22 Sep 2016


Martin Luther (a formal heretic) before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521   
Dear Father,

I have only begun to refute the mean spirited and sacrilegious vilification that Salza and Siscoe have spewed against me in my four part reply to Salza and Siscoe and on radio interview, and I will continue to do so for so long as it remains necessary. In my ongoing seven part exposé of their theological quackery I have only scratched the surface of their profound confusion on points of doctrine, resulting from their incapacity to correctly understand basic theological concepts.

Here are two examples: 1) Salza, ignorantly challenging me on the definition of the term, "material heretic" writes: An ignorant Catholic is not a heretic (formal or material) because he possesses divine faith and is invincibly ignorant of his heresy through no fault of his own. A material heretic is also invincibly ignorant of his heresy, but does not possess divine faith, thus rendering him a material heretic.

Salza does not understand the basic difference between formal and material heretics – those who knowingly, culpably and obstinately deny a truth of faith are formal heretics; while those who do so without fault (or culpably but without pertinacity) are material heretics only: "Qui cum sua culpa veritatem de fide negant, formales haeretici vocantur, qui id sine sua culpa faciunt, materiales haeretici dicuntur." (THEOLOGIAE FUNDAMENTALIS TRACTATUS DUO. SCRIPSIT SAC. F. H. REINERDING, H. ET. PH. DR. ET TH. PROF. IN SEMINARIO FULDENSI, Tractatus prior. Demonstratio christiano-catholica contra adversarios generatim omnes. Monasterii Guestphalorum. SUMPTIBUS LIBRARIAE ASCHENDORFFIANAE. 1864, no. 428)

Salza is quite unaware of the fact that it is precisely because the material heretic retains the formal cause of the virtue of faith, that he still has the virtue of faith, and therefore is not a heretic in the proper sense of the word. The material heretic does not defect from the faith, because he believes in revelation on divine authority, and does not reject the formal cause of faith – "supernaturalis enim virtus fidei causam formalem habet, Dei revelantis auctoritatem” (Pius XI - Mortalium Animos).

The material heretic accepts the authority of the revealing God, professes the Creed, and thus does not reject the formal object of faith, but, errs ignorantly on the matter, being unaware that his opinion materially opposes some truth of revelation. Such a one still adheres to the formal object of faith: “Formale autem obiectum fidei est veritas prima secundum quod manifestatur in Scripturis sacris et doctrinae Ecclesiæ. Unde quicumque non inhæret, sicut infallibili et divinæ regulæ, doctrinæ Ecclesiæ, quæ procedit ex veritate prima in Scripturis sacris manifestata, ille non habet habitum fidei, sed ea quae sunt fidei alio modo tenet quam per fidem.” (St. Thomas, Summa Theol., IIa IIae, q.5, a. 3.) The material heretic adheres formally to that infallible and divine rule, assenting on divine authority to the divinely revealed truths, but errs objectively in ignorance regarding the matter of some article(s) of faith.

The material heretic retains the formal cause of the virtue of faith, because the form of heresy which is contrary to that virtue is absent in the material heretic. Thus, "Hæretici materiales (qui autem iuxta S. Augustinum . . . nequaquam sunt inter hæreticos deputandi) dicuntur illi, qui non ex malo animo aut pertinacia, sed ex simplicitate, aut defectu debitæ informationis, errant circa Fidem." (Theologia Moralis, P. F. Anaclet Reiffenstuel, Munich, 1715, p. 202) Hence, material heretics remain faithful sons of the Church: "Gli eretici materiali sono figliuoli della chiesa." (Catechismo filosofico, o raccolta d'osservazioni atte a difendere la religione cristiana contro de' suoi nemici. Opera del sig. abate F. X. De Feller tradotta dal francese secondo la terza edizione di Liegi corretta, e notabilmente accresciuta; Tomo III, Milano, 1828, p. 203)

Those who because of simplicity and invincible ignorance err materially do not consciously, i.e. scienter, prefer their own judgment to the teaching of the Church, in which consists the sin of infidelity and the form of heresy, as St. Alphonsus explains: " Porro pertinaciter errare (quæ est formale) . . . est eum [errorem] retinere, postquam contrarium est sufficienter propositum: sive quando scit contrarium teneri a reliqua universali Christi in terris Ecclesia, cui suum iudicium præferat”.

Therefore it is only the formal heretic who is properly called a heretic because he has defected from the faith by refusing to believe what he knows to be the faith of the universal Church, and thus no longer has the virtue of faith – but the material heretic still has divine faith. Thus it is patent that Salza is totally clueless on the proper distinction between formal and material heresy.

2) Salza/Siscoe manifest a profound confusion on the distinction between internal and external sin in the passage you have quoted:

Not wishing to be pinned down, he carefully avoids defining his concocted terminology, but it is clear that by the “public sin” of heresy, he essentially means the internal sin of heresy that the person manifests to many by his external actions (but actions that are not public heresy, as such, as we will explain later). These external actions are what lead others to conclude that he is guilty of the sin of heresy, which, Cekada claims, places the perpetrator outside the Church.

These two ignorant charlatans have obviously never properly studied Fundamental Moral Theology. I studied Philosophy and Theology at the Angelicum in Rome under the old Dominican Thomist professors in the 70s, and I have 14 well read volumes of Moral Theology in my personal library. Salza and Siscoe fail to understand the basic distinction between an internal sin and an occult sin. An internal sin is a sin of thought, as opposed to an external sin which is a sin of words or deeds. An external sin is occult if the sin is not known by anyone, or only by very few individuals. An external sin is public if it was done in public, and is sufficiently widely known so that it is considered to be a public sin.

It is the matter and not the form which determines whether a sin is internal or external; and it is the form or lack thereof, and not the matter which determines whether the sin is pertinacious, merely culpable but not pertinacious, or inculpable. The error of material heresy can be inculpable; or culpable and vincible, but without pertinacity: "Et quia illa ignorantia, vel error potest esse, aut inculpabilis, aut culpabilis & vincibilis, eaque vel levis, vel lata, crassa, supina, vel denique etiam affectata, & directe voluntaria, ideo triplicis gradus distingui possunt hæretici materiales." (Patritius Sporer, Theologia Moralis Super Decalogum, Salzburg, 1722, p. 175) The error of formal heresy is culpable and pertinacious; the error of material heresy is not pertinacious, but in both cases, it is the matter alone that determines whether the sin is internal or external.

So, when Salza says that Fr. Cekada, "avoids defining his concocted terminology, but it is clear that by the 'public sin' of heresy, he essentially means the internal sin of heresy that the person manifests to many by his external actions"; Salza is saying that an external sin is only an internal sin if the form of the sin is not externally visible. He does not understand that one who sins internally commits an internal act of thought, and that one who sins externally commits an external act of word or deed.

Although Fr. Cekada is extremely sloppy in his theological reasoning (which is often logically incoherent), at least he employs in this cited instance, the accepted usage of theological terms; so it is ironic, and even comical in a pathetic way, that Salza accuses Fr. Cekada of manufacturing "concocted terminology". I have often referred to the sloppy and incoherent Sedevacantist theology as "Voodoo Theology"; but the term a fortiori can be fittingly attributed to the pseudo-theology of John Salza and Robert Siscoe as well.

In my just begun series of articles, Defection from the Faith and the Church - Faith, Heresy, and Loss of Office, I am making a critical theological presentation on the Church's doctrine on faith, heresy, and loss of office, in order to refute their principle errors, and dispel the confusion that Salza and Siscoe are spreading, to the grave detriment of souls.

The main problem with Salza and Siscoe is that they have attempted to teach Catholic theology without first having learned it properly by means of a disciplined academic formation. If my memory doesn't betray me, I believe it was Herbert Thurston SJ who said of the Modernist, George Tyrell, that he needed to have first learned doctrine before teaching it. Salza and Siscoe err in the same manner.

Salza and Siscoe attempt to combat error with error, heedless of St. Jerome's warning: "Et si recta via paululum declinaveris, non interest, utrum ad dexteram vadas, an ad sinistram, cum verum iter amiseris." (Liber I comment. in Cap. 5 et 6 Matthei).

Fr. Paul Kramer
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