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Papacy cannot lie permanently vacant
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Author:  Teresa Ginardi [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:09 am ]
Post subject:  Papacy cannot lie permanently vacant

Quote:
A final objection is that if the "sedevacantist" position is true, the Roman Pontificate has failed, thus contradicting the indefectibility of the Church. This can be maintained from three points of view:
1) From the length of time involved since the last valid Pope. (Arguably, Pope Pius XII.) But the Great Western Schism lasted a comparable time, even longer depending on just what the final conclusion of it is considered to be. (42 years is a reasonable estimate.) During that time, there was no certainty in the external forum as to who the legitimate Pope was. Nevertheless, the Church did not founder. (To say that this does not matter, because ONE Pope must be legitimate, is useless. The unity of the Church cannot be maintained by an unknowable Pope. Hence "Papa dubius, papa nullus.") It is true and de fide that the papacy cannot lie vacant permanently. The question is, how long is permanent? In human affairs, something more than a lifetime of a man, or perhaps around 50 years, may be permanent. I do not claim to put an exact measurement to it, but this seems reasonable to me. The Western Schism approached the half century mark. So long as the authority of the papacy is recognized, and need for the papacy to be filled is maintained, then within these time limits, I do not see how it can be claimed that we are denying the indefectibility of the Church.


50 years is fast approaching, even if we go to 1963 for Paul VI. What does this mean for sedes?

Author:  Vince Sheridan [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Pax Christi !

Dear Teresa,

Your concern in noted. In answer, here is a outstanding essay by Fr. O'Reill on this very topic, translated by John Daly, and posted on John Lanes website:

Fr. O'Reilly On The Idea Of A Long-Term Vacancy Of The Holy See

By John Daly. Revised and edited by John Lane, October 1999.

In 1882 a book was published in England called The Relations of the Church to Society - Theological Essays, comprising twenty-nine essays by Fr. Edmund James O'Reilly S.J., one of the leading theologians of his time. The book expresses with wonderful clarity and succinctness many important theological truths and insights on subjects indirectly as well as directly related to its main theme.

For our purposes the book has in one respect an even greater relevance than it did at the time of publication, for in it Fr. O'Reilly asserts with the full weight of such authority as he possesses, the following opinions:



that a vacancy of the Holy See lasting for an extended period of time cannot be pronounced to be incompatible with the promises of Christ as to the indefectibility of the Church; and

that it would be exceedingly rash to set any prejudged limits as to what God will be prepared to allow to happen to the Holy See (other, of course, than that a true pope will never fall into heresy, nor in any way err).


Of course Fr. O'Reilly does not have the status of pope or Doctor of the Church; but, that said, he was certainly no negligible authority. Some idea of the esteem in which he was held can be obtained from the following facts:

Cardinal Cullen, then Bishop of Armagh, chose him as his theologian at the Synod of Thurles in 1850.

Dr. Brown, bishop of Shrewsbury, chose him as his theologian at the Synod of Shrewsbury.

Dr. Furlong, bishop of Ferns and his former colleague as professor of theology at Maynooth, chose him as his theologian at the Synod of Maynooth.

He was named professor of theology at the Catholic University in Dublin on its foundation.

The General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Beckx, proposed to appoint him professor of theology at the Roman College in Rome, though as it turned out circumstances unrelated to Fr. O'Reilly intervened to prevent that appointment.

At a conference held regarding the philosophical and theological studies in the Society of Jesus, he was chosen to represent all the English-speaking "provinces" of the Society - that is, Ireland, England, Maryland, and the other divisions of the United States.

In short Fr. O'Reilly was widely recognised as one of the most erudite and important theologians of his time.

Finally, the following quotation by Dr. Ward in the justly renowned Dublin Review (January 1876 issue) is worth quoting (emphasis added):

"Whatever is written by so able and solidly learned a theologian - one so docile to the Church and so fixed in the ancient theological paths - cannot but be of signal benefit to the Catholic reader in these anxious and perilous times."

Dr. Ward thought his times were anxious and perilous! Well, let us now see what "signal benefit" we, a little more than a century later, can derive from some of Fr. O'Reilly's writing.

We open with a brief passage from an early chapter of the book, called "The Pastoral Office of the Church". On page 33 Fr. O'Reilly says this (emphases added):

"If we inquire how ecclesiastical jurisdiction...has been continued, the answer is that...it in part came and comes immediately from God on the fulfilment of certain conditions regarding the persons. Priests having jurisdiction derive it from bishops or the pope. The pope has it immediately from God, on his legitimate election. The legitimacy of his election depends on the observance of the rules established by previous popes regarding such election."

Thus, if papal jurisdiction depends on a person's legitimate election, which certainly is not verified in the case of the purported election of a formal heretic to the Chair of Peter, it follows that, in the absence of legitimate election, no jurisdiction whatever is granted, neither "de jure" nor, despite what some have tried to maintain, "de facto".

Fr. O'Reilly makes the following remark later in his book (page 287 - our emphases added):

"A doubtful pope may be really invested with the requisite power; but he has not practically in relation to the Church the same right as a certain pope - He is not entitled to be acknowledged as Head of the Church, and may be legitimately compelled to desist from his claim."

This extract comes from one of two chapters devoted by Fr. O'Reilly to the Council of Constance of 1414. It may be remembered that the Council of Constance was held to put an end to the disastrous schism which had begun thirty-six years earlier, and which by that time involved no fewer than three claimants to the Papacy, each of whom had a considerable following. Back to Fr. O'Reilly:

"The Council assembled in 1414...

"We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all through, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope - with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of Vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum."

Thus one of the great theologians of the nineteenth century, writing subsequently to the 1870 Vatican Council, tells us that it is "by no means manifest" that a thirty-six year interregnum would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ. And we can therefore legitimately ask: at what stage, if any, would such be manifest? After thirty-seven years? Or forty-seven years? Clearly, once it is established in principle that a long interregnum is not incompatible with the promises of Christ, the question of degree - how long - cannot enter into the question. That is up to God to decide, and who can know what astonishing things He may in fact decide.

And, indeed, as Fr. O'Reilly proceeds further in this remarkable chapter, written over a hundred years ago but surely fashioned by Divine Providence much more expressly for our day than for his, he makes this very point about what it can and cannot be assumed that God will permit. From page 287 (all emphases added):

"There had been anti-popes before from time to time, but never for such a continuance...nor ever with such a following...

"The great schism of the West suggests to me a reflection which I take the liberty of expressing here. If this schism had not occurred, the hypothesis of such a thing happening would appear to many chimerical. They would say it could not be; God would not permit the Church to come into so unhappy a situation. Heresies might spring up and spread and last painfully long, through the fault and to the perdition of their authors and abettors, to the great distress too of the faithful, increased by actual persecution in many places where the heretics were dominant. But that the true Church should remain between thirty and forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head, and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be. Yet it has been; and we have no guarantee that it will not be again, though we may fervently hope otherwise. What I would infer is, that we must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. We know with absolute certainty that He will fulfil His promises; not allow anything to occur at variance with them; that He will sustain His Church and enable her to triumph over all enemies and difficulties; that He will give to each of the faithful those graces which are needed for each one's service of Him and attainment of salvation, as He did during the great schism we have been considering, and in all the sufferings and trials which the Church has passed through from the beginning. We may also trust He will do a great deal more than what He has bound Himself to by His promises. We may look forward with a cheering probability to exemption for the future from some of the troubles and misfortunes that have befallen in the past. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree."

While Fr. O'Reilly himself disclaims any status as a prophet, nevertheless a true prophecy is clearly exactly what this passage amounts to. Moreover it is the kind of prophecy which, provided it is advanced conditionally, as in this case, both can and should be made in the light of the evidence on which he is concentrating his gaze. In respect of much that lies in the future there is no need for special revelations in order that we may know it. As Fr. O'Reilly indicates, except where God has specifically told us that something will not occur, any assumptions concerning what He will not permit are rash; and of course such assumptions will have the disastrous result that people will be misled if the events in question do occur. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isaias 55:8)

Author:  Teresa Ginardi [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Vince,

I've read the Fr. O'Reilly piece several times in the past. What I'm asking is the time-frame alluded to by Mr. Larrabee is arguably here right now. What does that mean? This vacancy cannot persist indefinitely as Mr. Larrabee stated and not be opposed to de fide Catholic Faith. Also, now that the entire episcopacy is gone (jurisdictionally) we've got more than a sede-vacante; we've got hierarchy-vacante. Unity demands a head, indefectibility, also. 50 years is here. What now?

Author:  Vince Sheridan [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:08 am ]
Post subject: 

Pax Christi !

How long? That is in God's hands, I suspect when the church has been chastised enough to satisfy the All Just God.

Question: How long was the Great Western Schism? Recall, there was no " visible" head, since each claimant excommunicated the other.

In Christ our King,

Author:  Eamon Shea [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
What I'm asking is the time-frame alluded to by Mr. Larrabee is arguably here right now. What does that mean? 50 years is here. What now?


It means hold on to your hat, I suppose. It is practically tangible that we are entering an incredibly important period, for the Church and the entire world. As 50 is his guess, I would not worry. My guess would be 70. Either way, a guess is only a guess.

Author:  Robert Bastaja [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:58 am ]
Post subject: 

"The question is, how long is permanent? In human affairs, something more than a lifetime of a man, or perhaps around 50 years, may be permanent."

This is not merely a "human affair" so judging it in these terms may be unwise.

It is true that a human condition that remains for more than the lifetime of a man drastically changes society compared to a condition that only lasts for a portion of a lifetime. I believe Hilare Belloc makes this point in his writings on the "Reformation".

Author:  Admin [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:30 am ]
Post subject: 

Eamon Shea wrote:
As 50 is his guess, I would not worry. My guess would be 70. Either way, a guess is only a guess.


Your "guess" has no weight. Mr. Larrabee's philosophically developed idea, based on Catholic principles, has some kind of weight.

Author:  brogan [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

John Lane wrote:

Mr. Larrabee's philosophically developed idea


Did this man say anything more than this on the issue then the except below?

Quote:

The question is, how long is permanent? In human affairs, something more than a lifetime of a man, or perhaps around 50 years, may be permanent. I do not claim to put an exact measurement to it, but this seems reasonable to me. The Western Schism approached the half century mark. So long as the authority of the papacy is recognized, and need for the papacy to be filled is maintained, then within these time limits, I do not see how it can be claimed that we are denying the indefectibility of the Church.

Author:  Admin [ Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

brogan wrote:
Did this man say anything more than this on the issue then the except below?
Quote:

The question is, how long is permanent? In human affairs, something more than a lifetime of a man, or perhaps around 50 years, may be permanent. I do not claim to put an exact measurement to it, but this seems reasonable to me. The Western Schism approached the half century mark. So long as the authority of the papacy is recognized, and need for the papacy to be filled is maintained, then within these time limits, I do not see how it can be claimed that we are denying the indefectibility of the Church.


No, I don't believe so. But I do think that 70 years could constitute the limit, for the same reasons enunciated by Mr. Larrabee.

The point is to acknowledge the objection against our position, reduce it to its proper aspect and proportion, consider it maturely, and then answer it or accept that the position must be modified or abandoned. This is reason at work, guided by and subject to faith.

And this is one of the reasons why I have erected these forums. The approach taken everywhere else is to permit discussion to fall to the level of the least common multiple under the cover of a label entitled, "Charity."

Author:  Linda [ Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Could we compare this situation with the Babylonian captivity which lasted 70 years, (dread the thought!)

Author:  Teresa Ginardi [ Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:55 am ]
Post subject: 

John Lane wrote:
The point is to acknowledge the objection against our position, reduce it to its proper aspect and proportion, consider it maturely, and then answer it or accept that the position must be modified or abandoned. This is reason at work, guided by and subject to faith.

And this is one of the reasons why I have erected these forums. The approach taken everywhere else is to permit discussion to fall to the level of the least common multiple under the cover of a label entitled, "Charity."


John,

Does Mr. Larrabee believe that Pope Piux XII was the last true pope? I know that you've stated that you set John XXIII to the side, but could "reason guided by and subject to faith" have John XXIII as the last true pope?

Author:  Jim Condit Jr. [ Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Vince Sheridan wrote:
Pax Christi !

How long? That is in God's hands, I suspect when the church has been chastised enough to satisfy the All Just God.

Question: How long was the Great Western Schism? Recall, there was no " visible" head, since each claimant excommunicated the other.

In Christ our King,


Dear Vince Sheridan --

While I realize you have "visible" in quotes above -- would you not agree that there was a visible head of the Church, in fact, during the Great Western Schism (leaving aside the brief periods between the Pope's death and the subsequent Papal election in the true line)?

In other words, there was a true line of visible Popes in that period, even though it was not clear to most of the faithful who it was for sure. Likewise, many parts of the world (Japan and China, for instance, at various times) have not known who the Pope was in times of distress in that part of the world for one reason or another, but this in no way nullified the fact that there was a true and visible head of the Church during such periods.


Jim Condit Jr.

Author:  Vince Sheridan [ Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Pax Christi !

I love this fourm ! And it is a great day up in this part of God's vineyard.! ( Western Washington, USA)

Jim you asked-
Quote:
While I realize you have "visible" in quotes above -- would you not agree that there was a visible head of the Church,


Indeed someone was the pope, but who was the visible head ? Each claimant had excommunicated the other. Even Saints were found to have backed the wrong claimant. Here is a excerpt from a article recently posted by John Daly and revised and edited by John Lane regarding some of the Essays written by the esteemed theologian Fr. Edmund James O'Reilly S.J, on this very subject;

"We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all through, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope - with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of Vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum." The Relations of the Church to Society - Theological Essays"Fr. Edmund James O'Reilly S.J 1882

Also here is a rather prophetic except from this esteemed theologian of the 19th century. Thanks to John Daly and John Lane for posting this;


"The great schism of the West suggests to me a reflection which I take the liberty of expressing here. If this schism had not occurred, the hypothesis of such a thing happening would appear to many chimerical. They would say it could not be; God would not permit the Church to come into so unhappy a situation. Heresies might spring up and spread and last painfully long, through the fault and to the perdition of their authors and abettors, to the great distress too of the faithful, increased by actual persecution in many places where the heretics were dominant. But that the true Church should remain between thirty and forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head, and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be. Yet it has been; and we have no guarantee that it will not be again, though we may fervently hope otherwise. What I would infer is, that we must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. We know with absolute certainty that He will fulfil His promises; not allow anything to occur at variance with them; that He will sustain His Church and enable her to triumph over all enemies and difficulties; that He will give to each of the faithful those graces which are needed for each one's service of Him and attainment of salvation, as He did during the great schism we have been considering, and in all the sufferings and trials which the Church has passed through from the beginning. We may also trust He will do a great deal more than what He has bound Himself to by His promises. We may look forward with a cheering probability to exemption for the future from some of the troubles and misfortunes that have befallen in the past. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree."

In Xto,
Vincent

Author:  Crazy Cat [ Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:49 am ]
Post subject: 

Linda wrote:
Could we compare this situation with the Babylonian captivity which lasted 70 years, (dread the thought!)


His Excellency Bishop Dolan recently said that his current thinking is that 70 years (as in the Babylonian Captivity) might be the duration. Did you catch that sermon?

We have to accept that we may never know, in this life.

Author:  Penrod Schofield [ Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
John,

Does Mr. Larrabee believe that Pope Piux XII was the last true pope? I know that you've stated that you set John XXIII to the side, but could "reason guided by and subject to faith" have John XXIII as the last true pope?



I don't know of any definite proof that Roncalli was not the pope. It seems to me we must assume he is pope until the contrary is proven, based on the principle of in dubio, standum est pro auctoritate, "in doubt, one must stand with authority."

Somehow I feel I'm wrong on this one. :roll:

Author:  Hudson Jackson II [ Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

Crazy Cat wrote:
Linda wrote:
Could we compare this situation with the Babylonian captivity which lasted 70 years, (dread the thought!)


His Excellency Bishop Dolan recently said that his current thinking is that 70 years (as in the Babylonian Captivity) might be the duration. Did you catch that sermon?

We have to accept that we may never know, in this life.


I was actually thinking the same thing several months ago, and I can't even remember who I told about this. But I do know it was during a discussion on the Great Monarch and who he might be.

I do remember someone posting on another Web site about how things would be resolved after 40 years (another Biblically significant number, in a sense). Well, 1998 has long past, and so has 2005.

Should it necessarily have to be 70 years? It's only a symbolic number; we have free will so we can actually work toward resolving matters earlier than that. The primary concern should be about getting people back into the Catholic Church, adopting the Catholic faith. Once this is done then maybe some consideration should be given towards finding a legitimate (i.e. canonical) way of selecting another pope.

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