“Reveal to the faithful the wolves which are demolishing the Lord's vineyard.”
—Pope Clement XIII, Encyclical Christianae Reipublicae (1766)
Videos, Transcripts, Links
The Francis Show in Mexico
After Francis stopped briefly in Havana, Cuba, to sign a common declaration with his heretico-schismatic cousin, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Argentine antipope has now landed in Mexico, where he will spew his Modernist gospel of man until his departure on Wednesday, February 17. Below you will find important links to the official schedule, videos, transcripts, and coverage/commentary from various sources.
Official Schedule (from Vatican web site):
Live Coverage of Francis in Mexico via Vatican TV feed:
Recordings & Transcripts of Trip to Mexico (Links will be posted as they become available):
- Francis arrives in Mexico City - Welcoming Ceremony (Feb. 12, 2016)
- Meeting with authorities, representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps (Feb. 13) - TEXT HERE
- Meeting with the “Bishops” of Mexico gathered in the Cathedral (Feb. 13) - TEXT HERE
- Novus Ordo Worship Service in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feb. 13) - HOMILY HERE
- Francis prays alone before Virgin of Guadalupe (Feb. 13)
- Novus Ordo Worship Service at the Study Center of Ecatepec (Feb. 14)
- Luncheon with Entourage at the Diocesan Seminary in Ecatepec (Feb. 14)
- Visit to the “Federico Gómez” children's hospital (Feb. 14)
- Novus Ordo Worship Service with representatives of the indigenous communities of Chiapas in the municipal sports center (Feb. 15)
- Luncheon with representatives of the indigenous communities and Entourage (Feb. 15)
- Visit to the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas (Feb. 15)
- Meeting with families in the “Víctor Manuel Reyna” stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (Feb. 15)
- Novus Ordo Worship Service with “priests”, men and women religious, consecrated people and seminarians at “Venustiano Carranza” Stadium (Feb. 16)
- Visit to the Cathedral (Feb. 16)
- Meeting with young people in the “José María Morelos y Pavón” stadium (Feb. 16)
- Visit to the penitentiary at Ciudad Juarez (Feb. 17)
- Meeting with the world of labour at the Bachilleres College in the state of Chihuahua (Feb. 17)
- Novus Ordo Worship Service at the Ciudad Juárez fairgrounds (Feb. 17)
- Farewell ceremony at the International Airport of Ciudad Juárez (Feb. 17)
Select Commentary/Links on Francis’ Mexico Trip:
- “The Pope in Mexico: More Harm than Good?”
- “Disillusioned Mexicans await Pope Francis’ Visit”
- “On the eve of Pope Francis' arrival in Mexico, not everybody is so welcoming”
- “The Sombreros of Continuity”
- “Amigo Francisco”: The Official Song for Francis’ Mexico Visit
- For Greater Glory: The True Story of the Communist Persecution of Catholics in Mexico
- What’s wrong with Francis: Why Jorge Bergoglio cannot be the Pope
- True or False Pope: Sedevacantism Vindicated
- Are You Catholic? Time to take a Stand
- Francis’ Trip to the United States (2015)
- Francis’ Trip to Cuba (2015)
- “Now What?” - Being a Real Catholic Today
- The Pope & the Antichrist - Cardinal Manning’s 1861 Predictions
- TRADCAST Podcasts by Novus Ordo Watch
- Do Something! 12 Ways you can help the mission of Novus Ordo Watch
Full Text of Declaration now Available...
Francis meets Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Cuba: Video Coverage & Links
On Friday, February 12, the leader of the Modernist Vatican II Sect, “Pope” Francis, met with his fellow-non-Catholic “Patriarch” of Moscow, Kirill, of the Russian Orthodox Church. The two signed a common declaration in Cuba, which is available in full here:
Various videos of Francis’ brief stop in Cuba and meeting with Kirill can be found below.
Francis arrives in Cuba:
Kirill and Francis embrace in Cuba:
Presentation of the Common Declaration between Francis and Kirill:
Some relevant links and commentary regarding the Francis-Kirill meeting:
- Francis — Kirill — Castro (Call Me Jorge)
- In Direct Defiance of the Catholic Faith (Christ or Chaos)
- The Moscow-Vatican-Havana Connection (Roman Catholic World)
Back in September 2015, the “Pope” had already landed in Cuba for an official visit (find our coverage here). While there, he met not only with the current president, Raul Castro, but also had a personal encounter with Raul’s brother, Fidel Castro, the former long-time dictator of the Communist nation. We have put together a brief video clip of Francis’ antics with the Castros:
Francis’ 2015 visit to Cuba was immediately followed by a visit to the United States, which we covered here.
- St. Thomas Aquinas refutes Eastern Orthodoxy: “Against the Errors of the Greeks”
- Blasphemoglio: Francis’ Chronicle of Impiety
- “Pope” Francis — How Catholic is Jorge Bergoglio?
- Two-Faced Fancis: The Hypocrisy of Jorge Bergoglio
- How Long Until Schism? The Vatican II Sect on the Brink of Chaos
- St. Francis of Assisi Prophecy of a False Pope who will be a “Destroyer”
- TRADCAST: Novus Ordo Watch Podcasts
Nothing but chaos since...
Three Years Later: Benedict XVI Resigns
Joseph Ratzinger Announced Historic
Resignation Three Years Ago Today
It was Monday, February 11, 2013, when Italian journalist Giovanna Chirri became the first person to inform the world of “Pope” Benedict XVI's resignation, effective February 28. As the Vatican correspondent for the Italian news outlet ANSA, Chirri was seated among other members of the press to cover on-site the consistory Benedict had convoked and at which he made known his totally unexpected decision to renounce the office of the papacy which he had (falsely) been claiming since April 19, 2005:
Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.
(Benedict XVI, Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013)
These were the exact words Benedict XVI uttered in the presence of all his “cardinals” gathered in the Vatican's Consistory Hall (video of the event available here). Chirri had one crucial advantage over many other journalists covering the consistory: She understood Latin and didn't have to wait for a vernacular translation of Benedict's speech to be handed out.
At exactly 11:46 am CET (5:46 am EST), Chirri's message flashed across ANSA's news ticker, the first to announce Ratzinger's resignation to the world:
Twelve minutes later, Chirri sent a public tweet proclaiming that Benedict XVI was calling it quits:
B16 si e' dimesso. Lascia pontificato dal 28 febbraio— Giovanna Chirri (@GiovannaChirri) February 11, 2013
This tweet, composed in Italian, states: “B16 sie e' dimesso. Lascia pontificato dal 28 febbraio.” English translation: “Benedict XVI has resigned. Gives up pontificate effective February 28.”
Novus Ordo Watch was among the first web sites in the world to announce the resignation of Joseph Ratzinger — even before Vatican Radio, before the Drudge Report, before CNN.com, before FoxNews.com, before Pewsitter, before Rorate Caeli. Indeed, not finding Benedict's resignation reported on any of these sites made it extremely difficult to confirm the story.
At 6:13 am EST, our own first tweet appeared:
A few minutes later, Vatican Radio posted the official announcement of Benedict's resignation, which you can read at this link.
It was the beginning of a historic day. Rome Reports has summed how events transpired, in this brief video clip made in 2014:
For his own sake, stepping down was the best thing Benedict could have done, because if before the end of his life he is to save his soul and convert to Catholicism, it is absolutely necessary that he give up his false claim to the papacy. His resignation was at least a first step in the right direction and a most necessary one (though we do not, of course, mean to suggest that this is the reason why he resigned). A possible future conversion has now been rendered much more feasible. Do we believe he will come to his senses, accept God's grace, and become a Catholic before it is too late? Frankly, no, we do not, but we must nevertheless greatly desire this and pray for it to happen, as St. Paul the Apostle said:
I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Benedict's resignation was a veritable earthquake that sent shockwaves throughout Novus Ordo Land and the entire world. No papal claimant (whether genuine or fake) had resigned since the 15th century.
Being familiar with different kinds of Novus Ordo adherents and especially various “conservative” Ratzinger admirers and Semi-Traditionalists, we figured it wouldn't take long before someone would claim that Benedict's resignation was invalid on account of having been obtained — someone would surely contend — by force or some kind of undue pressure. We made known our prediction in a public tweet right away:
Sure enough, this is exactly what happened, though it took a bit longer than expected. On November 29, 2013, the Rev. Paul Kramer, a (former) associate of the Rev. Nicholas Gruner and the pseudo-Traditionalist Fatima Center, announced he was convinced that Francis was not a true Pope but a manifest heretic, and that Benedict XVI was still the reigning Pope, his resignation having been invalid. We covered the story in this blog post.
While we were happy to see that another well-known Novus Ordo personality had come to realize that the false pope in Rome is truly an impostor, we were dismayed that “Fr.” Kramer would accept the silly idea that it was Joseph Ratzinger's resignation that was invalid, rather than his election in 2005. (Benedict, now claiming the title “Pope Emeritus”, is actually on the record as supporting Francis.) Regardless, Kramer is by no means the only person of this interesting persuasion, which we have nicknamed “Resignationism.” A retired Kazakh Novus Ordo bishop has since hinted at the Ratzinger resignation’s suspected invalidity by saying, “It is difficult to believe that Pope Benedict XVI freely renounced his ministry as successor of Peter” (source).
The Resignationist movement was simply bound to emerge, especially after it became woefully evident to many that Jorge Bergoglio, “Pope Francis”, is so far removed from Catholicism that to believe this man could actually be the head of the Roman Catholic Church is simply absurdity on stilts. But rather than embracing Sedevacantism and recognizing that Ratzinger is no less of a Modernist than Bergoglio, differing from him only in style and loquacity, some people prefer to adhere to the more attractive position of Resignationism. Anything to keep from becoming sedevacantist, apparently. (Since then, the idea that “Cardinal” Angelo Scola was elected as the true successor to Benedict XVI has also been floated — see here.)
As we now know, February 11, 2013, was but the first act of what would become a very historic and turbulent year, and then some. It is for good reason that we have given Benedict's talkative successor the moniker of “Chaos Frank.” (He himself asked for a “mess” at World Youth Day, remember?) Chaos it truly has been ever since.
Lightning struck St. Peter's Basilica the very day Ratzinger announced he was stepping down -- not once but twice. As well it should have, for it was the day that cleared the way for Francis “the Destroyer.”
What transpired in the second year since Benedict’s resignation, and what was not yet quite visible in the first, is that there has been a growing movement of unrest and exasperation with Francis, especially since the October 2014 Synod on the Family, and its successor synod a year later, to the point where two journalists have — one wittingly, the other unwittingly — put the validity of Francis’ election into doubt (by their own Novus Ordo standards), and calls for “resistance” have even been made by several high-ranking Novus Ordo clerics, most famously “Cardinal” Raymond Burke.
The greatest danger in all of this, however, is not so much Bergoglio’s own clear defection from Catholicism, but rather the fact that since Francis is so obvious and bold in his apostasy, he makes the more “moderate” apostates like Benedict XVI and John Paul II look Catholic by comparison.
On this very point, the great Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany warned the Catholic world in the 19th century. Dividing Modernists (simply called “Liberals” in his day) into extreme and moderate, he explains that the moderate ones are the much more dangerous kind because they cloak their heresies under a guise of piety and orthodoxy:
We are surrounded by Liberalism in all its shapes and varieties, and it behooves us to be on our guard against its subtle dangers. To lay down special rules by which we may detect it in its shadings and minutiae is neither practical nor necessary. But some general directions may be given. Their application must be left to each one's proper discretion.
To facilitate the matter, we will divide Liberals, whether persons or writings, into three classes:
1) Extreme Liberals; 2) Moderate Liberals; 3) Quasi Liberals, or those only tainted with Liberalism.
We will essay a description of each of these types. The study of their physiognomy will not be without interest and profit, for in the types we shall find a rule for our guidance in distinguishing Liberalism in its practical details.
The Extreme Liberal is easily recognized; he does not attempt to deny or conceal his perversity. He is the declared enemy of the Pope, of priests, of everything ecclesiastical; a thing has only to be sacred to rouse his implacable wrath; "priestcraft" is his favorite shibboleth. He subscribes to all the most violent and incendiary journals, the more impious and blasphemous, the better to his liking. He is ready to go to the furthermost conclusions of his baneful system. His premise of destruction once laid down, his conclusion of nihilism is a mere matter of logic. He would put it into practical execution with pleasure and exultation if circumstances permitted. He is a revolutionist, socialist, anarchist. He glories in living a life devoid of all religion. He belongs to secret societies, dies in their embrace and is buried by their ritual. He has always defied religion and dies in his defiance.
The moderate Liberal is just as bad as his extreme confrere, but he takes good care not to appear so. Social conventionalities and good manners are everything to him; these points secured, the rest is of little importance. Provided his iniquity is kid-gloved, it finds ready extenuation in his own mind. The niceties of polite society preserved, his Liberalism knows no bounds. He would not burn a convent — that would appear too brutal, but the convent once burned, he has no scruple in seizing upon the outraged property. The cheap impiety of a penny paper grates on his well-bred nerves; the vulgar blasphemy of Ingersoll he deprecates; but let the same impiety and the same blasphemy appear in the columns of a so-called reputable journal, or be couched in the silken phraseology of a Huxley in the name of science, and he applauds the polished sin. It is with him a question of manner, not matter. At the mere mention of the name of a nihilistic or socialistic club, he is thrown into a cold sweat, for there, he declares, the masses are seduced into principles which lead to the destruction of the foundations of society; yet, according to him, there is no danger, no inconvenience in a free lyceum where the same principles are elegantly debated and sympathetically applauded; for who could dare to condemn the scientific discussion of social problems? The moderate Liberal does not detest the Pope; he may even express admiration for his sagacity; he only blames certain pretensions of the Roman Curia and certain exaggerations of Ultramontanism, which do not fall in with the trend of modern thought. He may even like priests, above all, those who are enlightened, that is, such as have caught the twang of modern progress; as for fanatics and reactionaries, he simply avoids or pities them. He may even go to Church and, stranger still, sometimes approach the Sacraments; but his maxim is, in the Church to live as a Christian, outside of the Church to live as the world lives, according to the times in which one is born and not obstinately to swim against the stream. He dies with the priest on one side, his infidel literature on the other and imagines that his Creator will applaud his breadth of mind.
The Catholic simply tainted with Liberalism is generally a good man and sincerely pious; he exhales nevertheless an odor of Liberalism in everything he says, writes, or takes up. Like Madame de Sevigne, he can say, "I am not the rose, but standing by it, I have caught some of its perfume." This courageous man reasons, speaks, and acts as a Liberal without knowing it. His strong point is charity; he is charity itself. What horror fills his soul at the exaggerations of the Ultramontane press! To treat as a liar the man who propagates false ideas is, in the eyes of this singular theologian, to sin against the Holy Spirit. To him the falsifier is simply misguided; it is not the poor fellow's fault; he has, simple soul, been misled. We ought neither to resist nor combat him; we must strive to attract him by soft words and pretty compliments.
(Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, Liberalism is a Sin, Chapter 16)
These descriptions of the various types of Liberals are as timely today as ever. Which one fits Benedict XVI and John Paul II? Which one fits Francis?
The most dangerous wolf is the one in sheep’s clothing, not the one who doesn’t bother to disguise himself. Beware, then, lest ye be misled: “Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying” (2 Thess 2:10); “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand” (Mt 24:24-25).
- Blasphemoglio: Francis’ Chronicle of Impiety
- “Pope" Francis - How Catholic is Jorge Bergoglio?
- Two-Faced Fancis: The Hypocrisy of Jorge Bergoglio
- How Long Until Schism? The Vatican II Sect on the Brink of Chaos
- Collection of Links: The Apostasy of “Saint” John Paul II
- What you need to know about Joseph Ratzinger — and probably don't
- Catholic Church vs. Novus Ordo Sect: What Happened at the Conclave of 1958?
- St. Francis of Assisi Prophecy of a False Pope who will be a “Destroyer”
- The Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich’s Visions of a “Church of Darkness” in Rome
- TRADCAST: Novus Ordo Watch Podcasts
A Damning Dossier...
A Chronicle of Impiety
by Miles Christi
Not for the faint of heart: The Catholic writer Miles Christi (“Soldier of Christ”) has once again rendered a great service to Catholics around the globe. In over 22 pages, Miles has chronicled many of Jorge Bergoglio’s most outrageous offenses against the Catholic Faith and right morals, providing quote after quote from the blasphemous lips of the man most people in the world falsely believe to be the Pope of the Catholic Church.
This dossier is being made available in several languages. Click to download in the language of your choice (all files in PDF format):
- Blasphemoglio: A Chronicle of Impiety (English)
- Blasfemoglio: Cronaca di un Empio (Italian)
- Blasfemoglio: Crônicas de um Impio (Portuguese)
- Blasfemoglio: Crónicas de un Impío (Spanish)
- Blasphémoglio: Chroniques d’un Impie (French)
This chronicle is a handy collection of evidence for the case against Francis. It is perfect to pass on to family and friends and to make new converts, informing people of the true face of the Argentinian apostate. This latest work by Miles Christi is a great supplement to his earlier multi-language works exposing Francis, which are:
- Francis the Destroyer: An Anthology of the Bergoglian Magisterium
- The Strange “Papacy” of Jorge Bergoglio
Other recent publications by Miles Christi include the following (all PDF):
- Kaléidoscope Bergoglien: Fichier Corrigé (French)
- La Falsa Religión Bergogliana (Spanish)
- Colección de Maldades Bergoglianas (Spanish)
- Francisco, Rabino de Referencia (Spanish)
All this is well-documented material for anyone who still needs to be convinced — or wants to convince others — that Jorge Bergoglio is not a Roman Catholic and is most definitely not the Pope of the Catholic Church. Thank you, Miles Christi!
Note: Miles Christi is an independent writer and not to be confused with the Novus Ordo clerical group Miles Christi, which submits to the “pontificate” of Jorge Bergoglio.
- Blasphemy! Francis says St. John the Baptist doubted whether Jesus was the True Messiah
- Francis the Destroyer: An Anthology of the Bergoglian Magisterium (Miles Christi)
- The Strange “Papacy” of Jorge Bergoglio (Miles Christi)
- What you need to know about “Pope” Francis
- What you need to know about “Pope” Benedict XVI
- What you need to know about “Saint” John Paul II
- What you need to know about “Pope” John Paul I
- What you need to know about “Pope” Paul VI
- What you need to know about “Saint” John XXIII
- How it all began: The Conclave of 1958 gave birth to the Novus Ordo Church
Perfect for Lent...
True Restoration News: Season 5 Launched, Season 2 Available Free
Great news from our friends over at True Restoration: The traditional Catholic internet radio and media apostolate is now in its fifth season and has received a complete makeover, a wholly redesigned and easy-to-navigate web site that combines and consolidates all the former individual component sites (blog, radio, videos, press, etc.) into one. Find all their content now at a single, easy-to-remember location: TrueRestoration.org. Another exciting improvement: You now have four different membership options to choose from:
- Digital Free Membership — get free access to Seasons 1 and 2 of Restoration Radio and any other sponsored episodes from Seasons 3-5
- Quarterly Membership — get access to all seasons of Restoration Radio and access to all forums (new!) — for $45.00 USD per quarter
- Annual Membership — get access to all content (Restoration Radio, forums, videos, and select transcripts) and a 10% discount on any purchases from True Restoration Press — for $150.00 USD per year
- Annual “Jorge” Membership — get access to all the season’s Francis Watch episodes, plus 10 more episodes from Seasons 3-4 of the Executive Producer’s choosing — for only $50.00 USD per year
Be sure at least to get the digital free membership so you don’t miss out on the great content that’s provided free of charge. Lent is almost here, so take charge of your spiritual and doctrinal life!
Plus, we are happy to announce that Novus Ordo Watch has sponsored the entire second season of Restoration Radio so that all of Season 2 is now available to the public entirely free of charge. —You’re welcome!
Here are some highlights of the programs of Season 2, now free of charge:
- A five-part series on the changes of Vatican II — see first part here
- A hard-hitting expose of Malachi Martin which was difficult for many to hear
- Many episodes from the excellent Devotions series, ranging from Holy Water, to Stations of the Cross, to the Scapular and beyond
- A special roundtable with 4 priests done the night of Fr. Bede Nkamuke’s ordination to the priesthood which focused on the significance of priestly formation and ordination
- A thoughtful and interesting discussion on Catholicism and the South
- A serious look at Galileo and the charges always leveled at the Church by the ignorant
- The (then) shocking Resignation of Benedict XVI
- Believe it or not, an episode recorded the day after Bergoglio was elected — how mild were the predictions compared to what would follow!
- A look at the then (2013) actions being taken against the Novus Ordo Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
- A 30-year retrospective on the split of “the Nine” Sedevacantists from the SSPX in 1983
- A look at St. Thomas Aquinas
- A Catholic look at St. Valentine’s Day
- And so much more!
Restoration Radio is a member-supported worldwide podcast (internet radio) apostolate which features more clergy than all their imitators combined. Topics include but are not limited to catechetics, pastoral matters, sacred liturgy, and — new for Season 5 — Apologetics.
This year, they’ve upped the ante, adding more video conferences, downloadable transcripts of their best episodes, as well as a more substantial bookstore, with great pricing based on strategic acquisitions made. As noted above, they have both annual and quarterly memberships available, as well as a “Jorge membership” that provides access to Season 5’s popular Francis Watch program as well as one additional handpicked episode each month.
Remember — access to Seasons 1 and 2 is free (Season 1 was sponsored by another benefactor), but in order to get it, you have to register for a Digital Membership, which, again, is free. You can do so here. Lent is coming, and while it is the season for “cutting back”, this is definitely the sort of content you can “binge” on even during the season of penance.
At Novus Ordo Watch, we understand that professional undertakings like this have to be supported materially as well as spiritually, and thus we are pleased to do our share by sponsoring occasional shows, including all of Season 3’s Francis Watch, and now all radio shows of Season 2, for your benefit.
Give Restoration Radio a try. You won’t regret it.
- TRADCAST - Free Podcasts from Novus Ordo Watch
- Escape from the Novus Ordo - A Former Novus Ordo Priest gives Advice
- Debate: Did Vatican II Teach Heresy on the Church? (Video)
That sneaky lawyer again...
Chris Ferrara vs. Mark Shea: The Mystery of the Changing Debate Resolution
It may have escaped a lot of people, but it didn’t escape us.
On January 12, 2016, a debate took place between Semi-Traditionalist spinmeister Christopher A. Ferrara and professional Novus Ordo muckspout Mark Shea. This debate was held at St. Augustine Novus Ordo parish in South St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of their Argument of the Month (AOTM) men’s club. When we first heard about the resolution to be debated between the two opponents, we were shocked that apparently Christopher Ferrara would be so foolish as to agree to take the affirmative in the following resolution: “Has the Catholic Church abandoned the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost?” This is the exact resolution that was posted verbatim at The Remnant’s YouTube page on January 6, 2016, in the description for the debate preview/advertising video produced by the AOTM club, which you can verify for yourself at this link. A screenshot appears below:
Why would it be “foolish” to affirm such a thesis? Because it is totally contrary to Catholic doctrine, for it denies the indefectibility of the Church. A whole host of magisterial teachings could be cited here, but we’ll leave it at just a single one:
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; underlining added.)
Chris Ferrara is a very intelligent man. Surely he would know better than to debate such an obviously flawed and easily refutable resolution. But then he is also a lawyer, and he knows his trade. This he proved beyond any shadow of a doubt during the course of the debate. More on that in a moment.
The AOTM club, which sponsored the debate, was actually advertising a slightly different version of the resolution, but one that in essence was still identical, namely: “Has the modern Catholic Church abandoned the Great Commission?” In fact, this seems to have been the real resolution from the very beginning, because this is how it was advertised on AOTM’s Facebook page on January 5. The Remnant apparently didn’t pick it up right, but that’s really negligible because it’s clear that both sides — The Remnant’s Ferrara as well as Mark Shea — believe that the “modern Catholic Church” is identical in essence to the “Catholic Church”, so there is no real disagreement there.
And so the resolution was officially advertised by the AOTM as, “Has the Modern Catholic Church abandoned the Great Commission?”. We prove this by providing screenshots of various places on the internet where the debate was advertised this way (click each picture to enlarge; all red underlining added for emphasis):
AOTM Facebook Page (Jan. 5) - Link here
Official AOTM Flyer - Link here
Advertisement on FishEaters.com forum (Jan. 7) - Link here
Official Advertisement on AOTMclub.com (Jan. 12) - Link here
So, one would think that the resolution for the debate was pretty clear, and it was even posted on the official AOTM site as late as the day of the debate itself, January 12, as shown above. Most importantly, the official flyer advertised the debate using this resolution.
But the story doesn’t end there.
When the debate actually took place, the resolution mysteriously changed. The resolution actually debated was, “The modern Catholic Church has effectively abandoned the Great Commission”. This can be verified not only in the debate itself (video linked below), but also in the video of the “pregame” interview Michael Matt conducted with Ferrara (see 15:40 mark), as well as in Ferrara’s follow-up post for The Remnant’s blog: “Shea vs. Ferrara: So Who Won the Debate?” (posted Jan. 15, 2016).
So, the all-important adverb “effectively” had sneakily been added, and, wouldn’t you know it, Ferrara’s entire case ended up hinging on that very word! This change to the resolution was crucial, because it allowed Ferrara to maintain that the Great Commission had been abandoned in fact but not “officially” (wink, wink).
You can watch the entire debate in the video found on this page. Pay close attention in particular to what is being said beginning at the 48:48 mark, where Ferrara has the audacity to say to Shea, with regard to the resolution of the debate, that “you’ve got to read things closely to understand what we’re debating here tonight. I didn’t say the Church has totally abandoned her mission. This proposition is worded very carefully. It says, ‘The modern Catholic Church has effectively abandoned this command’”. As Ferrara then elaborates on what he means by this, Shea signals his agreement and says, “I agree with that too, sure” (50:32 mark). At 50:41, the laywer from Virginia then “clarifies” his position as follows: “I didn’t say the Church failed. I said Church men in the modern Church have effectively let go of that mission….” So not only does he stress once more there the all-important qualifier “effectively” he somehow managed to smuggle into the official debate resolution, he even converts “modern Church” into “men in the modern Church”, which is definitely not stated in the resolution either, not in the original one and not in the one used in the debate. Shea then points out that although he can agree with this particular point his opponent is making, “it’s not the total story”. This Ferrara then concedes, and Shea responds: “But if it’s not the total story, then the mission hasn’t been abandoned”. At that point — and we’re at the 51:05 mark now — Ferrara gives it his lawyerly all: “I didn’t say it was totally abandoned, I said that, effectively, … everyone … [unintelligible]…” —Shea interrupted, bursting into hearty laughter, telling his opponent, “You are a lawyer!”
Unbelievable, but, alas, not surprising. Ferrara went from “the modern Catholic Church has abandoned the Great Commission” to “the modern Catholic Church has effectively abandoned the Great Commission” to “men in the modern Catholic Church have effectively abandoned the Great Commission” to “men in the modern Catholic Church have effectively abandoned the Great Commission for the most part but not totally.” No wonder Mark Shea started laughing. (And as any faithful visitor to our site knows, we are not fans of Mark Shea — see our podcast TRADCAST 007.)
But apparently Shea was not the only one to fail to pay close enough attention to the wording that Ferrara was harping on. Even AOTM president Kent Wuchterl and Ferrara’s theological twin Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant, were not aware of this nuance, because in the preview video in which they advertised the debate, posted on Jan. 6, Wuchterl and Matt discussed the resolution to be debated and said the following: “Chris Ferrara, of course, will be taking the stance that the Church has abandoned the mandate of making disciples of all nations” (4:57 mark). This was Wuchterl speaking, but it’s not like Matt corrected him in horror. And why should he? That is what they actually believe.
That the changing of the debate’s resolution was not just slick and unfair but also bizarre is further evidenced by the fact that even after the debate, The Remnant still presented the resolution as essentially the original one: “Has the Catholic Church abandoned her defined dogma on the necessity of Baptism and membership in the Catholic Church?”. In this phrasing of the resolution, found in the description of The Remnant’s “AOTM Pregame Show” YouTube video on Jan. 14 — two days after the debate —, the word “modern” doesn’t even appear, and the adverb “effectively”, so important to Ferrara’s case, is likewise nowhere to be found. Have a look at this screenshot we took of the evidence:
So, what happened here? Is the key word “effectively” not that important after all? And yet, it was extremely important during the debate, as Ferrara happily pointed out. Since the difference is so crucial that to omit the word in the resolution would be stating that the Catholic Church has failed — thus contradicting Divine Revelation in Matthew 16:18 —, will Ferrara now call up Michael Matt to tell him to immediately fix the description on the YouTube video so as not to lead viewers into heresy? Or could it be that the whole thing was just a facade, a word game needed to “win” the debate?
On Jan. 15, a day after the above “pregame” video was posted, The Remnant advertised this video in a post on its web site, and — what do you know — the resolution was again the original one, leaving out both “modern” and “effectively”: “Has the Catholic Church abandoned her defined dogma on the necessity of Baptism and membership in the Catholic Church?”. Here is the link to the page, and here is the screenshot:
This changing of words as needed, this rhetorical peek-a-boo, proves exactly what we’ve been saying about these Semi-Traditionalists. In practice they really do believe the Catholic Church has defected — it is only when they are called out on it, or when they are arguing with sedevacantists or Novus Ordos who tell them that’s not possible, that the lawyerly tricks come out and all sorts of slippery rhetorical devices are introduced that they rely on to try to get out of the obvious doublethink they’re engaging in.
Unfortunately, Chris Ferrara has a history of skilled rhetorical maneuvering, as can be seen in the following critiques of him:
- More Catholic than the Pope? The Remnant vs. Francis
- No Friend of Fatima: Unspinning Christopher Ferrara’s Defense of Benedict XVI
- Benedict XVI and the “Prophetic Mission of Fatima”
And these people are supposedly the last “remnant” to save the Church from going to hell? Far from it! They are skilled rhetoricians keeping the status quo alive, making sure that people will not abandon the false Vatican II Sect, the “Church of Darkness” in Rome (words of Ven. Anne C. Emmerich). The Remnant and its theological cousins can mount all the “resistance” they want — as long as they acknowledge the Modernist hierarchy as the true and valid Catholic hierarchy, they are giving the usurpers all the power they need to inflict their damage, for all their power comes from the belief that they are the legitimate and lawful pastors of the Mystical Body of Christ. Take this away from them, and the whole thing collapses faster than Francis can say “self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian.”
Well, Mr. Ferrara, we have one word for you: BUSTED!
- Have the Gates of Hell Prevailed against the Catholic Church?
- False Resistance Theology: The Pope Speaks, YOU Decide
- If it’s in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, It’s Official Teaching
- Michael Davies: An Evaluation (The Neo-Trads’ celebrated champion and pioneer thoroughly refuted)
- Proving Sedevacantism: An Easy-to-Follow Syllogistic Argument
- Papal Impostors: Historical Precedents of False Claimants to the Papacy (Video)
- Do Catholics only need to believe what was taught “always, everywhere, by all”?
- Is Francis a valid Pope? Why the Question Matters
- Twelve Inconvenient Questions for the Society of St. Pius X
- Dead on Arrival: The Remnant’s New Strategy on Francis
- Time to Decide: Is the Novus Ordo Church the Catholic Church or a Counterfeit Church?
- The Remnant’s Silly Petition to Stop the 2014 Synod on the Family
- How the Novus Ordo “Mass” proves Sedevacantism
- The Perfect & Perpetual Immunity of the Church from Error and Heresy
- Pope Leo XIII condemns Recognize-and-Resist Position
- Traditional Catholics and Devotion to the Pope: Can we “Recognize and Resist”? (Audio)
- The Errors of the Society of Saint Pius X (Audio)
- The Ordinary Magisterium and Devotion to the Pope (Audio)
More Blasphemy from Chaos Frank
Francis claims St. John the Baptist doubted whether Christ was the True Messiah!
He fell entirely silent for Italy’s Family Day, but now that that is over, Francis the Pretend-Pope is back to spouting blasphemies against God and the saints and heresies against the Holy Catholic Faith. On February 5, 2016, the prescribed Gospel reading in the Novus Ordo liturgy was Mark 6:14-29, in which we read about the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Francis used the occasion to speak about another but related Gospel passage, Matthew 11:1-6, which also mentions the Baptist:
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he passed from thence, to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me.
Commenting on this passage, Francis had the audacity to say that St. John was not sure whether Jesus of Nazareth was truly the Messiah! Have a look at the news report from Vatican Radio:
Pope Francis took his congregation beyond the text of the Gospel, inviting them to enter into John’s cell, to look into the soul of the voice crying out in the desert, of the one who baptized the crowds in the name of Him who was to come, the one who was now weighed down not only by the iron chains that bound him in his prison, but by the shackles of some doubt, despite everything:
“But he also suffered in prison – let us say the word – the interior torture of doubt: ‘But maybe I made a mistake? This Messiah is not how I imagined the Messiah would be.’ And he invited his disciples to ask Jesus: ‘But tell us, tell us the truth: are you He who is to come?’ because that doubt made him suffer. ‘Was I mistaken in proclaiming someone who isn’t [who I thought]?’ The suffering, the interior solitude of this man. ‘I, on the other hand, must diminish, but diminish thus: in soul, in body, in everything…”
The outrage of this blasphemy is staggering, but we wonder if anyone in the audience even noticed or cared.
Let us now proceed to show why Francis’ interpretation is wrong and an insult to St. John the Baptist, and then we will examine what the correct interpretation is.
What Francis is asking us to believe is that St. John the Baptist, of whom our Blessed Lord said that “there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than” him (Mt 11:11), doubted whether Jesus Christ was the true Messiah, and that he did so despite the fact that….
- he was sanctified by Christ in the womb (Lk 1:41)
- his entire mission was to identify the true Messiah and lead people to Him, a role he fulfilled perfectly (Jn 3:26-36)
- he recognized our Lord and pointed Him out to the people: “The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he, of whom I said: After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me” (Jn 1:29-30,36; cf. Jn 1:15)
- he baptized our Lord and saw the Heavens open and heard the voice of God the Father testifying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:16-17)
- he himself said that he recognized the Son of God when the Holy Ghost came down upon Him at His baptism: “And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, he it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God” (Jn 1:33-34)
- he recognized our Lord and said to Him: “I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?” (Mt 3:14)
And despite all this, Francis leads his hapless sheeple to believe that this great man, St. John the Baptist, thought to himself, “But maybe I made a mistake? Was I mistaken in proclaiming someone who isn’t [who I thought]? This Messiah is not how I imagined the Messiah would be”?! This is outrageous!
Think about it: Since St. John’s only role was to lead people to the true Messiah, in the spirit of Elias (Mt 11:14; Jn 1:6-8; Lk 1:17; cf. Mal 3:1), if even he didn’t know for sure who the true Messiah was, then what would have been the point of God sending him? What was he doing? He would have simply been a blind man leading the blind (cf. Mt 15:14; Mt 23:24). Besides, if St. John the Baptist had suspected that Jesus of Nazareth was perhaps not the true Messiah after all but a charlatan — oh, the blasphemy! —, it hardly would have made much sense for him to ask for confirmation, for obviously no deceiver will tell you he is a deceiver just because you kindly ask him. So, what Francis is saying here is not only insulting and outrageous to the nth degree, it is also completely boneheaded, as usual.
The question that still remains to be answered, however, is this: What, then, do we make of the Scriptural text, which says very plainly that the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord Jesus whether he is the Messiah? Does this not indicate that he had doubts? Why would St. John send his disciples to ask that question?
Thankfully, we need not go very far to find the answer. All we need to do is consult a traditional Catholic Bible commentary, such as the one provided by Fr. George Leo Haydock, included in the famous Haydock Bible, available online here or in print here. The following is Fr. Haydock’s commentary on Mt 11:2-3 (“Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another?”):
Ver. 3. Art thou he that is to come? (Greek, who cometh?) i.e. the Messias. John the Baptist had already, on several occasions, declared that Jesus was the Messias. (John i). He could not then doubt of it himself, but sent his disciples to take away their doubt. (Witham) --- St. John the Baptist sent his disciples not to satisfy his own doubts, but for the sake of his disciples, who, blinded by the love they bore their Master, and by some emulation, would not acknowledge Christ to be the Messias. (St. Chrysostom in Baradius) --- This expression of St. John is much taken notice of, as conveying with it a very particular question. “Tell me, says St. John, now that I am departing out of this world, whether thou art coming to redeem the patriarchs and holy fathers; or wilt thou send another?” (St. Thomas Aquinas) --- And St. Chrysostom also explains it thus, Art thou he that art to come to limbo? but the Baptist omitting this last word, sufficiently indicated to our Saviour what was the purport of this question. St. Jerome and St. Gregory say, that by his death, he was going to preach to the holy fathers that Christ, the Messias, was come. John does not here propose this question as ignorant of the real case, but in the same manner as Christ asked where Lazarus was laid. So John sends his disciples to Jesus, that seeing the signs and miracles he performed, they might believe in him. As long, therefore, as John remained with his disciples, he constantly exhorted them to follow Jesus; but now that he is going to leave them, he is more earnest for their belief in him. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
(Rev. George L. Haydock, Commentary on Matthew 11:3, Haydock’s Catholic Family Bible and Commentary [New York, NY: Edward Dunigan and Brother, 1859]; underlining added; italics given.)
What a different picture now emerges from that given by the False Pope in Rome! It was not to settle his doubts that St. John the Baptist wanted the disciples to ask Jesus if He was truly the Messiah — he had none himself — but to help put away their doubts and uncertainties.
Francis totally ignores the orthodox explanation given by the various Saints and Scripture authorities quoted above, and instead causes scandal in his hearers, claiming that St. John the Baptist pondered in himself whether he had perhaps given testimony not to the true Messiah but to a charlatan! The blasphemy is revolting and sickening!
Then again, this is nothing new for Francis. He once claimed the very same thing even about the Blessed Virgin Mary, that she too had doubts right at the foot of the Cross, asking herself if perhaps God had lied to her! Don’t believe it? Or don’t remember it? Here is the original story:
As you can see, Francis is no stranger to blasphemy. In addition to the above, his track record also includes all of the following, and then some:
- Bergoglio jokes about the Crucifixion of Christ
- Francis says the Church is like the Blessed Mother - and has Flaws
- Francis tells People Not to Fear the Last Judgment
- Francis’ Favorite Painting contains Blasphemy against Jesus Christ
- Francis kisses Crucifix with Occult Symbolism
- Francis says “God does Not Exist” but the Three Persons do
- Francis dedicates Medal with blasphemous Hammer-and-Sickle Crucifix to the Virgin Mary
- “God is Father and Mother”: Bergoglio’s Transgender-God
- Francis claims Jesus sinned and had to “Beg Forgiveness”!
In all this, one cannot help but be reminded of these words of Holy Scripture: “And he opened his mouth unto blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Apocalypse 13:6).
Setting the Record straight...
When did Nestorius Lose his Office?
A Refutation of John Salza & Robert Siscoe
The huffing and puffing anti-sedevacantist apologists over at TrueOrFalsePope.com are currently busy publishing countless excerpts from their 700-page book as separate, individual articles. One such article posted on Feb. 2 criticizes Sedevacantists for pointing out that Nestorius automatically and immediately ceased to be the valid bishop of the see of Constantinople at the moment he became a public heretic, and not only after a legal declaration by the Church. This, John Salza and Robert Siscoe maintain, is false: “Nestorius was not deposed by ‘Divine law’ the moment he began preaching heresy, but was instead deposed after the Church itself rendered a judgment”, they argue (italics given).
But is this true?
The main text usually quoted on this by us Sedevacantists comes from Saint Robert Bellarmine, the great Doctor of the Church, from his book On the Roman Pontiff:
Pope Celestine I, in an epistle to John of Antioch, which is contained in Volume One of the Council of Ephesus, ch. 19, says: “If anyone who was either excommunicated or exiled by Bishop Nestorius, or any that followed him, from such a time as he began to preach such things, whether they be from the dignity of a bishop or clergy, it is manifest that he has endured and endures in our communion, nor do we judge him outside, because he could not remove anyone by a sentence, who himself had already shown that he must be removed.” And in a letter to the clergy of Constantinople: “The Authority of our See has sanctioned, that the bishop, cleric or Christian by simple profession who had been deposed or excommunicated by Nestorius or his followers, after the latter began to preach heresy, shall not be considered deposed or excommunicated. For he who had defected from the faith with such preaching, cannot depose or remove anyone whatsoever.”
This text Salza and Siscoe are trying to spin into a support for their position. They write:
All [Pope St. Celestine I] said is that the excommunications and depositions inflicted by Nestorius, after he began preaching heresy, were later declared to be null and void. But this in no way implies that he had already been deposed ipso facto by Divine law. It just means that the unjust acts of the one who himself was on the road to excommunication (Nestorius) were later declared null.
(John Salza and Robert Siscoe, “Sedevacantism Proven False by the Case of Nestorius”, TrueOrFalsePope.com; italics given.)
Later in their essay, the authors repeat their central thesis one more time: “Nestorius did not lose his office when he began preaching heresy (but only after he was deposed by a council three years later)”.
To prove this claim false, we will simply refer our readers to someone who addressed the matter with a bit more competence than the ex-Masonic Wisconsin tax attorney and his theological sidekick: Cardinal Louis Billot, S.J. (1846-1931). Fr. Billot is considered to be the main drafter of Pope Saint Pius X’s landmark encyclical against Modernism, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907). On June 19, 1909, Pius X appointed Billot as a consultor to the Holy Office (see Acta Apostolicae Sedis I, p. 538), and in 1911, the same Pope raised the Jesuit priest to the rank of cardinal. It is no exaggeration to say that Billot was one of the most brilliant Catholic theologians of the twentieth century.
In his Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi (“Treatise on the Church of Christ”), Cardinal Billot addresses the question of occult (secret) vs. public heresy and teaches, in agreement with other theologians, that occult heretics are still members of the Church, whereas public heretics are not. Juxtaposing the consequences of occult heresy with those of public heresy, Billot invokes the case of Nestorius to support his thesis that public heretics cease to be members of the Church from the very moment their heresy becomes manifest, quite automatically and without the need for any judgment or declaration:
At length we come to another argument. To be sure, whoever dwells outside the Church is ipso facto rendered unfit for all ordinary jurisdiction, say, episcopal jurisdiction . The reason is that a person who has ordinary jurisdiction or truly episcopal jurisdiction possesses the dignity of being the head, and no one can be the head of even a particular church if he is not a member of the Church. Indeed, what was ever a head that was not a member? Hence, if occult heresy were to put a man outside the Church, whenever a doubt about the legitimacy and authority of pastors could arise, there would not be moral certitude about their internal faith. But God forbid that the establishment of Christ should endure such a monstrous anomaly whereby the sinews of discipline would be loosened. We do not solely employ more probable arguments in this matter, because distinctly and expressly we are informed that a bishop by reason of heresy does not lose his own power of binding and loosing, except when he preaches heresy and openly professes it. In this regard, among other documents, there is extant the letter of Pope Celestine to the clergy and people of Constantinople in the case of Nestorius, where the Pontiff first urges Catholics to fight bravely for the faith, bear hardships patiently, and not fear exile. “No Christian,” he says, “should bewail a temporal exile imposed upon him, because no one is an exile to God. Let us fear exile from the realm of the living, that is, the realm that we wish to be our homeland. That is our perpetual and eternal abode. Indeed ours is no ephemeral place, but those things are truly ours, which a most certain hope promises.” Then declaring invalid the opinion whereby Nestorius had removed some people from either their office or the communion of the faithful, he continues: “Nevertheless, lest the opinion of one who had already called down upon himself a divine judicial sentence seem valid even at the time, the authority of our See has decreed that, from the moment that Nestorius and those like him begin to proclaim such [heresy], We do not regard as exiled or excommunicated any of the bishops or clerics or Christians by any profession who were dispossessed of office or cast out of communion by him and his followers. Rather all were and still remain in communion with Us, because a person who erroneously preached such [heresy] could not eject or remove anyone” . Therefore you see that a bishop who is a heretic in secret is still vested with the power of binding and loosing, since he loses episcopal jurisdiction and the power of excommunication only from the time at which he begins to preach heresy openly. Furthermore, the conclusion is readily seen. For if he who is not in the Church cannot possess authority in relation to the Church, and a occult heretic can have authority — better still, at some time possesses it in reality — it clearly follows that a occult heretic has not yet been cut off from the body of the Church.
 Note the deliberate phrasing: of all ordinary jurisdiction; for with regard to extraordinary and merely delegated jurisdiction in a case of necessity, it is not the same idea, as will be readily clear upon consideration.
 Pope Celestine, Epistle 14, n. 7 (Migne, Patrologia Latina, volume 50). Also see the same Celestine’s Epistle 12 to John of Antioch, n. 2: “But if anyone has been either excommunicated or divested of episcopal or clerical dignity by Bishop Nestorius or those who follow him, it is clear that the person remained and remains in communion with Us from the moment [Nestorius and his followers] began to preach such [heresy], etc.”
(Louis Billot, S.J., Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, 3rd ed. , Thesis XI, Q. 7; pp. 300-301; italics in original; underlining added. Translation by Novus Ordo Watch.)
Cardinal Billot is contradicting verbatim the thesis of Salza and Siscoe, namely: “Nestorius was not deposed by ‘Divine law’ the moment he began preaching heresy, but was instead deposed after the Church itself rendered a judgment”. Billot, quoting no less of an authority than Pope St. Celestine, explicitly says that Nestorius had “already called down upon himself a divine judicial sentence” — “already”, as in, “before the judgment of the Church”; and obviously a divine judicial sentence is effective immediately and not dependent upon the Church confirming it later on. This Nestorius did by the public heresy itself (ipso facto). Pope Celestine’s clear statement that those whom the heretical Nestorius had condemned or pretended to remove “were and still remain in communion with Us” underscores the fact that Nestorius lost his office at the moment his heresy was public. Unlike what Salza and Siscoe would have the reader believe, St. Celestine does not say that such are being reinstated or that their reinstatement is to have retroactive force — as though Nestorius had had the power to validly condemn and remove them — but that they “were and still remain in communion with us”. But if this is so, it is because the communion was never lost, and the only way this is possible is if Nestorius, who “removed” them from communion, had no power to do so because he had already lost his office.
Here we see that what Salza and Siscoe are claiming is just a sedevacantist misreading of St. Robert Bellarmine is actually confirmed to be correct by one of the Church’s greatest theologians in the twentieth century! Or what are Salza and Siscoe asking us to believe? That Cardinal Billot got it wrong too? That he did not understand St. Celestine or St. Robert Bellarmine and was ignorant of Church history? That he held a minority position that was highly controversial, without saying so and without justifying it at length?
What’s interesting is that although the two anti-sedevacantist authors list Billot’s Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi in the bibliography of their book (p. 686), somehow the part about Nestorius didn’t make it into their argumentation — despite the fact that they assure us in their foreword (p. 13) that they studied “all of the writings (to our knowledge) of the Church’s greatest theologians on the question of a heretical Pope…” and spent 10 years researching these issues.
In case the objection will now be advanced that “Cardinal Billot was not infallible”, we respond immediately that although true, this is entirely irrelevant. If this obvious remark could be used to simply dismiss what any theologian says, why would the Church bother having theologians in the first place? Even more to the point, why then should anyone bother to look at what Salza and Siscoe have to say, since they too are not infallible and not even theologians?
Next, the two authors seek support for their idea that Nestorius couldn’t have lost his episcopal see automatically upon the fact of being a heretic, in the Council of Ephesus (431 AD): “Nestorius was deposed three years later at the Council of Ephesus, after the Church had investigated the matter and rendered the necessary judgment.” The authors think that Ephesus lends support to their ideas because the council says Nestorius “should be stripped of his episcopal dignity and removed from the college of priests”.
This objection is tackled in John Daly’s book against Michael Davies, which neither Salza nor Siscoe apparently came across in their 10 years of research (its first edition was published in 1989):
In passing, it should perhaps also be mentioned that, if any of the Fathers did assert that heretics deserve to be deprived of their dignity, this would not necessarily imply that they had not forfeited their office ipso facto, because it could equally refer to their de facto possession of the external trappings of the office .
 This would appear to be supported by the nearest instance I know to a statement by a Father of the Church that heretics deserve to be deprived of their dignity. Pope St. Celestine I (422-432) in his letter to John of Antioch preserved in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus (Vol. 1, cap. 19), says:
“If anyone has been excommunicated or deprived either of episcopal or clerical dignity by bishop Nestorius and his followers since the time that they began to preach those things, it is manifest that he has persevered and continues to persevere in communion with us; nor do we judge him to have been removed, because one who has already shown that he ought himself to be removed [‘se iam præbuerat ipse removendum’] cannot by his own judgement remove another.”
Here it is evident that in referring to Nestorius and his supporters as “removendi” – “those who ought to be removed” – St. Celestine does not mean that they retain their offices until deposed. That is precluded by the fact that he expressly judges their authoritative acts to have been null even prior to their deposition. His meaning is evidently that they ought to be removed physically from the accoutrements of the office which they had already ipso facto forfeited. See also the same pontiff’s letter to the clergy of Constantinople.
(John Daly, Michael Davies — An Evaluation, 2nd ed. [Saint-Sauveur de Meilhan: Tradibooks, 2015], pp. 156-157; italics given.)
This is not to say that it was not of the utmost importance for the Church to declare that the loss of office had taken place and move to a full-scale deposition of Nestorius. Deposition is a vindictive penalty which may involve not merely the loss of an ecclesiastical office, which it makes irreversible and perpetual, but also the deprivation of the benefice and dignities attached to the office. If Salza and Siscoe are using the term “deposition” as synonymous with “loss of office”, they are treading on thin ice. The canon law professor Fr. Henry Ayrinhac notes that deposition, at least as the term is used in modern-day church law (since 1917), “implies more than suspension or privation of office”, and, touching upon the question of Church history, he notes that “the language of councils or ecclesiastical writers when treating of this subject often lacks precision”, adding that the language did not become more exact until “the sixth and seventh centuries” (H. A. Ayrinhac, Penal Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law [New York: Benziger, 1920], pp. 163,145). Of course none of this is helpful to the Salza-Siscoe thesis. But with this in mind we now understand how St. Robert Bellarmine could say both that “all the ancient Fathers … teach that manifest heretics immediately [mox] lose all jurisdiction” (De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Ch. 30; p. 309) and yet also maintain that the Council of Ephesus “deposed Nestorius by a command of a letter of the Roman Pope Celestine” (Book II, Ch. 13; p. 217).
Next, Salza and Siscoe attempt to hijack Pope Pius XI for their cause, quoting his encyclical letter on the Council of Ephesus, Lux Veritatis (nn. 11-12), in which the Pope commends St. Cyril of Alexandria’s appeal to Rome before deciding whether to break communion with Nestorius or not. But this will not help our anti-sedevacantist duo either, because while St. Cyril of Alexandria was not sure how to act with regard to Nestorius and therefore prudently appealed to the Holy See, knowing that this See would render a decision he had to abide by — note well, Messrs. Salza and Siscoe! — Pius XI nowhere says that those who immediately cut off communion with Nestorius did anything wrong. What the quote from the encyclical proves is only how St. Cyril acted, and that Pope Pius commended him for it — not, however, as though it would have been impermissible for St. Cyril to break communion with Nestorius before a judgment from Rome, but inasmuch as, unsure about what he should do, St. Cyril appealed to the Apostolic See for help, knowing that this See is pre-eminent and that the true Faith and right counsel can always be obtained from it for as long as it is validly occupied. It is his allegiance and recourse to the Holy See in what was to him a doubtful matter, for which Pius XI praises St. Cyril, not his failure to withdraw from communion with Nestorius per se. So, the anti-sede apologists are reading something into the text of Pope Pius XI’s encyclical that is simply not there.
This can be proved in another way by looking up the actual letter St. Cyril wrote to Pope Celestine I — something we surely hope Salza and Siscoe did before pontificating about the matter. Writing to the Pope, St. Cyril relates how virtually all Catholics reacted when Nestorius boldly preached his perverse doctrine concerning our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother:
When the most pious Nestorius was sitting on the throne in the assembly of the Church of Constantinople, he arose and dared to say in a loud voice, “If anyone says that Mary is the Mother of God, let him be anathema.” And there was a great shout from all the people and they ran out. They did not want to associate any longer with those who had such opinions, so that even now the people of Constantinople keep away except from a few shallower ones, and those who flatter him. But nearly all the monasteries and their archimandrites, and many of the senators do not join him. They fear lest they be injured in faith, while he and those with him, whom he brought when going up from Antioch, say everything perverted.
(St. Cyril of Alexandria: Letters 1-50, trans. by John I. McEnerney [Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1987], pp. 61-62; underlining added.)
But it gets better still. Cyril then tells the Pope that he himself also refuses communion with Nestorius, although not yet openly (i.e. in public) until the Pope has given him direction on whether it is right and prudent to do so:
But we do not throw off communion with him openly, until we have communicated these matters to your reverence. Wherefore deign to specify what seems best, and whether it is necessary to be in communion with him sometimes, or to forbid henceforward openly because no one is in communion who thinks and teaches such things.
(St. Cyril of Alexandria: Letters 1-50, trans. by John I. McEnerney [Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1987], p. 63; italics and underlining added.)
Clearly, St. Cyril of Alexandria was merely in doubt about how to act in public with regard to Nestorius, and so he turned to the Apostolic See for authoritative guidance. This is what Pope Pius XI is praising St. Cyril for. Would Salza and Siscoe also turn to the (Modernist) “Holy See” for authoritative guidance in any theological matter? Fat chance!
One of the likely reasons why Salza and Siscoe are blundering so badly on this topic is that they confuse the loss of ecclesiastical office for heresy with the punishments for heresy. Loss of office is not a punishment per se, it is simply the necessary consequence of holding a faith different from that of the Church. Since the Church can have only one Faith, he who professes a different one cannot be a member of the Church, much less hold office in her. That’s why in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the loss of office is dealt with in Canon 188, under the section “On Persons”, whereas the punishments for heresy are not covered until Canon 2314, under the section “On Delicts and Penalties”.
With their undue accusation of “private judgment” against Sedevacantists for saying that a manifest heretic loses his office immediately upon the fact, Salza and Siscoe are demonstrating that they do not believe that facts can be known apart from a Church judgment. Yet the Church teaches the exact opposite, legislating in her Code of Canon Law that facts that are “notorious” (Canon 2197 n. 3) — that is, things publicly known and carried out in such circumstances that they could not be concealed — need not be proved in an ecclesiastical court (Canon 1747 n. 1) because it would be pointless to prove something that is already known and cannot reasonably be questioned. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:
Canonists have variously classified the legal effects of notoriety, especially in matters of procedure; but, ultimately, they may all be reduced to one: the 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.
(Catholic Encyclopedia , s.v. “Notoriety, Notorious”)
Nor will the authors of True or False Pope? be able to argue that notoriety of fact is tied to a church judgment, because as the text just quoted shows, facts can be notorious even before such a judgment, and, in such a case, require no legal proof at all.
Messrs. Salza and Siscoe are continually misrepresenting the Sedevacantist position when they claim that we hold “that prelates are deposed as soon as individual Catholics ‘discern’ they are heretics by their own private judgment”. Obviously, no Sedevacantist claims that there is a loss of office when someone somewhere thinks that there is. Rather, what causes the loss of office is the objective and notorious fact of public heresy, regardless of who discerns it, and that is or at least can be a matter of objective fact; it does not have to be tied to a legal decision, as we just saw. And while one may perhaps argue about the precise point at which something occult (private) becomes objectively public, or exactly when a heretic is to be considered manifest, this has no relevance to Francis (or most of his five predecessors), for if he is not a public and manifest heretic, then the term simply has no meaning. Pick any heresiarch in history — Arius, Nestorius, Luther, Calvin, Jansen, John Paul II — Francis has them all beaten. That’s how bad the situation is that we are in today, and yet here we have two SSPX apologists writing 700 pages trying to convince you that a man can be the Vicar of Christ who is not even a Christian!
Then again, this absurd idea fits very well into our absurd world: Francis is “Pope” in a world in which Rachel Dolezal is black and Bruce Jenner is a woman. And only in such a world. This is actually quite a consoling thought!
John Salza and Robert Siscoe are currently in all-out attack mode, and no doubt this will continue still for months to come. In all the rhetorical overkill you will continue to see from them, in all the grandstanding and shouting, in all the lawyerly techniques of persuasion, do not lose sight of one thing: At the end of the day, Salza and Siscoe are arguing that if it weren’t for Francis, and if it hadn’t been for Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI, and John XXIII, then the gates of hell would have prevailed against the Church.
The simple truth is that it is possible for the Holy See to be vacant, but it is not possible for it to defect. And while they naturally insist that they do not believe the Holy See has defected, we all know that, de facto, Salza, Siscoe, and the entire SSPX/ Resistance gang believe precisely this, as their actions and often even their unguarded words betray them. They believe that the papacy has defected and that it is now their job to convert it back to Catholicism.
That is heresy.
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