You could replace "Papal encyclical" with "Pope" and we could have the same discussion -- it's the classic "To be Sede or not to be Sede" argument.
Not entirely. Msgr. Fenton focuses on the Encyclical because it's addressed to the Universal Church (vs. an allocution, Wednesday audience, off-the-cuff remarks on a plane, etc.)
Of course Catholics don't normally "rip" an encyclical -- or a Pope for that matter. But we're in a unique situation where the Pope -- the principle of unity -- has become a revolutionary and a principle of DISunity and a principle of rupture from the Catholic Faith. He has worked tirelessly to DESTROY the Catholic Church from within.
That this could be the case with regard to the Pope per se as a person, concedo. That this could be the case with regard to the Magisterium, nego. That's the blur that the old "faith is greater than obedience" dictum causes. What you're effectively saying here is that THE MAGISTERIUM has become a "principle of rupture from the Catholic Faith".
That is NOT CATHOLIC, Matthew. It completely blows away the indefectibility of the Church.
To me, it goes without saying that "dogmatic sedeplenism" is an error in this Crisis. No one has received from God the assurance that the recent popes are even popes.
Under normal circumstances, Matthew, we DO have the certainty of faith regarding the legitimacy of popes. Without that certainty of faith, we cannot have certainty of faith regarding any dogmas they promulgate either. That's why papal legitimacy is classified as a dogmatic fact.
In saying that we do not have divine assurance of papal legitimacy, then you are not in fact truly a sedeplenist. If you cannot aver legitimacy with the certainty of faith, then you are not a sedeplenist. You are a sede-doubtist, just like myself. And it is on the basis of such a doubt and only on the basis of such a doubt that we can justify a categorical refusal to submit to and give religious submission to the MAGISTERIUM. We are NOT talking about Popes, but about the MAGISTERIUM.
Msgr. Fenton articulates the same point I have been trying to make for years. We can talk all we want about whether or not any give line in Vatican II is strictly infallible. But that's missing the forest for the trees. It can NEVER HAPPEN that Catholics can jeopardize their faith by giving religious submission to the universal papal magisterium ... whether fallible or not. That's the principle of infallible safety.
I will quote salient points from the Msgr. Fenton article in a little bit.
Of course, the Sedevacntists also can't be dogmatic, since God hasn't told anyone that the recent popes are NOT popes. Archbishop Lefebvre certainly entertained the possibility, but for various reasons did not take the step of becoming sedevacantist.
Absolutely correct. And this is where I take the SVs to task. In fact, I have said that they do not have the right to consider these men deposed absent the authority of the Church ... the missing ingredient in SVism. Archbishop Lefebvre then is also in the category of sede-doubtist ... because he lacked the certainty of faith regarding the legitimacy of the V2 popes, a certainty that's automatically precluded by merely entertaining the POSSIBILITY of vacancy.
R&R dogmatic sedeplenism leads to Protestant Magisterium-sifting. Correct from the SV camp. But SVism leads to Protestant pope-sifting ... something which they fail to recognize.
I believe embracing formal sedevacantism inflicts mortal wounds on the concept of authority -- that is why +Williamson, Fr. Zendejas, etc. "don't go there". But that's another discussion for another day.
Absolutely agreed, Matthew. SVism completely ignores the role of "authority" in this entire matter. By sifting popes, no dogma is safe. Even if the pope were to declare a dogma that some Catholic found unpalatable, all he'd have to do is to state "Aha, see, that Pope must not be a pope because he just defined a false dogma." At that point the ultimate criterion for dogma becomes private judgment and the Magisterium becomes subjected to a constant convalidation feedback loop (not unlike the modernist concept of Magisterium). This is what I called the modus tollentis
SV position whereby they argue a posteriori
from a perceived false teaching to papal illegitimacy. It rules out any a priori
certainty of faith regarding any given Church dogma.
And I'm all for philosophizing, but I always stop short at being SO FREE with my philosophizing that I'll criticize even the best Trads -- or even ALL Trads -- because none of them are doing "what needs to be done" to end this Crisis. But these head-in-the-clouds philosophers assume as a given that we laymen should fix this crisis, like we fix any other problem on earth.
If this were just hypothetical "philosophizing", I could hardly care less. What I'm more concerned with are the practical implications. When you create generations of Catholics who think it's OK or normal to essentially "flip off" any given Pope, you're starting to create something that's inherently non-Catholic. We must not get so mired in the notion of "rebellion" as to forget this. WE OWE AT LEAST RELIGIOUS SUBMISSION TO ALL THE TEACHINGS OF THE PAPAL MAGISTERIUM.
THIS is why the question is important, not because of hypothetical speculation regarding papal legitimacy.
I personally believe that this Crisis is completely beyond human help. All we can individually do is keep the Faith as long as possible, for ourselves and our loved ones. And pray that the days are shortened.
Agreed. SVism solves absolutely nothing ... unless you think the crisis was solved by the election of Pope Bawden. I'm interested in the PRINCIPLES. Whatever we do in this crisis, we must not and cannot abandon Traditional Catholic principles regarding the papacy or even compromise in the least bit our sensus fidei
regarding the attitude of respect, loyalty, and submission which we owe to the Magisterium of the Holy See. Be the Pope as a person the greatest scumbag on the planet, the Magisterium remains unsullied by it.