Editor’s Notes on Prof. Disandro’s Cum ex… Commentary

Editor’s Notes on Prof. Disandro’s Cum ex… Commentary

© Copyright 2015, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)


  • Isn’t it strange that Paul VI’s numeric title is the reverse of Paul IV’s? Just as John XXIII’s was originally the designation of an (heretical) antipope who reigned during the Western Schism?
  • It would only be learned much later, after Ratzinger’s election as an antipope, that, like Roncalli, the Vatican had listed him as a suspected modernist while he was yet a priest. Nor would anyone realize till then Ratzinger was one of the first proponents of the “new theology” condemned in Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis. For many years he was promoted as someone sympathetic to Traditionalists.
  • How little Traditionalists have changed over the years. When I first became aware of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio in 1982, I found only the pertinent excerpts wrested from para. 6. There were eventually three translations of the bull, and none of these were accompanied by the actual Latin as was Disandro’s. Disandro’s name was never mentioned by any of these stalwart Traditional defenders of the faith, although I am sure they used his translation to supplement their own and based their (shortsighted) observations in some part on his. This is why I am so glad to finally be able to publish this translation, presented to me as a gift by a friend, to help publicize Disandro’s part in making this bull known and appreciated.


  • (Second para, before # 2): Disandro points out here that this is NOT the (condemned) evolution of dogma employed by Montini et al, but the carefully controlled development and expansion of the principles inherent in the Church’s teachings over time.
  • #2: What is said in this paragraph is all too true. Yet it does not and cannot relieve the faithful of obedience to papal decrees. Nicholas I and the Roman Council taught in 860 A. D.: “If anyone condemns dogmas, interdicts, sanctions or decrees, promulgated by the one presiding in the Apostolic See, for the Catholic faith, for ecclesiastical discipline, for the correction of the faithful, for the emendation of criminals, either by an interdict of threatening or future ills, let him be anathema,” (DZ 326). A papal decree can be binding on the faithful whether infallible or not. No one has the right to call these decrees into question, least of all Traditionalists. Disandro knew so well what had happened as these last few pages demonstrate. This eminent professor, schooled in pre-Vatican 2 theology, announced the triumph of Antichrist as predicted in Cum ex… Not an uneducated layman, or a professor educated in liberal American Catholic schools, or a Novus Ordo student of Christ’s College, or a Sedevacantist priest or brother, but a real and true Catholic professor tells us that Antichrist has arrived in the garb of Paul 6. Yet his observation was never mentioned but hidden all these years, proving that those directing the operation of error wished to suppress this truth at all costs.
  • # 3: Bravo, for even without this translation that concealment has been noted and condemned by at least this author. The reason the Progressives suppressed it is obvious. The reason for its suppression by Traditionalists is stated in the comment above: they do not want anyone understanding Paul 6 was Antichrist, or that the system of the V2 popes is Antichrist’s own system. They wish to lull their followers into a false sense of security concerning the times, that the money might keep rolling in. It was Hugo Maria Kellner who first noted this phenomena within the SSPX in the 1970s.
  • # 4, para.1: It is precisely this corruption of Holy Scripture that brought Msgr. J. C. Fenton into conflict with his superiors and resulted in his eventual dismissal from the Catholic University of America. This Fenton reveals in his diaries. It is also this very corruption that allowed the replacement of “for many” with “for all” in the Eucharistic consecration, the inviolate Canon of the Holy Sacrifice.
  • # 5, para. 1: It has been the constant contention of the opponents of Cum ex… that this Bull CANNOT be and IS not, by credible authorities, interpreted in this manner. And yet Disandro observes this is precisely what the Bull says. Anyone who reads it carefully and examines it objectively cannot help but come to this same conclusion. Later in this document the case of how a pope validly elected might possibly fall into heresy will be addressed.
  • # 5, para. 2: And here we must understand that any time there is a question of whether such persons could be rehabilitated, and those asking the question doubt whether or not this is possible, Canon Law orders them to return to the old law, (Can. 6 no. 4). In the footnotes to Canon Law, we find the papal documents (old law) on which the canons are based. It is no coincidence that Cum ex… is listed as the basis for nearly every canon in the Code regarding penalties for heresy. So for those spouting off about the possibility of rehabilitating a Francis, as the papa materialiter/formaliter fantasy goes, you are contradicting an infallible decree! Please see the English translation of Pope St. Pius V’s document under Most Recent Articles on the Free Content site.
  • # 5, para. 3: So already in 1987, Disandro is on the same page with those who see the total destruction of the Church before them today exactly as he describes. And that destruction is not limited to the defection of the men accepted as popes from the faith, but extends as well to the Cardinals and bishops who elected them, (Roncalli and Montini). For is not Antichrist preceded by the false prophet, (Apoc., Ch. 13)? And did not Roncalli fulfill this role to the letter by convening the false V2 council? Moreover, Cum ex… is sanctioned by no less than Pope St. Pius V. But somehow, those believing in these documents are wrong?
  • # 5, para. 5: So Disandro is saying that the only case that Pope Paul IV really envisions, in propagating his Bull, is the case as he clearly describes it: a man who, either with the knowledge of the electors or without it is a heretic prior to his election. When this heresy becomes manifest during his usurpation of the papacy, (since heresy, known or unknown, invalidates a papal election), then and only then does it become undeniably clear or manifest that such a man was never truly pope.
  • # 5, para. 9: Two things are not properly considered here: 1) Since the Vatican Council, the Church has always conceded that the pope could become a heretic as a private person, and in this manner ipso facto excommunicate himself. All the cardinals would do in such a case is announce this FACT as true and order his removal; the fact itself would execute the sentence or judgment, not the cardinals, as Canon Law itself explains. Cum ex… does not require a declaratory sentence for the effects of the excommunication to take place and neither does the 1917 Code, following Cum ex. 2) The case of the occult or secret heretic who remains a member of the Church, as St. Robert Bellarmine teaches, because his heresy is known only to himself and his confessor and perhaps one other person. He could be validly elected, but the minute his heresy becomes public, he is ipso facto excommunicated. Still, he was a heretic prior to election. These two cases would preserve inviolate the teaching of the Vatican Council: that the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, per Christ’s promise, guarantees he will never err publicly in matters of faith or morals.
  • In conclusion, Disandro rightly points out that Pope St. Pius V’s motu propio confirmation of Cum ex… signifies his intent to continually guard against the possibility of all heretical perversion, even in the future, and even above and beyond the decrees of the Council of Trent. It even allows for those previously considered innocent to be retried should there arise any doubt they are recidivists or occult heretics. It therefore calls before the ecclesiastical court (or a reconvened Inquisition!) all those who even appear to be outside the Church, precisely as Can. 2200 demands. This is the very essence of the import of these two documents; no precautions are considered too rigid where heresy is concerned, despite the noisy clamor of Traditionalists. Heresy is spiritual death, and as such must be considered the most dreaded of all maladies. If Cum ex… conveys nothing else to the reader, it should at least impart quite forcefully this salient fact.) 




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Editor’s Notes on Prof. Disandro’s Cum ex… Commentary

Prof. Disandro’s Commentary on Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex…


(Text printed by Disandro’s St. Athanasius Institute, Argentina. 1985)

Seven years ago now, the Latin text of this paper was published in a basic, explanatory edition with a carefully considered Spanish translation. At the time, functioning as pope was Giovanni Montini, who by a strange coincidence figured in the series of popes by the name Paul: Paul VI was his hierarchical style in the secular history of the pontificate.

Both the Latin edition of the text and the Spanish translation appeared in Spanish America for the first time, and for the first time the teaching of a renaissance Pope shone brightly in the midst of a storm completely unknown by the Tridentine Church in that same part of the Americas. His admonitions resonated, which at the time, four centuries ago, seemed to be the result of ephemeral controversies of the same Roman Curia. And all the same, the inexorable course of a time, erosive for the Faith, brought the Bull of Paul IV in direct comparison with the acts and teachings of Paul VI, the pope of unrestricted semantic change in a revolutionary and subversive age, also characteristic of the Church.

The first edition made its way through Argentina and America and opened up, together with the Breve[1] of St. Pius V, which it completes, a deeper understanding of events, conceptions, and decisions (undoubtedly directed by the unfathomable mystery of Providence), so as to shake from within the Church of Rome the very make-up of tradition and the mystic edifice as an expression of the purity of the Trinitarian and theandric[2] faith. Within Roman Catholicism, a fissure like that of the Lutheran reform seemed to become apparent; the sense of the great ecumenical councils of the glorious past seemed to die out. At that time, there was no Cardinal Ratzinger to present to view the design of the enormous destruction that took place over 20 years and to discriminate between the untouchable and the disposable in five centuries of arrested development for Christian life.

The St. Athanasius Institute, a very modest group of people faithful to divine paradosis[3], a very modest center of learning for understanding the Sources in their purity of Abundant Life, agrees with many friends about the urgency of issuing a second edition, improved in every way possible for the ease of the reader and the student.

Americans now know this text; they transcribe it; they quote it, sadly often without giving credit, even in Argentina, to the source of their information, resorting to limited, critical, cautionary remarks that are not always perfectly clear. Nevertheless, in the face of the semantic revolution that other Roman pontiffs have described, what matters, of course, is to affirm the unity of the Trinitarian faith overlaying authoritarian contradictions all too evident in the Church of today.

The mission of the philologist is to suggest, on the fringe of the disputes that inevitably result, the integrity of the text and to summarize as far as possible its historico-systematic meaning. Each one will then make pertinent conclusions or will confront the line of reasoning of that text with a variable criterion for interpretation. However, what we cannot deny in any case is the existence of the document and it historic design, past or imminent. To do so would be foolish and contrary to the truth. [C.A.D. {= Carlos Alberto Disandro}] 1985.


The Church is the Mysterium Theandricum,[4] a phrase that expresses the comprehensive Mysterium Ecclesiae, or the Sacramentum Trinitatis.[5] The relation or nexus of this Mysterium or Sacramentum with the history of mankind, in its complete temporal manifestation, constitutes the true central point of world history, hidden for positivist reasons or owing to the revisionism with which research pretends to understand that history.

In turn, the history of the Roman Pontificate is a fundamental aspect of that nexus in its mystical order—a sacred power that we would say encapsulates the priesthood of Melchisedech and transcends the law and the prophets, or the cultural expressions that appear in different periods of time—and in its religious juridical authority, in its temporal or political implications, etc. Within the history of the pontificate, the “utterance” of the legitimate Pontiff always has the character of clarification, growth, consolidation, interpretation. It decides, repairs, revives, reorients, deepens, condemns, anathematizes in such a way that the passage of time proposes no mere substitution of stages of indifferent validity but a kind of organic expansion that unites in a living way the notions “inviolable principle” and more or less unforeseen or independent “succession of time or transitory change.” It is this that rejects and demolishes progressivism or dialectical modernism rooted in cycles of abolishment and reassumption. It is this that proved to be confused because of the semantic war concentrated within the Roman Church since the death of Pius XII. A revealing “new impulse” and a “new authority,” that is to say, the resetting of the “new good,” propose a complete change in the relation of “principle” and “succession of time.” One can summarize in this judgment the pastoral focus of Vatican II, the propheticism of Paul VI, the horizon of unfelt destructions characteristic of those 20 years of semantic warfare. All that is, all in all, an idea of the Mysterium Ecclesiae, an idea that we put down to a latent or explicit Docetism, in a monophysitism of human nature, in a neo-ebionism[6] that corrupts the life of the faith.

  1. – In this sense, we find illustrative the prudential documents of the papacy, the canonical and doctrinal cautions, the disciplinary measures, the resolutions or decrees or censures etc., to the extent that they warned of, illustrated, defined or settled complex situations in which they nevertheless anticipated assured outcomes later explicit in the fabric of events, disputes, teachings, important figures or successive conflicts. Many of those documents (which we listed in the theological category of pronouncements of the faith) lacked genuine efficacy, were unknown or disobeyed, were relegated without greater consequences to the formal archives, while the passage of time defined new instances and caused new contradictions to emerge. Nevertheless, such “utterances” do not lose their illuminative standing, especially if the times in which they were recorded are in some way the stimulus and origin of the present circumstance; and if those precautions of the past—obstructed and denied by the same authority they had a tendency to defend—seem fulfilled in the today’s Church, governed by a false pontiff raised up from those backgrounds combatted or retracted for centuries, coddled and acclaimed as “Holy Father” by the entire apostolic hierarchy, held as a Doctor of these ecumenical times, hailed by all worldly and social powers as the expert on humanity, on peace that is made in the midst of violence, on the truth that overtakes unfailing and heavenly Truth. These are the facts, the unquestionable realities that confront the Faith. And these are the overwhelming terms and limits: on one side, the Pontificate and all its apostolic bodies, with all the charisms, authority, jurisdiction, and power; on the other side, a simple member of the faithful who, illuminated by Faith and by the knowledge of languages, sources, texts, doctors of the Church, councils, imprescriptible and transparent, points out the apostasy of a semantic war that the Pontificate and apostolic bodies are conducting precisely against the Faith, against the Church, against the Mysterium Theandricum. The terms, I repeat, are overwhelming. But the light of faith also is overwhelming.

Two different considerations suggest these reflections: (1) In the theandric mystery that is the Church, How could the apostasy of Roman authority happen and consequently, in that null-and-void authority, continue the mission of abolishing the Church, that is to say, the life of Faith? (2) In the strictly historical scheme that pertains to the explicit and concrete course of canonical and jurisdictional authority and that extends, say, from Pius V (1566-1572) and Paul VI (1963-1978), How could they and how did they happen, namely, the precise modulations, the efficacious combinations, the abundant decisions crowned by what affirms our previous account: Rome under the power of a false pontiff, the bishops happily embarked on anti-Christian apostasy, the Faith trampled underfoot by the teachers of the Faith, the sacraments destroyed or denied by the ministers of the sacraments, without which some at least cannot exist? Doesn’t the comparison of these two limits seem contradictory and perverse, and wouldn’t it be better to be silent so that the infallible “authority,” as they affirm, may heal, liberate, guide.

The first question has a mystico-theological character and cannot be resolved except in the framework of a Theology of Faith, of a grand and definitive Ecclesiology that enlightens us about the nature of the Church, about her existence in the world, about her theandric dimension, subject nevertheless to detours and advances unintelligible by the historicist or positivist reassessment. The second question, on the other hand, alludes to concrete temporal matters, personages, acts, and decisions that gave birth to a scheme where the theandric mystery went into exile or became obscure in order to give way to the power of the world over the Church. One can perfectly reconstitute that scheme, one can follow step by step that obscurity like a rhythmic contraction of the heart of the Faith and her semantics, while the latter, the semantics of the Faith, is expressed in concrete, historical, irrevocable, and unmistakable conditions. The mysterious margin of union or separation between the two categories mentioned remains, of course: the theological category that involves a contemplation of the Mysterium Ecclesiae; the historical category that entails names, decisions, events, and conflicts, unequivocally different, but which appear aligned in one direction: the triumph of the Antichrist against the Unique Sacrality of the Church.

  1. – In these alternatives, both theological and historical, Pope Paul IV’s highly illustrative Bull of February 15, 1559, Cum ex apostolatus officio[7], comes into play, as well as its subsequent confirmation by the apostolic constitution of St. Pius V in the motu proprio[8] of December 1566. Both documents are offered here in their Latin text, that of Paul IV in its entirety and that of Pius V with the final paragraphs (of a formal, legal character) deleted, and are accompanied by a translation into Spanish, probably the first in the Spanish-speaking world. The Institute of St. Athanasius (in Córdoba, Argentina), proposes to offer material for study that may permit making painstaking inquiries into the critical juncture of the present; to summarize the conflicting moments of contradictory centuries; and to deduce, of course, the explanations capable of conceiving and affirming what I call “semantics of the Faith.”   Putting aside the theses that could be supported in the present circumstances and conditions of the Roman Church, nobody more or less informed about the dramatic tensions taking place and shaking the formerly solid edifice of the Church could discount the importance of this document, which exactly foresees the possibility of an apostasy like that adduced on the theological level, and the possibility of a series of historical events that extol heresy as the constitutive principle of religious life in the Church. What has happened, then, between Paul IV and Paul VI over the course of four dramatic centuries?

We are in the difficult and dense intervals of the Council of Trent. Convoked by Paul III in May 1542, the Council could only begin its sessions in December 1545. Interrupted between 1552 and 1562, the deaths of three pontiffs were recorded during that recess: Julius II (who had reopened it after Paul III), Marcellus II, and Paul IV. Succeeding the latter was Pius IV, who specially reopened the Council and brought it to an end (December 1563). In turn, St. Pius V (1566-1572) set about the great work of the purification and reform of the Church, as this expression is understood in the classic theological sense. For his part, Paul IV did not wish to, nor could he, resume the Council owing to the difficult political conditions in Christianity, because of the tensions and intrigues in papal government, or for other reasons that are unclear in the common interpretation of historians. As a matter of fact, he governed without the presence of the Council, and in such circumstances he promulgated the document upon which we are commenting. Naturally this chapter in the history of the Church, which covers the first half of the 16th century, represents the gravest crisis since the days of the Great Western Schism and the prolegomena of the Council of Constance.[9] Nevertheless at one or another juncture—that of Trent or that of Constance—neither the doctrine nor the Faith within the hierarchical levels of the Church was affected, as took place later after the death of Leo XIII and continues to take place following the death of Pius XII. The distinction between hierarchy and heresy was sharp and therefore illustrative of the doctrinal clarity in the Church, an indication, in turn, of the life of the Faith. Why, then, the Bull of Paul IV?

The document transcribed herein belongs to the fourth and last year of the reign of Paul IV, and undoubtedly was occasioned by the grave canonical, jurisdictional, and theological circumstances that these years of the Council’s recess reveal. One should consider that the Bull Cum ex apostolatus officio aimed at preventing, in some efficacious manner, heretical invasion in the hierarchical body of the Church, without excluding the possibility that a heretic pope might be elected by the conclave of cardinals. The dramatic events in Germany, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, etc. had shown in new times a new faith, and in the new faith a different conception of canonical authority, and in this a new historical establishment of open rejection of primordial Sacrality (without which the Church cannot exist as theandric mystery). What could happen, then, in the Roman Church, if a heretic occupied the seat of apostolic governance? Moreover, is this possible? The document of Paul IV inevitably involves, then, a teaching that both the “progressives” (for whom authority lacks sacred grounding) and the “traditionalists” (for whom the crises are explained only on the margin of authority) refuse to see. But Paul IV is unequivocal on this point, and because of this very reason, I believe, his pruritic text has been systematically concealed by both sides.

The motu proprio of St. Pius V betrays the same worries, now that the Council has been closed. Right in the middle of the task of ecclesiastical restructuring, the dangers of the corrupting infiltration of the Faith, of apostolic authority, and of apostolic Tradition do not appear to have lessened, insofar as this document practically reopens all the causes of heresy that could have been substantiated before competent tribunals. In view of the subsequent circumstances of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and in light of the appearance of indivisible solidity in the great pontificates until Pius XII, the subject of the Bull and the motu proprio could have seemed an excessive caution, a presumption born of the tension of unending conflicts, in short, a definite taste of authoritarian pontiffs for maximizing the canonical signification of the truth and, consequently, of the force of the heresiarchs, heretics, and heresies. And yet we are now witnesses to the recurrence described with cautious foresight by Paul IV and Pius V: heresies, whose causes the popes have not impeded, rise to the highest canonical dignities and are even directed to possessing the pontificate; conclaves that elect masons or crown notorious modernist popes—or supposed popes who in their exercise of authority do battle against the Faith— render tradition unimportant and destroy it, and obscure the spiritual horizon of the Church. Indeed, it would be sufficient to summarize the history of modernist heresy with popes Pius X and Pius XII in very recent times, or with the canonical labyrinths of the “nouvelle théologie,”[10] finally erected as a rule of faith and as a revolutionary statute of a supposed pontiff said to be invested with the full authority of Tradition, and this summary would then be sufficient to confer renewed interest in these documents of the Christian past. Without going into other explanations, let us agree that the texts herein printed have an indubitable prophetic tone, and their wariness, which exhibited at first glance a certain coarse realism [tremendismo] of the Faith, has developed in these contradictory times into unmistakable brilliance to confront the deception, to combat resolutely and courageously the semantic adulterations, and to maintain without betrayals the purity of the Trinitarian and theandric Faith.

  1. ­The document consists of an introduction and ten clauses or sections. Of these, numbers 8-10 are of a legal and formal character or correspond to the procedures of the Vatican chancery. But let us examine the substantial subjects of the Bull dedicated to preventing heresy from taking possession of the hierarchical bodies or even gaining the Apostolic See so as to destroy doctrine, discipline, jurisdiction, etc. The introduction, without mentioning it explicitly, defines the situation caused by the Protestant heresy that “rises up against the discipline of the true Faith in a genuinely perverse manner,” a phrase that we could apply to theological, liturgical, Biblical, and canonical modernism. In other words, the struggle of popes like Pius X and Pius XII against modernist teachings, or against the “nouvelle théologie,” confronted again a situation like that of the 16th century. Was, by chance, the Bull reissued for all to read in public places, or was the opinion of Paul IV brought to public notice as a perpetual vigilance of the Shepherd, just as the same text states? Did someone call to mind this severe canonical case-in-point that cut off at the root the advance of the anti-Christian powers within the apostolic hierarchy? Did someone put a stop to Montini or Daniélou[11] in accordance with these unequivocal norms? Did someone stand in the way of their path to the cardinalate or the papacy? Did someone call for their immediate removal from office just as Paul IV and Pius V commanded and still command? Be that as it may, Paul IV clarifies at once a fundamental theme in the post-medieval theological debates that we noticed in the semantic war, namely, “upending by ill-willed and totally inappropriate means the understanding of the Holy Scriptures.” Does Paul IV not point to the wicked work that we will see reaching its highest point within the hierarchy in cardinals Bea (The New Psalter) and Daniélou (The Theology of Jewish Christianity), to cite two well-known examples? And how could the Biblical modernism of Bea develop and establish itself after the warnings, rebukes, and condemnations of St. Pius X, infect the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII, and emerge triumphant with John XXIII? Is authority in the Church a living organ or a bureaucratic organ?

While the introduction advances two important doctrinal aspects, the first paragraph takes note of, we would say, other mystical aspects, without excluding a reference to the mysterium iniquitatis[12] that could operate in the context of the hierarchy and reach the long-desired goal: “that we see the abomination of desolation in the holy place,” foretold by the prophet Daniel. The reference alludes to Daniel 9:27: et in dimidio hebdomadis deficiet hostia et sacrificium; et erit in templo abominatio desolationis.[13] And then in 12:11: et a tempore cum ablatum fuerit iuge sacrificium et posita fuerit abominatio in desolationem, dies mille ducenti nonaginta.[14] The prophetic text is therefore interpreted from the life of the Church and the Antichrist: in the life of the Church, the cessation of the sacrifice (hostia et sacrificium[15], iuge sacrificium[16]), and the restoration of the Antichrist: abominatio in desolationem[17], the expression from chapter 12 that makes explicit the force of the genitive:[18] it happens that the abominatio installs itself in loco sancto[19], which is the furtherance of the desolation in the Church deprived of the Sacrifice. What is important are not those nuances that we can give to the text (commonly displayed in medieval prophecies), but the fact that with it Paul IV indicates in the Bull an ostensible interpretation: the apostasy of the hierarchical body of the Church, whose distinctions of rank, we would say, appear again and again with a certain insistence in the document so that nobody is confused. Well, then, do we not have the “new Mass” and the invalid authority of Montini owing to the work of an apostate hierarchy? Has not the prophetic warning of Paul IV come to pass? What is, according to the text of the Biblical prophet and according to the pope’s allusion, the abominatio?

Two images in the introduction complete the description: “hunting the foxes,” or rather the hierarchs who within the Church are destroying her; and “repelling the wolves” that prowl about, for which Paul IV uses the exact term, “bark,” that is to say, utter the truth. But what has, on the plane of historical occurrence, the slyness of the foxes and the boldness of the wolves been within the clerical bodies? History can be perfectly summed up if one remembers the pontificate of Pius X, which is precisely the answer that the Holiness of the Church gives in reply to the Masonic papal conclave of 1903. Foxes and wolves have destroyed the efforts of the great pope who opens the 20th century with a promise. Who were the drivers of Foxes and Wolves in a Church that seemed to recover her pristine liturgical and doctrinal glory?

The second paragraph of the Bull reaffirms all the condemnations against heretics and schismatics. And let us note that this recapitulation comprises not only the resolutions, judgments, and censures of all the preceding popes but the sentences that all the Councils imposed. And here Paul IV seems to prophetically warn anew against what will occur in respect to the Council of Ephesus – disavowed in the title Montini gave to the Most Blessed Virgin, namely, the title “mother of the Church”[20] – and in respect to the Council of Trent, disavowed in the supposed theology of the “new Mass.” This is part of the desolation; this is furtherance of the abomination, and therefore an unmistakable prelude to the Antichrist. Here also Paul IV, by including the series of ecclesiastical and temporal high offices in the frame of the aforementioned judgments and censures, indicates the probable direction of the apostasy.

The third paragraph attempts to fill out the canonical remedies that bar the way to heresy, and seems to represent the originating motive for this document: to strip the heretics on the rolls of the hierarchy of their titles, offices, and dignities, including the rank of cardinal, without the necessity of judicial procedure of law or of fact. Moreover, concerning the judgments, censures, and penalties anticipated in the remote or immediate past, Paul IV, in the beginning of paragraph 3, thoroughly explores and develops the doctrinal question and its canonical efficacy. As to the stripping of titles and offices, he insists on the impossibility of the guilty parties’ being restored or returned to their old dignities, by which the pope underscores the seriousness of the case and the sentence.

The fourth and fifth paragraphs emphasize other consequences and requirements with respect to the nomination of new officials for the vacant positions, or with respect to the canonical and procedural consequences for those who have welcomed, favored, or supported those charged as heretics and schismatics. Finally the sixth and seventh sections resolve the question about those who, having defected from the Faith, were promoted to any ecclesiastical dignity, without excluding the case of a papal election, in the sense that such an election or promotion is null, void, and without any effect. In order to remove any doubt in the case of a false pope, Paul IV underscores the fact that the assumption of papal jurisdiction does not acquire validity either by possession of the office, or by the enthronement and adoratio,[21] or by the obedience that has been accorded to him, or by the passage of time from the election in the conclave or from the enthronement.

  1. – Let us now summarize what I have called the doctrinal background of the Bull. The mystery of the apostasy in the Church can develop, and it develops in the hierarchical levels, without excluding the pontificate. And, on the horizon of the life of the Church, that mystery would entail the cessation of the Sacrifice and the abomination of desolation in the holy place. Accordingly, it is the most primary function of the Shepherd to be watchful so that this does not take place in the Church. But it could occur. Heresy and schism work by trying to gain access through the hierarchy and pontificate. This is possible. In order to prevent the spread and rise of heresy and schism, it is necessary to nip in the bud the relationship of ecclesiastical dignity and heresy or heretic. In this sense, Paul IV admits the certain possibility that a papal conclave may unanimously elect as pope a heretic. This election lacks validity with all the canonical consequences that derive from it. Therefore, according to Paul IV, it is not contrary to the Faith to affirm that there could occur the case of a heretic pope (a false pope, naturally) elected by he unanimous vote of the cardinals, an outcome that could suggest, in turn, the electors’ heretical unanimity. It is certainly not necessary, but it is possible. This would be, I believe, the abominatio in desolationem: the Church without a pope and without legitimate electors, they being automatically dispossessed of their dignities. Nevertheless, these—a false pope and deposed cardinals—would have been able to bring about, according to the convergence of events of the mysterium iniquitatis, the abolishment of the Sacrifice of the Altar, that of which the prophet Daniel explicitly speaks: deficiet hostia et sacrificium; et erit in templo abominatio desolationis.[22]

 Paul IV adds that no one stripped of his canonical dignity in such conditions and proceedings can be rehabilitated, restored, or put back in his former office. And this certainly involves an extreme sentence or censure in keeping with the extreme gravity of the canonical procedure, since in reality all those officials so interrogated, investigated, or judged would be implicitly accused of wishing to destroy the Church. For that reason, St. Pius V widens, in a certain sense, the judiciary margin of the Bull by decreeing the reopening of all the canonical procedures without excluding those that might have already been resolved according to the authority of the recently ended Council of Trent. And for that reason, the motu proprio of 1566, upon declaring and establishing that decreta in reorum favorem numquam fecisse nec in futurum posse facere transitum in rem iudicatam (last part of paragraph 1),[23] attempts, without being unjust with respect to persons, to maintain vigilance with respect to the realities, and for that very reason to give formal notice of and to proclaim the all-embracing legal capacity of the inquisitors to summon, investigate, conduct preliminary hearings, and exonerate, including those declared innocent.

Finally, according to this doctrinal line, we would now demote the hierarchical body of bishops that could also in totum[24] sustain, favor, and share heretical and schismatic authority, and consequently would lack jurisdiction. And this assuredly dark horizon would complete the abominatio in desolationem[25], or, as the text of the Bull says, abominationem desolationis in loco sancto videre,[26] since every cathedral (seat of wisdom and the Faith) would be occupied by heretics or miniature heresiarchs who would bring about what the canonical providence of our text tries to impede: Catholicae Ecclesiae unitatem et inconsutilem Domini tunicam scindere.[27]

One point remains in the penumbra or in the background of the text, one question alone that it is necessary in any case to formulate, to wit: according to that teaching of Paul IV, Can a legitimately elected pope, unaffected either in the instant of the election or in the following process until his enthronement, fall into heresy and could then that canonical pope (with all the force of that expression) consequently incur the automatic dispossession that the Bull definitely establishes and specifies? In other words, could this Roman text be considered an explicit antecedent for the teaching summarized in the maxim: Papa haereticus est despoitus?[28]

In explicit terms, the document does not list or include this case. It is worth bringing it forward. Implicitly I believe it is so, and that the supposition is probable that the minute and extended deliberation shared by Paul IV with his theologians, advisors, or more intelligent cardinals, may have brought this issue to a solution rather more suggested than formulated, on account of the special circumstances of the Church, inasmuch as the Council was unfinished. In other words, it is difficult to think that the question of a heretic pope would escape the analysis of the problem. Of the three levels that the problem involves, namely, episcopal or cardinalitial hierearchy, a pope elected in a null manner, and a canonical pope who brought heresy upon himself, the first two predominated because of the experience that faced the Pontificate on the vast confines of its once undisputed prerogative. The third inevitably came to light in the theological comparative scrutiny such as, I believe, results from a more strict analysis of the Latin text.

In effect, it is true that Paul IV recalls in passing the adage Pontifex Romanus omnes iudicat, a nemine in hoc saeculo iudicandus,[29] which would seem to contradict all the particulars of the Bull that pertain to the definite case of a pope in his duties of office. But it is not so. The maxim is understood of the pope who preserves legitimacy in re,[30] otherwise paragraphs 6 and 7 would be contradictory. For this reason, the continuation of this adage adds that Romanus Pontifex, si deprehendatur a fide devius, possit redargui,[31] using a verb (deprehendi[32]) and a phrase (a fide devius[33]) having a strong reference to the subject that the context always understands as a serious situation or a set of circumstances contrary to the faith. That awakens the remembrance of Daniel’s prophecy and for that very reason the direct responsibility of the pontiff. Thus we ought to note that both the phrase (already emphasized) and the mention of the prophecy do not pertain to inconvenient expedients, straying or heretic cardinals or bishops (since that begins to be detailed in paragraph 2), but to the pontiff’s strict duty (of which the introduction and paragraph 1 speak) in the care of the faith.

Supposing that the context should be understood in that way, in other words a canonically elected pope a fide devius possit redargui,[34] a state of affairs that prepares, for that reason, the abomination in the holy place, how would we understand, in the framework of the Bull, the persistence or cessation of his investiture? Does a pope a fide devius continue being pope? The content of the subject is mentioned as a certain possibility, [and] the extreme consequence is also envisioned in the prophecy; in the midst of these two instances, what are we to say about that pontiff? By analogy, the conclusion arising from the whole conceptual orientation of the document would seem to impose itself, namely, that he has lost his legitimacy.

In the second place, we deduce the same conclusion at the beginning of paragraph 5, which deals with those who have favored, protected, or promoted heresy. In the Bull, those individuals incur the same sanctions. Now then, if in that case bishops, cardinals, etc. are considered to be deposed of their dignities, offices, and benefices, what would be the motive for excluding someone who has the greater responsibility for stopping the fulfillment of the aforesaid prophecy? By analogy, it is evident that a canonically elected pope who would promote, protect or encourage heresy or heretics would lose the titles of canonical legitimacy and would cease being pope. That conclusion would coincide with a passage in paragraph 2, where the enumeration of official duties and dignities with jurisdiction says: of whatever rank, condition and preeminence, including bishops and archbishops, etc., or of any other whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity. What could be that “other dignity” in the Church, if the next paragraph mentions cardinals, legates, etc.? Does it not unmistakably suggest the jurisdictional dignity of the Roman pontiff? I believe so.

In the teaching of Paul IV, we would thus have the following chain–like progression of arguments [gradación[35]]: Any ecclesiastical dignity whatsoever, any rank or condition whatsoever, can incur heresy and in that case we must consider the person who holds that dignity to be ipso facto[36] deposed. In the case of the pope, the incomparable gravity of the effect of heresy (leaving the Roman See vacant) is not an obstacle to the realization of the principle. In any event, we would have three different possibilities in the case of the “heretic pope”: a) “heretic” before his elevation, b) “heretic” owing to deviation from the faith (a fide devius), c) “heretic” owing to promotion of the heresy of others. In the three cases, the Bull would establish the voidance of the legitimate office. The heretic pope would find himself deposed.

We arrive thus at the final point of our commentary. The text of Paul IV, viewed in the complex circumstances of the 16th century, represents inherently an anticipation of the advances of an apostasy that could affect, in the strict sense, the jurisdictional primacy from the apostolic and cardinalitial levels. In turn, the motu proprio of Pius V, upon confirming the Bull once the Council of Trent had been concluded, foresees, in continual vigilance of all the causes of heresy, a time of exceptional perversity in promoting heresy, and consequently a time that heralds the cessation of the Sacrifice and the abomination in the holy place. Could we not infer that Montini and his counselors, theologians, and cardinals fundamentally satisfy the explicit and implicit conditions described in these texts, and that from any perspective whatsoever—canonical, mystical, or historical—we find ourselves precisely in those times of the abominatio in desolationem? In this case, the cessation of the Sacrifice and the vacancy in Rome inevitably foretell other mystical, canonical, and historical lapses. We could call the new times —which demand a new St. Athanasius — “Athanasian.” Does this man perhaps now exist in the mystical backgrounds of the desolate Church? (End of Disandro’s Introduction)

[1] Translator’s Note: “Brief” or papal letter.

[2] Translator’s Note: “god-man”

[3] Translator’s Note: “tradition”

[4] Translator’s Note: “god-man mystery”

[5] Translator’s Note: “mystery of the Church” and “hidden truth [or mystery] of the Trinity”

[6] Translator’s Note: Docetism : “[t]he assertion that Jesus Christ was not a man but only seemed to have a human body and lead a human life”; monophysitism: “[t]he heresy that there is only one nature in Jesus Christ, his humanity being entirely absorbed in his divinity, and his body not of one substance with ours”; ebionism “denied the divinity and virgin birth of our Lord; observed the Jewish Law…and used only one Gospel, attributed to St. Matthew” (from Atwater’s A Catholic Dictionary).

[7] Translator’s Note: lit. “Since on account of the office of apostleship.”

[8] Translator’s Note: “of his own accord.”

[9] Translator’s Note: The sixteenth ecumenical council (1414- 1418), which ended the Schism of the West.

[10] Translator’s Note: “new theology,” a French anti-scholastic, theological movement in the 1940s, which Pius XII attempted to end in his encyclical Humani Generis. It served as the basic preparation for Vatican II.

[11] Translator’s Note: French Jesuit bishop and cardinal (1905-1974) who was an influential figure in the “New Theology” movement. He was a peritus at Vatican II.

[12] Translator’s Note: “mystery of wickedness”

[13] Translator’s Note: “and in the half of the week, the victim and the sacrifice will fail; and there will be in the temple the abomination of desolation.”

[14] Translator’s Note: “and from the time when the perpetual sacrifice will be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation will be established, [there will be] 1,290 days.”

[15] Translator’s Note: “the victim and the sacrifice”

[16] Translator’s Note: “perpetual sacrifice”

[17] Translator’s Note: “abomination unto desolation”

[18] Translator’s Note: referring to the genitive case of the word desolationis, “of desolation,” in Dan. 9:27.

[19] Translator’s Note: “in the holy place”

[20] Translator’s Note: the Council of Ephesus (431) declared Mary the Mother of God (in Greek, Theotokos).

[21] Translator’s Note: The homage rendered to a newly elected pope, viz. the kissing of the foot and hand and reception of the kiss of peace.

[22] Translator’s Note: “the victim and the sacrifice will fail; and there will be in the temple the abomination of desolation.”

[23] Translator’s Note: “The decrees incurred in favor of the guilty parties… have never been applicable nor in the future can be applicable to a decided case.” N.B. The Latin is not an exact quotation from the original.

[24] Translator’s Note: “wholly, altogether, entirely”

[25] Translator’s Note: “abomination unto desolation”

[26] Translator’s Note: “seeing the abomination of desolation in the holy place.”

[27] Translator’s Note: “rending the unity of the Catholic Church and the seamless coat of the Lord.”

[28] Translator’s Note: “A heretical pope is deposed.”

[29] Translator’s Note: “The Roman Pontiff judges all men, in this world [he is] to be judged by no man,” (DZ 330)

[30] Translator’s Note: “in reality”

[31] Translator’s Note: “ A Roman pontiff would be able to be convicted of falsehood, if he should be detected to be deviant from the faith.”

[32] Translator’s Note: “to be discovered, detected”

[33] Translator’s Note: “turning aside, wandering, deviant from the faith.”

[34] Translator’s Note: “turning away from the faith would be able to be convicted of falsehood.”

[35] Translator’s note: The Spanish word gradación is a term of art referring to the technical rhetorical device variously called in the English-speaking world gradatio, climax (‘ladder”), ascendus [“ascent”] or “marching figure,” where words or sentences mount by degrees of increasing importance.

[36] Translator’s note: “by that very fact.”






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Editor’s Notes on Prof. Disandro’s Cum ex… Commentary

Material-Formal Hypothesis Contradicts Papal Teaching

© Copyright 2015, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)


“Fr.” Bernard Lucien, a former St. Pius X Society cleric, wrote “The Problem of Authority In the Post-Conciliar Church,” (date unknown), a piece promoting the “Materialiter-Formaliter” or Cassiciacum thesis first advanced by the late French theologian Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P. in the 1980s. Regardless of any enthusiastic claims concerning des Lauriers scholarship and orthodoxy (although exactly why he left the Vatican as Pope Pius XII’s confessor in the early 1950s is unclear), it must be remembered that he received consecration without papal mandate from a notoriously heretical bishop (Peter Ngo dinh Thuc) and in writing his thesis was attempting to justify the jurisdiction he had received from Thuc. Thuc’s own jurisdiction had no other source but the very Novus Ordo church he was still actively involved with, by his own admission, just prior to des Lauriers “consecration.” Lucien was a Lefebvre seminarian who later became a sedevacantist and is now reportedly affiliated with a Novus Ordo Indult mass group. He has no assurance of valid ordination and advanced his “thesis” without the approval of ecclesiastical authority.

We will call it that throughout this work, but in reality it cannot be considered more than an hypothesis, if that, because the arguments on which it is based are not cogent, complete, or frankly, Catholic. Lucien now is apparently outside the Church, so why, exactly, are the people promoting this theory still using his works patterned after des Laurier’s writings as their basis of belief? The only reason that his work is being treated seriously here is because certain Traditionalists are still promoting it to facilitate “the restoration of the Church.” Those who know this theory to be false and harmful to the faith of others have asked that it be addressed here to warn the unwary. The purpose of this article, then, is to explain the basic errors of the material-formal hypothesis as presented by Lucien and why it cannot be considered viable in any way.

Lucien sets out his theory as follows: “Since December 7, 1965…the person occupying the Apostolic See is no longer formally the pope: He no longer has any divinely assisted Pontifical authority; he however remains materially a pope insofar as he has not been juridically deposed. All the theses that affirm the persistence of Authority in the present circumstances implicitly deny the infallibility of the Church’s Ordinary and Universal Magisterium as defined by Vatican I (Denz. 1792). This affirmation is the reverse side of the proof which establishes the first part of the Thesis of Cassiciacum: the cogency of this statement will become clear when we study this proof…The Thesis of Cassiciacum will add to this decisive and radical disagreement other theological and philosophical considerations in order to make the origin and dimension of the errors in theses 11 and 12 clear. It will especially expose the voluntarist conception of authority which generally permeates these two theories, a conception which leads to a naturalistic understanding of Authority in the Church.”

We find addressed in Lucien’s treatise the exact same issues cited by all those supporting this supposed “solution” to the crisis in the Church, and all these issues already are addressed on this site. He claims the Church can never lose the papacy because this voids Christ’s promise to St. Peter, but this is contrary to Catholic teaching, (see /free-content/4-a-catholic-course-of-study-new/i-the-four-marks-cannot-exist-without-the-three-attributes/iii-indefectibility/; /free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/what-catacomb-catholics-believe-on-indefectibility/; /free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/the-church-has-not-failed-and-cannot-fail/). He contends She could never lose the hierarchy because the Church infallibly teaches the hierarchy (meaning cardinals, bishops and priests) must last until the consummation, (/free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/binding-power-of-papacy-voids-traditionalist-acts/ , pages 23-31). And finally, the pope can become a heretic and did become one (Paul VI) but he can admit his errors, be rehabilitated and continue to lead the Church, despite his questionable election, (/free-content/reference-links/4-heresy/why-a-legitimate-roman-pontiff-could-never-become-a-heretic-but-could-only-appear-to-become-one/).

Of course to claim all this is possible, Lucien denies in the process that Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, the perpetual “fly in the ointment,” is an infallible document. But Lucien’s so-called thesis is yet another example of how Traditionalists, in Modernist fashion, skirt papal authority and abandon scholastic method to appeal to their audience. We wish to warn all those who hold themselves as true Catholics that the material-formal movement is simply a Society of St. Pius X-like attempt to redirect Traditionalists back into the Novus Ordo and “reunite” the Church. It was always the dream of the Modernists to eliminate the magisterium of the Church. A church like the Novus Ordo where the magisterium is constantly adjusted to the “needs and desires” of the people of God is exactly what the Modernists aimed for; they did not want to destroy the Church altogether, only reduce it to a democracy. They used the Traditionalist movement as a vehicle for accomplishing this, pretending Tradition existed entirely in the retention of Mass and Sacraments outside communion with a true pope. But the true definition of Tradition, found in the old Catholic Encyclopedia article under Tradition, identifies it not with the liturgy and Sacraments but the continual magisterium primarily. An article will be posted to the Free Content site soon explaining this connection in detail.

The heretical pope controversy revisited

In his first few pages, Lucien notes that, (1) “The Thesis of Cassiciacum does not appeal to any pre-existing theory on the problem of an heretical pope. (2) This is what gives it force and essentially allows it to establish “something approaching a certitude of the order of Faith.” That is rich, since the term heretical pope was declared an oxymoron by the Vatican Council. The Sources of Catholic Dogma, compiled by Henry Denzinger, (items which are hereafter referred to as DZ) tells us that the pope’s faith is “never-failing [being] divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this chair, (DZ 1837). When the pope “in accord with his supreme apostolic authority, explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in Blessed Peter, [he] operates with that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished that His Church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals…,” (DZ 1839). He who contradicts this is anathema, (DZ 1840). No true pope, in his formal capacity, could ever utter heresy. As a private person, yes, according to Henry Cardinal Manning and theologians generally; as one who appears to be pope but who was not legitimately elected, yes, according to Pope Paul IV’s Bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, (1559). But this can never be true of a validly elected pope speaking officially (publicly) to the universal Church authoritatively AS pope. Numbers two and three above are addressed below.

(1) What Lucien is really saying is that by ignoring the fact that a pope CAN NEVER be a heretic in his official capacity, thus contradicting infallible teaching, one is then able to consider how he could commit heresy in his official capacity and still be a human being capable of rehabilitation who could remain pope; or not. The decision is left to the “material pope.” This is in perfect agreement with the accursed tenets of Novus Ordo liberal charity (peace not war; no capital punishment; counseling and understanding, not removal from office for Novus Ordo priests who abuse children, ad nauseum) in direct contradiction of Catholic teaching.

(2) Come again? Something approaching a certitude of the order of faith? If one does not already possess a certitude of the order of faith, then one cannot call him or herself a Catholic. Lucien needs to be reminded of just how that certitude runs, because he then will discover that he himself does not understand it. Being subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation, (DZ 469). The belief that certitude can only be approached but not attained contradicts the following set of papal condemnations concerning the ability to arrive at certitude, (DZ 553-557). These are all binding statements. But when it is morally impossible to render such subjection, such as in the absence of a Roman Pontiff, or if one doubts his legitimacy for grave reasons, one is not required to be subject to him. This means not subject in anything, not just a few things. Why would any of the faithful, “clerics” or not, be required to agonize over what they must obey or not obey concerning a “material pope”? This is absurd. The beauty of Catholicism lies in the fact that it is based on absolute or formal certitude, that is, infallibility. In things infallible, all we must do is accept with an irrevocable assent and obey; other papal teaching on non-infallible matters must be accepted with a firm and sincere assent. How hard is that?

In his “ABC of Scholastic Philosophy,” Rev. A. C. Cotter explains, “Formal certitude is a firm assent (or dissent) based on motives which are in themselves infallible and are known to be infallible…Now only an infallible motive excludes the very possibility of error…Therefore only an infallible motive is a sufficient guarantee for the (logical) truth of a judgment…A guide is not called infallible because there is no special reason for doubting his knowledge or because it is highly improbable he will lead us astray…We call a motive or reason for judging infallible only when it cannot lead us into error.” If we can be absolutely certain of the source, because Christ guaranteed its infallibility, why in heaven’s name would we need “something approaching a certitude of the order of faith?” Yet the only possible foundation for this restoration is the teaching of Divine revelation as presented by the Church for belief. THAT is formal certitude, and we are bound to learn it and believe it.

These topics below already have been covered in several articles on the site. Before continuing, the reader may wish to visit the links listed in the Introduction.

Cum ex… resolves all material-formal questions and is infallible

1.) A bull is the “most solemn and weighty form of papal letter,” (Donald Attwater, “A Catholic Dictionary”), and is generally believed to be a document of the extraordinary magisterium in most cases. There are two types of infallibility: ordinary and extraordinary (solemn declaration). These types are called the “magisterium” of the Church, or teaching authority: “…which resides in the Roman Pontiff and in the bishops, inasmuch as they are subject to and united with him,” (Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Parente, Piolanti, Garofalo, 1951, p. 71.) On page 72, the Dictionary lists the following sources from which a declaration of the extraordinary magisterium can issue: “…A solemn declaration of the Pope, through a bull or other document; declaration of an ecumenical council or of a particular council approved by the Pope; symbols and professions of faith emanating from or approved by the Church.”

2.) In paragraph one, Pope Paul IV defines the meaning of Holy Scripture, (the abomination of desolation found in the book of Daniel) refuting the then-popular errors of the Protestants, who “strive to rend the Lord’s seamless robe by corrupting the sense of the Holy Scriptures with cunning inventions,” (preamble).

3) In paragraphs two and three, Pope Paul IV states that he invokes his apostolic authority in issuing the bull. This is a clear indication of infallibility according to the theologians.

4.) In paragraph three, Paul IV pronounces: We sanction, establish, decree and define, through the fullness of Our Apostolic power, [that] all censures, sentences and penalties, keep their force and efficacy and obtain their effect.” Some of these sentences and penalties were very severe. If the pope here specifies he is invoking his supreme Apostolic power precisely to keep all these censures and penalties in effect, one can hardly say that Cum ex… can be dismissed as only a disciplinary decree (as Lucien and others pretend). Nor can it be said that disciplinary decrees cannot be infallible. For as Pope Pius IX taught the Armenians in Quartus Supra:

“But the neo-schismatics have gone further, since ‘every schism fabricates a heresy for itself to justify its withdrawal from the Church.’ Indeed, they have even accused this Apostolic See as well, as if We had exceeded the limits of Our power in commanding that certain points of discipline were to be observed…Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Now such teaching is not only heretical after the definitions and declarations of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on the nature and reasons for the primacy of the Sovereign Pontiff, but it has always been considered to be such and has been abhorred by the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that the bishops of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, openly declared the supreme authority of the Apostolic See in their proceedings; then they humbly requested Our predecessor, St. Leo, to sanction and confirm their decrees, even those which concerned discipline,” (This encyclical was listed in the Acta Sanctae Sedis, which preceded the Acta Apostolica Sedis as the formal record of all binding papal documents.)

And this same pope taught in “Quae in Patriarchatu”: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (emph. mine — September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite). Can true Catholics really read the words of this pope and believe that Cum ex…, even if primarily a disciplinary decree, was not infallible?

No declaration needed and no rehabilitation possible

5.) The entire premise of material-formal, stated by Lucien above, is that the Vatican 2 antipopes, now succeeded by Francis, could denounce the false V2 council and the teaching of their predecessors and magically become pope, as if their long-term heresy and betrayal of the Church was really not all that culpable. But if we follow Cum ex… as we are bound to do, we see that this is not what Pope Paul IV taught in regards to the consequences of their heresy in paragraph three. “In addition to the sentences, censures and penalties mentioned above, (all these persons, namely the hierarchy, who) have strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism, or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schismbeing less excusable than others in such matters, are also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank…They can never at any time be re-established, re-appointed, restored or recapacitated for their former state.”

 Nothing could be clearer than this. And notice that Paul IV rules this way because “they are less excusable than others” in these matters. Certainly the hierarchy educated under Popes St. Pius X through Pius XII had no legitimate excuse whatsoever for deviating in any way from the true course and selling out their Church. Both Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII, in their respective papal election constitutions, ratified Cum ex… as still applicable by teaching that deposed cardinals cannot vote and cannot be elected. Prof. Carlos Disandro went to great lengths to point this out in his 1979 “Doctrinal Precisions,” (see Archive/membership section of site). Both papal election constitutions teach that should anything be done to usurp papal jurisdiction, and if any papal laws — especially those laid down in Pope Pius XII’s election constitution, Vacantis Apostolica Sedis (VAS) — are broken, these acts are null and void, and this by infallible command (para. 3, VAS). So let Lucien beware: Cum ex… is not the outdated, abrogated old law he portrays it to be. If anyone, God forbid, should act on what he is proposing in his treatise, it will be null and void.

6.) Pope Paul IV, unlike Lucien, considered heresy and schism, “the greatest and deadliest crime” that can exist in God’s Church,” (para. three). His bull does not drip with the deadly poison of liberalism in regards to heresy and the virtue of charity as does the writings of Lucien, Sanborn and others, who, because they are outside the Church themselves, have no intention of admitting their errors. They have no fear of being accused of suffering the infamy incurred by those who defend such heretics and schismatics, pronounced in para. five of the bull.

Finally, and most importantly, if Cum ex… is accepted for what it truly says and the context in which it is said, it will be clear to all that a man who was a heretic prior to his election, such as the last six antipopes, could scarcely regain something he never obtained in the first place. Cum ex… is quite clear on this point, using language that unmistakeably indicates that such a man never truly became pope but only appeared to do so. Nor, according to Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex…, could he ever regain his office even if he was at one time considered to be pope.

No quasi-legitimacy, no remedy for invalidity

7.) But paragraph six is the one that torpedoes the rudderless material-formal ship, and refuses to rescue the survivors. First it eliminates as true electors all those cardinals who in any way whatsoever have shown any signs of heresy or schism, invalidating all their acts. Their heresy and contrary intention may not have been evident at the “election” of John 23, but certainly it was detectable shortly following his election concerning the two-thirds plus one who cast their votes for him. This majority of the cardinals is required by Pope Pius XII’s 1945 papal election law for validity, (VAS, para. 69). If only ONE of those cardinals casting their vote for Roncalli was a heretic — and the heresy of many of them was demonstrated by their acceptance of the false Vatican 2 council — that election was never valid. Because the John 23 missal abrogated the Tridentine rite in 1962 and the faithful already were reading “for all men” in their English missalettes in 1959; and especially in light of Roncalli’s open and friendly dealings with Communists and Freemasons, the communicatio in sacris with those even favoring heresy, the deviasse referred to in Cum ex…, was already “clear,” as Pope Paul IV terms it, (see /free-content/reference-links/4-heresy/annotated-guide-to-cum-ex/). In fact, according to Msgr. J. C. Fenton’s diaries, it was already “clear” in the late 1950’s before Pius XII’s death, with some questioning the direction the Church was taking not long after Roncalli’s election. Roncalli’s misbehavior in France and disfavor with Pius XII; also his long association with Montini was common knowledge. Are we conjecturing here? Not according to the evidence presented by Msgr. Fenton, who was so rattled by the blatant heresy at the planning sessions for the council that he exclaimed: “If I did not believe God, I would be convinced that the Catholic Church was about to end,” (commenting on Vatican II, Nov. 23, 1962).

Second, it limits the heresy of the person elected pope to pre-election only, stating that such heresy or schism invalidates the election and renders it null and void. Thirdly, it states that there can be no remedy for this invalidity: “It cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of office,” nor by “the passage of any time; nor shall it be held as quasi-legitimate,” (one wonders if Pope Paul IV was not gifted with prophecy here). The cardinals and the one they elect shall be “deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power…without need for any declaration.” And according to paragraph five, this happens not only in the case of one who is a heretic pre-election, but in the case of those cardinals who, following such an “election,” fail to confront the one elected for deviating from the faith. Notice that in paragraph five of the bull that it is “…(all these persons, namely the hierarchy, who) have strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism, or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schismbeing less excusable than others in such matters…” who lose their offices with no hope of recovering them.

This is the censure found in Can. 188 no. 4. It applies to all the hierarchy, but only to a validly elected pope who would commit heresy as a private person, (which is not the case in our situation). It differs from Can. 2314 §1-2 in that it treats of clerics only and not the laity. Both laity and clergy are ipso facto excommunicated for heresy, apostasy and schism; clergy alone ipso facto lose their offices as a consequence of this excommunication; they are deposed in virtue of the act of public heresy, apostasy or schism. Therefore they lose any jurisdiction they may ever have possessed. This is why it is so ludicrous for Lucien, Sanborn, et al to go on and on about who deposes the pope, when, how, etc. The one posing as pope tacitly resigns his office as a consequence of heresy, apostasy or schism; he tacitly resigns and thus deposes himself. The V2 antipopes all were clerics at one point, so are subject to this canon. The Traditionalists have no such guarantee of certainly valid ordination and for all practical purposes can be considered laymen. This according to the ruling of the Holy Office on the errant priest Michael Collins, listed in the Canon Law Digest, Vol. 4, under Can. 211, (Dec. 15, 1956; entered into the AAS as binding).

It is important to note here that even if Lucien did not accept Cum ex… as an infallible document, which it demonstrably is, he still would be bound to accept its teaching with a firm and sincere assent. To hold otherwise would be to contradict what Pope Pius IX said in Quanta Cura, where he condemns the teaching that, “without sin and without damage to a man’s profession as a Catholic, assent and obedience can be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See which have as their object a reference to the general good of the Church and its rights and discipline, as long as this refusal does not affect dogmas of faith and morals.” Here Pope Pius IX is only reiterating what Nicholas I and the Roman Council taught in 860 A. D.: “If anyone condemns dogmas, interdicts, sanctions or decrees, promulgated by the one presiding in the Apostolic See, for the Catholic faith, for ecclesiastical discipline, for the correction of the faithful, for the emendation of criminals, either by an interdict of threatening or future ills, let him be anathema,” (DZ 326). Lucien condemns what he terms a disciplinary decree promulgated by Pope Paul IV, aimed at ecclesiastical criminals, but of course his skewed definition of heresy would not allow anyone to consider him guilty of the attached anathema. If Catholics cannot see past this slick maneuver to escape blame, practiced so many times by the Traditional clerics they choose to follow, then they need professional help.

Msgr. J. C. Fenton identifies what Pope Pius IX and Nicholas I condemn as “Catholic minimism, which would restrict the fields of necessary doctrinal obedience in the life of the faithful to the region of explicit statements on dogma alone,” (March 1953 American Ecclesiastical Review, “Infallibility in the Encyclicals”). In this same article, Fenton quotes Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei, outlining the duties of Catholics, to the same effect: “It is necessary to hold whatever the Roman Pontiffs have taught or are going to teach as accepted with firm assent, and to profess these things openly whenever the occasion requires it.” Lucien, Sanborn and all the others engaged in this entirely man-inspired quest to “restore the Church” are guilty of this minimism and much worse: they fail to accept the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, preferring the arguments of theologians and their own conclusions to those of Christ’s Vicar. Regardless of what they may call themselves, they are not practicing Catholics.

No deposition necessary because no office ever obtained

8.) Lucien says (hypothetically) the occupant of the See is not deposed; he initially asks if he is deposed or is only “deposable,” but does not ABSOLUTELY say he should be deposed. First, he says, those with authority in the Church (and who might they be?) must demand he retract his errors and only then is he considered deposed (by Christ?). If he complies with the demand, Lucien and others propose, he is ipso facto formally established as pope, but this is not the case. As Cum ex itself says, no warning or judicial sentence is necessary and no rehabilitation is possible. Paragraph seven solves the problem of deposition the material-formal crowd devotes so much time to examining and explaining. It makes one wonder what exactly des Lauriers was thinking when he wrote his original piece on Cassiciacum, for he was a theologian in the pre-V2 Church although perhaps one who found disfavor with the pope. Cassiciacum entirely ignores Cum ex… and Canon Law to arrive at its alleged “theory.” But it is a theory based only on the opinions of theologians and not on the teachings of the popes individually, or those teachings reflected in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

Canon 2198, with Cum ex Apostolatus Officio as the old law supporting this canon, establishes the criteria for determining manifest heresy. Canon 2198 states: “In order for a crime to be called public, it is necessary that the fact be publicly known as a criminal or morally imputable act — in other words, that the act is known as a crime. Thus if a person has been dangerously wounded or killed, it is not enough that the fact is known, but it must also be known the act was a criminal one, [not self defense or an accident]. …The offender must be known to the public to make the act a public crime, (Can. 2197 no. 4). If the offender does not stand identified before the public as the perpetrator of the criminal act, his offense is occult, called formaliter occult in the Code.” (Canon 2197 no. 4 says an offense is materialiter occult if the offense itself is not publicly known. Under this canon it is noted that “The Code calls an offense public when knowledge of it has been spread among the people [as few as six in a small community]) or when it was committed under circumstances which make it practically impossible to keep the offense secret, (Can 2197 no. 3).

If this is the canon on which the material-formal theorists base their reasoning, they are in very deep water. Always the sedevacantists, at least, have formally and publicly accused the Roman usurpers as heretics and false popes; there is no “formaliter occult” where the heresy (crime) is not publicly known because it has been publicly known since 1969 at least. Nor is it materialiter, because sufficient numbers of sedevacantists have publicized these heresies over the years. So the call for a Francis to “repent” is negated by this canon. This is the reason that the material-formal proponents have engaged in a campaign to shame sededvacantists into admitting their stand contradicts the dogma of indefectibility. If they can disband sedevacantists, then they can eliminate the public nature of the outcry against the Novus Ordo pretenders to the papal throne and claim Francis is either a formaliter or materialiter occult heretic. Note this well, for it is exactly what is happening in the Traditional movement today. But even this will not save the Roman usurpers. Because if Cum ex… is obeyed, as it must be, there IS no deposition from office per se because the office was never bestowed in the first place; it only APPEARED to be bestowed. Canon 2198 goes on to explain (Woywod-Smith commentary) that when an offense violates ecclesiastical law, it must be tried in ecclesiastical courts. When it violates civil law only, (in this case fraud on a massive scale), the civil power may be called on to arrest the offender and punish him. This is exactly what Pope Paul IV recommends in paragraph 7 of Cum ex… where he states: “For the greater confusion of persons thus promoted and elevated, if they attempt to continue their government and administration, all may implore the secular arm against those so advanced and elevated.”

NO ONE, then, is deposing a true pope, since such a person was never elected. They are escorting out of the building a mere man devoid of all office and title, a layman for all practical purposes, who only appeared to function as a validly elected public official. The faithful are encouraged to implore the secular arm to remove these people, but if no one even publicly denounces them as imposters and usurpers, how is this ever to come about? It is all a moot point today anyway since there are no Catholic governments to whom the faithful could even appeal. But this does not mean there should not have been and could not have been a public outcry from the outset. If there remained any hope of electing a true pope such an outcry might still be effective, but sadly this is not the case.

Heresy in the Code and Cum ex…

9.) Let us now examine Lucien’s statements concerning heresy in light of Cum ex… as quoted above. Like Donald Sanborn, whose work on material-formal this author examined at length and refuted several years ago, Lucien fails to recognize in Cum ex… the exposition of nearly all the Church’s current teaching (1917 Code) on heresy, apostasy and schism. Both Sanborn and Lucien would be bound to accept Paul IV’s teachings on this subject with a firm assent even if they were not the very definition of what is and is not heresy, which the Church has determined they certainly are. How else explain the constant references to Cum ex… found in the footnotes in Canon Law as the very source of the law itself? There is no reason to repeat the Church’s true teachings on heresy here as covered under Canon Law, teachings Lucien did not even attempt to research at any length. It is enough to direct readers to the Free Content site under heading 4. Heresy (also The true Nature of Heresy under “A Catholic Course of Study on the same page) so they can cover these topics themselves.

Lucien’s contention that Cum ex… was abrogated by the 1917 Code, and is not represented as anything but references in the footnotes to the Code, are false statements long ago disproven by approved authors who had actually researched the origins of Canon Law and the intentions of the lawmakers who codified it. Please join the site at least long enough to view the entire series on the history and relevance of Cum ex…, (also Carlos Disandro’s related article, “Doctrinal Precisions,”) found under the Archives in the membership section. The Archives feature the original material-formal piece published against Donald Sanborn, a lengthy analysis of his evaluation of this hypothesis. For a more complete understanding of the subject it is recommended that this article be read as well.

It has been said that no canonists cite Cum ex… in their works; that it has not been

retained in the Code; that it is not certainly infallible. That those making these claims have not even thoroughly examined the matter is bad enough. But that they prevent others from esteeming a Bull that has direct bearing on their salvation is truly indefensible. Having made this observation, let Catholics decide for themselves. The Code lists Cum ex… as a source not only for Can. 188§4, but also for Canons 167§3, 2198, 2209, 2264, 2294, 2314, 2316 and there may be others as well. Rev. Amleto Cicognani observed in his Canon Law, (1935): “Under the canons are placed footnotes or notes…first from the ‘Codicis Iuris Canonici,’ the Constitutions of Popes, from the Sacred Congregations, and from Liturgical Books…In the Code there are nearly 26,000 citations of the old law. Of these, 8,400 are from Gratian’s Decretum; about 1,200 from Ecumenical Councils; about 4,000 from Papal Constitutions; about 11,200 from the Sacred Congregations and 800 from liturgical Books. Surely this is a very eloquent reply to those who think that since the Code the old laws of the Church have lost all utility, and the history of their sources is become meaningless…,” (emph. mine).Outside the Code there still remains in force…the old written law, contained (at least implicitly) in the Code,” along with several other laws, customs and privileges listed by Cicognani. He continues: “In a commentary on the Canons the footnotes must never be neglected, lest that occur of which Quintilian spoke: ‘the pediments are viewed, the foundations are hidden.’”

10. Finally, in his “Canon 6: The Relation of the Codex Juris Canonici to Preceding Legislation,” (Catholic University of America, 1927), Rev. Nicholas Neuberger states” “The old legislation…is destitute of legal value unless the Code has embodied it in the Canons.” Cum ex… is quite noticeably embodied in the Canons, and is moreover embodied in canons carrying great weight, the most important of these being Canons 188 no. 4 and Can. 2314. Under Can. 2314, it is interesting to note that Cum ex… is one of the last laws mentioned, and all the laws in the footnotes are listed in chronological order. Most of what is listed before Cum ex… appears to be the old canon laws as they existed prior to the 1917 Code. These are probably the canons Pope Paul IV renews in his bull. So it is not an exaggeration to say that Cum ex… is the entire source of this most important canon. It is no wonder Traditionalists are eager to discredit Cum ex. For if they accept this Bull for what it is and for what the Church SAYS it is, they can no longer claim to harbor doubts concerning how the laws governing heresy work, since Cum ex… is now the prevailing law. The Code provides for doubts of law under Canon 6 no. 2 and 6 no. 4, instructing the faithful that in the case of a positive doubt (based on serious reasons), the old law is to be followed, either in whole or in part. And Cum ex… is indisputably that “old law.”


As noted before on this site in many places, Traditionalists are fragmented into numerous sects and are vulnerable to theories such as material–formal primarily because they fear the inescapable alternative: we live in the end times predicted in Daniel, Matthew 24, St. Paul’s works and the Apocalypse, the Great Apostasy occurred long ago, he who withholdeth (the Supreme Pontiff, according to Cardinal Manning) was taken out of the way, the Holy Sacrifice ceased, Antichrist Paul 6 and his infernal system has already come, and we await the physical chastisement which most likely must occur before the Church can be restored. Pope Paul IV laid it all out in Cum ex… 400 years before it occurred. They cling to the material–formal theory because it validates their continued attachment to “hierarchy” and the ability of that hierarchy to validly and licitly provide them the Mass and Sacraments. They will fight to the death to have it their way until this crisis is resolved, to resolve it on their terms and to fiercely defend their attachment to their “clerics” and the services they provide. This despite the sea of proofs from Divine Revelation as defined by the Church that their position is no different than the Protestant Reformers who preceded them and those modern lovers of reform the Modernists, whose ranks they now occupy.

The fact that the juridic Church cannot exist without Christ’s Vicar as Her head does not concern them. Their leaders have carefully woven fictions like material-formal to fit their circumstances and beliefs to the facts, to placate them and to maintain their positions, but they have not presented Church teaching and Catholic truth as it exists for those willing to seek it out to prove their case. In 1958, we lost the head that Christ told us was the rock and foundation of our faith; the only guarantee of truth on this earth. He alone was empowered to teach on behalf of our Lord. No one will contest the fact that at best, we have only a doubtful pope. They will tell you basically all of Canon Law is doubtful but they will not draw out those conclusions where a false pope is concerned. This is true even though it was St. Robert Bellarmine, who their leaders quote at length in support of theories such as material-formal, who advanced the “a doubtful pope is no pope” maxim. For those who will take the time to examine the analysis of Sanborn’s piece on material-formal, in the Archives of the membership section of this site, the end result of material-formal is nothing more than the triumph of Antichrist’s system.

For by appealing to Paul 6’s Lumen Gentium (before he purportedly ‘lost” the papacy), they manage to place the last piece of the puzzle and afford Traditionalists the jurisdiction they lack. This neat package is no more than the same type of sellout offered SSPX members recently to lead all back into the apostate N.O. to live happily ever after. The concerted effort to dissolve and redirect sedevacantists into the St. Pius X Society and CMRI as well as other sects is only an attempt to make it appear that no one is imputing heresy to the material occupant of the See, so he cannot be formally declared a heretic. But their efforts to use Can. 2197 and 2198 to this effect come too little, too late. When Montini officially introduced the “new mass” in 1969 — beginning even prior to that, following the completion of Vatican 2 in 1965 — the Church lost half her membership, including priests and nuns. Those remaining part of the V2 sect were not Catholics at all, having accepted an entirely new religion. Those departing sought out non-Catholic sects (including all shades of Traditionalism) so they were no longer Catholic either. And the rest, for various reasons, refused to attend anything in way of church services. So good luck to them in rounding up anyone now who even remotely qualifies as “Catholic” to comprise the majority needed to satisfy the criteria listed in Can. 2196 and 2197. Those believing Francis to be a “non-imputable” material “pope,” should he “convert” would only bring about the re-installation of an antipope.

In the opening of his thesis, Lucien states: “It is important to realize that a ‘thesis’ is not a dogma. It represents a theological opinion which attempts to explain the facts, and as such is not binding on the Catholic conscience. The thesis that the pope is only materially pope, but not formally pope is but one way of explaining the situation. The magisterium of the Church, when it is once again established, will decide whether this is the correct explanation or not.” This is outrageously disingenuous, for what theses like Lucien’s and others are composing is encouraging readers to trust the opinions of men and ignore Canon Law and other papal teachings binding on their collective conscience. The faithful are not allowed to consider “theses” advanced by those not approved by the Church, especially those whose ordinations and consecrations are irregular. This irregularity, unfortunately, applies to all Traditionalists presenting as clerics; they are not permitted to preach or teach in the Church; they are not lawful pastors. The faithful are allowed to defend their faith and instruct others in the truths of faith only if they are careful to follow the rules of ecclesiastical discipline and rely primarily on the teachings of the popes, Councils, Canon Law and approved theologians. While it is true that this author claims these men are not clerics — and this is solidly based on Church law and papal teaching, presented in the articles written on these topics — they have presented themselves as clerics. Yet according to the very laws for which Cum ex… serves as the old law, until their status can be finally determined by a true pontiff, they must be treated as hirelings and avoided.


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Editor’s Notes on Prof. Disandro’s Cum ex… Commentary

An important note concerning Can. 2200

Aug. 5, 2015

+ St. Dominic +

Dear Readers,

Here we wish to correct an error recently discovered in our works. For some time now we have stated that Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio is the “old law” given as footnote for Canon 2200. This was a misreading that can explained by the way the footnotes are listed in the Latin version of the Code, but still this is not offered as an excuse.

While Can. 2200 is not directly supported in the canonical footnotes by Cum ex…, as previously stated, it is closely related to Canons 2197-2199. It is Can. 2198 to which Cum ex… is the footnote, and while it is necessary to consider it in context with the other canons, it is different in content. Canon 2198 states: “In order for a crime to be called public, it is necessary that the fact be publicly known as a criminal or morally imputable act — in other words, that the act is known as a crime. Thus if a person has been dangerously wounded or killed, it is not enough that the fact is known, but it must also be known the act was a criminal one, [not self defense or an accident]. …The offender must be known to the public to make the act a public crime, (Can. 2197 §4). If the offender does not stand identified before the public as the perpetrator of the criminal act, his offense is occult, called formaliter occult in the Code.” (Canon 2197 §4 says an offense is materialiter occult if the offense itself is not publicly known. Under this canon it is noted that “The Code calls an offense public when knowledge of it has been spread among the people [as few as six in a small community] or when it was committed under circumstances which make it practically impossible to keep the offense secret, (Can 2197 no. 3.”)

“An offense which violates solely the law of the Church, is by its very nature subject to punishment by the ecclesiastical authority only, although this authority may at times ask the assistance of the civil power, when it judges such help necessary or opportune. The civil authority according to its own law punishes an offense which violates solely a law of the civil society, except that, in accordance with Can. 120, clerics are to be tried in ecclesiastical courts only and the Church also is competent to judge it by reason of sin committed. An offense which violates the law of both Church and State may be punished by both,” (end of Can. 2198).

Can. 2197 relates to the material/formal argument today, as can be seen by the wording. This will be examined in a separate article, posted under the Most Recent Articles heading on the Free Content site. What Can. 2198 is concerned with is paragraph seven of Cum ex… stating that if the man deposed by heresy committed publicly, as the canon defines, will not give up his claim to the see, the civil authorities may step in. Heresy is public when: 1) the identity of the perpetrator is known to the public; 2) when the knowledge of the act has spread among a large number of people, or is such that it can’t be concealed and 3) the act itself is known to be a criminal act. Once it is determined that heresy is public, then it can be dealt with in the public forum. Material or occult formal heresy is if its nature non-public, because it does not satisfy the criteria.

Can. 2200 considers only those things in the external forum, committed according to the guidelines set down in Can. 2198. In other words, if we say that some of those who are included under Can. 2200 are material heretics (i. e., guilty of the external act but not necessarily the sin of heresy itself), we are not saying it is not publicly known. We are saying that it is an external act that may not be “morally imputable,” (Can. 2196). Only the Church can determine what is morally imputable or not because this is a matter concerning the internal forum, (confession). The rest of us have to stop at the part about external acts until the Church can decide, and according to Can. 2200 § 2, if the criteria for an external act is met then Canon 2200 presumes imputability when there is an external violation of the law; neither imputability or pertinacity determine the presumption of heresy, only the external act itself, proved contrary to faith or morals. Those who have been warned and do not heed the warning, even if it comes from a well-informed layperson, are pertinacious heretics — very simple, contrary to what Traditionalists would have us believe. For a complete picture of the heresy issue, please read the site articles on the Free Content page.

My apologies to anyone who may be confused by this. However even without Cum ex… as a footnote, Canon 2200 is one of those laws with a presumption on its side. Because Can. 2200 establishes a presumption of law; the burden of proof rests with the accused. As stated in Can. 1827, “He who has a presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof, which is shifted to his opponent. If the latter cannot prove that the presumption failed in the case, the judge must render sentence in favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.” And only a lawful superior can make such a determination; how to assess this burden of proof rests with them. St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches concerning the presumption of law: “In doubt, decide for that which has the presumption.” But I suppose St. Alphonsus’ advice is not good enough for Traditional “priests” pretending to teach as theologians.

It really all comes down to the fact that both Nicholas I in DZ 326 and Pope Pius IX in both Quartus Supra and Quae in Patriarchatu; also Etsi Multa, call Catholics who do not accept disciplinary decrees heretics and schismatics. Pope Pius XII also forbids anyone to violate papal law during an interregnum under the penalty of a null and void act. Infallible or not, we must obey Cum ex…or lose our membership in the Church. We are still obliged to obey the canons regardless of the old laws that support them. Can. 2198 is important in its own right, since it basically confirms that it is not the cardinals who are to determine how a usurper pope is to be handled; he is to be turned over to the civil authority since he never held the office in the first place; it is a civil matter having to do with public order. The FACT of the heresy of the usurper must be made known, but his sentence as one who never held the papacy, but remained a mere bishop or priest who has never held office to begin with is rendered by the censure ipso facto. The material-formal crowd could find all their answers in the Code, if they would just look. But they can’t afford to go there.

Once again, my apologies. Don’t forget to look for the new article on the material-formal papacy under Most Recent Articles.


T. Benns

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