Of Apologetical Lawyers and Theological Laymen

By Laura Robbins

As lawyers, people like John Salza, Chris Ferrara, and the man behind the Introibo blog are used to researching. They can pick a pertinent quote out of a court decision and use it to argue well their case. They know how to use rhetoric in order to persuade a judge or jury to see their point. Their whole purpose is winning a case. What is the problem with this? Well, Law is not concerned with truth so much as judgements and justice according to cases already decided and current laws on the books. In fact, I have it on good authority that at law school, lawyers are taught that “law is ordinance of reason”, and if you try to argue for the use of “Right Reason”, you get cancelled by a Novus Ordo Catholic criminal law professor pushing Bob Dylan CDs. You see, modern American Law isn’t concerned with right or wrong, it’s concerned with winning the argument set before you and (as if you didn’t know) it’s infiltrated with a bunch of communists who only care about destruction, not about truth. 

The point to all of this is, Salza and Ferrara argue well for the R&R crowd, and Introibo argues well for the Sede crowd. They sound very convincing to their readers because they’re talented at persuading others. They are taken as authorities because others believe they have the ability to read and research well. The problem is, they argue wrongly because they all have a preconceived notion of what the Church is supposed to look like and they use that to circularly argue that the men they believe to be legitimate authority therefore must be. For more on this problem see “Snipe-Hunting for the Endangered Species Ecclesia Catholica.” 

Why do I bring this up? Well, Introibo has been at it again, arguing fallaciously and reasoning poorly. He wrote in his most recent post Contending for the Faith Part 5:

“As theologian Salaverri teaches, “On the mediate or immediate origin from God of the jurisdiction of Bishops. This question was raised in the Councils of Trent and Vatican, but it was not decided. Several authors with Victoria and Vasquez held that the jurisdiction was given immediately by God to the individual Bishops; but generally Catholic authors with St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, St. Robert Bellarmine and Suarez hold that jurisdiction is given to the Bishops immediately not by God but mediated through the Roman Pontiff. Pius XII teaches this opinion positively in the Encyclical Mystici Corporis, when he says: ‘But Bishops so far as their own diocese is concerned…are not completely independent but are subject to the Roman Pontiff, although they enjoy ordinary power of jurisdiction received directly from the Sovereign Pontiff himself.’ We think that his opinion is to be preferred.” (See Sacrae Theologiae Summa IB, [1955], pgs. 144-145; Emphasis [Introibo’s]).”

The problem with this is answered by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis (20):

“Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me”;[3] and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.” (Emphasis mine)

You see, regardless of what a theologian (even a well-respected one) commented, what the pontiffs say is not just “an opinion to be preferred”. The pope is actually writing to the theologians telling them, when Papa makes a decision, you listen! It’s obvious, he says, that the matter cannot be open for discussion any longer. Who cares what the ancients wrote. Who cares what a (or many) theologian(s) argued. I am the voice of Christ speaking to you and He has spoken! 

Now if the pontiff teaches something of faith and morals do we care to quibble about whether it technically amounts to heresy or some other theological censure? Introibo does. He, along with all modernists and protestants hate the word “heresy”. They sometimes seem to hate it with a passion. I wonder why that is?! But if someone is obstinately holding an opinion against Church teaching, well I call that heresy. I don’t stop to look up whether it’s officially been declared ex cathedra with all the right terminology (“declare, proclaim, define” etc.). I just know, if you don’t listen to Mother Church, I can call you a schismatic, if you’d prefer, but you’d still actually be a heretic for denying the supremacy of Peter and the requirement to believe whatever the Roman Pontiffs have heretofore taught. And that’s not just my opinion, that’s Church teaching, too!

Eric Hoyle follows truth wherever it leads, even if he can’t take pleasure in exposing the darkness. His latest well-written piece corrects the late Fr. Cekada’s errors arguing against the Home Alone position. Hoyle treats his subject with humility and his opponent with charity. We can all learn a thing or two from reading his work. I encourage you to do so.