COMMENTS OF FATHER STEPANICH ON GRUNER-FERRARA ANTI-SEDEVACANTST STANCE. (Father Stepanich holds a doctorate in sacred theology and was formerly a professor of theology in a Franciscan seminary.)
Dear Father Gruner:
You are accustomed to sending
out frequent encyclical-like letters of exhortation and appeal with the ones
coming to my address having “Dear Father Stepanich”
personal touches to them.
Here in return is a special “dear Father Gruner” letter, it also having a personal touch to it. To make things plain to you right from the start, this letter has a personal message for you, a message that you cannot afford to ignore. If correction is something that does no exactly appeal to you as a world-renowned celebrity, especially when coming from a 90-year-old nobody, just fasten your seat belt…, Tolle! Lege! Take and read!
In the summer 2005 issue of
The Fatima Crusader, you treat readers with the misnamed article “Defend your salvation,” an article that
in no way defends anyone’s salvation.
If anything, the artidloe endangers the salvation of
souls, because it fails to present to them the true picture of the situation in
the Church when a public heretic occupies the Chair of
What greatly aggrevates an already bad situation is that the other article in the same issue of The Fatima Crusader, the
article brashly entitled “defending the Papacy.” That article is
very plainly an ill-advised Defense of
the Presence of a Public Heretic in
Sooner or later, Father
Gruner, you will with embarrassment regret giving space to an article like
Curiously enough, the
Father Gruner, your outstanding and well-deserved merit for so many long years has come from your courageous promotion and defense of God’s Fatima Message, given to the world thro0ugh Our Lady and the Angel of Fatima. Why, then, have you now gone out onto the dangerous anti-sedevantist limb where you don‘t belong? As it is, that limb was already weighed down heavily by such heavyweight anti-sedevantists as Vennari, Matt and Guimaraes and Kramer and the official SSPX
Although it has been well-known for years that you are, in practice, an incorrigible anti-sedevacantist, acknowledging as you have long done, the Vatican II Ecumenical and religious-mixing “popes’ as being real Catholic popes, why do you now have to pose as somewhat of an authority on Sede-vacantism, while neglecting to make clear just what sedevacantism really is, in its full and correct meaning?
Just how confused and one-sided your thinking is on sedevacantism is glaringly evident in the first sub-title in your article which reads: “The ‘Sede-vacantist’ Theory is False.” There you come up with a categorical and blatantly untruthful declaration that sede-vacantism is nothing more than a “theory” when it is in reality an undeniable fact in all its three meanings.
you had the chance to explain to readers in what ways the Chair of
You presumably agree that
when a pope dies, the Chair of
The plain fact is, as you
well know, that the vacancy of
The second instance in which the Papal Chair becomes vacant is when a pope resigns from
the papacy. That is what Pope St. Celestine V did in 1294. He resigned. Do you
agree that here you have sede-vacantism again, in all its undeniable reality? You
wouldn’t say that it only a “theory” that resignation by a pope causes vacancy
The third instance in which the Chair of
Believe it or not, it is
consideration of this third instance of the vacancy of
Father Gruner, let’s make things perfectly clear right here. To Sedevacantists the central and unquestionable issue in all this is the true and unchanged Catholic Faith.
To Sedevacantists, a true Catholic Pope is one who professes and teaches and defends any mixing with other so-called “Faiths” or religions.
Have you ever heard any anti-Sedevacantist saying it as definitely and clearly as that?
What you have heard, over and over again, and what
you yourself keep saying, is that the
For anti-Sedevacantists, that is the central issue in their wrong-way opposition to Sedevacantists.
And what, Father Gruner, are the rationalizations of Anti-Sedevacantists use when insisting that Vatican II heretics
o the Chair of
One of the favorite rationalizations of Anti-Sedevacantists is “Don’t
Judge the Pope!” In that not too
careful judgment of Sedevacantists, you make them look as though they judge genuine Catholic Popes who profess
the true and unchanged Catholic Faith of all times. To be truthful and accurate about this matter
of “Judging the Pope”, you know you would have to accuse Sedevacantists
of judging an occupant of the Chair of
You anti-sedevacantists carelessly make it look as if any and all judgments about a pope are automatically wrong. No one needs to tell you that God gave men in general the ability to judge between right and wrong, good and evil, virtue and vice, truth and error. You also know that, with the gift of the Catholic Faith, God gave us the ability to judge the difference between what is in accord with the Catholic Faith and what is contrary to the Catholic Faith.
You also know very well that we are obliged to profess the Catholic Faith
fully without holding back, and state frankly what we see to be contrary to
that Faith, even in one who sits on the Chair of
As you can plainly see, Father Gruner, your “Don’t judge the Pope” argument is a dead argument, useless in defense of anti-sedevacantism.
Another dead argument of anti-sedevacantists is
the “visble church” argument. For anti-sedevacantists,
the visibility of the church requires that someone must occupy the Chair of
The truth is that Our Lord did indeed establish His Church as a visible Church, but what anti-sedevacantists don’t tell you is that His visible Church is one that professes and practices the unchanged one and only true Catholic Faith.
No one should need to remind you that Protestant churches, Jewish synagogue, Hindu temples and Moslem mosques are all highly visible. But of what use is that kind of visibility if the one and only True Faith is missing in such places?
A public heretic and mixer of religions on the Chair
Still another dead argument of anti-sedevacantists is
the mistaken notion that the Church would
stop existing if the Chair of
who decides when the Chair of
The fact is, Father Gruner, that men
cannot destroy the Church. Men
cannot make the Church stop existing. To
use the technical term, men cannot
destroy the indefectibility of the Church. The most that men can do is to help destroy
the faith of the individual members of the Church, even to the point – as you yourself admit – that
there would remain only a “remnant” of those faithful to Our Lord. Wherever the True Faith would still be professed and practiced, even if there
were no Pope on the Chair of
No matter how long the Chair
When Our Lord promised, “I will be with you all days…,”
He surely meant that He would be with those professing the traditional and unchanged Catholic Faith. He could not possibly have promised to be
with a public heretic and mixer of religions occupying
It isn’t Our Lord, but the
anti-sedevacantists who unthinkingly insist that a
public heretic on
get themselves tangled up talking about a “Formal” Pope and a “Material”
Pope. By a “Formal” Pope they presumably
mean a genuine Catholic Pope. But what
in the world is a “Material” Pope? If
the man on
Anti-Sedevacantists also like to refer to a heretic “Pope” as “The Holy Father.” What do they now call him, seeing that he addresses them as “Dear brothers and sisters”? Shouldn’t they call him “the Holy Brother”?
Father Gruner, if hyou have the idea that sedevacantists
are obstructing or delaying the consecration of
But enough is enough! All the foregoing is more than enough to give
you a chance to know and understand the real sedevacantist position on the Vatical II occupants of the Chair of
Father Gruner, if you are still there reading this “Dear Father Gruner” letter, maybe you might welcome th recommendation that you andyour devoted ollowers frequently recite the following prayer attributed to Our Lady in The Mystical City of God (Coronation Volume, page 244): “I ask, O my Son, that Thou look upon the affliction of thy Church and that, like a loving Father, Thou hasten the relief of Thy children engendered by Thy most Precious Blood.”
Dated August l6, 2005 and signed by Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D.