TRUE OR FALSE SAINT?
john c. pontrello
October 12, 2020
Are Roman Catholic canonizations infallible? Although the church has never officially defined canonizations as acts of infallibility, the consensus of theologians has been that they are. This makes sense because saints are entered into the church calendar and the faithful celebrate their feast days with a Mass and other prayers and devotions. This occurs most days of the year in the liturgical cycle.
Canonizations are the final stage in a thorough process of examination of the life of an individual that at times has endured for centuries before arriving at a conclusion. Among other things required to confirm that the individual under investigation is among the blessed in heaven are miracles attributed to that person. Obviously then the church does not consider the canonization process to be a small matter. They entail such a rigorous process precisely because the church understands the necessity of getting it right. St. Thomas Aquinas explains:
Since the honor we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the saints, we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error (Quodlib. IX, a. 16).
Belief in the glory of the saints is integral to the liturgical life of the church as well as to the faith and devotion of her members. If those whom she has taught and venerated as saints could be called into question a domino effect with catastrophic consequences to the entire church, past present and future would ensue. Take just one saint for example, Francis of Assisi. Imagine if one day, owing to fallibility of canonizations, the church deemed it acceptable to question his saintly status. What if this led to a situation where enough evidence was gathered against his cause that the church deemed it necessary to “un-saint” him? All those miracles including stigmata suddenly gone! An entire religious order as well as its offshoots the Poor Clares and Third Order (established for laymen) would have to be erased from history. And what about all of the other Franciscan saints that came later? People such as Anthony of Padua, Bonaventure, Junipero Serra and Thomas More might have to be revised too since they are the spiritual children of one who never made it to heaven. Of course, if no infallible certainty exists that one is in heaven then it is at least a possibility that he or she is burning in hell right?
Is it possible that the church has been venerating damned souls? Seems absurd right? It is absurd, to most Catholics but not according to traditional Catholics who espouse the Recognize and Resist (R &R) theology. This includes the popular Society of Pius X (SSPX). These traditionalists are now forced to entertain the idea that canonizations could be fallible because their position hinges on the legitimacy of the Vatican II era popes. Unlike Sedevacantists, R & R Trads hold the position that all of the popes after Pope Pius XII (d.1958) up to and including Francis were true Roman Pontiffs / Vicars of Christ. The contradiction here lies in the fact that R & R traditionalists believe these men were horrible popes who routinely taught heretical doctrines and butchered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the Novus Ordo Missae and of course many other things. For most R & R trads, to even think that any of these popes could be counted among the blessed in heaven is akin to blasphemy since they believe they have erred grievously in their capacity as Vicars of Christ. But since 2014 this is exactly the problem that frustrates them. After decades of battling the traditionalist followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, the modernist heretics played the Ace card up their sleeve and foiled the resistance. In a strategic chess move that can only be described as brilliant, the modernists began canonizing their predecessors and other like-minded modernists of the Vatican II era. Moreover they have done so at lightning speed. This is a game changer for R&R traditional Catholicism and it proves that the modernists who have governed the RCC since Vatican II are no dummies.
Yes, the men who have orchestrated the modernist revolution of Roman Catholicism are officially saints in heaven. These include the following popes: John XXIII (d.1962), Paul VI (d. 1978), John Paul II (d. 2005). That is a whopping three of the seven Vatican II era popes. To put this in proper perspective, in the past 1,000 years up to 2014 only five popes had been canonized. Since 2014 we have had three! That’s astonishing. And more of these Vatican II popes may soon follow. For example, John Paul I, another pro-Vatican II pontiff who reigned only 33 days was made “venerable” in 2017, which puts him on the fast-track to sainthood. The R & R traditionalist are confronted with a huge problem. Are these popes true or false saints?
R & R traditionalists John Salza & Robert Siscoe wrote a response that attempts to resolve this problem. You can find it here. The gist of the response is that regardless of whether canonizations are infallible acts or not, there is no contradiction or problem with their R & R position. They attempt to dismiss the whole problem by offering a simple either / or solution that goes as follows:
1. Either canonizations are fallible and the Church simply erred with these popes
2. Canonizations are infallible and the modernist heretic popes are indeed saints because they died in a state of grace.
For John and Robert, either solution is acceptable. But they certainly do not make the problem go away. They actually make it worse by doing what the masonic R & R position inherently always does, which is undermine the supernatural essence of the Mystical Body of Christ and reduce it into just an ordinary natural society of sinners who love Jesus. As already demonstrated, the first solution is no real solution because for starters it totally contradicts the consensus of the church. Secondly it opens a huge can of worms. If canonizations are not infallible and the church erred in the canonization of the Vatican II era popes then that opens up the possibility that the church could also have erred on any one of the tens of thousands of saints that have been celebrated in the liturgical life of the church throughout its entire history. Pick your saint, check him twice, because the church doesn’t really know and neither do you.
The second solution offered by John and Robert, that the modernist heretic popes are now saints, is less complicated than the first. It also happens to be superior because it is totally un-falsifiable. If canonizations are infallible then John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II simply repented before death, died in the state of grace and went to heaven. Clever isn’t it? Besides Fred and Robert Dimond of MHFM and their disciples, who can know the state of souls at the moment of death right? Problem easily solved. Of course the downside of this position is that it is equally as absurd as the first solution. Just consider that for the very first time in history, Roman Catholics must venerate men not known for extraordinary lives of virtue, martyrdom, or even those who lived wicked lives and converted like St. Paul but instead men who facilitated the destruction of the Roman Catholic faith, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and who misled billions into errors, heresies, blasphemies, and even apostasy that continues to the present day. Most impressively, these canonized pope saints never publicly recanted their errors or repented before death. Wow.
R & R Trads have an insurmountable problem either way you look at it and all of them know it. Either canonizations are not infallible acts of the church and every single saint in history is now open for revision or else John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II are forever saints to be venerated. This is where R & R traditional Catholicism leads to.
When I was a Sedevacantist I used to press R & R Trads with the probability of this situation one day occurring and since then it has come to pass. The very men traditionalists hate as much as Martin Luther are now among the blessed in heaven. Talk about a dilemma. In reality, this seals the deal for Vatican II and the future of the Roman Catholic Church and there is no going back. The newly declared pope saints are the ultimate slam against R & R trads and they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the R & R position is the ultimate cope. The fact of these canonizations should spell the end of Recognize & Resist traditional Catholicism once and for all. But it won’t because with Roman Catholicism there is always an angle to work. Of course one could avoid these problems altogether by leaving R&R traditional Catholicism and going …