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 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 QuoDenz. 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.

(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.)

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 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.

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31 Responses to “On the “Direct and Immediate” Authority of the Pope: Semi-Trads in Shock over Papal Claims”

  1. Dum Spiro Spero

    But the Order of Malta has sovereignty in its government. This fact has been recognized by the Holy See in the past.
    If a Catholic is the president of a sovereign country, can the Pope dismiss him? I think no.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      Oh, no, I don’t think the Pope would have the power to dismiss the head of state of another country, but that’s not what this is about. The Pope could, of course, cut ties with a foreign nation.

      • Alan F.

        Popes have deposed heads of state numerous times in the past; they do have that authority. The problem today is that our apostate nations would take no notice.

          • Alan F.

            This may be a lazy reply, but in preparing a proper response (I had a couple of examples in my head, such as King John and Queen Elizabeth I from my country, England), I came across the following Wikipedia article that has a partial list of examples, including those two English examples and a few Holy Roman Emperors. That document of Pope Gregory VII, Dictus Papæ, looks interesting too, not very Liberal, and not very R&R either!


          • Dum Spiro Spero

            It was the time of Christendom. The decree of excommunication from Gregory VII to Henry IV is very important:

            “O St. Peter, chief of the Apostles, I beseech you to incline to us your holy ears and hear your servant whom you have nourished from infancy, and whom, until this day, you have freed from the hands of the wicked, who have hated and do hate me for my faithfulness to you. You, and my Mistress, the Mother of God, and your brother St. Paul are witnesses for me among all the Saints that the Holy Roman Church drew me to its helm against my will; that I had no thought of ascending to your chair through force, and that I would rather have ended my life in exile than, by secular means, to have seized your throne for the sake of earthly glory.

            “Therefore, I believe it to be through your grace and not through my own deeds that it has pleased and does please you that the Christian people, who have been especially committed to you, should obey me. And to me specially, as your representative and by your favor, has the power been granted by God of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth.

            “Therefore, confiding in this belief and for the honor and security of your Church, in the name of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I withdraw, through your power and authority, from Henry the King, son of Henry the Emperor, who has risen against your Church with unheard of insolence, the rule over the whole Kingdom of the Germans and over Italy. And I release all Christians from the bonds of the oath that they have made or shall make to him; and I forbid any one to serve him as King. For it is fitting that he who strives to lessen the honor of the Church should himself lose the honor which belongs to him.

            “And since he has scorned to obey as a Christian, and has not returned to God whom he had deserted – holding intercourse with the excommunicated; practicing manifold iniquities; spurning my commands which, as you do bear witness, I issued to him for his own salvation; separating himself from your church and striving to rend it – I bind him in your place with the chain of the anathema. And, leaning on you, I so bind him that the people may know and have proof that you are Peter, and above your rock the Son of the living God has built His church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

        • poapratensis

          Isn’t it true that the soverign of the Austrian Hungarian empire vetoed the election of the cardinal Rampolla, and Sarto (St. Pius X) was elected instead?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            It is true that Cardinal Rampolla was vetoed in the conclave of 1903, yes. Whether Rampolla would otherwise have been elected is not known, because the veto was used after the first or second ballot, when no candidate had a clear lead yet.

            Pope St. Pius X later abolished secular veto power for a conclave.

  2. Tom Healey

    This is a point of enormous significance. Any Catholic of an older generation knows that papal infallibility is confined to faith and morals. And today with the widespread loss of faith by 10s of millions of Catholics, the church’s loss of authority in a society ruled by narcissism, it’s no wonder there is such confusion regarding the limits of papal authority, and I include myself.

    Now with Bergoglio, and the important teaching that doctrine cannot be separated from discipline, there is still left a “gray” area where the pope still has authority, but where many Trads assume personal autonomy. Nature abhors a vacuum.

    Now with Bergoglio, the totalitarian dictator, who claims supreme authority over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder that many Catholics cling to a kind of autonomy. This guy is totally scary. Whereas a true pope would be humbled by this terrifying responsibility. And the Catholic faithful would humbly surrender to the pope’s total domain over our souls. So, your point is well taken.

    So many Trads are fencesitters which leads them to false conclusions regarding papal authority. *There’s that nagging facet of our wounded natures where we crave independence from authority. And I speak from my experience.*

    There’s a wonderful English idiom about those individuals who want to “run with the hare and hunt with the hound” which fits many Trads.

    I’m not a Sedevacantist, even though I no longer hesitate to condemn Vatll and everything that came out of that Godforsaken council. I accept that all the conciliar popes were seduced by that worst of all heresies, Modernism. The sin that grieves me the most is that none of them understood or accepted that the human race is irrevocably wounded by Original Sin, for which the only remedy is Christ, the church and Sanctifying Grace.

    I recently watched again a video of Fr. Anthony Cekada which he called, “What do I tell Aunt Helen?” The guy who interviewed Fr. made a good point when he observed that the Trads who draw back from rejecting Vatll and calling Bergoglio a formal heretic(they still refer to him as “Holy Father”) are secretly Sedevacantists because they recognize the endless problems the church has been saddled with since 1965.

    Two names stand out, Christopher Ferrara and Hilary White. Both are hardhitting; they write brilliantly and with great passion. Yet, they don’t draw the only rational conclusions that are possible, particularly regarding Bergoglio. That he is at the very least a formal heretic.

    • poapratensis

      They don’t write so brilliantly either. They have a compelling polemical style, perhaps, or at least it seems that way if you haven’t been exposed to anything better. White still reads like a pouty twentysomethig to me, and Fr. Cekada completely demolished Ferrara’s anti-sedevacatist papers back in ’05.

    • poapratensis

      Also, Tom, if you have the time and care to bother, I am truly interested in how you maintain your position, because I couldn’t bear it. A question I asked a learned friend of mine and my former FSSP pastor was “can you be a sedevacantist in your heart and still coexist with the indult?” The learned friend did everything to avoid saying that is exactly how he feels, while the FSSP pastor basically fell back on the R&H (resist and hermenutic) position, stating that truly the Church cannot teach us error, and if it seems like error we are interpreting it wrong, somehow. I feel that truly Christ cannot be harmonized with belial. I also think the errors are evident and are well beyond any reasonable doubt. And so, because of my faith, I am forced to take a stand and not sit on the fence. At the time though, I desperately wanted, and still sorta do, a way to harmonize it all, so I could return to the comfy, nearby, and convenient FSSP parish I went to, was married in, and most of my children were baptized at.

    • Bernie

      If he is a heretic, he is not the pope. Ipso facto he is excommunicated.
      Simple as that. All the recent popes fit that category

    • Bernie

      Also, all of the other people in Rome who call themselves Catholic are not. Just check the Papal Bull of 1570 by Pope Saint Pius V. Do they follow it? How can it be rescinded? Statements like “in perpetuum”, “ad infinitum” and “shall never be changed”, do not leave anything to the imagination. Do they follow it?

      If they do not follow that and all of the other dogmas of the faith they are not Catholic. The whore of Babylon comes to mind.

      Nothing added, nothing changed, nothing taken away.

      Frank is not a pope, not even a priest!

  3. Rand Miller

    Will this reiteration of the dogma of the authority of the Pope over every Catholic, whether clerical or lay lead to the conclusion that Francis is not required to respond to the Dubia presented to him?

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      That is certainly the correct conclusion: The Pope does not have to answer to anyone except God. Not that Francis is Pope, but they all believe him to be. Francis is most certainly not required to answer Mr. Burke or anyone else, under the supposition that he is Pope.

      • Dum Spiro Spero

        We agree that Francis is not Pope (other conciliar ones either), but John XXII responded to the requirement regarding the theme of the beatific vision.

        • Alan F.

          I would say that John XXII responded because he chose to. His attitude was far different to Bergoglio’s. John XXII made it clear from the start that he was participating in a theological debate over a matter which had not yet been settled by the Magisterium, that he realized he could be wrong, and that he leaves his statements and writings on that topic to the future judgement of the Magisterium.

          • rich

            The r&r’s and the s&s’s (siscoe and salza worshipers) are DESPERATELY trying to find a heretical pope in the past to compare to jorge (they never will obviously just as St Bellarmine assured us). Just recently an article was posted on “the remnant” about the John xxii issue which you refer to. The “remnant” author actually had the audacity to compare that beatific vision question, which up to that point had not been infallibly defined, to what jorge has been doing/saying for almost 4 years now. Apples and oranges.

          • Siobhan

            I know. If we sedevacantists were not sound men & women of strong mettle, it would be crushing, wouldn’t it?

  4. Tom A.

    If these deniers were able to somehow find some sort of proof that Pope Such and Such in the 4th Century was a heretic, they would simply just prove that Such and Such was not a Pope. Whats the big deal. Just add another anti-Pope to the list.

  5. bartmaeus

    The mask of collegiality seems to be slipping from the facade of “Just call me Jorge.” Sometimes, to paraphrase a saying: “Its good to be the Pope”

    • poapratensis

      Aren’t the Just Call Me Jorge folks sedes? I am new to all this and from perusing their site I assumed so. Are they R&R?

      • bartmaeus

        Maybe it is, but it was a phrase Jorge himself expressed to someone who asked him how he would like to be addressed, following his elevation to the papacy, probably in a show of humility and collegiality:

        “José María del Corral, director of the ‘School of Neighbors’ educational program in Buenos Aires was one of the Pope’s special guests at his Inaugural Mass…. When Corral ‘bumped into’ the Pope in the elevator, he asked, ‘How should I refer to you now?” The Pope answered, ‘Call me Jorge, what else?’”

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