by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
The in the video above, Bishop Sandborn, a sedevacantist bishop, who is a former member of the SSPX, says there are more cases of abusers in the SSPX. On this, he gives his personal testimony, which is the principal reason I have published it here.
But, though Bishop Sandborn reaffirms many truths of the Catholic Faith, his exposition also includes several grave errors, which I consider necessary to point out, lest the faithful be led astray:
- He says one can obtain the same graces by watching mass on TV as being present in person. This is simply not true, since the sacrificial action of the Mass has an exorcistic value which is much stronger the nearer one is to the Altar, as is proven in many exorcisms done here in the Eternal City, where the possessed where put in a cage to keep them near the Altar as the Mass was celebrated. Also, being in the very presence of the Sacrifice, the priest and the Sacrament, and among those who are also praying in communion with the priest has a much more powerful force to sanctify and obtain grace than by someone praying alone while watching images on a screen, as should be obvious. This does not deny that for some Saints, because of their personal perfection and holiness, they can obtain just as much grace in either case.
- He seems to think that the heresy of a Bishop, who was validly appointed, causes the entire local Church to fall away from Christ, when in truth, it only causes him and those who assent to his heresy to fall away. The same regards the case of a Bishop which is in schism. This is because the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ and has as its quasi soul, the Holy Ghost, out of Whose Hand the faithful cannot be snatched so long as they remain Catholic.
- He fails to recognize — because it serves the agenda of Sedevacantists to practice a private religion — that the local Church has the right to have a Catholic Bishop and when deprived of one, by means of the heresy or schism of their bishop, they can ask Rome for a Catholic Bishop and when Rome is impeded by a sede vacante or external forces or unwillingness in the Holy Father to act, the local church has the right to chose and have ordained a Catholic Bishop due to the imminent danger of souls. Thus, there never is a legitimate case to be ordained a bishop apart from a Diocese or jurisdiction established by the Church.
- He also does not mention, that no man has the right to become a priest or bishop, and that the legitimacy of the election of a Bishop or the ordination of a priest requires that the Church approve it. This is the fundamental fraud practiced by the SSPX and Sedevacantists. They fall into this necessary error, because they do not seek the salvation or assistance of the local Church to have Catholic pastors, but only work to promote their own organizations. This is not the goal supernatural charity, and therefore their works are in vain, because they are not founded upon the will of Jesus Christ, that we be and remain and work for the good of His Church which is one and indestructible.
What needs to be emphasized, on the question of going to Mass, is that the obligation only exists on Sundays WHEN there is a Catholic priest in communion with the true pope and who is not a heretic or a danger to souls and when the Mass is celebrated without the admixture of heresy or other grave errors or immorality which endanger souls. The Mass also must be no farther than an hour of travel distant, and the weather cannot be dangerous for traveling.
The reason why the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday is actually limited by a lot of conditions is that it is a precept of the Church, applying the obligation of the Decalogue, to worship the True God, which however does not presuppose that you should put yourself in danger of your eternal salvation or grave risk to your bodily or personal safety or health.
This is why, in true plagues, the Sunday obligation lapses. It is also why, if your Church was decorated with art which for you incited lust, you would have no obligation to go to mass there.
But this is why there is no obligation to go to Mass to a Schismatic and why one should never attend mass with a heretic. One is also obliged, if the priest is catholic and in communion with the pope, but during that mass preaches heresy or blasphemes God, to leave the Church and not return until the priest publicly repents.
However, on the question of whether it is morally licit to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament from the hands of a Schismatic, Saint Alphonsus cites many authors in approval, if one has need of the Sacrament. But it is never licit to do so from the hands of a heretic.
However, another important point which Bishop Sandborn ignores, is that there are cases where a man might be led to say that which is heretical without assenting to it as heresy, and likewise in matters of schism, there are cases in which the priest might act as if in schism but not be in schism.
Let us discuss these cases.
For example, if a priest in the missions is told that the Pope has died and that they new pope is Martin XVIII, but does not realize that the person telling him this is lying and that Martin XVIII is really and anti-pope, at mass when he names Martin XVIII he apparently offers the Mass in schism from the true pope, but this is only an error in appearances, because he has no intention of being in schism and is acting without consent to the schism, being only deceived by another.
This case applies obviously to the claim of Bergoglio to be Pope Francis, which is founded on the very common error of holding the act of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013 as a valid renunciation which it is not. Thus, if such priests have not examined the evidence, whether out of laziness or stubbornness or incapacity to understand the problems, or lack of knowledge or Latin or canon law or how to think through a problem, their naming of Francis is not schismatic. However, if they truly want to follow a man whom they know has no valid claim, then they sin gravely in naming him as the Pope and pretending that his claim is valid, even if they think it is not.
However, with Bergoglio there is the second problem, that of his heresy. A priest who knows that he teaches heresy and is pertinacious, in naming Francis in the canon consents to the sin of heresy, and his masses are not offered in communion with the Church, and thus no one has an obligation to attend them, and if he preach heresy certainly no one should, because he is a public heretic.
However, in the same case, since many priests think Bergoglio is the pope and that the pope cannot become a pertinacious formal heretic, even if personally he speak heresies, their error about papal privileges might lead them to think that naming Francis in the canon is possible without consenting to his personal heresies.
Finally, if the priest is promoting the errors of Amoris Laetitia by giving the Sacrament to public sinners, not just as a practice, but because he rejects the teaching of Christ and the Apostles that this should never be done, he is also a heretic, and one should not attend his masses.
As regard the Mass of Vatican II, it can cause some to lose the faith, and for them they should not attend it. But for those who know their faith, attendance at this form of the Mass is not consent to the errors contained in its rubrics, according to the teaching of the Saints who say the sins of the priest in the rubrics of the mass do not make the congregation guilty. In fact, the errors in the new ritual are not formal heresies nor require the participants to consent to heresies, though they are frequently highly ambiguous or insufficient in expression to nurture dogmatic faith and virtue. However because many priests hold that the New Mass being approved with Church authority is incapable of having dangerous errors in it, they do not by that consent to endangering the faithful, until they recognize that this is the case.
This is one of the common errors of Sedevacantists and some Traditionalists, that they accept the error of the Jansenists who hold that the supernatural habit of dogmatic Faith is destroyed by other sins, though all the Saints teach that it can only be destroyed by sins against the faith.
None of this ignores or excuses the fact that a parish which adopts errors is not a dangerous place for souls. But at the same time, the faithful each have the duty to know their faith and remove themselves from the danger of errors by knowing the faith, refuting errors, and to remove themselves from the moral danger of errors by not frequenting places of sin and public sinners.
Also, when the mass is sacramentally valid, that is, when the Eucharist is truly confected by a valid priest, Our Lord is present and there is a true offering of His Sacrifice. To say that one cannot respect that truth without assenting or consenting to the errors of those who celebrate it, is simply contrary to reason, for it asserts that the intellect is incapable of making distinctions, and that they will is incapable of consenting under a condition or with a partial respect. This is simply absurd and inhuman. And the Church has never taught such a thing. In fact, by regarding the Sacraments of Greek Schismatics as valid, for nearly 1000 years, the Church teaches the opposite, that Christ can be truly present and the Mass truly valid sacramentally even among schismatics and heretics. This does not mean, however, that it is efficacious for heretics or schismatics.
Finally, who is and who is not the pope is not a matter of opinion. It is determined by the norm of Canon Law and by the judgement of the Church in cases of doubt. Though we can in controversial cases make personal judgements and be required to do so, we must nevertheless recognize that the terms of Canon Law or Papal Law are determinative and objective and lead to conclusions which are not opinions but obligatory for all.
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