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What accepting Bergoglio gets you…

OnePeterFive: “We all have to face this fear above all fears: that Catholicism may be wrong”

The web site One Peter Five is a popular destination for recognize-and-resist traditionalists and conservative Novus Ordos who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass, are uneasy with Vatican II, and can’t take Francis’ theological junk anymore — and who, of course, want to find reassurance that they should not be sedevacantists.

The site brands itself as “rebuilding Catholic culture” and “restoring Catholic Tradition”, which makes for a great tagline across its masthead. Unfortunately, One Peter Five’s executive director and editor Steve Skojec apparently thinks he can do either while kicking traditional Catholic theology to the curb.

Certainly, pre-Vatican II theology is warmly embraced by recognizing-and-resisting semi-traditionalists like Skojec and his contributors for as long as it does not require giving up certain dearly-held beliefs, such as: All the papal claimants since the death of Pope Pius XII have been valid Popes; Vatican II was not infallible and can/ought to be junked, or at least resisted; the New Mass is bad, though not invalid; the new ordination rite is valid; the Pope can be resisted if he doesn’t speak infallibly; canonizations of saints are not infallible or, if they are, they only mean the canonized is in Heaven, not that he lived a life of heroic virtue on earth and is worthy of imitation and veneration; sedevacantists are schismatics, heretics, or, in any case, lunatics and absolutely wrong.

As long as these or similar ideas remain untouched, just about anything goes for the semi-trads, especially at One Peter Five, which has established itself as a propaganda outlet for the recognize-Francis-but-resist-him position. The following posts demonstrate this:

Another instance of the glaring theological comedy that passes for “traditional Catholicism” on One Peter Five is the post “Papal Infallibility: Peter and Paul Are Interdependent”, to which we still intend to present a rebuttal. Our podcasts TRADCAST 024 and TRADCAST 025 also include critiques of Skojeckian theology.

One Peter Five‘s latest feature once again takes the cake. Entitled “Dear Jorge Mario Bergoglio”, it is an open letter to the “Pope” written by Stefanie Nicholas, a recent convert from Greek Orthodoxy to what she thought was Roman Catholicism.

In her missive to the Argentinian apostate, Miss Nicholas writes:

There’s an ocean between me and you in so many ways…but especially in the faith we both share in name. There’s the Catholicism I came to believe in, the gift of faith given to me so inexplicably in 2018…and then there’s the Catholicism you believe in. Did you always believe in this same false gospel? Or did you start with only a drop of Modernist poison, fed to you for years and years until you forgot some childlike, genuine faith you once had? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s the latter. That makes me so deeply sad for you. You are not the cause of this, not really. You are only an outcome. But I know one thing: these Catholicisms we believe are not the same. They are an ocean apart. We are an ocean apart.

I am sure you can guess at the doctrinal disagreements we have. There are so many, and at the same time, there is really only one that matters to me now, at least in this letter. I believe that the Church cannot contradict herself. You believe she can. There is no middle space between these views. There is only one that can be right. I know that to argue with you is futile. So many have tried. So many bishops, so many priests, so many theologians, so many brilliant men. Even cardinals, who went so far as to present to you dubia. You ignored even that.

Anyone who understands the basics of the Papacy will be shocked to read such utter absurdity. If Jorge Bergoglio is the Pope, then his faith is the Faith of the Church; in fact, being the successor of St. Peter, the Church derives, as it were, her Faith from him, for he alone has the “gift of truth and never-failing Faith” by means of which he is charged to “strengthen [his] brethren” (Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; Lk 22:32).

Despite all the protestations of “restoring Catholic Tradition”, somehow the doctrine of Papal Primacy and its consequences is considered expendable — as though it had no validity for our times and could be dismissed at will because… well, because adherence to it would lead to Sedevacantism, and that is a conclusion that is simply not allowed among the semi-trads, no matter what absurdities one must affirm in order to avoid it.

Nicholas is nonchalantly accusing her “Pope” of adhering to a false gospel. That Bergoglio does adhere to a false gospel is plain as day — but to acknowledge this man as the Vicar of Christ in the same breath throws a monkey wrench into everything. It “breaks” Catholicism, as it were, for the office of Pope is not just an honorary designation, a mere label.

In fact, Nicholas herself implicitly acknowledges as much in what must be the most outrageous part of her whole post, where she writes:

We all have to face this fear above all fears: that Catholicism may be wrong, and that you, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, may be the one to prove it. The possibility of accepting a life devoid of objective, knowable truth, of an unchanging moral code, of the beauty of our Holy Mother Church…I lived that life for a long time. I don’t know what would happen to me if I had to face it again. You may find that immature. Perhaps even some people reading this letter would refuse to admit ever fearing such things. I’m not sure I believe them. I think we’ve all felt this way in the dark.

What is a woman with such fears doing writing for a supposedly Catholic publication, one that has made its goal the “rebuilding [of] Catholic culture” and “restoring [of] Catholic Tradition”?

A few lines later, the author backtracks on her scandalous remarks somewhat:

Despite those fears I have at night, I know that Catholicism, the real Catholicism, is true. Jesus Christ is Lord. I have to stay strong, and I have to help others to stay strong. I have to hold on to the Faith. It’s all that matters. If I have my faith, no other suffering can ever be pointless. Because of these facts, I have to oppose your actions. It is my moral duty.

What Nicholas is saying is that accepting Jorge Bergoglio as Pope makes people doubt their Faith, makes them “fear” that Catholicism is false. And with good reason, for if the man were Pope, then indeed Catholicism would be false because the guarantees Christ gave to the Popes are clearly not verified in Francis. But even in that case, Francis still wouldn’t be Pope because if Catholicism were false, then there would be no Papacy. Thus we have a “double-proof” of Francis’ illegitimacy: Even if he were a true Pope, he would be a false one, so to speak.

Quite simply, Catholicism stands and falls with the Papacy. That is the reason why on Novus Ordo Watch we place so much emphasis on the fact that Francis is not the Pope and that his five predecessors of infelicitous memory have been impostors as well. It is because we believe in the Papacy that we must reject false claimants. That Jorge Bergoglio should be an impostor, is entirely possible and is in no way contrary to the Faith; but that the Papacy should be false, is not possible. Hence we choose that which is possible over that which is not.

Recognize-and-resist writers have been at their wits’ end with Francis. Because of him, another One Peter Five contributor, Hilary White, has publicly questioned Vatican I, which is heresy. Shall heresy “restore Catholic Tradition”? No more than gasoline will extinguish a blazing inferno. Eric Sammons, writing for the same web site, recently dished out the most ridiculous arguments to defend Francis’ claim to the Papacy. Two months ago Steve Skojec himself tweeted a direct blasphemy impugning God’s goodness, and on Mar. 5 of this year, Skojec had written on Twitter: “I’d be an atheist before I was a sede[vacantist].” God forbid, but if he keeps going like this, he may just get his preference. And of course The Remnant‘s Michael Matt puts out one theological train wreck after another.

All this madness — for what? It’s all due to their stubborn refusal to countenance Sedevacantism, to the point where some of them are now explicitly toying with giving up the Faith, thereby enticing their readers to do the same. That is a true and proper scandal.

While one can sympathize with people’s struggles as they work through spiritual challenges, we must keep in mind that they are saying these things in public, publishing them to the entire world. These are not things said in secret, shared among confidants, or with a confessor. No, all this is taking place in a public forum. What a scandal!

Why are such people presuming to provide any kind of guidance on how to be a good Catholic in our times? Why do so many look to them for leadership? Our Blessed Lord warned us: “Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit” (Mt 15:14).

One Peter Five‘s “About” page explains that the organization’s name was chosen in reference to the First Epistle of St. Peter, Chapter 5, specifically verses 8-9: “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith….” How “strong in Faith” are they making people when their content repeatedly attacks, denies, or questions the Faith, especially with regard to the Papacy? In actual fact, despite whatever the intentions may be, One Peter Five has proven itself to be not that “roaring lion’s” nemesis but its sidekick.

But however that may be, it is clear that One Peter Five has been providing a good income for the Skojec household. The organization’s public IRS Form 990 reveals a total salary of $170,500 (before taxes and deductions) paid to Steve and his wife in 2017 (source; see p. 7). Certainly, they have lots of children and so they need to have sufficient income. Whether that much income, however, is justified given the content that is published there, that is something each reader who is tempted to contribute money to their org can decide for himself. Perhaps a more fitting name for One Peter Five would be One Skojec Seventy.

Thankfully, however, not all recognize-and-resist bloggers are stubborn in their errors. For example, Jonathan Byrd recently made the unpopular switch to Sedevacantism, and it is evident that Sister Lucy Truth‘s Peter Chojnowski, too, has come around. Louie Verrecchio, who rejected Francis as a valid Pope three years ago but went over to Benedict XVI instead, has been publishing a few posts as of late in which he gradually shares with his readership the true traditional Catholic teaching on the Papacy, hinting at what the necessary consequence of embracing that teaching is.

Just today Verrecchio released an article in which he writes:

Yes, I know, the citations from the magisterium of Pope Leo XIII offered above, when considered in light of the common approach to the post-conciliar popes taken by nearly all traditionalists, are enough to make one squirm. Believe me, I take little delight in them. They stand as an indictment of practically every page on this blog, an indictment issued not by some other blogger, but by a Holy Roman Pontiff of most blessed memory!

On the other hand, I thank God for compelling me to go through this painful exercise.

Let us pray for one another, that we may be given the grace and humility to desire nothing more than to know and to be, to think and to feel, in a way that is truly Catholic.

(Louie Verrecchio, “The Limits of Obedience to Papal Authority”, AKA Catholic, Nov. 27, 2019; italics given.)

Ladies and gentlemen, it takes a lot of humility to acknowledge and retract one’s errors in public, especially when one had previously spread such errors for a long time and renouncing them will foreseeably impact one’s livelihood in a negative way. Eating humble pie is not pleasant! Louie is a most courageous man, and we must support him with our prayers. He prefers the harsh truth over comfortable lies.

Unlike other people, Verrecchio does not fear “that Catholicism may be wrong”. He fears that he has been wrong about what Catholicism teaches, and he wants to set things right.

If only more people did the same.

Image source: own composite with elements from onepeterfive.com (screenshot), and shutterstock.com
Licenses: fair use and paid

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