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Savors of Heresy or Heresy?

Savors of Heresy or Heresy?

Preaching an entirely new concept of the Church of Christ as a society in which wolves in sheep's clothing give life to sheep and ensure indefectibility of the sheepfold and continuity of the flock seems like an attempt to form in the minds of the faithful an image of the anti-church with its new religion.

I would like to share with readers my analysis of some public statements made by Bishop Donald Sanborn and Fr. Desposito, and I emphasize that this is neither an attack nor a slander against the bishop or any of the propagators or adherents of the "Thesis of Cassiciacum'' (this is exactly how they interpret any other view that differs from their view of the "Thesis"). It is simply an analysis based on real facts and documents such as articles, videos, interviews, sermons, etc. Just as the propagators of "Thesis" preach it through articles, lectures, sermons, conferences, videos, interviews, Internet, TV, etc., so those who disagree with the "Thesis" have the right in similar ways to manifest their disagreement with it. No one is obliged to accept the "Thesis" as a dogm or as a theological opinion. Criticism of the "Thesis" is not a mortal sin, and not even a venial one.

Also, regarding the use of the names of the "Thesis" proponents, it is not insulting or attacking them or anything of the sort. Since they are the authors of articles, videos, sermons, etc., it is normal practice to give the authors' names and the titles of their materials so that readers can take a look at the sources or do further research. And of course, every public author can be criticized and should be ready to listen to criticism addressed to him.

On July 6, 2023, in an interview on America One News answering a journalist's question about what he could advise "conservative Catholic Bishop, Joseph Strickland," who is facing removal from the office for rejecting "Pope Francis' program to undermine the deposit of faith", Bishop Sanborn said that only words could not enough, and the prelates should do something to save the Catholic Church "sinking like the Titanic".

America One News Bp Sanborn April 06 2023

National Political Correspondent Neil W. McCabe: “I spoke to Bishop Donald Sanborn. He is a pre-Vatican II Catholic prelate and the rector of Reading, Pennsylvania of the Most Holy Trinity Seminary." "Speaking from your prospective, what is your take on this controversy for Strickland find himself under threat of visitation?"

Bishop Sanborn: "I think it has nothing to do with Los Angeles. I think it has to do with criticizing the direction of the Catholic Church right now. And because if you do that (there are some words I don't understand - Fr. V) you get into immediate trouble. All of the pre-Vatican II formanation is brought out, for anyone in any way criticizes the direction of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, and they are ruthless about it. And I'm not surprised at all how relatively mild a comment that he made and he's under investigation now."

Neil W. McCabe: "Do you have any advise to Bishop Strickland for the entangelment for he find himself in?"

Bishop Sanborn: "I just say this, that it is edifying that he is saying something about the changes of the Vatican II and what is going on. But on the other hand in is not enough to complain. We have to do something about this. The Church is sinking like the Titanic, and everything and all of its life signs are bad. And the prelates have to do something about it, and that would be whole another interview what to do about. But they have to do, they need some action, not just words."

Neil W. McCabe: "And finaly, Excellency, could you describe your mission at the seminary and in general you devoted your life deserve of restoring the Catholic Church to its pre-Vatican II truths?"

Bishop Sanborn: "Yes. The fundamental question is this: are the reforms of the Vatican II continuity with the past, or not? Another way of putting it, is the religion that has come up out of Vatican II the Catholic faith or is it a different religion? And that has to be asked first, and it has to be answered first before you can really orginize in your mind what to do about Vatican II. Obviously everyone we can see there are very notable changes since Vatican II. If you look at the history of the Church, it's hardly recognizable as continuity. So, that's the question, so, if it is not continuity and if it is a new religion, it must be treated like Protestantism, or Arinianism, or any of the other heresy that has afflicted the Catholic Church in the past. It's very simple. If it is Catholicism, then no reason to resist it, there is no reason to seek the Latin Mass or enything else. This no grey in between those positions. That is what we are saying and we are taking the position that it is a new religion, and must be, therefore, absolutely rejected."

First, it is very notable that Bishop Sanborn did not clarify his own position and position of his "Roman Catholic Institute" about the validity of the episcopal order of Bishop Strickland, who was named by the correspondent "Conservative Catholic Bishop." It is notable because on the website of the Roman Catholic Institute in PASTORAL DIRECTORY you can see this:

26. Consecrations to the episcopacy performed according to the reformed rite of consecration during or after 1968 are considered invalid.

Also, I don't think that Bishop Sanborn, who claims to be the most trained rector of the best traditional pre-Vatican II Catholic seminary, did not realize that the term "prelates", that he used it in front of millions of television viewers, has its proper canonical meaning and not some other.

According to Canon Law, "prelates" are bishops or priests who exercise authority over the clergy and people, and have episcopal rights and duties, although they may not yet be consecrated bishops.

CAN. 320

1. Abbots and prelates nullius are nominated and invested by the Roman Pontiff, with due regard to the right of election or presentation lawfully belonging to another person; in which latter case they are confirmed or invested by the Roman Pontiff.
2. Those chosen to govern an abbey or prelature nullius must have the same qualifications which the law requires for bishops.

When someone uses the term "prelates", he should be aware that this is a very serious responsibility, because by using this canonical term he is actually stating that he recognizes some as a true Pope and others as true Catholic pastors, because prelates are bishops or priests in the sacramental and jurisdictional sense nominated and invested by the Pope.

And it also looks no less (if not more) odd that Bishop Sanborn did not clarify nor correct when a correspondent called him "a pre-Vatican II Catholic prelate and rector of the Most Holy Trinity Seminary." He was absolutely obliged to explain it because he was introduced by two canonical titles in front of people watching TV. And since he has just kept silent, one can interpret that he agrees that these titles were rightly attributed to him. Then he is obliged to clarify publicly by which Pope he was nominated and invested.

Also, describing the Catholic Church as the "Sinking Titanic" is absolutely inconsistent with the evangelical image of the Church as the UNSINKING BOAT (St. Matthew 14:22-33).

Also, to say that "all the signs of its life are bad" is to reject the infallible teaching of St. Paul who teaches that the Church is the BRIDE OF CHRIST "NOT HAVING SPOT OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING" (To the Ephesians 5:26-27)

Also, to say that the a new religion was introduced by the Catholic Bishops (Teaching Church) and is preached by the Catholic Church from Vatican II until now, and that the Church is Catholic but her religion is new, non Catholic, it is a complete contradiction with the teaching of St. Paul, who infallibly teaches that the Church is "the house of God...church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).

The image of the Church as the "Sinking Titanic" is, first of all, completely contrary to the words of Jesus Christ addressed to Peter: "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (St. Matthew 16:18)

But perhaps the "Thesis" could be explained in the context of the teaching of Christ himself, when he compared the Kingdom of Heaven on earth to a field where cockle grow along with wheat (St. Matthew 13:24-43)?

I don't think the "Thesis" can be adapted to this parable, because there is a very essential difference. Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly indicated that although cockles were in the Kingdom of Heaven and benefited from its goods, they were not its integral part and had nothing to do with the continuity of the Kingdom of Heaven. The cockles were enjoying the Kingdom, but they were not servants of the Lord, but agents of the enemy and their sole role was to block the growth of the Kingdom.

The Thesis, on the other hand, teaches that the "material hierarchy" that imposes heresies and evil disciplines on the Church is an integral part of the Church, and they are the servants of the Lord and they perform all the functions necessary to ensure the continuity and development of the Church.

Also this parable cannot be applied to the "Thesis", because if it was applied, it would mean that the Kingdom of Heaven depends solely on the heretical hierarchy. One may ask, why only? Because the propagators of "Thesis" say that this is the only way for the continuity and development of the Church.

Ten days later, on July 16 in Krakow, during a sermon in a private oratory on Sarego Street, the same prelates who, according to Bishop Sanborn, should save the Church, are already modernists who must "pack their bags and leave our Catholic institutions forever."

A few logical conclusions by myself. And so that readers can look at the problem of the Cassiciacum Thesis deeper, I will also add more material on this topic.

Some adherents of the "Thesis of Cassiciacum" in Poland expressed discontent that Bishop Michał Stobnicki* says different things in different places or circumstances, e.g. in one place he says that he is NOT una cum Francis, and in another place he IS una cum Francis. But after Bishop Sanborn's interview on American TV on July 6 and after the sermon in Krakow on July 16, this discontent looks illogical, to say the least. It rather seems to be a hypocrisy, because Bishop Sanborn's "Roman Catholic Institute" holds almost the same view of the Papacy which slightly differs from the view of Bishop Richard Williamson's SSPX/Resistance. Actually, the discontent, in my opinion, was caused by the fact that the "Thesis" is no longer the "monopoly" in Poland, and its propagators face a problem, because some faithful left the "Thesis" priest and join the new Resistance bishop, and number of such people is growing quite quickly.

*Consecrated by Bishop Richard Williamson

It is commonly known that Bishop Sanborn has been teaching continuously for decades that members of the modernist hierarchy are legally Catholics and legitimate hierarchs of the Catholic Church, because A) they claim to be Catholics and B) they have never been excommunicated.

It is also well known that Bishop Sanborn says that all "material-formal popes" elected by the Novus Ordo cardinals were elected according to the Church law and have supplied jurisdiction conferred upon them by Christ for all essential acts for the good of the Church, and may acquire ordinary jurisdiction; it depends on whether they preach heresy and impose evil disciplines on the clergy and the faithful (i.e. they are "material popes"), or they teach a Catholic doctrine, which is sometimes heard from them (i.e. they are "formal popes").

Fr Nicholas Desposito, vice-rector of the Most Holy Trinity Seminary and a very zealous propagator of the "Thesis," says the same thing in his videos, and, for example, in "THE LITTLE CATECHISM ON THE THESIS".

Now let us see how Bishop Sanborn himself explains the "Thesis"

On November 15, 2021 Bp. Sanborn in his video said this:

"Thesis of Gerard de Laurier does not say that Bergoglio is validly elected pope. That’s false. It’s false accusation. We say, Thesis says that he is validly elected and he is therefore a pope-elect, but he is not the pope. He is not a validly elected pope. Pope could never be said of him, for as long as he is promulgating heresy."

But this explanation sounds more like heresy because it is a rejection of the clear and unequivocal teaching revealed by God and proposed by the Catholic Church that when a man was validly elected by the Conclave, he becomes pope-elect, and at the moment he accepts the election, he immediately becomes the Pope, Peter, Vicar of Christ and head of the whole visible Church on earth, and no one can then say of him that "he is a pope-elect, but he is not pope" or "he is not validly elected pope."

Also in his article “ON BEING POPE MATERIALLY, SECOND PART: EXPLANATION OF THE THESIS” Bishop Sanborn wrote about Paul VI and John Paul II in such a way that they exercised very important jurisdictional functions reserved only to the Pope as the Supreme Pastor and Lawgiver for the entire Church:

  • "In the present article, I intend to demonstrate the thesis that the “popes” during and after the Second Vatican Council are not popes formally but only materially." p. 1
  • "But the electors of the pope, even those who adhere to Vatican II, intend to designate someone legally to receive the papacy. Likewise Paul VI and John Paul II, although popes merely materially, intend to nominate subjects to have the faculty or right of designating a pope when they nominate cardinals. Therefore the conclaves, even those after the Second Vatican Council, intend the good of succession to the papal see objectively, and those who are elected to this see objectively intend the good of naming electors of the pope. This merely material continuity of authority is able to indefinitely continue, to the extent that the conclaves intend to elect a pope and that those elected intend to nominate electors." p. 10
  • "Therefore he who is designated to the papacy, even if he does not receive authority, because of an obstacle either of heresy or of refusal of Episcopal consecration or for any other reason, nevertheless he is able to nominate others to receive authority, (e.g., bishops) and even electors of the pope" p. 11
  • "Likewise electors who are named by merely material popes make a legal designation when they elect someone for the purpose of receiving the papacy, because in this act no law is made, and therefore the electors need no jurisdiction, that is, no right of making law, but merely the right of active voice in order that they validly and legally designate." p. 11
  • "It is clear: when the pope dies, the right of designating the successor does not die with him. The legal possessor of this right of designating is the body of electors or conclave. For which reason, the conclave or the body of electors is able to communicate the right of designating even to a material pope, that is, to him who is designated for the papacy, but without papal authority, in such a way that this material pope can nominate others legally, and thus perpetually sustain the legal body of electors." pp. 12-13
  • "This right of designating, which is found in Paul VI or in John Paul II does not constitute them as popes, because they lack authority or the right of making law. Therefore they are not popes except materially. They can, nevertheless, designate electors and even bishops for the purpose of succeeding to sees of authority, and even validly change the rules of election, especially if these changes have been accepted by the conclave." p. 13
  • "How, therefore, can someone who has given his consent remain a pope only materially? Answer: because matter and form cannot be united unless the matter has due proportion to the form, which happens in two ways, namely through the natural order of matter to form, and by the removal of any impediment.
    He therefore who has been legally elected to the papacy receives whatever authority he is capable of, i.e., to which he does not posit an impediment. Therefore it is possible that someone is capable of receiving the right of designating which regards legitimate succession and the permanence of the corporeal life of the Church" pp. 13-14
  • "For which reasons, the thesis, which I will prove below, provides a perfect explanation of the current problem, and a position that is truly Catholic, because on the one hand it preserves the indefectibility of the Church and the infallibility of its magisterium, by refusing to recognize the authority of Christ in those who promulgate error, but on the other hand it protects the apostolicity and unity of the Church as a unified and single moral body, by recognizing in them who are legally designated to ecclesiastical offices a legal designation until this designation should be taken away from them by competent authority." p. 18
  • "Minor: But he who has been elected by a conclave duly and legally convoked, but who has the intention to teach error or to promulgate harmful disciplines (namely John Paul II), has neither died, nor has voluntarily refused or renounced the designation, nor has been removed by competent authority.
    Conclusion: Therefore he who has been elected by a conclave duly and legally convoked, but who has the intention of teaching error or of promulgating harmful disciplines (namely John Paul II) has not lost his legal designation to the papacy.
    Proof of the minor: From the facts. John Paul II (1) is living, (2) has accepted the designation of the Conclave and has never given it up, and (3) has not been removed by competent authority." p. 19
  • "But the author of the magisterium is he who teaches. Therefore John Paul II is the authentic interpreter of the magisterium of the Second Vatican Council." p. 21
  • "It is merely a moral faculty of designating legally him who should receive supreme authority. Nothing, therefore, is required for the possession and for the exercise of this right except that someone be legally designated by him who has the legal right to designate the electors of the pope. The possession of authority, i.e., the right of making law requires that the possessor intend to direct the Church to its proper ends, but the possession of the right of designation requires that the possessor intend only the continuity of the hierarchy of the Church. But the present electors, even if they should favor the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo in general, intend objectively the good of the hierarchical continuity of the Church. Therefore validly and legally they possess the right of designating. And he who has been elected validly and legally has been elected, and possesses a legal right to the papacy." p. 24
  • "But he who has been elected to the papacy receives authority immediately after the acceptation of the election, unless he should posit an obstacle to receiving the authority, as I have said above. Therefore it is possible that he who has been elected to the papacy receive the right of designating which regards the continuity of the body of the Church, but not receive the authority which regards the making of laws. In such a case, the pope-elect (the pope merely materially) would designate legally and validly the electors of popes, but would not legally and validly make laws. And such is the case of conciliar popes, who therefore validly and legally designate electors of popes, even Novus Ordo “popes.” p. 25
  • "The thesis has no foundation in Canon Law.
    Resp. I deny. If you research topics concerning the vacancy of ecclesiastical offices, you will find the distinction of offices which are vacant (1) de iure and de facto; (2) de iure but not de facto; (3) de facto but not de iure. The thesis holds that the office of the papacy is vacant de facto but not de iure in this sense: John Paul II de facto does not possess the office of the papacy, but he possesses a right to the papacy, given that there has been no declaration to the contrary by competent authority. In other words, he is the legal titular of the papacy, but does not have possession, because he posits an obstacle to receiving authority." pp. 26-27

Instead of the Catholic doctrinal clarity, the article “ON BEING POPE MATERIALLY” is an example of misusing canonical terms and mixing them with new terms, which mislead the readers. All the terms are mixed in such a way that everyone can interpret them in his own way as he likes.

It also looks like whatever is said about "Paul VI" or "John Paul II" applies to Bergoglio as well. “Pope could never be said of him” (taken from video), but “he is able to nominate others to receive authority, (e.g., bishops) and even electors of the pope". He “lacks authority or the right of making law”, but he “has the right to legally and validly designate” a “legal body of electors” in order to continue “legitimate succession and the permanence of the corporeal life of the Church”. He can “even validly change the rules of election” so that “it protects the apostolicity and unity of the Church as a unified and single moral body”. He is a "material pope" and "authentic interpreter of the magisterium of the Second Vatican Council." BUT ALL THESE PONTIFICAL ACTS ARE RESERVED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE POPE; a "pope elect" or a "material pope" has ZERO power to performs these acts.

In other words, it follows logically from Bishop Sanborn's teaching that the so-called "material pope", despite the fact that he preaches heresies or promulgates evil disciplines, has ordinary jurisdiction needed for the normal life of the Catholic Church and its continuity indefinitely. This flows from the teaching of Bishop Sanborn.

In such a case every bishop and priest who holds the "Thesis" is obliged to be una cum "material pope." But, if he says that he is not una cum, then he is either 1) LIES or 2) IS A SCHISMATIC, because it is an act of schism not to be una cum someone who is a Catholic and is legitimately elected to the Papacy and says that he accepted the election, and that he IS THE POPE, and - as Bishop Sanborn and Fr Desposito teach - does everything NEEDED for normal life of the Catholic Church and its continuity, and who has never been excommunicated or declared by a conclave or other competent ecclesiastical authority as having committed an act of self-excommunication.

Also, Bishop Sanborn falsely teaches that during Sede Vacante, the Cardinals do not exercise jurisdiction during the conclave. However, the Catholic Church teaches that the Cardinals exercise jurisdiction during the Conclave.

For example, REV. S. B. SMITH explains that the Sovereign Pontiff (not a "material pope") has the sole and free power of appointment to the Cardinalate, and that the Cardinals take precedence of even patriarchs, metropolitans, and primates sede vacante, and sede plena, and that they are the electors of the Sovereign Pontiff by one's office and jurisdiction, and "they are compared to the seventy ancients appointed to assist Moses, and to the apostles chosen to aid our Lord." Also please pay attention to these words: "they have charge, not of one diocese each, as other bishops, but of all the dioceses of the Catholic world". And during the Conclave, that is exactly what the Cardinals have charge about.

"487. Origin. - Cardinals are the immediate counsellors or advisers of the Pope, and form, so to speak, the senate of the Roman Church. Hence, they are compared to the seventy ancients appointed to assist Moses, and to the apostles chosen to aid our Lord. The College of Cardinals is thus defined: "Clericorum coetus ad auxiliandum Romano Pontifici in Ecclesiae regimine, sede plena, et ad supplendum eundem, sede vacante, institutus." p. 233
“The Sovereign Pontiff has the sole and free power of appointment to the cardinalate; in making appointments he is not obliged to use any specific formula, though the following is given in the Roman ceremonial: "Auctoritate Dei Patris . . . assumimus N. in presbyterum vel diaconum S. R. Ecclesiae cardinalem"." p. 234
"493. - I. Dignity and Rights of Cardinals. - The cardinalate is, after the Papal, the highest dignity in the Church. Being the electors of the Sovereign Pontiff sede vacante, and his counsellors sede plena, the cardinals take precedence of even patriarchs, metropolitans, and primates. The reason is that priority of rank is regulated, not by the ordo, but by one's office and jurisdictio. Now, cardinals have greater jurisdictio than bishops; for, together with the Pope, they have charge, not of one diocese each, as other bishops, but of all the dioceses of the Catholic world. Cardinals are, moreover, Roman princes - nay, are considered princes of the blood." p. 236-237

You can try to interpret the "Thesis" in any other way, but if you know the Catholic doctrine on the election of the Pope and the role of the Cardinals in that process, you cannot conclude otherwise than Bishop Sanborn accepts "material popes" DE FACTO and DE JURE as POPES, because all those acts performed by them that Bishop Sanborn speaks about ARE THE EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTIONAL ACTS OF THE POPE. And he openly says that he recognizes all cardinals created by "material popes" as valid Cardinals.

Let's see now what Fr. Desposito wrote in THE LITTLE CATECHISM ON THE THESIS. It is very important to emphasize that by publishing this "Catechism" - impossible without Bishop Sanborn's approval - Fr Desposito wants everyone to study and believe the "Thesis" as if it were an infallible article of faith approved by the Church binding all Catholics. And this is a very presumptuous attempt to introduce a completely new doctrine:

"“Vatican II popes” are able to appoint cardinals not with ordinary power which they lack by reason of an obstacle, but with supplied power, which Christ directly grants to them for those acts which are absolutely necessary for the Church to continue existing and functioning. One of those necessary acts is the appointment of papal electors. Perpetual successors of Peter demand perpetual electors of Peter." "Since a defect of intention prevents “Vatican II popes” from receiving ordinary supreme power, the only power “Vatican II popes” are capable of receiving is supplied power, which Christ directly grants to them for those acts which are absolutely necessary for the Church to continue existing and functioning." THE LITTLE CATECHISM ON THE THESIS, Rev. Nicolás E. Despósito, p. 5

The Catholic Church teaches that Christ does not grant supplied power to a person who, according to the "Thesis", is a "material pope" ("Vatican II popes" in Fr Desposito's "LITTLE CATECHISM"), but Christ grants the whole plenitude of the supreme power only to a person who is the Pope without "quotes". By saying that "material popes" get supplied power, which is a limited power only for some acts, Fr Desposito makes them Popes in a limited sense, and by saying that he puts himself under anathema of the Vatican Council. If he does not recognize them as Popes, he should never say what he said in his "Catechism".

The General Vatican Council, A. D. 1870 – held at Rome under Pope Pius IX - infallibly teaches on the whole plenitude of the Roman Pontiff’s supreme power and places under anathema anyone who says that the Roman Pontiff possesses not all the fullness of this supreme power:

"1831 [CANON] Si quis itaque dixerit, Romanum Pontificem habere tantummodo officium inspectionis vel directionis, non autem plenam et supremam potestatem iurisdictionis in universam Ecclesiam, non solum in rebus, quae ad fidem et mores, sed etiam in iis, quae ad disciplinam et regimen Ecclesiae per totum orbem diffusae pertinent; aut eum habere tantum potiores partes, non vero totam plenitudinem huius supremae potestatis; aut hanc eius potestatem non esse ordinariam et immediatam sive in omnes ac singulas ecclesias sive in omnes et singuios pastores et fideles: anathema sit." (ENCHIRIDION SYMBOLORUM, DEFINITIONUM ET DECLARATIONUM DE REBUS FIDEI ET MORUM, AUCTORE HENRICO DENZINGER, EDITIO UNDECIMA, QUAM PARAVIT CLEMENS BANNWART S. J., FRIBURGI BRISGOVIAE B. H E R D E R TYPOGRAPHUS EDITOR PONTIFICIUS, MCMXI, ARGENTORATI, BEROLINI, CAROLSRUHAE, MONACHII, VINDOBONAE, LONDINI BRITANNIAE, S. LUDOVICI AMERICAE, Exaten, die 11. mensis Decembris anno 1910, Ern. Thill S. J. Praep. Prov. Germ., Imprimatur Friburgi Brisgoviae, die 7 Februarii 1911, +Thomas, Archiepps, p. 487)
"1831 [Canon] If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema.” (THE SOURCES OF CATHOLIC DOGMA, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari from the Thirtieth Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, This translation was made from the thirtieth edition of Enchiridion Symbolorum, by Henry Denzinger, revised by Karl Rahner, S.J., published in 1954 by Herder & Co., Freiburg., Nihil Obstat: Dominic Hughes, O.P. Censor Deputatus, Imprimatur: +Patrick A. O'Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, April 25, 1955, p. 455)

Also some tweets posted by Fr. Desposito.

The ONLY reason why Francis gets supplied power for naming Cardinals is because the good of the Church requites it (the Papacy can't be restored w/out Papal electors)...

4:17 AM - 11 Feb 2022


Francis "is legally the pope in the sense that he has not been legally deposed by the Church"

Francis is legally the pope

Also Fr. Desposito comments on the tweet on official Twitter Pope Francis @Pontifex:

"Catholic sounding tweet. Rare."

Fr Desposito prises Pope Francis

It is hardly possible to draw other conclusions except that, according to the "Thesis," at that moment Francis was formally the Pope because he taught Catholic doctrine. This is exactly what the "Thesis" says.

  This is a very good illustration of how, according to the "Thesis", a "material pope" becomes a "formal pope." It works like an electric switch, OFF - no electricity, ON - there is electricity. He teaches heresy - he is a "material pope", he teaches Catholic doctrine - he is a "formal pope". And this is the only criterion by which a legally elected man becomes a "material" or a "formal" pope, i.e., it is enough that someone who calls himself a Catholic has been lawfully elected by the cardinals regardless of their faith; and after the election he can teach either heresy or a Catholic doctrine, and nothing else is needed, because in any case the continuity of the Church is guaranteed indefinitely, forever.

Now read slowly and thoughtfully this:

Fr Desposito says he is not sedevacantist

As you can see, Fr Desposito differentiates between sedevacantists and the propagators of the "Thesis" and makes it clear that the "Thesis" propagators are not sedevacantists.

Also, in this video Fr Desposito says this:

"This video will...show, first of all, that pointing out the factual public heresy of the 'Novus Ordo hierarchy' does not prove that the said hierarchy lacks authority". "Unsentenced..heretic..still claiming to be a member of the Catholic Church, can validly elect & be elected in the Church" "A public heretic is able to retain jurisdiction because he can still lead the faithful to heaven if he does not intend to impose his heresy upon the faithful."
I wonder, can Fr Desposito share with us the name of a person whom he calls a "public heretic" and "material pope" who ever said that he intended to impose his heresy on the faithful and did not want to lead them to Heaven?

Therefore, it is also hardly possible to draw any other logical conclusion except that he wants to get adherents of the "Thesis" to accept the idea that there is not only a heretical "material pope" with so called supplied jurisdiction, but the same person is a "formal pope" with ordinary jurisdiction who "does not intend to impose his heresy upon the faithful" and therefore "can still lead the faithful to heaven".

Hence, from the so-called "Catechism" by Fr. Desposito and from all the articles and explanations written by all the propagators of the "Thesis of Cassiciacum", it is quite clear that the "Thesis" does not explain how a heretical "material pope" IS NOT a "formal pope", but how he IS a "formal pope" who leads the faithful to heaven.

In order to justify a false concept of the Papacy, and to leave an impression of some traditionality of the "material/formal papacy", the volumes of Catholic authors were exploited by the propagators of the "Thesis".

However, Catholic theologians speak of a person who is already 100% the Pope and who being Pope preaches heresy and thus ipso facto ceases to be a pope and expels himself from the Church; however, an announcement of the vacancy of the throne of St. Peter, by cardinals or by bishops who have the right to elect a Pope is needed.

Thus, on the part of the propagators of the "Thesis", it is either 1) unbelievable misunderstanding of the Catholic doctrine, or 2) a deliberate misuse of it for justification and "legitimation" of the "Thesis" which they have been using for decades as a "business card".

But since the propagators of "Thesis" are quite educated people, it seems that the second point is the most real, and the big noise is only about "the honor of the uniform", not about theology. Or they really are trying to popularize a false doctrine at all costs and want their followers to accept it as a new "article of faith". And by doing so they place themselves in the "ex Cathedra" position.

But I also have the right to speak of option 3) that the propagators of the "Thesis" recognize all post-conciliar popes and bishops as valid Popes and bishops both sacramentally and jurisdictionally. Otherwise, they would not apply the norms described by Catholic theologians to those whom - as they say - do not recognize as valid popes and bishops.

A few more words about una cum

Logically, according to the "Thesis," when a pope-elect proclaims Catholic doctrine, he becomes the "formal pope," which means that the propagators of the "Thesis" are automatically in communion with him. But when this pope teaches heresies and imposes them on the Church, he becomes a "material pope", and consequently, they automatically lose communion with him. And such transformations can happen many times a day, because no cardinals or other ecclesiastical authority declare such a pope to be a heretic. Only the "Thesis" propagators have "supplied power" to announce when a person becomes a pope "materially" or "formally".

Now a few words about Bishop Sanborn's sermon at the Krakow oratory on Sarego Street on July 16, 2023.

Some quotes from the sermon (since the quality of the sound is not good, there can be mistakes):

"The Novus Ordo hierarchy fits perfectly the description of the false prophet. They have not come to us out of nowhere, but they have entered through the Church's gate by means of the legal norms of designating the hierarchy. In this sense they are not obstruct like Luther, but possessing certain legality and legitimacy they have no authority to rule the Church, however, because of their intention to impose heresy in their teachings and disciplines, but nonetheless have retained a legal designation to receive authority if they should repent of their heresies. In this sense they possess a certain legality."

Then Luther was prised for the "rightness to split from the Church":

"Such a false prophet is worse than Luther, for Luther at least has had rightness to split from the Church by talking of the doctrines which he rejected. It was at least in that sense no deceit in the eyes of the people. If you follow Luther you knew that you are following him straight out of the Church because he had no designation to teach in the Church's name."

Then speaking again about the Novus Ordo hierarchy "bad parents" analogy was used:

"But the Novus Ordo hierarchy profits from the sense of obedience proper to the Catholic faithful in order to feed them with false doctrines. Catholicism operates on obedience and submission to the hierarchy. The Catholic hierarchy with a Pope as its head is the voice of God for the Catholic laity. To abuse that sacred position, the throne which the hierarchy holds in the minds and the hearts of the faithful is a heinous crime, it came from much worse than the crime of the parents who abuse their children. They profit from the child's confidence and trust in them as parents in order to serve their own ends of selfishness."

Then the members of the Novus Ordo hierarchy pictured as wolves in sheep's clothing who "have the legal designation from the Church":

"Thus the members of the Novus Ordo hierarchy are truly wolves in sheep's clothing. They wear the clothing of sheep, and as much as they have the legal designation from the Church to teach, to rule and to sanctify, and they are wolves. And as much as they teach false doctrines, enact false disciplines and, therefore, are incapable to sanctify. There is no sanctification without the truth."

Then a false accusation against the Church:

"The institutions of the Church have become factories of heresy, impiety and unbelief."

Then he says that faithful must verify the teaching of those elected to Apostolic positions, should be ready implicitly anathemize them if they should teach a false doctrine, but the "authoritative anathema must come from the authority of the Church":

"According to the Apostolic command, therefore, the faithful must verify the teaching of those elected to Apostolic positions at least implicitly to be ready to reject them, anathemize them, if they should teach a false doctrine. This is an unassailable argument which is properly theological that argues from the authority of St. Paul that the identity of faith is prior to Apostolic authority, and the faithful themselves and not necessarily bishops can and must recognize the identity or lack of identity of the faith. Nevertheless, the authoritative anathema must come from the authority of the Church and for this authoritative anathema we should pray and hope for."

Last words of the sermon:

"For me there is only one thing to discuss with the modernist, that is when he is going to pack his bags and leave our Catholic institutions forever."

So, this sermon is an example of sophistry. Bishop Sanborn did not say anything new, but only reiterated his "dogmatic constitution" on the hierarchy of the Church, which states that although the Novus Ordo hierarchy brings evil fruit through false teachings, it nevertheless enjoys legitimacy and lawfulness in the Catholic Church according to the canonical norms regulating the designation of the hierarchy. Although they are "false prophets", they have "the legal designation from the Church to teach, to rule and to sanctify", and "they have been chosen as messengers of the Church" and "they have come to us with every possible evidence that they were sent by the Church."

Speaking of the Novus Ordo hierarchy, he used the same "bad parents" analogy used by the Society of St. Pius X and by many conservative modernists: Even though parents are bad, they are still parents, and their children, whether they obey them or resist, accept them or not, are one family with them. And it is quite a clear message that the adherents of the "Thesis" are one family with the Novus Ordo hierarchy, because this is the principle of Catholic obedience and submission.

The analogy of wolves in sheep's clothing needs to be analyzed a bit more carefully.

Yes, Our Lord speaks of wolves that came to the fold to kill the sheep, but they came from outside the fold and are not part of it. (ST. JOHN 10:10-13)

Also St. Paul says that even some of his disciples, whom "the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God", will turn into "ravening wolves," "speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (ACTS 20:28-30)

According to the description of the wolves by Our Lord and His Apostle, the wolves that entered the fold from outside do not belong to the fold, and those who are turned into wolves from within the fold also cease to belong to it.

The Teaching of St. Paul about the second group of wolves from within the fold is that they excommunicated themselves from the Church of their own accord, even without additional judgment from the Church. In the Canon Law the excommunication of heretics is called "ipso facto", by the very fact, i.e. no additional sentence is needed. And it is not true that public heretics are considered by the Law to be Catholics in good standing until they have been condemned by ecclesiastical authorities or a court; and while they may say that they are good Catholics, the fact that they are not given a declaratory or condemnatory sentence does not mean that they are not excommunicated ipso facto. Otherwise, ipso facto excommunication would be absent in Canon Law, or the Law would be self-contradictory. The IPSO FACTO excommunication IS A SENTENCE imposed by the LAW itself by the force of the LAW itself. And that's why St. Paul says to Titus 3:11 "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition avoid."

Text from the Epistle of St. Paul to Titus, and a commentary on the self-expulsion of heretics from the Church taken from the 1582 RHEIMS VERSION of the New Testament, printed in Ireland with the permission of the following bishops:

Given at Dublin, this 4th day of May, 1857.

+ PAUL CULLEN, Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, Delegate Apostolic, &c., &c.
+ JOSEPH DIXON, Archbp. of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland, &c.
+ JOHN, Archbishop of Tuam.
+ PATRICK M'GETTIGAN, Bishop of Raphoe.
+ JOHN RYAN, Bishop of Limerick.
+ JAMES BROWNE, Bishop of Kilmore.
+ JOHN CANTiVELL, Bishop of Meath.
+ THOMAS FEENY, Bishop of Killala.
+ CHARLES MAC NALLY, Bishop of Clogher.
+ EDWARD WALSHE, Bishop of Ossory.
+ WILLIAM DELANEY, Bishop of Cork.
+ JOHN DERBY, Bishop of Clonfert.
+ FRANCIS KELLY, Coadjutor Bishop of Derry.
+ DANIEL VAUGHAN, Bishop of Killaloe.
+ WILLIAM KEANE, Bishop of Cloyne and Ross.
+ PATRICK DURCAN, Bishop of Achonry.
+ PATRICK FALLON, Bishop of Kilfenora and Kilmacduagh.
+ JOHN KILDUFF, Bishop of Ardagh.
+ DAVID MORIARTY, Bishop of Kerry.
+ JOHN P. LEAHY, Coadjutor Bishop of Dromore.
+ D. O'BRIEN, Bishop of Waterford.
+ JAMES WALSHE, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
+ DANIEL M'GETTIGAN, Coudjutor Bishop of Raphoe.
+ L. GlLLOOLY, Coadjutor Bishop of Elphin.
+ JAMES MAC EVILLY, Bishop of Galway.
+ THOMAS FURLONG, Bishop of Ferns.


"A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition avoid: Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment."

CHAP III, Ver. 11 By his own judgment. Other offenders are judged, and cast out of the church by the sentence of the pastors of the same church. Heretics, more unhappy, run out of the church of their own accord: and, by so doing, give judgment and sentence against their own souls.

Hence, from the Catholic point of view, based on the teaching of the New Testament, the only answer to the false concept of the Church, in which wolves in sheep's clothing ensure the indefectibility of the fold and give life to the flock, is unconditional rejection of this false concept.

Therefore, Bishop Sanborn's sermon in Krakow on July 16, 2023 was nothing, but one more advertisement for the adherents of the "Thesis" to refresh their belief in the "Thesis".

It also looks very strange that on July 6 in the United States, in an interview with America One News, modernists were called "prelates'' (bishops or priests with jurisdiction who were appointed and invested by the pope) who should save the Catholic Church "sinking like the Titanic'', but on July 16, in Poland, they have already become "modernists" who should "leave our Catholic institutions forever." It seems that only ten days were enough to change one's mind on the very important matter that concerns the salvation of souls.

Also, it is very odd that Bishop Sanborn didn't say a single word about where the title "prelate" (by which the TV correspondent introduced him) came from, and why didn't he explain it later, eg. in the newsletter of July 2023, posted on the Most Holy Trinity Seminary website, when he came back from Poland?

The "Thesis of Cassiciacum", in my opinion, is a modified and somewhat disguised version of the "Recognize and Resist", hold for example by SSPX.

The difference is only as follows:

Bishops and priests of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) formally recognize every pope of Vatican II, and (theoretically) obey them when they preach Catholic doctrines, and they oppose them when they preach heresy. SSPX clergy carry out their apostolates in defiance of them, i.e. this is "unconditional una cum," and "conditional obedience" (at least theoretically).

The propagators of the "Thesis" recognize every pope of Vatican II "materially" or "formally" depending on the circumstances, and in every circumstances they disobey them, and carry out their apostolates in defiance of them, i.e. this is "conditional una cum" and "unconditional disobedience."

"Subliminal advertising"

Why has the "Thesis" accepted by many people? Because the propagators use the method of so called subliminal messaging to influence the conscience with frequently repeated words and slogans.

Subliminal advertising is a form of marketing that uses very targeted messages to reach people watching the advertisement. The goal of subliminal advertising is for people watching the advertisement to walk away with a specific message in their mind that they did not intend to receive from the advertisement.

On the one hand someone is not a "formal pope", but on the other hand he is a "material pope", and the key word here is "Pope". The same applies to hierarchy: "they are false hierarchy, but nevertheless they are legal hierarchy", where the key word is "Hierarchy".

So, based on the evidence given above, the purpose of the "Thesis of Cassiciacum", in my understanding, is to get its adherents to believe that a certain person is the POPE and other people are HIERARCHS.


It is clear (to me) that the "Thesis of Cassiciacum" has all the hallmarks not only of a theological error, and not only has savors of heresy, but has all the hallmarks of an obvious heresy.

First, it should be emphasized that based on Holy Scripture, eg 1 CORINTHIANS 11:19; TO TITUS 3:10-11, and Canon Law e.g. Canons 1325, 2314 and 2315, it is normal to say that some doctrines are heretical. Moral Theology also calls heresy an error of judgment. Thus, a theological error, being an error of judgment, can also be called heresy. Therefore, it is not an offense to give evidence showing that a doctrine is heretical. Giving evidence in a theological discussion is not an attack, but a manifestation of a certain point of view. That heretics do not like evidence disproving their false arguments, it is a normal reaction on their part, but it does not mean that evidence should be hidden in a box.

Why do I think the "Thesis of Cassiciacum" is heresy (just some arguments)?

  • Stubbornly rejects the Truth revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ, who established the Papacy, saying to Peter: "And I say to thee: that thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18), and He gave to Peter supreme jurisdiction over the Church when He said to him, "Feed my lambs" and "Feed my sheep" (St. John 21:15-17). And the Church for more than two thousand years proposes this teaching as binding all Christians. Jesus Christ did not say that Peter would be "material Peter" or "formal Peter" depending on what he says in different circumstances, but he will always be Peter, Rock and Shepherd in all circumstances.
  • Describes the Catholic Church as the sinking Titanic, and this is a rejection of the evangelical image of the Church as the UNSAFE BOAT (Matthew 14:22-33).
  • Says that a new religion has been preached by the Church from Vatican II until now over sixty years, which is a complete rejection of the teaching and command of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, etc." (St. MATTHEW 28:19-20) and also St. Paul, who infallibly teaches that the Church is "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). And the Church, from the very beginning until now, proposes this doctrine as binding all Christians.

I think these arguments, as well as all the evidence given in this article, is sufficient to conclude that the "Thesis" is a heretical doctrine and must be completely rejected by Catholics.

The problem is that the propagators of the "Thesis" propose the "only correct theological opinion" that "heretical material hierarchs" who, despite being "wolves in sheep's clothing", "objectively think about the good of the hierarchical continuity of the Church", and "have the legal mission from the Church to teach, to govern and to sanctify". And that is indeed a very big problem, because the completely imaginary concept of the Church as "wolves giving life to sheep" looks rather like implanting in the minds of Catholics an image of an anti-church with its new religion.

Speaking one more time about the propagators of the "Thesis", my position is still unchanged that everyone can wish them all the best. But if anyone, having a clear understanding that the "Thesis" is a heresy, then he is bound in conscience to reject it, and if an opportunity arises to comment on or to discuss this topic, the attitude towards the propagators of the "Thesis" should be respectful, in accordance with the norms of Catholic morality.

I am aware that my arguments are not taken seriously by the "Thesis" propagators, because I am treated like dirt by them. But since not only me, but other clergy and laymen, whom they consider upper class, are speaking against the "Thesis", the propagators of the "Thesis" certainly need more time to re-study the Catholic doctrine on the election of the Pope, on the power of the Pope, and on the jurisdiction of the Cardinals. But first of all, they should make an act of the will to admit that even "best professors" can get wrong.

"Agree to disagree"

In the understanding of the "Thesis" propagators, only they themselves and adherents of the "Thesis" have the right to manifest their "agree" by publicly proclaiming it by any means, while all those who do not agree with the "Thesis" have only two options: to disagree without saying a single word, or in a whisper, with all piety and deep respect.

But all who disagree with the "Thesis" are not obliged to keep the "agreement" in that way, because they have an equal right to manifest disagreement in any way possible, observing the norms of Catholic morality, as it was written a few lines above. I hope that by manifesting disagreement with the "Thesis", I managed to keep these norms. However, I am open to criticism, and if any errors in my analysis are shown to me, and evidence that these are actually errors are given, I am ready to correct them.

Respectfully in Christ,
Fr Valerii

PS This article was written on my own behalf.

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