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Response to Paul Folbrecht continued…

Peace in the Crisis?
Catholic Family News Promotes a Dangerous Tranquility
 (PART 2)

by Francis del Sarto

CONTINUED FROM PART 1

This analysis is a response to most of Part II of Paul Folbrecht’s article “Finding Peace in the Crisis” published in November 2018 in Catholic Family News. Forthcoming will be a third and final installment, which will look at the remainder of Folbrecht’s Part II along with all of Part III.

As seen in Part 1 of this rebuttal, the theme of Mr. Folbrecht’s article is yet another ill-fated attempt at a defense of the recognize-and-resist (R&R) position. In this case, he adopts a similar tack to that of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, namely, that today’s situation can be likened to historical precedences. The present writer refuted this approach in “The Limits to Invoking ‘Papal Lapses’ as a Justification for the Recognize-and-Resist Position”.

If anything, Folbrecht takes the idea and goes a bit further with it. One may liken his description of the present day crisis as sounding like a weirdly self-contradictory, loose paraphrase of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities’ famous opening: “It is the worst of times, except it really isn’t the worst of times, it’s just sorta, kinda like the worst of times.” And that really isn’t much of a stretch, because Folbrecht says that while, like Arianism and the Protestant “Reformation”, today’s assault on orthodoxy has a more or less pandemic effect throughout the Church, it is worse than the historical parallels insofar as it is

the scourge of Modernism [which] attacks Truth itself, the foundation of the Church. A heresy with a foundation so broad embedding itself within the hierarchy is bound to have enormous and disastrous consequences, and so it has.

(Paul Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part I”, Catholic Family News, Sep. 17, 2018)

This characterization of the crisis, while largely true, misses a very important point. Modernism most definitely is not mere heresy, but something far worse: It is apostasy in its most diabolical form, positing at its core a denial of the very possibility of fixed dogmas in the Church, since (it argues) objective truth itself does not exist, but only ever-shifting approximations of “truth”. And insidiously, unlike many opponents of sound doctrine who might willingly leave the Church, these innovators attempt to avoid exposure by most speciously insisting on their fidelity to the Magisterium. It is for this reason that Pope St. Pius X warned in his encyclical letter Pascendi that Modernists “lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers.”

While we can agree (apart from the misbranding of Modernism) with Folbrecht when he describes “this crisis to be the worst in the history of the Church”, he minimizes its significance. Likening it to the Arian heresy, he asks a rhetorical question: “Material heresy out of the vast majority of the hierarchy?” Okay, but what about formal heretics, aren’t there any of those in the Novus Ordo hierarchy, Paul? If they’re all just in material heresy, as you argue, then where are the ones coming out of their fog, crying “mea culpa”? Surely in the past half-century or so, some of the thousands of these men have had their own “road to Damascus” experiences that would have returned them to orthodoxy, and led them to warn their flocks not to fall into the same doctrinal ditch. Right?

That’s the much bigger issue, after all, but the author won’t go there. Going back through his article, one searches in vain to find the phrases “formal heresy” or “formal heretic(s)”. He won’t so much as broach the possibility. So, there’s this big problem in the Church, he tells his readers, but not to worry, no one is truly a heretic, everyone is just innocently confused; for just as “75%-95% of the Church’s bishops” were mixed up about Christ’s divinity back in St. Athanasius’s day, according to Mr. Folbrecht, a like number of them today are presumably incapable of comprehending those simple but pesky theological concepts known to Catholics as dogmas.

Further diminishing the impact of what he calls a crisis he regards to be “the worst in the history of the Church” is his soothing self-retort that “we can have moral certainty that Francis really is Pope; that nothing he has done is ‘impossible’ in terms of what the Church teaches about her nature”. The correct conclusion, he postulates, is not to “overcorrect” (as he would say sedevacantists are doing) but to recognize and resist. (Of course we know that for Folbrecht and his co-religionists, the act of “recognizing” Jorge Bergoglio as Pope doesn’t amount to much more than lip service, barely more than a non-Catholic would give to a Pope.)

Further, he refers (in typical R&R fashion) to the “material heresy” taking place among the upper echelons of the Vatican II religion. It is strange indeed that many of these reprobate churchmen have brazenly espoused the most pernicious of errors for decades, yet for Mr. Folbrecht and those of like mind, there seems to be absolutely nothing that the Novus Ordo clergy can do to push the needle into the formal heresy zone — he has given them carte blanche to attack the Magisterium to their heterodox hearts’ content. And as we shall see below, he even positively condemns those who would dare question the Catholicity of Francis and his cohorts, no matter how grave their errors!

Paul Folbrecht decrees an R&R Riot Act

Folbrecht’s Part II is prefaced with what begins as a fairly objective description of certain positions opposed by the recognize-and-resisters, albeit with embedded false conclusions; it ends with a sweeping generalization (much as one would find from John Salza and Robert Siscoe), leading to a rather mean-spirited denunciation of a large number of those with whom he disagrees:

Next, we will discuss the assertions that Pope Francis has “lost his office,” either due to the sin of heresy, or to “manifest heresy” in the public forum and discuss the dogmas of the Church’s perpetual visibility and indefectibility (one or both of which is violated when one denies that the Pope is the Pope).

A person who denies or obstinately doubts that Francis is the Pope of the Catholic Church, and who also does not believe that Benedict XVI is still Pope, is a Sedevacantist. A person who denies or obstinately doubts that Francis is the Pope but who does believe that Benedict XVI is still Pope is clearly not a Sedevacantist, since for him the chair has an occupant, yet he is still in serious error, denying a dogmatic fact, and implicitly denying the formal visibility of the Church, as we will see below.

We must distinguish between those souls who are honestly confused by the crisis and tempted to believe someone like Francis cannot really be Pope, and those who dogmatically and publicly deny or doubt that reality. These are very different states and actions, with the former being possibly an honest, sincere, holy reaction.

However, rather than bringing peace to the soul, these errors invariably fester into a bitterness that attacks, rather than prays with, the Church.

(Paul Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part II”, Catholic Family News, Nov. 9, 2018; italics given.)

One may quibble with Mr. Folbrecht putting all his eggs into the Bergoglio has “lost his office” argument, since practically all sedevacantists strongly assert that it was never his to lose in the first place, an issue we’ll return to later. But be that as it may, it is his concluding thought in the first paragraph that needs a direct response, namely, that denying Francis’ claim to the Papacy violates “the Church’s perpetual visibility and indefectibility”.

What he does here is something that’s evident throughout his article (and indeed, evident in most R&R disputations): utilizing perfectly valid Church teaching to advance a faulty claim — in this case, arguing that to question the legitimacy of the papal claimant Francis is somehow equivalent to questioning the legitimacy of a true Pope — which is a classic case of begging the question. Arguing against Francis’ legitimacy, Folbrecht maintains, is tantamount to attacking the perpetual visibility and indefectibility of the Roman Catholic Church. The real attack on Church visibility and indefectibility, however, comes from Bergoglio’s usurpation, not from those who seek to expose the subversion. Folbrecht’s contention has the direct effect of diverting attention away from the actual problem to those opposing the subversion, even to the point, in some cases, of vilifying them rather than the man making a mockery of the papal office.

Folbrecht then defines and distinguishes the similarities and differences between those who question the legitimacy of both Francis and Benedict XVI, and those who maintain that Bergoglio lacks legitimacy due to the faulty or coerced resignation by his predecessor Ratzinger, whom they claim still is the true occupant of the Chair of Peter. This can be passed over without comment, since it’s accurate as far as it goes, but he adds that the latter position (and by reasonable inference, the former one as well) constitutes a “serious error, denying a dogmatic fact, and implicitly denying the formal visibility of the Church”. Again, this presupposes that the “dogmatic fact” of Bergoglio being a valid pontiff is indeed correct, which we most strongly challenge. (Rather than take the space to rebut the fallacy again, please review Part 1, where a refutation can be found in the sections entitled “Moral Certitude in Defense of Bergoglio’s ‘Pontificate’?” and “Are Catholics Obliged to Accept Bergoglio’s Election?”)

It’s at this point that Mr. Folbrecht decides to go all waspish on us. After extending an olive branch to those “honestly confused” and merely “tempted to believe” Francis isn’t a true pope by saying it might be “honest, sincere, holy reaction” from them, he aims his rhetorical gun at “those who dogmatically and publicly deny or doubt that reality”. Apparently such a reaction cannot possibly be “honest” or “sincere”, though of course he fails to explain why not. And, naturally, only the confused can have a “holy reaction”; those more emphatic and certain in their rejection of Bergoglio must be unholy miscreants for having such an aversion to “the Pope”.

But Folbrecht isn’t done. He rounds out the passage with this tendentious conclusion: “However, rather than bringing peace to the soul, these errors invariably fester into a bitterness that attacks, rather than prays with, the Church.” Now, a respected reference, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, defines “invariably” as “on every occasion : ALWAYS.” We’d love to know Mr. Folbrecht’s methodology in reaching such certitude, both in discerning what precise way holding to sedevacantism necessarily leads to bitterness, and how all who maintain that position are, without exception, bitter people, and bitter people who attack the Church (!) instead of praying with her.

Of course, he doesn’t share how he arrived at his conclusion, because he simply can’t defend such nonsense. Neither does the present writer believe he had any intention of doing so, rather being content to scare his readers with an ad hominem caricature, a tar brush broadly applied to cover countless people he’s never met and turn them into a legion of godless boogeymen. Are some sedevacantists bitter about something or other? Undoubtedly, and maybe in some cases the bitterness might stem from the hostile Modernist occupancy of the Holy See. Sure, of course.

Yet the same can be said of those who hold Folbrecht’s position — some of them are bitter. And we could easily say that they do not pray with Church, but attack her — not wittingly, of course, but with the same effect. For one cannot rally behind and recognize Jorge Mario Bergoglio as true pope, as they do — albeit grudgingly and with token resistance — without countenancing a tacit attack on the Catholic Church. Sorry, Mr. Folbrecht, but implicitly praying in union with a pseudo-pope and manifest apostate like Francis most assuredly is not praying in union with the Church. One must pray una cum (“together with”, a phrase used in the Canon of the Mass) a valid successor to St. Peter, not with a “pontiff” who is so radically at odds with so many fundamental doctrines — even dogmas — of the Faith that he doesn’t even meet the criteria for Church membership (given by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, n. 22), as is the case with Bergoglio. Adhering to Francis is not a proper attitude for those seeking the restoration of the Church, R&Rs’ delusions notwithstanding.

We could just as easily say that it is in reality not sedevacantism, but the recognize and resist position that “invariably festers into a bitterness”, because the internal contradictions inherent in said position necessarily cause frustration and in the end bitter zeal. We could do that, but won’t, because it’s not our desire make sweeping generalizations to draw a conclusion that may not be accurate for every single R&R proponent, or perhaps even most of them, and it is not a theological argument to begin with.

But back to Folbrecht’s smear of sedevacantists: To make a cocksure pronouncement as he’s done without first substantiating an invariable causal nexus (which, we submit, he cannot do, since none exists) is preposterous and irresponsible. Using the proper term is important, and “invariably” is not remotely the proper term. Next time, Folbrecht should look for the high road and take it. He’ll garner much more respect, even from his adversaries, if he quits resorting to such baseless accusations and demagoguery.

Folbrecht’s Misguided Excursion into the Internal Sin of Heresy Argument

The first section of Part II is entitled “The Sin of Heresy and Church Membership”, and is noted in the Introduction as an answer to sedevacantist claims that Francis is not a valid pontiff “either due to the sin of heresy, or to ‘manifest heresy’ in the public forum”. It begins:

Those who claim that the sin of heresy severs one from the Church are half right: Formal heresy (heresy held pertinaciously in the will) divests one of the theological virtue of Faith, entirely, severing him from the Soul of the Church, and leaving him a dead member of the Body.

The quickest way to refute the error that the internal virtue of Faith is required for membership in the visible Body of the Church is to explain that the common theological position is that no internal virtues whatever are needed for Church membership.

(Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part II”; italics given.)

It’s odd that he makes such a great show of refuting “the error that the internal virtue of Faith is required for membership in the visible Body of the Church”, as though he is shooting down a position held by sedevacantists, when in reality that is not the case at all. It’s an example of him once again attacking a strawman, and perhaps he’s simply repeating what John Salza and Robert Siscoe have falsely argued before him.

The 1932 canon law dissertation The Delict of Heresy by Fr. (later Bp.) Eric MacKenzie (1893-1969) furnishes important clarification concerning the distinction between internal and external heresy, how such heresy can be committed, and what presumptions the Church uses to detect heresy in the external forum:

…[T]he sin of heresy, as such, is confined to the conscience of the sinner. If there is nothing more than the erroneous judgment and the sinful will…, the Church will deal with the matter in the court of the internal forum, as part of the regular administration of the Sacrament of Penance. It is only when the sin of heresy is externalized that the individual is guilty of a delict, and subject to judgment in the external forum of the Church, and punishable by the penalties contained in the penal legislation of the Fifth Book of the Code of Canon Law.

We therefore deal hereafter with heresy as an externalized, morally imputable violation of the Church’s law. And our first question concerns the mode of committing this delict. The first and obvious answer to this question is that the delict of heresy is committed most commonly by words, written or spoken. This is the ordinary way of externalizing thought. A person who ponders a question of faith and arrives at a decision, will regularly express his decision in speech or writing; and if the decision be a pertinacious assent to error, he is guilty of the sin of heresy as soon as he makes a definite act of perverse will, and of the delict of heresy as soon as he completely expresses his erroneous judgment….

Words are the ordinary, but not the only means of communication. Complete externalization of thought may exist in signs, acts or omissions. Hence Pighi rightly states that if a person disbelieves in the Real Presence, and, in token of this disbelief, deliberately omits to remove his hat in a Catholic Church, he has completely expressed his heretical tenet, and has incurred censure. Noldin cites the case of those who seek to divine the secrets of the present, past or future, which are known to God alone, by appeal to spiritistic activities; if these consultations are made by a person who is at least implicitly aware that they have been condemned by the Church as both superstitious and heretical, then the consultation expresses heretical belief, is a delict, and entails censure. In these cases the subjective malice would give specific character to these acts; but since the special significance of the act would not be clear, the delict of heresy would remain occult. A judgment that everyone who consults spiritistic media, or who wears his hat in a Catholic Church, is guilty of heresy and excommunicated, would be unfair and without justification.

The delict of heresy, then, can have many forms. All of them will be serious, since in regard to faith there can be no partitas materiæ. To deny or doubt God’s Omniscience and Veracity is essentially the same, whether it be in one matter or another, in form of words or acts or omissions. When however a judge is determining whether or no a delict has been committed, he will properly look either for confession by the delinquent, or else some act which clearly and definitely expresses a heretical mind. To this end the Code itself brands certain acts as causing only the suspicion of heresy, because they may be committed by those who preserve the faith, although more commonly they indicate some heretical tenet.

The very commission of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine known to be contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for juridical presumption of heretical depravity [Canon 2200, §2]. There may however be circumstances which excuse the person either from all responsibility, or else from grave responsibility. These excusing circumstances have to be proved in the external forum, and the burden of proof is on the person whose action has given rise to the imputation of heresy. In the absence of such proof, all such excuses are presumed not to exist. When satisfactory proof is offered, the juridical presumption will yield to fact, and the person will be pronounced innocent of heresy, and not liable to censure.

(Rev. Eric F. MacKenzie, The Delict of Heresy in its Commission, Penalization, Absolution [Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1932], pp. 33-36)

On precisely what material is Folbrecht basing his accusation that sedevacantists hold that internal heresy suffices to make someone lose his membership in the Church, and likewise all offices he may have held (see Canon 188 n. 4)? Could it be that the R&R apologist has assumed, falsely, that the sin of heresy can only be committed internally?

Like many other sins, the sin of heresy can be internal or external; but when it is manifested externally, it is no longer only a sin — something dealt with in moral theology — but also a delict — dealt with in canon law. Hence MacKenzie writes, as quoted above: “It is only when the sin of heresy is externalized that the individual is guilty of a delict….” An externalized sin is still a sin, and all the principles of Catholic moral theology apply; but once externalized, the individual is then also “subject to judgment in the external forum of the Church, and punishable….”

Where Mr. Folbrecht and others of the R&R camp go wrong is by arguing for an either/or distinction that simply does not exist; namely, they repeatedly assert that only two options are available in this context: Either a man commits the sin of heresy internally against God, which can be absolved in the confessional, or he commits the canonical crime of heresy externally, which must be remitted by the proper Church authority. No allowance at all is made for the case we are actually dealing with: the sin of heresy being committed externally (the external canonical crime of heresy is not relevant inasmuch as the Pope, being the Supreme Legislator, is not subject to canon law).

Although the issue was at one point hotly disputed among theologians, since the First Vatican Council, the common position on the “heretical Pope” has been that of St. Robert Bellarmine (who was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1931), namely: “…a Pope who is a manifest heretic, ceases in himself to be Pope and head, just as he ceases in himself to be a Christian and member of the body of the Church: whereby, he can be judged and punished by the Church” (De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter 30; Grant translation; underlining added).

Of course, it is the R&R crowd that would have us think Francis was elected a true Pope to begin with. Novus Ordo Watch and virtually all sedevacantists reject the idea that he was ever a true Pope, for he was already a manifest heretic prior to the conclave of 2013, going back to his days as auxiliary and later “Archbishop” of Buenos Aires (1992-2013), and possibly even before then. Thus, since he was never a valid Roman Pontiff, his denial of the Faith would also be a canonical crime against against Church law (and not just an external sin), one that did not remove him from the Chair of Peter but that disqualified him from ever legitimately ascending to it in the first place.

As for Folbrecht, he attempts to prove the that Francis still remains the Pope, because he hasn’t received the canonical equivalent of due process, appealing directly to the 62 signatories of the July 16, 2017 Correctio Filialis de Haeresibus Propagatis, in which Francis is accused of propagating seven heretical propositions in Amoris Laetitia and other statements. (It hardly needs mention that in the nearly two years that have passed since it was first published, Bergoglio has never given a serious or direct response to this 25-page “filial correction”; rather, it’s received the same fate as the well-known dubia, and other similar appeals: stony silence. Far from correcting the legitimate issues raised, of course, he’s done the exact opposite, gleefully multiplying his theological offenses exponentially.)

Among the signers of the Correctio are three staunch anti-sedevacantists with whom regular visitors to Novus Ordo Watch will be quite familiar: Bp. Bernard Fellay, Christopher Ferrara, and Roberto de Mattei. The relevant text in the document, referred to by Folbrecht in “Finding Peace in the Crisis”, Part II, footnote 4, reads as follows:

15. The sin of heresy is committed by a person who possesses the theological virtue of faith, but then freely and knowingly chooses to disbelieve or doubt a truth of the Catholic faith. Such a person sins mortally and loses eternal life. The judgement of the Church upon the personal sin of heresy is exercised only by a priest in the sacrament of penance.

16. The canonical crime of heresy is committed when a Catholic a) publicly doubts or denies one or more truths of the Catholic faith, or publicly refuses to give assent to one or more truths of the Catholic faith, but does not doubt or deny all these truths or deny the existence of Christian revelation, and b) is pertinacious in this denial. Pertinacity consists in the person in question continuing to publicly doubt or deny one or more truths of the Catholic faith after having been warned by competent ecclesiastical authority that his doubt or denial is a rejection of a truth of the faith, and that this doubt or denial must be renounced and the truth in question must be publicly affirmed as divinely revealed by the person being warned.

(Correctio Filialis de Haeresibus Propagatis, p. 12)

Incidentally, it is well worth noting in passing that there is arguably an eighth heresy propagated by Francis in Amoris Laetitia that’s missing from the Correctio but just as significant as any of those mentioned, and that’s his allowing unrepentant public adulterers to receive Holy Communion. This is in direct conflict with the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist: let him be anathema. And that so great a Sacrament may not be unworthily received, and therefore unto death and condemnation, this holy Council ordains and declares that sacramental confession must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened by mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. If anyone moreover teaches the contrary or preaches or obstinately asserts, or even publicly by disputation shall presume to defend the contrary, by that fact itself he is excommunicated.

(Council of Trent, Session 13, Canon 11; Denz. 893; underlining added.)

Returning to the weakness in R&R reasoning on the distinction between the sin of heresy and the crime of heresy, we turn to a refutation of a 2004 anti-sedevacantist article by Fr. Dominique Boulet for the Lefebvrist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). This was critiqued three years later by Fr. Anthony Cekada, who wrote:

The principal flaw in Fr. Boulet’s argument — and one that runs through his lengthy article from beginning to end — is that he utterly confuses two aspects of heresy:

(1) Moral: Heresy as a sin (peccatum) against divine law.

(2) Canonical: Heresy as a crime (delictum) against canon law.

Fr. Boulet, like so many other anti-sedevacantist controversialists, seems to think it is the second aspect of heresy — heresy as a crime against canon law — that renders a public heretic incapable of becoming a true pope or that automatically strips him of his office if he falls into heresy after has already been elected to it.

Consequently, Fr. Boulet quotes at great length criteria from the Code of Canon Law that are used to determine when a crime is imputable, public, notorious, pertinacious, etc. Any “heresies” of the post-Conciliar popes, he maintains, do not meet these canonical standards, so (he concludes) there is nothing to the sedevacantist case.

But all this is barking up the wrong tree. It is not heresy in the second sense (crime against canon law), but heresy in the first sense (a sin against divine law) that prevents a public heretic from becoming or remaining pope. This is clear from the teaching of pre-Vatican II canonists like Coronata:

“III. Appointment to the office of the Primacy [i.e. papacy]. 1° What is required by divine law for this appointment: … Also required for validity is that the appointment be of a member of the Church. Heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are therefore excluded.”…

“2° Loss of office of the Roman Pontiff. This can occur in various ways: … c) Notorious heresy. …“If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one.” (Institutiones Iuris Canonici [Rome: Marietti 1950] 1:312, 316. My emphasis.)

Divine law removes the heretical pope. One need not therefore look to all the criteria laid down for crimes against canon law.

To attempt to do so in the case of a pope, moreover, is to commit a “category error” — to ascribe to something a property it could not possibly have. A pope, as Supreme Legislator, is above canon law, and therefore cannot commit a crime against it, so no evil act he commits can be properly called a “crime.” It can only be called a sin, because he is subject to the divine law alone.

(Fr. Anthony Cekada, “A Pope as a ‘Manifest’ or ‘Public’ Heretic”, Quidlibet, Oct. 10, 2007; all formatting given.)

So, while Folbrecht prattles on about an imaginary sedevacantist position, he misses the bigger picture. Yes, we definitely hold it’s the sin, not the crime, of heresy that renders a man not only unfit to be a successor to St. Peter but utterly incapable of holding the Supreme Pontificate validly, insofar as the heresy is public. That’s because such an offense is a violation of divine law, not canon law. So, let us hope that Folbrecht finally gets it now: It is the external sin of heresy — that is, a public pertinacious denial of dogma — that disqualifies a man from being a pope, not some internal sin.

Yet utterly ignoring this crucial distinction, Folbrecht nsists on spouting the following complete absurdity: “The notion that the internal sin of heresy can sever a churchman from his public office is, it must be said, a very naïve error, yet one routinely promoted by Sedevacantists.”

Routinely? Really? Try closer to not at all, anywhere, ever. But if it’s really such a routine occurrence, it should be easy for him to show us several instances as evidence. We won’t hold our breath on that request, as we certainly don’t expect him to perform the impossible. Indeed, we know not even one sedevacantist knowledgeable about his own position who makes such a claim. This just seems to be shoddy research and a rush to judgment on his part, which is apparently standard procedure for those holding to R&R.

Before moving on, we must make one final point: The teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, as quoted above, concerning the immediate loss of the papal office for a Pope who becomes a public heretic, is opposed by four alternate positions which Bellarmine describes and refutes. One of them, which Bellarmine refers to as the second opinion, is what Folbrecht erroneously ascribes to us sedevacantists: “…that the Pope, in the very instant in which he falls into heresy, even if it is only interior, is outside the Church and deposed by God…” (De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter 30; underlining added). But this position we reject and instead agree with what Bellarmine calls “the fifth [and] true opinion”, the one that holds that only a publicly heretical Pope would fall from the pontificate at once. For more information on the different theological views on this question and how we know which one is correct, please see Novus Ordo Watch’s recent article refuting John Salza and Robert Siscoe.

More Manifest Malarkey vs. St. Robert’s Fifth Opinion

The last bit of “naïve error” nonsense cited comes from the start of the following section, “Manifest Heresy”. If wrongly ascribing to sedevacantists the belief that interior heresy “can sever a churchman from his public office”, he then attempts to outdo himself in ignorance within the same paragraph:

…probably their single most common argument is that manifest heresy can be determined by some individual. Manifest or notorious public heresy does, in fact, sever one from the Body, but in the public forum, there is no doubt that it is the Church itself that makes the critical determination of its existence.

(Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part II”)

All he does here is reword the recognize and resist’s stale “only the Church can judge” argument. (Come on, Mr. Folbrecht, surely you can do better than that.) Needless to say, if by “determined” and “determination” he means a juridical ruling by the Church, we concur: No private individual Catholic can make such a legally authoritative determination. Pete the Pewsitter ain’t gonna hand down a legal judgment. That goes without saying. But again, no sedevacantist well-read in the Faith, however “dogmatic” he or she may be, would ever make such a ridiculous claim, unless that individual be one of Folbrecht’s artificial constructs perhaps.

What Catholics most definitely are entitled to determine is if a statement or action coming from the Modernists in Rome is in line with the Church’s pre-Vatican II magisterial teachings or not, even whether a dogma has been denied. As we’ve just seen above, this is something defenders of the recognize and resist position themselves do in such challenges to Francis as the Correctio Filialis, but let us allow the signatories of that document to speak for themselves on the subject; in this case, describing the contents of the second, and what they call “essential”, part of the letter:

It lists the passages of Amoris laetitia in which heretical positions are insinuated or encouraged, and then it lists words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical. In particular, the pope has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.

(Correctio Filialis web site; bold print given.)

In other words, when Bergoglio teaches that atheists can go to Heaven if they agree to have their children baptized, or when he states that “there is no Hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls”, it doesn’t take a St. Thomas Aquinas to know that this is a denial of dogma, and we are totally within our rights to say he’s declared a heresy.

So, now let’s put to rest once and for all the notion set forth by Mr. Folbrecht in the following:

There is no authority that those who claim that Francis has lost his office due to manifest heresy could name to support their position that some private individual can determine manifest heresy. There is simply no theologian who ever taught anything of the sort; the error arises from pure assumption on their part.

(italics given)

Oh, really? Once again Folbrecht has not done his homework. How about the following error condemned by Pope Alexander VII? “Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce [him], if you cannot prove it” (condemned in Decree of Sep. 24, 1665; Denz. 1105). Apparently Pope Alexander VII didn’t have a problem with the idea that the ordinary Catholic can detect heresy and pertinacity in others, even before the legal judgment of the Church (here “Peter” is simply a substitute for anyone, like “Joe Shmoe”).

But this is by no means the only evidence we have. In a study entitled “Can a Private Individual Recognize an Uncondemned Heretic?”, sedevacantist writer John S. Daly cites a number of sources, including Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself (see Matthew 7:15), St. Paul, Pope Alexander VII, Pope Paul IV, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Bruno, St. Hypatius, other saints, Canon Law, Denzinger, Cardinal de Lugo, Cornelius a Lapide, and Don Felix de Sarda y Salvany to prove that private individuals not only have the right but in some instances the obligation to denounce heretics, even within their own family.

St. Robert Bellarmine himself clearly favors this position, for we read in De Romano Pontifice that St. Robert specifically appeals to the Apostle to the Gentiles to make it clear that Catholics need not wait for a final determination from the Church to avoid one who has fallen from the pontificate, or never possessed it in the first place, due to his disbelief:

…that a manifest heretic would be ipso facto [by the fact itself] deposed, is proven from authority and reason. The Authority is of St. Paul, who commands Titus [Titus 3], that after two censures, that is, after he appears manifestly pertinacious, an heretic is to be shunned: and he understands this before excommunication and sentence of a judge.

(De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter 30; underlining added.)

Again, what’s being discussed here isn’t usurping power from an ecclesiastical court, anymore than the eyewitness to a bank robbery is usurping the power of a civil court by stating what he knows has actually happened. This distinction is brought out in another John Daly analysis, “Supplied Jurisdiction: The Bishop and the Axiom”, which concerns the SSPX’s strangely flexible position on the subject, focusing on statements by the Society’s Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais. In the closing paragraphs, Mr. Daly comes to a conclusion quite applicable to the discussion at hand:

The SSPX has claimed, on frequently insufficient grounds, almost every species of authority and jurisdiction that exist in the Church…except one. When it comes to forming the judgment that the Vatican II “popes” are not in fact legitimate occupants of the Holy See, the SSPX suddenly displays an unaccustomed tenderness of conscience, bordering surely upon scruples: they fear that they have no authority or jurisdiction to reach such a judgment. Is this not what is meant by straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel?

It is imperative that Bishop Tissier return to his theology books. If he studies Bellarmine, Billot, Wernz, the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique and the other well-known sources on the question of the heretical pope, he will see that no special power whatever is needed to detect fact

(John S. Daly, “Supplied Jurisdiction: The Bishop and the Axiom”Romeward; italics given; underlining added.)

Mr. Folbrecht would do well to heed the same sage advice.

That Bergoglio being a heretic is a fact rather than mere conjecture or suspicion, is amply clear in the face of six years (or more, if we want to go back to his equally outrageous time spent as Archlayman of Buenos Aires) of his flagrant and virtually non-stop attacks upon the Faith writ large for the world to see on a regular basis — attacks that are more than obvious enough for prudent Catholics inspecting his external works, to draw the inescapable conclusion that he is at the very least a heretic on multiple grounds, but more likely a total apostate. (Here we must submit that the recognize-and-resist defense of Bergoglio’s claim to the Holy See in view of a mountain of evidence to the contrary is at best unreasonably stubborn, and at worst disingenuous. They really have no sound counterargument to show why the man ought to be given the benefit of the doubt, and they know it.)

Here we see more evidence that in a sense one of the biggest problems confronting defenders of the R&R position — indeed, possibly the biggest problem — is their utter misapprehension of what can be lawful determination of heresy by private Catholics, leading, ironically, to their systemic refusal to recognize it in the false claimants to the Chair of Peter.

But Folbrecht is dogged in his confusion, even appealing to St. Robert regarding jurisdiction, and how the Church must remove a heretic Pope, just as it had put him in office. However, on this point the saint is only telling us the mechanism by which the fallen-away ex-Pontiff would be removed from physical possession of the office, not that he actually remained pope prior to a legal declaration of his new status, as is insinuated. Clearly, Bellarmine isn’t contradicting his own position.

The juridical ruling by the Church merely gives official recognition that the former Pope, by his own falling away, is no longer to be identified as the lawful occupant of the Chair of Peter; it notifies the Universal Church in an official and canonical way of what has taken place and opens up the way to a new conclave. It’s simply clearing the way of dead wood, so to speak.

Again, it is the manifest heretic who ipso facto removes himself from office by his perfidy, as stated by St. Robert, whose Fifth Opinion has been sourced countless times since Vatican II in the ongoing sedevacantist vs. R&R disputation. The heretical pope would cease to be Pope, just as he would cease to a Catholic, automatically and by his own will, and prior to any judgment or punishment by the Church. This loss of office is due to the external manifest sin of heresy, and not the crime of heresy, because it is God Himself who deposes the malefactor in the very act. (It should be noted that in the case of Bergoglio it is clear that he had already disqualified himself as a possible candidate for the Papacy by manifest heresy prior to his election.)

Mr. Folbrecht would have his readers believe that sedevacantists somehow usurp ecclesiastical authority to make a legal determination of heresy, yet he has done nothing to back up his claim; rather, he busies himself quoting sources that are off point. At the same time he’s slightly dismissive of St. Robert himself:

Furthermore, it should be noted that there is not even a theological consensus that the manifest heresy immediately deposes a Pope from office, with no other action from the Church. This was Bellarmine’s opinion, and is certainly probable, but it is not a universal theological opinion, much less a doctrine of the Church.

(Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part II”)

To argue that Bellarmine’s teaching is merely “probable” — which according to the Church’s theological notes is the least authoritative, such that one is essentially free to agree or disagree with it — is to miss the mark entirely. Unlike how it’s characterized by Folbrecht, the position so famously defended by St. Robert comes far closer to having a theological consensus than being wide open for debate, as will now be demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt.

The R&R lobby has consistently detested St. Robert’s position, knowing that it buttresses the sedevacantist stand, while just as significantly undermining their own; and it is for that reason that its proponents have ever sought for ways to minimize and discredit its status, such as calling it just “probable”. Nevertheless, as will be shown, it now must be considered by far the strongest opinion, and while perhaps not explicitly part of the papal Magisterium, it reflects the mind of the Church far more than any of the alternatives.

First of all, St. Robert’s writings on the Papacy are regarded by the Church as the principal defense of the Holy See by any theologian, as is specifically noted in the Collect for his Feast Day:

O God, who didst adorn blessed Robert, Thy Bishop and Doctor, with marvelous learning and virtue to expose the deceptions of error and to defend the rights of the Apostolic See, grant that, by his merits and intercession, love for the truth may increase in us and the souls of the erring may return to the unity of Thy Church.

(Collect of Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, BCD [May 13], Roman Missal; underlining added.)

In addition, Bellarmine is one of three Doctors of the Universal Church who taught the same regarding ipso facto loss of office, with the others being St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Francis de Sales (although St. Francis was less certain than the other two). Further, St. Robert notes that his position is also “the opinion of all the ancient Fathers”. The strength of this view over the competing ones (that Folbrecht apparently prefers) is borne out in the following passage from John Daly’s study on the ability of private individuals to recognize heretics, cited earlier:

A very large number of theologians have discussed whether a pope could fall into heresy subsequent to his election, and if so what consequences would follow. Their discussion of this hypothesis also sheds light on the effect of public heresy, pending the Church’s judgment, when perpetrated by someone of lower rank. A few authors considered that a heretical pope would still have to be recognised as pope by the Church — Cajetan, Suarez, John of St Thomas, Journet and Bouix. But the weight of authority is massively in favour of the opposing view — namely that the miscreant pope would automatically forfeit his office by virtue of the very fact of public heresy and that the faithful would thereby be absolved of all duty of obedience towards him because he would no longer be pope at all. The principle advanced is that one who is not in the Church, cannot possibly hold office in her, and particularly not be her head. (St Robert Bellarmine, St Alphonsus Liguori, Ballerini, Naz, Billot, Sylvius, Melchior Cano, Wernz-Vidal, et al.)

(John S. Daly, “Can a Private Individual Recognize an Uncondemned Heretic?”, Romeward; italics given.)

That the Bellarmine position was gradually being accepted as the correct one has the backing of the Deputation of the Faith at the First (and only true) Vatican Council in 1870. Cincinnati’s Archbishop John Purcell, who was in attendance, recalls:

The question was also raised by a Cardinal, “What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?” It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.

If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, “I believe in Christ,” etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.

(Abp. John B. Purcell, quoted in Rev. James J. McGovern, Life and Life Work of Pope Leo XIII [Chicago, IL: Allied Printing, 1903], p. 241; imprimatur by Abp. James Quigley of Chicago; underlining added.)

Again, Bellarmine’s position was undoubtedly the prevailing one, and going forward, it has been seen as the correct one. Forty years later it is the only viable opinion mentioned in The Catholic Encyclopedia, where we read: “The pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church” (s.v. “Heresy”).

We find the same principle expressed in a popular and well-respected mid-20th century reference work, this time with some important details included:

A pope can only be deposed for heresy, expressed or implied, and then only by a general council. It is not strictly deposition, but a declaration of fact, since by his heresy he has already ceased to be head of the Church.

(Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, 3rd. ed. [New York, NY: Macmillan Co., 1958], s.v. “POPE, DEPOSITION OF A”; underlining added.)

And:

An heretical pope necessarily ceases to be head of the Church, for by his heresy he is no longer a member thereof: in the event of his still claiming the Roman see a general council, improperly so-called because without the pope, could remove him. But this is not deposition, since by his own act he is no longer pope.

(Attwater, A Catholic Dictionary, s.v. “DEPOSITION”; underlining added.)

The Code of Canon Law of 1917, too, leaves no doubt concerning which position the Church sides with:

Any office becomes vacant u pon the fact and without any declaration by tacit resignation recognized by the law itself if a cleric … [p]ublicly defects from the Catholic faith[.]

(Canon 188 n. 4; in Edward N. Peters, ed., The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2001]. Original Latin text available here.)

Thus it does not surprise that Bellarmine’s position is the standard teaching of Catholic canonists writing after Vatican I but before Vatican II. For example, here is what Fr. Matthaeus Conte a Coronata, O.M.C., says about the matter:

…it cannot be proved that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher [!], cannot become a heretic, for example, if he contumaciously denies a dogma previously defined; this impeccability was nowhere promised to him by God. On the contrary, [Pope] Innocent III expressly admits that the case can be conceded. But if the case should take place, he falls from office by divine law, without any sentence, not even a declaratory one. For he who openly professes heresy places his very self outside the Church, and it is not probable that Christ preserves the Primacy of His Church with such an unworthy individual. Consequently, if the Roman Pontiff professes heresy, he is deprived of his authority before any whatsoever sentence, which [sentence] is impossible.

(Rev. Matthaeus Conte a Coronata, Institutiones Iuris Canonici, vol. I, 4th ed. [Rome: Marietti, 1950], n. 316c; our translation; underlining added.)

It ought to be pointed out that all controversy regarding the possibility or impossibility of the Pope becoming a heretic only admit the case of the Pope becoming a heretic “as a private teacher”, as Coronata clearly states. The idea that a Pope could allow heresy to taint the official exercise of his Magisterium — whether fallible or infallible — is not condeded by anyone, for it is absurd and impossible on its face, given the Catholic teaching on the Papacy.

The other opinions concerning what would occur in the case of a heretical Pope have long been discarded by the time we reach the current controversy, which is why recognize-and-resist controversialists have had to reach for dusty tomes often from hundreds of years ago in a desperate attempt to give their argument even a semblance of credibility.

So, the two major contentions argued by Mr. Folbrecht — that sedevacantists think internal heresy is what causes loss of the papal office, and that they can “judge the Pope” — are shown to have no foundation, despite him railing on about how his imaginary private individuals trying to pass judgment is “a self-consistent system of insanity”.

Francis — a Formal or Merely Material Heretic?

Then, to conclude the section, the Catholic Family News columnist writes:

Of course, primary blame for the terrible confusion in the Church today must be placed at the feet of Pope Francis and his Modernist cohorts (including his predecessors). They have co-opted the Church, not only refusing to teach the true, defined Faith with clarity, but propagating a myriad of confusing, vague, contradictory, erroneous, and even materially heretical statements that have left the Church, materially, in shambles.

(Folbrecht, “Finding Peace in the Crisis, Part II”)

Let’s see: He says the primary blame for the confusion belongs to “Francis and his Modernist cohorts”. Okay, but if that’s the case, why is Folbrecht spending most of a three-part article to prop up Bergoglio’s bogus claim to the Papacy, while castigating those who adamantly challenge its very legitimacy?

Well, take a look at what he’s saying again. Modernist Francis, along with his like-minded cohorts and predecessors “have co-opted the Church”. Given the context, co-opted is equivalent to saying they’ve “taken over” the Church and left it “in shambles”, which is accurate up to a point; but the Vatican II Sect they’ve instituted is a counterfeit church, which is not Catholic, aside from the misappropriated name and seizure (and disfigurement) of her outer trappings.

Though these men refuse to teach the true Faith and instead have been “propagating a myriad of confusing, vague, contradictory, erroneous, and even materially heretical statements”, he seems all too ready to give them a free pass. Yes, they’re Modernists, which Pope St. Pius X castigated as the greatest enemies the Church has ever known, and yes, they’re spreading heretical statements, but they really don’t know what they’re doing nor agree that it’s wrong, so those heretical statements are only materially heretical, so who are we to judge?!

Time does not permit going one by one through the Conciliar “Popes”, but we strongly resist the characterization of Bergoglio’s heresies as merely material, as he’s given every indication that he’s quite pertinacious (defined as obstinately holding a position one knows to be at variance with a dogma of the Church) in his denial of revealed truth and propagation of error. We won’t go into all the proofs here, but what follows should be sufficient for most people. (For a detailed discussion of pertinacity in light of Canon 2200 §2, see John Daly’s essay, “Pertinacity: Material & Formal Heresy.”)

As shown above, repeatedly Francis has completely ignored every attempt at correction, including the dubia, which were hand-delivered to him by one of the signers, “Cardinal” Carlo Caffarra. Another of the signatories, “Cardinal” Walter Brandmüller, testified that “the Pope did not even confirm their reception. It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?” (quoted in Maike Hickson, “Cardinal Brandmüller Questions Francis’ Claim Not to Have Received the Dubia Before Publication”, One Peter Five, June 20, 2018).

To further solidify the formal (i.e. willful) nature of his heresy, not only did Bergoglio turn a blind eye to the dubia document and its signers, but he made a point of giving his Modernist seal of approval to an interpretation of Amoris Laetitia that went completely counter to the concerns of the dubia “Cardinals”, those behind the Correctio Filialis, and others (including “bishops”) who had formally attempted to bring his recalcitrant spirit into line. In fact, so impervious was he to every effort to have him reconsider that he went out of his way to say that henceforth the completely heterodox reading of his “Apostolic Exhortation” would be part of the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

At the time, a commentary on the outrage was carried at Novus Ordo Watch, which began:

After more than 19 months of reports, analyses, arguments, interviews, rumors, conjectures, accusations, excuses, warnings, “corrections”, promises, allusions, and plenty of spin, the “doubts” about the correct interpretation of Francis’ “Apostolic” Exhortation Amoris Laetitia have now been officially put to rest: In a tacit move behind the scenes, Francis ordered that his Sep. 2016 endorsement of the interpretation offered by the Argentine “bishops” of the Buenos Aires region for their flock become a part of his (putative) “authentic Magisterium” and be included in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which is the official Vatican organ publishing papal texts and decisions.

(“Novus Ordos in Shock as Francis declares Permissibility of Communion for Public Adulterers ‘Authentic Magisterium'”, Novus Ordo Wire, Dec. 7, 2017)

In this, the pseudo-Pope unmistakably affirmed to all the world his pertinacity, for

  • At no time did he issue a statement to the effect that he was unsure about the orthodoxy of those points, and ask that if he was mistaken on any of them, to be counseled and corrected by someone more knowledgeable
  • When given several opportunities to humbly abjure his heresies, he has ignored the requests for clarification, even refusing to enter into discussion, and thus remaining stubbornly entrenched in his rebellion
  • He has gone out of his way to emphasize his rebellion from sound Catholic doctrine by congratulating the Argentine “bishops” for correctly (read: heretically) interpreting his thoughts, and even seeking to codify the error as “authentic magisterium”!

Simply put, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is heedless of whether what he’s teaching constitutes a transgression of dogmatic boundaries, is oblivious to warnings from members of his hierarchy (because in his mind, no one is going to tell him different), and is so contumelious as to assert that said heresies are part of official Catholic teaching. If he isn’t pertinacious in his heresy, then the word has lost all meaning. But, of course, he is pertinacious, and, therefore, a formal heretic.

Although the preceding should give enough evidence to support the fact, there is one more crystal-clear indicator we will mention here.

Another characteristic of a pertinacious heretic is his utter disregard for orthodoxy. As a rebel, he doesn’t particularly care whether what he believes is in line with the teaching of the Church or not, since he is his own standard of belief, that is, he decides what is truth and what is falsehood. (The Greek root of the term heresy is hairesis, which means “the act of choosing”; by extension, the choosing of which dogmas one wants to believe or in what sense one wishes to understand them.)

On the occasion of the Protestant-Ecumenical “Day of Unity” that took place on May 23, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona, “Pope” Francis provided a video message to the gathering in which he made the following astounding statement: “And it comes to my mind to say something that may be foolish or perhaps a heresy, I don’t know” (quoted in “Spanish Original shows Francis admitted his Teaching is ‘perhaps a Heresy, I don’t know'”, Novus Ordo Wire, May 27, 2015).

He goes on to what indeed was a heresy (and foolish, too, we might add), his pet “ecumenism of blood” doctrine, one that may be seen as a direct corollary to Vatican II’s non-Catholic sects being “means of salvation” heresy (covered in the last section of Part 1 of this study). His lead-in sentence is particularly damning to any claims to the Papacy that the R&R camp imagines him to have.

Aside from the heresy itself, Bergoglio demonstrates his lack of fitness for the position he claims to hold, as well as his indifference to orthodoxy. By his own lips he states that he’s going to say something that might be a heresy, that is, he’s not going to hold back on saying it for fear of scandal or leading people into a denial of divine revelation. (If he really was the Pope, shouldn’t he have a fair grasp of, say — oh, I don’t know — dogmas of the Church, that sort of thing? It’s not like that would be above his pay grade or anything.)

And make no mistake, he wasn’t bringing up a heresy to condemn it. Of course not. (Anyone who was thinking he might condemn an error, give yourself a demerit and take a seat at the back of the classroom.) He’s not going to bother keeping quiet or checking with some competent theologian as to whether the point he’s about to make is Catholic or not — no, he’s just going to blurt it out, and let the chips fall where they may. In short, he doesn’t know if it’s heresy, and he doesn’t care! Again, this is textbook pertinacity on display.

“Pope” Francis has demonstrated, not only in this case, but in numerous other instances as well, dating back to his time as “Archbishop” of Buenos Aires, that he does not profess the Catholic Faith, but a peculiar version of Modernism. (Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” [Jn 18:38], to which Bergoglio might answer, “I don’t know, but it’s always evolving”.) Even had there been legitimate electors at the conclave of 2013, his election would still be null on account of his intrinsic ineligibility.

Francis is the apostate “Pope” of Mr. Folbrecht, the one to whom he can’t submit but that he also can’t bear to part with, or even do more than marginally condemn for his “materially” heretical statements. It’s like we’ve come full circle on our paraphrase of his ludicrous “It is the worst of times, except it really isn’t the worst of times, it’s just sorta, kinda like the worst of times” mentality. He’s essentially arguing that there’s been a Modernist takeover of the Church, but “not to worry, it’s only a material takeover”.

What he argues has a distinct resemblance to the third opinion discussed by St. Robert, and rightly rejected by him, namely, “that the Pope is not and cannot be deposed either by secret or manifest heresy”. In other words, it’s a position of, “Okay, Bergoglio’s a heretic, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re stuck with him, so we might as well make the best of a bad situation. He’s tossing lots of lemons around, so we might as well open the self-serve R&R Lemonade Stand. But don’t you dare actually submit to him!”

Now that, we submit, is a really “self-consistent system of insanity”, if ever there was one! A self-consistent system of insanity called recognize and resist.

TO BE CONCLUDED IN PART THREE

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