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A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

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A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:31 am

A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Written by I. Shawn McElhinney

[Note: Express written permission to publish this article was received from the author. Color bolding mine throughout. The entire article can be found here:]

http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/sedevacantism.html

The Visibility of the Church is directly linked to the Roman Pontiff. And while during an interregnum the church is "Popeless," for a short period of time, this is not a part of the ordinary constitution of the Church and must necessarily be of short duration. The longest interregnum in the Church to date is less than three years. If the sedevacantists are right, then the present interregnum is ten times greater than that one. Thus the visibility of the Church, embodied in the person of the Roman Pontiff is non-extant. In this awful scenario, the only true Church is constituted of individual priests and bishops in their respective chapels, none of whom have valid jurisdiction, and none of whom report to anyone higher than themselves as authorities. This is not a visible Church; it is a Protestant Church. [Brother Andre Marie M.I.C.M]
While this author [McElhinney] has more than a few problems with the flawed theology of Saint Benedict's Center, the above statement by the St. Benedict Center's Brother Andre Marie is on the money. The necessity of the Roman pontiff was noted by Vatican II in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium which declared that:

The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.(30) [1]
Footnote 30 of the Dogmatic Constitution notes that this teaching was a reaffirmation of an earlier teaching from Vatican I:

30. Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const. Dogm. Pastor aeternus: Denz. 1821 (3050 s.) [2]
Therefore, both Vatican Councils taught the perminence and the source of unity of the Church and its visible foundation depended on the perpetual existence of the Roman Pontiff. Now it is true that the majority of self-styled 'traditionalists' take the position that there is a valid pope today in Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) regardless of what they personally think about him. However, not all 'traditionalists' take this stance. A more consistent strand of 'traditionalists' styling themselves as "sedevacantists" hold a minority position in the movement but one that is nonetheless necessary to address since this is the logical outgrowth of 'traditionalist' philosophy. (Much as agnosticism is the natural outgrowth of religious skepticism in general.) Therefore, this essay will be devoted to refuting the heresy of sedevacantism.

[…] Let us start from Chapter I in the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus which to the knowledge of this author is from a Council that even the sedevacantists recognize as a valid Ecumenical synod.

In Pastor Aeternus, the First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ promulgated at Vatican I, we are taught about the indefectibility and perpetual visibility of the Catholic Church. These two principles are intertwined in a Dogmatic Constitution of a General Council for a reason. Note carefully the context please:

Session 4: 18 July 1870 First dogmatic constitution on the church of Christ

Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record.

The Eternal Shepherd and Guardian of our souls {I Pet. 2:25}, in order to render the saving work of redemption lasting, decided to establish His holy Church that in it, as in the house of the living God, all the faithful might be held together by the bond of one faith and one love. For this reason, before He was glorified, He prayed to the Father not for the Apostles only, but for those also who would believe in him on their testimony, that all might be one as the Son and the Father are one {John 17:20}. Therefore, just as He sent the Apostles, whom He had chosen for Himself out of the world, as He Himself was sent by the Father {John 20:21}, so also He wished shepherds and teachers to be in His Church until the consummation of the world {Matt. 28:20}. Indeed, He placed St. Peter at the head of the other apostles that the episcopate might be one and undivided, and that the whole multitude of believers might be preserved in unity of faith and communion by means of a well-organized priesthood. He made Peter a perpetual principle of this two-fold unity and a visible foundation, that on his strength an everlasting temple might be erected and on the firmness of his faith a Church might arise whose pinnacle was to reach into heaven. But the gates of hell, with a hatred that grows greater each day, are rising up everywhere against its divinely established foundation with the intention of overthrowing the Church, if this were possible. We, therefore, judge it necessary for the protection, the safety, and the increase of the Catholic flock to pronounce with the approval of the sacred council the true doctrine concerning the establishment, the perpetuity, and the nature of the apostolic primacy. In this primacy, all the efficacy and all the strength of the Church are placed. [4]
The perpetual principle of the Roman Pontiff is tied into the visible foundation of the Church. Likewise the canon following the first chapter which solemnly reaffirms the following:

Therefore, if anyone says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not constituted by Christ the Lord as the Prince of all the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant, or that he received immediately and directly from Jesus Christ our Lord only a primacy of honor and not a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction: let him be anathema. [5]
Chapter I and its accompanying canon declare that the Pope is the visible head of a visible Church, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her. This last phrase forms the basis of the attribute of indefectibility that the Church possesses - an indefectibility that sedevacantism denies by logical extension. This means that the Church as a visible organization will stay a visible organization to the end of time. Consequently, she will have a visible head of the Church leading her to the end of time. This is a defined doctrine of the faith which is denied by sedevacantist theology. Therefore, they are by this reason heretics unless they cease being contumacious in their denial of the above doctrine both de facto as well as de jure. But that would mean ceasing to be a sedevacantist of course.

Chapter II of Pastor Aeternus is about the perpetual primacy and succession of the See of Peter. Here is the text of additional points fatal to the sedevacantist position:

That which our Lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the Blessed Apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time {See Mt 7, 25; Lk 6, 48}.

For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the saviour and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the holy Roman see, which he founded and consecrated with his blood {From the speech of Philip, the Roman legate, at the 3rd session of the council of Ephesus (D no. 112)}.

Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the church which he once received {Leo 1, Serm. (Sermons), 3 (elsewhere 2), ch. 3 (PL 54, 146)}.

For this reason it has always been necessary for every church--that is to say the faithful throughout the world--to be in agreement with the Roman church because of its more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that see, from which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into the structure of a single body {Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. (Against Heresies) 1113 (PG 7, 849), Council of Aquilea (381), to be found among: Ambrose, Epistolae (Letters), 11 (PL 16, 946)}.

Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that Blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema. [6]
To culpably deny this solemn recapitulation of Chapter II of the Dogmatic Constitution is to espouse formal heresy. Vatican I said so; ergo, the sedevacantist must either repudiate Vatican I or selectively choose which parts they will accept. Either choice sets them outside the Catholic Church since the visibility of the Catholic Church is tied to the visible foundation of the Roman Pontiff. Sedevacantists deny this explicitly in claiming that the Papacy has, de facto disappeared for 25 years, 45 years, or whatever arbitrary period they choose [54 years and counting]. Therefore, to be a sedevacantist is to renounce the Catholic faith. Quid pro quo.

There have been four elections to the Chair of Peter since 1958 which have been accepted both by the Catholic Church as well as the world at large. Sedevacantists declare them to be invalid elections. This author asks them then to point out who has held the papal chair since 1958 if not for Roncalli, Montini, Luciano, and Wojtyla. To be a Catholic one must affirm the permanence of the primacy of the Roman pontiff: a prerogative impossible to do under the sedevacantist theology. Since the sedevacantist seems to consider themselves and their allies as competent judges of what is and is not orthodox we must ask them this question: who has the responsibility of saying that the pope's election was doubtful??? As there has been no answer definitively set forth by the Church, no one is obligated to believe that an election is invalid simply because a little sliver of theologically inept dissidents feel as if somehow they have been vested with supreme theological acuity to see what the Magisterium of the Church supposedly does not see. The reality is, the only way that Vatican II or the post Pius XII popes can be shown to have "erred" is a process that Protestant apologists use consistently with popes and Councils of the pre-Pius XII period.

It is just as easy to prove that Constance "contradicted" Vatican I or that Trent "contradicted Florence" as it is to prove that Vatican II contradicted any doctrine of previous popes. Anyone can prooftext. Yet proof-texting without taking into account the sitz im leben of a document is to play the role of a self-anointed Protestant pope. And self-styled 'traditionalists' practice the very private judgment that Fr. Luther used at the Diet of Worms and that the Jansenists used in opposing themselves to the "Humanist influenced" Council of Trent. Yes, just as Vatican II has been labeled by so-called 'traditionalists' as "Modernist-influenced", so too was Trent labeled as "Humanist-influenced" by the Jansenists. They were the originators of the idea that they could determine when the Pope was infallible and (if they declared he was not), they sought to justify ignoring his authority and decrees. A sedevacantist is no less a heretic than Calvin and company if they stubbornly persist in promulgating the sedevacantist lie in the face of at least 2 solemn de fide declarations of the Church.

The sedevacantist may claim that the four popes elected since Pius XII were (and are) invalid because the person elected was not a legitimate candidate for the office. (The lie about Pope John XXIII being a freemason comes to mind.) But for argument's sake, let us concede the argument that Papa John was a freemason. First of all, by the very Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede Apostolis issued by Pope Pius XII in 1945 it was made quite clear that even freemasons would be eligible for election not only to the College of Cardinals but also in the conclave they could be validly elected as pope:

None of the Cardinals may in any way, or by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, or interdict whatsoever, or of any other ecclesiastical impediment, be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff. We hereby suspend such censures solely for the purposes of the said election; at other times they are to remain in vigor. [7]
"Active" in this context would seem to mean that such a Cardinal can vote in the election, while "passive" would seem to mean that he himself can be elected. This type of provision has been substantially the same in all papal conclave legislation for the past few centuries. And by all accounts it would be unavoidable that the governing Constitution of the 1958 Conclave - even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope. And in such a circumstance, he would have full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope. He would not govern licitly of course; however he would govern validly. And as a validly elected pope, he would have the authority not only in disciplinary and governmental faculties (such as the appointing of Cardinals such as Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini of Milan) but ratifying as binding magisterial teaching on the Church. With regards to Pope John XXIII it is not as much him that the sedevacantists seek to deny but the binding authority of the constitutions, declarations, and decrees of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. (Solemnly promulgated by John XXIII's successor Pope Paul VI.) This is what sedevacantists seek to deny with their claims of a "vacant seat" in Rome. If they spent more time taking a fully orbed understanding of the Catholic faith (and not limiting themselves to the overly-juridical Western Aristotelian tradition common to the second millennium) they might see the Eastern mysticism that permeated many parts of Vatican II. (This is most notably in the Dogmatic Constitutions Lumen Gentium/Dei Verbum, and the Constitutions Sacrosanctum Concilium/Gaudium et Spes.) This writer has covered elsewhere the amateur manner in which self-styled 'traditionalists' read and properly comprehend magisterial documents. The logical extension of the dogmas on perpetual primacy of the Apostolic See were outlined in the following manner by Dr. Ludwig Ott in his theology manual Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

That the Primacy is to be perpetuated in the successors of Peter is, indeed, not expressly stated in the words of the promise and conferring of the Primacy by Our Lord, but if flows as an inference from the nature and purpose of the primacy itself. As the function of the Primacy is to preserve the unity and solidarity of the Church; and as the Church, according to the will of her Divine Founder, is to continue substantially unchanged until the end of time for the perpetuation of the work of salvation, the Primacy also must be perpetuated. But Peter, like every other human being, was subject to death (John 21, 19), consequently his office must be transmitted to others. The structure of the Church cannot continue without the foundation which supports it (Mt. 16, 18): Christ's flock cannot exist without shepherds (John 21, 15-17). [8]
It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not to be a heretic. Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy for all time according to Vatican I. Where are they??? If Roncalli, Montini, Luciano, and Wojtyla are not the valid successors than the sedevacantist has just conceded that Christ Jesus was a liar and that Vatican I erred. The Fathers and Scholastics and post-Scholastics would have condemned as heretical or at least savouring of heresy someone who dared to controvert the decrees of a General Council as self-styled 'traditionalists' so often do.

Even the earliest of Fathers in the era of the General Councils declared that controverting a General Council was a crime (the very word used by St. Athanasius the Great). Thus, though Vatican II stands controverted by the self-styled 'traditionalist' who rejects its teachings, due to the lack of promulgated dogmas of faith, a charge of heresy cannot be levied for this except indirectly. (Since denying the authority of the Second Vatican Council is to reject the indefectibility of the universal church.) Thus while rejecting Vatican II can be at most schismatic and proximate to heresy, denying the dogmas outlined above which were taught by the First Vatican Council is perfect grounds for a censure of heresy. That is really all that is needed to refute sedevacantism as a viable alternative. For as (i) Vatican I defined as divinely revealed not only the universal jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff (ii) his perpetual necessity by Divine design, there is no ground left that is solid for the sedevacantist to stand on. So (iii) there is no need to entertain this sedevacantist heretical foolishness any longer.

The inevitable play of human passions, interfering in the election of the Vicar of Christ, may perchance for a while render uncertain the transmission of spiritual power. But when it is proved that the Church, still holding, or once more put in possession of, her liberty, acknowledges in the person of a certain Pope, until then doubtful, the true Sovereign Pontiff, this her very recognition is a proof that, from that moment at least, the occupant of the Apostolic See is as such invested by God himself. (Abbot Guéranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Vol XII, pg. 188)
Bibliography:

[1] Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" §23 (November 21, 1964)
[2] Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" §23, footnote 30 (November 21, 1964)
[3] Matthew 23:1-4 (Revised Sedevacantist Version). Credit for the concept goes to Gary Hoge who developed this theme into a "Holy Bible: Revised Protestant Version" parody back in 1999.
[4] Vatican I: Dogmatic Constitution "Pastor Aeternus" §1 (July 18, 1870)
[5] Vatican I: Dogmatic Constitution "Pastor Aeternus" §1 (July 18, 1870)
[6] Vatican I: Dogmatic Constitution "Pastor Aeternus" §2 (July 18, 1870)
[7] Pope Pius XII: Apostolic Constitution "Vacante Sede Apostolis" §34 (December 8, 1945)
[8] Dr. Ludwig Ott: "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" pg. 282 (c. 1960)

Additional Notes:

The citations from the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" were obtained at the following link: http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/lumen.gen

The citations from the First Vatican Council were obtained at the following link: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM

The author originally read Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution "Vacante Sede Apostolis" online back in early 2000 but has since been unable to find it again. The citation from that work referenced in this section was therefore obtained at the following link: http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt87.html

The citation from Dr. Ludwig Ott was taken from his theology manual "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", Tan Books Fourth Edition (c. 1960)

With only the most minor of alterations, this essay is identical to the section titled A Refutation of Sedevacantism from the author's treatise A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' which is available for reading in its entirety here.

©2003, 2001 "A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism", written by I. Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.


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MRyan

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  tornpage on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:50 am

Hmmm.

"It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not be a heretic."

I prefer MRyan's analysis:

They do not deny the pope is the pope, they say the man we recognize as the pope is NOT the head of the Catholic Church -- he is an imposter. The real Church is in "eclipse". How can someone deny that which does not actually exist? They say that the Church cannot defect from the faith; therefore, the papal office is vacant. And, they say, perpetual succession has not been violated through this long interregnum, unless someone can demonstrate that an interregnum can last only X number of days, months or years. Theologians say that if an interregnum can last three years, why not 50 or 100 years, and they can back it up with theological proofs (but no common or Catholic sense).

For example, on November 29, 1268, Pope Clement IV died, and there began one of the longest periods of interregnum or vacancy of the papal office in the history of the Catholic Church. At last, on September 1, 1271, Pope Gregory X was elected to the Chair of Peter (only after the mayor of Viterbo enclosed the Cardinals in a palace, allowing them only strict living rations, until a decision would be made which would give to the Church its visible Head.)

Do the math, where was the visible and perpetual successor to Peter during those 2 years and 9 months? When would perpetual succession end, 2 years and 10 months, 5 years, 10 years? Is their a magic number? They will tell you that the next pope, however he is installed, will be the perpetual successor to the last reigning pope, whoever that was; whether Pius XII, JXXIII or Paul VI (who would have lost the office as soon as he promulgated VC2). Of course I do not know if JPI snuck in there, but I think they rejected him too (or perhaps his reign was so short it does not matter).

I am not going to sit here and defend the thesis, I abhor it; but if you think they "reject" the papacy, you are wrong -- they defend it; just ask them. The fact is, tradition and the majority of theologians support the sede vacante hypothesis in the event of a heretical pope who would automatically lose the office through his manifest and pertincacious heresy.

You can disagree (as I do) all you want, the question is whether their position is theologically tenable - and, by the preponderance of theological proofs, it is. If you want to go up against Bellarmine and the Fathers, go ahead; but you’ll be spittin’ against the wind and will be arguing from emotion and opinion rather than fact. It is your opinion against theirs; and they have the heavy hitters on their side, even if their primary hitter (Bellarmine) did not believe for a minute that a Pope could fall from the faith. But because other theologians and Fathers opened up this can of worms, he felt obligated to do the research and he concluded that the most compelling argument from tradition holds that a pope would in fact lose his office as soon as he fell from the Catholic faith.

Theologians also teach that those who sincerely believe that a pope has lost his office through manifest heresy cannot be accused of schism. It has happened before (this charge of heresy and loss).

When the Church condemns this valid theological opinion, so can we. In the interregnum, I mean interim, we can expose it for the deadly nonsense that it is. They will continue to try and convince anyone who will listen that we are in communion with an anti-pope (we just haven't been enlightened enough to realize it). Invincible ignorance?
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  George Brenner on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:14 am

MRyan and Tornpage,

In my humble opinion:
Exceptionally good posts by both of you to reflect on. It seems to me lately that Pope Benedict XVI has been referring to the Crisis of Faith more and more. Bishop against Bishop, Priest with novenas to bring a Bishop to them that is strong in doctrine. More and more Cardinals and Bishops speaking out. The job description of a priest is to lead as many souls to Heaven or Purgatory before he dies. Church history has proven that every Holy Father was the Pope but only God and Holy Mother Church can decide if the Pope was a Holy Father, not us as individuals. Love , be subject to and pray for Our Pope.

I can not know but wander what Jesus would say to all the different names we use today
Catholic, traditional Catholic, radical Catholic, Feeney Catholic?, sedevacanist, Revert, on the fence, non Catholic, protestant, the new religion being started as I enter this, non Christian, atheist and on and on.....................


ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH



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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:20 pm

tornpage wrote:Hmmm.

"It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not be a heretic."

I prefer MRyan's analysis:

Tornpage,

It's always nice when we add a little context, don't you think? I agree with the author, and please take note that he does not say that every sede is a formal heretic, and in fact makes this clear further on.

If I am not mistaken, the selection you cited was my response to a certain Feeneyite who determined on his own authority, without ever reading a single sentence of a certain sedevacantist, that he was in fact (as, he argued, are all sede's), a non-Catholic heretic whose heresy cannot be excused.

In other words, he used the same argument as a certain notorious sede sect, and used this argument of no-excuses obstinate heresy to condemn all sede's as pertinacious heretics - no exceptions.

You should know better than to think that my previous defense of Mr. Larson somehow changes or stands in contradiction to my position that holds that sedevacantism is a heresy. Remember, I was only citing the arguments the more thoughtful and educated sede's employ, based as they are on their interpretation of certain theologians and canonists - but I never said these arguments hold-up upon further scrutiny (they don't). If I gave you that impression, let me set the record straight.

But I do reserve the right to make the accusation of formal heresy against certain notorious sede's who are so blatantly heretical in their disgusting charges, insults and accusations against the Pope and the visible and indefectible Catholic Church, as well against every Catholic who remains in communion with Christ's Vicar, and who refuse to recognize the swill that is supposed to pass for "deep knowledge"; and who refuse to leave the true Church and join the pope-less non existent Church of a couple of quacks who hurl their idiotic anathemas at everyone and anyone who does not swallow their anti-Catholic poison.

You and I both know that Larson, Lane and Daly find this noxious brand of sedevacantism a total embarrassment to their (hopeless) cause, and that they reject these theologically obtuse amateurs for the phonies that they are.

Besides, J. Lane and I share a deep respect and admiration for the sublime theology of the great theologian, Fr. Matthias Joseph Scheeben, so I tend to take Lane's sedeism as non-culpable confusion over the present state of the Church and the drawing of false conclusions. I can understand his viewpoint, but I cannot accept it's objective heretical nature and the logical fallacies that support it.

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  tornpage on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:45 pm

I do reserve the right to make the accusation of formal heresy against certain notorious sede's who are so blatantly heretical in their disgusting charges, insults and accusations against the Pope and the visible and indefectible Catholic Church, as well against every Catholic who remains in communion with Christ's Vicar, and who refuse to recognize the swill that is supposed to pass for "deep knowledge"; and who refuse to leave the true Church and join the pope-less non existent Church of a couple of quacks who hurl their idiotic anathemas at everyone and anyone who does not swallow their anti-Catholic poison.

Sure - and I never said otherwise. As Brownson said regarding the charge of heresy or schism as to the Orthodox, it's an individual, case by case issue.

We read the McElhinney article differently. To me it reads like a full blown condemnation of the sedevacantist thesis per se. As you note: "the question is whether their position is theologically tenable - and, by the preponderance of theological proofs, it is." And as you also note: "Theologians also teach that those who sincerely believe that a pope has lost his office through manifest heresy cannot be accused of schism."

So they embrace a theological position that is "tenable" (hence they can not be heretics on the basis of adopting that position alone), and if sincere they are not schismatics. I consider Lane, Daly and some others as such.

I don't see that as McElhinney's position. If it is, he sure wanted to give the other impression: "It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not to be a heretic." I don't know of a sedevacantist who doesn't embrace sedevacantism.


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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  tornpage on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:50 pm

You should know better than to think that my previous defense of Mr. Larson somehow changes or stands in contradiction to my position that holds that sedevacantism is a heresy.

Relax, Sparky.

I think your well-reasonsed position contradicts McElhinney.

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:54 pm

tornpage wrote:
You should know better than to think that my previous defense of Mr. Larson somehow changes or stands in contradiction to my position that holds that sedevacantism is a heresy.

Relax, Sparky.

I think your well-reasonsed position contradicts McElhinney.

Nice try.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  tornpage on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:06 pm

Yeah, Mike . . . my goal was to show you as being inconsistent. How you appear or don't appear was not a consideration in my posting, and my intent has nothing to do with making you appear one way or another.

If you think differently . . . whatever.

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:11 pm

MRyan wrote:
tornpage wrote:
You should know better than to think that my previous defense of Mr. Larson somehow changes or stands in contradiction to my position that holds that sedevacantism is a heresy.

Relax, Sparky.

I think your well-reasonsed position contradicts McElhinney.

Nice try.

For example, where I said:

You can disagree (as I do) all you want, the question is whether their position is theologically tenable - and, by the preponderance of theological proofs, it is.
Theologically tenable IF the weight of a certain unproven hypothesis of theologians (in theory only - see Bellarmine) can finally usurp, or stand in contradiction to, the weight of the Magisterium, and VCI trumps all.

In other words, when the theory meets the force of the Magisterium, the theory must subside. Unfortunately, many sede's seem to think VCI is to be understood by light of certain theological theories, and not the other way around.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:14 pm

tornpage wrote:Yeah, Mike . . . my goal was to show you as being inconsistent. How you appear or don't appear was not a consideration in my posting, and my intent has nothing to do with making you appear one way or another.

If you think differently . . . whatever.

Tornpage, it was clear when you said, "Hmmm. 'It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not be a heretic.' I prefer MRyan's analysis:", that you saw a contradiction. There is no contradiction, and if you believe differently ... whatever.



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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:26 pm

Tornpage,

Forgive me if I misunderstood your intentions ... it appears that I have .. mea cupla.

I'm going for a walk .. well, taking my daughter bowling.

Later.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  columba on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:07 pm

If it can be proven that the Church can be sede vacante for an indefinate period, then the title of this thread is itself heretical and thus St Riobert Belermine and a few others would also be dicing with heresy in not only speculating upon but offering remedies for what is (by the authors account) a teological impossibility.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  tornpage on Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:28 pm

Tornpage, it was clear when you said, "Hmmm. 'It is impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not be a heretic.' I prefer MRyan's analysis:", that you saw a contradiction.

Well, I thought the statement was McElhinney's. And I do see the positions as inconsistent. Knowing you, I look forward to your explanation, and know that you will show a thoughtful consistency . . . with which I will likely disagree.

But I hope you see that my intention was not to get Mike in a contradiction - I don't have time for such nonsense anymore, and only look to see the issues discussed.

Let others make it personal, and make themselves an issue . . . I want no part of it.

I hope you "win" every argument we have, and convince me of your position every time - as with "Peter's never failing faith."

The V2 popes are not "heretics."

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:09 pm

columba wrote:If it can be proven that the Church can be sede vacante for an indefinate period, then the title of this thread is itself heretical and thus St Riobert Belermine and a few others would also be dicing with heresy in not only speculating upon but offering remedies for what is (by the authors account) a teological impossibility.
Nonsense. First of all, it cannot be "proven" that a sede vacante period can be "indefinite", it can only be proven that a period of some 3 1/2 years is the longest period that the Church has been without a pope as the conclave dithered in its protracted deliberations to elect a successor.

In other words, the longest sede vacante period also provided for an active conclave whose sole purpose was to elect a supreme Pontiff. Never have the theologians entertained the idea of an apostate anti-Pope sitting in the Chair of Peter for any length of time whatsoever (and fool the entire Church).

And, as already demonstrated, never has an "anti-pope" usurped the Chair of Peter without there already being a true Pope (and not some coward "pope" who was allegedly validly elected but refused to accept the Office and continued his duties as a Cardinal while submitting to an alleged false pope).

And not only did St. Bellarmine believe that a pope would never fall into heresy and lose the Catholic faith (and thus, lose his Pontificate), even when discussing the hypothetical event, never did "indefinite" enter into his language or the picture, for the very idea is absurd and heretical; and St. Bellarmine was not even privy to VCI, though his instincts were right.

Did you even read the article? It appears you did not. I see one of your logical fallacies rearing its ugly head.

Again:

The Visibility of the Church is directly linked to the Roman Pontiff. And while during an interregnum the church is "Popeless," for a short period of time, this is not a part of the ordinary constitution of the Church and must necessarily be of short duration. The longest interregnum in the Church to date is less than three years. If the sedevacantists are right, then the present interregnum is ten times greater than that one. Thus the visibility of the Church, embodied in the person of the Roman Pontiff is non-extant. In this awful scenario, the only true Church is constituted of individual priests and bishops in their respective chapels, none of whom have valid jurisdiction, and none of whom report to anyone higher than themselves as authorities. This is not a visible Church; it is a Protestant Church. [Brother Andre Marie M.I.C.M]
And not only does the sede try and sell the idea of an interregnum of more than two generations (without the means to elect a Pope), we are supposed to believe that our Lord has allowed a string of apostate anti-popes to usurp the Chair in a 54 year unbroken line of succession where they have succeeded not only in fooling the universal Church, but in imposing upon the visible and universal “Conciliar Catholic Church” an invalid Mass and invalid Orders … not to mention promulgating a heretical Ecumenical Council and teaching one alleged heresy after another.

The pope-less “true Church”, you see, is invisible but alive and well in these warring little remnant sects, not one of which has valid ordinary jurisdiction. Just try and reconcile this nonsensical heresy with the infallible and dogmatic Pastor Aeternus ... good luck with that.


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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  Jehanne on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:10 pm

What never gets quoted from Vatican I is this:

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. (Vatican I, Chapter 4, Canon 6)

This is the third time that I have brought this to Mike's attention, and it has remained (so far) unanswered:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. (Dignitatis Humanae, 2)

How do we reconcile the above with this:

Condemned Proposition 33: That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit. (Exsurge Domine)
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:58 pm

MRyan wrote:
You should know better than to think that my previous defense of Mr. Larson somehow changes or stands in contradiction to my position that holds that sedevacantism is a heresy.

You and I both know that Larson, Lane and Daly find this noxious brand of sedevacantism a total embarrassment to their (hopeless) cause, and that they reject these theologically obtuse amateurs for the phonies that they are.
Where I said (James) "Larson", I meant (James) Larrabee.

My apologies to Mr. Larson.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  columba on Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:06 pm

MRyan wrote:
columba wrote:If it can be proven that the Church can be sede vacante for an indefinate period, then the title of this thread is itself heretical and thus St Riobert Belermine and a few others would also be dicing with heresy in not only speculating upon but offering remedies for what is (by the authors account) a teological impossibility.
Nonsense. First of all, it cannot be "proven" that a sede vacante period can be "indefinite", it can only be proven that a period of some 3 1/2 years is the longest period that the Church has been without a pope as the conclave dithered in its protracted deliberations to elect a successor.

In other words, the longest sede vacante period also provided for an active conclave whose sole purpose was to elect a supreme Pontiff. Never have the theologians entertained the idea of an apostate anti-Pope sitting in the Chair of Peter for any length of time whatsoever (and fool the entire Church).

And, as already demonstrated, never has an "anti-pope" usurped the Chair of Peter without there already being a true Pope (and not some coward "pope" who was allegedly validly elected but refused to accept the Office and continued his duties as a Cardinal while submitting to an alleged false pope).

And not only did St. Bellarmine believe that a pope would never fall into heresy and lose the Catholic faith (and thus, lose his Pontificate), even when discussing the hypothetical event, never did "indefinite" enter into his language or the picture, for the very idea is absurd and heretical; and St. Bellarmine was not even privy to VCI, though his instincts were right.

Did you even read the article? It appears you did not. I see one of your logical fallacies rearing its ugly head.

Again:

The Visibility of the Church is directly linked to the Roman Pontiff. And while during an interregnum the church is "Popeless," for a short period of time, this is not a part of the ordinary constitution of the Church and must necessarily be of short duration. The longest interregnum in the Church to date is less than three years. If the sedevacantists are right, then the present interregnum is ten times greater than that one. Thus the visibility of the Church, embodied in the person of the Roman Pontiff is non-extant. In this awful scenario, the only true Church is constituted of individual priests and bishops in their respective chapels, none of whom have valid jurisdiction, and none of whom report to anyone higher than themselves as authorities. This is not a visible Church; it is a Protestant Church. [Brother Andre Marie M.I.C.M]
And not only does the sede try and sell the idea of an interregnum of more than two generations (without the means to elect a Pope), we are supposed to believe that our Lord has allowed a string of apostate anti-popes to usurp the Chair in a 54 year unbroken line of succession where they have succeeded not only in fooling the universal Church, but in imposing upon the visible and universal “Conciliar Catholic Church” an invalid Mass and invalid Orders … not to mention promulgating a heretical Ecumenical Council and teaching one alleged heresy after another.

The pope-less “true Church”, you see, is invisible but alive and well in these warring little remnant sects, not one of which has valid ordinary jurisdiction. Just try and reconcile this nonsensical heresy with the infallible and dogmatic Pastor Aeternus ... good luck with that.


Yes Mike I did read the whole article and don't accept Bro Andre's deductions as infallible. Re the theologians entertaining the idea of an apaostate pope; they did indeed entertain such an idea and actually wrote on it.
Regardless whether St Bellarmine use theword "indefinate" is totally irrelevent. The issue at stake is whether it's theoretically/theologically possible for a state of sede vacante to persist at all. We already know that it does exist (during an interegnum) so therefore it is not theologically/theoretically impossible.

Because it never happened beyond 3 1/2 yrs in the past is no guarantee for the future.

If bro Andre was approaching the subject objectively, he would have included the possible objections to his thesis. It seems no one can speak objectively on this matter without letting their own personal bias get in the way.
I would suspect that there be as much personal upheaval and inconvenience involved in confronting such a reality (if it were a reality) as there would be in converting from Islam to Christianity, hence the emotive language (never absent from such writings). Compare how St Bellarmine wrote on the subject.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:51 pm

Jehanne wrote:
What never gets quoted from Vatican I is this:

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. (Vatican I, Chapter 4, Canon 6)
Not, true; in fact, I quoted it more than once just to prove how persons like you yank it completely out of context and force a meaning it does not have. In fact, the text says the very opposite of what you suggest.

It would help it you would cite the entire dogmatic passage:

"For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith delivered through the Apostles. And indeed all the venerable Fathers have embraced and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed their apostolic doctrine; knowing most fully that this See of Saint Peter remains ever free from all blemish of error, according to the divine promise of the Lord Our Saviour made to the Prince of His disciples: have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

As James Larson wrote in The War Against The Papacy (pp. 28-29; all bolding mine):

Taken out of the context of the entire paragraph quoted above, and then placed into the context of the polemics used by certain "extremists", this sentence can easily be made to appear to justify the notion that a given Pope can defy the workings of the Holy Spirit and become a heretic. But if we read this sentence in the full doctrine contained in the paragraph of which it is an integral part, then we can easily see that it means just the opposite: namely, '...that this See of Saint Peter remains ever free from all blemish of error, according to the divine promise of the Lord Our Saviour made to the Prince of His disciples: 'I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and being once converted confirm thy brethren.' " In other words, the Holy Spirit was promised and given to Peter and his successors to insure not only that the Pope will make no errors in the exercise of his infallible teaching office, but also to insure that he would not personally lose the faith. The infallibility of the "See of Saint Peter", although not necessarily guaranteeing that the Pope cannot make a mistake in his personal opinions (we shall discuss this issue more fully in our examination of the case of Pope John XXII), is therefore inherently linked to the never-failing faith of Peter as a simple person. The Pope, in other words, cannot be or become a formal heretic or "one who has lost the faith." Jesus said, "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." It should not be necessary to point out that He did not pray for some sort of Office distinct or separate from Peter, but for the man himself.

Finally, one more quote from Pastor Aeternus:

This gift, then, of truth and never-failing faith was conferred by Heaven upon Peter and his successors in this Chair, that they might perform their high office for the salvation of all; that the flock of Christ, kept away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished with the pasture of heavenly doctrine; that, the occasion of schism being removed, the whole Church might be kept one, and resting in its foundation, might stand firm against the gates of hell.

All of the above quotations are taken from Chapter IV of the First Dogmatic Constitution of the Church of Christ. It is extremely important to understand that those who attempt to contradict this doctrinal teaching, even if they do so by quoting statements made in the past by famous men, theologians, saints, or even the private and non-universal teaching of a Pope, are promoting and teaching a heresy.
Hmmm... where have we heard that before?

Jehanne wrote:
This is the third time that I have brought this to Mike's attention, and it has remained (so far) unanswered:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. (Dignitatis Humanae, 2)
How do we reconcile the above with this:

Condemned Proposition 33: That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit. (Exsurge Domine)
Again, not true, I answered this in the other thread (Florence and Sedeism); the exchange went like this:

Jehanne wrote: No wonder that many say that Vatican II "corrected" the various Inquisitions or that "Pope" John Paul II had to "apologize" for them, in spite of the fact that Catholic society actively burned heretics for 1500 years.
I replied:

And what has this to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing! And in fact, you fell right into the trap I warned you to avoid, that of failing to “differentiate between the dogmatic order and practical-pastoral directives”.

You blew it.
You don’t get it, do you? That the Vatican Council declared that the right to religious freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion (i.e., from forced conversion or to act against one’s will) does not mean that the Church cannot, particularly in a Catholic confessional state, punish heretics who are the cause of grave disorder.

“That heretics be burned” is NOT coercion, it is punishment. And if the Church today says “heretics shall NOT be burned”, to say that this is against the will of the Spirit, who wills that they shall be burned -- is itself against "the will of the Spirit”, for this is a prudential matter (a "practical-pastoral directive” or discipline) and the Spirit affirms the decision of every Pope, for, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven".

Get with the program.



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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  DeSelby on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:11 pm

MRyan wrote:
Written by I. Shawn McElhinney[/center]

[Note: Express written permission to publish this article was received from the author. Color bolding mine throughout. The entire article can be found here:]

http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/sedevacantism.html

[...]The sedevacantist may claim that the four popes elected since Pius XII were (and are) invalid because the person elected was not a legitimate candidate for the office. (The lie about Pope John XXIII being a freemason comes to mind.) But for argument's sake, let us concede the argument that Papa John was a freemason. First of all, by the very Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede Apostolis issued by Pope Pius XII in 1945 it was made quite clear that even freemasons would be eligible for election not only to the College of Cardinals but also in the conclave they could be validly elected as pope:

None of the Cardinals may in any way, or by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, or interdict whatsoever, or of any other ecclesiastical impediment, be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff. We hereby suspend such censures solely for the purposes of the said election; at other times they are to remain in vigor. [7]
"Active" in this context would seem to mean that such a Cardinal can vote in the election, while "passive" would seem to mean that he himself can be elected. This type of provision has been substantially the same in all papal conclave legislation for the past few centuries. And by all accounts it would be unavoidable that the governing Constitution of the 1958 Conclave - even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope. And in such a circumstance, he would have full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope. He would not govern licitly of course; however he would govern validly. And as a validly elected pope, he would have the authority not only in disciplinary and governmental faculties (such as the appointing of Cardinals such as Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini of Milan) but ratifying as binding magisterial teaching on the Church. With regards to Pope John XXIII it is not as much him that the sedevacantists seek to deny but the binding authority of the constitutions, declarations, and decrees of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. (Solemnly promulgated by John XXIII's successor Pope Paul VI.) This is what sedevacantists seek to deny with their claims of a "vacant seat" in Rome. [...]

Alright, simply for argument's sake, lets take this as the final word on the subject; a freemason could rule as pope "validly but illicitly."

Are we to believe that a Freemason elected pope would leave his Masonry at the door, so to speak? And if he were to pass laws and binding magisterial teachings that, let's say, happened to smack of Masonry, we should just go along with that, worry-free?

How does "validly but illicitly" work out in the practical order if a freemason could become pope and have "in such a circumstance, full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope; and, as a validly elected pope, the authority not only in disciplinary and governmental faculties but ratifying as binding magisterial teaching on the Church."
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:42 pm

DeSelby wrote:
Alright, simply for argument's sake, lets take this as the final word on the subject; a freemason could rule as pope "validly but illicitly."

Are we to believe that a Freemason elected pope would leave his Masonry at the door, so to speak? And if he were to pass laws and binding magisterial teachings that, let's say, happened to smack of Masonry, we should just go along with that, worry-free?

How does "validly but illicitly" work out in the practical order if a freemason could become pope and have "in such a circumstance, full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope; and, as a validly elected pope, the authority not only in disciplinary and governmental faculties but ratifying as binding magisterial teaching on the Church."
My two cents.

Any Pope who was a secret Freemason before his election, would cease to be a Freemason upon his election and acceptance of the papacy. He cannot be both, and still be the pope.

Now, if he was a secret (occult) Freemason, this is not defined as formal heresy, so I don't think there would be a reason for the pope to "abjure" of his error.

I think we tend to downplay the role of our Lord in all this when we gloss over Pastor Aeternus as if it were a nice set of guiding but fallible principles about the never-failing faith of Peter and our Lord's (and VCI's) assurance that it is Peter's faith that is the foundation upon which the entire visible edifice rests.

Please note, De Selby, that not a single sede has had the guts to take on Pastor Aeternus directly, they simply ignore it and cite fallible private revelations (many of which are discredited) about the Holy See becoming the seat of the anti-Christ (or some such nonsense), which is a specious heresy condemned by the Church. And they have the audacity to attribute these blasphemous words to our Blessed Mother.

Imagine our Blessed Mother encouraging Catholics to renounce their union and obedience to the visible Vicar on earth and the visible and universal Catholic Church, and all of its hierarchy; and to seek refuge in some pitiful sede sect, or to stay at home and wait for "the three days of darkness".

I can think of no greater blasphemy against our Blessed Mother, who said the Holy Father will have much to suffer and insists that we never cease to pray for him as he tries to steady the Ark in these troubled waters. Yes, many of the waves were self-generated, but we are assured that the hand at the wheel is also our Lord's who acts through Peter, and that He will never fail to guide the Church, no matter how rough the seas.

These are words of divine and Catholic Faith:

"...in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept undefiled, and her well known doctrine has been kept holy...knowing full well that this See of Saint Peter remains ever free from all blemish of errors, according to the divine promise of the Lord Our Saviour ..." (First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870)

Blessed Jacinta of Fatima (d. 1920.): "I saw the Holy Father in a very big house. He was kneeling before a table holding his face in his hands and he was weeping. Outside there were many people; some were throwing stones, others were cursing at him and saying many ugly words to him."

Indeed.








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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  Jehanne on Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:12 pm

MRyan wrote:
And what has this to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing! And in fact, you fell right into the trap I warned you to avoid, that of failing to “differentiate between the dogmatic order and practical-pastoral directives”.

You blew it.
You don’t get it, do you? That the Vatican Council declared that the right to religious freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion (i.e., from forced conversion or to act against one’s will) does not mean that the Church cannot, particularly in a Catholic confessional state, punish heretics who are the cause of grave disorder.

“That heretics be burned” is NOT coercion, it is punishment. And if the Church today says “heretics shall NOT be burned”, to say that this is against the will of the Spirit, who wills that they shall be burned -- is itself against "the will of the Spirit”, for this is a prudential matter (a "practical-pastoral directive” or discipline) and the Spirit affirms the decision of every Pope, for, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven".

Get with the program.

You need to read more. Many prominent theologians (heretics nonetheless) read DH much, much differently than you do. Let "Pope" Benedict affirm your interpretation and do so via an infallible pronouncement(s) and I just might start referring to him as "Pope Benedict XVI." Until he reaffirms that which all of his predecessors have infallibly taught and/or declared, those of us few remaining true Catholics have both a duty and obligation to offer him no obedience. It is Jesus Christ who is the Head of His Church and not his Vicar, and we will only offer obedience to the latter provided "Our Lord first served."
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:09 pm

McElhinney wrote:even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope. And in such a circumstance, he would have full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope. He would not govern licitly of course; however he would govern validly.
I disagree, but we must remember McElhinney is winging it somewhat, as we all are whenever we start to examine these “hypothetical” situations in the light of tradition, Truth and the latest canonical and papal directives.

I disagree because it appears that McElhinney is assuming that a Freemason can govern as Christ’s true Vicar in some sort of diminished capacity since he would govern “illicitly”? Why? Because he would be an excommunicated Catholic.

But think about that for a moment in light of “the very Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede Apostolis issued by Pope Pius XII in 1945” which “made [it] quite clear that even freemasons would be eligible for election not only to the College of Cardinals but also in the conclave they could be validly elected as pope:

None of the Cardinals may in any way, or by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, or interdict whatsoever, or of any other ecclesiastical impediment, be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff. We hereby suspend such censures solely for the purposes of the said election; at other times they are to remain in vigor. [7]
"Active" in this context would seem to mean that such a Cardinal can vote in the election, while "passive" would seem to mean that he himself can be elected. This type of provision has been substantially the same in all papal conclave legislation for the past few centuries. And by all accounts it would be unavoidable that the governing Constitution of the 1958 Conclave - even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope.
Now, if a Freemason were to be elected as the Supreme Pontiff, his prior excommunication would have been one of two kinds: Either an automatic canonical penalty that does not assume or determine culpability (for the hypothetical Freeman may not have accepted any of the errors of Freemasonry or rejected any doctrines of the Faith); or, he was excommunicated for heresy (culpable or not) and, prior to his elevation, he had not renounced his deviation from the Faith.

So if the Pope select was a known Freemason before his election, he could not ascend to the Chair and receive full, immediate and episcopal Primacy (the only kind there is) over the universal Church without renouncing his error(s) and professing the true Faith, which I am certain, would be required of him before he could accept the Office. The Cardinal electors would insist on this, or they wouldn't be doing their job (and I doubt the Holy Ghost has a sense of humor about such things as the valid selection of our Lord's true Vicar).

The profession of a divine and Catholic Faith is still required of the Pope, even if it is no longer recited in the election process. And, when the pope elect assumes the Office, the Primacy of his sacred Office resides IN his very person.

Either way, full communion with the Church must be re-established before Peter can rule validly and licitly. And, I believe this is the unstated assumption and intent of Pope Pius XIII in his Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede. I can understand to some degree the “illicit” part if there is some unresolved canonical impediment that prevents the Pope from ruling licitly, but the impediment cannot be for obstinate heresy or schism, for all of the reasons VCI should have made clear.

Again, the Primacy of Peter is full, episcopal and immediate – it’s all or nothing because that’s the way our Lord set it up.

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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  DeSelby on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:54 pm

MRyan wrote:
McElhinney wrote:even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope. And in such a circumstance, he would have full authority and jurisdiction as any other pope. He would not govern licitly of course; however he would govern validly.
I disagree, but we must remember McElhinney is winging it somewhat, as we all are whenever we start to examine these “hypothetical” situations in the light of tradition, Truth and the latest canonical and papal directives.

I disagree because it appears that McElhinney is assuming that a Freemason can govern as Christ’s true Vicar in some sort of diminished capacity since he would govern “illicitly”? Why? Because he would be an excommunicated Catholic.

But think about that for a moment in light of “the very Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede Apostolis issued by Pope Pius XII in 1945” which “made [it] quite clear that even freemasons would be eligible for election not only to the College of Cardinals but also in the conclave they could be validly elected as pope:

None of the Cardinals may in any way, or by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, or interdict whatsoever, or of any other ecclesiastical impediment, be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff. We hereby suspend such censures solely for the purposes of the said election; at other times they are to remain in vigor. [7]
"Active" in this context would seem to mean that such a Cardinal can vote in the election, while "passive" would seem to mean that he himself can be elected. This type of provision has been substantially the same in all papal conclave legislation for the past few centuries. And by all accounts it would be unavoidable that the governing Constitution of the 1958 Conclave - even if Papa John was a freemason - would have allowed him to be a validly elected pope.
Now, if a Freemason were to be elected as the Supreme Pontiff, his prior excommunication would have been one of two kinds: Either an automatic canonical penalty that does not assume or determine culpability (for the hypothetical Freeman may not have accepted any of the errors of Freemasonry or rejected any doctrines of the Faith); or, he was excommunicated for heresy (culpable or not) and, prior to his elevation, he had not renounced his deviation from the Faith.

So if the Pope select was a known Freemason before his election, he could not ascend to the Chair and receive full, immediate and episcopal Primacy (the only kind there is) over the universal Church without renouncing his error(s) and professing the true Faith, which I am certain, would be required of him before he could accept the Office. The Cardinal electors would insist on this, or they wouldn't be doing their job (and I doubt the Holy Ghost has a sense of humor about such things as the valid selection of our Lord's true Vicar).

The profession of a divine and Catholic Faith is still required of the Pope, even if it is no longer recited in the election process. And, when the pope elect assumes the Office, the Primacy of his sacred Office resides IN his very person.

Either way, full communion with the Church must be re-established before Peter can rule validly and licitly. And, I believe this is the unstated assumption and intent of Pope Pius XIII in his Apostolic Constitition Vacante Sede. I can understand to some degree the “illicit” part if there is some unresolved canonical impediment that prevents the Pope from ruling licitly, but the impediment cannot be for obstinate heresy or schism, for all of the reasons VCI should have made clear.

Again, the Primacy of Peter is full, episcopal and immediate – it’s all or nothing because that’s the way our Lord set it up.


I can't give a full response just yet, but I wanted to post a link to this article regarding the "validly but illicitly" argument anyway:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010306154403/http://rtforum.org/lt/lt87.html

(You have to let it load for a few seconds while it redirects.)

Suffice it to say for now, I have some problems with the hypothesis, to say the least.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:14 am

Jehanne wrote:
MRyan wrote:
And what has this to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing! And in fact, you fell right into the trap I warned you to avoid, that of failing to “differentiate between the dogmatic order and practical-pastoral directives”.

You blew it.
You don’t get it, do you? That the Vatican Council declared that the right to religious freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion (i.e., from forced conversion or to act against one’s will) does not mean that the Church cannot, particularly in a Catholic confessional state, punish heretics who are the cause of grave disorder.

“That heretics be burned” is NOT coercion, it is punishment. And if the Church today says “heretics shall NOT be burned”, to say that this is against the will of the Spirit, who wills that they shall be burned -- is itself against "the will of the Spirit”, for this is a prudential matter (a "practical-pastoral directive” or discipline) and the Spirit affirms the decision of every Pope, for, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven".

Get with the program.
You need to read more. Many prominent theologians (heretics nonetheless) read DH much, much differently than you do. Let "Pope" Benedict affirm your interpretation and do so via an infallible pronouncement(s) and I just might start referring to him as "Pope Benedict XVI." Until he reaffirms that which all of his predecessors have infallibly taught and/or declared, those of us few remaining true Catholics have both a duty and obligation to offer him no obedience. It is Jesus Christ who is the Head of His Church and not his Vicar, and we will only offer obedience to the latter provided "Our Lord first served."
No, Jehanne, while I always welcome the advise to "read more", I think I can honestly say that I've read a lot more on this subject than you have, if your comments are any indication of the depth of your reading (though this does not mean that I have not struggled with this, especially when I was swayed by the "traditionalists" who insisted there was in fact a "rupture").

However, I've posted important articles and links on this subject that featured not only the latest in the on-going debate between the Church's theologians on whether there was a "rupture" or not (the assumption of "heresy" never enters into the picture), but which also featured the writings of the prominent 19th century theologians.

See, for example:
http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-rupture-theology.html
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1347758?eng=y
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1348041?eng=y

And perhaps more importantly:

http://catholicforum.forumotion.com/t529-coercion-and-liberty-reframing-the-debate

Back in August I posted (the link above) “Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate”, the subject of which is an essay by Professor Thomas Pink that was featured in Rorate Caeli. The post (which did not illicit a single comment) contained a succinct summary and commentary on the essay by Ches over at The Sensible Bond who demonstrates why Professor Pink’s essay is "a game-changing intervention" that reframes the contentious debate over religious freedom by affirming that Dignitatis Humanae did NOT change the Church’s traditional teaching on her right to coerce her own subjects, and affirms that the power of the state to do the same in a Catholic confessional state is only, and exclusively, a delegated power.

In other words, Dignitatis Humanae “significantly omits to say anything about the Church's power to coerce its own members (i.e., those who are baptised, even schismatics and heretics). This coercive power is in fact a matter of Catholic faith as taught by the Council of Trent in its treatise on baptism.”

Continuing:

2. The personalist argument, which traditionalists say Dignitatis Humanae used to dissolve the Church's 19th century Magisterium, is in fact a lot older than they recognise, not in explicit terms (which were not developed until the 20th century) but in its fundamental assumptions about autonomy. The idea that the subject cannot be coerced interiorly in matters of religion appears to be a keystone of theological thinking in this area in nineteenth-century Catholic writers such as Cardinal Manning or Bishop Kettler. But, as Pink shows, this idea would have been very strange to the theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who understood the problem in the light of Trent.

It seems, therefore, that the great forgotten link in this chain of argument is this: the Church has only dogmatically asserted its power of coercion over the baptised, and any State which acts as the civil arm to help the Church in this matter does so by delegation of the Church and NOT by its own power.

Consequently - and this is Ches-reading-Pink now - it is logical that as we move into a period where the Church is no longer in a position to delegate in that way, the need to remind the State of its true powers is ever clearer. It does not de jure have the power to coerce conscience. The Church never taught that it did. It only ever held it as a delegated power accorded it by the Church for the sake of the baptised (see Leo XIII, Immortale Dei). It might have overstepped this boundary at times, but that is another matter.

So why the change in this problematic? I can only suggest a couple of reasons myself. Perhaps coercion is more thematic in the treatment of the issue of religious liberty by the theologians of the earlier period because they instinctively assume that most people are Catholic or baptised. When the theologians of the nineteenth century begin arguing in favour of interior freedom, it seems they are working on a new assumption that Catholicism is now a minority religion in hostile and secular conditions. Both positions depend ultimately not on a shift in doctrine but in contextual circumstances.
If you understand this, you will never read Dignitatis Humanae in the same way again; but, hopefully, with a new appreciation and with that faith which seeks understanding (Lord, I believe, help my unbelief).

In fact, if you understand this, you will also finally understand there is no contradiction between VCII and the Church’s traditional teaching on religious freedom, but only a change in emphasis due to a change in the reality of the society in which we live (a new reality requiring a new contextual emphasis). The theologians of the 19th century understood this changing reality, but the critical distinctions were sometimes lost in translation.

Since Pope benedic XVI "reaffirms that which all of his predecessors have infallibly taught and/or declared, those of [you so-called] few remaining true Catholics have both a duty and obligation to offer him ... obedience."

With respect to religious freedom, you have no more excuses.

Cardinal Ratzinger responded to Ab Lefebvre on May 29, 1985, that [...] "You can express the desire for a declaration or an explanatory treatment of this or that point, but you cannot affirm the incompatibility of the conciliar texts – which are magisterial texts – with the magisterium and tradition." In other words, the conciliar texts could not be corrected or disavowed, but it was legitimate to ask for complementary explanations that could clarify their meaning or give them a new interpretation. (http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350146?eng=y)
The Church, Jehanne, is still here, and our Lord has not abandoned her. He guides the Church still today through His Vicar, and the gates of hell will not prevail against this divine institution, with the very foundation of the visible universal edifice resting on the faith of its visible head, the Vicar of Christ.

Where there is Peter, there is the Church; and where the Church is, there is Peter, who possesses in his very person full, immediate and episcopal Primacy over the universal Church.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:55 am

DeSelby wrote:
I can't give a full response just yet, but I wanted to post a link to this article regarding the "validly but illicitly" argument anyway:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010306154403/http://rtforum.org/lt/lt87.html

(You have to let it load for a few seconds while it redirects.)

Suffice it to say for now, I have some problems with the hypothesis, to say the least.
Obviously, I have the same problem. I am familiar with Fr. Harrison's opinion, which he freely admits is opposed to that of Dr. Bellarmine, and I followed the canonical debate he had with Fr. Cekada in the pages of The Remnant. After about the third installment, I decided I found more pleasure in watching grass grow.

This "debate" will never be settled by canonists. This is a matter of faith, and as far as I am concerned, VCI settled this issue once and for all.

Back to the subject at hand, think about this. If an excommunicated Cardinal is allowed to actively and passively participate in a conclave, is it not COMMON SENSE that if the same Cardinal is selected as the next pope, that his excommunication MUST lifted before he assumes the Office?

And does it not make sense that if the excommunication must be lifted, that the delict, especially if it is for heresy, must be corrected and abjured, and the Faith professed?

Do we need canon law to tell us this, or for Pope Pius XII to have spelled it out, before we recognize this bit of common sense?

And if someone says, "well, what about a secret heresy"?; I would say, so what? As far as the Church is concerned, a secret "heresy" is no heresy.



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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  Jehanne on Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:37 pm

MRyan wrote:With respect to religious freedom, you have no more excuses.

Mike, you give a wonderful and indeed, beautiful (although, with your usual abrasiveness), explanation. However, yours is still an interpretation of DH. Are you saying that with Vatican II that the Pope can no longer make any more ex cathedra pronouncements? If not, then let him make a few reaffirming Catholic Tradition. I have never denied that Vatican II can be reconciled with Tradition, just that it needs some work. The late Brother Thomas Mary took some major steps in this direction:

http://www.marycoredemptrix.com/the_center_review_toc.html

Of course, there are still theologians who are in "good standing" with the Church who disagree with you, and that's the problem here.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  MRyan on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:48 pm

Jehanne,

Why is that a problem? No one said theologians have to be in agreement on this. In fact, if you look at the historical record, theologians have debated the finer points of doctrines taught at Ecumenical Councils for years, decades and even centuries on end, with no exception. That’s what theologians do. However, in this case, is the “problem” with the magisterial teaching itself (that it is incompatible with the magisterium and tradition), or is the problem simply one of understanding and in seeking reconciliation by way of “an explanatory treatment of this or that point”?

It is only natural that a sea-change in society, especially as it is reflected in a sea-change in the structural relationship between Church and state, would require the Church to re-address religious freedom in light of these new conditions, without trampling on the Church’s inviolable rights over Baptized Catholics (to include the right to coerce).

And why do you think that the Church owes us an “ex cathedra pronouncement” in order to “reaffirm Catholic Tradition”? The pope already “reaffirmed Catholic Tradition” when he promulgated DH, and all of the other documents of VCII.

The “desire for a declaration or an explanatory treatment of this or that point” does not demand or require an “ex cathedra pronouncement”. The Church’s magisterial authority, in whatever mode she chooses to exercise it, is authority enough, for “he who hears you, hears Me”.

So no, I am not “saying that with Vatican II that the Pope can no longer make any more 'ex cathedra pronouncements'", I am saying that those who demand of the pope such solemn pronouncements are the ones with a serious problem with magisterial authority.

Btw, Jehanne, and contrary to what you said, there is not a single theologian who would disagree with me on this:

“That heretics be burned” is NOT coercion, it is punishment. And if the Church today says “heretics shall NOT be burned”, to say that this is against the will of the Spirit, who wills that they shall be burned -- is itself against "the will of the Spirit”, for this is a prudential matter (a "practical-pastoral directive” or discipline) and the Spirit affirms the decision of every Pope, for, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven".
Rather, where we find disagreement is on the finer points of the doctrine of religious freedom as it relates to coercive power; in other words, we disagree over the precise meaning of DH.

From my previous post “Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate”, here is a rock-solid explanation of religious freedom as it is expressed in DH:

1. [...] Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.
“Over and above all this, the council intends to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society.”

2. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom [note: in civil society]. This freedom means that all men [in civil society] are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.(DH)
See, Jehanne, the Church "leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ" and:

1. Dignitatis Humanae, which is thought to be a denial of the permissibility of coercion of belief, significantly omits to say anything about the Church's power to coerce its own members (i.e., those who are baptised, even schismatics and heretics). This coercive power is in fact a matter of Catholic faith as taught by the Council of Trent in its treatise on baptism.

These words from Pope Paul VI, from his Letter to Ab Lefebvre (1976), should be etched in stone:

Nothing that was decreed in this Council, or in the reforms that We enacted in order to put the Council into effect, is opposed to what the two-thousand-year-old Tradition of the Church considers as fundamental and immutable. We are the guarantor of this, not in virtue of Our personal qualities but in virtue of the charge which the Lord has conferred upon Us as legitimate Successor of Peter, and in virtue of the special assistance that He has promised to Us as well as to Peter: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Lk 22:32). The universal episcopate is guarantor with Us of this.
Simple.
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

Post  DeSelby on Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:09 pm

MRyan wrote:
DeSelby wrote:
I can't give a full response just yet, but I wanted to post a link to this article regarding the "validly but illicitly" argument anyway:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010306154403/http://rtforum.org/lt/lt87.html

(You have to let it load for a few seconds while it redirects.)

Suffice it to say for now, I have some problems with the hypothesis, to say the least.
Obviously, I have the same problem. I am familiar with Fr. Harrison's opinion, which he freely admits is opposed to that of Dr. Bellarmine, and I followed the canonical debate he had with Fr. Cekada in the pages of The Remnant. After about the third installment, I decided I found more pleasure in watching grass grow.

This "debate" will never be settled by canonists. This is a matter of faith, and as far as I am concerned, VCI settled this issue once and for all.

Back to the subject at hand, think about this. If an excommunicated Cardinal is allowed to actively and passively participate in a conclave, is it not COMMON SENSE that if the same Cardinal is selected as the next pope, that his excommunication MUST lifted before he assumes the Office?

And does it not make sense that if the excommunication must be lifted, that the delict, especially if it is for heresy, must be corrected and abjured, and the Faith professed?

Do we need canon law to tell us this, or for Pope Pius XII to have spelled it out, before we recognize this bit of common sense?

And if someone says, "well, what about a secret heresy"?; I would say, so what? As far as the Church is concerned, a secret "heresy" is no heresy.


Makes sense, yes, but then Fr. Harrison (or McElhinney on this point) has no argument; since the "illicitly" half of the "validly but illicitly" argument would never come into play. Unless, as you say, it was only "occult" or "secret" heresy in question.

From Fr. Harrison's article:
Now, if a heretic, apostate or Freemason can thus validly be elected as Pope, then obviously he can validly remain acting as Pope until he dies. The cardinals he appoints will be true cardinals, the bishops he appoints to Sees will have true jurisdiction, the saints he canonizes will be truly guaranteed to be in Heaven, and the legislation by which he binds us will have to be obeyed (insofar as it does not command us to sin or do something manifestly opposed to the common good of the Church). Thus, the continuity of the framework and structures of the universal Church will be preserved until, in God's Providence, a more worthy Pontiff is elected.

and,

2. A Pope who began his pontificate as an orthodox Catholic, but became a formal heretic or apostate during his pontificate, would thereby legally incur excommunication. However, even if his heresy or apostasy should become publicly discernible, at least to those Catholics with the benefit of a sound doctrinal formation, the absence of any competent authority on earth who could lawfully declare his excommunication would mean that, if he refused to resign and continued to insist on carrying out acts of papal authority, those acts, though illicitly exercised, would still be valid. In other words, he would still be juridically the true Pope, whom we would have to recognize and obey in all things but sin, even though at the inner level at which grace operates, he might well be totally separated from the Mystical Body of Christ. Thus God guards his Church from the possibility of being cast into chaos by being left without an earthly governing authority.

I'm wondering how "obeying in all things but sin" would play out in the practical order...
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Re: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism

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