Which of Rome’s defenders is at the front of the battle, zealously seeking to protect and instruct the Roman church? Catholic Answers you say? No, it’s none other than Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) founded by Robert Sungenis. His website states, “CAI is a Catholic lay apostolate dedicated to the teachings of Jesus Christ preserved by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. It stands on the forefront of Catholic Apologetics, explaining Catholicism to fellow Catholics and defending it against her opponents.”
Robert Sungenis is not your typical Roman Catholic apologist. For instance, while many of today’s ecumenically minded Roman Catholics can’t make any definite statements on Martin Luther’s eternal destiny, Robert has no problem locating him in hell. This type of sentiment was typical of earlier generations of Rome’s champions.
About this time last year, Robert said the following about Roman Catholic apologetics:
“I think it is good, at least compared to what it was about 25 years ago when Catholic apologetics was practically non-existent. But I think it could be much better today if we all banded together and used each other gifts and talents instead of competing with one another. As the saying goes, all ships rise with the tide.”
“Overall, I would say that EWTN, Catholic Answers and Hahn-CUF are, for lack of a better term, somewhat milquetoast when it comes to dealing with the more controversial and significant problems occurring in the Church and in the world. My assessment is that they either don’t know where the real battles are or they know and choose to ignore them, and have more or less settled into a politically-correct apologetic.”
“I would expect the EWTN-like apostolates to have the lion’s share of the Catholic “apologetics” community, whereas I would expect apostolates like ours to attract the deep thinkers and politically-incorrect crowd. That’s just the nature of the respective animals. But that’s ok. We each have our gifts, strengths and focus. I think God is using us all, but I think He would like to see us all get along much better than we have, and that is what all three groups need to pray for.”
Now a year later, he says the following:
I, being an independent Catholic theologian, am able to penetrate a little more deeply and be much more critical, as I have always done in this apostolate. Although some still regard me as a “Catholic apologist,” unlike Jimmy Akin and Catholic Answers I no longer consider myself an apologist for the modern Catholic Church. When compared to the Catholic Church of tradition, I have resolved that the modern Catholic Church will be required to stand on its own, for I simply cannot defend it any longer. There are simply too many doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities in today’s Catholic Church that are indefensible. In light of these problems, I have assumed what I believe is the more appropriate position – that of being a prophet of warning rather than one an apologist seeking to exonerate the Church from false accusations. Today many accusations against the Church are quite legitimate and I certainly will not be a party to sweeping them under the rug. Hence, I presently take my model from that of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and all the other prophets who spoke out against similar doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities that occurred in Israel before God finally judged them. I believe that if the modern Catholic Church stays on the course it has chosen, it also will be judged by God as Israel was, and, in fact, it is already being judged as we have seen the deterioration in the Church for the last few decades. I’m sorry to have to say this, but from all my knowledge and experience, I would have to say that the last few pontificates have been an almost total disaster for the Catholic Church, especially the pontificate of John Paul II.
I’m assuming Robert isn’t at all pleased by this news: Decree on the Liturgical Observance of the Cult of Blessed John Paul II.
Some may wonder if Robert is all alone, the lone prophet warning Rome of God’s wraith. He’s not, he’s the second popular apologist turned modern day prophet to warn Rome. Let us not forget, Gerry Matatics, Catholic Apologist For the last days. The difference so far is that Gerry believes all those bishops alleged to have ascended to the papacy subsequent to the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958 up through the present (which would include John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI) are not only counterfeit popes, but are also counterfeit Catholics, since they have espoused modernist heresies such as maintaining ecumenical relations with Protestants and other non-Catholics, and have perpetuated other teachings and practices upheld by Vatican II which were deemed to be heretical by previous Catholic councils.
What’s Robert’s exact view now? To my knowledge, he hasn’t stated he’s a Sedevacantist. But his comments sure do sound like he’s heading that way. From going through his website though, it does not appear he’s at all interested in becoming a Sedevacantist (see for instance, his discussion here). He’s debated Sedevacantists, and appears to dialog with any questions on the issue. Sungenis states,
As I have repeatedly suggested to the traditionalists, you have a much better chance of saving the Church if you fight the battle from within the Church rather than from outside. You’ve already lost the battle if you fight from outside… There is no reason to cut off your nose (the pope) to spite your face, since it would be quite impossible for us not to have a legitimate pope for the last six popes (as the Dimond brothers teach) and still believe Jesus’ words that the gates of hell shall not prevail. We all know that the popes have made mistakes, but none of us has the mandate or the authority from God to declare that any of them are anti-popes, except another pope.