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 Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism 
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New post Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Has anybody else seen these?

Quote:
SEDEVACANTIST ANXIETY I

The words and deeds of Pope Francis since his election earlier last year have been so little Catholic and so outrageous, that the idea that recent popes have not really been Popes (”sedevacantism”) has been given a new lease of life. Notice that Pope Francis merely expresses more blatantly than his five predecessors the madness of Vatican II. The question remains whether any of the six Conciliar Popes (with the possible exception of John-Paul I) can really have been Vicars of Christ.

The question is not of prime importance. If they have not been Popes, still the Catholic Faith and morals by which I must “work out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. II, 12) have not changed one iota. And if they have been Popes, still I cannot obey them whenever they have departed from that Faith and those morals, because “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts, V, 29). However I believe in offering answers to some of the sedevacantists’ arguments, because there are sedevacantists who seem to wish to make the vacant See of Rome into a dogma which Catholics must believe. In my opinion it is no such thing. “In things doubtful, liberty” (Augustine).

I think that the key to the problem of which sedevacantism is merely one expression is that Vatican II was a disaster without precedent in all the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, while at the same time it was the logical conclusion of a long decadence of the Catholic churchmen reaching back to the late Middle Ages. On the one hand the divine nature of the Catholic Church and the principles governing any of its crises, including the Conciliar crisis, cannot change. On the other hand the application of those principles must take into account the ever changing human circumstances within which those principles operate. The degree of human corruption today has no precedent.

Now two of the unchanging principles are that on the one hand the Church is indefectible because Our Lord promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Mt.XVI, 18). On the other hand Our Lord also asked if he would find faith on earth at his Second Coming (Lk. XVIII, 8), an important quotation because it clearly suggests that the Church will almost completely have defected at the end of the world, just as it seems to be almost completely defecting in 2014. For indeed if we are not today living through the end of the world, we are surely living through the dress rehearsal for that end of the world, as Our Lady of La Salette, the Venerable Holzhauser and Cardinal Billot all suggest.

Therefore today, as at world’s end, the defection can go very far. It cannot reach beyond the power of Almighty God to guarantee that his Church will never altogether disappear or fail, but it can reach as far as God will allow, in other words nothing need stop his Church from defecting almost completely. And just how far is that “almost completely”? God alone knows, and so time alone can tell, because none of us men are in the mind of God, and only the facts can reveal to us after the event the contents of the divine mind. But God does partly reveal his mind in Scripture.

Now as to the end of the world, many interpreters of Chapter XIII, 11-17 of the Apocalypse think that the lamb-like Second Beast serving the Antichrist is the authorities of the Church, because if those authorities resisted the Antichrist he could never prevail, as Scripture says he will. Then is it so extraordinary if in the dress rehearsal for the end of the world the Vicars of Christ talk and behave like enemies of Christ ? Against this necessary background, next week’s “Comments” will propose answers to some of the sedevacantists’ main arguments.

Kyrie eleison.


Quote:
SEDEVACANTIST ANXIETY II

1 Either one recognizes the Conciliar Popes all the way (like the liberals – God forbid !), or one refuses them all the way (like the sedevacantists). To recognize them partly, and partly not, is to pick and choose what one will recognize, as did Luther, as do all heretics (in Greek, “choosers”). That is true if one picks and chooses according to one’s own personal choice, but it is not true if, like Archbishop Lefebvre, one judges in accordance with Catholic Tradition, which can be found in 2000 years’ worth of Church documents. In that case one is judging with 260 Popes against a mere six, but that does not prove the invalidity of these six.

2 But the Conciliar Popes have poisoned the Faith and endangered the eternal salvation of millions upon millions of Catholics. That is contrary to the Church’s indefectibility. In the Arian crisis of the 4th century, Pope Liberius endangered the Faith by condemning St Athanasius and by backing Arian bishops in the East. For a few moments the Church’s indefectibility went not through the Pope but through his seeming adversary. However that meant neither that Liberius was not Pope nor that Athanasius was Pope. Similarly the indefectibility of the Church today goes through the faithful followers of the line taken by Archbishop Lefebvre, but that need not mean that Paul VI was not Pope.

3 What the bishops of the world teach, in union with the Pope, is the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium, which is infallible. Now for the last 50 years the world’s bishops in union with the Conciliar Popes have taught Conciliar nonsense. Therefore these Popes cannot have been true Popes. If the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium were to go outside Tradition, it would no longer be “Ordinary”, but most extraordinary, because Church doctrine admits of no novelties, the “Universal” being in time as well as space.Now Conciliar doctrine goes way outside Tradition (e.g. religious liberty and ecumenism). Thereforedoctrine proper to the Council does not come under the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, and it cannot serve to prove that the Conciliar Popes were not Popes.

4 Modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies”(Pius X). But the Conciliar Popes have all been “public and manifest” modernists, i.e. heretics of such a kind as St Robert Bellarmine declared cannot be members of the Church, let alone its head. See last week’s “Comments”. Things were much more clear, or “public and manifest”, in Bellarmine’s day, than they are amidst today’s confusion of minds and hearts.The objective heresy of the Concilar Popes (i.e. what they say) is public and manifest, but not their subjective or formal heresy (i.e. their conscious and resolute intention to deny what they know to be unchangeable Catholic dogma). And to prove their formal heresy could only be done by a confrontation with the Church’s doctrinal authority, e.g. the Inquisition or the Holy Office, call it what one will (“A rose by any name would smell as sweet”, says Shakespeare). But the Pope is himself the Church’s highest doctrinal authority, above and behind today’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. How then can he be proved to be that kind of heretic that is incapable of being head of the Church?

5 But in that case the Church is in a hopeless mess ! Again, see last week’s “Comments”. Men’s minds are today so universally messed up that God alone can straighten out the mess. But this objection may prove rather that he must intervene (and soon !) than that the messed up Popes are not Popes. Patience. God is putting us to the trial, as he has every right to do.

Kyrie eleison.


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Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:16 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing poeple towards sedevacantism
Yes. I have seen these. I have gotten Bishop Williamson's weekly email for quite a while. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don't. I really depends upon what is going on in my life at the moment. I've found his arguments against sedevacantism increasingly bland.

I am not sure where Bishop Williamson is going with this.


Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:54 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing poeple towards sedevacantism
I thought it was interesting that +W ends the first paragraph by saying "the question remains [whether or not these men are popes]."

Quite different from the usual "they're definitely popes" or even the "they're definitely popes but I understand the temptation to sedevacantism."

I don't know if it's about diplomacy or maybe he's having second thoughts about R&R or maybe he just knows that a lot of people are leaning towards sedevacantism and sees it as his duty to at least make a minimal effort address to the issue?


Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:05 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
These Eleison Comments are clear evidence that Francis is shaking the sedeplenist positon.

Some answers.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
1 Either one recognizes the Conciliar Popes all the way (like the liberals – God forbid !), or one refuses them all the way (like the sedevacantists). To recognize them partly, and partly not, is to pick and choose what one will recognize, as did Luther, as do all heretics (in Greek, “choosers”). That is true if one picks and chooses according to one’s own personal choice, but it is not true if, like Archbishop Lefebvre, one judges in accordance with Catholic Tradition, which can be found in 2000 years’ worth of Church documents. In that case one is judging with 260 Popes against a mere six, but that does not prove the invalidity of these six.


Archbishop Lefebvre was responsible for much of the sedevacantism around, and it is at least arguable that had he not been surrounded by the particular men who surrounded him, he'd have declared sede vacante in 1986 or subsequently. So it is not really a strong argument to appeal to the Archbishop against the sedevacantists. In such a case, one is really appealing to Fr. Schmidberger and some others, not to the Archbishop. Archbishop Lefebvre was the one who needed convincing not to be sedevacantist!

Bishop Williamson wrote:
2 But the Conciliar Popes have poisoned the Faith and endangered the eternal salvation of millions upon millions of Catholics. That is contrary to the Church’s indefectibility. In the Arian crisis of the 4th century, Pope Liberius endangered the Faith by condemning St Athanasius and by backing Arian bishops in the East.


This is an incredibly weak argument. For a start, it rests entirely upon doubtful (at best!) historical "facts." Secondly, it is opposed, quite directly, to the Church's own reading of this difficult and mysterious historical era, for she counts Felix II as martyr and pope, and he reigned in between the two reigns of Liberius, according to no less an authority than Bellarmine.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
For a few moments the Church’s indefectibility went not through the Pope but through his seeming adversary.


This echoes the heterodox expression of Newman which he was forced by Rome to retract.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
However that meant neither that Liberius was not Pope


Bellarmine says he wasn't pope at that point.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
nor that Athanasius was Pope.


Clearly this is just rhetorical, but it's difficult to see any usefulness in it. It merely muddies the issue.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
Similarly the indefectibility of the Church today goes through the faithful followers of the line taken by Archbishop Lefebvre, but that need not mean that Paul VI was not Pope.


Journalistic "theology" like this is a part of the "corruption" that Bishop Williamson so laments in other spheres. In sane eras, it was prohibited by the civil law.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
3 What the bishops of the world teach, in union with the Pope, is the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium, which is infallible. Now for the last 50 years the world’s bishops in union with the Conciliar Popes have taught Conciliar nonsense. Therefore these Popes cannot have been true Popes. If the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium were to go outside Tradition, it would no longer be “Ordinary”, but most extraordinary, because Church doctrine admits of no novelties, the “Universal” being in time as well as space. Now Conciliar doctrine goes way outside Tradition (e.g. religious liberty and ecumenism). Thereforedoctrine proper to the Council does not come under the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, and it cannot serve to prove that the Conciliar Popes were not Popes.


This is the classic error of making the doctrine taught a criterion of infallibility, an entirely circular arrangement which eliminates all of the value in infallibility right at the root. "The pope (or the Church) is infallible when he speaks things which I already know to be true from tradition. If I judge him to be disagreeing with tradition, I reject his doctrine and know that he has spoken fallibly." In other words, the final judge of the faith is not the Holy Father, but somebody else, actually Everyman.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
4 Modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies”(Pius X). But the Conciliar Popes have all been “public and manifest” modernists, i.e. heretics of such a kind as St Robert Bellarmine declared cannot be members of the Church, let alone its head. See last week’s “Comments”. Things were much more clear, or “public and manifest”, in Bellarmine’s day, than they are amidst today’s confusion of minds and hearts.The objective heresy of the Concilar Popes (i.e. what they say) is public and manifest, but not their subjective or formal heresy (i.e. their conscious and resolute intention to deny what they know to be unchangeable Catholic dogma). And to prove their formal heresy could only be done by a confrontation with the Church’s doctrinal authority, e.g. the Inquisition or the Holy Office, call it what one will (“A rose by any name would smell as sweet”, says Shakespeare). But the Pope is himself the Church’s highest doctrinal authority, above and behind today’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. How then can he be proved to be that kind of heretic that is incapable of being head of the Church?


Begging the question. This is good, however, because if somebody as intelligent and experienced in thinking as Bishop Williamson must resort to begging the question then we really have won the argument (and he must know it).

Bishop Williamson wrote:
5 But in that case the Church is in a hopeless mess ! Again, see last week’s “Comments”. Men’s minds are today so universally messed up that God alone can straighten out the mess. But this objection may prove rather that he must intervene (and soon !) than that the messed up Popes are not Popes. Patience. God is putting us to the trial, as he has every right to do.


All agree that the Church is in a hopeless mess. The question is, what exactly are the factual features of that mess. We say, if Francis is pope, then popes have no substantial role whatsoever in the Church. Having one makes no difference at all, except in this case to constitute an enormous obstacle to salvation. What's the point in defending his claim when it doesn't get you anywhere? Defending Benedict at least arguably gave you a lawful Tridentine Mass (via the Motu Proprio). Defending Francis only makes one feel foolish, surely.

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Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:32 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
John,
thank you for "picking apart" +Williamson's letter; I have had family members ask me about this, and your rebuttal is much better than what I have been saying. I especially like the part about the circular argument that Msgr. Williamson uses as a criterion to judged the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium: "The ordinary magisterium is infallible, except when it falls into error."

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Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:24 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Thanks John for picking this apart. It is hard wading through and even understanding Bishop Williamson. His writings seem to have no clear direction at times. While one should never be hasty, at times the bishop sounds like a man standing in a burning building next to the door saying, "Patience. The building is on fire, but we must wait for the fire trucks."


Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:25 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
I suspect that Bishop Williamson's sympathy with our position has not changed, he is merely concerned that a rise in sedevacantism will result in a rise in the kind of home-dogma types who do so much damage to souls. He writes,
Quote:
The words and deeds of Pope Francis since his election earlier last year have been so little Catholic and so outrageous, that the idea that recent popes have not really been Popes (”sedevacantism”) has been given a new lease of life.

...

However I believe in offering answers to some of the sedevacantists’ arguments, because there are sedevacantists who seem to wish to make the vacant See of Rome into a dogma which Catholics must believe. In my opinion it is no such thing. “In things doubtful, liberty” (Augustine).


So that explains why he wrote on the subject. Unfortunately, bad arguments only serve to add fuel to any fire one is trying to extinguish with them, so it would better serve his own objective not to touch the subject at all (i.e. unless he can come up with a good argument).

The trouble for sedeplenism now is that Francis essentially forces the issue. Under his predecessors, one could credibly say, "I refrain from judging and will await what the Church has to say," because the Nopes were more or less maintaining some kind of facade of Popeness. But this bloke won't even use the title, wear the clothing, or live in the apartments, not to mention the countless ways he has managed to diminish the office by word and action over the past few months. He's giving almost nothing to his conservative supporters to hang on to. In essence, he's shifting the burden of proof. So instead of saying, "I will refrain from judging," the mind is effectively forced to think, "I must imagine he is pope (otherwise I'd be a, ughhh!!!, sedevacantist!!!)."

I reckon lots of traditionalists a year ago would think, "One day the Church may judge that these men were not truly popes (but I think it unlikely)," whereas now they're thinking, "One day the Church may judge that these men were not truly popes (and in Bergoglio's case it seems like a dead cert!)." He's changed the entire landscape.

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Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:09 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Bishop Williamson has seen fit to expand his critique of sedevacantism by examining infallibility itself in his latest Eleison Comment, and presumably continuing next week:

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - I. Feb. 8, 2014. wrote:
Probably sedevacantists’ main problem is the Church’s infallibility (Conciliar Popes are horribly fallible, so how can they be Popes ?). However, infallibility needs to be looked at for more than just to alleviate sedevacantism. The modern problem of preferring authority to truth is vast.

“Infallibility” means inability to err, or to fall into error. The First Vatican Council defined in 1870 that the pope cannot err when four conditions are present: he must (1) be speaking as Pope, (2) on a question of Faith or morals, (3) in a definitive fashion, and (4) with the clear intention of binding the whole Church. Any such teaching belongs to what is called his “Extraordinary” Magisterium, because on the one hand Popes rarely engage all four conditions, and on the other hand he teaches many other truths which cannot err or be wrong because they have always been taught by the Church, and therefore they belong to what Vatican I called the Church’s “Ordinary Universal Magisterium”, also infallible. The question is, how does the Pope’s Extraordinary Magisterium relate to the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium ?

Mother Church teaches that the Deposit of Faith, or public Revelation, was complete at the death of the last Apostle alive, say, around 105 AD. Since then no further truth has been added, or could be added, to that Deposit, or body of revealed truths. Then no “extraordinary” definition can add one iota of truth to that Deposit, it only adds, for the sake of believers, certainty to some truth already belonging to the Deposit, but whose belonging had not been clear enough beforehand. In a fourfold order comes firstly, an objective REALITY, independent of any human mind, such as the historical fact of the Mother of God’s having been conceived without original sin. Secondly comes TRUTH in any mind conforming itself to that reality. Only thirdly comes an infallible DEFINITION when a Pope engages all four conditions to define that truth. And fourthly arises from that definition CERTAINTY for believers as to that truth. Thus whereas reality generates the truth, a Definition merely creates certainty as to that truth.

But the reality and its truth already belonged to the Ordinary Magisterium, because there is no question of any Pope defining infallibly a truth outside of the Deposit of Faith. Therefore the Ordinary Magisterium is to the Extraordinary Magisterium as dog is to tail, and not as tail to dog ! The problem is that the Definitiom of 1870 gave such prestige to the Extraordinary Magisterium that the Ordinary Magisterium began to pale in comparison, to the point that Catholics, even theologians, scratch around to fabricate for it an infallibility like that of the Extraordinary Magisterium. But that is foolishness. The Extraordinary presupposes the Ordinary Magisterium, existing only to give certainty (4) to a truth (2) already taught by the Ordinary Magisterium.

Let the point be illustrated from a snow-capped mountain. The mountain in no way depends on the snow, except for it to be made even more visible than it already is. On the contrary the snow depends completely on the mountain to be where it, the snow, is. Similarly the Extraordinary Magisterium does no more for the Ordinary Magisterium than to make it more clearly or certainly visible. As winter closes in, so the snowline descends. As charity grows cold in modern times, so more definitions of the Extraordinary Magisterium may become necessary, but that does not make them the perfection of the Church’s Magisterium. On the contrary, they signal a weakness of believers’ grasp of the truths of their Faith. The healthier a man is, the fewer pills he needs. Next week, the application both to sedevacantism and to the present crisis of the SSPX.

Kyrie eleison

Summary –

The Church’s infallible Ordinary Magisterium is to the Pope’s infallible Extraordinary Magisterium as dog is to tail, and not as tail is to dog.


If one were to suggest to +Williamson manuals and monographs especially concerned with the nature of infallibility and Magisterium, what might be recommended?

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Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:34 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Thomas, one could suggest many things, but in this post there's not really much wrong, and a great deal right. His explanations of reality, truth, authoritative definitions, and certitude are well taken. The problem I have with it is that the entire post neatly avoids the actual issue.

The issue is that the popes do not contradict the ordinary magisterium. They cannot. They have not. They will not. The Nopes, on the other hand...

Bishop Williamson essentially ignores this and focusses on the fact that the ordinary magisterium is the immediate source for declarations of the extraordinary magisterium. This is true, but irrelevant. Then he suggests (and next week I expect he will be very explicit about this) that the issue is that men prefer authority to truth. He writes, "The modern problem of preferring authority to truth is vast." This is true of those in the Novus Ordo, perhaps; it is not true of traditional Catholics. I'd say it's notoriously untrue of traditional Catholics. Sedevacantists certainly put truth first (even if, ex hypothesi from Bishop Williamson's perspective, we are mistaken about what is true). Sedeplenist trads certainly put truth ahead of authority, in what we sedes consider to be an erroneous and even scandalous manner. The only people putting authority above truth are those who go along with the New Order religion despite misgivings about it (e.g. some Indult types and perhaps many Novus Ordo victims).

But there's a terminological ambiguity here that Bishop Williamson appears to be missing. Truth does indeed precede authority ontologically. Authority's very existence depends upon its acceptance of truth. One cannot have an office in the Church unless one professes the faith; and the deposit of faith is presupposed by the teaching office of the Church. I do not mean that one comes before the other in time, but rather that one depends upon the other in the order of being. In fact, the Church emerged from our Lord's side upon the Cross, and the deposit of faith was not completed until some 70 or 80 years later, when St. John the Evangelist died and brought to a close the era of public revelation. Yet the Church as guard and official teacher of Revelation (one of her absolutely fundamental roles) supposes the existence of the deposit of faith, not vice versa. So what came second in time takes precedence ontologically. This is not particularly unusual or surprising.

Yet the way that he formulates his points, it seems that Bishop Williamson is going to be complaining that we are putting authority first, instead of putting truth first. What does he mean? He means that we ought to be able to reject error, even if proposed authoritatively. But this is a confusion of terms. Yes, authority depends upon truth ontologically, not vice versa, but in the concrete historical circumstances of each Christian's life truth arrives via authority. We learn truth from the Church, which means from the bishops in union with the pope. That is what it means to say that the preaching of the Church is the proximate rule of faith. We conform our minds (i.e. attach ourselves to reality, which is truth) to what the Church teaches us, because she teaches us, and she is the infallible mouthpiece of God. So yes, we put authority first as the efficient cause (under grace) of faith in Christians. That is, the Church preaches, and grace intervening, faith is engendered. The concrete instance of faith is not merely subsequent to the preaching of the Church, it is truly dependent upon it. As St. Augustine said, "I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the authority of the Church." So in the individual instance of faith - i.e. faith as it exists in each individual - authority is ontologically prior to truth. Authority guarantees truth; truth does not guarantee authority.

At baptism the supernatural virtue of faith is infused, not the deposit itself. The virtue of faith renders the Christian docile - to the preaching of the Church. We don't have the deposit of faith infused at our baptism, and thereafter keep watch in case the Church teaches us something different!

In a word, Catholics are supposed to put authority first. This does not mean that in any conflict between truth and authority we take authority and abandon truth, but rather, we know that the conflict cannot really occur. If the apparent preaching of authority today is contrary to already received truth (i.e. to the things we hold to be true because we have already been guaranteed them by the authority of the Church), then we reject that preaching as not from the Church.

Why cannot a Christian - ought not a Christian - accept a heterodox novelty from apparent authority? Because he is obliged to maintain the truth he has already received from absolutely certain authority. And when conflict occurs, he is forced to resolve the problem, the contradiction. Either the erring preacher will agree that he has erred and will not, after all, impose his error, or the preacher wil prove himself to be an enemy of the Church rather than her official representative. There's no third possibility.

And really, this point brings home the essential problem (the circularity of the argument) with the sedeplenist position: viz. the individual raised entirely in the Novus Ordo milieu will not learn the faith unless he consults some source other than his official teachers. We say, this is because his official teachers, having defected from the faith publicly, lost their membership in the true Church and therefore their offices in the Church also, and therefore do not represent her. No Christian is obliged to believe what such heretics teach. But leaving aside what we say, what can a sedeplenist trad say about this that makes any sense at all? Where in history, where in theology, is such a circumstance described? Is the Church the pillar and ground of error, to be mistrusted and checked upon by the individual Christian? Is not that the Protestant heresy?

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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Why cannot a Christian - ought not a Christian - accept a heterodox novelty from apparent authority? Because he is obliged to maintain the truth he has already received from absolutely certain authority. And when conflict occurs, he is forced to resolve the problem, the contradiction. Either the erring preacher will agree that he has erred and will not, after all, impose his error, or the preacher wil prove himself to be an enemy of the Church rather than her official representative. There's no third possibility.

And really, this point brings home the essential problem (the circularity of the argument) with the sedeplenist position: viz. the individual raised entirely in the Novus Ordo milieu will not learn the faith unless he consults some source other than his official teachers. We say, this is because his official teachers, having defected from the faith publicly, lost their membership in the true Church and therefore their offices in the Church also, and therefore do not represent her. No Christian is obliged to believe what such heretics teach. But leaving aside what we say, what can a sedeplenist trad say about this that makes any sense at all? Where in history, where in theology, is such a circumstance described? Is the Church the pillar and ground of error, to be mistrusted and checked upon by the individual Christian? Is not that the Protestant heresy?


It's material like the above that spurs me to join TKGS (as in another thread) in anticipating your Church Crucified book :)

Also, so as not to leave +Williamson's treatment of Infallibility incomplete here:

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
Much needs to be said about the Church’s infallibility, especially to correct illusions arising (by mistake) from the Definition of Papal infallibility in 1870. Today for instance sedevacantists and liberals think that their positions are wholly opposed, but do they stop for a moment to see how similarly they think ?—Major: Popes are infallible. Minor: Conciliar Popes are liberal. Liberal Conclusion: we must become liberal. Sedevacantist Conclusion: they cannot be Popes. The error is neither in the logic, nor in the Minor. It can only be in a misunderstanding on both their parts of infallibility in the Major. Once again, modern men put authority above truth.

Eternal God is Truth itself, absolutely infallible. In created time, through his Incarnate Son, he instituted his Church with a doctrine for the salvation of human souls. Coming from him that doctrine could only be inerrant, but to keep it free from the errors of the human churchmen to whom he would entrust it, his Son promised them the “spirit of truth” to guide them “for ever” (Jn. XIV, 16). For indeed without some such guarantee, how could God require of men, on pain of eternal damnation, to believe in his Son, in his doctrine and in his Church (Mk.XVI, 16) ?

Yet even from churchmen God will not take away that free-will to err which he gave them. And he will allow that freedom to go as far as they wish, short of their making his Truth inaccessible to men. That reaches far, and it includes a number of highly defective Popes, but God’s reach is still farther than the wickedness of men (Isaiah LIX, 1,2). At Vatican II for instance, Church error went a long way, without however God’s allowing his Church to be wholly defectible in its presentation to men of the inerrant Truth coming from his own infallibility. Even the Conciliar Popes have told many Catholic truths alongside their Conciliar errors.

But how then can I, a simple soul, tell the difference between their truths and their errors ? Firstly, if I am truly looking for God with an upright heart, he will guide me to him, as the Bible says in many places. And secondly, God’s doctrine being as unchangeable as God, it must be the doctrine that I find (nearly) all his churchmen to have taught and handed down in (nearly) all places and at (nearly) all times, best known as Tradition. From the beginning of the Church, that handing down has been the surest test of what Our Lord himself taught. Down the ages inerrant Tradition has been the work of millions of churchmen. It has been that for which God endowed his Church as a whole, and not just the Popes, with the guidance of the infallible Holy Ghost.

Here is, so to speak, the cake of Church infallibility upon which the Popes’ solemn Definitions are merely the icing, precious and necessary, the peak of the Church’s infallibility, but not its mountain bulk. Notice firstly that Definitions by the Popes’ Extraordinary Magisterium existed not only from 1870 but from the beginning of the Church, and they existed not to make Tradition true but merely to make certain what belonged to Tradition and what did not, whenever the erring of men had made that uncertain. Sensing truth, Archbishop Lefebvre rightly preferred inerrant Tradition to gravely erring Popes. Never having understood him, like all modern liberals not sensing truth, his successors are in the process of preferring erring Popes to inerrant Tradition. Underestimating truth and overestimating the Popes, sedevacantists wholly repudiate the erring Popes and can be tempted to quit the Church altogether. Lord, have mercy !

Kyrie eleison.

Summary – The Ordinary Magisterium is indeed infallible, but its infallibility comes from God, and not from the Extraordinary Magisterium.


Unfortunate that +Williamson still feels compelled to use "liberals" and "sedevacantists" as he does in paragraph 1. And as regards the "Underestimating truth and overestimating Popes" dig in the final paragraph... where to begin!

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Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:15 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
He only mentions sedevacantists in the first paragraph and the last sentence.

It's quite underwhelming.

Evidently, he thinks that sedevacantism requires one to believe in a defected Church, as the body of this E.C. is spent explaining that the Church cannot defect.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:30 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
In all honesty has there ever been one work which has truly challenged the sedevacantist position? (I use the word "position" for lack of a better term)

It seems that everytime someone wishes to make objections to sedevacantism he inevitably oversimplifies theological matters.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:12 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Bishop Williamson wrote:
At Vatican II for instance, Church error went a long way...


Church error?


Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:03 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Mithrandylan wrote:
He only mentions sedevacantists in the first paragraph and the last sentence.

It's quite underwhelming.

Evidently, he thinks that sedevacantism requires one to believe in a defected Church, as the body of this E.C. is spent explaining that the Church cannot defect.


It really is a shame he does not confront theologically-respectable sedevacantism, and disappointing -- to use one of His Excellency's favorite types of metaphor, it's as if he has baked us a beautiful cake which lacks sugar!

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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
Much needs to be said about the Church’s infallibility, especially to correct illusions arising (by mistake) from the Definition of Papal infallibility in 1870. Today for instance sedevacantists and liberals think that their positions are wholly opposed, but do they stop for a moment to see how similarly they think ?—Major: Popes are infallible. Minor: Conciliar Popes are liberal. Liberal Conclusion: we must become liberal. Sedevacantist Conclusion: they cannot be Popes. The error is neither in the logic, nor in the Minor. It can only be in a misunderstanding on both their parts of infallibility in the Major. Once again, modern men put authority above truth.


This is really even worse than I imagined it would be. Terrifyingly bad. He really is preaching Protestantism, and if it weren't clear from the false principle he expresses here, it is crystal clear in what follows. Private judgement. That is what Catholics have always called the modern, insane, principle of placing (personally identified) "truth" above legitimate infallible authority.

Kyrie eleison indeed!

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
Eternal God is Truth itself, absolutely infallible. In created time, through his Incarnate Son, he instituted his Church with a doctrine for the salvation of human souls. Coming from him that doctrine could only be inerrant, but to keep it free from the errors of the human churchmen to whom he would entrust it, his Son promised them the “spirit of truth” to guide them “for ever” (Jn. XIV, 16). For indeed without some such guarantee, how could God require of men, on pain of eternal damnation, to believe in his Son, in his doctrine and in his Church (Mk.XVI, 16) ?

Yet even from churchmen God will not take away that free-will to err which he gave them. And he will allow that freedom to go as far as they wish, short of their making his Truth inaccessible to men.


Read this carefully. He re-defines infallibility, not as a personal prerogative of the Holy Father meaning that he cannot err, but as a general provision of Providence ensuring that if men choose to take advantage of it, the "spirit of truth" will aid them to know the truth. This is utter perversion, actually heretical. Let's hope he doesn't really mean what he has written.

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
That reaches far, and it includes a number of highly defective Popes, but God’s reach is still farther than the wickedness of men (Isaiah LIX, 1,2). At Vatican II for instance, Church error went a long way, without however God’s allowing his Church to be wholly defectible in its presentation to men of the inerrant Truth coming from his own infallibility.


What is this but the declaration that only God is infallible, not His church, and not His Vicar on earth?

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
Even the Conciliar Popes have told many Catholic truths alongside their Conciliar errors.

Relevance? Or is this not merely a way of inverting infallibility so as to turn it into the possibility of truth, rather than the impossibility of error?

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
But how then can I, a simple soul, tell the difference between their truths and their errors ? Firstly, if I am truly looking for God with an upright heart, he will guide me to him, as the Bible says in many places.


This is Presbyterianism. Who needs a Church, after all?

Bishop Williamson. Eleison Comments Issue 343: Church's Infallibility - II. Feb. 14, 2014. wrote:
And secondly, God’s doctrine being as unchangeable as God, it must be the doctrine that I find (nearly) all his churchmen to have taught and handed down in (nearly) all places and at (nearly) all times, best known as Tradition. From the beginning of the Church, that handing down has been the surest test of what Our Lord himself taught. Down the ages inerrant Tradition has been the work of millions of churchmen. It has been that for which God endowed his Church as a whole, and not just the Popes, with the guidance of the infallible Holy Ghost.


He denies papal infallibility as defined in 1870. Utterly clear.

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Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:34 am
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
I am reading the section on Infallibility from Volume 2 of "The Teaching of the Catholic Church" edited by Canon Smith which I will post on the forum if it has not already been posted elsewhere. It is an incredibly lucid exposition of infallibility.


Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:05 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Hi John,

At what point would it be legitimate and necessary to say, in charity, that Bishop Williamson does not hold the Catholic Faith in its entirety anymore and that despite the repeated rebukes of fellow Catholics publicly teaches doctrines contrary to that Faith, and so, as a consequence, has forfeited his membership in the Church? Thanks for your time.

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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Edward, I don't know that he has been corrected on this matter, has he?

I think he is a somewhat typical Angican convert, with remnants of his old ideas, confused about the role of authority in the Church precisely because he converted when the apparent authority, recognised as legitimate virtually universally by cradle Catholics, was destroying the Church.

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Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:48 pm
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New post Re: Bergoglio influencing people towards sedevacantism
Attached is a pdf file of the teaching authority within the Church.


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