Will the Catholic Church Survive the 20th Century?
1990; by T. Stanfill Benns and David Bawden
The co-author of this work is demanding in various quarters that I refute every part of the book above that I claim to be heretical or in error. As I have repeatedly stated to him and others aware of his request, that is done on these pages in a methodical manner and no point-by-point refutation is necessary.
If the person making this request was truly Catholic, the laws of the Church would be followed; but that is not the case in this instance, as all know too well. Sadly, if a true pope and bishops were available the above-mentioned book would long ago have been referred to the Holy See for condemnation. Actual canon laws govern this process, laws that nowhere state that a point-by point-refutation be given of the book in recommending it for condemnation. That would be something required by the Holy See, in way of an abjuration of errors by the author(s), and as we all know we have no true pope. When a true pope exists, already in advance I have subjected myself to him as I have done on these pages since at least 2007, and actually as was done on the first pages of the 1990 book above when it was written. If a true pope is elected during my lifetime, then, already the intent is expressed to disown these errors in any way that he commands.
The following canons explain how to request the examination of questionable works, even those containing an imprimatur.
• Can. 1395: “The right and duty to prohibit books for a good reason is vested not only in the Supreme Pontiff…, but also in the particular Councils and the local ordinaries for their respective subjects.”
• Can. 1397: “It is the duty of all the faithful — and especially of the clergy, of ecclesiastical dignitaries and of men of distinguished learning — to report to the local ordinaries or to the Holy See books which they consider pernicious…The denunciation of a book should not only give its title, but also, insofar as possible, the reasons why a book is thought to deserve condemnation.”
• Revs. Woywod-Smith wrote in their commentary on this canon that in 1943 the Holy Office: “called attention again to the precepts of Canons…1395 and 1397, and again declared the obligation of all the faithful…to denounce dangerous books to the competent authorities.”
• Can. 1398: ”…The forbidden books without due permission may not be published, read, retained, sold or translated into another language, or communicated to others in any manner.” The co-author demanding a detailed refutation of the book is both selling this book, quoting liberally from it and promoting it on the Internet and in other printed works as well as by word of mouth.
• Twelve kinds of books are prohibited by law without any further condemnation in Can. 1399, among them: “(2) books of any writers defending heresy or schism…; (6) books which attack or ridicule any of the Catholic dogmas or which defend errors condemned by the Holy See…or strive to overthrow ecclesiastical discipline.” So even without papal condemnation, the book already is prohibited, and the less said about its content, the better. A detailed refutation would only enable those promoting it to defend their errors and heresies and further scandalize the faithful.
The entire thrust of the book, “Will the Catholic Church Survive…” is the mobilization of the laity to elect a pope. In many places on this website, the author cites the fact that the Council of Trent, in DZ 960 and 967; Pope Pius VI, in DZ 1502; Canons 108-109; Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, (Can. 219); Can. 147, and Pope Pius XII’s qualification of this canons found in the Canon Law Digest Vol. 3 all forbid the participation of the laity in ANY episcopal or papal election, and condemn it as heretical. The laity themselves, even in emergency conditions, cannot elect a pope as the book claims. Impossibility excuses for such an election, because without valid and licit bishops, there are none who can be elected according to the laws and teachings of the Church. We live in the time predicted by the ancient Fathers, St. Francis de Sales, and others when the Church, for a time, would disappear. Only God can resolve this situation, when and in whatever manner He chooses.
Not only did the book teach that laity could elect, it declared that laity excommunicated for communicatio in sacris and laboring under the irregularity of infamy of law could vote in such an election if they had not attended Traditionalist masses or followed a Traditionalist priest for three years. Of course this is a moot point because the laity could never elect to begin with. But the co-author (not this author) maintains that a total lifting of the censure for attending Traditional and or NO services and even the cancellation of the punishment for infamy is intimated in Can. 672, when actually this is not at all what that canon says. Can. 672 §1 says that if there are any objections by others to the return of the former excommunicate to the community after the three years of amendment, the matter shall be referred to the Holy See. In the case of Can. 2295, the three-year amendment of the excommunicate, while still required for cases of infamy of law, does not release the offender from the necessary papal dispensation. The canon flatly states that only the Roman Pontiff can dispense from infamy of law. Infamy of fact, however, can be dismissed by the ordinary after three years of amendment, provided the ordinary judges that the individual has regained his good repute with serious-minded Catholics. But infamy of law, not fact is what those committingcommunicatio in sacris incur, so there could be no lifting of their punishment.The basis for this misconstrued application is founded in the false belief that some 23 “invalid” cardinals” elected Pope Martin V at the Council of Constance, and some principal like this must have been at work to allow this to happen; otherwise Martin V’s election would not have been valid. But the Church later declared that Pope Gregory XII was the true pope all along, and in actuality GREGORY XII ABSOLVED ALL THE CARDINALS AND CONVOKED THE COUNCIL BEFORE RESIGNING.
Other errors include an inadequate explanation of material heresy and the heretical opinion that papal election of a layman by the laity automatically enrolls him in the clerical state. This implicitly contradicts Pope Pius XII’s election law, Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, and sidesteps Pope Pius XII’s statement in his 1957 address “Six ans se sont,” where he teaches that no layman, not fit for ordination may accept election (until such fitness is determined). Errors also can be found concerning how many laymen were elected to the papacy; the exaggerated number given is incorrect. These are the main errors contained in this work and as its primary author and creator, I certainly am well within my rights to request that those recommending it and distributing it without my permission cease and desist on these grounds as specified in Canon Law. Already, for several years, I have warned others not to read it in WARNING: Please Don’t Read This Book. What appears here will suffice as an additional warning and reminder until it can be examined in full by a true pope. In the meantime, more than enough proofs have been established to raise serious doubt in one’s mind that this work can be read without endangering faith and committing sin. Therefore, as the Church teaches concerning doubt, the act cannot be carried out until such doubt is resolved, and only a true pope can dispel this doubt.
While no papal condemnation or denouncement of the book can be authoritatively given, the laity is empowered to use other means to bring attention to the fact that such a book contains heresy and errors. These are given below.
Can. 2355: “A person who inflicts injury upon another…by words or writing or in any other manner, or who damages his good reputation, may not only be forced…to make due satisfaction, and repair the damages done, but may in addition be punished with appropriate penalties and penances…”
Can. 1935: “Any of the faithful may at all times denounce the offense of another for the purpose of demanding satisfaction (e.g., for slander) or to get damages for losses sustained through the criminal act of another…or out of zeal for justice to repair some scandal or evil. Even an obligation to denounce an offender exists whenever one is obliged to do so either by law or by special legitimate precept, or by the natural law in view of the danger to faith or religion, or other imminent public evil.”