Bad theology against a false pope – not going to work!

Over a Dozen ‘Prominent Catholics’ Warn Francis:
Resign or Be Deposed!

On May 2, 2024, the feast of Saint Athanasius, the semi-traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli published a ‘major statement’ against Jorge Bergoglio (aka ‘Pope Francis’). It is entitled “Call for the Resignation of Pope Francis” and bears the signatures of 16 people Life Site describes as “prominent Catholics”.

Just how prominent the signatories are, is another question, but it doesn’t really matter. Their names, along with their respective credentials, are listed by Rorate Caeli as follows:

Rev. Linus F. Clovis, PhD, MSc, JCL, STB


Yves Daoudal

Former Editor of Reconquête


Dániel Fülep

Theologian, Hungary


Michael Kakooza, PhD

Strategic Management, Eastern Africa


Thaddeus J. Kozinski, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Memoria College


Peter A. Kwasniewski, PhD


John R.T. Lamont, DPhil


John Rist, PhD

Professor of classics and early Chrisitian philosophy and theology (ret.)


Dr Cesar Felix Sánchez Martínez
Professor of Philosophy

Universidad Nacional de San Agustin, Peru


Wolfram Schrems, Mag. theol., Mag. phil.


Peter Stephan, Dr. phil. habil.
Professor of Architecture Theory & Art History

University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam


Anna Silvas, PhD
Specialist in Greek Fathers

UNE, Australia (ret.)


John-Henry Westen, MA

Founder and Editor, LifeSiteNews


Michael Wiitala, PhD
Associate Lecturer in Philosophy

Cleveland State University


Elizabeth F. Yore, Esq.

Founder, Yore Children


John Zmirak, PhD
Senior Editor, The Stream

While we find some of the usual suspects among the signatories — Peter Kwasniewski, John Lamont, John-Henry Westen are no surprise — what is perhaps most notable is who did not sign the statement: Aside from the Rev. Linus Clovis, not a single other cleric signed it; and as far as the laity go, the following somewhat well-known names are not among the listed signatories: Not Roberto de Mattei, not Brian McCall, not Michael Matt, not Matt Gaspers, not Taylor Marshall, not Christopher Ferrara. Not even semi-trad pundits Timothy Flanders nor Eric Sammons signed it.

The Document and Its Overconfident Goal

Before we continue, let’s give a brief overview of the document (hereafter: Major Statement), which is 18 pages in length (including endnotes). It is essentially a laundry list of facts collecting in a single place a lot of the crimes ‘Pope’ Francis is being accused of. The text is divided into four sections, the first two of which are subdivided further.

The following is the outline taken directly from the document:

1. Crimes of Pope Francis

1.1 Crimes other than heresy
1. He has committed criminal acts that have gravely harmed individual believers and the Church.
1.1.A. Protection of criminal sex offenders, and protection of religious superiors who themselves protect criminal sex offenders.
     Fr Julio Grassi
     Cardinal Godfried Danneels
     Cardinal Jozef de Kesel
     Cardinal Reinhard Marx
     Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
     Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga
     Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick
     Cardinal Blaise Cupich
     Cardinal Joseph Tobin
     Cardinal Wilton Gregory
     Cardinal Robert McElroy
     Cardinal Donald Wuerl
     Bishop Juan Barros Madrid
     Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa
     Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello
     Bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta
     Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ
     Fr. Mauro Inzoli
     Cardinal Oscar Cantoni
     Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio
     Archbishop Mario Enrico Delpini
     Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández
     Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard
     Cardinal Kevin Farrell
     Fr. Nicola Corradi
     Fr. Marko Rupnik
1.1.B. Involvement in an act of idolatrous worship, desecration of St. Peter’s Church, and sacrilegious profanation of the Mass.
1.1.C. Removal of Catholic bishops without moral or legal basis.
1.1.D. Suppressing the traditional Latin liturgy.
1.1.E. Directing that adulterers be absolved and given the Eucharist in circumstances where they knowingly and willingly persist in the practice of adultery.
1.1.F. Instituting “non-liturgical” priestly blessings for adulterous and homosexual relationships.
1.1.G. Collaboration with the Chinese Communist government.

2. Heresies of Pope Francis

2.A. Acts that violate divine commandments in grave matters can nevertheless be morally good and acceptable to God.
2.B. God not only permits, but positively wills the pluralism and diversity of religions, both Christian and non-Christian.
2.C. Adulterous relations can be morally good.
2.D. Adultery, fornication, and homosexual relations can be morally good.
2.E. The death penalty is always and everywhere morally wrong.
2.F. Some Catholic dogmas can be rejected as false.
2.G. Passages of the Scriptures can be rejected as false.

3. Background and effects of the crimes of Pope Francis

4. Action to be taken in response to the crimes of Pope Francis

Overall, the text is a pretty decent read, at least in terms of revealing and drawing together a lot of the most scandalous actions, teachings, and utterances of the apostate ‘Pope’ from Buenos Aires.

Before we examine some of the content of this Major Statement in detail, we must point out that the authors’ entire approach is incoherent, and it is easy to see why. The signatories declare at the very outset by way of summary:

We therefore call for Pope Francis to resign the papal office, and to repent and do penance for his actions. If he does not do this, we request that the cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church ask Pope Francis to resign the office of pope.

If he refuses to resign or recant the heresies that he has upheld, we ask that they declare that he has lost the papal office.

This may seem reasonable at first, but it ultimately doesn’t make sense. Certainly, anyone could conceivably ask a Pope to resign, since papal resignation is theologically possible and even forseen in canon law. That much is reasonable. However, the authors maintain that if Francis refuses to resign and recant, even after being “asked” to do so by his higher inferiors (cardinals and bishops), then these inferiors are to declare he has lost the papal office.

Now here’s the rub: Either Francis has lost the papal office already, in which case they can (and ought to) proceed to a declaration right away without the need to “ask” anything of him; or he is Pope at this very moment, and then there is nothing they could conceivably do to unseat him. Any idea that would make a Pope lose his office would require that his inferiors are in some sense superior to him, that they have authority over him in some way. But that is nothing short of heretical:

There is no way around it. If Bergoglio is the Pope, they are hosed. If, on the other hand, it is agreed that he is already not the Pope, what sense does it make to call on him to resign? Resign from what? From an office he does not hold (any longer)?

The only time bishops or cardinals could legitimately declare a Pope not to be Pope anymore is if he has already lost his office at some point in the past. Such a declaration would not bring about the vacancy, nor would it make it knowable (if it weren’t knowable already, the bishops or cardinals couldn’t know it either); it would, however, serve to make it known widely, and it would be needed to be able to proceed to a new conclave.

In short, then, the slogan “Resign or lose the Papacy!” makes no sense.

Aside from these theoretical considerations, however, there is also the practical aspect. Even if one were to grant, for the sake of argument, that bishops or cardinals could unseat a Pope, one can easily imagine the mess that would result.

In a somewhat rare moment of theological lucidity, recognize-and-resist pundit Eric Sammons has pointed out some of the more obvious difficulties with what the signatories are calling for, in a brief article explaining why he didn’t sign the statement:

Can cardinals and bishops declare that a sitting pope has lost his office? If so, how many prelates does it take to make it legitimate? A majority, more than 25%, or something else? What if other cardinals and bishops reject that declaration? What if the pope refuses to accept the declaration?

(Eric Sammons, “Why I Didn’t Sign the Call for the Resignation of Pope Francis”, Crisis Magazine, May 7, 2024)

What the authors of the Major Statement have in mind, therefore, is totally untenable, not only theologically but also practically.

Defective Theology at Work

Whereas Sammons gave his reasons for not jumping on board with this initiative, professional theological sophist Peter Kwasniewski happily issued an explanation as to why he did sign the statement:

He [‘Pope’ Francis] has to be explicitly called out and utterly discredited in order to defeat his plan to destroy the old rite. More broadly, to exclude the possibility of a successor to Francis being elected who continues Francis’s policies, Francis has to be discredited right now, and his legacy must be made to appear just as horrendous, disgraceful, and repulsive as it actually is, so that no one will dare to continue it, and it will instead be avoided like sewage or nuclear waste. The Bergoglian ground must be salted so that nothing may ever grow there again.

(Peter Kwasniewski, “Why I Signed the Statement Calling for Francis’s Resignation or Deposition”, Tradition & Sanity, May 6, 2024)

Let us keep in mind that Dr. Kwasniewski is not simply talking about the personal failings of Jorge Bergoglio, or even his official acts that have had as their motive a personal vendetta or some other unworthy consideration. No, we are talking about the official ‘papal’ magisterial teachings and governing acts themselves, not excluding even the canonization of saints!

Apparently Dr. K thinks he can save the Papacy by discrediting a (supposed) pontificate; he thinks he can save the magisterium by undermining the magisterial acts of a (putative) Pope; he thinks he can save the Faith by attacking the Papacy, which is the guarantor of the orthodox Faith. Sooner or later Kwasniewski will find out that even if he were to win, he would lose, just as a man who tries to pay off his debts by borrowing the money needed from someone else, will find himself in no better situation. As long as Peter Kwasniewski continues to theologize within a non-sedevacantist paradigm, he will find Catholicism ruined either by the Modernists like Bergoglio, or by the semi-traditionalists like himself.

As part of his explanation for signing the statement, Kwasniewski quotes from a text he says he published on Facebook on Sep. 11, 2023. It contains the following paragraph:

Personally, I believe it is possible for a heretic to retain his hold on an ecclesiastical office by the brute fact of a continued occupancy that is unchallenged by his brother bishops and his senate of cardinals. He should, in justice, be openly challenged by the Christ-appointed rulers of the Church who share in the dignity of apostolic succession and the governance of the Roman Church. Apart from imploring the Lord for deliverance and restoration, the laity can do nothing more than call out and denounce the pope’s errors and misdeeds and then, effectively, distance themselves as much as possible from him, even as victims of an abusive spouse or parent may be forced to do.

(Peter Kwasniewski, Facebook, Sep. 11, 2023; quoted in “Why I Signed the Statement Calling for Francis’s Resignation or Deposition”.)

Here we see once more Dr. K’s defective theology at work. Notice he speaks of “the Christ-appointed rulers of the Church who share in the dignity of apostolic succession and the governance of the Roman Church”. This is presumably a reference to cardinals, but even if he just means bishops in general, why does he call them “Christ-appointed rulers of the Church”? Who appoints cardinals? Who appoints bishops? The Pope does, not Jesus Christ. That the papal decision is ratified by Christ in heaven is clear (cf. Mt 16:19; Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-12), since the Pope is Christ’s Vicar and acts in His stead, but it is nonetheless the appointment of the Pope.

Ironically, it is Peter Kwasniewski who has a problem with Christ’s teaching that a papal judgment is ratified also in heaven, for he argued recently using the historical example of Bp. Isidore Borecky that a bishop who is removed from his post by the Pope is not really removed (and ought to refuse to leave) if the Pope does not have just cause for the removal (our refutation of Dr. K on that point can be found as part of this article). Yet, although a Pope may perhaps be sinning by removing a bishop without just cause, nevertheless, “the judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is not surpassed, is to be disclaimed by no one, nor is anyone permitted to pass judgment on its judgment” (Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 3; Denz. 1830). Indeed, “the plenary power promised to Peter is not limited to his teaching power, but it extends to the whole sphere of jurisdiction. God in Heaven will confirm whatever obligations Peter will impose or dispense from on earth” (Fr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma [1955], p. 280).

In the Major Statement, the other signatories join Kwasniewski in declaring rather confidently: “Bishops receive the power of jurisdiction at their consecration, and this power is received directly from Christ…. A bishop’s jurisdiction over his diocese cannot therefore be removed simply at the will of the pope. There must be a reason in natural or divine law that justifies the removal of jurisdiction that is received from God.”

The support adduced for this position is St. Paul (Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-12), the Council of Trent (Denz. 960, 966, 967), and especially the bogus Second Vatican Council (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, n. 27 and its appended ‘Preliminary Note of Explanation’). The fact, however, is that as regards the idea that the bishop’s jurisdiction comes directly from God rather than being mediated by the Pope, that is taught only by Vatican II and not by the Council of Trent. Even the Scripture passages mentioned by no means require such an interpretation.

In fact, before Vatican II, the prevailing view was a different one: “The individual bishop receives his pastoral power immediately from the Pope”, writes the dogmatic theologian Fr. Ludwig Ott in the 1950s. Although he also makes clear that the question is not definitively settled (as of the time he wrote), he does point to the teachings of Popes Pius VI and Pius XII as “authoritative confirmation” of the prevailing opinion (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 290-291). Let’s look at them for a moment.

Pope Pius VI, in his 1786 bull against Febronianism, agrees that the Pope is the one “from whom the bishops themselves receive their authority as he has received from God the supreme authority”. Furthermore, he rejects the idea that “the Popes have no power in another diocese, except in extraordinary cases”, as well as the notion that “the Sovereign Pontiffs have allowed themselves to violate the rights of bishops by reserving to themselves absolutions, dispensations, decisions, appeals, the conferring of benefices” (Apostolic Constitution Super Soliditate).

Pope Pius XII writes in his magnificent 1943 encyclical on the Church that bishops in charge of dioceses enjoy “the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the … Supreme Pontiff” (Mystici Corporis, n. 42). In his encyclical letter on the Church in China, issued in late 1954, the same Pope clarifies that “the power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine rights, flows to the Bishops by the same right, but only through the Successor of St. Peter, to whom not only the simple faithful, but even all the Bishops must be constantly subject, and to whom they must be bound by obedience and with the bond of unity” (Ad Sinarum Gentem, n. 12; see also Ad Apostolorum Principis [1958], n. 39).

We might add here also that the Jesuit Fr. Francis Solá notes in passing in his 1956 treatise on holy orders that “the power of jurisdiction … does not necessarily follow episcopal consecration, as is clear in the case of non-residential bishops” (Sacrae Theologiae Summa, vol. IV-B, trans. by Fr. Kenneth Baker [Saddle River, NJ: Keep the Faith, 2016], p. 37).

In other words, Kwasniewski and the other signatories are relying entirely on Vatican II for their claim that, “A bishop’s jurisdiction over his diocese cannot … be removed simply at the will of the pope” (Major Statement). How convenient that Vatican II is suddenly binding for these scholars!

In endnote 27 the authors refer to two essays by Dr. John Lamont (one of the signatories), who, like Kwasniewski, appears to think nothing of dismissing papal teaching if it doesn’t fit his position:

The passages from the encyclicals of Pius XII that are cited above cannot be seen as a proper and responsible exercise of the papal teaching office. One may speculate that these passages were included in the texts of these encyclicals by drafters at the Holy Office (of which Cardinal Ottaviani was the head at the time) in order to further the cause of a theological opinion that they accepted, without having to face the opposition that would arise if this opinion were presented in a direct and above-board fashion as a position that was being definitively taught by the Pope.

(John R.T. Lamont, “On the Papal Deposition of Bishops”, Rorate Caeli, Dec. 18, 2023)

In a follow-up article, Lamont elaborates:

But these encyclicals cannot be understood as binding Catholics to accept this position [regarding episcopal jurisdiction], because a binding teaching on this subject would have to be addressed to the universal Church. This is why I stated in my original article that the statements of Mystici Corporis, Ad Sinarum Gentem and Ad Apostolorum Principis on the subject of papal jurisdiction were improper and irresponsible uses of the papal teaching office. They give the impression to the uninitiated of settling a theological debate and making a binding pronouncement, while not in reality doing so.

(John Lamont, “In Defense of the Moderate Position on Papal Jurisdiction: A Reply to José Ureta”, Rorate Caeli, Mar. 15, 2024)

The semi-trads will forever attempt to dismiss papal teaching that doesn’t fit their position as “not binding”. So Lamont argues that papal teaching in an encyclical isn’t authoritative if the text is not addressed to the entire Church. Is that so? Can he quote a single pre-Vatican II theologian who takes that view? We’ll quote one who says the opposite:

It is evident that in those encyclical letters which are addressed to all the ordinaries of the Catholic Church throughout the world the Holy Father is exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians. He exercises that same function also when he issues a pronouncement directly to some individual or to some portion of the Church, ultimately, however, directing it to and intending it as normative for the entire Church militant. All of the doctrinal encyclicals qualify under this point, as well as by reason of the fact that they contain the Holy Father’s teachings on matters of faith or morals.

(Mgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, “The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals, Part II”, American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 121, n. 3 [Sep. 1949], p. 214; underlining added.)

It should be evident that by their very nature, papal utterances on matters of doctrine concern the entire Church (which is also why the Code of Canon Law for the Latin church makes clear that its doctrinal canons pertain equally to the Eastern churches, as shown here). It makes no sense to say that a particular teaching applies only to the Catholics in China, for example.

Interestingly enough, Pope Pius IX addressed his 1875 Apostolic Letter Mirabilis Illa Constantia (in Denzinger-Hünermann 3117) to the Catholic bishops of Germany only, regarding the meaning of the dogmatic decrees of the First Vatican Council, yet the so-called Filial Correction issued against Francis in 2017, to which Dr. Lamont is a signatory, certainly treats it as having binding force on the entire Church (see footnote 1).


The Proposed ‘Action’ Against Francis

For our purposes, the most significant of the sections into which the Major Statement is divided is the fourth and last one, since it claims that “action” can be taken against Francis while supposing him to be the Pope of the Catholic Church. So let’s take a look at it.

The fourth section, entitled “Action to be taken in response to the crimes of Pope Francis”, starts off by noting that Bergoglio “has a moral obligation to resign the papacy” since he is manifestly unfit for it; and it identifies his “fundamental offense” as being that of unbelief.

Since it is clear to the signatories that “it is most unlikely” that Bergoglio will comply with their demand that he resign, they go on to state: “The Church must therefore determine how to act in the face of his crimes.”

Here we must interject for a moment and point out the first difficulty with the approach being taken: In opposition to the Roman Pontiff, there is no such thing as “the Church” acting, for the Pope is the visible head and unifying principle in the Church. As Pope Leo XII taught, it is “the Sovereign Pontiff in whom God has placed the source of unity…” (Apostolic Exhortation Pastoris Aeterni, n. 4). This means that one can speak of certain individuals acting against a sitting Pope perhaps, but certainly not “the Church”. Who can speak on behalf of the entire Church apart from, and even against, the Roman Pontiff?

No matter, the authors of the document are not lacking in self-assurance, to the point that they are willing to assert something so outrageous and foolish as: “The Catholic Church has always held that popes can be heretics….” Is that so? Certainly neither St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Papacy, knew anything about the matter, nor did the Fathers of the doctrinal committee of the First Vatican Council.

Writing in the early 17th century, St. Robert Bellarmine taught: “It is probable and may piously be believed that not only as ‘Pope’ can the Supreme Pontiff not err, but he cannot be a heretic even as a particular person by pertinaciously believing something false against the faith”. After giving a theological reason, he also gives a historical one: “For to this point no [Pope] has been a heretic, or certainly it cannot be proven that any of them were heretics; therefore it is a sign that such a thing cannot be” (De Romano Pontifice, Book 4, Chapter 6; underlining added).

In a conference given after his return from the First Vatican Council, Archbishop John Purcell of Cincinnati related the following:

The question was also raised by a Cardinal, “What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?” It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself.

If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed, “I believe in Christ,” etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.

(Abp. John B. Purcell, quoted in Rev. James J. McGovern, Life and Life Work of Pope Leo XIII [Chicago, IL: Allied Printing, 1903], p. 241; imprimatur by Abp. James Quigley of Chicago; underlining added.)

More on that anecdote can be found here.

Despite all, the writers of the Major Statement affirm: “The open heresy and criminality of Pope Francis means that his tenure of the papal office is now in doubt, but it cannot be affirmed with certainty that he is no longer the pope.” They say that it is not certain that Francis is not the Pope because they repudiate the Catholic teaching on the Papacy and cobble together their own resistance theology. The doctrinal truth concerning the Papacy becomes absurd if we suppose Jorge Bergoglio to be a valid holder of it.

The authors declare further:

It is a mistake and a sin for faithful bishops and cardinals to do nothing, in the hope that Pope Francis will soon die and be replaced by someone better. Pope Francis is causing unremitting harm day by day to souls and the Church. The faithful have a right to expect their believing shepherds to protect them from his attacks. These shepherds have a duty before God to protect them, and failure in this duty will bring eternal punishment upon them.

(underlining added)

It is difficult not to be amused at these words. The signatories speak of their “believing shepherds”. Are there unbelieving ones? Is belief in Catholicism optional in what they consider to be the Catholic Church? Could we have a list of those bishops who believe and those who do not? Who determines that, anyway?

If one looks around, a list of orthodox Novus Ordo bishops should be rather short, perhaps shorter than the list of signatories to the Major Statement. Just determining who is and is not to be considered a believing shepherd, however, is an impossibility in a recognize-and-resist paradigm, since ultimately there will be as many opinions as there are semi-trads.

Is John Stowe a believing shepherd? What about Robert Barron? Reinhard Marx? Helmut Dieser? Robert McElroy? Blase Cupich? According to ‘Pope’ Francis, all of them are believing shepherds because all of them are in ‘full communion’ with him, officially. As Pope Pius IX made clear, “For any man to be able to prove his Catholic faith and affirm that he is truly a Catholic, he must be able to convince the Apostolic See of this. For this See is predominant and with it the faithful of the whole Church should agree” (Encyclical Quartus Supra, n. 8). Thus, if Francis is Pope, these men are all Catholics who are legitimately shepherding their flocks.

Ah! But Francis himself is not a believing shepherd, right? That is precisely our point: The doctrinal truth concerning the Papacy becomes absurd if we suppose Jorge Bergoglio to be a valid holder of it.

Prior Efforts and Current (Lack of) Support

This new effort to ‘do something’ about Francis is only the latest of its kind, we must not forget. Without any claim to completeness, here is a listing of similar initiatives attempted in the past:

When on Apr. 30, 2019, an “Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church” was released, it essentially aimed to do the same thing as the present Major Statement: It asked the world’s ‘Catholic bishops’ to declare Francis a pertinacious heretic and thereby declare him removed from office. We all know how that turned out. Our critical evaluation of that letter and the theology underlying it, is well worth the read even now:

It appears that the conservative Novus Ordos and semi-traditionalists who sign or support such initiatives and documents, labor under an illusion. They seem to think, or rather, they act as if, the ‘rest of the Church’ believes and thinks as they do; that the Novus Ordo Church is filled to the brim with orthodox prelates who only need to be nudged into action so that this one rotten heretical apple can finally be removed from their midst. But of course that is far from the truth.

How likely do they think it is that “the bishops and cardinals” will declare Francis to have lost the papal office if they cannot even get a single bishop to back their Major Statement? Aside from the Rev. Clovis, there is not even another cleric backing it! Even the popular ‘Cardinal’ Raymond Burke, although he occasionally talks tough, is ultimately just a paper tiger. When he finally got the audience with Francis he had been requesting since 2016, far from engaging in that “formal act of correction” he had announced for years, he exited with his tail between his legs, keeping completely mum about what transpired, merely telling a journalist that he is “still alive”.

The news coverage, too, has been rather sparse. Not surprisingly, One Peter Five and Life Site both published the Major Statement, but barely anyone else in the English-speaking news media followed suit. (For the record, sedevacantist blogger Louie Verrecchio has published his own commentary on the matter here.)

As for those who do support the Major Statement, we must not forget that the list of signatories includes Dr. John Zmirak, a man who calls himself Catholic but rejects submission to the non-infallible magisterium of the Pope (claiming it produces mere “opinions”) as “Stalinist” tyranny, believes secular authorities can (or once could) depose a true Pope, and implies or suggests that a “hyper-paplist” Vatican I invented papal supremacy:

Clearly, Zmirak is not the best individual to call on Bergoglio to repent of his heresies.

Then there is the interesting case of Maria Guarini, editor of the Italian blog Chiesa e Post Concilio. Originally one of the signatories, she has since withdrawn her name, dropping the total number of supporters of this petition to 16.

There is no need to worry, however, as Dr. Kwasniewski has said on Facebook that others are welcome to add their signatures to the document, if they are sufficiently “credentialed” and survive the editors’ vetting process. Not everyone is impressed with that idea, though.

In any case, perhaps one of the additional signatories will be oddball Br. Alexis Bugnolo, for he essentially agrees with the statement but is upset that his ‘Sutri initiative’ is being ignored, which is a plan of action to depose Bergoglio that he came up with that rests on faulty Church history and heretical theology. Bummer!

Just what the however-many signatories and supporters of the Major Statement think publishing this latest salvo against Bergoglio will accomplish, is not clear. The obvious answer should be nothing, if we mean anything beyond a little bit of publicity, generating some short-lived excitement, and giving the conservative and traditionalist social media world something to write and talk about.

Final Thoughts

Before we finish, we must return one more time to Dr. Kwasniewski’s post explaining why he signed the Major Statement. In it he approvingly cites theological opinions from two cardinals (Cajetan and Torquemada) from hundreds of years before the First Vatican Council, as well as one Novus Ordo cardinal. At the same time, he shamelessly ignores, dismisses, or rejects outright — as a “painful historical embarrassment” even! — the rich magisterial pronouncements of the Popes of the 19th and 20th centuries (especially those of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and St. Pius X) on these matters. How can this be? The answer is quite simple: Kwasniewski can use the two cardinals and the one pseudo-cardinal to support what he is arguing, whereas the papal magisterial pronouncements go contrary to his position, so he must find a way to get rid of them.

In other words, Kwasniewski selects his authoritative theological sources based on the preconceived position he wishes to argue. But that is putting the cart before the horse. It is, in other words, a conclusion looking for premises, a thesis looking for an argument. Such a backwards approach is unworthy of anyone who calls himself a scholar or a theologian. And to think that this man is a theological ‘thought leader’ for ‘traditional Catholicism’! It is no longer just a case of the blind leading the blind, it is worse. The nicest thing that can be said is that it is the willfully blind leading the blind!

Speaking of which, the following clip shows Dr. Kwasniewski in action, presuming to overrule Francis’ decree Traditionis Custodes just by claiming it is null and void. Kwasniewski believes that decree to have come from the Pope, mind you!

This kind of theological shysterism is no doubt going to influence a lot of people, but it is certainly not going to restore belief in traditional Roman Catholicism.

Clearly, the semi-trads are at their wits’ end. As they refuse to countenance Sedevacantism, they have condemned themselves to remaining imprisoned in their own flawed resistance theology. In a desperate effort to “do something”, they are now flailing their arms and legs as their entire theological ship goes down in flames.

Meanwhile, Francis must be laughing himself silly, for he knows that as long as they recognize him as Pope, his victory is assured: One way or another, they will necessarily adhere to and propagate non-Catholic ideas.

Image sources: YouTube (screenshot) / Shutterstock (Pencilillness)
License: fair use / paid

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