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Pope Francis Refuses to Answer the Dubia – What Happens Next?

Written by  John F. Salza, Esq.

Part One of a Two-Part Series

Part I – Part II

Now that it has been published (on November 14, 2016) that Pope Francis has refused to answer the dubia of the four Cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra and Meisner) issued to him on September 16, 2016 concerning his erroneous and even heretical teachings in Amoris Laetitia, many Catholics are wondering what happens next. Some may be tempted to jump the gun and declare, on their own authority, that Francis’ refusal to answer proves he is a formal heretic and thus has lost his office. Is that true? Does Francis’ refusal to answer the dubia mean he has “judged himself” a formal heretic? Does his refusal prove the element of pertinacity which is required for the crime of heresy and loss of office? No. Not yet. We have a way to go. But the canonical process that could eventually lead to a charge and conviction of the crime of heresy has indeed begun, and thus, we are no doubt entering into a very tumultuous time for the Church, as we approach the centenary of the Fatima apparitions.

dubium is an official request for an authoritative and final response from the Holy See on a doctrinal, liturgical or canonical question. Dubia are customarily submitted by bishops to seek a definitive answer on a matter that pertains to the faithful in their diocese and the exercise of their apostolic ministry. It is not an accusation of heresy, and thus a Pope’s refusal to respond to a dubia, as extraordinary as that may be, does not establish the element of pertinacity necessary for the crime of heresy. Even in the secular legal process, one must be charged with a crime before he can be found guilty of it. That goes without saying.

We might recall that John Paul II did not directly respond to Archbishop Lefebvre’s dubia, submitted in October 1985 concerning Vatican II’s erroneous teaching on religious liberty in Dignitatis Humanae, and it took the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a year and a half to issue a response (and which did little more than affirm the council’s teaching). For those who argue that Francis’ three month absence of a response proves his pertinacity and convicts him of heresy (even though the canonical norm for replying actually grants six months), does that mean John Paul II also lost his office after his three months of silence? What about his six months of silence? What about his year of silence? Or what about after the Congregation’s tardy response failed to reconcile Dignitatis Humanae’s novel teachings with Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Errors? [1] These rhetorical questions underscore that a Pope’s failure to respond to a dubia does not prove him guilty of the canonical crime of heresy. That is because the Church has another means by which the crime of heresy is established: They are ecclesiastical warnings.

The Pope Must Be Formally Warned by Church Authorities

Ecclesiastical warnings are issued by the Cardinals (who are the next highest authorities in the Church), which accuse the suspect of heresy and require him to respond with a correction of his errors within six months.[2]This is what Cardinal Burke was referring to in his interview with the National Catholic Register when he said: “There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.” If the Pope would fail to respond to these warnings, the Church would presume that the Pope is incorrigible and hardened in his heresy.

As we explain in detail in our book True or False Pope?, the Church’s ability to warn and ultimately judge a Pope for heresy by establishing his pertinacity was taught by Pope Innocent III, Pope Adrian, St. Bellarmine,[3] Francisco Suarez, John of St. Thomas, the famous Decretal Si Papa,[4] and others, and remains the common teaching of the Church’s Doctors and theologians. Establishing a Pope’s pertinacity is more difficult than judging the matter of heresy (e.g., the teachings), because it involves something that exists within the internal forum (the realm of conscience). If a person does not openly leave the Church, or publicly admit that he knowingly rejects what the Church definitively teaches on faith or morals (neither of which Francis has done), pertinacity would need to be established another way. The other way, according to Divine law and canon law, is by issuing an ecclesiastical warning to the suspect or, as Cardinal Burke described it, a “formal act of correction.”

An ecclesiastical warning serves as an effective means for establishing pertinacity, since the response will determine, with a sufficient degree of certitude, whether or not the person who has professed heresy (not a lesser error) is truly pertinacious (he is consciously departing from a dogma of Faith), rather than merely mistaken – which still might be a sin, but not necessarily the sin of heresy. Because pertinacity is itself a necessary element of heresy, it does not suffice that its presence be presumed, especially by Catholics with no ecclesiastical authority; it must beproven, and by the Church’s authorities. The ecclesiastical warnings accomplish this by removing any chance of innocent ignorance.

This is why St. Robert Bellarmine said that a cleric “shows himself to be manifestly obstinate” in his heresy by virtueof the two warnings. Wrote Bellarmine:

“For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority and from reason that the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed. The argument from authority is based on Saint Paul (Titus, 3:10), who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate…”[5]

In his Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to Titus, St. Thomas Aquinas confirms that the admonitions spoken of in Titus 3:10 come from official, ecclesiastical authority, and not from any Catholic in the pew. Speaking of a person who has deviated from the Faith, St. Thomas wrote: “Such a person should be warned, and if he does not desist, he should be avoided. And he [the Apostle] says, after the first and second admonition, for that is the way the Church proceeds in excommunicating.”

In the Summa, St. Thomas confirms the same point when he notes that “the Church” condemns, not at once, but after the first and second warning, according to the teaching of St. Paul. He wrote:

“On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but ‘after the first and second admonition,’ as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.”[6]

In a 1909 article published in The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Fr. Maurice Hassett also confirmed that the admonitions spoken of by St. Paul must come from the proper ecclesiastical authorities:

“From the earliest Christian times heresy was universally regarded as the most heinous of sins. The heretic, St. Paul instructs Titus, shall be admonished a first and a second time of the grave character of his offense; if he will not heed, he must be avoided by Christians as a man in evident bad faith, who stands self-condemned – Titus 3:10. (…) Heretics were consequently cut off from all association with the faithful, who must hold no relations with them so long as they obstinately refuse to heed the official remonstrances of the Church authorities.”[7]

Thus, in order to establish pertinacity (that the heretic is “manifestly obstinate”), canon law requires that the Churchissue warnings to a prelate before he is deposed for the crime of heresy.[8] As Bellarmine indicates, this aspect of canon law is founded upon Divine law, as revealed in Scripture (cf. Tit. 3:10), and is considered so necessary that even in the extreme case in which a cleric publicly joins a false religion (which Francis has also not done), he must be duly warned by the Church before being degraded.[9] Because the Church has no authority over the Pope, these warnings do not constitute an act of jurisdiction (as they would for other Catholics), but only an act of charity, as St. Thomas teaches in regard to fraternal correction.[10] Although the Pope is not subject to the positive law of the Church, because these warnings are rooted in Divine Law, and are afforded to lesser clerics in the hope of their amendment, they most certainly are afforded to the Vicar of Christ, both as a matter of justice as well as under the philosophical principle omne majus continet in se minus – “the greater includes the lesser.”

In fact, Cajetan says that it is because a Pope is not subject to canon law that ecclesiastical warnings are absolutely necessary for him before being declared a heretic. He explains that because other heretics may automatically incurlatae sententiae excommunication (the censure) by operation of canon law[11] (to which the Pope is not subject), it is not absolutely necessary for the Church to issue warnings to these before declaring them excommunicated.[12]However, because the Pope is not subject to the ecclesiastical censure, the teaching of St. Paul to Titus should logically be followed to the letter. In Cajetan’s own words:

“The second consequence is that a heretic pope should not be deposed before the admonitions: for he is not excommunicated on account of heresy, but should be excommunicated by being deposed. Therefore, the apostle’s command concerning the double admonition, which need not be observed [to the letter] in the case of others, who are inferiors, on account of the addition of excommunication latae sententiae, which the Church imposes on heretics, should be observed to the letter with him.”[13]

The renowned eighteenth century theologian, Fr. Pietro Ballerini, who subscribed to Bellarmine’s famous Fifth Opinion on a heretical Pope,[14] explains how the warnings would serve to demonstrate pertinacity for a reigning Pope who publicly professed heresy, as well as who exactly in the Church would be responsible for issuing them, and the effect that they would produce:

“Is it not true that, confronted with such a danger to the faith [a Pope teaching heresy], any subject can, by fraternal correction, warn their superior, resist him to his face, refute him and, if necessary, summon him and press him to repent? The Cardinals, who are his counselors, can do this; or the Roman Clergy, or the Roman Synod, if, being met, they judge this opportune. For any person, even a private person, the words of Saint Paul to Titus hold: ‘Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment’ (Tit. 3, 10-11). For the person, who, admonished once or twice, does not repent, but continues pertinacious in an opinion contrary to a manifest or defined dogma – not being able, on account of this public pertinacityto be excused, by any means, of heresy properly so called, which requires pertinacity – this persondeclares himself openly a heretic. He reveals that by his own will he has turned away from the Catholic Faith and the Church, in such a way that now no declaration or sentence of anyone whatsoever is necessary to cut him from the body of the Church. Therefore the Pontiff who after such a solemn and public warning by the Cardinals, by the Roman Clergy or even by the Synod, would remain himself hardened in heresy and openly turn himself away from the Church, would have to be avoided, according to the precept of Saint Paul. So that he might not cause damage to the rest, he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus, the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church, making clear that by his own will he had turned away and separated himself from the body of the Church, and that in a certain way he had abdicated the Pontificate…”[15]

Thus, before Pope Francis could be considered a public heretic, he would have to be issued “a first and second correction” (warnings) by “the Cardinals” (or other official Church authority, such as a “Roman Synod”), and would then have to “continue pertinacious in an opinion contrary to a manifest or defined dogma” after at least six months (such as his material heresies that no one is condemned forever or that intrinsically evil acts admit of exceptions). Because these warnings are public and issued by the proper authorities, a refusal to heed them would establish “public pertinacity” which is necessary to convict someone of public (that is, the crime of) heresy. That means we have a way to go with Pope Francis, because the authorities have not even issued the first warning. Not yet.

In the next installment, we will address what happens if the Cardinals issue the requisite warnings to Pope Francis and he still refuses to respond or fails to correct his errors.

Originally published at The Remnant. Reprinted with permission.


[1] I have a copy of the CDF’s March 9, 1987 reply which conspicuously fails to reconcile Dignitatis Humanae’s teaching with the perennial teaching of the Church. Furthermore, the Congregation admits the possibility of further study of the problem (“…demeure la possibilité d’une étude ultérieure de ce problème…”). If such matters were left to private judgment, one could have “convicted” of John Paul II for his failure to respond to Archbishop Lefebvre’s dubia.

[2]As we read from Fr. Augustine’s commentary on canon law: “If, after the lapse of six months, to be reckoned from the moment the penalty has been contracted, the person suspected of heresy has not amended, he must be regarded as a heretic, amenable to the penalties set forth in canon 2314. Whilst the penalties enumerated under (b) are ferendae sententiae, to be inflicted according to can. 2223, 3, the penalties stated under (c) are a iure and latae sententiae.” Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, vol. VIII, bk. 5, pp. 288-289. Fr. Henry Ayrinhac also notes: “A cleric should receive a second warning, and if this too remained fruitless he should be suspended a divinis. After inflicting these punishments, six months more may be allowed, and if at the end of this time the party suspected of heresy has shown no signs of amendment, he is to be considered as a heretic and punished accordingly.”

[3] Bellarmine wrote: “Firstly, that a heretical Pope can be judged is expressly held in Can. Si Papa dist. 40, and by Innocent III (Serm. II de Consec. Pontif.) Furthermore, in the 8th Council, (act. 7) the acts of the Roman Council under Pope Hadrian are recited, in which one finds that Pope Honorius appears to be justly anathematized, because he had been convicted of heresy…” (De Romano Pontifice, bk. 2, ch. 30).

[4] “Let no mortal man presume to accuse the Pope of fault, for, it being incumbent upon him to judge all, he should be judged by no one, unless he is suddenly caught deviating from the faith”(Si Papa Dist 40). Latin found in Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1964)p. 124.

[5] De Romano Pontifice, bk. 2, ch. 30.

[6] ST, II-II, q. 11, a. 3, sed contra. As we can see, contrary to the teachings of Pope Francis, St. Thomas also affirms the justice of capital punishment to the extent it is in proportion to the severity of the crime (and the death penalty is proportionate to the crime of harming “the salvation of others”). See, for example, ST, II-II, q. 11, a. 3; q. 64, a. 3; Gen. 9:6; Lk 19:27; Rom 13:4.

[7] Hassett, “Church and State in the Fourth Century,” published in The American Catholic Quarterly Review, vol. 34, January – October, 1909, pp. 301-302.

[8] Canon 2314.1-2 says: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic: Unless they respect warnings, they are deprived of benefice, dignity, pension, office, or other duty that they have in the Church, they are declared infamous, and [if] clerics, with the warning being repeated, [they are] deposed.”

[9] “A cleric must, besides, be degraded if, after having been duly warned, he persists in being a member of such a society (non-Catholic sect). All the offices he may hold become vacant, ipso facto, without any further declaration. This is tacit resignation recognized by law (Canon 188.4) and therefore the vacancy is one de facto et iure (by fact and by law).” Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, vol. 8, bk. 5, p. 280 (emphasis added).

[10] On whether a man is bound to correct his prelate, St. Thomas teaches: “A subject is not competent to administer to his prelate the correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment: but the fraternal correction which is an act of charity is within the competency of everyone in respect of any person towards whom he is bound by charity, provided there be something in that person which requires correction.” ST, II-II, q. 33, a. 4.

[11] Here we can think of certain Catholic politicians who openly acknowledge and defy Catholic teaching (e.g., abortion) to the world, thereby establishing their pertinacity as notorious by notoriety of fact. As non-clerics, their excommunication may be recognized by the Church without the need for ecclesiastical warning or censure.

[12] “Neither is it always demanded in the external forum that there be a warning and a reprimand as described above for somebody to be punished as heretical and pertinacious, and such a requirement is by no means always admitted in practice by the Holy Office” (De Lugo, disp. XX, sect. IV, n. l57-158, cited in “Essay on Heresy,” by Arnaldo da Silveira).

[13] De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii, p. 103.

[14] See Silveira, “La Nouvelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu’en penser,” p. 168.

[15] De Potestate Ecclesiastica, (Monasterii Westphalorum, Deiters, 1847) ch. 6, sec. 2, pp. 124-125 (emphasis added).

53 thoughts on “Pope Francis Refuses to Answer the Dubia – What Happens Next?”

  1. It will take Divine intervention for any of the current Cardinals to issue these corrections. Although Bergoglio may regret backing Cardinal Sarah into a corner.

  2. I can only focus on what is good for my family: The Church and Her teachings and Sacraments.
    The Rosary. There is so much to be on guard about, that I cannot even begin to ponder the answers to these questions posed in the article. Whatever is to be done and can be done by our prelates must be done, with a sense of timely urgency.
    Many of us our doing all to keep our heads above water.

    Perhaps the cardinals should just ” do” and trust God Almighty. That is what I am praying to do in my station.

    • The one thing that concerns me is the impact on the validity of communion and confession when presided over by priests/bishops who are likely in line with the Pope in being against certain Church teachings (yes, I know its still just allegations/speculation at this point)? Where is that line in the sand where the shenanigans of the Pope and his supporters then becomes my direct problem (i.e. invalid, inaccessible sacraments)? So far all the discussions are at levels way above my day-to-day. And while I agree with you on carry-on carryin on, when does our carrying on put us on the wrong side of right? Not sure I’m articulating my concerns clear enough, but there it is.

  3. Translation: If you’re waiting on a human resolution to the crisis, don’t hold your breath. The cavalry might or might not be here in another 3 or 4 years if any of us are still breathing.

    So our course remains the same as it has always been. Perform our duties and state in life. Pray for personal growth in holiness. Help our families and those we encounter in our daily lives to know The Truth and help them to become saints. Pray our daily rosaries, complete the First Five Saturday’s Devotion, fast and unite our crosses with our Blessed Lord’s Cross. Trust, Hope, and Know The Lord wins in the end.

  4. What happens next?

    Nothing. Nothing happens next. Nothing good that is. We get more bad, then more unsurprising bad, then more surprising bad. Then some more bad, but even worse. And so, there’s that. At some point there is a conclave. Then it gets worse. UNLESS some cardinals “get it”, and we usher in a world-wide turn around starting with a motu proprio that makes the NO redundant on an 18 month timeline, while the new pope fires the one-third of the stars that were previously swept from the heavens by the devil’s tail but are still in their earthly and lavender offices.

  5. What happens next?

    Kiwi goes to Rome and camps outside Casa Santa Marta with a large picture of Benedict XVI, a blown up image of Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis and a large sign which says Faithful (Rigid) Catholic; here to “make a mess”

  6. We are talking about a fat, one-lunged 80-year old.

    Who can conceive of this tedious process being played out before he dies? Indeed, it appears that those who ostensibly stand for the teaching of the Church are taking their time in the hope of his demise whereby they could then shelf the whole process.

    In addition, the piece says: “There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare.”

    Yeah, right.

    I’d like to know of 2 examples of such an event in Church history. One even, in the same fashion with all the laws worked out “just so” as is stated in this article. I do not believe any such thing has occurred ever. So when Cardinal Burke said this is rare, what he really means is unprecedented. Those who support Pope Francis have made fun of Cardinal Burke for saying that, and frankly, they are right. Cardinal Burke has acted as if there is a “Standard Operating Procedure” in dealing with an heretical Pope. I know of no such thing in Church history, not even the celebrated cases of papal heresy exhibit same. and Burke has never laid out in detail any such case, either.

    Possibly a form of precedent will be set here and to his credit, it appears that Burke is attempting to adhere to St Paul’s teaching in Scripture which is nice, but surely nothing of this sort has ever occurred in Church history and at the rate this is going and with the life expectancy of this Pope taken into consideration, nothing ever will.

      • Correct, but we know nothing of the timetable of that event.

        That is my point. All this “6 months and this and that” sounds like it is some sort of normal process when it is absolutely not. I 100% agree that Cardinal Burke appears to be attempting to follow that model. He said as much, what, over a year ago now?

        But what is panning out appears more like timetable designed not to have to be implemented, that is, a timetable designed to lean heavily on the failing health of the Current Occupant….

        • Honestly, if Francis were to die right now, we’d be in a much better position than if these corrections are issued. If the corrections are issued and Francis is declared an apostate or heretic, there will be a schism – on one side the true faith with a few bishops and cardinals but no pope (what you think there’ll be a conclave????), and a bunch of heretics led by a bishop in white… How long til that schism heals?

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the famed Fraternal or Formal correction being issued and made public, I regularly pray for it… but I also hope Francis dies soon. Psa. 108:8 “May his days be short, and may another his bishopric take.”

          • Predictions are that Francis is the final pope. His plan is to end the papacy and turn over the Church to the laity. That is the Jesuit plan as I a Jesuit graduate can attest. The final stage according to the SJs of Teilhard de Chardin will be a world Communist government and a one world religion.

          • Here’s where you start. Malachi Martin was a former Jesuit who read the Third Secret. He wrote a number of books of “faction”. This is fact mixed with fiction. I believe that he got the idea from Taylor Caldwell.—-His book “The Jesuits” is probably his best work. He died in 1999 and knew that the Jesuits were angling for the papacy. Once they had that, he said that the Church would be destroyed. — I also studied with the Vincentians. They taught in seminaries and were Bible translation experts. They were also very strict on prayer and such.—The idle mind is the devil’s workshop. They were phased out of the seminaries and sent into parishes where they could be more easily controlled. This is all about brain washing and control of the young to prepare for the “new world order” which is a euphemism for a world socialist government.

          • Thankyou! I have some reading to do and quick fast. ‘The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ I have heard these great words of wisdom before!

          • We are all on a journey of a pilgrimage. We all start somewhere. The quest for knowledge creates more questions than answers. “Slow and steady” wins the race.

          • Well it’s good that they’re wrong. The papacy cannot end. Vatican I dealt with this. No, there will be a pope, obviously with the usual interregnums, until the end of time.

          • And yet, Jafin, Francis has so stacked the College of Cardinals that we would get yet another clone like him. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The schism happened years ago around the time of Vatican II (earlier than that back to nearly a century ago when the Modernists laid the foundations). The schism in the West is mostly informal. However, post-conciliar popes tried to keep it all under wraps without admitting it. The SSPX brought all of this out thanks to Archbishop Lefevre. No, we will get yet another pope or more than one claiming the papacy (setting up yet another anti-pope(s) situation) should a major schism actually, formally, materialize. This is why (I believe) that Cardinal Burke is either hesitating on issuing the formal fraternal correction, or why he never will.

        • I hope you are not right, but unfortunately, you make a very obvious assumption.

          This is a spiritual battle, and must be fought as such; it is not a legal battle.
          If the prelates are ” bidding time” until the passing of Francis, I do not think this would be pleasing to our Lord, in my opinion. It remains cowardice, and unprepared to sacrifice for the faith; something which the Church desperately needs/

          Yes, correction and possible schism are not welcoming thoughts. But, for so long , our Church leaders have run from confrontation. The history of the Church is not of ” fleers”, but of boldness, of zeal, of virtue.
          Where is the boldness, the zeal, the virtue of doing what is right for the sake that is “right”?
          I am waiting……..and God forgive me, having been born around Paul Vl , until now……I have not seen it.

    • AMDG: Ad majorem Dei Gloria. He will come on the clouds with his angels blowing their trumpets. It just may not be when we want it.

    • Our Lord is telling us that their must be a formal process going forward to remove unfaithful Popes and cardinals going foward.

  7. In these conditions, Francis is allowed more than enough time to continue destroying the Church.
    And in the meantime millions souls will be lost.

  8. I believe nothing will happen as most Cardinals will just sit on the fence and wait and see what happens. The average Cardinal will see that there are two alternatives. To act now will cause the most enormous upheaval in the Church and that is certain. The other alternative is to do nothing and wait whilst large areas of the Church are dissolved in the acid of modernism. They will not see that as a certain result so they will go for that option and do nothing. Sins of omission are the order of the day.

  9. There is a higher authority than the pope. A response from Him is all in His own good time. There will be a response. — Malachi Martin has stated that all of this turmoil is being allowed by God for his own reasons. We have to accept that current lack of response and keep the faith with our heads held high.

  10. “Now that it has been published (on November 14, 2016) that Pope Francis has refused to answer the dubia of the four Cardinals…”

    Is this a reference to the 1P5 article “Silence Gives Consent: Four Cardinals Challenge Francis”?
    If so, it seems Pope Francis has not yet positively and clearly stated that he refuses, but only his silence strongly implies a refusal.

    • Well one can certainly gather that he doesn’t agree with Pope Francis and yet he seems not “expel” him from the Church. You know, calling a sin a sin or identifying as a candidate for excommunication somebody who is spreading heresy and confusing or lying to the faithful (and I’m not talking about the Pope) is an act of charity to all.

      For instance, how many article of faith, dogma or the actual Word of Christ are we free to disagree with or disregard before we’re rightly identified as heretics? I’m curious because it seems that quite a few of our co-religionists have turned their inclusive world view–participation trophies for all–inward to the Church: Eucharist for all, no matter what. So being a Catholic is simply now attending Mass once a year or simply a matter of self-identification? Oh, I’m Catholic who believes in communion for the divorced and “remarried”, same sex “marriage”, surgery for the transgendered, that Christ was just a great philosopher, that there’s no such thing as the real presence, etc.

      You see, membership in the Catholic Church requires assent to Church teaching and authority. The Catholic Church is now “antifa” or “LGBTQ”, Modern egoists have a great problem understanding that we are not free to define what we are in all circumstances. A secular example: I cannot freely proclaim myself as a member of the military and attempt to act in that capacity by choice: you actually have to be a member of the armed forces to act in whatever capacity(ies) of which one is authorized. Well, the Church is the same.

      • Salza starts an article (in which he correctly notes that sedevacantists use private judgement to depose a Pope) by exercising his own private judgement to state that “former Traditionalists” – he, Salza, means Traditionalists he no longer agrees with – are outside the Church.

        The irony couldn’t be finer.

        If this is the quality of our Traditionalist “Commanders”, let them get back into the ranks and shut up.

    • You have an odd definition of justice. We have a comment policy, and have enforced it for reasons I’ve spelled out time and again. Inasmuch as this is totally within our rights to do — and expectations have been clearly laid out — it’s certainly not unjust.

      As this article states, even his failure to answer the dubia itself was not sufficient cause. But as he has become more explicit in denying divinely revealed truth — most notably in his commentary on the death penalty being opposed to the Gospel, and possibly (because it’s second hand, there’s wiggle room) his alleged denial of hell — we’re moving away from the theoretical and towards the practical.

      Never — not once — have we denied the possibility that we could wind up in this place. We have merely demanded restraint in arriving at such a conclusion precipitously.

      And if you’re here to complain about it, feel free to leave.

    • Benedict,
      I’m very disappointed. You’re the last person I ever expected to do ad hominem remarks. I think Michael Matt and John Salza explained the situation very well. Also, don’t forget this was originally posted on the Remnant website late last year.


      • You have no reason whatever to be disappointed Margaret.

        The Remnant has become a sanctimonious rag, nasty in tone and atrociously moderated. Michael Matt has lost the plot: in his Introduction to Salza’s latest broadside against sedevacantists, Matt actually states there are no heresies in Amoris Laeitita. When you are firing broadsides in all directions, you need to be more careful how you turn your guns around. Your veneration of the Remnant is misplaced.

        As to the continued attacks against sedevacantists – of whom I am not one – it is yesterday’s battle. Maybe it’s just a money-making exercise, to plug a book. But it’s of no use whatsoever when the intentions of the man who might well be the False Prophet are more and more clearly delineated in the Vatican.

        The danger from sedevacantism falls away into nothing in comparison with what the Church faces today.

        • “The Remnant has become a sanctimonious rag, nasty in tone and atrociously moderated.”

          First of all, the editor of that “sanctimonious rag” (your exact words) was kind enough to print your family history.

          “Michael Matt has lost the plot: in his Introduction to Salza’s latest broadside against sedevacantists, Matt actually states there are no heresies in Amoris Laeitita.”

          Second, you misquoted Michael Matt. He did NOT say that “there are no heresies in Amoris Laetitia.”

          This is from the introduction:

          “Even in Amoris: Which dogma has Francis officially and unequivocally denied? Name one! You see the problem? One cannot be a public and pertinacious heretic by default, weakness, innuendo or ambiguity. This is why Francis will not answer the dubia—because thus far he has clarified nothing, including his own suspected heresy. Does this mean that we are defending Amoris Laetitia? No, of course not! It means that we are being as careful in refuting it as they were in writing it. It is up to us—faithful Catholics everywhere—to be “wise as serpents” as we attempt to withstand and then undermine his Modernist agenda, without effectively removing ourselves from the battlefield altogether by making dramatic proclamations of illegitimacy and invalidity that only serve to make our adversaries very happy. What they want most of all is for us to make of ourselves Francis’s judge and jury, and thus render our resistance illegitimate on its face.

          Don’t take the bait. Stay in the trenches and fight. This can’t go on much longer, and to abandon our beloved Church at this critical moment of her passion is simply not an option. Pray for Pope Francis. MJM”

          Please re-read the above very carefully.

          I understand that you’re still grieving for your mum. I also understand your anger at the situation in the Church. However, taking out your anger on a Catholic gentleman who has been very kind to you and is trying like the rest of us to keep the Faith as it was handed down to us is beyond description. I can’t post how I feel right now because as my late father said: “A lady doesn’t swear.” FYI: His anniversary of death is the day before your mum. He’s gone 9 years now.

          We are trying to support each other here at the Remnant and 1P5. One blog I know (which shall remain nameless) is owned by a man who is not sedevacantist but allows sedevacantist comments all over the place. I have almost stopped blogging there because I can’t stand online arguing with sedevacantists but a blogger who I really admire posts there and I don’t want her to be misled by them. So I post there occasionally.

          I wish I could take your anger and grief away but I can’t. Nor can Michael Matt or Steve. So I beg you in the name of Our Lady of Sorrows to go home, visit your mum’s grave and go to confession and Holy Communion. Ask her and Our Lady to intercede for you. And pray to your patron saint! If I knew where you lived, I’d send you a blessed Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict ( blessed by a Benedictine priest with the traditional blessing and exorcism).


          • Thank you at least for your good intentions Margaret.

            Take the stardust out of your eyes. Matt and (particularly) Ferrara have done a lot of good work of course, but as Matt says, his primary aim is to protect his “brand”. Clearly that involves writing anything, including total hogwash, to support his buddies.

            It’s pathetic, and so is your inability to criticise when things need to be criticised.

          • Benedict,

            I don’t have stardust in my eyes but from the way you’ve been posting – and it grieves me to even type this – it seems that you’re blind with anger.

            This is not like you. As I told you once before, you have (or had) a great influence on other bloggers. They admire you. I don’t always agree with you but I try to be charitable in my posting.

            Please go home and get someone to help you deal with your anger and grief. The first Christmas is always the hardest after losing someone you love.


          • Our yes must be yes, and our no’s must be no’s. Their cannot be any confusion on our part either . Pope Francis has taught heresy.

  11. As lay Catholics and members of the clergy who lack sufficient authority to correct or warn Francis. Our duty lies FIRST to remain faithful to Our Lord and the Magisterial and perennial doctrines and teachings of His Church, to instruct others by word and example in the authentic Catholic faith, to pray and make the sacrifices encouraged (commanded) by Our Lady of Fatims, and live our lives as TRUE desciples of Christ.

    Thus far Francis has not made any Magisterial statenents either orally or in writing. I believe that is because he knows that if he does so and his statenent contradicts, denies, ignores, truncates, nullifies or circumvents established truths of the faith, including Humanae Vitae, that he will be commiting public formal heresy. He wishes to avoid that and its consequences in order to complete his mission/agenda. This is also his reason for not answering the dubia
    He is stalling for time. Thus, the longer the fornal corrections have not been issued, the more time he has to reach his goal. It has been more than a year since the dubia were delivered to Francis. As I understand the protocol, the required six months for him to respond has elapsed and more. Therefore, it is time for the first formal correction to be issued — at least no later than the first of the year. Were that to be done and the second correction issued next July, we would still have another year of Francis.

  12. And so I must ask, as I posted on the Remnant’s website a few days ago… And, then there is the remaining question of whether or not Bergoglio was a pertinacious heretic as a priest, bishop, and cardinal, prior to his election. It is well known that he was exactly that while cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires. With that said, the authors of “True or False Pope” never addressed the issue of Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, nor do they address the principle of Non-Contradiction when it comes to the great Fathers and Doctors of the Church (including past popes) who taught that a known heretic can never be validly elected pope. Can anyone honestly say at this point that the College of Cardinals did not know who Bergoglio was? If not, why not? Then, there is the issue of the St. Gallen Mafia and their role in Bergoglio’s election. Until these issues receive a hearing from the College of Cardinals (mmmm, the Dubia Cardinals), Catholics will remain confused, divided, and unsure of whether or not Francis is really the pope or if it is actually Benedict (due to a coerced resignation). Catholics have a right to know from their shepherds wearing red. I, for one, can most certainly use established facts and corroborated evidence in a logical manner to make a personal judgment about all of this. However, we will never get to the bottom of all of these questions and their consequences without a formal, public, fraternal correction by Cardinal Burke. So, my only question to Cardinal Burke is: How much longer must we wait? The lay faithful who composed the Filial Correction lead the way. Is it not supposed to be the other way around? The Faithful of Holy Mother Church have done all the foundational work for Cardinal Burke and his supporting brother cardinals. Enough is enough! The Church is hemorrhaging members at an alarming rate. It is time for Cardinal Burke to act- and now! (And, for the record, I am NOT a Sedevacantist, nor do I support their positions).

    • You present some questions I’ve had and never seen addressed — “… a known heretic can never be validly elected pope. Can anyone honestly say at this point that the College of Cardinals did not know who Bergoglio was?”
      When at some point this tribulation is addressed — may it be in my lifetime — will we not see the a tangled web indeed.

  13. “The fifth period of the Church, which began circa 1520, will end with the arrival of the holy Pope and of the powerful Monarch who is called “Help From God” because he will restore everything [in Christ]…”

    “The fifth period is one of affliction, desolation, humiliation, and poverty for the Church. Jesus Christ will purify His people through cruel wars, famines, plagues, epidemics, and other horrible calamities. He will also afflict and weaken the Latin Church with many heresies. It is a period of defections, calamities and exterminations. Those Christians who survive the sword, plague and famines, will be few on earth. Nations will fight against nations and will be desolated by internecine dissensions…”

    “During this period the Wisdom of God guides the Church in. several ways: 1) by chastising the Church so that riches may not corrupt her completely; 2) by interposing the Council of Trent like a light in the. darkness, so that the Christians who see the light may know what to. believe, 3) by setting St. Ignatius and his Society in opposition to Luther. and other heretics; 4) by carrying to remote lands the Faith which has been banned in most of Europe…”

    “Are we not to fear during this period that the Mohamedans will come again working out their sinister schemes against the Latin church…”

    “During this period, many men will abuse of the freedom of conscience conceded to them. It is of such men that Jude the Apostle spoke when he said, ‘These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do… They feast together without restraint, feeding themselves, grumbling murmurers, walking according to their lusts; their mouth speaketh proud things, they admire people for the sake of gain; they bring about division, sensual men, having not the spirit.’” 5

    “During this unhappy period, there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded, and the Clergy will not respect the laws of the Church. Everyone will be carried away and led to believe and to do what he fancies, according to the manner of the flesh…”

    “They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and. nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at. all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretation, modification, and delimitation by man…”

    “These are evil times, a century full of dangers and calamities.. Heresy is everywhere, and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere. Bishops, prelates, and priests say that they are doing their. duty, that they are vigilant, and that they live as befits their state in life. In like manner, therefore, they all seek excuses. But God will permit a great evil against His Church: Heretics and tyrants will come suddenly and unexpectedly; they will break into the Church while bishops, prelates and priests are asleep. They will enter Italy and lay Rome waste; they will burn down the churches and destroy everything.…”

    – Venerable Bartholomew Holzauser (17th century priest)

  14. “The Sixth Age of the Spirit commences with the powerful Monarch and the Holy Pontiff as previously mentioned and will last until the appearance of the Antichrist This sixth epoch of the church – “the time of consolation” begins with the Holy Pope and the Powerful Emperor and terminates with the reign of Antichrist. This will be an age of solace wherein God will console His church after the many mortifications and afflictions she has endured in the Fifth period, for all nations will be brought to the unity of the True catholic faith. The sacerdocy will flower more than ever, and men will seek the kingdom of God in all solicitude. The Lord will give good pastors to the Church. Vocations will be abundant as never before and all men will seek only the kingdom of God and His justice . Men will live peace and this will be granted because people will make their peace with God. They will live under the protection of the Great Monarch and his successors….”

    “The Great Monarch will come when the Latin Church is desolated, humiliated, and afflicted with many heresies…”

    “The Sixth Epoch of the World, which commences with the emancipation of the people of Israel and the restoration of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem, will endure until the advent of Jesus Christ…For likewise, in this epoch, the people of Israel will be consoled to a very high degree by the Lord, our God, who will deliver them from the captivity of Babylon. The kingdoms, the nations, and the people will submit to the Roman Empire, furiously vanquished by the very powerful and very illustrious monarch who will govern during fifty-six years, rendering the peace of the universe and reigning alone until the advent of Jesus Christand even after him. Thus, in the Sixth Age, God will delight his Church with the greatest prosperity…”

    “The “angel” is the Great Monarch: “from heaven” means he will be a catholic: “clothed in clouds” implies he will be humble and modest; “rainbow” he will bring peace to the world; “sunshine” refers to his wisdom, talents and title; “feet” refers to his power and zeal; “Open book” he will rule with justice “Right and left foot” he will exercise power over all the world; “Lion Voiuce” he will put fear into the wicked. The “Golden Crown” refers to his Holy Roman (German) Empire; “Cutlass” means his victorious army; the other “angel” refers to the pope (Angelic pastor). “Other angels” are the other helpers of the Great Monarch who will help him crush the Turks…”

    “During the fifth period we saw only calamities and devastation, oppression of Catholics by tyrants and heretics, executions of kings and conspiracies to set up republics but by the hand of God almighty there occurs so wonderful a change during the sixth period that no one can humanly visualize it. The powerful Monarch, who is sent from God, will uproot every Republic. He will submit everything to this authority and he will show great zeal for the true church of Christ. The empire of the Mohamedans will be broken up and the monarch will reign in the east as well as in the west. All nations will come to worship God in the true and Catholic Roman faith. There will be many saints and doctors of the church on earth. Peace will reign over the whole earth because God will bind Satan for a number of years before the days of the Son of Perdition.”

    “No one will be able to pervert the word of God since during the sixth period there will be an ecumenical council which will be the greatest of all councils. By the grace of God, by the power of the great Monarch, by the authority of the holy pontiff and by union of all the most devout princes atheism and every heresy will be banished from the earth. The council will define the true sense of Holy Scripture and this will be beloved and accepted by everyone.”

    “When everything has been ruined by war; when Catholics are hard pressed by traitorous co-religionists and heretics, then the Hand of Almighty God will work a marvellous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding. There will rise a valiant monarch anointed by God. He will be a Catholic, a descendant of Louis IX, yet a descendant of an ancient imperial German family, born in exile.”

    “He will rule supreme in temporal matters. The Pope will rule supreme in spiritual matters at the same time. Persecution will cease and justice shall rule. Religion seems to be suppressed, but by the changes of entire kingdoms it will be made more firm….He will root out false doctrines and destroy the rule of Moslemism. His dominion will extend from the East to the West. All nations will adore God their Lord according to the Catholic teaching. There will be many wise and just men. The people will love justice, and peace will reign over the whole earth, for divine power will bind Satan for many years until the coming of the Son of Perdition.”

    “The reign of the Great Ruler may be compared with that of Caesar Augustus who became Emperor after his victory over his enemies, thereby giving peace to the world, also with the reign of Constantine the Great, who was sent by God, after severe persecution, to deliver both the Church and State. By his victories on water and land he brought the Roman Empire under subjection which he then ruled in peace”

    “On account of a terrible war Germany will wail, France will be the cause of all the woe, Germany will be terribly wounded, all will be impoverished. England shall suffer much. The King shall be killed.“

    “After desolation has reached its peak in England, peace will be restored and England will return to the Catholic faith with greater fervour than before….”

    “The Great Monarch will have the special help of God and be unconquerable…”
    “The Fifth Epoch of time dates from the reign of Charles V until the reign of the Great Monarch…”

    – Venerable Bartholomew Holzauser

  15. “[After a world war] will come a new period, in which two mighty ones will face each other. The wrangle between these two will begin in the second half of the twentieth century. It will overthrow mountains and silt up rivers. A great change will come to pass, such as no mortal man will have expected; Heaven and Hell will confront each other in this struggle, old states will perish and light and darkness will be pitted against each other with swords, but it will be swords of a different fashion. With these swords it will be possible to cut up the skies and split the earth. A great lament will come over all mankind and only a small batch will survive the storm, the pestilence and the horror. And neither of the two adversaries will conquer nor be vanquished. Both mighty ones will lie on the ground, and a new mankind will come into existence. God possesses the key to everything. Blessed is he who will then be able to praise him, having obeyed all his commandments. And the great monarch of the world will create new laws for the new mankind and will cause a new age to begin, in which there will be only one flock and one shepherd, and peace will be of long, long duration, for the glory of God in heaven and on earth…”

    “Now the Great Monarch also will dominate over all the beasts of the earth, that is to say over the barbarian nations, over the rebellious peoples, over the heretic republics and over all men dominated by their evil passions…”

    “It is in that age that the relation of the sixth Spirit of the Lord will be known, that is to say the Spirit of Wisdom that God diffuses over all the surfaces of the globes in those times. For men will fear the Lord their God, they will observe the law and serve it with all their heart. The sciences will be multiplied and complete on the earth. The Holy Scriptures will be unanimously understood, without controversy and without the errors of heresies. Men will be enlightened, so much as in the natural sciences and in the celestial sciences…”

    “Finally, the Sixth Church, the Church of Philadelphia, is the type of this sixth age, for Philadelphia signifies friendship of brothers, and again guarding the heritage in union with the Lord. Now all these characters convene perfectly in the sixth age, in which they will have love, concord and perfect peace and in which the powerful Monarch will have to consider almost the entire world as his heritage. He will deliver up the earth, with the aid of the Lord his God from all his enemies, of ruin and of all evil…”

    – Venerable Bartholomew Holzauser

  16. Please read from the 3rd post upwards. That is, from the post starting with the details concerning the 5th age of the Church


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