Calumnious projection, circular reasoning, and the law of non-contradiction

A video was posted a few days ago by Steve Skojec at 1P5 HERE.
It seems a response is in order.
A transcript has helpfully been provided by the author, so if I just cut and paste, at least I won’t be accused of hearing wrongly, am I right? Wasting no time, it takes all of 0:00:34 seconds to invoke the tactic of Projection:

“…we’ve got an in-house problem…It’s rooted in this battle over who the real pope is — Benedict or Francis — and what the repercussions of each choice are. But it goes deeper than that because it makes certain folks think it’s okay to calumniate or attack anyone who disagrees with them…

Boy, I’ll say. Specifically, the accusation leveled against those who believe with moral certainty that Benedict is pope is that we are “crazy.” Steve has lobbed the “crazy” diagnosis more times than I can count over the past two years. If you ever look at twitter, you know. Anyone who dares question the Skojec magisterium is immediately attacked, usually without any rational argument, but only with shouts of “insane.” Frank Walker of is one of the more recent victims, and it is great to see Frank fighting back (seeking a second opinion on his diagnosis, you might say). Speaking of diagnosis, a few months ago Steve’s dance partner Hilary White even went so far as to literally faux diagnose Ann Barnhardt with a specific mental illness (Borderline Personality Disorder), publicly on facebook. Those comments were eventually deleted, but not before being captured for posterity. So on this point, I agree with Steve, “it makes certain folks think it’s okay to calumniate or attack anyone who disagrees with them.”
Later in the video, Steve calls the idea Benedict is still pope “madness”, and goes on to call anyone who might believe this as being: Schismatic, heretics, sedevacantists, Protestants, and finally, Satan. Yes, he compares the actions of those who dare point out the obvious irregularities of the current situation to the actual non serviam of Satan. I’m not going to reprint those words here, so go ahead and check the video/transcript at 00:13:14. Please click the link and read/listen to the whole thing.
But the real reason for this post is to muse about circular arguments and the law of non-contradiction, so let’s not get distracted by a little calumnious projection that has almost certainly risen to the level of mortal sin. On to the main event.
We start with some rational circuity related to the faithful having no right to examine the evidence and draw conclusions, in honest pursuit of truth:

[00:02:08] “And what I think is and has always been that Francis is a problem. A big one. That he represents a danger to the Church…I am not now nor will I ever be barring some massive conversion on his part, a Francis defender… (But) we’ve made clear that it’s wrong for us to decide for ourselves. However much we feel that we have moral certitude that the pope is anyone other than who the Church says he is. The only thing I’m doing is the same thing I’ve always done: I tell people what I believe the truth is even if they don’t want to hear it.”

This argument can be paraphrased as: “Francis is a danger to the Church (and thus a danger to souls), but it’s just wrong to point out facts which might better explain the reality of the situation, and thus help those souls struggling with their faith. It’s wrong unless you’re me, because I’m always going to tell people what I believe the truth is.”
Are you getting a feel for where this is going?

[00:03:40] “…Now people don’t want to hear that Benedict isn’t the Pope. But it’s also true. And we know that because the Church is the only authority on earth who can state unequivocally who the pope is. And she has told us that Francis is the Vicar of Christ. The cardinal electors were unanimous in their acceptance of him. The sitting bishops of the world have not raised a finger to oppose the validity of his election…[00:07:44] The Church has always held that the election of a pope is what is known as a dogmatic fact…We need to know that the guy the Church says is the pope is the pope because otherwise we can’t trust anything he says…[00:10:09] If we can’t trust that the man the church says is pope is pope, then the governance of the Church falls into chaos…There are no take backs, not even for bad popes…[00:12:41] So I will say now again what I’ve said countless times before: If we cannot trust the Church to tell us who the pope is, we cannot trust her to tell us anything that we must believe…”

Paraphrasing, “The Church has universally accepted “Francis” as pope, and since the Church is indefectible, he must really be pope.”
That sounds so beautiful, so simple. Roma locuta est, causa finita est.
But here is where that nasty law of non-contradiction comes into play:

[00:14:31] “Perhaps someday…the Church will declare Francis to be an antipope. Perhaps someday his entire papacy or at least large swaths of it will be condemned by a future pope or even an ecumenical council. It’s happened before. Perhaps this disaster can only be sorted out by Our Blessed Lord Himself through an act of divine intervention we have not yet even imagined. But I’ll tell you this: if Catholicism is true we know that the influence of this pontificate in many essential things will have to be rooted out and refuted. Knowing this in the present moment as this is unfolding, as the crisis goes on, and seeing that no action is being taken is maddening…But we have a choice to make however difficult we find it if we wish to be sons of the Church, we must take our mother at her word…”

Wait, what?
It’s hard to paraphrase, because the argument is so turned in on itself, but it goes something like this: “The Church is indefectible, and the Church says “Francis” is pope, therefore he is pope. It’s dogmatic. But in the future, the Church could declare “Francis” to be an antipope, and his entire “pontificate” expunged, which would also be dogmatic. But for now, we have to sit and do nothing, be sons of the Church, yada yada.”
If the above statement were true, it would mean Truth could change, and it would mean two contradictory states could both be true. Witness the internal conflict and violation of the Law of non-contradiction of Steve’s pounding insistence that the Church cannot defect with regards to the identity of the Pope, and then claim two minutes later that in the future the Church could declare that it totally DID DEFECT in calling Bergoglio the Pope and then declare he was an antipope.  As if he is true pope today because indefectibility, but tomorrow he could be antipope because… indefectibility! Do you see that both of these things can’t be true? This logic suggests it is simultaneously IMPOSSIBLE and POSSIBLE for the Church to defect. The Church is both defectible and indefectible. 
Now, should a future meeting of cardinals or a council at some point declare Bergoglio an antipope, and they do so by reason that the conclave that elected him was invalid, due to the failed abdication of Benedict, then said council would be declaring he NEVER WAS POPE and that Benedict never stopped being pope. Despite appearances, acceptances, etc, IT NEVER HAPPENED.  If only we didn’t have to wait for some future council, and we had a few live prelates walking around right now who might want to defend their mother.
Please click the link and do go read/listen to it all. I’ve omitted many paragraphs out of brevity. He offers several paragraphs with supporting evidence for the validity of Benedict’s abdication, including quotes from the Seewald interview where Benedict claimed, inter alia, that he was forced to continue wearing white because no other clothes were available… a claim which (wink) REALLY lends weight to anything else he might have said. But there are also quotes from saints and other sources that do lend some credibility to his arguments, just very weak IMO when levered against the eternal fate of souls.

14 thoughts on “Calumnious projection, circular reasoning, and the law of non-contradiction”

  1. I followed 1P5 for a couple of years until Skojec started throwing his toys out of the pram over the Barnhardt Thesis. His snarky responses to even the most level-headed and respectful commenters who support Barnhardt reveal Skojec to be a man with the thin skin common to adults who are mired in the amber of intellectual adolescence. Coupled with the fact that he’s trying to make a buck off of his internet “brand,” he has no choice but to quadruple down on error in order to save face. Can’t blame him really. Gotta put food on the table. I almost pity the guy. Almost…

  2. I wonder if there are several things going on with some of the Catholic internet heavenlies.
    One, is that the drift toward elevating the Church over and above Christ is now in full flower. The Body of Christ has superseded the Head…in the name of Christ. The Church got too big for her britches and has become bloated and weighed down with self-importance and deep corruption. Think the Mustard Seed Church that BXVI spoke about. The Church will get very small and humble because she must in order to shed the filth and false doctrines.
    Second, is the fear of being wrong. We cannot discount the power of fear. If cardinals and bishops lack courage how could a mere layman or woman claim to know the truth and dare to speak out?
    Third, is the idea of controlled opposition, either intentionally on the part of the individuals, or through being used by others to control a narrative.
    The name calling you mentioned is legion, to the point of absurdity. I am embarrassed for the personalities who resort to such low tactics. It betrays a certain inconsistency with what their claim to be moral voices. It derails honest conversations that would lead to the truth, and is an Alinskyite tactic–something that an honest person would reject.
    A very good post about that video Skojec did. Thank you.

  3. St. Thomas of Aquinas taught “there being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.” PF is a pertinacious heretic intent on bringing the CC to ruination. This was clear from the start of his ‘papacy’ & countless Catholics began to question PBXVI’s hasty abandonment of the See of Peter while still wearing the full regalia of that Office & living within the precincts of the Vatican. PF, on the other hand, refusing to wear the red shoes, fisherman’s ring etc. & opting to live in Casa de Santa Marta which had to be refurbished at enormous expense. These Catholics Steve Skojec blocked for just asking the simple question- was PF properly elected?
    PF’s Little Book of Insults directed to faithful Catholics grows by the hour, his betrayal of the underground Chinese Church to a Communist Regime, his Abu Dhabi statement & his later instruction to Bishop Schneider that he could tell us it was to do with God’s ‘Permissive Will’. His arrogance knows no bounds!
    It might be relevant to note at this stage that Our Lady of Quito spoke of these days when she said -“This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.” You might recall that just before he abdicated PBXVI said he had a ‘mystical moment’. Could his vacating the Papal Office in such a hurry have anything to do with this?

  4. Thank you. Excellent analysis. I liked 1P5 and Steve, until I followed him on social media. Never did have the warm fuzzies for Hilary tho. Prayers for the both of them.

  5. Skojec has always been consistent in one key aspect: His ego.
    I’ve never seen anyone in Catholic apologetics slide so easily into self-congratulatory cockiness and insults like him. And the worst thing of all – he doesn’t even possess the intellect to back it up.

    1. Skojec’s inane position is simply this: The Church is always right even when it’s wrong.

  6. Nice post, doc.
    I skimmed over Skojec’s transcript before seeing your post, but that blatant logical contradiction got by me.
    What I’ve always been curious about is this:
    Why do people on the various sides of any of these tradcat controversies get so upset at each other?
    This applies to sedevacantism vs. sedeplenism, water-only salvationism (Feeneyism) vs. “baptism” of blood and desireism, a number of other things, and in the present case, the substantial error theory vs. Francoplenism.
    The only thing I can figure is narcissism…no, wait, better rephrase that…let’s just say pride and/or presumption.
    I mean, what else could cause you to get ticked off just because someone disagrees with you?
    Or even if it’s really just that the issue is very important; even that the salvation of souls is hanging in the balance.
    That’s not the point. Because you only have reason to be ticked off at others for disagreeing with your solution when you are POSITIVE that YOUR solution is the right one, and the only one, that’s going to save those souls. In other words, when you think that you are some *infallible* authority, and are being dissed, and/or that you are the God-appointed savior of mankind.
    It seems that Skojec’s main concern is for the indefectibility of the Church.
    “If we cannot trust the Church to tell us who the pope is, we cannot trust her to tell us anything that we must believe…”
    But, Steve, during the Great Western “Schism” the identity of the true pope was in serious question and was effectively unknown to all the laity and hierarchy for *forty years*.
    I don’t think you’d say the Church defected?
    But maybe you’ll say the present case is different, because actually, during that “schism”, the Church *didn’t* tell the faithful what to believe about who was pope? Because nobody knew. But THIS pope Francis is recognized with moral unanimity by the Church, so it’s not a question of simply ignorance. If the Church *thinks* it knows, and doesn’t know; if the Church is wrong, then it has defected.
    Fair enough.
    In that case, the morally universal acceptance of a certain man as pope is a matter of infallibility, because you say it’s a dogmatic fact. I appreciate that you probably got that notion from Salza and Siscoe, and I myself have the greatest respect for their work, and highly recommend that people read it. But the dogmatic fact nature of a morally universal recognition by the Church of a papal election is not itself dogma. In True or False Pope? Salza and Siscoe quote a couple of theologians, notably Cardinal Billot, to the effect that the universal acceptance of a man as pope is infallible, because if most of the members of the Church could be wrong about this, they would be following a false pope, and that would mean the Church had defected.
    There are very few things I disagree with in Salza and Siscoe’s work, but this is one of them. There are a number of problems with this opinion.
    First, it’s just an opinion. It is a relatively modern idea, held only by a few theologians, and itself is most certainly not dogma. Since it is only an opinion that universal acceptance = guaranteed valid election, (because if the Church were mistaken that would mean it had defected), that opinion by definition is not dogma, and if not dogma, it cannot be a dogmatic fact that a universal acceptance is a guarantee of a valid election.
    Makes sense?
    Secondly, the context of your comment makes clear that the “Church” you are talking about is the current *leaders* of the Church, and/or the faithful in general.
    Well, the faithful in general are certainly not infallible.
    And the leaders of the Church are not the Church, they also are just members of the Church. Even bishops are only infallible when speaking in line with Tradition. They can’t judge infallibly of current events.
    And the dogma of indefectibility does not exclude the possibility of a majority, even a large majority, of the *members* of the Church defecting. Look up indefectibility in an old catechism or something.
    But there’s serious question about whether any number of members of the Church simply being mistaken about who the current pope is would even be a matter of the Church defecting at all. Cardinal Billot says that it would be, because the pope is the rule of faith for the Church. so if the Church is mistaken about the rule of faith, it has lost the faith.
    With due respect to the Cardinal, IMHO, this does not hold. Because the *current* pope is only the rule of faith when he has to definitely decide a matter of dogma. Because the Faith, strictly speaking, IS dogmas, and nothing but dogmas. But this very rarely happens. Entire pontificates pass by without any dogma being declared. Except in those moments when dogmas are being solemnly defined by an extraordinary act of the papal magisterium, the rule of faith is Tradition, NOT the pope; certainly not the current pope, and not even past popes, except when they have solemnly defined a dogma ex cathedra. Otherwise it is the infallible Ordinary Magisterium of Tradition.
    I do believe that Cardinal Billot, for all his brilliance, was a bit touched with Exaggerated Papal Infallibilism.
    This could have been laid out more simply and logically. It’s late and I need to turn in. But…
    >sarcasm alert<
    Fair warning to any losers out there who would dare to disagree with my infallible opinions. Any snide comments from y'all and I'm gonna cover ya with so many searing insults yer hair's gonna catch fire.

    1. @ Smith:
      In answer to why “various sides get so upset”.
      I have seen this before, when I was a Protestant. Controversy and dislike between holders of various opinions were driven by the lack of central authority. Every “Christian” was his own Pope. He read the Scriptures; interpreted “Scripture against Scripture” and came up with the obvious meaning of the Word Of God. No one could disagree, because that is what God clearly said in Scripture.
      The only problem was there were 150,000,000 other Popes out there with competing authority to interpret and the “clear meaning of Scripture” is similarly different to them all. Miniature holy wars would take place between competing Popes to assert their own understanding of spiritual reality. And yes, the anger and dislike (holy, righteous anger of course) even hate is palpable.
      I became Catholic, largely for that reason. I don’t want that authority. It is impossible. It was a profound relief to give up title of Pope and submit to the teaching authority (Magisterium) of Holy Mother Church.
      What I see going in now, and you reference here, is driven by a “Pope” elected outside of the Dogmatic Tradition of the Church (his predecessor still lives and serves as Emeritus contemplative within St. Peter’s enclosure always and forever) and he similarly rules outside of Tradition and the Communion Of Saints in Jesus Christ.
      In a phrase: He is just making it up.
      Disconnected as he is (we are) from Sacred Tradition he (we) are left with competing opinions whose authority rests on eloquence and the ability to persuade others to your side. Protestant.
      Sacred Tradition still remains as it always has, pure and undefiled. And it is impossible to argue with that. Whenever I see someone angry and emotional about matters of the Faith I immediately know it is because they have left the walled City of Dogmatic Tradition which is the Law of God. Those inside this walled City are naturally confident and internally at peace.
      We must return to Tradition, down to the last punctuation mark. Start with the Emeritus. That is the source of departure. Where is the authority for it? That must be proved from Tradition or rejected entirely. Cardinal Electors do not have authority to ignore this and make a new way. The lowliest of Catholics is bound by Tradition, not innovation …. even if by Pope and Cardinals.

      1. Absolutely agreed, especially your last paragraph.
        My heart goes out to you, my friend. Coming into the true Church, you didn’t deserve to be faced with this same BS that you thought you were leaving behind.
        I’m glad you haven’t been scandalized.
        It’s NOT the Church, it’s the sinners in the Church.

  7. Skojec’s self-contradicting circular-reasoning is easily summed up as:
    “The Church is always right – especially when she’s wrong!”

  8. We’ve made clear that it’s wrong for us to decide for ourselves
    Who do you say that I am? Seems each of us has to answer some pretty big questions for ourselves.

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