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 Great Western Schism - Haec Sancta - de Mattei & Comments 
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New post Great Western Schism - Haec Sancta - de Mattei & Comments
The latest from Robert de Mattei. ... .html#more

This is a very good article, in many ways. However, I would like to add some corrections.

Robert de Mattei wrote:
The difference between the Western Schism and the Oriental Schism, which from 1054 divided Christianity, is that the latter was a schism in the strict sense of the word, since the Orthodox refused and still refuse to recognise the Primacy of the Pope, Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the Universal Church. The Western Schism on the other hand, was material schism, not formal, as there was no will on either part to negate the Pontifical Primacy.

It is at best debatable to assert that the Great Western Schism was not a real schism, merely material.

Either Urban and his cardinals were schismatics, or Clement and his cardinals were schismatics. The remainder of the Church had no reliable means of distinguishing which party were the Catholics. But the cardinals did, because they were there, and they knew the facts with certitude.

Schism is a breach in the unity of social charity, which may occur either by refusing subjection to the Roman Pontiff, or by refusing communion with other Catholics.

Robert de Mattei wrote:
Today the Church assures us that the legitimate Popes were Urban VI and the popes that followed him...

I am certain that this is false. The Church has never settled the debate, and it was certainly very much a question of the conviction of learned men, rather than of the judgement of the Church, up until the time of Cardinal Billot in the 1930s, so if Mr. de Mattei has data to show otherwise, he needs to produce it.

Robert de Mattei wrote:
Many, in order to resolve the problem fell into a gravely dangerous error: the doctrine of conciliarism, according to which a heretical or schismatic Pope can be deposed by a Council, as the assembly of bishops is superior to the Pope.

This is accurate if understood correctly, and it isn't clear that Mr. de Mattei has that clear view. Conciliarism is the error that a council is superior to an undoubted pope. On the contrary, and entirely free of the error of Conciliarism, is the notion that in the event of a schismatical or heretical "pope" a council could declare the See of Rome vacant and proceed to a fresh election. Here is Cardinal Billot on the question (translated by John S. Daly):

Firstly, on the nature of a declaration (Billot opposes Cajetan, and follows Bellarmine, as do most later commentators):

Cardinal Billot wrote:
But some, along with Cajetan, would have it that a pope who became a heretic is subject to the ministerial power of the Church following the correct sequence so as to produce deposition, and they say this is the only exception in the general teaching asserted and declared just above. Others, however, consider that such a person ipso facto would fall from the pontificate, such that there would be no occasion for deposition on the part of the Church but only for a declaratory sentence concerning the vacancy of the see.

Note that the declaration would not concern heresy, or the person of the putative pope, as such, but rather "the vacancy of the see." Billot is in this way very clearly avoiding the error of Conciliarism. The Council (an imperfect general council, that is, a general council without a pope) would declare the See vacant and conduct an election. The basis for such action would be the already-manifest heresy or schism of the putative Roman Pontiff. Such an action would not be lawful otherwise, for it would imply a judicial action against the pope, which implies Conciliarism, and at least since the Vatican Council of 1870, Conciliarism is heretical.

Cardinal Billot wrote:
Let us now investigate, nevertheless, how the law would apply if perchance an extraordinary situation were to arise in which it was necessary to proceed to the election of a pontiff while it was no longer possible to comply with the conditions determined by previous pontifical law; as some think was the case at the time of the Great Schism in the election of Martin V.

Well, once we grant the occurrence of such circumstances, it is to be admitted without difficulty that the power of election would devolve upon a general council. For the natural law itself prescribes that in such cases the attribute of a superior power descends, by way of devolution, to the power immediately below insofar as it is indispensably necessary for the survival of the society and for the avoidance of the tribulations of extreme lack. “In case of doubt, however (e.g. when it is unknown if someone be a true cardinal or when the Pope is dead or uncertain, as seems to have happened at the time of the Great Schism which began under Urban VI), it is to be affirmed that the power to apply the papacy to a person (the due requirements having been complied with) resides in the Church of God. And then by way of devolution it is seen that this power descends to the universal Church, since the electors determined by the Pope do not exist” (Cajetan, ibidem). This, I say, is understood without difficulty if the occurrence of the case be admitted. But whether, in fact the case has ever occurred is a completely different question. For indeed it is now held as more or less certain among learned men that the election of Martin V was not done on the private authority of the Council of Constance, but by faculties expressly granted by the legitimate Pontiff Gregory XII before he had renounced the papacy, so that Cardinal Franzelin correctly and appropriately says: that there is “reason for us with humble praise to wonder at the providence of Christ the King, the spouse and head of the Church, by which He calmed those huge crowds of men driven and sustained by covetousness and ignorance, with all laws being observed to the letter; most clearly demonstrating that the indefectibility of the rock upon which He built His Church, so that the gates of Hell would not prevail against Her, is supported not by human effort, but by the divine fidelity in promises and omnipotence in government” (Franzelin loc. cit.).

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Universal Church, states the same thing simply and directly. “A Council can elect the Pope in case of a doubtful Pope.”

Robert de Mattei wrote:
When John XXIII understood that the Council did not want to confirm him as Pope, on the night of March 20th and 21st 1415, he fled to Konstanz, but was caught...

Surely this is meant to read, “fled from Constance...” – which is, after all, what actually happened.

Robert de Mattei wrote:
This text, first acknowledged as authentic and legitimate, was only successively tried again by the Pontifical Magisterium.

This is ambiguous, and very dangerous in one of its possible senses (and its most natural sense). The decree was passed by a representative gathering of the entire hierarchy, absent the pope. It was heretical. Pope Martin V declined to approve it, so it is not a decree of a general council.

Robert de Mattei wrote:
The Avignonese Pope, Benedict XIII remained immovable, but was eventually abandoned by the countries under obedience to him and deposed as a perjurer, schismatic and heretic on July 26th 1417.

I think it worth pointing out that the schism was ended when the great St. Vincent Ferrer, papal legate of Benedict XIII and a miracle worker of the first order, was asked to intervene, and after giving the matter several days’ consideration, returned and announced, in the presence of Benedict XIII himself, that he had formed the judgement that Benedict XIII was a schismatic, for he refused to resign when the manifest good of the Church required it. Therefore he was no longer pope. This stunning denouement is certainly something worth pondering, for this saintly Dominican, who carried a copy of the Summa on his donkey as he traveled about converting tens of thousands, was forming a personal judgement about whether his own pope was, at that point, truly pope. This same apostolic liberty is seen in Archbishop Lefebvre, who was capable of this: ... le_id=1186

One final note: Constance was a general council without a pope, what is called an imperfect general council. It erred, on several major points of theology. At least two of its theses would later be held to be heretical. Pope Martin V, of course, did not confirm these erroneous decrees, and they remained null. Vatican II approved errors also. Was it truly a perfect general council, or perhaps an imperfect one, that is, a council without a pope?

In Christ our King.

Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:28 pm
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New post Re: Great Western Schism - de Mattei & Comments
Henri Gheon telling the story of St. Vincent Ferrer and end of the Great Western Schism: viewtopic.php?p=5514&#p5514

Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:27 pm
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