It is currently Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:17 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 
 St. Vincent Ferrer 
Author Message

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post St. Vincent Ferrer
Mr. Lane sir, in your article regarding the Western Schism you correct assert that Ferrer at one time adopted sedevacantism. First, would it be possible for you to share a source that you got this information from? All the online biographies that I've scanned through do not seem to point out this fact. Secondly, do you know whether or not he died a sedevacantist or at some later date came back to recognizing the pope as legitimate? Because the rebuttal I usually get fot pointing this out is that many schismatics csme back to the Church and some then canonized. This being the case for a man who once was an anti-pope. Thanks ahead of time for any insight you, or others, might have.


Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:14 am
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post Re: St. Vincent Ferrer
Dear Colin,

Actually, that article is by the late, great, Bill Morgan (father of the present Superior of the Great Britain province of the SSPX, Fr. Paul Morgan). Incidentally, I have the rights to re-publish all of his newsletters online, so if anybody has any of these and some spare time, they could scan (or re-type) them and I'll put them on the site. Morgan was humble, modest, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and sweet towards those with whom he disagreed. The ideal Catholic gentleman.

I have read the story of St. Vincent Ferrer's decision finally to reject the papacy of Benedict XIII, although I cannot give you a definite source. It may have been Von Pastor and it could have been Gheon's biography. Ignore online ones unless they are printed ones transcribed for the Web - online "scholarship" is notoriously unreliable.

Bill Morgan is certainly right in saying that St. Vincent Ferrer became a sedevacantist. He decided that Benedict XIII (Peter de Luna) had disappeared into schism by his refusal to resign for the good of the Church. St. Vincent Ferrer did not at any point alter his view that Benedict’s line (the Avignon line) was the true line of the papacy. Nor did he at any point adhere to the Urbanite (Rome) line. He declared the See of Rome vacant by Benedict’s ipso facto resignation due to his departure from the Church by schism.

It was this declaration of vacancy by St. Vincent Ferrer which dealt the death blow to the moral authority of de Luna and cleared the way for the Council of Constance to bring the schism to an end.

As for the response to this by sedeplenist apologists, the ones you are speaking about are obviously ignorant. St. Vincent Ferrer was at no point a schismatic. He may have been mistaken about the identity of the pope, but he was never a schismatic. This case proves at the very least that it is possible to be a saint and also be wrong about the identity of the pope. It is also relevant that St. Vincent Ferrer worked numerous public miracles as Legate of Benedict XIII, so that your opponents are implicitly suggesting that a schismatic worked miracles, which is a blasphemous suggestion.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:07 am
Profile E-mail

Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:42 am
Posts: 740
Location: Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.
New post St. Vincent Ferrer
I think the sedeplenists are equating sedevacantism with schism, which is incorrect.

I have gotten that argument from many sedeplenists. I am not sure where they got that idea, but it is rampant.

_________________
Kenneth G. Gordon CinC
Moscow, Idaho
U.S.A.


Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:10 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
yes many I talk to think that it is a schismatic act and I know there is still wernz-vidal and all the others showing the obvious but for many of my friends they have a problem understanding a concept fully without a real-life example, some historical precedent, to help them out. So I know its technically not needed from a theological point, but it would be nice to have Ferrer's belief as an example.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:55 am
Profile

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
anyways thanks Mr. Lane for that. I am going to order Henri Gheon's work on Ferrer and Ludwig von Pastor's book on the history of the popes is on google books so I'm going through that now but not getting too much there yet.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:02 am
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
Colin Fry wrote:
Ludwig von Pastor's book on the history of the popes is on google books so I'm going through that now but not getting too much there yet.


It would have to be in volume I because it's "the history of the popes from the close of the Middle Ages" - which cuts out the Schism. However, I'm sure he includes it as a necessary precursor to considering the later history properly.

Von Pastor is 35 or so volumes in English. Are you sure they've scanned the whole lot? Amazing if they have! And good!

_________________
In Christ our King.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:10 am
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
yes I'm going through volume one. I may need to just read through the whole thing because a search through the volume only produced a couple basic results. Though it may be in Gheon's work. So we'll see when the book gets here. I wonder where Mr. Morgan first found this info because neither of those two books are mentioned in the bibliography.

And no I don't think the whole work is posted online, or at least not at that site but most of the volumes are posted, only a few are missing.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:26 am
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post Henri Gheon, St. Vincent Ferrer
Found it. This is a wonderful little book, by the way. Behold, the sedevacantist saint.

Henri Gheon, St. Vincent Ferrer, trans. by F.J. Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1939, pp. 138-147


He … was getting ready to cross the Pyrenees when the Pope and the King combined to stop him at Morella. The Schism, of course: always the Schism. He laid down his satchel and consented for a time to a change of occupation.

The situation had grown terribly worse. The Roman Pope, Boniface, was dead; the Roman cardinals had elected to the throne of Peter, Innocent VIII, who did not make old bones. They elected Gregory XII in his place. He met the rival Pontiff Benedict at Savona and their negotiations might — who knows? — have issued in a settlement: but unhappily the capture of Rome by Ladislas, King of Naples, had as one result the birth of a third party who had the bright notion of calling a new Council and electing a third pope — as if two were not enough. This third man, Alexander V, elected and crowned at Pisa, died within ten months and his place was taken by John XXIII. Between Gregory and John there was war to the knife, ending in the Sack of Rome, after which things grew a little calmer — thanks to the intervention of the Emperor. On November 5, 1414, a Council held at Constance announced the abdication of the two pontiffs — Gregory and Alexander — on condition that the third, Vincent Ferrer’s man Benedict XIII, should also abdicate. This was the hardest nut. So the Emperor Sigismund decided to try to crack it himself. On the invitation of King Ferdinand of Aragon, on the urging of Master Vincent Ferrer, he consented to come to the Council of Perpignan. As a proof of good-will, Benedict XIII presided and it was for this that the Angel of the Judgment had to interrupt his voyage.

The Emperor Sigismund brought with him seventeen bishops and a numerous court. All countries were represented by the flower of their princes and the most resplendent embassies; there was even a Moorish king — in chains. In the midst of this amazing assemblage of prelates and princes, picture to yourself Pedro de Luna now eighty but still solid and tenacious, cunning as a fox, obstinate as an Aragon mule, a man who had grown harder as he grew older: and over against him the poor friar, emaciated, limping, worn to a shadow, but all radiant with learning and genius and charity — the heart and soul of the Council, officiating, preaching, praying, making everybody pray, associating his flagellants with the universal prayer and penance.

In truth the world was hanging on his lips; the unity of the Church depended on him. In this last effort, he was at the high point of his extraordinary renown. He addressed the Pope as legate of Christ, as a friend, as a theologian, as a man. From the pulpit and in private, for a whole month, he implored Benedict to resign. “He recognised him as true Pope, but it was precisely that quality which imposed on him the gesture that the whole of suffering Christendom expected of him—the sacrifice of his just cause, his just elevation, his see and his authority.”

All in vain. Benedict held his ground obstinately. He was backed by a party still powerful, which represented half the Christian world and would lose all its privileges with him. Against the decisions of Constance, he meant to have himself confirmed by Perpignan. “If the three Popes are doubtful,” was the substance of his argument, “then all the cardinals they have created are doubtful too — I am the only certain cardinal for I received the hat before the Schism and therefore only I can elect another Pope. I should have a perfect right to re-elect myself, even if I resigned.” Every evening they left the palace of Majorca, some way from the town, more divided than when they went in. Vincent exhausted himself in fruitless negotiations.

The Emperor lost his temper. He gave an ultimatum. Benedict rejected it. Sigismund left Perpignan with his court and his bishops, threatening to impose by force what he had been unable to obtain by reason. Then the preacher collapsed under the crash of all his hopes. Several days he was ill with his anguish in the cell of the convent of his Order where the toil of his days had laid its burden on the silent prayer of his nights. It was even thought that he was dying.

“It is not from earth,” he told the doctor who was looking after him, “that my remedy must come; I shall be back in the pulpit on Thursday.”

But what argument was left for him to state, develop, urge which he had not already hammered away at these weeks past? He was running his head against a wall. But the rumour spread that he was preaching again; the crowds thronged into the square, not in thousands but in tens of thousands. Exactly on time, filled with a new vigour due to the certitude, the inevitableness of the last dolorous duty that he must perform, he announced the terrible text:

Ossa arida, audite verbum Domini!

The very words used by Ezechiel in the field of the dead, in the seventh prophecy sung in the office of Holy Saturday.

“Dry bones, hear ye the word of the Lord. I will send spirit into you and you shall live.” It was suddenly seen that it was necessary to revive the Pontiff who was enthroned facing the preacher. The peacemaker had become the accuser. He did not plead now, he thundered. There could be no half-measures now. He turned upon his friend and master in the name of a Friend and Master more powerful than any creature, even the creature He had invested with His powers. … Benedict’s duty was to render up the keys and the tiara; he had tricked and trifled too long with the plain will of God. From a worthy Pontiff he had become an unworthy one, responsible henceforth for all the evils of the Church if he did not yield instantly.

How much it cost Vincent, we can guess. But nothing short of an act of heroism — an agony to his heart, his fidelity, his filial submission — was needed, with God’s aid, to break an obstinacy for which his own too long patience and perhaps his cowardice seemed in part responsible. Upon Vincent himself would be the guilt of the Schism if he did not use all the means in his power to bring it to an end — even if it meant treason and rebellion against his sovereign and benefactor. Furthermore, his reason, which never failed him, saw clearly that if Benedict resisted, he would be deposing himself.

The crowd were thunderstruck: in the midst of them Benedict on his throne was torn between rage and something very near to panic. If he did not do as his legate demanded then that legate would withdraw from his obedience: who would hesitate to follow him? Would it not be better to yield? But for a Pedro de Luna it is all or nothing. No! No! There was a murmur in the crowd swelling to a roar. Master Vincent had the whole world with him. King Ferdinand of Aragon made it clear to Benedict that his life was in danger, unless he left without delay. Benedict fled for refuge to Peniscola, a fortified rock which was his own property, surrounded on all sides by the sea. Alone between sea and sky, exiled from the world of living men, rejected by all Christians, he would remain Pope. “I made you king,” he said to Ferdinand, “and you have sent me into the desert.”

On January 6, 1416, Master Vincent in front of the Castle of Majorca officially proclaimed the withdrawal of obedience of the last princes who still accepted Benedict XIII — the King of Navarre, the Comte de Foix, and the King of Aragon. This last gave assurance of the adhesion of the other Spanish sovereigns. The Schism was stricken to death and it was Master Vincent who had dealt the death stroke. He took part in the labours of the Council at Constance only from a distance, though all wanted him there. But the main task was accomplished. He had better things to do before he died.

The Cardinals spent several years straightening out all the complications of the position, taking account of all the interests involved. John XXIII fled: Gregory XII confirmed his resignation; Benedict XIII was deposed: the place was free for a single master. In 1419, Cardinal Colonna was elected under the name of Martin V. He excommunicated Benedict XIII, who, thundering to the empty air, lived seven years more on his rock with two Cardinals who remained faithful to his memory. On his death these two elected one Clement VIII who resigned five years later. And so ended Pedro de Luna. In spite of all he was a great man: but he was swept away by the delirium of his grandeur.

Brother Vincent had not paid too high a price for the hope which slowly and surely had come to be realised: the seamless robe repaired by his hands was to be seen once again in its integrity in the one chair of Peter! But his friendship suffered as much as his faith rejoiced. As a saint must, he offered his suffering to God, to dispose of at His will; his preaching was all the more powerful for it. Never did he feel himself more filled with God than when he felt and measured in himself the natural weakness of man. He was laden with offers of honours by princes, kings, bishops, the celebrated Gerson. He refused them all, but politely. Honours he did not want: the poor souls of France were calling him. Nothing could hold him back — not even his friendship for the King of Aragon, who though still a young man was on the point of death. He must march on, keep marching: that was his mission. One field reaped, he must take his sickle to the next.

When he reached Narbonne, it was in the midst of a drought from which plants and animals and even men were dying. He won from heaven two glorious days of rain. At Béziers, on the other hand, he had to stop a flood. He went on to Montpellier, Castelnaudary, Pamiers, and once more, to Toulouse. There he was so popular that to save him from being literally crushed to death, he and his ass were placed between two rows of stout stakes carried by strong men. It was Palm Sunday; they did everything but strew flowers and green branches in his path! For six hours without a break he spoke on the Passion before thirty thousand people. The Place St. Etienne was packed, men were piled on the roofs.

“Arise, ye dead! Come to Judgment!”

The whole crowd fell on its face, crying for mercy. I have already told of the terrible flagellations followed by extraordinary conversions which marked this last time in Toulouse.

Then Muret, Castres, Albi: a man of that place who saw him describes him as “very old, pale, broken; but when he had said Mass and when he was preaching, he appeared young, in his prime, alert and full of vitality” — you would have given him thirty.

Villefranche, Rodez, Millau, Saint-Flour, Le Puy, Clermont, Montferrand —— the whole of Auvergne — where it was so cold that they had to light the braseros. Then Moulins, Lyons, Macon, Bezançon where in her convent of St. Clare he met Colette de Corbie (July, 1417). We do not know if he had already met her but certainly he had long hoped to. She had appeared to him, we are told, while he was at prayer in Saragossa, at the feet of Jesus Christ, pressing him to end the Schism: and the Saviour had given Vincent the order to discuss the matter with her as soon as possible. The day had come. They drew up a joint letter to the Council of Constance. They must also have talked of France and its woes — we know that both were inclined to the English side: we shall come back to this.

There is a respectable tradition that the son of St. Benedict gave the daughter of St. Francis his great mission crucifix with the Crucified carved in wood: and that he venerated the little gold cross, encrusted with precious stones, which she had received from Jesus Himself by the hands of St. John. These two witnesses of their immense love of the Cross are still preserved at the Convent of Poor Clares. St. Colette, it seems, foretold St. Vincent’s coming death, barely two years away.

“In Spain?” he asked.
“No, in France.”

When the moment of separation came their emotion was so great that they could not utter a word.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:50 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
And some extracts from near the beginning of the same book, giving a brief sketch of the origin of the Great Western Schism, and also illustrating the saint's great moral authority.



Henri Gheon, St. Vincent Ferrer, trans. by F.J. Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1939, pp. 29-40

One night after Matins, as he stayed on in prayer, prostrating himself in turn before each altar, he stopped at the feet of Christ on the Cross and meditated long on His Passion.

“Lord, is it possible,” he murmured (in the hearing of one of the friars, so it would seem) “that you have suffered so much?”
“Yes,” replied Christ Our Lord, “and far more.”

At the same time, the two arms of the Saviour detached themselves from the Cross and He bent over the friar. He remained in this position for some time, and it is thus that Vincent was represented — in our own day, but before the revolution — in a chapel of the convent at Valencia.

Brother Vincent, how would you dare to complain after that? how be sparing of your penances? You cannot even imagine what He whom you must imitate endured for you.

CHAPTER II

THE TESTING AT AVIGNON

TWO years after his ordination, Vincent wrote a Treatise on the Schism. The Schism indeed was his constant obsession. What is a Church without unity? What is a body without a head? The Mystical Body already had two earthly heads and was indeed to have a third. Brother Vincent had to choose. His choice was not that of St. Catherine of Siena. I shall try to summarise the drama which set two saints of the same Order, wearing the same habits of black and white, upon opposite sides.

From the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Sovereign Pontiff resided in Avignon. In 1376, St. Catherine got him back to Rome— an immense achievement for a nobody of thirty. He died in Rome two years later and there was rioting round the Conclave called to elect his successor. The mob invaded the Piazza in front of St. Peter’s, and even climbed up on to the roofs. The two parties—the French and the Roman—faced each other, ready for trouble. “We want a Roman,” the mob clamoured to the Cardinals. “If not,” Froissart tells us they said, “we’ll make your heads redder than your hats.” The tocsin clanged its threat from all the steeples. The mob forced the gates; on the suggestion of Robert of Geneva, the French cardinals gave way and the remainder proceeded to elect the Archbishop of Bari, Bartolomeo Prignani, a holy man, practically without contest — there being, in fact, only one dissentient.

The mob was happy: they had a Pope who would stay in Rome. Under the name of Urban VI he was solemnly enthroned, received the allegiance of all, was proclaimed legitimate successor of St. Peter in all the churches of Christendom. But there were malcontents and they plotted his overthrow. They had to have a pretext, and he gave them one. He was a man impulsive, violent, unyielding. He handled some of the cardinals roughly, doubting their sincerity. He tried to force them to renounce, almost over-night, the habits they had revelled in of pomp, fine living and luxuriousness. What was even worse, they were called on to give up the generous payments they were receiving from the temporal rulers whose interests they served. St. Catherine was alarmed, reminded him that justice should be tempered with mercy. But it was hopeless. Urban had the bit between his teeth.

The French Cardinals, with the backing of the king of France, withdrew to Anagni, under the protection of Bernard de la Salle’s Gascons, who were altogether too much for the loyal army. The Avignon party had decided to declare the election null, as having been made under terror. At this point in the story there appears the singular personage who was to hold so considerable a place in the life of Brother Vincent — the Cardinal Pedro de Luna, a man of Aragon. He was learned, pious, mortified; he was held to be a just man, which is why Catherine of Siena urged him to intervene. He had voted for Urban VI, had congratulated him very warmly — and very sincerely, I doubt not — on his elevation to the Chair of Peter. “By the precious blood which has ransomed you,” wrote St. Catherine, “I conjure you not to separate yourself from your head. My soul is piteously troubled. All the rest — war, dishonour and the other tribulations — seem to me but a straw, a shadow, in comparison with this.”

Whether through weakness or self-interest, Pedro de Luna went over to the rebel camp. Urban VI thought to spike their guns by creating twenty cardinals at once. The rebels retorted next day by electing Robert of Geneva as Pope. He took the name of Clement VII. And the Schism was fully constituted.

One imagines the shock with which the news came to young Brother Vincent in the Convent at Valencia. He was as utterly overwhelmed by it as his sister in St. Dominic who to her last breath defended and encouraged Urban.

Remember her sublime prayer to Christ. “I cry unto you…. Have pity on the world. Give to your Vicar the heart of a man but clad in your humility…. Manifest your virtue in him, so that proceeding in all his acts from your loving kindness, charity, purity and wisdom, he may draw all men to him. Enlighten also those who are fighting against him and resisting the Holy Spirit.… Behold my body which I deliver to you as an anvil on which their faults may be hammered out. Here is my life: do you dispose of it.”

On Sunday April 29, 1380, Catherine died. That love for unity which had killed her did at the same time cause Vincent Ferrer to write with equal passion and equal conviction the solemn affirmations of the Treatise on Schism — one single body, one single head — to which she would so heartily have subscribed. But in the second part of the work, when he comes to discuss documents, compare witnesses, minutely scrutinise all the arguments of both parties — no small matter, for the controversy raged in all the length and breadth of Europe — he concluded that the election of Urban VI was null and the election of Clement VII beyond question valid. What brought him to this decision was neither self-interest, nor any rancour, nor party spirit, neither sympathy for one nor dislike of the other, but solely, it would seem, the undeniable fact that there had been violence surrounding the first election. With burning pen he described the violence brought to bear upon a Conclave from which so many evils were to flow. There can be no questioning the accuracy of his picture. But we might answer him as Catherine answered the rebel Cardinals: “What proves that the election of the Archbishop of Ban was rightly made is the solemnity of his coronation, the homage you have paid him, the favours you have asked of him. You have made use of him in a multitude of matters. Deny that if you can without lying!”

Was Brother Vincent aware of Catherine’s adjurations? We do not know what importance he attached to the little tertiary of Siena. But if he was wrong — which to this day no one has any right to affirm — it was in absolute good faith; half of Christendom made the same choice. Filled with his conviction, he could see but one method of bringing the Schism to a conclusion: that was to rally as many Princes and States as possible to the new Pope. Having freely espoused his cause, he pleaded it for close on fifteen years.

France, Scotland, Castille already held for Clement VII. But the king of Aragon who ruled over Catalonia and the region of Valencia had not yet declared himself. Clement VII sent the Cardinal Pedro de Luna as legate and advocate. Vincent felt that he must go to the court and take his part. The king admired him and liked him, and wanted to attach him to his own person. Queen Yolanda, his wife, had just taken Vincent as her confessor. She gave him enormous trouble; but his charity did at last gain the ascendancy over her violence and her pride. It is told that one day as she entered his cell, he vanished from her sight, lost in the shadow of his God, and suddenly appeared to her vested in supernatural light. He was made Court Chaplain and the King’s neutrality gradually turned, thanks to Vincent, towards the claimant in Avignon, though without formal adhesion. The contention lasted long, even within the bosom of the Dominican Order, and Barcelona, devoted to Urban VI, seemed to treat it as a point of honour to be on the other side from Valencia.

Nevertheless Brother Vincent, in spite of opposition, had already come to the highest point of his power, spiritual, intellectual and political. He had rivals; he had no equal. From 1390 to 1395 he multiplied his activities in every direction and was concerned in all affairs, public and private. When not engaged at court, he went bearing the word of truth into the most forgotten corners of the realm. He preached, confessed, acted as arbiter, catechised prostitutes, did all in his power to save Jews from the cruelties that threatened them. They had come to be hated, often enough (though not always) without cause; they were massacred in their synagogues, charged with atrocities, some false some true. Vincent gathered together the fleeing Jews, defended them against passion- blinded Christians, instructed them, quietened their fears and often convinced them. In the Valencian region, he baptised some ten thousand of them. He cast his net as far as Valladolid and converted the Chief Rabbi, who became Bishop of Cartagena.

His fame spread so wide that all courts were clamouring for him. But King John I and Queen Yolanda refused to let him go: the rest of the world must just do without. There was a great thronging of visitors to his convent. There was a flood of counsels, conversions, miracles, steadily pouring through his humble white cell — the cell in which later he appeared to St. Louis Bertrand and which much later still, in 1835, the revolution converted into a barrack stable.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:10 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
And this from an old article of mine. Not sure which one now, but it summarises the above in relation to the sedevacantist thesis.

__________________________________________________________________________

"We should not decide the legitimacy of the popes by means of prophecies or miracles or visions. The Christian people are governed by laws against which extraordinary events count nothing." (St. Vincent Ferrer, De moderno ecclesiae schismate, Bibl. Nat., no. 1470; quoted by Mourret, History of the Catholic Church, B. Herder, Vol. V, p. 133.)

The law of the Church, reflecting the divine law explained and proved by Bellarmine, was codified in the Decretals as the canon, Si papa. It reads:

"Let no mortal have the presumption to accuse the Pope of fault, for, it being incumbent upon him to judge all, he should be judged by no one, unless he departs from the faith."

Which, of course, is the identical doctrine as was taught by Pope Urban VIII, in Unam Sanctam. We see in the quote from the sainted Thomist, Br. Vincent, two clear points relevant to present controversies:

1. Christians may and ought to "decide the legitimacy of popes" as circumstances demand, and
2. These determinations are to be made according to known laws.

Now let's see how he applied them in practice.

St. Vincent had often urged Benedict XIII to arrange a double resignation of himself and the Roman claimant, for the good of Holy Church, so that a single pope could be elected who would be accepted by all of Christendom. He presented this to Benedict as a sacrifice - the sacrifice of his true authority, his true office, for the greater good. However Peter de Luna, Benedict XIII, continued to frustrate all efforts at bringing this great event about.

In the mean time men had growth thoroughly disgusted with the Schism. It had lasted almost forty years, and circumstances were ripe for a solution to be found. The solution agreed upon was a council, to be held at Constance, which would receive the resignations of the (at that time) three papal claimants, or if necessary depose them, and select a new, universally acceptable pope.

In the lead up to the Council St. Vincent redoubled his efforts to convince Benedict to resign, but to no avail. Such was his fame, and his unequalled moral authority, that the entire world was expecting St. Vincent to bring about an end to the great Schism, and after weeks of penance, unceasing prayer, negotiations, threats, exhortations, more penance, more prayer, even more exhortation, threatening, and negotiation, the thaumaturg was at the end of his resources, with no sign of peace or unity. He declared that he would retire for a few days, and then he would give the solution to the crisis. The world held its breath.

When the great day arrived, St. Vincent was seated with an audience of churchmen, nobles, and Benedict himself, and he delivered the most astonishing address that one could imagine; he declared that whilst Benedict was the rightfully elected Roman Pontiff, his ill-will in refusing to sacrifice his rights for the good of the Church had made it clear that he was, in fact, a schismatic. And as a schismatic, he had forfeited his membership in Holy Church and with it his papal office. He was no longer pope. This epiphany was delivered on January 6, 1416, at Perpignan.

St. Vincent Ferrer was a practical and theoretical “sedevacantist,” who "judged" a pope (that is, judged the validity of the claim of a man to the papacy), and found him wanting, and then rejected him. He had never expressed any doubts about the legitimacy of Benedict's election. Nor had he considered his claim doubtful in any way. His case was quite clearly that Benedict lost his membership in Holy Church by schism, and thus forfeited his office. In other words, St. Vincent applied the principles of St. Thomas and of the Fathers; the same principles later presented by Bellarmine, with perfect, and perfectly clear, consistency.

The effect was stupendous. All but a couple of cardinals abandoned Benedict, and the schism was effectively ended. As Henri Ghéon put it, Martin V, elected subsequently by the Council of Constance, was "Br. Vincent's Pope." Martin V, in turn, recognising the divinely ordained means by which his office had been secured and the unity of Holy Church defended, wrote to the saint and offered him "anything he wanted." St. Vincent wanted, of course, nothing but Jesus Christ. Shortly afterwards he was perfectly united to Him in heaven.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:27 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
Thank you so much for that. You have no idea how important you, and Fr. Cekada (I know you have your differences) and the bishop and priests of the CMRI have been for me the last couple years.

It does seem as though Ferrer did not die a sedevacantist. Many sedeplenists I talk to will try and use this to their advantage. Instead it was his sedevacantism which was the actual answer to ending the schism. Though I don'think they will be able to see this, focusing only on the fact that the schism ended before his death and thus was no longer in opposition to the Church.

If only we had such a saint today who could go away for a few days only to come out with the solution to the current problem.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:42 pm
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
Dear Colin,

Colin Fry wrote:
Though I don'think they will be able to see this, focusing only on the fact that the schism ended before his death and thus was no longer in opposition to the Church.

Perhaps. All of this work is a matter of being modest in one's aims and planting seeds. God will produce some fruit from them if He wills it. Any other attitude will not only be intrinsically flawed but will also result in constant disappointment. :)

The point that needs to be hammered, with both sedeplenists and neo-sedevacantists, is that it is entirely possible in extraordinary circumstances for even a saint to be confused about who the pope is or is not. Our Lord could have told St. Vincent and St. Colette at any time whom to follow. He appeared to both of them and spoke to both of them. But no, that was not His will. His will was to try men by this extraordinary crisis which tested virtue to its limits, and it seemed, beyond. He is doing the same for us. We must keep remorselessly in view this great truth that Providence governs everything and that none of what is happening is able to happen except that He permits it for the greater good. It is this vision which will enable us to rise above the shallow and petty tendencies of our lower nature and unite along true and noble lines with those with whom we ought to be united, whilst separating ourselves reluctantly and sadly, as necessary, from those who, in truth, refuse to unite with us on those same principles - that is, faith and charity.

We might say that we ought to love even our fellow members of the Mystical Body, despite their failure to see everything that we, in our superior wisdom, see so clearly. :) But perhaps that would be too pungent a comment. :)



Colin Fry wrote:
If only we had such a saint today who could go away for a few days only to come out with the solution to the current problem.

Exactly, but we must try and remember always that God can raise up ten such saints from the very stones should He really want them. But He does not. This is a mystery, because we know that this is our own fault, and we deserve no more - indeed, we deserve far less! - yet also His infinite charity and mercy for men informs all such decisions. His ways are not our ways.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:25 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:42 am
Posts: 740
Location: Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.
New post St. Vincent: another point.
St. Vincent was a sedevacantist while that was necessary. After the Church returned to normal, he was a sedeplenist.

So, what's the problem?

Most modern sedevacantists will undoubtedly follow the same path.

Some won't, but that isn't the fault of the "ism."

_________________
Kenneth G. Gordon CinC
Moscow, Idaho
U.S.A.


Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:58 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
agreed, Mr. Lane do you still believe that Savonarola is a good example for our position. What do you know about the negative stigma that seems to attach itself to him. What exactly did he do wrong? Based upon the article on your site (as with Ferrer is there another source one could consult?) it seems that the heresy of Pope Alexander was not yet manifest. Some argue that Savonarola erred in trying to get a council to depose him. I understand its not necessary, that a manifest heretic loses his office automatically. However there was no reliable fast means of spreading news at that time, so wouldn't a council be the proper and most effective means in this case?


Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:12 pm
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
Colin Fry wrote:
Mr. Lane do you still believe that Savonarola is a good example for our position. What do you know about the negative stigma that seems to attach itself to him. What exactly did he do wrong?


Dear Colin,

I have never thought Savonarola was a good example. :) But several saints have been devoted to him, so he is certainly one of those controversies upon which it is lawful for good Catholics to differ.

The value of the Savonarola case is that it breaks open the minds of the kind of Catholics who think that it is completely out of the question to attack the legitimacy of a given claimant. In this case you had eighteen of the cardinals calling for the pope's deposition, inlcluding Della Rovere, who went on to be elected pope himself (Julius II) two elections later. The value, I repeat, is not in the rectitude or otherwise of the claims of Savonarola or even of the eighteen cardinals - the value is in the fact that these events occurred, and they were not the actions of Protestants or even of necessarily bad men. They were the actions of misled men, perhaps; of men who cared more for their own interests than those of the Church; but not of men who were ignorant of the laws which govern such things. It is the laws themselves that matter. What are they? Bellarmine provides them, and Savonarola is one historical case where they were actually applied. The case of Benedict XIII and St. Vincent Ferrer is another, as is the case of Liberius and St. Felix II, according to Bellarmine.

Sedeplenist apologists can try to argue each case away. But even if they succeeded, where would it get them? To the point where they could argue that St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Universal Church, was wrong, and that all of those theologians and historians who discussed each of these cases was also wrong, because they didn't see that a priori each case must be settled by ruling it out as impossible. What a position.



Colin Fry wrote:
Based upon the article on your site (as with Ferrer is there another source one could consult?) it seems that the heresy of Pope Alexander was not yet manifest.

That's right. Savonarola's whole point was that it must be manifested and if a council could be called he would make it manifest. It's certainly arguable that an occult heretic is more dangerous than a manifest one, but in any case an occult one retains his membership in the Church. This latter point has been the subject of some controversy amongst theologians, so it may even be that Savonarola adopted the alternative (erroneous, I think) position that even occult heretics lose membership along with any offices they may hold. This would be consistent with his actions.



Colin Fry wrote:
Some argue that Savonarola erred in trying to get a council to depose him. I understand its not necessary, that a manifest heretic loses his office automatically. However there was no reliable fast means of spreading news at that time, so wouldn't a council be the proper and most effective means in this case?

Yes, as it would in our time. The difficulty was precisely in the nature of the errors chosen by our present-day heretics and the manner in which they were fostered, and the fact that most bishops either agreed with them or didn't see what was wrong. How could a council have done any good? The one which was actually held was disastrous!

_________________
In Christ our King.


Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:48 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
John Lane wrote:
Dear Colin,

I have never thought Savonarola was a good example. :) But several saints have been devoted to him, so he is certainly one of those controversies upon which it is lawful for good Catholics to differ.


My mistake :). I must have misread the article on your site regarding him.

Quote:
The value of the Savonarola case is that it breaks open the minds of the kind of Catholics who think that it is completely out of the question to attack the legitimacy of a given claimant. In this case you had eighteen of the cardinals calling for the pope's deposition, inlcluding Della Rovere, who went on to be elected pope himself (Julius II) two elections later. The value, I repeat, is not in the rectitude or otherwise of the claims of Savonarola or even of the eighteen cardinals - the value is in the fact that these events occurred, and they were not the actions of Protestants or even of necessarily bad men. They were the actions of misled men, perhaps; of men who cared more for their own interests than those of the Church; but not of men who were ignorant of the laws which govern such things. It is the laws themselves that matter. What are they? Bellarmine provides them, and Savonarola is one historical case where they were actually applied. The case of Benedict XIII and St. Vincent Ferrer is another, as is the case of Liberius and St. Felix II, according to Bellarmine.


Agreed. Although some (sedeplenists) say this is why he is a bad example of a Catholic.

Quote:
Sedeplenist apologists can try to argue each case away. But even if they succeeded, where would it get them? To the point where they could argue that St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Universal Church, was wrong, and that all of those theologians and historians who discussed each of these cases was also wrong, because they didn't see that a priori each case must be settled by ruling it out as impossible. What a position.


No doubt a difficult position to put oneself in. But one that many find themselves in nonetheless.

Quote:
That's right. Savonarola's whole point was that it must be manifested and if a council could be called he would make it manifest. It's certainly arguable that an occult heretic is more dangerous than a manifest one, but in any case an occult one retains his membership in the Church. This latter point has been the subject of some controversy amongst theologians, so it may even be that Savonarola adopted the alternative (erroneous, I think) position that even occult heretics lose membership along with any offices they may hold. This would be consistent with his actions.


I think this is certainly a possibility. But can we know that this was his belief? Did he at any point declare that this pope was not actually the pope event though he was not a manifest heretic?

Quote:
Yes, as it would in our time. The difficulty was precisely in the nature of the errors chosen by our present-day heretics and the manner in which they were fostered, and the fact that most bishops either agreed with them or didn't see what was wrong. How could a council have done any good? The one which was actually held was disastrous!


I certainly agree that the efficacy of the council was not there and that such a one involved in making the pope's errors known would also probably not effect much good. But is this a theological error on Savonarola's part, or more a lack of judgment? If he was trying to call a council to make the pope's errors manifest, was he acting against Catholic teaching? Surely it wasn't very effective but was he wrong? I'm not trying to bait you into anything, I'm sincerely trying to discern. As you say this is a source of disagreement among Catholics and a number of Catholics, such as St. Philip Neri if I'm not mistaken, have had a devotion to him. I could certainly agree that the method he chose was not the best. But was it necessarily contrary to Catholic practice? Thanks.


Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:42 am
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4333
New post 
Colin Fry wrote:
I think this is certainly a possibility. But can we know that this was his belief? Did he at any point declare that this pope was not actually the pope event though he was not a manifest heretic?

Yes.

Cardinal Journet, in his The Church Of The Word Incarnate (Vol. 1, p. 484, trans. A. H. C. Downes, Sheed & Ward 1955) offers the following information about these letters of Savonarola: 'In a study in the "Revue Thomiste" (1900, p. 631, "Lettres de Savonarole aux princes chretiens pour la reunion d'un concile"), P. Hurtaud, O.P., has entered a powerful plea in the case - still open - of the "Piagnoni" [i.e. Savonarola]. He makes reference to the explanation of Roman theologians prior to Cajetan, according to which a Pope who fell into heresy would be deposed "ipso facto": the Council concerned would have only to put on record the fact of heresy and notify the Church that the Pope involved had forfeited his primacy. Savonarola, he says, regarded Alexander VI as having lost his faith. "The Lord, moved to anger by this intolerable corruption, has, for some time past, allowed the Church to be without a pastor. For I bear witness in the name of God that this Alexander VI is in no way Pope and cannot be. For quite apart from the execrable crime of simony, by which he got possession of the [papal] tiara through a sacrilegious bargaining, and by which every day he puts up to auction and knocks down to the highest bidder ecclesiastical benefices, and quite apart from his other vices - well-known to all - which I will pass over in silence, this I declare in the first place and affirm it with all certitude, that the man is not a Christian, he does not even believe any longer that there is a God; he goes beyond the final limits of infidelity and impiety" (Letter to the Emperor). [Footnote : These were neither new nor isolated accusations. cf. Schnitzer, "Savonarola", Italian translation by E. Rutili, Milan, 1931, vol. ii, p. 303.]

'Basing our argument on the doctrinal authorities which Cajetan was soon to invoke, we should say that Savonarola wished to collect together the Council, not because, like the Gallicans, he placed a Council above the Pope (the Letters to the Princes are legally and doctrinally unimpeachable), but so that the Council, before which he would prove his accusation, should declare the heresy of Alexander VI in his status as a private individual. P. Hurtaud concludes: "Savonarola's acts and words - and most of his words are acts - should be examined in detail. Each of his words should be carefully weighed and none of the circumstances of his actions should be lost sight of. For the friar is a master of doctrine; he does not only know it but he lives it too. In his conduct nothing is left to chance or the mood of the moment. He has a theological or legal principle as the motive power in each one of his decisions. He should not be judged by general laws, for his guides are principles of an exceptional order - though I do not mean by this that he placed himself above or outside the common law. The rules he invokes are admitted by the best Doctors of the Church; there is nothing exceptional in them save the circumstances which make them lawful, and condition their application."'



Colin Fry wrote:
But is this a theological error on Savonarola's part, or more a lack of judgment?

An error in theology upon which, inevitably, rested an error of judgement. But that's only my view. The Dominican theologian Hurtaud is quoted above stating that Savonarola's letters were "doctrinally unimpeachable." Anybody may freely choose Hurtaud's opinion if it appeals to him.



Colin Fry wrote:
If he was trying to call a council to make the pope's errors manifest, was he acting against Catholic teaching?

No. This is just another one of those cases in which the most momentous issues are obscure even to very good and learned men. It should be a lesson to us.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:05 am
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:54 am
Posts: 147
New post 
Thank you. I have no objections. Though I am inclined to assume good will on Savonarola's part and believe that it was out of concern for the indefectibility of the Church that he went to the measures he did. Though of course, this should not be an exception to go to either extreme.


Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:24 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.