The material below is an overview of the problems caused by the Vatican II crisis, and the solution given by the Thesis. The individual points are more thoroughly developed in the pages of this website specifically dedicated to them.
1. What is wrong with the Second Vatican Council?
The Second Vatican Council taught doctrines which had been already condemned by the Church, and enacted disciplines which are contrary to the Church’s teaching and constant practice.
There are four principal areas of Catholic doctrine against which Vatican II introduced errors: (1) the unity of the Church; (2) ecumenism; (3) religious liberty; (4) collegiality.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law contains the heresy of Vatican II concerning the Church, mentioned above. It also permits sacrilege to the Blessed Sacrament, by approving of its reception by non-Catholics, which is a mortal sin, and permits communicatio in sacris (common public worship) with non-Catholics, which is a mortal sin. In addition, the Ecumenical Directory of 1993 permits ecumenical practices which have always been taught by the Church to be mortally sinful. The facility with which hundreds of thousands of marriage annulments are granted for no serious reason is a form of “Catholic divorce” in disguise, permitted by novelties in the Code of 1983.
The New Mass of Paul VI, which has replaced the traditional Catholic Mass, contains elements borrowed from Protestant worship. It is an innovative rite in which the Catholic doctrine on the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it was taught by the Council of Trent has been systematically expunged and replaced by false doctrines concerning the Mass, the Real Presence, and the priesthood.
It means that Vatican II and its subsequent reforms have given us a new religion, a religion which is substantially different from the Roman Catholic Faith founded by Christ. The reformers have substantially altered the three main components of religion: doctrine, worship, and discipline. As a result, the religion which Catholics find in their local parishes and schools, although in name Catholic, is a new, non-Catholic religion already condemned by the Catholic Church.
The supreme authority of the Church is indeed infallible when defining a doctrine of faith and morals. In addition, the Church cannot impose universally a pernicious doctrine in her authentic, official teaching. The Church is infallible in her discipline and liturgy, in the sense that the universal discipline and liturgy of the Church is holy and sanctifying, and cannot harm the faith and morals of the faithful. The Church is also infallible in the solemn canonizations of saints.
This observation causes a crisis of conscience for Catholics. On the one hand, as good Catholics they ought to submit with religious obedience to the authority of the Church. On the other hand, they understand the necessity of preserving the traditional doctrine, worship, and discipline of the Church. This crisis requires Catholics to examine the issue of the “Vatican II popes” whose supreme authority should have guaranteed the orthodoxy of the said reforms.
7. What answers have been proposed on the problem of authority?
Faced with the changes of Vatican II and the subsequent reforms, the following solutions have been proposed:
- The “Vatican II popes” enjoy the supreme authority of the Church, and one is obliged to obey and submit, while somewhat denouncing the said doctrines and reforms. This is the position of groups such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
- The “Vatican II popes” enjoy the supreme authority of the Church, but one should resist and openly reject the said doctrines and reforms, and exercise an unauthorized apostolate to save souls. This is the position of the Society of Saint Pius X, known as the “Recognize and Resist” position.
- The “Vatican II popes” do not have the authority of Christ, they are not true popes, and are already juridically deposed. This is the position of totalism, or complete sedevacantism.
- The “Vatican II popes” do not have the authority of Christ, they are not true popes, but this real fact has not yet been juridically established and recognized in the universal Church. This is the solution proposed by the Thesis, sometimes referred to as material-formal sedevacantism or sedeprivationism.
8. Why are the first two positions, which recognize authority in the “Vatican II popes,” not viable solutions?
They are not viable for any Catholic because they destroy the indefectibility of the Church by ascribing to her all the non-Catholic doctrines and reforms coming from Vatican II. It further forces one either to cooperate in these non-Catholic doctrines and reforms, or to profess and practice open disobedience to the Roman Pontiff, which is a schismatic attitude condemned many times by the Church.
On the one hand, this third position is absolutely correct in denying authority to the “Vatican II popes,” thus preserving the infallibility of the Church by not attributing to her authority the abominations of Vatican II. This position is therefore correct in its essential part. On the other hand, it fails to make the proper distinction between the real order and the juridical order. For example, one is indeed a murderer by the very fact of killing an innocent person, but this crime must still be established in a court of law in order that its legal consequences and juridical penalties be applied. In a similar way, a marriage publicly celebrated enjoys a legal presumption of validity. If the marriage is in fact discovered to be invalid, it still keeps its valid status de jure (before the law) until declared invalid in a court of law. In the meantime, the spouses may not contract another marriage, and may not act as husband and wife, since in fact they are not married. The “totalist” position is also unable to provide a satisfying answer to the problem of the perpetual Apostolic succession of the Roman See, which is demanded by the Church’s indefectibility and taught by the Vatican Council (1870) in the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus: “That which the Prince of Shepherds and great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ our Lord, established in the person of the Blessed Apostle Peter to secure the perpetual welfare and lasting good of the Church, must, by the same institution, necessarily remain unceasingly in the Church; which, being founded upon the Rock, will stand firm to the end of the world.”
The Thesis does not attribute to the Church’s authority the abominations of Vatican II, thus not offending the Church’s infallibility in this regard. At the same time, while the “papacies of Vatican II” are null in reality, their nullity has not yet been juridically established and declared by a competent authority in the Church. Hence, while the Roman See is vacant in fact, i.e., these men were not and are not true popes, nonetheless they retain a legal designation to be popes, until such time as it is legally removed from them.
This distinction between the real order (de facto) and the legal order (de jure) allows the Thesis to provide a logical solution to the problem of the perpetual Apostolic succession of the Roman See, which is demanded by the Church’s indefectibility.
Let us now present the Thesis in its different parts.
11. Is Francis the Pope?
Answered simply, the answer is no. He is not the pope, he has no authority over the Church, and therefore does not enjoy the infallibility promised by Christ to Saint Peter’s successors. We should not submit to his teaching, his laws, and the liturgy he promulgates. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, against which Our Lord has warned us, or even, we may say: a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.
Francis and the “Vatican II popes,” since John XXIII, have striven to change the Church from within, by imposing the errors of modernism in doctrine, in discipline, and in the liturgy. Christ could not give the supreme authority of the Church to an individual who objectively intends to thus impose modernist ideology on the faithful.
In addition, we have a confirmation that these “Vatican II popes” do not in fact enjoy the supreme authority of the Church because they have proven in many cases to be fallible in situations where, had they been true popes, they should have been infallible; since infallibility is an inseparable charism attached to the supreme office of the papacy.
Yes, because Francis was elected to the Papacy by a conclave. Francis’ election is presumed to be valid, because it is a juridical fact, and the opposite would have to be proven and established juridically, which up to now has not been accomplished. In addition, general acceptance by the whole Church would convalidate any defective election. Theologians agree that the universal acceptance of a newly elected pope would always supply any possible defect in the election process.
This is so because in any perfect society, such as a civil state or the Church, a fact is binding on a multitude of subjects when it is authoritatively established, either by law or by legal judgment. A murderer, for example, is by law liable to condemnation and deprivation of certain rights in society. But for as long as the fact of the crime has not been juridically recognized, he is not yet a murderer before the law, and therefore the exercise of his rights has not yet been restrained.
Because while a heretic incurs an automatic excommunication by the very fact of a delict of heresy, this excommunication has no legal consequences for as long as the person does not observe them and that they are not enforced by the person’s superior. Ecclesiastical Law clearly indicates that unsentenced heretics can validly elect and be elected.
Unsentenced heretics are only illicitly placed in office, while sentenced heretics whether tolerati or vitandi, are invalidly elected or appointed, and do not receive the office at all.
16. Does not the Thesis speak about matter and form, when explaining the present situation of the papacy?
Indeed the Thesis does employ these theological terms, following the teaching of approved theologians, such as Saint Robert Bellarmine, Saint Antoninus, Cardinal Cajetan, etc. The meaning of these analogous concepts is to explain that in the papacy there is a certain composition. Indeed the pope is elected by men, and upon acceptance, he receives the supreme authority from Christ. In the philosophical concepts of matter and form, the matter means something which receives a further determination called the form. Thus, a priest is a man being determined by the character of the priesthood. In this example, the matter is the man; the form is the priesthood. When the matter and the form are united together, they constitute a priest. Hence the form is what makes a composite to be what it is, by determining the matter. Thus in the case of the pope, the pope-elect is a subject or matter, namely a man elected and having accepted. What makes him the pope, however, which we call the form of the papacy, is the supreme authority, given by Christ. Therefore, a pope does not receive his authority by the election, or even by the acceptance on the part of the elected person. These are only human determinations of the subject which dispose him to receive the papacy. But the supreme authority of the Church does not come from men, it comes from God. It is given by God to this person, and it is what makes him the pope. Hence the Thesis says that Francis (and the “Vatican II popes” before him) is not formally pope, although he is said to be materially pope, that is, he has been validly elected, but does not possess the power to teach, rule, and sanctify the Church in Christ’s name, and as His vicar.
Theologians like Saint Robert Bellarmine refer to the supreme authority over the Church, given to Saint Peter’s successors as the formal aspect (or form) of the papacy. It is what makes someone who has been legitimately elected and has accepted the election to be the pope. It does not come from men, but from Christ, Head of the Church. Indeed the pope is the vicar of Christ, and the visible head of the Church. Someone is therefore a true pope only if he has the authority of Christ and acts in His name.
The same theologians who refer to the supreme authority given to the pope by Christ as the form of the papacy speak of the subject who receives this form as the matter or material aspect of the papacy. Indeed, to have a pope, you need not only Christ’s authority, but also a subject to receive this authority: the person who is elected. To say that Francis is materially the pope therefore means that he has been determined in a particular way, by his election, to receive the form of the papacy, namely the supreme authority of the Church. Francis has indeed been elected to the papacy, although he has not received its supreme authority from Christ. Despite not being the pope formally, therefore, we can say that he is pope materially. In other words, he has been chosen to become the pope, despite not having become one. Similarly, the president of the United States is elected in November, but he receives legitimate authority only in January, when he takes the oath of office. In the meantime, therefore, he is a president-elect, but has no authority, until he swears to uphold the constitution of the United States:
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
This is explained in greater detail in a dedicated part. The election of the pope is not completed until the pope-elect accepts his election. Only then does he receive the supreme authority to teach, rule, and sanctify the Church in Christ’s name, for which purpose he is assisted by the Holy Ghost. We can observe on the one hand that Bergoglio was elected; but on the other hand that he in fact does not possess the authority of Christ and is not assisted by the Holy Ghost. This leads us to question Bergoglio’s acceptance of the papacy, which acceptance is an absolutely necessary condition to the completion of the election and the communication of the supreme authority from Christ.
He did in appearance and in words but he did not truly and in reality. He has posited an obstacle to a valid consent which is incompatible with a sincere acceptance, this obstacle being the intention to substantially change the Church and impose upon her the modernist heresy, as explained above. This is manifested by his countless outrageous statements and actions.
21. In saying so, are you not judging his internal intention, which only God could know with certainty?
No, because we are considering not his subjective and internal intention, but his objective and exterior intention. Strictly speaking, we are not judging the reasons which motivate him to do what he does, but merely the habitual tendency of the actions he posits. The personal motives are extrinsic to one’s actions, and often uncertain. The objective end of external actions is, however, intrinsic to it and can be easily judged upon examination of the person’s words and actions. Hence, one may sometimes be uncertain as to why a person desires to marry: would it be to found a Catholic family, or for the sake of the future spouse’s money? In either case, the person would still intend to marry. Hence, while one might not be sure as to why a person wants to marry, it could be clear that this person does indeed want to marry. In the same way, why someone would accept to become the pope is in itself irrelevant to the present argument: would it be sincerely for the greater glory of God? Would it be motivated by pride and ambition? Would it be motivated by the love of comfort and riches? These personal motives, which could coexist to some extent, are subjective and often difficult to judge. But what is common in all of these cases is that the person objectively accepts to become the pope anyway. This is the objective intention, manifested by the very action itself.
The Thesis maintains that the objective intention of Francis is incompatible with the acceptance of the papacy, because this intention does not correspond to what the papacy is. The act of acceptance of the papacy is an act which must not only be manifested externally, but which must also be internal, just like any other moral action. If you commit a sinful action without any knowledge or consent, for example, you do not truly sin. If you eat meat on a Friday thinking it was a Tuesday, you do not truly sin. Thus, to express the fact that you did not truly sin, moral theologians say that you did not sin formally, but only materially (that is, as to merely the external action). In a like manner, if someone should accept to become the pope thinking that the papacy is some sort of humanitarian leadership, that person would not have truly accepted the papacy, because his consent was not given to what the papacy truly is, but to this false notion. The Thesis maintains that Francis, when giving an external acceptance to his election, did not truly accept the papacy as it is, as it was established by Christ, but rather, he accepted some sort of humanitarian worldwide enterprise, as is evident by his many statements and actions. This is particularly evident in his renouncing the title of vicar of Christ. For to be the vicar of Christ is not for the pope a mere honorific title, but its very definition. Someone who does not want to be the vicar of Christ manifestly does not want to be the pope.
By analogy, a man who accepts to be the captain of a ship, but who has the intention of deliberately sinking it, would forfeit any authority over the ship itself. The office of captain is essentially ordered to convey a ship safely to its destination. To be the captain, it is necessary to intend this end.
Since he is not formally and truly the pope, he has no authority in the Catholic Church, and we should therefore ignore any of his teachings and decisions. And since he is actually imposing modernism on the faithful, he should be denounced as a danger to the faith and as a wolf killing the sheep.
For if he is truly the pope, then all of the Vatican II reforms are in perfect accord with the Catholic Faith, and must not be rejected or resisted. In other words, you cannot reject Vatican II but accept him as pope; conversely you cannot accept him as pope but reject Vatican II. Or as Bp. Robert McKenna used to say: “You cannot have your pope and eat him too.”
On the other hand, since he has been elected to become the pope, we cannot in the meantime elect another pope.
In the practical order, one must continue to believe the traditional faith, observe the traditional disciplines of the Church, and receive the traditional sacraments. In particular, one must go only to the traditional Mass, offered by priests who do not mention Bergoglio’s name in the Canon of the Mass (non una cum), since to name him in the Canon of the Mass is tantamount to recognizing him as the legitimate vicar of Christ, and therefore implicitly recognizing the legitimacy of the Vatican II reforms and heresies.
 MacKenzie, The Delict of Heresy, The Catholic University of America, Canon Law Studies n. 77, Washington D.C. 1932, p. 91.