So Here It Is; Here Is What Happened
by Griff Ruby
In the previous essay, "Is Sedevacantism the Right Approach?" I stated that there was more to the story of what had happened than merely a pope gone heretic, but that "something else" had happened, precluding the John Paul's from occupying the Papal office, and which a study focused on the organization he runs would provide a more fruitful line of research into understanding the present Church situation. This is not something new. Mentions of this concept are scattered throughout my site, and have occasionally been picked up by others as well.
The purpose here is to explore in more detail what precisely I have been meaning by what I have said about it elsewhere, taking into account all challenges I have received to my understanding of things. I claim that the man in charge of the Vatican institution cannot be Pope (even if he were Catholic, but considerable evidence suggests that he is not), at least in the strictly Petrine sense of what it means to be Pope, by virtue of the fact that the organization he runs is not the Catholic Church. Just as being the head of General Motors or of the nation of Venezuela does not make one a pope, neither does being the head of the present Vatican organization.
I furthermore maintain that John Paul II's jurisdiction is not universal, and that that is so by virtue of decrees, which he himself has consistently upheld throughout his possession of his present position as leader of the Vatican organization. This lack of universal jurisdiction distinguishes John Paul II (along with John Paul I and Paul VI) from all successors of Peter who, by definition, must and did possess universal jurisdiction. This in turn denies him the authority to teach the whole Church since a bishop's authority to teach only extends to his own diocese.
You will notice relatively little recourse in this treatise to the standard theological sources, quotations, doctors, fathers, canonists, and so forth. This is done by design for two reasons. One is that the present situation before us is one that, to my knowledge, has not been anticipated by any of them. While some (such as St. Bellarmine) have indeed speculated about the possibility of some pope falling into error, no one appears to have ever speculated about the possibility of Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops gathering in an Ecumenical Council and explicitly redefining their organization to be something other than the Church. Secondly, this paper is meant to stand on its own, on the basis and strength of the deductive logic and set theory used within it.
Finally, this is a testable scientific theory. I cannot claim that it is the infallible and absolute Truth, but only that it is a theory which happens to fit the facts, and I mean the word "theory" in the strict scientific sense of some explanation which fits all known facts, and which can anticipate new facts to come. For example, my theory predicted that Protocols 1411 and 512 would not close down the Indult, where many thought they would at the time they were most in the news. Here we are several years later, and as my theory predicted, the Indult did not get shut down by them. When I have explained my theory here one will see why that was so, and what other predictions can be made from it.
As anyone familiar with my work will know, I base my theory on a pivotal (and controversial from the very beginning) passage of the new "constitution" of the Church, namely Lumen Gentium:
This [the real and authentic Catholic Church, as clearly and accurately described in the preceding paragraphs of Lumen Gentium] is the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (Jn. 21:17), commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it (cf. Matt. 28:18, etc.), and which he raised up for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), Chapter I, section 8, second paragraph, translated by Fr. Colman O'Neill, O. P., Austin Flannery, O. P. General Editor, 1988 Revised Edition)
In Latin, the latter half of this is given as:
Haec Ecclesia, in hoc mundo ut societas constituta et ordinata, subsistit in Ecclesia catholica, a sucessore Petri et Episcopis in eius compaginem gubernata, licet extra eius compaginem elementa plura sanctificationis et veritatis inveniatur, quae ut dona Ecclesiae Christi propria ad unitatem catholicam impellunt.
Two considerations were used in the interpretation and understanding of that key passage (the most important sentence in the entire Council, in my opinion). One is the literal meaning of the text itself, which while ambiguous, is not infinitely flexible in application, and the second is the previous and traditional Magisterium of the Church, in the light of which everything must be interpreted.
Let us start with the text itself. One particular meaning claimed for it (by Cd. Ratzinger in his 1985 denunciation of Liberation Theologist Leonard Boff) is that "subsists in" is merely a fancy dancy way of saying "is." This interpretation is explicitly precluded by the grammar of the passage itself. To say that one thing "subsists in" another is also to declare that the one thing is not itself the other. X can "subsist in" Y, or Y in X, but X cannot "subsist in" X nor Y in Y. X simply "is" X, and Y is Y (a tautology).
Furthermore, bringing the liberation theologian Leonard Boff is nothing but a red herring, brought in exclusively for the express purpose of attempting to muddy the good status of true clerics with the taint of Modernism. It is a concealed attempt to call authentic traditional Catholics "modernists." It is true that Leonard Boff has made the same observation regarding the Council document, but for that matter, if he were to say that two and two make four, I would have to agree with him on that as well. He has correctly discerned the true meaning that text in the Council document, but like the authors of the remainder of the Vatican II documents, has attempted to map the circle of the real Church to something clearly other than the Mystical Body of Christ, in his case his communist groups.
Speaking different things out of each side of his mouth, Ratzinger goes on to admit the presence of pieces of the Church ("elements," or portions or componants, literally "elementae ecclesia'") existing or subsisting outside the Vatican organization. In the exact same grammatical sense, if my car were up on concrete blocks in my garage, the wheels taken off and shipped downtown to get new tires on them, I could quite properly state that "my car subsists in my garage; however pieces (elements, portions, components, namely the wheels) of it are presently outside the garage." Again, notice the lack of identity: a "car" is not a "garage" under any circumstances, obviously.
Furthermore, if pieces of the car are outside the garage, then necessarily the remaining portions of the car which are in my garage are incomplete, lacking, not quite enough to comprise an entire car. Also, a car being something distinct from a garage, it is also possible that not everything in the garage is the car, e. g. the concrete blocks holding up the car in lieu of the wheels.
The argument has been put forth that "subsists in" could still be just some different kind of "is" such that equality of essence and domain are still implied, as in the sentence "the human person subsists in a human being." By all evidences, this argument was put forth during Vatican II as a way to put everyone's mind at ease with the defective formula, such that only a few voted in favor of opening the document yet once again to fix it before they could finish up and go home.
Between the excitement engendered by the big new Council, and then the long and boring tediousness of arguing over details of documents many of which were subsequently rejected altogether, it is quite apparent that the critical faculties of very few persons were in any way engaged. Their ready and willing eagerness to accept such a lame argument was far more a measure of their weariness and their desire to finish up and go home than it was of any actual agreement or sympathy with it. A few may even have voted for keeping it with the hope that such a serious defect would constrain the Pope to reject the entire useless document. That was not such a forlorn hope as one would now think, since the document had almost been rejected on account of the wrangling over a footnote pertaining to collegiality that had to be added to it. After all, better no document at all than a weak and ambiguous document.
So what is wrong with "the human person subsists in a human being"? First of all, no one ever talks like that; the grammar is weird, to say the least. Second of all, "person" and "being" are interchangeable, since they mean the same thing. Just check any dictionary or thesarus. "Person" means "being, or human being" and "being," when used as a noun anyway, means "person, or human person." But in such a sentence as this, "person" and "being" are being used in differing senses, else the statement would be a self-contradiction and therefore utterly false. Third of all, even if we could grant "person" and "being" as subtly different concepts, such that the sentence can make some sort of grammatical sense, one passes from the realm of mere grammatical strangeness to that of total rank absurdity if one were to say that some human person "subsists in this human being, but pieces of him also subsist within other human beings."
Another lame argument trotted out (this one only subsequent to the Council) is that "elements of sanctification and of truth" are merely "church-like" things, that is to say imitations of the Church, or specific but limited ways in which the Church might be imitated by other corporate bodies not answerable to the Vatican. What is not taken into account here is that a mixture of lies and truths is itself every bit as much a lie as a pack of unmitigated lies would be. Indeed, anything only half right would pose a grave spiritual danger, as this would only be the Devil's ministers transforming themselves into "angels of light," a far deeper deception. Such satanic admixtures could never be "forces impelling towards Catholic unity." Going back to the car illustration, if all this means is that some other cars outside my garage may happen to have the same number of wheels or be the same color as my car, what could that possibly have to do with me or my car? What ownership, claim, or relationship would that confer to me with regards to all the other cars there are out there? And it passes beyond the realm of sense to claim that such passing similarities between my car and the other cars out there could in any way increase the chances of any one of them becoming my car.
No, an "element of sanctification and of truth" must be some Church or Church representative with the capacity and authority and jurisdiction to teach, govern, and convey Grace and sanctification, and that they must be an integral component of the Church, such that the Church is incomplete without them. Only that which is or truly belongs to Christ's Church is capable of that, and so this necessarily must refer to Christ's Church extending outside and beyond the domain of the Vatican organization, and that not merely as missionary outreach, but that lawful ecclesiastical authorities may exist out there who are not in any way answerable to the Vatican leader.
We gain a further glimpse of what this passage was really intended to mean from the way it was applied throughout the rest of the Council, and continues to be applied to this day. The goal is to perpetrate a new and false "ecumenism" in which other heretical and schismatic "churches" can be instruments of God's grace and possess a lawful Apostolic mission. I must digress here to introduce some important concepts regarding ecumenism that are germane to understanding just what a novelty that declaration really is.
Many traditional Catholics, in their fear and revulsion towards the false "ecumenism" created as a result of Vatican II, make the mistake of thereby condemning all religious ecumenism, both true and false. That is an overreaction. There are a number of "ecumenical" actions permitted and even quietly advocated by the pre-Vatican II Church, or at the very least capable of being permitted in the Newmannian sense of "development of doctrine." Let us illustrate with some of the things permitted in pre-Vatican II days.
While we are forbidden to engage in the false worship of other churches, members of other religions most certainly are permitted and encouraged to engage in the true worship of the Church, and we Catholics to invite them and allow them to pray with us. If a Protestant or a Hindu were willing to pray the Rosary with me, it would be perfectly acceptable, indeed praiseworthy, for me to pray the Rosary with them, and it would not be communicatio in sacris despite their heretical or pagan beliefs. We have always been encouraged to be "good neighbors" to our non-Catholic neighbors, coworkers, family members, and also to allow them to be good neighbors to us. It is right and obviously accepted that we may make common cause with other ethical people in specific endeavors of Catholic value (such as when we cooperate with Moslems or Protestant fundamentalists in the fight against abortion). It is even permissible for non-Catholics to engage in Catholic apostolates, under the auspices of the Catholic Church (under certain conditions of course), such as when the Vatican first allowed the Legion of Mary to incorporate members of the schismatic Orthodox churches into its membership, and even to hold offices in the Legion and operate their own Legion groups (praesidia). We obey non-Catholic secular rulers, wherever such happen to be in charge, in all things but sin.
There is a clear pattern to all of those permitted ecumenical actions, a pattern that is entirely set aside by the false and unprecedented "ecumenism" of Vatican II. It is always permissible for anyone to approach the Church for the sanctification and truth that only the Church can provide, and for us to fellowship and be associated with anyone actually in the process of doing so. This is so because the Church is the sole channel of God's grace and God desires that all come to be saved and be filled with his grace.
There is one specific aspect of the false Vatican II based "ecumenism" which has no precedent, and cannot be shown to be any natural outgrowth of other more basic doctrines, and furthermore the very notion of which has already been infallibly condemned. That is the notion that other churches, despite their being schismatic, heretical, or even pagan, can somehow be themselves means, or instruments or channels of God's grace (sanctification and truth).
The well-known dogmatic saying that "Outside the Church there is no salvation," does not mean (as Fr. Feeney would have us believe) that only baptized Catholics can be saved, but rather that all salvation comes to mankind through the Catholic Church. A more accurate way to translate that saying is that "There is no salvation obtainable except that which comes from Christ, through His Church." It is intrinsically impossible for schismatic, heretical, or pagan churches to be means of God's grace. Some people may be saved despite their having been in these other churches, but never as a result of being in these other churches, as though these other churches could convey grace.
It is therefore not a valid Newmannian "development of doctrine" to go from being good neighbors with non-Catholics to claiming that their non-Catholic churches can save them. Yet this manner of false "ecumenism" is precisely what the remainder of Vatican II was all about. Its documents go on to attempt to grant jurisdiction to schismatic East Orthodox clergy ("Orientalis" schema), and to teach that Protestant "churches" are also (themselves) members of Christ (Unitatis Redintegratio).
Let us explore this distinction a bit further, as perhaps it is here that some people get confused and have difficulty understanding just what it is that I have been saying. Allow me to use some set theory (which is fundamental to rigorous logical deduction) to illustrate the current situation clearly. In the first of these drawings, there are two circles, one magenta (or purple), and one green. The magenta circle stands for both the visible Vatican institution and the visible Mystical Body of Christ, as they were identical prior to Vatican II. The green circle stands for those who are "right with God." It is dotted, because this "community" is by its very nature invisible as God alone knows the hearts of everyone. This is why I have dotted the green circle.
In this setting, notice the four categories: A Those who are baptized members of the Church, but due to some unconfessed mortal sin they are in serious trouble. B Those who are truly united to the soul of the Church although they are outside the Church. This is the group which Fr. Feeney denies the existence of where standard Catholic theology has always acknowledged the theoretical possibility of souls in this category. Though right with God such that if they die thus they would eventually see Heaven, these souls have no means to be "elements of Sanctification" or of "Truth" as they have no standing in the visible Church. They are recipients of salvation still through the Church in some spiritual sense, but that is all. C Those who are baptized members of the Church in good standing before their Creator, and finally D Those who are outside the Church and furthermore not united to the soul of the Church, such as unrighteous pagans. So far, so simple.
Let us see what Vatican II did to this. The circle of the Church is no longer magenta but red and blue to indicate the disassociation between the present visible Vatican institution (red circle) and the present visible Mystical Body of Christ (blue circle).
Notice that even after the change resulting from Vatican II, the green circle remains unaffected by the change. It is still invisible (and thus dotted in this diagram) and therefore is not what I have been talking about. There are a great many more categories in this drawing, as the present situation is much more complex than it was prior to Vatican II. In this setting, notice the eight categories: A Those who are members of the present Vatican institution but who are living in mortal sin, and furthermore not connected in any way with the traditional Church. This would include those who forcibly foist Vatican II changes on their unsuspecting flocks, those who conspired to bring it all about, and finally those who once belonged to tradition but subsequently repudiated it. B Those who are visibly members of the traditional Catholic movement, but in a state of having some unconfessed mortal sin, and who are outside the Vatican institution. C Those who are truly united to the soul of the Church although they are outside the Church and also outside the present Vatican institution. Though right with God such that if they dies thus they would eventually see Heaven, these souls have no means to be "elements of Sanctification" or of "Truth" as they have no standing in the visible Church. They are recipients of salvation still through the Church in some spiritual sense, but that is all. D Those who are Novus ordo believers who are sincere and Catholic-at-heart who, despite their being outside the Church, are nevertheless united to the soul of the Church and also formal members of the Vatican institution. These would typically be the sort who like the Wanderer or EWTN. E Those who are of the Indult, but in a state of unconfessed mortal sin. If for example an Indult priest were to be a practicing pedophile that would be a ringing example of this category. F Those who are traditional Catholics, either forced or choosing to function outside the present Vatican institution but clearly Catholic in every sense and also right with God. G Those who are traditional Catholics, functioning within the present Vatican institution with an Indult, and who furthermore are also right with God. H Those who are outside the Church and furthermore not united to the soul of the Church, such as unrighteous pagans.
As you can see, the situation is somewhat more complex than before, as the total number of categories has doubled to eight. It is easier if one looks only at the three circles rather than the eight permutations possible from being inside or outside each of the circles. Naturally, for the concern of our souls, we are to be quite concerned with remaining within the dotted green circle, wherever else we go. As informed Catholics, we really don't have the option of joining category C, since that could only apply to those who honestly don't realize or understand the moral obligation to be Catholic. If you have been able to understand and follow this case so far, you should also be able to see that category D is also no longer open to us.
That leaves categories F and G as being the only acceptable place to be as a devout Catholic. Since both are within the blue and the green circle, it honestly makes absolutely no difference which one a person belongs to, at least with respect to saving their own soul.
Now, let us look at the confusion some people spread (whether due to ignorance or evil design I prefer not to speculate) about all this. Some have attempted to claim that the blue circle is only the green circle. In a sense, that is what the rest of the Council attempted to do as the basis of their false ecumenism. They have gone on to grant ecclesiastical jurisdiction to schismatic clergy (the East Orthodox, specifically and explicitly, Old Catholic clergy by logical implication), as if that were possible.
They have attempted to claim that any sincere religious person, no matter what the religion, can somehow be an element (piece, portion, component, instrument) of Sanctification and Truth (which is heresy), and furthermore that these persons or their various "truths" and "goodnesses" are somehow forces impelling to unity (which is patently absurd).
By de fide dogma, the Church alone provides "Sanctification," that is Sanctifying Grace. When a schismatic cleric works a valid Sacrament, his Sacrament, in and of itself, does not convey Sanctifying Grace, although the other consequences of the Sacrament remain in force. The Sacraments, when validly and lawfully confected, not only convey or confer Sanctifying Grace, but also various other effects related to Grace, but themselves distinct from it.
If this were not so, there would not need to be seven Sacraments, but only one, one which merely conveys Sanctifying Grace and that is all. As we know, there ARE seven Sacraments and that there are other specific consequences of each Sacrament, and when unlawfully but validly administered, these other effects remain. Therefore, the schismatically or even heretically Baptized person truly receives the indelible mark of Baptism on his soul, but this action of the Sacrament conveys no Sanctifying Grace to that soul. The couple are married (except where otherwise explicitly prohibited by law, whether Divine, Ecclesiastical, or Secular), the confirmed or ordained person receives the indelible mark of confirmation or ordination on his soul, and the bread and wine really become the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity of Christ.
Confession is somewhat more interesting, since the successful and valid forgiveness of sins necessarily conveys Sanctifying Grace. But here notice that no validity is ever claimed for the Sacrament of Confession unless at least some kind of jurisdiction (regular, delegated, or supplied) applies. If a schismatic cleric attempts to provide this Sacrament without any jurisdiction, it is invalid, and its only possible positive consequences would be the opportunity for the soul in question to air his troubles and receive (hopefully helpful) advice, something he could equally obtain from any unordained person.
The most interesting case is that of Extreme Unction. Here, it is the laws of the Church itself (Canon Law, ever since being codified) and possibly even Divine Law as well which actually extends the jurisdiction to perform this Sacrament to any validly ordained clergyman, should the need arise, regardless of whether he is approved, schismatic, heretical, excommunicated, or even excommunicated vitandus. During that moment, and for the extent of that one specific action, the schismatic but valid clergyman actually momentarily functions as a member of the Church Hierarchical, with the Church's jurisdiction to administer this Sacrament, since it too is concerned with the forgiveness of sins (and therefore the conveyance of Sanctifying Grace), which may also bring about healing, even significant physical healing in some cases.
Therefore, to ascribe the capacity of being an "element of Sanctification" to anyone who is "outside the confines" of the Vatican institution, (i. e. not answerable to Vatican authority), is to delegate to such persons formal, visible, and lawful ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For such clerics are not merely spoken of as "momentarily functioning" as elements of Sanctification (as would have been appropriate to say prior to Vatican II), but that they simply ARE elements of Sanctification, and that on an ongoing and consistant basis. Being an "element of Sanctification" means the person possesses the ruling and redemptive powers of the Church.
Now let us look at being an "element of Truth." One could have a paragraph of statements, all but one of which are true, and the one specifically false. Is the paragraph true or false? It is false of course, despite the truths of the remaining statements. It is said that the Devil mixes lies with the truth. It is never anywhere claimed that each and everything the Devil ever says is always a lie (else one could simply take all that the Devil says and invert it so as to provide infallible Truth). When Scripture calls the Devil a liar, it is therefore not claiming that everything he ever says is always a lie, but that it is all untrustworthy, because some of it is true and some of it false and one never knows which statement is true or false.
Truth, in order to really be Truth, MUST be trustworthy. In this world, there is exactly one entity which can truly claim this quality, and that is the Catholic Church as an organization. This is why it is that the Church alone possesses the Magisterial or "teaching" authority. It is an authority precisely because it is trustworthy.
To be an "element of Truth" therefore means to be one that is always true (because "sometimes true" is the same as "false"), and therefore to posses the trustworthiness, which the Church alone possesses. Therefore, to ascribe the capacity of being an "element of Truth" to anyone who is "outside the confines" of the Vatican institution, (i. e. not answerable to Vatican authority), is to grant that person the authority to wield the teaching authority of the Church.
Furthermore, the document does not speak of "elements of Sanctification" and "elements of Truth," as if some persons could be elements of one and not the other, but of "elements of Sanctification and Truth." As elements of Sanctification, they posses the redemptive and governance powers of the Church, and as elements of Truth they posses the teaching authority of the Church as is appropriate to the rank they otherwise possess, as priest, or bishop, etc. Having all three of these qualities means that they are to be recognized as lawful and visible members of the Church Hierarchical, even though they are not answerable to Vatican authority. They are therefore integral components of the Church, such that the Church is incomplete without them.
By definition however, one thing they MUST be answerable to is Catholic authority. That is a prerequisite of one's membership in the Church Hierarchical. Since the Lumen Gentium document has specifically mentioned the possibility of persons being members of the Church Hierarchical without being answerable to their Vatican leadership, they have disassociated themselves as an organization from being, itself, the center of Catholic authority.
Who could possibly fit in that category? Prior to Vatican II there was no one, but since Vatican II there have arisen a respectable number of Catholic orders, proceeding from lawful bishops of the Church, who have explicitly defined themselves as being answerable to Catholic authority. Could the schismatic clergy the Vatican II fathers had in mind when they wrote and approved this (such as East Orthodox or Old Catholic) fit this category? The Eastern schismatics have denied the primacy of the Pope. The Old Catholics go further than that. The Protestants further still. The non-Christians go even beyond that. Clearly these categories of people demonstrate, by their adherence to known and specifically condemned heresies and disbelief, that they do not consider themselves subject to Catholic authority. Ergo, these persons are intrinsically incapable (so long as they don't repent of their heresies and disbelief) of possessing membership in the Catholic Church Hierarchical.
An interesting fact about Lumen Gentium is that, having mentioned the new possibility of there existing elements of Sanctification and Truth outside the visible confines of the Vatican institution, it does not specifically go on to say just who, precisely, these elements of Sanctification and Truth consist of. It is Catholic theology which limits this to the traditional Catholics. And, it is the later documents of Vatican II which go on to attempt to apply this quality erroneously to those who are clearly unqualified and incapable.
It is these heretical later documents of Vatican II (since everything after Lumen Gentium only applies to the Vatican institution and not the Church, infallibility no longer applies) which then go on to concoct the bizarre theological fiction of such a thing as "partial communion" with the Church. A "partial communion" makes absolutely no more sense than a "partial salvation." "Well, we managed to save half of his soul, but the other half must go to Hell!" – nonsense! A person is saved or he is not. A person has communion with the Church (by being baptized and visibly attached to it), or a person does not. A person is either right with God at any given moment or they are not.
It is this bizarre theological fiction of "partial communion" which in turn is the whole basis of Vatican II's false ecumenism. There is a great and impassible chasm between "This virtuous pagan abides by Natural Law and endeavors to do the very best he can given his spiritual ignorance; it is therefore quite possible that his soul is right with God and that he shall be saved," and "We Catholics are at liberty to pray with this selfsame virtuous pagan to his pagan gods and to honor his pagan values and even deny teaching him the Catholic Faith, since they are at least partly Catholic." It is dogmatically impossible to claim that the second is in any way a logical or even acceptable outgrowth or "development" of the first.
Now to the Great Detachment itself: When the Council fathers first talked about their organization being merely something which subsists in (or else is subsisted in by) the real Mystical Body of Christ, where that had never been done before, what they really did was define a new organization into existence, and themselves as members of it. This effectively created doppelganger offices for every Church leader, from Pope all the way on down at least to parish priest and perhaps even to its laymen, and specified them as assigned to these new offices.
One of the ways one can tacitly resign from an office is to accept another office. I suspect that this may not always apply unless there is something mutually exclusive about the offices or else at least if the former office is utterly deserted and abandoned. For example, when a parish priest accepts to be made the bishop of diocese X, then his acceptance of that new office is considered to be a tacit resignation from his former post as parish priest. No resignation document is therefore required, although one is often typically supplied, perhaps as a means for the priest to say goodbye to his congregation.
Somewhat more ambiguous is the situation where the new office is not mutually exclusive to the previous office and there is room to believe that the person can serve "double duty." I shall draw from the experience of a congregation with which I am familiar (the congregation in question is Novus Ordo, but such an illustration would apply equally for a Catholic parish). The priest in charge had appointed a certain qualified layman to serve in the capacity of school principal for the school attached to the parish.
That, by the way, is a good illustration of the ability to delegate authority even to a layman, as this layman had full authority as to how the school was to be run, who will be hired or fired as teachers, seeing to the implementation of the curricula, organizing funding for additions and expansions to the school, etc. as befit the duties of a school principal. So far, so good.
But when this lay school principal retired, there was no one found qualified to replace him, thus forcing the parish priest to serve in double duty, both as parish priest (his previous office) and as school principal (his new office). Despite being spread rather thin, to the extent that both offices suffered, the priest did his best to serve in both offices simultaneously. So in this case the acceptance of a new office did not imply a resignation from the previous office. Eventually, someone was found and this situation ended.
But now, suppose that having this situation arise, the parish priest begins devoting literally all of his efforts to functioning as the school principal. He ceases saying Mass or hearing confessions, or administering any Sacraments, he no longer appears as spiritual director or advisor to any parish organizations. Even the important parish decisions, which would otherwise have been up to him have been delegated to someone else, say the secretary, or an assistant priest, or even a committee of lay persons. He has in every sense therefore entirely abandoned his former post, and so even though his new post was not intrinsically exclusive to his former post, his subsequent complete abandonment of his former post, together with his acceptance and total involvement in his new post, similarly constitutes a tacit resignation from his former post.
So, every Church official was now serving two offices. Many, sadly all too many soon went completely over to serving in their new office, completely to the exclusion of their old, such as all of those who devoted themselves exclusively to the new Novus Ordo religion, forbidding in all places under their control any Catholicism, in fact tacitly but fully resigned from their sees and assignments.
But not all Church officials did this. Some of them gave their new doppelganger office mere lip service and then continued devoting themselves practically exclusively to the duties of their see. Bp. de Castro-Meyer comes to mind as an example of this. He therefore did not resign. But in fact, any bishop, continuing to see at least part time to the Catholic needs of his see, could be regarded as not having resigned. Abp. Pell comes to mind as an example of this, as he is known to be staunchly orthodox and also extremely generous towards the Indult. The priests who answer to him already have the permission the SSPX was trying to buy for all Catholics and Catholic-at-hearts around the world.
One challenge put to my theory is that my critic thought that I am positing a total Church-wide defection at the promulgation of Lumen Gentium. As doctrine teaches us, the Church cannot defect, as promised by God, even though some very large numbers of clergymen might, but some would not, and would avoid defecting to a sufficient degree to continue the Church.
But such a massive and wide scale resignation would not be a defection, any more than the mere resignation of one official from one post mean that the prelate in question has defected. And as shown above, not every Church and Vatican official who signed and approved Lumen Gentium even tacitly resigned, owing to their continuance, at least on a part-time basis, of their Catholic duties.
Therefore, I conclude that even at this most critical juncture, we are dealing with something that has always been feasible within the scope of God's promises. A mass resignation is not itself a mass defection, but it does pave the way for a great many to defect.
Another objection raised is that one critic of my theory claims that Lumen Gentium is not a law, and therefore can have no legal force. Given that Lumen Gentium's 1964 promulgation did not in and of itself cause the document to be affixed to the Code of Canon Law, there might be a case for the document not being a legal document, or that it is not law, and therefore cannot carry with it any official action or consequences.
Despite it's being called a "Constitution" for the Church, and even having the word "Dogmatic" applied to it as if to afford it additional weight, let us suppose, for the sake of argument, the claim that Lumen Gentium itself is not Law. Can that really mean that it therefore must have absolutely no legal consequences? I think I can show that to be false. I will illustrate this with an example from my local State Law.
In my State (California), there is a law in the Vehicle Code regarding curbs which have been painted blue. Only those who are handicapped, and have an official placard or license plate designation to prove that, are allowed to park in these choicest of all parking spaces. The Vehicle Code goes on to specify fines that may be imposed, and at which point an offending vehicle may be towed away, etc. All of which section constitutes the California State Law regarding blue painted curbs.
Now, let us posit a shopkeeper who had such a blue curb to the left of his shop door now decides that it should be to the right of the door and not the left. So he scrapes the blue paint off the portions of the curb to the left of his shop door and paints the portions to the right of his shop door blue. Has the Law changed? Obviously not, since the Vehicle Code still reads in that section exactly as it always has. Does such a change have legal consequences? It most certainly does, for where before it was perfectly legal for a non-handicapped person to park immediatly to the right of his shop door, it has now become illegal for him to park in precisely the same place, and all possible penalties may now apply. And where it was illegal before (to the immediate left of the shop door) it now becomes legal. These are therefore legal consequences, despite the fact that the Law itself has not changed.
How would that apply to the Catholic Church and the Vatican institution? When the two were spoken of as identical in every way (as was consistantly done prior to Lumen Gentium), every Law that applied to the Catholic Church necessarily also applied to the Vatican institution, and every Law that applied to the Vatican institution necessarily also applied to the Catholic Church. Now that they have been explicitly distinguished from each other as distinct entities, Laws which bind the Catholic Church need not bind the Vatican institution, and bylaws of the Vatican institution most certainly do not bind the Catholic Church. If the State of California were to secede from the United States of America, then the Federal Laws of the United States of America would no longer apply to the State of California, or should I say the newly defined nation of California.
With that, I believe that I have parried each and every objection raised to my theory, and that my theory emerges unscathed and only all the stronger. In the next article, I intend to pursue the topic of the Visibility of the Church. This article will cover and review much of the ground already covered in this article, but from a somewhat different perspective which I hope may help to clarify the exact nature of the theory for some readers.
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