Schismatics, the SSPX, and Sedes w/ John Salza

John Salza, a long-time Catholic apologist, has made an extremely good case against the ecclesiological convictions of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). I’ve long said before that, whatever one might legitimately point out about the issues with the current state of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church, the solution embedded into the SSPX narrative is irreconcilable with Scripture, Tradition, and the consensus of the Fathers/Theologians. Consequently, there is no hope within the SSPX to regain something from the Apostolic tradition as understood by historic Catholic theology. Anyone involved would do well to rethink their steps, revisit the cogency of their position in light of what men like Salza are saying, and hopefully see the ecclesiological dead-end in the SSPX for what it is. Salza and Fradd do wonders in this video.

Nevertheless, if one were to think that this interview was supporting the pendulum-swing opposite of cheering on the Pontificate of Pope Francis, in either doctrine or discipline, they might be surprised to find a rather glaring 2-min segment between 2:40:55 and 2:42:20 which I’ve transcribed below. Anyone who listened to the whole video would not be surprised overall since even Salza himself expressed elsewhere in the video his difficulties with the continuity between the traditional Catholic doctrine of Church/State and the extremely controversial decree Dignitatis Humanae, what appears to be St. John Paul II’s “extremely scandalous” sin against the faith when he publicly kissed the Quran, the “Pachamama” event, and a variety of other issues related to the liturgy.

What this shows is that while people are sure to benefit from the clear and convincing case against the imaginative solutions in sedevacantism and the SSPX, this is not meant to squelch all the difficulties that are involved in dealing with the current crisis within Catholicism. One is urged to remain firm in the unity of the Catholic Church by strict adherence to the unity of the Apostolic See, a principle, however difficult to cope with, that is well established in Church history. But no one is put under an illusion that all is well, that we should ignore talking about the problems that are unmistakably displayed by the Roman Pontiff himself and spread throughout the hierarchy, nor that every problem is safely solved. If today’s issues do not exclude the kind of thought that the heir to St. Peter’s throne could be a danger to our children, were he to be a children’s catechist, let alone Pope, then the point of this interview cannot be entirely one of relief.

No, the problem(s) are still there, and they don’t appear to be going anywhere soon. The aim here is not so much ecclesiastical therapy or one’s finally casting off the burden of anxiety that comes with joining what appears to be the antithesis of the real Apostolic patrimony as much as it is simply the raw persevering of the legal principles that undergird the essence of Catholic ecclesiology, come what may. In my own mind, this kind of candid admission from prominent Catholic speakers does not leave us without a bit of self-reflection. Regardless of how theologically correct the arguments are, this should also calibrate just how we treat folks who are flying off to sedevacantism, the SSPX, Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism, and whatever alternative happens to appear especially sweet from the current sewage-vantage point. If anything else were also clear, it is the sheer inconsistency of making one’s undiluted aim of attacking dissent within while also being forced by the undeniable evidence, even if it occurs in a few minutes of time, to admit the matter that plagues all of these souls in the first place anyway.

𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗱: 𝘐 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘶𝘮 𝘴𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨… 𝘴𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘨𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘳 𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘺𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘴… 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘺𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘴, 𝘰𝘬.. 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦. 𝘚𝘰 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴. 𝑰’𝒎 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒄𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒎, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑷𝒐𝒑𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒏 𝒂𝒘𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝑷𝒐𝒑𝒆, 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒂 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒚 5-𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓-𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒍𝒅, 𝒍𝒆𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝑷𝒐𝒑𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒚𝒆𝒕 𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒆 𝑷𝒐𝒑𝒆.

𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝘇𝗮: 𝘖𝘩 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒂𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒆𝒓𝒓𝒐𝒓𝒔, 𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘔𝘢𝘵𝘵… 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘐 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘢 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘺, 𝘐’𝘮 𝘢 𝘭𝘢𝘸𝘺𝘦𝘳, 𝘐’𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦, 𝘐 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯… 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 , 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘵 𝘶𝘴…. 𝘺𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 24 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘭 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘥𝘢𝘺? 𝘐’𝘮 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘭, 𝘣𝘶𝘵…

𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗱: 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥, 𝒄𝒖𝒛 𝑰 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝑻𝒂𝒚𝒍𝒐𝒓 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒌… 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘐’𝘮 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘤𝘺𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭… 𝘐 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘦𝘵 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘩𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘏𝘦’𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘦.

Medievalist Historian Walter Ullman on the Papal Claims in East versus West During the Acacian Schism (484-519)

My YouTube subscribers (if you haven’t already, plz subscribe!) may have seen recently the live stream I did on the views of the Rev. Dr. Richard Price on his understanding of the acceptance of the Papacy in Eastern and Western Christianity in the 1st thousand years of Church history. I won’t rehearse anything. But I’ll say that the bit which I covered on the divergence between the Papal claims being, on the one hand, externally accepted by the Byzantines, perhaps for whatever reason, and, on the other hand, being internally rejected, is here given a footnote of an exception. One notable example of this is Justinian the Great (6th century). As I recently posted (see prior post citing Henry Chadwick on the Libellus Hormisdae) he at once gave external acceptance to the Papal claims through the resolution of the famous Acacian schism through Pope St. Hormisdas (519) and then subsequently externally showed that this was not something he (nor many Greek bishops) really believed, at least to the extent to which Rome did, by his handling of the reconquest of Italy through his military commander Belisarius, the Three Chapters controversy, and the Imperial control over Pope Vigilius during the 5th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople 553).

I support this from one of the great works of the late Dr. Walter Ullman, Cambridge professor in Medieval history and one of the foremost historians in the history of the Papacy. In his 𝑨 𝑺𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑷𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒊𝒅𝒅𝒍𝒆 𝑨𝒈𝒆𝒔, a work heralded by the award winning Dr. Thomas F. X. Noble, professor of history @ the Univ. of Notre Dame, as “𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦-𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺” on the Papacy (Oxford Bibliographies Online), Ullman highlights both the grammar and acceptance of the Papal claims, principally in the Formula of Union (Hormisdas) in 519, signed by more than 2,000 Greek bishops, and how this was less than a sincere acceptance in light of subsequent maneuvers against the papacy in order to gain control of it. Of course, if you’d like to read more, you can see my own book on the subject (see link in comments), but for now I’ll cite from Ullman:

“Once more the ancient Roman constitution served the papacy well: it chose the term 𝒂𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒔 (see note below) which designated the 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒓𝒖𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓. Auctoritas as claimed by the papacy from now onwards meant the faculty of laying down in a binding manner the fundamental guidelines that were to direct Christian society of the Roman Church which itself was the constitutional term for Roman monarchy.

“It was these fundamental views which were set forth in a number of official papal communications in the last decades of the fifth century. Both as the draftsman of Felix III and as pope Gelasius I formulated the idea of the papal monarchy with special reference to the actuality of the situation. In so doing he very greatly enlarged the storehouse of basic papal ideas which were to become the backbone of the medieval papacy. He maintained that both pope and emperor were necessary for the government of the ‘world’ (which to him was still the Roman empire), though each was called upon to function in a different way. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒐𝒑𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒂𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒂𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒅 (𝒔𝒂𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒂) 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 ‘𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒍𝒚’ 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒅𝒆𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒑𝒖𝒃𝒍𝒊𝒄, 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒙𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉, 𝒆𝒄𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒛𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒆𝒄𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒋𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 –in other words, those very things which made any Christian society a living body.” (p. 32)

“Meanwhile the Acacian schism came to be settled during the pontificate of Hormisdas, which coincided with the reign of the Emperor Justin I (518-527), himself already decisively guided by his nephew, Justinian. Indubitably due to Justinian’s persuasive effort Justin made overtures to Pope Hormisdas in 519 to which the latter eagerly responded. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒈𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒛𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒖𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒄𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒐𝒈𝒎𝒂. 𝑨𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒕𝒉 𝒏𝒆𝒈𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒑𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒙𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒐-𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒂 𝒐𝒇 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒐𝒏 (519) 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒅, 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒇𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒕, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒄𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝒔𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒔𝒎 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒕𝒚 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒔. 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒈𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒂 𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄 𝒉𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒂𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒏 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉, 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒑 𝒓𝒎𝒐𝒊𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕 (𝒊𝒏 𝑴𝒂𝒕𝒕. 16:18𝒇.), 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒌𝒆𝒑𝒕. 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒄𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 (𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒊) 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆 1350 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒅𝒆𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝑽𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒍.

“But in its immediate effects this Formula was no more than an 𝒂𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒄 𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒗𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 on the part of the imperial government which spoke of ‘two empires’ and the ‘two churches’ of Old and New Rome. 𝑬𝒙𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒊𝒕 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒅 𝒂 𝒗𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒚, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒃𝒆 𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐𝒖𝒃𝒕, 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒐𝒅𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒂 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒍𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝑱𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒂𝒏. His was the real moving spirit that wished to prepare the ground for his policy of re-conquest: if he was to reconquer Italy and drive out the alien Goths, and if the Roman empire in all its ancient glory was to be re-established, 𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒑𝒂𝒍 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒐𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒐𝒎, 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒏 𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒔. 𝑰𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑱𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒄𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒂𝒏 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒍 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒓𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒂𝒔𝒌𝒔 𝒅𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒐𝒓 𝒉𝒊𝒎𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇.” (p. 40-41)

It is often pointed out that auctoritas might mean something more rooted in classical literature (Cicero, for ex.) as a moral status, honor, or the prestige of having skill, hereditary nobility, or learned professionality, etc., etc. In my book on the Papacy, I address this more, but I’ll say here that Dr. Karla Pollman, whose done extensive work in this area, has privately confirmed to me that auctoritas has a range of meanings and will have to be defined as it is used in particular contexts. Most notably, when Popes, since at least Pope Innocent I and especially Leo I, it seems to take on a more authoritative meaning.

Henry Chadwick on the Formula of Hormisdas (519) and the Acacian Schism

Don’t worry, this one is not going to be controversial……..

As is well known, the famous Acacian schism (484-519) is a period of Church history where many Catholics have pointed to as evidence of the Papacy in the 6th century. With equal insistence, we read from opponents that such a thing can only be done by the Catholic apologists who either do not know Latin/Greek or who are blinded by their bias towards Papal power. By now, the amount of non-Catholic scholarship that has agreed with the typical Catholic interpretation of the events should be compelling, since some of them are Eastern Orthodox or Protestant. I thought I came across a great number already. But there is one more that I came across recently.

Although I often cited from him on other matters, I am saddened to have missed the opportunity to add in my book on the Papacy the great Anglican patristic scholar Henry Chadwick who said the following about the Libellus Hormisdae/Acacian affair in his volume in the 𝑶𝒙𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝑪𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉:

“… during the Acacian schism from 484 to 518 which, with a change of emperor, ended in Pope Hormsidas’ successful insistence that the Greek churches acknowledge the 𝑷𝒆𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑷𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒇𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒆, 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒐𝒍𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝑹𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒔 𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝑷𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒋𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏…” (𝐸𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑊𝑒𝑠𝑡 : 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑀𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑅𝑖𝑓𝑡 (𝑂𝑥𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑑 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑃𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠, 2003), 190)

This doesn’t clearly break any ground. Relax. This isn’t a “papal proof.” I’m sure there are other interpretations to fetch in the qualifiers of ancient canon law, or perhaps the outskirts of our imaginations. However, I thought it seemingly clear and forthright, and therefore worth sharing.

Happy New Year!