A brief response to “Contra Cekadam”…

Resistance vs. Sedevacantism: Fr. Cekada answers Fr. Chazal

Fr. Francois Chazal and Fr. Anthony Cekada

Fr. Francois Chazal is a priest who holds the recognize-and-resist position of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre: Recognize as valid the “Popes” since Vatican II while resisting anything they teach or legislate that appears to conflict with Church teaching or practice before Vatican II. At this point, Fr. Chazal is a part of the so-called “Marian Corps” or “Strict Observance” faction of the Lefebvrist Society of St. Pius X, which broke away from the “official” SSPX in response to Bp. Fellay’s conciliatory course with regard to the Vatican Modernists.

Unlike Sedevacantism, the recognize-and-resist position is extremely popular among traditionalists because it offers a best-of-both-worlds approach to the Vatican II Sect: You get to resist and refuse everything that is Modernist or otherwise objectionable, even to the point of having a de facto parallel church on the side; while at the same time you don’t have to deal with any of the pesky problems that arise from Sedevacantism. Plus, you get to retain anything from the Novus Ordo Church that you may need or desire in your personal life (validity of certain sacraments and annulments, certain canonized saints, permissibility to attend the “New Mass”, etc.).

The only problem with this rather convenient position is that it is not at all reconcilable with Catholic teaching on the Papacy, the Magisterium, and the Church, as we have demonstrated on this web site time and again, including in a direct response to Fr. Chazal a few years ago. This is ironic because it means that people like Fr. Chazal effectively believe that they can uphold and defend traditional Catholic teaching by denying the same — which makes about as much sense as trying to borrow one’s way out of debt.

Recently, Fr. Chazal came out with a lengthy monograph entitled Contra Cekadam, which is meant to rebut a number of arguments for Sedevacantism put forth by Fr. Anthony Cekada in his widely-circulated booklet Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope (2nd ed., 2006). The first part of Contra Cekadam has been published online in French here.

Responding to an inquiry by a third party, Fr. Cekada has provided a succinct rejoinder to Fr. Chazal, which we are happy to publish below. Readers interested in a more in-depth discussion of the topic are encouraged to check our topical page on Sedevacantism here.

Response to Contra Cekadam

by Fr. Anthony Cekada

Thanks for sending along the Chazal document. It is hardly, as Fr. Chazal seems to think, a point-by-point refutation of my argument in Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope.

Fr. Chazal’s Contra Cekadam doesn’t even state the argument of the “Cekadam” in question, still less refute it. Here, for the record, is the argument I made in the booklet:

  1. Officially-sanctioned Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws embody errors and/or promote evil.
  2. Because the Church is indefectible, her teaching cannot change, and because she is infallible, her laws cannot give evil.
  3. It is therefore impossible that the errors and evils officially sanctioned in Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws could have proceeded from the authority of the Church.
  4. Those who promulgate such errors and evils must somehow lack real authority in the Church.
  5. Canonists and theologians teach that defection from the faith, once it becomes manifest, brings with it automatic loss of ecclesiastical office (authority). They apply this principle even to a pope who, in his personal capacity, somehow becomes a heretic.
  6. Canonists and theologians also teach that a public heretic, by divine law, is incapable of being validly elected pope or obtaining papal authority.
  7. Even popes have acknowledged the possibility that a heretic could one day end up on the throne of Peter. In 1559 Pope Paul IV decreed that the election of a heretic to the papacy would be invalid, and that the man elected would lack all authority.
  8. Since the Church cannot defect, the best explanation for the post-Vatican II errors and evils we repeatedly encounter is that they proceed from individuals who, despite their occupation of the Vatican and of various diocesan cathedrals, publicly defected from the faith, and therefore do not objectively possess canonical authority.

If Fr. Chazal agrees with the statements in points 1 (the changes are evil) and 2 (and the Church, by Christ’s promise, cannot give evil/error), but he nevertheless still insists the Vatican II popes are true popes possessing authority from Christ, he maintains in effect that the Church of Christ has defected and that Christ’s promises are void.

As for the rest, Fr. Chazal simply:

  1. recycles opinions on a heretical pope that were eventually abandoned after St. Robert Bellarmine,
  2. attempts to apply criteria pertaining to ecclesiastical crimes when sedevacantists maintain that the public sin of heresy, not the crime, is what prevents a heretical pope from obtaining or retaining the papacy,
  3. refloats the phony Adrian VI quote,
  4. repeats the Paul-vs-Peter canard [see Appendix at end of post here] on fraternal correction for a moral fault, which does not solve the problem of the Church defecting wholesale by promulgating theological errors and evil universal laws,
  5. in his treatment of Scripture as a “refutation” of sedevacantism, ignores St. Paul’s own assertion that he could in fact, “preach another Gospel,” for which even he himself would become “anathema.”
  6. recycles supposed incidents from history to demonstrate that there have been heretic popes before, but which incidents (a) are part of the standard arguments of protestants who reject papal infallibility, and (b) have been repeatedly refuted by Catholic dogmatic theologians.

Fr. Chazal’s arguments on each of these points still does not get him out of the theological pickle that points 1 and 2 of my original argument put him in — the Chazalian equation that works out to:

  • Evil changes + true popes = defected Church.

Good luck getting out of that one, Father Chazal!

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21 Responses to “Resistance vs. Sedevacantism: Fr. Cekada answers Fr. Chazal”

  1. Herman_U_Tick

    The command to be subject to a (true) Pope logically entails the need to refuse submission to a false Pope.
    Since one (apparent) Pope out of seven has in fact been an anti Pope (see the book ‘Tumultuous Times’ by the Radecki brothers) then on Bayesian probability grounds one should require only moderate evidence (ex post) to be convinced that a given claimant is in fact not the Pope.
    Even if he dresses himself in white.
    Can the medical profession not come up with some sort of patch that can be applied to the arm to ease the cravings of those people who cannot get through life without having some sort of Pope-figure, however defective?

    • Gresu

      Per “Tumultuous Times” there has been 270 legitimate popes – pages 589-591 and 41 antipopes page 592.
      See John XXIII – 1410-1415 as antipope. The Vatican 2 Council claimants are not in included in the list of 41 antipopes.

  2. Sonia

    Thank God for real Catholic Priests who think as real Catholics and teach as real Catholics have done and should do. Willing to bare the burden of these miserable times, where the barrier of a true pope has been taken out of the way that those disposed to lies and error might have what they want, and those holding to the grace of truth can see all the more clearly through the storm of falsehoods. God bless the true Catholic Priesthood keeping unadulterated altars, offering a pleasing sacrifice to Almighty God. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

  3. Sonia

    “…tied to the social aspects of ‘church”…”

    Very true. I know folks who have rejected the Church and go from protestant assembly to protestant assembly seeking the concept of the ‘unity’ of the faith. All they find are increasingly diverse and splintered mockeries of the True Faith, and they suffer…they look to random sheep to be shepherds – the blind leading the blind. When these people who pose as shepherds disappoint – on they move to the next splinter of a dead branch. I know of a couple who ended up being their own ‘church’, where only themselves and less than a handful of others were going to get to heaven as the ‘elect’.

    Quickly that fell apart, so did their marriage and both turned atheism.

    The exact same sort of self enforcing sifting is in the R&R. Which is why they have a protestant non-Catholic ewe as their ‘shepherd’.

    • anna mack

      That is so true. The NO has effectively made itself into the Church of England (British readers will know what I mean); the R&Rers within it are very much the equivalent of the “High Anglicans”, who like to call themselves “Anglo-Catholic”(!) and also have a thing about the bells-and-smells (all fur coat and no knickers, as we rather vulgarly like to say here in the UK).

  4. jay

    Fr. Cekada book “Work of Human Hands” is a critique of Paul VI’s worship service. Every Catholic should own this book. It is a masterful work by someone who has lived through this sad part of Church History.

  5. corvinus ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    Right. Misplaced social or ethnic loyalties lead them to stick with the Novus Ordo. I think it’s funny that traditional Catholics who worship at the same location tend to often have widely varying, very divergent characteristics and would oftentimes never get along in a million years if they didn’t belong to the same Faith. If they were Protestants or Novus Ordo, they’d just hop on over to different churches to find a crowd they got along better with.

    • jay

      The Vatican II sect point towards Man not God. In the Novus Ordo worship service Man is glorified not God. Many times before the service starts there is interaction among the adherents, noise , conversation and social introductions .Even at the beginning of the service there is handshaking and even hugging just like many Protestant assemblies . Whereas pre Vatican II before Mass was a solemn time where people prayed , prepared spiritually for the Mass and quietly waited reverently for the Mass. This is just one aspect of why the Novus Ordo is a Protestant service. The ‘social aspect of church ” means that they are attached to the superficial aspects of ‘church” business attachments , mate choosing and the modern affliction of being seen as a righteous member of the community none of which is God centric. This is a Protestant disease and a sin that all false religions share.

      • Inquisitor

        You missed my point;
        regarding your statements concerning the Novus Ordo:

        it’s nothing new for me and I agree with you.

        I find that the NO parishes show even on the mere human level a clear coldness. There is almost no socialising at all. Thus the modernist gossip of “warmth” is even in this regard a big cynic joke. That was my point.

        It’s comparable to the observation that sin makes people already here on earth unhappy – at least usually (like an addicitve drug).

  6. Susan Shelko

    No I have not read Work of Human Hands. Jay thinks it is a masterful work and you think the work has been absolutely devastated (i.e., discredited). Usually when there is such a divergence of opinion, the truth is somewhere in the middle OR one version is a misrepresentation OR the commentary is filtered through a predetermined belief system.

    What do I mean about the website (Pistrina Liturgica) speaking for itself?

    As an outsider looking in, I found the website oozing with venom, vindictiveness, hatred, ad homien attacks, lack of charity, detraction and downright ugliness. Even if everything that is written on that site were the gospel truth, I would want nothing to do with the people who author the site and/or the “truth” they promulgate.

    That’s what I mean! I visited once. I will not visit again. For the blog authors: Your writing reflects your own character!

  7. CumExApostolatus

    The double mind holds opposing/contradictory ideas and believes both to be true. In large part, to be judaized means one is double-minded.

  8. CumExApostolatus

    I meant what I said in my original remark, which stands, bigoted or otherwise. If you are having trouble with my remark, I refer you to the work of Michael A. Hoffman.

  9. Susan Shelko

    I’m not going to wade through an ocean of bitterness and resentment to hear what your friends have to say. You might consider telling them (once again) that if they really do have “truth to tell” …. their approach (i.e., petty, mocking, venomous and self-righteous) ruins their message.

    I have never met your friends, and I have never met the priest. Eight years: How long are your friends going to corrode their very souls with gall? And by the way, my questions about Vatican II and the NO Church came about because of the various articles, authors and commentators on the 1 Peter 5 blog.

    The book you reference may be terrific or it may be terrible. And honestly, I don’t see myself reading it any time too soon. If I were to recommend a book, it would be the Life of Christ by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

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