It’s All Over for Fr. Anthony Cekada – Part II
None of the Recent Popes were “Public Heretics”
Before or After Their Election

       As we saw in Part I, in his recent video, which was “Dead on Arrival,” Fr. Cekada attempted to dismiss our 700-page refutation of Sedevacantism in True or False Pope? by actually saying the arguments “don’t apply.” Yes, you read that correctly. And that’s because he says that he and his fellow Sedes no longer claim the recent Popes lost their office due to heresy (translation: His prior arguments have all been refuted and he has now been forced to switch tactics). Instead, he says Sedevacantists now claim the recent Popes were all “public heretics” prior to their election, and hence never validly acquired the office to begin with, since “a public heretic cannot be elected Pope.”
       Fr. Cekada then leads his viewers to believe that this “new argument” was not addressed in our book, when, in fact, Chapter 12 was specifically dedicated to refuting it. In fact, the chapter quotes from Cekada’s own articles directly in which he presents and defends his “new argument”! Not only does Cekada conceal this fact from his viewers, but he actually lies to them by telling them that Chapter 12 deals with the “old argument” of loss of office due to post-election heresy. Such outright dishonesty is ample evidence of malice, and shows that Cekada has reached the end of his rope. He is all out of arguments. And his lie does nothing to save his hide: If the Popes were not “public formal heretics” either prior to (new argument) or after (old argument) their election, it’s all over for Fr. Cekada and his Sedevacantist enterprise. It doesn’t matter which argument Cekada wants to use.
       In Part I, we saw that what Cekada calls “public formal heresy” (which, he says, is what prevented the recent Popes from being validly elected) is, in realty, nothing but occult (secret) heresy, since, in his own explanation, the formal element of heresy (pertinacity) is not public.   There can be no public formal heresy if the form of heresy remains occult; and remaining occult it does, unless the person publicly and notoriously rejects the Church as the rule of faith, either by openly leaving the Church, or by publicly and notoriously denying a dogma of the Faith, proposed as such by the Church.
       After reading our reply in our first installment, Cekada quickly went on a Catholic message forum and desperately tried to divert everyone’s attention with more red-herrings. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. One of the more intelligent posters succinctly and logically evaluated our first article and concluded that we were correct.  Here is how he did so. He said: Siscoe and Salza’s argument is that

“for heresy to be public every essential element of heresy must be public, and pertinacity is an essential element of heresy, therefore pertinacity must be public in order for heresy to be public. The argument is valid (the conclusion logically follows from the premises). It is also sound (the premises are true). The major premise is certainly true, since public means known by many, and if only A and B are known, but not C, then the conjunction of A, B, and C is not known.  The minor premise is also true, and here all the canonists and theologians chime in with support. To be heretic one must intend to not adhere to the Church as the rule of faith.”

       Fr. Cekada’s only response was to bring up more red-herrings, by claiming, for example, that we misused a certain undefined term (which we actually did define!). Frustrated with Cekada’s games, one poster wrote:

“Father, please stop quibbling. They have clarified their position and what they meant by sin of heresy alone. Answer the substance of [Siscoe/Salza’s] argument or keep evading actually dealing with the substance of their argument. You have not given a single intellectual/theological/substantive answer to their argument because you do not have one. You are at the end of the road.”

Another wrote:

"Father Cekada is accusing [Siscoe and Salza] of having 'Talmud arguments,' but it is HE who has a rabbinical argumentation, since he keeps speaking about WORDS, without giving any relevant answer. It is all the more stupid as all the theologians have not the same terminology regarding the issue of heresy and the distinctions we are mentioning."  
       Another poster became so disgusted by Fr. Cekada’s name-calling, diversionary tactics, and generally un-priestly behavior, that she could not longer restrain herself from saying:

“Fr Cedaka cannot help himself in insulting (great piles of effluvia) Messrs Salza and Siscoe in his latest refusal to answer [their article] “It's all over for Fr Anthony Cekada.” His record as the potty mouthed Youtube priest makes it hard for any reasonable person to accord him special respect. He shows disrespect and disregard for his priestly office. His repeated inability to do anything other than try and divert the subject, shows he cannot answer. If he tried to answer honestly, he would realize his arguments do not work. His efforts at confining the discussion to a spurious quibble on notorious heretics really just further validates what Messrs Salza and Siscoe have been saying.”

       As we can see, the “potty mouthed Youtube priest” has been called out for his blatant dishonesty and inability to respond to our arguments by those who have simply read them with an open mind. Anyone honestly following this debate quickly sees, as these people did, that Fr. Cekada cannot refute our arguments. And his constant evasions and red-herrings only make it more obvious. He’s not kidding anyone but himself.
       In this installment of our two-part feature, we will, again, address Fr. Cekada’s “new argument” head on, and prove, with infallible certitude, that the recent Popes were not public heretics prior to their election. We will prove this beyond any doubt by demonstrating that when a Pope is peacefully elected and presented as Pope by the Cardinal electors, and/or when he is recognized as Pope by the entire Church, his legitimacy is infallibly certain. And as a consequence of his legitimacy being infallible, we also have infallible certitude that all of the conditions (both positive and negative) required for him to become a legitimate Pope were met. For example, if a man is accepted as Pope by the entire Church, we have infallible certitude that he was 1) baptized, and 2) that he is a male (positive conditions); we also have infallible certitude that he was not 1) insane at the time, or 2) a public heretic (negative condition), since an insane man or a public heretic cannot be validly elected Pope. 
Fr. Paul Kramer
       In this installment, we will be presenting material from John of St. Thomas which, to our knowledge, has never been translated into English and published.  John of St. Thomas is rightly considered to be one of the greatest Thomists that the Church has ever produced. He is considered by many to be second only to the Angelic Doctor himself, and was known, even in his own day, as “the second Thomas.” And lest the Sedevacantists (and their new neophyte, Fr. Paul Leonard Kramer) object to this material based on the fact that it was written in the 17th century and hence is too old (yes, believe it or not, this is one of their new arguments!), we will also provide material from 20th century writers, including a lengthy citation from one of the greatest Thomists of the 20th century.
       Before we get to the thorough treatise of John of St. Thomas, we will begin with some more simple explanations taken from Msgr. Van Noort and Fr. E. Sylvester Berry, both of whom are authors that the Sedevacantists themselves often cite.

Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope

       The peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope falls into the category of a dogmatic fact, which is a secondary object of the Church’s infallibility. Theologians explain that the unanimous acceptance of a Pope by the Church is an infallible sign – an “infallible effect”[1] - of his legitimacy. The unanimous acceptance does not cause the man to become a true Pope, but is instead an effect that would not be present unless the cause (a true Pope) was itself present. Hence, if the Church universally accepts a man as Pope, we have infallible certitude that he is, indeed, a true Pope.
       The reason the Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts is because they are so intimately related to dogma that without certain knowledge of the fact (e.g., is this man a true Pope?) there would be no certain knowledge of the dogmas connected with it (that is, the dogmas the Pope promulgates for belief). For example, if it were not certain that Pius XII was a true Pope, we would not have certitude that the Assumption, which he defined as a dogma, was infallibly true. The two truths are linked together in such a way that uncertainty concerning the former would result in doubt regarding the latter.
       The following, taken from Fr. Sylvester Berry’s Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, The Church of Christ, further explains these principles:

"The extent of infallibility refers to the truths that may be defined by the Church with infallible authority. Some truths are directly subject to the infallible authority of the Church by their very nature [i.e truths contained in Scripture and Tradition]; others only indirectly because of their connection with the former. The one set of truths constitutes the primary, the other secondary extent of infallibility. (…)

"This secondary or indirect extent of infallibility includes especially (a) theological conclusions, (b) truths of the natural order, (c) dogmatic facts (…)

"DOGMATIC FACTS. A dogmatic fact is one that has not been revealed, yet is so intimately connected with a doctrine of faith that without certain knowledge of the fact there can be no certain knowledge of the doctrine. For example, was the [First] Vatican Council truly ecumenical? Was Pius IX a legitimate pope? Was the election of Pius XI valid? Such questions must be decided with certainty before decrees issued by any council or pope can be accepted as infallibly true or binding on the Church. It is evident, then, that the Church must be infallible in judging of such facts, and since the Church is infallible in believing as well as in teaching, it follows that the practically unanimous consent of the bishops and faithful in accepting a council as ecumenical, or a Roman Pontiff as legitimately elected, gives absolute and infallible certainty of the fact."[2]

       Notice the term “practically unanimous,” which is distinct from “mathematically unanimous.” A practically unanimous acceptance does not require acceptance by 100 percent of professing Catholics; it is rather a morally unanimous acceptance, which represents the “one mind” of the Church. As we will see later, the fact that individual Catholics reject the legitimacy of a Pope does not mean he has not been accepted by a morally unanimous consent.
       In the following quotation, Msgr. Van Noort provides us with his explanation of the infallibility of dogmatic facts. He also explains that the infallibility of dogmatic facts is qualified as theologically certain (and hence cannot be denied without falling into sin).

"Assertion 2: The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts. This proposition is theologically certain. A dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, [but] on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with dogmatic facts: ‘Was the [First] Vatican Council a legitimate ecumenical council? Is the Latin Vulgate a substantially faithful translation of the original books of the Bible? Was [past tense] Pius XII legitimately elected Bishop of Rome? One can readily see that on these facts hang the questions of whether the decrees of the [First] Vatican Council are infallible, whether the Vulgate is truly Sacred Scripture, whether Pius XII is to be [present tense] recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church."[3]

       In another place, Msgr. Van Noort addresses the peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope from the perspective of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (the teaching Church). And notice, once again, he refers to the currently reigning Pope (Pius XII), not merely a “former Pope”:

"Meantime, notice that the Church possesses infallibility not only when she is defining some matters in solemn fashion, but also when she is exercising the full weight of her authority through her ordinary and universal teaching. Consequently, we must hold with an absolute assent, which we call ‘ecclesiastical faith,’ the following theological truths: (a) those which the Magisterium has infallibly defined in solemn fashion; (b) those which the ordinary magisterium dispersed throughout the world unmistakably proposes to its members as something to be held (tenendas). So, for example, one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: ‘Pius XII is [present tense] the legitimate successor of St. Peter’; similarly … one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: ‘Pius XII possesses the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church.’ For — skipping the question of how it begins to be proven infallibly for the first time that this individual was legitimately elected to take St. Peter’s place — when someone has been constantly acting as Pope and has theoretically and practically been recognized as such by the bishops and by the universal Church, it is clear that the ordinary and universal magisterium is giving an utterly clear-cut witness to the legitimacy of his succession."[4]
       Before proceeding, we will refute one of Fr. Cekada’s self-defeating objections to this teaching. Notice in the above quotations that Van Noort (who was writing at the time Pius XII was Pope) uses this teaching to prove that Pius XII (the current Pope) was legitimately elected, and hence that he was a true Pope. Van Noort links together the infallible certitude of his past election in order to provide certitude concerning his current legitimacy. With this in mind, let us turn to one of Cekada’s more desperate attempts at an objection.

Refuting Cekada’s Novel Objection
Which Even He Doesn’t Follow!

       Responding to an article written by Laszlo Szijarto, and published by The Angelus in 1995, Fr. Cekada attempted to argue that the infallible certitude only applies to former Popes, and not to current Popes (exactly contrary to the explanation of Van Noort).  In Cekada’s own words:

"Mr. Szijarto quotes the following passage from Hervé in an attempt to drive home his point about dogmatic facts: 

"‘What good would it be to profess the infallible authority of Ecumenical Councils or Roman Pontiffs in the abstract if it were permitted to entertain doubts about the legitimacy of any given Council or Pontiff?’ (Hervé, op. cit., I.514.)

"Again Mr. Szijarto is picking something out of context. Two sentences before the foregoing passage, Hervé notes that a dogmatic fact concerning the legitimacy of a council or a pope is principally historical. The Church’s infallibility in this respect precludes challenging the legitimacy of past General Councils or pontificates that the Church has always accepted as legitimate.

       This incredulous objection of Cekada only demonstrates that he either doesn’t think before he writes, or simply doesn’t care what he writes, so long as he can swindle someone – anyone! – into believing what only a warped mind could believe. As Van Noort, and every other theologian teaches, the “historical” element that Cekada refers to pertains to the fact that the Pope was (past tense) validly elected and accepted by a moral unanimity of the Church, which is how we know that he “is to be [present tense] recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church” (Van Noort). If he was validly elected and accepted, he is the true Pope. Moreover, Cekada, who wrote this objection during the pontificate of John Paul II, was himself rejecting the “past” pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul I, and thus violating his own concocted rule!
       Now, since Cekada no longer holds to the “old argument” that the recent Popes lost their office, he must concede that the recent Popes who were accepted by the entire Church as Pope were, in fact, true and legitimate Popes.  And guess what?  Cekada himself concedes that Paul VI was accepted as a true Pope by the entire Church! Yes, you also read that correctly. In his article “Bergoglio has Nothing to Lose,” Cekada conceded the following: 

"The sedevacantist thesis arose from a need to explain how Paul VI, whom everyone at first recognized as a true pope when he was elected in 1963, could have used papal authority to promulgate doctrinal errors and evil laws."[5]

       Notice, Cekada admits that “everyone at first recognized [Paul VI] as a true pope,” yet, as a true schismatic, he publicly denies his legitimacy. This is a devastating problem for Cekada, and one of many examples of how he doesn’t even follow his own “rules.” In fact, it is more than just a problem; it as a mortal sin against the Faith. This is confirmed, for example, in the book On the Value of Theological Notes and the Criteria for Discerning Them, by Father Sixtus Cartechini S.J. (Rome, 1951), which was “was drafted for use by auditors of the Roman Congregations,” according to John Daly, who translated a portion of it.
       In the book, Fr. Cartechini explains that the denial of a dogmatic fact – and the example he uses is the legitimacy of the Pope – is “a mortal sin against the Faith.”[6] Yet Cekada publicly teaches that one MUST hold that the post-Vatican II Popes who were accepted as such by the Church – including Paul VI whom Cekada even admits was recognized as a “true Pope” by “everyone” - have not been true Popes. And he has spent nearly his entire priesthood trying to persuade others to do the same. God only knows how many souls Fr. Cekada has led into mortal sin and possibly damnation.
       In his recent and, no doubt, poorly received video entitled “Marcel Lefebvre: Sedevacantist,” Fr. Cekada admitted that he rejected Paul VI while he was still a seminarian, and that, as a result, he omitted Paul VI’s name from the first Mass he said.  Speaking of himself and a few of his fellow seminarians, Cekada said:

"We concluded that Paul VI was a false pope and that the Holy See was vacant. (…) I never prayed for Paul VI as Pope, even at my ordination Mass. And as organist, I would not even accompany the chant for him at benediction."[7]

       What this means, of course, is that Fr. Cekada has been in a state of objective mortal sin against the Faith since he was a seminarian (over four decades!). In light of this, the rotten fruits of his priesthood begin to make more sense. For example, it would explain why Cekada advocated for the cold-blooded murder (death by starvation) of the innocent and helpless Terri Schiavo, which even ministers of other religions publicly denounced as an unspeakable crime. It may also explain other scandals linked to Cekada, some of which are so disgusting we refuse to mention here.
       Let us now turn to the lengthy treatise of John of St. Thomas on the peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope, and deep six Fr. Cekada’s “new argument” once and for all.

John of St. Thomas Demolishes
Fr. Cekada’s “New Argument”
     John of St. Thomas begins his article on this subject of the election of a true Pope with these words:

"Thus, in the present controversy we discuss whether or not it is de fide that this specific person, who has been legitimately elected, is the Pope and the head of the Church, as well as the degree of certitude with which this proposition is to be held."

He then provides his answers:

"Our conclusion is the following. It is immediately of divine faith that this man in particular, lawfully elected and accepted by the Church, is the supreme pontiff and the successor of Peter, not only quoad se (in itself) but also quoad nos (for us) —although it is made much more manifest quoad nos (to us) when de facto the pope defines something. In practice, no Catholic disagrees with our conclusion."

       Next, he provides three reasons that this proposition is true. Before reading them, we should note that when John of St. Thomas refers to the Pope as the rule of faith, this is true insofar as the Pope defines something to be held by the Church, not when he is giving press interviews on an airplane or even when writing in an encyclical. As we show at length in True or False Pope?, non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium are not owed the assent of faith; they are only owed a “religious assent,” which itself is not unconditional. The Pope is the rule of faith only when he defines a doctrine. This is explicit throughout John of St. Thomas’ treatise. Now, let us see the three arguments he uses to prove the above thesis:

"[T]he evidence for this conclusion rests upon three principal headings. 

"THE FIRST is that he who is chosen to be Pope is chosen to be a rule of faith, in such wise that, even as a canonical book of Scripture is a written rule of faith, so the person chosen to be Pope is a living rule of faith. 

"THE SECOND is that Christ the Lord entrusted it to the Church to choose for herself a man who, for a certain period of time, would be the sort of rule of faith just described; and, consequently, the Church also received the commission to determine, by her own act of acceptance, that this man was canonically and legitimately elected. For, just as it pertains to the Pope and the Church to determine which books are canonical, so it pertains to the Church to determine which man has been chosen to be the norm and living rule of the faith. 

"THE THIRD is that this matter—namely, whether a particular man has been lawfully elected and canonically established as the rule of faith—is something that the Church can determine as a truth of faith."

Efficient Cause: The Electors

       In line with the method of the Angelic Doctor, John of St. Thomas then proceeds to present and refute various objections to his truthful teaching. The first objection pertains to the efficient cause (the electors). The objection runs thus:

Objection: “We cannot know with certainty of faith that the particular electors have a valid intention of election, nor that they are true and legitimate Cardinals, nor that they observed the form of election required by law, such as the requirement that the Pope be elected by two-thirds majority of the cardinals, as well as the other conditions without which the election is null.”

       He responds by saying that because we have infallible certitude that a man peacefully elected Pope and recognized as Pope by the Church is, in fact, a true Pope, it follows that we have certitude that the requisite conditions were met.  From the de fide truth (the man is a true Pope) follows the theological conclusion that the electors met the necessary prerequisite conditions. We will quote him at length. A little later we will discuss the definition he refers to below from Pope Martin V:

"The acceptance and definition of the Church, inasmuch as it gives the certitude of faith [concerning the legitimacy of the Pope], does not touch upon the conditions of the election, or the intention and genuine identity of the electors, without intermediary, but rather mediately, and as a logical consequence of what it immediately touches upon: namely, that whoever is elected by the persons that the Church designates to choose a Pope in her name, by the very fact that he is accepted by the Church as legitimately elected, is in fact Pope. This latter is what the definition of Martin "V, related above,[8] as well as the acceptance of the Church, is really about. But from the de fide truth that this man is Pope, it follows as a consequence that all the requisite conditions must have been observed.  For, faith does not concern itself primarily with the conditions that must be realized in the electors, and only afterwards with the person elected.  So it is with the definitions of Councils. Faith is not concerned with the prerequisites of the definition—for instance, that the definition was preceded by diligent investigation, or a disputation about the propositions to be defined—for this is not the subject-matter of faith. Nevertheless, once the definition has been given, one rightly infers as a theological conclusion that all the things necessary for the definition were in place, and consequently that there was a discussion preceding it.  (…)
"Likewise, because it is de fide that this man in particular, accepted by the Church as canonically elected, is the Pope, the theological conclusion is drawn that there were genuine electors, and a real intention of electing, as well as the other requisites [e.g., the legitimate intention of the resigning Pope, if the election follows a papal resignation], without which the de fide truth could not stand. Therefore, we have the certainty of faith, by a revelation implicitly contained in the Creed and in the promise made to Peter, and made more explicit in the definition of Martin V, and applied and declared in act (in exercitio) by the acceptance of the Church, that this man in particular, canonically elected according to the acceptance of the Church, is Pope. The certainty of faith touches this alone; and whatever is prerequisite to, or else follows upon, the fact of the election, is inferred as a theological conclusion drawn from the proposition that is de fide, and is believed mediately."
       What he shows is that Catholics do not investigate whether the conditions were satisfied in order to know if the man is a legitimate Pope (which rebellious souls like Fr. Paul Kramer have presumed to do, and publicly). Rather, the fact that a Pope has been accepted as Pope by the Church proves that the necessary conditions were met. As John of St. Thomas explains, the belief in a “canonical election” is “drawn” from the universal acceptance of the Pope, “according to the acceptance of the Church” and not investigated and determined by Catholics prior to the acceptance.  
       John of St. Thomas then explains that the Cardinal electors represent the Church itself in proposing the man to the faithful as Pope, and, consequently, their judgment represents the public judgment of the Church that the man is Pope. This judgment alone suffices for the universal acceptance. If there is any defect in the election, this is remedied by the fact that the Universal Church (the bishops, priests and faithful) accepts the man as Pope. John of St. Thomas teaches:

"The Church accepts the election and the elect as a matter of faith, because she receives him as the infallible rule of faith, and as the supreme head to whom she is united—for the unity of the Church depends upon her union with him. 
"To the objection that there must be someone to propose this truth to the Church as de fide, I respond that the election and the one elected are proposed by the Cardinals, not in their own person, but in the person of the Church and by her power—for she it is who committed to them the power of electing the Pope and of declaring him to have been elected.  Wherefore they, in this respect and for this task, are the Church herself representatively. Thus the Cardinals, or whoever else are electors legitimately designated by the Church (that is, by the Pope), represent the Church in all that concerns the election of her head, the successor of Peter. Just as the Pope gathers the bishops together in a Council, and yet its confirmation and the ultimate sentence in matters of faith depend upon him, so the congregation of Cardinals elects the Pope, and declares that he has been elected, and yet it is the Church, whose ministers they are, that by its acceptance ultimately confirms as a truth of faith the fact that this man is truly the highest rule of faith and the supreme pontiff. Wherefore, if the Cardinals elect him in a questionable manner, the Church can correct their election, as the Council of Constance determined in its 41st session. Hence, the proposition is rendered de fide, as already has been explained, by the acceptance of the Church, and that alone, even before the Pope himself defines anything. It is not [just] any acceptance at all of the Church, but the acceptance of the Church in a matter pertaining to the faith, since the Pope is accepted as a determinate rule of faith."
       "John of St. Thomas goes on to reply to an objection:
Reply to another objection.  It was argued above, that none of the conditions necessary for the election are externally visible, but “that everything takes place in the company of the electors, on whose testimony the Church accepts the Pope. To this I reply that it is not necessary that all those conditions, and the election itself, and the intention of the electors be visible, but only that it be possible for a moral certainty to be had of their accomplishment. This moral certainty comes of seeing the electors gathered together for the act of electing, and peacefully proposing the man who has been elected, and declaring him such. (…)
"So in the present case, prior to the election, we can have only a moral certitude that all the conditions strictly necessary for a legitimate election are being met. Once the election is accepted, however, it becomes a theological conclusion that all the conditions were met, since they have a necessary connection with, and are of their very nature prerequisite to, this truth of faith.

Definition of Pope Martin V

       The definition of Pope Martin V, referred to above, has its precedent in a definition from the Council of Constance against the heretic Wycliff (who has much in common with the Sedevacantists of our day). It is found after the last sessions of the Council in the interrogation to be made against those whose faith is suspect. In order to determine “whether they rightly believe,” the following question is put to them: “Also, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected, who is reigning at the time (his proper name being given), is the successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God?”
       As John of St. Thomas notes, this is not a general question as to whether they believe a true Pope is the successor of Blessed Peter, but whether the currently reigning Pope – that is, the one accepted as such by the Church – is the Successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God. John of St. Thomas explains that the legitimacy of the currently recognized Pope, accepted as such by the Church, is a matter of Faith, by virtue of this definition. In his own words:

"These words do not speak of the truth of that proposition understood in a general sense—namely, that whoever is lawfully elected is the Supreme Pontiff—but in the particular, concerning whoever is Pope at the time, giving his proper name, for instance, Innocent X [who was reigning at the time]. It is of this man, whose proper name is given, that the Pope is bidding the person suspect in faith to be asked, whether he believes that such a person is the successor of Peter and the Supreme Pontiff: therefore this pertains to the act of faith—not to an inference or a moral certitude; for neither of the latter two is a matter of faith." (Corpus, n. 13) 

       According to Fr. Cekada’s own testimony, if this question of whether Paul VI was “the successor of Blessed Peter” was put to him on the day of his ordination, or at anytime thereafter, he would have responded “no,” even though he himself acknowledges that “everyone” recognized Paul VI “as a true Pope.” This means Paul VI had, without question, been universally accepted and hence his legitimacy was de fide. This also means that Cekada was ordained in the state of objective mortal sin, which he has persevered in unrepentantly throughout his entire priesthood. This is certainly an explanation for why his priesthood has produced nothing but wicked and evil fruits.

Material Cause: The One Elected

       We now arrive at another objection that is answered by John of St. Thomas. This objection concerns the conditions necessary for a person to be elected Pope (the material cause), as opposed to the conditions required for the one doing the electing (the efficient cause), which he addressed above. Here is the objection in the words of the brilliant Dominican:

"Objection 3: The third objection is in the line of material causality. The material cause is the subject that, by being elected, receives in itself the papal dignity. We do not have the certitude of faith that this subject is susceptible of this dignity; neither, then, do we have the certitude of faith that he has, in fact, received this dignity."   

       As the reader can see, this is precisely the objection that Fr. Cekada himself raises in defense of his “new argument” – namely, that the recent Popes could not be validly elected since they were “public heretics” prior to their election, and hence lacked a necessary condition for receiving the papal dignity. In light of what we have already seen, it is not difficult to figure out how John of St. Thomas will refute this objection. But before reading what John of St. Thomas has to say, we will allow Fr. Cekada to present his own objection, in his own words. The following is transcribed from his recent video: 

"Could the magic of universal pacific (sic) recognition turn someone into a true Pope if he lacked one of the requirements [i.e, conditions] of divine law for becoming Pope. Such as 1) baptized, 2) male, 3) age of reason, 4) not insane, 5) not a pubic heretic, 6) not a schismatic. Would universal acceptance make Mr. Imam a true Pope?  Bearded Rabbi?  Her Excellency, maybe?  How about a toddler? Or, this guy strapped into a canvas surplice? … Francis’ Protestant brother bishop? Or the person on the right, whose transitioned into being a guy. He self-identifies as a man. Could the universal pacific (sic) recognition transition “him” into a true Pope as well?  What do you think?” (Cekada ends this portion of the video with a confident smirk, as someone who has just utterly demolished an opponent’s argument.)"

       We will allow John of St. Thomas to reply to Cekada’s ridiculous objection and send him packing:

"The answer here is similar to the preceding. Prior to the election, there is a moral certainty that all these conditions required in the person [to become Pope] are actually met. After the fact of the election and its acceptance, the fulfillment of these conditions is known with the certainty of a theological conclusion, since they have, per se, a logical implication with a truth that is certain, and certified by faith." 

       John of St. Thomas also explains that it would be contrary to the special providence of God for a man, who does not meet the required conditions (for example, an Imam, “bearded Rabbi” or a “public heretic”), to be accepted as Pope by the Church. He wrote:

"[I]t is not merely a pious belief, but a theological conclusion (as we have stated), that God will not permit one to be elected and peacefully accepted by the Church who in fact does not meet the conditions required; this would be contrary to the special providence that God exercises over the Church and the assistance that she receives from the Holy Ghost."

       As he completely decimates Fr. Cekada’s position, John of St. Thomas continues by addressing the objection that the conditions themselves are not de fide:

"I answer that, when a particular truth is defined, it ought first to be investigated; but, when a truth is defined that has a necessary connection with another truth, investigation need not be made into that other, conjoined truth, but only into the truth that is itself the object of the definition. Now, the truth that is defined and accepted by the Church is not that this man is baptized or ordained, etc., but that this man is truly pope. (…)  That he is baptized and meets the other requirements [i.e., that he is not a public heretic] is not held as de fide or defined by the Church, but is inferred as a consequence; and that something be inferred as a consequence does not require any preceding investigation. (…) the truth that this man has been ordained, and has the power of order (that is, of the priesthood or episcopate), is certain in the same way as the truth that he is baptized is certain; namely, not as a truth immediately de fide, but as a theological conclusion necessarily connected with the truth that he is the Pope and the rule of faith in the Church."

       As we can see, if a man “is lawfully elected and accepted by the Church” as Pope, his legitimacy is de fide, and, consequently, it is infallibly true that he possessed the necessary conditions to become Pope. What this obviously means, as John of St. Thomas stated above, is that it is not possible for the Church to elect and accept as Pope, one who does not meet the required conditions. In other words, it is not possible for the Church to elect and accept as Pope a “public heretic,” as Fr. Cekada falsely claims. But that, according to Cekada, is exactly what at least the last six Conclaves (since the election of Paul VI) have done. According to Cekada, these Conclaves have done the impossible.
       And lest the crafty and deceptive Cekada tries to switch back to his “old argument” by claiming that Paul VI lost his office AFTER he first became a true Pope (since he himself has been caught admitting that he was accepted as a true Pope by “everyone”), we point out that in his recent video he claim that Paul VI was also a public heretic PRIOR to his election. The following is a transcript from the video:

"In April 2014, Robert Siscoe published an article entitled “Bellarmine and Suarez on the Question of a Heretical Pope.” Mr. Siscoe attempted to reconcile Bellarmine and Suarez’ teaching on loss of office for a Pope who became a public heretic. And thus, so Mr. Siscoe thought, to refute the Sedevacantist position.The problem, as I pointed out in an article the following month, is that Sedevantists no longer believed that Bergoglio, Ratzinger, JP2 and the rest, ever became true Popes in the first place. These men were public heretics, and canonists taught that as a matter of divine law, a public heretic could not be validly elected Pope."[9]

       Notice the words “and the rest” which is plural (i.e., includes at least two more Popes). This obviously includes Paul VI, since John Paul I and Paul VI were the two Popes immediately preceding John Paul II.  So, on the one hand, Cekada claims Paul VI was a “public heretic” prior to his election (lacking a condition for becoming Pope), yet he also concedes that “everyone” accepted him as a true Pope (which proves that all of the conditions were met). It does not take a genius to see the complete inconsistency in Cekada’s argumentation. Yet, these are the kinds of arguments the “potty mouthed Youtube priest” has been making for years.
       It’s as plain as day that Cekada’s “new argument” – that the recent Popes have not be true Popes because they were all “public heretics” prior to their election (and hence incapable of becoming valid Popes), is completely false, since they were all “peacefully and lawfully elected” by the Cardinals, which itself suffices for universal recognition and the infallible certitude that they were true Popes. And, furthermore, they were also accepted as Pope by at least a morally unanimity of Catholics, which proves their legitimacy even if there was a defect in the election itself.

Sedevacantists Don’t Like John of St. Thomas?
Let’s See What Cardinal Billot Says…

       Now, in light of the fact that certain Sedevacantist apologists have begun rejecting any quotation that does not come from the 20th century (a new tactic that allows them to completely disregard a tsunami of quotations we have marshalled which destroys their thesis), we will end by quoting the great 20th century Thomist theologian, Cardinal Billot. Note well that the Sedevacantists have already approved Cardinal Billot as an authority on the papacy, when a few months ago they said that his teaching about Nestorius was helpful to prove their old “loss of office Zombie argument” (so named by Cekada, who calls it a “Zombie argument” because he claims it no longer applies).
       Unfortunately for them, we completely exposed their attempt to falsify Billot’s teaching in a detailed feature on Nestorius, which they have not answered (they can’t). Nevertheless, in light of their glowing admiration for the Cardinal, which they expressed in their (refuted) article on Nestorius, let us see what Billot has to say about the legitimacy of a Pope who has been accepted as such by the Church. 

"Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope falling into heresy], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately."

       Notice that the adhesion of the universal Church to a Pope is not only an infallible sign of his legitimacy, but also of “the existence of all the conditions require for legitimacy itself.” That sounds like what John of St. Thomas wrote, doesn’t it? One Thomist (Billot) following another Thomist (John of St. Thomas)? Absolutely. What does that mean for Fr. Cekada’s “new argument” that the recent Popes were “public heretics” prior to their election?  It means that Fr. Cekada is most certainly and infallibly wrong!  The Cardinal continues:

"Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions."[10]

       Once again, that sounds an awful lot like John of St. Thomas, when he says that the adhesion of the Church “heals in the roof all fault in the election.” So much for the Siri Theory, since even if there was an irregularity with the election of Angelo Cardinal Roncalli (John XXIII), the entire Church accepted him as Pope, which “heals in the root all fault in the election.” St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church, teaches the same:

"It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff."[11]

       In another place in the same book, Billot confirms the above teaching of John of St. Thomas when he says that the infallible providence of God will never permit the entire Church to adhere to a false head:

"[T]he infallible providence of God will prevent it from ever happening that the whole Church adhere to a false head; consequently, no one will ever be accepted as supreme pontiff who does not meet all the conditions necessary to be a member, whatever those conditions may be. That visibility, therefore, by which the true Church is recognizable as such, is in no way imperiled."[12]

       Notice the consistency here with all of the theologians we have quoted, from Van Noort and Fr. Berry, to John of St. Thomas, and now Cardinal Billot and St. Alphonsus. How is it, then, that Cekada rejects this de fide doctrine of universal acceptance? Once again we ask: is he really this ignorant, or can we conclude that he is acting with malice (and his outright lies are evidence of same), and will do anything to avoid admitting he has been wrong most of his life?

Fr. Cekada is “Chopped Liver”:
Refuting One Final Ridiculous Objection

       Let us briefly address one more objection of Fr. Cekada. He argues that because he and the other members of his Sedevacantists sect reject the recent Popes, it means they were not universally accepted by the Church (which means he knows that if they were universally accepted, he is in grave error). He presented this argument in his video, “Stuck in a Rut,” where he says: “Sedevacantists Reject the Post Vatican II Popes. So the acceptance is clearly not universal.” He then adds: “What are we? Chopped liver?”
        There are obvious problems with this objection as well. First, Sedevacantists have publicly defected from the Church by joining a non-Catholic sect (cf. canon 188.4). That means they are not Catholics. Having openly rejected the Church’s social Magisterium, they are, as Cardinal Billot teaches,[13] public and notorious heretics and schismatics. The “vote” of non-Catholics obviously does not count. In fact, like a true schismatic, Cekada himself admitted, in the same video, that he would have rejected whoever was elected Pope by the recent Conclave, which is obviously the case since he has lost his Faith in the Church (just as Jesus’ disciples lost Faith in Him during His Passion). In Cekada’s own words:

Anyone who the conclave had elected would have been just as much a Pope as Francis, which is to say, no pope at all.[14]

       There you have it. According to Cekada, not a single Cardinal in the Conclave could have been validly elected Pope. Not one! In a single sentence, then, Fr. Cekada confirms that he has rejected the visible Church (the visible social unit founded by Christ) and has publicly defected from the Faith. So yes, Fr. Cekada, when it comes to the opinion of your Sedevacantist cult regarding who is and is not the true Pope, your “vote” is indeed equivalent to “chopped liver.”
       Second, even if Sedevacantists were actually Catholics (which they are not), they would constitute less than a fraction of one percent (.00001%) of the entire Catholic Church. That means there would still be universal acceptance (a morally unanimous acceptance) of the conciliar Popes, even if we counted their “vote.”
       As we noted earlier, the acceptance of a Pope does not require a 100 percent mathematical acceptance, but only a practical, or moral unanimity. This is confirmed by Cardinal Billot who applied the teaching of the peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope to the scandalous papacy of Alexander VI, which was not accepted as legitimate by all.  The Cardinal uses the doctrine in question to prove that Alexander VI was a true and valid Pope, even though there were some in Alexander VI’s day who believed him to be a false Pope and public apostate (or at least a “manifest heretic”).
       Girolamo Savonarola, the controversial Dominican monk, was one who had denied that Alexander VI was a true Pope. In a letter to the Emperor, Savonarola wrote:

"The Lord, moved to anger by this intolerable corruption, has, for some time past, allowed the Church to be without a pastor. For I bear witness in the name of God that this Alexander VI is in no way Pope and cannot be. For quite apart from the execrable crime of simony, by which he got possession of the [papal] tiara through a sacrilegious bargaining, and by which every day he puts up to auction and knocks down to the highest bidder ecclesiastical benefices, and quite apart from his other vices - well-known to all - which I will pass over in silence, this I declare in the first place and affirm it with all certitude, that the man is not a Christian, he does not even believe any longer that there is a God; he goes beyond the final limits of infidelity and impiety."[15]

       In spite of the scandals of Alexander VI’s papacy, including the grave accusations of heresy, apostasy, and illicit acquisition of the Papal See through simony, leveled by his contemporaries, Cardinal Billot explains that the universal acceptance proves certain that Alexander VI was indeed a legitimate Pope. The Cardinal explains:

"Let this be said in passing against those who, trying to justify certain attempts at schism made in the time of Alexander VI, allege that its promoter [Savonarola] broadcast that he had most certain proofs, which he would reveal to a General Council, of the heresy of Alexander. Putting aside here other reasons with which one could easily be able to refute such an opinion, it is enough to remember this: it is certain that when Savonarola was writing his letters to the Princes, all of Christendom adhered to Alexander VI and obeyed him as the true Pontiff. For this very reason, Alexander VI was not a false Pope, but a legitimate one.”[16]

       The same, of course, is true with the Vatican II Popes. All of Christendom has indeed “adhered” to them as “the true Pontiff.” And as we saw, Fr. Cekada himself acknowledged that “everyone” accepted Paul VI as a true and legitimate Pope, yet he nevertheless rejected him – just as he has done with all of his successors. 
       And Cekada’s statement that Paul VI had been accepted by everyone was confirmed in the December, 1965 issue of the American Ecclesiastical Review. In the publication, Fr. Francis J. Connell explained the teaching of the peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope, and applied it to Paul VI himself, who, he confirmed at the time, had been accepted by the entire Church as Pope. And note also that the following was written the very month that Paul VI ratified the documents of Vatican II. Here is the Q&A that appeared in the publication:

"Question: What certainty have we that the reigning Pontiff is actually the primate of the universal Church – that is, that he became a member of the Church through valid baptism, and that he was validly elected Pope?

"Answer: Of course, we have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly elected in conclave and accepted the office of Bishop of Rome, thus becoming head of the universal Church. The unanimous consensus of a large group of Cardinals composing the electoral body gave us this assurance. And we also have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly baptized, since there is a record to that effect in the baptismal register of the church in which the sacrament was administered. We have the same type of certainty that any bishop is the true spiritual head of the particular See over which he presides. This type of certainty excludes every prudent fear of the opposite.

"But in the case of the Pope we have a higher grade of certainty – a certainty that excludes not merely the prudent fear of the opposite, but even the possible fear of the opposite. In other words, we have infallible certainty that the present Sovereign Pontiff [Paul VI] has been incorporated into the Church by a valid baptism and has been validly elected head of the universal Church. For if we did not have infallible assurance that the ruling Pontiff is truly in the eyes of God the chief teacher of the Church of Christ, how could we accept as infallibly true his solemn pronouncements? This is an example of a fact that is not contained in the deposit of revelation but is so intimately connected with revelation that it must be within the scope of the Church’s magisterial authority to declare it infallibly. The whole Church, teaching and believing, declares and believes this fact, and from this it follows that this fact is infallibly true. We accept it with ecclesiastical – not divine – faith, based on the authority of the infallible Church."[17]

       Once again we see that we have “infallible certainty” that Paul VI (and the Popes who followed him), met the conditions necessary to be validly elected, which means that they were not “public heretics” prior to their election.
       Let us return to the treatise of John of St. Thomas to find out precisely when the universal acceptance becomes sufficient to prove that the man is a legitimate Pope.

"All that remains to be determined, then, is the exact moment when the acceptance of the Church becomes sufficient to render the proposition de fide. Is it as soon as the cardinals propose the elect to the faithful who are in the immediate locality, or only when knowledge of the election has sufficiently spread through the whole world, wherever the Church is to be found? 

"I REPLY that (as we have said above) the unanimous election of the cardinals and their declaration is similar to a definition given by the bishops of a Council legitimately gathered. Moreover, the acceptance of the Church is, for us, like a confirmation of this declaration. Now, the acceptance of the Church is realized both negatively, by the fact that the Church does not contradict the news of the election wherever it becomes known, and positively, by the gradual acceptance of the prelates of the Church, beginning with the place of the election, and spreading throughout the rest of the world.  As soon as men see or hear that a Pope has been elected, and that the election is not contested, they are obliged to believe that that man is the Pope, and to accept him."

       Note that John of St. Thomas says the Cardinals’ election and declaration “is similar to a definition given by the bishops of a Council legitimately gathered (the ecclesia docens), which is “confirmed” by the rest of the Church through its “acceptance” of the election (the ecclesia discens). And while, in John of St. Thomas’ time, this positive acceptance happened gradually as the news spread throughout the Church and the word, in our information age, the news spreads world-wide almost immediately.
This means that the universal acceptance would be manifest very quickly – at least within the first several days following the election. Hence, in the words of John of St. Thomas, if “the Church does not contradict the news of the election” when it “becomes known” (which is immediate), this fact would provide infallible certitude that he was a legitimate Pope.

       John of St. Thomas then refutes the error of Bishop Sanborn, who claims that the recent Popes were indeed “legally elected,” but denies that they became true Popes.  John of St. Thomas replies:

"Nor is there a real difference between the proposition, 'This man is properly elected,' and, 'This man is Pope,' since to be accepted as the Supreme Pontiff and to be the Supreme Pontiff are the same, just as it is the same for something to be defined, and for the definition to be legitimate.

       The final issue John of St. Thomas addresses is whether those who deny the legitimacy of a Pope, who has been accepted by the entire Church as such, are “only” schismatics, or are also heretics:

"Whoever would deny that a particular man is Pope after he has been peacefully and canonically accepted, would not only be a schismatic, but also a heretic; for, not only would he rend the unity of the Church… but he would also add to this a perverse doctrine, by denying that the man accepted by the Church is to be regarded as the Pope and the rule of faith. Pertinent here is the teaching of St. Jerome (Commentary on Titus, chapter 3) and of St. Thomas (IIa IIae Q. 39 A. 1 ad 3), that every schism concocts some heresy for itself, in order to justify its withdrawal from the Church.  Thus, although schism is distinct from heresy, in most cases it is accompanied by the latter, and prepares the way for it. In the case at hand, whoever would deny the proposition just stated would not be a pure schismatic, but also a heretic, as Suarez also reckons (above, in the solution to the fourth objection)."

       This means that Fr. Anthony Cekada, who has publicly and notoriously rejected the conciliar Popes who he admits have been accepted as such by the Church, is a public heretic (in the words of John of St. Thomas). And those who follow Cekada need to realize that by doing so they are at least guilty of an objective mortal sin against the Faith (according to Cartechini), and are also heretics (according to John of St. Thomas)
Now we can better understand why there are such rotten fruits in the Sedevacanatist sect, and why the former Sedevacantist, Laszlo Szijarto, would say:

"I myself had once been a Sedevacantist. Only in retrospect can I honestly see the great bitterness and lack of charity that this led to on my part. I have found nothing but spiritual disorder – to one extent or another – in all the Sedevacantists I have ever met (myself included and foremost among them). It would be best to leave out the numerous downfalls – in scandalous fashion – of bitter Sedevacantists."[18]

       The notorious Sedevacantist apologist, John Lane, admitted that he himself has no answer for the rotten fruits he sees in members of his sect. He wrote:

Notorious Sedevacantist, John Lane
       “…people who get interested in Sedevacantism become unstable in their spiritual lives, confused about what matters and what doesn’t, forget their own incompetence in what are often very technically challenging areas of law and doctrine, often destabilize others in their parish, and very often more broadly disturb the peace of the parish. I’ve observed all of this myself, and so often that I can’t answer it. It’s true.”[19]

       Are such rotten fruits among sects of heretics really that surprising? Of course not, because the devil is their author and master.


      In conclusion, this second installment, along with our first installment of our feature “It’s All Over for Fr. Anthony Cekada,” have demonstrated with absolute certainty that Cekada’s Sedevacantist position is erroneous, and even heretical. Our features have proven that (1) the conciliar Popes do not qualify as “public heretics” because there was no public pertinacity (which would be present only if they defected from the Church or renounced her as the infallible rule of Faith, which they did not do); and, (2) they could not have been public heretics before or after their elections because they were accepted as Popes by the universal Church (a moral unanimity), and, as Cardinal Billot said, the “infallible providence of God will prevent it from ever happening that the whole Church adhere to a false head.”
       This should be more than enough for any reasonable person who is seeking the truth to conclude that Fr. Cekada’s position is totally, completely, and utterly false, and that he has run out of arguments. As we say in the title of this two-part feature, it is truly over for Fr. Cekada and his Sedevacantist enterprise. Because a rejection of the lawful successor of St. Peter is heresy (according to John of St. Thomas) and a mortal sin against the Faith, Fr. Anthony Cekada needs to renounce his Sedevacantist position and be reconciled with the Church, or face eternal damnation.
       Mary, Conqueror of All Heresies, pray for Fr. Cekada and the unfortunate souls who have followed him.

[1] Wernz-Vidal, Ius Can., II. p. 520, note 171, cited in The Theological Hypothesis of a Heretic Pope, Silveira, p. 185.
[2] The Church of Christ, pp. 288, 289, 290. 
[3] Christ’s Church, p. 112 (emphasis added).  
[4] Sources of Revelation, p. 265 (emphasis added). 
[5] “Bergoglio Has Nothing to Lose”
[7] Marcel Lefebvre: Sedevacantist: 10:07-13, 12:45-57.
[8] “Martin V, in the Council of Constance, in the condemnation of the errors of Wyclif, which is to be found after the fourth, fifth, and last sessions of the Council, in the interrogations that are to be made of those whose faith is suspect, to see whether they rightly believe, puts this question.  Also, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected, who is reigning at the time (his proper name being given), is the successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God?  These words do not speak of the truth of that proposition understood in a general sense—namely, that whoever is lawfully elected is the Supreme Pontiff—but in the particular, concerning whoever is pope at the time, giving his proper name, for instance, Innocent X. It is of this man, whose proper name is given, that the pope is bidding the person suspect in faith to be asked, whether he believes that such a person is the successor of Peter and the Supreme Pontiff: therefore this pertains to the act of faith—not to an inference or a moral certitude; for neither of the latter two is a matter of faith.” (Corpus, n. 13)
[9] “Dead on Arrival,” 21:00-21:40.
[10] Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, vol. I, pp. 612-613 (emphasis added). 
[11] Liguori, Verita della Fede, in “Opera…,”vol. VIII., p. 720, n. 9. 
[12] Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, vol. I, Q. 7: “On the Members of the Church”.
[13]“The notion of heresy, however, includes another element: departure from the social magisterium, which was divinely constituted to be the authoritative organ for the proposal of revealed truth in Christian society” (Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, vol. I, Q. 7: “On the Members of the Church”).
[14] Stuck in a Rut, 21:30-37.
[15] Schnitzer, Savonarola, Italian translation by E. Rutili (Milan, 1931), vol. II, p. 303. Quoted in Journet’s The Church of the Word Incarnate, p. 484 (emphasis added). 
[16] Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, vol. I, pp. 612-613 (emphasis added).  
[17] American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 153, Dec. 1965, p. 422 (emphasis added). 
[18] Szijarto, Laszlo, “Pope Sifting - Difficulties with Sedevacantism,” the Angelus magazine, October 1995 (emphasis added). 
[19] True or False Pope?, p. 654.


Ave Maria said...

This is a very good article and does a good job in explaining the concept of dogmatic facts, especially in regards to the election of the Pope, as well dealing with a heretical Pope. However, the thrust of my comment will deal with the fruits of the sedevecantist movement and Fr. Kramer and his followers. One thing I have observed amongst these individuals is extreme bitterness and uncharitable judgements. There were times when I was tempted to go the sedevecantist route or the Fr. Kramer route but I think I was prevented from making that jump because somehow in my will and intellect I knew it was wrong. This article helps in fortifying my thought. I think why they are so bitter is because on some level they, both the sedevecantists and Fr. Kramer and his followers, have lost the Faith. I have personally advised people that we need to pray all 15 decades of the Rosary every day, but if they don't have time and when in doubt then at least pray the Sorrowful Mysteries because it will help in illuminating the current sufferings of the Church. Especially meditating on Our Lady standing at the foot of the Cross, the sufferings of Our Lady are unimaginable especially when we consider her son was also God Incarnate. The Arians from long ago lost the faith in the Divinity of Jesus because they couldn't understand how he could be God and suffer like He did. Likewise, the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ and through the Church the Incarnation is perpetuated in history through the Blessed Sacrament. The mystery of today's crisis is that even though the Catholic Church has been bloodied by the homosexual priest sex scandal, the horrible liturgy of the Novos Ordo, the Vatican II disaster, heresy, blasphemy from her own members, impurity that it is still the Church, that it is a Passion for the Church in our time and we are called to hold to the Faith of our fathers and stand bravely like Our Lady at the Foot of the Cross and imitate her unconquerable Faith. Jesus Christ is still and forever True God and True Man and present in the Blessed Sacrament, Mary is still the unconquerable Mother of God and the Church is still the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I would beg anyone who reads this to meditate on these words from St. Bernard if you are hard pressed and doubtful, the sedevecantists offer only a poisoned fruit. Here is the link on St. Bernard's words on the Star of the Sea, the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Jean-Baptiste André said...

The last pope peacefully and universally accepted is Paul VI. The next ones were not peacefully accepted since the SSPX and its faithful do not obey them, and thus do not properly recognise them.

Since Paul VI was elected before the advent of the new mass, he was peacefully accepted; but Wojtyla and his successors were not peacefully accepted, since the best Catholics refused to attend the new mass in their parishes.

TrueorFalsePope said...

You are wrong for three reasons:

1) The universal acceptance does not require a mathematically universal acceptance, but only a moral or practical universality.

2) Disobedience to particular commands is not equivalent to a rejection of John Paul II as head of the Church, nor is the refusal to attend or celebrate the New Mass an implicit rejection of his legitimacy.

3) There is no question that the SSPX accepted John Paul II as the true Pope. In fact, the founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Lefebvre, used the doctrine of the peaceful and universal acceptance as proof that both Paul VI and John Paul II were legitimate popes.

Following the election of John Paul II, the Archbishop wrote:

“Can a Pope be Liberal and remain Pope? The Church has always severely reprimanded Liberal Catholics, but she has not always excommunicated them. Here, too, we must continue in the spirit of the Church. We must refuse Liberalism from whatever source it comes because the Church has always condemned it. She has done so because it is contrary, in the social realm especially, to the Kingship of Our Lord.

"Does not the exclusion of the cardinals of over eighty years of ages, and the secret meetings which preceded and prepared the last two Conclaves, render them invalid? Invalid: no, that is saying too much. Doubtful at the time: perhaps. BUT IN ANY CASE, THE SUBSEQUENT UNANIMOUS ACCEPTANCE OF THE ELECTION BY THE CARDINALS AND THE ROMAN CLERGY SUFFICES TO VALIDATE IT. That is the teaching of the theologians.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, “The New Mass and the Pope,” cited by Michael Davies, in Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Volume 2, Chapter XL.)

Following the death of John Paul II, the SSPX also accepted Benedict XVI, and now Francis as the head of the Church.