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A Critical Review of OnePeterFive: part one
Over at OnePeterFive, they are under new management. “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” The previous editor-in-chief, Steve Skojec, called Pope Francis “our heretical Pope” and noted that most of the attention at his own website, 1P5, came from the more negative articles. His readers want the negativity that he was pouring out for many years. And now the site has a new Editorial Board, filled with heretics and schismatics, as well as additional authors, to provide that negativity.
This article will reply to the piece at 1P5 called: EDITORIAL STANCE: Unite the Clans to Rebuild Christendom! by new editor in chief Timothy Flanders (August 31, 2021). The unite the clans term refers to gathering together various schismatic groups to oppose the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, Vatican I and II, and various other Popes and Councils. How does that rebuild Christendom? And you will notice a lack of reference to building the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, or to basing their approach on the teachings of Popes, Councils, and the Magisterium more generally. They are building a new Protestantism, not Catholicism.
Here are their supposed “non-negotiables” for this project (either OnePeterFive or “rebuild Christendom”)
“1. We accept Pope Francis as the reigning pontiff”
“2. Vatican II is the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Church”
“3. The New Mass and Sacraments are valid”
Let’s start with #3. The New Mass and Sacraments are valid. Are they simply declaring that they believe in the seven Sacraments? After 7 years of attacking Popes and Councils, do they need to tell their readers that they still believe in the Sacraments? Or are they hinting at hidden objections to the current form of the Sacraments, because the liturgical services are no longer in Latin and the wordings have been changed somewhat from past times? Here is their explanation:
“These three reflect the definition of Catholic in our time as given by Bellarmine in his “On the Church Militant”. But many of the heretics accept these three as well, and are weaponizing them against the faith. This manifests a common rebellion in Church and society which began in 18th century.”
The so-called heretics are faithful Catholics who support Pope Francis and Vatican I and II. And the claim is that the faithful are “weaponizing” Pope Francis, Vatican II, and “the new Mass and Sacraments”. Well, that just isn’t possible. First, the term “weaponizing” used in a spiritual context was invented by those who accuse Pope Francis, falsely, of heresy, apostasy, idolatry, etc. And second, Popes, Councils, the Mass and the Sacraments are all essentials to the true Catholic Faith. So, the weaponizing claim just refers to those who defend these elements of the Faith against attacks from OnePeterFive and other such websites and authors.
Then citing Bellarmine is hypocrisy. Bellarmine believed no Pope could ever teach or commit heresy. Bellarmine believed every Ecumenical Council was inerrant on faith and morals. Don’t cite Bellarmine to support your rebellion against the Popes and Councils. And don’t pretend like the decisions of the Popes and the body of Bishops is some kind of rebellion against the Church. The Church is Apostolic. There is no other.
As for their claim to believe that the New Mass is valid, 1P5 has an article, by the previous editor-in-chief and the founder of the publication, calling the Novus Ordo Mass diabolical: Why Do People Have A Problem With the Novus Ordo? Steve Skojec July 13, 2021
The above quote is by Steve Skojec. It is found in the cited article. But it is also a quote in that article. Skojec was quoting himself, from 1P5 in his article of August 26, 2020. That means these heretical and schismatic assertions were published twice on OnePeterFive.
Note Well: alleging that the Church Herself has erred so gravely in establishing the Novus Ordo Mass that this very act is “diabolical”, that the Mass is idolatry, that the Mass is no longer a sacrifice, that the priesthood itself is adulterated, that Christ is now ” ignored, forgotten, abused, and upstaged”, and that the “entire liturgical edifice of the Church…and the faith long with it” is crumbling to the ground, such a claim is a direct and complete rejection of the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church. Heresy. Manifestly stated by the founder and editor of OnePeterFive, and never removed from the site or rejected by the new Editors. In fact, they hint at their support for Skojec’s view by saying that “the heretics” are using the New Mass like a weapon. That is the speech of schismatics, calling faithful Catholics heretics and ultramontanists.
So when the Editorial Stance of new editor in chief Timothy Flanders claims to believe that the New Mass is valid, his claim conflicts with two prominently published articles on the same website, each with the same text quoted above, viciously attacking the Mass and the indefectibility of the Church.
So, editor Flanders, how can the New Mass be diabolical and the cause of the faith crumbling to the ground and also be valid? How can a Mass no longer be a sacrifice and still be a valid Mass? But the articles on 1P5 do not have to make sense, do not have to present a consistent position, do not need theological arguments. Any attack on Pope Francis, other recent Popes, Vatican I or II, or any other Pope or Council is welcomed by its editorial board.
“2. Vatican II is the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Church”
Even an atheist, with a little research, can say that Vatican II is the 21st Council. That does not imply subjection to the authority of the successors of Peter and the successors of the other Apostles, as is required of all the faithful. The teachings of Ecumenical Councils are directed to the whole Church, and as such have a greater weight, even if some teachings are non-infallible, as is claimed.
Do the Editors and authors of OnePeterFive accept the teachings of all 21 Ecumenical Councils? Clearly not. Peter Kwasniewski is on the editorial board at OnePeterFive and here is how he speaks about Councils in The Second Vatican Council Is Now Far Spent:
And then the same article ends this way: “In many ways, we are more threatened today by the spirit of Vatican I, which it will take a mighty exorcism to drive away.”
So, he proposes a rejection of Vatican I, Vatican II, Lyons I, Lateran V, “and other Councils you’ve never heard of”. Well, I’ve heard of all the Councils. And what a ridiculously arbitrary standard for rejecting the authority of the Church expressed by Popes and the body of Bishops! Then his attack on Vatican I is blasphemous. The Council’s teachings are of the Holy Spirit. Saying a Council needs “a mighty exorcism” is patent direct blasphemy. It directly offends against the Spirit of God working in the authority of the Church. Every Ecumenical Council is a work of the Holy Spirit. “This sacred, holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent — lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit….” [Decree on the Symbol of Faith]
And then he wants to reject Lateran V? Here’s what that Council taught:
And here is what Lyons I taught:
Lyons I taught that the Pontificate of Pope Saint Peter began at the Ascension, a teaching also found in the writings of Pope Pius XII. The Council also taught that Peter and his successors strengthen others in the Christian religion “by the firmness of his own faith” [cf. Lk 22:32] to the benefit of their salvation. The Council held that the successors of Peter are made successors “by the will of our Lord”, and that each successor holds on earth “the place of our Redeemer”.
The teaching above corrects the error today that claims that Peter, when he denied Christ three times, erred as Roman Pontiff. He was not the Vicar of Christ until Christ ascended to Heaven, as no one needs a Vicar who is still present and ruling in person. So that failure of Peter — the fathers and Saints disagree on whether he lost his faith or simply sinned gravely but retained faith itself — cannot be used to argue that an Roman Pontiff can fail in faith.
Another error corrected by Lyons I is the claim that Popes are not chosen by the will of God. This error is refuted by a set of sources, not merely by the above quote. But Lyons I adds its voice to those who say that Popes are chosen by the providence and grace of God. And then the teaching that each successor of Peter holds “the place of the Redeemer” reinforces other teachings on the authority of the Pope and his freedom from judgment and from the appeal of his decisions.
The choice of Councils that editorial board member Kwasniewski rejects each contains strong assertions that the faithful must be lead and taught by the Roman Pontiffs. Lateran V infallibly requires subjection to the Roman Pontiff, since this subjection is, just as Saint Thomas Aquinas and Pope Boniface VIII (in Unam Sanctam) also taught, from the necessity of salvation. Then Lateran V approved and confirmed the document Unam Sanctam, which not only requires subjection to the Roman Pontiff, but also says that the Roman Pontiff is to be judged by no one but God, and that Christ and His Vicar are one Head of the one Church. This latter point was also taught by Pius XII in Mystical Body of Christ, 40: “That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head”. And this is why the Pope is as indefectible as the Church.
So the second non-negotiable of OnePeterFive stated by its editor in chief as an Editorial Stance is deception, just like the other two non-negotiables. “2. Vatican II is the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Church”. That is a meaningless assertion, denied by none of the heretics and schismatics attacking the Church today from websites like 1P5. The issue is whether you accept, first the authority of every Ecumenical Council, and second, the teachings of every Ecumenical Council. The articles at OnePeterFive do not show acceptance of either. And yet this is a requirement of the Catholic Faith.
Some claim that only formal definitions of Ecumenical Council are infallible and require the full assent of faith. But no Ecumenical Council has ever been known to have erred, on a matter of faith or morals, approved by the Roman Pontiff. No teaching of an Ecumenical Council has ever been corrected by a subsequent Council nor by the ordinary universal Magisterium nor by Papal Infallibility. And notice what the Lateran Council taught:
At that time, there were 5 Ecumenical Councils. And what is expected by the fathers of the Lateran Council? to confess and follow, in word and mind, to the last point, everything handed down and proclaimed to the Church by all the Ecumenical Councils up to that date. Now Lateran 649 is not an Ecumenical Council, but the principle taught there is just as sound as many other non-infallible but entirely true teachings of the Magisterium. And the ordinary universal Magisterium has entirely upheld this same requirement, that the faithful must accept what Ecumenical Councils decide on doctrine and discipline. This is not a principle accepted at OnePeterFive, and so they are, as the Lateran Council says, condemned for refusing to confess properly and truly, in word and mind, to the last point, every teaching of Vatican I and II, of Lyons I and Lateran V, and the other Ecumenical Councils.
Saint Robert Bellarmine taught that an Ecumenical Council could not err on matters of faith or morals at all, and that this teaching is a dogma, i.e. that it must be believed with divine and catholic faith.
The same idea is expressed by Ludwig Ott, in his famous book The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:
Nothing is different about Vatican II. It is no less an Ecumenical Council than any other. It certainly included teachings, not merely discipline. And Pope Saint Paul VI states in his letter to the schismatic Bishop Lefebvre that at least some teachings of Vatican II require the full assent of faith, implying infallibility.
One can hold that some teachings of Vatican II are non-infallible. It is possible to licitly dissent from a non-infallible teaching of the Roman Pontiff. But the articles at 1P5 and similar sites do not merely occasionally dissent, mildly, from what is non-infallible. They openly judge and condemn Popes and Councils, speaking as if they are judges over the entire Church and the entire Catholic Faith. And that is the real “Editorial Stance” of the website. Any article can judge and condemn any Pope, even Saint Peter, and it is published happily on 1P5.
Now let’s consider the first non-negotiable declared by editor Flanders. It is just as empty and deceitful as the other two:
“1. We accept Pope Francis as the reigning pontiff”
Right. But even an atheist accepts that Francis is the reigning Pope. That is not sufficient.
The dogma of the Fifth Lateran Council, also taught in Unam Sanctam and by Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Maximus states that subjection to the Roman Pontiff is from the necessity of salvation.
So #1 should be subjection to the Roman Pontiff is from the necessity of salvation. Those who say, “Recognize and Resist” reject that subjection, and therefore endanger their own salvation and that of all those who follow them. For as Lateran V taught, the person who abandons the teaching of the Roman pontiff cannot be within the Church. Other Councils taught similarly. Proper subject to the Roman Pontiff is not limited to accepting teachings that are infallible.
Per Lumen Gentium 25, non-infallible teachings requires religious assent, especially when those teachings are from the Roman Pontiff. Licit theological dissent cannot extent to accusing any Roman Pontiff of heresy or any other grave failure of faith, such as apostasy, idolatry, or sacrilege, as the dogma is that each Pope has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith (Vatican I). The same teaching on the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff is found in the ordinary universal Magisterium. Then the Apostolic See is taught to be without blemish — a less than grave error in a non-infallible teaching (whh allows licit dissent) being not considered a blemish at all — by Vatican I and the OUM. And finally, many Popes and Saints have taught that the Apostolic See is free from all heresy; and this is required by a never-failing faith. A cleric’s faith has certainly failed, in one way or another, if he ever teaches or commits heresy.
Thus, it is heretical and schismatic for any Catholics to accuse the Roman Pontiff of heresy, of other grave failures of faith, or of any grave errors on doctrine or discipline.
Again, the same editorial board member, Peter Kwasniewski, not only attacks multiple Ecumenical Councils on one of his 1P5 articles, he also attacks multiple Popes and Pope Saints. What are these Popes guilty of? basically, they are just guilty of falling under the merciless ignorant heretical and schismatic judgment of Peter Kwasniewski. He seems to have no faith whatsoever, except in his own ideas. He not only put himself above multiple Councils to sweep them aside, he judges and condemns any Pope he wishes for whatever reason.
Then there is Kwasniewski’s article accusing a long list of Popes of grave error, contrary to dogma: Papal Lapses. The Popes who stand accused by the sole judgment of Peter Kwasniewski include the following:
A number of Popes accused of personal sins, and every accusation is assumed to be true, including those that are at least doubtful. Then Clement VII is blamed for the sack of Rome. How does Kwasniewski know that he could have prevented it, in the 16th century? Pius II (1458-1464) penned an erotic novel before he became pope. Pfft. I’ve read parts of it, and it is truly mild. PG13 stuff. So what. Kwasniewski is just accusing every Pope he can of everything and anything, just to undermine papal authority in general… to be replaced by a set of blogs and articles online? Other Popes are accused of personal sins. How does Kwasniewski know they are guilty? He just assumes it.
His next set of papal accusations are truly wicked. He falsely accuses the Apostle Peter, while he was Roman Pontiff, as follows: “he did shamefully compromise on the application of an article of faith, viz., the equality of Jewish and Gentile Christians and the abolition of the Jewish ceremonial law”. That is an extreme exaggeration, to the extent of lying, about the error of Peter. Here is what Tertullian says:
By “conversation,” he means his interactions with others, an archaic use of the term. There was no fault in the decisions of Pope Peter on doctrine or discipline, nor any failure of faith, as he had the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, like every Pope. But Kwasniewski shamefully falsely accuses the great Saint and Apostle, chosen by Christ to be the Rock on which the Church is founded, in contraction to the article of faith that every Pope has a never-failing faith. Nothing Peter did asserted that Christians were not all equal, nor did the eating with other converts from Judaism speak to the abolition of the Jewish ceremonial law. It was an error of personal interactions, just as Tertullian says.
Then Kwasniewski claims that Christ “allowed His first vicar to fail more than once” so that we would, well, he says “not be scandalized”. But basically what he means is so that we would not have to follow any Pope we do not like. Just make a bunch of trumped up accusations against a Pope and you are apparently relieved of his authority over you. What were these other failures as Vicar of Christ, i.e. as Pope? We are not told. Peter Kwasniewski makes a grave accusation against Pope Saint Peter that he failed more than the one time that Kwasniewski claims, and does not say another word about it. This grave accusation stands against Pope Saint Peter, the prince of the Apostles, not only without proof, but without even saying what the other failure(s) might be! The injustice of such an accusation is patent and grave.
Kwasniewski makes a vague but grave accusation against Pope Liberius. Again, it is gravely unjust to make a serious accusation against a Roman Pontiff without a firm basis: “What compromise doctrinal formula he signed or even whether he signed it is unknown”. Then why are you accusing him?
Pope Vigilius is accused of acts he did before he was Pope. As Pope, what does Kwasniewski accuse him of doing? First, of delaying approval of the Ecumenical Council Constantinople II, and then he is accused of approving it. Kwasniewski claims Vigilius’ “final decision” to approve an Ecumenical Council !!! was responsible for a schism. No. Schisms often occur when the Magisterium makes a definitive decision on doctrine at an Ecumenical Council because of persons like Kwasniewski and other authors at OnePeterFive who think they get to decide which teachings, Popes, and Councils to accept or reject.
Kwasniewski then accuses Pope Saint John Paul II in the following words: “the commission of sacrilegious and blasphemous acts were not accidental, but in accord with the papally approved program.” Another article at 1P5 accuse John Paul II of idolatry and sacrilege. Such claims are contrary to dogma, as every Roman Pontiff has the charism of never-failing faith, and so cannot be guilty of any grave failure of faith, such as apostasy, heresy, idolatry, sacrilege, or the like.
Kwasniewski rejects multiple Popes and Councils. He should not be on the editorial board of OnePeterFive, and his writings against the Popes and Councils should be purged from the site.
Kwasniewski claims: “St. Robert Bellarmine admits that John XXII held a materially heretical opinion with the intention of imposing it on the faithful but was never permitted by God to do so”. His footnote is not a text from Bellarmine, but just a reference to another online article. Then that article gives a reference, to support the same claim. Yet the text in Bellarmine says no such thing, not even anything close to what is claimed. Rather, Bellarmine exonerates John XXII: “The thirty-sixth is Pope John XXII….” [Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 230). Mediatrix Press. Kindle Edition.]
So both articles, the one by Kwasniewski and the one referenced by him at Rorate Caeli tell a lie about Saint Robert Bellarmine. He absolutely said no such thing. The exact reference in his works is given, and nothing of the kind is found there, only the opposite to the claim.
Addendum on Pope Saints
One more point. Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that canonizations of Saints are infallible, even though they depend upon the testimonies of men. “Thomas answered that although the pope as a private person could err, the solemn pronouncement of a candidate’s sanctity enjoyed certainty because the Holy Spirit guided the Church in such matters and preserved it from error.” [Ulrich Horst, O.P. The Dominicans and the Pope, p. 14].
But another argument in favor of canonizations by the Pope is this: No grave errors are possible in decisions of the Roman Pontiff on doctrine and discipline, under the principle that the Apostolic See is without blemish. Therefore, if a canonization is either a grave error or correct, it must be correct. And that would be true even if canonizations were not per se infallible, as even the non-infallible decisions of the Roman Pontiffs are protected from grave error. Thus, a Pope cannot possibly have been canonized if he were guilty of any grave harm to the Church or grave failure of faith in his teaching. So the accusations of grave error concerning their papacies, made against Pope Saint John XXIII, Pope Saint Paul VI, and Pope Saint John Paul II, are proven false by their canonizations.
The founder and former editor in chief of OnePeterFive, Steve Skojec, left the publication after a series of published articles stating openly that his own faith was crumbling and in shambles. At least he realized his situation and sought to save his own faith. The happy heretics who now run 1P5 also have a faith that has crumbled to the ground. They just don’t admit it.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.