For, if these clerics have been "sent" by some sort of missio extraordinaria, and have been endowed with the necessary power and jurisdiction: why would Christ make this hierarchy (sic) of His Church so powerless, divided, and enfeebled so as to allow the damnation of millions upon millions of Catholics who have defected into modernism or lapsed away from the faith in the Johannine-Pauline structures?
As I have shown in past installments, particularly part six and seven, our traditional clergy have no need of any "missio extraordinaria" since their canonical mission is straightforward, even rather cut and dry. In a way it's almost a shame there is no missio extraordinaria, for the miracles needed to demonstrate the validity of such a thing would have been sufficient to convert many today who find it difficult to believe in supernatural claims. Oh well.
As to the weakness, recall that only the barest handful of clergy have even been faithful, and of the few that are faithful their efforts are undermined by those who attempt to deprive them of authority, or at least of a willingness to use the authority that they have. There is no room to deny that many are being damned by the near absence of real Catholic leadership, but again, God will have to judge. But then again, recall what an utter lack of such Catholic leadership remained in England once nearly all signed the declaration of royal supremacy. And furthermore, what tragically few truly Catholic clerics remained, or had to be sent in from Europe as missionaries (such as St. Father Edward Campion) were regarded by nearly all Englanders as being mere "vagrants" and "acephalous" clerics owing to their not being recognized by the King's church. The nature of what has happened now, in the loss of so many souls, in no way differs from what happened then. God allowed one, so God can (and obviously did) allow the other.
Or is the responsibility of these clerics limited to the faithful who attend their chapels and give them stipends? If so, how can their missio be universal and pertain to the entirety of the Church of Christ (both the Latin Occident and the Churches of the Orient)?
If our traditional clergy do not preach to all Creation, baptizing them into the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, who will? So that vast obligation IS on our plate, and the last thing we need are pipsqueak hecklers who do nothing but gobble up our time that could have been employed directly in the evangelization of the world. I really don't see how the entirety of the Church could fail to depend upon the traditional clergy who alone have the authority from God and power to unite them and lead them into the ways of God and salvation. But to the Novus Ordo members of the "Johannine-Pauline structures" our obligation is no different than to all other souls outside the Church, namely to bring them into the Church. It is not our job to try to reform their Œconomia nova, their nations, their labor guilds, their clubs, or their other associations, at least not until and unless we have gathered them in with Christ first.
This is how problematic the so-called "hierarchical claim" of the traditionalist clerics truly is. It is not helping the anti-modernist resistance, nor does it vindicate sedevacantism in any way. On the contrary, it is inherently subversive not only to sedevacantism, but to the entire resistance against the Johannine-Pauline structures.
One should therefore be able to see that defending the authority of the Church's clerics in no way introduces any problems, but rather solves them. There is nothing stronger for defeating modernism or any other "-ism" that lifts its hoary head against the Church and the Faith than the power of the Church itself. Nothing can therefore better help the cause of the Church than for the Church's prerogatives to be affirmed and recognized. Tearing down the Church, which is what those to deny the authority of the Church's true clerics does, is what weakens "the entire resistance against the Johannine-Pauline structures."
Indeed, note how the blogger really does seem content to settle into the role of a mere "resistor." Is a Resistor of today really all that different from a Protestor from former ages? Both can merely sit on the sidelines and criticize how others do their jobs, as if they have no job of their own but to do that. Resistors and Protestors love to point out how "So-and-so could have done better!" Even if they happen to be right, let them jump out of the sidelines and onto the fields of battle and demonstrate for all of us that "better" that they seem to wish others to do. To denounce heresies and heretics is easy, but the real and productive work is that which is spent in continuing the Church, in looking after the souls, in calling all to repentance and to the Kingdom of God.
I would just love to see our esteemed blogger attempt to "contextualize any need for these Resistors to the doctrines of Holy Mother Church as set forth in the Encyclical letters of the Roman Pontiffs, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the approved theologians of the illustrious schools." The very role of Resistor or Protestor seems to be one which is difficult to justify. What sort of extraordinary mission ever imparted the authority for anyone to be such in the first place? If it was a matter of being the Church, and as such resisting and protesting against all the errors and heresies of the world, that's one thing. But when it is (supposedly) the Church that has to be resisted or protested against, where could any role of that species come from? Do recall that all of "Protestantism" began with "Protesting Catholics," as a matter of history. Can any mere "Resisting Catholics" really fare much better, over time? For myself I would far rather be of that Church resisted and protested, and it is that Church which is really being resisted and opposed by our blogger.
For in positing these ecclesiological errors, sedevacantists such as Mr. Ruby incur the censure of Cajetan as cited by Msgr. Journet
Msgr. Charles Journet, in fact, in his work The Church of the Word Incarnate: An Essay of Speculative Theology (trans. A.H.C. Downes; London: Sheed and Ward, 1954), pg. 411n said:
During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, says Cajetan, the universal Church is in an imperfect state; she is like an amputated body, not an integral body. "The Church is acephalous, deprived of her highest part and power. Whoever contests that falls into the error of John Hus?who denied the need of a visible ruler for the Church?condemned in advance by St. Thomas, then by Martin V at the Council of Constance. And to say that the Church in this state holds her power immediately from Christ and that the General Council represents her, is to err intolerably" (De Comparatione etc., cap. vi., 74). Here are the seventh and the twenty-seventh propositions of John Hus condemned at the Council of Constance: "Peter neither is nor ever was the head of the Holy Catholic Church"; "There is nothing whatsoever to show that the spiritual order demands a head who shall continue to live and endure with the Church Militant" (Denz. 633 and 653).
The anti-sedevacantists could make the argument that such polemicists as those in question expose "sedevacantism" as theologically untenable by subscribing to the condemned twenty-seventh proposition of John Hus.
So at last, my name surfaces, and in about as unlikely a place as can be imagined. It is in fact those who deny the authority of the Church's clergy who seek to keep the Church headless for as long as possible. See how this works. Suppose one day there were a Pope to appear. How many Catholics would even trust in such an event? Many "popes" have arisen throughout the landscape during the time of this crisis, and none of them taken seriously. When the real one comes, how are the Catholic people to know? With the traditional Catholic authority structures functioning, recognizing themselves and each other, and thereby coming to cooperate with each other, they would recognize the true pope, for they were needed in order to organize the conclave and either be the electors, or else choose them. When all truly Catholic clerics recognize the pope, then, with the acceptance of the chain of authority being something to which all are accustomed, the people will also accept the pope.
But when authority is denied, no one has any reason to follow or obey anyone, and the people scatter, atomizing the Church. It is the authority of the Church which holds it together, which motivates the saints to submit one to another, to obey so as to act as a unit, indeed the one Mystical Body of Christ that they together one and all comprise. So many of us complain about how we Catholics all seem to have such difficulty holding together as the One true Church we are. But is it not obvious? As long as we understand and believe in Catholic authority and most principally the authority of our traditional bishops and priests, there is nothing the enemy of our souls can do to stop us. But with that authority denied, we scatter in all directions, abandoning God's service the moment it becomes inconvenient or painful or difficult.
"He who does not gather with Me scatters," our Lord said. While we traditional Catholics are, alone, with Christ, we can only stand alongside Him, if even that, until we recognize the authority by which He means to gather us. Either we recognize that authority our traditional clergy rightly possess and by which He means to gather us, or else we scatter. And it is only a gathered Church which can truly gather around Christ and around His Vicar, the successor of Peter, once we can come to have one again. Those who refuse obedience can no more be gathered by the Church or even by a true Pope than loose dry sand be picked up from the beach by a rake. It is those who attempt to tear down the authority of our traditional clergy who do the dirty work of Hus, not those of us who build it up.
Of course the Church needs a pope! A big part of our ills has also been caused by the fact that the Church has been so long without a pope. The Church is designed to be led by a pope. But that does not mean that the Church must cease to exist just because there is no pope, even for a protracted period of time. And neither does it mean that the Church does not function at all while awaiting the arrival of the next pope. It means that we must carry forward, limping as we must in the absence of Peter, and rediscovering the authority that Christ imparted to it, and utilizing that authority towards electing the next pope, as only Catholics can do.
There is no point to looking for the non-Catholics of the "Johannine-Pauline structures" to provide us with a pope. One might as well expect the Mormon church to provide us with one! Only CATHOLICS can elect a pope, and it is for our living authorities to discover that particular authority of theirs and act upon it. For I can assure you, the "crisis" shall never end until that happens. We can either work with the Holy Ghost in uniting the Church (by recognizing the authority by Divine Right of Her ministers), or we can attack and fight against the Holy Ghost in making people scatter through lack of belief in any real living authority in the Church.
The blogger goes on, squandering a full couple paragraphs yada-yada-ing about the errors of Hus which have no relevance to the case I have made, and for that matter, only the most cursory and superficial connection to the position seemingly advocated by the blogger. I think I can reasonably and safely leave them out. My good name cannot be actually sullied with such obvious nonsense, and the attempt to do so on the part of this blogger does not speak well of him. Either he does not bother to discover what my findings are (and "refutes" a mere parody), or else deliberately misrepresents them. The blogger finally concludes his diatribe against the Church thus:
In making the acephalous and vagrant clergy the Ecclesia docens, such theorists are devising an "Œconomia nova" of their own, wherein this sort of "sedevacantism" brings forth a new abominatio in desolationem (cf. Dan. cap. xi., 31, cap. xii., 11), or, rather, a new abominatio desolationis (cf. Dan. cap. ix., 27, S. Matt. cap. xxiv., 15, S. Marc. cap. xiii., 14): not only a Church without a Pope, but a Church that has no need of a Pope to have a hierarchy that can claim Apostolic succession formaliter and ordinary jurisdiction. A new and vile form of fideicide that brings about scandal and error in a manner analogous to the Hegelian historicist "dogmatics" of the modernists and their Johannine-Pauline structures.|
The sickening and heart-rending irony of the tragic errors of the Missal-sifting sedevacantists is that they, in their endeavors to expose the Johannine-Pauline anti-liturgy as ushering in the "abomination of desolation, " have themselves ushered in another "abomination of desolation" - a Church that not only is bereft of a Pope, but has no need of one to function.
So at this last, our blogger suddenly posits a third Œconomia (and, presumably, a second which is nova), making things needlessly complicated. As stated above, our traditional priests and bishops are in fact all that remains of the original Œconomia that our Lord Jesus Christ set up so very long ago. There is only that original Œconomia comprised of our traditional clerics and the new one decreed into existence by Lumen Gentium comprised of the "Johannine-Pauline structures," as our blogger has dubbed them. There are no others of any real relevance to this discussion. Why this overpowering urge to eradicate those last few bits of what Jesus Christ established so long ago? Why this attempt to overthrow the authority that God Himself set up? What is the source of this eagerness to sweep what precious little remains of the Church under the rug (or is it "under the bus"), as though we could all get by just fine without it?
And once again, for no reason other than to be offensively insulting, the authorized hierarchical members of Holy Mother Church are so glibly and blasphemously dismissed as "acephalous and vagrant." So once again, as many times as he repeats the lie I repeat the Truth, as justice requires at least as much. And this is not about "making" anyone to be the Ecclesia docens, for the traditional clerics were that long before I or anyone like me ever uttered a word about these things. Whatever is true is true, even if not a soul knows it. Yet we do know it, and all have instinctively acted upon it from the beginning. Some rejoice to learn of it, while others fight it at every turn, and again I ask, why?
But worst of all, the blogger is here equating the Church with the Abomination of Desolation as spoken of in Sacred Scripture. Did not the Protestants of old do the same? And why does our blogger convict Holy Mother Church of being the Abomination of Desolation? For any identified or identifiable heresy or error on the part of any of Her bishops or priests or even attached lay Faithful such as myself? No. For any grotesque and scandalous sins of the Fathers or any others of Her members? No. For daring to assert the authority which God imparted upon Her? That may well be a part of it. But the real problem of our blogger is that the Church is guilty of survival.
As our blogger would have it, to assert that the Church can survive (however poorly and uncomfortably) without a pope for however long it will take to gain a pope again is (somehow) to be equated to heretic Hus' claim that the papacy is extraneous and unnecessary. I guess the only way for Holy Mother Church to appease this blogger and exonerate Herself of being anything like what Heretic Hus described would be for Her to disappear altogether during this long period of Sede Vacante. No new bishops since the death of Pope Pius XII. No new priests once the last of those papally-designated bishops passes away. No valid and lawful sacraments (other than Baptism and Marriage) once the last priest, ordained by a papally-designated bishop, passes away. No hierarchical, canonical, legal, or authoritative existence for the Church, clear to the end of time. To me, THAT is what would truly be a most abominable desolation!
Griff L. Ruby
Note: For those who may have missed other parts of this eight-part series, below are the links: