Material/Formal Crowd attacks Cum ex… again

Material/Formal Crowd attacks Cum ex… again

© Copyright 2014, 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.)


Our erstwhile objectors to Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, now brandishing Bishop Josef Fessler’s “The True and False Infallibility of the Popes,” (1871) contend that this work, on which Hergenrother based his own conclusions, proves Cum ex… definitely cannot be infallible. They claim this because Fessler was Secretary General of the Vatican Council and received an approbation from Pius IX for his work. But like Hergenrother’s book, Fessler addresses Cum ex… only in passing, dedicating the bulk of his work to defending the definition of infallibility itself against the Old Catholics and refuting the argument of the definition’s opponents that it could be used to attack the civil powers. We read from the Catholic Encyclopedia online under Fessler:

“After the council he replied in a masterly brochure to the attack on the council by Dr. Schulte, professor of canon law and German law at Prague. Dr. Schulte’s pamphlet on the power of the Roman popes over princes, countries, peoples, and individuals, in the light of their acts since the reign of Gregory VII, was very similar in character to the Vaticanism pamphlet of Mr. Gladstone, and rested on just the same fundamental misunderstanding of the dogma of Papal Infallibility as defined by the Vatican Council.”

Although it was (then Archbishop) Manning who helped call the Vatican Council and bring it to its conclusion, he was not well liked. Many of the bishops felt he was a radical, for of course he was an Ultramontane, an “apple polisher” in their eyes. Manning’s  works, written after the Council, show the beauty of his spirituality and what propelled the archbishop, later cardinal, to crusade for the definition the way he did. And although Manning met with great opposition, the question should be asked: if he was as radical as his opponents pretend, why did Pope Pius IX appoint him as cardinal following the council? Oddly enough, the views he first held on infallibility are those which later became the norm, as it grew more and more apparent that infallibility, far from being an infrequent occurrence, was actually fairly common. Those still tainted with the Gallicanist heresy absolutely denied this and still do (SSPX, others). The theologian Dubanchey believed there may have been as many as 12 ex cathedra acts before the Council definition, and, from the Council to 1930, none! (“The Vatican Council” by Cuthbert Butler, 1930). When Pius XII taught infallibly in Humani Generis (1950) that infallible statements could occur in almost any papal document, this totally changed the playing field. But it was very late in the game for theologians to develop a proper reassessment and readjustment of their opinions.

Here it will be interesting to recall the tactics of the Gallicanists in spreading their errors at the time of the Western Schism. As Walter Ullmann reports in his “The Origins of the Great Schism” it was irresponsible publicists teaching false doctrine who first promoted Conciliarism among the faithful. And once it was promoted by these men, “very little could be done to check their career and very few individuals appear(ed) to be immune from them.” Eventually some canonists also joined in, he said, but their influence was limited. As Ullmann notes, “What cardinals tried to express and what contemporary theologians did express was anti-papalism, pure and simple…The position of the pope as a leader was no longer considered compatible with the function and position of the cardinals.” It would take two lay lawyers or jurists, Baldis de Ubaldis and Joannes de Lignano, writing independently of each other and of the papal claimants, to actually settle the questions of the day objectively. And it would require another layman, the emperor Sigismund, to command anti-pope John XXIII to convene the Council of Constance, (although it was later reconvened by the true pope, Gregory XII).

The Church continued to be plagued by Gallicanism right up to the time of the Vatican Council and even beyond, for as is clear from what was written by those serving as modern-day publicists following the Council, theologians seemed very reluctant to give full sway to papal teaching, still trying to limit it in various ways. This continued up to the death of Pope Pius XII, as Rev. J. C. Fenton documented in various articles for the American Ecclesiastical Review, (AER). With the issuance of Si Diligus in 1954, Fenton pointed out that rogue lay theologians, (reminiscent of the publicists), were responsible for the “spiritual contagion” Pius XII mentions in Si Diligus, because they “neglect…the teaching of the living magisterium of the Catholic Church and of the clearly stated doctrina communis of the Church. This neglect of Catholic teaching arises from the fact that the guilty teachers place too much reliance on their own mental powers, on the modern frame of mind and on the standards accepted in studies other than sacred theology…” These theologians “claim to act on their own authority” setting up their teaching “against the public teaching authority of the Church.”

What better description could we wish for than this to describe how Traditionalists and their progenitors have behaved? These men totally ignore or shamelessly misinterpret the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs in favor of some modern theologian or theologians writing in the past, (such as Fessler), before the full maturity of the doctrines discussed was even realized. Fenton himself fingers Fessler as one of those theologians inclined not to accept the binding nature of the ordinary magisterium and even mentions his work concerning Schultes. We begin then with an assessment of these theologians below.

Minimizing the authority of the ordinary magisterium

In his August 1949 article for AER, The Authority of Doctrinal Encyclicals, Pt. I, Fenton mentions Fessler directly as a theologian who does not believe encyclicals can be infallible. He writes: “An astonishing number of prominent theologians can be found among those who take no adequate cognizance of the encyclical letters in their treatises

on papal infallibility. These men content themselves with an examination of and a theological demonstration for the formula by which the Vatican Council defined the Holy Father’s infallibility. Bishop Joseph Fessler, the Vatican Council’s secretary, used this approach in his reply to the “Old Catholic” Shultes.” And here Fenton names some 16 others in agreement with Fessler, and just as many in partial agreement. He then goes on to explain that, “To the Holy Father’s responsibility of caring for the sheep of Christ’s fold, there corresponds, on the part of the Church’s membership, the basic obligation of following his directions, in doctrinal as well as disciplinary matters.  In this field God has given the Holy Father a kind of infallibility distinct from the charism of doctrinal infallibility in a strict sense.” And this Fenton wrote just a year before Humani Generis was issued, confirming the teaching that papal encyclicals, also other papal documents, can and do contain infallible statements.

Until the issuance of Humani Generis, the pope’s exercise of his ordinary magisterium was not well understood. In Fessler’s day this magisterium was more likely to be attributed not to the Roman Pontiff acting universally but to the bishops teaching throughout the world. And so, Fenton says in the July, 1951 issue of AER, if we are to find in:


Of course we had clerics among the Traditionalists, and well-respected ones at that, who denied that the teachings from the ordinary magisterium could even be infallible, (see DZ 1792). This is ridiculous, not to mention heretical, given the popes’ supremacy of jurisdiction, but then look where they went with that issue. Where Fessler and others had excluded the infallibility of dogmatic facts, Fenton writes: “The Church can teach infallibly by solemn judgment or by its ordinary and universal magisterium…” The Holy Father also is “capable of issuing infallible definitions on matters included in what sacred theology knows as the secondary object of the Church’s magisterium [i.e.,] …theological conclusions… dogmatic facts, approval of religious orders, canonization of saints,” and certain philosophical matters, (“The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals,” Pt. II, (American Ecclesiastical Review, September, 1949).

Here we must go back to the lay theologians Pope Pius XII condemned in 1954, but whom Fenton anticipated in this article in 1949: “A great deal of the confusion and the minimism with reference to the doctrinal authority of papal encyclicals would seem to proceed from a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s ordinary and universal magisterium…” Fenton accuses certain theologians of holding “an attitude toward papal encyclicals [and papal teaching in general] which can be productive of doctrinal evil and which can lead to a practical abandonment of their teaching.

“According to this attitude it is the business of the theologian to distinguish two elements in the content of the papal encyclicals. One element would be the deposit of genuine Catholic teaching, which, of course, all Catholics are bound to accept at all times. The other element would be a collection of notions current at the time the encyclicals were written. These notions, which would enter into the practical application of the Catholic teaching, are represented as ideas which Catholics can afford to overlook…This attitude can be radically destructive of a true Catholic mentality. The men who have adopted this mentality imagine that they can analyze the content of an individual encyclical or a group of encyclicals in such a way that they can separate the pronouncements which Catholics are bound to accept from those which would have merely an ephemeral value. They, as theologians, would then tell the Catholic people to receive the Catholic principles and do as they like about the other elements…It is very difficult to see where such a process would stop.”

Fenton continues: “The private theologian is obligated and privileged to study these documents, to arrive at an understanding of what the Holy Father actually teaches, and then to aid in the task of bringing this body of truth to the people. The Holy Father, however, not the private theologian, remains the doctrinal authority. The theologian is expected to bring out the content of the Pope’s actual teaching, not to subject that teaching to the type of criticism he would have a right to impose on the writings of another private theologianThe pronouncements of the Roman Pontiffs, acting as the authorized teachers of the Catholic Church, are definitely not subject to that sort of evaluation…This tendency to consider the pronouncements of [the teaching Church], and particularly the statements of the papal encyclicals, as utterances which must be interpreted for the Christian people, rather than explained to them, is definitely harmful to the Church.” This is why Rev. Fenton’s name appears so frequently in the articles on this site. We know he was personally recognized by Pope Pius XII as faithful to Church teaching and the directives of the Roman Pontiff, for in 1954 he received the prestigious “For Church and Pope” medal as one of AER’s associate editors. But others in our day scarcely bothered to consult the encyclicals — or any other papal documents for that matter — relying on theologians from the past less diligent than Fenton, described above. Or worse still, they rely on the “theology” of Traditionalist “priests,” never properly trained and, in all truth, never even ordained.

Which brings us to another interesting point raised by Fenton in his commentary on Si Diligus. For in that encyclical, Pope Pius XII clearly states that: “The Apostles are, therefore, by divine right the true doctors and teachers in the Church. Besides the lawful successors of the Apostles, namely the Roman Pontiff for the universal Church and Bishops for the faithful entrusted to their care (cf. Can. 1326), there are no other teachers divinely constituted in the Church of Christ. But both the Bishops and, first of all, the Supreme Teacher and Vicar of Christ on earth, may associate others with themselves in their work of teacher, and use their advice; they delegate to them the faculty to teach, either by special grant, or by conferring an office to which the faculty is attached (cf. Can. 1328). Those who are so called teach not in their own name, nor by reason of their theological knowledge, but by reason of the mandate, which they have received from the lawful Teaching Authority. Their faculty always remains subject to that Authority, nor is it ever exercised in its own right or independently.” This was to rein in the rogue theologians among the laity, but also to entreat the bishops to more closely guard their flocks and supervise these theologians. And it clearly excludes priests from teaching the faithful themselves in any authoritative way without delegation from the bishops. As has been repeatedly documented on this site, there are no true Catholic bishops we know of today capable of teaching anyone, far less true Catholic priests.

Rev. Fenton’s articles should be read in their entirety in order to appreciate the full import of what he is explaining. These articles will soon be posted to the main articles page of this site. We now will address the comments of the individual (whose identity is not certainly known and who therefore will remain unnamed) challenging the authority of Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. Comments taken from the material received appear in green.

A much-needed clarification

“Especially on matters of infallibility: I hope not to become too entangled, as some of these fine points are over my head.” 

Well you said it, and who would know better than you? As Dirty Harry (paraphrasing St. Thomas) said: “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Obviously you do NOT know yours, and it is clear you have read very little of the research found on betrayedcatholics, or any other trustworthy site, which could have remedied this lack of sufficient information. In order to untangle the knots you have presented we have been forced to address this matter a second time. But never fear; as Rev. Fenton comments: “It is, I believe, to be presumed that the Vicar of Christ speaks to the faithful in a way they are able to understand.”

“Do you consider, or taken into account, when dealing with Cum ex, in your numerous writings, the infallible rule: the First See is Judged by No one? Can you show honestly where you have made the least room for it? To which the Catholic conscience is nevertheless bound forever? This principle is applied to the widest extent possible – that puts a necessary restriction on Cum Ex.”

First of all, and most importantly, you have totally, and it appears deliberately, for the sake of making what you claim is an argument, misrepresented and misconstrued the entire focal point of Cum ex… and my explanation of that point. As is evident from the portion of Cum ex…retained in the Code, not to mention Cum ex… itself, manifest heresy ipso facto removes one as a member of the Church without any need of a declaratory sentence or judgment. It is precisely BECAUSE no true pope could ever utter heresy from the Chair or foster schism that we know, when such things become so obvious they cannot be ignored (manifest), that such a man NEVER became pope in the first place. So the persons we ARE accusing of heresy were ipso facto reduced to mere laymen before any alleged election ever occurred. An election is not invalidated at the time such heresy is discovered; it is, at that time, revealed as having been invalidated from the very beginning, before the election ever occurred.

In other words, such a man never became pope, and ALL his actions must be treated, as Pope Paul IV decrees, as null and void and having never taken place. Pope Pius XII teaches similarly in his Vacantis Apostolica Sedis. This can only mean the elections of John 23 (through Francis) were invalid ab initio, which has been my stated and unswerving position since I wrote “Will the Catholic Church Survive the 20th Century?” in 1989. How DARE you insinuate otherwise, when I can prove this was the case all along. I have never presumed to judge any pope, and have consistently urged others to obey and to study all their decrees since the earliest stages of my Catholic writing career. It is only your feigned ignorance of the entire theological basis of this argument that allows such a baseless accusation. “The only “pope” I could ever be accused of “judging” is David Bawden, who, I discovered years after his “election,” had publicly accused himself as having been excommunicated for communicatio in sacris while with the SSPX. Thus the parameters of Cum ex… fit Bawden to a “T.”

Secondly, you consistently fail to sufficiently clarify the fact that Fessler’s, hence Hergenrother’s primary purpose in all this was to overcome the arguments put forth on the basis of Cum ex… (by English Prime Minister Gladstone and the Briton Littledale, among others) that the decree concerning infallibility meant the pope could dictate to non-Catholic sovereigns, excommunicate them and even depose them. Cardinal Manning wrote an entire book on this subject, (“The Vatican Council Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance”). You also fail miserably in not distinguishing the fact that Schulte and others completely misread and misinterpreted the part of the bull they claim could make a validly elected pope a heretic; even Fessler failed to make this distinction. This is inexcusable.

Fessler’s misrepresentation of Cum ex…

“Dr. Schulte finds it ‘very remarkable,’ he says, that ‘the election of a heretic as Pope is valueless from the first, and is here declared to be null and void. That is, he says, ‘The Pope and Cardinals assume the possibility of an infallible Pope being found deviating from the faith!’ To set this supposed case in its proper light the following remarks may be useful. Pope Paul IV, no doubt, supposes the case possible (however improbable it might be) that a man who clings to an heretical doctrine might be chosen Pope, and also that after he has mounted the Papal throne, he might still hold heretical doctrine, or, even it may be, express it in his intercourse with others; not, however, that he would teach the whole Church this heretical doctrine in an utterance of his supreme teaching office (ex cathedra). From making such an utterance God Himself, through His special assistance, preserves the Pope and the Church,” [so he is assuming such a man actually becomes pope]. “If, then, as has been suggested, a man were elected Pope who might uphold heretical doctrine (not supposing that he could declare such a doctrine to the whole Church formally as Catholic doctrine de fide, or prescribe it to be held as such)… quashing the election of such a man to the Papacy, and declaring it ‘null and void’… is one of the cases which theologians mean when they say the Pope (homo privatus) as a private individual, may err in a matter of faith; that is, when he is considered simply as a man, with merely his own human conception of a doctrine of the faith,” (Fessler).

Nowhere in the above does Fessler indicate that he has understood the true import of Paul IV’s Bull. For he assumes as true things the pope never said, nor can be accused of saying, in his bull. According to Fessler, a papal election can absolve a man of pre-election heresy, because above he pretends that after an election such a one could be considered a true pope. He is saying also that an antipope could not teach heresy publicly. Of course what he fails to admit here is that such a thing could even happen, and yet Church officials accused the antipope John XXIII of that very thing during the Western Schism. There is nothing in that bull that warrants such assumptions. In fact Fessler shows himself quite disingenuous in stating that Paul IV is referring only to a pope becoming a heretic as a private individual; it is almost as though he is siding with his opponents, agreeing that Paul IV is actually saying that a pope CAN become a heretic! Nowhere does Paul IV limit his Bull to this possibility because he is never considering that a pope can become a heretic in the first place; he is treating the possibility that one who was never and could never be pope could rule the Church and appear to be pope, and in the process could teach heresy.

For Pope Paul IV clearly specifies: “If ever at any time it becomes clear that any bishop… Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, [has strayed from the Catholic Faith or] fallen into some heresy, [or has incurred schism], then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void. It cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of the office, consecration, subsequent possession or seeming possession of government and administration, universal obedience accorded him…passage of any time in said circumstances, nor can it be held as quasi-legitimate.” It is clear here that Paul IV never considers such a man elected to begin with; never gives him any credence whatsoever as a true pope. Yes, quite clearly, by following Fessler and Hergenrother, you and those you represent are minimizing and denigrating a solemn papal document you neither value as you should nor comprehend. And this solely to promote and defend your heretical hypothesis of the materialiter/formaliter “popes,” a revival of Gallicanism and several other heresies. At least Fessler and Hergenrother can be excused to some extent; dogma had not developed to the point it has today. We return to Rev. Fenton’s explanation of that development re Humani Generis below.

Fenton tells us in his “Infallibility in the Encyclicals,” (American Ecclesiastical Review, March 1953): “Documents…promptly entered into the Acta of the Holy Father are thus indirectly sent, as normative documents, to the entire world…Those allocutions and other papal instructions, which, although primarily directed to some individual or group of individuals, are then printed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis as directives valid for all of the Church Militant. We must not lose sight of the fact that, in the encyclical ‘Humani Generis,’ the Holy Father made it clear that any doctrinal decision printed in the pontifical Acta must be accepted as normative by all theologians. This would apply to all decisions made in the course of the Sovereign Pontiff’s ordinary magisterium…Once the Holy Father has placed in his official Acta some judgment or decision about a matter which has hitherto been controverted, that subject must no longer be considered as open to debate among Catholic theologians.” The methods for judging a document as infallible changed dramatically during the 20th century, as demonstrated above. You are using outdated and undeveloped teachings of theologians and modern-day publicists on which to found your conclusions and incredibly are ignoring the original teachings of the Vatican Council and the infallible teachings of the popes, especially Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII. Even the Vatican Council fathers were not so vague.

Here I will quote from Butler’s “’The Vatican Council”: “’This infallibility…reaches to those things which…make up the deposit of faith, namely to defining dogmas of faith and the condemning [of] heresies,’ (Bishop Gasser, Vatican Council father). ‘The meaning of definit — he defines — does not mean only the putting an end to a controversy raised concerning heresy and doctrine which is properly of faith, but [definit] signifies the mind of the Apostolic See, the mind of the Roman Pontiff [in no uncertain way]…[So] he knows for certain that this or that doctrine is held by the Roman Pontiff to be heretical, or almost heretical, erroneous,’” etc. And Cum ex… definitely told us it is impossible, in unmistakable terms, for anyone to remain in office who prior to the bestowal of that office is known to be guilty of heresy. Those who favor such people are to be treated as heretics. If it involves a “pope” they may refuse him obedience And so we turn to a curious fact about the approval by Pope Pius IX of Fessler’s pamphlet on “Cum ex…” Looking at the approbation carefully, it is only a general approval of the spirit in which the pamphlet was written, and is characterized by Butler in his work as only “semi-official.” Pius IX says nothing of the quality of the arguments Fessler presents or the reasoning he uses, nor does he so much as allude to these. And certainly he later clarified Fessler’s statements with an infallible statement of his own.

Infallibility, also, of discipline and government

Fessler, in his work, wrote: “Who does not see that it is quite a different thing for the Pope to pronounce a definition upon a doctrine of the Church on faith or morals, and to direct or apply this or that means in order to protect people from falling away from the Catholic faith, or to bring back or punish those who have fallen from it? The first belongs to the teaching office, the latter to jurisdiction,” (p. 119). It is almost as though he never read or understood the Vatican Council canon anathematizing those who would deny the popes’ “full and supreme power, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church,” (DZ 1831). And with Pope Pius IX’s Quartus Supra, which only further strengthened this teaching, there can be no doubt that disciplinary decrees can be, in whole or in part, infallible. You will cite a semi-official papal approbation and defend Fessler and Hergenrother and the malevolent V2 “popes” but a true pope you refuse to quote or defend. Not two years after Fessler’s statement that penal (disciplinary laws) cannot be infallible, Pope Pius IX, judging from his wording, issued a direct reproach on this topic to the Armenians, whose confusion may well have been exacerbated by Fessler’s writings. Pius IX taught:

12. But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all. Schismatics avoid carrying out their orders and even deny their very rank. Since the faction from Armenia is like this, they are schismatics even if they had not yet been condemned as such by Apostolic authority.

13. 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 in the Patriarchate of Armenia. Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Teaching of this kind is heretical, and not just since the definition of the power and nature of the papal primacy was determined by the ecumenical Vatican Council: the Catholic Church has always considered it such and abhorred it.” Three years after writing “Quartus Supra,” we also hear the following from Pope Pius IX, 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,” (Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite.)

Yes, I quoted these infallible teachings in my last article and I am quoting them again. What true Catholic abides by the teachings of theologians when the pope himself proscribes those teachings? Listen to the Vatican Council discussions as described by Butler, who makes no bones about being of Fessler’s same mindset and openly excoriates Manning. Butler quotes from Bp. Gasser:

“Without any doubt, this infallibility, whether in Pontiff or in teaching Church, reaches to those things which in themselves make up the deposit of faith, namely to the defining dogmas of faith and the condemning [of] heresies.”

And so the pope, using his infallible authority, did precisely what the Vatican Council said would constitute an infallible pronouncement — he defined that disciplinary decrees bind just as infallibly as doctrinal decrees, and likewise bind under penalty of excommunication for heresy and schism. And later the Church would teach such a pronouncement could appear anywhere – in an encyclical, address, oral or written allocutions, etc. He identified a doctrine, that is obedience necessary to the Roman Pontiff in disciplinary matters, and condemned as heretics any one who would say otherwise, in terms that leave no doubt he was very serious about what he said. But most importantly, he settled a dispute; he clearly taught that contrary to their belief, not obeying the pope in matters of discipline will exclude them from the Church just as easily as not obeying in matters of doctrine. You would do well to remember this. For the faction you have affiliated with is today ignoring disciplinary laws a pope has just decreed are infallible, and those laws are as binding on us today as they were on the Armenians.

Don’t talk to me about judging popes and obedience to popes when you dismiss what past popes have infallibly taught in order to justify the ascendancy of the malicious antipopes who have reigned since the death of Pope Pius XII. And don’t quote Brain Harrison to me either, who has no authority to speak for the Church as a “priest.” The ecumenical and Modernist publicists of our day prepared well the ground necessary to minimize the doctrine of papal infallibility by striking out against Scholasticism and anything that savored of papal authority. All Traditionalists resort to these theologians almost exclusively for their “doctrine.” Seldom if ever are the decrees of the Popes pointed to themselves as binding documents commanding our assent. Why do people suppose that Pope St. Pius X’s “Lamentibili,” for Heaven’s sake, was considered non-infallible by Butler and those of his ilk? Could it be precisely because it condemned the idea that even non-infallible declarations of the papacy must be accepted with a firm and internal assent?

Necessity of canonical election a teaching that binds

And while we are on the subject of papal teaching, let us quote the teaching Pope Clement VI, (who died in 1352), proposed to the Armenians for belief; a teaching he would not have proposed had it not already been held as a truth of faith: “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…” (DZ 570d). And let us not forget the heresies of John Hus and the Wycliffites. Following the condemnation of his heresies by the Council of Constance, Hus was burned at the stake as a heretic. Proposed to his followers for belief was the following: “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,” (DZ 674). Previously defined truths expressed for belief anew in some papal document are infallible because they were already taught as truths of faith; and don’t try to say these beliefs required as a profession of faith for return to the Church are matters of discipline. Paul IV was teaching nothing new. He was 1) Affirming the teachings previously held concerning the possibility of an uncanonical election; 2) Settling the question of when a papal election IS actually uncanonical and 3) defining papal infallibility backhandedly by declaring that never could a man manifestly profess heresy while appearing to be pope unless he was never validly elected in the first place. Rev. A. C. Cotter, S. J.  defines the word manifest used by Paul IV to qualify the heresy or apostasy he speaks of as something that is impossible to ignore, but also something that the mind must fully grasp and understand as well as something tangible, (seen, felt heard, etc.,). This qualification gives such heresy every appearance of being public. In other words, all know that no pope could ever publicly teach heresy, so seeing this done they likewise know, correspondingly, that such a man could not be pope; it is that obvious, or manifest, or should be to Catholics who know their faith.

What today is canonically required for validity, and has always been canonically required? Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolica Sedis (1945), the sole law now governing papal elections under Can. 160, tells us that no one deposed for heresy can participate in the election, so cannot be elected. Under ecclesiastical elections, Can. 166 §4 states that heretics and schismatics are excluded from elections, and this refers to excommunicated Catholics. Canon 188 §4 states that all offices shall be vacant by tacit resignation if any cleric has publicly lapsed from the Catholic faith, and that, based on Cum ex… as it is, includes Cardinals. In Pope Pius XII’s election law only cardinals can validly elect a pope. So how was there a legitimate election, when these same cardinals and bishops went on to convene the false V2 council? Even if an office is apparently conferred, the minute it is conferred it would be vacant. Canon 109 states that, “In the Supreme Pontificate, the person legitimately elected and freely accepting election receives jurisdiction by the divine law itself…” Canon 219 also states: “The Roman Pontiff legitimately elected obtains, from the moment he accepts election, the full power of supreme jurisdiction by divine right.” If things really are the way you pretend, why would legitimacy or the Canons be mentioned anywhere, either in doctrinal teaching or Canon Law, as a requirement for actually receiving divine jurisdiction? Historically, all the antipopes were uncanonically elected, so shall we pretend they were all valid too?!

Do you really think the Church is so lame She would include a crucial teaching of Pope Paul IV’s bull in her revised code, a teaching which goes to the heart of what you are saying has not happened and cannot happen? “(It is not possible that God has afforded us no defence against a heretic usurping the papacy.”) Yet you refuse to acknowledge the very defense She provided us! Even a pope who might become a heretic as a private person would lose his office and would depose himself, although this has never happened before. So if it COULD never happen, why is the Church providing for it? The Jesuit Fr. Edmund O’Reilly, in his“The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” tells us: That the Church should remain thirty or forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be [Catholics reason]. Yet it has been, and we have no guarantee that it will not be again…We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God will permit…We, or our successors in future generations, may see stranger evils than have yet been experienced…contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing.” But you and those with you are smarter and more erudite than Rev. O’Reilly, able to discern the very mind of God?!

Those embracing the material/formal insanity also might be interested in the heretical proposition of John Hus’, condemned by the Holy See: “…Whether electors have chosen well or badly, we ought to believe in the works of the one elected, for by the very reason that anyone who operates for the advancement of the Church in a manner more fully meritorious, has from God more fully the faculty for this,” (DZ 652). In other words, if it appears that something good has come out of such an election, even though the one elected was unworthy [a heretic], it’s okay because he would not be doing anything good if God had not chosen him in some way. As if heretics do not always speak simultaneously out of both sides of their mouths. Sorry you are so adverse to Denzinger’s, but I have to accept ALL that the Church teaches, not just what appeals to me personally. Denzinger’s was collected in order to advise us what the Church teaches as Catholic truth and condemns, so why anyone would take exception to quoting it is beyond me.

The true import of the Bull Cum ex…

“What has tied down such a devil become pope? What forms the very bars that lock him in? That prevents his criminal mischief? Answer: Catholic obedience.”

Pope Paul IV essentially chained the devil “popes” you speak of in your tract so they cannot assault the Church, and you are loosening these chains so they can escape by prescribing a blind and false obedience to such devils, contrary to what he teaches in his Bull. Paul IV here does not rule on just any means of protecting the Church; he rules on the very topic of Christ’s promise that the successors of Peter alone shall rule the Church and how to determine when they have truly received the Divine assistance to do just that. He makes clear in the second paragraph of his Bull that he is doing this specifically to prevent the possibility that any future member of the hierarchy, the pope included, could ever intrude themselves falsely in positions of power and pollute the Church; infiltrate the Church as it later was indeed infiltrated. This speaks DIRECTLY to the promises Christ made to His Church and to Holy Scripture, which he defines in this paragraph. He is teaching the faithful and defining for them how they can judge when such a thing occurs and what they are to believe. Is it not true that for years before Paul IV made this determination, the deposition of popes and the question concerning whether a pope could become a heretic was widely discussed? Is it not true that Luther and others painted the popes as Antichrist?  Paul IV, in his bull, was defining exactly how that might APPEAR to happen, why it does not affect the promise of Christ to Peter that his faith will never fail, and how to resolve the problem. You are actually OBJECTING to that? Well of course you are, because it ruins the idea you and other have constructed for yourselves of how things should work.

The deposition of popes was a controversy which had brewed intensely since the reign of John XXII, as Ullmann demonstrates in his work. Pope Paul IV was defining the meaning of “canonical” in previous teachings on faith. In the light of the Protestants’ contention that the Bible teaches the popes could become antichrist, he was setting out parameters for how the faithful were to view what might appear to be the occurrence of such a thing — a pope falling into heresy — and teaching them that it cannot indeed be what it appears to be, what the Protestants teach that it actually is. And they still teach it today, with much greater authority, precisely because Cum ex… is ignored and dismissed as an abrogated law, or a mere disciplinary law. Paul IV renewed every censure ever levied against heresy — employing every possible means to chain this demon, fighting him with every weapon in his arsenal — to guarantee the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church.  He totally eliminated the necessity to debate any deposition of a pope by settling the question; it was null and void from the beginning because such a man was already assumed to be a heretic, even if this cannot be proven. How so?

Because Pope Paul IV teaches in his bull that that “[these] censures and penalties shall be incurred by all who have, in the past, been apprehended or have confessed or been convicted of deviating from the faith or falling into some heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, or who shall hereafter — which may God deign to avert through His decency and goodness toward all — stray or fall into heresy,” (para. 2). This is the very basis for Can. 2200, which lists Cum ex… as a Fontes or source. That Canon presumes one is suspect of heresy until proven innocent, and is incapacitated accordingly until innocence is proven. This reflects and explains the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, who wrote in his De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, et al: “Then indeed the Roman clergy, stripping Liberius of his pontifical dignity, went over to Felix, whom they knew [then] to be a Catholic. From that time, Felix began to be the true Pontiff. For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly [merito] be taken from him: for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.”

The Vatican Council is clear in stating that when the pope settles a controversy, he speaks infallibly. Pope Pius XII clarified this matter even further when he taught in Humani Generis that whatever appears in the Acta Apostolica Sedis is “normative,” or closes the door to further debate. The demon in human form Paul IV was combating is Antichrist himself, as he defines; Antichrist, who the Catholic Encyclopedia describes as “a king reigning [over Vatican City, since the popes rule their own city] during an interregnum,” (!). The Pope indicates in his preamble why he needs to clarify this sense of Scripture: because Protestants and others have corrupted it with “cunning inventions,” just as Traditionalists are corrupting it today. The germ of heresy can be presumed to exist even when it cannot be so proven, precisely because our Lord Jesus Christ promised unconditionally that Peter’s faith would never fail; and not even a shadow of a doubt could ever be admitted where this Divine promise is concerned.

Either Fessler and Hergenrother truly did not discern the Bull’s intent, or, to avoid further incensing the Protestants and other adversaries, they practiced a form of mental reservation in sidestepping the bull’s intended import. Because Cum ex… more or less verified the predictions made at La Salette, that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist. The criticisms in the secret of the clergy greatly incensed the French bishops. And the La Salette seer Melanie Calvat did not hesitate to identify many of these bishops as either controlled by French Freemasons or as Masonic sympathizers. And this is definitely another faction the bishops wished to placate, especially since the controversy over the secret raged long after the close of the Vatican Council. It would be one thing if John 23 and Paul 6 had not worked together to fulfill all the prophecies concerning Antichrist’s coming, but they did; and the proof of this has been in existence for nearly 35 years. Without Pope Paul IV’s bull, there would be no way to challenge their claims to the papacy and no way to prove they were never validly elected. Were this not the case, the gates of hell WOULD be seen to prevail, and truth would be forever obscured.

As Carlos Disandro points out in his preface to Cum ex…, also in his doctrinal precisions, the discipline versus doctrine game has been going on for a long time to the detriment of both, as Pope Pius IX says in Quartus Supra. What convinced Disandro the Bull was infallible is its reference to the abomination of desolation. When this is joined to para. six of the Bull, the meaning is unmistakable: Daniel’s abomination of desolation literally means “he who makes desolate; a ravager.” And what better description of what the V2 antipopes did to the Church could exist? The Catholic Bible Dictionary By Fr. Bernard O’Reilly describes the abomination as the statue of Jupiter Olympus set up as an idol in the sanctuary of the Jewish Temple, before it was profaned and destroyed; Antichrist showing himself in the temple of God as if he were God, the temple being the Church. This was the interpretation of St. Bernard and the early Fathers.  This could also refer to the “bread idol” worship found elsewhere in Holy Scripture, commonly referred to as cookie worship today. And don’t insult me by contending that “for all” was an unintended translation of “for many,” either, when not even Protestant editions of the Bible contained this translation prior to V2. The Vatican Council says infallible pronouncements concern revealed truth — Holy Scripture or Tradition. The Council of Trent set the definition of the Canon of the Mass long ago, and the Church has preserved that Canon inviolate since the sixth century, at least, so it comprises both Scripture AND Tradition. John 23 and Paul 6 abrogated the Latin Mass, so who might they be?

Conclusion and Addenda

To be perfectly honest, it would have been hard for those in the past to envision that the hierarchy could ever have become so corrupt that they would have allowed a series of heretics to be “elected” pope and reign as usurpers, in perfect fulfillment of the reign of the abomination of desolation. And yet have we not just read in the Good Friday liturgy recently that Christ’s enemies deliberately set out to fulfill Holy Scripture in crucifying Him? Why should we be surprised? Are we, His Mystical Body, not destined to suffer as our Head Himself suffered? And is it not just as logical that having suffered a most cruel passion, the Mystical Body also should rise resplendent, the same as Her divine Head?  What those attacking Cum ex… fail to realize is that without this Bull, we have no guarantee that the Church as Christ constituted it could survive such an assault with Her dogmas, laws and teachings intact. She lives in a sort of suspended animation, awaiting the command of Her Prince to arise. That is Christ’s promise, even if it means She shall exist on this earth only for a matter of days, weeks or a few years following this truly miraculous resurrection.

We live in the times of Antichrist and Traditionalists need to get over it. We see his system rushing to its inevitable end as we speak. Those who prefer lies to truth will perish with him and his system, rather than acknowledge the truth. Kellner was right: the pansies 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. Paul IV sent all of us a warning concerning the identification of the abomination of desolation. It came to us from the mouth of a vicar of Christ; let he who readeth understand, but they will not understand. Nor will they repent and do penance, just as the Apocalypse predicts. Sadly Scripture prophecy must be fulfilled, and all that is left to us are prayers for those who will not see, that their eyes be opened, even at the last moments of their lives.

That is the end of this “debate,” sir. I did not instigate it nor have I responded to it in order to score “points.” The truth, in its entirety, matters. What you presented in way of “argument” was nothing more than a series of unsubstantiated claims about the validity of the Vatican 2 usurpers and equally unsubstantiated observations about the untenable positions of sedevacantists and stay–at-home Catholics. Please do not continue to contact me again with these specious arguments to promote your material/formal agenda.

Below please find some of the other errors extant in your work.

His early years (Catholic Encyclopedia under Pope Pius IX):

“After receiving his classical education at the Piarist College in Volterra from 1802-09 he went to Rome to study philosophy and theology, but left there in 1810 on account of political disturbances. He returned in 1814 and, in deference to his father’s wish, asked to be admitted to the pope’s Noble Guard. Being subject to epileptic fits, he was refused admission and, following the desire of his mother and his own inclination, he studied theology at the Roman Seminary, 1814-18. Meanwhile his malady had ceased and he was ordained priest, 10 April, 1819.” So no; the Church did not bend the rules to admit Pope Pius IX to the priesthood; God removed the problem.

The Freemasonry Calumny:

Rev. Henry Ryder says in his Catholic Controversy, 1882: “[Using Cum ex…] Littledale attempts to deal the papacy a crushing blow. [Quoting an infidel newspaper from Rome, Capitale] he asserts that Pius IX in his youth was a Freemason, tantamount to a heretic, that he was never pope,” and consequently could never have defined infallibility. Now you know why Pius IX approved Fessler’s work. “Assertions by a Protestant minister would not have been deemed by Paul IV as equivalent to the proof of anything…The statement was officially contradicted at the time in the Osservatore Romano.” (See also Ryder adds that only by manifest heresy would [one appearing to be pope] make it clear he was indeed not the pope.


My Latin translation dos not read recedere, but rescedente. So no, you may not insist on this point. Cassell’s Latin Dictionary, under recedo, defines as follows: “I. Of Persons… B. (rescedentes…) To depart from, abandon, ab [out of] officio [office]to renounce. And where was it you said you obtained your information?

Dr. Disandro:

A good friend of mine, may he rest in peace. He sent me many of his works. Before he had access to Cum ex…, he undoubtedly read St. Robert Bellarmine’s work on whether a pope should be deposed. I have his lengthy commentary on the bull. Maybe I should publish it… He has some very interesting comments in his “Benedict XV and Pius XII: Doctrinal Precisions” essay, which has been posted to my website for years. There he notes: “In the Church, the CHAIN OF DOCTRINE WITH DISCIPLINE follows the course of INVIOLABLE FAITH — of the Paradosis (Greek word for tradition, or handing down) of the Apostles — through whose care, vigilance and utterance the Pontificate exists…DISCIPLINE is, before all, the invigorating source of DOCTRINE, and if not, there is lacking in the Church value and vigor.” I think that speaks his mind clearly enough.

The hierarchic [here read “juridic’] Church … is dead, or dead in effect:

That it is, and so prophesied the early Fathers, although you protest it cannot be so. Even the Vatican Council taught, if anyone would take the time to ever read those decrees in their entirety, that: “The gates of Hell, to overthrow the Church, if this were possible, arise on all sides with ever greater hatred against its divinely established foundation…,” (DZ 1821). It echoes the biblical phrase: “to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” But does it exclude all possibility of deception? No. But of course you are so much wiser … It will take a miracle to restore the Church, but fortunately we have Christ’s promise the gates of Hell will not prevail, that is “Prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious,” (Oxford Dictionary). It doesn’t mean there will not be fierce battles and even an apparent victory by the other side, but this will not last. Christ remains the Head of his Mystical Body; He will not leave us orphans and either will restore the papacy after the pattern of His own Resurrection or will return to judge the earth. Either way, those who finish the race will win the crown.

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