Are you saying that it's all right to remain subject to Ratzinger?
Well of course not. But it does depend on what is meant by “all right.” This question has, in one form or another, come up more often in recent years, due to a certain hardening of attitude on the part of some leading sedevacantists
. This shift of position, whilst striking, has occurred slowly and by stages, so that many sedevacantists
seem not to have noticed that it really was a shift, and a very significant one. For if the sedeplenists
are schismatics, then they are not Catholics, and the Catholic Church is not just tiny (as she actually is, considering most Conciliar Catholics excluded from her as we must), but actually minuscule, for under this hypothesis she consists of the few sedevacantists
and nobody else. This is in fact the old Britons Catholic Library position of ultra-exclusivity. Unlike the Frankenchurch “branch theory” by which the true Church is imagined to consist of various “branches” who share some fundamental doctrines and not much else (i.e the Greeks, the Anglicans, and the Roman Catholics), this theory posits a “Church” so small that we can hardly describe it even as one “branch.” Indeed, it is probably better represented as a single leaf
. But since it is nothing more than a warmed-over theory already posited many years ago, we may christen it in its current guise the “microwaved leaf theory.”
But in case anybody is inclined to take this leaf theory seriously, let’s examine its fundamental tenet – viz. that all who “resist to the face” the man they mistakenly think to be the Roman Pontiff, are in fact schismatics.
In relation to schism we must distinguish the matter and the form, as we do with heresy. With respect to schism, the matter is the fact of refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff. The form is the malicious will.
St. Thomas explains schism as follows:
“As Isidore says (Etym. viii, 3), schism takes its name 'from being a scission of minds,' and scission is opposed to unity. Wherefore the sin of schism is one that is directly and essentially opposed to unity. For in the moral, as in the physical order, the species is not constituted by that which is accidental. Now, in the moral order, the essential is that which is intended,
and that which results beside the intention, is, as it were, accidental. Hence the sin of schism is, properly speaking, a special sin, for the reason that the schismatic intends to sever himself
from that unity which is the effect of charity: because charity unites not only one person to another with the bond of spiritual love, but also the whole Church in unity of spirit.
“Accordingly schismatics properly so called are those who, wilfully and intentionally separate themselves
from the unity of the Church…” (S. Th. II-II, Q. 39, Art. 1.)
In this case (that of sedeplenists
) the “matter” is not verified. There is no Roman Pontiff. Therefore there can be no question of crime. Just as if one were to attempt to kill another, and the other were already dead, there would be no murder. (In such a case there may be another crime – mutilation of a body, for example. In the case of sedeplenists
, I have yet to hear what the alternative “crime” would be. Failing to sit at the feet of Bishop Sanborn, perhaps? Failing to interpret divine law in accordance with John Lane’s understanding of Bellarmine? A pertinacious refusal to draw logical conclusions even when assisted by Fr. Cekada? Or what? Even to state the case is to refute it.)
Likewise the malicious will is not verified, for in the case we are considering it is notorious that to maintain the Faith it is necessary to refuse the New Mass and all the rest of the “reforms” of V2. Resistance is necessary. All used to admit this. The few are now denying it. Why, we wonder?
In any case, each of those leading sedevacantists
who now alleges that it is schismatic to keep the Faith whilst thinking that the V2 popes are legitimate, once held that position himself. Nor has any of them publicly abjured and repented of what they must now consider to be their schismatic past. Indeed, I am not aware even of one public retraction and apology for this putative crime.
But more importantly, if the accusation of schism is sound, it actually outlaws and disowns every single act of resistance to V2 prior to the sedevacantist thesis being adopted.
In other words, every traditional Catholic, from 1965 onwards, acted unlawfully in resisting what they considered to be true authorities, and thus were schismatics (at least “materially”) until some of them became sedevacantists
and thus resurrected the true Church from complete (objective) oblivion. As I said, even to state the thesis is to refute it.
But perhaps to be fair to our enthusiastic brethren, their true thesis is slightly different (even though we can’t get them to state it themselves). Perhaps what they really think is that it was OK to “resist to the face” when they
did it, but not today. Today it is illicit. But not “then.” When did “then” cease to be, we wonder? The moment that they converted? Ten years after V2, perhaps? When Wojtyla died? Who can say? Certainly our enthusiastic brethren are not saying. For to state their thesis would be to refute it. And they’re not about to do that, apparently.
Or, again, since we cannot get them to state the principle governing their novel thesis, could it be that they imagine that the Church has judged this matter? If so, I am interested to hear when, and why this was never noticed for thirty+ years, but has only been noticed in these latter days, and why now that it has been noticed, everybody has carefully avoided citing the relevant document. Of course, even to posit the thesis is to refute it.
So, is it OK to remain subject to Ratzinger? No, it is a mistake in a very grave matter. It is exceedingly dangerous, for (a) it entails the risk that one will think that his commands ought to be obeyed. The Campos fiasco is sufficient evidence of that, if any were needed. And (b), it involves an implicit rejection of truths taught as “certain,” in the theology manuals, such as the infallibility of the Church in her general disciplinary provisions.
But it is not “schism” or anything like schism. Nor is it an act of heresy. But the microwaved leaf theory is schismatic on its face, because it endeavours to create a fundamental split between groups of Catholics. If this effort is successful, the resulting split will truly be a schism. For this reason those who promote this warmed-over “leaf theory” of the Church need their feet held to the fire until they agree to prove it or drop it.
I hope this answers your question. I apologise for the length of it!