With this week being the Week of Church Unity Octave, I wanted to treat this subject from a point of view of one obstacle that is preventing unity with true members of the True Church and that is the misconceptions that have been created over the whole issue of sedevacantism. Those raising these arguments do not realize that the true sedevacantist is often the one most dedicated to true unity. Little do they realize that anti-sedevacantists and sedeplenists are really hindering unity and enabling the very barbarians who have ransacked Holy Mother Church from within. I often pray three times a day (before Mass, after Communion and after Mass) for certain intentions - one of which is "unity within the Church".
I got to thinking after praying for this intention daily for around 15 years that maybe praying for "unity within the Church" was technically possibly theologically unsound for the Church, by definition, is ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic so she - in her official capacity - MUST be unified. In that vein I asked a priest, whose work I admire very much, whether or not it is improper to pray for "unity within the Church" and about praying for "the intentions of the Church and what the meaning of those intentions are" as being unified with our supreme head is of utmost importance for unity within the Church in my estimation.
The following was his response:
While we believe that one of the four marks of the Church is unity, this refers to Her unity of Faith and doctrine and worship throughout the world. It does NOT mean that all members of the Church are united in purpose and desire -- for holiness, the spread of the Gospel, for the conversion of sinners, for like-mindedness in practicing the Catholic Faith and so forth.
Knowing all this, yes it is important, and even necessary that we pray for unity among the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, as well as a return to the unity of the fold by those who are outside the Church.
I believe we can make this important intention for unity when praying the Rosary, while assisting at Mass, as we receive Holy Communion and so forth.
You'll note this priest correctly said to pray for a return to the unity of the fold by those who are outside the Church. Surely that number has swollen from what it was in 1958 for with the apostasy of Vatican II, the great majority of sheep followed the false shepherds into schism and apostasy even if they didn't realize it. The same happened in England with King Henry VIII except that Rome at that time stood firm to the Deposit of Faith and would not compromise. Today we have modern Rome as taking the infamous and notorious British monarch's stance. Such apostasy has led to realizing what Holy Mother Church states on the possibility and plausibility of sedevacantism. This, of course, means the Chair of Peter is empty of a true Pope for a heretic would cease to be Pope as wise and holy theologians have determined and the Magisterium has concurred.
&bnsp; This brings up the status today of an extended interregnum, that being the time between authentic reigning popes during which time the chair is vacant, hence: sedevacantism. In light of this, during such an interregnum as we are experiencing, is it right to pray for "the intentions of Holy Mother the Church" or should we merely pray for "Holy Mother the Church"? Up to this I point I have been saying, "For Holy Mother Church and for her intentions" to gain the indulgence for praying the Rosary.
It has become the practice during this extended interregnum to pray for the intentions of the Church in order to fulfill the conditions for the gaining indulgences.
In general, the intentions of the Church are the intentions of Christ Himself: the salvation of souls, the conversion of sinners and the spread of the Gospel message throughout the world. By the way, we say these are the same intentions the pope has when we pray for his intentions.
Indeed there is no salvation outside the Church and separation from Peter is separation from Christ. With these facts in mind I once asked, in a previous article, what the result would be when one "united one's self to a heretic?" This would mean my salvation depended on my loyalty to so and so. This loyalty entails accepting all that he teaches ex officio (false ecumenism, separation of Church and state, worshiping with heretics, universal Salvationism), submitting to all of his disciplines which he decrees in his official capacity (heretics can receive Communion, fast for 15 minutes before Mass starts, meat on Friday is fine) and following the road he lays before me regarding my sanctification as head of the Universal Church and the representative of Christ, which would mean that I would go to and unquestionably accept the new mass and the new sacraments. This would seem to be an odd question were it not for the fact that the putative heads of the purported ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - otherwise known as the Novus Ordo - consistently teach and act in a way that is erroneous and quite frankly in my opinion and in the opinion of dependable, sound and holy theologians from previous true Popes to saints and cardinals - heretical.
As I have become 100% convinced that the ONE true Church is indefectible when she teaches, rules or sanctifies in her official capacity based upon the doctrines of the Church and the opinions of orthodox canon lawyers, Doctors of the Church and other pre-conciliar theologians and Saints I ultimately started to wonder about the guy that claims to be the head of the ONE true Church. At the time the person went under the alias of John Paul the second. But my question would be just a pertinent now as it would be 40 years ago for John XXIII and Paul VI.
Finally being convinced that the pre-Vatican II Church and the Vatican II church were polar opposites, I wanted to debate those who are generally more knowledgeable than I am in regards to the Faith on this topic that is so scandalous to the ignorant. After all, what is more pertinent to Church Unity than truly knowing what Holy Mother Church has always taught. If it were true then, it is certainly true today and that would make what has been promulgated since as false and apostate, ergo NOT Catholic. If it is not Catholic, then the man leading this apostate collective cannot be Catholic, let alone a true Vicar of Christ representing the Son of God and His Church on earth.
In my quest to allow the Holy Ghost to illuminate otherwise outstanding Catholics in both their understanding of the faith and in their putting it into action I began to raise the issue with them and these were some of the responses I received regarding the mere possibility that we have not had a valid pope for over 40 years.
1. Blogs are bad
2. You can't trust the internet
3. Don't trust laymen
4. Don't trust arm-chair theologians
5. You have to read documents in the original Latin in order to really understand them
6. Sedevacantism is dangerous
7. Sedevacantism puts you on thin ice
8. Sedevacntism leads to Feeneyism
9. Don't teach opinion as if it were dogma
10. God would never allow such a thing to happen
11. The interregnum has been too long (it has never happened before)
As compelling as these arguments may seem on the surface, I, a lowly laymen - not even worthy of a title such as "Arm-chair theologian" would like to venture a response.
1. Blogs are Bad
I can't say that I disagree with the idea that "blogs are bad" as I personally see little use for them. That being said, sometimes good conversation amongst intelligent men can lead to a deeper understanding of truth. I have heard from otherwise knowledgeable traditionalists that the idea of a "deeper understanding of truth" is faulty. In my opinion St. Thomas Aquinas, during his life on earth had a deeper understanding of truth than I do now. We both have the truth. We both believe in God. But his understanding of God was more deep and profound than my understanding of Him. If one cannot have a deeper understanding of truth based upon additional knowledge I stand condemned and recant my error. This is especially true if the head of the blog site is not biased to the point of blocking out completely opinions that go against that of his own.
From what little experience I have on blogs, I would have to say they can be indeed a waste of time as it is a format to display one's grand ego and to see who can belittle the other with personal insults the most. There is meaning to "Pride goeth before the fall."
That being said I do not see how "blogs being bad" is a convincing argument against sedevacantism. So there is no objection to refute here, despite the sedephobia that is so prevalent on some blogs because of ignorance to Church Doctrine and Canon Law - so much so that rather than being open to studying or discussing, they merely blackball one as a "bleep."
2. You Can't Trust the Internet
Hmm. You mean to say if I read a papal encyclical from a legitimate pontiff on the internet that I cannot trust it because it is on the internet? Does this change if I print it out and read it on a piece of paper? Do you see how outlandish generalizing can be?
I will certainly agree that you cannot trust everything that is on the internet. But to use that as an argument against sedevacantism seems to be taking that point a bit too far wouldn't you say? I mean if you read what orthodox theologians, Doctors and Popes have said to the issue on the internet does that mean that these orthodox theologians are less orthodox, or that the Doctors of the Church are less than a doctor of the Church or that a former Pontiff is less of a Pontiff? Many of the same people that say don't trust the internet in regards to sedevacantism absorb all they can get from the internet if the source is the SSPX. Think about it. The SSPX, for all practical purposes, is the "pope" for the vast majority of traditionalists as any opinion of the SSPX on any issue is taken to be de fide by their followers.
Granted the SSPX is far more orthodox than the Novus Ordo façade but the sedevacantists such as the CMRI and the SSPV are the most orthodox and by a considerable amount when it comes to being realistic about the validity of the new Sacraments, new Mass, new Popes, new consecrations of bishops, new canon law and new annulments are they not? The non and anti-sedevacantists that are (traditional) authentic Catholics agree with the rest of the faithful remnant on what is wrong with "the Church" but they refuse to get to the source of why what has been wrong with that Church has been wrong for these past 40 and 50 years and that leads to their tying themselves in knots and contradicting themselves when it comes to a rational discussion on authority, obedience to legitimate authority, the definition of the Papacy - what a pope can teach and bind and enforce in his official capacity and what he cannot.
The non-sedvacantist and the anti-sedevacantists, as Father Anthony Cekeda so beautifully points out, turn their leader into a cardboard pope - just some guy you can and should ignore and disobey. The sedevacantist has much more respect for the Papacy than does the sedeplenist of our day as the sedevacantist would not have the papacy be the joke which the SSPX and other sedeplenist traditionalists have the papacy to be when they insist that heretics are legitimate popes.
The sedeplenist of our day would have us believe that the putative pope could teach or approve (in his official capacity) error on faith and morals. The sedeplenist would have us believe that their putative pontiff can bind - in his official capacity - an evil liturgy on the faithful. The sedeplenist of our day would have us believe that their putative leader - which they refuse to follow can bind disciplines - in his official capacity - on us that do not improve our sanctity. The sedeplenist of our day would have us believe that the presumed representative of CHRIST HIMSELF on earth can bind canon law on the faithful that allows heretics to receive the Sacrament of unity - Holy Communion.
And so it is that the sedevacantists - to use a word of an anti-sedevacantist - are the "whackos". Have I missed something here or is it the sedeplenist of our day that have put themselves in position to believe some rather whacko ideas about the Vicar of Christ?
3. Don't Trust Laymen
Take that Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey!!! How dare you share your opinions with us being merely laymen? As a matter a fact I believe our parents crossed a line when they tried to teach us anything. Pardon my facetiousness but the advice of sedeplenists goes a little over-board sometimes in my opinion. 90% of traditional websites and print publications are run by lay people, dedicated laymen and women who have no ulterior motive but to help souls see the clarity of the True Faith in black and white. Who was it that kept the Faith alive during past crisis in the Church? Yep, you guessed it: Laymen and women. They were there to help the Saint Athanasiuses and Saint Basils and other holy saints who were isolated and exiled because they dared to stand for Christ without compromise. Who would you trust? Cardinals (sic) Ratzinger, Kasper, Levada, Mahony, Law, and the whole wretched bunch...or laypeople who truly care? If you can't answer that, you really haven't a clue.
4. Don't Trust Arm-chair Theologians
Here is the trick. If any layman says anything you disagree with call him an arm-chair theologian and hopefully your audience will be stupid enough to think his credibility has been ipso facto undermined.
Don't get me wrong; there is a legitimate point here to be made. There are indeed many self-proclaimed (at least by the way they act and present themselves) theologians who seem to make a doctrine of their opinion and have not been as educated in their theology, philosophy and Latin as say, the novus ordo apparatchiks of Vatican 2. The novus ordo priests (sic) and bishops (sic) of our day, all enabled by John XXXIII, Paul VI, the JP's, and Ratzinger. Yes, better to listen to those more acquainted with theology wouldn't you say? That being said, the arm-chair theologian point is somewhat legitimate though not in regards to undermining the sedevacantist position per se but in regards to any position whatsoever in theology. Chris Ferrara, Karl Keating, Scott Hahn and Robert Sungenis come to mind here. I do not know if these men, all of whom I have admired at one time, are arm-chair theologians or legitimate theologians. Either way my point - it is not so much who says what, but what is said and how what is said shines in the light of Sacred Tradition - is proven. They all talk a good game, but when push comes to shove, each one of them will avoid any debate with Gerry Matatics, Father Cekada or Dr. Droleskey. Why? The sedeplenists and anti-sedevacantists know they're in over their heads because they've painted themselves into a corner and the only way out is admitting to sedevacantism, but their pride prevents them for fear of admitting that they had been wrong. So what! Dr. Droleskey admitted it and the more who do will be admired because sincerity and honesty are the greatest barometer for trust.
That being said isn't it a matter of fact according to scripture that the humble will confound the wise? It is the humble, in my opinion, that are better able to grasp the truth during great times of confusion; the humble who pray frequently before the Blessed Sacrament and attend the most Holy Mass daily and the Sacrament of Penance weekly who have put themselves in a position to gain the infused knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the holy illiterates that came before us from the Apostles through Saint John Marie Vianney.
The important point here is not who says what but what in fact is said. Don't judge the person but rather critically analyze the words the person speaks.
5. You Have To Read Documents In The Original Latin In Order To Really Understand Them
Gosh. I wish I would have known this before I read all the encyclicals I have read or The Catechism or countless spiritual reading. Why did I even buy "The Council of Trent"? "The Divine Comedy"? Forget about it. Get my point? Of course you do.
But again in this instance as in the previous instance the point is partially legitimate. English translations of the original Latin can in fact change the intended meaning of the thing. This can be done merely by a transplantation of two words. I was told about a document (by a reliable source); I believe on the necessity of baptism where the English translation makes it possible to misinterpret the true meaning of the document. That being said when debating on the topic of sedevacantism saying you have to know the Latin begs the point. Show me an Official Church document in Latin that undermines the legitimacy of sedevacantism in our day. Show us where sedevacantists like Father Cekeda, who knows Latin inside and out and reads the Latin documents, have misinterpreted a document that seems to support sedevacantism in the case of a heretical "pope".
Both sedevacantists and sedeplenists who hold to the Catholic faith whole and entire i.e. who believe all they have been taught on the Faith and who would believe what they have not been taught were it presented as an article of the Catholic Faith know that Christ set up the Papacy in perpetuity. People in both camps (they are in those camps because those on both sides of the issue are trying to defend the Papacy) know that not only can there be spaces of popeless times between popes but that there must be spaces of sedevacantism as history has proven over 200 times. As important as the mother tongue is, you don't need Latin to realize that!
6. Sedevacantism is Dangerous
Hmm. This is another brain-twister. Isn't it amazing how people will say anything to undermine an opinion that they do not embrace. This calls to mind the fact that a statement, just because it is made, does not make it so i.e. "Abortion is not murder." for I can say "Santa Claus is real." I can repeat this over and over again to anyone who cares to hear. Eventually, some people that listen may believe me. But that does not change the fact that there is no fat guy that squeezes through all the chimneys of the world on Christmas Eve night in order to give presents to those who dwell therein. "Sedevacantism is dangerous." Prove it. Or at least show me why holding such an opinion based upon the mounting and undeniable evidence could in fact be dangerous. Otherwise away with you and your off-the-cuff remarks that can be much more dangerous.
I'll give you some not so off-the-cuff remarks on what is truly dangerous.
1. The new mass
2. The new theology
3. The new Vatican "popes" leaders
4. The new Religious Ecumenism
5. The new "Catholic" Catechism
6. Religious Liberty
7. Universal Salvation
8. "Papal" rock concert masses
9. The new canon law
10. Communion in the hand
11. Altar girls
12. Vatican 2
I could go on and on. And Sedevacantism is dangerous? Puhlease! You've got to tell me why. What is dangerous is disobeying and ignoring legitimate authority while urging others to be obedient to false prophets. Our Lord told us what we should do and previous reliable Popes have as well. Just read Pope Paul IV's decree Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio.
7. Sedevacantism Puts You On Thin Ice
8. Sedevacantism Leads to Feeneyism
Where on earth do these people come up with these things? The Dogma of "No Salvation Outside the Church" can lead to Feeneyism. Seeing the opposite extreme of Universal Salvation starting to surface can lead to Feeneyism. Not having a pope or any legitimate leadership for 50 years can lead to Feeneyism as a lack of guidance for a generation opens the doors to numerous errors. (I will point out here that it is my opinion that all the Feeneyites follow all the opinions of their hero and leader - Father Leonard Feeney - as many of the anti-sedevacantists follow the opinion of their leaders and heroes SSPX, Gruner, Ferrara, et alii.) But how on earth does agreeing with Church authority that a heretic cannot be pope lead one to believe that no one who has not been physically baptized with water can or will go to Heaven? What has the one to do with the other? Again, these people will say anything to try to refute those with whom they disagree. It is a desperate tactic of the sedeplenist. I must note that a majority of people that disagree with the theory of sedevacantism merely do so because they find the idea repulsive; not because they have done any research on the topic. Were they to, they would then be convinced of the doctrine of sedevacantism and realize that is exactly the realization of what we are left with today thanks to Vatican Two.
9. Don't Teach Opinion As If It Were Dogma
This particular objection makes me laugh as the person who makes this objection teaches that the new mass is "evil" and that the "new church is evil" but insists that the leader of that new church is OUR pope as was the one that gave us that evil new "mass" and they insist we must pray for his intentions which they've misinterpreted as "his" intentions and not the Church's in union with Christ's intentions. Further, there are several people that I have encountered that have several of these "objections" but there is one person in particular that has ALL of the above objections except for the last one. What I find particularly amusing in addition to the fact that the person who has all these objections evidently treats sedeplenism as dogma is the fact that this person gave a talk on this very topic to men in a very balanced way (to the point where the non and anti-sedevacantists were somewhat nonplused by his talk) where he presented the pro's and con's of the debate using Father Cekada's teachings as solid reasons why sedevacantism is plausible i.e. a heretic cannot be pope and a pope cannot bind on the faithful erroneous, fruitless, mal-sanctifying or evil doctrine, disciplines or liturgy on the pro-SV side while claiming such things as "God would not allow such a thing to happen" and "the interregnum has been too long" and "how would we elect a new pope if the sedevacantists are right" as reasons against sedevacantism ultimately saying he "gives Benedict the benefit of the doubt".
This very same person gave a talk to women (shortly after hearing about Dr. Drolesky's logical conclusion on the subject - for I told him and he was surprised - perhaps this is what inspired him to give this talk - and if this be the case one is forced to conclude that logical arguments (for logical arguments are the only thing I hear from Dr. Drolesky) are not logical arguments if they go against the official SSPX party line.) where he invoked the "sedevacantism is dangerous" and "sedevacantism puts you on thin ice" "refutations" which was taken by many as they will go to Hell if they embrace this premise.
Apart from the fact that this person obviously thinks women are more gullible than men and can be scared into submission is the fact that this person while making a logical and balanced presentation of the topic to men is obviously an anti-sedevacantist reduced to using scare tactics as his "logical" defense against it. Or perhaps more accurately he has a somewhat balanced and realistic private view of the topic but does not think mere lay women can have a balanced view of the topic and, therefore, for the sake of their souls, goes out of his way to steer them away from the SV route. One can only guess and this is my sincere guess. But in doing this he scandalizes those who hold the theory in my opinion and all would be better off if he broached not the topic at all being that they, going in were not scandalized to begin with and already frequent the Catholic Sacraments and hold the Catholic Faith held by the vast majority of Catholics before Vatican 2 - a council which again I stress was instigated and approved by putative popes. It would be different if someone raised their hand and asked him about sedevacantism where then it would more probably be incumbent for him to share the truth as he sees it either publicly or with that individual at a later date.
10. God Would Never Allow Such A Thing to Happen
Now this made some sense until I thought of some of the paralyzed children I have seen and all those born with severe birth defects and what happens to innocent families during wars. I thought of all those who are allowed to go blind, deaf and dumb; those who are retarded; all the injustice, abuse, neglect and murder of the innocent. I thought of all the Catholic martyrs, Job and Christ Himself and I thought what an absolutely ridiculous argument against sedevacantism. "God would never allow such a thing"? God help us all!
11. The interregnum has been too long (it has never happened before)
Isn't that a little vague. "Too long"? What is too long? How long is too long? The fact of the matter is that there has never been nor will there be defined a period of time that is "too long" for there to be no pope. Unusual? Unfortunate? Unprecedented? Yes. But "too long"? According to whom? Well, you of course. Oh, I see.
"It has never happened before". Talk about circular logic. Nothing has happened before until it happens the first time. The six days of creation never happened before the six days of creation. We have never had Vatican Two before we had Vatican 2. We have never had five consecutive heretics claiming the papal throne before the conciliar period either. When the end times and all that is associated with the end comes that too will have never happened before the time it happens. The world-wide apostasy from the TOP down which happens near the end of time as we know it predicted by Christ, Saint Paul and our Lady never happens until near the end of time as we know it. I never turned 50 before. Does this definitively mean I therefore can never turn 50 in the future?
Yes. "Grrrrr" indeed.
An objection that I have not listed above which is perhaps better than all the objections above combined is that you cannot judge the pope. But the response is simple, a heretic cannot be pope, therefore, it is not the pope we are judging. We are not judging the inner disposition of any man but rather the concrete facts in word and action placed before us. It is for the security of the souls of billions that we judge these heretical words and actions of those who have the ability to lead billions astray. Such a one cannot be the head of the Church Christ founded for that would mean that his visible, UNIFYING, head on earth could be THE source of division within the Church.
Now, for the sake of unity within the Church we must be able to accept reality no matter how unpalatable it may be to us.
I know a lady who at a very old age left the Novus Ordo for Catholicism and got rid of all her slacks in exchange for only skirts to her ankles. How, one may ask, would one so supposedly - due to their age - set in their ways be able to completely change her life on a seeming whim?
I will give you the answer. Humility. This lady is humble. This is why she was able to abruptly exchange the falsities and partial truths she had been fed for the complete truth. I have said it before and I will say it again that humility is the most fertile ground for receiving the truth. One must of course be praying regularly and staying close to God through the frequenting of the Sacraments and staying free from Mortal sin and from venial sin as much as possible, needless to say. I can vouch for this lady's prayer life and for her devotion to Christ and His most Holy mother so that certainly was not a problem with her acceptance of truth once presented to her either.
I bring this up because the prideful tend to scorn unpleasant truth. They did this when Jesus tried to share the truth with them and they do it now. You can't tell these people anything they don't want to hear. They know it all - the gall of some amateur trying to illuminate some fellow Catholic on reality - they seem to say.
Well it is the lowly that confound the wise and the humble that are exalted and the truth is the truth no matter who says it.
It is with this in mind that I ask all sincere people who wish to adhere to the fullness of the ONE, true faith that they do research on topics such as sedevacantism before they reject it out of hand merely because it is repugnant to their current sensibilities. Those of us in the modern world (there is a phrase that should get some people's notice) need to be familiar with the faith of ages before we can be unified within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We have to first know, and then accept all that Eternal Rome (not modern, heretical Rome) as taught. Unpleasant realities are used by the devil as a stumbling block for the otherwise sincere and devout Catholic (at heart and in action) faithful to cause confusion and divisiveness thereby disrupting the unity among the faithful who wish to be full-fledged members of the ONE true Church in both spirit and in truth.
I should like to close this article with a quote from an article (PAPAL INFALLIBILITY by Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P) that the above mentioned Priest shared with me which explains the purpose for my writing this article.
The misunderstanding of the Vatican Council's definition of papal infallibility constitutes the major obstacle to unity among the traditionalists opposed to "Vatican II." The general conviction that the pope is infallible only under certain conditions gives ground to the majority of them for both "having their cake and eating it at the same time" - for having the Pope when he is in accord with Catholic tradition, and not having him when he is not.
May God give us the grace for humility and to be open to truth and accepting of reality no matter how unpleasant that truth and reality may initially be to us. Humility prepares one for truth and the truth does set you free from the confusion and divisiveness, caused by our ignorance, and instigated by Satan. Ab omni malo, libera nos, Jesu. Jesus, deliver us from evil. Quaesumus, Dómine: ut, qui sub Christi Regis vexíllis militáre gloriámur, cum Ipso, in coelésti sede, júgiter regnáre possímus. We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we who glory to fight under the standard of Christ the King, may forever reign with Him on the heavenly throne. Long live Christ the King! Vivat Christus Rex.