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Apologetic Debate on Perpetual Sucession


« Roma locuta est, causa finita est. « (saint Innocent I).
Rome has spoken and the cause is ended.

According to Canon Law 188 § 4, any cleric who publicly denies his Catholic Faith, "ipso facto", by the act itself, which is an act of apostasy, and without any acceptance or declaration from his superiors, he looses his office and his post becomes vacant.

From John XXIII to Francis-Bergoglio, all these usurpers have publicly praised and supported the false anti-Catholic religions. This act is an act of pure apostasy and of complete rejection of Catholic Faith :

« 2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion. » (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", January 6th 1928)

Objection 1 :

Canon law does not apply itself; it is applied by the authority of the Church. This is assumed by all commentaries of the old Code of 1917. As for what Canon Law actually says apropos this matter, it is best to look first at Canon 1556:

“Prima Sedes a nemine judicatur.
“The first or primatial see is subject to no one’s judgment. This proposition must be taken in the fullest extent, not only with regard to the object of infallibility…But even the person of the Supreme Pontiff was ever considered as unamenable to human judgment, he being responsible and answerable to God alone, even though accused of personal misdeeds and crimes. A remarkable instance is that of Pope Symmachus (408-514). He, indeed, submitted to the convocation of a council (the Synodus Palmaria, 502), because he deemed it his duty to see to it that no stain was inflicted upon his character, but this synod itself is a splendid vindication of our canon (quoted above). The synod adopted the Apology of Ennodius of Pavia, in which occurs the noteworthy sentence: ‘God wished the causes of other men to be decided by men; but He has reserved to His own tribunal, without question, the ruler of this see (the pope).’ No further argument for the traditional view is required (the canonist’s words, not mine)… Hence nothing is left but an appeal to God, who will take care of His Church and its head” (emphasis in the original and mine).

I could hardly have said it better myself. The same canonist, P. Charles Augustine, O.S.B., uses a very revealing remark while discussing Canon 221, on the Roman Primacy.

“A purely academical question is, whether a Pope could be deposed if he became a heretic or schismatic. Nego suppositum. (I reject the proposition.)”

Also extremely important in this matter is the doctrine of the Church regarding the primacy. "Vatican Council I infallibly defined:
If anyone denies that in virtue of the decree of Our Lord Himself (or by divine institution) Blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his Primacy over the Universal Church, let him be anathema."

This means that we cannot be without a pope for an extended time.

Reply to objection 1 :

It is your personal opinion, Mr. W, that we cannot be without a Pope for an extended time, but this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, and Catholics are always bound to hear the voice of the Church, under pain of grave sin.

« By reason of their author, [ecclesiastical] penalties are inflicted either by law or by an individual, according as they are imposed by the law itself or by a legitimate superior (Canon 2217 § I, n. 3).

«... By reason of their form, a penalty is "latae sententiae" if it is incurred by the very fact of transgressing the law without the necessity of any condemnatory sentence by a judge; a penalty "ferendae sententiae" is one which is incurred after such a sentence. » (Prümmer O.P., "Handbook of Moral Theology", 1957, pg. 338-339)

Canon Law 188 § 4 is an exemple of a penalty "latae sententiae", which doesn't need the intervention of a superior but is incurred by the law itself, "ipso facto". The Code of Canon Law (1917) is always in force and binding, because it is the only present Law of the Catholic Church, as I will clarify it further.

The sophism of Pope saint Symmachus is not relevant to our discussion because he was falsely accused of adultery and embezzlement in the administration of Church property (Dallas, "A General History of the Catholic Church", 1865, vol. 2. pg. 67), whereas here we're talking about the faith of Peter and his successors, which the whole Catholic Church is built upon. And Our Lord promissed to Peter and to his successors that their Faith shall not fail (saint Luke 22:32).

« Moreover, that by the very apostolic primacy which the Roman Pontiff as the successor of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, holds over the universal Church, the supreme power of the magisterium is also comprehended, this Holy See has always held, the whole experience of the Church approves, and the ecumenical Councils themselves, especially those in which the East convened with the West in a union of faith and charity, have declared. For the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, adhering to the ways of the former ones, published this solemn profession: "Our first salvation is to guard the rule of right faith [...]. And since the sentiment of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be passed over when He says: 'Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church' [Matt. 16:18], these words which were spoken are proven true by actual results, since in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, and holy doctrine celebrated. Desiring, then, least of all to be separated from the faith and teaching of this [Apostolic  See], We hope that We may deserve to be in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the solidarity of the Christian religion is whole and true" (Hrd V 778 f.) [cf. n. 171  f.]. Moreover, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks have professed, "that the Holy Roman Church holds the highest and the full primacy and pre-eminence over the universal Catholic Church, which it truthfully and humbly professes it has received with plenitude of power from the Lord Himself in blessed Peter, the chief or head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor; and, just as it is bound above others to defend the truth of faith, so, too, if any questions arise about faith, they should be defined by its judgment" [cf. n. 466]. Finally, the Council of Florence has defined: "That the Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to it in the blessed Peter has been handed down by the Lord Jesus Christ the full power of feeding, ruling, and guiding the universal Church".

« To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors always gave tireless attention that the saving doctrine of Christ be spread among all the peoples of the earth, and with equal care they watched that, wherever it was received, it was preserved sound and pure. Therefore, the bishops of the whole world, now individually, now gathered in Synods, following a long custom of the churches and the formula of the ancient rule, referred to this Holy See those dangers particularly which emerged in the affairs of faith, that there especially the damages to faith might be repaired where faith cannot experience a failure (Cf. Saint Bernard, "Letter (190) to Innocent II" [ML  182, 1053  D]). The Roman Pontiffs, moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical Councils or by examining the opinion of the Church spread throughout the world; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God's help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition. For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His  disciples: "I have prayed for thee, that thy  faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren" [Luke  22:32]. » (Ecumenical Vatican Council, "Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ", Chapter 2. "The Perpetuity of the Primacy of Blessed Peter among the Roman Pontiffs", Session IV, July 18, 1870, Denzinger 1832-1837, pages 455-456.)

The opinion of one canonist is not the Teaching of Holy Mother Church which we are bound to obey.

According to Catholic authors, there are three ways a Pope losses his office : by demission, by perpetual insanity and by formal heresy. (Rev. R. Naz, "Traité de droit canonique", 1946, vol 1, page 366).

The third case could be possible theoretically, if the pope acted as a private doctor. If this is the case, since the Holy See is judged by nobody (Canon 1556), we would conclude that by the act itself, "ipso facto", and without any other declaration, the pope would loose its papacy automatically. In history, a Pope, even as a private doctor, never fell into formal heresy. (Rev. R. Naz, "Idem", page 367; Prümmer, op. cit., p. 128; Vermeersch et Creusen, op. cit., T. 1, page 125)

According to saint Alphonsus-MARIA de Liguori, if a pope would be notoriously and obstinately heretic then he would cease to be pope and the throne would be vacant. In addition, saint Liguori cites saint Bellarmin saying that God would never permit a Pope to be heretic, neither publically, nor hiddenly ("De Rom. Pont." t.4, c. 6). (Saint A.M. Liguori, "De l'Autorité du Souverain Pontife", "Oeuvres Dogmatiques", Tome 17 bis, page 11)

« There are two cases where saint Liguori teaches that cardinals and bishops may convene a council. The first is when a pope is doubtful, as it happend during the Western Schism; the second is when a pope would fall obstinately and notoriously into heresy. This hypothesis is chimerical without doubt. In the first case, each of the doubtful popes is obliged to obey to the decrees of the council because the Holy See is regarded as vacant. ("Les oeuvres dogmatique", t. 2, page 165) In the second case, the pope would loose the pontificate automatically, "ipso facto", because he would be out of the Church and, as a result, he could not be her head, which the council would [eventually] declare. ("Les oeuvres dogmatiques", t. 9, page 232) » (Rev. Berthier,"Abrégé de théologie...", 5e édition, page 47)

One must not forget as well that all the works of saint Liguori ("moralium, asceticorum et dogmaticorum") have been approved by the Holy See after a careful and serious examination by the Holy Congregation of Rites and confirmed by His Holiness, Pope Pius VII, on May 18-th, 1803.

Let us not forget either that we are talking here about apostasy, not mere heresy.

When talking about perpetual succession, one must not twist and shrink the real meaning of the word "perpetual". It is an historical fact that after a Pope dies or resigns and before another one is elected, the Holy See remains vacant. This doesn't mean that the Church ceases to exist, because the Holy See and the Catholic Church are moral persons of perpetual nature (Canons 100, 102). This vacancy may last for a considerable amount of time, as history bears witness. For exemple, between Pope saint Marcellin and Pope saint Marcel I (25 October 304 - 27 May 308), we had a vacancy of 3 years and 7 months; between Pope Clement IV and Pope saint Gregory X (29 November 1268 - 1 September 1271), we had a vacancy of 2 years and 9 months; between Pope Nicholas IV and Pope saint Celestin V (1 April 1292 - 5 July 1294), we had a vecancy of 2 years and 3 months; in the time of the Great Western Schism (1378 - 1417), since doubtful Popes are not considered true Popes, we had a vacancy of at least 39 years. ("Mystère d'iniquité")

« Even if a Decius by his violence would produce a vacancy of 4 years on the See of Rome, even if antipopes will rise supported either by the crowds or by the princes, even if a long schism would render doubtful the legitimacy of many Pontiffs, the Holy Ghost will let the trial pass and will fortify the Faith of His faithful during its duration; finally, at the right moment, He will give us His elect and the whole Church will receive him with acclamation. » (Dom Guéranger, "L'année liturgique", mercredi de la Pentecôte)

« Even if we would remain for several months or several years without electing a new Pontiff, or if there will rise antipopes, as it has happened sometimes, the vacancy will absolutely not destroy the succession because the clergy and the body of bishops subsist always in the Church, with the intention of giving a successor to the defunct Pope as soon as circumstances will permit. » (Abbé Barbier, "Trésors de Cornelius à Lapide", 1856, vol. I, pg. 724-725)

At the end, I have a question for you, Mr. W :

On October 20th, 1870, due to grave circumstances, Pope Pius IX suspended the Vatican Council with his Bull "Postquam Dei Munere" and ordered, under the curse of God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, to resume and end the Council, which would be done by another Pope, at a proper time in the future.

On October 11th, 1962, John XXIII publically announced the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Is it possible for the Holy See to call a Second Vatican Council without ending the First Vatican Council, as Pope Pius IX ordered under pain of double malediction ???

Objection 2 :

Sorry, Mr. H, but your quotes from Vatican I prove infallibly my point. The primacy of Peter cannot suffer interruption or the primacy is not perpetual as that Council defined. Unless perpetual means something else in your universe. And you have not answered Canon 1556: "The First See is judged by no one." All authority on earth is inferior to the pope's authority, therefore no one can judge him but God. This is not the opinion of one canonist or my own opinion solely, but it is born out by history. No pope has ever been judged and condemned in his lifetime, but only by a subsequent pope. To hold that the Church can and must do otherwise is sedevacantist, which is not a Catholic position.

Reply to objection 2 :

Mr. N,

As  above-mentionned, penalties are inflicted either by law ("latae sententiae") or by an individual ("ferendae sententiae"), according as they are imposed by the law itself or by a legitimate superior (Canon 2217 § I, n. 3); therefore, err those who pretend not to judge Bergoglio and his church because, they say, we have to leave this judgement to a legitimate authority in the future.

In my previous comment, I brought a reference from the First Vatican Council Decrees in order to emphesize the infallibility of the Apostolic See, which remains always free of any error and there resides the supreme power of the Magisterium. Here are few more :

« But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. » (saint Luke 22:32)

« For thee, because I destine thee to be the head and chief of the Apostles and of My Church, that thy faith fail not in believing Me to be the Christ and the Saviour of the world. Observe that Christ in this prayer asked and obtained for Peter two especial privileges before the other Apostles : the first was personal, that he should never fall from faith in Christ ; for Christ looked back to the sifting in the former verse, that is  the temptation of His own apprehension when the other Apostles flew off from Him like chaff and lost their faith, and were dispersed, and fled into all parts. But Peter, [though he was not yet Pope] although he denied Christ with his lips, at the hour foretold, and lost his love for Him, yet retained his faith. So S. Chrysostom ("Hom. xxxviii.") on S. Matthew ; S. Augustine ("de corrept. et  Grat. chap. viii.") ; Theophylact and others. ... Another and a certain privilege was common to Peter with all his successors, that he and all the other bishops of Rome (for Peter, as Christ willed, founded and confirmed the Pontifical Church at Rome), should never openly fall from this faith, so as to teach the Church heresy, or any error, contrary to the faith. So S. Leo ("serm. xxii."), on Natalis of SS. Peter and Paul ; S. Cyprian (Lib. i.  ep. 3), to Cornelius; Lucius I., Felix I., Agatho, Nicolas I., Leo IX., Innocent III.,  Bernard and others, whom Bellarmine cites and follows ("Lib. i. de Pontif. Roman").

« For it was necessary that Christ, by His most wise providence, should provide for His Church, which is  ever being sifted and tempted by the devil, and that not only in the time of Peter, but at all times henceforth, even to the end of the world, an oracle of the true faith which she might consult in every doubt, and by which she might be taught and confirmed in the faith, otherwise the Church might err in faith, "quod absit !" For she is, as S. Paul said to Timothy, " the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. iii. 15). This oracle of the Church then is Peter, and all successive bishops of Rome. This promise made to Peter and his successors, most especially applies to the time when Peter, as the successor of Christ, began to be the head of the Church, that is, after the death of Christ. » (Mossman, "The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide", 1908, vol. 4, pg. 482-483)

« 10. This consideration too clarifies the great error of those others as well who boldly venture to explain and interpret the words of God by their own judgment, misusing their reason and holding the opinion that these words are like a human work. God Himself has set up a living authority to establish and teach the true and legitimate meaning of His heavenly revelation. This authority judges infallibly all disputes which concern matters of faith and morals, lest the faithful be swirled around by every wind of doctrine which springs from the evilness of men in encompassing error. And this living infallible authority is active only in that Church which was built by Christ the Lord upon Peter, the head of the entire Church, leader and shepherd, whose faith He promised would never fail. This Church has had an unbroken line of succession from Peter himself; these legitimate pontiffs are the heirs and defenders of the same teaching, rank, office and power. And the Church is where Peter is, [St. Ambrose on Ps 40.] and Peter speaks in the Roman Pontiff,[Council of Chalcedon, Act. 2.] living at all times in his successors and making judgment,[Synod of Ephes., Act. 3.] providing the truth of the faith to those who seek it. [St. Peter Chrysologus, epistle to Eutyches.] The divine words therefore mean what this Roman See of the most blessed Peter holds and has held.

« 11. For this mother and teacher[Council of Trent, session 7 on baptism.] of all the churches has always preserved entire and unharmed the faith entrusted to it by Christ the Lord. Furthermore, it has taught it to the faithful, showing all men truth and the path of salvation. Since all priesthood originates in this church,[St. Cyprian, epistle 55 to Pope Cornelius.] the entire substance of the Christian religion resides there also.[Synod. Letter of John of Constantinople to Pope Hormisdas and Sozomen, Hist., III. 8.] The leadership of the Apostolic See has always been active,[St. Augustine, epistle 162.] and therefore because of its preeminent authority, the whole Church must agree with it. The faithful who live in every place constitute the whole Church.[St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 3.] Whoever does not gather with this Church scatters.[St. Jerome, epistle to Pope Damasus.]

« 12. We, therefore, placed inscrutably by God upon this Chair of truth, eagerly call forth in the Lord your outstanding piety, venerable brothers. We urge you to strive carefully and zealously to continually warn and exhort the faithful entrusted to your care to hold to these first principles. Urge them never to allow themselves to be deceived and led into error by men who have become abominable in their pursuits. These men attempt to destroy faith on the pretext of human progress, subjecting it in an impious manner to reason and changing the meaning of the words of God. Such men do not shrink from the greatest insults to God Himself, who cares for the good and the salvation of men by means of His heavenly religion. » (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 9 November 1846)

« If in the difficult times in which Our lot is cast, Catholics will give ear to Us, as it behoves them to do, they will readily see what are the duties of each one in matters of opinion as well as action. As regards opinion, whatever the Roman Pontiffs have hitherto taught, or shall hereafter teach, must be held with a firm grasp of mind, and, so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed. » (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1 November 1885)

« The ancient Fathers, especially those who held the more illustrious chairs of the East, since they accepted these privileges as proper to the pontifical authority, took refuge in the Apostolic See whenever heresy or internal strife troubled them. For it alone promised safety in extreme crises. Basil the Great did so, as did the renowned defender of the Nicene Creed, Athanasius, as well as John Chrysostom. For these inspired Fathers of the orthodox faith appealed from the councils of bishops to the supreme judgement of the Roman Pontiffs according to the prescriptions of the ecclesiastical Canons. Who can say that they [Pontiffs] were wanting in conformity to the command which they had from Christ? Indeed, lest they should prove faithless in their duty, some went fearlessly into exile, as did Liberius and Silverius and Martinus. Others pleaded vigorously for the cause of the orthodox faith and for its defenders who had appealed to the Pope, or to vindicate the memory of those who had died. » (Pope Benedict XV, "Principi Apostolorum Petro", 1920)

« 31 Q. Are we obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us?

« A. Yes, we are obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us, and Jesus Christ declares that he who does not believe is already condemned.

« 32 Q. Are we also obliged to do all that the Church commands?

« A. Yes, we are obliged to do all that the Church commands, for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of the Church: "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me."

« 33 Q. Can the Church err in what she proposes for our belief?

« A. No, the Church cannot err in what she proposes for our belief, since according to the promise of Jesus Christ she is unfailingly assisted by the Holy Ghost.

« 34 Q. Is the Catholic Church infallible, then?

« A. Yes, the Catholic Church is infallible, and hence those who reject her definitions lose the faith and become heretics.

« 35 Q. Can the Catholic Church be destroyed or perish?

« A. No; the Catholic Church may be persecuted, but she can never be destroyed or perish. She will last till the end of the world, because Jesus Christ, as He promised, will be with her till the end of time.

[...] « 46 Q. Are we obliged to hear the Teaching Church?

« A. Yes, without doubt we are obliged under pain of eternal damnation to hear the Teaching Church; for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of His Church, in the persons of the Apostles: "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me."

[...] « 55 Q. Can the Pope err when teaching the Church?

« A. The Pope cannot err, that is, he is infallible, in definitions regarding faith and morals.

« 56 Q. How is it that the Pope is infallible?

« A. The Pope is infallible because of the promise of Jesus Christ, and of the unfailing assistance of the Holy Ghost. » (From the Catechism of saint Pius X, 1908)

« Chap.  7  ... The  holy Church built upon a rock, that is Christ, and upon Peter or Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome; thus Truth itself promises, through whom are true, whatsoever things are true: "The gates of hell will not prevail against it" [Matt. 16: 18]. The same Son declares that He obtained the effect of this promise from the Father by prayers, by saying to Peter: "Simon, behold satan etc." [Luke 23:31 ]. Therefore, will there be anyone so foolish as to dare to regard His prayer as in anyway vain whose being willing is being able? By the See of the chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the c0mments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail, been strengthened? » (Pope saint Leo IX, from the epistle "In terra pax hominibus" to Michael Cerularius and to Leo of Achrida, September 2, 1053; Denz. 351]

« Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God (Holy Bible) and in Tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed. » (Ecumenical Vatican Council, "Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith", Chapter 3. "Faith", Session 3, April 24, 1870; Heinrich Denzinger, "The Sources of Catholic Dogma", 30th edition, n. 1792).

« It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical Letters does not demand assent in itself, because in this the popes do not exercise the supreme power of their magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary magisterium, regarding which  the following is pertinent: "He who  heareth you, heareth me."  [Luke  10:16]; and usually what is set forth and inculcated in the Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine.

« But  if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among the theologians.

« It is also true that theologians must always have recourse to the sources of divine revelation; for it is their duty to indicate how what is taught by the living magisterium is found, either explicitly or implicitly, in Sacred Scripture and in divine "tradition".

«.... Indeed, the divine Redeemer entrusted this deposit not to individual Christians, nor to the theologians to be interpreted authentically, but to the magisterium of the Church alone. Moreover, if the Church exercises this duty of hers, as has been done again and again in the course of the ages, whether by ordinary or extraordinary exercise of this function, it is clear that the method whereby clear things are explained from the obscure is wholly false; but rather all should follow the opposite order. Therefore, Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble function of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources, added these words, not without grave reason: "By that very sense by which it is defined." [S.S. Pius IX, "Inter gravissimas", October 26, 1870; "Acta" P.I., Vol. V, p. 260.] (S.S. Pius XII, "Humani Generis", August 12, 1950; Denzinger n. 2313-2314, p. 640-641).

Based on the above-mentionned exemples, which are just few among so many others, the Pope either alone or together with the Catholic Church (the Teaching Church, to be more explicit), has never and will never err while exercising his Papal office because, as it was defined in the Council of Florence, "the Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to it in the blessed Peter has been handed down by the Lord Jesus Christ the full power of feeding, ruling, and guiding the universal Church".

On the contrary, Bergoglio continues to publicly deny the Catholic Faith, by supporting the apostatical decrees of the 1962 Council : "Dignitatis humanae” (7 December 1965), “Gaudium et spes” (21 November 1964), “Lumen gentium” (21 November 1964), “Nostra aetate” (28 October 1965) and “Unitatis redintegratio” (21 November 1964), and by continuously propagating the religious freedom, which is an act of apostasy (Psalm 95:5; Hebr. 11:6; Ephes. 4:5; Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928; Gregori XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832; Piu VII, "Post Tam Diuturnas", 1814; Piu IX, Denzinger : 1690-99).

Therefore, it is a great blasphemy and a terrible sacrilege to recognize as Popes, Bergoglio and his predecessors until John XXIII, in their see of iniquity, apostasy and abomination. To maintain that these usurpers were Popes, it means to reject the word of God in the Holy Scriptures and the unanimous voice of Catholic Tradition which loudly proclaim that the successors of Peter cannot fail in their Faith and in their duty to feed, rule and guide the Universal Church. The fact that these usurpers have publicly defected from the Catholic Faith, if they ever had it, means that the Holy Ghost has not assisted them, as promised by Our Lord JESUS-CHRIST (saint John 15:26; 14:16-17; Catechism of saint Pius X, 1913, pg. 32), because they were not the Popes of the Catholic Church. This constatation is "de facto", by the fact itself, and “de jure”, by the Canon Law itself, as in the case of the laws “latae sentetiae”, which can inflict canonical penalties without the intervention of a legitimate superior. One day, by the divine authority given by CHRIST, the Catholic Church will officially confirm this constatation.

On the other hand, since the Holy Ghost assists continuously the Roman Pontiff, it is impossible for the Catholic Church to contradict herself. You pretend that "the primacy of Peter cannot suffer interruption or the primacy is not perpetual as that Council defined", but this evasion twists the real meaning of the perpetual succession, which in fact is a moral succession; Catholic Magisterium and Tradition reject your false interpretation.

If you read the Catechism of Trent or that of saint Pius X, you will realise that Our Lord JESUS-CHRIST is always the invisible head of the Church and Peter always governs the Church and lives in his See by his authority (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus"); that is why in Canon Law the Holy See is considered a moral person of perpetual nature (Canons 100, 102), which means that it will last until the end of the world (Catechism of saint Pius X). Moreover, Catholic Traditon proves the falsity of your interpretation, because history recalls many interruptions and vacancies of the Apostolic See, as I have given undeniable historical references in my previous comment. For more details about these historical events, you can consult the works of Cardinal Hergenroether, "Histoire de l'Église", 8 vols.; Abbé Darras, "Histoire générale de l'Église", 44 vols.; Abbé Rohrbacher, "Histoire universelle de l'Église Catholique", 29 vols. etc.

Church Magisterium as well rejects your false interpretation of perpetual succession.

The Constitution, "Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis," issued on December 8, 1945, by Pope Pius XII ("Acta Ap. Sedis",  XXXVIII, 65-99), has abrogated and supplanted all previous legislation regulating the election of the Pope. Papal elections, therefore, are now governed solely by this new Constitution which reforms some points of the Constitution, "Vacante Sede Apostolica," of Pope Pius X of December 25, 1904, and the Motu Pro prio of Pope Pius XI of March 1, 1922, and adopts the remaining provisions of those two Documents.

The new Constitution is divided into two parts. The first part treats of the vacancy itself of the Apostolic See and lays down the following ordinances:

(1) During the vacancy of the Apostolic See the jurisdiction which belonged to the Pope during life is not enjoyed by the Sacred College of Cardinals, and they must leave all acts of that jurisdiction to the future Pope. They cannot make disposition of the rights of the Holy See, but must strenuously and sedulously guard them. They cannot make any changes in the laws of the Church or dispense from them, particularly in regard to the provisions of this Constitution. They may, however, resolve doubts concerning this Constitution, and in eases declared urgent by vote of the majority they may, likewise by majority vote, apply the remedy which is demanded (nn. 1-5).

(2) Two special Congregations of Cardinals, one general and the other particular, are to he formed and are to meet at stated times. The Particular Congregation shall be composed of the Cardinal Camerarius and three Cardinals who are the first in seniority in the three Orders of the Sacred College; on each third day these Cardinals are to be succeeded by the next three in seniority. This Congregation deals only with matters of minor importance, leaving all major questions to the General Congregation to be decided by majority vote. The General Congregation meets daily beginning on a day after the Pope's death to he determined by the Particular Congregation, and continuing up to the opening of the Conclave. Its meetings are held in the Vatican Palace, or elsewhere if circumstances, in the judgment of the Cardinals, demand it; they are presided over by the Dean of the College or, if he is impeded, by the Subdean. Its decisions are to be made, not orally, but by secret vote. This Congregation arranges for the obsequies for the deceased Pope and for the opening of the Conclave...

Canon Law as well rejects your false interpretation, because according to Canon 221, the Roman Pontiff can validly renounce his office, and the See remains vacant until the new election.

So, this perpetual succession is a moral one, as explained also from abbot Barbier and from the renown liturgist dom Guéranger :

« Even if a Decius by his violence would produce a vacancy of 4 years on the See of Rome, even if antipopes will rise supported either by the crowds or by the princes, even if a long schism would render doubtful the legitimacy of many Pontiffs, the Holy Ghost will let the trial pass and will fortify the Faith of His faithful during its duration; finally, at the right moment, He will give us His elect and the whole Church will receive him with acclamation. » (Dom Guéranger, "L'année liturgique", mercredi de la Pentecôte)

« Even if we would remain for several months or several years without electing a new Pontiff, or if there will rise antipopes, as it has happened sometimes, the vacancy will absolutely not destroy the succession because the clergy and the body of bishops subsist always in the Church, with the intention of giving a successor to the defunct Pope as soon as circumstances will permit. » (Abbé Barbier, "Trésors de Cornelius à Lapide", 1856, vol. I, pg. 724-725)

Regarding Canon 1556, it cannot be applied to an apostate like Bergoglio, because his public denial of Catholic Faith demonstrates that he is not the Pope of Holy Mother Church. About this canon, in my previous comments, I brought you the testimonies of the renown canonist Raoul Naz and of saint Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church, which probably you didn't read or didn't want to, and so you may have passed over them in silence.

Silent you remain about my crucial question regarding the suspension of the First Vatican Council. The answer is simple, though not pleasing to some : The Catholic Church can never convene a Second Vatican Council without finishing a First Vatican Council, especially when the decision of Holy See is final and accompanied by anathema against the violators, as it was the Bull of Pope Pius IX, "Postquam Dei Munere". Therefore, it is not the Apostolic See who called the Second Vatican Council and who implimented the satanic "aggiornamento", but a counterchurch, a satanic church, known by many as the conciliar church.

Mr. N,

If you want to be convincing and objective, please bring references from the Scriptures and Catholic Tradition, because laymen are not judges in ecclesiastical matters. ("The Great Catechism of Canisius", vol. 2, pg. 65)

« No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Savior, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.'' [Constitution Dei Filius, at end.] (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", January 10, 1890)

Objection 3 :

« History teaches that there have been bad popes in the past, and they did not lose thereby the pontificate. A good example is Pope Liberius, who submitted and signed an heretical statement regarding the divinity of God the Son at Sirmium, and who subsequently excommunicated St. Athanasius. At no time did St. Athanasius act or state that there was no pope. He held the faith and did what was necessary to save the faith of his flock, but passed no judgment on the pontiff. In like manner, Archbishop Lefevre did what was necessary without judging the person of Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, which also follows logically for the present pope. »

Reply to objection 3 :

Does history surpass Divine Revelation and Catholic Tradition, the two pillars of our Holy Catholic Faith ? No, as the natural cannot tower above the supernatural and can never fully understand or explain it.

Which history, Mr N, are you referring to ? To the ignominious calumnies, defamatory, shameful and criminal lies of protestants, gallicans, freemasons, marrano and apostate jews whose aim was always to stain and disgrace the Holy See, our Tradition and our history ? Do you not hear the paternal voice of our holy and glorious Roman Pontiffs ? Do you not heed the cry of our venerable Fathers and Doctors ? Do you not bow to the authority of twenty Ecumenical Councils ? They all vehemently proclaim the glory of the Apostolic See, which always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord JESUS-CHRIST, and where the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, spotless and where holy doctrine has always been celebrated.

You still do not bring any catholic references from Scripture and our Holy Catholic Traditon to support your claims, therefore your arguments are vain and without any credibility.

On the contrary, here are few catholic arguments in defense of Pope Liberius, champion of Holy Catholic Faith :

« Not long after, Constans, who had resolved to control the influence of the Synod held at Rimini, threatened to send Pope Liberius into exile. The fearless  representative of Christ replied: "Thou canst not diminish the words of faith by
my solitude." "Non diminues tu, solitudine mea, verba fidei." The import of this pithy little sentence can not be mistaken : " Even when I am exiled and compelled to pine away in weary solitude, I still continue to be the bearer of the deposit of the holy faith of all.''» (Rev. F.X. Weninger, "On the Apostolical and Infallible Authority of the Pope", 1868, pg. 163)

« They tell us that Liberius taught Arianism... As to the fact itself, sound historical criticism tends directly to the contrary conclusion, namely, that Liberius did not do what they suppose him to have done. The historical documents to which they appeal are, some of them, of very doubtful authority, whilst the others are evidently false or corrupted. Their first authority is that of the so-called "Fragments," ascribed to Hilarius, which critics generally acknowledge not to have been written by him, but by some unknown author. They also appeal to two letters of Athanasius, which are spurious.

« Two passages are quoted from the works of St. Jerome - the one from his book, "De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis," the other from his "Chronicon." Now, St. Jerome has himself complained of the interpolations made in his works, a thing, as we have mentioned, very easily done in the days of manuscripts; and critics prove that this actually occurred with regard to these two works.

« They also bring forward four letters ascribed to Liberius himself, which are mere fabrications by the Lucifirians and Arians. Finally, they give a poorly-manufactured account, to the effect that, after his pretended fall, Liberius, on returning to Rome, was contemptuously driven out by the Roman people. This fiction is borrowed from a spurious work of Eusebius the Priest.

«[...] Against all their corrupted historical sources are arrayed most trustworthy historical  documents, clearly showing that Liberius not only never betrayed the truth, but that he was its consistent, energetic champion.

« Nobody pretends to call in question the fact, that it was he who withstood the one thousand Bishops, assembled at Rimini, who had suffered themselves to be entrapped by the Arian into subscribing an heretical formula, of which St. Jerome exclaims : "The Christian world was astonished to find itself become Arian." This was the most numerous Council ever celebrated in the first thousand years of the existence of the Church. Opposed to it, great as it was in number and Episcopal dignity, we find the majesty and resplendent authority of the Apostolic See, and we find Liberius, the occupier of the Chair of Peter, using his power and privileges as Supreme Pontiff to condemn and cancel the erroneous professions of one thousand Bishops, or, rather, in the words of our Lord, to confirm his brethren, whom satan had tried to sift as wheat.

« It was for this heroic resistance that the enraged Emperor Constantine sent Liberius into exile, and harassed him with vexations and persecutions, to escape which, as they pretend, the defender of the faith finally subscribed an Arian formula, and, on his return to Rome, was driven forth again by the Clergy and people. That such a man, after so heroic a resistance, should have fallen so low as to subscribe what he had denounced and condemned in others, is difiicult of belief. History tells a different tale.

« The oldest and most esteemed historians of the Church, such as Sulpicius Severus, Socrates, Sozomenus, Theodoretus, Menea, Theophanes, Nicephorus, and Calistus, have not a word concerning the pretended fall of Liberius.  Even Photius does not speak of it, and he certainly should have known it, and would have used it, had there been any hope of success. On the contrary, all these historians speak quite differently of Liberius, and ascribe his return to Rome to another reason, and describe his reception in a very different way. Theodoretus, who, in his history of Arianism, made use of the writings of Athanasius, calls Liberius an illustrious and glorious champion of the faith."Celeberrimum Liberium, gloriosum veritatis athletam." He ascribes his return to Rome, not to a heretical acquiescence, but to the petition forwarded to the Emperor from the noble ladies of Rome, and to the acclamation of the people at the amphitheater, urging his recall. "Post has Christianae plebis acclamationes Liberium ab Imperatore postulantis  in circo, reversus  est  admirabilis ille Liberius."

« Sulpicius Severus also accounts for his return by the commotions and revolts of the Roman people, clamorous for his recall, and says that the Emperor did it against his will, "licet invitus." If Liberius had professed Arianism, Constantine would have let him return, but not unwillingly, "invitus," since it would have been for himself a victory and triumph. That this return, however, may have become in time a matter of suspicion and a ground of the accusation, is possible, if not probable. Communications were then difficult and tardy, and the Arians, hearing of his recall, may have spread the rumor that it could only be accounted for by his recantation and his subscription of the Arian formula.

« No, the Pontiff who had withstood one thousand Bishops, and had braved exile and persecution, could not have accepted such ignominy as finally to subscribe what he himself had so lately denominated a blasphemy, "blasphemam."

«[...] He can not, then, be stigmatized as a traitor to the faith, but must rather be accounted worthy of all those eulogies conferred upon him by the Holy Fathers. St. Ambrose calls him "Sanctae memoriae virum", a man of holy memory; St. Basil, "beatissimum," most blessed; Epiphanius and Pope Siricius, the latter in his letter to Himeric, calls him " blessed." » (Idem, pg. 333-340)

From Abbé Darras, "General History of the Catholic Church", work praised by his Holiness, Pope Pius IX :

« They [the Arians] succeeded, at length, in ruining him [saint Athanasius] in the opinion of [Emperor] Constantius, by incriminating a very simple and indifferent action. A new church had been built in Alexandria, at the public expense ; the archbishop [saint Athanasius] had inaugurated it without the participation of the emperor. This was sufficient to blot out from the remembrance of Constantius all his former letters to the patriarch, and his solemn promise ever to turn a deaf ear to his accusers. He appealed to Pope Liberius, to beg that Athanasius might be condemned (A. D. 352). Liberius assembled a council in Rome, and laid before it the emperor's letter, together with those of the Egyptian bishops, who unanimously proclaimed the innocence of their metropolitan. The council decided that it would be contrary to all law, human and divine, to anathematize a bishop whose faith was that of the Church, and whose virtue was the admiration of the whole world. The answer of Liberius was the expression of this sentiment.

« [...] The Arian eunuch, Eusebius, whose unlimited power over the weak mind of Constantius had reduced the Church to its present sad condition, was sent to Rome by the emperor to deceive Liberius, and force him to sign the condemnation of Athanasius. The eunuch found presents arid threats equally ineffectual ; he then procured a rescript ordering Lcontius, governor of Rome, to convey Liberius to Milan, where Constantius held his court. The interview between the pope and the emperor, as might have been foreseen, was full of passion, recrimination, and violence on the part of Constantius; dignified, reserved, and firm, on that of Liberius. Two days later, the pope was seized and exiled to Berea, in Thrace. The emperor sent him five hundred gold pieces (about ten thousand francs), to defray his expenses. Liberius sent them back, with these words : "Tell  the emperor to keep his money for the support of his army." A like tender from the empress met with a like reply. When the eunuch Eusebius had the effrontery to make a similar proffer, the indignant pontiff answered : "You have desolated the churches throughout the world, and do you offer me an alms, as to a criminal ! Go and begin by embracing the true faith."

« [...] The Greek Menology relates the facts as we have given them. It speaks as follows: "The  Blessed Liberius, defender of the faith, was Bishop of Rome, under the empire of Constantius. Burning with zeal for the orthodox faith, he protected the great Athanasius, persecuted by the heretics for his bold defence of the truth, and driven from Alexandria. Whilst Constantine and Constans lived, the Catholic faith was supported ; but when Constantius was left sole master, as he was an Arian, the heretics prevailed. Liberius, for his vigor in censuring their impiety, was banished to Berea, in Thrace. But the Romans, who always remained true to him, went to the emperor and besought his recall. He was therefore, on this account, sent back to Rome, and there ended his life, after a holy administration of his pastoral charge." (Abbé Darras, "General History of the Catholic Church", pg. 448-462; Abbé Rohrbacher, "Histoire Universelle de l'Église Catholique", vol. XI, pg. 374)

What about the teaching of the Apostolic See, Mr. N, do you believe the words of his Holiness, Benedict XV, who praises the unfailing faith of his predecessor, Pope Liberius ?

« The ancient Fathers, especially those who held the more illustrious chairs of the East, since they accepted these privileges as proper to the pontifical authority, took refuge in the Apostolic See whenever heresy or internal strife troubled them. For it alone promised safety in extreme crises. Basil the Great did so, as did the renowned defender of the Nicene Creed, Athanasius, as well as John Chrysostom. For these inspired Fathers of the orthodox faith appealed from the councils of bishops to the supreme judgement of the Roman Pontiffs according to the prescriptions of the ecclesiastical Canons. Who can say that they [Pontiffs] were wanting in conformity to the command which they had from Christ? Indeed, lest they should prove faithless in their duty, some went fearlessly into exile, as did Liberius and Silverius and Martinus. Others pleaded vigorously for the cause of the orthodox faith and for its defenders who had appealed to the Pope, or to vindicate the memory of those who had died. » (Pope Benedict XV, "Principi Apostolorum Petro", 1920)

What about the teaching of his Holiness, Pope Pius IX, who proclaims that the Arians falsely accused Pope Liberius because he refused to condemn saint Athanasius and rejected the arian heresy ?

« 16. But the neo schismatics declare that they do not oppose the Catholic Church's principles in the least. Their sole aim is to protect the rights of their churches and their nation and even the rights of their supreme Emperor; they falsely allege that We have infringed these rights. By this means, they fearlessly make us responsible for the present disorder. Exactly in this way did the Acacian schismatics act towards Our predecessor St. Gelasius.[St. Gelasius epistle 12 to the emperor Anastasius, no. 1.] And previously the Arians falsely accused Liberius, also Our predecessor, to the Emperor Constantine, because Liberius refused to condemn St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and refused to support their heresy.[St. Athanas., hist. Arianor ad Monach., no. 35.] For as the same holy Pontiff Gelasius wrote to the Emperor Anastasius on this matter, "a frequent characteristic of sick people is to reproach the doctors who recall them to health by appropriate measures rather than agree to desist from and condemn their own harmful desires." These appear to be the main grounds on which the neo-schismatics gain their support and solicit the patronage of powerful men for their cause, most wicked as it is. Lest the faithful be led into error, We must deal with these grounds more fully than if We merely had to refute unjust accusations. » (Pope Pius IX, "Quartus Supra", On the Church in Armenia, January 6, 1873)

The same teaching comes from his Holiness, Pope saint Anastasius I, who exalts Pope Liberius :

« That which is done for the love of Christ gives me very much joy; Italy, as victor with that zeal and aroused ardor for the godhead, retained that faith whole which was handed down from the Apostles and placed in the whole world by our ancestors. For at this time when Constantius of holy memory held the world as victor, the heretical African faction was not able by any deception to introduce its baseness because, as we believe, our God provided that that holy and untarnished faith be not contaminated through any vicious blasphemy of slanderous men - that faith which had been discussed and defended at the meeting of the synod in Nicea by the holy men and bishops now placed in the resting place of the saints. For this faith those who were then esteemed as holy bishops gladly endured exile, that is Dionysius, thus a servant of God, prepared by divine instruction, or those following his example of holy recollection, LIBERIUS bishop of the Roman Church, Eusebius also of Vercelli, Hilary of the Gauls, to say nothing of many, on whose decision the choice could rest to be fastened to the cross rather than blaspheme God Christ, which the Arian heresy compelled, or call the Son of God, God Christ, a creature of the Lord. » (Saint Anastasius I, From the Epistle "Dat mihi plurimum", to Venerius, Bishop of Milan, about the year 400; Denzinger n. 93)

« He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me. » (saint Luke 10:16)

« And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. » (saint Matthew 18:17)

Mgr Lefebvre was a Bishop of Catholic Church and is undeniable that he did a lot of good. May God rest his soul in peace ! However, as a Bishop he was not personally infallible; many times his public conduct, which alas is followed today by the authority of SSPX and many others, was heretical, by recognizing public apostates, such as Paul VI and John Paul II, as Popes of the Catholic Church; whereas other times, he would call them schismatics and the Conciliar Curch, a schismatic church, as it is in fact.

Catholics are not bound to hear a particular bishop but the Apostolic See, the foundation of our Catholic Church, which always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord JESUS-CHRIST, and where the Catholic religion has always been preserved untainted, spotless and where holy doctrine has always been celebrated.