Melodramatic resistance manifesto…

A Brief Commentary on The Remnant‘s “Open Letter to Pope Francis”

(screenshot from Remnant video “CHURCH IN CRISIS: World’s Catholics Resist Pope to His Face”)

Just as the infamous Amazon Synod was concluding in Rome last year, the editor-in-chief of the American recognize-and-resist flagship publication The Remnant, Michael J. Matt, sat down and penned an “Open Letter to Pope Francis”. Although dated Oct. 26, 2019, it was not published until Nov. 20, 2019, together with a video version of the letter, in which a melodramatic Matt reads the text out loud:

Our most recent podcast, TRADCAST EXPRESS 113, provides an audio commentary on the Open Letter, interspersed in between soundbites of Matt’s reading of the missive. We have gotten more feedback on this episode than usual, so we decided to put it on a separate blog post.

Listen in the embedded player below (direct link here), or hit the download button for offline listening later:

The podcast begins with coverage of other news stories. Discussion of the Open Letter starts at the 2:43 min mark.

There are no real surprises in Matt’s missive to Francis; it’s business as usual: “Borrowing from St. Paul in Galatians, Michael promises not only to resist Francis but also to teach his children to resist him and to never stop resisting him until he dies or radically reconsiders his campaign to destroy what’s left of the human element of Christ’s Church”, the introductory comment on The Remnant‘s web site reads.

Appealing to St. Paul’s example of resisting St. Peter (see Gal 2:11-14) is one of the oldest strawmen out there. This false argument was refuted on this web site two years ago:

Ascribing whatever is wrong with the Novus Ordo Sect to the “human element of Christ’s Church” is very convenient for Matt, because this way, so he thinks, he can escape having to affirm that the divine element is compromised or has defected. However, this position is also disingenuous. We are, after all, talking about things like (putatively) the papal magisterium, canonizations of saints, universal church law (canon law), official legal decisions, the nature of the Church’s missionary activity, even the Church’s sacred liturgy and sacramental rites. If all those things are but the “human element” of the Church, what is left to constitute the divine element? If the Church can fail in all of these things, what good is the divine element then — whatever it might be?

Matt simply takes whatever is wrong with his church and arbitrarily attributes it to the human element. (Well, not quite arbitrarily: He ascribes it to the human element because it’s bad or wrong.) But this is not Catholic theology, this is pseudo-Catholic shysterism. It is actually a form of Modernism because it begins with a particular (say, a heresy in Francis’ teaching) and then reasons to a general principle (“papal teaching can contain heresy”), which is the opposite of how Catholic theology works. In Catholic theology, you begin with a general principle (say, “papal teaching is always doctrinally safe”) and then reason to a particular conclusion (“therefore this particular teaching, which comes from a true Pope, is safe”).

Matt repeats his “human element” sophistry ad nauseam because it is useful and necessary for him to continue to keep alive the charade that the Modernist sect in Rome is the divinely assisted Roman Catholic Church. However, the problem is that in this way he’s also made the distinction between human and divine elements of the Church meaningless. What would one think of a car salesman who, having advertised that every car is flawless in its essential parts, simply declares, after the engine has failed, that this does not contradict the advertised promise because the engine isn’t considered by the manufacturer to be one of the essential parts? And what would we think if such a man then refused to identify just what parts are essential and thus cannot fail?

As always, the editor of The Remnant advances half-baked theological ideas that are the result of trying to uphold traditional Catholic principles while at the same time undermining those very principles by stubbornly clinging to the wholly incompatible idea that Francis is a true Pope. The recognize-and-resisters appear to have such an aversion to Sedevacantism that they do not realize the manifest contradictions they are spouting. They really are trying to “borrow their way out of debt” — and then they seem shocked that their debt is getting worse.

This latest Open Letter to the “Pope” demonstrates that it really does matter to The Remnant after all, whether Francis is a true Pope or not. As well it should.

For more information about TRADCAST, including additional episodes, click here.

Image source: (screenshot)
License: fair use

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