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  #1  
Old Dec 28, '09, 10:08 pm
JaMc JaMc is offline
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Default Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

In a thread on another topic, someone posted a story about Fr. Francis E. Fenton, a very conservative (politically AND theologically) Priest, who was involved with the John Birch Society. I did a search on-line about him, and saw that he was involved in founding a group called the "Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodo...holic_Movement, which seems, at least, to lean sedevacantist,until he was eventually forced out of the group.

Does anyone know whatever became of Fr. Fenton, and whether or not he ever reconciled with the Church?
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  #2  
Old Dec 29, '09, 8:19 pm
Joe17 Joe17 is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

Fr Fenton died in the early 90's. He held on to his beliefs about the Church till his death, I am fairly sure. Bishop Robert Mckenna, O.P., one of his fellow priests in the ORCM, resides and offers the sacraments at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, CT. Info can be found at http://www.rosarychapel.net He is 82 and has Dominican sisters that live next door in their convent and run the small school at the chapel. He is very humble and approachable and a very good confessor.

Joe
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Old Dec 30, '09, 5:38 am
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Angelic Rose Angelic Rose is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

Sorry to get a little side-tracked (I grew up Orthodox and am now Catholic so its an interesting topic to me )

Was such a movement completely against the Catholic Church? I read in the wiki article that Father Fenton left the Church to begin his movement? Am I correct?
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Old Dec 30, '09, 7:31 am
giuseppeTO giuseppeTO is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by Joe17 View Post
Fr Fenton died in the early 90's. He held on to his beliefs about the Church till his death, I am fairly sure. Bishop Robert Mckenna, O.P., one of his fellow priests in the ORCM, resides and offers the sacraments at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, CT. Info can be found at http://www.rosarychapel.net He is 82 and has Dominican sisters that live next door in their convent and run the small school at the chapel. He is very humble and approachable and a very good confessor.

Joe
Bishop Mckenna is a sedeprivationist (like Mel Gibson). Sedeprivationism is the theory that follows the principles of the late theologian Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P., as Lauriers set it out in his thesis published in the Cahiers du Cassiciacum and therefore called the "Cassiciacum thesis".

According to Laurier's thesis, Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI were or are defective popes in that, due to their espousal of the Modernist heresy, their consent to become pope was faulty or defective, so that they became potentially pope, but did not attain to the papacy.

This idea is also described in another manner by saying that they became pope materially but not formally (the formula, "papa materialiter non formaliter").
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Old Dec 30, '09, 9:26 am
JaMc JaMc is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by giuseppeTO View Post
Bishop Mckenna is a sedeprivationist (like Mel Gibson). Sedeprivationism is the theory that follows the principles of the late theologian Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P., as Lauriers set it out in his thesis published in the Cahiers du Cassiciacum and therefore called the "Cassiciacum thesis".

According to Laurier's thesis, Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI were or are defective popes in that, due to their espousal of the Modernist heresy, their consent to become pope was faulty or defective, so that they became potentially pope, but did not attain to the papacy.

This idea is also described in another manner by saying that they became pope materially but not formally (the formula, "papa materialiter non formaliter").
That's quite a strange theory. Are they basically saying that, while they recognize that these Popes are actually leading the Church, they aren't infallible because they're "heretics"? Seems like some pretty tortured logic, i.e., "the Pope is infallible, these Popes are 'modernists,' therefore they can't be 'real' Popes, but we recognize that they are putting on the vestments and standing in the balcony of St. Peter's."
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Old Dec 30, '09, 12:39 pm
giuseppeTO giuseppeTO is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by JaMc View Post
That's quite a strange theory. Are they basically saying that, while they recognize that these Popes are actually leading the Church, they aren't infallible because they're "heretics"? Seems like some pretty tortured logic, i.e., "the Pope is infallible, these Popes are 'modernists,' therefore they can't be 'real' Popes, but we recognize that they are putting on the vestments and standing in the balcony of St. Peter's."
James,

My take on this thinking is that they are afraid to admit that they are sedevacantists and so they adhere to a "safer" road, that being that there is a validly elected pope but he has somehow not attained, or has lost, the 'essence' of the papacy, if that is possible. In this way, they can explain how we can be in crisis through the error of the pope, yet not admitting to the corollary of the defection of the church via the loss of its visible head on earth.

The beauty of their position is that if a pope takes a 'traditional turn', it is an easy jump to say "OK .. he has attained the essence of the papacy." The sedevacantists, on the contrary, could never agree to this since the basis of their sedevacancy is that the episcopal consecration rite has been rendered invalid by modern innovation and the pope cannot be pope unless he is a valid bishop (of Rome).

Tortured thinking, indeed, but perhaps in their minds, a milder, and easily recoverable form of sedevacancy.
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Old Dec 30, '09, 12:55 pm
Joe17 Joe17 is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

Bishop Mckenna does indeed follow Bp Gerard Des Laurier's thesis. He does pray for God to send us a true pope. While I don't accept the recent claimants to have any hold on the office at all, he does believe, as was stated earlier, that it is possible for them to formally become the pope by turning away from the errors that have pervaded the Church since Vatican II.

There is a good writeup on him in the December, 2009 traditional newspaper "The Four Marks." The website address is http://www.thefourmarks.com The cost is very reasonable for a monthly paper. Look around the site. Currently, the August edition of this year is free to download.

We are trying to navigate through this crisis with what we were always taught and know to be true and from the Church. That is why Bishop Mckenna and other priests teach and believe the way they do.

Joe
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Old Dec 30, '09, 1:00 pm
Joe17 Joe17 is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

Giuseppe,

Just curious. Have you been able to ascertain from a reliable source that Mel Gibson indeed is sedeprivationist? I would not doubt this. It is just that from what I have seen, he has not ever gone "on the record". I know well about his building the chapel in Malibu and his father. Pray that he comes around from his currnet situation concerning his wife and family.

Joe
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Old Dec 30, '09, 2:27 pm
giuseppeTO giuseppeTO is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Giuseppe,

Just curious. Have you been able to ascertain from a reliable source that Mel Gibson indeed is sedeprivationist? I would not doubt this. It is just that from what I have seen, he has not ever gone "on the record". I know well about his building the chapel in Malibu and his father. Pray that he comes around from his currnet situation concerning his wife and family.

Joe
No, in all honesty, I don't know from an authoritative source. However, Fr. Somerville says Mass here in Central New York for the Dominican Sisters in Massena and he was the priest who said daily Mass on the set of "The Passion of the Christ" so I could ask him.
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Old Dec 31, '09, 1:46 am
Hesychios Hesychios is offline
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Smile Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by JaMc View Post
That's quite a strange theory. Are they basically saying that, while they recognize that these Popes are actually leading the Church, they aren't infallible because they're "heretics"? Seems like some pretty tortured logic, i.e., "the Pope is infallible, these Popes are 'modernists,' therefore they can't be 'real' Popes, but we recognize that they are putting on the vestments and standing in the balcony of St. Peter's."
Wasn't it Robert Bellarmine who wrote a Pope cannot be a heretic, and loses his charism if he becomes a heretic, or something to that effect? He is a Doctor of the church.

But then Vatican Council of 1870AD seems to say that no matter what, the holder of that office will always be in charge universally 'The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon' and that this is essentially the intent of Jesus Christ. That seems to discount father Bellarmine's pious opinion.

No Pope will ever think that he is a heretic, no matter what he says or does. People, including bishops and Popes, always think that they believe the Truth, otherwise they would change their opinions to what they perceive as more correct. (People always want to be correct, even if they fear to expose themselves to others in their beliefs.)

If a Pope were to go mad or simply make an announcement most Catholics cannot in good conscience agree with, what is the proper response? There does not seem to be a mechanism in place to resolve these things.

I know many will think "it can never happen" but here we find dead serious Catholics who believe that has already happened. What then?

Years down the road there may be others, with new reasons to think the Pope is a heretic.

I guess I can see why people are driven to such tortured logic. If they did not think like they do, they might have to admit to themselves that the Papacy was not infallible, and that would call into question the validity of the Council of Vatican I, and then all Councils, then the basis for authority in the church. It seems like these people are just hanging on by their fingernails. They can't move forward and they can't go backward, they are stuck right there. Instead of living the dream it has become their nightmare.

Also, I find the charge of "Modernism" brought against Popes to be very problematic, because it was so vaguely defined originally. Many people seem to simply decide something qualifies as an expression of Modernism on their own. To someone scrupulous enough and diligent enough anything can look like Modernism. It is a somewhat mercurial concept.
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Old Dec 31, '09, 6:59 am
giuseppeTO giuseppeTO is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by Hesychios View Post
Wasn't it Robert Bellarmine who wrote a Pope cannot be a heretic, and loses his charism if he becomes a heretic, or something to that effect? He is a Doctor of the church.

But then Vatican Council of 1870AD seems to say that no matter what, the holder of that office will always be in charge universally 'The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon' and that this is essentially the intent of Jesus Christ. That seems to discount father Bellarmine's pious opinion.

No Pope will ever think that he is a heretic, no matter what he says or does. People, including bishops and Popes, always think that they believe the Truth, otherwise they would change their opinions to what they perceive as more correct. (People always want to be correct, even if they fear to expose themselves to others in their beliefs.)

If a Pope were to go mad or simply make an announcement most Catholics cannot in good conscience agree with, what is the proper response? There does not seem to be a mechanism in place to resolve these things.

I know many will think "it can never happen" but here we find dead serious Catholics who believe that has already happened. What then?

Years down the road there may be others, with new reasons to think the Pope is a heretic.

I guess I can see why people are driven to such tortured logic. If they did not think like they do, they might have to admit to themselves that the Papacy was not infallible, and that would call into question the validity of the Council of Vatican I, and then all Councils, then the basis for authority in the church. It seems like these people are just hanging on by their fingernails. They can't move forward and they can't go backward, they are stuck right there. Instead of living the dream it has become their nightmare.

Also, I find the charge of "Modernism" brought against Popes to be very problematic, because it was so vaguely defined originally. Many people seem to simply decide something qualifies as an expression of Modernism on their own. To someone scrupulous enough and diligent enough anything can look like Modernism. It is a somewhat mercurial concept.
Yes, it was St. Robert Bellarmine who wrote that a Christian who becomes a formal heretic ceases to be Catholic, and therefore would lose his office. I believe there is a mechanism in place whereby a preponderance of cardinals can come together and effectively put the pope on trial for heresy, but I don't know the specifics. Such a thing happened during the Great Schism. And of course, there is the notorius case of the pope who had his deceased predecessor dug up, dressed his body in papal robes, and put him on trial for heresy. He was convicted, his ring finger was amputated and he was unceremoniously dumped in the Tiber. His body was retrieved by zealous monks and he was eventually rehabilitated by a succeeding pope.

Modernism does tend to be problematic since it is a fairly relative term. However, multiple popes in the last two decades have issued condemnations against what was modernist thinking in their times. These mostly centered around what would probably best termed as "enlightenment" and the ideas of personal independence from moral and temporal strictures generally consistent with the ideals of the French Revolution. Some papal writings, such as the Syllabus of Errors, were very specific itemized lists.
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Old Dec 31, '09, 7:41 am
Ultima Ratio Ultima Ratio is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by Joe17 View Post
Giuseppe,

Just curious. Have you been able to ascertain from a reliable source that Mel Gibson indeed is sedeprivationist? I would not doubt this. It is just that from what I have seen, he has not ever gone "on the record". I know well about his building the chapel in Malibu and his father. Pray that he comes around from his currnet situation concerning his wife and family.

Joe
I can relate a story that was told to me personally by Tim Staples. While at a viewing of The Passion of the Christ a number of years ago, Scott Hahn asked Mel Gibson if he believed John Paul II was the Pope. His reply was "no".
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Old Dec 31, '09, 9:49 am
JaMc JaMc is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by Hesychios View Post
Wasn't it Robert Bellarmine who wrote a Pope cannot be a heretic, and loses his charism if he becomes a heretic, or something to that effect? He is a Doctor of the church.

But then Vatican Council of 1870AD seems to say that no matter what, the holder of that office will always be in charge universally 'The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon' and that this is essentially the intent of Jesus Christ. That seems to discount father Bellarmine's pious opinion.
This is the logic of (most) of the Sedevacantists - that John XXIII and his successors were heretics, and, therefore, could not actually become Pope. While I most certainly disagree with them on that, this logic is, at least, easy to follow. If he's not the really the Pope, you don't have to listen to him, and the guy in the robes waving to crowds in St. Peter's is not infallible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesychios View Post
No Pope will ever think that he is a heretic, no matter what he says or does. People, including bishops and Popes, always think that they believe the Truth, otherwise they would change their opinions to what they perceive as more correct. (People always want to be correct, even if they fear to expose themselves to others in their beliefs.)

If a Pope were to go mad or simply make an announcement most Catholics cannot in good conscience agree with, what is the proper response? There does not seem to be a mechanism in place to resolve these things.

I know many will think "it can never happen" but here we find dead serious Catholics who believe that has already happened. What then?
If he's actually the Pope, that cannot happen, due to Papal infallibility. The Sedevacantists get around this by saying, due to their heresies, they aren't really Popes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesychios View Post
Years down the road there may be others, with new reasons to think the Pope is a heretic.

I guess I can see why people are driven to such tortured logic. If they did not think like they do, they might have to admit to themselves that the Papacy was not infallible, and that would call into question the validity of the Council of Vatican I, and then all Councils, then the basis for authority in the church. It seems like these people are just hanging on by their fingernails. They can't move forward and they can't go backward, they are stuck right there. Instead of living the dream it has become their nightmare.
Exhibit A as to why reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesychios View Post
Also, I find the charge of "Modernism" brought against Popes to be very problematic, because it was so vaguely defined originally. Many people seem to simply decide something qualifies as an expression of Modernism on their own. To someone scrupulous enough and diligent enough anything can look like Modernism. It is a somewhat mercurial concept.
I agree with you there. "Godwin's Law of Traditionalism" - the longer a thread gets on a Traditional Catholic forum, the probability of someone being called a "Modernist" approaches 1.
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  #14  
Old Dec 31, '09, 10:01 am
JaMc JaMc is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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Originally Posted by giuseppeTO View Post
James,

My take on this thinking is that they are afraid to admit that they are sedevacantists and so they adhere to a "safer" road, that being that there is a validly elected pope but he has somehow not attained, or has lost, the 'essence' of the papacy, if that is possible. In this way, they can explain how we can be in crisis through the error of the pope, yet not admitting to the corollary of the defection of the church via the loss of its visible head on earth.

The beauty of their position is that if a pope takes a 'traditional turn', it is an easy jump to say "OK .. he has attained the essence of the papacy." The sedevacantists, on the contrary, could never agree to this since the basis of their sedevacancy is that the episcopal consecration rite has been rendered invalid by modern innovation and the pope cannot be pope unless he is a valid bishop (of Rome).

Tortured thinking, indeed, but perhaps in their minds, a milder, and easily recoverable form of sedevacancy.
Interesting. Actually, I have more respect for the Sedevacantists (while, again, I certainly disagree with them). The way I look at it, he's either the Pope or he isn't. If he is, then he can't proclaim heresy from the Chair of St. Peter (then there's the never ending debate over what statements are infallible and which aren't). If he isn't then he can do and say whatever he pleases.

The Sedeprivationists, then, seem to say that he's "sort of" a Pope, and if he ever gets his head on straight, he'll be a "complete" Pope. Is there anything from Vatican I, or any of the other councils, that could ever be construed to support this position?
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  #15  
Old Dec 31, '09, 10:04 am
Ultima Ratio Ultima Ratio is offline
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Default Re: Fr. Fenton and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement

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If he's actually the Pope, that cannot happen, due to Papal infallibility. The Sedevacantists get around this by saying, due to their heresies, they aren't really Popes.
Just to clarify, Papal Infallibility does not mean the Pope is protected from erring whenever he is teaching on matters of faith and morals. That is a common misconception. What it does means is that a Pope is protected from error when he defines a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church. Those are the guidelines set down by Vatican I for the requirements for Papal Infallibility. The new Catechism uses the term "definitive act" to refer to the act of defining a dogma. Outside of the guidelines set down by Vatican I, a Pope can err. To say he can't is to assert what the Church does not teach.
Pope Adrian VI: "If by the Roman Church you mean its head or pontiff, it is beyond question that he can error even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgment or decretal. In truth, many Roman pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John XXII (1316-1334)." (Quaest. in IV Sententiam).

Pope Adrian VI: "After his death [Pope] Honorius was anathematized by the Eastern Church. We must remember that he was accused of heresy, a crime which legitimizes the resistance of inferiors to superiors, together with the rejection of their pernicious doctrines. (Allocution III, Lect. In Conc. VIII, act. VII)
It is not normal for a Pope to err in matters touching faith and morals, but it can happen. And when it does, he is not to be followed. I'll give just one example of a Pope teaching an error.

John Paul II publicly taught that we do not know whether individual humans will go to hell.
John Paul II: "“Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it [hell].” (General Audience — July 28, 1999)
We know this is an error since Pope Pius II condemned the proposition that "all Christians will be saved". If all Christians are not saved, it follows that some must be damned; and if some are damned, we do know that some human beings will go to hell. We may not know which souls are damned, but we do know that some are.

Last edited by Patrick Eastin; Dec 31, '09 at 10:34 am.
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