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New post Robert Siscoe's article
I have been asked for my opinion of this latest "refutation" of the sedevacantist position. I have now obtained a copy (in Word format) and begun reading it. It seems quite good until one gets to the following, at the bottom of the second page:

Quote:
However – and this point is important when considering the Sedevacantist position – the loss of faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. Let me repeat that: A mortal sin against the faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. And if the man who loses the faith happens to be the pope, he does not thereby lose his office. This is a point that is often missed by even the most learned and talented defenders of the sedevacantist position.


Well, we're not ignorant of this, and I for one regard it as a commonplace of theology, not at all controversial. But actually Siscoe's point is purely ad hominem. Siscoe is not, as one might expect, erecting a straw man to demolish. He actually attempts to answer much more serious sedevacantism than this. His point here is purely to discredit most sedevacantists. He is really only mentioning something in passing, which he intends not to address because it's irrelevant, for purely polemical advantage. He would do better to shorten his article considerably, and focus on the points that he really believes to be germane.

Much more egregious than this, however, is his perverse interpretation of the theologian Ballerini, who has this to say:
Quote:
A peril for the faith so imminent and among all the most grave, as this of a Pontiff who, even only privately, defended heresy, would not be able to be supported for long. Why, then, expect the remedy to come from a General Council, whose convocation is not easy? Is it not true that, confronted with such a danger for the faith, any subjects can by fraternal correction warn their superior, resist him to his face, refute him and, if necessary, summon him and press him to repent? The Cardinals, who are his counsellors, can do this; or the Roman Clergy, or the Roman Synod, if, being met, they judge this opportune. For any person, even a private person, the words of Saint Paul to Titus hold: “Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment” (Tit. 3, 10-11).

That is to say, he who has been corrected once or twice and does not change his mind, but is pertinacious in an opinion opposed to a manifest or defined dogma: by this public pertinacity of his, he not only cannot by any means be excused from heresy properly so called, which requires pertinacity; but also openly declares himself a heretic, that is, he declares that he has departed from the Catholic Faith, and from the Church, by his own will, so that no declaration or sentence of anyone is necessary to cut him off from the body of the Church. In this matter the argument given by Saint Jerome in connection with the cited words of Saint Paul is very clear: “Therefore it is said that the heretic has condemned himself: for the fornicator, the adulterer, the homicide and the other sinners are expelled from the Church by the priests; but the heretics pronounce sentence against themselves, excluding themselves from the Church spontaneously: this exclusion which is their condemnation by their own conscience."

...

Therefore the Pontiff who after such a solemn and public warning by the Cardinals, by the Roman Clergy or even by the Synod, maintained himself hardened in heresy and openly turned himself away from the Church, would have to be avoided, according to the precept of Saint Paul. So that he might not cause damage to the rest, he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus, the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church, making clear that by his own will be had turned away and separated himself from the body of the Church, and that in a certain way he had abdicated the Pontificate, which no one holds or can hold if he does not belong to the Church”.


Here Ballerini lays out some truths which on this Web site at least are extremely well known.

1. For any person, even a private person, the words of Saint Paul to Titus hold: “Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment” (Tit. 3, 10-11).

2. That is to say, he who has been corrected once or twice and does not change his mind ... openly declares himself a heretic

3. [And he] declares that he has departed from the Catholic Faith, and from the Church, by his own will, so that no declaration or sentence of anyone is necessary to cut him off from the body of the Church.

4. [And,] So that he might not cause damage to the rest [of the Church], he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus, the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church [i.e. a purely declarative decree, after the fact], making clear that by his own will be had turned away and separated himself from the body of the Church, and that in a certain way he had abdicated the Pontificate [past tense], which no one holds or can hold if he does not belong to the Church.

Siscoe manages to turn this entire doctrinal chain inside out, and claims that according to Ballerini only a warning by the cardinals, by the Roman Clergy or by the Roman Synod would constitute a sufficient warning. Such a view is simply perverse. There's no other word for it.

One final point before I abandon this. Siscoe, almost immediately after he employs, with any attribution at all, the quote from Ballerini which I had sourced from Da Silveira in translation, then obtained the Latin text of, then had James Larrabee re-translate, and finally published in an article ( http://strobertbellarmine.net/Sedevacan ... _Peace.pdf ) adds the following comment:
Robert Siscoe wrote:
If one reads sedevacantist materials (which are usually the same quotations transferred from one website to another)


His own article is replete with quotations cribbed from Da Silveira, especially. That book was made available in the 1990s by Fr. Vaillancourt, at my instigation. It is on this Web site for free download. He has also borrowed freely from original research work done by John S. Daly (which he acknowledges). He has borrowed from James Larrabee's translation of Bellarmine, which he does not acknowledge. None of this really matters, except for the fact that he chooses to throw in a gratuitous ad hominem which actually applies most accurately to his own work.

The more serious point to be drawn out of this is that all traditionalists are open to the ad hominem Siscoe throws our way. The serious scholars - and I mean, really, truly, serious scholars, not just the heretics - don't take traditional Catholics seriously. We're rank amateurs, whereas they have tenure, the Ph. D.'s, the research resources, the training, etc. Trads generally copy and paste the Ottaviani Intervention, Quo Primum, and other such texts, without any academic rigour. The only thing we have is that we're right. We shouldn't be resorting to cheap tactics at all, but especially not cheap shots that apply universally to our fellow traditional Catholics.

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Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:12 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Who is Robert Siscoe, and where does he hold forth?

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Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:38 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
Who is Robert Siscoe, and where does he hold forth?


Ken,

There is a thread about his writings also on the cathifno discussion forum. It appears that many of his points have already been addressed, other than the points which John answered above.

Here is a link to it:

http://www.cathinfo.com/catholic.php/Se ... t-J-Siscoe

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Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:53 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
Who is Robert Siscoe, and where does he hold forth?


He the latest in a long series of people who enjoy a fleeting moment of prominence because they know less about a subject than those who are truly interested in it, and write an article telling the world how they are not convinced about it. Think Laszlo Szijarto, Richard Cure, Christopher Ferrara*, James Larson, John Salza, etc. I reckon I could add another five names if I spent a little more time sifting through my failing memory!

His article appeared in The Remnant, apparently.





* Ferrara at least is known for other things than merely attacking sedevacantism with bad arguments!

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Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:18 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Ken Gordon wrote:
Who is Robert Siscoe, and where does he hold forth?


He the latest in a long series of people who enjoy a fleeting moment of prominence because they know less about a subject than those who are truly interested in it, and write an article telling the world how they are not convinced about it. Think Laszlo Szijarto, Richard Cure, Christopher Ferrara*, James Larson, John Salza, etc. I reckon I could add another five names if I spent a little more time sifting through my failing memory!

His article appeared in The Remnant, apparently.





* Ferrara at least is known for other things than merely attacking sedevacantism with bad arguments!


Another I can remember was Stephen Hand. One common theme I see among all of those who taken it upon themselves to attack this position is that when their arguments are shown to be false, they do not retract or correct themselves in any way. They allow their published works to remain out there for public consumption, even though the errors in their thinking, facts, or theology have been shown to be demonstrably false.

I would hate to think that fellow Catholics think it is alright to lack integrity. In addition to that, to willfully allow error to remain in the public knowing that it would confuse Catholics about theology or the state of the Church is in my mind a possibly sinful act. At the very least is a grave disservice to Catholics seeking the truth about the crisis as it further clouds the truth from those trying to make sense of the crisis and how this all could have come about, and answers as to how it can possibly end.

Another point to ponder on is that ordinarily Catholics are not allowed to write on matters of theology and have it published without approval. So, in doing such things, due to the crisis in the Church, one would envision the greatest humility, as one is taking it upon himself, without the benefit of the censors of the Church to screen his writings, to publish things that could either help or harm Catholics. If it is shown to be erroneous by the force of argument, then one has a duty to correct the damage and at the very least retract the portions that are clearly in error.

When I was a child I was taught by my good Catholic mother to live a virtuous Catholic life, and some of these virtues were honesty and integrity. I could not imagine living life without these virtues. If I am wrong about anything I have ever written on this forum, I ask you on all on here to point it out to me. I have nothing to hide, if I am wrong, then I am wrong and I will admit it. I just wish these folks could have the same spirit.

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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Here is the entire article from The Remnant

Sedevacantism and the Manifest Heretic, Part I

by Robert J. Siscoe

(The following is a slightly edited version of an essay published by the Angelus Press, in their booklet THE PAPACY. It is being republished in three parts with their permission.)

In this three part series, we will consider the question of loss of Papal office due to manifest heresy. We will consider the question in light of distinctions that are often overlooked, but which are critical when considering this question. We will look at some historical examples that have a bearing on the current situation in the Church, such as prelates who taught heresy publicly, and see how the Church and their contemporaries reacted at the time. We’ll consider the opinion of theologians regarding the loss of Papal office due to heresy, and see how such a situation would be dealt with in practice. We will also consider two historical examples of popes who were considered by their contemporaries to have fallen into heresy: one was accused of being an unbeliever who purchased the Papal See through simony, and the other seemed so heretical that he was deposed and replaced by a new pope while still living. We will see what, if anything, these examples tell us about the sedevacantist position.

Internal and External Bonds of the Church

Let us begin by considering the internal and external bonds that unite a man to the Church. The internal spiritual bonds are the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity), sanctifying grace, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The external and visible bonds are profession of the true faith, communion in the same sacraments, and union with the hierarchy, especially the pope, the visible head of the Church.

These internal and external bonds correspond to what St. Robert Bellarmine and various catechisms refer to as the body and soul of the Church. Before proceeding, a word of caution should be mentioned regarding the use of these terms. During the first half of the 20th Century, certain theologians of a more liberal bent began using these terms as signifying two separate Churches. They implied that the Roman Catholic Church, the body, was one Church, while the Mystical Body of Christ, the soul, was a separate Church. The late Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton published several articles in The American Ecclesiastical Review in which he strongly resisted this erroneous use of the terms.

Pope Pius XII also reacted to this error in the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi (1943) and then again in Humani Generis (1950), when he taught that “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing”, and referred to those who were undermining this truth as being “deceived by imprudent zeal for souls”.

The soul and body of the Church should not be understood as two separate beings, or as if the former merely “subsists” in the latter, while at the same time “present and operative” within other religious bodies. Rather, the soul and body are two distinct parts of the one Church of Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Ottaviani expressed it as follows: “There is only one true Church of Jesus Christ… The visible Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are one and the same reality considered from different aspects”. (1)

With this cautionary note in mind, it should also be said that the distinction between the body and soul of the Church, when properly understood, can serve as a useful analogy in understanding the nature and being of the one Church, as well as the various bonds, internal and external, that unite a man to the Church. The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X explains the body and soul of the Church as follows:

“Question: In what does the Soul of the Church consist? Answer: The Soul of the Church consists in her internal and spiritual endowments, that is, faith, hope, charity, the gifts of grace and of the Holy Ghost, together with all the heavenly treasures which are hers through the merits of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and of the Saints”.

“Question: In what does the Body of the Church consist? Answer. The Body of the Church consists in her external and visible aspect, that is, in the association of her members, in her worship, in her teaching-power and in her external rule and government”.

The internal spiritual bonds unite a man to the soul of the Church, while the visible bonds unite him to the body.
Now, a man can be perfectly or imperfectly united to the body of the Church, and perfectly or imperfectly united to the soul. One is perfectly united to the soul of the Church when he possesses all three theological virtues – faith, hope and charity - and is thereby living the supernatural life of grace. He is imperfectly united to the soul of the Church when he possesses supernatural faith – or faith and hope – but is cut off from the life of grace (e.g. a Catholic in mortal sin). Perfect union with the soul of the Church is absolutely necessary for salvation.

Perfect union with the body of the Church exists when one is a formal member of the Roman Catholic Church. Imperfect union with the body exists when one desires to be joined to the Church (e.g. a Catechumen). The latter is said to be united to the body of the Church in voto (desire), and not in re (in actuality). In certain circumstances, this imperfect union can suffice for salvation. Before proceeding, let us demonstrate this by the following scenario.

Let us imagine a man who was validly baptized in a non-Catholic sect as a child. When he reached adulthood, through prayer and study he arrived at the firm belief that the Roman Catholic Church was the true Church, and immediately began taking instructions from a local Priest. In addition to believing all that the Church taught, during the time of his instruction, but before being formally received into the Church, he received a special grace from God enabling him to make an act of perfect contrition for his past sins, and thereby obtained the state of grace. If the man died in this state before being formally received into the Church, his perfect union with the soul of the Church, combined with his desire and intent to formally enter the body of the Church, would suffice for salvation. Just as the will and intent to sin satisfies the requirement for mortal sin (Mt. 5:28), so too the will and intent to formally join the Church can suffice in place of actual membership in certain circumstances. To conclude this point, in order to be saved, a person must die perfectly united to the soul of the Church (must possess faith, hope and charity), and be united to the body at least in voto.

Matter and Form of Heresy[/b]

Material heresy, or the matter of heresy, is a belief that is contrary to a defined dogma – a belief at variance with what a Catholic must accept with divine and Catholic Faith. The matter of heresy exists in the intellect and can be present with innocent ignorance, or with sinful pertinacity in the will.

The form of heresy – what renders an erroneous belief formally heretical - is pertinacity in the will. When a person knowingly rejects a dogma of the faith, or when he willfully doubts a defined dogma, he is guilty of formal heresy in the internal forum (the realm of conscience). And since heresy is contrary to faith, a person who willfully disbelieves a single article of faith immediately loses all supernatural faith. Just as one mortal sin removes all supernatural charity (grace) from the soul, so too a single heresy removes all supernatural faith.

St. Thomas: “Just as mortal sin is contrary to charity, so is disbelief in one article of faith contrary to faith. Now charity does not remain in a man after one mortal sin. Therefore neither does faith, after a man disbelieves one article… Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article, has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will”. (2)

A man who is guilty of the sin of heresy immediately loses all supernatural faith; and since faith is the foundation of the supernatural life, when faith is lost, so too are the theological virtues of hope and charity, which, along with faith, unite a man to the soul of the Church. Therefore, when one loses the faith – the foundation of the supernatural life - he is completely severed from the soul of the Church.

However – and this point is important when considering the sedevacantist position – the loss of faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. Let me repeat that: A mortal sin against faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. And if the man who loses the faith happens to be pope, he does not thereby lose his office. This is a crucial point that is often missed by even the most learned defenders of the sedevacantist position.

Formal heresy in the internal forum only severs a man from the soul of the Church. It requires formal heresy in the external forum to sever a man from the body of the Church and, without getting too far ahead of ourselves, formal heresy in the external forum is declared heresy – either declared by the proper authorities, or else “declared” by the individual himself who becomes a notorious and publicly manifest heretic (more on this point later).

In all the discussions this author has had with defenders of the sedevacantist position, only two have been aware of this important point. All others erroneously believe that the sin of heresy (internal forum), and consequent loss of faith, severed a man from the body of the Church, thereby causing a pope who loses the faith to lose his office.

Why is this point significant? It is significant because a false premise results in erroneous reasoning and often leads to a false conclusion. If one believes that a pope who loses the faith thereby loses his office, even if the pope in question has not openly and clearly denied a defined dogma, they could easily reason their way to the conclusion that a pope who was suspect of heresy had thereby lost his office; or that such a man, who they suspect to have been a heretic prior to his election, was not a valid candidate for the Papacy, since a heretic is not eligible to be elected pope. Yet this would be erroneous reasoning since the loss of faith in and of itself (which is not equivalent to formal heresy in the external forum) does not result in the loss of office; nor does it prevent a man from being validly elected pope since de internis ecclesia non judica (the Church does not judge internals).

In the following quote, the great Jesuit Suarez explains that faith is not absolutely necessary for a man to hold office and retain jurisdiction in the Church. He explains that a pope who is a heretic (internal forum) is indeed cut off from the “substance and form” (the soul) of the Church, but nevertheless remains the visible head of the body, and therefore retains charge and action.

Suarez: “[T]he faith is not absolutely necessary in order that a man be capable of spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction and be able to exercise true acts which demand this jurisdiction …. The foregoing is obvious, granted that, as is taught in the treatises on penance and censures, in case of extreme necessity a priest heretic may absolve, which is not possible without jurisdiction. (…) The Pope heretic is not a member of the Church as far as the substance and form [soul] which constitute the members of the Church; but he is the head as far as the charge and action; and this is not surprising, since he is not the primary and principal head who acts by his own power, but is as it were instrumental, he is the vicar of the principal head, who is able to exercise his spiritual action over the members even by means of a head of bronze; analogously, he baptizes at times by means of heretics, at times he absolves, etc., as we have already said”. (3)

The French canonist Bouix (+ 1870) teaches the same:

“Faith is not necessary for a man to be capable of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and that he might exercise true acts which require such jurisdiction. (…) Moreover, the power of orders, which in its way is superior, can remain without faith, that is, with heresy; therefore ecclesiastical jurisdiction can do so too (…) To the argument that, not being a member of the Church [the soul], the heretical Pope is not the head of the Church either [the body] … one can give the following answer: I concede that the Pope heretic is not a member and head of the Church in so far as the supernatural life which commences by faith and is completed by charity [the soul], by which all the members of the Church are united in one body supernaturally alive; but I deny that he might not be a member and head of the Church as far as the governing power [the body] proper to his charge”. (4)

We find the same teaching in the writings of St. Robert Bellarmine who taught that a pope who is an occult (secret) heretic remains pope. Occult heresy is formal heresy – the sin of heresy - in the internal forum, but which has not become manifest in the external forum. In the following quote from Bellarmine, we see that an occult heretic remains externally united to the Church, and if the heretic in question is a Pope, he retains his office.

Bellarmine: "[O]ccult heretics are still of the Church, they are parts and members… therefore the Pope who is an occult heretic is still Pope. This is also the opinion of the other authors whom we cite in book De Ecclesia. …the occult heretics are united and are members although only by external union; on the contrary, the good catechumens belong to the Church only by an internal union, not by the external”. (5)

To be clear, an occult heretic is not a person in material error, but rather a formal heretic in the internal forum – that is, one who is guilty of the sin of heresy and who has thereby lost the faith. Commenting on the above quote from Bellarmine, the great 20th Century Thomist, Fr. Reginald Garrigou Lagrange, wrote the following:

“This condition is quite abnormal, hence no wonder that something abnormal results from it, namely, that the pope becoming secretly a heretic would no longer be an actual member of the Church [the soul], according to the teaching as explained in the body of the article, but would still retain his jurisdiction by which he would influence the Church [the body] in ruling it. Thus he would still be nominally the head of the Church, which he would still rule as head, though he would no longer be a member of Christ, because he would not receive that vital influx of faith from Christ, the invisible and primary head. Thus in quite an abnormal manner he would be in point of jurisdiction the head of the Church, though he would not be a member of it.

“This condition could not apply to the natural head in its relation to the body, but such a condition is not repugnant in the case of the moral and secondary head. The reason is that, whereas the natural head must receive a vital influx from the soul before it can influence the members of its body, the moral head, such as the pope is, can exercise his jurisdiction over the Church, although he receives no influx of interior faith and charity from the soul of the Church. More briefly, as Billuart says, the pope is constituted a member of the Church by his personal faith, which he can lose, and his headship of the visible Church by jurisdiction and power is compatible with private heresy. The Church will always consist in the visible union of its members with its visible head, namely, the pope of Rome, although some, who externally seem to be members of the Church, may be private heretics”. (6)

So, while the loss of faith completely severs a man from the soul of the Church – from the internal bonds that unite him to Christ and the Church - nevertheless, such spiritual shipwreck does not, in and of itself, sever him from the body of the Church. Therefore, a pope who loses the faith does not, for that reason alone, automatically lose his office and jurisdiction.

Now St. Bellarmine is of the opinion that a pope who becomes a manifest heretic does automatically cease to be pope, but let us not equate the sin of heresy and the consequent loss of faith, with manifest heresy. The sin of heresy can be present in the internal forum alone, or it can be manifest in the external form. As long as the heresy does not become publicly notorious the person remains a member of the body of the Church, and if the person in question is a Pope or Bishop, they retain their jurisdiction.

To be continued in Part II


Last edited by RJS on Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:52 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Sedevacantism and the Manifest Heretic, Part II

by Robert J. Siscoe

Suspicion of Heresy

Before considering what constitutes manifest heresy, or public and notorious heresy - a crime and violation of divine law that some believe results in immediate loss of office for a Pope - let us consider some actions that merely render a man suspect of heresy – which, it should be noted, does not result in the immediate loss of office for a Bishop or Pope.

The 1917 code of canon law teaches that to knowingly and willingly assist in the propagation of heresy (canon 2316), or to actively assist at sacred functions of non-Catholics (ibid.) only renders a man suspect of heresy. The highly respected commentary on the 1917 code of canon law by Wernz-Vidal, teaches that there is merely suspicion of heresy in those who take part in the exercise of magic, of charms or of divination, and of those who become members of sects which, whether openly or secretly, hatch plots against the Church. (7)

To be clear, a man caught in any of these acts is not thereby considered a manifest heretic, but is only considered suspect of heresy. And what is the penalty for such actions?

“Canon 2315 affirms that ‘the suspect of heresy who, once he has been admonished, does not remove the cause of the suspicion is to be prohibited from legitimate actions and, if he be a cleric, when the warning has been once repeated in vain, he will be suspended a divinis; and if the suspect of heresy does not amend himself in the space of six full months, starting from the moment when he incurred the penalty, he will be considered as a heretic, subject to the penalties of heretics’. Let us observe from this how patient and prudent the Church is in respect of such people. In addition to the warning which must be reiterated in the case of a cleric, she gives six months for the retraction or for ultimate clarifications before imposing the penalties proper to heretics. These penalties are not automatic; rather, they must be imposed by the bishop who may ultimately have reasons for not putting them into effect”. (8)

So a man can propagate heresy, practice magic, or be a member of a secret sect that hatches plots against the Church, and he is only considered suspect of heresy, and allowed six months to amend before being considered a heretic. And if the man is a Bishop, he retains his jurisdiction. As the above quotation says, “let us observe from this how patient and prudent the Church is in respect of such people”.

But consider how easily one could reason their way to a false conclusion if they erroneously believed that the sin of heresy, as such, results in the loss of Papal office. How easy would it be for one to conclude that a Pope who was caught “in the exercise of magic”, or “propagating heresy”, or who took “active part in non-Catholic worship” had lost the faith, and thereby lost his office? But as we have seen, the loss of faith in and of itself does not result in the loss of office; neither do the actions which merely render a man suspect of heresy. From this we can see how a false premise results in erroneous reasoning and easily leads to a false conclusion.

Before we discuss the issue of manifest heresy, let’s consider the following hypothetical case. Let’s imagine a Bishop, or perhaps an Archbishop, who publicly preached heresy to a body of important governmental figures. We’ll say that the heresy in question was a public denial of a basic truth of the faith, such as the dogma that the Pope is the head of the universal Church. And let’s say the liberal media gleefully published this throughout the region for all to read, thereby resulting in untold scandal to the faithful. And to take it a bit further, let’s say that this Archbishop was warned by the Pope himself that his belief was heretical (thereby removing any chance of innocent ignorance), yet retracted nothing.

Should such a man be considered a manifest heretic? And if so, would he have immediately lost his office? I venture to say that most, if not all sedevacantist apologists would respond in the affirmative before citing a litany of Saints, Doctors, and canonists to support their position. In fact, many would say that a Catholic who remained in union with such a man should be considered a heretic themselves for remaining in union with a public heretic. Is this not the kind of reasoning sedevacantists often engage in?

Yet this hypothetical scenario of the Archbishop is not hypothetical at all. It is instead the historical case of Msgr. Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who lived at the time of Pope Pius IX – the Pope in the above story who warned him that his public position was heretical.

The following historical account of the Darboy affair is taken from the article Heresy in History, written by the sedevacantist author, John Daly, who no one can accuse of distorting the facts in order to undermine the position he himself holds. Let us consider what Mr. Daly wrote about the case of Archbishop Darboy.

“In 1865 Mgr Darboy, archbishop of Paris and member of the French senate expressed in an important speech to the senate ideas clearly opposed to the divinely instituted primacy of the Roman Pontiff over the entire Church, which, unlike papal infallibility, already belonged to the corps of Catholic doctrine. The speech was a public defiance of the pope and a refusal to recognize the pope's ordinary and universal jurisdiction in the dioceses of France.

“Pope Pius IX, already aware of the ideas of this wayward bishop, reprimanded him sternly in a private letter in which he reminds him that his stated ideas are comparable to those of Febronius (already condemned) and opposed to the teaching of the IVth Lateran Council. In the same letter the pope complained also of the presence of Mgr Darboy at the funeral of a freemason and other scandals.

“Darboy did not reply to the pope for some months and, when he finally did so, adopted a haughty tone to justify himself and to rebuke the pope! He retracted nothing whatever of the errors which had been reported throughout France with glee by the anti-Catholic press! … Nothing was done and in 1867 he met the pope in Rome, but, contrary to the hope he had given, did not mention the subject of this conflict at all.

“In 1868 a new clash ensued between Mgr Darboy and Rome, when the private letter of the pope dated 1865 was "leaked" and widely published. Still Rome allowed the situation to “ride” and meanwhile the Vatican Council was in preparation. Before and at the council, Darboy, needless to say, opposed the dogma of papal infallibility. For more than five years, despite the rebukes of the pope and of the nuncio, he never withdrew his extremely public errors against the faith. And then when the council proclaimed the dogmas concerning the pope, in 1870, he did not adhere to them. On 2nd March 1871, he at last informed the pope privately of his adherence to these dogmas, and even then he continued to delay before carrying out his duty of promulgating these decrees in his diocese. Only that promulgation at last constituted an implicit withdrawal of the false doctrines he was on public record as holding, despite the rebuke of the pope, since 1865.

“Now was Mgr Darboy during that period a public heretic or not? If one answers "yes", one is in manifest disagreement with Ven. Pope Pius IX. And of course those who not only accuse others lightly of heresy, but even hold that remaining in communion with un-condemned heretics is an act of heresy, schism or at best a grave public sin entailing exclusion from the sacraments must conclude that all the Catholics of Paris, laity and clergy, simultaneously fell from grace by continuing to recognize Darboy as their bishop even when they deplored his behaviour”. (9)

As Mr. Daly asked, was Msgr. Darboy a public heretic or not? After all, aren’t we told by sedevacantist apologists that if someone makes a heretical statement pertinacity is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proven (10), and that “if the delinquent… be a cleric, his plea for mitigation must be dismissed” due to his “ecclesiastical training in the seminary (11). And don’t they conclude from this that a Bishop who makes a heretical statement has “publicly defected from the faith” (canon 188.4) and thereby lost his office? And further, that we are morally bound to withdraw from communion with the one they declare to be a public heretic lest we share in the heretic’s guilt?

Yet here we have the example of a Bishop who taught heresy in pubic, and “retracted nothing” after being warned by the Pope himself that his teaching was heretical. Yet Pius IX – the pope who gave us the Syllabus of Errors, Quanta Cura, and who ratified the First Vatican Council – remained in union with the man! If the sedevacantists were consistent, should they not conclude that Pius IX was an antipope for remaining in union with a “public heretic”? And what would this say about the First Vatican Council that he presided over and ratified?

Or could it be that the sedevacantist apologists are rash in claiming that a Bishop or pope who says something false, or seeming heretical, qualifies as a public heretic? Could it be that their interpretation and private application of canon law is erroneous?

Let’s consider just one more example from Mr. Daly’s article, which is of additional interest since it involves St. Robert Bellarmine, whom sedevacantists often quote as an authority for their position. Let us see how St. Bellarmine reacted to a professor and celebrated theologian from the university of Louvain who was publicly teaching heresy. And let us compare this example of a Saint and Doctor of the Church to the rashness of the sedevacantist apologists in our day.

“Doctor Michel de Bay (Baius), born in 1513 took part in the council of Trent and became a celebrated theologian at the university of Louvain where he opposed the Protestants, and in particular the Calvinists. ‘He seems to have been activated by a sincere desire to defend the Church, but...like so many of the Church's impulsive and ill-equipped champions he fell into the very errors which he had set out to destroy.’ (Brodrick: Blessed Robert Bellarmine, Vol. II, p. 3) From his youth he had a love of novelty disguised as a return to more ancient traditions. He affected to disdain the scholastics, without being very familiar with them, and to adhere instead to St Augustine.

“A pronounced vice in his character was the ease with which he called heretics all those who failed to agree with his theological ideas, which, of course, he considered to be manifestly the only orthodox ones. From 1551 onwards he spread his errors from his professorial chair. In 1561 Pope Pius IV imposed silence on him, which he did not respect. In 1567 St Pius V drew up a decree condemning 79 of his theses, without promulgating it. De Bay was sent a copy and defended himself; reading his defense determined the pope to give public confirmation to the condemnation, in which several of de Bay's ideas were qualified as heretical. De Bay himself, out of charity, was not named, as it was hoped that his opposition to the doctrines of the Church was not conscious.

“De Bay made himself the model of the future Jansenists… by pretending to submit, without changing his beliefs in the slightest. He continued to spread his errors on the pretext that the decree condemned only false interpretations of his thinking.

“St Robert Bellarmine arrived in Louvain as professor of theology also. From 1570 to 1576 he publicly opposed the errors of de Bay in his lectures, but without ever naming him. In speaking of him he always considered him as a learned Catholic, most worthy of respect, and at this time called him "prudent, pious, humble, erudite".

“Nonetheless St Robert never ceased to hope for a new condemnation of his errors, and this appeared in 1579 (Pope Gregory XIII).

“Bellarmine returned to Rome and later the Venerable Leonard Lessius came to replace him at Louvain. By way of preparatory information, Bellarmine told him that in his opinion the doctrine of de Bay and his disciples on the subject of predestination was heretical.

“Lessius wrote from Louvain to Bellarmine at Rome, informing him that de Bay continued to spread his errors in private, even after the new condemnation, and sometimes even in public, and that his numerous disciples propagated them with great enthusiasm.

“Supported by the advice of Bellarmine, Lessius continued to oppose these errors in his lectures, but without ever naming him or condemning the man who was the source of so much evil, and the precursor of Jansenism.

“Now in the light of this account, one is forced to ask whether some sedevacantists in our days are not very much prompter than St Robert Bellarmine was in identifying pertinacity, and more animated by the bad example of de Bay himself than by the good example of St Robert and of the Ven Leonard Lessius. For in the light of the principles of those who call all SSPX followers heretics or schismatics, and place all traditional priests save one or two in the same bag, how is it possible to deny that de Bay was a heretic? And that granted, how is it possible for them not to condemn St Robert Bellarmine, doctor of the Church, for having remained in communion with (and even praised) one whose heretical doctrines and manifest bad faith he was all too well aware of?

“Once again, if the Church presumes all who go astray in doctrine to be pertinacious, St Robert Bellarmine was clearly not aware of it. And while it can be possible to recognize someone as a pertinacious heretic even before the intervention of the Holy See, the fact remains that St Robert was slower to draw that conclusion, even after several Roman condemnations, than some are today when relying only on their own judgment of what seems evident”. (12)

Here we see St. Robert Bellarmine’s reaction to a man who continued to teach errors that had been formally condemned by the Church, but who himself had not been named in the condemnation. How did St. Bellarmine react to this man? Did he condemn him as a manifest heretic? Did he withdraw from communion with him and declare that all others must follow him, lest they share in the public heretic’s guilt? On the contrary, although the Saint desired that another condemnation of his errors would be forthcoming, in the meantime he treated him with respect and even referred to him as “prudent, pious, humble, erudite”. Neither did he assume pertinacity, even though one could have easily drawn such a conclusion since de Bay continued to promote his errors, which had just been condemned by the Church.

With Mr. Daly we must ask “whether some sedevacantists in our days are not very much prompter than St Robert Bellarmine was in identifying pertinacity, and more animated by the bad example of de Bay himself than by the good example of St Robert and of the Ven Leonard Lessius”. The answer to this rhetorical question is obvious.

We will now consider the issue of publicly manifest heresy.


Public Heretic

Some theologians have held that if a pope became a manifest heretic he would automatically lose his office, thereby rendering the Chair of Peter vacant. The great Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, was of this opinion. He wrote:

Bellarmine: “[T]the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church”. (13)

The question we must consider is what constitutes manifest heresy in the external or public forum? According to the late Canon Gregory Hesse, who held a Ph.D. in canon law and Thomistic theology, a formal heretic in the external forum is a declared heretic. He explained that a heretic can be declared in one of two ways: either he is declared a heretic by the proper authorities, or he declares himself a heretic. But how would a person declare themself to be a formal heretic?

Since formal heresy requires pertinacity, in order for a statement that is materially false to be considered formally heretical in the external forum, pertinacity would also have to be manifest. Without a formal declaration by the Church, and short of the man in question leaving the Church, or publicly admitting that he rejects a defined dogma, pertinacity would have to be demonstrated another way. The other way, according to St. Robert Bellarmine, would be for the man to remain manifestly obstinate after two warnings. Only then would pertinacity be demonstrated in the external form, thereby rendering him a manifest heretic.

Bellarmine: “The fourth opinion is that of Cajetan, for whom the manifestly heretical Pope is not “ipso facto” deposed, but can and must be deposed by the Church. To my judgment, this opinion cannot be defended. For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority, and from reason, that the manifest heretic is “ipso facto” deposed. The argument from authority is based on Saint Paul, who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate – which means before any excommunication or judicial sentence”. (14)

So according to St. Bellarmine, who bases his opinion on St. Paul, a heretic is considered to be manifestly obstinate after receiving two warnings. But who would be responsible for warning the Pope? The eminent eighteenth-century Italian theologian, Father Pietro Ballerini, discusses this very point.

Fr. Ballerini: “The Cardinals, who are his counselors, can do this; or the Roman Clergy, or the Roman Synod, if, being met, they judge this opportune. For any person, even a private person, the words of Saint Paul to Titus hold: ‘Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment’ (Tit. 3, 10-11). For the person, who admonished once or twice, does not repent, but continues pertinacious in an opinion contrary to a manifest or public dogma - not being able, on account of this public pertinacity to be excused, by any means, of heresy properly so called, which requires pertinacity - this person declares himself openly a heretic. He reveals that by his own will he has turned away from the Catholic Faith and the Church, in such form that now no declaration or sentence of any one whatsoever is necessary to cut him from the body of the Church. (…) Therefore the Pontiff who after such a solemn and public warning by the Cardinals, by the Roman Clergy or even by the Synod, maintained himself hardened in heresy and openly turned himself away from the Church, would have to be avoided, according to the precept of Saint Paul. So that he might not cause damage to the rest, he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus, the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church, making clear that by his own will be had turned away and separated himself from the body of the Church, and that in a certain way he had abdicated the Pontificate, which no one holds or can hold if he does not belong to the Church”. (15)

In the next quote, the great Jesuit Suarez comments on this same point:

Suarez: “I affirm: if he were a heretic and incorrigible, the Pope would cease to be Pope just when a sentence was passed against him for his crime, by the legitimate jurisdiction of the Church. This is the common opinion among the doctors, and it is gathered from the first epistle of Saint Clement I, in which one reads that Saint Peter taught that a Pope heretic must be deposed. (…) In the first place, who ought to pronounce such a sentence? Some say that it would be the Cardinals; and the Church would be able undoubtedly to attribute to them this faculty, above all if it were thus established by the consent or determination of the Supreme Pontiffs, as was done in regard to the election. But up to today we do not read in any place that such a judgment has been confided to them. For this reason, one must affirm that, as such, it pertains to all the Bishops of the Church, for, being the ordinary pastors and the pillars of the Church, one must consider that such a case concerns them. And since by divine law there is no greater reason to affirm that the matter is of more interest to these bishops than to those, and since by human law nothing has been established in the matter, one must necessarily sustain that the case refers to all, and even to the general council. That is the common opinion among the doctors”. (16)

A pope who merely seems to have lost the Faith, or who has made statements that are erroneous or even heretical, yet who has not openly left the Church or been publicly warned, does not constitute a manifest heretic. And since no such warnings have been given to any of the post-Vatican II popes, either before or after their election, none of them qualify as a manifest heretic.

And it should also be noted that many theologians have held that a manifestly heretical pope does not automatically lose his office. According to Suarez, this was the common opinion in his day.

Suarez: “[I]in no case, even that of heresy, is the Pontiff deprived of his dignity and of his power immediately by God himself, before the judgment and sentence of men. This is the common opinion today”. (ibid.)

If one reads sedevacantist materials (which are usually the same quotations transferred from one website to another), they are left with the impression that virtually all agree that a Pope who becomes a manifest heretic automatically loses his office. Yet as we just saw, it was the common opinion in Suarez’ day that a heretical pope could only be deprived of his office by the judgment and sentence of men.

Below, Suarez explains why a Pope would not lose his office without a judgment and declaration of men, and then list the effects that would result if a declaration was not necessary – “effects” that sound like prophecies today.

Suarez: “[I]f the external but occult heretic (17) can still remain the true Pope, with equal right he can continue to be so in the event that the offense became known, as long as sentence were not passed on him. And this for two reasons: because no one suffers a penalty if it is not “ipso facto” or by sentence, and because in this way would arise even greater evils. In effect, there would arise doubt about the degree of infamy necessary for him to lose his charge; there would rise schisms because of this, and everything would become uncertain, above all if, after being known as a heretic, the Pope should have maintained himself in possession of his charge by force or by other”. (ibid.)

Do these prophetic words not reflect the situation today for those who reject what was, according to Suarez, the common opinion of his day? How many “popes” have been elected by the sedevacantists to date? Well over a dozen. And how many more schisms are there between the various sedevacantist groups who have not gone so far as to elect their own pope?

And it should be noted that others have argued that a Pope could not be deprived of his office, even due to public heresy, because of the harm it would do to the Church. While this is only a minority opinion, the following teaching of the French canonist Bouix is worth citing.

D. Bouix: “There is not sufficient reason to think that Christ had determined that an heretical Pope could be deposed. … We deny absolutely, however, that Christ could have established as a remedy the deposition of the Pope. For … such a remedy would be worse than the evil itself. Indeed, one either supposes that this deposition would be carried out by Christ himself, as soon as the Pope were declared a heretic by a general council according to the doctrine of Suarez, or one supposes that it would be realized by virtue of the authority of the general council itself. Now, in both cases the evil would be aggravated, and not remedied. For the doctrine according to which Christ himself would depose the Pope heretic, as soon as the General council declared him a heretic, is no more than an opinion, rejected by any, and with which it is licit, for anyone whatsoever, to disagree. … Such being the case, even after it were declared by a General Council that a certain Pope were a heretic, it would absolutely not become certain that that Pope would be deposed; and in such a doubt one must rather continue to respect his authority. If another Pope were elected not only would he be of uncertain legitimacy, but he would even have to be branded as an intruder. Therefore, the remedy of a deposition made by Christ in the moment of a conciliar declaration, not only would not remedy the evil, but would create an evil much more grave, that is, a most intricate schism. Consequently, by no means should one think that Christ established such a remedy. But neither should one think that He established as a remedy deposition by the authority of the council itself. For, the deposition of a Pope by a council, besides being impossible, as will be said further on, would be followed by a worse evil if it were possible”. (18)

Although the above citation represents a minority opinion, it shows that whether or not a pope would automatically lose his office through manifest heresy is an open question.

To be concluded in Part III

Footnotes:

Essay on Heresy, by Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira
8 ) ibid.
9) Heresy in History
10) “The very commission of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for juridical presumption of heretical depravity” McKenzie, The Delict of Heresy, CU Canon Law Studies 77
11) ibid.
12) Heresy in History
13) De Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2
14) ibid.
15) De Potestate Ecclesiastica, pgs.104-105
16) De Fide, disp. X, sect. VI, nn. 3-10, pg. 316-317
17) An external but occult heretic is one who has manifested his heresy to a small group, but not to the general public
18) Tract. de Papa, tom. II, pgs. 670-671


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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Sedevacantism and the Manifest Heretic, Part III

by Robert J. Siscoe

Hypothetical vs. Practical

But even if one does hold to the opinion of St. Bellarmine, namely, that a pope who becomes a manifest heretic automatically loses his office - this is only a hypothetical question, and as such is the object of the speculative intellect, which is merely concerned with the consideration of a truth (19). But when faced with the actual situation – not merely the hypothetical question – the difficulty arises of how to apply the principle in practice, including who has the authority to make the necessary judgments and declaration. These are two distinct issues: one hypothetical and the other practical. On the practical level, if faced with a heretical pope, or at least a pope who seems to be a heretic, who would have the authority to determine that he had crossed the line into manifest heresy and thereby lost his office?

In the following quote, taken from Elements of Ecclesiastical Law (1895), Sabastian B. Smith discusses the two-fold opinion with respect to the hypothetical question of a heretical pope, and then explains how it would be dealt with on the practical level.

“Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate? Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment, divested ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals. The question is hypothetical rather than practical”. (20)

As we can see, while there are two common opinions with respect to the hypothetical question, “both opinions agree” when it comes to the practical aspect. And what both opinions agree on is that, on the practical level, it would require a declaration of heresy from the Church in order for the pope to be removed.

Sedevacantist apologists often quote St. Francis de Sales saying: “Now when he [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church…”. That quotation usually ends in mid sentence with an ellipsis. But interestingly, if you read the full sentence you see that he is actually alluding to both hypothetical opinions mentioned above, as well as the practical application. This is evident because the Saint immediately says the Church must either depriving him or declaring him to be deprived. This is the entire quote:

"We do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he is explicitly a heretic he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric - Acts 1 (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church). (21)

Notice he says “the Church must deprive him” or “declare him deprived”. Either way, it requires a judgment and declaration by the Church. So whether a person holds to the opinion that a pope automatically loses his office through manifest heresy, or to the opinion that he is only deposable, it does not follow that individual laymen, or even individual priests, have the authority to make such judgment and declaration. Regardless of which opinion one holds, on the practical level a judgment of guilt must be made, and such a judgment belongs to the proper authorities alone.

To confirm this point, St. Thomas teaches that it belongs to one and the same authority to write the law, interpret the law, and apply it to particular cases:

St. Thomas: “Since judgment should be pronounced according to the written law, as stated above, he that pronounces judgment, interprets, in a way, the letter of the law, by applying it to some particular case. Now since it belongs to the same authority to interpret and to make a law, just as a law cannot be made except by public authority, so neither can a judgment be pronounced except by public authority, which extends over those who are subject to the community”. (22)

Individual laymen and individual priests have no authority to interpret and apply canon law or divine law to particular cases, much less to make public declarations. Such judgments and declarations belong to the proper authorities.

Commenting on the words of St. Jerome, who taught that a heretic departs on his own from the body of the Church, John of St. Thomas explains that this does not preclude a judgment from the Church. He then applies this to a heretical pope specifically. He wrote:

"St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned". (John of St. Thomas) (23)


Historical Examples

There have been times in the past when scandalous popes have held office; and there have been instances in which men who lived during those times believed the pope was not a true pope. One example is Jerome Savonarola who lived at the time of Pope Alexander VI - a truly scandalous pope. Not only did Savonarola accuse Alexander VI of being an unbeliever, but he also accused him of acquiring the Papacy through simony. This is what he wrote Charles VIII:

“The Church has been invaded from head to foot by ignominy and iniquity… I declare to you in the name of God that this Alexander VI is not the Pope and cannot pass off as such. Beside the infamy he committed in buying the Pontifical See by an act of simony … (and) his other vices which are well-known to everyone, I declare that he is not a Christian, that he does not even believe in the existence of God, which surpasses all the limits of incredulity" (24)

That was the opinion of a man who lived at the time of Pope Alexander VI. Yet in spite of the above testimony from one of his contemporaries, as well as all that history tells us about the scandals of Pope Alexander VI, the Church has never declared that he was not a true pope, or that he lost his office. He may have acquired the Papacy through simony, he may have lost the faith and “surpassed all the limits of incredulity”, yet a sentence was never passed against him by the Church, and as such the Church has never taught that he ceased to be pope.

And it should also be noted that Sovanarola - the very man who attempted to persuade Charles VIII that Alexander VI was “not the Pope” - submitted to the excommunication that he incurred from Alexander VI, and, just before being put to death, knelt at the feet of Bishop Romolino to receive the blessing and indulgence granted to him by the same Pope.

On the other hand, we have the story of Pope Liberius, who, according to the judgment of his contemporaries, fell into the Arian heresy. What was the response of his contemporaries? The Roman clergy – who at the time had the responsibility of electing the Pope – reacted by deposing Pope Liberius, and electing Pope Felix II in his place. Although the move was controversial at the time, St. Bellarmine defended the action taken by the Roman clergy. This is what he wrote:

St. Bellarmine: "Then two years later came the lapse of Liberius, of which we have spoken above. Then indeed the Roman clergy, stripping Liberius of his pontifical dignity, went over to Felix, whom they knew to be a Catholic. From that time, Felix began to be the true Pontiff. For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly be taken from him”. (25)

Here we have the case of a validly elected Pope being deposed by a “judgment and sentence” of the proper authorities, and a new Pope being elected in his place. This, however, does not support the sedevacantist position, since the action was taken by those had the authority to do so. This in no way implies that individual laymen have the authority to declare a pope to have lost his office due to heresy. It only shows that such measures are possible for the proper authority.

A future Pope or council may posthumously condemn the last several Popes for heresy, as the Third Council of Constantinople did with Pope Honorious I (26). But such actions are the responsibility of the proper ecclesiastical authorities alone. Before any such action is taken, it is the height of presumption and rashness for a laymen, or an individual priest, to usurp the authority that does not belong to them by making judgments and public “declarations” that they have no authority to make.

St. Thomas mentions three instances in which judgment is unlawful. One of the three is called “judgment by usurpation”, and takes place “when a man judges about matters wherein he has no authority”. (27) It is one thing to have a personal opinion about a matter that one has no authority to judge, and quite another to declare one’s personal opinion to be a fact. Such an unjust action is further aggravated when it is then implied that others have an obligation to accept their “declaration”. Such a usurpation of authority is, as St. Thomas teaches, contrary to justice:

St. Thomas: “Wherefore even as it would be unjust for one man to force another to observe a law that was not approved by public authority, so too it is unjust, if a man compels another to submit to a judgment that is pronounced by other than the public authority”. (28)

Even Savonarola, who personally believed Alexander VI was an unbeliever who purchased the Papal office through simony, sought to have a Council make the declaration. He realized that although he personally believed the Pope was not a real Pope, he had no authority to make such a definitive judgment and formal declaration; nor did he imply that others had an obligation to agree with his personal opinion. Neither did he claim that others must withdraw from communion with Alexander VI, lest they be guilty of remaining in union with a “public heretic”. And, as we saw above, in the end Savonarola acknowledged that Alexander was a true Pope, when he knelt at the feet of Bishop Romolino to receive Alevander VI’s Papal Blessing.

Heretic Cannot Be Elected Pope

The last point we will consider is the teaching that a heretic cannot be elected pope. The sedevacantist apologists provide a number of citations to support this position. The following is one such quote:

“Appointment to the office of the Primacy. What is required by divine law for this appointment: The person appointed must be a man who possesses the use of reason, due to the ordination the Primate must receive to possess the power of Holy Orders. This is required for the validity of the appointment. Also required for validity is that the man appointed be a member of the Church. Heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are therefore excluded”. (29)

Citations such as this are not referring to a member of the Church who has lost the Faith, since de internis ecclesia non judica (the Church does not judge internals). They are referring to a man who is a public heretic. So, for example, Pastor Bob of the First Baptist Church of Rome would not be eligible to be elected Pope, since heretics (at least public ones) are not members of the Church. Electing a public heretic as pope would be contrary to divine law, since one who is not a visible member of the Church cannot be its head. But a Cardinal who enters the conclave in good standing with the Church (at least externally), even if he has internally lost the faith, is certainly eligible to be elected Pope. If not, one would never know for sure if the person elected Pope was a true Pope, since neither man nor the Church can judge the internal forum.

To remove any doubt that a man elected by a conclave becomes the true pope, Pius XII issued the following decree which removes any “excommunications, suspension or interdict” that would prevent a candidate from being validly elected.

Pope Pius XII: “None of the Cardinals may, by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, or interdict whatsoever, or of any other ecclesiastical impediment, be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff”. (30)

Active election refers to the act of electing a pope; passive election refers to the act of being elected. Since the Church does not judge internals, and since faith is not absolutely necessary for Papal office, this decree of Pius XII, which is similar to previous decrees of Pius X, Clement V (1317), Pius IV (1562) and Gregory XV (1621), removes any doubt that a man who is elected by the conclave becomes the true Pope.

Conclusion

Just before our Lord’s Passion, He said to His disciples: “All you shall be scandalized in me this night. For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed”. (Mt. 26:31) According to tradition, the life of the Church will parallel the life of Christ, and at the end experience a passion similar to that of its head. The Church today is following our Lord through His passion. We can even discern a mystical death taking place, in what seems to be a separation of the body and soul of the Church. At the end of our Lord’s Passion, His human soul separation of His body at once, and as such death was instantaneous. But with the Church, the mystical death – separation of body and soul - is extending over a period of time as more and more of its visible members defect interiorly from the Faith.

In such unusual circumstances as this, it is certainly understandable that Catholics would be confused; and it is equally understandable that they would be scandalized by the action and inaction of the recent Popes, who may indeed have lost the Faith. But as we have seen, the loss of faith, in and of itself, does not result in the loss of Papal office. Neither do actions that render a Pope suspect of heresy. And even if a Pope was a manifest heretic (which requires a public warning) there is a two-fold opinion on whether or not he would automatically lose his office, or only be rendered deposable; yet, as we have seen, on the practical level both opinions require a judgment and declaration from the Church. Since none of the recent popes have been given a public warning, and since none have been declared heretics by the proper authorities, they do not qualify as manifest heretics. Therefore, as bad as one may think they have been, they have retained their office.

Before ending, there is one final point that it would be remiss to pass over when considering the question of Sedevacantism. Since our Lord Himself provided us with a criterion by which we should judge, we should not end without considering the fruits that are almost universal in Sedevacantism. The “judgment by usurpation”, which is contrary to both justice and charity, extends beyond private individuals making public “declarations” that the Pope has lost his office, to the status of other Catholics, including their fellow sedevacantists, whom they rashly accuse of being heretics. Such rash judgments by those who have no authority to make such a declaration has resulted in one division after another, to the point where priests from one sedevacantist group now refuse communion to those affiliated with other sedevacantist groups.

There is probably more division between sedevacantists today than there was within Protestantism fifty years after Luther split from the Church. And interestingly, the root cause of such division is the same, namely, private judgment. Whereas Luther and his followers usurped the authority of the magisterium in teaching the Faith, and substituted it with their private interpretation of the Bible, the sedevacantists usurp the authority of the magisterium in interpreting and applying canon law, and replaced it with their private interpretation - again, not only with respect to the Pope, but with Catholic priests and laymen as well. Often, when someone does not accept their personal “declaration” they treat them with the greatest disrespect, often accusing them of being in schism or heresy. They hand down “binding” declarations on everything from baptism of desire and blood, to which of the new Sacraments are valid and which are not, and woe to the person who does not agree.

Some not only refused to attend a Mass in which Benedict XVI’s name is mentioned, but they also refuse to attend Masses offered by sedevacantist priests, since these lack the necessary jurisdiction. Such men are being strangled by the letter of the law, at a time when “the letter killeth” (2 Cor. 3:6). Interestingly, the Machabees fell into a similar error for a time, but death caused them to re-think their position (1 Mach 2:38-41). The Machabees ended by concluding what St. Thomas would teach fourteen centuries later: In the time of necessity there is no law. (31)

Some sedevacantists “decree” with seeming certitude that the New Rite of Ordination for Bishops is absolutely null and utterly void, as though the form for this Sacrament was given in specie (as is the case with baptism and the double consecration at mass), rather than in genere (32) (thereby explaining the difference from one approved Rite to the other); and as if the Church had no power to change the matter or form (33) required for validity, when such has been established by the will of the Church (34), rather than directly by Christ.

They hand down rash declarations they have no authority to make, and often condemn those who do not share their opinion. Using the same criteria, namely private judgment, some go so far as to declare that Pius IX (d. 1878) was the last true pope, and claim that all popes since Leo XIII have been antipopes! Each believes his personal opinion is correct and must be accepted by all, yet their differing opinions result in continual divisions. And it is worth noting that these rotten fruits are usually not found in the Traditional Orders in union with Rome.

As a parting thought I will end with this: For those Traditional Catholics who have been scandalized by the Passion and near death of the Church, and by the action of the recent popes who seem to be follow the example of St. Peter’s during our Lord’s Passion (Mt. 26:74); for those whose eyes gloss over when reading theological arguments with seemingly endless distinctions and categories, and who are still not sure what to think about Sedevacantistm. To those I offer the following advice: Apply the divinely inspired criterion given by our Lord Himself, and judge the sedevacantist tree by its “thorns” and its “thistles” (Mt. 7:16), and by its rotten and bitter fruits.

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, guide us all safely through the present tempest, and may the light of the Holy Ghost lead us along the straight and narrow path, not permitting us to deviate from the truth, either to the left, or to the right. Amen

Postscript: There are other arguments put forth in defense of the sedevacantist position, such as issues related to Papal Infallibility, universal disciplines, the 1983 code of canon law, and the Novus Ordo Missae. Space did not permit a consideration of these points; nor did they necessarily fall within the scope of the present thesis. A future article may appear in which these additional points are addressed.


Footnotes


19) St. Thomas: “For it is the speculative intellect which directs what it apprehends, not to operation, but to the consideration of truth; while the practical intellect is that which directs what it apprehends to operation”.
20) Elements of Ecclesiastical Law, 1895
21) St. Francis de Sales , The Catholic Controversy, pg 306
22) S.T. Pt II-II, Q 60, A 6
23) John of St. Thomas, Disp. II, art III 26
24) Victim of the Borgia Pope: Jerome Savonarola, pg. 106
25) De Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2
26) Council of Constantinople: There shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized: Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines…To Honorius, the heretic, anathema!
27) S.T. Pt. II-II, Q 60, A. 2
28) ibid. A. 6
29) Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1950
30) Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, 1945
31) S.T. Pt I-II, Q 96, A.6
33) Catholic Encyclopedia: Granting that Christ immediately instituted all the sacraments, it does not necessarily follow that personally He determined all the details… prescribing minutely every iota relating to the matter and the form to be used. … For some sacraments (e.g. Baptism, the Eucharist) He determined minutely (in specie) the matter and form: for others He determined only in a general way (in genere) that there should be an external ceremony, by which special graces were to be conferred, leaving to the Apostles or to the Church the power to determine whatever He had not determined, e.g. to prescribe the matter and form of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders. (…) This … can solve historical difficulties relating, principally, to Confirmation and Holy Orders.
33) “The question immediately arises as to what belongs to the substance of a particular Sacrament, and the answer will depend upon whether Our Lord instituted it generically (in genere) or specifically (in specie). … With regard to the form [given in genere] of a Sacrament, some Catholics have mistakenly identified the form itself with a particular formula employed by the Church to express it, and have concluded that this formula cannot be changed without invalidating the Sacrament. Hence they have fallen into the error of believing that the Church has no power to make changes in the matter and form of any Sacrament, having mistakenly identified the matter and form in current usage with the substance of the Sacraments themselves, which Trent taught could not be changed” (The Order of Melchisedech).
34) Pius XII: “the traditio instrumentorum is not required for the substance and validity of this Sacrament by the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If it was at one time necessary even for validity by the will and command of the Church, everyone knows that the Church has the power to change and abrogate what she herself has established (Sacramentum Ordinis).


Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:55 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Mike wrote:
Another I can remember was Stephen Hand.


Yes, although he did retract, which was unique. Others I remembered after posting were Richard Caggiano and Art Sippo. Jim Larrabee once asked, rhetorically, if there was a factory somewhere punching these characters out. Very often they don't appear to be real persons. They pop up, perform a drive-by shooting, and disappear, often forever.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:48 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS,

Thanks for posting that. It appears to be a somewhat refined version of the one I received in Word format.

I really don't think there's anything there which hasn't been thoroughly answered before. One thing which really is striking, however, as I scroll down the page reviewing the materials used to construct this article: The texts and references are mostly from here, and Siscoe has learned our theology (i.e. the theology of St. Robert and Monsignor Fenton). There's something very pleasing about the fact that The Angelus is publishing such materials and such theology. The remaining step is for him, and those at The Angelus, to ponder what it all really means.

The first thing that ought to be exercising their Christian minds is the location of this perfectly visibly united Church which excludes heretics, if Ratzinger is pope.

"Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Why will the gates of hell not prevail? Because the Church is a visible unity of faith and charity, the principle and foundation of which is the Successor of Peter, who preaches the true faith and governs and disciplines the faithful in accord with it. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church because of the papacy, because the pope is there continually teaching her and correcting her. Since the gates of hell prevail daily against the Conciliar church, it evidently is not founded upon the rock which is Peter. It is precisely that rock which is missing. The effect of dissolution follows because the cause of visible unity is absent, and indeed, a cause of disunity is present.

What does St. Paul predict? Exactly what we're witnessing.

Quote:
Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now you know what withholdeth [i.e. the pope], that he [Antichrist] may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth [i.e. the pope], do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error [i.e. the addiction to Novus Ordo error and heresy], to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.


Antichrist and the entire revolt cannot come until the pope be taken out of the way, precisely because he holds or stands firm, supporting the rest of the Church. With the pope out of the way now for fifty years, the world is able to be prepared for the coming of the evil one. Look around.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:35 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Ken Gordon wrote:
Who is Robert Siscoe, and where does he hold forth?

He the latest in a long series of people who enjoy a fleeting moment of prominence because they know less about a subject than those who are truly interested in it, and write an article telling the world how they are not convinced about it. Think Laszlo Szijarto, Richard Cure, Christopher Ferrara*, James Larson, John Salza, etc. I reckon I could add another five names if I spent a little more time sifting through my failing memory!

His article appeared in The Remnant, apparently.

OK. Makes sense. I get so tired of these sorts.

John Lane wrote:
* Ferrara at least is known for other things than merely attacking sedevacantism with bad arguments!

Is he, now?! Many of his arguments against sedevacantism which were printed in the Catholic Family News used arguments which were essentially protestant in origin. For one thing, he used arguments identical to those which were used by the opponents of Papal Infallibility at Vatican Council I (one). I would have thought that he knew better. Apparently, I was wrong. All he is is what we Americans call a "Philadelphia Lawyer". Such folks were never looked upon with much respect in the 19th century. Such an one was only a step or two above "Shyster".

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:42 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
This may or may not shed some light of the mind of RJS:
RJS on CI very recently wrote:
A sedevacantist who detests John Paul II and Benedict XVi, may well end up in hell along side of them if he separates himself from the Church, since outside the Church there is no salvation, and the Church exists today just as it did prior to the council. The difference is the condition, not the being itself.

Just as a man dying of Aids is the same man that existed prior to being infected, so too the Church today is the same Church that existed prior to Vatican II. The difference is that today the Church is in the condition of an Aids victim on his last breath. It is just about dead, but like our Lord, it will rise again.

If you leave the Church, or declare it to have become a false Church, you separate yourself from the mystical body of Christ and will get to spend eternity in hell.

On the other hand, if you realize the sick situation of the Church, avoid the heretics within, and leave it to the proper authorities to sort everything out in God's times, you will not risk eternal damnation for separating yourself from the Church.

Now here he is about 6 years ago when, if I'm not mistaken, he considered joining here to debate his positions. I think the Forum was closed before he had a chance, but anyway, here he is in a discussion I had with him:
RJS in 2007 wrote:
Think about this: Do you or I really think God will be angry with us if we suspend judgment on the situation of the seemingly heretical Popes?

I think prudence would require that we hold them suspect of heresy and be cautious with regard to them, but going further and declaring them to have lost their office through the crime of heresy, when none of the Cardinals have done so, seems presumptuous and potentially dangerous to me. One of the dangers, and this is what I told Gerry Matatics, is that by taking the firm position that the Pope is an anti-Pope and that the Conciliar Church is the Whore of Babylon is that you will not want the Church to improve. In fact, any improvement will be viewed as a trick to draw in the unwary. Therefore, the person will actually be against the Church, and desirous that it falls. That is one psychological effect that Sedevacantism will produce. On the contrary, if you suspend judgment you will not fall into that mentality. You will then be able to appreciate any good (such as Summorum Pontificum), rather than considering every good merely a trick to bring those with the faith into the false fold. I think it is best not to make a firm conclusion with respect to the Pope. Maybe he did lose his office through heresy, but I personally don't think I have enough information to draw that conclusion.


Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:24 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
John Lane wrote:
* Ferrara at least is known for other things than merely attacking sedevacantism with bad arguments!

Is he, now?! Many of his arguments against sedevacantism which were printed in the Catholic Family News used arguments which were essentially protestant in origin.


Ken, I agree! His arguments were terrible. I meant that he was not only known for his bad arguments against sedevacantism. He was known for his work with Fr. Gruner and on the history of Fatima, etc. The thing about most of the others is that they are utterly unknown for anything except their production of bad arguments against sedevacantism.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:54 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Robert Bastaja wrote:
This may or may not shed some light of the mind of RJS:
RJS on CI very recently wrote:
If you leave the Church, or declare it to have become a false Church, you separate yourself from the mystical body of Christ and will get to spend eternity in hell.


Strange. One would think that we would be excused on precisely the same grounds that Siscoe excuses the heretics in the Vatican.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:56 am
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I'd just like to repeat my criticism of the following, to ensure it is clear:

Quote:
However – and this point is important when considering the sedevacantist position – the loss of faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. Let me repeat that: A mortal sin against faith does not, in and of itself, sever a man from the body of the Church. And if the man who loses the faith happens to be pope, he does not thereby lose his office. This is a crucial point that is often missed by even the most learned defenders of the sedevacantist position.


This does my head in. It's the learned and the ignorant on the other side who have appeared, for the twenty years I've been discussing this subject actively with fellow traditional Catholics, to be dangerously unaware of the visible unity of the Church. It is quite true that there are many sedevacantists who are unclear on the difference between the internal and external unity of the Church, but their error on this point has no bearing on their sedevacantism. That is, not one of them is a sedevacantist because he thinks that Paul VI was an occult heretic. Merely to express the problem in that way is to recognise its absurdity.

The same ignorance, however, on the part of traditionalist sedeplenists, is most certainly at the root of their sedeplenism. They imagine that the Church can be a visible disunity of faith; that is, that the Church can be composed of men who openly practice a false religion, as well as those who openly practice the true one. In their case theological ignorance provides the soil for a monstrous theory of the crisis. The average sedeplenist trad thinks it does not matter, insofar as membership in the Church goes, what beliefs a man professes, just as long as he hasn't been excommunicated by name and declared to be a non-Catholic. That idea is arguably heretical; it's certainly erroneous.

How weird is it, then, to find this very issue thrown at sedevacantists as something we need to consider?

More importantly, what possible bearing does this point have on the case presented in the article itself? I cannot see that it bears on the issues argued. We freely grant that only public heresy can safely be treated as resulting in the automatic loss of ecclesiastical offices. We've been saying it for many, many, years. Siscoe's difference with us is actually confined to the question of what precisely constitutes "public" heresy. (In fact, he doesn't know, and cites no authorities at all in order to define the term. Right at the point when he ought to define it, he shifts subjects and starts asserting that even public heresy may not result in the automatic loss of offices, contrary to the explicit terms of the Code). However that may be, neither side is in any doubt that occult heresy doesn't result in loss of membership in the Church, and therefore cannot result in the loss of ecclesiastical offices. We differ only over how to define "public" (i.e. sedevacantists quote the Code, and Siscoe doesn't).

So, I repeat, the comment about sedevacantists made by Siscoe in the quote above is absolutely beside the point, not merely of sedevacantism itself, but of his own article.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:35 pm
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Quote:
formal heresy in the external forum is declared heresy – either declared by the proper authorities, or else “declared” by the individual himself who becomes a notorious and publicly manifest heretic


It is quite true that formal external heresy is "declared by the proper authorities, or else 'declared' by the individual himself." But Siscoe is unclear on what these terms mean. The terms "public" and "notorious" are defined in the Code of Canon Law. Why is Siscoe unwilling to use the definitions there provided? Why does he confuse the meaning of the terms by combining them into one expression ("notorious and publicly manifest")? Notorious, public, and manifest are all terms with sufficiently clear definitions. Why not just refer to the relevant authorities and adopt their definitions?

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:41 pm
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Quote:
Yet this would be erroneous reasoning since the loss of faith in and of itself (which is not equivalent to formal heresy in the external forum) does not result in the loss of office; nor does it prevent a man from being validly elected pope since de internis ecclesia non judica (the Church does not judge internals).


The bolded point here is wrong. The loss of faith in itself does not render a man incapable of being elected, true. The Church does not judge what remains internal, also true. However, these two truths are unrelated.

The reason is quite a different one - it is simply that an occult heretic remains a member of the Church, and it is the loss of membership which results in the radical incapacity for receiving or maintaining an office in the Church.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:47 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe has, for reasons left unexplained, chosen Suarez to be his guide in questions of ecclesiology.

Quote:
In the following quote, the great Jesuit Suarez explains...


Suarez is not an authority on these questions, his contemporary - the greater Jesuit Bellarmine is, and he has been declared a Doctor of the Universal Church. Why not follow his doctrine? Why not adopt the doctrine of the man that Pius XII followed in writing his encyclical on ecclesiology, Mystici Corporis Christi?

Can Siscoe give a good reason for his choice of master?

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:52 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
This is pernicious:
Quote:
The 1917 code of canon law teaches that to knowingly and willingly assist in the propagation of heresy (canon 2316), or to actively assist at sacred functions of non-Catholics (ibid.) only renders a man suspect of heresy.


ONLY? No, the Code lays down that certain actions automatically render a person suspect of heresy. These actions are not in themselves ones which are unambiguous. Each of them is horrible and criminal, but may not indicate actual heresy in the soul of the culprit. Therefore, in perfect reason and justice, the Church legislates that these actions render a man suspect of heresy. So concerned is she to protect God's honour, that she labels EVEN those actions as criminal and resulting automatically in the status "Suspect of heresy".

Siscoe thinks that these actions are equivalent to, oh, let's say, publishing a new rite of mass which informed and faithful Catholics would DIE before assisting at, or publishing a law which permits the Holy Eucharist to be given to notorious non-Catholics. They are not equivalent. Nor are they equivalent to preaching heresy, like, oh, universal salvation, just as a random example. It's one thing to be involved in the promotion of heresy (think, a publisher who agrees to publish a condemned work); it is another thing entirely to invent one's own heresy and preach it urbi et orbi.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:05 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe also has little understanding of what warnings are actually required. He begins by asserting that St. Robert requires two warnings before a heretic can be considered to be truly a manifest heretic. That is not what St. Robert says, and it is not what he thinks.

Quote:
The other way, according to St. Robert Bellarmine, would be for the man to remain manifestly obstinate after two warnings. Only then would pertinacity be demonstrated in the external form, thereby rendering him a manifest heretic.

Bellarmine: “The fourth opinion is that of Cajetan, for whom the manifestly heretical Pope is not “ipso facto” deposed, but can and must be deposed by the Church. To my judgment, this opinion cannot be defended. For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority, and from reason, that the manifest heretic is “ipso facto” deposed. The argument from authority is based on Saint Paul, who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate – which means before any excommunication or judicial sentence”.


As can be seen, St. Robert merely refers to the text of St. Paul on warnings. He doesn't assert that two are required in every case. Instead, his true view is apparent from what he says immediately after, when he characterises the requirement as "that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate." That's the essential thing, and a warning or two is immensely helpful in reaching that security of judgement - but not always necessary.

Siscoe fails to notice that his next authority, Ballerini, contradicts his own false notion.

Quote:
For the person, who admonished once or twice, does not repent, but continues pertinacious in an opinion contrary to a manifest or public dogma - not being able, on account of this public pertinacity to be excused, by any means, of heresy properly so called, which requires pertinacity - this person declares himself openly a heretic.


Warned once OR twice? :)

Ballerini and Bellarmine agree. It's Siscoe who is out on his own. Which is curious, because another authority Siscoe relies upon (also cribbed from the Aquinas Site) Da Silveira, has the following to say, in the very article relied upon by Siscoe:

Quote:
Is A Warning Necessary In A Case Of Heresy By Actions?

Saint Paul insists that the heretic be rebuked once or twice before being avoided (cf. Titus 3;10). How then can one dare to claim that someone becomes a heretic by the mere fact of practising certain actions. When the canonists affirm that one can fall into the sin of heresy by practising certain actions, they neither say nor suggest that the other conditions required in the case of heresy by word cease to apply. Consequently a warning is necessary as a rule on the one hypothesis, just as much as on the other.

We say "as a rule" because the principle which Saint Paul states admits of an important exception. Commentators teach that the warning insisted on by the Apostle of the Gentiles serves to expose the sinner who denies a truth of the Faith, a truth which cannot, on any pretext, be denied. Yet the Church nevertheless has the prime concern of avoiding all ambiguity when she denounces the Heretical Animus.

Now there are cases in which there can be no such ambiguity. There are cases in which the heretic quite obviously knows that the truth which he denies or doubts is "de fide". There is no possibility, for example, that a doctor of theology might be unaware that Our Lady's Virginity is a dogma.

On the other hand, in a conversation or a lecture, even a doctor of theology can inadvertently let slip an incorrect expression which of itself would constitute heresy. Indeed it can be accepted that even with a book which he has written, and over which he has carefully pondered, a mistake may have slipped in without his noticing. But if the central thesis of the book is manifestly heretical, then it is no longer possible to accept a mistake, or an oversight. A warning would be superfluous.

De Lugo, quoting great writers of his day, unravels this important question as follows - "...Neither is it always demanded in the external forum that there be a warning and a reprimand as described above for somebody to be punished as heretical and pertinacious, and such a requirement is by no means always admitted in practice by the Holy Office. For if it could be established in some other way, given that the doctrine is well known, given the kind of person involved and given the other circumstances, that the accused could not have been unaware that his thesis was opposed to the Church, he would be considered as a heretic from this fact… The reason for this is clear because the exterior warning can serve only to ensure that someone who has erred understands the opposition which exists between his error and the teaching of the Church. If he knew the subject through books and conciliar definitions much better than he could know it by the declarations of someone admonishing him then there would be no reason to insist on a further warning for him to become pertinacious against the Church." (De Lugo, disp.XX, sect.IV,n.l57-158). See also: Diana, resol.36; Vermeersch, pg.245; Noldin, vol.i, "Compl. de Poenis Eccl.", pg.21; Regatillo, pg. 508.

Such a teaching, it might be objected, is found in the textbooks, but it has not been retained by the Code of Canon Law which establishes in canon 2233 n.2 the precise manner in which the accused must be rebuked and warned before any censure may be imposed.

This objection does not stand up, because this canon applies only to "ferendae sententiae" censures, ie. those which are inflicted by the superior or by the ecclesiastical judge. When the censure is "latae sententiae", that is to say when the accused incurs it automatically by the fact of having committed a certain crime, the warning is not necessary. In this case, as a fine old legal maxim has it, "Lex interpellat pro homine", the law calls to account, instead of the man (cf. Palazzini, col. 1298).

The excommunication which falls on the heretic is "latae sententiae" (Canon 2314 n.l). It becomes clear, as a consequence of this, that the Code of Canon Law has also accepted the principle that a warning is not always necessary for pertinacity to be revealed.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:27 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS on CI very recently wrote:
A sedevacantist who detests John Paul II and Benedict XVi, may well end up in hell along side of them if he separates himself from the Church, since outside the Church there is no salvation, and the Church exists today just as it did prior to the council. The difference is the condition, not the being itself.

This statement, I think, is the absolute crux of the position of men like RJS: to them, the Conciliar Church IS the Catholic Church. He conflates the two repeatedly. I will show this same thinking in another of his statements below.

We who hold that these latest usurpers of the Holy See, the leaders of this Conciliar Church are, in fact, anti-popes, for any number of valid reasons, believe most emphatically that the Conciliar Church, the Novus Ordo, is not and has never been the True Church of Christ, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Spotless Bride of Christ, and further, absolutely cannot be such.

We believe the words of Christ that the gates of Hell will never prevail against Her, yet it is obvious to the most casual observer that the gates of Hell have, most clearly, prevailed against the Novus Ordo, since out of it has come false teachings, aberrations of every kind, most un-Catholic things in both doctrine and worship. Therefore, on that basis alone, the Novus Ordo cannot possibly be the Catholic Church.

Therefore, She must reside elsewhere.

Here is his earlier statement that reinforces my contention:

RJS wrote:
One of the dangers, and this is what I told Gerry Matatics, is that by taking the firm position that the Pope is an anti-Pope and that the Conciliar Church is the Whore of Babylon is that you will not want the Church to improve.

What?!? Can the True Church "improve"? How? Again, he automatically conflates the True Church of Christ with the abomination of the Conciliar Church. This is, clearly, the most egregious flaw in his thinking.

RJS wrote:
In fact, any improvement will be viewed as a trick to draw in the unwary. Therefore, the person will actually be against the Church,

Again...

It is obvious that folks like RJS cannot see the distinction between the True Church of Christ, and this abomination from Hell, the Novus Ordo/Conciliar Church. They are not, and never will be, the same. Although God can certainly draw good out of even the worst evil, I cannot see, in my wildest imaginings, how this Satanic Victory, the Novus Ordo, could ever become the Catholic Church. The True Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, exists, and always will exist, outside of and distinct from the Novus Ordo, and never the twain shall meet.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:42 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
This appears to summarise Siscoe's case:

Robert Siscoe wrote:
A pope who merely seems to have lost the Faith, or who has made statements that are erroneous or even heretical, yet who has not openly left the Church or been publicly warned, does not constitute a manifest heretic. And since no such warnings have been given to any of the post-Vatican II popes, either before or after their election, none of them qualify as a manifest heretic.


A man who inculcates heresy in countless followers by public statements and actions, has "openly left the Church" - he is openly leading others out of the Church.


Or would Siscoe claim that a man who openly leads countless souls into heresy and out of the Church is himself still in the Church?

Further, all of these men have been "publicly warned." It is true that they have not been warned by an imperfect general council, but let's consider what categories of men have indeed put them on notice in public.

1. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci told Montini that his new "mass" was unorthodox and dangerous to the faithful. "[T]he Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The 'canons' of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery." The New Mass violates the canons of Trent, erected against heresy.

2. Archbishop Lefebvre and many other senior bishops at Vatican II declared on the floor of the Council that the new doctrines were false and opposed to Christian doctrine, and that if adopted they would destroy the Church. The results bore these predictions out.

3. Priests such as the Abbe de Nantes, who compiled a massive "Book of Accusations Against Paul VI" ensured that if the latter had been in any doubt that he was opposed to the Catholic Church, he would have no excuse from 1973 onwards, when Abbe de Nantes issued his work accusing him of "heresy, schism, and scandal".

4. Laymen such as Tito Cassini in Italy, or Patrick Henry Omlor in the USA, who wrote scathing criticism of the liturgical and doctrinal reforms in public print. There are too many in this category to list, as we all know.

What is the purpose of a warning, canonical or extra-canonical? To test whether the culprit knows that his ideas are incompatible with Christian doctrine. Is it truly possible that Montini, Wojtyla, and Ratzinger, have each been unaware that their heresies are incompatible with the doctrine of the Catholic Church? Is not the question necessarily rhetorical?

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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
This statement, I think, is the absolute crux of the position of men like RJS: to them, the Conciliar Church IS the Catholic Church. He conflates the two repeatedly.


Dear Ken,

I agree, that seems to be behind his determination on this matter. It really does go to the heart of the mysterious nature of what's happened, however, does it not?

Look at it from this perspective: what entity did Paul VI damage? The Catholic Church.

Or this: is a priest who says the New Mass solely because he believes that he is bound to do so by the highest authority within the Catholic Church, still a member of the Church?

So this non-Catholic worship was being offered by countless Catholic priests, daily! And, even more disturbing, the vast bulk of Catholic priests - indeed, there were only a few exceptions - offered false worship instead of true, for years after 1969.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:08 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
According to Da Silviera, Bouix's opinion was held only by himself. His opinion is therefore properly described as "singular" or "unique." How does Siscoe characterise it?

Quote:
While this is only a minority opinion, the following teaching of the French canonist Bouix is worth citing.
And:

Quote:
Although the above citation represents a minority opinion...


Since when does an individual constitute "a minority"?

The best that can be said about Bouix's opinion is that it was not actually condemned by the Church. In all likelihood the reason for this was precisely that since nobody else adopted it, there was no need to condemn it. The error was still-born.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:17 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe seems unaware of the fact that certitude and authority are quite distinct notions. This seems to me to have once been a rampantly popular misconception which has become less so over the years as these matters have been debated and discussed on the Internet and elsewhere. It's surprising to see it pop up in such a blatant form today.

Robert Siscoe wrote:
But even if one does hold to the opinion of St. Bellarmine, namely, that a pope who becomes a manifest heretic automatically loses his office - this is only a hypothetical question, and as such is the object of the speculative intellect, which is merely concerned with the consideration of a truth (19). But when faced with the actual situation – not merely the hypothetical question – the difficulty arises of how to apply the principle in practice, including who has the authority to make the necessary judgments and declaration. These are two distinct issues: one hypothetical and the other practical. On the practical level, if faced with a heretical pope, or at least a pope who seems to be a heretic, who would have the authority to determine that he had crossed the line into manifest heresy and thereby lost his office?


Authority is only required to bind others.

Since none of us has any authority, we cannot bind others. Caminus recently posted the relevant explanation of St. Thomas:

Caminus wrote:
"Since judgment should be pronounced according to the written law, as stated above (Article 5), he that pronounces judgment, interprets, in a way, the letter of the law, by applying it to some particular case. Now since it belongs to the same authority to interpret and to make a law, just as a law cannot be made save by public authority, so neither can a judgment be pronounced except by public authority, which extends over those who are subject to the community. Wherefore even as it would be unjust for one man to force another to observe a law that was not approved by public authority, so too it is unjust, if a man compels another to submit to a judgment that is pronounced by other than the public authority." S.T., II-II, Q. 60, A. 6.


For St. Thomas, there is nothing wrong with a man forming his own judgement. Indeed, the Angelic Doctor gives the rules for making such judgements. The injustice arises from any attempt to impose one's own judgements on others over whom one has no authority.

The possibility of certitude is not confined to those who have authority.

But if the anti-sedevacantist writers are convinced that certitude is confined to those who have authority, then why are they themselves writing articles and publishing them? They have no authority: Are they not unsure about their views? And since they must, on their own principles, be uncertain about their own convictions, why are they not less dogmatic in their expression of them?

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:44 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe relies upon uncertain interpretations of his key sources. This renders his case very unstable.

Robert Siscoe wrote:
In the following quote, taken from Elements of Ecclesiastical Law (1895), Sabastian B. Smith discusses the two-fold opinion with respect to the hypothetical question of a heretical pope, and then explains how it would be dealt with on the practical level.

“Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate? Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment, divested ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals. The question is hypothetical rather than practical”. (20)

As we can see, while there are two common opinions with respect to the hypothetical question, “both opinions agree” when it comes to the practical aspect. And what both opinions agree on is that, on the practical level, it would require a declaration of heresy from the Church in order for the pope to be removed.


Smith was writing before the Code, which adopted explicitly the principle of Cum ex apostolatus that public heresy results in ipso facto loss of office without the need of any declaration. If the law had become enshrouded in uncertainty in 1895, it was certainly clarified in 1917.

When Smith adds, "the question is hypothetical rather than practical," he may merely be saying what Bellarmine himself said, which is that he holds that no pope can or ever will disappear into heresy, so that the question of what would happen if a pope did disappear into heresy is purely hypothetical.

The real issue is that one simply cannot rely upon brief, catechism-style sound-bite texts in order to build an understanding of such questions. What Smith offers here is not even clear, it's ambiguous. The same problem is apparent with the brief excerpt from St. Francis de Sales. Nothing can be built upon such texts. What is required in order to form proper views is to study ex professo treatments of the relevant points. That is what Bellarmine, Suarez, Torquemada, Ballerini, and others offer. Relying upon Smith's little quote is a mark of desperation.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:03 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe puts quite a bit of effort into proving that sedevacantists cannot bind others to our views.

Quote:
Individual laymen and individual priests have no authority to interpret and apply canon law or divine law to particular cases, much less to make public declarations. Such judgments and declarations belong to the proper authorities.


That is somewhat unclear, but the following is much better:
Quote:
Even Savonarola, who personally believed Alexander VI was an unbeliever who purchased the Papal office through simony, sought to have a Council make the declaration. He realized that although he personally believed the Pope was not a real Pope, he had no authority to make such a definitive judgment and formal declaration; nor did he imply that others had an obligation to agree with his personal opinion. Neither did he claim that others must withdraw from communion with Alexander VI, lest they be guilty of remaining in union with a “public heretic”.


I happen to agree with Siscoe on all of this, if it is understood correctly. Siscoe is here arguing not against sedevacantism, but against dogmatic sedevacantism. The "follow me or die" folks. In other words, whatever merit his points may have, they are entirely beside the point of whether or not Ratzinger is the pope. This is another entire section of his article which would be better edited out and saved for a different essay. It serves only to suggest that all, or most, sedevacantists are of the dogmatic variety, when this is not factual.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:17 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
And late in the article, another example of the straw man argument.

Robert Siscoe wrote:
The last point we will consider is the teaching that a heretic cannot be elected pope. The sedevacantist apologists provide a number of citations to support this position. The following is one such quote:

“Appointment to the office of the Primacy. What is required by divine law for this appointment: The person appointed must be a man who possesses the use of reason, due to the ordination the Primate must receive to possess the power of Holy Orders. This is required for the validity of the appointment. Also required for validity is that the man appointed be a member of the Church. Heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are therefore excluded”.


That quote, translated from the Latin of Coronata by Fr. Cekada, is indeed a favourite of sedevacantists. Now, given that it explicitly expresses what I have bolded, it is simply stunning to see what Siscoe does with it. He proceeds immediately after this to explain in great detail that occult heretics would not be ineligible for election to the papacy!

Robert Siscoe wrote:
But a Cardinal who enters the conclave in good standing with the Church (at least externally), even if he has internally lost the faith, is certainly eligible to be elected Pope.


Against whom is this point meant to be being made? Surely not against those who use the quote from Coronata above?

And a note of warning: Approved writers very often do not qualify "heretics and schismatics" with "public" or "manifest" when discussing these questions. This does not meant that they are confused about the issue. Indeed, the matter was so clear to all that qualifications were omitted as unnecessary. Nobody thought that occult heresy resulted in the incapacity for a man to hold an office.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:27 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Siscoe's final point is to assert that sedevacantism produces disunity. I suppose he is contrasting the sedevacantist world (one with which he evidently isn't familiar) with the peace and unity in all essentials that subsists between Ratzinger with his new mass and new religion, his 20 decade rosary, his fifteen station Stations, his praise of the Pentecostal nutters, etc., on the one side, and the traditional Catholic milieu on the other.

My observation (my, ahem, judgement), is that there is no real unity there, merely a verbal expression of unity which is given the lie by every act of religion of all parties.

I'm also convinced that I personally live in very close unity of religion with my fellow non-dogmatic sedevacantists (i.e. most sedevacantists), and with the members of the SSPX, for example. I think it would be not merely impossible, but it would look absurd to try, to show that there is any real disunity in religion between us. We share what the theologians call the same sacrifice, the same sacraments, the same profession of faith, and we obey the same laws. We are united in faith and charity, the two bonds of external unity in the Catholic Church.

The one thing which might rupture that unity to some degree, is works like Siscoe's, the motive for which is absolutely unclear. But whatever the motive, it can do no good except by accident.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:36 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
So, what has Siscoe proved?

Not much, except that there exists a class of cases which are too unclear for anybody to judge without the intervention of authority, which all knew prior to now, and which has already been better explained and proved by others.

This class of cases may be large or small. That is, it may be that the vast majority of heresy cases cannot be judged by anybody but the culprit's bishop, or the Holy Office. If so, and I have no brief either way, this is irrelevant to the question at issue. Nobody, I repeat, disputes that there exist at least some cases that cannot be judged by an informed layman or a cleric without jurisdiction. The question of the post-Vatican II popes is whether or not their cases fit within that category, or whether they are indeed sufficiently clear for at least some men to form a certain judgement about them.

In other words, is it reasonable and lawful for men to form a judgement that Ratzinger is not pope, today, February 27, 2013, rather than to wait until tomorrow, when presumably all will agree that he isn't pope?

The answer can only be "yes". All of the ink spilled by so many anti-sedevacantists in the attempt to place outside of the realm lawfulness and sound doctrine, the private judgement that these heretics have not truly been popes, has failed to achieve the purpose. Our position is lawful, and reasonable, and Catholic. Archbishop Lefebvre granted all of this, and openly speculated that he might adopt our view himself. All of the senior SSPX figures that I have known, with the sole exception of Fr. Schmidberger, readily grant the same point. But the anti-sedevacantists won't be taught by Archbishop Lefebvre any more than they will be taught by St. Robert Bellarmine or by the Code of Canon Law. They have their own fears to suppress, and writing articles is their therapy.

And that is why I had not read Siscoe's article before being asked to do so a few days ago, and why I wrote it off after reading only the first two pages. It's clear that there's nothing new there, and without something new, we already know that the anti-sedevacantist position is bankrupt. Anti-sedevacantism doesn't exist because scholars have made a careful study of the relevant sources and found that it would be unlawful to do what sedevacantists do. Anti-sedevacantism exists because of emotion. The arguments are scrabbled together after the fact. Having been pressed to provide a refutation, I have now been through the entire essay. There was, as expected, nothing behind the smoke and mirrors. I'm sorry, Mr. Siscoe.

At some point in the not too distant future I expect that the real debate will occur in a rational and cool atmosphere. That is, the debate about whether the sedevacantists are right. Not, I emphasise, whether the sedevacantists are criminals, or idiots, or fools, or liars, but whether these Catholics who love the Church have made a right or a wrong judgement of fact in these specific cases: the cases of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. And that's the only legitimate debate on this subject matter. All the rest is obfuscation or confusion.

At the same time, what is really a more fundamental discussion needs to be had, and that is the one that Ken and I touched upon above. That is, what exactly is "the Conciliar Church" and where precisely is the Catholic Church? My essay, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Conciliar Church ( http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... Church.pdf ) is an attempt to seed that discussion. I suspect that a significant amount of the heat and fear that the discussion of the sede vacante position currently generates would dissipate if there was greater clarity about the more fundamental questions.

On the positive side, something quite remarkable has occurred, and that is that the theology which underpins the sede vacante position, that is, the doctrinal complex which includes the visible unity of the Church, the nature of membership in the Church, and the related points of theology and law, is now being published by The Angelus. The contrast between the Fr. Boulet booklet, filled as it is with crass theological error, and Siscoe's essay, is stark. Siscoe has actually learned something about what the Church teaches. His attendant errors cannot wipe that reality away. It is certainly a happy day when The Angelus publishes St. Robert Bellarmine's comments about Pope Liberius instead of repeating Gallican lies from before the Vatican Council of 1870!

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:24 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Or this: is a priest who says the New Mass solely because he believes that he is bound to do so by the highest authority within the Catholic Church, still a member of the Church?

In my opinion, such an one is absolutely still a member of the Church! He is simply mistaken. As Hutton Gibson so aptly remarked on a DVD we own, "The devil used our virtue of obedience against us..."

John Lane wrote:
So this non-Catholic worship was being offered by countless Catholic priests, daily! And, even more disturbing, the vast bulk of Catholic priests - indeed, there were only a few exceptions - offered false worship instead of true, for years after 1969.

Yes. As you say, it is a great mystery. Even so, we must do what, in conscience, we believe to be right.

However, I have one other thing that I must mention: those of us who have, for whatever God's reasons might be, have been given the grace to see and recognize the truth, must, in turn, recognize that we have received such graces from God and thank Him repeatedly for those, and beg Him to never taken them away from us.

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:51 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Siscoe relies upon uncertain interpretations of his key sources. This renders his case very unstable.


John,

Smith’s statement is not difficult to understand. He is giving the two opinions with respect to a pope who falls into public heresy. One opinion holds that he is divested of the office ipso facto (that of St. Bellarmine), and the other holds that he is removable (that of Suraez). As he said, “both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals”.

St. Francis De Sales alludes to the same two opinions in the other quote that was cited:

"We do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he is explicitly a heretic he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric - Acts 1 (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church).

Notice he says that “the Church must deprive him (Suarez opinion), or declare him to be deprived (since he lost the office ipso facto)" (not individual laymen), since whichever position one hold, as canon Smith taught, “both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals”.

If you disagree with this teaching of the canonist Smith and St. Francis de Sales, please provide an authoritative quote that agrees with your personal opinion, namely, that an individual laymen is permitted to judge the guilt of the man elected pope, and then proclaim publicly that the pope has ceased to be pope.

Here’s my authoritative quote saying that it is not left to the private opinion of an individual laymen, but instead to the judgment of the Church:

John of St. Thomas: “St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".

If you have an authoritative quote saying that an individual layman is permitted to judge for himself that one who has been elected pope by the proper authorities has lost his office due to heresy, and that this individual laymen is then permitted to declare publicly that the man is no longer pope, please provide the quote. And please, not your private interpretation of canon law, since you are not a canon lawyer, but an authoritative quote supporting your private interpretation of canon law. Surely, if your private interpretation is correct, you will be able to find a canonist who will support it.


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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Here’s my authoritative quote saying that it is not left to the private opinion of an individual laymen, but instead to the judgment of the Church:

John of St. Thomas: “St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".

I believe you are misinterpreting what is being said here: For instance, what does the phrase "...does not preclude..." indicate to you? This says to me that saying an heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ is absolutely true on its own, and that that very fact does not PREVENT the Church from declaring him excommunicate following this.

Secondly, when you intalicize the following "...yet only so long as it...". In this sentence, I read the "it" as referring to the heresy in question, not to the state of the heretic or the censure. You are obviously reading it otherwise.

Again, John of St. Thomas is obviously referring to so-called "occult heretics", not to public and manifest heretics, as Montini, Woytja, and Ratzinger have repeatedly proven themselves to be.

And if you say that you cannot recognize heresy or an heretic without a formal condemnation by the Church, then why do you call yourself a Catholic?

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:11 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
RJS wrote:
Here’s my authoritative quote saying that it is not left to the private opinion of an individual laymen, but instead to the judgment of the Church:

John of St. Thomas: “St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".

I believe you are misinterpreting what is being said here: For instance, what does the phrase "...does not preclude..." indicate to you? This says to me that saying an heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ is absolutely true on its own, and that that very fact does not PREVENT the Church from declaring him excommunicate following this.

Secondly, when you intalicize the following "...yet only so long as it...". In this sentence, I read the "it" as referring to the heresy in question, not to the state of the heretic or the censure. You are obviously reading it otherwise.

Again, John of St. Thomas is obviously referring to so-called "occult heretics", not to public and manifest heretics, as Montini, Woytja, and Ratzinger have repeatedly proven themselves to be.


Ken,

If the first part of the quote is not clear to you, all you have to do is read the second part, which says this: “So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned.

And why would you say he is “obviously referring to an occult heretic”, when he explicitly says “be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment?” His point, as he said, is that a ”judgment is required by the Church”. That is the same point Canon Smith made. Regardless of how “manifestly heretical” an individual laymen thinks a pope is, the judgment must be made by the proper authorities – “it is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned” (John of St. Thomas).

What John of St. Thomas is saying exactly what I have been saying, namely, that a judgment of guilt must be made by the Church in order for the pope to be considered not the pope - even if one holds that the office is lost ipso facto when one falls into heresy.

Ken Gordon wrote:
And if you say that you cannot recognize heresy or an heretic without a formal condemnation by the Church, then why do you call yourself a Catholic?

Sure, I can spot heresy if a statement is clearly heretical. But the fact that I spot a heresy does not mean that the person who made the heretical statement automatically loses his office if he is a Bishop or Pope. If you disagree my position on this point, please explain why Archbishop Darboy (example cited in the in the above article) did not automatically lose his office after making his heretical public statement, but instead was treated as a Bishop in good standing by Pope Pius IX. Would you accuse Pius IX of being unable to spot a heresy? Would you ask Pius IX why he called himself a Catholic? And Pius IX was not a merely laymen like myself; he was the Pope, whose job is was to defend the Faith.


Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:43 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Smith’s statement is not difficult to understand.


Perhaps I misunderstood your original article, which uses various terms which indicate the distinction between a judgement of the speculative intellect (i.e. what is true) and a judgement of the practical intellect (i.e. what is to be done). Here's what I'm referring to:

Robert Siscoe wrote:
But even if one does hold to the opinion of St. Bellarmine, namely, that a pope who becomes a manifest heretic automatically loses his office - this is only a hypothetical question, and as such is the object of the speculative intellect, which is merely concerned with the consideration of a truth (19). But when faced with the actual situation – not merely the hypothetical question – the difficulty arises of how to apply the principle in practice, including who has the authority to make the necessary judgments and declaration. These are two distinct issues: one hypothetical and the other practical. On the practical level, if faced with a heretical pope, or at least a pope who seems to be a heretic, who would have the authority to determine that he had crossed the line into manifest heresy and thereby lost his office?


What did "hypothetical" mean in that passage, if not "speculative" or "theoretical"? "[A] hypothetical question, and as such is the object of the speculative intellect..." surely indicates the distinction known to all educated men, between what is true and what is to be done.

RJS wrote:
St. Francis De Sales alludes to the same two opinions in the other quote that was cited:


Your case is built upon allusions like this. You need either to admit that you follow Cajetan and co., which is fine, or that you don't have any decent texts to support whatever it is you are saying which differs from Cajetan and co. But you won't convince anybody by building your case on little scraps like this.

RJS wrote:
If you disagree with this teaching of the canonist Smith and St. Francis de Sales, please provide an authoritative quote that agrees with your personal opinion, namely, that an individual laymen is permitted to judge the guilt of the man elected pope, and then proclaim publicly that the pope has ceased to be pope.


Cum ex apostolatus officio is sufficiently explicit, even for you, I would think.

Quote:
any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories:
(i) the clergy, secular and religious;
(ii) the laity;
(iii) the Cardinals...
(iv) Castellans, Prefects, Captains and Officials, even of Our Beloved City and of the entire Ecclesiastical State...;
shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs


But the Code is certainly explicit, and so is Bellarmine, and Wernz-Vidal, and all the rest. You just don't like what the texts say. "Without any declaration" ties you in knots. You think, "Oh my, that would result in chaos! They must mean, WITH a declaration, yes, they must mean that, yes, they DO mean that, ah yes, I see clearly now, that is what they really mean, and here's some pre-Code writers saying that this is how it ought to be." Cue John of St. Thomas et al.

RJS wrote:
Here’s my authoritative quote saying that it is not left to the private opinion of an individual laymen, but instead to the judgment of the Church:

John of St. Thomas: “St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".


Yes, we're all aware of John of St. Thomas's opinion. He disagreed with Bellarmine. This is not news. We quote Bellarmine, you quote John of St. Thomas and Suarez (borrowing their texts from works published by us), which is fine. As I said above, you really ought to explain why you choose these lesser theologians and their minority opinion, if you wish to gain any credibility with those of us who follow Bellarmine, but that's your choice. I suspect you're happy preaching to the sedeplenist choir, however, and you don't seriously think you'll convince any of us. We're not open to switching opinions from those of the Doctors of the Church and the Code, to the lesser theologians.

RJS wrote:
And please, not your private interpretation of canon law, since you are not a canon lawyer, but an authoritative quote supporting your private interpretation of canon law. Surely, if your private interpretation is correct, you will be able to find a canonist who will support it.


That's funny! You make up your own doctrine, deny the explicit wording of the Code, and then demand that others find an authority for their position? You are not taking any of this seriously.

The Code says (CIC 188, §4): "By tacit resignation, accepted by the law itself, all offices become vacant ipso facto and without any declaration if a cleric... publicly defects from the Catholic Faith."

Do you accept this law? Do you accept this doctrine? If so, why do you insist on adhering to pre-Code opinions which, even if they were right then (which they certainly were not), have been superseded by the Code?

Why do you deliberately confuse the degree of publicity required for a man to lose his office by heresy? Why write the meaningless (i.e. meaningless after the Code) combination, "notorious and publicly manifest" instead of "manifest" or "public"? It's obvious why - you don't like the doctrine of the Code, you think it will result in chaos in the Church. (You prefer the peace and order that resulted from obedience to Paul VI???).

What does the Code mean by "public"?

CIC 2197: "A crime is... Public, if it is already commonly known or the circumstances are such as to lead to the conclusion that it can and will easily become so."

Woywod teaches, "The Code calls an offense public when knowledge of it has been spread among the people (divulgatum), or when it was committed under circumstances which make it practically impossible to keep the offense secret."

And Ayrinhac teaches the same thing. "A delict is public when it is already known to the people of a community or, considering the circumstances of place and persons, will surely be divulged. The original witnesses may have been few, but if they are talkative, the fact will be made known to many."

So "public" ain't very public. And that's your real beef. For you, there are two classes of cases, the notorious heretic (which for you means, he has officially joined the First Baptist Church down on the corner), and the occult heretic. "Public" as defined in the Code is something you simply don't recognise.

For me, and for most sedevacantists, the entire spectrum exists, because the law says that it does and reason tells us the same thing. There are notorious cases, there are occult cases, and there are a range of cases in between. We are fully aware that it is perfectly possible for a good Catholic to form a different judgement about any case until and unless the Church intervenes. We're comfortable with that. But you're not comfortable with us. You think we are risking our salvation by following Bellarmine and the Code of Canon Law instead of Smith. Can you grasp why that doesn't hit us very hard?

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:21 pm
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Ken Gordon wrote:
I believe you are misinterpreting what is being said here: For instance, what does the phrase "...does not preclude..." indicate to you? This says to me that saying an heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ is absolutely true on its own, and that that very fact does not PREVENT the Church from declaring him excommunicate following this.

Secondly, when you intalicize the following "...yet only so long as it...". In this sentence, I read the "it" as referring to the heresy in question, not to the state of the heretic or the censure. You are obviously reading it otherwise.

Again, John of St. Thomas is obviously referring to so-called "occult heretics", not to public and manifest heretics, as Montini, Woytja, and Ratzinger have repeatedly proven themselves to be.


Well, he certainly couldn't have imagined what has actually happened in our era. But Ken, RJS is right - John of St. Thomas famously disagreed with Bellarmine. Which is why he ain't our authority.

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:24 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
If you disagree with this teaching of the canonist Smith and St. Francis de Sales, please provide an authoritative quote that agrees with your personal opinion, namely, that an individual laymen is permitted to judge the guilt of the man elected pope, and then proclaim publicly that the pope has ceased to be pope.


Cum ex apostolatus officio is sufficiently explicit, even for you, I would think.

Quote:
any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories:
(i) the clergy, secular and religious;
(ii) the laity;
(iii) the Cardinals...
(iv) Castellans, Prefects, Captains and Officials, even of Our Beloved City and of the entire Ecclesiastical State...;
shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs


But I agree with the teaching cited above; yet you are not simply withdrawing from obedience and devotion, you are claiming the person has lost their office. If your position is that, due to the seemingly heretical teachings and actions of the recent popes, you cannot follow them (recognize and resist?), I would not disagree with you. But that is not what you are doing. You are declaring that they lost their office.

I'm still waiting for you to produce a quote from an approved source saying that an individual laymen has the authority to judge for himself that a pope has lost his office due to heresy, and then is permitted to proclaim it publicly and seek to bring others around to his private opinion. Again, I am not interested in your private interpretation of canon law, since you are not a canon lawyer. I am looking for an authoritative quote from an approved source that agrees with the conclusion you have arrived at based on your private interpretation of canon law.

I cited the authority for my postion, which of course you do not accept since he disagrees with your conclusion. By the way, here is what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about John of St. Thomas:

Quote:
As professor of philosophy and theology in a monastery at Alcalá, he soon took rank among the most learned men of the time, and was placed successively (1630 and 1640) in charge of the two principal chairs of theology in the university of that city. His renown drew the largest number of scholars that had ever attended its theological faculties

No man enjoyed a greater reputation in Spain, or was more frequently consulted on points of doctrine and ecclesiastical matters. His theological and philosophical writings, which have gone through many editions, are among the best expositions of St. Thomas's doctrine, of which he is acknowledged to be one of the foremost interpreters.
Though he took an active part in the scholastic discussions of his times, his courtesy was such that he is said never to have hurt an opponent's feelings. So faithful was he to the traditions of his order and the principles of the Angelic Doctor that in his last illness he could declare that, in all the thirty years he had devoted to teaching and writing, he had not taught or written anything contrary to St. Thomas. His humility and his devotion to education caused him to refuse many dignities offered him by the Church and his order. In 1643 Philip IV offered him the office of royal confessor, a position which only religious obedience could induce him to accept.


Once again, this is what he wrote:

John of St. Thomas: “St. Jerome - in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ - does not preclude the Church's judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without other censure in addition to it - yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church... So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".

Now, please cite an authoritative source saying that an individual laymen is permitted to judge for himself that a pope is guilty of heresy and has thereby lost his office, and then is permitted to declare it publicly while attempting to bring others around to his position.

If you are unable to do so, simply admit that you cannot find any approved source that agrees with the conclusion you reached based on your private interpretation of canon law, and then we can move on.


Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:52 pm
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RJS wrote:
But I agree with the teaching cited above; yet you are not simply withdrawing from obedience and devotion, you are claiming the person has lost their office.


Please, this is silly. Cum ex apostolatus first says that a heretic does not possess the office of pope, then it says what I quoted above. We are permitted to withdraw from the putative pope precisely because he isn't truly pope. You need me to quote the entire document? I thought we all knew it by heart.

Quote:
...if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:

(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;...

(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.


And, er, Cum ex apostolatus doesn't qualify "heresy" with "public" or any other degree of publicity. Unlike you, Pope Paul IV was more concerned about heretics claiming authority in the Church than he was about whether somebody might judge a mere private heretic to be a public one by mistake. Obviously the possibility of such a mistake is of very great concern to you, however: your prime concern is that Montini's good name be protected. For you, history must record that his apostasy was somehow technically not quite public enough for him to forfeit the papacy.

RJS wrote:
your private interpretation of canon law.


And I'm not going to accept your private interpretation of Bellarmine, John of St. Thomas, Canon Smith, or even Will Smith. So I guess it's a stand-off.

But you're foxing with this. You're not prepared to discuss Canon Law at all, let alone accept what the canonists say. You will only quote a pre-Code canonist who isn't commenting on the law at all. He isn't commenting on the law as it stands today. He isn't commenting on the law as it stood before 1917. He's commenting on a theological controversy.

If the question is, what was the law prior to 1917, then I have Cum ex apostolatus, which authorises me to judge that Ratzinger isn't the pope and to treat him as a warlock, heathen, heretic, etc. In other words, I don't have to be polite, or quiet about it. If you say that I may withdraw from obedience, but only secretly, like a hypocrite, letting all of my relatives and friends think that I recognise the criminal as pope, then you find an authority for that singular view. There are none, there could be none: such a mode of acting would be immoral.

If the question is, what is the law subsequent to 1917, I have the text of the Code, which incorporates the essential principle of Cum ex apostolatus in canon 188, and the footnotes tell us that Cum ex apostolatus is the source, so if there's any doubt about how to interpret canon 188, we are to use Cum ex apostolatus to settle the matter. That principle's in the Code too, right at the beginning, in the section on interpretation. Look it up.

You, on the other hand, have nothing canonical at all. You have a theological opinion.

Whose theological opinion? An opinion shared by great theologians, but refuted by a Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine.

That's the situation regarding authorities, RJS.

Also, don't bother trying to puff the authority of your sources by quoting The Catholic Encyclopedia. It doesn't help. Cajetan was described by a pope - I think Paul IV, actually - as a Lamp of the Church, and is universally regarded as the greatest of Thomistic commentators. Suarez received his exceptional intelligence by a miracle through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, to whom he prayed when he found that he couldn't pass his exams, since he was too stupid. These were all great men. But they disagreed on some points, with others and with each other.

And I repeat, if you choose to follow the discredited minority opinion because it seems true to you, that's your free choice. I certainly have no problem with that. I think my record is pretty clear that I have no problem with sedeplenism as such. (I detest anti-sedevacantism, however, and that's for two main reasons. One, it sows division. Two, it inevitably relies upon unorthodox arguments, historical lies - especially Gallican ones - and other unworthy tactics.)

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:24 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
In case anybody is wondering why this article is receiving a bath here right now, the answer is, because Robert Siscoe asked me to answer him.

I checked my email this morning and I find that I was first sent the article in September last year. I ignored it, reasoning that if it was of any moment it would convince or at least concern a few people, and I could take notice if and when it did. I only commented now because I was pushed by Robert Siscoe, who wrote and asked me if I intended to answer it. I did not want him to imagine that if I didn't answer it this might indicate that I could not do so.

I wish I had never seen the darn thing. Siscoe's article is a piece of flim-flam. There isn't any substance to it. It doesn't even state what its thesis is, at the beginning or anywhere else. It avoids defining the terms it uses, and it declines to argue in any logical manner from one point to the next. It's just a series of assertions, many true, some false, which appear to be designed collectively to create the impression that somehow Paul VI was really only a secret heretic and we endanger our salvation by mistaking him for a public one.

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:28 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Well, he certainly couldn't have imagined what has actually happened in our era. But Ken, RJS is right - John of St. Thomas famously disagreed with Bellarmine. Which is why he ain't our authority.

Ah! OK. Thank you. I am corrected....and still of the same opinion: i.e., that we, as Catholics are required to recognize heresy and heretics and to "avoid" them.

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:34 am
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I just noticed something interesting in this text which I had not previously noticed.

Quote:
...if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:

(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;...

(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.


Cum ex apostolatus officio is not, as all know, actually dealing with a true pope who falls into personal heresy. It's dealing with one who is already a heretic who claims any ecclesiastical office, including the papacy. Yet, note the language: "those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power."

This illustrates the point I have made elsewhere, I think many times, that we must be cautious with these terms. Anti-sedevacantists like to point to the term "deprive" and build their case upon it, arguing that if a source uses that term then it implicitly teaches that the office is occupied and that the culprit does need to be deprived of it. This, as we can see in the present case, is entirely unfounded. Cum ex apostolatus explicitly teaches that a heretic who is putatively elevated to an office in the Church does not obtain that office at all, ever. Yet the same document uses the word "deprived" to describe the "loss" of office.

Likewise, Bellarmine speaks of the Roman clergy "depriving" Pope Liberius of his dignity and replacing him with Felix II. And finally, St. Francis de Sales in his apologetics work uses the same term in equally loose a manner.

The same point could be made about the terms "promoted" and "elevated" in this text. In each case they mean "attempted to be promoted" or "attempted to be elevated."

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:46 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
(I detest anti-sedevacantism, however, and that's for two main reasons. One, it sows division. Two, it inevitably relies upon unorthodox arguments, historical lies - especially Gallican ones - and other unworthy tactics.)

Well, I am most certainly on your side on this one, John, despite the fact that, as you know, I do not regard myself as a sedevacantist!

FYI, my Wife and I attended a Mass and a conference offered by Bishop Williamson last night. The conference was very interesting, although in my opinion, a bit too long.

During the conference, one of the last questions addressed sedevacantism. Archbishop Lefebvre was quoted: "I cannot say that the Pope isn't the Pope, but I also cannot say that one cannot say that the Pope isn't the Pope."

Bishop Williamson then attempted to define sedevacantism. His definition was incorrect. After a very mild remonstrance from me, he quoted St. Augustine, "...in all things, Charity." You know the one.

He, obviously, does not view sedevacantists as so many sedeplenists, unfortunately, do.

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:49 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
After a very mild remonstrance from me, he quoted St. Augustine, "...in all things, Charity." You know the one.


Yes, I do, I love it. I have used it many times. I also think, these days, that it's spurious! :D

Ken Gordon wrote:
He, obviously, does not view sedevacantists as so many sedeplenists, unfortunately, do.


Yes, neither he nor Archbishop Lefebvre is anti-sede. The difference is, the Archbishop said he might adopt our view. Williamson never will, and it's because his ecclesiology is not Roman. It's essentially Protestant, or at least Gallican.

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Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:37 am
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John,

Before I respond to the above, let us note for the record that you did not provide a single quote from an approved source saying that an individual laymen is permitted to judge that a pope is a heretic who has thereby lost his office, and is then permitted to declare this as a fact, while trying to persuade others to accept their personal opinion (I'll comment on your quote from Cum ex below).

Now, regarding the teaching of Canon Smith and my remarks regarding the speculative and practical order, you misunderstood what I meant.

Smith begins by asking a question. The question is this: “Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate”. That is a hypothetical question, which is why he said (at the end of the quote): “The question is hypothetical rather than practical.”
Now, he does not directly answer the hypothetical question directly, but instead says there are two opinions. One opinion holds that the pope loses his office ipso facto. The other holds that he is deposable. Both of those opinions are of the speculative order.

He then proceeds to the practical order by saying that a judgment of guilt is required by the Church. Why? Because only the Church has the authority to judge whether or not a man is guilty of the sin of heresy. On the practical level, only the Church can make the necessary judgment – a judgment that either removes the pope (one opinion), or declares that the pope has already lost his office due to heresy (other opinion). Regardless of which of the two opinions one hold, a judgment of guilt by the proper authorities is necessary.

The following is the entire quote again. When reading it, notice that he says “both opinions agree” that a judgment of the Church is required, thereby showing that the necessity of the judgment from the Church is not simply his own opinion that he is putting forward, but is what both opiniond agree on.

“Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate?
Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment, divested ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals. The question is hypothetical rather than practical”.

The reason you have been unable to locate a single quotation from an approved authority saying that an individual laymen has the authority to judge that a pope has fallen into heresy and thereby lost his office, and then is permitted to proclaim this publicly all the while attempting to draw other people to his opinion, is because such a position is contrary to what “both opinions” hold – namely, that the pope “must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals”.

So even if one holds to the position of Bellarmine (who I do not disagree with, by the way), it requires a judgment of guilt, and Joe Layman in the pew (that’s you) does not have the authority to make the call.

From this we can see that the quotation I provided from John of St. Thomas (which, of course, you do not accept), does not disagree with the position of Bellarmine, since even the position of Bellarmine requires a judgment of guilt from the Church. That is why John of St. Thomas was careful to add “according to private judgment”, when he said: “be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned".

Regarding your quote from Cum Ex, it does not say what you want it to say. All it says is that an individual is permitted to “withdraw from obedience and devotion” from a heretical pope. I agree with that. I agree that you would be permitted to withdraw from obedience if you are convinced the pope is a heretic and therefore a danger to your faith. Even if you were mistaken that he is a heretic, you still have the moral right to protect yourself from one who you consider to be a danger to your faith. The portion of Cum Ex that speaks of the election of a heretical pope being null, does not preclude a judgment by which the man is “declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals” to use the words of Canon Smith.

The teaching you provided from Cum Ex fits in with the quote from St. Bellarmine that someone posted on your website recently. Here’s the quote:
Quote:
Bellarmine: “It is true that people must distinguish a true prophet from a false one, but not by any other rule than this one: by watching carefully to see if the one preaching says the opposite of what his predecessors said, or what is being said by other everyday pastors, and most importantly what is being said by the apostolic See and the first Church; for the people are commanded to listen to their pastors. Lk. 10: "He who hears you hears Me." And Matt. 23: "Do what they tell you." Thus, the faithful must not pass judgment on their pastor unless they hear from him new things and things foreign to the teaching of other pastors.

“We must point out, besides, that the faithful can certainly distinguish a true prophet from a false one, by the rule that we have laid down, but for all that, if he is a bishop, they cannot depose such a pastor and put another person in his place. For Our Lord and the Apostles only lay down that false prophets are not to be listened to by the people, and not that they depose them. And it is certain that the practice of the Church has always been that heretical bishops be deposed by bishop's councils, or by the Sovereign Pontiff.


Your favorite authority just made my point. As a layman you can certainly resist a false prophet – one who is teaching contrary to what the Church teaches. That means, you can withdraw from obedience and devotion to him); but you do not have the authority to depose them, or, what amounts to the same thing, to declare that they have deposed themselves by teaching heresy (especially when they have not openly left the Church, but remained in their office), since that requires a judgment and declaration from the proper authorities.

If you disagree, simply provide a quote saying that an individual laymen has the authority to judge that a pope has defected from the Faith and thereby lost his office, and is permitted to declare this publicly.


Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:18 pm
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RJS wrote:
Even if you were mistaken that he is a heretic, you still have the moral right to protect yourself from one who you consider a danger to your faith.

Here is yet another place where we disagree most strongly with you: we do not have a only "right" to protect ourselves against those we regard as heretics, or anything or anyone that is positive danger to our faith: we are required to avoid such.

I.e., it is a duty, not to fulfill which constitutes, at least objectively, a sin.

Does not the 1st commandment of the decalogue to worship only God tell you that we must not join with false religions in any way? Does not this provide you with the other unnecessary "documented proof" you are speciously requiring in this instance?

It is patently obvious, at least to me, that you are requiring more and more "proof" to bolster our arguments simply because you cannot, or will not, see nor accept the truth.

Benny is an heretic, possibly of the worst sort that has ever afflicted the Church. There is simply no doubt about that at all. All you have to do is to read his constant writings, both those from before his spurious election and after, and you will find a plethora of proof.

It is our duty to make this plain to anyone who will listen...and even to those who won't. The truth must be told by everyone.

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Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:48 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Robert,

You've been defeated on the point about what laymen may or may not do. Cum ex apostolatus is very clear, and it's a papal bull.

I don't think you've thought this through, and neither has Smith - but he doesn't pretend that he has thought it through, he is giving it very brief treatment, the barest of summaries. Smith has actually issued an ipse dixit. He has provided no evidence whatsoever that Bellarmine and his school "agreed" with Smith's personal opinion, which happens to be that of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas. Nor is such a possibility likely, given that Bellarmine expends considerable effort wrecking Cajetan's thesis, showing that any position which involves a judgement over a pope is heretical.

If you had the motivation to do any real research, and you honestly believed Smith's assertion, you'd go to the books as Da Silveira did, and find the evidence that Smith assures you is there in spades. They all agree? Well, if they all agree, it won't be hard to cobble together two or three examples, will it?

Well, yes it will. The evidence doesn't exist. But you'll never know that, because your evidence is only what can be found on this Web site. We haven't hidden the evidence, Robert. It doesn't exist.

Smith perhaps alleges that both sides agree that a pope who disappears into heresy must be regarded as pope until and unless "the Church" (which Smith defines as some authorities which are not, actually, the Church at all) issues a judgement. One of the authorities that Smith describes as "the Church" is "an ecumenical council". But no ecumenical council can exist without the sanction of the pope. Any other body can at most be an imperfect general council - that is, a fallible synod of bishops. So Smith's terminology is inaccurate. Only a fully ecumenical council (or a pope on his own) can truly speak for, and bind, the whole Church.

But as I said above, Smith may well not be asserting what you understand him to be. His text isn't clear. I think he's a partisan of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, but it's quite possible that when he writes what must happen in practice, he means only that it ought to be done (which I agree with, of course). He may well not mean to imply that if it isn't done, then the heretic remains pope. After all, he merely mentions the two opinions without explicitly choosing either as his own view, just as St. Francis de Sales did.

Smith deals in this text with the question of a true pope who, hypothetically, falls into heresy. What about the case of a heretic cardinal who claims the papacy? Are we just to accept his claim, any claim, until and unless "an ecumenical council [without a pope]" or "the College of Cardinals" declares that we should not adopt this new claimant as pope? What madness, and it's directly contrary to a papal bull.

Cum ex apostolatus tells us what would the case in such a circumstance (and it's what happened in 1978, twice, and again in 2005). 1. The heretic will not be pope, even if he receives the obedience of all Catholics. 2. Any layman can reject him, even those who initially fall for his lying claim - i.e. all are permitted to withdraw from obedience and treat him as a warlock, heathen, etc.

If Muller or Mahoney emerges as "pope" from the next conclave, will you,

a) Accept his claim?
b) Wait to see what Bishop Fellay does, just in case "sedevacantism" is suddenly not evil after all, or
c) Reject either of them as heathens, warlocks, publicans, etc., since they are both manifestly not Catholics today, and participating in a conclave is not one of the means by which one enters the Catholic Church?

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Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:58 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken Gordon wrote:
RJS wrote:
Even if you were mistaken that he is a heretic, you still have the moral right to protect yourself from one who you consider a danger to your faith.

Here is yet another place where we disagree most strongly with you: we do not have a only "right" to protect ourselves against those we regard as heretics, or anything or anyone that is positive danger to our faith: we are required to avoid such.

I.e., it is a duty, not to fulfill which constitutes, at least objectively, a sin.


Ken,

There is no dissagreement between your point and mine.

Out rights correspond with, and proceed from, our duties. Parents have a duty to raise their children, to educate them in the Faith, and to teach them right from wrong. Therefore, because of this duty, they have a moral right to raise their children, to educate them, etc." Our rights flow from our duties.

So, when I said a person has a right to protect themselves from one who is a danger to their faith, it presuposes a higher duty - namely, the duty they have to preserve their faith.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:31 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
Robert,

You've been defeated on the point about what laymen may or may not do. Cum ex apostolatus is very clear, and it's a papal bull.

I don't think you've thought this through, and neither has Smith - but he doesn't pretend that he has thought it through, he is giving it very brief treatment, the barest of summaries. Smith has actually issued an ipse dixit. He has provided no evidence whatsoever that Bellarmine and his school "agreed" with Smith's personal opinion, which happens to be that of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas. Nor is such a possibility likely, given that Bellarmine expends considerable effort wrecking Cajetan's thesis, showing that any position which involves a judgement over a pope is heretical.

If you had the motivation to do any real research, and you honestly believed Smith's assertion, you'd go to the books as Da Silveira did, and find the evidence that Smith assures you is there in spades. They all agree? Well, if they all agree, it won't be hard to cobble together two or three examples, will it?


John,

Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen. You are not a pope; you are not a Bishop; you are not a Priest. You aren’t even a married Novus Ordo Deacon. All you are is a simply laymen in the pew who has read just enough to be dangerous. Yet you have no scruple in completely disregarding the teaching of a real Canonist who adds a distinction that you never considered. And please note that Canon Smith is not disagreeing with Bellarmine; he is simply saying the exact same thing that John of St. Thomas said – namely, that “be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned”.

So even if a pope loses his office automatically due to heresy, “judgment is required by the Church” to determine that the guilt, just as Canon Smith said.

You have provided a grand total of zero citations from an approved source to support your position. All you have brought forward is a quote from Cum Ex Apostolatus which I accept. The teaching of Cum Ex is identical with that of many other theologians, who have maintained that we are not required to follow a Prelate who errs – even if this prelate happens to be the Pope. But that doesn’t mean that we are then permitted to depose the man; or, what amounts to the same thing, declare that he has deposed himself and then proclaim this to the world as a fact. That is why Bellarmine said this:

Bellarmine: “We must point out, besides, that the faithful can certainly distinguish a true prophet from a false one, by the rule that we have laid down, but for all that, if he is a bishop, they cannot depose such a pastor and put another person in his place. For Our Lord and the Apostles only lay down that false prophets are not to be listened to by the people, and not that they depose them. And it is certain that the practice of the Church has always been that heretical bishops be deposed by bishop's councils, or by the Sovereign Pontiff.”

Keep searching in vain for a quote from an approved source that contradicts what Canon Smith, John of St. Thomas, and Bellarmine taught, and which agrees with your position. And to be clear, your position is this: That a laymen is permitted to judge for himself that a pope (who has remained visibly in his office and is recognized by 99.999% of the world to be Pope) has fallen into heresy and thereby lost his office; and that this laymen is then permitted to declare this publicly, and seek to persuade others that they should accept his opinion.

That is the quote you need to produce, but you will never be able to do so because even if one holds that a pope heretic automatically loses his office due to heresy, a judgment of guilt must be made, and only the Church has the authority to do so.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:11 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen.


Well, I am quite sure that I know that I am a simple layman. But your censorious tone suggests that you are far from convinced that the same is true of you.

You're not going to disturb any sedes with this argument, but it does appear you can settle your own concerns, and that is evidently all that this is about.

Let us know when you decide to take any of this seriously.

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:01 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen. You are not a pope; you are not a Bishop; you are not a Priest. You aren’t even a married Novus Ordo Deacon. All you are is a simply laymen in the pew who has read just enough to be dangerous.

RJS, don't you think it a bit strange that you've learned much of what you know from the website of "a layman who has just read enough to be dangerous?" I don't see how that makes you anything but even more dangerous.

Anyway, by your own words here, isn't it true that you shouldn't be writing and publishing articles without the permission of your Ordinary? You are just a simple layman, right?


Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:59 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Robert Bastaja wrote:
RJS wrote:
Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen. You are not a pope; you are not a Bishop; you are not a Priest. You aren’t even a married Novus Ordo Deacon. All you are is a simply laymen in the pew who has read just enough to be dangerous.

RJS, don't you think it a bit strange that you've learned much of what you know from the website of "a layman who has just read enough to be dangerous?" I don't see how that makes you anything but even more dangerous.

Anyway, by your own words here, isn't it true that you shouldn't be writing and publishing articles without the permission of your Ordinary? You are just a simple layman, right?



You put a BIG smile on my face with that one! :lol:


Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:02 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Judgment is required by the Church[/u]. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned”


Robert, if he is Pope you cannot judge him (canon 1556), therefore that jugment is necessarily upon someone who is not Pope. This is not hard to grasp.

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:41 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Robert Bastaja wrote:
RJS wrote:
Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen. You are not a pope; you are not a Bishop; you are not a Priest. You aren’t even a married Novus Ordo Deacon. All you are is a simply laymen in the pew who has read just enough to be dangerous.


RJS ... by your own words here, isn't it true that you shouldn't be writing and publishing articles without the permission of your Ordinary? You are just a simple layman, right?


The difference is, I am not making a public declaration that a man who was elected by the college of Cardinals as pope is a public heretic and therefore not a true pope. I've never criticized John or anyone else from publishing articles without the permission of the local Ordinary. Only for publishing articles making judgments and declarations he has no authority to make, and attempting to persuade people to accept his private judment.

John claims that my arguing against the Sedevacantist position is "divisive". He seems completely oblivious to the fact that it is his private judgment and public "declarations" that is the cause of the division.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:46 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Cristian Jacobo wrote:
RJS wrote:
Judgment is required by the Church[/u]. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned”


Robert, if he is Pope you cannot judge him (canon 1556), therefore that jugment is necessarily upon someone who is not Pope. This is not hard to grasp.


Hello Cristian,

I am going to see if you or John or anyone else can answer the point you raised. The answer is so glaringly obvious that I will be surprised if no one here can answer it.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:51 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
Robert Bastaja wrote:
RJS wrote:
Your entire position has been destroyed with this single point. You need to realize that you are a simple laymen. You are not a pope; you are not a Bishop; you are not a Priest. You aren’t even a married Novus Ordo Deacon. All you are is a simply laymen in the pew who has read just enough to be dangerous.


RJS ... by your own words here, isn't it true that you shouldn't be writing and publishing articles without the permission of your Ordinary? You are just a simple layman, right?


The difference is, I am not making a public declaration that a man who was elected by the college of Cardinals as pope is a public heretic and therefore not a true pope. I've never criticized John or anyone else from publishing articles without the permission of the local Ordinary. Only for publishing articles making judgments and declarations he has no authority to make, and attempting to persuade people to accept his private judment.

John claims that my arguing against the Sedevacantist position is "divisive". He seems completely oblivious to the fact that it is his private judgment and public "declarations" that is the cause of the division.

I'm asking you why you seem willing to write about these issues, which clearly are in forbidden territory. I know why John has written about them, I just can't figure out why you are unwilling to seek the approval of your local Ordinary.

Also, I have made no "public declaration" on this issue. Is your postion that it can't be discussed at all? If so, then why are you discussing it let alone publishing unauthorized articles about it in unauthorized periodicals?


Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:12 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS: I am being constantly amazed at how you can interpret practically everything presented to you in a sense which is, to everyone but you, opposite to its true meaning.

Cristian said: "Robert, if he is Pope you cannot judge him (canon 1556), therefore that judgment is necessarily upon someone who is not Pope. This is not hard to grasp."

I will try to explain this to you in a manner you may understand. Let's see if I am correct. First of all, you are conflating the more than one meaning of the word "judge". There are at least two vastly different meanings of the word used in this discussion.

1) No one may judge the pope. This is from Canon 1556. By the word "pope" here, everyone (except you, apparently) understands a True Pope, not a usurper or an anti-pope. And we all agree that no one may judge a True Pope. Period. However, the word "judge" in the sense as used in this Canon, means "in an ecclesiastical court of law" by his peers.

2) In the case of any Catholic layman, we are "judging" in the sense that we "have decided", or "arrived at a conclusion" that the man who purports to hold the See of Peter, is, in fact, a public and notorious heretic, and we insist that we have ample proof of his heresy.

Then, from what the Church has taught from at least the time of St. Paul, we know that anyone who is such an heretic is AUTOMATICALLY excommunicated, by his own actions, as declared in Canon 188ff, no declaration of the hierarchy being needed as stated in that Canon, and such an one is no longer a member of the Church.

It is then purely logical that one who is not a member of the Church cannot possibly be Her head.

Therefore, such an one is not only not the True Pope, but simply cannot be the True Pope, and therefore he can be "judged" as any normal man, even in an ecclesiastical court, if it came to that.

Why is this so hard for you to understand? Or do you understand these things, but refuse to accept them? You have been arguing in circles since you joined this particular discussion. I will repeat: you have, as far as I can see, refused to accept the truth. Possibly it is too painful for you. If that is true, then all I can say is, "Join the club." If you think for one minute that all of us have not been through our own personal hell before arriving at our only possible and logical conclusion, then you do us a terrible injustice.

And as Catholic laymen, we are required not only to "judge" such an heretic, but also to avoid him, and to warn our fellow Catholics against him when opportunity arises. This is required by God. I believe it is called "Christian Charity".

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:13 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
RJS wrote:
John claims that my arguing against the Sedevacantist position is "divisive". He seems completely oblivious to the fact that it is his private judgment and public "declarations" that is the cause of the division.


No, let's be accurate and precise. It's the wickedness of the heretics which has sown the division. Those who seek to defend them are only accessories after the fact.

And as I have pointed out already, your position has nothing in common with that of Archbishop Lefebvre, so it's understandable that The Remnant would publish your article, but frankly very sad that The Angelus would do so also.

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:55 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
And as I have pointed out already, your position has nothing in common with that of Archbishop Lefebvre, so it's understandable that The Remnant would publish your article, but frankly very sad that The Angelus would do so also.

John: I must remind you that the definition of "sedevacantism" accepted by many in the SSPX does not correspond to reality, despite your valiant efforts to make that definition clear.

That was brought home very clearly to me and my wife at the recent conference given by Bishop Williamson which we attended.

He gave a definition of it which was so far from reality that it was plain why he disagreed with it. I think all of us, even those of us here (...ahem...) who claim that we are not sedevacantists would disagree with his definition. I know I sure do.

Yet this is one of those definitions with which many (should I say "most"?) of those in the SSPX agree. No wonder The Angelus printed Siscoe's flawed and specious article.

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:09 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
Ken, I'm referring to the views expressed by Archbishop Lefebvre, not any of the various lesser SSPX figures who have commented on these questions over the years.

Lefebvre said that maybe Paul VI (and later, JP2) was not pope. He said that the reason he didn't finally form the judgement that Paul VI wasn't pope was because perhaps Paul VI was merely a Catholic liberal, and not a manifest heretic. Lefebvre wasn't sure. What he was sure about, as he made clear in his lengthy 1986 conference, was that if a man is a manifest heretic, then he is not pope and it is right to make such a judgement and to express it openly. In other words, Lefebvre's position was that of Bellarmine.

Btw, this discussion will probably remind various older members here of another debate from back in the 1990s. Can anybody else recall a fellow called "J. Lawrence Case" and his novel little position built almost entirely on that quote from St. Francis de Sales? Well, I certainly can, and I recall how it exasperated and then amused Jim Larrabee too. :)

"Case" was actually a Guerardian, or at least, he thought he was, but he had is own take on it, and his take relied totally on a couple of snippets of texts...

So anyway, I did some searches, and look what I found. He isn't arguing with me, or Jim, on this occasion, but rather against a non-sede (Case would argue for automatic deposition against non-sedes, and against total automatic deposition against sedes. As I said, he had his own position, "sede impedita", which he thought was subtle and precise!)

J Lawrence Case wrote:
You wrote,

Quote:
Rev. S.B. Smith, also quoted in defense of this opinion, does not even treat the question seriously. After answering that two opinions exist on the matter (one that a pope is ipso facto deprived of the pontificate, the other that he is only removable,) Smith goes on to say: "The question is hypothetical rather than practical. For although according to the more probable opinion, a pope may fall into heresy and err in matters of faith, as a private person, yet it is also universally admitted that no pope ever did fall into heresy, even as a private doctor," ("Elements of Ecclesiastical Law," Vol. I).


This book was scrutinized by the Holy Office for months before its Fifth Edition, and approved. Rev. Smith most certainly treats the question seriously. He mentions the fact that there are only two opinions and that they both agree that a declaration of fact is necessary. Here is the quote:
Quote:
466. Q. Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso facto, of the Pontificate?

A. - 1. There are two opinions: one holds that he is, by virtue of divine appointment, divested, ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the Church - i.e., by an oecumenical council of the College of Cardinals.


Also take note of another Catholic truth first - "a pope cannot be judged". This means that the TWO opinions mentioned above both believe that at the time of declaration, the man is already not a true pope, otherwise one of the opinions would be "judging the pope". The idea of "jure divino, only removable" does not entail believing he is still a true pope. It pertains to the material aspects of the office (Pontificate) that need to be dealt with canonically, for possession can exist without ownership. We all know a man can possess something without owning it.

Further reason - If you read this text book, it makes a clear distinction between a "condemnatory" judgment and a "declaratory" judgment in Canon Law, saying the latter is a merely declaring a fact that already occurred. The two opinions above agree that a "declaration" is what is needed, signifying they both believe the fact already occurred.

As I said before, the See is "impeded" until that declaration is made.

The concept of "hypothetical" means that it is possible in the future. Rev. Smith merely mentioned that it never happened in the past. It would not be in such a book if it were not serious. I own the 3 Volume set. Quite a thorough and serious work. They didn't make "Canon Law for Dummies" in the 19th century.

JLC


"J Lawrence Case" was, of course, an alias. Maybe "RJS" is merely the latest alias??? Robbie, is that you again? Are you pushing your old "sede impedita" barrow still?

It's spooky how similar these two arguments are, right down to the puffing of the authority of the source.

It's also interesting that we have our answer to the question, what did Smith mean by "hypothetical"?

Quote:
Smith goes on to say: "The question is hypothetical rather than practical. For although according to the more probable opinion, a pope may fall into heresy and err in matters of faith, as a private person, yet it is also universally admitted that no pope ever did fall into heresy, even as a private doctor,"


So that's all he meant. All that rubbish above by RJS notwithstanding. Wow, that is so like J. Lawrence Case too!

RJS, you do not appear to know when you have been defeated on a point. Is it that words don't have the same meaning for you that they have for others? I had written, "Cum ex apostolatus officio is sufficiently explicit, even for you, I would think." I was mistaken. But it's sufficiently clear for everybody else.

Quote:
any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories:

(i) the clergy, secular and religious;
(ii) the laity;
(iii) the Cardinals...
(iv) Castellans, Prefects, Captains and Officials, even of Our Beloved City and of the entire Ecclesiastical State...;

shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs...


One is "subject" to the pope. That is, he has jurisdiction over his "subjects". If one is not subject to him, he isn't pope. There's no third option, this is a question in which there are only two possibilities.

You appear to be saying that one may be "subject" to a man who is not really pope, but one cannot say that he's not really pope, until and unless some authority makes a declaration; yet one must not obey said non-pope-whom-one-is-pretending-is-pope because he represents a danger to the faith. At least, that appears to be your position, and it's certainly in violent conflict with Cum ex apostolatus officio which says "would have been subject" and therefore are not subject.

I was not subject to Benedict XVI. (Neither were you, but you said that you were. But that's another subject...)

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Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:03 pm
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New post Re: Robert Siscoe's article
John Lane wrote:
"J Lawrence Case" was, of course, an alias. Maybe "RJS" is merely the latest alias??? Robbie, is that you again? Are you pushing your old "sede impedita" barrow sill?

It's spooky how similar these two arguments are, right down to the puffing of the authority of the source.


I'm pretty sure RJS isn't JLC or any of the other manifestations of Robbie S, but I could be wrong. I remember Robert Siscoe from 6 or 7 years ago and he wasn't nearly as sure of himself as he is today, but that was before he perused this forum's sources. :)

Also, I actually found that same source (Samuel B. Smith, Elements of Ecclesiastical Law) just this past year (it's a free google book) and quoted that same section in the Cum Ex Apostolatus thread.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17


Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:42 pm
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