Those how [sic] don’t have an all or nothing approach with regard to the faith end up fighting against the magesterium [sic] and fall into heresy and eventually apostasy. This is what happened to the protestants and northern Europe is now apostate. Mr Palm is a heretic who opposes the magesterium [sic] and as such, he has fallen from the faith. If he does not change his mind and convert to the fullness of the faith, he will die and face judgment for his errors. . . We geocentrists call out the magesterium [sic] when it is needed, we also provide evidence of magisterial failures based in history, when it is needed as well. We are faithful to the magesterium [sic] and the likes of David Palm and David Armstrong are not completely faithful to the magesterium [sic] when it comes to the matter of geocentrism.
(from “Thoughts of John Martin”; “John Martin” is a pseudonym.)
In Part 1 of “Geocentrism: Tempest in a Teapot or Theological Shipwreck” I showed that Robert Sungenis regularly deploys extremist rhetoric in support of geocentrism, indicting all of the popes and bishops of the last several centuries of utter dereliction in their duty.
While Sungenis is certainly the most prominent Catholic geocentrist to disturb the faithful with extreme claims about the doctrinal status of geocentrism and dire warnings about the alleged consequences of rejecting it, he is far from the only one.
Solange Hertz, whom Karl Keating in his new book The New Geocentrists calls “the Grand Dame of Catholic geocentrism”, echoed this common sentiment among geocentrists that heliocentrism is the source of all modern errors and woes:
The Great Apostasy did not begin with the aberrations of Martin Luther or John Calvin, or even those of William of Ockham. From the beginning heretics had been putting their own twist to the Bible inspired by God in the prophets and evangelists, but to discredit it entirely, that other Bible inscribed by God in nature had to be re-interpreted. The first modern apostates were therefore not theologians, but scientists. They would lead men to look upon God’s universe with new eyes by fitting them with new glasses.
She also holds the common opinion of the new geocentrists that the Magisterium of the Church has utterly abdicated in its duty to protect the faithful from “true heresy”:
This is where we stand today, at a time when heliocentricity, a true heresy, has overwhelmed the entire thinking world, including the teaching organ of the Church. Rome held the line against the Enemy until the reign of Pius VII, who in 1822 finally gave limited entry to the general opinion of modern astronomers.
When Gregory XVI removed heliocentric works from the Index in 1835, the sequel was not hard to predict. Two modern encyclicals on Scripture, the liberal [sic] Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus in 1893, and especially Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu in 1943 (said to have been actually penned by the judaizing Cardinal Bea) opened the floodgates to almost any kind of “accommodated” meanings of Scripture (“Recanting Galileo”; my emphasis).
For Hertz it is “not hard to predict” that these papal actions would allow a “true heresy” to “overwhelm the entire thinking world”, along with the very Magisterium of the Church. It would appear that Jesus Christ entrusted the guardianship of His Church to the wrong people.
In a similar vein, geocentrist Paula Haigh insists that geocentrism is binding on the faithful de fide:
[T]he geocentric/geostatic essence of the medieval cosmology is infallible truth and de fide. It is an integral part of the Deposit of Faith and of apostolic tradition (“Was It / Is It Infallible?”, p. 8).
She too insists that the Magisterium has abdicated in its duty to uphold the true faith. This abdication is part of the Great Apostasy:
That the modern papacy, albeit unofficially, has recognized both errors as compatible with Holy Scripture, can only be a sign of that apostasia — that gradual slipping and falling away from the total Deposit of Faith spoken of by St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (“Galileo’s Heresy”, p. 18).
This statement contains a fundamental error, however, since that there was nothing unofficial about Pius VII’s decrees that Catholics are perfectly free to hold non-geocentric views and that Roman censors who would refuse the publication of books that espouse non-geocentric views are to be canonically punished (see “The Magisterium Rules: The Debate is Over”; please note that Pius VII issues a general permission.)
In October 2004, Dr. Robert Bennett, Sungenis’s co-author of Galileo Was Wrong, presented a paper entitled “Genesis, Galileo, and the Crisis of Faith” at the International Catholic Conference on Creation. In the paper, which was then posted on Sungenis’s web site, Bennett alleges that, “Like the tree in Eden, heliocentrism is a modern poisoned fruit that tempts and tests our faith in God.” He says that, “demonic confusion exists between Copernicanism (CP) and Geostatism (GS)”. “The Galileo affair was the devil’s entrée to produce the moral chaos of modernity.” “Heliocentrism is the first modernist heresy and the dogmatic crack in the theological dike, enabling the infiltration of all the –isms of modernity via the collective Galilean guilt trip we still are on.” He insists that, “This is the devil’s foothold on our spiritual destruction” and, “Heliocentrism was founded on occult tradition, when mystical meaning was associated with symbols and numbers.”
Choosing to ignore the teaching of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII, Bennett insists that, “The distortion of Scripture to accommodate human ignorance is a form of blasphemy against the Spirit. It says that the Creator of language cannot make clear to us what He intends to say”. But Leo XIII and Pius XII teach to the contrary that, “there is no error whatsoever if the sacred writer, speaking of things of the physical order ‘went by what sensibly appeared’ as the Angelic Doctor says, speaking either ‘in figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even among the most eminent men of science’” (Providentissimus Deus 18 and Divino Afflante Spiritu 3; my emphasis). Leo XIII says further that, “Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers-as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us – ‘went by what sensibly appeared,’ or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to” (Providentissimus Deus 18).
In direct contrast to these teachings of the popes, Bennett advances this scandalous (and arguably blasphemous) question: “But if the rising of the sun be not literal, how can the rising of the Son be literal?” (“Genesis, Galileo, and the Crisis of Faith”; see also footnote 1.)
Other geocentrists have made quite a noise in various Internet venues as well. On the Catholic Answers Forum one “cassini” insisted, like Sungenis, that the decrees relating to the Galileo affair in the seventeenth century remain fully in force and that therefore all of the bishops and popes who have not upheld these allegedly still-active condemnations are “dissident Churchmen” (link). According to “cassini”, since the “true” Church still holds to geocentrism as a dogma, it’s only a false heretical “Church” that could support the spread of any other cosmology: “Now you can stick with what you call the Catholic Church but the true Church considers such a reading of the Bible heretical” (link). Like Sungenis, he directly pits the Church of the seventeenth century against the Church of the past several centuries. He reaches the conclusion that anyone who holds to a non-geocentric view of the universe (that would include numerous popes) is a heretic: “Now I see H[eliocentrism] even warps the concept of Catholic. Catholic is now described as one that believes the Copernican churchmen, the heretics, and not the Church of Pope Paul V, Urban VIII and St Robert Bellarmine” (link).
For “cassini”, like Sungenis, the matter of geocentrism versus other cosmologies is overarching and all-consuming: “I have stated that the heliocentric heresy is Lucifer’s greatest lie because once it enters the mind it is impossible to get free from” (link) and “This is Satan’s greatest heresy. He has them all fooled and has Catholics defending his lie…” (link). “cassini” remains very active in various on-line forums.
Internet apologist for geocentrism “John Martin” (a pseudonym), whom both Sungenis and Rick DeLano have publicly praised, insists that the Catholic Church has been “inept” in her guardianship of the Faith. As we saw in Part 1, “John Martin” says that a Catholic like I who denies geocentrism “is a heretic who opposes the magesterium [sic] and as such, he has fallen from the faith. If he does not change his mind and convert to the fullness of the faith, he will die and face judgment for his errors” (“Thoughts of John Martin”).
In order to try to make a case for geocentrism, “John Martin” insists that there are many parallels in which the Church has actually denied her own doctrines: “I’ve presented a list of doctrines that have been de facto denied by the modern church” (link). After I showed that in each and every example that he advanced the Catholic Church has continued to uphold her teaching to this very day, “John Martin” nevertheless insisted: “Therefore David Palm’s argument concerning the ineptitude of the church since Galileo fails. Clearly the church has been inept in several areas and continues to be so” (link).
But how to explain the fact that the Catholic Church has not taught his pet doctrine for centuries? “John Martin” says breezily that,
I believe the church silence on the matter of geo[centrism] in the last 300 years is easily accounted for through either inept leadership or fear of the science establishment (link).
Yes indeed, three hundred years of cowardly and inept popes — what Catholic could fail to be inspired and encouraged in his faith by that answer?
Geocentrist “excubitor”, who is still very active in advancing geocentrism online, sees geocentrism as the very source for all the Church’s ills:
The church hangs by a thread. Disbelief in almost every article of the faith is rampant. And where did it all begin? It began when the rank and file abandoned their teachers to follow the rank and vile teaching of heliocentrism, which paved the way to question every element of the faith and even the reliability of the scriptures and the Pope which we saw during the modernist period in the 1800’s and which we see come to full maturity in the rank and vile teaching of evolution in this current corrupt age (link).
It appears that, as with Sungenis, this is an “all or nothing game”: he insists, “In fact if the church has not dogmatically declared the heresy of heliocentrism then she has not dogmatically declared anything” (link). He has been convinced that this matter is truly equal in importance to the most solemn and precious dogmas of the Catholic Faith—specifically, he has followed the scandalous (and frankly blasphemous) saying concocted by Dr. Gerardus Bouw and repeated by Robert Bennett, comparing this matter of cosmology to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Also if the sun does not actually rise on Easter morning then maybe the Son did not actually rise either” (link).
“excubitor” hopes that he and the other neo-geocentrist apologists can set the bishops straight:
I pray that in these latter days people like me, Cassini, Sungenis, Salza will be the ones from which resurgence is born and our bishops are brought to task to restore Sacred Tradition (link).
This last statement is most telling, since it echoes almost exactly a proposition from Auctorem Fidei: — “in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ” The problem for “excubitor” is that proposition was explicitly condemned by the pope as “heretical”.
Here we see where this geocentric train is heading.
In Part 3 of “Geocentrism: Tempest in a Teapot or Theological Shipwreck”, I will show that, while geocentrism itself is not heretical, the ends to which the new geocentrists have to go to defend their personal doctrine puts them directly on a collision course with a formally defined heresy.
1 Note that in October 2004 Robert Bennett was vociferous in his adherence to the truth of geocentrism. This is telling since, just two months later, Robert Sungenis announced publicly that Bennett was his “co-author” on Galileo Was Wrong. But when challenged on the obvious conflict of interest this created, since Bennett was simultaneously the supervisor for Sungenis’s “Ph.D. dissertation” which would become Galileo Was Wrong, Sungenis floated the defense that Bennett actually turned him down at that time: “Robert Bennett declined to write his part of the book at that time, since he wasn’t convinced yet about geocentrism. I then asked him to be my advisor for the Ph.D. instead.” So, in October of 2004, Bennett came out publicly with a full-blown and detailed defense of geocentrism. But in December of 2004, according to Sungenis, Bennett “wasn’t convinced yet about geocentrism”. Clearly, Sungenis’s latest story is just more revisionist history.