Indefectibility versus Pornocracy: Flanders at OnePeterFive

Over at OnePeterFive, editor Timothy Flanders again accuses the Church Herself, by his use of the term “Pornocracy” in his 23 December article: Pornocracy and the Coming Reign of Antichrist. This article will refute those errors, point by point.

Church Teaching

Please carefully review the teachings of Popes, Councils, Saints, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church that each Roman Pontiff has supreme authority over the whole Church on earth, that the First See is judged by no one, that each Roman Pontiff has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error on doctrine or discipline, and more. These teachings, in themselves, absolutely refute all the errors of OnePeterFive and Timothy Flanders on Popes and Councils. For the footnotes to the quotes in this article, see the above linked articles.

That a Pope can never fail in faith by teaching or committing heresy is the dogmatic teaching of Vatican I and also the ordinary universal Magisterium by the ancient and constant teaching of the Popes, Councils, Saints, Doctors, and Fathers of the Church. Those who attack the Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils, accusing them of erring gravely, also contradict that same ancient and constant teaching. So this attack on numerous Popes and Councils, especially the recent and most vicious claim of three pornocracies made by Flanders, is heretical and schismatic.

Fifth Lateran Council: “And since it arises from the necessity of salvation that all the faithful of Christ are to be subject to the Roman Pontiff….”

Fifth Lateran Council: “the person who abandons the teaching of the Roman pontiff cannot be within the Church….”

Pope Saint Clement I, 88-97: “If any disobey what He [Jesus Christ] says through Us, let them know that they will be involved in no small offence and danger; but We shall be innocent of this sin.”

Saint Irenaeus: “Those who have the succession from the apostles have received a sure gift [charisma] of truth, according to the will of the Father.”

Saint Irenaeus: “Where the gifts [charismata] of the Lord are placed, there we must learn the truth, namely, from those who have the succession of the Church from the apostles…. These preserve our faith.”

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, quoting Origen: “neither against the rock upon which Christ builds His Church, nor against the Church, shall the gates of Hell prevail.”

Saint Cyprian: “If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”

Saint Cyprian: “There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.”

Saint Cyprian: “He is no martyr who is not in the Church….. They cannot remain with God who will not be of one mind in the Church of God.”

Pope Saint Lucius I, Martyr, 253-254: “The Roman Apostolic Church is the mother of all Churches and has never been shown to have wandered from the path of Apostolic tradition, nor being deformed, succumbed to heretical novelties according to the promise of the Lord himself, saying, ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]”

Pope Saint Felix I, 269-274, speaking on the Roman Church: “As it took up in the beginning the norm of the Christian Faith from its authors, the Princes of the Apostles of Christ, She remains unsullied according to what the Lord said: ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]”17

Theodotus of Ancyra, martyr, fl. 303: “This holy See holds the reign of the Churches of the world, not only on account of other things, but also because She remains free from the heretical stench.”

And there are very many other such teachings, which clearly contradict the position taken by Flanders and OnePeterFive that the Church can go astray so much so that a succession of Roman Pontiffs with the Apostolic See should be considered pornocracies which issue corrupt doctrine and discipline.

What Flanders Says

Flanders: “In our first essay we discussed some of the horrors of the three pornocracies of the Church, and suggested the term ‘Third Pornocracy’ to be an accurate historical description of our own epoch. It is helpful, I believe, because the term truly describes the reality of how bad the corruption is, but it also reminds us that the Church has been through two other times of at least similar corruption and ultimately prevailed.”

Pope Saint Nicholas I: “Neither by the emperor, nor by all the clergy, nor by kings, nor by the people will the judge be judged…. The first See will not be judged by anyone….”

Canon 1404: The First See is judged by no one. [Current Code of Canon Law]
Canon 1556: The Primatial See can be judged by no one. [Previous Code]

Pope Saint Leo IX, 1049-1054: “By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils….”

Pope Saint Damasus I, 366-384: “The First See, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it.”

There are many other such teachings. That the First See is judged by no one but God is not only Church law, but the ancient and constant teaching of the Church. And the freedom of the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff (in his exercise of the Keys) from grave error is also the teaching of the ordinary universal Magisterium.

Therefore, the one holy catholic and apostolic Church is never correctly described, in Her Roman Pontiffs, in Her Ecumenical Councils, in Her Apostolic College led by the successor of the Apostle Peter, as a pornocracy. Such a claim is not, as Flanders claims, an historical reality, but rather an heretical and schismatic claim. For the idea contradicts very many teachings that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff are free from grave error, that the Roman Pontiff has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, and that the Church is indefectible.

Some errors are possible in the non-infallible doctrine and discipline of the Roman Pontiff. But grave errors are excluded always in the exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter (papal authority over doctrine and discipline), as has always been taught by the Church. The number of quotations on this point is literally too many to fit into this article and could (and will) be a book of its own. Again, here is the link to those teachings.

Now any Roman Pontiff can sin gravely. This is permitted by God by wise design. For the Pope teaches and guides on the path of salvation. But if he himself were exempt from that path, being either automatically free from grave sin or automatically saved, then his teaching would be contradicted by that privilege. Thus, Popes are permitted to sin gravely, as God requires of them to follow the same path of salvation as the faithful, the same path of salvation that the Popes must teach.

So if a Pope sins gravely, in his personal life, this does not justify calling that Pontificate a pornocracy, i.e. a corrupt spiritual government of the Church. For while God permits grave sins by the Pope personally, God does not permit grave failings of faith, nor grave errors on doctrine or discipline by the Roman Pontiff. So this latter privilege, called the second privilege of Saint Peter, is for the sake of our salvation, and not due to the personal qualities of the Pope. Every Pope is prevented by grace from failing in faith, from erring gravely in doctrine or discipline, and from desiring or attempting to corrupt the doctrine and discipline of the Church. For all such errors are contrary to the charism of truth and of never-failing faith given to every Roman Pontiff [Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, ch. 4, n. 7].

The so-called first pornocracy is correctly termed Saeculum Obscurum (the dark age), as it was a time when some Popes reigned who may have been antipopes and some Popes reigned who perhaps sinned gravely in their personal lives. But even during that time, no Pope failed in faith and no Pope taught grave error.

Flanders claims that Popes who sin gravely likely teach grave errors. This position implies a complete rejection of the teaching that the Church, founded on Peter and his successors as on a Rock, with Peter and his successors has Her head, is indefectible. Calling three periods of time “pornocracies” is a clear rejection of the teaching of Christ that the gates of Hell shall never prevail over the Church because She is founded on Peter and his successors.

Flanders: “This is the reality of every Church crisis, every pornocracy – it is a sign of a coming triumph of Christ. ”

Flanders notes that the Church “ultimately prevailed” over these pornocracies, but this position — that pornocracies and grave errors in doctrine can prevail over the Roman Pontiff and the Church, only for a time — is nevertheless heretical. The indefectibility of the Church applies at all times. She is one and holy, catholic and apostolic, by Her very nature, and not merely as a goal that is reached and then lost repeatedly. Saying that Christ will ultimately triumph at his return does not justify Flanders’ accusation against Popes and Councils, against the Church, that She has been corrupted three times, including the current time period.

Pope Saint Leo IX: “By the See of the Chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter — which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail — been strengthened?”

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor, 1090-1153, writing to Pope Innocent II: “It is fitting that every danger and scandal of the kingdom of God be referred to your Apostolate and especially these which touch upon the faith. For I regard it worthy that there, above all, dangers to the faith are mended, where one cannot think the faith is lacking. For to what other See was it ever said: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith not fail?’ [Lk 22:32]”

Pope Innocent III, 1198-1216: “The Fathers, for the sake of the Church, understood especially in regard to articles of faith that those words [Lk 22:32] refer to the See of Peter, who knew the Lord had prayed for him, lest his faith would fail.”

Pope Innocent III: “To him [Peter] the Lord committed his sheep to be shepherded by a thrice-repeated word, so that anyone who wishes not to have him as his shepherd, even in his successors, should be deemed an alien to the Lord’s flock.”

This next claim by Flanders utterly rejects the work of the Holy Spirit and the promises of Christ regarding the Church, the Magisterium, and the successors of Peter:

Flanders: “Now we further suggested that all pornocracies include a corruption of doctrine and scandal to the faith coming from the papacy itself. It is historically absurd to suggest that the first two pornocracies were orthodox in their teaching, since the most common Magisterial teaching act of a pope – throughout history – is to give sermons and addresses orally. The vast majority of these are not written down – especially if a pope is hated for his wickedness!

It is foolish to assume that every other part of a given pope’s life was wicked (like John XII) but when he happened to publicly address the faithful somehow he could speak – like Balaam’s ass – the words of doctrinal orthodoxy.”

The claim that the three alleged pornocracies (discussed by me previously here) “include a corruption of doctrine” is heretical and schismatic. And this is especially true since the third period in question includes Vatican II to the present pontificate of Pope Francis. Flanders is calling the Pontificate of Pope Francis a pornocracy with corrupt doctrines. That claim is schismatic.

That every papacy has the assistance of the Holy Spirit in the exercise of the Pope’s ministry is dogma. The teaching of each Pope is not the personal opinion of each man, but the teaching of Christ. For “Christ and His Vicar constitute one only head” of the one Church [Pius XII, Mystical Body of Christ, 40]. The indefectibility of the Church rests upon the indefectibility of the doctrine and discipline of Peter and his successors. If the visible Head of the Church, who is also the Rock on which the Church is founded, were to be corrupt in his (the Pope’s) doctrine or discipline, the Church would also be corrupt, which is contrary to dogma.

How can a sinful Pope be orthodox in his teaching? By the grace of God and the prayer and promise of Christ (Mt 16:18; Lk 22:32). Pope Alexander VI, who is often included in the list of the worst Popes, sinned gravely in his personal life, but no one accuses him of heresy. A schismatic and heretical article at Rorate Caeli nevertheless states correctly that Pope Honorius I was not guilty of heresy: “Honorius I, who in the middle of the 7th century was accused of having fanned the heretical flame of Monotheletism, not with his apostolic authority but out of negligence.” The most accused Pope with regard to heresy is Honorius, who is often exonerated from the charge of heresy [by Bellarmine, Maximus the confessor, Pope John IV and many others].

Flanders says, “It is historically absurd to suggest that the first two pornocracies were orthodox in their teaching…” But when he labels a set of Pontificates as pornocracies, and he speaks as if this were historical fact, he presents a premise for his argument which he has not proved and which is contrary to dogma. It is not absurd to teach that teach Pope has the “charism of truth and of never-failing faith” [Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, ch. 4, n. 7]. Rather, it is the teaching of the Church that the Roman Pontiff has divine assistance whenever he exercises the Keys of Peter over doctrine and discipline.

It is the teaching of the Church, then, that when any Roman Pontiff exercises the Keys of Peter, it is Peter himself, by the grace of God, who lives, presides and exercises judgment in each one of his successors. And this would not be true if any successor would err gravely in doctrine or discipline.

Flanders continues: “…since the most common Magisterial teaching act of a pope – throughout history – is to give sermons and addresses orally. The vast majority of these are not written down – especially if a pope is hated for his wickedness!”

So Flanders accuses the numerous Popes of the alleged three pornocracies of teaching corrupt doctrine, on the basis of his accusation that these Popes were hated for their wickedness, personally, and therefore the most holy Trinity abandons all those Popes to grave error, and the Lord Jesus declines to keep His promise that each Pope has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith and that the gates of Hell will not prevail. And the claim then is based on verbal sermons and addresses, which were not written down and therefore are not known. What a baseless accusation! We don’t have the sermons and addresses of Popes Flanders claims are from pornocracies, and so he concludes these must be doctrinally corrupt. Pope Saint John Paul II disagrees

Pope Saint John Paul II: “This is Christ’s promise, our consoling certainty: the Petrine ministry is not founded on human abilities and strengths, but on the prayer of Christ who implores the Father that Simon’s faith ‘may not fail’ (Lk 22:32).”

John Paul II: “In foretelling the triple denial which Peter would make out of fear during the passion, Jesus also predicted that he would overcome the crisis of that night: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail, and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers’ (Lk 22:31-32). With these words Jesus guaranteed Simon a special prayer for the perseverance of his faith, but he also announced the mission entrusted to him of strengthening his brothers in the faith.”

“This is what Innocent III wrote in the Letter Apostolicae Sedis Primatus (November 12, 1199), citing the text of Luke 22:32 and commenting on it as follows: ‘The Lord clearly intimates that Peter’s successors will never at any time deviate from the Catholic faith, but will instead recall the others and strengthen the hesitant’ (DS 775). That medieval Pope felt that Jesus’ statement to Simon Peter was confirmed by the experience of 1,000 years.”

“These words of the evangelist Luke (22:31-33) are very significant for all who exercise the munus Petrinum in the Church. They continually remind them of the kind of original paradox that Christ himself placed in them, with the certitude that in their ministry, as in Peter’s, a special grace is at work which supports human weakness and allows him to ‘strengthen his brothers.’ ‘I have prayed’ — Jesus’ words to Peter, which re-echo in his ever poor, humble successors — ‘I have prayed that your own faith may not fail, and once you turned back, you must strengthen your brothers’ (Lk 22:32).”

Notice the teaching that “the Petrine ministry is not founded on human abilities and strengths, but on the prayer of Christ.” A Pope can sin gravely in his personal life, and yet teach truth. Then John Paul II and Innocent III say that Peter and his successors “will never at any time deviate from the Catholic faith.” And this applies to their decisions of doctrine and discipline, and does not exclude personal grave sin.

The objection will be that Pope Paul IV (who incidentally lived during the alleged second pornocracy) said the following:

“the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith.”

A Pope can err to a less than grave extent in his non-infallible exercise of the Keys over doctrine and discipline. And to that same extent, the faithful might contradict him, in their fallible speculative opinion, not presented as absolute truth but as their opinion. In the above quote, deviated means to a lesser extent. This is clear because the document of Paul IV excludes Popes from the sins of heresy and schism being discussed in that document. Paul only thinks that Popes might have been heretics and schismatics prior to becoming Pope (e.g. Vigilius). So there is no conflict of teaching between Paul IV and John Paul II with Innocent III. Deviations which are grave errors are always excluded “never at any time deviate”; but deviations which are less than grave are possible, and permit limited disagreement.

None of this justifies accusations of grave errors against any Pope or Council. Worse still is the claim that three large swaths of time, including multiple Ecumenical Councils and many Popes with some Pope Saints, include many grave deviations from the faith. That is contrary to the teaching of the Church.

Why can’t a Pope be personally sinful and yet teach by the prevenient grace of God, which no one can resist?
{11:49} Then one of them, named Caiaphas, since he was the high priest that year, said to them: “You do not understand anything.
{11:50} Nor do you realize that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the entire nation should not perish.”
{11:51} Yet he did not say this from himself, but since he was the high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.

Caiaphas was not an ordained Catholic Bishop and certainly did not have the papal charisms. And yet he was both so wicked that he condemned Christ to death, knowing He was innocent, possibly knowing that He was the Messiah (Lk 2014), and also was able to prophesy that Jesus would die for the nation. The grace of God is such that each Pope, whether Saint or sinner, can still be the Rock of faith on which the Church is founded, and can still be free from every grave error.

Pope Saint Leo I: “The order of truth remains; blessed Peter, keeping the strength of the rock, does not abandon the helm of the Church. Whatever We do rightly is his work, whose power lives in his See…. In the person of My lowliness he is seen, he is honored, in whom remains the care of all pastors and of the sheep of their charge. His power does not fail, even in an unworthy heir.”48

Pope Saint Gelasius I, 492-496, epistle to the Emperor Anastasius: “This is what the Apostolic See guards against with all her strength because the glorious confession of the Apostle is the root of the world, so that She is polluted by no crack of depravity and altogether no contagion. For if such a thing would ever occur (which may God forbid and we trust cannot be), why would we make bold to resist any error?”

The power of Saint Peter and of the promises of Christ and of the Holy Spirit DOES NOT FAIL, even in an unworthy heir. The Apostolic See is never polluted by any crack of depravity, nor by any contagion.

Pope Pelagius II, 590 AD, writing to the Bishops of Istria: “For you know how the Lord in the Gospel declares: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired you that he might sift you as wheat, but I have prayed to the Father for thee, that thy faith fail not, and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren.’ See, beloved, the truth cannot be falsified, nor can the faith of Peter ever be shaken or changed.”

Pope Saint Gregory I (the great), Doctor, 590-604: “Who does not know that the whole Church was strengthened in the firmness of the Prince of the Apostles, to whom it was said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church … and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren?’ [Mt 16:18; Lk 22:32]”
Saint Bellarmine: “There Gregory clearly teaches the strength of the Church depends upon the strength of Peter, and hence Peter is less able to err than the Church herself.”

The faith of Peter and his successors can never fail. This is the constant teaching of the Church from the time of the Gospels to the present. And at the same time, “the truth cannot be falsified” by Peter and his successors. This is the charism of truth and of never-failing faith taught by Vatican I, which is the same teaching always taught by the Church.

Lateran Council of 649 (not Ecumenical): “If anyone does not, following the holy Fathers, confess properly and truly, in word and mind, to the last point, all that has been handed down and proclaimed to the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God by the holy Fathers and by the five venerable ecumenical councils, let him be condemned.”

Pope Saint Paul VI to schismatic Bishop Lefebvre: “With the special assistance of the Holy Spirit, the popes and the ecumenical councils have acted in this common way. And it is precisely this that the Second Vatican Council did. Nothing that was decreed in this Council, or in the reforms that we enacted in order to put the Council into effect, is opposed to what the 2,000 year-old tradition of the Church considers as fundamental and immutable. We are the guarantor of this, not in virtue of Our personal qualities but in virtue of the charge which the Lord has conferred upon Us as legitimate successor of Peter, and in virtue of the special assistance that He has promised to Us as well as to Peter: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail’ (Lk. 22:32). The universal episcopate is guarantor with us of this.”

“This declaration will therefore have to affirm that you sincerely adhere to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and to all its documents — sensu obvio — which were adopted by the Council fathers and approved and promulgated by Our authority. For such an adherence has always been the rule, in the Church, since the beginning, in the matter of ecumenical councils.”

The third so-called pornocracy of Timothy Flanders includes Vatican II and all the Popes to Pope Francis. Yet it has “always been the rule, in the Church” to accept all that the Ecumenical Councils decide. Lateran 649 teaches that they are condemned who refuse to accept, to the last point, all that has been handed down by the Ecumenical Councils (which were five at that point in time). Labeling long periods of time as pornocracies is a facile way to be able to reject any teaching of any Pope or Council during that time, on the sole basis of a public (heretical and schismatic) proclamation, by a lay person (Flanders), that the Church was corrupt in Her doctrine and discipline during that time period.

Who is given the role to judge the Roman Pontiff, the Ecumenical Councils, or the Church Herself? God alone. Yet Flanders and other authors at OnePeterFive and other websites have judged and condemned many Roman Pontiffs and multiple Ecumenical Councils. They have condemned the divine government of the Church, which is of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They have usurped the role of God Himself over the Church. An antipope falsely claims to be the true Pope. But these papal accusers usurp the authority of the Lord Jesus over the whole Church, and then they falsely accuse and condemn long time periods of Church history as corrupt.

Unam Sanctam, confirmed by Lateran V: “But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine, having been given by the divine mouth to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by Christ Himself, that is, to him whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: ‘Whatever you shall bind,’ [Mt 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordained by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2]”

Here are the alleged three periods of pornocracy in the Church:

One: 882-964 — total 82 years and 24 Popes (including some possible antipopes)
Two: 1471-1563 — total 92 years and 13 Popes — Lateran V, Council of Trent
Three: 1965?-present — total 56 years and 5 Popes so far — Vatican II

The Church is the sole Ark of Salvation. Since Flanders has condemned a total of 42 Popes and about 230 years (he is vague about when the third period begins) in the three alleged pornocracies, how is it that God could have abandoned the Church, three times not just once!, leaving many human persons to be led astray, supposedly, by the Church for their entire lifetimes? The three periods are 82, 92, and 56 (so far) years of alleged abandonment of the Apostolic See by God to a corruption so severe that it is termed pornocracy. These time periods include 42 Popes, which is over 15% of the total number of Popes and more than one in seven Popes. How can the Church be called indefectible if this claim by Flanders is accepted? It cannot.

Are we really to reject all the teachings of those time periods? Or is the claim that we should just make ourselves judges over every decision of doctrine and discipline during those periods? Are we to reject all the Ecumenical Councils of those three periods (Lateran V, Trent, and Vatican II)? Why does Flanders reject Vatican I, but not include that Council in the term pornocracy?

This claim is an attack on Christ himself.

{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
{16:19} And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.”

If the Apostolic See or any Roman Pontiff were ever corrupt in doctrine or discipline, then Peter and his successors would not be a Rock, the Church would not be indefectible, the gates of Hell would have prevailed, and the decisions under the Keys would not be confirmed in Heaven as on earth, and the faith of the successors of Peter would have failed, and the successor of Peter would not be fit or able to confirm their brethren, the body of Bishops. Flanders makes Christ to be a liar by his claims about three periods of time when the teachings of the Church were supposedly corrupt — including papal sermons and addresses long ago, which are not extant, but which Flanders concludes must be corrupt in doctrine. For if the Pope is wicked, Flanders concludes his teaching must be corrupt, regardless of the teaching, prayer, and promise of Christ.

But the third period includes Pope Saint Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Blessed Pope John Paul I. So even if a Pope is a canonized Saint, the period of time and his pontificate is claimed to be a pornocracy. Therefore, it is not really the alleged sinfulness of any Pope that gives rise to this heretical and schismatic term. Instead, it is merely the case that Flanders and his peers do not accept many doctrines and disciplines of the Church, and they need some way to justify this rejection of the exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter by the Popes.

Flanders then tries to use the teaching that there will be a time of persecution for the Church, during the reign of the Antichrist, to justify his own rejection of Popes and Councils and the Church herself.

Flanders: “It is also a dogma of the faith that there will be one final crisis – the reign of Antichrist himself (CCC, 675) and this will definitely be the worst crisis up to that point. So if your faith is failing now, what will you do when Antichrist comes?”

This excuse for rejecting the authority of the Church is absurd. As Father E. Sylvester Berry writes, in his book The Apocalypse of St. John:

“Antichrist and his prophet will introduce ceremonies to imitate the Sacraments of the Church. In fact, there will be a complete organization — a church of Satan set up in opposition to the Church of Christ. Satan will assume the part of God the Father; Antichrist will be honored as savior, and his [false] prophet will usurp the role of pope. Their ceremonies will counterfeit the Sacraments….”

So we see that the false religion of the Antichrist is not even claimed to be the religion of Catholicism. The false church of the Antichrist is not even claimed to be the Church of Christ, the holy Catholic Church. Rather, the Antichrist hates and attempts to destroy the true Church, while promoting his separate and clearly very different false church. So that time period of the Antichrist is not a “pornocracy” for the Church. And if Flanders thinks that the false church of the Antichrist is rightly labeled a pornocracy, I agree. It is a fitting use of the term. What is not fitting or true or just is to call the Church which is the body of Christ a pornocracy, not even for any length of time and certainly not for 230 years or more (over 10% of the time from Christ to the present).

IF you faith in the Church is failing now, because you resist Pope Francis, you reject Vatican I and II, you accuse many Popes of corruption in doctrine and discipline, contrary to dogma, then what will you do during the End Times? It seems likely that many of these schismatics and heretics will fall away from the Catholic Faith altogether. They will become apostates. Already the founder and former editor in chief of OnePeterFive is openly discussing his own personal problems with faith. His faith is floundering. He can’t accept the authority of the Roman Pontiffs over doctrine and discipline, but he also can’t accept a Recognize and Resist position.

Skojec: “But we can’t all be mini-popes forever.

“The idea that we only have to listen to the authority that was placed over us, allegedly by God himself, when WE decide that it’s being exercised legitimately, must be seen as the dangerous, quasi-protestant approach that it is.

“When I say dangerous, I don’t mean in the objective sense, but dangerous to the integrity of Catholic teaching on the papacy and magisterial authority in general, and the submissions we lowly peons are supposed to offer in deference before it. Recognize and resist puts us all on the sede spectrum, as we say: ‘You’ve only got the authority of the papal office and can only demand my obedience if I say so, bub.’ ”

Skojec makes good points here. You can’t only accept papal authority and be obedient to the Church when you agree with the decisions on doctrine or discipline. It is a type of sedevacantism to say that the current Pope must be resisted, or that long periods of time were pornocracies where the Apostolic See taught doctrinal corruption. If a Pope teaches heresy, then he is not the true Pope. That is certain, given the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. However, it is NOT true that one can judge that a Pope has taught heresy because he contradicted one’s own assessment of what Tradition or Scripture teaches. Skojec can’t accept the dogmas that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error, and that each Pope has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, because he and Flanders and many other voices against the Popes and Councils are already convinced of their own infallibility. They don’t say they are infallible. But they cannot believe anything a Pope or Council teaches, if it is contrary to their own understanding. They are too filled with pride to accept that they are not given the role to judge Popes and Councils. They judge badly. They misunderstand doctrine, and so they falsely accuse the Church of corruption.

Flanders: “Ultimately, the practice of the papacy as a universal teaching office is an innovation of the 19th century with both good and bad effects on the Church.”

There are very many teachings from Popes, Councils, Saints, and Doctors which absolutely contradict that claim by Flanders. It is not an innovation of “the 19th century” meaning Vatican I (1870).

Pope Saint Clement I, 88-97: “If any disobey what He [Jesus Christ] says through Us, let them know that they will be involved in no small offence and danger; but We shall be innocent of this sin.”

Pope Saint Julius I, 337-352, writing to the Eastern Bishops: “Do you not know that this is the custom, that first you must write to us, and that here what is just shall be decreed.”

Pope Saint Julius I: “It is not right to make laws for the Churches, apart from the knowledge of the Bishop of Rome.”

Saint Optatus of Milevis to the Donatists: “How can you pretend to have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, [you] who sacrilegiously fight against the See of Peter by your presumption and impudence?”

Saint Jerome as quoted by Pope Benedict XVI: “This is what Jerome wrote: ‘I decided to consult the Chair of Peter, where that faith is found exalted by the lips of an Apostle; I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there, where once I received the garment of Christ. I follow no leader save Christ, so I enter into communion with your beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter, for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built’ (cf. Le lettere I, 15, 1-2).”

Pope Saint Damasus I, the Roman Synod of 378, to the emperors Gratian and Valentinian II: “Certain bishops, unworthy pastors, have carried their insolence and contempt to the point of refusing obedience to the Bishop of Rome. If the accused is himself a Metropolitan, he will be ordered to go at once to Rome, or in any case to appear before the judges whom the Bishop of Rome shall appoint.”

Pope Saint Innocent I, in 417, praised the local Council of Carthage for having “kept and confirmed the example of ancient discipline.” He states: “You have referred to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, from which the Episcopate itself and all authority of this Name has come…. You know that nothing, even in the most distant provinces, is to be settled until it comes to the knowledge of this See; so that the decision be established by the whole authority of this See.”

And there are many other such teachings, century after century, as listed here.

Pope Francis on the necessity of accepting Vatican I and II:

“This is magisterium: the Council [Vatican II] is the magisterium of the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you wish, you are not with the Church. We must be demanding and strict on this point. The Council should not be negotiated….”

“No, the Council is as it is. And this problem that we are experiencing, of selectivity with respect to the Council, has been repeated throughout history with other Councils. It makes me think of a group of bishops who, after Vatican I, left, a group of lay people, groups, to continue the ‘true doctrine’ that was not that of Vatican I: ‘We are the true Catholics’. Today they ordain women. The strictest attitude, to guard the faith without the Magisterium of the Church, leads you to ruin. Please, no concessions to those who try to present a catechesis that does not agree with the Magisterium of the Church.”

Pope Francis on Vatican II: “To doubt the Council is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro [with Peter and under Peter] in an ecumenical council, and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.”

Flanders: “Here we need to emphasize the critical theological truth which we began to unpack in our last essay: Christ loves His Church and makes her pure, no matter what. Pornocracy is a historical term which merely describes the state of corruption in the hierarchy at a given time. It is in the realm of history that the Holy Spirit calls Israel “adulterous.” It is a historical term derived from individual sinners within the Church.”

Wrong. The indefectibility of the Church is distinguished from Her purity. The Church is indefectible because She NEVER goes astray nor leads astray in Her Magisterium, especially the Magisterium of the Apostolic See. Calling “the hierarchy” corrupt clearly accuses the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See of corruption. But the teachings listed above in this article from Popes, Councils, and Saints clearly refutes this claim. The Church teaches that the Apostolic See is always unblemished by any grave error, and that each Roman Pontiff has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. One cannot claim to adhere to the dogma of indefectibility while calling the Rock on which the Church is founded, which is also Her visible head, corrupt.

The term pornocracy is a vicious false heretical and schismatic accusation against the indefectibility of the Church and against the teaching, promise, and prayer of Christ regarding the Roman Pontiffs. The term pornocracy is not historical, as everything is false which is contrary to dogma.

Vatican I: “Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.:

This teaching of Vatican I also applies to the claims of history. If an historian claims that Jesus did not exist, that is contrary to dogma and we are absolutely bound to reject that claim. The same is true for the allegedly historical claim that the Church became corrupt during three periods of time: it is contrary to the doctrine of faith and so we are absolutely bound to reject it as an error.

Flanders claim that the “hierarchy” of the Church was in a “state of corruption” for a total of 230 years and 42 Popes is baseless. He has not established the claim. He did not go through each Pope and prove corruption. He absurdly cites sermons and addresses that are not extant and claims they are corrupt in doctrine. His claim of three pornocracies is contrary to dogma and unsupported by anything but his own rejection of papal authority.

Saint Peter Chrysologus, Doctor, 406-450, Bishop of Ravenna: “We exhort you, Honorable Brother, that you would obediently attend to that which has been written by the Pope of the city of Rome because Blessed Peter, who lives in his own See and presides there, is in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith.”

Pope Saint Zosimus, 417-418: “the tradition of the Fathers attributed so much authority to the Apostolic See that no one dared to challenge its judgment and has always preserved it through canons and regulations … such great authority belongs to Us that no one could argue again with Our decision….”

Pope Saint Boniface I, 418-422: “No one has ever boldly raised his hands against the Apostolic Eminence, from whose judgment it is not permissible to dissent; no one has rebelled against this, who did not wish judgment to be passed upon him.”

Pope Saint Boniface I: “there is to be no review of our judgment. In fact, it has never been licit to deliberate again on that which has once been decided by the Apostolic See.”

Pope Saint Boniface I, to the bishops of Thessaly: “It is therefore certain that this Church [the Roman See] is to the Churches throughout the world as the head to its members. If anyone cut himself off from this Church, not being in union with her, he is outside the Christian religion.”


The website OnePeterFive is corrupt in its teachings. It is a pornocracy. Its authors are largely (not entirely) heretics and schismatics. Its editor in chief and retired founder, Flanders and Skojec, are schismatics who reject per se the authority of Popes and Councils over them. They accept nothing on faith, but only accept what seems right to their own minds. They judge all things badly and reject whatever seems wrong in their own fallible corrupt judgment. And Flanders has even exceeded Kwasniewski in the number of Popes that he rejects.

I am not personally offended by the errors of Timothy Flanders. He has not offended me. Rather, he has usurped the role of Christ Jesus himself over the Church. My comments are not criticisms, but grave and well-supported accusations of heresy and schism. Flanders errors are so severe that they cannot be corrected by a theological argument, nor by a conversation with me, but only by the grace of God, by sincere and thorough repentance, and by a good Confession. This is not a personal disagreement between myself and anyone else. I am defending the perennial teaching of the Faith, and others are attacking that teaching with some of the most severe errors in the history of the Church.

This time period in the Church will not be known by future Christians as a “pornocracy”, but rather as a time period when the Church resisted a group of heretics and schismatics who reject the ancient and constant teaching of the Church on the continual help and protection given to the Pope and the body of Bishops by Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

This entry was posted in commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Indefectibility versus Pornocracy: Flanders at OnePeterFive

  1. perelandra says:

    It’s really telling how these people, so holy and righteous are they, use obscene sexual language to describe the Church.

Comments are closed.