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The Last Bishop
Faith

The Crossroads at 23rd Street

 

"For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)

 

Errors can be corrected and trends reversed if only our faith and determination does not fail us in our earnest quest for the truth.

The "Last" Bishop:
The MhFMs’ Defection From Reality

Pope Pius XII (1876-1958), proclaimed in his encyclical "Mystici Corporis Christi" (29 June 1943) the doctrine that the Church (i.e. the Mystical Body of Christ - MBC) is the society comprised of those who have been baptized, who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by its Bishops under its "visible head", the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.

St. Cyprian said:

"Know that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop and that if anyone is not with the bishop he is not in the Church ... what rascal, what traitor, what madman would be so misled by the spirit of discord as to believe that it is permitted to rend, or who would dare rend the Divine unity, the garment of the Lord, the Church of Jesus Christ?” - Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XIII, p.531

We find evidence of those rascals, those traitors, those madmen, spoken of by St Cyprian, in the book "The Truth about What Really Happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II" written by the Dimond Brothers (MhFM):

Objection 15: The Church and the hierarchy will always be visible. If the Vatican II Church is not the true Catholic Church, then the Church and hierarchy are no longer visible.

In an attempt to refute Objection 15 the Dimond Brothers state on page 331:

"As long as there is at least one priest or bishop and at least a few faithful, the Church and the hierarchy are alive and "visible". Today there is much more than a handful of faithful left who maintain the unchanging Catholic faith. Thus, the argument of our opponents from the standpoint of visibility lacks any merit and is contrary to the prophecies of Sacred Scriptures."

Hmmm, it would appear that though these two “brothers” have taken solid aim at their opponents they have nevertheless managed to shoot themselves in the foot on this issue.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose life spanned the latter years of the first century and the early years of the second, is credited with these profound words: “Where the bishop is, there is the Church.”

What is a Bishop?

A Bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. The origins of the office of Bishop can be traced backed to the apostles, who were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; which has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of Bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.

What are the requirements for a Priest to become a candidate for the position of Bishop?

Canon 378 §1 of the Code of Canon Law requires that the validly ordained Priest be, among other things, at least 35 years old.

Okay ... so now, let’s do the math. Taking the canonical age requirement of 35 into account and then factoring in the Dimond Brothers’ sedevacantist claim that, since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), there are no “new” validly appointed Bishops or Priests in the world; then we must assume that any Bishop the Dimonds would consider as being the “visible” head of the MBC, would have to be at least 92+ years old today.

Now, taking that into consideration, we must next contend with Canon 401 §1 which requires that a Bishop must submit his resignation to the Pope on reaching the age of 75 years. Does this not imply that this “last” Bishop would have to possess the right and the authority to unilaterally appoint his successor on or before reaching that mandatory canonical retirement age? This raises the next question ...

How many Bishops are required to legitimately ordain / appoint a Priest to the episcopal office?

We find the answer in Canon 13 of the Council of Carthage (A.D. 419); which states:

That a bishop should not be ordained except by many bishops, but if there should be necessity he may be ordained by three.

As the canonical laws governing the Church are binding, the Dimond Brothers’ “last” Bishop could not then, by his own volition, legitimately empower anyone to succeed him.

Why not? Simply put, this “last” Bishop is not the Pope. He does not possess universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, and thus cannot appoint a pastor to a flock and empower him to govern it.

For, it is the Pope alone who enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls. And as the Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, he has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can exercise unhindered. And as such, it is the Pope alone who possesses the right to directly appoint a Priest to the position of a Bishop without the need for the intervention and/or benediction of any of the other Bishops of the Church.

By now, it should be clearly evident to everyone, even the Dimond Brothers, that unless the Second Coming of Christ comes before this “last” Bishop dies … the MBC would tragically become “headless” and die along with him.

In short, when the “last” Bishop dies … the Roman Catholic Church’s long held claim of “indefectibility” would be torn asunder. For, if there are no Bishops left on earth … then there is no nourishment for the Church and thus its membership would be doomed to pass away like grapes withering on a neglected vine.

In short ... No Bishop ... No Visible Church!

It is indeed true that in the 4th century, during the time of the Arian Heresy, in the “Letter To His FlockSaint Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, wrote:

Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ."

It is critically important to understand that Saint Athanasius wrote that text while acting in the capacity of a Bishop overseeing those within His Appointed Flock who remained faithful to the traditions of the Church.

Surely it's not so difficult to understand that though the Christian Faithful are an important, non-negligable part of the MBC; they are but members of the MBC ... not its "visible" head.

St Ignatius did not lie when he stated: “Where the bishop is, there is the Church”.

In short ... No Bishop ... No Visible Church!

Once again ... The Dimond Brothers' claim in Objection 15: "As long as there is at least one priest or bishop … the Church and the hierarchy are alive and visible.

Does it not strike you as being even a little bit suspect and disingenuous that these two "brothers" have never once indicated as to where this Priest and/or Bishop has concealed himself? How can they make such a claim if they do not know of their whereabouts?

Is it not a fundamental God given right for “all” the Christian Faithful to know where and in whom the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church dwells?

As John C. Pontrello points out in his book "The Sedevacantist Delusion: Why Vatican II's Clash with Sedevacantism Supports Eastern Orthodoxy":

"The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) explains that the Church is a society that will always be conspicuous and public and that it will always be recognized among other bodies as the Church of Christ. Material visibility means it must be a public profession and a society manifest to the world. Formal visibility is secured by the four notes of the Church - unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity. Visible unity entails that the Church’s members throughout the world will always be united by the profession of the same faith, participation in common worship, and obedience to a common authority. All hold the same belief, join in the same religious ceremonies, and acknowledge the successor of Peter as their supreme ruler. The Church must be one essentially and visibly."

Could it possibly be that The Dimond Brothers have deluded themselves into believing that the "last" Bishop resides in a cozy rural, Fillmore, New York, farm house monastery, doning (when necessity dictates) the mail-order robes of a "self-appointed" Superior of a “self-identified” Order of St Benedict called the MhFM?

"Know that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop and that if anyone is not with the bishop he is not in the Church." - St. Cyprian

 


- Pax Tecum

 

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