Tuesday, May 26, 2009


1) What if the Sedevacantists are right?

The Sedevacantists cannot be right because Our Lord said that He would be with His Church to the end of time and the Church has defined the perpetuity of the Papacy.

Now there are sede vacante periods between every Papacy. However the Sedevacantists claim there has been no Pope since Pius XII (50 years) and that Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are all anti-popes. Therefore, presuming there was to be a Conclave to elect a new Pope, there are not even any Cardinals left from the time of Pius XII to elect one. For most people the idea is preposterous but, for many traditionalists, myself included, when you have seen the scandals, when the soul aches and nothing seems to make any sense, Sedevacantism seems the best solution to the crisis in the Church. But, having had the experience, in my opinion, the only salvageable aspect of Sedevacantism it that it may help you to make a clear choice in favour of whole heartedly accepting Pope Benedict XVI as the true Pope of the Catholic Church.

The SSPX solution of both accepting the Pope and rejecting obedience to him imprisons souls in a mental limbo whereby they continually recognise the Pope in name but never obey him in fact. This solution is dangerous for the soul and mind. At least Sedevacantism does not mix yes and no together.

Sedevacantism is clean thinking, logical. With logic and mathematical precision applied to past Papal Bulls, Definitions or Encyclicals the Sedevacantists make their case. But Catholicism is more than a computation of logic and mathematics applied to theology after the fashion of the Rabbis of the Talmud.

My conclusion is that the Catholic Church is NOT the Sedevacantist Diaspora. My conclusion is based on Faith in Jesus Christ who through His Church has defined that the Papacy would be continual. I do not accept that for 50 years there could be no Pope. But my conclusion can be doubted by Sedevacantists because it may be argued that the Church has not defined that there could not be a sede vacante period for 50 years. And, Our Lord has said that, when he comes, will He find Faith on the Earth?

Therefore I support my conclusion that the Catholic Church is not the Sedevacantist Diaspora by noting that the Church of Pope Benedict XVI has the Church’s Mark of Holiness and that the Sedevacantist Diaspora does not.

Sedevacantism shows itself to be only human, and not at all the Church, since the Mark of Holiness is absent. This is particularly evident in the absence of charity and the presence of unholy-bitterness that for many has been an identifying Mark of Sedevacantism. I conclude that this unholy bitterness is God's providential sign that Sedevacantism is NOT the continuation of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Whereas, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ ruled by Pope Benedict XVI there is a superabundance of charity, holiness, forgiveness and generous long-suffering. Be careful. For traditionalists this has often been obscured. Traditionalists do not look to the Church to find its Mark of Holiness. Generally they look to the Church to point out only the liturgical abuses, vile clerical impurity, scandals and distortions of doctrine.

But this is a distraction and is not to the point. Our Lord described the Church as the field in which wheat and cockle will grow together until the Day of Judgment. There has always been, and always will be, the presence of the cockle that, finally, will be tied into bundles to burn. That there is a lot or a little cockle in the field of the Church is not the point. The point is: there is wheat.

The Mark of Holiness is still clearly present in the Church ruled by Pope Benedict XVI and it can be verified by all who would go to investigate it.

In the Holy Church ruled by Pope Benedict XVI there are still HOLY CONFESSORS ( for one example, the imprisoned faithful, priests and bishops in China). Sedevacantism has no Holy Confessors.

There are still HOLY MARTYRS (for one example, in 1996 the seven Cistercians monks of Algeria). Sedevacantism has none of these either.

There are holy bishops, priests, laity, religious and virgins: until recently there was the presence of Sister Lucy of Fatima, obedient daughter of the Popes, with whom Sedevacantism has nobody to compare.

Even in Her present trials and terrible crisis the Church ruled by Benedict XVI has Her Marks of UNITY, HOLINESS, CATHOLICITY and APOSTOLICITY.

The Sedevacantist Diaspora is schismatic and sterile.

There is no reasonable doubt that the True Church of Jesus Christ is that One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic body ruled by Pope Benedict XVI to whom, for salvation, all men must be subject.

-Fr. Michael Mary, Transalpine Redemptorists




Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

At one point in time I was going to become SSPX but then I realized something:

Holy Mother Church needs her warriors right here in the trenches, not wimping out and jumping ship!

2:42 AM  
Blogger Simplex Vir said...

Amen, nice find Confiteor!

6:09 AM  
Blogger PreVat2 said...

Coffe Catholic,
"...whimping out and jumping ship?" Allow me to say, "WTF, over?"

The SSPX has been in the trenches from day one (1970) holding on to the Faith and refusing to go quietly into that bad Roman-Protestant night brought to us by the Second Vatican Council.

Were it not for the brave stance of the SSPX and a certian French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), and Tradition itself, would have ceased to exist after 1969/1970. We, as Traditional Roman Catholics, owe everything to them.

Look at what has happened in just the past few years. The Indult was lifted, and all priests now have the right (they ALWAYS did) to say the TLM (thanks to Our Lady and the SSPX). The Excommunications were lifted (thanks to Our Lady and the SSPX). Now Rome has agreed to go into deep discussions with the SSPX over the proper interpretation of the Vatican II documents (thanks to Our Lady and the SSPX).

The SSPX has never stopped fighting for the Faith, and for the truth. They NEVER left the Church. Had Archbishop Lefebvre bent the knee, as most did years ago...this "Winter of Vatican II" might have become an Ice Age!

Looking forward to the day Marcel Lefebvre is lifted up to the Altar and made the Saint he truly is.

Semper Fidelis

6:31 AM  
Blogger GOR said...

The problem some people have is in confusing “The Catholic Church” with individuals, institutions, or other constituent parts and then projecting the failures or shortcomings of the parts on the Whole. You might as well say that because there was a Judas among The Twelve, none of them were any good! And, a fortiori, if Our Lord ‘got it wrong’ in choosing Judas, then we must question His judgment. And if His judgment is questionable, then His Divinity is cast into doubt…!

I’ve often wondered what it must have been like during the Great Schism, when for about forty years it was unclear who was the real Pope? Talk about confusion and conflicting claims! Who could you believe…? Who was the real Peter…?

Of course in the late 14th and early 15th centuries there was no Christian blogging to keep people straight and most people weren’t aware of what went on outside their town or village - much less in faraway places such as Rome or Avignon. I suspect they went to Mass and the Sacraments and tried to live a good Christian life by staying close to what they knew of The Church – their parish priest, abbot or bishop who represented Peter to them - whoever Peter might have been at that time.

In some respects not much has changed in the past 500+ years. We still adhere to the Catholic Church in the person of Peter’s successor – Pope Benedict. Reformers often start out with good intentions. There are always things that need reforming in the Church’s human membership and institutions. We are not perfect and never will be this side of Heaven.

But reformers have always gone wrong when they departed from the Vicar of Christ. That is their downfall. So despite the failings in myself and the other human elements in the Church, if I’m going to go down, I’ll go down with Peter’s successor – not with Marcel, Martin Luther, Arius or any of the other ‘reformers’ the Church has known for over two thousand years!

11:35 AM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

But reformers have always gone wrong when they departed from the Vicar of Christ. According to Cardinal Castrollon-Hoyos, Prefect of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the SSPX have never been schismatics, i.e., they have not departed from the Vicar of Christ. Sounds authoritative to me.

I am no defender of much of what the SSPX are or have done. E.g., they have an anti-semitic reputation in Europe that is too often the case (I am not speaking of the American SSPX).

The problems with the SSPX are now administrative and jurisdictional. The problems with them were never theological which is more than I can say for some priests, deacons, religious, and (idiotic) catechists and parish staff I have encountered in the "official" Church from time to time over the past 40 years or so.

8:52 PM  
Blogger PreVat2 said...

Adeodatus49: Very well said!

Coffee Catholic & GOR:
Please show me one sigle time that the SSPX has ever walked away from Catholic doctrine/dogma. Fascinating, isn't it, that the SSPX, and Traditional Catholics as a whole, can be so vilified, yet a man like Cardinal Mahony is in "full communion" with Rome. Makes one say, "WTF, over?"

8:22 AM  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

I sympathize somewhat with the SSPX, but I cannot reconcile their stance of claiming to be with the pope yet remaining overtly disobedient to him. Even by rejecting the Code of Canon Law, they are rejecting the supreme jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome.

Now, do we have the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum today because of the SSPX? My gut wants to say their disobedience helped get it (just as disobedience gained untraditional practices like Communion in the hand). But, on reflection, I think it can be debated. For example, did they influence the election of Pope Benedict? Surely, Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio is not meant to merely placate the SSPX. All his writings point to his love of the traditional liturgy and proposing its inherent value. We'll find out in eternity for sure their role. But, it seems that all the saints stress obedience rather than expediency in achieving a goal.

Finally, being Catjolic means we do not get mired in the problems of today. We take the bird's eye view of Church history. For how much of history were elements in the Church in France in practical schism through Gallicanism or Jansenism? And just 600 years ago Christendom was divided over who was the real pope.

It's a true cross to live through such and similar events in any age. But, as Catholics united to the see of Peter in both word and deed we must pick up our cross and trust Christ's words that the gates of Hell will not prevail.

8:22 AM  
Blogger GOR said...

Viator Catholicus: Agreed!

PreVat2 and Adeodatus49: While I may sympathize with the concerns of the SSPX (and even Luther's original concern about abuses in the Church...), I will not hold with anyone who rejects or demeans the authority of the Pope.

Once you part from the Successor of Peter you are on a slippery slope. 'Good intentions' are what the road to Hell is paved with... Even Judas had 'good intentions' in his 'concern' for the poor as the Gospel tells us.

I will have no truck with Cdl. Mahony or, closer to my home, Rembert Weakland, who devastated my diocese for over 20 years. They will have to answer for their sins and I for mine.

I am a traditionalist, and was one even before Vatican II (I'm old...). But part of being a true traditionalist is being in communion with Peter, whoever Peter is at any given time and with whatever failings the then incumbent may have.

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Perhaps I have not spoken clearly enough, although I thought I had. I have not defended the SSPX position re: the Pope and the 1988 unauthorized episcopal consecrations. I also have never signed on with much of their criticisms of the Pope, many of which in my opinion seemed to verge on sedevacantism at times. Indeed, some notable former SSPX priests entered the rocky shoals of sedevacantism such as Fr. Anthony Cekada and Fr. Clarence Kelly (later Bp. Kelly of the SSPV).

Nonetheless, since the excommunications have been rescinded by Pope Benedict, the SSPX organizational situation vis-a-vis the "official" Church is now largely an administrative matter. Currently (and since 1988), their bishops lack jurisdiction and by extension, their priests lack faculties from a canonically appointed authority to exercise their ministries. For example, if you go to Confession before an SSPX priest, his absolution lacks validity except in Extraordinary situations. Also, you cannot satisfy your Sunday and Holy Day obligation by attending the TLM at an SSPX chapel. Ironically, attending the mass and going to communion at a SSPX chapel is not necessarily "verboten" depending upon the circumstances, except perhaps in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Bp. Bruskewitz (sp?) has decreed that those who pertinaceously frequent SSPX chapels are excommunicated (in his diocese).

Re: the Motu Proprio. It is my opinion that the SSPX are not directly responsible for the "restoration" of the TLM as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. I do think, however, (not an opinion originating with me) that Pope Benedict is serious about reconciling so many traditional Catholics--laity, religious, and clerical--to Rome.

I too share GOR's opinion that there is NO SUBSTITUTE for communion with Peter. And however understandable some of the SSPX position's are (I am emotionally somewhat in sympathy with the SSPX), their union with Peter is still highly deficient.

And yes, I find it an exquisite irony that Cardinal Mahony is part of the official Church while the theologically orthodox SSPX bishops (I'm not sure about Bp Williamson!) are "irregular" in their episcopal Orders, even though they are not schismatic per Cardinal Castrollon-Hoyos.

Let's pray for their complete union with Peter some day.

8:25 PM  
Blogger PreVat2 said...

Adeodatus49: "Also, you cannot satisfy your Sunday and Holy Day obligation by attending the TLM at an SSPX chapel."

Total and complete BS! As my young son would say, "Prove it!" Per Cardinal Castrollon-Hoyos, speaking for the Holy Father on many occassions, attending SSPX chapels for Sunday Mass and on HDOO DOES satisfy, to include giving money to their chapels.

Your info is grossly inaccurate. I'll be more then happy to point you to the text of his comments on that if you'd like.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Yes, please do!

I also read on-line some years ago about a woman who was excommunicated by the Bp. of Honolulu for attending an independent traditionalist chapel (no indication if it was SSPX or sedevacantist). She appealed to Rome and a Cardinal who headed one of the dicastaries vacated the excommunication, warned her that even though she could attend the chapel that she must not give evidence of a schismatic attitude, and that she could not satisfy her Sunday/Holy Day of obligation.

Also, the Apb. of Santa Fe, in whose canonical territory wherein I reside, has stated that Catholics in his archdiocese may not fulfill their Sunday/Holiday of obligation by frequenting the local SSPX Church. He has the authority within his canonical territory to say so.

Bp. Bruskewitz of the Lincoln, Neb diocese has excommunicated Catholics who frequented local SSPX chapels (other people too such as the Catholic Call to Action folks). His excommunications were appealed to Rome and ended up being sustained by Rome.

It is difficult for me to conceive that a Catholic organization with clerics who lack jurisdiction would be treated even by Castrollon-Hoyos as if their chapels were ordinary Catholic Churches with regular status. It basically undermines the canonical authority of the local Catholic Ordinary.

Since Pope Benedict's removal of the excommunications, the debate regarding whether or not the SSPX are schismatics or as some Catholic bishops have stated erroneously, "non Catholic", is moot. Nonetheless, their "administrative" status within the Roman community is still irregular.

I have just given you three examples of bull sh*t.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

I wish to retract partially the third point in my last post. Cardinal Re of the Vatican upheld Bp. Bruskewitz's excommunication of CTA and maybe some other groups among the list of organizations under excommunication in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. By implication, though not explicitly stated, it is not clear to me whether or not Rome has upheld Bp. B's excommunication of the SSPX within the Diocese of Lincoln. Bishops have ordinary jurisdiction within their own canonical territory. I do not think that Cardinals of Vatican dicasteries enjoy this jurisdiction and can override a local diocesan Ordinary. Of course the Pope can because he enjoys Ordinary jurisdiction over the Universal Church.

Here is one web link that discusses this:


I have noticed an unfortunate tendency of Rome to speak with some ambiguity, even if only leaving certain things unstated, since Vatican II. One even finds this on occasion in the CCC (e.g., the material on the death penalty). The status of the SSPX is another example.

Bottom line: I wish the hierarchical Church would exercise more consistent and direct statements and reduce the ambiguity which so often accompanies Church documents that seem to have political implications.

8:45 PM  

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