Material-formal Hypothesis a Trojan Horse
CMRI’s papal authority kerfuffle
© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
The current buzz going across social media platforms reveals a bit of a war going on over the material-formal thesis. The “Bp.” Dolan crowd does not accept it and Donald Sanborn is defending it. I first exposed this hypothesis as untenable in 1990 and subsequent articles have appeared on the site below ever since. The latest article provides a history of the heresies that fuel it and also traces it to a series of errors taught since the close of the Vatican Council regarding infallibility. (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/material-formal-hypothesis-condemned-as-heresy/)
Guerard des Lauriers had access to Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio in Latin and quotes it in his article on the material-formal thesis, dismissing it as having been abrogated by the issuance of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. From the late 1970’s to the present, St. Pius X Society “theologians” also insisted the bull was abrogated with the issuance of the 1917 Code. Everyone believed des Lauriers was a learned theologian and so accepted this pronouncement on the bull, without bothering to investigate its truthfulness for themselves. This even though des Lauriers advanced material-formal against the wishes of the very bishop who “consecrated” him, promising first to promote it as a condition of his consecration, and later reneging on this promise. Sedevacantists could ill afford to contradict the thesis without also questioning des Laurier’s Cum ex… stance as well, or at least presenting some other explanation for their position regarding the Roman usurpers. When English translations of Cum ex… began to appear in the mid-1980s, so did renewed discussion of the bull’s authority. But again, Traditionalists reneged on doing any in-depth investigation into its history and its doctrinal value.
My 1990 book Will the Catholic Church Survive… was the first to explain at length that Cum ex… is a binding papal document and how it uniquely applies to our situation today. The bull declares all those who are heretics, schismatics or apostates prior to their election ipso facto deprived of all offices, without any declaration, or any possibility of regaining their offices. And in Can. 6 §4 the 1917 Code directs anyone with doubts regarding excommunications for heresy, apostasy and schism to the sources for the law, the old law, which then is to be used as the law itself to govern the situation. That such doubts have existed for decades is clear. The book and later articles prove Cum ex… is the source for nearly every law regarding heresy in the Code and its explanation of the bull also made people aware that Paul IV had pegged the Vatican 2 antipopes as Antichrist and his system. But stay away from that crazy “papal election” lady, even if she long ago recanted her errors and is telling the truth! Updated proofs that Cum ex… is indeed retained in the Code and is the old law now prevailing under Can. 6 §4, are now available on my site here: https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/canonical-proofs-cum-ex-apostolatus-officio-is-retained-in-the-1917-code-of-canon-law/ Had Cum ex… been upheld as the binding and relevant document that it most certainly remains, des Lauriers could not have imposed his ridiculous theory, for Cum ex… declares that no such pre-election heretic raised to the papacy could ever be considered even quasi-legitimate.
The prejudices arising from this anti-Scholastic attitude have obscured the truth regarding the 1958 papal election ever since. Solidly grounded evidence based on papal decrees — not theological opinions — clearly show there was a way out of the invalid 1958 election had any of the bishops certainly validly consecrated under Pope Pius XII chosen to take it. Just because my 1990 book was used to help document a false election, held in good faith at the time, does NOT destroy the validity of the documents presented or the reasoning behind the presentation. Not one soul has ever taken this information and used it to verify John 23rd’s certainly invalid election, detailed in my most recent work, The Phantom Church in Rome, even though that information is the most conclusive proof available. And because of this prejudice, they have gone to unnecessary and extraordinary lengths to cite primarily pre-1959 theologians — not the laws and teachings of the popes as Pope Pius XII commands them to do in his encyclical Humani Generis below. And then they are only willing to admit des Lauriers ”thesis” was possibly “savoring heresy,” a minimalistic statement if there ever was one.
“God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, NOT EVEN TO THEOLOGIANS, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or in the extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed, the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: “in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church.”
The doubtful pope rule
There is an old axiom and actual practice of the Church, first put forward by St. Robert Bellarmine, that a doubtful pope is no pope, just as in Canon Law a certainly doubtful law is no law. The latter principle has been used extensively by Traditionalists who, in erroneously invoking epikeia, have wiped out many of the Canon Laws which in reality still apply to them. And yet they shrink from invoking the very same principle when it comes to disputing a questionably valid papal election. But it is this author’s experience that such hypocrisy is simply the modus operandi they have always resorted to. An explanation of the doubtful pope teaching is provided below.
“When there is a prudent doubt about the validity of an election to any official position, there is also a similar doubt whether the person so elected really has authority or not. In such a case no one is bound to obey him for it is an axiom that a doubtful law begets no obligation — lex dubia non obligat.” But a superior whom no one is bound to obey is in reality no superior at all. Hence the saying of Bellarmine: a doubtful pope is no pope. “Therefore,” continues the Cardinal, “if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign so that a new election may be held. But if he refuses to resign it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter. For although the bishops without the Pope cannot define dogma nor make laws for the universal Church, they can and ought to decide when occasion demands who is the legitimate Pope; and if the matter be doubtful they should provide for the Church by having a legitimate and undoubted pastor elected. That is what the council of Constance rightly did” (Bellarmine’s De concilio, Chapter 2:19; taken from Rev. E. S. Berry’s The Church of Christ, B. Herder Book Co., 1927, p. 402).
St. Robert Bellarmine is a Doctor of the Church. His opinion alone, theologians admit, coupled with Cum ex…, could have been used to justify any uncompromised bishops consecrated under Pius XII in proceeding to a new election. While this doubtful pope phrase was bandied about in different circles for years, its true source was never revealed, and we do not think this was simply a casual omission. For then it would have been given more credence, coming from a great Doctor, and that was not something that those comfortably ruling without a pope, given all the many problems such a venture would entail, had in mind. And there were other reasons that hit much closer to home that explain why neither Cum ex Apostolatus Officio nor St. Bellarmine’s teachings were invoked to at least attempt to end the painful crisis in the Church. These reasons are:
1.) If a doubtful pope is no pope, and they adopt this position, then a doubtful bishop also is no bishop, and plenty of doubt has been established regarding the consecration of Traditionalist “bishops” and ordination of “priests” by the schismatics Thuc and Lefebvre.
2.) If it once can be established with certainty that John 23 was never validly elected, (and it has been), and they admit this, then the next step would require them — rather than hang onto their titles and rule as “bishops” — to elect a true pope. And to be quite honest, that really is not something they are prepared to do; otherwise they would have done it long ago.
3.) They could not risk the possibility that in vetting such bishops for election using Cum ex…, in order to elect “a legitimate and undoubted pastor,” they would be disqualified as bishops. For all these men were at the very least supporters of the schismatic, heretical men who ordained and consecrated them and therefore, Cum ex… says, are to be held just as guilty as those they defend and cooperated with in the course of the offense. Ironically, Canons 2209 and 2316 regarding accomplices and their guilt in offenses have for their sources Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. Referring to the the Codicis Juris Canonici Fontes in nine volumes, by Cardinal Peter Gasparri, Rev. Nicholas J. Neuberger, in his work Canon 6 (Catholic University of America, 1927) writes on page 70: “These old laws have juridical force only inasmuch as they are embodied in the Canons. They are the interpretive norms of the new law whenever the new and the old law coincide… [These old laws] are destitute of legal value unless the Code has embodied it in Canons… Thanks to the eminent Canonist Gasparri, not a little chaotic interpretation has been averted through the alignment of the SOURCES under each Canon.”
We read from Can. 2316: “A person who of his own accord and knowingly helps in any manner to propagate heresy OR who communicates in sacred rites (in divinas) with heretics in violation of the prohibition of Can. 1258 incurs suspicion of heresy,” and after six months falls under the prescriptions of Can. 2315 (Revs. Woywod-Smith). Canon 2315 states that if those communicating in the sacraments of heretics do not amend within six months, they are liable to the penalties for heresy. Any cooperation must be committed knowingly, yet Woywod-Smith comment under Can. 2200: “The authorities presume the subject knows the law and if he violates it he is considered to have broken it willfully. If he claims to be free from liability, the burden of proof rests with him.” Please tell me how those educated in these “erudite” Traditionalist seminaries, where students are supposed to complete the requisite courses in Canon Law, could have failed to apply these important canons to those ordaining and consecrating them?!! Not to mention Canons 2370 and 2372, suspending all these so-called clerics from acts of jurisdiction of any kind, even if received in good faith, until the Roman Pontiff lifts the suspension! Until it is lifted, they are forbidden to exercise the orders received.
But Traditionalists dismiss all these excommunications above to claim they act under the umbrella of Can. 2261§2, a profoundly absurd conclusion. To begin with, they cannot even prove that they ever possessed any jurisdiction, which could issue only from certainly valid bishops commissioned by the Roman Pontiff they say does not exist. They freely admit they possessed no papal mandate to provide this ordinary (and delegated) jurisdiction. Their consecrators have even either publicly stated they DON’T possess such jurisdiction, or have insisted that Christ Himself provides it, a statement that contradicts the papal pronouncement by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis and Ad Sinarum Gentum (that bishops can exercise their jurisdiction only through the Roman Pontiff). So please explain how they can invoke a Canon that presumes that either the clerics it refers to already possess it, and may then exercise it, or that the Church will supply it, the Church meaning the Roman Pontiff, who no longer exists! Some pretend that epikeia allows them to act in this present emergency, but again: epikeia, a shaky legal principle at best, can scarcely provide them with the necessary canonical mission. These are the fairy tales Traditionalists expect their followers to believe.
Can. 2261 §2 also does not apply here simply because it is not addressing those excommunicated as heretics and schismatics as a result of communicatio in sacris and the subsequent penalties for heresy under Can. 2314. This is cooperating and communicating with heretics or with those who belong to a schismatic sect, so is a separate issue. Rev. Francis E. Hyland, in his 1928 Canon Law dissertation, Excommunication, comments on Can. 2261: “The question of whether excommunicates cease to be members of the Church has given rise to quite a controversy among theologians. Suarez is under the opinion that persons under ban of excommunication continue to be members of the Church…Bellarmine maintains that excommunicates cease to be members of the Church… According to the more common opinion of most of the recent dogmatic theologians the tolerati do not cease to be members of the Church, [but] with regard to the vitandi, the more commonly accepted opinion is that, at least temporarily, they are cut off from all external communion with the Church… Tanquerey remarks that the question has little practical bearing since the Church is wont to declare as vitandi only notorious heretics and schismatics.” SO FROM THESE REMARKS IT IS CLEAR: THOSE EXCOMMUNICATES UNDER CONSIDERATION IN THIS CANON ARE NOT THOSE EXCOMMUNICATED FOR HERESY AND SCHISM, FOR THESE ARE ALREADY OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, AS REV. TANQUEREY OBSERVES.
Tanquerey teaches in his Dogmatic Theology, Vol I, p. 160: “All theologians teach that publicly known heretics, that is those who belong to a heterodox sect through public profession or those who refuse the infallible teaching authority of the Church are excluded from the body of the Church even if their heresy is only material heresy.” This amounts to the unanimous opinion of theologians, which binds Catholics under pain of mortal sin. And as Msgr. J.C. Fenton reminds liberal-leaning theologians in his article The Teaching Authority of the Theological Manuals, to question Tanquerey’s theological works would be to insinuate he had misled the thousands of seminarians who trained from these works in the 20th century. Only the Roman Pontiff or a bishop or confessor authorized by him can lift these censures and none exist. Seminarians involved in the Novus Ordo or Traditionalist sects, all of which heretically teach that the Church can be constituted by bishops alone without the Roman Pontiff being one of those bishops, cannot receive valid tonsure according to Hyland. The web of lies, misinformation and deliberate confusion spun to entrap the uneducated is truly something tragic to witness.
All of this results from incurring the penalties listed under Can. 2314. The Code says those receiving orders from a heretic and/or schismatic are suspect of heresy under Can. 2315. If they do not amend after six months, they then incur all the penalties listed under Can. 2314, including infamy of law and tacit resignation of any offices, benefices etc. under Canon 188 no. 4, and also may be degraded. Yet many will have already incurred the penalty of Can. 2314 immediately, with their first public utterance of heresy or participation in schism. Everyone knew Lefebvre and Thuc both celebrated the Novus Ordo and signed documents at Vatican 2 — this is a matter of public record. They never really left the Novus Ordo church. So how is this not heresy given the change of Christ’s very words in the Consecration and the endorsement at Vatican 2 of John Murray’s religious liberty heresy?? Furthermore, Lefebvre’s contradiction of the Incarnation was well circulated in the early 1980s. Could anyone, then, possibly be exempt from these censures, given their supposed super Catholicity and “seminary training”?
Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis invalidations ignored
What is stated above should be more than enough to convince any rational person that Traditionalists are simply not the continuation of the Catholic Church. But the material-formal theory needs to be fully explained here and the final blow delivered to all its pretensions. For the reason that CMRI apologists could never properly evaluate the material-formal theory is key to why it was allowed to stand unchallenged as long as it did: They could not use the strongest condemnation available to debunk this theory because it blows ALL of their operations clean out of the water, and they know it. They may mention Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis in referring to papal elections, but when they do so, a very strange thing occurs. They omit the very paragraphs that prove this document infallible because it then would condemn all their actions.
1. “…We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope)…”
Comment: And if the assembly of cardinals, primarily bishops, didn’t possess it, then bishops such as Lefebvre, Thuc, and others are certainly meant here and even more so: for these men did not possess universal jurisdiction as did the cardinals. No worries, then, about the validity, intention or the jurisdiction Lefebvre, Thuc, et al exercised: all their ordinations and consecrations were null and void; for they usurped papal jurisdiction in dispensing from the papal mandate, and therefore never operated under the required jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff as they were bound to do. The Roman Pontiff alone has the exclusive right to establish a diocese and approve the establishment of seminaries (Canons 215,
3. The laws issued by Roman Pontiffs in no way can be corrected or changed by the assembly of Cardinals of the Roman Church while it is without a Pope, nor can anything be subtracted from them or added or dispensed in any way whatsoever with respect to said laws or any part of them. This prohibition is especially applicable in the case of Pontifical Constitutions issued to regulate the business of the election of the Roman Pontiff. In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void.
108. “…This present document and whatever is contained in it can by no means be challenged… and we command those individuals to whom it pertains and will pertain for the time being to vote, that the ordinances must be respectively and inviolably observed by them, and if anyone should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void.
Comment: This means all papal laws (no. 3), and that includes the laws governing jurisdiction which largely emanate from the Council of Trent and were approved by the popes. The footnotes to the laws on jurisdiction show numerous papal documents listed regarding their origin. These are not simply human laws; many are dogmatic, as is jurisdiction itself. Traditionalists cannot and do not possess any title to jurisdiction, which they attempt to dispense themselves from by invoking epikeia, or various other subterfuges. This also applies to Can.147, to which Pope Pius XII attached excommunications specially reserved to the Holy See regarding those who “allow anyone to be unlawfully intruded… into an ecclesiastical office” or “have any part directly or indirectly” in the same (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, under Can. 147).
We must also mention here their ridiculous moral/legal person principle, based on Canons 100, 101, that they have now invented to make it appear they have power and may yet rule over us for at least the next 35 years. They claim, using a “legal fiction,” which falls in the same category, from a legal standpoint, as epikeia, that this perpetuates the Church indefinitely. But no, Christ alone as the Head of His Mystical Body is what perpetuates the Church indefinitely whether it be a visible Church at this present moment or not. Canon Law clearly states that the perpetuation of the Roman Pontificate is accomplished only by his election, which “…is governed exclusively by the Constitution of Pope St. Pius X …, amended and completely revised by the Constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis of Dec. 18, 1945” (Woywod-Smith). Both Pope St. Pius X’s law, in equivalent language, and that of Pope Pius XII, as follows, read: “…These… documents are manifestly and will be always and perpetually true, valid, and effective… Therefore, let it be permitted to no man to weaken this… Our constitution, ordinance, abrogation, commandment, binding order, warning, prohibition, precept, and will, or to go against it by a rash undertaking. Moreover, if anyone presumes to attempt this, let him know that he will incur for it the anger of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”
Obviously this warning, which also appears in Cum ex… and Quo Primum, does not phase Traditionalists, for they refuse to concede that Vacantis Apostolocae Sedis is the governing document for this interregnum. They will use the warning in Quo Primum to defend their rights regarding the Mass, then ignore it to avoid casting any doubt on their authority.
Material-formal thesis is actually heretical
And so we come to the grand finale. In his The True Story of the Vatican Council, Henry Cardinal Manning notes it was the Western Schism and the rise of Gallicanism that first brought up the question of infallibility. It was during this time-period the Gallicanists began to distinguish between the infallibility of the person occupying the See and the See itself. Manning then goes into greater depth regarding the line of popes versus the individual occupant of the See, writing as follows: “They distinguished between …the See and him that sat in 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… Peter’s office, with all its prerogatives, is perpetual and his office is borne by the person who succeeds to his place” (p. 59-61).
On page 130 of his Dogmatic Theology, Vol. I, quoted above, Tanquerey explains: “This distinction” (that the Gallicanists held between the chair and him who occupies it) “is entirely foreign to the minds of the Fathers. for they gave their obedience to the ruling Pontiff himself. Too, this distinction would take away from the pontiff all authority since each one could then declare that he was adhering to the infallible chair of Peter but not to the pontiff who at that particular time was occupying it and who was guilty of error.” So the material-formal hypothesis is only a regurgitated version of this heresy. It assigns jurisdiction to the office and not to the man, separating the two, when they cannot be separated. This denies the infallible teaching of the Vatican Council: “If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church… let him be anathema” (DZ 1831).
It also implicates des Lauriers in the following heresies:
• DZ 570d: “Whether you have believed, have held or are prepared to believe that…all the Roman Pontiffs… succeeding Blessed Peter have entered canonically and will enter canonically, [and] have [actually] succeeded Blessed Peter the Roman Pontiff…” (proposed for belief to the Armenians).
• Also DZ 674: “Likewise whether he believes that the pope canonically elected, who lived for a time after having expressed his own name is the successor of the blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God” (proposed for belief to the Wycliffites and Hussites at Constance).
Des Lauriers obviously believed that the cardinals, (who all later showed themselves to be the traitors they really were), were not deposed as a result of heresy and therefore conducted a legitimate election. But then he refuses to accept the result of that same election as fully legitimate. Therefore he denies, per the first proposition, that a truly canonical election has its inevitable full effect and per the second proposition he denies that such effect bestowed on the one elected grants full and supreme authority to rule.
Q. What is canonical election?
A. Election held according to the Sacred Canons (Canon Law).
Q. What canons govern a papal election?
A. Primarily Canon 160; papal election law is special law, so no other law really governs it. It is to be used primarily as its own interpretation. This is especially true since Pope Pius XII’s election law, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis is clearly infallible.
Q. Can any other canons be used?
A. Those listed in Pius XII’s election law itself, including Can. 188 no. 4, para. 36, which has as its footnoted source Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. (See Latin Version of the Code). In cases of doubt, parallel passages of the Code also can be used under Can. 18 regarding ecclesiastical elections, since these, Rev. Anscar Parsons tells us in his work Canonical Elections, (CUA Canon Law dissertation, 1939) were used as the basis for papal election law. One other very important Canon also can be used and that is Can 2391 §1, which states under election offences: “A college which knowingly elects an unworthy person is automatically deprived, for that particular election, of the right to hold a new election.”
Can there still be a certainly valid papal election?
So what happens once it is realized there is an actual vacancy and an urgent need to elect a Roman Pontiff? Today, nothing. It takes certainly valid bishops, acting in place of the cardinals, to elect a true pope, and none today exist who could be confirmed as valid. Determining such validity would require a canonically elected pope, and the restoration of the papacy is a problem only God alone, in His infinite wisdom, can resolve. Evil men orchestrated the protracted vacancy we see today and attempting to fill the Papal See by electing another unworthy candidate will only set the Church on an even more dangerous course. In fact, it would make even less sense, and could be considered no different — since all potential electors could be considered only laymen — than the 1990 “election” of Michael in Kansas. At least in 1990 there was yet hope that bishops would rally who were consecrated by Pope Pius XII, but today they have all passed away. And the validity of any claiming to have received valid consecration, but who perhaps have been hidden or unknown, would need to be confirmed by truly unexplainable miracles, as St. Francis de Sales teaches in his The Catholic Controversy.
All of the above is solidly grounded on papal teaching and Canon Law, which in large part contains the laws of councils and the Roman Pontiffs. What is presented by CMRI “clergy” regarding the material/formal issue relies on the opinions of theologians, with a few papal quotes here and there, not all of them relevant. Their arguments are presented as though they follow scholastic form, but we are not dealing here with scholastic philosophy, which treats of opinions which must be proven, but with dogmatic theology, which must simply be believed! Canon Law is negatively infallibly, regardless of whether Traditionalists brush it off as mere “human law.” Even papal opinions are binding in many cases and are certainly more authoritative by far than those of the theologians. But what is cited above are not opinions but binding papal teachings that have been ignored for decades. Traditionalists need to decide if they want a CATHOLIC Church with at least obedience to all the papal decrees we have today or a PROTESTANT church with bishops and no pope — like the Old Catholics, the Anglicans, or even the Methodists — because that is what they have at the moment. And it was all by design, conceived long ago, as Our Lady warned at La Salette.
What des Lauriers did was not done just to keep Sedes “under the Novus Ordo umbrella.” It was done to make it impossible for even the educated laity to figure out how to determine with any certainty that the usurpers could never be considered even quasi-legitimate, that they were not popes at least materially and that a papal election was not only necessary but the only thing bishops could do to perpetuate the Church. And here we are speaking ONLY of bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII who were not mentally or canonically compromised as was Thuc. To the best of my knowledge, the only one suggesting an imperfect council or conclave at that time was myself and a few others who later disappeared from the scene. It was general knowledge in the late 1980s — when many of those Traditionalists now talking trash on social media were only youngsters — that such an election was not only possible but necessary and gravely urgent to preserve apostolicity. But not only was des Lauriers working against it but others as well, as can be seen in the Ramirez letter here (scroll down to the last several paragraphs) https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/intention-undeniably-lacking-in-trad-episcopal-consecrations-and-an-important-update/. This link also provides the rest of the documentation proving that bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII were obligated to elect a pope and shows how those now calling themselves Traditional bishops can in no way be considered certainly valid, according to papal teaching.
With a lot of prayer and hard work such a valid election might even have been possible. That it was not possible is because those claiming to be Catholic theologians and clergy suppressed and dismissed papal documents that should have led us out of this horrible nightmare. But they had their own plans: A Church without a pope, without doctrinal limitations, without scholastic theology, without the papal discipline that kept all the bishops and cardinals in line. In other words, the democratic church of the Gallicanists and the Modernists, hatched long ago. Read the chronicles of the heretic Marsilius of Padua in the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia and Lemius’ Catechism of Modernism, if there are any doubts. Basically what des Lauriers and Sedes did was to allow all the bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII to slowly die while the controversies about “true papal restoration” raged and confusion reigned. They knew at some point the usurper situation would come to a head, as it has now done. This allowed them to ultimately monopolize the playing field as the only possible alternative.
Traditionalists have made pray-at-home Catholics out to be a bunch of lazy losers who prefer to neglect the graces offered by their “Sacraments” and can’t be bothered to attend a Latin “mass.” They ignore all their doctrinal objections to Traditionalism and do not even give them credit for following their conscience. They treat them as a threat to the membership of their churches, as if the adherents to this position are even organized or capable of organizing. They must see them as a real threat, if they felt compelled to ridicule and denigrate them as they have done. But why?
Silence and suppression signal danger
The suppression of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio has been treated on my site at length. It can be traced to the very Masonic influences at play in the founding of the early Traditionalist organizations (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/?s=Masonic+Origins) and this answers the question posed above in large part. The absolute silence surrounding Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis is more ominous. For this is an indisputably infallible document that makes it crystal clear that no one may presume to pretend to possess any authority during an interregnum whatsoever; the only thing that can be done is to elect a true pope. And if they do so presume, it is null and void. It is the one document that provides a blueprint, in addition to Cum ex…, for restoring the Church. To the best of my knowledge, my site is the only place where these and other pertinent documents can be found. Is this not proof of suppression? As a community news reporter, I dealt with this sort of thing for many years while fighting government corruption and election fraud. I know suppression and concealment when I see it. It has been rampant in Traditional circles from the beginning, and I have observed it at work in both print as well as online Traditional publications for decades. It is no different than the dishonesty and corruption we see in media circles today. And it has deprived those seeking Catholic truth of the information they desperately need to make informed decisions about their faith.
Catholic restoration could have taken place long ago and the Francis dilemma is only a final culmination of the destruction wrought in the Church because Traditionalists fouled the waters. There was an answer to all this, one we were bound to follow, once it became clear there was no longer any way to elect a pope. But no one wished to hear it, least of all those parading as bishops. And no one has exposed the consequences of failing to acknowledge it and follow it. I am talking about following the safer course regarding the validity of the Sacraments. According to Canon Law, the theologians Revs. McHugh and Callan, Rev. H.J. Davis, Rev. Dominic Prummer and other theologians consulted, it is the unanimous opinion of all theologians that one is never allowed to use a probable opinion when administering or receiving the Sacraments. A probable opinion consists in finding at least six authors who will agree that the Sacraments can be received in a prolonged emergency from those who are not certainly validly ordained and consecrated. And all of us who were deceived by Traditionalists paid a very dear price for their failure to equip us for the very trying times that face us today. Now it is clear why they see homealone as such a threat. But they will never tell their followers that failing to form their consciences correctly can involve them in grave sin.
Failing to follow the safer course and its consequences
Traditionalists have never presented such an array of opinions as they are required to at least try to do to justify their actions because they will not even countenance the possibility that they are not certainly valid. This despite the penalties decreed by Canon Law, the irrefutable evidence in Mystici Corporis and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, also a host of other papal documents and those issuing from the Sacred Congregations. All of these binding documents teach that without the Roman Pontiff Traditionalists cannot function and that if they do so function, during an interregnum, all their actions are null and void. We are talking here about infallible documents so how could any true Catholic possible object that these do not apply to us today? But even if they could produce a probable opinion, it would be worthless in this situation because we cannot use probable opinions regarding the validity of the Sacraments. This is based on the condemnation of the following by Bd. Pope Innocent XI:
“It is not illicit in conferring the Sacraments to follow a probable opinion regarding the value of the Sacrament, the safer opinion being abandoned…” (DZ 1151). This is condemned as scandalous and pernicious, but we must remember what Pope Pius IX has said in this regard: “But since it is not sufficient to shun heretical iniquity unless these errors also are shunned which come more or less close to it, we remind all of the duty of observing also the constitutions and decrees by which base opinions of this sort, which are not enumerated explicitly here, have been prescribed and prohibited by this Holy See” (DZ 1820, The Vatican Council).
Is there a penalty for ignoring something held by the unanimous opinion of theologians? Yes there is, and it is described as a mortal sin of temerity in Fr. Sixtus Cartechini’s On the Value of Theological Notes and the Criteria for Discerning Them (1951). So by ignoring the obligation of acknowledging doubt regarding such validity, one is voluntarily committing mortal sin. But there is more involved here than just this. Refusing to accept an infallible papal decree forbidding the usurpation of papal jurisdiction and the attenuation of papal laws under penalty of nullity is an implicit denial of the supremacy of papal jurisdiction, defined by the Vatican Council. That is heresy and in fact, accepting bishops as the continuation of the Catholic Church without one of those bishops being the Roman Pontiff is also heresy, given the need for all bishops to be subject to the Roman Pontiff, particularly in receiving the papal mandate. All Traditionalists including CMRI choose to argue this in a fashion that excludes a host of papal decrees and focuses on only one papal document, Ad Apostolorum Principis, when this document does not in any way address the circumstances existing during an interregnum.
There was a solution to all this, one that those praying at home have practiced all these years. But this private existence gave no one any status, or pride of membership, or a hook to hang their hat on as Traditionalism offered its adherents. It is what the Apocalypse describes as the Church being swept away into the wilderness (Apoc. 12:6) following the death of Pius XII; and then again, being carried into the desert on the wings of a great eagle (Apoc. 12:14), which Fr. E.S. Berry interprets as prayer and contemplation. Rev. Leo Haydock says this means Catholics will worship God in a private manner. And this, I believe, is where we are today. Such a time was anticipated by the priest quoted below, an article kindly brought to the author’s attention by a regular reader. It is an excerpt from a column on Communism written by author Solange Hertz for The Wanderer in the 1980s, (followed by my comments).
“Fr. François Dufay, who witnessed the battle at close quarters in China [in the 1940s], says to lose no time in preparing the Church of the Catacombs: “Take as principle that normal exterior life – liturgy, teaching, apostolate – should continue as far as possible [but only when certainly valid clergy are available — Ed.]. But, at the same time, prepare Christians to preserve their essential religious life in the absence of priests, worship and Sacraments… Prepare memory aids on the dogmas of necessary means, marriage without clergy, perfect contrition, assistance to the dying, Baptism, child education, etc., and place these leaflets in safe places…”
Comment: This is what the Jesuits did for the Japanese, which allowed them to continue the practice of their faith for 200 years. Why have Traditionalists done nothing but teach their followers that they cannot possibly keep the faith without priests, when so many have been forced to do this in the past? Where is their real love for their flocks and the Church?
“It would be good if trustworthy priests of high caliber were to set themselves to living the life of the people. They need profound dogmatic and spiritual formation, especially on the theology of the Church, the meaning and value of persecution and suffering, and should be steeped in the remembrance of the great saints and martyrs of the past. Thus armed, the Christian faith will use its bad times for growth in charity,” making the most of the service Communism will render it by purifying and detaching it from all that is not God here below. And again, “Actually it’s solitaries who must be found and trained, in other words, Christians capable of living their faith all alone, amid the strongest pressures, the most painful happenings and the most forbidding of deserts.”
Comment: High Caliber priests? Living in with the people? This is dream stuff. And oh, please, don’t torment Traditionalists with the scary thought that they might be ISOLATED !! Hasn’t anyone read the Imitation of Christ on the value of shutting oneself away from the world? That’s what happens when spiritual formation is neglected; when “devout Catholics” are allowed to gossip and calumniate people on social media sites while the dance band on the Titanic is playing its last tune. Here we are, facing untold dangers, and these people have been given absolutely no tangible tools to help them save their souls.
“The Counter-revolution began in Eden with the Revolution itself, for there on the spot God told the serpent, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15). Centuries later, when the battle was approaching a climax in Russia in 1917, this “woman” appeared on earth at Fatima to warn that “the errors of Russia” would overflow the whole world unless supernatural means were marshalled against them.
“Of necessity the “errors of Russia” can be overcome only by supernatural force because there are no natural means superior to them. Given the impairment of nature by original sin, there are no natural means which are even proportioned to these “errors”. Certainly no material weapons can destroy Communism’s battlements, let alone shoot down its ideas. No political position can withstand it. No mere strategy can outwit it that is not rooted in grace. The defeat of Communism will be effected by prayer and penance, in the name of Him who before His Passion said, “In the world you will have affliction. But take courage, I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). It is not the dictatorship of the proletariat which is “inevitable,” but the triumph of the Church!
Comment: The primary error of Russia, schism, has already devastated the Church. Obviously not enough people fulfilled Our Lady’s request for prayer and sacrifice. We now live in the times of Antichrist and Traditionalists need to accept this fact and prepare themselves accordingly. The Sacrifice ceased under Roncalli and Montini and will be seen no more, unless Our Lord in His goodness restores it to us. We see Antichrist’s system rushing to its inevitable grand finale as we speak. Those who prefer lies to truth will perish with him and his system, rather than acknowledge the truth. Hugo Maria Kellner was right when he went against the St. Pius X Society and its Masonic founder, Marcel Lefebvre, in the 1970s: those who cannot face the terrible fact that we indeed live in these times will never believe that Antichrist has come, no more than the Jews believed Christ was their Messiah. Henry Cardinal Manning also commented that Catholics would be incredulous when the time of Antichrist approached. If Traditionalists of every stripe wish to finish their days as the very enemies of Christ ended theirs, they can continue hiding behind the skirts of their “pastors.” Or, as Fr. Dufay urges above, they can unite, educate themselves, and finally become the Soldiers of Christ they were called to become and were always meant to be.
A Trojan horse refers to an ancient Greek strategy once used to fool an enemy. It is an idiom writers sometimes employ to indicate the secret penetration of a place previously believed to be secure. The material-formal thesis was just such a Trojan horse, a hollow proposition that allowed those not certainly validly consecrated or ordained to creep in and pose as the clerical heirs of the true Catholic Church. It enabled them to appear to reign over their non-assigned subjects with the illusion that they were operating either under an allowable emergency clause (epikeia, a quasi-legal principle employed by Gallicanist heretics) and/or a quasi-authority which might someday be restored. This is why Cum ex…, reaffirmed by Pope St. Pius V, had to be relegated to the garbage heap. For it clearly stated that NO ONE could ever be restored to their offices in this case after committing heresy, apostasy or schism and that none of them could ever be considered even “quasi-legitimate.” If ever anyone set out to overthrow the papacy, as CMRI has accused pray-at-home Catholics of doing, it was Traditionalists. They had a plan and they executed it, running roughshod over canon law, the existing infallible law on papal elections, and a clearly infallible papal bull to rule unopposed as the mini-popes they pretend to be. They simply bided their time until all those bishops consecrated by Pope Pius XII expired, allowing them to move ahead for whatever they have planned regarding the papacy.
Truth has never been an easy thing to accept or practice. Catholicism was never intended to be a personality cult where bishops and priests were set on lofty pedestals and adored as idols, reverenced as gurus of a personality cult, never corrected, never questioned or held to account. Even St. Paul resisted St. Peter “to his face.” Such adulation is even more crass when it is offered to those who are grossly unworthy of such honors — men who were never vetted by the required ecclesiastical authorities to determine their fitness for the priesthood, never properly trained and who are only questionably valid; men who act as though they are both impeccable and infallible and answer to no one except the craven will of their followers, if that.
Rev. Aloysius Biskupek, S.T.D wrote in his 1941 work Priesthood that according to Can. 1371, “Disorderly, incorrigible, or seditious [rebellious] students, and those who because of their character or temperament do not seem suitable candidates for the clerical state, shall be dismissed from the seminary… If a seminarian should be guilty of an offense against good morals or the faith he shall be summarily discharged.” And many were the reports in these seminaries of such misconduct during the days of Sanborn and Cekada. But who was keeping score? Certainly not Traditionalists!
Biskupek defines incorrigible as those who: “know [their] faults and [do] not correct them despite repeated warnings…This indicates either lack of will power or pride or failure to grasp the import of priestly responsibility…As a very young man he is too proud to correct his faults. He has been warned, he has been shown that his conduct does not agree with the spirit of the seminary and is out of harmony with the ideals of the priestly life; yet he did not change. To do so would have been an admission that he was wrong, he would have had to submit to someone else’s will; this he could not bring himself to do.” It was precisely these sort of priestly candidates that Pope St. Pius X wished to root out from Catholic seminaries.
In his encyclical condemning the Modernists, Pope St. Pius X wrote: “It is owing to their pride that they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, EVEN FOR THE SUPREME AUTHORITY. … For this reason, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to resist such victims of pride… Examine most carefully your young clerics by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the vigilance and constancy which were required!” (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
This utter want of respect for the Supreme Authority — the papacy, and ultimately Our Lord Himself — is certainly the manifestation of an almost Satanic pride. This is especially evidenced in the absolute refusal of these men to cease functioning until their status is determined by a canonically elected Pope. Rev. F. McElhone, in his Particular Examen, 1951, asked penitents the following questions to determine the existence of pride of authority: “Have I a superior, know-it-all attitude in arguments? Do I refuse to give consideration to what they state? Do I try to see both sides of a question? Have I tried to argue reasonably? Is it hard for me to yield a point? Do I argue in my own defense, even when I know I am wrong? Have I lied about others? Am I prone to belittle persons, places or things? Do I argue with anger, personal animus (ad hominem attacks), uncharitableness?” And a quick glance through these questions easily shows that Traditionalist pseudo-clergy have consistently violated every one of them. They have not even hesitated to lie in order to defend their validity (Cekada’s falsification of the wording in DZ 960 and 967 from the Council of Trent).
They have refused for decades to answer serious charges in the manner demanded by scholastic theologians, using ad hominem attacks and belittling techniques to shame opponents instead (Cekada and the homealone tag). No consideration whatsoever has been given to valid points made and the demands for proofs that these pseudo-clerics are indeed worthy of the lofty status accorded them, proofs they strictly owe their followers, have been met with absolute silence. There has been no rational argumentation whatsoever and no consideration in the least of anyone’s objections that might interfere with the Traditionalist/ Sedevacantist agenda. So where is the REAL dedication given their much-vaunted “obligation” to effect the “salvation of souls?
As McElhone notes, “Pride is an excessive love of self [that] places one in opposition to God, since it makes one work for one’s own glory… [it] is a complete or a partial forgetfulness of God… [God] commands those following a vocation to help others. That obligation of leading others to holiness and salvation is ever present.” If any of these men truly believed they had a vocation and were really dedicated to saving souls, they would have the humility to admit they cannot function as clerics and resign. That is true humility — for as St. Vincent de Paul says: “The reason why God is such a great Lover of humility is that He is a great Lover of truth. Humility is in fact truth, while pride is nothing but lying.” The entire Traditionalist trap was a lie from the beginning, as Catholic writer Mary Lejeune warned in the 1970s. Traditionalists would rather remain in mortal sin and lose their very souls, defending their deceivers to the very end, rather than admit that there are, at the very least, grave doubts regarding their validity. Such doubts (those regarding the Thuc consecrations) have even been documented by those of their own ilk, such as “Bp.” Clarence Kelly in his The Sacred and the Profane.
These men belittle every layman who crosses them, simply because they can point to their pretended elevated status as bishops or priests to dismiss their objections. They hang on to their claim to the episcopacy for dear life, for then they can point to the very Canon Laws they misinterpret and summarily dismiss and triumphantly (but falsely) pronounce they are immune from censure. Clearly it is Satanic pride that causes them to remain in their self-appointed positions, primarily to appear to have the authority to condemn, instruct and direct others, when this is in direct contradiction to God’s will and the teachings of His Vicar on earth. Is it not the earthly equivalent of the very same sin, committed by the wicked angels, with Lucifer at their head, who refused to believe God was not Lucifer’s equal and who then spat at Him, “I will not serve”? But people forget, Christ and His earthly vicar rule as one Head. Therefore these Luciferian men and those defending them have refused to serve both, by failing to follow papal teachings. And Lucifer’s new angels are following their lead.
It was Christ who entrusted St. Peter with the keys to rule in His stead and the power to bind and loose. The pope is Christ on earth; the popes have told us this themselves. Deny Christ’s Vicar and deny the Incarnation; this matter of sorting out what the Church truly expects Catholics to believe in order to be saved is a deadly serious business. This is not a childish game to gain likes and followers; it is not a cutesy debate forum; it is not a hotly contested high school football team rivalry. This is a life and death struggle for souls and spiritual survival, and as seen above, Traditionalists are the ones who are losing.
Pride earned Hell for Lucifer. Traditionalists alone can decide if it will be their downfall as well.