The Four Marks
The marks by which men will know His Church are four:
one, holy, catholic, and apostolic
Making terms clear
Who are you?
If there were no Mass to attend, would you attend a Hindu service to fulfill your Sunday obligation?
If you say, “I’m a Catholic and in union with Catholics throughout time, believing the same doctrines and attending the same Mass passed down through Tradition,” you are not a “Conciliar Catholic.” Conciliars accept the Council’s changes (Vatican II) and the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order Mass.) How have others responded to the changes? The following descriptions of positions and societies are intended as an overview to generally define the terms used in this publication.
Conciliar, Novus Ordo, Vatican 2, or New Church
Several terms are used to describe those who attend the new mass and accept the hierarchy associated with the Vatican. A common name is Novus Ordo Church (N.O.) focuses on the new mass instituted by Paul 6 in 1969. is “Conciliar.” Each term focuses on a particular trait of that new religion. Conciliar Church focuses on the council that established the changes: Vatican II. New Church focuses on the departure from the historical Catholic Church (and the remnant Church of today.)
With the conglomerate mass of Benedict XVI (promulgated on 7/7/7, as if to sweeten the pie) priests ordained by the new (invalid) rite may offer a revised form of the traditional Mass. These priests must pledge loyalty to the Novus Ordo (new mass), and be willing to say it. With the abuses rampant in the new mass, what sort of assurance can we expect concerning the “traditional mass” now that they will permit it? Before it has begun, we know that many of the consecrations will be void.
Within the broad class of “Traditionalists” are those who attend “Indult” Masses, and those of societies (that despite their disdain, have signed agreements acknowledging the New Mass as valid and licit) like the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FSSP).
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) was founded by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre. His actions separated the SSPX from the Vatican Church. Nevertheless, while the Archbishop worked to preserve the faith and practices of the Catholic Church, in the 1980s before his death, he did not formally determine (for members of the Society) whether John Paul 2 was a Catholic pope or not. Later, under Bp. Fellay, the SSPX have worked to unite with the Novus Ordo Church willing to tolerate union with the Modernists of the N.O. Most of the SSPX priests acknowledge Vatican II popes as valid in some sense, while railing against their un-Catholic acts and beliefs. Other priests have left the SSPX because of their contradictory views. While completely disagreeing with Bp, Fellay, The Four Marks acknowledges the guidance of Fr. Martin Stepanich, OFM, STD. Fr. Martin wrote that attendance at SSPX Masses is permissible when no other (sedevacantist) Mass is available.
Sede vacante (Latin for vacant see) is the term used between the death of one pope and the election of another, or interregnum. “sedevacantist” is used now to designate people who think that no Catholic pope has been validly elected. Most sedevacantists regard Pope Pius XII as the last reigning pope. This position is not self-contradictory as are the positions of the N.O. (the pope and Church are infallible, but you can and should participate in false religions;) and the SSPX (Francis is a pope, but you must follow Bp. Fellay as superior.) As an editorial position, The Four Marks holds this to be the most logical explanation for the present crisis, this is
Like most other traditionalists, sedevacantists reject the changes of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Sedevacantists reject the council in part because of its teachings on religious liberty and ecumenism, which contradict the traditional teaching (doctrines, dogma) of the Church as Christ’s one true religion. They reject the new mass. Sedevacantists cite doctors of the Church, who insist that a valid pope cannot promulgate heresy, since a heretic is not a Catholic. Further, Pope Paul IV’s 1559 Bull Cum ex apostolatus officio stipulates that a heretic cannot be elected Pope. In addition, Canon 188.4 of the pre-Conciliar (1917) Code of Canon Law provides that a cleric who publicly defects from the Catholic faith automatically loses any office that he holds in the Church.
Is Francis a good man; is he as holy as leaders of other religions? These questions are extraneous to the sedevacantist position.
Important incidentals: Paul VI did not wear the papal tiara; John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI abandoned the papal coronation; and all four men declined to take the papal oath.
Under the leadership of Superior General, Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, the priests of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), and other smaller societies, and independent priests alike hold the sedevacantist position. The CMRI is the largest of these societies. A number of priests under Abp. Lefebvre (founder of SSPX) embraced the sedevacantist position including those now known as the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV). Sedevacantist bishops are found throughout the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Bolivia, and South Africa. Sedevacantist priests are spread far more widely.
Conclavists or Post-Sedevacantists are those who have attempted to elect a pope. There have been numerous very doubtful elections resulting from the desperate hope to fill the vacant See. One such “conclave” elected Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher as Pius XIII in Montana.
Mysticalists are men who claim to be pope. Moreover, they claim they were not elected, but were appointed through some supernatural figure. An incomplete list includes: The late Clemente Domingues y Gomez in Seville as Gregory XVII; Julius Tischler as Peter II in Germany; Maurice Archieri as Peter II, France; Aime Baudet aka “Peter II”, Brussels, Belgium; Peter Henry Bubois aka "Peter II", Canada, etc.
Sirists claim that Giuseppe Cardinal Siri was elected pope in the Conclave of 1958 and/or in the Conclave of 1963 taking the name Pope Gregory XVII, but was forced under duress to resign. Counter to this position are facts that show Cardinal Siri in full cooperation with the Novus Ordo Church, and that show a crucial flaw in the research of a document central to their thesis. Key proponents have abandoned this hypothesis.
Home-Aloners reject the validity of traditional Catholic priests and bishops except those ordained by bishops of Pope Pius XII, and therefore practice all possible aspects of their Faith at “home alone”. (Of course there are other Catholics who would attend Masses of at least one of the traditional societies, but have none available. These also are home-aloners, however the connotation implies the first type.)
Feeney followers or Feeneyites, accept a scrupulous interpretation of the dogma “extra ecclesiam nulla salis” (i.e. outside the Church no salvation.) They reject baptism of blood and baptism of desire, which was at least tacitly approved by Pope Pius XII. Proponents accept the teaching of Fr. Leonard Feeney, whose controversy arose before Vatican II. Fr. Feeney refused to appear before the pope to answer for his disobedience.
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