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My Response to Fr. Chazal’s “Contra Cekadam”

Fr. François Chazal

by Rev. Anthony Cekada

FATHER FRANÇOIS Chazal is former member of the Society of St. Pius X who left the organization several years ago when the prospect of an SSPX-Vatican deal looked particularly likely, and with a number of other similarly-minded ex-SSPX priests, formed a loose association of priests known as “the Resistance.”

The Resistance priests maintain they are carrying on the authentic teaching of SSPX founder Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, which was to “recognize” the Vatican II popes as true popes, but to resist on a case-by-case basis papally-approved teachings, laws and commands that the archbishop and others decided were evil or erroneous.

This position is now generally referred to as “R&R” or “Recognize and Resist” — a label, by the way, that I myself coined in a December 2005 article in The Remnant. Several years ago, I circulated a video which summed up the position as The Pope Speaks: You Decide: Traditionalists Who Destroy the Papacy.

As I and others have repeatedly pointed out, the R&R position simply cannot be reconciled with traditional Catholic teaching on the indefectibility and the infallibility of the Church. Once you say (as all traditionalists do) that the officially-approved post-Vatican II teachings contain error or evil, the only logical conclusion you can come to is that the men who promulgated them had no authority when they did so — sedevacantism, in other words. Otherwise, you wind up with a defecting Church.

I made this argument in a 1995 article Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope (since revised in 2006), which has since then been widely circulated as a booklet (at least 30,000 copies) and on the internet.

No one that I know of on the R&R side has, in all these years, published a credible refutation of this rather short work.

When a correspondent of mine challenged Fr. Chazal to do so, Fr. Chazal produced a seven-part, thirty-nine page monograph entitled “Contra Cekadam,” which is now being circulated in installments on the internet.

One would think that such a vast mountain of verbiage would require me to produce an equally prolix response. But no, Fr. Chazal simply missed the point of my argument, and wandered off into the bushes to talk about something else. I don’t feel any obligation to follow him there — or, as Bergolio might say, to “Accompany Fr. Chazal in his journey of discernment.”

The following brief comments to a correspondent will suffice.

•   •   •

Thanks for sending along the Chazal document. It is hardly, as Fr. Chazal seems to think, a point-by-point refutation of my argument in Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope.

Fr. Chazal’s Contra Cekadam doesn’t even state the argument of the “Cekadam” in question, still less refute it. Here, for the record, is the argument I made in the booklet:

  1. Officially-sanctioned Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws embody errors and/or promote evil.
  2. Because the Church is indefectible, her teaching cannot change, and because she is infallible, her laws cannot give evil.
  3. It is therefore impossible that the errors and evils officially sanctioned in Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws could have proceeded from the authority of the Church.
  4. Those who promulgate such errors and evils must somehow lack real authority in the Church.
  5. Canonists and theologians teach that defection from the faith, once it becomes manifest, brings with it automatic loss of ecclesiastical office (authority). They apply this principle even to a pope who, in his personal capacity, somehow becomes a heretic.
  6. Canonists and theologians also teach that a public heretic, by divine law, is incapable of being validly elected pope or obtaining papal authority.
  7. Even popes have acknowledged the possibility that a heretic could one day end up on the throne of Peter. In 1559 Pope Paul IV decreed that the election of a heretic to the papacy would be invalid, and that the man elected would lack all authority.
  8. Since the Church cannot defect, the best explanation for the post-Vatican II errors and evils we repeatedly encounter is that they proceed from individuals who, despite their occupation of the Vatican and of various diocesan cathedrals, publicly defected from the faith, and therefore do not objectively possess canonical authority.

If Fr. Chazal agrees with the statements in points 1 (the changes are evil) and 2 (and the Church, by Christ’s promise, cannot give evil/error), but he nevertheless still insists the Vatican II popes are true popes possessing authority from Christ, he maintains in effect that the Church of Christ has defected and that Christ’s promises are void.

As for the rest, Fr. Chazal simply:

  1. Recycles opinions on a heretical pope that were eventually abandoned after St. Robert Bellarmine.
  2. Attempts to apply criteria pertaining to ecclesiastical crimes when sedevacantists maintain that the public sin of heresy, not the crime, is what prevents a heretical pope from obtaining or retaining the papacy.
  3. Refloats the phony Adrian VI quote.
  4. Repeats the Paul-vs-Peter canard [see Appendix at end of the post here] on fraternal correction for a moral fault, which does not solve the problem of the Church defecting wholesale by promulgating theological errors and evil universal laws.
  5. In his treatment of Scripture as a “refutation” of sedevacantism, ignores St. Paul’s own assertion that he could in fact, “preach another Gospel,” for which even he himself would become “anathema.”
  6. Recycles supposed incidents from history to demonstrate that there have been heretic popes before, but which incidents (a) are part of the standard arguments of protestants who reject papal infallibility, and (b) have been repeatedly refuted by Catholic dogmatic theologians.

Fr. Chazal’s arguments on each of these points still do not get him out of the theological pickle that points 1 and 2 of my original argument put him in — the Chazalian equation that works out to:

  • Evil changes + true popes = defected Church.

Good luck getting out of that one, Father Chazal!

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