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«True or False Pope» discussion

Started by Geremia, July 20, 2016, 12:56:53 PM

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This past Sunday, I received a copy of Salza & Siscoe's True or False Pope: Refuting Sedevacantism and Other Modern Errors. So far, I'm very impressed by it. It reminds me of a sequel to Romano Amerio's Iota Unum.

There's a review of it on the blog of Fr. Carota (R.i.p.).

Perhaps we could hold a book discussion of it here. Mario of has been spending the past months preparing his in-depth refutation of it. That should be interesting. To counter Salza & Siscoe's, he setup :)


Fr. Cekada's response to True or False Pope is out:
Here's another from earlier this year that mentions True or False Pope:


From NovusOrdoWatch's "Dead on Arrival: An Autopsy of Salza & Siscoe's True or False Pope?" post:
Quote from: NovusOrdoWatchThey [Salza & Siscoe] claim that the sin of heresy is necessarily, by definition, a matter of the internal forum alone, and so they effectively deny that there is such a thing as public sin. To Salza and Siscoe, the sin is internal and the crime is external, by definition. The truth, however, is different: As a sin, heresy can be internal or external, and if external, it can be secret (occult) or public
Exactly. Salza & Siscoe's error of thinking sin is only internal is on p. 150-151.

The correct distinction is:

On p. 151 they quote the full Cdl. Billot quote that Fr. Cekada quoted in part (De Ecclesia 1927 p. 632):
Quote from: Cdl. BillotGiven, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.
They claim the cardinal is speaking only of the crime of heresy. If that's true, and Salza & Siscoe agree a pope is above canon law, then how "would [he] by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church"? Then they abruptly change the subject to saying he would need to be judged/deposed by the Church.


from a Remnant article written by Mr. Siscoe in 2014, which seems to be a synopsis of the book:
Can the Church Depose an Heretical Pope?

I'm captivated by this topic and spend countless hours reading / researching all arguments.  I've moved into a sedeprivationist / sedeplenist mode of thinking and still wrestling.

Regardless of the analyses and refutations, the bottom line for the laity is that we have no authority to depose, verdad?


Quote from: PerEvangelicaDicta on August 12, 2016, 11:48:42 PMthe bottom line for the laity is that we have no authority to depose [an anti-pope / non-pope]
What if the laity are all who remain?

When discussing the "bishop in the woods" thesis and answering the extended interregnum question, Salza & Siscoe argue that the Church will never lack clergy, which they think (contra the Conclavists) are the only ones who can elect a valid pope. Even if that's true, why couldn't God miraculously designate a pope? This possibility appears in Bl. Anna Maria Taigi's 3 days of darkness scenario.

The Catholic commentaries on 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (that Antichrist "sitteth in the temple of God") support the possibility of a valid pope apostatizing. The commentary of the Original Douay-Rheims Bible distinguishes very well between the Catholic and Protestant interpretations of this passage:
QuoteSt. Augustine therefore li. 20 de civit. c. 19 and St. Jerome q. 11 ad Algasiam. do think, that this sitting of Antichrist in the temple, doth signify his sitting in the Church of Christ, rather than in Solomon's temple. Not as though he should be a chief member of the Church of Christ, or a special part of his body mystical, and be Antichrist and yet withal continuing within the Church of Christ, as the Heretics feign, to make the Pope Antichrist (whereby they plainly confess and agnise [recognize] that the Pope is a member of the Church, & in ipso sinu Ecclesia, and in the very bosom of the Church, say they:) for that is ridiculous, that all Heretics whom St. John calleth Antichrists as his precursors, should go out of the Church, and the great Antichrist himself should be of the Church, and in the Church, and continue in the same. And yet to them that make the whole Church in revolt from God, this is no absurdity. But the truth is, that this Antichristian revolt here spoken of, is from the Catholic Church: and Antichrist, if he ever were of or in the Church, shall be an Apostate and a renegade out of the Church, and he shall usurp upon it by tyranny, and by challenging worship, religion, and government thereof, so that himself shall be adored in all the Churches of the world which he list to leave standing for his honor. And this is to sit in the temple or *against the Temple of God, as some interpret. If any Pope did ever this, or shall do, then let the Adversaries call him Antichrist.

Cardinal Manning, the most prominent father at the First Vatican Council who was responsible for the definition on papal infallibility, said in his Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ 2nd part (4 lectures), "The Perpetual Conflict of the Vicar of Christ", pp. 81-173 (available in printed form from TradiBooks as The Pope and The Antichrist):
QuoteWe have here [2 Thessalonians 2:3-11] a prophecy ... of a [spiritual*] revolt, which shall precede the second coming of our Lord ... The authority, then, from which the revolt is to take place is that of the kingdom of God on earth, prophesied by Daniel [cf. Daniel 2] as the kingdom which the God of heaven should set up ... in other words, the one and universal Church, founded by our Divine Lord, and spread by His Apostles throughout the world. In this one only kingdom was deposited the true and supernatural pure theism, or knowledge of God, and the true and only faith of God incarnate, with the doctrines and laws of grace. This, then, is the authority from which the revolt is to be made, be that revolt what it may.

[*"St. Jerome, with some others, interprets this revolt to be the rebellion of the nations or provinces against the Roman Empire. ... They have revolted, and no manifestation has appeared." Thus, the revolt is spiritual, not temporal.]


One major issue I have with ToFP is that they don't discuss the case of Antipope Anacletus II vs. Pope Innocent II, presumably because it would go counter to their insinuation that universal and peaceful acceptance makes a valid pope; e.g., they quote St. Alphonsus:
Quote from: St. Alphonsus, "Verità della Fede," Opera vol. 8, p. 720It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff.
However, I doubt St. Alphonsus considered Anacletus II as ever having been a true pope.

Also, S&S's main thesis, that Bellarmine and Suarez held the same "common opinion" that a declaratory sentence is necessary first, rests on the opinion of one theologian, John of St. Thomas. Sedevacantists do not base their argument one theologian from centuries ago but on several who have interpreted and developed the thought of St. Robert et al.


Another aspect of True or False Pope? I don't understand is where Salza & Siscoe seem to imply that Pope Pius XII made more changes to the liturgy than Vatican II and the 1970 reforms did; however, according to the last chapter of Goddard's Festa Pascalia on the 1970 reform/deform,
Quoteand the manner in which they were carried into individual churches, were of such a radical nature that the services as performed today frequently bear little resemblance to the traditional ones.


A few stronger arguments S&S make are:

1. Against anti-una cum:
ToFP pp. 303-304 quotes the 4th Council of Constantinople, can. 10, which has even more authority than John of St. Thomas:
QuoteAs divine scripture clearly proclaims, "Do not find fault before you investigate, and understand first and then find fault." And does our law judge a person without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does? Consequently, this holy and universal synod justly and fittingly declares and lays down that no lay person or monk or cleric should separate himself from communion with his own patriarch before a careful inquiry and judgment in synod, even if he alleges that he knows of some crime perpetrated by his patriarch, and he must not refuse to include his patriarch's name during the divine mysteries or offices. [...] If anyone shall be found defying this holy synod, he is to be debarred from all priestly functions and status if he is a bishop or cleric; if a monk or lay person, he must be excluded from all communion and meetings of the church until he is converted by repentance and reconciled.
2. Against judging by usurpation ("iudicium usurpatum"), which "evangelical" or "dogmatic" sedevacantists do.
Summa Theologica II-II q. 60 a. 6 ("Whether judgment is rendered perverse by being usurped?") c.:
QuoteSince judgment should be pronounced according to the written law, as stated above (a. 5), he that pronounces judgment, interprets, in a way, the letter of the law, by applying it to some particular case. Now since it belongs to the same authority to interpret and to make a law, just as a law cannot be made save by public authority, so neither can a judgment be pronounced except by public authority, which extends over those who are subject to the community. Wherefore even as it would be unjust for one man to force another to observe a law that was not approved by public authority, so too it is unjust, if a man compels another to submit to a judgment that is pronounced by other than the public authority.
This is why sedevacantists argue that the sin of heresy alone (and not also the canonical delict of heresy) renders the heretic unfit for the papal office.


I'm sorry. I'm not sure I follow the second part with what sedevacantists argue.

I do remember learning from a Novus Ordo Watch Youtube video that sedevacantists would claim they are making a cognitive judgment and not a judgment proper to to authority. Is it not possible for one to have an erroneous cognitive judgment too?


Quote from: Kephapaulos on April 03, 2017, 09:11:30 AMsedevacantists would claim they are making a cognitive judgment and not a judgment proper to to authority
It seems St. Thomas would think one "judges by usurpation" once one tries to evangelize others of sedevacantism, when he is not the proper public authority for making public pronouncements of such a judgment.


I see. So, the judgment on the part of the sedevacantism can really only be private or  imposed or encouraged externally by anyone.


St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P., is an excellent patron for us!

St. Vincent adhered, contrary to whom St. Catherine of Siena and St. Catherine of Sweden supported (Urban VI), to Clement VII. Later, he disavowed himself of his adherence to Benedict XIII, whom he had served as a confessor and friend.

Andrew Pradel, O.P.'s 1863 St. Vincent Ferrer: Angel of the Judgment ch. 9 ¶21 explains why St. Vincent can be considered a sedevacantist:
QuoteOur Saint spent the beginning of the year in traveling through many provinces of Aragon to withdraw the people from obedience to Benedict XIII, and to attach them to that of the Council of Constance, an undertaking by no means easy considering the long period in which those countries had lived under the spiritual dominion of Peter de Luna. But to all their prejudices the Saint opposed solid reasons, which carried conviction to every mind. In a short time, Spain, as well as Italy and the rest of Christendom, awaited with submission the choice of the Council of Constance, ready to acknowledge the elect of the Council as the veritable Vicar of Jesus Christ.
But later he disagreed with the outcome of the council.

Ch. 1 of Philip Daileader's Saint Vincent Ferrer, His World and Life: Religion and Society in Late Medieval Europe, which discusses the saint's logical works, Tractaus de suppositionibus (ed. recently by Trentman) and Quæstio de unitate universalis {pp. 12-15 (PDF pp. 31-4) & fn46-70 pp. 209-10 (PDF pp. 223-24)}, cites historians of medieval logic
He's also mentioned in The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy:
  • On the distinction between propositions and terms, see Paul Vincent Spade, "The Semantics of Terms," 188–96 (PDF pp. 283-291)
  • Gabriel Nuchelmans, "The Semantics of Propositions," 197–210 (PDF pp. 293-306), esp 197–8.
He knew Hebrew so well he could refute the errors of the Talmud to the Jews by quoting the Hebrew Old Testament! He also knew Greek and Aramaic and taught logic and physics!


True or False Pope, "Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope", pp. 379-80 (PDF pp. 399-400) is logically unsound:
Quotethe unanimous acceptance does not cause the Pope to be a true Pope, but is instead an effect that would not be present unless the cause (a true Pope) was itself present. [true enough..., but this does not follow:] If the Church universally accepts a man as Pope, we have infallible certitude that he is, indeed, a true Pope.
This is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent, because:
(true pope ⇒ peaceful & universal acceptance) ⇎ (peaceful & universal acceptance ⇒ true pope)

We can conclude that:
(not peaceful & universal acceptance) ⇒ (not true pope)

Otherwise, one couldn't explain Antipope Anacletus II vs. Pope Innocent II.

Catholic Knight

A great resource to correct the errors of True or False Pope is Fr. Paul Kramer's two volume work To Deceive the Elect.