Pontifical Acts Provide Irrefutable Proofs in Canonical Cases
Presumptions, probabilities, precedents only secondary proofs
© Copyright 2010, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes is the author’s.)
1. The pope and his successors hold the primacy of jurisdiction and are the supreme legislators in the Church, (The Vatican Council, DZ 1823, 1831).
2. The pope, his successors, the Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code and the Sacred Congregations alone can authentically interpret Canon Law, (Can. 17; Rev. Cicognani, “Canon Law”).
3. Those decisions concerning the law entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis are considered authentic, (Can. 9; “Humani Generis”). They are binding in conscience and are to be held with at least a firm assent, (Can. 9; Rev. J.C. Fenton, J.C.L, Rev. Billot and Rev. Connell as well as others).
4. Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith).
5. “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Cicognani, ibid. p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819).
6. “In doubt about the validity of a positive law, the law is presumed to be valid for the sake of the common good and to preserve the certain right of authority,” (taught by St. Alphonsus as quoted by Revs. McHugh and Callan; quote from Rev. Bernard Wuellner, “Principles of Scholastic Theology”).
7. Any true doubt of law is referred to Can. 18, which requires those maintaining the doubt to consult the text and context of the words of the law. If they remain doubtful, then parallel passages of the Code, the end and circumstances of the law and the mind of the lawgiver are to be consulted.
8. Epikeia is mentioned under Can. 18, but Cicognani warns against its use saying it is “fraught with danger,” and Bouscaren-Ellis, McHugh and Callan and many others agree with him. Epikeia can be used only for ecclesiastical laws and jurisdiction issues spring at least partly from Divine law.
9. If there is no law covering a case, and no parallel law can be found per Can. 18, Can 20 may be invoked. Only where Can. 20 is concerned is it allowed to draw “a norm of action” from those laws abrogated prior to the Code, among other possible options for resolving the case.
10. Here we only return to the authentic interpretation of the Code. For even where the teaching of approved and expert [pre-1959] canonists are concerned in regard to Can. 20, Rev. Cicognani warns that their opinions “are of private authority, and have no legal force…An authoritative interpretation can come only from the lawgiver.”
Pope Gregory XVI tells us in “Mirari Vos”: “It would be beyond any doubt blameworthy and entirely contrary to the respect with which the laws of the Church should be received by a senseless aberration to find fault with the regulation of morals, and the laws of the Church and her ministers; or to speak of this discipline as opposed to certain principles of the natural law, or to present it as defective, imperfect, and subject to civil authority.”
And from the same Pope in “Quo Graviora”: “Are they not trying, moreover, to make of the Church something human; are they not openly diminishing her infallible authority and the divine power which guides her, in holding that her present discipline is subject to decay, to weakness, and to other failures of the same nature, and in imagining that it contains many elements which are not only useless but even prejudicial to the well being of the Catholic religion?”
Such have always been the criticisms of non-Catholics aimed at impugning the disciplinary and teaching authority of the Church. One might expect such criticisms from those outside the Church, but they come instead from those calling themselves Catholic priests, bishops and others who have little or no use at all for Canon Law. This is because they believe that the law prevents them unjustly from doing what they wish to do or believe it is their right to do, a belief resulting entirely from their inability to grasp what Canon Law truly is and how it was meant to guide the faithful and guard the deposit of faith. They toss around legal terms without explaining them and pointing out their necessary relation to other terms and laws. Having presented themselves as astute canonically, they resent being questioned or proven wrong. They deny the refutations of their errors without examining them or recanting them. They insist they can continue to maintain the status quo undisturbed. And they absolutely refuse to recognize the fact that the continual magisterium itself nullifies all their actions.
We can’t turn back the clock
Deep down Traditionalists seem to believe that there is no real need to understand or study the true origin and application of these laws now that there no longer is a supreme authority to decide its final application. In exhibiting this attitude, they show their lack of concern for the Church’s true estimation of those who are ignorant of Her laws: “No priest may be ignorant of the canons,” (Celestine I, 413-432 A.D.) And this from Pope St. Leo I: “If ignorance is hardly tolerable in laymen, how much more so in those who are over them; such ignorance is inexcusable and unpardonable,” (from Rev. Cicognani’s “Canon Law”). This ignorance has resulted in their total disregard for the unity and necessarily integral application of the truths on which these laws are solidly founded; truths which were always meant to be taken as a whole, not split apart as if they had no relation or connection, one to the other. How is it that those appealing to Canon Law today err in their understanding, invocation and appreciation of these laws?
Although many Traditionalists boast that they have been educated in Traditional seminaries that teach the 1917 Code of Canon Law, or have educated themselves in the law, it is clear that such education has failed even in its first principles. Since the sede vacante that began in 1958 with the death of Pope Pius XII, those clerics claiming to be the continuation of the true Church have resorted to Canons 6, 18 and 20 to interpret the law and supply for what they perceive to be a lack of law covering certain cases. The presumption in appealing to these canons, however, is that there are doubts concerning the present canon laws or their existence, or that there are no laws governing the crisis in which we find ourselves.
This has been disproven in various articles here. In reality there were solutions to the problem that were not applied when they should have been applied, and the laws now in force state that basically we must live with the consequences. The Church was never intended to exist for any extended period of time minus Her Supreme Head. Just because those ignorant of the law failed to do their bounden duty to elect a pope when they could have done so, this does not mean that we now can act as though Canon Law does not exist or that epikeia, common error or any suppletory principles will correct the situation. All this has been discussed at great length on this board and is proven from Church teaching and clearly worded Canon Law itself.
Vacantis Apostolica Sedis: a law for our times
It must be remembered that the Vatican Council not only made infallible all those papal decisions and pronouncements on faith and morals which came after the definition, but also retroactively removed all doubt that those decisions and papal teachings which went before had their full effect. Henry Cardinal Manning wrote in his “The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance that: “The Vatican Council definition, by retrospective action, makes all pontifical acts infallible, the bull Unam Sanctam,…the bull Unigenitus, the bull Auctorem Fidei and the like…The reasons why the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff ought to be defined were publicly stated…in 1869, before the Council met…” He lists one of these reasons (5) as “Because if the next General Council shall pass it over, the error will henceforward appear to be tolerated or at least left in impunity; and the pontifical censures of Innocent XI, Alexander VIII, Innocent XII and Pius VI will appear to be of doubtful effect…”
Also in (14) he said: “It is needed to place the pontifical acts during the last 300 years, both in declaring the truth, as in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and in condemning errors, beyond cavil and question,” and to “exclude from the minds of pastors and faithful the political influences which have generated Gallicansim, Imperialism, Regalism and Nationalism, the perennial sources or error, contention and schism,” (15). Those claiming the Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus, for example, is not infallible, or that certain disciplinary decrees (see this topic under Canon Law on this site) do not have their full effect are defying the very basis for the definition of infallibility. And they also are not factoring in the laws which now govern us during an interregnum.
Those familiar with what is written on this site know that the final words of Pope Pius XII on this subject are to be found in his 1945 papal election Constitution, “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis.” In this constitution, duly entered in the Acta Apostolic Sedis, we find these three oft-repeated paragraphs:
1. While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.
2. “Likewise we order that the Sacred College of Cardinals is not able to dispose of the laws of the Apostolic Seat and the Roman Church in any manner it wishes, nor may it attempt to detract wheresoever from the laws of the same, either directly or indirectly through a species of connivance, or through dissimulation of crimes perpetrated against the same laws, either after the death of the Pontiff or in time of vacancy, [however] it may seem to be attempted. Indeed, we will that it ought to guard and defend against the same contention of all men.
3. “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void.” — Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, paras.1- 3, Ch. 1; Pope Pius XII, 1945.
The entire gist of all the issues Traditionalists contest are rooted in jurisdiction. Here we have an authentic document regulating the use of jurisdiction during an interregnum, yet they insist there are no laws governing this matter, and they can interpret the laws that do exist on jurisdiction just as they please. This law is a part of the ordinary magisterium and cannot be questioned. In disobeying the law, those who do so not only deny the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff but place themselves above him where the government and good of the Church is concerned. No one has any power to change the law, which is reserved to the Pope himself, the Commission on the Authentic Interpretation of the Code, overseen by the Holy See, the decisions of the Sacred Congregations approved by the Pope or decisions issued personally by the Holy Father.
Even attempts at change are nullified. Pope Pius XII believed, perhaps, that this would force the expedient election of his successor, but instead a usurper was placed on the throne. Cardinals could not even have changed these laws, far less inferior clerics or the laity. And yet clerics and laity continue to dispense themselves from the law, misinterpret the law, dismiss the law as no longer applicable and correct the law, all impotent acts without any legal effect whatsoever. But more to the point, it is how they go about doing this that reveals the nature of the confusion concerning the Church and Her laws, and the true source of the misconceptions that abound where Canon Law is concerned.
The Code encompasses all Church law
To codify something means to make a precise summary of all its most important elements; to systemize and place it in proper order. Because the Code is a succinct summary of all previous laws in the Church, T. Lincoln Bouscaren S.J. and Adam C. Ellis S.J. write under the heading “Source Books,” in their “Canon Law: A Text and Commentary,” how the Code supersedes pre-existing laws. “All general laws enacted before the Code are rendered practically obsolete unless they are also contained [as footnotes] in the Code itself, (Can. 6). Hence the Code is now properly called ‘the only source book of canon law.’” The authors then work to explain how these footnoted sources can be found and consulted. Some of them are inaccessible today, but most of them can still be consulted and much can be determined through their examination. Various commentaries on the Code also offer much insight, as do the doctoral theses which provide the history of the various canons and the laws upon which they are based.
Rev. Nicholas Neuberger, in his doctoral thesis “Canon 6: The Relation of the Codex Juris Canonici to Preceding Legislation,” confirms what Bouscaren-Ellis teach. “The old disciplinary enactments which are opposed to the Code, penal laws which have been omitted and other disciplinary laws which are not explicitly nor implicitly embedded in the Code are abrogated. Ordinances which are reserved…remain intact…No longer is [an] appeal to an obsolete and useless law possible. That Can. 6 is a logical and comprehensive treatise of the relation of laws is irrefutable…Laws which are not explicitly nor implicitly contained in the Code are abrogated. The legislator, therefore, relegates them to the history of Canon Law…The old legislation of itself has no juridical value today. As a subsidiary source of the new law it may be used as an interpreter. Even in this capacity it is destitute of legal value unless the Code has embodied it in Canons…As ordinary interpretative sources such enactments are never used. In very rare cases will the legislator tolerate recourse to these discarded laws. Whenever there is a gap in the legislation, be it general or particular, the canonist may appeal to laws enacted in similar circumstances, [Can. 18]. In such a case the old law may serve as a norm for supplying deficient legislation, [Can. 20]. With this one exception, the legislator passes a final sentence on antecedent laws which have been abrogated.”
The appeal to obsolete and useless laws is precisely what the Code intended to do away with; so much confusion had arisen concerning some of these obsolete laws that ecclesiastical law had become very difficult to enforce, canonists explain. Had these abrogated laws possessed any true value or reflected at all the mind of the lawgiver in current circumstances, they would have been retained and in fact certain laws were retained, in whole or in part, as footnotes in a number of cases. The rest of these laws “have no juridical value.” And yet there are still those today who insist on recreating that long ago, pre-Code confusion about the law by invoking these abrogated laws and customs not retained in the Code as though the Code was never written. They dissemble by maintaining that these customs, ancient practices or “the old law” justify whatever it is that they choose to do. They never tell their hearers that it has no legal value in the eyes of the Church, or that the footnotes to the Code are considered to be the “old law” referred to in Can. 6; in fact they fight to the death any suggestion that they cannot appeal to these discarded laws because they are no longer in effect.
Authentic interpretation is the highest law
And who is the authentic interpreter of the laws where any questions are concerned? It is, of course, the legislator and his successors, i.e, the Roman Pontiffs. This is the subject matter of Can. 17, which states in §1: “Laws are authoritatively interpreted by the law-maker and his successor, and by those to whom the lawmaker has committed the power to interpret the laws. And in §2: “The authoritative interpretation of the law given in the form of law has the same force as the law itself; if it merely declares the meaning of the words of the law that were certain in themselves, the interpretation need not be promulgated, and it has retroactive effect; if the interpretation restricts or extends the original law, or explains a doubtful law, such interpretation does not have retroactive effect, and it must be promulgated.” What is important to realize at present is that the law can be interpreted authentically only by a) the lawgiver or his successor; b) the Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code and c) “The Roman Congregations [who] have been deputed by the Pope to interpret laws,” (ibid Rev. Neuberger). These decisions can be found in the Acta Apostolica Sedis and under the various canons in the Canon Law Digests and they still bind us today.
So when anyone sees that a certain congregation or branch of the Holy Office has issued any directives on a given canon or answered any questions, this is an authentic interpretation. An example of such an interpretation are the directives issued on fitness as laid out by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments in Canon Law Digest Vol. 1, under Can. 973. Besides authentic interpretations, there also are the usual interpretations which have to do with custom, the judicial interpretations mentioned in Can. 17 §3 above and the doctrinal interpretation, “made by eminent jurists,” (Neuberger). “These jurists are any approved by the Church and mentioned in decisions made by the Sacred Congregations, [who are consistently quoted by modern theologians undertaking doctrinal interpretations] with the exception of those who have been condemned. The doctrinal interpretation of the Code is especially important when ‘to reach the legislator for consultation is utterly impossible’… Can. 6 §2 bids us have recourse to the doctrine of the approved authors. The authentic, however, always remains the guide for the doctrinal,” (Ibid). For this reason, whenever any questions arise concerning the laws or teachings of the Church, approved authors of great name are consulted to provide a doctrinal interpretation, but one must never lose sight of the authentic interpretation.
Canons 18 and 20
You have heard it time after time: We can deviate from the laws of the Code because such and such a pope in the early ages of the Church or the medieval ages allowed it, or bishops or clergy during that time did it or the laws of the Church in existence at that time did not forbid such actions. Yet think of what has been stated above; this is not how the laws of the Church are set up, nor do these laws themselves indicate in any way that this is how these laws are intended to function. The precedents they cite no longer exist; they long ago were abrogated by the Code, save for those laws contained in the footnotes appended to the Canons. And with the issuance of “Humani Generis” these authentic interpretations are to be accepted as binding on the faithful in the internal forum, at the very least until a future Roman Pontiff, canonically elected and duly accepted by the majority of the faithful, rules otherwise. This according to the doctrinal interpretation rendered by Msgr. J.C. Fenton and the approved theologians writing under Pope Pius XII, interpretations which rely on the authentic interpretations of the Roman Pontiffs themselves. And these men quoted on this site always aligned themselves with the papal teachings of the last true 20th century popes, where some of the theologians from previous centuries quoted by Trads today are not always reconciled with these later pontifical teachings. So what directives do people rely upon who insist, against the laws of the Church, on citing precedents?
These clerics or lay people point to Canons 18 and 20, without following the rules laid out in Canon 6 and Canons 18 and 20 themselves in determining the use of these canons. Under Canon18, Abp. Cicognani states in his “Canon Law” that the mind of the legislator especially is to be considered here. This can be discovered in perusing their teachings on other topics and those of their predecessors, or the Congregations they have authorized to issue these interpretations. It also can be gleaned by considering the text and context of their words as they appear in any law or interpretation. The classical Latin language used in the Code is to be interpreted “according to the proper and usual meaning of the words. At times the lawgiver determines the juridic, that is, the canonical meaning of certain words. In this case then the juridic meaning of the word should be followed, not its ordinary signification… However the ordinary or the juridic meaning of a word in every instance is that meaning which the word had when the law was made…” (Can. 18).
What did the word “proofs” as related to fitness for ordination mean on the death of Pope Pius XII? Lengthy commentary on this very point of Can. 973 was entered into the Code and into the AAS in the 1950s, and as such then actually constituted the current law according to the law itself, (see Can. 11). Abp. Cicognani refers to the following legal maxims used to clarify terms: “Clear words admit no interpretation nor conjecture of the will and general words are to be generally understood. Where the law does not distinguish, neither are we to distinguish,” (Ibid).
Proper application of Canons 18 and 20
The purpose of the law and its circumstances must be carefully considered. Parallel passages of the Code are to be drawn out, if any exist. It is under this canon that Abp. Cicognani treats epikeia, although he also treats it elsewhere. But he notes that the assumption to be made must be that the legislator would not wish his law to be binding, when in nearly every instance, this is not the case. The entire presumption on which Can. 18 is based is that AFTER the law is considered in its text and context, should it still remain doubtful, THEN parallel passages of the Code, the circumstances of the law and the mind of the legislator are to be considered. But once the laws that most Traditionalists question are considered properly in their text and context, it becomes clear that they are not doubtful laws at all and that the legislator would never wish them to be relaxed. Once the infallible pronouncements of these same legislators are presented and this becomes clear, all doubt is resolved; for the authentic interpretation of the law always takes precedence. And where the laws in question have their origin, in whole or in part, in divine law, there can be no question of doubt or relaxation of the law.
Questions to answer before resorting to Can. 20
Abp. Cicognani cautions that wherever a general or particular law issued by the lawgiver can be located and observed, or a way to supply for the law itself can be found in parallel legislation, Can. 20 is not to be used. If Can. 20 is resorted to, it is to be used according to “the general principles of Canon Law, not civil law. For when the civil law is meant, the code states so explicitly…,” (Cicognani commentary on Can. 20). And here the canonist is speaking of LAWS, not practices of the Church, customs or any exceptions to the law, for “Laws which…establish an exception to the law are to be interpreted strictly,” (Can. 19). Such laws, Cicognani states are not to be drawn into precedent, “for exceptions established by the law are odious.” Before assuming that those invoking Can. 20 meet the conditions of the law, the following questions should be answered:
1. Can it be known for certain that some existing law does not already cover this case? (“Vacantis Apostolica Sedis” covers nearly every case concerning any manipulation of the laws enacted by the Roman Pontiffs and nullifies any attempt at manipulation.)
2. Have all attempts to supply for the law by following the directions in Can. 18 been exhausted? (If the mind of the lawgiver and the circumstances of the law are researched, they lead back to “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis” and the numerous entries made into the AAS during Pope Pius XII’s reign.)
3. If it is alleged that there is a basis for claiming that an act is justified based on previous laws or laws given in similar cases, were these laws:
a) actually still in effect immediately prior to the issuance of the Code, before most of these laws were permanently abrogated?
b) abrogated as a law or condemned as a practice by the lawgiver long before the 1917 Code was written?
c) not actual laws, but rather exceptions established by law
d) not even exceptions established by law, but merely circumstantial aberrations tolerated temporarily, for serious reasons?
If those Traditionalist and Conclavist claims to precedents are considered under 3 (a-c), it will become clear that they all were practices or laws that were exceptions to the norm. As such they cannot even be called into play under Can. 20 concerning laws that can be used as a norm in similar cases. So these claims will be listed and examined.
Exceptions excluded from Can. 20:
Bishops consecrated without papal mandate in the Middle Ages
The matter of bishops consecrated without papal mandate and during an interregnum in the middle ages was not a law per se; there was no law that can be found which says: You may consecrate bishops without papal approval during an interregnum. It was either a law that did not specifically forbid such consecrations, which just happened to fall during an interregnum, or it was an exception to a law that forbade consecrations during an interregnum, but from which the bishop(s) were able to dispense themselves in those circumstances. Revs. Woywod-Smith state that shortly after the time period Trads cite, the pope began reserving the right to appoint bishops himself, so the law forbidding such consecrations was not yet in force, at least officially. When it became a law, the old law, which did not forbid such consecrations, automatically ceased, and was no longer observed. The old law was finally replaced altogether by the 1917 Code of Canon Law. In “Ad Apostolorum Principis,”
Pope Pius XII states that this “usage which prevailed in ages past ages [is] no longer valid because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise.” This constitution is entered into the AAS. The law was not even a law when the Code went into effect, having “died” hundreds of years ago. In addition, even if it was deduced that such a past practice was a “similar case,” it was either an exception to the law or a circumstantial aberration, so 3b-d above all apply. And one must also remember that, unlike today, in the Middle Ages these bishops and priests were not questionably valid and/or illicitly consecrated themselves. Also, no matter what is deduced from Can. 20, as Cicognani says, one must abide only by Pius XII’s authentic interpretation, not the private interpretation.
Divine law supersedes epikeia
As noted above, Traditionalists point to epikeia in Canons 18 and 20 as the cover-all panacea for the current situation. “The general principles of law applied with the proper equity [epikeia],” cannot apply to jurisdiction because epikeia can be used only in cases concerning ecclesiastical laws. Jurisdiction is a Divine law, as stated in Can. 196. The use of epikeia to decide the extent of pontifical jurisdiction was a prominent part of the Gallicanist heresy, according to historian Walter Ullmann and other writers. And no equity in law can remove the Divine character of jurisdiction from the laws of the Code.
‘Custom’ of lay jurisdiction ‘reprobated in law’
First there are those who believe that despite their reduction to the lay state owing to their adherence to a non-Catholic sect or some other crime; or their actual status as inconsequential laymen, they nevertheless can engage in those things reserved only to the clergy. Can. 109 forbids laymen to appoint clerics or to function as clerics. Canon 118 requires men to be clerics in order to receive orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The Sacred Congregation of the Council, (A.A.S 11-128) rendered a decision in 1918, concerning those who claim a 170-year-old custom of allowing lay canonists to act as judges in matrimonial and other contentious, but not criminal, cases. The following answer was given:
“The Code manifestly requires all judges in ecclesiastical courts to be clerics, nay even priests, (Canons 1573, 1574); and declares the principle that the Church has the sole right to take cognizance of spiritual cases and those connected with spiritual things, (Can. 1553). Laymen are declared incapable of spiritual jurisdiction, (Can. 118). Hence they cannot, by any custom prolonged, acquire such jurisdiction. Moreover, since the custom in question is of the sort ‘which disrupts the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline,’ and is contrary to the liberty and immunity of the Church, it is among those that are ‘reprobated in the law,’ (Can. 27 §2).
“Besides, this custom being unreasonable, (Can. 27 §1), it is inconceivable that it should have received the legal approval of ecclesiastical Superiors (Can. 25) who must rather be considered to have yielded to the intrusion of civil power…This is directly contrary to the full independence and dignity of the Church in the exercise of Her jurisdiction,” and the practices were prohibited.
What would they say today of such laymen posing as priests, even popes?! It must be remembered here that no “clerics” today have even the appearance of an office granted by valid and licit authority. Because they have acquired ordination and consecration illicitly, their attempts during an interregnum — without the necessary jurisdiction and against the clear mind of Pope Pius XII in Vacantis Apostolica Sedis and minus the papal mandate demanded in Ad Apostolorum Principis — are null and void.
What is probability?
Probability consists in presenting compelling enough arguments concerning some opinion that would convince many prudent men to believe it is more likely than not the truth. Theologians teach that these this probability occurs when five or six theologians independently arrive at the same conclusion on a given matter. This teaching has been confirmed by Can. 20, which includes the opinions of these theologians as a viable way to supply for law when such a law does not exist in the Code. Here is where many confuse valid and licit, or lawful. As the Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “From what has so far been said it is clear that these various moral systems come into play only when the question concerns the lawfulness of an action.
If the uncertainty concerns the validity of an action which must certainly be valid, it is not lawful to act on mere probability unless, indeed, this is of such a nature as to make the Church certainly supply what is needed for the validity of the act. Thus, apart from necessity, it is not lawful to act on mere probability when the validity of the sacraments is in question. Again, it is not lawful to act on mere probability when there is question of gaining an end which is obligatory, since certain means must be employed to gain a certainly required end. Hence, when eternal salvation is at stake, it is not lawful to be content with uncertain means…It is evident, then, that the question which arises in connection with the moral systems has to do solely with the lawfulness or unlawfulness of an action.”
Nothing better illustrates the dangers of attempting to procure a necessary end without using the proper means than these words written by Rev. Raymond Kearney: “The very law of nature demands that power be not entrusted to a person who is not sufficiently competent to make proper use of it…The Church can supply only that power, the disposition of which is entrusted to her; she cannot, therefore, supply what is required by divine or natural law…” (“Principles of Delegated Jurisdiction”). And both Traditionalist clerics and Conclavist wannabes lack or lacked such competence. Even if Pope Pius XII had not definitively and infallibly commanded that no laws be changed, dismissed or dispensed from during an interregnum, removing all doubt concerning the jurisdiction issue; even if the AAS teaching ion Can. 973 had not been written, Traditionalist priests would still be unjustified in claiming that the Church supplies even during a sede occupante. For as Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz explains, in order to spare the faithful and the minister from all anxiety concerning liceity and validity, the Church supplies jurisdiction.
However, “It is definitely not the Church’s wish that anyone should dare to presume any jurisdictional powers when he is certain the he is deprived of them [and Traditionalists even admit that they are so deprived of canonical mission jurisdiction], or even as long as he is plausibly uncertain that he is in possession of them. And thus all light, unsubstantial, negative and therefore improbable doubts do not become beneficial factors for the supplying of jurisdiction; for they are all, taken singly or even collectively, juridically inadequate to make any rightful demands upon the jurisdictional favors which Can. 209 is ready to bestow,” (“Supplied Jurisdiction According to Can. 209,” p. 220). This discussion will help lay the foundation for the discussion of Can. 11, which follows below.
Jurisdictional acts invalidated
Traditionalists claim validity for all their jurisdictional acts and this is simply untrue. One of the overriding principles of Canon Law is that no act is considered invalid unless the Code expressly states its invalidity, (Can. 11). There are several laws in the Code invalidating jurisdictional acts not performed according to the laws and teachings of the Church, and incapacitating certain person from acting. Jurisdictional acts that apply in this regard include those of confessors, who must undergo examination to be determined as duly qualified before being delegated jurisdiction (Can. 877). The delegate must actually receive the approval to act validly (Can. 879) and prove that he has received it, (Can. 200).
The power of jurisdiction can be exercised directly over subjects only (Can. 201), and Traditionalists are not lawfully ordained priests or consecrated bishops, they cannot send anyone with apostolic authority, so they have no valid subjects. “The delegate who acts beyond his mandate, either as to the matters or the persons over which he received his power, acts invalidly,” (Can. 203). Where there is no delegation, there can be no mandate. One who is incapacitated for receiving delegation cannot act, period. Can. 209 has no footnotes in the Code so automatically is thrown over into the court of Can. 18 and perhaps even Can. 20. Ultimately the actual decision, however, rests with the legislator, because all insist on ignoring the testimony of the doctoral theses on Can. 209. But the mind of the legislator is easily enough discovered.
NO, Trad ‘clerics’ incapacitated for office
Something also needs to be said here concerning those incapacitated for office according to Can. 11, for this also affects the validity of their acts. Can. 147 clearly states that, “An ecclesiastical office cannot be VALIDLY obtained without canonical appointment… by the proper ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” And this canon’s authentic interpretation by the Holy See, (AAS 42-601), states that Can. 147 proceeds from Divine law and the infallible decrees of the Council of Trent (DZ 960, 967), so that none can proceed against Can. 147 with impunity. It furthermore declares an excommunication reserved especially to the Holy See against those who violate this canon. This authentic interpretation of the Sacred Congregation of the Council also effectively wipes out all the self-appointed priests and bishops currently in existence as well as the V2 usurpers and any clergy they appointed to various offices.
For Bouscaren-Ellis note that according to Can. 145, Can. 147 applies also to the papacy. (This is confirmed by the fact that Pope Martin V’s “Inter Cunctas,” included as footnotes to Canons 109 and 219, so constituting the “old law” in this case, states that those papal candidates not canonically elected are not valid.) In establishing excommunications reserved to the Holy See for offending against this canon, Pope Pius XII cites the very canon of the Council of Trent (see Can. 109) that forbids the laity to invest (even validly and licitly ordained clerics) into an office by their own authority.
Canon 153 decrees that “The candidate for promotion to a vacant office must be a cleric…When the person appointed to an office lacks the requisite qualifications, the conferring of the office is null and void,” if the law requires these stipulations, (as it definitely does for the priesthood and the episcopacy). This is why Pope Pius XII specified in “Six ans se sont” that lay candidates for the priesthood must AT LEAST have the qualifications necessary to be ordained, as outlined under Can. 973 and its authentic interpretation. Canon 453 mentions these qualifications, declaring that: “In order that a cleric be VALIDLY appointed pastor, he must be a priest. He should, in addition, have those qualities of character, knowledge, virtue, prudence, and experience which will enable him to govern…properly, and which are demanded by the common and particular law.”
This takes us back to Can. 153 and defines the stipulations for office. Without these stipulations as specified in Can. 453, any conferral of office is null and void. Can. 154 also states that: “Offices which entail the care of souls either in the external or internal forum, cannot be validly conferred on those who are not priests.” And most importantly concerning all these disqualifying and incapacitating laws, as Can. 16 decrees: “No ignorance of invalidating or inhabilitating [incapacitating] laws excuses from their observance, unless the law explicitly admits ignorance as an excuse,” (and the laws cited above do NOT so admit).
Pope Pius XII teaches: “While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.” Pius XII’s 1945 papal election law, the decree on Can. 147 above and “Six ans se Sont” are THE definitive laws upholding the nullity elections and appointments to office contrary to the invalidating and incapacitating norms of Canon Law, and especially upholding their nullity during an interregnum. These laws clearly and irrefutably express the mind of the legislator in these matters.
The Church supplying, Rev. Miaskiewicz teaches on Can. 209, is actually the Pope. In saying that the POPE supplies for Traditionalist jurisdiction, and validates acts the laws clearly state are invalid, Trad clerics (definitely not cardinals) appear to force Pope Pius XII to act against his own mind and violate the very Code he worked to promulgate as a young priest. This papal election law is binding in conscience; it requires a firm and irrevocable assent, and yet Traditionalists and Conclavists spurn it at every turn because it prevents them from pontificating on their own. They want to be recognized as the true Catholic Church, yet by disobeying and defying the infallible pronouncements of the continual magisterium, even those very popes they claim to be “the last true popes,” they compromise their faith and expose their true motives.
The appeal to precedents: Canon Law is not common law
“To some, the system followed by the Catholic Church seems antiquated and secretive. However, the real difficulty from a common law perspective may be the lack of understanding of the Church’s law and the lack of understanding of how canon law is applied…While both common law and canon law have their roots in the ancient law systems of the world, they developed along different lines. Common law developed more along the lines of Germanic and English law while canon law developed more along the lines of Roman law. The common law system is generally based on a judge applying precedent while the canon law system is generally based on an individual judge applying the law to the specific case. In common law, most interpretation of law is provided by the judicial system. In canon law, interpretation is provided by the legislator. Both systems work, or do not work, based on how well they are applied,” (“Canon Law and Common Law,” http://www.canonlawprofessionals.com/).
In her “Basic Criminal Law: The United States Constitution, Procedure and Crimes” Anniken U. Davenport writes: “William the Conqueror conquered England with the support of the Catholic Church. Consequently, the Church played a large role in the legal life of the country. A parallel system of state and ecclesiastical courts developed, each with its own sets of laws and sanctions. The ecclesiastical courts used stare decisis to decide cases, but their basis for deciding cases was at first canon law. As time went on, where canon law conflicted with English statutory or Common Law, the English law took precedence.”
At http://www.Answers.com, common law is defined as “the body of law based on custom and general principles and that, embodied in case law, serves as precedent or is applied to situations not covered by statute. Under the common-law system, when a court decides and reports its decision concerning a particular case, the case becomes part of the body of law and can be used in later cases involving similar matters. This use of precedents is known as stare decisis, a Latin phrase meaning “to stand by the decisions.” This legal doctrine under common law requires courts to rely on precedents, or previous decisions, when deciding disputes unless there is a compelling reason to reject those precedents. In most instances, this doctrine means that courts will decide disputes over insurance contracts the same way they have decided cases with similar facts and legal issues in the past. Nevertheless, the principle of stare decisis has always been tempered with a conviction that prior decisions must comport with notions of good reason or they can be overruled by the highest court in the jurisdiction. Common law has been administered in the courts of England since the Middle Ages; it is also found in the U.S. and in most of the British Commonwealth.”
Also at this same website, a definition of stare decisis is provided from the U.S. History Encyclopedia: “Stare Decisis is the principle of deciding judicial controversies on the basis of precedent. It is a principle of the common-law legal systems that distinguishes them from civil-law systems. Adherence to precedent, following the decision rules and reasoning set out in earlier similar cases, is frequently cited as an attribute that gives consistency and predictability to the law and that ensures political stability. However, assumptions concerning the significance and impact of adherence to stare decisis have been subjected to serious logical and empirical challenges. The continuing controversy over the scope and significance of stare decisis has served to focus greater analytical and empirical attention on the total constellation of factors that may influence judicial decision-making.” But Canon Law cases are not generally decided based on precedent, or by applying the decisions of past cases, as was observed above. Instead, following the issuance of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the actual law is applied to the particular case presented for review.
As A. Degert said under Gallicanism in the Catholic Encyclopedia (www.newadvent.org), Gallicanism was based on: “a revival of the most ancient traditions of Christianity; a persistence of the common law.” In every possible way, in all its externals and its professed teachings, Traditionalism is the revival first of that 19th-century heresy by the same name, proposed by Lammenais and condemned by the Church. Those believing in this heresy held that faith basically must be accepted without thinking, since the average person is not capable of understanding the faith, (fideism or anti-intellectualism). This is a prefect description of today’s Traditionalists. But secondly, to this is joined the anti-papal heresy of Gallicanism, practiced first in Europe around the time of the Western Schism, condemned forever by the Vatican Council but carried on by the Old Catholics who rejected the definition of infallibility and later the Liberal Catholics, among others.
For not only its evolution and its practices are the same, but its principles also are identical to heretical Gallican principles. Thus today’s Traditionalists are a syncretic blend of ancient Gallicanists, 19th century Traditionalists, Old catholics, Liberal catholics and Gnostic catholics. They reject the papacy in favor of their bishops because they are Gallicanists, and believe the bishops and the people are superior to the pope, as the condemned heretic, John of Paris taught. They reject papal teaching because they hold to the ancient “Catholic sense” of the 19th century Traditionalists, and the most ancient traditions of Christianity. They reject Canon Law for the same reasons, since the pope is the primary author of Canon Law. And they hold to the idea that Canon Law must follow and obey their ancient traditions, that is, the common law.
Precedents and civil law in Canon Law
As Rev. Neuberger explains above, the only time that TRUE precedents in law abrogated by the Code can ever be appealed to is in the “rare cases” anticipated in Can. 20. Abp. Cicognani cautions that wherever a general or particular law issued by the lawgiver can be located and observed, or a way to supply for the law itself can be found in parallel legislation, Can. 20 is not to be used. If Can. 20 IS resorted to, it is to be used according to “the general principles of Canon Law, not civil law. For when the civil law is meant, the code states so explicitly…,” He also notes that civil law is always to be obeyed unless it is contrary to Divine law, (Cicognani commentary on Canons 19 and 20). And here the canonist is speaking of LAWS, not practices of the Church, customs or any exceptions to the law, for “Laws which…establish an exception to the law are to be interpreted strictly,” (Can. 19).
Even in the case of those pre-code laws which may be appealed to under Can. 20, Cicognani states that exceptions to these laws are not to be drawn into precedent, “for exceptions established by the law are odious.” Traditionalists and Conclavists rely on prior customs, abrogated laws, exceptions to the law and aberrational circumstances as a general rule, and in the case of some Conclavists, even appeal to laws and facts which never existed at all, (the “law” establishing the right of the laity to actually cast votes in a papal election; the condemned practice of lay investiture, which was never a law, but only the abuse of a privilege; the “law” that allows laymen to be ordained or consecrated, or to accept papal election without the proper qualifications).
Lay interference in papal elections; the consecration of laymen as priests and bishops by illicit (and sometimes doubtfully valid) bishops, without papal mandate; the possession of apostolic succession by those not at least priests — these short-lived practices, soon outlawed by succeeding popes, were never established as legal precedents to begin with. They cannot and would not even withstand the scrutiny of the common law, far less Canon Law; nor can such laws be verified at all, being later abrogated for a lack of stability and for reasons of doctrinal safety. This has been proven at length in the free download on this board, “No Apostolic Succession, No Pope,” as well as other articles. Even the principle of stare decisis was “tempered with a conviction that prior decisions must comport with notions of good reason or they can be overruled by the highest court in the jurisdiction.”
Even if laws in the past had allowed such things, which they did not, (with the exception of some men in the early ages of the Church consecrated bishops without receiving major orders first), these laws, once again, were abrogated by the Code in 1917. So precedents were allowed in the scope of interpreting Canon Law only in rare cases. None can admit what did not exist to begin with; even these “old laws” were abrogated long ago (Can. 6, 1917 Code). Things done in cases of necessity or the early days of an institution’s existence are frequently modified over time. And if these practices and exceptions to the law have no legal force, they can scarcely be claimed as presumptions in law.
Official proofs override presumptions
A presumption is, “A probable conjecture about an uncertain affair,” Canon Law tells us. “He who has the presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof,” (Can. 1827). We have already learned the meaning of “probable” above. Canonists explain that presumption is basically circumstantial evidence. Rev. Augustine explains that if a presumption is “expressed and admitted by law,” and especially when it is the law on which the presumption is based, it is called legal, (Can. 1825). Against a simple (legal) presumption of law, both direct and indirect proof to the contrary is admitted. Against an absolute presumption of law, found only in Canons 1904, 1972, only indirect proof is admitted, (Can. 1826). If determined by the jury or the judge, it is called an ab homine presumption. “Legal presumptions are weightier than natural ones and must therefore be proved,” and presumptions connected with some circumstance are weightier that general presumptions, which, however, exclude exceptional cases.
“Presumptions in favor of the validity of an act already posited are weightier than those in favor of its validity,” (Rev. Augustine); but this presumption is overcome anytime that the law in question is an invalidating and incapacitating law, where legal presumptions are concerned. “Presumptions which are not stated in the law shall not be conjectured by the judge except from a certain and specific fact which is directly connected with the fact in controversy,” (Can. 1828). Revs. Woywod-Smith comment: “The presumption must thus be a kind of reasonable conclusion or inference from another specific fact established by evidence in the case. Since all inferential evidence is dangerous and easily misleads, the Code warns against conjectures.” Pope Pius XII positively condemns them in “Humani Generis.”
Please explain how the clear words of the Roman Pontiffs could ever be said to be a “probable conjecture about an uncertain affair,” when the Roman Pontiff is the Supreme Lawgiver and one can never DOUBT these teachings without falling into heresy! We have no need to stand by presumption in any of the cases on this board; they are solidly grounded in irrefutable pontifical and conciliar teaching. What we have presented here is far superior than any presumption of law; it is perfect proof that cannot be overcome. This is clearly stated in Canons 1812, 1816 and 1819; pontifical documents properly entered into the AAS are considered official documents and they cannot be overcome as proofs. Presumptions cannot even exist if they are not probable conjectures, and those offered by Traditionalists and Conclavists are not truly probable in most cases. As explained above, those things concerning validity and not just liceity are not covered by the umbrella of probability, anyway.
Even the few true presumptions Trads do offer are not legal presumptions, but natural or general assumptions, hence inferior as evidence. And even these already have been overcome by both direct and indirect evidence. A presumption only stands, and the burden of proof is only shifted, whenever it is not trumped by papal documents, which are beyond question as evidence. This is not about any doubts of law or fact — although this is the main ploy of those trying to disprove Church teaching. This is about the validity of acts and the infallible or at least the binding teaching of the Roman Pontiffs. Presumption can be used to settle cases in moral law and Canon Law where the conditions are verified and there is doubt about a law or fact, but the highest law always prevails — that of the continual magisterium legislating and infallibly defining throughout the centuries. This is something entirely separate from Canon Law although interrelated, falling in the field of dogmatic theology.
Can. 2200 and the burden of proof
Concerning any shifting of the burden of proof as mentioned in Can. 1827, the authentic papal documents found in the Acta are the primary proofs offered here and the only proofs that win, hands down. There can be no shifting of the burden of proof by Traditionalists and Conclavists onto others. In fact that burden, as pointed out repeatedly on this board, is itself based on an implicit presumption of guilt in the law itself concerning those bold enough to reject the teachings of the ordinary magisterium. This simple and implicit presumption can be found in Can. 2200 concerning suspicion of heresy, where the offender is considered guilty of the delict until the contrary is proven. It has been demonstrated over and over again, from numerous angles and separate (often multiple) instances, that such heresy in many cases is not just a suspicion, but actually exists or was known by way of written or verbal admission, or notorious fact, to have been committed. All the rules, laws and teachings of the Church demonstrate this.
Those manifestly guilty of these crimes insist that they should be innocent until proven guilty; or they protest that the law or teaching is doubtful, or the guilt is doubtful, when “suspicion,” derived from the root word suspect, is defined as “To have doubts of; to distrust,” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary), (!). The law does not care; all that needs to be established is suspicion. And if the suspicion is not sufficiently removed within six months of the time it was witnessed or observed in writing, then the suspect incurs the delict, (Canons 1258, 2315, 2316). So here we have a law that is based on the presumption that one is guilty until proven innocent of heresy; this is the highest degree of presumption. It is then up to the suspect to disprove the evidence, if he/she can. And yet the law states that if the suspect cannot prove the presumption has failed, then the judge must decide in the favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.
Unfortunately, far from disproving their heresies, these suspects have instead continued to embrace heresy after heresy following the commission of their original heresy, only multiplying their guilt. Not only that, but nothing they have presented can excuse them, if indeed they even bother to try to explain themselves in any reasonable way. The objection brought against this canon is “but we should be considered innocent until proven guilty,” (also a rule of law; these critics can scarcely invoke such rules if they also wish to attack reflex principles). Heresy, however, is such a heinous crime that the Church has determined otherwise, decreeing that one is presumed guilty unless and until EVIDENCE is produced that overcomes the (implicit) presumption of guilt, which must then yield to truth. Canon Law is NOT civil law, nor can it be reduced to the principles of civil law. And this is one very good example of how some have so tried to reduce it.
A word on reflex principles
Those who have set out to deceive the elect bank on the fact that their hearers will not check things out (and many sources are now available online) or even look terms up in the dictionary. Their very existence depends on an unsuspecting public buying their indefensible contention that when the Roman Pontiffs don’t pronounce something in ex cathedra mode — whenever they do not mention specifically that what they are stating is infallible — then their teaching can be either ignored or interpreted in any manner they choose. Msgr. Fenton has disproven this heresy in “Impudent Objections to Humani Generis Confounded,” (see archives). The very ones pointing fingers are the ones who wish to use reflex principles such as necessity knows no law, a doubtful law is no law, possession is nine-tenths of the law, impossibility excuses one from observing the law, no obligation imposes unless it is certain, and “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” although they entirely reject the need to observe another reflex principle especially stressed on this board: “In a doubt, the safer course should be followed [where the Sacraments and eternal salvation are concerned].”
This is because this reflex principle, where it regards the Sacraments, is not just a reflex principle; it is actually a binding teaching of the ordinary magisterium, (Pope Innocent XI, DZ 1161). These are the same people who keep repeating yet another reflex principle, “In doubt a fact is not presumed but must be demonstrated” and saying that this author has not demonstrated these facts so has not “proven the case.” But it is not my job to prove it, but only to present the testimony of those capable of proving it; this is extrinsic evidence. In the course of the presentations on this board, authors have been quoted who have cited reflex principals, but they have not been used as singular proofs to document actual cases, only as accessory evidence. Once a reflex principle is “canonized” by the Code or embraced publicly by the lawgiver himself, it is considered “beyond dispute,” according to “The Jurist” editor Edward Roelker, in his article “An Introduction to the Rules of Law.”
In his article he states: “It is only by the serious study of these rules that they can be used as excellent aids in the training of the canonist and in the proper interpretation of law…No attempt should ever be made to apply these Rules until their historical source, their jurisprudential development and their proper scope are sufficiently studied and digested…Great disadvantages will result if the Rules of Law are misused or abused,” (Vol. X, no. 3, October 1950). Those recklessly using these principles today without bothering to ground them in the teaching of some approved pre-1959 canonist or theologian familiar with them should heed these words, rather than trying to accuse others of what they themselves are doing. But beyond that, they should heed the words of the Roman Pontiffs who alone are the authentic interpreters of Canon Law.
Traditionalists and Conclavists are confident that their followers, who are familiar with the general workings of common law but are entirely unfamiliar with the function and the divine origin of Canon Law, will never be able to figure out the difference between the two. The Church is a divinely established society; Her laws cannot ever be subject to failure or decay. And certainly no one claiming to minister and/or rule the Church as true pastors could ever do so based on improbable conjectures, the false premises of the common law, with its system of precedents established by a “judicial system” and not the laws, decisions and interpretations of the Supreme Legislator. And there is the rub. Once the Supreme Pastor has been struck, there is no one to officially interpret the laws only he can guarantee as true. In his absence, the hirelings will mercilessly drive the flock over barren and rocky ground. And only devout lovers of the law ceaselessly seeking the Good Shepherd will survive the time of privation to enjoy greener pastures.
An objection to this author’s use of secular authorities to explain civil law as contrasted with Canon Law above will be addressed here. To begin with, the canon law portion of this quote is brief and is easily verified from other sources as true. The civil law is treated from Church sources prior to any mention of secular sources. Additional commentary from Church sources posterior to the use of these secular quotes is provided as well, to make certain that its relevance to Canon Law and Church teaching is properly understood. An honest evaluation will demonstrate that nothing mentioned in these explanations could possibly be construed as contrary to faith.
But this will not stop those who apparently think nothing of repeatedly violating scholastic method and make a laughingstock of common sense. Readers who have been paying attention here and others who know the rules will recognize this tactic. In seizing on such an inconsequential objection, while making it sound as though it is something consequential, an attempt is made to draw attention from the seriousness of this entire presentation and its application to those claiming to head up the various manifestations of Traditionalism. Become preoccupied with histrionic headings and the gravity of the issues at stake is eclipsed, or at least the individuals deliberately creating these distractions hope to accomplish this. Fortunately their sites generally receive limited traffic and are not taken seriously by anyone of any consequence.
The quote from above is: “The common law system is generally based on a judge applying precedent while the canon law system is generally based on an individual judge applying the law to the specific case. In common law, most interpretation of law is provided by the judicial system. In canon law, interpretation is provided by the legislator.” The last sentence of this quote is so obviously proven from Catholic sources above that it does not need examination. The first sentence is supported by Can. 2218: “Not only circumstances which excuse from all liability but also those which excuse from grave guilt excuse also from any penalty… provided the excuse is proven in the external forum.” The first part of the canon explains how “the punishment should be in proportion to the offense;” also the gravity of the law transgressed and all personal circumstances affecting the transgressor must be weighed, including sex, state of life, mental condition and so forth. Decisions in Canon Law do not depend on a similar outcome or sentence in a previous case, because all decisions are tailored to the individual. The judge, dependent on these circumstances, is to determine how the law applies in each case, whether an attached penalty is to be enforced and if not, what other punishment might be appropriate.
Also concerning the first sentence, it is written in “Logic,” by Rev. Joseph Walsh (1940), that “Circumstances alter cases…The fallacy [of the] special case…consists in concluding that what is true in a certain restricted case is true generally, or in all cases; and that what is true of a thing under one aspect is true of it under all aspects…The dictum Every rule has exceptions is only generally true, for there are some rules that do not admit exceptions.” Papal laws entered in the AAS constitute such rules. There are no exceptions to these documents used as proof in ecclesiastical courts, (see summary above). Nor can things done in restricted cases in the past, which were abrogated as law or actually condemned in practice, be used to justify things done today. And this applies whether it be the ordination of priests and consecration of bishops without papal mandate, the lay election of a lay pope or the assignment of divine jurisdiction, no less, to those not even qualified to become priests or be reinstated as priests or bishops. Whatever additional fallacies are employed here — whether it is evading the issue, arguing beside the point, the vicious circle, or ad hominem attack — the Church does not accept them as valid because they run contrary to the rules of scholasticism.
Baseless objections and comments deserve no recognition, but unfortunately they can deceive or confuse the unwary. For this reason we have addressed them here. Learn to recognize these rants and distractions for what they are — an attempt by those dependent on teachings condemned by the Church to maintain their status quo. For further information on fallacies of argument contrary to scholasticism, see Rules of Scholastic Argument under the heading “Scholasticism” on this site.