A False Attack On The Real Antipapacy

From time to time we can meet in the Catholic world an opinion, which deals with an important issue of the current Church’s crisis, and apparently leads to the proper solution of the problem. But when we look closer to its content, it appears that, however the sole conclusion seems right, nevertheless the reasoning is wrong-based. It is worth to spend a longer time on investigating the issue, because such an error does not only help to foster the truth contained in the conclusion, but also hinders its fruitful, persistent propagation by placing it on a false basis, thus making it vulnerable to attacks from the opponents of the thesis. It is also an opportunity to become familiar with more detailed argumentation regarding the discussed issue and help other people in this field.

Last autumn, I came across an article of Mr. Andrew Cionci regarding the Bergoglian antipapacy republished on the “From Rome” website run by Brother Alexis Bugnolo OFM. The piece was posted under the title “How Bergoglio unmasked so many Traddies and Conservatives as Modernists” on the 10th of October 2021 A.D at the following location:


Having noticed some flaws in the main argumentation of the article and inquired further into them, I prepared a commentary and sent it to the site for authorisation and publication. It has not happened so far, therefore I find it useful to publish my remarks on this site. Moreover, since the title of the abovementioned publication seems to mark some not-liberal Catholics as modernists: particularly H.E. Archbishop Charles Mary Vigano named in the editor’s note, what, in my opinion, borders to slander, it could be also morally advantageous to stand up in their defense by highlighting the futility of such hasty accusations.



Laudetur Iesus Christus!

I would like to make some comments regarding the quoted above article, as I find it advisable to attract the attention of the readers to some doctrinal aspects of the Church’s Magisterium. Please excuse my language errors; I am not a fluent speaker of this language. [Unfortunately the formatting of my text has been cleared, thus no emphasis for crucial parts will be shown.]

The quotation from a catechism is taken out of its full context; the whole article is as follows:
892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent” which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.”

My comment: The Ordinary Magisterium (of itself) does not employ infallibility; logically it does not require (of itself) the assent of faith since Divine faith implies infallibility; while The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium does it require. Divine assistance, as concerns the discussed case, does not imply infallibility; in case of an infallible (ergo definitive, i.e. irreformable) teaching Divine assistance assures both possibility of attaining the truth and preservation from falling into error.

See further the “Tuas libenter” letter from H.H. Pius IX:
“(…)For, even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless, it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of the ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of this See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith.”

Please read carefully the quotation from H.E. Louis Francis Ladaria:
“It is important to reiterate that infallibility concerns not only the solemn pronouncements of a Council or of the Supreme Pontiff when he speaks ex-cathedra, but also the ordinary and universal teaching of the bishops throughout the world, when they propose, in communion with each other and with the Pope, Catholic doctrine to be held definitively.”

My comment: Monsignor Ladaria states that: infallibility concerns not the ordinary teaching as a whole, but only the ordinary and universal teaching, thus provided further conditions are fulfilled: in communion… – which is quite obvious (but in fact requires a deep understanding as it concerns not only synchronic but also diachronic consistency), and in a “definitive manner”. One can easily fall into a “pars pro toto” error and hastily extend infallibility to the whole ordinary teaching, contrary to the literal meaning of the quotation.

Behold some of the teachings of the Vatican Council on the sources of the infallible Magisterium (it is only a translation which I put for the sake of popular understanding, and probably not an exact one, so in case of any doubt please refer to the original text which can easily be found in the internet):

Session III, Chapter 3 on Faith:
“Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.”

Session IV, Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ:
“And so We, (…), teach and explain that the dogma has been divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that His church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.”

Then also please check: Catechismus Catholicus Cura et studio Petri Cardinalis Gasparri Concinnatus; Catechismus pro adultis hominibus qui pleniorem doctrinae catholicae cognitionem habere exopant, p. 132:
Q. 144. In munere docendi Ecclesia estne infallibilis?
R. In munere docendi Ecclesia, ob perpetuam Spiritus Sancti assistentiam a Iesu Christo promissam, est infallibilis, quando, sive ordinario et universali magisterio, sive solemni iudicio supremae auctoritatis, veritates fidei et morum vel in se revelatas, vel cum revelatis connexas ab omnibus tenendas proponit.

My comment: Infallibility covers not only directly revealed truths (of faith and morals), but also those, which are connected with them; obviously it is necessary to defend the Deposit of faith.

Finally, brief quotations from the “Si, si, no, no” (The Angelus English-language article reprint of January 2002) with references to some theological sources:
a) on classification of magisterial (papal) acts:
“The “Authentic Magisterium” cannot be so simply identified with the Ordinary Magisterium. In fact, the Ordinary Magisterium can be infallible and non-infallible, and it is only in this second case that it is called the “Authentic Magisterium”. The Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique under the heading of “papal infallibility” (vol VII, col. 1699ff) makes the following distinctions: 1) there is the “infallible or ex cathedra papal definition in the sense defined by Vatican I” (col. 1699); 2) there is the “infallible papal teaching which flows from the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium” (col. 1705); 3) there is “non-infallible papal teaching” (col. 1709).
Similarly, Salaverri, in his Sacrae Theologiae Summa (vol. I, 5th ed. Madrid, B.A.C.) distinguishes the following: 1) Extraordinary Infallible Papal Magisterium (no. 592ff); 2) Ordinary Infallible Papal Magisterium (no. 645ff); 3) Papal Magisterium that is mere authenticum, that is, only “authentic” or “authorized” as regards the person himself, not as regards his infallibility (no. 659ff).

While he always has full and supreme doctrinal authority, the pope does not always exercise it at its highest level, that is at the level of infallibility. As the theologians say, he is like a giant who does not always use his full strength. What follows is this:
1)”It would be incorrect to say that the pope is infallible simply by possessing papal authority,” as we read in the Acts of Vatican I (Coll. L ac. 399b). This would be equivalent to saying that the pope’s authority and his infallibility are the same thing.
2) It is necessary to know “what degree of assent is due to the decrees of the sovereign pontiff when he is teaching at a level which is not that of infallibility, i.e., when he is not exercising the supreme degree of his doctrinal authority” (Salaverri, op. cit. no. 659).”

b) on different kinds of assent required for magisterial acts:
“As regards those non-infallible doctrinal decisions given by the pope or by the Roman congregations, there is a strict duty of obedience which obliges us to give an internal assent… that is prudent and habitually excludes all reasonable doubt, but this assent is legitimized [not by infallibility, but rather] by the high degree of prudence with which the ecclesiastical authority habitually acts in such circumstances” (entry “Eglise” in the Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol. IV, col. 2209).
That is why we owe the “authentic” Magisterium not a blind and unconditional assent but a prudent and conditional one:
Since not everything taught by the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible, we must ask what kind of assent we should give to its various decisions. The Christian is required to give the assent of faith to all the doctrinal and moral truths defined by the Church’s Magisterium. He is not required to give the same assent to teaching imparted by the sovereign pontiff that is not imposed on the whole Christian body as a dogma of faith. In this case if suffices to give that inner and religious assent which we give to legitimate ecclesiastical authority. This is not an absolute assent, because such decrees are not infallible, but only a prudential and conditional assent, since in questions of faith and morals there is a presumption in favor of one’s superior… Such prudential assent does not eliminate the possibility of submitting the doctrine to a further examination, if that seems required by the gravity of the question (Nicholas Jung, Le Magistere de l’Eglise, 1935, p. 153,154).”

My comment: As far as I remember H.E. Archbishop Charles Mary Vigano indicated an erroneous act of the Ordinary Magisterium exercised by The Ecumenical Council of Florence and approved by H.H. Eugene IV (by the way: the same error which Aquinas had adhered to). In no way such a statement challenges the infallibility of the Church since it was neither an extraordinary nor a universal (and definitive of course) teaching, i.e. absolutely binding; quite the opposite: it clearly shows that, notwithstanding the human fallacy experienced at the top of the organization, She enjoys Divine protection. The problem was finally resolved only by H.H. Pius XII five centuries later; it never resulted in the destruction of the Church, however, one can easily imagine what could possibly have been done with the Apostolic succession.

T. M. A. Bogucki

12 thoughts on “A False Attack On The Real Antipapacy”

  1. The translation from English is probably complicit, but I will try to answer for what I understand.
    The pope is infallible ex cathedra, when he makes ordinary pronouncements in matters of morals and customs he is still assisted by the Holy Spirit in ordinary activity (Art. 892) even though he is not infallible.
    I don’t understand what kind of challenge is being made to me.
    Then because Msgr. Viganò cites an error of Eugenius IV, who died in 1447, then we should quietly accept Bergoglio’s daily horrors and errors? Are you guys talking seriously?
    It’s like saying that because once, in 1700, the rector of a university faculty of mathematics got a calculation wrong, then we should accept the current rector, installed abusively, who also gets addition and multiplication tables wrong every day, reversing mathematical logic? Does this sound like a rational path? Citing a few historical exceptions here and there to justify a daily, continuous and massive use of errors and reversals by a single individual? Where has the sense of proportion gone?
    But I would like to summarize the paradox of this contestation with an example. Let us imagine that there is a policeman who exercises continuous violence and overpowering on you, and you complain about it. One day someone comes along and says to you, “Look that’s not a real policeman, he’s a miscreant who has abusively worn a policeman’s uniform, that’s why he behaves badly like that toward you. And you, instead of exulting in joy and denouncing the impostor start making a thousand exceptions to justify the fact that a real policeman can sometimes be legitimately violent and coercive, so that you can continue to complain without questioning the legitimacy of this policeman. I knew about the Apostle’s Power of Deception, but I didn’t think it went to this level, sorry.

    • Dear Mr. Cionci,

      Thank You very much for Your interest in this discussion despite some linguistic problems from both sides. I am glad to directly debate with You – the author of the original article, albeit my primary text was a commentary to the republication of it by Brother Alexis Bugnolo OFM on the “From Rome” website.

      It is a complete misunderstanding. It concerns a few things, but first of all, please mind that my comment is a direct answer to Your comment, and therefore, shall be understood in its context. Please do not easily refer it to the external circumstances and therefore impute me statements based on premises taken out of context. We discuss some abstractive theses and have not invoked explicitly any particular, personal deed done by the current pope or the current antipope so far.
      1. What I stated is that the assistance of the Holy Ghost does not prevent the pope from falling from errors or misdeeds. Now, I would like to make it clearer: from doing it on a daily basis, because every day he enjoys his free will, which is not restricted by the assistance of the Holy Ghost. If one claims that it is not the case for the pope (or in any particular case), he shall furnish the public with sound theological proof. We know that in the exercise of the Extraordinary Magisterium the pope is free from error; possibly he may each day make an infallible extraordinary statement and make an error in his non-infallible ordinary statement; no less, no more.
      2. I have given an example noted by H.E. Archbishop Charles Mary Vigano as a historical evidence of an error not only of a single pope, but the whole series of popes, bishops, etc. Now, I explicitly write: this primordial error, as its derivatives, i.e., particular errors made on the basis of the original error, were affecting the life of the Church each day during this period of many centuries. It is the same with the quoted misdeed of H.H. John Paul II; and this one, as far as I know, has never been retracted. Every day the pope, who does nothing about such an error, he objectively allows for its disastrous operation within the Church. Hence he shall be constantly admonished.
      3. I have stated that “religious reverence” urges us to stand up publicly to the face of our superior (on a daily basis if need be), who has made an error posing a threat to the souls of the faithful. It contrasts with the apparent meaning of this term in Your comment, which leaves a room to interpret it in a way that is close to the “servile obedience”.
      4. I have stated that cultural and prudent critique of a superior, even massive and done on a daily basis, does not form the “tonellate di fango” or “tons of mud”. I have made a clear distinction between the prudent (and cultural) critique and the imprudent one; it is a crucial issue. I have not noticed such a distinction in Your comment, which can be interpreted as indiscriminate. My point is that: it is not the quantity of criticism, but the quality, what decides whether it is justified or not.

      Then, I shall give some remarks concerning Your last comment:
      1. The last two paragraphs are based on a misunderstanding (which I have tried to clear up above), hence what follows is an example of the shooting at a straw man. It is useless to address the last paragraph in this context, but it is an opportunity to brighten some things up.
      2. As I wrote in a previous comment:
      “Therefore, an erroneous (materially!) teaching of a person claiming the Petrine munus is not proof against that claim. Sadly, it is an issue that many formal Catholics do not take into account.”
      Now I write explicitly: the high number of errors (material!) is not proof against a claimant of the Petrine munus.
      3. The crucial distinction is between material and formal error; then between ordinary error and heresy. Publicly manifest, objective, formal heresy (as well as schism and apostasy) is a proof that a delinquent is not a member of the Church, hence is incapable of holding any munus in the Church whatsoever, including the Petrine munus.
      4. Holding an office and abusing it are two different things. One can hold an office and abuse it on a daily basis, while the other can be an impostor and fulfill all the duties connected with the office. Constant abuse or fulfillment of the duties of an office just do not prove anything.
      5. If someone has any real, sound evidence that P.T. Mr. George Bergoglio is not the pope, he shall focus on the exposition of this proof to the public and propagation of the doctrinal basis of it. The critique of particular deeds of this Gentleman is of secondary importance and could be beneficial only if one explicitly and constantly reminds that He is not the pope. Otherwise, it may be, and probably would be, an inexplicit affirmation of His claim among the ignorant/uneducated faithful. That is why “traditionalists” from Menzingrad are not only tolerated, but also enjoyed by Vatican; they are just “useful idiots” as H.E. Duce Vladimir Ulyanov vulgo Lenin once wisely said.
      6. The other thing is to show how the Church has come to the current situation. P.T. Mr. George Bergolio is not a rabbit out of the hat. The crisis has grown for many, many years, step by step. We shall highlight all the history of it, and show how gradually the Catholic doctrine has been constantly watered down with “a little help” from the formal authorities including popes since long; actually, since the death of St. Pius X. Hence, we shall expose all public errors, misdeeds and also objective blasphemies of the real popes, including the present one (vide: kissing of Koran by H.H. John Paul II and visitations of synagogues of Satan by H.H. Benedict XVI).

      I am sorry, but now I am leaving for vacation and my further involvement in this discussion may be limited in the following two weeks. I would be glad to continue it anyway. I am going also to prepare an article on the role of H.H. Benedict XVI in fuelling the current crisis of the Church, but unfortunately it will take some time.

      Sincerely yours,
      T. Michael A. Bogucki

    • This article, posted as a response to my article, is beside the point. The main thesis of my publication is that the pope is not always infallible (particularly: the Ordinary Magisterium is not infallible of itself, i.e., as long as it is not a part of the Universal Magisterium it may be erroneous), and as a consequence any valid pope, while exercising His ordinary Magisterium, can err. Therefore, an erroneous (materially!) teaching of a person claiming the Petrine munus is not proof against that claim. Sadly, it is an issue that many formal Catholics do not take into account.

      Mr. Cionci in the following post seems to acknowledge the fact that the pope is not always infallible, although in an inexplicit way. We both, i.e. Mr. Cionci and me, recognise that P.T. Mr. George Bergoglio is the current antipope. We can currently disagree on the basis of this fact and probably do, but it is beyond the scope of my article. I have only stated that the very argument used in the primary article by Mr. Cionci is invalid; there may be many other arguments, but this one has already been, to the best of my knowledge, abandoned by Mr. Cionci. Thus, I do not think that further discussion is needed on this point.

      The quoted by Mr. Cionci article of Himself is worthy of a closer examination as an emanation of His stance, which involves many more theses than that one argued above. Hence, I will try to address this general position later, in a longer form, despite my limited linguistic abilities confronted with the richness of Mr. Cionci’s language and the grandeur of His style, which seem to be a way above my head.

    • Hereunder, I insert an automated translation of the post of Mr. Cionci (two parts together) to English. I would like to response to the post basing on this text. Please let me know if this translation is inadequate in some way.

      “A verbose grasping at straws with a thousand lawyerly exceptions between infallibility and the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It is clear that even if the pope is not infallible in ordinary teaching, he is always assisted by the Holy Ghost, and therefore the ‘una cum’ [quotes inserted by me – T.M.A. Bogucki] cannot shovel tons of mud every day on a true pope who is assisted by the Holy Spirit, unless they offend the Triune Person. Then there is canon 752, which imposes ‘religious reverence’ for pronouncements not ex cathedra. RELIGIOUS REVERENCE.”

      • As far as I understand, Mr. Cionci states that: 1. the pope is not allways infallible; 2. the pope is always assisted by the Holy Ghost (He does not put the basis of this statement, nor precise it). Anyway, it means that He acknowledges that the assistance of the Holy Ghost does not necessarily imply infallibility of all of the papal acts. It goes hand in hand with the excerpt (article no. 892) from a catechism quoted in my article. Furthermore, it means, i.a., that the pope may err in his papal acts (we put aside private acts of the pope to make a long story short). I can see no one “of a thousand lawyerly exceptions between infallibility and the assistance of the Holy Ghost” in this straightforward reasoning. It is also fully backed by the universal teaching of the Church on the free will of man by nature: each and every man including even the current valid pope and the Antichrist; the assistance of the Holy Ghost cannot simply remove or suspend it. One must furnish the public with sound theological proof that the free will is impeded in any particular situation, as for infant children the case is. It is also argued that each cardinal taking part in a conclave is assisted by the Holy Ghost; does it mean that they always elect the best possible candidate for papacy? Hardly so. Please consider the case of H.Em. Marian Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro.

        I have just given an example noted by H.E. Archbishop Charles Mary Vigano of an error committed by the whole Ecumenical Council of Florence with the explicit acceptance by H.H. Eugene IV, which was amended only 5 centuries later. I am not sure if Mr. Cionci is aware of the importance of that fact: it means that for this period of many centuries numerous popes and thousands of bishops and theologians, at least in an inexplicit way by their silence/ignorance, allowed for this error to expand. Every single error in any papal document, as well as in the public position of the pope manifested in gesture or word (vide: kissing of Koran by H.H. John Paul II), brings, at least potentially, hazard of ruination of millions of souls. Under no circumstances is it to be easily neglected; I suspect that do not have to elaborate on this subject. Once done, such an error may last for years or even centuries intoxicating the Mystical Body with a poisonous spiritual food. It is our duty to limit the casualties by fighting the errors on a daily basis until the perpetrators retract them persistently and unequivocally, and even further since a renounced error can still bear noxious fruits among people also in future.

        Please also take a closer look at the mentioned term “religious reverence”. Religious means restoring our relation with God, the source of Truth. How one can be religiously reverent to his religious superior, be it the bishop of a particular diocese or the pope, by the explicit or inexplicit acceptance (qui tacet consentire videtur) of his errors or misdeeds, whether deliberate or not? It is not possible; just the opposite as a Russian saying goes “Молчанием предаётся Бог”. If need be, one can find comprehensive quotations from Aquinas or other saints regarding justified opposition to superiors in general or popes in particular.

        Hence, public exposition of the errors of our superiors, if they are harmful to the souls of the faithful, is not only our right, but also an obligation; even if it accounts for “spalare tonnellate di fango ogni giorno su un vero papa che è assistito dallo Spirito Santo”. It is not a personal attack; just the opposite: it is an indirect personal succour for the soul of a delinquent (besides its primary social leverage), provided it is done in a cultural and prudent way. Of course, in such a case, the “tonellate di fango” or “tons of mud” refer only to a large number of protestations of rightfully scandalised faithful helping their Holy Father to step aside from a road to hell.

        Please note one more issue. If we criticise our superiors for their deeds, urging them to amend their behaviour affecting clearly the Church, we indirectly, yet manifestly recognise their responsibility and possession of relevant offices in the Church, for good or for bad; it is the case with the “traditional” onslaught on the current antipapcy, which “authorises” it in the eyes of the “traditional” and “not-so-traditional” faithful. Therefore, substantial critique of H.H. Benedict XVI as the pope in particular, not only draws the attention of the public to Him and reduces the effect of the spell of anathemae oblivionis cast by “progressive modernists”, but also beneficially undermines the antipapacy. Let it be done.


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