Semi-Trads discover the Papacy…
On the “Direct and Immediate” Authority of the Pope: Semi-Traditionalists in Shock over Papal Claims
Once again we have proof positive that the semi-traditionalist “recognize-and-resist” position is based upon a distortion (that is, denial) of the Catholic teaching on the Papacy.
As you may know, the Order of Malta is currently in trouble with “Pope” Francis for its firing of the Grand Chancellor, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager. Francis has instituted a Vatican commission to investigate the matter. On January 11, Catholic News Service reported as follows:
The leadership of the Order of Malta denied the legality of a Vatican investigation into the forced resignation of the group’s former grand chancellor, but the commission established by Pope Francis said it “is completely legitimate and authorized” to investigate the matter and inform the pope.
According to one of the legal notes prepared for the commission, the pope’s right to be informed of the circumstances surrounding the removal of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager relates “to the authority he exercises directly and immediately over all baptized faithful, whether lay or clerical.”
(Junno Arocho Esteves, “Order of Malta questions legitimacy of commission established by pope”, Catholic News Service, Jan. 11, 2017)
It is this last part — “the authority [the Pope] exercises directly and immediately over all baptized faithful” — which has a number of semi-trads in a tizzy. Apparently they are not aware that this is not just Catholic custom, or even just doctrine, but infallible dogma.
Thus the Canadian blogger Vox Cantoris complains:
“Direct and immediate authority?” which Bergoglio possesses “over all baptised faithful[“]?
What kind of clericalist, fascist idiot would actually write such preposterous thing to the any Catholic, group or individual without clarifying that it begins and ends with doctrine?
Careful my fellow Catholics, this Peronist Fascist will soon be declaring his authority over your property and your pension or he will excommunicate you.
(“Pope Bergoglio exercises ‘immediate control’ over all Catholics?”, Vox Cantoris, Jan. 12, 2017; bold and italics given.)
Yes, a true Pope exercises direct and immediate spiritual authority over all Catholics. That’s how things work in the Catholic Church. It does not begin and end with doctrine only, as we will see below, but also includes Church discipline. That’s because the Pope does not only have the office of teaching the faithful but also that of governing them. But then again, the semi-trads deny Bergoglio the authority to teach as well, so in a way they’re at least consistent.
Last night, another recognize-and-resist blog chimed in on the issue of whether papal authority is direct and immediate and extends to each of the faithful:
There is no such authority, save for matters having to do with Catholic faith and morals. Are we bloggers obliged to submit to “investigations” owing to our concerns regarding Amoris Laetitia? Progressives tend to snoot and carry on about “freedom”, but when they assume positions of authority, they quickly abuse their powers… they have no problem arrogating to themselves authority that isn’t their’s [sic], while at the same time eschewing responsibility that is their’s [sic].
(“Is The Pope Assuming Dictatorial Attitudes?”, Restoring D.C. Catholicism, Jan. 12, 2017)
Apparently it did not occur to this blogger that Amoris Laetitia obviously does concern matters of faith and morals, but let’s leave that aside. It is evident that he too doesn’t believe in the Catholic teaching on the Papacy.
The semi-trad news aggregator site Canon212.com also expressed its surprise that the Pope has authority even over Catholic laymen. Here is a snapshot of their news link as displayed on their home page on Jan. 13, 2017:
Yes, imagine! Lay people must obey the Holy Father. Welcome to Catholicism!
Why are people shocked at this? Why the surprise? We can tell you exactly why: Because for the last 40+ years, they’ve all been imbibing and spouting SSPX/resistance propaganda instead of Catholic doctrine on the Papacy — that’s why. And why have they? Because they want to have it both ways: reject the Novus Ordo religion while still acknowledging the people who have imposed and maintain that religion as genuine Roman Catholic authorities. That is what creates the incongruity.
Now let’s have a good look at traditional Catholic teaching on this: The fact is that the Catholic Church is “a sovereignty of one person, that is a monarchy” (Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Ex Quo; Denz. 2147a). Therefore, the Pope enjoys full, supreme, and immediate authority over all the faithful in spiritual matters (not only in doctrine but also in discipline). This is a dogma of the Faith, the denial of which is heresy:
If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema.
(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 3; Denz. 1831; underlining added.)
The same Pope of the First Vatican Council, Pius IX, also taught the following:
Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order. For they are not ashamed of affirming “that the Church’s laws do not bind in conscience unless when they are promulgated by the civil power; that acts and decrees of the Roman Pontiffs, referring to religion and the Church, need the civil power’s sanction and approbation, or at least its consent; … that the Church can decree nothing which binds the conscience of the faithful in regard to their use of temporal things; that the Church has no right of restraining by temporal punishments those who violate her laws; that it is conformable to the principles of sacred theology and public law to assert and claim for the civil government a right of property in those goods which are possessed by the Church, by the Religious Orders, and by other pious establishments.” Nor do they blush openly and publicly to profess the maxim and principle of heretics from which arise so many perverse opinions and errors. For they repeat that the “ecclesiastical power is not by divine right distinct from, and independent of, the civil power, and that such distinction and independence cannot be preserved without the civil power’s essential rights being assailed and usurped by the Church.” Nor can we pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that “without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.” But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanta Cura, n. 5)
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.
These teachings have been entirely eclipsed because the recognize-and-resist position held by most who call themselves “traditional Catholics” has given the impression that the teaching and government of the Pope is not authoritative in and of itself but is subject to evaluation by the faithful. Thus the Papacy has become a prime target of the very people who claim to be its defenders!
The beautiful truth is that the more a Catholic learns about the Papacy, the more he will fall in love with it. It is a most wonderful office instituted by Almighty God for the salvation of souls and endowed with His authority and His divine protection (cf. Mt 16:18-19; Lk 22:32; Jn 21:15-17). The more one studies the Papacy, the more evident it will become that Francis and his five predecessors of unhappy memory cannot possibly be valid Popes.
The simple truth is that the Papacy has consequences. What these consequences are can be seen in the following brief video clip, which shows Church teaching on the Papacy every Catholic must affirm. Try to apply that to Jorge Bergoglio, and the absurdity becomes evident:
Alas, because the semi-trads refuse from the outset the very possibility that Francis (or any Novus Ordo pope) might not be a true Pope, they end up attacking, denying, and loathing the Papacy. What a shame!
Our Lord Jesus Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church (see Mt 16:18). The means He instituted by which to fulfill this promise is the Papacy, an office He endowed with the power of binding and loosing in Heaven what is bound and loosed on earth (see Mt 16:19), an office that would forever be the guarantee of orthodoxy and an unfailing faith (see Lk 22:32; Denz. 1836-37). The video above makes this clear, and we prove this also in the following post:
For those who are interested in learning more about the Catholic teaching on the Papacy and understanding it better, we recommend the following gems:
- The Papal Monarchy by Dom Prosper Gueranger
- The Truth of Papal Claims by Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val
- On the Roman Pontiff by Cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine
- The Theological Defense Of Papal Power By St. Alphonsus De Liguori by Fr. David Sharrock
The sad and tragic truth is that despite whatever good intentions they may have, the semi-traditionalists of the recognize-and-resist position simply do not believe in the Papacy.
Image source: shutterstock.com