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Any Plowman Can Interpret Pascendi: The Remnant’s Call for Schism

In a “featured” article on the newspaper’s website, The Remnant has proclaimed that “Satan has made his move. He has the See of Peter,” and Bergoglio is “his tool.” And to make the point abundantly clear, Ann Barnhardt tells us that the pope is a “Diabolical Narcissist Peronist-Fascist”; he has committed a “massive crime against humanity,” one that places him above such evil-doers that he ends up “personally responsible for the most loss of human souls to eternal damnation, above Luther, above [M]ohammed, above Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), above Paul VI Montini.”

And of course there can only be one response to such evil: Pope Francis must be “deposed and anathematized for being a heretic.” And who is to carry out this sentence? It must be “those bishops remaining who still hold the Catholic faith” called together in an “Imperfect Ecumenical Council.”

One would hope that a publication that claims to be a bastion of orthodoxy would not be a place to find a call for schism. But I can see no other way to interpret an open call for a rump group of bishops to depose the pope.

And like all calls for schism, it is placed in such vile language as violates every standard of charity and fidelity. All schismatics share a common vile vocabulary and a common low rhetoric. This is not surprising, since as Thomas Aquinas tells us, schism itself is an offense against charity (ST, IIa IIæ, 39, 1, ad 3).

The Limits of Propriety

Now, I am the last person with a right to lecture anybody on charity, but I think I can say something about propriety. And what I can say is this: I am a man living under authority, the authority of those upon whom hands have been imposed, beginning with the hands of the Apostles. I am not such a fool as to think they are anything but what they are. I suppose that half are fools and few are saints.

But for all that, they possess the authority of the Apostles. This is not to say they cannot be opposed on this or that; it is to say they cannot be deposed, save on competent authority, and I can’t think what that authority might be when it comes to the Vicar of Christ. But I am pretty sure that authority is not an “Imperfect Ecumenical Council,” which can only mean, not the College of Bishops acting in unity, but a rump group of bishops acting in rebellion.

It is similar to the situation in Vietnam: I did not follow the lieutenant because I thought he was the best man in the platoon; I followed him because I thought he was the lieutenant; he had those butter-bars on his collar. And it was not a good time for Proof-Texting the Field Manuals and Making Up Your Own Mind.

Likewise, I do not follow the bishops because I think they are the best, I follow them because I think they are the bishops; they have those funny hats. Oppose them on this or that issue I must, because I happen to have the training to do so. But there are lines that must not be crossed. And after all, I could be wrong; they could be right. It must be admitted: they might be better men than me.

In the last analysis, we owe the bishop, and the Bishop of Rome, charity, obedience, and even docility. This docility is not of course servility, because even the worst order—or especially the worst order—needs to be carried out with intelligence and creativity. But in the end, it needs to be carried out.

There is a reason it is called The Church Militant.

Comic-Opera Buffoonery

What I see most of all in all this is the evil of Private Interpretation once again rearing its brutal visage. It is as if they are saying that Any Plowman Can Interpret Pascendi, and pass his infallible judgment on bishop and pope after supplying the appropriate proof-texts. We have been here before. In fact, we never left it. The same errors always occur in monotonous succession and lead to the same place.

What really impresses is the comic-opera buffoonery of the whole thing. Of course, no serious person will take them seriously, and it will come to naught, will end in the absurdity in which it begins. But in the meantime, it will lead many souls astray; teach the weak that this is an appropriate mode of discourse and an appropriate line to cross. It will not build up the Church, but work to tear it down.

And what is the point of leading these poor souls astray? Does Michael Matt, The Remnant’s editor, really suppose that the “orthodox” cardinals were just waiting for the clarion call from an American weekly newspaper to overturn the Pope and re-impose the Latin Mass? Suppose they do get their wish and Bergoglio is deposed, resigns, or (as he must do at some point) dies. What will change then?

Nothing! The same college that elected him by two-thirds vote will elect him again, or someone very like him. I see no evidence that the cardinals are in revolt, just waiting for The Remnant to raise a banner to take up their positions on the barricades of the Via Appia.

And who are these bishops who will participate in this “imperfect ecumenical council”? The ones judged by The Remnant to be “orthodox.” And what is the test of this “orthodoxy”? Why, that they would vote to depose Francis, of course. But Michael Matt knows as well as I that there are no such bishops, or not so many that you would need the fingers of one hand to count them. This “ecumenical council” would be “imperfect” enough to be held in a phone booth.

The Absurd Call

So why issue such an absurd call? This does not arise from Catholic culture, but from clickbait culture, the need to drive readership by whatever means necessary. It is to build up the circulation of The Remnant by tearing down the unity of the Church. Michael Matt is trying to become the Donald Trump of Traditionalism by appealing to the worst passions of his audience and saying the most outrageous things.

Vile memes may be bad for the soul, but they are really good for circulation. Perhaps the new motto of The Remnant ought to be, “Schism: It’s not just for sedevacantists anymore.”

The biggest tragedy is that there is much to work with, with this Pope. Almost every page of Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’ fairly drips with contempt for individualism, subjectivism, relativism, capitalism, and all the other evils of modernism.

R. R. Reno was correct when he said Laudato Si’ “is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX’s haughty 1864 dismissal of the conceits of the modern era.” But rather than give the Holy Father a charitable reading, and working with him where their concerns coincide, they have elected to advance the cause of our enemies and to make with them a common enemy of our pope.

The Traditionalist Ism

Now, I fully understand and indeed sympathize with the traditionalists. Like them, I hold in great reverence the traditional forms and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Mass, whether the Latin Mass or (my preferred rite) the Byzantine. And I am firmly repulsed by the casualness and, too frequently, the liturgical abuses of the “New Mass,” not to mention the studied ugliness of modern church architecture. And like them, I have devoted my life to fighting the evils of modernism.

Yet I have never been able to call myself a “traditionalist.” The problem I see is that the “ism” turns too quickly into an ideology and acquires its own agenda, an agenda that ends up doubling back to cancel out the original concerns.

G. K. Chesterton put it this way, “Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church.” Changing this slightly, we can say, “Men who begin to fight Pope Francis in the name of anti-modernism will fling away anti-modernism if only they may fight Francis.” And that seems to have happened when they cannot even join with the pope to fight what in Laudato Si’ he calls the myths “of a modernity grounded in a utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism, the unregulated market).”

And who can fail to note the irony that on the eve of the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s famous 95 Theses that split the Church apart, some Traditionalists, with their own theses, want to do the same? And to make the irony complete, they seem to want a council to overrule the pope, which sounds a lot like the conciliarism they pretend to oppose.

There are many issues in the Church that need to be debated, and indeed, since the days of Saints Paul and James, the Church has always been something of a debating society. But there are lines that must not be crossed, if one is to remain a faithful Catholic. Debate, dialogue, discuss, argue, or even shout, as your personal taste in such matters dictates. But schism is never the answer.

For Further Reading

Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’

Ann Barnhardt’s The Die Is Cast: Bergoglio MUST Be Deposed. (We list this only because it’s the article John Medaille is discussing. The editors agree that it’s crazy talk.)

R. R. Reno’s The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism

John Médaille’s Radical Traditionalism: The Fall of Triumph Magazine

David Mills’s The Bitter Sons Speak of Francis

Aaron Taylor’s Pope Francis’s Conservatism of Joy

Andrew Haines’ Why Domestic Tyrants Hate Pope Francis

 

Readers are invited to discuss essays in argumentative and fraternal charity, and are asked to help build up the community of thought and pursuit of truth that Ethika Politika strives to accomplish, which includes correction when necessary. The editors reserve the right to remove comments that do not meet these criteria and/or do not pertain to the subject of the essay.

  • SilasCepa

    I just read the article on The Remnant. The article itself is bad but the hatred for Francis by Catholics in the comments is terrifying. It seems like many people have mixed politics with their faith and let their political ideology guide their faith. That Francis does not share their political ideology 100% makes them think he is not as Catholic as they are. That mixing of an ideology and faith is what C.S. Lewis called “Religion and”. It corrupts our faith by replacing God with the ideology. Too often people do not even notice they are doing it. Pride is sneaky.

    • NDaniels

      We are, One Body, One Spirit, in Christ; there is no division in The Body of Christ. What appears to be division is due to those who have left Christ’s Church spiritually, but remain physically, causing chaos and confusion, and a Great Falling Away.

  • Mack

    “Diabolical Narcissist Peronist-Fascist” – what a tangle of syllables and illogic! This reminds one of the Maoist slogans of the 1960s: “counter-revolutionary reactionary Yankee lackey imperialist running dog” and so on.

    • RuariJM

      You forgot my favourite: paper tigers.

  • RuariJM

    John Medaille is now faced with a clear choice – as are many other people. That choice is: whose side are you on? If you are against The Remnant (and fellow-travellers) then I’m afraid the time is past to concede them any ground or points whatsoever. Anything that looks right or seems to have a crumb of validity has to be recognised for what it is: bait, for the unwary. Time to stop paying any attention or even discussing it.

    It has been said “by their fruits shall ye know them”. It’s not just about poor grammar and too many syllables; it’s about genuine, palpable hatred, as evidenced by the column Medaille is discussing, it’s about all those that went before, and the undeniably venomous and vicious comments underneath it. These things have only one father, and it ain’t the one we want to follow.

    Time to shake the dust off your shoes, I’m afraid; these people cannot be pandered to any more.

    • The problems and confusions that arose with Francis’ election cannot be chalked up to media twisting of his words or any idiosyncratic animus against him. Francis (who began saying the Church obsessed too much on abortion, gays, etc.) and his Progressive friends have been systematically overturning Benedict’s Reform of the Reform from the first. This is an indisputable fact, acknowledged by the great majority in the Conservative and Progressive Catholic Press and the secular press.

      Cardinal Walter Kasper, Benedict’s nemesis, was chosen to be the Pope’s personal theologian at last October’s Synod on the Family which sought to open questions regarding remarriage and homosexuality which were closed forever beginning in scripture. The pope personally handpicked the Kasper-approved Progressive theologians who produced the infamous Interim Report which shocked a slight majority of the synod fathers who, thankfully killed the popes inititiative dead in its crib.

      Since then Francis has had to back peddle some, but, analysts say not for good. He gives actions to Progressives and pious words or rebukes to curia traditionals, the forces that backed Benedict and John Paul II.

      Even the head of the very CDF (!) has raised numerous alarms over Francis’ synod agenda and joined Cardinal Burke (who be demoted and would not allow to participate in the recent Synod on the family) and four other prominent cardinals in the unprecedented historical action of writing a book prior to the synod opposing their (his) agenda. The African and Polish bishops have raised the alarm over all this as well.

      One need not change one iota of doctrine frontally to hand the Church over to Progressives who will, when Francis is gone, “interpret” those dogmas.

      Just weeks before the Irish same sex referendum in which Ireland was lost to the Catholic Church for the first time since St. Patrick Francis appointed the notorious gay advocate, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, as Consult to the Vatican’s Peace and Justice Commission. What a sly signal to the Irish in that critical hour.

      And that appointment also illustrated that Francis, unlike JPII and BVI has been driving a sly wedge between Church praxis (works of mercy) and traditional Catholic doctrine. The former must ever be the *fruit* of orthodoxy, sound doctrine, never a substitute for it.

      Francis has sowed confusion in this most critical area also. One cannot soft-pedal or eclipse the traditional teachings of the Church and use praxis as the cover. That is the age-old trick of Modernists / Progressives.

      • RuariJM

        Sorry – what was the middle bit again?

  • John Carter

    Well done.

  • I don’t like docility. Can we change it to trust? I do like that we are in a post-modern church where we can choose between Byzantine, Latin and the Norm, that we can celebrate our faith in magnificent buildings of all shapes and sizes.

    • B. R. Mullikin

      I understand that “docility” sounds bad to the modern ear, but remember that “docility” comes from the latin docere, to teach, instruct. And therefore to be docile means something like being willing to be taught or willing to accept instruction (lit. “teachable”).

      For that reason, I thought it was a well chosen word. Certainly we ought always to be open to instruction from our Bishop and from the Church.

      But, then, also, your word “Trust” is a good word too. So perhaps both. Docile and Trusting.

    • John Médaille

      From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”,49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.”

      • MSApis

        There seems to be a certain tension – particularly acute in our own times – between what is said in Lk 10:16 (“He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me”) and in other verses of the NT, such as Mt 7:15 (“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”), and Gal 1:8 (“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema”).

        Who exactly are the ravening wolves of whom we have to beware? Can they at any time be those who are our pastors? St Paul seems to be implying that yes, they can be. In commenting on Gal 1:8 St John Chrysostom notes that St Paul includes himself and the other Apostles in his anathema, and concludes that “in the discussion of truth the dignity of persons is not to be considered”.

        St Thomas Aquinas too comments on this passage, mentioning that some may object “that, since an equal has no authority over his peers and much less over his superiors, it seems that the Apostle has no power to excommunicate the apostles, who are his peers, and less so, angels who are superior. Therefore the anathema is invalid”.

        His answer to the objection is “that the Apostle passed this sentence not on his own authority, but on the authority of the Gospel teaching, of which he was the minister, and the authority of which teaches that whoever says aught contrary to it must be expelled and cast out”.

        So can the words “He who hears you, hears me” apply in cases where the pastors diverge from Gospel teachings? And if even angels can be anathemized on such grounds why not pastors who are mere men?

  • Chris Ferrara

    “And who can fail to note the irony that on the eve of the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s famous 95 Theses that split the Church apart, some Traditionalists, with their own theses, want to do the same?”

    And who can fail to note the irony that Francis is going to Sweden next year to commemorate the 500th anniversary of that same “Reformation,” including participation in a joint liturgy with faux Lutheran “bishops” who condone abortion, contraception, divorce, the “ordination” of women and practicing homosexuals, and who would be viewed a worthy of the flames by Luther himself? Surely we Catholics have not lost the capacity to recognize this kind of thing as simply insane.

    There is more to the Remnant’s position than the rhetoric and tone of one column. This entire critique is an appeal to emotion, designed to elicit booing and hissing from the reader.

    Meanwhile, serious observers of the Catholic scene, in the United States and Europe, both traditionalist and non-traditionalist, recognize the crisis this papacy represents: the first Pope in Church history beloved by the worldly powers, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. A Pope who, as Antonio Socci so rightly declares in his book-length open letter to the Pope, has set about “attacking the Church” instead of her enemies.

    And Francis responded with a personal note to Socci, thanking him for the book and the criticisms, which are as harsh as anything the Remnant has written.

    There is more to this situation than meets Médaille’s eye.

    • Emma Fox WIlson

      The phrase ‘worthy of the flames’ is full of a kind of glee that makes one unwilling to take much else that you say seriously. You are talking about eternal damnation and might do well to throw the prospect around with more awe and humility and a little less zest.

      And, as a side note, Francis is not the first Pope in history to be beloved by worldly powers. John XXIII was beloved by worldly powers. He was beloved by everyone. He’s now a saint.

      • Chris Ferrara

        Does anybody here appeal to anything but emotion? You attribute “glee” to me so avoid the merits of what I say? There is nothing gleeful about the phrase “worthy of the flames.” It means only that even Luther would have regarded today’s loony pro-abortion Lutherans as heretics who should be burned at the stake.

        No Pope in Church history has received the world’s praise like this Pope. That is a very bad sign, as Our Lord himself made clear.

        As for John XXIII, why was he known in the press as “the good Pope”? If you are honest, you will admit that it was not because he was a strong defender of faith and morals, but rather because he was perceived, unlike the hated Pius XII, as someone who would revolutionize the Church and bring it down to the world’s level at last. With Francis, the same thing is happening but on a much vaster scale.

        Finally, the press hated Benedict but loves Francis. That tells you nothing? It speaks volumes to me.

        • Daniel Schwindt

          There’s argumentum ad passiones, and then there’s the simple observation that someone is arguing emotionally. Emma wasn’t appealing to the emotions of the audience, she was talking about yours, which are evident, and therefore revealing.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Oy vey! ANOTHER reference to “emotions”? Based on nothing more than the obvious fact that Luther would want to burn the loony Lutherans of today at the stake? And what does that have to do with MY “emotions”? I am talking about Luther’s, for heaven’s sake.

            What a hopeless muddle these com boxes are.

        • OpenMinded

          While I agree with most of what you say–particularly the evil inherent in praising Luther–trying to juxtapose Benedict with the other Vatican II popes is a fool’s errand. Don’t be misled by the sheep’s clothing. He was every bit as heretical and destructive to the Church as the rest. In fact, he was the mastermind behind much of the false ecumenism we’ve seen over the last 40+ years.

      • OpenMinded

        What? Try reading the sentence again. He is saying it’s ironic the a “pope” would praise Luther when Luther would have declared the papacy (and those in communion with it) as on the path to Hell.

        It’s far more than ironic though. Francis’ actions are demonic. And all you so-called Catholics need to wake up.

  • Ann Barnhardt is a crackpot. But Francis is worse. He’s clearly turning the Church over to Progressives theologically to be our new interpreters of the Council and all things Catholic; and one need not explicitly change one iota of doctrine to do so. Progressives don’t work that way.

    Some may like aspects of his social teachings but he’s making these a substitute for orthodoxy as a whole. For him the Works of Mercy are cover for an “evolving” Church. Whew.

    No, we need not foolishly pronounce on Canonical matters higher than our pay grade. But we needn’t obey those who do not obey Tradition either. It’s as simple as that.

    • Chris Ferrara

      Prescinding from the comment on Barnhardt, I agree with you. I should note that her blog post was just that. Her fault was saying publicly and harshly what so many are saying privately, including priests who say the New Mass with whom I have had numerous conversations. These mainstream priests, several of whom have written publicly against Francis under pseudonyms, say things in private about this wayward pontificate that go even beyond what Barnhardt has written.

      Also commenting quite harshly on Francis are people like Germain Grisez, who is hardly a traditionalist: “I’m afraid that Pope Francis has failed to consider carefully enough the likely consequences of letting loose with his thoughts in a world that will applaud being provided with such help in subverting the truth it is his job to guard as inviolable and proclaim with fidelity. For a long time he has been thinking these things. Now he can say them to the whole world — and he is self-indulgent enough to take advantage of the opportunity with as little care as he might unburden himself with friends after a good dinner and plenty of wine.”

      Funny how Médaille held his fire when people like this were saying things like that. Only the Remnant gets it in the neck.

      The confusion evident in this critic of the Remnant is between the Church and the Pope. The Pope is not the Church but rather its guardian. His mission is to defend the deposit of the Faith, not to bask in the world’s applause for attacking “rigorists” and “small-minded rules.” To oppose many of the things Francis has said and done is not to oppose “the Church.” It is, rather, to oppose Francis in matters where he has harmed the Church.

      The idea that Francis is an “anti-Modernist” because he (rightly enough) condemns the excesses of capitalism and the modern cult of the individual is enticing but ultimately misleading. Anti-Modernism involves far more than a critique of economic liberalism and personal selfishness. The Modernist attacks the dogmas of the faith, causing havoc in the realm of sacred theology, not just the social teaching. The “Modernist as reformer,” to use Saint Pius X’s phrase, attacks the traditions of the Church in her liturgy and ancient customs.

      Quoth Francis in Evangelii Gaudium: ” I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.

      And this from the same manifesto: “More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).”

      These are not the opinions of an anti-Modernist, for heaven’s sake. No Pope has ever set up a false opposition between evangelism and the Church’s self-preservation or accused the Church of allowing people to starve spiritually because of her “rules” and “habits.” Ironically, if people are starving spiritually today it is because the Church has abandoned so many of her “rules” and “habits,” emptying both the pews and the seminaries—except where the “rules” and “habits” have been maintained or restored.

      We need to get beyond the kind of grandstanding evident in this article and confront the reality of a crisis in the Church that has arisen precisely because she has already done what Francis wants: “transforming everything.” The result of the attempted transformation, as Pope Benedict admitted, has been “calamity,” including “banalization” of the liturgy and the collapse of religious and priestly vocations (outside of traditionalist orders). In sum, a catastrophic failure.

      • Easter Rising Farm

        Dr. Medaille, I imagine, would have similarly critiqued Grisez had he called for deposing the pope.

        Fraternal correction and civil criticism are not the same as calling for him to be deposed.

        • Chris Ferrara

          Putting aside considerations of rhetoric and tone, there is a serious theological argument underlying the lone provocative blog post at issue here.

          The teaching of doctors the Church, including Bellarmine, is that a Pope who “attempts destroy the Church” (Bellarmine) can not only be opposed by the faithful and his commands impeded, but further (admittedly only a theoretical remedy), a council of cardinals could declare that a Pope who had fallen into heresy had deposed himself.

          Mr. Médaille’s knowledge of this question appears to be superficial to nonexistent. Consider this article from First Things—http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/can-pope-heretic— which is hardly a “rad trad” publication. Therein we read:

          “Suarez thinks that, just like Christ bestows the papacy on the man whom the Church elects, so also Christ takes away the papacy from the man whom the Church convicts (De fide 10.6.10). *So, if a pope commits the sin of heresy, all the other bishops of the world have the right to try him for the crime of heresy, even against his will (De fide 10.6.7). If they were to convict him, he could be considered deposed from the papacy by Christ, and the Church could elect another pope.*

          First Things continues:

          *Bellarmine was more hesitant about the whole question. Unlike Suarez, he did not take it as a given that the pope could be a formal heretic. Actually, Bellarmine considered it “probable” that God would prevent the pope from ever being a formal heretic (he says it twice: De Romano Pontifice 2.30 and 4.2). *Nevertheless, Bellarmine was willing to consider what would be the case if the pope could fall into formal heresy.*”

          And more:

          “If we assume that the pope could be a formal heretic, Bellarmine thinks Suarez’s opinion is wrong. Suarez allows the bishops to judge the pope. But one of Gratian’s basic rules is that no one can judge the pope. Sure, Suarez has Christ carrying out the judgment, but it is only because the other bishops of the Church have pronounced the judgment first.

          “Instead, Bellarmine adopts the position that Suarez rejected: *the pope loses his office immediately by committing the sin of formal heresy,* because people who commit that sin cease to be members of the Church, and God deposes a pope who is no longer a member of the Church. *It’s true that the bishops could still get together and make a declaration that God had deposed the pope, but their declaration would not be a judgment in any real sense, only an acknowledgement of what God had already done. (De Romano Pontifice 2.30)*

          You would never know from reading Médaille’s screed that there is a serious theological basis for the admittedly rather raunchy blog post. Suarez says the Church can judge the Pope to be deposed, whereas Bellarmine says the Church can merely declare that the Pope has deposed himself.

          Further, Médaille, getting it exactly backwards, accuses the Remnant of advocating a schism from Francis when, as Suarez notes, a Pope by his own acts can fall into schism vis-a-vis the Church, triggering the crisis he and Bellarmine both address theoretically and with full freedom of opinion in the Church. Tellingly, Suarez cites the example of a Pope who would change all the rites of the Church.

          In a book by Aidan Nichols, who is no rad trad by any means, we read the following matter-of-fact statement: “theologians have noted that even the Pope could become a schismatic: for instance… by ignoring the constitution of the Church…” (Rome and the Eastern Churches, p. 40).

          The Remnant, looking to the history of question, has never said Francis is not the Pope, but rather has insisted to the contrary, publishing major pieces against sedevacantism. The issue is whether Francis can be called to account by some body of hierarchs for his numerous words and deeds causing scandal and harm to the Church, including—just two of dozens of shocking examples—his announced intention to celebrate the Reformation in a joint liturgy with fake Lutheran bishops and his obvious determination to overturn the teaching of Benedict XVI and John Paul II on the impossibility of admitting public adulterers to Holy Communion.

          Now for an apt historical example of what the The Remnant is talking about. The so-called “imperfect council” of the sort referenced by both Suarez and Bellarmine in their own ways was precisely the remedy threatened against John XXII on account of his false teaching denying the immediacy of the beatific vision and holding that no one will see God until the Final Judgment. Faced with furious public opposition to his erring sermons on the subject, the Pope convened a commission which told him his teaching was in error, but not until he was on his deathbed did he retract the error in the presence of the cardinals, dying the next day. (Cf. Eric John, The Popes, p. 253).

          If Mr. Médaille had been around back then, he would have put pen to parchment to denounce the “schismatics” who opposed John XXII’s false teaching to good effect for the Church and the papacy.

          Again, this subject deserves more than booing and hissing.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            Mr. Medaille, if you were interested in an honest, substantive debate on the subject, this is the post you would have replied to. But perhaps you did not notice it…

        • Chris Ferrara

          No one is calling for deposing the Pope. Read this article from First Things: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/can-pope-heretic– hardly a “rad trad” publication, for an intelligent discussion on the teaching of Suarez and Bellarmine on how a Pope might depose himself and merely be declared to have done so by a council of bishops. No one can depose a Pope. The article in question is a serious discussion of the issue as opposed to a lot of booing and hissing.

      • John Médaille

        “Prescinding from the comment on Barnhardt,…” Really? That’s a very interesting comment. And very telling.

        • Chris Ferrara

          Not really, John. I don’t care to call people crackpots if in fact they are sane, and I have no reason to doubt her sanity. It seems to me, however, that if you are going to throw that word around, it might well apply to some of Francis’s exceedingly strange sayings and doings, the likes of which we have never seen from any other Pope.

          • John Médaille

            I presume you meant “don’t care.” Very commendable. How do you feel about calling them “tools of Satan”?

          • Chris Ferrara

            I am not sure what you are talking about, but I am not interested in an endless debate over Barnhardt’s rhetoric while you duck the merits of the issue she tried, however crudely, to address. You may have refused to see it, but John Rao is right to write and publish his view that this is the worst pontificate in Church history. Or is he a crackpot too?

          • John Médaille

            I have not the slightest problem with people taking issue with any bishop, up to and including the bishop of Rome. Have at it. Clamor like champions; you’ll get no objection from me.

            I do have an objection to a call for schism. As a lawyer, you might want to check the code of Canon Law, 1364.

            I do find it interesting that you feel uncomfortable with making a judgment of “crackpot”, but voice no objection to calling someone a “tool of Satan.” I would have thought that only one of those judgments falls within human competence.

            But I do wish to be sure that I don’t misstate your position, so let me ask you straight up: Do you think Ann Barnhardt is a typical representative of typical American Traditionalist sentiments and attitudes.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Ann Barnhardt is hardly typical. Her opinion on the calling of a council to declare that Francis has deposed himself, however, merely invokes the teaching of Bellarmine and Suarez, intelligently discussed over at First Things: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/can-pope-heretic.

            I defend her right to espouse that view, not her choice of words.

          • Chris Ferrara

            ” As a lawyer, you might want to check the code of Canon Law, 1364.”

            As someone who is apparently unfamiliar with this subject, you might want to check the common opinion of theologians, including Suarez, on the possibility of a Pope whose actions are schismatic and what to do about it. You have Barnhardt’s position exactly backwards.

            And if traditionalists can clamor like champions in protest of a Pope, what happens to your “private judgment” argument? What exactly can they clamor about? Your position seems incoherent.

          • John Médaille

            I think you know full well: the call for schism; the lack of charity. I’ll let others judge whether that is a “coherent” concern.

            But I am still interested in your position: Is Ann Barnhardt a valid representative of typical Traditionalist opinion and sentiment?

          • John Médaille

            And for the record, Suarez’s opinion is “No one in the Church has the right to judge or depose the Pope.”

            But nice try.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Once again you reveal your lack of familiarity with the subject. Suarez says the “imperfect council” does not judge or depose the Pope, but rather declares that he has judged himself, thus providing certainty to the Church.

            Barnhardt would agree that no one can depose the Pope, but both Suarez and Bellarmine opine that he can be declared to have been deposed by the sentence of Christ himself.

            Try reading the pertinent material before you write articles attacking a position you do not really understand. You could start with the First Things piece “Can a Pope be a heretic?” or Aidan Nichols’ book which speaks of the common theological opinion that even the Pope can become a schismatic and thus become a danger to the Church from which the Church would have to protect itself.

          • John Médaille

            As I said, you can find any opinion you like, on any side of the question. Can you refer me to a magisterial statement that authorizes this? A passage in Canon Law, perhaps?

            Has there ever been a heretic or schismatic, in all of Church history, that didn’t make the claim, “I’m not the schismatic! The Pope is!”? All the schismatics disagree with each other on each and every point; this is the one sentiment that binds them all together.

            But did I get your take on Ann Barnhardt correctly?

          • Chris Ferrara

            Ah, so you admit the opinion is permissible in the Church. That would render your attack on Barnhardt nothing more than a criticism of her rhetoric, which I do not defend. So that’s that.

            And no, John, you cannot “find any opinion you like on any side of the question” that the Church would view as permissible. But this opinion, expressed by a doctor of the Church and found in standard theological manuals, is indeed permissible and was presented as such even by First Things.

            Give it up, John. You don’t know what you are talking about.

            Over and out.

          • John Médaille

            A call for a rump group of bishops (“Those who are still Orthodox” ) to depose a pope has NO precedent, and no canonical support. I was wrong: there are things that even a canon lawyer wouldn’t touch, and this is one of them.

          • John Médaille

            And further, who would judge who is an “Orthodox bishop” and how many would you need to depose the pope?

            Why, we are right back at….wait for it…..

            PRIVATE INTERPRETATION!

          • Chris Ferrara

            Take it up with Robert Bellarmine, Suarez and the common theological opinion found in manuals on the subject and stop trying to pretend this is just some crazy traditionalist idea. Enough, already.

          • John Médaille

            The call for a rump group of bishops to depose the pope is not “permissible opinion”; it is schism. You know as well as I do that there are no bishops who want such an “imperfect ecumenical council”; but this is what you are passing off as a “traditionalist” idea. The problem is, that people are all to likely to agree with you and judge the Traditionalist movement accordingly.

            You aimed at wounding the Church, and you only hurt yourself.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            “And further, who would judge who is an “Orthodox bishop” and how many would you need to depose the pope?”

            Obviously, this would be something decided by the episcopate – is there judgement “private”? In that case, you might consider beginning to ignore your local ordinary for consistency.

          • Chris Ferrara

            This is just pointless posturing. Do some reading on the subject. Try the piece by the U of Steuvbenville theology prof over at First Things, who writes this about Saint Robert Bellarmine, a doctor of the Church:

            “Instead, Bellarmine adopts the position that Suarez rejected: the pope loses his office immediately by committing the sin of formal heresy, because people who commit that sin cease to be members of the Church, and God deposes a pope who is no longer a member of the Church. *It’s true that the bishops could still get together and make a declaration that God had deposed the pope, but their declaration would not be a judgment in any real sense, only an acknowledgement of what God had already done. (De Romano Pontifice 2.30)*

            This is just what Barnhard is talking about. By the way, I am not calling for any such theoretical council, as she does— being within her rights to do so, following the suggestion of Bellarmine and Suarez.

            But I am calling for members of the upper hierarchy to start saying publicly what they are saying privately, including the curial official who told Edward Pentin that this Pope is a threat to the integrity of the Magisterium. Divine revelation itself tells us that a wayward Pope must be resisted, as does Saint Thomas.

            Of course, as the same piece notes, “Theologians are divided as to whether the pope could ever be a formal heretic…There were always some people who believed that God would simply not allow the pope to become a formal heretic, because it would be against Christ’s promises to Peter. *But from the twelfth century onwards, a lot of Catholic theologians didn’t.*

            I really have to go now. I am happy to give you the last word.

          • Thomas Osborne

            Just to add something, Suarez and Bellarmine seem a bit extreme to me on this issue compared with Banez, Gonet, and the Carmelites of Salamanca, who are much more solid and have no qualms about saying that the Pope can be deposed. See also Cajetan in opusc. de authorit. Papae, 20-26, and Melchor Cano, de locis, lib. 6, cap. 8. See Gratian’s Decretals, Si Papa, 40 and the bit about Pope Symmachus. Also the common belief about Pope Marcellinus and the Roman clergy. It is simply untrue that she is tending towards schism or fomenting schism simply by the fact that she wants the Pope to be deposed for heresy, unless there is recent stuff that I don’t know about. But it has not been cited, and it seems undefinable, although I am not a theologian. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to defend her. You might make the argument that an unjust attempt at deposition is schismatic. But that is not what Medaille is arguing.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Interesting stuff. Catholics who really understand this question, instead of posturing, waving the papal flag, and prattling on about “schism,” know that some of the greatest theologians in Church history have pondered extensively on how the Church could protect itself from a wayward, destructive and indeed schismatic (Suarez) Pope—as if they could see a situation like this one coming some day.

            The idea of the Pope as unassailable dictator, who can do whatever he pleases without being stopped by his hierarchical subordinates, is precisely the Protestant caricature that Bellarmine addressed.

            I wouldn’t defend Barnhardt’s rhetorical choices either. But I view her piece more as a cri de coeur than a serious proposal. I hardly think she believes any such “imperfect council” could be convoked, but she does, rightly enough, say that it would be the only remedy as we laity can do nothing beyond raising objections.

            On the other hand, if a group of cardinals merely held a press conference and declared their grave concern over the direction of this pontificate, setting forth few dozen examples of Francis’s outrageous statements and gestures, which have earned him the world’s endless applause, that might be enough to turn the ship around.

            I share your conclusion, which has been obscured by all the back-and-forth here: “It is simply untrue that she is tending towards schism or fomenting schism simply by the fact that she wants the Pope to be deposed for heresy…” Exactly so.
            The theologians considering this case have hypothesized that it would be the Pope who is fomenting schism, not his opposition.

            And that, by the way, is exactly what Ross Douthat of the New York Times said Francis is doing. The same analysis is found in The Atlantic, The Spectator, catholic.org and other decidedly non-traditionalist sources.

            I find it odd that so much attention is being devoted to a single blog post on the Remnant website when even commentators of the stature of Ross Douthat suggest that Francis is threatening the common good of the ecclesial commonwealth. As Douthat put it, Francis’s sustained attack on the teaching of his own predecessors respecting the divorced and “remarried,” if it ripens into any form of permission for public adulterers to receive Holy Communion, “wouldn’t just provoke conservative grumbling; it would threaten outright schism.”

            On April 8, when the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is issued, and the probable bomb detonates, it should be clear to more and more members of the faithful that this unique historical situation will make the false teaching of John XXII and the posthumous condemnation of Honorius for aiding and abetting heresy look trivial by comparison, even though they convulsed the Church at the time.

            There is no doubt Barnhardt could have stated her case in a sober manner, reflecting the sober theological reflections she has in view. But this crisis is about much more than one blogger’s choice of words in a blog post, for goodness sake.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            “A call for a rump group of bishops (“Those who are still Orthodox” ) to depose a pope has NO precedent, and no canonical support.”

            More ignorance – what do you know of the case of John XXII, for starters?

            As for canon law, if you wish to live by its letter, you may find yourself on the outs with the current Vicar of Christ in a big hurry.

            To that, you could start with that Traditionalist favorite, the good ‘ole state of necessity. Yes, it is a bit of a catch-all – and it’s there for a reason!

          • James M

            How many bishops called for the excommunication of John XXII ? His controversial sermon was given in 1332 – he unsaid the opinion that caused the controversy on December 3 1334, dying the next day.

            The strength of the opposition to him came from the Franciscan Spirituals, who were not pleased by his earlier revocation of the Bull “Exiit qui seminat”, promulgated by Nicholas III in 1279. John had burned 4 of them in 1318, so their antagonism is understandable. Making Michael of Cesena an anti-pope was not exactly a good idea either. And enlisting Louis of Bavaria against the Pope was even more stupid.

          • Easter Rising Farm

            Mrs. Barnhardt’s article is quite different from the First Things article, and that is why almost everyone reads it so. That is probably why you seem to be able to defend, rightly, a serious, devout, and scholarly engagement of the topic– like the First Things’ article, but haven’t really attempted to defend Mrs. Barnhardt’s words.

            Something like, “Yes, Dr. Medaille, her article was impious, but I must say that the Pope’s actions call for a clear look at Suarez, Bellarmine, etc., and I point you towards ‘First Things’ for just such a look.”

          • Paul Folbrecht

            “Mrs. Barnhardt’s article is quite different from the First Things article, and that is why almost everyone reads it so. That is probably why you seem to be able to defend, rightly, a serious, devout, and scholarly engagement of the topic– like the First Things’ article, but haven’t really attempted to defend Mrs. Barnhardt’s words.”

            You seem to miss entirely the point of the critique here. The article in question did not by any means attack solely or even primarily Barnhardt’s style (or lack thereof), but, instead, her theological basis. The latter, as Mr. Ferrara has quite ably and substantially demonstrated, is not only sound but uncontroversial for those who are familiar with what the theologians – such as *Doctor of the Church St. Robert Bellarmine* – have written.

          • antigon

            If one may, while incisive to be sure, Barnhardt’s diagnosis (if arguably not her solution to it) is surely within the parameter of legitimate Catholic thought.
            *
            As regards legitimate concerns about schism & charity, it seems also fair to note this: that just as people who believed they were married have been informed by ecclesial authority they were mistaken, so might insufficient grasp of far less weight than a Sacrament render it invalid, such as a papal resignation.
            *
            To suspect or hold that Benedict’s resignation was invalid – even if he thinks otherwise, like those folk who thought they were married but weren’t – is in any event a practical point free for any Catholic to embrace sans violation of any principle of the Faith or discipline.
            *
            And if said resignation was in fact invalid, t’would also address Mr. Medaille’s legitimate concerns, not to say much else; & perhaps provide the solution to Miss Barnhardt’s diagnosis, in anticipation of a future Pope ruling such, & thus rendering null all the acts of a faux successor.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Answered above.

          • Chris Ferrara

            “Do you think Ann Barnhardt is a typical representative of typical American Traditionalist sentiments and attitudes.”

            Not rhetorically. In substance, her blog post does nothing more than invoke the acceptable opinions of Suarez and Bellarmine on the convoking of a council to deal with a wayward Pope—opinions with which you seem to be unfamiliar.

          • John Médaille

            So then, I would be correct if I said, “In the opinion of Chris Ferrara, Ann Barnhardt fairly represents the opinions of a majority, or at least a significant minority, of American Catholic Traditionalists, in substance if not always in rhetoric.” Did I state that correctly? But this does seem to concede that there is at least a problem in the rhetoric, no?

            As for opinions of the canonists, you can certainly find them on all sides of any issue you care to name. A canonist, after all, is just a canon lawyer, and their opinions are, at best, pious opinion and not Church teaching, and at worst, the opinion they were paid to have, since they were frequently in the service of some prince or prelate with an ax to grind. As we certainly can’t blame the lawyers for trying to build up their practices.

            But you cannot find within the magisterium of the Catholic Church a mechanism to remove a pope, and certainly not the “mechanism” of a rump group of bishops, even assuming such bishops exist. Of that, I see little evidence, and certainly none in this article.

          • Chris Ferrara

            Saint Robert Bellarmine is a doctor the Church, not a mere “canonist.” The opinion he expresses is that a council could be called to declare the self-deposition of a Pope on account of heresy. This is not just the opinion of a “canonist” but rather is found in standard theological manuals that treat of this possibility. It is a perfectly acceptable view on what to do in the case of a wayward Pope, as you would know if you were actually familiar with the topic on which you have written.

            This has become a dry well. I have said enough.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            Forgive me for sticking my nose into this this dormant discussion, where my input is far from necessary, but for you to continue to refer to the article as a call for “schism” at this point in the debate proves the point of your opponents: you are or were simply unaware of what the Church (in Her theologians) has taught on this subject.

          • John Médaille

            there is no Church teaching on deposing a Pope. None. Zip. The opinions of theologians do not constitute “Church teaching.” If it did, the Church would believe anything and everything. And even if there were, there would be no teaching allowing a rump group of bishops to depose a Pope. That would be schism.

            Now, if you can find authorization in Canon Law, or the Catechism, or a document of similar authority, I will happily repent of obstinate opinion and withdraw the article.

            I doubt that will be necessary.

            Although, I think you can find authoritative support for your opinion among the followers of Luther, Calvin, and King Henry, eighth of that name.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            Sorry, John, but approved Church theologians – much less *Doctors of the Church* – do not teach “anything and everything”.

            For the record, I’m a fan of much of your work, and if I were going on a long flight and had my pick of Medaille vs. Barnhardt reading material, it would not be a contest.

            But, once again, there is nothing unsound in the theological underpinning of her typically over-the-top, emotion-laden piece.

          • John Médaille

            I have no idea what you mean by an “approved theologian.” Theologians spend most of their time disagreeing with each other. And speaking as a theologian, my job is not to get “approved,” but to pass on what I have received. So I repeat: if you can find any of your doctrines in Church teaching, I will repent and pass it on. But so far, no one can show me these remarkable documents.

            As for John XXII, what are talking about? Are you asserting that his “removal” by the Emperor was valid, and that Nicholas V was anything but an anti-pope?

          • Paul Folbrecht

            “I have no idea what you mean by an ‘approved theologian.’ Theologians spend most of their time disagreeing with each other. And speaking as a theologian, my job is not to get ‘approved,’ but to pass on what I have received. So I repeat: if you can find any of your doctrines in Church teaching, I will repent and pass it on. But so far, no one can show me these remarkable documents.”

            First, doctrines concern faith & morals, whereas this is more a juridical matter, isn’t it? (Ok, in a sense it’s both: the question as to whether God will allow a sitting pontiff to lose his office by any means is an open question and a matter of the faith.)

            Second, to be a bit pedantic, if the theologians did absolutely nothing but passed on what they’ve received, they would not disagree. In fact they both expound upon settled doctine and explore what is not, as is both their right as orthodox Catholics and a useful service to the Church.

            For the Church to declare a (sainted) theologian “Doctor” is for Her, at the least, to place a general mark of approval on said subject’s teachings. With that generality at least no one could disagree. Would you really assert that St. Bellarmine encouraged schism (in theory) by his musings? That the Church would have both raised him to the altars and declared him among her greatest intellectuals as well if that were even possibly the case? If he did not, then how has The Remnant by merely suggesting exactly the same thing?

            Further, you’re going to put all your eggs in the “canon law” basket? To be trite, did St. Paul consult his 1st century legal manual before rebuking our first Pope over his public scandal? As divine law precedes ecclesiastical rule in authority so did it temporally, of course – the early Church had only the former, yet St. Paul knew what he had to do. We’re not talking about papal deposition here, obviously, but merely the fact we cannot assert that every possible ecclesiastical action must rest on a specific canonical procedure. The theoretical case we’re discussing is an edge case if there ever was one, to be sure! That does not mean it is schismatic to discuss the possibilities.

            So, if Bellarmine – and not only Bellarmine, but, I think *every theologian of note who explored this area* – saw the possibility of a council to either validly depose a pontiff (after he proved pertanicity by ignoring two warnings) or declare him to have deposed himself, how on Earth is that very notion “schismatic”?

            “As for John XXII, what are talking about? Are you asserting that his “removal” by the Emperor was valid, and that Nicholas V was anything but an anti-pope?”

            As I’m sure you’re aware, no council deposed or declared deposed the pope – the *antipope* Nicholas was placed on his false throne merely by the worthless fiat of the emperor. The relevant part of the affair was that the pope was publicly rebuked and opposed by the theologians and clergy of his day. However, you’re correct that it doesn’t appear that the call for a council was precipitated by anyone other than the emperor.

            This debate ran its course here once already. If you’d care to explain how the Remnant fostered schism yet Saint & Doctor Bellarmine surely did not (I hope), perhaps there is something more to discuss.

          • LH

            After reading this half-year strung out argument, it is clear to me that Chris Ferarra is using dialectic and astutely referring to concrete resources, while John Medaille is arguing with rhetoric. And in the style of the recently terminated Mark Shea, Medaille is resorting to the tactic of “deny and discredit.” This tactic is woven throughout the conversation. Discredit Barnhardt, discredit Ferarra, discredit the Traditionalists. Deny what they are telling him, deny to look at the resources he’s being pointed to, deny the severity of the problem.
            It is this kind of comfort in a horrible situation, this kind of normalcy bias, this kind of Stockholm Syndrome, and this kind of apathy towards a real problem that has helped the Church to disintegrate for several generations. At best, Medaille is looking to play “noble defeat,” and at worst, he doesn’t care about the abuse in the Church. This apathy is the real sin against charity. As people struggle to find the best way to worship God, you effectively say “to hell with those losers! Look at how they sequester themselves like a bunch of weird Pentacostals!”
            Traditionalism gets suppressed, and Medaille says “who cares?”

          • Emma Fox WIlson

            Chris: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/04/necrophilia_is_not_a_joke.html

            Have a look at this. It is the first article I came across in a random search just now, so I haven’t carefully picked out something particularly bizarre.

            You’re telling me that a woman who (a) thinks that mainstream Islam thinks that necrophilia is a good thing and (b) did this to the guy in the audience, is perfectly and utterly sane? If so, then she’s far nastier than I can comprehend.

          • RuariJM

            I thought I had already seen the depths she could plumb. This link indicates I had not.

            I’m appalled.

          • Paul Folbrecht

            Best avoid St. Bellarmine as well then, at least if you’re referring to substance. 😉

          • Paul Folbrecht

            You’ve missed the point, as Mr. Ferrara gave no endorsement whatever of Barnhardt’s style, personality, or anything at all subjective. What he did is point out the fact that her theological basis was sound, something that there is no doubt (especially after this exchange) Mr. Medaille was unaware of when penning his own over-the-top retort.

      • Cradle Convert

        The Emporia is naked and someone finally said it, and everyone is horribly shocked.

  • John2843

    Thank you. Glad you are out there. For what it’s worth, I never heard of The Remnant, and glad for that element of my overall ignorance.

  • chezami

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

  • chezami

    Any journal that looks at a lunatic like Ann Barnhardt declaring Francis a “fag hag” and says, “This expresses my deepest inmost thoughts about the Church and the pope” has, in that instant, forever abandoned any claim to being a Catholic journal. The Remnant has now joined ranks with James White and other professional anti-Catholics in enmity to the Catholic Church.

    • Jorge’s Choc.Doppelgänger

      Coming from someone who can’t even hold down a job at the NCRegister.

  • Pope Francis is not exactly my favorite Pope, but there is nothing i have seen that would call for deposing him or schism. I don’t think such a charge should be taken seriously. You probably wasted too much time with the length of your article. There are nuts in every community.

  • NDaniels

    Page 117, of the pope’s book, On Heaven and Earth, in regards to same-sex unions
    “If there is a union of a PRIVATE NATURE, THERE IS NEITHER A THIRD PARTY NOR IS SOCIETY AFFECTED. Now, if this union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and female mother that can help them shape their identity. – Jorge Mario Bergoglio
    Approval of same-sex sexual unions is approval of same-sex sexual acts.

    “The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.”

    Why not tell those men and woman, who have developed a same-sex sexual attraction the truth? It is because we Love you, and respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter, that we cannot condone the engaging in or affirmation of any act, including any sexual act that demeans your inherent Dignity as a beloved son or daughter.The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. We Love you, and because we Love you, we desire that you will always be treated with, and will always treat others with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. We will not tolerate the engaging in or condoning of sexual behavior that does not reflect the upmost respect for the human person.

    • RuariJM

      I’m not clear what your objection is. I suspect you have misunderstood what you have reproduced here.

  • One last comment from me:

    The problems and confusions that arose with Francis’ election cannot be chalked up to media twisting of his words or any idiosyncratic animus against him. Francis (who began saying the Church obsessed too much on abortion, gays, etc.) and his Progressive friends have been systematically overturning Benedict’s Reform of the Reform from the first. This is an indisputable fact, acknowledged by the great majority in the Conservative and Progressive Catholic Press and the secular press.

    Cardinal Walter Kasper, Benedict’s nemesis, was chosen to be the Popes personal theologian at last October’s Synod on the Family which sought to open questions regarding remarriage and homosexuality which were closed forever beginning in scripture. The pope personally handpicked the Kasper-approved Progressive theologians who produced the infamous Interim Report which shocked a slight majority of the synod fathers who, thankfully killed the popes inititiative dead in its crib.

    Since then Francis has had to back peddle some, but, analysts say not for good. He gives actions to Progressives and pious words or rebukes to curia traditionals, the forces that backed Benedict and John Paul II.

    Even the head of the very CDF (!) has raised numerous alarms over Francis’ synod agenda and joined Cardinal Burke (who be demoted and would not allow to participate in the recent Synod on the family) and four other prominent cardinal in the unprecedented historical action of writing a book prior to the synod opposing their agenda. The African and Polish bishops have raised the alarm over all this as well.

    One need not change one iota of doctrine frontally to hand the Church over to Progressives who will, when Francis is gone, “interpret” those dogmas.

    Just 2 weeks before the Irish same sex referendum in which Ireland was lost to the Catholic Church for the first time since St. Patrick Francis appointed the notorious gay advocate, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, as Consult to the Vatican’s Peace and Justice Commission. What a sly signal to the Irish in that critical hour.

    And that appointment also illustrated that Francis, unlike JPII and BVI has been driving a sly wedge between Church praxis (works of mercy) and traditional Catholic doctrine. The former must ever be the *fruit* of orthodoxy, sound doctrine, never a substitute for it.

    Francis has sowed confusion in this most critical area also. One cannot soft-pedal or eclipse the traditional teachings of the Church and use praxis as the cover. That is the age-old trick of Modernists / Progressives.

    See also

    “Francis called the late pro-homosexual and theological dissident Martini a “prophetic” figure and a “man of discernment and peace”.

    http://linkis.com/ncronline.org/blogs/E0s2b

    And these for starts

    http://m.siouxcityjournal.com/news/opinion/columnists/buchanan/pope-francis-creates-confusion-among-the-faithful/article_93b31f16-4280-5f3e-b8f0-872667d2b4f4.html?mobile_touch=true

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/popes-encouragement-of-airing-formal-heresy-is-severing-the-church

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/papal-call-for-decentralization-puts-integrity-of-catholic-doctrine-at-risk

  • Michael McDermott

    Are you able provide a direct link to The Remnant, web article, am unable to verify.

    • John Médaille

      The link is provided at the bottom of the post. Read the article for yourself.

      • Michael McDermott

        You assume we mere mortals are psychic – as the actual Remnant piece is not identified in your article. Nor do we exist in the exalted world of yourgoodself and obvious self-superiority.

        • John Médaille

          There is a link at the bottom of the post to the Remnant article. Read it for yourself.

  • JackQuirk

    Rebellion against the authorities Christ set up is rebellion against Christ. It’s as simple as that. Trying to make up for what we perceive as their deficiencies manifests lack of faith that the Holy Spirit can and will guide the Church properly.

    • steve5656546346

      There have been bad Popes in the past, and there no doubt will be in the future.

      The first Pope’s errors were meticulously recorded in Scripture, as was St. Paul’s rebuke of the Pope–what is remarkable is not the rebuke, but the publicizing of it.

      • JackQuirk

        Paul rebuked Peter’s actions, not his doctrine. And he certainly never called for Peter to be deposed or threatened to go into schism.

  • George Bell

    Is the Remnant making a threat or a promise? I say call their bluff. There’s the door. Don’t let it hit your backside on the way out.

    • John Médaille

      See the bottom of the post; the link is provided.

  • Thomas Osborne

    It seems to me that you may be correct that there are problems here related to disobedience, a lack of charity in attributing motives and beliefs to the current Pope, etc. But there are two problems with your own criticism of the writer from the Remnant. First, you imply that it is safe to follow one’s prelates since they might be right. But it is never safe to follow one’s prelates if they are heretical or mistaken about a matter of faith or grave matters in morals. Catholics have generally held that people who followed the English bishops under Henry VIII mortally sinned and you can say the same for those who followed Popes Honorius and Liberius in their errors or permissions of error. Moreover, many Catholics have held that there is an obligation to publicly correct such prelates. See Thomas Aquinas, ST. II-II, q. 3, art. 4, ad 2. Second, many theologians and canonists for centuries have held that heretical Popes could be deposed, and that this was an exception to the rule that a Pope must call a Council (for those who thought there was such a rule, such as many anti-Conciliarists). I would challenge you to find a medieval Catholic who denies that the pope can be a heretic, or who thinks that the faithful are justified in holding beliefs that are held by heretical popes and bishops. I don’t know of any more recent condemnations of these medieval views, even in Vatican I. The issue is far more complicated than you let on. Nevertheless, the Remnant author may have a lot of moral faults and may be factual mistaken. It is not my place to judge the former, and I suspect the latter. But you seem to be describing her as a schismatic without any justification, based on your ignorance of Catholic history.

    • John Médaille

      The bishops under Henry VIII formally renounced allegiance to the Pope and swore allegiance to the King. The situation is not a parallel.

      • Thomas Osborne

        You are right. Is the relevant difference in the lack of a “chain of command”, or in the kind of error that they made? Or both? Do they both matter, and in the same way?
        What about someone who said that he could commit adultery, directly and intentionally kill civilians by bombing, or use contraception because his priest said that it was OK? I personally know of such cases. What if his bishop, in union with Rome, said that one of these was OK? What if the Pope knew about it and didn’t bother to remove the bishop? What if the Pope as a private theologian said that it would be OK for him to do one of these things?

        • John Médaille

          One can find a priest or bishop who will say almost anything. And one can invent hypotheticals ad nauseum.

          But the Church is not a “chain of command,” but a communion of authority, authority chrismated in direct line of the apostles and arranged hierarchically. The chain that Henry’s Bishops broke was not of “command” (though the pope had authority to command them), but of communion with the universal Church.

          • Thomas Osborne

            The military analogy you gave was one of a chain of command, and I thought that you were arguing either 1) that lay people cannot decide whether a bishop or a Pope is a heretic, or 2) that it is always safe to follow one’s bishop if he is in communion with Rome. The analogy with the military seemed to imply that you were safe to follow orders from above simply by the fact of your role as a lay person, and maybe that you are bound to follow such orders. So I was pointing out that lay people are often bound to ignore and sometimes oppose bishops and even the Pope for errors in faith and grave errors in morals. But I think that I see the main issue in another thread. You state that it is schismatic to think that a Pope can be deposed for heresy. It is unclear to me whether you deny that 1) the Pope can be a formal heretic, or 2) that he can be deposed by a Council. Most Catholic until the Reformation and maybe most afterwards have believed 1). The second point is more controversial. Nevertheless, many Catholics thought that Pope Marcellinus was deposed for this or for apostasy by the Roman clergy. The general principle was in various sources and in Gratian, as well as in many theologians. I certainly have never seen a credible argument that it is heretical or even dangerous to hold this position. The issue for me is whether the case is as she describes, whether the wider situation is as she assumes, and whether she goes about things in the right spirit. But I might be misinterpreting you. It seemed to me very wrong to call her a schismatic. For her to claim to depose the Pope herself as a laywoman would be an instance of schism! But that is not what she is doing.

  • NDaniels

    Prior to being elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio condoned same-sex sexual relationships as long as they were, according to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, “private”, did not include children and were not called marriage, thus prior to being elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, had excommunicated himself from Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
    The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not valid. This fact is not crazy talk because it is grounded in reality. In fact, it would be crazy talk to suggest it is not necessary for a Pope to be in communion with Christ and His Church.

    • Cradle Convert

      Correct. Can he rule the church from outside it, or not? It is really that simple.

  • Cradle Convert

    The Remnant nailed it.

    • Jim Dorchak

      They sure did!…………. but hey lets change the subject and point out that they are nasty, wasty, traddies, and then that simply negates their factual call for Francis’s resignation.
      After all it always worked before!

  • Marie Eleanor

    Thank you for this excellent piece.
    I stopped reading that website after I was castigated for offering mercy to women who had abortions.

    • JTLiuzza

      Baloney. Isn’t lying about someone with the intention to harm the very definition of calumny?

  • John, I do believe you appear to be underestimating the Francis Effect on the credibility of the Church— which adds up to a serious real crisis this time. But unlike Barnhardt I think the only possible response if worse comes to worse is resistance to anything that violates settled dogmas of the Faith. Her declarations and demands follow suit with other irresponsible declarations and actions of hers:

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153626620016888&id=586381887

  • Paul Slobodnik

    I read til the point where it compared Laudato Si to the Syllabus of Errors, at which point I figured I must be reading the Onion.

  • JTLiuzza

    Everyone knows that there’s only one acceptable way to depose a Pope, and that is secretively. Get him out the way with a nice tidy resignation and gold watch. Nice and clean and absolutely no public finger wagging about “schism.” Everything was on the up and up. Nothing to see here.

    Then of course there’s the next conclave! Let’s get together and chat about that, shall we? Not supposed to? No matter. I know a room with no windows. See you all at the dinner hour.

  • J. Boanerges

    Who’s “fighting the Church”? It’s church-MEN and their lies, machinations, ideologies or manipulations that need to be fought. Been going on for 2000 years so don’t misquote Gilbert Keith for your ideology. April 8 will be a barometer of how far the church-MEN have apostasised or not. Until then, save it.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Re: Calling Ms. Barnhardt insane, crackpot or nuts

    “And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is become mad”. Mark 3:21

    In the Holy Bible, in both secular and church histories of Catholicism and in the lives of the Saints we read that prophets, Doctors of the Church, Holy men and women and even Our Lord and Savior Himself are called mad.

    Indeed, IMO, the world will view any follower of Jesus Christ as mad.

    Ms. Barnhardt has made a radical conversion to the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Faith which has entailed very great sacrifices on her part. Simply dismissing her as a nut is unjust, uncharitable and unwise.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Mara319

    I almost agreed with this article until you mentioned Donald Trump. Donald Trump is in a position to challenge the prevailing “politically correct orthodoxy.” He’s running for president.

    The Remnant is not in a position to challenge the Pope. There’s no way it could win.

  • Yankeegator

    He calls no one to The One True Faith and acts like all religions lead to God. He acts like a Freemason and is indifferent with other religions which is heretical. All religions do not lead to God… He sits in The Chair of Peter, The Seat of Moses. He needs to do his job… Lead God’s People!!!
    Mark 9:42

  • Asbury Fox

    John,
    A Pope can be a heretic. A Pope can also be a complete Atheist if he so chooses. We had a heretical Pope in the past, with Pope Honorius. A general dogmatic council of the Catholic Church declared him a heretic. The Third Council of Constantinople.

    Doctors of the Church, theologians, and saints, have proposed that a Pope can be deposed. It is a valid theological argument and position to hold. Taking that position is not Schismatic. The Church gives us the freedom to hold that opinion.

  • Karen Hall

    I a not a traditionalist. I am a Roman Catholic. My belief in what the Church teaches has not moved an inch. It is this pope who is begging for a schism. When the pope and the 2000 years of Church teaching are at a fork in the road, I’m not following the pope.

  • Steven Barrett

    Reactionaries of the World Unite! Here’s your chance to do a Tyrolean Alpine woodcutter’s “dance” on the reign of the long ago Tango-dancer who became a Jesuit, a step which led him on his way to be your worst nightmare. Or is it? From reading through a few long replies, it almost appears as if you’re loving this dark drama unfolding with now being your chance to pull off some kind of counter-papal authority coup de NON-grace.
    Go take some chill pills and pray. It won’t hurt. Sure beats getting all worked up over what’ll come to nothing in the wake of Pope Francis eventual sack of Cardinal Sarah along Burkean lines. A curious mind wants to learn: Does anybody remember what the sacked Cardinal Ray Burke did with the long train he ordered up and was displayed by Rachael Maddow on her MSNBC show?

  • Daniel Schwindt

    This combox conversation is worth almost as much as the article itself in defense of the author’s argument. The Remnant crew seems to me to be a bit short on introspection, and with it any sense of humor about itself, which would allow them to see the parody of Tradition that they’ve become.

  • standtall909

    This article is pure unadulterated HOGWASH! What issues in the Church, pray tell, need to be ‘debated’? The admitting of public adulterers to the Eucharist? Sorry, that’s not up for debate, it was settled a long time ago. End of story. IF the Pope opens the door to distributing Communion to public sinners, he is effectively committing heresy. And so…….IF the Pope leads the faithful over the cliff, we are ‘obligated’ to follow? You can, I won’t. I guess that makes me in ‘schism’. How ridiculous.

  • NDaniels

    “During the time of the Council of Trent Pope Paul IV issued his Apostolic Constitution Cum Ex Apostolic Officio of February 15, 1559. This 223rd Successor of Peter would die six months later on August 18th. His four year pontificate was highlighted by his promotion of moral reforms. This Papal Bull below also focused on the validity of a prelate or Pope in the event they were in heresy or apostasy. Because it deals with faith and morals and was issued ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) and therefore is considered not only infallible, but to be held in perpetuity.” …
       “By virtue of the Apostolic office which, despite our unworthiness, has been entrusted to Us by God, We are responsible for the general care of the flock of the Lord. Because of this, in order that the flock may be faithfully guarded and beneficially directed, We are bound to be diligently watchful after the manner of a vigilant Shepherd and to ensure most carefully that certain people who consider the study of the truth beneath them should be driven out of the sheepfold of Christ and no longer continue to disseminate error from positions of authority. We refer in particular to those who in this age, impelled by their sinfulness and supported by their cunning, are attacking with unusual learning and malice the discipline of the orthodox Faith, and who, moreover, by perverting the import of Holy Scripture, are striving to rend the unity of the Catholic Church and the seamless tunic of the Lord.
    6. In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define:] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:

    (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;
    (ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity) through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation;

    (iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way;

    (iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain;

    (v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone;

    (vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.”

  • Asbury Fox

    The Church has no official definition or decision on whether a Pope can be deposed or not. In the absence of an official ruling, there is an open theological debate. The Church grants us the freedom to hold for or against deposition of a Pope.

    John states in his last paragraph that there are many issues in the Church that need to be debated, and the Church has been something of a debating society, yet the debatable issue of a Pope being deposed, he has closed to debate! Labeling the issue as schismatic. How rich.

    • John Médaille

      There is nothing in Church law that allows a rump group of bishops (those who are “still Catholic”) to depose a pope. That would be a schism.

      • Asbury Fox

        There is nothing preventing it either. The Church hasn’t defined the issue. There is no Church law stating that a Pope cannot be deposed. It’s a possibility according to the theological argument. It just hasn’t been attempted yet. It wouldn’t be “a rump group of bishops.” It would be the College of Cardinals or a wider General Council of the Church.

        If a Pope is deposed, and a successor validly elected, it would be schism to not submit to the new Pope. John, under pain of sin, you would have to recognize a Pope that has been validly elected by the College of Cardinals.

        • John Médaille

          The call is clearly not to the college of bishops, but to a rump group (“the bishops who are still Catholic”). That is schism.

  • Thomas J. Ryan

    The Remant is a fortnightly, not a weekly. Someone spent too much time in the jungle running around without his helmet on.

  • Mariah Moczar

    What I find funny about this exchange is that the only thing I am willing to give Miss Barnhardt a pass on IS her rhetoric. She can speak any way she’d like to and there shouldn’t be any male “nice guy” policeman out there trying to tone the “wild woman” down and showing her her place.

    Mr. Ferrara knows a great deal about inflammatory rhetoric. Most of what he writes borders onto it, if not falls into it. Surely, however, he has a point here, does he not? This question can not only be asked, it has been asked – not just by laymen (who should still have a right and responsibility to ask it) but by experts in this subject. There’s nothing protestant about that then, is there? Mr. Medaille’s comments as to the blind obedience required by the faithful worries me. I think there is a strange “let’s all be good boys and girls and sit here and take it, i.e. play dumb, because that’s what good boys and girls do in the church” attitude which I find alarming. Let’s be consciously naive ad majorem Dei gloriam – I don’t get it.

    I think Miss Barnhardt suffers from the narcissism she rails against (diabolical narcissism – what is that, anyway?) but she is being allowed to run off course and obviously, nobody over at the the Remnant is trying to help her. Typical.

    It’s not how she is saying what she is saying , it actually IS what she is saying. Does she have a right to jump the gun like this? Is there a protocol for deposing a pope or not? Protestant converts sometimes don’t get catholicism very well. Sorry – it’s true. She in all of her zeal is jumping into something she obviously doesn’t understand. Somebody ought to help her. Don’t you think?

    Mr. Medaille is also right that this is calling for schism. Just because the word wasn’t used doesn’t mean that’s not the end result. I’m afraid schism is the fate of a Benedict renunciation and a Bergoglio papacy. It is a possibility that there was and is a plan about this that doesn’t benefit the faithful, but that would mean you’d all have to stop being “nice guys” and start dealing with the hard realities you don’t want to deal with. From this exchange, I don’t see anybody in the church coming to terms with this new responsibility. Are you going to be “good” or are you going to be faithful catholics? What will it take to be a faithful catholic now in this environment under THESE circumstances? If Jesus comes back tomorrow then you won’t have to decide but it’s been 2,000 years. You know? You are going to have to do something, won’t you?

    It’s too facile to say that anyone who questions a sitting pope is being protestant. It seems to me an easy way of getting out of the intellectual responsibilities one has as a catholic. Mr. Medaille, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. There is serious work to be done here. Don’t let a fear of Luther stop you from taking the trads concerns seriously. They are not all crazy.