I keep reading around strange theories concerning which the Evil Clown would not be the Pope, because Benedict (who appears to be his buddy) was forced out, or did not know what he was doing, or whatever.
I am a great fan of reality, and therefore do not believe any of that more than I believe all the other stuff about the moon landing or JFK's assassination. However, let us examine the consequences of FrancisVacantism for those who are persuaded of it.
Francis has already appointed Cardinals and – provided he does not die before, which I ardently hope – he will appoint more in November. If – quod deus avertat! – the Evil Clown goes on breathing and appointing further men in red, the situation will become worse. Any of his successors will, already now, have to be declared invalidly elected by FrancisVacantists.
At some point, Benedict will die and go to his, no doubt terrible, judgment. Then FrancisVacantism will only have Francis as a Pope. Will the invalidly elected Pope be now declared validly elected? If yes, how? Ex tunc, that is, from 13 March 2013? How can it be, if FrancisVacantists say his election was invalid? Or ex nunc, that is, from the day of Benedict's death? How can it be, if Francis should not have been “in white” in the first place, depriving the Church of a Conclave and with a Pope (Benedict) still in charge? The same reasoning applies if Francis – please, Lord! – stretches his socialist paws before Benedict. Is the new Pope validly elected? Certainly not, as he has been elected with FrancisCardinals participating to the vote? Rinse and repeat until Benedict dies.
No, the only logical consequence of FrancisVacantism is a Sedevacantism waiting to happen, and hanging on the rather thin thread of a very old Benedict. The usual escape (more or less revolving around “we must trust the Lord that he will clear up this mess one day”) is just as absurd as Sedevacantism, which first puts you in front of an absurd hypothesis and then says to you that an unknown event will, one day, offer them the escape from the absurdity of their own position. It's like saying that you think there is a no sun in the sky, but everyone thinks there is one because of a collective hallucination or satanical deception, and then proceeding to explain to you that in His good time, the Lord will take care to find an explanation for the absurdity of this position.
No. Reality must come first. There is a sun shining in the sky, and there is a Pope in Rome. Elected as such, recognised as such by the entire Catholic world, not challenged by even one Cardinal, as evidently the owner of the job as it can be made clear under the sun, and even lavishly praised by the same man who would have been forced out to make place for it. I will choose reality any day, no matter how unpleasant, to a “solution” that is just an elaborate and, in the end, futile attempt to avoid this (admittedly) very unpleasant reality.
See the papacy as a mirror of human frailty, and everything else will fall into place.
The same Church. The same Truth. The same Judgment.
And a horrible Pope, of which there have been many.
Shake everything, and pour it into your soul. It is the cocktail that was given to our generation. We shall drink it to the end, and die in obedience.
FrancisVacantism leads to Sedevacantism; and Sedevacantism may make you feel good with yourself, but it's bad for your soul. You just can't shape the papacy to your image and resemblance. It's the height of folly. It's proto-Protestant delusion. Still, there is no escape: FrancisVacantists will have no other way to go when the funeral mass for Benedict comes.
God is punishing us. He is punishing us so hard, that he has sent us an utter traitor as Pope. We do not react to this by blinding ourselves to the obvious reality. We look at the problem in the face and decide that we have to resist error more, pray more, and do more penance.
Death will catch Francis, his successors, and ourselves. When death catches me, I do not want it to find me in a state of utter denial, but in the humble acceptance of a well-deserved (collectively speaking) Divine Punishment all too obvious, all too real in my eyes.
I am asked how I reconcile my refusal of Sedevacantism with my often-repeated statement that I would recognise the See vacant if the SSPX said so. The matter seems pretty obvious to me; but hey, let's have a blog post, as it can be a useful reading to refresh a thing or two.
I do not have a crystal ball. Sedevacantism as it is peddled nowadays seems utterly absurd to me for the reasons explained in many blog posts. Still, it is obvious – and this issue has been also dealt with frequently on this blog – that Sedevacantism per se was never an absurdity, but actually a very real possibility at various times in the history of the Church.
If, for example, John XXII had dared to proclaim a wrong dogma, I cannot imagine any other solution than the See being declared vacant by at least a number of Cardinals (plus theologians, prestigious religious, & Co.) It is also obvious that theologians like St Roberto Bellarmino dealt with the issue because they considered it a possibility, not merely a pastime for rainy winter afternoons.
Unfortunately – and this has, also, been stated often on this blog – we are now in one of those times in which Sedevacantism starts to appear on the horizon as a possibility. Why is that? Because Francis is such a pothead that there is literally no limit to where his arrogance, ignorance and breathtaking faithlessness could lead him.
Can, therefore, Sedevacantism become a reality? Of course it can. This was, in theory, always the case. But this time, the possibility is far less remote than in usual times.
How can we, then, recognise when such a point has come? You, who know better than me, will certainly be able to decide for yourself. But I, who am terrified of dying and being reproached of having wanted to decide who is and is not the Vicar of Christ, will defer the matter to the superior authority of those to whom I would, when in doubt, always entrust my salvation in preference to an idiot like Francis; those I consider the purest sanctuary of Catholic orthodoxy and to whom I can, therefore, entrust a decision, and die in the fear of the Lord but able to say, on that fateful day, “confronted with unprecedented scandal, I chose the side of your most faithful allies”.
Do I need to be a theologian to make such a decision? No. What I need is to realise that now, as in other times in the past, when we seek orthodoxy we must look to Athanasius rather than Liberius; without saying that Liberius is not the Pope, as long as Athanasius thinks Liberius is; but following Athanasius rather than Liberius if the modern Athanasius (the SSPX) were to declare the See vacant, and Liberius an imposter.
The above should be sufficient to make the rather banal point. But as I am by the argument, I will say two words more.
There are many shades of gray between the white of an orthodox Pope and the black of a vacant See. A Pope can position himself at very many points in the Saint-to-Idiot scale without the See being vacant. Pope John XXII was certainly a heretic, albeit a material one. Honorius was officially condemned. Liberius was weak, at the very least, to the point of being an accomplice of the gravest heresy, and vastly below the required standard. But even a materially heretical Pope does not a vacant See make, which is why Bishop Fellay calls Francis a Modernist, but still sees in him the Pope.
The See is not vacant. More prosaically, a total ass is in charge. There is no saying what kind of stupid things this ass may not do. Therefore, Sedevacantism is a possibility. We, who care for our salvation, do not assume that we can decide for ourselves whether there is a Pope; rather, we defer to the best Catholic authority we can pick around to orientate ourselves; then we may not be the finest theologians, but we know enough to choose between Athanasius and Liberius, and know that a bad Pope can be extremely bad and even heretic, and still be the Pope.
That's it, really. It's not complicated. It should not have needed an extra blog post, but I thought it could be a useful reminder anyway.
Sedevacantism can, and in many cases certainly is, the product of an arrogant mentality; the behaviour, so to speak, of the one who goes away with the ball because he doesn't like how the match is going. In other cases, though, Sedevacantism is – unfortunately – espoused by sincere Catholic souls; that is, by people who, because of a warped conception of what the Earthly Jerusalem is, find no other way to keep believing in the Church than by, in short, deciding that this Church has become a huge, worldwide deception, and opening an emergency exit door for themselves in this rather childish belief that the true church be the pure and incorrupted one to which they, and very few others the world over, belong. As if Christ had allowed almost all, bar the very few smarties, to be deceived as to what the Church is.
Still, the fact remains: some of these Sedes are faithful Catholics who, whatever their errors, I believe far more pleasing to God than, say, 97% of Western Bishops. Some of them are, also, very good at explaining Catholic doctrine, and defending the Tridentine Mass. This is no surprise, as in many cases we are talking, whatever Voris & Co. May think, of very orthodox, high quality Catholics.
Should we, therefore, link to their material, may the one or other Catholic blogger
have asked ask?
I would answer that it depends on the actual situation, and of the weighing that we must make of whether the exposure to the good material is outweighed by the exposure to the bad one.
I use a case-by-case approach. I have linked to Sedevacantist sites when I thought it ethically correct to link to the source of the material of the day – a blog article, say – but I have never felt it necessary to go as far as to link to their books, or videos, or any other extensive, systematic exposure to them, even in arguments not pertaining to Sedevacantism. Say: a Sedevacantist can have the best videos about the Tridentine Mass around, but I would still not link to them.
I would, though, do it in the one case, that I thought this material the only reasonably good material available; not, of course, without a warning about the other convictions of the author.
I must say that, up to now, this has never happened, and I very much doubt that it will ever happen. It's not that we have ever needed Sedevacantists to explain to us things we did not know. The world of Traditionalism – including all Catholicism before the Council – is simply immense, and the Internet sources are becoming vaster every day, with more and more old books and other sources being made available. It's not that your reader has to watch a certain video, or read a certain article. Alternative sources are most certainly available.
In one words: if there were no Sedevacantism, there would be no occasion in which a Traditionalist Catholic blogger could not find perfectly acceptable (I do not say perfect, or even best; but perfectly acceptable) sources for the issue at hand.
Others will, of course, have different opinions. I only tell you which approach I personally consider best. In our disgraceful times, Sedevacantism can easily become a temptation for imperfectly formed Catholics, who in their desperation think they have finally found the answer to the events unfolding under their own eyes. I do not think they should be exposed to this temptation, unless there are very valid reasons for that.
Which is why on this blog you don't find link to videos of Sedevacantists – however good this videos might be – but only the occasional link concerning the issue of the day, and Even that only with a word or three of warning.
James V. Schall is an old darling of this little effort, and possibly one of three Jesuits left (but they might be seven, or eight…) who still believe in the Last Four Things.
The very same man has now published an article about heretical Popes.
The article seem to provide some – limited – answers to a question already appeared on this blog: who decides that the See is vacant, and how. But the article is not notable because of that.
The article is notable because a Jesuit registers and examines the accusations of heresy moved to the Pope, and the possible declaration of the Sea as vacant in future, as a possibility worthy of discussion; a fact of life; an issue of our times.
There are no anathemas, and no denunciation of the utter madness of Catholics who think they are more Catholic than the Pope. Instead, there is a photo of Francis The Clown, with obligatory red nose.
I invite you to read this article twice, and to carefully examine the subtext. This is an intelligent man, writing for intelligent and perceptive people. He knows how to send a message without being too overt. Intelligenti pauca.
Ah, if this Jesuit had been made Pope…!
Just as a way of I do not want to say “preparation for the worse”, but rather “exploration of our past”, I would be very grateful for credible sources and links concerning what exactly happened during (not after) the Pontificates of Popes like Liberius, Honorius, Formosus, or John XXII.
Let me explain: though we all know that Liberius lost face and Honorius was declared heretic in the end, and after their death, that Formosus was also rather spectacularly condemned after death, and that John XXII renounced to his error the day before he died, I am rather curious to know more about the day-to-day dealing of the clergy and the the faithful when these Popes were still alive and in power.
Take John XXII.
Chappy goes around saying that there is no beatific Vision before the Universal Judgment. He says he is minded to proclaim this as dogma. His attempt is thwarted (methinks, some Dominican managed to let the stake appear to him a very real possibility; but that’s just me…) and he renounces to the proclamation of the dogma; but at this point, the world still has a Pope who is as officially heretical as can be; a formal heretic so attached to his error as to continue to defend it for almost the rest of his life in front of the brutal opposition of his own Church; one whose theology denies all the edifice of the Communion of saints, make a good part of the Mass senseless, et cetera, and still keeps saying he is right and Church Tradition and Mass are wrong.
How did the bishops deal with him? Did they deny him obedience in everything? Or only in that which pertained directly to his heretical thinking? If he issued encyclical letters, what value did they have? I know that the Sea was not declared vacant in the proper sense (say: with the large majority of Cardinals and Bishops declaring the Sea empty for manifest and persistent heresy; this is, in my understanding, the concept that St. Robert Bellarmine developed later), but do we know of bishops and cardinals who simply declared that they would deny obedience to such a Pope, without denying that he is Pope? What happens of the cardinals and bishops appointed by a Pope in manifest heresy? What of his letters, bulls, etc? What of his administrative orders, disciplinary measures,and such? They may be changed, of course. But were they valid?
It’s even more complicated for Formosus; because whilst we – AFAIK – know that many of his administrative acts were declared at least formally invalid after his death – I have little doubt many will have been validated by his successor anyway – there is a thick fog as to what happened whilst Formosus was alive and in charge. Formosus remained Pope for around five years. This is a long, long time for the wrong kind of Pope. But then again it would appear the Sea was not declared vacant: not during his Pontificate, and not even retroactively after his condemnation in the famous “Cadaver Synod”. May his acts have been annulled, this does not make a Pontificate null. Nor does it answer the question whether his acts were obeyed at the time they were issued.
If Francis throws himself and the Church (or better: those member of her who will be reckless enough to follow him) in the abyss of blasphemy and heresy, it will be very important to have clear historical coordinates about what exactly happened in the past in at least comparable circumstances.
Ideally, from places like the SSPX a clear guidance should come before hand: how to behave in scenarios a, b, or c; what conditions must exactly be fulfilled for the Sea to be declared vacant; in which ways the SSPX would examine the matter and make it public, etc.
Mind, not only I do not think in the least that the Sedevacantist position is justified as I write this. I do not even think that Francis will ever be so stupid as to push things in that direction, because as I have already written it seems to me that when he had to show if he has the balls to plunge the Church into chaos he showed no balls whatsoever, but abundant Jesuitism instead.
But it is true that we are at the brink of a precipice, irrespective of how optimistic we may be concerning vast sectors of the Church ever falling into it.
I am grateful for usable historical material.
What times are we living in.
Ah? Uh? No?
I continue to not understand the confusion and disorientation of many Catholics – even readers of this blog – when confronted with the horrible deeds of Pope Francis. It is as if they realised that they have a horrible Pope, and found the fact unprecedented and very difficult to cope with.
The crude reality is that Catholicism has already seen it all. A Pope openly siding with heresy, to the point of excommunicating Athanasius and forbidding the Creed in Church? Check. A Pope declared a heretic by no less than an ecumenical council? Check. A Pope openly espousing obviously and gravely heretical ideas? Check. A Pope announcing that he is minded to make of his heretical ideas a dogma of the Church? Check. Popes who were fornicators, thieves, gluttons, corrupts, or curruptors? Check, check, check, check, and check.
We must realise that the protection given by the Holy Ghost to the Church is of limited nature, and is meant to safeguard nothing more than the core of her activity, without which she would not be able to fulfill her function. It is to the clergy and the laity to provide for many vocations of sound quality and a diffused expectation of sound clergymen, in order for the Church to grow and prosper. But there is no guarantee of growth, of prosperity, even of continued existence in your particular country or even continent.
Whilst the comparison has the limits of all comparisons, you can make a parallel between a Pope and a history professor. History has an awful lot of incontrovertible historical facts. Facts can't be changed, or interpreted away. If a professor starts teaching that Abraham Lincoln was born in Ghana, and Jesus in Rome, does it mean that he is not a professor? No, he is still one. He will, bar further episodes, for the moment still have the same job, with the same title, the same job description, and the same wage. But his pupils will understand that he is a horrible professor; one who, in fact, is unworthy of the job and should never have been allowed to teach in a primary school, much less a university.
Does the teaching of the stupid, ignorant, arrogant professor change the facts? Of course not. Can you say “either his statements are right, or he is not a professor”? No. Can you deny the acts that he puts in place in his quality as professor? No.
What you have there is an ugly professor, nothing more and nothing less.
Now, the Holy Ghost merely guarantees that a Pope will not proclaim a heretical dogma, something a professor can't do even with an orthodox one. Every rubbish a teacher can produce, a Pope can, too; but he will, of course, not be able to change truth; no more than a professor could change historical facts, or mathematical rules, or laws of physics.
Truths are things. They are, in fact, far more solid than them, because they will be there when the entire universe has been dissolved in a spark. Can Popes make universes? No? Well, then….
Then there is the other question: what's the big difference between saying that we have a rubbish Pope, and saying that we have no Pope? The difference is simply immeasurable.
Bad Popes are as much a part of the fabric of the world as bad people. Popes are people. Some Popes will be bad, or very bad. Unpleasant, but physiological. Like having to walk near a field in the time of dunging.
Sedevacantism, on the other hand, is a way to the abyss. If the Pope is no Pope, his Cardinals aren't Cardinals. Therefore, his successor is also an impostor. And at this point there is no way to say how – bar having Angels coming down from Heaven – the legitimate office of legitimate popes and cardinals can be restored. It is every bit like shooting yourself in the head because you have a severe headache, and thinking that God, in His mercy, will restore your brains to full functionality punctually by tea time, when the headache has gone.
The implications of Sedevacantism, the wheels that the thinking would set in motion if thought to the end – which most Sedes accurately avoid – are absolutely immense. They are tantamount to destroying the visible Church out of love for the visible Church. It is Dr Strangelove's approach to the crisis in the Church.
And as we are there, allow me two words on the Western Schism.
There never were two Popes, or three. There always was only one, and Rome always knew and said who he was. There can never be two Popes, or three, in charge. This is why Benedict is merely a Pope Emeritus, one who used to have the office of the Pope; but now only keeps the title, without the function, like every professor emeritus does. It's also not so that at some point all those popes resigned, paving the way for the end of the schism. Only one Pope has resigned. The others were not Popes, period.
It's not complicated, or confusing, in the least. The confusion only begins when the faithful start to attribute some kind of almost magical power, or alternatively an almost magical divine protection, to the Pope; making of him a man who can't ever be heretical, not even a material heretic, without their own understanding of the Papacy crumbling.
Of course a Pope can be a material heretic. History teaches this as an incontrovertible fact, that is not for me or you to accept or refuse, but merely to acknowledge in its hard reality of crude historic event.
Learn to cope with the events, and Catholic teaching will make wonderful sense exactly concerning papal infallibility and the Indefectibility of the Church. Take refuge in a fantasy world where no Pope ever behaves theologically badly, and you are on your way to Dr Strangelove's solution.
The article linked here is a rebuttal of a Sedevacantist criticism of John Salza, already mentioned on this blog and a proposer of classical Traditionalism in SSPX style, which they call “recognise and resist”.
I have read the article in its entirety, and it seems to me both the original article and the rebuttal are worth reading; and whilst I do not doubt that the Novus Ordo Watch troops are composed of good and sincere Catholics, I find the one or other criticism levelled at them to be rather well-chosen.
The article deals mainly with the matter of Papal infallibility and the correct reading of the Conciliar documents; apart from the little and understandable blunder of calling Francis' torrential apostolic exhortation “encyclical letter”, I find the author's every sentence worthy of careful reading and agreement.
The article does not deal with the other, so to speak, missing leg of modern Sedevacantism: the impossibility to reconcile the Indefectibility of the Church with the strange theory that a fake church is now confused all over the planet and believed to be the right one; whilst only a bunch of very smart theologians and their very perceptive readers understands that the NO Church is an impostor and the real Church is a teeny weeny spot on the Catholic world radar.
One thing is to say that a Pope is, even, a formal heretic. Quite another is to say that the entire system has short-circuited 50 years ago, and is now unable to produce valid priests, deacons, bishops and yes, Popes, without any idea of how God will set things right.
The article also has useful references to past Popes, and some interesting details about the apparently factual occurrence of the “deposition” of the offending Pope by the Roman clergy and, transposed to today, some (or better: many) good Cardinals. A thorny issue, this one, but again one showing there isn't much new under the sun, and the problems we have now have been encountered in the past already.
The article is certainly is worth your time.
Below, an excerpt of a very interesting article, from the Great Man himself, on Sedevacantism. My emphases in red.
The New Mass and the Pope
By Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre
LET US PASS NOW to a second but no less important subject: does the Church have a true Pope or an imposter on the throne of St. Peter? Happy are those who have lived and died without having to pose such a question f One must indeed recognize that the pontificate of Paul VI poses and continues to pose a serious problem of conscience for the faithful. Without reference to his culpability for the terrible demolition of the Church which took place under his pontificate, one cannot but recognize that he hastened the causes of that decline in every domain. One can fairly ask oneself how it was possible that a successor of Peter can in so little time have caused more damage to the Church than the French Revolution.
Some precise facts, such as the signatures which he gave to Article VII in the Instruction concerning the New Mass and to the Declaration on Religious Liberty are indeed scandalous and have led certain traditionalists to affirm that Paul VI was heretical and thus no longer Pope. They argue further that, chosen by a heretical Pope, the great majority of the cardinals are not cardinals at all and thus lacked the authority to elect another Pope. Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II were thus, they say, illegitimately elected. They continue that it is inadmissable to pray for a Pope who is not Pope or to have any “conversations” (like mine of November 1978) with one who has no right to the Chair of Peter.
As with the question of the invalidity of the Novus Ordo, those who affirm that there is no Pope over simplify the problem. The reality is more complex. If one begins to study the question of whether or not a Pope can be heretical, one quickly discovers that the problem is not as simple as one might have thought. The very objective study of Xaverio de Silveira on this subject demonstrates that a good number of theologians teach that the Pope can be heretical as a private doctor or theologian, but not as a teacher of the Universal Church. One must then examine in what measure Pope Paul VI willed to engage his infallibility in the diverse cases where he signed texts close to heresy if not formally heretical.
But we can say that in the two cases cited above as in many another, Paul VI acted much more the liberal than as a man attached to heresy. For when one informed him of the danger that he ran in approving certain conciliar texts, he would proceed to render the text contradictory by adding a formula contrary in meaning to affirmations already in the text, or by drafting an equivocal formula. Now equivocation is the very mark of the liberal who is incoherent by nature.
The liberalism of Paul VI, recognized by his friend Cardinal Danielou, is thus sufficient to explain the disasters of his pontificate. Pope Pius IX in particular spoke often of the liberal Catholic, whom he considered a destroyer of the Church. The liberal Catholic is a two-sided being living in a world of continual self-contradiction. While he would like to remain Catholic, he is possessed by a thirst to appease the world. He affirms his faith weakly, fearing to appear too dogmatic, and as a result his actions are similar to those of the enemies of the Catholic Faith.
CAN A POPE BE LIBERAL and remain Pope? The Church has always severely reprimanded liberal Catholics, but She has not always excommunicated them. Here, too, we must continue in the spirit of the Church. We must refuse Liberalism from whatever source it comes because the Church has always condemned it. She has done so because it is contrary, in the social realm especially, to the Kingship of Our Lord.
Does not the exclusion of the cardinals of over eighty years of age, and the secret meetings which preceded and prepared the last two Conclaves render them invalid? Invalid: no, that is saying too much. Doubtful at the time: perhaps. But in any case the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the election by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate it. That is the teaching of the theologians.
The visibility of the Church is too necessary to its existence for it to be possible that God would allow that visibility to disappear for decades. The reasoning of those who deny that we have a Pope puts the Church in an extricable situation. Who will tell us who the future Pope is to be? How, as there are no cardinals, is he to be chosen? This spirit is a schismatical one for at least the majority of those who attach themselves to certainly schismatical sects like Palmar de Troya, the Eglise Latine de Toulouse, and others.
Thus, I have never refused to go to Rome at his request or that of his representatives. The Truth must be affirmed at Rome above all other places. It is of God, and He will assure its ultimate triumph.
Consequently, the Society of St. Pius X, its priests, brothers, sisters and oblates, cannot tolerate among its members those who refuse-to pray for the Pope or affirm that the Novus Ordo Missae is per se invalid. Certainly we suffer from this continual incoherence which consists in praising all the Liberal orientations of Vatican II and at the same time straining to mitigate its effects. But all of this must incite us to prayer and to the firm maintenance of Tradition rather than to the affirmation that the Pope is not the Pope.
In conclusion, we must have that missionary spirit which is the true spirit of the Church. We must do everything to bring about the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the words of our Holy Patron St. Pius X: “Instaurare omnia in Christo” We must restore all things in Christ, and we must submit to all as did Our Lord in His Passion for the salvation of souls and the triumph of Truth. “In hoc natus sum,” said Our Lord to Pilate, “ut testimonium perhibeam veritate.”
“I was born to give witness to the Truth.”
I know it seems absurd, but apparently there are people around who think they aren't Sedevacantists because they think Benedict is the Pope. What they are, is Sedevacantists In Waiting.
Let us leave aside the absurdity of saying that Benedict is Pope when he himself says it is absurd to think so. Let us imagine Benedict has been, say, hypnotised to say so. Or they have threatened to kill his cat. Or something like that.
If Benedict is Pope and Francis isn't, the latter's appointment are invalid. Not only those of the bishops, but those of the Cardinals, too. Therefore, the next conclave will take place with a number of invalidly appointed Cardinals, and I am unable to see how from such a conclave a legitimate Pope might be elected.
Then, at some point Benedict will die, and the Benedictsedists will have to recognise that the Sea is vacant. Then, at some point, Francis will die or resign too, and the now Benedictsedevacantist will have to recognise that his successor is a bogus Pope elected by bogus Cardinals in an invalid conclave. Then at some point – actually rather fast now – all the Cardinals appointed by JP II and Benedict XVI would be above eighty and as such, according to the rule of those same Popes, would lose the right to elect a Pope. Therefore, there would be no Cardinals who can elect a Pope, no mechanism to elect new ones, and no authority that could give validity to whatever new method to elect a Pope.
We would, therefore, be in a situation of utter impasse, for which no solution can be found within Church rules that would allow to get out of it.
Mind, Popes were not always elected by Cardinals. But they were always elected in recognisable harmony with the will of their predecessors. Who could, now, say with any authority what this will is, and therefore which rules shall apply? Shall those Bishops elect the Pope, who have accepted to serve under illegitimate Popes? Who will decide Francis' bishops are to be excluded? How many pre-Francis bishops will remain in a decade or two? Shall we make a poll among pre-Francis priests, instead? Those who have deemed Francis and his successor Popes, you mean? How long until they are gone, too? Shall we elect the new Pope in a worldwide election, then? Paper poll? Internet? Who will organise it? Shall women be allowed to vote? How about those baptised by Francis' non-priests?
No, this is all absurd. So absurd in fact, that one wonders how the Benedictsedists can utter such outlandish ideas without looking three inches beyond their own nose.
Benedict has resigned. He is not the reigning Pope anymore. Volens nolens, Francis is Pope. An atrocious one, I'll give you that; but the Pope elected from largely atrocious Cardinals, selected among largely atrocious Bishops, selected among largely atrocious clergy, produced from largely atrocious seminars, ruined from a largely atrocious Council.
You can turn it and twist it as much as you like, but in the end Francis is the undeniable product of the visible Church. His legitimacy is universally recognised through all the layers of that organisation we and all our ancestors have called “the Church”. There is no way we can call a fantasy parallel reality into existence, that would declare the real reality a scam and bogus organisation. There is no way any of us can decide, whilst in a sober state, that a fake Church now commands the loyalty of all those seen the world over as Catholic Bishops, Priests, Cardinals, Popes, Deacons, and Seminarians; an entire planet showing the Cross on top of fake churches, with no Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, and no valid Masses being celebrated. All this, in favour of a fantasy Church whose last Pope, Benedict, died saying he has validly resigned, and Francis is Pope.
Stop dreaming. Start thinking.
Benedictsedism is sedevacantism in waiting, and in the present situation it is just as absurd as the mainstream Sedevacantism.
After an observation or two in the comment box, it is perhaps fitting to say one or two words about this little effort, so that any uncertainty that there might have been in less attentive – or less assiduous – readers is definitively dispelled.
1. Read the statement from Robert De Piante on the right hand column of this blog:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
This is probably the most famous statement expressing in just a few words the essence of traditional Catholicism. It is there for a reason. I do not exclusively employ the term “traditionalist” because I think that “conservative” Catholic also perfectly fits the bill, though in a wider sense. Since this blog’s inception almost three years ago, pretty much all of my posts have been tagged “traditional Catholicism”. If some post isn’t, it’s because I forgot. My blog “line” (the one you also read on every search engine) is also very telling: tradidi quod et accepi, another famous traditionalist “punchline” commonly associated with the SSPX.
2. My blog posts in support of the SSPX are very many, though they are certainly not enough in number or worthy enough in their quality. I do not think I have ever been ambiguous in my approval of their work both in the present time and at the time of the disobedience/refusal to close down the seminary in Econe/appointment of the four bishops. Where I stood in the matter of the preambolo dottrinale is also very clear to everyone who reads my blog with a minimum of regularity and attention, and I dare to say I have made myself clear in as open a way as I could without thinking I was failing to show the proper respect to the office – and in the case of Pope Benedict, the person – of the Pontiff.
3. I attend very often Novus Ordo Masses, and will continue to do so. This I do because I fear the effect that an entrenchment on the Traditional Mass would have on me, given my uncompromising nature and the resulting tendency to incendiary emotions and hardline militancy; emotions and militancy that can be very dangerous, and might well lead me astray unless I recognise the problem and act accordingly to counter them and soften my approach. Therefore, as long as I have no doubt that the Novus Ordo Masses I attend to are sacramentally valid, I plan to continue to do so for as long as I see the danger of slowly slipping into Sedevacantism if I don’t. I also see it as a form of penance, when I reflect that our sins (mine, and yours; not only the clergy’s) are also a cause of the present mess.
Through the participation to a second-rate – but by all means not invalid – Mass, I figure I show the Lord my loyalty to the Church even when it hurts, and at the same time keep my inner religious arsonist in check. But this does not mean I think you should do the same. The Novus Ordo is vastly inferior to the Traditional Mass (I do love to call it “Tridentine”, by the way), and if you can and want to attend it every time, more power to you. For the same reason (obedience to the Pope in as much as I can without conflicting with 2000 years of Catholicism) I go to confession to Novus Ordo priests, as I have up to now never met a priest in the confessional who was such a clown as to make me think, after due reflection, the absolution was not valid. I think most of my readers do the same. Or you can say this: as long as I think a Novus Ordo priest can provide me with a valid absolution, I personally see no reason to confess to an SSPX priest. But if had valid, constant reason to fear then I would happily recur to the services of the SSPX priest. But again, personal fears play a role in my decision: the day I decide a NO priest isn’t good enough, how far am I from Sedevacantism? You may not have the problem. I do. Novus Ordo confessor is it, then.
Still, either the SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven’t. As I am persuaded they have, after long reflection and opportune readings I have reached the conclusion that I can’t see how this should not be extended to confession. The SSPX priests also obviously think in the same way, and as I would trust my path to salvation much more eagerly to them than to the most conservative of the Cardinals, I can’t see anything wrong in that. In times in which the Popes are bad Catholics, a religious order can certainly be more Catholic than the Pope. Since March, I’d say this is not difficult at all even for a properly instructed layman. The Holy Ghost never promised the Pope would be a good Catholic, or would know the Ten Commandments, or wouldn’t be a murderer, a robber, a fornicator, an accommodating coward, or a pious nincompoop. Read the contract attentively, it’s in the small print.
4. In consequence of all the above, I think it should be clear enough to any reasonable reader what this blog is about. I notice, though, here and there a certain tendency – again, perhaps the fruit of insufficient reflection – to approve of what I write without considering what this necessarily entails. If you think that the SSPX are in formal Schism, then you must think that they endanger souls. If you think so, already the reading of the quote mentioned above and of the blog line should be reason enough for you to strongly disapprove of this blog, whose support of the SSPX is as staunch as its author can express with words. To behave any differently means either to take one’s own salvation lightly, or to read this blog because of the titillation coming from the enjoyment of my somewhat robust prose (and many thanks for the compliment!), but without sufficient reflection as to the values this little effort constantly tries to defend.
I do not write this blog for the sake of a vast audience. I have never searched popularity or approval. Wretched sinner as I am, I write this in the first place in the hope the Blessed Virgin will one day look at my effort and find it certainly inadequate and unworthy, but not entirely useless.
I take my salvation extremely seriously. I spend a lot of time thinking of it, praying for it, hoping for it, fearing for it. I have found that the best course to follow is to be on the side of 2000 years of Catholicism; no ifs, no buts, and most certainly no Pinocchios. Faithful to the Church always. Obedient to the Pope as long as that faithfulness is not challenged. Whilst I am sure the day I die many horrible sins will reemerge to haunt my conscience, I am very confident my support for the SSPX will be on my assets, not my liabilities column. You who read these lines, do you think the same?
My dear reader, please reflect on the consequences of your reading this blog. Be wise and do not follow it merely for the sake of emotional satisfaction and enjoyment of my somewhat, ahem, Italian writing style. If the SSPX is wrong, then they are entirely wrong, as is this blog. If they are in schism, then not only 2000 years of Catholicism are in schism but both yours truly and you are, with my approval of them and your approval of me, being an accessory in this sin.
Of course, I do not think they are in schism, because I do not think 2,000 years of Catholicism can be declared “schismatic” without contradicting the very essence of what Catholicism is. I think the safest way is to live and die on the side of these 2,000 years, rather than following the madness of a new way of thinking that came to power during the Kennedy/ Khrushchev era. If logic and common sense were not enough to persuade me of this, the immense devastation of the last 50 years would.
Stuff Pinocchio. I for myself will take my refuge, and put my hope, in the Church transmitted to my grandmothers and to countless generations of devout Catholics before them; then if we are wrong now, they were wrong then. If they were right then, we are right now.