Destroying the papacy

Roberto-de-Mattei

Professor Roberto de Mattei


In an interview about the Rome Conference, Roberto de Mattei, professor of history and well-known in Novus Ordo conservative circles, made this statement about the conference: “I appreciated the recent interview in which Raymond Cardinal Burke affirmed that we find ourselves faced with an intolerable situation, and it is licit to criticize the Pope when he propagates errors and heresies. [emphasis added] He also said:

Sacred Tradition remains the criterion for discerning that which is Catholic and that which is not, causing the visible marks of the Church to shine. Tradition is the faith of the Church that the Popes have maintained and transmitted throughout the course of the centuries. But Tradition comes before the Pope and not the Pope before Tradition.

What emerges from these statements is the intellectual disease that has infected most Catholics who want to resist Modernism. Their first false principle is it is possible for the supreme authority of the Church to promulgate to the whole Church doctrines or disciplines which are false and/or pernicious. This principle is contrary to the indefectibility of the Church, which teaches that the Catholic Church, by the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost, will always remain essentially the same in its doctrines and disciplines. In other words, the Catholic Church cannot become another religion in the course of time, or in any way deviate from the deposit of faith in its universal teachings and disciplines.

Their second false principle is that Tradition is higher than the pope. By Tradition is meant the handed down word of God, as opposed to the written word of God, which is Sacred Scripture. Martin Luther put Sacred Scripture on a higher level than the magisterium of the Church. It was central to his heresy. So the Novus Ordo conservative places Tradition on a higher level than the magisterium. This is a very grave error, and is equivalent to the heresy of Martin Luther.

The authentic interpreter of both Sacred Scripture and of Tradition is the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This magisterium is infallible. Therefore no authority is higher in the Catholic Church than the authority of the magisterium.

We do not ask, therefore, “Is Bergoglio’s teaching contrary to Tradition?” We ask instead, as Catholics, “Does Bergoglio’s teaching contradict the infallible magisterium of the Catholic Church?” “Does it teach doctrines which have been condemned by the magisterium of the Catholic Church?” And if the answer is “yes” to these questions, then, by the doctrine of indefectibility, it is necessary, by faith, to conclude that Bergoglio is not the pope.

The Catholic cannot enshrine Tradition over the pope any more than Martin Luther can enshrine Scripture over him. For the individual Catholic cannot be his own pope, interpreting for himself either Scripture or Tradition. A condition of our act of faith is that the object of our faith — dogma — be proposed by the authority of the Catholic Church. Otherwise we become Protestants, placing our own interpretation of Scripture or Tradition above the magisterium.

The practical effect of what the professor is saying is that the Catholic Church can live with heretical popes, and more importantly, can live with popes promulgating false doctrines and evil disciplines. It is sufficient that the lay people and a few bishops issue “corrections” of the false doctrines or evil disciplines and that they “resist” these deviations.

Such a mentality absolutely destroys the Catholic notion of the papacy. Catholic doctrine teaches that the pope is the living rule of faith, that is, just as a yardstick determines what is truly a yard, so the orthodoxy of the reigning pope determines the orthodoxy of the whole Church. If he loses this orthodoxy, he loses his papacy, just as a yardstick would be useless if it were merely one inch off. By analogy, it would be like the hub of a wheel turning to mush. The Church cannot live with a “pope” promulgating heresies, condemned errors, or evil disciplines. The Church must make the accusation against such a “pope” that his intention to pervert the Church by these falsehoods makes it impossible that he be pope.

To his credit, Professor de Mattei did say these refreshing words:

Pope Francis is not its cause, but rather the product of a process of auto-demolition which has its roots in modernism, in the Nouvelle théologie, in the Second Vatican Council, and in the post-conciliar era.

I say this is refreshing, since most Novus Ordo conservatives are limiting the problem to Bergoglio, and do not see that the problem is Vatican II, the New Theology, and the reforms of the post-conciliar period. We must place the guilt, therefore, not merely upon Bergoglio, but upon John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. These are the destroyers of Roman Catholicism. [1]

Novus Ordo conservatives like Professor de Mattei and Cardinal Burke certainly mean well, but in their categorical refusal to accept the vacancy of the Roman See, they must seek “solutions” which contradict the Church’s infallibility, and indefectibility, and which are the same as Protestantism.


[1] Nonetheless, his use of the term auto-demolition is another gave error. The Church cannot destroy itself. It is protected by the Holy Ghost from any corruption. If souls are being drawn away from the faith, it is owing to the work of the intrusion of Modernist heretics, and not to some malfunction of the Church itself.

2 thoughts on “Destroying the papacy

  1. Perhaps the destruction of the papacy, along with the destruction of the Catholic Church, is and was the intended goal. What makes this all so very difficult is that there are many men (and women) with good intentions and good will who are trying to defend the indefensible. May the Lord open their eyes and speak to their hearts.

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