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 Theological censorship applied to True or False Pope? 
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New post Theological censorship applied to True or False Pope?
Revelations published by Mr. Salza and Mr. Siscoe on their Web site reveal that only ONE priest reviewed the book prior to publication. Here is the actual email train:

From: John Salza
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2017 11:32 PM
To: John Lane
Cc: Robert Siscoe; [Five SSPX Members]
Subject: Re: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

John, this is pathetic. You claim that there are errors in our book, and then put the burden on us to prove otherwise! Another example of your fallacious practice of shifting the burden of proof, which we expose in our book.
We will say this one last time: If you claim we have made an error in the book, cite the error from the book verbatim (using our exact words), and then cite the correct proposition as taught by the Church. Otherwise, please leave us alone.
Also, while it is true that some SSPX priests reviewed certain chapters of our book (based on their theological area of expertise), Fr. [N.] reviewed the entire book (contrary to your false claim that no SSPX priest did so). Why don’t you inform Fr. [N.], who is copied on this email, of the errors he made?
John
____________________________________________________

My reply:


From: John Lane
Sent: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 12:21 AM
To: John Salza
Cc: Robert Siscoe; [Five SSPX Members]
Subject: RE: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

Dear John,

No, I am not shifting the burden of proof; please read my email again. (As for shifting the burden of proof as you claim in your book, your error in logic is simple. Anti-sedevacantists say that sedevacantism necessarily leads to the absence of the hierarchy. They base this upon the positive law, now abrogated, of Paul IV in Cum ex apostolatus, which declares that all the acts of a putative pope would be invalid. But as all know who have read my writings – Robert assures me that you and he have not read many of my writings, a startling admission – I point out that the acts of jurisdiction of a putative pope would be valid by virtue of supplied jurisdiction, so that the extinction of the hierarchy is not even a concern, let alone an imminent threat to the notion that Paul VI, for example, was not pope. So, I say that if you can show me why sedevacantism as such leads necessarily to the extinction of the hierarchy, please do so. This is not shifting any burden to you that you have not voluntarily shouldered. It would be helpful if before you put a fellow’s name into your book something like one hundred and ninety times, you read what he has written, understand it, and then criticize the actual arguments he has put. That’s called justice. And it will deliver you the subsidiary benefit of saving you the embarrassment of getting your logic all upside down, in print, and then boasting about it.)

I’ll send you a document soon enough which will list your errors. That’s what I closed my email with. Have another read of it, please.

In the mean time, you are to name the priests who read your book before publication, declared it free of errors, and will take responsibility for the content. Simple enough. Who are they? Is Fr. [N.] testifying to this? He read the entire book, and gave it his nihil obstat? Or, perhaps, he read the entire book, noticed its numerous objectionable features, and forgave them because the book is in service of a good cause? (And I agree that it’s a good cause. Dogmatic sedevacantism is a scourge. Nearly as much as dogmatic sedeplenism.)

You couldn’t even say that Vatican II contains errors or heresies. The most you could identify were “apparent errors.” This is not an SSPX book, it’s a Michael Davies book. Michael Davies could not have found errors in your book, I’ll grant you that. :)

Stop digging, Mr. Salza.

In the Immaculate, who alone has destroyed all heresies,
John Lane.

PS Fr. [N.], you and I have met, and I know you hate “sedevacantism.” So do I, in the sense that you define it – the dogmatic kind, that leads people away from the mass and the sacraments. But we’re not talking about that, as you will readily recognise, we’re talking about the position of Siscoe and Salza, which trashes Rome and Roman theology in service of dogmatic sedeplenism – that is, the notion, foreign to the Archbishop, that sedevacantism a such is unlawful.
____________________________________________________

The sole priest-censor then replied (only to the laymen):


From: Fr. [N.]
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 4:58 PM
To: John Lane; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Subject: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

Dear Sirs,

I hereby confirm that I read the whole book (not the ultimate version, but the “penultimate”, as it was in a pdf before a few corrections were later made), and that I did not find any striking errors, but rather a very good treatment of the subject. Now, though this is not technically a nihil obstat, because there was no appointment by my superiors to do so, yet I had been asked by Bishop Fellay to review the book in order to advise him about it. I also confirm that several corrections which I had proposed (and most likely the same happened for corrections proposed by other priests) have been included in the final version of the book.

I do agree that the burden of proof is on those who attack the book, not vice versa. So I suggest that this exchange of email waits for the fulfilment of John Lane’s promise: “I’ll send you a document soon enough which will list your errors. ”

I do agree that the accusation against the book as if it were “praising Dollinger as a Church theologian and historian” is a wrong accusation: to refer to Döllinger as a “Church historian and historian” is simply letting the reader know of what charged he had been given by his bishop: even Wikipedia mentions that “On April 5, 1822 he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Bamberg,… and in 1823 he became professor of ecclesiastical history and canon law in the lyceum at Aschaffenburg. He then took his doctoral degree, and in 1826 became professor of theology at the University of Munich”. There is a great difference in referring to someone as a “Church theologian and historian” and praising him as such; the first is a mere FACT, the second includes a judgement on how good theologian or historian he was. The very fact that the next sentence of the book cautions against Döllinger shows there was no “praise” for him.

So please let the promised “document… which will list the errors” be FREE from such false and empty accusation. It is useless to make such accusation; it only shows the bad will of the accuser.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,

Father [N.]
____________________________________________________

And my answer:

From: John Lane
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 11:50 PM
To: Fr. [N.]; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Cc: [Four SSPX Members]
Subject: RE: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

Dear Father,

Thank you for this explanation. I am of course grateful to you for advising Robert to correct his now-famous CFN text concerning my name and my views. I don’t think I thanked you before, and I think this omission was due to my distress that Robert didn’t take your advice.

I did deal with the matter myself, here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1815

I cannot agree with you that TOFP’s mention of Dollinger does not constitute praise. It is a recommendation of his work in terms of his factual accuracy. If one is asserting that a man’s work is reliable, as Siscoe and Salza are clearly doing, this is a form of praise – indeed, one of the highest forms of praise for a writer. This is not a “false accusation” by me, and I do not understand why any such point is set in such polemical terms. If we disagree on this, we disagree. It’s certainly a legitimate dispute, not some question of dogma.

I take from your description of “reading” the book and proposing some corrections, that you eschew any suggestion that you are taking responsibility for the theological precision and accuracy of the content. I understand this, as you were not given the remit to make sure the work was theologically innocuous, or indeed even in agreement with the SSPX position, which it clearly is not, and hence it attracted high praise from men with such severe disagreement with the SSPX’s position as Tim Staples of Catholic Answers! TOFP is like the Novus Ordo Missae – it is constructed so as not to offend those who disagree with our theology.

For example, you did not think it necessary to point out to Mssrs Siscoe and Salza that their phraseology as follows is heretical, as it clearly implies that the Church has two natures: “[The Church’s] divine nature can, at times, be obscured by her human nature.” This as it stands is an unorthodox formula. I am not accusing the writers of heresy – they are too nescient – but the text itself is totally wrong. Objectively, it demands correction.

Likewise the assertion, made with all confidence and without the slightest support from any theological authority, that the “bonds of unity” of the Church are three. This is manifestly erroneous in theology and indeed, it shows that the authors have no idea what they are saying. The Church, as no doubt you know, has two bonds of unity, and these are faith and charity. St. Thomas, St. Robert Bellarmine, the Vatican Council, and any number of manualists, confirm this. Siscoe and Salza are entirely unaware of what the term “bonds of unity” means, and therefore they apply the term to the external “unities” of the Church. Understandable for uneducated laymen, unacceptable if the work is to be recommended as theologically accurate.

The work is a 700 page political pamphlet, against a perceived evil. Nobody expects precision in a political work, and accuracy becomes a matter of degree at best. Donald Trump is celebrated by us, not because he is right – he very often is not – but because he is a champion against a hated enemy. The Society has suffered for so long at the hands of “sedevacantists” that anything which attacks it back must be in some sense “good.”

The matter which you had no way of assessing for accuracy was the representation of my own views in that book. As you will now be beginning to realize, the authors did not expend an inordinate amount of effort in ensuring that they were treating me with justice...

Yours in the Immaculate,
John Lane.
_________________________________________________________________

Our priest-censor replied by inserting comments in my email:

From: Fr. [N.];
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 3:54 AM
To: John Lane; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Subject: RE: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP


JL: Thank you for this explanation. I am of course grateful to you for advising Robert to correct his now-famous CFN text concerning my name and my views. I don’t think I thanked you before, and I think this omission was due to my distress that Robert didn’t take your advice.

Fr. [N.]: I have nowhere stated that I gave such advice. You assume things WITH NO PROOF. Because I wrote that I did give him some advice, you conclude that I gave him all the advices that you would have wished to be given. But that is to jump to unproven conclusions, a practice quite common with you, as will be seen below.

JL: I cannot agree with you that TOFP’s mention of Dollinger does not constitute praise. It is a recommendation of his work in terms of his factual accuracy. If one is asserting that a man’s work is reliable, as Siscoe and Salza are clearly doing, this is a form of praise – indeed, one of the highest forms of praise for a writer. This is not a “false accusation” by me, and I do not understand why any such point is set in such polemical terms. If we disagree on this, we disagree. It’s certainly a legitimate dispute, not some question of dogma.

Fr. [N.]: Your insistence on TOFP’s mention of Döllinger to constitute a praise is an absurdity! Modern scholarship is much more insistent on giving precise reference, and so modern scholarly works include many references: one would evidently jump to conclusion to assume that all such reference constitute a general praise of the authors thus quoted! At most it constitute a particular agreement on the point referenced, and is far from endorsing all the works of the quoted author. Hence your jumping to conclusion that such quote constitute a praise is indeed a false accusation, and your insistence in defending such false accusation does not honour you.

JL: I take from your description of “reading” the book and proposing some corrections, that you eschew any suggestion that you are taking responsibility for the theological precision and accuracy of the content. I understand this, as you were not given the remit to make sure the work was theologically innocuous, or indeed even in agreement with the SSPX position, which it clearly is not, and hence it attracted high praise from men with such severe disagreement with the SSPX’s position as Tim Staples of Catholic Answers! TOFP is like the Novus Ordo Missae – it is constructed so as not to offend those who disagree with our theology.

Fr. [N.]: This again is absurdity. From the fact that men such as Tim Staples praised the book, while at the same time have severe disagreement with the SSPX’s position, there is no way that you could logically conclude that the book is not in agreement with the SSPX position! Again this is to pass from a particular praise by Tim Staples on a particular topic, to a general conclusion, as if everyone ever praised by Tim Staples on any particular topic necessary had to agree with everything held by Tim Staples.
Now I do affirm that this book is very faithful to the SSPX position on sedevacantism, and I did say so to Bishop Fellay in the report I made to him.

JL: For example, you did not think it necessary to point out to Mssrs Siscoe and Salza that their phraseology as follows is heretical, as it clearly implies that the Church has two natures: “[The Church’s] divine nature can, at times, be obscured by her human nature.” This as it stands is an unorthodox formula. I am not accusing the writers of heresy – they are too nescient – but the text itself is totally wrong. Objectively, it demands correction.

Fr. [N.]: Sorry, but such remark only show bad will, searching for evil where there is none. Any reader with common sense would not understand the words “[the Church’s] divine nature… her human nature” in a manner univocal with our Lord Jesus Christ, but only in an analogical way, in the sense that “the Church supernatural dimension [by sanctifying grace, which is a participation in the divine nature] … and the church human dimension [in her human members]…” And this is perfectly Catholic.

JL: Likewise the assertion, made with all confidence and without the slightest support from any theological authority, that the “bonds of unity” of the Church are three. This is manifestly erroneous in theology and indeed, it shows that the authors have no idea what they are saying. The Church, as no doubt you know, has two bonds of unity, and these are faith and charity. St. Thomas, St. Robert Bellarmine, the Vatican Council, and any number of manualists, confirm this. Siscoe and Salza are entirely unaware of what the term “bonds of unity” means, and therefore they apply the term to the external “unities” of the Church. Understandable for uneducated laymen, unacceptable if the work is to be recommended as theologically accurate.

Fr. [N.]: YOUR theology is not that of St Robert Bellarmine! He is the one who exposes at length the three bonds of unity of the Church as profession of the true faith, true worship (starting with Baptism) and subjection to the Roman Pontiff. He exposes principally these external bonds, and rightly explains that one cannot say – simpliciter – that “faith and charity” are the bonds of unity of the Church, because it is a dogma of faith that there are sinners in the church, i.e. people lacking charity! However, this does not mean that charity, which is the bond of perfection as St Paul says, has no place among the “bonds of unity” of the church, but it must be carefully stated. Thus, one can very well say that life is the bond of unity of the body, and as soon as life goes there is decomposition of the body – or to put it the other way, the decomposition of the body is the surest sign of the departure of life; yet it is also clear that there are within a living body some cells which are NOT living, yet attached to the body. So in the church, the fundamental bond is the one life of grace (participation in the life of God, Christ living in us) – and this is ONE bond, with three immediate consequences: faith, hope and charity, to which correspond the profession of faith, worship (because hope leads to prayer) and obedience to the hierarchy established by Christ. To reduce the bonds of unity to two, and only two interior bonds, seem to me rather dangerous, and a departure from St Robert Bellarmine.
________________________________________________________

Keep an eye on that accusation that is summarized as, "assume things WITH NO PROOF. Because I wrote that I did give him some advice, you conclude that I gave him all the advices that you would have wished to be given. But that is to jump to unproven conclusions, a practice quite common with you, as will be seen below."

My reply:

From: John Lane
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 11:01 AM
To: Fr. [N.]; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Cc: [Four SSPX Members]
Subject: RE: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

Dear Father,

Thank you for your comments, inserted in red text below. It is good finally to identify one man who says he actually read the book and gives it unqualified approval. Please let me know if there is another. I want to contact him.

Now Father, your memory fails you. Here is the advice that I was referring to (from your email to Robert, John Salza, and me last year, regarding the CFN article):
_________________________________________________________________
P.S.: I hereby suggest to Mr Salza and to Mr Siscoe to correct the online text from:

“They also usually (but not always) declare that it is forbidden even to assist at an “una cum” Mass – that is, a Mass in which the Pope’s name is mentioned.”

to the following:

“They also usually (but not always: e.g. John Lane and John Daly) declare that it is forbidden even to assist at an “una cum” Mass – that is, a Mass in which the Pope’s name is mentioned.”
________________________________________________________________

I’m still grateful that you offered that advice to Robert, even though you don’t recall it, and he didn’t take it. For the sake of good order, I think it is incumbent upon you at this point to acknowledge that yes, you gave that advice, and that no, I did not jump to an unproven conclusion, as you have asserted. I stated the plain facts. It is distasteful to me to have to demand such petty concessions, but you have generalized concerning my character upon this and other misunderstandings.

On the bonds of visible unity, I see now why you didn’t correct Siscoe and Salza. Please see the attached brief explanation of the doctrine of the Church regarding her two bonds of unity. Obviously I am speaking only of the external faith and charity which are the profession of faith and that mutual communion which is social charity. (Van Noort is very good on these points, as is Berry. But the Vatican Council is both clear and decisive.) This fundamental point of doctrine is vital, for having misunderstood what the Church is, and how she is visibly one, the authors proceed to build their entire theory upon this bad foundation.

The authors do not ascribe two natures to the Church just once, by the way. The example I gave below is on page 23. On page 30 they write, “which disfigures her human nature and eclipses her divine nature.” Heterodox. Later they make the astounding claim (again, heretical) that the Church can remain the Church if the vast majority of her members lack the internal virtue of faith (“There may come a time when the internal virtue of faith is only present in a small number of the members of the visible Church.” p. 50), and at the end of the book posit the following shocking notion:

“How can the Church experience death? Death occurs when the body separates from the soul. Now, for those with eyes to see, it is clear that the Church is enduring precisely this mystical form of death, as the Body of the Church (the visible social unit) is separating from the Soul (the Holy Ghost). This occurs as more and more members of the visible Church lose their interior virtue of faith, thereby severing themselves from the Soul of the Church.”

So, we have a Church which is visibly disunited in faith (the profession of faith is reduced to a meaningless formula), and without, in the bulk of its members, the virtue of internal faith. Logically, the notion of “death” described here implies that the Church will at some point be a husk, consisting solely of men who profess whatever they like and have no internal faith. At that point the visible Church has no soul. Is that not heretical? Does it not prove that the preceding 680 pages were written by men who did not understand the most fundamental truths of ecclesiology?

I will refrain from detailing how utterly nonsensical this whole theory is, and just ask, if men are losing the faith by their hundreds of millions, and yet are counted as members of the visible social body of the Church, how do Siscoe and Salza know that this loss of faith is occurring? Do they read hearts? And if they are judging the lack of internal faith by observing external facts (i.e. the failure to profess the faith outwardly) what does this imply for the visible unity of the Church in the profession of faith?

As for readers with common sense, I am surprised to hear of this as a principle by which texts are to be judged for their precision and accuracy in theology. Upon this principle, ought we not to say that the reader with common sense will realize that Dignitatis Humanae does not really suggest that all men have a natural law right to religious liberty, since all informed Catholics know that this doctrine has been infallibly condemned by the Church?

We disagree on whether the qualified recommendation of Dollinger, of all people, is fit for a Catholic book. I think it’s shocking, and I doubt I’m alone in that reaction. Concerning Tim Staples praising the book, this raises an extremely interesting factor. What does this praise imply?

...

Back to our question, what does the various praise for the book imply? You say that Tim Staples’ praise does not imply that he finds the book to be in agreement with his own position. That may well be the case. Indeed, I think it possible you are right. Staples does not say anything which would clear the question up. But Fr. Brian Harrison does. He says that one does not have to agree with the authors’ over-all position in order to appreciate its value as an anti-sedevacantist work. That is wise. He hasn’t entangled himself with Siscoe and Salza, and he can bat away any suggestion that he holds their views on the crisis easily and without danger of contradiction. Staples does not say that he disagrees with the authors, neither does Bishop Fellay, because, it turns out, you assured him that the book was entirely sound and in keeping with the position of the Society. And how did you arrive at this view? Apparently, by applying the principle that readers “with common sense” will understand heterodox wording in an orthodox sense. But again, back to our question: What does the praise of Staples and the Society figures mean? Well, let’s posit for the sake of the argument that to those who gave the praise it means very little, as you suggest. That is not how Siscoe and Salza take it. They constantly point to “the many priests and theologians of the Society” who have thoroughly checked and vetted the book, and essentially claim that it has a kind of super-imprimatur from the Society. It turns out that this claim of theirs isn’t true. Don’t blame me for pointing that out, please, but take it up with Siscoe and Salza.

Again, I feel that it is necessary to remind you that I am not for a moment suggesting that Siscoe and Salza set out to deceive the reader, but merely that their language is insufficient to express the truth and to prevent error. Fr. [N.] continually assures me that they are good men.

Yours in the Immaculate,
John.
_____________________________________________________________

This was the end of the road for another of the priests in this exchange. He has praised this book publicly, and in unmeasured terms.

From: Fr. [N.]
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2017 1:55 PM
To: John Lane; Fr. [N.]; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Cc: [Three other SSPX Members]
Subject: Re: The theological/canonical/church history censors of TOFP

AM+DG

Dear John,

In order to defend the good name of our priests and the two authors of a book that we of the SSPX have approved, endorsed, and published, I would like to point out a few things. The first thing concerns the basis of the disagreement in which you find yourself with supporters of the book. It involves a three step process:

1. You throw out heaps of accusations which, when investigated carefully, prove to be untrue. This makes you appear as a serial calumniator.
2. You do not seem to be aware that your accusations are false. You sincerely believe that they hit their mark and expose truth.
3. When you are clearly shown that this or that accusation that you have made is false, you persist in believing that it is true.

Your exchange below with Fr [N.] is a standard example of this process.

You say that TOFP praises Döllinger. You give, as evidence, the fact that Salza and Siscoe refer to Döllinger as a Church theologian and historian, and believe that evidence to outweigh the further evidence that Salza and Siscoe explicitly speak of Döllinger's condemnation by the Church.

Fr [N.] explains, in very clear language, why your opinion is absurd.
You continue to disagree with him.

This process has been repeated time and again in your exchanges with Salza and Siscoe, as well as exchanges with myself. The reason is that you take a different formal understanding, i.e. meaning, than we do from a given set of the same material words. In this instance, we have the material words referring to Döllinger as a Church theologian and historian. Your understanding from these words (U1) is that they constitute praise of Döllinger. Our understanding (U2) is that they do not.

As I mentioned in point 2 above, I believe you sincerely think your U1 is correct. What you must seek to fathom, however, is that those who seriously investigate any of your accusations almost invariably find your U1 to be false and some U2 to be correct. The fact that such is the case makes you appear to be a serial calumniator. This reputation that you create for yourself in your emails is a much worse damage inflicted on yourself than anything that appears in TOFP.

I explained this to you in December and advised you to cease your campaign to defame TOFP. But you did not follow my advice. Fr [N.], your parish priest, advised you the same back in July of last year. But you did not follow his advice. I would like to repeat that same advice to you here, and would like you to believe that I give this advice with your best interests in mind, the same motive I put forward when the advice was first given.

Regardless, because your understanding of a text is so often at odds with the understanding others have of a text, I don't believe further discussion of the book with Salza and Siscoe will be profitable for you or them.

One thing that you must understand is that the SSPX is happy with the book and has no reason to be unhappy with it. In your recent emails, you implicitly accuse Bishop Fellay, Fr le Roux, myself and the other priest endorsers of the book of negligence by a) saying that the book is full of errors; b) asking that the book be thoroughly vetted by theological/canonical/church history censors. On the contrary:

1. Bishop Fellay was not negligent in writing the foreword of the book, for he had one of his most qualified priests, Fr [N.], vet the book. Fr [N.], while submitting some corrections, concluded that the book did not contain any errors and faithfully represents the position of the SSPX. This vetting was quite sufficient prudential grounds for approving the book and writing its foreword.
2. Fr [N.] did the most thorough vetting, but there were many other priests involved in reading through the book before its publication. You can see their names on the acknowledgements page of the book. I myself analyzed four of its chapters.
3. Salza and Siscoe were following standard procedure for laymen publishing a book on Church doctrine. They submitted the book to priests for analysis. They received their corrections. They implemented their corrections. This is the reason why, to this day, despite endless attacks by sedevacantists, no error of any significance has been found in the book.

In short, there is nothing wrong with TOFP, and the SSPX has no serious grounds of embarrassment for publishing it. Yet you pretend that we do not know the contents of the book and have somehow been tricked into publishing a book the contents of which we are unaware. No, we approved the book and published the book, because we know the book. And this includes the passages that address your own writings.

One last point, and this is a point of agreement with you. You have stated that "Fr [N.] has his own reputation with the other priests." This is correct; he has a reputation of being learned, objective, hard-working, possessed of the spirit of the Archbishop, one who is faithful, dedicated, obedient. I assume this is the reputation to which you were referring.
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Fr. [N.]
________________________________________________________


Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:36 am
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New post Re: Theological censorship applied to True or False Pope?
Some observations on this exchange, and especially its end.

1. The book TOFP? names me around 190 times, often ascribes positions to me that I not only do not hold, but have vigorously refuted on countless occasions in public (and this material remains here on the Bellarmine Forums for all to see), and of course says that I lack integrity, denies my faith, alleges that I am schismatic, and questions my honesty. None of this true, but that is beside the point. It isn't even plausible on the available evidence (and Robert Siscoe emailed me that he has not read many of my writings). A certain priest read the book prior to publication, and approved it. His word was the basis upon which the Society seminary published it. Did he have any knowledge of my views, my writings, my life? No, we had met, once or twice, nearly thirty years ago, when I was around twenty years old. He has not read my writings. Yet he approved these attacks on my personality, my character, and my faith, without checking, without question. The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the other men named and defamed in TOFP?. This priest cannot have read, and does not claim to have read, the works of Patrick Henry Omlor, John Daly, or the numerous others treated with such contempt in the pages of this revolting book. Other priests who read two and four chapters respectively, were very uncomfortable with these personal attacks, and advised that they be omitted. Siscoe and Salza ignored the advice. Objectively, this procedure - approving a book containing personal attacks, without yourself verifying their accuracy - is seriously sinful.

2. It is incumbent upon all Christians to treat a fellow practicing Catholic as a man of good will, until and unless it is impossible to do so. How, on this principle, is it possible for somebody in my position to think well of these men? The only way to approach this challenge is to employ one's imagination, and try to put oneself in their shoes. Who are these men? (Not Siscoe and Salza, the priests.) These few priests are anti-sede. One of them was in the USA, in a position of authority, in the aftermath of the Oyster Bay Nine split. There was much bitterness engendered by those events. Another of these priests was a Feeneyite when a layman, and spent a significant amount of time in Cincinnati, with Fr. Cekada, who convinced him that the ideas of the Feeneyites were erroneous. No doubt he is grateful for this service, but he also observed the sede scene there, and formed his own judgements about it. Both of these priests are also thinkers, not merely pastoral priests. They find sedevacantism both interesting, superficially, as well as irritating. And finally, dogmatic sedevacantism is on the move, and in this country has enjoyed some growth among SSPX people. How does this look from a pastor's perspective? A family ceases going to mass, the children are taken from the traditionalist school they are in, and the family is left with mass every few weeks at best, and isolation from the bulk of fellow Catholics. This is a recipe for disaster, as these priests see it. To a man with such an outlook, sedevacantism = dogmatic sedevacantism, and anybody who is a "sedevacantist" is therefore a major problem, and if he suffers some injustice, well, he could change his position to avoid it. He's collateral damage. Of course, this is a bit course even for a prejudiced man who is also a good Catholic, so the mind of such a man is also looking for proof that the victim of the injustice isn't really a victim after all. His character is watched eagle-eyed, his words are parsed for every sign of ill-will, his anger is taken as proof of his lack of charity, his complaints are all vicious attacks on these good men who have taken on the Great Evil of Sedevacantism. I can easily excuse such prejudice. Of course, that doesn't mean I am prepared to let it destroy my name, or those of others.

3. Notice how few actual errors were alleged in all of these emails regarding TOFP?, and how obviously accurate some of those criticisms were, and yet the priest who replied last characterised this as "You throw out heaps of accusations..." I have given this priest something like ten significant specific criticisms of the book. I have scores of them, actually, and I have written a document of 35,000 words delineating them, but very few of these have been presented to this priest. Impressions rule, to such a mind, in such a mood as I have described. Further, these criticisms become "calumnies" in his mind, not mere disagreements. Such is the status of this book and its authors, for him.

4. The principle that governed the censoring of this book by the sole priest who did so, has been revealed as being based on the assumption that "Any reader with common sense would not understand the [objectively heretical] words" in a heterodox sense. I don't really believe that this priest really approached the book with that principle in mind. I think probably what really happened is that he simply didn't read it critically, at all. He was so impassioned by the prospect of finally having a weighty tome to thud down on his desk if anybody ever raised the sedevacantist thesis with him, that he skipped joyfully through it and simply missed the dogmatic and moral monstrosities that infest it.

5. A new edition is in preparation, and apparently has an additional 130 pages. Well, hardly anybody has read the first edition, so I suppose virtually nobody will read something even lengthier. Can nobody with Siscoe and Salza's ear not give them good advice? Cut the book back to four hundred pages if you want some readers, gentlemen! (The priests who wrote the praise of this book didn't read it, and even now haven't read it. When I challenged one of them, in person, on a point of Roman theology, he raised his hands and said, "I don't know much about sedevacantism." We were not discussing sedevacantism, but rather Billot's and Franzelin's theology. This priest has yet to tell me he has read the book. Of course he hasn't read it. Who has? My 35,000 words of detailed criticism deal only with the first 100 pages. At this rate it will take me a decade to read the book, and I doubt I have the stamina, or interest.)

6. Did I suggest that Bishop Fellay was "negligent" in writing a foreword to a book he had not read? No, of course not. It was entirely reasonable. He relied upon an experienced priest who let him down. Is the Society's reputation inextricably tied up with this book? No, it was published by the USA seminary, not the Society. I met with Fr. Le Roux of the USA seminary, and told him what I thought. I have obviously communicated many things to the relevant men, in the virtual presence, via email, of the authors, most of which readers of the Bellarmine Forums can now read. Let's see if a new edition appears, and whether it contains the personal attacks and misrepresentations that infest the first edition, and if it does, who publishes it and gives it praise.

7. What have we learned? Some people are impervious to reason. :)


Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:02 pm
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