The text you posted on page 4 (thank you for doing so) refers to a possibility of refusing the bad acts of a pope. This seems to be the SSPX position. But it only does so in one small line. Of course, prayer is necessary also. However the article seems to stress prayer as the only remedy. I wish he would have elaborated on practical suggestions in the meantime.
Hello StevusMagnus! Long time no, uh, write(?)!
Msgr. Journet treated the question as a tangential point in his treatise, and the ultimate remedy is prayer indeed. However, he (nor did any other theologian) ever imagine that the Roman Pontiff could ever actively abet and systematically implement a "new economy" of salvation devised by the modernists who sought to undermine the depositum fidei
entrusted to the Church of Christ.
The sedevacantists endeavor to explain that by positing that the leaders of the Johannine-Pauline structure have lapsed into formal heresy properly so-called and have lost legitimate claim to the primacy.
However, different sedevacantists interpret what exactly that entails in different and sundry ways. Amongst them, there have been some who have expressed themselves in such wise so as to promote theological errors in an attempt to answer the anti-sedevacantists' objections.
One recent example is found in those sedevacantists who would make their clerici acephali
and epicopi vagantes
as the duly appointed hierarchy of the Church of Christ, as if ordinary jurisdiction and formal Apostolcity can be claimed without the Roman Pontiff in the equation. This is an attempt to address the serious objection that sedevacantism subverts the perpetuity of the visible structure of the Church as Christ Himself has established it.
In order for the sedevacantists to logically posit their self-appointed clergy as constituting the Ecclesia docens
, they must first demonstrate and prove:
(1) precisely how
the occupants of the Johannine-Pauline structures cannot claim to constitute the Ecclesia docens
(2) precisely how
the occupants of the Johannine-Pauline structures lapsed away from the Catholic and divine faith into formal heresy, properly so-called;
(3) what precisely in the documents of the Johannine-Pauline council can be said to constitute the "Œconomia nova" of the modernists, by identifying the heresies and errors thereof and demonstrating what theological label is to designate these propositions (according to the methodology of the eminent theologians whom Holy Mother Church has proposed to us as our teachers and guides in these matters);
(4) they must demonstrate the theological, moral and Canonical ramifications of the deliberate and contumacious adherence of these propositions of the Johannine-Pauline council, both as regards to the Bishops of the time and to the laity and clergy who remain materially adhered to the structures that were brought forth by the Johannine-Pauline council and its modernist proponents;
(5) how exactly are we to contextualize these occurrences to the doctrines of Holy Mother Church as set forth in the Encyclical letters of the Roman Pontiffs, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the approved theologians of the illustrious schools; and
(6) why does it necessitate positing the conglomerate and acephalous clerics of the anti-modernist resistance as constituting the Ecclesia docens
, and what are the criteria whereby the faithful may readily identify who exactly amongst these same clerics to be ascribed the "hierarchical claim" and how these clerics are to "exercise" such a claim (for example, what prevents one from ascribing such "hierarchical claim" to Bp. Pivarunas, but denying it to Bp. Slupski, or how can the faithful determine who are the charlatans and frauds, such as Ryan "St. Anne" Scott?).
Numbers one through five have been done by individual apologists (whether clerical or lay), or groups thereof, but not in a systematic manner, much less according to the strict scholastic methods of inquiry as seen in how theologians such as Franzelin, Van Noort, Scheeben, Garrigou-Lagrange, Tanquerey, Fenton, &c., present sacred doctrine in their manuals and commentaries. As one sedevacantist has written:
There is no "complete" published sedevacantist theory except the Guerardian one (and even that has not been published in any language than French, and even in French it was not put into a systematic form and published in a volume, but rather it appeared scattered throughout issues of a journal). Yet non-sedevacantists are attacked for failing to adopt "sedevacantism". This only needs to be stated for its absurdity to be immediately apparent. Can any reasonable and just man condemn another for refusing to accept a theory which, as far as he can see, involves the denial that the Church has a hierarchy? Can anybody really be condemned for not adopting a theory which nobody has even bothered to present in a professional and complete form?
Number six essentially constitutes the controversy in question, and it has become a public controversy now because of the contumacy of certain polemicists who have made novel theories in prejudice to sound theology.
In order for such sedevacantists as the aforementioned polemicists to evade the censure of theological error or of being "rash," they have to methodically and systematically present the predicament of the Church in the present day according to the teachings and methods of Thomistic philosophy and theology. They cannot just pretend the Johannine-Pauline structures do not exist or have relevance, because millions of Catholics adhere to them in good faith, and immune from danger of formal heresy according to the promise of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima in the third portion of the great "Secret."
For to posit that the conglomerate of acephalous and vagrant clergy in the anti-modernist resistance is to be identified as the Ecclesia docens
is equivalent to stating categorically and unequivocally that the "traditionalist movement" is
the Church (not just a portion thereof), and that the Johannine-Pauline structures necessarily impute the guilt of formal heresy unto those who adhere to them, without due consideration of the great obfuscation of the present age whereby millions of Catholics yet remain deluded and led astray without guilt of their own.
Furthermore, positing that the the conglomerate of acephalous and vagrant clergy in the anti-modernist resistance is to be identified as the Ecclesia docens
would indeed invest them with "executive responsibility" for what has been happening with the Church for the past decades: including everything from the Johannine-Pauline council, to the sex abuse scandals and the conspiracy to conceal these crimes, to the immorality rampant and encouraged at such events as the "Youth Days" or whatever they are called, &c.
For, if these clerics have been "sent" by some sort of missio extraordinaria
, and have been endowed with the necessary power and jurisdiction: why would Christ make this hierarchy (sic
) of His Church so powerless, divided, and enfeebled so as to allow the damnation of millions upon millions of Catholics who have defected into modernism or lapsed away from the faith in the Johannine-Pauline structures?
Or is the responsibility of these clerics limited to the faithful who attend their chapels and give them stipends? If so, how can their missio
be universal and pertain to the entirety of the Church of Christ (both the Latin Occident and the Churches of the Orient)? How can these sedevacantists say that their interpretation of things does not lead to a cult?
This is how problematic the so-called "hierarchical claim" of the traditionalist clerics truly is. It is not helping the anti-modernist resistance, nor does it vindicate sedevacantism in any way. On the contrary, it is inherently subversive not only to sedevacantism, but to the entire resistance against the Johannine-Pauline structures.
For in positing these ecclesiological errors, sedevacantists such as the aforementioned polemicists incur the censure of Cajetan as cited by Msgr. Journet
The Church of the Word Incarnate: An Essay of Speculative Theology[/i] (trans. A.H.C. Downes; London: Sheed and Ward, 1954), pg. 411n]During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, says Cajetan, the universal Church is in an imperfect state; she is like an amputated body, not an integral body. "The Church is acephalous, deprived of her highest part and power. Whoever contests that falls into the error of John Hus―who denied the need of a visible ruler for the Church―condemned in advance by St. Thomas, then by Martin V at the Council of Constance. And to say that the Church in this state holds her power immediately from Christ and that the General Council represents her, is to err intolerably" (De Comparatione etc., cap. vi., 74). Here are the seventh and the twenty-seventh propositions of John Hus condemned at the Council of Constance: "Peter neither is nor ever was the head of the Holy Catholic Church"; "There is nothing whatsoever to show that the spiritual order demands a head who shall continue to live and endure with the Church Militant" (Denz. 633 and 653).The anti-sedevacantists could make the argument that such polemicists as those in question expose "sedevacantism" as theologically untenable by subscribing to the condemned twenty-seventh proposition of John Hus.
Moreover, the twenty-eighth proposition seems to be blueprint of the so-called "Apostolic Church" that these sedevacantists have devised: "Christ through His true disciples scattered through the world would rule His Church better without such monstrous heads," Christus sine talibus monstruosis capitibus per suos veraces discipulos sparsos per orbem terrarum melius suam Ecclesiam regularet" (Denz., no. 654). And there have been sedevacantists who have lamented the dogmatic definition of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff by the Vatican Council (Session IV, 18 July 1870) in the Constitution Pastor aeternus as the "preparation" for the present day ecclesiastical crisis; ironically echoing the Jansenists and Gallicanists that preceded them.
Ultimately, this renders such sedevacantists' opinion the very "sedevacantism" (to speak anachronistically) that John Hus himself professed, as his twentieth proposition seems to show: "If the Pope is wicked and especially if he is foreknown, then as Judas, the Apostle, he is of the devil, a thief, and a son of perdition, and he is not the head of the holy militant Church, since he is not a member of it," "Si Papa est malus et praesetim, si est praescitus, tunc ut Iudas apostolus est diaboli, fur, et filius perditionis, et non est caput sanctae militantis Ecclesiae, cum nec sit membrum eius" (Denz., no. 646). For if these so-called apologists of the sedevacantist camp adopt an ecclesiology that hearkens to the errors of John Hus, there may be a legitimate objection that posits the possibility that "sedevacantism" as interpreted by these polemicists is ultimately a revival of the Hussite heresies.
In making the acephalous and vagrant clergy the Ecclesia docens, such theorists are devising an "Œconomia nova" of their own, wherein this sort of "sedevacantism" brings forth a new abominatio in desolationem (cf. Dan. cap. xi., 31, cap. xii., 11), or, rather, a new abominatio desolationis (cf. Dan. cap. ix., 27, S. Matt. cap. xxiv., 15, S. Marc. cap. xiii., 14): not only a Church without a Pope, but a Church that has no need of a Pope to have a hierarchy that can claim Apostolic succession formaliter and ordinary jurisdiction. A new and vile form of fideicide that brings about scandal and error in a manner analogous to the Hegelian historicist "dogmatics" of the modernists and their Johannine-Pauline structures.
The sickening and heart-rending irony of the tragic errors of such sedevacantists as those who Missal-sift (whilst condemning the SSPX for "Pope-sifting") is that they, in their endeavors to expose the Johannine-Pauline anti-liturgy as ushering in the "abomination of desolation," have themselves ushered in another "abomination of desolation" - a Church that not only is bereft of a Pope, but has no need of one to function.
The explanation of the crisis presently assailing Holy Mother Church, commonly known as "sedevacantism" in the discourse of traditional Catholics of the day, is a very complex, polymorphous thing. I, however, refuse to avail myself of theological error and even heresy in resisting the Johannine-Pauline novelties.
To be frank, I myself have been in a sort of "suspended animation" on account of the problematic and labyrinthine ramifications and implications of sedevacantism, and have been in the process of critically reviewing the ecclesiological orientation that informs certain interpretations of sedevacantism.
After much prayer, study and discussion, I can definitively state:
If I would be compelled to give a name to the stance to which I subscribe - though I am loathe to be compartmentalized by a label - I reckon that it would have to be docta ignorantia
(thanks, Nicholas of Cusa!).
In light of the liturgical abuses of certain acephalous and vagrant clerics of the sedevacantist persuasion, and beholding the principles pertaining to the Sacred Canons, the notes of the Church, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, &c., woefully misunderstood and abused by the lay followers of these clerics, I cannot identify myself with the sedevacantist persuasion in the same manner
So, some things have changed since we last met here, Stevus.
Time has a way of doing that...