Keeping things in perspective…
A Word of Caution in Light of the ongoing Viganò Testimony Drama
The 11-page testimony letter of “Abp.” Carlo Maria Vigano published on Aug. 25, 2018, has put the Modernist sect in Rome into a credibility crisis so severe that, depending on what happens in the next few days and weeks, it may never be able to recover from it.
After over one full week of this controversy, which saw testimony and silence, accusations and denials, claims and counter-claims, verification and contradiction, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of where the whole matter stands. While we will continue to keep you posted in our daily updates, which are very time consuming to produce, we must not lose sight of a very important fact: The Vigano drama about morally corrupt individuals in Rome obscures the fact that the much more serious problem is that the Vatican is doctrinally corrupt, which proves beyond any possible doubt that the See of Rome is not being governed by a valid Pope. In 1853, Pope Pius IX reminded the faithful 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” (Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7).
The controversy about moral corruption at the Vatican has also given new impetus to the Gallican heresy that a Pope’s pontificate can be taken away from him in consequence of — or at least in punishment for — immoral behavior. Earlier this year, this very heresy was advocated in the “traditional Catholic” flagship publication The Remnant:
The College of Cardinals should immediately convene and remove Francis, the Bishop of Rome for his gross and grave negligence and personal complicity in the systematic flouting and abuse of his own zero tolerance policy causing a scandal of epic proportions brought upon the global Catholic Church and the Chilean Catholic Church.
(Elizabeth Yore, “Anatomy of a Coverup: An Open Letter to Pope Francis”, The Remnant, May 25, 2018)
This is not just wrong, it is heresy. Pertinaciously clinging to this idea puts one outside of the Church and makes one no better than a Modernist, an Arian, or a Nestorian. It does not matter how noble and justified one’s outrage is about personal sins and crimes of a true Pope, for the Pope remains Pope — as long as we are not talking about public sins that are of such a nature as “to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 23) — and as such he has no superior on earth who could take the pontificate away from him. One could ask that he resign because he is a disgrace to the Chair of Peter, but one could not remove him nor cease being subject to him in matters of Faith and — yes — even morals. This is what separates the Catholics from the heretics; it is what dissociates those who believe in the Catholic Church as a divinely instituted indefectible society from those who believe the church to be a merely human institution that can corrupt and fail as any other can.
Canon 1556 enshrines this dogmatic truth in the Church’s law: “Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur” (Canon 1556) — “The First See is judged by no one.” One of the most famous canonists in the 20th century, Fr. Charles Augustine, explains what this means for the situation of a gravely immoral and scandalous Pope:
But even the person of the Supreme Pontiff was ever considered as unamenable to human judgment, he being responsible and answerable to God alone, even though accused of personal misdeeds and crimes. A remarkable instance is that of Pope Symmachus (498-514). He, indeed, submitted to the convocation of a council (the Synodus Palmaris, 502), because he deemed it his duty to see to it that no stain was inflicted upon his character, but that synod itself is a splendid vindication of our canon. The synod adopted the Apology of Ennodius of Pavia, in which occurs the noteworthy sentence: “God wished the causes of other men to be decided by men; but He has reserved to His own tribunal, without question, the ruler of this see.” No further argument for the traditional view is required. A general council could not judge the Pope, because, unless convoked or ratified by him, it could not render a valid sentence. Hence nothing is left but an appeal to God, who will take care of His Church and its head.
(Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, Vol. VII [St. Louis, MO: Herder, 1921], p. 12; italics given; underlining added.)
Canonist Fr. Stanislaus Woywod elucidates:
The Supreme Pontiff has the highest legislative, administrative and judicial power in the Church. The Code states that the Roman Pontiff cannot be brought to trial by anyone. The very idea of the trial of a person supposes that the court conducting the trial has jurisdiction over the person, but the Pope has no superior, wherefore no court has power to subject him to judicial trial.
(Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, rev. by Rev. Callistus Smith [New York: Joseph F. Wagner, 1952], n. 1549, p. 225; underlining added.)
The Popes themselves have explicitly taught that moral failings cannot be a pretext for refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff, because God has constituted the Petrine office such that personal sins cannot thwart its validity or efficacy (cf. Lk 22:32):
But if one wishes to search out the true source of all the evils which We have already lamented, as well as those which We pass over for the sake of brevity, he will surely find that from the start it has ever been a dogged contempt for the Church’s authority. The Church, as St. Leo the Great teaches, in well-ordered love accepts Peter in the See of Peter, and sees and honors Peter in the person of his successor the Roman pontiff. Peter still maintains the concern of all pastors in guarding their flocks, and his high rank does not fail even in an unworthy heir. In Peter then, as is aptly remarked by the same holy Doctor, the courage of all is strengthened and the help of divine grace is so ordered that the constancy conferred on Peter through Christ is conferred on the apostles through Peter. It is clear that contempt of the Church’s authority is opposed to the command of Christ and consequently opposes the apostles and their successors, the Church’s ministers who speak as their representatives. He who hears you, hears me; and he who despises you, despises me [Lk 10:16]; and the Church is the pillar and firmament of truth, as the apostle Paul teaches [1 Tim 3:15]. In reference to these words St. Augustine says: “Whoever is without the Church will not be reckoned among the sons, and whoever does not want to have the Church as mother will not have God as father.”
(Pope Leo XII, Encyclical Ubi Primum, n. 22; underlining added.)
All who defend the faith should aim to implant deeply in your faithful people the virtues of piety, veneration, and respect for this supreme See of Peter. Let the faithful recall the fact that Peter, Prince of Apostles is alive here and rules in his successors, and that his office does not fail even in an unworthy heir. Let them recall that Christ the Lord placed the impregnable foundation of his Church on this See of Peter [Mt 16:18] and gave to Peter himself the keys of the kingdom of Heaven [Mt 16:19]. Christ then prayed that his faith would not fail, and commanded Peter to strengthen his brothers in the faith [Lk 22:32]. Consequently the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, holds a primacy over the whole world and is the true Vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christians.
Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, nn. 16-17; underlining added.)
We see the truth of these teachings verified in Church history. For example, consider the case of the scandalous Pope John XII (reigned 955-963). Prince Octavian (his birth name) was only 16 years of age when elected, and he was a complete moral reprobate, as historian Fr. Fernand Mourret attests:
Nothing in his life marked him for this office, and everything should have kept him from it. He was rarely seen in church. His days and nights were spent in the company of young men and of disreputable women, in the pleasures of the table and of amusements and of the hunt, or in even more sinful sensual enjoyments. It is related that sometimes, in the midst of dissolute revelry, the prince had been seen to drink to the health of the devil. Raised to the papal office, Octavian changed his name and took the name of John XII. He was the first pope thus to assume a new name. But his new dignity brought about no change in his morals, and merely added the guilt of sacrilege.
Divine providence, watching over the Church, miraculously preserved the deposit of faith, of which this young voluptuary was the guardian. This Pope’s life was a monstrous scandal, but his bullarium is faultless. We cannot sufficiently admire this prodigy. There is not a heretic or a schismatic who has not endeavored to legitimate his own conduct dogmatically: Photius tried to justify his pride, Luther his sensual passions, Calvin his cold cruelty. Neither Sergius III nor John XII nor Benedict IX nor Alexander VI, supreme pontiffs, definers of the faith, certain of being heard and obeyed by the whole Church, uttered, from the height of their apostolic pulpit, a single word that could be an approval of their disorders.
At times John XII even became the defender of the threatened social order, of offended canon law, and of the religious life exposed to danger.
(Rev. Fernand Mourret, A History of the Catholic Church, Vol. 3 [St. Louis, MO: Herder Book Co., 1946], pp. 510-511; underlining added.)
The Papacy is specially protected by God. Sinful though Popes may personally be, no Catholic is permitted to deviate from their Magisterium.
Pope Leo XIII explicitly pointed out that it is not permissible to refuse submission to the current Pope by appealing to a past one, a future one, or an ecumenical council:
Similarly, 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.
(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua)
This is required of the faithful because God has guaranteed the Pope — any true Pope — to always be the safe and ultimate doctrinal guide for Catholics:
…the Church has received from on high a promise which guarantees her against every human weakness. What does it matter that the helm of the symbolic barque has been entrusted to feeble hands, when the Divine Pilot stands on the bridge, where, though invisible, He is watching and ruling? Blessed be the strength of his arm and the multitude of his mercies!
(Pope Leo XIII, Allocution to Cardinals, March 20, 1900; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 349.)
The Pope has the divine promises; even in his human weaknesses, he is invincible and unshakable; he is the messenger of truth and justice, the principle of the unity of the Church; his voice denounces errors, idolatries, superstitions; he condemns iniquities; he makes charity and virtue loved.
(Pope Pius XII, Address Ancora Una Volta, Feb. 20, 1949)
The Pope, then, is guaranteed to always be Catholic. God has promised it! Do we believe this? To be Catholic, we must. Once again, the unconditional adherence to Catholic dogma is what separates the Catholic from the heretic. More about this topic can be found in our post, “The Impossibility of Judging or Deposing a True Pope.”
Cardinals do not have power over the Pope, not singly nor collectively. To those who object that just as the cardinals can confer the Papacy on someone when they elect him Pope in conclave, so they can also withdraw this same Papacy from him, it must be answered that this is not true: Cardinals merely designate the person to receive the Papacy. All the electors can do is choose someone to receive the Papacy from God; they do not give him the Papacy, as though this power came from themselves.
As reprehensible as the moral conduct of Francis and his henchmen and of other individual Novus Ordo clerics may be, and as much as we ought to join in condemning them for it, we must always remember that this is not what makes them false popes, false bishops, or false priests. A true Pope covering up sex abuse is possible; a Pope, cardinal, bishop, or priest can commit very wicked deeds against young men and women, even children, and he would not be any less valid of a Catholic hierarch because of it, although he would be, of course, incredibly evil and on his way to eternal punishment in hell (cf. Mk 9:41), and in the eyes of men his credibility would be severely curtailed.
Against the Protestants, the Council of Trent defined dogmatically: “If anyone shall say that together with the loss of grace by sin faith also is always lost, or that the faith that remains is not a true faith, though it be not a living one, or that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian: let him be anathema” (Session VI, Canon 28; Denz. 838). It is absolutely crucial to affirm this truth, and the current Vigano affair is threatening to obscure it. What makes the Vatican II Church not Catholic is not that some of its clerics are moral scoundrels but that they do not profess the true Faith but a different, foreign one (cf. Gal 1:8-9).
Just look at the doctrinal record of these anti-Catholic spiritual criminals:
- John XXIII (1958-63)
- Paul VI (1963-78)
- John Paul I (Aug. 26, 1978 – Sep. 28, 1978)
- John Paul II (1978-2005)
- Benedict XVI (2005-13)
- Francis I (since 2013)
These people are simply not Roman Catholics. Their church, their entire religion, is essentially different from that of Pope Pius XII and his predecessors, as is proved all over this web site. This is why we can and must reject them. They cannot be Catholic Popes because they are not even Catholics. And they cannot be true Popes because they have done things true Popes, possessing “the divine promises”, are divinely protected from doing.
To conclude this post, since we are to be “wise as serpents” (Mt 10:16), it befits us to ponder a hypothetical scenario, a scenario we might very well see materialize in the coming days or weeks, depending on how things progress with the Vigano affair: Suppose that Vigano lied in his testimony, at least with regard to Francis himself. What would this mean?
One of the most powerful ways to enhance one’s own credibility and generate sympathy from the masses is to orchestrate a very serious accusation against oneself that is afterwards uncovered as a lie. People naturally sympathize with someone who has been publicly demonstrated to be the victim of vicious slander. With regard to the Vigano testimony specifically, if it were to be proved false, it would confer on Francis and his cabal, in the minds of men, a status of victimhood and moral uprightness. It would also immensely weaken any opposition against him, whether it be concerning church governance, doctrine, or anything else.
It would behoove us, therefore, to keep in mind, just as a possibility, that the entire campaign against Francis is a ploy — a ploy to trigger sympathy for Francis and to root out his opponents by identifying them in this way and then removing them from their positions. It is noticeable that most of those who side with Vigano are those who oppose Francis already on other grounds; and those who side with Francis also generally agree with his open Modernism.
Under this hypothesis, Vigano could himself be part of the plan or not. In 2013, he was considered part of Francis “magic circle” of advisors and a “great enemy of Ratzinger” (source). This may just be the opinion of a single journalist and may not mean much. But then again, it might. Regardless of whether this is all a big game being played, the end result could be the same: Francis’ enemies would have revealed themselves by coming out against him, and he could remove them all essentially for a “treason” of sorts, and the world would applaud him or at least show sympathy for his action.
This would ensure three things: (1) It would be a warning to any future “traitors” never to cross him; (2) Francis could appoint countless new “bishops” after his own heart to fill the vacancies created by his bulk removals; and (3) any potential objections against Francis and his henchmen would forever be dismissed from the get-go as just another baseless conspiracy set up to bring him down. The result would be that Club Francis would, effectively, have become untouchable, and Bergoglio would emerge looking like a saint, a hero, incredibly powerful. This additional power boost would come in very handy for Francis and allow him to kick his revolution into even higher gear. And higher gear is surely what he is aiming for — considering his advanced age, he knows he doesn’t have decades left on this earth.
In pondering this possible scenario, one is reminded of Agatha Christie’s tale Witness for the Prosecution, in which a woman testifies in court against her husband, who stands accused of murder. Upon research and examination, the wife’s testimony is found wanting and she is exposed as a liar, thus resulting in her husband’s acquittal. This is precisely the outcome the woman had intended, for she knew that testifying in his defense would not have convinced the jury much, she being his wife and therefore naturally given to defend him. That the exonerated defendant then confesses his guilt is only one of the many twists to the movie’s ending.
Too fanciful? Too cynical? Perhaps. But don’t underestimate the ultimate force at work in all this wickedness: Satan himself, who is “a liar, and the father thereof” (Jn 8:44). As a being angelic in nature, the devil, for all his wickedness, is incredibly intelligent. Christ our Lord warned that before His Second Coming “there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect” (Mt 24:24). We must keep this in mind, that we will see not only a masterful deception but presumably the greatest deception ever perpetrated against souls.
Alternatively, there could be something else afoot: Assume all of Vigano’s allegations are true and Francis is somehow persuaded to resign (or perhaps he dies), and anyone who was ever involved with some kind of sex abuse scandal or cover-up is found out and removed. The remaining “cardinals” proceed to a new conclave and elect someone like Raymond Burke, who would, of course, choose the name Benedict XVII. Then it would all return to the Ratzinger days, and the Vatican II Sect would still be as heretical and pernicious to souls as ever, but this time everyone will have deceived himself into thinking that the Catholic Church has been re-established and purged of all error and corruption, having overcome Francis and all his wickedness.
No matter how you look at it, it is a big farce, veritably the “operation of error” prophesied by St. Paul (2 Thess 2:10).
Regardless of how this plays out, we hope that this new week will allow us to breathe a bit so we can focus again on other topics, those that truly prove the Vatican II Sect to be a false church and essentially different from the Catholic Church. We have a lot of new content in the pipeline, including: a treatise on the case of the fourteenth-century Pope John XXII and his alleged “heresy” on the Beatific Vision; an article on “Pope” Benedict XVI and the Jews; a long-overdue response to The Remnant‘s Chris Jackson regarding the suppression of the Jesuits; further posts on Francis’ recent Catechism revision on the death penalty; and much more.
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