In a recent post in his blog The Next Right Step, Charlie Johnston writes: “There is a lot of theological incoherence rising right now.” A few days ago I realized that a friend of mine — whose friendship I treasured since the time of my conversion — is into some form of Sedevacantism. This is hard to understand since he is a biblical scholar, a good man, and a person with an impeccable Catholic conduct. What happened?
Charlie Johnston’s words there gave me a hint: “theological incoherence.” My Sedevacantist friend knows (or should know) more than enough to see that the chair of Peter cannot be hijacked by the devil. If such a thing would happen then Christ would have failed in his promise to guard the faith of Peter at a crucial moment in history when Peter has — more than ever – to “confirm the brethren.” But even if per impossibili Jesus could fail to keep his promises, then we would have the Holy Spirit — our Helper leading us to the truth — taking a vacation in our difficult age. The consequences of the thought of a sede vacante truly boggle the mind. Imagine finding out after twenty centuries that we are no more than a benevolent association left to the circumstances of the human condition just like any other!
The nonsense of the “left” and the “right” are possible because we have grown accustomed to live without hearing Jesus. Too much TV, too much bishop this, and cardinal that. Read and pray the Gospel faithfully and nothing will sway you from the truth. Obedience is fundamental. It is easy to obey a brilliant Pope who is culturally like us in many respects. But this time we have to listen to — obey, revere — a Pope like Peter. I can imagine some early Christian saying “Is Peter the Pope? Wasn’t he the one that Jesus called “satan?” Didn’t he deny the Lord and go into hiding when the going got tough? Wasn’t he the one that was hanging around with those Jewish sectarians?” But when reading the Acts of the Apostles one gets a different feeling; Peter was loved and respected. May be he was loved and respected because of the Lord, because so many times through trials and miracles the Lord had shown that He wanted Peter — this particular Peter — at the helm of His Church.
Another piece of nonsensical blather: some will tell you that this rite of the Mass is “real” but that Mass is “false.” Whoa! You mean to tell me that Jesus allowed a false Mass to be presented to the faithful? A Mass where He does not dwell? Even Orthodox Jews believe that the sacrifice of bread and wine (known as the Todah) will last until the end of the world. What kind of fool believes in such “false Mass” nonsense? What kind of perverse reasoning validates the denial of Jesus’ words “I will be with you until the end of the age?” What kind of secret gnosis does a poor believer have to have to go fishing for “the right Mass” in a world where even the Eucharistic Jesus cannot be found with certainty? I can tell you what is “false” and that is the reasoning that derives into some kind of denial of Jesus’ promises!
Such is the situation now. We are not the Pope. We don’t decide what magisterial instruction is “false.” This is not a democracy. This is the Church militant and Peter rules until Jesus comes. Get used to it. If “doctor” this or “Ph.D” that, comes to you presenting the soundest and most logical reasons to tempt you into believing that Jesus failed to keep His promises, remember this: God chose to be a carpenter Himself to save the world, and then chose a fisherman to gather and confirm the elect to Him. There were no reverends, doctors, or eminences among the apostles because the grace of God suffices to do the job.