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The Wanderer Attacks The Remnant
stevusmagnus
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The Remnant’s Robert Sungenis, Protestant

By JOHN DEJAK
The Wanderer for April 21, 2011

I recall teaching high school in Chicago in the late 1990s and creating bewilderment in my students when I mentioned that there was a patron saint for every profession. Predictably, the students began to name different professions and inquire as to their patron saints. Given that it was Chicago, “ cab drivers” came up. I consulted the Bollandists, and found that, yes indeed, there is a patron of cab drivers — St. Fiacre. Fiacre was actually a seventh- century French saint whose miraculous garden was responsible for many healings. His connection to taxicab drivers resulted as the Hotel de Saint Fiacre in Paris rented carriages and his name and intercession became associated with cabs. He is also the patron of gardeners and those suffering from — among other things — hemorrhoids. Personally, I don’t have a devotion to him and he is not a saint whose intercession I regularly pray for.

Yet, he is a saint of the Church and I esteem him. I esteem those who cultivate devotion to him — especially cab drivers. Most important, I firmly believe with catholic and apostolic faith that he has been declared worthy of the honors of the altar and I will honor him on his feast day and in the manner prescribed by Mother Church and the authority of the Successor of Peter.

One’s devotion or non-devotion to a particular saint does not make or break the Catholic faith. Yet what is required of all believers is the religious submission of intellect and will to the decisions of the Magisterium and, in particular, the Holy Father. As the Second Vatican Council reaffirmed: “ Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme Magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking” (Lumen Gentium, n. 25).

The Tradition of the Church, to include the earliest writings of the Fathers, the ecumenical councils — especially the Councils of Trent and Vatican I — has always held such. Subsequent to the Second Vatican Council, the instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Donum Veritatis ( 1990) and the papal motu proprio Ad tuendam fidem (1998) further clarify this pivotal Catholic teaching. Suffice it to say, the basis of this authority is the “ power of the keys” given to St. Peter by Christ and the promise of Christ to remain with His Church until the end of time. Likewise, we should note ( as indicated in the aforementioned documents) that the Cath-olic faithful are free to disagree with the Pope on policy issues and issues that admit of prudential decision-making.

To be sure, there have been less than holy Popes throughout the centuries. Boccaccio, in his Decameron, tells the story of Abraham the Jew who is contemplating converting to the faith and tells his Christian friend that he will do so only after observing the Pope and his court in Rome. The Christian is rightly worried as 14th-century Rome is a place of corruption at the highest levels. Indeed, Abraham returns and indicates that he wishes to convert to the faith. Addressing the shock of his Christian friend at this decision — shock due to the “ filth” within the hierarchy of the Church at the time — Abraham, recalling his business expertise, explains that the Church must be guided by God Himself to have survived such mismanagement for nearly 1,500 years.

I thought of these things as I recently read some of the tendentious offerings of Robert Sungenis regarding the beatification of John Paul II. In what is a seeming crusade to stop the beatification of the late Pontiff, Sungenis seems to set himself up as the arbiter of Catholic orthodoxy and right judgment with regard to the last Pontificate and even the person of the Pope himself. With characteristic humility, he describes himself as a “ Jeremiah,” thus assigning himself the role of prophet to those of us whom he terms “papal idolaters.” His articles inThe Remnant and on his web site apparently are meant to be atour de forceof the supposed evils of John Paul II and his Pontificate. Indeed, the last few months have seen a plethora of commentary in The Remnant challenging the papal decision to beatify John Paul II. Yet this is not the place to address each of Sungenis’ and others’ contentious views; rather, I wish to focus on one of the false prophets that St. Paul warned us about — specifically,Sungenis. Sungenis has an interesting history which, while not dispositive of his current position, may explain some of his oddities. He rejected the Catholic faith of his youth to become a Protestant pastor and teacher for a number of years. He returned to the faith and for a time became an outstanding apologist. Yet, as so often attends to the brilliant of intellect where humility seems to be lacking, he began to espouse positions contrary to common sense and the faith of the Church. He became selective in his appeals to magisterial teaching, and, seemingly having never put-off the old man of his Protestantism, he has become fundamentalist in his approach to Scripture and his eccentric championing of such causes as geocentrism — an issue which, whether true or not, does not impact the truth of the faith and should be put in the “Who the Hell Cares” file.

His improvident comments on the Jews and attack on the supposed theological deficiencies of his local ordinary ( at the time Bishop Kevin Rhoades) drew a sharp episcopal rebuke. He gained a doctorate from an unaccredited correspondence school and answers to “Doctor.” Most recently, hehas attempted to dissect the writings and policy decisions of John Paul II in order to discredit the deceased Pontiff and accuse him of modernism. In sum, Sungenis may be said to have built a career on picking fights and playing to a theologically and philosophically unsophisticated crowd.

The real object of Sungenis’ polemics is not John Paul II; it is Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning. In crusading against the beatification of John Paul II, Sungenis is challenging the Magisterium of the current Pontiff. He is charging Benedict with imprudence and deception. As a self- proclaimed prophet, he is presuming to assess a situation of which he has very little, if no, knowledge. Rather than placing his intelligence at the service of the Church, he has staked out a position that recent papacies are hopelessly infected with modernism. Instead of, in humility and faith, practicing the Catholic principle of religious submission of intellect and will to the decisions of the Supreme Pontiff, he has chosen rather to maintain his Protestantism and decide for himself what is worthy of assent. He and his fellow writers inThe Remnant and those others who would approve of their crusade against the beatification of John Paul II are: 1) challenging the authority of the current Roman Pontiff, 2) creating confusion among the faithful, and 3) like their Call-to-Action-type liberal counterparts, creating a culture of dissent.

Again, Sungenis and the arbiters of papal prudence at The Remnant need not have devotion to John Paul II. In fact, they are free to privately debate the decision of the Pope to beatify him. Nevertheless, they must reverence the Magisterium of Benedict XVI and sincerely adhere to his judgments according to his manifest mind and will; and they must acknowledge and honor John Paul II as befits a beatus of the Holy Roman Church.

Sungenis and his fellow travelers would do well to recall these words of the First Vatican Council: “ We teach,… We declare that the Roman Church by the Providence of God holds the primacy of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate. Toward it, the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both individually and collectively, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Churchspread throughout the whole world, in such a way that once the unity of communion and the profession of the same faith has been preserved with the Roman Pontiff, there is one flock of the Church of Christ under one supreme shepherd. This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation” [ emphasis mine].

I hope, pray, and look forward to Sungenis and the other papal critics in The Remnant, as well as those who have supported their cause ( pun intended!) casting off once and for all theirde facto Protestantism.
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"The heresy which is now being born will become the most dangerous of all; the exaggeration of the respect due to the Pope and the illegitimate extension of his infallibility.” Fr. Le Floch, superior of the French Seminary in Rome, 1926.

Posted Apr 16, 2011, 5:47 am
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stevusmagnus
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This may be one of the most vindictive, ciondescending, and uncharitable articles I've ever read, ironically, coming from a Neo-Cath supposedly deriding Sungenis for these things. Unbelievable pride.
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"The heresy which is now being born will become the most dangerous of all; the exaggeration of the respect due to the Pope and the illegitimate extension of his infallibility.” Fr. Le Floch, superior of the French Seminary in Rome, 1926.

Posted Apr 16, 2011, 6:03 am
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Quote:
Instead of, in humility and faith, practicing the Catholic principle of religious submission of intellect and will to the decisions of the Supreme Pontiff, he has chosen rather to maintain his Protestantism and decide for himself what is worthy of assent. He and his fellow writers inThe Remnant and those others who would approve of their crusade against the beatification of John Paul II are: 1) challenging the authority of the current Roman Pontiff, 2) creating confusion among the faithful, and 3) like their Call-to-Action-type liberal counterparts, creating a culture of dissent.


It's interesting to me how ad hominem attacks on the "pride" of critics seems to be more and more common.

Of course the essential thing about this essay is that it completely ignores the substance of what the critics of the beatification say.

1) Challenging the authority of the current Roman Pontiff to beatify a pope whose scandal ridden pontificate has led to a near collapse of Catholicism
2) Creating confusion among the Faithful most of whom no longer know anything about the Faith except that the Pope is supposed to be a swell guy who you're not supposed to criticize, 3) otherwise you're no different than those liberal disseners

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"One cannot both shake hands with modernists and keep following Tradition. Not possible. Not possible. Now, stay in touch with them to bring them back, to convert them to Tradition, yes, if you like, that's the right kind of ecumenism! But give the impression that after all one almost regrets any break, that one likes talking to them? No way!"

-Archbishop Lefebvre

Posted Apr 16, 2011, 6:20 am
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