Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Traditional Catholicism that ain't

Along with us, our colleague who blogs under the nom de plume, “Maurice Pinay” has offered ample documentation of the anti-Catholic weirdness, perversity and occultism that travels under the moniker, “traditional Catholicism.” Or, as our north Idaho cowboy pal Caleb would say, “Traditional Catholicism ain’t.”

While one of those who Maurice targets as being among the ain’t Catholics is Bp. Richard N. Williamson, nonetheless we do not shy away from employing the following research from Williamson to demonstrate how “sedevacantist Catholicism” ain’t Catholic.

Sedevacantism, for those who don’t know the term, is a “traditional Catholic” faction that declares on its own non-existent authority, that certain “heretical” popes are not popes, and therefore are not owed the obedience due the pontiff.  Sedevacantist priests and alleged bishops depose these popes by stating, “They are formal heretics, therefore they are not popes.” Luther said something like that, so here we have the bipolar manifestation of Lutheran-“traditional Catholicism.” It just gets crazier and goofier as these folks descend further down the ladder of their home-made religion which is situated somewhere between Catholicism, Protestantism and the Twilight Zone.

We don't accept that parish priests or questionably-consecrated “traditional Catholic bishops" have any power or authority whatsoever to declare —  other than to their own conscience —  that a pope is not a pope and can be disobeyed. The very notion smacks more of a proclamation by a backwoods assembly of the Four Square church, than by the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The actual Catholic Church has a theology that teaches that no one can depose a pope  —  that the pope has no peer on earth. According to Catholic theology he is sovereign. Williamson describes the complex Catholic process for removing a heretical pope. Patently, until the process Williamson outlines takes place, the pope elected by the College of Cardinals, whether Paul VI or Francis the one and only, is the pope of the Church of Rome until a Church Council removes him. Bishop Williamson makes the following report, after which we will add one further point.

Church Councils can heretical Popes untie,
For Christ to depose, lest the whole Church die.
The Dominican priests of Avrillé, France, have done us all a great favour by republishing the considerations on the vacant See of Rome written some 400 years ago by a famous thomist theologian from Spain, John of St Thomas (1589–1644). Being a faithful successor of St Thomas
Aquinas, he benefits from that higher wisdom of the Middle Ages when theologians could still measure men by God instead of having to measure God by men, a tendency which began as a necessity (if souls could no longer take medieval penicillin, they had to take a lesser medicine), but which culminated in Vatican II. Here, much abbreviated, are the main ideas of John of St Thomas on the deposition of a Pope:—
Can a Pope be deposed?
Answer, yes, because Catholics are obliged to separate themselves from heretics, after the heretics have been warned (Titus III, 10). Also, a heretical Pope puts the whole Church in a state of legitimate self-defence. But the Pope must be warned first, as officially as possible, in case he would retract. Also his heresy must be public, and declared as officially as possible, to prevent wholesale confusion among Catholics, by their being bound to follow.
II By whom must he be officially declared a heretic?
Answer, not by the Cardinals because although they may elect a Pope, they cannot depose one, because it is the Universal Church that is threatened by a heretical Pope, and so the most universal possible authority of the Church can alone depose him, namely a Church Council composed of a quorum of all the Church’s Cardinals and Bishops. These would be convoked not authoritatively (which the Pope alone can do) but among themselves.
III By what authority would a Church Council depose the Pope?
(Here is the main difficulty because Christ gives to the Pope supreme power over the entire Church, with no exception, as Vatican I defined in 1870. Already John of St Thomas gave arguments of authority, reason and Canon Law to prove this supreme power of the Pope. Then how can a Council, being beneath the Pope, yet depose him? John of St Thomas adopts the solution laid out by another famous Dominican theologian, Thomas Cajetan (1469–1534). The Church’s deposition of the Pope would fall not upon the Pope as Pope, but upon the bond between the man and his Papacy. That may seem hair-splitting, but it is logical.)
On the one hand not even a Church Council has authority over the Pope. On the other hand the Church is obliged to avoid heretics and to protect the sheep. Therefore, just as in a Conclave the Cardinals are the ministers of Christ to bind this man to the Papacy, but Christ alone gives him his papal authority, so the Church Council would be the ministers of Christ to unbind this heretic from the Papacy by their solemn declaration, but Christ alone, by his divine authority over the Pope, would authoritatively depose him. In other words, the Church Council would be deposing the Pope not authoritatively from above, but only ministerially from below. John of St Thomas confirms this conclusion from the Church’s Canon Law, which states in several places that God alone can depose the Pope, but the Church can pass judgment on his heresy.
Alas, as the Dominicans of Avrillé point out, nearly all Cardinals and Bishops of the Church today are so largely infected with modernism that there is no human hope of a Church Council seeing clear to condemn the modernism of the Conciliar Popes. We can only pray and wait for the divine solution, which will come in God’s good time. To follow, is a Pope not automatically deposed by his mere heresy?

Additional point by Michael Hoffman: In reading St. Thomas More’s letter  to England’s Lord Chancellor Thomas Cromwell, which More penned in Chelsea on March 5, 1534, we encountered this sentence: “…in the next general council it may well happen that this Pope may be deposed and another substituted in his room with whom the King’s Highness may be very well content.” (Alvaro De Silva [ed.] The Last Letters of Thomas More [Eerdman’s Publishing, 2000], p. 54).


Classiccom1 said...

Quote "We can only pray and wait for the divine solution,.."

That's just a weak and ineffectual cop out. IF God waited for the perfect spokesman and leader we still would be back in Egypt waiting for a more perfect Moses.

Grg London said...

We've already got a divine solution: It's called the Eastern Orthodox Church, where Holy Tradition carries the day and where no bishop is in the position to promulgate heresy unilaterally by dint of a Divine Vicariate.

With Orthodoxy you get all the sound doctrine of the ecumenical creeds minus the later Frankish accretions (which culminated in the political-spiritual rot that is the Papacy), besides genuine continuity with the earliest beginnings of the Christian faith through apostolic succession.

And though I might be accused of superficiality or cynicism for saying this, Orthodoxy makes for a great solution on purely Pascalian grounds. After all, Rome has articulated a theological view that situates the Orthodox priesthood, liturgy and sacraments as lying within a framework of formal validity, despite the explicit break with canonical rules which result from its status as a "schismatic" body. The Orthodox, on the contrary, declare the Roman Church to be a heretical body, with sacraments and a priesthood that are considered to be, for all intents and purposes, null and void (this, while being careful to emphasize a complete suspension of judgment regarding the salvation of individuals belonging to any particular religious body, leaving it to God to judge his creatures by the light of their own knowledge an conscience).

It is for this reason that those who are doubtful of the direction of the Roman Catholic church and who wish to err on the side of caution would do well to consider joining the Orthodox. In the end, if you're wrong you still get the grace-imparting sacraments you need to get to the beatific vision, and if you're right, you only increase your chances of avoiding an eternity separated from God, while at the same time happily eschewing the increasingly senile effusions of the shamelessly vulgar PR extravaganza that has become the sorry spectacle of the Francis Papacy.

Lesley Mackin said...

Praying and waiting for the Divine solution is certainly an option. but jumping in with the Orthodox is certainly not.
The single most serious problem found in Trad Catholicism today involves a confusion of Identification......Where is the Church of Jesus Christ to be found in our day ????
Your answer to this Question is the key. If you consider those clerics occupying Rome now and going back to the VII Council to be the Catholic Hierarchy,then you are dreadfully deceived and confused.If on the other hand you are of the view that those clerics occupying Rome now and going back to the VII Council are NOT the Catholic Hierarchy ,and therefore to be TOTALLY SPURNED,then I believe your conclusion to be an absolutely necessary first step in the unravelling of the deceit and confusion of our times.
All claiming to be Trad Catholics, including the confused and confusing Williamson should familiarize themselves with Pope Paul IV s document...Cum Ex Apostolatus .
It is perhaps the most important document of all for our times,and perhaps the most ignored.
Free yourselves from this most debilitating canard...that that group of wolves now occupying Rome is the Hierarchy of Christ's Church on Earth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Clearly Our Lords Church will last till the end of time .However , for the moment His Church is underground while Rome is in enemy hands .

Michael Hoffman said...

To Lesley Mackin

The love of money is the root of all evil, saith Scripture.

Interest on loans of money (usury) is the weaponization of that love.

Usury began to be formally permitted under Medici Pope Leo X in his bull of May, 1515 under the situation ethic of the monte di pieta (so-called “charity bank” — literally “mountain of compassion”).

The Money Power grew incrementally inside the Church of Rome from thence onward and neither Popes Paul IV or Pius V lifted a finger against it as bankers gained increasing power over the papacy.

It is extremely naive to ignore this diabolic degeneracy in favor of fine words written by a pope which any succeeding pope has the power to ignore. It is virtually meaningless.

Any true pope would have reversed the ascent of the Money Power within the Church. Paul IV did no such thing. Usury permission incrementally proceeded forward. All the evil we now face is derived from it. Read my book, “Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not.”

As long we obsess with symptoms instead of attacking the root of evil we are lost.