Fr. Paul Kramer: “Eminent authorities (whom I will quote in my next installment of my reply to Salza) also teach that if a pope is professing heresy, he is not to be obeyed. … The result of the errors of Salza & Siscoe is something far worse than the damage that the Sedevacantists have done to the Church; since their error attempts to deprive the Catholic of the only defense of the faith against the abomination of desolation… Salza/Siscoe and their ilk say Catholics must bow down in submissive obedience to the apocalyptic abomination where the Chair of Peter was established…” (Fr. Paul Kramer, on Facebook page).

Our Reply: It is truly unfortunate, and even sad, when a Catholic priest resorts to publicly bearing false witness – and especially about a matter that can so easily be proven to be a lie – as is the case with Fr. Paul Kramer’s statement above. Fr. Kramer is proving himself to be one of the biggest priestly casualties of the current crisis in the Church. Everything Fr. Kramer wrote above about our position is complete and utterly false. It is not merely a straw man argument. It is the exact contrary to what we explicitly argue in the book.
       And this, once again, underscores a key point we made in our first reply to Fr. Kramer: Fr. Kramer has chosen to publicly criticize a book he hasn’t read. When John Salza asked Fr. Kramer by email whether publicly criticizing a book he has not read was a prudent thing to do, Fr. Kramer refused to respond and stopped all communication with Mr. Salza. That tells you where Fr. Paul Kramer’s head is. 
       In True or False Pope?, we have an entire chapter dedicated to explaining why wayward prelates should not be followed, and must not be given blind “submissive obedience” (in Kramer’s words). And we provide the theology as well as quotation after quotation from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church supporting this position. Of course, Fr. Kramer would know this if he took the time to read our book. But Fr. Kramer has decided to skip that part, and take his chances by recklessly posting criticisms of it anyway, evidently believing that he is somehow qualified to critique a book he hasn’t read, which unfortunately speaks to his arrogance, if not intelligence, as well as the mindset of all those who follow and support him. This becomes embarrassingly evident when one discovers, as we mentioned above, that what Fr. Kramer claims is our position is actually the exact opposite of what we write in the book.  
      What has happened to Fr. Paul Kramer? He’s not only discrediting himself by such behavior, but also forcing people to ask questions about his own mental fitness (which the emails we have received from those following this debate prove). Not only is it unscholarly for him to publicly attack a book he hasn’t read, but it is not even rational. Who in their right mind would do such a thing?
       We should also note that we attempted to respond to Fr. Kramer on his Facebook page in order to correct his factual errors and refute his theological arguments. How did Fr. Kramer respond? After briefly engaging us, only to have his arguments thoroughly refuted and his errors exposed, he quickly blocked us from his page! That’s correct. He realized that he was in over his head, and had to save face by blocking our responses (and probably deleting some of them).  Now ask yourself, dear reader, would Fr. Kramer have blocked us if the discussion was going well for him?  Of course not.  He blocked us precisely because it was not going well for him.  Fr. Kramer, who is supposed to be an alter Christus, has made this debate about himself and not the truth.
       We can only imagine Fr. Gruner’s disappointment in seeing what has become of Fr. Kramer. Fr. Gruner himself suffered with lies, calumny, and injustice throughout nearly his entire priesthood. What must he think as he sees his former friend, Fr. Kramer, engaging in the same type of behavior, and against traditional Catholics? It saddens all of us who have known Fr. Kramer over the years. But this is the lot of those who lose faith in the visible Church, and assume for themselves the ability to make judgments which are contrary her public judgments. We have all seen this bitter spirit with the Sedevacantists, and we now see it with Fr. Paul Kramer and his followers.  
       And if you are wondering how Fr. Kramer justifies attacking a book he has not read, here is his “theological” answer, taken from his Facebook account: 

Fr. Paul Kramer: “Now, let us consider Salza/Siscoe doctrine, which has already been adequately refuted by another author (Steven Speray), who (unlike myself) has endured the somewhat penitential work of reading through the entire 700 page book. … One does not need to jump into a refuse bin and asphyxiate on the putrid fumes to recognize its contents – a couple of sniffs suffice for the olfactory apparatus to make its determination.  Likewise, it is not necessary for one to read through an entire work to recognize by the stink of their errors that the authors of the work are theologically incompetent, as are Salza and Siscoe.”

       So Salza and Siscoe are “theologically incompetent”? If that's the case, then why didn’t Fr. Kramer allow the theological incompetents to post their incompetent theology on his Facebook page, so that the real "competent theologian" (Fr. Paul Kramer!) could publicly refute their claims and thereby demonstrate to all how "theologically incompetent” we are? Is that not a fair question? Wouldn’t Fr. Kramer want to expose the “theological incompetence” of his opponents, for all his Facebook fans to see, if he is really in this for the truth? What is Fr. Kramer afraid of ? And the only thing that “stinks” here is Fr. Kramer’s cowardice in preventing us from directly engaging him on the venue that he chooses to publicly attack us, which has indeed become the “refuse bin of asphyxiate” of his theological errors and calumny.
       And keep in mind, dear reader, that Fr. Kramer was trained in Novus Ordo seminaries, which are known cesspools of modernism, heresy and immorality. With that in mind, let’s compare his comments about the book that he hasn't read to those of real traditional priests, who not only had a proper priestly formation (with traditional theology and sacraments), but who have also read the book:

-FR. YVES LE ROUX, Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary: 

       “For over a half century now, popes have been undermining the Catholic Faith to a greater or lesser extent. But never before have we been confronted by a pope who undermines Catholic Morality—most recently demonstrated at the Synod on the Family. If traditionally minded Catholics have not yet succumbed to Sedevacantism by reason of the former, they now may be strongly tempted thereto by reason of the latter.
        While Catholics have a right to be scandalized, they must beware of hasty conclusions. The temporary darkness in the Church does not mean that the obstructed light no longer shines. An abuse of authority does not abolish that authority. We must respond to the crisis in the Church with the mind of the Church, not that of the Revolution.
         "True or False Pope? is that rare book that applies the mind of the Church to today’s crisis of authority. It authors respect the nuances of both the facts and sound theology. The book is scholarly but very readable, organized in such a way that the reader can draw much light even if he choose to read individual chapters only. No longer need he grope about in today’s darkness."

-FR. FRANÇOIS LAISNEY, former U.S. District Superior of the SSPX: 

       “I read every page of this book with great interest. It is a thorough treatment of the questions raised by Sedevacantism, grounded in solid Catholic theology, on the Fathers, Doctors and Popes. It will give light to all its readers and be an invaluable help to dispel the confusions caused by the present crisis of the Church. May our Lady, Mother of the Church, obtain these graces of light and love of the Church to all its readers!”

FR. STEVEN REUTER, Professor, Natural Law Ethics, St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary:

True or False Pope? is simply luminous. This highly readable work of ecclesiology draws from the perennial Magisterium and practice of the Church the light of truth necessary to lay bare the myriad errors of Sedevacantism. Salza and Siscoe expose the common opinions of the greatest theologians in a way accessible to all. This clear exposé of Catholic doctrine will nourish the Faith of all Catholics of good will, while rendering the Sedevacantist thesis untenable. The authors moreover amply illustrate the principle of true Catholic obedience in today’s crisis - “Recognize and Resist.” This principle commands us to reverence the Vicar of Christ on Earth and obey him in all things lawful, but to refuse any of his directives at odds with the teaching of Christ as expressed in the constant and infallible Magisterium of the Church. Following the example of St. Peter, we are to obey God rather than man. Such a calm and scholarly treatment of such an impassioned and tangled controversy is long overdue. Covering a vast territory with unique clarity, it surpasses every work of its kind. True or False Pope? is arguably one of the most important books written on the post-conciliar crisis. Serving as a sort of North Star, the book indicates the true path of fidelity to the Church during these disorienting times. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Morning Star, obtain for its reader this grace of fidelity.”

       Let’s pause here to point out something of interest: Notice the difference in the tone between the real traditional priests (those which a traditional priestly formation) and Fr. Kramer who was trained in the Novus Ordo. The former write in a calm and dignified manner, just as one would expect from a priest, whereas Fr. Kramer writes with an immature, sarcastic and arrogant tone, ripe with insulting invectives.  And he evidently does so without the least scruple, which is particularly concerning since he is a priest. 
       Here's the review from professor who teaches dogmatic theology at a traditional Catholic seminary.

-FR. PAUL ROBINSON, Professor of Dogmatic Theology Holy Cross Seminary, Australia:

       “At last, the English speaking world has in its hands a thoroughgoing refutation of the error of Sedevacantism. Salza and Siscoe did not leave a single stone face down in their seek and destroy mission, lopping off head after head of that hydra which tries in every which way to prove that the Church has no head. The exhaustive completeness of this book is alone sufficient to recommend it to traditionalists for a place on their shelves. With it in their possession, they will never be unprepared when encountering someone looking to shake their faith in Mother Church.
       “Moreover, in their desire to systematically skewer Sedevacantism, Salza and Siscoe communicate to their readers another great benefit: they patiently and clearly present the constant teaching of the Church on her own nature. Thus, readers are not just informed about the errors of sedes; they are also deepened considerably in their knowledge of the Catholic Faith, particularly in the area referred to as ecclesiology. And is it not precisely the lack of such knowledge that causes Sedevacantists themselves to fall into their despairing position?
       “As if these two advantages were not sufficient to recommend True or False Pope?, I must mention a third: a sobering example is presented in these pages of the grave danger of extreme reactions to the crisis in the Church. We are told by Our Lord to judge by fruits, and the fruits of sedevacantism are laid out in detail for us to inspect. Its adherents are caught time and again in the act of anathematizing and ridiculing one another, deposing centuries of Popes, creating parallel hierarchies, home-aloneing it, twisting quotes, and arguing sophistically. The impression becomes overwhelming that Sedevacantism is not healthy for the soul, and that this alone is sufficient motive to set it aside.
       “Let the reader, then, take up this book, expecting to find within its pages a refutation of every Sedevacantist argument that has ever been put forward, a user-friendly presentation of fundamental theology on the Church, and a case study of the effects of Sedevacantism on the soul. True or False Pope? would be worth a perusal for possessing only one of these attributes; let all three, then, call out for it purchase and careful reading.”

     While there are more we could provide, we will end with one final review. This one is by Brother Alexis Bugnolo, a true scholar who is known and respected throughout the Traditional Catholic world:

       “In my many years, since college, I have rarely come upon a book written by a modern author, of which I can say, that its value will endure long after I am dead.  There are books which are very well written and even those which refute current errors, but of few of them can it be said that they will have anything other than a timely usefulness.  But of this new book by John Salza and Robert Siscoe … one can truly proclaim: ‘It shall endure the ages as a monument of Catholic Theology and be sought out by Catholic Librarians for centuries to come,’ — so well written, researched and organized it is.  For this reason, ‘True or False Pope?’ is a book which I believe merits to be on the bookshelves of every Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, Religious, Theologian, and learned Layman, not just in the hands of those afflicted or attacked by, or tempted to the error of Sedevacantism and its adherents.”
       So, on the one hand, we have the “book review” by Fr. Kramer, a Novus Ordo trained priest who has not read the book, and on the other hand we have the reviews of real traditional Catholic priests and brothers who have read the book. Whose judgment do you think is more credible? Would any of Fr. Kramer’s Facebook fans be willing to at least concede that Fr. Kramer has acted imprudently here? And, if not, what does that tell us about those who are following him? Will any of them be willing to criticize Fr. Kramer for his actions, at least for the good of his own soul? Will any honesty prevail among Fr. Kramer’s adherents? We shall see.
       And to further demonstrate that Fr. Kramer is completely unraveling, and has sunk to a theological and intellectual low that even his critics could not foresee: we note that he is actually quoting Steve Speray as an authority for his own positions. Who is this Steve Speray, whose writings Fr. Kramer is now promoting?  Is he a theologian, a seminary professor, or perhaps a canon lawyer?  Not quite.  He is a Sedevacantist layman with zero training in theology (or philosophy, or law, etc.) who mows lawns and delivers pizzas for a living.  When he’s not doing that, he is posting some of the most embarrassing, error ridden articles on his blog that have ever been put out by a Sedevacantist apologist (and he is not even respected by most of them). Mr. Speray refers to Canon Gregory Hesse, who had a doctorate in theology and canon law as "a hack." But for Fr. Paul Kramer, Steve Speray is now an authority. So think about it: Fr. Kramer comes out of the gate in his unsolicited attacks against us with a fictitious from St. Athanasius (as we showed in our our first reply), and now he is adding the embarrassingly bad writings of this Sedevacantist layman to his theological arsenal.  This, indeed, shows how far Fr. Kramer has fallen.
       In fairness to Mr. Speray, there is nothing wrong with mowing lawns or working as a pizza deliverer driver, or doing any honest work. But with Speray’s credentials he probably the last person Fr. Kramer should be presenting as an authority on matters of theology and canon law.
       But we do need to clarify one point: the last we heard, Steve decided to quit his job delivering pizzas.  Do you know why?  Because he had read Apocalypse, chapter 13, that speaks of “the mark of the beast” which he privately interpreted  as meaning “working for a female boss” (needless to say, this interpretation is not found anywhere in the writings of the Fathers or the saints).  And since Speray’s boss was a female, he was forced to quit his job.  Speray even defended this novelty interpretation of Apocalypse 13 in one of his blog posts.  He claimed that if a male works for a female boss, they are “participating as antichrist” and have “the mark of the beast” (666) (which would mean they could not be saved - Apoc. 14:9-11).  This is Fr. Kramer's new go-to man to resolve complicated questions of canon law!
       Note also that Speray is one of those Sedevacantists who not only rejects the Popes since John XXIII, but rejects some of the pre-Vatican II Popes as well.  And if you thought it could not get any weirder, think again. Speray also publicly claims that the new rite of ordination – the very rite in which Fr. Kramer was ordained - is invalid, which would mean Fr. Kramer is not a true priest. In other words, Fr. Kramer is now promoting an individual who rejects Kramer’s priesthood! That’s right. This is the individual Fr. Kramer is now promoting in his desperate attempt to refute a book that has not read, and, indeed, refuses to read.  
      Unfortunately, what we are witnessing the complete unraveling and the freefall of a once-respected priest. While we will continue to refute Fr. Kramer’s many theological errors, at this time we would ask everyone to pray for him. Added to the tragedy of Fr. Kramer is that unfortunate reality that when a priest falls, he usually takes many down with him, since most of the sheep blindly follow those they have chosen as their shepherd.
       This fact is all the more dangerous since Fr. Kramer has managed to create a veritable cult following on Facebook, which places many of these poor souls in grave danger, especially when he teaches them that they can reject the Church’s public judgment on who is the true Pope with impunity (not to mention Kramer’s other grave, theological errors on moral catholicity, visibility, indefectibility, the sin of heresy, private judgment, and a host of other errors that we will be addressing in the future).   
       And, sad to say, but we are already witnessing some of Fr. Kramer's followers, who were virulent anti-Sedevacantists a mere two weeks ago now promoting the very Sedevacantist arguments and websites that they previously attacked!  And this has happened in only two weeks!  Who does not see the clear signs of the diabolical at work here, not only manifest in Fr. Kramer’s uncharitable and irrational behavior (i.e., attacking a book he has not read), but in witnessing the poor misguided sheep who are follow him off the cliff?
       Seeing the public fall of this once-respected priest makes one wonder: Who will and be left standing when this crisis ends?  Certainly not those who follow Fr. Kramer.

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