Tag: indefectibility

Anti-”Lefebvrist” Argument – I

Anti-”Lefebvrist” Argument – I posted in Eleison Comments on April 7, 2018

To attack the French Dominican priests of Avrillé for their “Lefebvrism,” i.e. for their refusal to accept that the Conciliar Popes since Paul VI have not been Popes at all, a French layman – Mr. N.M. – has just written an article accusing the Dominicans of rejecting three Catholic dogmas: that the Pope has primacy of jurisdiction over the Universal Church; that the Church’s Universal Ordinary Magisterium is infallible; that it is the Church’s living Magisterium which determines what Catholics must believe. Normally such questions of doctrine may be best left to the experts in doctrine, but ours are not normal times. Today Catholics can have to rely on their own Catholic good sense to decide such questions for themselves.

Let us look at all three questions in a simple and practical way. If I want to accept that the Popes have been true Popes since Paul VI, why should I have to deny firstly that the Pope is head of the Church, secondly that the Church’s normal teaching is infallible and thirdly that the living Pope tells me what I should believe? Let us look at N.M.’s arguments, one by one.

As to the first point, NM quotes the thoroughly anti-liberal Council of Vatican I (1870–1871) to the effect that the Pope is the direct and immediate head of every diocese, every priest and every Catholic. If then like all Lefebvrists, I refuse to obey him, I am implicitly denying that he is my head as a Catholic, so I am denying that the Pope is what Vatican I defined him to be. Answer: I am not at all denying that the Conciliar Popes have the authority to command me as a Catholic, I am only saying that their Catholic authority does not include the authority to make me turn myself into a Protestant, as I will do if I follow their commands in line with Vatican II.

Secondly, NM argues that Vatican I also stated that the everyday teaching of Pope and bishops is infallible. Now if ever we had serious teaching of Pope and Bishops together, it was at Vatican II. If then I refuse that teaching, I am implicitly denying that the Church’s Universal Ordinary Magisterium is infallible. Answer, no, I am not. I fully recognise that when a doctrine has been taught in the Church nearly everywhere, at all times and by all Popes and Bishops, it is infallible, but if it has been taught only

in modern times by the 20th century Popes and Bishops of Vatican II, then it is contrary to what was taught by Popes and Bishops at all other times of the Church, and I do not consider myself bound to accept it. As I accept the heavyweight UOM of all time, so I reject the lightweight UOM of today, contradicting it.

Thirdly, NM argues that the true Pope has the living authority to tell me as a Catholic what I must today believe. If then I refuse to believe what the Conciliar Popes have told me to believe, I am rejecting their living authority as arbiters of the Faith. Answer: no, I am not. I am using my eyes to read, and my God-given brain to judge, that what the Conciliar Popes tell me contradicts what all previous Popes back to St Peter tell me, and I prefer to follow the heavy weight of 261 Popes telling me what to believe against the light weight of six Conciliar Popes. “But then you are rejecting the living authority of the living Pope as arbiter of the Faith!” Only because I am following, obeying and submitting to 261 Popes as arbiters of that Faith which my eyes and my brain tell me that the Conciliar Popes are not following. “But then you are backing your own eyes and brain against the Catholic Pope!” God gave me eyes and a brain which function, and when I come before Him to be judged, I shall answer for the use I made of them.

It is clear that NM’s own answer to the problem of Popes protestantising, modernising and Conciliar, is to deny that they ever were Popes. It should be equally clear that to that problem, which is very real, I am not obliged to adopt NM’s drastic solution. Nor, if I refuse to adopt it, am I obliged to deny three Church dogmas. Peace be to NM.

Kyrie eleison.

Faith First

Faith First posted in Eleison Comments on November 23, 2013

The great lesson taught by Archbishop Lefebvre (1905–1991) to Catholics who had ears to hear was that the Faith is higher than obedience. The sad lesson we have learned since is that obedience keeps on being rated higher than the Faith. These “Comments,” driven continually by today’s confusion in Church, world and Society of St Pius X to get back to basics, have often attempted to explain why the Faith must come first.

Take for instance the arguments of an honourable SSPX priest who recently sent me an e-mail, accusing me of wrongly assessing the present state of the SSPX. My resistance to the – as I call it – Newsociety is, he says, 1) too personally motivated, 2) forgetting the good of the Church, 3) inconsistent with positions I have taken before, 4) lacking Catholic realism, 5) against Church indefectibility, 6) for each man being his own Pope, 7) for a modernist vision of the Church, 8) Protestant, 9) against union with Rome, and finally 10) pushing souls away from the Church.

Now, I am no Archbishop Lefebvre, and I do not pretend to be, but does my colleague realize that all of these arguments (except the third) he could have applied thirty years ago to the Archbishop’s resistance to the official Church authorities in Rome? Yet the Archbishop’s resistance was 1) motivated only by the urgent need to defend the Faith, 2) for the good of the Universal Church, 4) in a completely realistic way (as the Catholic fruits of his Society proved), 5) not disproving but proving, by his very resistance, the Church’s indefectibility, 6) for the Church of all time being the measure of the Popes, 7) against all craziness of neo-modernism, 8) against modernism’s renewal of Protestantism, 9) for union with the Catholic Rome of all time, and finally 10) helping many truly Catholic souls to keep the Faith instead of losing it.

And what justified the Archbishop’s resistance back then? What proved then that he was not, despite the appearances, a rebel like Luther, but truly Catholic, and a great servant of the Church? His doctrine, his doctrine, his doctrine! Whereas Luther denied a mass of Catholic teachings, the Archbishop affirmed every one of them. It was in the name of the doctrine of the Faith that the Archbishop took his stand against the Conciliar Popes and Church authorities who were radically undermining that doctrine by renewing and adopting the dreadful errors of modernism.

So what justifies now a certain resistance to the leadership of the SSPX? How can those who resist claim to be the truest servants of the SSPX? Doctrine, doctrine, doctrine! The mid-April Declaration of 2012 was proof of an appalling doctrinal deficiency at the top of the SSPX, and while the Declaration was withdrawn, its contents have not been retracted but even defended, as being for instance “too subtle”! Nor have the official SSPX documents of July 14, 2012 or June 27, 2013 properly undone the damage. The proof is that the governing policy of SSPX HQ has not changed. Dear colleague, your own Society was founded on putting Faith before apparent obedience, and now you want to defend that Society by putting apparent obedience to the Society before the Faith? Study the documents, and watch the actions!

Kyrie eleison.P.S. Meanwhile does anybody have a complete set of Spanish or French translations of this “Commentary” from when they began to appear, in the early EC 100’s? Please let us know.

Guideline Queries

Guideline Queries posted in Eleison Comments on March 22, 2008

A reader of “Eleison Comments” of two weeks ago had some reasonable questions. Here are some answers:

Q.1 If the Conciliar Church is proving defectible by its Conciliarism while the Society of St.Pius X is defectible by nature (not having the Church’s guarantees of indefectibility), then where is that indefectible Church?

A 1 Defectible plus defectible equals defectible. But defectible plus defectible plus God equals indefectible. In the Arian crisis of the fourth century, Pope Liberius was proving defectible by his support of Arian bishops while St. Athanasius enjoyed no guarantee of indefectibility. Yet the Lord God used both to carry the Church through until the Papacy came back to its Catholic senses. Even with the best of Popes, the Lord God alone is responsible for his Church’s indefectibility. In God’s good time he will rescue his popes from Conciliarism. Meanwhile the SSPX, amongst others, is playing the part of St. Athanasius, but even if the SSPX were to defect – God forbid! – it would be child’s play for the Lord God to raise other carriers of his Church’s indefectible Truth.

Q 2 Does the indefectible Church still exist outside the SSPX?

A 2 Of course it does. Catholic Authority and Catholic Truth, meant to be firmly united, were split by Vatican II, but the Authority continues through the line of popes (unless and until we have clear proof to the contrary, which we do not yet have, and may or may not ever have), while the Truth continues outstandingly (for the moment) through the SSPX. In God’s good time that Authority and Truth will be reunited. Meanwhile the SSPX’s function is to carry, and not betray, the Truth.

Q 3 But both the Conciliar Church is defectible, and the SSPX is defectible! I insist – how can the indefectible Church be continuing?

A 3 A river split into two streams still continues to flow. Normally the two streams rejoin. Certainly the stream of Catholic Authority and the stream of Catholic Truth will rejoin. Meanwhile the Lord God is obtaining the purification of his Church . . .

Q 4 Did not Archbishop Lefebvre sign on finally to all the supposedly heretical documents of Vatican II? Was he not then also a heretic? A 4 Firstly, the Archbishop always said that he never signed on to two of the worst documents, namely Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae, and when people used to say that he did sign on to them, he replied that he himself should know what he did or did not sign on to.

Secondly, what more than anything characterizes the Council documents is their ambiguity (see the first Volumes of Prof. Doermann’s series on the theology of John-Paul II, and of Atila Guimaraes’ series on the Council). Countless propositions in those documents can be read in a Catholic or in a non-Catholic way. Whatever the Archbishop signed on to, he no doubt signed on to in its Catholic sense.

Q 5 But where, if anywhere, did the Archbishop clearly repudiate the non-Catholic sense of the Council’s ambiguities? A 5 In most everything he wrote and said about the Council, he was attacking the errors disguised within the ambiguities. However, for as long as a heretic is still being ambiguous, he may not yet be clearly heretical, and it is correspondingly difficult for him to be clearly “repudiated.” Precisely here is the deadly character of Vatican II. Whenever the defenders of Vatican II are attacked for their Neo-modernism, they can scuttle back within the Catholic sense of their ambiguities, and the liberalism in which the mass of us are today marinated enables them to get away with it. It would follow that God alone can clean up this mess in his Church.

Kyrie eleison.