In the Spider-Man movies whenever Peter Parker disappears then suddenly Spider-Man appears.
Might it be the same way in Catholic blogging?
Just when I thought Steve Skojec had disappeared suddenly the Amateur Brain Surgeon who sounds just like Skojec appeared in the Catholic Monitor comment section. I have long suspected this long time Catholic blog commenter is the Steve.
The Amateur Brain Surgeon made his appearance in the post titled "'Vigano's "Problem... of a Canonical Nature': St. Alphonsus dei Liguori, St. Bellarmine & Bp. Gracida: 'A Doubtful Pope is No Pope.'" The Amateur Brain Surgeon's ways so mirror the Skojec ways that I could not help having a exchange with him as if he were the one and only Steve.
But, before we show the exchange here is the answer to the Brain Surgeon and the Skojec constant harping on John of St. Thomas to prove Francis is definitely pope:
Assertion 2. The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts This proposition is Let’s start with Van Noort, Christ’s Church theologically certain.
Before continuing with Van Noort, allow me to insert this: "Teachings which pertain to the Faith and are theologically certain (sententia fidei pertinens, i.e., theologice certa) are doctrines on which the teaching authority of the Church has not yet pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed because they are logical conclusions drawn from a proposition that is Divinely revealed and another which is historically certain. Propositions contradicting theologically certain doctrines are censured as errors in theology." https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/what-are-theological-notes-28450
Let’s go back to Van Noort:
A dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with [getting at] dogmatic facts…was Pius XII legitimately elected bishop of Rome?
Of course, whatever the Church declares directly must be maintained by everyone, e. g. that the Vulgate contains the word of God; that Pius XII is head of the Church, that the doctrine of this or that book is heretical, it arrived at these decisions in the following manner: every faithful translation of the inspired books contains the words of God; but the Vulgate is a faithful translation; therefore, . . . Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is head of the Church; but Pius XII was legitimately elected; therefore, . . .
So, it is only theologically certain and thus infallible that Pius XII is head of the Church, if and only if 1) a divinely revealed proposition: "anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is head of the Church," is joined with 2) an historically certain proposition: "Pius XII was legitimately elected." In the case of Bergoglio, it is not historically certain he was legitimately elected.
Now, if we abandon the supposition that Bergoglio is head of the Church based on dogmatic fact and turn instead to the infallible nature of the ordinary and universal magisterium and claim that as the basis of Bergoglio being the head of the Church, this is still problematic. When Van Noort states on page 265 that:
the Church possesses infallibility not only when she is defining some matters in solemn fashion, but also when she is exercising the full weight of her authority through her ordinary and universal teaching. Consequently, we must hold with an absolute assent, which we call 'ecclesiastical faith,' the following theological truths: (a) those which the Magisterium has infallibly defined in solemn fashion; (b) those which the ordinary magisterium dispersed throughout the world unmistakably proposes to its members as something to be held (tenendas).
He is, of course, correct regarding the infallibility of the ordinary and universal magisterium, but he is incorrect in the example he chooses:
when someone has been constantly acting as Pope and has theoretically and practically been recognized as such by the bishops and by the universal Church, it is clear that the ordinary and universal magisterium is giving an utterly clear-cut witness to the legitimacy of his succession.
Just because something has theoretically and practically been recognized by the bishops and by the universal Church DOES NOT EQUATE TO ORDINARY AND UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIAL TEACHING!
Communion in the Hand, Eucharistic Ministers, Ordaining Sodomites, etc. have theoretically and practically been recognized by the bishops and by the universal Church for more than 50 years.
Women wearing shorts or short skirts and/or immodest tops at Mass (and in public) has theoretically and practically been recognized by the bishops and by the universal Church for more than 50 years.
And given these examples, Van Noort is also seemingly mistaken in claiming (pages 113-114):
Assertion 2. The Church’s infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain.
By the term "general discipline of the Church" are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living
As for John of St. Thomas, ironically, his teaching: "Whoever would deny that a particular man is pope after he has been peacefully and canonically accepted, would not only be a schismatic, but also a heretic," is not itself, peacefully and canonically accepted:
F.X. Wernz, P. Vidal: "Finally they cannot be numbered among the schismatics, who refuse to obey the Roman Pontiff because they consider his person to be suspect or doubtfully elected on account of rumours in circulation." (Ius Canonicum, 7:398, 1943)
Rev Ignatius Szal: "Nor is there any schism if one merely transgress a papal law for the reason that one considers it too difficult, or if one refuses obedience inasmuch as one suspects the person of the pope or the validity of his election, or if one resists him as the civil head of a state." (Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, 1948)
De Lugo: "Neither is someone a schismatic for denying his subjection to the Pontiff on the grounds that he has solidly founded [‘probabiliter’] doubts concerning the legitimacy of his election or his power [refers to Sanchez and Palao]." (Disp., De Virt. Fid. Div., disp xxv, sect iii, nn. 35-8)
I would note that apparently nowhere in his discussion of Pius XII does Van Noort cite John of St. Thomas. Surely, he would have if the Church embraced his view as commanding and infallible. Now here is the exchange: