Catholics Forever is a group of former Catholics. Their head is Bishop Robert F. McKenna, validly but illicitly consecrated. A few months ago McKenna, three other bishops (also illicitly consecrated), and an abbot issued a declaration. They see themselves as a remnant:
"We the undersigned Bishops, called by extraordinary circumstances to preserve the sanctifying mission of the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church in default of a true Roman Pontiff, declare that for contradicting the infallible Magisterium of the Church regarding ecumenism, the present hierarchy, following the false Second Vatican Council, does not speak for the Catholic Church and is in fact devoid of divine authority or jurisdiction over the faithful."
These men insist there is no pope now reigning. They are sedevacantists ("vacant seat-ers"). Popes John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI, and John XXIII were all anti-popes--imposters--since each approved Vatican II.
If there hasn't been a real pope for three decades, and if every Catholic bishop in the world (not counting these four) has approved the validity of Vatican II, then Jesus is a liar. After all, he promised the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church--he promised the Church would teach infallibly, would not demand adherence to something like a false council--and he didn't keep his promises.
If the Church, through four popes and through every bishop consecrated by a pope (and there are still living some bishops consecrated by Pope Pius XII), teaches the validity of Vatican II, and if in teaching this it is wrong, then infallibility must be a sham--it simply can't exist. And if infallibility is a sham, Jesus is a liar.
McKenna's declaration says: "This poison of ecumenism is evident in the new worship ensuing on the Council; that is to say, in the 'New Order' (Novus Ordo) Mass, aptly named, and in the other sacraments, thereby shaking the 'house of God' (Gen. 28:17) by her very 'seven pillars' (Prov. 9:1).
"All has been patently protestantized; all that was peculiarly and beautifully Catholic and enshrined in the sacrosanct Latin tongue of the Church in the West has been ruthlessly removed from the ancient prayers of the liturgy, the remainder itself vulgarized, and the lamentations of the prophet Jeremias appallingly fulfilled almost to the letter....
"The occasional remonstrances issuing from Rome, lacking sanctions and unenforced, bear witness to the collapse of authority even at the highest levels."
There is something to sympathize with here, particularly by those who must suffer under clown Masses and the new clericalism that disallows any of the older devotions, no matter what the folks in the pews desire.
But do we run from dissatisfaction with priests who like to play liturgist--and who play it poorly--to a position that denies the validity of the New Mass and the occupancy of the Chair of Peter?
"It is incumbent upon us as Catholic Bishops to defend and maintain the infallible and unchangeable Magisterium of the Church....The duty of Catholics is clear. They must altogether repudiate the Second Vatican Council and its false Popes, together with the Bishops and priests subject to them. The Apostle warns us to have no part in the sins of others (Rom. 1:32).
"The era introduced by the Council has the marks of the great apostasy to precede the advent of Antichrist, foretold by the same Apostle in his second epistle to the Thessalonians."
Note clearly what is ordered here: If you're a "real" Catholic, you must abandon not just the Council, not just the vernacular Mass, but all bishops and priests other than these four bishops and the men they have ordained.
It's reminiscent of cults which are offshoots from Protestantism. These men are trying to arrogate all authority to themselves, and they're trying to capitalize on the unhappiness of Catholics to do it. "Follow us, and we'll deliver you from this misery." The ironic thing is that nowhere is backbiting and schism more in evidence than among sedevacantists.
After all, if you aren't going to accept John Paul II as pope, why accept Robert McKenna? If you join his sect and get ordained, why not go off on your own as soon as you see him erring?
Does he recognize the authority of, say, Pope St. Pius X? Good grief! Pius reigned into the twentieth century--he can't be trusted! Let's throw off McKenna's authority and find someone who accepts the authority only of pre-twentieth century popes. Can't find such a person? Then become pope yourself.
Don't draw the wrong conclusion. Don't conclude that McKenna and his men are pining for Latin and that Latin has gone to their heads. That isn't it at all. If they merely wanted Latin, they could say the New Mass in Latin any time they wished, or they could work under the recent papal permission and say the Tridentine Mass in Latin.
No, a hunger for Latin isn't what moves such people, even though they talk a lot about Latin in the Mass. Read what they say: "Nor should [Catholics] assist at even the traditional Latin Mass itself whenever it may be offered in communion with the false Pope and Bishops under him. The 'clean oblation' (Mal. 1:11) must not be defiled with error."
So what happens to the Catholic who discovers that all Masses in his area are celebrated by bishops and priests in communion with the Pope? He can fall back on the rosary:
"Not that there is no alternative and that one can practice the Faith only privately. Where the services of a faithful priest are not to be had, we see that alternative as the Holy Rosary. No one will perish who is genuinely devoted to it. It should be recited not only privately and in the family circle, but in common--especially on Sundays--with as many neighboring Catholics as possible. In this way will the obligation of public worship best be fulfilled when the Mass itself is not available."
This is nonsense. The rosary--no matter how many people pray it together, no matter where they pray it--does not fulfill the "obligation of public worship." It can't take the place of the Mass. It is on an entirely different level.
The Christian era could continue without the rosary--after all, it lasted more than a thousand years without it--but it couldn't continue if the Mass ceased to exist. This is no slight on the rosary, which should be a particularly favorite devotion of all Catholics. But to suggest the rosary can be a replacement for the Mass verges on b.asphemy.
But this is the kind of thinking you get when you develop your own religion, which is what Robert McKenna and his compatriots have done. Keep in mind that they really are bishops, having been validly, if illicitly, consecrated. But they aren't Catholic bishops, and their followers aren't Catholics--even if they cling to the title.