Will the real Catholic Church please stand up?


While looking for a parish to attend Mass while in another town, I came across a website which claims that the popes since Vatican II cannot truly be the popes since they are heretics because they are teaching that which is contrary to that which the Church has always taught before. Specifically, they say that the Church has always taught that there is no salvation outside the Church, but since Vatican II teaches differently, it is false teaching, heretical, and since a heretic cannot be pope, those popes since Vatican II cannot really be popes (They are not a part of the Society of Pius X. This is their web address: www.stdominicchapel.com)

I found what they said confusing. I have been taught to believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church because it contains the four pillars of the Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic. I have also been taught that the teachings of the Church do not change–I understand the flower explanation—as time goes on, we can understand more fully a teaching, but I certainly agree that the Church cannot contradict itself which is what this website claims the Popes are now doing. I also believe Jesus said he would not abandon his Church.

Since I have no memory of the pre-Vatican II Church, it stirs something in me. Do I know what the Catholic Church is? Am I a part of the real Church? My own conversion was/is greatly influenced by the teaching of John Paul II. I am a cradle Catholic. As a young adult, I questioned my beliefs—why do I believe this, what if I had been born into, say, a Lutheran family, would that mean it was God’s will for me? However, I never left the faith. My questioning took the form of, e.g., the Church teaches birth control is wrong, I accept that it is wrong, but why? (please, don’t answer this one; I get it now). When I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, I fell in love with the Church, Mary, and the Eucharist, and John Paul II. I came to believe the Catholic faith is the true faith. I married in the Church, my husband and I have striven to live our lives according to the Church’s precepts as we continue to learn more about them. For example, I still struggle with how to keep the Sabbath holy. We go to Mass, we try not to go to stores, but what about the schoolwork that didn’t get done or household chores? Also in the area of responsible parenthood, we have really struggle with the issues of providing our children a Catholic education. We have driven to Catholic schools, homeschooled, and driven to a charter school all in an effort to give them a good education. Is it humility or laziness to acknowledge we are not doing a very good job educating them in the Catholic faith, yet the best we can do does not seem very good? We have 5 children ranging in age from almost 16 to just turned one and my husband and I are relatively “old”, 54 and 42. My husband drives 120 miles to and from work so we can afford our home in the country (which no one would want to buy right now and for which we could not trade for anything like it for the same price even one town closer to his job) and everything else we need. Sometimes it is such a struggle to keep them all fed and clothed and keep the dishes washed and we are so tired. It would make it all worth while, if I knew we were doing God’s will. But then I see some of the stuff going on at our parish (like a talent show where girls danced in immodest clothing and a boy played “Stairway to Heaven” on the steps of the altar) and others and I see the diversity among parishes. I thought the GIRM was supposed to straighten things out but it seems it’s gotten worse. This parish doesn’t kneel but this one does, this parish holds hands at the “Our Father” but another doesn’t, this parish doesn’t allow guitar music (I confess I love guitar music) while another has speakers, drums and electric instruments, etc., etc. I had a roommate in college who belonged to the Byzantine rite and with all this confusion, there is a yearning for the kind of stability they seem to have. What kind of homework do I need to do so I will know I am part of the real Catholic Church? And please remember, it needs to be simple for this mom of five including a baby.


Unity does not mean uniformity.


It’s very simple. Any “real Catholic” parish recognizes the authority of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and prior to him Pope John Paul II, and prior to him, Pope John Paul I, and prior to him, Pope Paul VI and so on. The parishes that advertise their differing opinions from that basic unity with Rome should be recognized as a “red flag alert” and as separated from Rome.


Little Bit Mary, I took a look at the website you posted and I recognized many of the articles on that site. I’ve read many of them, and have actually met some of the authors. The problem with the ideas put forth by them is that they have essentially set themselves as the judges of the past few popes. With every statement the pope or action the pope makes, these people try to interpret it in such a way as to make the pope look bad. This is not the attitude that a Catholic should have.


Original Poster, when looking onlline for a parish in another town, why not go the website of the Diocese or Archdiocese where you’ll be living or visiting in the other town. There are formally listed parishes for each.


I just looked at the web site and
they are SSPX


Quite True.


Gross. :o Then they are the ones who are not true Catholics.


I am actually considering on being Confirmed at a Byzantine Catholic Church because they are more traditional. That way I can follow the Pope, but not be a schismatic heretic.


“Gross” is 144 :cool:




just a little humor…a “gross” is a dozen dozen, or 144.



oh lol, hey would you mind responding to my other post.


Not so.

This chapel is not part of any particular order or society.

The founder was originally part of the Society of St. Pius X, but was expelled by Archbishop Lefebvre and was part of the founding of the Society of St. Pius V. Unlike the Society of St. Pius X, which accepts all the post-conciliar popes as valid, the Society of St. Pius V does not.

However, there were splits in the SSPV and the founder left that society as well.

The founder of this chapel espoused sedeprivationism, which is rather different than sedevacantism. Sedeprivationism asserts that, while the hold the office of Pope, they could not validly accept the Papacy due to the espousal of the Modernist Heresy. However, since they were dully elected, should they recant Modernism (although one must wonder what it would take to satiate these folks on that one), they would become pope according to proper form. So, this would make them papa materialiter non formaliter, or “Pope in Material (as in, holding the office), but not in Form (the proper form has not been carried out).” However, since the men since John XXIII have materially held the office, there is no technical sede vacante.

Sedevacantists, however, reject outright the election of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and, in some circles, John XXII.

In any case, avoid these folks. They are in schism and should be prayed for, but not supported.


From their website: (Sounds borderline cult, in my limited Catholic understanding)

If you are contemplating adherence to Catholic Tradition, we invite you to join us for Holy Mass on Sunday and to speak afterwards with the clergy, who would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. ** We ask only that you refrain from receiving Holy Communion **until you have made the decision to attend exclusively the traditional Latin Mass and to avoid the new Mass and reformed sacraments.

Also from their website:



which one? :smiley:




Correction: the founder of this chapel, was not expelled. He was a priest member until about 1997, and left on his own to be employed by Fr. Sanborn. In 2004 then Fr. Robert Neville went on his own to found the Chapel mentioned here. NetNuncio is apparently confusing things with Sanborn, though Sanborn was not expelled. It was a mutual separation. Testimony is given by Fr. Cekada at www.tradtionalmass.org.

(typo, that is, John XXIII…23)
Actually, there really is no ISM involved here. The priest simply believes there is currently and temporarily no true pope because of heresy. Historically Saints and theologians have addressed the possibility of a pope ceasing to be pope through heresy.

Actually, nobody is to be held as schismatic unless authority declares so. This has not been declared.


If a church or diocese or parish or other form of the Christian life

*]is not recognised by the Pope
*]is not in communion with the Pope
*]is not approved by the bishops in communion with the Pope
*]does not accept as authentic Catholic teaching all that the Pope teaches
*]does not accept as valid all the Papal acts the Church at large accepts as valid
*]does not accept a particular Pope as legitimately so described[/LIST]- it is not Catholic. If it fails even one of these tests, it is not Catholic. The SSPX is - juridically - no part of the Catholic Church; it merely possesses & does & believes everything a Catholic Church should. What it does not have is the centre of unity, the Pope. Catholicism-in-bits-and-pieces, which it does have, is not Catholicism, any more than a disorganised pile of bones is a living human person in the friendship of God. :frowning: It lacks the thing that keeps it in the Catholic Church considered as a juridical reality. C-I-B-A-P is the material of Catholicism: but no amount of rosaries or Masses or scapulars or Bible or holy cards or novenas will make a body a part of the Catholic Church if the Pope is left out, however greatly blessed it may otherwise be (which is very desirable, but not enough to make its members Catholic).

Even if every single member of the SSPX is in God’s friendship - & it is very much to be desired that they are - that does not make them Catholics in the juridical sense (which is what the original post seems to be asking about). The Church is much more than a juridical reality, but the juridical aspect of the Church is an essential part of its life on earth. The life of grace is far more important - but without the juridical aspect of the Church, it is not fully defined as specifically Catholic.

Being a good person is more important than being in good health - but without a spine, the body would not have the health it needs for the person of whom it is a material element to be good for anything. A person has to exist as a person - & for humans that involves having a functioning spine. Otherwise, the human person can’t have anything, even being human, let alone God’s friendship. The juridical aspect of the Church is like a spine. It’s less important than the reality it serves - which is, the Church on earth, for the sake of its communion with the Church hereafter - but that does not mean it is unimportant, or that it can be done away with in this world.


Not true. “By the autumn of 1997, Father Neville found that he could no longer in conscience exercise his priesthood under the auspices of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X…In December of 1997, Father Neville met with the superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, The Most Reverend Bernard Fellay, to announce to him personally his departure from the Fraternity.”

Edit: My apologies to NetNuncio and JLC as they already covered the not SSPX issue. Should have read further before posting.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.