Wait, say what?
The Law of Non-contradiction sure is getting a workout these days. But the truth is becoming so clear that honest people who see what is happening are able to assess it honestly and begin to evolve their mindset.
A post appeared the other day from Never-BiPer Steven O’Reilly at his blog Roma Locuta Est HERE. Steven has long been open to the possibility that Bergoglio could be declared an antipope, at some point in the future, which would mean that he is an antipope right now. But he has steadfastly denied any notion that Benedict might still be pope, hence the “Never-BiPer” moniker. Steven has always been very respectful in our exchanges on this matter, so I hope to treat him fairly here.
He highlights in this post a passage from ++Müller’s lastest attempt to rehabilitate himself among the “good guys,” after his massive failing as Prefect at CDF at the beginning of the Bergoglian Antipapacy.
July 26, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – When is a “pope” not a pope? A recent commentary by Cardinal Müller seems to suggest, albeit in an oblique manner, how we might know.
Cardinal Müller recently released a statement “On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon,” … In the most recent commentary, rejecting the possibility of female deacons, Cardinal Müller writes the following (emphasis added):
“The Magisterium of the Pope and of the bishops has no authority over the substance of the Sacraments (Trent, Decree on Communion under both species, DH 1728; Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). Therefore, no synod – with or without the Pope – and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid…”
If we assume hypothetically that Pope Francis were to make such an ex cathedra declaration on the subject above, there seems to me to be two implications embedded in the Cardinal’s statement. The first — obviously — what the Cardinal says explicitly, i.e., that such an “ex cathedra” declaration, in the Cardinal’s mind, would be invalid, and thus should be disregarded by the Faithful.
However, as Catholics well know, this poses an obvious difficulty.
That, my friends, is intellectual honesty. I’m sorry to say that Trad Inc. is sorely lacking this trait.
Vatican I defined the dogma of papal infallibility in the following terms (emphasis added):
“…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that his church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.” (Pastor Aeternus cited in Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Denzinger, 1839)
In addition, this definition is followed by a canon, which states: “But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathama” (Denzinger 1840).
Clearly, a faithful Catholic will note the seeming disconnect between what Pastor Aeternus defined infallibly, and what Cardinal Müller said above. But, the Cardinal is no dummy as to suggest ex cathedra statements can be disregarded. This suggests, to me at least, a hidden, unstated and inescapable implication in the Cardinal’s statement, as well as being an indication of how he and other Cardinals are now privately viewing Pope Francis–though this is speculative.
There is only one way, in logic at least, for a Catholic to accept Vatican I on papal infallibility but reject a heretical declaration that seemingly meets the formal conditions of being ex cathedra.
Given that a true pope is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching an error ex cathedra, it follows that if a man, seemingly “pope,” were to teach something which denies or conflicts with a known truth of the Catholic Faith it must be either (1) the man thought to be “pope” was never a true pope to begin with, or (2) the man thought to be “pope” had, at some point in the past, already fallen through heresy or apostasy from the Petrine office. Those are the logical implications as I see them. Whether these are intended by the Cardinal or not with respect to Francis, in such a hypothetical scenario as he outlined, I cannot say.
If this a fair analysis, it may suggest the Cardinal and at least a few others in the Sacred College are actively considering one of these options to be a real possibility in the case of Pope Francis. If nothing else, it certainly is a shot across the bow of Pope Francis. It does suggest, along with other statements from the likes of Cardinal Brandmuller, that some in the “resistance” are reaching the point where they can bend no more. So, after so many years, we may be reaching a decisive moment.
But it gets better, because Vatican I went further than a just a simple definition of the doctrine of infallibility as it relates Ex Cathedra (the portion quoted in Steven’s post). Take a look at the teaching leading up to formal definition of infallibility, and ask yourself: If these words are infallible, which they are, then is it possible that Bergoglio is pope?
3065 Dz 1832 [Arguments from public documents]. Moreover, that by the very apostolic primacy which the Roman Pontiff as the successor of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, holds over the universal Church, the supreme power of the magisterium is also comprehended, this Holy See has always held, the whole experience of the Church approves, and the ecumenical Councils themselves, especially those in which the Last convened with the West in a union of faith and charity, have declared.
3066 Dz 1833 For the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, adhering to the ways of the former ones, published this solemn profession: “Our first salvation is to guard the rule of right faith [. . .]. And since the sentiment of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be passed over when He says: ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church’ (Mt 16,18), these words which were spoken are proven true by actual results, since in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, and holy doctrine celebrated. Desiring, then, least of all to be separated from the faith and teaching of this [Apostolic See], We hope that We may deserve to be in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the solidarity of the Christian religion is whole and true” *
3067 Dz 1834 [cf. n. 171 f.]. Moreover, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks have professed, “that the Holy Roman Church holds the highest and the full primacy and pre-eminence over the universal Catholic Church, which it truthfully and humbly professes it has received with plenitude of power from the Lord Himself in blessed Peter, the chief or head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor; and, just as it is bound above others to defend the truth of faith, so, too, if any questions arise about faith, they should be defined by its judgment” [cf. n.466].
3068 Dz 1835 Finally, the Council of Florence has defined: “That the Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to it in the blessed Peter has been handed down by the Lord Jesus Christ the full power of feeding, ruling, and guiding the universal Church” [see n.694].
3069 Dz 1836 [Argument from the assent of the Church]. To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors always gave tireless attention that the saving doctrine of Christ be spread among all the peoples of the earth, and with equal care they watched that, wherever it was received, it was preserved sound and pure. Therefore, the bishops of the whole world, now individually, now gathered in Synods, following a long custom of the churches and the formula of the ancient rule, referred to this Holy See those dangers particularly which emerged in the affairs of faith, that there especially the damages to faith might be repaired where faith cannot experience a failure. * The Roman Pontiffs, moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical Councils or by examining the opinion of the Church spread throughout the world; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God’s help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition.
3070 For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (Lc 22,32).
3071 Dz 1837 So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair, that they might administer their high duty for the salvation of all; that the entire flock of Christ, turned away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished on the sustenance of heavenly doctrine, that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one, and relying on her foundation might stay firm against the gates of hell.