Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bishop Williamson Holds Forth on Sedevacantism

Number CCCLVII (357)

17th May 2014


The crazy words and deeds of Pope Francis are presently driving many believing Catholics towards sedevacantism, which is dangerous. The belief that the Conciliar Popes have not been and are not Popes may begin as an opinion, but all too often one observes that the opinion turns into a dogma and then into a mental steel trap. I think the minds of many sedevacantists shut down because the unprecedented crisis of Vatican II has caused their Catholic minds and hearts an agony which found in sedevacantism a simple solution, and they have no wish to re-open the agony by re-opening the question. So they positively crusade for others to share their simple solution, and in so doing many of them – not all -- end up displaying an arrogance and a bitterness which are no signs or fruits of a true Catholic.

Now these “Comments” have abstained from proclaiming with certainty that the Conciliar Popes have been true Popes, but at the same time they have argued that the usual sedevacantist arguments are neither conclusive nor binding upon Catholics, as some sedevacantists would have us believe. Let us return to one of their most important arguments, which is from Papal infallibility: Popes are infallible. But liberals are fallible, and Conciliar Popes are liberal. Therefore they are not Popes.

To this one may object that a Pope is certainly infallible only when he engages the four conditions of the Church’s Extraordinary Magisterium by teaching 1 as Pope, 2 on Faith or morals, 3 definitively, 4 so as to bind all Catholics. Whereupon sedevacantists and liberals alike reply that it is Church teaching that the Ordinary Universal Magisterium is also infallible, so – and here is the weak point in their argument – whenever the Pope teaches solemnly even outside of his Extraordinary Magisterium, he must also be infallible. Now their liberal Conciliar teaching is solemn. Therefore we must become either liberals or sedevacantists, depending of course on who is wielding the same argument.

But the hallmark of teaching which belongs to the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium is not the solemnity with which the Pope teaches outside of the Extraordinary Magisterium, but whether what he is teaching corresponds, or not, to what Our Lord, his Apostles and virtually all their successors, the bishops of the Universal Church, have taught in all times and in all places, in other words whether it corresponds to Tradition. Now Conciliar teaching (e.g. religious liberty and ecumenism) is in rupture with Tradition. Therefore Catholics today are not in fact bound to become liberals or sedevacantists.

However, both liberals and sedevacantists cling to their misunderstanding of Papal infallibility for reasons that are not without interest, but that is another story. In any case they do not give up easily, so they come back with another objection which deserves to be answered. Both of them will say that to argue that Tradition is the hallmark of the Ordinary Magisterium is to set up a vicious circle. For if the Church’s teaching authority, or Magisterium, exists to tell what is Church doctrine, as it does, then how can the Traditional doctrine at the same time tell what is the Magisterium ? Either the teacher authorises what is taught, or what is taught authorises the teacher, but they cannot both at the same time authorise each other. So to argue that Tradition which is taught authorises the Ordinary Magisterium which is teaching, is wrong, and so the Pope is infallible not only in his Extraordinary teaching, and so we must become either liberals or sedevacantists, they conclude.

Why there is no vicious circle must wait until next week. It is as interesting as why both sedevacantists and liberals fall into the same error on infallibility.

Kyrie eleison.

If four conditions are not all in play. The Popes can err in what they teach or say.

Eleison Comments.


  1. Since Pope Francis as far as I am aware has made no doctrinal pronouncements it,s perfectly in order for a practising catholic to ignore everything he has said and done to date.
    This is the course I have adopted.

    I remain now with a total loss of trust in the aforesaid pope.

    The situation is not improving and looks to get very much worse.

  2. The Sedevacantist argument is just daft. Excessive respect, and holding that all is said above criticism is not just daft, but dangerous.

    The Pope is the Successor of Peter, the holder of the keys. His job is to uphold doctrine and the teaching of the Magisterium. It is not to be holy, although that helps. We have had popes of every sort. You name it we have had it. Mark you, I haven’t come across a comedian yet?
    To think that all the “funnies” were somewhere in the “past” is equally daft. They can be in the present . For instance, we have not been well served by our popes in the Vat II and post-vat II period. Amongst their faults have been naivety and poor judgement, vacillation and uncertainty, distraction and obsession with tarmac, excessive meekness and lack of resolution. Leave you to guess which is who. (Mark you they were all holy and some even saints!)

    As for the present Holy Father, he clearly has a problem with either language or translators , not sure which. We shall have to wait and see.

    A very good summary of the authority of popes was given by Fr Fin, 016/09/13, I think.

    What is clear is that if the coming Synod results in any weakening of the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage or if he approves an “on demand” amendment of the annulment system, then that will be the trigger for the collapse of any remaining doctrinal discipline there is, into schismatic chaos and we might just as well pack it in go down to the pub and leave it up to the Holy Ghost to sort out!

    1. Exactly, Jacobi. And Francis isnt the first heretic/Law breaking pope we have ever had either and I am not even considering his three predecessors.

      We do what Catholics did then...REMAIN CATHOLIC. And pray.mEspecially for the promised. Consecration of Russia.

    2. Dane,

      and sadly now , of the West?

    3. A Synod has no power to change or weaken doctrine. If it purports to do so then we will simply have to ignore it and pray hard. Bishop Athanasius Schneider explained this to us at West Grinstead on Saturday.

  3. "...then that will be the trigger for the collapse of any remaining doctrinal discipline there is, into schismatic chaos..."

    Dear Jacobi, I'm not sure. If the Synod weakens the perennial teaching on marriage, and people and clerics support this, would they then be Protestants? Why bother to have a schism? Let them go. If the Pope were to support this move from magisterial teaching, ie error, would he then simply no longer be Pope? How could I possibly follow a Pope who is in error? If I chose not to follow him (because of his teaching error), I don't think I would even be a sede or a schismatic. I can't believe the Holy Spirit will allow the teaching of error on this massive scale. I don't think the Holy Spirit will allow the Pope to teach error.

    I can't believe the Church is having this kind of discussion in my lifetime. All of a sudden, the Church seems small...

    1. You follow as a pope insofar as he holds to Catholic teaching. You DON'T follow a pope in his errors.

    2. I mean...where the heck does anyone think they have to follow him? We already have the entire Faith and the Sacraments. We have had them for nearly 2000 years and the Sacraments and. Catholic Doctrine available to us if one is willing to drive a couple of hours like many if us have done for many years. And you need not do it every week.

      What is needed and absolutely required is to remain Catholic. That is so easy. Many have been able to do just that without skipping a beat. I am sure we can too.

    3. Damask Rose,

      I think we are in agreement. Schismatic chaos implies that somewhere in the middle of the mess there still exists the Catholic Church, but as Benedict XVI said, it might have to be a smaller Church for some time?

  4. It's not clear that universal edict declaring all marriages null and void will drive the Church into schism. The consequences of such a doctrinal development are impossible to predict.

    My hunch is that if the Church declares the sacrament of marriage insolvent then this is the first stage in the declaration of wholesale bankruptcy. For if a Pope declares all marriage annulled there is nothing now to stop a future Pope declaring any other sacrament similarly insolvent. If sacraments can be dismissed then a Vatican Council can be dismissed with similar disdain at a future point in time.

    1. It is ludicrous to suggest any pope or synod of the catholic church would declare all marriages insolvent or annulled.
      They would all be run out of town by the catholic laity immediately.
      Get a grip.

    2. Peharps you mean were the synod to declare by default as in communion allowed for
      remarried divorced persons whose valid marriage spouse still lives?
      In such a case that would indeed be a profound departure from the express teachings of Jesus Christ as articulated in the gospels and upheld by the catholic church at great sacrifice for individuals and nations.

      Such a change would precipitate a deep schism.

    3. Please, think a little outside the box. F1 has already expressed the private view that 50% of marriages are invalid. If that is the case, then the institution of marriage is effectively bankrupt. The theologians will use different terminology but Our Lord (curiously) used financial metaphors regularly. Either way it amounts to the same thing. The proposal will be to cancel all marriages if so desired by the contracted couple. Conversely, those who wish to remain married will be unaffected by this development.

      Declaration of bankruptcy (chapter 11 in the USA) is a legitimate mechanism to cancel debt and start again. The issue for the Church however, is that if you relaunch one failed institution what is to stop the next Pope from declaring other Catholic institutions insolvent with view to similar relaunches?

      For decades "traditionalists" have waited for a pope to restore order in the Church. They've finally got one. Francis I has set the Church on course for complete restoration but first we must go through a painful bankruptcy process.

    4. "Francis I has set the Church on course for complete restoration but first we must go through a painful bankruptcy process......

      What a crazy and untraditional Catholic thing to say...Pope Francis is DESTROYING ...there will be nothing left of the human institution of the Church if he continues for much longer ...
      And what he has done is decidedly un- Catholic ...maybe you are being facetious...I wil, not obey a destroyer and his affiliates whO are now emerging in in greater numbers AND all since he was elected ...they are spiritual thugs, thieves , they have robbed the faithful from the truth is a great punishment to have men like that as leaders...

      That's the suffering...


      If you love Our Lord,Our Lady and all the angels saints in heaven is impossible to reconcile that love with the garbage that is being passed of for "catholicism" from Rome nowadays...

  5. You bend yourself like a pretzel to defend the indefensible - hopefully SS Peter & Paul and Jesus Christ will not hold it against you at your day of judgment. If JPII and J23 are saints stop wasting your time (and ours) w/this blog. God don't care how you worship or whether you eat da bread come down from heaven or not. Put on a clown nose and join the carnival. But beware: Francis 1st statement is as prophetic as Caiaphas': 'Carnival time is over.' If you think you are going to be able to have your cake and eat it too, you haven't read the Bible (or the lives of the martyrs). It seems like you say no, yes and yes, no.

  6. What they'll do with indissoulbility of marriage in October they've already done wity EENS. Of course they'll do it, and more. They just canonized these two popes and weren't struck by lightning, any fear of the Lord they "might" have had left in their bones just went bye bye. We're in full fledged NWO religion time now. Things will speed up I think. With Francis' recent "don't fear change, don't fear the direction of the Holy Spirit" sermon...hold on to your hats. Ya ain't seen nuthin yet.

  7. "Be not afraid" Was the first message of St. John Paul ll. He practiced what he preached. He did not fear when it came to modernism, he condemned all their heresies one by one as did his collaborator Cardinal Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVl. Their Papacies were a reconfirmation of St. Pius X's condemnation of the modernist heresy. I read many times of how those who worked in the Vatican during the reign of St .JP2, often times saw St. Pius X walking and talking through the hallways of the Vatican. When brought to the attention of the Pope, St. JP2 always confirmed that such was the custom of St. Pius X. I only say this to confirm to all fellow traditionalists the words of our Saint, "Be not afraid". All that is happening in the Church today was fortold in scripture, by Saints and by Our Lady. "The days of the great apostacy." God has abandoned modernists to their own fallacies. We traditionalists must learn more deeply our traditional Catholic faith and put it into practice in our lives as a weapon to destroy modernism. To play the game of sedevacantism is to play with the devil. I wonder if God did not give the Church Pope Francis as Pope to confound the modernist heretics and to streghthen his faithful Traditionalists. It cannot be denied that since the election of the present Pope we Traditionalists are becoming a stronger force. Absolute Truth will no longer be ignored. Deo Gratias!

  8. To play the game of sedevantism is to play the game of the devil. St. John Paul ll and Pope Benedict XVl have called for the New Evangelization. Modernists have placed themselves as leaders of the New Evangelization, they can't! Modernist Heretics are outside the Church. The New Evangelization belongs to the Traditionalists. One only need read what the past 2 previous Popes have said and written, they left no stone unturned. The bluerprint of the New Evangelization has been said and written in stone by St. JP2 and Benedict XVl. It is clear that we are called to the "Reform of the reforms", It has not ended as some suggest. We Traditionalist must pick up the torch and continue forward with Reforming the Church, by putting an end to all the heretical mess that came after Vatican Council ll, by restoring Tradition, by demanding that the Novus Ordo be reformed and by demanding that the Council Documents be rewritten and deleting all the ambiguous language and replacing it with the traditional manner the Church speaks. We must put into practice the real intentions of St. John XXlll for the Council and make them our own. That was that we Catholics not take our faith for granted but to put it into firm practice in our daily lives. This was St. John XXlll's authentic reason for calling for Vatican ll. We all know that the modernist Council Fathers hijacked the Council, first by deleting 4 of the 5 original Schemas laid out by St. John XXlll. We Traditionalists in the New Evangelization should take up those 4 deleted schemas and come to holy conclusions. There is no mistaken, this is the true New Evangelization called for by the true holy leaders of Christ's Church. This is our baby and not that of heretics.

    1. This "new Evangelisation" paradigm is a false one having shifted toward the modernist model. The one thing the traditional church does not need is a new anything. It has to reinforce the pre-1950s liturgical tradition; abolish the Vatican Councils of the 1960s and follow the prescription of Pope St Pius X in its originally intended form, to restore all things in Christ. Nothing this new church prescribes has any validity. It is based on sandy liberal foundations. Our Blessed Lord put those where they belong.

  9. If Wmson can follow these conciliar popes to heaven - and they are in heaven per some more of these conciliar popes declarations - why is he resisting them? The Vicar of Christ CANNOT lead people to hell. Yet you people claim, if one follows the Vicar of Christ one is in danger of going to hell. So which is it? Can I become a muslim, read the Koran, deny that JC is the Son of God and go to heaven? Can I be a Jew and not convert and go to heaven? Can I bow to Buddha and go to heaven? Should I get anointed by an animist? May I be divorced and remarried and take communion and go to heaven? May I criticize (make fun of and mock) those who witness in front of abortion clinics and go to heaven? Your neighbors are falling into hell like snowflakes. Jesus said, DO EVERYTHING the Priests and Pharisees tell you to do, but don't imitate their behavior. You say, DON'T DO what the priests and Pharisees tell you to do, but they could be bishops and popes. St. Paul said let those who preach a different gospel be anathema - he accused the Corinthians of being quick to follow false gospels. Jesus Christ said to CUT OFF the parts of the mystical body that are diseased - if you follow a blind guide both will fall into the pit (hell). Good and evil CANNOT flow forth from the same fountain/ tree. To say there is a poisonous snake in the path that you won't go near, but that you don't have to warn your neighbor that it is poisonous snake (in fact it's okay to tell other people it's a garden snake), is just not true. Jesus Christ is with the Body - and the Body (the Church) is not to be found among those who preach reading the Koran is a path to heaven, that one doesn't have to preach the Gospel or convert the nations, that Jews (and Muslims, Hindus, Bhuddists) do not have to believe in Jesus Christ but can worship rocks if they want to, that divorced and remarried are dead to Christ and on their way to hell, that murdering 100,000 babies a day is nothing to obsess about, that men can wear women's clothing and women can wear men's clothing (or worship naked) etc. To teach that men like that MIGHT be the Vicar of 'Christ' is BLASPHEMY - I would not want to be a BISHOP who had that on my conscience!

  10. His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay warned that if Pope Francis continued the path he was taking, it could lead to some of the faithful to regard him an anti-Pope. This had already crossed my mind. I wondered if there could be two Popes at the same time. Pope Benedict XVl is still a Pope, before his resignation he said his official title would be "His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl" Before Pope Francis was to be introduced, a deep disappointment came over me. I was consoled that many of the faithful followers of the Papacy experienced the same thing. I now do accept Pope Francis as the Pope. But as in the days of St. Athanasius, the reigning Pope had fallen into the heresy of Arianism and excommunicated St. Athanasius for speaking out against that heresy. Bishop Fellay stated that Pope Francis was a "genuine modernist". Pope Francis by what he has said and has done so far, it cannot be denied that he is in fact a modernist. History is only repeating itself. In imitation of St. Athanasius I will not follow the modernist heresy. We should all pray for his conversion. The way that Pope Francis is treating the FFI, it is just like that Pope who excommunicated St. Athanasius. So no need for me to worry whether or not Pope Francis is an anti-Pope, he is the Pope but one who has fallen into what St. Pius X called "The heresy of heresies". We Traditionalists must be like St. Athanasius.

  11. Jorge was ordained & consecrated in the invalid post June 1968 rite of the Novus ordo.Ratzinger was concecrated in the same invalid rite.Jorge is a glorified layman.Therefore he & Ratzinger are literally 'anti-pope's'.