How the SSPX nullifies the infallibility of the Magisterium

The Magisterium teaches infallibly in any of three ways:

1. Papal Infallibility
2. Conciliar Infallibility
3. ordinary and universal Magisterium

These infallible teachings are preserved free from all stain of error by the work of the Holy Spirit. The faithful are required to give each and every infallible teaching of the Magisterium the full assent of faith because each of these teachings is entirely true, and its truth is guaranteed by God.

But from the point of view of the SSPX and various sedevacantist splinter groups, if they judge that an idea is false, and:

1. a Pope exercises Papal Infallibility to teach that the idea is true, they will say that he is not teaching infallibly because he is a heretic;

2. a Council exercises Conciliar Infallibility to teach that the idea is true, they will say that the Council is not valid because the Pope and the body of Bishops at the Council fell into heresy;

3. successive Popes and the body of Bishops in communion with them all teach one position on a matter of faith or morals, definitively to be held, thereby making the teaching infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium, they will say that all of these Popes and all of these Bishops are heretics.

In this way, they reject any idea that they judge to be false, based on their own understanding or misunderstanding of past teachings, as if they were each and all above the Magisterium, even to the extent of judging and condemning one Pope after another, and all the thousands of Bishops in communion with each Pope, and all the faithful in communion with them.

The indefectibility of the Church and the infallibility of the Magisterium are gifts from Christ to His people, so that they will not be led astray. But the SSPX (and others like them) have acted and spoken as if the Church were not indefectible and as if the Magisterium were not infallible. For no matter how many Popes in succession teach one and the same doctrine, and no matter how many Bishops in communion with these Popes teach the same, the SSPX continues to claim that their group is the only one that cannot possibly fall into error. It is as if the SSPX is claiming to possess Papal Infallibility, and Conciliar Infallibility, and the infallibility of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and all this for themselves alone.

Such wicked arrogance will not go unpunished by God.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

“Therefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal Magisterium.” — First Vatican Council

Gallery | This entry was posted in doctrine, heresies, Magisterium. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How the SSPX nullifies the infallibility of the Magisterium

  1. Packiejoe says:

    You totally misrepresent the SSPXs position. They accept everything that the Church teaches infallibly without exception. They accept the validity of all the popes up to and including HH Benedict XVI. As regards points 1 and 2, they say that a pope or a council CANNOT teach anything infallibly that is against Church teaching. […edited…]

    • Ron Conte says:

      “They accept everything that the Church teaches infallibly without exception.”

      First, they set themselves up as the absolute arbitrators of what is and is not an infallible teaching. Then, they accept all those things and only those things which they themselves judged to be infallible.

      “They accept the validity of all the popes up to and including HH Benedict XVI.”

      Their version of ‘validity’ somehow allows them to utterly reject any and all non-infallible teachings of these same Popes, and to utterly reject any and all rules, rulings, and judgments of the prudential order of these same Popes. They do not accept the ordinary non-infallible teachings of any Popes since Vatican II, nor of any Bishop or group of Bishops in communion with the Pope, unless by chance the teaching happens to agree with their own opinion. And they will not accept any infallible teaching, nor even admit that it is infallible, unless it agrees with their own thoughts.

      Therefore, their claim that all these Popes are ‘valid’ is empty rhetoric. The SSPX arrogantly rejects the teaching authority and temporal authority of every Pope from John 23 to the present day, and of all the Bishops in communion with them.

      “As regards points 1 and 2, they say that a pope or a council CANNOT teach anything infallibly that is against Church teaching”

      Who decides what is or is not Church teaching? They do. And if they judge that the teaching of a Pope or Council is contrary to their own ideas about Church teaching, they conclude that it cannot be infallible. In other words, they nullify any teaching that contradicts their own ideas. They have become like gods, deciding what is good and what is evil, what is true and what is false — apart from the Church established by Christ.

      The correct understanding of infallibility is that we can know that a teaching is infallible without first considering the content of the teaching. Instead, we can know that it is infallible because it is the solemn judgment of a Pope or a Council, or the universal teaching of successive Popes and of the body of Bishops united with them and dispersed through the world.

      The perverse version of infallibility put forward by the SSPX is that anyone may examine the content of a teaching, judge it, condemn it — even if it is taught under any mode of infallibility — and then decide that the teaching cannot be infallible because they themselves have passed judgment. For when the Magisterium teaches infallibly, she teaches truths found in Divine Revelation, and her Teaching is the work of the Holy Spirit. But the SSPX places itself above the Magisterium, above Divine Revelation, and above the work of the Holy Spirit, as judges over what is and is not Church teaching.

Comments are closed.