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The Remnant and Robert Siscoe Refuted on Sedevacantism
THE REMNANT AND ROBERT SISCOE REFUTED ON SEDEVACANTISM
BRO. PETER DIMOND
In March of 2013 a false traditionalist publication called The Remnant published an article called Sedevacantism and the Manifest Heretic by Robert Siscoe. For those who don’t know, sedevacantism is the term used to describe the position of people who correctly recognize that the Vatican II claimants to the Papacy are not true popes, but heretical non-Catholic antipopes.
A description of the article called it: “A thorough analysis of the error and why sedevacantism is completely untenable.” The article is filled with errors and represents a corruption of Catholic teaching. In this article I will examine and refute the article.
THE POSITION OF THE REMNANT IS REFUTED BY CATHOLIC TEACHING ON PROFESSING THE TRUE FAITH
Now, it needs to be understood that in this article I will not be covering in detail every argument or fact that refutes the false position of The Remnant and similar groups. There are many arguments and facts that disprove their false position on Antipope Francis, Vatican II and the other post-Vatican II antipopes. After all, they hold that John Paul II, a man who promoted false ecumenism for decades in addition to facilitating and organizing the worship of idols, is a “saint.” Need one say more? Our recent video, Why Francis Must Not Be Considered the Pope, refutes The Remnant’s entire position (and the position expressed in the aforementioned article by Robert Siscoe) by examining the Catholic Church’s teaching on professing the true faith. The Catholic Church teaches that only those who are baptized and profess the true faith can be considered members of the Catholic Church (see Mystici Corporis of Pius XII). Since Francis definitely does not profess the true faith, but a false faith, as our videos prove, he cannot be considered a member of the Catholic Church or the pope. The entire position of The Remnant (and the article I will be discussing) is therefore definitively refuted without even getting into whether Francis is guilty of heresy or is a manifest heretic (which he most certainly is).
For example, Pope Leo XIII teaches the following:
Francis does not teach that the faith of Rome (the Catholic faith) is to be held. He teaches the opposite. He has explicitly rejected converting atheists, Jews, schismatics and others many times, as our videos What Francis Really Believes and Why Francis Must Not Be Considered the Pope show. He therefore teaches that non-Catholics do not need to hold the faith of Rome. According to Catholic teaching, he is not to be considered a Catholic. It’s that simple.
Siscoe and The Remnant tell you that he is to be considered a Catholic, despite his teaching that the faith of Rome is not to be held. They contradict Catholic teaching. Those who obstinately teach that Francis is to be considered a member of the Catholic Church, despite his teaching that the faith of Rome does not need to be held, deny the aforementioned Catholic teaching, among other things.
On Oct. 8, 2013, I wrote to the author of the article, Robert Siscoe, and I challenged him to a debate on the topic of his article. Even though Robert reportedly boasted to people that his article had supposedly refuted sedevacantists, he did not accept the debate challenge on the topic of sedevacantism or his article. Before I continue with a discussion of my correspondence with Robert and his failure to accept the debate challenge, let’s consider and refute the primary claim he makes in the article.
THE KEY ISSUE WITH REGARD TO THE ARTICLE IS: ARE THOSE WHO DENY THE CATHOLIC FAITH AUTOMATICALLY EXPELLED FROM THE BODY OF THE CHURCH?
When consulting Siscoe’s article in The Remnant, the first thing I noticed is that there are almost no citations from popes in the entire article. In fact, he doesn’t like to quote the teaching of popes. That’s demonstrated by another article he wrote on the topic for “Catholic” Family News. In that article Siscoe cites no papal teaching whatsoever. He doesn’t cite anything from the infallible papal magisterium to support his primary point or argument in either article simply because he can’t. His positions and claims aren’t supported by anything in the infallible papal magisterium.
The main argument in the article is contained in the following lines:
Let’s carefully examine these assertions and refute them.
First, he claims that the sin of heresy, i.e., obstinately denying Catholic teaching and losing the Catholic faith (which he calls “formal heresy in the internal forum”), does not sever a man from the Body of the Catholic Church, but only from the Soul of the Church. He of course quotes nothing from the Magisterium to support this claim. According to him, one can remain in the Body of the Catholic Church while denying Catholic teaching and being guilty of formal heresy, but such a person is severed from the Soul of the Church. As I will prove, his position is directly contrary to Catholic teaching.
Second, he asserts that one is only severed from the Body of the Catholic Church by what he calls declared heresy (which he also calls “formal heresy in the external forum”). He defines this “declared heresy” (or “formal heresy in the external forum”) on his own authority as an actual declaration of heresy by a Church authority, or a self-declaration of heresy by the individual. (How convenient).
If you are confused by the terms he uses, that’s not a surprise. One of the Devil’s tactics in promoting lies, absurd positions and false arguments is to make it difficult for people to detect what is actually being said. The Devil doesn’t want to explain in simple terms how he has arrived at a conclusion; for when honest people do recognize and understand, in simple terms, what’s being argued or stated, the huge lie that’s being promoted usually becomes obvious. Hence, the Devil often tries to carry people to a false conclusion without revealing in basic language how or why they got there. He hopes people will simply embrace the position because the argument sounds sophisticated or advanced, even if they don’t understand its details. Thus, he frequently makes it difficult for people to follow what is being said or argued. That’s the case with the article by Robert Siscoe. Lurking behind the terminology some find confusing is a massive lie and a completely absurd position, as we will see. When his argument is understood and framed in simple terms – as it will be in this article – the position he’s promoting proves itself to be outrageous and ridiculous.
So, according to the aforementioned article, when a person denies Catholic teaching and loses the Catholic faith, he is only severed from the Soul of the Church, not the Body of the Church. That means that according to Siscoe and The Remnant, a person who denies Catholic teaching is still part of the Catholic Church and is to be considered a Catholic. It is only through what they call “declared heresy” (or “formal heresy in the external forum”) that one ceases to be a Catholic and a member of the Body of the Church. According to them, that “declared heresy” occurs either with a declaration of heresy by a Church authority or a self-declaration of heresy by the individual. The “self-declaration” of heresy by the individual occurs, they say, when someone openly leaves the Catholic Church for a non-Catholic sect.
Therefore, to sum up their position very simply: according to Siscoe and The Remnant, if you claim to be a Catholic (and thus have not declared yourself a heretic by openly leaving the Church) and if you have not been declared a heretic by a Church authority, you cannot be considered a heretic who is separated from Body of the Catholic Church no matter what you say, do or believe. That’s their position. That’s what they are peddling in this article. It’s preposterous. Consider its implications.
THE ABSURDITY OF THEIR POSITION
Since basically no one in the world today has been declared a heretic by the Vatican II sect, and the only other way to become a declared heretic (according to them) is to openly leave the Catholic Church for a non-Catholic sect, that means that Siscoe and The Remnant regard as Catholics and members of the Body of the Church essentially everyone in the world who claims to be Catholic, no matter what they believe. That’s their position. If The Remnant or the author of the article respond by denying that this is their position, they would then be lying and contradicting what they published. Their position is directly contrary to what the Church has always taught, as we will see.
THE REMNANT AND ROBERT SISCOE CONSIDER MELINDA GATES TO BE A CATHOLIC
Melinda Gates is the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Melinda Gates claims to be Catholic, but openly supports contraception. She even works to distribute contraceptives on a wide scale. An article available on the internet under the title, “Melinda Gates declares that her ‘Catholicism’ does not temper her support for contraceptives”, reports that Gates stated:
Since Melinda Gates claims to be Catholic, she has not declared herself a heretic. She has also not been declared a heretic by any man or “authority” in the sect under Francis. According to the position of Robert Siscoe and The Remnant, Melinda Gates cannot be considered a heretic. Their position is that she is a Catholic and must be considered one.
According to actual Catholic teaching, however, Melinda Gates is a heretic and must be considered one for the reason that she dissents from the rule of Catholic faith. She doesn’t believe and profess what true Catholics believe and profess. She professes that the use of contraceptives is acceptable and good, while true Catholics profess that the use of contraceptives is gravely sinful and evil. Since Melinda Gates professes a false faith, she cannot be considered a member of the Catholic Church, according to the teaching of Mystici Corporis; for only those who are baptized and profess the true faith can be considered members of the Catholic Church.
THEIR POSITION EQUATES THE PROFESSION OF A FALSE FAITH WITH THE PROFESSION OF THE TRUE FAITH
One can easily see the stark difference between The Remnant’s position and the Catholic Church’s dogmatic teaching. By considering Melinda Gates to be Catholic, Siscoe and The Remnant equate the profession of a false faith (i.e., Gates’ public support for contraception) with the profession of the true faith (i.e., the Catholic Church’s rejection of contraception); for they identify a public supporter of contraception as one of the believers with the true faith (i.e., as one of the Catholics). Their position is heretical and contrary to Catholic teaching. It’s a denial of the Catholic Church as a supernatural institution that only contains those who believe in and profess the true faith.
In the same way that their acknowledgement of Gates as a Catholic contradicts Catholic teaching, their identification of Antipope Francis and the other Vatican II antipopes as believers with the true faith also contradicts Catholic teaching. Antipope Francis and the other Vatican II antipopes have publicly supported false ecumenism and rejected the necessity for non-Catholics to convert. The Catholic Church publicly condemns false ecumenism (see Mortalium Animos of Pius XI) and declares that non-Catholics need to convert to Catholicism for unity and salvation (see The Council of Florence). Since Siscoe and The Remnant consider the public supporters of false ecumenism, who reject the necessity for non-Catholics to convert, to be believers who profess the true faith, they equate the profession of a false faith (support for false ecumenism) with the profession of the true faith (the Catholic Church’s condemnation of false ecumenism). The position of The Remnant is heretical. By equating the profession of a false faith with the profession of the true faith, it denies the Church’s external unity of faith, one of the Church’s marks. It also denies numerous magisterial pronouncements on the effects of heresy.
The falsity of their position is further illustrated by thinking of other heretics in the Vatican II sect. Siscoe and The Remnant hold that all so-called Catholics in the world who endorse abortion, contraception, disbelieve in the Eucharist, etc. (who have not been declared heretics) are Catholics. Their arguments wouldn’t just apply to Melinda Gates. For instance, they hold that Nancy Pelosi and Piers Morgan are Catholics and part of the Body of the Church; for Pelosi and Morgan claim to be Catholic (and thus have not declared themselves heretics) and have not been declared heretics by anyone with authority in the sect of Francis. Pelosi supports abortion and gay “marriage,” while Piers Morgan openly rejects the Bible, among other Catholic truths.
Since Pelosi and Morgan profess a false faith and dissent from Catholic teaching, according to actual Catholic teaching they are heretics. They cannot be considered members of the Catholic Church, even though they haven’t been declared heretics. According to Siscoe and The Remnant, however, Pelosi and Morgan are not heretics but believers with the true faith. No one has the authority to consider them to be heretics, according to them. Such a position denies the Church’s external unity of faith, and it equates the profession of a false faith with the profession of the true Catholic faith.
We could further establish the point by considering many other examples of people in the Vatican II sect who claim to be Catholic and have never been declared heretics, yet openly deny the Deity of Christ, the Resurrection, the Trinity, the Papacy, Scripture, the Sacraments, Salvation, Christian teaching on marriage, abortion, contraception, etc. True Catholics know that such people become heretics by their dissent from Catholic teaching, and can be recognized as heretics by their dissent from Catholic teaching. Siscoe, The Remnant and other false traditionalists, however, ply people with the heretical notion that open dissenters from Catholic teaching are Catholics and must be considered such. The position is a diabolical attack on the Church’s supernatural unity of faith.
THEIR CONCLUSION ALSO CONTRADICTS THEIR OWN POSITION
On this point it’s very interesting to note that Siscoe’s article in The Remnant, according to which you are forbidden to consider someone who claims to be a Catholic an actual heretic who is separated from the Body of the Church without a formal declaration, blatantly contradicts what the editor of The Remnant, Michael Matt, has asserted on numerous occasions. Matt has cavalierly stated that pro-abortion individuals such as John Kerry are “not Catholic.” His organization has also referred to others in the Vatican II sect, who claim to be Catholic and have not been declared heretics, as “heretics.” Indeed, in a discussion as recently as May 9, 2014, Michael Matt stated that Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are “apostates.” If Matt had any clue what he’s talking about, or about the heretical garbage he publishes, he would realize that he has condemned himself out of his own mouth; for according to the very articles he endorses and promotes – e.g., the article by Siscoe – and which he blindly thinks refute the sedevacantist position, he has no authority to hold that any of these people (such as John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi) are not Catholic. Matt’s blatant contradiction of what he publishes and endorses is just another example of how false traditionalists don’t have the truth. They will promote almost anything that attacks the true position (that the Vatican II claimants are heretical antipopes), even if the argument doesn’t make sense or blatantly contradicts other things they’ve stated. That’s because their priority is not consistency and a rigorous adherence to Catholic principles. Rather, their primary concern is to keep recognizing the heretic in Rome who dresses up in the robes, no matter what he says or does or how absurd the position becomes. Therefore, if publishing articles against sedevacantism that sound good to the typical reader who doesn’t carefully follow, analyze or understand in its full scope what’s being asserted creates the impression that sedevacantism is untenable, that’s sufficient for them. However, when those arguments and claims are carefully examined and analyzed, they prove to be incompatible with Catholic teaching, theologically bankrupt and contrary to what The Remnant and other false traditionalists frequently state and even take for granted.
MAGISTERIAL TEACHING ON THE OFFENSE OF HERESY AND HOW DENYING THE FAITH AUTOMATICALLY EXPELS ONE FROM THE BODY OF THE CHURCH
Let’s now consider the teaching of the Magisterium that demolishes the primary claim made by Robert Siscoe. Remember, his claim was that the sin of heresy (i.e., denying Catholic teaching and losing the Catholic faith) supposedly does not sever a man from the Body of the Catholic Church, but only from the Soul of the Church. Here again is what Siscoe claimed:
He teaches that the sin of heresy does not expel one from the Body of the Church, but only from the Soul of the Church. I will now quote Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis. This citation from Mystici Corporis refutes Siscoe’s entire article and his main argument:
Notice that Pius XII teaches that the offense of heresy itself, by its very own nature [suapte natura in Latin], severs a man, not just from the Soul of the Church, as Siscoe and The Remnant assert, but from the Body of the Church. Pius XII therefore directly contradicts what The Remnant and Siscoe published. In fact, he contradicts it almost word for word. It’s a remarkable example of blindness that Siscoe (and The Remnant) would publish an article that so blatantly contradicts the teaching of Pius XII in Mystici Corporis: i.e., that the offense of heresy, by its very own nature – in other words, before any declaration – severs a man from the BODY (not just the Soul) of the Church. Remember, Siscoe falsely claimed that the sin of heresy does not sever a man from the Body of the Church, but that only declared heresy does. He is completely wrong. This passage from the teaching of Mystici Corporis destroys his entire article and reveals his entire misunderstanding of this issue.
And while a discussion of the Body and Soul of the Church is not the topic of this article, except to refute the false claim published in The Remnant (that one who denies Catholic teaching can remain in the Body of the Church), it should be noted that one cannot belong to the Soul of the Church without belonging to the Body of the Church. The Church is the Mystical Body. If someone does not belong to the Body he is in no way in the Church, as Mortalium Animos and other magisterial pronouncements teach.
So, once again: Siscoe and The Remnant say that the offense of heresy doesn’t sever one from the Body of the Church, but only from the Soul of the Church; and that only when there is a declaration of heresy by Church authority (or the open embrace of membership in a non-Catholic sect) is one severed from the Body of the Church; while Pius XII teaches that the offense of heresy, as soon as it occurs, by its very own nature [suapte natura] severs one from the Body of the Church.
Since the offense of heresy occurs as soon as one denies Catholic teaching, even before a declaration or a warning is issued (and even if one claims to be a Catholic), Mystici Corporis proves that the act of rejecting Catholic teaching by its very own nature [suapte natura], before any declaration, severs a person from the Body of the Church, refuting the entire article in The Remnant we’ve been discussing. It’s certain that those who deny Catholic teaching are automatically severed from the Body of the Church because all in the Body of the Church have one faith.
Notice that it’s a dogma that all in the Body of the Church have the same faith. Numerous dogmatic statements could be cited on this point. Therefore, a person who rejects the faith cannot remain in the supernatural Body of Christ with those who possess the faith. The Remnant and Siscoe falsely teach that people who don’t have the faith are in the Body of Christ. That contradicts the teaching of the Magisterium.
One reason Siscoe has fallen into error and heresy on this issue is that he doesn’t understand what the Body of the Church is. The Body of the Church is not just the natural, apparent, external structure comprised of anyone who calls himself a Catholic, is listed on a parish register, or shows up at “Mass.” No, a countless number of those people repudiate Catholic teaching and are not part of the Body of the Church. The Body of the Church refers to the supernatural entity known as Christ’s Mystical Body, in which all truly have one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what certain theologians said about the meaning of the “Body” of the Church. As we just saw, the teaching of the Magisterium is definitive and clear: those who deny the faith and fall into heresy are automatically severed from the Body of the Church. Since Siscoe doesn’t understand this, he holds that the many public apostates in the Novus Ordo sect, who claim to be Catholic but openly reject Catholic teaching, must be considered in the Body of the Church. It’s a disastrous error – one that denies the Church’s unity and the legitimacy of Her teaching that all members of the Church are united in the external profession of the true traditional faith. It results in the demonic notion that Catholics should consider someone such as Melinda Gates to be one of the faithful.
POPE LEO XIII FURTHER DEMOLISHES THE POSITION OF SISCOE AND THE REMNANT
The heretical position of Siscoe and The Remnant is also demolished by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum. This passage is extremely important and particularly devastating to the false position advanced in The Remnant.
Notice, Pope Leo XIII teaches that anyone who dissents from a Catholic teaching sends or delivers himself (se det in the Latin) by that dissent itself (hoc ipso) into open heresy (in apertam haeresim). Herein we find the true teaching of the Catholic Church, in direct contradiction to the heretical teaching of The Remnant and Robert Siscoe. This teaching of the Magisterium demolishes Siscoe’s article, for it proves that the individual’s dissent from Catholic teaching (not a churchman’s declaration that one has dissented) sends a person headlong into open heresy. It is thus undeniable that the offense of heresy (or what Pope Leo XIII calls “open heresy”) occurs with the dissent itself on the part of the person, prior to any declaration by a Church authority or any declaration by the individual of membership in a non-Catholic sect. The dissent itself separates the person completely from the Church in one sweeping act.
Remember, Siscoe falsely stated that formal heresy in the external forum does not occur when one denies the faith and commits the sin of heresy, but only when the denial of faith becomes “declared heresy” (either declared by a Church authority or declared by the individual himself through joining a non-Catholic sect). In reiterating what the Church has always taught, Pope Leo XIII teaches the opposite. He teaches that the dissent itself from any truth of the Church sends the person into OPEN HERESY (in apertam haeresim) and outside the Church. In this context, Pope Leo XIII uses two verbs of note in the Latin: respuere (to spit out or reject) and dissentire (to dissent or disagree). Anyone who rejects or dissents from any Catholic truth sends himself by that dissent itself into open heresy.
We also previously quoted Pius XII who taught that the offense of heresy, by its very own nature, expels one from the Body of the Church. In considering the two papal declarations together, or even each one individually, the reader can see why what was published in The Remnant is heresy.
Since heresy by its very own nature expels one from the Body of the Church (Mystici Corporis), and the dissent itself from a Catholic teaching constitutes “open heresy” (Satis Cognitum), it’s certain that the dissent itself from Catholic truth (i.e. the sin of heresy) expels one from the Body of the Church. That’s exactly the opposite of what Siscoe taught. Here again are Robert Siscoe’s heretical words:
Again, don’t be confused by his terminology or his reference to the internal forum. In his case, it’s simply a diabolical way of obscuring his heretical teaching and confounding the reader. Siscoe teaches that formal heresy in the external forum, which severs one from the Body of the Church and results in the loss of office, is supposedly not effectuated by the sin of heresy/the denial of Catholic teaching. It is only effectuated, he states, by a more formal declaration than the dissent from Catholic truth by the individual. But, as we just saw, the Magisterium teaches precisely the opposite! It repeatedly teaches that the sin of heresy itself – i.e., the denial of Catholic truth, which results in the loss of faith – sends the person, by the very dissent itself, into “open heresy” (that is, into formal heresy). By its very own nature the sin automatically severs the person from the Body of the Church and indeed from the Catholic Church completely.
The position published by Siscoe in The Remnant, according to which people who reject a Catholic teaching and lose the faith remain in the Church until declared to be heretics by themselves or by another, is a heresy. It’s flatly contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium. That’s why Siscoe does not and cannot cite any magisterial teaching to support his false position. The Church’s teaching on this matter has always been the same. That’s why Pope Leo XIII declared:
MORE PAPAL TEACHING WHICH REFUTES SISCOE AND THE REMNANT
The heretical position of Siscoe and The Remnant is also dogmatically refuted by Pope Eugene IV at the Council of Florence. The Council declared:
Notice that Pope Eugene IV infallibly teaches that all thinking opposed and contrary things to the Church are expelled not just from the Soul of the Church, but from the Body of Christ, which is the Church. The word here for “thinking” in the original Latin is sentientes. It’s the masculine accusative present participle of the verb sentire: to sense, think, suppose. It shows that thinking opposed and contrary to the Church expels one from the Body (not just the Soul) of the Church, even if there hasn’t been a declaration or a warning. This further refutes the heretical position published in The Remnant.
Moreover, while it’s not necessary to prove the point, it should be noted that the position of the article published in The Remnant is also refuted by Pope Paul IV in his Bull Cum ex Apostolatus, Feb. 15, 1559.
In Cum ex Apostolatus, Pope Paul IV teaches that a heretic cannot be validly elected pope, even if he is elected by all the cardinals and accepted by the whole Church. He says that a heretical cleric cannot hold office in the Church. Concerning those invalidly elected as heretics, Pope Paul IV also declares that all Catholics, without any declaration by Church authority, “shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs”. Paul IV makes it clear that all of this applies to the time period before any declaration. He explicitly states that it occurs and can be recognized “without the need for any further declaration.” Therefore, contrary to the aforementioned article in The Remnant, heretics lose their offices and are expelled from the Body of the Church – and can be recognized as heretics, warlocks and heathens who don’t hold office in the Catholic Church or have membership in the Body – before any declaration by Church authority. The position expressed in the aforementioned article is false.
It’s interesting that Pope Paul IV stated that he wanted to make it clear to the faithful that a heretic cannot be validly elected pope, “lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place.” The pope thus intimates that the abomination of desolation would be connected with a heretic purporting to sit on the papal throne. His language was prophetic; for in the post-Vatican II period we see quite clearly that the prophesied Great Apostasy is indeed connected with heretical antipopes pretending to occupy the Chair of Peter and the various forms of spiritual destruction this has wrought. By their corruption of Catholic teaching, false traditionalists such as Siscoe and The Remnant perpetuate the deception and contribute to the abomination Pope Paul IV wanted to prevent.
IN ADDITION TO THE FACT THAT HIS POSITION IS DEMOLISHED BY MAGISTERIAL TEACHING, SISCOE CONTRADICTS HIMSELF WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT
It’s interesting to note that in a recorded discussion he had with a false traditionalist “priest” about these matters, Robert Siscoe blatantly contradicted the position expressed in his article. In his discussion with the so-called priest, Siscoe admitted that an alleged pope would in fact lose his office and membership in the Body of the Church, without any declaration, if he did something as blatantly heretical as stating: “I deny the divinity of Christ.” According to that statement by Siscoe, neither a declaration of heresy nor open membership in a non-Catholic sect is necessary for a professing Catholic to become a heretic, lose his office and be recognized as a heretic by Catholics.
With such an admission, Siscoe contradicts, abandons and refutes the entire argument and position advanced in his article. It’s the type of contradiction that would be thoroughly exposed in a debate. With such an admission, Siscoe acknowledges that the Church does in fact teach what sedevacantists teach: namely, that manifest heretics, who may claim to be Catholics or even popes, lose membership in the Body of the Church and therefore any office they might hold, prior to any declaration, if they manifest clear heresy or dissent from the rule of Catholic faith. Their loss of membership in the Church can also be recognized by Catholics.
In addition to the facts we’ve covered from the papal magisterium, Siscoe’s admission demonstrates that the position he expressed in his article is a lie. But that’s not a surprise; for with the false traditionalists, and other obstinate defenders of the Antipope who do the work of Satan, the primary concern is not the truth or consistency in argumentation. No, what matters to them is accepting the antipope who dresses up in robes no matter what. By the way, Francis has taught heresies that are every bit as blatant as someone stating, “I deny the divinity of Christ.” He has openly repudiated the necessity of converting non-Catholics many times, as our material proves. That openly denies the defined dogma that it’s necessary to join the Catholic Church for unity and salvation.
SISCOE’S PENCHANT FOR DISTORTING QUOTES
While the papal teaching we’ve covered and will continue to cover refutes Siscoe’s heretical position, his penchant for distorting the teaching of theologians on this matter also needs to be mentioned.
Let’s consider one example that concerns the views of St. Robert Bellarmine. St. Robert Bellarmine teaches that people who claim to be Catholic, yet depart from the faith, can be recognized and rejected as heretics when they show themselves to be clearly pertinacious, which means “before any excommunication and judicial sentence” (i.e., before any Church declaration). Note again: Bellarmine teaches that people are expelled from the Body of the Church before any excommunication and judicial sentence, and that they can be recognized as heretics before any declaration.
The words “before any excommunication and judicial sentence” (ante omnem excommunicationem et sententiam judicis) clearly refer to the time period before any kind of judgment has been pronounced by an authority in the Church. Heretics depart from and are cut off from the Body of Christ by themselves, before any excommunication or judicial sentence. Notice that Bellarmine says that manifest heretics, prior to any excommunication or sentence, are cut off from the Body, not just the Soul of the Church (refuting Siscoe’s false teaching). Moreover, with Bellarmine’s reference to avoiding the heretic, he’s not only teaching that one becomes a heretic prior to any excommunication and judicial sentence, but that the heretic can be recognized as a heretic prior to any such declaration. He’s also applying this to people who claim to be Catholic and even to hold the office of the Papacy. Bellarmine thus clearly contradicts the false teaching of Siscoe and The Remnant, according to which one cannot be rejected as a heretic who is outside the Body of the Church until the person is declared a heretic or ceases to claim membership in the Church.
Even though Bellarmine’s words in this passage are clear, Siscoe completely distorts them. He asserts that Bellarmine teaches the opposite of what he actually does. In numerous places Siscoe has actually asserted that Bellarmine teaches that there must be two warnings (as in two official warnings by a Church authority) to consider someone a heretic. He made the same claim in his article in “Catholic” Family News.
But that’s not at all what St. Robert Bellarmine said. Siscoe has abused Bellarmine’s words. In fact, Siscoe’s assertion turns St. Robert Bellarmine’s argument on its head. As a careful reading of the quote shows, St. Robert Bellarmine cites St. Paul, who in his period taught that a heretic is to be avoided after two warnings. Bellarmine then explains the proper understanding of St. Paul’s teaching (and how it applies throughout all of Church history) as referring to recognizing and avoiding a heretic who “appears [apparet] clearly pertinacious, and he [St. Paul] understands [i.e., by that] before any excommunication and judicial sentence”! Again: Bellarmine says that by his reference to “two warnings” St. Paul “understands” [intelligit] any obstinacy against Church teaching, even before any official warning, sentence or declaration. That’s why he says in that very line, “ante omnem excommunationem et sententiam judicis” (i.e. before any excommunication and judicial sentence).
Since the Church’s official and established magisterial decrees carry a binding force all their own, people can show themselves to be manifestly obstinate against Catholic teaching (i.e., that they are heretics) before any warning, excommunication or sentence by a Church official, if they simply deny or contradict well-known or established teachings of the Magisterium. That obstinacy against Church teaching is equivalent to what St. Paul described as “two warnings.” That’s certain from the fact that people would still become heretics, and could be recognized as such, in the scenario in which all the people normally responsible for delivering official warnings are themselves heretics. That’s the case today.
It’s also interesting to note that numerous public complaints have been issued concerning the heretical teaching of the Vatican II antipopes. Those include formal complaints lodged with the Vatican II sect’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The antipopes are aware of such complaints and the opposition many have to the Vatican II religion. They are familiar with the traditional Catholic teaching they contradict. They don’t care. They don’t profess the Catholic faith. They are manifestly obstinate heretics who advocate a new religion.
When Bellarmine explains that the meaning of St. Paul and Catholic teaching on this matter is that the person is rejected “before any excommunication and judicial sentence,” he’s referring to any kind of canonical sentence, warning, procedure, etc. That’s quite clear. The person is rejected before any procedure or declaration by his very appearance of obstinacy against Catholic teaching. In this very context St. Robert says that the heretic, who may claim to be Catholic or even the pope, is “ipso facto” deposed – that is, he is deposed by his own act, not the sentence of another. That would not be the case if (as The Remnant and Siscoe say) the person who purports to hold Catholic office is only expelled from the Body of the Church, loses his office or can be considered to have lost it after the Church’s representative has examined the individual and the sentence has been passed. In this context Bellarmine also says that “heretics depart from and are cut off from the Body of Christ through themselves”, which of course would not be the case if the person purporting to hold office in the Catholic Church were only separated from the Body of Christ through the declaration of another. Bellarmine is teaching EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the position expressed by Siscoe in The Remnant.
This is just one example of how Siscoe distorts and abuses quotations. I could write many more pages exposing similar distortions in his writings. His writing is an example of the blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14). When that happens, people fall into a ditch. In this case, the ditch into which they fall is the theologically absurd notion that a man who practices Judaism (Francis) and openly rejects the conversion of non-Catholics, to name just a few things, is to be considered the leader of the world’s Catholics. The conclusion is repugnant to Catholic teaching.
SISCOE’S FALSE POSITION CALLS FOR DISCLAIMING THE JUDGMENT OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
Another major error promoted by Robert Siscoe, in both The Remnant and “Catholic” Family News, is the assertion that a manifestly heretical papal claimant could only be considered to have lost his office after certain people in the Church (e.g., the College of Cardinals or a group of bishops) issue a declaration of guilt against the man considered pope. Siscoe admits that saints and doctors of the Church teach that a papal claimant loses his office automatically (i.e., before any declaration) as a result of heresy. Yet, he will also assert that a declaration against the person must be made in order for Catholics to consider that a loss of office has occurred. So, in his view, the papal claimant doesn’t lose his office in the eyes of Catholics until a declaration is by made by lower clergy. John Salza promoted the same error. It was completely refuted in our articles on the matter. Simply put, the error of Salza and Siscoe means that trials of the man considered pope could be conducted. That contradicts Catholic teaching; for the Church has repeatedly taught that the pope cannot be subjected to a trial by lower clergy. Consider these papal quotes:
Moreover, if all Catholics had to recognize a heretical claimant to the Papacy until a declaration was issued by lower clergy, as they argue, then it would be the declaration by lower clergy that transfers a Catholic’s obedience away from the man considered pope. The notion is contrary to Catholic teaching. Here’s an example of why. Consider how Siscoe’s false teaching would play out in reality.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE FALSITY OF SISCOE’S POSITION, THAT A JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED FOR CATHOLICS TO REJECT A HERETICAL CLAIMANT
Suppose that as a result of promoting false ecumenism, rejecting the conversion of non-Catholics, and other statements or actions a claimant to the Papacy is considered a heretic by many professing Catholics. Despite his promotion of numerous heresies, according to Robert Siscoe, the claimant must be considered the pope. He must be acknowledged and obeyed as the pope until the Church issues a declaration that he’s guilty of heresy.
So, in this scenario, some cardinals and bishops get together and examine the statements and deeds of the man they consider the pope. They judge the man they consider the pope to be guilty of heresy and to have lost his office for manifest heresy. According to Siscoe, it is at that point (as a result of the cardinals’ judgment) that Catholics may legitimately transfer their obedience away from the man they had until then considered the pope. But what if “the pope” issues his own judgment in response and disagrees with the findings of the cardinals? What if he officially declares that their judgment is wrong and that he’s not guilty of heresy? You would then have the judgment of the cardinals pitted against judgment of the man considered to be the pope. That would always be the result if the false teaching promoted by Siscoe and other false traditionalists were true and applied to a heretical claimant; for if the pope were to admit his guilt, according to them he could then be rejected as a non-pope and an examination would be unnecessary. An examination or trial by the cardinals would only be relevant in a situation in which the pope claims his innocence or disagrees with the assessment that he’s a heretic. Therefore, the judgment of the cardinals or the bishops would always be pitted against the judgment of the man considered pope. Do you see why the teaching promoted by Siscoe is false and cannot be the teaching of the Catholic Church?
If the cardinals find the pope guilty of heresy, as Siscoe requires, but the pope issues his own judgment declaring his innocence, Siscoe would have you reject the judgment of the man considered pope and go with the judgment of the cardinals. That’s heretical. Vatican I condemned the idea that the judgment of the Apostolic See (or the man considered to occupy it) can be disclaimed by anyone. It’s not permitted to pass judgment on the pope’s authoritative judgment. Yet, that’s what Siscoe not only declares to be lawful, but requires for Catholics to consider the man to have lost his office. Since the position from which he begins is false, it’s not a surprise that it begets additional errors, such as the condemned position that Catholics can disclaim the judgments of the man considered to be the pope. They don’t believe in Catholic principles and they don’t understand Catholic principles.
Since no one can conduct an official trial of a pope, and no one can disclaim his official judgments, a manifestly heretical claimant to the papacy not only would lose his office without any declaration (as the Church teaches) but he could be recognized as having lost his office by his own act without any declaration (as the Church also teaches – see Pope Paul IV, as quoted already). That’s how it must be. After the manifest heretic is recognized as a non-Catholic who has already lost his office, then a judgment can be made about the practical way of removing the antipope from Rome.
MORE ABUSED QUOTATIONS
On this point as well Siscoe demonstrates profound confusion and abuses more quotations. For example, he will sometimes cite things from certain saints or theologians who speak of the Church judging a heretical claimant. However, in numerous cases the author Siscoe cites is not referring to whether Catholics must regard the person as a member of the Church, but to the separate question of how to remove the heretic from physical possession of the office. In his commentary Siscoe frequently combines these two distinct issues in a dishonest way.
For example, Siscoe presents the following quote from Bellarmine and emphasizes the final portion of it:
He’s completely wrong. In the case of the passage from Bellarmine, it’s not referring to whether the manifest heretic can be rejected prior to the Church’s judgment, but to the separate issue of what to do with him (and how to punish him) once it’s clear (as a result of his manifest heresy) that he’s not a Catholic. Even today true Catholics can’t figure out how to get Antipope Francis (a certain manifest heretic) out of Rome. If we lived in a different century, a judgment by Catholic authorities could be issued against Antipope Francis about how to remove him from physical possession of the Church’s buildings; but that has nothing to do with the entirely separate issue of whether he is to be regarded as the pope or a member of the Catholic Church. They are different issues, yet Siscoe dishonestly combines them in his heretical commentary.
Indeed, his perversion of truth on this matter is further exposed by considering the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine on Pope Liberius. Bellarmine discusses Pope Liberius and the Arian heresy in the 4th Century. At the time it was widely believed that Pope Liberius compromised with the Arian heretics and had St. Athanasius excommunicated. That turned out to be false, as Pope Pius IX points out.
Even though it turned out that Pope Liberius was not a heretic, St. Robert Bellarmine says that because Liberius appeared to be a heretic (even though he wasn’t), the Catholics LAWFULLY CONSIDERED HIM A HERETIC, AS ONE WHO WAS NOT THE POPE, AND AS ONE WHO WAS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. THEY JUSTIFIABLY WENT OVER TO FELIX, WHO BEGAN TO “REIGN”.
If Bellarmine says that people were justified in rejecting Liberius because they thought he was heretical, imagine what he would say about Francis, Benedict XVI, etc. who practice Judaism, deny Scripture, endorse Protestantism, and more. Even though Pope Liberius was not a heretic, the fact that he appeared to some to be a heretic was sufficient justification (according to Bellarmine) for people to consider him to have lost his office. That’s because CATHOLICS CANNOT PROFESS COMMUNION WITH PEOPLE WHO PROFESS HERESY IN THE EXTERNAL FORUM. That’s the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine on this matter. His teaching is the opposite of the heretical position advanced by Siscoe and others. Furthermore, the Roman clergy had no authority to depose Liberius or to transfer the obedience of Catholics away from him. When St. Robert Bellarmine refers to the Roman clergy “stripping Liberius of his dignity” and going over to Felix, he refers to the fact that the Roman clergy did have the power to elect anew pope. They had the ability to physically remove Liberius from the possession of Catholic buildings in Rome, after it was considered without a declaration that he was a non-pope. Bellarmine’s comments about the election of Felix refute the perversion of his teaching by Siscoe.
It should also be emphasized that the opinion of St. Robert Bellarmine on this matter does not constitute the crux of the issue. It is simply a minor supplementary point. The teaching of the Magisterium is the focal point of this issue and it definitively refutes the false traditionalist position.
Earlier I mentioned that one of the characteristics of Siscoe’s completely heretical writing on this topic is that he cannot quote the Magisterium to back up anything he says. That’s why he spends basically all of his time discussing largely (and in many cases completely) irrelevant views of certain fallible canonists and theologians. It’s truly ridiculous to witness Siscoe go on and on discussing and emphasizing the opinion of John of St. Thomas or a Canon Smith or, for example, Francisco Suarez, as if the speculations by fallible men (not the teaching of the Magisterium) are the axis around which this entire matter rotates. While he’s worshipping the fallible speculations of men, Siscoe fails to discover that his own opinions on this topic are demonstrably heretical, as I’ve proven. In fact, here’s an example of how Siscoe follows a false view of Suarez to his destruction.
Basing himself on Suarez’s fallible speculations from 400 years ago, Siscoe teaches two heresies opposed to the infallible teaching of the Magisterium. He teaches 1) that people who deny the Catholic faith are not cut off from the Church; and 2) that a person who rejects the Catholic faith can hold office in the Church. Both ideas are opposed to the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium in Satis Cognitum, among other things.
To disprove Siscoe’s #1, I already quoted Leo XIII, where he teaches that the dissent from any Catholic truth plunges a person into open heresy and separates him from the Church. Siscoe’s statement rejects that teaching.
Mystici Corporis also declared that such a person is automatically severed from the Body of the Church. That contradicts Siscoe’s heretical teaching (based on Suarez) that one who dissents from Catholic teaching continues to be part of the Body of the Church.
To disprove Siscoe’s #2, I quoted Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum #15. There the Pope declares that it’s absurd to imagine that he who is outside the Church can command or hold office in the Church. The teaching of the Magisterium in Satis Cognitum makes it clear that one is not permitted to hold that a heretic (a person who is outside the Church) could occupy the Papal Office. It’s not an open question. It is, in fact, an absurdity to imagine that a heretic could be pope.
Nevertheless, spurning the teaching of the Magisterium, and perpetuating the inaccurate speculations of Suarez in the place of its pronouncements, Siscoe advances the heretical notion that people who deny the Catholic faith (who are thus outside the Church, as Satis Cognitum #9 shows) can “hold office” in the Church. He thereby rejects Catholic teaching. He even repeats his heretical position in an article in the heretical publication, “Catholic” Family News:
Actually, yes, it has. The Church has declared false the idea that a heretic can remain pope by its explicit teaching that it’s absurd to hold that someone who is outside could command in the Church. Since the papacy is an office with the power to command, a heretic (who is outside the Church) could never hold it. The fact that a heretic would lose an office in the Church ipso facto is certain from the dogmas that heretics are outside the Church and that the pope is the head of the Church. It’s outrageous to see false traditionalists still perpetuating positions that have been so clearly refuted.
Siscoe further corrupts Catholic teaching on this matter when he repeatedly states that people outside the Church can at times perform certain acts of jurisdiction. He will sometimes quote a theologian or the Code of Canon Law to support this assertion. Yes, that’s a true principle but it has nothing to do with the issue of whether the Vatican II claimants are popes. The Church can and does at times grant jurisdiction to someone who is outside the Church for the performance of a specific act. An example would be a validly ordained priest or bishop who is outside the Church who is automatically supplied jurisdiction for the benefit of a Catholic in confession. The person outside the Church would thus receive jurisdiction for that particular or specific act, but he would not be a member of the Church, and he could not command or hold office in the Church. The divine law bars him from membership in the Church and occupying an office in the Church. Hence, the issues of 1) a specific act of jurisdiction and 2) holding an office in the Church by which people command (such as the Papacy) are distinct. Nevertheless, Siscoe dishonestly combines them in his writing. Priests of the SSPX and other false traditionalists do as well. In the process they deceive their readers and teach the absurd heresy that someone who is outside the Church can command in the Church.
DEVASTATING QUOTES FROM COUNCILS ABOUT HOW CATHOLICS CAN RECOGNIZE PEOPLE AS HERETICS BEFORE ANY DECLARATION IS MADE
In addition to the facts covered thus far, there are a number of extremely important quotes we still need to consider. Until now these quotes have never been covered by anyone on this or perhaps on any other topic. They are some of the best quotes to disprove the false traditionalist position, according to which Catholics supposedly lack the ability or the authority to consider someone a heretic until the Church has declared that person a heretic or until the person is a heretic according to the strict definition of the Church’s ecclesiastical law.
The claim that Catholics lack the authority to consider someone a heretic until he is declared a heretic (or considered a heretic according to the strict letter of ecclesiastical law) is one of the primary reasons false traditionalists will not denounce the obviously heretical Vatican II antipopes as actual heretics. Hence, it should be obvious why these quotes (in addition to those covered earlier) are so important. Before we consider the quotes, it’s necessary to make an important distinction.
A HERETIC ACCORDING TO DIVINE LAW (DOGMA) VS. A HERETIC ACCORDING TO ECCLESIASTICAL LAW (CANON LAW)
I’ve proven that The Remnant, the SSPX, Robert Siscoe and others cling to heretical views on when people become heretics and when people can be recognized as such. One of the main reasons they have fallen into heresy on this matter is they are fixated on the declaration of heresy that has sometimes been made in the Church’s ecclesiastical or canon law. Since at various times in Church history procedures were put in place for how people are to be declared heretics in the Church’s ecclesiastical law, heretics such as Siscoe, the priests of the SSPX and many others wrongly conclude that until a person is considered a heretic according to the letter of canon law, he is not to be considered an actual heretic by Catholics. That’s why many of them spend almost all of their time discussing canon law. (They also prefer to focus on canon law, and avoid dogmatic teaching, because they know the latter demolishes their position.) Their position that Catholics may not regard someone as an actual heretic until he is considered such according to the letter of canon law is completely wrong. By disproving their claims on that matter one can quickly refute all their arguments that the Vatican II claimants to the Papacy are not to be considered actual heretics.
Of course, their position is disproven by the numerous facts we’ve already adduced. False traditionalists ignore those facts – namely, the Church’s dogmatic teaching on heresy and when people become heretics – including the points previously covered from Mystici Corporis, Satis Cognitum and the Council of Florence. However, an additional flaw in their position we must now examine is their failure to recognize a distinction: i.e., that being considered a heretic according to divine law/the Church’s dogmatic teaching is not the same thing as being considered a heretic in the Church’s ecclesiastical or canon law. In fact, very few sedevacantists understand this point.
THE EXCOMMUNICATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE CHURCH’S ECCLESIASTICAL OR CANON LAW AROSE WITH, AND BELONG TO, ECCLESIASTICAL LAW RATHER THAN DIVINE LAW
At various times in history the Church created and promulgated ecclesiastical laws to govern its members. One of those is excommunication. Even though it’s sometimes a perfect reflection of the divine law, excommunication is actually an ecclesiastical law. Even the ipso facto excommunication for heresy, which has been in place in Church history, is an ecclesiastical law, not a divine law. In the case of the ipso facto excommunication for heresy, it’s a perfect reflection of the divine law, but it’s an ecclesiastical law. For example, canon 1325#2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law says that anyone after baptism who pertinaciously denies or doubts a truth of divine and Catholic faith is a heretic. And Canon 2314#1 says that each and every heretic incurs by that fact excommunication.
If these canons (and similar ones promulgated in Church history) did not exist, heretics would still be automatically expelled from the Catholic Church by the divine law. The divine law automatically expels from the Church anyone who rejects a Church teaching. That ensures the supernatural unity of faith in the Church of Christ. The authoritative teaching of Pope Leo XIII we discussed, concerning the Church’s dogmatic teaching about heresy and its effects, makes the divine law and dogmatic principles on this matter very clear. Pope Leo XIII declared that anyone who dissents from a Catholic teaching sends or delivers himself (se det) by that dissent itself (hoc ipso) into open heresy (in apertam haeresim). The person brings down on his own head the divine law sentence automatically separating him from the Church. That’s the dogmatic teaching of the Church about the divine law effects of heresy: one falls into heresy and is separated from the Church by rejecting Catholic teaching.
Since all who deny a Catholic teaching are automatically expelled from the Church by divine law, irrespective of any ecclesiastical law promulgated or not promulgated about heresy, for someone to be automatically removed from the Church it’s not necessary that he even incur an excommunication (whether automatic or any other kind) or be considered a heretic in canon law. Let me repeat that: for someone to be automatically removed from the Catholic Church by rejecting a Catholic teaching, it’s not necessary that he even incur an excommunication or be considered a heretic in canon law.
That’s precisely why St. Robert Bellarmine stated that a manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed and can be rejected “after he appears clearly pertinacious… before any excommunication and judicial sentence.”
He says before any excommunication, judgment or procedure because those are creations of ecclesiastical law and the divine law takes action against dissenters irrespective of the ecclesiastical laws or excommunications in place.
IT’S THUS CERTAIN THAT A DISSENTER FROM CATHOLIC TEACHING IS AUTOMATICALLY EXPELLED FROM THE CHURCH, AND LOSES ANY OFFICE HE MIGHT HOLD, EVEN IF HE’S NOT A HERETIC IN CANON LAW
The above principles show that a dissenter from Catholic teaching is automatically expelled from the Catholic Church and loses his office by virtue of the divine law, even if no canon law exists on the matter or if one has not fulfilled the requirements for excommunication in canon law. But some might object: Okay, even though it’s certain that a dissenter from Catholic teaching is, in fact, automatically expelled from the Catholic Church prior to and irrespective of any ecclesiastical law or excommunication, wouldn’t he still need to incur excommunication in canon law in order for Catholics to recognize that he has become a heretic according to divine or canon law and been expelled from the Church by divine or canon law? The answer is no, as the quotes I will cite prove.
QUOTES FROM ECUMENICAL COUNCILS PROVE THAT PEOPLE BECOME HERETICS, AND CAN BE REJECTED AS SUCH, EVEN BEFORE THEY ARE CONSIDERED HERETICS IN THE CHURCH’S ECCLESIASTICAL LAW
In the Fourth Lateran Council we find this interesting passage.
In this passage the Fourth Lateran Council says that each bishop or archbishop should visit parishes “in which according to report heretics were living” [in qua fama fuerit haereticos habitare]. The Council thus refers to these people as “heretics” before they have ever been declared heretics or officially warned about their heresies! Moreover, it states that “if anyone should know of heretics there” [si quis ibidem haereticos sciverit], then he can point them out. Therefore, anyone – including a layperson – is able to recognize people as “heretics” before they have been declared heretics, officially warned or pointed out to the bishop! The Council applies this principle to people in Catholic parishes who purport to be Catholic! The Council is thereby recognizing the divine law principle mentioned earlier (and the dogmatic teaching of the Church) that anyone who clearly dissents from Catholic teaching can and must be recognized and rejected as a heretic, even if that person is not yet considered a “heretic” according to the procedures and requirements of the ecclesiastical law in place at the time.
Indeed, the Council refers to these people as “heretics” before they have been declared or warned according to the procedures of its own ecclesiastical law, and in the very same context in which it explains how such people can later be considered “heretics” in the Council’s ecclesiastical law. It says that if these people it already called “heretics” at some later point in time refuse an oath, they are to be reputed as “heretics”. In other words, if they refuse an oath after having been officially warned or censured, they are to be considered heretics according to the strict letter of the Council’s canon law; but it states that any of the faithful could already have recognized them as “heretics” before that even occurs (by virtue of the divine law).
This completely refutes the false traditionalist claim, made by the SSPX, The Remnant, Robert Siscoe and others, that a professing Catholic cannot be considered an actual heretic until that person is considered a heretic according to the strict letter of canon or ecclesiastical law. Their position is totally wrong, as I will prove with even more quotes on this matter.
In light of this fact, some may ask: Okay, if people can be recognized and rejected as actual heretics by virtue of their clear dissent from Catholic teaching, before they are even considered heretics according to the letter of ecclesiastical law, then what’s the point of a declaration of heresy in ecclesiastical or canon law? To frame the question/objection in another way: if the Fourth Lateran Council is stating (as it is) that any layman can recognize, identify and reject heretics in his own parish, then why does the Council set forth procedures for how “heretics” will later be officially pointed out in ecclesiastical law? The answer is that the effects of the divine law sentence for heresy are not the same as the effects of the ecclesiastical law sentence or excommunication for heresy. This is a point very few understand. The divine law sentence for heresy and the ecclesiastical law sentence for heresy have some effects in common, but the ecclesiastical law sentence for heresy contains more effects and imposes additional obligations on the faithful, as we will see.
The teaching of the Fourth Lateran Council above makes it clear that before anyone has become a heretic or been warned according to ecclesiastical law, he can become a heretic and be recognized as such by virtue of the divine law and the dogmatic teaching of the Church. The Church has always taught that anyone who dissents from the rule of Catholic faith is not to be a considered a Catholic or part of the Church. There is therefore no basis for the false traditionalist position, according to which Catholics supposedly lack the ability or authority to recognize the obviously heretical Vatican II antipopes, or the apostate “bishops” under them, as actual heretics. Let’s consider more quotes that prove the point and refute their false position.
THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL DECLARED THAT ANYONE WHO APPROVED THE HERETICAL OPINION OF ABBOT JOACHIM COULD BE CONFUTED BY ALL (AB OMNIBUS - I.E., BY ALL THE FAITHFUL WITHOUT ANY DECLARATION) AS A HERETIC (TAMQUAM HAERETICUS)…. TAMQUAM HAERETICUS (WHICH MEANS, “AS A HERETIC”) IS THE SAME PHRASE USED BY THE COUNCIL FOR THOSE CONSIDERED HERETICS AFTER AN OFFICIAL WARNING
In this passage the Fourth Lateran Council declares that if anyone (si quis) defends or approves the heretical opinion of Abbot Joachim he can be confuted by all (ab omnibus) as a heretic. This proves that anyone who adheres to heresy becomes a heretic before a declaration and can be recognized, rejected and rebuked as such before a declaration. In fact, tamquam haereticus is the same phrase the Council uses for those who are to be considered formal heretics after a canonical warning. It uses the plural tamquam haeretici for those officially considered to be heretics in ecclesiastical law. So much for the claim of false traditionalists that Catholics cannot recognize people as formal heretics until they have been declared heretics or officially warned. Their position is completely wrong.
THE COUNCIL OF VIENNE DECLARES THAT ANYONE WHO DENIES THAT THE RATIONAL SOUL IS THE FORM OF THE HUMAN BODY IS TO BE CONSIDERED A HERETIC
The Council of Vienne declared that whoever [quisquis] pertinaciously adheres to the position that the rational soul is not the form of the human body is to be considered a heretic (tamquam haereticus sit censendus). The person doesn’t have to be declared or warned by any official. He must simply deny Catholic teaching to be considered an actual heretic.
THE THIRD LATERAN COUNCIL IN 1179 REFERS TO UNDECLARED DISSENTERS AS “HERETICS,” NO MATTER WHAT THEY CALLED THEMSELVES AND EVEN IF THEY RESIDED IN CATHOLIC DIOCESES
The Third Lateran Council refers to the condemned perversities of heretics, whom some call Cathari, others by different names.
The Council refers to them as “heretics,” no matter what name they gave to themselves. Such dissenters might call themselves Catholics or circulate among Catholics, as many heretics did. The Council resolves to excommunicate and anathematize them and their defenders; but it refers to them as “heretics” and “condemned” even before the condemnation or excommunication in ecclesiastical law has been made. That’s another example of the divine law principle (and the Catholic dogma) that people who dissent from the rule of Catholic faith, no matter what they call themselves, can be recognized and condemned as heretics by virtue of the divine law, even before those people have been excommunicated or recognized as heretics in ecclesiastical law.
THE VATICAN II ANTIPOPES ARE DEFINITELY HERETICS ACCORDING TO CANON LAW AS WELL
Now that it has been thoroughly proven that Catholics can recognize and reject people as heretics if they dissent from the rule of Catholic faith even before they are excommunicated or condemned for heresy in ecclesiastical law, we must understand two things: 1) the Vatican II antipopes are definitely heretics in canon law, even though it’s not necessary to prove that fact; and 2) there are differences between the effects of heresy in divine law and the effects in ecclesiastical or canon law.
THE LEADERS OF THE VATICAN II SECT ARE HERETICS ACCORDING TO CANON LAW
Canon law says that anyone who after baptism pertinaciously denies or doubts a truth of divine and Catholic faith is a heretic and is excommunicated from the Church ipso facto (by that very fact). Notice that it doesn’t say that a person is only excommunicated from the Church after he or she is declared a heretic, but by the very fact that the person dissents from a truth of divine and Catholic faith and becomes a heretic.
It also teaches that a cleric who publicly defects from the Catholic faith loses his office without any declaration (Canon 188.4). Therefore, according to canon law, someone who rejects Catholic teaching publicly cannot be considered a Catholic or one who holds office in the Church.
Are the heresies of Francis and the other Vatican II so-called popes “public,” according to the definition of canon law? Of course they are. They could not be more public. They teach numerous heresies in documents to the entire Church. To just give one example, Francis taught his blatant heresy, that non-Christians are “justified by the grace of God”, in #254 of Evangelii Gaudium. That document was addressed to the universal Church. Francis even identified it as a document of the “universal Magisterium.” That heresy clearly denies the defined dogma that only those with the Catholic faith can be justified, and that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Francis could not have taught that heresy more publicly, and we could give 100 other examples of public heresies from the antipopes. Therefore, the Vatican II antipopes are certainly heretics and public heretics, according to the letter of canon law. But even if they weren’t, it would not make any difference. That’s what we proved earlier; for a recognition that someone is a heretic in canon or ecclesiastical law is not necessary for a Catholic to reject that person as a heretic and outside the Catholic Church by virtue of the divine law and the dogmatic teaching of the Church. That’s precisely because the effects of the divine law sentence for heresy are not the same as the effects of a canon law sentence for heresy.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EFFECTS OF A DIVINE LAW SENTENCE AGAINST A HERETIC AND A CANON LAW SENTENCE AGAINST A HERETIC
THE DIVINE LAW SENTENCE AGAINST A HERETIC AND ITS EFFECTS: Any baptized person who rejects a teaching of the Catholic Church becomes a heretic and is automatically struck by the divine law (Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, etc.).
THE ECCLESIASTICAL OR CANON LAW SENTENCE AGAINST A HERETIC AND ITS EFFECTS: These effects include all of the above but more. The ecclesiastical law effects against a heretic differ depending upon the era of Church history and the ecclesiastical law currently in force. There are also some ecclesiastical law effects that only occur after a declaration.
Sedevacantists don’t argue that the Vatican II antipopes (or other heretics in the Vatican II sect) have lost their pensions. They clearly have not. We don’t argue that they have been physically removed from Rome. They clearly have not been removed from Rome. Those things and much more would happen in the wake of a public declaration of heresy against them in ecclesiastical law; but that’s a separate issue. The issue is that the divine law enables and requires Catholics to reject such public dissenters from Catholic teaching as heretics who are outside the Church and hold no authority in the Church. That’s the effect of the divine law sentence for heresy. The divine law and the dogmatic teaching of the Church require Catholics to reject anyone who departs from the rule of Catholic faith, irrespective of any ecclesiastical law effects that have or have not occurred.
Therefore, one should be able to see the mistake and the utter folly of obstinate non-sedevacantists who hide adherence to horrible public heretics behind irrelevant, inaccurate and distracting discussions about the details and requirements of canon law. They’ve completely missed the point and distorted Catholic teaching. One doesn’t need to be a heretic in ecclesiastical law to be someone Catholics can or must reject as a non-Catholic. Moreover, their discussions of canon law – as irrelevant as they are to the key issue – are typically fraught with errors.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE FOLLY OF NON-SEDEVACANTISTS WHO HIDE ADHERENCE TO HERETICS BEHIND CANON LAW
I’ve shown that the Vatican II antipopes are heretics according to the divine law and the dogmatic teaching of the Church. I’ve also proven that even if they were not heretics according to ecclesiastical or canon law (which they are), it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever in regard to a Catholic’s ability to reject them as non-Catholics; for the divine law and the Church’s dogmatic teaching enable and require people to reject clear dissenters from the rule of Catholic faith as heretics, irrespective of any ecclesiastical law or penalty.
Moreover, even though proving it is unnecessary, I’ve shown that the Vatican II antipopes are heretics according to canon law as well by virtue of their obstinate adherence to, and public teaching of, numerous heresies. They are ipso facto excommunicated in canon law for denying Catholic dogma in various ways. But even if we ignored all of the above – namely, that they are heretics in divine law, heretics in canon law, and that it makes no difference if they are heretics in canon law – there’s another interesting point to consider. It concerns what the strict letter of the 1917 Code of Canon Law says about just one act of active participation in non-Catholic rites or one act of assisting in the propagation of heresy. According to Canon 2316, just one such act officially renders a person “suspect of heresy” according to the strict letter of canon law. (Again, we remind people that it’s not necessary to be a heretic in canon law to be rejected as a heretic in virtue of the divine law, and that here we are only considering one thing: the antipopes’ participation in non-Catholic rites or assisting in the propagation of heresy, not their heretical denials of Catholic dogmas on various issues which render them heretics in both divine and canon law).
Collectively, the Vatican II antipopes – and this would of course apply generally to their apostate “bishops” as well – have participated in non-Catholic rites or worship and/or have assisted in the propagation of heresy hundreds of times. Just one such act officially renders a person “suspect of heresy” according to Canon 2316 of the Code of Canon Law. Yet, Robert Siscoe (in his astounding blindness) actually thinks this fact favors the validity of the antipopes! He writes: “To be clear, a man caught in any of these acts is not thereby considered a manifest heretic, but is only considered suspect of heresy.” Consider the absurdity of his position.
He would have to admit that just their participation in non-Catholic worship or rites (prescinding from their volumes’ worth of heretical teaching) has rendered the Vatican II claimants to the Papacy officially “suspect of heresy,” and then “suspect of heresy” again, and then “suspect of heresy” again, and then “suspect of heresy” again, and then “suspect of heresy” again, and then “suspect of heresy” again, over and over again, dozens upon dozens of times, for decades. Furthermore, canon 2315 of the Code says that one who is suspect of heresy is to be warned, and if he ignores two warnings within just six months he is to be considered a heretic and liable to the penalties against heretics. But what if the clerics who would normally quickly admonish people for engaging in the condemned activity are themselves heretics who support the activity? What if the official teaching of the entire sect encourages the condemned activity – activity that leads people right into heresy? (See, for example, John Paul II’s Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism and Vatican II’s Decree Unitatis Redintegratio #15, among many other things.) In such a case, are the canonical warnings still required for Catholics to consider as heretics, rather than as Catholic guides and authorities, those who persist in, promote and support the condemned activity that leads people into heresy? Of course not. It would be ludicrous to say so.
The typical warning procedure in ecclesiastical law is not necessary by divine law to consider someone a heretic, as proven earlier. One can become a heretic under divine law, and can be recognized as such, irrespective of any ecclesiastical law, penalty or procedure; and the only reason the antipopes are not being rendered heretics just for this activity alone within six months according to the strict letter of canon law is that the official teaching of their sect endorses the condemned activity. As a consequence, the people who would warn them also support the condemned activity.
Since the official teaching and practice of the Vatican II sect endorses and encourages the condemned activity, there’s no question about whether the antipopes and the heretical “bishops” under them support or endorse it. When a person persists for a long period of time in activity that leads him right into heresy according to the strict letter of canon law, the person is of course to be considered a heretic. The issue we’re considering, the persistent participation in non-Catholic rites and the promotion of that condemned activity, is a prime example of how it’s not necessary to be a heretic in ecclesiastical law to be considered a heretic according to divine law and the magisterial teaching of the Church. Indeed, it’s a foolish, wicked and heretical perversion of Church teaching and law for the false traditionalists to tell people to acknowledge as Catholic guides and authorities those who lead them right into heresy, and thus to Hell, by their teaching and practice.
It should also be noted that in many cases just one act of participation in non-Catholic worship would render a person an actual heretic and/or an apostate in light of the divine law. That’s clear, for example, from the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas:
And of course the repeated or persistent participation in non-Catholic worship, or support for such activity, would always require the conclusion that the person is a heretic and/or an apostate.
Here again is the Fourth Lateran Council’s passage, which refers to people as “heretics” before they have ever been declared heretics or officially warned about their heresies. Moreover, it states that “if anyone should know of heretics there” [si quis ibidem haereticos sciverit], he can point them out. Therefore, anyone – including a layperson – is able to recognize people as “heretics” before they have been declared heretics, officially warned or pointed out to the bishop. The Council applies this principle to people in Catholic parishes who purport to be Catholic. The Council is thereby recognizing the divine law principle mentioned earlier (and the dogmatic teaching of the Church) that anyone who clearly dissents from Catholic teaching can and must be recognized and rejected as a heretic, even if that person is not yet considered a heretic according to the procedures and requirements of the ecclesiastical law in place at the time.
SISCOE REFUSES MY DEBATE CHALLENGE ON THE TOPIC OF SEDEVACANTISM, MANIFEST HERESY AND HIS ARTICLE
As mentioned previously, in the fall of 2013 I wrote to Robert Siscoe and I challenged him to an oral debate on the issue addressed in his articles: namely, the Catholic Church’s teaching on heresy, heretics, sedevacantism and the Vatican II antipopes. Siscoe had previously boasted that his article supposedly refuted sedevacantists, even calling an argument that refuted his position “pathetic.” The facts in this article make it clear just how deluded he is. To my challenge Siscoe first responded by stating that he didn’t know if he wanted to have such a debate and that he would have to think about it. He clearly didn’t want any part of a debate on the issue. He feared (and rightly so) that his position would be refuted and exposed by the magisterial teaching I would bring forward. As the facts in this article prove, that’s exactly what would happen.
I’ve proven that his position, and that of The Remnant and other false traditionalists, is simply heretical. They are deceivers who advance a position condemned by the dogmatic teaching of the Church, in a disgusting attempt to recognize as Catholics people who publicly dissent from the rule of Catholic faith. So, I waited over a month for an answer to my initial debate challenge on the topic of sedevacantism and the matters he specifically addressed in his articles. I didn’t receive an answer. He obviously wasn’t interested in debating the issue. If I had not written to Siscoe again, he probably never would have responded. But I wrote to him again asking for his final answer to the offer/challenge.
He then responded with what was a transparent attempt to avoid the debate on the issue of sedevacantism, while simultaneously appearing as if he did not reject the challenge. He knew we would publicly mention the debate offer, so he didn’t want to be on the record as having refused it. So instead of refusing the debate offer/challenge outright, Siscoe said that we should have two debates, with the first one on an entirely different issue. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Why would he want a debate on an entirely different matter to take place first? The other issue is a subject on which, to my knowledge, he’s never published any articles, books, etc. Not only were his articles not about the other issue, but my debate challenge had nothing to do with that issue. So, why would he ask for a debate on a separate issue before having a debate on the topic of sedevacantism and his articles? It’s simply because he feared that he could not successfully defend his published position in a debate that dealt with it. Thus, in a desperate attempt to avoid addressing that topic, without appearing to be on the record as having declined or refused the offer outright, he desires that a debate on a different topic would take place first.
The other topic, by the way, is a topic on which I’ve published a book, videos and many articles. If we debated that matter, his position would be soundly refuted, just as it would be in a debate on sedevacantism. So, I responded by telling him that we can indeed have two debates: one on each topic. However, the first debate must be, consistent with my challenge, on the topic of sedevacantism and the matters he has addressed in writing. Once we have that debate, we can then have another debate on the other topic.
One reason a debate on sedevacantism must occur first is that it’s possible (if not probable) that no matter what he agrees to, there will only be one debate. For example, last year I agreed to have numerous debates on the salvation issue with a man named Steve. However, after the first debate – apparently because he recognized that the debate went poorly for him – Steve backed out of any future debates. The same thing might occur if a debate with Siscoe were to take place. Regardless of what he agrees to, there’s a good chance that there will only be one debate; and if there’s only going to be one, he must be held accountable for the gross errors and heresies he has published on the matter of sedevacantism and the Church’s teaching on heresy. His heretical articles have misled many and he must not be allowed to avoid his false teaching on that issue.
So, on Nov. 27, 2013 I again wrote to Siscoe. I pointed out that I made the offer/challenge on the sedevacantist issue and what he has published concerning the Church’s teaching on heresy. I told him that he was clearly attempting to avoid a debate that dealt with sedevacantism and the topic addressed in his articles. I told him that we can certainly have the debate on the other topic, after we debate the sedevacantist issue and the Church’s teaching on heresy. That letter was sent on Nov. 27, 2013. To this day we have not received a response to that letter. That’s because Robert Siscoe knows that he cannot defend his position in such a debate, and what he has published on the sedevacantist issue would be completely refuted and exposed.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
We’ve seen that the position of The Remnant, Robert Siscoe, the SSPX and many similar groups is heretical. These points would also apply to the late false traditionalist, “Fr.” Gregory Hesse. “Fr.” Hesse, who was invalidly ordained in the New Rite of Ordination, misled many so-called traditionalists with his false conclusions on when one becomes a heretic, the Vatican II antipopes and related matters. The errors and heresies he spread during his life continue to mislead people to this day. His views are refuted in this article and in our material.
In this study I’ve proven that The Remnant and Robert Siscoe do the following in their heretical article – the following points also largely apply to the SSPX and other false traditionalists:
A mountain of evidence proves that the Vatican II claimants to the Papacy reject Catholic teaching in numerous areas and are therefore heretics. Heretics are outside the Catholic Church by divine law. It’s absurd to imagine that one who is outside the Church can command it. It’s therefore absurd to maintain that the Vatican II claimants to the Papacy are true popes. They are antipopes.
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