from a Saint & Doctor of the Church:

    “Now when [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric.”

    Are you saying … this Saint & Doctor (with the Church approving), is wrong for saying a pope can cease to be pope by becoming explicitly a heretic? You really need to answer that question.

    The Church says it can happen. You apparently say it cannot. Note well, this quote implies that the “man” is judged by clergy BEFORE they ever convene to declare it. No special faculties are needed other than the simple authority of “reason, enlightened by faith”, a true authority. This is necessarily so because nobody can judge a pope. So, the men of a council making the declaration already previously and solidly determine on a personal level, that the “man” claiming to be a pope, truly is not. It is right there in black and white.

    As well,Archbishop Lefebvre publicly expressed his belief in the Angelus (1986) not only that it can happen, but that we can judge it to have occurred. He held the correct principle on that, which you apparently deny.

    Lastly, centuries ago the Church experienced a vacancy of the Roman See for more than two years. The clergy were very concerned. However, there is no notable record of theologians saying this can last for so many years and no longer. You try to imply it can never be. The Church is not with you on this AT ALL!

    Eric Hollinshead:

    [Ignis Dei: “And to the Sedevacantists: the Church of Rome once headed by Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and now by Pope Benedict XVI, has yet to overturn – nor will ever overturn – the infallible solemn pronouncements of the Chair of St. Peter with equally infallible solemn pronouncements to the contrary!”]

    But those Popes have taught contrary to previous pronouncements of the Popes prior to Vatican II, namely that the Church of Christ exists outside the Catholic Church and that other churches are a means of salvation.

    Paul Sheahan:

    It immediately stands out that you are not considering the Dogma of Infallibility here. Definition of “Infallibility” from “A Catholic Dictionary”, 1951:

    This infallibility resides (a) in the pope personally and alone (see below); (b) In an oecumenical council (q.v.) subject to papal confirmation (these infallibilities are distinct but correlative); and (c) In the bishops of the Church dispersed throughout the world: this is the ordinary magisterium, is now in practice and confined to the maintenance of the definitive decisions of (a) and (b).

    Are you saying a TRUE Vicar of Christ can teach heresy to the Church?

    • Ignis Dei says:

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      JMJ

      Feast of the Most Sacred Heart

      In general:

      The replies reveal a mere layman’s ‘common sense’ approach to the present tribulation. But given the order of battle which the Word of God reveals to us, that is, a well-calculated subterfuge as to deceive (if possible) even the elect (Mt 24.24), laymen can never be competent enough to defend themselves from the insidious designs of the enemy who still possessed the mind of his angelic nature even after his irremediable fall. Proof:

      In trying to make its case, the effort is directed rather towards proving a contrary position (the anomalous situation in Rome since Vatican II). Looking at it at the level of simple Scholastic dialectical rules, such an exercise is a futility not worth pursuing: it entails mountainous labor (as Stephan seemingly did, quoting whomever possible Catholic authority could be cited) yet still leads to an unsatisfactory situation where the question is still begging (if Catholic, then must be subject also to the supreme jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff) so that at the end of it all, one must necessarily conclude that both contrary positions (the Sedevacantist and the “Novus Ordo” ‘Catholic’) may be false and a middle position is necessary.

      The respondents pay no attention to the simple fact that their position, a parallel contrary position to that of the Neo-Catholic’s, is being blown away into pieces by the nature of the proof of its contradictory – a simple opposed instance: it claims that it is ‘the’ Catholic position because the essential elements that make up the definition of the concept “Catholic” are verified in them, except one (that is, that “hierarchical subordination” to the Roman Pontiff). Their position clearly postulates the very same error and folly fundamental to the “New ‘Catholic’ Order”: the need for a reformulation of the definition of the concept “Catholic”. Now a reformulation of definition (with the ‘non-necessity’, according to the Sedevancantist position, of “hierarchical subordination” to the Roman Pontiff given that the Holy See is actually vacant – as its adherents ‘declare’ so as if possessed of the supreme juridical power in the Church) necessarily signifies a change in concept. And a change in concept necessarily signifies a change in the nature of a thing! But can the nature of the Church founded by Our Lord mutate – through the ‘updating’ (or the remaking of the Church’s constitution to render it attuned to the times) by Vatican II on the one hand, and by a Roman-Pontiff-free ‘Church’ of the Sedevacantists on the other? Denied.

      This is how the devil tries to sift the flock – those who are lukewarm and indifferent, and those who are trying to be faithful, devout, and fervent. He catches them into the same error: Catholicism must change – its redefinition is workable – but by luring them to extreme contrary positions of Vatican II “aggiornamento” (according to the demands of the modern civilization which has been fashioned according to the principles and ideas of the Synagogue of Satan, Apoc. 2.9) and of the Sedevacantists (in view of the anomalous situation the Holy See is in – on the false premise of being occupied by a “False Pope”). To put it simply, the devil has succeeded in playing a very nasty game against them: chase them and pursue them to run two seemingly opposite directions but leading to one spot where he could mark them: mutant ‘Catholics’.

      A number of Catholic authorities have been cited to prove their case. But had they still been living, they would deprecate their being made a party to an absurd position passing itself off as ‘Catholic’ when in fact, like to the “Novus Ordo ‘Catholic'”, it carries already a notion of Catholicity different from what it has always been and must always be understood. The Neo-Catholics claim loyalty to a Pope who consents to govern according to the democratic fashion inspired by the Jewish chief priests – who had prevailed over Pilate to condemn the Innocent to death on a Cross by sheer force of “vox populi” (the overwhelming voice of a blinded people); the Sedevacantists no longer claim any juridical – and even filial – relation to the Roman Pontiff.

      In the face of the diabolical assault on the very bastion of the Catholic Faith, the Word of Truth Himself denies with conclusiveness any ground for the Sedevacantist case to stand on – which authority and explanation I have already pointed out in my reply but I will reiterate once more: Our Lord recognizes the Bishop of the Church (that came into possession of Satan for his seat) as His Angel who hath not denied My faith [taking into account the distinction between the material heresy and formal heresy put in place by the Legislation of Pope St. Pius X and Pope Benedict XV – the Code of Canon Law of 1917] although allowing himself to be a party to the enemies-infiltrators in the circulation of Satan’s poison and filth within. The Angel then is exhorted to do penance and exercise his supreme apostolic authority (read: the Roman Pontiffs declared by the Sedevacantists as “false” the Word of Truth considers here ‘true’ – possessed of the supreme Petrine jurisdiction) over the house of God to put it into order or else Our Lord Himself will come quickly to slay the enemies with the sword of his mouth (Apoc. 2.16).

      Summing up, the Sedevacantist position fundamentally agrees with the “Novus Ordo ‘Catholic'”: the Catholic Church is after all capable of mutation in her constitution and nature – verified either,

      1. in the “New ‘Catholic’ Order”: “presided” by a figure-head Pope similar to the constitutional monarchs of those fallen Catholic kingdoms; or,

      2. in the Sedevacantist realm: where only the Roman Pontiff is dispensable (in Scholastic Philosophy, a mere “accident” that could come and go without altering the essence and nature of the substance of the Church itself!); but, did not the Fathers of the Church teach unanimously (cf. On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply I) that the Roman Pontiff is a “necessary” element? How is “necessary” reconcilable with its contradictory ‘dispensable’?

      The falsity of the claim of Sedevacantism to Catholicism rests on the false premise, “the pope is a heretic.” But, according to the distinction put in place by the legislation of Pope St. Pius X and Pope Benedict XV (that is, the Code of Canon Law of 1917), was there material or formal heresy committed? And, according to the same legislation executed by the highest Office in the Church, if formal, by what judgment of whose higher juridical authority? This, however, is just on the level of mere technicality. The crucial thing is the testimony of Our Lord in the Book of the Apocalypse quoted above and in our post, “On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply (I).”

      • Ignis Dei says:

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        JMJ

        Feast of the Sacred Heart

        In Particular:

        [Robert: “Now when [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric” [quoting St. Francis (de Sales? which work?)]

        The distinction between material heresy and formal heresy put in place by Pope St. Pius X and Pope Benedict XV through the Code of Canon Law of 1917 reduces the above statement of the Church Doctor into a moot opinion not binding the whole Church. Had the Doctor still been living at the time of the promulgation of the Pio-Benedictine Code, he would most certainly defer to the judgment of the sovereign legislator and judge in the Church.

        [Robert: ” Lastly, centuries ago the Church experienced a vacancy of the Roman See for more than two years. The clergy were very concerned. However, there is no notable record of theologians saying this can last for so many years and no longer. You try to imply it can never be. The Church is not with you on this AT ALL!”]; [Christian: “There is nothing that is ‘in stone’ that states how long a vacancy can go on for…”]; [Stephan: “the possibility of vacancy”]

        That the death of a pope would create vacancy is just as ordinary and as normal a course in this material world. Such is the nature of things that incorporate materiality.

        That the vacancy could drag on for a year due to the crude conditions and circumstances of the time is understandable. But for to it drag on for a another year or more, with, perhaps, more favorable conditions and circumstances attending, would certainly cause wonder and concern – simply because it is not normal; what is necessary was lacking in an undue manner. As we have referred to in our blogpost and comment, the Church, through Vatican I, echoes the unanimous teaching of the Fathers: the Roman Pontiff is a “necessity” for the Church (now being contradicted by the Sedevacantist position: ‘dispensable’; “necessary” and “dispensable” are contradictories – they can not both be true at the same time, either one is true and the other is false); St. John Chrysostom delivers it categorically: “the Church would fail… as a ship would be wrecked if deprived of its pilot.” What of the Church deprived of its pilot for more than forty years now – as the Sedevacantists would have it – and in the modern times?

        Your argument actually helps the case of the “Novus Ordo”: what is abnormal should now be accepted as normal given that the law of the Church provides for a 40-year (reduced to 30 years in the “Novus Ordo” Code) wide observance and acceptance of a custom with the authorities (the Pope and the bishops of the “Novus Ordo” on the one hand, and the ‘pre-Vatican II authorities of the Sedevacantists’ on the other) approving/consenting!

        [Paul: “… You are not considering the Dogma of Infallibility here. Are you saying a TRUE Vicar of Christ can teach heresy to the Church?”]; [Eric: “… Those Popes have taught contrary to previous pronouncements of the Popes prior to Vatican II.”]

        The Dogma of Infallibility is precisely a crucial point that we considered to do away with the apparent contradiction between the reality in Rome and Our Lord’s testimony that its Bishop hath not denied [His] Faith. As we have already explained in our post: “the Church of Rome once headed by Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and now by Pope Benedict XVI, has yet to overturn – nor will ever overturn – the infallible solemn pronouncements of the Chair of St. Peter with equally infallible solemn pronouncements to the contrary!” That is, the conditions necessary to consider the Popes in question to have pronounced errors with infallibility are lacking.

        See how the Sedevacantist position assumes here the same erroneous “Novus Ordo” position (cf., our comment in general) : the Pope is infallible in all that he says and does. This being the case, it is unwarranted to stop short at the conclusion that those Popes in question merely lost the supreme Petrine jurisdiction; the position must be pressed to its one and only tragic consequence – the Church, which foundation is the Truth, had already been destroyed due to the Sedevacantist-‘simple’ fact that what had always been taught were now overturned by contrary teachings and pronouncements!

        [Christian: “… For Our Lord’s promise (to be with us even to the consummation of the world) to be valid, there must be a sitting Pope in the Chair…]

        The validity of Our Lord’s promise is not in any way guaranteed by the “perpetual” succession of the Roman Pontiffs. The order is inverted – always a mark of a diabolical action; it is rather the other way around. On the validity of Our Lord’s promise, the ground for it is Our Lord Who has spoken; not its intended effect.

        [Christian: “… There must be a sitting Pope in the Chair at all times… If Our Lord wanted and willed to establish the Papacy to always have a constant (with no interval!) visible head, He would have done so. However, He did not. There is a period between Popes… this period has lasted days, months, and at times, years.”]

        Rather, had Our Lord “willed to establish the Papacy to always have constant (with no interval!) visible head,” the succession of Roman Pontiffs should simply be rejected as preposterous – there would be no need for St. Peter to have successors at all in that the prince of the Apostles would need not even die – and not during a mad persecution! – as to preclude what you have imagined. An obvious departure from the mind of the Church which in laying down the ‘perpetual succession of Roman Pontiffs’ did not lose sight of the nature of organic bodily beings. This manifests an untrained layman’s attempt at exegesis.

        [Christian: “… The Pope must have the Faith of St. Peter in order to be guided by the Holy Ghost.”]

        An instance in the history of the Papacy does not verify that. Moreover, the Holy Ghost is the cause and principle of Faith.

        [Christian: ” [1] St. Peter’s Chair and the Papacy continues Our Lord’s teaching authority… [2] whenever a true pope passes on… [3] the Papacy continues, and its teachings continue the work of Our Lord and His Holy APostles… [4] and yes, continues to give life. [5] Sounds like you are confusing the terms Pope and Papacy.”]

        The Pope is a substantive concrete physical reality; the Papacy is an accidental (dependent to a subject-substance: the physical person of the pope; that is, its concept is tied to the physical person of the pope ruling for a definite period of time) and logical reality (exists only in the mind; there is no papacy existing somewhere out there in its concrete reality as such). In statements [1]-[4] above, you are making the accidental and logical realities of the ‘Chair’ and the ‘Papacy’ substantive concrete physical realities; Our Lord’s command to preach and teach the truth until the consummation is given to and will be carried out by physical persons (who are concrete substantive realities) and not by accidental and logical realities! The confusion [statement 5 above] lies rather in the Sedevacantist position’s inability to discern the subtle shades of reality (as between ‘material’ and ‘formal’ heresy and a pope teaching “ex cathedra” and a pope speaking as a theologian corrupted in the school of the “New ‘Catholic’ Theology” or as mere ‘ecumenical conversationalist’) thereby, in this case, making the accidental and logical realities more real than what they are – which reflects a Platonic exaggeration rather than the balanced Aristotelian-Thomistic synthesis. Let Pope Pius XII be heeded who once remarked: “Bad philosophers do not make good Catholic theologians.”

  2. Sedevacantists says:

    Paul Sheahan:

    As for the Dogma of Infallibility, you are stating that the Popes of Vatican II would somehow need to defy past “infallible solemn pronouncements” (the solemn magisterium) to be considered in breach of the Dogma. What about the infallible ordinary magisterium Friar? Why do you exclude this when Vatican I openly states that BOTH the ordinary magisterium AND solemn magisterium are infallible and must be believed?

    “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed.” (First Vatican Council, 1870)

    Eric Hollinshead:

    Code of Canon law 188/4 declares that if a cleric should publicly fall away from the Catholic faith, all his offices would become vacant ipso facto and without need of formal declaration. You stated previously that the quote “Now when [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric” was rendered moot opinion by the Pio-Benedictine code. However, canon 188 actual codifies that opinion and therefore the Pio-Benedictine code supports the sede vacante position. Further, the Code of Canon Law of 1917 was replaced by the new Code of Canon Law in 1983. Since the Pio-Benedictine Code is no longer in effect, why do you not reference the current 1983 Code of Canon Law?

    Robert:

    Actually, everyone, the Church gave us (in Magnae Nobis, 1748): “The Roman Pontiff is above canon law”. This entails that a pope who becomes a heretic ceases to be a pope by divine law only, that is, theologically a man cannot be Catholic if he loses the divine virtue of Faith by heresy. Canon 188/4 does not apply to a pope. That was legislated both as a deterrent for the general clergy and for ease of handling heresy in the clergy even if the divine virtue of Faith was not actually lost.

    The “the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived” is always fully in force. This refers to a “declaratory judgment” not a “condemnatory judgment”. The latter never applies to a pope because nobody can judge a pope. However, the Church fully allows that we can determine that a man has ceased being a pope, and then we proceed with the “declaration of fact” which necessarily entails we already know “the man” is not a pope BEFORE the declaratory judgment.

    • Ignis Dei says:

      +
      JMJT

      “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed.” (First Vatican Council, 1870)

      The ordinary magisterium teaches those which have always and everywhere been taught and frequently also the dogmas defined by the solemn or extraordinary magisterium. Those who profess “pertinaciously” (Canon 1325) the direct contradictory of what the teaching authority of the Church proposes either in the solemn (extraordinary) or ordinary magisterium are technically or ‘formally’ called heretics. Two elements therefore must be established in the case of ‘formal’ heresy: on the level of the external forum – the matter of the crime, the statements or teachings that contradict the extraordinary (solemn) or ordinary magisterium; and, on the level of the internal forum – the form or what determines the crime, the element of malice, ‘obstinacy’ or ‘pertinacity’. Now the Popes in question, schooled as they were in ‘Modernism’, have been trying to ‘reconcile’ contradictories: the principles of the Revolution with the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ – not to reject one or the other (needless to say trying to uphold both), and this in the external forum only; as to the internal forum, the element of malice is rather ‘doubtful’ ; this is proved in the document “Alta Vendita” wherein the Synagogue of Satan (Apoc. 2.9), through its dummy – the Carbonari or the Italian Freemasons, did not entertain the illusion that it could produce a Pope who would officially overturn Catholic dogmas but only to that effect as by way of appearance [diabolical dissimulation as to deceive (if possible) even the elect, Mt. 24.21]. This somehow explains why in the documents of Vatican II – ratified and implemented by the same Popes – many dogmas infallibly taught by the extraordinary and ordinary magisterium are reiterated yet all the while novelties are proclaimed. Moreover, this makes the passage of Apocalypse 2.13 understandable why, in view of the concrete historical circumstances, the Word of Truth says that the head of that Church which became, as it were, the seat of Satan, hath not denied the Faith – this categorically demolishes the ground on which the Sedevacantist position passes that “declaratory judgment” that “a man has ceased being a pope” – Robert’s reply above. The contradiction then is not at the level of either the solemn (extraordinary) or ordinary magisterium.

      Canon 188 does not provide for ‘formal’ heresy – which is already out of the question for the reasons given above – but for “public” ‘apostasy’. Now if the Pio-Benedictine Legislation does not actually support canonically the Sedevacantist position (which confuses formal heresy and public apostasy, cf. Eric’s reply below), what more if the 1983 Code of the ‘New “Catholic” Order’ has already ‘supplanted’ – we are granting this only for the sake of argument – it?

      {“The Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived” is always fully in force. – Robert, above}

      A moot opinion after all that has been established above to the contrary.

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