Hmmm – well, it seems I stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest with my last post so I figured I might as well set the whole thing ablaze and sit back and watch what happens. For the most part, I received very little “hate” mail for what I wrote (as if that truly mattered anyway).
Most recently, I was pondering what to write for this blog and all of a sudden, God gave me another answer to pray – to wit – Ann Barnhardt wrote a piece on me (she wasn’t a nasty meanie so chill out) and she offered up a few of her thoughts on what I said, why I said it, and her conclusions.
I will use this as an opportunity to go deeper into why I made the last post and to further illuminate the reasons behind it.
First, I have to say that I have read Barnhardt for a long time. I even bought her cattle marketing videos which I heartily recommend – seriously, in terms of business acumen they are brilliant.
Now, in terms of the church and canon law, we differ, and it is to this that I am going to make a reply.
First, she stated in her piece:
“Jonathan Byrd, a “Francis is Pope” partisan, recently announced that he has come to the false conclusion that the See of Peter is vacant due to Fauxp “Francis” losing the Office due to heresy, and then this error leads Byrd to fall even farther in declaring the See has been vacant since the death of Pius XII. Errors compound, folks.
His base premise is false, of course, but this is a perfect example of sound logical corollaries that are built upon a false premise yielding false conclusions.
Of COURSE Antipope Bergoglio is a heretic. He is an arch-heresiarch. He isn’t even Catholic. There is a strong, serious, not-exaggerated possibility that he is literally THE False Prophet of the Antichrist. He ticks every single box. So, OF COURSE if one starts from the false base premise that Antipope Bergoglio was ever the Pope (which he wasn’t), where that leads as the logical progression quickly unfolds is that “the See is vacant because Francis has lost the Office.”
So, it is absolutely NO SURPRISE whatsoever that the “Francis is Pope” partisans have been engaging in not just obvious and transparent Alinsky Rule #13 tactics (Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it – hence the name-calling, ban hammering, calumny crusades, etc.), but also classic PROJECTION in hurling the utterly irrational and laughable accusation of false sedevacantism. Deep down they know that holding the false premise that Pope Ratzinger’s attempted partial faux-resignation was valid and that Antipope Bergoglio was validly elected Pope on 13 March ARSH 2013 leads and led almost instantly to the realization that Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic and thus the discussion of Bellarmine’s, Suarez’ and John of St. Thomas’ writing on “deposing a heretic Pope” entered the conversation almost instantly. Given this false position, it is the “Francis is Popers” that arrive at the inevitable conclusion of false sedevacatism.”
The first thing I would like to address concerning what she wrote is that she misrepresented my previous position then based her argument on that (though I do not believe this was malicious on her part).
So what was my previous position? That was simple. I thought that Benedict never validly resigned therefor Bergolio couldn’t possibly be the Pope. I thought that for many years and actually wrote a blog post on that and used her as one of the references.
You can check out that post here: http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2017/09/03/the-time-has-come/ and if you will note the date – it was from September of 2017.
So her first premise is based on the idea that she thinks I thought Bergoglio was Pope and due to this – “all is lost and abandon ship.”
Well, this premise is false as it clearly shows from the above record. The facts are the complete opposite as shown above.
The second thing I would like to mention is that she stated her opinion, but she didn’t back it up with anything. It was simply what she thought.
In what I wrote, I stated what the Church has taught and gave you the references showing it.
My opinion doesn’t matter in this and if it did it wouldn’t be worth more than your opinion – I’m not protestant ya know….
I would also like to note that the blogger at Novusordowatch provided a very reasoned rebuttal on Ann concerning her position of Benedict of which you can read here: https://novusordowatch.org/2018/11/benedict16-mysterious-resignation-reply-barnhardt/
You see, my “arriving at the inevitable conclusions of … Sedevacantism” wasn’t based on the antics of this latest papal impostor in the least bit. I knew for a long time that he wasn’t.
What I didn’t fully understand was the teaching on the Church in regards to heresy, canon law, the ordinary magisterium and the infallibility of the Pope. I read a lot, but I didn’t read with the gift of knowledge. It is one thing to read a book, and it is something else entirely to apply that knowledge to real situations.
As she noted, I don’t believe that any of the previous “popes” since 1958 were valid. She quoted a comment I made on NovusOrdoWatch.com to make her point.
First, I’m shocked that she reads that blog…….. I’m sure everyone there would welcome her and her insights, so stop by and say Hi and introduce yourself – “don’t be a stranger y’ all.” What is it about “iron sharpens iron.”
Well, I purposely didn’t go into the previous “popes”, because at the length it was, there was no place for it nor did I have the time at the moment to write anything further. I still don’t have any intention of going over every single reason I believe what I believe. As I will show below, I’ve spent a lot of time learning what I have learned, and I will point out what I read and where you can read it too.
People with cognitive dissonance will go to the greatest links possible not to connect the dots because those dots scare them.
Sadly, it doesn’t scare them enough.
If it did, more would be moved to this position for safety of their soul and those under their care.
Why are people so scared of being a sedevacantist? Why is it so hard to admit that all of the previous ‘popes’ believed and promoted heresy? Why is it so hard to believe that what you see around you – this apostasy – is precisely that? What is it going to take to convince people?
I had a reader write in and tell me:
“Thank you so much for your “Ending Cognitive Dissidence” post! I agree with you completely, and have been on a very similar journey. I’ve been reading all the usual mainstream Traditional blogs, newspapers, etc. for a while now. (The Remnant, Steve Skojec, Ann Barndhardt etc.)
But I, too, have recently come to the some conclusion that you have. I started listening to the “Tradcast” podcast from Novus Ordo Watch about 2 years ago, and was absolutely blown away by the sedevacantist argument, which I never had heard. I knew that sedevacantists were evil, heretics; but that was all I knew. I didn’t know WHY they were evil heretics. I just knew they were!
Now that I’ve heard their argument, I can’t for the life of me figure out why their position is so feared and hated. People will accept any ridiculous idea thrown out there — including the one that we can and should resist a true pope! I’ve come to see that we as “recognize and resisters” have done so much to destroy the respect for the papal office.”
You see – in the real world – not the blog world – people are waking up. They realize they have been fed a load of bull for years and they are slowly realizing this. And it is to them that I devote the rest of this article.
I Was Scared
Yup, I was scared. Aren’t sede’s the mean people you see in the comment sections? Aren’t they all crazy, loony, flat earthers, ….people that don’t even own a television and living in caves waiting for the nuclear holocaust (and or the three days of darkness).
I heard one person say that sedevacantism is “intellectual Porn” and that only Intellectuals with super submissive wives would ever become a sede. I was also told “look at all of the hate they fill the comment sections with” and many other accusations against them.
Now, I would be the first to say that the comment sections are pretty rough. A lot of sede’s have been beaten up and down backward and forwards and then roasted, and frankly, they can tend to be harsh and caustic. It’s easy to stop this though – remove the comments from the blogs. I don’t allow them on this blog because I think they are, for the most part, pointless. Say what you need to say and let it be.
But – my livelihood ain’t wrapped up in keeping people on my website either, so I am in a different position than many others. Also, some good can come from the comment sections, but it takes lots of time to make sure they stay on topic and helpful and doesn’t degenerate into a free for all. Due to this – I decided its best not even to have them.
Now, most of what has been written about sede’s could be written about the different traditional groups. I was in them – in just about all of them at one point. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and lived through it. So making an argument against charity doesn’t hold water as every single one of those groups has issues as well.
This brings us to the point of “intellectual porn” that was thrown at me. Really, I guess there are some people that just love reading canon law but I ain’t one of them. I would rather drink a scotch and smoke a cigar and enjoy my family, but I do know many that love this stuff.
The problem with this argument is simply this: refute what they say using the teachings of all previous popes, the doctors of the Church, the magisterium, and canon law. You see, the package Truth is delivered in might not be what you want to see or hear, but if it is the truth, then you have an OBLIGATION to seek it out.
After I wrote that initial article (the one where I agreed with Ann) I decided, after some time, that It wasn’t “INTELLECTUALLY” honest of me to talk bad about sede’s or to discount sede’s or to have any opinion on them at all until I first knew what they believed and why they believed it. I was like most R&R bloggers and people in general that will accept most things – never ever ever look into sedevacantism. It was the four-letter word of the traditionals within the new Church.
Now, being an entrepreneur and having a long history of bucking the trend, I decided that If I was going to argue against something, I needed to know what they say. I decided to start reading and praying. This – of course – had an effect on me. I took nearly a month off from work to just read.
I read just about every book I could find, every blogger that had articles written and every youtube video that was worthwhile and pretty much devoured whatever I could find on this.
For those that are interested. I have listed the ones that I found helped me the most below:
The Destruction Of the Christian Tradition
This book is a fantastic work outlining what has gone on in the last 60 years and the conclusions that must follow from it. You can get it online here
Work Of Human Hands
This is a critique of Paul VI’s mass and is a must-read. Check it out here.
I seriously have read nearly everything on this website, and the author of this blog always makes sure that he backs everything up with the teaching of the Church and not opinion.
Steven Speray also has loads of articles on his site that are all documented from church teaching.
Here are 4 excellent videos explaining the sedevacantist position:
Now, back to the story…
After reading all of this for a month and watching a lot of conferences on youtube – I was pretty convinced that the position of sedevacantism was correct. However, it wasn’t time for me to accept it fully.
Intellectually I agreed with the position. I took the arguments that I read from the teaching of the Church and spoke with trusted friends and asked their opinions. I said, if this is wrong, show me from the same sources (church teaching before Vatican II) where it is wrong. NOT one person could do that.
One person referred to the 1917 code of Canon law as a novelty of Pius X. One person said he couldn’t refute it but “feels” it is wrong. You get the idea. I have yet to read or talk to one single person that actually read all of the arguments for sedevacantism and actually be able to disprove it using the above criteria.
In fact, I find that those that argue against it tend to fall into error themselves most notably saying that a heretic can be the head of the Catholic Chuch (which is heresy itself).
So what did I do?
Well, at first, I was confused. I didn’t have anyone in the sede camp to talk to. All I had was books, videos, and prayer. I reached out to a sede priest and didn’t get anywhere at first.
It was strange, I could see the truth of it, but I was in a barren wasteland at the moment. Soon, we would be having another child, and I had so many thoughts going through my head. Who will baptize him? Who will provide us with the sacraments? What is going on? Are all priests not validly ordained? Where is the Church?
You get the idea – I had a ton of questions and didn’t have a lot of answers at the moment. This spell lasted for six months. It wasn’t time yet for me. I ended up going back to my diocesan Latin mass parish. I did this against my better judgment.
I wanted mass and something stable for my family. I was so tired of trying to understand things and not getting anywhere. I was so fed up with blogs as well as they typically sow discord.
When I went back, I refused to read blogs. I refused to read the news. I refused to do anything other than just “go to mass” and keep my head down and get home. I said I couldn’t understand it, so I was going to do my best, go to a mass, and say my prayers.
This sounds good in theory, but in practice, it was horrible. You see, I knew too much already. Pandora’s box was already opened. There was no going back. This – reverting – was an act of disobedience. It was a lack of faith. It was a putting my hand to the plow and then looking back.
That was one of the longest years of my life. I traveled all around the country, visiting different masses in each city we stopped in. I kept my “keep your nose clean and don’t cause trouble” mindset – went to mass – then went back to my day to day life.
Mass was simply an obligation at that point. It was something that I did because I was supposed, but my heart wasn’t in it as I knew there was something terribly wrong.
Of course, this mindset does something to the soul…it kills it.
You see, Jesus wants our hearts. He is Jealous. He wants all of us, not just our Sunday mornings. He wants every thought, every word, every action. He wants to fill us with Himself and conform us to His image.
The problem was, I couldn’t do that. Why? How Can I give myself to something I don’t believe in? Within the NO church, I knew there was something terribly wrong.
I knew that Jesus couldn’t be united to that. I knew that Jesus desires something different. But less I sound like I was super spiritual, the reverse was more true. This was a time of falling away. No, not in externals, but internals.
The prayers we prayed were merely that. The family rosary was just another part of the day much liking eating dinner and sleeping. The heart was missing…
This was spiritual aridity such as I have only ever experienced once prior in my life, and that was what I always referred to my desert experience. In short – it totally sucked.
This lasted for a long time. How can you continue to do something you didn’t even believe in. At some point, the chicken comes home to roost, and it was time for me. It was time that I either made a decision or stop the charade.
At this point, The Heart of Christ extended His mercy one more time. I decided I needed to start picking up some more spiritual readings and also checked out a few blogs. This, of course, got me to think again.
It got me to come face to face with the errors I willfully held. God, through His Mercy and the intercession of St. Philomena, allowed the scales to fall from my eyes.
I realized something through this process. The head can know something. It can define it, it can teach it, it can wax eloquent all day long on it, but if the Heart doesn’t know it – it is pointless. It is a clanging cymbal… You see – God reached down and gave me the faith I needed to accept what was true. He gave me a heart – He gave me a little bit of His Heart.
I emailed another Catholic (sedevacantist) priest to talk to him – I found something I didn’t expect. I found Love. Did I find this nasty mean spirited crazy sede ? Nope – it was the exact opposite. I found the Faith that was once delivered. I found that I no longer had to try to explain away all of the chaos. I found priests that had one thing on their mind – the salvation of souls. I found heroic Charity, perseverance under constant fire, I found souls that endured sufferings the like we could never understand. I also found laughter – I found joy – I found peace. I found what I was promised from the beginning – I found the pearl of Christ price: the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…
Arguing with a protestant….
Have you ever had a discussion with a protestant about the Faith? You can bring up how the Church was founded. You can bring up the saints, the doctors, the counsels, and you can even bring up “where did you get the bible from” and yet they still can’t seem to put the dots together. You have to wonder why they can’t see it. Why can’t they look at what is so completely and totally obvious and backed up by two thousand years of church history, Popes, magisterium, canon law and they still can’t see it. It defies logic and drives you crazy.
Of course, I’m not really talking about protestants – I’m talking about those that are trying to say the sedevacantist position is false. It doesn’t really matter what I write here today. I can point to every link known to man showing every single quote from this saint or that one or this Pope or that one or this canon law, etc. and if the heart aint in it, it ain’t going to stick.
That is one of the reasons I refuse to reinvent the wheel. The truth is out there. It is staring at you in the face. Its everywhere and evident to a little child – but that is the problem – we don’t want to be the little child that simply trusts His Loving Father.
We want every question answered before we give assent. We want every problem solved. We want a perfectly straight and paved road with lots of rest stops.
We don’t want to take the “road less traveled” that is full of sacrifices, full of crosses that lead to our death and we can’t see the road ahead and don’t want to have “that type of faith.” That faith is too heroic. That faith is for the Saints. I just don’t want to go to hell…..
In choosing just to try to get along and ignore the facts – I chose hell.
God wants every bit of us. There isn’t one fiber of our being that God doesn’t own and He doesn’t want. We have to have faith. We can follow Christ or fall away – there is no middle ground.
For the arguments explaining why sedevacantism is true, I’m going to leave to much better men than me. They are there in the books and the websites I referenced above and if someone truly wants to know the truth – go ahead, read those blogs, buy those books, watch those videos and ask our Blessed Mother (the destroyer of heresy) to intercede for you so that you can know the truth.
I just wanted to share some of my journey because I think it can help someone. Maybe only one person will read this and God will speak to them, and if so, it was worth it. The purpose of this blog was never to make money. It was never to sit here and waste breath on the latest crap going on at the Vatican. The purpose was and still is the salvation of souls, and this is the reason I wrote the above.
May God be honored and praised in all His saints.
Traditional Catholic living on a homestead with his 11 kids and wife. To learn why this lay person is running this blog rather than a priest, go here.