Guerardism—Donald Sanborn's
Strange New Religion!

"One can hold that fairies exist as a theological opinion, but not proclaim it as a binding doctrine." — Rama Coomaraswamy.
©Lúcio Mascarenhas.
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I have been an admirer of both Donald Sanborn and Anthony Cekada, his close associate, for their intellectual forthrightness. Indeed, I came to believe in the legitimacy of the Thuc consecrations only because of the strong case made out by these two.

And yet, recently I found an article by Sanborn (http://www.catholicrestoration.org/newsletter/02_may.htm) that disturbed me deeply. This is the announcement, made in May 2002, by Sanborn, that Bishop Robert McKenna would be consecrating him; which announcement he also uses to set out his Guerardist beliefs.

Strangely, Sanborn's page setting out the principles on which his seminary operates, does not include even a ghost of a suggestion of the Guerardist heresy which he otherwise adheres to.

Years ago, I had written to Coomaraswamy, Dolan, McKenna, etc., for advice to pursue my vocation, and was recommended to go to Leonard Giardina and his seminary. Then out of the blue came McKenna's "Has the Catholic Church Gone Mad" which I recognized contradicted the sensus Catholicus, and that shock set me back for many years: I did not know whom I could trust, and feared that when I had undertaken years of study, I should find myself subtly saddled with some new heresy. Therefore, I shelved my plans to study for the priesthood.

It is true that Coomaraswamy had mailed me, among other writings, a copy of the "Cassiciacum Thesis" of a "Fr. Bernard Lucien"; but I was not able to make much of it, and put it away. However, over the years, my understanding of this ideology has grown stronger, and with it, my comprehension of it being a pure and unmitigated heresy.

The late William J. Morgan had mailed me his article setting out the error of "Sedeprivationism", the name that he (Morgan) gave to this heresy. And I had also been e-mailed a copy of the Einsicht of December 2003, wherein Dr. Everard Heller sets out the circumstances in which this heresy was first propagated, the deceitful manner in which Fr. Michael Louis Guerard des Lauriers, its originator, obtained Episcopal consecration from Bishop Thuc; closely followed by his secession from Bishop Thuc, and from Dr. Heller and Dr. Hiller, who induced Thuc to consecrate him and who were the witnesses of the consecration; his derogation of these men in order to propagate his own heretical views, etc.

All this makes too very clear what kind of man of honor and faith this Guerard des Lauriers was.

Fr. Des Lauriers is the same person who also went under the alias or pseudonym of "Fr. Bernard Lucien".

McKenna is his chief disciple, and now he has found himself a disciple in Donald Sanborn (and presumably also in Fr. Cekada).

Recently, in again drawing attention to Dr. Heller's articles (Einsicht, December 2003), I had occassion to underline the fact that Guerardism is a heresy.

Now I will analyze Sanborn's article, announcing his own Episcopal consecration by McKenna, which he (Sanborn) uses to propagate the Guerardist heresy, to demonstrate that Guerardism is indeed a heresy.

However, before that, I will once agains set out the reasons why I believe Guerardism wrong and contrary to the Catholic Faith, importing these from my response to Dr. Heller:

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  1. My argument against the Guerardist arguments of J. Lawrence Case — I had argued that an electee would be required to assent within reasonable time; failure to reply (or a defective reply) is to be taken as a refusal, and we are to proceed to seek other candidates.

    For an electee is not God, and the Church is not obliged to wait indefinitely upon him, to be held hostage to his failure to provide a categorical assent (i.e., one that is valid according to Catholic principles).

    Guerard des Lauriers (falsely) argues that Wojtyla was "validly" elected, but that he did not validly assent (i.e., in the Catholic sense).

    But this argument is incomplete; it must continue thus: But we are not expected to wait for ever for the valid assent of an electee; failure to provide valid assent dispenses the faithful from any claims by that once-electee.

    Completing Des Lauriers' false argument with this true ending thereby utterly destroys it (Guerard's argument) and thus also the very "Thesis" of Guerard des Lauriers.

    I also refer you to my reply to Ms. Helen Kalianemm.


  2. Presence of foreign and alien (that is, unauthorized) persons—"Cardinals" created by Antipopes Roncalli, Montini & Luciani—at the 2nd. 1978 conclave renders that conclave and its results null and void?


  3. Des Lauriers confuses result of public and manifest heresy. There are two distinct results, according to the class of heresy publicly adhered to:
    1. Some heresies have been officially condemned by the Church with Final and Definitive Authority, and with the added implication that one who holds to such is officially and terminally excommunicated, without need of sentence;


    2. Heresy that is only recognizable as heresy because it evidently contradicts a Truth of the Public Revelation, but which has not been formally defined by Magisterium, so that adherent does not cease to be Catholic, until formally judged and expelled by legitimate authority of the Church.
    The Modernist heresy, of Roncalli, Aggiornomento, Robber-Council "Vatican II", Montini, Luciani, Wojtyla, etc., is of former category.


  4. I believe that Canon Law probably also deals with voluntary secession from the Church by individuals and groups, and the results thereof, and I believe that this is what has happened, and can be demonstrated, with the Antichurch, under Roncalli, his "Aggiornomento" and Latrocinium of "Vatican II".


  5. I believe that Des Laurier contradicts Canon Law prescriptions as to those who had formally fallen away into excommunication and schism, and who have later returned: I believe that Canon Law excludes the possibility of an automatic restoration to office.
It is necessary to stress that Des Lauriers was no ordinary person. He was a cleric, and a high ranking theologian, a professor at either the Angelicum or Gregorianum, Pontifical Universities in Rome. Such a person could not be ignorant of Canon Law; that he ignored the evident provisions of Canon Law and the consistent teachings of the Church over the millenia to fabricate a new solution, and one that does not better empower Catholics, but which evidently enslaves Catholics to heretics, shows his bad faith and heresy. It also demonstrates the bad faith of all his adherents.

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In the article on the subject of Infallibility, the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, informs us that "the Church has a right... to remove reasonable doubt and provide a pope... whose claims would be indisputable."

The Popes and Antipopes of the Great Western Schism
  1. Legitimate Popes ("Roman Line"): Urban VI, 1378-1389; Boniface IX, 1389-1404; Innocent VII, 1404-1406; Gregory XII, 1406-1415.
  2. Antipopes of the Avignon line: Clement VII, 1378-1394; Benedict XIII, 1394-1415.
  3. Antipopes of the Pisan Line: Alexander V, 1409-1410; John XXIII, 1410-1415.
Let us remember that, unlike the present lot of Modernist rats—Wojtyla et al—Baldassare da Cossa ("John XXIII of Pisa") or Pedro de Luna ("Benedict XIII of Avignon") were not heretics, yet the "Council" of Pisa "deposed" the Pope of the Roman line, and the Avignon Antipope; similarly, Constance deposed the Avignonese and Pisan claimants, and obtained the resignation of the Roman claimant.

Let us remember that Pisa and Constance were not, strictly speaking, Councils, for they were not summoned by the Pope (Angelo Corrario, Pope Gregory XII of the Roman lineage), but were assembled by the clamour of Christendom disgusted by the division into the loyalties of two and then three putative popes—of the Roman, Avignonese and Pisan lineages.

Let us remember that Pisa and Constance were not, strictly speaking, Councils, for they were composed, not strictly of bishops only, but also of a variety of clerics and academics, who vastly outnumbered the bishops, and who were determined to force an end to the Great Western Schism and also to uproot the venalities of the degenerate Papal administrative apparatus.

Let us remember also that the Councils of Pisa and of Constance did not procure the election of their consensus Popes by a Conclave of Cardinals, strictly speaking. Rather, a "Conclave" was assembled, made up of men designated as Cardinals by the rival papal claimants.

* * * * * 

Traditionalism is over-run with people who invoke "Epikeia" in their own favor in order to justify their actions in procuring ordination, consecration or other of their actions. I agree that it was and is necessary to act in order to preserve and propagate Orders, but that is a lesser end.

The greater end, and the first end of the Church, must always be to supply itself with a legitimate Pope.

I find it very strange that the very same men who will vigorously defend the application of "Epikeia" to themselves in order to absolve themselves for their actions, and to justify them, nevertheless, deny "Epikeia" to the Church as a whole, for the purpose of it procuring itself a legitimate Pope. Strange, indeed!

But it is a fact that the Church had that right (of clarifying to itself the identity of, and of supplying itself with its, head) during the Great Western Schism, and it has that same right at all times, even in our day.

It was in exercise of that right, that Catholics summoned a congress to elect the new pope, and though only seven participated, it successfully concluded by electing David Bawden as Pope Michael.
I will now deal with Sanborn's letter. Sanborn tell us:
Many traditional Catholics would like to see more unity in the traditionalist movement, and resent the exchanges of criticism among the various groups. While unity is certainly a desirable thing, it must be based on the truth.

Unity based on falsehood is not pleasing to God, and is not desirable.

Although it is true that we share many positions... such as adherence to the traditional Mass and resistance to modernism in general, it is also true that we differ sharply about many essential truths: the nature of the authority of the Roman Pontiff, the indefectibility of the Catholic Church, the infallibility of the ordinary universal magisterium, the nature of the Second Vatican Council, marriage annulments, the validity of the sacraments in the Novus Ordo, whether Wojtyla is the pope or not, what is the ultimate solution for the problem of Vatican II, communion with heretics, to mention only some of the areas of acute disagreement.

Let me draw an analogy to illustrate. If the Novus Ordo is the Titanic, it is the job of the traditionalists to shout, "Abandon ship!" But it would be of no use to get into the lifeboats if they too will sink, and will plummet to the same bottom as the Titanic itself. So it is our job not only to criticize the titanic of the Novus Ordo, but also to criticize those captains of the lifeboats whose error or imprudence will cause the lifeboats to be caught in the suction of the sinking vessel.
Again, Sanborn tell us:
Some ask me why I speak so often about the SSPX. There are many reasons.

The first reason is that the Society of Saint Pius X is the largest traditional organization, and is virtually the "face" of resistance to the changes of Vatican II. It is, therefore, newsworthy, and developments in this organization affect us all.

The second reason is ...they are very influential, and it is necessary to counteract their influence in those areas in which they are in error. Many Catholics have accepted their line of recognizing Wojtyla as pope, but at the same time acting as if he does not exist. This is not a Catholic position, and it induces people, especially the young, to have a contempt for the Roman Pontiff.

The third reason is fraternal correction. The priests and the laity of that organization ought to be reminded of Catholic principles concerning the pope, the magisterium, and the indefectibility of the Catholic Church. They should also be warned that the principles upon which Archbishop Lefebvre founded the SSPX lead ultimately to their reunion with the Novus Ordo.
I quote these words from Sanborn in order to underline that I too am motivated (in writing this article) by the same or similar sentiments.

It is crucial for the salvation of souls that they be disabused of their errors, and this is an obligation upon the faithful. Secondly, this heresy (Guerardism) is one of the major causes of division among Traditionalists, and it therefore needs to be addressed and resolved, basing oneself on Catholic principles, and not on unnecessary innovations.

Of course, it would be insincere of me not to caveat that I do not believe that my responsiblity towards Guerardists (or Lefebvrists) constitutes "fraternal correction." Fraternal correction is for those who share the faith. Guerardists and Lefebvrists, however much I may regret to say it, are adherents of heresies and schisms, and do not contitute members of the same family as Catholics, so that there is no question of "fraternal correction."

Now, coming to the meat of Sanborn's Guerardism:
Bishop Guérard was very careful to point out that, although these "popes" had no jurisdiction, they nonetheless were in possession of a true designation to be Catholic popes.

He held, consequently, that if a Vatican II pope-designate were to regain the Faith and repudiate Vatican II, he would become a true pope.

The reason why this is true, he said, is that the Vatican II modernists, like Wojtyla, have never been legally separated from the Catholic Church.

They are in the same position as Luther between 1517 and 1521, who had professed public heresy in 1517, but who had not yet been legally separated from the unity of the Church until 1521.

Nestorius, the heretical Patriarch of Constantinople, was a public heretic in 428, but was not officially condemned until 431. But already in 428, the clergy of Constantinople broke communion with Nestorius, and said "an Emperor we have, but no bishop."

So Wojtyla is no pope, but he is in the position to become the pope, if he should remove the obstacles to his obtainment of the jurisdiction.
And again:
...the error of those who say that there are at present no successors, in any way or form, to the lineage of apostolic succession since St. Peter.

Those who hold that with Wojtyla the lineage has been snuffed out, are bound logically to say that the Catholic Church has come to an end.

For the only see which has preserved a legitimate line of succession from the Apostles is the See of Rome.

Many of those who hold the position that there is no lineage of succession in Wojtyla try to solve the problem by saying that a pope could be elected by the remnant faithful.

But this is not possible, since they have no right to vote, and the attempts made to do so have ended in absurdity.

But even if it were somehow possible, it still would mean that the lineage from St. Peter would have been broken, and a new lineage started, with no legal connection to what was.

When the English Protestants drove out the Catholic Stuart King James II in 1688, and invited the arch-Protestant William of Orange to be king, they broke their legitimate lineage of kings. Why? Because legitimacy of succession in that case depended on legitimate birth in the royal line.

Others say that God will intervene, and somehow designate a pope. Certainly this is possible, for God can do all things, but this new pope would still not be of the same line of apostolic succession as that from St. Peter. It would be a new line, however much it could claim divine origin.
Sanborn's letter is a mishmash of false conclusions. My experience of Sanborn, in the matter of Thuc, for example, is that of a theologian who has studied deeply; it is therefore disappointing to find him here apparently ignorant of two millenia of Catholicism and making mistakes that can be excused only in school boys. Sanborn regurgiates the Guerardist heresy in the form of emotionalist, sentimentalist pap, designed to overpower our intellects and to make us weak-kneed and thereby to throw ourselves weepingly upon the tender mercies of this heresy.

Let us take Sanborn's Guerardist Premise #1:
Vatican II modernists, like Wojtyla, have never been legally separated from the Catholic Church.
For a "Traditionalist", that is a very strange assertion. It could be expected from the likes of Karl Keating, Robert Fox, Brian Harrison, etc. But from a Traditionalist?

One of the first things I learnt, as a Traditionalist, was the cumulative set of documents issued by Pope St. Pius X, a list of which I produced in the beginning of my tract, "Repair My Church":

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The heresy promulgated by A.J. Roncalli is identical with the heresy of Modernism that was condemned and excommunicated by Pope Saint Pius the Xth. The following documents state the position of the Church on this heresy:
  1. Lamentabili Sane, Pope St. Pius X, Syllabus of Modernist Errors. 3rd July 1907.


  2. Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical on the Doctrines of the Modernists. 8th September 1907.


  3. Praestantia Scriptura, Pope St. Pius X, Motu Proprio. 18th November 1907. ["We declare and determine that if anyone, which may God forbid, should go forward so brazenly as to defend any proposition reprobated in either of these documents, by that fact itself, he incurs excommunication reserved to the Roman Pontiff."].


  4. Antistitium Sacrorum, that is, "Oath Against Modernism", Pope St. Pius X, 1st September 1910 and prescribed to all in positions of teaching the faith, on priests and biships, and on all those receiving offices in the Church.


  5. A Catechism of Modernism, Rev. Fr. J.B. Lemuis, English translation, 1908, Society for the Propagation of the faith, Archdiocese of New York. Reprinted 1981 TAN Books & Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 424, Rockford, Illinois. USA. 61105. A Question & Answer form of Pascendi Dominici Gregis.


  6. The first two documents are to be found in the book, All Things in Christ—Encyclicals of Pope St. Pius X, edited by Vincent Yzermans, 1954, Newman Press, Westminister, Maryland, USA, and reprinted by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 02130.
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I expect that Sanborn accepts the validity of these legislations, and that therefore, he will believe, with me, following Pope St. Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII, that every Modernist in the Catholic Church, even those who dissembled in order to escape condemnation and excommunication in the outer forum, such as Roncalli, Montini, Luciani, Wojtyla, etc.—still nevertheless incurred excommunication under these legislations.

Again, what do we arrive at, when we put these legislations of Pope St. Pius X together with Pope Paul IV's "Cum ex Apostolatus Officio"?

Further, is it not a fact that these Modernists also incurr penalties imposed by Ecumenical Councils and other popes besides St. Pius X? Have these facts not been recorded and publicized by innumerable Traditionalists from the very beginning of the movement?

How then can any honest Catholic pretend that these Modernists have still not been legally expelled from the Church?

Can any who pretends thus, be a true Catholic?

Is it not that one who pretends this, is mimicing the defiance of the Jansenists?

Premise #2:
...the error of those who say that there are at present no successors, in any way or form, to the lineage of apostolic succession since St. Peter.
Why is it that the thesis that there exists a vacancy should be described as an error? Is it the contention of Sanborn or of the Guerardists that Catholic Theology teaches that there has never been, nor can there be, times, long or short, when there have been no popes?

Premise #3:
Those who hold that with Wojtyla the lineage has been snuffed out, are bound logically to say that the Catholic Church has come to an end.
No real Catholic alleges that the Papacy has been terminated due to the Modernist Apostasy. If there are any who so claim, they thereby certify that they do not have the Catholic Faith.

Premise #4:
For the only see which has preserved a legitimate line of succession from the Apostles is the See of Rome.
Sanborn is confusing things here. I believe that Catholicism does not teach that the See of Rome is the only See which has preserved a legitimate line of succession from the Apostles.

On the contrary, it is my understanding that Catholic Doctrine teaches that the Bishop of Rome is the only Bishop who continues to retain Apostolicity, which is an entirely different kettle of fish altogether.

Premise #5:
Many of those who hold the position that there is no lineage of succession in Wojtyla try to solve the problem by saying that a pope could be elected by the remnant faithful.

But this is not possible, since they have no right to vote, and the attempts made to do so have ended in absurdity.
What is the doctrinal basis of the bald assertion that "they have no right to vote"? Is it the assertion of Sanborn et al that the System of a College of Cardinals, or that the Election of the Popes thereby, is of Divine Institution, being instituted by Christ Jesus Himself?

What is the doctrinal basis of the bald assertion that "the attempts made to do so have ended in absurdity"? This assertion rests, not on objective criteria of the Faith, but on subjective personal opinion. As such, if there is anything absurd, this attitude, which is viciously schismatic, is the only thing that constitutes the absurdity!

Premise #6:
But even if it were somehow possible, it still would mean that the lineage from St. Peter would have been broken, and a new lineage started, with no legal connection to what was.
Is this so? If it is so, then the lineage has been already broken several times in the past. It was broken, for example, during the competition between Anacletus II and Innocent II for acknowledgement as the true pope; it was again broken during the time of Innocent IV who was rivaled by Victor IV; it was even more famously and incontrovertibly broken when the Council of Constance dispensed with John XXIII, Benedict XIII and Gregory XII, and elected Martin V instead, and to boot, imposed upon him the heresy that Ecumenical Councils are superior to the Popes!

Sanborn here pretends a profound ignorance of basic Catholic principles and of Catholic history. That pretension is the only basis of this rather foolish assertion!

The lineage of Popes is not constituted by one pope anointing his successor. That would be the only true lineage, but if this is what Sanborn means, then there is a great difficulty: Only two popes are more or less known to have anointed their own successors—reputedly St. Peter himself, and another much later.

The majority of Popes have been either elected by the Roman populace, clergy or the College of Cardinals. Some have been foisted on the Church by some King or Emperor.

Premise #7:
When the English Protestants drove out the Catholic Stuart King James II in 1688, and invited the arch-Protestant William of Orange to be king, they broke their legitimate lineage of kings. Why? Because legitimacy of succession in that case depended on legitimate birth in the royal line.
Anyone conversant with English history will tell that the line that James II himself represented (Stewart dynasty), represents succession from the Tudors, which itself was an usurpation without any basis in legitimacy from the previous kings (Lancaster dynasty) of England. It is my understanding that the Tudors based their claim on the fact that Owen Tudor married a widowed Queen of England, Catherine, who had been a French Princess, and the wife of King Henry V of England. This much I know; what I also presume is that this has probably happened many times before, between the Norman Conquest under William the Great and the Anglican Schisms.

Evidently, then, the line of English kings has been consistently broken. The same will hold true of any country or lineage.

I strongly doubt that the line of Japanese emperors, which, it is claimed, is the longest and oldest lineage, has not been ever broken or interrupted. That can only be proven by the DNA analysis of all the Emperors down the ages, an obviously impossible task.

Premise #8:
Others say that God will intervene, and somehow designate a pope. Certainly this is possible, for God can do all things, but this new pope would still not be of the same line of apostolic succession as that from St. Peter. It would be a new line, however much it could claim divine origin.
Years ago, in 1993, after leaving the Antichurch, when I began to search for the true Pope, I learnt of "Pope Gregory" of Palmar de Troya, Seville, and commenced correspondence to investigate this possibility. However, when "Cardinal Corral" wrote that "Pope Gregory" had been made pope in an apparition, I rejected this claim, basing myself on a universal rejection of any papal claim based solely upon a putative apparition.

I, with Catholicism, exclude this "Apparationalism" as the "Pseudo-Mysticalist" heresy, thus:
God can do all things, but He will not do just about anything that is potentially within His Power. Above all, He will NOT violate His own law.

Now, God has sealed Public Revelation, so that there cannot be any further addition, any subtraction or amendment.

Public Revelation is that Deposit of the Faith which all men need to credit with Divine Faith, in order to be saved, in order to secure their eternal Salvation. This is what God commands.

But if God acted to institute a new line of Popes, as the "Psuedo-Mysticalists" believe, then that action would re-open Public Revelation, add to it, amend it. And every human being on the face of the earth would be obliged with the need to credit this action with Divine Faith, this establishment of a new line of Popes. And this is precisely what God excludes.

Therefore, for the Catholic, any such pretension (to a Supernatural intervention) is excluded as heresy and a transgression against the Catholic Faith.
Premise #9:
Wojtyla is no pope, but he is in the position to become the pope, if he should remove the obstacles to his obtainment of the jurisdiction.
I believe that Canon Law excludes the possibility that a heretic who lost office by defection, can recover that office merely by returning to a profession of the Catholic Faith. Yet, where is the question of "return" by Wojtyla to an office which he never held before he began to be a heretic?


I make this refutation of Sanborn's errors, not to discomfit and contemn him, but in order to point out his error, in the hope that he will return to Catholicity.


Lúcio Mascarenhas

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