Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate
3204 East Stanley Road
Mt. Morris, MI 48458
To the Editors of CRIB X CROSS X CROWN;
A friend gave to me a copy of a recent issue (Spring 1996) and I am quite impressed with the solid doctrine one finds in most of its contents. I would very much like to have a subscription to it, and also back issues. Could you see to sending me a price list for a subscription and a listing of which back issues (if any) might also be available at what prices? I give my name and address at the end of this rather long letter.
My one remaining thing to say to the Editors: I Strongly recommend that no more articles by "Fr." David-Ladislaus Przedwiecki ever be published in CRIB X CROSS X CROWN (except maybe a retraction and an apology, but not an "apologia" for there can be none). The man is a calumniator. While I would love to go on about how life-changing I have found "The Great Escape or Precious Minutes?" to be, or how intellectually bracing "Liberalism Is A Sin" is, the flawlessness of these articles and indeed of all the others (excluding that by the calumniator) speaks better for what they have to say than anything I could possibly add to them. Therefore I shall devote the remainder of this letter to a point-by-point critique of "In Defense of the Pope."
I say "Fr." instead of Fr. in Mr. Przedwiecki's case because in writing such an article as that, he displayed either a total lack of any priestly formation at all, or else a total and most thorough repudiation of it. Should the indelible mark of the priesthood exist on his soul, that article just becomes doubly reprehensible.
Even before the article starts he manages to get in a few digs which can only be described as insulting and demeaning. I myself have had no opportunity to read the previous installment so I really cannot comment on it in any detail. I am only slightly disappointed that there was only one negative response since it is unlikely that very many sedevacantists ever saw it, but I am sorry to see that the only thing she seems to have been able to criticize is its "vituperative tone," whatever that refers to.
The next paragraph of this note is riddled with errors. The word "Traditionalist" could in many contexts refer to something which has nothing to do with being Catholic or un-Catholic, such as the "traditionalist" of no particular religion who simply believes in the "traditional" notion that a woman's place is in the kitchen. However, in the context of a Catholic journal, and with reference to certain Catholics who are called such or even call themselves such on account of their adherence to the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, "traditionalists" simply ARE traditional Catholics who in turn simply ARE Roman Catholics. That is only a small point. The real "vituperatude" starts just after.
The phrase "Anti-Papal Accusers" is flat wrong when applied to sedevacantists such as Fr. Cekada. Such a title might be quite appropriate for East Orthodox or Old Catholic persons who deny the office of the papacy and therefore all popes, or to such rebels as Catholics for Pro-Choice or Call to Action who flagrantly disobey their "pope" even where he teaches in the name of the whole Church on doctrines and morals, and in full union with the Universal and Historic Magisterium of the Church. I shall call Fr. Cekada and those who take the same or similar positions by the word they themselves use to describe themselves: sedevacantists.
If he were to be honest, he would have to have said, "Those brilliant, fair-minded, pro-papal, future-looking, faithful, loyal Catholics who are obedient to the entire teaching of the Church have grown very tired of justly reproving the man who by virtue of the election he received ought to be functioning as the pope, and having been met with only silence, have found themselves obliged to take their case against him to the public. The statement in the third paragraph in which he promises to be "quite kind" would be quite laughable if only it weren't so sickeningly condescending.
Now, to the article itself. The first paragraph is perfectly fine. Indeed, Fr. Cekada would agree wholeheartedly with everything in it. In the next paragraph however, the claim is made that "[sedevacantists] fail to understand ... the fact that the Church is a living organism." That statement is false. If anything, it is the post-Conciliarists who fail to understand the fact that the Church is a living organism. They think of the Church as a shapeless pile of mud which they can shape into any mud-pie of their liking, and they have done so with John Paul II's blessing. Fr. Cekada stands by the organic growth the Church has made throughout Her existence. He knows fully well that the Church is a growing organism which expands and changes over time, else he would be celebrating Mass in Hebrew instead of Latin. Anyone who has spent so much as five minutes talking with him would know that.
Everything said about the nature of the Church in the first five paragraphs is perfectly fine and even put in terms which Fr. Cekada would find very much to his taste. Only a couple very fine technicalities bear some comment. 1) "... unbroken succession of popes." To be more precise, there is always a break with the death of each pope, lasting until the arrival of the next. This break is not of much real significance since the Church continues smoothly through these periods. During these (usually brief) periods, ALL Catholics are sedevacantists, since a sedevacantist is simply a Catholic who has no living pope at the moment. 2) "popes who have abandoned Rome (but not the See)." One pope did abandon the See, or at least his claim to it although not his loyalty to it, by resigning. Fortunately he did it so clearly and unequivocally that there was no doubt as to what to do next. The cardinals elected another pope. When Pope Celestine V resigned, he relinquished the See and the Charism of Infallibility, but gained sainthood by having the humility to recognize that he was not equal to the task of being pope and therefore resigning.
And now, after all of these (mostly) fine paragraphs describing the Church, "Fr." Przedwiecki would have his uninformed readers believe that sedevacantists such as Fr. Cekada would somehow be willing to deny such well-established truths of the Church. Even if men can fail us (as practically the entire Catholic hierarchy did back at Vatican II), Christ will not fail us. The burden of false brethren, even most likely, in the papal chair, is just one more difficulty which the Church will endure and survive. Christ has not left us as orphans. A few small splinters of the Catholic hierarchy still exist, from which the hierarchy of the future, including the pope, shall spring. Fr. Cekada himself is merely one of the more vocal spokesmen for several of those fragments.
How about this? The sedevacantists have "severed the relationship of Christ and His Church, and emptied Her of Her majesty, power and might." My oh my! I had no idea that such a tiny contingent of priests and laypeople could have such power! That is just like saying that Rush Limbaugh is the only thing wrong with President Clinton. The doctors of the funny farm where "Fr." Przedwiecki belongs ought to inform him that only the once-Catholic hierarchy would have had such authority to sever their relationship with Christ, cease to be His Church, or to eject the power and might and majesty of His Church from amongst them by claiming that man-made and demon-made religions are just as good and true as the God-made religion, or by almost completely forbidding Catholic worship, teaching and sacraments and turning Catholic morality into a joke, "These are the rules we must follow, hah hah yeah right!"
From bad to worse, next we get to hear about "counterfeit replacements" who aren't even sedevacantists at all since they have their choice of two different pope Gregories XVII. Those guys are all in favor of the "pope," THEIR "pope" of course. One group has priestesses; the other has 16-year-old cardinals. Both put private revelation above public revelation. Both are avoided like the plague by Fr. Cekada and all other sedevacantists. They are just some more false religions which John Paul II might as well "get ecumenical" with the same way he gets all warm and fuzzy and ecumenical with other schismatics and heretics and Non-Christians.
The next item on the list is of more interest: Spokane, Washington church. No group or church I know of goes by that name. One just has to guess who might be referred to by this reference. There are at least four Roman Catholic parishes in Spokane, and not a one of them is given regular faculties nor even recognized by the putatively "catholic" diocesan bishop there, to his everlasting shame unless he repents. The largest and oldest of these Catholic parishes is called Mount Saint Michael, and this is the only one with an even tangential relationship with the first two groups listed. This "tangential relationship" has to do with the fact that once, many years ago, they had an in-house bishop who, due to some rather strong painkillers he was taking, and also a relative absence of any regular priestly formation, was beginning to fancy himself to be "pope" Hadrian VII.
As this strange claim along with various other irregularities became public knowledge, this staunchly Catholic parish summarily ejected that in-house "bishop" from their leadership. Over the next six to eight years they struggled valiantly to purge themselves of every vestige of ever having had anything to do with that crazy bishop "pope" Hadrian VII. Having personally visited and inspected them in the last year, I am completely satisfied that they have successfully done so. Who else was he planning to list?
We now arrive at the bedrock, which is the booklet entitled "Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope." We don't get far before the misrepresentation starts. First this cute syllogism:
The Holy Father is human.
Humans can err.
Ergo, the Holy Father can err.
No such reasoning appears anywhere in that booklet nor in any other of Fr. Cekada's writings. That is in fact a very corrupt rendition of the reasoning used by Catholics who wish to keep all of their Catholic Tradition and call John Paul II their pope at the same time. A more accurate rendition would go like this:
The Holy Father is only infallible when teaching the entire Church on Faith or morals and by virtue of his Petrine Office.
The things he has said and done contrary to De fide teachings of the Church were not teaching the entire Church on faith or morals.
Ergo, the things he has said and done contrary to De fide teachings of the Church may be ignored, disobeyed, or criticized.
Such an argument is of little interest to sedevacantists on account of the following syllogisms which, for once, "Fr." Przedwiecki actually gets right, or at least serviceable:
Popes who teach heresy are excommunicated.
This pope has taught heresy.
Ergo, this pope is excommunicated.
and its corollary:
He who is excommunicated is not in the Church.
He who is not in the Church cannot be pope.
Ergo, he who is excommunicated cannot be pope.
Why worry about whether or not one can disobey a pope when one obviously lacks any pope either to obey or disobey?
In between the earlier (and irrelevant) syllogism and these latter two, there is a tiny paragraph which conceals a tremendous amount of deception within a very small space: "The [sedevacantists] insist that this Holy Father has written things not in line with other popes..." - - a most hideous misstatement. The truth is far larger than that. In particular, sedevacantists don't merely "insist" that John Paul II contradicts other popes (whoever they might be), but in fact actually locate documented instances of this and invite any interested persons to see for themselves any of numerous places where John Paul II has explicitly contradicted De fide teachings of the Church. Any reader is welcome to verify this for himself.
Even the tiny booklet "Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope" manages to devote fully 4 pages to nothing but actual citations of John Paul II in which he contradicts De fide teachings of the Church. Yet another 2 pages only contain citations of Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council which also contradict De fide teachings of the Church, and which would provide a strong reason for any genuine Catholic pope to condemn both. Those are not mere insistences, they are documented facts, which "Fr." Przedwiecki must have had before him as he set about to write that calumnious article. To pass over such documentation in silence demonstrates a culpable dishonesty on "Fr." Przedwiecki's part.
Far deeper than his occasional bouts of heterodox or even heretical teaching is a large and fairly consistent pattern throughout his entire "papacy" of raising outright heretics to the episcopacy while at the same time publicly indulging in the crime of communicatio in sacris with heretics, pagans, and unbelievers of every stripe, to say nothing of his positively horrible treatment of one remaining truly loyal Catholic bishop, namely Marcel Lefebvre. His evident goal has been to make all of humanity hold hands with each other in one big happy ecumenical family, leaving out only some tiny coterie of Satanists who are too busy pulling everyone else's strings to hold hands anyway. Where do traditional Catholics fit into this picture? They don't of course. The idea is to get rid of all of them, and thereby the Church Jesus Christ founded. Just imagine what would happen if someone were to get Pope Saint Pius X to read a copy of Ut Unum Sint and after he reads it and asks why you wanted him to read such nonsense you tell him, "A Roman Catholic pope will promulgate this as an encyclical in about 85 years." He would stop, look you in the eye, and say, "That's no pope." You know it and I know it.
"Therefore, (ergo) we have no Pope!!! Thank you, Jesus!" Hardly is there any reason to report that news with such joy and happiness. The claim that the presence of a false pope should therefore mean that Jesus has abandoned His Church, or the papacy or neglected to send the Holy Spirit, and so forth and so on, is so preposterous that the author of such statements escapes a charge of heresy only by virtue of being totally insane and incompetent. As if there had never been such a thing as antipopes before! Even were one's theological formation to be so deficient as to imagine that such a thing as Jesus abandoning His Church being possible, the presence of such truly faithful priests as Fr. Cekada and Fr. Sanborn and all the rest, along with such truly faithful Roman Catholic bishops as Robert McKenna, Richard Williamson, Mark Pivarunas, Clarence Kelly, and Daniel Dolan and all the rest is itself proof positive that Jesus has not abandoned His Church!
"We cannot have a Church without a Petrine Office. The Petrine Office is a constitutive part of the Church which She needs to fulfill Her mission." Absolutely correct! Fr. Cekada concurs with that statement completely, as do all sedevacantists. I just wish that John Paul II would come to believe that. It is unfortunate that the Church is forced to go so very long without the clear and inspiring leadership a good and orthodox pope could provide. But this is no worse than having to go for such a long time with popes in Avignon or having two or three "popes" simultaneously. In any crisis, one readily falls into a pattern of negative thinking that the crisis shall persist indefinitely, but "This too, shall pass."
Now we get a little more personal. In one sentence, "Fr." Przedwiecki tells us everything he knows about who Fr. Cekada is, which is a damn sight more than he knows about what sedevacantism is, or at least is willing to be honest about. Here is a little more biographical material to put it straight. Fr. Cekada was trained and formed as a priest in Archbishop Lefebvre's seminaries (the Society of Saint Pius X), concerning which John Cardinal Wright had said, "This Association ... has already exceeded the frontiers of Switzerland, and several Ordinaries in different parts of the world praise and approve it. All of this and especially the wisdom of the norms which direct and govern this Association give much reason to hope for its success." He was ordained by the Archbishop himself in 1977 and was assigned to work in several parishes in and around Ohio, under the auspices and authority of the North-East district of the SSPX (then based in Oyster Bay Cove, New York), with Fr. Clarence Kelly as district superior.
Archbishop Lefebvre had already found that he was unable to work with Paul VI and even seems to have entertained rather considerable doubts concerning his papacy. In the interest of diplomacy, and having been given a somewhat more promising response by John Paul II, Lefebvre decided to regard John Paul II as a true (but very weak and unreliable) pope and entered into negotiations with him. The priests of the North-East district did not want to have any part of this new emphasis of the SSPX, and on April 27, 1983 Lefebvre ousted Fr. Kelly, Fr. Cekada, and seven other priests from the SSPX. These nine priests became somewhat more overt in their sedevacantism as they continued functioning as they had before but now as the Society of Saint Pius V.
In July of 1989, on account of a disagreement as to what is to be done or said regarding the Thuc bishops, Fr. Cekada found himself obliged to part company with Fr. Kelly. Despite and apart from this disagreement (very much on par with the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas), and several others which follow directly from it, each priest would have to admit that the other is a fine priest of unquestioned qualifications. Shortly thereafter, Fr. Cekada wrote his two most famous books, "The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass," and his translation of "The Ottaviani Intervention." These two books (published by TAN Books) are quite well known and widely respected in the traditional Catholic community. That is because of their solid and sound scholarship and the irrefutable case made for the Catholic Mass made therein. I would not be at all surprised to see copies of them in the library at the home of the Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate.
Having now properly introduced Fr. Cekada, let us look at what "Fr." Przedwiecki has to say about him. He (Fr. Cekada) "...gives the Church, and properly so, the qualities of indefectibility, infallibility, and indestructibility ...[and] amply demonstrates that it is not possible for Catholics to hold that the Church could teach error or promulgate laws which are intrinsically evil. Well and good." Just after this happy agreement between Fr. Cekada and "Fr." Przedwiecki there comes the most weird statement in the entire article. "[Fr. Cekada] claims that the indefectible Church sanctioned an Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) which promoted and embodied erroneous teaching ... but then he states that Vatican II and those invalid 'popes' did just that." Well that's a very interesting point of view! Vatican II just never happened. There never was promulgated by "pope" Paul VI a "Novus Ordo Missae" in 1969, nor any new forms of any other sacrament. The Vatican did not sign those new concordats with the few remaining Catholic nations so as to force them all to allow false religions inside their borders, all in the name of "Religious Liberty." All of that is just figments of Fr. Cekada's vivid imagination!
If "Fr." Przedwiecki would like to make himself useful, he might consider going about visiting every diocesan and religious order priest who says some fictitious "Novus Ordo Missae" that such a thing was never promulgated in 1969 nor at any other time, and that they should all stop sharing Fr. Cekada's delusion that Paul VI had ever promulgated anything at all, and that therefore they should all return to the tridentine mass. No other mass has ever been promulgated, even falsely, except in Fr. Cekada's mind, and even Fr. Cekada has the good sense to reject the new Mass he imagines to have been promulgated back in 1969! End of problem!
Sarcasm aside (I make no claims to being charitable) the fact is that any real Catholic with a right to the name would just love to wake up tomorrow and find out that it's January 1, 1951, and that all of John XXIII, Paul VI, Vatican II, the John Paul's, and all of the horrible new sacramental forms and all the compromises with communism and false religion were in fact nothing more than a terrible nightmare. Unfortunately, the reality is with us. These atrocities have happened, an indisputable historical fact.
Equally indisputable is the fact that these things have in fact been intrinsic and manifest evils. The experience of the Church has clearly demonstrated beyond all doubts reasonable or not that Pope Pius XII was telling the truth when he infallibly taught that "one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table-form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in the Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the Divine Redeemer's Body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See. ... For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred Liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father for their soul's salvation," in his Encyclical Mediator Dei (1947).
Oh, excuse me! That was not part of his 1950 infallible pronouncement concerning the Assumption of Mary; therefore we can just ignore what he said despite its evident correctness. By that standard we should be able to ignore everything John Paul II ever said or did except Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, his one brief visit to Catholic orthodoxy. Maybe that's not a bad idea. Were that really possible, even Fr. Cekada would have no trouble calling him a pope.
We now get our first extended quote from "Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope." Even here, we get a couple "ed note:"'s which have me wondering. Did "Fr." Przedwiecki suddenly graduate to editor, or did the editors of CRIB X CROSS X CROWN insert these notes into these places where he quotes Fr. Cekada? A slightly interesting question is introduced is these notes: who interprets the magisterium? The answer is rather surprising, yet once seen it becomes obvious: The magisterium itself IS the Church's interpretation of Divine Revelation as given in Tradition and Scripture. There is no need for any further interpretation of that interpretation. Otherwise one would then need someone to interpret the interpretation of the interpretation, and then another someone beyond that... and so on. In his booklet, Fr. Cekada merely relays the magisterial teaching of all the reliable popes from Peter to Pius XII and all dogmatic councils from Nicea to Vatican I. All of this magisterial teaching of the Church needs no living interpreter or authority (Fr. Cekada's or anyone else's) to stand as written. The purpose of a living authority is to address new questions as they come up, and to enforce existing law, not to keep making successive "re-interpretations" of existing teachings until they come to be completely null and void for all practical purposes.
We next get a suggestion (I am always open to suggestions) that we might posit that "somehow the difficult passages of Vatican II documents and papal pronouncements, at times enigmatic [one Hell of an admission, if you ask me], can be properly explained by the Church's continual advancing growth [excuse me while I puke] in the understanding of Her magisterium and Her deposit of faith." Vatican II could be called many things, "a period of change", or "a transition," or "the beginning of a new phase," which might at least describe it politely or mercifully, but to use the word "growth" to describe the Church going through Vatican II is a horrible abuse of language. A tree grows by getting taller and sprouting new branches and extending its roots ever deeper into the earth, not by being chopped down and turned into a billboard.
Before moving on to the questions raised as to how the current mess is to be cleaned up, allow me to point out another question which even Fr. Cekada knows to be quite difficult to address at this time: Exactly how, where, when, and why did the Vatican institution cease to be identical to the Roman Catholic Church? I am not going to attempt to answer that question here, and neither is it answered (for sure) in "Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope," but the indisputable fact THAT it has happened is itself proof positive that there must exist an answer to that question, and therefore an answer to the next question: How in the world can this mess possibly be ever cleaned up?
He asks, "where do Catholics turn ... for a sense of stability and reassurance about their Catholic Faith?" The Church has had fully nineteen hundred years to express Herself on practically each and every day-to-day matter of Catholic living that anyone could possibly encounter. While one would much appreciate having a living hierarchy to enforce the existing teaching, the fact is that the Vatican hierarchy have by and large refused to do so, and God Himself has had to stand in that gap. All one has to do is look in on Fr. Cekada's parish, or any other of the thousands of traditional parishes and mass centers all around the world and one can only be amazed by what an incredibly good job God does at this. These parishes overflow with such Graces and Virtues as only God through His Church could ever possibly provide.
He asks, "What about bishops? Who gives them their mandate?" Many of them have no right to the title of Catholic bishop. Even "Fr." Przedwiecki himself admits too that some "must be in schism, error, and heresy (actually some are)" and furthermore it is proper to believe that at least some portion of the more recently made "bishops" were never validly consecrated at all. Nevertheless, it would be fair to point out that there must be at least a few "closet Catholics" left amongst all of the validly consecrated bishops in the world, and they have no ordinary mandate (unless they come from the time of pope Pius XII or before). Where did they get it? The same place the Lefebvre/de Castro-Mayer bishops got it. The same place the Catholic Thuc bishops got it. The same place the Mendez bishop got it. From Jesus Christ Himself.
You want to know "Fr. Cekada's Plan of Salvation?" Read the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Read the Baltimore Catechism. I wish a trustworthy person would read "Road to Damascus." Didn't any of these people convert between popes? Would any of them be repelled by having to be told, "Well ... uh ... we have no visible head of this Church just right now ... er, ... in fact we haven't since Monday or so. No, I'm not quite sure just how that happens nor do I know exactly when it will next happen?" I truly doubt that even one layman in a hundred could describe in any detail the process used over the last several centuries to elect popes. I don't see anyone's faith reduced in any way by that ignorance.
It really is not a problem. The next pope will come from the Church, just like all of the popes before him. The absence of Catholic cardinals is also not a problem since Canon Law already provides for the situation of what would happen if all of the living cardinals get nuked while holding a papal conclave in the Sistine Chapel: The decision falls to the bishops of the Church who select a pope the way bishops classically did before there ever were any cardinals. All traditional Catholic priests and bishops, including Fr. Cekada know fully darn well that something more is needed than the supplied jurisdiction which just barely gives them enough authority to dish out badly needed sacraments. The Church shall not tolerate a "popeless" period indefinitely; neither shall it continue to tolerate the wimpy, heterodox, or even heretical leadership it presently endures as the only alternative to sedevacantism. Like that little Catholic parish in Spokane, Washington which ejected its papal "wanna-be" from its leadership, the Church as a whole must one day eject its doubtful (at best) "popes" thus clearing the way for the next true and reliable pope.
The next criticism "Fr." Przedwiecki makes of this booklet is a rather curious one. A passage is quoted in which Fr. Cekada points out that having furnished the reader with all of these evidences against the papacy of John Paul II, he admits that he has no authority to go any further than that. For some unknown reason, this is a problem for "Fr." Przedwiecki. What was Fr. Cekada supposed to do, say "I hereby crown myself pope and excommunicate all who disagree with me?" That would make it easy to criticize him, wouldn't it? Even if for no other reason (and in fact there are many other reasons) he would never do such a thing. Can "Fr." Przedwiecki say the same? On nothing but his own authority, "Fr." Przedwiecki has excommunicated in every way but name every Catholic who happens to have reason to believe that John Paul II might not qualify as a pope, a well-founded and reasonable assumption even in the event it turns out to have been mistaken.
What is "Fr." Przedwiecki's vision of the Church? Whatever its leader happens to say it is? If the next pope allows birth control then that becomes OK, and if the one after that allows abortion or mercy-killing, well fine, then that becomes Catholic Truth? Alternatively, if Truth is One and all of a piece, and if John XXIII and all of his successors are great and true popes, what is to be said of all of those other "popes" from Peter to Pius XII who disagree with them? Perhaps authority never existed in the Church until some guy who calls himself John XXIII for no particular reason convenes a council which he calls Vatican II for no particular reason, and with that a brand new Church at last pops into existence ready to hold hands with all the world and make love instead of war and save the planet from those evil capitalists.
Back to Fr. Cekada and his booklet and the comments being made about it, "Does he also take us to be that simple?" If we are to have any hope of Heaven at all we had better be that simple. For God hides the truth from those who are "wise" and "knowledgeable" but reveals Himself to the simple. Such a simpleton who truly seeks God has absolutely no trouble recognizing just where the Roman Catholic Church, God's Church, actually is.
He pokes his head through the door of the "Catholic" Church in union with the diocese just in time to see Father Bozo, dressed as a clown, inflating a giant purple balloon which he then releases so all the little children can chase it around the altar (excuse me, table) while the balloon darts about making a sound effect only slightly less flatulent than Fr. Bozo's homily. The crowd titters with delight while a couple little old ladies in the front with doilies on their heads and tears in their eyes beg for God's mercy. Having seen enough, our Heaven-bound simpleton withdraws, saying to himself, "That is not the Church of my baptism."
Down the street a bit, he finds another Catholic Church, not recognized by the diocese, and he pokes his head through the door of that Church just in time to see Father Holy approaching the altar of God with a reverential awe appropriate for so great and humbling of an honor. He is wearing the liturgical vestments which all priests used to wear, and he goes on to preach a homily so good and solid and based on the readings of the day and all of the Church's teaching that were such homilies to be gathered up into a book and published in the "good old days" before Vatican II, such a book would have absolutely no trouble getting an imprimatur.
After such a holy Mass (just par for the course in Fr. Holy's parish), our simpleton approaches Fr. Holy who welcomes him into THE Roman Catholic Church. The final proof of Fr. Holy's unity with Eternal Rome is the fact that at all times he conducts himself as if he were answerable to a truly Roman Catholic hierarchy. The fact that such a hierarchy might be absent for a very long time is no different than in the old days when any Catholic priest would go for months or even years between visits from his diocesan bishop, but that didn't stop him from doing his best even while the bishop was elsewhere. Just because the Catholic hierarchy may not be present at a specific time or place does not preclude one from being in union with that hierarchy.
Fr. Bozo on the other hand does whatever he wants because he knows they would never kick him out for such ridiculous antics, or just as bad, because he finds himself answerable to a hierarchy which actually expects him to clown around a bit, and which hierarchy therefore cannot be described as Catholic in any sense of the word. If only those two little old ladies in Fr. Bozo's church would stop reading "The Wanderer" or articles like that by "Fr." Przedwiecki, God would be able to lead them to Fr. Holy and the Roman Catholic Church just down the street. Then they would find cause for rejoicing, and they would be able to die in a state of Grace instead of misery and despair. God has heard the prayers of those little old ladies and in answer to that prayer He has sent hundreds of faithful priests, including Fr. Cekada, to see to the needs of His Church, and soon He will be sending thousands more.
In every permanent schism of the Church, one side invariably veers off into heresy while the other which is still the Church marches straight ahead. In the schism that exists between Fr. Holy and Fr. Bozo, you tell me who's veering off into heresy! A thousand years hence, should the world last so long, the spiritual descendants of Fr. Holy will be just like Fr. Holy. What the spiritual descendants of Fr. Bozo will be like if any exist at such a time is too horrible to contemplate. You know it and I know it.
One more statement in the article bears some rather considerable comment: "No wonder so many of these people are angry or disgruntled." Having gotten to know a great many sedevacantists I know for a fact that these people are not the least bit angry or disgruntled. They are quite normal, happy, cheerful people who go to church, receive sacraments, go to picnics and barbecues, work, have babies, and lead a perfectly normal life just like all Catholics used to before Vatican II. Perhaps those who still mistake the Vatican institution for the Roman Catholic Church might be "angry and disgruntled" at all of the evils which they do not feel at liberty to admit are in fact evils. Then they see those happy, blessed sedevacantists experiencing the joy and peace of Catholic communion and in their envy they project their own anger and disgruntlement on them.
I however, having encountered and read this deplorable article by "Fr." Przedwiecki, do have rather considerable cause to be angry. I can only take solace in the fact that CRIB X CROSS X CROWN is a very tiny publication with extremely limited circulation which I hope and pray it remains so long as they see fit to publish such anti-Catholic and positively schismatic nonsense. Alberto Rivera would have been most proud. That it should be so littered with such vicious calumnies is bad enough, but even worse is what that article omits. As I illustrate the problem, I hope the real source of my anger (actually righteous indignation) becomes clear:
Mr. Jones is a respected leader of a community. Perhaps he is Mayor or a prominent elected Judge or some other such "pillar of the community" of whom no one would want to speak ill of. One day, his neighbor Mr. Smith while out gardening happens to glance through a window of Mr. Jones' house and he happens to see Mr. Jones torturing, raping, and eating alive little children. Being physically too weak and lacking any authority to deal with the situation himself personally, he does the next reasonable thing. He gets the police and the newspapers and everyone else like that involved. They show up just as he hoped, but soon Mr. Smith sees something fishy going on. For some reason everyone seems to be focusing in on Mr. Smith, asking about him and his background and his habits and practices while at the same time Mr. Jones is largely ignored and not investigated at all.
Suddenly its Mr. Smith who is "screwed up," Mr. Smith who has some mysterious "attitude problem" about wonderful Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith who is the "kook" spying in other people's windows. Perhaps Mr. Jones secretly owns and controls the police and the media. Perhaps they just can't get it through their thick skulls that wonderful Mr. Jones just might have another side to him. Anyone reading the newspapers, getting the news on television or radio, or even reading the police reports filed against Mr. Smith will fail to find even the faintest hint or reference to what Mr. Smith saw Mr. Jones doing, namely torturing, raping, and eating alive little children, not even from the standpoint of "Mr. Smith claims to have seen ..." At one point, police Officer Doe is standing right in front of Mr. Smith in his yard. Mr. Smith is pointing at the window through which Mr. Jones can be seen even at that very moment going about his sordid manner of self-entertainment. Officer Doe doesn't even begin to turn his head so as to look, but merely tells Mr. Smith, "I don't give a damn what you think you see, you had better stop looking in other people's windows and stop speaking against Mr. Jones or else I am going to have to take you in!" You think Mr. Smith hasn't got cause to be angry?
I have been through that article several times with a fine toothed comb, and I altogether fail to find even the faintest hint of what Fr. Cekada seems to find so objectionable about John Paul II. What is the reader supposed to imagine that Fr. Cekada said in those unquoted first 15 pages of his booklet? Even without seeing the booklet, such an omission should be suspicious. Seeing the booklet itself, one quickly discovers that the article has yet another major omission: The entire latter half is devoted to extended quotes from popes (Innocent III, Paul IV), councils (Vatican I, Trent) and numerous well-established canonists on which the theological position of sedevacantism is solidly based.
Even deeper than my righteous indignation on account of "Fr." Przedwiecki's calumnies and concealment of the truth is a profound feeling of disappointment. The title of the article promised a defense of "the Pope," by which I feel I can safely presume he meant John Paul II. No such defense is ever given. The real theological objections to the papacy of John Paul II, having not been mentioned at all, therefore go unanswered. Is there no defense for the papacy of John Paul II? Perhaps that is the ultimate admission of defeat on the part of "Fr." Przedwiecki. He did not answer those objections because he knew he couldn't.
I truly wish some qualified canonist would look into the matter and at least try to come up with a serious defense of John Paul II. For it seems to me just barely possible that despite all of the admitted heresies of the man, and the very turgid, turbulent nature of his "papal" career, it seems to me, an admitted rank amateur in such things, that he might even so just manage to squeak by as a pope owing to some technicalities of Canon Law. He has some bright spots in his career worthy of the finest popes, but also some dark spots of his career which seem to shout at us, "I'm NOT the pope! I'm NOT the pope! I'm NOT the pope! What does it take to prove to you that I am NOT the pope?"
Of course, the fact remains that even if one or more conciliar or post-conciliar "popes" somehow manage to remain on the list of successors of Saint Peter, none of them could be blindly followed the way one could have blindly followed practically any pope from Pius V to Pius XII in absolute safety. I have no problem with applauding John Paul II's "golden moments" in which he truly functioned as though he were a great and true pope, or even as a great and saintly human being, but what am I as a loyal Catholic supposed to make of all those other stupid things which he did and taught and believed?
Regretfully yours in Jesus and Mary,
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