Everything You wanted to know the Infallibility of the Catholic Church but were afraid to ask about - Part 4

While not specifically about infallibility, this post is related to some of Fr. Cekada's work referenced in earlier issues of this series.

I recently was challenged on another forum to "Please thoroughly read Fr. Cekada's 'Frankenchurch' article which link is provided in his post above, and then get back to me... "

This was related to a question that I had asked Fr. Cekada, namely:

What defide doctrines of the Church have the post-V2 Pontiffs explicitly?
Father's response was:
"Credo in unam ecclesiam," for one, because they profess the Frankenchurch heresy. For an explanation, see:
Resisting the Pope, Sedevacantism and Frankenchurch, section II.B
In my earlier review of this thesis (part 1, part 2) I had decided against writing a point by point review of the noted section because I concluded that it wasn't worth the effort since:
"... Much of the remainder of the Fr. Cekada's assertions are of the same vein.
He either takes the quotes out of context or in the face of ambiguity makes a judgement and interprets them in a manner contrary to the teaching of the Church (eg Catechism of the Catholic Church 819, 832,834)."
Given the above challenge, I have decided to revisit the assertions made by Fr. Cekada and document the flaws that I observed when I first read them.

My method will be to reproduce Fr. Cekada's statement in red. This will be followed by a short analysis in blue.

Before I proceed, I want to ensure that my readers are aware that Fr. Cekada's thesis is that the Pope's since Pope Pius XII have lost their authority (sede vacante) due to notorious heresy.

Conclusion (to save you from reading all the way to the bottom)

Based on my review of the context of the statements that Fr. Cekada states support his thesis - it is simple to see that notoriety cannot be deduced from these statements. Therefore Fr. Cekada needs to make a judgement of whether or not some ambiguous statement is actually heretical with the full context.

That is something which neither he (nor I) possess competence.

Without evidence of the Pope explicitly declaring a heresy against a de fide statement thereby establishing his notoriety, there is no support for the Sede Vacantist thesis that Father Cekada holds.

 Fr. Cekada's Thesis

      This heresy posits a “People of God” and a “Church of Christ” not identical with the Roman Catholic Church and broader than it — a Frankenchurch created from “elements” of the true Church that are possessed either “fully” (by Catholics) or “partially” (by heretics and schismatics).

      Though earlier experiments had failed,[43] Vatican II’s teaching that Christ’s Church “subsists” in the Catholic Church[44] was the lightning strike to the monster’s neck-bolt. The stitching holding the ugly beast together was the modernist/ecumenical theology of Church as “communion” (which may be full or partial).

      Ratzinger — Doktor von Frankenchurch — fully developed the latter in the 1992 CDF Letter on “Communion,” the 2000 Declaration Dominus Jesus and other JP2-approved statements. Here are some typical propositions:

So to be clear: Fr. Cekada's posits that the leaders of the Church have committed the sin of heresy by denying that the "People of God"' and the Mystical Body of Christ are coincident with the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic Church. He further posits that this is demonstrated by the following references.

  • Schismatic bodies are “particular Churches” united to the Catholic Church by “close bonds.”[45]
    • [45]. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion (1992), 17.
    • http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_28051992_communionis-notio_en.html
    • The question is are their particular Churches part of the Catholic Church?  The context does not support any such conclusion. Father Cekada has ignored not only the preceding sections that explain how a particular Church is united to the Catholic Church, he has also ignored this sentence found in the first paragraph of article 17:  "Among the non-Catholic Churches".  If they are 'non-Catholic' Churches how does Fr. Cekada support the notion that the Popes believe the non-Catholic Churches are Catholic?
  • The Church of Christ “is present and operative” in churches that reject the papacy.[46]
  • The universal Church is the “body of the [particular] Churches.”[47]
    • [47]. Communion, 8.
    • This is discussing the various 'Churches' that are part of the "Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is the universal Church"  This would be, for example, the use of the word the "Church of Antioch" etc.
  • There exist “numerous ‘spheres’ of belonging to the Church as People of God and of the bond which exists with it.”[48]
    • [48]. John Paul II, Discourse to the Roman Curia, June 28, 1981.
    • I was unable to find this reference on the internet.
  • Schismatic Churches have a “wounded” existence.[49]
    • [49]. Communion, 17.
    • "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honoured by the name of Christian, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter". This is the first paragraph of section 17. So the separated haven't preserved unity or communion.  This does not support Father Cekada's assertion of heresy.
  • The “universal Church becomes present in them [the particular Churches] with all her essential elements.”[50]
    • [50]. Communion, 7.
    • This is discussion the particular Churches that make up the Church of Christ as noted above.
  • “Elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church, and without this fullness, in the other communities.”[51]
    • [51]. Ut unum sint, 14.
    • ...Many elements of great value (eximia), which in the Catholic Church are part of the fullness of the means of salvation and of the gifts of grace which make up the Church, are also found in the other Christian Communities ... This text comes right before the text quoted by Fr. Cekada. Here we have to understand that the efficacy of the valid sacraments, in both protestant and schismatic 'churches', has its source in the Catholic Church.  
  • There’s no escape from Frankenchurch. It is a fundamental principle in 1983 Code of Canon Law,[52] and it lumbers through the new Catechism[53] to menace your son Marcel, who will learn:
  • [52]. See Canons 204-5, and the lengthy commentary on the Code’s “communion” theology in J. Beal et al., New Commentary of the Code of Canon Law (New York: Paulist 2000), 245-8, and passim. All the baptized are “incorporated” into and “constituted as” the “People of God.”
    • http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_INDEX.HTM
    • Can. 204 §1 Christ's faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. They are called, each according to his or her particular condition, to exercise the mission which God entrusted to the Church to fulfil in the world.
    • §2 This Church, established and ordered in this world as a society, subsists in the catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.
    • Can. 205 Those baptised are in full communion with the catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.
    • While wordy, what exactly is wrong with this?  Even protestants with valid baptism are 'Catholic' until such time as they separate themselves either by adhering to the heresy and / or schism.   What this statement does is leave it ambiguous.
  • [53]. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd. ed., (Rome: Lib.Ed.Vat. 1997).
    • One becomes a member of the “People of God” by baptism. (#782)
    • This whole People of God participates in the offices of Christ (priest, prophet, king). (783) (“Does that mean even Lutherans, Dad?” “Uh…”)
    • The sole Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church. (816)
    • Christ’s body, the Church, is “wounded.” (817)
    • Christ’s Spirit uses schismatic and heretical bodies (“these Churches and ecclesial communities”) as “means of salvation.” (819) (“Then why do we drive an hour to a Latin Mass, Mom?” “Er, your Dad will explain this when you’re more grown up…”)
      • 811 "This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic."256 These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.
      • 812 Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses these properties from her divine source. But their historical manifestations are signs that also speak clearly to human reason. As the First Vatican Council noted, the "Church herself, with her marvelous propagation, eminent holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in everything good, her catholic unity and invincible stability, is a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness of her divine mission."258
      • 813 The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of her "soul": "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church:
      • What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church."262
      • 814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions."263 The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."264
      • 815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
      • - profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
      • -common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
      • - apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family.266
      • 816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."267
      • The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."268
      • 817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:
      • Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271
      • 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272
      • 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276
      • 820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time."277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279
      • In this case, I decided to reproduce the entire context. Setting aside Father Cekada's snide comments.  Does this support his assertion that the Pope et al profess that the Catholic Church is not the same thing as the Mystical Body of Christ?  While it may be verbose and perhaps even ambiguous, it does not support his assertion, particularly 813,814, and 815.
    • Each “particular Church” is “Catholic,” but some are “fully Catholic.” (832, 834) (“So a C+ ‘mark of the Church’ is still passing, Dad?” “Um, let’s ask the priest on Sunday…”)
      • 832 "The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament. . . . In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated. . . . In these communities, though they may often be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted."312
      • 833 The phrase "particular Church," which is first of all the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession.313 These particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists."314
      • 834 Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity."315 "For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord."316 Indeed, "from the incarnate Word's descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior's promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her."317
      • Restoring the context is very helpful in evaluating Fr. Cekada's criticism of these points in the Catechism.  It is obvious why Fr skipped 833 - since it explains what is meant by a 'particular Church'. Again this does not support his thesis.

    • Catholics are “fully” incorporated into the Church; those who believe in Christ and are baptized are in a “certain, although imperfect communion with the Catholic Church,” and this communion with schismatic orthodox Churches is “so profound” that it “lacks little to attain the fullness.” (837-8)
      • 837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"321
      • 838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324
      • This section discusses "Who belongs to the Catholic Church?".  The full context of 837 provides the standard requirements for membership in the Church. That a protestant is unable to completely break the bond created at baptism is standard doctrine (pre-conciliar) because if they were able to they would no longer be subject to the laws of the Church.  The key element here is that, 838 does not say they are members of the Church, at worse it is ambiguous.  


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