Fr. Hewko, Why Do You Reject the Novus Ordo Missae?

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. Joseph Pfeiffer Is Correct that a Doubtful Bishop Cannot Be Considered a True Pope

I have to shake my head each time I hear Fr. David Hewko acknowledge Jorge Bergoglio as a true pope (see first video below) when he himself doubts whether or not Jorge Bergoglio is a validly consecrated bishop (see here).  I have demonstrated (see here) that if one doubts whether or not a man elected to the papacy is a validly consecrated bishop, then he must necessarily doubt whether or not the elected man is a true pope.  This conclusion infallibly follows from the premises.  Yet Fr. Hewko, in concluding that Jorge Bergoglio is a true pope, is like one who tries to make “five” be the sum of “two plus two”.   On the one hand, Fr. Hewko readily (and correctly) admits that when it comes to the sacraments, one must be morally certain that they are valid before receiving them, that is, receiving them in a state of doubt about their validity is not permitted.  On the other hand, however, when it comes to the papacy, for which a validly consecrated bishop is necessary, Father readily accepts Jorge Bergoglio as a true pope even though he doubts the validity of his episcopal consecration.  Hmm.  Just think about the tremendous power that Father is acknowledging Jorge Bergoglio has over him (and his faithful).  See here for examples.  Now I know that this is not a very strong analogy because receiving doubtful sacraments is sacrilegious, whereas submitting to the jurisdiction of one who doubtfully has a claim to it is not sacrilegious.  Nevertheless, it is downright imprudent, especially given that the office of the papacy, as constituted by Jesus Christ, is the greatest office on earth!  But make no mistake about it; this imprudence is at most a practical decision.  It cannot be used to deny the logical conclusion that Jorge Bergoglio is a doubtful pope.  It is this conclusion that I am still awaiting Fr. Hewko to explicitly admit.

The second video below is a sermon by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer where he correctly states that the consequence of doubting the validity of the episcopal consecrations of Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio is that they cannot be (considered) popes.1  (This is not an endorsement of Fr. Pfeiffer’s apostolate.  I am simply giving credit where it is due.) Of course, however, Fr. Pfeiffer is dead wrong that Jorge Bergoglio is the current pope.

Let us pray that Fr. Hewko comes to explicitly admit the logical consequence of his premises, and let the cards fall where they may.


The videos will automatically start and stop at the relevant sections after clicking the “Play” button. The first video section is 15 seconds long and the second video section is 25 seconds long.



Fr. David Hewko Again Attacks the “Non-Resignationist” Position – February 9, 2020

In the following sermon, Fr. David Hewko again attacks the “Non-Resignationist” position and yet again he fails to provide a substantive argument to support his attack.  As Fr. Kramer wrote about one month ago (see here), “Fr. Hewko has characterized my position on the question of whether Francis or Benedict is the true pope without examining my arguments, but simply by gratuitously labelling it as ‘absurd’.”  We still wait for Fr. Hewko to back up his attacks with some meat.

On another note, Fr. Hewko continues to call Jorge Bergoglio “pope” but without any qualification.  As I have shown in this post, Fr. Hewko’s position must needs be that Jorge Bergoglio is a “doubtful” pope given that he doubts whether or not Jorge Bergoglio’s episcopal consecration was valid.  I hope he will come to speak more accurately in future sermons.


The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 40 seconds long.


Fr. David Hewko Implicitly Admits that He Doubts Whether or Not Jorge Bergoglio Is a True Pope

In the following sermon, Fr. David Hewko implicitly admits that he doubts whether or not Jorge Bergoglio is a true pope.  Father states, “Pope Francis, he may be valid, his priesthood, his consecration.  It may be valid.  It may not be.”  I have demonstrated in this post that by doubting Jorge Bergoglio’s episcopal consecration, it necessarily follows that his being a true pope is doubtful as well.  Here, again, is the argument:

Every true pope is a validly consecrated bishop.
But Jorge Bergoglio, elected by the cardinals in 2013, is doubtfully a validly consecrated bishop.
Therefore, Jorge Bergoglio is doubtfully a true pope.

Now Fr. Hewko does not state in this sermon the same about Benedict XVI.  However, at about the 8-minute mark of this sermon, Fr. Hewko leans towards the Church in the future condemning the New Rites as invalid because of a defect of intention.  If Fr. Hewko applies this to the case of Benedict XVI, who was consecrated in the New Rite, then Fr. Hewko doubts whether or not Joseph Ratzinger is a true pope as well.

Fr. Hewko condemns the idea that this doubt automatically makes one a Sedevacantist; he is correct.  First of all, Sedevacantism is traditionally understood to mean one who holds, whether as an opinion or with moral certitude, that the Chair of Peter has been vacant since 1958.  However, Fr. Hewko accepts John Paul II as a true pope.  Secondly, as you can see from the above syllogism, the most that can be concluded is doubt, but not “opinion” or “moral certitude” about whether or not the Chair of Peter is vacant.  Nevertheless, Fr. Hewko’s doubt allows him to hold that the Chair of Peter has potentially been vacant1 since 2005 (i.e., 15 years), if he doubts Benedict XVI’s consecration, or since 2013 (i.e., 7 years), if he doubts only Jorge Bergoglio’s consecration.  He leaves it up to the Church to finally decide in the future.

Let us analyze Fr. Hewko’s position more closely on a scale of certainty from one proposition to its opposite:

1. I am morally certain that Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio are true popes.  Fr. Hewko denies this proposition.
2. I am of the opinion that Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio are true popes.  Fr. Hewko denies this proposition.
3. I am of the opinion that Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio are not true popes.  Fr. Hewko denies this proposition.
4. I am morally certain that Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio are not true popes.  Fr. Hewko denies this proposition.

Fr. Hewko’s position lies somewhere between 2 and 3.  It would be fair to state that his position is the following, assuming he doubts both Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio’s episcopal consecration and that he leans towards the invalidity of the New Rite of Consecration:

I doubt whether or not Benedict XVI and Jorge Bergoglio are true popes with a leaning towards the position that they are not true popes.

What I cannot accept is that Archbishop Lefebvre would hold Fr. Hewko’s same position regarding Benedict XVI (again, assuming what I wrote above).  Archbishop Lefebvre never raised a doubt about the validity of the episcopal consecration of Joseph Ratzinger, with whom he had intimate dealings.  Therefore, I have no doubt that Archbishop Lefebvre would hold this position:

I am morally certain that Benedict XVI is a true pope.

If Fr. Hewko, however, clearly acknowledges the validity of the episcopal consecration of Benedict XVI, then all is good because, after all, Benedict XVI is the true pope!


The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 4.3 minutes long.



Fr. David Hewko on the “Non-Resignationist” Theory – January 19, 2020

In the following sermon, Fr. David Hewko again speaks against the “Non-Resignationist” (a commenter on this website corrected pointed out that “Resignationist” should be reserved for those who accept that Benedict XVI validly resigned the papacy) theory. Unfortunately, again, Father condemns it as “absurd” without sufficient evidence.

The first point Father makes is that Benedict XVI recognizes Jorge Bergoglio as pope.  This was already answered in this post:

“The term ‘pope’ as used by Benedict XVI in reference to Jorge Bergoglio needs to be understood in a qualified sense.  Benedict XVI renounced the active exercise of the ministry, that is, the government of the Church.  Meanwhile, he retained the office and the passive exercise of the ministry.  See here for a diagram.  Because he renounced the active exercise of powers that belong to his own office, he calls that person who exercises them ‘pope’.  Big deal.  It is still Benedict XVI who has the charism of infallibility and universal and supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church because these belong to the office.”

The second point Father makes is that Benedict XVI announced publicly that he resigned.  Father fails to qualify what exactly did Benedict XVI publicly renounce.  It was not the office (munus).  Therefore, he remains pope.

Thirdly, Father asks a question, “Would these ‘Resignationists’ be pushing their theory if we had a saintly pope on the throne?”  Father then answers his own question, “They wouldn’t be doing that.”  Well, I cannot speak for others, but I would be doing the same as I am doing now.  Facts are facts, and not even a saint can change that.  Nevertheless, I do not doubt that a saint would study the “resignation” formula of Benedict XVI, see the holes in it, and declare it invalid.

Father concludes that the answer to his own question shows the absurdity of the “Resignationist” theory.  Huh?  How does it show that?

I wish that Father would stop making gratuitous statements and providing empty side arguments.  He needs to carefully read the Declaratio, the only act with juridical force, and finally accept the fact of the matter:  Benedict XVI is the true pope!

The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 1.2 minutes long.


Fr. David Hewko and the Admin of The Catacombs Forum Distort the Teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre on “Who Is the Pope” Question

In this sermon, Fr. David Hewko tries to make the case, using the teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre, that it is only up to the Church to decide on the matter of who is pope. The implication is that one cannot form a private judgment on the matter during a time of crisis before the Church gives a definitive judgment.  Rather, we must in the meantime accept he who the world accepts as pope.  The Administrator of The Catacombs Forum supports Fr. Hewko by making the following statement on this thread:

“This is why no ‘lay armchair theologian’ nor ‘Father X,Y, or Z’ can make declarations on who is Pope and who is not. This is one of the fundamental errors with the sedevacantist theories, including the resignationist theory.”

Where does Archbishop Lefebvre, in any of the quotes provided by Fr. Hewko in this sermon, say that as a matter of principle, one cannot make a judgment of conscience? As a matter of fact, at 10 minutes and zero seconds the Archbishop is quoted as saying, “As long as I don’t have any evidence that the pope is not the pope, then the presumption is for him.” So the Archbishop points to evidence as being the determining factor.  He did not state that a judgment of conscience can never be made. Therefore, Fr. Hewko and the Admin have distorted the teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre by making it seem that he was giving a universal principle when in fact he was only making statements about the particular cases of the conciliar popes up until Pope John Paul II.  Based on the evidence, the Archbishop could not judge they were not popes.  So, Fr. Hewko and the Admin, the Archbishop evidently does not agree with you.

In the case of Benedict XVI, it is Benedict XVI himself who decided that he remains pope by not renouncing the munus.  Hence, it is both of you and the rest of the world that are going against the definitive judgment of the Church, no less than that of the reigning pope!


Fr. David Hewko Speaks Out against the “Resignationist” Theory

In the sermon linked below starting at 48 minutes, Fr. David Hewko speaks out against the “Resignationist” theory and calls it “absurd”.

1. Father states that the term “munus” (office) needs to be clearly defined.

The term is defined in both the 1917 and 1983 Codes of Canon Law.  See pages 2 and 3 of my paper “Benedict Is the True Pope!”.  The term “ministry” on the other hand is not defined in either Code.  You may also find here an extensive study on the two terms by Br. Alexis Bugnolo.

2. Father states that Benedict XVI recognizes Jorge Bergoglio as pope.

The term “pope” as used by Benedict XVI in reference to Jorge Bergoglio needs to be understood in a qualified sense.  Benedict XVI renounced the active exercise of the ministry, that is, the government of the Church.  Meanwhile, he retained the office and the passive exercise of the ministry.  See here for a diagram.  Because he renounced the active exercise of powers that belong to his own office, he calls that person who exercises them “pope”.  Big deal.  It is still Benedict XVI who has the charism of infallibility and universal and supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church because these belong to the office.

3. Father states that he is sure Archbishop Lefebvre would not hold to the “Resignationist” theory.  Why?  Because there were those in the 1970s who held that the true pope was being held in a dungeon and that the visible one was an imposter; Archbishop rejected this.  Is Father really comparing a public act on the part of Benedict XVI, which is available for everybody to read and in which he clearly retained the office, to some conspiracy theory and then using that poor comparison as a ground for why Archbishop Lefebvre would surely reject the “Resignationist” theory?  That’s not very convincing!

The reality is that Benedict XVI is the true pope. Father needs to accept that, and so does the rest of the Catholic Resistance.


Fr. David Hewko Misses Crucial Distinction regarding “Resignation” of Pope Benedict XVI

In the two sermons below, Fr. David Hewko states that Pope Benedict XVI resigned.  What Fr. Hewko fails to do is to distinguish between the renunciation of the office (munus) and the renunciation of the ministry (ministerium).  Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministry and not the office.  This failure to distinguish keeps Fr. Hewko (and the faithful that listen to him) in the grave error that Benedict XVI is no longer the pope.

Let’s take a look again at the relevant parts of the Declaratio1, the official juridical act, of Pope Benedict XVI:

“Having explored my conscience again and again before the Lord, I have arrived at certain recognition that with my advancing age my strengths are no longer apt for equitably administering the Petrine Office [munus Petrinum].”2

Note above that Pope Benedict XVI uses the term “Office”.

“I am well aware that this office [munus], according to its spiritual essence, ought to be exercised not only by acting and speaking, but no less than by suffering and praying.”3

Note above that Pope Benedict XVI again uses the term “office”.  He states that the office, according to its spiritual essence, ought to be exercised not only by acting and speaking (active exercise), but also by suffering and praying (passive exercise).

“Moreover, in the world of our time, subjected to rapid changes and perturbed by questions of great weight for the life of faith, there is more necessary to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and to announce the Gospel a certain vigor, which in recent months has lessened in me in such a manner, that I should acknowledge my incapacity to administer well the ministry [ministerium] committed to me.”4

Now note above that Pope Benedict XVI speaks about the active exercise of the office in stating, “…..to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and to announce the Gospel.”  This active exercise has lessened in him in such a manner that he should acknowledge his incapacity to administer well the ministry.  It is clear here that Pope Benedict XVI associates the active exercise of the office with “ministry”.

Now read what Pope Benedict XVI actually renounces:

“On which account, well aware of the weightiness of this act, I declare in full liberty, that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of the Bishop of Rome…..”5

Did you get that!  Pope Benedict XVI renounces the ministry, the active exercise of the office; he does not renounce the office itself.  If he wanted to renounce the office itself, he would have simply stated, “I renounce the office (munus) of the Bishop of Rome…..”, but HE DID NOT DO THAT!  The office is analogous to the soul of the papacy, whereas the ministry is analogous to the exercise of the soul’s powers.  Renouncing the office includes renouncing the ministry, but renouncing the ministry does not include renouncing the office.  Therefore, Benedict XVI remains pope.

Fr. Hewko (and so many others) has to read the Declaratio carefully and follow the line of reasoning.  With an honest read, he will come to the same conclusion that Benedict XVI is the true pope!6