"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ask Fr. Kramer: Pope Benedict XVI vs material schism

Ask Fr. Kramer: Pope Benedict XVI vs material schism
Recent email sent to me answered by Fr. Kramer

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Dear Mr. Gajewski,

I am Michael Bogucki (MichaƂ in Polish). I have followed the line of H.E. archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for several years and know personally two priests of the Resistance (Fr. Roland de Merode and Fr. Martin Fuchs). I would like to ask a help from You on a issue which also may be interesting for many other people.

I am firmly convinced that the resignation of His Holiness Benedict XVI was invalid due to the reasons explained by both Fr. Paul Kramer and Fr. Nicholas Gruner. It logically follows that the traditional priests who does not recognize Him (i.e. H.H. Benedict XVI) as the current valid pope are in objective error. I know that You are in close contact with Fr. Paul Kramer (since I have no possibility to contact Him directly) and probably could consult Him on below mentioned points:
1. whether these priests are in material schism;
2. is it allowed to participate in Holy Masses which are said by them (with Francis mentioned as the pope);
3. is it allowed to go to confession to them;
4. is it allowed, to go to confession to other priests (Novus Ordo, FSSPX) who also recognise Francis as the pope.

As far as I know, in case of an extremal necessity, one can ask for confession even a heretical priest, but below I put a quotation which concerns similiar issue and have raised my attention. It is taken from: Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Preserving Christian Publications, Boonville, New York 2009, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari from The Thirtieth Edition of Henry Denzinger's "Enchiridion Symbolorum", page 561, no. 2181a

"On Dying and Dead Schismatics
[Reply of the Holy Office to various local ordinaries, May 17, 1916]

I. Whether when material schismatics at the point of death, in good faith seek either absolution or extreme unction, these sacraments can be conferred on them without their renouncing errors? - Reply: In the negative, but that it be required that they reject errors as best they can, and make a profession of faith.

II. Whether absolution and extreme unction can be conferred on shismatics at the point of death when unconscious? - Reply: Conditionally, in the affirmative, especially if from additional circumstances it can be conjectured that they at least implicitly reject their errors, yet effectually removing scandal, at least by manifesting to bystanders that they accept the Church and have returned at the last moment to unity.

III. As regards ecclesiastical burial the Roman Ritual must stand firm."

I would be very thankful for any answer to my correspondence.

Faithfully yours,

T. Michael A. Bogucki


 Fr. Kramer answers:
The quoted rulings on schismatics do not refer to Catholics in objective error of fact (like SSPX priests), but those who are properly in material schism, such as those who in good faith belong to an Orthodox Church that does not recognize the Roman Pontiff. Schism is properly the act of refusal to be subject to the pope. It is not the act of not knowing who is the true pope and mistakenly believing that a false claimant is the pope; although that would in a broader sense of the word also constitute material schism. Unless the priests have been excommunicated by name (by legitimate authority), or have openly renounced the Church, Canon Law allows the faithful to attend their Masses and receive their sacraments. When Conciliar Rome formally goes into heresy & schism, then  it will be forbidden to have any communicatio in sacris with them.