The Pope is the Visible Head of the Church Militant
Opinion 1: When we see an anti-pope ruling in Rome, it is a clear indication that there has to be a true Pope, elected before the anti-pope, because the very first person, elected by the valid Cardinals, who says "accepto", is the true, valid Pope from that very moment.
Therefore, if we see an anti-pope, we know that there must be a valid Pope, invisible or in exile.
Commentary 1: Yes, there have been about forty two anti-popes during the history of the Catholic Church.
But the question is: “Can the “title” “anti-pope” be applied to the “popes” of the Vatican II church?”
The anti-popes were pretend popes who, by the aid of faithless or ignorant Christians or others unlawfully seized and claimed Papal power while the true Pope was in prison or in exile.
While an anti-pope "reigned", however, the Church knew who the true Pope was.
It is however also true that there were times in which the Church did not have an unambiguous answer to the question - “Which person is the true Pope and which one, is the anti-pope?”
For example, it is commonly known historical fact that there was a split within the Catholic Church lasting from 1378 to 1417 in which two men (by 1409, three) simultaneously claimed to be the true Pope. This terrible period is known to us by the name of “The Western Schism."
It should be clarified, however, that the schism was driven by politics and human ambitions, rather than any theological disagreement.
The schism was ended by the Council of Constance (1414 - 1418) in 1417.
The distinguishing feature of the Western Schism was division, not only between ordinary Catholics, but also between those who were subsequently canonized, i.e. proclaimed Saints.
St. Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine of Sweden, Bl. Peter of Aragon, Bl. Ursulina of Parma, Philippe d'Alencon, and Gerard de Groote were in the camp of Urban VI, while St. Vincent Ferrer, Bl. Peter of Luxemburg, and St. Colette were aligned to Clement VII.
The Bishops, theologians, as well as canonists were divided. As a general rule the scholars adopted the opinion of their country.
The princes and monarchs also were divided.
All good Catholics were in a state of deep perplexity.
It was a terrible and distressing problem which lasted forty years and tormented two generations of Christians.
It also should be emphasized that it was a schism in during which course a schismatic intention was lacking, the only exception perhaps being in some exalted persons.
Nevertheless, despite of the lack of schismatic intention among the conflicting parties, in reality one camp had the Pope, while another camp had the anti-pope.
Moreover, the split was very complicated by the fact that the participants of the double election were the same persons. The Cardinals held two contradictory opinions in 1378. On April 8th they elected Urban VI in Rome, but on September 20th they elected Clement VII in Avignon. The members of the Sacred College voted for one Pope in April, and the same Cardinals voted for another Pope in September. (See THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, VOLUME XIII, p. 539-540, 541)
If we speak not only of the anti-popes during the Western Schism, but of anti-papacy as an “anomalous phenomenon” in general, it is true, that some anti-popes have attempted to introduce evil customs, such as the investitures, or false doctrines of the primacy of the General Council over Pope, etc.
But there has been no single case in which an anti-pope personally or with the help of a General Council or the civil authorities attempted to replace the Catholic Religion by means of introducing a completely different religion.
Although most of the anti-popes were bad Catholics, they were nevertheless Catholics.
Unlike anti-popes, heretics and schismatics have always sought separation and independence from the Catholic Church. First they proclaimed new non-Catholic doctrines and then separated themselves from the Catholic Church. They thereafter founded their own churches outside the Catholic Church, but they had no intention of usurping the Apostolic See and being pretend popes.
Since the conclave of October 1958, however, the situation has become completely different.
Unfortunately there is no reliable source that can be trusted; therefore we have no information about what happened during that Conclave. After all, the Cardinals are bound by an oath of non-disclosure about what happened during the Conclave.
The only thing externally obvious to us is that this Conclave was a sinister moment in the creation of a new non-Catholic church, the first “pope” of which became "John XXIII".
At the appearance of "John XXIII" on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, all the cardinals and bishops publicly recognized him as a true pope.
It should also be noted, that Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, whom some people baselessly try to make a “hidden pope”, was also among the bishops and publicly cheered "John XXIII" as a true pope.
"John XXIII" was the man who convoked the heretical "Vatican II council" with the intention of founding a new church with a different, non-Catholic faith.
The process of the creation of this new church was completed by the "Vatican II council" in 1962-1965 in a vigorous revolutionary manner, was ratified by "John XXIII", and after his death, by "Paul VI".
Sometime later, a few bishops and priests figured out that "John XXIII" and "Paul VI" were not Popes, and that the "Vatican II council" was not a Catholic Council. They came to such conclusions because that "council" proclaimed many heretical doctrines that radically contradicted the Teaching of the Catholic Church prior to the “Vatican II council”.
Those men, therefore, whom many call "anti-popes"; namely "John XXIII", "Paul VI", "John Paul I", "John Paul II", "Benedict XVI" and "Francis", are actually not anti-popes. They are the “popes” of a completely different, non-Catholic church created by the "Vatican II council".
Although all these “popes” use the Vatican as the place of their "pontificate", this fact does not make them popes. Not being members of the Catholic Church, they are unable to be even anti-popes.
Unfortunately, due to the absence of a true Pope, these people cannot be proclaimed heretics officially. Nevertheless, Traditional Catholics, who know the true Catholic Teaching very well, have the right to say that according to Canon Law, these “popes” are heretics ipso facto and ipso jure.
For example: followers of the High Church of England also call themselves "Catholics", but everyone knows that they are not Catholics. Likewise it is with the Vatican II “popes”.
Therefore, based on the arguments above, Vatican II “popes” cannot be anti-popes in the Catholic Church, and their "reigning" in the Vatican Palace is not a clear indication of the existence of an invisible and unknown pope, somewhere in exile.
Opinion 2: The visible Head of the Church need not be visible to every single layman or Priest. The Church has a visible Head; that is, a human being of flesh and blood, living on this earth. But because this visible Head is under persecution, he therefore cannot be visible or known to all.
If invisible means in Heaven then visible means on earth, but not necessarily seen as in these times he would be surely assassinated by his powerful enemies.
Commentary 2: First of all we should understand the meaning of the word “visible”.
Synonyms: able to be seen, apparent, seeable, observable, visual, capable of being seen, open to easy view, present and easily available.
It is true that God created man as a visible person of flesh and blood, living on Earth.
As a private person every human being is visible to himself, and it is not necessary for him to be visible to others.
However a public person differs from a private person in that he necessarily must be visible to others.
The Vatican Council infallibly teaches, and the Catholic Catechism explains (see the quotations below) that the Church speaks of St. Peter and every one of his successors, as the Visible Head of the Church.
The Church does not speak of St. Peter as merely a private person, but as a public person.
Therefore, being the Visible Head of the Visible Body, St. Peter (the Pope) is the public person which must be visible not only to himself, but to the whole Church.
Jesus Christ made St. Peter the public person, present and easily available, apparent, seeable, etc., to the whole Church Militant.
As the Visible Head, St. Peter (the Pope) should be present and easily available especially to Bishops. Through the Bishops, a Pope should be apparent and seeable to the priests and faithful.
Therefore, the Pope is the Visible Head of the Visible Church not merely because he is a human being of flesh and blood as a private person living on the Earth, but because by the Will of God the Pope is a public person: apparent, seeable, present and easily available to the whole Church Militant in any circumstances, either in time of peace or in time of persecution.
A few words about jurisdiction
It is totally absurd to say that bishops and priests must obey a "hidden pope", who hides himself from them, when they have never see him.
A practical exercise of jurisdiction by a superior is possible only if the superior knows his subordinates and his subordinates know their superior. A highest superior may govern through his legates. But in any case, he knows all his subordinates personally or through legates. Similarly, subordinates know their highest superior.
A Pope as the Visible Head of the Church Militant can only exercise the Primatus Jurisdictionis if he knows his bishops and his bishops know their Pope as well.
These words: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (John 21:15,17) addressed to St. Peter by Jesus Christ after His Resurrection, can be fulfilled only if Peter knows the lambs and sheep, and vice versa, if the lambs (the faithful) and the sheep (the pastors) know which person is Peter.
Some time before entrusting the Supreme Jurisdiction to St. Peter, Our Lord Jesus Christ, by His own example, explained under what conditions the jurisdiction may be exercised.
This is based on the principle of a mutual acquaintance between Shepherd and flock, or the mutually trustworthy relationship between them - “I know mine, and mine know me”.
Another part of the principle is the Shepherd’s willingness to give his life for his sheep – “The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep”:
“But he that entereth in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, bu tfly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.” (St. John 10:2-5) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.” (St. John 10:11, 14)
In AN EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN MOST REV. DR. MacEVILLY explains the Parable of the Good Shepherd:
“In this chapter, our Lord treats of the Parable of the good Shepherd (1-6). He points out the characteristics or qualities of a good Shepherd, and contrasts him with selfish hirelings, who desert their flocks at the first approach of danger (7-15).”
3. "The porter" designates the man appointed to guard the entrance, to admit all having a claim, and exclude intruders. This true Pastor knows all His sheep, and has a different name for each. The sheep "hear,'' that is, recognise "His voice," His peculiar tone or whistle, leaving their pasture to follow Him; so do the faithful, recognising the voice of Christ, receive His doctrines and obey His precepts.
"He calleth His own sheep by name," taking special care of each, and attending to their individual wants. So does Christ by Himself, and also through the pastors of His Church, specially attend to the spiritual wants and necessities of each member of His flock.”
4. "The sheep follow Him." The contrary usage prevails in the West; the shepherd follows the sheep and drives them before him. In the EAST, the shepherd precedes them. Here, it is meant to point out the care which the pastors of the Church should show in protecting their flocks from the inroads of wolves, and guarding them against all dangers. There is allusion also to their holding out before them the light and guidance of a good example."
As we can see, Our Lord teaches us by this parable that the Pastors of His Church should be good shepherds who know each member of His flock, and each member of His Church knows their Pastors, who are ready to give their lives for their flock.
This Evangelical Principle is not only applicable to the relationship of the Pope as the Visible Head with His (Christ’s) Church; this Principle is indispensably essential in these relationships.
Also, Rev. S. B. Smith, D.D explains in the ELEMENTS OF ECCLESIASTICAL LAW (see the quotations below) that the Primacy was indeed personal, i.e., attached to the person of St. Peter. But he emphasizes that the Primacy was attached to the person of St. Peter not as a private but a public person - “non tamen ut Petrus erat persona privata, sed ut publica”.
A few words about combining incompatible offices
A thesis proposed by propagators of the “hidden papacy” of Bishop Giuseppe Siri, that he simultaneously combined a “hidden papacy” with public ministry of the “cardinal” of the Vatican II church, is completely inconsistent with the Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.
The Pope cannot be simultaneously a visible "cardinal" of the anti-Church and a "visible head" of the Catholic Church, because such a combination of completely inconsistent offices contradicts Natural law, Divine law and Ecclesiastical law. (see Moral Theology below)
Also, the thesis about a “hidden pope” who simultaneously can be a visible "cardinal" of the anti-Church and a "visible head" of the Catholic Church, radically contradicts the Dogma of the Vatican Council about the Pope being the Visible Head of the Church.
The Church speaks of only one ministry of the Visible Head of only One Church, which is in full accordance with the Teaching of Our Lord about the Good Shepherd and the Primacy of St. Peter. "I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." (The Nicene Creed)
The Church infallibly teaches that every successor of St. Peter exercises exactly the same single office as that of St. Peter, and every successor of St. Peter is the Visible Head of only One Church.
From this Dogma of Faith flows that the Pope is always the Visible Head, i.e., always known, present and easily available, apparent, seeable to the whole Church Militant wherever he is – in Rome, exile, prison etc.
Opinion 3: In the theoretical case of 60 years of Sedevacantism, how would any election of a new Pope take place, when there are no Cardinals left who were created by Pope Pius XII? They are all dead. There may be Bishops, but they cannot promote themselves to the status of Cardinal.
Commentary 3: The period of the Vacancy of the Holy See lasting more than 60 years since October 1958 is not theoretical, but is indeed real.
After the death of all the Cardinals, the law on the election of the Pope by the Cardinals would be impossible to fulfill (see Moral Theology), therefore, it would be legal to follow earlier laws, (prior to XIII or XIV century) according to which the Popes were elected by the Roman clergy. (See also the related article: The Catholic Church and Election of a Pope).
The Roman Court
BY THE Reverend Peter A. Baart, S. T. L.:
"If all the cardinals should die before the election of a Sovereign Pontiff, it is disputed who would have the right to elect. Some say an oecumenical council should elect, but the more common and safe opinion is that the election would still pertain to the Roman clergy, that is, to the canons of the Lateran basilica, the cathedral of the Pope."
The Roman Court
OR A Treatise on the Cardinals, Roman Congregations
and Tribunals, Legates, Apostolic Vicars,
Protonotaries, and Other Prelates
of the Holy Roman Church
BY THE Reverend Peter A. Baart, S. T. L.,
Author of "Orphans and Orphan Asylums," and "Episcopal Claims Disproved"
Printer to the Holy See and the S. Congregation of Rites
FR. PUSTET & CO.,
NEW YORK AND CINCINNATI.
Nihil Obstat: Carolus O'Reilly, S. T. D., Censor Deputatus.
Imprimatur: Joannes S. Foley, Episcopus Detroitensis.
Die 25, m. Septembris, 1895.
“Chapter IV, CESSATION OF OBLIGATION. 69. – II. Impossibility.
1. Physical impossibility excuses from the observance of any and every law.”
2. Moral impossibility.
a) Negative or prohibiting natural laws never cease to oblige in case of moral impossibility.
Such laws forbid actions that are intrinsically evil. Therefore, idolatry, blasphemy, onanism, perjury, etc., are not allowed even to save one’s life.
b) All other laws cease to oblige when it is morally impossible to observe them.
Exceptions or cases where laws do oblige at great inconvenience: α) if the transgression is in contempt of God, religion or the Church; β) if the common good is at stake; γ) if a freely chosen position imposes certain heroic sacrifices; δ) if another person would otherwise be placed in extreme spiritual need.
by Rev. Heribert Jone, O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D.,
by Rev. Urban Adelman, O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D.
The Mercier Press Limited, Cork, Ireland
Nihil Obstat: PIUS KAELIN, O.F.M. CAP., Censor Deputatus
Imprimi Potest: VICTOR GREEN, O.F.V. CAP., Provincial
July 2, 1955
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Imprimatur: JOHN FRANCIS DEARDEN, D.D., Bishop of Pittsburg
August 15, 1955
p. 29, 30
Printed in the United States of America
- When there is no Pope, the Visible Head of the Church Militant, in Rome or elsewhere (in exile or prison), it means that the Holy Apostolic See is vacant.
- Since after the death of Pope Pius XII, there is no Visible Head of the Church Militant on the Apostolic See, this means that the Vacancy of the Apostolic See is yet lasting.
- Neither the "visible popes" of the non-Catholic "Vatican II church", nor the crypto-groups’ "invisible popes" hiding from the Church for more than sixty years, have authority to represent the Catholic Church.
- All Catholics: bishops, priests and laity, are in no way obliged to obey the “visible popes” of the "Vatican II church", because heretics cannot be Popes and consequently they have no authority in the Catholic Church.
- All Catholics are in no way obliged to believe in a “visible pope” as merely a private person visible only to himself, because this false opinion totally contradicts the Teaching of the Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.
- Even if a Pope has been exiled or imprisoned, he must be ever visible, present and easily available, apparent, seeable to bishops, priests and laity. This affirmation is based on the Dogma of Faith infallibly defined by the Vatican Council in 1870 and ratified by Pope Pius IX, which is primarily based on the Teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ himself: “I know mine, and mine know me” (St. John 10:14) and “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (John 21:15,17).
- We not only have the right, but we are obliged to state this, because this is the infallible Teaching of the Catholic Church, which should be faithfully preserved by all Catholics and must be defended from all kinds of attacks from the side of the visible Novus Ordo "popes", the propagators of the "invisible pope", priestless "home-aloners ", and other visible and invisible opponents of the Catholic Church.
- Since Catholics (who say that after the death of Pope Pius XII the Vacancy of the Holy See is still lasting) have no schismatic intention, their status of true Catholics can be compared with the status of the Catholics during the period of the so-called Western Schism, which lasted forty years from 1378 to 1417.
Here the quotations follow:
THE DECREES OF THE VATICAN COUNCIL:
1. On the Institution of the Apostolic Primacy in Blessed Peter
“If anyone, therefore, shall say that Blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the Prince of the Apostles and the Visible Head of the whole Church militant, or that the same directly and immediately received from the same our LORD JESUS CHRIST a primacy of honour only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction; let him be anathema.”
2. On the Perpetuity of the Primacy of Blessed Pete in the Roman Pontiffs
“For none can doubt, and it is known to all ages, that the holy and Blessed Peter, the Prince and chief of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, and lives, presides, and judges to this day, always in his successors the Bishops of the Holy See of Rome, which was founded by Him and consecrated by His Blood. Whence, whosoever succeeds to Peter in this See does by the institution of Christ Himself obtain the primacy of Peter over the whole Church….
“If, then, anyone shall say that it is not by the institution of CHRIST the LORD, or by divine right, that Blessed Peter has a perpetual line of successors in the primacy over the universal Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in this primacy; let him be anathema.“
THE DECREES OF THE VATICAN COUNCIL
Edited WITH AN INTRODUCTION
by the REV. VINCENT McNABB, O.P.
NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO
BENZIGER BROTHERS Printers to the Holy Apostolic See 1907
Imprimi potest FR LAURENTIUS SHAPCOTE, O.P., S.T.L. Prior Provincialis
Imprimi potest + GULIELMUS Episcopus Arindelensis Virarius Generalis
Westmonasteril die 19 Oct. 1906
First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ. pp. 36-39
ENCHIRIDION SYMBOLORUM DENIFITIONUM ET DECLARATIONUM:
[CANON] Si quis igitur dixerit, beatum PETRUM Apostolum non esse a Christo Domino constitutum Apostolorum omnium principem et totius Ecclesiae militantis visibile caput; vel eundem honoris tantum, non autem verae propriaeque iurisdictionis primatum ab eodem Domino nostro Iesu Christo directe et immediate accepisse: anathema sit.
[CANON] Si quis ergo dixerit, non esse ex ipsius Christi Domini institutione seu iure divino, ut beatus PETRUS in primatu super universam Ecclesiam habeat perpetuos successores; aut Romanum Pontificem non esse beati PETRI in eodem primatu successorem: anathema sit.
(HENR. DENZINGER ET CLEM. BANNWART S.J., ENCHIRIDION SYMBOLORUM DENIFITIONUM ET DECLARATIONUM, DE REBUS FIDEI ET MORUM, EDITIO DECIMA QUARTA ET QUINTA QUAM, QUAM PARAVIT IOANNES BAPT. UMBERG S.J., Fribugri Brisgoviae MCMXXII, HERDER & Co., TYPOGRAPHI EDITORES PONTIFICI, BEROLINI, CAROLSRUHAE, COLONIAE, MONACHII, VINDOBONAE, LONDINI S. LUDOVICI MO., Imprimi potest: Bern. Bley. S.J. Praep. Prov. Germ. Inf., Coloniae, die 4 Ianuarii 1922, Imprimatur: Dr. Mutz, Vic. Gen., Fribugri Brisgoviae, die 1 Februarii 1922, Typis Herderianis Fribugri Brisgoviae, Printed in Germany)
AN ADVANCED CATECHISM
OF CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE:
116. Who is the Invisible Head of the Church?
Jesus Christ is the Invisible Head of the Church.
"He hath made Him head over all the Church." Eph. 1:22.
"Behold, I am with you all days." Matt. 28:20.
Why is Christ the Invisible Head of the Church?
Christ is the Invisible Head of the Church because, though visible only in heaven, He still rules, governs, and preserves the Church, through the ministry of His Apostles and their successors. Eph. 1:23.
117. Who is the Visible Head of the Church?
Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the Visible Head of the Church.
118. Why is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the Visible Head of the Church?
The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Visible Head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the Visible Head of the Church.
Did the office of St. Peter, as Head of the Church, end with his death?
The office of St. Peter, as Head of the Church, did not end with his death, for a head and centre of unity is necessary at all times in the Church destined to last for ever as Christ founded it.
AN ADVANCED CATECHISM
OF CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE
BASED UPON THE THIRD PLENARY COUNCIL CATECHISM
FOR USE IN THE HIGHER GRADES OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS
COMPILED BY REV. THOMAS J. O'BRIEN
Inspector of Parochial Schools Diocese of Brooklyn
AKRON, O. Chicago New York
D. H. MCBRIDE & COMPANY
NIhil Obstat: REV. M. G. FLANNERY, Censor Librorum, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Imprimatur: +IGN. F. HORSTMANN Bishop of Cleveland
CLEVELAND, O., JANUARY 9, 1901
MADE BY THE WERNER COMPANY BOOK MANUFACTURERS
A COMPLETE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION:
16. Was the supremacy of a Head of the Church to cease after the death of St. Peter?
No; tor, 1. If the Church was to continue as Christ had established it, the Rock also on which He had built it, and the Supremacy of a Head which He Himself had ordained to govern it, were to continue; and 2. If a visible Head was necessary when the Church was still small, and there were none, or but few heresies, it was much more necessary afterwards when the Church was spread, and heresies and schisms were multiplied.
17. Who has been the visible Head of the Church since the death of St. Peter?
The Bishop of Rome, commonly called the Pope, who is the lawful Successor of St. Peter in the Episcopal See of Rome, and who, in consequence, has always been acknowledged as the visible Head of the Church, and the Vicegerent of Christ on earth.
A COMPLETE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF THE REV. JOSEPH DEHARBE, S.J.
BY THE REV. JOHN FANDER
SIXTH AMERICAN EDITION
EDITED BY THE REV. JAMES J. FOX, D.D.
AND THE REV. THOMAS McMILLAN, C.S.P.
NEW YORK SCHWARTZ, KIRWIN & FAUSS
42 BARCLAY STREET
NIhil Obstat: Very Rev. Edmund T. Shanahan, D.D.
Censor deputatus Catholic University of America
April 16, 1908 Washington, D. C.
Imprimatur: +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York
April 21, 1908
BY REV. JOHN THEIN:
"The Pope, the visible head of the Church, Vicar of Jesus Christ, is the successor of St. Peter."
CONTAINING, IN CONCISE FORM INFORMATION UPON
ECCLESIASTICAL, BIBLICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL,
AND HISTORICAL SUBJECTS
BY REV. JOHN THEIN
Priest of the Diocese of Cleveland
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See
BY REV. JOHN THEIN
Imprimatur: +MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, March 21, 1900
NIhil Obstat: +IGN. F. HORSTMANN, Bishop of Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio, March 9, 1900
A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY
BY WILLIAM E. ADDIS
AND THOMAS ARNOLD, M.A.:
"By the Pope we mean the Bishop of Rome, who is, according to Catholic doctrine, the successor of St. Peter, and as such the Vicar of Christ, the Visible Head of the Church, the doctor and teacher of all the faithful."
A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY
CONTAINING SOME ACCOUNT OF THE
DOCTRINE, DISCIPLINE, RITES, CEREMONIES,
COUNCILS, AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS OF
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
BY WILLIAM E. ADDIS
SECULAR PRIEST: SOMETIME FELLOW OP THE ROYAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND
AND THOMAS ARNOLD, M.A.
FELLOW OF THE SAME UNIVERSITY
SIXTH EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS.
THE CATHOLIC PUBLICATION SOCIETY CO.
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IMPRIMATUR: HENRICUS EDUARDUS, CARD. ARCHIEP. WESTMONAST. Die 18 Dec., 1883.
IMPRIMATUR: JOHN CARD. McCLOSKEY, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK. Feb. 14, 1884.
ELEMENTS OF ECCLESIASTICAL LAW
BY REV. S. B. SMITH. D.D.:
462. ...But, it may be objected: The primacy, when first instituted by Christ, was personal - i.e., attached to the person of Peter; not local - i.e., not annexed to any particular place or bishopric.49 The objection does not hold; for the primacy was indeed personal - i.e., attached to the person of Peter - "non tamen ut Petrus erat persona privata, sed ut publica...50
49 Ferraris, V. Papa, art. ii., n. 74.
50 I.e., the primacy attached to Peter, not as private but public person.
ELEMENTS OF ECCLESIASTICAL LAW
COMPILED WITH REFERENCE TO
THE SYLLABUS, THE "CONST. APOSTOLICAE SEDIS" OF POPE PIUS IX.
THE COUNCIL OF THE VATICAN AND
THE LATEST DECISIONS OF THE ROMAN CONGREGATIONS.
BY REV. S. B. SMITH. D.D.,
FORMERLY PROFESSOR OF CANON LAW, AUTHOR OF "NOTES," etc., etc.
FOURTH EDITION, REVISED ACCORDING TO THE ANIMADVERSIONS OF
THE ROMAN CONSULTORS APPOINTED BY
THE CARDINAL PREFECT OF THE PROPAGANDA.
NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, ST. LOUIS, AND EINSIEDELN:
PRINTERS TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC SEE.
Nihil Obstat: Rev. S. G. MESSMER, S.T.P., Censor Deputatus.
Imprimatur: JOANNES CARD. McCLOSKEY, Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis.
Datum Neo-Eboraci, Die 25 Martii, 1877.
p. 207, 208
THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, VOLUME XIII:
"Pope Gregory XI had left Avignon to return to Italy and had re-established the pontifical see in the Eternal City, where he died on 27 March, 1378. At once attention was directed to the choice of his successor. The question was most serious. Cardinals, priests, nobles, and the Romans in general were interested in it, because on the election to be made by the Conclave depended the residence of the future pope at Avignon or at Rome."
"Christendom was quickly divided into two almost equal parties. Everywhere the faithful faced the anxious problem: where is the true pope?
The saints themselves were divided: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine of Sweden, Bl. Peter of Aragon, Bl. Ursulina of Parma, Philippe d'Alencon, and Gerard de Groote were in the camp of Urban; St. Vincent Ferrer, Bl. Peter of Luxemburg, and St. Colette belonged to the party of Clement.
The century's most famous doctors of law were consulted and most of them decided for Rome.
Theologians were divided. Germans like Henry of Hesse or Langstein (Epistola concilii pacis) and Conrad of Gelnhausen (Ep. brevis; Ep. Concordiae) inclined towards Urban; Pierre d'Ailly, his friend Philippe de Maizieres, his pupils Jean Gerson and Nicholas of Clemangcs, and with them the whole School of Paris, defended the interests of Clement.
The conflict of rival passions and the novelty of the situation rendered understanding difficult and unanimity impossible. As a general thing scholars adopted the opinion of their country.
The powers also took sides. The greater number of the Italian and German states, England, and Flanders supported the pope of Rome.
On the other hand France, Spain, Scotland, and all the nations in the orbit of France were for the pope of Avignon. Nevertheless Charles V had first suggested officially to the cardinals of Anagni the assembling of a general council, but he was not heard. Unfortunately the rival popes launched excommunication against each other; they created numerous cardinals to make up for the defections and sent them throughout Christendom to defend their cause, spread their influence, and win adherents. While these grave and burning discussions were being spread abroad, Boniface IX had succeeded Urban VI at Rome and Benedict XIII had been elected pope at the death of Clement of Avignon. "There are two masters in the vessel who are fencing with and contradicting each other", said Jean Petit at the Council of Paris (1406). Several ecclesiastical assemblies met in France and elsewhere without definite result."
"Innocent VII had already succeeded Boniface of Rome, and, after a reign of two years, was replaced by Gregory XII. The latter, although of temperate character, seems not to have realized the hopes which Christendom, immeasurably wearied of these endless divisions, had placed in him. The council which assembled at Pisa added a third claimant to the papal throne instead of two (1409). After many conferences, projects, discussions (oftentimes violent), interventions of the civil powers, catastrophes of all kinds, the Council of Constance (1414) deposed the suspicious John XXIII, received the abdication of the gentle and timid Gregory XII, and finally dismissed the obstinate Benedict XIII. On 11 November, 1417, the assembly elected Odo Colonna, who took the name of Martin V. Thus ended the great schism of the West."
"(2) From this brief summary it will be readily concluded that this schism did not at all resemble that of the East, that it was something unique, and that it has remained so in history. It was not a schism properly so called, being in reality a deplorable misunderstanding concerning a question of fact, an historical complication which lasted forty years. In the West there was no revolt against papal authority in general, no scorn of the sovereign power of whicli St. Peter was the representative. Faith in the necessary unity never wavered a particle; no one wished voluntarily to separate from the head of the Church. Now this intention alone is the characteristic mark of the schismatic spirit (Summa, II-II, Q. xxxix, a. 1). On the contrary everyone desired that unity, materially overshadowed and temporarily compromised, should speedily shine forth with new splendour. The theologians, canonists, princes, and faithful of the fourteenth century felt so intensely and maintained so vigorously that this character of unity was essential to the true Church of Jesus Christ, that at Constance solicitude for unity took precedence of that for reform. The benefit of unity had never been adequately appreciated till it had been lost, till the Church had become bicephalous or tricephalous, and there seemed to be no head precisely because there were too many. Indeed the first mark of the true Church consists above all in unity under one head, the Divinely appointed guardian of the unity of faith and of worship. Now in practice there was then no willful error regarding the necessity of this character of the true Church, much less was there any culpable revolt against the known head. There was simply ignorance, and among the greater number invincible ignorance regarding the person of the true pope, regarding him who was at that time the visible depositary of the promises of the invisible Head. How indeed was this ignorance to be dispelled? The only witnesses of the facts, the authors of the double election, were the same persons. The cardinals of 1378 held successive opinions. They had in turn testified for Urban, the first pope elected, on 8 April, and for Clement of Avignon on 20 September. Who were to be believed? The members of the Sacred College, choosing and writing in April, or the same cardinals speaking and acting contradictorily in September? Fondi was the starting point of the division; there likewise must be sought the serious errors and formidable responsibilities.
Bishops, princes, theologians, and canonists were in a state of perplexity from which they could not emerge in consequence of the conflicting, not disinterested, and perhaps insincere testimony of the cardinals. Thenceforth how were the faithful to dispel uncertainty and form a morally sure opinion? They relied on their natural leaders, and these, not knowing exactly what to hold, followed their interests or passions and attached themselves to probabilities. It was a terrible and distressing problem which lasted forty years and tormented two generations of Christians; a schism in the course of which there was no schismatic intention, unless exception perhaps be made of some exalted persons who should have considered the interests of the Church before all else. Exception should also be made of some doctors of the period whose extraordinary opinions show what was the general disorder of minds during the schism (N. Valois, I, 351; IV, 501). Apart from these exceptions no one had the intention of dividing the seamless robe, no one formally desired schism; those concerned were ignorant or misled, but not culpable. In behalf of the great majority of clergy and people must be pleaded the good faith which excludes all errors and the well-nigh impossibility for the simple faithful to reach the truth. This is the conclusion reached by a study of the facts and contemporary documents. This King Charles V, the Count of Flanders, the Duke of Brittany, and Jean Gerson, the great chancellor of the university, vie with one another in declaring. D'Ailly, then Bishop of Cambrai, in his diocesan synods echoed the same moderate and conciliatory sentiments. In 1409 he said to the Genoese: "I know no schismatics save those who stubbornly refuse to learn the truth, or who after discovering it refuse to submit to it, or who still formally declare that they do not want to follow the movement for union" Schism and heresy as sins and vices, he adds in 1412, can only result from stubborn opposition either to the unity of the Church, or to an article of faith. This is the pure doctrine of the Angelic Doctor (cf. Tshackert, "Peter von Ailli", appendix 32,33).
(3) Most modern doctors uphold the same ideas. It suffices to quote Canon J. Didiot, dean of the faculty of Lille: "If after the election of a pope and before his death or resignation a new election takes place, it is null and schismatic; the one elected is not in the Apostolic Succession. This was seen at the beginning of what is called, somewhat incorrectly, the Great Schism of the West, which was only an apparent schism from a theological standpoint. If two elections take place simultaneously or nearly so, one according to laws previously passed and the other contrary to them, the apostolicity belongs to the pope legally chosen and not to the other, and though there be doubts, discussions, and cruel divisions on this point, as at the time of the so-called Western Schism, it is no less true, no less real that the apostolicity exists objectively in the true pope. What does it matter, in this objective relation, that it is not manifest to all and is not recognized by all till long after? A treasure is bequeathed to me, but I do not know whether it is in the chest A or in the casket B. Am I any less the possessor of this treasure?
After the theologian let us hear the canonist. The following are the words of Bouix, so competent in all these questions. Speaking of the events of this sad period he says: "This dissension was called schism, but incorrectly. No one withdrew from the true Roman pontiff considered as such, but each obeyed the one he regarded as the true pope. They submitted to him, not absolutely, but on condition that he was the true pope. Although there were several obediences, nevertheless there was no schism properly so-called" (De Papa, I, 461)."
"A final and quite recent argument comes from Rome. In 1904 the "Gerarchia Cattolica", basing its arguments on the date of the Liber Pontificahs, compiled a new and corrected list of sovereign pontiffs. Ten names have disappeared from this list of legitimate popes, neither the popes of Avignon nor those of Pisa being ranked in the true lineage of St. Peter. If this deliberate omission is not proof positive, it is at least a very strong presumption in favour of the legitimacy of the Roman popes Urban VI, Boniface IX, Innocent VII, and Gregory XII. Moreover, the names of the popes of Avignon, Clement VII and Benedict XIII, were again taken by later popes (in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries) who were legitimate."
THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
AN INTERNATIONAL WORK OF REFERENCE
ON THE CONSTITUTION, DOCTRINE, DISCIPLINE
AND HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
EDITED BY CHARLES G. HERBERMANN, Ph.D., LL.D.
EDWARD A. PACE, Ph.D., D.D., CONDE B. PALLEN, Ph.D., LL.D.
THOMAS J. SHAHAN, D.D., JOHN J. WYNNE, S.J.
ASSISTED BY NUMEROUS COLLABORATORS
IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES
VOLUME XIII, p. 539-540, 541
New York ROBERT APPLETON COMPANY
Nihil Obstat: February 1, 1912, REMY LAFOET, CENSOR
Imprimatur: +JOHN CARDINAL FARLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK