Monday, October 22, 2007

Gerry Matatics: Counterfeit Catholicism

James informed me that Gerry Matatics was speaking in my area this week, so I headed out Friday evening to attend one of his seminars. James attended one of Gerry’s seminars a year ago and wrote about his experience here. The overall content of the seminar wasn’t much different than what James described, but I thought I would add some additional details that I found interesting.

First, for those not familiar with Gerry, he was formerly an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) before converting to Catholicism where he became a mainstream Catholic apologist (formerly working with Catholic Answers and debating James White a few times in the early 1990s). More recently he has embraced Sedevacantism and seems to be devoting himself full-time to defending his beliefs (although he appears to not be too fond of the Sedevacantist title).

Gerry’s current “mega-tour of over 300 cities and towns”is focused on his current position that “a) the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church are the one true Faith and the one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation (as both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition repeatedly affirm and as the Sacred Magisterium, or teaching office, of the Church has infallibly defined many times), but that b) that authentic Catholic Faith and that authentic Catholic Church are no longer found at the local parish, in the local diocese, or even ruling from Rome in our day.” Gerry’s seminar flier entitled “Counterfeit Catholicism” promised to share some “startling, eye-opening facts” over a 2 hour period follow with some Q&A time.

I am not sure if the particular seminar I attended would attest to the size (or makeup) of the sedevacantist following or not, but besides Gerry, there were 5 men and myself in the room. One man who was wearing what I believed to be a rather large rosary had his tape recorder but other than that, I was the only one taking copious notes (and the only one who brought my bible as suggested in the flier). Luckily, James had forwarned me about the opening prayer so I was prepared to not join in as “Our Lady” was called upon, followed my a Hail Mary, then some type of responsorial pray to Mary, followed by a rattled off list of saints to “pray for us” (I only caught St. Pius and St. Bellarmine).

Gerry then moved on to his presentation warning us up front that he would have to cut out some portions of his usual talk due to the time, but offering tapes for sale that cover the full material. After a quick joke he opened with 3 prophecies from “Our Lady of La Salette” (1846): “In the last days, Rome itself will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist ... the Church will be in eclipse". Gerry seems to believe these prophecies have come to fruition and goes on from here to support his belief from both biblical and more extra-biblical prophecies. He speaks quickly and covers a lot of material and rather than share my notes here, I would recommend you read a summary of the content of these seminars from his website (also briefly excerpted below).

It is clear that Gerry has spent a lot of time researching Church History, papal documents and I think he makes a good case that the Roman Catholic Church of today has broken away from many of her historical beliefs. I found it odd though that he seems to give a lot of credence to extrabiblical prophecies (listed under “fact #2 on his site). He spoke of “Our Lady of La Salette” more than once and also seemed intrigued by a supposed vision of Pope Leo XIII in 1888 which springboarded into accusations of freemasonry infiltration into the Church at the beginning of the 20 century (see Alta Vendita). At that point I began to wonder how many in the room really believe Oswald shot Kennedy.

For a small group, the Q&A was more lively than expected. Gerry’s presentation ended around 9:45pm and when I finally got up to leave at 10:50pm, the discussions were still continuing. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to peruse Gerry’s book table as he had many sources there that he mentioned during his talk, but I did write down a few titles he particularly recommended and will list those books at the end of the post.

During the Q&A, Gerry claimed that there were a few bishops at the Vatican II council who refused to sign the documents and soon after retired, not agreeing with the changes made at that Council to “the faith”. He also mentioned that there are still some men living (but quite old) who were bishops under the reign of Pope Pius XII. Apparently Gerry has been tracking down these men and meeting with them to try and find one to step forward and reclaim the Church (denouncing Vatican II). While I don’t agree with his position anymore than the modern day RCC, I do have to give him credit for his persistence.

One of the questions during the Q&A mentioned the Dimond Brothers website which I decided to look up today. These guys appear to also be sedevacantists although they appear to have a beef with Gerry because he is a little soft on “baptism of desire”. Prior to going to Gerry’s presentation I came across this post from the Saint Benedict Center, a traditionalist group who while holding many traditional beliefs in common with Gerry, feel he has gone too far with his sedevacantistism. Looking around there appear to be a variety of Catholic splinter groups, some still in communion with Rome, who can’t seem to find complete unity in their beliefs.

To summarize, these are Gerry’s main points (excerpted from his site):


1. The Vatican II Church, though it has much in common with the Catholic Church, does teach doctrines, offer worship and sacraments, and promulgate laws that have all been previously condemned by the Catholic Church as being fundamentally incompatible with the Catholic Faith.

2. The rise of such a counterfeit "church," successfully masquerading as the Catholic Church because a) composed of nearly all the former clergy and laity of the Catholic Church who lost their membership (and, in the case of the clergy, their offices) in the true Church by being spiritually seduced into subscribing to heresy, and b) possessing the real estate and controlling the infrastructure (chanceries, marriage tribunals, schools, colleges, universities and seminaries, publishing houses, etc.) formerly owned and operated by the true Church, has been foretold by numerous prophecies given, not only in Sacred Scripture but also by Our Lady and numerous saints -- including, Popes, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.

3. …next in the talk we examine the beliefs of the men who have sat on the throne of St. Peter since the death of Pius XII in 1958: John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I & II, and Benedict XVI. An examination of their writings, speeches, and actions readily reveals that these men were not orthodox Catholics -- even before their elections -- but modernists and manifest heretics, Freemasons, and abettors of Communism (yes, even John Paul II) and Talmudic Judaism.

4. This in turn means that, as unlawful usurpers of the papacy, John XXIII had no authority to call, and Paul VI no authority to consummate, a lawful and valid general council of the Church. The therefore illicit and invalid council John XXIII and Paul VI did, respectively, call and conclude would not and could not enjoy the protection and infallibility of the Holy Ghost.

Summary: "the only possible conclusion is that what is found in Rome, in your diocese, and at your local parish is no longer the Catholic Church, but the above-mentioned clever counterfeit that God Himself has permitted to take over the infrastructure of the Church, in order to fulfill His prophecies and plans. One who denies this conclusion by arguing that, while these modern doctrines, worship, and laws are not fully Catholic, the Vatican II Church which offers them is nevertheless the Catholic Church, rejects the teaching of Pius XII (and other popes) that the true Church can never offer such aberrations. In thus rejecting the Church's authoritative teaching regarding its own fidelity and purity, such a person shows he is not a Catholic at all -- he himself has become a "counterfeit Catholic"."

Some books recommended by Gerry:
Tumultuous Times
The Popes Against Modern Errors
The Ottaviani Intervention

45 comments:

L P Cruz said...

I will pay for a Gerry Matatics and Scott Hahn debate.



LPC

Carrie said...

I will pay for a Gerry Matatics and Scott Hahn debate.

Agreed!

Rhology said...

I'd pay more to see Matatics-Vin Lewis.

Carrie, what a blessing to be able to go see Matatics! I fear I'll have to wait a while before he visits my fly-over state.

EgoMakarios said...

"...and Talmudic Judaism."

I'd be quite interesting in seeing what he means by this.

EgoMakarios said...

interested i mean...stupid typos

Saint and Sinner said...

""...and Talmudic Judaism."

I'd be quite interesting in seeing what he means by this."

I believe that he is referring to Orthodox (and Hasidic?) Jews.

EgoMakarios said...

I mean, what he's saying that modern Catholicism takes from Talmudic Judaism.

Carrie said...

I mean, what he's saying that modern Catholicism takes from Talmudic Judaism.

He skipped over this part (except for a quick mention) so I’m not sure exactly what he is referring to. It may be on his website summary?

He has so much material – I think you really need a whole day with the guy. I think you can get a whole tape set of his one day seminar for $25-$35.

Saint and Sinner said...

"I mean, what he's saying that modern Catholicism takes from Talmudic Judaism."

Here's that part:

"...abettors of Communism (yes, even John Paul II) and Talmudic Judaism."

I think that he's saying that the modern Popes are "abettors" (i.e. supporters or assistors) of modern Jews.

He's referring to the fact that modern Catholicism has cozied up to the Rabbinists and said that they have a path to heaven without believing in Christ.

Saint and Sinner said...

BTW: My exegesis of 2 Timothy 2:2 is up.

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

It always amuses me how writers on this site get so jazzed over vacant seaters who comprise less than one in seven hundred million people who profess Catholic faith.

James Swan said...

I'd pay more to see Matatics-Vin Lewis.

If you take a listen back to the 1992 debate between Matatics and Dr. White on Sola Scriptura, Gerry takes about 5 minutes of his 25 min. opening presentation to challenge Dr. White to debate Vin Lewis on sola scriptura.

Matatics says Lewis is the best person to debate Dr. White on sola Scriptura, and says, that, Lewis is even far better than he is in addressing the topic (Matatics). It's worth taking a quick listen to if you have it.

Of course, say what one wants to about Gerry, he is seminary trained, and does have a fairly good depth of knowledge. Lewis (at least back in 1992), if I recall, had no theological training whatsoever, and, if I recall, no college training either. Dr. White took a minute to address a debate with Lewis, and said Lewis was similar to a Catholic version of Jack Chick, Alberto, and Ruckman.

I'm not sure where Gerry stands now with Lewis. At the time, Lewis was into some of the fringe that Gerry is now into.

Carrie, what a blessing to be able to go see Matatics! I fear I'll have to wait a while before he visits my fly-over state.

Gerry was in Princeton this past Saturday (not the seminary, but rather, the Holiday Inn), but I had a paper to write, so couldn't make it.

I saw Gerry's gig last summer, at least part one of it- I suffer from sinus headaches, and had to leave early. I will say, Gerry is a likeable guy, but kinda on the wacky side, even in person.

I never suggest Protestants go see Catholic apologists. In fact, I recall really being quite upset at being in a room of people invoking dead saints.

EgoMakarios said...

"It always amuses me how writers on this site get so jazzed over vacant seaters..."

It always amazes me that people who say such things always post anonymously. The fact of the matter, however, my anonymous friend, is that you can't sit in a seat that don't exist, and the chair of Peter simply doesn't exist, and never has.

L P Cruz said...

Sedevacantists affirm the accusations and allegations of the first Protestants, that is ,the Church may be corrupted. This they share in common. The problem is that the Sedevacantists are just seeing it lately, but the Reformers said no it happened many Popes ago.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

James,

In fact, I recall really being quite upset at being in a room of people invoking dead saints

I will not be upset with that being an ex-RC, I have seen more besides I have survived a Rodney Howard-Brown Holy Laughter evening, so I think I can handle some saint saving invocations ;-) Compared to Rodney Howard-Brown, what they do is peanuts.(LOL).

LPC

Albert said...

Anonymous: It always amuses me how writers on this site get so jazzed over vacant seaters who comprise less than one in seven hundred million people who profess Catholic faith.

Albert: The existence of sedevacantists proves that the claim that Sola Scriptura is a blueprint for anarchy is simply untenable. The rise of Gerry Matatics shows that the alllegedly infallible Magisterium is not infallible at all, and that it does not have any ability to establish complete doctrinal unanimity among its adherents.

Anonymous said...

"and the chair of Peter simply doesn't exist, and never has"

Glad you told me. Now I'll just go cry.

Anonymous said...

"The existence of sedevacantists proves that the claim that Sola Scriptura is a blueprint for anarchy is simply untenable"

Riiiight. One in 700 million people who profess Catholocism reject the Holy See and this compares with the fact that you're lucky to find any Protestant congregation of 40 or more where half of them agree on any half-dozen salvation-critical doctrines. Wonderful argument there.

Next.

Albert said...

Anonymous: Riiiight. One in 700 million people who profess Catholocism reject the Holy See and this compares with the fact that you're lucky to find any Protestant congregation of 40 or more where half of them agree on any half-dozen salvation-critical doctrines. Wonderful argument there.

Albert: "Profess" is a good word. It is as if 9 of those 10 totally accept and totaly live by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. So far, I have met only a few. Bad and old argument there.

Anonymous said...

"So far, I have met only a few."

Yes, I'll take your word on the belief and practice of nearly a billion people based on your personal perspective. You win.

Carrie said...

the fact that you're lucky to find any Protestant congregation of 40 or more where half of them agree on any half-dozen salvation-critical doctrines.

Do you have some sort of proof to back up this assertion?

Anonymous said...

"the fact that you're lucky to find any Protestant congregation of 40 or more where half of them agree on any half-dozen salvation-critical doctrines.

“Do you have some sort of proof to back up this assertion?”

I'll go with the Albert method of personal experience.

But why take my word for it. Hang around your own church after service and start asking fellow congregants what they think about the five points of Calvinism.

Better yet, if you're really ambitious, go to 100 Catholic Churches, gather 500 people at random and ask them what are the roles of scripture, clergy, grace and the sacraments, then do the same with 100 Reformed Baptist churches and see what happens. There isn't a person reading this that does not know that the former group would be nearly homogeneous compared with the latter which would sport as many theories as a 9/11 Truther symposium.

Expand that to asking the same questions of any random 500 Catholics taken from any rite, (Roman, Polish, Eastern, Greek, etc.) vs. 500 from any Protestant denomination and the Catholics will look like a single unified wall compared with the pure anarchy you would have from the Protestants. In fact, you'd be lucky if the Protestant gathering didn't end in somebody getting assaulted with a "King James only" sign.

The mere fact that you act like the Sedevacantists represent a significant movement in Catholicism when were you searching randomly, you would have to poll nearly 700 MILLION or so Catholics to find ONE is as clear an illustration that you believe this yourselves as anyone could ask for.

That's why I'm amused that you get so jazzed over them.

Ree said...

"I will pay for a Gerry Matatics and Scott Hahn debate."

I get a kick out of the irony of how Gerry Matatics and Scott Hahn were united in faith and friendship when they were Presbyterians, but when they converted to Rome, they became divided!

Carrie said...

Me: “Do you have some sort of proof to back up this assertion?”

"Anon": I'll go with the Albert method of personal experience.


I'll take that as a "no".

Actually, I have some surveys of Catholics and their beliefs (from Catholic organizations) which is a step up from the lack of evidence you have produced. I'll try to post some of that data this week.

BTW, Albert is a former Catholic as am I so our personal experience has some legitimacy. Are you a former Protestant?

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I have some surveys of Catholics and their beliefs (from Catholic organizations) which is a step up from the lack of evidence you have produced. I'll try to post some of that data this week."

Be sure to compare practicing Catholics with practicing Protestants taking similar surveys. Oh wait, are there such Protestant surveys? Is there enough unity within Protestantism to even phrase such surveys without contention let alone take them?

Regardless, the topic is Sedevacantism, and as I said before, the fact that you think their statistically insignificant deviation represents a significant movement in Catholicism clearly demonstrates your belief that Catholic unity is monolithic when compared with Protestantism. I have no doubt you'll even find the Sedevacantists themselves are more unified in doctrine with the rest of Catholicism than you will find between views in a typical protestant congregating (of which I've been among many and seen first hand where parts of the congregation actively argue against the sermon of the week or other congregants' beliefs). Where else do you have to audition preachers and then vote on who is correct enough for your local group, but in protestant churches?

Rhology said...

Anonymous,

If you want to use "unity" as an argument for RCC, then HAVE UNITY. Why should it be attractive to any Prot to say, "Hey, we may have tons of doctrines that you find blasphemous, but at least we're several dozen % points more unified than you!"?

Anonymous said...

"If you want to use "unity" as an argument for RCC, then HAVE UNITY. Why should it be attractive to any Prot to say, "Hey, we may have tons of doctrines that you find blasphemous, but at least we're several dozen % points more unified than you!"?"

You are correct to point out that unity does not make one correct—just unified. The Nazis had a reputation for unity in their early days.

However, a hallmark of the Church is that it is ONE. This doesn't mean that the relative unity of the various Catholic rites proves it is the True Church, but it does preclude such a vastly disjointed body such as, say, oh, the Protestant Churches as being "The" Church.

But for someone who gets flustered when topics are changed, you're a bit off the mark. The topic is Sedevacantism, and as I said before, the fact that you think their statistically insignificant deviation represents a significant movement in Catholicism clearly demonstrates your belief that Catholic unity is monolithic when compared with Protestantism. If you didn't, you'd ignore them as you would any other nutjob who runs around saying Benedict isn't "really" the pope.

Carrie said...

Regardless, the topic is Sedevacantism, and as I said before, the fact that you think their statistically insignificant deviation represents a significant movement in Catholicism clearly demonstrates your belief that Catholic unity is monolithic when compared with Protestantism.

You keep saying this. Where did I say this was a "significant movement"?

Be sure to compare practicing Catholics with practicing Protestants taking similar surveys.

You are the one making assertions about Protestants beliefs so you will have to do your own research if you want to be taken seriously.

in a typical protestant congregating (of which I've been among many and seen first hand where parts of the congregation actively argue against the sermon of the week or other congregants' beliefs).

Which denomination(s) did you have this experience with? Where did these arguments take place?

Rhology said...

the fact that you think their statistically insignificant deviation represents a significant movement in Catholicism clearly demonstrates your belief that Catholic unity is monolithic when compared with Protestantism

So RC unity is not monolithic? OK.
How is that any different from the churches that practice Sola Scriptura (note that I'm differentiating between the set of Protestants and the subset of Sola Scripturists)?

Carrie said...

you would have to poll nearly 700 MILLION or so Catholics to find ONE

According to Wiki, there were 1,114,966,000 Catholics worldwide in 2005. So using your 1 in 700 million stat, that would give us a grand total of 2 sedevacantists. Of course, Gerry Matatics is one and the 2 Dimond brothers bring it to three, so already your estimate is wrong.

Wiki says this: "There are estimated to be between several tens of thousands and more than two hundred thousands of sedevacantists worldwide", a bit higher than your estimate. Yes, it is not a huge number but not quite as rare as you would like us to believe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedevacantism

And this just covers sedevacantists, there are also various "traditionalist" groups which are not mainstream.

If I have time, I hope to have a better listing of the groups who fall outside of mainstream Catholicism.

Anonymous said...

"yo"you would have to poll nearly 700 MILLION or so Catholics to find ONE

"According to Wiki, there were 1,114,966,000 Catholics worldwide in 2005. So using your 1 in 700 million stat, that would give us a grand total of 2 sedevacantists. Of course, Gerry Matatics is one and the 2 Dimond brothers bring it to three, so already your estimate is wrong. "

Oi Vey!

Big deal. So you'd have to poll 500 million? or 600 million? then. Your "point" is absurd. They are statistically insignificant. That you think it is meaningful STILL testifies to your core belief that Catholic unity is astounding compared with Protestant unity.

Face it. If some local Baptist minister were to preach from the pulpit something absurd: say,... that abortion is not a sin, hardly anyone would notice. If one local Catholic priest preached that from the pulpit it would make national news.

The truly funny thing is that it is you who keeps reinforcing the impression of Catholic unity by parading every deviation as if it were the Reformation come again. It's like seeing a kitten that after shoeing away its brothers and sisters approaches a pride of lions and thinks, "See the frail little kitties just like me." The obvious differences make it comical--though it is cute too, which is a redeeming factor. :-)

Rhology said...

So the disunity of the RCC demonstrates RCC's unity?

Ree said...

Carrie,

In addition to sedevacantists and traditionalists, I think you'll find a much more significant deviation from "anonymous's" brand of RCism on the liberal end. It's quite obvious that Roman Catholics who believe in the infallibility of the church's teaching on contraception, for example, is statistically quite small. Most Roman Catholics simply reject the RC teaching on infallibilitity and, as a result, many of their church's other teachings as well.

Anonymous said...

"So the disunity of the RCC demonstrates RCC's unity?"

no, your reaction to the relatively small fraction of practicing Catholics who are actually in rebellion to the authority of the Church demonstrates its unity.

Seriously, why do you play so coy when you know full well that if the Catholic Church had even one 100th of the degree of discord found among protestants the sedevacantists wouldn't even show up on your RADAR?

I find it amusing that you think it is a big deal. What's not to understand?

Rhology said...

So what I hear you saying is that SOME disunity is OK, as long as it's not up to the level of the many Protestant groups.
Is that right?
If so, shouldn't RC e-pologists change their tactics a bit?

Carrie said...

In addition to sedevacantists and traditionalists, I think you'll find a much more significant deviation from "anonymous's" brand of RCism on the liberal end.

No doubt!

The problem with those people is that they blend in with the general Catholic population and are more difficult to point out. If to "be Catholic" you must assent 100% to all of Rome's infallible teachings, then there are very few true Catholics in the world.

Ree said...

"no, your reaction to the relatively small fraction of practicing Catholics who are actually in rebellion to the authority of the Church demonstrates its unity."

Are Roman Catholics who reject magisterial teaching and use artificial contraception part of this unity or not? Are they a "small fraction?"

Anonymous said...

"The problem with those people is that they blend in with the general Catholic population and are more difficult to point out."

They might not be showcasing their position in public debates, but based on statistics, their numbers and their position is obvious. RCs cite these incredibly huge numbers of so-called "unified" Roman Catholics based upon how many people have been baptized RC worldwide, but not only do they fail to consider all the people who have left their church in these numbers, but they also fail to consider the huge percentage of them who are practicing RCs, but who reject their denomination's teaching on infallibility along with many of its other teachings--one of the most obvious being its teaching on artificial birth control.

Ree said...

Oops. That last "anonymous" post was from me. Initially, I had my name there, but usually this site require me to type the word verification twice, and this time, the second time I did it, I forgot to use my name.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. You tell Rhob-man that you think it is funny that he and his friends find a microscopic diviation significant, and he "hears" something utterly different. Whew. Good thing someone like that doesn't subject scripture to his private interp... oh wait.

Rhology said...

I could be wrong, Anonymous, but I thought I was asking for you, the member of the infallible church, to correct me.
You chose the snotty road, but I'd really like to know the answer. Help me out here.

Anonymous said...

" could be wrong, Anonymous, but I thought I was asking for you, the member of the infallible church, to correct me.
You chose the snotty road..."

Pot, kettle, black.

Puuuhhlease.

Anonymous said...

Snotty:
"That which finds Rhoby amusing."

Rhology said...

Do these pitiful cheap shots mean that you're not going to answer my question?

Tommy said...

Epic "comments section" debate.