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Offline XavierSem

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A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
« on: November 07, 2019, 05:22:35 PM »
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  • Sean Johnson asked me a while ago to try to write a rebuttal or refutation of his “As we are” book. While I accepted the challenge, before we go into it, I want to make a few preliminary observations.

    First, the strength: congratulations to the author, because the book is a commendable effort to outline in a detailed way the principal objections of the Resistance to the Society’s leadership.

    Second, the weakness: hardly anywhere in the CCCC will you see a clear statement of what the author’s own positions are on the crisis, much less any theological proof of them whatsoever.

    Brief Rejoinder to #1: Change (New Mass Participation Sinful or Not?)

    First, Sean again does not say what he believes or does not believe regarding this. Second, Sean implies a blatant non sequitur in claiming “Clearly the SSPX no longer wishes to suggest attending the Novus Ordo is sinful”. Let Sean himself answer: Does he believe attending the NO is sinful?

    Here's why it is a non sequitur: At most, what follows is that the SSPX does not necessarily believe each person in each NO is subjectively guilty of mortal sin. That is all that can be reasonably and logically inferred from the two questions presented in the new edition, "Have you received Holy Communion in the hand knowing that it leads to Sacrilege and loss of faith in the Real Presence?Have you attended and actively participated in non-Catholic religious services?" Nothing more.

    Third, here is the explanation of Fr. Scott, from the Society website: “Likewise with the New Mass. It can be an objectively mortal sin of sacrilege if Holy Communion is distributed in the hand or by lay ministers, if there is no respect, if there is talking or dancing in church, or if it includes some kind of ecumenical celebration, etc. It can also be an objectively venial sin of sacrilege if it is celebrated with unusual respect and devotion, so that it appears becoming and reverential to Almighty God. This in virtue of the omissions in the rites and ceremonies, which constitute a true disrespect to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Trinity, and of the failure to express the true nature of what the Mass really is. In each case, the subjective culpability is an altogether other question that God only can judge.”

    Refutation #1 from Archbishop Lefebvre, quoted by Sean himself many times against whom he calls “Pfeifferites”:  

    Archbishop Lefebvre: Those who feel themselves obliged in conscience to assist at the New Mass on Sunday can fulfil their Sunday obligation. But one cannot accuse a person of a grave fault because he prefers not to assist at Mass on Sunday rather than assist at the New Mass. (Letter of May 9 1980) [II]


    Major Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre could not have said those who feel obliged can fulfil one’s Sunday obligation at an NOM if it was always a mortal sin.

    Minor Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre did say exactly that.
    Conclusion: Ergo, it is not always a mortal sin.


    Refutation #2 from Bishop Williamson, quoted in the resistance Recusant publication:

    Bishop Williamson:“I’m sure you ask yourselves ‘What kind of word are my children going to have to grow up in? How are they going to keep the Faith?’ Very good questions. By prayer and Charity and by frequenting the sacraments, so long as they are still available, so long as it’s at all still possible to reach the sacraments. And some Novus - I’ve got into quite a lot of controversy for saying this, but it’s true - there is no question that some Novus Ordo Masses are valid. And if they’re valid, then it’s defined by the Council of Trent that grace passes, “ex opere operato” is the strict phrase. And you and I have no right before God to look down our noses and to write off these Catholics as though they’re just trash.”[III]


    Major Premise: Bishop Williamson clearly teaches sanctifying grace passes ex opera operato to some Catholics at some NOMs
    Minor Premise: But it is de fide that sanctifying grace cannot pass ex opere operato to those dead in mortal sin. (instead, that would constitute an additional mortal sin)
    Conclusion:  Therefore, it is heretical for Sean to claim (if he believes what Bp. W says, as he says he does) that everyone at every NOM is sinning mortally (if he wants to claim that –as his “change” implies).


    Refutation #3 from the Council of Trent, and from Sean’s own usage of the canon:


    Sean’s opinion: “A.  As acknowledged by Archbishop Lefebvre.  Calling a sacrament a bastard (which pertains to its legitimacy, not its validity) doesn’t mean it doesn’t confer grace to well disposed recipients.  If you deny Trent, you are a heretic.”[IV]
     
    The same conclusion can easily be seen to follow. If grace passes to well disposed recipients, it is not ipso facto always and in every situation a mortal sin, by Sean’s own admission. Then, Fr. Scott is right and the supposed reason for rebellion does not stand.


    A Fourth Refutation from theological reason alone without any authority presents itself:


    Major: What is in itself a cause of grace being conferred cannot at the same time also be a mortal sin. Minor: But, as admitted by Sean, a valid sacrament administered to Catholics, like Holy Communion at an NOM, is a cause of grace being conferred. Conclusion: Therefore, it is not at the same time always a mortal sin.

    I note in passing that every statement of every authority is explained if going to an NOM is a venial sin in some cases, as Rev. Fr. Peter Scott, with sublime theological reasons, explains in precise detail.

    I challenge Sean to do two things instead, (1) first, catalog a list of statements which can be unambiguously and clearly marked, “proximate to heresy”, “erroneous in faith” etc. I doubt you will find even one. (2) Second, try to prove in some way these positions (if you could prove them to be at least erroneous in faith) have been imposed upon the lay faithful in any way.  This certainly has not been done. At most what has been shown is that the SSPX leaders made some prudential mistakes.


    If Sean wishes to respond to this rejoinder here, he can do so. Matthew can decide if he wants this to go ahead. I may respond further if necessary. At the least, this has started a conversation which imho is important and necessary. But it would ideally be carried on in a different way, and without leading to unnecessary breaks among our Priests. Already, the Resistance has seen further breaks among itself, that can’t be denied. From the fact that Sean himself and many others see no problem in continuing to attend SSPX chapels (and it is good that they do so, but it would be more consistent if they limited themselves to respectfully asking some questions to SSPX authorities) it clearly is not the case that the SSPX is in any way a danger to the Faith of most people. Rather, it continues to build up and edify most of the million odd Catholics who continue to assist at its Holy Masses.


    It’s probably best, if Sean wants to go ahead with his challenge here, that it be just him and me on this thread.

    Sources, References and Links for Further Reading:

    [I ]http://archives.sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/catholic_faqs__traditional.htm
    [II] https://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Apologia/Vol_two/Chapter_40.htm
    [III] https://www.therecusant.com/bishop-williamsons-teaching
    [IV] https://www.cathinfo.com/sspx-resistance-news/'no-honest-catholic-should-attend-an-sspx-mass'/15/
    Do make Acts of Consecration to the Twin Hearts, Spiritual Offerings of the Precious Blood of Jesus in Union with the Holy Mass, like in St. Gertrude's Chaplet, along with Spiritual Communions at least every hour. "Pray the Rosary every day to obtain Peace for the world." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary.

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
    « Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 07:26:51 PM »
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  • Refutation #2 from Bishop Williamson, quoted in the resistance Recusant publication:

    Bishop Williamson:“I’m sure you ask yourselves ‘What kind of word are my children going to have to grow up in? How are they going to keep the Faith?’ Very good questions. By prayer and Charity and by frequenting the sacraments, so long as they are still available, so long as it’s at all still possible to reach the sacraments. And some Novus - I’ve got into quite a lot of controversy for saying this, but it’s true - there is no question that some Novus Ordo Masses are valid. And if they’re valid, then it’s defined by the Council of Trent that grace passes, “ex opere operato” is the strict phrase. And you and I have no right before God to look down our noses and to write off these Catholics as though they’re just trash.”[III]


    Major Premise: Bishop Williamson clearly teaches sanctifying grace passes ex opera operato to some Catholics at some NOMs
    Minor Premise: But it is de fide that sanctifying grace cannot pass ex opere operato to those dead in mortal sin. (instead, that would constitute an additional mortal sin)
    Conclusion:  Therefore, it is heretical for Sean to claim (if he believes what Bp. W says, as he says he does) that everyone at every NOM is sinning mortally (if he wants to claim that –as his “change” implies).

    You're missing a crucial distinction.  Something could be objectively sinful without necessarily being imputed as sin to the one doing it.  Thus, the phrase of +Lefebvre in #1 above:  "who feel themselves obliged in conscience".

    If someone does not consider it a sin, or, rather, even considers it good and obligatory, they would not be in a state of mortal sin and would in fact receive grace ex opere operato from the (presumed) valid Sacrament.


    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
    « Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 07:32:27 PM »
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  • Refutation #1 from Archbishop Lefebvre, quoted by Sean himself many times against whom he calls “Pfeifferites”:  

    Archbishop Lefebvre: Those who feel themselves obliged in conscience to assist at the New Mass on Sunday can fulfil their Sunday obligation. But one cannot accuse a person of a grave fault because he prefers not to assist at Mass on Sunday rather than assist at the New Mass. (Letter of May 9 1980) [II]


    Major Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre could not have said those who feel obliged can fulfil one’s Sunday obligation at an NOM if it was always a mortal sin.

    Minor Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre did say exactly that.
    Conclusion: Ergo, it is not always a mortal sin.


    Similar answer to #2.  I started at #2 because the principle comes out more clearly.  Notice +Lefebvre's choice of phrase.  He's referring to those "who feel themselves obliged in conscience to assist at the New Mass."

    He's saying that it is OBJECTIVELY not true that it's necessary to attend it to fulfill one's obligation; otherwise he couldn't possibly excuse someone from grave sin for NOT attending it.  He's referring to those who "IN CONSCIENCE FEEL THEMSELVES OBLIGED".  In other words, he's disagreeing with their conscience, saying that, despite how some of these people may feel, their conscience is mistaken and Catholics are not in fact objectively obliged to do so.

    So, once again, for those to whom he refers, it would NOT be sinful based on the state of their conscience, but that does not speak to the objective sinfulness (or lack thereof) of the NOM.

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
    « Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 07:34:57 PM »
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  • Exact same distinction applies to #3 and #4 above.

    Sorry, but your failure to distinguish between objective/material sin and subjective/formal sin invalidates your entire post.

    Offline MiserereMei

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    Re: A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
    « Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 09:31:38 PM »
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  • Sean Johnson asked me a while ago to try to write a rebuttal or refutation of his “As we are” book. While I accepted the challenge, before we go into it, I want to make a few preliminary observations.

    First, the strength: congratulations to the author, because the book is a commendable effort to outline in a detailed way the principal objections of the Resistance to the Society’s leadership.

    Second, the weakness: hardly anywhere in the CCCC will you see a clear statement of what the author’s own positions are on the crisis, much less any theological proof of them whatsoever.

    Brief Rejoinder to #1: Change (New Mass Participation Sinful or Not?)

    First, Sean again does not say what he believes or does not believe regarding this. Second, Sean implies a blatant non sequitur in claiming “Clearly the SSPX no longer wishes to suggest attending the Novus Ordo is sinful”. Let Sean himself answer: Does he believe attending the NO is sinful?

    Here's why it is a non sequitur: At most, what follows is that the SSPX does not necessarily believe each person in each NO is subjectively guilty of mortal sin. That is all that can be reasonably and logically inferred from the two questions presented in the new edition, "Have you received Holy Communion in the hand knowing that it leads to Sacrilege and loss of faith in the Real Presence?Have you attended and actively participated in non-Catholic religious services?" Nothing more.

    Third, here is the explanation of Fr. Scott, from the Society website: “Likewise with the New Mass. It can be an objectively mortal sin of sacrilege if Holy Communion is distributed in the hand or by lay ministers, if there is no respect, if there is talking or dancing in church, or if it includes some kind of ecumenical celebration, etc. It can also be an objectively venial sin of sacrilege if it is celebrated with unusual respect and devotion, so that it appears becoming and reverential to Almighty God. This in virtue of the omissions in the rites and ceremonies, which constitute a true disrespect to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Trinity, and of the failure to express the true nature of what the Mass really is. In each case, the subjective culpability is an altogether other question that God only can judge.”

    Refutation #1 from Archbishop Lefebvre, quoted by Sean himself many times against whom he calls “Pfeifferites”:  

    Archbishop Lefebvre: Those who feel themselves obliged in conscience to assist at the New Mass on Sunday can fulfil their Sunday obligation. But one cannot accuse a person of a grave fault because he prefers not to assist at Mass on Sunday rather than assist at the New Mass. (Letter of May 9 1980) [II]


    Major Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre could not have said those who feel obliged can fulfil one’s Sunday obligation at an NOM if it was always a mortal sin.

    Minor Premise: Archbishop Lefebvre did say exactly that.
    Conclusion: Ergo, it is not always a mortal sin.


    Refutation #2 from Bishop Williamson, quoted in the resistance Recusant publication:

    Bishop Williamson:“I’m sure you ask yourselves ‘What kind of word are my children going to have to grow up in? How are they going to keep the Faith?’ Very good questions. By prayer and Charity and by frequenting the sacraments, so long as they are still available, so long as it’s at all still possible to reach the sacraments. And some Novus - I’ve got into quite a lot of controversy for saying this, but it’s true - there is no question that some Novus Ordo Masses are valid. And if they’re valid, then it’s defined by the Council of Trent that grace passes, “ex opere operato” is the strict phrase. And you and I have no right before God to look down our noses and to write off these Catholics as though they’re just trash.”[III]


    Major Premise: Bishop Williamson clearly teaches sanctifying grace passes ex opera operato to some Catholics at some NOMs
    Minor Premise: But it is de fide that sanctifying grace cannot pass ex opere operato to those dead in mortal sin. (instead, that would constitute an additional mortal sin)
    Conclusion:  Therefore, it is heretical for Sean to claim (if he believes what Bp. W says, as he says he does) that everyone at every NOM is sinning mortally (if he wants to claim that –as his “change” implies).


    Refutation #3 from the Council of Trent, and from Sean’s own usage of the canon:


    Sean’s opinion: “A.  As acknowledged by Archbishop Lefebvre.  Calling a sacrament a bastard (which pertains to its legitimacy, not its validity) doesn’t mean it doesn’t confer grace to well disposed recipients.  If you deny Trent, you are a heretic.”[IV]
     
    The same conclusion can easily be seen to follow. If grace passes to well disposed recipients, it is not ipso facto always and in every situation a mortal sin, by Sean’s own admission. Then, Fr. Scott is right and the supposed reason for rebellion does not stand.


    A Fourth Refutation from theological reason alone without any authority presents itself:


    Major: What is in itself a cause of grace being conferred cannot at the same time also be a mortal sin. Minor: But, as admitted by Sean, a valid sacrament administered to Catholics, like Holy Communion at an NOM, is a cause of grace being conferred. Conclusion: Therefore, it is not at the same time always a mortal sin.

    I note in passing that every statement of every authority is explained if going to an NOM is a venial sin in some cases, as Rev. Fr. Peter Scott, with sublime theological reasons, explains in precise detail.

    I challenge Sean to do two things instead, (1) first, catalog a list of statements which can be unambiguously and clearly marked, “proximate to heresy”, “erroneous in faith” etc. I doubt you will find even one. (2) Second, try to prove in some way these positions (if you could prove them to be at least erroneous in faith) have been imposed upon the lay faithful in any way.  This certainly has not been done. At most what has been shown is that the SSPX leaders made some prudential mistakes.


    If Sean wishes to respond to this rejoinder here, he can do so. Matthew can decide if he wants this to go ahead. I may respond further if necessary. At the least, this has started a conversation which imho is important and necessary. But it would ideally be carried on in a different way, and without leading to unnecessary breaks among our Priests. Already, the Resistance has seen further breaks among itself, that can’t be denied. From the fact that Sean himself and many others see no problem in continuing to attend SSPX chapels (and it is good that they do so, but it would be more consistent if they limited themselves to respectfully asking some questions to SSPX authorities) it clearly is not the case that the SSPX is in any way a danger to the Faith of most people. Rather, it continues to build up and edify most of the million odd Catholics who continue to assist at its Holy Masses.


    It’s probably best, if Sean wants to go ahead with his challenge here, that it be just him and me on this thread.

    Sources, References and Links for Further Reading:

    [I ]http://archives.sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/catholic_faqs__traditional.htm
    [II] https://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Apologia/Vol_two/Chapter_40.htm
    [III] https://www.therecusant.com/bishop-williamsons-teaching
    [IV] https://www.cathinfo.com/sspx-resistance-news/'no-honest-catholic-should-attend-an-sspx-mass'/15/

    Your approach is missing the main point which is the before and after, i.e. evidence of a change. For #1, in the old edition of the blue book it was clear that there is something wrong with the NOM. It is a given that anyone attending a SSPX mass knows that. The new edition doesn't even mention the NOM. The question is, why the change? 


    Offline SeanJohnson

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    Re: A reply to Sean as challenged on #1 of the CCCC.
    « Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 10:17:04 PM »
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  • Greetings XM-

    Firstly, I wish to thank you for being so candid regarding your bad disposition, lest someone should take this meandering attempt at refutation seriously (i.e, It was in the other thread you refer to, that you announced your intention to refute the whole book, despite never having read it).  Consequently, your position (i.e., that the book is 101 mistakes) is not oriented toward truth, but toward the defense of an organization which you have concluded, a priori, must in all things be correct.

    This is undeniable (though I fully expect you to deny it nonetheless).

    I do admit to being perplexed by your start:

    You hold it against me that I do not discuss my own opinion on whether new Mass attendance is sinful, but I am not sure why: The book has nothing to do with my own opinions (though you should be able to deduce them easily enough, as in all cases they are those of Archbishop Lefebvre and the old SSPX).  

    My job as author was simple and straightforward: To compare and contrast the official positions and writings of Archbishop Lefebvre and the old SSPX with the current positions of the SSPX, to document and compile a list of changes, contradictions, or compromises to demonstrate the Society has, in large measure, left Archbishop Lefebvre behind, in pursuit of a canonical accord with unconverted Rome.

    Interjecting my own positions into such a work would be impertinent and distracting.

    Nevertheless, if you wanted to have an answer, I am happy to discuss elsewhere, if you find it interesting (or to save time, you could simply obtain a copy of the Catechetical Refutation, which you can find for free at various websites).

    As for the specifics regarding entry #1 on the changes to Christian Warfare regarding active participation in the new Mass having been excised from the examination of conscience in the 2009 edition, the fact is objective:

    Active participation in the NOM appeared in the examination of conscience in the 2006 edition, but not in the 2009 edition.  This is proof that, at least until 2006, the SSPX considered such participation sinful.

    Contrary to what you say, therefore, the conclusion that the removal of active NOM participation from the 2009 edition implies that the SSPX no longer wishes to suggest such participation is sinful is far from being a non-sequitur (i.e., a conclusion which does not logically follow from a previous statement or argument), as any reasonable person aware of the change would and should logically conclude precisely that.

    You then enter into a lengthy discussion in your various points about the degree of sin NOM participation represents (i.e., mortal vs venial).  I'm not sure why, as that is not an issue I enter into.  I only discuss the fact that the SSPX used to consider NOM attendance sinful, and that the excision of active NOM participation from the new examination of conscience implies that they no longer do.

    I am also confused as to why you are throwing +Lefebvre's quote from Apologia at me regarding the possibility of satisfying the Sunday obligation at the NOM.  As you say, I am well familiar with it, but have no idea why you think it relevant here (i.e., In a discussion about whether of not the SSPX no longer considers active participation in the NOM sinful or not).  I think perhaps you have not realized that you have slipped off track, and entered into another subject?

    So far as I can tell, it seems you are mistakenly reading me as saying in example #1 that attending a NOM is always a mortal sin.  In doing so, you have either misunderstood one of the shortest entries in the book (which does not fill me with hope that you will understand the lengthier entries), or, what is more likely, you have deliberately attempted to argue a different subject, while pretending it is relevant to the entry you are objecting to (i.e., because of your a priori bad disposition mentioned at the beginning of this post), in order to have something to say.

    In other words, your entire response is a straw man.

    You might have done better not to have responded at all.
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-

     

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