By Father Paul Kramer
"Scrutati sunt iniquitates; defecerunt scrutantes scrutinio" (Ps. 63)
Using the methods so chronically used by Masons, the former (?) Mason Salza and his partner Siscoe falsify my position by craftily misrepresenting it; and then they proceed to refute the caricature of their own making. Salza/Siscoe claim, "Fr. Kramer errs by confusing the predictions of an underground Church during the end times, with a farcical reduction of the number of faithful to only a handful, and ends by denying the mark of catholicity." This is a bold faced lie: Nowhere have I ever stated such a thing.
Again, Salza/Siscoe state falsely, " [T]he problem with Fr. Kramer’s position is that he conflates an underground Church (which the Fathers predicted during the end times) with a Church consisting of only few members". Following the perverse dictum of the Freemason Voltaire, ("Mentez, mentez, il en restera toujours quelque chose".), Salza/Siscoe brazenly repeat the lie, hoping that something of it will stick in the minds of their unfortunate readers. Again, I have not asserted the proposition that the universal Church will be reduced to only a mere handful of scattered members; but only that during the exceptional time foretold in sacred scripture and permitted by God, the Church will be greatly reduced, and scattered; as many approved and eminent authorities have explained.
Salza/Siscoe skilfully misrepresent my position by deftly interpreting a quotation expressed in the conditional mode, according to an indicative sense. Thus, their bogus interpretation of the (in fact spurious) words attributed to St. Athanasius, “Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones that are the true Church of Christ." These words do not state that the Church will in fact be literally reduced to a mere handful, but express in hypothetical mode that IF such a thing WERE to happen, then that small group WOULD still be the true Church of Christ. Hence, there is absolutely nothing heterodox about the quotation; but it is only the malicious spinning of it by Salza/Siscoe that makes it seem heretical. It is in fact no more heretical than the prophecy of Our Lord Jesus Christ who foretold that in the time of tribulation, "there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect." (Mt. 24:24)
If the elect were really to be deceived, then the defection of the Church would result, thereby nullifying the attribute of indefectibility promised by Christ Himself. However, the conditional qualifying "if" does not permit such an heretical interpretation of the verse to be made; and that same qualifying "if" in the spurious Athanasius quotation likewise rules out categorically that its meaning may be interpreted heretically to mean that the Church will indeed be reduced to a mere handful.
Furthermore, the spurious quotation is not the basis of my theological opinion on the exceptional circumstances that will befall the Church during the great tribulation foretold in scripture, by the ancient Fathers, and in the approved writings of many saints and theologians. I have already set forth what is the basis of my position in my brief article (and in previous posts and comments), "Re: My Reply to John Salza" – which manifests the absurdity of the Salza/ Siscoe claim that, "By embracing the spurious quote, Fr. Kramer errs by denying an essential mark of the Church."
As I have shown, the quotation does not deny an essential mark of the Church, and the quotation is not the basis of my theological opinion. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote against the errors of the Greeks, supporting his position with spurious quotations of the Fathers. The fact that many of the passages he cited were later shown to be spurious did not diminish the orthodoxy of his opuscule, Contra Errores Græcorum – and neither does the fact that the Athanasius quotation is in fact spurious diminish in the least the orthodoxy of my theological position on the tribulation the Church will undergo in the time of tribulation.
I did not say that the Church will be reduced to a handful. What I did say is that the Church will be greatly reduced, and driven into the catacombs in the manner described by Cardinal Edward Manning. Salza/Siscoe engage in the verbal manipulation of relative terms like "large" and "small", in the deliberate attempt to misrepresent me in a heretical manner. In the great tribulation in which it can be foreseen that a great portion of humanity will perish, and a huge number of Catholics will apostatize, one can safely conclude, without violating the principle of "moral catholicity" that the total number of Catholics will be significantly reduced to a small number in comparison to what it was before.
The manner in which it will be reduced to in visibility and in numbers is described by Cardinal Manning:
“The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts very new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatize from the Faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. ...Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible; hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.” (Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861, London: Burns and Lambert, pp. 88-90).
(To be continued).
See also: A Reply to John Salza (Part I)
See also: A Reply to John Salza (Part I)
A Reply to John Salza (Part II)
and RE: OUR REPLIES TO FR. PAUL KRAMER