Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching
The sedevacantist blogger Steven Speray has recently released an important blog post we are happy to republish on this web site, with his permission. It concerns the foundational belief of those who try to be traditional Catholics while believing the “Popes” after Pius XII to be valid and true Vicars of Christ — the so-called “recognize-and-resist” position (R&R).
Pope Pius XI Squashes the Recognize-and-Resist Position
by Steve Speray (Aug. 27, 2019)
Can the faithful recognize and resist the pope? I dealt with this question in a 2015 article. However, I recently stumbled upon some teachings from Pope Pius XI that castigate the recognize-and-resist theology. I’ve highlighted the relevant parts within the context that contradicts R&R-ism.
In Mortalium Animos – On Religious Unity, Jan. 6, 1928, Pope Pius XI declared:
#5 Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians…
#7…There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it.
#11…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?
The words “recognize and obey” are exactly opposite to “recognize and resist.” The R&R crowd doesn’t obey those they call the legitimate successors of Peter. They ignore them, resist them, and reject their teachings. They are most certainly trying to stand in the way of the Vatican II popes and implementing Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. Of course, the R&R crowd is correct in rejecting the Modernism of the Vatican II “popes”, but their justification for doing so in opposition to what is recognized as the papal authority, is heretical, blasphemous, and just plain stupid.
The underlying principle of Mortalium Animos is rejected by the R&R crowd. But then again, every papal document is an instance of the Roman Pontiff putting forth his papal authority for the faithful to obey, not to resist.
On Dec. 31, 1929, Pope Pius XI declared in Divini Illius Magistri – On Christian Education:
18. Hence it is that in this proper object of her mission, that is, “in faith and morals, God Himself has made the Church sharer in the divine magisterium and, by a special privilege, granted her immunity from error; hence she is the mistress of men, supreme and absolutely sure, and she has inherent in herself an inviolable right to freedom in teaching.’…
20.The Church does not say that morality belongs purely, in the sense of exclusively, to her; but that it belongs wholly to her.…
25. The extent of the Church’s mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ: “Teach ye all nations;” and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her or stand in her way. In the first place, it extends over all the Faithful, of whom she has anxious care as a tender mother.
The whole document is about the importance of getting a good, holy, and true Christian education, which can only come about by following and obeying the teachings of the Roman Pontiff and following his rules for this education. What’s the point if the Catholic Church is propagating error like every other religion, as the R&R proponents essentially claim?
The position of the R&R crowd makes the Catholic Church out to be the biggest hypocritical organization in the world. It would mean that the Catholic Church is more or less permitted to lead people astray with error, while all other religions are condemned by the Catholic Church for doing the same thing. It would mean only the Catholic Church gets to be heretical, while Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy are condemned by the Catholic Church as false religions when they do so.
That’s why the R&R position is heretical, blasphemous, and stupid.
On Dec. 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI promulgated Casti Connubii – On Christian Marriage. Once again, the pope emphasizes his authority over all the faithful. He declares in #104:
Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.
The approach of the R&R crowd is to resist, dismiss, and disdain every papal teaching that they think comes short of proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas protected by infallibility. In principle, the R&R crowd is really no different than the liberals who reject the teaching of Casti Connubii on the authority of the Roman Pontiff as much as they do — they just apply it to a different issue (that of contraception; see #54).
The pick-and-choose mentality of the R&R crowd is what makes them the worst of hypocrites. They profess to be obedient and faithful Catholics but are neither.
Jesus told us where hypocrites go in Matt. 24:51 — and it’s not paradise.
Minor edits have been made to this post to enhance readability and consistency, with the author’s permission. The original can be found here.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
License: public domain
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