John Lane’s Malicious E-Mail Campaign
to Discredit “True or False Pope?” Backfires
to Discredit “True or False Pope?” Backfires
In mid-June, 2016, Sedevacantist apologist John Lane engaged in a clandestine e-mail campaign, behind our backs, in an effort to drive a wedge between us and certain prominent members of the SSPX clergy and discourage anyone from reading our book True or False Pope? – a book which Lane claims he hasn’t completely read. What prompted Lane’s malicious and covert e-mail operation? Clearly, it is the fact that we have publicly exposed his many errors and even heresies in our book, and he has no theological response. He, who imagines himself to be as one of the most learned Sedevacantists in the world, has no theological rebuttal to "True or False Pope?". If he did, he would have published it far and wide, as he has done against other “anti-Sedevacantists” for the last twenty years.
Nevertheless, to hide his real motives, Lane created a pretext for his smear campaign, by deciding to claim that we lied about him – in an article, by the way, and not in our book - by saying he held the non “una cum” position, that is, the position that Catholics cannot assist at a Mass where the current Pope’s name is mentioned in the canon. Lane then sent out an e-mail blast to SSPX priests and certain other prominent Catholic figures, falsely claiming that we accused him of this - even though we never said (in our article or anywhere else) that Lane holds this position. In fact, we explicitly state in our book that he does not hold this position.
Unfortunately for Mr. Lane, one of the priests on Lane’s e-mail distribution list, who knew the facts, responded to him by pointing out that he had misinterpreted what we wrote, and copied us on his reply, thereby bringing to light Lane's covert scheme. We then contacted Mr. Lane and gave him the opportunity to retract his error, advising him that if he did not do what justice required, we would have to publicize this matter, in an attempt to mitigate any damaged and clear up the confusion he had caused. In response, Mr. Lane refused to even acknowledge, much less retract, his grievous lies and calumny. He said it was unnecessary for him to retract anything, since he has “wonderful relationships” with various SSPX priests. Perhaps Mr. Lane should have used the word "had", rather than "has". As one of the priests who was targeted in the e-mail campaign said, Lane has discredited his own reputation “ten times” worse by his own slanderous accusations against us (and his performance in the following e-mail exchange) than anything we wrote about him in our book.
Because Lane refused to correct his errors or provide us with the names of those to whom he sent his slanderous e-mails, we are publicize our e-mail correspondence which documents the facts in question. Note that the following e-mail exchange was not a private correspondence, but included a broad group of both priests and laymen (among them, well-known Catholic writers) who were the original recipients of Lane’s e-mails.
Because Lane refused to correct his errors or provide us with the names of those to whom he sent his slanderous e-mails, we are publicize our e-mail correspondence which documents the facts in question. Note that the following e-mail exchange was not a private correspondence, but included a broad group of both priests and laymen (among them, well-known Catholic writers) who were the original recipients of Lane’s e-mails.
Our E-Mail to John Lane:
24 June A.D. 2016
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Dear Mr. Lane:
We find it quite revealing that you would engage in a clandestine e-mail campaign, behind our backs, apparently in an attempt to discredit us and our book, by alleging that we accused you (in one of our articles, not in the book itself) of holding the non “una cum” position, which we know you don’t hold. The obvious question from a Christian perspective is: Why not contact us directly, if you honestly believed we misrepresented your position, and give us an opportunity to explain ourselves and even correct any injustice, if one existed, rather than complaining to others who had absolutely nothing to do with it? Have you never read Matthew 18:15, which says: “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone”? Had you contacted us directly, we would have pointed out, as did Fr. Laisney, that we did not accuse you of any such thing. We would have then pointed you to the page number in our book where we explicitly state that you attend Mass at an SSPX chapel, and thus that you do not hold the non “una cum” position.
Or was the true intent of your e-mail campaign to gain sympathy for yourself, from those who have endorsed our book, by painting us as the bad guys and yourself as the poor victim, now that we have exposing your many errors in our book? Unfortunately for you, in his wisdom Fr. Laisney included Mr. Salza and me in his reply to you, thereby bringing to light your hidden scheme (which you evidently didn’t appreciate, based on what you said in your follow up reply to him). But, in reality, we had been made aware of your covert operation a few days earlier by another person who had received a similar e-mail from you (and who, like Fr. Laisney, also had absolutely nothing to do with the article that you misread).
Since, as we will demonstrate below, your accusations against us are completely false, and since you are so quick to demand that others retract statements and apologize when you imagine that they have falsely accused you of something, we also demand, as a matter of justice, that you contact these same people yourself and retract your false accusation against us. This would include your priest, who you claim is “livid” with us due to your false accusations. If you fail to do the foregoing, we will post this reply on our website as our response to your false charges. We will also email this reply to every priest in the SSPX.
Now to the facts and the proof of your false accusation.
Your False Accusation vs. The Facts
The Formal Aspect Corresponding to Your Accusation
Not only did we not accuse you of holding the non “una cum” position in the article in question (as further shown below), but, as mentioned already, in our book we explicitly state that you do not hold this position. Surely you were aware of this before you inaugurated your email campaign, because it is not simply hidden away somewhere in the 700 page book, but explicitly referenced in the Index under your name (see top of page 707, Index entry “John Lane – Attends Non-Sedevacantist Parish, 661”). What is most problematic for you, and evidence of malice, is that you have admitted that you read the Index. And, no doubt, having read the entry in the Index, we can safely conclude that you also turned to page 661 of our book and read the following:
“Sedevacantists Condemn Other Sedevacantists
“For Attending “Una Cum” Masses Some Sedevacantists also condemn their fellow Sedevacantists for attending a Mass in which the currently recognized Pope’s name is included in the canon (in other words, a true Catholic Mass). Sedevacantists call such Masses “una cum” Masses, from the Latin phrase prayed by the priest which mentions the name of the reigning Pope: “una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. (“together with Thy servant N., our Pope”). These “compromisers” are declared to be “public heretics” by their fellow Sedevacantists for worshiping in union with a “heretic Pope,” simply because the priest prays for him during the Mass. Such compromisers would include John Lane, who assists at Masses of the S.S.P.X., and the Dimond brothers, who assist at Eastern rite Masses in union with the “Vatican II Church.”
Thus, you knew that we truthfully published where you assist at Mass, and therefore our intention to communicate the truth of this matter (the formal aspect of this question) was already established in the external forum (in our book) before you launched your email campaign. Nevertheless, you disregarded this fact and proceeded with your false accusation, demonstrating to us that you are not motivated by truth, but rather by pride and malice, in attempting to discredit our book at any cost. In fact, you began your e-mail campaign (based on the e-mails that have been forward to us) by saying:
“Dear Father X (or Mr. X), I am writing because I saw that you were involved in the publication of the book by Siscoe and Salza. What I will inform you about will therefore probably surprise you.”
You then seek to discredit the book by pointing to something we wrote in an article, which you claim accuses you of holding the non “una cum” position, when, as you well know, our book says the exact opposite.
The Material Aspect Corresponding to Your Accusation
Having established that we did not formally (in intention) accuse you of holding the non “una cum” position (as evidenced by the fact that we explicitly say the contrary in our book), we will look at the material aspect (what we actually wrote), in the article in question.
Before doing so, however, we refer to your email to Fr. Laisney (one of the targets of your covert email campaign), in which you state the following:
“I am writing because I saw a review of yours of the book by Siscoe and Salza which praised their accuracy. What I will inform you about will therefore surprise you. Below I will paste in an email I sent to John Vennari back in April in an attempt to secure a retraction of a plainly defamatory assertion made about me…”
What is this “plainly defamatory assertion” that has so wounded you and hurt your feelings? Here it is, taken, again, not from the book, but from an article we wrote that John Vennari published in Catholic Family News:
“Stage 5 - Public Fact/Ecclesiavacantism: The final phase is the logical conclusion to the previous. In this phase, the person has lost faith in the entire visible Church. Once a person arrives at this state, he considers the Church itself as an entirely false Church, and viciously attacks the Church with the goal of discrediting it. In this phase, which usually goes hand-in-hand with the previous phase, the errors of churchmen are not exposed for the purpose of defending the Faith, but for the purpose of mocking and discrediting the Church itself. Those in this phase will declare that one may have nothing to do with the visible Church, since they believe it is a false Church. They also usually (but not always) declare that it is forbidden even to assist at an "una cum" Mass that is, a Mass in which the Pope's name is mentioned. Clearly, the top Sedevacantist apologists fall into this category [that is, the Fifth stage of Sedevacantism] (Fr. Cekada, Bp. Dolan, Bp. Sanborn, Mario Derksen, John Lane, John Daly, Gerry Matatics, the Dimond brothers).”
As any reasonable person can see, the purpose of this paragraph (similar to the paragraphs preceding it) is to explain a specific stage of Sedevacantism, here, the Fifth stage, which is categorized by those people, such as yourself, who have lost faith in the entire visible Church. As we expressly state in unambiguous language, those in the Fifth stage “usually (but not always) declare it is forbidden to even assist at an ‘una cum’ Mass.” Thus, we specifically qualify our statement by acknowledging that not all people in the Fifth stage hold the non “una cum” position. How you can interpret this as meaning you personally hold the non “una cum” position is anyone’s guess, but it is neither what we wrote (materially) nor what we intended (formally).
We can further prove this point by noting that we also put the Dimond brothers in the Fifth stage, even though we also state on page 661 of our book (in the same quotation cited above) that they too do not hold the non “una cum” position (they attend, or did attend, Mass at an Eastern rite parish). We also note that Gerry Matatics, who is also a Fifth stage Sedevacantist, does not attend any Mass at all (pages 77-78, 663). Thus, it should have been obvious to you that our purpose of naming names in this paragraph was to properly categorize those who are Fifth stage Sedevacantists, and not those who hold or do not hold the non “una cum” position, especially given our explicit qualification – i.e., that those in Stage five “usually (but not always) declare it is forbidden to even assist at an ‘una cum’ Mass.” For you to characterize our statement as a “plainly defamatory assertion” and then publicly accuse us of calumny against you, is itself a defamatory statement. It also demonstrates that your errors have evidently blinded you to reality and prevented you from discerning these basic distinctions.
You then provide Fr. Laisney with your earlier demanded, to John Vennari, that he publicly retract the statement, both online and in print. Here is the demand in your own words:
“Please publish a correction in a prominent place, in print and online, as follows or in equivalent words: ‘Recently we published an article in which it was asserted that Mr. John Lane holds that ‘it is forbidden even to assist at an 'una cum' Mass - that is, a Mass in which the Pope's name is mentioned.’ This assertion is untrue. Mr. Lane is a friend of the SSPX and is on record arguing forcefully AGAINST that position, and encourages his fellow Catholics to frequent holy mass, especially at SSPX mass centres. We apologise for publishing this offensive calumny.”
The problem, of course, is that we did not make any such accusation, neither formally nor materially, which we have proven above. In fact, Fr. Laisney himself pointed out your error. In his e-mail reply, he wrote the following:
“Dear Mr Lane,
“If you read carefully what he wrote, your name is in a list of "top sedevacantist apologists" who "fall into this category". That category is MAINLY described as those "having lost faith in the entire visible church" NOT as those declaring "that it is forbidden even to assist a an una Cum Mass"; on the contrary, there is explicit limitation, in that "they also usually (BUT NOT ALWAYS) declare that..." Clearly, you are among those who are excluded from this last accusation, and so their sentence is in conformity with the truth. …
Fr. Laisney then went on to properly note that if you don’t wish to be included among the Sedevacantists in this Stage five category, you need to correct your own position:
“If you wanted to refute their statement, you would have needed to change your own position with regard to the Pope and the bishops and the whole visible Catholic Church. Any one who reduces the Catholic Church to "the sound part of the rotten visible church", without Pope, almost without bishops, and practically ends up with such invisible church and indeed "has lost faith in the entire visible church" as M. Siscoe and Salza rightly say. This is the main "accusation" and to avoid that, you have to correct your position. I pray that you will do so.”
Hence, it is you, Mr. Lane, who is guilty of “offensive calumny” against Mr. Salza and me; and since you are so quick to demand apologies and retractions when you imagine that someone has calumniated you, we will seek the remedy that you yourself acknowledge as being just and proper in such circumstances. To that end, please send an e-mail to everyone to whom you have made your false accusation, with a carbon copy to Mr. Salza and me, to remedy this injustice. We don’t ask this principally for ourselves (we are entirely used to being lied about by Sedevacantists), but for the good of your own soul. You may use the following or equivalent words in your retraction:
“Recently I sent you an e-mail in which I asserted that Robert Siscoe and John Salsa claimed that I hold the position that "it is forbidden even to assist at an 'una cum' Mass - that is, a Mass in which the Pope's name is mentioned. This assertion was completely untrue and I retract it. Mr. Siscoe and Mr. Salza said no such thing. In fact, they say the EXACT OPPOSITE in their book, True or False Pope? (see page 661). I apologize for this misunderstanding.”
This little effort on your part should help to undo the damage that your false accusation has caused by your clandestine campaign. And if you still have hurt feelings over the matter, we suggest that you humbly offer your retraction up in reparation for the unimaginable damage you have done to countless souls by spreading your Sedevacantist errors for so many years.
Your False Accusation Against John Salza
We also find it interesting (but not at all surprising) to see how thin-skinned you are. Do you know how many truly false and slanderous things have been said about us by you and the members of your Sedevacantist sect, which we have never bothered responding to? We’ll provide just one of your false accusations. This is what you wrote about John Salza (quoting him within the body of your text):
“Salza is a Conciliarist – he cheerfully asserts what every non-Gallican theologian since Cajetan has been at pains to deny – that the Church can judge a pope. ‘The crime (heresy) must be determined before the punishment for the crime (loss of office) can be inflicted. As Bellarmine, Suarez and the consensus of theologians maintain, the offense of Papal heresy is determined by the Church, and the divine punishment is inflicted by God (severance from the Body of Christ)...’ (John Salza). Salza’s position is that the Church can judge the pope but cannot, or at least does not, punish the pope. Since this position is heretical, I don’t think we need to concern ourselves any further with it.”
You publicly declare on your website that John Salza is a “Conciliarist” (which is a false accusation) and further state that his “position is heretical.” You claim that his position is contrary to “what every non-Gallican theologian since Cajetan” holds, yet Salza’s position is identical to the famous canon, Si Papa, which was on the books for eight centuries (before, during and after Vatican I), and it was none other than St. Bellarmine himself who cited the authority of this canon when teaching that in the case of heresy a Pope can be judged!
“Firstly” wrote Bellarmine, “that a heretical Pope can be judged is expressly held in the Canon, Si Papa, dist. 40, and with Innocent. And what is more, in the Fourth Council of Constantinople, Act 7, the acts of the Roman Council under Hadrian are recited, and in those it was contained that Pope Honorius appeared to be legally anathematized, because he had been convicted of heresy, the only reason where it is lawful for inferiors to judge superiors” (De Romano Pontifice).
Are you going to accuse St. Robert Bellarmine and the famous canon Si Papa of promoting the heresy of Conciliarism? After all, the teaching of Bellarmine and the canon is more explicit than what Salza wrote. John merely said papal heresy is “determined” by the Church; but a saint and Doctor of the Church explicitly states that a heretical Pope can be “judged” by the Church (citing canon law as his authority). And since you are so quick to demand apologies from others when you imagine that they have made false claims about you, surely you will realize that you now owe a public apology to John Salza for accusing him of holding a heretical position that he does not hold. You see, Mr. Lane, we are so used to being slandered and lied about by you and the other members of your sect that we no longer even pay attention to it. Yet you, on the other hand, find one thing that you erroneously “interpret” as being a false accusation against you, your feelings get hurt, and you immediately launch into an e-mail campaign.
Your False Accusation Against Fr. Boulet
We wish to close our reply to you by addressing your false and calumnious statements about Fr. Boulet (SSPX), whom you publicly accused of “being deceived” and “careless” for citing an authentic quotation that you erroneously claimed was “fraudulent” and even “invented.” As you are now no doubt aware, we proved in our book that your allegations were entirely false. You apologized to him privately, but that’s not good enough. Because your false accusations against Fr. Boulet are public, they also demand from you a public retraction and apology. To encourage you to remedy this injustice publicly, we call your attention to the definition of calumny and its gravity.
Calumny: “Etymologically any form of ruse or fraud employed to deceive another, particularly in judicial proceedings. In its more commonly accepted signification it means the unjust damaging of the good name of another by imputing to him a crime or fault of which he is not guilty. The sin thus committed is in a general sense mortal, just as is detraction” (Original Catholic Encyclopedia).
In your recent e-mail to John Salza, you said: “I didn't calumniate Fr. Boulet.” You claimed that all you did was “speak about him… in a manner that was less respectful than is due to a priest…” But, Mr. Lane, is that really all you did? Did you not also falsely accuse him of being “deceived” and “careless,” for citing a “fraudulent” quote (which was not fraudulent at all, but authentic)? The following is taken from pages 195-196 of our book (excluding the footnotes):
“To show the extent to which Sedevacantists go in defending Bellarmine, we can look to the example of the lay Sedevacantist apologist John Lane. Lane has gone so far as to publicly declare that the quote from Pope Adrian VI, who taught that a Pope can “teach heresy,” is a fabrication. Lane even impugned the good name of Fr. Dominique Boulet who used this citation from Pope Adrian in his article “Is That Chair Vacant? A SSPX Dossier on Sedevacantism.” In response to the article, Lane rashly accused Fr. Boulet of being “deceived by fraudulent quotes which he has carelessly lifted from some place unknown.” On his website, Lane further denigrates the priest with his smug comment: “Poor Fr. Boulet - he literally grabbed quotes from the Net, it seems, and cobbled them together.”
“When Lane himself later discovered that the “unknown” sixteenth century citation was not simply grabbed from the Net, but quoted in an early twentieth century book (published in 1904), Lane, with no evidence whatsoever, claimed that the quotation included in the book had been “invented” by the author (another rash and baseless accusation). Because the 1904 book had been placed on the Index, Mr. Lane used this fact to support his assertion that the quotation was “invented” by the author (as if the book being on the Index in any way implies that the quote was invented). When the same quotation was later cited by Robert Siscoe in an article published in The Remnant newspaper, Mr. Lane referred to it on his website as the “invented quote from Pope Adrian VI, taken from a book [the 1904 book] which St. Pius X put on the Index.” Lane then accused the non-Sedevacantist authors who have cited the quotation of being “complete charlatans without the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself.”
“In order to recover the good name of Fr. Boulet, and any others tarnished by the false accusations of John Lane, we provide an even more complete version of the quotation, in the original Latin, taken from the writings of an author who died two centuries before Mr. Lane claims the quotation was “invented” (which proves that the quotation was not “invented” by the author of the 1904 book, as Mr. Lane claims). The quotation from Pope Adrian VI was quoted by Bishop Bossuet (1627-1704) in his Complete Works edited and published in Paris in 1841:
‘Ad secundum principale de facto Gregorii, dico primo quod si per Ecclesiam Romanam intelligatur caput ejus, puta Pontifex, Certum est quod possit errare, etiam in his, quae tangent fidem, haeresim per suam determinationem aut Decretalem asserendo; plures enim fuere Pontifices Romani haeretici. Item et novissime fertur de Joanne XXII, quod publice docuit, declaravit, et ab omnibus teneri mandavit, quod animas purgatae ante finale judicium non habent stolam, quae est clara et facialis visio Dei.’
“Since Mr. Lane did not hesitate to accuse those who cited the quotation … as being “complete charlatans” who lack “the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself,” we hope that he offers a public apology for his rash judgment and slandering of the good name of Fr. Boulet. If not, one might be led to conclude that it is the public slanderer himself (Mr. Lane) who lacks “the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself.”
Now, Mr. Lane, where in the world did you get the idea that the quotation from Pope Adrian was fraudulent and “invented”? Did you make up this falsehood out of thin air in order to discredit your opponents (in this case, both myself and Fr. Boulet, since your “invented” comment was, as you conceded in another e-mail that was forwarded to us, directly primarily at me after I cited this quote in a Remnant article)? If not, then please provide us with the original source that claimed the quote was “invented”, or the one claiming it was “fraudulent”. If you can’t do so, we have no choice but to assume that you made this up (i.e., you lied) in an attempt to discredit your adversaries, which is clear from the fact that you accused those who have cited the quote of being "complete charlatans without the slightest affection for the moral law or truth itself." But regardless of whether you bore false witness or were deceived by the errors of another, you still need to repair the damage you have done to this good priest’s reputation with your false accusations. And, again, you need to do so publicly, not privately, since your accusations against him were public. Further, you must also contact NovusOrdoWatch, and any other website that has linked to your slanderous article, and demand that they too publish your public retraction, noting that you, John Lane, publicly made false statements that harmed the reputation of a good priest.
Our Demands as Matters of Justice
We make the following five demands of you as a matter of justice:
1) Send an email to every person to whom you made the false accusation concerning the “una cum” issue (by email or otherwise), in which you publicly retract your false accusation against us and apologize for same. Carbon copy John Salza and me on said email.
2) Publicly apologize to Fr. Boulet for publicly accusing him of being “deceived by fraudulent quotes which he has carelessly lifted from some place unknown,” when, as we showed in our book, the quotation from Pope Adrian is authentic. If you did not make up the falsehood about the “fraudulent” and “invented” quote from Pope Adrian, but relied upon someone else’s error, then also provide us with a reference to that source document. If not, please concede that you simply made up the idea that the quote was “invented”. Should you fail to meet this demand, we will bring public attention to the matter - beyond what we have done in our book – and attempt to repair Fr. Boulet’s good name on our website, as a matter of justice.
3) Send an e-mail, and carbon copy us, to NovusOrdoWatch, and any other website that linked to the article in which you defamed Fr. Boulet, noting that you, John Lane, publicly made false statements that harmed the reputation of a priest.
4) Publicly apologize to John Salza for slanderously accusing him of being a Conciliarist (i.e., a heretic), when, in fact, he explicitly rejects the heresy of Conciliarism.
If you satisfy each of these demands enumerated above, which is what is required of you in justice, then we will be moved, in charity, to remove your name from the list in our article, or at least further clarify that you are one who does not hold to the non “una cum” position. If you do not undertake what justice demands, we will post this reply on our website and see that it is sent to every SSPX priest personally.
Please let us know your intentions as soon as possible so we know how to proceed on our end.
In labore veritatis,
Robert Siscoe John Salza
Lane’s Reply (June 24)
I’ll have a ponder of all this, perhaps for two months, which I believe is considered a reasonable period within certain circles, after which I may or may not reply further.
In the mean time, to aid my thought processes, please answer this question: If it’s all a big misunderstanding, as you insist, then why didn’t you say so, and publicly in the one place it mattered?
That course remains open to you even now.
As for public vs private controversy, I suggest that you consult some wise advisors before you finalise your preference once and for all. You’ve said plenty publicly already, in your 700 page political pamphlet. I’ve said nothing publicly. If I were you, I’d hope it stayed that way, but again, take some advice. Ask Bishop Fellay, for example.
Yours in the Sacred Heart,
Our Reply (June 25):
Dear Mr. Lane:
It is not “a big misunderstanding.” You made a false accusation in an e-mail campaign, and gave us no opportunity to directly reply to you. That opportunity was provided by others.
Regarding public versus private, you have already dictated those terms by your public slander and email campaign.
Our demands are clear. We will give you one week from today (that’s one week more than you gave us before launching into your secret e-mail campaign). Otherwise, we will post this reply on our website and email it to all the priests of the SSPX. We hope you do what justice demands. This will be our last communication with you over the next week.
Robert Siscoe and John Salza
John Lane’s Reply (June 25, 2016):
Note: John Lane then followed up with a second e-mail in which he not only failed to do what justice damands, but completely ignored the points we raised. Instead, he boasted about how many wonderful relationships he has with priests in the SSPX and how much respect he imagines them to have for him , as if that had anything to do with his grave and immoral actions. For example, Lane said:
The priests of the SSPX who know me, and my family, have a view of us. They like and respect us. Bishop Fellay and I have a bond formed in combat against the Society’s enemies. Fr. Nely and Fr. Pfulger have both met us, we have entertained them, we have served their masses, my daughters and I are the majority of the choir here, we are, as far as anybody can tell, excellent Christians and stalwart supporters of the Society. My second son will be at the ordinations in Econe in a week or two, his stay arranged by Fr. Granges on behalf of Bishop Fellay. Fr. Black, the former District Superior here, is a close family friend. Fr. Shane Johnson, the Assistant District Superior, and our current priest, is another. Fr. Fullerton, the current District Superior, and I have an excellent relationship, and he was in our house a few weeks ago for a lengthy social visit, and he and I went fishing a couple of weeks ago on the Swan River. We’re Society people. Nobody can accuse me of criticizing or attacking the Society, despite probably millions of words I’ve published over the twenty-plus years I’ve been analyzing and discussing the crisis publicly. I could continue listing the priests with whom we enjoy a very strong and mutual respect and admiration, but it will seem like boasting. Humility is truth, and I am writing these things out of charity to you. You don’t realize what you have done.
Lane then went on to complain about how shocked he was that the priests he claims to know so well in the SSPX supported our book:
When I got the book and looked through it, I was deeply hurt. Not by what you wrote, you have no weight with me I’m sorry to say, but by the praise and recommendations it received from men that know me.
Then Lane revealed his true motivations for his clandestine e-mail campaign, and that was to discredit our book, which he calls a “disgrace” and “harmful” to people’s “faith.” This from a man who brags about how learned he is, and the “millions of words he has published over the twenty-plus years he’s been analyzing and discussing the crisis publicly.” Surely, someone of Mr. Lane’s self-touted caliber could do better than trying to discredit us with false accusations in a covert e-mail campaign behind our backs, rather than addressing the theology of the book? Evidently not. Lane continues:
Your book is a disgrace. It constantly puts forth entirely unnecessary ad hominem arguments, it trashes Roman Theology left right and centre, and it constantly proffers personal insults and accusations of dishonesty. In additional to all of that, it ascribes motives repeatedly – ugly, sinful, motives. This is contrary to the moral law. It’s also entirely out of keeping with the spirit of the Archbishop and of the Society. It should be withdrawn from sale and forgotten as soon as possible.
I would not have thought it possible, but you and Salza have lowered the tone of the sedevacantist debate. And, you have disgraced the Society by convincing some men who were not aware of the facts, to publish your book with the Society’s name on it.
We followed up to Mr. Lane's e-mail by individually replying as follows:
Reply from John Salza (June 25, 2016):
Your reply says it all. Rather than address the issue of your false accusation against us on the non una cum issue, you completely avoid it, which means you are guilty as charged. Same for the other issues. Rather than admit you calumniated Fr. Boulet and lied about the Pope Adrian quote,you completely avoid it, which means you are guilty as charged. Rather than admit you falsely accused me of being a Conciliarist heretic, you completely avoid it, which means you are guilty as charged. But you are too proud to admit it.
Rather, your rebuttal to these grave charges was to brag about how many wonderful relationships you have with priests in the SSPX, all the while you trash our book (a book you haven’t read, which is more evidence of the true motives behind your false allegations), and blame us for the many endorsements is has received from the Society! You are correct, Mr. Lane, “it’s over.” For you. You have no defense, or you would have provided one.
No matter how you’d like to paint the picture (about your priest friends, your Mass attendance, your choir participation, your promotion of the Society, etc.), you are a Sedevacantist – you publicly maintain that the Pope is not the Pope, contrary to the public judgment of the Church. This is one of the most pernicious errors of our times, and you have damaged countless numbers of souls with your public defense of the position.
Unfortunately, you are not only in error, but are also a calumniator and a coward for going behind our backs with a false accusation, and then refusing to even admit it, much less retract it, after having been given the opportunity to do so. But Mr. Siscoe and I anticipated this, since your arrogance seems to have no limits.
We will now attempt to mitigate the damaged you have tried to cause us among the SSPX clergy.
Finally, it is you who has “disgraced” the Society of St. Pius X, not only by publicly promoting an error that the Society condemns, but also by actually claiming that the very book it endorses “will damage people’s faith.” That would be news to Fr. Laisney and many other Society priests who reviewed the book. If it is “faith” in Sedevacantism, you are correct. And you have lost faith in the visible Church, since you reject the Pope and almost all the bishops in union with him.
We sincerely pray that Almighty God will move you to finally renounce your errors and become a true comrade of the Society and of Catholic Tradition. You should spend a couple years prayerfully reading the classical theology manuals to assist you, at the direction of a Society priest. Get reprogrammed. Start from scratch. In spite of all the damage you have done, God will have mercy on you if you repent. It’s not too late, Mr. Lane. That is my wish for you.
Reply from Robert Siscoe (June 25, 2016):
So, you refuse to retract your accusations, and instead brag about how wonderful you are and how many Society priests you know? Please explain how this has any relevance to the issue at hand? What are you going to do to repair the damage you have caused by your false accusations?
You speak of a supposed bond you formed with Bishop Fellay by combating a common enemy, but fail to mention that you were slandering him all over the internet several years ago when the “Resistance” broke out (did you ever apologize to him for that?). It wasn’t until you met him in person and heard his side of the story that you admitted to have “misjudged” the situation. Imagine that, John Lane misjudging something. It seems that forming rash and false judgments, and misinterpreting texts (such as the one in our article), is one of your common faults.
You say that your son may attend a Society Seminary. That’s great news. But the elephant in the room is that if he holds the Sedevacantist position of his father he won’t be ordained. Perhaps he can read our book in order to clear up any errors he may have learned at home.
You claim that our book “trashes Roman Theology left right and centre” (while admitting that you haven’t read most of it, “and probably never will”) while Fr. Laisney (who has carefully read every page) describes it as “solid Catholic theology.” Why such a discrepancy between your “judgment” (remember your common fault) and that of someone of the caliber of Fr. Laisney? Let’s think about it: On the one hand we have a trained, brilliant, and experienced priest; on the other hand we have you: a layman who evidently learned his faith by reading snippets posted on Sedevacantist websites. Is it any wonder the two of you have such a different view of the soundness of the theology in our book? And what about all of the other traditional priests (and tradition-minded Cardinals and bishops in Rome) who have read the book and also praised the theology. What you probably don’t realize is that your comment is more of a reflection on your own confusion and distorted knowledge of Catholic theology than anything else.
John Lane: “I know one lady who read your book, and that particular point went right home (she wrote and told me), and she’s now going to the Novus Ordo. Well done, son!
Reply: What exactly do you mean by the Novus Ordo? Do you mean her local Novus Ordo parish or a traditional parish, such as the FSSP, that is in union with Rome? Big difference. And we may know of the lady you are speaking about. If so, she fled the CMRI sect and now attends Mass at an FSSP parish. No doubt you would consider that a negative, since you are a Sedevacantist; but for a right-thinking Catholic, seeing someone flee a Sedevacantist sect is a positive.
John Lane: “You seem to think that I am a promoter of sedevacantism. I am not.”
Reply: What? You do not promote Sedevacantism? That would be news to just about everyone who has read your writings. Perhaps you should re-read your error-ridden article titled “Anti-Sedevacantistm: Is it Catholic?” to see if your statement corresponds to reality. Now, if you are no longer a Sedevacantist, please let us know. We will be sure to post a note about your conversion on our website.
I get the impression that deep down you want out of your position, but feel stuck (due to your years of publicly promoting Sedevacantism). If so, perhaps I can help you by providing a citation that completely refutes your error. It comes from one of Bellarmine’s fellow Jesuits, and one of the greatest canonists of the “Counter Reformation” era, Fr. Paul Laymann. Pay careful attention. He writes:
“It is more probable that the Supreme Pontiff, as concerns his own person, could fall into heresy, even a notorious one, by reason of which he would deserve to be deposed by the Church, or rather declared to be separated from her. … The proof of this assertion is that neither Sacred Scripture nor the tradition of the Fathers indicates that such a privilege [i.e., being preserved from heresy when not defining a doctrine] was granted by Christ to the Supreme Pontiff: therefore the privilege is not to be asserted.
"The first part of the proof is shown from the fact that the promises made by Christ to St. Peter cannot be transferred to the other Supreme Pontiffs insofar as they are private persons, but only as the successor of Peter in the pastoral power of teaching, etc. The latter part is proven from the fact that it is rather the contrary that one finds in the writings of the Fathers and in decrees: not indeed as if the Roman Pontiffs were at any time heretics de facto (for one could hardly show that); but it was the persuasion that it could happen that they fall into heresy and that, therefore, if such a thing should seem to have happened, it would pertain to the other bishops to examine and give a judgment on the matter; as one can see in the Sixth Synod, Act 13; the Seventh Synod, last Act; the eight Synod, Act 7 in the epistle of [Pope] Hadrian; and in the fifth Roman Council under Pope Symmachus: ‘By many of those who came before us it was declared and ratified in Synod, that the sheep should not reprehend their Pastor, unless they presume that he has departed from the Faith’. And in Si Papa d. 40, it is reported from Archbishop Boniface: ‘He who is to judge all men is to be judged by none, unless he be found by chance to be deviating from the Faith’. And Bellarmine himself, book 2, ch. 30, writes: ‘We cannot deny that [Pope] Hadrian with the Roman Council, and the entire 8th General Synod was of the belief that, in the case of heresy, the Roman Pontiff could be judged,’ as one can see in Melchior Cano, bk. 6, De Locis Theologicis, last chapter.
"But note that, although we affirm that the Supreme Pontiff, as a private person, might become a heretic and therefore cease to be a true member of the Church … nevertheless, for as long as he is tolerated by the Church, and is publicly recognized as the universal pastor, he is still endowed, in fact, with the pontifical power, in such a way that all his decrees have no less force and authority than they would if he were truly faithful, as Dominic Barnes notes well (q.1, a. 10, doubt 2, ad. 3) Suarez bk 4, on laws, ch. 7. The reason is: because it is conducive to the governing of the Church, even as, in any other well-constituted commonwealth, that the acts of a public magistrate are in force as long as he remains in office and is publicly tolerated.” (Laymann, Theol. Mor., bk. 2, tract 1, ch. 7, p. 153).
If you reject that teaching, please provide an authoritative citation that contradicts it - that is, a citation saying that God will deprive a heretical pope of his authority (or office) while he is being tolerated by the Church and publicly recognized as its head. If you can’t provide any such citation, explain why you reject the aforementioned quote.
John Lane: “I have been as kind as I can be within the bounds necessary to bring these facts to you.”
Reply: What “facts” are you talking about? The facts are that you engaged in a clandestine e-mail campaign to discredit us and our book by claiming we accused you (in an article) of holding the non “una cum” position. We pointed out your error and simply requested that you correct the damage you have done (which you are obliged to do in justice, even if we didn’t ask), and you simply ignored it. In response, you brag about how wonderful you are and how many priests you know in the Society, as if this has any relevance to the matter at hand. But I can say this: Your response does help to clear up one mystery. Considering the arrogance and pride you have manifest (no doubt you are your own greatest fan), it is clear why you have been unable to see your way out of your errors (James 4:6).
What are these errors? Here are just two: 1) You imagine that the legitimacy of members of the hierarchy is a matter to be decided by each person’s private judgment, rather than being based on the public judgment of the Church, and 2) that God will secretly deprive a heretical Pope of his authority/office while he is being tolerated by the Church and publicly recognized as its head. These are your root errors and they have no basis in Tradition. And given the crisis in the Church, these errors lead quickly to Ecclesia-vacantism, the Fifth and final stage of Sedevacantism.
May God grant you the grace of humility and the light to see your way out of your many errors.
Lane’s final reply with Robert Siscoe’s comments interspersed (June 25, 2016):
I already answered you regarding the CFN article. You want me to say it again? Here it is. I wrote to the publisher and asked him to retract it. He forwarded my email to you. He told me he did that. I knew that you were on notice. What did you do? Ignored me.
Siscoe: If John V forwarded your e-mail to me, I didn’t receive it. The first I heard about your misinterpretation of what we wrote, and you hurt feelings, was on June 14th, at 8:49PM. I learned about it via an e-mail from a person you had contacted (and who had absolutely nothing to do with the article in question). John Salza first learned about it via the same June 14th e-mail. If you were offended by what we wrote, you should have approached us directly (Mt 18:15).
Lane: Now, you have the most ingenious defence imaginable: I shouldn’t complain that you led the readers of CFN to think that I was anti-una cum because I was aware that YOU knew it wasn’t true! How can I complain that you said something calculated to lead the readers of CFN into error about my stance? I knew that you knew it was false, so I should have been happy with that.
Siscoe: John, that is not our “defense”. It has already been established that you have a problem with reading comprehension, but it is quite striking that you would make this claim after what has already been explained to you. Let me again repeat what has already been demonstrated: We did not accuse you (neither materially nor formally) of holding the non “una cum” position. Fr. Laisney already pointed this out to you, and explicitly stating that what we wrote was “in conformity with the truth”. If one of your Sedevacantist colleagues misinterpreted what we wrote (as you did), the fault lies with them (and you), not us.
Lane: I knew what you really thought, so who cares what the readers of CFN thought? As long as Robert Siscoe knows the truth, I should be happy?
Siscoe: John, pleases have someone read this correspondence and try to explain it to you. Or, better yet, try to follow what Fr. Laisney wrote in his e-mail. Here it is again:
“If you read carefully what he wrote, your name is in a list of "top sedevacantist apologists" who "fall into this category". That category is MAINLY described as those "having lost faith in the entire visible church" - NOT as those declaring "that it is forbidden even to assist a an una cum Mass"; on the contrary, there is explicit limitation, in that "they also usually (BUT NOT ALWAYS) declare that..."Clearly, you are among those who are excluded from this last accusation, and so their sentence is in conformity with the truth” (Fr. Laisney)
How you are unable to grasp what Fr. Laisney tried to explain is anyone’s guess. But it is now becoming more evident why you have so butchered and misunderstood the theological citations you’ve marshaled in defense of Sedevacantism over the years. You clearly have a problem with reading comprehension.
Lane: You add the complaint that I did not give you some unspecified longer time to tell me what I already knew, and you now repeatedly confirm, that you will not retract.
Siscoe: Please explain why anyone would retract an accurate statement? The fault here is with your interpretation, not with what we wrote.
Lane: You complain that I say you wrote words that you yourself glory in. What false accusation have I made? That you really believe that I am anti-una cum? No, I have not alleged that. I have said that you wrote what you wrote, and that you won’t retract it. And you are glorying in those facts. Far from saying, oh, that’s wrong, you are insisting that the same things I say you did, you did. You did write those words, you won’t retract them. We agree on that.
Siscoe: Again, please consult someone who possesses the ability to comprehend the written word and have them explain this to you.
Lane: How do you defend yourself? I am a sedevacantist (hissed).
Siscoe: No, we defend ourselves by pointing out that you have misinterpreted what we wrote, just as Fr. Laisney explained.
Lane: I am due no justice, no charity, I have lost all rights. It’s open season. That’s what you are now saying.
Siscoe: John, the “offense” exists in your imagination, but has no basis in objective reality. On the other hand, the offense you committed against us (via your clandestine e-mail campaign) exists in objective reality, since you falsely accused us of calumniating you, when we did no such thing.
Lane: So that is why I am pointing out that I am a Society person, a friend of the Society, and not what you thought that I was. Instead of trying to grasp how offensive you have been, you twist that explanation into “bragging”.
Siscoe: We already knew you were a friend of the Society. Congratulations to you for that. May you now reject your Sedevacantist errors so you will be in theological agreement with them. But how deep is this friendship, really? After all, division in the intellect results in a lack of unity in the will. This is one reason why false ecumenical “unity” (in the will) can only be accomplished by a watering down of doctrine (in the intellect). Your friendship with the Society may exist on the surface, but it lacks the depth of true unity due to the intellectual division that exists. It will either culminate in your conversion to sound doctrine (as taught by the SSPX), or in a separation between the two parties.
And you speak of me being offensive? This from the person who publicly accused John Salza of being a Conciliarist (i.e., heretic) and accused Fr. Boulet, a priest of the SSPX, of being “careless” and “deceived by fraudulent quotes.” And why did you falsely accuse him of this? Because of the doctrinal division that exists. You were seeking to defend your Sedevacantist position against an SSPX priest who attacked it.
I will pray for you, but, given the reading comprehension skills you have demonstrated thus far, I’m not sure how much good it will do to continue this discussion. It has already been clearly demonstrated that your hurt feelings are due to an offense that exists in your imagination alone, and is not based on objective reality. Further, you have made it clear that you will not be retracting your multiple false accusations, nor will you provide us with a list of those to whom you have communicated the slanderous falsehoods. I’m sorry to say that you have left us no choice but to go public. We will proceed accordingly in an attempt to undo some of the damage you have caused.
In the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Robert J. Siscoe
After the last e-mail above from Robert Siscoe, John Lane removed both Robert Siscoe and John Salza from the e-mail list, and sent an e-mail to the others in the group in an attempted to defend himself.
Again, this entire e-mail exchange (the above e-mails were only a portion of the exchange) was semi-public, and included a number of priests and well-known Catholic writers. To say that Lane’s clandestine campaign backfired on him would be an understatement. He ended by completely humiliating himself and revealed his true colors to people who had previously respected him. The following is just one e-mail we received from a priest who was privy to the entire exchange:
It is extraordinary how blind Lane is to his errors and misrepresentations. In all of his efforts to clear his name, he has only dirtied it 10 times worse than what is said of him in your book. Truly the pit that he has dug for others, he himself has fallen into. Are most sedevacantists like this?! It's a shame, because I had the impression that he was a respectable man…
The foregoing exposes the true colors of Mr. John Lane, the self-proclaimed lay theologian and Sedevacantist apologist. Lane has been one of the big bullies on the Sedevacantist playground for many years. He has pretended to have advanced learning on many theological subjects, and has used his phony pseudo “knowledge” to lead countless souls out of the Catholic Church and into the Sedevacantist sect. We always knew that Mr. Lane had an extremely high opinion of himself – no doubt his own greatest admirer - but didn’t anticipate that he would actually lower himself to outright lies, deception and calumny, in an effort to discredit a book – a book he claims to have not read! - which finally exposes his many theological errors. But this is precisely what John Lane has done. That’s because John Lane is not a man of truth, but one who is puffed up with pride and will do whatever it takes to “protect” his own reputation amongst his Sedevacantist colleagues (and SSPX clergy), even if it means assailing his opponents (including priests!) with false and slanderous accusations, behind their backs, in order to destroy their credibility. May God have mercy on John Lane and move him to repentance before it is too late.