Quo Vadis, SSPX? Part I: The Failure of the Negotiations

This article was originally published as an Op-Ed piece in the May 2011 issue of The Four Marks.

I didn’t come to the Traditional Catholic movement until 1996, long after Archbishop Lefebvre had passed from this world to the next. But, I, like any honest Traditional Catholic, know that without him, there would likely be many fewer Traditional Masses throughout the world. Some say he went too far, some say he didn’t go far enough, but I am grateful for what he did do. What Traditional Catholics need to realize is that the situation is now quite different for Catholics than it was in 1991, when the Archbishop died. The question is not “what the Archbishop/SSPX would do” but rather, “what is the reality of the situation?”

Bishop Fellay recently announced the end of the “negotiations” with the Roman authorities. He seems disappointed, but can he really have expected otherwise? Let us review some facts.

The Society of St. Pius X takes dispute with Vatican II. The Roman authorities consider this to be an ecumenical council, much like Nicea, Trent, and Vatican I. Its teachings and spirit have permeated the structures of the Catholic Church since 1962 and have destroyed the faith of millions. The Society of St. Pius X adopts a hybrid position in regards to this Council: their bishops and priests and vast majority of the faithful who attend their chapels consider Vatican II to be an “optional” or “questionable” council. They cite terms like “pastoral” in order to make their case, while ignoring that every Vatican II document was signed by Paul VI as, “We, too, by the Apostolic Authority conferred on us by Christ, join with the venerable fathers in approving, decreeing, and establishing these things in the Holy Spirit, and we direct that what has thus been enacted in synod [council] be published to God’s glory…(signed) I, Paul, Bishop of the Catholic Church.”

I once made this point to a friend outside of Mass, asking him by what authority he, or any SSPX bishop or priest, questioned the authority of Vatican II. “It goes against Tradition,” he said. “Okay, and who made the Society of St Pius X the arbiter of ‘Tradition’? Where can I find in my catechism that if a council is dubious, a religious congregation in Switzerland is to be my guide?” You can imagine I got no answer.

Additionally, what started as a simple fact-finding mission, an interview with Bishop Tissier de Mallerais nearly 5 years ago now, turned into an avocation for me, and apart from hearing Bishop Tissier say that Vatican II must be “erased” from Church history, I’ve also heard Bishop Williamson tell me that Vatican II is a “poisoned cake” and must be “discarded entirely.” Bishop de Galerreta has once referred, in a sermon he gave at a Winona ordination, to the last 20 years as the “institutionalization of the Revolution,” implying that Vatican II was a revolution. Bishop Fellay and the vast majority of Society priests and faithful will often refer to the Novus Ordo as a “new religion” which is manifestly clear, as this new religion has new sacraments, new beliefs, and new behavior. When I ask the question, “How can JPII/Benedict XVI be heads of a ‘new religion’ as well as heads of the Catholic Church?” the silence I receive is indicative of two things: 1) there is a failure to think through the implications of such rhetoric as “new religion” and that 2) the intellectual conclusions of calling it a “new religion” are too horrifying to even discuss.

So, the Society considers Vatican II to be suspect AND Benedict XVI to be a legitimate Pope. There is no Catholic teaching anywhere on earth that makes provision for a Swiss (or any) congregation to be the arbiter of “Tradition” nor is there an explanation anywhere as to how the Supreme Head of the Church on earth, the Vicar of Christ, can be the head of a “new religion” other than the Catholic Church. But, this is the explanation for why there were “negotiations” in the first place. If you believe that you are holding the Catholic Faith, and that all that remains is for you to show the wayward Pope and the other billions of Catholics that they, indeed, are the ones who are lost, then of course you will, like naïfs and ingénues, show up in Rome for “negotiations.” Yet, even this was simply an imitation of the Archbishop’s actions, instead of learning from his mistakes. Countless times the Archbishop went “to Rome” and countless times he was disappointed. Formed in the Roman diplomatic tradition, Archbishop Lefebvre was always looking for one more angle with which to treat with Rome, instead of recognizing that at some point, his tenuous holding position could have only one real conclusion – that the men who let the “smoke of Satan” into the Church were the Churchmen themselves. This is why the Archbishop ordained known sedevacantists and had sedevacantist professors at Econe for years: he knew it was a future possibility.

The negotiations failed not because the SSPX was unconvincing or because Bishop de Galerreta was rude, or as some supremely ignorant laymen postulate, because Bishop Williamson hates Jews (or women, or children, or dwarfs too perhaps), but because, as Bishop Fellay seems surprised to learn, they believe in a DIFFERENT RELIGION than the Society holds. The question then devolves to the Society: do we hold the Catholic Faith? If we do, then those in possession of the Catholic instruments of authority are usurpers, as the Arians were during the time of St. Athanasius and St. Eusebius. If those in the Society dare to say that they don’t have the Catholic Faith, and that wearing a white cassock makes you right (even though antipopes have worn the white cassock, reigned from Rome, etc.), then they should humbly, on their knees, seek suppliance, forgiveness, and reintegration into the Catholic Church.

The negotiations failed because the Society of St Pius X has a distorted ecclesiology, and the chickens finally came home to roost. What remains to be seen is what will happen now. For those of us who have watched the SSPX for years, the predictable will likely happen: the SSPX will crawl back into the bunker, after some time in the sunshine after the (ironically more restrictive) Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI and the propagation of the Orwellian phrase "Extraordinary Form." There will be appeals to “tradition” and “the Archbishop” and all that, and no honest confrontation of what is going on.

The negotiations failed because the Novus Ordo Church, as headed by Paul VI, JPI and JPII, and now Benedict XVI, are bent on creating a One World Religion. All the Archbishop did in 1986 when Assisi I happened was make a statement of protest. He never called it what it was: an act of apostasy. Assisi II happened and Bishop Fellay made his necessary noises. And now Assisi III will happen, in the same year that John Paul II was made “Beato.” Yet the Society continues to, in Orwellian fashion, tell us that none of this means anything. It doesn’t matter that the Pope writes books saying that contraception is okay, it doesn’t matter that he prays in mosques or synagogues, it doesn’t matter that he is calling a congress of religions, and it doesn’t matter that he beatified who is potentially the worst Pope (if he was one) in Church history. Nothing matters. He has a white cassock, and as such, HAS to be Pope. The issue of canonizations/beatifications has proven to be a thornier one, as no one really cared when John XXIII was “beatified.” But people know that JPII was notoriously bad – not just for his heresies, but for his conduct. Yet the SSPX and other "recognize and resisters" maintain that canonizations/beatifications are not covered by infallibility – yet the issue of Sainthood/Blessedhood must indeed be covered by the Church’s disciplinary Magisterium. It is not for a congregation, Swiss or otherwise, to dispute who the Church proclaims as worthy of veneration. It is out of order in the organizational sense, and it is completely unfounded in the Catholic sense.

The negotiations failed because the large checks that flow into Menzingen and other Society General Houses around the world would stop if the Society were to ask The Question: Is the Pope Catholic?

As for the faithful, who are struggling to simply get to Mass, say the Rosary, and live a virtuous life, it is a battle entirely out of their control. If the SSPX does one day lose its schizophrenic current ecclesiology, it will either: 1) rejoin the New World Order Church that it was briefly part of in 1970-1971 or 2) realize its own Catholicity and reject the holders of authority in the Church as usurpers. In the first scenario, tens of thousands of faithful will return to garage and hotel Masses, and learn the lesson that St. Augustine drives home in the City of God: nothing on this earth lasts. In the second scenario, tens of thousands of faithful will ask the question in prayer that has been too horrific for the SSPX to confront since the Archbishop died: what do I do now? Yet, in both of these scenarios, the faithful will gain, as they will be confronted with the truth. The SSPX’s current position, schizophrenic and distorted, is simply unsustainable, and more importantly, not Catholic.

Stephen Heiner

Stephen lives in Paris, France, where he attends Mass celebrated by the clergy of the IMBC. He founded True Restoration in 2006.

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68 Responses

  1. trent13 says:

    I'm surprised no one has commented on here yet. It seems like it's a very bold and provocative post. I agree with everything and I'll be forwarding it on to people I know, thanks!

  2. Archangele says:

    Excellent comment!
    Many thanks, Mr. Heiner.

    I appreciate Archbishop Lefebvre and I am sure he would hold the same position today.

    Yes, the Archbishop made some mistakes, as everybody does, but in contrast to the new SSPX leaders he was strong enough to learn from mistakes.

  3. _ says:

    I go to a Mass offered in communion with Rome under the provisions of the Motu Proprio. It is precisely because of the incoherence you describe that I find myself unable to support the Society; sedevacantism – which I think must be wrong for separate reasons – makes more sense than the ecclesiology which lies behind statements such as Bishop Williamson's that "the Society is in the driving-seat for all Catholic purposes and any behavior, shape, size or form of negotiations which would allow this Rome to get back into the driving-seat would be tantamount to a betrayal of the Truth."

  4. dolorosa says:

    The SSPX is a lifeboat right now and the restoration will come after a major chastisement. We are headed for WWIII. The answer is not to be a sedavacanist because we can't judge the pope to be a formal heretic. The answer is to pray for the pope to release the full 3rd Secret and consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One She can help us!

  5. No one can "judge" the Pope to be a "formal" heretic. That's NOT the sedevacantist position.

    I explain more here…

    http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ignis_Ardens/index.php?showtopic=7340

  6. David says:

    Stephen, do I understand correctly that you support the sedevacantist position?

  7. David

    Yes, but I tend to take the "patient/charitable" position which seeks to question and inform rather than to condemn and excommunicate. Unlike the SSPX, who labels sedevacantists as "heretics/not-Catholics," I'm just pointing out that their ecclesiology is simply not traditional or Catholic.

  8. Bishop Williamson's comment was a bit imprudent, and I don't think it reflects the position of the SSPX. In any case, I'm not sure that defending Tradition against obvious contradictions thereto necessarily makes one the "arbiter of ‘Tradition’". Otherwise, one might eventually be tempted to cast the epithet at Msgr. Gherardini as well.

    I love Fr. Perez, and purchased his full interview from you the other day. But I must admit, his rebuttal of sedevacantism was a bit weak.

  9. NCTrad

    Thanks for supporting our business!

    To your point, again, how can the Papacy publicly "err" against Tradition – and how can a congregation be tasked with "sifting" those errors? This isn't foreseen in church doctrine. I'd like to know where it is, if I've missed it?

  10. David says:

    I can understand how someone might drift towards a sedevacantist position – to say the Church is in bad shape is to put mildly. However, I wonder how this ties in with the providence of God? Would our Lord really leave the Church for 53 years without a visible head?

    I notice that John Salza has written some essays contra sedevacantism – I wonder if you would like to comment on them?

  11. Providence of God – look what he did to Job – and can the modern world be better than Job?

    Men much smarter than me have thoroughly dealt with Salza's articles: http://www.traditionalmass.org/blog/2011/04/11/salza-on-sedevacantism-same-old-fare/

  12. David says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I think if that there would be a period of history during which for more than half a century no valid pope sat on the Throne of Peter then our Lord would have warned us in Scripture. Are there any passages that you would say point specifically to such a disaster?

    For my part I greatly struggle with the late Pope's participation in pagan worship at Lake Togo in August 1985. How can that be reconciled with his recent beatification? He broke the First Commandment and it seems that almost no-one wants to admit as much. However, I'm afraid I'll have to disagrtee with you that he wasn't a valid pope. Indeed, there have been no precedents of popes sinning so badly – and publically – against the faith but that is perhaps a horror that has been reserved for us who may be living in the last times.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

    God bless,
    David

  13. David

    While I think that picking specific dates of the end of the world is a humorous activity best left to heretics, I do think you are on to something by pointing out that such an "abomination of desolation" should surely be in Scripture. But again, that is us thinking in human terms, not in God's ways, which are outside of time.

    Perhaps we are in the end times, but remember, St. Paul thought that as he wrote his epistles. What I try to make clear is that a white cassock is NOT a get out of jail free card. That much is true.

  14. Enoch says:

    Stephen, I'm concerned that you seem to be headed for Sedevacantism, or you have already concluded that it's the only choice left to a faithful Catholic. If so, then I implore you to reconsider this.

    Rather than take the word of the people whom have influenced you in this direction, I ask you to please look for the truth of the matter on your own for awhile.

    For instance, you could try going to an NO Mass in different towns or cities, or even states (as I have done) to see for yourself what the situation is really like. I've found that most of the NO Masses have been reverently done, and not prone to abuses as the SSPX and Sedes have told us. Then, you could study a comparison of the NO alongside the TLM, in which case you'll see that it is not Protestant, as you (and I) had been told.

    Stephen, you have been deliberately lied to. I know that you trust the sources that have told you that the Pope is not Catholic, and that the Church is no longer the Church. But this is a lie. The visible magisterium, and the Pope, is the only holder of the keys; there is no other.

  15. Enoch says:

    Stephen as a follow-up to my last post, I'd like to suggest that you have a look at a current thread on the Fisheaters forum, in which forum member DJR has provided good information about the right of Popes to implement or make changes to the rite of the Mass. I understand if you don't want to post this in your comments section. It will probably make people a little upset.

    Link to thread; scroll down to post #88:

    http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php/topic,3439812.80.html

  16. Enoch

    While I appreciate your comments, no one has "lied" to me. That article was the culmination of 5 years of prayer, research, and interviews.

    And, as I've pointed out, if someone can provide me with satisfactory answers, I'm open to that. I just haven't heard any yet.

    I don't accept the "have my Pope and eat him too" position.

    As for reverent Novus Ordos – my friend, I went to high school with the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael's Abbey in California.

    Their Novus Ordo is all in Latin, with smells and bells, on a marble altar with 6 candles and communion is delivered kneeling on the tongue. But they are the exception, not the rule, and they are celebrating a compromised, protestant rite of Mass. I can't conclude that because something is reverent that it is approved of by the Church.

    You do not need a visible Pope at every minute of every day to be Catholic. You have to accept the Church's teaching on the Pope – perpetual successors – but we have gone 3 years without a Pope at one point in Church history – did the Church grind to a halt at that point?

    When you say "visible magisterium" are you talking about the "magisterium" that holds Assisi conferences or that says the Lutheran teaching on Justification is the same as the Catholic teaching?

    I ask these questions honestly, Enoch. Do you have answers for me?

  17. Enoch says:

    I'm not a fan of the Assisi conference, but it does not go against the teachings of the Church to pray alongside people of other religious faiths.

    Regarding the magisterium teaching that Lutheran teaching on Justification is the same as Catholic teaching, could you please provide where I can find that the magisterium teaches this? I've not heard of this before. Thanks.

  18. Enoch

    I'm sorry my friend, but it is a condemned anathematized principle to pray alongside other faiths:

    Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos:

    "So it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics, for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it."

    In the same encyclical, he called pan-religious initiatives "fair and alluring words that cloak a most deadly error, subversive to the Catholic Faith".

    Read here about the joint declaration on Justification:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    Once you've had a chance to read it and gather some thoughts, I'll forward some Traditional commentaries on it.

  19. Enoch says:

    But Assisi was not an 'assembly' of non-Catholics. It was just different faiths invited to pray at Assisi. If I, for instance, sit down for a meal with my Protestant family members, and we both pray together before the meal to give thanks, is this an anathema?

    I read through the Vatican document concerning the Joint Declaration on Doctrine of Justification from Lutherans and Catholics. I'm no theologian, but I can't see anything that goes against Church teaching in it. could you please specify what in the document goes against Church teaching?

  20. Enoch

    There is a world of difference between praying at a meal and calling a congress of religions to pray to "your own God."

    Archbishop Lefebvre expressed these sentiments:

    “The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations. If faith in the Church, the only ark of salvation, disappears, then the Church herself disappears. All of her strength, all of her supernatural activity is based on this article of our faith."

    http://www.dici.org/en/documents/assisi-i-october-27-1986-letter-of-archbishop-lefebvre-to-eight-cardinals-august-27-1986/

    It is a big deal.

    Now that you've read through the Declaration on Justification, here is one commentary…

    http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=31&catname=15

    and here is one from a Lutheran:

    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=155

  21. Enoch says:

    Stephen, I am requesting that you explain, in your owns words, why the document on Joint Justification between Lutherans and Catholics contains things which go against Church teaching.
    You seem convinced that the document contains problems, and rather than take the word of those whom you admire, I hope that you will consider going through it yourself, to see where the 'supposed' problems are.

    Regarding Archbisop Lefebvre's sentiments about Assisi, that you only provide information given by 'traditionalist' shows that you have allowed them to do your thinking for you. But I do understand….I did the same thing myself, at one time. Please don't be angry that I've said these things. I mean you no ill will, my friend.

  22. Enoch

    Regarding Assisi, I've cited a Papal encylical and some words from the Archbishop. May I merely be boring and say "I agree!"

    Regarding the Joint Statement on Justification – it was organized by Joseph Ratzinger and provides the very worst sort of scandal to Catholics – that there is no difference between the two doctrines, when the entire "reason" for the Protestant Revolt was, among other things, Luther's explanation of justification.

  23. Enoch says:

    Thank you, but your response does not pertain specifically to the document at hand.

    It would be helpful if you could specify as to what part of the document goes against Church teaching.

    It was not I who first mentioned this document; it was youself. Thank you.

  24. Enoch says:

    Actually, Stephen, never mind. It's obvious that you have not gone through the document yourself to find out if what your friends have said is actually true. You, along with so many others, have been brainwashed, and can no longer think for yourselves. I understand.

    The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church, no matter how much your friends have convinced you of it. They are wrong.

  25. Enoch

    I have been at work all day today. It is 8pm and I've been at the office since 8am. I'm sorry that you require instant answers, but life doesn't work that way.

    I'll endeavor, if I can tomorrow, to point out some passages I am uncomfortable with.

    Yes, Thank God the gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church. Our Lord promised so.

    I never said otherwise.

  26. I do find it fascinating that I'm "brainwashed" because you disagree with me.

  27. Enoch says:

    That I disagree with you is not the reaon why I believe you are brainwashed.

  28. trent13 says:

    Out of curiosity, Stephen, do you frequently have to end up defending your position, or is this a relatively new thing b/c of this inflammatory article, or….?

  29. Trent

    There's always one person who will disagree with me about something, so no, I don't infrequently defend myself in print or in person.

    That being said, this article has drawn particular venom for any number of reasons.

  30. trent13 says:

    Oh, and when might we expect Part II?

  31. querite says:

    Dear Stephen,
    Thank you for a very thought provoking article.Like Bishop Williamson, I believe that Benedict is the Pope. I reason this at the level of a layman’s heart and sense. It seems to me that the Church that Christ promised would not suffer the gates of hell was His visible church .. that which He was intrusting to St. Peter when He made the indefectibility promise. The Jews had a faith, but not a church under a vicar and hierarchy to protect the deposit of faith. Christ’s choice was to protect His church, not the faith which could have theoretically functioned as a collection of patriarchies without a Pope. But Our Lord obviously knew there would be a need to have a singular arbiter of the truth and invested that in His Vicar and his descendents. This visible church, initially personified by St. Peter and the Apostles, continues to be, IMHO, the structure transmitted to our time. Scripturally, Our Lord does not warn Peter and the Apostles, at the time of this initial investiture, of the consequences should they elaborate tenets of the faith and then contradict them. What Our Lords is consistent about is the obligation to be faithful (to the limits of faith and morals) to the authority one may find oneself under. His message was not to render unto Caesar after you are convinced of the legitimacy of his emperorship. But rather, obey him in so far as his authority demands, until he asks you, for instance, to worship a false god. The intimation is not that his God-given power to rule over you ceases when he asks you to perform an immorality. You are, however, obliged to disobey that command but comply with the next command to pay taxes. Similarly, as a Catholic, you are bound to obey the current President’s requests, reasonable or not, until he asks that you act against faith or morals. At that point, your obligation does not cease to obey him in other matters – he does not cease to be your lawful president. Granted, this is not quite the same as our current situation with the papacy, except to explain the SSPX position regarding the recognition of Benedict as the Pope yet struggling over what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected in the potpourri of actions emanating from Rome. You raise a good point about the arbitration of traditionality now somehow centered in the Swiss Alps. I don’t see it that way. Rather, that is the motherhouse of a fraternity of priests who serve the chapels we choose to attend. And while they probably would like to think that the opinions and direction coming from Menzingen is universally sound, from a Catholic perspective. The benefit belongs only to those who choose to follow it. There is no Menzingen infallibility implied. Additionally, I am not so sure that we can ascertain either that Bishop Fellay feels that the talks were a failure or whether the criteria exists to measure them. In the aggregate, it may not be known for years or perhaps decades whether they produced a “fruit” beneficial to the Mystical Body. Finally, and I’ve mentioned this to you before, I cannot conceive of a way, short of divine intervention, that we would ever have a valid Pope again if the last few were anti-Popes. That would mean that many, if not most cardinals are probably in the same boat and we could never trust a future conclave. The smattering of independent traditional bishops cannot agree on the validity of eachother’s orders, let alone get together to form an electing conclave. I weigh that eventuality against the possibility that the Lord allows, for reasons unclear to me, the currently elected Pope to err and the latter appears to me to be the more feasible choice. Throughout the ages, no matter what kind of hanky-panky has gone on within the conclave, we have always trusted that the Holy Ghost prevails in whomever walks out, good or less-good. To second-guess that process would undermine 2000 years of church history. Facing the prospect that there is no conceivable way to elect a new Pope is beyond plausible to me. -VinnyF

  32. ambrosio says:

    To those of us who have no other TLM option, not even of the Motu Proprio
    variety, are living in a pressure cooker.

    My district is run by a tinpot dictator who does not answer "awkward" e-mails, cuts off a call if HE doesn't like the direction it is taking, and is said to have a way with dealing with "troublemakers". Most of the white priests he send us are of such quality that none of them would ever be ordained by the local Novus Ordo.

    The poor faithful worldwide have to put up with all sorts of things, not least of all "The Talks" which have been going on in one way or another since 2000 and which even a blind man should see that Fellay wants to conclude "successfully".

    I decided yesterday, Tuesday 31st May, that the situation could not be any worse elsewhere.

    After a quarter century I walked into a local church. The NOM was a celebration of the Visitation of the BVM to her cousin St Elizabeth. I put aside all thoughts of validity and vacancy. The Proper of this particular Novus Ordo Mass is so beautiful.The celebrant was so obviously a devotee of the Blessed Virgin. And there even was a priest hearing Confession.
    On this weekday the faithful numbered more than all the "knowledgeable" faithful in this country put together.
    You have described the possible scenario in the event of an SSPX "deal" with Rome. Do not leave out the possibility that some will go to the N.O., while others will give up religion altogether?
    And the SSPX? Why should they worry? They already have the cash!

  33. ambrosio says:

    CORRECTION:

    On this weekday the faithful numbered more than all the "knowledgeable" faithful in this country put together.

    SHOULD READ

    On this weekday the faithful at this N.O.M. numbered more than all the "knowledgeable" SSPX faithful in this country put together

  34. fortitood says:

    Stephen,

    You are wrong, the SSPX does not have to fall one direction or the other. The SSPX can go on indefinitely walking along the ridge of a mountaintop (as the SSPX has already given as analogy of their position). The only thing that will cause them to fall would be missteps by the leadership.

    The SSPX must keep going to Rome and show good faith that it has not closed the door to the Vatican. That is the error made by the SSPV and other sedes. At the same time, the SSPX cannot step the other direction into the conciliar church, as long as it is full of snares laid out by modernists.

    The SSPX is in an excellent and very unique position, which I consider to be Divine Providence. The SSPX IS part of the Church, as its creation and rule were canonically erected, yet the Church has never dismantled it, despite being heaped with layers of "schismatic" labels. The dichotomy is that all the SSPX real estate and churches are part of the Church, yet most all the bishops think they can't touch the SSPX because it is outside the Church. A very unique situation!

    The biggest danger facing the SSPX is to give up this position and hand control over to the conciliar church only to have it derailed into modernism. If this were to happen and we all go back to hotel room masses with priests who leave the SSPX, we really would all become schismatic and outside the church, as we could no longer argue that our priests are in the church.

    We all need to pray that the SSPX and its leaders continue to walk on the ridge and not fall to either side until it's clear that the Church is ready. The SSPX has to keep walking and talking to Rome and part of the process of staying on the ridge. The day the SSPX stops talking to Rome is the day they take their first step off the ridge into the Sede swamp.

    goSSPX

  35. I suppose a comment box that ends with "goSSPX" is going to have a partisan view, but I was disappointed that you engaged zero of the points I bring up in the article and instead use an analogy that I find to be particular inapt.

    If the SSPX is walking on a mountain ridge, as you call it, where is the True Church? What is the Conciliar Church? Is it the Catholic Church? Please do keep in mind that you can't just make up answers to these questions. I'd like you to show me in a catechism or in some previous Catholic teaching what the difference is between a "conciliar" Church and the "Catholic" Church, please.

  36. benares says:

    Mr Heiner, for years Traditional Catholics like Hutton Gibson have been saying that the SSPX is the Trojan Horse in the City of God. He is now 93 and time may just be running out. Please interview him and ask him to put some meat on this bone of his.

    huttongibson@gmail.com huttongibson@mac.com

  37. fortitood says:

    Very perceptive of you to pick up that I am pro-SSPX. But I don't see why you think my post did not pertain to your article. You essentially said that the SSPX is backed into a corner because negotiations with Rome failed. I am saying that the SSPX probably expected failure, but it cannot stop trying. If the SSPX (or you) ever gets to the point that it doesn't want to even try to talk to Rome because it "knows those men are not speaking for the Church," the SSPX will become schismatic in their actions. The SSPV and all Sedes do just that: they could care less what Rome has to say and won't even try to talk to Vatican because the Sedes consider it a useless and unnecessary act to talk to men who they consider to have nothing to do with the true Church.

    As for quoting the Catechism of the Church where the Coniliar Church is defined, you know as well as I that it doesn't exist. However, you used that term yourself in your article and didn't cite a reference for it either!

    In my analogy, the Conciliar Church is The Church, but under the influence and direction of confused leadership. The Holy Ghost is in control and will make sure those in leadership positions don't botch the teaching of the Church, i.e., the Dogma and Doctrine. The Conciliar Church is on the right side of the mountain ridge, the Sedes on the left. The SSPX is part of the Church since its Rule was canonically established by the Church, and because it has never been dismantled by the Church (in spite of numerous bishops saying it was dissolved).

    If you prefer a different analogy, consider the SSPX to be walking on the perimeter fence of the Church. Most in the Church consider the SSPX to be outside the Church, and it is they who have pushed the SSPX to the fence border, not the SSPX.

    In perhaps one of the last sane action made by the Church before VII, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office wrote to Feenyites on August 8, 1949 (Analecta), and a very precise clarification was given: "Now, among the commandments of Christ, that one holds not the least place, by which we are commanded to be incorporated by Baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, and to remain united to Christ and to His Vicar, through whom He Himself in a visible manner governs the Church on earth. Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth."

    I think that is very clear, and I (nor the SSPX, I hope) will be "caught dead" having refused obedience to the Pope. This is why the SSPX will continue to go back to Rome, over and over. It is not an inevitable failure in negotiations, as you describe. It is in the action of going back to Rome and trying to talk that the SSPX shows its attachment to the Vicar of Christ.

    As for your comment that the SSPX acts as the arbitrator, that is just plain silly. Every Catholic has the right to use reason and Catholic principles to judge a situation and voice a concern. Just read the last chapter of the book "Liberalism Is a Sin" to see the explanation of why laymen have the right to act as the "shepherd's watch dog and bark to alert of danger." The watch dog is not trying to assume the position of the shepherd; he is simply alerting him of the danger and so the shepherd can take action. The SSPX has the right to act as a watch dog and bark. As noted in "Liberalism Is a Sin," this watch dog action has always been done by Catholics and it has always been welcome by the shepherds of the Church. The SSPX is simply holding it ground and barking as a sheep dog to warn those leaders in Rome of the danger. It is not acting as an arbitrator.

  38. Forit:

    I have a lot I've still got to work on today, but let's pretend I concede that you may be right on some points. That still doesn't change things for me.

    I'm perfectly willing to admit I may be wrong, but many respondents out in the forums have their whole world view dependent on the SSPX BEING RIGHT, and I'm just grateful not to be one of them.

    If I have time in the next few days, I hope to address your comments, and others here, in an "afterword" to this piece before bringing out Part II and beyond.

  39. suntriad says:

    Now you have to ask yourself by what authority you, Stephen Heiner, question Vatican II, and who made you the arbiter of Tradition?

    Have you ever read the writings of Jacob Michael (wrote the book FROM ECONE TO ROME: LEAVING THE SSPX WITHOUT SAYING "SCHISM"), the blog posts of Brian Sudlow (writes the blog "The Sensible Bond"), or the countless comments produced by Jordanes (the screenname of a moderator on the Rorate Caeli site)? Each of these men had a profound impact on my decision to leave the SSPX and return to full communion with Rome.

  40. marco says:

    In the "Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani", edition of 1969, the article 7 contains this description of the Mass: "Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi in unum convenientis, sacerdote præside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum". There's no reference to the central notion of sacrifice; magically, that would appear in the version of 1970. Are you pious Catholics "in full communion with Rome" telling me that, shouldn't have the Vatican "corrected" the first version, we would have agreed with it simply because the "Institutio" was an official papal document? Now, it is sure that the first version contained a gross mistake on the significance of the Catholic Mass (!!!), and that the second version admitted that mistake by adding the notion of sacrifice. May someone explain that abominable farce?

  41. marco says:

    May anyone of the "pious Catholic in full communion with Rome" explain the substantial change from the first version of the "Institutio generalis missalis Romani", article 7 (according to it: "Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi in unum convenientis, sacerdote præside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum") to the second version, which added the notion of sacrifice? I believe this abominable farce –on the meaning of the Catholic Mass!!!– is very significant. Some of you would probably have accepted the first version, simply because it was from the pope. There's just one problem: the document is not Catholic at all.

  42. Laurie Myers says:

    Greetings Stephen,
    For some time I have been a silent admirer of your work in promoting Bishop Williamson's books.
    Whilst, to date, I have not purchased them I am about to do precisely that once I sort out a few things to do with my work commitments.
    I was so impressed with your work at True Restoration Press that I decided to do my bit for your cause. If you access the website Christian Activist Personal Development (CAPD) at http://www.capd.com.au you will see that a couple of months back I informed those persons who came across the website that:
    QUOTE – Secondly, if you live in any other Country – as a Christian Activist or in any work of life I don't think you will find a better means than to use the complete set of Paraliminal CD's which you can purchase from the link below for the amazingly low price of AUD $497.70. This is almost a give-away price as it is $100 below the normal retail price and, for me, it will result in a mere profit of AUD $50 which I undertake to send to True Restoration Press enabling 5 of Bishop Williamson's books to be sent to clerics outside the U.S. or 10 books to clerics inside the U.S.,-UNQUOTE
    So far no one has taken up the offer!
    I will continue with the offer for the foreseeable future!
    I am just letting you know about it so as to encourage you in your work at True Restoration Press!
    I truly hope and pray that you are not becoming Anti-the SSPX and Pro-Sede – but just why would you want to have an article published in The Four Marks which is a Notorious Sede publication?
    Perhaps you are becoming weary of the Fight to Restore Tradition – as per the SSPX mode?
    If, as you report, it is true that Bishop Fellay has broken off negotiations with Rome, I for one will rejoice!
    When Rome finds its way back to the True Faith the SSPX will be there to welcome them back!
    I truly hope and pray that you will resume your former very strong, very clear support of the SSPX!
    From a True Admirer
    Mr Laurie Myers
    Christian Activist,
    Sydney, Australia
    4 June 2011

  43. tommy0274 says:

    Stephen,

    Welcome to reality. The position of the SSPX makes no sense. What is the purpose of a cardboard Pope? Nice to look at, but ignore everything he says or does? The Vatican II "Popes" are not"confused", they are heretics!

  44. brian says:

    Men much smarter than me have thoroughly dealt with Salza's articles:

    The article linked to appears to be in error from the beginning; that the loss of office comes from the 'sin' of heresy and not the 'crime' of heresy. I think it obvious that this premise is faulty as sin (mortal) removes sanctifying grace and not ecclesial office – it is the Church's law, granted by God's delegated authority to the Church, which establishes the giving of an office as well as the procedure for removing it. Office is completely based upon Church law and so the loss of it would be completely based upon criminal heresy.

    It appears you're subject to what Fr. Dominique Boulet, SSPX, refers to as 'intellectual desolation.' It's probable you have read the following link but in case you have not:

    http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

    You have trouble with seeing how the SSPX position is Catholic – and in some aspects so do I – however, St. Athanasius took a much more 'schismatic' approach to arianism than did ArchBishop Lefebvre towards the current crisis and few will call into question Athanasius's integrity. It is no big jump to realize that God gives us the leaders that we deserve, civil and spiritual, – but they are still leaders, appointed by God.

    Romans 13
    Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake.

    St. John Eudes stated that the worse punishment God can send is bad pastors. We're seeing that now. It doesn't mean they're not pastors – it means they're bad ones. To resist where man's authority contradicts Divine authority is absolutely Catholic.

  45. Brian, you said

    I think it obvious that this premise is faulty as sin (mortal) removes sanctifying grace and not ecclesial office – it is the Church's law, granted by God's delegated authority to the Church, which establishes the giving of an office as well as the procedure for removing it. Office is completely based upon Church law and so the loss of it would be completely based upon criminal heresy.

    Firstly, do you have any citations for the assertions you have made above?

    Secondly, Popes and Bishops are from divine law, not "completely based on Church law"

    A "crime" comes from church law, which the Pope CANNOT BE SUBJECT TO, as supreme legislator.

    Public heresy puts you outside the Church, and as St. Robert Bellarmine says, "He who is not of the body cannot be the head."

  46. brian says:

    Firstly, do you have any citations for the assertions you have made above?

    Citations are merely from common sense; mortal sin deprives of sanctifying grace not office – think about that for a moment. There does not need to be a defined reference for every single conceivable idea – this topic is the fodder of theologians, of which St. Robert Bellarmine was certainly one and I am not, but you'll find theologians contradicting each other even in the realm of the Saints and Doctors – precisely because of the reason that the subjects they discuss have not always been defined and are open to such debate.

    Secondly, Popes and Bishops are from divine law, not "completely based on Church law"

    Right, of course they are. What I meant are the processes surrounding them and governing them are Church law and thereby subject to revision.

    A "crime" comes from church law, which the Pope CANNOT BE SUBJECT TO, as supreme legislator.

    Have you read Fr. Boulet's dossier? I think it makes a good deal of sense especially the part about a policeman who enters into the force only out of a desire to destroy the state from within. Even though he is an enemy of the state his orders are valid with the force of law; such an officer can still make valid arrests with the force of the state behind him. Actually I think this part of the dossier is from a different work defending ABL's ordination by an alleged freemason, which is another good work if you haven't read it.

    But the concept I think is really simple. We all know closet heretics have always been present in the Church (look at Judas who hid his deceit quite well) and the question of their office is never questioned. It would be complete chaos if secret heretics lost their office – think of all those invalid confessions, communions, ordinations. No, no one questions them – they realize that even though the sin of heresy puts that person outside of the Church privately, they still maintain their jurisdiction and authority unless it's explicitly revoked. The good of the Church and the fulfillment of justice demands it. It's really a small jump into the realm of explicit heretics and in the case of the Pope this necessity becomes even more apparent which is why Fr. Boulet's work is spot on.

    John Salza touches on a lot of good points as well and the work you linked to really didn't address much of what he wrote on.

    Let me also make an appeal to the much approved opinion that the Church must mystically follow in our Lord's footsteps. Christ was so torn that He could not be recognized as a man, let alone a Divine Person; all because of us. The Church is unrecognizable now – once again because of us.

    You know how in the OT God punished His people by letting His own temple be destroyed and the ark of the covenant be carried off by foreign invaders? I always thought that odd; that God would punish His people by apparently "punishing" Himself. I'm personally of the opinion that God allowed this to happen again, in a sense, without retracting His promise that the gates of hell would not prevail. All that is sacred within the Church has been carried away and the Glory of the Church has been destroyed but the Church Herself has not been. Peter is still Peter even when he denies Christ but as long as we refuse to become saints now, and as long as the slumbering Saints continue to dream of the things of the earth, we're going to continue to receive the leaders we do. And I do believe that it's not a matter of an invalid leader but of a deserved one.

  47. Be very careful, Mr Heiner, when setting yourself or another without the proper authority up to pronounce that we have no Pope now.

    No One with the proper authority in the Church has pronounced that Pope Benedict XVI is heretical and not a valid Pope.

    From Canon Law:

    “By withdrawing submission from the Holy Father and the faithful in communion with him, Sedevacantists are schismatic and hence automatically excommunicated from the Church under both Divine and ecclesiastical law (canon 1325, par. 2).”

  48. Cruise

    Did I make any "pronouncement" anywhere?

    I asked some questions. Do you have answers for me?

  49. Cruise

    What copy of the 1917 code do you have that uses the word "sedevacantist"?

  50. Laurie Myers says:

    Greetings Stephen,

    There have been some excellent comments placed on your blogsite in response to your Article in the Four Marks.

    Some of the better comments were made by Dolorosa, David, Enoch, Querite aka Vinny F, Fortitood but, in my view, by far and away the best was that left by Brian when he recommended you access http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm and study the article by the SSOPX opriest Rev. Dominique Boulet.

    I hope and pray that you read this article and then pray fervently that you will be given sufficient discernment to understand the in-depth content of the article.

    Caveat – No Committed Sedevacantist will enjoy it!

    Personally, I think it answers very satisfactorily your questions.

    Not all Traditional Catholics can answer every question that you will put to them. The fact that they can't should not deter you from seeking the Truth.

    I am quite willing to engage in an off-line discussion on the various questions you have asked, if you like.

    My email addresses are either lmyers3@bigpond.com or info@capd.com.au – I get to answer many questions from a variety of persons because of my involvement with the http://www.catholicapologetics.info website which I truly believe is the best Traditional Catholic website you are ever likely to find on the Internet.

    Incidentally, I will be ordering some of the True Restoration books shortly once funds have been transferred into my PayPal account.

    You deserve the thanks of every True Traditional Catholic by making Bishop Williamson's books available.

    I wish you all the best with your future endeavours.

    May God Bless You
    Laurie Myers
    Chgristian Activist, Sydney, Australia
    8 June 2011

  51. Dear Mr Myers/Brian

    I did not come to this group of questions by reading one article. Likely all my questions will not be answered by one article.

    Nevertheless, I will read the article you propose. I hope it provides something different from the standard fare from the SSPX regarding this issue.

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. The Negotiations Continue:
    Bishop Fellay from DICI:

    "The contacts continue. We are probably reaching the end of a phase of discussions. This is not yet completely clear. What will happen? What will be the outcome of this phase? This answers the second question. What does Rome foresee for us now? One should not be mistaken: we are truly within the crisis of the Church; it has certainly not ended. What is our fate in this crisis? I believe that, at some level, the Good Lord linked us with this crisis, because we work for the restoration of the Church, but this may still last for a decade, maybe two. It is necessary to have lots of courage and perseverance. This can be resolved tomorrow, this may be be resolved the day after tomorrow. All is in the hands of the Good Lord. Let us all remain simply faithful."

  54. Cruise

    The other day a friend of mine who assists at an SSPX Mass heard a sermon referring to the Novus Ordo as a "new, different, religion."

    This begs the question of your quote from Bp. Fellay. If it's a different religion, why contacts at all? Ecumenical outreach, perhaps? 🙂

  55. Laurie Myers says:

    Dear Stephen,
    It is is obvious that you have not read the Article "Is that Chair Vacant?" by the SSPX priest Fr Dominique Boulet that both Brian and I recommended that you read.
    If you had you would not be asking the question you have just asked.

    As I said in my last posting you will find the answers to all of your questions in that Article.

    I wish you would not keep asking 'Sedevacantist-type' questions on an open blogsite. They tend to give scandal and it is difficult to correct any wrong impressions when you just fire off a response without doing the research.

    To quote Fr Boulet: P.10/17 "…the Church, as founded by Jesus Christ, is both divine and human. It is divine in its origin, its founder and its invisible head…but it is human in its members, in particular in the visible head, the pope. As being divine, the Church is the unspotted and unblemished spouse of Christ…but, as human, the Church is composed of men who, like you and I are sinners. Then, we should not be surprised if the present pope (JPII, when the article was written) can betray his master, as did St Peter…"…

    There is much, much more in the Article to digest to get a proper understanding of what is happening in the Church.

    The fact is that a New Religion has been launched by Rome since Vatican II…it has been launched by the men in charge…not by the Holy Spirit!

    However, as you read on in the Article you will see that even if a Pope is a heretic…he is still the Pope…however he should not be obeyed if he commands you to do something that is sinful…but, he is still the man in charge with whom we have to have our dialogue.

    There is much that the post-Vatican II popes have commanded that is sinful … just look at the suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass for over 40 years.

    I thank God for the SSPX … without them we would all be lost!

    Whilst they are only small in number they 'have a massive clout' because they have God on their side.

    I hope you find the time to read the article by Fr Boulet – you will find it at http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm.

    May God Bless you in your research

    Kind regards
    Laurie Myers
    Christian Activist, Sydney, Australia
    9 June 2011

  56. "This begs the question of your quote from Bp. Fellay. If it's a different religion, why contacts at all? Ecumenical outreach, perhaps? :-)"

    Mr Heiner
    It is not a different religion.
    It is Catholic.
    Thus the negotiations.

    That is not say that the NO is not flawed greatly, but it was validly promulgated by a validly sitting Pope, and is Catholic.

  57. Cruise

    One of the major points of my article is that Bp. Fellay and other clerics of the Society constantly refer to the NO as a "different religion." I can provide you with a raft of direct quotes if you like.

    Do they mean something different? Or does "different" just mean "same"?

  58. My good man/woman:

    The internet is a useful tool. You can google it and do the research yourself.

    But if I must hold your hand…

    Bp Tissier de Mallerais

    Q: Would you say that the fight for the Mass has changed dramatically since the consecrations?

    Tissier de Mallerais: Absolutely not. Nothing has changed! The persecution against the actual young priests who retake the old Mass is the same as the persecution against the good priests, parish priests who, 40 years ago, remained faithful to the Mass of their ordination. With very few exceptions, the bishops are enraged against the traditional Mass. Their new religion is against the true Mass, and the true Mass destroys their new false religion, a religion without sacrifice, expiation, satisfaction, divine justice, penance, self-denial, asceticism; the religion of the so called “love, love, love” that is nothing but words.

    Citation: http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=262570&sid=72977e0ca7b3dc321800d614ce797116

    Bp. Williamson:

    Bp. Williamson: Honestly, I see no likelihood of the situation existing between Rome and the SSPX changing in the near future. Even if Rome half-converted and the SSPX half-betrayed, in order for the two parties to meet half-way, still there would be war to the death between Conciliarism and Catholicism. We are not talking about Rome or the SSPX being nice or nasty. We are talking about two different, and necessarily opposed, religions.

    Citation: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php?topic=814596.0

  59. ellie says:

    Stephen, I do not agree with your opinion, but I respect it, because you seemed to be concerned to remain objective (as far as one can be objective in this matter) – up to the point when you say, "The negotiations failed because the large checks that flow into Menzingen and other Society General Houses around the world would stop if the Society were to ask The Question: Is the Pope Catholic?"
    If I understand correctly, you are implying that the SSPX is not asking the sedevacantist question for financial reasons. This would mean that the SSPX puts money before the Catholic faith, which is an outrageous accusation to make. On what basis can you insinuate such a thing? You might want to re-think your statement (or at least re-phrase it).

  60. Ellie

    Thank you for your comment.

    If you see in my article I use a rhetorical device to keep hammering a point…"the negotiations failed because…" and there are 4 different paragraphs that start that way, only one of which has to do with money.

    I don't consider it "outrageous" at all. One of my part-time activities is as an employee of a non-profit. When you are raising money, you speak to a specific audience a specific way. So too, Angelus Press uses the term "Extraordinary Form" when selling to Indult/Motu types, but they NEVER use that term "in house." Is this putting the faith behind money? I don't think so.

    At the same time, it is an honest reality that sedevacantism is financially unpopular. People just don't like the idea of not having a Pope. That's just the reality of it. I don't accept that my comment here constitutes an "outrageous" statement that questions the intentions of the SSPX…I think it's a financial reality that I would be remiss in not mentioning as *PART* of why the SSPX will not address this question honestly.

    I hope that clarifies things.

  61. Sean says:

    I agree with your questions. I often ask these myself. For instance, why do I attend Mass under the 1954 Missal (non sedevacantist) when the the 1962 is clearly the approved Missal (approved in 1962, and now)? I have to admit I don't have many answers. I am frightened of the sedevacantist position about as much as conservative Novus Ordo position. While I think it may be true that one or more Popes may be declared to not be Popes in the future, I am not so confident of taking a public position on that as opposed to conceding it only as a possibility. I attend an independent chapel, and by my actions I concede that things are very wrong, and something is wrong with the Church, but I can't say the sedevacantists have it right either — i.e., their public platform is defined by this position. I also think that the modernists are too slippery to be classified under former definitions. The sedevacantists general give one solution which is flavored in a relatively modern way — ultramontane and legalistic. They run through the logic and conclude that sedevacantism is the only logical answer. They also present a largely negative conclusion — you're only for something because you're against THAT. For me, I find the line of a resistance which errs on the side of caution. I know the this Mass is safe and this Mass is dangerous. I know this teaching is safe and this is dangerous. Etc. I don't know that the Pope is the Pope. But I don't know if he isn't either. I am not sure of either position. Maybe we should all get used to the cross of our time — there is no position of security for us.

  62. Laurie Myers says:

    Hi Stephen and Sean,

    If neither of you are prepared to read the Article by Rev. Dominique Boulet of the SSPX I suppose the next best thing is for me to serialise it here on this blogsite.

    Para.6 Judgment on Sedevcantism: Could we say that the Sedevacantist thesis is simply a wrong thesis, but that we should tolerate it in a spirit of charity? No, I think that Sedevacantism is very dangerous. It leads to an attitude which is not Catholic, but schismatic.

    Para. 6.1 Schism: "It is consequently true that there can be some theological discussion as to whether Sedevacantists are formally schismatic or not. The answer to this depends on the degree of Sedevacantism. There are radical Sedevacantists that call us heretics since we are in communion with a heretic (Wojtyla), so they say. These are certainly schismatic, for they clearly reject communion with true Catholics, who are in no way modernist. By making their Sedevacantism a quasi-article of faith they certainly fall into the second category of persons that canon 1325 para. 2 declares to be schismatic: "He is a schismatic who rejects communion with members of the Church subject to him (i.e., the Sovereign Pontiff)." It is consequently by their refusal to be a part of the Church, and effectively making the "church" as they see it consist only in Sedevacantists that they are certainly schismatic."

    This is exactly the case of the CMRI (Mount St. Michael, Spokane), which states: "Are traditional catholics subject to the local hierarchy and ultimately to Rome?…He (the Sedevacantist) recognizes that he is actually not subject and obedient to John Paul II." Some other Sedevacantists claim that, on account of the failure of the hierarchy of Vatican II, they can now elect their own pope.
    Such theory is called Conclavism. This is the most radical brand, but somehow the mosty logical consequence of Sedevacantism. There are now about 20 'popes' in the world, for example 'Gregory XVII' from Palmar de Troya, Spain; another 'Gregory XVII' from St. Jovite, Quebec; 'Pius XIII', in the USA…Certainly, Conclavism is schismatic. Does it mean that every Sedevacantist is a formal schismatic? No, I would not go that far.
    Among the people who follow the Sedevacantists theories, there are a number of confused Catholics who are being attracted by these 'simple' and 'clear' answers to the problems of the situation of the Church coming from the masters of Sedevacantism. It is mostly to these confused Catholics that this study is addressed: beware of the mirages of Sedevecantism. It will lead you astray from the Church and the Sacraments!

    So, Stephen (and perhaps Sean), do you see where the path you have stepped onto is leading you?

    Eventually, you may be forced to choose one of the 20 'popes' referred to above as your pontiff. Of course, you could organise your own conclave and choose another.

    I strongly urge you to enrol yourself in an SSPX Retreat and find out what it is really like to be a Genuine Catholic! It is evident to all of us reading your blogsite that you are experiencing a 'Spiritual Crisis' which, if you continue on the path you have chosen will take you right out of the Church!

    I hope and pray that some of the above is getting through to you. I also (once again) strongly urge you read the entire article by Fr Boulet at http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

    May God Bless You in your search for the Truth
    Laurie Myers
    Christian Activist, Sydney, Australia
    15 June 2011

  63. "One of the major points of my article is that Bp. Fellay and other clerics of the Society constantly refer to the NO as a "different religion." I can provide you with a raft of direct quotes if you like."

    They are wrong then.
    The Novus Ordo is an officially and validly promulgated form of the Latin Rite of Catholic Mass, and not a religion.

    I would like to see the quotes in their context please.

  64. Sean says:

    I would like to clarify that I am not a sedevacantist, but that it may be a possibility that one or more Popes may be declared to not be Popes in the future.

  65. Joe Hargrave says:

    Hello Stephen,

    I just want to say that everything you have said here, I said myself, and it leads inexorably to the sedevacantist position.

    Since I have become an open sedevacantist, it has been a true joy to fight without compromise for the truth. Never were the words of Christ more immediately clear to me: the truth shall make you free.

    I will pray that Our Lady continue to guide you out of wicked Babylon during these times. And I invite you to check out my blog:

    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/

    God Bless,

    JH

  66. suntriad says:

    Mr. Heiner, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Dr. Brian Sudlow's blog post, "Confessions of a Nobody: Why I left the SSPX milieu" which has recently become available to read online again…of course, if you're too busy to comment, then I understand.

    http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/p/why-i-left-sspx-milieu.html

    -Kevin