Ed Mazza Accuses John Salza of Error but Refuses to Debate Him on the Issue

 Ed Mazza Accuses John Salza of Error but Refuses to Debate Him on the Issue

January A.D. 2024


                On December 9, 2023, Dr. Ed Mazza held a video conference called “Is the Pope Catholic?” The conference, which also included speakers Archbishop Vigano, Fr. Paul Kramer, Ann Barnhardt, and Elizabeth Yore, was devoted to enlightening all of us as to why Pope Francis is really an antipope. Like all Sedevacantists, one of the reasons advanced by Mazza & Company in support of their theory is that Francis is a heretic, and heretics cannot hold jurisdiction in the Church. Quite amusingly, during his talk, Mazza put up a slide which quoted from Karl Rahner (the liberal Vatican II peritus) who says “But possession of ordinary ecclesiastical authority and non-membership in the Church [for public material heresy] are mutually exclusive notions…”

                Now, putting aside Rahner’s reputation as a liberal Catholic theologian, Rahner’s statement is absolutely correct. Non-members of the Catholic Church cannot possess “ordinary ecclesiastical authority” in the Church. Anyone familiar with Mr. Salza’s work knows that he is in complete agreement with Rahner on that point. The problem with Mazza’s use of Rahner is that Mazza does not understand what makes one a “non-member” of the Catholic Church which would cause the non-member to lose, or never possess, ordinary ecclesiastical authority. Mazza’s gratuitous insertion of the phrase “public material heresy” into the Rahner quote on the slide only underscores Mazza’s confusion on the issue of heresy. First, there is no such legal distinction known as “public material heresy.” Second, neither “public” heresy nor “material” heresy severs one’s juridical bond with the Church which would result in the loss of jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, at the 2.53.57 mark of the conference, Mazza publicly called out John Salza for allegedly disagreeing with Rahner by holding the position that heresy, by its nature, does not cause the loss of jurisdiction. Dr. Mazza says: “Former Freemason John Salza disagrees with Rahner” (which is patently false). Mazza then put up a slide which quotes from an article Salza wrote for The Remnant in 2017 which says: 

“…nowhere does Pius XII or any other Pope teach that heresy, of its nature, causes a Pope…to lose his office or jurisdiction.” John Salza, “Note to Sedevacantists: Heresy Does Not Automatically Sever One from the Church,” The Remnant, June 9, 2017. 

   Mazza then went on to triumphantly proclaim: 

“Salza couldn’t be more wrong! (2.54.17). 

                After misinterpreting quotations from Pope Innocent III, Mazza went after Mr. Salza again by stating: “Salza claims even a public heretic Pope is still Pope until he receives a judgment from the Church, or leaves voluntarily to join the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Salza denies that even external heresy itself has the power to cause loss of office and jurisdiction” (2.55.08). Mazza then quoted Salza at length in another slide which says: 

“a person may not only manifest his heresy by external signs, but even sin against the faith externally [sic], yet will only be considered an occult [not public] heretic, so long as he does not ‘depart’ from the Church as the rule of faith…while such a person may have severed the spiritual bond which united him to the Church, he retains the legal bond…if he is a cleric (including the Pope), he remains a lawful office holder in the Church and retains is jurisdiction.” John Salza 

                Mazza then said: “But I must say that Bellarmine begs to differ, and Bellarmine is a saint and Doctor of the Church” (2.55.26).

                In light of Dr. Mazza’s confident, public accusations against Salza on the nature of heresy and loss of jurisdiction, Salza contacted Mazza by email on January 20, 2024 and challenged him to publicly debate the issue. Specifically, in light of his comments on Bellarmine, Salza challenged Mazza to debate who has the proper interpretation of Bellarmine’s teaching, that is, whether or not Bellarmine required a judgment of the Church before a heretical Pope would fall from office and lose his jurisdiction. Salza also offered to contact Matt Fradd to host the debate if that were agreeable to Mazza.

                Dr. Mazza acknowledged his disagreement with Salza’s interpretation of Bellarmine and initially agreed to debate whether Francis was a public heretic according to Bellarmine and others, if Salza would expand the scope beyond Bellarmine. Salza agreed to accommodate Mazza’s request and expand the scope of the debate beyond Bellarmine. Mazza also initially agreed to having Fradd host the debate.

                However, Mazza then quickly reneged on agreeing to debate on Fradd’s show because he discovered that Fradd simply stated that rejecting Francis as the true Pope is an act of schism (that Mazza does not recognize he is a schismatic for rejecting a determined Pope is quite telling in itself). Note that Fradd did not publicly name Mazza in his tweet; he simply stated the truth that anyone who rejects a determined Pope is a schismatic. Evidently, Mazza discovered that Fradd tweeted the following on New Years 2023: 

“Make no bloody mistake about it, it is an act of schism (and therefore a grave sin) for a Catholic to deny the papacy of Pope Francis…shame on any Catholic who legitimizes this position, saying that it is within the realm of orthodoxy." Matt Fradd 

                Now, even though Matt Fradd has proven himself to be an objective debate moderator and Salza did not think Fradd’s position was something that should disqualify him from moderating the debate, Salza nevertheless agreed to this second accommodation for Mazza, for someone else to host the debate (Salza suggested William Albrecht). Hence, Mazza agreed to debate whether heresy, of its nature, causes the loss of jurisdiction, if Salza would make the following two accommodations: (1) expand the scope of heresy and loss of office to theologians beyond Bellarmine; and, (2) have someone other than Fradd host the debate. Salza agreed to both.

                However, Mazza then attempted to change the debate proposition from whether Francis lost (or never had) jurisdiction due to the nature of heresy, to whether Benedict validly resigned (and the narrow issue of common error, which is totally unrelated to the original proposition). It became evident that Mazza would not give Salza the opportunity to debate the very issue Mazza publicly accused Salza of erring on, namely, whether heresy of its nature causes the loss of jurisdiction.

 Remember, on this particular question, Mazza proclaims in no uncertain terms: “Salza couldn’t be more wrong!” and
Bellarmine begs to differ, and he is a saint and Doctor of the Church.” Indeed, it is Salza’s position that heresy, by its nature, does not automatically cause a Pope to lose his jurisdiction, while Mazza believes that heresy, by its nature, does immediately cause loss of jurisdiction. The debate proposition is that simple.

Evidently, Dr. Mazza believes Salza could not be more wrong about heresy and the loss of office (and publicly proclaim it at a conference with a slide show, which remains online), but just not quite wrong enough to debate Salza on the issue.  

Salza has shown good faith in attempting to accommodate Mazza’s requests. If Mazza wants to bait and switch by changing the debate to the topic of Pope Franics and universal acceptance, Salza is willing to make this third accommodation, but only on the condition that Mazza first debate the issue of heresy and loss of jurisdiction – the issue that Mazza says Salza “could not be more wrong about.”