Author Topic: Did the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility Inevitably Bring About Sedevacantism?  (Read 1314 times)

Vinny Zee

The Chair of Peter enjoyed Papal Infallibility long before it was dogmatized at the Council of Trent.

In the book The Ecumenical Council and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808–1892) he explains the position of Saint Robert Bellarmine on Popes and heresy.  I am sure I am not saying anything here many of you have never read or discussed, but I would like to reiterate it here for I feel it is necessary for the purposes of my post. Bellarmine discusses four possible positions on the topic. Manning says the following:

“No better analysis can be found than that of Bellarmine which I will therefore simply transcribe. After saying that the Pontiff may be considered in four ways, (1) As a private person, (2) As a private Doctor, (3) As Pontiff alone with his counsellors, (4) As Pontiff with a General Council Bellarmine says ‘Both Catholics and heretics agree in two things that the Pontiff even as Pontiff and with his or even with a General Council may err in controversies as to particular facts which chiefly depend on the information and testimonies of men; secondly that the Pontilf as a private doctor may err even in questions of faith and morals and that from ignorance as at times happens to other doctors.’

Manning then continues with Bellarmine, “Next all Catholics agree in two other things not indeed with heretics but among themselves, First that the Pontiff with a General Council cannot err in framing decrees of faith or general precepts of morals. Secondly that the Pontiff alone or with his own private Council whether he may err or not in deciding anything in a dubious matter is nevertheless to be obediently listened to by all the faithful. These points so disposed of only four opinions remain”:

“The first is that the Pontiff even as Pontiff although he define a doctrine with a General Council may be a heretic himself and teach heresy. This is the opinion of all heretics especially of Luther and Calvin”

“The second that the Pontiff even as Pontiff may be a heretic and may teach heresy if he define without a General Council. This is the opinion of Nilus and the later Greeks of Gerson Almain and others.”

“The third that the Pontiff cannot in any way be heretical or publicly teach heresy even though he alone frame a definition which is the opinion of Pighius in book iv chap 3 of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.”

“The fourth which lies between these extremes, is, that the Pontiff, whether personally he can be a heretic or no, cannot, in any event, define anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church. ‘This is the most common opinion of nearly all Catholics’ as S Thomas says.”

I am considering numbers 3 and 4.  Bellarmine dismissed the first as heretical and the second as, “altogether erroneous, and proximate to heresy”. Bellarmine thought the third as, “probable, but not certain.”  Bellarmine then termed the fourth position “most certain, and to be asserted.”  Bellarmine also stated, “Opinion implies uncertainty and we hold this judgment to be certain.”

I have not read every opinion, (R&R or otherwise which is why I bring it here) but it appears to me this fourth position is often misstated and/or misunderstood.  The fourth position is NOT that the Pope can fall into heresy, but cannot teach heresy.  It appears rather, the fourth position is asserted without answering the question as to whether or not the Pope can fall into heresy. Bellarmine stated, “The fourth position lies between the extremes” and he definitively says the Pope absolutely cannot define a heresy as a teaching to be believed by the whole Church.  Manning also went on to say, “The words ex cathedra exclude all acts of the Pontiff as a private person or as a private Doctor, and confine the character of infallibility to those acts which are promulgated from the Chair of supreme authority as Universal Doctor of the Church in faith and morals.”

I DO NOT deny the infallibility of the Pope, as even Cardinal Manning explains, “For fourteen hundred years – the doctrine of the stability of the faith of Peter in his See and in his successor was in possession, by the immemorial and universal tradition of the Church. From this it follows that they who deny it are innovators; that they who affirm the infallibility of the Pontiff, speaking ex cathedra, to be a novelty recently introduced, are, in the form of their argument, fighting in rank with those who affirm the doctrine of Transubstantiation to be an innovation of the Council of Lateran, and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity an innovation of the Council of Nicaea.”

However, did the dogmatic declaration of the doctrine of infallibility ultimately lead to sedevacantism?  It is clear the church always held to the doctrine of papal infallibility, but without it being dogmatized there could be questions and debates as they appeared. My understanding has always been once something is dogmatically declared it cannot be questioned. Was the promulgation of this doctrine the catalyst to allow it to be hijacked and innovations to then be introduced under the guise of, “infallibility?”

If the infallibility of the Pope cannot be in question any longer, then the only possibility is sedevacantism when the Pope promulgates something questionable (i.e. Amoris Laetitia, etc). Without it as a defined dogma, it appears the church could have much easier navigated Vatican II and post Vatican II.  It seems to me that the promulgation of the dogma hamstrung a lot of people who better understood loyalty to the Chair of Peter than they did the documents of Vatican II or what came after.   

Is it possible all have held to the third position too closely, which Bellarmine said was, “Probable, but not certain,” i.e. “the Pontiff cannot in any way be heretical or publicly teach heresy even though he alone frame a definition?”  Have not all camps taken what Bellarmine said was, “probably, but not certain,” and used it to carve out their territory? 

Within 88 years after the promulgation of papal infallibility, it was alleged the chair was vacant.  The chair has since been vacant for 60 years.  Is it not troubling that within 148 years of the promulgation of this doctrine, the chair went vacant and remained that way? Does the doctrine of papal infallibility have anything to do with this or is it the church’s understanding of this doctrine in some way that contributes to this issue?

Police body cameras, microphones and dash cameras have revealed to us Police work is a very messy job, sometimes not well done and ultimately shocking to what the job really contains. Papal infallibility appears to have had this same effect. Like the police who have every movement of their shift recorded, we now hear a Pope speak all the time, act all the time, travel all the time. While he does this, we have the ringing of infallibility in our ears.  Like the police we want to so desperately trust in all their dealings, it shocks our consciences when we see a police video the had disturbing results.  Do we inevitably expect the pope’s infallibility to shine forth with an impeccability beyond what was intended?  Has the reality of infallibility lets us down over and over?

Individuals may attempt to draw a distinction today between the Pope in his private opinions, actions and beliefs vs. when he is speaking from the chair of Peter ex cathedra.  However, it seems to me the doctrine of infallibility no longer makes this possible. A police officer is understood to have his/her own life, be off duty, and enjoy the same freedoms we all enjoy when not wearing the uniform. The reality is that a police officer can never detach themselves from the image and title of police officer.  I do not think the Church (Sede or not) can detach themselves from the infallible nature of the Pope and see a Bishop or a sinner when the situation necessitates, much less can the Pope ever be detached from "infallibility."

So rather than, “Anything but Sedevacantism,” isn’t it actually, “Catholic, but sedevacantism is all that is left.”  So in reality, “Nothing left but sedevacantism?”
 

TKGS

So rather than, “Anything but Sedevacantism,” isn’t it actually, “Catholic, but sedevacantism is all that is left.”  So in reality, “Nothing left but sedevacantism?”

I don't think you'll find many sedevacantists who would disagree with this.  The phrase, "Anything but Sedevacantism", is a description of most R&R folks and conservative Novus Ordo folks and other Conciliarists. 

They hold most of the Catholic Faith, but they absolutely reject the doctrines concerning the nature of the Church and the papacy, which, of course, puts them, ipso facto, outside the Church since they manifestly proclaim heresy.
 
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Vinny Zee

So rather than, “Anything but Sedevacantism,” isn’t it actually, “Catholic, but sedevacantism is all that is left.”  So in reality, “Nothing left but sedevacantism?”

I don't think you'll find many sedevacantists who would disagree with this.  The phrase, "Anything but Sedevacantism", is a description of most R&R folks and conservative Novus Ordo folks and other Conciliarists. 

They hold most of the Catholic Faith, but they absolutely reject the doctrines concerning the nature of the Church and the papacy, which, of course, puts them, ipso facto, outside the Church since they manifestly proclaim heresy.

What are your thoughts on the other questions I raised? They were not facetious or rhetorical, but legitimate questions I have.
 

ubipetrus

It's good to be thinking about such serious and important questions.  Obviously, as Catholics we are morally bound to believe (and we do, else we would not be here on such forums as this) that the Pope is infallible, at least in his official capacity as Pope, and possibly in all his actions, as Pighius ventured.  Certainly, a gross and evident failure on the part of the man to be infallible, not only in his private capacity, but in his official capacity, and furthermore aggravated by a continuous and ongoing attempt to impose his errors and heresies on the whole Church, complete with even penalties and punitive measures for those who refuse to follow him into his errors and heresies, absolutely has to be evidence that the man is no Pope, no matter what anyone thinks, or how many think so.

Some see such a man's ability to do these things as being in and of themselves the reason or cause of his failure to be a real Catholic Pope.  Such a view of things conjures up a picture of a Pope, one day deciding to teach and impose heresy upon the Church, and the Church is just supposed to sense that this has happened and somehow pick up and continue without him.  Or else it conjures up a picture of the legitimate electors of the Church's next Pope choosing a raving heretic as the next Pope, the raving heretic nominally accepting the office to the complete satisfaction of said electors (cardinals or whoever) despite no real valid reason to believe he has accepted the role of being the infallible Successor of Peter to the whole Catholic Church.  These views just don't wash, for they imply a serious weakness in the structure of the Church, or in God's protection and guarantee and promises, as could (and certainly would) have destroyed the Church ages ago.  Has the Church (and all Catholics up until Vatican II) merely been terribly lucky for so long a period, only to have that luck finally run out and evaporate like a gambler's lucky streak?

Even worse, such a scenario merely but directly pits each and every Catholic against the Pope.  Suddenly, every Catholic must say to the Pope, "I'm right about this or that Church doctrine, and you are wrong; you are a heretic, your Holiness!" with the only difference from every heretic who has done the same thing being that known and documented Catholic truth is strangely and suddenly so totally and conclusively on our side for the very first time where before (for all the heretics down through the ages) it never was.  We are certain because we have and know what over 260 real and indisputable Catholic Popes have taught us over nearly twenty centuries to back us up, but then heretics before did have other things virtually as good:  the known and documented teachings of the ancient Church Fathers, Sacred Scripture, and so forth.  But of course, the heretics misunderstood and/or misrepresented the teachings of the ancient Church Fathers and Sacred Scripture, and so forth, whereas we rightly understand all of those things plus also the universal teachings of so very many Popes and all Ecumenical (and lesser) Councils (up until Vatican II, anyway).  Or at least it so legitimately seems to us; who is there to arbitrate between we real Catholics and "the Pope" in this case?  Who is there to come along and tell us officially in the name of the Church that "yes, you were correct to oppose and reject the Vatican II Popes and their teachings"?

Fortunately, we really do have a real advantage over the heretics; we have the antecedent and a priori departure of the Vatican leadership from the Papal office; we have the creation of the whole Novus Ordo apparatus in parallel to the real Catholic Church; we have the real Catholic Church, in the form of dozens of faithful bishops, hundreds of priests and consecrated religious, and laity in the millions continuing on faithful and indefectible, truly separate and distinct from the fallen Vatican apparatus, all things that Catholic theology tells us positively must exist as the Church must always exist, infallible, indefectible, and with all other marks and attributes of the Church.  The Sede Vacante finding is key to understanding our situation.  But it is true not merely because the Vatican leader fails to be a Pope, but because we who truly comprise the Church fail to have a Pope.  And the fact that the Vatican leaders have failed to be Popes from at least as far back as Vatican II onward is a fact which does not exist in isolation from everything else about the Church but part and parcel with a larger body of facts that begin with the Vatican organization not being the Catholic Church in any sense at all, no more than the Mormons or the Methodists, but that we traditional Catholics all taken together do comprise that Church today.

Such questions should lead one to study theology and ecclesiology and especially the doctrine pertaining to the nature and functioning of the Church.  These standard theological manuals will speak of the attributes and marks of the Church, that it is One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, that it has Infallibility and Indefectibility and authority, and is the Mystical Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of what those things mean (and what they don't mean, as well).  If in reading all of this you try to picture all of that applying to "Francis" Bergoglio and the society he runs you scratch your head and go "wow, this just makes no sense at all!  Either these teachings are just not true anymore, or, ..." - what?  But if in reading all of this you picture all of that applying to we traditional Catholics, it all makes all the sense in the world and everything just falls so neatly into place.  It's like putting a puzzle together.  Mating today's Vatican apparatus to the ecclesiological doctrines of the Church is like jamming all the wrong pieces together, forcing things to kind-of sort-of semi-fit some of them together (though the colors will seldom match) in some random pattern which makes no sense and leaves many gaps and pieces left over with nowhere to go.  But mating the traditional Catholics to the ecclesiological doctrines of the Church is like putting them together the way they were all meant to fit; each one fits perfectly as if it were made for where it goes because it was so made, all of them fit perfectly with none missing and none extra, and the whole set as so put together forms a cohesive and unified picture worth looking at.  With that whole grand picture in view, so many questions are answered with the authority of the Church and every "mystery" pertaining to the nature of our current circumstance is easily seen to be solved.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 01:59:26 AM by ubipetrus »
"My food is to do the will of Him that sent me." - John 4:34
 

ubipetrus

Your illustration about the police cameras is an interesting speculation.  But it doesn't fit the Pope situation since, even though most ordinary Catholics around the world were not exposed to the daily functioning of the Pope the way modern news media so enables us, but those in Rome and especially those working closely with the Pope on a daily basis would have been so exposed and had Popes been full of things the ordinary Catholic would rather not know, surely someone would have written of it.  And in fact some Popes who truly failed to live properly as Popes ought were so written up, but none of these critical writings of weak and corrupt Popes ever once accused any of them, even the worst, of actual heresy, a most surprising fact to contemplate.

And for that matter, police only wear their body cameras while on duty - sort of like a Pope's infallibility only being certain while teaching in his official capacity as Pope.

As for all that theology I talked about in my previous post, that is the whole point and value and purpose of my Sede Vacante! books.  Many people find pleasure in figuring out where some puzzle piece fits, how could any Catholic not equally, or far more in fact, find such pleasure in seeing how the theological/ecclesiological puzzle pieces all fit together even for today's situation?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 02:08:20 AM by ubipetrus »
"My food is to do the will of Him that sent me." - John 4:34
 

Vinny Zee

Your illustration about the police cameras is an interesting speculation.  But it doesn't fit the Pope situation ...

And for that matter, police only wear their body cameras while on duty - sort of like a Pope's infallibility only being certain while teaching in his official capacity as Pope.


I understand you feel the police analogy does not fit the Pope situation, but in some regard it does, doesn't it? As you stated, the police wearing their body cameras is analogous to the Pope's infallibility only being certain while in his official capacity.  Remember I did conclude with the following statement, "A police officer is understood to have his/her own life, be off duty, and enjoy the same freedoms we all enjoy when not wearing the uniform. The reality is that a police officer can never detach themselves from the image and title of police officer.  I do not think the Church (Sede or not) can detach themselves from the infallible nature of the Pope and see a Bishop or a sinner when the situation necessitates, much less can the Pope ever be detached from "infallibility."

A Police Officer should be allowed to go home and be a normal citizen like you or I, but the reality is that is not the case. The neighbors know who they are and the media will definitely know who they are if they make a mistake while off-duty in their "private capacity." This is how I also see what happens with the Pope. At what point do we (or anyone in the world) allow him to be Bishop and Private theologian? I think we do not, at least not any longer. We may consider him a private person if it is something we don't care about, i.e. he likes tuna sandwiches on Tuesdays for lunch. In that regard we don't mind him being a Bishop in his private capacity. However, if while in his private capacity, he is doing or saying something that is dear to us, we will immediately recognize it is not the Bishop doing or saying something, but the Pope.   
 

Vinny Zee

It's good to be thinking about such serious and important questions.  Obviously, as Catholics we are morally bound to believe (and we do, else we would not be here on such forums as this) that the Pope is infallible, at least in his official capacity as Pope, and possibly in all his actions, as Pighius ventured.

Bellarmine thought the third position as, “probable, but not certain.” If a doctor of the church has declared it as such, then I feel it is best for me to follow Dr. Bellarmine.  The entire point of my post was that because we tend to fall to the third position this inevitably creates the situation we are in. It is not just one camp, as I stated, all camps do it.  One camp, who sees the pope as infallible, blanket infallibility, just won't see anything wrong with him. They could never admit the pope sins or errs. Other camps apply infallibility to everything he does and says, "see, how could we follow such a man?"

Has the Church (and all Catholics up until Vatican II) merely been terribly lucky for so long a period, only to have that luck finally run out and evaporate like a gambler's lucky streak?

Is it possible that as the church has gained understanding of what exactly infallibility means it has become impossible for us to accept the reality of it now? Can you site any evidence anywhere where sedevacantism was given as a second option to a pope we can't stomach (i.e. allow to be infallible?) This option has been for the most part just created.  We are 60 years into an "interregnum." There are many sedes who take on the sede position, not because they're convinced the chair is actually vacant. They take on the sede position because they can't stomach Bergoglio. There are a whole let of new Sedes out there, who were quite content with Benedict XVI and JP II. This point leads to your next comment.

Even worse, such a scenario merely but directly pits each and every Catholic against the Pope.  Suddenly, every Catholic must say to the Pope, "I'm right about this or that Church doctrine, and you are wrong; you are a heretic, your Holiness!"

Yes, this I think is exactly what appears to be happening. "I know what infallibility really means now and I refuse to apply it to you, your holiness."  Why would anyone call a heretic, "Your Holiness?" All of the above statements are right out of the reformation. It is a terrible situation we find ourselves in today.

Fortunately, we really do have a real advantage over the heretics; we have the antecedent and a priori departure of the Vatican leadership from the Papal office; we have the creation of the whole Novus Ordo apparatus in parallel to the real Catholic Church; we have the real Catholic Church, in the form of dozens of faithful bishops, hundreds of priests and consecrated religious, and laity in the millions continuing on faithful and indefectible, truly separate and distinct from the fallen Vatican apparatus, all things that Catholic theology tells us positively must exist as the Church must always exist, infallible, indefectible, and with all other marks and attributes of the Church.  The Sede Vacante finding is key to understanding our situation.  But it is true not merely because the Vatican leader fails to be a Pope, but because we who truly comprise the Church fail to have a Pope.  And the fact that the Vatican leaders have failed to be Popes from at least as far back as Vatican II onward is a fact which does not exist in isolation from everything else about the Church but part and parcel with a larger body of facts that begin with the Vatican organization not being the Catholic Church in any sense at all, no more than the Mormons or the Methodists, but that we traditional Catholics all taken together do comprise that Church today.

Look at the Catholic Church now. They are left to argue and tussle over laicity of actions, the proper application of epikea, and the continuous monitoring of a counter fit church taking over, defining, and showing to the world “Catholicism.”   

The doctrine of papal infallibility is best left to those competent to actually employ its reality.  Is it possible to act as Pope and when so doing not to be acting with the air of infallibility? It appears from what I’ve read so far this is the divide. On one side, there is the argument, “yeah but the conciliar popes never said it was dogma” and on the other side there is the argument, “the pope promulgated it to the whole church, how could it not be considered as teaching authority?” One side appears to give latitude (believing they are following St. Bellarmine) and the other side gives almost no latitude (believing they are following St. Bellarmine.)

So when you say we have, "a priori departure of the Vatican leadership from the Papal office; we have the creation of the whole Novus Ordo apparatus in parallel to the real Catholic Church," do we have this because those who either never properly understood infallibility or misused it were able to create such an apparatus?
 

TKGS

There has never been a time when Catholics contended that the pope cannot be a heretic.  Any person, even a pope, can secretly deny a Catholic doctrine and remain visibly within the Catholic Church.  But we are not talking about occult heresy in regards to the Conciliar popes (and I admit that there is disagreement among sedevacantists in regards to John XIII).  The post-Conciliar popes are manifest heretics.  And we have the magisterium's teachings that the heresy (and schism) are different from all other sins in that they separate the sinner from the body of the Church.

So, I would contend that sedevacantists today are in full agreement with St. Bellarmine in regards to the fourth opinion, in that we accept the opinion that the pope could be a heretic (at least, occultly) but could never define anything to be believed by the whole Church.  Thus, there can be no doubt about Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, or Francis.  All of them have taught heresy in their official capacity.  There is evidence that John XIII and John Paul I were both ineligible candidates for the papacy as they had clearly defected from the faith prior to their election to the papacy.

[Note:  I will not here (or anywhere) enumerate the heresies of these men.  I am simply not articulate enough to do so and their heresies are easily discoverable by anyone who wishes to do so.]

In any case, in order to accept the teachings of the Conciliar popes, we are compelled to reject the teachings of the pre-Conciliar popes.  Thus, either God has changed Truth itself or the Conciliar popes are false popes.  The only third possibility is that Christianity itself is a false religion (which also invalidates Judaism and Islam) and the truth is either that we are mere animals with no soul (which makes all morality just plain silly) or......
 

ubipetrus

I understand you feel the police analogy does not fit the Pope situation, but in some regard it does, doesn't it? As you stated, the police wearing their body cameras is analogous to the Pope's infallibility only being certain while in his official capacity.
I certainly don't mean to say that such a comparison is completely inappropriate.  Indeed, one has to wonder how much injury such a well-media-covered Alexander VI would have done through his personal depravity, decadence, dissolution, and dissipation would have wrought upon the Catholic Church.  Indeed, as limited as "media" were in his day, sufficient news of his nature proved to be something of a scandal throughout continental Europe, though the British Isles and other more remote regions heard nothing of this and were therefore unaffected.  That point must be well-taken, I certainly agree.

What doesn't work here (as relevant to the bringing about of sedevacantism question) is the implied claim that perhaps Popes have always been so flagrantly heretical before, only Catholics heard nothing of it lacking today's nature of media, whereas now a "Pope" cannot so much as burp without the whole world hearing about it.  Every instance that even remotely looked like a Pope in error is already well-known to history, and were each discussed in detail during Vatican I before going forth with that infallible declaration/teaching.

I think the more interesting question (which your initial post looks to be more asking, anyway) is whether such a high standard for the Papacy might have been setting up the Church for a Sede Vacante situation today.  Obviously, Vatican I did not have anywhere near the media coverage we have today, but at least those in Council, having worked closely with actual Popes on a day-to-day basis, would have had grave cause to refrain from allowing such a promulgation had their close association with real Popes so well-known to them personally given them cause for alarm in this direction.

As the teaching is infallibly true, I don't see how we Catholics can meaningfully dispute its factualness, only (at most) whether its promulgation was prudent, which in most respects it seems to have been.  Do you think it was imprudent to have promulgated that teaching, in view of what is seen today?  Seems to me it could be taken both ways, either as a call to accept the man as absolutely right no matter what he says or contradicts, even Catholic Dogmas themselves, or as a call to reject as Pope anyone who fails to live up to so stratospheric a standard of orthodoxy.  Suppose a Vatican II had come along without the infallibility of the Pope having been infallibly promulgated:  Would that have made real Catholics more "free" to ignore the Pope, especially in his new radical direction?  Or would it have made it more difficult for real Catholics to discern that the man is, somehow, not really a Catholic Pope (Sede Vacante)?

As for me, I think it better for the truth to be out there, as formally promulgated as possible, despite the potential for that truth to be misunderstood or misapplied.  I believe one problem with their having rushed to pronounce on this question was a failure to take into account the role of the Papal electors (cardinals, or whoever served in that role before there were cardinals, and whoever must serve in that role in the ages to come if the Church is ever to have a Pope again) in securing and guarding his orthodoxy.  The following is from pages 129-130 of Sede Vacante! Part Two:
Quote
    St. Bellarmine writes in Book IV, chapter 9 of his books On the Roman Pontiff, page 187 (Ryan Grant translation) that:
Quote
Next, two years after the fall of Liberius, concerning which we spoke above, then the Roman Clergy abrogated Liberius from the pontifical dignity and conferred it upon Felix, whom they knew to be Catholic. From that time Felix began to be a true Pope. Although Liberius was not a heretic, still it was considered that, on account of the peace made with the Arians, that he was a heretic, and from that presumption his pontificate could rightly be abrogated. For men cannot be held to thoroughly search hearts; yet when they see one who is a heretic by his external works, then they judge simply and condemn him as a heretic.
    In context, St. Bellarmine goes on to mention that St. Jerome felt that the Roman Clergy betrayed a promise they had formerly made “never to admit another Pope while Liberius lived,” but in the face of an apparent fall into heresy (even though, as it ultimately turned out, not a real fall) the Roman Clergy had acted reasonably. Indeed, if anything appears to have marked the Roman Clergy as in any way different from all the other clergy all around the world (at the time of Liberius and Felix), it was their strict and careful scrutiny of the Pope, from close range, by which they legitimately, even though mistakenly, judged him as a heretic and “abrogated his pontificate.” In recent decades, even leading up to Vatican II and certainly thereafter, who in or near Rome has ever exhibited such close and careful standards? Pope Liberius was suspected of being a heretic merely on account of having made peace with the Arians, not that he was necessarily an Arian himself; can you imagine what such Romans would think of the typical Vatican leader of today who has made peace with every manner of heretic and heathen alike? Even what very few clerics as have refused to go along with the nonsense have hardly been outspoken about any desire (now more legitimate than ever) to “abrogate the pontificate” of the recent and current Vatican leadership. Who is there that will say, not merely of him, but to him, “You are in error, and have need to repent, and to recant the error, and if you do not then we shall abrogate your pontificate and elect another.”
    And this is not by any means the only example. For instance, in discussing Pope Vigilius, and in particular how he functioned while he was yet actually an antipope (Pope Silverius still being alive, albeit in exile), St. Bellarmine continued in the same work (pages 194-195, Ryan Grant translation), “Vigilius then was upon the very narrow straights that his ambition had thrown him. For if he openly professed heresy, he would fear the Romans, who were never seen to suffer a heretic to sit in the chair of Peter; if, on the other hand, he would profess the Catholic faith, he feared the heretical Empress, whose work had secured for him the Pontificate.” Note most importantly the comment that the Romans “were never seen to suffer a heretic to sit in the chair of Peter.” So “never” would at least apply clear up until Vigilius’ time, and possibly even to St. Bellarmine’s time. And recall the strenuous objections of the Roman clergy at John XXII’s unique views on the afterlife, such that towards the end of his life he recanted his error and died in the odor of sanctity. The Romans were above all those who were most vigilant for the orthodoxy of doctrine, and decidedly not the faceless bureaucratic yes-men who had come to populate the Roman Diocese by the time Vatican II occurred.
I go on to discuss how some, apparently concluding from the declaration of infallibility, somehow supposed that the quality resides exclusively within him (the man, the Pope, himself personally), in no wise to be guarded in any way by "the Romans" (cardinals, etc. in more recent centuries) as PART of how that infallibility exists.  Thus, the cardinals fell asleep at the switch, and became mere yes-men for whatever passed a Pope's lips.  I believe that inclusion of his staff (the cardinals/curia) can be taken as having been implied as being part of the formula (so Vatican I is in no wise wrong), but as no explicit statement was made to address the question of exactly "who" all constitutes the Papal office - the man himself personally or together with his cardinals/curial officers who, at least in the known case of John XXII, kept him in line.
"My food is to do the will of Him that sent me." - John 4:34
 

Vinny Zee

What doesn't work here (as relevant to the bringing about of sedevacantism question) is the implied claim that perhaps Popes have always been so flagrantly heretical before, only Catholics heard nothing of it lacking today's nature of media, whereas now a "Pope" cannot so much as burp without the whole world hearing about it.

That was not my insinuation and if that is what you took from it then perhaps I was not clear in how I was saying it. I was in no way saying popes have always been flagrantly heretical.  First, I think the doctrine of infallibility, and given today's climate to see and hear the pope constantly, have made us completely incapable of being able to discern if there was an error or not and if so, was it from the pope speaking ex cathedra or in his private capacity. Second, as the title of my post states, I used the word "inevitably." This implies something that is certain to happen or is unavoidable. I do know that certain uses of the word can also imply it is predictable. I don't want to give that meaning.  However, was it inevitable that the doctrine would be misused?

Cardinal Newman said, "It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society."

So when Francis Francis declares “with magisterial authority that the [Novus Ordo] liturgical reform is irreversible,” he does so most likely believing it is because the Novus Ordo is tied up with divine revelation, limited by (or in conformity with) creeds already in existence and proceeding from the definition of the church. I understand you and many others can argue this is wrong, but there are billions who won't and will site the same resource, i.e. he is infallible to make such a declaration. 

I think this is where I was going with what became "inevitable."  Therefore perhaps they could not "refrain from allowing such a promulgation" because it seems likely they never envision such a drastic change, under the banner of infallibility, such as happened.

As the teaching is infallibly true, I don't see how we Catholics can meaningfully dispute its factualness, only (at most) whether its promulgation was prudent, which in most respects it seems to have been.  Do you think it was imprudent to have promulgated that teaching, in view of what is seen today?

Not imprudent, but for now as I see it, inevitable.  We are only 148 years removed from its promulgation and if sedevacantism is correct, the chair went vacant within 88 years and has remained thus for another 60.  I think there are some who would say the dogma itself has nothing to do with the defection and the current crisis.  However, there is quite the fuss over the language Paul VI used to solemnly declare and seal the documents at Vatican II. If Paul VI had the same authority then that Francis has today, then Vatican II's documents are as valid as Amoris Laetitia. Then why all the fuss? While Sedes may not accept Vatican II, or its documents, one can look upon history (if sedevacantism is correct) and see that billions did, from clergy down to laity and did so because one pope convened the council and one solemnly declared its documents and closed it.  In light of this infallibility, the entirety of the changes spoken at Vatican II either went into immediate effect or continue to be implemented today. 

Seems to me it could be taken both ways, either as a call to accept the man as absolutely right no matter what he says or contradicts, even Catholic Dogmas themselves, or as a call to reject as Pope anyone who fails to live up to so stratospheric a standard of orthodoxy.  Suppose a Vatican II had come along without the infallibility of the Pope having been infallibly promulgated:  Would that have made real Catholics more "free" to ignore the Pope, especially in his new radical direction?  Or would it have made it more difficult for real Catholics to discern that the man is, somehow, not really a Catholic Pope (Sede Vacante)?

Well, as with any dogma, prior to it being a dogma, it is still open for debate.  There was a lot of back and forth discussion on the Assumption of Mary. Not only are the previous conversations moot and future debate is moot. Why? Because it is now a dogma of the church.  Failure to believe the dogma is the same as the person falling completely out of the church.  This is the same as Papal Infallibility.  Now that it is dogma, you cannot debate it and you most certainly cannot disagree with it. So when you see popes doing what one thinks they should not be doing, you cannot fight against the dogma. If you do, you fall outside the church completely. So what is the option to stay in the church? The man must not be Pope. If the man is Pope and I disagree with the man AT ANY POINT where he has spoken infallibly, I fall completely away from the faith and outside the church. So it is much easier for me to stay in the church if the man, the infallible one, has ipso facto fallen away from the Church.

Now I am not attaching names or dogmas. My above statement is merely the formula that I see is being debated back and forth all over the place. So I think this dilemma would have been lessened, in light of Vatican II, without the dogma having been declared. 

As for me, I think it better for the truth to be out there, as formally promulgated as possible, despite the potential for that truth to be misunderstood or misapplied.  I believe one problem with their having rushed to pronounce on this question was a failure to take into account the role of the Papal electors (cardinals, or whoever served in that role before there were cardinals, and whoever must serve in that role in the ages to come if the Church is ever to have a Pope again) in securing and guarding his orthodoxy. 

Papal infallibility is the dividing line. Those who accept the conciliar Popes will continue to accept the lineage no matter what. You will never be able to convince them they will be with out a Pope, especially because he is guarded by infallibility and will protect them. I have serious doubts sedes will ever accept another Pope. I say this because Popes will only continue to come from the Post-Vatican II church.  No Sede will ever accept this. John XXIII and JP II have already been canonized! How will anyone ever convince those who elected and accepted Benedict XVI and Francis there is something deficient. There have been 6 popes since Vatican II. 33% of them (1/3) have already obtained Sainthood. This has occurred at the same time people in the church say there has not even been a Pope since Vatican II.

I have no idea how you bridge that gap, but I have a sinking feeling Papal Infallibility is wedge in this endeavor.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 03:38:45 PM by Vinny Zee »