Good Luck with that…
The Remnant Launches Petition Drive to Stop Francis’ Synod on the Family
It’s already mid-August, and the Neo-Traditionalists at The Remnant know very well that the writing is on the wall: The synod of “bishops” planned for October in Rome, in which the Vatican II Sect will, among other things, try to find a “pastoral solution” to the problem of public adulterers wanting to receive the Novus Ordo sacraments, is most likely going to unleash a doctrinal and moral earthquake that will make Francis’ absurd “pontificate” up until now look like the Medieval Inquisition. There has even been talk of changing the “language” of the natural moral law, which is a clear pretext for changing or abolishing the concept entirely.
If Francis’ glowing endorsement of the apostate “cardinal” Walter Kasper’s outline for permitting adulterers to receive the sacraments is any indication, Novus Ordo Traditionalists are in for some real trouble. The Remnantknows it and is now seriously trying to stop the synod, by means of a petition to the Vatican, which they have made available also online:
The accompanying text, written by Christopher A. Ferrara, is right on the money, of course, in terms of pointing out what is wrong with the Modernist Vatican’s planned October Revolution and the false theology behind it, and how everyone who calls himself a Catholic must vigorously oppose it. Yet, Ferrara & Co. really have no cause to complain: You get the “Pope” you are willing to accept. They accept a public non-Catholic as their Pope, so now they have to face the consequences: They must now deal with a man who also practices the non-Catholic religion he professes. Don’t like it? Too bad: False principles have consequences.
Of course, for an American lay-run “Catholic” newspaper to collect signatures to present to the “Holy Father” to convince him to call off the synod he has scheduled for October (and at the end of which the wicked Paul VI will be “beatified”), is downright laughable. Surely the editor of the paper (Michael Matt) and its columnists must know this, but we suspect that their determination to launch this silly petition drive anyway is a testimony to the utter desperation that has begun to set in in their camp. (Though of course this will also have a welcome advertising effect for the paper, which seems to be struggling financially.)
Just how do they envision their petition being successful? Do they really think that one fine morning, Francis will be presented with, say, 124,000 signatures on a “Why we oppose the Synod” document, and he will then say, “You know what, I hadn’t thought of that — these good people at The Remnant have a point…. We better not have the synod after all; it’s too dangerous and not really needed. Oscar, call off the synod!”
Seriously? This is the same Jorge Bergoglio who calls people like Matt & Ferrara “self-absorbed Promethean neo-pelagians” (see Evangelii Gaudium, n. 94), so what’s the point of this ludicrous idea of a tiny minority of “Catholics” petitioning the Vatican not to go ahead with this highly-anticipated event? And isn’t it ironic that The Remnant is seeking clergy and laity to sign and support a petition to the Vatican, while in the same breath denouncing the idea of a church run by the democratic “will of the people of God”? How is what they are doing any different from what Ferrara here criticizes the Vatican and Novus Ordo bishops for doing, that is, mobilizing the people to effect change in Rome?
Needless to say, the petition will fail. The synod will continue as planned, and it will be disastrous.
But to many Novus Ordo Trads — the people to whom we sometimes refer as Semi-Traditionalists, Neo-Traditionalists, or Pseudo-Traditionalists — even a synod-gone-wild won’t matter ultimately, because they’ve long stopped submitting to what they claim is the Holy See anyway. That is, subjectively they have long become genuine schismatics, because they are refusing submission to the man they believe to be the rightful successor of St. Peter, and this certainly constitutes the grave sin of schism (even if it technically does not fulfill the ecclesiastical crime of schism, inasmuch as Francis is not in fact the Roman Pontiff).
Among the most vociferous proponents of this schismatic position we find people like Bp. Richard Williamson, Fr. Peter Scott (SSPX), John Vennari, the people running the Traditio site, and the late “Fr.” Gregory Hesse (Matt and Ferrara are a bit more nuanced and less radical in their endorsement of this position). Other than affirming the legitimacy of the Vatican papal claimants since 1958, there is really nothing these people believe or do that could be characterized as “submitting” to them. They ignore, reject, and explain away the teachings, disciplinary norms, canonizations, and other acts of these “Popes” whenever they deem them to be in contradiction to pre-Vatican II papal teaching. In other words, they submit to some Popes and magisterial acts but not others. The ultimate criterion for truth and error is not the Holy See, but themselves.
The practical result of this is that they habitually ignore the “Pope” and the “Magisterium” and simply do “their own thing on the side,” yet always insisting, of course, that the Vatican II Church’s hierarchy is legitimate (all the evil gets blamed on some nebulous “human element” of the Church that remains conveniently undefined) and that anyone who says otherwise is expressing a “patent absurdity” or “attacking the papacy.” We have written extensively about this in the past, and there is no need to repeat it all in this post — instead, please see the following links:
- Comedy Hour with John Salza: Dissecting his Interview on Papal Authority
- Reply to Fr. Francois Chazal on Sedevacantism
- Responding to Bp. Williamson’s Argument against Sedevacantism (Part 1)
- The Chair is Still Empty: Response to John Salza’s Attempts to Refute Sedevacantism
- Refinishing the Great Facade: the Vatican, the SSPX, and the “Restoration of Tradition”
- Stumbling at the Finish Line: The SSPX’s Illogical Stance on the Pope
While we totally understand why they ignore and reject the “Popes” and “magisterial” acts since 1958, we must remind people that a Catholic cannot act in this way with regard to the true Church and a true Pope. In other words, what these Semi-Traditionalists are doing is at grave odds with traditional Catholic teaching and practice (hence we call them “Semi-Traditionalists”, as they follow Catholic Tradition only in part), and it is obviously a contradiction to say one is promoting traditional Catholicism but then holds beliefs and engages in practices so manifestly anti-traditional.
In short: These people need to put their money where their mouth is. If Francis is such a valid Pope for them, then let them submit to him the way Catholic teaching requires them to submit to a true Pope — as explained precisely, for example, by Pope Leo XIII, who denounced the kind of thing The Remnant, Catholic Family News, The Angelus, and other Semi-Traditionalist publications do on a habitual basis, namely, criticizing their (supposed) lawful superiors and picking and choosing what to accept from what they believe to be the Catholic Church:
- Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua (1885)
- Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Est Sane Molestum (1888)
It is really important to read both papal letters in their entirety, but for those who can’t or won’t, we’d like to call attention to the following highlights. Pope Leo insisted:
- “No, it cannot be permitted that laymen who profess to be Catholic should go so far as openly to arrogate to themselves in the columns of a newspaper, the right to denounce, and to find fault, with the greatest license and according to their own good pleasure, with every sort of person, not excepting bishops, and think that with the single exception of matters of faith they are allowed to entertain any opinion which may please them and exercise the right to judge everyone after their own fashion.” (Est Sane Molestum)
- “…to scrutinize the actions of a bishop, to criticize them, does not belong to individual Catholics, but concerns only those who, in the sacred hierarchy, have a superior power; above all, it concerns the Supreme Pontiff….” (Est Sane Molestum)
- “That obligation, if it is generally incumbent on all, is, you may indeed say, especially pressing upon journalists…. The task pertaining to them … is this: to be subject completely in mind and will, just as all the other faithful are, to their own bishops and to the Roman Pontiff; to follow and make known their teachings; to be fully and willingly subservient to their influence; and to reverence their precepts and assure that they are respected.” (Epistola Tua)
- “To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.” (Epistola Tua)
- “…it is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them; and in some ways they resemble those who, on receiving a condemnation, would wish to appeal to a future council, or to a Pope who is better informed.” (Epistola Tua)
Bam! This, ladies and gentlemen, is the traditional Catholic teaching regarding submission to the Pope and the lawful hierarchy, as explained by the Pope himself, Leo XIII, who reigned after the First Vatican Council, which spoke on papal authority, infallibility, and the required submission of the faithful. We guarantee you that you’re not going to find the semi-trads promoting this traditional teaching anytime soon, at least not without essentially explaining it away and rendering it meaningless.
In fact, Ferrara’s write-up, though brilliant in its style and its rhetoric, is filled with more of the typical argumentation we’ve come to expect from this lawyer, who is professionally trained in the art of persuasion. In place of sound reasoning based on Catholic theological principles, Ferrara likes to spin things in such a way as not to have to draw any undesirable conclusions, while at the same time allowing himself to powerfully blast the errors of the Modernist church.
For example, though explicitly condeming Kasper as a “blatant heretic”, Ferrara won’t draw the necessary conclusion that Kasper is not a member of the Catholic Church, nor will he put the same label on Francis, who has said and done things as bad as or worse than Kasper and has endorsed Kasper’s theology specifically in the context of the forthcoming synod on the family. (When talking about the “Pope”, Ferrara avoids explicit labels like “heretic” and “heretical” like the plague, instead preferring more neutral terms like “astonishing” to describe Francis’ Modernist claptrap — see an example here, where he refers to Francis’ condemnation of proselytism and his insinuation of the possibility of salvation for unrepentant atheists as merely “a series of astonishing pronouncements.” How convenient! In addition, what happened to the “official church judgment” Ferrara & Co. like to require when it comes to the question of whether we can say the “Pope” is a heretic — is it somehow not also needed for “Cardinal” Kasper?)
Likewise, Ferrara admits that Francis’ errors are not only confined to spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks but are even found in “a formal papal document”, namely, the above-cited Evangelii Gaudium. However — and this is the lawyerly trick — he then insinuates that this “formal papal document” is of “dubious … authority”, though of course he does not at all explain why or how.
We hate to break it to Mr. Ferrara, but this isn’t Burger King, where you can have it “your way”: If Francis is Pope, then Evangelii Gaudium is exactly what it claims to be: an Apostolic Exhortation by the Successor of St. Peter, to whom all Catholics owe complete submission and to whose documents and teachings all must assent under pain of mortal sin (cf. Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 20). We’re sorry if this doesn’t fit into Ferrara’s pseudo-Catholic resistance theology, but we don’t consider ourselves authorized to change traditional Catholic teaching just because we don’t want to conclude that Francis cannot be the Pope.
It is also quite amusing that Ferrara now bewails “the moment that Francis, emerging from the Conclave, referred to himself as merely ‘the Bishop of Rome’ on the balcony of St. Peter’s”, because when Ferrara covered the election of Jorge Bergoglio with “Fr.” Nicholas Gruner in March of 2013, we heard nothing but praise and joy from the professional pundit. Here is the video, in which Ferrara also gushes over Francis’ supposed “humility”:
For more Ferrara flip-flopping, see this post here, under “The Experts Speak.”
At the end of his article, and not unpredictably, Ferrara pulls the “joker”, the one-size-fits-all wildcard that forms the bedrock principle of the resistance theology: “diabolical disorientation.” This phrase was coined by a woman claiming to be (most likely falsely) Sr. Lucia of Fatima, and refers to a nebulous concept she never actually defined (nor, of course, is it found in any theological manual or catechism). However, it is such an appealing and easy-to-remember term that, due to its vagueness and rhetorical effect, lends itself perfectly to promoting the “recognize-but-resist” agenda of the Semi-Traditionalists. It allows them to junk anything in the Vatican II Church they oppose, while at the same time giving the impression that the idea is endorsed by the Mother of God, Our Lady of Fatima. Perfect for a lawyer whose job is to persuade!
This is the state of the Resistance position today: Catholic teaching is replaced or relativized by a vague and undefined concept, commandeered by laymen at odds with the “Pope”, that originates in the words of a nun whose identity cannot even be verified as being actually the woman to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917. You can probably imagine what a true Catholic Pope would say about this kind of theological concept, especially in light of Pope Leo XIII’s teaching quoted above.
Where will the petition go? Nowhere, of course.
And they know it.