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 Sedevacantism: A False Solution to a Real Problem - Part I 
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Sedevacantism: A False Solution to a Real Problem
By the Priests of the Italian District of the Society of Saint Pius X
Translated by Christopher Gerard Brown

Angelus Press, Kansas City, Missouri. October 2003


CONTENTS

Preface 1

PART ONE

What Is Sedevacantism? 5

Introduction 5

A Common Point of Departure:
Rejection of the Council 6

The Origins of Sedevacantism 7

Two Attempted Responses to These Difficultie [sic] 8

A) Conclavism, 8

B) The Cassiciacum Thesis 10

The Contradiction Between Rigorist
Sedevacantism and the Cassiciacum Thesis 12

Understanding the Cassiciacum Thesis 14

A) Initial Reflections 14

B) The Attitude Underlying the Cassiciacum Thesis 16

Q The Private Character of the Judgment Formulated
by the Guerardians: Contradictory Elements 18

General Observations and First Conclusions 20

The Necessity of a Prudential Position 22

PART TWO

A False Solution 25

The End of the Teaching Church (Potestas Docendi) 25

The End of the Power of Jurisdiction (Potestas Regendi) 29

A Question of Faith 30

The Election of Paul VI 34

The "Private Judgment" of the
Guerardians: Final Consequences 40

The Strange Dynamic of Sedevacantist Arguments 45

Rejection of the Mass Una Cum 47

A Difficult Question to Come to Grips With 49

The Actions of Bishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc 50

The Apostolic Succession of Bishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc 52

Declaration of His Eminence
Rev. Archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc 54

The Fruits of Sedevacantism 58

Conclusion 60



APPENDIX 61
The Election of Paul VI:
Solutions to Certain Difficulties 61

The Logic of Charity And Prudence:
The True Face of Archbishop Lefebvre 74


PREFACE

This issue presents a two-part study. This study, the work of lengthy reflection, deals with a delicate subject: the position of the Society of Saint Pius X with regards to the pope, and the objections others have made to this position or to our silence in the face of these objections. It was not our intention to enter this polemical terrain, since we have no desire to enter into a vortex of responses to responses leading nowhere. Accordingly, we have always tried to avoid treating the subject directly, refusing to engage in a vain and futile polemic, and refusing to shift the problem onto the universal plane of abstract ideas. This was always the prudential attitude of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Society of Saint Pius X.

I insist on the nature of this attitude, since it seems to me that it has not always been understood and recognized. Faced with the mystery that at present envelops the Church, confronted with a crisis situation to which no one can furnish an apodictic and completely satisfying theological explanation, the only position truly in conformity with the Faith, the Creed, and Catholic doctrine, is to practice the virtue of prudence - a supernatural virtue which applies universal principles to concrete and particular situations.

We have never denied that an extremely grave problem has existed in the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council: our position is well known. Nor did Archbishop Lefebvre dodge the question of the pope; on the contrary, he often posed questions, both publicly and privately, regarding papal legitimacy - this is also well known. But he never considered himself authorized to reach a conclusion, leaving judgment in this matter to the Church or a future pope. The problem exists, but it is a concrete problem, not a theoretical, mathematical, or metaphysical one, although metaphysics has some bearing on it. The safe attitude is one consistent with concrete reality; it may keep us from sliding into dangerous and deviant paths at odds with faith and hope. It is the attitude of supernatural prudence, founded on faith in the promises of Jesus to His Church and in hope for the grace to remain faithful to Jesus, always present in His Church. The Church belongs to Him and not to men, not even to the most holy pope. The moral order, to which the exercise of even the theological virtues belongs, is governed by the virtue of prudence, auriga virtutum.

Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X chose this prudential path from the beginning. It has been expounded and explained many times, but it is never useless to repeat these explanations. This study is a common enterprise by the priests of the District of Italy. It is the fruit of our personal studies, reflections, exchanges of impressions, discussions... It therefore reflects the thought of all the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X who work in Italy, for whom I as district superior assume responsibility. It does not claim to be a position paper or an official declaration of the Society of Saint Pius X. Rather, it modestly expresses the reply of the District of Italy to sedevacantist arguments, whatever they may be. Nor does it claim to refute these arguments directly, but limits itself to demonstrating that these arguments resolve nothing. On the contrary, they give rise to other problems which are equally insoluble, yet even graver.

Faced with the mystery of the current situation of the Church, in no way can we claim to have understood and resolved every difficulty. Nor do we claim to have delivered some definitive theological or dogmatic definition. We do not claim to be infallible, nor do we desire in any way to condemn those who do not think as we do. We offer our reflections to everyone of good will; only God and the Church will provide the definitive solution to the mystery that we are experiencing.

This study is not addressed to the experts, the doctors or masters of sedevacantism, but to their disciples and the simple faithful, who have put their trust in these experts and in their considerable gifts, but without having studied the matter or without understanding their subtle and rather abstract arguments. It is also addressed to the faithful who do not adhere to these views, but who may be disturbed by accusations and criticisms directed against the Society of Saint Pius X, that they may understand that we are not bereft of intelligence or theological knowledge - as some would like them to believe - nor of the courage to address an extremely difficult question.

This work therefore solely intends to be an act of mercy towards those who are disturbed or worried, that they might not lose hope. "God is never lacking in necessary things; if he permits a great evil, the means of remedying such an evil will not be lacking," as Bishop Zinelli said during the First Vatican Council.

Surely God has more mercy on the simple, who lack the capacity to protect themselves from error and evil, than on the learned. The light of faith and hope is enough for the simple to recognize the path of fidelity to the Church, without feeling the need of elaborate and subtle theories in order to delude themselves that they are resolving the mystery of the Church.

Finally, if anyone should believe that we are too hard on exponents of sedevacantist views, supposing them victims of our malice, let me recall that we have for years put up with the gravest accusations against ourselves and against Archbishop Lefebvre himself. We did so because we did not want to descend to the polemical level of our critics. For this reason we continue to avoid citing their literary productions. So as not to embitter our relations with priests who were once our brothers, or with faithful who were once our friends, we have chosen to remain silent, and we shall continue to do so, letting grace do its work of truth in souls of good will.

May God grant that this study, which aspires to help those faithful who saw in Archbishop Lefebvre, the defender of their faith, at the same time be homage to him, whose prudence was inspired by the love of Jesus and Mary, the Church and the pope.

Mother of Holy Hope, convert us.

Rev. Fr. Michel Simoulin



PART ONE

WHAT IS SEDEVACANTISM?

INTRODUCTION

Amongst those opposed to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and to the ensemble of doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral deviations it has inspired there are significant differences of opinion about the attitude one should have towards the current ecclesiastical hierarchy, and in particular towards its head. One of these approaches is called "sedevacantism," a theory according to which the See of Peter has not been occupied by a true pontiff since at least December 7, 1965. Consequently John Paul II (and others including Paul VI, at least since that date) would lack pontifical authority, and therefore the pontiff's name should not be cited in the Canon of the Mass in that place where the liturgical rubrics specify mention of the pope. The following reflections have a specific intention. After clarifying the sedevacantist position, how it is expressed, and how it justifies itself, we shall inquire into its material consequences for laymen, priests, or bishops who embrace it. In other words, the goal of this study is to furnish tangible criteria of judgment for those who legitimately wonder about the actual and concrete possibility of professing sedevacantism, for those who have embraced it but have doubts, or for those who, having embraced it, are not entirely aware of the implications of their position.

Before going into detail let us make another point that seems unavoidable. Because the sedevacantist position has been embraced by some former confreres who no longer share the position of the Society of Saint Pius X, we intend to avoid any personal references to or caricatures of individuals, their characters or possible personal defects. The only effect of so doing would be to prevent a serene and dispassionate reflection on the very important question we are posing. We hope to disappoint those who may look for gossip or grist for unseemly speculation in these pages. If for the sake of argument we are obliged to cite certain texts and authors we do so not to injure any persons or confreres. We hope in this way to contribute to the creation of a climate of true charity which may serve as the platform for a just estimation of reality and of possible divergences. Perhaps it is the precariousness of such a platform that has until now prevented calm discussion of this subject.

It should also be recognized that within the ranks of the sedevacantists there are some who would like to see a calm and dispassionate discussion of the problem and who are trying, if at times haltingly, to create a constructive atmosphere. Charity obliges us both to foster such a climate and to tell the truth.

A COMMON POINT OF DEPARTURE:

REJECTION OF THE COUNCIL

Our analysis of sedevacantism begins with a simple historical treatment of the subject, so that the reader may understand the fundamental problem in its concreteness and its immediacy. As far as possible we will avoid technical and academic language, which has often made these issues inaccessible to those who have nonetheless felt themselves obliged to make decisions in this delicate matter, or at least to come to grips with it. All "traditionalists" are heirs to the opposition to conciliar errors which found its first concrete expression during the Council itself and became visible in the Coetus Internationalis Patrum. From 1969 onwards, rejection of the liturgical reform marked the continuation of battles begun during the Council. It is outside our scope to trace the fascinating history of these protagonists of the early days; nevertheless, though it may seem banal, it should be noted that sedevacantism later arose out of this negative evaluation of the doctrinal content of the Council, and not from an a priori judgment of Paul VI. Those who opposed and continued to oppose the Council found themselves faced with a problem that still persists: in what terms to relate to the official hierarchy and to him whom Christendom recognizes as a legitimate pope for all intents and purposes. How was it possible for a Catholic to be obliged over a period of time to oppose a pope in the name of the Catholic faith, of which the pope himself is the guarantee?

THE ORIGINS OF SEDEVACANTISM

Faced with this fundamental problem, the great majority of bishops who had fought against the conciliar reforms submitted, and, in some cases perhaps dying of heartbreak, accepted the reforms in the "spirit of obedience" (sometimes mixed with a smattering of expediency and weakness). The successors of these bishops, contemporary bishops considered sympathetic or friendly to groups connected with Ecclesia Dei, do not concern us directly here, for the simple reason that, apart from the subjective nobility of their intentions, their position-while certainly evidence of a crisis of conscience-is one of full integration into the conciliar complex.

Amongst those who would continue to oppose the conciliar errors, this problem would one day unleash not only divergences of opinion but also painful and insoluble divisions between those who continued to recognize the legitimacy of Paul VI and his successors, and those who decided to deny it. The former position was that of Archbishop Lefebvre and is still maintained by the Society of Saint Pius X; the latter, sedevacantist, position would be subdivided in turn into several different positions. We shall examine these positions in order to fully understand the current structures and demands of the sedevacantist world.

The first public declaration of a sedevacantist kind was that of the Mexican Jesuit Joaquin Saenz y Arriaga, who in 1973 published a work entitled Sede Vacante. If the title gives an indication of the author's thinking, it must nevertheless be admitted that it represents an embryonic brand of sedevacantism, and an unusual one at that. Its argumentation leaves aside the crucial element that will provide the basis for most later sedevacantist arguments - the definitive approval of the constitution Dignitatis Humanae in the context of the promulgation of the Council (December 7, 1965). Fr. Saenz prefers to base his own arguments on Nostra Aetate, ecumenism, collegiality, and the Novus Ordo Missae (art. 7). While testifying to considerable unease and indignation in the face of the Council and its spirit, his writings are not organized in a systematic and strictly argumentative manner. One has the impression of an instinctive sedevacantism, latent and implicit, rather than the result of rigorous demonstration, or even less of the systematic approach characteristic of later treatments. Furthermore, it must be recognized that this work seems to have had practically no echo outside of Mexico, and the sedevacantists themselves do not seem to consider it an important point of reference for their position, nor even an official manifestation of sedevacantism. Shortly before Sede Vacante, Fr. Saenz had published another interesting work entitled The New Montinian Church (1971). This work is one of the first syntheses of doctrinal deviations deriving from the Council; it does not yet assert the sedevacantist position, however. Fr. Saenz y Arriaga died on April 28, 1976.

This initial, somewhat incomplete declaration was followed three years later in France by the more lucid and structured arguments of Fr. Noel Barbara (1976). If Fr. Barbara's approach seemed capable of easing the conscience of those who could not accept the Second Vatican Council, it contained in reality in nuce the presuppositions that within a short span of time would irremediably divide sedevacantism itself and manifest its internal contradictions. The question is not of merely historical interest but is entirely contemporary, since still today we are faced with the consequences of these same premises. If Paul VI was not the pope, where indeed was the Church? If Paul VI was not the pope, whence would the Church be "reborn"? Who would one day be able to elect a true pope? If Paul VI was not the pope, who could formally declare this fact before the Christian world, which continued to recognize him as the true pope? At stake was, and remains, the visibility of the Church and her continuity over time (indefectibility), constitutive and indispensable elements for the very existence of the Catholic Church.


TWO ATTEMPTED RESPONSES TO THESE DIFFICULTIES

A. CONCLAVISM

The first response was the most spontaneous, but also the most radical and, in a certain sense, the most logical. If the true Catholics remaining in the world could declare the See vacant, breaking every connection with Paul VI, these same people would also have the power and indeed the obligation to give the Church a true pope. Thus they could guarantee her visibility, indefectibility over time, and perennial magisterium in conformity with apostolic teachings. On the basis of this assumption the idea spontaneously arose of calling a conclave to elect a true pope. If this intuition had its own logic and began with the noble and sincere intention of saving the Church, a surfeit of candidates and the lack of any mandated agreement on the terms of election led to the creation of over twenty "popes" in the world. Because of deaths and recent elections it is impossible to present a complete and up-to-date list; we limit ourselves to mentioning five such “popes” of American nationality:

1) PETER II, in the world Chester Olszewski (there are however four other "Popes" who have chosen the suggestive name of Peter II);

2) PIUS XIII, Lucien Pulvermacher, elected in 1998;

3) ADRIAN VII, Francis Konrad Schuckardt, elected in 1984;

4) MICHAEL 1, David Bawden, elected in 1990.

Well known in Europe is the case of Palmar. in Spain, where Clemente Dominguez y Gomez was elected "pope" in 1978 under the name GREGORY XVII.

At the present time there are also others who, preferring the solution of a conclave but not recognizing any of the currently elected popes, are awaiting conditions favorable to proceeding to a new conclave. If we speak of "conclavist sedevacantisrn" it is not with the goal of ridiculing the whole of the sedevacantist world, but, on the contrary. to do justice to those sedevacantists who are not conclavists. It would not be fair to assimilate these latter to such aberrations. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to recognize the rigorous and implacable logic that led to the election of these "popes." In regard to this thorny problem a prominent exponent of the Cassiciacum (1) argument (which we will soon discuss) has written:

Conclavism, or rather the theoretical position and practice of those who maintain that, in the current situation of vacancy of the Apostolic See, private persons can or ought to proceed to a

1. [Cassiciacum is the name of the place to which St. Augustine and some of his friends withdrew for study and prayer after his baptism. In the late 1970's, Fr. Guerard. des Lauriers, O.P., together with a group of like-minded priests, founded a review called Les Cahiers de Cassiciacum to defend the sedevacantist position. The "Cassiciacum Thesis" is the name given to the theory that the pope is pope materialiter but not formaliter. Ed.]

conclave to elect a legitimate Pontiff---. is in fact the only solution from a completely sedevacantist point of view .... The rigorist sedevacantists cannot defend the indefectibility of the Church in a manner consistent with faith or common sense. How is it possible that the Church still exists, as Jesus Christ constituted it, if all the hierarchy has completely and definitively vanished? The Cassiciacum thesis gives a difficult but satisfactory response to this objection. Rigorist sedevacantism does not give such a response: it invokes mystery ... the coming end of the world (?), the death or the end of the Church as a transition to another reality (the reign of antichrist, the millennial reign of Christ, the spiritual Church of the abandoned faithful, etc.) or, rejecting the apostolicity of the Church, it proceeds to the uncanonical election of a burlesque "pope" ("conclavism") promptly forgotten by everybody, his own "electors" included. (2)

This harsh judgment, while redolent of the climate peculiar to the internal polemics of the sedevacantist world, nevertheless illustrates the logic that, beginning from a pure and simple sedevacantism, has led and continues to lead directly to conclavism, and indeed seems to act incoherently if it fails to do so. In fact, from the moment that one claims the right and the obligation to declare before the Church that a pope is in reality not the pope, logic dictates that one has also the right and the obligation to elect one. On this account it seems logically comprehensible that sedevacantism should result in conclavism. The large number of popes elected, together with the continuing persistence of such intentions, obliges us to take this interpretation into serious consideration.

B. THE CASSICIACUM THESIS

Therefore the fundamental problem remains open: how is it possible to deny the authority of Paul VI and his successors? If it is possible, where then is the Church? Whence should the Catholic Church appear again? To these questions, to which conclavism has its own characteristic responses (which cannot, however, be taken seriously in practice), a mitigated form of sedevacantism has developed a seemingly more adequate response: the Cassiciacum thesis.


2. Francesco Ricossa, Risposta al libro: Petrus es tu?, pp. 12-13, 24.

The advocates of this thesis, published by the Dominican Father Guerard des Lauriers in 1979, maintain that, while John Paul II lacks the authority and charisms of a true pope, he is nevertheless the legitimately elected subject designated to receive those prerogatives the day that he, or one of his successors, manifests the objective intention (3) of promoting the good of the Church. Only then will we have a true pope who is "formally" pope. In fact John Paul II is "materially” pope, a "pope" without authority or any pontifical charism. By consequence no obedience is owed to him in practice and he ought not to be named in the Canon of the Mass.

This position is substantially equivalent to sedevacantism plain and simple so far as the refusal to recognize the authority of John Paul II goes. It departs from that position in its manner of explaining the indefectibility of the Church over time. The Cassiciacum thesis designates the current ecclesiastical hierarchy, compared to a comatose body bereft of any authority, as the subject on the basis of which the Church will be regenerated. This will happen either when a future material pope will remove the obstacle (obex) which currently prevents the holder of that office from receiving the charisms and authority of the papacy, or when he will finally manifest the objective intention to act for the good of the Church. The succession of "material popes," albeit lacking authority, jurisdiction, and assistance, is sufficient, from the perspective of the Cassiciacum thesis, to guarantee the necessary continuity between St. Peter and the last pope at the end of time.

We will use the term "sedevacantism" in the generic sense to signify the rejection of the authority of John Paul II. To distinguish the two sedevacantist positions we have discussed, we shall call the former "rigorist sedevacantism" and the latter "Guerardism," by reference to Fr. Guerard des Lauriers.

3. This objective intention, according to the Cassiciacum Thesis, was no longer directed to the good of the Church from the moment when Cardinal Montini and his successors were elected to the pontificate. As a consequence God, faced with this obstacle (obex), was unable to confer papal authority on them. This defect of intention would be recognizable on the basis of the acts which these pontiffs promulgated. For this reason it is called an objective intention, as distinct from the subjective intention that God alone can recognize.


THE CONTRADICTION BETWEEN RIGORIST SEDEVACANTISM AND THE CASSICIACUM THESIS

Strict sedevacantism considers the Cassiciacum thesis to be a kind of mitigated Lefebvrism, devised by Fr. Guerard to justify the "ambiguous" position of the Society of Saint Pius X. For some this position even expresses an indirect communion with John Paul II and his errors. We shall mention two of the most important objections rigorist sedevacantists make to the Cassiciacum thesis. In the first place, it is not clear why a problem of intentions should actually prevent God from bestowing supreme authority and with this the charisms of infallibility on him who, legitimately elected, has freely accepted the supreme pontificate. To maintain the contrary would indeed seem to be an injurious limitation on the omnipotence of God. In the second place, it is not easy to understand how a merely material hierarchy can continue over time, or with what authority a "pope" without jurisdiction can name "material" cardinals, themselves lacking jurisdiction, who in their turn elect a future "material" pope, and so on.(4) On the face of it, it would indeed seem more credible, from a sedevacantist point of view, to hold that the Church is being maintained solely among those who maintain the Catholic faith in its entirety (rather than in a comatose hierarchy), and that Providence is free to give the Church a true pope in the manner it finds opportune, without being constrained to make use of material cardinals lacking any authority. (5)

The Guerardians, however, consider these positions to be spiritualist and protestant, since for the rigorists the Church would no longer have any visible element. A hypothetical pope who would not emerge from the material hierarchy would appear to be the initiator of a new apostolic succession - a sort of new St. Peter - and thus the founder of a new Church, a Catholic Church bis. (6) For Guerardism, rigorist sedevacantism is not consistent with the faith because it contradicts the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church. By considering the Church's material and formal


4. Cf. Sodalitium, no. 49, pp. 45-46.
5. Cf. Il Nuovo Osservatore Cattolico, no. 16, p. 8.
6. Ricossa, Risposta, p. 17.


hierarchy extinct, it inevitably lays the foundations for conclavism. (7)

The dichotomy between the two positions is such as to sometimes altogether prevent sacramental communion between the two groups. The opinion of Don Francesco Ricossa, a paladin of the Cassiciacum thesis, is interesting in this regard. Don Ricossa maintains that it is licit to attend a Mass celebrated by a "rigorist" sedevacantist priest only if this priest is evidently at odds with the principles he professes. Even in this case, as in all others, any other type of collaboration is forbidden. (8) It is probably only on account of necessity that up to today there is a certain sacramental intercommunion, albeit precarious, between the two groups. Two recent episcopal consecrations for the Guerardian camp will presumably make it possible to avoid such forced adaptations in the future. These adaptations are not coherent with the grave mutual accusations about the faith that the two groups continue to exchange.

Furthermore, the Guerardians consider that the Cassiciacum thesis is the only one that justifies the decision, in itself of vital importance, to proceed to episcopal consecrations without papal mandate. (9) Within Guerardian circles, however, there is some division over the legitimacy of such consecrations. Amongst the first disciples of Guerard des Lauriers there were some who did not accept his own episcopal consecration and who, in keeping with their principles, still do not accept those which have followed.

In short, there exists between the two positions a real gulf which is likely, in our opinion, to become more and more clearly apparent. This gulf has sometimes been passed over by SSPX priests who have often thought it possible to argue with both camps in the same manner. It has also been passed over by sedevacantists themselves when, in arguing with non-sedevacantists, they have found it expedient to hide this wound which risks exposing the intrinsic difficulties of the sedevacantist position. On these occasions the dichotomy, often the source of internal polemics within sedevacantist milieux, is presented as a mere nuance. This intellectual divide and, in a certain sense, the current


7. Ibid., pp. 23-24.
8. Cf. Sodalitium, no. 29, p. 33.
9. Cf. Ibid.

reciprocal exclusion of the two positions reflect the choice of a point of departure. While rigorist sedevacantism mainly uses arguments of a juridical nature, the Cassiciacum thesis departs from characteristically theological and metaphysical considerations which, in theory as in practice, substantially exclude the application of canonical criteria.

Rigorist sedevacantism in fact bases its arguments on the canonical incompatibility of the functions and office of the papacy with the public profession of heresy. While these arguments have precise points of reference in canon law, they are systematically rejected by the Guerardians who observe that, in order to be formally a heretic (that is, to all intents and purposes, and before the whole Church) and thus to incur the canonical penalties, pertinacity in the face of a canonical warning is necessary. But no authority but Christ Himself can issue such a warning. There is a range of diverse positions on the possibility of applying the canons (canon 188 5 4 in particular), on the pertinence of the bull of Paul IV Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (10) (which some maintain to have been abrogated in 1917), and on the practical and contemporary significance of certain opinions of classical theologians (which are subject to doubt insofar as those thinkers were never obliged to take into account the contemporary situation of the papacy and the Church). These controversies are compounded by the impossibility of recourse to the Roman commission for the interpretation of legislative texts, and indeed seem likely to last even longer than the crisis in the Church.

UNDERSTANDING THE CASSICIACUM THESIS

A. INITIAL REFLECTIONS

What the Cassiciacum thesis styles the "observation" of the formal vacancy of the Holy See-we underline at the outset actually implies the judgment on the person of John Paul II that it avoids making directly. Since the canonical approach seems impractical, a metaphysical-theological judgment takes its place


10. In the appendix to this study we will briefly present the contents of that bull, together with some considerations on the concrete possibility of its use and application by the sedevacantists.

which likewise arrives at a rejection of the authority of John Paul II. This process seems unacceptable for a very precise reason. Canon law is nothing but the juridical and codified expression of laws and principles, with their roots in Revelation, inscribed in the very being of the Church, just as the Ten Commandments are not the result of God's arbitrary choices but necessary consequences of God's being who He is. Now the fundamental principle that makes the canonical path impractical is that no one can judge the First See (Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur). The Guerardians justly apply this principle in arguing for the necessity of canonical warnings, but then they trample on it by expressing a judgment on the Holy See, albeit formulated in non-juridical terms: every law has its loophole! It makes one think, if the comparison is permissible, of one of those rabbinical stratagems which made it possible to elude the suffocating pharisaical legislation on the Sabbath rest. For example, since it is prohibited to take medicine on the Sabbath, someone with a toothache could rinse out his mouth with a little vinegar on the condition that he immediately swallow it and not expel it. In this manner the vinegar could be assimilated to a food and thus its use-albeit per se clearly medicinal and not alimentary-could be legitimate. It is true that the Cassiciacum thesis says nothing about the personal faith of John Paul II, and in this sense does not judge him. But with regard to his persona as pope, it paradoxically arrives at an even more articulated distinction than rigorist sedevacantism, and in practice arrives at the same conclusions concerning the rejection of his authority and the Mass una cum (11) The simple "observation," from the moment it arrives at this conclusion, necessarily includes a real and true "judgment," albeit one made outside of


[The expression "una cum" occurs in the second paragraph of the Canon of the Mass, which begins "In primis". There the priest prays for the pope and his local bishop by name. When sedevacantists offer the Mass, they refuse to name the pope in order to show that they are not in communion ("una cum") with a heretic (at least materially) and his heresies. In their study of sedevacantism ("A Little Catechism of Sedevacantism," The Angelus, June, 200 1, p. 22), the Dominican Fathers of Avrille, France, explain that this interpretation of "una cum" is mistaken: "The expression 'una cum' in the Canon of the Mass does not mean that one affirms that he is in communion with the erroneous ideas of the pope, but rather that one wants to pray for the Church and for the pope, her visible head." Ed.]

any strictly canonical setting. In other words, the Cassiciacum thesis manifests the inadmissible use of procedures that, in their foundations, are equivalent to those of other sedevacantists which the thesis itself claims to refute.

If this were not true, then the same simple "observation" would spontaneously and simultaneously take place in every Catholic who rejects the Council, in noticing (as he actually does) the irreconcilability between the traditional magisterium and the current teachings. The fact that this does not happen is a first indication that the "observation" of the formal vacancy of the Apostolic See is in fact a real judgment on the person of John Paul II, the result of a precise and articulated theological odyssey. It took some fifteen years for Fr. Guerard. himself, a distinguished theologian who had rejected the Council and the Novus Ordo with a praiseworthy lucidity, to "notice" the formal vacancy of the Apostolic See and to understand that this fact should be publicly declared as a fundamental element of the profession of faith.

B. THE ATTITUDE UNDERLYING THE CASSICIACUM THESIS

The outlook underlying this approach is a form of legalism (or juridical positivism), which amounts to the dissociation of law from reality. It often happens that the application of juridical norms ends up having a metaphysical effect, determining and conditioning reality (at least in the mind of the subject) instead of operating objectively. In other words, what we see here is the inversion of metaphysical priority: the priority of being over law. This inversion makes it possible to put one's conscience at ease by evading determinate juridical norms (or rather interpreting them in accordance with one's own needs), since the law is no longer conceived of as having a direct connection with reality.

By consequence, from the point of view of the Cassiciacum thesis, the reality of the Church is always becoming less knowable in itself. It is imprisoned by and depends directly on the application of juridical norms. In attentively examining the Cassiciacum Thesis one has the impression that the Church continues to exist simply by virtue of the fact that total vacancy cannot be declared. John Paul IFS papacy is saved in its materiality, and thus the fact that he remains materially the pope assures the indefectibility of the Church – by contrast with rigorist sedevacantism – because of a juridical circumstance that prevents Guerardians or others from proceeding to such a declaration:

"According to all the 'complete sedevacantists' a private person would have the right to declare, also before the Church, that such a person is not the pope. Also this is not possible. If Francesco Ricossa declares that John Paul II is not the pope, he affirms something that is absolutely certain and proven, but this statement has no juridical value in the Church, because the speaker is a random individual. It is for this reason that John Paul II remains materially 'pope.'" (12)

Here the inversion of the juridical and metaphysical orders is manifest. In fact, starting from this principle, if John Paul II were not even materially pope (rigorist sedevacantism), it would be necessary to continue to maintain – against objective reality – that he is materially the pope. For whoever would declare this truth would remain a random individual lacking the authority to make this affirmation publicly before the Church. We should not forget that the existence of a material hierarchy – the result of this impossibility of making a declaration on the part of whoever would reject the authority of John Paul II – is indispensable, from the Guerardian perspective, not only to maintain canon law, but also in order to assure and guarantee the indefectibility of the Church over time. The very being of the Church, or rather of that which the Church ought to be, thus appears imprisoned and strictly dependent on the application of juridical norms.

It is a paradox that this juridical mentality is evident amongst the Guerardians who avoid the canonical argument for rejecting the authority of John Paul II. In our opinion this is owing to the fact that, in spite of this perfectly credible premise, these same men who reject the authority of John Paul II by another argument, pretend to demonstrate a priori that a future true pope will necessarily be canonically elected by legitimate (albeit only material) "cardinals." This eventuality would seem forced and indicative of some juridical scruple to anyone who rejects the authority of John Paul Il. God would then permit that the Church be without a true pope for forty years, but could not give one to the Church except by a "canonical" procedure, that is by means of material "cardinals" (or, in their terminology, "residential bishops”)


12. Sodalitium, no. 29, p. 50.

named by a material "pope" himself elected by material “cardinals," and so on. By such presuppositions Providence itself seems conditioned and bound by a norm of purely ecclesiastical administration, namely the election of the Roman Pontiff by the College of Cardinals. This forced argument, redolent both of legalism and of the inability to grasp the relationship between law and reality, is opportunely pointed out by the other faction of sedevacantists, albeit in a language somewhat different from our own:

"This whole apparatus has the sole purpose of conserving possible electors (of the normal kind) of a legitimate pope. As we explained in the preceding paragraph, these electors can be changed because of contingent facts, times, or places. Would one say that a new Church was created when, in the place of the clergy and people of Rome, the emperors of the Eastern Empire or of the Holy Roman Empire chose or directly imposed a supreme pontiff> Finally, it is important to point out that when the Church encounters difficult situations she does not confine herself to theological and juridical formalisms, but proceeds through quicker paths to their solution. If the Fathers gathered in the Council of Constance had disputed overmuch on the legitimacy of the three obediences, we would still have three popes." 13



C. THE PRIVATE CHARACTER OF THE JUDGMENT FORMULATED BY THE GUERARDIANS: CONTRADICTORY ELEMENTS

It should be noted all the same that the Guerardians, by contrast with the other sedevacantists, claim that their own judgment on John Paul II is strictly "private." This stipulation is sufficient, from the perspective of the Thesis, to demonstrate that in expressing their views about John Paul II they are not substituting themselves for the Church. This accusation they would themselves direct at the other sedevacantists in so far as they, by utilizing the juridical argument, recognize formal heresy on the part of the pope and so substitute themselves for those who should make canonical warnings. (14)

13. Il Nuovo Osservatore Cattolico, no. 16, pp. 10- 11.
14. Cf. Sodalitium, no. 49, p. 43.

This distinction is of no little importance, since a private judgment has no juridical value before the Church. This is the reason why rigorist sedevacantism at times leads to conclavism (when it takes upon itself completely the role of the Church), while Guerardism never does. All the same, as already observed, their conclusions are altogether equivalent as far as the rejection of the authority of John Paul II and of the Mass's una cum are concerned. One can thus legitimately ask, in view of these shared conclusions, whether the "private" quality of the Guerardian judgment be real or fictitious. This ambiguity is always clearly apparent whenever the Guerardians are called on to demonstrate that their judgment has validity for the Church (we will also show the reason this subject arises). This validity is expressed in terms of "ecclesial certainty”:

"We call ecclesial certainty a certainty that has force in the Church, on the basis of which one can act in her presence ("in faciem Ecclesiae"). This certainty is of the same order as our belonging to the Church, and can therefore be taken into consideration in an analysis of the state of the Church and the situation of its authority:

"whether because it derives from an act of ecclesiastical authority (whether it be magisterial, legislative, or jurisdictional);
"or because it has its foundation in the faith, as exercised on occasions of public and well-known events." (15)

It is remarkable how the value of an act of ecclesiastical authority – which has an intrinsic juridical and normative value – is thus assimilated to the simple exercise of the faith on the part of the faithful. It is true that profession of the faith also has a public value before the Church; from the point of view of the Cassiciacum thesis, however, this profession includes the rejection of the authority of John Paul Il. Thus the judgment that this approach aims to avoid comes in the back door, so to speak.
All the same, the fact that the Guerardians present their own judgment as, at least theoretically, private means that they cannot be canonically assimilated to the other sedevacantists (although they can be associated on the basis of their shared conclusions, as outlined above), and they are not at risk of electing a new pope on


15. H. Belmont, L'esercizio quotidiano della Fede, p. 18.


their own. Nevertheless this clarification, however necessary and dear to its exponents, binds them in a trap from which they cannot escape. Simply put, they will never know with absolute certainty (that is to say, certainty that is not founded on a simple private judgment) when we will have a true pope. We shall return to this very important point in the course of our reflections.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND FIRST CONCLUSIONS

Our outline discussion has sought to be as honest and clear as possible. We have sought to bring into evidence just a few of the difficulties intrinsic to sedevacantism. Nonetheless these elements seem sufficient to allow us to formulate some reflections and draw some preliminary conclusions. To begin with, although we have simplified our presentation to the greatest possible degree, without any pretension of being exhaustive, we have nonetheless touched on difficulties that cannot be the direct concern of every baptized person. Neither a normal catechetical training, however complete, nor the most attentive and supernatural sensus fidei of the faithful can be sufficient preparation to argue about the application of canon law, papal bulls that may have been abrogated, theological opinions or concepts such as canonical warnings, formal and material heresy, legitimate material succession and illegitimate material succession, subjective and objective intention, etc. But these concepts are unavoidable if one wishes to understand something of the problems that sedevacantism poses and then to orient one's own choices on this basis. Therefore a certain amount of theological baggage is necessary if one wishes to address these subjects. Without such training, all good will notwithstanding, it is very easy to fall into errors such as conclavism, or perhaps even to lose faith in the necessity of the Teaching Church and the indefectibility of the Church. In this respect, the sedevacantists' frequent accusations that others fail to understand their arguments is symptomatic. This claim is in fact most often made by the Guerardians in their conflicts with rigorist sedevacantists, who are sometimes portrayed as rather primitive sedevacantists.

In the second place it seems necessary to underline that the fundamental difficulty resides in the possibility of declaring the vacancy of the Apostolic See, or in the possibility of declaring before the Church that John Paul II is not the pope. We have already addressed this point in the preceding section and shall return to it in the course of our discussion. For the moment let us merely note that the Cassiciacum thesis (de facto and apart from its intentions) embodies and expresses the anxiety of this position, attempting a solution that is at the same time equivalent to the strict sedevacantist position and different from it, as already indicated.

Particularly significant in this regard would seem to be the clamorous odyssey of a man whom we do not hesitate to call the great apostle of rigorist sedevacantism, Fr. Noel Barbara, from that position to the Cassiciacum thesis. This historical event, while it brings grist to the mill of the Cassiciacum thesis, is further evidence that the difference between the two positions, which in the last analysis revolves around the above-mentioned difficulty, is of no little importance. After some fifteen years Fr. Barbara finally recognized that there is a substantial difference between formal and material heresy, and that the former stipulates that a higher authority admonish the pope in advance.

The two theses do not present themselves as simple opinions or attempts to explain the crisis of the papacy. They each represent positions that admit of no alternative point of view, and, at least in the current state of affairs, they present themselves as binding on the conscience as a condition for preserving the faith itself In practice this principle is translated into the categorical and coherent refusal to participate in Masses una cum (but at times also at other sedevacantist Masses, as observed above). These Masses are defined as sacrilegious and schismatic, since they represent communion with the errors of John Paul II, all declarations to the contrary notwithstanding.

Furthermore, the unprecedented character of the current crisis and, by consequence, the absence of historical precedents and of relevant magisterial and theological pronouncements demand a certain degree of prudence. Such prudence would seem to be lacking in those who would present a thesis, intended to resolve the current problem, as definitive and binding on the conscience.

In this light a further reflection may be worthwhile: any kind of difficulty appears infinitely more grave and dangerous within the context of a system that pretends to be apodictic and to resolve the problem of authority in radice, rather than within a set of guidelines of a prudential character. If in fact a believer follows a certain thesis, under the (sometimes induced) illusion that this definitively resolves the question at hand, and one day becomes aware of the presence of grave difficulties, there is the danger that he might abandon both the thesis and the faith itself At least for the Cassiciacum thesis, this danger probably stems from the difficulty of the thesis itself with its many links, which are perhaps not always immediately accessible and comprehensible to those who nevertheless choose to embrace it.


THE NECESSITY OF.A PRUDENTIAL POSITION

Both sedevacantist positions arise from the supposition that it is possible to resolve the question of the papacy in an apodictic way, and thus to govern one's own conduct in conformity with this solution. Thus any solution of a prudential character that aims to act on the basis of a sufficient number of elements, without contemplating a definitive solution to the problem of authority in the Church (the position of the Society of Saint Pius X belongs to this category), is a priori excluded and branded as pragmatism. Thus it should be observed that, even before substantial differences emerge, there is a difference of register between the stance of the Society and positions of a sedevacantist variety. The Society admits the possibility of discussion regarding whatever explanation it may advance with regard to the nature of John Paul II's authority. For sedevacantism, on the other hand, its fundamental positions on the authority of John Paul II represent absolute stipulations, certain and beyond discussion. In this light the markedly bitter attitude characteristic of sedevacantist polemics, whether ad extra or ad intra, is perfectly comprehensible. This generalization of course admits of exceptions, and is based on an overall evaluation of the history of sedevacantism.

From this difference of register naturally arises a fundamental gulf of comprehension between the prudential and the sedevacantist positions. This gulf creates manifest difficulties of discussion and debate.

At this point we shall proceed by way of a reductio ad absurdum, precisely in order to prove the necessity of a prudential approach. In so doing we shall make some of the sedevacantist stipulations our own and draw their rigorously logical conclusions. If an argument is correct in its premises it will necessarily be correct also in its final conclusions. Accordingly, our intention is not to demonstrate directly that John Paul II is the pope, rather than a pope materialiter or not the pope at all. Rather, we intend to show that, in the current situation, the path of prudence is the only one that is practical with absolute certainty. If the difficulties we have encountered up to now legitimize the use of this approach, we believe that the following observations make it necessary.

When we speak of a prudential solution we mean the attitude of Archbishop Lefebvre towards this most delicate question. We have already indicated something of the complexity of this problem, and other elements of this complexity will be signaled in the course of this study. In view of this complexity, and lacking as we do the authority to make a judgment on the person of John Paul II, it is our duty to continue to recognize him as Supreme Pontiff so long as this remains the common opinion of the Church throughout the world. Our assumption is based on this objective fact. It belongs solely to the Church herself, for example in the person of a future pope, to give definite clarity to the problems relative to the authority of John Paul II and its exercise. Paradoxically, a first confirmation-albeit an indirect one-of the intrinsic value of this position comes from sedevacantist circles themselves. In order to argue against this position it seems necessary from the outset to conceal its prudential character by presenting it in a grotesque caricature. "As perfect Gallicans, they say that they are attached to the See of Peter, but reject the doctrine of Peter (of him whom they recognize as Peter), making themselves the picture of schismatics (who do not submit to the pope) and of heretics (who reject the magisterium of the Church)." (16)Unfortunately expressions of this kind are common in sedevacantist publications; such expressions are the main reason for the impossibility of a calm analysis of the question. They stem, in our opinion, not only from a good dose of superficiality (precisely where they are accustomed to make the most subtle theological distinctions), but also from a univocal and ideological reading of the elements of a prudential position. On the basis of these presuppositions it is inevitable that one will interpret as "contradictory" and "ambiguous" the attitude of someone who, while also recognizing certain

16. Sodalitium, no. 36, P. 76.

difficulties, does not resolve them on the basis of the interlocutor's prejudices.

Finally, let us observe that the refusal - or the inability - to take account of the prudential character of the position of the Society of Saint Pius X and thus to recognize all the elements of which it is composed, has given rise, in sedevacantist circles, to wildly discordant and sometimes diametrically opposed interpretations of Archbishop Lefebvre's attitude. Therefore by necessity every expression or statement of the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X is immediately taken out of its prudential context and reinterpreted on the basis of the absolute prejudices and categories of thought characteristic of sedevacantism. His statements are thus put to use in the service of contingent necessities. In this way sedevacantist writings can depict an Archbishop Lefebvre who embraces the whole gamut of possible positions at the same time, from the most underhanded sedevacantism to the most acerbic anti-sedevacantism. (17)

Thus even today, in a note that aims to clarify terms, the position of the Society of Saint Pius X is read and presented in the following manner: "John Paul II is the pope if he teaches what is orthodox, and is not if he teaches heresy." (18)


17. Cf. Ricossa Risposta, pp. 4, 25.
18. Sodalitium no. 55, P. 58.


Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:15 am
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New post Commentary on the Preface
Quote:
It was not our intention to enter this polemical terrain, since we have no desire to enter into a vortex of responses to responses leading nowhere.


Nowhere means the sedevacantist conclusion.

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Accordingly, we have always tried to avoid treating the subject directly


"We're afraid that we'll end up proving the sede vacantist thesis correct, and we just could not do that."


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refusing to engage in a vain and futile polemic


"We call it vain because we might end up refuting ourselves, or making ourselves look totally unintellegint and simply denying the unavoidable truth if we really buckle down and tackle the issue."

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and refusing to shift the problem onto the universal plane of abstract ideas. This was always the prudential attitude of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Society of Saint Pius X.


"sedevacantism just can't be right, so, well just act like its not even a borderline possibility and leave it at that."

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I insist on the nature of this attitude, since it seems to me that it has not always been understood and recognized.


"It's just gotta be that way, you know, we just can't come in and consider the sedevacantist position, we simply could not accept that, so we won't admit it to the realm of possibility here by going to bat with it."

Quote:

Faced with the mystery that at present envelops the Church, confronted with a crisis situation to which no one can furnish an apodictic and completely satisfying theological explanation


In other words: "there is no really true theological solution to the problem we face, there is no practical solution that we think is acceptable, because sedevacantism is simply not acceptable, so we'll just say that its unsatisfactory.

Quote:
the only position truly in conformity with the Faith, the Creed, and Catholic doctrine, is to practice the virtue of prudence - a supernatural virtue which applies universal principles to concrete and particular situations.


"So we'll reject and ignore the inevitable truth and call it prudence, because we don't want to end up in a tight spot on what to think and do. We'll just stay silent and hope it all works out."

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We have never denied that an extremely grave problem has existed in the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council: our position is well known. Nor did Archbishop Lefebvre dodge the question of the pope; on the contrary, he often posed questions, both publicly and privately, regarding papal legitimacy - this is also well known. But he never considered himself authorized to reach a conclusion, leaving judgment in this matter to the Church or a future pope.


"Now, our founder did some speculations in his time, but he did not feel that he was capable of reaching a definite conclusion on the matter, we can't say 2+2=4, because we don't think that we're authorized to do that, we must just lie low until some authority can come along and help us out, we're sheep in a ditch, and we're not gonna try to work a way out, we'll just wait and see what happens."

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“...Nestorius... this man was enthroned in the Chair of Constantinople... on Christmas Day 428, Nestorius... pronounced from the Episcopal pulpit the blasphemous words: ‘Mary did not bring forth God; her Son was only a man, the instrument of the Divinity.’ ...Eusebius, a simple layman, rose to give expression to the general indignation, and protested against this impiety. Soon a more explicit protest was drawn up and disseminated in the name of the members of this grief stricken Church, launching an anathema against anyone who should dare to say: ‘The Only-begotten Son of the Father and the Son of Mary are different persons.’ This generous attitude was the safeguard of Byzantium, and won the praise of popes and councils. When the shepherd becomes a wolf, the first duty of the flock is to defend itself.
...This principle is the same whether it is a questions of faith or conduct, doctrine or morals. ...it may happen that some pastors keep silence for one reason or another in circumstances when religion itself is at stake. The true children of Holy Church at such times are those who walk by the light of their baptism, not the cowardly souls who under the specious pretext of submission to the powers that be, who lower their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable."
(Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 4, p. 379)


According to our man above, we should just wait and see what a superior says before taking stock of the situation and doing what we know we should do.

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Surely God has more mercy on the simple, who lack the capacity to protect themselves from error and evil, than on the learned. The light of faith and hope is enough for the simple to recognize the path of fidelity to the Church, without feeling the need of elaborate and subtle theories in order to delude themselves that they are resolving the mystery of the Church.


In other words: "Since we don't have the guts to actually make up our minds here but want to discredit those who do, we're just gonna say that there is no answer to the problem that we have in the Church nowadays. God has given us a problem with no acceptable solution."

I think this really needs no words to express the absurdity of what is being said here.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:24 pm
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New post Commentary on "The Origins of sedevacantism"
John Lane wrote:

PART ONE

A COMMON POINT OF DEPARTURE:

REJECTION OF THE COUNCIL

Those who opposed and continued to oppose the Council found themselves faced with a problem that still persists: in what terms to relate to the official hierarchy and to him whom Christendom recognizes as a legitimate pope for all intents and purposes. How was it possible for a Catholic to be obliged over a period of time to oppose a pope in the name of the Catholic faith, of which the pope himself is the guarantee?


By which I'm sure he means the papacy, or the seat, or, the authority of the Chair of Peter is the guarantee.

Quote:
THE ORIGINS OF SEDEVACANTISM

Faced with this fundamental problem, the great majority of bishops who had fought against the conciliar reforms submitted, and, in some cases perhaps dying of heartbreak, accepted the reforms in the "spirit of obedience" (sometimes mixed with a smattering of expediency and weakness).


Obedience to the powers that be, and not the doctrine of Christ, “If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:9) In other words, there were some bishops who did not accept this command. Why is this something of contention?

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"It is usually regular, no doubt, for the doctrine to descend from the bishops to the faithful, and those who are subject in the faith are not to judge their superiors. In the treasure of revelation there are essential doctrines which all Christians are bound to know and defend. This principle is the same whether it is a questions of faith or conduct, doctrine or morals. ... it may happen that some pastors keep silence for one reason or another in circumstances when religion itself is at stake. The true children of Holy Church at such times are those who walk by the light of their baptism, not the cowardly souls who under the specious pretext of submission to the powers that be, who lower their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable." (Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 4, p. 379)


Gueranger here states that there are those pastors who hold their peace when a doctrine other than that which has been recieved is promulgated, or, that they should themselves promulgate it. He says that the true Children of Holy Church are those who walk by the light of their baptism and defend the faith that they have recieved, and do not submit to the powers that are subverting it.


If Paul VI was not the pope, where indeed was the Church?

Hold on a sec, the Pope does not constitute the Chuch, at least not as I've been told, as far as I know he is the vicar of the head of it, he represents its head, if the representative is not here for us to hear, we still have a head, and a Church, because the Church is the body of Christ, and its head is Jesus Christ, not a physical hierarchy, which is subject to defections, and to the problem of errors, being men, but the head of which, when there is one, is not sop subject, but, nevertheless if it should happen that the head should do something to violate his office, he should lose that office, and all that it entails, just as if a layman rejects an article of faith, he loses his claim to that article of faith, and the faith from which this article proceeds, so the official, when he rejects his office loses his claim to the authority of that office, and the institution over which that office is designated. When a Pope dies, the Church still exists, do we ask his question when a pope dies? Do we question the existence of our Church when the representative of its head is no longer present? No, we do not, and so, this man's objection here has no real practicality, for someone who seems to be criticizing based on practicalities.


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If Paul VI was not the pope, whence would the Church be "reborn"?


a non sequitur, just because there is no pope does not mean that there is no Church, the Church is not reborn when a new pope is elected.

Who would one day be able to elect a true pope?

This is a logical conclusion of the above non-sequitur, we're getting close to a red-herring.

This has no bearing on the truth of a problem, we don't just say that there is no equation because we don't know the answer to it, we don't deny the car when we run out of gas a hundred miles from a gas station, we don't deny the sun when the climate is hot.


If Paul VI was not the pope, who could formally declare this fact before the Christian world, which continued to recognize him as the true pope?

A truth is a truth, whether people know it or not. gravity affects us whether we know it or not, whether the Christian world knows there is a crisis or not does not negate the problem.

At stake was, and remains, the visibility of the Church and her continuity over time (indefectibility), constitutive and indispensable elements for the very existence of the Catholic Church.

While I don't have a really plausible answer to that one, I can ask a question that might help add some clarity, where was the Church during the Arian Crisis, or during the first 80 years of its existence, and a comment that even when there is no pope visible to the world, such as when one kicks the bucket, the Church still exists, and is our present situation, the pope died, and a valid pope has not as far as is known been appointed.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:35 pm
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New post Reply to the Grand Inquisitor
Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.

However, I really do not think there is a counter-corollary which says something like, "If Peter is not, there is no Church."

I, too, have found several points which this Italian has brought up in that part of his book quoted by Mr.Lane with which I would argue.

In addition, I find the overall tone of the quote to be perjorative and judgmental. It most certainly, despite his early protests, is not particulary objective.

I think his dissection of the Cassiacum Thesis is, for the most part, accurate.

But, I also think his discussion of sedevacantism is, at best, inaccurate.

Reminder: I am not a sedevacantist, as the word is understood on this forum.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:15 pm
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New post An attempted response to "Two attempted responses"
TWO ATTEMPTED RESPONSES TO THESE DIFFICULTIES

A. CONCLAVISM
Quote:
The first response was the most spontaneous, but also the most radical and, in a certain sense, the most logical. If the true Catholics remaining in the world could declare the See vacant, breaking every connection with Paul VI, these same people would also have the power and indeed the obligation to give the Church a true pope.


Not so, but first of all, it is not "radical" to state a fact, even if the fact is more serious than some portray. Second, like those faithful of constantinople cited earlier in this response, we are simply stating a fact, a fact on which the whole Church has always and everywhere agreed, and even the councils have praised the behaviour of those faithful Catholics who in the keeping of their baptism denounced heresy and the heretic who promoted it. But we do not, however, like those faithful of Constantinople, presume to take matters into our own hands by appointing a pope all on our own. This statement above is acting under a false premise, the premise that a sedevacantist is one who repudiates the man ruling from Rome. The fact of what a sedevacantist is is what we are called, sede vacante, it means "with the seat being vacant", so, in essence we are those who believe that the seat is vacant, and in this case that seat is the seat of Peter, of Rome. In truth, we believe that the Chair of Peter is currently vacant, not that it is occupied - by someone whom we presume to elect on our own - which is the beliefs of those who we call "conclavist".

Quote:
Thus they could guarantee her visibility, indefectibility over time, and perennial magisterium in conformity with apostolic teachings. On the basis of this assumption the idea spontaneously arose of calling a conclave to elect a true pope. If this intuition had its own logic and began with the noble and sincere intention of saving the Church, a surfeit of candidates and the lack of any mandated agreement on the terms of election led to the creation of over twenty "popes" in the world. Because of deaths and recent elections it is impossible to present a complete and up-to-date list; we limit ourselves to mentioning five such “popes” of American nationality:

1) PETER II, in the world Chester Olszewski (there are however four other "Popes" who have chosen the suggestive name of Peter II);

2) PIUS XIII, Lucien Pulvermacher, elected in 1998;

3) ADRIAN VII, Francis Konrad Schuckardt, elected in 1984;

4) MICHAEL 1, David Bawden, elected in 1990.

Well known in Europe is the case of Palmar. in Spain, where Clemente Dominguez y Gomez was elected "pope" in 1978 under the name GREGORY XVII.


Here we have a strawman argument. Fr. Michel Simoulin is here using a fringe group to describe a section of sedevacantists, which is putting words in our mouths, and is not what we say or have done. This is a common tactic of anti-sedevacantists, including Dr. Sungenis, to point the audience to a fringe-group and then say to the audience "see what sedevacantists are, and what they are doing. They think that they can and do have the authority and guidance to elect their own popes, guys who live in their grand-mothers' basement, guys who are centered at some hardware store, look at these fellas, these are what sedevacantists, are, how can we look at this and say 'that is the pope of the Roman Catholic Church'. They are nothing of the sort!" This is the tactic of men who do not know what a sedevacantist is in the first place, and this is demonstrated by their insistence on these kinds of strawmen, like what we heard from Dr. Sungenis even after it was disclaimed by Mr. Lane, he did this for two reasons: he used it as a strawman so that he could patsy us all for these kinds of fools who are not really legitimate in any of their doings, and two as a red-herring to go down the road of these kinds of examples instead of facing up to the facts. Therefore we note the fallacy of this kind of argument, and its practicality on our real live cases.

Quote:
At the present time there are also others who, preferring the solution of a conclave but not recognizing any of the currently elected popes, are awaiting conditions favorable to proceeding to a new conclave. If we speak of "conclavist sedevacantisrn" it is not with the goal of ridiculing the whole of the sedevacantist world, but, on the contrary. to do justice to those sedevacantists who are not conclavists. It would not be fair to assimilate these latter to such aberrations. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to recognize the rigorous and implacable logic that led to the election of these "popes." In regard to this thorny problem a prominent exponent of the Cassiciacum (1) argument (which we will soon discuss) has written:

Conclavism, or rather the theoretical position and practice of those who maintain that, in the current situation of vacancy of the Apostolic See, private persons can or ought to proceed to a

1. [Cassiciacum is the name of the place to which St. Augustine and some of his friends withdrew for study and prayer after his baptism. In the late 1970's, Fr. Guerard. des Lauriers, O.P., together with a group of like-minded priests, founded a review called Les Cahiers de Cassiciacum to defend the sedevacantist position. The "Cassiciacum Thesis" is the name given to the theory that the pope is pope materialiter but not formaliter. Ed.]

conclave to elect a legitimate Pontiff---. is in fact the only solution from a completely sedevacantist point of view ....


He says that this is what he is not doing, but he insists on ridiculing our logic with the strawman examples of conclavists.


Quote:
The rigorist sedevacantists cannot defend the indefectibility of the Church in a manner consistent with faith or common sense. How is it possible that the Church still exists, as Jesus Christ constituted it, if all the hierarchy has completely and definitively vanished?


First of all, his first claim is not demonstrated sufficiently, secondly, if this man is right, then there was no arian Crisis, because the majority of the hierarchy did defect from the Catholic Church, just as we claim is happening now. Another point I might raise about this is that he says that we claim that all of the hierarchy is vanished, I might point out that there are some clerics of the hierarchy whom we do recognize as being Catholic, so his term "all" simply does not apply.



Quote:
The Cassiciacum thesis gives a difficult but satisfactory response to this objection. Rigorist sedevacantism does not give such a response: it invokes mystery ... the coming end of the world (?), the death or the end of the Church as a transition to another reality (the reign of antichrist, the millennial reign of Christ, the spiritual Church of the abandoned faithful, etc.) or, rejecting the apostolicity of the Church, it proceeds to the uncanonical election of a burlesque "pope" ("conclavism") promptly forgotten by everybody, his own "electors" included. (2)


Here we go again with out conclavist strawman.
Quote:
This harsh judgment, while redolent of the climate peculiar to the internal polemics of the sedevacantist world, nevertheless illustrates the logic that, beginning from a pure and simple sedevacantism, has led and continues to lead directly to conclavism


We knew that he'd get to this some time or other, he's using this to say that this is what we are, what we believe and what we will become sooner or later, but this is putting words in our mouths again, neither have we done any of the things that he is saying, that we will eventually elect some poor fella as the successor of St. Peter, nor is it very likely. This is the whole point of his strawman, he's built it up, and now he's knocking it down, I hope he's having fun in his little field destroying all those poor strawmen.


Quote:
In fact, from the moment that one claims the right and the obligation to declare before the Church that a pope is in reality not the pope, logic dictates that one has also the right and the obligation to elect one.


A non sequitur now, that does not follow. Nor is this assertion even substantiated via Church History, such as the situation that we've described, such as the Arian and Nestorian heresies, the faithful did not offer a new priest or bishop to succeed Nestorius, but they did state a fact - that Nestorius no longer held the See of Constantinople.


Quote:
On this account it seems logically comprehensible that sedevacantism should result in conclavism.


According to this man's fallacious logic.

Quote:
The large number of popes elected, together with the continuing persistence of such intentions, obliges us to take this interpretation into serious consideration.


Again, he's making reference to that poor strawman that destroyed, and patsying honest sedevacantists for that poor strawman. This man's whole treatise is simply fallacious.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:34 pm
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New post Re: Commentary on the Preface
Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I think this really needs no words to express the absurdity of what is being said here.


Well, clearly Fr. Simoulin is somewhere near fifty IQ points above you, based upon this "analysis" of his work, and he has plenty to teach you about both justice and charity.

The SSPX priests do indeed think that the mystery of the present crisis has not been solved, and they really do honestly see problems with the various sedevacantist theories that have been presented so far, and they really do honestly regard the fruit of "sedevacantism" as generally disedifying. If you knew a few of them well you'd not doubt their honesty and sincerity; if you knew more theology perhaps you'd lose some of that superiority towards men who clearly are your superiors.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:34 pm
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The core problem with the Guerardians is their claim, together with the SSPX, that nobody can know a heretic with certainty until canonical warnings have been issued. This ipse dixit, for which the authorities provide no support, and which several authors I have seen explicitly teach against, is a mystery. Where did it come from, and why do intelligent and learned men hold it? Ricossa, Belmont, and Sanborn are as smart and learned as any priests in the world, I would think - yet they all hold this Guerardian theory.

If nothing else, Providence has ensured that "total" sedevacantists have the example of the Guerardians to keep us from being too harsh on those with whom we differ. For the Guerardians are both our allies and our worst problem, theologically and even politically.

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Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:16 pm
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Grand Inquisitor,

You wrote a very important point.

"A truth is a truth, whether people know it or not."

In other words the truth is the truth and it cannot change
no matter what people even a majority of the people think.
This may also apply the the discussion about "universal acceptance"
in the topic "Interesting confirmation on Cardinal Siri's 1958"

Archbishop Lefebvre made a statement in accordance with Catholic Truth when he
said:

Quote:
Archbishop Lefebvre on June 29, 1976
“the Conciliar Church is a schismatic Church, because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship; all already condemned by the Church in many a document, official and definitive. This Conciliar Church is schismatic, because it has taken as a basis for its updating, principles opposed to those of the Catholic Church, such as the new concept of the Mass expressed in numbers 5 of the Preface to (the decree) Missale Romanum and 7 of its first chapter, which gives the assembly a priestly role that it cannot exercise; such likewise as the natural — which is to say divine — right of every person and of every group of persons to religious freedom. This right to religious freedom is blasphemous, for it attributes to God purposes that destroy His Majesty, His Glory, His Kingship. This right implies freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and all the Masonic freedoms. The Church that affirms such errors is at once schismatic and heretical. This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic. To whatever extent Pope, bishops, priests or faithful adhere to this new Church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church.”



Archbishop Lefebvre echoes what others have said that what claims to be the Catholic Church
is not it is a new church, a false church, a counterfeit church.

And even if most of the people in the world believe it is the true church.

Well the Real Truth cannot be changed by ignorance.

I think this is perhaps a core issue of this problem that most people think
the false church is real. And Archbishop Lefebvre warned us:

Quote:
August 29, 1987 letter by Archbishop Lefebvre, Fidelity magazine, October 1992
"The See of Peter and posts of authority in Rome being occupied by Antichrists, the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord is being rapidly carried out even with His Mystical Body here below"


And Archbishop Lefebvre also told us this was being done and perhaps one the main reasons he consecrated the four bishops of the SSPX.

Quote:
The Angelus, July 1988, Volume XI, Number 7
“You well know, my dear brethren, that there can be no priests without bishops . When God calls me—no doubt this will be before long—from whom would these seminarians receive the Sacrament of Orders? From conciliar bishops, who, due to their doubtful intentions, confer doubtful sacraments?”


And perhaps certain actions like Assisi made clearer the eclipse by the false church and Archbishop Lefebvre responded:

Quote:
The Angelus, July 1986, Volume IX, Number 7

I don't think it has ever happened in the history of the Church, the man seated in the chair of Peter partaking in the worship of false gods. ...

What conclusion must we draw in a few months if we are confronted by these repeated acts of partaking in false worship? I don't know. I wonder. But I think the Pope can do nothing worse than call together a meeting of all religions, when we know there is only one true religion and all other religions belong to the devil. So perhaps after this famous meeting of Assisi, perhaps we must say that the Pope is a heretic, is apostate. Now I don't wish yet to say it formally and solemnly, but it seems at first sight that it is impossible for a Pope to be publicly and formally heretical. Our Lord has promised to be with him, to keep his faith, to keep him in the Faith—how can he at the same time be a public heretic and virtually apostatize? So it is possible we may be obliged to believe this pope is not pope.


John 18:38 Pilate saith to him: What is truth?

Earlier in John 8 Jesus tells us ... 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

And Our Lord makes it even clearer when he states in John 14:6:
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

Archbishop Lefebvre tells us...

Quote:
Angelus, July 1986, Volume IX, Number 7
“At Vatican II we saw a conspiracy between churchmen and freemasons, and now the Pope, Cardinals and nearly all Bishops accept man's independence of conscience, the principle of religious liberty and its consequence, the ecumenism whereby all religions are good. This is absolutely against Jesus Christ Who taught us He is the door of heaven, and there is no other way to get into heaven.”


Imagine how hard these words were for Archbishop Lefebvre because they indicate
a Pope involved in ecumenism "absolutely against Jesus Christ".

And Archbishop Lefebvre tells us "The See of Peter and posts of authority in Rome being occupied by Antichrists" and antichrist means antiTruth.

It seem that many Traditional Catholics are struggling with the issue that Archbishop Lefebvre
was concerning the Church and the Pope. This struggle for the Truth needs to be accompanied
with a graceful charity for our fellow Catholics who do not understand or accept the sede vacantist
position.

In time we shall all know the Truth.


Sat Oct 20, 2007 3:21 pm
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oremus wrote:
Grand Inquisitor,

You wrote a very important point.

"A truth is a truth, whether people know it or not."

In other words the truth is the truth and it cannot change no matter what people even a majority of the people think.
This may also apply the the discussion about "universal acceptance" in the topic "Interesting confirmation on Cardinal Siri's 1958"


Yes, I agree, truth is truth, no matter what anybody thinks.

But the universal acceptance of a pope is part of the relevant truth. It's a component part of the object we are trying to determine. This is because the Church is a visible society of those who, firstly and amongst other things, profess the true Faith outwardly. If the whole Church could adhere to a false pontiff, she would be in an essentially defective state, losing her visible unity and failing in her capacity for knowing things she must by her nature know infallibly. So, we are not, I must emphasise, speaking about "majority opinion" or indeed any kind of opinion, as if human views could alter truth. We are talking about the nature of the Church.

To see this an analogy may assist. The whole Church cannot profess a false faith either. Now, it may happen that many, or even most, fall away and profess a false faith - but all cannot do so. Otherwise the Church would fail, which is impossible. Once again, this has nothing to do with opinion - whatever people think about it, the Faith remains the same.

So it is with the Roman Pontiff. Any given man either is or is not the Roman Pontiff. Opinions won't change that truth. But it is also true that if the whole Church adheres peacefully to him, he is indeed in truth the Roman Pontiff, because she is infallible in identifying him.

In the case of the election of John XXIII, there are grounds for looking into the manner in which it was conducted to see if perhaps it was irregular. Odd things happened which lead to reasonable suspicion by intelligent people. If we were to discover that the election was in fact irregular, then we would also discover that some significant body of Catholics did not really adhere to John XXIII as pope. The two truths would necessarily coincide. At present the evidence available indicates that no such significant body existed. It may have existed, but it is not in evidence. Therefore the only rational view is that it did not exist. Research may prove this to be false, but it has not yet done so. What is in evidence at present is that the whole Church adhered peacefully to John XXIII as pope. Ergo, he was pope.

Does this help to clarify things?

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Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:27 am
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New post Re: Criticism of my commentary
John Lane wrote:
Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I think this really needs no words to express the absurdity of what is being said here.


Well, clearly Fr. Simoulin is somewhere near fifty IQ points above you, based upon this "analysis" of his work, and he has plenty to teach you about both justice and charity.


It's not being uncharitable to criticize someone's public opinions, for example, if I criticize Romney's political positions, it's not being uncharitable; it's not unjust to criticize something put forth in the public fora, the instant something is published in the public fora it is open to such, but that does not mean that it is unjust, neither have I condemned this priest, merely his opinions, thus, injustice has not presented itself in my commentary on his article.
Another thing, "oh, this guy is educated, and I don't think you are qualified to criticize his opinions", is simply a ridiculous thing to assert, your insistence that this article is accurate is what surprises me, I find these arguments totally untenable, and simply preposterous, considering that they have, for the most part, been nothing but fringe arguments against sedevacantists based on conclavism and the Cassiciacum thesis, and not, rather, a true critical look at what sedevacantism really is.

Quote:
The SSPX priests do indeed think that the mystery of the present crisis has not been solved


I know, and that is simply their insistence on strattling the fence, they are afraid to take their positions seriously, and to simply and honestly look at the issues in faith, they can not see past their loyalty to a system, and not what the Church really is and believes. Obedience is a virtue, but not when the obedience leads to a denial of the faith, which the novus ordo and its influence does, see the commentary on Nestorius above, and loyalty to it is an accessory to its sin, just as loyalty to anything that is an affront to God, when one can see it, is.

Quote:
They really do honestly see problems with the various sedevacantist theories that have been presented so far, and they really do honestly regard the fruit of "sedevacantism" as generally disedifying.


I know they see problems, and there are many, but their generalizations, especially when they know better, are not helpful, especially when they position a fringe group as the majority, or as the ends of it. If they see it as disedifying, then that is their opinion, but if they are going to condemn Catholics based on that opinion, they had better be able to justify it - well enough to call one a schismatic and on the road to Hell. The issue is not a silly matter that anyone can just up and decide "well, I don't like their position, and I don't think that it has good fruits and is of God, and so it is wrong and potentially schismatic" and then just tell others that that is definitely the case, without really good reasons.

Quote:
If you knew a few of them well you'd not doubt their honesty and sincerity


I'm judging the argument here, not the individual, but I do think that the argument is a bit dishonest, 'cause no one of good will can say some of that in good conscience, at least no someone who knows the topic well enough to do such a treatise like this on it; but at present, I am not going to make a judgment about this priest or the SSPX and their honesty, but simply their arguments, which are open to criticism.



Quote:
if you knew more theology perhaps you'd lose some of that superiority towards men who clearly are your superiors.


I am commenting on objections to sedevacantism, so what is the deal with the "you cannot judge your superiors" mentality, as if that was what is here transpiring? I am speaking of these objections, not this man and his spirituality, which is God's job to do, and I don't reserve that right to usurp that. So let's leave my iq, and my credentials out of it, and keep on the topic, shall we?

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:50 am
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John Lane wrote:
oremus wrote:
Grand Inquisitor,

You wrote a very important point.

"A truth is a truth, whether people know it or not."

In other words the truth is the truth and it cannot change no matter what people even a majority of the people think.
This may also apply the the discussion about "universal acceptance" in the topic "Interesting confirmation on Cardinal Siri's 1958"


Yes, I agree, truth is truth, no matter what anybody thinks.


Is that really so, John? If Roncalli was not Pope, and everybody thought he was, and fully consented, would he actually be pope? would that office be conferred him because the world accept it as true?




Quote:
But the universal acceptance of a pope is part of the relevant truth. It's a component part of the object we are trying to determine. This is because the Church is a visible society of those who, firstly and amongst other things, profess the true Faith outwardly. If the whole Church could adhere to a false pontiff, she would be in an essentially defective state, losing her visible unity and failing in her capacity for knowing things she must by her nature know infallibly. So, we are not, I must emphasise, speaking about "majority opinion" or indeed any kind of opinion, as if human views could alter truth. We are talking about the nature of the Church.


So, heresy is somehow now removed, because a lot of people don't know of its existence, from a man's heart, interesting opinion John, is it cited anywhere?

Philosophization: The Church is the body of Christ, it can see something that is not true as true by human faith, but as long as it has its divine faith in God's revealed truths, and no heresy and corruption were introduced, then I would postulate, that, like the Great Western Schism, the Church could still be the Church, and the truth of the matter could later be found.

That is simply a speculation, however, and is likely wrong, but simply positioned as a "what if".

Quote:
To see this an analogy may assist. The whole Church cannot profess a false faith either. Now, it may happen that many, or even most, fall away and profess a false faith - but all cannot do so.


But is it possible that they might think that someone is a Catholic, when someone is not, or a bishop of one who is not, that is not dogmatic, I don't think, but it would simply be a human error on the part of the human side of persons in the Church. That does not, as far as I know, make a false doctrine, or an error on a matter of faith to be adhered to by the faithful, but simply a loyalty to a pastor who may not be a pastor, just as a loyalty to a prince who loses the faith, or somehow ceased to be the ruling prince, even in the ignorance of the people, for a time.

Quote:
Otherwise the Church would fail, which is impossible.


I don't know if that principle so applies with orders discernment temporally, and without regard to faith and morals.

Quote:
Once again, this has nothing to do with opinion - whatever people think about it, the Faith remains the same.

So it is with the Roman Pontiff. Any given man either is or is not the Roman Pontiff.


Bingo.


Quote:
Opinions won't change that truth.


My point exactly.

Quote:
But it is also true that if the whole Church adheres peacefully to him, he is indeed in truth the Roman Pontiff, because she is infallible in identifying him.


I've never seen that anywhere before, would you, for the satisfaction of my curiosity, provide a reference for that? Thank you sir in advance.

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:07 am
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New post Re: Criticism of my commentary
Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I am commenting on objections to sedevacantism, so what is the deal with the "you cannot judge your superiors" mentality, as if that was what is here transpiring? I am speaking of these objections, not this man and his spirituality, which is God's job to do, and I don't reserve that right to usurp that. So let's leave my iq, and my credentials out of it, and keep on the topic, shall we?


Your first post above was nothing but sarcasm - comment after comment, dripping with sarcasm, and displying (ironically) zero understanding of what the priests were saying. I invite you to review it and see how you'd like your own work subjected to that kind of treatment. You certainly lowered the tone of the forum.

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Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I've never seen that anywhere before, would you, for the satisfaction of my curiosity, provide a reference for that? Thank you sir in advance.


Did you not read this thread? http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... =6128#6128

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:41 am
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Grand Inquisitor wrote:
That is simply a speculation, however, and is likely wrong, but simply positioned as a "what if".


Really, you don't give these things anywhere near the serious consideration that they deserve.

Your general spirit of sarcasm and hostility to men who know infinitely more theology than you is very difficult to reconcile with your own professed ignorance. You need to decide whether you're a simple soul who doesn't know much, or an expert who can't understand why these priests don't "get it". But flipping between the two positions is not convincing.

Does that help you see where I'm coming from? Yes, yes, no, no.

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:48 am
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Quote:
So it is with the Roman Pontiff. Any given man either is or is not the Roman Pontiff. Opinions won't change that truth. But it is also true that if the whole Church adheres peacefully to him, he is indeed in truth the Roman Pontiff, because she is infallible in identifying him.

In the case of the election of John XXIII, there are grounds for looking into the manner in which it was conducted to see if perhaps it was irregular. Odd things happened which lead to reasonable suspicion by intelligent people. If we were to discover that the election was in fact irregular, then we would also discover that some significant body of Catholics did not really adhere to John XXIII as pope. The two truths would necessarily coincide. At present the evidence available indicates that no such significant body existed. It may have existed, but it is not in evidence. Therefore the only rational view is that it did not exist. Research may prove this to be false, but it has not yet done so. What is in evidence at present is that the whole Church adhered peacefully to John XXIII as pope. Ergo, he was pope.

Does this help to clarify things?


John Lane,

Yes and no and I appreciate the time you take to reply and answer all of our
questions especially with your family's new member.

I understand what you are saying about John XXIII and evidence concerning
whether or not he was pope.

I do not yet understand how if the majority (if not most) of the people were fooled
and thus do not know the truth then how could they "in truth" be peacefully adhering to
a pope?

My I understanding from what you wrote is that:

"she (the Church) is infallible in identifying him (the Pope)
and thus they cannot be fooled into adhering to a false pope.

I am not sure if my understanding is correct or not. But I am guessing we
are back to the question of numbers ... how many "unfooled" people in the Church
are assured by this infallibility in adhering to a pope.


Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:27 pm
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Pax Christi !

This discussion has been rather interesting. While at this point in time I doubt it really matters IF John XXIII was a true pope or not. However, the Catholic principles involved do matter greatly, and John Lane has reminded us of them quite clearly.

Example: Public heresy as opposed to private ( occult). This is KEY to all our efforts with spreading the True Faith. How many times in this sad age do we hear someone accuse a traditional priest of being a "heretic"? With of course, when questioned the only reasons amount to " he does not agree with me 100% on a rigid interpretation" of laws, and principles, that the layman accuser is not competent with anyway....

The next point- the adherence of the Church to John XXIII. At the 10,000 foot level, I had always considered John 23rd a non-pope, but I must say, given the presentation using correct principles it does appear he was pope.

Another observable fact: He called a council of which 2500 of the worlds bishops accepted this call and ventured to Rome. None declined under the grounds he was not a true pope. The few bishops that did not attended were prevented from attending by health, or secular difficulties.

From this discussion we are all reminded of the importance of Prudence, coupled with the reasoned application of Catholic Principles, Law and Theology.

In Xto,
Vincent


Last edited by Vince Sheridan on Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:59 pm
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New post The council by Vince Sheridan
Vince Sheridan wrote:
Example: Public heresy as opposed to private ( occult). This is KEY to all our efforts with spreading the True Faith. How many times in this sad age do we hear someone accuse a traditional priest of being a "heretic"? With or course, when questioned the only reasons amount to " he does not agree with me 100% on a rigid interpretation" of laws, and principles that the layman accuser is not competent with anyway....


I could not agree more with you on this! It is one of my pet peeves! The rigid layman who accuses those who don't agree 100% with him on any issue of heresy. As I have repeatedly stated, NONE of us has either the competence in law or before God, nor the authority to ever say such a thing. At the very least it is a terrible sin against charity, not to even mention, pride.

Quote:
The next point- the adherence of the Church to John XXIII. At the 10,000 foot level, I had always considered John 23rd a non-pope, but I must say, given the presentation using correct principles it does appear he was pope.

Another observable fact: He called a council of which 2500 of the worlds bishops accepted this call and ventured to Rome. None declined under the grounds he was not a true pope.


First of all, that is not true. Secondly, how can you say such a thing with so much assurance? Do you know all of the bishops in the world? I doubt it. You CAN say, "It appears to me that...", but you cannot rightly say it is a fact, simply because you really don't know. None of us do.

Quote:
The few bishops that did not attended were prevented from attending by health, or secular difficulties.


Proof for such a blanket statement, please?

Quote:
From this discussion we are all reminded of the importance of Prudence, coupled with the reasoned application of Catholic Principles, Law and Theology.


Exactly, and it cuts both ways.

You might find it interesting to know that according to our research, approximately 350 of the world's bishops did NOT sign the decress of VCII at its close. I have the names of all those in the U.S. and Canada who did not, most of whom are now dead.

I interviewed via telephone as many as I could reach many years ago. Their stories, for the most part, agree with your statement above...i.e. health, etc.

However, there was at least ONE whose story did not, and when I pressed him on the issue, he acted very nervous and would not say anything much on the telephone. However (and we found this particularly interesting) he appeared most anxious to talk with us face-to-face, but we simply did not have the resources.

By the way, doesn't this particular bit of thread belong, not to this subject, but to a different one?

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Pax Christi !


Dear Ken,

For clarity lets ensure we are on the same page, I am rather gifted at NOT following a line of discussion with complete clarity :) :)

Here is the recent exchange:



Quote:
Quote:
The next point- the adherence of the Church to John XXIII. At the 10,000 foot level, I had always considered John 23rd a non-pope, but I must say, given the presentation using correct principles it does appear he was pope.

Another observable fact: He called a council of which 2500 of the worlds bishops accepted this call and ventured to Rome. None declined under the grounds he was not a true pope.

Ken responded-

First of all, that is not true. Secondly, how can you say such a thing with so much assurance? Do you know all of the bishops in the world? I doubt it. You CAN say, "It appears to me that...", but you cannot rightly say it is a fact, simply because you really don't know. None of us do.



First- What is not true? That John 23rd called a Council?

Second- Ok, I will add the verbiage " It appears to me that" . However, I have never seen any data noting ANY bishops , let alone a single bishop refusing to accept the invitation to attend Vatican II, based on the position that John 23rd was not Pope.

It appears you have none to name in this regards.. Correct?


Quote:
However, there was at least ONE whose story did not, and when I pressed him on the issue, he acted very nervous and would not say anything much on the telephone. However (and we found this particularly interesting) he appeared most anxious to talk with us face-to-face, but we simply did not have the resources.



This does not hold any objective weight that he refused based on a position that John 23rd was not pope. Only his reason was not “ health” related...

Agreed?

In Xto,
Vincent


Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:39 pm
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New post Clarification for Vince
Vince Sheridan wrote:
First:
Vince Sheridan wrote:
None declined under the grounds he was not a true pope.
Then:
Ken Gordon wrote:
First of all, that is not true. Secondly, how can you say such a thing with so much assurance? Do you know all of the bishops in the world? I doubt it. You CAN say, "It appears to me that...", but you cannot rightly say it is a fact, simply because you really don't know. None of us do.


First- What is not true? That John 23rd called a Council?


See above.

Quote:
Second- Ok, I will add the verbiage " It appears to me that" . However, I have never seen any data noting ANY bishops, let alone a single bishop refusing to accept the invitation to attend Vatican II, based on the position that John 23rd was not Pope.


Really, Vince, from what you say, it appears that your knowledge of the situation around VCII is without parallel, and, obviously, complete, and infallible, right?

Quote:
It appears you have none to name in this regards.. Correct?


I apologize: I did not catch the fact that I was being asked that particular question. However, since it has been made plain as a pikestaff to me NOW that that IS your question, I will research it and answer it as soon as I have done so. I believe one of those was Abp. Pintonello, although he may have attended for other reasons. I don't think he was ever asked about that.

All I can tell you at this juncture is that I was told that there were several who fit the qualifications you stated. I will attempt to find out who these were and post their names here. You may look them up in the proper Church records after I have done so.

Quote:
Quote:
However, there was at least ONE whose story did not, and when I pressed him on the issue, he acted very nervous and would not say anything much on the telephone. However (and we found this particularly interesting) he appeared most anxious to talk with us face-to-face, but we simply did not have the resources.


This does not hold any objective weight that he refused based on a position that John 23rd was not pope.


Of course not. I never said it did, since I misunderstood your original question.

Quote:
Only his reason was not “ health” related...

Agreed?


After a fashion: it is now obvious to me that we were talking "across" one another. I have rectified my error, and will proceed as requested.

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:03 am
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New post Re: Clarification for Vince and a question
KenGordon wrote:
Quote:
Second- Ok, I will add the verbiage " It appears to me that" . However, I have never seen any data noting ANY bishops, let alone a single bishop refusing to accept the invitation to attend Vatican II, based on the position that John 23rd was not Pope.


Also, I wonder if you could really call the order to attend VCII an "invitation"? I believe it was a direct order, and to NOT attend, to ignore that order, without an excellent reason was subject to some sort of ecclesiastical or canonical penalty.

Perhaps John knows.

If I am correct in this, then your question is simply impertinent, "stacked", or "loaded" because it contains its own answer, since the answer, of necessity would, of course, have to be "No".

Nonetheless, I will do the research...

(I repeat: I think this discussion does not belong to this thread.)

Edit: Added a missing close-quote.

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:14 am
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New post Reply to Vince
You stated that there were no bishops who did not attend VCII who stated as their reasons that Roncalli was not the pope.

I replied that you were incorrect.

You then asked me to prove it.

I did some research on that question, as promised, and here is the result.

It turns out that we know the name of only one of those, since all those who did not attend on this basis were behind the Iron Curtain, and we have not been able to ferret out their names.

They did not attend for at least two reasons:

1) Because they believed that Roncalli had been put in place by Communists (as also mentioned by one of the quotes I provided from Gabriella Montemayor), and this belief was proven correct to them by Roncalli's insistence that Nikodim, a known KGB agent, be present at the Council, and by the fact that, despite much pressure from conservative forces at the Council, the Council never condemned Communism.

2) Because travel to the Council from Eastern Europe was extremely difficult, if not impossible at that time.

I might add that many Catholic bishops were in KGB prisons at that time.

That one Bishop whose name we know at present was the Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, C.SS.R., now deceased, who had been in a KGB prison for 14 years. At the time he was inteviewed in 1998, he was in Canada. He was around 90 years old at that time, and had full possession of his faculties. In fact, he said many humorous things during the interview and our interviewer liked him a lot.

Archbishop Sterniuk was asked specifically about Roncalli, and he stated categorically that he was not the pope. He also said that JPII was "a devil".

However, as you and others have pointed out, even this information, as important as I believe it to be, is still nothing but "hearsay".

I repeat: DIRECT evidence is extremely difficult to obtain. This, however, is another bit of that "indirect" evidence I talk about, and is consistent with the rest.

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:52 pm
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New post 
Pax Christi !


Dear Ken,

Quote:
Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, C.SS.R., now deceased


For clarity, this Bishop stated at the time of the " summons" invite, whatever term is proper for Vatican II, he refused to attend because he already formed the judgment Roncalli was not Pope?
You also mention " other" Eastern Block Bishops refused to attend for the same reason? I.e. they refused to recognize John 23rd as Pope?

This is all news....

I stated in my email the 2 reasons for not attending;
1. Health
2. Secular reasons- i.e. Communist intervention....


Question: Did Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, consecrate other bishops?

In Xto,
Vincent


P.S. Ken I know your an honest man, but you are correct that phone converstaions are not hard proof.


Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:20 pm
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New post 
Ken,

Regarding...

Quote:
Archbishop Sterniuk was asked specifically about Roncalli, and he stated categorically that he was not the pope. He also said that JPII was "a devil".


I have contacts in Poland and there is a good number of people that were aware
that JPII had communist connections. One of these persons used to respectfully laugh
at me years ago when I considered JPII to be pope and also a good person.


Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:45 pm
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New post Another reply to Vince.
Vince Sheridan wrote:
KenGordon wrote:
Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, C.SS.R., now deceased


For clarity, this Bishop stated at the time of the " summons" invite, whatever term is proper for Vatican II, he refused to attend because he already formed the judgment Roncalli was not Pope?


Yes, as far as I understand what was told to me this morning. It seemed clear to me then, and still does.

Quote:
You also mention " other" Eastern Block Bishops refused to attend for the same reason? I.e. they refused to recognize John 23rd as Pope?


Again, yes, that was what I was given to understand this morning. In fact, I was told that they all were certain he was a Communist. Now I do not necessarily agree with their assessment. All it really would take is for Roncalli to be one of those "useful idiots".

Quote:
This is all news....

I stated in my email the 2 reasons for not attending;
1. Health
2. Secular reasons- i.e. Communist intervention....


Yes. I understood that. I must reiterate that the way you presented your question is really difficult to answer the way you wish it to be. Mainly because without talking directly to each one, how would we know that there were or were not other cogent reasons for their subsequent actions? Or on the other hand, might one of them go to the Council despite his misgiving about Roncalli? How would we know?

Quote:
Question: Did Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, consecrate other bishops?


I have no idea. I did't ask that question, and it didn't come up in the conversation.

Quote:
P.S. Ken I know your're an honest man, but you are correct that phone converstaions are not hard proof.


Agreed..or should I say, "Duh!" :D .

But they do point us in a certain direction where we may find other information. Also, this last is certainly consistent with information from other sources. In addition to that quotation from Gabriella Montemayor's book wherein a Polish Communist author charges, with some sort of proof, that Roncalli was the object of KGB machinations in order to get him into power, there is also similar information available from other sources on the same subject.

I was just told today, by one of the members of this forum, about much the same such information being available from a Dr. John Coleman.

Now, I must say that as far as I am concerned, John Coleman is NOT on our side, and I also have not read his articles on this subject. However, it IS interesting that he has it, and it MAY corroborate what Gabriella Montemayor. and Archbishop Sterniuk, mentions.

The main things we are looking for are truth, and consistency.

The consistency part is relatively easily ascertained. Whether or not any particular bit of information is the truth is not so easily ascertained.

First, we have to consider the source, then we must find other sources not connected to the first one which have the same or similar information, and then compare what we learn from those other sources with the earlier information. It is not easy.

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:49 pm
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New post 
oremus wrote:
Ken,

Regarding...

Quote:
Archbishop Sterniuk was asked specifically about Roncalli, and he stated categorically that he was not the pope. He also said that JPII was "a devil".


I have contacts in Poland and there is a good number of people that were aware
that JPII had communist connections. One of these persons used to respectfully laugh
at me years ago when I considered JPII to be pope and also a good person.


Yes. At the time of his "election", I told my NO brother that Woytila (sp?) was the only prelate who was let out of Poland by the Communists, he had been given completely free rein to travel both inside and outside Poland, while none of the others had been. I told my brother that in my opinion it was completely obvious that he was a Communist. My brother broke down in tears, and still thinks I am crazy.

When JPII died, I told a young Polish woman who was a secretary for one of our University departments, and a good friend, that JPII was a Commie. She got VERY angry with me, and broke off our friendship.

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:55 pm
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New post 
Pax Christi !


Did Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk refuse to attend Vatican II becuase he held the view John 23rd was not pope? From what you posted, the fact he held this view when he was in his 90's per a phone conversation does not pin down this question. Nor does it provide evidence the other eastern block bishops refused attendence for this very same reason.

Do you have any more data?

Thanks in advance,

In Xto,
Vincent
[/quote]


Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:00 am
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New post Another reply to Vince.
Vince Sheridan wrote:
Did Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk refuse to attend Vatican II becuase he held the view John 23rd was not pope?


Yes. That is what I was told this morning.

Quote:
From what you posted, the fact he held this view when he was in his 90's per a phone conversation


Whoops!!!! The information was NOT, repeat NOT, "...per a 'phone conversation...". It was face-to-face in Canada at his residence. It may have even been recorded. ***I*** received this information this morning via telephone.

Quote:
does not pin down this question.


S'funny: I thought it did. Hmmm....

Quote:
Nor does it provide evidence the other eastern block bishops refused attendence for this very same reason.


Really, Vince, I don't know why you are harping so hard on this particular question.

I will reiterate: the Archbishop told my source that it was commonly believed amongst them all that Roncalli was a Communist, and if they had been able, they would not have attended because of this. They did not believe him to be truly the Pope. Some WERE able to attend, and did not for this reason.

Is that more clear?

Oh! I just went back and re-read your question: Let me ask YOUR question the way I think you meant it, "Did Ukranian Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk refuse to attend Vatican II ONLY because he held the view John 23rd was not pope?"

No. He was in prison. His meaning was that if he could have attended, he would not have because he was certain Roncalli was not the Pope.

Is that what you are looking for?

Quote:
Do you have any more data?


Not at this point. However, as I have done here, I will research any such questions asked of me, and post the answers...if I can do so without jeapordizing someone else.

Sterniuk is dead, so it doesn't make much difference to him any longer.

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:18 am
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New post Re: Another reply to Vince.
KenGordon wrote:
I will reiterate: the Archbishop told my source that it was commonly believed amongst them all that Roncalli was a Communist, and if they had been able, they would not have attended because of this. They did not believe him to be truly the Pope. Some WERE able to attend, and did not for this reason.


To be perfectly frank, that is a most implausible claim.

Please, let's get hold of the record of the interview, written or recorded, and see what questions were asked and what he actually replied.

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:31 am
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New post Continuing the last reply to Vince.
Vince Sheridan wrote:
Do you have any more data?


Well, there was another Ukranian Archbishop-in-exile who died a few years ago in Canada. Although I am not certain of the spelling of his name, it was something very close to Beretsky. He was the titular head of the Ukranian Catholic Church in North America.

I can research his stand on these issues if necessary.

I believe he also was in Soviet prisons for some time, and escaped to Canada when quite old.

There is a large contingent of Ukranian Catholics in Canada.

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:32 am
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New post Re: Another reply to John
John Lane wrote:
KenGordon wrote:
I will reiterate: the Archbishop told my source that it was commonly believed amongst them all that Roncalli was a Communist, and if they had been able, they would not have attended because of this. They did not believe him to be truly the Pope. Some WERE able to attend, and did not for this reason.


To be perfectly frank, that is a most implausible claim.


How so? Please explain.

Quote:
Please, let's get hold of the record of the interview, written or recorded, and see what questions were asked and what he actually replied.


OK. I'll try, but since YOU, especially, know of whom I am speaking, you also know that it may be next to impossible to get that sort of information out of him.

He can be very difficult, and I really do not want to jeapordize our connection with him. I like him a lot, in much the same way I like you, and both of you are equally difficult in your own ways. :D

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:38 am
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New post Re: Another reply to John
KenGordon wrote:
John Lane wrote:
To be perfectly frank, that is a most implausible claim.


How so? Please explain.


If you can't see that this is implausible, then I can't help. Apart from anything else, it is a claim that there were numerous sedevacantist bishops during the reign of John XXIII, but they left no apparent effects, despite being safely in Canada in the end. The whole story is preposterous.

Not that preposterous things can't happen - but one would not give something so implausible any kind of credence without good grounds.

KenGordon wrote:
OK. I'll try, but since YOU, especially, know of whom I am speaking, you also know that it may be next to impossible to get that sort of information out of him.

I didn't realise whom you meant. Now that I know, I have even less (if possible) belief in the information. Not because he isn't honest, of which I have no knowledge, but because I seriously doubt his judgement.

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:50 am
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I must admit that much of what's been discussed here is way over my head. But I wanted to share my thoughts as a neophyte as to what I see is going on.

First, it would seem to me that we (on this website) agree that the church created at Vatican II is a complete antithesis of the true Roman Catholic Church (and, therefore, of the Faith) founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. At least that's the sense I've gotten from posts I have been reading on this website. Whether SSPXer or sedevacantist, we seem to agree that the church of Vatican II is not the same Church instituted by Christ. Something has changed.

Now, because our Lord promised us that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church (i.e. the Catholic Church), we can have confidence that the Church can neither teach error nor defect from the Teachings of Christ. But, as history shows, this is indeed what happened at Vatican II. Vatican II defected from Our Lord's teachings and has taught error - whether it intended to or not. We know that Vatican II changed the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Traditions of the Church. I don't think any one would argue otherwise. Was Our Lord wrong? Have the gates of Hell prevailed against the Church? Or, did Vatican II simply invent a new modernized church - an Anti-Church? Of course, our Lord is Truth Itself. We must, therefore, conclude that Vatican II has invented a new church, with new doctrines, new rituals, and a new "pope". So different is this church that it does not even bear the Four Marks of the true Catholic Church.

My question to our non-sede traditionalist brothers (and sisters) is this: On what grounds do you base the legitmacy of the Vatican II "popes"? [Note: I used to be SSPX too. Interestingly, it was in trying to answer this question - among others - that ultimately led me to the conclusion that the sedevacantist position was the only logical position]. I ask this not to be provocative but to better understand the SSPX position.

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Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:14 pm
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