Another Catholic post. I have no updates about me. But, on several very conservative Facebook sites, Regina Magazine and Church Militant, there is an accusation of actual heresy against Pope Francis.
Let’s break it down.
First off, I don’t know. But it is a big deal and heavyweights are weighing in. Fr Fessio, founder of Ignatius press, popped out of retirement to put a video out to discuss how serious it is.
Second, the accusation specifically states that the cases of heretical teaching are not within the parameters for infallible doctrine, and I quote, “We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit,”.
Third, as far as I can tell, these are scholars and clergy who are not heretics themselves. So it’s not some crazy ultra-trad who thinks every pope after John xxiii was invalid and is a sedevacantist. It’s also not some crazy ultra-boomer who believes Sister Pantsuit will be the next bishop. These are reputable people.
So what does it all mean, Reader-land? At first I dismissed it all as more confusion, but when Fr Fessio makes a video about it and says it needs to be addressed, I sit up and pay attention. Why? Because along with Servant of God Fr Hardon, this Jesuit is an example of Ignatius’ teaching. And for every one of you out in Reader-land, you have seen their books, theological treatises have been translated to English because of him, and he single-handedly may have saved and deepened the faith of my entire generation and beyond. How many publishers are out there who would publish the Catholic Faith, especially in today’s post Christian society? Exactly. When he says to pay attention, I am going to pay attention.
This website has the whole thing in English, as well as the background for it. It’s specific, detailed, and… Frankly scary to read, on top of Archbishop Vigano testimony.
Can the pope be a heretic? Short answer, yes. By teaching, by action, and by omission. Of course, I’m not a Canon lawyer, but some of the priests in the Society are, I could ask them! To me, if I tell everyone that abortion or contraception are ok, and that it really didn’t matter to the church, that’s a bad example of heresy by teaching. If I actively go out and help procure those things for others or myself because I believe it doesn’t matter, heresy by action. If I knowingly refuse to correct heretical teaching within the authority I have to do so, it’s omission. I think I have that right, and I think they lay it out.
A heretical pope or bishop is a terrible thing. They can sew so much confusion among the faithful and many would leave. Arius comes to mind, a bishop, who led nearly half the church into the Arian heresy, even after St Nicholas punched him or his representative in the face. And again, I don’t know if Francis is a heretic or not, but this is such a big deal that we have to look at it.
How can we know? If a pope can be bad, and there have been many, how can we Know who to trust? This is the framework in which we live right now, and why so many have left the church. Faith in our shepherds is gone, hierachs have used their power to reneg on chastity, morality, to acquire wealth and power, and to abuse the most vulnerable.
An easy way to determine if you can trust a particular clergyman or scholar is, do they teach things consistent with millenia of church teaching and tradition? Good sign. Do they say things like keeping up with the times, or that the church has changed? Bad sign. If they say something you don’t know, does it line up with the repository of faith, and maybe expand on it? Like Peter and the pigs in a blanket, catching up to God’s plan to convert the gentiles too. Then that’s a good sign. Do they say things that have been sins are now ok, or how God made us? Very bad sign. Fr James Martin, a modernist Jesuit who does not imitate Ignatius, I’m talking about you. You can tell.
Let us not forget that the pope can be bad, but he can’t proclaim infallibly a heresy on faith and morals in his official role. Writing encyclicals that go against church teaching? Not infallible. Encyclicals aren’t infallible, actually, unless it is a specific proclamation in the official role as pope definative faith and morals. Talking in an airplane? Not infallible. Giving an interview? Same. The danger is that people hear the pope said something, people think it’s church doctrine. It isn’t, but it creates huge confusion. For example, all those bishops and Catholics who rejected Humanae Vitae in favor of using contraception. They weren’t disobeying an infallible document, they were disobeying two thousand years of church doctrine.
The good news is that there is a safety net. If the pope does infallibly declare heresy on a matter of faith and morals, then none of this matters and it was all a scam. Jesus was then lying or crazy, and we can do what we want. But He didn’t lie, and he wasn’t crazy. So the pope can’t.
Remember all this as things keep spiraling down, and clergy go into full schism, because this is what will happen. We will have to go through the winnowing, and I hope we all remain the course!