If you can’t follow it, it’s not God’s GPS…
The Papacy as God’s GPS:
A Simple Analogy to illustrate our Predicament
The acronym GPS stands for “global positioning system”. Many people have one, either in their car, their smartphone, or both. It is essentially a satellite-based navigation system that allows the user to know exactly where in the world he is and what roads he needs to take in order to arrive safely at his desired destination.
In this post, we will use a GPS as an analogy to illustrate the essential difference between the positions of sedevacantists, Novus Ordo adherents, and the people in the recognize-and-resist camp, whom we typically call “semi-traditionalists” because their adherence to Tradition is only partial. This analogy is not meant to replace theological argumentation (plenty of which can be found here); the intent is merely to help make it easier to grasp.
Imagine the Catholic Church were a self-driving bus. God gave this bus to the world in order that men would get on it and arrive safely at the destination of Eternal Life, the Beatific Vision. In order to ensure that the bus will actually arrive there and not drive into a ditch or pick some other destination, God gave this bus an exceptional navigation system, a divinely guided GPS. Coming from God, this GPS cannot fail. God guides it in such a way that, although not always picking the shortest or best possible route, whatever route it picks will always be safe. Sometimes the bus needs to be serviced (change of Popes), but no matter what, it will be heading to the right destination because the GPS guarantees it. As a matter of fact, that is the very reason why God gave the bus a navigation system to begin with.
So far, so good. But suddenly we find that, after getting the car serviced one more time, the navigation system isn’t what it used to be. It looks different, its settings have changed, and it keeps acting up. It’s no longer even keeping the bus on the same road that it had previously insisted on being the main route to Eternal Life. Not only that, but it’s not even going in the same direction as before. In fact, it’s heading for a big cliff at full speed — looking out the window, everyone can see that the bus is headed for the abyss of hell.
How to respond to this dangerous situation? What to do? This is where the different theological positions come in that we see among all those who call themselves Catholics.
The conservative Novus Ordo adherent says: “Where’s the problem? This is God’s GPS, so if you think we’re heading towards the abyss of hell, you’re obviously deluded. Yes, we’ve changed direction, but that’s because the prior GPS settings are now obsolete. We just got an upgrade during the last service, remember? So, full speed ahead! Don’t believe your lying eyes!” (The liberal Novus Ordo adherent doesn’t care — about the bus, the GPS, or the destination. He just loves traveling!)
The sedevacantist says: “This cannot be God’s GPS! God guaranteed that it would always safely lead us to the right destination, and this one is obviously not doing that. We don’t know what happened — we don’t know where the real GPS is or what is going on, but we do know that this one isn’t it because it cannot be! Don’t follow it! And beg God to restore, or to let us find, the real GPS!”
The recognizing-and-resisting semi-traditionalist says: “This has to be God’s GPS, because otherwise, where is it? Sedevacantists can’t answer that! Therefore, this is truly God’s navigation system. Sure, it’s misleading us now and so we can’t follow it, but God never promised that his GPS would lead us safely to the destination of Eternal Life. He only promised we would always have a GPS. When the GPS is wrong, don’t follow it; but you can’t say it’s not God’s GPS! That’s not for you to say! Your job is to follow it when it’s right, and to try to resist it when it’s wrong! Hey, at least we’ve got a GPS! Where’s yours, sedevacantists?!”
Yes, it’s just an analogy and therefore it limps. No, it’s not meant to replace the theological argumentation. But it is useful in helping to illustrate the subject matter.
What is the lesson to be learned here? It’s better to have no GPS for the time being, or not to know where the real GPS is, rather than to insist on having a GPS that is defective and leads you to the wrong destination. In fact, that would be heretical and blasphemous. Sure, the recognize-and-resisters can pride themselves on having a navigation system, but their system is not only useless but dangerous. They might as well not have one! God did not give us a GPS for its own sake; He gave it to us so we would be safely led to our ultimate destination: perpetual union with Him.
The situation we are in today, in 2020, is beyond crazy; it is absurd. Who really knows what exactly happened — and how — after the death of Pope Pius XII on Oct. 9, 1958? We only know bits and pieces, and there is a lot of conjecture. But regardless as to the precise cause, we have the disastrous effects in front of us. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit” (Mt 7:18), Our Lord taught us. We must therefore reason from the effect to the cause: The false Novus Ordo religion must have come from false authorities; it cannot have come from the Catholic Church.
To return to the analogy: The semi-trads try to tell us, “You cannot judge God’s GPS!” But we respond, “It’s not God’s GPS — that’s the whole point! We agree we couldn’t judge God’s GPS, but that’s actually what you’re doing since you insist it is God’s GPS: You’re saying God’s GPS is wrong, it’s misleading us, we need to resist it and refuse to follow it, under pain of eternal damnation. That is actually judging God’s GPS! We’re merely pointing out that since it’s leading us to hell and not to heaven, this cannot be God’s GPS, that is, it it impossible for it to be the divinely-provided GPS that cannot be judged.”
When it is manifestly evident that the navigation system is defective and leading us to hell, we have absolute certitude that it is not the one given us by God. All the questions that then present themselves — “So what happened to the real GPS?”, “How long will this last?”, etc. — are entirely legitimate, but they cannot obviate the fact that it is not God’s GPS. Furthermore, we would do well to keep in mind that it is part of Divine Revelation that “God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying” (2 Thess 2:10) in the last days, in punishment for people’s indifference to truth: “that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity” (v. 11).
Sometimes we just have to be content with mystery. Having no answer to a question is not as bad as having what is definitely the wrong answer.
So, if you have a GPS but know that you cannot follow it because it does not lead you to eternal life but far away from it, then you must conclude that it is not the one given to you by God. That’s all we’re saying.
And now you can join the perpetual Rosary campaign to pray for God to send us a true Pope.
Image sources: own creations with elements from shutterstock.com