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Offline Lover of Truth

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An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
« on: August 10, 2012, 07:48:38 AM »
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  • http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=44&catname=10

    Father Stepanich who offered the pre-Bugnini Mass before his illness, is a man whose teachings I would fear to question:

    Note: Father Stépanich is a Franciscan priest who was ordained in 1941 and who holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University. He has never offered the New Mass and over the years has carried on an extensive apostolate of correspondence with Catholics who resist the Vatican II errors.

          The following letters are his response to an objection one frequently hears made against sedevacantism.

    *          *          *          *          *

    November 30, 2002

    Dear Correspondent:

          You quote the passage from Vatican Council I, Session IV, which states clearly that St. Peter, the first pope, has “perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church…”

          You, understandably,  wonder how it could be that there are still “perpetual successors” of St. Peter if the men who have claimed to be popes in our times have been in reality public heretics, who therefore could not, as heretics, be the true successors of St. Peter.

          The important thing here to understand just what kind of “perpetual succession” in the papacy Our Lord established.

          Did Our Lord intend that there should be a pope on the Chair of Peter every single  moment  of the Church’s existence and every single moment of the papacy existence?

          You will immediately realize that, no, Our Lord very obviously did not establish that kind of “perpetual succession” of popes.  You know that, all through the centuries of the Church’s existence, popes have been dying and that there then followed an interval, after the death of each pope, when there was no “perpetual successor,” no pope, occupying the Chair of Peter.  That Chair became vacant for a while whenever a pope died.  This has happened more than 260 times since the death of the first pope.

          But you also know that the death of a pope did not mean the end of the “perpetual succession” of popes after Peter.

          You understand now that “no pope” does not mean “no papacy.”  A vacant Chair of Peter after the death of a pope  does not mean a permanent vacancy of that Chair.  A temporary vacancy of the Chair of Peter does not mean the end of the “perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church.”  

          Even though Our Lord, had He so willed it, could have seen to it that, the moment one pope died, another man would automatically succeed him as pope, He nevertheless did not do it that way.

          Our Lord did it the way we have always known it to be, that is, He allowed for an interval, or interruption, of undesignated duration, to follow upon the death of each pope.

          That interruption of succession of popes has, most of the time, lasted several weeks, or a month or so, but there have been times when the interruption lasted longer than that, considerably longer.

          Our Lord did not specify just how long that interruption was allowed to last before a new pope was to be elected.  And He did not declare that, if the delay in electing a new pope lasted too long, the “perpetual succession” was then terminated, so that it would then have to be said that “the papacy is no more.”

          Nor did the Church ever specify the length or duration of the vacancy of the Chair of Peter to be allowed after the death of a pope.

          So it is clear that the present vacancy of the Chair of Peter, brought on by public heresy, despite the fact that it has lasted some 40 years or so, does not mean that the “perpetual succession” of popes after St. Peter has come to an end.

          What we must realize here is that the papacy, and with it the “perpetual succession” of popes is a Divine institution, not a human institution.  Therefore, man cannot put an end to the papacy, no matter how long God may allow heresy to prevail at the papal headquarters in Rome.

          Only God could, if He so willed, terminate the papacy.  But He willed not do so, because He has made His will known to His Church that there will be “perpetual successors” in the papal primacy that was first entrusted to St. Peter.

          We naturally feel distressed that the vacancy of the Chair of Peter has lasted so long, and we are unable to see the end of that vacancy in sight.  But we do realize that the restoration of the Catholic Faith, and with it the return of a true Catholic Pope to the Papal Chair, will come when God wills it and in the way He wills it.

          If it seems to us, as of now, that there are no qualified, genuinely Catholic electors, who could elect a new and truly Catholic Pope.  God can, for example, bring about the conversion of enough Cardinals to the traditional Catholic Faith, who would then proceed to elect a new Catholic Pope.

          God can intervene in whatever way it may please Him, in order to restore everything as He originally willed it to be in His Holy Church.

          Nothing is impossible with God.

    Father Martin Stépanich, O.F.M., S.T.D.

    *          *          *          *          *

    March 25, 2003

    Dear Faithful Catholic:

          Your letter of February 21, 2003, tells me about “doubting Thomases”  who say that they “just can’t believe” that the Chair of Peter could have been vacant for as much as 40 years, or even for only 25 years, without the “perpetual succession” of popes being thereby permanently broken.

          Those “doubting Thomases” presumably grant that the “perpetual succession” of popes remains unbroken during the relatively short intervals that follow upon the deaths of popes, and you indicate that, at least for a while, they have even understood – to their credit – that a public and unrepentant heretic cannot possibly be a true Catholic Pope and that the Chair of St. Peter must necessarily become vacant if it is taken over by such a public heretic.

          But, as you sadly say, those “doubting Thomases” changed their views after they read the Declaration of Ecumenical Council Vatican I (1870) which you quoted from Denzinger in your letter of November 8, 2002.  Vatican I declared that “the Blessed Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the Universal Church…”

          Notice carefully that Vatican I says nothing more than that St. Peter shall have “perpetual successors” in the primacy, which obviously means that the “perpetual succession” of popes will last until the end of time.

          Vatican I says nothing about how long Peter’s Chair may be vacant before the “perpetual succession” of popes would supposedly come to a final end.  Yet the “doubting Thomases” imagine they see in the Vatican I declaration something which just  isn’t there.  They presume to think that “perpetual successors in the primacy” means that there can never be an extra long vacancy of Peter’s Chair, but only those short vacancies that we have always known to occur after the deaths of popes.  But that isn’t the teaching of Vatican I.  It is the mistaken “teaching” of “doubting Thomases.”

          Curiously enough, the “doubting Thomases” never suggest just how long a vacancy of Peter’s Chair would be needed to put a supposedly final end to the “perpetual succession” of popes.  Their imagination has gotten  them into an impossible  situation.  They “just can’t believe” that the vacancy of Peter’s Chair could last for 25 or 40 years or more, while, at the same time, they “just can’t believe” that a public heretic could possibly be a true Catholic Pope.  At one and the same time, they do have a Pope, yet they do not have a Pope.  They have a heretic “Pope,” but they do not have a true Catholic Pope.

          Not being able to convince the “doubting Thomases” that they are all wrong and badly confused, you have hoped that some unknown “Church teaching” could be found in some book that would make the “doubting Thomases” see the light.

          But you don’t need any additional “Church teaching” besides what you have already quoted from Vatican I.  You can plainly see that Vatican I did not say anything about how long a vacancy of Peter’s Chair may be.  You also know that Our Lord never said that the vacancy of the Papal Chair may last only so long and no longer.

          Most important of all, never forget that men cannot put an end to the “perpetual succession” of popes, no matter how long public heretics may occupy Peter’s Chair.  The Catholic Papacy comes from God, not from man.  To put an end to the “perpetual succession” of popes, you would first have to put an end to God Himself.

    Father Martin Stépanich, O.F.M., S.T.D.



    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Malleus 01

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 09:49:53 AM »
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  • Well done.  I find this part especially edifying:


    " What we must realize here is that the papacy, and with it the “perpetual succession” of popes is a Divine institution, not a human institution.  Therefore, man cannot put an end to the papacy, no matter how long God may allow heresy to prevail at the papal headquarters in Rome. "

    How many arguments have we seen over the years where people are attempting to say that the "Gates of Hell have prevailed " or "Because the entire College of Cardinals is presumed Heretical , electing a new Pope is impossible" Etc Etc Etc.

    I think it is important to understand that the Papacy was established by GOD , the Son.   And because it was established by GOD the Son , nothing can ever destroy it.   A False Pope or the Vatican full of Heretics cannot destroy what 260 POPES have perpetuated.   Sooner of later either there will be 261 or the Second Coming.  The Papacy is not at an end.   Nor have the Gates of Hell prevailed.

    Pax


    Offline Nishant

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 10:58:41 AM »
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  • Christ's promise must be understood as the Church herself understands it.

    "Gates of hell" refers to heresies and heretics.
    "Church built on Peter" refers to the Holy Roman Church.

    To assert that the one has prevailed against the other, in such wise as to mean that the See of Peter and all the episcopal sees of that city are vacant due to heresy does appear precisely to go against that.

    If perpetual successors are interpreted in this way, they are entirely robbed of their meaning. The Council intended not simply to define the continuation of the primacy of Peter in the Church but also its visible identification with the Bishopric of Rome, against the Greek schismatics and others.

    Is even a 500 year interregnum incompatible with this understanding of "perpetual successors"? It's also an invalid argument to say the fact of something like a three year interregnum proves a 50 year interregnum poses no problems. It's like saying, if I can breathe underwater for 2 minutes, I can also breathe underwater for 2 hours.
    "Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic ... This is a statement I would sign in my blood." St. Montfort, Secret of the Rosary. I support the FSSP, the SSPX and other priests who work for the restoration of doctrinal orthodoxy and liturgical orthopraxis in the Church. I accept Vatican II if interpreted in the light of Tradition and canonisations as an infallible declaration that a person is in Heaven. Sedevacantism is schismatic and Ecclesiavacantism is heretical.

    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 11:59:18 AM »
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  • Quote from: Nishant2011
    Christ's promise must be understood as the Church herself understands it.

    "Gates of hell" refers to heresies and heretics.
    "Church built on Peter" refers to the Holy Roman Church.

    To assert that the one has prevailed against the other, in such wise as to mean that the See of Peter and all the episcopal sees of that city are vacant due to heresy does appear precisely to go against that.

    If perpetual successors are interpreted in this way, they are entirely robbed of their meaning. The Council intended not simply to define the continuation of the primacy of Peter in the Church but also its visible identification with the Bishopric of Rome, against the Greek schismatics and others.

    Is even a 500 year interregnum incompatible with this understanding of "perpetual successors"? It's also an invalid argument to say the fact of something like a three year interregnum proves a 50 year interregnum poses no problems. It's like saying, if I can breathe underwater for 2 minutes, I can also breathe underwater for 2 hours.


    Hi Nishant,

    I like your signature.  I was looking for that one myself.  

    Your anology is a good one and makes sense though it does not refute the argument.  To refute it you would have to show where the Church has taught that there was some kind of limit to the duration.  But in case anyone would try to find such a teaching, I can save you some time by saying you will find no such teaching.

    We cannot put a limit it on it if the Church has not.  Jesus told Peter, what if John is to remain until the end of time, what is it to you, take up your cross and follow me, or something to that effect.

    Of course John did not live forever, but Christ implied that such would not be an impossibility, same to with an interrugnum, at least no Church teaching teaches the contrary.

    Saint Peter has perpetual successors in the "primacy":

    Primacy
    (Latin primatus, primus, first).

    The supreme episcopal jurisdiction of the pope as pastor and governor of the Universal Church. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12423a.htm

    Primacy of the Roman See
    We have shown in the last section that Christ conferred upon St. Peter the office of chief pastor, and that the permanence of that office is essential to the very being of the Church. It must now be established that it belongs of right to the Roman See. The proof will fall into two parts:

    •that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and
    •that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the supreme headship.
    St. Peter was Bishop of Rome
    It is no longer denied by any writer of weight that St. Peter visited Rome and suffered martyrdom there (Harnack, "Chronol.", I, 244, n. 2). Some, however, of those who admit that he taught and suffered in Rome, deny that he was ever bishop of the city (e.g. Lightfoot, "Clement of Rome", II, 501; Harnack, op. cit., I, 703). It is not, however, difficult to show that the fact of his bishopric is so well attested as to be historically certain. In considering this point, it will be well to begin with the third century, when references to it become frequent, and work backwards from this point.

    St. Cyprian
    In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian expressly terms the Roman See the Chair of St. Peter, saying that Cornelius has succeeded to "the place of Fabian which is the place of Peter" (Epistle 51:8; cf. 75:3).

    Firmilian of Caesarea
    Firmilian of Caesarea notices that Stephen claimed to decide the controversy regarding rebaptism on the ground that he held the succession from Peter (Cyprian, Epistle 75:17). He does not deny the claim: yet certainly, had he been able, he would have done so. Thus in 250 the Roman episcopate of Peter was admitted by those best able to know the truth, not merely at Rome but in the churches of Africa and of Asia Minor.

    Tertullian
    In the first quarter of the century (about 220) Tertullian (On Modesty 21) mentions Callistus's claim that Peter's power to forgive sins had descended in a special manner to him. Had the Roman Church been merely founded by Peter and not reckoned him as its first bishop, there could have been no ground for such a contention. Tertullian, like Firmilian, had every motive to deny the claim. Moreover, he had himself resided at Rome, and would have been well aware if the idea of a Roman episcopate of Peter had been, as is contended by its opponents, a novelty dating from the first years of the third century, supplanting the older tradition according to which Peter and Paul were co-founders, and Linus first bishop.

    Hippolytus
    About the same period, Hippolytus (for Lightfoot is surely right in holding him to be the author of the first part of the "Liberian Catalogue" — "Clement of Rome", 1:259) reckons Peter in the list of Roman bishops.

    "Adversus Marcionem"
    We have moreover a poem, "Adversus Marcionem", written apparently at the same period, in which Peter is said to have passed on to Linus "the chair on which he himself had sat" (P.L., II 1077).

    St. Irenaeus
    These witnesses bring us to the beginning of the third century. In the second century we cannot look for much evidence. With the exception of Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement of Alexandria, all the writers whose works we possess are apologists against either Jews or pagans. In works of such a character there was no reason to refer to such a matter as Peter's Roman episcopate.

    Irenaeus, however, supplies us with a cogent argument. In two passages (Against Heresies I.27.1 and III.4.3) he speaks of Hyginus as ninth Bishop of Rome, thus employing an enumeration which involves the inclusion of Peter as first bishop (Lightfoot was undoubtedly wrong in supposing that there was any doubt as to the correctness of the reading in the first of these passages. In III:4:3, the Latin version, it is true, gives "octavus"; but the Greek text as cited by Eusebius reads enatos.

    Irenaeus we know visited Rome in 177. At this date, scarcely more than a century after the death of St. Peter, he may well have come in contact with men whose fathers had themselves spoken to the Apostle. The tradition thus supported must be regarded as beyond all legitimate doubt.

    Lightfoot's suggestion (Clement 1:64), that it had its origin in the Clementine romance, has proved singularly unfortunate. For it is now recognized that this work belongs not to the second, but to the fourth century. Nor is there the slightest ground for the assertion that the language of Irenaeus, III:3:3, implies that Peter and Paul enjoyed a divided episcopate at Rome — an arrangement utterly unknown to the Church at any period. He does, it is true, speak of the two Apostles as together handing on the episcopate to Linus. But this expression is explained by the purpose of his argument, which is to vindicate against the Gnostics the validity of the doctrine taught in the Roman Church. Hence he is naturally led to lay stress on the fact that that Church inherited the teaching of both the great Apostles. Epiphanius ("Haer." 27:6) would indeed seem to suggest the divided episcopate; but he has apparently merely misunderstood the words of Irenaeus.

    Those who succeed Peter in Rome succeed him also in the supreme headship
    History bears complete testimony that from the very earliest times the Roman See has ever claimed the supreme headship, and that that headship has been freely acknowledged by the universal Church. We shall here confine ourselves to the consideration of the evidence afforded by the first three centuries.

    St. Clement
    The first witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit". The tone of authority which inspires the latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as "the first step towards papal domination" (Clement 1:70). Thus, at the very commencement of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head.

    St. Ignatius of Antioch
    A few years later (about 107) St. Ignatius of Antioch, in the opening of his letter to the Roman Church, refers to its presiding over all other Churches. He addresses it as "presiding over the brotherhood of love [prokathemene tes agapes] The expression, as Funk rightly notes, is grammatically incompatible with the translation advocated by some non-Catholic writers, "pre-eminent in works of love".

    St. Irenaeus
    The same century gives us the witness of St. Irenaeus — a man who stands in the closest connection with the age of the Apostles, since he was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who had been appointed Bishop of Smyrna by St. John. In his work "Adversus Haereses" (III:3:2) he brings against the Gnostic sects of his day the argument that their doctrines have no support in the Apostolic tradition faithfully preserved by the Churches, which could trace the succession of their bishops back to the Twelve. He writes:

    Because it would be too long in such a volume as this to enumerate the successions of all the churches, we point to the tradition of that very great and very ancient and universally known Church, which was founded and established at Rome, by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul: we point I say, to the tradition which this Church has from the Apostles, and to her faith proclaimed to men which comes down to our time through the succession of her bishops, and so we put to shame . . . all who assemble in unauthorized meetings. For with this Church, because of its superior authority, every Church must agree — that is the faithful everywhere — in communion with which Church the tradition of the Apostles has been always preserved by those who are everywhere [Ad hanc enim eoclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quâ est ab apostolis traditio].

    He then proceeds to enumerate the Roman succession from Linus to Eleutherius, the twelfth after the Apostles, who then occupied the see. Non-Catholic writers have sought to rob the passage of its importance by translating the word convenire "to resort to", and thus understanding it to mean no more than that the faithful from every side (undique) resorted to Rome, so that thus the stream of doctrine in that Church was kept immune from error. Such a rendering, however, is excluded by the construction of the argument, which is based entirely on the contention that the Roman doctrine is pure by reason of its derivation from the two great Apostolic founders of the Church, Sts. Peter and Paul. The frequent visits made to Rome by members of other Christian Churches could contribute nothing to this. On the other hand the traditional rendering is postulated by the context, and, though the object of innumerable attacks, none other possessing any real degree of probability has been suggested in its place (see Dom. J. Chapman in "Revue Benedictine", 1895, p. 48).

    St. Victor
    During the pontificate of St. Victor (189-98) we have the most explicit assertion of the supremacy of the Roman See in regard to other Churches. A difference of practice between the Churches of Asia Minor and the rest of the Christian world in regard to the day of the Paschal festival led the pope to take action. There is some ground for supposing that the Montanist heretics maintained the Asiatic (or Quartodeciman) practice to be the true one: in this case it would be undesirable that any body of Catholic Christians should appear to support them. But, under any circumstances, such a diversity in the ecclesiastical life of different countries may well have constituted a regrettable feature in the Church, whose very purpose it was to bear witness by her unity to the oneness of God (John 17:21). Victor bade the Asiatic Churches conform to the custom of the remainder of the Church, but was met with determined resistance by Polycrates of Ephesus, who claimed that their custom derived from St. John himself. Victor replied by an excommunication. St. Irenaeus, however, intervened, exhorting Victor not to cut off whole Churches on account of a point which was not a matter of faith. He assumes that the pope can exercise the power, but urges him not to do so. Similarly the resistance of the Asiatic bishops involved no denial of the supremacy of Rome. It indicates solely that the bishops believed St. Victor to be abusing his power in bidding them renounce a custom for which they had Apostolic authority. It was indeed inevitable that, as the Church spread and developed, new problems should present themselves, and that questions should arise as to whether the supreme authority could be legitimately exercised in this or that case. St. Victor, seeing that more harm than good would come from insistence, withdrew the imposed penalty.

    Inscription of Abercius
    Not many years since a new and important piece of evidence was brought to light in Asia Minor dating from this period. The sepulchral inscription of Abercius, Bishop of Hierapolis (d. about 200), contains an account of his travels couched in allegorical language. He speaks thus of the Roman Church: "To Rome He [Christ] sent me to contemplate majesty: and to see a queen golden-robed and golden-sandalled." It is difficult not to recognize in this description a testimony to the supreme position of the Roman See.

    Tertullian
    Tertullian's bitter polemic, "De Pudicitia" (about 220), was called forth by an exercise of papal prerogative. Pope Callistus had decided that the rigid discipline which had hitherto prevailed in many Churches must be in large measure relaxed. Tertullian, now lapsed into heresy, fiercely attacks "the peremptory edict", which "the supreme pontiff, the bishop of bishops", has sent forth. The words are intended as sarcasm: but none the less they indicate clearly the position of authority claimed by Rome. And the opposition comes, not from a Catholic bishop, but from a Montanist heretic.

    St. Cyprian
    The views of St. Cyprian (d. 258) in regard to papal authority have given rise to much discussion. He undoubtedly entertained exaggerated views as to the independence of individual bishops, which eventually led him into serious conflict with Rome. Yet on the fundamental principle his position is clear. He attributed an effective primacy to the pope as the successor of Peter. He makes communion with the See of Rome essential to Catholic communion, speaking of it as "the principal Church whence episcopal unity had its rise" (ad Petri cathedram et ad ecclesiam principalem unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est).

    The force of this expression becomes clear when viewed in the light of his doctrine as to the unity of the Church. This was, he teaches, established by Christ when He founded His Church upon Peter. By this act the unity of the Apostolic college was ensured through the unity of the foundation. The bishops through all time form a similar college, and are bound in a like indivisible unity. Of this unity the Chair of Peter is the source. It fulfils the very office as principle of union which Peter fulfilled in his lifetime. Hence to communicate with an antipope such as Novatian would be schism (Epistle 66:1).

    He holds, also, that the pope has authority to depose an heretical bishop. When Marcian of Arles fell into heresy, Cyprian, at the request of the bishops of the province, wrote to urge Pope Stephen "to send letters by which, Marcian having been excommunicated, another may be substituted in his place" (Epistle 66:3). It is manifest that one who regarded the Roman See in this light believed that the pope possessed a real and effective primacy.

    At the same time it is not to be denied that his views as to the right of the pope to interfere in the government of a diocese already subject to a legitimate and orthodox bishop were inadequate. In the rebaptism controversy his language in regard to St. Stephen was bitter and intemperate. His error on this point does not, however, detract from the fact that he admitted a primacy, not merely of honour but of jurisdiction. Nor should his mistake occasion too much surprise. It is as true in the Church as in merely human institutions that the full implications of a general principle are only realized gradually. The claim to apply it in a particular case is often contested at first, though later ages may wonder that such opposition was possible.

    St. Dionysius of Alexandria
    Contemporary with St. Cyprian was St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Two incidents bearing on the present question are related of him.

    Eusebius (Church History VII.9) gives us a letter addressed by him to St. Xystus II regarding the case of a man who, as it appeared, had been invalidly baptized by heretics, but who for many years had been frequenting the sacraments of the Church. In it he says that he needs St. Xystus's advice and begs for his decision (gnomen), that he may not fall into error (dedios me hara sphallomai).

    Again, some years later, the same patriarch occasioned anxiety to some of the brethren by making use of some expressions which appeared hardly compatible with a full belief in the Divinity of Christ. They promptly had recourse to the Holy See and accused him to his namesake, St. Dionysius of Rome, of heretical leanings. The pope replied by laying down authoritatively the true doctrine on the subject.

    Both events are instructive as showing us how Rome was recognized by the second see in Christendom as empowered to speak with authority on matters of doctrine. (St. Athanasius, "De sententia Dionysii" in P.G., XXV, 500).

    Emperor Aurelian
    Equally noteworthy is the action of Emperor Aurelian in 270. A synod of bishops had condemned Paul of Samosata, Patriarch of Alexandria, on a charge of heresy, and had elected Domnus bishop in his place. Paul refused to withdraw, and appeal was made to the civil power. The emperor decreed that he who was acknowledged by the bishops of Italy and the Bishop of Rome, must be recognized as rightful occupant of the see. The incident proves that even the pagans themselves knew well that communion with the Roman See was the essential mark of all Christian Churches. That the imperial Government was well aware of the position of the pope among Christians derives additional confirmation from the saying of St. Cyprian that Decius would have sooner heard of the proclamation of a rival emperor than of the election of a new pope to fill the place of the martyred Fabian (Ep. 55:9).

    The limits of the present article prevent us from carrying the historical argument further than the year 300. Nor is it in fact necessary to do so. From the beginning of the fourth century the supremacy of Rome is writ large upon the page of history. It is only in regard to the first age of the Church that any question can arise. But the facts we have recounted are entirely sufficient to prove to any unprejudiced mind that the supremacy was exercised and acknowledged from the days of the Apostles.

    It was not of course exercised in the same way as in later times. The Church was as yet in her infancy: and it would be irrational to look for a fully developed procedure governing the relations of the supreme pontiff to the bishops of other sees. To establish such a system was the work of time, and it was only gradually embodied in the canons. There would, moreover, be little call for frequent intervention when the Apostolic tradition was still fresh and vigorous in every part of Christendom. Hence the papal prerogatives came into play but rarely. But when the Faith was threatened, or the vital welfare of souls demanded action, then Rome intervened. Such were the causes which led to the intervention of St. Dionysius, St. Stephen, St. Callistus, St. Victor, and St. Clement, and their claim to supremacy as the occupants of the Chair of Peter was not disputed.

    In view of the purposes with which, and with which alone, these early popes employed their supreme power, the contention, so stoutly maintained by Protestant controversialists, that the Roman primacy had its origin in papal ambition, disappears. The motive which inspired these men was not earthly ambition, but zeal for the Faith and the consciousness that to them had been committed the responsibility of its guardianship. The controversialists in question even claim that they are justified in refusing to admit as evidence for the papal primacy any pronouncement emanating from a Roman source, on the ground that, where the personal interests of anyone are concerned, his statements should not be admitted as evidence. Such an objection is utterly fallacious. We are dealing here, not with the statements of an individual, but with the tradition of a Church — of that Church which, even from the earliest times, was known for the purity of its doctrine, and which had had for its founders and instructors the two chief Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul. That tradition, moreover, is absolutely unbroken, as the pronouncements of the long series of popes bear witness.

    Nor does it stand alone. The utterances, in which the popes assert their claims to the obedience of all Christian Churches, form part and parcel of a great body of testimony to the Petrine privileges, issuing not merely from the Western Fathers but from those of Greece, Syria, and Egypt. The claim to reject the evidence which comes to us from Rome may be skilful as a piece of special pleading, but it can claim no other value. The first to employ this argument were some of the Gallicans. But it is deservedly repudiated as fallacious and unworthy by Bossuet in his "Defensio cleri gallicani" (II, 1. XI, c. vi).

    The primacy of St. Peter and the perpetuity of that primacy in the Roman See are dogmatically defined in the canons attached to the first two chapters of the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus":

    •"If anyone shall say that Blessed Peter the Apostle was not constituted by Christ our Lord as chief of all the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant: or that he did not receive directly and immediately from the same Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of true and proper jurisdiction, but one of honour only: let him be anathema."
    •"If any one shall say that it is not by the institution of Christ our Lord Himself or by divinely established right that Blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy over the universal Church, or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in this same primacy. — let him be anathema" (Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchiridion", nn. 1823, 1825).
    A question may be raised as to the precise dogmatic value of the clause of the second canon in which it is asserted that the Roman pontiff is Peter's successor. The truth is infallibly defined. But the Church has authority to define not merely those truths which form part of the original deposit of revelation, but also such as are necessarily connected with this deposit. The former are held fide divina, the latter fide infallibili.

    Although Christ established the perpetual office of supreme head, Scripture does not tell us that He fixed the law according to which the headship should descend. Granting that He left this to Peter to determine, it is plain that the Apostle need not have attached the primacy to his own see: he might have attached it to another.

    Some have thought that the law establishing the succession in the Roman episcopate became known to the Apostolic Church as an historic fact. In this case the dogma that the Roman pontiff is at all times the Church's chief pastor would be the conclusion from two premises — the revealed truth that the Church must ever have a supreme head, and the historic fact that St. Peter attached that office to the Roman See. This conclusion, while necessarily connected with revelation, is not part of revelation, and is accepted fide infallibili.

    According to other theologians the proposition in question is part of the deposit of faith itself. In this case the Apostles must have known the law determining the succession to the Bishop of Rome, not merely on human testimony, but also by Divine revelation, and they must have taught it as a revealed truth to their disciples. It is this view which is commonly adopted. The definition of the Vatican to the effect that the successor of St. Peter is ever to be found in the Roman pontiff is almost universally held to be a truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and by them transmitted to the Church.

    The below link has the full article which some might find interesting and informative:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

    The primacy is still there waiting to be filled by a validly ordained Catholic male above the age of reason.  That means one who is not a public heretic.  


    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 12:06:44 PM »
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  • You will notice in the definition it says the Pope is the "bishop" of Rome.

    Ratzinger, although a valid Priest, is not a Bishop.

    I believe a Priest can be validly elected, by non heretical cardinals, but if elected, it would be incumbent on him to be validly consecrated a Bishop; by a valid Bishop of course.

    Just one other thing, though somewhat incidental and peripheral to the Catholic Church’s teaching on the necessity of one to be Catholic in order to be the Head of the Catholic Church, shows what we are dealing with.
    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church


    Offline Belloc

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 12:16:19 PM »
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  • If one assumes that the SV position is correct-no valid Pope since 1958, the thing that sticks out is this:

    The longer this crisis goes on and the seat is vacant, one will be left to elect and, who is electable the longer this goes on?

    What valid priests are left-do they elect out of their ranks, like electing a new abbot? who then could consecrate said man a Bishop?

    How does the vetting go, to insure said man is sound and electable?

    (and yes, have heard about the Angelica Pope to come, Sts. Peter and Paul flashing light,etc)

    This is the boggle some of us have not in the SV opinion...
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 12:17:33 PM »
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  • "And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to "bind" and to "loose" — words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

    Who would dare to say that, that V "2", the new Sacraments, the new mass and the new "code of canon law" have received the Divine ratification?

    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Belloc

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 12:27:35 PM »
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  • true, but if someone could, address some of my last posts comments and questions if at all possible with time/space permitting......
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic


    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 12:36:51 PM »
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  • St. Clement
    The first witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit". The tone of authority which inspires the latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as "the first step towards papal domination" (Clement 1:70). Thus, at the very commencement of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head.

    Here we see, quite early, the necessity of submitting to the BISHOP of Rome.

    If you truly believe the v2 leaders are Popes you have to submit to them.
    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Belloc

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 12:39:48 PM »
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  • still, not getting to the heart of how to elect one and from where, if the seat is vacant 54 yrs and limited number of priests/bishops considered electable-and electors....

    Not trying to be dense, nor  :argue:, just trying to figure out options and plans.....

    good Father's quote, BTW-thanks for that  :cheers:
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #10 on: August 10, 2012, 01:03:34 PM »
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  • Quote from: Belloc
    If one assumes that the SV position is correct-no valid Pope since 1958, the thing that sticks out is this:

    The longer this crisis goes on and the seat is vacant, one will be left to elect and, who is electable the longer this goes on?

    What valid priests are left-do they elect out of their ranks, like electing a new abbot? who then could consecrate said man a Bishop?

    How does the vetting go, to insure said man is sound and electable?

    (and yes, have heard about the Angelica Pope to come, Sts. Peter and Paul flashing light,etc)

    This is the boggle some of us have not in the SV opinion...

    Here I find a sincere person without animosity.  This is quite refreshing.  

    First, before we try to figure out what to do about our situation we have to know what our situation is.  Once all of good will come to grasp that a valid Pope cannot be a public heretic and cannot bind incentives to impiety on the Church then we have to figure out what to do about it.

    The time of the Great Apostasy, the end times, are to be like no other times.  Our Lady said that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of the anti-Christ.  The Mystical Body of Christ goes through a death and Resurrection as well.  The faithful have a legitimate means to validly elect a valid Pope.  And there is a prophecy, which I have not studied, that has been approved by some Saint that says either Elijah or Elias or both will hand pick the next valid Pope.  

    Who is to say God would not do such a thing?

    The valid Catholic Bishops, yes the SSPX Bishops would certainly be welcome, can, I believe, elect a valid Pope.  They are not going to do it though, apart from some unforeseeable miracle.

    But this is all for consideration after the issue of the vacancy is settled.

    Our sensus Catholicus can only take us so far:

    These papal claimants:

    Promulgate and enforce:

    1.  A heretical council

    2.  Invalid Sacraments

    3.  A mass that is an incentive to impiety

    4.  Heretical canon law

    5.  And repeatedly teach heresy and engage in heretical acts.

    Therefore he cannot be Pope.

    That is as far as most of us can go.  But we should be able to go that far, if we have the means to study the topic.  I sometimes take for granted that everyone has a computer and the time to study the teaching on the topic.  Some have neither.

    But those on this blog would seem to have the means and basic sensus Catholicus to do so.  

    Now what to do about it is in the hands of God and our imperfect by hardworking clergy.  

    This is a punishment that we all deserve.  By "this" I mean the scarcity of a valid Mass and sacraments and the confusion that surrounds us due to the lack of clear teaching on faith and morals we need to hear but do not, all of which, is the result of our not having a Pope.

    Look at it from Satan's perspective.

    He cannot destroy the Church through Jesus, Mary or any of the Saints in Heaven.  The only way he could destroy it, and he KNOWS all there is to know about papal infallibility and the necissity of the Pope to unify the Church, the only way he can effectively "destroy" the Church is to get to the head.  He had to infiltrate the Church and have someone "elected" who would not be infallible, who would not be Pope.  That is the only way he could effectively lead billions astray over the course of time.  Once he got the Pope, everything else would come easy.  The only way that v2, invalid sacraments, impious mass, heretical cannon law, could be "bound" on the faithful by a "Pope" would be if a false-pope could be elected and accepted as a valid Pope.  

    We deserve this test and trial.  The Church in the 1950's was a white-washed tomb.  It was shiny and bright, but infested and filled with faithful that were merely going through the motions.  They did not study the faith because the figured that was the Priests problem.  They figured they could just go to Mass every week, fast at the right times, and go to Confession sometimes and they could walk into Heaven.  We were lethargic and Christ vomited us out of His mouth.

    We are reaping the fruits of that lethargy.  We were rightfully trained to be obedient to legitimate authority, for as Catholics we must.  Get an imposter in there, which we all think we must obey and Satan has got us.  The Church has been crucified but she will also rise.  Like Job, just about everything about her has be destroyed, but like Job, she will rise more glorious than before.  

    The laity need not figure out how we get our next Pope, so much as they need to understand that root cause that allowed the Apostasy to be unleashed upon us which is the vacancy of the Holy See.  Once we understand that we no longer have to be miffed at what the "Pope" is or is not doing and all the goings on within the "Church".  It is very important for us to understand that we must submit to the Roman Pontiff and to realize why, in order to stay Catholic, we cannot submit to Father Ratzinger, is because he is not Pope.

    Figuring out why God let's this happen or how it could happen, or what can be done about it comes afterwards.

    Does that make any sense my friend?

    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church


    Offline Lover of Truth

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #11 on: August 10, 2012, 01:09:10 PM »
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  • Quote from: Belloc
    still, not getting to the heart of how to elect one and from where, if the seat is vacant 54 yrs and limited number of priests/bishops considered electable-and electors....

    Not trying to be dense, nor  :argue:, just trying to figure out options and plans.....

    good Father's quote, BTW-thanks for that  :cheers:


    What do you think of the following articles:

    The below is a link to two brief articles:

    http://www.sedevacantist.com/elections.html

    This is the first article:

    http://www.sedevacantist.com/papalelections.html

    This is the second:

    http://www.sedevacantist.com/bellarm2.html

    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Belloc

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #12 on: August 10, 2012, 01:24:59 PM »
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  • To your first reply, yes, you make sense and are honest and clear in that....as we have had in the past anti-Popes or vacant seats, this present crisis has no precedant, so its a new "ball game"  if you will with solutions,etc....

    as for your second reply, need to read/reflect and study.....

    i agree with your statement "The Church in the 1950's was a white-washed tomb"

    many point to this time as "proof" of everything going great,etc-they list numbers, Churches and schools,etc growing.....but yes, very "on the surface" type of things......
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Belloc

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #13 on: August 10, 2012, 01:27:52 PM »
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  • still reading the articles, but I find Lucian Pulvermacher and the whole "election" thing very bizarre and rather protestant-like.

    Does he have many followers? out of the SV population, how many recognize him do you estimate?
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Nishant

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    An Objection to Sedevacantism: Perpetual Successors to Peter
    « Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 01:30:24 PM »
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  • Quote from: Lover of Truth
    I like your signature.  I was looking for that one myself.  


    Hello John. Yes, it's a statement he made on his deathbed that sums up St.Thomas, his profound humility inspite of his towering intellect, his complete confidence in the authority of the Church and his childlike faith in Christ till the end. He is truly the Prince of theologians and Doctors and a model for us lesser mortals who wish to study sacred doctrine.

    Quote
    Your anology is a good one and makes sense though it does not refute the argument. To refute it you would have to show where the Church has taught that there was some kind of limit to the duration.  But in case anyone would try to find such a teaching, I can save you some time by saying you will find no such teaching.


    Okay, but I don't accept this, because the idea that the Pope is someone non-essential to the continued propagation and growth of the Church strikes me as incorrect.

    I'd say that there is indeed a natural limit to an interregnum, but it comes from another Catholic principle.

    Quote from: Belloc
    If one assumes that the SV position is correct-no valid Pope since 1958, the thing that sticks out is this:


    Some think an election could be conducted by the Roman clergy in case of necessity, since it falls to them to elect him who would be Bishop of Rome, to which Bishopric the supreme pontificate is intrinsically attached. But most of these same theologians also held that an election accepted by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy is indubitably valid and must be regarded as such, for such universal acceptance is a sufficient, though not necessary, sign of a certain and valid election. Archbishop Lefebvre himself once cited this as the common teaching of theologians. Msgr. Noort lays out a similar idea.


    "Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic ... This is a statement I would sign in my blood." St. Montfort, Secret of the Rosary. I support the FSSP, the SSPX and other priests who work for the restoration of doctrinal orthodoxy and liturgical orthopraxis in the Church. I accept Vatican II if interpreted in the light of Tradition and canonisations as an infallible declaration that a person is in Heaven. Sedevacantism is schismatic and Ecclesiavacantism is heretical.

     

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