Response to Hilary White

Comedy Hour at The Remnant: “Francis is the Pope Until the Pope Says He’s Not”

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Peek-a-boo! Is he or isn’t he?

Apparently there is a new policy in place at the semi-traditionalist flagship publication The Remnant: Bloggers can write whatever they please about the Papacy, even if it contradicts the Faith, as long as they don’t endorse Sedevacantism.

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Most recent case in point: A blog post by Hilary White (pictured left) entitled, “Francis is the Pope Until the Pope Says He’s Not”. The title offers a good preview of the confused theology that follows in the body of the text, where a copious amount of hot air combines with unorthodox theological ideas to create a dangerous concoction that seeks to make up for a woeful lack of Catholicism.

White’s post is written in response to Ann Barnhardt’s recent announcement that she is convinced now that Francis is an Antipope and that the true Pope is Benedict XVI. (Our response to and analysis of Barnhardt’s article can be found here.) Barnhardt’s change of mind with regard to the Argentinian Jesuit apostate came after his declaration that “fidelity” in fornication equals a real marriage (!) and that in his estimation, the “great majority” of marriages are invalid because of a “culture” that makes people not know what they are saying when they promise “till death do us part”. (We took Francis to the woodshed on this here.)

White’s reply to Barnhardt can be found in its entirety here:

Below we will reproduce White’s text in blue font and intersperse our own comments in black:

Our friend Ann Barnhardt has sent up a flare this week, declaring, like Italian journalist Antonio Socci, her belief that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not Pope Francis, that his election was invalid and he is an antipope, mainly because Pope Benedict XVI is still lawfully the pope. She has presented as her evidence Bergoglio’s “heresies, blasphemies and antichristological actions,” as well as a canonical detail that, she correctly points out, no one is yet talking about. She has asked for responses.

Now, no one will accuse me of being a Francis apologist, but I cannot really completely agree with Ann’s conclusion.

While Miss White clearly does not mean to be a Francis apologist, she is one de facto, simply by defending his claim to being the Pope of the Catholic Church. It is this idea that gives him all the legitimacy he needs to destroy souls on a massive scale. It does not matter how much she may “resist” this or that from Francis — the fact alone that she proclaims from the housetops and tells others that this man is the head of the Catholic Church inflicts incalculable damage to souls wherever her voice reaches, because unlike the people at The Remnant, most people in the world, no matter their religion, still understand that if Francis is the Pope of the Catholic Church, then his religion is necessarily the Catholic religion — fancy blog posts from journalists and slyly-argued articles from retired lawyers notwithstanding. All those who vociferously defend Francis’ claim to the Papacy in public ought to be aware that, regardless of their intentions, they will one day have to answer for the damage they have caused in all the souls their writings have reached. Jeffrey Knight’s talk “Culpable Ignorance and the Great Apostasy” provides a sobering reality check on this.

It is not that I am sure that her thesis is in error, or even that I believe with certainty that Jorge Bergoglio was legitimately elected while Benedict XVI still lived and still bore that name. I think my objections aren’t really objections in a proper sense. I don’t have at this stage in the horror show any real objection to someone thinking that perhaps Bergoglio is an antipope. It seems like a pretty sane conclusion on the face of it. And when is an honest evaluation of observable facts not legitimate?

Well, at least White is now able to admit this much — thank you.

So what are my reservations? They are two-fold. First, although her points are useful, factual and important, (and, quite importantly, presented without the strident demands for agreement that usually characterize this kind of claim) I still believe that we lay people are not in a position to make the call.

Fair enough for starters, but being a layman versus being a cleric has absolutely nothing to do with this.

I am remembering that I’m the one who frequently makes the assertion that what I have dubbed “Novusordoism” is an entirely different religion from Catholicism.

Yes, Miss White, and we remember that you are also the one who refuses to state that the head of this entirely different religion cannot also be the head of the Catholic religion. You are acting like someone who knows that Jack is a bachelor but refuses to say that therefore we know Jack is unmarried.

I know that she is a thoughtful person whose first interest is the Great Commission; the salvation of souls. I also know that she is not a sedevacantist in any sense, but my response to her is going to be similar to my response to them: You can believe it. I think we have come to such a pass, the situation is so mind-bogglingly insane and evil, that it is natural to consider it. And it is perfectly sensible to put forward evidence and arguments to support your belief. But this is the Catholic Church. When a situation of such gravity arises, we on the ground, in the midst of the chaos, are not given the perspective or the objectivity required to make a call definitively. And as Ann herself admits, we don’t have the authority.

So here White asserts that “we on the ground” (is that supposed to mean “we laymen”?) “are not given the perspective or the objectivity”, but she lists no evidence in support of this curious thesis. She asserts it gratuitously, and this is troubling, because it does not at all stand to reason. What is it in being a layman that would necessarily prevent one from having the needed “perspective or the objectivity”? White doesn’t say.

Of course, the claim is no doubt reassuring and comforting in an emotional-psychological sense because it allows one to conveniently pass the buck on to someone else — as in, “This isn’t my responsibility… Next!” — all the while, of course, doing your own thing and refusing submission to the putative Pope. Yet it is this “do your own thing in the meantime” that always gets passed over in silence and is in fact taken for granted by semi-traditionalists like White while they pontificate about what we can and can’t say about Jorge Bergoglio. But that’s not how things work in the Catholic Church, and, in White’s own words, “This is the Catholic Church.” Well then!

The reason why White and those of her persuasion can so easily assert that Francis is Pope or that we must believe he is until someone “up there” says otherwise, is that they don’t submit to him anyway. His status — Pope or Antipope — has ultimately no bearing on anything they believe or do. They are essentially independent from him, which is the very essence of schism. Protestations that “we believe in the papacy” or “we recognize the Pope” and what not, do not suffice to make up for that. To the contrary:

What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which We have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic Faith?

…In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu [Sept. 1, 1876], nn. 23-24; in Acta Sanctae Sedis X [1877], pp. 3-37; English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 433-434; underlining added.)

Earlier this year, the SSPX Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay demonstrated that his idea of “recognizing the Pope” does not go much further than nicely saying hello to him when he sees him. Oh well.

In essence, my position is the same as it has been all along: Francis is the pope until a future pope says he’s not. It’s a difficult thing to accept – particularly for modern people who like to solve problems on their own, but that is the reality of the Church. This mess – and I know that there has never in our entire multi-millennial history been a worse one – is not going to be sorted out by us. Our task, however frustrating, is to live as Catholics in these times, with this catastrophe, with this painful ambiguity. This is the Cross of this moment.

Yes, our task is to live as Catholics, but the problem is that part of what being Catholic is, is to submit to the Vicar of Christ. That is an integral part of the Catholic Faith, defined infallibly and dogmatically by the First Vatican Council. It is not optional, not a nice-to-have, not an elective “add-on”, not a luxury item that can just be dispensed with as each individual believer sees the need. We have shown this again and again on this web site, and we’re not going to repeat all the magisterial quotes here. People who are interested in learning about this in depth should have a look at our collection of articles posted here.

Just to be clear, Ann has specifically repudiated any claim to be speaking authoritatively, quite in contrast to the sedes. I’ve spoken with her and she has confirmed that it is not her intention to do as the sedes do. But plenty of people do. I have sedes – perhaps the most obnoxious jerks ever to stain the interwebs – more or less continually getting into my Twitface realms and flatly demanding that I agree with them and accusing me of being “not Catholic” if I don’t. Hubris much?

Ah yes, the “authority” argument. It has been addressed and refuted so many times, but too often sedevacantist rejoinders fall on deaf ears. Let’s try one more time: In a nutshell, it simply does not require special authority to point out that what cannot be true, is not true. It is the authority of human reason, enjoyed by all who are in possession of their faculties, that assures us of the truth of this claim. Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany in his book exposing Liberalism roundly refuted the error of making the recognition of a manifest heretic a matter of special authority:

The question whether Jorge Bergoglio is a public Catholic or a public non-Catholic cannot be a matter of opinion: We know what he professes in public, and we know how he acts in public. That is all we need to be able to make a judgment (not a legal one but a cognitive one), and the objective evidence says — nay, screams — that the man is not a Roman Catholic. Any 7-year-old child would not be allowed to make his First Communion if he uttered the things Francis professes. Francis is not a Catholic but a Modernist, a Naturalist, a Sillonist, an Ecumenist, an Indifferentist, a Communist — and he embraces a whole lot of other “-isms” that do not begin with “Catholic-”.

The evidence is so overwhelming that no one who knows what Catholicism is and what Francis has been saying and doing, can deny it. (If you need a refresher, our “Pope” Francis Page is available here.) There is no room for opinion here: No one is allowed to say that a man who professes Francis’ heresies and errors is a Catholic. We can say this with certitude because we know what Catholicism is, and hence we necessarily also know what is not Catholicism, i.e. what contradicts Catholicism. These are two sides of the same coin. If we know what a Catholic is, then we know what a heretic is.

Notice that everything we have just said pertains entirely to the order of fact, not to the order of law. No sedevacantist could issue a legal judgment against Francis, because such a legal judgment would indeed require special authority. But the legal judgment, although desirable, is not necessary to be able to know that Francis is an apostate and thus not Pope. It is not necessary because the fact of Francis’ apostasy is manifest — if it weren’t manifest, we wouldn’t be talking about it. In canonical language, Francis’ departure from the faith is “notorious in fact”, and even in an ecclesiastical trial what is notorious does not need any further proof, much less a judgment:

[T]he judge, and in general the person in authority, holding what is notorious to be certain and proved, requires no further information, and therefore, both may and ought to refrain from any judicial inquiry, proof, or formalities, which would otherwise be necessary. For these inquiries and formalities having as their object to enlighten the judge, are useless when the fact is notorious. Such is the true meaning of the axiom that in notorious matters the judge need not follow the judicial procedure….

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Notoriety, Notorious”)

White mentions that there are sedevacantists who “demand” that she agree with them, else she is not a Catholic. Can a sedevacantist do that? Does this not require the very “authority” we have just said we don’t have?

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Binding someone else’s conscience does indeed require ecclesiastical authority, something no sedevacantist has. If any sedevacantist were to pretend that he has the right of himself to bind someone else’s conscience, he would be mistaken and act unjustly. In other words, no sedevacantist could say, “You must be a sedevacantist because I say so.” This would clearly be impermissible. But then again, is anyone doing this? If so, he is wrong.

But this is probably not what is actually happening. Rather, most probably, people are simply pointing out to Hilary White and her coreligionists that given the empirical facts about Francis, Sedevacantism is the only conclusion that does not run into conflict with Catholic teaching. It is thus the only conclusion that is possible, and hence it is also necessary. It is for this reason that others must embrace it — not because we sedevacantists say so, as though we had any authority to bind consciences, but because according to Catholic teaching no other conclusion is possible; and since we have an obligation to adhere to Catholic teaching, we thus also have an obligation to embrace Sedevacantism. In short, the necessity for Hilary White and everyone else to be sedevacantist does not arise from sedevacantists’ say-so, it arises from the fact that all are obliged by Catholic teaching and the manifest empirical facts to arrive at this conclusion.

This, then, has nothing to do with hubris. It is simply akin to explaining to someone that if he understands what “1” means, what “2” means, what “equal” means, and what “plus” means, then he must conclude, necessarily, that 1+1=2. Or, to use our earlier example, if Jack is a bachelor and all bachelors are unmarried, then we must conclude necessarily that Jack is unmarried. No other conclusion is permitted or possible, and we cannot hide behind the copout that we “don’t have the authority” to say that Jack is unmarried. Welcome to the authority of reason.

To those who argue that the thesis that Francis is not the Pope of the Catholic Church is merely a theological opinion and not a dogma, we recommend Bp. Donald Sanborn’s response:

Meanwhile, we will continue with Hilary White:

Sedevacantism is an easy, lazy path out of our current pains and is essentially the equivalent of the papal positivists defending to the death the pope’s right to be a heretic if he wants – it’s a self-generated delusional fantasyland to go hide in.

This is a highly polemical statement that reveals the author’s ignorance and hubris more than anything else.

First, if anyone is “defending to the death the pope’s right to be a heretic”, it is Hilary White, The Remnant, and the rest of the recognize-but-resist crowd. We are the ones — in line with the Fathers of Vatican I, we might add — that hold that a heretical Pope is like a married bachelor: perhaps poetic but an impossibility.

Second, to call Sedevacantism “easy” and “lazy” is not only gratuitous, it is also, strictly speaking, irrelevant — what matters is not whether Sedevacantism is convenient, but whether it is true. By calling it “easy” and “lazy”, however, the objector can claim for herself the moral high ground in a somewhat concealing fashion. Without stating it explicitly, White is essentially telling her readers: “Those peasanty sedes are just too dumb and lazy to deal with the crisis. Don’t be like them — surely you are smart and zealous and therefore not a sedevacantist!” This is nothing but hot air. If anyone has created a “delusional fantasyland to go hide in”, it’s White and those who share her “recognize-and-resist” position.

If the pope isn’t really the pope and everything that has happened since 1958 doesn’t count, then none of this is their problem. It’s as if they’ve taken up opium smoking to treat a headache. We all suffer this pain but, honestly, believe me, it becomes easier to bear with the spiritual equivalent of green vegetables and exercise in the fresh air. For them I offer only one piece of advice: cancel your internet account and get a garden. Perhaps an allotment. Grow some vegetables. The internet is not a good place for you.

More hot air — and quite fallacious, as usual. Sedevacantists adhere to the Catholic teaching that a heretical Pope is an impossibility because it contradicts the dogmas that the Pope is the head of the Church and that the Church is united in one and the same Faith. An obvious corollary to this is that we therefore do not have to deal with the absurdities of the Vatican II Church, such as a heretical Pope teaching that God blesses mortal sin (see here), which White and the “experts” at The Remnant are constantly struggling with. But this natural consequence of adhering to Catholic teaching — being free from Vatican II Sect follies — White is now trying to use against us! It is absurd.

Pardon us, Miss White, for being Catholic. Obviously, Catholics do not have to deal with the problems that non-Catholic positions create. This lies in the nature of sound doctrine, but for White it is a reason to abandon the Catholic position. Wow. Unfortunately, we have come to expect such type of harebrained argumentation from Remnantcolumnists, where it appears that the only standard is that one not be a sedevacantist.

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Sedevacantist? Eww…

It is puzzling, however, to see that White seems to think that just because Sedevacantism doesn’t have the problem of “heretical popes” and the whole Vatican II mess to deal with, that we therefore don’t have plenty of our own difficulties which arise from the absence of a Pope. If we want to make this about “who suffers more”, we can assure our readers that there is plenty of distress in Sedevacantism, and ironically it is oftentimes this very distress that is brought up by White’s coreligionists as “evidence” against our position.

Both the sedevacantist and the recognize-and-resist positions lead to various difficulties and problems — this lies simply in the nature of the situation we have been confronted with since the death of Pope Pius XII. It is a mystery (cf. 2 Thess 2:7). The difference is that our problems are natural given the vacancy of the Apostolic See, and always resolvable in principle (namely, by a future true Pope), whereas the problems generated by the recognize-and-resist position are unsolvable even in principle, for nothing the Pope teaches or decrees has any binding authority of itself anymore, for everything hinges, at least de facto, on each individual believer’s acceptance or rejection (“resistance”) thereof. Thus they have emasculated the Papacy entirely — all because they were “too smart” for Sedevacantism or perhaps were too busy planting vegetables in their garden instead of reading up on Catholic teaching on the Papacy and the Magisterium.

As I say, Ann has not done this (and I know she has quite advanced social skills), and I know that her call for qualified people to correct her if necessary is not merely a rhetorical conceit. But I fear that her piece may encourage those who are not capable of making sufficient distinctions between what they believe and what they have the authority to assert.

The authority to assert definitively that the last pope was not the pope, that Pope Benedict’s resignation was invalid, that the 2013 Conclave was illicit and that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is, for certain, an antipope, is solely and exclusively the purview of a real pope. Only the pope can declare such a thing definitively for the whole Church to believe. Only. Ever.

Ah, but Miss White, wait no longer! The “Pope” has already declared as much: Francis does claim to be the legitimate Pope, you know — so the matter has already been settled! Besides, what do you do if someone in your camp decides that such a papal declaration, when it comes, needs to be “resisted”?! You people resist just about everything else, so why not also this?

The second is a bit more nuanced. I asked Ann, “What difference does it make? We can do little about it either way.” Whether a future pope or ecumenical council declares that Bergoglio was unlawfully elected, or that Benedict unlawfully resigned, leaves us in exactly the same position here and now. We are given exactly the same charge right now, whatever a future pope declares.

But why does it have to be a future Pope? Why not the current one? And what if a Pope after the future Pope then declares the future Pope to have been invalid? Do you not see where this leads, especially if ultimately each believer gets to decide whether he will accept or “resist” what the Pope says?

What difference does it make? Such a question can only be asked by someone who doesn’t submit to the Pope anyway, such that his identity would be irrelevant. We have answered this question at length before, likewise in response to a post by The Remnant:

Ann herself brings up the question of attending Masses at which his name is invoked as pope. She says she consulted a reliable priest on the subject and was given a satisfactory answer and continues to attend Masses where his pontificate is at least provisionally accepted. And I think this is the only way forward without descending into the sedevacantist rabbit hole.

And here we see candidly stated the ultimate motive for all this bizarre and convoluted theology White and her coreligionists pass off as “traditional”: their categorical rejection of Sedevacantism. That “rabbit hole.” Anything but that!No wonder that’s exactly what they have now: anything but that. The baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, but hey — at least the bathwater is gone.

And there is nowhere to go to hide. Let’s just clear that one up. We are at the end of that trail. Butch and Sundance knew they could not get past the Bolivian army. They knew there wasn’t anywhere to run. The Spartans stood at Thermopylae not because they chose that little narrow pass, but because that was where the battle had to be fought. The ideology that Bergoglio and his followers are imposing is totalitarian. It cannot, by its nature, allow any opposition to survive anywhere. When it has taken out the big targets, it will come for you wherever you hide.

The devil had to wait for the Church to have spread around the globe, before he could use its institutional organization to corrupt it completely. Those few tiny pockets that are left are besieged. And the wreckers aren’t Mohammadans [sic] or Calvinists this time. The appalling martyrdom of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate shows no one is safe. Even those bishops who attempted to shelter them have been attacked. The papacy is being wielded as a weapon against the faithful, against the Faith, and it is a powerful one. Perhaps the most powerful on earth. There is only one power greater.

Yeah, it’s pretty tough when your at-all-costs rejection of Sedevacantism leads you so far into absurdity and heresy that you would blasphemously declare that the Papacy is a threat to the Faith and thus effectively a means of damnation, when Catholic dogma says the exact opposite. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of how these people, in their blind hatred of Sedevacantism, will say and do anything in order to avoid that conclusion.

Earlier this year we heard protests aplenty from the recognize-and-resist camp when Fr. Anthony Cekada pointed out the prevalence of a veritable phobia of Sedevacantism among the semi-traditionalists, but what is at play here if not precisely that? This stubborn anti-sedevacantist attitude is anything but rational — there is some other motive here.

So… what was that about the Papacy and salvation again?

From these events men should realize that all attempts to overthrow the “House of God” are in vain. For this is the Church founded on Peter, “Rock,” not merely in name but in truth. Against this “the gates of hell will not prevail” [Mt 16:18] “for it is founded on a rock” [Mt 7:25; Lk 6:48]. There has never been an enemy of the Christian religion who was not simultaneously at wicked war with the See of Peter, since while this See remained strong the survival of the Christian religion was assured. As St. Irenaeus proclaims openly to all, “by the order and succession of the Roman pontiffs the tradition from the Apostles in the Church and the proclamation of the truth has come down to us. And this is the fullest demonstration that it is the one and the same life-giving faith which has been preserved in the Church until now since the time of the Apostles and has been handed on in truth” [Adversus haereses, bk. 3, chap. 3].

(Pope Pius VII, Encyclical Diu Satis, n. 6)

This chair [of Peter] is the center of Catholic truth and unity, that is, the head, mother, and teacher of all the Churches to which all honor and obedience must be offered. Every church must agree with it because of its greater preeminence — that is, those people who are in all respects faithful….

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, nn. 1,7)

Union with the Roman See of Peter is … always the public criterion of a Catholic…. “You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held”.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 13)

In the Catholic Church Christianity is incarnate. It identifies itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the mystical body of Jesus Christ and which has for its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Saviour, the daughter and the heiress of His redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance, and of that immortality which have been promised it, it makes no terms with error, but remains faithful to the commands which it has received to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time and to protect it in its inviolable integrity.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Annum Ingressi)

So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: ‘The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [Mt 16:18], cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion.’…

To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received. It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world … referred to this apostolic see those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing….

For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [Lk 22:32].

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4)

Maybe the Popes of the 19th century should also have spent more time planting vegetables in the garden. They obviously weren’t up to Hilary White’s level of theology.

If anyone is wielding the Papacy as a weapon against the true Faith, it is people like Hilary White, whose insistence that Francis is actually the valid occupant of the Papal Throne is precisely what contributes to the destruction of the Faith in so many souls, as explained earlier.

I had a message from a priest in the US who brought his concerns to his bishop, a man he describes as “privately orthodox,” and was told with a shrug, “Well, popes come and go.” The “good” men, perhaps because acceptance of the Novusordoist regime has impaired their intellects, are doing nothing, hoping that the wolf will leave them alone until it dies on its own. What they cannot see, or are too horrified to accept, is that Francis is nothing more than the final result of a long-term plan to utterly destroy the Church as we have known it and replace it forever with something entirely different. To accomplish this plan, the enemies of Christ had to take the papacy, the last citadel. They have it now, and there is little natural hope that they will lose it.

We’ll quote Pope Pius IX once more: “…religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair [of Peter] remains intact” (Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7). But, no matter. For White — and The Remnant obviously agrees — it is no problem for a true Pope to embrace and put forth a different religion, a religion other than Catholicism. No worries — the real problem is those who claim that the blaspheming apostate who imposes this false religion cannot be the Vicar of Christ. Got it.

These bishops have accepted the New Paradigm, making excuses and justifications for it, as long as there was room within it to make mental reservations, to continue to consider themselves “orthodox,” even if only “privately”.

For White, Francis does not need to be orthodox publicly or privately to be Pope, so she’d better not be the one complaining here.

They are desperate to maintain the old Mexican standoff of the John Paul II era. These are not the men to come out shooting in a last desperate bid. They are the ones who will keep their eyes firmly clamped shut until the wolf is closing its jaws upon them. (And he is. cf: Bishops Finn ___ et al.) To paraphrase Churchill, they are feeding the sheep to the crocodile in the hopes it will eat them last.

The freakish phenomenon of Pope Francis is not just some odd anomaly that will go quietly away when he dies. We don’t have the option of just hunkering down and waiting. The comfortable John Paul II compromise is gone forever.

But the old standoff within the New Paradigm was nothing more than the slow death of a million paper cuts anyway. “Conservative” Novusordoism was little more than a form of passive euthanasia passed off as palliative care – a death by large doses of morphine. The “conservative” no-man’s land they tried to occupy is closed. It no longer exists, and the wolves are demanding full acquiescence. Time’s up. No more morphine for you. Choose now whether to be eaten with your flock or join the wolves; to be crucified or become a crucifier.

Now I think Ann has brought up some important issues. The little two-word insertion in Canon Law about “substantial error,” is something that ought to be given serious consideration by canonists.

Canon 188

A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself.

If it can be demonstrated that Ratzinger really did have the notion that he could, through the power of his own magnificent brain, “evolve” the papacy into a diarchy with a contemplative and an active branch, then we have some serious evidence to consider.

What’s the difference between the Ratzinger aberration and White’s own ideas about the Papacy as being either basically irrelevant or a danger to the salvation of the faithful?

Does the power of the keys grant the power to change the papacy itself into something unrecognisable? The difficulty is we would be making the call based on what someone said once in a speech about what he believes Ratzinger meant… you see the problem. It’s hearsay and not sufficient evidence for a future ecumenical council or pope. It’s a pretty big hint, of course, but that’s all it is for now.

Behold the things we evil sedevacantists don’t have to worry about because we’re lazy and dense Catholic. Funny how that works.

As we showed in our response to Ann Barnhardt, “substantial error” in Canon 188 of the Novus Ordo Code of Canon Law has the following meaning:

Substantial error is a mistaken judgment that is not of minor importance and is truly a cause of the consequent resignation. This would be the case in which the officeholder judged that he or she had caused serious injury to someone when this was not objectively correct.

(James A. Coriden, et al., eds., The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1985], p. 109; italics added.)

Applying this to the Ratzinger resignation, we are talking about an error of fact (=error about some event or state of affairs) that would have caused Benedict XVI to resign. But rejecting the Catholic dogma of the papacy as a monarchy in favor of a diarchy is not an error of fact. It is an error of law, and a heretical one at that. Next.

We can certainly learn useful things from Gänswein’s speech, however, particularly from the casual insouciance with which he presented it. It was as though it were nothing particularly remarkable, let alone a declaration of nearly blasphemous hubris. What was most shocking to me was the cheery hand-wave, as though it were merely a sensible conclusion by the “brilliant” theological mind of his friend… All part of the glorious newness of Newchurch, a hilarious development-of-doctrine party favour granted us by the Holy Ghost of Wacky Fun Surprises.

Is this really how modern “conservative” churchmen think? We know it’s how men like Bergoglio think, but is this really how Ratzinger thinks? Have things really gone this far? If it is and it has, perhaps if nothing else it would be a good reason to start wondering if Ratzinger/Benedict ever had been the staunch defender of doctrine he was so often made out to be. Perhaps we were at fault for buying into the absurd “Rottweiler” rhetoric of the New York Times. Were we this desperate for a defender of the Faith that we were so eager to overlook his many theological oddities?

Yes, Miss White, this is exactly what happened, and The Remnant in particular was at the forefront, not of reporting the facts about Ratzinger but about pushing the narrative of the great “Restoration of Tradition” that had supposedly been kicked off by Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005. Prime offender: Christopher Ferrara, who misused his God-given talents to spin everything that was happening under Benedict into a “good Pope fights evil Vatican” narrative — any facts to the contrary notwithstanding.

If people had read Novus Ordo Watch instead of following the propaganda organs of the recognize-and-resist camp, they would have seen that Benedict XVI was a Modernist through and through who denies original sin, the resurrection of the body, and more. See for yourself:

A month after Benedict XVI’s election, we posted a prediction of what we believed he would attempt to do as “Pope”, and although we were not correct on every point, nevertheless our prediction proved fairly accurate overall, especially regarding his re-authorization of the “Traditional Latin Mass” (1962 Missal):

Alas, too many people allowed themselves to be swayed by emotion rather than by Faith, reason, and a cool analysis of the facts. And so many fell for the “traditional” Benedict XVI, who simply knew how to dress his Modernism in eloquent Latin, beautiful vestments, and lots of incense.

And this leads me to the next thought. Perhaps one of the most important things the Francis pontificate and the concurrent state of utter chaos is teaching us is just how bad the rot is – and has been for years – in the rest of the hierarchy, in the priesthood, in the Vatican, the religious orders and, perhaps hardest to bear, among the laity. If this is not the “great apostasy,” the almost universal loss of faith, spoken of by Our Lord in the Gospel and by the various visionaries more recently, if that is going to be worse than this, I shudder to imagine the future.

We all know about and deplore the likes of the San Gallen Mafia – the notorious heretics, brazen blasphemers, homophile abuse enablers and sexual, moral and intellectual perverts who spent decades degrading the Faith and ultimately put this man on the throne of Peter. We are inured to the Mahoneys and Gumbletons and Bernardins, none of whom has ever troubled to hide his unbelief or his revolting proclivities. We know these men who have spent decades campaigning for precisely the kind of catastrophes that this pope, their puppet, is now imposing. From the seething minds and grinning countenances of such monsters as Godfried Cardinal Danneels one expects only ruination and despair.

No, the thing that most fills me with horror is not even this ridiculous, demented blasphemer blurting out his incomprehensible contradictions. He is their man, after all. It is the fact that he is doing it to the roaring approval of the faithful. That he is drooling out his daily heresies in front of a rapt and solemn audience of priests, bishops, religious and laity who do not at least get up and walk out. Who do not ever stand up and say, “No, holy father, that is not right; that is not Catholic teaching; that is not of God; it is of the devil.” His weekly audiences are still full of people who smile and laugh at his jokes and cheer when he waves.

When he suggested that Our Lady, the Theotokos, the New Eve, had – I can barely stand to type this – accused God of lying, where were the little old ladies who pray their daily Rosary stopping their ears and shouting at him to recant his blasphemies? Where were the chivalrous priests outraged enough to counter this horrifying accusation against Mary Most Holy? Where, in short, is the outrage?

They were probably busy planting their vegetables, trying to figure out how they could avoid having to be sedevacantists. In contrast to Hilary White, at least they did not utter heresy or other errors against the Papacy and the Magisterium — they simply remained silent. That too is shameful, but at least it’s not a direct attack on Catholic teaching.

There is only one way to defeat Francis: You must proclaim from the housetops that he is not the Pope of the Catholic Church. If enough people do it, he is effectively deprived of that which alone gives him all his putative authority: the public’s belief that this man holds the highest office in the Catholic Church. Take that away from him, and he is finished. In the real Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio would not even be in a charge of a broom closet. It is time people realized that.

The Francis pontificate has demonstrated the appalling loss of faith throughout the Church from the humblest bead-squeezer and weekly pew-sitter all the way to the most sacred office of Peter. How can anyone continue to deny that the neomodernist revolution, started in secret in the 19th century, growing underground until the early 60s and unleashed upon the Church in the Post-Conciliar age, has completed its work?

As far as the loss of Faith goes, unfortunately Hilary White is one of the casualties herself. Look at this: Without batting an eye, she just proclaimed that the current Successor of St. Peter has lost the Faith. Hubris much, Miss W.? Pope Pelagius II also knew a little bit about Sacred Theology, and here’s what he had to say about that:

(For) you know that the Lord proclaims in the Gospel: Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I have asked the Father for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren [Lk 22:31-32].

Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of PETER be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for PETER alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep [cf. Jn 21:15ff.]; and to him also He handed over the keys of the kingdom of heaven,and upon him He promised to build his Church, and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it [cf. Mt 16:16ff.]. But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle [Mt 13:25] over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith — and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith….

(Pope Pelagius II, Apostolic Letter Quod ad DilectionemDenz. 246)

White’s anti-Catholic ideas about the Papacy and the Magisterium — which she has evidently convinced herself are the result of an astute mind and a resolute willingness to suffer — are no less dangerous than the Modernist junk spouted by Jorge & Friends. At the end of the day, the devil doesn’t care what heresies we fall for and spread, as long as it’s some heresy. Do not think, ladies and gentlemen of the recognize-and-resist persuasion, that you can keep the Faith by denying it, that you can save it by changing it. If you believe that, you should apply for a job with the United States government, where people believe you can borrow your way out of debt.

If you must change Church teaching about the Papacy, about the Church, about the Magisterium in order to uphold your position, that is a sure way of knowing your position is false. This is the tragedy of the anti-sedevacantist position of the semi-traditionalists like Hilary White, and it is for this reason that we place so much emphasis of the need to be sedevacantist to be authentically Catholic. It is not because of pride, it is out of a love for the true Faith, which is cruelly distorted by the recognize-and-resist position, as confirmed by White’s own words about how the Pope can lose the Faith and still be Pope.

If the election of Bergoglio was in reality some kind of horrifying trial balloon, some kind of test by these creatures to see how far things had progressed, I would say it is an un-allayed [sic] smash success. They have clearly learned not only that they can elect a bizarre intellectual midget, a thug and a boor, a bully and a fool, but that no one will object in substance to any of it. His ideological fellow travelers will cheer, and the “privately orthodox” will keep their heads down until they are replaced with more fellow travelers. And at the next Conclave, when they impose a Tagle – every bit the neomodernist Churchwrecker, but with smooth social skills and 20 years younger – they can be confident that they will own whatever is left of the Church indefinitely.

As painful as it might be, the only legitimate conclusion for now is to acknowledge the seriousness of what is happening, to admit that things are in an apocalyptic state and to carry on presenting the Faith in opposition to what Francis and his friends are doing.

OK, Miss White, but which faith shall it be? The one that includes what we quoted above from the 19th-century Popes, Vatican I, and Pope Pelagius II? Or the new “faith” that you yourself have created that excludes those things, where the head of the Catholic Church can be the member of a different religion (“Novusordoism”, remember?), and where submission to the Pope is optional at best and sometimes even an acute danger to one’s very salvation?

Which faith, Miss White?  …We can’t hear you!

We’re just soldiers and our task is not the same as that of the generals. It is to maintain the Faith ourselves, including living a full sacramental life, to intensify our dedication to prayer and penances and to have sure supernatural hope that, whatever is happening, God – who has not abandoned us – wants to sort it out for the best, and will do so. Green vegetables and exercise in the fresh air. (And I would suggest for many of us, cutting out of our diets the “sugar” of frequent, prolonged internet use.)

No doubt, some people should stay off the internet altogether, but that is not the point under discussion now. Once again we see why the Pope issue is so important: Not only does it very much determine what we believe the Faith to be that White agrees we must practice and defend, it also very much impacts the very “sacramental life” she encourages us to practice. For if Paul VI was not a true Pope, then there is no guarantee that the Novus Ordo sacramental rites — most notably those for holy orders — are valid. In fact, when it comes to the 1968 rite of episcopal consecration, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is not valid, meaning anyone consecrated a bishop in that rite is most definitely not a valid bishop (this includes Benedict XVI and Francis, incidentally), as proved here:

These issues are extremely serious, are they not? Hence, once again, our insistence on them. It has nothing to do with hubris or pride — it is a matter of the integrity of the Faith and the salvation of souls.

It’s an unsatisfying answer, I know. The Cross is unsatisfying. It does not allow us to be the ninja action heroes we know we really are deep down inside, to punch our enemies into orbit, put everything back the way it ought to be and restore sanity in the world by our own mighty superpowers.

OK, let’s make sure we remember that next time we complain that Sedevacantism doesn’t have a clear answer as to how to regain a true Pope, that it “doesn’t solve anything.” Sedevacantism accomplishes two essential things: (1) it provides the correct diagnosis of the situation at hand, and that is itself already a large part of the solution, for an accurate diagnosis is the essential precondition of any possible cure; (2) it provides a solution insofar as it reconciles the empirical facts with Catholic teaching and does not require or permit distorting, ignoring, denying, or minimizing Catholic teaching on the Papacy, the Church, or the Magisterium.

That’s what Sedevacantism does. What does recognize-and-resist offer?

It is, more or less, equivalent to asking soldiers – regular guys – to go to war, not knowing if they will live to see the end. But a war that needs to be fought simply needs to be fought and the soldiers are called merely to do their bit where they are sent. We go in with our eyes open and we fight in whatever theatre we are assigned – whether it’s our parish, our family, our seminary, our work or any other field. (Green vegetables… exercise… soldiers need to be fit.) Whether we live to see victory is not in our hands, and declaring Bergoglio to be an antipope won’t change any of that.

Recognizing that it is necessary — per the very Faith we must uphold and the human reason with which we are endowed — to hold that Bergoglio is a false pope, changes a whole lot, as demonstrated in this post. It only changes nothing for those who do not believe in the Papacy or refuse submission to the Pope.

The theoretical future pope who declares that the entirety of the last 50 years of chaos and catastrophe don’t count – like an ecclesiastical JJ Abrams rebooting the Catholic franchise – will have to acknowledge the white (and the red) martyrdom of these times. The chaos and instability, the lack of trust, the lost vocations, the collapse of every institution, the infiltration by wolves and their demonic, anti-rational, anti-Real ideology at every level and in every corner of the globe. To do less would be an injustice to those who stuck it out to the end.

White is dreaming once again of that “future Pope” who will declare that the Vatican II mess “doesn’t count” — and assumes that this will then settle everything, and all will be well. But here she has forgotten for a moment her own theology, which holds that the Pope can be resisted by anyone at any point, if they decide he is a threat to the Faith. So, what shall prevent people from resisting that papal decree? Evidently, White has not considered the consequences of her own position and the legacy it is sure to bring, confusing generations to come.

no-vacancy-sign.gif

The simple fact of the matter is that an authority that teaches something for decades under pain of mortal sin and then at some point decides that the exact opposite is true — as in, “Just kidding, guys!” — is not credible. If the same authority first declares, for example, that religious liberty is evil and condemned, then reverses itself and says it is now necessary, good, and comaptible with Catholic teaching and the opposite is not permitted to be held, and then later reverses itself yet again and says we must now adhere under pain of mortal sin to the original teaching again, then this authority is clearly not credible and cannot be from Almighty God. No right-thinking individual could give any credence to such an institution’s claim to being the divinely-established Church of God, for then one would have no reason to believe this self-contradicting authority at any point — not in the past, not in the present, and not in the future.

This is one of the reasons why so many people have lost the Faith since Vatican II: To all appearances, the same Catholic Church that first taught “A” now teaches the exact opposite, “not-A”. Such an absurdity is only possible if the Vatican II Church that teaches “not-A” is not the same entity as the Catholic Church but a false church. Simplyresisting “not-A” while contending that this new church is the same as the old one, accomplishes nothing except to give legitimacy to the false church and confuse people even more.

But then again, what do we know here? Hiding in that “self-generated delusional fantasyland”, we’re just too lazy, simple-minded, and not planting enough vegetables to understand Hilary White’s cutting-edge theology — which demands that even if Jack is a bachelor, we can’t say he’s unmarried.

Good thing we have The Remnant to straighten us out.