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“Reveal to the faithful the wolves which are demolishing the Lord's vineyard.”
—Pope Clement XIII, Encyclical
Christianae Reipublicae (1766)

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Ongoing Amoris Laetitia Fallout: CHAOS WATCH (click)

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It’s time for a reckoning...

Comments on the Latest Bp. Fellay Interview — and on the June 29 Press Release

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[
UPDATE: Vatican confirms SSPX has NOT closed door on reconciliation (French) —We told you so!]

On June 22, 2016, we were the first English-speaking web site to break the news about Bp. Bernard Fellay’s new interview, published on June 21, on the relations between the Society of St. Pius X and the Vatican. What is puzzling is that virtually no one has picked up on the news since, even though the SSPX Superior General made not a few statements that should raise the eyebrows of anyone who considers himself a real Catholic. Here is our original post on the interview:


At the time we posted our translation of this interview, we did not have the time to comment at length, which we said we would leave to a separate post. 

Well, this is it now.

Below we we will produce the text of the interview again, in blue, and intersperse our comments in black. Make sure you fasten your seatbelts — this will be a wild but highly informative ride:

“The Catholic Church is the only True One”

The Society of St. Pius X has been separated from Rome since its founding [sic] by Archbishop Lefebvre. How does the order’s superior Bernard Fellay view this?

Right off the bat, the interviewer demonstrates he is not sufficiently familiar with the Society of St. Pius X. The local Novus Ordo bishop of the diocese of Fribourg, Switzerland, gave full canonical authorization to the SSPX on November 1, 1970, which can be considered the official date of its founding. The Society remained in the good graces of the Modernists until 1974, when the authorities in Rome began to grow concerned with the Lefebvrians. The first censure came in July of 1976, when Abp. Marcel Lefebvre was “suspended a divinis” by the Modernist hierarchy for ordaining priests without their authorization, and it went downhill from there. Things reached a fever pitch in July of 1988, after Lefebvre consecrated four bishops and the Vatican declared that the four new bishops (Bernard Fellay himself as well as Alfono de Galarreta, Richard Williamson, and Bernard Tissier de Mallerais) and the two consecrating bishops, Marcel Lefebvre and Antonio de Castro Mayer, had thereby incurred latae sententiae excommunication.

Bernard Fellay leads the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, which rejects substantial reforms of the Second Vatican Council. This year the Superior General was received by Pope Francis for the first time.

SN: Under Pope Benedict XVI already there were talks between the Vatican and your fraternity. What has changed under Pope Francis?

Fellay: The process of rapprochement is always the same. We have always recognized the primacy of the Pope — even on the question of the Society’s episcopal consecrations. These were not a denial of the primacy and did not at all [um nichts in der Welt] mean to be a separation from Rome.

Oh, really? Let’s give this a reality check. We need to answer two separate questions here: (a) Does the SSPX recognize the primacy of the Pope?; and (b) Has the SSPX ever wanted to be separated from Rome?

(a) Does the SSPX recognize the primacy of the Pope?

The Society of St. Pius X does indeed pay lipservice to the primacy of the Pope, that is, they affirm in words that the Pope holds the primacy as defined by the Vatican Council in 1870. They cannot be accused of heresy on this point because they profess the true doctrine in this matter. However, this is not the whole story. For he who professes papal primacy but acts contrary to it, is guilty of the sin of schism. Pope Pius IX rebuked an Eastern schismatic patriarch on this point and emphasized that professing the primacy of the Pope while not acting in accordance with it, makes rebellion inexcusable:


What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which We have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic Faith?

…In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu [Sept. 1, 1876], nn. 23-24; in Acta Sanctae Sedis X [1877], pp. 3-37; English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 433-434; underlining added.)


In fact, recognizing the Pope as the legitimate authority but then refusing him submission, is precisely what constitutes the essence of schism. Have a look:


To constitute the delict of schism in the strict sense, the following conditions are required:

1) One must withdraw directly (expressly) or indirectly (by means of one’s actions) from obedience to the Roman Pontiff, and separate oneself from ecclesiastical communion with the rest of the faithful, even though one does not join a separate schismatical sect;

2) one's withdrawal must be made with obstinacy and rebellion;

3) the withdrawal must be made in relation to those things by which the unity of the Church is constituted; and

4) despite this formal disobedience the schismatic must recognize the Roman Pontiff as the true pastor of the Church, and he must profess as an article of faith that obedience is due the Roman Pontiff.

(Rev. Ignatius Szal, The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1948], p. 2; underlining added.)


If we suppose for a minute that the “popes” since 1958 have been valid, which the SSPX believes, then the Society meets all four criteria for schism: since their inception in 1970, (1) they have withdrawn from obedience to the Roman Pontiff and in any meaningful way from communion with other members of the Novus Ordo Sect, by operating independently, without authorization, and against all warnings, censures, and penalties. In fact, one can say that the SSPX operates as a de facto parallel church, where everyone must answer to Bp. Fellay, who himself answers to no one. The SSPX will receive no magisterial, canonical, or disciplinary directives or instructions from the “official church”, which they call the “Conciliar Church”, except insofar as they happen to approve of them, a posteriori. They have even gone so far as to establish their own marriage tribunals, in which they presume to decide on the validity or invalidity of marriages and Novus Ordo annulments, thus clearly usurping the prerogative of the Apostolic See. They themselves are the final arbiter of the legitimacy of their own acts and are de facto subject to nobody’s judgment.

For all intents and purposes, then, the SSPX is its own church, regardless of how much they may deny it in words. This may have been softened a bit in the last few years, but here we are evaluating the SSPX as a whole since its founding, since Bp. Fellay is speaking about what the SSPX “has always” supposedly held.

Next, regarding point (2) above, it is clear that the SSPX’s refusal to submit to the “Holy See” is made with obstinacy and rebellion, as they have continually ignored all warnings and censures, even that of “excommunication”, and are fully aware of what they are doing and fully intend to do it. There is no “accident” here, no “misunderstanding”, and no “mistake.” We will elaborate on this in (b) below.

As regards the third (3) condition, we have already seen under (1) above that they are essentially their own, independent organization, with no authorization from nor deference to the entity recognized as the Apostolic See. They run their own apostolate with its own superiors and laws, specifically against the putative Roman authorities, thus clearly rupturing the unity of that church.

Nevertheless, they insist without fail that (4) the Roman Modernists, especially the “Pope”, are the legitimate authorities to whom submission is owed and who have the right to command.

Thus the SSPX meets all four of the criteria for being schismatics, under the supposition that the Vatican II Sect is actually the Catholic Church. But schismatics are not Catholics: “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 22; underlining added).

(b) Has the SSPX ever wanted to be separated from Rome?

Bp. Fellay’s assertion that the Society did not mean to cut itself off from Rome at the episcopal consecrations of June 30, 1988, is laughable. On July 6, 1988, the then-Superior General of the SSPX, Fr. Franz Schmidberger, sent a scathing response to the July 1 decree of “excommunication” which the Modernist “Cardinal” Bernardin Gantin had sent to Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, and the four new bishops. Schmidberger’s letter was co-signed by 23 lesser SSPX superiors. Here is the full text of the letter:


Ecône, July 6, 1988

Eminence,

Gathered around our Superior General, the Superiors of the Districts, Seminaries and autonomous houses of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X think it good to respectfully express to you the following reflections.

You thought it good, by your letter of July 1st, to inform Their Excellencies Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, and the four Bishops whom they consecrated on June 30, at Ecône, of the excommunication latæ sententiæ. We let you judge for yourself the value of such a declaration, coming from an authority who, in its exercise, breaks with all its predecessors down to Pope Pius XII, in worship, teaching and government of the Church.

As for us, we are in full communion with all the Popes and Bishops before the Second Vatican Council, celebrating precisely the Mass which they codified and celebrated, teaching the Catechism which they drew up, standing up against the errors which they have many times condemned in their encyclicals and pastoral letters. We let you judge on which side the rupture is to be found. We are extremely saddened by the blindness of spirit and the hardening of heart of the Roman authorities.

On the other hand, we have never wished to belong to this system which calls itself the Conciliar Church, and defines itself with the Novus Ordo Missæ, an ecumenism which leads to indifferentism and the laicization of all society. Yes, we have no part, nullam partem habemus, with the pantheon of the religions of Assisi; our own excommunication by a decree of Your Eminence or of another Roman Congregation would only be the irrefutable proof of this. We ask for nothing better than to be declared out of communion with this adulterous spirit which has been blowing in the Church for the last 25 years; we ask for nothing better than to be declared outside of this impious communion of the ungodly. We believe in the One God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and we will always remain faithful to His unique Spouse, the One Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.

To be publicly associated with this sanction which is inflicted upon the six Catholic Bishops, Defenders of the Faith in its integrity and wholeness, would be for us a mark of honor and a sign of orthodoxy before the faithful. They have indeed a strict right to know that the priests who serve them are not in communion with a counterfeit church, promoting evolution, pentecostalism and syncretism. In union with these faithful, we make ours the words of the Prophet: “Præparate corda vestra Domino et servite Illi soli: et liberabit vos de manibus inimicorum vestrorum. Convertimini ad Eum in toto corde vestro, et auferte deos alienos de medio vestri—Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3).

Confident in the protection of Her who has crushed all the heresies in the world, we assure Your Eminence of our dedication to Him Who is the only Way of salvation.

Fr. Franz Schmidberger, Superior General

[List of co-signers follows]

(Source: “Open Letter to Cardinal Gantin”, in Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican, pp. 136-138; underlining added.)


So, Bishop Fellay, the SSPX never meant to be separated from Rome, eh? 

Fr. Schmidberger’s letter after the “excommunications” (we’re using quotes here because Modernists have no authority to excommunicate anyone from the Catholic Church, themselves not being a part of her) speaks of a clear “rupture” between the Catholic Church and the Conciliar Church, to which the Roman authorities are being accused of adhering. In fact, Fr. Schmidberger candidly admits that this New Church breaks from the Catholic Church “in worship, teaching, and government” — in other words, it is a different religion not only in certain accidentals but in its very essence. “We have no part” with this new Conciliar Church, Schmidberger insists, and that is why he is delighted to have been declared out of communion with it, this “impious communion of the ungodly” which is nothing short of a “counterfeit church”!

How’s that for “obstinacy and rebellion”?!

“But”, various SSPX apologists will be quick to argue, “Bishop Fellay is saying that they have never meant to be separated from Eternal Rome — they are only separate from Modernist Rome!” Leaving aside for a minute the completely contrived, artificial, and awfully convenient distinction made up (!) by the SSPX and certainly not found in Catholic theology, between an “Eternal Rome” that is authoritative and a “Rome of the moment” that can be as heretical as it wants, we need to recall that Bp. Fellay is not negotiating with some “Eternal Rome” but with the very Modernist Rome that has been running the show since Vatican II. He is seeking to be integrated into the very Rome that represents a total rupture — “in worship, teaching, and government” — with Catholic Rome, that “counterfeit church”! Or is anyone seriously going to argue that the Rome of 2016 is substantially the “Catholic” and “Eternal” Rome of Pius XII, whereas the Rome of 1988 wasn’t? Rather, have things not deteriorated so much more since 1988 into the direction of apostasy?! Alternatively, could someone please publish a lookup table that specifies what days Rome is “Eternal” and thus binding, and what days it can be dismissed as Novus Ordo? 

In any case, this should suffice for an accurate assessment of Bp. Fellay’s claim that the episcopal consecrations of 1988 “did not at all mean to be a separation from Rome”. The facts say otherwise.

SN: But these consecrations were not licit according to Church law.

That is correct. However, this does not mean that we reject the primacy of the Pope. When someone disobeys his father, he does not thereby reject his father. Viewed externally, the episcopal consecration was an act of disobedience, but not a rejection of the authority [of the Pope]. 

You know the SSPX has no theological grounds to stand on whenever they substitue an unsuitable analogy for Church teaching. The spiritual relationship of bishop to Pope is not analogous to the biological relationship of son to father. Nothing — nothing — can sever a biological tie because it depends on an event that took place in the past and is therefore per se impossible to change. However, it is quite possible to sever oneself from one’s lawful spiritual head, the Pope, either through heresy, schism, apostasy, or a vitandus excommunication. Church teaching is clear on the matter. We recall once more the words of Pope Pius IX quoted above: “...it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema” (Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu, n. 24).

That’s why even the Vatican never said that the Society of St. Pius X was in schism for it.

Sorry, but this too is simply not true. On July 2, 1988, “Pope” John Paul II, in response to the illicit episcopal consecrations of two days prior, released the “Apostolic Letter” Ecclesia Dei, in which he stated the following:


3. In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience - which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy - constitutes a schismatic act. In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 17 June last, Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law.

4. The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition. Incomplete, because it does not take sufficiently into account the living character of Tradition, which, as the Second Vatican Council clearly taught, “comes from the apostles and progresses in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It comes through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth”….

[5.] …Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church's law.

(Antipope John Paul II, “Apostolic” Letter Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, nn. 3-5; underlining added.)


In light of this, how can Bp. Fellay claim that the Vatican has never called the SSPX “schismatic” on account of the episcopal consecrations?!

Remember: The point here is not to evaluate whether John Paul II was right or wrong in saying that what Abp. Lefebvre had done was schismatic — the point is only to establish that the Vatican did very much call the SSPX schismatic at one point, for this is what Bp. Fellay disputes. The evidence could not be clearer. Quite simply, Bp. Fellay lied.

This has become clearer and clearer during the [process of] rapprochement: We are not schismatics, we are not separated from the Church.

But not separated from which church, Your Excellency? The “counterfeit church” denounced by Fr. Schmidberger & company in 1988, or the Catholic Church of Pius XII and his predecessors? If the former, how can you not wish to be separated from a false church that is an “impious communion of the ungodly”? And if the latter, why are you talking to authorities of a religion that differs from the Catholic religion in its very essentials (“worship, teaching and government”), of which, as you declared in 1988, you “have no part”?

SN: You will continue to ordain priests without permission, then?

Certainly, but I know that this happens with the tacit, tolerant approval of Rome.

SN: You think Rome tolerates these illicit ordinations?

I don’t [merely] think so, I know it [for sure].

So here the SSPX Superior General is smugly announcing that the ungodly Modernists of the Counterfeit Church no longer really object to his ordinations (and that has since been confirmed by Rome here). And no, that’s not because the Roman Modernists have become Catholics all of a sudden. Really, Your Excellency, this says a lot about how far your Society has come.

SN: In 2009, Benedict XVI lifted your excommunication. Had you yourself felt [sic] excommunicated?

Since being excommunicated — or not — has absolutely nothing to do with how one “feels”, this is a really silly question to ask. While one may forgive the questioner for this faux pas, it is telling that Bp. Fellay did not bother to correct him on this but instead proceeded to answer in like fashion:

No, never. An excommunication is based on a serious sin. That’s why we’ve always explained that we carried out our consecrations as an emergency measure. Yes, we took measures which are forbidden under normal circumstances. But during an emergency there are other standards [to be followed]. That’s why I never felt [as though I was really] excommunicated, even though the Vatican treated me as such.

How convenient! The excommunicate himself evaluates the censure against him and finds himself — shocker! — not guilty! That settles it, doesn’t it? He determines he has not sinned and not incurred excommunication, and all is well! Is this how things work in the Catholic Church?

Archbishop Lefebvre, entirely on his own “authority” and against the very man he believed to be the Vicar of Christ, decided to invoke “emergency standards”. But epikeia — the canonical principle of equity, according to which the mind of the legislator (i.e. the Pope) can be reasonably presumed to dispense from an ecclesiastical law that has become harmful in an unforeseen circumstance — cannot be invoked in his defense, because it can only be used when there is no access to the legislator, such as when there is no Pope or when the Pope is exiled and unable to communicate, for example. But here the situation is entirely different: The “Pope” explicitly communicated to Lefebvre that he is not allowed to consecrate those bishops and that he would incur automatic excommunication if he went ahead with the consecrations anyway.

While it is certainly possible for the lawful Catholic authority to excommunicate someone unjustly and therefore invalidly, even this is not to be taken lightly. On September 8, 1713, Pope Clement XI condemned as Jansenistic 101 errors of Pascal Quesnel, which included the following:


91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, as long as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.

92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity.

...

Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.

(Pope Clement XI, Apostolic Constitution Unigenitus, Denz. 1441-1442)


And, to anticipate the final objection from SSPX apologists: No, Pope Liberius did not excommunicate St. Athanasius — see the evidence here:


So, while Bp. Fellay may say that he has never “felt” excommunicated — surely Martin Luther would have said the same thing — it is really completely and totally irrelevant.

SN: So then did the lifting of the excommunication have any meaning [for you]?

Not much. It was a certain recognition of our status, our situation. 

It does not come as a surprise that someone who believes himself to be the final authority in deciding whether he is actually excommunicated or not — against the authority of the supposed Pope, remember! — would not really care whether his excommunication is lifted or not.

The Pope acknowledged thereby that we are no rebels, that we did not set up a parallel church but are a part of the Roman Catholic Church. In this sense the lifting of the excommunication was meaningful. 

This is nonsense. Bp. Fellay knows very well that on December 7, 1965, “Pope” Paul VI lifted the excommunications against the Eastern Orthodox schismatics. Does this mean for the SSPX Superior that the Eastern Orthodox “did not set up a parallel church but are part of the Roman Catholic Church”? Didn’t think so.

But of much greater importance to us was Pope Benedict XVI’s acknowledgment in 2007 that the Tridentine Mass was never forbidden.

Here Bp. Fellay is referring to Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which made large concessions regarding the use of the 1962 Missal. Contrary to Benedict’s assertion, however, everyone who is familiar with the issues knows that the “Tridentine Mass” was very much forbidden after Vatican II — which is exactly why one needed a special “papal” indult to be permitted to offer it. The first, very restrictive, indult came in 1984 (in Quattuor abhinc annos), and the second in 1988 (in Ecclesia Dei), precisely in response to the SSPX consecrations.

Against popular semi-traditionalist misconceptions, Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum is by no means the great traditional document it is usually made out to be. In fact, it blasphemously and absurdly declares that the wicked Novus Ordo worship service and the traditional Catholic Mass are merely two different forms of “one and the same Roman rite”. We have put an article together showing the dangers and traps contained in what we have called Ratzinger’s Motu Inapproprio:


We continue with the interview:

SN: Pope Francis has permitted Catholics in the Year of Mercy to go to confession even with priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Will this [permission] continue beyond this year?

This permission shows Pope Francis’ concern for the salvation of the faithful. In addition, the Pope confirmed to me personally that this authorization will remain in force beyond the Year of Mercy.

You have got to be kidding: “Francis’ concern for the salvation of the faithful”? There is no need to get into the absurdity of this utterance in depth — we simply refer our readers to our collection of links to Francis’ worst and most outrageous heresies, errors, impieties, and scandals:


SN: Benedict XVI was a theologian, [whereas] Francis is more of a pastoral thinker. Is this an improvement with regard to the Society of St. Pius X?

Benedict XVI was very attentive to doctrine. Francis looks more at the person. Here and there he even sees doctrine as an obstacle perhaps. For us it is important that the way leads forward to what is right, to what is true. We have always considered ourselves as Catholic. If this is ultimately accepted [acknowledged], we are good with that.

This is unbelievable and inexcusable, coming from the man who is widely considered to be the leader of Traditional Catholicism. Leaving aside the outrageous falsehood, asserted implicitly, that Benedict XVI cared about the purity of sound doctrine (click here for a refutation of that silly idea), Bp. Fellay here declares that all the SSPX really wants is that the Modernists in Rome — remember, he called Francis a “genuine Modernist” and even now agrees that he sees “doctrine as an obstacle perhaps” — say that the SSPX is Catholic. Wow! What a contrast to the 1988 declaration that “We ask for nothing better than to be declared out of communion with this adulterous spirit which has been blowing in the Church for the last 25 years; we ask for nothing better than to be declared outside of this impious communion of the ungodly”!

SN: The sticking point is the Second Vatican Council: religious liberty, ecumenism, episcopal collegiality. Are there any clarifications concerning that? Or are such not needed?

I think that the current position of the Holy See, and especially also that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the result of intense discussions since 2009. A lot was clarified in the process. We do indeed have objections concerning the three points you mention. But today a lot of Catholics move far beyond the texts of the council by appealing to the spirit of the council. Rome acknowledges that our positions are correct on many points.

What’s this now? Rome has most certainly not changed its position on any of these issues, so what was actually “clarified”? More interesting still, here we see Bp. Fellay immediately shifting focus away from the actual errors of Vatican II and onto the much-invoked “spirit” of the council, opposition to which is not nearly as politically incorrect and which even Rome can accept at least verbally, although it has long been the Vatican authorities themselves that have fostered that very spirit through their words, deeds, and omissions.

SN: What does this mean for religious liberty?

Whoever claims today that the state has nothing to do with the Lord God and has no duties towards God, contradicts the teaching of the Church. The term religious liberty means, if one wishes to understand it correctly, that no one is allowed to impose a religion on someone against his conscience. No one is allowed to force another to be baptized.

It is certainly true that no one is allowed to force another to embrace a particular kind of religion, not even the true religion, which is the Catholic religion:


And, in fact, the Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, “Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own will.”

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Immortale Dei, n. 36)


No one unwilling is to be coerced into embracing the Catholic faith. 

(Pope Benedict XV, Code of Canon Law, Canon 1351)


So far, so good. However, the trouble is that not forcing someone to become a Catholic is not what is meant by “religious liberty”, at least not “if one wishes to understand it correctly,” as Bp. Fellay said. Instead, the correct way to understand religious liberty is as man’s freedom to practice in public and in private the true religion:


To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none.

But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. This follows of necessity from the truth that we are ever in the power of God, are ever guided by His will and providence, and, having come forth from Him, must return to Him. Add to which, no true virtue can exist without religion, for moral virtue is concerned with those things which lead to God as man's supreme and ultimate good; and therefore religion, which (as St. Thomas says) "performs those actions which are directly and immediately ordained for the divine honor,” rules and tempers all virtues. And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.

This kind of liberty, if considered in relation to the State, clearly implies that there is no reason why the State should offer any homage to God, or should desire any public recognition of Him; that no one form of worship is to be preferred to another, but that all stand on an equal footing, no account being taken of the religion of the people, even if they profess the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must needs be taken as true that the State has no duties toward God, or that such duties, if they exist, can be abandoned with impunity, both of which assertions are manifestly false. For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. God it is who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others. Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness -- namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engraven upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide -- as they should do -- with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community. For public authority exists for the welfare of those whom it governs; and, although its proximate end is to lead men to the prosperity found in this life, yet, in so doing, it ought not to diminish, but rather to increase, man's capability of attaining to the supreme good in which his everlasting happiness consists: which never can be attained if religion be disregarded.

Another liberty is widely advocated, namely, liberty of conscience. If by this is meant that everyone may, as he chooses, worship God or not, it is sufficiently refuted by the arguments already adduced. But it may also be taken to mean that every man in the State may follow the will of God and, from a consciousness of duty and free from every obstacle, obey His commands. This, indeed, is true liberty, a liberty worthy of the sons of God, which nobly maintains the dignity of man and is stronger than all violence or wrong -- a liberty which the Church has always desired and held most dear. This is the kind of liberty the Apostles claimed for themselves with intrepid constancy, which the apologists of Christianity confirmed by their writings, and which the martyrs in vast numbers consecrated by their blood. And deservedly so; for this Christian liberty bears witness to the absolute and most just dominion of God over man, and to the chief and supreme duty of man toward God. It has nothing in common with a seditious and rebellious mind; and in no tittle derogates from obedience to public authority; for the right to command and to require obedience exists only so far as it is in accordance with the authority of God, and is within the measure that He has laid down. But when anything is commanded which is plainly at variance with the will of God, there is a wide departure from this divinely constituted order, and at the same time a direct conflict with divine authority; therefore, it is right not to obey.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Libertas Praestantissimum, nn. 19-21, 30; underlining added.)


Thus far the true meaning of religious liberty. This liberty is absolute and comes from God Himself.

No one is allowed to coerce another to act contrary to his conscience.

This is false, indeed, one of the errors of Vatican II. In a Catholic country, the state has the right to coerce non-Catholics, for example, not to practice their religion in public and to forbid them from proselytizing. Likewise — to put things into a more current context — the state authority has the right to intervene with force if necessary to keep men from frequenting public women’s restrooms, and vice versa. Even private individuals are sometimes very much allowed, even obliged, to coerce others to “act contrary to their conscience”, namely, whenever people commit acts that violate the rights of another. Thus, if someone declares himself a Communist and claims this entitles him to take another’s property, then it is quite legitimate, perhaps even necessary, to coerce him to act “contrary to his conscience” and keep him from stealing or else compel him to return a stolen item. Conscience does not have unlimited inviolable rights.

But don’t just take it from us — take it from the SSPX itself, even its very founder. In his book Religious Liberty Questioned, which the author sent to the Novus Ordo Holy Office under “Cardinal” Ratzinger in 1985, Abp. Lefebvre, after explicating Catholic moral theology on conscience and liberty, states by way of summary: “But that no one may be restrained from embracing or professing a false religion is certainly a proposition both false and condemned” (Marcel Lefebvre, Religious Liberty Questioned [Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2002], p. 55; italics removed). Angelus Press is the official SSPX publishing house in the United States, and they still sell the book — the Superior General may want to read it some time.

So, now Bp. Fellay himself utters the same error of Vatican II that Abp. Lefebvre fought against — not mistakenly off the cuff, mind you, but rather in a written interview that surely required his approval before publication. It seems that those “intense discussions” between the SSPX and Rome are starting to show effect after all.

SN: Therefore the council says that it is a matter of each individual deciding in his own conscience to embrace a particular religion.

Vatican II explicitly says that man must seek the truth and adhere to it. At the same time, it [the council] denies this principle in the realm of the state: The state must grant freedom to all religions and is not allowed to interfere with or restrict any of them, even the false ones. And this on account of a natural right. By contrast, the traditional teaching of the Church says that the state can tolerate false religions but these cannot invoke a natural right [to exist or be tolerated].

As regards the Church, however, she has the duty always and everywhere to proclaim the truth to men and to lead them to the truth. The Catholic Church is the only true religion, the only one that can save man. That’s why she is missionary.

SN: When someone embraces a different religion, he is in error?

Absolutely.

SN: What does this mean for the ecumenism of the Christian churches?

If one understands ecumenism to mean that all Christians are to find their way back to the [Catholic] Church, then we too are in favor of ecumenism. We pray for the unity of Christians. But to believe that anyone can attain salvation in whatever way he sees fit — we say No [to that], that is not the teaching of the Church. In this sense we oppose ecumenism.

OK, fine, but Vatican II’s ecumenism is neither the first nor (officially) the second alternative, so Bp. Fellay is really not addressing Vatican II ecumenism at all here. Why not?

Secondly, it is troubling that Fellay refers to heretics and schismatics simply as “Christians”, when that is not the traditional label for them and is not specific enough in any case. As Pope Pius XII taught: “To be Christian one must be Roman; one must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church, that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles, who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on Earth” (Pius XII, Allocution to Irish Pilgrims, Oct. 8, 1957; qtd. in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 1502, p. 768).

SN: Where is the problem with regard to episcopal collegiality?

Pope Paul VI specifically added an additional, explanatory note to the conciliar text: No bishop is allowed to claim to be a part of the leadership of the Church if he is not with the Pope and under the Pope. The Pope alone decides whether [someone] and who has a say in the Church. He is the sole ruler [Alleinherrscher]. To claim that the bishops have some sort of democratic legitimation, is entirely false. For this contradicts the teaching of the Church completely. But this is utterly ignored by most dignitaries today.

True, although it’s not very believable coming from a man who has spent the last 22 years as his own “sole ruler”. (Bp. Fellay has been Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X since 1994. His current term expires in 2018.)

SN: What is your position on Judaism? You allegedly said in 2012 that the Jews, the Freemasons, and the Modernists are the enemies of the Church.

Ich have tried several times to correct [richtigstellen] this sentence, which was never authorized by me thus. I never said “the” enemies of the Church, only “enemies”. And this statement was made in connection with the question of who was putting pressure on Rome against an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X. Concerning this I said it is astonishing that it is precisely these groups, which often show themselves as enemies of the Church, that do not want us.

Let’s put this thing to rest once and for all. This will be easy to do as we have the original audio of Bp. Fellay’s conference in 2012 as well as a transcript thereof. See for yourself:


Clearly, the SSPX Superior General says “the enemies of the Church”:

We have many enemies, many enemies. But look and that’s very interesting. Who, during that time, was the most opposed that the Church would recognize the Society? The ENEMIES of the Church.  The Jews, the Masons, the [Modernists]! The most opposed that the Society would be recognized as a Catholic: the ENEMIES of the Church! Interesting, isn’t it? More than that, what was the point? What did they say to Rome? They said, “You must oblige these people to accept Vatican II. That’s also VERY interesting, isn’t it? People whom [sic] from OUTSIDE the Church, who were clearly during centuries, were enemies of the Church, say to Rome, if you want  to accept these people, you MUST oblige them to accept the Council. Isn’t that interesting? Oh, it is! I think it’s FANTASTIC! Because it shows that Vatican II is THEIR THING! Not the Church’s – THEY see, the ENEMIES of the Church see THEIR benefit in the Council.

(Source: Inofficial Transcript; underlining added.)


Why now deny that you said it the way you did back then, Your Excellency? And what do you mean when you say that “this sentence” was “never authorized” by you?
You yourself uttered it! And, for Heaven’s sake, why are you now acting as though the Jews, the Freemasons, and the Modernists are not the enemies of the Church?! The softening qualifier that they “often show themselves” as enemies of the Church is something you did not say in the original conference — it is something you added just now. Not even the official SSPX press release on the matter took this stance.

Alas, this is not the first time that Bp. Fellay has attempted to distort the facts regarding what he said in his December 2012 conference about the enemies of the Church. In his abysmal (and hence never advertised) interview performance with Tim Sebastian on Conflict Zone in February 2016, Bp. Fellay claimed that he had said that the Jews considered the Catholic Church as their enemy, not necessarily the other way around. Have a look at that interview and our extensive commentary on it:


Funny how the story keeps changing.

SN: What does this say about your position on Judaism?

It has nothing to do with the Jews as a people but only with some Jewish organizations. I never meant to target Judaism [as a people] — excepting their religion. A religion that rejects Christ as the Son of God is opposed to Christianity.

At least the Superior General still acknowledges this much. On this topic, by the way, we recommend the following books by the immortal Fr. Denis Fahey:


The Messiah comes from the people of the Jews, and for that reason it is entirely clear that the attitude of each Catholic vis-a-vis the Jews in general is a very special one, and not one that is antagonistic. 

Our Blessed Lord Himself had something to say about that:


They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever. If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do the things that you have seen with your father. They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not. You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God. Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me: Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do….

(John 8:33-44)


Not antagonistic, huh?

Our Lord made very clear that the Jews even of his time — who were indeed the legitimate bearers of salvation then (cf. Jn 4:22), unlike today’s apostate Talmudists — ought not to glory in their carnal link to Abraham if they do not “do the works of Abraham”. And this He underscored using rather blunt language. No doubt His hearers were “offended”!

Of course we must not be uncharitable to Jews, or to any non-Catholic — this much is clear, for charity is the highest law (cf. Mt 22:36-40; 1 Cor 13:2; 1 Jn 4:8). All that the above quote from John 8 is meant to demonstrate is that the merely fleshly link that today’s Jews may still retain with the Jews of the Old Testament by being their physical descendants, is of no value as long as they reject the true Messiah: “It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing” (Jn 6:64). 

Thus Bp. Fellay’s assertion that because Christ is the Son of David and thus of Abraham (cf. Mt 1:1), therefore there now exists some sort of special, awe-inspiring relationship between today’s apostate Jews and Catholics, is gratuitous and false: “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:28-29). St. John the Baptist, too, made this clear to the Jews right away: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham” (Mt 3:9).

But it is deplorable that they have not recognized the Messiah so far. They will do so — this was foretold by St. Paul. It says that at some point the people of the Jews will convert, and this will be of extraordinary benefit to the entire world.

SN: What significance does the Holocaust have [for you]?

The Holcoaust has something to do with National Socialism, with Hitler. It has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. The Holocaust is a tragedy like any other genocide. The Church has always spoken out against it. So do we.

And thus we come to the end of the interview, finally.

This post was going to end here, but just as we were editing this post for publication, a new development occurred: This very morning the SSPX headquarters in Menzingen released a statement from Bp. Fellay after a meeting of the Society’s major superiors. The official press release, which is quite brief and somewhat explosive, can be read here:


It is easy to see that now the tone has shifted once again to a less friendly one. (Contrast this, for example, with the Bp. Fellay of May 13.) At the same time, the communique really does not say anything substantially new, and the change in tone and emphasis is perhaps just meant to pacify those SSPX adherents who are taking a hard line against Francis and are getting increasingly uncomfortable with Fellay’s recent conciliatory maneuvers towards the Vatican.

Against some rash reports about an alleged “abandonment” of reconcilation efforts on the part of the SSPX (see here and here, for example), a cool analysis of the communique’s text shows that Bp. Fellay has actually left all doors open [Update: Precisely this has now been confirmed by “Mgr.” Guido Pozzo at the Vatican]: He does not say that he no longer seeks reconciliation or that he rejects Francis’ concessions — he merely qualifies that recognition by Rome, to which he believes the SSPX “has a right”, is not the first priority for the Lefebvrists: “The Society of Saint Pius X … does not seek primarily a canonical recognition…” (italics added). As is the case so often, all the difference is in the adverb! At the same time, it is not surprising that this less harmonious tone should now raise people’s eyebrows, since Fellay had just announced in his June 21 interview that the SSPX never wanted to be separated from Rome. So… whatever!

Secondly, Fellay’s conviction that the “‘restoration of all things in Christ’ … cannot happen without the support of a Pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition” does not rule out a reconciliation or canonical recognition under Francis; it merely states that not all things will be restored in Christ under the current supposed “Pope” (no kidding!). Indeed, in this same paragraph Bp. Fellay possibly hints at precisely such a “deal” with Rome by saying that the Society “intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the means that Divine Providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (italics added). What means might this include? Francis’ “god of surprises” might just have an answer in the works!

Thirdly, it is curious to see that now Bp. Fellay has gone back to lamenting that “the Pope himself” encourages “errors” that contribute to “the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church”, for which reason the SSPX “prays and does penance for the Pope”, because just on June 21 Fellay was still lauding “Francis’ concern for the salvation of the faithful”. What happened? Did we quickly switch from Eternal Rome to Modernist Rome again without noticing? It’s hard to keep up!

Fourthly, Fellay says he wants Francis “to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety”, but this is highly misleading, because, as Fellay knows very well, Francis is not proclaiming the Catholic Faith at all. Since he preaches heresy, he preaches a false faith altogether, so it’s not like Francis is simply keeping certain doctrines hidden. Rather, he is preaching the opposite of true doctrine, and there is no such thing as preaching the true Faith “in part” while preaching heresy. This lies in the nature of Faith, of which there cannot be more or less, as explained by Pope Benedict XV:

Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanas. Creed).

(Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24)


Thus, although one report speaks of the latest SSPX communique as “clarifying” their position vis-a-vis Rome, the truth is that Fellay’s latest statement is quite confusing because deliberately vague and ambiguous. Why would they issue something that confuses rather than clarifies? In the opinion of this writer, this press release is simply a much-needed “one step back” after two steps forward, taken in order to prevent a massive exodus of those in the SSPX who are not (yet?) ready to accept a deal with the Modernists in Rome.

Time will tell what happens, but in the meantime, the assault on Catholic teaching perpetrated in one way by Francis and in another way by the SSPX will continue at full throttle. 

To refute and expose it, that’s what we’re here for. Please spread the word.

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Priceless In-Flight Entertainment

Chaos Frank brings down the House:

francis-insane3


Church “must ask Forgiveness” of Homosexuals 
because “Who are we to Judge?!”; Martin Luther “did not err” on Justification; “All of us are Saints, because all of us have the Holy Spirit”


[LAST UPDATED: 29-JUN-16 11:21 UTC]

As we all know, “Pope” Francis provides free in-flight entertainment on the way home from every trip he takes by plane, and this was no less the case on June 26, as he was flying back from Armenia after a three-day trip. Speaking his mind freely in response to unscreened questions from journalists who accompanied him, Jorge Bergoglio proved once again today that the moniker we have given him — “Chaos Frank” — is a perfect fit.

You know how it goes aboard the “papal” plane: Fasten seatbelts. Taxi. Take-off. Interview. Francis. Chaos. Repeat. (The pilots must not have direct audio access to the cabin, to keep from crashing.)

Below we are reproducing the two main explosive questions and answers. Pay close attention in particular to the words in red. The first portion regards Martin Luther, the Reformation, and ecumenism:

[Tilmann] Kleinjung [questioner]: Too much beer … Holy Father, I wanted to ask you a question. Today you spoke of the gifts of the shared Churches, of the gifts shared by the Churches together. Seeing that you will go in I believe four months to Lund for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the reformation, I think perhaps this is also the right moment for us not only to remember the wounds on both sides but also to recognize the gifts of the reformation. Perhaps also – this is a heretical question – perhaps to annul or withdraw the excommunication of Martin Luther or of some sort of rehabilitation. Thank you.

Pope Francis: I think that the intentions of Martin Luther were not mistaken. He was a reformer. Perhaps some methods were not correct. But in that time, if we read the story of the Pastor, a German Lutheran who then converted when he saw reality – he became Catholic – in that time, the Church was not exactly a model to imitate. There was corruption in the Church, there was worldliness, attachment to money, to power...and this he protested. Then he was intelligent and took some steps forward justifying, and because he did this. And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church, but then this medicine consolidated into a state of things, into a state of a discipline, into a way of believing, into a way of doing, into a liturgical way and he wasn’t alone; there was Zwingli, there was Calvin, each one of them different, and behind them were who? Principals! We must put ourselves in the story of that time. It’s a story that’s not easy to understand, not easy. Then things went forward, and today the dialogue is very good. That document of justification I think is one of the richest ecumenical documents in the world, one in most agreement. But there are divisions, and these also depend on the Churches. In Buenos Aires there were two Lutheran churches, and one thought in one way and the other...even in the same Lutheran church there was no unity; but they respected each other, they loved each other, and the difference is perhaps what hurt all of us so badly and today we seek to take up the path of encountering each other after 500 years. I think that we have to pray together, pray. Prayer is important for this. Second, to work together for the poor, for the persecuted, for many people, for refugees, for the many who suffer; to work together and pray together and the theologians who study together try...but this is a long path, very long. One time jokingly I said: I know when full unity will happen. - “when?” - “the day after the Son of Man comes,” because we don’t know...the Holy Spirit will give the grace, but in the meantime, praying, loving each other and working together. Above all for the poor, for the people who suffer and for peace and many things...against the exploitation of people and many things in which they are jointly working together.

(“Full text: Pope Francis' in-flight press conference from Armenia”, Catholic News Agency, June 26, 2016; red font added for emphasis.)


So “Pope” Francis believes that Martin Luther’s doctrine of justification, condemned by the Council of Trent as heretical, is true, that is, orthodox. And he asserts that “Catholics” (i.e. the members of his Novus Ordo Sect) agree with this. In other words, he has just announced that he and his sect are Lutherans at least with regard to the doctrine of justification. Not that we needed any confirmation that he and his church are heretical, but it doesn’t hurt.

That “document on justification” Francis refers to is the so-called “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” between the Lutheran World Federation and the Novus Ordo Church. It was signed on October 31, 1999, and can be found on the Vatican web site here.

By contrast, the dogmatic Catholic teaching on justification, together with its condemnation of the Lutheran heresy, can be found in the Council of Trent (1545-1563), as follows:


Bishop Donald Sanborn has provided a refutation of the errors of the Joint Declaration right here:


Accepting Luther’s doctrine regarding justification is not new in Novus Ordo circles. For example, a long time ago the Modernist Sect’s American star philosopher, Peter Kreeft, declared explicitly in one of his many books: “On this issue [of justification] I believe Luther was simply right; and this issue is absolutely crucial” (Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith [Ignatius Press, 1988], p. 290).

Oh, by the way: That Vatican-Lutheran Joint Declaration on Justification back in 1999 almost didn’t happen. The one man who saved it was Joseph Ratzinger:


But let’s have a look at the biggest bombshell of them all, which Francis dropped when an American journalist asked him about “Cardinal” Reinhard Marx’s recent suggestion that the Church apologize to homosexuals for having “marginalized” them:

Cindy Wooden, CNS [questioner]: Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a large conference in Dublin which is very important on the Church in the modern world, said that the Catholic Church must ask forgiveness to the gay community for having marginalized these people. In the days following the shooting in Orlando, many have said that the Christian community had something to do with this hate toward these people. What do you think?

Pope Francis: I will repeat what I said on my first trip. I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally. One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior...Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no? ... But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well...this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism. Then there are traditions in some countries, in some cultures that have a different mentality on this problem. I think that the Church must not only ask forgiveness – like that “Marxist Cardinal” said (laughs) – must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended. But she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times – when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners! – Christians must ask forgiveness for having not accompanied so many choices, so many families...I remember from my childhood the culture in Buenos Aires, the closed Catholic culture. I go over there, eh! A divorced family couldn’t enter the house, and I’m speaking of 80 years ago. The culture has changed, thanks be to God. Christians must ask forgiveness for many things, not just these. Forgiveness, not just apologies. Forgive, Lord. It’s a word that many times we forget. Now I’m a pastor and I’m giving a sermon. No, this is true, many times. Many times … but the priest who is a master and not a father, the priest who beats and not the priest who embraces, forgives and consoles. But there are many. There are many hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, many saints. But these ones aren’t seen. Because holiness is modest, it’s hidden. Instead it’s a little bit of blatant shamelessness, it’s blatant and you see so many organizations of good people and people who aren’t as good and people who … because you give a purse that’s a little big and look at you from the other side like the international powers with three genocides. We Christians – priests, bishops – we have done this. But also we Christians have Teresa of Calcutta and many Teresa of Calcuttas. We have many servants in Africa, many laity, many holy marriages. The wheat and the weeds. And so Jesus says that the Kingdom … we must not be scandalized for being like this. We must pray so that the Lord makes these weeds end and there is more grain. But this is the life of the Church. We can’t put limits. All of us are saints, because all of us have the Holy Spirit. But we are all sinners, me first of all! Alright. I don’t know if I have replied.

(“Full text: Pope Francis' in-flight press conference from Armenia”Catholic News Agency, June 26, 2016; red font added for emphasis.)


This speaks for itself. An abominable apostate who makes a living pretending to be the Vicar of Christ opened his mouth and spouted more outrages against sound doctrine and right morals. For us sedevacantists, it is basically “business as usual” from Francis, but the semi-traditionalists and neo-conservatives in the Modernist Church are hitting the ceiling because they still have not figured out — or simply refuse to see — the truth about Francis.

elton-john-francis-sorry.jpg

“So sorry, Elton!”

It will be interesting to watch the reactions from the usual suspects, because you know they will all have something to say about this: Vennari, Matt, Ferrara, White, Verrecchio, Voris (yeah right!), Skojec, Akin, and many more. A few have spoken already:


As reactions continue to pour in from the semi-traditionalists, we will add the most interesting ones here on this page, so keep an eye out for updates. Meanwhile, sedevacantist Tom Droleskey blasts Jorge’s latest in this powerful article:


As far as John Vennari’s declaration that this is the “last straw” for him, it’s nothing but hot air. For in the same breath, Vennari immediately clarifies that — surprise! — he is still “not a sedevacantist” even now. Not that, of course. Which begs the question: Just what is this the last straw to, then? Are you now really, really, really upset with Francis, Mr. Vennari? Is that it? Or what is this talk of the “last straw” about? What are you going to do? What — sign Bro. Alexis Bugnolo’s petition to Francis? Sure, go ahead — as of the time of this writing, he’s already got 73 signatures, and only 99,927 to go! No, John Vennari, this isn’t the last straw for you, it is merely the latest straw — the latest of an endless supply of straws that will continue to pile up into infinity because you have long decided that you will not accept the only possible position to take in the matter. 

The truth is that all this semi-trad “resistance” bluster is empty talk, hot air. There is nothing these people can do as long as they refuse to acknowledge what is right in front of them: Francis is an apostate, an antipope, the Vicar of Satan or Judas perhaps but certainly not the Vicar of Christ. But they will not embrace this conclusion simply because they do not want to. It has nothing to do with evidence for them anymore. Which would not nearly be as bad if people like Vennari, Matt, Ferrara, etc., were only impacting their own souls; but the problem is that they broadcast their false ideas to the entire world and thus influence countless souls who look to them for guidance. That is the greater tragedy.

Francis is the best advertisement for Sedevacantism we could have ever wished for. Robert Siscoe and John Salza cannot write fast enough to keep up with this guy. Remember Salza and Siscoe? They’re the anti-sedevacantist bulldogs who want you to believe that if it weren’t for Francis, the gates of hell would have prevailed against the Catholic Church! … Riiight … And if it weren’t for abortion, kids would die!

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Yes, Francis wants the people on the left to apologize to the people on the right for not being “welcoming” enough...


There was much more to the interview than what we quoted above. For example, Francis also spoke about the “Pope Emeritus” question and his relationship with Benedict XVI, although there is nothing really explosive in his comments on that topic. He simply reiterated that there is only one Pope, and he thinks he is it (good one, Frank!).

Another subject brought up during the in-plane press conference was deaconesses. Francis put a damper on expectations regarding women in ordained ministry but observed that “one cannot make a good decision without listening to women” and that “[t]he Church … is not a spinster”. Vintage Bergoglianism.

The rest of the interview was full of Francis’ usual stream-of-consciousness rambling, filled with various errors (on ecumenism, for example) that have become so commonplace and always pale in comparison to the other outrageous remarks the Jesuit apostate utters, that one can simply pass over them at this point. There’s nothing significant there you haven’t heard before.

Oh, and regarding Francis’ question, “Who are we to judge?” — here’s how St. Paul answered that: “But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor 2:15). So, who is Francis to judge? …Obviously not the “spiritual man”!

And now… folks, don’t even think about asking Mark Shea what his view is on all this! He has the uncanny ability to come down on the wrong side of every issue every single time! And we are certain that he will once again agree with Francis and say that of course we ought to apologize to gays we have marginalized. Shea is like Steve Kellmeyer — no matter what happens, Francis is right and you are — obviously! — wrong.

Which raises the question: When are you going to apologize to your friendly neighborhood homo-pervert?


Response to Hilary White

Comedy Hour at The Remnant: “Francis is the Pope Until the Pope Says He’s Not”

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Peek-a-boo! Is he or isn’t he?


Apparently there is a new policy in place at the semi-traditionalist flagship publication The Remnant: Bloggers can write whatever they please about the Papacy, even if it contradicts the Faith, as long as they don’t endorse Sedevacantism.

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Most recent case in point: A blog post by Hilary White (pictured left) entitled, “Francis is the Pope Until the Pope Says He’s Not”. The title offers a good preview of the confused theology that follows in the body of the text, where a copious amount of hot air combines with unorthodox theological ideas to create a dangerous concoction that seeks to make up for a woeful lack of Catholicism.

White’s post is written in response to Ann Barnhardt’s recent announcement that she is convinced now that Francis is an Antipope and that the true Pope is Benedict XVI. (Our response to and analysis of Barnhardt’s article can be found here.) Barnhardt’s change of mind with regard to the Argentinian Jesuit apostate came after his declaration that “fidelity” in fornication equals a real marriage (!) and that in his estimation, the “great majority” of marriages are invalid because of a “culture” that makes people not know what they are saying when they promise “till death do us part”. (We took Francis to the woodshed on this here.)

White’s reply to Barnhardt can be found in its entirety here:


Below we will reproduce White’s text in blue font and intersperse our own comments in black:

Our friend Ann Barnhardt has sent up a flare this week, declaring, like Italian journalist Antonio Socci, her belief that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not Pope Francis, that his election was invalid and he is an antipope, mainly because Pope Benedict XVI is still lawfully the pope. She has presented as her evidence Bergoglio’s “heresies, blasphemies and antichristological actions,” as well as a canonical detail that, she correctly points out, no one is yet talking about. She has asked for responses.

Now, no one will accuse me of being a Francis apologist, but I cannot really completely agree with Ann’s conclusion. 

While Miss White clearly does not mean to be a Francis apologist, she is one de facto, simply by defending his claim to being the Pope of the Catholic Church. It is this idea that gives him all the legitimacy he needs to destroy souls on a massive scale. It does not matter how much she may “resist” this or that from Francis — the fact alone that she proclaims from the housetops and tells others that this man is the head of the Catholic Church inflicts incalculable damage to souls wherever her voice reaches, because unlike the people at The Remnant, most people in the world, no matter their religion, still understand that if Francis is the Pope of the Catholic Church, then his religion is necessarily the Catholic religion — fancy blog posts from journalists and slyly-argued articles from retired lawyers notwithstanding. All those who vociferously defend Francis’ claim to the Papacy in public ought to be aware that, regardless of their intentions, they will one day have to answer for the damage they have caused in all the souls their writings have reached. Jeffrey Knight’s talk “Culpable Ignorance and the Great Apostasy” provides a sobering reality check on this.

It is not that I am sure that her thesis is in error, or even that I believe with certainty that Jorge Bergoglio was legitimately elected while Benedict XVI still lived and still bore that name. I think my objections aren’t really objections in a proper sense. I don’t have at this stage in the horror show any real objection to someone thinking that perhaps Bergoglio is an antipope. It seems like a pretty sane conclusion on the face of it. And when is an honest evaluation of observable facts not legitimate?

Well, at least White is now able to admit this much — thank you.

So what are my reservations? They are two-fold. First, although her points are useful, factual and important, (and, quite importantly, presented without the strident demands for agreement that usually characterize this kind of claim) I still believe that we lay people are not in a position to make the call.

Fair enough for starters, but being a layman versus being a cleric has absolutely nothing to do with this.

I am remembering that I’m the one who frequently makes the assertion that what I have dubbed “Novusordoism” is an entirely different religion from Catholicism. 

Yes, Miss White, and we remember that you are also the one who refuses to state that the head of this entirely different religion cannot also be the head of the Catholic religion. You are acting like someone who knows that Jack is a bachelor but refuses to say that therefore we know Jack is unmarried.

I know that she is a thoughtful person whose first interest is the Great Commission; the salvation of souls. I also know that she is not a sedevacantist in any sense, but my response to her is going to be similar to my response to them: You can believe it. I think we have come to such a pass, the situation is so mind-bogglingly insane and evil, that it is natural to consider it. And it is perfectly sensible to put forward evidence and arguments to support your belief. But this is the Catholic Church. When a situation of such gravity arises, we on the ground, in the midst of the chaos, are not given the perspective or the objectivity required to make a call definitively. And as Ann herself admits, we don’t have the authority.

So here White asserts that “we on the ground” (is that supposed to mean “we laymen”?) “are not given the perspective or the objectivity”, but she lists no evidence in support of this curious thesis. She asserts it gratuitously, and this is troubling, because it does not at all stand to reason. What is it in being a layman that would necessarily prevent one from having the needed “perspective or the objectivity”? White doesn’t say.

Of course, the claim is no doubt reassuring and comforting in an emotional-psychological sense because it allows one to conveniently pass the buck on to someone else — as in, “This isn’t my responsibility… Next!” — all the while, of course, doing your own thing and refusing submission to the putative Pope. Yet it is this “do your own thing in the meantime” that always gets passed over in silence and is in fact taken for granted by semi-traditionalists like White while they pontificate about what we can and can’t say about Jorge Bergoglio. But that’s not how things work in the Catholic Church, and, in White’s own words, “This is the Catholic Church.” Well then!

The reason why White and those of her persuasion can so easily assert that Francis is Pope or that we must believe he is until someone “up there” says otherwise, is that they don’t submit to him anyway. His status — Pope or Antipope — has ultimately no bearing on anything they believe or do. They are essentially independent from him, which is the very essence of schism. Protestations that “we believe in the papacy” or “we recognize the Pope” and what not, do not suffice to make up for that. To the contrary:


What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which We have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic Faith?

…In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu [Sept. 1, 1876], nn. 23-24; in Acta Sanctae Sedis X [1877], pp. 3-37; English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 433-434; underlining added.)


Earlier this year, the SSPX Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay demonstrated that his idea of “recognizing the Pope” does not go much further than nicely saying hello to him when he sees him. Oh well. 

In essence, my position is the same as it has been all along: Francis is the pope until a future pope says he’s not. It’s a difficult thing to accept – particularly for modern people who like to solve problems on their own, but that is the reality of the Church. This mess – and I know that there has never in our entire multi-millennial history been a worse one – is not going to be sorted out by us. Our task, however frustrating, is to live as Catholics in these times, with this catastrophe, with this painful ambiguity. This is the Cross of this moment.

Yes, our task is to live as Catholics, but the problem is that part of what being Catholic is, is to submit to the Vicar of Christ. That is an integral part of the Catholic Faith, defined infallibly and dogmatically by the First Vatican Council. It is not optional, not a nice-to-have, not an elective “add-on”, not a luxury item that can just be dispensed with as each individual believer sees the need. We have shown this again and again on this web site, and we’re not going to repeat all the magisterial quotes here. People who are interested in learning about this in depth should have a look at our collection of articles posted here.

Just to be clear, Ann has specifically repudiated any claim to be speaking authoritatively, quite in contrast to the sedes. I’ve spoken with her and she has confirmed that it is not her intention to do as the sedes do. But plenty of people do. I have sedes – perhaps the most obnoxious jerks ever to stain the interwebs – more or less continually getting into my Twitface realms and flatly demanding that I agree with them and accusing me of being “not Catholic” if I don’t. Hubris much? 

Ah yes, the “authority” argument. It has been addressed and refuted so many times, but too often sedevacantist rejoinders fall on deaf ears. Let’s try one more time: In a nutshell, it simply does not require special authority to point out that what cannot be true, is not true. It is the authority of human reason, enjoyed by all who are in possession of their faculties, that assures us of the truth of this claim. Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany in his book exposing Liberalism roundly refuted the error of making the recognition of a manifest heretic a matter of special authority:


The question whether Jorge Bergoglio is a public Catholic or a public non-Catholic cannot be a matter of opinion: We know what he professes in public, and we know how he acts in public. That is all we need to be able to make a judgment (not a legal one but a cognitive one), and the objective evidence says — nay, screams — that the man is not a Roman Catholic. Any 7-year-old child would not be allowed to make his First Communion if he uttered the things Francis professes. Francis is not a Catholic but a Modernist, a Naturalist, a Sillonist, an Ecumenist, an Indifferentist, a Communist — and he embraces a whole lot of other “-isms” that do not begin with “Catholic-”.

The evidence is so overwhelming that no one who knows what Catholicism is and what Francis has been saying and doing, can deny it. (If you need a refresher, our “Pope” Francis Page is available here.) There is no room for opinion here: No one is allowed to say that a man who professes Francis’ heresies and errors is a Catholic. We can say this with certitude because we know what Catholicism is, and hence we necessarily also know what is not Catholicism, i.e. what contradicts Catholicism. These are two sides of the same coin. If we know what a Catholic is, then we know what a heretic is.

Notice that everything we have just said pertains entirely to the order of fact, not to the order of law. No sedevacantist could issue a legal judgment against Francis, because such a legal judgment would indeed require special authority. But the legal judgment, although desirable, is not necessary to be able to know that Francis is an apostate and thus not Pope. It is not necessary because the fact of Francis’ apostasy is manifest — if it weren’t manifest, we wouldn’t be talking about it. In canonical language, Francis’ departure from the faith is “notorious in fact”, and even in an ecclesiastical trial what is notorious does not need any further proof, much less a judgment:

[T]he judge, and in general the person in authority, holding what is notorious to be certain and proved, requires no further information, and therefore, both may and ought to refrain from any judicial inquiry, proof, or formalities, which would otherwise be necessary. For these inquiries and formalities having as their object to enlighten the judge, are useless when the fact is notorious. Such is the true meaning of the axiom that in notorious matters the judge need not follow the judicial procedure….

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Notoriety, Notorious”)


White mentions that there are sedevacantists who “demand” that she agree with them, else she is not a Catholic. Can a sedevacantist do that? Does this not require the very “authority” we have just said we don’t have?

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Binding someone else’s conscience does indeed require ecclesiastical authority, something no sedevacantist has. If any sedevacantist were to pretend that he has the right of himself to bind someone else’s conscience, he would be mistaken and act unjustly. In other words, no sedevacantist could say, “You must be a sedevacantist because I say so.” This would clearly be impermissible. But then again, is anyone doing this? If so, he is wrong. 

But this is probably not what is actually happening. Rather, most probably, people are simply pointing out to Hilary White and her coreligionists that given the empirical facts about Francis, Sedevacantism is the only conclusion that does not run into conflict with Catholic teaching. It is thus the only conclusion that is possible, and hence it is also necessary. It is for this reason that others must embrace it — not because we sedevacantists say so, as though we had any authority to bind consciences, but because according to Catholic teaching no other conclusion is possible; and since we have an obligation to adhere to Catholic teaching, we thus also have an obligation to embrace Sedevacantism. In short, the necessity for Hilary White and everyone else to be sedevacantist does not arise from sedevacantists’ say-so, it arises from the fact that all are obliged by Catholic teaching and the manifest empirical facts to arrive at this conclusion.

This, then, has nothing to do with hubris. It is simply akin to explaining to someone that if he understands what “1” means, what “2” means, what “equal” means, and what “plus” means, then he must conclude, necessarily, that 1+1=2. Or, to use our earlier example, if Jack is a bachelor and all bachelors are unmarried, then we must conclude necessarily that Jack is unmarried. No other conclusion is permitted or possible, and we cannot hide behind the copout that we “don’t have the authority” to say that Jack is unmarried. Welcome to the authority of reason.

To those who argue that the thesis that Francis is not the Pope of the Catholic Church is merely a theological opinion and not a dogma, we recommend Bp. Donald Sanborn’s response:


Meanwhile, we will continue with Hilary White:

Sedevacantism is an easy, lazy path out of our current pains and is essentially the equivalent of the papal positivists defending to the death the pope’s right to be a heretic if he wants – it’s a self-generated delusional fantasyland to go hide in. 

This is a highly polemical statement that reveals the author’s ignorance and hubris more than anything else. 

First, if anyone is “defending to the death the pope’s right to be a heretic”, it is Hilary White, The Remnant, and the rest of the recognize-but-resist crowd. We are the ones — in line with the Fathers of Vatican I, we might add — that hold that a heretical Pope is like a married bachelor: perhaps poetic but an impossibility.

Second, to call Sedevacantism “easy” and “lazy” is not only gratuitous, it is also, strictly speaking, irrelevant — what matters is not whether Sedevacantism is convenient, but whether it is true. By calling it “easy” and “lazy”, however, the objector can claim for herself the moral high ground in a somewhat concealing fashion. Without stating it explicitly, White is essentially telling her readers: “Those peasanty sedes are just too dumb and lazy to deal with the crisis. Don’t be like them — surely you are smart and zealous and therefore not a sedevacantist!” This is nothing but hot air. If anyone has created a “delusional fantasyland to go hide in”, it’s White and those who share her “recognize-and-resist” position.

If the pope isn’t really the pope and everything that has happened since 1958 doesn’t count, then none of this is their problem. It’s as if they’ve taken up opium smoking to treat a headache. We all suffer this pain but, honestly, believe me, it becomes easier to bear with the spiritual equivalent of green vegetables and exercise in the fresh air. For them I offer only one piece of advice: cancel your internet account and get a garden. Perhaps an allotment. Grow some vegetables. The internet is not a good place for you. 

More hot air — and quite fallacious, as usual. Sedevacantists adhere to the Catholic teaching that a heretical Pope is an impossibility because it contradicts the dogmas that the Pope is the head of the Church and that the Church is united in one and the same Faith. An obvious corollary to this is that we therefore do not have to deal with the absurdities of the Vatican II Church, such as a heretical Pope teaching that God blesses mortal sin (see here), which White and the “experts” at The Remnant are constantly struggling with. But this natural consequence of adhering to Catholic teaching — being free from Vatican II Sect follies — White is now trying to use against us! It is absurd. 

Pardon us, Miss White, for being Catholic. Obviously, Catholics do not have to deal with the problems that non-Catholic positions create. This lies in the nature of sound doctrine, but for White it is a reason to abandon the Catholic position. Wow. Unfortunately, we have come to expect such type of harebrained argumentation from Remnant columnists, where it appears that the only standard is that one not be a sedevacantist.

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Sedevacantist? Eww...


It is puzzling, however, to see that White seems to think that just because Sedevacantism doesn’t have the problem of “heretical popes” and the whole Vatican II mess to deal with, that we therefore don’t have plenty of our own difficulties which arise from the absence of a Pope. If we want to make this about “who suffers more”, we can assure our readers that there is plenty of distress in Sedevacantism, and ironically it is oftentimes this very distress that is brought up by White’s coreligionists as “evidence” against our position

Both the sedevacantist and the recognize-and-resist positions lead to various difficulties and problems — this lies simply in the nature of the situation we have been confronted with since the death of Pope Pius XII. It is a mystery (cf. 2 Thess 2:7). The difference is that our problems are natural given the vacancy of the Apostolic See, and always resolvable in principle (namely, by a future true Pope), whereas the problems generated by the recognize-and-resist position are unsolvable even in principle, for nothing the Pope teaches or decrees has any binding authority of itself anymore, for everything hinges, at least de facto, on each individual believer’s acceptance or rejection (“resistance”) thereof. Thus they have emasculated the Papacy entirely — all because they were “too smart” for Sedevacantism or perhaps were too busy planting vegetables in their garden instead of reading up on Catholic teaching on the Papacy and the Magisterium.

As I say, Ann has not done this (and I know she has quite advanced social skills), and I know that her call for qualified people to correct her if necessary is not merely a rhetorical conceit. But I fear that her piece may encourage those who are not capable of making sufficient distinctions between what they believe and what they have the authority to assert. 

The authority to assert definitively that the last pope was not the pope, that Pope Benedict’s resignation was invalid, that the 2013 Conclave was illicit and that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is, for certain, an antipope, is solely and exclusively the purview of a real pope. Only the pope can declare such a thing definitively for the whole Church to believe. Only. Ever. 

Ah, but Miss White, wait no longer! The “Pope” has already declared as much: Francis does claim to be the legitimate Pope, you know — so the matter has already been settled! Besides, what do you do if someone in your camp decides that such a papal declaration, when it comes, needs to be “resisted”?! You people resist just about everything else, so why not also this?

The second is a bit more nuanced. I asked Ann, “What difference does it make? We can do little about it either way.” Whether a future pope or ecumenical council declares that Bergoglio was unlawfully elected, or that Benedict unlawfully resigned, leaves us in exactly the same position here and now. We are given exactly the same charge right now, whatever a future pope declares.

But why does it have to be a future Pope? Why not the current one? And what if a Pope after the future Pope then declares the future Pope to have been invalid? Do you not see where this leads, especially if ultimately each believer gets to decide whether he will accept or “resist” what the Pope says?

What difference does it make? Such a question can only be asked by someone who doesn’t submit to the Pope anyway, such that his identity would be irrelevant. We have answered this question at length before, likewise in response to a post by The Remnant:


Ann herself brings up the question of attending Masses at which his name is invoked as pope. She says she consulted a reliable priest on the subject and was given a satisfactory answer and continues to attend Masses where his pontificate is at least provisionally accepted. And I think this is the only way forward without descending into the sedevacantist rabbit hole. 

And here we see candidly stated the ultimate motive for all this bizarre and convoluted theology White and her coreligionists pass off as “traditional”: their categorical rejection of Sedevacantism. That “rabbit hole.” Anything but that! No wonder that’s exactly what they have now: anything but that. The baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, but hey — at least the bathwater is gone.

And there is nowhere to go to hide. Let’s just clear that one up. We are at the end of that trail. Butch and Sundance knew they could not get past the Bolivian army. They knew there wasn’t anywhere to run. The Spartans stood at Thermopylae not because they chose that little narrow pass, but because that was where the battle had to be fought. The ideology that Bergoglio and his followers are imposing is totalitarian. It cannot, by its nature, allow any opposition to survive anywhere. When it has taken out the big targets, it will come for you wherever you hide.

The devil had to wait for the Church to have spread around the globe, before he could use its institutional organization to corrupt it completely. Those few tiny pockets that are left are besieged. And the wreckers aren’t Mohammadans [sic] or Calvinists this time. The appalling martyrdom of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate shows no one is safe. Even those bishops who attempted to shelter them have been attacked. The papacy is being wielded as a weapon against the faithful, against the Faith, and it is a powerful one. Perhaps the most powerful on earth. There is only one power greater.

Yeah, it’s pretty tough when your at-all-costs rejection of Sedevacantism leads you so far into absurdity and heresy that you would blasphemously declare that the Papacy is a threat to the Faith and thus effectively a means of damnation, when Catholic dogma says the exact opposite. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of how these people, in their blind hatred of Sedevacantism, will say and do anything in order to avoid that conclusion.

Earlier this year we heard protests aplenty from the recognize-and-resist camp when Fr. Anthony Cekada pointed out the prevalence of a veritable phobia of Sedevacantism among the semi-traditionalists, but what is at play here if not precisely that? This stubborn anti-sedevacantist attitude is anything but rational — there is some other motive here.

So… what was that about the Papacy and salvation again?

From these events men should realize that all attempts to overthrow the “House of God” are in vain. For this is the Church founded on Peter, “Rock,” not merely in name but in truth. Against this “the gates of hell will not prevail” [Mt 16:18] “for it is founded on a rock” [Mt 7:25; Lk 6:48]. There has never been an enemy of the Christian religion who was not simultaneously at wicked war with the See of Peter, since while this See remained strong the survival of the Christian religion was assured. As St. Irenaeus proclaims openly to all, “by the order and succession of the Roman pontiffs the tradition from the Apostles in the Church and the proclamation of the truth has come down to us. And this is the fullest demonstration that it is the one and the same life-giving faith which has been preserved in the Church until now since the time of the Apostles and has been handed on in truth” [Adversus haereses, bk. 3, chap. 3].

(Pope Pius VII, Encyclical Diu Satis, n. 6)


This chair [of Peter] is the center of Catholic truth and unity, that is, the head, mother, and teacher of all the Churches to which all honor and obedience must be offered. Every church must agree with it because of its greater preeminence — that is, those people who are in all respects faithful….

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees. 

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, nn. 1,7)


Union with the Roman See of Peter is ... always the public criterion of a Catholic…. “You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held”.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 13)


In the Catholic Church Christianity is incarnate. It identifies itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the mystical body of Jesus Christ and which has for its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Saviour, the daughter and the heiress of His redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance, and of that immortality which have been promised it, it makes no terms with error, but remains faithful to the commands which it has received to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time and to protect it in its inviolable integrity.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Annum Ingressi)


So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: ‘The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [Mt 16:18], cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion.’…

To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received. It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world ... referred to this apostolic see those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing…. 

For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [Lk 22:32].

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4)


Maybe the Popes of the 19th century should also have spent more time planting vegetables in the garden. They obviously weren’t up to Hilary White’s level of theology. 

If anyone is wielding the Papacy as a weapon against the true Faith, it is people like Hilary White, whose insistence that Francis is actually the valid occupant of the Papal Throne is precisely what contributes to the destruction of the Faith in so many souls, as explained earlier.

I had a message from a priest in the US who brought his concerns to his bishop, a man he describes as “privately orthodox,” and was told with a shrug, “Well, popes come and go.” The “good” men, perhaps because acceptance of the Novusordoist regime has impaired their intellects, are doing nothing, hoping that the wolf will leave them alone until it dies on its own. What they cannot see, or are too horrified to accept, is that Francis is nothing more than the final result of a long-term plan to utterly destroy the Church as we have known it and replace it forever with something entirely different. To accomplish this plan, the enemies of Christ had to take the papacy, the last citadel. They have it now, and there is little natural hope that they will lose it.

We’ll quote Pope Pius IX once more: “…religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair [of Peter] remains intact” (Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7). But, no matter. For White — and The Remnant obviously agrees — it is no problem for a true Pope to embrace and put forth a different religion, a religion other than Catholicism. No worries — the real problem is those who claim that the blaspheming apostate who imposes this false religion cannot be the Vicar of Christ. Got it.

These bishops have accepted the New Paradigm, making excuses and justifications for it, as long as there was room within it to make mental reservations, to continue to consider themselves “orthodox,” even if only “privately”. 

For White, Francis does not need to be orthodox publicly or privately to be Pope, so she’d better not be the one complaining here.

They are desperate to maintain the old Mexican standoff of the John Paul II era. These are not the men to come out shooting in a last desperate bid. They are the ones who will keep their eyes firmly clamped shut until the wolf is closing its jaws upon them. (And he is. cf: Bishops Finn ___ et al.) To paraphrase Churchill, they are feeding the sheep to the crocodile in the hopes it will eat them last.

The freakish phenomenon of Pope Francis is not just some odd anomaly that will go quietly away when he dies. We don’t have the option of just hunkering down and waiting. The comfortable John Paul II compromise is gone forever. 

But the old standoff within the New Paradigm was nothing more than the slow death of a million paper cuts anyway. “Conservative” Novusordoism was little more than a form of passive euthanasia passed off as palliative care – a death by large doses of morphine. The “conservative” no-man’s land they tried to occupy is closed. It no longer exists, and the wolves are demanding full acquiescence. Time’s up. No more morphine for you. Choose now whether to be eaten with your flock or join the wolves; to be crucified or become a crucifier. 

Now I think Ann has brought up some important issues. The little two-word insertion in Canon Law about “substantial error,” is something that ought to be given serious consideration by canonists. 

Canon 188

A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself.


If it can be demonstrated that Ratzinger really did have the notion that he could, through the power of his own magnificent brain, “evolve” the papacy into a diarchy with a contemplative and an active branch, then we have some serious evidence to consider. 

What’s the difference between the Ratzinger aberration and White’s own ideas about the Papacy as being either basically irrelevant or a danger to the salvation of the faithful?

Does the power of the keys grant the power to change the papacy itself into something unrecognisable? The difficulty is we would be making the call based on what someone said once in a speech about what he believes Ratzinger meant… you see the problem. It’s hearsay and not sufficient evidence for a future ecumenical council or pope. It’s a pretty big hint, of course, but that’s all it is for now. 

Behold the things we evil sedevacantists don’t have to worry about because we’re lazy and dense Catholic. Funny how that works.

As we showed in our response to Ann Barnhardt, “substantial error” in Canon 188 of the Novus Ordo Code of Canon Law has the following meaning:

Substantial error is a mistaken judgment that is not of minor importance and is truly a cause of the consequent resignation. This would be the case in which the officeholder judged that he or she had caused serious injury to someone when this was not objectively correct.

(James A. Coriden, et al., eds., The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1985], p. 109; italics added.)


Applying this to the Ratzinger resignation, we are talking about an error of fact (=error about some event or state of affairs) that would have 
caused Benedict XVI to resign. But rejecting the Catholic dogma of the papacy as a monarchy in favor of a diarchy is not an error of fact. It is an error of law, and a heretical one at that. Next.

We can certainly learn useful things from Gänswein’s speech, however, particularly from the casual insouciance with which he presented it. It was as though it were nothing particularly remarkable, let alone a declaration of nearly blasphemous hubris. What was most shocking to me was the cheery hand-wave, as though it were merely a sensible conclusion by the “brilliant” theological mind of his friend… All part of the glorious newness of Newchurch, a hilarious development-of-doctrine party favour granted us by the Holy Ghost of Wacky Fun Surprises. 

Is this really how modern “conservative” churchmen think? We know it’s how men like Bergoglio think, but is this really how Ratzinger thinks? Have things really gone this far? If it is and it has, perhaps if nothing else it would be a good reason to start wondering if Ratzinger/Benedict ever had been the staunch defender of doctrine he was so often made out to be. Perhaps we were at fault for buying into the absurd “Rottweiler” rhetoric of the New York Times. Were we this desperate for a defender of the Faith that we were so eager to overlook his many theological oddities? 

Yes, Miss White, this is exactly what happened, and The Remnant in particular was at the forefront, not of reporting the facts about Ratzinger but about pushing the narrative of the great “Restoration of Tradition” that had supposedly been kicked off by Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005. Prime offender: Christopher Ferrara, who misused his God-given talents to spin everything that was happening under Benedict into a “good Pope fights evil Vatican” narrative — any facts to the contrary notwithstanding.

If people had read Novus Ordo Watch instead of following the propaganda organs of the recognize-and-resist camp, they would have seen that Benedict XVI was a Modernist through and through who denies original sin, the resurrection of the body, and more. See for yourself:


A month after Benedict XVI’s election, we posted a prediction of what we believed he would attempt to do as “Pope”, and although we were not correct on every point, nevertheless our prediction proved fairly accurate overall, especially regarding his re-authorization of the “Traditional Latin Mass” (1962 Missal):


Alas, too many people allowed themselves to be swayed by emotion rather than by Faith, reason, and a cool analysis of the facts. And so many fell for the “traditional” Benedict XVI, who simply knew how to dress his Modernism in eloquent Latin, beautiful vestments, and lots of incense.

And this leads me to the next thought. Perhaps one of the most important things the Francis pontificate and the concurrent state of utter chaos is teaching us is just how bad the rot is – and has been for years – in the rest of the hierarchy, in the priesthood, in the Vatican, the religious orders and, perhaps hardest to bear, among the laity. If this is not the “great apostasy,” the almost universal loss of faith, spoken of by Our Lord in the Gospel and by the various visionaries more recently, if that is going to be worse than this, I shudder to imagine the future. 

We all know about and deplore the likes of the San Gallen Mafia – the notorious heretics, brazen blasphemers, homophile abuse enablers and sexual, moral and intellectual perverts who spent decades degrading the Faith and ultimately put this man on the throne of Peter. We are inured to the Mahoneys and Gumbletons and Bernardins, none of whom has ever troubled to hide his unbelief or his revolting proclivities. We know these men who have spent decades campaigning for precisely the kind of catastrophes that this pope, their puppet, is now imposing. From the seething minds and grinning countenances of such monsters as Godfried Cardinal Danneels one expects only ruination and despair. 

No, the thing that most fills me with horror is not even this ridiculous, demented blasphemer blurting out his incomprehensible contradictions. He is their man, after all. It is the fact that he is doing it to the roaring approval of the faithful. That he is drooling out his daily heresies in front of a rapt and solemn audience of priests, bishops, religious and laity who do not at least get up and walk out. Who do not ever stand up and say, “No, holy father, that is not right; that is not Catholic teaching; that is not of God; it is of the devil.” His weekly audiences are still full of people who smile and laugh at his jokes and cheer when he waves. 

When he suggested that Our Lady, the Theotokos, the New Eve, had – I can barely stand to type this – accused God of lying, where were the little old ladies who pray their daily Rosary stopping their ears and shouting at him to recant his blasphemies? Where were the chivalrous priests outraged enough to counter this horrifying accusation against Mary Most Holy? Where, in short, is the outrage?

They were probably busy planting their vegetables, trying to figure out how they could avoid having to be sedevacantists. In contrast to Hilary White, at least they did not utter heresy or other errors against the Papacy and the Magisterium — they simply remained silent. That too is shameful, but at least it’s not a direct attack on Catholic teaching.

There is only one way to defeat Francis: You must proclaim from the housetops that he is not the Pope of the Catholic Church. If enough people do it, he is effectively deprived of that which alone gives him all his putative authority: the public’s belief that this man holds the highest office in the Catholic Church. Take that away from him, and he is finished. In the real Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio would not even be in a charge of a broom closet. It is time people realized that.

The Francis pontificate has demonstrated the appalling loss of faith throughout the Church from the humblest bead-squeezer and weekly pew-sitter all the way to the most sacred office of Peter. How can anyone continue to deny that the neomodernist revolution, started in secret in the 19th century, growing underground until the early 60s and unleashed upon the Church in the Post-Conciliar age, has completed its work? 

As far as the loss of Faith goes, unfortunately Hilary White is one of the casualties herself. Look at this: Without batting an eye, she just proclaimed that the current Successor of St. Peter has lost the Faith. Hubris much, Miss W.? Pope Pelagius II also knew a little bit about Sacred Theology, and here’s what he had to say about that:

(For) you know that the Lord proclaims in the Gospel: Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I have asked the Father for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren [Lk 22:31-32]. 

Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of PETER be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for PETER alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep [cf. Jn 21:15ff.]; and to him also He handed over the keys of the kingdom of heaven,and upon him He promised to build his Church, and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it [cf. Mt 16:16ff.]. But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle [Mt 13:25] over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith — and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith….

(Pope Pelagius II, Apostolic Letter Quod ad Dilectionem; Denz. 246)


White’s anti-Catholic ideas about the Papacy and the Magisterium — which she has evidently convinced herself are the result of an astute mind and a resolute willingness to suffer — are no less dangerous than the Modernist junk spouted by Jorge & Friends. At the end of the day, the devil doesn’t care what heresies we fall for and spread, as long as it’s some heresy. Do not think, ladies and gentlemen of the recognize-and-resist persuasion, that you can keep the Faith by denying it, that you can save it by changing it. If you believe that, you should apply for a job with the United States government, where people believe you can borrow your way out of debt.

If you must change Church teaching about the Papacy, about the Church, about the Magisterium in order to uphold your position, that is a sure way of knowing your position is false. This is the tragedy of the anti-sedevacantist position of the semi-traditionalists like Hilary White, and it is for this reason that we place so much emphasis of the need to be sedevacantist to be authentically Catholic. It is not because of pride, it is out of a love for the true Faith, which is cruelly distorted by the recognize-and-resist position, as confirmed by White’s own words about how the Pope can lose the Faith and still be Pope.

If the election of Bergoglio was in reality some kind of horrifying trial balloon, some kind of test by these creatures to see how far things had progressed, I would say it is an un-allayed [sic] smash success. They have clearly learned not only that they can elect a bizarre intellectual midget, a thug and a boor, a bully and a fool, but that no one will object in substance to any of it. His ideological fellow travelers will cheer, and the “privately orthodox” will keep their heads down until they are replaced with more fellow travelers. And at the next Conclave, when they impose a Tagle – every bit the neomodernist Churchwrecker, but with smooth social skills and 20 years younger – they can be confident that they will own whatever is left of the Church indefinitely. 

As painful as it might be, the only legitimate conclusion for now is to acknowledge the seriousness of what is happening, to admit that things are in an apocalyptic state and to carry on presenting the Faith in opposition to what Francis and his friends are doing. 

OK, Miss White, but which faith shall it be? The one that includes what we quoted above from the 19th-century Popes, Vatican I, and Pope Pelagius II? Or the new “faith” that you yourself have created that excludes those things, where the head of the Catholic Church can be the member of a different religion (“Novusordoism”, remember?), and where submission to the Pope is optional at best and sometimes even an acute danger to one’s very salvation?

Which faith, Miss White?  …We can’t hear you!

We’re just soldiers and our task is not the same as that of the generals. It is to maintain the Faith ourselves, including living a full sacramental life, to intensify our dedication to prayer and penances and to have sure supernatural hope that, whatever is happening, God – who has not abandoned us – wants to sort it out for the best, and will do so. Green vegetables and exercise in the fresh air. (And I would suggest for many of us, cutting out of our diets the “sugar” of frequent, prolonged internet use.) 

No doubt, some people should stay off the internet altogether, but that is not the point under discussion now. Once again we see why the Pope issue is so important: Not only does it very much determine what we believe the Faith to be that White agrees we must practice and defend, it also very much impacts the very “sacramental life” she encourages us to practice. For if Paul VI was not a true Pope, then there is no guarantee that the Novus Ordo sacramental rites — most notably those for holy orders — are valid. In fact, when it comes to the 1968 rite of episcopal consecration, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is not valid, meaning anyone consecrated a bishop in that rite is most definitely not a valid bishop (this includes Benedict XVI and Francis, incidentally), as proved here:


These issues are extremely serious, are they not? Hence, once again, our insistence on them. It has nothing to do with hubris or pride — it is a matter of the integrity of the Faith and the salvation of souls.

It’s an unsatisfying answer, I know. The Cross is unsatisfying. It does not allow us to be the ninja action heroes we know we really are deep down inside, to punch our enemies into orbit, put everything back the way it ought to be and restore sanity in the world by our own mighty superpowers.

OK, let’s make sure we remember that next time we complain that Sedevacantism doesn’t have a clear answer as to how to regain a true Pope, that it “doesn’t solve anything.” Sedevacantism accomplishes two essential things: (1) it provides the correct diagnosis of the situation at hand, and that is itself already a large part of the solution, for an accurate diagnosis is the essential precondition of any possible cure; (2) it provides a solution insofar as it reconciles the empirical facts with Catholic teaching and does not require or permit distorting, ignoring, denying, or minimizing Catholic teaching on the Papacy, the Church, or the Magisterium.

That’s what Sedevacantism does. What does recognize-and-resist offer?

It is, more or less, equivalent to asking soldiers – regular guys – to go to war, not knowing if they will live to see the end. But a war that needs to be fought simply needs to be fought and the soldiers are called merely to do their bit where they are sent. We go in with our eyes open and we fight in whatever theatre we are assigned – whether it’s our parish, our family, our seminary, our work or any other field. (Green vegetables… exercise… soldiers need to be fit.) Whether we live to see victory is not in our hands, and declaring Bergoglio to be an antipope won’t change any of that. 

Recognizing that it is necessary — per the very Faith we must uphold and the human reason with which we are endowed — to hold that Bergoglio is a false pope, changes a whole lot, as demonstrated in this post. It only changes nothing for those who do not believe in the Papacy or refuse submission to the Pope.

The theoretical future pope who declares that the entirety of the last 50 years of chaos and catastrophe don’t count – like an ecclesiastical JJ Abrams rebooting the Catholic franchise – will have to acknowledge the white (and the red) martyrdom of these times. The chaos and instability, the lack of trust, the lost vocations, the collapse of every institution, the infiltration by wolves and their demonic, anti-rational, anti-Real ideology at every level and in every corner of the globe. To do less would be an injustice to those who stuck it out to the end.

White is dreaming once again of that “future Pope” who will declare that the Vatican II mess “doesn’t count” — and assumes that this will then settle everything, and all will be well. But here she has forgotten for a moment her own theology, which holds that the Pope can be resisted by anyone at any point, if they decide he is a threat to the Faith. So, what shall prevent people from resisting that papal decree? Evidently, White has not considered the consequences of her own position and the legacy it is sure to bring, confusing generations to come.

no-vacancy-sign.gif


The simple fact of the matter is that an authority that teaches something for decades under pain of mortal sin and then at some point decides that the exact opposite is true — as in, “Just kidding, guys!” — is not credible. If the same authority first declares, for example, that religious liberty is evil and condemned, then reverses itself and says it is now necessary, good, and comaptible with Catholic teaching and the opposite is not permitted to be held, and then later reverses itself yet again and says we must now adhere under pain of mortal sin to the original teaching again, then this authority is clearly not credible and cannot be from Almighty God. No right-thinking individual could give any credence to such an institution’s claim to being the divinely-established Church of God, for then one would have no reason to believe this self-contradicting authority at any point — not in the past, not in the present, and not in the future. 

This is one of the reasons why so many people have lost the Faith since Vatican II: To all appearances, the same Catholic Church that first taught “A” now teaches the exact opposite, “not-A”. Such an absurdity is only possible if the Vatican II Church that teaches “not-A” is not the same entity as the Catholic Church but a false church. Simply resisting “not-A” while contending that this new church is the same as the old one, accomplishes nothing except to give legitimacy to the false church and confuse people even more.

But then again, what do we know here? Hiding in that “self-generated delusional fantasyland”, we’re just too lazy, simple-minded, and not planting enough vegetables to understand Hilary White’s cutting-edge theology — which demands that even if Jack is a bachelor, we can’t say he’s unmarried.

Good thing we have The Remnant to straighten us out.

Related Links:



Full transcript now available

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The Amoris Laetitia Super Show:
The TRADCAST 013 Transcript

By popular demand, we have now released a full transcript of our in-depth podcast dismantling Francis’ “Apostolic Exhortation” Amoris Laetitia, a document which attacks not only the sacrament of holy matrimony but fundamentally undermines morality itself by introducing the idea that sin is essentially just an incomplete form of holiness, that vice is just a partial participation in virtue.

Our podcast, originally released on April 26, 2016, is available in audio with copious notes and links, here:


As the audio is 2.5 hours in length, the transcript spans 29 pages. You can download the PDF version for free here:


The podcast is divided into three portions:

  • Segment 1: Introductory Remarks and Initial Comments — The Vatican’s Presentation of the Exhortation on April 8, 2016
  • Segment 2: Presentation and refutation of the worst passages found in Amoris Laetitia
  • Segment 3: The reactions to Amoris Laetitia: overview and discussion — Critique of various positions — An offer to victims of the New Church who are in an adulterous union — Concluding remarks


Our review of various reactions from different camps in the third segment includes a hard-hitting refutation of the false “traditionalists” who are denouncing the document while still maintaining that its author is the Vicar of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.

CAUTION! Our podcasts are filled to the brim with information — like the original audio, this 29-page transcript contains no fluff but only insightful content, hard-hitting zingers, memorable aphorisms, and brilliant fireworks!

Enjoy this transcript, keep a copy for yourself and send it on to friends and family!

Our next podcast, TRADCAST 014, will be released soon.

See Also:


New Interview with SSPX Superior

Bishop Fellay:

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“We’ve never wanted to be separated from Rome”; “Vatican never called us Schismatic”; “Rome tacitly approves of our Ordinations”


As things deteriorate rapidly in the Vatican II Sect under Francis, the Society of St. Pius X is more eager than ever to obtain regularization and full recognition by Rome. On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the SSPX Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, gave an interview to 
Josef Bruckmoser of the Austrian paper Salzburger Nachrichten.

The one-page interview is now available online, and we have translated it from the original German into English (Bp. Fellay speaks German fluently). We are reproducing the text below. We are reserving our scathing commentary on Bp. Fellay’s remarks for our next blog post — there is simply too much to say.


[begin interview text]

“The Catholic Church is the only True One”

The Society of St. Pius X has been separated from Rome since its founding [sic] by Archbishop Lefebvre. How does the order’s superior Bernard Fellay view this?

Bernard Fellay leads the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, which rejects substantial reforms of the Second Vatican Council. This year the Superior General was received by Pope Francis for the first time.

salzburger-fellay-interview.jpg

SN: Under Pope Benedict XVI already there were talks between the Vatican and your fraternity. What has changed under Pope Francis?

Fellay: The process of rapprochement is always the same. We have always recognized the primacy of the Pope — even on the question of the Society’s episcopal consecrations. These were not a denial of the primacy and did not at all [um nichts in der Welt] mean to be a separation from Rome.

SN: But these consecrations were not licit according to Church law.

That is correct. However, this does not mean that we reject the primacy of the Pope. When someone disobeys his father, he does not thereby reject his father. Viewed externally, the episcopal consecration was an act of disobedience, but not a rejection of the authority [of the Pope]. That’s why even the Vatican never said that the Society of St. Pius X was in schism for it. This has become clearer and clearer during the [process of] rapprochement: We are not schismatics, we are not separated from the Church.

SN: You will continue to ordain priests without permission, then?

Certainly, but I know that this happens with the tacit, tolerant approval of Rome.

SN: You think Rome tolerates these illicit ordinations?

I don’t [merely] think so, I know it [for sure].

SN: In 2009, Benedict XVI lifted your excommunication. Had you yourself felt [sic] excommunicated?

No, never. An excommunication is based on a serious sin. That’s why we’ve always explained that we carried out our consecrations as an emergency measure. Yes, we took measures which are forbidden under normal circumstances. But during an emergency there are other standards [to be followed]. That’s why I never felt [as though I was really] excommunicated, even though the Vatican treated me as such.

SN: So then did the lifting of the excommunication have any meaning [for you]?

Not much. It was a certain recognition of our status, our situation. The Pope acknowledged thereby that we are no rebels, that we did not set up a parallel church but are a part of the Roman Catholic Church. In this sense the lifting of the excommunication was meaningful. But of much greater importance to us was Pope Benedict XVI’s acknowledgment in 2007 that the Tridentine Mass was never forbidden.

SN: Pope Francis has permitted Catholics in the Year of Mercy to go to confession even with priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Will this [permission] continue beyond this year?

This permission shows Pope Francis’ concern for the salvation of the faithful. In addition, the Pope confirmed to me personally that this authorization will remain in force beyond the Year of Mercy.

SN: Benedict XVI was a theologian, [whereas] Francis is more of a pastoral thinker. Is this an improvement with regard to the Society of St. Pius X?

Benedict XVI was very attentive to doctrine. Francis looks more at the person. Here and there he even sees doctrine as an obstacle perhaps. For us it is important that the way leads forward to what is right, to what is true. We have always considered ourselves as Catholic. If this is ultimately accepted [acknowledged], we are good with that.

SN: The sticking point is the Second Vatican Council: religious liberty, ecumenism, episcopal collegiality. Are there any clarifications concerning that? Or are such not needed?

I think that the current position of the Holy See, and especially also that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the result of intense discussions since 2009. A lot was clarified in the process. We do indeed have objections concerning the three points you mention. But today a lot of Catholics move far beyond the texts of the council by appealing to the spirit of the council. Rome acknowledges that our positions are correct on many points.

SN: What does this mean for religious liberty?

Whoever claims today that the state has nothing to do with the Lord God and has no duties towards God, contradicts the teaching of the Church. The term religious liberty means, if one wishes to understand it correctly, that no one is allowed to impose a religion on someone against his conscience. No one is allowed to force another to be baptized. No one is allowed to coerce another to act contrary to his conscience.

SN: Therefore the council says that it is a matter of each individual deciding in his own conscience to embrace a particular religion.

Vatican II explicitly says that man must seek the truth and adhere to it. At the same time, it [the council] denies this principle in the realm of the state: The state must grant freedom to all religions and is not allowed to interfere with or restrict any of them, even the false ones. And this on account of a natural right. By contrast, the traditional teaching of the Church says that the state can tolerate false religions but these cannot invoke a natural right [to exist or be tolerated].

As regards the Church, however, she has the duty always and everywhere to proclaim the truth to men and to lead them to the truth. The Catholic Church is the only true religion, the only one that can save man. That’s why she is missionary.

SN: When someone embraces a different religion, he is in error?

Absolutely.

SN: What does this mean for the ecumenism of the Christian churches?

If one understands ecumenism to mean that all Christians are to find their way back to the [Catholic] Church, then we too are in favor of ecumenism. We pray for the unity of Christians. But to believe that anyone can attain salvation in whatever way he sees fit — we say No [to that], that is not the teaching of the Church. In this sense we oppose ecumenism.

SN: Where is the problem with regard to episcopal collegiality?

Pope Paul VI specifically added an additional, explanatory note to the conciliar text: No bishop is allowed to claim to be a part of the leadership of the Church if he is not with the Pope and under the Pope. The Pope alone decides whether [someone] and who has a say in the Church. He is the sole ruler [Alleinherrscher]. To claim that the bishops have some sort of democratic legitimation, is entirely false. For this contradicts the teaching of the Church completely. But this is utterly ignored by most dignitaries today.

SN: What is your position on Judaism? You allegedly said in 2012 that the Jews, the Freemasons, and the Modernists are the enemies of the Church.

Ich have tried several times to correct [richtigstellen] this sentence, which was never authorized by me thus. I never said “the” enemies of the Church, only “enemies”. And this statement was made in connection with the question of who was putting pressure on Rome against an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X. Concerning this I said it is astonishing that it is precisely these groups, which often show themselves as enemies of the Church, that do not want us.

SN: What does this say about your position on Judaism?

It has nothing to do with the Jews as a people but only with some Jewish organizations. I never meant to target Judaism [as a people] — excepting their religion. A religion that rejects Christ as the Son of God is opposed to Christianity.

The Messiah comes from the people of the Jews, and for that reason it is entirely clear that the attitude of each Catholic vis-a-vis the Jews in general is a very special one, and not one that is antagonistic. But it is deplorable that they have not recognized the Messiah so far. They will do so — this was foretold by St. Paul. It says that at some point the people of the Jews will convert, and this will be of extraordinary benefit to the entire world.

SN: What significance does the Holocaust have [for you]?

The Holcoaust has something to do with National Socialism, with Hitler. It has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. The Holocaust is a tragedy like any other genocide. The Church has always spoken out against it. So do we.

[Source: “Die katholische Kirche ist die einzig wahre”, Salzburger Nachrichten, June 22, 2016; translation: Novus Ordo Watch]


As we said above, we are going to provide our commentary on these latest remarks from Bp. Fellay in a separate blog post. Stay tuned — you won’t want to miss it!

Meanwhile, why don’t you spread this meme on the internet...

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(click to enlarge)

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Novus Ordo philosopher ups the ante...

Robert Spaemann: “There is a limit to how much the Church can take”

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Robert Spaemann is an 89-year-old German philosopher and one of the few outspoken critics of “Pope” Francis. His religious affiliation is what we call “conservative Novus Ordo”, that is, he believes the Modernist Vatican II Sect to be the Catholic Church and Francis her legitimate head while adhering to what’s typically considered to be a conservative interpretation of Vatican II and the post-conciliar magisterium.

In April of this year, he denounced Francis’ “Apostolic Exhortation” Amoris Laetitia and warned about the “danger of schism” while Francis continues to wreck what is left of Catholicism in the Vatican II Church. Over a year ago, Spaemann had made headlines by describing the Francis Show as a “chaotic pontificate” characterized by “theological apathy.”

And a lot has happened since then, most especially Francis’ trashing of black-and-white morality, which we covered in a recent post here, and which is apparently what triggered Prof. Spaemann’s latest monograph:

On June 17, 2016, the German paper Die Tagespost published Spaemann’s article entitled, “There is a limit to how much the Church can take”. We have translated and are reproducing for you below the most important parts:

When [Pope Francis] said recently that there is no “either-or” in Christianity, he apparently isn’t bothered by Christ’s word: “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil” (Mt 5:37). The epistles of [St.] Paul the Apostle are full of “either-or” [ideas]. And finally: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Mt 12:30).

But Pope Francis only means to “make suggestions.” Dissenting from suggestions cannot be impermissible. And one must dissent quite vigorously, in my opinion, from his claim in Amoris Laetitia that Jesus merely “suggested a demanding ideal.” No, Jesus commanded “as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees” (Mt 7:29). At the occasion of speaking to the rich youth, among others, He Himself refers to the inner unity of following Him with the keeping of the Ten Commandments (Lk 18:18-23). Jesus does not preach an ideal, He establishes a new reality, the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus does not suggest, he invites and commands: “A new commandment I give unto you.” This new reality and this commandment are closely related to the nature of man, which is discernible by rational means.

… The debate [about Communion for the “divorced-and-remarried”] now continues, and [is] just as controversial as before, because the Pope refuses to quote the clear remarks of his predecessors in this regard, and because his [own] response is so obviously ambiguous that anyone can and does interpret it in accordance with his own opinion. “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor 14:8). When, meanwhile, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith finds himself compelled to publicly accuse one of the closest episcopal advisors and ghostwriter of the Pope of heresy, things have really gone too far already. There is a limit to how much even the Roman Catholic Church can bear.

Pope Francis loves to compare the critics of his policies with those who “have sitten on the chair of Moses” [Mt 23:2]. But here too [the accusation] backfires. For it was the doctors of the law who defended divorce and were passing on the rules concerning it. Jesus’ disciples also ended up being aghast at their Master’s strict prohibition against divorce: “If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry” (Mt 19:10). Just like the people who left when the Lord announced He was going to make Himself [their] food: “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” (Jn 6:61). The Lord “had mercy on the people”. But He was no populist. “Will you also go away?” (Jn 6:68). This question put before his Apostles was His only reaction to the dwindling number of followers.

(Robert Spaemann, “Die Kirche ist nicht grenzenlos belastbar, Die Tagespost, June 21, 2016; our translation.)


Indeed, there is a limit to how much the Church can take, and a “heretical Pope” definitely exceeds that limit. The real question, on the other hand, is how much Novus Ordo adherents can take before finally coming to the conclusion that this blaspheming false prophet in Rome is not the Vicar of Christ but the Vicar of Judas. 

Monographs like those of Prof. Spaemann will perhaps delight conservatives here and there and make a great headline for a day or two, but ultimately not change one iota of anything.

Dump Francis.

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Barnhardt goes Resignationist...

Ann Barnhardt dumps Francis,
seeks Refuge in Benedict XVI

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She’s finally figured it out:
Francis cannot be the Pope of the Catholic Church. The outspoken colorful controversialist Ann Barnhardt has announced on her web site that she can no longer hold that Francis is or ever was a true Pope, the Vicar of Christ. The reason for Miss Barnhardt’s change of mind is found in the very opening paragraphs of her blog post:

It is now clear to me, and I feel it morally incumbent upon me given my position to publicly state that I believe Jorge Bergoglio, “Francis” to be an Antipope, never having been canonically elected, and that Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff.

The sheer quantity of evidence, and the diversity of the confluent evidence sets, is now so utterly overwhelming that I believe that a person, fully informed of the dataset, would have to engage in the willful suspension of disbelief to continue to acknowledge Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff.

(Ann Barnhardt, “Vocem Alienorum: The Voice of Antipope Francis Bergoglio Is the Voice of A Stranger”, Barnhardt.biz, June 19, 2016)


Thank you, Ann Barnhardt! Indeed, it does very much require a “willful suspension of disbelief to continue to acknowledge Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff”, and this willful suspension is still being entertained by such people as John Vennari, Chris Ferrara, Michael Matt, Bp. Richard Williamson, Bp. Bernard Fellay, John Salza, Robert Siscoe, Steve Skojec, and so many others who either do or ought to know better. We suspect that Miss Barnhardt will no longer be allowed to blog for The Remnant now, but this remains to be seen.

As for the “sheer quantity of evidence” that is “so overwhelming”, we have been cataloguing it on our special page here:


No doubt, what probably put Barnhardt over the edge was Francis’ latest blasphemous and outrageous attack on holy matrimony, which began to hit the news late on Thursday of last week:


So, Barnhardt has finally had enough and concluded there is no way Francis could possibly be the head of the Catholic Church. Bravo!

But here comes the rub: Instead of embracing Sedevacantism, Barnhardt now insists that the true Pope is Benedict XVI — Joseph Ratzinger, the old Modernist who just recently claimed, via his private secretary Georg Ganswein, that he is the “contemplative” part of a two-member “papacy” in conjunction with the “active” member, Francis:


That’s the same Joseph Ratzinger who has publicly endorsed Francis as Pope, who has long denied the dogma of the Resurrection, who denies original sin, who disparages infant baptism, who has had his very own Assisi interfaith abomination, who claims that because of World War II we can no longer speak of the time since Christ’s Birth as a time of salvation, who told a Lutheran worker in the Vatican not to become Catholic, who gave “Holy Communion” to a known Protestant leader, and so on (see all the links and more here).

That Joseph Ratzinger.

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Lodge Brothers? Benedict XVI and “Cardinal” Bergoglio exchanging a Masonic handshake


Barnhardt offers her own theory as to how and why Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid, quoting Novus Ordo (1983) Canon 188 to substantiate her thesis (the traditional equivalent in the 1917
Code is Canon 185), which talks about “substantial error” as being one of the factors that can render a resignation invalid. Her reasoning is curious — she claims that Benedict XVI could not validly resign from the papal office because he believes error (it’s heresy, actually) about the papal office (that it can consist of two people). In other words, he is Pope because he doesn’t believe in the papacy. Now that’s a new one even for Novus Ordo standards!

Instead of looking at Canon 188 of the Novus Ordo 1983 Code of Canon Law, perhaps Miss Barnhardt should have spent some more time researching Canon 188 of the traditional 1917 Code of Canon Law, which says:

Any office becomes vacant upon the fact and without any declaration by tacit resignation recognized by the law itself if a cleric: . . .

            4.° Publicly defects from the Catholic faith

(Canon 188 n.4; underlining added.)


But, no matter. For Barnhardt, Benedict XVI is a valid Pope because he is a heretic, that is, he espouses a heretical concept of the papacy (she does not say it is heretical, but it is). If that isn’t putting everything upside down, similar to what Francis just did as he declared marriage to be fornication and fornication to be marriage, it is hard to imagine what would be. 

So, if anything, Barnhardt ought to conclude that Benedict XVI cannot be Pope because he holds to a heretical concept of the papacy. Instead, she has persuaded herself that this heresy is not what makes his election or continued putative papacy invalid, but his resignation! This is absurdity on stilts!

Barnhardt says that “Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger’s ontology is CLEARLY warped”, but hers is no less so: She believes a man who professes heresy against the papacy is Pope precisely because of that heresy, which rendered his resignation invalid. By the way, which Novus Ordo canonical commentaries explaining the term “substantial error” in the Novus Ordo Canon 188 did our quirky blogger consult? We don’t know, but she definitely doesn’t quote any of them, and glancing at the explanation given in the standard The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary by Coriden et al., it seems to refer to error of fact, i.e. being in error about some event or state of affairs, not error of law:

Substantial error is a mistaken judgment that is not of minor importance and is truly a cause of the consequent resignation. This would be the case in which the officeholder judged that he or she had caused serious injury to someone when this was not objectively correct.

(James A. Coriden, et al., eds., The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1985], p. 109; italics added.)


So, not only does it refer to error of fact, this error must also be the cause of the resignation. To apply it to the scenario Barnhardt proposes, it would mean that Benedict XVI resigned
because of his belief that the papacy admits of having more than one member — and that would need to be proven to have been the cause, not just asserted. And besides, it is not an error of fact anyway but an error of law — being mistaken about what the papacy is.

In any event, Barnhardt has no case even by Novus Ordo standards as long as her interpretation of Canon 188 and her ideas about Ratzinger are unique to her.

Oh well, at least we can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Less than 60 minutes after Benedict XVI announced his resignation to the public on February 11, 2013, we sent out a tweet predicting that we would eventually have people claiming the resignation to be invalid:


While Barnhardt is not basing her refusal to consider Benedict’s resignation as valid on fear but on substantial error, the result is the same: she believes it was invalid and so he’s still Pope and Francis isn’t. 

Clearly, the idea of embracing Benedict XVI as the true Pope even today, is a lot easier to swallow for many, and appears to provide a much less “offensive” alternative to Sedevacantism, that dreaded S-word that no one wants to be stigmatized with. Hence they now dish up the craziest justifications for why Benedict XVI is Pope — this being driven not by the objective facts but by the perceived need to avoid both the position that Francis is Pope and the conclusion that Sedevacantism is true. So, prepare for a lot more absurdity down the road. Anything at all will eventually be acceptable to these people, as long as it permits them to maintain that Francis isn’t Pope and Sedevacantists are wrong.

Here once again we can see why Fr. Anthony Cekada once rightly talked about an irrational fear of Sedevacantism, a veritable “Sedevacantophobia” — for that is truly what it is. “Hey, guys, so I believe Francis isn’t Pope, fine — but don’t you call me a Sedevacantist; I’m not that!”

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Sedevacantist? Eww...


The phenomenon of adhering to Benedict XVI as the “true Pope” even after his resignation is not new. The first public high-profile individual to fall for it was the Rev. Paul Kramer, formerly affiliated with the Fatima Center and Rev. Nicholas Gruner. The eccentric blogger Eric Gajewski is another adherent of this curious position, which we have termed “Resignationism”:


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“Don’t worry: As long as they think ONE of us is Pope, all is saved…"


All that is left for us to say is to repeat something we said in two different posts on the topic of Resignationism, back in 2014, addressing the question of who benefits (cui bono) from this entire confusion in the Novus Ordo Church about one Pope, two Popes, two half-Popes, one two-headed Pope, etc.:


Be that as it may, it is clear this whole thing is a complete mess. But we are convinced it serves only one purpose: to draw those trying to be good and faithful Catholics in the Novus Ordo Sect into more confusion and give them a new “way out” of Francis if they cannot stomach his full-throttled apostasy: dump Franics, but believe Benedict XVI is still Pope. Anything, anything at all, to keep you from drawing the only sound conclusion today: The Chair of St. Peter is vacant. Sede Vacante!

(Novus Ordo Watch, “Resignationism: Now Ganswein weighs in”, March 2, 2014)


We also see great irony here. In Novus Ordo Land, people are discussing whether we have one Pope or two Popes, when in reality, we have none.

And who benefits from this confusion? Cui bono? Clearly, this whole Resignationist business is greatly aiding the destructive mission of the Vatican II Church, because it gives people yet another reason to cling to the Modernist sect rather than discover real Catholicism the way it was exclusively known before Vatican II. It is another useful distraction to keep you focused on things other than the manifest subversion of the Catholic Church by false teachings and disciplines condemned prior to the Council.

Distractions like this have worked well for the Modernists in the past, and they are part of the overall game plan. As long as they have you accepting one of their Modernists as Pope, they really don’t care if you believe Francis is Pope or Benedict. If that’s what it takes to keep you in their church, they don’t mind you believing that this Modernist over here is really Pope, rather than that other Modernist over there. It is simply one more way to keep people from realizing that all the papal claimaints since the death of Pius XII have been usurpers — and it provides a convenient way out for people who realize that Francis cannot possibly be Pope, yet still do not wish to accept the Sedevacantist position.

These Resignationist episodes illustrate rather well how important it is for us to adhere to Catholic principle over emotion. The Resignationist theses, with or without “Cardinal” Scola, only confuse or impress those who go by emotion rather than Catholic theology, for those who go by real theology know that Ratzinger was never a valid Pope in the first place, and the whole Modernist cult in the Vatican is a gigantic farce perpetrated by the Catholic Church’s enemies. Alas, too many people, swayed by emotion and a display of externals rather than Catholic teaching, have persuaded themselves that Ratzinger was this great pitbull of Catholic Tradition and orthodoxy, when in fact he was nothing of the sort.

Whatever it takes, apparently, for people to find a way around Sedevacantism. This is what happens when a desired predetermined conclusion dictates what you believe, rather than the objective evidence. At some point, people will have to man up and face reality, always remembering that God’s grace assists us no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32).

If you are genuinely concerned about an invalid papal election, we suggest you focus your energies on investigating the conclave of 1958, which for the first time [in history] replaced a Catholic Pope with a Modernist — rather than that of 2013, which simply swapped one Modernist for another.

(Novus Ordo Watch, “Resignationism 2.0: Enter ‘Cardinal’ Scola”, June 2, 2014)


Sad to say, Anne Barnhardt is the latest victim of the antipope-swap of the Vatican II Sect; and to justify it, she has set a new milestone in anti-sedevacantist silliness: Benedict XVI is Pope because he doesn’t believe in the Papacy.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Chaos Frank opened his trap again...

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Francis: “Great Majority” of Marriages today are Invalid because People don’t realize it’s indissoluble — but “Fidelity” in Cohabitation = Real Marriage!


[UPDATE 17-JUN-2016 18:01 UTC: Vatican edits official transcript, changes Francis’ actual words “a great majority of” into “part of”. In either case, however, the fundamental problem remains: Francis believes sacramental marriages are invalid if people do not know or understand that marriage is permanent for life — how many such cases there actually are, is insignificant; the point is that Francis admits the principle! And he furthermore believes that fornication with only one and the same partner equals a real marriage!]

Francis simply cannot keep his jaws together. This is actually a grace for all who seek the truth, because the more he speaks, the more evident it becomes that there is not a single Catholic bone in this man’s body.

On Thursday, June 16, the “Holy Father” answered impromptu questions from the audience after a pastoral congress in the diocese of Rome. One question centered on the crisis in holy matrimony, to which Francis gave an explosive answer. Catholic News Agency has the story:


A layman asked about the “crisis of marriage” and how Catholics can help educate youth in love, help them learn about sacramental marriage, and help them overcome “their resistance, delusions and fears.”

The Pope answered from his own experience.

“I heard a bishop say some months ago that he met a boy that had finished his university studies, and said ‘I want to become a priest, but only for 10 years.’ It’s the culture of the provisional. And this happens everywhere, also in priestly life, in religious life,” he said.

“It’s provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null. Because they say ‘yes, for the rest of my life!’ but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know.

Pope Francis attributed the marriage crisis to people who “don’t know what the sacrament is” and don’t know “the beauty of the sacrament.”

“They don’t know that it’s indissoluble, they don’t know that it’s for your entire life. It’s hard,” the Pope said.

He added that a majority of couples attending marriage prep courses in Argentina typically cohabitated.

“They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.

...

“It’s a superstition, because marriage frightens the husband. It’s a superstition we have to overcome,” the Pope said. “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity, but there are local superstitions, etc.”

“Marriage is the most difficult area of pastoral work,” he said.

(“Most marriages today are invalid, Pope Francis suggests”, Catholic News Agency, June 16, 2016; underlining added.)


Wow! This is so bad, it’s hard to know where to begin. 

Let’s start with a quick note on the headline used by Catholic News Agency, which is misleading: “Most marriages today are invalid, Pope Francis suggests”. No, Francis didn’t suggest that most marriages today are invalid, he said it outright. But perhaps this harsh truth was a bit too much to take even for the Novus Ordo reporters at the news agency and so they tried to tone it down.

In any case, Francis declares that the “great majority” of sacramental marriages are invalid. What’s a great majority? Seventy percent, maybe eighty? That’s a lot of marriages. We’re not talking about pseudo-marriages, where one or both would-be spouses are already married to someone else whom they “divorced” — we’re talking about marriages where husband and wife were actually eligible to marry in the first place and freely joined this holy union. Francis states nonchalantly that most of them are invalid. Precisely how does he know that? He doesn’t, of course — he made it up. And by him asserting it to be so, he has just ensured that tens of thousands of additional requests for annulments will be submitted in the months to come, to tear apart even more families under the guise of “mercy”.

Francis’ own attempt at a justification for his outrageous and gratuitous assertion that “most” marriages today are invalid, is that even though people pledge “until death do us part” in their solemn wedding vows, they don’t mean it. They don’t mean it because they “don’t know” — even though they are saying the words, in their very own vernacular language, in what is probably the most solemn moment in their entire life.

You have got to be kidding.

This is a really curious new principle Francis is underhandedly introducing here: We can no longer assume that people mean what they say, even in something so solemn as the very marriage vow on their wedding day! The reason why is simple for him: culture! There, that’s it. In today’s “culture”, words don’t mean what they mean. It’s all so provisional, you see, nothing is permanent anymore — heck, even the “Pope” resigns when he feels like it!

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Bye bye, holy matrimony!


But there is more to be found here than a mere absurdity: Francis is undermining a fundamental principle of sacramental theology, which is that of the
presumption of validity, a legal presumption that the necessary internal intention to confect the sacrament (to “do what the Church does”) is present in the minister when the matter and form of the sacramental rite have been properly applied — unless there is externally manifested evidence to the contrary:

A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do what the Church does. 

(Pope Leo XIII, Bull Apostolicae Curae, n. 33)

Provided the minister seriously performs all the sacramental rites, there is no need for being doubtful about the validity of the sacraments, for it is presumed that the minister has the requisite intention, unless he externalty manifests the contrary.

(Rev. Raphael De Salvo, The Dogmatic Theology on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments [Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 1949], p. 105)


In Holy Matrimony, the ministers of the sacrament are the two spouses, who confer the sacrament on each other. The matter is, remotely, the right over the other’s body for the purpose of procreation and, proximately, the transfer of that right by signs and words. The form of the sacrament is the consent to that right, expressed in the marriage vow, which ends in “until death do us part” (see Rev. Henry Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 4 [New York, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1935], p. 62). The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is indissoluble by its very nature and necessarily lasts until the death of one of the spouses.

But what about Francis’ casual claim that people “don’t know” what they’re saying while exchanging matrimonial consent? Believe it or not, the Catholic Church had already considered that scenario before Jorge Bergoglio ever came on the scene. The following excerpt from the great canon law professor Fr. Henry Ayrinhac deals a devastating and fatal blow to the latest Bergoglian poppycock:


190. § 1. In order that matrimonial consent be possible it is necessary that the contracting parties at least be not lacking in the knowledge that marriage is the permanent union of man and woman for the procreation of children.

§ 2. Such ignorance is not presumed in those who have attained the age of puberty. 

1. We can not consent to what we do not know; the marriage consent is not possible without some, at least confused, knowledge of what constitutes the essential object of the marriage contract; and this is the mutual right and obligation to the conjugal act: ... Hence a person who would marry without having any idea of that right and obligation would not marry validly. Clear and explicit knowledge is not necessary. If one, knowing that the purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, would enter the contract with that in view and would consent to all it implies, although having no distinct idea of what is required for generation, there would be confused knowledge of, and consent to, what constitutes the essential object of the contract, and the marriage would be valid; even if the party was so disposed that if he knew what the act of generation really is, he would not give his consent. But at least that confused knowledge of the substantial object of the contract is necessary.

191. 2. Ignorance of the primary purpose of marriage is easily admitted in children. In the ancient legislation it was always presumed before the age of puberty; after that age, on the contrary, knowledge is presumed. The presumption admits of proofs to the contrary, but it would require strong evidence to obtain the annulment of a marriage on the ground of ignorance in a person of age to marry….

198. A simple error as to the unity, indiasolubility, or sacramental character of marriage, even if it be cause of the contract, does not vitiate the consent. Error as to the essential object of the contract vitiates the consent, like ignorance. Error as to the essential properties does not, as long as it remains simply an error of the mind, whether antecedent or concomitant. Thus, a man who intends to form a real contract of marriage, although he does not believe in its indissolubility or sacredness, will be married validly, provided he does not exclude those properties by a positive act of the will, even though he would exclude them if he thought of it. His consent is directed expressly to the marriage contract and by way of consequence to the properties which are inseparable from it. His prevailing intention is to contract marriage; his views on the properties of marriage are errors in the mind which do not affect the primary object of the will. If, however, he would exclude those properties and make that exclusion the primary object of his will, this then would prevail over his intention of marrying and the consent would be vitiated, because one can not will marriage without willing an indissoluble union. But this requires more than a theoretical error; it supposes a positive act of the will, placing a condition, making consent depend on something else than the substantial element of the contract. That positive act is a fact which must be proved and is not presumed. Hence the difficulty of annulling a marriage on the ground of error as to quality…

[200.] 1. When a contracting party utters externally and seriously words expressing consent, he is supposed [=understood] to consent internally. His consent is supposed to be absolute if it is expressed absolutely. “Nobody is to be considered as having said what was not on his mind.” This, however, is only a presumption, and if in reality the internal consent was wanting, no matter what the external words might have been, the contract would be null in itself and before God.


(Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac, Marriage Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law [New York, NY: Benziger Brothers, 1919], pp. 191-192; 196-197; 199; underlining added.)


The 1917 Code of Canon Law underscores the firmness of the presumption of validity in a sacramental marriage: “Marriage enjoys the favor of the law; therefore, in case of doubt, its validity ought to be maintained until the contrary be proved…” (Canon 1014). Notice it says “proved”, not, “until Francis decides otherwise.”

Fr. Ayrinhac reminds us how serious this matter is:

It is a general principle that when an act has been performed it ought to be considered valid until it is proved to be null. This applies in a special manner to marriage, which is a sacrament and indissoluble by divine law. To pronounce a marriage null without sufficient evidence is to run the risk of “setting asunder what God has put together.”

(Ayrinhac, Marriage Legislation, p. 25)


Francis is finished.

By the way, how is it that Francis can “lament” now with a straight face the fact that people are clueless about the nature and beauty of holy matrimony when it is precisely his beloved Modernist Vatican II Sect that has been educating the “Catholic” masses in the last five decades? Haven’t we been hearing, ad nauseam, something about “Great Renewal” and “New Springtime” since Vatican II? What happened?!

In any case, we have seen that the true Catholic teaching is that even if people do not know about or believe in the indissolubility of marriage, as long as they intend to enter the matrimonial union, their marriage is valid, unless they make a positive act of the will not to enter into a union that is indissoluble — and even that positive will, if not externally manifested, would have to be proved, not presumed, before a valid annulment could be issued.

But notice how devious the Argentinian impostor pope is: He is carrying out his subversion of holy matrimony and of the presumption of sacramental validity under the guise of lamenting a crisis in marriage, when the truth is that by these remarks, Bergoglio is exacerbating the crisis by colossal proportions.

Here we might add that it was Francis himself who, in September 2015, opened the bogus “annulment” floodgates even further, when he overhauled and “streamlined” Novus Ordo marriage annulments, which were already being given out like popcorn:


In his two motu proprio documents, Francis not only made receiving a declaration of nullity easier, faster, and free, he also added unheard-of new grounds for considering a marriage null and void, such as “brief conjugal cohabitation”, “defect of faith”, and “abortion procured to avoid procreation”! But not enough, for we can now add a new one to the list: “not meaning the marriage vow when you say it”! And this man wants people to think he is bewailing how many invalid marriages there are? Whom is he kidding?!

francis-clown-nose.jpg

They think they’re married! But not to worry: Francis’ annulment factory is waiting in the wings in case it doesn’t “work out”…


But alas, we are not done yet, for the monster Jesuit from Argentina knows how to add insult to injury. Right after shedding crocodile tears over the terrible matrimonial ignorance which afflicts “the great majority” of people who think they’re validly married, Francis launches his next attack on truth and decency by claiming that cohabitating fornicators in marriage prep courses ought not to be told the truth about marriage: 
“They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.”

So there we have it: This is precisely the reason — one of them, that is — why so many people in Francis’ religion are clueless about marriage: because they are never told by those who ought to tell them. And Francis is going to do all in his power to ensure that it will stay this way! He is the kind of man who first creates a problem, then bewails that the problem exists, and then offers more of the problem as the solution.

Instead of telling cohabitators in marriage preparation that they must separate and refrain from all sexual relations until they are married as a precondition to be even allowed to get married — how’s that for helping someone understand the beauty and uniqueness and exalted state of holy matrimony! — Francis proposes his cure-all of pastoral “accompaniment”, a term left, of course, conveniently undefined.

But it gets better: Francis claims that the cohabitating fornicators possess “fidelity” (!) which needs but “mature”! There goes the Novus Ordo doctrine of “elements” again: We now have “elements of marital fidelity” in two people who are habitually engaging in mortal sin against the Sixth Commandment, all in the spirit of Amoris Laetitia! At least we now finally know what Bergoglio meant in his 2010 book On Heaven and Earth, which he co-authored with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, when he said that “co-habitation certainly does not have the fullness, or the greatness of marriage” (p. 116). It sure doesn’t. But it won’t matter, because… accompaniment! 

But we’re still not done — Francis tops himself yet again: “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity…” This is blasphemy!

Francis says here openly and without shame that in some cases of fornication — namely, when the two partners are particularly attached to each other in this mortal sin — God blesses them for their sin and rewards them with the “grace of a real marriage”! This is foul and disgusting beyond words! “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20)!

Words fail at the sight of such brazen and direct identification of evil with good!

At the same time, this frightful utterance is but Francis’ re-application of the same blasphemy once spoken by “Pope” John Paul II, who claimed that it is God Himself who is responsible for the firmness with which non-Christians adhere to their false religions: “...the firm belief of the followers of the non-Christian religions [is] a belief that is also an effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body…” (Antipope John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, n. 6). Francis simply took the essence of John Paul II’s thesis and applied it to fornication. Voilà! Different scenario, same blasphemy — brought to you by the same Novus Ordo religion.

Of course, fornicators cannot practice fidelity because fidelity (“faithfulness”) refers to the marriage vow — you know, that little bit of text you said on your wedding day when you promised fidelity to your spouse “until death do us part”. If you meant it, that is.

As we explained in our in-depth podcast covering Amoris Laetitia, for Francis there is no essential difference between holy matrimony and fornication, between vice and virtue, between holiness and sin, between truth and error, between God and the devil. When a man and a woman sin long enough exclusively with one other, this constitutes a “real marriage” for Jorge Bergoglio. This is where we’re at. Let this sink in for a minute.

As we said in a recent post, Francis has completely done away with black and white — everything is now fifty shades of grey! The Novus Ordo Church is a sect straight from the pit of hell. Francis really couldn’t make it any clearer.

And to answer right up front the question Jimmy Akin’s next blog post will ask in its title: Yes, Jimmy, he did.

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