+St. Thomas of Villanova+
It seems like another lifetime ago, but when my children were teens we lived in South Texas not very far from the banks of the Guadalupe River. One year following a spate of heavy rains the river overflowed its banks and threatened several towns lying nearby, ours being one of them. Where we lived at the time, the neighbors hosted country western barn-style dances, held under a large, covered carport-type structure. The evening the river was due to crest, one of these dances was attended by a good-sized crowd, as the rain beat down noisily on the tin roof. Everyone assured us the waters would not reach the area where we lived at the time. As I watched the twirling figures in the distance, it reminded me of a song from my youth — about a young man playing in a dance band on the Titanic. He asks a member of the audience to dance with him, even though the iceberg is looming just over his shoulder on the starboard bow.
Despite assurances from the neighbors, I was not taking any chances. As my husband and family looked on in amusement, I shifted all my books to the upper level of our bi-level residence, packed to-go bags for each family member and carefully watched the forecast. We went to bed that night serenaded by the tunes of the dance band, with the river due to crest in the early morning hours. When I opened my eyes the next morning, the first thing I noticed was the humid warmth of the room and the silent ceiling fan blades above our bed – the power was off. I whipped back the covers and ran to the window to see — water spread out over the entire landscape.
To get a better view I looked out the front door and breathed a sigh of relief. The trailers down the road had water up to their skirting but the flood waters had stopped just short of our steps. My prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe had been answered and I murmured a heartfelt thank you to her. Our EMT-trained daughter was dressed and ready to go as a motorboat pulled up down the road to visit those needing flood assistance. Off she went with her to-go bag as I waved goodbye. A few South Texans died that day and many along the river lost their homes, for the second time in two years. As close as the waters came, it paid to be prepared. But the behavior of the folks drinking and making merry at the dance the night before never left me.
Eat, drink and be merry
Once again, I am watching as the ship begins to take on water and even those who should know better dance to the tunes of the band. Or is it the pied piper they are mesmerized by? I have to believe it is the latter. All this was choreographed long ago, by those engineers of doctrinal warfare plotting the destruction of the Catholic Church first, then the rest of mankind: as the Church goes, so goes the world. While everyone dismisses doom and gloomers, even some of those who were once skeptical about the precarious state of affairs globally and nationally are noticeably becoming uneasy, waiting anxiously for the next shoe to drop. How close everything is to the universal collapse is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think that those who rationally assess what is happening have any doubts that it could come at any time.
Those on the “Catholic” front who should be wearing sackcloth, adding ashes to their food and preaching prayer and penance are instead merrily planning an illegal conclave. How far these plans will go and whether they will be realized or not is anyone’s guess. It puts one in mind of the Bible verse: “As in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark. And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be” (Genesis 6:1-7; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:35-48). And regarding the “reign” of the pseudo-clergy over the people, we hear this from Holy Scripture: “They have reigned, but not by me: they have been princes, and I knew not: of their silver, and their gold they have made idols to themselves, that they might perish… They shall offer victims, they shall sacrifice flesh, and shall eat it, and the Lord will not receive them” (Hosea 8: 4, 13).
Why is it that no one can see that there is nothing new under the sun here, that all this has happened before? Who has ever considered God’s will in any of these manmade Traditionalist movements? And especially now in these conclave plans to “resurrect” His Church by breaking the very laws He set down to keep it in existence?! For as the prophet Jeremiah warned: “Because you have sacrificed to idols, and have sinned against the Lord: and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have not walked in his law, and in his commandments, and in his testimonies: therefore are these evils come upon you, as at this day” (Jer. 44: 23). Whether we participate in such evils or not, we will all pay for these sins. And by ignoring Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis this is exactly what they are doing. This also happened before the “election” of the “Kansas thrift-store pope” David Bawden in 1990. Like Traditionalists today, Bawden had everyone convinced that Pius XII’s election constitution was only “an ecclesiastical law;” that in this “emergency” he would not wish his law to bind, when this is precisely why it was written — to protect the Church from being hijacked.
A page from a false pope’s playbook
What is really amazing here is that in calling for this conclave, Traditionalists are following Bawden’s very own instructions, a man they have ridiculed for decades. In a website article posted a few years ago, Bawden (now deceased) wrote:
“Excommunicates and those under suspension may vote. However they are admonished to observe the effects of the censure in ALL of their other activities as required by Canon Law. It might be wise for them to refrain from voting, but they may if they wish and we may not forbid them… Anyone, who has committed heresy in public should publicly and in writing renounce it, and this should be required for admission to the election, as proof of desire to return to the Church. They must also observe the censure of excommunication. All electors must accept the sede vacante and the jurisdiction of the Pope elected in this election. Such acceptance should be in writing and made by a vow to accept the Pope so elected. (Anyone: who does not have this level of belief should attempt to obtain it or prove why this election should not be held.) After the election all of the electors will have to show their acceptance of this Pope as supreme head of the Church. Before the election begins this vow should be made publicly by all electors individually in the presence of the other electors.”
This is basically everything that Traditionalists are advocating. But at that time Bawden, knowing his own limitations, was making concessions the Church would never make. He had already publicly admitted in 1982, eight years before his election, that he was a heretic for belonging to the SSPX. (This letter was not discovered until long after his “election.”) The excerpt above was his initial attempt to contact those with whom he corresponded and prepare the groundwork to convene an election. Traditionalists may deny they have ever admitted to committing heresy with its subsequent excommunication, deposition and legal infamy, but they have done so at least implicitly by invoking Can. 2261 §2 to claim supplied jurisdiction. Why would they need to invoke it if they were not excommunicated? And what other excommunications could they possible be referring to?
Minimalism started the downhill slide
How did it come to this? In one word, minimalism — a term you have heard on this blog many different times; a fatal error Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton crusaded against in his articles for The American Ecclesiastical Review and Pope Pius XII later condemned in Humani generis. We have seen, in articles and comments posted here, how even some of those calling themselves pray-at-home Catholics reduce papal decisions to meaningless formulas that need not be obeyed, and that is minimalism. Msgr. Fenton defines minimalism as follows:
“Ultimately theological minimalism was a device employed by liberal Catholics to make the rejection of authoritative papal teaching on any point appear to be good Catholic practice. Sometimes it took the crass form of a claim that Catholics are obligated to accept and to hold only those things which had been defined by the explicit decrees of the ecumenical councils or of the Holy See. This attitude…was condemned by Pope Pius IX in his letter Tuas Libenter (DZ 1683). Another crass form of minimalism was the opposition to the Vatican Council definition of papal infallibility. The men who expressed that opposition sometimes claimed to hold the doctrine of papal infallibility as a theological opinion but they showed a furious hostility to the definition which proposed that doctrine as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith” (“The Components of Liberal Catholicism,” The American Ecclesiastical Review, July, 1958).
In other words, minimalism was an attack on papal authority. No matter what the popes taught, it could be undercut and explained away, and a good “emergency” was all that was needed for it to be utilized to its full extent. Already in the 1950s the Modernists were in complete control, if covertly, and Pope Pius XII knew this, predicting, “…after me, the deluge.” So where does this attack on papal authority, this watering down of papal and conciliar teaching, censures levied in Canon Law and the faithful observance of moral laws lead? A reader recently supplied the following, from an unidentified source, but it is so compelling that it needs to be included here. It explains where eventually minimalization leads, and how truly dangerous it is, which is why Pope Pius XII condemned it in the first place. And it perfectly illustrates the very tactics used by Traditionalists for decades.
“If you bring up the obligation ‘We have to accept Catholic dogma or become heretics,’ the liberal Catholic will answer,‘Yes, but the dogmas have to be interpreted broadly so that almost no one really falls into heresy.’ There is always a minimization, a restriction to avoid reaching the final consequences and not reach a more complete and richer understanding of Catholic truths. This attitude of soul evolves. That is, no liberal Catholic remains in the same position. It is like a leprosy that progresses and eventually consumes the whole person. If the person has a long life, at its end he will have lost or almost lost the Faith.
“Summarizing, these are the basic characteristics of the liberal Catholic:
- He takes a contradictory position, which accepts two radical and opposed mentalities.
- He is hypocritical because he says he wants to serve God when he wants to serve himself.
- Also, he lies to himself by veiling the concessions he makes.
- He is resentful, revengeful and deceitful.
- His error evolves towards apostasy.”
The front presented by Traditional groups is that they are religious conservatives, even ultra-conservatives; but while they may be ultra-conservative from a political standpoint ,but doctrinally they are actually liberal progressives, if held against the Catholic standard as it existed during the reign of Pope Pius XII. This is why their behavior so closely corresponds to what is described below.
Traditionalists paint themselves as liberal Catholics
Nothing better describes the contradictory position of some Traditionalists, at least, than the material-formal dichotomy, or the very idea that the Catholic Church could truly exist for an extended period minus bishops lacking jurisdiction. Nor can anything more certainly typify hypocrisy than the condemnation of someone who professes views to justify a claim, (Bawden), then the subsequent use of those very same views to support a papal election by the laity. Bawden’s concessions made to voters, clergy and religious alike are carefully veiled with precautions; this doesn’t lessen the fact they simply are not and cannot be condoned by the Church. And Traditionalists embrace these same concessions. Deceit is more or less the hallmark of Traditionalism as will be explained in greater detail below. For they have managed to convince hundreds of thousands over the years that they possess certainly valid orders, can constitute Christ’s Church without a pope and can substitute epikeia, a shaky legal principle at best, for jurisdiction that proceeds only directly from God Himself, so is a matter of Divine law. When reprimanded or prodded, these “good Catholics” will immediately resort to hateful invective, even to calumny, defamation and any other manner of evil to defend themselves. One pseudo-cleric actually stooped to falsifying a translation of the Council of Trent!
Another good example of concessions made by Traditionalists is the fact that those participating in Trad discussion forums as well as social media sites, in order to be allowed to comment, must tolerate various positions allowed to be discussed among members as though they each possessed some grain of truth. These include such topics as the material-formal thesis, the Siri stupidity, conservative Novus Ordo practice passing as “semi-Traditionalism,” or even what is presented as the pray-at-home position (sufficiently subservient to those holding contrary positions to merit toleration). This is nothing less than a mortal sin against truth. It can be described only as doctrinal relativism — the condemned philosophical position that “all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual.” This reduces to what these people truly are, practitioners of the likewise condemned errors of Traditionalism/Fideism, which denies that the faithful can arrive at certitude regarding Catholic truth. It also is a form of Indifferentism, which tolerates all beliefs as equally acceptable.
As for apostasy, the belief in a non-Christian religion, think on this for a moment. If Traditionalists truly believe Christ came to earth to die for our sins, open the gates of Heaven and establish a Church intended by Him to last forever; if they truly believe that He appointed St. Peter and all his legitimate successors, canonically elected, to head that Church, and if they believe that Christ gave these successors of St. Peter His own power to bind and loose, then how could they possibly question the authority of a Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, a Cum ex Apostolatus Offiicio, or any other document of the extraordinary OR ordinary magisterium?! On questioning or disregarding these pronouncements, always prefaced with the pronoun “We,” to indicate the popes are speaking with Christ’s own authority, are they not questioning and denying Christ Himself, who promised to bind and loose? Isn’t this outright heresy and schism, and are not heresy and schism ranked alongside apostasy in Cum ex…and Can. 2314?
The journalist Louis Veuillot, in his 1866 work The Liberal illusion predicted what we are seeing today among these liberal Catholics parading as the true Church: “Which way would these liberal Catholics go, caught as they would be between the true Catholics anathematizing them and the true disbelievers demanding guarantees of the repudiation of Catholicism? … If such liberal Catholics …furnish the guarantees demanded by those in the opposing camp, they will cut themselves off from true Catholics; they will commend liberty for imposing silence on the enemies of liberty. They will lend a hand to persecuting the true Catholics and in so doing they will become apostates from the faith, while still remaining only half-hearted liberals.” One couldn’t find a better confirmation of what has been said above. Pope St. Pius X warned us in his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis that the injury to the Church is more certain whenever the knowledge of Her is more intimate.
If nothing else but to dodge the growing objections to their inability to possess canonical mission jurisdiction, first raised by several authors in the 1980s and maintained by this author since that time, Traditionalists may very well feel the pressure to elect a pope, to provide at least some semblance of legitimacy. But their pride will not permit them to admit it is no longer possible because they themselves are questionably ordained and consecrated and are ineligible to vote. All those bishops who might once have been able to gather and elect have since passed away. Those claiming to be clerics today possess no jurisdiction of any kind, and epikeia cannot and does not supply it. Apostolicity no longer exists; the Divine grant of jurisdiction has been allowed to expire. Does this mean the Church Herself no longer exists? No, because Christ is still the head of His Mystical Body, there are still Catholics on earth who love Him and keep the faith, and He has promised to be with them until the consummation.
As explained in an earlier blog, Pope Pius XII commanded the faithful to fulfill the duties of the hierarchy in their absence. But ONLY in accordance with the rules of faith, morals and ecclesiastical discipline; nothing can be done contrary to the implicit or explicit will of the Church. Yet everything Traditionalists have done is contrary to that will. Faith has been so minimized by these men that it no longer resembles the true Catholic Faith. And this has been reflected in their morals — the Shuckardt affair, the Trento debacle, the St. Gertrude the Great scandal; also various scandals that have hounded the SSPX and cast a shadow over certain independent groups. How is this any different than the Novus Ordo or even Protestant sects? Why do the people following these pretenders drift aimlessly from sect to sect, settling doctrinally and morally for whatever they can get?
Coercive persuasion and the three D’s
According to Robert Jay Lifton (1961) in his definitive work on mind control, Farber, Harlow, and West (1957) described the Korean thought reform system used to brainwash prisoners of war as the “DDD syndrome”: debility, dependency, and dread. Anyone leaving the disaster that was created by Vatican 2 and the new mass suffered severe psychological debility. They were extremely traumatized and vulnerable, and those offering to provide what they wanted and felt that they needed knew this. Over time they had learned to become dependent on the clergy, for everything, and had no idea how to sort out what was happening to them. Attempts to curb this dependency by establishing Catholic Action groups prior to Vatican 2 met with only a modicum of success. Dependency on the clergy was pronounced and bled over even to those not certainly validly ordained or consecrated, after the death of validly ordained priests. These men were only too happy to persuade vulnerable Catholics that they had to preserve the Latin Mass and receive the Sacraments. This dread of being deprived of Mass and Sacraments — graces these men insisted were absolutely necessary to salvation — fueled their continued flight from group to group over the years, after scandals broke and infighting erupted.
Tell me that this does not describe a cult-like mentality. And the sad fact about such a mindset is that those suffering from it are unable to realize it and withdraw — why it is called the operation of error. They mistook the Church for a religious version of the nanny state and cannot disengage themselves from the Traditionalist teats. Now they are preparing to elect the ultimate cult leader, and yes that is all any “pope” they might elect will ever be. They cannot face the reality of our situation, that God has pronounced His judgement on a guilty people who refused to honor Him and His Vicar on earth, by depriving them of Mass and Sacraments, just as Holy Scripture predicts. These people are so irrational they would rather risk their very souls than admit that no certitude regarding the validity of their clerics can be had at all without a decision by a CANONICALLY ELECTED pope. The Catholic Encyclopedia, commenting on Pope Leo XIII’s Apostolica Curae, tells us that even a slight doubt regarding orders must be referred to the Holy Office for a determination and that this usually involves conditional ordination. Some sedevacantists even admit this regarding the Thuc consecrations.
The real crime here committed by Traditionalists and those who cooperate with them in any way is and always has been crass indifference to the enormity of the sins of sacrilege and idolatry, sins specifically and directly offensive to God. Those in good faith who pray at home do so to avoid these loathsome and grievous sins — it is as simple as that. They hearken to the words of Christ, who has taught, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” and “Obedience is better than sacrifices.” Electing a Traditionalist grand poohbah and calling him pope will not unite Traditionalists nor render them obedient. It will only further entrench them in their errors and officially brand their pseudo-pope as yet another antichrist. And the mark of this antichrist will be the very liberal Catholicism they have so long condemned in their Novus Ordo brethren.
+Feast of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows
O Mother most sorrowful, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Last week’s blog mainly addressed the material formal issue. This week, as promised, the claim that those who left the Novus Ordo and became members of some Traditionalist sect of any kind did not become heretics or schismatics will be examined. But first a word needs to be said about the disinformation being spread regarding lay papal elections and the use of the Western Schism in way of analogy to the current situation.
Some have falsely stated that in one election, one lay person elected a pope. Wrong. A thorough overview of history on this topic tells us that yes, lay persons nominated the papal candidate and the laity helped in confirming the nomination. What it does not say is that first the cardinals and the clergy had to approve the candidate selected. Second, times were so tumultuous at this point in Church history that not to go along with the powers that be would have been to forego a papal election entirely. Historians agree that during this time, when the laity played a role in papal elections and when certain laymen and other unworthy candidates to the papacy were elected, was one of the darkest times for the Church. But the men elected then were not heretics and did not preach heresy from St. Peter’s Chair. Nor did the openly foment schism prior to their election. This was an exception to the general rule and cannot be pointed to as justification for a papal election today. For a general history of papal elections in the Church and the laity go to:
As far as the Western Schism goes, I have been pointing out for over a decade that it cannot be used as a true analogy to the situation as it has existed since Oct. 9, 1958, for several reasons. The Western Schism wasn’t even a true schism so-called, and historians agree on this. It was rather a confusion over who was validly elected pope and should be paid obedience. The best answer to how the situation should be viewed is given by St. Antoninus:
“The question was much discussed and much was written in defense of one side or the other. For as long as the schism lasted each obedience had in its favor men who were very learned in Scripture and Canon Law, and even very pious people, including some who – what is much more – were illustrious by the gift of miracles. Nonetheless the question could never be settled without leaving the minds of many still in doubt. Doubtless we must believe that, just as there are not several Catholic Churches, but only one, so there is only one Vicar of Christ who is its pastor. But if it should occur that, by a schism, several popes are elected at the same time, it does not seem necessary for salvation to believe that this or that one in particular is the true pope, but just in general whichever of them was canonically elected. The people are not obliged to know who was canonically elected, just as they are not obliged to know Canon Law; in this matter they may follow the judgment of their superiors and prelates.”
And this is where a distinction needs to be made. The cardinals and bishops engaged in this schism were validly ordained and consecrated. Over a period of nearly 40 years, the jurisdiction of the hierarchy was not extinguished, because there was a true pope all along in the line of Urban VI. As the Catholic Encyclopedia explains, the true pope, Gregory XII, lifted all the censures any of the hierarchy might have incurred prior to the resolution of the schism and the election of Pope Martin V (see also https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/canon-law/the-truth-about-the-western-schism-and-supplied-jurisidiction-the-truth-about-the-western-schism-and-supplied-jurisidiction/). None of the cardinals and bishops electing Martin V labored under these censures. No questions existed concerning membership in forbidden societies, lack of proper intention, the mental state of the consecrator or the actual pontifical in use. We are sailing in uncharted waters today with no captain at the helm of the ship; the situation is entirely unprecedented. Nothing then prevented the valid election of a true pope to end the schism because there had been one all along; it was a continuous succession with existing hierarchy emanating from that succession. But this is not the case today. And the reason it is not the case is that there has not been and is not today any valid Pius XII bishop to lift the censures for heresy and schism precisely because the canonical mission necessary for legitimate succession no longer exists.
Traditional “clergy” all incurred censure for heresy and schism
Let us take a quote from Donald Sanborn on public defection from the Faith: “Defection from the faith must be legally known, which happens either by declaration or by notoriety. But the notoriety requires that not only the fact of the crime be publicly known, but also its imputability (Canon 2197). In the case, however, of defection from the Catholic Faith, either through heresy or through schism, it is necessary that the defection be pertinacious in order that it be imputable…. Defection from the Catholic Faith on the part of conciliar popes, although it be public with regard to fact, is not public with regard to imputability” (The Material Papacy https://www.sodalitiumpianum.com/the-material-papacy/). A summary of what Sanborn teaches in this piece is provided below, followed by my objections.
Sanborn: 1. Heretics who are born into non-Catholic sects, who err in good faith, are not members of the Church, I concede; heretics, however, who have been baptized in the Catholic Church, who err in good faith, are not members of the Church, I deny.
Objection: Dom Charles Augustine, in his A Commentary on Canon Law, Vol. 8, pg. 335 writes: “Charity does not require mental gymnastics in order to excuse what is manifest, [evident, obvious, not obscure]. However, the thesis here defended does not depend on identifying pertinacity as defined by the moralists, but as defined by canonists: conscious rejection of dogma on the part of a baptized person… Obstinacy may be assumed when a revealed truth has been proposed with sufficient clearness and force to convince a reasonable man.” (For a primer on what the CHURCH, not Sanborn, considers to be heresy, see the article at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/1-22-15-material-heresy-and-membership-in-the-church-pt-ii-proofs/).
Sanborn: 2. Excommunication is either latæ sententiæ or declared. If it is the first, the argument does not hold, because censures against heresy require imputability, that is, notorious pertinacity.
Objection: See Augustine above. Also, based on decisions issued by the Holy Office, Revs. Woywod-Smith wrote: “Nevertheless, in the external forum they are not free [from the penalties of Can. 2314] for, according to Can. 2200, when there is an external violation of Church law, malice is presumed in the external forum until its absence is proved. The Holy See insists that converts from heretical or schismatic sects be not received into the Church until they have first abjured the heresy or schism and been absolved from the censure, (Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda, July 20, 1859). Sanborn should have spent time in his article offering proofs from approved sources that he and the Roman usurpers should not be held guilty of heresy, schism and other grave crimes in order to overcome the presumption stated in Can. 2200. Given his inability to find any bishops in the 1990s willing to consecrate Traditionalists, it should be clear that there was no one left to abjure form heresy and receive him or anyone else back into the Church.
The censure for heresy is incurred, regardless of pertinacity or notoriety, unless and until it is taken before an ecclesiastical judge. The judge is the one who determines the nature and extent of the crime and whether it is imputable, pertinacious and notorious. The only difference here is that Can. 2232 does not require the delinquent to observe the censure publicly until an ecclesiastical hearing has been held, unless he is “conscious of his offense” or “the offense committed is notorious.” Woywod-Smith note under Can. 2233 that “penalties latae sententiae are automatically contracted by the offense.” And Can. 2232 states that “a penalty latae sententiae automatically (ipso facto) binds the offender in both the internal and external forum.”
Sanborn: 3. Those who have received Catholic baptism are legally members of the Church until they cease to be either through pertinacious and notorious heresy, pertinacious and notorious schism, or pertinacious and notorious apostasy/excommunication.
Objection: Here Sanborn is assuming that Traditionalists cannot be proven to be any of the above, owing to his false interpretation of pertinacity and imputability. However, a schismatic is defined by Rev. Szal and other theologians as: “One who, having received baptism and still retaining the name of Christian nevertheless refuses obedience to the Supreme Pontiff,” (while yet recognizing him as the head of the Church) “or refuses to communicate with those members of the Church subject to him.” In the strict sense, Szal noted, the following elements also are essential for schism to exist: “One must withdraw directly (expressly) or indirectly (by one’s actions) from obedience to the Roman Pontiff and separate oneself from ecclesiastical communion with the rest of the faithful; one’s withdrawal must be made with obstinacy and rebellion; in relation to those things by which the unity of the Church is constituted; yet despite this formal disobedience the schismatic must recognize the Roman Pontiff as the true pastor of the Church.”
It is hard to see here how this does not describe Traditionalist sect members, who have followed who they believe to be bishops for decades, indirectly denying the necessity of the papacy by their actions. This despite the fact that all Catholics know it is the papacy — not the Mass and Sacraments — which defines the Church. Despite decades of warnings from this author and others that these so-called bishops and priests cannot and do not continue Christ’s Church on earth without the pope, they have obstinately adhered to them — but this is not pertinacity?! They have refused to have anything to do with those who have separated from these pseudo-clerics, refused to dishonor the Sacraments and who have insisted on following only papal teaching. The Canon Law Digest notes several instances of those reduced to the lay state or declared vitandus who have established sects or intruded themselves into some ecclesiastical position without approval by the Holy See. Copies of this are available on request.
Sanborn: 4. The (Roman usurpers’) defection from the Catholic Faith is neither declared nor notorious as cited above and therefore there is neither tacit renunciation nor censure.
Objection: Whenever there is a doubt of law on any given matter, one consults the old law — in this case the footnote to Can. 2314 on heresy and schism. The old law for this Canon is Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, and as explained in our last blog it is most certainly still in effect as a footnote to the Code. This bull leaves no doubt that no declaration is needed and demands only that the heresy of the offender, be he bishop cardinal or pope, be CLEAR. If Paul 6’s heresy was not clear, why did nearly half the Church leave after Vatican 2? Why would they leave a Church they knew they must be members of to be saved if they believed it was still the Church?
Sanborn: 5. The right of electing is not jurisdiction. It is not a right of making law. It is not an office. It is merely a moral faculty of designating legally him who should receive supreme authority. Nothing therefore, is required for the possession and for the exercise of this right except that someone be legally designated by him who has the legal right to designate the electors of the pope.
Objection: The right to elect is a privilege that is granted with the offices assigned to Cardinals appointed by the pope and to certain other clerics and religious by their respective superiors. This right is lost through the commission of heresy, schism or apostasy, as Cum ex… explains. This bull is also the old law for Can. 167 n. 4, which declares the votes of heretics at an ecclesiastical election invalid. Indirectly, Paul IV’s bull Cum ex… and another bull regarding the election of those promoting themselves for election during the lifetime of a reigning pontiff are referred to in Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, which bars cardinals from the election who have tacitly resigned their offices by lapsing from the faith. This is a reference to Can. 188 n. 4, whose parent law is Cum ex.
Sanborn: 6. it does not pertain to the faithful, but to competent authority to legally [publicly] accuse him who has been elected to the papacy of not intending the good of the Church… [But he admits this could be done privately]. The faithful have no right to condemn legally someone elected to the papacy, but only with a private judgment by comparing the changes of Vatican II with the previous magisterium and practice… The faithful cannot give their assent to formulas which are contradictory. Because, however, the “magisterium” of Vatican II contradicts the previous magisterium, the faithful cannot not accuse, by private judgment, him who promulgates this “magisterium,” in the same way that the faithful of Constantinople accused Nestorius” (a bishop who kept his See for three years after being accused of heresy by the faithful).
Objection: False, Mr. Sanborn. Canon Law gives us this right and you have no power or authority to dismiss it or to deprive us of it. “Any of the faithful may at all times denounce the offense of another for the purpose of demanding satisfaction… or to get damages for losses sustained through the criminal act of another [regarding crimes] or out of zeal for justice to repair some scandal or evil. Even an obligation to denounce an offender exists whenever one is obliged to do so either by law or by special legitimate precept or by the natural law in view of the DANGER TO FAITH or religion or other imminent public evil,” (Can. 1935). Canon 2223 refers us to Can. 1935. Under this heading for Can. 2223, “Rules by Which the Judge or Superior Must Be Guided in the Imposition of Penalties,” we also find: “It is as a rule left to the discretion of a superior to declare a penalty latae sententiae; but he must issue thedeclaratory sentence if an interested party demands it or if the public welfare requires it.” Canon 1325 binds us also to defend the faith in such situations when our silence, subterfuge or manner of acting would indicate we are in agreement with the errors. So Sanborn also is advising the faithful to ignore their obligations and cooperate with heresy.
Pope Paul IV: “It shall be lawful for all and sundry who would have been subject to persons so promoted and elevated, had these not first strayed from the Faith or been heretics, or incurred or incited or committed schism…to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs…ALL may implore the aid of the secular arm against those so advanced and elevated,” (Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559).
Pope Alexander VII: (proposition condemned and prohibited as at least scandalous): “Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce him if you cannot prove it,” (DZ 1105).
St. Thomas Aquinas: “If the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith,” Summa Pt. II-II, Q. 33, Art. 4, Reply Obj. 2).
Throughout his article, Sanborn quotes nothing to support his argument on heresy, a topic he could have been and should have been familiar with. All this is explained in the following articles: https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/4-heresy/what-constiutes-material-heresy-and-schism/ (please note especially the quotes from The Jurist); and on the topic of pertinacity https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/4-heresy/pertinacity-and-heresy/ These articles refute, from pre-October 1958 sources, all that Sanborn says above. And yet he keeps saying it and reinforcing it. But there is a reason for that.
Nearly all of us at some time were (unwitting) members of the Novus Ordo church, a schismatic sect. Some of us left the minute the new mass was introduced, such as myself, at the age of 17; In 1967, at the age of 17, Donald Sanborn began a four-year stint in a Novus Ordo seminary, leaving there for the SSPX in 1971. He presumably was required to attend the NOM until he left. Marcel Lefebvre ordained Sanborn a priest in 1975. In 1983, Sanborn left the SSPX on doctrinal grounds to join the SSPV. He later left the SSPV when Clarence Kelly rejected the validity of bishops consecrated by Peter Martin Ngo dinh Thuc. He started his own group, the Roman Catholic Institute and later founded Most Holy Trinity Seminary, headquartered in Florida. In 2002, he was consecrated a bishop by “Bp.” Robert McKenna, who himself was consecrated by Thuc “bishop” Guerard des Lauriers. (It was des Lauriers who wrote the material-formal thesis.) So this man changed his non-Catholic sect affiliation four different times, and both he and Anthony Cekada, having [according to them, anyway] studied Canon Law, were well aware of the nature of heresy and schism in the censures. But of course they are going to do everything in their power to make it appear that even material “cardinals” are not guilty of heresy. So if not them, then who? Not Traditionalist pseudo-clergy apparently!
Sanborn, from what he states above, disassociates non-Catholics from heretics and schismatics. But this is not what Rev. Ignatius Szal notes in his work The Communication of Catholics with non-Catholics (1948): “The general norm governing the communication of Catholics with schismatics is enunciated in Canon 1258… This Canon does not expressly mention schismatics but uses the more general term non-Catholic, a term which includes all those who are not of the true faith, namely heretics, schismatics, infidels and apostates… Consequently, schismatics are comprehended in the present law in exactly the same way as communication with all other non-Catholics.” Rev. John Bancroft says basically the same thing in his Communication in Religious Worship with non-Catholics (1943). But he includes in his definition everyone outside the Church, whether validly baptized or not, since the most accepted canonical definition includes infidels (p. 2). So Sanborn’s definition, not being supported by any proofs, obviously is incorrect. And since he and his confreres are the survivors of more than one of these non-Catholic sects — without being able, as are the laity in most cases, to excuse themselves on the grounds of ignorance — they are at least schismatics.
Schismatics cannot vote in elections nor be elected
Because Traditionalists possess no juridical status in the Church, ordinary or otherwise, and also because they have incurred the censures for schism, heresy and the vindicative penalty of infamy of law, they cannot act as electors under Canons 167 and 188 n. 4, and the parent law for both these canons is Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. Both canons forbid those who have fallen away from the faith from voting, and if they do so their vote is invalid. Can. 188 n. 4 is explicitly mentioned in Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election constitution VAS. Of course material-formal proponents long ago trashed this constitution as only an “ecclesiastical law” but obviously they never read it. Because the pope anticipated maneuvers such as theirs and infallibly proclaimed that if they attempted to dispense from it, correct it or dismiss it, or correct or dispense from any canon laws during an interregnum, such acts would be null, void and invalid (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/vacantis-apostolicae-sedis-vindicated/). Sorry to burst your bubble, boys.
And yes, in an emergency situation even valid bishops and senior clerics not heretics or schismatics can elect, in the absence of the cardinals. After carefully studying the matter, they would need to adjust the law, according to the method provided in the canons, to account for present circumstances. In the whole, however, it could be followed with care, using one of the alternatives Pius XII provides. But sadly there are no electors known to exist who are not under censure for heresy or schism. In fact, in neither the Thuc or the Lefebvre camp can it be said there is any certainty regarding the transmission of Orders, and without the Roman Pontiff to supply there can be NO jurisdiction, so apostolicity — that divine guarantee of perpetual succession promised to the Apostles — does not exist in Traditionalists. All inclusion of the laity in any ecclesiastical election is forbidden under pain of invalidity of the election (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/vacantis-apostolicae-sedis/, para. 32). And Pope Pius XII decrees infallibly in VAS that any attempt to violate the provisions of his constitution are null and void. Pope St. Pius X was the one to first exclude all lay involvement in his previous election law, which is substantially restated in VAS.
In the preamble to VAS, Pope Pius XII reminds cardinals electing “…to apply themselves with watchful care and to devote their energies to useful rules in the weighty business DIVINELY ENTRUSTED TO THE CHURCH, to wit, electing the successor of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, who on this earth is the Vicar of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and as supreme Pastor and Head feeds and rules all the Lord’s flock.” A papal election, then, is a matter of Divine law, the power of jurisdiction flowing, as Ludwig Cardinal Billot wrote “…directly from God through Christ, and from Christ to his Vicar, and from the Vicar of Christ it descends to the remaining prelates without the intervention of any other physical or moral person” (Ludwig Cardinal Billot, S.J., Tractatus De Ecclesia Christi (Rome: Aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, 1927), Vol. 1. p. 524). Papal elections can be conducted only by valid and licit hierarchy because they are an act involving the application of jurisdiction conveyed by Divine right. Even a layman could be elected, but prior to his acceptance and ordination/ consecration he would need to be deemed “fit” by the proper examination, just as every other candidate for Orders. This Pope Pius XII teaches in his address to the Second World Congress for the Lay Apostolate, Oct. 5, 1957.
Was Six ans se sont entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis? Yes it was, and we find proof of this in a most unlikely place. It is listed as footnote #3, Chapter IV — The Laity, in Paul 6’s “Lumen Gentium,” given November 21, 1964, (cfr. Pius XII, Allocution “ecoule’s, 5 Oct. 1957: AAS 49 , p. 927. De “mandato” et missione canonica, cfr. Decretum De Apostolatu laicorum, cap. IV, n. 16, cum notis 12 et 15.) This inclusion in the AAS, according to Pius XII’s Humani generis, means it is binding on all the faithful.
In Six ans se sont, Pope Pius XII clearly laid down the roles of both laity and clergy. Earlier, he had already made clear distinctions in these roles in his authoritative interpretation of Can. 147 §2 (ecclesiastical offices cannot be “validly obtained without canonical appointment …which is the conferring of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” This interpretation is also a document of the ordinary magisterium: see AAS 42-601). Bouscaren and Ellis point out that this also applies to the papacy. In his Canon Law dissertation Canonical Elections, (CUA, 1939), Anscar John Parsons states in the opening paragraphs of Chapter I that:
“Canonical election is one of the methods employed by the Church for providing worthy incumbents for ecclesiastical offices. The Code sets forth the principle of public law that no office can be VALIDLY obtained in the Church unless it is duly granted by competent ecclesiastical authority” (and the footnote he lists to that paragraph is Canon 147). “This principle is a clear deduction from the teachings of fundamental theology. The Church is a perfect society hierarchically constituted and therefore its posts of jurisdiction and power cannot be seized by force nor obtained by usurpation. Even though a candidate for ecclesiastical office be elected by a group of voters presented by a noble family, or nominated by a king, these actions are devoid of affect unless they are followed by a formal act of the ecclesiastical authority.” This is why Can. 219 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law states that: “The Roman Pontiff legitimately elected obtains from the moment he accepts the election the full power of supreme jurisdiction by divine right.” Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex… also mentions the necessity of “canonical election,” and propositions in Denzinger denying the necessity of canonical election were enacted before the Code was introduced (DZ 650, 652, 674; condemnation of the errors of John Huss and Wycliffe)
The papacy is undeniably an office. And Traditionalists and all other non-Catholics, on numerous counts, are undeniably incapable of electing or being elected to that office according to the Sacred Canons. Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis infallibly forbids anyone to violate these canons; if any attempt is made to do this, it is null and void. So Traditionalists are dead in the water. If they wanted to claim any connection at all to the pontificate of Pope Pius XII and the Divine continuum Christ established on earth for His Church, they would have obeyed all the Canons and papal decrees and ceased functioning long ago. This was the only way to maintain that “ritual contact” with the Church necessary to remain Catholic. But they are non-Catholics, heretics and schismatics, like it or not. Any attempt to “elect a pope” will be just one more laughable faux pas automatically annulled by Pope Pius XII.
Only God is not laughing. And they would all do well to read the signs of the times — to prepare for the punishment that He will soon send us all for heaping even further attacks and insults on His cherished Bride, the Church.
Prayer Intention for September
“That we may know the truth, and that the truth shall set us free” (2 John 1: 4-6)
+Nativity of Our Lady+
Novus Ordo conservatives struggling with their options after realizing Francis cannot be a true pope are trying to retrace the steps of those of us who years ago hammered out the consequences of false papal elections and determined that John 23, not Francis, could not possibly have been validly elected pope, a fact which invalidated all future elections. Why anyone in this quasi-Trad realm cannot clearly see that all this began with the reprobate Roncalli and his council and therefore that the entire slate post-Pius XII must be wiped clean is beyond me. It is so blatantly obvious and yet those still attached to the idea that V2 was somehow okay and simply was taken too far predominates with them. Strangely the Francis’ deniers call to their “cardinals” comes at the same time that others in the traditional camp are rallying around their “bishops” and urging them to elect a pope. Hmmmmm…
Sedes and even the Lefebvrist bunch in the early days talked about electing a pope but opted to stick with their “bishops” instead. The only hope for restoration of the papacy fallaciously held out to these Catholics was the much disputed, now hotly contested, (and frankly heretical) material-formal “thesis” written by “Bp.” Guerard des Lauriers, which only serves to support the equally heretical teachings of Sedevacantists on jurisdiction. According to this theory, the usurpers in Rome can validly and licitly appoint cardinals who can validly elect popes. And such a man could validly become a formal pope if he recanted all his previous errors. Why is this position identified as heretical and not erroneous? Because Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (Cum ex…), Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) and his address Six ans se sont (given to the Second World Congress of the Lay Apostolate and listed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis) all outlaw material-formal.
This is not to mention, as others have already pointed out, that material-formal is an entirely novel hypothesis never before entertained theologically. Particularly during an interregnum, it must be entirely disregarded. What is so very distressing about the call for these conclaves is that they will deepen the divide in what is left of the Church, if that is even possible, and result in even further lapses from the faith. It reminds me of a verse from the book of Samuel, where the people asked him to “Pray for thy servants to the Lord thy God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for a king…” And Samuel said: “Therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, and with your whole heart, for you have seen the great works which he hath done among you. But if you will still do wickedly: both you and your king shall perish together” (I Sam. 12, 19, 24-25). I first found these words following the realization of the consequences resulting from my own disastrous conclave experience.
The upshot of that verse is, endeavor first to fear God and learn His truth, to rightly serve Him, and this is not what previous conclavists nor Traditionalists have done. They have either fearlessly ignored or dismissed all His laws and Church teaching to act on their own ideas of what should be done to continue the Church. When the faithful came to those FIRST priests exiting from the Church, those who had been certainly validly ordained, that was one thing. At least there was the appearance of valid authority. But the Lefebvre “priests” were a different story. And as time wore on and Lefebvre’s true agenda and beliefs became better known, it should have become clear that he had never really left the Novus Ordo church. Then there was Thuc, and material-formal was born with his consecration of des Lauriers. Those who had objected to Lefebvre’s consecration of bishops had no scruples about being consecrated by Thuc, even though he too was affiliated with the Novus Ordo. So what gives?
Motivation for material-formal hypothesis
Nearly 35 years ago, an ex-SSPX member close to higherups in the organization confided to me that all Lefebvre really wanted to do was to find a way to lead his followers right back into the Novus Ordo church, albeit with some concessions on the part of John Paul 2. Lefebvre and Thuc were friends dating back to Vatican 2. Both of them continued their relations with the Novus Ordo despite their consecrations, regardless of what their I-have-a-horse-in the race “bishops” would like to pretend; it has all been a hoax from the beginning. A CMRI opponent of the material-formal theory has suggested that Guerard des Lauriers may have been acting on behalf of Lefebvre in introducing material-formal. Some claim Thuc was not in favor of material-formal, but he signed himself as Archbishop of Bulla Regia on several different documents in 1981 and 1982, a titular bishopric he received from Paul 6. This reflects the teaching of des Lauriers and Sanborn in material-formal that the Novus Ordo usurpers may validly appoint bishops and cardinals and that cardinals may then validly elect a pope if they recant their errors.
Another Traditionalist cleric had this to say in an online newsletter about the Lefebvre/Thuc connection: “The only common thread of the those holding this [material-formal] opinion now is that they were all former Lefebvrist priests. This is troubling because of [not knowing]… where their intentions truly lay. In other words, having spoken with dozens of pre-Vatican II priests who all claimed that the Church would be restored and therefore they need have nothing to do with Sedevacantists whom they felt were beneath them, the same priests now have their chapels closed as they lay in green peace; whereas the Sedevacantists continue to demonstrate their legitimacy in preserving the Roman Catholic Faith and Liturgy in the wake of the Conciliar Church which departs further and further from Catholicism” (Catholic Tradition Newsletter, A33, 2019). The author also noted that material-formal has now lost legitimacy because it rested on the fact that there still remained validly created cardinals pre-Vatican 2 to participate in a papal election when this is no longer true.
Yet material-formal fits in perfectly with the Gallicanist premise of Traditionalism, which already erodes papal laws and teachings and the authority of the papacy. As Henry Cardinal Manning explains, the Gallicanists “…distinguished between …the See and him that sat in it… The See of Peter is not the material chair, nor the collective body of the Church around it …[They] denied the infallibility of the person while they affirmed the infallibility of the See…The doctrine affirmed by the schools and by the Holy See was that infallibility attaches to the office, and that the office is held not by many, as if in commission, but by one…” (The True Story of the Vatican Council, p. 59-61). A. Degert in his Catholic Encyclopedia Article on Gallicanism, says the same: The contention, therefore, of the Gallicanists, used to explain away the primacy, was that only the line of popes, the Apostolic See was infallible; but each pope, taken individually was liable to error. Formally, as a body, the popes were infallible. Materially, individually, they could err.” And this basically is what material-formal proponents are saying in making exceptions for these usurpers; it’s a variation of the same principle. It was a question of the infallibility of the See then, and it still is today.
Papal document debunks material-formal
Material-formal proponents would grant the usurpers administrative capabilities, i.e., partial jurisdiction, just as they falsely accede jurisdiction to themselves, but not the ability to teach infallibly. As others also have pointed out, this contradicts papal teaching and Canon Law which states that the Pope receives the full power of jurisdiction the moment he accepts election, (VAS, Can. 219). One cannot ‘not be’ and still ‘be’ at the same time; the papacy is an all or nothing proposition precisely because its powers are bestowed by Divine right. But material-formal need never have been advanced in the first place. Already there were answers to the questions posed by the situation in which we found ourselves, provided in infallible documents. That these were not used as the template guiding Traditionalists should tell us two things: 1) there were ulterior motives in advancing material-formal, also in the refusal to even consider gathering bishops to elect a pope, and 2) there was never any real intent to perpetuate the Church las it was left to us by Pope Pius XII.
All the questions material-formal proponents try to answer by human means, with no Roman Pontiff to say yea or nay to their convoluted theories, are explained in the papal documents mentioned above: first of all Cum ex Apostolatus Officio issued by Paul IV in 1559. This document tells us all we need to know about the situation existing for the past nearly 64 years. It teaches that:
- Paragraph three of Cum ex… clearly shows this bull is infallible, (particularly in paragraph six), and further decrees:
- ALL past penalties against heretics and schismatics are declared renewed and ordered to remain in force and be observed forever.
- Bishops, archbishops and cardinals falling into heresy or schism are “automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank…”
- In paragraph six, “If ever at any time it becomes clear” that any bishop, archbishop or cardinal, also any Roman Pontiff (before his election) has become a heretic, schismatic or apostate, then (a) any promotion to office is null, void and invalid; (b) it cannot be declared valid or become valid even in virtue of acceptance, possession or consecration; (c) or by any obedience paid to the Roman Pontiff guilty of any of these crimes, regardless of the passage of time; (d) such a person cannot be considered quasi-legitimate; (e) no power of administration is given, spiritual or temporal; (f) their deeds remain without any force and confer no right on anyone; (g) the persons themselves so promoted and elevated shall, ipso facto and without need for any further declaration, be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.
- Paragraph seven further states that: “It shall be lawful for all and sundry who would have been subject to persons so promoted and elevated, had these not first strayed from the Faith or been heretics, incurred or incited or committed schism; for clerics, secular or regular, and for laymen; likewise for Cardinals, even for those who participated in the election of one straying from the Faith, or of a heretic or schismatic to the Papacy… to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs… Nor shall they be liable to reprisal through any censure or penalty, as renders of the Lord’s robe, for departing, for the reasons set forth above, from fealty and obedience to said promoted and elevated persons.” (To read the bull in its entirety go to https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/cum-ex-apostolatus-officio-pope-paul-ivs-1559-bull/).
Here we must comment that paragraph seven might have applied to cardinals and clergy following the election of Paul 6, but not long after that. Cardinals over 80 ousted by this usurper in 1971 had the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation, since everything had unfolded by then, and elect a true pope. But failed in their duties to the faithful, proving they were a part of the plot all along. After the heresies of Vatican 2, the changes in the sacramental rites and the institution of the Novus Ordo mass, all remaining hierarchy who should have departed, yet failed to denounce Paul 6 and all these heresies, remained heretics themselves. Such an event was not anticipated by this bull and does not in any way excuse them. Every argument addressed by material-formal proponents; every asinine controversy raised by Traditionalists over the past five decades is answered by this bull. When it was first released in the 1970s, it was immediately attacked by Lefebvre’s St. Pius X Society, as one might suspect. This was first documented by the bull’s translator, Argentinian Professor Carlos Disandro, who published a Latin and Spanish edition of the Bull in 1978.
The attacks and discreditation of the bull continue to this day. Two arguments are primary with these specious objectors: first that the bull was abrogated by the 1917 Code (they only wish), when in the Latin edition of the 1917 Code, Cum ex… is referenced numerous times, and is the primary foundation law for nearly every canon regarding heresy; and second, that it was a disciplinary law and therefore could not be infallible. For proofs that the bull is contained in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/cum-ex-apostolatus-officio-is-retained-in-the-1917-code-of-canon-law/.
Popes and theologians on discipline
In regards to discipline, hear it from Pope Pius IX first:
“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…” (Quartus Supra, 1873). Here the pope is emphasizing that one who denies he can order them to observe disciplinary laws is really denying he possesses supreme jurisdiction over them as pope, an implicit denial of papal authority.
Three years after writing Quartus Supra, Pope Pius IX, also 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.” We also find this condemnation from Pope Nicholas I in the early ages of the Church, condemned at a Council in Rome: “If anyone condemns dogmas, mandates, 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 or threatening of future ills, let him be anathema,” (DZ 326). And all these points are addressed in Cum ex. (The listing of this teaching in the 1957 edition of Denzinger’s tellingly omits discipline, but Henry Cardinal Manning gives the proper citation in his work on Civil Allegiance.)
And since Traditionalists are so fond of their theologians, to the exclusion of quoting the popes, we also offer the following:
“From the mind of the Church as expressed in solemn documents, and from the common teaching of theologians, we know that the Church is likewise [negatively] infallible in Her disciplinary decrees…The reason here is the Church’s infallibility as the custodian of morals, rather than of doctrine. When we say that the Church is infallible in laying down these decrees, SUCH AS CANON LAW, all that we mean is that they must be accepted as a good means to achieve the purpose intended — well-regulated Church discipline… [We do not mean] they are immutable, but we must recognize them as good, and abide by them.” ” (Rev. Patrick Madgett, Christian Origins, Vol. II). Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes: “The disciplinary laws issued by the Roman Pontiffs do not enjoy in a strict sense the note of infallibility… However, on account of the divine assistance which Christ promised to His Church, no disciplinary law at variance with orthodox faith or good morals has been or ever will be issued by the Roman Pontiff for the universal Church” (Canon Law, 1935).
In explaining what constitutes documents issuing from the extraordinary magisterium, the authors Parente, Piolanti and Garofalo write: “…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…” (Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology,1951, p. 72). But Pope Paul IV’s bull is not infallible? Why do people insist on believing the rantings of these Traditionalist “theologians” and ignore the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and those writing with the Church’s approval?! Does anyone really believe such behavior demonstrates the loyalty and obedience owed to Christ’s Vicars and the true Catholic Church as She existed for 1958 years, to the very Deposit of Faith itself?
NO “Trads” propose revamping Pius IX’s Vatican Council
Even those Francis objectors referred to by sedevacantists as “Semi-Traditionalists” will at least quote Cum ex… and defend it, unlike their Gallicanist critics. In a recent article written about petitioning the NO “cardinals” to jettison Francis, the author notes: “The very Traditionalists who rail against Vatican II’s teaching on collegiality, who mock the admittedly absurd “Synod on Synodality,” and say that the bishops and bishops conferences have too much power, would like to weaken the papacy to the point that the Church becomes, for all intents and purposes, like a collection of squabbling territories with a president at the head possessing limited powers… In their eyes, Holy Mother Church has become nothing more than a political game where two opposing sides scheme and maneuver for power.” (July 29, 2022 The Remnant, Chris Jackson; https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/6068-how-about-we-keep-the-papacy-and-dump-bergoglio).
Whether the author intended it as such or not, this is a perfect description of Sedevacantists and other Traditionalists sects recognizing various “bishops.” Already, Jackson reports, there is talk by some Traditionalists of “re-examining Vatican I” to rid it of the influence exerted by those “pesky ultramontanes.” He goes on to write: “Likewise, the Church laws on the papacy laid down at Vatican I are laws for our own safety’s sake. If we cut down all of the laws regarding the papacy in order to accommodate Francis and become Neo-Gallicans (if such were even possible) where are we left? What chance of a restoration do we have? We would have cut off the only God-given future means to one. We would then be at the mercy of an impotent, democratized, and collegial church. The Devil would have us trapped.”
Trapped indeed; and not by the devil but by neo-Gallican Traditionalists who would like nothing better than to eliminate any ultramontane influence entirely. After holding themselves as mini-popes for decades and ignoring and dispensing themselves from Canon Law from the outset, this would be right up their alley. Jackson must be given credit here for his support of and loyalty to at least the idea of the papacy, even if he still believes we have “Catholic” cardinals left and that John 23 through Benedict 16 were legitimate. It is more than we can expect from Sedevacantists. They should be eager to try and explain why this goes back to John 23, not Francis. Instead, they are recommending Jackson consider the material-formal “option”! But after all, what else could we expect? Is it really a coincidence that the call by one Traditionalist author last month for sede bishops to come together and elect yet another false pope coincides with Jackson’s call to the Novus Ordo “cardinals” to do the same?
The answer to Jackson posted on one Trad website reads as follows: “…Semi-trads have veritably destroyed the concept of submission to the Pope… They have utterly wrecked the Papacy.” Uh, EXCUSE ME? Who has utterly wrecked the papacy? This is a classic case of projection. This blame needs to be spread around in quite a wide circle and not confined by any means to “semi-Trads.” Traditionalists rejecting the Novus Ordo usurpers have placed themselves in a position that can be resolved only by compromising truths of faith. Sedevacantists claim that they “very much believe in the Papacy,” but what they have done speaks so loudly that what they say is worthless.
There was a better road by far Trad/Sede clergy could have taken, but it would have required great sacrifice, rigorous study, a profound humility and unflagging intellectual honesty. These were qualities none of them possessed. All they needed to do was follow the example of the God-Man whose priesthood they have simulated and dishonored these many years and abide by the many instructions left to us by His Vicars. The battle is fully on for the “reformation” and ultimate rejection of the papacy and all it teaches. Catholics blind to this until now need to stand up and fight for their very souls, to be inflamed with righteous anger and to demand the truth (and proofs necessary to substantiate it) from the heresiarchs who pretend to lead them. St. John Chrysostom said regarding anger: “He who is not angry when he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is a hotbed of many vices” (Homily 11). St Thomas Aquinas also said: “Consequently, lack of the passion of anger is also a vice, [for it is] a lack of movement in the will directed to punishment by the judgment of reason.”
Traditionalists who believe that a conclave can be held by the laity — that men excommunicated for heresy and schism and declared infamous could be validly elected as Christ’s true voice on earth — are woefully ignorant of the very faith they pretend to profess. It is the strict obligation of those who propose to engage in this dangerous enterprise of calling a conclave to make all information about this event available for scrutiny and intense discussion before ever seriously considering it; to offer complete transparency and open discussion on the Church’s true teaching on this topic, something they have never done in the history of their existence. ALL Catholics should be welcome to ask questions, present evidence, engage in discussion since all will be negatively impacted by such a reckless act. Much of this evidence to date has been dismissed and suppressed so that it may not even be considered. And that is the hallmark of cowards and dictators, not men worthy of the papacy.
Catholics are bound to defend their faith; to stand up and demand answers to these questions. Pope Leo XIII teaches: “When necessity compels, not only those who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’ To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God…” (Sapientiae Christianae). See also http://www.catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Five%20Minute%20Sermon_Show_Forth_Our_Faith.html on the duty to defend the faith.
This blog is the first installment of a series on the dangers of calling a conclave, on any pretext. While Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio precludes any consideration of the material-formal hypothesis, we have yet to examine Pope Pius XII’s infallible teachings in Vacantis Aposolicae Sedis and Six ans se sont. We also need to refute the fallacy, long promoted by Traditionalist pseudo-clergy, that they have not incurred censures for heresy and schism which disqualifies them for election. So please stay tuned — one false pope is quite enough; three would be a travesty. Pray for the Church!