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 Bp. Williamson on Infallibility 
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New post Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
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Number CCCLVIII (358) 24th May 2014

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CHURCH INFALLIBILITY -- IV



To Cardinal Newman is attributed a wise comment on the 1870 definition of the Pope’s infallibility: “It left him as it found him.” Indeed that definition will have changed nothing in the Pope’s power to teach infallibly, because it belongs to the unchanging nature of God’s true Church that God will protect it from error, at least when its supreme teaching authority is engaged. All such engagement is now called the Church’s “Extraordinary Magisterium”, but only the name can have been new in 1870, just like the name of the “Ordinary Universal Magisterium”. If Vatican I declared the latter also to be infallible, it must also have been so from the beginning of the Church. To discern the realities behind the two names, let us go back to that beginning.

By the time Our Lord ascended to Heaven, he had with his divine infallibility entrusted to his Apostles a body of doctrine which they were to hand down intact to his Church to the end of the world (Mt. XXVIII, 19-20), doctrine which all souls were to believe on pain of damnation (Mk. XVI, 15-16). This Deposit of the Faith, or public Revelation, God was bound to make recognisable and accessible to souls of good will, because obviously the true God could never condemn eternally a soul for refusing to believe in an untruth. By the death of the last Apostle this Deposit was not only infallible but also complete.

Then from the Apostles onwards would God protect all churchmen from ever teaching error ? By no means. Our Lord warned us to beware of “false prophets” (Mt. VII, 15), and St Paul likewise warned against “ravening wolves” (Acts, XX, 29-30). But how could God permit such a danger to his sheep from erring pastors ? Because he wants for his Heaven neither robot pastors nor robot sheep, but pastors and sheep that will both have used the mind and free-will he gave them to teach or follow the Truth. And if a mass of pastors betray, he can always raise a St Athanasius or an Archbishop Lefebvre, for instance, to ensure that his infallible Truth remains always accessible to souls.

Nevertheless that Deposit will be unceasingly exposed to ravening wolves, adding error to it or subtracting truth from it. So how will God still protect it ? By guaranteeing that whenever a Pope engages all four conditions of his full teaching authority to define what does and does not belong to it, he will be divinely protected from error – what we call today the “Extraordinary Magisterium”. (Note how this Extraordinary Magisterium presupposes the infallible Ordinary Magisterium, and can add to it no truth or infallibility, but only a greater certainty for us human beings.) But if the Pope engages any less than all four conditions, then his teaching will be infallible if it corresponds to the Deposit handed down from Our Lord – today called the “Universal Ordinary Magisterium”, but fallible if it is not within that Deposit handed down, or Tradition. Outside of Tradition, his teaching may be true or false.

Thus there is no vicious circle (see EC 357 of last week) because Our Lord authorised Tradition and Tradition authorises the Magisterium. Indeed it is the function of the Pope to declare with authority what belongs to Tradition, and he will be divinely protected from error if he engages his full authority to do so, but he can make declarations outside of Tradition, in which case he will have no such protection. Now the novelties of Vatican II such as religious liberty and ecumenism are way outside of Church Tradition. So they come under neither the Pope’s Ordinary nor his Extraordinary Magisterium, and all the nonsense of all the Conciliar Popes does not oblige any Catholic to become either a liberal or a sedevacantist.

Kyrie eleison.

Tradition is of Popes the measuring-rod Because it came at first only from God.


Bishop Williamson has unwisely chosen to quote Cardinal Newman on this subject:
Quote:
To Cardinal Newman is attributed a wise comment on the 1870 definition of the Pope’s infallibility: “It left him as it found him.”


What Newman meant, as all know, was that the definition had not changed his views, which were at best ambivalent about papal infallibility. This constituted an ongoing scandal, associated as it was with the non serviam of Lord Acton, whose position was in turn associated with his fellow historian Dollinger, who openly rejected papal infallibility. Ironically in this context, these men held themselves out to be champions of Tradition against novelty, yet in reality they were self-willed liberals.

Newman managed to say enough to settle most men's minds on his orthodoxy and at least refrained from commenting further; Acton privately met with his own bishop and convinced the latter of his orthodoxy, then relied upon the bishop to testify on his behalf in public, whilst himself hinting fairly clearly that he had not changed his views; Dollinger openly rejected the magisterium and aided in the founding of a sect, the so-called Old Catholics.

Perhaps Bishop Williamson might ponder what it is that has brought him to this pass?

His last sentence really raises the fundamental question in this matter: "Tradition is of Popes the measuring-rod Because it came at first only from God." The question: Who is the judge of what belongs to Tradition? Bishop Williamson, or the Roman Pontiff?

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Fri May 23, 2014 11:20 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Yes. The circularity is not really resolved.

Bishop Williamson's argument goes like this:
  • The Pope exists, at least in large part, to defend and clarify Tradition. (Implicit in this proposition is that he defends against false ideas and clarifies for the faithful.)
  • The faithful need pay attention to the Pope only when he defends Tradition against false ideas or clarifies it for the faithful.

But if the faithful are able on their own to discern what defends or clarifies Tradition, what need have they of a Pope in the first place?

On the other hand, all Traditionalists claim, at least to some degree, that the post-conciliar papal claimants have neither defended nor clarified Tradition but rather betrayed and obfuscated it. R&R traditionalists have done so while elevating their own judgment about Tradition over that of whom they perceive to be true Popes. Sedevacantists have done so by rejecting the papal claimants as usurpers or heretics, thus saving themselves from the elevation of their own judgment over that of true Popes. Nevertheless, it is their own judgment that has analyzed it so. I admire the use of St. Bellarmine and others to make the case, but even the argument from authority requires a personal judgment in the application of that authority's statements to the present circumstances.

In other words, all Traditionalists rely on private judgment ultimately to stake their territory. Many in the Novus Ordo religion do the same, as they pick and choose, a la carte, which Catholic doctrines suit them and which do not. Others in that world try the impossible task of holding to the old faith (what they can piece together of it) while staying "humbly" obedient to the wayward--and often ridiculous--"hierarchy."

Of these four groups--R&R Traditionalists, Sedevacantists, A la Carte "Catholics," and Novus Ordo Troopers--the sedevacantist position seems the least absurd to me. And that's saying something, when you think about it.


Sat May 24, 2014 3:37 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
...the sedevacantist position seems the least absurd to me. And that's saying something, when you think about it.


We've thought about it! :) And yes, this is Alice-in-Wonderland time.

On the circularity, it isn't actually difficult to resolve, but it requires defining one's terms properly.

The soul is simple, not composed (i.e. not made of parts), and has two faculties, the intellect and will. The phrase employed by the theologians is that faith resides in the intellect (and charity in the will). Faith is the infused virtue by which the mind is enabled to, and does, under the influence of grace, adhere to all that the Church proposes to it as revealed by God. So the Church proposes, the intellect apprehends, grace intervenes, and the will moves the intellect to accept this doctrine as certainly true, solely on the authority of God. This is essentially an intellectual act, despite the involvement of the will. It is the mind which knows this truth that it believes with supernatural faith. The will (supported by grace) has aided the mind to achieve this result - i.e. faith in a doctrine - but the intellect is the seat of all knowledge.

Now, what happens when an authority thought to represent the Church presents a novelty which is incompatible with what is already known by faith? Assuming that the mind is certain about the contradiction, the intellect is disturbed; it cannot receive this new data. The principle of contradiction, part of the very warp and woof of the intellect, built in by God as part of its very nature, does not allow the new proposition to be accepted. It is apprehended, not believed. The intellect cannot assent to it as true. So we have a problem.

There are really only two possibilities. 1. The purported authority is truly an authority but is mistaken. A protest and request for clarification will confirm this and the problem is resolved. 2. The purported authority is not mistaken, but indeed lacks that profession of faith which is necessary in order to remain a member of the Catholic Church, and therefore is no authority at all. The problem is resolved.

Common objections.

For example, the local bishop is the authority proposing some novelty, but as all know, he is not infallible; he can be ignored and no judgement about his faith has to be made. This is certainly a possibility for some period or other, and it is absolutely the Christian spirit to avoid all negative judgements about others until and unless they are unavoidable. But one cannot refuse to be taught by one's bishop for an indefinite time. He has Christ's authority over one, and the local church (what we call a diocese) consists of the bishop and his flock gathered in faith and charity around him, harkening to him and receiving from him all of the goods that God has entrusted to His Church for our salvation. Separation from him for any extended period is intolerable, unnatural, repugnant to the Christian faith. The priests are only his aides, they have no proper doctrinal or other authority except that which has been granted by the bishop. The relation of the Christian and his bishop is essential to his identity as Christian. A diocese with no priests and only a bishop and the faithful would be essentially complete, lacking nothing truly necessary to its proper constitution. So the relation of Christian to bishop is part of the divinely instituted constitution of the Church (this is not to suggest that the other lower grades of Orders are not divinely instituted, only that a bishop has a choice as to whether he needs the assistance of priests, which theoretically right at the beginning of his work he may not). I explain and emphasise this precisely because so few traditional Catholics seem to recognise it. Our situation is truly extraordinary.

But further, we have a divine injunction to avoid heretics, because they are dangerous. Heretics claiming the authority to represent the Church are the most dangerous of all, precisely because the Christian has a sacred obligation to believe what his bishop preaches to him as of faith. So the problem cannot indefinitely be postponed, it must be resolved.

Another objection is that the Conciliar popes have true authority but do not fully employ it, at least doctrinally, so that there is no final obligation to accept what they propose. This objection reduces the scope of the obligation to accept the doctrinal instruction of the Church to the scope of infallibility. But this is an error. Further, this objection posits a Church in which the day to day preaching of what is supposed to be the faith is riddled with error, while the Roman Pontiff continues to authorise the bishops who carry out this erroneous teaching activity, and worse, adds to it himself and frowns on those who object. This is really to posit a pope who never acts as pope. It is difficult to see any value in this idea, and it is incompatible with the teaching of the Church about her own possession of that prophetic light by which she always recalls, and accurately presents to every generation, the entire deposit of revelation. This is her primary purpose and the sedeplenist theory asserts that she has not fulfilled it for decades.

Finally, the notion of "private judgement" is suggested as an objection. What does that term mean? It refers to the theory, which is heretical, that each Christian is the final judge of what is of faith. It does not apply to the act of the Christian described above. He does not rest upon his own judgement, he rests upon the judgement of the Church which he has already accepted by the virtue of faith. He is under a strict obligation to maintain the faith already received. In order really to make this clear, St. Paul tells us that even if he himself were to preach another doctrine, he is to be repulsed in horror - anathema! This presupposes that the Christian is able to know the faith with sufficient clarity to recognise error, and it also emphasises that the Christian is under the strictest obligation (under pain of eternal damnation) to hold fast to what he has received. There is no shadow of private judgement about this. It is, rather, the clearest submission to doctrinal authority.

This, all traditional Catholics have in common. All are aware that we must hold fast to what we have received. That is, after all, what defines us as traditional Catholics.

In the end it is true that the intellect forms a judgement that is truly its own in the sense that it recognises the contradiction between the faith and error. It is also true that one Christian may form one such judgement and another will form the opposite judgement. In such a case one of them is mistaken. But the possibility of error is no argument against the possibility of certitude, as sound epistemology shows us if our common sense does not already see it clearly, as it should. And this certitude about the faith is truly a proper quality of faith. Faith, as already explained, resides in the intellect, it is proper to the intellect, and essentially involves intellectual certitude. That is, it is a species of certitude which is higher and more secure than any other possible certitude, precisely because we have God's own guarantee for it. But what is certitude? It is the firm adherence of the mind to known truth. One cannot be certain about what one does not know, does not apprehend with the intellect. One is certain about something. One is certain about something. Certitude is incompatible with doubt, and with notions which conflict with the notion that one is certain about. To suggest that one can be certain that Our Lord rose from the dead, and also believe or even allow as possible that He never died, for example, is a contradiction in terms. That is, it wrecks the concept, certitude, right at the root. Even before we arrive at the notion of faith or error we have already abandoned the proper activity of human mind. Certitude, by definition, excludes the possibility of error. A mind which can hold two contradictories simultaneously is diseased, it is broken, it doesn't work properly. Such a mind cannot have faith in anything, it cannot even know anything.

Returning to our two Christians with differing judgements, we can see therefore that one of them lacks understanding, either of the specific doctrine of faith that is at issue, or about the meaning of the novelty he is being asked to accept. He does not truly know the doctrine in which he professes faith. His faith is defective, and we commonly say of such a man, he "doesn't know his faith." Such defects are more or less common, depending upon the vigour and health of the Church and individual dispositions and powers and history. Such defects are more common in periods when heresy ravages the Church, obviously. This does not affect the principles expressed here, any more than any other individual or concrete defect can affect universal principles.

So this is erroneous:
Mike Larson wrote:
In other words, all Traditionalists rely on private judgment ultimately to stake their territory. Many in the Novus Ordo religion do the same, as they pick and choose, a la carte, which Catholic doctrines suit them and which do not.


Traditionalists do not rely upon private judgement, we rely upon the light of faith, which means the knowledge we have of doctrines which we are obliged by the authority of the Church to hold. Cafeteria Catholics - a la carte or Happy Meal as the case may be - do employ what is really private judgement to select the doctrines that appeal to them. This is not faith, but choice, and "choice" is the etymological root of "heresy" - its original Greek meaning.

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Sat May 24, 2014 5:31 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
So this is erroneous:
Mike Larson wrote:
In other words, all Traditionalists rely on private judgment ultimately to stake their territory. Many in the Novus Ordo religion do the same, as they pick and choose, a la carte, which Catholic doctrines suit them and which do not.


Traditionalists do not rely upon private judgement, we rely upon the light of faith, which means the knowledge we have of doctrines which we are obliged by the authority of the Church to hold. Cafeteria Catholics - a la carte or Happy Meal as the case may be - do employ what is really private judgement to select the doctrines that appeal to them. This is not faith, but choice, and "choice" is the etymological root of "heresy" - its original Greek meaning.


I would say that Mike meant that we have no living authority to instruct us regarding the New Religion and its discontinuity with the past. We are on our own (humanly speaking) to make the comparison.


Sun May 25, 2014 1:17 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John, thanks very much for the detailed response.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
...the sedevacantist position seems the least absurd to me. And that's saying something, when you think about it.


We've thought about it! :) And yes, this is Alice-in-Wonderland time.

On the circularity, it isn't actually difficult to resolve, but it requires defining one's terms properly.

The soul is simple, not composed (i.e. not made of parts), and has two faculties, the intellect and will. The phrase employed by the theologians is that faith resides in the intellect (and charity in the will). Faith is the infused virtue by which the mind is enabled to, and does, under the influence of grace, adhere to all that the Church proposes to it as revealed by God. So the Church proposes, the intellect apprehends, grace intervenes, and the will moves the intellect to accept this doctrine as certainly true, solely on the authority of God. This is essentially an intellectual act, despite the involvement of the will. It is the mind which knows this truth that it believes with supernatural faith. The will (supported by grace) has aided the mind to achieve this result - i.e. faith in a doctrine - but the intellect is the seat of all knowledge.

Now, what happens when an authority thought to represent the Church presents a novelty which is incompatible with what is already known by faith? Assuming that the mind is certain about the contradiction, the intellect is disturbed; it cannot receive this new data. The principle of contradiction, part of the very warp and woof of the intellect, built in by God as part of its very nature, does not allow the new proposition to be accepted. It is apprehended, not believed. The intellect cannot assent to it as true. So we have a problem.

There are really only two possibilities. 1. The purported authority is truly an authority but is mistaken. A protest and request for clarification will confirm this and the problem is resolved. 2. The purported authority is not mistaken, but indeed lacks that profession of faith which is necessary in order to remain a member of the Catholic Church, and therefore is no authority at all. The problem is resolved.


This is all very good, but I'm not sure how it resolves the circularity of +Williamson's argument. The Magisterium defends and clarifies the Faith for the benefit of the faithful. But (according to +W) the faithful need only pay attention to the defense or the clarification when it is correct (i.e. aligned with Tradition). Yet it is the Magisterium, not the faithful, who is assigned the role of defining what is and is not correct. Bishop Williamson is arguing that the Novus Ordo puts forth a legitimate Magisterium, who exist at least in part to defend and clarify Tradition, but that we need not listen to it (the Magisterium) when what it teaches (or implies by action) is counter to Tradition.

That's similar to the following argument: I consult my thermometer to determine the temperature, but I need accept the thermometer's reading only if it shows me the correct temperature. To carry the analogy further (following +W's line of thought), the thermometer is in working order and has the capacity to show me the true temperature (which it may or may not do); I will know that it is fulfilling such capacity when it tells me the true temperature. Circular.

But the sedevacantist says that an authentic thermometer in working order will in fact give you the correct temperature every time. The fact that this thermometer does not align with other working thermometers tells you that this one is broke and no longer holds the properties of an authentic thermometer.

More later ... gotta run.


Sun May 25, 2014 2:24 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
That's pretty good Mike. The problem seems to be the following, for sedevacantism. Firstly, being taught implies not knowing in advance the content of the teaching. Being taught seems to require the movement from not knowing some proposition or set of propositions to be true to knowing it to be true. The one being taught can only know the proposition is true after having been taught it. But sedevacantists (and all sane people) know in advance what cannot possibly be taught in one only case of affairs, namely they know that if tomorrow they are taught something which is the logical contradiction of what they are taught today, tomorrow's 'teaching' stands to really teaching as Monopoly money stands to real money. The appeal is not to a personal understanding of the content of the faith, or deeper appropriation of tradition than that had by the supposed teacher. The appeal is simply to the principle of non-contradiction. To affirm p means to deny not-p. To affirm pre-conciliar teaching on, say, religious liberty, is to deny the post-conciliar 'teaching' on it. And this would be known by any Catholic prior to the council actually occurring. The thermometer analogy limps perhaps more than most, because knowing that today is 25 degrees has no implication for what the temperature must be tomorrow. But Catholic teaching today does of necessity imply that the contrary cannot be taught tomorrow or it is no teaching at all.


Sun May 25, 2014 5:40 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Another objection is that the Conciliar popes have true authority but do not fully employ it, at least doctrinally, so that there is no final obligation to accept what they propose.


And this is the R&R line, right, as put forward by Bishop Williamson?

John Lane wrote:
This objection reduces the scope of the obligation to accept the doctrinal instruction of the Church to the scope of infallibility.


Yes.

John Lane wrote:
But this is an error. Further, this objection posits a Church in which the day to day preaching of what is supposed to be the faith is riddled with error, while the Roman Pontiff continues to authorise the bishops who carry out this erroneous teaching activity, and worse, adds to it himself and frowns on those who object. This is really to posit a pope who never acts as pope. It is difficult to see any value in this idea, and it is incompatible with the teaching of the Church about her own possession of that prophetic light by which she always recalls, and accurately presents to every generation, the entire deposit of revelation. This is her primary purpose and the sedeplenist theory asserts that she has not fulfilled it for decades.


Right. And what you describe in this paragraph is what makes the R&R position slightly more absurd than the SV position.

John Lane wrote:
Finally, the notion of "private judgement" is suggested as an objection. What does that term mean? It refers to the theory, which is heretical, that each Christian is the final judge of what is of faith. It does not apply to the act of the Christian described above. He does not rest upon his own judgement, he rests upon the judgement of the Church which he has already accepted by the virtue of faith. He is under a strict obligation to maintain the faith already received. In order really to make this clear, St. Paul tells us that even if he himself were to preach another doctrine, he is to be repulsed in horror - anathema! This presupposes that the Christian is able to know the faith with sufficient clarity to recognise error, and it also emphasises that the Christian is under the strictest obligation (under pain of eternal damnation) to hold fast to what he has received. There is no shadow of private judgement about this. It is, rather, the clearest submission to doctrinal authority.

This, all traditional Catholics have in common. All are aware that we must hold fast to what we have received. That is, after all, what defines us as traditional Catholics.


Yes, I was sloppy with the term, "private judgment," and didn't mean to suggest that Traditionalists subscribe to the notion that they can determine what is and is not of the Faith. What I should have said, and what Cam seems to have inferred from my post, is that all Traditionalists must decide, by way of personal assessment, whether and when the apparent Magisterium is errant. The R&R adherent, who believes that Magisterium to be authentic, must make this assessment in ongoing fashion, on a case-by-case basis. The SV adherent makes this assessment basically once, at the time he concludes the Magisterium to be false. Once so determined, a false Magisterium need no longer be consulted at all.

John Lane wrote:
In the end it is true that the intellect forms a judgement that is truly its own in the sense that it recognises the contradiction between the faith and error. It is also true that one Christian may form one such judgement and another will form the opposite judgement. In such a case one of them is mistaken. But the possibility of error is no argument against the possibility of certitude, as sound epistemology shows us if our common sense does not already see it clearly, as it should. And this certitude about the faith is truly a proper quality of faith. Faith, as already explained, resides in the intellect, it is proper to the intellect, and essentially involves intellectual certitude. That is, it is a species of certitude which is higher and more secure than any other possible certitude, precisely because we have God's own guarantee for it. But what is certitude? It is the firm adherence of the mind to known truth. One cannot be certain about what one does not know, does not apprehend with the intellect. One is certain about something. One is certain about something. Certitude is incompatible with doubt, and with notions which conflict with the notion that one is certain about. To suggest that one can be certain that Our Lord rose from the dead, and also believe or even allow as possible that He never died, for example, is a contradiction in terms. That is, it wrecks the concept, certitude, right at the root. Even before we arrive at the notion of faith or error we have already abandoned the proper activity of human mind. Certitude, by definition, excludes the possibility of error. A mind which can hold two contradictories simultaneously is diseased, it is broken, it doesn't work properly. Such a mind cannot have faith in anything, it cannot even know anything.

Returning to our two Christians with differing judgements, we can see therefore that one of them lacks understanding, either of the specific doctrine of faith that is at issue, or about the meaning of the novelty he is being asked to accept. He does not truly know the doctrine in which he professes faith. His faith is defective, and we commonly say of such a man, he "doesn't know his faith." Such defects are more or less common, depending upon the vigour and health of the Church and individual dispositions and powers and history. Such defects are more common in periods when heresy ravages the Church, obviously. This does not affect the principles expressed here, any more than any other individual or concrete defect can affect universal principles.

So this is erroneous:
Mike Larson wrote:
In other words, all Traditionalists rely on private judgment ultimately to stake their territory. Many in the Novus Ordo religion do the same, as they pick and choose, a la carte, which Catholic doctrines suit them and which do not.


Traditionalists do not rely upon private judgement, we rely upon the light of faith, which means the knowledge we have of doctrines which we are obliged by the authority of the Church to hold. Cafeteria Catholics - a la carte or Happy Meal as the case may be - do employ what is really private judgement to select the doctrines that appeal to them. This is not faith, but choice, and "choice" is the etymological root of "heresy" - its original Greek meaning.


Yes, I blurred two notions of what I meant by "private judgment." For the a la carte Catholic, it is private judgment about the Faith. For the Traditionalist, it is private judgment about how to decipher (and thus react to) the crisis in the Church. What makes that latter notion so strange is that in better times a private Catholic might look to the Church as his guide to navigate some particular societal crisis. But when the living Church herself is the thing in crisis, then the individual Catholic must navigate on his own by interpreting Tradition as well as he is able.


Sun May 25, 2014 10:15 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Francis wrote:
That's pretty good Mike. The problem seems to be the following, for sedevacantism. Firstly, being taught implies not knowing in advance the content of the teaching. Being taught seems to require the movement from not knowing some proposition or set of propositions to be true to knowing it to be true. The one being taught can only know the proposition is true after having been taught it. But sedevacantists (and all sane people) know in advance what cannot possibly be taught in one only case of affairs, namely they know that if tomorrow they are taught something which is the logical contradiction of what they are taught today, tomorrow's 'teaching' stands to really teaching as Monopoly money stands to real money. The appeal is not to a personal understanding of the content of the faith, or deeper appropriation of tradition than that had by the supposed teacher. The appeal is simply to the principle of non-contradiction. To affirm p means to deny not-p. To affirm pre-conciliar teaching on, say, religious liberty, is to deny the post-conciliar 'teaching' on it. And this would be known by any Catholic prior to the council actually occurring.


James, Yes, I agree. See my clarification in the post just above this one.

James Francis wrote:
The thermometer analogy limps perhaps more than most, because knowing that today is 25 degrees has no implication for what the temperature must be tomorrow. But Catholic teaching today does of necessity imply that the contrary cannot be taught tomorrow or it is no teaching at all.


The thermometer analogy is meant to illustrate the logical problem of circularity, not the principle of non-contradiction. I agree, though, that it does not do the latter. How the analogy fails, I think (I wrote it quickly before heading off to Mass this morning), is in this way: a man consulting a thermometer is looking for the answer to a particular question he has. He cannot then use the true temperature (a fact he does not have and the very thing he sought from the thermometer) as a means of rejecting the thermometer's reading (even if it happens to be at variance with the true temperature). A Traditional Catholic, on the other hand, is not looking to the Magisterium for the answer to a particular question. Rather he is objecting to the Magisterium's teaching because he already knows it is at variance with Tradition.

This explanation does get rid of the circularity problem--and maybe that is what John Lane was trying to show as well--but it is nevertheless an inversion. It is the individual Catholic defending Tradition against the Magisterium and not the Magisterium teaching Tradition to the individual Catholic. One could counter by saying it is not the individual Catholic but Tradition itself that rises up against the current Magisterium, that the individual traditionalist Catholic is merely the messenger, and such would be true. Still, there is an awkward disorder in the encounter as it unfolds in real time, this time in which we live.

It is more awkward for the R&R position because they must repeat the encounter over and over (the very act of resisting what is perceived to be legitimate authority). Again, the SV position is slightly less awkward if only for the release from that repeated encounter. I say only slightly less, though, because the SV must try to carry on as a normal Catholic--minus any sort of living Magisterium, even a defective one such as the R&R adherents resist in practice.


Sun May 25, 2014 11:17 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Hello Mike, I agree that there is awkwardness here, and the awkwardness gives the sedevacantist thesis its impetus. But let's see if we can clear up the seeming problem of Tradition v. Magisterium and find that there is no circularity. Let's describe the situation like this. Tradition obliges me, if I wish to be a Catholic, to hold a proposition, p. The post conciliar 'magisterium' 'obliges' me, if I wish to be a Catholic to hold the proposition not-p. Now, my appeal to Tradition in rejecting not-p it seems to me is not only an appeal to Tradition but an appeal to the way in which logic circumscribes what Tradition and the magisterium can teach. There are things which cannot be proposed by the magisterium or by Tradition sheerly because they cannot possibly belong to the category of things capable of being taught or being learnt. Logical contradictions, for example. So the circularity isn't circular. I'm not appealing to magisterium against magisterium. Nor exercising anything like the personal judgment involved in weighing up the evidence for two sides and then coming to a conclusion. I'm simply observing the principle of non-contradiction- and this is what I think R and R Catholics do too (although their explanation for rejecting the monopoly- money magisterium relies on perceived failures of legal procedure etc). The thing that claims to be 'magisterium' isn't. Therefore there's no circularity.


Mon May 26, 2014 12:15 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Francis wrote:
The post conciliar 'magisterium' 'obliges' me,

James, excellent posts as usual. I'll just point out that the situation is fundamentally the same whether it is an unauthorised preacher presenting heresy or a purported authority doing so. Either way the man who knows his faith must reject the novelty.

James Francis wrote:
I'm simply observing the principle of non-contradiction- and this is what I think R and R Catholics do too

Exactly.

James Francis wrote:
(although their explanation for rejecting the monopoly- money magisterium relies on perceived failures of legal procedure etc).

And that is where error arises, and in my opinion what we must combat if we are to be useful to our fellow trads. Bullying them with "you must accept Conciliar errors if you think Bergoglio is pope" is counter-productive and erroneous. If an angel from heaven (not hell) preaches error, he is anathema, so the same is true of a true pope. John XXII was truly pope and really did preach error (but not to the whole Church), and nobody suggests that anybody should have accepted his opinion! As far as that goes, all trads are in the right.

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Mon May 26, 2014 12:31 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Hello John,

It would have been better if I'd written "their explanation for the monopoly-money magisterium relies on...." as their reason for rejecting it is, as you say, that it is erroneous.


Mon May 26, 2014 12:45 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Francis wrote:
Hello Mike, I agree that there is awkwardness here, and the awkwardness gives the sedevacantist thesis its impetus. But let's see if we can clear up the seeming problem of Tradition v. Magisterium and find that there is no circularity. Let's describe the situation like this. Tradition obliges me, if I wish to be a Catholic, to hold a proposition, p. The post conciliar 'magisterium' 'obliges' me, if I wish to be a Catholic to hold the proposition not-p. Now, my appeal to Tradition in rejecting not-p it seems to me is not only an appeal to Tradition but an appeal to the way in which logic circumscribes what Tradition and the magisterium can teach. There are things which cannot be proposed by the magisterium or by Tradition sheerly because they cannot possibly belong to the category of things capable of being taught or being learnt. Logical contradictions, for example. So the circularity isn't circular. I'm not appealing to magisterium against magisterium. Nor exercising anything like the personal judgment involved in weighing up the evidence for two sides and then coming to a conclusion. I'm simply observing the principle of non-contradiction- and this is what I think R and R Catholics do too (although their explanation for rejecting the monopoly- money magisterium relies on perceived failures of legal procedure etc). The thing that claims to be 'magisterium' isn't. Therefore there's no circularity.


I understand this and do not disagree with anything here. I was on a different track entirely in my circularity objection, as follows: If I am the student and I go to my teacher for understanding of the subject matter, a thing I do not have, then I cannot very well use the thing I do not have as a measuring stick for the quality of my teacher's teaching. But as I explained above, this is an inaccurate analog, like the thermometer was, and for the same reason.


Mon May 26, 2014 2:39 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
This is all very good, but I'm not sure how it resolves the circularity of +Williamson's argument.

It doesn't. :)

It resolves the circularity of the traditional Catholic position, and then proceeds to show that the sedevacantist position (which is an addition to the traditional Catholic position) is not circular whereas sedeplenist theorising (which is likewise an addition to the traditional Catholic position) is indeed circular.

Bishop Williamson does not speak for non-sede trads. He is not accurately explaining their position, and he is not even accurately explaining Christian doctrine. He is reacting to an upsurge of sedevacantism with a false theoretical effort and does a disservice to trads and to the Church herself. He should stop writing.

Mike Larson wrote:
The Magisterium defends and clarifies the Faith for the benefit of the faithful. But (according to +W) the faithful need only pay attention to the defense or the clarification when it is correct (i.e. aligned with Tradition).

Heresy.

What traditional Catholics actually do is hold fast to what we have received from the divine authority of the Catholic Church. We are strictly obliged, under pain of eternal damnation, to do so. Anything further than this really belongs to a theory which seeks to explain the crisis. Ours is orthodox, his is not. But I emphasise again, in case anybody is in any doubt, Bishop Williamson's theory is not an accurate description of what traditional Catholics do, or why. The fact that this kind of theory is widespread these days does not change this fact. It is not what traditional Catholics did from the beginning, and it is not how they really behave. The magisterium-sifting idea was never the idea of Archbishop Lefebvre or any other credible traditionalist figure, and to the extent that some have attempted to reduce it to act, they have lost their faith. At best, they have become deeply confused. I refer to the Fraternity of St. Peter and like groups, of course. They remain Catholics, as a rule, but it's in spite of their efforts to "be subject to the pope."

Mike Larson wrote:
Yet it is the Magisterium, not the faithful, who is assigned the role of defining what is and is not correct. Bishop Williamson is arguing that the Novus Ordo puts forth a legitimate Magisterium, who exist at least in part to defend and clarify Tradition, but that we need not listen to it (the Magisterium) when what it teaches (or implies by action) is counter to Tradition.

That's similar to the following argument: I consult my thermometer to determine the temperature, but I need accept the thermometer's reading only if it shows me the correct temperature. To carry the analogy further (following +W's line of thought), the thermometer is in working order and has the capacity to show me the true temperature (which it may or may not do); I will know that it is fulfilling such capacity when it tells me the true temperature. Circular.

But the sedevacantist says that an authentic thermometer in working order will in fact give you the correct temperature every time. The fact that this thermometer does not align with other working thermometers tells you that this one is broke and no longer holds the properties of an authentic thermometer.


Well, I agree with James (and your subsequent comments) that this analogy is flawed, insofar as it suggests that the faithful don't have the knowledge of the faith to begin with (from previous preaching of the Church). However, it is not flawed insofar as it is a true analogue of the situation, very common, in which the faithful are not clear about the faith and the Church brings clarity to them by her preaching. She doesn't just issue dogmatic judgements to settle objectively obscure points, she brings already settled doctrine to every generation in new words and with new emphases in order to reach them effectively and ensure that they achieve that clarity that will actually aid them to salvation. Since in the concrete (i.e. subjectively) the faithful often or even usually lack this full clarity, they are truly lacking something that the living magisterium must bring to them, and indeed this is its prime purpose. If all we needed were a set of dogmatic judgements, then God could have written Holy Scripture in scholastic form and left the entire deposit in writing without any urgent need of a living authority.

If we return to the Vatican II era and look candidly at the facts, we see three factors leading to the stand that traditional Catholics took.

1. The spirit of liberation from the authority of the Church which was unleashed by John XXIII and Paul VI in a hundred ways, which immediately raised the suspicions of Catholics, precisely because it is totally unlawful to suggest that something is not binding when it truly is. This was heresy in itself, without any actual doctrinal error beyond the root doctrinal error here described. That is, just as it is heresy to doubt a dogma, it is heresy to communicate, whether by words or actions, that it is permissible for the faithful to doubt dogma. But that's what they did. It's the main thing they did.

2. The texts of Vatican II expressed actual error. The doctrinal status of the Council was deliberately made obscure by strange-sounding novelties ("pastoral Council") and by conflicting statements made by the Conciliar popes, and the texts were usually ambiguous, so that the clergy and faithful did not recognise the texts as actually heretical, at least immediately. So the Council texts did enormous damage, but did not cause traditional Catholics to react with the kind of actions which we later took, such as actually physically separating from the heterodox.

3. Paul VI promulgated the new missal, and then his bishops imposed it ruthlessly and tyrannically upon the lesser clergy and the faithful, forcing a separation of faithful Catholics from him and his hierarchy. This was a gigantic schism, fomented by Paul VI and for the first time actually producing a distinct sect. The texts of Vatican II are the formal cause, the theoretical programme, of the Conciliar sect, but in the concrete I’d say it truly existed from the promulgation of the New Mass.

Now, look again at that first factor. It does not describe a situation in which the (false) magisterium is imposing error authoritatively. It describes something virtually the opposite of that, which is why faithful Catholics at the time could be heard repeatedly demanding that the pope confirm the faith. Even Jacques Maritain felt this problem and approached Paul VI (via Cardinal Journet) to act as pope with a profession of faith reaffirming what the Church teaches in its main points. This is the origin of that Credo of the People of God that Maritain actually wrote, at Montini’s request, and which Montini then issued authoritatively. Of course, it contained the same at-best ambiguous filth that the texts of Vatican II contained, so it was worse than useless, but the history of its origins and causes is illustrative of my point. The history is here, for those with an interest in it: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/ar ... 4969?eng=y

Likewise Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, the Abbe de Nantes, and others are on record repeatedly imploring the Holy Father to speak authoritatively, to wield his authority, to clarify the truth and to crush error. He didn’t do so. That was the prime cause of the crisis in the Church, the absence of authority acting.

In this light one can immediately see that to speak of traditional Catholics feeling forced to accept new doctrines by the apparent authority of the Church is not truly describing the historical facts. It is true that all manner of heresy was being inflicted by bishops with apparent authority, on local flocks, but this was secondary, it was being complacently observed by “rome” rather than enforced with sanctions from the Holy See.

Taking factors 2 and 3 together, we can observe the dynamism of the separation between traditional Catholics and the rest when the New Mass appeared, a dynamism which is in significant contrast with the largely confused and directionless reactions against the Council. There was no public denunciation of Dignitatis Humanae by any bishop, including Archbishop Lefebvre, at or after its promulgation, for some years. Nobody could even agree whether the Council actually taught anything, or if it did, what exactly it did teach, so the entire situation was unclear. But everybody knew that the New Mass was new, and different from the old one, and instantly there were people who simply and flatly refused to have anything to do with it, including bishops, priests, and faithful. In that sense the New Mass was a felix culpa!

From all this it should be manifest how precisely true it is to characterise traditional Catholics as holding fast to our traditions, rather than as sifting any magisterium or even consciously rejecting heresies. We can’t even agree on the factual question of whether Dignitatis Humanae, for example, is heretical, erroneous, ambiguous-yet-evil, or ambiguous-yet-essentially-orthodox-and-interpreted-in-an-evil-sense. We don’t need to do so in order to be traditional Catholics, we merely need to hold fast to what the Church has already taught on Church-State relations and leave Vatican II aside as unclear (and therefore not binding, since only a certain law obliges).

Finally, if it was lawful merely to hold fast without making any judgements of persons in 1965, and 1975, and 1995, then it remains lawful today. No essential factor has changed in that time. Paul VI was a stinking heretic who destroyed the Church, insofar as that is possible, and so is Francis. I agree that one is more manifestly heretical than the other, but there's no essential difference. So if the reaction of traditional Catholics was orthodox and good in 1965, the same reaction is orthodox and good today.* That's what Bishop Williamson should say, if he wants to comment, instead of developing heresies about the magisterium, infallibility, reason and faith, authority, and the seat of indefectibility, as he is doing. It's terrifying what he is doing. And Fr. Pfeiffer's doing exactly the same thing, probably under his influence.


* I should also highlight that despite the fact that it is perfectly orthodox to hold fast to what we have received whilst declining to proceed to a judgement of one's purported superiors, obviously I mean as a provisional position (i.e. because one does not feel that one has an accurate grasp of the necessary principles, the full facts, etc. In other words, it's a confusing situation which one hopes to see better in the light of later and better information.). The thing that is really distressing about the modern sedeplenist theorising is precisely its tendency to harden sedeplenism into something permanent, as if it were anything but monstrous to be a Catholic who has no real submission to the Roman Pontiff. It isn't the fault of traditional Catholics that we have no relation with the man claiming to be pope, it's entirely his fault, but it's still unnatural, disordered, and intolerable (if his claim is true). It's analogous to a wife who is abandoned by her husband. She can make her own living arrangements without any injustice to him, but if she were to start telling everybody that wives only have to submit to their husbands when the latter behave well or make wise decisions, then she would err, and err sinfully. That's about where they've gotten to in sedeplenism land.

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Mon May 26, 2014 3:41 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Francis wrote:
Hello John,

It would have been better if I'd written "their explanation for the monopoly-money magisterium relies on...." as their reason for rejecting it is, as you say, that it is erroneous.


Sorry James, I don't understand this! :)

But I think we agree entirely.

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Mon May 26, 2014 3:43 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
This is all very good, but I'm not sure how it resolves the circularity of +Williamson's argument.

It doesn't. :)

It resolves the circularity of the traditional Catholic position, and then proceeds to show that the sedevacantist position (which is an addition to the traditional Catholic position) is not circular whereas sedeplenist theorising (which is likewise an addition to the traditional Catholic position) is indeed circular.

Bishop Williamson does not speak for non-sede trads. He is not accurately explaining their position, and he is not even accurately explaining Christian doctrine. He is reacting to an upsurge of sedevacantism with a false theoretical effort and does a disservice to trads and to the Church herself. He should stop writing.

Mike Larson wrote:
The Magisterium defends and clarifies the Faith for the benefit of the faithful. But (according to +W) the faithful need only pay attention to the defense or the clarification when it is correct (i.e. aligned with Tradition).

Heresy.

What traditional Catholics actually do is hold fast to what we have received from the divine authority of the Catholic Church. We are strictly obliged, under pain of eternal damnation, to do so. Anything further than this really belongs to a theory which seeks to explain the crisis. Ours is orthodox, his is not. But I emphasise again, in case anybody is in any doubt, Bishop Williamson's theory is not an accurate description of what traditional Catholics do, or why. The fact that this kind of theory is widespread these days does not change this fact. It is not what traditional Catholics did from the beginning, and it is not how they really behave. The magisterium-sifting idea was never the idea of Archbishop Lefebvre or any other credible traditionalist figure, and to the extent that some have attempted to reduce it to act, they have lost their faith. At best, they have become deeply confused.


John, my impression is that you might be trying too hard to isolate Bishop Williamson from the rest of the R&R camp. While he may not speak for them in any official capacity, his arguments seem to me an articulation of what they all are required to do in practice. Which is to say that there is no way around magisterium-sifting for the R&R position. Further, they must do it on an ongoing basis precisely because they cling to recognition. If the SV position is correct, then the magisterium they are sifting is not authentic--this is true--but sift they must, in order to know what they resist. I do not see how Bishop Williamson is substantially different in this matter than any other R&R traditionalist. Of course, different individuals may resist in different ways and to different degrees (e.g. FSSP, SSPX, "Resistance" SSPX, etc.), but the essence of their position is the same.

John Lane wrote:
I refer to the Fraternity of St. Peter and like groups, of course. They remain Catholics, as a rule, but it's in spite of their efforts to "be subject to the pope."


I assume you would include Bishop Fellay in this assessment?

John Lane wrote:
She doesn't just issue dogmatic judgements to settle objectively obscure points, she brings already settled doctrine to every generation in new words and with new emphases in order to reach them effectively and ensure that they achieve that clarity that will actually aid them to salvation. Since in the concrete (i.e. subjectively) the faithful often or even usually lack this full clarity, they are truly lacking something that the living magisterium must bring to them, and indeed this is its prime purpose. If all we needed were a set of dogmatic judgements, then God could have written Holy Scripture in scholastic form and left the entire deposit in writing without any urgent need of a living authority.


Well said. And it amplifies the predicament of the modern traditionalist.

John Lane wrote:
If we return to the Vatican II era and look candidly at the facts, we see three factors leading to the stand that traditional Catholics took.

1. The spirit of liberation from the authority of the Church which was unleashed by John XXIII and Paul VI in a hundred ways, which immediately raised the suspicions of Catholics, precisely because it is totally unlawful to suggest that something is not binding when it truly is. This was heresy in itself, without any actual doctrinal error beyond the root doctrinal error here described. That is, just as it is heresy to doubt a dogma, it is heresy to communicate, whether by words or actions, that it is permissible for the faithful to doubt dogma. But that's what they did. It's the main thing they did.


That is an interesting observation.

John Lane wrote:
2. The texts of Vatican II expressed actual error. The doctrinal status of the Council was deliberately made obscure by strange-sounding novelties ("pastoral Council") and by conflicting statements made by the Conciliar popes, and the texts were usually ambiguous, so that the clergy and faithful did not recognise the texts as actually heretical, at least immediately. So the Council texts did enormous damage, but did not cause traditional Catholics to react with the kind of actions which we later took, such as actually physically separating from the heterodox.

3. Paul VI promulgated the new missal, and then his bishops imposed it ruthlessly and tyrannically upon the lesser clergy and the faithful, forcing a separation of faithful Catholics from him and his hierarchy. This was a gigantic schism, fomented by Paul VI and for the first time actually producing a distinct sect. The texts of Vatican II are the formal cause, the theoretical programme, of the Conciliar sect, but in the concrete I’d say it truly existed from the promulgation of the New Mass.


Yes, because that is where the faithful live(d).

John Lane wrote:
Likewise Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, the Abbe de Nantes, and others are on record repeatedly imploring the Holy Father to speak authoritatively, to wield his authority, to clarify the truth and to crush error. He didn’t do so. That was the prime cause of the crisis in the Church, the absence of authority acting.

In this light one can immediately see that to speak of traditional Catholics feeling forced to accept new doctrines by the apparent authority of the Church is not truly describing the historical facts. It is true that all manner of heresy was being inflicted by bishops with apparent authority, on local flocks, but this was secondary, it was being complacently observed by “rome” rather than enforced with sanctions from the Holy See.

Taking factors 2 and 3 together, we can observe the dynamism of the separation between traditional Catholics and the rest when the New Mass appeared, a dynamism which is in significant contrast with the largely confused and directionless reactions against the Council.


Yes, and this dynamism is evidence of where the health lay in the onset of sickness.

John Lane wrote:
There was no public denunciation of Dignitatis Humanae by any bishop, including Archbishop Lefebvre, at or after its promulgation, for some years. Nobody could even agree whether the Council actually taught anything, or if it did, what exactly it did teach, so the entire situation was unclear. But everybody knew that the New Mass was new, and different from the old one, and instantly there were people who simply and flatly refused to have anything to do with it, including bishops, priests, and faithful. In that sense the New Mass was a felix culpa!


Right. It brought the symptoms of the disease out in the open.

John Lane wrote:
From all this it should be manifest how precisely true it is to characterise traditional Catholics as holding fast to our traditions, rather than as sifting any magisterium or even consciously rejecting heresies.


Yes, especially in those early days, but as the R&R position matured over the next decades, magisterium-sifting became inevitable for them (R&R adherents). Wouldn't you say that is one of the inherent risks in the R&R position? That one day you must start to use your own judgment over and against the magisterium you are resisting?

John Lane wrote:
We can’t even agree on the factual question of whether Dignitatis Humanae, for example, is heretical, erroneous, ambiguous-yet-evil, or ambiguous-yet-essentially-orthodox-and-interpreted-in-an-evil-sense. We don’t need to do so in order to be traditional Catholics, we merely need to hold fast to what the Church has already taught on Church-State relations and leave Vatican II aside as unclear (and therefore not binding, since only a certain law obliges).


I agree in general: it is the true Church that will one day clarify and/or declare with regard to the VII docs. In the meantime, however, R&R Catholics will sift those documents (so they know whether and what to resist) and SV Catholics will ignore those documents as likely to be non-magisterial.

John Lane wrote:
Finally, if it was lawful merely to hold fast without making any judgements of persons in 1965, and 1975, and 1995, then it remains lawful today. No essential factor has changed in that time. Paul VI was a stinking heretic who destroyed the Church, insofar as that is possible, and so is Francis. I agree that one is more manifestly heretical than the other, but there's no essential difference. So if the reaction of traditional Catholics was orthodox and good in 1965, the same reaction is orthodox and good today.* That's what Bishop Williamson should say, if he wants to comment,


Frequently, that is what he does say: hold fast to Tradition. In fact, I think I have heard it more often from him than from any other Society priest.

John Lane wrote:
instead of developing heresies about the magisterium, infallibility, reason and faith, authority, and the seat of indefectibility, as he is doing. It's terrifying what he is doing.


Well, I think the R&R position over time acts violently on any Catholic mind, and Bishop Williamson is certainly not immune from the effects, but neither is he an aberration among the R&R camp.

John Lane wrote:
* I should also highlight that despite the fact that it is perfectly orthodox to hold fast to what we have received whilst declining to proceed to a judgement of one's purported superiors, obviously I mean as a provisional position (i.e. because one does not feel that one has an accurate grasp of the necessary principles, the full facts, etc. In other words, it's a confusing situation which one hopes to see better in the light of later and better information.). The thing that is really distressing about the modern sedeplenist theorising is precisely its tendency to harden sedeplenism into something permanent, as if it were anything but monstrous to be a Catholic who has no real submission to the Roman Pontiff. It isn't the fault of traditional Catholics that we have no relation with the man claiming to be pope, it's entirely his fault, but it's still unnatural, disordered, and intolerable (if his claim is true).


Yes. Agreed. God help us.


Mon May 26, 2014 3:46 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John, my impression is that you might be trying too hard to isolate Bishop Williamson from the rest of the R&R camp.


No, there are others who say similar things. My main point is that Bishop Williamson and anybody else who presents this theory is theorising inaccurately. The SSPX, for example, in doctrinal matters at least, is practically sedevacantist. You will not find SSPX writers quoting Vatican II and taking the good bits from it, for example, or any other Conciliar doctrinal text. The "sifting" that people allege is their theory, is not truly their theory. Their theory, as revealed by their practice, is actually pretty much the same as every other traditional Catholic's theory from the beginning, and I'd sum it up as the notion that since John XXIII's accession all bets are off and we'll hold fast to what was taught before and leave aside anything presented since. This is in part what I tackled in this article on Archbishop Lefebvre's relation to the Conciliar popes here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... _Popes.pdf - that is, they treat the Conciliar popes as doubtful, which means that nothing that they do is certainly binding.

Mike Larson wrote:
While he may not speak for them in any official capacity, his arguments seem to me an articulation of what they all are required to do in practice. Which is to say that there is no way around magisterium-sifting for the R&R position. Further, they must do it on an ongoing basis precisely because they cling to recognition.

What you are saying is that logically this is required, but actually they don't do so.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I refer to the Fraternity of St. Peter and like groups, of course. They remain Catholics, as a rule, but it's in spite of their efforts to "be subject to the pope."


I assume you would include Bishop Fellay in this assessment?


No, because he has in no way compromised on anything that matters, unlike the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Campos priests, et al. I can't see that his status as a Catholic would ever even be raised as a question, even by his enemies in the Resistance.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
From all this it should be manifest how precisely true it is to characterise traditional Catholics as holding fast to our traditions, rather than as sifting any magisterium or even consciously rejecting heresies.


Yes, especially in those early days, but as the R&R position matured over the next decades, magisterium-sifting became inevitable for them (R&R adherents). Wouldn't you say that is one of the inherent risks in the R&R position? That one day you must start to use your own judgment over and against the magisterium you are resisting?


I'm not sure, as it doesn't seem to have happened very much. The real danger of sedeplenism, and I have held this view for twenty years and expressed it in season and out of season, is the temptation to begin treating these heretics truly as popes. The position that I think really was Archbishop Lefebvre's - papa dubius - does not run that risk to anywhere near the same degree. It's "hardened sedeplenism" that heads that way, in my observation. But I don't think there's any practical solution before the restoration, in God's good time. It's a gigantic mess, and will only get worse. But what else would we expect in a vacancy of this length? Is this not going to be the ultimate proof of the necessity of the Roman Pontiff? A renewed appreciation for and love of the papacy will be one of the great goods which comes from this crisis. There's nothing like learning a lesson the hard way.

Mike Larson wrote:
Frequently, that is what he does say: hold fast to Tradition.


Yes, but what's his reason for that position? He seems to me to be obviously relying upon false notions of faith and authority in arriving at that stance. This cure is worse than the disease.

And keep in mind when you hear him say, "hold fast to Tradition," that this is the man who undermines and contradicts the sacred tradition of the Church regarding the infallibility of canonisations. Why? Ironically, because he is too attached to the manifest novelty that Francis is pope. :)

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Quote:
Quote:
John Lane wrote:
From all this it should be manifest how precisely true it is to characterise traditional Catholics as holding fast to our traditions, rather than as sifting any magisterium or even consciously rejecting heresies.

Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, especially in those early days, but as the R&R position matured over the next decades, magisterium-sifting became inevitable for them (R&R adherents). Wouldn't you say that is one of the inherent risks in the R&R position? That one day you must start to use your own judgment over and against the magisterium you are resisting?


John Lane wrote:
I'm not sure, as it doesn't seem to have happened very much. The real danger of sedeplenism, and I have held this view for twenty years and expressed it in season and out of season, is the temptation to begin treating these heretics truly as popes. The position that I think really was Archbishop Lefebvre's - papa dubius - does not run that risk to anywhere near the same degree. It's "hardened sedeplenism" that heads that way, in my observation. But I don't think there's any practical solution before the restoration, in God's good time. It's a gigantic mess, and will only get worse. But what else would we expect in a vacancy of this length? Is this not going to be the ultimate proof of the necessity of the Roman Pontiff? A renewed appreciation for and love of the papacy will be one of the great goods which comes from this crisis. There's nothing like learning a lesson the hard way.


John,
Isn't the recent case of the canonizations of JP II and John XXIII a case of magisterium-sifting and almost universally done by the R&R group. As a whole, at least here in the United States, the recognize and resist people are shifting the meaning of canonizations away from the traditional definition of canonizations being infallible. The two common reasons why these canonizations are not infallible cited here in the States anyway are:

1.) The process was defective therefore the canonizations are fallible.
2.) Canonizations are not an infallible act of the pope and he can teach error in the matter.

Many people I have run into quote the recent article in Catholic Family News in their interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei or the recent one by John Vennari Doubt and Confusion:
The New "Canonizations
.

In these articles they supports both of the above assertions at least in part.

Quote:
CFN: Do you hold that canonizations lost their infallible character, following the changing of the canonization procedure, willed by John Paul II in 1983?

RDM: This position is supported in the Courrier de Rome, by an excellent theologian, Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize. Moreover, one of the arguments, on which Fr. Low in the article on Canonizations in the Enciclopedia cattolica (Catholic Encyclopedia), bases his thesis on infallibility is the existence of a massive complex of investigations and findings, followed by two miracles which precede the canonization. There is no doubt that after the reform of the procedure willed by John Paul II in 1983, this process of ascertaining the truth has become much weaker and there has been a change of the very concept of sanctity...


He does subsequently admit the process has change over the centuries and this is not a convincing argument, yet he throws it out there as a "possibility."

Quote:
CFN: What do you think of the thesis of St. Thomas, also echoed in the article on Canonizations of the Dictionnaire de Théologie catholique (Dictionary of Catholic Theology) according to which, if the Pope was not infallible in a solemn declaration like canonization, he would deceive himself and the Church.

RDM: We must first dispel a semantic misconception: a non-infallible act , is not a wrong act that necessarily deceives, but only an act subject to the possibility of error. In fact, this error may be most rare, or never happened. St. Thomas, balanced, as always, in his judgment, is not infallible to the end. He is rightly concerned to defend the infallibility of the Church and he does so with a theologically-reasonable argument, on the contrary. His argument can be accepted in a broad sense, but admitting the possibility of exceptions. I agree with him that the Church as a whole cannot err. This does not mean that every act of the Church, as the act of canonization, is in itself necessarily infallible. The assent which lends itself to acts of canonizations is of ecclesiastical faith, not divine. This means that the member of the faithful believes because he accepts the principle that the Church does not normally err. The exception does not cancel out the rule. An influential German theologian Bernhard Bartmann, in his Manual of Dogmatic Theology (1962), compares the veneration (cult) of a false saint to homage paid to a false ambassador of a king. The error does not detract from the principle according that the king has true ambassadors and the Church canonizes true saints.


Quote:
John Vennari:
Thus a central question arises: if there is a radical change in what was the rigorous procedure for making saints, how can we expect the same secure results? Indeed, the fast-track beatifications of the past few decades already introduce doubt to the integrity of the process. The two cases that first come to mind are that of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Opus Dei Founder Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer....

Defect in Procedure

There is an apparent quick-fix solution to the modern canonization dilemma: it is to declare that today’s popes are not popes at all; that they have lost their office due to heresy, and that we have not had a true pope since Pius XII. Yet this sedevacantist reaction, I believe, merely substitutes one collection of thorny questions with others of greater magnitude. A thorough response to the details of our unprecedented situation calls for the genius of a Bellarmine or a Garrigou-Lagrange—genius seemingly lacking in our post-Conciliar period.[22] [it would be great if he cited these authors to show how they would deal with the situation. Open the book - whoops - Sedevacantism :shock: ]

To conclude: Fast-track beatifications where the will to beatify supersedes the worthiness of the proposed candidate is a dangerous and questionable development. This is what we see with the determined push to rapidly canonize John XXIII and John Paul II. Under the new system that eliminates the Devil’s Advocate, legitimate challenges to the sanctity, orthodoxy, and miraculous intervention of the candidate are left unaddressed. As Vatican postulator Msgr. Luigi Porsi warned, “There is no longer any room for an adversarial function.”

Everything in the Catholic Faith conforms to reason.[23] It seems unreasonable, then, to assume that a drastic loosening in the procedure for canonization would yield the same secure results as the “thorough and scrupulous” method that had been in place for centuries.[24]

Thus I believe modern beatifications and canonizations are at best doubtful due to defect in procedure, and due to a new criteria for holiness engendered by the new “ecumenical Catholicism” from Vatican II.[25]


Now if the R&R people said the canonizations are doubtful because they were promulgated by a doubtful pope, I would have no problem for they would be implicit sedevacantists and there would be no shifting of Church teaching. However, this is not the common argument. Both of the arguments presented go against the prior teaching of the Church in regards to canonizations. So while it is not heresy, are not these false arguments leading the Catholic laity into error? Is there not a real danger in this destroying one's faith in Christ's Church, her infallibility, her holiness? Is there not a real danger in this error destroying one's faith in a true Roman Pontiff as the infallible teacher, guide, and ruler of the Church when he commands assent by the whole Church? In the above interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei, he even calls St. Thomas into question for pity's sake.

I just recently had a friend who switched to the novus ordo from the SSPX because he came to the conclusion the SSPX was severely disobedient to the Roman Pontiff and this is uncatholic. Of course, sedevacantism is not an option because there has got to be a pope. So I agree with your assessment of dogmatic sedeplenism is the problem. The point I think Mike is making is as time goes on, the R&R group is promoting more and more dogmatic sedeplenism (at least here in the States), and this is what is being pounded into the next generation.

Quote:
It's "hardened sedeplenism" that heads that way, in my observation.


I think this is a serious problem for the younger generation, especially the indult, as I have seen many youth (in my family) heading back to the novus ordo. If the novus ordo have a valid mass even if it is not as nice, why can't I go there if a valid pope has approved it (Sat nights are more convenient anyway and who wants to drive two hours)? Otherwise, I see a complete disregard and total disrespect for authority by others holding the R&R position especially those of the younger generation because they view this man to be a true pope, not a doubtful pope. They acquire the view that this hierarchy is something to laugh at not listen to.


Tue May 27, 2014 4:30 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:
Isn't the recent case of the canonizations of JP II and John XXIII a case of magisterium-sifting and almost universally done by the R&R group.


Yes, it's a somewhat new and developing situation. The first clear signs of it appeared with Jose-Maria Escriva's canonisation. Bishop Williamson put out an article on this in 2002, to which I wrote a reply. I'll post both below. I certainly agree that it's distressing and even more so now that men like Fr. Gleize are adding their skill and authority to that effort. It's truly terrifying to think where this might end.

James Schroepfer wrote:
As a whole, at least here in the United States, the recognize and resist people are shifting the meaning of canonizations away from the traditional definition of canonizations being infallible. The two common reasons why these canonizations are not infallible cited here in the States anyway are:

1.) The process was defective therefore the canonizations are fallible.
2.) Canonizations are not an infallible act of the pope and he can teach error in the matter.


I don't mind argument #1 insofar as it's factual (those heretics don't take any care to prove sanctity in the subject of canonisation - they have an entirely different agenda) and easily leads to the true conclusion - that they are heretics, who don't believe the true notion of sanctity and desire to scandalise the Church by their false doctrine, which proves they aren't popes.

Argument #2 is catastrophic, and it's disappointing to see John Vennari give it any credence. Until recently, Bishop Williamson was the only significant figure I had seen run that argument, and that was more than a decade ago.

James Schroepfer wrote:
Quote:
CFN: What do you think of the thesis of St. Thomas, also echoed in the article on Canonizations of the Dictionnaire de Théologie catholique (Dictionary of Catholic Theology) according to which, if the Pope was not infallible in a solemn declaration like canonization, he would deceive himself and the Church.

RDM: We must first dispel a semantic misconception: a non-infallible act , is not a wrong act that necessarily deceives, but only an act subject to the possibility of error. In fact, this error may be most rare, or never happened. St. Thomas, balanced, as always, in his judgment, is not infallible to the end. He is rightly concerned to defend the infallibility of the Church and he does so with a theologically-reasonable argument, on the contrary. His argument can be accepted in a broad sense, but admitting the possibility of exceptions. I agree with him that the Church as a whole cannot err. This does not mean that every act of the Church, as the act of canonization, is in itself necessarily infallible. The assent which lends itself to acts of canonizations is of ecclesiastical faith, not divine. This means that the member of the faithful believes because he accepts the principle that the Church does not normally err. The exception does not cancel out the rule. An influential German theologian Bernhard Bartmann, in his Manual of Dogmatic Theology (1962), compares the veneration (cult) of a false saint to homage paid to a false ambassador of a king. The error does not detract from the principle according that the king has true ambassadors and the Church canonizes true saints.


Somebody needs to tell John Vennari to look up the word "infallibility" as he doesn't appear to know what the word actually means. Astonishing.

"I agree with him that the Church as a whole cannot err." No, that's not sufficient. The doctrine is that the entire Church cannot be led into error precisely because the entire Church learns docilely from the Roman Pontiff and he is divinely protected from any possibility of error. So Vennari is preaching error here, grave error, objectively mortally sinful. So much for tradition.

John Vennari needs to look up the word "faith" also. It's not opinion, even secure opinion, it's certitude based upon infallible authority. That means, no possibility of error. "The assent which lends itself to acts of canonizations is of ecclesiastical faith, not divine. This means that the member of the faithful believes because he accepts the principle that the Church does not normally err." Erroneous, and it's nonsense. It's not even clear English. He has really written, "the member of the faithful believes without the possibility of error because he accepts the principle that the Church does not normally err." What rubbish!

If anybody has his email address I would very much like to have it.

Quote:
There is an apparent quick-fix solution to the modern canonization dilemma: it is to declare that today’s popes are not popes at all; that they have lost their office due to heresy, and that we have not had a true pope since Pius XII. Yet this sedevacantist reaction, I believe, merely substitutes one collection of thorny questions with others of greater magnitude. A thorough response to the details of our unprecedented situation calls for the genius of a Bellarmine or a Garrigou-Lagrange—genius seemingly lacking in our post-Conciliar period.[22] [it would be great if he cited these authors to show how they would deal with the situation. Open the book - whoops - Sedevacantism :shock: ]


LOL!

Quote:
Everything in the Catholic Faith conforms to reason.[23] It seems unreasonable, then, to assume that a drastic loosening in the procedure for canonization would yield the same secure results as the “thorough and scrupulous” method that had been in place for centuries.[24]

Thus I believe modern beatifications and canonizations are at best doubtful due to defect in procedure, and due to a new criteria for holiness engendered by the new “ecumenical Catholicism” from Vatican II.[25]


Right, so the conclusion is, the men who foment this are not Catholics. QED.

James Schroepfer wrote:
So while it is not heresy, are not these false arguments leading the Catholic laity into error? Is there not a real danger in this destroying one's faith in Christ's Church, her infallibility, her holiness? Is there not a real danger in this error destroying one's faith in a true Roman Pontiff as the infallible teacher, guide, and ruler of the Church when he commands assent by the whole Church?


Agreed.

I summarised this same view at the end of the Fr. Boulet book.

John Lane wrote:
For as long as one is convinced that the proof is lacking, prudence does dictate reluctance to form a judgement. This is evident, and no good Catholic would criticise another on the grounds that he did not form such a judgement because he did not see the proofs. We are required by the canons of true spirituality to be diffident – that is, to distrust our own judgement. We are required by the truth which is humility to see our faults and others’ virtues. It is incumbent on us to think well of all men unless it is impossible any longer in some case or other to do so. We must therefore, for many reasons, judge not.

But what are we to do if the honour of Holy Mother Church demands defence? If having learned the basics of apologetics or dogmatic theology we see that what our instincts told us was true – that is, that Holy Mother Church cannot give stones when her children ask for bread? That we know that she cannot cease to exist according to the essential nature granted her by Our Lord Jesus Christ in the beginning? If we are aware, for example, that she must always possess a visible unity in the profession of Faith by all of her members?

Must we, in such a case, excuse one man but condemn the entire Church? In defending this one man, must we overthrow all the certitudes of the theology manuals? Is Holy Mother Church now only theoretically united in Faith, whilst certainly united to Benedict XVI? Can we no longer employ this manifest fact – the city seated on a mountain whose light cannot be hid – as the starting point and foundation of our apologetics? Must we now explain to Protestants that yes, we obey and believe the Roman Pontiff – when he is right? Are solemn canonisations no longer infallible? Are the general disciplinary provisions of the Church now apt to conflict with divine law? Is the public prayer of Holy Mother Church now an incentive to impiety?

In a word, the sedevacantist responds, if I must choose between Paul VI and these truths, I have little difficulty. If I must defend Holy Mother Church, or John Paul II, there can surely be no real hesitation. If I must believe the pre-Vatican II theologians or believe in the claim of Benedict XVI, then there is no actual choice. The answer is forced upon us. And if we are wrong in our reluctant judgement of these men, then we have acted in honestly in defence of Holy Mother Church.

_________________
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Circular email from December 17, 2002.

______________________________________________________

Dear Friends,

The article attached below is truly incredible, in the fullest sense of that word.

Faced with the obvious fact that JPII's "canonisations" are rubbish, Bishop Williamson has a choice to make. Either he accepts the theological certainty that canonisations are infallible acts, in accordance with the teaching of the sound theologians of before V2, and thus rejects the impious claim of JPII to the See of St. Peter, or he accepts JPII's ridiculous claim and undermines the truth that canonisations are infallible.

Tragically, he chooses the latter course, thus participating in the very same process of destruction carried on by JPII and the whole V2 sect. This conclusion is inescapable.

Bishop Williamson writes, "Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons."

That is quite false. The theologians were divided, prior to Vatican II, into two camps. The liberals, who were a tiny minority and who denied or cast doubt on the infallibility of canonisations, and the orthodox theologians who affirmed Holy Church's infallibility in the matter. It is completely incorrect to state that "Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations of Saints were virtually infallible." This is like characterising the abortion debate as "a general agreement by mankind that life virtually begins at conception," on the basis that some deny it, and some affirm it. The statement is ridiculous and false, and very, very, misleading.

Canon G.D. Smith, in his tome, "The Teaching of the Catholic Church" (1952), stated baldly that "the Church exercises her infallibility in the solemn canonisation of saints. For it is unthinkable that the lives of those whom the Church upholds as models of heroic sanctity should be other than she declares them to be." (p. 713, Emphasis added.) I can't see any way to reconcile that with Bishop Williamson's claim of agreement that canonisations are virtually infallible.

Van Noort, another pre-V2 theologian, tells us that Canon Smith's doctrine is the common opinion. Once again, there isn't any way that Bishop Williamson's claim can be made to reflect that assertion. He is wrong.

But it gets worse. Bishop Williamson proceeds to explain that there were two reasons that the pre-V2 theologians held their position. "Firstly, the proposing of model Catholics to be venerated and imitated as Saints is so central to Catholics' practice of their faith, that Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter." That word "hardly" is false, mischievous, and calculated to undermine the truth.

Bishop Williamson then provides the alleged second reason supporting the traditional doctrine. "This being so, secondly, the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium." The same technique is here employed, this time in the words, "as close as could be." Let's take a look at Van Noort's presentation of these two reasons, and see whether or not there can be any excuse for Bishop Williamson's assertions.

Van Noort, in his theology manual, "Christ's Church" (English edition 1957, p. 118) begins, "Proof:

"1. From the solid conviction of the Church. When the popes canonize, they use terminology which makes it quite evident that they consider decrees of canonization infallible. Here is, in sum, the formula they use: 'By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the apostles Peter and Paul and by our own authority, we declare that N. has been admitted to heaven, and we decree and define that he is to be venerated in public and in private as a saint.'

"2. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible so that it may be a trustworthy teacher of the Christian religion and of the Christian way of life. But it would not be such if it could err in the canonization of saints. Would not religion be sullied if a person in hell were, by a definitive decree, offered to everyone as an object of religious veneration? Would not the moral law be at least weakened to some extent, if a protege of the devil could be irrevocably set up as a model of virtue for all to imitate and for all to invoke? But it cannot be inferred: therefore the Church must also be infallible in authenticating the relics of the saints; for (a) the Church never issues so solemn a decree about relics; and (b) the cases are not parallel, for in the case of relics, it is a question of relative cult, while in that of the saints it is one of absolute cult."

Neither of these reasons is presented as leading to a conclusion such as could honestly be described by relative terms such as "hardly" or "as close as could be."

Just to ensure that there is no doubt at all that the "common opinion" of theologians prior to V2 was as Van Noort says, let's add another source, Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 299) "To the secondary object of infallibility belong: a) Theological conclusions derived from a formally revealed truth by aid of a natural truth of reason. b) Historical facts on the determination of which the certainty of a truth of Revelation depends (facta dogmatica). c) Natural truths of reason which are intimately connected with truths of Revelation. For further details see Introduction, Par. 6. d) The canonisation of saints, that is, the final judgment that a member of the Church has been assumed into eternal bliss and may be the object of general veneration. The veneration shown to the saints is, as St. Thomas teaches, 'to a certain extent a confession of the faith, in which we believe in the glory of the saints' (Quodl. 9, 16). If the Church could err in her opinion, consequences would arise which would be incompatible with the sanctity of the Church."

Once again, absolute statements, not relative ones.

Equally false is Bishop Williamson's doctrine regarding tradition and the infallibility of the ordinary universal magisterium. He explains it as follows, "ln fact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary magisterium. ln other words if one wants to know what cannot be false in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching is infallible, and if it does not, it is not infallible."

The magisterium is the teaching office of the Church. Infallible means incapable of failing. Not, did not fail, but incapable of doing so. Consequently, Bishop Williamson's explanation makes no sense. Let's remove the technical terms from his paragraph and see how it reads. I'll put the replacement words in italics.

"ln fact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary teaching office. ln other words if one wants to know what cannot be false in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching cannot fail, and if it does not, it is able to fail."

It is immediately obvious that this is nonsensical. An office can be fallible or not fallible. A teaching is either true or false. But a teaching cannot be said to be incapable of failing or capable of failing. A teaching does not act. A teacher does. And it is the Church as teacher which exercises the teaching office which we call the magisterium.

Moreover, Bishop Williamson's doctrine makes the infallibility of the Church depend upon her teaching, not vice versa as is the correct doctrine. In other words, in Bishop Williamson's doctrine we can know when a teacher is infallible by whether he agrees with what the Church has taught before. But this is to remove any value at all from the doctrine of infallibility, because if we know what the Church has taught before, we do not need to know whether our teacher can fail - we already know what is true and what is false. Indeed, in this Alice-in-Wonderland theology we do not need a teacher at all. We have already been taught. That is, as far as I can tell, axiomatic.

The truth is quite different from this mish-mash of mistaken terms and senseless sentences. The truth is simply that the ordinary, universal, magisterium is infallible, which means that the Church cannot teach universally, in time or space, what is not true. Thus the bishops cannot all teach false doctrine at the same time, nor could a series of popes teach false doctrine over a lengthy period. Nor could the Church establish laws which tend to harm souls. Thus Fr. Sixtus Cartechini, a consultor to the Roman Congregations under Pope Pius XII, in his De Valore Notarum Theologicarum (Gregorian University, Rome, 1951), states that “…, neither general councils nor the pope can establish laws that include sin…and nothing could be included in the Code of Canon Law that is in any way opposed to the rules of faith or to evangelical holiness."

And nor, let it be said without any qualification, could the Church propose "as models of heroic sanctity," to be honoured and imitated by the Universal Church, Modernists such as Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer.

Yours in Christ our King,
John Lane.

________________________________________
Bishop Williamson's letter - December 2002


NEWCHURCH "CANONIZATIONS"

December 6, 2002

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The October 6 "canonization" of Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the "Opus Dei", like the September "beatification" of Pope John XXIII, launcher of Vatican II, re-opens an old and hurtful wound - how can the Catholic Church do such things? And if it is not the Catholic Church that is doing them, what is it?

For indeed it is clear beyond any doubt that the CatbolicChurch prior to Vatican II when she was still essentially faithful to Catholic Tradition, would never have beatified the Pope who initiated the Council which devastated that Tradition, nor canonized the founder of "Opus Dei", an organization preparing the way for that Council.

There is an abundance of quotes, proudly published by "Opus Dei" itself, to prove that Msgr. Escriva shared and promoted key ideas of Vatican II. Here are two: Msgr. Escriva himself said, "Ours is the first organization which, with the authorization of the Holy See, admits non-Catholics, Christian or non-Christian. I have always defended liberty of conscience" ("Conversaciones con Mons. Escriva", ed. Rialp, p.296). And his successor at the head of "Opus Dei" said about Msgr. Escriva's book "Camino", "It prepared millions of people to get in tu ne with, and to accept in depth, some of the most revolutionary teachings which 30 years later would be solemnly promulgated by the Church at Vatican II'' ("Estudios sobre 'Camino"', Msgr. Alvaro dei Portillo, ed. Rialp, p.58).

Therefore, for Pope John XXIII to have been truly a Blessed, and for Msgr. Escriva to have been truly a Saint, the Second Vatican Council would have to have been a true Council, or a Council true to Catholic Tradition. Which is ridiculous, as at least regular readers of this Letter know. Yet are not Catholic canonizations meant to be infallible?

Indeed before Vatican II, Catholic theologians agreed that canonizations (not beatifications) of Saints were virtually infallible, for two main reasons. Firstly, the proposing of model Catholics to be venerated and imitated as Saints is so central to Catholics' practice of their faith, that Mother Church could hardly be mistaken in the matter. This being so, secondly, the pre-Vatican II Popes took such care in examining candidates for canonization, and successful candidates they canonized with such solemnity, that their act of canonizing was as close as could be to a pronouncement of the Popes' solemn and infallible magisterium.

But since Vatican II, firstly the models chosen for imitation are liable, like John XXIII and Msgr. Escriva, to be chosen for their alignment on Vatican II, i.e. on the destruction of Catholic Tradition, and secondly, the formerly strict process of examination of candidates has been so loosened under the Vatican II popes and there has followed such a flood of canonizations under John Paul II, thaf the whole process of canonizing has lost, together with its solemnity, any likelihood of infallibility. Indeed, how can John Paul II intend to do anything infallible, or therefore do it, when he often acts and talks, for instance about "living tradition", as though Truth can change?

So this or that Saint "canonized" by John Paul II may in fact be in Heaven, even Msgr. Escriva, God knows, but it is certainly not his "canonization" by this Pope which can make us sure of the fact. Nor need we then feel obliged to venerate any of the post-Vatican II "Saints".

Which leaves us with the problem we began with: the Catholic Church has the divine promise of indefecti- bility, i.e. it cannat fail ("Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" - Mt. XXVII, 20). Then how can canonizations, which are meant through infallibility to partake in that indefectibility, fail, by partaking instead in Vatican II? Are we not obliged to admit either that Vatican II was not so bad after all (as the priests of Campos are now doing), or else that the sedevacantists are right after all in saying that John Paul II is not really pope? Sedevacantism would explain any amount of fallibility on his part!

The Society of St. Pius X, following Archbishop Lefebvre (1905-1991), adopts neither the Conciliar nor the sedevacanti5t solution. It believes that the Second Vatican Council was amongst the greatest disasters in the history of the Catholic Church, yet it considers that the popes who promoted that Council and its ideas (John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) were or are true popes. How can that be? How can true popes so act as to destroy the true Church?
Firstly, God creates all of us human beings free, with free will, because He does not want robots in His Heaven. That applies also to the churchmen, to whom He chooses to entrust His Catholic Church. These have there- fore an astonishing degree of freedom to build up or to destroy the Church. For instance, when Our Lord asks if he will find the Faith when he cornes back on earth (Lk XVIII, 8), we know for certain that by men's (not only church- men's) fault, the Catholic Church will be very small at the Second Coming.

However Our Lord also promised that the gales of Hell would never prevail against his Church (Mt. XVI, 18), and so we also know for certain that God will never allow the wickedness of men to go so far as to destroy His Church completely. ln this certainty that the Church will never completely fail lies her indefectibility, and sinGe the first function of the Church is to teach Our Lord's doctrine of salvation, then upon indefectibility in existing follows infallibility in teaching. For souls of good will, the Catholic Church and her Truth will always be there.

So the Catholic Church to the end of lime will never cease, on however small a scale, to make heard amongst men the doctrine of salvation, the Deposit of the Faith. From eternity this doctrine proceeds tram God the Father to God the Son, it was faithfully entrusted by the Incarnate God to His Apostles, and it has been handed down as unchanging Tradition through the successors of the Apostles ever since. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away", says Our Lord (Lk. XXI, 33). ln tact unchangingness is so essential to this doctrine, that conformity with Tradition is the criterion of the Church's infallible ordinary magisterium. ln other words if one wants to know what cannat be taise in the day-to-day teaching of the Church's teachers, the way to tell is to measure what is being said against what the Church has said down all the centuries. If it corresponds to Tradition, the teaching is infallible, and if it does not, it is not infallible. Moreover, the Church's infallible extraordinary magisterium is the servant of this ordinary magisterium, insofar as it provides a divinely protected guarantee that such and such a doctrine belongs within the Church's true doctrine, i.e. within ordinary Tradition.

Therefore Tradition, or conformity with what the Church has always taught, is the ultimate yardstick or measure of the Church's infallible teaching, ordinary or extraordinary. Therefore anything outside Tradition is fallible, and anything contradicting Tradition is certainly taise, for instance the new Vatican II teaching on religious liberty and ecumenism. But John XXIII was beatified, and Msgr. Escriva was "canonized", for their sympathy with these Conciliar novelties. Therefore such "canonizations" are certainly to some extent contrary to Catholic Tradition, and to that extent they are automatically not infallible, without my having to examine any further. "If an angel tram Heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Gal l, 8).

So if one asks how it cao be God's own churchmen who do so much damage to His Church, the answer is that He gives them great freedom, short of letting them completely destroy His Church, and because out of any evil they do he will bring some greater good. For instance, out of dubious canonizations he cao bring to "Traditional Catholics" a still better grasp of the primacy of Tradition.

And to the question how canonizations, meant to be infallible, cao instead be Conciliar, the answer is that if God allows a pope to believe in Vatican II, He may surely also allow him to take action and to "canonize" in accor- dance with Vatican II, and to loosen the strict old rules oftrue canonization which virtually guaranteed the candidate's conformity with Tradition. If Catholics are misled who blindly follow Church authority when it goes astray, that is their own problem, but Catholics who follow Tradition will, on Si. Paul's command, with prudence, "anathematize" any clear departure tram it.

So we may absolutely refuse Vatican II and all its pomps and all its works and yet not have to become sedevacantists, so long as we understand that Church indefectibility does not mean that parts of the Church will never be destroyed, only that the Church will never be completely destroyed. Similarly Church infallibility does not mean that the Church's teachers will teach untruth by, for instance, dubious "canonizations", only that, amongst other truths, the truth of Christian sanctity will never be totally falsified or silenced.

ln conclusion, these more or less Conciliar "canonizations" are correspondingly fallible, and are automatically not infallible. Obviously, Padre Pio was an entirely Traditional Saint, and we need not doubt the worthiness of his canonization. However, it might be advisable not to profit by his Newchurch "canonization" to venerate him officially or in public, insofar as that might be liable to give to other Newchurch "canonizations" a credit which is not due to them.

Dear readers, I must warmly thank all of you whose spiritual and mate rial support has carried the seminary through a remarkably happy calendar year. All September's entrants are still with us, in tact two more have corne! Very many thanks.
Let the men sign up for the five-day retreat here tram December 26 to 31. And let me wish all of you a happy Christmas free of sentimentalism, but forgive me if I again invite you to send me no cards, because I am abroad until early January. Get sentimental about my poor desk!

With all good wishes and blessings, in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson

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Tue May 27, 2014 11:32 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John, my impression is that you might be trying too hard to isolate Bishop Williamson from the rest of the R&R camp.


No, there are others who say similar things.


Some of his former confrères, certainly, have tried to dissociate themselves from him while spinning him as unbalanced, a conspiracy theorist, etc., but I'm not aware of anyone who describes Bishop Williamson as having a unique version of the basic R&R position. I could easily have missed it, though, as I do not keep up with much Catholic press.

John Lane wrote:
My main point is that Bishop Williamson and anybody else who presents this theory is theorising inaccurately. The SSPX, for example, in doctrinal matters at least, is practically sedevacantist. You will not find SSPX writers quoting Vatican II and taking the good bits from it, for example, or any other Conciliar doctrinal text.


No, of course not. Neither the Society nor Bishop Williamson teaches "the good bits" from VII. In fact, +Williamson is on record saying that the whole thing should be consigned to the dust bin--for the very fact that it contains many poisons. All of the Society's leadership over the years has used the "poison" imagery, but not all of them are so bold as to call for its nullification. Yet if it is not nullified, then the (future) Church herself must sift it so as to unambiguously help her children avoid getting poisoned.

John Lane wrote:
The "sifting" that people allege is their theory, is not truly their theory. Their theory, as revealed by their practice, is actually pretty much the same as every other traditional Catholic's theory from the beginning, and I'd sum it up as the notion that since John XXIII's accession all bets are off and we'll hold fast to what was taught before and leave aside anything presented since. This is in part what I tackled in this article on Archbishop Lefebvre's relation to the Conciliar popes here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... _Popes.pdf - that is, they treat the Conciliar popes as doubtful, which means that nothing that they do is certainly binding.


It's true, many traditionalists are ambivalent on this issue, but that is part of the whole diabolical problem. Doubt is insidious. While in that state with regard to the papal claimant, one is either a half-hearted son (if the claimant is actually the Pope) or a sheep in shock (if the claimant is not actually the Pope) and therefore unable to flee the hireling.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
While he may not speak for them in any official capacity, his arguments seem to me an articulation of what they all are required to do in practice. Which is to say that there is no way around magisterium-sifting for the R&R position. Further, they must do it on an ongoing basis precisely because they cling to recognition.


What you are saying is that logically this is required, but actually they don't do so.


Well, there is cognitive dissonance. They go through a lot of mental gymnastics to try to hold it all together. Some of those gymnastics involve magisterium-sifting.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I refer to the Fraternity of St. Peter and like groups, of course. They remain Catholics, as a rule, but it's in spite of their efforts to "be subject to the pope."


I assume you would include Bishop Fellay in this assessment?


No, because he has in no way compromised on anything that matters, unlike the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Campos priests, et al. I can't see that his status as a Catholic would ever even be raised as a question, even by his enemies in the Resistance.


No, not his status as a Catholic, but there can be no doubt of his "efforts to 'be subject to the pope.'"

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
From all this it should be manifest how precisely true it is to characterise traditional Catholics as holding fast to our traditions, rather than as sifting any magisterium or even consciously rejecting heresies.


Yes, especially in those early days, but as the R&R position matured over the next decades, magisterium-sifting became inevitable for them (R&R adherents). Wouldn't you say that is one of the inherent risks in the R&R position? That one day you must start to use your own judgment over and against the magisterium you are resisting?


I'm not sure, as it doesn't seem to have happened very much.


It happens more and more, as James S. points out in this thread.

John Lane wrote:
The real danger of sedeplenism, and I have held this view for twenty years and expressed it in season and out of season, is the temptation to begin treating these heretics truly as popes.


But this has already happened. For instance, you have the (then) four bishops of the SSPX writing a letter to the papal claimant thanking him for "lifting" the (bogus) excommunications. On another plane, you also have the commonplace "bad father" argument, spread widely in the SSPX, oftentimes by the priests themselves: He's a bad father. But he's still my father. Yet since he is bad, I can resist him. There is now a whole generation of serious Catholics with this mindset. And that is a new thing in the world.

John Lane wrote:
The position that I think really was Archbishop Lefebvre's - papa dubius - does not run that risk to anywhere near the same degree. It's "hardened sedeplenism" that heads that way, in my observation. But I don't think there's any practical solution before the restoration, in God's good time. It's a gigantic mess, and will only get worse. But what else would we expect in a vacancy of this length? Is this not going to be the ultimate proof of the necessity of the Roman Pontiff? A renewed appreciation for and love of the papacy will be one of the great goods which comes from this crisis. There's nothing like learning a lesson the hard way.


I thank you for this bit of hope. It is good sometimes to look beyond the end of this thing of which we find ourselves in the middle.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Frequently, that is what he does say: hold fast to Tradition.


Yes, but what's his reason for that position? He seems to me to be obviously relying upon false notions of faith and authority in arriving at that stance. This cure is worse than the disease.

And keep in mind when you hear him say, "hold fast to Tradition," that this is the man who undermines and contradicts the sacred tradition of the Church regarding the infallibility of canonisations. Why? Ironically, because he is too attached to the manifest novelty that Francis is pope. :)


I guess we disagree in general with regard to Bishop Williamson. Though I do not agree with all his opinions or with everything he writes (as evidenced in this thread!), I admire him a great deal. I do not see him as the danger you have described (though certainly there are indeed dangerous men within Tradition). Quite the contrary. He has often been for me a sane Catholic voice in a time of great madness.


Wed May 28, 2014 2:07 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John,

Excellent commentary on Williamson's letter. Does he ever read anything you send him?

It may seem I am a little hard on the SSPX at times, but my experience with them has been vastly different then yours. It is refreshing to hear they differ in other areas :) , but I truly think you don't understand how anti-sedevacantist the SSPX is here in the USA :( . I supported the Resistance similar to Mithrandylan because I saw it as a refusal for a deal with Rome :) . At the time in 2012, I had SSPX family members praying rosaries for a deal with Rome (not the conversion of Rome to the faith, but a deal), so perhaps you will understand how this perspective was generated. Since then The Resistance has been nothing but a huge disappointment as they refuse to examine, or even glance at their logical inconsistencies and come to the proper conclusion of sedevacantism :( .

I thought I would post this excerpt from a private letter to demonstrate what I commonly run into when I have conversations with the younger generation, people my age. I wish I could say this attitude was unusual, but here in the upper Midwest of the USA and other parts of the USA, it seems to be the general opinion from the people I come into contact with. Since this a private letter I cannot reveal who it is, and I hope posting it is not sinful as I only mean it to illustrate my point with it, nothing more.

Quote:
...I know it is a troubled time, and pretty much all we can do is pray for the church. I do have a very knowledgeable uncle [this person's uncle is a priest with the SSPX] whom I contact whenever I am confused about Catholicism in this day and age, and I did ask him about sedevacantism. He said it is nothing more than a sectarian "Old Catholic" movement without the Monarchical and hierarchical Catholic Church, and as such, is a schismatic, sectarian cult...

When my uncle was at Econe in the 19...s, Archbishop Lefebvre told the seminarians that the consecrations by Bishop Thuc are at least doubtfully valid (and probably invalid) because of his sick mental condition; i.e., because he had entered a monastery and made a vow to the Pope and the Vatican that he would never consecrate any more bishops after he made a mistake in consecrating two bishops a few years before consecrating Carmona. Bishop Thuc would not have broken his vow unless he had a mental breakdown, which would have vitiated his necessary intention to validly consecrate bishops.


Nor can I say I necessarily blame some of the SSPX for the position they take. When they hear about people like the Diamond brothers, home-aloners, or hear the SSPV condemning the Thuc-line from the pulpit, they attribute these problems and in-fighting to sedevacantism. I think there are sedevacantists who have done an enormous disservice to their fellow Catholics by misrepresenting what sedevacantism is. But at the same time, the SSPX and the anti-sedevacantist lawyer writers here in the States have often created or built up these strawmen or whacky minority groups to try and discredit the sedevacantist thesis and have generated many of these misconceptions of what the sedevacantist thesis actually is. And to me this appears to be done on purpose. It is beyond lamentable, and I take it as wake up call for all Catholics to do their homework and be very careful what one says in the company of others. Whether it be doctrine or news, be very careful to check and double check your sources :!: :!:


Fri May 30, 2014 1:05 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Bishop Sanborn has written a response to Bishop Williamson on this topic as well. Much of it is germane to points discussed in this thread. A couple of things worth noting:

  • He discusses at length Bishop Williamson's promotion of magisterium sifting.
  • But he ties that tendency tightly to Econe. That is to say, he sees it as the normal--but errant--theological novelty taught (and received) by the SSPX.
  • In the end, he is able, ironically, to connect Bishop Williamson's thought (and that of the whole R&R camp) on this matter to that of Hans Kung, who also manages to shift authority away from the magisterium and into the hands of the "whole church," able to somehow guide itself infallibly despite "an erring and failing papacy."

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Fri May 30, 2014 2:45 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Yes, I agree it's good, excellent in fact. The next section, where he discussed the formal/material ditinction, is not good, however. He mixes up Protestants in good faith with mistaken Catholics, as if both are material heretics.

I don't believe that Bishop Williamson's magisterium-sifting theory is that of the SSPX. See if you can find an article by some other senior figure which present the same doctrine.

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Fri May 30, 2014 11:11 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Yes, I agree it's good, excellent in fact. The next section, where he discussed the formal/material ditinction, is not good, however. He mixes up Protestants in good faith with mistaken Catholics, as if both are material heretics.

I don't believe that Bishop Williamson's magisterium-sifting theory is that of the SSPX. See if you can find an article by some other senior figure which present the same doctrine.


I'm wondering if we aren't maybe using terms differently, because it seems so clear to me 1) that all Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift what they hold to be the magisterium, and 2) that the official SSPX position is one of both recognition and resistance.

Here is what I mean by magisterium sifting: the act of deciding what ought to be rejected among the universal teachings and implementations of the Church, such as, but not limited to, the documents of Vatican II, the promulgation of the new mass, the institution of the new Code of Canon Law, the canonization of saints, the teaching of NFP birth control, the liberal granting of annulments, and so on.

While recognizing the Novus Ordo "magisterium" as legitimate, the Society of St. Pius X has always sifted through these things to justify their resistance and to clarify for their faithful what is and is not of Tradition.


Sat May 31, 2014 12:49 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
This just in...

Bishop Williamson wrote:
Number CCCLIX (359) 31st May 2014

CHURCH INFALLIBILITY -- V


Liberalism is war on God, and it is the dissolution of truth. Within today’s Church crippled by liberalism, sedevacantism is an understandable reaction, but it still credits authority with too much power over truth. The modern world has lost natural truth, let alone supernatural truth, and here is the heart of the problem.

For our purposes we might divide all papal teaching into three parts. Firstly, if the Pope teaches as Pope, on Faith or morals, definitively and so as to bind all Catholics, then we have his Extraordinary Magisterium (EM for short), necessarily infallible. Secondly, if he does not engage all four conditions but teaches in line with what the Church has always and everywhere taught and imposed on Catholics to believe, then he is partaking in what is called the Church’s “Ordinary Universal Magisterium” (OUM for short), also infallible. Thirdly we have the rest of his teaching, which, if it is out of line with Tradition, is not only fallible but also false.

By now it should be clear that the EM is to the OUM as snow-cap is to mountain. The snow-cap does not make the summit of the mountain, it merely makes it more visible. EM is to OUM as servant to master. It exists to serve the OUM by making clear once and for all what does or does not belong to the OUM. But what makes the rest of the mountain visible, so to speak, is its being traceable back to Our Lord and his Apostles, in other words, Tradition. That is why every EM definition is at pains to show that what is being defined was always previously part of Tradition. It was mountain before it was covered in snow.

By now it should also be clear that Tradition tells the Popes what to teach, and not the other way round. This is the basis on which Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Traditional movement, yet it is this same basis which, with all due respect, liberals and sedevacantists fail to grasp. Just see in the Gospel of St John how often Our Lord himself, as man, declares that what he is teaching comes not from himself but from his Father, for instance: “My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me” (VII, 16), or, “I have not spoken from out of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (XII, 49). Of course nobody on earth is more authorized than the Pope to tell Church and world what is in Tradition, but he cannot tell Church or world that there is in Tradition what is not in it. What is in it is objective, now 2,000 years old, it is above the Pope and it sets limits to what a Pope can teach, just as the Father’s commandment set limits to what Christ as man would teach.

Then how can liberals and sedevacantists alike claim, in effect, that the Pope is infallible even outside of both EM and OUM ? Because both overrate authority in relation to truth, and so they see Church authority no longer as the servant but as the master of truth. And why is that ? Because they are both children of the modern world where Protestantism defied the Truth and liberalism ever since the French Revolution has been dissolving objective truth. And if there is no longer any objective truth, then of course authority can say whatever it can get away with, which is what we observe all around us, and there is nothing left to stop a Paul VI or a Bishop Fellay from becoming more and more arbitrary and tyrannical in the process.

Mother of God, obtain for me to love, discern and defend that Truth and order coming from the Father, both supernatural and natural, to which your own Son was as man subject, “unto death, even to the death of the Cross”.

Kyrie eleison

The loss of objective truth in depth explains
The Church’s sedevac and liberal pains.

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Sat May 31, 2014 1:05 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
If anybody has his email address I would very much like to have it.


Not an email but at least a means to contact him electronically: Roberto de Mattei http://www.robertodemattei.it/contatti/

John Vennari: cfnjjv@gmail.com

Both of the above addresses are public information (John Vennari's email is published in the masthead of CFN) so I don't think I am violating any etiquette rules by posting them.


Sat May 31, 2014 4:13 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
I'm wondering if we aren't maybe using terms differently, because it seems so clear to me 1) that all Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift what they hold to be the magisterium,


Mike, their true position is that they don't accept that the magisterium has been exercised. They say that Vatican II was an entirely new type of council, a "pastoral" one, and that theology doesn't know this notion. That much is true. I say, that is a further proof that there was no pope; they say, it is not a General Council as theology describes a General Council, so whatever it is, it isn't a proper organ of the magisterium.

On the New Mass, they deny that it was imposed by law by the Roman Pontiff. That is my opinion too, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was pope. He simply didn't order or even permit any person or class of persons to use the new missal.

So you see, there's no sifting going on, on their theory, merely the application of theology and reason to the facts.

On the New Code, the position seems to be that what is in line with divine law is accepted as a valid exercise of the Roman Pontiff's legislative power, while what is contrary to divine law is not accepted. Since the canons are not primarily doctrinal by their nature, this would not be sifting the magisterium so much as sifting the law. I haven't thought about what one would say to that, except that along with all other sedevacantists I insist that the universal law cannot contain anything contrary to divine law, because the Church is infallible in her universal disciplinary provisions. It's certainly true that just as with doctrinal matters, nobody has the right to accept a law as binding which is contrary to divine revelation. But how they explain the doctrinal error coming from the Roman Pontiff in his universal laws I do not know. One priest I spoke to said that he regards all of their acts as doubtful because of their false Modernist concept of authority. Maybe that's the general view, but it's difficult to see why they would accept any of the New Code on that theory. I should pose that to a few of SSPX priests and see what they say.

Mike Larson wrote:
While recognizing the Novus Ordo "magisterium" as legitimate,

I hope you see that's precisely what they do not recognise.

Mike Larson wrote:
the Society of St. Pius X has always sifted through these things to justify their resistance and to clarify for their faithful what is and is not of Tradition.

I don't think that's factual. What they really do as a rule (there may be exceptions, and individuals take different approaches of course) is to set the whole lot aside and stick to the pre-Vatican II missal, laws, and doctrines.

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Sat May 31, 2014 4:51 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Thomas Williams wrote:
This just in...

More doctrinal chaos, packed with errors. Oh my!

Bishop Williamson wrote:
For our purposes we might divide all papal teaching into three parts. Firstly, if the Pope teaches as Pope, on Faith or morals, definitively and so as to bind all Catholics, then we have his Extraordinary Magisterium (EM for short), necessarily infallible. Secondly, if he does not engage all four conditions but teaches in line with what the Church has always and everywhere taught and imposed on Catholics to believe, then he is partaking in what is called the Church’s “Ordinary Universal Magisterium” (OUM for short), also infallible.

You see here the insoluble tangles one gets into when one chooses to abandon the proper terminology and starts inventing theology. The magisterium is an OFFICE, a function, a set of powers and prerogatives, EXERCISED by men with authority. Somebody doesn't "partake in" the magisterium. That's nonsense, absolute BS. He's a past professor of philosophy with a clear, disciplined, mind which he has proven again and again to be more than capable of strict, clear, expression. There is no excuse for not applying that mind properly to these matters.

The ordinary, universal, magisterium is the activity of the bishops throughout the world in their daily teaching, that is, preaching, writing encyclical letters to their flocks, approving catechisms, approving devotions, etc., all under the supervision and approval of the Roman Pontiff. This activity is the exercise of that office which is the means by which our Lord Jesus Christ arranged for His revelation to be brought to the people of every era, without possibility of error. The Roman Pontiff equivalently commits the Church to a particular doctrine and therefore acts infallibly when he teaches something repeatedly by a variety of teaching acts so as to make clear that it is part of the Deposit. This exercise of the magisterium by the Roman Pontiff alone, but not solemnly, is infallible also. The nub of the issue is whether he commits the entire Church to the doctrine - if he does, he cannot err. If not, he can err. But of course the potential error cannot be dangerous, as Cardinal Franzelin makes clear.

It's perfectly orthodox to question whether Paul VI, on the hypothesis that he was pope, committed the Church to any doctrine at all, because he himself said confusing, novel, and contradictory things about the authority of Vatican II. So there's no need even for a sedeplenist to engage in this trashing of sacred theology in order to answer sedevacantist arguments based upon the infallibility of the Church.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
Thirdly we have the rest of his teaching, which, if it is out of line with Tradition, is not only fallible but also false.


The Roman Pontiff cannot preach heresy. I challenge Bishop Williamson to find a theologian who admits the possibility in any official (i.e. authoritative, or authentic) act.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
By now it should be clear that the EM is to the OUM as snow-cap is to mountain. The snow-cap does not make the summit of the mountain, it merely makes it more visible.

Rubbish. They are both the same thing, merely exercised in a different mode. The Church is infallible. She speaks via the Roman Pontiff alone when he exercises the magisterium in an extraordinary manner, and she speaks via the bishops and the Roman Pontiff together when they exercise the magisterium in the ordinary mode.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
EM is to OUM as servant to master. [!!!] It exists to serve the OUM by making clear once and for all what does or does not belong to the OUM.

This is just terrible! What confusion of thought! Whatever is taught by the ordinary universal magisterium is, by the very definition of the term, clear and undisputed. If it isn't clear, or if it is disputed, then it isn't taught universally in the ordinary exercise of the magisterium. The whole point of an extraordinary exercise of the magisterium is that it settles in one act what is unclear or disputed. So there's no difference in clarity between the extraordinary and the ordinary acts of the magisterium. They are both "snow" on the mountain, which if it is anything is the Deposit of Faith itself.

Illustrations. The Immaculate Conception was not universally and clearly taught by the Church prior to 1854. Theologians do not say that it was taught by the ordinary universal magisterium but remained unclear. That would be nonsensical. What they say is that it was part of the Deposit but remained legitimately disputed. Then the pope acted in an extraordinary way - that is, exercised the magisterium extraordinarily, by solemnly defining the doctrine, which made it clear and obliged all to hold it as a dogma, a divinely revealed truth. The dogma of Christ's divinity was not legitimately disputed prior to Nicea. It was already a dogma, clear and undisputed by Catholics. It was solemnly defined in order to reaffirm the Church's faith in the face of heretical confusion.

Again, to say that "the EM is to OUM as servant to master" is a total confusion of ideas. To assert that "the EM exists to serve the OUM by making clear once and for all what does or does not belong to the OUM" is an absurdity. Both the EM and the OUM exist to make clear what belongs to the Deposit of Faith. If the OUM does so effectively, there's no need for any extraordinary acts of the magisterium (and indeed, if men were not subject to Original Sin, darkening our intellects and weakening our wills, with concupiscence turning us towards evil, there'd be no need for any extraordinary magisterium - we'd hear the truth once, taught by the Church in the ordinary way, and believe it perfectly and forever).

Bishop Williamson wrote:
But what makes the rest of the mountain visible, so to speak, is its being traceable back to Our Lord and his Apostles, in other words, Tradition.

Where will this confusion end? What is tradition, understood as something traceable? The term has several meanings in theology, but in this context it means the acts of the magisterium. That is, not the doctrines themselves, but the doctrinal acts, that the Church has performed in each and every age. There are loads of them in Denzinger. Official texts. Likewise in the Fathers. Texts. That's what we refer to when we speak of tracing a doctrine back to the Apostles. We look at the texts and we see that they agree. So, if the "mountain" is the ordinary, universal, magisterium, then it's visible because its fruit is the texts that the Church has issued. It is, in that sense, "tradition" (i.e. that which has been handed down).

Bishop Williamson wrote:
That is why every EM definition is at pains to show that what is being defined was always previously part of Tradition. It was mountain before it was covered in snow.

No, the reason that solemn definitions are at pains to show that their doctrine is traditional is to aid the faithful to accept the doctrine, and to explain its proper sense. There's no absolute need for the obiter dicta which popes add to solemn definitions, and it was not traditionally added in every case. If the extraordinary exercise of the magisterium is the snow on a mountain, the mountain is the Deposit of Faith. THAT is what it is clarifying and displaying for all to see. And the ordinary exercise of the magisterium has exactly the same function. There is no difference except in the mode of exercise.

This is so irritating, there really isn't any need for confusion over these concepts, they are actually simple - if one sticks with proper terminology and ensures that one knows the definitions of those proper terms and keeps them in mind.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
By now it should also be clear that Tradition tells the Popes what to teach, and not the other way round.

True, but irrelevant. The whole point of the magisterium is to make clear what belongs to Tradition (in the other sense, essentially the Deposit) and what does not, and it does this by being the true, divinely-aided judge and teacher. So we are back to the circularity problem - who is the judge of what belongs to Tradition, the Roman Pontiff or the fellow in the third pew?

Bishop Williamson wrote:
This is the basis on which Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Traditional movement, yet it is this same basis which, with all due respect, liberals and sedevacantists fail to grasp.


Bishop Williamson is all at sea because of the utter confusion of what has gone before. The reason we cannot accept lying novelties is because we have already been obliged, by an infallible authority, to profess the objects of faith. Authority comes first, for us, precisely because otherwise we wouldn't know what is true and what isn't. But having been taught, we now have a solemn obligation, binding under pain of damnation, not to believe anything contrary, or even to doubt. We don't reject novelties because authority has no right to teach them, we reject them because we cannot accept them. It's impossible.

Bishop Williamson wrote:
Then how can liberals and sedevacantists alike claim, in effect, that the Pope is infallible even outside of both EM and OUM ? Because both overrate authority in relation to truth, and so they see Church authority no longer as the servant but as the master of truth. And why is that ? Because they are both children of the modern world where Protestantism defied the Truth and liberalism ever since the French Revolution has been dissolving objective truth. And if there is no longer any objective truth, then of course authority can say whatever it can get away with, which is what we observe all around us, and there is nothing left to stop a Paul VI or a Bishop Fellay from becoming more and more arbitrary and tyrannical in the process.


Actually, the liberalism is all Williamson's. He is preaching against authority, just as the French Revolutionaries did. Why? Because otherwise he can't see his way clear to remain safe in the faith in the face of lying novelties preached by those who appear to have authority. He's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. In his ineffective effort to escape error from apparent authority, he ends up making every individual his own pope, the final judge of Tradition. And that's the very essence of liberalism - the sovereignty of the individual.

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Sat May 31, 2014 6:11 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Maybe with all the snow Bishop Williamson got lost in a blizzard :?:

A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning

Quote:
. III. The universal teaching of the Bishops and Priests is another mode of ecclesiastical testimony to revealed truth. The testimony of all the Bishops is in itself infallible, independently of the teaching of the inferior clergy and the belief of the Faithful, because the Episcopate is the chief organ of infallibility in the Church. It is, moreover, an infallible testimony at every moment of its duration (“I am with you all days “). This mode of testimony is sometimes called the testimony of the Particular Churches, because the teaching of each Bishop is reflected and repeated by the clergy and the Faithful of his diocese. Hence the testimony of the Priests and of Theological Schools in subordination to the Bishop holds a sort of intermediate position and value between the “Sensus fidelium” and the testimony of the Episcopate.

IV. The central, perfect and juridical representative of Tradition is the Apostolic See. From the earliest times it has been the custom to consider the formula, “The Roman Church or Apostolic See hath held and doth hold,” as equivalent to “The Catholic Church hath held and doth hold;“ because the universal Church must hold, at least implicitly, the doctrines taught by the Holy See. When the Pope pronounces a judicial sentence he can bind the whole Church, teachers as well as taught, and the authority of his decisions is not impaired, even by opposition within the Teaching Body. Moreover, as a consequence of the connection between the Head of the Church and the Roman See, there exists in the local Roman Church, apart from the authoritative decisions of the Pope, a certain actual and normal testimony which must be considered as an expression of the habitual teaching of the Holy See. This arises from the fact that the Faith professed in the Roman Church is the result of the constant teaching of the Popes, accepted by the laity and taught by the clergy, especially by the College of Cardinals who take part in the general government of the Church.


Quote:
. II. The Rule of Faith was given to the Church in the very act of Revelation and its promulgation by the Apostles. But for this Rule to have an actual and permanently efficient character, it must be continually promulgated and enforced by the living Apostolate, which must exact from all members of the Church a docile Faith in the truths of Revelation authoritatively proposed, and thus unite the whole body of the Church, teachers and taught, in perfect unity of Faith. Hence the original promulgation is the remote Rule of Faith, and the continuous promulgation by the Teaching Body is the proximate Rule.

III. The fact that all the members of the Church actually agree in one Faith is the best proof of the efficiency of the Catholic Rule of Faith. This universality is not the Rule of Faith itself but rather its effect. Individual members are indeed bound to conform their belief to that of the whole community, but this universal belief is produced by the action of the Teaching Apostolate, the members of which are in their turn subject to their Chief. Hence the Catholic Rule of Faith may be ultimately reduced to the sovereign teaching authority of the Holy See. This was asserted long ago in the Creed drawn up by Pope Hormisdas: “Wherefore following in all things the Apostolic See and upholding all its decrees, I hope that it may be mine to be with you in the one communion taught by the Apostolic See, in which is the true and complete solidity of the Christian Religion ; and I promise also not to mention in the Holy Mysteries the names of those who have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church — that is, those who agree not with the Apostolic See.”


Quote:
. SECT. 13.— Organization of the Apostolate (continued)— Organic Union between the Teaching Body and the Body of the Faithful.

I. The Teaching Apostolate, with its auxiliaries on the one hand and the body of believers on the other, together constitute the Church. The union between them is not mechanical, but is like the mutual union of the members of a living organism. To obtain a correct idea of the relations between the two parts, we must bear in mind that infallibility and the other attributes granted to the Teaching Apostolate are intended only as means to secure an unerring Faith in the entire community, and that the supernatural Faith of all the members, both teachers and taught, is the result of the influence of the Holy Ghost. From this we infer that the teachers and their hearers compose one indivisible, complete organism, in which the teachers figure as the principal members, the head and the heart; that they constitute a homogeneous organism, because the teachers are at the same time believers, and because the belief of the Faithful is a testimony to and confirmation of the doctrines taught. They are an organism living supernaturally, because the Holy Ghost infuses into all the members the life of Faith by external teaching and internal grace. This union between teachers and taught likewise leads us to further consequences. The doctrine of Christ is manifested in two ways in authoritative proposition and in private belief. The latter form, being only an echo of the former, and, moreover, being the result of the action of the Holy Ghost, becomes in its turn a kind of testimony of doctrine. The private form reacts upon the public proposition and confirms it. The Faith of the whole Church cannot be wrong, and, therefore, what all believe must infallibly be true, and must represent the doctrine of Christ as well as do the teachings of the Apostolate. Nay, the external manifestations of the Holy Ghost may be seen especially in the Body of the Faithful, in its Martyrs and Confessors, and these manifestations constitute, in connection with the universal belief, a powerful motive of credibility.

II. This notion of the organic character of the Church will enable us to understand many expressions met with in Theology, e.g. the “Church Teaching” and the “Church Hearing” or “Learning;” the “Mission and Authority of the Church,” i.e. of the members of the Hierarchy; the “Teaching Apostolate, or its Chief, represents the Church,” i.e. not in the same way as a member of parliament represents his constituents, but in the sense that the Faith of the Apostolate or of its Chief is a true expression of the Faith of the whole Church. It has lately been said, “Infallibility belongs only to the Church, but the Hierarchy is not the Church, and therefore the Hierarchy is not infallible.” We might just as well say, “Life belongs only to the body, but the head and heart are not the body, therefore the head and heart are not alive.” This false notion originated either from a comparison between the Hierarchy and the parliaments of constitutional States, or from the materialistic conception of authority according to the formula: “Authority is the result and sum-total of the power of the members taken individually, just as the total force of a material body is the result and sum-total of the energies of its parts.” But, in truth, authority is a principle implanted in society by God in order to give it unity, life, and guidance. In order to give to the infallibility of the Church as broad a basis as possible, some well-meaning persons have adopted the materialistic view, and have made the universality and uniformity of the belief of the Faithful the chief motive of credibility. This theory, however, is naturalistic, and is opposed to the teaching of Scripture. Moreover, it is intrinsically weak, for without the independent authority of the Teaching Apostolate and the assistance of the Holy Ghost, uniformity and universality could never be brought about, or at least could not last for any length of time.

The attribute of infallibility belonging to the entire community of the Faithful manifests itself differently in its different parts. In the Teaching Body it is Active Infallibility, that is, inability to lead astray; in the Body Taught it is Passive Infallibility — that is, incapability of being led astray.


Quote:
. SECT. 15.—Gradual Progress in the Transmission of Revelation — Apostolic Deposit: Ecclesiastical Tradition: Rule of Faith

I. The office-holders in the Teaching Apostolate form one unbroken chain, derived from God, and consequently doctrine announced by them at any given time is a continuation and a development of the doctrine originally revealed, and is invested with the same Divine character Jesus Christ, the immediate Envoy of His Father, announced what He had heard from the Father; the Apostles, the immediate envoys of Christ, preached what they had heard from Christ and the Holy Ghost; the successors of the Apostles, the inheritors of the apostolic mission, in their turn taught and still teach the doctrine received from the Apostles, and thus Revelation has been handed down from generation to generation without a single break.


Quote:
. 2. The most essential and necessary truths must always be expressly taught, admitted, and handed down in the Church, if not by every individual teacher or hearer, at least by the Body as a whole. Truths belonging to the Apostolic Deposit which have been so obscured as not to be known and professed by all the members of the Church, and even to be rejected by some or not distinctly enforced by others, must be attested and transmitted at least implicitly ; that is to say, truths clearly expressed and distinctly professed must contain the obscured truths in such a way that by careful reflection and the assistance of the Holy Ghost these obscured truths may be evolved and proposed for universal acceptance. There are, we may observe, several ways in which one truth may be implied in another. General truths contain particular truths; principles imply consequences; complex statements involve simpler statements whether as constituent parts or as conditions; practical truths presuppose theoretical principles and vice versa. The dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and of Papal Infallibility are implied in other dogmas in all of these four ways (infra. p. 105).

Only the actual and express Tradition of a truth can be appealed to in proof that it is a matter of Faith. If we can show that at a given time the Tradition was universal this alone is sufficient — continuity is not absolutely necessary. However, except in cases of an authoritative definition, Tradition, to become universal, requires a long time. Even when an authoritative definition is given, it is always based upon the fact that the Tradition in question was universal for a long time. Hence the duration for a more or less long period should be proved.


Quote:
. The rules for the application of the laws mentioned in the above section may be gathered from the laws themselves. Catholics, believing as they do in the Divine authority of Tradition, will of course obtain different results from Protestants who acknowledge only its historical value. Catholics, too, will apply the rules differently, according as their object is to ascertain with infallible certitude the apostolicity of a truth, or to expound and defend it scientifically.

I. For the Catholic it is not necessary to demonstrate positively from coeval documents that the Church has always borne actual witness to a given doctrine. The scantiness of the documents, especially of those belonging to the sub-apostolic age, makes it even impossible. The Tradition of the present time, above all if it is attested by an authoritative definition, is quite sufficient to prove the former existence of the same Tradition, although perhaps only in a latent state. Any further knowledge of its former existence is merely of scientific interest. When, however, the Ecclesiastical Tradition of the present is not publicly manifest, and the judges of the Faith have to decide some controverted question, they must investigate the Tradition of the past, or, as St. Vincent of Lerins expresses it, they must appeal to antiquity. It is not necessary to go back to an absolute antiquity: it is sufficient to find some time when the Tradition was undoubted. Thus, at the Council of Ephesus (AD, 431), the decisions were based upon the testimony of the Fathers of the fourth century. When the Tradition is not manifest either in the present or in the past, we can sometimes have recourse to the consent of the Fathers and Theologians of note. The temporary uncertainty and even partial negation of a doctrine within the Church is not, in in itself, a conclusive argument against the traditional character of the doctrine. The opposition can generally be shown to be purely human, and can often be turned to good account. We can sometimes ascertain its origin and show that the Church resisted it. Sometimes the difficulty arises from an appeal to merely local traditions or the opposition is inconsistent, varying, indefinite, mixed with opinions distinctly heretical or destructive of Catholic life and thought. It would be easy to prove that all these marks are applicable to the Gallican opposition to the Infallibility of the Pope. Even when the investigation of antiquity does not result in absolute certitude, it may at least produce a moral conviction, so that denial would be rash.

II. The Tradition of a truth being once established, a Catholic has no further interest in the investigation of its continuity, except for the purposes of science and apologetics. Heretics, moreover, have no right to demand direct proof of the antiquity of a doctrine. We may indeed reply to their arguments from Tradition, and set before them the traces of the doctrine in the different ages, but it is better to prove to them the Catholic principle of Tradition, for which there is abundant historical evidence.


Sorry for the long text, but after reading this I don't know how anyone can arrive at the opinion that the laity can discern tradition for themselves and are supposed to take their own opinion over the teaching authority of the Church. This is truly revolution!


Sat May 31, 2014 11:46 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:
Sorry for the long text, but after reading this I don't know how anyone can arrive at the opinion that the laity can discern tradition for themselves and are supposed to take their own opinion over the teaching authority of the Church. This is truly revolution!


James, excellent work. Those are the perfect texts, dealing exactly with the issues in question.

What I'd like to ask Bishop Williamson, or anybody tempted by his theology, is to explain what precisely was wrong with the Oriental schismatics' rejection of the Filioque and the Old Catholics' rejection of the definition of papal infallibility. The only possible answer that I can see, on his theory, is that those people were mistaken. That is, they were right to think of themselves as the final judges of tradition, they merely erred in understanding what was traditional and what wasn't. If that doesn't shock him into taking another look at the whole problem, I don't know what will.

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Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:53 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I'm wondering if we aren't maybe using terms differently, because it seems so clear to me 1) that all Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift what they hold to be the magisterium,


Mike, their true position is that they don't accept that the magisterium has been exercised.


Ah, I see what you are saying. That is an important distinction. So they are critical of many teachings--even universal ones--of those who have the capacity to act as magisterium, but they do not call these teachings actually magisterial.

John Lane wrote:
They say that Vatican II was an entirely new type of council, a "pastoral" one, and that theology doesn't know this notion. That much is true. I say, that is a further proof that there was no pope; they say, it is not a General Council as theology describes a General Council, so whatever it is, it isn't a proper organ of the magisterium.


Still, it is hard not to see magisterium sifting, for example, in this, by Fr. Gleize: "... Vatican II set before the eyes of perplexed Catholics clearly unacceptable contradictions. Taken as a whole, the grand reform of Vatican II comes across as a strange amalgam, a subtle mix of partial truths and previously condemned errors. Infected as it is by the principles of liberalism and of modernism, its teaching presents grave deficiencies. Assuredly, these deficiencies prevent Vatican II from appearing as a council like the others, representing the authorized expression of objective Tradition. These deficiencies also keep us from saying that the last Council fits into the unity of the Church’s unchanging magisterium" ("A Crucial Question," 31 January 2012, p. 6, PDF).

Notice that it is the teaching deficiencies (and not the pastoral label) of the Council that keep the Society from recognizing it as part of Tradition. To reiterate, later in the document, Fr. Gleize says this: "... when a council produces bad teaching, it is not the work of the magisterium; in fact, it is contrary to the magisterium, that is to say, against Tradition" (14).

I don't disagree with Fr. Gleize. In fact, I am grateful to him and many other Society priests (including +W) for saying similar things. My point is that the source of their resistance to the Roman hierarchy requires the act of sifting (and consequently rejecting) the teachings of those whom they believe to compose the magisterium.

John Lane wrote:
On the New Mass, they deny that it was imposed by law by the Roman Pontiff. That is my opinion too, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was pope. He simply didn't order or even permit any person or class of persons to use the new missal.


They do argue that the promulgation was not legitimate, but they do not reject it on that basis (or at least not on that basis alone). From the Society's archives on the U. S. District site: "Does it follow from the apparent promulgation by the popes that the Novus Ordo Missae is truly Catholic? No, for the indefectibility of the Church does not prevent the pope personally from promoting defective and modernist rites in the Latin rite of the Church" ("What is wrong with the Novus Ordo Missae?")

For stronger language, here is Bishop Fellay quoting Archbishop Lefebvre in "The Superior General's Letter to Friends and Benefactors," #54, (19 March 1998): "'The corruption of the Holy Mass has brought with it the corruption of the priesthood and the universal decadence of faith in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ', accompanied by the resolute intention, clearly shown by the Roman authorities, to continue with 'their work of destroying the reign of Our Lord, as proved by Assisi, and by Rome's confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican II on religious liberty'".

It is worth noting that the Archbishop calls the new mass a "corruption of the Holy Mass" and that the Superior General names "the Roman authorities" as the ones who, in the words of the Archbishop, are "destroying the reign of Our Lord" and confirming "the liberal theses of Vatican II."

John Lane wrote:
So you see, there's no sifting going on, on their theory, merely the application of theology and reason to the facts.


There is plenty of sifting (as there has to be in the R&R position), but they have found ways to propose that the sifting does not involve the magisterium.

John Lane wrote:
On the New Code, the position seems to be that what is in line with divine law is accepted as a valid exercise of the Roman Pontiff's legislative power, while what is contrary to divine law is not accepted. Since the canons are not primarily doctrinal by their nature, this would not be sifting the magisterium so much as sifting the law. I haven't thought about what one would say to that, except that along with all other sedevacantists I insist that the universal law cannot contain anything contrary to divine law, because the Church is infallible in her universal disciplinary provisions. It's certainly true that just as with doctrinal matters, nobody has the right to accept a law as binding which is contrary to divine revelation. But how they explain the doctrinal error coming from the Roman Pontiff in his universal laws I do not know. One priest I spoke to said that he regards all of their acts as doubtful because of their false Modernist concept of authority. Maybe that's the general view,


I think it is, and it is certainly a principle from which Bishop Williamson has argued as well: because the authorities are infected by modernism, their concept of authority and nearly all things Catholic is skewed. And that's why they should not be followed.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
While recognizing the Novus Ordo "magisterium" as legitimate,

I hope you see that's precisely what they do not recognise.


The persons, they recognize as magisterially legitimate. That is the backbone of the position and what distinguishes it from all Sedevacantists. Again, from Fr. Gleize: "We admit without challenge that Vatican II represented the magisterium of the Church in the sense in which the power of the bishops who were gathered during this council cum Petro et sub Petro was and still is the power to teach the universal Church" ("A Crucial Question," p. 14).

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
the Society of St. Pius X has always sifted through these things to justify their resistance and to clarify for their faithful what is and is not of Tradition.

I don't think that's factual. What they really do as a rule (there may be exceptions, and individuals take different approaches of course) is to set the whole lot aside and stick to the pre-Vatican II missal, laws, and doctrines.


Clearly we disagree here, and it might be because of national tendencies with regard to SSPX milieu (Maybe it's different in Australia!). Honestly, though, I think there are endless Internet examples of the SSPX displaying the very normal effect of traditionalist sedeplenism: the Pope and the bishops that the world would identify as the Catholic hierarchy are in fact the Catholic hierarchy. Yet they teach error and do bad things. These must be rejected. Thus, the necessity of sifting.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
Ah, I see what you are saying. That is an important distinction. So they are critical of many teachings--even universal ones--of those who have the capacity to act as magisterium, but they do not call these teachings actually magisterial.


Yes, in the sense that they say - and you'd be familiar with the language - that Paul VI did not invoke the Holy Ghost and did not set out to define anything. In other words, he didn't exercise the plenitude of his office.

Mike Larson wrote:
Still, it is hard not to see magisterium sifting, for example, in this, by Fr. Gleize: "... Vatican II set before the eyes of perplexed Catholics clearly unacceptable contradictions. Taken as a whole, the grand reform of Vatican II comes across as a strange amalgam, a subtle mix of partial truths and previously condemned errors. Infected as it is by the principles of liberalism and of modernism, its teaching presents grave deficiencies. Assuredly, these deficiencies prevent Vatican II from appearing as a council like the others, representing the authorized expression of objective Tradition. These deficiencies also keep us from saying that the last Council fits into the unity of the Church’s unchanging magisterium" ("A Crucial Question," 31 January 2012, p. 6, PDF).


This can easily be understood as, the Council is a strange beast and therefore prevents us from acknowledging it as undoubtedly a General Council. But I agree that the way he uses the term "magisterium" is ambiguous. It's fine to refer to the teachings as the magisterium, as long as it's clear that this is shorthand and there is no ambiguity. Theologians do that. The problem is that in the present crisis we absolutely need to distinguish the two things clearly in every case.

Even this is ambiguous: "Infected as it is by the principles of liberalism and of modernism, its teaching presents grave deficiencies." I don't know whether he means that the Modernist principles which wreck any sane understanding of authority (or objective certitude) affect every expression emanating from Vatican II so as to vitiate them as intended assertions of truth, or whether he is referring by "Modernist principles" to the actual errors contained in the texts. What do you think?

As for sifting, every Catholic has to reject novelties which are incompatible with already-obligatory doctrine. So that is not sifting. It's only sifting if you assert that the teachings must be rejected but the magisterium really has been exercised. That would be contrary to Catholic doctrine.

Mike Larson wrote:
Notice that it is the teaching deficiencies (and not the pastoral label) of the Council that keep the Society from recognizing it as part of Tradition.

Well, he doesn't use the phrase "teaching deficiencies" - that is your paraphrase of his words (not that it makes any difference to the total thesis he is putting. It would matter if he had said, for example, doctrinal errors. Then we would know he meant the errors carried by the actual texts.). More importantly, it isn't the label that matters, it's the signification of that label. In this case Fr. Gleize avoids the label entirely and instead goes more to the heart of the matter, pointing to the Modernist principles which infect the entire reform. And I repeat, if by that he means the false epistemology of Modernism, for example, then his criticism really is radical, in the proper sense of that word, and is aimed at the notion that the magisterium was exercised at all, as I am claiming is their true position.

Mike Larson wrote:
To reiterate, later in the document, Fr. Gleize says this: "... when a council produces bad teaching, it is not the work of the magisterium; in fact, it is contrary to the magisterium, that is to say, against Tradition" (14).


Better, but still unclear. I need to read the article and see if I can get his thesis clearly.

Mike Larson wrote:
I don't disagree with Fr. Gleize. In fact, I am grateful to him and many other Society priests (including +W) for saying similar things. My point is that the source of their resistance to the Roman hierarchy requires the act of sifting (and consequently rejecting) the teachings of those whom they believe to compose the magisterium.


Well, we're back to what I said above, and to which you are replying. I say that the language that they sometimes use (and they got it from Archbishop Lefebvre) to the effect that "we must follow them when they preach truth and not otherwise" is a kind of slogan which never really reflected how they behaved. They behaved like sedevacantists, rejecting it all, and that would be why Archbishop Lefebvre decribed himself sometimes as a practical sedevacantist.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
On the New Mass, they deny that it was imposed by law by the Roman Pontiff. That is my opinion too, even on the hypothesis that Paul VI was pope. He simply didn't order or even permit any person or class of persons to use the new missal.


They do argue that the promulgation was not legitimate, but they do not reject it on that basis (or at least not on that basis alone). From the Society's archives on the U. S. District site: "Does it follow from the apparent promulgation by the popes that the Novus Ordo Missae is truly Catholic? No, for the indefectibility of the Church does not prevent the pope personally from promoting defective and modernist rites in the Latin rite of the Church" ("What is wrong with the Novus Ordo Missae?")


I don't know who wrote that, possibly Fr. Scott, but the word "personally" suggests that the standard distinction between the pope acting as pope and the pope as acting a private person is in view, in which case the statement is orthodox, if pointless. If he didn't promulgate it as pope, then it's irrelevant to all Catholics because it didn't come from the Church at all.

Mike Larson wrote:
For stronger language, here is Bishop Fellay quoting Archbishop Lefebvre in "The Superior General's Letter to Friends and Benefactors," #54, (19 March 1998): "'The corruption of the Holy Mass has brought with it the corruption of the priesthood and the universal decadence of faith in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ', accompanied by the resolute intention, clearly shown by the Roman authorities, to continue with 'their work of destroying the reign of Our Lord, as proved by Assisi, and by Rome's confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican II on religious liberty'".

It is worth noting that the Archbishop calls the new mass a "corruption of the Holy Mass" and that the Superior General names "the Roman authorities" as the ones who, in the words of the Archbishop, are "destroying the reign of Our Lord" and confirming "the liberal theses of Vatican II."


Yes, but what's your point? All traditional Catholics recognise these things as evils and reject them, and we all recognise them as coming either from the Roman authorities (the sedeplenist view) or from the Roman interlopers (the sedevacantist view). On the first hypothesis, the question we are discussing is what authority was actually employed in the promulgation and "confirmation" of those evils. Archishop Lefebvre was challenged by the CDF formally, on precisely this point, in 1978, and evaded the point of the question. I've put it in its broader context and quoted it here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... Church.pdf

Quote:
QUESTION:

Do you hold that a faithful Catholic can think and say that a sacramental rite, in particular that of the Mass, approved and promulgated by the Sovereign Pontiff, can be out of conformity with the Catholic faith or "favoring heresy"?

ANSWER:

That rite in itself does not profess the Catholic faith in as clear a manner as did the old Ordo Missae, and consequently it can favor heresy. But I do not know to whom to attribute it, nor if the Pope is responsible for it.

What is astounding is that an Ordo Missae savoring of Protestantism and therefore “favoring heresy” should be spread abroad by the Roman Curia.


See how he avoids saying that the Roman Pontiff has issued an evil rite of Mass? That's his faith, his knowledge of theology. He's not sifting. The accusation that he was a sifter was invented by his opponents as a way of caricaturing his position so as to promote an alternative. Weaker theologians, such as Bishop Williamson, think that sifting is fine. You appear to agree.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
So you see, there's no sifting going on, on their theory, merely the application of theology and reason to the facts.


There is plenty of sifting (as there has to be in the R&R position), but they have found ways to propose that the sifting does not involve the magisterium.


I'm glad of that, even if they're only pretending, because it displays an orthodox mentality. Sifting is wrong. But you say there's plenty of sifting going on, why not give some examples?


Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
While recognizing the Novus Ordo "magisterium" as legitimate,

I hope you see that's precisely what they do not recognise.


The persons, they recognize as magisterially legitimate. That is the backbone of the position and what distinguishes it from all Sedevacantists.

I didn't mean legitimate in the sense of existing in reality, I meant the acts (e.g. promulgating Vatican II). I was unclear.

Mike Larson wrote:
Again, from Fr. Gleize: "We admit without challenge that Vatican II represented the magisterium of the Church in the sense in which the power of the bishops who were gathered during this council cum Petro et sub Petro was and still is the power to teach the universal Church" ("A Crucial Question," p. 14).


Well, that seems to me to be absolutely clear in distinguishing between the magisterial office and the exercise of it. That is, they possess the authority (but they haven't used it).

These men are practical sedevacantists. You say there are countless examples proving that they sift, so you can easily post a few samples.

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Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:11 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
As someone who is of pretty average intelligence, it seems to me that both Mike Larson and John Lane are correct in that the SSPX certainly does sift the teachings of the magisterium (Mike Larson) while convinced that they do no such thing (John Lane).

The saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck seems to apply. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, that is, it's still what it is, a rose. The SSPX may be convinced that they do not really sift the magisterium to accept what teachings they desire to accept and reject those teachings that the desire to reject; but it sure looks that way.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
As someone who is of pretty average intelligence, it seems to me that both Mike Larson and John Lane are correct in that the SSPX certainly does sift the teachings of the magisterium (Mike Larson) while convinced that they do no such thing (John Lane).

The saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck seems to apply. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, that is, it's still what it is, a rose. The SSPX may be convinced that they do not really sift the magisterium to accept what teachings they desire to accept and reject those teachings that the desire to reject; but it sure looks that way.


TKGS,

I am arguing exactly the opposite of what you seem to take from it. :) Here it is again:

My main point is that Bishop Williamson and anybody else who presents this theory is theorising inaccurately. The SSPX, for example, in doctrinal matters at least, is practically sedevacantist. You will not find SSPX writers quoting Vatican II and taking the good bits from it, for example, or any other Conciliar doctrinal text. The "sifting" that people allege is their theory, is not truly their theory. Their theory, as revealed by their practice, is actually pretty much the same as every other traditional Catholic's theory from the beginning, and I'd sum it up as the notion that since John XXIII's accession all bets are off and we'll hold fast to what was taught before and leave aside anything presented since. This is in part what I tackled in this article on Archbishop Lefebvre's relation to the Conciliar popes here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... _Popes.pdf - that is, they treat the Conciliar popes as doubtful, which means that nothing that they do is certainly binding.

Can somebody please tell me where this doctrinal sifting actually occurs? I accept that they say they do it. I just don't see it happening.

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Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:39 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
I think the problem might be that they don't ever say they are doubtful, even though they treat them as doubtful. I'm not saying they should be condemned for not being "consistent," far from it, but it does cause confusion doesn't it? Could it be that "a doubtful pope is no pope" has stopped them from merely stating the basis for their rejection of the teachings of the post-Vatican II claimants?

It seems to me one could say they are doubtful and still withold a final judgment.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
I am arguing exactly the opposite of what you seem to take from it. :)


I think I see what you're saying, and I think I can see how this is accurate.

Instead, perhaps, I might say that the reason it appears that the SSPX is sifting the magisterium is due to what Robert Bastaja states. It is a perception that seems to be cultivated rather than an actuality that can be directly pointed out.

I might still wish to ask about the acceptance by the SSPX of the validity of Novus Ordo sacraments (especially that of Orders) while teaching that they should not be attended by the faithful because they are dangerous to the souls of the faithful. Perhaps this is not sifting the magisterium but it is troubling (to me, anyway) in the same way.


Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:21 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
I might still wish to ask about the acceptance by the SSPX of the validity of Novus Ordo sacraments (especially that of Orders) while teaching that they should not be attended by the faithful because they are dangerous to the souls of the faithful. Perhaps this is not sifting the magisterium but it is troubling (to me, anyway) in the same way.


This is a Lefebvre position. I don't understand it, frankly, and I think I understand pretty much all of his other views. The thing that puzzles me is that he clearly withheld from admitting that Paul VI actually promulgated the New Mass properly, yet felt obliged to admit its validity as part of his non-sedevacantist stance. In the light of the first view, the second seems utterly unnecessary and even illogical. I'd like to ask Bishop Tissier what he thinks about that.

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Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:34 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Robert Bastaja wrote:
I think the problem might be that they don't ever say they are doubtful, even though they treat them as doubtful. I'm not saying they should be condemned for not being "consistent," far from it, but it does cause confusion doesn't it? Could it be that "a doubtful pope is no pope" has stopped them from merely stating the basis for their rejection of the teachings of the post-Vatican II claimants?

It seems to me one could say they are doubtful and still withold a final judgment.


Robert,

The problem, in my opinion, is our Catholicity requires we resolve the doubt. If we have a positive doubt in regards to the "pope's" orthodoxy, it is his responsibility to prove his orthodoxy not ours, and we do not accept him as pope for "a doubtful pope is no pope at all". Sedevacantism is still the consistent conclusion. This means we do not accept any of his authoritative pronouncements or teachings because we do not view him as an authority in the Church period. He either is or he isn't the pope. He cannot kinda be the pope and kinda not be the pope as this position automatically leads to magisterial/doctrine shifting. Yes, we can shift through his statements to discern what statements he makes are binding on the Church verses when he is just voicing his private opinion. But we can not shift through his authoritative statements to discern which ones we are going to accept or not.

If we only have negative doubts, then we have no right to question his authority and must accept all his precepts for the universal Church as binding and infallible. As far as a "final judgment" it is foolish to make a final judgment on anything which is tied to human testimony alone and not the infallible authority. We simple make our best judgment with moral certitude based on the facts we have at the time; not being rash, giving people the benefit of the doubt, but not being blind either.

John Lane wrote:
TKGS,

I am arguing exactly the opposite of what you seem to take from it. :) Here it is again:

My main point is that Bishop Williamson and anybody else who presents this theory is theorising inaccurately. The SSPX, for example, in doctrinal matters at least, is practically sedevacantist. You will not find SSPX writers quoting Vatican II and taking the good bits from it, for example, or any other Conciliar doctrinal text. The "sifting" that people allege is their theory, is not truly their theory. Their theory, as revealed by their practice, is actually pretty much the same as every other traditional Catholic's theory from the beginning, and I'd sum it up as the notion that since John XXIII's accession all bets are off and we'll hold fast to what was taught before and leave aside anything presented since. This is in part what I tackled in this article on Archbishop Lefebvre's relation to the Conciliar popes here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/Archbisho ... _Popes.pdf - that is, they treat the Conciliar popes as doubtful, which means that nothing that they do is certainly binding.

Can somebody please tell me where this doctrinal sifting actually occurs? I accept that they say they do it. I just don't see it happening.


John,

Aren't the SSPX teaching on the New Code of Canon Law (1983) and the recent canonizations examples of doctrinal/magisterial sifting?

Quote:
SSPX: United States District: FAQS
Should we accept the 1983 Code of Canon Law?

A code is a collection of laws, each one being an order of the competent authority: each canon in the 1917 Code of Canon Law was a law of Benedict XV, and each canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (commonly called the "New Code") is a law of Pope John Paul II...

We must, therefore, suspect the new legislation of codifying the same errors and so be ready not to accept all its “laws,” [principle 9] but only those which do not evidently compromise Catholic teaching on faith or morals.

For the most part, we may regret the loss of clarity, precision and integrity the 1917 Code of Canon Law had, but that is insufficient reason to reject these canons.


Point one: The SSPX makes clear this is law, which by its nature is binding, and they concede it was promulgated by the "competent authority" of John Paul II. They are not doubting the lawfulness of the laws based upon a lack of authority for they say they were issued legitimately by a true pope i.e. they are not following a doubtful pope theory but rejecting the authority of the pope's and replacing with their own.

Point two: Paragraph two directly discusses shifting through the laws to avoid those which "compromise Catholic teaching on faith and morals." The article then goes on to discuss the canons which are heretical or are contrary to morals which, by inferring the Code erred, is in short saying that the Code of Canon Law is not infallible in faith and morals. This is definitely an erroneous opinion, objectively a mortal sin, contrary to Church doctrine as Van Nort states:

Quote:

Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church,
by Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D.,
CHAPTER III
The Properties of the Church ...

Assertion 3: The Church's infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain.

By the term “general discipline of the Church” are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living. Note the italicized words: ecclesiastical laws, passed for the universal Church.

The imposing of commands belongs not directly to the teaching office but to the ruling office; disciplinary laws are only indirectly an object of infallibility, i.e., only by reason of the doctrinal decision implicit in them. When the Church's rulers sanction a law, they implicitly make a twofold judgment: 1. “This law squares with the Church's doctrine of faith and morals”; that is, it imposes nothing that is at odds with sound belief and good morals. (15) This amounts to a doctrinal decree. 2. “This law, considering all the circumstances, is most opportune.” This is a decree of practical judgment.

Although it would he rash to cast aspersions on the timeliness of a law, especially at the very moment when the Church imposes or expressly reaffirms it, still the Church does not claim to he infallible in issuing a decree of practical judgment. For the Church's rulers were never promised the highest degree of prudence for the conduct of affairs. But the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree as intimated above — and to such an extent that it can never sanction a universal law which would be at odds with faith or morality or would be by its very nature conducive to the injury of souls.

The Church's infallibility in disciplinary matters, when understood in this way, harmonizes beautifully with the mutability of even universal laws. For a law, even though it be thoroughly consonant with revealed truth, can, given a change in circumstances, become less timely or even useless, so that prudence may dictate its abrogation or modification.


Quote:
The Church's Theological Notes or Qualifications.

The following tabular presentation is borrowed, with slight adaptation, from a work of the highest weight and authority entitled (in translation) On the Value of Theological Notes and the Criteria for Discerning Them by Father Sixtus Cartechini S.J. (Rome, 1951), a work which was drafted for use by auditors of the Roman Congregations. This translation and adaptation by Mr. John Daly.
(e) Theological Note: Theologically certain.
Equivalent term: Dogmatic fact; theological conclusion.
Explanation: A truth logically following from one proposition which is Divinely revealed and another which is historically certain.
Example: Legitimacy of Pope Pius XI.
Censure attached to contradictory proposition: Error (in theology).
Effects of denial: Mortal sin against faith.
[/quote]

Paragraph two also states that we, the believing body i.e. those who are not the approved teachers of the Church, are to "suspect ... and not accept all its laws." This is the exact error Bishop Williamson is promoting although on a much smaller scale. The principle is the same though. It still a reversal of the Church doctrine of the authority teaching the laity and promotes a Catholic accepting from his lawful authority only what the individual thinks is in line with Tradition.

The arguments put forth by the SSPX on why the canonizations of JP II and John XXIII are not infallible revolve around a defect in process which, by stating that there is a certain processes necessary for a pope to teach a doctrine infallibly, adds to the dogma of what is required for a Roman Pontiff to teach ex cathedra. This seem to me to be shifting again of what has been authoritatively taught to the Church by the Council of Vatican I.


Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:50 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James S wrote:
Robert,
The problem, in my opinion, is our Catholicity requires we resolve the doubt. If we have a positive doubt in regards to the "pope's" orthodoxy, it is his responsibility to prove his orthodoxy not ours, and we do not accept him as pope for "a doubtful pope is no pope at all". Sedevacantism is still the consistent conclusion. This means we do not accept any of his authoritative pronouncements or teachings because we do not view him as an authority in the Church period. He either is or he isn't the pope. He cannot kinda be the pope and kinda not be the pope as this position automatically leads to magisterial/doctrine shifting. Yes, we can shift through his statements to discern what statements he makes are binding on the Church verses when he is just voicing his private opinion. But we can not shift through his authoritative statements to discern which ones we are going to accept or not.
If we only have negative doubts, then we have no right to question his authority and must accept all his precepts for the universal Church as binding and infallible. As far as a "final judgment" it is foolish to make a final judgment on anything which is tied to human testimony alone and not the infallible authority. We simple make our best judgment with moral certitude based on the facts we have at the time; not being rash, giving people the benefit of the doubt, but not being blind either.

I suppose that's easy to say, yet when do we get any opportunity to have him "prove his orthodoxy?" And don't you think the idea of a single individual in some position of authority openly questioning the pope is extraordinary. I think even the "pope-heretic" question was NOT assuming a lack of any real questioning of unorthodoxy by at least a portion of the hierarchy. I know that anybody can question somebody who is unorthodox, even the pope, yet they would likely be ignored even if they managed somehow to get the attention of someone in a postion to actually "do something."

It seems to me that if one has a positive doubt to even one official act of Francis, he has a doubt regarding his papacy. Most will deny this and try to justify the doubt you say they must resolve. This just might be their way of resolving it, at least in their own minds.

It also seems funny to me to speak of "not being blind" when giving the benefit of the doubt. From what I've seen in Trad circles (no pun was intended), blindness is defined as and taught as the benefit of the doubt.


Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:25 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James,

The problem you describe in relation to canonisations is not "sifting" Vatican I. It is actually an error against Vatican I.

The "sifting" that we have in view is the theory by which the Church Taught is the judge of the acts of the Church Teaching. Now, we know and accept that we cannot accept heresy even from the pope (because we are already bound by the authority of the Church to hold the opposite). The Church refused to accept the heretical act of Pascal II regarding investitures, for example. Of course, that was not a universal law or act of the magisterium. However the SSPX in general does not recognise that the texts of Vatican II for example were infallible acts either, so on that score their theology is fine, whether or not one agrees with their reading of the facts. But what is alleged when the term "sifting" is used is precisely that the SSPX holds that Paul VI acted with his full authority as Roman Pontiff to impose the doctrines of Vatican II upon the faithful, and yet we are right to reject them. This leads logically to the theory described as "sifting - that what is able to be accepted is accepted, and what is not is rejected, so that the final judges are the members of the Church Taught. I am saying that it isn't factual that they believe that Paul VI acted with his full authority in promulgating Vatican II, so the "sifting" allegation is not accurate. And I say this even in the face of their own plea of "guilty" on that score. :)

I agree that the theory described in that Web site text in relation to the New Code is wrong, as I commented above. It's at best very poorly expressed - I am not even sure I understand it. It would be a good thing to challenge a senior SSPX figure about, and see what they say. On the Code, unlike on doctrinal matters, I think it's true that the theory and the practice coincide. That is, the SSPX really does recognise the validity of the New Code, whereas it doesn't show any signs of accepting Vatican II as such, whatever they say about that themselves.

I should add for the sake of Bishop Williamson fans that I sent my text criticising his theology on infallibility to him via email immediately that I wrote it and published it. I am firmly of the view that this is the way to approach these things. I doubt he will respond, but it might have an effect over time.

OK, thinking out loud here. The sifting of the magisterium is present in this, indirectly, insofar as the magisterium itself is indirectly exercised in the promulgation of laws for the universal Church (which is why infallibility is involved also). But the problem in relation to law as law changes complexion from the parallel problem in relation to doctrine. All doctrine is obligatory for all. A law may or may not impose anything at all on any given member of the Church. For example, the New Code law permitting Eucharistic hospitality to non-Catholics does not impose any obligation upon any of us, except by implication that it must be a good law (which obviously it isn't!). Most of the things that affect us are relaxations of the old law, the 1917 Code, such as the one hour Communion fast, so these can be ignored without any conflict. What cannot be escaped is the necessity to recognise as good and conducive to holiness of the universal law of the Church.

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Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:29 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Still, it is hard not to see magisterium sifting, for example, in this, by Fr. Gleize: "... Vatican II set before the eyes of perplexed Catholics clearly unacceptable contradictions. Taken as a whole, the grand reform of Vatican II comes across as a strange amalgam, a subtle mix of partial truths and previously condemned errors. Infected as it is by the principles of liberalism and of modernism, its teaching presents grave deficiencies. Assuredly, these deficiencies prevent Vatican II from appearing as a council like the others, representing the authorized expression of objective Tradition. These deficiencies also keep us from saying that the last Council fits into the unity of the Church’s unchanging magisterium" ("A Crucial Question," 31 January 2012, p. 6, PDF).


This can easily be understood as, the Council is a strange beast and therefore prevents us from acknowledging it as undoubtedly a General Council. But I agree that the way he uses the term "magisterium" is ambiguous. It's fine to refer to the teachings as the magisterium, as long as it's clear that this is shorthand and there is no ambiguity. Theologians do that. The problem is that in the present crisis we absolutely need to distinguish the two things clearly in every case.

Even this is ambiguous: "Infected as it is by the principles of liberalism and of modernism, its teaching presents grave deficiencies." I don't know whether he means that the Modernist principles which wreck any sane understanding of authority (or objective certitude) affect every expression emanating from Vatican II so as to vitiate them as intended assertions of truth, or whether he is referring by "Modernist principles" to the actual errors contained in the texts. What do you think?


He means that the modernist principles at work during the council are the cause of the grave deficiencies in the council's teaching(s).

John Lane wrote:
As for sifting, every Catholic has to reject novelties which are incompatible with already-obligatory doctrine. So that is not sifting. It's only sifting if you assert that the teachings must be rejected but the magisterium really has been exercised.


Yes, there is no doubt that Vatican II teaches. But you are saying that the SSPX denies such teaching is magisterial. They recognize that it is the members of the magisterium who convened at that council, but they deny that the teaching done there was an authentic exercise of their magisterial powers. Now, as for Bishop Williamson, are you trying to distinguish his position from theirs by saying that he does indeed assert that Vatican II is an exercised act of the magisterium? Is that how he sifts the magisterium where they do not?

John Lane wrote:
In this case Fr. Gleize avoids the label entirely and instead goes more to the heart of the matter, pointing to the Modernist principles which infect the entire reform. And I repeat, if by that he means the false epistemology of Modernism, for example, then his criticism really is radical, in the proper sense of that word, and is aimed at the notion that the magisterium was exercised at all, as I am claiming is their true position.


This is confusing on a couple of levels. Perhaps you meant "that the magisterium was NOT exercised at all"? Also, why, if he means "the false epistemology of Modernism," is his criticism truly radical? As opposed to what?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
I don't disagree with Fr. Gleize. In fact, I am grateful to him and many other Society priests (including +W) for saying similar things. My point is that the source of their resistance to the Roman hierarchy requires the act of sifting (and consequently rejecting) the teachings of those whom they believe to compose the magisterium.


Well, we're back to what I said above, and to which you are replying. I say that the language that they sometimes use (and they got it from Archbishop Lefebvre) to the effect that "we must follow them when they preach truth and not otherwise" is a kind of slogan which never really reflected how they behaved. They behaved like sedevacantists, rejecting it all, and that would be why Archbishop Lefebvre decribed himself sometimes as a practical sedevacantist.


It's not so much that they reject it all--remember, Bishop Fellay is on record for saying that 95% of the council is acceptable--it's just that they are vocal only about the errors. As we have both acknowledged, one doesn't hear them teaching "the good bits" from Vatican II. But if I had to pick a practical sedevacantist who claims not to be, it would be Bishop Williamson. He is the one who wants to the throw the whole council out. He is the one who insists on actual doctrinal agreement before subjugation to the Roman authorities. He is the one who makes the (in)famous statements like, "Eminence, we have two different religions!"

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
For stronger language, here is Bishop Fellay quoting Archbishop Lefebvre in "The Superior General's Letter to Friends and Benefactors," #54, (19 March 1998): "'The corruption of the Holy Mass has brought with it the corruption of the priesthood and the universal decadence of faith in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ', accompanied by the resolute intention, clearly shown by the Roman authorities, to continue with 'their work of destroying the reign of Our Lord, as proved by Assisi, and by Rome's confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican II on religious liberty'".

It is worth noting that the Archbishop calls the new mass a "corruption of the Holy Mass" and that the Superior General names "the Roman authorities" as the ones who, in the words of the Archbishop, are "destroying the reign of Our Lord" and confirming "the liberal theses of Vatican II."


Yes, but what's your point? All traditional Catholics recognise these things as evils and reject them,


Yes, but these are not even simple rejections of specific errors; they are generalized castigations of those whom the Society claims to be in the legitimate seats of authority. This is another form of the sifting--of persons rather than particular doctrines.

John Lane wrote:
Weaker theologians, such as Bishop Williamson, think that sifting is fine. You appear to agree.


I'm not sure we're fully aligned yet on definitions, so it's hard to respond to that observation. I think I could answer clearly if I knew with certainty what you mean by Bishop Williamson's magisterium sifting and how precisely it differs from the position of the SSPX, as revealed in their interviews, articles, press releases, books, and so on. Both Bishop Williamson and the Society are critical of the teachings and actions of the Roman authorities. Neither Bishop Williamson nor the Society praises the occasional orthodox statements or actions of the Roman authorities (though the Society did make a brief attempt at some positivity in 2012 when it looked as though a deal were about to be struck). Yet both Bishop Williamson and the Society claim to recognize those very same Roman authorities as the true ones, as the true hierarchy of the indefectible Church. What is the clear distinction that sets Bishop Williamson apart in this matter?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
So you see, there's no sifting going on, on their theory, merely the application of theology and reason to the facts.


There is plenty of sifting (as there has to be in the R&R position), but they have found ways to propose that the sifting does not involve the magisterium.


I'm glad of that, even if they're only pretending, because it displays an orthodox mentality. Sifting is wrong. But you say there's plenty of sifting going on, why not give some examples?


My last post gave several. I am perfectly willing to make the distinction between sifting of the magisterium and sifting of the universal teachings of those who compose the magisterium. The Society sifts certainly in the latter sense (I hope my examples, and those of others in this thread, show this much at least). Whether or not they also sift in the former sense depends on whether or not they believe any of the things they sift to have been true acts of the magisterium. You say they do not, and I hope that is true, given the implications. But whether they do or don't, they find themselves, due to their sedeplenism, in an ongoing state of having to denounce persons, actions, teachings of those whom they recognize as the hierarchy of the true Church.


Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:19 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
He means that the modernist principles at work during the council are the cause of the grave deficiencies in the council's teaching(s).


Well, that seems about right, but what does it prove about Fr. Gleize or the SSPX in general in relation to Bishop Williamson's heretical theory about the magisterium? What you need to do if you wish to prove that they all hold the same theory is quote them saying it. I don't think you can, but more importantly, as I've said several times, it isn't what they do in practice. Ever seen an SSPX journal quoting Vatican II favourably?

Remember, we are talking about the notion that the magisterium is infallible when it presents Tradition and not otherwise. You think I'm trying to distinguish Williamson from the SSPX, when in fact what has happened is that Williamson has published a series of articles on infallibility and I am responding. Show me the ones by SSPX theorists or leaders that assert the same heresies and see if I don't condemn them in the same way and for the same reasons.

I have no idea why anybody ever mistook Bishop Williamson for a theologian. Even he doesn't do that, if I understand him correctly. He's a philosopher and he doesn't believe in Roman theology. Show him a book of Roman ecclesiology and ask him if he believes everything in it. You might be shocked by the answer.

You know I have actually discussed these theological questions with him. I know first-hand that he isn't a man who believes what's in the theology manuals. That didn't bother me very much when he wasn't preaching his defective ideas to the world (I just felt sorry for him), but when he start preaching his home-baked theology in 2002 re. Escriva's canonisation I reacted, and I am reacting again now.

Mike Larson wrote:
But you are saying that the SSPX denies such teaching is magisterial. They recognize that it is the members of the magisterium who convened at that council, but they deny that the teaching done there was an authentic exercise of their magisterial powers.


Mike, that was intrinsic to the methods used to get the text passed at the Council. To get Collegiality passed, Paul VI wrote a note assuring the fathers that they were not dogmatising, merely putting into pastoral language the existing teaching of the Church, so they didn't have to worry that anybody would afterwards claim that this was a dgomatic text that taught new things incompatible with the old. Without that intervention the text was dead. So the bishops themselves were told directly that they were not exercising the fullness of the magisterium, to employ a novel phrase for a novel idea, by Paul VI himself. Traditionalists such as Archbishop Lefebvre took that at face value and rejected it.

This is not Bishop Williamson's theory. His theory is riddled with error, and essentially involves redefining the term "magisterium" so as to make it a synonym for "teachings which are correct".

Mike Larson wrote:
Now, as for Bishop Williamson, are you trying to distinguish his position from theirs by saying that he does indeed assert that Vatican II is an exercised act of the magisterium? Is that how he sifts the magisterium where they do not?


Well, whether we call it sifting or not is a subsidiary question that I didn't raise. Bishop Williamson himself doesn't sift the post-V2 magisterium in practice any more than the SSPX, he just ignores it all like they do. But his theorising is outside of the bounds of orthodoxy.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
In this case Fr. Gleize avoids the label entirely and instead goes more to the heart of the matter, pointing to the Modernist principles which infect the entire reform. And I repeat, if by that he means the false epistemology of Modernism, for example, then his criticism really is radical, in the proper sense of that word, and is aimed at the notion that the magisterium was exercised at all, as I am claiming is their true position.


This is confusing on a couple of levels. Perhaps you meant "that the magisterium was NOT exercised at all"? Also, why, if he means "the false epistemology of Modernism," is his criticism truly radical? As opposed to what?


Aimed at the notion that the magisterium was exercised at all, meaning targeted at that idea, so yes, asserting that it was not exercised. The distinction I had in view when I used the term "radical" is between attacking the specific errors and attacking the notion of authority which conditioned the acts of the men promulgating those errors. It's one thing to say, "Religious liberty is wrong," but it's much more radical to say, "Paul VI had a Modernist epistemology and did not even believe in the traditional notion of authority having the right to impose a rule and the subjects being obliged therefore to accept and obey that rule." A man with that epistemological formation will not be taken seriously whatever he says, because he doesn't mean anything relevant to his "subjects" anyway. He's just chatting.

Mike Larson wrote:
It's not so much that they reject it all--remember, Bishop Fellay is on record for saying that 95% of the council is acceptable--it's just that they are vocal only about the errors.


No, they show no signs of accepting any specific doctrines of Vatican II - they don't quote it to prove any doctrinal point, for example, as one does with any other General Council or organ of the magisterium. It's a non-event for them.

The comment by Bishop Fellay that 95% of the Council is acceptable is gravy for the Resistance meat-heads, but actually it's only shocking because of the number he picked. If he'd said "65%" was acceptable, people would think that's probably about right but they couldn't be bothered checking. Not that arithmetic even applies, but of course nobody's actually tried to do the arithmetic that I have seen so as to show what a wicked thing it was to have said. It just sounds liberal so they repeat it. They do the same with that lie according to which Bishop Fellay is supposed to have said that if Archbishop Lefebvre had seen a "conservatively celebrated" Novus Ordo Missae he'd not have been against it. Bishop Fellay denied that allegation and explained what he really said but the Resistance people obviously find that inconvenient to their irrelgious, political, agenda, so they just keep the lie alive.


Mike Larson wrote:
As we have both acknowledged, one doesn't hear them teaching "the good bits" from Vatican II. But if I had to pick a practical sedevacantist who claims not to be, it would be Bishop Williamson. He is the one who wants to the throw the whole council out. He is the one who insists on actual doctrinal agreement before subjugation to the Roman authorities. He is the one who makes the (in)famous statements like, "Eminence, we have two different religions!"


And he's the one putting out theology which tells us that he feels no pull by "Rome" because he doesn't believe in the true Catholic notion of subjection to the Roman Pontiff anyway, unlike Bishop Fellay, who does believe in it. That's the real difference bwteen them, and the reason why Bishop Fellay was tempted by a deal in 2011/2012, and why he won't say the "never, never, never unite with Rome until Rome meets our requirements" that the sedeplenist Resistance people keep demanding. Bishop Fellay won't say those things because he'd feel like a Protestant if he did. Bishop Williamson is cheerful in saying those things because he still thinks like an Anglican. And that is why he'll never be a sedevacantist.

Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, but these are not even simple rejections of specific errors; they are generalized castigations of those whom the Society claims to be in the legitimate seats of authority. This is another form of the sifting--of persons rather than particular doctrines.


The "sifting" that we're discussing is a very clear idea, and this isn't it.


Mike Larson wrote:
I think I could answer clearly if I knew with certainty what you mean by Bishop Williamson's magisterium sifting and how precisely it differs from the position of the SSPX, as revealed in their interviews, articles, press releases, books, and so on.


Just show me where they say what he says in the EC to which we are reacting, and I'll answer that. But I have said many times in this thread, I agree that sedeplenists tend to say "we follow them when they're right, and not when they're wrong" so the theorising is along the sifting line, but it isn't what they really do. They ignore Vatican II. And yes, this applies equally to Bishop Williamson.

Mike Larson wrote:
My last post gave several [examples of sifting].


I don't think you gave a single example. Show me them accepting any doctrinal text from V2, or even later, and parsing it to reject only the bad bits. It's not what they do, in practice.

There's a clear difference, as James pointed out above, between this and their approach to the New Code. That they absolutely do "sift".

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Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:22 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
There's a clear difference, as James pointed out above, between this and their approach to the New Code. That they absolutely do "sift".


I just want to make absolutely sure I'm reading and understanding this correctly.

Mr. Lane, my understanding is that you are saying that the SSPX absolutely does sift the New Code of Canon Law, which they accept as a valid magisterial document, in order to accept parts of it and reject others.

Is that correct?

If so, then I think I understand the distinctions you are making.


Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:22 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
John Lane wrote:
There's a clear difference, as James pointed out above, between this and their approach to the New Code. That they absolutely do "sift".


I just want to make absolutely sure I'm reading and understanding this correctly.

Mr. Lane, my understanding is that you are saying that the SSPX absolutely does sift the New Code of Canon Law, which they accept as a valid magisterial document, in order to accept parts of it and reject others.

Is that correct?

If so, then I think I understand the distinctions you are making.


Yes, except that I would not call it, and neither would they, a magisterial document. It's a juridical document. More properly, the Code should be thought of as a collection of individual laws, each promulgated by the Roman Pontiff, using his power of jurisdiction. The magisterium is the teaching office, and theologians debate whether it is best classified as part of the power of jurisdiction or not, but all agree that it is distinct from the ruling power. Christ possessed three offices, each of which He bestowed upon the Church to continue exercising in His name - the sanctifying, teaching and ruling offices (He is priest, prophet, and king).

So, yes, it is clear that the SSPX accepts many laws of the New Code of 1983 as valid and binding by virtue of the authority of the Roman Pontiff (i.e. JP2). It is equally clear that they hold that some of the laws of the Code cannot be accepted, since they offend against the divine law as proposed by the Catholic Church. If somebody calls this "sifting" I won't object because it's an apt label.

On the other hand, regarding the Conciliar magisterium the position taken by Archbishop Lefebvre from some time in the early 'seventies was to ignore Vatican II as a valid General Council. He didn't "sift" it for good bits and reject others. I say, from the early 'seventies because he erected his seminary on the explicit basis of the norms laid down for seminaries by Vatican II. An example was the introduction of a preliminary year of spirituality for seminarians, before they began their academic programme. He regarded that as a good reform, obviously (and I agree wholeheartedly), but I don't think at that stage he was as clear in his mind about Vatican II as a whole and how to respond to it. The SSPX seems to me to continue his stand, essentially treating Vatican II and all of the encylicals and allocutions of the Conciliar popes as so much dross, to be ignored except insofar as it seems useful for the sake of the faithful to condemn the errors they contain.

On the missal, the Archbishop also developed his position, and in the end settled on the principle that the reforms of John XXIII were not contrary to faith or morals so they had to be accepted. I think that's as reasonable as any other position, given the utter confusion of the situation. He also went from accepting the New Mass with some passivity to deciding by the late 'seventies that the faithful must be warned to treat it as a non-Catholic rite, as false worship, to be avoided under pain of sin. The SSPX continues to maintain that view also.

I recall that Fr. Gleize wrote an article answering Fr. Bernard Lucien on religious liberty and the magisterium some years ago. We discussed it along with the ordinary magisterium here: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... 9&start=15

The whole thread's worth re-reading for those interested in this subject. And Mike Larson, you will see that it wasn't targeted at Bishop Williamson. :)

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John, Our exchange has become rather labyrinthian (and somewhat repetitive), so I'll try to distill my thoughts, informed in part by this discussion.

The SSPX might be practical sedevacantists in the sense that they do not follow the universal (but non-magisterial) teachings of those whom they believe to hold the power of the magisterium. They are not intellectual sedevacantists, as the priests often warn against that view, and their websites have long lists of articles pointing out its dangers. They are properly classified as Recognize & Resist Catholics in that they recognize the apparent Pope and bishops as the true office-holders of the hierarchy yet resist their leadership in matters of faith and discipline. Bishop Williamson is similar in that he also warns against sedevacantism and is also properly classified as a Recognize & Resist Catholic, for the same reasons that the SSPX is. All Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift errant teaching from the recognized hierarchy whether or not they define the teaching as magisterial.

I don't know whether this clarifies anything or not, or whether there is even any real disagreement remaining, but that's about where I am at the moment. What say you?


Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:18 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
James,

I agree that the theory described in that Web site text in relation to the New Code is wrong, as I commented above. It's at best very poorly expressed - I am not even sure I understand it. It would be a good thing to challenge a senior SSPX figure about, and see what they say. On the Code, unlike on doctrinal matters, I think it's true that the theory and the practice coincide. That is, the SSPX really does recognise the validity of the New Code, whereas it doesn't show any signs of accepting Vatican II as such, whatever they say about it...

OK, thinking out loud here. The sifting of the magisterium is present in this, indirectly, insofar as the magisterium itself is indirectly exercised in the promulgation of laws for the universal Church (which is why infallibility is involved also). But the problem in relation to law as law changes complexion from the parallel problem in relation to doctrine. All doctrine is obligatory for all. A law may or may not impose anything at all on any given member of the Church. For example, the New Code law permitting Eucharistic hospitality to non-Catholics does not impose any obligation upon any of us, except by implication that it must be a good law (which obviously it isn't!). Most of the things that affect us are relaxations of the old law, the 1917 Code, such as the one hour Communion fast, so these can be ignored without any conflict. What cannot be escaped is the necessity to recognise as good and conducive to holiness of the universal law of the Church.


John,

I can see your point that the SSPX does not shift any of the Vatican II teachings for orthodox statements to accept but in practice rejects all the documents as modernist novelties. But I cannot see where Bishop Williamson does either. What concerns me is in both cases, the SSPX and Bishop Williamson are sifting through pre-Vatican II doctrine and sifting/changing what contradicts their theory on the pope (the infallibility of Canon Law, Canonizations). Yes, Bishop Williamson more clearly defines his position on the limits of papal infallibility and the duty of laity in regards to accepting doctrine from the teaching Church, but in practice, even if they do not say it, it seems to me the SSPX takes the same position.. Neither one accept the infallibility of the Universal and Ordinary magesterium or at least both change the definition to something which is contrary or added on to from what the pre-Vatican II theologians taught. This is the whole reason one can argue themselves blue in the face and yet a R&R person will reject John Daly's argument of why the Novus Ordo Church cannot be the Catholic Church.

There has been a enormous amount of confusion in regards to the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium, and I wonder if it would not be more usefull to "sift" :D the sedevacantist argument of why the Novus Ordo Church cannot be the Catholic Church to the example of the New Code of Canon Law. In my opinion it is bulletproof.

The Catholic Church's universal laws are infallible
The universal laws being infallible, they cannot contradict faith or morals
The Novus Ordo Universal laws contradict faith and morals ergo they cannot be the Catholic Church's universal laws
Conclusion is the Novus Ordo cannot be the Catholic Church and the person who promulgated them cannot be the pope!

Premise one is taught by the moral majority of the theologians pre-Vatican II so must be believed as true. Premise two is a definition. Premise three the SSPX agree with. But the SSPX deny the conclusion for the SSPX implicitly reject premise one despite the fact they accept the Novus Ordo's laws as the laws of the Catholic Church.

The common SSPX argument of one is not obligated to follow a evil law is irrelevant for by claiming the new Code is evil, they are denying the infallibility of the Church's universal laws. The evil law argument is a non siquitur for we are discussing the nature of the Church's universal laws not what to do when confronted with an evil law. Their conclusion would be an erroneous opinion, objectively a mortal sin. Now, to me, this is a big deal for while a mortal sin does not cut one off from the Church, it still will send someone to Hell.

Every law does not necessarily lay a obligation on the individual to preform an action, I agree, but law can also give or refuse permission for an action. One is not obligated to have an abortion, but the USA law gives permission if one wishes to have one. Whether these evil "Church" laws directly affects the individual or not, they still are evil and will affect someone in the practical order, one's priest, one's children, one's friends. To just ignore them and not call the what they are would be contrary to charity for it would allow innocent souls to be led astray. The problem I see is one cannot call these laws evil and the laws of the Catholic Church at the same time without falling into error :!:

I have challenged SSPX priests on the new code and was never given a response. I don't know personally any senior member of the SSPX although I have written to Bishop Williamson. I never got a response there either.


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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John, Our exchange has become rather labyrinthian (and somewhat repetitive), so I'll try to distill my thoughts, informed in part by this discussion.

The SSPX might be practical sedevacantists in the sense that they do not follow the universal (but non-magisterial) teachings of those whom they believe to hold the power of the magisterium. They are not intellectual sedevacantists, as the priests often warn against that view, and their websites have long lists of articles pointing out its dangers. They are properly classified as Recognize & Resist Catholics in that they recognize the apparent Pope and bishops as the true office-holders of the hierarchy yet resist their leadership in matters of faith and discipline. Bishop Williamson is similar in that he also warns against sedevacantism and is also properly classified as a Recognize & Resist Catholic, for the same reasons that the SSPX is.


Mike, what I take from this is that you see no daylight between Bishop Williamson and the SSPX. I explained my position in this post, very thoroughly: viewtopic.php?p=16629#p16629

The more important and urgent daylight between Bishop Williamson and the other sedeplenists is that they are not sending out weekly broadcasts filled with heresy (and effectively promoting schism). So this thread took one of them and answered it (then another when that appeared). When Fr. Gleize touched on the same questions a few years ago, I replied also. But he didn't preach heresy, as far as I recall, whereas Bishop Williamson is.


Mike Larson wrote:
All Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift errant teaching from the recognized hierarchy whether or not they define the teaching as magisterial.


Yes, but it doesn't pose the same problem if one is dealing with non-infallible teaching, does it? And it was precisely that factor that traditionalists relied upon for many years after Vatican II - they took it at face value as described by Paul VI and said, well it's not infallible teaching anyway, so we can leave it on the side of our plate. This is the prime cause of the fact that sedeplenists didn't feel the need to sift. Further, it was a prime cause of the lack of urgency of the sedevacantist question. It was why Archbishop Lefebvre felt comfortable raising it but not settling it. It didn't seem necessary.

It was to make the question appear in its true light as necessary, that John Daly wrote his article, Did Vatican II Teach Infallibly? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=772&p=8267#p8267

Do you see?

Your point seems still to be that the sedeplenist position demands sifting. I say, well not if the position is that the magisterium has not really been exercised, and in any case nobody can show them doing this sifting that their theory apparently requires, which is odd to say the least.

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John, Our exchange has become rather labyrinthian (and somewhat repetitive), so I'll try to distill my thoughts, informed in part by this discussion.

The SSPX might be practical sedevacantists in the sense that they do not follow the universal (but non-magisterial) teachings of those whom they believe to hold the power of the magisterium. They are not intellectual sedevacantists, as the priests often warn against that view, and their websites have long lists of articles pointing out its dangers. They are properly classified as Recognize & Resist Catholics in that they recognize the apparent Pope and bishops as the true office-holders of the hierarchy yet resist their leadership in matters of faith and discipline. Bishop Williamson is similar in that he also warns against sedevacantism and is also properly classified as a Recognize & Resist Catholic, for the same reasons that the SSPX is.


Mike, what I take from this is that you see no daylight between Bishop Williamson and the SSPX.


Oh, I see plenty of daylight. Just not with regard to their common R&R position.

John Lane wrote:
The more important and urgent daylight between Bishop Williamson and the other sedeplenists is that they are not sending out weekly broadcasts filled with heresy (and effectively promoting schism). So this thread took one of them and answered it (then another when that appeared).


This thread, early on, adopted the assertion that Bishop Williamson sifts the magisterium in a way that the SSPX does not do. I disagreed with that point and further claimed that all R&R Catholics are, by necessity, in a sifting posture with regard to Novus Ordo hierarchy.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
All Recognize & Resist Catholics must, by the nature of their position, sift errant teaching from the recognized hierarchy whether or not they define the teaching as magisterial.


Yes, but it doesn't pose the same problem if one is dealing with non-infallible teaching, does it?


Well, it's only a problem for the R&R Catholic because he must constantly decide what is and is not of the magisterium (i.e. infallible). And if something errant appears to be of the magisterium, he must find ways to believe it is not, lest he betray his faith.

John Lane wrote:
And it was precisely that factor that traditionalists relied upon for many years after Vatican II - they took it at face value as described by Paul VI and said, well it's not infallible teaching anyway, so we can leave it on the side of our plate. This is the prime cause of the fact that sedeplenists didn't feel the need to sift.


I don't think I've ever met a traditional Catholic who does not like to identify things wrong with the Novus Ordo world, from top to bottom. It's part of how they keep the true faith distinct from a false one.

John Lane wrote:
Further, it was a prime cause of the lack of urgency of the sedevacantist question. It was why Archbishop Lefebvre felt comfortable raising it but not settling it. It didn't seem necessary.


That makes sense. Over time, though, the question comes to all traditional Catholics. And if they answer it in the negative, they must either accept (if not embrace) the Novus Ordo or adopt a more informed and active resistance to the authorities of that universe.

John Lane wrote:
It was to make the question appear in its true light as necessary, that John Daly wrote his article, Did Vatican II Teach Infallibly? http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/vi ... 8267#p8267

Do you see?


Yes. And I agree.

John Lane wrote:
Your point seems still to be that the sedeplenist position demands sifting. I say, well not if the position is that the magisterium has not really been exercised, and in any case nobody can show them doing this sifting that their theory apparently requires, which is odd to say the least.


Their position does demand sifting. Many posts ago I dropped the modifier, magisterium, to accommodate your view that the Society does not believe the magisterium has been exercised. If the SSPX (and Bishop Williamson) are able to believe that the magisterium they accept as the true one has not exercised itself in the last 50 years, then that is how they are able to remain R&R Catholics. Nevertheless, they sift (and resist) many of the errant and universal teachings and actions of the Novus Ordo hierarchy. This seems to me a perfectly normal requirement of their general position.


Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:26 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Thanks Mike.

OK, let me try and put this whole problem in a clearer light.

Now, consider this carefully, the bishops can all individually err. They can do this when there's a pope, and they can do so when there isn't. What they cannot do is all teach the same error with the approval of the pope.

That phrase has several parts. All, same, and pope.

What is the sedevacantist thesis? That the keystone of infallibility had been lacking these past fifty or so years. That is, the Church is the Church, the bishops that did not openly leave her by heresy are her bishops (maybe that's two men somewhere in a retirement home, I have no idea), and the faithful that remain faithful are still Catholics. That makes the larger part of the visible Church, and the most visible part, the traditional Catholics. But it leaves the hierarchy amongst those recognised as Conciliarists. It's a mess.

So we are saying that despite the fact that morally all have taught the same error, the lack of papal approval saves the Church. (Oh, and incidentally, we haven't bothered to prove that morally all have taught the same error, we just assume it. If you disagree, show me the articles or books. Fr. Lucien wrote one, and ultimately ended up a sedeplenist as a result...)

We "sift" the teaching of the bishops. We're allowed to do so, we're required to do so because of faith. It ought to be exceptional, rare, but in this era it's been the norm. When I say in this era, I mean from the early 'sixties, even before Vatican II. John XXIII opened the windows and heresies flooded in, so every Catholic potentially had to reject what his own bishop was teaching. I repeat, it is entirely just for the individual Catholic to "sift" the magisterium of his bishop, when truly necessary, despite the fact that this magisterium solemnly obliges him. What we are not permitted to do is to reject the doctrines of the universal magisterium, ordinary or extraordinary, because it's infallible.

The sedeplenist simply questions one or both of the two other elements of the key phrase above. They question whether morally all of the bishops have taught the same thing. They point out that clearly imposed teaching - that is, unambiguous doctrine authoritatively imposed as obligatory on all - is not the nature of the Conciliar magisterium. Notions are offered by that magisterium, not imposed. And those notions are so confused that identifying a single universally taught proposition is impossible. Take even the most obvious, religious liberty. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is not orthodox on it, but it clarifies one aspect in an orthodox direction that we all thought was a no-brainer for a universally agreed clear error - the notion that liberty of religion is only to be limited by the requirements of civil peace and order. So the Catechism of the Catholic Church only made the case less clear. It meant that the extreme liberals had been disagreed with, so that the unanimity we are looking for in the promulgation of error was not apparent.

So there are two theories. One says that there has been no pope, another that there has been one all along but that he has refused to employ his full authority as magister. In practical terms there are few differences.

The entire "R&R" characterisation of the sedeplenist position has always been to my mind an offensive caricature with very dangerous implications. It's tragic that it seems now to be a standard meme, even recognised and embraced by sedeplenist laymen as their own.

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
By the way, if you're not aware of how the Catechism of the Catholic Church somewhat modified, or clarified, the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae, have a read of this: http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt44.html

And for an SSPX priest's refutation of the error, see this: http://sspx.org/en/node/1245

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Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:42 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
What we are not permitted to do is to reject the doctrines of the universal magisterium, ordinary or extraordinary, because it's infallible.

The sedeplenist simply questions one or both of the two other elements of the key phrase above. They question whether morally all of the bishops have taught the same thing.


Actually, the Conciliar sect is, essentially, a type of Congregationalist sect. There is absolutely no unity in that sect. Bishops' Conferences teach their own brand of religion, while individual bishops teach their own brand. Even priests teach their own religious views and, provided those views are not Catholic, his bishop will usually leave him alone.

By it's very nature, the Conciliar sect, i.e., all of the bishops, cannot universally teach any particular doctrine.

So, though I can see how the argument is being made, that since they are not united in teaching, the very idea that their disunity, heresy, and apostasy somehow permits them to continue to validly claim the name, Catholic, seems to me not only to be ludicrous but also a delusional rejection of reality. I simply would not want to trust my soul to one who holds these views.


Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:34 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
TKGS wrote:
Actually, the Conciliar sect is, essentially, a type of Congregationalist sect. There is absolutely no unity in that sect. Bishops' Conferences teach their own brand of religion, while individual bishops teach their own brand. Even priests teach their own religious views and, provided those views are not Catholic, his bishop will usually leave him alone.


Exactly.

Archbishop Lefebvre, 1988:

Archbishop Lefebvre wrote:
Where is the visible church? The visible church is recognized by the features that have always given it visibility: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

I ask: where are the true marks of the Church? Are they more in the official Church (this is not the visible Church, the official church) or in us, in what we represent, what we are?

Clearly we are those who preserve the unity of the faith, which has disappeared from the official Church. One bishop believes in this, the other not, faith is different, their catechisms contain abominable heresies. Where is the unity of the faith in Rome?



TKGS wrote:
By it's very nature, the Conciliar sect, i.e., all of the bishops, cannot universally teach any particular doctrine.


Well, that's possibly an exaggeration, but it illustrates the problem.

TKGS wrote:
So, though I can see how the argument is being made, that since they are not united in teaching, the very idea that their disunity, heresy, and apostasy somehow permits them to continue to validly claim the name, Catholic, seems to me not only to be ludicrous but also a delusional rejection of reality. I simply would not want to trust my soul to one who holds these views.


Good, because that isn't their view.

They look at the facts from the same angle that we do. They're trying to make sense of them as we are. The question is, "can we say that's not the Church speaking because it universally preaches Doctrine X?" And the answer seems to them to be, no, the Conciliar church does not universally preach Doctrine X. That's all. It's an answer to one question. Why you would turn it into a basis upon which they are declaring that all those men are Catholics and truly represent the Church, I don't know.

These are men who are really very familiar with the thought and words of Archbishop Lefebvre. See above for his view. Then perhaps re-think this whole thing.

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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Thanks Mike.

OK, let me try and put this whole problem in a clearer light.

Now, consider this carefully, the bishops can all individually err. They can do this when there's a pope, and they can do so when there isn't. What they cannot do is all teach the same error with the approval of the pope.

That phrase has several parts. All, same, and pope.

What is the sedevacantist thesis? That the keystone of infallibility had been lacking these past fifty or so years. That is, the Church is the Church, the bishops that did not openly leave her by heresy are her bishops (maybe that's two men somewhere in a retirement home, I have no idea), and the faithful that remain faithful are still Catholics. That makes the larger part of the visible Church, and the most visible part, the traditional Catholics. But it leaves the hierarchy amongst those recognised as Conciliarists. It's a mess.


So far, so good.

John Lane wrote:
So we are saying that despite the fact that morally all have taught the same error, the lack of papal approval saves the Church.


This is a little confusing. The universal teaching of error is not something the true Church can do, so the true Church was never under threat by such teaching, and the lack of papal approval is therefore a given.

John Lane wrote:
We "sift" the teaching of the bishops.


Who is we? Sedeplenist traditionalists? Sedevacantists? Both? What bishops? The two in the retirement home? All of those with Novus Ordo jurisdiction?

John Lane wrote:
We're allowed to do so, we're required to do so because of faith. It ought to be exceptional, rare, but in this era it's been the norm. When I say in this era, I mean from the early 'sixties, even before Vatican II. John XXIII opened the windows and heresies flooded in, so every Catholic potentially had to reject what his own bishop was teaching. I repeat, it is entirely just for the individual Catholic to "sift" the magisterium of his bishop, when truly necessary,


I can't read your mind, but you write as if you think I am opposed to sifting. I am not. Especially if one is a sedeplenist traditionalist. As I have said from the beginning, that position requires it. I'm not sure, however, what need the sedevacantist has of sifting the teaching of a man he does not believe to be the Bishop of Rome or, for that matter, of sifting the collective teaching of the Novus Ordo bishops.

John Lane wrote:
despite the fact that this magisterium solemnly obliges him.


Not quite sure what you mean here.

John Lane wrote:
What we are not permitted to do is to reject the doctrines of the universal magisterium, ordinary or extraordinary, because it's infallible.


Right.

John Lane wrote:
The sedeplenist simply questions one or both of the two other elements of the key phrase above. They question whether morally all of the bishops have taught the same thing. They point out that clearly imposed teaching - that is, unambiguous doctrine authoritatively imposed as obligatory on all - is not the nature of the Conciliar magisterium. Notions are offered by that magisterium, not imposed. And those notions are so confused that identifying a single universally taught proposition is impossible. Take even the most obvious, religious liberty. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is not orthodox on it, but it clarifies one aspect in an orthodox direction that we all thought was a no-brainer for a universally agreed clear error - the notion that liberty of religion is only to be limited by the requirements of civil peace and order. So the Catechism of the Catholic Church only made the case less clear. It meant that the extreme liberals had been disagreed with, so that the unanimity we are looking for in the promulgation of error was not apparent.


In the promulgation of that particular error, I assume? Or do you mean that there has not been unanimity in the promulgation of any error taught by the Novus Ordo church?

John Lane wrote:
So there are two theories. One says that there has been no pope, another that there has been one all along but that he has refused to employ his full authority as magister. In practical terms there are few differences.


The practical difference is the need to sift.

John Lane wrote:
The entire "R&R" characterisation of the sedeplenist position has always been to my mind an offensive caricature with very dangerous implications. It's tragic that it seems now to be a standard meme, even recognised and embraced by sedeplenist laymen as their own.


It is quite an accurate characterization (and not derogatory in my view), but I will refrain from using it in discussions with you since you find it offensive (Note my term, above: sedeplenist traditionalists. "Sedeplenist" by itself is not very precise, because it does not distinguish clearly from Novus Ordo Catholics.). The dangerous implications are due to the position, not the term. However, all four of the basic Catholic responses to the crisis have dangerous implications, yet three of the four have their merits as well.


Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:09 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
So we are saying that despite the fact that morally all have taught the same error, the lack of papal approval saves the Church.


This is a little confusing. The universal teaching of error is not something the true Church can do, so the true Church was never under threat by such teaching, and the lack of papal approval is therefore a given.


I'm describing the sedevacantist thesis. The sedevacantist thesis explains the fact of universal error by positing the absence of the Roman Pontiff, who is the keystone of infallibility. Without a pope, the bishops can all err. (There's a rider on this, which is that the Teaching Body as a whole cannot defect, so they cannot all disappear into heresy, but that doesn't mean they cannot all err.)

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
We "sift" the teaching of the bishops.


Who is we? Sedeplenist traditionalists? Sedevacantists? Both? What bishops? The two in the retirement home? All of those with Novus Ordo jurisdiction?


"We" is all trads, including sedevacantists. Which bishops? All of them, which is why I went back to the early 'sixties to illustrate the point. The principle doesn't change whether half, most, or nearly all of the supposed bishops are not really Catholic bishops. The principle is that even if an undoubted Catholic bishop, your own ordinary, teaches error, you can and must reject it. That's what's called, in pejorative terms, "sifting."

Mike Larson wrote:
I can't read your mind, but you write as if you think I am opposed to sifting. I am not. Especially if one is a sedeplenist traditionalist. As I have said from the beginning, that position requires it. I'm not sure, however, what need the sedevacantist has of sifting the teaching of a man he does not believe to be the Bishop of Rome or, for that matter, of sifting the collective teaching of the Novus Ordo bishops.


Well, I am opposed to sifting the universal magisterium. That would be heretical, because it necessarily, implicitly, denies the infallibility of the Church. My point is that we all must sift the non-universal magisterium, in the sense that we are already obliged to maintain Catholic doctrine so therefore we simply cannot, and must not, accept anything incompatible with it, even when presented by true (non-infallible) authority.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
despite the fact that this magisterium solemnly obliges him.


Not quite sure what you mean here.


Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.

Mike Larson wrote:
In the promulgation of that particular error, I assume? Or do you mean that there has not been unanimity in the promulgation of any error taught by the Novus Ordo church?


I mean that the case must be made for each doctrine. If you think that some error relating to religious liberty has been taught to the whole Church with the approval of a putative pope, then you must define that doctrine and prove that it has been universally taught. Then you will have a case for sede vacante based upon that doctrinal error. And so on, with any other doctrinal errors. That's how the logic works.

You can't say, well they all teach all manner of things so the fact that they don't agree doesn't matter. I accept that this is a proof of something, but it isn't a proof of the vacancy of the Holy See based upon infallibility, which is what we are discussing.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
So there are two theories. One says that there has been no pope, another that there has been one all along but that he has refused to employ his full authority as magister. In practical terms there are few differences.


The practical difference is the need to sift.


If you could just understand the reasoning you have just read, you'd see that this is precisely what is not required. If morally the entire episcopate has not proposed some specific doctrine, with the aproval of the putative pope, then by definition there cannot be any sifting (of the universal magisterium). For sifting means choosing the true from the false, and only accepting the true. You can't even talk about rejecting the false doctrine if you can't say what the false doctrine is. The false doctrine has to be your starting point.

Alternatively, if you are referring to the need to "sift" what your ordinary teaches, then I agree it is required (in the sense I have explained) and both sedevacantists and sedeplenists must do so. There's no difference.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
The entire "R&R" characterisation of the sedeplenist position has always been to my mind an offensive caricature with very dangerous implications. It's tragic that it seems now to be a standard meme, even recognised and embraced by sedeplenist laymen as their own.


It is quite an accurate characterization (and not derogatory in my view), but I will refrain from using it in discussions with you since you find it offensive (Note my term, above: sedeplenist traditionalists. "Sedeplenist" by itself is not very precise, because it does not distinguish clearly from Novus Ordo Catholics.). The dangerous implications are due to the position, not the term. However, all four of the basic Catholic responses to the crisis have dangerous implications, yet three of the four have their merits as well.


At this point I don't think you understand the terms you are using, so you couldn't even say what the dangerous implications are. Forget "sifting" as you say, and just tell me what exactly their position demands which is dangerous. If you say, "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine," then say what the doctrine is and how you are sure it has been proposed by morally all the bishops.

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Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:13 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike, here's the reasoning.

Sedevacantist argument from infallibility:

A. The Church is infallible in her universal teaching (i.e. either solely by the Roman Pontiff or by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops all teaching the same doctrine).

B. At or after Vatican II the bishops and the putative pope taught to the Church, Doctrine X, which is incompatible with infallibly proposed doctrine Y.

C. Therefore the putative pope cannot have been truly pope.

Sedeplenist argument in reply:

A. The Church is infallible in her universal teaching (i.e. either solely by the Roman Pontiff or by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops all teaching the same doctrine).

B. But neither at or after Vatican II have the bishops and the pope taught to the Church, Doctrine X, which is incompatible with infallibly proposed doctrine Y. There are two challenges which the sedevacantist argument must meet, but which it does not meet. First, it must define unambiguously what the erroneous doctrine is, and second, it must show that morally all the bishops taught it. The problem facing both challenges is the utter doctrinal chaos in the Conciliar era, when the bishops have taught so many diverse things that it would be hard to define any particular error which morally all the bishops have taught.

C. Therefore it does not follow that the putative pope cannot have been truly pope.

Now, anybody should be able to see that the sedeplenist argument is not unorthodox. It is a disagreement with us over fact, not doctrine.

You can say that the sedeplenist must "sift" the non-infallible doctrinal teaching of the Church, but all traditionalists, sedevacantists and sedeplenists, agree that if a true Catholic bishop, one's ordinary, teaches something against previously infallibly taught doctrine, we are obliged to reject it. So if that's "sifting" then we all have had to do it, and the fault is in the erring bishop, not in the Christian who knows his faith.

Further, anybody should be able to see that Bishop Williamson is manifestly denying premiss "A" in both sets of reasoning. But that denial is heretical.

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Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:29 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike, here's the reasoning.

Sedevacantist argument from infallibility:

A. The Church is infallible in her universal teaching (i.e. either solely by the Roman Pontiff or by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops all teaching the same doctrine).

B. At or after Vatican II the bishops and the putative pope taught to the Church, Doctrine X, which is incompatible with infallibly proposed doctrine Y.

C. Therefore the putative pope cannot have been truly pope.

Sedeplenist argument in reply:

A. The Church is infallible in her universal teaching (i.e. either solely by the Roman Pontiff or by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops all teaching the same doctrine).

B. But neither at or after Vatican II have the bishops and the pope taught to the Church, Doctrine X, which is incompatible with infallibly proposed doctrine Y. There are two challenges which the sedevacantist argument must meet, but which it does not meet. First, it must define unambiguously what the erroneous doctrine is, and second, it must show that morally all the bishops taught it. The problem facing both challenges is the utter doctrinal chaos in the Conciliar era, when the bishops have taught so many diverse things that it would be hard to define any particular error which morally all the bishops have taught.

C. Therefore it does not follow that the putative pope cannot have been truly pope.

Now, anybody should be able to see that the sedeplenist argument is not unorthodox. It is a disagreement with us over fact, not doctrine.

You can say that the sedeplenist must "sift" the non-infallible doctrinal teaching of the Church, but all traditionalists, sedevacantists and sedeplenists, agree that if a true Catholic bishop, one's ordinary, teaches something against previously infallibly taught doctrine, we are obliged to reject it. So if that's "sifting" then we all have had to do it, and the fault is in the erring bishop, not in the Christian who knows his faith.

Further, anybody should be able to see that Bishop Williamson is manifestly denying premiss "A" in both sets of reasoning. But that denial is heretical.


John,
I agree with your assessment, insofar as the sedeplenist thinks he is sifting only non-infallible teaching of the Novus Ordo hierarchy. However, the reason he can think this is because he has sifted the teaching of the Church pre-Vatican 2 on what constitutes the infallible teaching of the magesterium I.e. he has changed the definition on what is the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church. Therefore, premise one is different for the sedeplenist and sedevacantist because they have a different definition of universal magesterium. I don't think you can say the premises are synonymous because of this difference between the definition of terms.

The sedeplenist also have sifted the pre-Vatican 2 teaching on the secondary object of infallibility including the infallibility of universal laws and the infallibility of canonizations which while not heresy is still contrary to one's Catholic faith and erroneous. Because of this, their position is completely untenable which is why I say it could be legetimate to hold this position pre-1983, but not after. I have no problem in one sifting what they believe to be the non-infallible directives of the Novus Ordo hierarchy either because they view them as heretics and not the hierarchy, or they think what the Novus Ordo teaching doesn't bind because it has never been promulgated with infallible authority. But in both of the above cases, the sedeplenist admits the laws and canonizations were promulgated by the supreme authority in the Church yet still claim the acts were not infallible.

Now this would make their position unorthodox, not just erroneous in fact. If it was a disagreement in fact, they would be arguing these laws and canonizations were not promulgated by the supreme authority. They don't. They accept most of the new Code and use it because they say it was promulgated by JP II and deny the infallibility of canonizations by changing what Vatican I defined as necessary for an infallible act by the pope. This is the sifting which concerns me, the other is irrelevant for both the sedeplenist and the sedevacantist and I believe a distraction from the heart of the matter.


Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:57 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
James Schroepfer wrote:

John,
I agree with your assessment, insofar as the sedeplenist thinks he is sifting only non-infallible teaching of the Novus Ordo hierarchy. However, the reason he can think this is because he has sifted the teaching of the Church pre-Vatican 2 on what constitutes the infallible teaching of the magesterium I.e. he has changed the definition on what is the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church.


Can you say how, James? Let's be specific.

James Schroepfer wrote:
The sedeplenist also have sifted the pre-Vatican 2 teaching on the secondary object of infallibility including the infallibility of universal laws and the infallibility of canonizations which while not heresy is still contrary to one's Catholic faith and erroneous. Because of this, their position is completely untenable which is why I say it could be legetimate to hold this position pre-1983, but not after.... But in both of the above cases, the sedeplenist admits the laws and canonizations were promulgated by the supreme authority in the Church yet still claim the acts were not infallible.


Well, while I agree that the arguments of Fr. Gleize are wrong, I don't agree that they are unorthodox. But I'm open to the alternative view.

Of course, Bishop Williamson's are unorthodox (the universal magisterium is fallible) or merely fatuous (the theologians virtually taught that canonisations are virtually infallible...).

But we're talking about the magisterium, because that's what Bishop Williamson addressed, and we're answering him. It is interesting but irrelevant to point out that others have bad arguments too.

James Schroepfer wrote:
Now this would make their position unorthodox, not just erroneous in fact. If it was a disagreement in fact, they would be arguing these laws and canonizations were not promulgated by the supreme authority. They don't. They accept most of the new Code and use it because they say it was promulgated by JP II and deny the infallibility of canonizations by changing what Vatican I defined as necessary for an infallible act by the pope. This is the sifting which concerns me, the other is irrelevant for both the sedeplenist and the sedevacantist and I believe a distraction from the heart of the matter.


It concerns me too, which is why when I complain about it I like to get it right. And when I complain about it, I take it straight to the source, so you understand that it's not just a matter of whipping up the masses, as Fr. Cekada aims to do, it's actually an attempt to alter the views of the leaders.

Also, keep in mind that the priests and bishops of the SSPX don't all agree on things like the New Code. Bishop Williamson is making a bit of a cottage industry out of sloganising on the New Code, and he wouldn't be doing so if he thought they all held the same view (i.e. that most of it is valid and binding).

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Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:36 pm
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John,

Quote:
John Lane:
It concerns me too, which is why when I complain about it I like to get it right. And when I complain about it, I take it straight to the source, so you understand that it's not just a matter of whipping up the masses, as Fr. Cekada aims to do, it's actually an attempt to alter the views of the leaders.


I agree with not trying to whip up the masses. This is why I have written to the priests of the society in my State (and hand-delivered my letter). Of course, I am not worth of a response even though my soul is at stake according to them given I am a sedevacantist, and have never received a response. I don't have a personal hot-line with Bishop Fellay and the SSPX clergy have a habit, at least here in the USA, to ignore anyone who questions their position especially a sedevacantist.

Quote:
John Lane:
Also, keep in mind that the priests and bishops of the SSPX don't all agree on things like the New Code.


I understand not all the society priests hold the same position similar to sedevacantists, and I am sorry if I over generalize, i.e. Bishop Williamson was just recently a member of the society. It is difficult not to as I often take the USA SSPX to represent the rest of the society which I am happy to hear is inaccurate.

Quote:
John Lane:
Can you say how, James? Let's be specific.


The sedevacantist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine it is to be believed as infallible.

Quote:

A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning

“III. The universal teaching of the Bishops and Priests is another mode of ecclesiastical testimony to revealed truth. The testimony of all the Bishops is in itself infallible, independently of the teaching of the inferior clergy and the belief of the Faithful, because the Episcopate is the chief organ of infallibility in the Church

Hence the original promulgation is the remote Rule of Faith, and the continuous promulgation by the Teaching Body is the proximate Rule

. SECT. 15.—Gradual Progress in the Transmission of Revelation — Apostolic Deposit: Ecclesiastical Tradition: Rule of Faith

I. The office-holders in the Teaching Apostolate form one unbroken chain, derived from God, and consequently doctrine announced by them at any given time is a continuation and a development of the doctrine originally revealed, and is invested with the same Divine character Jesus Christ, the immediate Envoy of His Father, announced what He had heard from the Father; ….

I. For the Catholic it is not necessary to demonstrate positively from coeval documents that the Church has always borne actual witness to a given doctrine. The scantiness of the documents, especially of those belonging to the sub-apostolic age, makes it even impossible. The Tradition of the present time, above all if it is attested by an authoritative definition, is quite sufficient to prove the former existence of the same Tradition, although perhaps only in a latent state. Any further knowledge of its former existence is merely of scientific interest.”


The sedeplenist recognizes the Universal and Ordinary magisterium to mean when the moral majority of the bishops in agreement with the Apostolic See all preach the same doctrine which the sedeplenist recognizes to be passes down through all the centuries from the teaching of Christ .

Quote:
A question of principles: SSPX vs. FSSP
December 30, 2013
District of the USA
“Ordinary Magisterium

Pronouncements of the ordinary magisterium, on the contrary, are not infallible ex sese: precisely because it belongs to the nature of teaching (magisterium) to include repetition. It is thus the consensus of the teaching—quod ab omnibus, quod ubique, quod semper—[u]what was taught by all, everywhere and always—that is the criteria of truth for the ordinary magisterium[/u]. The most essential aspect there is the “always”: indeed the teaching of the Church is the truth in as much as it is the continuation of the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Apostles and their successors: if it comes from Christ, then it is true; if it does not come from Christ, then it does not belong to the teaching of the Church! [This statement is true as far as the Church could not teach with her ordinary magisterium something that did not come from Christ; but this statement is completely false in asserting that always is a criteria to recognize the Universal and Ordinary magisterium!] Novelty has always been the sign of heresy. Now that does not mean that everything has to be explicitly in the Gospel; there is indeed a legitimate development of doctrine, but it is from the implicit to the explicit, exposing the richness contained in the deposit of Faith—not changing it.

The right faith is “to hold that which was held since the Church of Christ was established, that which has been received from the Fathers, that which has been transmitted to their successors.”[8] St. Paul sums this up beautifully in one word: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:1-2).

So fidelity is the one quality that he requires in the ministers of Christ, i.e., the priests, bishops and above all of them, the popes; that fidelity can be summed up in these other words of St Paul: “I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received—tradidi quod et accepi” (I Cor. 15:3). When the Pope does that, when the bishops do that, then they are part of that ordinary and universal magisterium which teaches the Faith infallibly—not that their individual pronouncement alone (ex sese) is infallible, but that their common agreement with that which has always been taught in the Church is the sign of its divine origin, and thus of infallibility. [This seems to me to be the same error as Bishop Williamson for if the laity are the ones that have to recognize for themselves what the Church has always taught, what is the point of having the magisterium at all.]

Fidelity is the criteria
Thus one can say that fidelity is the criteria of the ordinary and universal magisterium: one recognizes that what a Pope says, what a bishop says belongs to that ordinary and universal magisterium when one can see that he is faithfully transmitting that which he has received. [Again it is the laity who are judging tradition here, not the hierarchy. This is a complete reversal of roles and an erroneous opinion against the doctrine of the teaching Church. For is the judgment of always is required by the laity for the ordinary and universal magisterium to be exercised, logically it follows this would be true for the extraordinary magisterium as well. I a sense it completely Protestantizes the Church. Instead of having Scripture alone, we are left to fend for ourselves with Scripture and coeval documents, but still without an infallible authority practically speaking. For if it is infallible when it agrees with me, then I am the infallible measuring stick I am using to see whether it is infallible or not. I am the infallible authority for myself.] On the contrary, when it is clear that what is taught by a prelate is a novelty, then it is thereby clear that he does not “fit in” the universal (in time as in space) magisterium; he speaks of his own, not of what he has received from Christ.

To introduce an “authentic magisterium” that would no longer need to be “faithful”, no longer need to be in continuity with past magisterium in order to require full assent of the faithful, is itself a novelty. [Agreed but irrelevant. If a magisterium is going contrary to past magisterium then it is heretical and not the authentic or any kind of magisterium at all.] To pretend that this magisterium is necessarily in continuity, no matter what it says, is the error of the “hermeneutic of continuity”, as if continuity were an automatic consequence of, and not a pre-condition required for its authenticity. [Bold and Underline added]”


Quote:
John Lane:
But we're talking about the magisterium, because that's what Bishop Williamson addressed, and we're answering him. It is interesting but irrelevant to point out that others have bad arguments too.


But is the common opinion of theologians to be considered to be the teaching of the magisterium in so far as the magisterium could not allow majority of theologians to teach error by silence or tacit approval? Perhaps I am understanding this passage wrong???

Quote:
A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning

II. The authority of Theologians, like that of the Fathers, may be considered either individually and partially, or of the whole body collectively. As a rule, the authority of a single Theologian (with the exception of canonized Saints, and perhaps some authors of the greatest weight) does not create the presumption that no point of his doctrine was opposed to the common teaching of the Church in his day; much less that, independently of his reasons, the whole of his doctrine is positively probable merely on account of his authority. When, however, the majority of approved and weighty Theologians agree, it must be presumed that their teaching is not opposed to that of the Church. Moreover, if their doctrines are based upon sound arguments propounded without any prejudice and not contradicted very decidedly, the positive probability of the doctrines must be presumed. No more than this probability can be produced by the consent of many or even of all Theologians when they state a doctrine as a common opinion (opinio communis) and not as a common conviction (sententia conmunis). These questions have been discussed at great length by Moral Theologians in the controversy on Probabilism. See Lacroix, Theol. Mor., lib. I., tr. i., c. 2.

These principles on the authority of Theologians were strongly insisted on by Pius IX in the brief, Gravissimas inter (cf. infra, § 29), and they are evident consequences of the Catholic doctrine of Tradition. Although the assistance of the Holy Ghost is not directly promised to Theologians, nevertheless the assistance promised to the Church requires that He should prevent them as a body from falling into error; otherwise the Faithful who follow them would all be led astray. The consent of Theologians implies the consent of the Episcopate, according to St. Augustine's dictum: “Not to resist an error is to approve of it — not to defend a truth is to reject it.” (“Error cui non resistitur approbatur, et veritas quae non defenditur opprimitur “ (Decr. Grat., dist. 83, c. error). And even natural reason assures us that this consent is a guarantee of truth. “Whatever is found to be one and the same among many persons is not an error but a tradition” (Tertullian). (Supra, p. 68.)


And isn't the infallibility of canonizations and canon law part of the ordinary and universal magisterium? It is taught by Doctors of the Church, the majority of Theologians, and even the popes.

Quote:
Pope Benedict XIV, "If anyone dared to assert that the Pontiff had erred in this or that canonisation, we shall say that he is, if not a heretic, at least temerarious, a giver of scandal to the whole Church, an insulter of the saints, a favourer of those heretics who deny the Church’s authority in canonizing saints, savouring of heresy by giving unbelievers an occasion to mock the faithful, the assertor of an erroneous opinion and liable to very grave penalties.”


I am not trying to blow this out of proportion. Am I missing something?


Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:04 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
We "sift" the teaching of the bishops.


Who is we? Sedeplenist traditionalists? Sedevacantists? Both? What bishops? The two in the retirement home? All of those with Novus Ordo jurisdiction?


"We" is all trads, including sedevacantists. Which bishops? All of them, which is why I went back to the early 'sixties to illustrate the point. The principle doesn't change whether half, most, or nearly all of the supposed bishops are not really Catholic bishops. The principle is that even if an undoubted Catholic bishop, your own ordinary, teaches error, you can and must reject it. That's what's called, in pejorative terms, "sifting."


John, are you saying that this is the standard view among all varieties of sedevacantists? That they sift the teaching of their diocesan Novus Ordo bishops?

John Lane wrote:
My point is that we all must sift the non-universal magisterium, in the sense that we are already obliged to maintain Catholic doctrine so therefore we simply cannot, and must not, accept anything incompatible with it, even when presented by true (non-infallible) authority.


So just to be clear, you recognize your diocesan bishop, and the Novus Ordo bishops in general, to be the true authorities?

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
despite the fact that this magisterium solemnly obliges him.


Not quite sure what you mean here.


Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.


This is a very strange statement. I can only think you do not mean it in the way that it sounds. Earlier, you insist on the need to reject false teaching.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
In the promulgation of that particular error, I assume? Or do you mean that there has not been unanimity in the promulgation of any error taught by the Novus Ordo church?


I mean that the case must be made for each doctrine. If you think that some error relating to religious liberty has been taught to the whole Church with the approval of a putative pope, then you must define that doctrine and prove that it has been universally taught. Then you will have a case for sede vacante based upon that doctrinal error. And so on, with any other doctrinal errors. That's how the logic works.


Yes, I understand how the logic works. But my question was whether you yourself have identified an error taught universally, with the approval of a putative pope.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
So there are two theories. One says that there has been no pope, another that there has been one all along but that he has refused to employ his full authority as magister. In practical terms there are few differences.


The practical difference is the need to sift.


If you could just understand the reasoning you have just read, you'd see that this is precisely what is not required. If morally the entire episcopate has not proposed some specific doctrine, with the aproval of the putative pope, then by definition there cannot be any sifting (of the universal magisterium).


I meant sift the non-magisterial (putting aside whether it has actually been exercised or not) but generally universal teaching of the Novus Ordo church. The sedeplenist traditionalist must do this. You have said, even in your last post, that the sedevacantist does this as well.

John Lane wrote:
For sifting means choosing the true from the false, and only accepting the true.


Actually, sifting means the close examination of something, the weighing of evidence, the drawing of distinctions. At least that is my understanding of the word. I suppose one could use the method of sifting to extract only true things, but that is a more limited use of the term than I have been employing. You see now why I was trying earlier to decipher how we each were using the terms.

John Lane wrote:
You can't even talk about rejecting the false doctrine if you can't say what the false doctrine is. The false doctrine has to be your starting point.


Yes, absolutely. Here we agree.

John Lane wrote:
Alternatively, if you are referring to the need to "sift" what your ordinary teaches, then I agree it is required (in the sense I have explained) and both sedevacantists and sedeplenists must do so. There's no difference.


And here we disagree. I assert that the sedevacantist has no need to sift the teaching of one he does not recognize as his true ordinary.

John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
The entire "R&R" characterisation of the sedeplenist position has always been to my mind an offensive caricature with very dangerous implications. It's tragic that it seems now to be a standard meme, even recognised and embraced by sedeplenist laymen as their own.


It is quite an accurate characterization (and not derogatory in my view), but I will refrain from using it in discussions with you since you find it offensive (Note my term, above: sedeplenist traditionalists. "Sedeplenist" by itself is not very precise, because it does not distinguish clearly from Novus Ordo Catholics.). The dangerous implications are due to the position, not the term. However, all four of the basic Catholic responses to the crisis have dangerous implications, yet three of the four have their merits as well.


At this point I don't think you understand the terms you are using, so you couldn't even say what the dangerous implications are.


This is condescending.

John Lane wrote:
Forget "sifting" as you say, and just tell me what exactly their position demands which is dangerous. If you say, "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine," then say what the doctrine is and how you are sure it has been proposed by morally all the bishops.


I assume by "their" you mean the SSPX. And no, I do not mean "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine." The sedeplenist traditionalist is in a posture that demands a constant state of sifting the teachings and directives of those whom he believes to be the true authorities of the Church. The danger is that he might therefore grow to prefer this arrangement over the normal one. That is to say, he is at risk for elevating his own judgment over that of the Church. He (potentially--depending on the person) sets himself up as the final authority. In addition, he risks growing comfortable with the habit of disobedience.

The merit of the position, on the other hand, is only realized if he is in fact correct that the apparent hierarchy is the real one (but wayward). When the hierarchy returns to its senses, he merits the honor of having maintained his faith in the true Church all along and having waited patiently for its return to orthodoxy. Furthermore, he merits other virtues (e.g. courage, fortitude, etc.) for resisting the holders of true authority (when they somehow went awry) for the sake of an even higher authority.


Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:13 am
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New post Re: Bp. Williamson on Infallibility
Mike Larson wrote:
John, are you saying that this is the standard view among all varieties of sedevacantists? That they sift the teaching of their diocesan Novus Ordo bishops?


Mike, I am speaking of the principle. Ask yourself, what all traditional Catholics did in 1962, 1964, 1968, 1970, etc. What principle did they apply in order to hold fast to what they had received, despite the errors that were being preached by their own bishops?

If it was right then, it's right always.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
My point is that we all must sift the non-universal magisterium, in the sense that we are already obliged to maintain Catholic doctrine so therefore we simply cannot, and must not, accept anything incompatible with it, even when presented by true (non-infallible) authority.


So just to be clear, you recognize your diocesan bishop, and the Novus Ordo bishops in general, to be the true authorities?


No, of course not. But whether they are or not, in my view, does not alter the fact that I am obliged to maintain the truth already preached by the Church. That principle is golden, it doesn't change from right to wrong by some unexplained process or over some undefined period. It was not right in 1962, then suddenly wrong in 1972. It is not right for sedevacantists, and wrong for sedeplenists. All traditional Catholics were sedeplenists in 1963 when Pacem in terris appeared. We still had to reject the error in it. Likewise if our local ordinary preached error.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Mike Larson wrote:
Not quite sure what you mean here.


Are you aware that when your ordinary teaches, you are obliged to accept his doctrine? Not only if he's right, or if he's following tradition, or repeating what a general council has taught, but because he has doctrinal authority. This obligation is very grave.


This is a very strange statement. I can only think you do not mean it in the way that it sounds. Earlier, you insist on the need to reject false teaching.


It's just the most basic truth of ecclesiology. Your bishop has doctrinal jurisdiction in his territory. He has the right to your assent to his doctrine. He teaches as one having authority. He is not just a witness passing on what he has received.

The fact that you think it strange explains why you don't seem to understand what I write! I've been re-saying the same things in many different ways for post after post, thinking that the penny will drop at every stage, and it hasn't. I think I see why now.

Wilhelm and Scannell wrote:
The ordinary Proposition of the law of Faith is identical with the ordinary exercise of the Teaching Apostolate; for the Word of God by its very nature exacts the obedience of Faith, and is communicated to the Faithful with the express intention of enforcing belief. Hence the ordinary teaching is necessarily a promulgation of the law of Faith and an injunction of the duty to believe, and consequently the law of Faith is naturally an unwritten law. But the Proposition of or by the Church takes the form of a Statute or written law when promulgated in a solemn decision. Such decisions, however, are not laws strictly speaking, but are merely authoritative declarations of laws already enacted by God, and in most instances they only enforce what is already the common practice. Both forms, written and unwritten, are of equal authority, but the written form is the more precise. Both also rest ultimately on the authority of the Head of the Apostolate. No judicial sentence in matters of Faith is valid unless pronounced or approved by him; and the binding force of the unwritten form arises from his tacit sanction.

VI. The authority of the Church's Proposition enforcing obedience to its decrees and guaranteeing their infallibility, is not restricted to matters of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation, although these are its principal subject-matter. The Teaching Apostolate, in order to realize the objects of Revelation, i.e. to preserve the Faith not only in its substance but also in its entirety, must extend its activity beyond the sphere of Divine Faith and Divine Revelation. But in such matters the Apostolate requires only an undoubting and submissive acceptance and not Divine Faith, and consequently is, so far, a rule of theological knowledge and conviction rather than a Rule of Divine Faith. Hence there exists in the Church, side by side with and completing the Rule of Faith, a Rule of Theological Thought or Religious Conviction, to which every Catholic must submit internally as well as externally. Any refusal to submit to this law implies a spiritual revolt against the authority of the Church and a rejection of her supernatural veracity; and is, if not a direct denial of Catholic Faith, at least a direct denial of Catholic Profession.



Mike Larson wrote:
Yes, I understand how the logic works. But my question was whether you yourself have identified an error taught universally, with the approval of a putative pope.


John Daly has, see the article linked earlier, on religious liberty. I am not aware of any other similar study dealing with any other doctrine. Are you?

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
If you could just understand the reasoning you have just read, you'd see that this is precisely what is not required. If morally the entire episcopate has not proposed some specific doctrine, with the aproval of the putative pope, then by definition there cannot be any sifting (of the universal magisterium).


I meant sift the non-magisterial (putting aside whether it has actually been exercised or not) but generally universal teaching of the Novus Ordo church. The sedeplenist traditionalist must do this. You have said, even in your last post, that the sedevacantist does this as well.


You speak of the Novus Ordo church as if it has some date on which it sprang, whole and entire, from a solemn act, and all of the world's bishops instantly fell or resisted, like the angels in paradise. What date was this? Can you distinguish the difference between what a hypothetical Dutch sedevacantist, and a hypothetical Dutch non-sedevacantist, did respectively in 1966 when their bishop promulgated, along with the rest of the Dutch bishops, the new catechism? I can't. Both, as far as I am aware, rejected the heresies despite thinking that the Dutch bishops were really their bishops. They were right, not wrong, to do so. Or would you say that the entire resistance was unlawful (accidentally so, poor people) without a concomitant judgement that the Dutch bishops had disappeared into heresy at some prior point, or at least at that point? And if the latter, how did this judgement arise, if the faithful were not permitted to "sift" to begin with? Do you see the point?

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
For sifting means choosing the true from the false, and only accepting the true.


Actually, sifting means the close examination of something, the weighing of evidence, the drawing of distinctions. At least that is my understanding of the word. I suppose one could use the method of sifting to extract only true things, but that is a more limited use of the term than I have been employing. You see now why I was trying earlier to decipher how we each were using the terms.


I don't see any relevant distinction. At the end of the day the question resolves back to whether it's right or wrong to form a judgement that the recognised authority is mistaken and cannot be followed in his specific instruction. I say this is always right, except when infallibility is involved, but only for the reason that we are already bound by what authority has already taught.

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Alternatively, if you are referring to the need to "sift" what your ordinary teaches, then I agree it is required (in the sense I have explained) and both sedevacantists and sedeplenists must do so. There's no difference.


And here we disagree. I assert that the sedevacantist has no need to sift the teaching of one he does not recognize as his true ordinary.


No, we don't disagree on that, we agree. But it's beside the point. We're discussing the doctrine of submission to lawful doctrinal authority. It's the same, in principle, for sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists. Bishop Williamson is wrong about it. He's wrong whether you read him as a sedevacantist or a sedeplenist. He's wrong according to the theologians. Any SSPX figure who agrees with him is equally wrong. In this debate what's happening is that you actually agree with Bishop Williamson, you say, and James and I disagree with him; but James is pointing out the extent to which SSPX writers agree with Bishop Williamson. So there are two parallel discussions here.

Mike Larson wrote:
This is condescending.


Sorry, I am frustrated. I keep thinking I have made myself clear, only to see that I haven't!

Mike Larson wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Forget "sifting" as you say, and just tell me what exactly their position demands which is dangerous. If you say, "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine," then say what the doctrine is and how you are sure it has been proposed by morally all the bishops.


I assume by "their" you mean the SSPX. And no, I do not mean "rejecting what should be an infallibly proposed doctrine." The sedeplenist traditionalist is in a posture that demands a constant state of sifting the teachings and directives of those whom he believes to be the true authorities of the Church. The danger is that he might therefore grow to prefer this arrangement over the normal one. That is to say, he is at risk for elevating his own judgment over that of the Church. He (potentially--depending on the person) sets himself up as the final authority. In addition, he risks growing comfortable with the habit of disobedience.


OK, I agree, but this danger is inherent in the crisis. It was permitted by God.

The objectionable thing I reject is the characterisation of this as though it were not entirely normal, given the abnormal circumstances. The danger arises from the circumstances, which are out of our control. Bishop Sanborn and Fr. Cekada write as if there were some other approach available in the beginning, or alternatively, that some other approach became mandatory at same date after the beginning. Neither will say what that date is, of course. They just characterise the natural and necessary traditional Catholic attitude as "R&R", as if the first "R" is a free choice, when in fact anything else is a radical judgement made by no bishops, few priests, and a handful of laymen. You don't like condescension? Well, you should detest that! (And James, if you want to understand the attitude to sedevantism by the American priests, this is responsible for a large part of it.)

Mike Larson wrote:
The merit of the position, on the other hand, is only realized if he is in fact correct that the apparent hierarchy is the real one (but wayward). When the hierarchy returns to its senses, he merits the honor of having maintained his faith in the true Church all along and having waited patiently for its return to orthodoxy. Furthermore, he merits other virtues (e.g. courage, fortitude, etc.) for resisting the holders of true authority (when they somehow went awry) for the sake of an even higher authority.


There will be plenty of merit from holding fast to the faith in this crisis! By the grace of God, of course. If only we could remember both realities at every moment!

God bless.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:40 am
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