A video was posted a few days ago by Steve Skojec at 1P5 HERE.
It seems a response is in order.
A transcript has helpfully been provided by the author, so if I just cut and paste, at least I won’t be accused of hearing wrongly, am I right? Wasting no time, it takes all of 0:00:34 seconds to invoke the tactic of Projection:
“…we’ve got an in-house problem…It’s rooted in this battle over who the real pope is — Benedict or Francis — and what the repercussions of each choice are. But it goes deeper than that because it makes certain folks think it’s okay to calumniate or attack anyone who disagrees with them…“
Boy, I’ll say. Specifically, the accusation leveled against those who believe with moral certainty that Benedict is pope is that we are “crazy.” Steve has lobbed the “crazy” diagnosis more times than I can count over the past two years. If you ever look at twitter, you know. Anyone who dares question the Skojec magisterium is immediately attacked, usually without any rational argument, but only with shouts of “insane.” Frank Walker of canon212.com is one of the more recent victims, and it is great to see Frank fighting back (seeking a second opinion on his diagnosis, you might say). Speaking of diagnosis, a few months ago Steve’s dance partner Hilary White even went so far as to literally faux diagnose Ann Barnhardt with a specific mental illness (Borderline Personality Disorder), publicly on facebook. Those comments were eventually deleted, but not before being captured for posterity. So on this point, I agree with Steve, “it makes certain folks think it’s okay to calumniate or attack anyone who disagrees with them.”
Later in the video, Steve calls the idea Benedict is still pope “madness”, and goes on to call anyone who might believe this as being: Schismatic, heretics, sedevacantists, Protestants, and finally, Satan. Yes, he compares the actions of those who dare point out the obvious irregularities of the current situation to the actual non serviam of Satan. I’m not going to reprint those words here, so go ahead and check the video/transcript at 00:13:14. Please click the link and read/listen to the whole thing.
But the real reason for this post is to muse about circular arguments and the law of non-contradiction, so let’s not get distracted by a little calumnious projection that has almost certainly risen to the level of mortal sin. On to the main event.
We start with some rational circuity related to the faithful having no right to examine the evidence and draw conclusions, in honest pursuit of truth:
[00:02:08] “And what I think is and has always been that Francis is a problem. A big one. That he represents a danger to the Church…I am not now nor will I ever be barring some massive conversion on his part, a Francis defender… (But) we’ve made clear that it’s wrong for us to decide for ourselves. However much we feel that we have moral certitude that the pope is anyone other than who the Church says he is. The only thing I’m doing is the same thing I’ve always done: I tell people what I believe the truth is even if they don’t want to hear it.”
This argument can be paraphrased as: “Francis is a danger to the Church (and thus a danger to souls), but it’s just wrong to point out facts which might better explain the reality of the situation, and thus help those souls struggling with their faith. It’s wrong unless you’re me, because I’m always going to tell people what I believe the truth is.”
Are you getting a feel for where this is going?
[00:03:40] “…Now people don’t want to hear that Benedict isn’t the Pope. But it’s also true. And we know that because the Church is the only authority on earth who can state unequivocally who the pope is. And she has told us that Francis is the Vicar of Christ. The cardinal electors were unanimous in their acceptance of him. The sitting bishops of the world have not raised a finger to oppose the validity of his election…[00:07:44] The Church has always held that the election of a pope is what is known as a dogmatic fact…We need to know that the guy the Church says is the pope is the pope because otherwise we can’t trust anything he says…[00:10:09] If we can’t trust that the man the church says is pope is pope, then the governance of the Church falls into chaos…There are no take backs, not even for bad popes…[00:12:41] So I will say now again what I’ve said countless times before: If we cannot trust the Church to tell us who the pope is, we cannot trust her to tell us anything that we must believe…”
Paraphrasing, “The Church has universally accepted “Francis” as pope, and since the Church is indefectible, he must really be pope.”
That sounds so beautiful, so simple. Roma locuta est, causa finita est.
But here is where that nasty law of non-contradiction comes into play:
[00:14:31] “Perhaps someday…the Church will declare Francis to be an antipope. Perhaps someday his entire papacy or at least large swaths of it will be condemned by a future pope or even an ecumenical council. It’s happened before. Perhaps this disaster can only be sorted out by Our Blessed Lord Himself through an act of divine intervention we have not yet even imagined. But I’ll tell you this: if Catholicism is true we know that the influence of this pontificate in many essential things will have to be rooted out and refuted. Knowing this in the present moment as this is unfolding, as the crisis goes on, and seeing that no action is being taken is maddening…But we have a choice to make however difficult we find it if we wish to be sons of the Church, we must take our mother at her word…”
It’s hard to paraphrase, because the argument is so turned in on itself, but it goes something like this: “The Church is indefectible, and the Church says “Francis” is pope, therefore he is pope. It’s dogmatic. But in the future, the Church could declare “Francis” to be an antipope, and his entire “pontificate” expunged, which would also be dogmatic. But for now, we have to sit and do nothing, be sons of the Church, yada yada.”
If the above statement were true, it would mean Truth could change, and it would mean two contradictory states could both be true. Witness the internal conflict and violation of the Law of non-contradiction of Steve’s pounding insistence that the Church cannot defect with regards to the identity of the Pope, and then claim two minutes later that in the future the Church could declare that it totally DID DEFECT in calling Bergoglio the Pope and then declare he was an antipope. As if he is true pope today because indefectibility, but tomorrow he could be antipope because… indefectibility! Do you see that both of these things can’t be true? This logic suggests it is simultaneously IMPOSSIBLE and POSSIBLE for the Church to defect. The Church is both defectible and indefectible.
Now, should a future meeting of cardinals or a council at some point declare Bergoglio an antipope, and they do so by reason that the conclave that elected him was invalid, due to the failed abdication of Benedict, then said council would be declaring he NEVER WAS POPE and that Benedict never stopped being pope. Despite appearances, acceptances, etc, IT NEVER HAPPENED. If only we didn’t have to wait for some future council, and we had a few live prelates walking around right now who might want to defend their mother.
Please click the link and do go read/listen to it all. I’ve omitted many paragraphs out of brevity. He offers several paragraphs with supporting evidence for the validity of Benedict’s abdication, including quotes from the Seewald interview where Benedict claimed, inter alia, that he was forced to continue wearing white because no other clothes were available… a claim which (wink) REALLY lends weight to anything else he might have said. But there are also quotes from saints and other sources that do lend some credibility to his arguments, just very weak IMO when levered against the eternal fate of souls.