Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Errors in True or False Pope?
In our private email exchange in January this year, one of the errors I highlighted was the bad terminology used by Siscoe and Salza with respect to the visible unity of the Church, and in order to clarify the points at issue I sent them, as an attachment, a Word document with what I understand to be the best doctrine on the subject. When I say "best" I mean that of Bellarmine, Billot, and the Vatican Council.
Here is the email:
From: John Lane
To: Fr. [N.] - sole theological censor of TOFP; John Salza; Robert Siscoe
Sent: Tue, Jan 24, 2017 8:18 pm
Subject: The bonds of unity etc.
I’m still grateful that you offered that advice to Robert, even though you don’t recall it.
On the bonds of 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.)
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. 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,
And this is how Robert Siscoe replied:
From: Robert Siscoe
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 10:11 AM
To: John Lane; Fr. [N.] - sole theological censor of TOFP; John Salza
Subject: Re: The bonds of unity etc.
This is exactly the kind of sophistry I expected from you. The first draft of my reply is now complete. We will be including the final version of the reply in the second edition. It will be good for the reader to see the sort of specious arguments you use (rooted in profound ignorance and confusion), and the arrogant and insulting manner in which you present them. But I am quite glad you made the mistake of sending this to us. Please keep the objections coming. And thanks again for sending it! It made my day!
The bolding is Mr. Siscoe's own.
So, what do we learn from this? Several things. Firstly, further confirmation that Siscoe and Salza do not answer arguments, unless from the safety of a bully pulpit, such as their own Web site or in print (the "second edition" refers to a purported new and expanded edition of True or False Pope?). Here we were, discussing in private the theological and moral rectitude of their book, with the sole priest who owns up to having read and approved it before publication, and the reply to a detailed explanation of theology is this email??? (We'll get you again, Lane, for daring not to agree with us, don't you worry, in an even bigger edition of our nasty book!)
Secondly, further confirmation of the inability of these men to grasp the possibility that they might not be experts in everything. Indeed, they have no prima facie grounds for that view in the first place. They are even more aware than I am that they have hardly studied anything, nor taken any of this seriously. They were present when they were reading Arthur Devine's "The Creed Explained" instead of actual theology books to get definitions of the Church, and of membership in the Church; they were witnesses of their consulting two books which are on the Index of Forbidden Books (Dollinger, Viollet), Protestant historian Henry R. Percival, Protestant historian Dr. John C.L. Gieseler, and Protestant historian George Shelvocke, an English pirate of the eighteenth century (all given as sources in footnotes in True or False Pope?). They were there when they ignored all of the dogmatic theology manuals that address historical cases such as Liberius, Honorius, and John XXII, because the theologians directly contradict their own interpretation of these cases. They were present when they decided not to quote Journet, or Scheeben, or Bellarmine, or Billot, on any of these cases (despite quoting all four authors on other matters), carefully leaving out what those men had to say about the relevant questions, and chose to use current writer Robert de Mattei (of TFP - a sect condemned as "heretical" by Bishop de Castro Mayer), the heretic Dollinger, and the English pirate and heretic Shelvocke.
Finally, we learn what will happen if I send Siscoe and Salza the document I promised them, explaining and proving some of the errors in their book. My document will just become more grist for their mill.
So I won't be sending it to them. Instead, it will go only where it needs to go.