When one understands that Montini (False-pope paul 6) was to the Church what a bull is to a China shop, one gets an idea as to when and where it all went wrong. The China shop (Catholic Church) is still there, though significantly damaged, but the bull (Heretical V2 Church leaders) is not in charge of it and does not even belong in it. In fact, the further away from that China shop that Montini and his successors (the bulls) are the better. Having a bull run a China shop is worse than an Atheist running the Church (were such a thing possible). The bull smashes everything in existence while the Atheist goes around saying "that dish does not exist" and "that elegant piece is not there".
Can you imagine Jesus saying, "You are bull and on this bull I build my China shop"? Can you imagine Saint Peter, instead of guarding and preserving the faith, destroying everything about it he can? "But I'm the Rock, Jesus said." For the true Catholic, everything is good no matter how bad i.e. when we offer up our sufferings we can knock a block off our Purgatory time.
Not having a valid Pope, or in the eyes of the recognize and resisters, having a Pope that teaches errors and gives us a 'mass' (aka eucharistic celebration) we must avoid under the pain of mortal sin is bad, which is great for the true Catholic because now the true Catholic, realizing he has been fooled for years, taking stones to be bread, now must look at all the supposed bread the purported 'popes' have given him and compare this to what reliable Popes and other legitimate sources teach for a true understanding of the Faith which thereby makes him know and appreciate the true faith and liturgy better than he would have if alive during a time when the true Popes reigned.
A problem that many have with the idea of sedevacantism is that if the Pope does not proclaim heresy ex cathedra we must accept him as Pope.
To quote from a knowledgeable friend:
Fact is, most conservative Conciliars have been forced into the mistaken idea that everything must be ex cathedra or we are not obligated to accept the direction/instruction/ecclesial laws of a pope. Having made that error to excuse an heretical "pope," causes them to have inconsistencies in their theology as a whole.
Examples of inconsistent theology:
• "We must accept what the Pope teaches except when we shouldn't."
• "We must always obey the Pope except when we shouldn't."
This is no joke. This is an accurate summary of a sermon by a priest far more knowledgeable than I am (this is partly why we only go to Mass on Saturday). Of course, if a Pope were to give an evil command to individuals (stomp on that crucifix) as opposed to binding it on the whole Church it would be okay to disobey him and he would still be Pope. But this priest and many like him are talking about things he binds on the whole Church, which, if he were valid, our salvation would depend on our submission to him. Just minor things like the Mass, Ecumenical Council, Canon Law and Catholic doctrines. Pardon the sarcasm.
Below is just a sampling of the no nonsense words by true Popes whose proclamation were definitely infallible in their wording and intent for the Universal Church:
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (UNAM SANCTAM, Pope Boniface VIII) And in case you missed it: Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (UNAM SANCTAM, Pope Boniface VIII) Hence: Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (UNAM SANCTAM, Pope Boniface VIII) Or, to put it another way as true Popes have: No one at all, therefore, may infringe this document of our approbation, re-introduction, sanction, statute and derogation of wills and decrees, or by rash presumption contradict it. If anyone, however, should presume to attempt this, let him know that he is destined to incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. (CUM EX APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Paul IV)
Accordingly, no one whosoever is permitted to infringe or rashly contravene this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition. Should any person venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.(QUO PRIMUM, Pope St. Pius V)
We decree that these letters and all things contained therein shall not be liable at any time to be impugned or objected to by reason of fault or any other defect whatsoever of subreption or obreption of our intention, but are and shall be always valid and in force and shall be inviolably observed both juridically and otherwise, by all of whatsoever degree and preeminence, declaring null and void anything which, in these matters, may happen to be contrariwise attempted, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority or pretext, all things to the contrary notwithstanding. (APOSTOLICAE CURAE, Pope Leo XIII)
These things We proclaim, declare, and decree, all things to the contrary notwithstanding, even those worthy of special mention, and accordingly We will and order that in the Roman Pontifical they be clearly indicated. Let no man therefore infringe this Constitution which We have enacted, nor dare to contravene the same. (SACRAMENTUM ORDINIS, Pope Pius XII)
The above or just a sampling of no nonsense, no bull bulls, decrees, encyclicals and Apostolic Constitutions by true Popes.
Of course this needs to be understood with the proper distinctions, but if you be a Catholic, that has attained the age of reason, you best heed what has been decreed. This puts the SSPXers and all who recognize and resist the false 'pope/s', by going to a Mass, not approved by false pope's newchurch, out of the Ark and into a boat-load of trouble.
You cannot just dismiss this with a wave of the hand, for it is your soul that you will be dismissing!
Now ask yourself if the men who claim to be pope since the death of Pope Pius XII have contradicted any of the above and the answer is a resounding "YES!" Look further and see what they would or have incurred: the WRATH of Almighty God! Wouldn't want to be in their shoes. Bad enough to have Sts. Peter and Paul mad at you, but God Himself. Ouch!
So what do we have to go on to be so rash as to "judge a pope"? Ah, there's the rub. We submit to the holy cardinal and Doctor of the Church St. Robert Bellarmine in his work De Summo Pontifice (On the Roman Pontiff), Book 2, Chapter 30 and translated by John Daly at Sede Vacante
"This principle is most certain. The non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits (ib. c. 26). The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member; now he who is not a Christian is not a member of the Church, and a manifest heretic is not a Christian, as is clearly taught by St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2), St. Athanasius (Scr. 2 cont. Arian.), St. Augustine (lib. de great. Christ. cap. 20), St. Jerome (contra Lucifer.) and others; therefore the manifest heretic cannot be Pope."
What else can we decipher from the above? Fathers F.Xavier Wernz, S.J. and P. Vidal, S.J. write in Jus Canonicum in 1938, Chapter VII on what the Doctor of Trent asserted in De Summo Pontifice regarding when the power of the Roman Pontiff ceases? Ah, let us share that with you, again translated by John Daly:
453. By heresy which is notorious and openly made known. The Roman Pontiff should he fall into it is by that very fact even before any declaratory sentence of the Church deprived of his power of jurisdiction. Concerning this matter there are five Opinions of which the first denies the hypothesis upon which the entire question is based, namely that a Pope even as a private doctor can fall into heresy. This opinion although pious and probable cannot be said to be certain and common. For this reason the hypothesis is to be accepted and the question resolved.
A second opinion holds that the Roman Pontiff forfeits his power automatically even on account of occult heresy. This opinion is rightly said by Bellarmine to be based upon a false supposition, namely that even occult heretics are completely separated from the body of the Church... The third opinion thinks that the Roman Pontiff does not automatically forfeit his power and cannot be deprived of it by deposition even for manifest heresy. This assertion is very rightly said by Bellarmine to be "extremely improbable".
The fourth opinion, with Suarez, Cajetan and others, contends that a Pope is not automatically deposed even for manifest heresy, but that he can and must be deposed by at least a declaratory sentence of the crime. "Which opinion in my judgment is indefensible" as Bellarmine teaches.
Finally, there is the fifth opinion - that of Bellarmine himself - which was expressed initially and is rightly defended by Tanner and others as the best proven and the most common. For he who is no longer a member of the body of the Church, i.e. the Church as a visible society, cannot be the head of the Universal Church. But a Pope who fell into public heresy would cease by that very fact to be a member of the Church. Therefore he would also cease by that very fact to be the head of the Church.
Indeed, a publicly heretical Pope, who, by the commandment of Christ and the Apostle must even be avoided because of the danger to the Church, must be deprived of his power as almost all admit. But he cannot be deprived by a merely declaratory sentence...
Wherefore, it must be firmly stated that a heretical Roman Pontiff would by that very fact forfeit his power. Although a declaratory sentence of the crime which is not to be rejected in so far as it is merely declaratory would be such that the heretical Pope would not be judged, but would rather be shown to have been judged.
Now that we have established that a public heretic cannot be pope, let's delve into what constitutes a public heretic and the confusion that has arisen from the material/formal argument.
A PUBLIC HERETIC
Webster's first definition of Public is "exposed to public view".
A heretic who is not an occult heretic is a public heretic. One is a public heretic if his heresies are known or knowable (not hidden, private or secret such as being written in a diary).
We live in a world where the truth is considered a lie and lies are truth, this is the case for the vast majority (I'm not talking qualified theologians here) of people in existence, which includes professed non-Catholics, those in the conciliar Church and traditionalists. So people (those who are paying attention) can be immersed in heretical teachings and not notice, but their not being able to smell a heresy when it is right under their nose, does not unheresy (I have a spell-check, Webster has not accepted my suggestions for new words yet) a heresy, nor does it make such a public heresy unpublic. The heresy is still a heresy plain and simple.
Many know through basic Catholic truth that Father Ratzinger (False-pope benedict xvi) teaches heresy as did his Vatican II predecessors. It is not just the sedevacantists that know this but most of the traditional non-sedevacantists and many of the conciliarists, who know the Catholic Faith and acknowledge and admit that the apostasy begins from the head, but do not or will not draw the logical, sainted and defined conclusion of this fact. Therefore to say that the majority of people have to know it is a heresy before he can be considered a public heretic is relativistic thinking. To depend upon the majority of conciliarists to care, let alone know about it, is making the truthfulness of truth dependent on whether the majority of people know truth or not, it becomes another meaningless term subject to the whims of society.
This reminds me of the supposedly thought-provoking question that asks whether a tree falling in the woods makes a sound if no one hears it. There is no mystery to that. It makes the same sounds it makes when people do hear it. But the tree in question would be a "private" sounder rather than a "public" one. And the world could safely go on as if that tree did not make a sound. Father Ratzinger can sing in the shower, "Limbo does not exist, infants do not have to be baptized, all religions or no religion at all saves, the Bible teaches error" with great glee and excitement, but this would not be to the detriment of the visible unity of the Catholic Church.
However...his public heresies are a detriment to the Church and in fact contrary to what a valid Pope can do. This Divine Law should be known and understood, but isn't, because as mentioned before, the world is immersed in error.
So now we arrive at that great conundrum that vexes so many today.
In all my readings of all the Doctors and theologians before V2 I have not come across anyone insisting that in order for a purported Pope to lose his office (if he ever held it in the first place) he must be a formal heretic. If there are any that appear to have given credence to this distinction (I would like to see it), it would be a rarity and would seemingly make all the rest appear careless for "leaving out" such an important distinction.
Unfortunately, modern writers in the traditional movement have thrown this stipulation into the mix. For the "recognize and resisters" it is just another wrench to throw into the sedevacantist wheel of truth to prevent the faithful from facing reality and taking the next step which is getting a Catholic Pope. But I believe there are sincere sedevantists themselves who assume this to be the case. One who teaches heresy is not fit to hold ecclesiastical office, regardless of his culpability. His culpability pertains to his damnability but not to his ability to hold ecclesiastical office. If a drunk driver does not see me standing in the middle of the road and runs me over, I'm just as much run over as I would be if someone did it on purpose, neither the drunk driver or the murderer can be trusted to guide the car safely to its destination.
Therefore, if a purported pope is a public heretic he is not valid matter to run the Church whether he realizes it or not, lest he make a mockery of the promises of Christ. But for those who insist that a purported Pope must be a formal heretic before he loses his office I present the following:
So according to the correct usage of the term, as outlined above, a Catholic can never become a material heretic. He is not invincibly ignorant of the Church's authority, and any conscious dissent from her teachings will therefore make him a formal heretic. Material heretics are exclusively those baptised non-Catholics who err in good faith. That is why Dr Ludwig Ott notes that "public heretics, even those who err in good faith (material heretics), do not belong to the body of the Church, that is to the legal commonwealth of the Church. (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p.311)
Although I do not have to show that Father Ratzinger is a formal heretic in order to prove the sedevacantist finding, I will do so anyway for the objector. Let's face it, not only is Father Ratzinger not ignorant of what the preconciliar Popes have taught but he considers himself to be more enlightened than they are. Any theologian worth his salt will teach that heresy is often the result of pride. A pride that thinks one knows more than everyone else. All teachers of heresy, if not intellectually dishonest, believe they are right. And if Father Ratzinger is right about what he teaches then the true Popes were wrong. Who in their right mind believes the Popes from Peter through Pius XII were wrong? Right. My point is well taken then.
We are not reading Ratzinger's mind to be aware of this fact as, in addition to taking the Oath Against Modernism several times, which makes him swear not to teach what he constantly teaches, he contradicts previous Papal writings he has read, such as the Syllabus of Errors by Pope Pius IX. Father Ratzinger consciously dissents from the Catholic Church's teachings because he has been made aware of the Church's teachings (in addition to knowing them anyway) and not only continues to dissent but teaches the opposite.
Since we can only judge externals we see that one is a heretic by his words and/or actions and judge him to be so. So if you claim that Father Ratzinger (B16) is a Catholic, you admit that he must be a formal heretic. But if you insist that he is a material heretic, you admit that he is not a Catholic at all.
Are you with me? Okay. But remember, a public heretic cannot be Pope. And a non-Catholic cannot be Pope. This is a round about way of saying a public heretic (whether formal or material) cannot be Pope.
So claiming that Father Ratzinger does not know he contradicts what the Church has always taught is laughable on its face.
Why? Because trying to decipher whether any individual is a formal or material heretic, unless this is made to be obvious somehow, is doing what only God can do, judge the inner motives and reasonings of a soul. This is why the ultimate conclusion is not based on a man's culpability but rather whether his heresies are public or not, so long as he has been made aware that he contradicts what the Church teaches at least twice and this has been done in the case of Father Ratzinger, countless times, throughout his clerical life.
Keep in mind that Sedevacantists are not declaring they know the state of his soul, as the "recognize and resisters" would insist we must do, but merely showing the impossibility of such a one to legitimately hold ecclesiastical office. A "public heretic" and a "Pope" is a contradiction of terms. This should be obvious, but Satan and our own warped nature have the world so confused that we no longer know which way is up.
Also a material heretic when confronted with the fact that what he teaches contradicts what the Catholic Church has always taught, becomes either a Catholic by accepting that teaching or a formal heretic by rejecting it as Father Ratzinger has done. But again, we do not even have to prove he is a formal heretic, but only a public heretic, which has been done, since if he were a private heretic, we would not be talking about his heresies and trying to figure out what that means for the Church and her visible unity of faith.
In summation, a public heretic, whether formal or material, has to be avoided and must not be acknowledged as head or even as a member of the Church. To do otherwise would be to admit that the gates of Hell can prevail and that the Rock upon which Christ built His Church can be the very Rock that destroys it.
In my next installment I will delve further on public heresy, specifically in the case of teaching and circulating heresy and what the Angelic Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas says about such.