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 A Question For Sedevacantists... 
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New post A Question For Sedevacantists...
Hello Guys:

I have often heard this line from sedevacantists I know: "If the pope is really the pope, then the SSPX is in schism for grave disobedience; If he is not the pope, the SSPX is in grave error for acknowledging a heretic."

This position implies a denial of all causes found in moral theology which excuse from obedience to superiors (e.g., epikeia and necessity), does it not?

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:33 am
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Put another way: Why do sedevacantists selectively deny the doctrine of necessity in this instance (i.e., the stance of the SSPX with regard to Rome), yet acknowledge it as validating their sacraments (i.e., if there is no necessity, then there is no ecclesia supplet -supplied jurisdiction- to suffice for those sacraments requiring it)?

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:37 am
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Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted? The doctrines of epikeia and necessity say otherwise.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:28 am
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SSPXER wrote:
Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted?


No, that is not the sedevacantist position.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:32 am
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SSPXER wrote:
Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted? The doctrines of epikeia and necessity say otherwise.


A true pope resisted in what way? In anything and everything...or do you have something specific in mind?


Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:37 am
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Robert Bastaja wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted? The doctrines of epikeia and necessity say otherwise.


A true pope resisted in what way? In anything and everything...or do you have something specific in mind?


I am thinking of the sedevacantist assertion, for example, that the 1988 episcopal consecrations were a schismatic act (a notion which, by the way, not even the 1983 modernist CJC entertains: It lists the "offense" under "abuses of episcopal power" rather than under "offenses against the unity of the Church" (which it ough have, had it truly considered such an act schismatic).

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:41 am
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SSPXER wrote:
Robert Bastaja wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted? The doctrines of epikeia and necessity say otherwise.


A true pope resisted in what way? In anything and everything...or do you have something specific in mind?


I am thinking of the sedevacantist assertion, for example, that the 1988 episcopal consecrations were a schismatic act (a notion which, by the way, not even the 1983 modernist CJC entertains: It lists the "offense" under "abuses of episcopal power" rather than under "offenses against the unity of the Church" (which it ough have, had it truly considered such an act schismatic).


I don't believe this is a "sedevacantist assertion" at all...who "asserted" this in 1988?


Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:59 am
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Robert Bastaja wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
Robert Bastaja wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
Or put yet another way: The sedevacantist position appears to be that a legitimate pope can never be resisted? The doctrines of epikeia and necessity say otherwise.


A true pope resisted in what way? In anything and everything...or do you have something specific in mind?


I am thinking of the sedevacantist assertion, for example, that the 1988 episcopal consecrations were a schismatic act (a notion which, by the way, not even the 1983 modernist CJC entertains: It lists the "offense" under "abuses of episcopal power" rather than under "offenses against the unity of the Church" (which it ough have, had it truly considered such an act schismatic).


I don't believe this is a "sedevacantist assertion" at all...who "asserted" this in 1988?


It was my understanding that (at least some) sedevacantists considered Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX to be schismatics because, while acknowledging JPII to be the legitimate pope, they proceeded with the consecrations anyway (i.e., if he is the pope, the "grave disobedience" to legitimate authority makes the SSPX schismatic; if he is not the pope, the SSPX gives grave scandal by acknowledging a heretic to head the Church).

Is this not the case/position of most sedevacantists on this site (I'm new here)?

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:07 am
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SSPXER wrote:
Is this not the case/position of most sedevacantists on this site (I'm new here)?


Not here or anywhere. It is the assertion of a small percentage of sedevacantists. The main proponent of it seems to be the Guerardian Bishop Sanborn, along with two or three of his associates. Bishop Sanborn calls us "total sedevacantists" to distinguish us from his position, which by implication must therefore be "partial sedevacantism."

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:15 am
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SSPXER wrote:
It was my understanding that (at least some) sedevacantists considered Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX to be schismatics because, while acknowledging JPII to be the legitimate pope, they proceeded with the consecrations anyway (i.e., if he is the pope, the "grave disobedience" to legitimate authority makes the SSPX schismatic; if he is not the pope, the SSPX gives grave scandal by acknowledging a heretic to head the Church).


Dear Mr. SSPXER,

I would be more interested to know why “most” sedeplentists tend to cut off the conversation when it turns to the infallibility of the Church and consequently, her disciplines?

I have found many of the sedeplentists I know to be thoughtful people...what is the cause of the anti-sedevacantist mentality of some of the most outspoken ones?

Here’s an example I found a few months ago...from Angelqueen Forum:

Quote:
Quote:
Many good people are sedevacantists and they have the highest most noblest intentions at heart. Many other sedevacantists are typical of the saying how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


Those are two categories of sedevacantists. There's at least one more.

That is the exploiter, provacateur, the enemy of the faith. This type of sedevacantist is a snake, a rat in the grain bin. For him, it is ideal that Catholics in general and traditional Catholics in particular are marginalized, impotent, leaderless, paranoid, hopeless and hapless. How perfect a world it would be for them if Catholics believed there was no pope, no bishops or priests were valid, ergo, no sacraments were being administered. Hence NO CHURCH. No Church that is until some impossible future scenario where some impossible comedy of events makes it all better. What a perfect way to neutralize Christ's militant.

Ever notice that sedevacantism is nearly exclusive to the English speaking world? That means one of two things; English speaking trads have a very unique talent for exiling a certain demographic to a useless and novel fringe, or there's something else going on.

And many good-willed Catholics became Protestants during the Reformation. I understand some of the sedevacantists are good people, and some are sincere, some are ignorant, but they are what they are, and they reject the Papacy. Forget ecumenism. Sedevacantists hurt the traditionalist cause, and the Church as a whole. Let's pray for them. I can usually stand Novus Ordo-goers over Sedevacantists.


I believe the response to the first quote is from the fellow who runs the forum there...do you agree with him, Mr. SSPXER?

Robert


Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:52 pm
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Excuse me, but I too would like to ask Mr. SSPXER a question. I certainly am no where near a theologian, no doubt I am the most ignorant person on this board when it comes to details. Most of this stuff goes way over my head. Yet, I have often wondered, and read where SSPX claims Vatican II is NOT Catholic, and of course I agree. My question is if SSPX believes Vatican II is not Catholic, but isist Benedict VI is their pope, who is the Pope of what IS Catholic? In otherwords who is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church?

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:48 pm
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Pax Christi !


Quote:
but they are what they are, and they reject the Papacy


This superficiality does get old... We do not reject the Papacy, but like the rabid Southern Baptist that keeps saying" catholic think they can work their way to heaven"..... so do the John G's at un-Angelic Queen, mouth the same kind of dribble against us.....

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:13 pm
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Myrna wrote:
Excuse me, but I too would like to ask Mr. SSPXER a question. I certainly am no where near a theologian, no doubt I am the most ignorant person on this board when it comes to details. Most of this stuff goes way over my head. Yet, I have often wondered, and read where SSPX claims Vatican II is NOT Catholic, and of course I agree. My question is if SSPX believes Vatican II is not Catholic, but isist Benedict VI is their pope, who is the Pope of what IS Catholic? In otherwords who is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church?


I believe this post exemplifies the point I was making when I began this thread.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:07 pm
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Robert Bastaja wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
It was my understanding that (at least some) sedevacantists considered Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX to be schismatics because, while acknowledging JPII to be the legitimate pope, they proceeded with the consecrations anyway (i.e., if he is the pope, the "grave disobedience" to legitimate authority makes the SSPX schismatic; if he is not the pope, the SSPX gives grave scandal by acknowledging a heretic to head the Church).


Dear Mr. SSPXER,

I would be more interested to know why “most” sedeplentists tend to cut off the conversation when it turns to the infallibility of the Church and consequently, her disciplines?

I have found many of the sedeplentists I know to be thoughtful people...what is the cause of the anti-sedevacantist mentality of some of the most outspoken ones?

Here’s an example I found a few months ago...from Angelqueen Forum:

Quote:
Quote:
Many good people are sedevacantists and they have the highest most noblest intentions at heart. Many other sedevacantists are typical of the saying how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


Those are two categories of sedevacantists. There's at least one more.

That is the exploiter, provacateur, the enemy of the faith. This type of sedevacantist is a snake, a rat in the grain bin. For him, it is ideal that Catholics in general and traditional Catholics in particular are marginalized, impotent, leaderless, paranoid, hopeless and hapless. How perfect a world it would be for them if Catholics believed there was no pope, no bishops or priests were valid, ergo, no sacraments were being administered. Hence NO CHURCH. No Church that is until some impossible future scenario where some impossible comedy of events makes it all better. What a perfect way to neutralize Christ's militant.

Ever notice that sedevacantism is nearly exclusive to the English speaking world? That means one of two things; English speaking trads have a very unique talent for exiling a certain demographic to a useless and novel fringe, or there's something else going on.

And many good-willed Catholics became Protestants during the Reformation. I understand some of the sedevacantists are good people, and some are sincere, some are ignorant, but they are what they are, and they reject the Papacy. Forget ecumenism. Sedevacantists hurt the traditionalist cause, and the Church as a whole. Let's pray for them. I can usually stand Novus Ordo-goers over Sedevacantists.


I believe the response to the first quote is from the fellow who runs the forum there...do you agree with him, Mr. SSPXER?

Robert


Hello Robert: I would always refrain from judging the internal forum of sspxer's, sedevacantists, novus ordinarians, or anyone else. Human beings are complex, and what comes out their mouths is not always what in in their intellects and hearts.

It is interesting, however, that sedevacantists have no problem judging the internal forum of the Holy Father (yet they have no way of knowing or verifying whether they are correct). Risky business when one is playing with souls.

PS: What is a "sedeplentist?"

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:11 pm
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Agreed, SSPXer.

Maybe a little charity toward our SSPXer friend here wouldn't hurt ? What's the haughty attitude about, I wonder.


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SSPXER wrote:
PS: What is a "sedeplentist?"


Sedeplenist. Sede plene = the See is occupied.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:25 pm
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Quote:
Hello Robert: I would always refrain from judging the internal forum of sspxer's, sedevacantists, novus ordinarians, or anyone else. Human beings are complex, and what comes out their mouths is not always what in in their intellects and hearts.


Hello SSPXER,

I do not judge them in the internal forum or any other place for that matter...I merely commented and asked a question based on what they said in the external forum. Are we not to consider what comes out of peoples mouths?

Quote:
It is interesting, however, that sedevacantists have no problem judging the internal forum of the Holy Father (yet they have no way of knowing or verifying whether they are correct). Risky business when one is playing with souls.


The same applies here. No one is judging the internal forum here...external acts are being considered. Isn't that how we all operate in our daily lives? Btw, I see that you skirted the issue I raised about the infallibility of the Church and Her disciplines and really didn't address anything I actually said. :)

Also, I have noticed this in so many people these days...it seems when one wants to avoid a question, he almost inevitably makes the accusation that the other is either declaring something or judging something in some official manner. Why can't we just discuss these things like the gentlemen that we are? That's all I'm trying to do here. Really.

Robert


Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:27 am
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My question to anyone is again.... if SSPX believes Vatican II is not Catholic, but insist Benedict VI is their pope, who is the Pope of what IS Catholic? In otherwords who is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church?

If SSPX says it is Benedict as they do.... isn't that a contradiction to 1Timothy 3;15 "If I am delayed, how to conduct thyself in the house of God. which is the Church of the living God., the pillar and manistay of the TRUTH." Truth is absent or error.

Is this just to simple for an honest answer or am I just too dense?

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:33 pm
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Myrna and everyone,

Perhaps it would be helpful to read what the namesake of the SSPX Pope St. Pius X stated
in his Motu proprio called PRAESTANTIA SCRIPTURAE which I will post in another thread.


Sat Jul 14, 2007 3:00 pm
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Robert Bastaja wrote:
Quote:
Hello Robert: I would always refrain from judging the internal forum of sspxer's, sedevacantists, novus ordinarians, or anyone else. Human beings are complex, and what comes out their mouths is not always what in in their intellects and hearts.


Hello SSPXER,

I do not judge them in the internal forum or any other place for that matter...I merely commented and asked a question based on what they said in the external forum. Are we not to consider what comes out of peoples mouths?

Quote:
It is interesting, however, that sedevacantists have no problem judging the internal forum of the Holy Father (yet they have no way of knowing or verifying whether they are correct). Risky business when one is playing with souls.


The same applies here. No one is judging the internal forum here...external acts are being considered. Isn't that how we all operate in our daily lives? Btw, I see that you skirted the issue I raised about the infallibility of the Church and Her disciplines and really didn't address anything I actually said. :)

Also, I have noticed this in so many people these days...it seems when one wants to avoid a question, he almost inevitably makes the accusation that the other is either declaring something or judging something in some official manner. Why can't we just discuss these things like the gentlemen that we are? That's all I'm trying to do here. Really.

Robert


I have heard alot of strange notione from sedevacantists, but the idea that disciplines can be the subject of infallibility is one of the strangest. According to that, canon law would be irreformable.

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:32 pm
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SSPXER wrote:
I have heard alot of strange notione from sedevacantists, but the idea that disciplines can be the subject of infallibility is one of the strangest.

One of the strangest? It is classified as theologically certain.

Quote:
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.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might safeguard the whole of Christ's doctrine and be for all men a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. But if the Church could make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer be either a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. It would not be a guardian of revealed doctrine, for the imposition of a vicious law would be, for all practical purposes, tantamount to an erroneous definition of doctrine; everyone would naturally conclude that what the Church had commanded squared with sound doctrine. It would not be a teacher of the Christian way of life, for by its laws it would induce corruption into the practice of religious life.

2. From the official statement of the Church, which stigmatized as “at least erroneous” the hypothesis “that the Church could establish discipline which would be dangerous, harmful, and conducive to superstition and materialism. (16)

Corollary

The well-known axiom, Lex orandi est lex credendi (The law of prayer is the law of belief), is a special application of the doctrine of the Church's infallibility in disciplinary matters. This axiom says in effect that formulae of prayer approved for public use in the universal Church cannot contain errors against faith or morals. But it would be quite wrong to conclude from this that all the historical facts which are recorded here and there in the lessons of the Roman Breviary, or all the explanations of scriptural passages which are used in the homilies of the Breviary must be taken as infallibly true.(17) As far as the former are concerned, those particular facts are not an object of infallibility since they have no necessary connection with revelation. As for the latter, the Church orders their recitation not because they are certainly true, but because they are edifying.

Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1957. pp 102-124


For the full text see: http://strobertbellarmine.net/van_noort ... ility.html

SSPXER wrote:
According to that, canon law would be irreformable.


No, it would not. Monsignor Van Noort explains that above.


Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:04 pm
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SSPXER wrote:
It is interesting, however, that sedevacantists have no problem judging the internal forum of the Holy Father
(sic.)
Quote:
(yet they have no way of knowing or verifying whether they are correct). Risky business when one is playing with souls.


Whoops! As far as I can determine, no sedevacantist **I** know judges the "internal forum" of anyone, least of all anyone who declares himself to be the pope!

However, they, and we, most certainly do, and must, judge his external actions! To do otherwise would be to play the fool. Surely, Sir, you can see that?

In the plainest possible language, it is their EXTERNAL actions, continuing and notorious, coupled with our knowledge of what is necessary for a true pope, which confirm us in our knowledge that they cannot and could not ever be anything but anti-popes.

Quote:
PS: What is a "sedeplentist?"


Obviously you have forgotten your Latin: a "sedeplenist" is one who believes that the "seat" (sede) is "filled" (plene) by a true pope.

A sedeplenist is the diametric opposite of a sedevacantist, essentially.

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:19 pm
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SSPXER wrote:
I have heard a lot of strange notions from sedevacantists, but the idea that disciplines can be the subject of infallibility is one of the strangest.


I am very sorry, Sir, but you are most assuredly wrong! May I respectfully suggest that you do considerably more reading of good Catholic authors, theologians, saints and popes?

Many appropriate ones are posted to the Aquinas site, run by Mr. John Lane. Several good sources are offered by TAN books, and many suggested readings are posted in the "Books" section of this forum. I might suggest that you start with Dr. Ludwig Ott's book, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma although there are some slight errors in the English translation of that book presently offered for sale.

However, in order to argue effectively, we must know what we are talking about.

Quote:
According to that, canon law would be irreformable.


No, that is not correct. Canon Law is secondary.

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:32 pm
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Quote:
Ever notice that sedevacantism is nearly exclusive to the English speaking world?


Is this true? From what I've read of the Thuc consecrations, most of them were not English speakers. I would expect that I would be most familiar with English speakers as it is the only languange I know. But I want to know if this is a true statement above or merely a perception that the writer has that is not supported by facts.


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TKGS wrote:
Quote:
Ever notice that sedevacantism is nearly exclusive to the English speaking world?


Is this true? From what I've read of the Thuc consecrations, most of them were not English speakers.


I know of sedevacantists in England, Japan, Russia, France, Canada, Australia, Belgium, the U.S., and Germany. However, as far as I know, the English-speaking world does have the greatest concentration of those.

Quote:
I would expect that I would be most familiar with English speakers as it is the only languange I know. But I want to know if this is a true statement above or merely a perception that the writer has that is not supported by facts.


I think your last statement is probably true. I think our new correspondent has much to learn.

I also think that if he would read ALL the posts on this forum, he would have a much better idea of where we all stand on various issues. I think he would understand the sedevacantist position far better than he apparently does now, if he would take the time to do some more studying.

As far as I have been able to determine so far, no one who regularly posts here is an ogre, or a radical extremist. All I have read so far appear to me to be good, solid Catholics with at least a modicum :wink: of the necessary humilty, a lot of consideration for the opinions of others, and, in general, a lot of kindness and forebearance.

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:02 pm
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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.

Phrased this way, yes I agree with the quotation. What I was trying to avoid was the conclusion that the 1983 CIC was infallible (i.e., immutable, permanent).

Tapping Out:)

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KenGordon wrote:
SSPXER wrote:
It is interesting, however, that sedevacantists have no problem judging the internal forum of the Holy Father
(sic.)
Quote:
(yet they have no way of knowing or verifying whether they are correct). Risky business when one is playing with souls.


Whoops! As far as I can determine, no sedevacantist **I** know judges the "internal forum" of anyone, least of all anyone who declares himself to be the pope!

However, they, and we, most certainly do, and must, judge his external actions! To do otherwise would be to play the fool. Surely, Sir, you can see that?

In the plainest possible language, it is their EXTERNAL actions, continuing and notorious, coupled with our knowledge of what is necessary for a true pope, which confirm us in our knowledge that they cannot and could not ever be anything but anti-popes.

Quote:
PS: What is a "sedeplentist?"


Obviously you have forgotten your Latin: a "sedeplenist" is one who believes that the "seat" (sede) is "filled" (plene) by a true pope.

A sedeplenist is the diametric opposite of a sedevacantist, essentially.


External actions can only be judged by competent juridical authority, which as I understand, sedevacantists have not recognized since 1958. Barring an admission from the pope, then, which divulges his internal disposition, one can never be certain he has a formal knowledge that, say, dignitatis humanae is heretical. His heresy is only material, and material heresy does not lose the throne.

(awaiting the deluge)

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SSPXER wrote:
External actions can only be judged by competent juridical authority, which as I understand, sedevacantists have not recognized since 1958. Barring an admission from the pope, then, which divulges his internal disposition, one can never be certain he has a formal knowledge that, say, dignitatis humanae is heretical.


Sir:

I think you are confusing "external" vs "internal" here, or at least you do not have a clear definition of either or both in your mind. Your statement above most certainly is confusing the two. Viz, "admission by the pope (sic.)", and "...formal knowledge..."

What we are saying is that what he has written and promulgated is, by any Catholic authority and standard, heretical, and that can be judged so by any thinking human being.

However, we most certainly cannot, and most of us will not, judge his intentions, which are completely "internal".

Quote:
His heresy is only material, and material heresy does not lose the throne.


Sir, by this statement, you make at least two further mistakes and assure us thereby that you have not sufficiently studied the issue in the depth which it requires. It has been shown pretty conclusively here and elsewhere that no true pope could ever be an heretic. (Robert Bellarmine, et al., citations posted to this website)

Furthermore, from the encyclical of Pope Paul IV on the subject, Cum Ex Apostolatus (which is also posted to the website attached to this forum) Ratzinger was never pope to begin with since his published heresies prior to his "election" are manifest and public, thereby making him ineligible for the office. Not to mention the very probable fact that he is also, and never was, a valid bishop, which is another matter entirely.

Quote:
(awaiting the deluge)


Well, we'll see...

Really, Sir, you simply must become more precise about these matters, both in your definitions and in your understanding of true Catholic doctrine.

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:09 pm
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Van Noort wrote:
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.


SSPXER wrote:
What I was trying to avoid was the conclusion that the 1983 CIC was infallible (i.e., immutable, permanent).

Actually, you weren't familiar with the teaching of the theological manuals on this point. Let's be candid, so that we can all learn.

Now, how do you think we could reconcile the permission given by the '83 Code for non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion with the doctrine explained by Van Noort (and every other theology manual which deals with the subject)? Can we honestly say, "This law squares with the Church's doctrine of faith and morals”, when in fact it permits somethign which has always been regarded as a mortal sin, and which implies definite error regarding the unity of the Church?

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:26 pm
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SSPXER wrote:
External actions can only be judged by competent juridical authority,

Where did you get this doctrine? It's impossible to accept such a notion if you read the Fathers and Bellarmine (or even the manuals) regarding heretics and how we are to react to them. But it's your distinction - please state where it came from. I've been trying to find out for years. It isn't in the writings of Archbishop Lefebvre, as far as I have seen. But it is definitely held as true by the Guerardians and the typical SSPX cleric. So I suspect that it arose in the abstract and imaginative mind of Guerard des Lauriers, who taught it at Econe when he was professor of dogmatic theology there.


SSPXER wrote:
which as I understand, sedevacantists have not recognized since 1958.

I don't know where you got that idea. Do you really think that sedevacantists believe that all ecclesiastical offices were vacated on some magical date such as 1958 or 1965? If so, why?

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Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:33 pm
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I have never understood how someone may believe a "material heresy" and not, therefore, be a "material heretic."

It seems to me that this differentiation between "material heresy" and "formal heresy" that is often cited today is one invented in the past few dozen years. I think Gerry Matatics has a very good explaination of the distinction that makes sense. He has said that "material heresy" would be a statement made that is, in fact, heretical. The example he gave in a talk was that, after a long trip he erroneously states that the Blessed Trinity consists of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. That statement is materially heretical. Gerry Matatics would be a formal heretic if, after someone in the audience noted the error and after full consideration of the statement, he stood behind the heretical statement.

I understand this distinction. In the case of a priest or bishop who, after reflection, writes a sermon or pastoral letter or other document that contains heresy, he is an heretic. If I read the local archbishop's column in his newspaper and he makes a statement that is directly contrary to Catholic doctrine, I am unable to see why we should not consider him an heretic even if his brother bishops ignore his heretical teaching.


Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:05 am
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Here are some notes by John Daly on this subject of "material" vs "formal" heresy.
I don't know if they are meant to be published, or if they have already been published and I've forgotten where, but he knows where to complain if he didn't want them posted here. :)


MATTER AND FORM

ONTOLOGICAL USE

Aristotle's theory of ontology holds that corporeal things are comprised of matter and form. The matter is the stuff the thing is made of, while the form is the shape the stuff is made into. Matter must always be disposed in some shape or other, but it is the shape that makes the thing what it is. Willow wood is the matter of a cricket bat, but it isn't a cricket bat until it is carved to have the shape of a bat. On the other hand if some other matter (such as glass or chocolate) were fashioned to the form of a cricket bat, it would not be a real cricket bat either, any more than a chunk of uncarved willow-wood is.

ANALOGICAL USE

This notion is applied by analogy to many other things which are incorporeal. For instance, most Catholics know that theologians use the term "material sin" to refer to an act which of its nature is sinful, when the agent is invincibly ignorant of the sinfulness of what he does and therefore does not incur guilt before God by doing it. Here the term matter is used for the immoral act, while form is used for the evil will.

But it should be noted that material sin is not sin - it is the matter which would become sin if the will were evil, but the matter alone can never make the thing. A material sin is no nearer to being a sin that a willow-tree is to being a cricket bat.

LATENT AMBIGUITY

Common parlance readily assumes that if a man who commits sins is called a sinner, a man who commits material sins can be called a material sinner. But this expression is perilously ambiguous. A man who smokes cigars is called a cigar-smoker, but if we refer to a Cuban cigar-smoker the listener will not know whether it is the cigars that come from Cuba or the smoker himself.

The term material sinner might denote a perpetrator of material sins, but it could just as well denote a saint, for the saints alone are made of the matter of which we sinners are made (human nature in the wayfaring state), but without the formal element (vice) that would make them really sinners.

APPLICATION TO HERESY

When the vocabulary of matter and form is applied to heresy, the potential for ambiguity and consequently for calamitous confusion is greatly increased.

The word heresy is sometimes used to mean a heretical doctrine, but in its primary sense heresy is an act: the act of rejecting God's revelation, sufficiently proposed - i.e. it is the enormous sin of preferring one's own opinion to God's truth.

Now the formal element of heresy must therefore be the evil will involved in such a choice, without which it would not be truly an act of heresy or truly a sin. But what is the material element? If you define it as believing a doctrine contrary to divine revelation, you attribute material heresy to two distinct groups: (i) those who want to believe all that the Catholic Church teaches as divinely revealed, but err as to whether in fact the Church teaches this or that point, and (ii) those who reject the entire deposit of faith, because they are invincibly ignorant of the divine mandate of the Catholic Church to transmit God's revelation to men.

Since the resemblance between these two groups is entirely fortuitous, it seems safer, as well as more logical, to define material heresy as the act of rejecting the Catholic Faith on the part of one who is invincibly ignorant of the duty to accept it. In the same way we should not call a mistaken statement about a question of fact a material lie, or the act of accidentally falling to one's death from a cliff top material suicide, or a miscarriage a material abortion.

Unfortunately, this usage has not been universally respected, because the matter-form analogy does not always apply neatly to incorporeal things. Heresy comprises not two but three distinct elements: (i) the belief contrary to Catholic teaching, (ii) the realisation that one's belief is contrary to Catholic teaching, and (iii) the realisation that Catholic teaching is divinely guaranteed and must therefore be believed by all. When one tries to cut a tri-partite entity cleanly into two complementary elements, it is anyone's guess which end the middle will stick to: it is the dilemma on which the Christmas-cracker is based.

APPLICATION TO HERETICS

And the problem is only aggravated when we call the person who holds a material heresy a material heretic. For the most orthodox of Catholics is the material of which a heretic can be made as long as he has the capacity to fall into heresy, and that remains with us all until death. But even if we hazard the guess (usually correct) that the Cuban cigar-smoker is not himself Cuban, and that it is the heresy that is material, not the heretic, we are still left with the dilemma of whether a material heretic means a Catholic who wants to believe all the Church teaches but mistakes what that teaching is on some point, or one who is not a Catholic at all and has no intention of believing the teachings of a Church the divine authority of which has not been sufficiently proposed to him.

Cardinal Billot pleads that logic and theology require the term to be limited to the latter. St Louis de Montfort and many others follow the former usage, however. What is certain is that the term is quite useless unless we know which of the two senses it is used in, and positively pernicious if its latent ambiguity is used (however unwittingly) to confuse these two widely differing groups, making statements which are true of only one sort of material heretic, and applying them to the other.

SOUND DOCTRINE WITHOUT AMBIGUITY

It is noteworthy that the 1917 Code of Canon Law eschews this ambiguous vocabulary altogether when referring to heresy and heretics. If we follow its example we can surely explain what is meant by heresy and heretics without any danger of confusion.

Heresy is the sin of culpably rejecting divinely revealed truth sufficiently proposed by the Catholic Church and only those whom commit heresy in the fulness of this definition are truly heretics.

Those baptised persons who do not accept the Church's teaching authority are presumed to be heretics and treated as such for all practical purposes. They may, exceptionally, possess divine faith, sufficient for salvation, but they do not possess divine and Catholic faith, which is necessary to belong to the Church juridically. They are not Catholics.

Quite different is the case of the baptised person who does accept the Catholic Church's teaching authority, but inadvertently holds some belief incompatible with its teaching.

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Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:23 am
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