Abandon the false pope, not Catholicism!

Bergoglio, The Remnant, and the Gates of Hell

On May 7, 2024, The Remnant published a brief article by Robert Lazu Kmita in which the author candidly struggles with answering a challenge by an Eastern Orthodox acquaintance of his regarding the indefectibility of the Catholic Church under the supposition that Jorge Bergoglio (‘Pope Francis’) is in fact the Roman Pontiff:

Kmita puts the following challenge on the lips of his Eastern Orthodox interlocutor:

“Well? What about the statement of the Savior Jesus ‘That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’? Does it apply to Pope Francis? Or hasn’t the visible Church been defeated by the gates of hell?”

The Remnant contributor spends the remainder of his article trying to figure out how to reconcile Our Lord’s promise in Matthew 16:18 with the Novus Ordo apostasy in Rome. His frustration is palpable.

Indeed, it is evident that under the supposition that the Jesuit apostate from Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, is the Pope of the Catholic Church, it cannot seriously be maintained that the Church has not defected (case in point: Crisis Magazine editor Eric Sammons has published a book arguing that the Church has “lost her mission”). And yet, belief in the Church’s indefectibility is not optional.

Attempting to find a way out of his conundrum — strangely, he does not seem to give Sedevacantism a single thought — Kmita quotes St. Thomas Aquinas on the meaning of Matthew 16:18:

Although other churches can be reproached for heretics, yet the Roman church was not corrupted by heretics, because it was founded upon the rock. Hence there were heretics in Constantinople, and the apostles’ labor was lost; only Peter’s church remained inviolate. Hence, ‘but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not’ (Luke 22:32). And this does not only refer to Peter’s church, but to Peter’s faith, and to the whole western church. Hence I believe that those in the west owe more reverence to Peter than to the other apostles.

(Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Matthew, n. 1385)

Tragically, instead of following St. Thomas and considering that Francis may just not be a valid Pope, the Remnant writer declares:

So, although Saint Thomas affirms that the Savior’s statement about the Church being unconquered refers primarily to Peter’s faith, it also includes the Roman Catholic Church (i.e., the whole Western church). Considering the situation we find ourselves in now, in the year of grace 2024, I believe we cannot avoid the conclusion that seems evident: Saint Thomas was wrong.

Ah, but of course the indefectibility of the Church founded on Peter, the Roman See, is not merely the theological opinion of Saint Thomas Aquinas! It is, in fact, the doctrine of the Church taught by her authoritative magisterium. Here are but a few examples (of many more):

This chair [of Peter] is the center of Catholic truth and unity, that is, the head, mother, and teacher of all the Churches to which all honor and obedience must be offered. Every church must agree with it because of its greater preeminence — that is, those people who are in all respects faithful….

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, nn. 1,7; underlining added.)

So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: ‘The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [Mt 16:18], cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion.’…

To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received. It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world … referred to this apostolic see those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing….

For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [Lk 22:32].

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

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

Mother Church, Catholic, Roman, which has remained faithful to the constitution received from her Divine Founder, which still stands firm today on the solidity of the rock on which his will erected her, possesses in the primacy of Peter and of his legitimate successors the assurance, guaranteed by the divine promises, of keeping and transmitting inviolate and in all its integrity through centuries and millennia to the very end of time, the entire sum of truth and grace contained in the redemptive mission of Christ.

… To wish to create an opposition between Christ as Head of the Church and his Vicar, to wish to see in the affirmation of the one the negation of the other, this is tantamount to corrupting the clearest and most luminous pages of the Gospel [namely, Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17], to close the eyes to the most ancient and venerable witnesses of tradition, and to deprive Christianity of that precious heritage, the correct knowledge and proper esteem of which, at the moment known to God alone and thanks to the light of grace which He alone can impart, can arouse in our separated brethren the longing desire for the Father’s house and the efficacious will to return to it.

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the Consistory, June 2, 1944; underlining added. Alternate English translation in The Catholic Mind, vol. 42 [July, 1944], pp. 389-391.)

The final conclusion Kmita draws is not only erroneous but heretical, since it implies that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, even the Apostolic See itself, can defect:

Today’s reality doesn’t allow us any escape: things are as we see them. So the Savior’s statement that the “gates of hell” will not overcome the Church can only mean one thing: just as it happened during His first coming to earth, the faith revealed by the heavenly Father to Peter will remain unbeaten – until the end of the world – in those unknown and disregarded true Christians (disregarded by both Church hierarchs and political leaders). When I think about our current situation, the words from the Gospel according to Matthew come to mind: “They were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). But despite the terrible situation in which we are immersed, supernatural faith will be transmitted despite the total war unleashed by the forces of darkness against everything that is good, true, and beautiful. I don’t know how else to answer, though I will gladly read any comment that can bring a glimpse of light, especially of hope.

(underlining added)

This is a disastrous position to take, and although one may sympathize with the frustrations and struggles many recognize-and-resisters are surely trying to cope with, such a heretical position can in no wise be admitted.

In the above quote, Kmita takes the divine promises Christ made to St. Peter and his lawful successors and applies them instead to a number of unidentified people who are “unknown and disregarded”, the remaining remnant of ‘true Christians’ that remained faithful precisely because it refused submission to the defected hierarchy. This is pure Protestantism! John Salza and Robert Siscoe would have a field day with it (and rightly so, on that point).

The following video clip, only 7 minutes in length, we released in late 2015 to show that the gates of hell can only be said not to have prevailed against the Church if Francis isn’t the Pope, not if he is:

We commend Mr. Kmita for candidly conceding that there is no reasonable way to reconcile the ‘pontificate’ of Francis — and, really, the entire magisterium since Vatican II — with the idea of indefectibility as taught by the Church. The only way to uphold both the manifest evidence that is staring us in the face and the indefectibility of the Church, therefore, is to hold that Francis (and his predecessors through John XXIII) have not been true Popes.

Naturally, that raises all kinds of other questions, some of them with no certain answer. It is perfectly legitimate, however, simply to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers and, probably, do not even know all the facts either (about what has happened since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958). What we can never do, however, is abandon the Faith, to stop believing in that timeless and only true Roman Catholic religion as the entire world knew it until the passing of Pope Pius XII.

As St. Paul said, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). God does not require us to have everything figured out, nor does He demand (or even permit) that we embrace contradictions or deny the undeniable. But He does demand of us that we have a childlike Faith, a firm hope, and a loving trust in Him.

We believe in the Catholic Faith because God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, has revealed it.

The following material is meant to help all who desire to be true Catholics embrace/retain the Faith, overcome doubts, resolve difficulties, and forge ahead with hope and confidence:

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Image source: Flickr
License: public domain

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