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 Fr. Laisney's criticism of the sede vacante position 
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New post Fr. Laisney's criticism of the sede vacante position
Quote of a private email from Fr. Laisney posted in another thread on this forum:
From: Fr Laisney
Sent: Wednesday, 12 June, 2013 8:45 AM
To: 'RobertJPS'
Subject: RE: Eleison Comments

Dear Mr S,

Given that sedevacantists do not agree among themselves about the start of the vacancy (some say 1965, others 1962, 1959, and even others earlier!), one can generally say that sedevacantists agree with this basic tenet:

For the past 40years+, the see of Peter has been vacant.

This can be the "definition" of the sedevacantist position.

Their motive for reaching this "conclusion" varies among them, and has varied in time too - and it is irrelevant to the falsity of their position.

In good logic, if a postulate leads to conclusions evidently false, that postulate itself is false (this is the very basic of reasoning by "reduction ad absurdum"). Now, given the fact that there has been no effort on the part of the Church (even if - dato non concesso - one reduces the Church to the sedevacantists themselves) to provide a legitimate Pope, (normally, as soon as one Pope dies, the process of the election of the successors starts without delay - or even if exceptionally, due to persecution, there may be a delay in the actual election, at least the process is there and one can say that the Church is "working towards" having the next Pope - but such is not the case now), so given that fact, the sedevacantist position thus leads to a notion of the Church without Pope, without legitimate cardinals and bishops (since those nominated by a false Pope could not be legitimate), thus without a hierarchy, and without normal means to restore one: such Church is certainly NOT the Church as our Lord Jesus Christ has established it! Therefore...

Yours sincerely in Jesus and Mary,

Father Fran├žois Laisney

I think Fr. Laisney's criticism is a valid argument which has not been adequately answered yet. I don't think it is sufficient** to agree with him on principle and then simply assert something like "the hierarchy must be somewhere, but I don't know where it is. I can't name anyone who is actually a member of the hierarchy." Nevertheless, I am not ready to run back over to the SSPX position because I see a similar argument against their position. Namely, the R&R position leads to a notion of the Church where a public heretic can legitimately hold a Church office. Such a Church is certainly NOT the Church as our Lord Jesus Chirst has established it! Therefore...

** It's not sufficient in the sense that it will be hard to convince people that the SV position is correct if we can't demonstrate that there is at least one identifiable Successor of the Apostles. Not being able to name a successor doesn't prove that the SV position is wrong. It just makes it much less convincing.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:58 pm
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New post Re: Fr. Laisney's criticism of the sede vacante position
In all charity, have you searched the forum? This has been throughly discussed several times at least I believe.

But for a shoddy summary:

In regards to proving the unknown, why be concerned with proving something which is Irrelavent to the argument? Our argument against the VII popes is not based upon whether we personally know of a successor to the Apostles. We know with divine faith that there must be a hierarchy somewhere. Even if we could see one with our eyes would it make us more certain than Our Lord promise? We know the Vatican II bishops, those who publicly espouse heresy, are not it. Such would be contradictory to the nature of the Church and her doctrines. If we, ourselves can not physically see a true successor of the Apostles, does it change our faith that there must be one? Does it suffice or excuse for substituting a Heretic, a non-member of the church, for one? I cannot see my bishop so... go grab Martin Luther?

Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:58 pm
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New post Re: Fr. Laisney's criticism of the sede vacante position
Excellent reply, James.

I have felt the force of this argument for many, many years. And long before, in the 1970s, it was the starting point of Guerard des Lauriers' speculations.

The way I reason is this. Whatever way we consider the current condition of the Church, we are faced with a mystery: the Church is not in a normal condition. She presents features which are difficult to explain according to the doctrines of her own approved theologians. There's no obvious solution.

Several considerations follow. The first is that those who speak as if the sedevacantist solution is "obvious" are manifestly ignorant of theology and have no role in the discussion. They simply prove themselves to be without competence and need to be filtered out as white noise. Their ignorance descends to insanity when they sprout condemnations of those who don't agree with them without presenting any complete theory which even attempts to handle the difficulties which have been widely ventilated in the traditionalist milieu. Kudos to the Guerardians on that score - their literature is thin, but it's a lot less thin than that of "classical sedevacantism".

Second, the solution must explain a dynamic, or fluid, situation, not merely a point in time. The fact is that there is now a new church practising a new religion, yet it remains unclear which church - the true one or the new one - so many individuals belong to. So we have this kind of mixing of men of different religions, all the while knowing that the true Church remains a visibly united body professing the one faith universally.

Two further points follow from this consideration. First, looking at the entire history of the process is incredibly useful in comprehending it, gaining insights into its nature, seeing what was done and how it affected people; tracing fruits to principles. Second, such an approach is an excellent test of any theory. It exposes the falsity of all manner of insufficient theories. For example, Francis's open heresy disposes of the false solution which may have seemed sufficient in 1975, that Paul VI was not quite a manifest heretic and therefore remained pope, in the sense that one is still faced with the problem that he represented without having recourse to that kind of answer. One can no longer say, well it's a new religion but the pope is not really a public adherent himself, merely a liberal weakling who tolerates it. Likewise, those who say that Vatican II was heretical and anybody who publicly accepted it as a true general council ipso facto disappeared into heresy are forced to explain where the Church was in, say, 1966. Because there was NO public opposition to Vatican II as actually unacceptable to Catholics for several years after it closed. There simply were no such voices.

Fr. Laisney wrote:
without legitimate cardinals and bishops (since those nominated by a false Pope could not be legitimate), thus without a hierarchy

This is theologically untrue. Supplied jurisdiction could validate the appointments by a false claimant of Catholics to existing offices. This demolishes the objection.

On the "Novus Ordo" bishops the parallel objection that they are now all heretics also lacks force, because there's the entire Eastern Church to consider, which is in some places largely unaffected by Vatican II. And even in the Latin Rite, I see no arguments which would prove that, for example, Cardinal Burke isn't a Catholic. Whether he's an ordinary is a distinct and subsequent question. Is he a Catholic or not, and if not, why not? Why do we never see this kind of question seriously addressed?

In Christ our King.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:35 pm
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