In the video linked below, Fr. David Hewko criticizes those who hold to the position that Benedict XVI is still the pope. He says that these people don’t have the authority to make a decision on such a question; rather, they must wait for the Church to decide on the matter.1 For now, we must accept what seems evident, that is, that the cardinals have elected Jorge Bergoglio as pope and that this, therefore, is what we should accept for the time being. However, Fr. Hewko needs to understand that the Church has already spoken on this matter via its head, Pope Benedict XVI. He did not renounce his office (munus); therefore, he is still pope.2 And even if the whole Catholic world, including each and every cardinal, accepts Jorge Bergoglio as pope, it matters not; they cannot steal the papacy from one who has not renounced it or who has not met death. Nevertheless, I ask Fr. Hewko this question:
Why do you reject the Novus Ordo Missae?
After all, the popes from Paul VI onward have accepted it. Every current cardinal and bishop with ordinary jurisdiction accepts it. Yet you sternly condemn it and tell the faithful to never actively assist at it. Who gave you the authority to make such a definitive judgment? The Church has not yet definitively condemned the Novus Ordo Missae as such. So according to your own reasoning regarding the “who is the current pope” question, you should be withholding your definitive judgment and should instead wait for the Church to make a definitive judgment. Sorry, Father; you cannot have it both ways. You either have to wait for the Church to make its definitive judgment on all controversial matters or apply your God-given senses and intellect, as taught by Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany,3 to the controversial matters at hand. I choose the latter.
The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 3.2 minutes long.
- Fr. Paul Kramer here explains the untenability of this argument.