Society of St. Pius X
One of these
questions was, How do you see obedience to the Pope? And here is
the reply I gave 10 years ago: "The principles governing
obedience are known and are so in confromity with sane reason and
common sense that one is driven to wonder how intelligent persons
can make a statement like, 'They prefer to be mistaken with the
Pope than to be with the truth against the Pope.'
is not what the natural law teaches, nor the Magisterium of the
Church. Obedience presupposes a authority which gives an order
or issues a law. Human authorities, even those instituted by God,
have no authority other than to attain the end apportioned them
by God and not to turn away from it. When an authority uses power
in opposition to the law for which this power was given it, such
an authority has no right to be obeyed and one must disobey it.
need to disobey is accepted with regard to a family father who would
encourage his daughter to postitute herself, with regard to the
civil authority which would oblige doctors to provide abortinas
and to kill innocent souls, yet people accept in every case the
authority of the Pope who is supposedly infallible in his government
and in all his words. Such an attitude betrays a sad ignorance
of history and of the true nature of papal infallinbility.
long time ago St. Paul said to St. Peter that he was 'Not waking
according to the truth of the Gospel' (Gal. 2:14). St. Paul encouraged
the faithful not to obey him, St. Paul, if he happened to preach
any other gospel than the gospel that he had already taught them
Thomas when he speaks of fraternal correction alludes to St. Paul's
resistance to St. Peter and he makes the following comment: "To
resist openly and in public goes beyond the measure of fraternal
correction. St. Paul would not have done it towards St. Peter if
he had not in some way been his equal... We must realize, however,
that if there was a question of a danger for the faith, the superiors
would have to be rebuked by their inferiors even in public.' This
is clear from the matter and reason for St. Paul's acting as he
did with regard to St. Peter whose subject he was, in such a way,
says the gloss of St. Augustine, 'that the very heart of the Church
showed to superiors that if they ever chanced to leave the straight
and narrow path, they should accept to be corrected by their inferiors'
(St. Thomas IIa, IIae, q 33, art 4, ad 2).
case evoked by St. Thomas is not merely imaginary because it took
place with regard to John XXII during his life. This pope thought
he could state as a personal opinion that the souls of the elect
do not enjoy the beatic vision until after the Last Judgment. He
wrote this opinion down in 1331 and in 1332 he preached a similar
opinion with regard to the pains of the damned. He had the intention
of putting forward this opinion in a solemn decree.
the very lively reaction on the part of the Dominicans, above all
in Paris, and of the Franciscans made him renounce this opinion
in favour of the traditional opinion defined by his successor, Benedict
XII, in 1336.
here is what Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical, Libertas Praestantissimum,
June 20, 1888: 'If, then, by any one in authority, something be
sanctioned out of conformity with the principles of right reason,
and consequently hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment
can have no binding force of law.' And a little further on he says.
'But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted
contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinace of
God, obedience is unlawful, lest while obeying man, we become disobedient
our disobedience is motivated by the need to keep the Catholic Faith.
The orders being given us clearly express that they are being given
us in order to oblige us to submit without reserve to the Second
Vatican Coucil, to the post-Conciliar reforms, and to the prescriptions
of the Holy See, that is to say, to the orientations and acts which
are undermining our Faith and destroying the Church. It is impossible
for us to do this. to collaborate in the destruction of the Church
is to betray the Church and to betray Our Lord Jesus Christ.
all the theologians worthy of this name teach that if the pope by
his acts destroys the Church, we cannot obey him (Vitoria: Obras,
pp. 486-487; Suarez: De Fide, disp. X, sec. VI, no. 16; St. Robert
Bellarmine: de Rom. Pont., Book 2, Ch. 29; Cornelius a Lapide: ad
Gal. 2,11, etc...) and he must be respectfully, but publicly rebuked."
governing obedience to the pope's authority are the same as those
governing relations between a delegated authority and its subjects.
They do not apply to the Divine Authority which is always infallible
and indefectible and hence incapble of failing. To the extent that
God has communicated his infallinility to the Pope and to the extent
that the Pope intends to use this infallinility, which involves
four very precise conditions in its exercise, there can be no failure.
these precise fixed conditions, the authority of the Pope is fallible
and so the criteria which bind us to obedience apply toi his acts.
Hence it is not inconceivable that there could be a duty of disobedience
with regard to the Pope.
The authority which was granted him was granted him for precise purposes
and in the last resort for the glory of the Holy Trinity, for Our
Lord Jesus Christ, and for the salvation of souls.
Whatever would be carried out by the Pope in opposition to this purpose
would bave no legal value and no right to be obeyed, nay rather,
it would oblige us to disobey in order for us to remain obedient
to God and faithful to the Church.
true for everything that the recent popes have commanded in the
name of Religious Liberty or ecumenism since the Council: all the
reforms carried out under this heading are deprived of any legal
standing or any force of law. In thise cases the popes use their
authority contrary to the end for which this authority was given
them. They have a right to be disobeyed by us.
and its history show publicly this need to remain faithfu to God
and to the Church. The years 1974, 1975, 1976 leave us with the
memory of this incredible clash between Econe and the Vatican, between
the Pope and myself.
was the condemnation, the "suspension a divinis," wholly
in null and void because the Pope was tyrannically abusing his authority
in order to defend laws contrary to the good of the Church and to
the good of souls.
These events are a historical application of the principles concerning
the duty to disobey.
The clash was
the occasion for the departure of a certain number of priests who
were friends or members of the Society, who were scared by the condemnation,
and did not understand the duty to disobey under certain circumstances.
Since then, twelve years have passed by. Officially the condemnation
still stands, relations with the Pope are still tense, especially
as the consequences of this ecumenism are drawing us into an apostasy
which forces us to react vigoriously. However, the announcing of
a consecration of bishops on June 29th last stirred Rome."