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 Bp. Williamson on Infallibility 
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:
John,

Quote:
John Lane:
It concerns me too, which is why when I complain about it I like to get it right. And when I complain about it, I take it straight to the source, so you understand that it's not just a matter of whipping up the masses, as Fr. Cekada aims to do, it's actually an attempt to alter the views of the leaders.


I agree with not trying to whip up the masses. This is why I have written to the priests of the society in my State (and hand-delivered my letter). Of course, I am not worth of a response even though my soul is at stake according to them given I am a sedevacantist, and have never received a response. I don't have a personal hot-line with Bishop Fellay and the SSPX clergy have a habit, at least here in the USA, to ignore anyone who questions their position especially a sedevacantist.


Understood. I've been at this for decades. First you have to earn their respect, and if possible, their friendship. It also helps if you can point to somebody and say "I am a sedevacantist like such-and-such," and they know exactly what you mean. When Fr. Black was made District Superior here in circa 2000, I called him, introduced myself, and said "I am a sedevacantist like Bill Morgan," and he said, "Well that's all right then!" :) Bill Morgan was lovely, not dogmatic, sensible and real. In Europe you could say, "like Fr. Raffali" whom they all know is saintly and used to be visited regularly by the Archbishop and even Bishop Tissier. Read this thread for some more detail: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1166

All that we have definitely achieved so far is to get clear in their minds (not all of them) that "sedevacantism" is not a univocal term. We may have achieved more, but it isn't certain. There's a lot of work to be done. Chip away. :)

Also, be clear in your own mind what your objective is. Are you trying to convert them to sedevacantism, or just get them to agree that the situation is mysterious and therefore not to adopt errors, such as the one regarding the magisterium we are discussing right now? If the latter, you can say exactly that. It may take the heat out of the discussion right up front. I have had a lot of experience with this. One of my favourite approaches is to complain about some doctrinal error or other, and then say something like this: The authority of the Conciliar popes is a legitimately disputed question, so I don't expect everybody to agree with me, but the real trouble arises when men try and answer sedevacantist arguments and end up adopting theological error to do so. That is just awful! If they haven't got the competence, they should leave the matter alone!

This is entirely reasonable, in fact impossible to disagree with. Of course, it becomes more delicate when you are disputing Fr. Gleize's articles. :)

James Schroepfer wrote:
It is difficult not to as I often take the USA SSPX to represent the rest of the society which I am happy to hear is inaccurate.


Unfortunately, not that inaccurate. :)

James Schroepfer wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Can you say how, James? Let's be specific.


The sedevacantist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine it is to be believed as infallible.

...

The sedeplenist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine which the sedeplenist recognizes to be passes down through all the centuries from the teaching of Christ .


I agree, they err. But this SSPX writer is unclear insofar as it says that only that which has been taught always, everywhere, and by all, is to be held, and then goes on to admit that what is implicit must be made explicit by the magisterium, so that not all that appears to be novel is to be rejected. So he hasn't even defined his own theory clearly. But I agree, he's in error.

Now let's try and be just to the writer, as to where his error is. If you think about the following from Wilhelm and Scannell and ask yourself how you would consider how to react to a doctrine which you were convinced was wrong (e.g collegiality), but which had been presented by a weird new body called a "pastoral council" with uncertain status, would it be wrong to look at the historical data and use that to settle the matter in your own mind? If you did, would you truly be "sifting" the magisterium? Or would you not really be looking for what the magisterium actually teaches, since it is at best unclear today?

Quote:
For the Catholic it is not necessary to demonstrate positively from coeval documents that the Church has always borne actual witness to a given doctrine. The scantiness of the documents, especially of those belonging to the sub-apostolic age, makes it even impossible. The Tradition of the present time, above all if it is attested by an authoritative definition, is quite sufficient to prove the former existence of the same Tradition, although perhaps only in a latent state. Any further knowledge of its former existence is merely of scientific interest. When, however, the Ecclesiastical Tradition of the present is not publicly manifest, and the judges of the Faith have to decide some controverted question, they must investigate the Tradition of the past, or, as St. Vincent of Lerins expresses it, they must appeal to antiquity. It is not necessary to go back to an absolute antiquity: it is sufficient to find some time when the Tradition was undoubted. Thus, at the Council of Ephesus (AD, 431), the decisions were based upon the testimony of the Fathers of the fourth century. When the Tradition is not manifest either in the present or in the past, we can sometimes have recourse to the consent of the Fathers and Theologians of note. The temporary uncertainty and even partial negation of a doctrine within the Church is not, in in itself, a conclusive argument against the traditional character of the doctrine. The opposition can generally be shown to be purely human, and can often be turned to good account. We can sometimes ascertain its origin and show that the Church resisted it. Sometimes the difficulty arises from an appeal to merely local traditions or the opposition is inconsistent, varying, indefinite, mixed with opinions distinctly heretical or destructive of Catholic life and thought. It would be easy to prove that all these marks are applicable to the Gallican opposition to the Infallibility of the Pope.


What you had said was, "he has sifted the teaching of the Church pre-Vatican 2 on what constitutes the infallible teaching of the magesterium," but that's not right. "Sifting" is consciously picking and choosing what to accept and what to reject, forming a judgement about the accuracy or truthfulness of a doctrinal declaration or instruction. That's why to accuse somebody of "sifting" is such a powerful charge - it's an implicit accusation of the spirit of heresy, of non-submission to the magisterium. But not all error arises from this cause. In this case it's obvious that this isn't the cause. In this case we are seeing theological error which arises from the desire to resolve a real problem - the "problem of authority." We have a different solution, one which does not result in theological error, of course, so that's why we choose it. But we can't be accusing others of "sifting" merely because they err.

The devil really produced a doozy with Vatican II. He didn't just have a council which proposed heretical dogmatic decrees, or the problem would have been resolved during the council. That is, some of the bishops would have cried, "heresy!" and there would have been a nice clean schism. He didn't even have a council which made its own authority clear and which therefore proposed already infallibly-condemned error (e.g. religious liberty) with clear (claimed) infallibility of its own. No, instead we had numerous statements by John XXIII and Paul VI which undermined the infallible status of the council, so that the argument that it would have been infallible if Paul VI had been pope is less secure than it would have been, or at least, not obvious as it should have been. It was brilliant, angelically brilliant.

James Schroepfer wrote:
But is the common opinion of theologians to be considered to be the teaching of the magisterium in so far as the magisterium could not allow majority of theologians to teach error by silence or tacit approval?


The common conviction of the theologians, yes, not merely "opinion" (Wilhelm and Scannell make the distinction).

James Schroepfer wrote:
And isn't the infallibility of canonizations and canon law part of the ordinary and universal magisterium?


No, that implies that these things are matters taught infallibly by Holy Mother Church. Neither is. Of higher status than the note "theologically certain" you have "Doctrine of ecclesiastical faith" and "Truth of Divine faith" and of course "dogma" ("Dogma of faith; de fide, de fide Catholica; de fide divina et Catholica.")

And the two things have different theological notes. The infallibility of canonisations I would say is most common or something like that, only arguably theologically certain. This is because some men disputed it and were not censured. Against that we have the subsequent use of terms in actual canonisations by Pius XI and Pius XII which clearly indicate infallibility, so that's new theological data adding weight to the argument for theological certitude. But for obvious reasons we don't have any theologians pointing that out and giving their judgement that the question has now been settled. At least, I haven't seen any. And a consensus that lasts ten years (i.e. prior to V2) wouldn't be sufficient to prove that the Church has now settled the matter anyway, even if we had some theologians saying that in that period. Incidentally, Wilhelm and Scannell don't even mention the subject! This is all they say about these objects of secondary infallibility:
Quote:
Although, strictly speaking, things revealed are alone the subject-matter of Faith, nevertheless many truths belonging to the domain of natural reason, but at the same time so connected and interwoven with Revelation that they cannot be separated from it, may also be reckoned as matter of Faith. These truths are, as it were, the atmosphere in which the tree of Revelation lives and thrives. The determination of the meaning of words used for the expression of dogmas, and of passages in Holy Scripture and other documents, are instances. In like manner many truths are inseparably connected with matters of morals, e.g discipline, ceremonies, Religious Orders, the temporal power of the Pope, etc.


Disciplinary infallibility is theologically certain.

So, error against this is objectively a mortal sin against faith. But it doesn't affect one's status as a Catholic, even if pertinaciously held. I'm not playing down its seriousnous, merely highlighting the chasm that separates it from heresy (e.g. the heresy of Bishop Williamson).

James Schroepfer wrote:
It is taught by Doctors of the Church, the majority of Theologians, and even the popes.

Quote:
Pope Benedict XIV, "If anyone dared to assert that the Pontiff had erred in this or that canonisation, we shall say that he is, if not a heretic, at least temerarious, a giver of scandal to the whole Church, an insulter of the saints, a favourer of those heretics who deny the Church’s authority in canonizing saints, savouring of heresy by giving unbelievers an occasion to mock the faithful, the assertor of an erroneous opinion and liable to very grave penalties.”


I am not trying to blow this out of proportion. Am I missing something?


Well, you're missing the fact that Benedict XIV didn't write that as pope, but as a private theologian. The work was republished after he was pope, with his approval, so that's why authors attribute it to "Benedict XIV" rather than to "Cardinal Lambertini". It's a good concrete example of the distinction often made by theologians in addressing the pope-heretic question - can a pope, as a private person, disappear into heresy? So this is Benedict XIV as a private person, not as pope. His own papal approval of the work gives it an added authority, but isn't a solemn act defining whatever is in it, obviously.

By the way, he was a tremendous scholar and terrific fellow. :) Look him up.

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Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:15 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
On a brighter note, Bishop Williamson's latest EC (no. 360) returns to the kind of vague commentary with which most people can agree, precisely because there's not enough clarity in it to offend anybody's ideas. He has his customary dig at the SSPX, but that's expected. Why else would he publish the EC's if not for that?

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Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:48 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John, are you saying that this is the standard view among all varieties of sedevacantists? That they sift the teaching of their diocesan Novus Ordo bishops?


Mike, I am speaking of the principle. Ask yourself, what all traditional Catholics did in 1962, 1964, 1968, 1970, etc. What principle did they apply in order to hold fast to what they had received, despite the errors that were being preached by their own bishops?

If it was right then, it's right always.


Even after you've come to the conclusion that the man posing as your local ordinary is not a true authority?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
My point is that we all must sift the non-universal magisterium, in the sense that we are already obliged to maintain Catholic doctrine so therefore we simply cannot, and must not, accept anything incompatible with it, even when presented by true (non-infallible) authority.


So just to be clear, you recognize your diocesan bishop, and the Novus Ordo bishops in general, to be the true authorities?


No, of course not.


Then why must you sift their teaching?

John Lane wrote:
But whether they are or not, in my view, does not alter the fact that I am obliged to maintain the truth already preached by the Church. That principle is golden, it doesn't change from right to wrong by some unexplained process or over some undefined period.


Agreed. The sedeplenist traditionalist must "maintain the truth already preached by the Church" by the method of distinguishing it, in ongoing fashion, from the errant teaching of those he recognizes as the true authorities. I have stated this in multiple ways throughout the thread.

The sedevacantist, on the other hand, is under no obligation to sift in this way, precisely because he does not believe the Novus Ordo bishops to be true authorities. I'm not saying that he can't sift. Certainly, if he enjoys it, he may, and many seem to. But his position does not require it as a means of maintaining the truth any more than it requires him to sift the current teachings of various protestant theologians, whom he also believes not to be true authorities.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.


This is a very strange statement. I can only think you do not mean it in the way that it sounds. Earlier, you insist on the need to reject false teaching.


It's just the most basic truth of ecclesiology. Your bishop has doctrinal jurisdiction in his territory. He has the right to your assent to his doctrine. He teaches as one having authority. He is not just a witness passing on what he has received.

The fact that you think it strange explains why you don't seem to understand what I write!


As a principle, the teaching authority of one's local ordinary is pretty basic, I agree. What you said, though, is that I am "obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition." This seems like you're saying that I must accept doctrine that is not right, that does not follow from tradition. Yet a few lines earlier, you had insisted on the responsibility of a Catholic to reject what is wrong, what deviates from tradition, etc., even if it appears to be coming from a true authority. Do you see the confusion here? That is why I was pretty sure that you couldn't mean it the way it sounded, and I said as much.

John Lane wrote:
I've been re-saying the same things in many different ways for post after post, thinking that the penny will drop at every stage, and it hasn't.


ditto

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, I understand how the logic works. But my question was whether you yourself have identified an error taught universally, with the approval of a putative pope.


John Daly has, see the article linked earlier, on religious liberty.


And do you agree with him? What I mean to ask is whether this is your particular argument for a vacant seat. Or did you arrive at the sedevacantist position by a different means?

John Lane wrote:
You speak of the Novus Ordo church as if it has some date on which it sprang, whole and entire, from a solemn act, and all of the world's bishops instantly fell or resisted, like the angels in paradise. What date was this? Can you distinguish the difference between what a hypothetical Dutch sedevacantist, and a hypothetical Dutch non-sedevacantist, did respectively in 1966 when their bishop promulgated, along with the rest of the Dutch bishops, the new catechism? I can't. Both, as far as I am aware, rejected the heresies despite thinking that the Dutch bishops were really their bishops. They were right, not wrong, to do so. Or would you say that the entire resistance was unlawful (accidentally so, poor people) without a concomitant judgement that the Dutch bishops had disappeared into heresy at some prior point, or at least at that point? And if the latter, how did this judgement arise, if the faithful were not permitted to "sift" to begin with? Do you see the point?


Yes, of course. And again, you write as if you think I am opposed to "sifting." I repeat, I am not. A long time ago in this thread (I'll find it if you need me to) I said that the sedevacantist must "sift" initially until he reaches the sedevacantist conclusion, at which point he would be no longer in the position of having to evaluate the teaching of the Novus Ordo authorities.

John Lane wrote:
At the end of the day the question resolves back to whether it's right or wrong to form a judgement that the recognised authority is mistaken and cannot be followed in his specific instruction. I say this is always right, except when infallibility is involved, but only for the reason that we are already bound by what authority has already taught.


Yes. Agreed. Fully.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Alternatively, if you are referring to the need to "sift" what your ordinary teaches, then I agree it is required (in the sense I have explained) and both sedevacantists and sedeplenists must do so. There's no difference.


And here we disagree. I assert that the sedevacantist has no need to sift the teaching of one he does not recognize as his true ordinary.


No, we don't disagree on that, we agree. But it's beside the point. We're discussing the doctrine of submission to lawful doctrinal authority. It's the same, in principle, for sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists.


Yes, of course. As long as it's "lawful doctrinal authority" that isn't wrong, isn't clearly contrary to tradition.

John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson is wrong about it. He's wrong whether you read him as a sedevacantist or a sedeplenist. He's wrong according to the theologians. Any SSPX figure who agrees with him is equally wrong. In this debate what's happening is that you actually agree with Bishop Williamson,


I do? About what specifically? If you state it clearly, I can quickly verify or deny.

John Lane wrote:
you say, and James and I disagree with him;


That you disagree with him is obvious, and I don't recall objecting to it. I think the only point I've made in this thread about Bishop Williamson is that I see his basic position, with regard to the sifting of Novus Ordo teaching, as being fairly typical of sedeplenist traditionalism. In other words, on this particular matter, I do not see as much separation between him and the SSPX as you do.

John Lane wrote:
but James is pointing out the extent to which SSPX writers agree with Bishop Williamson. So there are two parallel discussions here.


So maybe James and I agree on that point.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Forget "sifting" as you say, and just tell me what exactly their position demands which is dangerous. If you say, "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine," then say what the doctrine is and how you are sure it has been proposed by morally all the bishops.


I assume by "their" you mean the SSPX. And no, I do not mean "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine." The sedeplenist traditionalist is in a posture that demands a constant state of sifting the teachings and directives of those whom he believes to be the true authorities of the Church. The danger is that he might therefore grow to prefer this arrangement over the normal one. That is to say, he is at risk for elevating his own judgment over that of the Church. He (potentially--depending on the person) sets himself up as the final authority. In addition, he risks growing comfortable with the habit of disobedience.


OK, I agree,


Yes!!

John Lane wrote:
but this danger is inherent in the crisis. It was permitted by God.

The objectionable thing I reject is the characterisation of this as though it were not entirely normal, given the abnormal circumstances. The danger arises from the circumstances, which are out of our control.


And I'll agree with that. The circumstances give rise to the position, so they are the more ultimate cause, though the position (sedeplenist) is not the only one available.

John Lane wrote:
Bishop Sanborn and Fr. Cekada write as if there were some other approach available in the beginning, or alternatively, that some other approach became mandatory at same date after the beginning. Neither will say what that date is, of course. They just characterise the natural and necessary traditional Catholic attitude as "R&R", as if the first "R" is a free choice, when in fact anything else is a radical judgement made by no bishops, few priests, and a handful of laymen.


Now I am a little confused again. You do not believe a Catholic has a choice in the matter of "recognizing" the Novus Ordo hierarchy? And are you saying that no bishops hold the sedevacantist view? I definitely don't mean to be difficult here--especially after some bits of agreement (or at least mutual comprehension)--but this sentence is cryptic to me. Trying to interpret it in the best light, I think you are just saying that we are in such an unprecedented mess, that it is inappropriate for some sedevacantists to treat their minority assessment as if it were obvious and easy and something that any and every true Catholic ought to be able to do with alacrity.

John Lane wrote:
You don't like condescension?


Who does?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
The merit of the position, on the other hand, is only realized if he is in fact correct that the apparent hierarchy is the real one (but wayward). When the hierarchy returns to its senses, he merits the honor of having maintained his faith in the true Church all along and having waited patiently for its return to orthodoxy. Furthermore, he merits other virtues (e.g. courage, fortitude, etc.) for resisting the holders of true authority (when they somehow went awry) for the sake of an even higher authority.


There will be plenty of merit from holding fast to the faith in this crisis! By the grace of God, of course. If only we could remember both realities at every moment!


Indeed. May it be so.


Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:20 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike, could you please do me a favour? Go through my last post and answer the comments that you cut out of your reply? It may be that you cut them out because you thought they were irrelevant, and I do the same all the time, but if so, it would explain why a lot of this has seemed cryptic.

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Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:33 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike, could you please do me a favour? Go through my last post and answer the comments that you cut out of your reply? It may be that you cut them out because you thought they were irrelevant, and I do the same all the time, but if so, it would explain why a lot of this has seemed cryptic.


Yes, as our posts have tended to become lengthy and intricate, I was trying to cut where I thought I could. But I am happy to answer any questions I left unaddressed, and I will do that shortly.

Edit: Do you mean answers to specific questions, or do you mean addressing everything you said, even if it wasn't phrased as a question?


Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:40 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Yes, I meant whatever was said, even if it wasn't a question, but of course please answer the questions too.

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Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:12 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John, I believe I have brought back in from your prior post all that I had cut out in my response, but if I have missed something, please re-specify it in a new post, and I will address it there.


John Lane wrote:
... It [sifting] was not right in 1962, then suddenly wrong in 1972. It is not right for sedevacantists, and wrong for sedeplenists. All traditional Catholics were sedeplenists in 1963 when Pacem in terris appeared. We still had to reject the error in it. Likewise if our local ordinary preached error.

No disagreement with these statements.


Wilhelm and Scannell wrote:
The ordinary Proposition of the law of Faith is identical with the ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate; for the Word of God by its very nature exacts the obedience of Faith, and is communicated to the Faithful with the express intention of enforcing belief. Hence the ordinary teaching is necessarily a promulgation of the law of Faith and an injunction of the duty to believe, and consequently the law of Faith is naturally an unwritten law. But the Proposition of or by the Church takes the form of a Statute or written law when promulgated in a solemn decision. Such decisions, however, are not laws strictly speaking, but are merely authoritative declarations of laws already enacted by God, and in most instances they only enforce what is already the common practice. Both forms, written and unwritten, are of equal authority, but the written form is the more precise. Both also rest ultimately on the authority of the Head of the Apostolate. No judicial sentence in matters of Faith is valid unless pronounced or approved by him; and the binding force of the unwritten form arises from his tacit sanction.

VI. The authority of the Church's Proposition enforcing obedience to its decrees and guaranteeing their infallibility, is not restricted to matters of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation, although these are its principal subject-matter. The Teaching Apostolate, in order to realize the objects of Revelation, i.e. to preserve the Faith not only in its substance but also in its entirety, must extend its activity beyond the sphere of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation. But in such matters the Apostolate requires only an undoubting and submissive acceptance and not Divine Faith, and consequently is, so far, a rule of theological knowledge and conviction rather than a Rule of Divine Faith. Hence there exists in the Church, side by side with and completing the Rule of Faith, a Rule of Theological Thought or Religious Conviction, to which every Catholic must submit internally as well as externally. Any refusal to submit to this law implies a spiritual revolt against the authority of the Church and a rejection of her supernatural veracity; and is, if not a direct denial of Catholic Faith, at least a direct denial of Catholic Profession.

Although I'm not exactly sure why you quoted this, I accept it as true.


John Lane wrote:
... I am not aware of any other similar [to John Daly's] study dealing with any other doctrine. Are you?

No. Nor have I looked for one.


John Lane wrote:
Sorry, I am frustrated. I keep thinking I have made myself clear, only to see that I haven't!

I am sorry that you are frustrated. I, too, keep thinking, mistakenly, that I have made myself clear.


John Lane wrote:
... Well, you should detest that [the antecedent for "that," is apparently the condescension of +Sanborn and Fr. Cekada?]! (And James, if you want to understand the attitude to sedevantism by the American priests, this is responsible for a large part of it.)

I'll let James address this if he wishes.


Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:31 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:

All that we have definitely achieved so far is to get clear in their minds (not all of them) that "sedevacantism" is not a univocal term. We may have achieved more, but it isn't certain. There's a lot of work to be done. Chip away. :)


I don't know if we have even achieved getting the definition of what sedevacantism is clear in their minds. Certainly not the laity of the SSPX. I agree there is a boatload of work to be done, and we must be patient. However, it is difficult when you even mention the possibility of the seat being vacant and automatically you are accused of being a pope hating schismatic who is like the Old Roman Catholics. I think it is critical to break the definition of sedevacantist away from any one person and try to have the R&R crowd look at it without bring in all these other things like feeyites etc. But this is not all the fault of sedevacantists, as the SSPX priests and certainly the hoard of English-writing lawyers have done their best job to build these strawmen arguments. And this is not all done naively :!:

Quote:
John Lane:
James Schroepfer wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Can you say how, James? Let's be specific.


The sedevacantist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine it is to be believed as infallible.

...

The sedeplenist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine which the sedeplenist recognizes to be passes down through all the centuries from the teaching of Christ .


I agree, they err. But this SSPX writer is unclear insofar as it says that only that which has been taught always, everywhere, and by all, is to be held, and then goes on to admit that what is implicit must be made explicit by the magisterium, so that not all that appears to be novel is to be rejected. So he hasn't even defined his own theory clearly. But I agree, he's in error.

Now let's try and be just to the writer, as to where his error is. If you think about the following from Wilhelm and Scannell and ask yourself how you would consider how to react to a doctrine which you were convinced was wrong (e.g collegiality), but which had been presented by a weird new body called a "pastoral council" with uncertain status, would it be wrong to look at the historical data and use that to settle the matter in your own mind? If you did, would you truly be "sifting" the magisterium? Or would you not really be looking for what the magisterium actually teaches, since it is at best unclear today?


Yes I agree, if you view the "new body" to not have been speaking authoritatively like the the SSPX claim. No problem and I don't think a person could be said to be "sifting" anything. He is simple studying what the magisterium actually has taught. Their is no conflict as this "new body" is not authoritatively teaching a new doctrine.

However, this whole argument of I, as a person in the pew, doesn't think it is in tradition, therefore it was not taught infallibly by the magisterium is erroneous. I hear so often, it is not infallible because it is not tradition, or they did not teach infallibly because it is not in tradition, without the necessary explanation and demonstration of they are not teaching! Again the error or seeming conflict with prior Church teaching can be a symptom of the fallibility, but it can never be the cause. And one has to demonstrate the cause other then the apparent magisterium's conflict with one's own personal judgment. Meaning I cannot denounce their teaching as erroneous without demonstrating a.) they did not teach infallibly or b.) they are not the teaching authority. Otherwise I am placing myself as the judge of doctrine. And simply ignoring your authority's statements to avoid having to say they taught authoritatively is just being dishonest and blind. The SSPX avoids having to truly examine the issues by remaining ambiguous and not clearly defining things. (Except how heretical and schismatic the sedevacantist position is.) This ambiguity and unclearness is why at least here in the USA many of the laity in the Society believe the error of Bishop Williamson.

Quote:
For the Catholic it is not necessary to demonstrate positively from coeval documents that the Church has always borne actual witness to a given doctrine. The scantiness of the documents, especially of those belonging to the sub-apostolic age, makes it even impossible. The Tradition of the present time, above all if it is attested by an authoritative definition, is quite sufficient to prove the former existence of the same Tradition, although perhaps only in a latent state. Any further knowledge of its former existence is merely of scientific interest. When, however, the Ecclesiastical Tradition of the present is not publicly manifest, and the judges of the Faith have to decide some controverted question, they must investigate the Tradition of the past, or, as St. Vincent of Lerins expresses it, they must appeal to antiquity. It is not necessary to go back to an absolute antiquity: it is sufficient to find some time when the Tradition was undoubted. Thus, at the Council of Ephesus (AD, 431), the decisions were based upon the testimony of the Fathers of the fourth century. When the Tradition is not manifest either in the present or in the past, we can sometimes have recourse to the consent of the Fathers and Theologians of note. The temporary uncertainty and even partial negation of a doctrine within the Church is not, in in itself, a conclusive argument against the traditional character of the doctrine. The opposition can generally be shown to be purely human, and can often be turned to good account. We can sometimes ascertain its origin and show that the Church resisted it. Sometimes the difficulty arises from an appeal to merely local traditions or the opposition is inconsistent, varying, indefinite, mixed with opinions distinctly heretical or destructive of Catholic life and thought. It would be easy to prove that all these marks are applicable to the Gallican opposition to the Infallibility of the Pope.


Quote:
John Lane:
What you had said was, "he has sifted the teaching of the Church pre-Vatican 2 on what constitutes the infallible teaching of the magesterium," but that's not right. "Sifting" is consciously picking and choosing what to accept and what to reject, forming a judgement about the accuracy or truthfulness of a doctrinal declaration or instruction. That's why to accuse somebody of "sifting" is such a powerful charge - it's an implicit accusation of the spirit of heresy, of non-submission to the magisterium. But not all error arises from this cause. In this case it's obvious that this isn't the cause. In this case we are seeing theological error which arises from the desire to resolve a real problem - the "problem of authority." We have a different solution, one which does not result in theological error, of course, so that's why we choose it. But we can't be accusing others of "sifting" merely because they err.


I am sorry as I thought the infallibility of Canon Law and Canonizations was taught by the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium. My mistake :( However, this common argument today that the canonizations were not infallible because they were not accepted by the whole Church as a necessary condition for an infallible pronouncement, I believe could be called "sifting" of doctrine because the person is changing what Vatican I dogmatically taught. This is not necessarily the SSPX position but is strongly supported here in the USA at least in the upper Midwest by both the Society and Conservative Catholics. It arises from the heresy of Bishop Williamson which leaves the laity as the infallible judge. A heretical view which I think we can agree at least in part infects some in the Society itself.

Quote:
John Lane:
The devil really produced a doozy with Vatican II. He didn't just have a council which proposed heretical dogmatic decrees, or the problem would have been resolved during the council. That is, some of the bishops would have cried, "heresy!" and there would have been a nice clean schism. He didn't even have a council which made its own authority clear and which therefore proposed already infallibly-condemned error (e.g. religious liberty) with clear (claimed) infallibility of its own. No, instead we had numerous statements by John XXIII and Paul VI which undermined the infallible status of the council, so that the argument that it would have been infallible if Paul VI had been pope is less secure than it would have been, or at least, not obvious as it should have been. It was brilliant, angelically brilliant.


Agree 100% :!: :!: :!:

Quote:
James Schroepfer wrote:
But is the common opinion of theologians to be considered to be the teaching of the magisterium in so far as the magisterium could not allow majority of theologians to teach error by silence or tacit approval?


The common conviction of the theologians, yes, not merely "opinion" (Wilhelm and Scannell make the distinction).


Thanks for the clarification!!!

Disciplinary infallibility is theologically certain.

John Lane wrote:
So, error against this is objectively a mortal sin against faith. But it doesn't affect one's status as a Catholic, even if pertinaciously held. I'm not playing down its seriousnous, merely highlighting the chasm that separates it from heresy (e.g. the heresy of Bishop Williamson).


Agree but it is still a serious error and can lead to damnation. The greatest danger I see is how it is affecting the next generation who have no trust in Holy Mother the Church or the pope and view them as something sorrid. The infallibility of Canon Law, I still think, is the strongest argument against the R&R position because they agree with the major premises and ignore the Church teaching. They don't even talk about it :roll:

Quote:
John Lane:
Well, you're missing the fact that Benedict XIV didn't write that as pope, but as a private theologian. The work was republished after he was pope, with his approval, so that's why authors attribute it to "Benedict XIV" rather than to "Cardinal Lambertini". It's a good concrete example of the distinction often made by theologians in addressing the pope-heretic question - can a pope, as a private person, disappear into heresy? So this is Benedict XIV as a private person, not as pope. His own papal approval of the work gives it an added authority, but isn't a solemn act defining whatever is in it, obviously.

By the way, he was a tremendous scholar and terrific fellow. :) Look him up.


Thanks John. I did miss that. Need to do my homework better :!: Thanks for the clarification :D


Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:07 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Dear Mike,

Thanks for your further comments. They didn't assist me to understand why we are having such trouble understanding each other, if that makes sense!

Let's focus on one doctrinal point, which is the nature of episcopal teaching.

Here's what has been said so far on this question.

I had stated this rather pedestrian truth:

John Lane wrote:
Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.

And you replied with this:
Mike Larson wrote:
This is a very strange statement. I can only think you do not mean it in the way that it sounds. Earlier, you insist on the need to reject false teaching.
To which I responded:
John Lane wrote:
It's just the most basic truth of ecclesiology. Your bishop has doctrinal jurisdiction in his territory. He has the right to your assent to his doctrine. He teaches as one having authority. He is not just a witness passing on what he has received.

The fact that you think it strange explains why you don't seem to understand what I write!

And with that comment I pasted in the passage from Wilhelm and Scannell proving the doctrinal point. You ignored it when you replied, and even now you say, "Although I'm not exactly sure why you quoted this, I accept it as true." We'll come back to that.

All that you said before was this:
Mike Larson wrote:
As a principle, the teaching authority of one's local ordinary is pretty basic, I agree. What you said, though, is that I am "obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition." This seems like you're saying that I must accept doctrine that is not right, that does not follow from tradition. Yet a few lines earlier, you had insisted on the responsibility of a Catholic to reject what is wrong, what deviates from tradition, etc., even if it appears to be coming from a true authority. Do you see the confusion here? That is why I was pretty sure that you couldn't mean it the way it sounded, and I said as much.


Now, your reply, "As a principle, the teaching authority of one's local ordinary is pretty basic, I agree. What you said, though, is that I am "obliged to accept his doctrine?" seems entirely to miss the point of the Wilhelm and Scannell text, and of course everything I have said on this point. To comment that the teaching of one's ordinary is "pretty basic" is a very strange statement in reply to what I wrote. I really don't know what to think. It looks as if you completely misunderstand what was said.

I am not minimising the quality or the authority of the teaching of the local ordinary. On the contrary, I am pointing out that the local ordinary has the Christ-given authority (and duty) to preach the faith, and the members of the local church (i.e. the diocese) have a corresponding Christ-mandated duty to accept his preaching. Forget for the moment whether he happens to err on any given occasion. That is an exceptional possibility that we don't need to consider when addressing the theological truth at issue here. The bishop's teaching authority is NOT "pretty basic" if you mean pretty minimal. It's very, very, great, so great that it is exceeded ONLY by the authority of the Roman Pontiff himself. Our reverence for our bishops ought to be sublime and full. As St. Ignatius of Antioch put it, "Where the bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Ad Smyrn., n. 8). So the local Church - that is, the Catholics within a territorial boundary - every single one of them - are defined by the fact that they receive their faith from their ordinary, and they obey him. That's who the Catholics are, it's what defines them. Without that, they are not Catholics.

Now, that is the truth that Wilhelm and Scannell are expressing in this text. When you read, "ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate," think "daily preaching and other doctrinal activity (e.g. approving local catechisms etc) of the local ordinary." This is not "pretty basic" unless you mean "absolutely fundamental" which is not how your comment reads.

Wilhelm and Scannell wrote:
The ordinary Proposition of the law of Faith is identical with the ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate; for the Word of God by its very nature exacts the obedience of Faith, and is communicated to the Faithful with the express intention of enforcing belief. Hence the ordinary teaching is necessarily a promulgation of the law of Faith and an injunction of the duty to believe, and consequently the law of Faith is naturally an unwritten law. But the Proposition of or by the Church takes the form of a Statute or written law when promulgated in a solemn decision. Such decisions, however, are not laws strictly speaking, but are merely authoritative declarations of laws already enacted by God, and in most instances they only enforce what is already the common practice. Both forms, written and unwritten, are of equal authority, but the written form is the more precise. Both also rest ultimately on the authority of the Head of the Apostolate. No judicial sentence in matters of Faith is valid unless pronounced or approved by him; and the binding force of the unwritten form arises from his tacit sanction.

VI. The authority of the Church's Proposition enforcing obedience to its decrees and guaranteeing their infallibility, is not restricted to matters of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation, although these are its principal subject-matter. The Teaching Apostolate, in order to realize the objects of Revelation, i.e. to preserve the Faith not only in its substance but also in its entirety, must extend its activity beyond the sphere of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation. But in such matters the Apostolate requires only an undoubting and submissive acceptance and not Divine Faith, and consequently is, so far, a rule of theological knowledge and conviction rather than a Rule of Divine Faith. Hence there exists in the Church, side by side with and completing the Rule of Faith, a Rule of Theological Thought or Religious Conviction, to which every Catholic must submit internally as well as externally. Any refusal to submit to this law implies a spiritual revolt against the authority of the Church and a rejection of her supernatural veracity; and is, if not a direct denial of Catholic Faith, at least a direct denial of Catholic Profession.


We can discuss what follows from this once we are clear that we agree on it.

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Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:07 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John, thanks. I hope this post clears some confusion, but if not, I'm certainly willing to keep working on it. Also, I hope we can return to a couple of questions I asked in my last substantive post (before you requested that I bring back the items I had cut). ML

John Lane wrote:
Dear Mike,

Thanks for your further comments. They didn't assist me to understand why we are having such trouble understanding each other, if that makes sense!

Let's focus on one doctrinal point, which is the nature of episcopal teaching.

Here's what has been said so far on this question.

I had stated this rather pedestrian truth:

John Lane wrote:
Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.

And you replied with this:
Mike Larson wrote:
This is a very strange statement. I can only think you do not mean it in the way that it sounds. Earlier, you insist on the need to reject false teaching.
To which I responded:
John Lane wrote:
It's just the most basic truth of ecclesiology. Your bishop has doctrinal jurisdiction in his territory. He has the right to your assent to his doctrine. He teaches as one having authority. He is not just a witness passing on what he has received.

The fact that you think it strange explains why you don't seem to understand what I write!

And with that comment I pasted in the passage from Wilhelm and Scannell proving the doctrinal point. You ignored it when you replied, and even now you say, "Although I'm not exactly sure why you quoted this, I accept it as true." We'll come back to that.

All that you said before was this:
Mike Larson wrote:
As a principle, the teaching authority of one's local ordinary is pretty basic, I agree. What you said, though, is that I am "obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition." This seems like you're saying that I must accept doctrine that is not right, that does not follow from tradition. Yet a few lines earlier, you had insisted on the responsibility of a Catholic to reject what is wrong, what deviates from tradition, etc., even if it appears to be coming from a true authority. Do you see the confusion here? That is why I was pretty sure that you couldn't mean it the way it sounded, and I said as much.


Now, your reply, "As a principle, the teaching authority of one's local ordinary is pretty basic, I agree. What you said, though, is that I am "obliged to accept his doctrine?" seems entirely to miss the point of the Wilhelm and Scannell text, and of course everything I have said on this point. To comment that the teaching of one's ordinary is "pretty basic" is a very strange statement in reply to what I wrote.


In this very post, you have called it a "rather pedestrian truth." In a prior post, you called it "the most basic truth of ecclesiology." (My emphasis.)

John Lane wrote:
I am not minimising the quality or the authority of the teaching of the local ordinary. On the contrary, I am pointing out that the local ordinary has the Christ-given authority (and duty) to preach the faith, and the members of the local church (i.e. the diocese) have a corresponding Christ-mandated duty to accept his preaching.


Of course. This is a matter of principle.

John Lane wrote:
Forget for the moment whether he happens to err on any given occasion. That is an exceptional possibility that we don't need to consider when addressing the theological truth at issue here.


But it's the exceptional that is under discussion in this thread. Of course we agree about the inherent authority of the bishop in his own diocese and, under normal circumstances, the inherent necessity of accepting his doctrine. But the focus of this thread has been on the idea of sifting, the close examination of apparently errant teaching of the apparent College of Bishops. You yourself have stressed that such teaching must be sifted (it is a Catholic duty!) so that it may be rejected. The sedevacantist must do it on the way to arriving at that position. The sedeplenist traditionalist must do it on an ongoing basis, since he believes the teaching hierarchy to be the true authorities.

John Lane wrote:
The bishop's teaching authority is NOT "pretty basic" if you mean pretty minimal.


I don't. See above. I mean it in the same way that you meant it.

John Lane wrote:
It's very, very, great, so great that it is exceeded ONLY by the authority of the Roman Pontiff himself. Our reverence for our bishops ought to be sublime and full. As St. Ignatius of Antioch put it, "Where the bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Ad Smyrn., n. 8). So the local Church - that is, the Catholics within a territorial boundary - every single one of them - are defined by the fact that they receive their faith from their ordinary, and they obey him. That's who the Catholics are, it's what defines them. Without that, they are not Catholics.

Now, that is the truth that Wilhelm and Scannell are expressing in this text. When you read, "ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate," think "daily preaching and other doctrinal activity (e.g. approving local catechisms etc) of the local ordinary." This is not "pretty basic" unless you mean "absolutely fundamental" which is not how your comment reads.


It is not how you read my comment--that's true. See above.

John Lane wrote:
Wilhelm and Scannell wrote:
The ordinary Proposition of the law of Faith is identical with the ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate; for the Word of God by its very nature exacts the obedience of Faith, and is communicated to the Faithful with the express intention of enforcing belief. Hence the ordinary teaching is necessarily a promulgation of the law of Faith and an injunction of the duty to believe, and consequently the law of Faith is naturally an unwritten law. But the Proposition of or by the Church takes the form of a Statute or written law when promulgated in a solemn decision. Such decisions, however, are not laws strictly speaking, but are merely authoritative declarations of laws already enacted by God, and in most instances they only enforce what is already the common practice. Both forms, written and unwritten, are of equal authority, but the written form is the more precise. Both also rest ultimately on the authority of the Head of the Apostolate. No judicial sentence in matters of Faith is valid unless pronounced or approved by him; and the binding force of the unwritten form arises from his tacit sanction.

VI. The authority of the Church's Proposition enforcing obedience to its decrees and guaranteeing their infallibility, is not restricted to matters of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation, although these are its principal subject-matter. The Teaching Apostolate, in order to realize the objects of Revelation, i.e. to preserve the Faith not only in its substance but also in its entirety, must extend its activity beyond the sphere of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation. But in such matters the Apostolate requires only an undoubting and submissive acceptance and not Divine Faith, and consequently is, so far, a rule of theological knowledge and conviction rather than a Rule of Divine Faith. Hence there exists in the Church, side by side with and completing the Rule of Faith, a Rule of Theological Thought or Religious Conviction, to which every Catholic must submit internally as well as externally. Any refusal to submit to this law implies a spiritual revolt against the authority of the Church and a rejection of her supernatural veracity; and is, if not a direct denial of Catholic Faith, at least a direct denial of Catholic Profession.


We can discuss what follows from this once we are clear that we agree on it.


We still agree on it.


Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:05 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John, thanks. I hope this post clears some confusion, but if not, I'm certainly willing to keep working on it. Also, I hope we can return to a couple of questions I asked in my last substantive post (before you requested that I bring back the items I had cut). ML


No problem, I'll answer any question you like.

Mike Larson wrote:
In this very post, you have called it a "rather pedestrian truth." In a prior post, you called it "the most basic truth of ecclesiology." (My emphasis.)


Sure, it's both. Like saying that Christ is God. It's pedestrian, in the sense that it's not controversial, but accepted by all (Catholics) as a matter of course. And it's basic, as in fundamental, at the bottom of everything. So it's absolutely vital, and yet (hopefully) won't cause any disagreement.

I was surprised that it did not appear to be accepted. I'm glad I was mistaken.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Forget for the moment whether he happens to err on any given occasion. That is an exceptional possibility that we don't need to consider when addressing the theological truth at issue here.


But it's the exceptional that is under discussion in this thread. Of course we agree about the inherent authority of the bishop in his own diocese and, under normal circumstances, the inherent necessity of accepting his doctrine. But the focus of this thread has been on the idea of sifting, the close examination of apparently errant teaching of the apparent College of Bishops. You yourself have stressed that such teaching must be sifted (it is a Catholic duty!) so that it may be rejected.


What I meant, and I think I said several times, is that we must reject false teaching, despite its origin in those with true authority, so that if the sedeplenist "sifts" then we have all "sifted." If that is all that is meant by "sifting" then it's unremarkable except that it ought to be exceptional.

So, I say two things about "sifting."

1. If it means the application of a true principle then nobody should be criticised for it, period. What is this true principle? That we are bound by what authority has already preached, so that we cannot accept incompatible novelties. Note, this is not private judgement, it is submission to authority. That's why I don't want to hear accusations that sedeplenists "sift" - it's really just a way of accusing them of not submitting to (their acknowledged) authority. And I highlight this by saying that all traditional Catholics, by definition are equally "guilty" of what current-day sedeplenists do. We all had to reject error from apparently true authorities, and we were right to do so, and we cannot criticise another who does the same without utter hypocrisy on our own part. More importantly, we cannot make such an accusation without implicitly condemning traditional Catholicism as a whole. You cannot get to sedevacantism without first rejecting error from what are apparently true authorities.

2. On the other hand, I have certainly seen sedeplenists accept the allegation, in the unjust sense that it was meant by sedevacantists, and seek to defend it as if it is normal. But in the sense that it is meant by sedevacantists, it is not normal, or right, or in any way good. In the sense it is meant by sedevacantists it is an accusation of private judgement, that is, of making oneself the final judge of doctrine. This is what Bishop Williamson is accepting, and he glories in his error, and it's horrifying. As far as you agree with Bishop Williamson, I'm in violent disagreement with you. Further, I insist from direct knowledge that the SSPX leaders do not accept this idea.

This is why I pointed out that this thread has two separate discussions, and I can see it is confusing, because I found myself arguing against two opposing faults, as I see them, both excesses against a true "middle." (An aside: I don't like the idea of a middle position - truth is often found at the extreme, and should be accepted wherever it is found. Virtue lies in the middle, not truth. Otherwise we'd believe that the best doctrine is that in God there are two persons. :) )

By the way, "College of Bishops" is not a Catholic term. The Apostles were a college, and the cardinals are a college, but the bishops are not. This was one of the notions introduced by Rahner and co. at Vatican II as part of their heresy, collegiality.

Mike Larson wrote:
The sedevacantist must do it on the way to arriving at that position. The sedeplenist traditionalist must do it on an ongoing basis, since he believes the teaching hierarchy to be the true authorities.


Must do what? Reject error because he is bound by truth imposed upon him by authority? Yes, but that isn't "sifting." It's merely the principle of non-contradiction preventing the intellect from assenting to an idea.

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Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:56 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
But it's the exceptional that is under discussion in this thread. Of course we agree about the inherent authority of the bishop in his own diocese and, under normal circumstances, the inherent necessity of accepting his doctrine. But the focus of this thread has been on the idea of sifting, the close examination of apparently errant teaching of the apparent College of Bishops. You yourself have stressed that such teaching must be sifted (it is a Catholic duty!) so that it may be rejected.


What I meant, and I think I said several times, is that we must reject false teaching, despite its origin in those with true authority, so that if the sedeplenist "sifts" then we have all "sifted."


Yes, and as I have said, almost from the beginning, sedevacantists must sift initially in order to arrive at the sedevacantist conclusion. Once so arrived, there is no need to continue sifting the teaching of those they do not believe to be true authorities. Unless they enjoy it for some reason, which I also recognized as a possibility. So perhaps we are (and have been all along) in agreement on this point as well?

John Lane wrote:
So, I say two things about "sifting."

1. If it means the application of a true principle then nobody should be criticised for it, period. What is this true principle? That we are bound by what authority has already preached, so that we cannot accept incompatible novelties. Note, this is not private judgement, it is submission to authority. That's why I don't want to hear accusations that sedeplenists "sift" - it's really just a way of accusing them of not submitting to (their acknowledged) authority. And I highlight this by saying that all traditional Catholics, by definition are equally "guilty" of what current-day sedeplenists do. We all had to reject error from apparently true authorities, and we were right to do so, and we cannot criticise another who does the same without utter hypocrisy on our own part. More importantly, we cannot make such an accusation without implicitly condemning traditional Catholicism as a whole. You cannot get to sedevacantism without first rejecting error from what are apparently true authorities.


So true. And I've said the same. And I was never critical of sifting in the first place--especially under the present circumstances in the Church. I was under the impression, earlier in the thread, that you were critical of sifting. Then you made the distinction between magisterium sifting and the sifting of non-magisterial (but essentially universal) teaching of the Novus Ordo authorities. I acknowledged that distinction, and pointed out that the sedeplenist traditionalist must sift in the latter way and in an ongoing basis given his belief in the Novus Ordo hierarchy as legitimate authorities.

John Lane wrote:
2. On the other hand, I have certainly seen sedeplenists accept the allegation, in the unjust sense that it was meant by sedevacantists, and seek to defend it as if it is normal. But in the sense that it is meant by sedevacantists, it is not normal, or right, or in any way good. In the sense it is meant by sedevacantists it is an accusation of private judgement, that is, of making oneself the final judge of doctrine.


So, if I understand you right (and I probably don't, given my track record!), the distinction here is that private judgment comes up with something that the magisterium has not "already preached" and applies it as if the magisterium had already preached it, whereas "the true principle" is simply to reject novelties that contradict what the magisterium has already preached. Well and good.

John Lane wrote:
This is what Bishop Williamson is accepting,


Private judgment over the true magisterium?

John Lane wrote:
and he glories in his error,


I'm not sure what you mean by this.

John Lane wrote:
and it's horrifying. As far as you agree with Bishop Williamson, I'm in violent disagreement with you.


On what specific point, if any, do you think I agree with Bishop Williamson?

John Lane wrote:
Further, I insist from direct knowledge that the SSPX leaders do not accept this idea.


Again, I would welcome a clear (and concise) delineation of what it is that Bishop Williamson does that others (even many others) in the Society do not do. It may very well be that I agree with you on this as well. So far, though--and it is probably my own oversight--I cannot say that I have seen such a delineation in this thread.

John Lane wrote:
This is why I pointed out that this thread has two separate discussions, and I can see it is confusing, because I found myself arguing against two opposing faults, as I see them, both excesses against a true "middle." (An aside: I don't like the idea of a middle position - truth is often found at the extreme, and should be accepted wherever it is found. Virtue lies in the middle, not truth. Otherwise we'd believe that the best doctrine is that in God there are two persons. :) )


I love the aside. Well said.

John Lane wrote:
By the way, "College of Bishops" is not a Catholic term. The Apostles were a college, and the cardinals are a college, but the bishops are not. This was one of the notions introduced by Rahner and co. at Vatican II as part of their heresy, collegiality.


That is good to know. Thank you.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
The sedevacantist must do it on the way to arriving at that position. The sedeplenist traditionalist must do it on an ongoing basis, since he believes the teaching hierarchy to be the true authorities.


Must do what? Reject error because he is bound by truth imposed upon him by authority? Yes, but that isn't "sifting." It's merely the principle of non-contradiction preventing the intellect from assenting to an idea.


Well, it's sifting under your note #1, above, but we don't have to call it that if you don't want to.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
What I meant, and I think I said several times, is that we must reject false teaching, despite its origin in those with true authority, so that if the sedeplenist "sifts" then we have all "sifted."


Yes, and as I have said, almost from the beginning, sedevacantists must sift initially in order to arrive at the sedevacantist conclusion. Once so arrived, there is no need to continue sifting the teaching of those they do not believe to be true authorities. Unless they enjoy it for some reason, which I also recognized as a possibility. So perhaps we are (and have been all along) in agreement on this point as well?


We're in agreement insofar as you grasp the difference between "sifting as private judgement" and "sifting" as an extremely poor term for "holding fast to what we have received".


Mike Larson wrote:
I was under the impression, earlier in the thread, that you were critical of sifting.

I am. This thread was about Bishop Williamson's theorising, which essentially promotes private judgement. Feel free to re-read the thread in the light of the above post and see if it makes sense what I said at each stage. I don't think you'll find that it was unclear as you thought at the time, now that you have the key, so to speak.

Mike Larson wrote:
Then you made the distinction between magisterium sifting and the sifting of non-magisterial (but essentially universal) teaching of the Novus Ordo authorities. I acknowledged that distinction, and pointed out that the sedeplenist traditionalist must sift in the latter way and in an ongoing basis given his belief in the Novus Ordo hierarchy as legitimate authorities.


Sure, but the problem is this distinction isn't traditional and was made by John XXIII and Paul VI. Trads are just looking at the facts and reacting. They said "we're not speaking infallibly" and so we took them at face value - and with a great deal of relief. This is a whole subject in itself, which I want to deal with in extenso in my book. The magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church and has certain necessary characteristics, characteristics which it has always precisely because the Church is the Church and always acts properly, so to speak. She is infallible in her understanding of her own proper mode of doctrinal instruction just as she is infallible in the doctrines that she proposes. The problem posed by the New Church is precisely in this new mode of proposing doctrine, which is characterised by the totally novel features of ambiguity, non-universality (i.e. a free for all, not a unity of faith), and deliberately fostered doubt about the degree of authority being exercised. This complex of novelty in the so-called magisterium is what creates the debate between different traditionalist thinkers over the infallibility of Vatican II, for example.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
2. On the other hand, I have certainly seen sedeplenists accept the allegation, in the unjust sense that it was meant by sedevacantists, and seek to defend it as if it is normal. But in the sense that it is meant by sedevacantists, it is not normal, or right, or in any way good. In the sense it is meant by sedevacantists it is an accusation of private judgement, that is, of making oneself the final judge of doctrine.


So, if I understand you right (and I probably don't, given my track record!), the distinction here is that private judgment comes up with something that the magisterium has not "already preached" and applies it as if the magisterium had already preached it, whereas "the true principle" is simply to reject novelties that contradict what the magisterium has already preached.


There are historical cases which illustrate the point. Nestorius preached against the divine maternity of Our Lady. This doctrine was de fide from the universal preaching of the Church. Eusebius, a layman, reacted by rejecting the false doctrine and accusing Nestorius of heresy. This was submission to authority on the part of Eusebius. There was no private judgement involved. The fact that his intellect had to compare two things and form a judgement is admitted, but this isn't what is called "private judgement" precisely because the faith resides in the intellect and what Eusebius did is part of professing the faith. We don't profess a vague generalisation, we profess objects of faith - specific doctrines which are grasped, if not fully understood, by the intellect.

The problem with Bishop Williamson's theorising - I agree, his practice is to ignore Vatican II totally - is his confusion over the role of authority and how it relates to doctrine. He omits the role of authority in bringing the truth to individual men to begin with, and instead talks vaguely about "Tradition" as if it were a neatly bound copy of Denzinger penned by St. Peter and handed down physically from then until now, available for the faithful to consult as required. Then he compounds the problem by warning constantly against "false obedience" as if he has said what true obedience is, when he hasn't. He has not even mentioned it, which is really a very traditional way of denying it. This same complex of thought is clear in his statements against setting up an organisation for himself and the priests who have left the Fraternity. He speaks about the dangers of false obedience, and uses that as the reason not to try and have any obedience at all. This is really just revolution dressed up in traditional terms.

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Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:06 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
What I meant, and I think I said several times, is that we must reject false teaching, despite its origin in those with true authority, so that if the sedeplenist "sifts" then we have all "sifted."


Yes, and as I have said, almost from the beginning, sedevacantists must sift initially in order to arrive at the sedevacantist conclusion. Once so arrived, there is no need to continue sifting the teaching of those they do not believe to be true authorities. Unless they enjoy it for some reason, which I also recognized as a possibility. So perhaps we are (and have been all along) in agreement on this point as well?


We're in agreement insofar as you grasp the difference between "sifting as private judgement" and "sifting" as an extremely poor term for "holding fast to what we have received".


As I said, call it something else, if you like. Sifting is certainly an accurate term for the mental process that goes on in the act of "holding fast to what we have received," (especially given that such an act requires comparison with, followed by distinction from, the novelty that is presented), but I'm sure you can find a synonym that works just as well.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I was under the impression, earlier in the thread, that you were critical of sifting.
I am. This thread was about Bishop Williamson's theorising, which essentially promotes private judgement. Feel free to re-read the thread in the light of the above post and see if it makes sense what I said at each stage. I don't think you'll find that it was unclear as you thought at the time, now that you have the key, so to speak.


I've reread much of the first page, and I'm afraid I find your comments more confusing (in light now of the totality of your posts), not less, than the first time around.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Then you made the distinction between magisterium sifting and the sifting of non-magisterial (but essentially universal) teaching of the Novus Ordo authorities. I acknowledged that distinction, and pointed out that the sedeplenist traditionalist must sift in the latter way and in an ongoing basis given his belief in the Novus Ordo hierarchy as legitimate authorities.


Sure, but the problem is this distinction isn't traditional and was made by John XXIII and Paul VI. Trads are just looking at the facts and reacting. They said "we're not speaking infallibly" and so we took them at face value - and with a great deal of relief. This is a whole subject in itself, which I want to deal with in extenso in my book. The magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church and has certain necessary characteristics, characteristics which it has always precisely because the Church is the Church and always acts properly, so to speak. She is infallible in her understanding of her own proper mode of doctrinal instruction just as she is infallible in the doctrines that she proposes. The problem posed by the New Church is precisely in this new mode of proposing doctrine, which is characterised by the totally novel features of ambiguity, non-universality (i.e. a free for all, not a unity of faith), and deliberately fostered doubt about the degree of authority being exercised. This complex of novelty in the so-called magisterium is what creates the debate between different traditionalist thinkers over the infallibility of Vatican II, for example.


From this, it sounds to me as though your view of the Novus Ordo hierarchy is the same as that of the SSPX: true authorities who have not exercised their magisterial power.

John Lane wrote:
The problem with Bishop Williamson's theorising - I agree, his practice is to ignore Vatican II totally - is his confusion over the role of authority and how it relates to doctrine. He omits the role of authority in bringing the truth to individual men to begin with, and instead talks vaguely about "Tradition" as if it were a neatly bound copy of Denzinger penned by St. Peter and handed down physically from then until now, available for the faithful to consult as required. Then he compounds the problem by warning constantly against "false obedience" as if he has said what true obedience is, when he hasn't. He has not even mentioned it, which is really a very traditional way of denying it. This same complex of thought is clear in his statements against setting up an organisation for himself and the priests who have left the Fraternity. He speaks about the dangers of false obedience, and uses that as the reason not to try and have any obedience at all. This is really just revolution dressed up in traditional terms.


With regard to Bishop Williamson, I'm afraid I do not see the evidence for the generalizations you assert here. Further, I have yet to see the distinction between what he preaches and what the Society preaches with regard to the Novus Ordo hierarchy and their failure to exercise infallible teaching. I understand that you would like there to be separation on that score, but if there is, I cannot find the evidence for it in this thread.

I'll try to sum up a few things, as I understand them at this point:

  • I disagree with Bishop Williamson (and the SSPX) that the present Novus Ordo hierarchy are a continuation of the true authorities who have failed to exercise their magisterial power for the last 50 years.
  • You assert that Bishop Williamson preaches heresy by promoting private judgment over the true magisterium. This heresy, you imply, is a result of his "confusion over the role of authority and how it relates to doctrine."
  • I dispute this charge.
  • We agree that all traditionalists must at some point employ their own knowledge of the true faith over and against the novelties presented by the Novus Ordo hierarchy.
  • I contend that those who believe the Novus Ordo hierarchy to be true authorities must do this on an ongoing basis.

To that last point I would add the following: there is an inherent cognitive dissonance associated with this stance. One finds oneself at odds, day in and day out, year after year, with what one believes to be the divine teaching organ given to the world by Christ. I myself have experienced this dissonance, and it has led me to a fork in the road: if the Novus Ordo hierarchy are indeed the true authorities who compose the magisterium, then I should be obedient to their leadership in all things (including where I go to mass, what Code of Canon Law I adhere to, what saints I recognize, what mysteries I include in my Rosary, and so on). But if they are not the true authorities, then I am relieved of A) the obligation to follow their leadership and B) the cognitive dissonance associated with acknowledging their authority but continuing to disobey it.

Where are we in this thread?
To be honest, I don't see much point in going further. For some reason, we have missed each other left and right, and I don't think more words at this stage will bring us together. I want to thank you for all the time you've put into these posts. Even though we are not in sync, I have found the discussion an excellent occasion to think harder about these mysterious things.

Having said that, if there is in fact some specific point you wish to pursue further, I am certainly willing to keep trying. I just don't want either of us to have to continue repeating ourselves to no avail.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Dear Mike,

I'll add a few further comments for the sake clarity.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
We're in agreement insofar as you grasp the difference between "sifting as private judgement" and "sifting" as an extremely poor term for "holding fast to what we have received".


As I said, call it something else, if you like. Sifting is certainly an accurate term for the mental process that goes on in the act of "holding fast to what we have received," (especially given that such an act requires comparison with, followed by distinction from, the novelty that is presented), but I'm sure you can find a synonym that works just as well.


Perhaps you are not aware the history of this term, "sifting." As far as I recall it was coined by then-Father Sanborn in his article, "Resistance and Indefectibility," published back in 1991.

Father Sanborn wrote:
To the obvious obedience problem which his position posed, Archbishop Lefebvre replied that no authority, including that of the pope, has the right to tell us to do something wrong. But the Novus Ordo is wrong. Therefore the pope cannot oblige us to accept the Novus Ordo. This reasoning led to the need to sift the Novus Ordo for Catholicism. Like the man panning for the grains of gold hidden in the mud, so the Catholic had to sift Paul VI’s and John Paul II’s magisterium and decrees for grains of the true faith. Whatever turned up traditional would be accepted, whatever modernist, rejected. And since Archbishop Lefebvre was the most prominent of those adhering to tradition, his word became the proximate norm of belief and obedience for hundreds of priests and tens of thousands of Catholics. Thus John Paul II’s supposed authority was not sufficient to move the minds and wills of Catholics faithful to tradition, but had to be augmented by Archbishop Lefebvre’s approval. This role of sifter which the Fraternity acquired was jealously guarded, and anyone who dared to ignore it was considered a subversive and ultimately expelled.

(Emphasis in the original)


The offensiveness of this term was then employed by a fellow called Laszlo Szijarto in his article attacking sedevacantism as "pope sifting." So, both sides recognised it as an ugly term for a bad idea, and used it as a pejorative.

As you correctly stated early in this thread, "sifting" is picking and choosing and no different from what "cafeteria Catholics" do. It isn't Catholic. (I know you corrected yourself later, and gave the "sifting" of which you approve a good meaning.)

For rhetorical reasons in debates with sedevacantists who use Fr. Sanborn's caricature of the SSPX to attack it, I often point out that what they do we all did at one point, so if they "sift" then we all "sift." But I take care, as I have in this thread, to point out that the caricature is wrong, and that what the SSPX actually does is ignore the entire Council and all of the doctrinal organs of the Conciliar popes.

Now you might understand why the term "sifting" is a poor term in itself for what traditional Catholics do, and that to boot it is loaded with rhetorical baggage. I wouldn't ever use it in a positive sense except as a "tu quoque" kick in the teeth in order to open up the debate so that something useful can be discussed.


Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Sure, but the problem is this distinction isn't traditional and was made by John XXIII and Paul VI. Trads are just looking at the facts and reacting. They said "we're not speaking infallibly" and so we took them at face value - and with a great deal of relief. This is a whole subject in itself, which I want to deal with in extenso in my book. The magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church and has certain necessary characteristics, characteristics which it has always precisely because the Church is the Church and always acts properly, so to speak. She is infallible in her understanding of her own proper mode of doctrinal instruction just as she is infallible in the doctrines that she proposes. The problem posed by the New Church is precisely in this new mode of proposing doctrine, which is characterised by the totally novel features of ambiguity, non-universality (i.e. a free for all, not a unity of faith), and deliberately fostered doubt about the degree of authority being exercised. This complex of novelty in the so-called magisterium is what creates the debate between different traditionalist thinkers over the infallibility of Vatican II, for example.


From this, it sounds to me as though your view of the Novus Ordo hierarchy is the same as that of the SSPX: true authorities who have not exercised their magisterial power.


You keep doing this, and I don't understand why. This is a general description of the data, the factual and doctrinal data, and a comment summing it up to explain why traditionalists take different views. I have not said which of the views is mine. So I don't know why you're trying to divine my view from it. That isn't the point of the paragraph.

For the record I don't think that the local ordinaries are, as a rule, the bishops of the Church, but I'm equally certain that the theory is wrong which asserts that every bishop who did not openly reject vatican II left the Church as an immediate consequence. But that's all well known by those who have read my writings.

Mike Larson wrote:
With regard to Bishop Williamson ... I understand that you would like there to be separation on that score...


I would like there not to be a separation on that score, actually, but there is! :)

I understand that Bishop Williamson has an extraordinary personal following - not extraordinarily large, just extraordinarily personal. I'd like not to hurt people's feelings about him, but his theology is Anglican and if anybody actually believed him they'd endanger their faith. Fortunately, as a rule, he keeps his comments extremely vague and usually does not actually state any theology, confining himself to rhetorical fancies such as metaphors about old jalopies falling apart bit by bit as they wobble down the road (the Novus Ordo Missae) or apples being progressively destroyed by rot (the Church). When he does state his theology, it makes one's hair curl. Terrifying. (And don't tell me you can't see what's wrong with his article on the infallibility of canonisations, in which he absolutely misrepresents the position of the theologians. If anybody else had done that, there'd be a storm of outrage, accusations of dishonesty, etc. But he got a free pass because he's an extremely nice man.)

For people who imagine that they have learned any doctrine from Bishop Williamson over the years, ask yourself this: What doctrine? Go back and see if you can find it in his writings, and if you do (you will be busy for a long period in your efforts, I'll wager), then the exception will have proven the rule. He doesn't generally do "doctrine" and there's an excellent reason for that.

Mike Larson wrote:
I'll try to sum up a few things, as I understand them at this point:

  • I disagree with Bishop Williamson (and the SSPX) that the present Novus Ordo hierarchy are a continuation of the true authorities who have failed to exercise their magisterial power for the last 50 years.
  • You assert that Bishop Williamson preaches heresy by promoting private judgment over the true magisterium. This heresy, you imply, is a result of his "confusion over the role of authority and how it relates to doctrine."
  • I dispute this charge.
  • We agree that all traditionalists must at some point employ their own knowledge of the true faith over and against the novelties presented by the Novus Ordo hierarchy.
  • I contend that those who believe the Novus Ordo hierarchy to be true authorities must do this on an ongoing basis.

To that last point I would add the following: there is an inherent cognitive dissonance associated with this stance. One finds oneself at odds, day in and day out, year after year, with what one believes to be the divine teaching organ given to the world by Christ. I myself have experienced this dissonance, and it has led me to a fork in the road: if the Novus Ordo hierarchy are indeed the true authorities who compose the magisterium, then I should be obedient to their leadership in all things (including where I go to mass, what Code of Canon Law I adhere to, what saints I recognize, what mysteries I include in my Rosary, and so on). But if they are not the true authorities, then I am relieved of A) the obligation to follow their leadership and B) the cognitive dissonance associated with acknowledging their authority but continuing to disobey it.


All good, except that you do something all human beings are inclined to do, which is that you imagine that your own experience matches that of all others. It doesn't. I've known trad Catholics for decades and rarely come across this psychological tension that you describe. Most of us just get along holding on to what we received, and ignore the Conciliar authorities. The only times that any significant tension has arisen were the episcopal consecrations of 1988 and the 2012 proposed agreement. Then we saw the theological problem of "where is the Church?" come to the surface and cause some trouble, but even then only amongst a minority.

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Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:42 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike, you may find this thread interesting, on the authority or otherwise of Vatican II: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... 17&start=0

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Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:59 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Perhaps you are not aware the history of this term, "sifting." As far as I recall it was coined by then-Father Sanborn in his article, "Resistance and Indefectibility," published back in 1991.


I can assure you that then-Father Sanborn did not coin the term. That you think of it only as pejorative is, I believe, a subjective impression, but now that I understand your associations with the word, I will refrain from using it in a neutral or positive sense in our exchanges (assuming we have any more).

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Sure, but the problem is this distinction isn't traditional and was made by John XXIII and Paul VI. Trads are just looking at the facts and reacting. They said "we're not speaking infallibly" and so we took them at face value - and with a great deal of relief. This is a whole subject in itself, which I want to deal with in extenso in my book. The magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church and has certain necessary characteristics, characteristics which it has always precisely because the Church is the Church and always acts properly, so to speak. She is infallible in her understanding of her own proper mode of doctrinal instruction just as she is infallible in the doctrines that she proposes. The problem posed by the New Church is precisely in this new mode of proposing doctrine, which is characterised by the totally novel features of ambiguity, non-universality (i.e. a free for all, not a unity of faith), and deliberately fostered doubt about the degree of authority being exercised. This complex of novelty in the so-called magisterium is what creates the debate between different traditionalist thinkers over the infallibility of Vatican II, for example.


From this, it sounds to me as though your view of the Novus Ordo hierarchy is the same as that of the SSPX: true authorities who have not exercised their magisterial power.


You keep doing this, and I don't understand why. This is a general description of the data, the factual and doctrinal data, and a comment summing it up to explain why traditionalists take different views. I have not said which of the views is mine. So I don't know why you're trying to divine my view from it.


It's because I find your writing obscure, elastic, elusive. I keep looking for a grounding point to help me understand who you are, your frame of reference.

John Lane wrote:
I understand that Bishop Williamson has an extraordinary personal following - not extraordinarily large, just extraordinarily personal. I'd like not to hurt people's feelings about him, but his theology is Anglican and if anybody actually believed him they'd endanger their faith. Fortunately, as a rule, he keeps his comments extremely vague and usually does not actually state any theology, confining himself to rhetorical fancies such as metaphors about old jalopies falling apart bit by bit as they wobble down the road (the Novus Ordo Missae) or apples being progressively destroyed by rot (the Church). When he does state his theology, it makes one's hair curl. Terrifying.


Hyperbole?

John Lane wrote:
(And don't tell me you can't see what's wrong with his article on the infallibility of canonisations, in which he absolutely misrepresents the position of the theologians.


I see something I disagree with, yes, but I have already stated that disagreement both early and late in this thread.

I did read your critique of that article as well. For all of its passion, I found the points of attack in it to be unconvincing, mostly reliant on linguistic contortions and even a bit of apparent mind-reading. I am also further confused, after reading it, about your view regarding the infallibility of canonizations when I compare your treatment of that topic as applied to Bishop Williamson versus your treatment of it now, as applied to the current SSPX example provided by James.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
To that last point I would add the following: there is an inherent cognitive dissonance associated with this stance. One finds oneself at odds, day in and day out, year after year, with what one believes to be the divine teaching organ given to the world by Christ. I myself have experienced this dissonance, and it has led me to a fork in the road: if the Novus Ordo hierarchy are indeed the true authorities who compose the magisterium, then I should be obedient to their leadership in all things (including where I go to mass, what Code of Canon Law I adhere to, what saints I recognize, what mysteries I include in my Rosary, and so on). But if they are not the true authorities, then I am relieved of A) the obligation to follow their leadership and B) the cognitive dissonance associated with acknowledging their authority but continuing to disobey it.


All good, except that you do something all human beings are inclined to do, which is that you imagine that your own experience matches that of all others.


No, I used my own experience as merely a particular practical example of an existing logical dilemma. In other words, the problem exists because of the nature of the position, not because I happened to feel its effects. (Incidentally, the thread you refer me to in your last post contains a couple of examples--stated publicly, no less--of the dissonance I am describing.)


Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:58 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike, you may find this thread interesting, on the authority or otherwise of Vatican II: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1417&start=0


Thanks, John. I do find it interesting. In it, I find especially keen the posts of Benedictus.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Perhaps you are not aware the history of this term, "sifting." As far as I recall it was coined by then-Father Sanborn in his article, "Resistance and Indefectibility," published back in 1991.


I can assure you that then-Father Sanborn did not coin the term.


Who did, please?


Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
You keep doing this, and I don't understand why. This is a general description of the data, the factual and doctrinal data, and a comment summing it up to explain why traditionalists take different views. I have not said which of the views is mine. So I don't know why you're trying to divine my view from it.


It's because I find your writing obscure, elastic, elusive. I keep looking for a grounding point to help me understand who you are, your frame of reference.


Now that's funny!

I'm a bloke who hates things being presented as certain which are merely judgements by individuals. Often I am doing nothing more than presenting factual data or theological information without taking a position, in order to bring out the essential causes of the manifold disputes between trads, with a view to softening disputes and enabling a more generous appreciation of the other sides' position. My own personal judgement is not important in such a discussion. This entire thread had nothing to do with any of my own views, as far as I was concerned. It was purely about hammering some errors which I perceive to be dangerous if they get a hold.

You want my views? Have a browse around this forum. I must have written millions of words expressing my own judgements. Try this thread, from 2006, for example: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... &t=8&p=786


Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I understand that Bishop Williamson has an extraordinary personal following - not extraordinarily large, just extraordinarily personal. I'd like not to hurt people's feelings about him, but his theology is Anglican and if anybody actually believed him they'd endanger their faith. Fortunately, as a rule, he keeps his comments extremely vague and usually does not actually state any theology, confining himself to rhetorical fancies such as metaphors about old jalopies falling apart bit by bit as they wobble down the road (the Novus Ordo Missae) or apples being progressively destroyed by rot (the Church). When he does state his theology, it makes one's hair curl. Terrifying.


Hyperbole?


Yes, I haven't much hair. :)

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
(And don't tell me you can't see what's wrong with his article on the infallibility of canonisations, in which he absolutely misrepresents the position of the theologians.


I see something I disagree with, yes, but I have already stated that disagreement both early and late in this thread.

I did read your critique of that article as well. For all of its passion, I found the points of attack in it to be unconvincing, mostly reliant on linguistic contortions and even a bit of apparent mind-reading.


I think you're being elusive on this. The theologians say that the Church is infallible in the canonisation of saints; Bishop Williamson says, "Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible." That is a bare-faced untruth, totally indefensible. If he were a stupid or uneducated man, I wouldn't say that, but what possible defence could he present for such an outright misrepresentation? How can you reduce the complete contradiction with the truth that this clearly is, to something you merely "disagree with" and accuse me of "linguistic contortions and even a bit of apparent mind-reading"? Let's debate this, Mike. Point out and prove the linguistic distortions.

Do you feel that trashing sacred doctrine is offensive, or do you really only feel offended for the man who trashed it when he is attacked for doing so? Serious questions.

Mike Larson wrote:
I am also further confused, after reading it, about your view regarding the infallibility of canonizations when I compare your treatment of that topic as applied to Bishop Williamson versus your treatment of it now, as applied to the current SSPX example provided by James.


And I think that your view is obscured by your refusal to be specific. Bishop Williamson and Fr. Gleize say quite different things. Bishop Williamson misrepresents the position of the theologians, Fr. Gleize doesn't. For example, this is entirely sound, and it's his introductory passage laying down his principles:

Fr. Gleize wrote:
Infallibility is a property which supposes the essential definition of the act to which it corresponds. If the definition is changed, by the very fact the property attached to it changes. If the act becomes doubtful, its infallibility becomes doubtful also.

That is why, if one wishes to resolve the difficulty posed by the post-Conciliar novelties, there are only two possible solutions.

In the first solution, one establishes that the new laws resulting from Vatican II are legitimate laws in accordance with the requisite conditions and then one must state that they are infallible. In the second solution, one establishes that the new initiatives resulting from Vatican II are more often doubtful and lacking sufficient guarantees to be considered legitimate laws in the traditional sense of the term, and this authorizes a legitimate doubt about their infallibility.

But, in any case, one cannot give a solution that both admits the new post-Conciliar initiatives are legitimate laws in accordance with the requisite conditions and denies their infallibility. For this infallibility, though not yet solemnly defined, is a long-established position of both theology and of the Church’s ordinary authoritative teaching [ordinary magisterium].

One may say that it is proximately definable and its denial would be rash.

Following Archbishop Lefebvre, we defend the second solution. We say that the new post-Conciliar legislation (new Mass and new liturgy, new canonizations, new Code of Canon Law) is not infallible and does not oblige because we have serious reasons to doubt its very nature as law. In this argumentation, everything will depend on the legitimacy of the new canonizations and beatifications.


I can't understand why you can't see the difference between a theologian writing traditional theology, and a populist misrepresenting what the theologians say, but I recognise it. It's blatant.

Mike Larson wrote:
No, I used my own experience as merely a particular practical example of an existing logical dilemma. In other words, the problem exists because of the nature of the position, not because I happened to feel its effects. (Incidentally, the thread you refer me to in your last post contains a couple of examples--stated publicly, no less--of the dissonance I am describing.)


Mike, if the SSPX position is understood properly, there's no logical dilemma, therefore there's no cognitive dissonance. One doesn't have to agree with it to see that, but one does have to understand it. I'll say again what I've said many times - the "R&R" presentation of Fr. Cekada and Co. of the SSPX position is a caricature, and one which they refuse to prove or enter into debate over. So their whole attack on it is an assault on a straw man. They keep saying that the SSPX does the things it does because it's aiming at reintegration with the New Church, but that's nothing more than a rash, and false, judgement of motives. I'd say your own cognitive dissonance arises from your own misapprehension of the SSPX position, and if you're sincere about getting to the bottom of it I'll help, but we need to get away from this cat-and-mouse game where you think I'm playing mouse when I'm not. I'm being entirely candid.

Read that excerpt from Fr. Gleize carefully through and ponder the principle he is expressing, that a doubtful law does not bind. It's entirely right, entirely traditional, and absolutely to the point. Without recognising that nobody can get to first base in understanding the Archbishop or the SSPX in general.

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Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:29 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike, you might also look at this thread for a firm view of mine regarding the legal status of the New Mass, on the hypothesis that Paul VI was pope: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... 928#p13928

It is evident from what Fr. Gleize has said in the excerpt above that he holds a similar view. I didn't know that when I formed my view. I knew that various SSPX figures had questioned the legal status of the New Mass, and I had read Fr. Cekada's article purporting to refute that position. My friend Jim Larrabee, one of the most erudite and solid sedevacantists in the world, commented to me that Fr. Cekada had proved nothing, so I read the original texts myself to form my own judgement. I think Jim is exactly right, and therefore the SSPX view is correct. It doesn't mean Paul VI was pope, of course. It merely means that we cannot use a particular technical argument based upon statute law to make our case. Such is the confusion amongst sedevacantists regarding these things that my own position looks disloyal to sedevacantism, when it is purely a question of legal fact. It's either accurate law or it's not. But of course, there's no real debate by the other side on this, or for that matter on anything else important.

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Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:44 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John,

I agree with the principle a doubtful law does not bind (doubt as to it's legal force). But has Fr. Gleize ever written WHY the new Code of Canon Law does not bind? What is the doubt? And if ithe Code does not bind, does he ever explain WHY they accept any of it? I think it is relevant to the discussion of the New Code and I can't find an explanation in english other than the one I provided which Is not arguing the Law is doubtful, but saying we must sift the laws for evil. The article does asserted the laws do have a binding force as being promulgated by a true pope. I don't think that is a misrepresentation of what I read. I am curious how Fr. Gleize handles the question?


Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:34 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:
John,

I agree with the principle a doubtful law does not bind (doubt as to it's legal force). But has Fr. Gleize ever written WHY the new Code of Canon Law does not bind? What is the doubt?


Dear James,

I don't know what Fr. Gleize thinks on this question. I suppose, based upon his articles on other subjects, that he bases his criticism upon the manifest fact that the Conciliar popes do not believe in objective authority and therefore do not, cannot, truly seek to bind to an objective rule. They don't believe in an objective rule either - they are Modernists who place all value and continuity of religion in the subject (in this case, the ever-evolving church), not in the objects of faith. See this article for an exposition of these principles in relation to the (new) magisterium: http://www.dici.org/en/news/debate-abou ... gr-ocariz/ (He is essentially accusing them of Modernism, and therefore being guided by immanent "faith" which evolves with the human consciousness, entirely subjective in nature and therefore rendering the objective rule of faith nothing more than a set of essentially irrelevant historical texts which can be interpreted however one likes. His language, however, is discreet and scientific so as not to give unnecessary offence, or perhaps to avoid supplying occasion for attacks on the Fraternity.)

James Schroepfer wrote:
And if ithe Code does not bind, does he ever explain WHY they accept any of it?


Look, it may be that he differs with various others within the Fraternity. There exists a wide range of views, and of course not all are as intelligent and learned as Fr. Gleize. It may well be that he regards the entire New Code as irrelevant because not binding.

James Schroepfer wrote:
I think it is relevant to the discussion of the New Code and I can't find an explanation in english other than the one I provided which Is not arguing the Law is doubtful, but saying we must sift the laws for evil. The article does asserted the laws do have a binding force as being promulgated by a true pope. I don't think that is a misrepresentation of what I read.


No, your reading is accurate, I agree. But that article is just one opinion. I once asked a senior SSPX figure why a certain article was published in The Angelus and on the American Web site, since in my opinion it was a very prejudicial article and if the author wanted to express his views, he ought to have kept them within the circle of clergy and not published them. The answer I received was "I agree with you" (golden words! :) ) and he went on to say that if he'd known it was being published he'd have intervened to prevent it. Now that story should disabuse you of the common, and understandable, impression that what appears on SSPX Web sites or in their magazines is necessarily the expression of the Fraternity's policy or settled views. It's a large organisation, very loosely governed in my opinion, and probably quite prudently so given the crisis in the Church in which the Fraternity finds itself, with all of the divergent opinions and judgements that individuals have. The alternative would be a kind of intellectual tyranny. I still think that the Fraternity as a matter of policy treats the New Code as binding in general, so that Fr. Gleize's view is exceptional, although I could be mistaken. I have consulted various figures to try and clarify the matter but I have not yet succeeded in achieving the clarity we need. I'll post something if and when I do.

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Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:18 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
By the way, on the legal promulgation of the New Mass, here is some evidence - effectively two sources, the Abbe de Nantes and Fr. Wathen - of the refusal by traditional Catholics to regard the New Missal as binding, right from the beginning: http://www.dailycatholic.org/tgs23.htm

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Thanks John :D I completely understand the is disagreement among the SSPX clergy over these topics and was truly just interested if you had ever heard or read Father Gleize's explanation. He seems to me to atempt to stick to traditional theology similar to some of us sedevacantists and was curious as to his argument given I assume he would stick to the theological principles.

I am not arguing on the legality of the new mass or of the documents of Vatican II due to the unclearness surrounding the promulgation (was it binding or not?), however I would argue the new Code was not issued with the same ambiguity. For the Code is the Universal LAW of the Church as recognized by what the SSPX preceives to be the Catholic Church and even by the Society in general, and law by its nature, essence, and definition is something which binds. If it does not bind it is not law but merely suggestions. Hence, I believe many in the Society do hold it to have a binding force in contrast to the common opinion that for instance the New Mass was not authoritatively imposed. This is why I again think it is one of the stronger arguments for sedevacantism :!: It was the black and white issue which convinced me of sedevacantism because of the clarity in regards to the subject so rarely found in the new religion or amount traditional controversies in general.

And again I understand the SSPX is a large Society surpassing one continental boundary and the diversity of opinion which ranges in such a group. That said, I don't think you can argue this is only one author's opinion for it is posted on the USA SSPX website as their official explanation on the New Code. If it is not the opinion of the American district's senior leadership, why is it posted on their official website which gives it at the very least their tacit approval. I hope it is different in the other districts but I don't know. I was simply pointing out that for here in the United States, the Society has embraced the principle of sifting, not dogma true as in the case of Bishop Williamson (who in practice doesn't as far as I know but at least proports the ability to do so in principle), but similar to his thesis as far as true authoritative commands coming from what they consider to be the true Roman Pontiff. Universal commands which to assert contradict faith or morals while not heresy is still objectively a serious sin. And while I absolutely agree the Society or anyone for that matter should not police others opinions on matters open to dispute, I think the Society does have an obligation to enforce theological principles which are at the bare minimum doctrinal sound and do command the faithful's consent.

I will read through Fr. Gleize's article on the magestirium later today, but on its face it is odd that (according to many in the Society) while we cannot read someone's interior thoughts so therefore the laity cannot recognize if he is a public heretic or not, we then are suppose to read his interior thoughts and motives to determine whether he is teaching authoritatively or not, Leave the Internal forum in the internal, for we judge not someone's commands by what we believe to be his internal convictions, but by his external words and actions.

If my father commands me to do something like clean the bathroom, I don't stop to consider whether in his mind he really desires me to expose myself to all those germs and hence it is not really a command but a suggestion, a suggestion which I can ignore. And in this case we are not discussing a fallible command, one coming from my father or even a pope to an individual, but rather an infallible command given by the representative of Christ to the whole Church.

I am exceedingly interested in any further clarification you can get from anyone in the SSPX, and hopefully you can get a response soon. In any case, here in the USA, I believe it is a legitamete accusation, and one sedevacantist should bring up to support his position.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:
And again I understand the SSPX is a large Society surpassing one continental boundary and the diversity of opinion which ranges in such a group. That said, I don't think you can argue this is only one author's opinion for it is posted on the USA SSPX website as their official explanation on the New Code. If it is not the opinion of the American district's senior leadership, why is it posted on their official website which gives it at the very least their tacit approval. I hope it is different in the other districts but I don't know.


Neither do I. Our District Superior is Fr. John Fullerton, an American. He is a wonderful priest and a remarkable man, quintessentially American, practically orientated rather than theoretical, yet very intelligent and a genuine expert on education (and loves Fr. Leen!). I asked him his view on this and he replied very simply that as he understands it their position is that the authority of the New Code suffers the same vitiation as Vatican II. So, on the face of it, you'd expect him to ignore the New Code. I didn't ask him if that's what he does.

James Schroepfer wrote:
I was simply pointing out that for here in the United States, the Society has embraced the principle of sifting, not dogma true as in the case of Bishop Williamson (who in practice doesn't as far as I know but at least proports the ability to do so in principle), but similar to his thesis as far as true authoritative commands coming from what they consider to be the true Roman Pontiff. Universal commands which to assert contradict faith or morals while not heresy is still objectively a serious sin.


Well, the American position is to obey genuine commands except where impossible, so that far it's fine. The difficulty, as you seem to be saying, is that the universal laws of the Church cannot violate true faith or sound morals, so that given a true pope there cannot be any occasion for disobeying these laws. Let's apply the general approach of Fr. Gleize to this and see where it takes us. Now, the charism of infallibility is the reason why universal laws cannot be evil. That is, the infallibility of the Church in disciplinary matters is indirect, and refers back to the one infallibility that the Church possesses, the charism which properly belongs to the teaching office. So, whatever vitiates the infallibility of the new magisterium would equally affect the indirect infallibility of law. Having written that, I intended to say, "No, I don't believe it either," but now I'm not so sure! :)

Anyway, there you have it.

James Schroepfer wrote:
And while I absolutely agree the Society or anyone for that matter should not police others opinions on matters open to dispute, I think the Society does have an obligation to enforce theological principles which are at the bare minimum doctrinal sound and do command the faithful's consent.


So do I, and the way to handle this is to approach the DS or some other leader directly and put to him the infallibility as explained by Van Noort and ask him what he thinks. He'll have an answer. You need to know what it is so that you can formulate your next question.

James Schroepfer wrote:
I will read through Fr. Gleize's article on the magestirium later today, but on its face it is odd that (according to many in the Society) while we cannot read someone's interior thoughts so therefore the laity cannot recognize if he is a public heretic or not, we then are suppose to read his interior thoughts and motives to determine whether he is teaching authoritatively or not, Leave the Internal forum in the internal, for we judge not someone's commands by what we believe to be his internal convictions, but by his external words and actions.


Fr. Gleize isn't reading their minds, he's analysing their words.

James Schroepfer wrote:
In any case, here in the USA, I believe it is a legitamete accusation, and one sedevacantist should bring up to support his position.


It's a perfectly valid argument for sedevacantism whether one is faced with a Fr. Gleize or an American SSPX priest.

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Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:59 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
One thought that occurs to me about this whole discussion is that the thing that really differentiates the SSPX from the "Indult" groups is precisely this question of submission to the Conciliar authorities. The "Indult" groups really do try and apply the expressed principle of "follow them when they command things that are not in conflict with the faith, and resist when they command things which do conflict with the faith." I don't say they succeed in this effort. But it really is a practical, and therefore real, effort to reduce that principle to practice. What the SSPX does is more clearly practical sedevacantism by comparison.

This then brings the following principles to mind.

Quote:
Berry, The Church of Christ, pp. 221, 222.

PROFESSION OF FAITH. Every member of a society must accept its end and aims according to his ability, and he must strive, at least in some degree, to realise those aims. He that rejects the purposes of a society thereby rejects the society itself; he can neither become a member, nor remain one if already received into the society.

The practice of the Christian religion, which consists in the external profession of Christian faith, is the proximate end to be obtained in the Church. Therefore, external profession of faith is an essential condition of membership. Moreover, the Church must be one in the external profession of faith, consequently he that severs this bond of unity is separated from the body of the Church, i.e., he ceases to be a member.

SUBJECTION TO AUTHORITY. The very existence of a society depends upon the subjection of its members to authority; therefore he that rejects the authority of a society, rejects the society itself and ceases to be a member. Neither can the end of a society be realised unless the members be directed by its authority in their common endeavours to that end. Therefore, rejecting the authority of a society is tantamount to rejecting its end and aims, which is to reject the society itself. Consequently no one can be a member of any society unless he submits to its authority according to his ability. Furthermore, in regard to the Church, there must be unity in the external profession of the true faith, which Christ committed to the teaching authority of the Church. Therefore the profession of faith necessary for membership in the Church practically resolves itself into submission to her teaching authority.


Consider this in relation to the post-Vatican II reality. Traditional Catholics are defined by our subjection to the pre-Vatican II magisterium - i.e. the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Conciliarists are defined by their liberty of opinion, or in some cases, their attempt to believe what Vatican II taught (a procedure fraught with innumerable difficulties, as the historical evidence shows). And what does this mean, in concrete terms: "The practice of the Christian religion, which consists in the external profession of Christian faith..."? It means offering and assisting at Holy Mass according to the rites of the Catholic Church, rites that unambiguously express the true faith of Christ; and likewise all of the other ceremonies of the Church as prescribed, for example, in the Roman Ritual.

In the Conciliar church every single one of these was "reformed" so as to eliminate as far as possible anything that would conflict with the heresies of Protestantism. This is a new religion, a religion of man, with new doctrines, new laws, and new ceremonies or worship. It's the religion of free choice, the one in which you can believe in Transubstantiation if you like, but in which you cannot proclaim your belief in any way that might offend a heretic. But this makes you a heretic yourself, for you are only believing in the doctrine by choice, which is the very meaning of heresy. Now, precisely by rejecting the profession of the true faith the Conciliarists left the Church; and precisely by rejecting the new religion and continuing to practice the old one, traditionalists remain in the Catholic Church. The SSPX, whatever verbal profession of submission it makes to Francis, does not practice his religion, a fact manifest to him, and which he deplores. But note, he does not complain that traditionalists treat his supposed authority as merely a form of “advice” – to be disregarded as it doesn’t suit – because his whole religion is the religion of choice. Instead, his complaints are vague observations to the effect that we are trying to live in the past, that we lack the spirit of Christ (by which he evidently means some kind of hippie lurv), that we are too “exclusive.”

The SSPX takes him and the whole reform at face value - it's a choice anyway, so there's no obligation to accept it. The new magisterium is one which does not impose obligatory doctrine, the new worship was never prescribed by public law, but rather imposed by tyranny, and the New Code carries in its own canons the same spirit of liberty which runs through the whole programme. Of course, false liberty always ends in tyranny, or rather, goes hand in hand with tyranny. This was true in the Protestant revolt, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and countless other examples seen around the world in the revolutionary era (i.e. the last two hundred years).

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Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:11 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Perhaps you are not aware the history of this term, "sifting." As far as I recall it was coined by then-Father Sanborn in his article, "Resistance and Indefectibility," published back in 1991.


I can assure you that then-Father Sanborn did not coin the term.


Who did, please?


The term in English was coined before the 13th Century and first employed, with the metaphorical sense that we are using it here, in the 16th Century.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
You keep doing this, and I don't understand why. This is a general description of the data, the factual and doctrinal data, and a comment summing it up to explain why traditionalists take different views. I have not said which of the views is mine. So I don't know why you're trying to divine my view from it.


It's because I find your writing obscure, elastic, elusive. I keep looking for a grounding point to help me understand who you are, your frame of reference.


Now that's funny!

I'm a bloke who hates things being presented as certain which are merely judgements by individuals. Often I am doing nothing more than presenting factual data or theological information without taking a position, in order to bring out the essential causes of the manifold disputes between trads, with a view to softening disputes and enabling a more generous appreciation of the other sides' position.


This explains a lot. Thank you.

John Lane wrote:
My own personal judgement is not important in such a discussion. This entire thread had nothing to do with any of my own views, as far as I was concerned.


I admire this disposition.

John Lane wrote:
It was purely about hammering some errors which I perceive to be dangerous if they get a hold.


And here might be some of the "problem" between us, if you can call it that. You might be assuming some things about either my position or my motive(s) that are not true or are at the very least more than I have actually said in this thread.

John Lane wrote:
You want my views? Have a browse around this forum. I must have written millions of words expressing my own judgements. Try this thread, from 2006, for example: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8&p=786


I am indeed interested in your views, not for their own sake but simply because they provide a framework for understanding discussion with accuracy and charity. I know you have written millions of words, but I have only so much time, and when involved in a discussion-board exchange, I try to discern as much as I can about the other person by way of what he says in the very thread through which we are conversing.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I understand that Bishop Williamson has an extraordinary personal following - not extraordinarily large, just extraordinarily personal. I'd like not to hurt people's feelings about him, but his theology is Anglican and if anybody actually believed him they'd endanger their faith. Fortunately, as a rule, he keeps his comments extremely vague and usually does not actually state any theology, confining himself to rhetorical fancies such as metaphors about old jalopies falling apart bit by bit as they wobble down the road (the Novus Ordo Missae) or apples being progressively destroyed by rot (the Church). When he does state his theology, it makes one's hair curl. Terrifying.


Hyperbole?


Yes, I haven't much hair. :)


Hah! I have much less than I once did as well, but the curling of even a single hair requires a profound transference between the intellectual and material realms.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
(And don't tell me you can't see what's wrong with his article on the infallibility of canonisations, in which he absolutely misrepresents the position of the theologians.


I see something I disagree with, yes, but I have already stated that disagreement both early and late in this thread.

I did read your critique of that article as well. For all of its passion, I found the points of attack in it to be unconvincing, mostly reliant on linguistic contortions and even a bit of apparent mind-reading.


I think you're being elusive on this. The theologians say that the Church is infallible in the canonisation of saints; Bishop Williamson says, "Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible." That is a bare-faced untruth, totally indefensible. If he were a stupid or uneducated man, I wouldn't say that, but what possible defence could he present for such an outright misrepresentation? How can you reduce the complete contradiction with the truth that this clearly is, to something you merely "disagree with" and accuse me of "linguistic contortions and even a bit of apparent mind-reading"? Let's debate this, Mike. Point out and prove the linguistic distortions.


John, I could do this. Honestly, I could, and I don't think it would be difficult. But I hesitate for two reasons: 1) Is it within the scope of this thread? and 2) I fear I have not made myself a pleasant guest to this point. Would a(n attempted) refutation of your article do anything to repair that impression?

John Lane wrote:
Do you feel that trashing sacred doctrine is offensive, or do you really only feel offended for the man who trashed it when he is attacked for doing so? Serious questions.


No, in this case, I do not feel offended for Bishop Williamson. I simply think your arguments are weak. I imagine you've written better ones against him at other times. In any case, I am sincerely glad that you are adamant about your claims. It shows me that you really believe them and that you are not simply +W bashing, as so many others are wont to do.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I am also further confused, after reading it, about your view regarding the infallibility of canonizations when I compare your treatment of that topic as applied to Bishop Williamson versus your treatment of it now, as applied to the current SSPX example provided by James.


And I think that your view is obscured by your refusal to be specific.


I can be very specific on this point as well. No refusal here. Just hesitancy for reasons I have already noted.

John Lane wrote:
I can't understand why you can't see the difference between a theologian writing traditional theology, and a populist misrepresenting what the theologians say, but I recognise it. It's blatant.


The answer here may be concealed in the question. Perhaps you are not allowing for the different intended audiences. I suspect that if Fr. Gleize were to write for the masses (not that he would be capable) and Bishop Williamson were to write for the theologians (again, not that he would be capable), their way of expressing the same truths would be altered, but only slightly (Truth is not particularly flexible.). Nor do I see a significant difference between Fr. Gleize or Bp. Williamson on this matter, even in their present language. Having said that, I acknowledge that you may be far more astute at recognizing theological nuance than I. It (theology) is not, I admit, my field of expertise, though rhetorical communication is.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
No, I used my own experience as merely a particular practical example of an existing logical dilemma. In other words, the problem exists because of the nature of the position, not because I happened to feel its effects. (Incidentally, the thread you refer me to in your last post contains a couple of examples--stated publicly, no less--of the dissonance I am describing.)


Mike, if the SSPX position is understood properly, there's no logical dilemma, therefore there's no cognitive dissonance.


Of course there is. In the present crisis, there are difficulties--both internal and external--with every serious response, as I have noted elsewhere. Even the very best response--whatever that may be--does not enjoy objective serenity (not to be confused with subjective serenity, of which there are examples among every creed).

John Lane wrote:
One doesn't have to agree with it to see that, but one does have to understand it. I'll say again what I've said many times - the "R&R" presentation of Fr. Cekada and Co. of the SSPX position is a caricature, and one which they refuse to prove or enter into debate over. So their whole attack on it is an assault on a straw man. They keep saying that the SSPX does the things it does because it's aiming at reintegration with the New Church, but that's nothing more than a rash, and false, judgement of motives.


As far as I am aware, this is what Bishop Williamson, not Fr. Cekada, does. +Williamson is always reiterating the leadership's drive toward reintegration. Last I heard from Fr. Cekada (I do not consult his writing often), he was predicting in early 2012 that the Society would NOT reintegrate with Rome, despite the appearances of that time (when lots of others were predicting that a unification was imminent). The reason he gave, if I remember right, was that the Society NEEDS tension with Rome in order to maintain its status quo, which he apparently presumes is quite agreeable to the Society's leadership.

John Lane wrote:
I'd say your own cognitive dissonance arises from your own misapprehension of the SSPX position, and if you're sincere about getting to the bottom of it I'll help,


You assume in this statement that you have a deeper understanding than I do. You may be right, but I doubt it, and it certainly does not show from anything revealed thus far.

John Lane wrote:
but we need to get away from this cat-and-mouse game where you think I'm playing mouse when I'm not. I'm being entirely candid.


I am very glad to hear it. And I am being at least as candid as you are. I can say this with certainty because I know that I am not hiding or dodging anything. On the contrary, I have been as forthright as possible.

John Lane wrote:
Read that excerpt from Fr. Gleize carefully through and ponder the principle he is expressing, that a doubtful law does not bind. It's entirely right, entirely traditional, and absolutely to the point. Without recognising that nobody can get to first base in understanding the Archbishop or the SSPX in general.


I like very much the segment you quote from Fr. Gleize.


Last edited by Mike Larson on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:15 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike, you might also look at this thread for a firm view of mine regarding the legal status of the New Mass, on the hypothesis that Paul VI was pope: viewtopic.php?p=13928#p13928

It is evident from what Fr. Gleize has said in the excerpt above that he holds a similar view. I didn't know that when I formed my view. I knew that various SSPX figures had questioned the legal status of the New Mass, and I had read Fr. Cekada's article purporting to refute that position. My friend Jim Larrabee, one of the most erudite and solid sedevacantists in the world, commented to me that Fr. Cekada had proved nothing, so I read the original texts myself to form my own judgement. I think Jim is exactly right, and therefore the SSPX view is correct. It doesn't mean Paul VI was pope, of course. It merely means that we cannot use a particular technical argument based upon statute law to make our case. Such is the confusion amongst sedevacantists regarding these things that my own position looks disloyal to sedevacantism, when it is purely a question of legal fact. It's either accurate law or it's not. But of course, there's no real debate by the other side on this, or for that matter on anything else important.


This reminds me of an article I wrote, refuting Fr. Cekada's article, “Absolutely Null and Utterly Void: The 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration." I never sent this anywhere, and only a friend of mine has read it (the same friend who showed me Fr. Cekada's article in the first place). I wrote it for him, really. But the point is that, as Mr. Larrabee has stated, on this issue anyway, Fr. Cekada has proven nothing. At least that is how I see it. Nevertheless, he may still be correct, lack of proofs notwithstanding. But whether he is or isn't sheds no light, either way, on the general position of the SSPX.


Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:45 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
This reminds me of an article I wrote, refuting Fr. Cekada's article, “Absolutely Null and Utterly Void: The 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration." I never sent this anywhere, and only a friend of mine has read it (the same friend who showed me Fr. Cekada's article in the first place). I wrote it for him, really. But the point is that, as Mr. Larrabee has stated, on this issue anyway, Fr. Cekada has proven nothing. At least that is how I see it. Nevertheless, he may still be correct, lack of proofs notwithstanding. But whether he is or isn't sheds no light, either way, on the general position of the SSPX.


I, for one, would love to see your refutation (in a separate topic, if you please, or pm'd to me if you prefer not to post publicly and I will not republish it). The article in The Angelus that purported to refute Father Cekada's article was so technical and over my head I couldn't understand it. I came away from the debate thinking that, if the facts presented by Father Cekada are indeed facts (i.e., true) then his arguments are very compelling. Whereas the facts presented by The Angelus, which did not deny the facts presented by Father Cekada, were not so compelling.

At least, this is my recollection of what I thought years after reading the articles.


Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:04 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Who did, please?


The term in English was coined before the 13th Century and first employed, with the metaphorical sense that we are using it here, in the 16th Century.


Mike, please, in relation to the magisterium, or the authority of the pope in general?

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
It was purely about hammering some errors which I perceive to be dangerous if they get a hold.


And here might be some of the "problem" between us, if you can call it that. You might be assuming some things about either my position or my motive(s) that are not true or are at the very least more than I have actually said in this thread.


I don't think so. The only "personal" aspect of this was introduced by you when you commented that you thought I was "trying too hard to separate Bishop Williamson" from SSPX writers, or words to that effect. Other than that, which I took to imply a comment on my motives, I have tried to keep my eye on the theology and reasoning of Bishop Williamson and the related doctrinal and rhetorical commentary on "sifting" and the so-called R&R position.

Mike Larson wrote:
John, I could do this. Honestly, I could, and I don't think it would be difficult. But I hesitate for two reasons: 1) Is it within the scope of this thread? and 2) I fear I have not made myself a pleasant guest to this point. Would a(n attempted) refutation of your article do anything to repair that impression?


Yes, it's in the scope of the thread. I really don't mind disagreement, the only things I insist upon are clarity and honesty (and of course, Christian doctrine!).

Mike Larson wrote:
No, in this case, I do not feel offended for Bishop Williamson. I simply think your arguments are weak. I imagine you've written better ones against him at other times. In any case, I am sincerely glad that you are adamant about your claims. It shows me that you really believe them and that you are not simply +W bashing, as so many others are wont to do.


No, I've known him for well over twenty years, I take no pleasure in criticising him. I could call him tonight and we would speak robustly but pleasantly, I'm sure, but he's taken a turn down a path that I really hate. I've actually not written anything else of any length against him, so if these arguments are weak then there's nothing stronger. But I'll wait to see what you have to say about these arguments.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I can't understand why you can't see the difference between a theologian writing traditional theology, and a populist misrepresenting what the theologians say, but I recognise it. It's blatant.


The answer here may be concealed in the question. Perhaps you are not allowing for the different intended audiences. I suspect that if Fr. Gleize were to write for the masses (not that he would be capable) [Amen. A difficult man to read, to say the least.] and Bishop Williamson were to write for the theologians (again, not that he would be capable), their way of expressing the same truths would be altered, but only slightly (Truth is not particularly flexible.). Nor do I see a significant difference between Fr. Gleize or Bp. Williamson on this matter, even in their present language. Having said that, I acknowledge that you may be far more astute at recognizing theological nuance than I. It (theology) is not, I admit, my field of expertise, though rhetorical communication is.


Well, you'll be having a field day with me. :)

Let's see how you parse their assertions in order to find some real common ground. I don't think it's possible.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Mike, if the SSPX position is understood properly, there's no logical dilemma, therefore there's no cognitive dissonance.


Of course there is. In the present crisis, there are difficulties--both internal and external--with every serious response, as I have noted elsewhere. Even the very best response--whatever that may be--does not enjoy objective serenity (not to be confused with subjective serenity, of which there are examples among every creed).


I can't accept this. The question is subjective serenity ("cognitive dissonance"), not objective serenity (which is not a cogent notion anyway, but I presume you mean it rhetorically). I acknowledge the difficulties of sedevacantism (probably more than any sede writer) yet I simply don't find any cause for worry in my position at all. (I think that sedeplenism is intellectually bankrupt. It has no arguments of any weight in its favour.) Nor do I see any of this lack of serenity in Fr. Johnson, Fr. Fullerton, Fr. Gleize, or so many others I know amongst the SSPX clergy. I am not suggesting there are no exceptions. A striking exception was Fr. Ortiz, whom I got to know pretty well, and he was genuinely bothered by sedevacantism, I think seriously attracted to it and fighting hard against. I challenged him to prove his assertion, made out of the blue during a retreat, that sedevacantism is unlawful, and ended up writing my answer to Fr. Boulet as a letter to him. He told somebody later that I was "trying to convert him to sedevacantism," which was not the point at all, revealing the personal aspect of it for him, I think. Fr. Schmidberger's another, a man of profound intellectual lock-up, unable to enter the mystery of the crisis at all, trapped in an everlasting know-nothing position, in my judgement. But the vast bulk of them just get on with what they're doing, secure in the conviction that if Archbishop Lefebvre couldn't settle the question they don't have any hope of doing so.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
One doesn't have to agree with it to see that, but one does have to understand it. I'll say again what I've said many times - the "R&R" presentation of Fr. Cekada and Co. of the SSPX position is a caricature, and one which they refuse to prove or enter into debate over. So their whole attack on it is an assault on a straw man. They keep saying that the SSPX does the things it does because it's aiming at reintegration with the New Church, but that's nothing more than a rash, and false, judgement of motives.


As far as I am aware, this is what Bishop Williamson, not Fr. Cekada, does. +Williamson is always reiterating the leadership's drive toward reintegration. Last I heard from Fr. Cekada (I do not consult his writing often), he was predicting in early 2012 that the Society would NOT reintegrate with Rome, despite the appearances of that time (when lots of others were predicting that a unification was imminent). The reason he gave, if I remember right, was that the Society NEEDS tension with Rome in order to maintain its status quo, which he apparently presumes is quite agreeable to the Society's leadership.


Well, try this from Fr. Cekada on May 29 this year, on Suscipe Domino:

Fr. Cekada wrote:
2. The story shows that Bp. Fellay is still absolutely desperate to do a deal for SSPX, and that he is willing to grovel publicly for it.

A few months ago, Fellay got on his knees before the modernist Bergoglio for the St. Marta buffet blessing. Now he drools over the bone he's been thrown: Yes, our beloved Holy Father will take a personal interest in our case, and yes, he loved the biography of our sainted founder.

The message people are intended to take away? No, Francis, can't be all bad, so prepare for further changes in the SSPX party line that will condition you to the idea of getting integrated into the Conciliar Church.

So, the slow boiling of the frogs will continue, and few will have the sense to jump out of the pot.


The emphasis is Fr. Cekada's. Of course, the "on his knees" "fact" is untrue. The rest of it is beneath contempt.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Read that excerpt from Fr. Gleize carefully through and ponder the principle he is expressing, that a doubtful law does not bind. It's entirely right, entirely traditional, and absolutely to the point. Without recognising that nobody can get to first base in understanding the Archbishop or the SSPX in general.


I like very much the segment you quote from Fr. Gleize.


Yes, it's a cracker. Clear, traditional, and right. I wish he'd been around back in the 'eighties, analysing the situation and advising the Archbishop, instead of Fr. Schmidberger and some of the others who were there.

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:40 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
I, for one, would love to see your refutation (in a separate topic, if you please, or pm'd to me if you prefer not to post publicly and I will not republish it).


Me too. :)

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:41 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
TKGS wrote:
I, for one, would love to see your refutation (in a separate topic, if you please, or pm'd to me if you prefer not to post publicly and I will not republish it).


Me too. :)


Me three :)


Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:01 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Who did, please?


The term in English was coined before the 13th Century and first employed, with the metaphorical sense that we are using it here, in the 16th Century.


Mike, please, in relation to the magisterium, or the authority of the pope in general?


Okay, so you didn't actually mean coin. That's fine. I don't doubt at all that Bp. Sanborn was the first in modern times to use the term's metaphorical capacity with regard to the magisterium. I wouldn't know. Interesting to note, though, is that Christ used (apparently) the Aramaic equivalent when he was talking to Peter about Satan's desire to sift him (Peter). This is not quite apples to apples, as it is a person, rather than a teaching, that is to be sifted, but it does indeed carry the pejorative connotation that you have been insisting upon.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John, I could do this. Honestly, I could, and I don't think it would be difficult. But I hesitate for two reasons: 1) Is it within the scope of this thread? and 2) I fear I have not made myself a pleasant guest to this point. Would a(n attempted) refutation of your article do anything to repair that impression?


Yes, it's in the scope of the thread. I really don't mind disagreement, the only things I insist upon are clarity and honesty (and of course, Christian doctrine!).


All right. I will do this, hopefully soon (Today the weather was good--though humid--and I spent it trying to shore up some fencing I've put up recently.).

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I can't understand why you can't see the difference between a theologian writing traditional theology, and a populist misrepresenting what the theologians say, but I recognise it. It's blatant.


The answer here may be concealed in the question. Perhaps you are not allowing for the different intended audiences. I suspect that if Fr. Gleize were to write for the masses (not that he would be capable) [Amen. A difficult man to read, to say the least.] and Bishop Williamson were to write for the theologians (again, not that he would be capable), their way of expressing the same truths would be altered, but only slightly (Truth is not particularly flexible.). Nor do I see a significant difference between Fr. Gleize or Bp. Williamson on this matter, even in their present language. Having said that, I acknowledge that you may be far more astute at recognizing theological nuance than I. It (theology) is not, I admit, my field of expertise, though rhetorical communication is.


Well, you'll be having a field day with me. :)

Let's see how you parse their assertions in order to find some real common ground. I don't think it's possible.


Well, one thing at a time. I have to refute your 2002 letter-to-friends first!

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Mike, if the SSPX position is understood properly, there's no logical dilemma, therefore there's no cognitive dissonance.


Of course there is. In the present crisis, there are difficulties--both internal and external--with every serious response, as I have noted elsewhere. Even the very best response--whatever that may be--does not enjoy objective serenity (not to be confused with subjective serenity, of which there are examples among every creed).


I can't accept this. The question is subjective serenity ("cognitive dissonance"), not objective serenity (which is not a cogent notion anyway, but I presume you mean it rhetorically).


No, I mean it literally, like this: objective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual because his circumstances objectively induce serenity. In other words, they (those circumstances) are calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant by nature. Subjective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual who disregards exterior circumstances and claims interior serenity by means of the will to choose that response. I acknowledge that many traditional Catholics (as well as plenty of adherents of every other religion) have this subjective serenity, and I don't even say that it is wrong (in the case of Catholics). It could be a grace. But it is not due to the objective circumstances. I also acknowledge that you yourself may have objective serenity in the sense that you really do believe the external circumstances to be calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant--so long as they are properly understood. I myself do not see the circumstances to be so.

John Lane wrote:
I acknowledge the difficulties of sedevacantism (probably more than any sede writer) yet I simply don't find any cause for worry in my position at all. (I think that sedeplenism is intellectually bankrupt. It has no arguments of any weight in its favour.) Nor do I see any of this lack of serenity in Fr. Johnson, Fr. Fullerton, Fr. Gleize, or so many others I know amongst the SSPX clergy. I am not suggesting there are no exceptions. A striking exception was Fr. Ortiz, whom I got to know pretty well, and he was genuinely bothered by sedevacantism, I think seriously attracted to it and fighting hard against. I challenged him to prove his assertion, made out of the blue during a retreat, that sedevacantism is unlawful, and ended up writing my answer to Fr. Boulet as a letter to him. He told somebody later that I was "trying to convert him to sedevacantism," which was not the point at all, revealing the personal aspect of it for him, I think. Fr. Schmidberger's another, a man of profound intellectual lock-up, unable to enter the mystery of the crisis at all, trapped in an everlasting know-nothing position, in my judgement. But the vast bulk of them just get on with what they're doing, secure in the conviction that if Archbishop Lefebvre couldn't settle the question they don't have any hope of doing so.


Well, a couple of things here. Just as I think you're claiming too much distinction, on theological matters, between Bishop Williamson and the rest of the Society, so too I think you're claiming too much sedevacantism for the Society as a whole. It's true that certain their priests do hold that view, but they are the vast minority, from what I have observed, and the official stance of the leadership is not anywhere near a sedevacantist position. For the most part, they are sedeplenists. They are not necessarily happy with the position, given the post conciliar claimants to the Chair, but neither do they wish to be associated with "the sedevacantists."

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
One doesn't have to agree with it to see that, but one does have to understand it. I'll say again what I've said many times - the "R&R" presentation of Fr. Cekada and Co. of the SSPX position is a caricature, and one which they refuse to prove or enter into debate over. So their whole attack on it is an assault on a straw man. They keep saying that the SSPX does the things it does because it's aiming at reintegration with the New Church, but that's nothing more than a rash, and false, judgement of motives.


As far as I am aware, this is what Bishop Williamson, not Fr. Cekada, does. +Williamson is always reiterating the leadership's drive toward reintegration. Last I heard from Fr. Cekada (I do not consult his writing often), he was predicting in early 2012 that the Society would NOT reintegrate with Rome, despite the appearances of that time (when lots of others were predicting that a unification was imminent). The reason he gave, if I remember right, was that the Society NEEDS tension with Rome in order to maintain its status quo, which he apparently presumes is quite agreeable to the Society's leadership.


Well, try this from Fr. Cekada on May 29 this year, on Suscipe Domino:

Fr. Cekada wrote:
2. The story shows that Bp. Fellay is still absolutely desperate to do a deal for SSPX, and that he is willing to grovel publicly for it.

A few months ago, Fellay got on his knees before the modernist Bergoglio for the St. Marta buffet blessing. Now he drools over the bone he's been thrown: Yes, our beloved Holy Father will take a personal interest in our case, and yes, he loved the biography of our sainted founder.

The message people are intended to take away? No, Francis, can't be all bad, so prepare for further changes in the SSPX party line that will condition you to the idea of getting integrated into the Conciliar Church.

So, the slow boiling of the frogs will continue, and few will have the sense to jump out of the pot.


The emphasis is Fr. Cekada's. Of course, the "on his knees" "fact" is untrue. The rest of it is beneath contempt.


Well, I hate speaking for others, but I'm guessing Fr. Cekada would call this kind of behavior normal for the Society's leadership--even including the days when +ABL was still alive: you go on flirting with Rome; the encounters and the rumors rise and fall; but in the end, there is no unification because it's too hard to give up the melodrama of being the largest uncaught quarry of the traditional Catholic world. Reconciliation is to be teased but not finally taken. Again, I'm going on memory here, but this seems to me the spirit of Fr. Cekada's analysis when I heard it back in 2012 (in a streaming interview with Stephen Heiner).


Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:08 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
Okay, so you didn't actually mean coin. That's fine. I don't doubt at all that Bp. Sanborn was the first in modern times to use the term's metaphorical capacity with regard to the magisterium.


OK, we understand each other. I think Bishop Sanborn was the first, and he was misinterpreting Archbishop Lefebvre's very carefully scripted words. For example, "We recognize the authority of the Pope, but when he uses his authority to do the opposite of that for which it has been given, it is clear that we cannot follow him."

Archbishop Lefebvre does not mention the teaching office of the Church, the magisterium, whenever he says something like this (which is often). He is talking about the reforms of Vatican II, including the New Mass. All that he says is that we recognise the authority of Paul VI, but we cannot follow him in his reforms, which are against the true faith.

If he were talking about sifting the magisterium he would say something like, “We accept their teaching when they are right, but we reject their teaching when they are against Tradition.” But he doesn't say that. This is not an accident. He spoke about these things for over twenty years.

Pascal II signed a heretical agreement with the Holy Roman Emperor on investitures. Some saints criticised him for this and ultimately he withdrew his signature. Pascal II wasn’t teaching the Church, so the magisterium wasn’t involved. He was effectively legislating a reform – regarding the appointment of bishops to vacant sees. Any good Catholic could say, and some did, we recognise his authority but we cannot follow him when he contradicts true doctrine. So there's nothing remarkable about Archbishop Lefebvre's comment along the same lines, and it's utterly false to quote it as if it were a declaration that we must "sift" the magisterium.

When the Archbishop does mention the magisterium, he says that Paul VI and Co. refused to teach with authority at all. There's no need to sift anything which does not present itself as obligatory. The Archbishop could have been mistaken in the factual question (i.e. whether Paul VI really did teach with authority), but he was not mistaken in his doctrine, which is traditional and really quite indisputable.


Mike Larson wrote:
Interesting to note, though, is that Christ used (apparently) the Aramaic equivalent when he was talking to Peter about Satan's desire to sift him (Peter). This is not quite apples to apples, as it is a person, rather than a teaching, that is to be sifted, but it does indeed carry the pejorative connotation that you have been insisting upon.


I'm not sure it does, but I appreciate the friendly motive behind the comment. :)

Mike Larson wrote:
No, I mean it literally, like this: objective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual because his circumstances objectively induce serenity. In other words, they (those circumstances) are calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant by nature. Subjective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual who disregards exterior circumstances and claims interior serenity by means of the will to choose that response. I acknowledge that many traditional Catholics (as well as plenty of adherents of every other religion) have this subjective serenity, and I don't even say that it is wrong (in the case of Catholics). It could be a grace. But it is not due to the objective circumstances. I also acknowledge that you yourself may have objective serenity in the sense that you really do believe the external circumstances to be calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant--so long as they are properly understood. I myself do not see the circumstances to be so.


Consider the circumstances of Sir Thomas More in the Tower. External chaos, distress, confusion. But he has studied and prayed, and he is secure in the doctrine of the Church and in the knowledge that he has done his best to get his mind into conformity with it. He has subjective serenity and I would argue that in the sense that matters, objective serenity is the cause - that is, the external facts are not necessarily in themselves the cause of any internal distress. Rather, when understood correctly they produce the most wonderful of internal states of peace and security, for they guarantee that he is to receive the greatest of graces, that of martyrdom. His wife, on the other hand, who was not as clear-minded, is distressed.

And I think this is really the case in the present circumstances. We are witnesses of the crucifixion of the Mystical Body, and this is a great privilege.

“If it could be granted to us to have lived at the time when Jesus lived in the world, and to see Him for only one moment, we should have chosen that one, when He was on His way, crowned with thorns, and bent with weariness, to Calvary. And so we may thank God that He has placed the short moment of our mortal life at a time when His holy religion has fallen on evil days. We can gather up lovingly the fragments of His Cross and vow Him an eternal devotion. They have shattered it on our Churches; we will put it in our hearts, and there, we shall keep it in perpetual memory.” (Montalembert, quoted by Marie Cecilia Buehrle from a letter of Cardinal Merry Del Val, in her biography, Rafael Cardinal Merry Del Val, Sands & Co., London & Glasgow, 1957, p. 67.)


Mike Larson wrote:
Well, a couple of things here. Just as I think you're claiming too much distinction, on theological matters, between Bishop Williamson and the rest of the Society, so too I think you're claiming too much sedevacantism for the Society as a whole. It's true that certain their priests do hold that view, but they are the vast minority, from what I have observed, and the official stance of the leadership is not anywhere near a sedevacantist position. For the most part, they are sedeplenists. They are not necessarily happy with the position, given the post conciliar claimants to the Chair, but neither do they wish to be associated with "the sedevacantists."


I agree with all of this, except that I wasn't claiming that the priests I mentioned are sedevacantists or lean our way, I was merely commenting on their serenity in their position and pointing out why.

Mike Larson wrote:
Well, I hate speaking for others, but I'm guessing Fr. Cekada would call this kind of behavior normal for the Society's leadership--even including the days when +ABL was still alive: you go on flirting with Rome; the encounters and the rumors rise and fall; but in the end, there is no unification because it's too hard to give up the melodrama of being the largest uncaught quarry of the traditional Catholic world. Reconciliation is to be teased but not finally taken. Again, I'm going on memory here, but this seems to me the spirit of Fr. Cekada's analysis when I heard it back in 2012 (in a streaming interview with Stephen Heiner).


Yes, that's right. But as often, he wants to have it both ways. What you describe is pretty revolting, don't you agree? He is psychologically evaluating these men and attributing a bad motive as the cause of their behaviour. And this when a perfectly straightforward and openly expressed motive is available.

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Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:11 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
No, I mean it literally, like this: objective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual because his circumstances objectively induce serenity. In other words, they (those circumstances) are calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant by nature. Subjective serenity is that serenity experienced by the individual who disregards exterior circumstances and claims interior serenity by means of the will to choose that response. I acknowledge that many traditional Catholics (as well as plenty of adherents of every other religion) have this subjective serenity, and I don't even say that it is wrong (in the case of Catholics). It could be a grace. But it is not due to the objective circumstances. I also acknowledge that you yourself may have objective serenity in the sense that you really do believe the external circumstances to be calm and peaceful, clear and pleasant--so long as they are properly understood. I myself do not see the circumstances to be so.


Consider the circumstances of Sir Thomas More in the Tower. External chaos, distress, confusion. But he has studied and prayed, and he is secure in the doctrine of the Church and in the knowledge that he has done his best to get his mind into conformity with it. He has subjective serenity and I would argue that in the sense that matters, objective serenity is the cause - that is, the external facts are not necessarily in themselves the cause of any internal distress. Rather, when understood correctly they produce the most wonderful of internal states of peace and security, for they guarantee that he is to receive the greatest of graces, that of martyrdom. His wife, on the other hand, who was not as clear-minded, is distressed.

And I think this is really the case in the present circumstances. We are witnesses of the crucifixion of the Mystical Body, and this is a great privilege.

“If it could be granted to us to have lived at the time when Jesus lived in the world, and to see Him for only one moment, we should have chosen that one, when He was on His way, crowned with thorns, and bent with weariness, to Calvary. And so we may thank God that He has placed the short moment of our mortal life at a time when His holy religion has fallen on evil days. We can gather up lovingly the fragments of His Cross and vow Him an eternal devotion. They have shattered it on our Churches; we will put it in our hearts, and there, we shall keep it in perpetual memory.” (Montalembert, quoted by Marie Cecilia Buehrle from a letter of Cardinal Merry Del Val, in her biography, Rafael Cardinal Merry Del Val, Sands & Co., London & Glasgow, 1957, p. 67.)


Lovely. And wouldn't the Cardinal's letter have been from the early 1900s? Such prophetic awareness.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Well, a couple of things here. Just as I think you're claiming too much distinction, on theological matters, between Bishop Williamson and the rest of the Society, so too I think you're claiming too much sedevacantism for the Society as a whole. It's true that certain their priests do hold that view, but they are the vast minority, from what I have observed, and the official stance of the leadership is not anywhere near a sedevacantist position. For the most part, they are sedeplenists. They are not necessarily happy with the position, given the post conciliar claimants to the Chair, but neither do they wish to be associated with "the sedevacantists."


I agree with all of this, except that I wasn't claiming that the priests I mentioned are sedevacantists or lean our way, I was merely commenting on their serenity in their position and pointing out why.


Yes, and I would add that, for a heroic Catholic, the subjective serenity might actually be an objective one. It is because he never forgets that the objective reality of God's providence trumps, in a sense, the objectively disquieting temporal circumstances of the particular moment.


Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:12 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John, I've written some comments below, but I no longer wish to call this a refutation. The more we converse, the better I am able to understand your point of view. I think I can summarize my thoughts at this point as follows. Insofar as you expose, via the writings of Bishop Williamson, the difficulty of the sedeplenist position, I agree with you. Insofar as you isolate his views from other sedeplenists or reserve for his attempts at defending the position an exaggerated degree of error, I disagree (or object, as the case may be). ML

John Lane wrote:
Circular email from December 17, 2002.

______________________________________________________

Dear Friends,

The article attached below is truly incredible, in the fullest sense of that word.

Faced with the obvious fact that JPII's "canonisations" are rubbish, Bishop Williamson has a choice to make. Either he accepts the theological certainty that canonisations are infallible acts, in accordance with the teaching of the sound theologians of before V2, and thus rejects the impious claim of JPII to the See of St. Peter, or he accepts JPII's ridiculous claim and undermines the truth that canonisations are infallible.


I agree that this dilemma is true and therefore represents reality. The same dilemma exists today, of course, for the sedeplenist traditionalist (including Bishop Williamson's former confrères in the SSPX).

John Lane wrote:
Tragically, he chooses the latter course, thus participating in the very same process of destruction carried on by JPII and the whole V2 sect. This conclusion is inescapable.


Again, I agree and would just reiterate that the same inescapable conclusion applies to all who try to maintain both of A) that Francis is Pope and B) that his recent acts of canonization are not infallible.

John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson writes, "Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons."

That is quite false. The theologians were divided, prior to Vatican II, into two camps. The liberals, who were a tiny minority and who denied or cast doubt on the infallibility of canonisations, and the orthodox theologians who affirmed Holy Church's infallibility in the matter.


But it is easy to see that this latter group is the one Bishop Williamson was referring to in his statement. He's not very well going to include liberal theologians in his identification of what is Catholic.

John Lane wrote:
It is completely incorrect to state that "Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations of Saints were virtually infallible." This is like characterising the abortion debate as "a general agreement by mankind that life virtually begins at conception," on the basis that some deny it, and some affirm it.


This analogy fails. There is not unity of thought among "mankind" on the issue of abortion, but there is unity of thought among Catholic theologians on the infallibility of canonizations. That is why there is theological certainty on the matter.

John Lane wrote:
The statement is ridiculous and false, and very, very, misleading.


For the reasons I have noted, I do not think this assertion is even true, much less that it can bear such intensifications as "ridiculous" and "very, very."

John Lane wrote:
Canon G.D. Smith, in his tome, "The Teaching of the Catholic Church" (1952), stated baldly that "the Church exercises her infallibility in the solemn canonisation of saints. For it is unthinkable that the lives of those whom the Church upholds as models of heroic sanctity should be other than she declares them to be." (p. 713, Emphasis added.) I can't see any way to reconcile that with Bishop Williamson's claim of agreement that canonisations are virtually infallible.


The denotative definition of "virtually" does lend the wrong meaning here, I agree, but the colloquial use of the word is often synonymous with "absolutely" or "completely, as far as I can see," or something similar. It is a bit sloppy, perhaps, but given the fact that he is trying to contrast present liberal notions with prior orthodox ones, this colloquial use of "virtually" seems more likely to me. Indeed I did not even question it as anything other, until I read your fierce criticism of it.

John Lane wrote:
Van Noort, another pre-V2 theologian, tells us that Canon Smith's doctrine is the common opinion. Once again, there isn't any way that Bishop Williamson's claim can be made to reflect that assertion. He is wrong.


But I think Van Noort and Canon Smith and John Lane and Bishop Williamson are all in agreement here. I really do. They all assert that pre-V2 theologians regarded canonizations as infallible.

John Lane wrote:
But it gets worse. Bishop Williamson proceeds to explain that there were two reasons that the pre-V2 theologians held their position. "Firstly, the proposing of model Catholics to be venerated and imitated as Saints is so central to Catholics' practice of their faith, that Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter." That word "hardly" is false,


But Bishop Williamson's use of "hardly" here is a very familiar way of saying "certainly not" (e.g. Listen to the silly American talking about cricket. He's hardly an expert on the topic.).

John Lane wrote:
mischievous, and calculated to undermine the truth.


Mind reading.

John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson then provides the alleged second reason supporting the traditional doctrine. "This being so, secondly, the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium." The same technique is here employed, this time in the words, "as close as could be." Let's take a look at Van Noort's presentation of these two reasons, and see whether or not there can be any excuse for Bishop Williamson's assertions.

Van Noort, in his theology manual, "Christ's Church" (English edition 1957, p. 118) begins, "Proof:

"1. From the solid conviction of the Church. When the popes canonize, they use terminology which makes it quite evident that they consider decrees of canonization infallible. Here is, in sum, the formula they use: 'By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the apostles Peter and Paul and by our own authority, we declare that N. has been admitted to heaven, and we decree and define that he is to be venerated in public and in private as a saint.'

"2. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible so that it may be a trustworthy teacher of the Christian religion and of the Christian way of life. But it would not be such if it could err in the canonization of saints. Would not religion be sullied if a person in hell were, by a definitive decree, offered to everyone as an object of religious veneration? Would not the moral law be at least weakened to some extent, if a protege of the devil could be irrevocably set up as a model of virtue for all to imitate and for all to invoke? But it cannot be inferred: therefore the Church must also be infallible in authenticating the relics of the saints; for (a) the Church never issues so solemn a decree about relics; and (b) the cases are not parallel, for in the case of relics, it is a question of relative cult, while in that of the saints it is one of absolute cult."

Neither of these reasons is presented as leading to a conclusion such as could honestly be described by relative terms such as "hardly" or "as close as could be."


I agree about "as close as could be." It is confusing. I can only think that he is protecting against absolute language here because the Church has not declared dogmatically on the issue (though it is a theologically certain opinion).

John Lane wrote:
Just to ensure that there is no doubt at all that the "common opinion" of theologians prior to V2 was as Van Noort says, let's add another source, Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 299) "To the secondary object of infallibility belong: a) Theological conclusions derived from a formally revealed truth by aid of a natural truth of reason. b) Historical facts on the determination of which the certainty of a truth of Revelation depends (facta dogmatica). c) Natural truths of reason which are intimately connected with truths of Revelation. For further details see Introduction, Par. 6. d) The canonisation of saints, that is, the final judgment that a member of the Church has been assumed into eternal bliss and may be the object of general veneration. The veneration shown to the saints is, as St. Thomas teaches, 'to a certain extent a confession of the faith, in which we believe in the glory of the saints' (Quodl. 9, 16). If the Church could err in her opinion, consequences would arise which would be incompatible with the sanctity of the Church."

Once again, absolute statements, not relative ones.


Well, yes, but again, I do not see disagreement here. Different style of expression (for different audiences), but the same general message: the common opinion among Catholic theologians is that canonizations are infallible.

John Lane wrote:
Equally false is Bishop Williamson's doctrine regarding tradition and the infallibility of the ordinary universal magisterium. He explains it as follows, "ln fact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary magisterium. ln other words if one wants to know what cannot be false in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching is infallible, and if it does not, it is not infallible."

The magisterium is the teaching office of the Church. Infallible means incapable of failing. Not, did not fail, but incapable of doing so. Consequently, Bishop Williamson's explanation makes no sense. Let's remove the technical terms from his paragraph and see how it reads. I'll put the replacement words in italics.

"ln fact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary teaching office. ln other words if one wants to know what cannot be false in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching cannot fail, and if it does not, it is able to fail."

It is immediately obvious that this is nonsensical. An office can be fallible or not fallible. A teaching is either true or false. But a teaching cannot be said to be incapable of failing or capable of failing. A teaching does not act. A teacher does. And it is the Church as teacher which exercises the teaching office which we call the magisterium.

Moreover, Bishop Williamson's doctrine makes the infallibility of the Church depend upon her teaching, not vice versa as is the correct doctrine. In other words, in Bishop Williamson's doctrine we can know when a teacher is infallible by whether he agrees with what the Church has taught before. But this is to remove any value at all from the doctrine of infallibility, because if we know what the Church has taught before, we do not need to know whether our teacher can fail - we already know what is true and what is false. Indeed, in this Alice-in-Wonderland theology we do not need a teacher at all. We have already been taught. That is, as far as I can tell, axiomatic.


Yes, and this whole bit is exactly what I was objecting to, with regard to Bishop Williamson's reasoning, very early on in this thread. I think you have explained the circularity of it better than I did.

But upon further consideration, I would add this thought: As we know, it is possible for individual bishops to err (but not for the magisterium to do so). Perhaps all Bishop Williamson is trying to do here is give the faithful a way to distinguish erring individual bishops from the true ordinary magisterium. And this is part of the problem for sedeplenists in general. Acknowledging the Novus Ordo hierarchy as the true one implies some sort of Ordinary Magisterium going on throughout the world. Yet the traditionalist sedeplenist can see that many bishops teach error in their own dioceses. So how does one distinguish the erring individuals from the Ordinary Magisterium? Bishop Williamson's solution is to test their teaching against traditional teaching. Where there is variance, there is not the Ordinary Magisterium but the individual bishop(s) erring. But this brings us back to sifting--not of the magisterium per se but of the teaching and disciplines emanating from those who compose the magisterium, assuming, as the sedeplenist does, that they are true authorities.

John Lane wrote:
The truth is quite different from this mish-mash of mistaken terms and senseless sentences. The truth is simply that the ordinary, universal, magisterium is infallible, which means that the Church cannot teach universally, in time or space, what is not true. Thus the bishops cannot all teach false doctrine at the same time, nor could a series of popes teach false doctrine over a lengthy period. Nor could the Church establish laws which tend to harm souls. Thus Fr. Sixtus Cartechini, a consultor to the Roman Congregations under Pope Pius XII, in his De Valore Notarum Theologicarum (Gregorian University, Rome, 1951), states that “…, neither general councils nor the pope can establish laws that include sin…and nothing could be included in the Code of Canon Law that is in any way opposed to the rules of faith or to evangelical holiness."

And nor, let it be said without any qualification, could the Church propose "as models of heroic sanctity," to be honoured and imitated by the Universal Church, Modernists such as Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer.


No disagreement here with these last two paragraphs.

In the end, I think the frustration expressed in this letter about Bishop Williamson boils down to the fact that he is a sedeplenist, not that he is doing something other sedeplenists do not also have to do, one way or another. Because he recognizes the Novus Ordo hierarchy as the true authorities, he must somehow reconcile what appears to be unreconcilable: fallibility where there cannot be fallibility; defectibility where there cannot be defectibility. Bishop Williamson is one of the more inventive sedeplenists, I'll grant you that, but he is clearly trying to hold on to true Catholic doctrine with regard to the Church's own teaching about herself. This while trying to maintain that the defective and fallible teachings and practices coming from the Novus Ordo church are enacted by the true authorities. If that does not create cognitive dissonance, I do not know what would.

John Lane wrote:
Yours in Christ our King,
John Lane.

________________________________________
Bishop Williamson's letter - December 2002


NEWCHURCH "CANONIZATIONS"

December 6, 2002

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The October 6 "canonization" of Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the "Opus Dei", like the September "beatification" of Pope John XXIII, launcher of Vatican II, re-opens an old and hurtful wound - how can the Catholic Church do such things? And if it is not the Catholic Church that is doing them, what is it?

For indeed it is clear beyond any doubt that the CatbolicChurch prior to Vatican II when she was still essentially faithful to Catholic Tradition, would never have beatified the Pope who initiated the Council which devastated that Tradition, nor canonized the founder of "Opus Dei", an organization preparing the way for that Council.

There is an abundance of quotes, proudly published by "Opus Dei" itself, to prove that Msgr. Escriva shared and promoted key ideas of Vatican II. Here are two: Msgr. Escriva himself said, "Ours is the first organization which, with the authorization of the Holy See, admits non-Catholics, Christian or non-Christian. I have always defended liberty of conscience" ("Conversaciones con Mons. Escriva", ed. Rialp, p.296). And his successor at the head of "Opus Dei" said about Msgr. Escriva's book "Camino", "It prepared millions of people to get in tu ne with, and to accept in depth, some of the most revolutionary teachings which 30 years later would be solemnly promulgated by the Church at Vatican II'' ("Estudios sobre 'Camino"', Msgr. Alvaro dei Portillo, ed. Rialp, p.58).

Therefore, for Pope John XXIII to have been truly a Blessed, and for Msgr. Escriva to have been truly a Saint, the Second Vatican Council would have to have been a true Council, or a Council true to Catholic Tradition. Which is ridiculous, as at least regular readers of this Letter know. Yet are not Catholic canonizations meant to be infallible?

Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons. Firstly, the proposing of model Catholics to be venerated and imitated as Saints is so central to Catholics' practice of their faith, that Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter. This being so, secondly, the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium.

But since Vatican II, firstly the models chosen for imitation are liable, like John XXIII and Msgr. Escriva, to be chosen for their alignment on Vatican II, i.e. on the destruction of Catholic Tradition, and secondly, the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, thaf the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about "living tradition", as though Truth can change?

So this or that Saint "canonized" by John Paul II may in fact be in Heaven, even Msgr. Escriva, God knows, but it is certainly not his "canonization" by this Pope which can make us sure of the fact. Nor need we then feel obliged to venerate any of the post-Vatican II "Saints".

Which leaves us with the problem we began with: the Catholic Church has the divine promise of indefecti- bility, i.e. it cannat fail ("Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" - Mt. XXVII, 20). Then how can canonizations, which are meant through infallibility to partake in that indefectibility, fail, by partaking instead in Vatican II? Are we not obliged to admit either that Vatican II was not so bad after all (as the priests of Campos are now doing), or else that the sedevacantists are right after all in saying that John Paul II is not really pope? Sedevacantism would explain any amount of fallibility on his part!

The Society of St. Pius X, following Archbishop Lefebvre (1905-1991), adopts neither the Conciliar nor the sedevacanti5t solution. It believes that the Second Vatican Council was amongst the greatest disasters in the history of the Catholic Church, yet it considers that the popes who promoted that Council and its ideas (John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) were or are true popes. How can that be? How can true popes so act as to destroy the true Church?
Firstly, God creates all of us human beings free, with free will, because He does not want robots in His Heaven. That applies also to the churchmen, to whom He chooses to entrust His Catholic Church. These have there- fore an astonishing degree of freedom to build up or to destroy the Church. For instance, when Our Lord asks if he will find the Faith when he cornes back on earth (Lk XVIII, 8), we know for certain that by men's (not only church- men's) fault, the Catholic Church will be very small at the Second Coming.

However Our Lord also promised that the gales of Hell would never prevail against his Church (Mt. XVI, 18), and so we also know for certain that God will never allow the wickedness of men to go so far as to destroy His Church completely. ln this certainty that the Church will never completely fail lies her indefectibility, and sinGe the first function of the Church is to teach Our Lord's doctrine of salvation, then upon indefectibility in existing follows infallibility in teaching. For souls of good will, the Catholic Church and her Truth will always be there.

So the Catholic Church to the end of lime will never cease, on however small a scale, to make heard amongst men the doctrine of salvation, the Deposit of the Faith. From eternity this doctrine proceeds tram God the Father to God the Son, it was faithfully entrusted by the Incarnate God to His Apostles, and it has been handed down as unchanging Tradition through the successors of the Apostles ever since. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away", says Our Lord (Lk. XXI, 33). ln tact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary magisterium. ln other words if one wants to know what cannat be taise in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching is infallible, and if it does not, it is not infallible. Moreover, the Church's infallible extraordinary magisterium is the servant of this ordinary magisterium, insofar as it provides a divinely protected guarantee that such and such a doctrine belongs within the Church's true doctrine, i.e. within ordinary Tradition.

Therefore Tradition, or conformity with what the Church has always taught, is the ultimate yardstick or measure of the Church's infallible teaching, ordinary or extraordinary. Therefore anything outside Tradition is fallible, and anything contradicting Tradition is certainly taise, for instance the new Vatican II teaching on religious liberty and ecumenism. But John XXIII was beatified, and Msgr. Escriva was "canonized", for their sympathy with these Conciliar novelties. Therefore such "canonizations" are certainly to some extent contrary to Catholic Tradition, and to that extent they are automatically not infallible, without my having to examine any further. "If an angel tram Heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Gal l, 8).

So if one asks how it cao be God's own churchmen who do so much damage to His Church, the answer is that He gives them great freedom, short of letting them completely destroy His Church, and because out of any evil they do he will bring some greater good. For instance, out of dubious canonizations he cao bring to "Traditional Catholics" a still better grasp of the primacy of Tradition.

And to the question how canonizations, meant to be infallible, cao instead be Conciliar, the answer is that if God allows a pope to believe in Vatican II, He may surely also allow him to take action and to "canonize" in accor- dance with Vatican II, and to loosen the strict old rules oftrue canonization which virtually guaranteed the candidate's conformity with Tradition. If Catholics are misled who blindly follow Church authority when it goes astray, that is their own problem, but Catholics who follow Tradition will, on Si. Paul's command, with prudence, "anathematize" any clear departure tram it.

So we may absolutely refuse Vatican II and all its pomps and all its works and yet not have to become sedevacantists, so long as we understand that Church indefectibility does not mean that parts of the Church will never be destroyed, only that the Church will never be completely destroyed. Similarly Church infallibility does not mean that the Church's teachers will teach untruth by, for instance, dubious "canonizations", only that, amongst other truths, the truth of Christian sanctity will never be totally falsified or silenced.

ln conclusion, these more or less Conciliar "canonizations" are correspondingly fallible, and are automatically not infallible. Obviously, Padre Pio was an entirely Traditional Saint, and we need not doubt the worthiness of his canonization. However, it might be advisable not to profit by his Newchurch "canonization" to venerate him officially or in public, insofar as that might be liable to give to other Newchurch "canonizations" a credit which is not due to them.

Dear readers, I must warmly thank all of you whose spiritual and mate rial support has carried the seminary through a remarkably happy calendar year. All September's entrants are still with us, in tact two more have corne! Very many thanks.
Let the men sign up for the five-day retreat here tram December 26 to 31. And let me wish all of you a happy Christmas free of sentimentalism, but forgive me if I again invite you to send me no cards, because I am abroad until early January. Get sentimental about my poor desk!

With all good wishes and blessings, in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson


Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:10 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:

Yes, except that I would not call it, and neither would they, a magisterial document. It's a juridical document. More properly, the Code should be thought of as a collection of individual laws, each promulgated by the Roman Pontiff, using his power of jurisdiction. The magisterium is the teaching office, and theologians debate whether it is best classified as part of the power of jurisdiction or not, but all agree that it is distinct from the ruling power. Christ possessed three offices, each of which He bestowed upon the Church to continue exercising in His name - the sanctifying, teaching and ruling offices (He is priest, prophet, and king).

So, yes, it is clear that the SSPX accepts many laws of the New Code of 1983 as valid and binding by virtue of the authority of the Roman Pontiff (i.e. JP2). It is equally clear that they hold that some of the laws of the Code cannot be accepted, since they offend against the divine law as proposed by the Catholic Church. If somebody calls this "sifting" I won't object because it's an apt label.

On the other hand, regarding the Conciliar magisterium the position taken by Archbishop Lefebvre from some time in the early 'seventies was to ignore Vatican II as a valid General Council. He didn't "sift" it for good bits and reject others. I say, from the early 'seventies because he erected his seminary on the explicit basis of the norms laid down for seminaries by Vatican II. An example was the introduction of a preliminary year of spirituality for seminarians, before they began their academic programme. He regarded that as a good reform, obviously (and I agree wholeheartedly), but I don't think at that stage he was as clear in his mind about Vatican II as a whole and how to respond to it. The SSPX seems to me to continue his stand, essentially treating Vatican II and all of the encylicals and allocutions of the Conciliar popes as so much dross, to be ignored except insofar as it seems useful for the sake of the faithful to condemn the errors they contain.

On the missal, the Archbishop also developed his position, and in the end settled on the principle that the reforms of John XXIII were not contrary to faith or morals so they had to be accepted. I think that's as reasonable as any other position, given the utter confusion of the situation. He also went from accepting the New Mass with some passivity to deciding by the late 'seventies that the faithful must be warned to treat it as a non-Catholic rite, as false worship, to be avoided under pain of sin. The SSPX continues to maintain that view also.


John,

What do you make of the acceptance of Conciliar Church annulments by the Archbishop and in turn, the SSPX "hierarchy"?


Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:50 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Recusant wrote:
John,

What do you make of the acceptance of Conciliar Church annulments by the Archbishop and in turn, the SSPX "hierarchy"?


It's not the acceptance that generally causes the controversy, but rather the subjecting of those Roman decisions to the SSPX's own process in order to give a more secure judgement. Fr. Ricossa really hammered the SSPX over this a few years ago when it came to light.

Annulments are a juridical decision, a public judgement, about a question of fact. As I understand the matter, they really don't differ essentially from a private judgement except in one crucial point, which is the obligation that they impose upon all to recognise, at least externally, the rectitude of the judgement. They are made, in the final instance, by the Rota, which has jurisdiction or competence delegated from the Roman Pontiff. For this reason the Rota (like all the Roman congregations) is not infallible. So it is possible that in any given case a judgement might be mistaken. So much for those principles. The question is what to do in the practical order when the Rota is no longer judging according to traditional principles, and therefore giving many uncertain or plainly wrong judgements? Now, as I understand it (and I've not gotten full information on this), what the SSPX does in those cases in which it is asked to be involved in a remarriage or other problematical situation, is it subjects the dodgy Rota judgement to its own quasi-canonical process. In cases where according to traditional principles the result would clearly have been an annulment, they recognise the annulment. Where the case would have failed under the traditional process, or where it is unclear, they decline to get involved in any situation which depends for its rectitude on the Novus annulment.

This whole approach is open to criticism but I don't think it's manifestly indefensible. They make the best of a bad situation.

All traditional priests face these pastoral situations, and the CMRI for example handles them along similar lines to the SSPX, in that it runs its own process and acts in accordance with the result of that. A sede priest whom you and I know well is critical of all such approaches and says that since the See of Rome is vacant, annulments are not available and people need simply to accept that. He bases his view on the sanctity of marriage, which as you know enjoys the favour of law.

I don't know what the SSPV does, do you?

_________________
In Christ our King.


Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:52 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Recusant wrote:
John,

What do you make of the acceptance of Conciliar Church annulments by the Archbishop and in turn, the SSPX "hierarchy"?


It's not the acceptance that generally causes the controversy, but rather the subjecting of those Roman decisions to the SSPX's own process in order to give a more secure judgement. Fr. Ricossa really hammered the SSPX over this a few years ago when it came to light.

Annulments are a juridical decision, a public judgement, about a question of fact. As I understand the matter, they really don't differ essentially from a private judgement except in one crucial point, which is the obligation that they impose upon all to recognise, at least externally, the rectitude of the judgement. They are made, in the final instance, by the Rota, which has jurisdiction or competence delegated from the Roman Pontiff. For this reason the Rota (like all the Roman congregations) is not infallible. So it is possible that in any given case a judgement might be mistaken. So much for those principles. The question is what to do in the practical order when the Rota is no longer judging according to traditional principles, and therefore giving many uncertain or plainly wrong judgements? Now, as I understand it (and I've not gotten full information on this), what the SSPX does in those cases in which it is asked to be involved in a remarriage or other problematical situation, is it subjects the dodgy Rota judgement to its own quasi-canonical process. In cases where according to traditional principles the result would clearly have been an annulment, they recognise the annulment. Where the case would have failed under the traditional process, or where it is unclear, they decline to get involved in any situation which depends for its rectitude on the Novus annulment.

This whole approach is open to criticism but I don't think it's manifestly indefensible. They make the best of a bad situation.

All traditional priests face these pastoral situations, and the CMRI for example handles them along similar lines to the SSPX, in that it runs its own process and acts in accordance with the result of that. A sede priest whom you and I know well is critical of all such approaches and says that since the See of Rome is vacant, annulments are not available and people need simply to accept that. He bases his view on the sanctity of marriage, which as you know enjoys the favour of law.

I don't know what the SSPV does, do you?


Well I do know a couple in the US who attend SSPX masses, receive the sacraments, and are in good standing with the society. The woman was married before and had children. I did not investigate the case myself, but I am almost certain that she received an NO annulment.

As for the SSPV, it is my understanding that they reject all NO annulments and do investigate each case individually. I believe that when a case is presented to them where an individual finds himself or herself in a questionable state regarding the sacrament of matrimony, they try to find a parallel marriage case that was judged by the Rota to be null. If they do find an almost identical case, they will direct them accordingly.

To me, this is a jurisdictional matter and I would be very, very careful before I would direct anyone in matrimonial affairs.


Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:31 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Lance, the SSPV policy sounds like the CMRI policy, contrary to the approach of our mutual priest friend.

Of course there's also the difference between treating people who show up at your chapel at face value, perhaps leaving them in good faith, versus advising people who approach you on what their options are. I wouldn't criticize the clergy for any policy under the circumstances, but I particularly wouldn't be criticizing the policy of leaving people in good faith. It's a standard pastoral practice.

Anyway, I don't think one can univocally speak of "accepting Novus annulments," given these distinctions.

_________________
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Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:35 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Lance, the SSPV policy sounds like the CMRI policy, contrary to the approach of our mutual priest friend.


From what I have been told by members of each group, it seems to me that the SSPV's policy is stricter (or should I say less flexible?) than the CMRI's policy. I think you are aware that I agree with Father's expertise in these situations.

John Lane wrote:
Of course there's also the difference between treating people who show up at your chapel at face value, perhaps leaving them in good faith, versus advising people who approach you on what their options are. I wouldn't criticize the clergy for any policy under the circumstances, but I particularly wouldn't be criticizing the policy of leaving people in good faith. It's a standard pastoral practice.


I agree with you wholeheartedly with the practice of keeping them in good faith. As soon as the matter enters the public forum however, I believe that it would be incumbent on the priest to direct the individual accordingly. I am extremely happy that it is not I who has to direct any individual in these matters! :)


Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:38 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Recusant wrote:
From what I have been told by members of each group, it seems to me that the SSPV's policy is stricter (or should I say less flexible?) than the CMRI's policy.


Well, this may be true, although it must be taken with the pinch of salt that always accompanies opinions by laymen on what all experts agree is the most technical of all areas of canon law! :)


Recusant wrote:
I agree with you wholeheartedly with the practice of keeping them in good faith. As soon as the matter enters the public forum however, I believe that it would be incumbent on the priest to direct the individual accordingly. I am extremely happy that it is not I who has to direct any individual in these matters! :)


Yes. It's an absolute minefield, and to take the analogy further, one in which whatever you do you're bound to step on at least one mine. The priest just has to try and have only one limb blown off and consider himself blessed...

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Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:07 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Dear Mike,
Mike Larson wrote:
I agree that this dilemma is true and therefore represents reality. The same dilemma exists today, of course, for the sedeplenist traditionalist (including Bishop Williamson's former confrères in the SSPX).


Yes, of course, but if you look at Fr. Gleize’s effort on this subject, he explicitly defends the traditional theology whilst seeking to find an explanation for why the New Church canonisations do not meet the definition of traditional canonisations. The difference in principle between that and Bishop Williamson’s approach is stark.

Again, I agree that both face the same dilemma, and that both have, as far as we can tell, the same good motives. But the principles they apply are radically different. Fr. Gleize thinks like a Catholic, and Bishop Williamson doesn’t.

The same difference is visible in the approach that they take to the problem of the new magisterium. Fr. Gleize focuses, as Archbishop Lefebvre did, on the novelty of the “teaching act” by which the new doctrines are proposed, rather than on the novelty of the doctrines themselves, when discussing the obligatory nature of the new magisterium. Obviously when addressing the doctrines themselves, the focus is on their novelty and incompatibility with already decided doctrinal points, but that’s a distinct question. In this matter the question isn’t whether a doctrine is right or wrong, lawful or unlawful to hold, but rather how it has been proposed by what appears to be the Church.

Bishop Williamson’s fundamental problem is that he simply doesn’t read the Roman theologians and accept the theses presented. He doesn’t believe in the Roman theology of the Church, that is, the theses de ecclesia. I’m not calling him a heretic; he reminds me of John Henry Newman in many ways, clever, subtle, bright... and simply unschooled in Roman theology. So one cannot read Newman and hope to learn what the Church teaches, and one cannot read Bishop Williamson and find the teaching of the Church either. Both are men who can be admired and even enjoyed, but must not be taken seriously in theology.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Tragically, he chooses the latter course, thus participating in the very same process of destruction carried on by JPII and the whole V2 sect. This conclusion is inescapable.


Again, I agree and would just reiterate that the same inescapable conclusion applies to all who try to maintain both of A) that Francis is Pope and B) that his recent acts of canonization are not infallible.


For the reason already stated, I don’t accept that this is the case. There’s at least one third way, which is illustrated by Fr. Gleize.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson writes, "Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons."

That is quite false. The theologians were divided, prior to Vatican II, into two camps. The liberals, who were a tiny minority and who denied or cast doubt on the infallibility of canonisations, and the orthodox theologians who affirmed Holy Church's infallibility in the matter.


But it is easy to see that this latter group is the one Bishop Williamson was referring to in his statement. He's not very well going to include liberal theologians in his identification of what is Catholic.


If he is speaking only of the orthodox theologians, then his comment is, if anything worse. The old sound theologians did not say that canonisations are “virtually infallible” and there’s no way to twist their statements to support that characterisation, and Bishop Williamson doesn’t quote any. He can’t quote any. If he did, his statement would stand self-condemned.

Mike Larson wrote:
The denotative definition of "virtually" does lend the wrong meaning here, I agree, but the colloquial use of the word is often synonymous with "absolutely" or "completely, as far as I can see," or something similar. It is a bit sloppy, perhaps, but given the fact that he is trying to contrast present liberal notions with prior orthodox ones, this colloquial use of "virtually" seems more likely to me.


Mike, he says they are “virtually infallible,” then that “Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter,” and finally, “their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium." The trouble with these phrases is that they all fail to express the absolute that the theologians teach; on the contrary, they all introduce an element of relativity or insecurity to the doctrine. If Bishop Williamson had used only one of these phrases, I’d grant your view some real probability, but when he chooses three such expressions and no absolute ones at all in his entire newsletter, it is clear that he is playing down the doctrine.

Mike Larson wrote:
In the end, I think the frustration expressed in this letter about Bishop Williamson boils down to the fact that he is a sedeplenist, not that he is doing something other sedeplenists do not also have to do, one way or another. Because he recognizes the Novus Ordo hierarchy as the true authorities, he must somehow reconcile what appears to be unreconcilable: fallibility where there cannot be fallibility; defectibility where there cannot be defectibility. Bishop Williamson is one of the more inventive sedeplenists, I'll grant you that, but he is clearly trying to hold on to true Catholic doctrine with regard to the Church's own teaching about herself. This while trying to maintain that the defective and fallible teachings and practices coming from the Novus Ordo church are enacted by the true authorities. If that does not create cognitive dissonance, I do not know what would.


Well, there’s a mystery in the current state of the Church, and this mystery is present whether one takes the sedevacantist or sedeplenist standpoint. Franzelin says that during the vacancy of the Holy See the bishops remain infallible in proposing already clear doctrines – that is, dogmas, of the ordinary or extraordinary magisterium. Franzelin may be wrong – that’s one possibility – but I don’t think so. His view harmonises well with everything else we know about the Church. So, one must explain how the bishops of the entire world appeared pacifically to accept and essentially propose to the faithful the doctrine of religious liberty, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was not pope. My own view is that the key to this problem lies in a critical examination of the factual data, which reveals that the bishops after Vatican II did not propose any clear doctrines universally (or, at least, any of the new, false, doctrines). In other words, the chaos was so great that all that the faithful got, considered universally, was white noise. I don’t say this solves every problem, merely that it’s factually a better explanation and it escapes this problem of a Church teaching condemned error with moral universality. JS Daly is going to have something to say about this at some point. We have been discussing it and he has his own thoughts.

I can’t be sure, but I have a feeling that this cognitive dissonance problem is rooted in an “a priori” approach to things which results either in a kind of dogmatic sedeplenism or dogmatic sedevacantism. If we take the analogy of the Passion of Our Lord and imagine (as we all have, so many times) that we are present on the Via Dolorosa on that greatest of days, would we be permitting ourselves to run through the arguments for and against Our Lord’s divinity? Those who did this lost their faith in His divine Nature. Again, we can ponder St. Peter’s declaration when Our Lord prophesied His Passion, to the effect that such a thing could never be. And contrast that with the view of Caiphas, whose conviction was not only that it could be, but also that it would be and it would be successful (one man must die for the people). St. Peter could only see Our Lord’s divinity; Caiphas, His humanity.

This is not an argument for ceasing our efforts to penetrate the mystery of the current state of the Church, but it’s a reason to take a humble stand before the mystical crucifixion of the Church and ponder it in the spirit of devotion, fortified by the absolute assurance that whatever the explanation, not one bone of His is broken. That is, that all of the truths about the Church remain verified in this her passion and “death.” From this position, not only is there nothing wrong with our faith then seeking to understand, it is salutary. Well, it is for me. I love the Church much more, and with greater clarity and wonder, than I ever did before reading about her nature and pondering her current state in the light of those truths.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:14 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:

Well, there’s a mystery in the current state of the Church, and this mystery is present whether one takes the sedevacantist or sedeplenist standpoint. Franzelin says that during the vacancy of the Holy See the bishops remain infallible in proposing already clear doctrines – that is, dogmas, of the ordinary or extraordinary magisterium. Franzelin may be wrong – that’s one possibility – but I don’t think so. His view harmonises well with everything else we know about the Church. So, one must explain how the bishops of the entire world appeared pacifically to accept and essentially propose to the faithful the doctrine of religious liberty, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was not pope. My own view is that the key to this problem lies in a critical examination of the factual data, which reveals that the bishops after Vatican II did not propose any clear doctrines universally (or, at least, any of the new, false, doctrines). In other words, the chaos was so great that all that the faithful got, considered universally, was white noise. I don’t say this solves every problem, merely that it’s factually a better explanation and it escapes this problem of a Church teaching condemned error with moral universality. JS Daly is going to have something to say about this at some point. We have been discussing it and he has his own thoughts.

I can’t be sure, but I have a feeling that this cognitive dissonance problem is rooted in an “a priori” approach to things which results either in a kind of dogmatic sedeplenism or dogmatic sedevacantism. If we take the analogy of the Passion of Our Lord and imagine (as we all have, so many times) that we are present on the Via Dolorosa on that greatest of days, would we be permitting ourselves to run through the arguments for and against Our Lord’s divinity? Those who did this lost their faith in His divine Nature. Again, we can ponder St. Peter’s declaration when Our Lord prophesied His Passion, to the effect that such a thing could never be. And contrast that with the view of Caiphas, whose conviction was not only that it could be, but also that it would be and it would be successful (one man must die for the people). St. Peter could only see Our Lord’s divinity; Caiphas, His humanity.

This is not an argument for ceasing our efforts to penetrate the mystery of the current state of the Church, but it’s a reason to take a humble stand before the mystical crucifixion of the Church and ponder it in the spirit of devotion, fortified by the absolute assurance that whatever the explanation, not one bone of His is broken. That is, that all of the truths about the Church remain verified in this her passion and “death.” From this position, not only is there nothing wrong with our faith then seeking to understand, it is salutary. Well, it is for me. I love the Church much more, and with greater clarity and wonder, than I ever did before reading about her nature and pondering her current state in the light of those truths.



Thanks for posting this reminder on this present mystery of the crisis in the Church. The metaphor of the Mystical Body of Christ reliving Our Lord's Passion and Death is a rich one, well worth meditating on. John, if you don't mind the free 'plug', I found a talk you gave some years back at a CMRI conference that I found very excellent on this very topic. I have often thought about this metaphor of the 'Passion of the Church' and have listened to your talk a couple of times. My thanks for coming halfway across the world and giving us this talk.

If anyone is interested on a further treatment of the 'Passion of the Church' here is a link to the talk (in one segment), I highly recommend giving it a listen, it is well worth an hour of your time:


http://traditionalcatholicsermons.org/i ... llDays.mp3


Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:04 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Dear Mike,
Mike Larson wrote:
I agree that this dilemma is true and therefore represents reality. The same dilemma exists today, of course, for the sedeplenist traditionalist (including Bishop Williamson's former confrères in the SSPX).


Yes, of course, but if you look at Fr. Gleize’s effort on this subject, he explicitly defends the traditional theology whilst seeking to find an explanation for why the New Church canonisations do not meet the definition of traditional canonisations. The difference in principle between that and Bishop Williamson’s approach is stark.


I don't see it. The language is different. The audience is different. The basic point is the same.

Bp. Williamson: "... the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium. ... the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, thaf the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about 'living tradition', as though Truth can change?"

Fr. Gleize: "In the second solution, one establishes that the new initiatives resulting from Vatican II are more often doubtful and lacking sufficient guarantees to be considered legitimate laws in the traditional sense of the term, and this authorizes a legitimate doubt about their infallibility."

John Lane wrote:
Again, I agree that both face the same dilemma, and that both have, as far as we can tell, the same good motives. But the principles they apply are radically different. Fr. Gleize thinks like a Catholic, and Bishop Williamson doesn’t.


This case has not been made.

John Lane wrote:
The same difference is visible in the approach that they take to the problem of the new magisterium. Fr. Gleize focuses, as Archbishop Lefebvre did, on the novelty of the “teaching act” by which the new doctrines are proposed, rather than on the novelty of the doctrines themselves, when discussing the obligatory nature of the new magisterium. Obviously when addressing the doctrines themselves, the focus is on their novelty and incompatibility with already decided doctrinal points, but that’s a distinct question.


The fact that the question is distinct is key and explains much about the differences in the two men's writing. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. If an act is improperly promulgated, then it is possible (even likely?) for it to be also errant in its teaching. Both observations can be present. For all we know, Bishop Williamson might agree wholeheartedly with Fr. Gleize's juridical argument and is simply affirming it by pointing out the bad fruits (doctrinally) of novel attempts at promulgation. And Fr. Gleize might agree wholeheartedly with Bishop Williamson's identification of bad teaching, though he would prefer not to comment on it and choose to rest instead with the notion of "doubtful infallibility" via novel enactment.

John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson’s fundamental problem is that he simply doesn’t read the Roman theologians and accept the theses presented. He doesn’t believe in the Roman theology of the Church, that is, the theses de ecclesia.


I have only your word on this.

John Lane wrote:
I’m not calling him a heretic; he reminds me of John Henry Newman in many ways, clever, subtle, bright... and simply unschooled in Roman theology. So one cannot read Newman and hope to learn what the Church teaches, and one cannot read Bishop Williamson and find the teaching of the Church either. Both are men who can be admired and even enjoyed, but must not be taken seriously in theology.


Interesting you should mention Cardinal Newman. This summer I've been reading his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. I don't know whether he was unschooled in Roman theology, but he certainly affirmed, as he finished writing the book, the reality of the Roman Church as the one that Christ founded and left us. And I agree that he was very clever. As I read his book, I keep asking myself, what conclusions would he have come to about the Roman Church had he lived now, in our world. Many of his arguments for recognizing the validity of the Roman Church throughout history would fail, I think, in the present day--at least as applied to the Novus Ordo construct.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Tragically, he chooses the latter course, thus participating in the very same process of destruction carried on by JPII and the whole V2 sect. This conclusion is inescapable.


Again, I agree and would just reiterate that the same inescapable conclusion applies to all who try to maintain both of A) that Francis is Pope and B) that his recent acts of canonization are not infallible.


For the reason already stated, I don’t accept that this is the case. There’s at least one third way, which is illustrated by Fr. Gleize.


Then I take it you no longer find the conclusion inescapable?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson writes, "Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons."

That is quite false. The theologians were divided, prior to Vatican II, into two camps. The liberals, who were a tiny minority and who denied or cast doubt on the infallibility of canonisations, and the orthodox theologians who affirmed Holy Church's infallibility in the matter.


But it is easy to see that this latter group is the one Bishop Williamson was referring to in his statement. He's not very well going to include liberal theologians in his identification of what is Catholic.


If he is speaking only of the orthodox theologians, then his comment is, if anything worse. The old sound theologians did not say that canonisations are “virtually infallible” and there’s no way to twist their statements to support that characterisation, and Bishop Williamson doesn’t quote any. He can’t quote any. If he did, his statement would stand self-condemned.

Mike Larson wrote:
The denotative definition of "virtually" does lend the wrong meaning here, I agree, but the colloquial use of the word is often synonymous with "absolutely" or "completely, as far as I can see," or something similar. It is a bit sloppy, perhaps, but given the fact that he is trying to contrast present liberal notions with prior orthodox ones, this colloquial use of "virtually" seems more likely to me.


Mike, he says they are “virtually infallible,” then that “Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter,” and finally, “their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium." The trouble with these phrases is that they all fail to express the absolute that the theologians teach; on the contrary, they all introduce an element of relativity or insecurity to the doctrine. If Bishop Williamson had used only one of these phrases, I’d grant your view some real probability, but when he chooses three such expressions and no absolute ones at all in his entire newsletter, it is clear that he is playing down the doctrine.


You can treat it as three separate mischievous acts or as one single, consistent, stylistic approach. Like it or not, Bishop Williamson speaks colloquially in his letters. He knows his audience are not theologians (at least for the most part), and he does not write like a theology manual.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
In the end, I think the frustration expressed in this letter about Bishop Williamson boils down to the fact that he is a sedeplenist, not that he is doing something other sedeplenists do not also have to do, one way or another. Because he recognizes the Novus Ordo hierarchy as the true authorities, he must somehow reconcile what appears to be unreconcilable: fallibility where there cannot be fallibility; defectibility where there cannot be defectibility. Bishop Williamson is one of the more inventive sedeplenists, I'll grant you that, but he is clearly trying to hold on to true Catholic doctrine with regard to the Church's own teaching about herself. This while trying to maintain that the defective and fallible teachings and practices coming from the Novus Ordo church are enacted by the true authorities. If that does not create cognitive dissonance, I do not know what would.


Well, there’s a mystery in the current state of the Church, and this mystery is present whether one takes the sedevacantist or sedeplenist standpoint.


Aye to that.

John Lane wrote:
Franzelin says that during the vacancy of the Holy See the bishops remain infallible in proposing already clear doctrines – that is, dogmas, of the ordinary or extraordinary magisterium.


Sounds like Bishop Williamson ...

John Lane wrote:
Franzelin may be wrong – that’s one possibility – but I don’t think so. His view harmonises well with everything else we know about the Church. So, one must explain how the bishops of the entire world appeared pacifically to accept and essentially propose to the faithful the doctrine of religious liberty, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was not pope. My own view is that the key to this problem lies in a critical examination of the factual data, which reveals that the bishops after Vatican II did not propose any clear doctrines universally (or, at least, any of the new, false, doctrines).


But that is what pacifically implies. I mean, I agree with you that the teachings of Vatican II were not overtly imposed upon the faithful. Yet the results have been at least as effective as if they had been. So the passive approach has been a success--even a universal success, unless we try to contort the meaning of universal.

John Lane wrote:
In other words, the chaos was so great that all that the faithful got, considered universally, was white noise.


That's what they got, but that's all they needed to get for the enemy's agenda to be realized. It would have been too great a shock to get clear heretical teaching. Give 'em white noise instead and just start moving in a heretical direction. They're sure to follow.

John Lane wrote:
I don’t say this solves every problem, merely that it’s factually a better explanation and it escapes this problem of a Church teaching condemned error with moral universality.


I agree that that's how it was done, but I'm not so sure about it as an escape clause. Seems like the true perpetrator getting off on a technicality. I would rather say that perpetrator is not the true Church and, reciprocally, that the true Church is not the perpetrator.

John Lane wrote:
I can’t be sure, but I have a feeling that this cognitive dissonance problem is rooted in an “a priori” approach to things which results either in a kind of dogmatic sedeplenism or dogmatic sedevacantism.


I'm not sure what these terms (the two dogmatics) mean, but I will guess that they mean holding the view as absolute, with no possibility that the other view could be correct. I can say that in my own case, neither view makes any real sense (nor do I have a good alternative). Sedevacantism is more logical and consistent, but it is still absurd.

John Lane wrote:
If we take the analogy of the Passion of Our Lord and imagine (as we all have, so many times) that we are present on the Via Dolorosa on that greatest of days, would we be permitting ourselves to run through the arguments for and against Our Lord’s divinity? Those who did this lost their faith in His divine Nature. Again, we can ponder St. Peter’s declaration when Our Lord prophesied His Passion, to the effect that such a thing could never be. And contrast that with the view of Caiphas, whose conviction was not only that it could be, but also that it would be and it would be successful (one man must die for the people). St. Peter could only see Our Lord’s divinity; Caiphas, His humanity.


Yes, but the problem with the Church is (apparent) contradiction, not mortality. She simply cannot contradict what she has taught about herself or about the faith. If she does, all is lost, and we are fools. Perhaps she can die, as Christ did, but only to rise again without delay. She cannot stay dead for long, else indefectibility is breached.

John Lane wrote:
This is not an argument for ceasing our efforts to penetrate the mystery of the current state of the Church, but it’s a reason to take a humble stand before the mystical crucifixion of the Church and ponder it in the spirit of devotion, fortified by the absolute assurance that whatever the explanation, not one bone of His is broken. That is, that all of the truths about the Church remain verified in this her passion and “death.” From this position, not only is there nothing wrong with our faith then seeking to understand, it is salutary. Well, it is for me. I love the Church much more, and with greater clarity and wonder, than I ever did before reading about her nature and pondering her current state in the light of those truths.


Something about this analogy has always troubled me. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's that Christ laid down his own life and that the Church appears rather to have been usurped--possessed even--by a foul spirit. Maybe it's that the thing which has taken all manner of sin unto itself has done so willingly, not for the sake of sinners but for the respect of the world and the favoring of apostasy.

It comes back to what we call the Church. If the Novus Ordo is the Church, I don't think the analogy holds. If the true Church is whatever tatters of orthodoxy remain, both in the hierarchy and the faithful, then maybe. Then again, maybe I should read your book!


John, I wonder if we digress by talking about Bishop Williamson, despite the thread's title and original post. I'm happy to concede that we do not see him, his thinking, or his writing the same. I'm not sure it matters. I'm more concerned about how we, all of us, are shaped as Catholics depending on the view we adopt with regard to the Novus Ordo and the apparent Bishop of Rome.


Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:01 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
I don't see it. The language is different. The audience is different. The basic point is the same.

Bp. Williamson: "... the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium. ... the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, thaf the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about 'living tradition', as though Truth can change?"

Fr. Gleize: "In the second solution, one establishes that the new initiatives resulting from Vatican II are more often doubtful and lacking sufficient guarantees to be considered legitimate laws in the traditional sense of the term, and this authorizes a legitimate doubt about their infallibility."


Mike, you're quoting the similar bits, and I'm quoting the dissimilar bits. Selected similar bits don't disprove dissimilarity.

Mike Larson wrote:
For all we know, Bishop Williamson might agree wholeheartedly with Fr. Gleize's juridical argument and is simply affirming it by pointing out the bad fruits (doctrinally) of novel attempts at promulgation.


Fr. Gleize explicitly states that a properly promulgated doctrinal law is infallible, thus presenting and emphasising the traditional doctrine on infallibility; Bishop Williamson presents what he claims is the position of the pre-Vatican II theologians in terms which undermine its actual meaning and its security. If Bishop Williamson claimed that he agreed with Fr. Gleize, then he'd be obliged to retract his previous statements. Any other course would be exactly that of the Modernists, who say orthodox things on one page, and unorthodox things on the next.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Bishop Williamson’s fundamental problem is that he simply doesn’t read the Roman theologians and accept the theses presented. He doesn’t believe in the Roman theology of the Church, that is, the theses de ecclesia.


I have only your word on this.


Well, you have my word that makes it explicit, but you also have the opportunity to go back over his past Letters and see that in fact it's apparent. He doesn't quote theologians, and he doesn't state theology. He's a commentator like one would see on Fox or WorldNetDaily. As if on cue, last Saturday he quoted an Anglican bishop to make his point. Perhaps he's reading this and he's concerned that your view might prevail? :)

Mike Larson wrote:
Interesting you should mention Cardinal Newman. This summer I've been reading his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. I don't know whether he was unschooled in Roman theology


Yes, I know about this. I researched it years ago. I found a letter from him in Italy complaining that scholastic theology was not known and taught in the seminaries (which was true). He had continuing problems with the Curia over the years afterwards precisely because he hadn't learned his theology and therefore kept writing things which were dodgy. He was a brilliant man who read the Fathers and then made his own synthesis. His brilliance is possibly best illustrated by the fact that he only occasionally came up with a heresy following such a home-baked method. :)

I hate that Essay, btw. It's a classic example of what I'm saying about him. Clever beyond words, but essentially an entire theory constructed from raw materials by an amateur. What's really terrifying is to see it quoted on occasion by provincial theologians in the 20th century as though he was a doctor of the Church.

Read Manning for an antidote. Or Ward.

Mike Larson wrote:
As I read his book, I keep asking myself, what conclusions would he have come to about the Roman Church had he lived now, in our world. Many of his arguments for recognizing the validity of the Roman Church throughout history would fail, I think, in the present day--at least as applied to the Novus Ordo construct.


Absolutely - if he'd maintained his principles. But in my judgement he'd have been a Novus Ordo "Conservative". His mind was incredibly subtle and flexible. There's a game a few of us have played along these lines over the years: What position would Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, et al. have taken in the present crisis? Knox would have been Indult, Chesterton SSPX, and Belloc sedevacantist. :)

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Tragically, he chooses the latter course, thus participating in the very same process of destruction carried on by JPII and the whole V2 sect. This conclusion is inescapable.


Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Again, I agree and would just reiterate that the same inescapable conclusion applies to all who try to maintain both of A) that Francis is Pope and B) that his recent acts of canonization are not infallible.


For the reason already stated, I don’t accept that this is the case. There’s at least one third way, which is illustrated by Fr. Gleize.


Then I take it you no longer find the conclusion inescapable?


No, you misunderstood my original point. I was asserting that Bishop Williamson is undermining Christian doctrine, just like the Modernists. That was my "inescapable conclusion." Yes, I realise you don't agree. :)

Mike Larson wrote:
You can treat it as three separate mischievous acts or as one single, consistent, stylistic approach. Like it or not, Bishop Williamson speaks colloquially in his letters. He knows his audience are not theologians (at least for the most part), and he does not write like a theology manual.


He doesn't have to write in the style of a theology manual, he merely needs to state the same truths clearly. He can use informal terms like "no doubt" instead of "certain" if he chooses, but he can't say things like "virtually" and expect his audience to get the orthodox notion from them.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Franzelin may be wrong – that’s one possibility – but I don’t think so. His view harmonises well with everything else we know about the Church. So, one must explain how the bishops of the entire world appeared pacifically to accept and essentially propose to the faithful the doctrine of religious liberty, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was not pope. My own view is that the key to this problem lies in a critical examination of the factual data, which reveals that the bishops after Vatican II did not propose any clear doctrines universally (or, at least, any of the new, false, doctrines).


But that is what pacifically implies. I mean, I agree with you that the teachings of Vatican II were not overtly imposed upon the faithful. Yet the results have been at least as effective as if they had been. So the passive approach has been a success--even a universal success, unless we try to contort the meaning of universal.


Well, without contorting it, the effect has been almost universal, but not universal. But I'm talking about the teaching activity of the bishops. They are infallible when they present the same doctrine universally. Did the bishops present any specific doctrine universally at or after Vatican II? The onus of proof is on those who say that they did.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
In other words, the chaos was so great that all that the faithful got, considered universally, was white noise.


That's what they got, but that's all they needed to get for the enemy's agenda to be realized. It would have been too great a shock to get clear heretical teaching. Give 'em white noise instead and just start moving in a heretical direction. They're sure to follow.


True, but you're only describing the conspirators. The rest were divided into the orthodox who kept teaching the truth, the orthodox-willed who thought that they had to change their minds because Vatican II was a general council, and the utterly confused who didn't know how to teach clearly before V2 and nothing about V2 would have helped. :)

The Dutch bishops were open heretics in 1966; the French bishops a year or two later; de Castro Mayer, Siri, Lefebvre, and that kind remained Catholic in thought and word, with varying degrees of compromise (I'm thinking of Siri) in practice.


Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, but the problem with the Church is (apparent) contradiction, not mortality. She simply cannot contradict what she has taught about herself or about the faith.


Well, all of these terms as applied to the Church are analogous. She is an artificial being, not a natural one. She is made up of men, with Christ as her Head. So when we talk about her "death" we mean something other than the natural definition - the separation of soul and body. I was using "death" to describe her relative lack of vital activity. I was told in high school, when I was twelve, by a so-called Christian Brother, when I asked "What does the Church teach about this?" something which I have since realised was quite accurate - "The Church doesn't teach any more." That's the mystery of our era in a nutshell. He was a heretic, but he touched the truth on that occasion.

Mike Larson wrote:
Something about this analogy has always troubled me. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's that Christ laid down his own life and that the Church appears rather to have been usurped--possessed even--by a foul spirit. Maybe it's that the thing which has taken all manner of sin unto itself has done so willingly, not for the sake of sinners but for the respect of the world and the favoring of apostasy.

It comes back to what we call the Church. If the Novus Ordo is the Church, I don't think the analogy holds. If the true Church is whatever tatters of orthodoxy remain, both in the hierarchy and the faithful, then maybe. Then again, maybe I should read your book!


The key is what Our Lady said at La Salette - the Church will be eclipsed. She is still there, perfect, with all of her prerogatives intact. We can even see her, as we prove by going to the old, true, mass, her public worship. But she is obscured by the imposition of a foreign body which masquerades as her.

Mike Larson wrote:
John, I wonder if we digress by talking about Bishop Williamson, despite the thread's title and original post. I'm happy to concede that we do not see him, his thinking, or his writing the same. I'm not sure it matters. I'm more concerned about how we, all of us, are shaped as Catholics depending on the view we adopt with regard to the Novus Ordo and the apparent Bishop of Rome.


All I care about is the safety of my fellow traditional Catholics. Everything I write is about that. I only care about Francis insofar as he is a danger. If everybody but me was a sedeplenist who doubted Francis's claim, so that he couldn't harm them, I'd be content. The only reason I comment on Bishop Williamson is, likewise, safety. I would love it if people simply sensed that there was something amiss there and stopped reading him. I know that won't happen, but that's what I'd like. I recognise that a lot of sedevacantists are all feverish about convincing the world of THE TRUTH but I'm not. That's what the pope's for. They won't all listen to us. What some of them will take from us, or from me, I hope, is an intelligently delivered warning. Whether it's the "una cum" thing, or the vacancy of the Holy See, or Vatican II itself, or the New Mass, or the new rites of ordination and episcopal consecration, or the so-called Resistance, or any random point of Christian doctrine that happens to come up, my instinct is safety for the flock. On the "una cum" it's my conviction that this is a red herring which can only serve to discredit sedevacantism and deprive people of the mass and sacraments that we all desperately need; on the vacancy it's as I just said - a real doubt renders the Christian safe and that's all that's needed; on Vatican II if people see that it was not regarded as binding by some of the senior bishops present (e.g. Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer) so that they can put it aside and ignore it, that's good enough; on the New Mass they have to be convinced that it's false worship and flee from it, and the invalidity thesis is an excellent concomitant leading to the same end; on the new sacramental rites, it suffices to highlight that if we cannot trust the New Mass despite its apparent promulgation by Rome, then what guarantee have we that these new artifically constructed rites are certainly valid?; the Resistance is an unprincipled campaign to deprive people of trust in their pastors and like the "una cum" thing, rip them away from Holy Mass and that sacraments; Christian doctrine is a set of truths which in every case have been purchased by the Precious Blood and the loss of clarity in any of them leads inevitably to a diminution of faith as a whole, so all unorthodoxy of expression is a clear and present danger. If you read anything I write with the notion of "safety" in mind, I think you will understand me perfectly well. I'm not a dogmatist, I'm a dog, a (self-appointed) watch dog. :)

This is a crisis of faith, and therefore renewed faith is the entire answer. On Holy Saturday nobody was required to understand what had happened, they merely needed to make acts of faith and they were safe. That's our pattern, and our opportunity, and, God willing, it will be our glory.

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Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:29 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:

Absolutely - if he'd maintained his principles. But in my judgement he'd have been a Novus Ordo "Conservative". His mind was incredibly subtle and flexible. There's a game a few of us have played along these lines over the years: What position would Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, et al. have taken in the present crisis? Knox would have been Indult, Chesterton SSPX, and Belloc sedevacantist. :)




Is there by any chance a thread discussing this? If so I would love to read it. I could see this being the case, Knox Indult, Chesterton SSPX and Belloc Sedevacantist, but I would love to read some speculations as to why.

I just picked up from Tradibooks Belloc's amusing satire "The Mercy of Allah" a great summer read, if anyone is interested.


Luke


Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:12 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
All I care about is the safety of my fellow traditional Catholics. Everything I write is about that. I only care about Francis insofar as he is a danger. If everybody but me was a sedeplenist who doubted Francis's claim, so that he couldn't harm them, I'd be content. The only reason I comment on Bishop Williamson is, likewise, safety. I would love it if people simply sensed that there was something amiss there and stopped reading him. I know that won't happen, but that's what I'd like. I recognise that a lot of sedevacantists are all feverish about convincing the world of THE TRUTH but I'm not. That's what the pope's for. They won't all listen to us. What some of them will take from us, or from me, I hope, is an intelligently delivered warning. Whether it's the "una cum" thing, or the vacancy of the Holy See, or Vatican II itself, or the New Mass, or the new rites of ordination and episcopal consecration, or the so-called Resistance, or any random point of Christian doctrine that happens to come up, my instinct is safety for the flock. On the "una cum" it's my conviction that this is a red herring which can only serve to discredit sedevacantism and deprive people of the mass and sacraments that we all desperately need; on the vacancy it's as I just said - a real doubt renders the Christian safe and that's all that's needed; on Vatican II if people see that it was not regarded as binding by some of the senior bishops present (e.g. Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer) so that they can put it aside and ignore it, that's good enough; on the New Mass they have to be convinced that it's false worship and flee from it, and the invalidity thesis is an excellent concomitant leading to the same end; on the new sacramental rites, it suffices to highlight that if we cannot trust the New Mass despite its apparent promulgation by Rome, then what guarantee have we that these new artifically constructed rites are certainly valid?; the Resistance is an unprincipled campaign to deprive people of trust in their pastors and like the "una cum" thing, rip them away from Holy Mass and that sacraments; Christian doctrine is a set of truths which in every case have been purchased by the Precious Blood and the loss of clarity in any of them leads inevitably to a diminution of faith as a whole, so all unorthodoxy of expression is a clear and present danger. If you read anything I write with the notion of "safety" in mind, I think you will understand me perfectly well. I'm not a dogmatist, I'm a dog, a (self-appointed) watch dog. :)

This is a crisis of faith, and therefore renewed faith is the entire answer. On Holy Saturday nobody was required to understand what had happened, they merely needed to make acts of faith and they were safe. That's our pattern, and our opportunity, and, God willing, it will be our glory.


Thank you for this. It really helps me to see where you are coming from.

You've probably responded to this a million times, but given safety is your biggest concern, what made you choose sedevacantism over the other choices then? Is it the most safe? Or does it make the most sense? etc?


Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:14 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
The Mercy of Allah is an astonishingly clever book, isn't it Luke? Belloc at his brilliant best. I still laugh every time I recall those little rhetorical flourishes with which he ends each chapter - the intolerable shriek of the Muezzin... LOL!

2Vermont, I became a sedevacantist when I read PH Omlor's Has the Church the Right? in 1989. As for safety, the observations and experiences of the period since, all the vicissitudes of life as a traditional Catholic who has maintained a keen interest in the world of tradition, and also my reading of the history of the Church and our reaction to Vatican II, has repeatedly brought into relief the one great central principle which seems manifestly to govern everything - the papacy.

The pope is the Church in microcosm. He is the source of its visible unity, and the defence of its visible unity. A true pope creates the Church daily, a false and heretical pope destroys it. How? By destroying the faith, the foundation of the Church and the first of her bonds of unity.

Archbishop Lefebvre wrote:
Now some priests (even some priests in the Society) say that we Catholics need not worry about what is happening in the Vatican; we have the true sacraments, the true Mass, the true doctrine, so why worry about whether the Pope is a heretic or an impostor or whatever; it is of no importance to us. But I think that is not true. If any man is important in the Church, it is the Pope. He is the centre of the Church and has a great influence on all Catholics by his attitudes, his words and his acts. All men read in the newspapers the Pope's words and on television they see his travels. And so, slowly, slowly, many Catholics are losing the Catholic Faith by the scandal of the Pope's partaking in false religions. This ecumenism is a scandal in the true sense of the word, an encouragement to sin. Catholics are losing faith in the Catholic Church.


The entire strength of the revolution arises from the capture of the See of Peter, in the eyes of men, by the enemy. The prestige of Rome has been absolutely decisive. Without it, who would have accepted the New Mass? Virtually nobody. With it, who could refuse it? Almost nobody.

What happened to Campos? The prestige of the papacy levered the clergy out of safety and back into extreme danger, and then disaster. What happened in 2012 to the SSPX? The same factor introduced a profound disturbance which nearly wrecked the Fraternity and the ripples of which continue to rock her to this day.

Sedevacantism is both true, and the safe position.

BUT, sedevacantism is not merely one opinion, it's a radical opinion, and by its very nature as a radical view it tends to isolate one from one's fellow Catholics. So this constitutes a different danger, which if not guarded against leads to all manner of evil. The home-alone stance is a great example, but there are many others in the doctrinal order. It is this danger that motivates anti-sedevacantists to cry out their warnings. In terms of safety, one could say that it takes a real effort to be a sedevacantist and keep one's head, precisely because once one is separated intellectually from the great body of traditionalists, that tremendous thing we know as peer pressure which works generally for unity and for truth amongst practicing Christians, is effectively lost to one.

What can one keep in mind in order to defend against this centrifugal tendency?

A. One has a radical opinion. This is a reason for diffidence!
B. Most of the greatest men, such as Archbishop Lefebvre, have not adopted our view. Hardly any of the traditionalist clergy have adopted our view. This is a reason for diffidence!
C. The sedevacantist position has no extensive literature proving it - not even one good book!
D. The sedevacantist thesis is a working hypothesis explaining the state of the Church, it is not a complete explanation. It could be a complete explanation, but at present it isn't.
E. Many, if not most, of the arguments for sedevacantism commonly seen around the place are simply wrong.
F. Sedevacantism doesn't solve every difficulty presented by the crisis, and creates apparent new ones.
G. Sedevacantism isn't necessary for salvation. Indeed, the wrong kind of sedevacantism can endanger salvation. Dying without the sacraments is something every Catholic ought to fear and to pray against.

We must have a healthy fear of heresy, but equally, a healthy fear of schism.

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Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:36 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
At the end of the day, most Trads only really care about getting to a Latin Mass. It's one of the reasons why sedevacantism will remain the minority view - for the foreseeable future.


Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:23 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I don't see it. The language is different. The audience is different. The basic point is the same.

Bp. Williamson: "... the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium. ... the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, thaf the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about 'living tradition', as though Truth can change?"

Fr. Gleize: "In the second solution, one establishes that the new initiatives resulting from Vatican II are more often doubtful and lacking sufficient guarantees to be considered legitimate laws in the traditional sense of the term, and this authorizes a legitimate doubt about their infallibility."


Mike, you're quoting the similar bits, and I'm quoting the dissimilar bits. Selected similar bits don't disprove dissimilarity.


Nor do selected dissimilar bits disprove similarity. I did, however, in my quoted bit from +W, try to include a section that you were complaining about.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
For all we know, Bishop Williamson might agree wholeheartedly with Fr. Gleize's juridical argument and is simply affirming it by pointing out the bad fruits (doctrinally) of novel attempts at promulgation.


Fr. Gleize explicitly states that a properly promulgated doctrinal law is infallible, thus presenting and emphasising the traditional doctrine on infallibility; Bishop Williamson presents what he claims is the position of the pre-Vatican II theologians in terms which undermine its actual meaning and its security.


Frankly, I find Fr. Gleize's method of dealing with it just as precarious. It tries to explain the crisis via a juridical loophole. Not exactly a comforting thought when applied to an institution of divine origin.

John Lane wrote:
If Bishop Williamson claimed that he agreed with Fr. Gleize, then he'd be obliged to retract his previous statements.


No, as I said, the two observations do not have to conflict. Both can be correct: Catholic theologians agree that properly promulgated canonizations are infallible.

John Lane wrote:
Well, you have my word that makes it explicit, but you also have the opportunity to go back over his past Letters and see that in fact it's apparent. He doesn't quote theologians, and he doesn't state theology. He's a commentator like one would see on Fox or WorldNetDaily. As if on cue, last Saturday he quoted an Anglican bishop to make his point. Perhaps he's reading this and he's concerned that your view might prevail? :)


Not sure I follow what you mean here at the end, but I understand that it is offered in good humor.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Interesting you should mention Cardinal Newman. This summer I've been reading his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. I don't know whether he was unschooled in Roman theology


Yes, I know about this. I researched it years ago. I found a letter from him in Italy complaining that scholastic theology was not known and taught in the seminaries (which was true). He had continuing problems with the Curia over the years afterwards precisely because he hadn't learned his theology and therefore kept writing things which were dodgy. He was a brilliant man who read the Fathers and then made his own synthesis. His brilliance is possibly best illustrated by the fact that he only occasionally came up with a heresy following such a home-baked method. :)

I hate that Essay, btw. It's a classic example of what I'm saying about him. Clever beyond words, but essentially an entire theory constructed from raw materials by an amateur. What's really terrifying is to see it quoted on occasion by provincial theologians in the 20th century as though he was a doctor of the Church.

Read Manning for an antidote. Or Ward.


Prepare to behold my ignorance: Who are Manning and Ward? What are the titles of the books? I would be keenly interested in an antidote.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
As I read his book, I keep asking myself, what conclusions would he have come to about the Roman Church had he lived now, in our world. Many of his arguments for recognizing the validity of the Roman Church throughout history would fail, I think, in the present day--at least as applied to the Novus Ordo construct.


Absolutely - if he'd maintained his principles. But in my judgement he'd have been a Novus Ordo "Conservative". His mind was incredibly subtle and flexible. There's a game a few of us have played along these lines over the years: What position would Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, et al. have taken in the present crisis? Knox would have been Indult, Chesterton SSPX, and Belloc sedevacantist. :)


I love this. So in Newman, Knox, Chesterton, and Belloc, from left to right, we have the whole serious Catholic spectrum. I can't tell you how many times I have wondered where these and many others would land in our day. What about Fr. Fahey?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
For the reason already stated, I don’t accept that this is the case. There’s at least one third way, which is illustrated by Fr. Gleize.


Then I take it you no longer find the conclusion inescapable?


No, you misunderstood my original point. I was asserting that Bishop Williamson is undermining Christian doctrine, just like the Modernists. That was my "inescapable conclusion." Yes, I realise you don't agree. :)


Well, you were asserting a dilemma. You said that if he did not deny the papacy of JPII, one must conclude inescapably that he was undermining Church teaching on the infallibility of canonizations. But Fr. Gleize also does not deny the papacy of JPII (or Francis), yet you claim that he is not undermining Church teaching (for reasons you have explained). So the conclusion (drawn merely from the acceptance of the papal claimant) is not inescapable.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
You can treat it as three separate mischievous acts or as one single, consistent, stylistic approach. Like it or not, Bishop Williamson speaks colloquially in his letters. He knows his audience are not theologians (at least for the most part), and he does not write like a theology manual.


He doesn't have to write in the style of a theology manual, he merely needs to state the same truths clearly. He can use informal terms like "no doubt" instead of "certain" if he chooses, but he can't say things like "virtually" and expect his audience to get the orthodox notion from them.


It is sloppy. I'll grant you that. But I think I got the orthodox notion from it, as I have tried to explain.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Franzelin may be wrong – that’s one possibility – but I don’t think so. His view harmonises well with everything else we know about the Church. So, one must explain how the bishops of the entire world appeared pacifically to accept and essentially propose to the faithful the doctrine of religious liberty, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was not pope. My own view is that the key to this problem lies in a critical examination of the factual data, which reveals that the bishops after Vatican II did not propose any clear doctrines universally (or, at least, any of the new, false, doctrines).


But that is what pacifically implies. I mean, I agree with you that the teachings of Vatican II were not overtly imposed upon the faithful. Yet the results have been at least as effective as if they had been. So the passive approach has been a success--even a universal success, unless we try to contort the meaning of universal.


Well, without contorting it, the effect has been almost universal, but not universal. But I'm talking about the teaching activity of the bishops. They are infallible when they present the same doctrine universally. Did the bishops present any specific doctrine universally at or after Vatican II? The onus of proof is on those who say that they did.


Well this is beyond my competence for sure, but don't the documents of VII, signed as they were by all the bishops, propose a number of specific teachings that contradict, to varying degrees, prior teachings of the Church?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
In other words, the chaos was so great that all that the faithful got, considered universally, was white noise.


That's what they got, but that's all they needed to get for the enemy's agenda to be realized. It would have been too great a shock to get clear heretical teaching. Give 'em white noise instead and just start moving in a heretical direction. They're sure to follow.


True, but you're only describing the conspirators. The rest were divided into the orthodox who kept teaching the truth, the orthodox-willed who thought that they had to change their minds because Vatican II was a general council, and the utterly confused who didn't know how to teach clearly before V2 and nothing about V2 would have helped. :)


Yes, of course there were good bishops (or at least bishops of good will) at the time of VII, and that is what is so disturbing about the universality of signatures on documents that were/are suspect. One would have predicted divine protection from such had one been speculating about the possibility of it before it actually happened.

John Lane wrote:
The Dutch bishops were open heretics in 1966; the French bishops a year or two later; de Castro Mayer, Siri, Lefebvre, and that kind remained Catholic in thought and word, with varying degrees of compromise (I'm thinking of Siri) in practice.


Ah, Siri. I long for that thesis to be true.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, but the problem with the Church is (apparent) contradiction, not mortality. She simply cannot contradict what she has taught about herself or about the faith.


Well, all of these terms as applied to the Church are analogous. She is an artificial being, not a natural one. She is made up of men, with Christ as her Head. So when we talk about her "death" we mean something other than the natural definition - the separation of soul and body. I was using "death" to describe her relative lack of vital activity. I was told in high school, when I was twelve, by a so-called Christian Brother, when I asked "What does the Church teach about this?" something which I have since realised was quite accurate - "The Church doesn't teach any more." That's the mystery of our era in a nutshell. He was a heretic, but he touched the truth on that occasion.


But it cannot be! The Church, by nature, must teach in all times, no?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Something about this analogy has always troubled me. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's that Christ laid down his own life and that the Church appears rather to have been usurped--possessed even--by a foul spirit. Maybe it's that the thing which has taken all manner of sin unto itself has done so willingly, not for the sake of sinners but for the respect of the world and the favoring of apostasy.

It comes back to what we call the Church. If the Novus Ordo is the Church, I don't think the analogy holds. If the true Church is whatever tatters of orthodoxy remain, both in the hierarchy and the faithful, then maybe. Then again, maybe I should read your book!


The key is what Our Lady said at La Salette - the Church will be eclipsed. She is still there, perfect, with all of her prerogatives intact. We can even see her, as we prove by going to the old, true, mass, her public worship. But she is obscured by the imposition of a foreign body which masquerades as her.


Indeed.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John, I wonder if we digress by talking about Bishop Williamson, despite the thread's title and original post. I'm happy to concede that we do not see him, his thinking, or his writing the same. I'm not sure it matters. I'm more concerned about how we, all of us, are shaped as Catholics depending on the view we adopt with regard to the Novus Ordo and the apparent Bishop of Rome.


All I care about is the safety of my fellow traditional Catholics. Everything I write is about that. I only care about Francis insofar as he is a danger. If everybody but me was a sedeplenist who doubted Francis's claim, so that he couldn't harm them, I'd be content. The only reason I comment on Bishop Williamson is, likewise, safety. I would love it if people simply sensed that there was something amiss there and stopped reading him. I know that won't happen, but that's what I'd like. I recognise that a lot of sedevacantists are all feverish about convincing the world of THE TRUTH but I'm not. That's what the pope's for. They won't all listen to us. What some of them will take from us, or from me, I hope, is an intelligently delivered warning. Whether it's the "una cum" thing, or the vacancy of the Holy See, or Vatican II itself, or the New Mass, or the new rites of ordination and episcopal consecration, or the so-called Resistance, or any random point of Christian doctrine that happens to come up, my instinct is safety for the flock. On the "una cum" it's my conviction that this is a red herring which can only serve to discredit sedevacantism and deprive people of the mass and sacraments that we all desperately need; on the vacancy it's as I just said - a real doubt renders the Christian safe and that's all that's needed; on Vatican II if people see that it was not regarded as binding by some of the senior bishops present (e.g. Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer) so that they can put it aside and ignore it, that's good enough; on the New Mass they have to be convinced that it's false worship and flee from it, and the invalidity thesis is an excellent concomitant leading to the same end; on the new sacramental rites, it suffices to highlight that if we cannot trust the New Mass despite its apparent promulgation by Rome, then what guarantee have we that these new artifically constructed rites are certainly valid?; the Resistance is an unprincipled campaign to deprive people of trust in their pastors and like the "una cum" thing, rip them away from Holy Mass and that sacraments; Christian doctrine is a set of truths which in every case have been purchased by the Precious Blood and the loss of clarity in any of them leads inevitably to a diminution of faith as a whole, so all unorthodoxy of expression is a clear and present danger. If you read anything I write with the notion of "safety" in mind, I think you will understand me perfectly well. I'm not a dogmatist, I'm a dog, a (self-appointed) watch dog. :)


At least you have a sense of humor. And I respect your desire to keep the flock safe, but that is also what the Pope is for, right, in addition to "convincing the world of THE TRUTH"? I, like you, am not a dogmatic sedevacantist. Shoot, I'm not even sure I'm a sedevacantist. How's that for melancholia? I'm a Catholic, and sedevacantism seems to me the most reasonable explanation of the current situation, but at the same time, I can't believe it. Well, I can, but it is not without difficulty, to which you also allude. I, like you, am all for safety, but safety cannot be separated from truth, so I do not see the two missions as an either/or choice.

I agree that real doubt in all the matters you mention above can provide some safety, but it also renders danger. Doubt is an in-between state that makes one indecisive and causes vacillation. Certainty is a child of truth. I'm not claiming that I personally have certainty--only that it is the better state if rooted in the truth, so as you say, we must keep probing.

With regard to the "Resistance," they were perfectly correct in viewpoint and instinct (the very thing you are talking about with regard to safety), though their prudence in how to respond to the clear and present danger that was approaching the Society in 2012 can be debated. The confusion of that year, and the different responses it evoked, is not unlike the time period of the council itself. The difference, of course, is that the Society did not, in the end, consumate a union with the Novus Ordo, though the Resistance claims that such is still coming. Time will tell.

John Lane wrote:
This is a crisis of faith, and therefore renewed faith is the entire answer. On Holy Saturday nobody was required to understand what had happened, they merely needed to make acts of faith and they were safe. That's our pattern, and our opportunity, and, God willing, it will be our glory.


Yes, thank you for that thought. And our acts of faith, I think, must be something along the lines of affirming that God has not abandoned us, despite appearances. As you say, go to the true mass, receive the true sacraments, stay close to the priests God has provided.


Edit: changed the word, "denial," to "acceptance" in order to correct a mistakenly worded meaning.


Last edited by Mike Larson on Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:53 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Cam wrote:
At the end of the day, most Trads only really care about getting to a Latin Mass. It's one of the reasons why sedevacantism will remain the minority view - for the foreseeable future.


As if that book we need had been written years ago and the silly people were just refusing to read it!

At the end of the day most traditionalists only really care about practicing the true religion and going to heaven when they die. Is there really anything new or censurable in this?

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Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:24 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
Frankly, I find Fr. Gleize's method of dealing with it just as precarious. It tries to explain the crisis via a juridical loophole. Not exactly a comforting thought when applied to an institution of divine origin.


Dear Mike,

I don't think that's an accurate representation of his stance. What he is doing is taking two things squarely: 1. The doctrine of the Church concerning her own infallibility, and 2. the facts of the present era. We needn't delay to discuss the first point, I think we recognise Fr. Gleize's doctrine as accurate. So, taking the second point, what have we?

Whether or not Francis is pope, he doesn't behave like a pope, he isn't acting like a pope. He isn't promulgating doctrinal and other laws in the way that popes promulgate them. Now this presents a problem. You and I say well, he isn't pope. That explains his errors, his heterodox behaviour, his flim-flam approach to the most serious of matters, etc. Gleize is saying, well even if he is pope, he hasn't promulgated a law as popes, or indeed any real rulers, promulgate laws. So his acts are not binding and therefore not infallible. One can criticise this, but it isn't an appeal to a loophole, any more than the discussion by theologians of the condemnation of Galileo is an appeal to a loophole. Satan can't have it both ways, and he's smart enough to know it. So he didn't have Paul VI and his successors attempt to define solemnly any heresy, or the game would have been up. Instead, he had them decline to act as popes. The doctrinal defence machinery of the Church was simply not employed, from 1962 or so onwards. This sufficed to unleash a horde of heresies, and the damage was stupendous.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Well, you have my word that makes it explicit, but you also have the opportunity to go back over his past Letters and see that in fact it's apparent. He doesn't quote theologians, and he doesn't state theology. He's a commentator like one would see on Fox or WorldNetDaily. As if on cue, last Saturday he quoted an Anglican bishop to make his point. Perhaps he's reading this and he's concerned that your view might prevail? :)


Not sure I follow what you mean here at the end, but I understand that it is offered in good humor.


Yes, I was suggesting tongue in cheek that Bishop Williamson is reading this, and he sees that you are misrepresenting him as if he believed in the infallibility of canonisations when he manifestly doesn't, so he decided to quote an Anglican bishop in his EC just in case anybody believes you. :)

I tell you what, since we obviously won't agree about what his views are, I will offer you a concession. I will grant that you are virtually right about him, that you have hardly been mistaken about his position, and that his doctrine is as close as could be to the truth, without actually being true. :)

Happy? :D

Mike Larson wrote:
Prepare to behold my ignorance: Who are Manning and Ward? What are the titles of the books? I would be keenly interested in an antidote.


WG Ward of the Dublin Review. He was a lay theologian, one of those rare creatures, and actually taught theology in a seminary. Try this for a sample: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1401&p=13948

Manning was Cardinal Manning, one of the greatest Englishmen of the last five hundred years. Captain of the First Eleven at Harrow, married, widowered, converted, ordained, made bishop, then Archbishop of Westminster, the key figure at Vatican I who almost single-handedly shepherded the definition through, confidant of Pio Nono (he was called to his death bed), a giant figure in English and Irish politics, and a man of supreme intellectual ability as well as wonderful wisdom and with an iron will, all subject to the tenderest heart for the poor. He did more for the English poor in one generation than any man before or since. Newman is famous in this world, Manning undoubtedly has the higher place in history in the long term, and in heaven for eternity. Try his Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost and find therein the best arguments for sedevacantism one could ever read, as well as the most sublime doctrine. And he's not hard to read, for a nineteenth century writer. You can sample him here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=871

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Absolutely - if he'd maintained his principles. But in my judgement he'd have been a Novus Ordo "Conservative". His mind was incredibly subtle and flexible. There's a game a few of us have played along these lines over the years: What position would Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, et al. have taken in the present crisis? Knox would have been Indult, Chesterton SSPX, and Belloc sedevacantist. :)


I love this. So in Newman, Knox, Chesterton, and Belloc, from left to right, we have the whole serious Catholic spectrum. I can't tell you how many times I have wondered where these and many others would land in our day. What about Fr. Fahey?


Sedevacantist. Could there be any doubt? :) If I recall, JS Daly had Belloc as the SSPX or Indult figure, and Chesterton as the sede, but I can't now be sure. However, to my mind Chesterton's large-hearted "democratic" spirit would have kept him from any step quite so isolating as sedevacantism, whereas Belloc didn't care what anybody thought of him - indeed, he rejoiced in being assaulted. :)

Mike Larson wrote:
Well this is beyond my competence for sure, but don't the documents of VII, signed as they were by all the bishops, propose a number of specific teachings that contradict, to varying degrees, prior teachings of the Church?


Yes, so the question is, what were those texts? What was their nature. Archbishop Lefebvre had no difficulty in openly rejecting them and ascribing at least one of them to the devil, and declared that he never signed two of them. Strange words if they were really what we know theologically as the acts of a general council.

Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, of course there were good bishops (or at least bishops of good will) at the time of VII, and that is what is so disturbing about the universality of signatures on documents that were/are suspect. One would have predicted divine protection from such had one been speculating about the possibility of it before it actually happened.


Absolutely. Look, if you had described Vatican II in 1950 as a hypothesis for theologians to consider, you'd have been laughed out of the room. It was the most improbable thing that ever happened. Other than the Incarnation and the Redemption, of course...

Mike Larson wrote:
But it cannot be! The Church, by nature, must teach in all times, no?


Yes, but how many bishops teaching suffice to constitute the continuity of her teaching activity? Two? The rest may apostatise or fall silent, in the midst of a roaring tsunami of heresy. What would that look like? What would it look like to one who couldn't find the two bishops who continue to teach?


Mike Larson wrote:
At least you have a sense of humor. And I respect your desire to keep the flock safe, but that is also what the Pope is for, right, in addition to "convincing the world of THE TRUTH"?


I was highlighting the single point of truth, one which is a matter of private conviction not public doctrinal law, the sedevacantist thesis, and differentiating my approach from that of those who think that it is their office to preach it in season and out of season as if it were the one thing necessary. That's why I put it in caps. All of my efforts in public life have been essentially defensive.

Mike Larson wrote:
I, like you, am all for safety, but safety cannot be separated from truth, so I do not see the two missions as an either/or choice.


I'm not giving up on truth. I'm emphasising the difference between private theories and absolutely necessary doctrine. I'm more upset about distortions of doctrine regarding infallibility (by sedeplenists) and regarding the apostolic succession (by sedevacantists) than I am about sedeplenist apologetics as such. For example, this Web site has had a section on "Sedevacantist errors" from pretty much the beginning, last century.

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Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:34 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
On the Church teaching in our era, read this from JS Daly: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... p=267#p267

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Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:45 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
I, like you, am not a dogmatic sedevacantist. Shoot, I'm not even sure I'm a sedevacantist. How's that for melancholia? I'm a Catholic, and sedevacantism seems to me the most reasonable explanation of the current situation, but at the same time, I can't believe it. Well, I can, but it is not without difficulty, to which you also allude.


I found this to be an interesting statement for I, too, am a sedevacantist. I am absolutely convinced that the men who have claimed the papacy from Rome since at least Montini (and probably Roncalli) have not been popes of the Holy Catholic Church in the very same way I am absolutely convinced that fire burns.

Now, I did not always know that fire burns, but when I learned the lesson, I took it to heart and have applied the lesson to my life ever since. The only reason I do not condemn all those who have not yet learned the lesson (no matter how smart they seem otherwise) is because they have not necessarily all been "burned", so to speak. Once there is an inescapable change that simply cannot be ignored is established then followers of the Conciliar popes will cease to be Catholics.

Even the New Mass was not an inescapable change in that a great many people truly believed it was merely a new translation and a little different method, but was still the Mass. They were fooled, as was I--for a time, anyway. The only truly inescapable change that I can think of is the formal adoption of unnatural marriage (which Bergoglio is already on record as favoring only some sort of "civil union" so that the Conciliar sect won't use the word "marriage" and will continue to fool many) or the ordination of women as priestesses. This second issue is, I think, closer to reality than anyone thinks. There already are de facto deaconesses (the last Novus Ordo parish to which I belonged had one--she was called "Sister", but she acted as a deacon), and when the change in the discipline of celibacy fails to alleviate the "priest shortage", bringing in the women will be the next step. I will never consider a person attending a "Mass" celebrated by a priestess as being a Catholic.


Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:55 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Cam wrote:
At the end of the day, most Trads only really care about getting to a Latin Mass. It's one of the reasons why sedevacantism will remain the minority view - for the foreseeable future.


John Lane wrote:
At the end of the day most traditionalists only really care about practicing the true religion and going to heaven when they die.


Well, there are some that adhere to what has been described as Latin Mass-ism. By this I mean mostly ignoring the fundamental problems that the official post-Vatican II doctrines and disciplines present, and taking refuge in the aesthetic/nostalgic world of traditional ceremonies conducted in really pretty churches.

Perhaps they shouldn't be called Trads but I personally believe they make up the majority of those who go exclusively to a "Latin Mass".


Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:24 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Cam wrote:
Cam wrote:
At the end of the day, most Trads only really care about getting to a Latin Mass. It's one of the reasons why sedevacantism will remain the minority view - for the foreseeable future.


John Lane wrote:
At the end of the day most traditionalists only really care about practicing the true religion and going to heaven when they die.


Well, there are some that adhere to what has been described as Latin Mass-ism. By this I mean mostly ignoring the fundamental problems that the official post-Vatican II doctrines and disciplines present, and taking refuge in the aesthetic/nostalgic world of traditional ceremonies conducted in really pretty churches.

Perhaps they shouldn't be called Trads but I personally believe they make up the majority of those who go exclusively to a "Latin Mass".


I tend to agree with you. They are the neo-Cats. They will defend Vatican II until the cows come home, but don't take away their Latin Mass! You find them on CAF for the most part.


Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:10 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Cam wrote:
Cam wrote:
At the end of the day, most Trads only really care about getting to a Latin Mass. It's one of the reasons why sedevacantism will remain the minority view - for the foreseeable future.


John Lane wrote:
At the end of the day most traditionalists only really care about practicing the true religion and going to heaven when they die.


Well, there are some that adhere to what has been described as Latin Mass-ism. By this I mean mostly ignoring the fundamental problems that the official post-Vatican II doctrines and disciplines present, and taking refuge in the aesthetic/nostalgic world of traditional ceremonies conducted in really pretty churches.

Perhaps they shouldn't be called Trads but I personally believe they make up the majority of those who go exclusively to a "Latin Mass".


Ignoring... as opposed to? What entails ignoring, and what is the alternative (opposite?) of ignoring and how does this alternative/opposite state manifest itself? I'm assuming this alternative is preferable to the position of "ignoring"-- why is this the case?


Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:59 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Frankly, I find Fr. Gleize's method of dealing with it just as precarious. It tries to explain the crisis via a juridical loophole. Not exactly a comforting thought when applied to an institution of divine origin.


Dear Mike,

I don't think that's an accurate representation of his stance. What he is doing is taking two things squarely: 1. The doctrine of the Church concerning her own infallibility, and 2. the facts of the present era. We needn't delay to discuss the first point, I think we recognise Fr. Gleize's doctrine as accurate. So, taking the second point, what have we?

Whether or not Francis is pope, he doesn't behave like a pope, he isn't acting like a pope. He isn't promulgating doctrinal and other laws in the way that popes promulgate them. Now this presents a problem. You and I say well, he isn't pope. That explains his errors, his heterodox behaviour, his flim-flam approach to the most serious of matters, etc. Gleize is saying, well even if he is pope, he hasn't promulgated a law as popes, or indeed any real rulers, promulgate laws. So his acts are not binding and therefore not infallible. One can criticise this, but it isn't an appeal to a loophole, any more than the discussion by theologians of the condemnation of Galileo is an appeal to a loophole. Satan can't have it both ways, and he's smart enough to know it. So he didn't have Paul VI and his successors attempt to define solemnly any heresy, or the game would have been up. Instead, he had them decline to act as popes. The doctrinal defence machinery of the Church was simply not employed, from 1962 or so onwards. This sufficed to unleash a horde of heresies, and the damage was stupendous.


Well, I agree with all that and with Fr. Gleize's basic juridical assertion. I am uncomfortable only with such an assertion as the bulwark to explaining the crisis. If you keep the post-conciliar claimants as real popes but explain the mess by a mere lack of rule-following, then you risk making something of a mockery of the papal office.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Well, you have my word that makes it explicit, but you also have the opportunity to go back over his past Letters and see that in fact it's apparent. He doesn't quote theologians, and he doesn't state theology. He's a commentator like one would see on Fox or WorldNetDaily. As if on cue, last Saturday he quoted an Anglican bishop to make his point. Perhaps he's reading this and he's concerned that your view might prevail? :)


Not sure I follow what you mean here at the end, but I understand that it is offered in good humor.


Yes, I was suggesting tongue in cheek that Bishop Williamson is reading this, and he sees that you are misrepresenting him as if he believed in the infallibility of canonisations when he manifestly doesn't, so he decided to quote an Anglican bishop in his EC just in case anybody believes you. :)


I get it now. That is kind of funny. If he is reading this, I wish he would just pipe in directly!

John Lane wrote:
I tell you what, since we obviously won't agree about what his views are, I will offer you a concession. I will grant that you are virtually right about him, that you have hardly been mistaken about his position, and that his doctrine is as close as could be to the truth, without actually being true. :)

Happy? :D


Oh, giddy.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Prepare to behold my ignorance: Who are Manning and Ward? What are the titles of the books? I would be keenly interested in an antidote.


WG Ward of the Dublin Review. He was a lay theologian, one of those rare creatures, and actually taught theology in a seminary. Try this for a sample: http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/vi ... 01&p=13948

Manning was Cardinal Manning, one of the greatest Englishmen of the last five hundred years. Captain of the First Eleven at Harrow, married, widowered, converted, ordained, made bishop, then Archbishop of Westminster, the key figure at Vatican I who almost single-handedly shepherded the definition through, confidant of Pio Nono (he was called to his death bed), a giant figure in English and Irish politics, and a man of supreme intellectual ability as well as wonderful wisdom and with an iron will, all subject to the tenderest heart for the poor. He did more for the English poor in one generation than any man before or since. Newman is famous in this world, Manning undoubtedly has the higher place in history in the long term, and in heaven for eternity. Try his Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost and find therein the best arguments for sedevacantism one could ever read, as well as the most sublime doctrine. And he's not hard to read, for a nineteenth century writer. You can sample him here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/vi ... ?f=2&t=871


Thanks much for these recommendations. My reading is piling up, and I am a slow reader, but I look forward to learning more about (and from) these fellows.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Absolutely - if he'd maintained his principles. But in my judgement he'd have been a Novus Ordo "Conservative". His mind was incredibly subtle and flexible. There's a game a few of us have played along these lines over the years: What position would Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, et al. have taken in the present crisis? Knox would have been Indult, Chesterton SSPX, and Belloc sedevacantist. :)


I love this. So in Newman, Knox, Chesterton, and Belloc, from left to right, we have the whole serious Catholic spectrum. I can't tell you how many times I have wondered where these and many others would land in our day. What about Fr. Fahey?


Sedevacantist. Could there be any doubt? :)


No, probably not. He understood as well as anyone what lengths the enemy would go to in order to deceive and destroy, so Vatican II may not have taken him by surprise quite as much as it did many others. Also, the clarity of his vision wouldn't have allowed for much of an in-between or "doubtful" stance.

John Lane wrote:
If I recall, JS Daly had Belloc as the SSPX or Indult figure, and Chesterton as the sede, but I can't now be sure. However, to my mind Chesterton's large-hearted "democratic" spirit would have kept him from any step quite so isolating as sedevacantism, whereas Belloc didn't care what anybody thought of him - indeed, he rejoiced in being assaulted. :)


I think I agree with your setting of these two, though they might both have been sedevacantists. A darker possibility with a lot of these guys is that they may not have converted at all, if what they found when they went looking for the Catholic Church was the silly Novus Ordo.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Well this is beyond my competence for sure, but don't the documents of VII, signed as they were by all the bishops, propose a number of specific teachings that contradict, to varying degrees, prior teachings of the Church?


Yes, so the question is, what were those texts? What was their nature. Archbishop Lefebvre had no difficulty in openly rejecting them and ascribing at least one of them to the devil, and declared that he never signed two of them. Strange words if they were really what we know theologically as the acts of a general council.


Yes, a heroic response, for sure, but is his resistance enough to say that the promulgation was not universal? It wasn't universal in the sense that every single individual bishop was "on board," but it certainly was universal in the general sense of the word, considering that the Church, all over the world, adopted a whole new way of being, thinking, speaking, and so on.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, of course there were good bishops (or at least bishops of good will) at the time of VII, and that is what is so disturbing about the universality of signatures on documents that were/are suspect. One would have predicted divine protection from such had one been speculating about the possibility of it before it actually happened.


Absolutely. Look, if you had described Vatican II in 1950 as a hypothesis for theologians to consider, you'd have been laughed out of the room. It was the most improbable thing that ever happened. Other than the Incarnation and the Redemption, of course...


Rare company, that.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
But it cannot be! The Church, by nature, must teach in all times, no?


Yes, but how many bishops teaching suffice to constitute the continuity of her teaching activity? Two? The rest may apostatise or fall silent, in the midst of a roaring tsunami of heresy. What would that look like? What would it look like to one who couldn't find the two bishops who continue to teach?


Right, it would look like that. But then is it really the Church he is seeing? As you have mentioned before, the moment at which the thing that appears to be the Church ceased being the Church does not seem to be definite--at least not in all locations at once--though the end of Vatican II or the worldwide implementation of the new mass might be candidates for such a moment. But whenever and however it happened over time, I think we can safely say that when something which appears to be the Church ceases to teach, it is not actually the Church we are observing but something else entirely.

John, thanks as always for the ongoing discussion. Most interesting and helpful.


Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:00 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I, like you, am not a dogmatic sedevacantist. Shoot, I'm not even sure I'm a sedevacantist. How's that for melancholia? I'm a Catholic, and sedevacantism seems to me the most reasonable explanation of the current situation, but at the same time, I can't believe it. Well, I can, but it is not without difficulty, to which you also allude.


I found this to be an interesting statement for I, too, am a sedevacantist. I am absolutely convinced that the men who have claimed the papacy from Rome since at least Montini (and probably Roncalli) have not been popes of the Holy Catholic Church in the very same way I am absolutely convinced that fire burns.

Now, I did not always know that fire burns, but when I learned the lesson, I took it to heart and have applied the lesson to my life ever since. The only reason I do not condemn all those who have not yet learned the lesson (no matter how smart they seem otherwise) is because they have not necessarily all been "burned", so to speak. Once there is an inescapable change that simply cannot be ignored is established then followers of the Conciliar popes will cease to be Catholics.

Even the New Mass was not an inescapable change in that a great many people truly believed it was merely a new translation and a little different method, but was still the Mass. They were fooled, as was I--for a time, anyway. The only truly inescapable change that I can think of is the formal adoption of unnatural marriage (which Bergoglio is already on record as favoring only some sort of "civil union" so that the Conciliar sect won't use the word "marriage" and will continue to fool many) or the ordination of women as priestesses. This second issue is, I think, closer to reality than anyone thinks. There already are de facto deaconesses (the last Novus Ordo parish to which I belonged had one--she was called "Sister", but she acted as a deacon), and when the change in the discipline of celibacy fails to alleviate the "priest shortage", bringing in the women will be the next step. I will never consider a person attending a "Mass" celebrated by a priestess as being a Catholic.


TKGS, I think you're probably right that the "inescapable" changes will grow in gravity and frequency. On the other hand, it is amazing to see how Novus Ordo apologists can bend their minds to accommodate (and defend) even the most absurd of actions in their efforts to hold it all together. So I wouldn't be surprised if, even as the changes become more and more offensive, many will continue to find a way to justify them and even to "reconcile" them with tradition. Modern people often fight the principle of non-contradiction simply by denying its existence when they encounter it.

I remember having a conversation with a priest-friend right after Francis was elected. We agreed that it would ultimately be a good thing because there could be no more of this Benedict-the-friend-of-tradition nonsense. In other words, we thought Bergoglio's ascendancy would help many people "snap out of it." I'm not sure it has. Maybe it's too early to tell.


Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:19 pm
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