Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Okay, I'll Say It: I Don't Think He's the Pope

I don't think Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the Pope.

I used to, until recently. I don't anymore.

By the way, as should be obvious by now, I don't care what anyone thinks of me for saying that. Nor do I have any patience with those who claim that while it may be true that he isn't the Pope, no Catholic has the right to pronounce on it, or say it, or it shouldn't be said publicly because it would cause confusion among the faithful, etc.

Confusion among the faithful.

As if believing that Bergoglio is pope, isn't confusing enough.

No more griping. Let's get down to it.

People have made three sorts of arguments for believing Bergoglio is not the Pope (I'm not saying I agree with them all):

1. There were problems with Benedict's "abdication" that render it invalid.

2. There were problems with Bergoglio's election that render it invalid.

3. Bergoglio is a public and formal heretic and, thus, has forfeited the office.

There are many things about Benedict's abdication that are fishy, odd or questionable, and some things about Bergoglio's election that are, at least potentially, legally suspect. But I have never found those arguments against Bergoglio being Pope to be especially convincing.

But I think the third argument is very strong.

Michael Davies writes about the possibility of an heretical pope in his I Am With You Always (1986, rev. 1997):
The problem which would face the Church if a legitimately reigning pope became an heretic has been discussed in numerous standard works of reference. the solution is provided in the 1913 edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia: "The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church."
Davies points out that this has been the overwhelmingly held opinion among theologians, though many, if not most of them doubted that God would ever allow such a state of affairs.

Just as interesting is an important qualification:
A pope who, while not being guilty of formal heresy in the strict sense, has allowed heresy to undermine the Church through compromise, weakness, ambiguous or even gravely imprudent teaching remains Pope, but can be judged by his successors, and condemned as was the case with Honorius I.
Clearly, there have been other such popes, including Liberius who probably made concessions to Arianism, and of course, more recently, John XXIII, Paul VI and arguably even John Paul II who all helped to advance the cause of the Modernist heresy in a variety of ways and for a mix of motives.

There has also been at least one pope who was a material heretic - someone who transiently entertains an heretical belief while possibly not knowing or fully understanding it to be so. It is significant that the 14th century pope, John XXII repented of his heretical views on his deathbed, thus guaranteeing that his heresy was not formal. Davies concludes:
There has never been a case of a pope who was undoubtedly a formal heretic, and it is unlikely in the extreme that there will ever be one.
I remember finding this passage extremely reassuring when I first read it a few years ago. At that point in time the first part of it was true, and the second part appeared to be so.

Not anymore.

Jorge Bergoglio clearly holds a number of heretical views in a variety of categories. Presenting the sum of the evidence contained in interviews, letters, homilies and other places would take (and has taken) many pages. But the most important item of evidence comes from an official document - the 2016 apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

It is now more than clear that Jorge Bergoglio denies the infallible teachings of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and/or on the meaning and consequences of sin. Perhaps the most notorious passages of Amoris Laetitia appear to claim that living within a "second marriage", including having full sexual relations, is not sinful and/or that resisting sin may be impossible and/or that God himself may will one to commit sin as a sort of best second choice:
Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin (AL 301).
Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal (AL 303).
These sections were arguably neglected by some of the initial critics of Amoris Laetitia, who preferred to focus on the document's alleged ambiguities. But there is nothing ambiguous about the above passages, and they quite clearly contradict Catholic teaching, reaffirmed as recently as the near-present, by John Paul II, among others. Many soon realized this, including the authors of the dubia. Indeed, giving the Pope a chance to clarify how the sequence in AL 301 to AL 303 could possibly be in conformity with the teaching of the Church was at the heart of that letter:
3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?
4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?
It had seemed possible to some that Bergoglio did not himself believe or even fully understand what Amoris Laetitia had actually stated. After all, Amoris Laetitia was almost certainly penned by the "kissing priest," Victor Manuel Fernandez, the primary ghostwriter for many papal documents. It had also seemed possible (or at least some had argued that it was) that the document couldn't possibly mean what it appeared to mean, since such a meaning would not be in conformity with Church teaching.

However, Bergoglio's refusal to answer the dubia, and the simultaneous public attack on its authors by many of his closest aids, put these possibilities to rest. Couple this with Bergoglio's later private and then public endorsement of the "pro-communion for the remarried" interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the Argentinian bishops, and one cannot reasonably conclude that Bergoglio believes anything other than what was in fact stated.

Equally important, while the dubia did not use the word "heresy", it officially put Bergoglio on formal notice that some of the claims made in Amoris Laetitia were not in conformity with "sacred Scripture and...the Tradition of the Church."

There were other official letters delivered to Bergoglio (I am aware of at least three of them), from or signed by prominent academics and religious, which restated and expanded on the points made in the dubia. They came to the same general conclusion - those crucial claims involving marriage and sin expressed in Amoris Laetitia and elsewhere are not in conformity with Church teachings.

Do not misunderstand my argument. If Bergoglio is a formal heretic, it is not because he was implicitly judged to be so by the authors of the dubia or the other letters. Rather, it is at least partly because he was given every chance to clarify or renounce his views - after being reminded of their nature - and chose not to do so, while elsewhere confirming that these were in fact views he solidly held. Such can be part of the process where mere material heresy becomes known as formal.

Bergoglio's views on marriage and sin are just one area where he manifestly dissents from Church teaching. We have chosen to focus on these here, partly because they involve and appear in an official document. We should note, however, that the concept of formal heresy does not require the heretic to state his views in an official context. Pope John XXII made known his heretical views primarily in homilies, both before and after he became pope, and he explicitly chose not to give them any sort of official backing. Yet if he had not in the end renounced them (or had not died before being given enough time to renounce them), his repeated endorsement of those views, even after he had been warned that they were manifestly in contradiction to Church teaching, would probably have constituted formal heresy. It goes without saying that in the modern context, the same considerations would apply not only to homilies but also interviews and the like.

At the beginning of this post I referred to three possible specific arguments, and rejected the first two in favor of the third: Bergoglio is a formal heretic and has thus ceased to be Pope (if he ever was one) for that reason alone.

But here is a more general argument: How can Catholicism be true and at the same time Jorge Mario Bergoglio be the head of the Church?

One of the most important tenets of our faith as Catholics is that the Church is indefectible - it cannot fail because God promised it would not. Jesus said to St. Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Mt. 16:18).

What would it mean for it to fail, or for the gates of hell to prevail?

It's obvious that Christ did not mean that the Church would never contain bad men, nor even that the head of the church could not be "bad" in some way.

We all know that there have been bad popes in the private sense - popes who were notorious sinners in terms of violence, corruption or sexual morality. We also know that there have even been many bad popes in their official capacities - popes who harmed the church, often severely, through papal action or inaction, whether out of cowardice, selfishness, vanity or other reasons.

There have even been popes who have explicitly betrayed Christ, in "real-time," as it were. The first pope did it three times, and he was, arguably, the best one we ever had.

But we have never had a pope who almost certainly disagrees with and opposes many of the central teachings of the Church, and as a result, has focused his papacy on doing as much as possible to alter those teachings and, thus (it cannot fairly be said otherwise) destroy the Church as we know it.

Did God allow the ascension of Bergoglio as some sort of punishment for us, or (slightly better) as a test of our faith? Those options seem more than possible. But are we now also to believe that Christ's promise does not really apply here, or that Bergoglio is, forgive me for saying it, a sort of unexpected loophole - a technical exception or a crossed-fingered, gotcha from God?
I never said the Church wouldn't ever be led by a formal heretic bent on destroying her. All I said was that the gates of hell would not prevail. Sheesh, you read too much into My words.
Do not laugh. If you believe Bergoglio is Pope, you must in essence agree with that silly take. Or try this one:
Punishing you or testing you are two instances where I get to break My promises.
Again, do not misunderstand, I'm not arguing with God, here. If I am "arguing," it is with those who do not see how problematic the claim that Bergoglio is pope is - problematic, not in a, so to speak, material sense (that he's a bad pope doing bad things, which is bad) but in the sense of seemingly being at odds with the indefectibility of the Church.

I'm aware that the opposite position is also problematic. Clearly if given the present state of affairs, if we believe our Lord's promise prevents an heretical pope, it does not prevent a heretic from appearing to be pope, while (it follows) at the same time there either isn't any pope, or the true pope is not widely known or acknowledged.

My main problem with sedevacantism has always been that it is inconceivable to me that our Lord's promise is consistent with the Chair of St. Peter being empty for forty, fifty or (now) almost sixty years. Those quasi-sedes such as the handful of followers of "Pope Michael" of Kansas, must contend with an almost equally difficult claim - that the identity of the true pope would be unknown to virtually all Catholics for generations.

Of course, in the present case, there is a new factor in play. Another man in Vatican City also wears the papal white. Can it really be a coincidence that the first pope in six-hundred years to resign, and the only pope to ever do so and continue to dwell on the Vatican grounds, remains alive at the same time that the Chair of St. Peter is occupied de facto, at least, by its first public and formal heretic?

Am I certain that Bergoglio is not the pope? Of course not. And I'm definitely not going to condemn people (which would be most people) who take another view. Nor am I about to stop attending Mass because "the Pope" (named or not) is prayed for, or any such thing. All faithful Catholics are trying to work this damn thing out, and none of the answers are very pleasant. But I actually think this answer, the one I tried to argue for, above, makes more sense than many of the others. And I did not come to it lightly.

As always, I could be wrong.

But if you think I'm wrong, I want you to tell me why.

What happens next? What if Benedict dies soon (as seems, unfortunately, more and more likely) and a false pope (if that is what he is) reigns for many more years? What if another heretic - one, God save us, even more destructive than Bergoglio - is elected after that?

Would God allow this? Is it possible? I hope not. But, in fairness, I didn't think Francis was possible.

What then would we make of our Lord's promise?

I do not know.


  1. I believe that St. Francis of Assisi's warning before he died of God sending us a Destroyer Pope not canonically elected was about PF. I remember PBXVI saying he had a mystic moment just prior to his resignation, so perhaps Divine intervention will happen upon his death. We can only wait & pray.

    1. Yes. The thing is, I just can't see what the argument is for why he wasn't canonically elected. Or rather, as I understand it, it seems very thin.

    2. Thank you for writing about this so well. I'm sceptical of anyone who says they know definitively what the hec is going on.

      If he is a heretic now then he disqualifies himself now. If he held these heretical views at the time of the conclave then he did not qualify to be on the ballot. The job spec includes being a Catholic. It could be argued that the election was null. Similar to the way an anulment focuses on the situation at the precise moment of the marriage, not subsequent to it.

    3. That prophecy has never been traced back to St. Francis. It is almost certainly a hoax.

  2. The Gates of Hell will not prevail against The Church.
    Where there is one Priest in a cave, there is The Church.
    Prevail means gone. The Church will not be gone but our generation will have seen it shrink to a remnant caused by the confusion of VII and this guy.

    1. I get it, but my understanding is that most theologians have thought it to mean more than just that (though I'm not claiming there's ever been any guarantee in terms of the mere numbers). After all, what would it really mean then, and what god would it be? For all we know there are still some Diana cultists around in caves.

    2. I admit I may be very misguided, but will say nonetheless - Christ knows our hearts, and as long as we profess our faith that He is God, we are His Church.
      When my friends, many of them, being culturally Catholic, but denying the existence of God in conversations with me, were married by a priest, had they been the Church? No, Christ knew their unbelieving hearts.

      It seems to me that Bergoglio, whose actions I despise, is correct about Pharisees in Church - always pointing to rules in books. If I am not permitted to leave my house, but I draw a string around my and my neighbour's house, it will still be my house, therefore I can go the house of my neighbour, because due to the string it is now mine for the purpose of the visit I plan...

      When a pope says and does the things Bergoglio does, when he fires pious priests and dismantles communities of pious monks, when he undermines Jesus' words, plays wit them to suit his vision for a church of mess and a church of "dialogue" with all non-believers, is all we have our rules in man-made books?

      The Church has survived for thousands of years, but not thanks to our buildings, writings and traditions. Perhaps it is time it changed, because God so ordains.

      In this sense, and not all in line with Begoglio's imaginings, he might actually be accidentally correct.

    3. 'The gates of hell prevail" refers specifically to heresy - so either the gates have prevailed or Bergoglio isn't pope.

  3. According to St John Eudes, God permits bad priests as a sign that He is thoroughly angry with the sin of His people. How angry must He be if we have received such a Pope??

  4. The man is a Jesuit maniac he is guiding thousands to hell and he is fully culpable.

  5. Welcome back, and welcome to the majority view of trad Catholics: Bergoglio isn't pope (not that the truth is determined by popular opinion).

    You may be aware that I believe Scenario One to be the case, that Benedict's resignation was invalid, and Bergoglio is not now nor ever has been pope.

    There is an extensive proofset related to the invalid abdication, both from the perspective of the attempted bifurcation, as well as the apparent pressure to resign. But an important parallel is the Davies conclusion you quoted: "There has never been a case of a pope who was undoubtedly a formal heretic, and it is unlikely in the extreme that there will ever be one."

    He is quite right, due to the supernatural negative protection against error a true pontiff receives from the Holy Ghost. And yet, what we have so clearly before us is a man who obviously does not enjoy this protection.

    One way or the other, this "pope" is Fake News.

    1. The Church is supernaturally protected from being solemnly taught heresy by a Pope. There is no supernatural guarantee that a Pope cannot become a heretic, or that a Pope cannot cease to be Pope.

    2. One must be Catholic to be pope.

  6. Powerfully and persuasively written. Thank you so very much. I fully agree with your Catholic take on Bergolio. For my part these times and this putative papacy recall this warning of St. Paul's about deception:

    "At present there is a power (you know what I mean) which holds him in check, so that he may not shew himself before the time appointed to him; meanwhile, the conspiracy of revolt is already at work; only, he who checks it now will be able to check it, until he is removed from the enemy’s path. Then it is that the rebel will shew himself; and the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth, overwhelming him with the brightness of his presence.

    He will come, when he comes, with all Satan’s influence to aid him; there will be no lack of power, of counterfeit signs and wonders; and his wickedness will deceive the souls that are doomed, to punish them for refusing that fellowship in the truth which would have saved them.

    That is why God is letting loose among them a deceiving influence, so that they give credit to falsehood; he will single out for judgement all those who refused credence to the truth, and took their pleasure in wrong-doing." 2 Thessalonians 2:6-11

    1. Bergoglio's arrival on the scene was already prepared by the popes who followed Vatican II---- followed both in the sense of coming after it, and in following its teachings. Paul VI and John Paul II were both rabid ecumenists and, to a degree, universalists in that they taught that all religions were "pathways to God." Bergoglio could not have happened without the help of the cardinals that were named by his predecessors.

  7. I always found it odd that our Lady referred to the "Bishop in White" in the Third Secret of Fatima. That is an unusual way to refer to the pope unless he was not actually the pope. Then, he really is just the bishop in white.

    1. Don't you get the feeling (I do) that the Third Secret was finessed by the Church so as to exclude its principal ingredient? Fr. Martin: "Keep your eyes on the skies." Sr. Sassagawa: "fire from the skies."

  8. If I knew exactly what the criteria are for formal heresy, I might be able to agree with you, that Bergo is not the pope. But assuming his statements and actions since AL prove he was a formal heretic at that time and has remained so since then, don't we need to know if he began to hold these heretical views before his fishy election to determine whether or not he has ever been the pope? I'd like to think he never was, but being just a lowly lay person, I really don't know.

    1. Susan: While Archbishop of Buenos Aries, he allowed communion to divorced and "remarried" Catholics, so - yeah - he was a heretic before his phony election.

  9. I cannot see any difference between this position, and my position on Jorge Mario Bergoglio. We seem to agree on all points.

  10. So the big question is....how long does God allow this diabolical Synagogue of Satan crowd to control His Church?? Ten more? A hundred more? A thousand? Until He returns?

    At what point do the faithful simply wipe the dust from their feet and become Western/Latin Orthodox without a demi-god Pope? At what point do all the claims of Papal authority and infallibility become COMPLETELY discredited??

    As stated by another commentator:

    March 4, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    ...Almost no one within the Traditional camps (ie SSPX, Sedevacantists, etc.) seems to fully understand the complete devastation unleashed by NO Catholicism in general and the Francis “papacy” in particular.

    I will repeat, until someone in one of those camps can respond to the charge, using clear Thomistic reasoning, that the Catholic Church’s dogmas, (ie Dictatus Papae – 1075 A.D. & Vatican I – 1870 A.D.) on Papal authority and infallibility that “developed” regarding the Papacy over the past 1,000 years, have been shattered!!

    The Catholic Church’s self understanding of Herself, as relating to her hyper elevation of the Papacy, is at an existential dead end UNLESS God somehow miraculously intervenes as some private revelations seem to predict (ie the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart) and unties this apparent Gordian knot.

    Otherwise, the Catholic Church will have no reasonable choice but to eventually “walk back” Her heresies regarding the Papacy and return to the Catholic (and Orthodox) understanding of the Bishop of Rome of the first millenium.

    1. This is anti-Catholic hogwash. No Catholic need respond to any charge that papal authority and infallibility have been shattered - first and foremost because they haven't. Second, because the onus doesn't exist. The Orthodox are a false religion and outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation. The NO is also a false religion. Find a traditional Catholic priest and convert.

  11. Bergoglio is not pope because he was already a formal heretic from Argentina and the Magisterium of the Church teaches that a heretic can not be pope even if a heretic is elected by all the cardinals his election is invalid and void.



    1. To me this is the best explanation, and the fact the Cardinals would still "elect" a heretic from Argentina shows you just how deep the rot in nuChurch goes. Perhaps that's why the HS allowed it to happen, since JPII and BXVI didn't do much to stop it.

  12. I don’t see how he can be pope but the fact God allows this scenario is so baffling that I wonder if anything is true anymore. It makes one lose faith

    1. I distinguish between God's Word and man's tradition. The Catholic Church carried (however imperfectly) the Word of God for two thousand years. As long as the Church did her best to do it faithfully, none of her imperfections were able to weaken faith in the hearts of the people.

      Now we have a pope, one who is supposed to be in place of Christ, who plays with God's Word at will. When Bergoglio attacks Church Tradition, when he calls us Pharisees for defending it no matter what, he may be right. But when he says that "enter through the narrow gate" really means entering through the wide gate, he is a liar. He says heretical things every day. He can't help it, because he places himself above the Logos.

      I don't think the discovery that the holy Church Tradition might have been off slightly, off the target which is absolute truth. It is understandable. Perhaps popes are not infallible after all, even when speaking on morals and dogma ex cathedra.

      But they are certainly lying, when they profess the Catholic faith, and simultaneously manipulate the Word of God, to make Him fit their unholy designs, such as peace, unity and love on earth, without Jesus Christ.

      Postmodernists reject the idea of objective truth, and insist on the supremacy of subjective experience and feeling over established truths. Bergoglio is one of them. Unfortunately, he uses Catholic Tradition and the dogma of papal infallibility to claim that his subjective experience and opinion equals the will of the Holy Spirit.

      This is the problem.

    2. Our Lord may have sent Bergoglio for one reason. A sword to choose Our Lord and His Law or the law of Man. Keep the faith. A good place to start is reading Pope Leo and Pope Pius X. Truly holy devout men

  13. For the Catholic Church to "walk back" Her claims about the papacy per se wouldn't constitute conversion to "Orthodoxy," but to atheistic nihilism. For atheistic nihilism, as modernity has amply demonstrated, is Catholicism's only real alternative. Such a "walk back" would be to deny the words and will of Jesus Christ Himself, who did not say to all the apostles, but only to one, that he is the Rock upon which the Church is "built."

    The current crisis, argued above as a cause for defecting to schismatic "Orthodoxy," rages over the issue of Communion for the divorced and invalidly "re"married. Yet "Orthodoxy" itself, culpably bereft of papal direction for the past millennium, has not itself held the line on the indissolubility of Holy Matrimony (among other things). The idea of abandoning allegiance to the papacy itself as a result of Amoris Laetitia, in favor of a breakaway group that was "Amoris before Amoris was cool" is nothing short of Orwellian.

    For myself, the "bifurcation" attempt seems like the strongest reason that Bergoglio is not legitimate. There is nothing in Scripture, Tradition, or theology that even contemplates this scenario. I wonder if one reason Bergoglio doesn't answer the Dubia is so that Chapter 8 will keep on distracting us from the fact that its author has no business occupying the See of Peter in the first place.

    1. Unfortunately, for faithful Catholics the problem is that the Church has made bloated claims regarding the authority and infallibility of the Bishop of Rome.

      Amoris Laetitie is just the latest and most agregious example of a shattered Magisterium.

      Another example is Pius XI declaring in his Encyclical Mortalium animos "this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics" and yet a mere 50 years later the Magisterium of John Paul II took part and promoted assemblies with non-Catholics, non-Christians and even anti-Christians.

      If the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is allowed to abrogate the Law of Non-Contradiction then it has lost any legitimate claim of infallibility.

    2. You have an unmerited problem with a dogma of the Catholic Church viz. her infallibility. The modernist heresies and heresiarchs don't disprove the Catholic Church, they disprove these people's claim to hold the authority of Christ to teach. It's very simple.

    3. For the Catholic Church to "walk back" Her claims about the papacy per se wouldn't constitute conversion to "Orthodoxy," but to atheistic nihilism. For atheistic nihilism, as modernity has amply demonstrated, is Catholicism's only real alternative. Such a "walk back" would be to deny the words and will of Jesus Christ Himself, who did not say to all the apostles, but only to one, that he is the Rock upon which the Church is "built."

      Yes! Thank you! This was a false choice and I suspect him of being an Orthodox plant who isn't Catholic at all - trying to take advantage of the chaos amongst Catholics to present the Orthodox as a better alternative (as if there is an alternative to Catholicism, pffft.)

  14. I agree with you Oakes that Pope Francis is not the Pope and really never was since he was elected illegitimately. I buy Ann Barnhard's position that Benedict is still Pope because what she says makes sense about Benedict's forced resignation. Believing as I do is comforting to me in that it tends to confirm the idea that God has not abandoned His Church.

    Now given that most of the Cardinals appear in on this conspiracy it may take divine intervention to clarify the situation. Or we could have a schism where 95% of Catholics stayed with Pope Francis and 5% founded an Orthodox Catholic Church. Hopefully we will get more clarity in the next year or so.

  15. I simply don't know. This is surely testing the faith of many. It contradicts what we were told, what we held on to, all these centuries. God did not define "the gates of Hell", so we never know where the demarcation is.
    Not only are we left with these questions, but we see the horrifying reality that even if this question were answered today, we are left with a church filled to the very top with active homosexual dissidents, or homosexualists. This metastatic disease is not going to go away without divine intervention, and as long as they are there, boys and young men are at risk and the faith will continue to be dismantled until it suits them. I'm sorry to be dismal.
    Yet, our faith must go on. No matter what we see or what happens around us, we stay the course. Even if they lock us up and leave us in a cell, we make rosary beads out of pebbles and keep the faith until our journey through the vale of tears is over.

  16. I suggest starting here for answers to your questions: https://novusordowatch.org/now-what/

  17. It may be worth re-reading Vatican I and Pastor Aeternus with a new eye with regards to the indefectibility of the Church. IIRC the Fathers of Vatican stated that the Church of Rome has always been protected from error (past tense), but does it state that Rome will ALWAYS preserve the Faith indefectibly?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Clearly, there have been other such popes, including Liberius who probably made concessions to Arianism

    Mr. Spalding. LIberius is a Saint

    Denzinger See him identified as such between # 57e and #58 and #93

    In his polemics in defense of Mons Lefebvre,, Mr. Davies has made many substantial errors and his claims about LIberius and Saint Athanasius are entirely wrong.

    Saint Athanasius, in his own words, exonerated Pope LIberius of any wrong-doing and vouched for his orthodoxy in his history of the Arians, Historia Arianorum.

    We have the promises of Jesus Christ that the His church will never fail and Vatican 1 infallibly teaches The Holy See will never succumb to error.

    As for Our Pope and Our Cross, he has not taught error but he knows enough not to place himself in a no win situation by answering the Dubia.

    So, yeah, he is still Our Pope and Our Cross.

    Those who appeal to Canonical arguments and claim that Pope Benedict XVI really didn't resign- although he has repeatedly said he did abdicate of his own free will - do not seem to realise they are calling him a monumental liar.

    1. "Those who appeal to Canonical arguments and claim that Pope Benedict XVI really didn't resign- although he has repeatedly said he did abdicate of his own free will - do not seem to realise they are calling him a monumental liar."

      Popes are incapable of lying? LOL

    2. "Doctrine of Infallibility" from Vatican I is built entirely upon circular reasoning and revisionist history. For the first time after 17 long centuries we have a Council that arbitrarily declares that the papacy is incapable of doctrinal error and that it has always been so. Because they say so.

    3. But the Holy See has succumb to error. This pope confirmed the Argentinian bishops in their heresy about Communion for the remarried. He said "there is no other interpretation".

    4. @Kathleen - that's how you know he's not the pope. Because it would seem that the Church can err in her teaching if he is pope.

    5. @Lazarus: If you take issue with a defined dogma of the Catholic Church (infallibility - VI), you've got muuuuch bigger spiritual problems than the modernist hierarchy in the Vatican now.

  19. It is not true that Jorge Bergoglio has not taught error. He has taught countless errors, whether the Dubia go unanswered or not. It takes intellectual dishonesty of monumental proportions to pretend the Bergoglian slate is still clean. And as for implicitly calling Benedict XVI "a liar," I would sooner lay that charge at his feet than at Our Lord's.

  20. Father Hunwicke has addressed these questions at length on his blog, liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com
    Text search for sedevacantism or heretic.

    He gives a much more persuasive, scholarly and measured treatment than can be accomplished in a comment.

    The gist is that formal heresy is a very high bar and sedevacantism may be a pernicious lure for the orthodox.

  21. Chesterton had the papacy exactly right: The men who occupy the Chair of Peter are the *weakest* link in the entire chain of the Church - not the strongest. The Papacy itself is built upon the weakness of all men. In fact, it is not unreasonable to assume that the "gates of hell" are usually found occupying that Chair. One could surmise: "And Hell's papacy will not prevail"

    “When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.” ~ G.K.Chesterton (Heretics)

  22. If Anti-pope Bergoglio is not a heretic in every meaning of the term: then the term "heretic" is utterly meaningless.

    There are some Truths so obvious, it takes a canon lawyer to deny them.

  23. Mahound, why would you consider that Francis is not a pope while still considering that Benedict XVI or JPII and Paul VI ? Do you realize that Bergoglio publicly profess exactly the same non-catholic faith as his predecessors ? Oh, and by the way, Paul IV's Cum ex apostolatus, or 1917's code (canon 188), or Pius XII, clearly says that a public heretic is ipso facto out of the Church, without any human judgment. The heretic is judge by God and by Church's dogmas. Deal with it, the Vatican 2 sect is not the Church and the apostolic See is VACANTE since 1958.

    1. Id only say that going from where the author currently is, to becoming a full-on sede, doesnt happen over night (if at all). As a sede yourself Im sure you probably remember how difficult it was to accept at first. At least it was for me.

  24. I appreciate your candor Oakes, and you are speaking the truth about this horrific situation. the question really is , at this point, 'Where is the Church?' The Church is where the fullness of the Faith is upheld and taught. That is no longer Rome. Th institutional Church is the human structure housing and protecting the fullness of the Faith. Due to the corrupt head at the Vatican, the true Church is being trashed. Soon She will be underground. The fullness of the Faith is preserved within hearts and minds who hold the fullness of the true Faith s God gave it to us. The present state of affairs in the institutional Church is very difficult for those who rely fully on the political external structure of the. Church. As Deitrich von Hildebrand pointed out. "if there are two old ladies in a hovel holding to the fullness of the Faith, there is where the Church is. The predictions of credible Xnurch-approved mystics tell of the Church appearing to be obliterated and seemingly vanquished. Only those who hold to the fullness of the Catholic Faith-- and live it-- will be in the true Church. what Bergoglio and company have created is a 'false church', aping the ways and structures of the true Church, but it is no longer the true Church because the fullness of the Faith is no longer upheld. Each of us must enter the sacred center of our person and answer the question, "Who am I serving?' Is it Christ or this false Church? One cannot have it both ways.

  25. If we fixed our minds on Jesus Christ and His Word alone, and let ourselves assume - as an exercise in humility - that there is no group, including the Catholic Church, which has made no mistakes, and which has a perfect understanding, could we find some answers? Even within single fractions, individual people could be more apart in understanding than between themselves and members of an opposing one.

    If Bergoglio has taught me anything, it is a fact (yes, a fact) that popes are NOT infallible.

    Rather than fixing it, saying that the dogma of papal infallibility was not inspired by the Holy Spirit (which would not mean that we are now obliged to become Greek Orthodox), since it does not withstand the test of time, and rather than admitting that sometimes popes are invalid due to showing an utter disrespect for the Holy Scripture, we fight like Pharisees. But it is written into our man-made law!!!
    On this one point I would agree with Bergoglio, whose tactics I despise. He is using our weakness against us, very successfully. It is he and/or the more clever people who pull his strings.

  26. If the teaching of Amoris Laetitia concerning communion for the divorced and remarried is provided under the papal authority to loose and bind as defined in Canons 1444 and 1445, how is it heresy?

    The heresy claim seems to rely on the arguement that if a Pope exercises the explicit authority granted to him by Christ, he's not a Pope.

    1. Because Peter has an obligation to bind and to loose for the purpose of its first and really sole mission; the eternal salvation of souls. If Our Lord categorically denies the permissibility of divorce and the Church determines that the way the stricture is enforced is to deny the sacraments to the divorced and publicly remarried, and does so for millennia, then it should be evident that Peter is bound to the rule.

      It would seem that the authority to bind and loose is more limited than what you believe it is. Add new feast days to the calendar and lengthen the time an indulgence is worth, make some modest adjustments to the liturgy, but Heaven forbid the day a Pope would teach something that looks like, sounds like, walks like he an attempt to overturn the very words of our Lord! Can Pope Francis hand Thomas More his head back? Can the Pope reattach Margaret Clitherow's severed spine? No, these people all parted with their lives because the Pope was properly bound to our Lord's teaching that marriage is inviolable. Attack Our Lord's teaching on marriage and you've attacked the very foundations of the Church's sacramental system.

  27. I am a TLM attending Catholic today for "stumbling" on Ann Barnhardt. Her position makes the most sense to me. I pray Ss. Michael and Joan of Arc protection for her.

  28. Mr Spalding, I find your argument more persuasive than Ann Barnhardt's, but still I find it unacceptable.

    I really cannot put forth ANY argument in defense of Bergoglio's orthodoxy. My problem is in relying too heavily on Ratzinger's, depending on the standard used, and there is the rub.

    For example, I encourage you to read the following articles where you will see Father Ratzinger/Pope Francis expound on extra ecclesiam nulla salus.



    In particular, please pay special attention to these passages:

    [b]"Francis Xavier could tell the believing Mohammedans that all their piety was useless because they, whether pious or godless, whether criminals or virtuous persons, in any event were going to hell, because they did not belong to the only Church that makes a person pleasing to God.9

    Today, our humanity prevents us from holding such views. We cannot believe that the man next to us, who is an upright, charitable, and good man, will end up going to hell because he is not a practicing Catholic. The idea that all “good” men will be saved today, for the normal Christian, is just as self-evident as formerly was the conviction of the opposite.

    Practically, the admission remained that “good men” “go to heaven,” therefore, that one can be saved by morality alone; surely, this applies first of all, and is conceded to the unbelievers, while the faithful are constantly burdened with the strict system of Church requirements."[/B]

    Again, pay special heed to the reason:

    [b]"Today, our humanity prevents us from holding such views."[/b]

    Again in 1968:


    And again, finally:


    I am not putting forth a dogmatic defense of Feeney, but these words from Father/Pope Ratzinger are hard for me to in any way reconcile with Cantate Domino or even Pius IX's assertion of "invincible ignorance" which was later clarified in the Syllabus of Errors.

    My point, finally, is this:

    I really wonder what Pope-Emeritus Benedict thinks about EENS, and in light of his clear, though admittedly uncommon, full support of Pope Francis, I think he just might be a reed to lean on in the search for an orthodox "cavalry" to save the beleaguered settlers inside their surrounded wagons.

    Not to mention the fact that he isn't looking too healthy, and those who pin their hope on him will not be able to do so when he is dead.

    Thank you for the article, and, as always:

    God Save the Catholic Church.

  29. " … The thing is, I just can't see what the argument is for why he wasn't canonically elected. Or rather, as I understand it, it seems very thin…."

    If Pope Benedict XVI resignation wasn't valid, or he didn't actually resign (despite appearances), then Benedict is still the pope. Francis' election would then be canonically invalid as one can't elect a new pope as long as there is a current sitting pope.

    "… Those who appeal to Canonical arguments and claim that Pope Benedict XVI really didn't resign- although he has repeatedly said he did abdicate of his own free will - do not seem to realise they are calling him a monumental liar."

    Not necessarily.

    One of the points raised by Fr. Kramer, that was also raised and systematically and thoroughly reviewed by Canon Law Professor Fr. Stefano Violi, is what the actual words that Benedict XVI used to announce his resignation mean.

    tradcatnight …

    … Thus it is clear that Benedict XVI did not validly resign the papacy, since to validly resign the office, the pope must correctly express his intention to renounce his munus: Can. "332 § 2 - Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur." Not only did Benedict not correctly express any intention to renounce his munus, but he expressly stated that his renunciation of the ministry does not revoke his munus. Therefore, he erroneously stated that his renunciation vacates the chair -- an invalidating substantial error: "Can. 188 — Renuntiatio ex metu gravi, iniuste incusso, dolo vel errore substantiali aut simoniace facta, ipso iure irrita est."…

    According to Kramer and Violi, Benedict XVI in his own words only renounced the active ministry of the papal office, and not the actual papal office itself. If Benedict states he has resigned from the papal office, this is certainly true in one sense. Did he resign -- sure he resigned something -- the active ministry of the papal office.

    And as noted, it is possible Benedict XVI may actually believe he resigned the papal office when he didn't do so correctly. So, his thinking on the issue could be erroneous. When someone states something they believe to be true that is erroneous, they are simply wrong, not lying. In any event, Benedict can claim that he resigned from the papal office meaning the active ministry of it.

    A more thorough analysis can be found ….

    tradcatnight Fr Kramer

    Also, we have the comments by archbishop Ganswein (Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) of an "Expanded Petrine Ministry."

    nonvenipacem …

    Archbishop Gänswein…said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.”

    “Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before,” he said. “It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and lastingly transformed during his exceptional pontificate.”

    So, even according to Benedict XVI personal secretary, we have "Pope Francis" exercising the active ministry of the Petrine Office and Pope Benedict exercising the contemplative portion of the Petrine Office. This is of course absurd, as the Papal Office cannot be split between two persons -- only one person can be the legitimate Pope at any given time.

  30. If Bergoglio is not a formal heretic after all of this - then what exactly is the purpose of the papacy and why should anyone even pay attention to it?

  31. Thank you to everyone who commented, whatever your opinion or conclusion. As I said, we're all just trying to work this thing out.

    By the way, there seems to be a small glitch in the comment function. If you write a comment and you don't see it, but you do see, say, some other comment written after yours, it's probably not you. Rather, it's almost certainly something on my end. I don't have "instant" commenting - for a few obvious reasons - but I try to put comments up as quickly as I can, as long as the Blogger interface allows me to see them.

  32. I agree that there is a problem in Catholicism today! We are in an emergency situation and things might be getting worse. I am a convert, and am just heart-broken over the mess the Church is in. What hurts the most is that most of the rank and file Catholics don’t even have any idea, or they refuse to admit to themselves the evil truth. It is no wonder there are those who are entertaining sede vacantism theories, and considering Francis an anti-pope, but that is too much for some people to take. Most are so weak and worn down by this neo-Catholic Church, that they have become no more than useful idiots for the corrupt leadership, which at it’s highest levels is nothing less than diabolical.

  33. I am a convert, and am just heart-broken over the mess the Church is in. What hurts the most is that most of the rank and file Catholics don’t even have any idea, or they refuse to admit to themselves the evil truth. It is no wonder there are those who are entertaining sede vacantism theories, and considering Francis an anti-pope, but that is too much for some people to take. Most are so weak and worn down by this neo-Catholic Church, that they have become no more than useful idiots for the corrupt leadership, which at it’s highest levels is nothing less than diabolical.

    1. From a fellow convert...Bravo!! Your comment is spot on!

  34. Hey Oakes, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. This issue consumes a great deal of my energy and thought, and I'm sure that's true for many of us. It certainly feels better to share our thoughts as opposed to isolation, so thank you for that. These are the unthinkable days.

  35. A few more thoughts.

    Vatican II has been described as the French Revolution in the Church and we have had revolutionary minded popes at least since John XXIII who called the council. Paul VI and subsequent Conciliar popes carried on the "pastoral" revolution in the Church. Once the Revolution had their man in the papal office, or a pope of modernist bent sympathetic to their cause in the Papal office, they were likely expecting quick changes to doctrines and practices of the Church. The Revolution probably expected contraception, divorce remarriage, women priests and many other modernist changes would all happen within 10 years. But they didn't happen. And while discipline and pastoral practices changed radically in the Conciliar Church post VII, causing untold destruction, none of the Conciliar popes used their office to officially to change doctrine. No Pope has used his office to say … well such and such Ecumenical Council or Pope taught that, and I am now declaring it in error and the new teaching is this.

    The Papal Commission studying artificial birth control in the 1960's recommended Paul VI change the Church's teaching on this matter. Yet Paul VI just reiterated the Church's teaching in Humanae Vitae. So the Revolution was probably a little miffed -- why isn't our man changing church doctrine? … they were probably wondering. They waited and waited -- no change with Paul VI. Enter JP II and the same thing happened -- no change in doctrines. Possibly they asked one of these Conciliar popes -- why aren’t you changing the teachings, we should have women priests and artificial birth control by now?

    Pope replies: "I can't."
    Revolution: Why can't you change the teachings and doctrine?
    Pope: "I just can't change these things".
    Revolution: Why not, just change them?

    Again the Pope replies that it is not within his power to change them.

    The Revolution was likely pushing hard for female priests. Pope John Paul II drops the hammer on that notion and declares no female priests to be a Dogma of the Church (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).

    You see, the Revolution does not believe in the office of the Pope as understood by Catholic doctrine -- that whole … "Peter on this rock build Church and gates of Hell will not prevail against it" … bit. Yet Catholics know the office of the Pope enjoys special protection of the Holy Spirit to preserve the doctrine and teachings of the Church. It may be even that the Conciliar modernists while bishops/cardinals before their election to the Papal Office promised they would bring great changes to church teachings. But every time they were elected it just didn't happen.

    So, getting tired of getting Popes that wouldn't officially change the doctrines and teachings of the Church, they hatch a plan with Benedict XVI to "split" the papacy. Benedict pretends to resign the office of the papacy, thereby holding the papacy hostage while a new Anti-pope Francis is elected to move the Revolution in the Church forward. The Papal Office was blocking the great changes the Revolution has planned for the Church, so it had to be taken out of the way. If Pope Benedict XVI had really resigned the Papal Office, or passed away and Bergoglio was validly elected to the Papal Office, the protections of the Papal Office would have blocked the Revolution again.

    I think Fr. Kramer and Violi's position is well reasoned and provides a substantive case that Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and Francis is therefore an uncanonically elected Anti-Pope.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. ...What if Francis dies first? Conclave? Put Benedict in the Chair that's duly his anyway?

  37. It is infallible dogma that The Holy will remain faithful in perpetuity, thus, the prose and praxis of Our Pope and Our Cross is not formal heresy and he has not done one thing to bind anyone to his errors.

    Th ineluctable measure of this is his refusal to respond to The Dubia. If he does he puts his own self in the Doctrinal dock and has to authoritatively respond that his claims are the faith or he must repent and retract.

    There are not a few here who think Vatican 1 was wrong vis a vis infallibility but that it reverse circular reasoning as Jesus gave His Church the authority to teach the world.

    How these personal judgments serve the Faith is beyond ABS.

    Bullets Barnhart has a claim that has been thoroughly vitiated in a series of posts by the convert Fr. Hunwicke showing those interested that Francis is not a heretic.

    The Faithful must wait on the Lord and His church will sort it out.

    Don't forget the old German proverb; He who eats of The Pope will die.

  38. The Fr. Hunwicke series the Faithful can profit from reading


    You may not like the Pope, you may think the Pope a heretic but he is still the Pope.

    How many are aware that even if he was the arm of the Devil he would still be Pope and have authority over you?

  39. If a pope is foreknown as damned and is evil, and is therefore a limb of the devil, he does not have authority over the faithful given to him by anyone, except perhaps by the emperor
    was a proposition of Wyclif which was condemned at the Council of Constance

  40. There can be no doubt that Bullets Barnhart thinks and speaks for many when she claims Francis isn't Pope because canon law.

    Is she a canon lawyer? Nope.

    Take the time to read how a real Canon Lawyer treats of the He-aint-Pope claims




    It is not indicative of rational health amongst traditionalists when so many are so puissantly persuaded by this who are not experts.

  41. If Fracis is not the pope does that mean we are in the chastisement and things are going to get even worse?

    1. Yes indeed. Soon you will need to practice your faith like the Chinese Catholics.

  42. Fantastic job on gatherings all these opinions on our current "Pope" or Pope.

    Who knows and who cares whether he is the Pope or not. Titles mean little. The only title we want is something that says Truth and has truth. On that basis is clearly not the Pope. The question becomes is Pope Francis someone who we need to listen? For me the answer is a clear NO. On that basis he is not the Pope.

  43. Incredible to me that no one sees the "2nd Judas" allowed by God to enter here and crucify the Body of Christ for a second time in preparation for Christ's triumphant return. And if such events are occurring, wouldn't it make sense that God would allow and even command Benedict to step aside? Just as Jesus told Peter to put away his sword during the first betrayal? All 3 situations could be true together- Benedict's resignation was coerced and false; Bergoglio's election was of men (gang of nine) and not of the Holy Spirit; AND this man is the destroyer, The False Prophet of Revelations who tries to divide and take away the Daily Sacrifice- The Living Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ - to prepare the way for the Antichrist.

  44. There was a prophecy by the stigmatist Antonio Riffini about the pope who would consecrate Russia.

    Ruffini on the Pope …

    "Father Kramer some years ago wrote these comments with regard to Antonio Ruffini: “I myself knew Ruffini for many years. In the early 1990s Ruffini was asked point blank in his home: “Is John Paul II the Pope who is going to do the Consecration of Russia ?” He answered: “No, it’s not John Paul. It will not be his immediate successor either, but the one after that. He is the one who will consecrate Russia."

    Since Benedict XVI is still the current pope, that would be Benedict's successor. Pope Benedict is 90 years old and from what I understand is getting pretty frail.

  45. Antonio Ruff(ini) from Pray Tell????? :-P

  46. Good for you. Stick to the true Magisterium of the Church. Both 1 and 3 are true, and more will be known later. Watch for the “ecumenical mass” coming, which is the abomination of desolation. Get to know some faithful priests now, and be ready to house them when the big schism comes (Akita prophecy).

  47. Please. While there is long history in the Church of admonishing wayward pontiffs (beginning with the first), the only company to be found among laymen who declare and denounce anti-popes is a very sorry list of apostates.