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Bergoglio breaks the Semi-Trads: Is the Fence-Sitting coming to an End?

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Recognize-and-Resisters pushed over the edge…

Bergoglio breaks the Semi-Trads: Is the Fence-Sitting coming to an End?

Good news, everyone: It seems more and more semi-traditionalists are finally at the breaking point with Jorge Bergoglio. His recent apology tour for indigenous Canadians seems to have put some people over the edge. During this trip, the man otherwise known by his stage name, “Pope Francis”, did not just unload heaps of the expected ideological blather, he also participated in a pagan smudge ceremony petitioning the “western grandmother” for “access to the sacred circle of spirits”.

At this point, even Taylor Marshall has had enough: “I’m at a loss. I do not see how Francis-Bergoglio can be the Vicar of Christ”, he says in his July 29 video broadcast on the incident. What is bizarre is that, despite the serious nature of the latest Bergoglian scandal, the Jesuit pseudo-pope has actually done worse than that before (recall the Pachamama worship in St. Peter’s Basilica), and he is not even the first Novus Ordo antipope to commit such a thing (remember when John Paul II participated in a Zoroastrian ritual in 1986?). So the question must be permitted: Why is this latest episode suddenly enough for Marshall to doubt Bergoglio’s claim of being the Pope?

This is not to be understood as a rhetorical question expressing a triumphant attitude but rather as a genuine inquiry to ensure this potential change of heart is authentic: What has changed? Are the arguments advanced in his much-touted book Infiltration no longer so convincing now? If so, why not? After all we have seen since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, what makes this single event in Canada the determining factor?

In any case, Marshall is not alone. On Twitter, Matthew Gaspers of Catholic Family News encouraged people to watch Taylor’s episode:

At The Remnant, two recent articles are noteworthy.

Columnist Robert Morrison asks: “Can We Accurately Diagnose the Bergoglio Disorder Afflicting the Church?” and writes:

Without judging the man’s intentions or the state of his soul, we must acknowledge that Bergoglio presents himself to the world as an unholy and heretical man. Many faithful Catholics who might take issue with that characterization on the basis that we should never speak that way about a pope would almost certainly see Bergoglio’s words and deeds as heretical and unholy if they did not know his apparent identity.

Given the article’s publication date of July 28, we may surmise that Morrison wrote this before Francis’ July 27 participation in the smoky invocation of the occidental grandma.

A day later, The Remnant surprised the world with a long article by Chris Jackson, who appears to have taken our Francis Papacy Test and now agrees that Catholic teaching on the Papacy is not compatible with “Pope” Francis, wherefore it would behoove us to dump Francis and keep the Papacy instead:

So, do the above quotes in any way describe Francis? Of course not. In fact, they describe the precise opposite of Francis. So what to do? Do we try to resurrect and rehabilitate the ghost of Gallicanism? Do we try to explain away these paragraphs of Vatican I as the fever dream of silly “ultramontanes” who got a little too carried away with their papolatry? Do we admonish in hindsight these poor clueless Council Fathers who never stopped to ask themselves, “What if a crazed Argentinian Jesuit gets elected to the papacy in the future and starts preaching error like a fire hose? Wouldn’t this mean the Church defected?”

No, of course they never asked themselves that question because, the answer was obvious to them. If, in the words of Archbishop Vigano, you have a “non-Catholic pope” who is spewing non-stop error, then those same Council Fathers would have said that the man is obviously not a pope, but a wolf. Because, if he were a pope, then he would be protected by the Holy Ghost, “unblemished from any error,” possessing “never-failing faith,” and keeping the whole flock of Christ away “from the poisonous food of error” such as adulterers and pro-abortion politicians receiving sacrilegious Holy Communion, among a list of other things.

(Chris Jackson, “How About We Keep the Papacy and Dump Bergoglio?”, The Remnant, July 29, 2022)

Even though Jackson still appears to be hanging on some half-baked “the cardinals must remove him before he properly ceases to be Pope” idea, he is now suddenly repeating a lot of the argumentation sedevacantists have made for years and that he had always rejected in the past. That too is a marvelous development, and we will not gloat about it, because to recognize the truth requires the grace of God, on which we all depend (cf. Eph 2:8-9). “But thou standest by faith: be not highminded, but fear” (Rom 11:20). However, here too the sincere question must be permitted: Why the sudden change of mind? It is wonderful to see it, but it would still be good to know the reason for it.

In adopting his new position, Jackson is in direct opposition to other semi-traditionalists like Prof. Peter Kwasniewski, who has been calling on people to “rethink the Papacy” so they won’t conclude that Bergoglio can’t be the Pope. Such brazen undermining of the pre-Vatican II Catholic theology on the Papacy, including the magisterial teachings of the Popes up until Pius XII, is peddled as “traditional Catholicism” by the professor.

Jackson writes against Kwasniewski & Co.:

Likewise, the Church laws on the papacy laid down at Vatican I are laws for our own safety’s sake. If we cut down all of the laws regarding the papacy in order to accommodate Francis and become Neo-Gallicans (if such were even possible) where are we left? What chance of a restoration do we have? We would have cut off the only God given future means to one. We would then be at the mercy of an impotent, democratized, and collegial church. The Devil would have us trapped.

For instance, let’s say we give our sincere anti-Vatican I Traditionalist friends what they want. Let’s say we changed the laws of the papacy (if such a thing were possible) in order to constrain Francis. From here on, the pope can be summarily ignored unless he is declaring a doctrine infallibly, his canonizations can be ignored and challenged, any teaching on faith and morals from his authentic Magisterium can likewise be ignored, and each Catholic is to put on his Sherlock Holmes hat to discern for themselves what is Catholic and what isn’t in each papal encyclical and is free to reject all that he determines is not. The pope’s liturgical laws can be freely disobeyed as can his disciplinary laws. Let’s say that this is the new paradigm of the papacy we set up moving forward.

Let us also say that by some miracle, at the next conclave a true Traditional Catholic is elected pope and immediately sets about restoring the Church. Yet, what power does he now have? The Blaise Cupiches, the Walter Kaspers, the James Martins could all then quote the anti-Vatican I Traditionalists as justification for completely blowing off the new Traditional pope as, in their minds, they have a good faith basis to do so. They will use the new papal paradigm of the neo-Gallican Traditionalists to say that the new Trad pope is contradicting Francis’ teachings which were a legitimate implementation of Vatican II, a general ecumenical Council of the Church and therefore, need not be obeyed. Stripped of almost all of the divine powers that were recognized as given to him in Pastor Aeternus, what are we left with as our pope? A figure head monarch such as the Queen of England? What power or moral authority would such a papacy have to tell these new dissenters to get in line, after having jettisoned so much papal authority to protect us from obedience to Francis?

Touché! Jackson has identified the precise problem: The recognize-and-resist position, quite ironically, tries to uphold the “Pope” at the expense of the Papacy, a patent absurdity. We have been arguing this precise point (and other ones) for years, such as in the following posts:

Now that The Remnant is allowing for this (or quite similar) argumentation to be published by means of the Chris Jackson piece, we are happy that it will reach a lot more people, especially those who most need to hear it.

In addition to the U.S.-based Taylor Marshall and The Remnant, the Canadian Life Site is also coming to its wits’ end with Bergoglio. An article written by one Claude Beard, issued as an abridged and an extended version, asks whether Francis is a Catholic and clearly leads the reader to conclude that the answer is no:

Finally, a recent post at Crisis, although it clearly suffers from some problems still, demonstrates that holding Francis to be the Pope of the Catholic Church leads one to contradiction — not to difficulty, mystery, or confusion but contradiction:

Here’s the problem. Pope Francis has changed the continuous moral teaching of the Church at least twice. The first was in Amoris Laetitia, allowing Catholics in adulterous relationships to receive the Eucharist; and the second was when he declared capital punishment inadmissible.

These are not prudential judgments or matters of Church governance. These are moral teachings. And by “changed” I don’t mean “developed” (that favorite word of the pope). I mean changed. In the first instance, what once was sinful is now no longer so; in the second instance, what once was allowable, is now sinful. For the Catholic in the pew, black has become white, and white has become black.

If Pope Francis is right, then the Church up to his pontificate has been wrong, and my belief in that Church has been misplaced. On the other hand, if (as I believe) the Church up to Pope Francis has been right, then he is wrong, and my belief in a central tenet of that Faith (her teaching authority) has been misplaced, which, in turn, undermines my belief in the whole structure.

(Robert B. Greving, “It’s Not for the Pope to Change”, Crisis, July 28, 2022; italics given.)

It should not be surprising that accepting a manifest apostate like Bergoglio as the Pope of the Catholic Church is going to lead, at least eventually, to an abandonment of belief in the Catholic Church (in fact, it already implies it). Tragically, we have seen this in the public apostasy of Steve Skojec, who used to be a semi-trad personality and is now an agnostic. That’s why we’ve been saying for all these years that the question of whether Francis is the Pope or not is by no means insignificant or a matter of mere opinion. Theology has consequences!


It’s time to get off the fence!

Interestingly enough, just as a number of significant recognize-and-resist writers are getting ready to dump Francis, others are doubling down on their acceptance of the false pope, that is, on their opposition to resistance traditionalism (and, a fortiori, sedevacantism).

Thus, for instance, we find the following video broadcasts published recently:

For fairness’ sake, we must point out that Lofton does have a problem with Francis accessing the western granny’s “sacred circle of spirits”, but that will probably be as far as it goes for him.

As for John Salza, who used to be a big Society of St. Pius X apologist and recognize-and-resist expert featured in publications like Catholic Family News and The Remnant, it is utterly ironic how enthusiastically he has now turned against the SSPX on his web site. At the same time, he still advertises his 2015 book True or False Pope? (co-authored with Robert Siscoe), which was published by the Lefebvrist St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary and contains a foreword by Bp. Bernard Fellay, the then-Superior General of the SSPX. Furthermore, the book still includes (in Chapter 20) a defense of the recognize-and-resist position he now repudiates (at least to a significant extent).

Over at One Peter Five, someone just went through the trouble of juxtaposing the old Salza with the new Salza on a number of topics:

This is not to say that one is never allowed to change one’s position as new evidence is uncovered. On the contrary! But it is noteworthy that just at a time when more and more people are finally getting ready to dump Bergoglio on account of his ever more obvious contempt of God and denial of the true Faith, it is the erstwhile traditionalist star apologist who is now beckoning people to draw ever closer to “Papa Francis”. At the rate he’s going, perhaps we can expect to see him write for Where Peter Is soon, perhaps defending the “orthodoxy” of Amoris Laetitia.

The Society of St. Pius X has a truckload of egg on its face now on account of Salza. Having published and personally endorsed his 700-page mammoth against sedevacantism, which even a non-sedevacantist theologian has criticized as seriously flawed, the Lefebvrists now find themselves at the receiving end of his polemics. No wonder that long-promised second edition of True or False Pope? never materialized, and certainly not with the same publisher!

We have long believed that John Salza and Robert Siscoe can write as many pages against Sedevacantism as they like, it all comes to naught as soon as Francis commits another egregiously anti-Catholic act, especially one that pertains to the exercise of his putative office. That’s probably because every Catholic instinctively notices the inherent incongruity between such public apostasy and the Chair of St. Peter.

All the academic arguments in the world are quickly reduced to practical irrelevance when “Pope Francis” declares that God wills there to be a diversity of religions (and he made it an official “papal” act, no less!), that lifelong fornication is a true marriage, that adultery is sometimes willed by God (see Amoris Laetitia, n. 303), that apostates are part of the Body of Christ, or that being a Christian isn’t about adhering to a doctrine. And that’s not even counting his veneration for “Our Mother Earth”, his confirming of sodomites in their sins, or his assertion that “good atheists” go to Heaven.

When that same “Pope” then forbids the Traditional Latin Mass and tells his traditionalists that “going backwards” is “not Christian”, very few people are still going to put up with a John Salza lecturing them on how this apostate fool is keeping the gates of hell from prevailing, or how submission to this anti-Catholic maniac is necessary for salvation.

And so it seems that as Bergoglian apostasy is reaching its zenith, more and more people are finally getting off the fence — some in one, others in the other direction.

Make sure the direction you’re jumping in is the Catholic one.

And remember: You can be a Catholic without having a Pope (if there isn’t one); but you cannot be a Catholic without belief in the Papacy.

Image sources: Shutterstock (giulio napolitano) / Shutterstock (Elpisterra)
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