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SSPX and Bitter Fruit: Look Who’s Talking!

Video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

AN EXAMINATION of the Society of St. Pius X’s charge that sedevacantism produces “bitter fruit,” which some “disproves” its theological reasoning.

  1. Historical perspective: conflict among Catholics where in situations where authority could not be effectively exercised.
  2. Conflict withing non-sedevacantist traditionalist movement in the United States.
  3. A history of the internal turmoil, division and other “bitter fruit” within SSPX itself, with forty-eight examples.

The Pope Speaks: YOU Decide!

A video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

THE YEAR 2016 will be a banner year for traditionalists to argue over the question of the Pope.

First, there will be the ongoing antics of Bergoglio, aka Francis, the “People’s Pope.”

Second, there will be a lot of back-and-forth over True or False Pope? a 700-page anti-sedevacantist tract written by John Salza and Robert Siscoe, and bankrolled by the Society of St. Pius X. Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, and SSPX, adhere to the “R&R” position – that trads must “recognize the post-Vatican II popes” but “resist” them.

The following video is a little analysis of the R&R position.

Viewers may also be interested in two earlier videos in which I discussed Messers. Salza’s and Siscoe’s attempts to refute the sedevacantist position:


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If I Were Not a Sedevacantist…

A New, Short Video

I’M happy to pass along an excellent little video by Fr. Nicolas Desposito, a colleague and theology professor at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida.

The point: If you insist Bergoglio’s a real pope, you’ve got to treat him like one!

Give him something to worry about! Support our internet apostolate!

SGG Choir: Music for Epiphany 2016

WE are pleased to offer excerpts from the music sung by the St. Gertrude the Great Choir at Solemn High Mass on Epiphany 2016. The celebrant was Rev. Roberto Mardones of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, who was celebrating the the twenty-fifth anniversary of his priestly ordination.

The selections include:

  • Mass in Honor of St. Joseph Calasanctius, Oreste Ravanello (1871–1938, Venetian, Romantic)
  • O Magnum Mysterium, Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611, Spanish school, Renaissance)
  • Brightest and Best (Star of the East), Alastair Cassels-Brown (1927–2001, American, Modern)
  • Allegro Maestoso from Sonata II, Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847, French, Romantic)

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Link to live Sunday/Holy Day Mass webcasts

A Bergoglio Promo for Apostasy Lite

WELL, just when I thought I could give the pope question a rest for a few days, Bergoglio comes out with a sleek, feel-good video promo for “apostasy lite.”

After clip of a Buddhist expressing confidence in Buddha, a Jew professing belief in Yahweh, a cleric in Jesus Christ and a Moslem in “God-Allah,” Bergoglio says that “Many think differently, feel differently.” Then, as a smiling Bergoglio is shown receiving a Buddha idol, kissing a bearded schismatic, and group-hugging rabbis at the Wailing Wall, they are, he says “seeking God or meeting God in different ways.”

Buddhists, Jews, and Moslems actually “meeting God” in their false religions?

Moreover, Bergoglio says,  “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty we have for all:”

That the Catholic Church is the only true religion? That it was founded by the Son of God, who said “he that believeth not shall be condemned”?

Nope. The only certainty the “Vicar of Christ” has for everyone is  that “We are all children of God.”

One as good as another!

One as good as another! And that ain’t a rosary!

After an “I-believe-in-love” round robin for the Buddhist, Jew, cleric and Moslem, in which each is shown separately holding in his hands a symbol for his religion (Buddha idol, Jewish menorah, Baby Jesus and Moslem prayer beads), there is a final shot of all four holding their symbols together.

You could find no more perfect a symbol for the errors condemned in Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos — and with it, proof of Bergoglio and company “abandoning the religion revealed by God.”

Not “mere” heresy, in other words, but apostasy.

R&R apologists like John Salza and Robert Siscoe will no doubt start shaking their rattles and chanting their best not-infallible/bad-dad spells to reaffirm the ancient tribal myths: Until an orthodoxy buddy gives Bergoglio three “canonical warnings,” and a jury of cardinals (Maradiaga, Kasper, Dolan, Tagle and Gracias?) renders “public judgement” on Bergoglio’s errors, we must all still believe he is the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

But any Catholic with eyes should now see the reality that the myths attempt to conceal: Bergoglio is an apostate, and cannot be the pope.

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The Tribal Myth-Keepers: Salza and Siscoe on Sedevacantism

A "rational" response!

IN THE FIRST four days of 2016, my video Why Do Traditionalists Fear Sedevacantism? managed to rack up a respectable number of views.

It also provoked a testy post by John Salza and Robert Siscoe, authors of True or False Pope? a book urging traditionalists to — wait for it! — fear sedevacantism. They have now dedicated a portion of their website to “sedevacantist watch,” the first watch-ee being me.

Apparently it is acceptable for them to urge Catholics to fear sedevacantism, but a sign of knees-knocking desperation for me to ask why, and then dare to answer the question, which is what I did in the video. This is what they call an “irrational response.”

What you will not be able to “watch” on Messrs. Salza and Siscoe’s post is either a discussion or a refutation, rational or otherwise, of my threefold answer to the question of why traditionalists fear sedevacantism:

  1. Ancient tribal myths.
  2. Cowardice and human respect.
  3. No marketing appeal.

Here I will recapitulate only the first point, because the old tribal myths about the post-Conciliar papacy have begun to crumble in the face of the Francis revolution, and because Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, it seems, have become the new shamans for keeping their tribe entranced and unaware.

Origins of the Myths

To discover the source for the near-irrational fear of sedevacantism that afflicts so many traditionalists, one must first look to the traditionalist movement’s origins in the 1960s and the early 1970s.

Because the Vatican II revolution came “from the pope” and because every good pre-V2 Catholic knew that only non-Catholics “did not recognize the pope” and that only bad Catholics “disobeyed the pope”), proto-traditionalists needed to quickly come up with some sort of plausible explanation for rejecting the errors and evils that Paul VI had officially approved.

The Heart of the Myths

The argument the first traditionalists cobbled together for “resisting the pope” revolved mostly around two primitive notions:

DoubleStamp1(1) Catholics are not really bound by what a pope teaches or legislates unless it has an “infallible” stamp on it (for example, when he makes some once-in-a-century proclamation ex cathedra, as Pius XII did for the dogma of the Assumption), and

(2) A  pope can be like a “bad dad” whose evil commands you can disobey, but whom you recognize as your dad, no matter what he does.

Both ideas were based on a whole array of theological errors that eventually mutated into what came to be known as the “recognize and resist” (R&R) position towards the Vatican II popes. All these errors have been repeatedly and definitively refuted, based on the standard teaching of pre-Vatican II ecclesiology — that branch of theology that deals with attributes and authority of the Church and the papacy.

But at the time, these primitive notions sounded plausible enough to laymen and priests who didn’t know any better, and they were repeated so often over the years that they became the unquestionable mythology that identified the tribe.

The Propagators

From its foundation in the 1960s, The Remnant was the principal organ in the English-speaking world for spreading and defending this mythology, aided by its chief apologist and shaman, Michael Davies.

In France, it was Itinéraires and eventually, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

Resistance to “Rome” was an easy sell in France simply because a strain of it has run through French history for centuries: Gallicanism, the petite église, the French anti-infallibility faction at Vatican I, and the French political right-wing’s anger in the twentieth century over the papal condemnation of Action Française.

But we Americans don’t exactly have a sterling record either. The traditionalist mythology we are discussing got an early start on our shores in the 1940s with the followers of the excommunicated Jesuit, Father Leonard Feeney, and it has been going strong ever since.

Offspring of the Myths

The original myths that sedevacantism threatened eventually spawned others. Sedevacantism could not be true, we are told, because it would leave us without a pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in conformity with the Fatima message

This argument has long been promoted not only by Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, but also by other R&R Fatima Industry movers and shakers, such as Fr. Nicholas Gruner, Christopher Ferrara and Brian McCall.

Here, a principle invented on the basis of private revelation (which no Catholic is, strictly speaking, obliged to accept) is supposed to trump public revelation (which Catholics are obliged to accept, and which is the data underlying the theological principles for the sedevacantist argument.) The tail wags the dog.

The “Spirituality” of the Myths

Finally, if you have been raised in the R&R camp, you have been taught to fear sedevacantism as “schism.” If you overcome your fear sufficiently to investigate the position, to raise legitimate questions about your tribal myths and to insist on coherent answers based on principles found in the writings of pre-Vatican II theologians and popes, you are told that you are “proud.”

The latter, in particular, is a trick employed by SSPX retreat masters, who are supposed to give at least one conference aimed at indoctrinating retreatants into the SSPX myths. Bad spirituality covers up bad theology.

*   * *   *   *

IT IS perhaps understandable that in the early days of the traditionalist movement, residual pre-Vatican II attitudes toward the papal office, limitations in the means of obtaining news and factual information, and the sheer physical obstacles to conducting theological research led faithful Catholics to settle for simple myths to justify resistance to the man whom faith told them stood in the place of Jesus Christ on earth.

And it is also perhaps understandable that these myths, combined with those promoted by the press about the “conservatism” or “orthodoxy” of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, led many souls to give Wojtyla and Ratzinger, two Thomism-hating modernists underneath, the benefit of the doubt and give in to the fear of sedevacantism.

Dad says OK!

Dad says OK!

But now we’re talking Bergoglio — who’s moved beyond giving a wink to divorce and remarriage to giving a pat on the back to transsexual “marriage.”

So it is time to put aside the contorted theories of the tribal mythmakers, who claim to “save” the papacy with a theory of “resistance” that destroys it.

You can now see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears, the poisonous modernist heresies of Vatican II, incarnate in the person of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

As such, he is no mere bad dad with an unused “infallible” stamp in his back pocket — still less, the Vicar of Christ.

He he is the Vicar of the Devil. And no one should be afraid to say it.

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Why Do Traditionalists Fear Sedevacantism?

A LENGTHY book by R&R (“recognize and resist”) controversialists John Salza and Robert Siscoe, soon to be published by the Society of St. Pius X, prompts this question.

In this video, Father Cekada provides the answer, based on the early history of the traditionalist movement, theological principles and his own observations on the practical considerations that often cause traditionalists to shy away from the sedevacantist position.

In the in the face of Bergoglio’s “Francis Revolution,” he maintains, it is time for Catholics to re-examine the issue and to put aside the old and often unreasonable fears.

For more on the topic of sedevacantism, see also Fr. Cekada’s Sedevacantism: A Quick Primer.

For Fr. Cekada’s earlier video answering objections to sedevacantism, see Stuck in a Rut: Anti-Sedevacantism in the Age of Bergoglio.

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Stuck in a Rut: Anti-Sedevacantism in the Age of Bergoglio

A video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

THE ELECTION of Jorge Mario Bergoglio by the March 2013 conclave was a turning point in the ongoing dispute among Catholic traditionalists over the question of the pope: Do we “recognize” the post-Vatican II popes as true popes, but “resist” them? (The “R&R” position held by the Society of St. Pius X, Bp. Williamson, The Remnant, Catholic Family News and many others) Or do we treat them as public heretics who are not true popes at all? (The sedevacantist position)

Francis’ outrageous public statements and madcap antics have led more and more traditionalists to embrace sedevacantism, and many more to consider doing the same.

This has caused consternation in the R&R camp, which has felt obliged to produce a good number of anti-sedevacantist critiques over the past two years.

I’ve received many requests to answer these critiques, and this video will serve as my response.

The first rut for R&R is following the wrong theologians — Suarez, Cajetan and John of St. Thomas — who maintained that a heretical pope had to be put on trial before he lost his office. This teaching:

  1. Was subsequently abandoned by theologians, who adopted the position of St. Robert Bellarmine instead.
  2. Superseded by Paul IV’s Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.
  3. Results in absurdity, because in our own days, heretical cardinals would be expected to judge a heretical pope.

The second rut for R&R is that they are still arguing the wrong issue — loss of office by a heretical pope — while sedevacantists now argue that Bergoglio could not have become a true pope in the first place. Here we discuss:

  1. The teaching of canonists that a public heretic is barred by divine law from becoming a true pope.
  2. R&R’s confusion of the sin of heresy with the canonical crime of heresy.
  3. R&R’s creation of the “orthodoxy buddy” rule — you can’t become a heretic unless someone warns you.
  4. Formal vs. material heresy, and how Pius XII’s 1943 Encyclical Mystici Corporis providentially closed R&R’s last escape route.

We conclude by answering six common R&R “pope by default” objections, and by offering an analysis of the underlying problem which forces Catholics to debate these issues.

To find out more, follow the links at Sedevacantism: A Quick Primer.

Dr. de Mattei Prescribes an Anti-Sede Tranquilizer

foto-RdM-1-235x300by Rev. Anthony Cekada

A 14th century pope was a “heretic” and remained pope, so Bergoglio must remain pope, too, right? Right? 

JORGE BERGOGLIO’s antics are unnerving more and more people in the conservative/traditionalist wing of the post-Vatican II establishment, and it is becoming harder and harder for them to insist that Francis is really a pope.

In the past week alone (in January 2015), Bergoglio has rattled on about “rabbits,” repudiated apologetics (Take that, Catholic Answers!) and given a pat on the head to a “trans” couple. What next?

Those who recognize the gravity of Francis’ errors find themselves peering over the precipice into sedevacantism — the only truly coherent theological explanation for the dilemma he embodies — and it makes them dizzy.

Anything, anything but that!

So controversialists on the right have stepped forward and tried to jury rig some guardrails.

The latest is the work of Dr. Roberto de Mattei, an Italian historian and commentator on Church affairs who has written eloquently and incisively on Bergoglio’s errors and his revolutionary program. In a January 28 article, translated and posted on the Rorate blog, Dr. de Mattei treats the case of  Pope John XXII (1316-1334) as an example of “a pope who fell into heresy and a Church that resisted.”

He doesn’t explicitly mention the dreaded “trigger word,” sedevacantism, but it is absolutely clear that this is the real subject of his article.

The implied conclusion Dr. de Mattei wants us to draw about sedevacantism proceeds, more or less, from the following analogical argument: John XXII (1) became a public heretic after he was elected pope, (2) but he did not therefore lose the papal office, and (3) the Church resisted him. So too, Francis (1) has become a public heretic after he was elected pope, (2) but he does not therefore lose the papal office, and (3) we have the right to resist him.

So take a deep breath, and feel the sense of calm and contentment as the effects of your recurring Bergoglio-induced sedevacantism anxiety attack once again recede from your head and members.

But alas, the soothing analogical argument that Dr. de Mattei prescribes fails for at least two reasons.

Papa_Ioannes_Vicesimus_SecundusI. John XXII was not a heretic

The accusation of heresy arose from a series of sermons John XXII preached in Avignon, France in which he maintained that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgement. Sounds promising as an anti-sede argument at first, since John XXII was always recognized as a true pope. However:

(a) The doctrine on the Beatific Vision had not yet been defined — John XXII’s successor, Benedict XII would do that.

Dr. de Mattei, perhaps sensing a weakness in his analogy because of this, waffles on the point: when it came to the common teaching on the beatific vision at the time, John XXII “contested the thesis,” “fell into heterodoxy,” “entered into conflict with Church tradition on a point of primary importance,” “sustained the view,” “re-proposed the error,” “tried to impose this erroneous view,” etc.

So while in the title of his article, Dr. de Mattei speaks of “a pope who fell into heresy,” he shies away from employing the specific technical term “heresy” in his text. And the heresy of the post-Conciliar popes, including Bergoglio, is the starting point for the sede argument.

(b) Then there is the mode that John XXII, who had been a theologian before his election, employed to present his arguments and conclusions.

Here, the theologian Le Bachlet says that John XXII proposed his teaching only as a “private doctor who expressed an opinion, hanc opinionem, and who, while seeking to prove it, recognized that it was open to debate.“ (“Benoit XII,” in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, 2:662.)

Thus, it is incorrect for Dr. de Mattei to claim that John proposed his thesis as “an act of ordinary magisterium regarding the faith of the Church.”

In the pope’s second sermon, moreover, he said the following:

“I say with Augustine that, if I am deceived on this point, let someone who knows better correct me. For me it does not seem otherwise, unless the Church would so declare with a contrary statement [nisi ostenderetur determinatio ecclesie contraria] or unless authorities on sacred scripture would express it more clearly than what I have said above.” (Le Bachelet, DTC 2:662.)

Such statements excluded the element of “pertinacity” proper to heresy.

So, two of the conditions which by definition are necessary for heresy to exist were simply not present in the case of John XXII.

Berg PonchoII. John XXII validly became Pope, while Bergoglio never did

The second point on which Dr. de Mattei’s implied analogy fails is the hidden assumption that, like John XXII, Bergoglio validly obtained papal authority in the first place, which he could somehow retain, despite public heresy.

Bergoglio, however, was a public heretic before his election, and as a public heretic, he could not be validly elected pope.

The principle is a matter of divine law. When treating the requirements for election to the papal office, numerous pre-Vatican II commentaries on the Code of Canon Law explicitly lay down this principle. For instance:

“Those capable of being validly elected are all who are not prohibited by divine law or by an invalidating ecclesiastical law… Those who are barred as incapable of being validly elected are all women, children who have not reached the age of reason; also, those afflicted with habitual insanity, the unbaptized, heretics, schismatics…” (Wernz-Vidal, Jus Canonicum 1:415)

We made just this point and provided more citations for it in an earlier article, whose title sums up why Dr. de Mattei’s implied John XXII/Bergoglio analogy fails: Bergoglio’s Got Nothing to Lose.

*   *   *

SO ON BOTH COUNTS — heresy and validly obtaining papal authority — the analogy between John XXII and Francis is yet another shaky barrier that must fall on the road to acknowledging the only logical explanation for Bergoglio: He’s a heretic who was never a real pope to begin with.

Anything else is just whistling past the graveyard.

For more on sedevacantism, see Sedevacantism: A Quick Primer


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What to Do If You Have No Mass

LatinMassTen Tips from Bishop Daniel L. Dolan


I AM OFTEN asked, “What should I do if I have no Mass?”

First, it is not a sin to miss Mass due to great distance or other serious excusing circumstances. It is a sin, however, to attend the Novus Ordo. It is also a sin, objectively speaking, to assist at an otherwise valid traditional Latin Mass that is offered in union with the modernist false “pope” and his hierarchy. (For an explanation, see Grain of Incense: Sedevacantists and Una Cum Masses, and Should I Assist at a Mass that Names Benedict XVI in the Canon?) The Church would never have permitted such assistance in the past. It is a lie, it is a sacrilege, and it is grievously offensive to Almighty God.

But what to do if you have no good Mass available to you? Fr. Cekada recently advised a correspondent, “Deepen your own knowledge of the Catholic faith, educate yourself about the errors of the modernists, sanctify yourself, form the members of your family in the faith by word and example, do your best to keep a cheerful spirit in the face of adversity and put everything in the hands of God,” and I heartily endorse his words.

In a word: Do everything you can at home, without a priest! Here are some specifics:

altar_myhome1. SET UP A FAMILY ALTAR: Set up a family altar or shrine. Enthrone the Sacred Heart there as King of Love in your home. (You may obtain the ceremonial from us.)

2. USE SACRAMENTALS: Have and use blessed candles, holy water (we’ll send you some if you’ll only cover postage) as well as a blessed crucifix and statues and holy pictures, medals and scapulars. Also procure and use the various sacramentals blessed on special feasts of the liturgical year: Palm crosses, Assumption herbs and flowers, the Three Kings’ blessing, blessed Palms, etc.

3. BLESS! Sprinkle your home with holy water frequently, bless your food and your children. Make frequent signs of the cross.

4. SET A REGULAR TIME FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP: Set aside a time every Sunday for Mass prayers, spiritual reading and catechism, especially for children.

5. SAY SPECIAL SUNDAY PRAYERS: Your Sunday devotional hour could take many forms:

6. LISTEN TO OUR SERMONS: We have a great archive of excellent sermons on the St. Gertrude the Great website, delivered by a variety of preachers and covering an array of topics: the liturgy, the saint of the day, Catholic doctrine, apologetics, moral topics, contemporary issues, questions of special interest to traditional Catholics, and much, much more. You can listen to the sermons online or download them to an mp3 player.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. WATCH MASS ON THE INTERNET: Set up a computer, and use the Internet to follow our live webcasts of the Mass on The times for the regularly scheduled webcasts (Eastern time zone) are as follows:

  • Sunday Masses: 7:30, 9:00 (High), 11:30 AM, 5:45 PM.
  • School Days: 11:20 AM (High) with children’s sermon
  • Fridays: 5:45 PM with Benediction.
  • Saturdays: 7:30, 8:10 AM
  • Holy Days: Mornings and evenings as announced in SGG bulletin

A schedule of our other service and Mass times appears in the SGG weekly bulletin, which you can download from our parish home page. Some of these are webcast, but since our schedule changes every week, all webcasts cannot be announced in advance, so you just have to tune in to see if we are broadcasting.

And here’s a tip: By making the screen image larger, you can greatly improve your experience of watching Mass on the Internet. This is easily done by connecting an HDMI cable from your computer to the HDMI port on large computer monitor or a flat-screen television.

8. NO INTERNET? USE A DVD: If you can’t watch one of our live webcasts, purchase a DVD of the Mass, such as our Three Traditional Masses DVD Watch and listen to it devoutly, uniting yourself with the Masses offered that day.

9. HOMESCHOOLER? TUNE IN! Visit our webcast site on schooldays at 11:20 AM for High Mass and a short sermon geared towards children.

10. BECOME AN SGG “VIRTUAL” PARISHIONER! Sign up as a “virtual” member of St. Gertrude the Great. Support regularly us as you would your own parish. (You can do this here.) Stay in touch with us. Read the Sunday Bulletin online. If you live in the U.S. we will try to send a priest to you, if at all possible, at least from time to time. We may also know of other good priests in your area, or be able to help you find one.

What do I do if I have no Mass? Do something. Do everything you can! God asks no more, nor is He ever outdone in generosity. May the Sacred Heart reign as King of Love in your home!