FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: bp williamson 5 /17 column on papal infallibility
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
The crazy words and deeds of Pope Francis are presently driving many believing Catholics towards sedevacantism, which is dangerous. The belief that the Conciliar Popes have not been and are not Popes may begin as an opinion, but all too often one observes that the opinion turns into a dogma and then into a mental steel trap. I think the minds of many sedevacantists shut down because the unprecedented crisis of Vatican II has caused their Catholic minds and hearts an agony which found in sedevacantism a simple solution, and they have no wish to re-open the agony by re-opening the question. So they positively crusade for others to share their simple solution, and in so doing many of them – not all -- end up displaying an arrogance and a bitterness which are no signs or fruits of a true Catholic.

Now these “Comments” have abstained from proclaiming with certainty that the Conciliar Popes have been true Popes, but at the same time they have argued that the usual sedevacantist arguments are neither conclusive nor binding upon Catholics, as some sedevacantists would have us believe. Let us return to one of their most important arguments, which is from Papal infallibility: Popes are infallible. But liberals are fallible, and Conciliar Popes are liberal. Therefore they are not Popes.

To this one may object that a Pope is certainly infallible only when he engages the four conditions of the Church’s Extraordinary Magisterium by teaching 1 as Pope, 2 on Faith or morals, 3 definitively, 4 so as to bind all Catholics. Whereupon sedevacantists and liberals alike reply that it is Church teaching that the Ordinary Universal Magisterium is also infallible, so – and here is the weak point in their argument – whenever the Pope teaches solemnly even outside of his Extraordinary Magisterium, he must also be infallible. Now their liberal Conciliar teaching is solemn. Therefore we must become either liberals or sedevacantists, depending of course on who is wielding the same argument.

But the hallmark of teaching which belongs to the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium is not the solemnity with which the Pope teaches outside of the Extraordinary Magisterium, but whether what he is teaching corresponds, or not, to what Our Lord, his Apostles and virtually all their successors, the bishops of the Universal Church, have taught in all times and in all places, in other words whether it corresponds to Tradition. Now Conciliar teaching (e.g. religious liberty and ecumenism) is in rupture with Tradition. Therefore Catholics today are not in fact bound to become liberals or sedevacantists.

However, both liberals and sedevacantists cling to their misunderstanding of Papal infallibility for reasons that are not without interest, but that is another story. In any case they do not give up easily, so they come back with another objection which deserves to be answered. Both of them will say that to argue that Tradition is the hallmark of the Ordinary Magisterium is to set up a vicious circle. For if the Church’s teaching authority, or Magisterium, exists to tell what is Church doctrine, as it does, then how can the Traditional doctrine at the same time tell what is the Magisterium ? Either the teacher authorises what is taught, or what is taught authorises the teacher, but they cannot both at the same time authorise each other. So to argue that Tradition which is taught authorises the Ordinary Magisterium which is teaching, is wrong, and so the Pope is infallible not only in his Extraordinary teaching, and so we must become either liberals or sedevacantists, they conclude.

Why there is no vicious circle must wait until next week. It is as interesting as why both sedevacantists and liberals fall into the same error on infallibility.

Kyrie eleison.

If four conditions are not all in play. The Popes can err in what they teach or say.
Bp. Williamson Wrote:To this one may object that a Pope is certainly infallible only when he engages the four conditions of the Church’s Extraordinary Magisterium by teaching 1 as Pope, 2 on Faith or morals, 3 definitively, 4 so as to bind all Catholics.

As, for example, when he canonizes.
Canonization of a particular saint is not a teaching on faith or morals.
Typical Bp. Williamson production -- another glib string of false dichotomies.

His key theological error is in the following passage:
(05-17-2014, 08:55 AM)a83192 Wrote: [ -> ]But the hallmark of teaching which belongs to the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium is not the solemnity with which the Pope teaches outside of the Extraordinary Magisterium, but whether what he is teaching corresponds, or not, to what Our Lord, his Apostles and virtually all their successors, the bishops of the Universal Church, have taught in all times and in all places, in other words whether it corresponds to Tradition.

Got it? Apart from the once-in-a-century ex cathedra declaration, nothing a living pope teaches is part of the universal ordinary magisterium unless it conforms to "tradition" -- as understood by, well, the head of SSPX, Bp. Williamson, the editor of The Remnant/Catholic Family News, you, me, or granny in Podunk, Iowa.

The pope speaks, YOU decide!

This theory is in fact merely a revival of the error of the Gallicans and of the proto-modernist Döllinger (later excommunicated), who tried to put this spin on the famous dictum of St. Vincent of Lerins (Quod semper, quod ubique...)

The pre-Vatican II theologian G. Bardy already demolished this theory because the right "to fix and define authentic tradition... belongs to the Church, as inheritor of apostolic succession." Without this, St. Vincent's dictum "appears to leave each individual free to seek out which dogmas are accepted everywhere, always and by everyone," thus leaving "to personal choice the right to judge in the last resort."(Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique 15:3051)

Sounds awful familiar!
A major reason why many start to believe the SV thesis is that no one provides a serious argument against Fr. Cekada or John Lane's writtings. The antisedes just pop their heads up and make little comments like this but never do the work involved to fully answer the articles which have been written on the topic.

If Bp Williamson really wants to respond to sedevacantism why doesn't he challenge Fr. Cekada to a formal debate on the issue?
(05-18-2014, 12:42 PM)brogan Wrote: [ -> ]A major reason why many start to believe the SV thesis is that no one provides a serious argument against Fr. Cekada or John Lane's writtings. The antisedes just pop their heads up and make little comments like this but never do the work involved to fully answer the articles which have been written on the topic.

If Bp Williamson really wants to respond to sedevacantism why doesn't he challenge Fr. Cekada to a formal debate on the issue?
I would pay money to see that.
(05-18-2014, 06:11 PM)JMartyr Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-18-2014, 12:42 PM)brogan Wrote: [ -> ]A major reason why many start to believe the SV thesis is that no one provides a serious argument against Fr. Cekada or John Lane's writtings. The antisedes just pop their heads up and make little comments like this but never do the work involved to fully answer the articles which have been written on the topic.

If Bp Williamson really wants to respond to sedevacantism why doesn't he challenge Fr. Cekada to a formal debate on the issue?
I would pay money to see that.

Nah.

Williamson would probably accuse Cekada of being  part of a conspiracy sent by the Jews/Masons to silence him.