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 A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism 
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New post A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
Some obections refuted.

The Dominicans of Avrille assert the following:

Quote:
But how can a heretic, who is no longer a member of the Church, be its leader or head?

The Dominican Father Garrigou-Lagrange, basing his reasoning on Billuart, explains in his treatise De Verbo Incarnato (p. 232) that an heretical pope, while no longer a member of the Church, can still be her head. For, what is impossible in the case of a physical head is possible (albeit abnormal) for a secondary moral head.

The reason is that, whereas a physical head cannot influence the members without receiving the vital influx of the soul, a moral head, as is the Roman Pontiff, can exercise jurisdiction over the Church even if he does not receive from the soul of the Church any influx of interior faith or charity.

In short, the pope is constituted a member of the Church by his personal faith, which he can lose, but he is head of the visible Church by the jurisdiction and authority which he received, and these can co-exist with his own heresy.


This answer is difficult to follow.

Garrigou-Lagrange, in the place cited, speaks only of a secret heretic. His purpose in this place is to defend St. Thomas's teaching on membership in the Mystical Body, the Church, against what he perceives to be the error of St. Robert Bellarmine on the question, specifically in relation to membership by occult heretics. Bellarmine teaches that for membership only the external profession of the faith is required, not interior faith; St. Thomas, using the term "membership" in a more abstract way, says that all of those who lack faith, including therefore occult heretics, are not members actually, but only potentially (i.e. they can become, and ought to become, and are called to become, members, but they are not so in actuality at present, and may never be). G-L's purpose is clear from the conclusion he reaches, viz. "that occult heretics are only apparent members of the Church, which they externally and visibly profess to be the true Church."

G-L also quotes with approval Billuart's opinion that the occult heretic pope's "jurisdiction and power is compatible with private heresy."

Therefore it is difficult to agree with the application of this doctrine of Garrigou-Lagrange to the thesis that a manifest heretic immediately and without any declaration loses his office as visible head of the Church.

The Dominicans appear to be arguing, albeit implicitly, that if an occult heretic (whom they say is not a member of the Church), can retain jurisdiction, then so can all other non-members, such as manifest heretics. But this is not what G-L teaches, and in any case it is contrary to the common opinion of the doctors.

Now it will be worth considering the previous point made by the Dominicans.

Quote:

If a Catholic were convinced that John Paul II is a formal, manifest heretic, should he then conclude that he is no longer pope?

No, he should not, for according to the "common" opinion (Suarez), or even the "more common" opinion (Billuart), theologians think that even an heretical pope can continue to exercise the papacy. For him to lose his jurisdiction, the Catholic bishops (the only judges in matters of faith besides the pope, by Divine will) would have to make a declaration denouncing the pope’s heresy.

According to the more common opinion, the Christ, by a particular providence, for the common good and the tranquility of the Church, continues to give jurisdiction to an even manifestly heretical pontiff until such time as he should be declared a manifest heretic by the Church.3

Now, in so serious a matter, it is not prudent to go against the common opinion.


Here we seem to observe the unfortunate effect of inter-order rivalry on theological effort. These Dominicans rely on doctors from the 18th and 16th centuries, Billuart, O.P., and Suarez, S.J., for their ecclesiology and for their assessment of what the "common opinion" on the relevant question is. It is an interesting fact that not only is Bellarmine the Doctor of Ecclesiology, and most especially of the papacy, but that the Jesuits have dominated this field of theology for four centuries. So many of the great volumes de ecclesia have been by Jesuits, culminating in our own era with the works of Palmieri, Zapelena, Franzelin, and Billot. Of the Dominicans who have contributed to this field, no great names stand out, no famous volumes appear.

And it is precisely because of this paucity, not of Thomistic doctrine, for Bellarmine and his followers are all Thomists, but of Dominican effort in this area, that must explain the otherwise very strange decision of the Avrille Dominicans to ignore all modern manuals and of course the father of the field Bellarmine himself, in favour of Billuart and Suarez.

The same syndrome can be seen in Garrigou-Lagrange himself, who shows a preference for Cajetan over Bellarmine which the Church has certainly not encouraged. Another theologian who ignores Bellarmine and the whole Jesuit tradition of ecclesiology, is Charles Journet - the man whose intervention in favour of Dignitatis Humanae at Vatican II was considered so decisive that Paul VI raised him to the cardinalate in gratitude.

What is the common opinion on membership of the Church and the possession of jurisdiction in our era? Consider what Joseph Fenton says:
Quote:
Sylvius defends his thesis with arguments from the nature of the Church, from Scripture, and from the writings of the Fathers. Actually the reasoning of this great theologian seems valid only as a demonstration of the necessity of the baptismal character for membership in the Church. He was quite correct in insisting that the mere profession of faith, apart from the baptismal character, could never suffice to make a man truly a member of the Church militant. He was quite incorrect, however, in insisting that internal faith was requisite for this purpose.

In defence of his own position, Sylvius had to teach that a man could be the head of the Church without being a member or a part of it.14 Thereby he contradicted the common teaching that no man can have authority within the Church without being a part of this society.

14 Cf. Sylvius, op. cit., q. 1, a. 7, p. 243.
15 Cf. ibid., 4. 2, a. 1, p. 254.
16 Cf. ibid., q. 2, a. 2, p.

Fenton, The Parish Census-List and Membership in the True Church, AER, April, 1950. Emphasis added.


Now this is not the same question as that proposed and answered by the Avrille Dominicans, for theirs is an even more extreme position, viz., that even a notorious heretic, recognised as such by the whole Church, would still remain pope until a declaration of his heresy was made by "the bishops" (i.e. one presumes, an imperfect general council). Since no proof is provided for this assertion, and since even if it were true it would prove nothing more than what the common opinion was in the frst half of the eighteenth century, and since it contradicts the best authorities (Bellarmine, Wernz-Vidal, for example), it is difficult to assign any real value to it. Yet the Dominicans tell us it would be "imprudent" to depart from it.

It is sufficiently clear that the Dominicans of Avrille have produced a shabby piece of work, badly sourced, reliant on only two doctors, and those not the most weighty in the field, and in which the course of the argument is not even explicit but must be guessed by the reader.

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Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:55 am
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
Against Garrigou-Lagrange on membership in the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine says the following:

Quote:
Against this: in the first place, if the heretic remained, "in actu" [actually], united to the Church in virtue of the character, he would never be able to be cut or separated from her "in actu", for the character is indelible. But there is no one who denies that some people may be separated "in actu" from the Church. Therefore, the character does not make the heretic be "in actu" in the Church, but is only a sign that he was in the Church and that he must return to her. Analogously, when a sheep wanders lost in the mountains, the mark impressed on it does not make it be in the fold, but indicates from which fold it had fled and to which fold it ought to be brought back. This truth has a confirmation in St. Thomas who says (Summ. Theol. III, q. 8, a. 3) that those who do not have the faith are not united "in actu" to Christ, but only potentially - and St. Thomas here refers to the internal union, and not to the external which is produced by the confession of faith and visible signs. Therefore, as the character is something internal, and not external, according to St. Thomas the character alone does not unite a man, "in actu," to Christ. (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30.)


Here St. Robert asserts very directly that in III, Q.8, Art. 3, the same place cited by G-L, St. Thomas is not speaking of the visible unity of the Church, but of the internal union of grace by which men are united to Christ.

This, indeed, is apparent from the text by dozens of indications. Everything referred to is an internal and supernatural factor - grace, the theological virtues, etc.

And, of course, Bellarmine refutes Cajetan in this text also, a fact appreciated by virtually all theologians, but not some Dominicans.

Further, St. Thomas is completely clear that those who are not members cannot possess habitual jurisdiction.

Quote:
Cyprian says in a letter (Ep. lii, quoted vii, qu. 1, can. Novatianus): "He who observes neither unity of spirit nor the concord of peace, and severs himself from the bonds of the Church, and from the fellowship of her priests, cannot have episcopal power or honor."

I answer that, Spiritual power is twofold, the one sacramental, the other a power of jurisdiction. The sacramental power is one that is conferred by some kind of consecration. Now all the consecrations of the Church are immovable so long as the consecrated thing remains: as appears even in inanimate things, since an altar, once consecrated, is not consecrated again unless it has been broken up. Consequently such a power as this remains, as to its essence, in the man who has received it by consecration, as long as he lives, even if he fall into schism or heresy: and this is proved from the fact that if he come back to the Church, he is not consecrated anew. Since, however, the lower power ought not to exercise its act, except in so far as it is moved by the higher power, as may be seen also in the physical order, it follows that such persons lose the use of their power, so that it is not lawful for them to use it. Yet if they use it, this power has its effect in sacramental acts, because therein man acts only as God's instrument, so that sacramental effects are not precluded on account of any fault whatever in the person who confers the sacrament.

On the other hand, the power of jurisdiction is that which is conferred by a mere human appointment. Such a power as this does not adhere to the recipient immovably: so that it does not remain in heretics and schismatics; and consequently they neither absolve nor excommunicate, nor grant indulgence, nor do anything of the kind, and if they do, it is invalid. (II-II Q. 39, Art. 3)


Now either St. Thomas didn't appreciate the implications of his own doctrine in III, Q.8, Art. 3, as G-L really implies, albeit unwittingly, or St. Robert understands him correctly, and in that place the Angelic Doctor refers only to the internal bonds of unity.

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Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:59 pm
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
This answer is difficult to follow.


Indeed! The notion of GL, following no other than Suarez, destroys both the visibility and the unity of the Church. I found very strange (for not saying "funny") that the synonymous of thomism in XX century (Garrigou) follow in one of the main thesis of ecclesiology no other than Suarez!

I believe the mind of St Thomas can be found in these texts:

Quote:
“Those who are sanctified in the womb receive indeed grace which cleanses them from original sin, but they do not therefore receive the character, by which they are conformed to Christ. Consequently, if any were to be sanctified in the womb now, they would need to be baptized, in order to be conformed to Christ's other members by receiving the character”. III pars q. 68 a. 1 ad 3.


Quote:
“Adults who already believe in Christ are incorporated in Him mentally. But afterwards, when they are baptized, they are incorporated in Him, corporally, as it were, i.e. by the visible sacrament; without the desire of which they could not have been incorporated in Him even mentally, III: q. 69 a. 5 ad 1.


I think this last passage explains the other one that was the occasion by which some authors believed that St. Thomas defended infused faith as a requisite for membership: “And man is made a member of Christ through grace alone” III q. 62 a. 1 in c.


Quote:
The Dominicans appear to be arguing, albeit implicitly, that if an occult heretic (whom they say is not a member of the Church), can retain jurisdiction, then so can all other non-members, such as manifest heretics. But this is not what G-L teaches, and in any case it is contrary to the common opinion of the doctors.


Well I think it is a legitimate conclusion. If someone can be Pope without being member (something Leo XIII calls "absurd") then it doesn´t matter if membership is lost by internal or public heresy. I think the conclusion, based on GL, is the same: that non-member can be Pope.

Quote:
Here we seem to observe the unfortunate effect of inter-order rivalry on theological effort. These Dominicans rely on doctors from the 18th and 16th centuries, Billuart, O.P., and Suarez, S.J., for their ecclesiology and for their assessment of what the "common opinion" on the relevant question is. It is an interesting fact that not only is Bellarmine the Doctor of Ecclesiology, and most especially of the papacy, but that the Jesuits have dominated this field of theology for four centuries. So many of the great volumes de ecclesia have been by Jesuits, culminating in our own era with the works of Palmieri, Zapelena, Franzelin, and Billot. Of the Dominicans who have contributed to this field, no great names stand out, no famous volumes appear.

And it is precisely because of this paucity, not of Thomistic doctrine, for Bellarmine and his followers are all Thomists, but of Dominican effort in this area, that must explain the otherwise very strange decision of the Avrille Dominicans to ignore all modern manuals and of course the father of the field Bellarmine himself, in favour of Billuart and Suarez.


Indeed! this is something I have noted as well and I have wondered about. The Dominicans have produced no good ecclesiologist: you can list Turrecremata, John of Saint Thomas, Cajetan, Cano, Schultes and maybe 1 or 2 more but nothing more. And even among these authors, some didn´t wrote a treatise on the Church but actually wrote about it incidentally.

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Leon Bloy


Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:42 pm
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
Here is Salaverri explaining the mind of St Thomas.

Quote:
1039. Scholion 2. The mind of the theologians on the Church taken in a wide or stric sense.

St Thomas talks about the Church understood in this twofold meaning.

1) On the Church in the wide sense he teaches mainly this:

a) The body of the Church is made up of the men who have been from the beginning of the world until its end (3 q.8 a.3)

b) The ancient Fathers, by observing the legal sacraments, were borne to Christ by the same faith and lovewhereby we also are borne to Him, and hence the ancient Fathers belong to the same Church as we. (3 q.8 a.3 ad 3).

c) Sinners are not members of Christ... except, perhaps, imperfectly, by formless faith, which unites to God, relatively but not simply (3 q.8 a.3 ad 2).

d) Lifeless faith is common to all members of the Church (2.2 q.4 a.5 ad 4)

e) The whole Church is united together by faith (2.2 q.1 a.9 ad 3)

f) The Church is the congregation of the faithful (3 q.8 a.4 ad 2)

2) On the Church in a strict sense St Thomas teaches:

a) Since Christ's coming, men are incorporated in Christ by faith But faith in a thing already present is manifested by a sign different from that by which it was manifested when that thing was yet in the future. But for this end is Baptism conferred on a man, that being regenerated thereby, he may be incorporated in Christ, by becoming His member. (3 q.68 a.1 c et ad 1).

b) By Baptism men are incorporated in Christ. (3 q.68 a.4, a.5 c et ad 1; q. 69 a.2 et ad 1).

Salaverri coments: ”This is as a principle that St Thomas always uses in order to argue”

c) Baptism is ordained unto a certain spiritual regeneration, by which man becomes a member of Christ (3 q.62 a.2; q.69 a. 6).

d) Those who are sanctified in the womb receive indeed grace which cleanses them from original sin, but they do not therefore receive the character, by which they are conformed to Christ. (3 q.68 a.1 ad 3).

e) “Adults who already believe in Christ are incorporated in Him mentally. But afterwards, when they are baptized, they are incorporated in Him, corporally, as it were, i.e. by the visible sacrament; without the desire of which they could not have been incorporated in Him even mentally. (3 q.69 a.5 ad 1; a.4 ad 2)

Salaverri says: “St Thomas clearly teaches that the desire of baptism either explicit or implicit is necessary."
.

Note that according to Salaverri St Thomas is dealing on 3. q 8 with the Church in a wide sense, therefore it is wrong to take from there arguments related to membership.

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Leon Bloy


Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:22 pm
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
And here is Fenton :)

Taken from The Catholic Church and Salvation, pages 78-80.

Quote:
“Incidentally, it is helpful here to specify that this holds true according to the meaning which has been attached to the term “membrum ecclesiae” since the latter part of the sixteen century, and thus, according to the meaning which the expression “member of the Church” bears today. In earlier treatises on the Church, as, for instance in [b]Cardinal John de Turrecremata`s classical “Summa de Ecclesia”, a membrum ecclesiae is a Catholic in the state of santifying grace (1). The term employed by such earlier theologians to designate what we call today member of the Church was “pars ecclesiae”.

The reason for this discrepancy in wording is to be found in the fact that earlier writers on the Church preferred to emply the term “member” in line with the Scriptural metaphor of “the Body of Christ” as a name of the Catholic Church. In this context the term “body” (the Greek “soma”, and the Latin “corpus” was obviously understood as referring primarily to a living physical body, a body of a living man. In what is still its primary meaning as indicated by some dictionaries of the English language, and in what originally appears to have been its only proper significance, the term “membrum” had an anatomical connotation and served to indicate a living part of a physical body.[/b]
In their explanation of the fact that the Church can be described accurately under the metaphor of Christ´s Body, the older authors of treatises de ecclesia were faced with the question as to how people who are spiritually dead can be within the living Body which is the Church. They tended to answer by distinguishing between Catholics in the state of grace, who are in the Church as living parts of a living Body, and those in the state of mortal sin, who are actually parts of the Church and contained within it, but who do not share in the supernatural life of this community. The first group, the Catholics in the state of grace, could be designated metaphorically as “members” of the Church. The second group were parts of this society, but, according to their metaphorical use of the term, could not be called members at all.

Later, however, “member” in common parlance [b]came to mean in a proper and not merely in a metaphorical way, one of the individuals composing a society. In accordance with this tendency, and particularly through the influence of prominent theologians like St. Robert Bellarmine and Francis Sylvius, the Catholic schools came to abandon the practice of restricting the meaning of the term “membrum ecclesiae” to Catholics in the state of grace and to use it to signify also what had previously been designated as “pars ecclesiae”[/b]. (2) This change, originally made to avoid any ambiguity or confusion that might have followed from the earlier use of the term, was accepted everywhere. So it is that the “members of the Church”, spoken of in the Mystici Corporis Christi, are all of the individual human beings who together costitute the organized society which is, in fact, the true and only supernatural kingdom of God on earth in the dispensation of the New testament. When in this book, the term “member of the Church” is employed, it is always and everywhere used with this meaning”.

1) Cfr. Turrecremata, Summa de Ecclesia (Venice, 1561), c. 5, p. 69. In this page Turrecremata appeals to and cites the teaching of St. Thomas in the Summa theologica III, q.8 a3, although his teaching is rather a modification than a mere repetition of that of St. Thomas.

2). Cfr. Fenton, “Membership in the Church”, in AER CXII, 4 (April, 1945), 294.

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Leon Bloy


Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:11 pm
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
Dear Cristian,

Thank you very much for these. Very useful indeed.

Yes, St. Thomas is not using "member" or "church" in the same sense that it is used by St. Robert and his school. Mons. Fenton's comment that later theologians were referring to "members and parts" of the Church highlights this point well. A component part of the Church is a member in a very different sense than a person united to Christ by grace.

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Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:38 am
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Dear Cristian,

Thank you very much for these. Very useful indeed.


You are welcome! :)

Quote:
Yes, St. Thomas is not using "member" or "church" in the same sense that it is used by St. Robert and his school. Mons. Fenton's comment that later theologians were referring to "members and parts" of the Church highlights this point well. A component part of the Church is a member in a very different sense than a person united to Christ by grace.


Indeed, and in fact Fenton says St Robert Bellarmine`s stance on this was taught also by Pius XII himself.

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Leon Bloy


Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:45 am
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
Cristian Jacobo wrote:
Indeed, and in fact Fenton says St Robert Bellarmine`s stance on this was taught also by Pius XII himself.


Yes, that was known to me, but when writing my own book I could not find the reference! Now I know where I saw it, and I have today ordered a copy of this book (I had borrowed one 15 years ago).

Thanks again, Cristian. I should just ask you for everything, and you will tell me what to believe and where to find the proofs. :)

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Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:16 pm
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New post Re: A Little Catechism on Sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Cristian Jacobo wrote:
Indeed, and in fact Fenton says St Robert Bellarmine`s stance on this was taught also by Pius XII himself.


Thanks again, Cristian. I should just ask you for everything, and you will tell me what to believe and where to find the proofs. :)


:lol:

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