Enough of the semi-trad sophistry!

The Limits of Papal Power: Contrasting Traditional Catholic Teaching with the Recognize-and-Resist Distortion

Detail taken from “Homage by Catholics to Pope Pius IX” by Wilhelmus Petrus van Geldorp (1871)

The semi-traditionalist pundits of our day love to pontificate (pardon the pun) on the limits of the Papacy. The Pope can’t just do whatever he pleases, they (rightly) point out and thereby (wrongly) feel vindicated in their theologically disastrous position of recognizing Jorge Bergoglio as Pope (Francis), while nevertheless resisting his magisterium, his acts of governance, his canonizations, and his liturgical prescriptions where they believe these deviate from what he ought to be teaching and legislating.

Precisely what he ought to be doing and teaching in his supposed papal office, however, is not something the semi-trads will always agree on, of course, because while it is one thing to say the Pope ‘must conform himself to Tradition’, it is not so clear just what this actually means in the concrete. To mention but one example, although virtually all recognize-and-resisters oppose the Novus Ordo Missae (New Mass) of Paul VI, the semi-traditionalists are not in agreement with each other on whether to return to the Missal of 1962, or that of 1955, or that of before 1955.

Although one would imagine the liturgical books of Pope St. Pius X (r. 1903-1914) to be the gold standard for the recognize-and-resist traditionalists, at which the buck definitely stops, even there some self-appointed papal ‘correctors’ have begun objecting: The theological sophist Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, for instance, has had the gall to accuse the great Saint Pius X of “liturgical Modernism” for his drastic revision of the Roman Breviary in 1911; and One Peter Five editor Timothy S. Flanders has gone so far as to opine that “the traditional movement should be trying to achieve the model of pre-Trent [!] liturgical diversity” that was suppressed by Pope St. Pius V in his famous bull Quo Primum in 1570. You can’t make this stuff up!

The Rule of Faith: Who Is Teaching Whom?

Once one adopts the recognize-and-resist attitude in principle, the floodgates are open and the domino pieces begin to fall. Indeed, ultimately nothing is safe from being scrutinized and judged by these self-appointed ‘guardians of Tradition’, as in the end the force of logic will always prove irresistible: Why should we be allowed to sift Vatican II but not Vatican I? Why should we be allowed to reject the liturgical books of one Pope but not those of another? If the Pope can teach garbage today, how do we know he didn’t teach garbage 800 years ago?

In other words: Just how ‘traditional’ is traditional enough for the semi-trads? (And here we must keep in mind that just because something is old or was done in the past, does not mean it is also traditional.) As St. Robert Bellarmine remarks in his great work on the Papacy, “who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off…” (De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter 3; Grant translation (#CommissionLink)).

The recognize-and-resist position assumes or implies, and quite falsely, that each of the faithful ultimately sits in judgment on the acts of the reigning Pope, especially his magisterium, such that if they determine that a certain document or teaching isn’t ‘sufficiently traditional’, they can effectively annul it, tell the rest of the Church not to follow it, and go their own way — supposedly that of Tradition! But where does the Catholic Church teach such an absurd novelty? Nowhere, of course!

Rather, the holy Roman Church teaches the very contrary, as Pope Leo XIII made clear in a letter to the Archbishop of Paris dated June 17, 1885:

By certain indications it is not difficult to conclude that among Catholics – doubtless as a result of current evils – there are some who, far from satisfied with the condition of “subject” which is theirs in the Church, think themselves able to take some part in her government, or at least, think they are allowed to examine and judge after their own fashion the acts of authority. A misplaced opinion, certainly. If it were to prevail, it would do very grave harm to the Church of God, in which, by the manifest will of her Divine Founder, there are to be distinguished in the most absolute fashion two parties: the teaching and the taught, the Shepherd and the flock, among whom there is one who is the head and the Supreme Shepherd of all.

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor. In this subordination and dependence lie the order and life of the Church; in it is to be found the indispensable condition of well-being and good government. On the contrary, if it should happen that those who have no right to do so should attribute authority to themselves, if they presume to become judges and teachers, if inferiors in the government of the universal Church attempt or try to exert an influence different from that of the supreme authority, there follows a reversal of the true order, many minds are thrown into confusion, and souls leave the right path.

(Pope Leo XIII, Letter Epistola Tua; underlining added.)

In an address given to Catholic university students in 1909, Pope St. Pius X exhorted his young listeners:

…I recommend to you only to remain strong in your determination to be loyal sons of the Church of Jesus Christ, at a time when there are so many who, perhaps without knowing it, have shown themselves disloyal. For the first and greatest criterion of the faith, the ultimate and unassailable test of orthodoxy is obedience to the teaching authority of the Church, which is ever living and infallible, since she was established by Christ to be the columna et firmamentum veritatis, “the pillar and support of truth” (1 Tim 3:15).

Jesus Christ, who knew our weakness, who came into the world to preach the gospel to the poor above all, chose for the spread of Christianity a very simple means adapted to the capacity of all men and suited to every age: a means which required neither learning, nor research, nor culture, nor rationalization, but only willing ears to hear, and simplicity of heart to obey. This is why St. Paul says: fides ex auditu (Rom 10:17), faith comes not by sight, but by hearing, from the living authority of the Church, a visible society composed of masters and disciples, of rulers and of governed, of shepherds and sheep and lambs. Jesus Christ Himself has laid on his disciples the duty of hearing the instructions of their masters, on subjects of living in submission to the dictates of rulers, on sheep and lambs of following with docility in the footsteps of their shepherds. And to shepherds, to rulers, and to teachers He has said, Docete omnes gentes. Spiritus veritatis docebit vos omnem veritatem. Ecce ego vobiscum sum usque ad consummationem sæculi (Mt 28:19-20): “Going, teach ye all nations. The Spirit of truth will teach you all truth. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

From these facts you can see how far astray are those Catholics, who, in the name of historical and philosophical criticism and that tendentious spirit which has invaded every field, put in the foremost rank the religious question itself, insinuating that by study and research we should form a religious conscience in harmony with our times, or, as they say, “modern”. And so, with a system of sophisms and errors they falsify the concept of obedience inculcated by the Church; they arrogate to themselves the right of judging the actions of authority even to the extent of ridiculing them; they attribute to themselves a mission to impose a reform — a mission which they have received neither from God nor from any authority. They limit obedience to purely exterior actions, even if they do not resist authority or rebel against it, opposing the faulty judgment of some individual without any real competence, or of their own inner conscience deceived by vain subtleties, to the judgment and commandment of the one who by divine mandate is their lawful judge, master, and shepherd.

(Pope Pius X, Address Con Vera Soddisfazione, May 10, 1909; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. I (1909), pp. 461-464; underlining added. Translation taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 716-720; italics given.)

Pope Benedict XV emphasized this as well:

All know to whom the teaching authority of the Church has been given by God: he, then, possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune. The duty of others is to hearken to him reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says.

(Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 22)

Similarly, in an address to the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus on Sep. 10, 1957, Pope Pius XII criticized the idea of freely scrutinizing the acts of the Holy See (“free inquiry”). His Holiness commended the Jesuits for their orthodoxy and great loyalty to the Pope (how times have changed!), saying:

Among the glories of your predecessors — of which you can be rightly proud and which you seek to emulate — particularly outstanding is the fact that your Society [of Jesus], ever loyal to the Chair of Peter, has always endeavored to preserve intact, to teach, defend, and promote the doctrine proposed by the Pontiff of that [Holy] See, to which, “because of its authoritative pre-eminence, every Church — and, therefore, the faithful from all over — must converge” [St. Irenaeus]. And you have refused to tolerate dangerous novelties or any innovation which has not been adequately tried and tested. It is also to your credit that in matters pertaining to Church discipline you are eager to render the Apostolic See that perfect obedience of action, will, and judgment which contributes so greatly “to a more sure direction of the Holy Spirit” [Formula of the Institute, in Pope Julius III, Apostolic Letter Exposcit Debitum].

May no one deprive you of this reputation for sound doctrine and devoted obedience to the Vicar of Christ. May there never be room among you for that proud spirit of “free inquiry” which is more proper to a heterodox mentality than to a Catholic one, and which does not hesitate to submit to one’s own critical judgment even norms issued by the Apostolic See.

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution Vos Omnes; English translation from The Pope Speaks, vol. 4, n. 4 [Spring, 1958], pp. 447-448.)

Clearly, it belongs to the Pope to apply the remote rule of Faith — Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition — to the here and now, to the needs and circumstances of the times, to concrete theological problems as they arise, explicating and clarifying the content of Divine Revelation, shielding it from distortion and defending it against heresies and other errors. In this way the Pope becomes the proximate rule of Faith for the entire Church, which is why all must submit to the teachings and doctrinal decisions of the holy Roman See:

Christians … receive their rule of faith from the Church, by whose authority and under whose guidance they are conscious that they have beyond question attained to truth. …

…To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear….

In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the [First] Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the Apostolic See. … Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, nn. 21, 22, 24; underlining added.)

For this mother and teacher of all the churches has always preserved entire and unharmed the faith entrusted to it by Christ the Lord. Furthermore, it has taught it to the faithful, showing all men truth and the path of salvation. Since all priesthood originates in this church, the entire substance of the Christian religion resides there also. The leadership of the Apostolic See has always been active, and therefore because of its preeminent authority, the whole Church must agree with it. The faithful who live in every place constitute the whole Church. Whoever does not gather with this Church scatters.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Qui Pluribus, n. 11; underlining added.)

Of course it is entirely owing to the divine assistance that the papal teaching office will necessarily conform to the remote rule of Faith:

The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God’s help, they knew to be in keeping with sacred scripture and the apostolic traditions.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 4; underlining added.)

In the Catholic Church Christianity is incarnate. It identifies itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the mystical body of Jesus Christ and which has for its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Saviour, the daughter and the heiress of His redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance, and of that immortality which have been promised it, it makes no terms with error, but remains faithful to the commands which it has received to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time and to protect it in its inviolable integrity.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Annum Ingressi; underlining added.)

…[T]his sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith — Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted….

Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me” [Lk 10:16]; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, nn. 18, 20)

These teachings are eminently reasonable and not difficult to understand.

Good Shepherds and False Shepherds

Obviously, it is not for the sheep to guide the shepherd but for the shepherd to guide the sheep: “In every age it has been preached as the teaching of the Gospel that the sheep were entrusted to Peter, by Christ for him to provide for their food, not Peter who was entrusted to the sheep to receive his spiritual nourishment from them” (Pope Pius VI, Bull Super Soliditate).

Our Blessed Lord is the “Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11). His Vicar necessarily participates in that role in a uniquely privileged manner. The way our Blessed Savior set up His Church, the Pope can never be a corrupt or evil shepherd in the sense that his official teachings could deny the Gospel or otherwise lead the sheep astray, ultimately sending souls to hell. That would be impossible. After all, Christ never said that the Good Shepherd could become a ‘Bad Shepherd’ and mislead the flock. He did, however, warn us of…

  • strangers whom the sheep do not follow because he is not their shepherd: “But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers” (Jn 10:5).
  • hirelings who run away when the wolf attacks: “But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep” (Jn 10:12-13).
  • wolves that attack and seek to devour the flock but disguise themselves as sheep: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt 7:15); “Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves” (Lk 10:3); “I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).

Furthermore, St. Paul warned of “false apostles [who] are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:12-13).

Thus, the New Testament warns us of strangers, hirelings, wolves, false apostles, and even the devil disguised as a good angel! But nowhere do we read about the rightful shepherd becoming ‘bad’ in such a way that the sheep would no longer be following the Good Shepherd by following His Vicar. Quite the contrary, actually. Christ taught that: “And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” (Mt 16:19).

Thus, the Pope’s teaching, while not always infallible, is nevertheless always guaranteed to be in conformity with Divine Revelation and thus never to deviate from the remote rule of Faith, at least in the sense and to the extent that he cannot teach in his magisterium anything harmful to souls. If it were otherwise, God would never be able to demand or approve of the true obedience Catholics must render to the Pope, and the Catholic teaching on the Papacy would be false and indeed most dangerous!

We have covered this many times in the past, and there is no need to repeat the arguments here. The following links are a small selection of what is available on this site:

The Papacy, Limited by God, Not Man

We must always keep in mind that the Papacy is not a human institution. It was established by God Himself. He created it, He endowed it with His special gifts and graces, which allow the Church to shine forth in all splendor as the “light of the world” (Mt 5:14), as the “city seated on a mountain” (Mt 5:14), indeed as the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15)!

What we are experiencing today can only be explained by positing that the man who is widely recognized as the Pope of the Catholic Church is not in fact the Pope at all, and that it has been this way since 1958 when Cardinal Angelo Roncalli presented himself to the world as ‘Pope’ John XXIII.

Just this past Sunday, Fr. Michael DeSaye, a former Novus Ordo presbyter who became a real Catholic priest, gave a phenomenal sermon on this, explaining very eloquently and compellingly why only the Sedevacantist position can make orthodox sense of the infernal chaos we have been witnessing for decades:

It is truly astounding how many ‘traditional Catholic’ pundits there are now on social media who reject this teaching on the Papacy, or perhaps don’t even know about it, or simply don’t care! Names such as Michael Matt, Taylor Marshall, Kennedy Hall, Eric Sammons, T.S. Flanders, Peter Kwasniewski, Matt Gaspers, Brian McCall, Christopher Ferrara, and ‘Fr.’ John Hunwicke certainly belong to the group of the ‘usual suspects’ in this regard.

So, does all of the above mean, then, that the Pope can do as he pleases, after all? It depends. There are different ways to understand the concept of the Pope doing as he pleases, and the question must be answered either affirmatively or negatively depending on how it is understood.

We can see this ambiguity in action in a recent blog post by ‘Fr.’ Hunwicke, in which the former-Anglican-turned-Novus-Ordo-priest shared a quote from Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923). Hunwicke misunderstands the quote, thinking it to be a powerful support for his own resistance position, whereas it actually backs up Sedevacantism:

” … even in religious matters the Pope is bound, very considerably, by the Divine constitution of the Church. There are any number of things that the Pope cannot do in religion. He cannot modify, nor touch in any way, one single point of the revelation Christ gave to the Church; his business is only to guard this against attack and false interpretation. We believe that God will so guide him that his decisions of this nature will be nothing more than a defence or unfolding of what Christ revealed. The Pope can neither make nor unmake a sacrament, he cannot affect the essence of a sacrament in any way. He cannot touch the Bible; he can neither take away a text from inspired Scriptures nor add to them. He has no fresh inspiration nor revelation. His business is to believe the revelation of Christ, as all Catholics believe it, and to defend it against heresy.”

(Fr. Adrian Fortescue, The Early Papacy to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451 [London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne Ltd, 1920], p. 11; quoted in Rev. John Hunwicke, “Fr Adrian Fortescue again”, Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment, Feb. 27, 2024; underlining added.)

Indeed, there are many things the Pope cannot do. But by “cannot” is meant, quite literally, that he is not able to do them; that is, Our Lord will prevent it from happening. Hence Fr. Fortescue notes that “God will so guide him that his decisions of this nature will be nothing more than a defence or unfolding of what Christ revealed.” This is precisely the divine assistance we mentioned earlier, by which the Good Shepherd ensures that the teaching of His Vicar will always conform to Divine Revelation — that is, it will always be safe to embrace and never lead the Church astray. The Papacy is God’s, after all, not man’s creation!

When semi-trads say that the Pope “cannot” do this or that, they typically mean that he can indeed do it, but is not allowed to; and thus, should he violate the prohibition, then it somehow doesn’t count, then the ‘forbidden’ teaching, law, or directive basically cancels itself out because he is overstepping his authority. The nullity of such ‘non-binding’ decrees must then be recognized by the Pope’s inferiors — preferably cardinals and bishops, but in the end even the laity will do.

Hence the recognize-and-resisters will on occasion issue petitions, open letters, studies accusing the ‘Pope’ of heresy, etc., even to the point of issuing their own parallel catechisms correcting the ‘papal’ teaching. Recent examples of such things include the semi-trad responses to Amoris Laetitia, to the change in teaching on the death penalty, to Traditionis Custodes, to Desiderio Desideravi, and to Fiducia Supplicans; and then there is ‘Bp.’ Athanasius Schneider’s CREDO catechism.

As regards the just-released declaration Dignitas Infinita on human dignity, Dr. Kwasniewski didn’t hesitate to judge its contents on Twitter, while Kennedy Hall blasted it as “heretical and satanic” on YouTube. How’s that for some real submission of mind and heart to the teachings of (the person recognized to be) the Roman Pontiff, and for “hearken[ing] to him reverently when he speaks”!

It is evident that no matter how well-intentioned any individual recognize-and-resister may be, his theological position makes a cruel joke of the Papacy and reduces this sacred institution to the status of a mostly ceremonial office possessing no real power of itself, much less any divine assistance. But Vatican I is clear:

So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

(Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 3)

To illustrate better what it means for the authority of the Pope to be limited with regard to the official exercise of his office — teaching (doctrine), legislating (law), and sanctifying (worship) –, we will compare and contrast both positions in the following two outlines. For the sake of keeping it clear and simple, we will restrict the topic to the Pope’s teaching authority, but the arguments are essentially the same for his legislating and sanctifying power.

The Limits of Papal Power according to traditional Catholic Teaching

  • the Pope teaches the entire Church by means of official, public documents (encyclicals, bulls, transcribed addresses, etc.)
  • even when not infallible, the Pope’s teaching is authoritative in itself because it is the teaching of the man who is the lawful teacher and shepherd of all Christians
  • every Catholic must assent to the teaching, not merely externally but also internally
  • the divine assistance to the Papacy guarantees the teaching will at least be safe for all Catholics to accept
  • when the teaching is not infallible, in exceptional situations competent theologians may suspend internal assent (while still rendering assent outwardly) and submit their objections to the Holy Office for evaluation, ready to give their internal assent once the Holy Office makes known its decision
  • the papal power is limited insofar as the divine assistance will prevent the Pope from teaching anything that would be harmful to souls
  • –> the Pope keeps a check on the whole Church
  • –> the Papacy is of immense benefit to souls, keeping them attached to Christ through His Vicar

The Limits of Papal Power according to Recognize-and-Resist

  • the Pope teaches the entire Church by means of official, public documents (encyclicals, bulls, transcribed addresses, etc.)
  • outside of dogmatic ex cathedra definitions, which are infallible, there is nothing preventing the Pope from teaching anything he wishes, even the foulest heresies and blasphemies
  • whether a papal teaching is authoritative or not depends on whether it is correct
  • when a non-infallible teaching is issued, every Catholic must examine it carefully to see if it contains anything blasphemous, heretical, satanic, impious, immoral, dangerous, or otherwise objectionable — self-appointed experts are ready to assist with making the proper determination; choose your favorite recognize-and-resist pundit (both clerics and laity available), but choose wisely, since they don’t all agree with each other
  • when the Pope teaches what is manifestly false, heretical, blasphemous, or otherwise evil/harmful, the faithful must refuse assent to the teaching, protest against it, and rally around any like-minded bishops they can find; whoever adheres to the false papal teaching anyway is a dissident because the teaching is false
  • the divine assistance guarantees there will always be someone, somewhere, to resist the evil papal teaching and uphold the true Catholic doctrine — yay!
  • the papal power is limited insofar as the Pope isn’t allowed to do such nasty things
  • –> the faithful keep a check on the Pope, protecting the Church
  • –> the Papacy is potentially harmful and dangerous, at least useless because unreliable and without credibility

Which of these two differing understandings of the limits of papal power can be found in the Church’s pre-Vatican II magisterium and the approved theology manuals, etc. — and which enjoys no such support and must therefore be painstakingly cobbled together from various sources by people like ‘Fr.’ Chad Ripperger and Dr. Peter Kwasniewski?

Here we should perhaps mention the curious episode reported of Pope Pius IX reacting to a speech Cardinal Filippo Guidi gave during the First Vatican Council: “I am tradition! I am the church!” (For details, see Dom Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council 1869-1870 [Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1962], pp. 353-355.)

Once again we see that although ‘defending Catholic Tradition’ is all the rage among semi-trads, few of them can be bothered to look up, much less to go by, the actual traditional Catholic teaching.

Why is that?

Title image source: rijksmuseum.nl (cropped)
License: public domain

Share this content now:

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.