“Conflating invective with argument:” Open letter to Mundabor, from the combox

Published with permission from the author, Paul Muessig:

Mark: I posted a response to Mundabor’s article “The Great Embarrassment” yesterday morning. In case he decides not to post it, I thought I’d include it here “for the record.”
I have followed your blog for a while now, and while you are a reliable detractor of all things Bergoglian (and rightly so), I fear your brusque dismissal of what has come to be known (derisively) as the “Benevacantist” position is premature and perhaps counterproductive of the goals you wish to achieve. A dispassionate review of the available data set suggests that there is more than just a prima facie case to be made that Benedict’s resignation was invalid. Many of the “definitive” refutations of this belief that I have seen are little more than derisive broadsides against selected caricatures of the underlying arguments and evidence: red meat for die-hard partisans on either side of the argument, no doubt, but hardly conducive to discerning the truths that must unite us against our common enemy.
The reasons I remonstrate with you on this are two. First, I assert that to misdiagnose the disease is to prescribe the wrong cure. It matters at a most fundamental level whether we are dealing with a valid, albeit heretical, pope or an anti-pope. Our goals and our approach depend on an accurate assessment of the enemy we are fighting, and Catholics who would come to the defense of Holy Mother Church have an obligation to come to agreement on WHAT they are fighting for and WHY. To get this wrong at the start is to fail at the start.
Second, you have done yeoman’s work in the vineyard of the Lord in bringing to light the horrors of the Bergoglian regime and its origin in Modernism and its bitter fruit, the Second Vatican Council. What you say makes a difference to people, and this influence must be wielded wisely in the service of our common objective to restore Catholic Christianity to its rightful place in the spiritual and temporal orders.
I urge you with heartfelt charity and sincerity to reconsider your editorial position with regard to those who question the legitimacy of the Bergoglian papacy. This is not to suggest that you adopt the “Benevacantist” position tout court, nor is it to suggest that you retreat in any way from supporting your conviction that Bergoglio is pope. It is, however, to suggest that there are already enough “traditional” Catholic web sites that conflate invective with argument. To join their number is to miss an opportunity to restore sanity to the current donnybrook over the Bergoglian papacy.
Many thanks for your kind consideration.

19 thoughts on ““Conflating invective with argument:” Open letter to Mundabor, from the combox”

  1. “Benevecantist” is the original error of the “Mundys” and Skojecs of the world. It is a dishonest word and a dishonest understanding of a very important assertion. Truth demands honesty, even and especially when honesty is most difficult and trying to one’s operative paradigm. They should start by trying to understand this assertion, labeling it correctly, and respond to the argument ; not a caricature of an argument that is easier to dismantle.
    Benevecantist is meant to derive from Sedevecantist, obviously. By association, Benies are meant to be placed in the Sedies crazy box. Once in the crazy box, don’t argue with them; laugh at them. But somehow, they just can’t be contained in the crazy box. Reality intrudes.
    The correct word, if a word is required, is Sededuo. The Seat is occupied by two: by the Latin resignation statement; by the precedent theological groundwork done prior to the statement; by the subsequent supporting statements by Benedict XVI himself and his aid; and most importantly, by the physical manifestation of everything we have seen since which proves intent.
    Sededuo. Argue with that.
    I believe grave judgement will fall on this Church if we do not resolve this heresy before Benedict XVI dies and the Seat actually *does* become vacant at that point.

    1. You’re absolutely right about the use of language to relegate your opposition to “the crazy box” in order to avoid having to deal with the facts. “Facts are stubborn things,” as John Adams once said. Alinsky and his forebears (e.g., Gramsci) realized very early on that they couldn’t “win” with facts or reason, nor was it profitable even to attempt to do so. Far easier to just create “impressions” about your opponent and make HIM argue his way out of the box. Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations. Put your enemy in the wrong and keep him in the wrong. Simple. Cynical. Effective. Especially in the age of instantaneous mass communications. Eventually, “truth will out” as Launcelot says in The Merchant of Venice, but not before many are fooled and harmed or lost. At the end of the day, though, I think Philip K. Dick had it right: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

    2. Yes, and those who believe in a Sededuo state would be called Sededualists — or if they are the pugnacious type, Sededuelists ;o).
      And what Skojec et al refer to as Benevacantism (or Bennyvacantism) is actually the exact opposite of the meaning of the word they use. Benevacantism is belief that BXVI is NOT pope; it means Benedict has vacated the chair. A correct word for those who think he is still pope would be Beneplenism, or Benesedism.

      1. Exactly. Bennyvecantist is a cute, effective buzzword. That word reduces the argument down to one dismissive word. And it is completely wrong.
        I think that at a minimum a Catholic should try very hard to understand *anyone’s* belief or assertion as a prerequisite for communication.

  2. You beat me to it, Aqua, and made the point better than I could have. The whole “Benevacantist” business is an Alinskyite slur intended to marginalize and dismiss anyone who holds a particular position, which relieves one of what perhaps they are not capable of doing: actually formulating a coherent and sound refutation of the position to which they object.
    When all you have in response is that the majority of people believe it is thus and so, therefore it must be thus and do, probably best to break out the Alinsky handbook for a little insurance.

    1. Just read ‘The Great Embarrassment’. I don’t follow Mundabor but if he is, as Aqua said as Skojec, I have an idea. People with similar points of view tend to hung together (saying that after reading comments over there). His argumentation is week and can be dismantled with ease (imo).
      It would be interesting to organize some kind of debate, on neutral ground, to exchange arguments in calm manner. Maybe something good will come out for both parties.
      Your answer is reasonable although I don’t see it bover there, Mark…

      1. Mundabor is one of those blogs that generates more heat than light. I had no problem turning his channel off.
        I really enjoy honest, good-willed interchange between conflicting opinions. That is not really possible there.

  3. First, I assert that to misdiagnose the disease is to prescribe the wrong cure.
    I get what you are saying, but that is not always the case – some treatments cure more than one ill. But then the cure would be accidental, not intentional.

    1. I thought the same thing. I simple fix might be to insert the words ‘possibly’ or ‘likely’ after “is.” In any case, I thought the letter was great. Well written and much appreciated. It’s nice to see someone’s taken the time to reach out so constructively.

  4. I dont write often, but I greatly appreciate the posts on this site. This one is another great example of what feels like kindred spirit. Charity in disagreement! It is not how I have been treated on other sites and provides good example for others to follow (my self included). Thank you!

  5. Mark,
    just read your text “The Perverse Opinions.(..)” on Ann’s pages. I didn’t know it before. What you said expresses exactly my position and does it so clearly that there is no point to repeat the same argumentation over and over.
    Ann did good job, again, republicizing it. Any Francis’ supporters should be required to relate to “The Perverse Opinions.(..)”.

  6. The problem here is that the “Shut up you Bennyvacantist!” crowd isn’t actually arguing from the objective reality before them – but rather – they are hellbent on fending off the possibility of a *VACANT* Chair when BXVI dies with the heretic Bergoglio still in office.
    And to that end – they are forced to accept the false premise that the Chair of Peter could never ever ever be vacant – so they are forced to bend all of the objective reality they see around that unsustainable assertion.
    But what they also refuse to admit – is that their faulty thesis ALSO holds – (nay – HOPES!) – that some future pope or council will declare Bergoglio an heretical antipope who effective lost – (or never licitly held) the Chair of Peter.
    And in that case then Bergoglio is already an antipope right now in our current living time. And if their thesis of BXVI is true and he DID fully and licitly “retire” – then by the very constructs of their own thesis and desires – the Chair is ALREADY VACANT.
    And THIS my friends is how faulty theories, inflated egos, and “marketed” “truths” become an impenetrable fog of willing self-deception.
    And as always – Our Lord’s simple directions for discerning False Teachers was not confined to some elitist Pharisaic academic code of scholarly achievements and “authoritative” expertise. It was quite contrary to all of those haughty worldly things:
    “By their fruits, you WILL know them” ~ Matthew 7:16

    1. I think when B16 dies, PF will immediately “retire” and another “conclave” will elect a new “pope” to the Dual Papacy. I think that was the plan all along. When they told Bergoglio after his “election” that he would probably only have 5 years to make his changes. To me that implied a timetable revolving around B16’s age.

      1. Question: Assuming you support the Benesede (or Sedebene) position, what is the outcome of the above (very possible) scenario? Would we then have a valid Pope?
        1. Bergoglio is not Pope, and therefore would not be resigning or retaining anything;
        2. The only living Pope (B XVI) would have passed, therefore the See would truly be empty;
        3. Therefore, a newly elected Pope Judas I (f/k/a Cdl. Parolin) would be valid?

  7. @ Lazarus Gethsemane: I agree with all that.
    All I know is, there has never been an “Emeritus” in history. There have been abdication in shame and separation. Retired Emeritus remaining within St. Peter? Never. How is it that the vast majority just shrug at this alteration to the Cornerstone? Retired Emeritus Pope*s* are now a thing.
    “Whatever, man”.
    And then, importantly, I find this new Emeritus apparatus produces an avalanche of Christian error that I can *never* subscribe to. Not I. Not my family, which I lead and for which I will give an account. And I see these two things (Emeritus/Christian error) intrinsically connected.
    Skojecs and Mundys and O’Reillys of the world, show me where there has been an Emeritus before. Show me where there has been such widespread, pervasive, bedrock existential errors *required* of the Faithful to be in obedience. And from *that* evidence, then perhaps they can show me how we got from there, to here, in a valid expansion to the “Petrine Ministry” and a new way to live the Christian life.

  8. I like Mundy, but I gather his Italian blood tends towards the stubborn, and he is not one for subtlety. I admit it is odd that BXVI claimed there was no other clothes (in Italy, the land of fashion no less!), the Vatican is still his crib, he still uses his “Pope” name, etc., etc. It is kind of like a black hole – no one can actually “see” a black hole, because of its nature – it sucks the light so there is no reflection for us to perceive. You “see” a black hole by it’s effects – no light except at the edge of the event horizon, gravitational forces on nearby objects, etc. Likewise, B XVI’s behavior certainly does not comport with one who has properly “abdicated.”
    I am not fully certain myself. My hesitation is that I just am not familiar enough with canon law/RCC ecclesial practice to accurately judge, but AB’s position appears the stronger one. The concern I have is whether the peculiarities of the resignation invalidate the resignation, or simply invalidate the retention. For example, if someone transfers property by a deed that contains a covenant restricting subsequent sales only to people of a certain race, that covenant is invalid, but that does not invalidate the transfer of the property. The property is transferred, but the restriction is void. But, since I am simply not that familiar with how the Church structure and canon law operate, I am uneasy about the whole situation.

    1. c matt,
      I understand you being ‘not sure’ and ‘uneasy’. I, and I bet all participants here, were/are in the same position. Firstly realize that you are honestly looking for true pope. By rejecting BaF or B16 you _do not_ reject papacy as such. Read about St Catherine of Siena and St Vincent Ferrer, where at some time they supported different men as pope – so you are pretty save from fears that by doubting, you are automatically outside the Church – you are not.
      Keep looking and try to keep thing simple. For example case with lack of black cassocks is ‘strange’ as you said but you won’t have any clear answer only suspicions driven by your actual mood. Try to look at this matter without direct reference to present situation. Imagine that you are looking at hypothetical situation sometime in the future, where you lack many details. How would you establish who the pope is then? What makes pope the pope? Popular opinion? Cardinals opinion? Your opinion? How can you be sure? Can you be sure at all? Does man’s behaviour is decisive in establishing valid papacy? And so on.
      Look up link I posted in other place. It is longish and not the best written ( in my opinion) but you have many pro and cons gathered in one place. Ann’s writing is also very good but it’s up to your taste. If in your research you will find any place defending BaF validity in sensible, not emotional manner please let us know. I didn’t fine any worthy mentioning yet.
      Forgive me this ‘mentoring’ tone. Stay with Church teaching an prayer.

      1. No worries, I appreciate the information. Like you, I have not really found a clincher defense. The “defenses” of BaF (I guess that means Francis?) seem either circular, or strawman, and not quite convincing. Most fall into either (1) B XVI was clear (which objectively, he was not and of itself is a bit odd) or (2) everyone treats BaF as Pope, so there. The worst is the blatant “sedevacantist” argument, which is not the position being taken, or the hair-splitting on whether he is a heretic or only heretically inclined, or merely a “herephile” but not formally, etc. They all seem to skirt the issue of why did B XVI “resign” the way he did and not just make a true clean break? In my more charitable moods, I like to think he did it as a “poison pill,” safety valve, or deadman switch of sorts that let’s him or a future pope void BaF’s doodoo.

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