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!