I need to dig deeper into the previous topic about a heretical pope.
A contributor, anchor, and writer at EWTN and a priest in San Francisco had a talk about this topic, and the priest in San Francisco, a Jesuit, was more doctrinal. That should tell you something about how upside down the situation is. And it’s important to watch this video, and look at the comments on it, which are terrible! It’s important that you educate yourselves on this because the pope is not God. He’s not above reproach! The people commenting are not clearly educated in the Truth!
Arroyo, who I must be honest is not my favorite, is not a Canon lawyer, yet he brings up two canon laws to immediately censure and reprimand the authors of this accusation. At the same time, because the Vatican has for two years refused to answer multiple questions and concerns from Cardinals and others, Arroyo seems to dismiss this too. Fr Fessio makes coherent arguments back. Let’s break it down.
A priest, layperson, or bishop cannot depose a pope. This is not an impeachment. The pope can only leave office by death, resignation, or heresy. The pithy joke, is the pope Catholic, is and must be true. Why? The pope’s authority stems from the Catholic Faith, and if he isn’t Catholic, he cannot carry out the duties of the office. I highly encourage you to read a very long addendum I will add to the end of this post that explains both why the pope can’t be deposed and also why he can stop being the pope through heresy.
The problem is that news networks across the world are not going to tell you the full story. You will find out of context canon laws and sycophants telling you that you are a radical trad, or sedevacantists saying Cardinal Siri was the real pope. Do your own research!! This is SO important!!
The Church was founded by Jesus, who said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There are no half-truths in God. Therefore, the Catholic Church deals in absolutes when it comes to doctrine!! If you don’t LEARN this stuff, you will be guided down the wrong path. I know, I’ve done it myself!
What is happening in this letter is an appeal to bishops, laying out the evidence before them, asking them to determine with the pope if the seven well-articulated cases are heretical and if Pope Francis believes as he is accused. If they determine under the repository of the faith that they are indeed heretical, they will see if the pope believes and stands by the cases, in which case, yes, it is a heresy and as such he would abdicate the papacy.
This isn’t Adam Schiff going after Trump for impeachment. This is the repository of faith, handed to the apostles, determining if there is heresy.
One of the things that bugged me with this interview was Arroyo’s quick to condemn the accusation because of the lack of high profile scholars, also a certain cowardice to confront the specter of heretical teaching, and a desire to keep it all under wraps to prevent confusion. Again, Fr Fessio countered with the level of confusion that has stemmed from these cases and led to the letter in the first place. My clear concern is the hiding of potentially bad things. Cover-ups are BAD. We cannot have half truths, otherwise we’ll get the insane asylum that is Sister Mary Pantsuit and the chaos that already is the modern church. Arroyo switches from a dismissal of the charges to then quickly condemn liturgical abuse, which without doctrine cannot happen. He really is not my favorite.
I’m not saying this pope is a heretic. Nor am I asking him to resign. I am bringing to light these things because I didn’t know, and I researched, and learned, and we all need to do this for ourselves. The Faith is rich! But like the time of Arius, the church can be split by heresy! And schism! And in the reformation, more heresy. It’s important to know the faith so we can follow it, to the death if asked!
Remember, the church deals in absolutes in doctrine, because there are no half-truths in God!
I leave with two thoughts. One, remember that St Paul corrected St Peter, in public view of the whole church, for his errant behavior. Two, I bolded several sections below. All emphasis mine. It is not that hard to understand, so read it. You have time!!
St Joseph, pray for us.
Canon law and Catholic theology concerning the situation of a heretical pope
The situation of a pope falling into heresy has long been a subject of discussion by Catholic theologians. This situation was brought into prominence after the ecumenical Third Council of Constantinople anathematized the Monothelite heresy in 681, and posthumously anathematized Pope Honorius for his support of this heresy; this condemnation of Honorius as a heretic was repeated by Pope St. Leo II when he ratified the acts of that Council. Since that time, Catholic theologians and canonists have reached a consensus on several essential points concerning the implications of a pope falling into public heresy. We will briefly present these points here.
It is agreed that no pope can uphold heresy when teaching in a way that satisfies the conditions for an infallible magisterial statement. This restriction does not mean that a pope cannot be guilty of heresy, since popes can and do make many public statements that are not infallible; many popes indeed never issue an infallible definition.
It is agreed that the Church does not have jurisdiction over the pope, and hence that the Church cannot remove a pope from office by an exercise of superior authority, even for the crime of heresy.
It is agreed that the evil of a heretical pope is so great that it should not be tolerated for the sake of some allegedly greater good. Suarez expresses this consensus as follows: ‘It would be extremely harmful to the Church to have such a pastor and not be able to defend herself from such a grave danger; furthermore it would go against the dignity of the Church to oblige her to remain subject to a heretic Pontiff without being able to expel him from herself; for such as are the prince and the priest, so the people are accustomed to be.’ St Robert Bellarmine states: ‘Wretched would be the Church’s condition if she were forced to take as her pastor one who manifestly conducts himself as a wolf’ (Controversies, 3rd controversy, Bk. 2, cap. 30).
It is agreed that ecclesiastical authorities have a responsibility to act to remedy the evil of a heretical pope. Most theologians hold that the bishops of the Church are the authorities that have an absolute duty to act in concert to remedy this evil.
It is agreed that a pope who is guilty of heresy and remains obstinate in his heretical views cannot continue as pope. Theologians and canonists discuss this question as part of the subject of the loss of papal office. The causes of the loss of papal office that they list always include death, resignation, and heresy. This consensus corresponds to the position of untutored common sense, which says that in order to be pope one must be a Catholic. This position is based on patristic tradition and on fundamental theological principles concerning ecclesiastical office, heresy, and membership of the Church.The Fathers of the Church denied that a heretic could possess ecclesiastical jurisdiction of any kind. Later doctors of the Church understood this teaching as referring to public heresy that is subject to ecclesiastical sanctions, and held that it was based on divine law rather than ecclesiastical positive law. They asserted that a heretic of this kind could not exercise jurisdiction because their heresy separated them from the Church, and no-one expelled from the Church could exercise authority in it.
The canon law of the Church supports this theological consensus. The first canon to give explicit consideration to the possibility of papal heresy is found in the Decretum of Gratian. Distinctio XL, canon 6 of the Decretum states that the pope can be judged by no-one, unless he is found to have deviated from the faith:
Cunctos ipse iudicaturus a nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur a fide devius (‘he, the one who is to judge all, is to be judged by none, unless he be found straying from the faith.’)
The wording of this statement seems to have been influenced by Cardinal Humbert’s De sancta Romana ecclesia(1053), which stated that the pope is immune from judgment by anyone except in questions of faith: ‘a nemine est iudicandus nisi forte deprehendatur a fide devius.’ The claim made in the canon is a development of Pope Gregory the Great’s statement that evil prelates must be tolerated by their subjects if this can be done while saving the faith (Moralia XXV c. 16: ‘Subditi praelatos etiam malos tolerant, si salva fide possint …’).
The canonical assertion that the pope can be judged for heresy came into being as an explication of the canonical principle that the pope is judged by no-one. The statement in this canon is an enunciation of a privilege; its object is to assert that the pope has the widest possible exemption from judgement by others.
This canon was included, along with the rest of the Decretum of Gratian, in the Corpus iuris canonici, which formed the basis of canon law in the Latin Church until 1917. Its authority is supported by papal authority itself, since the canon law of the Church is upheld by papal authority. It was taught by Pope Innocent III, who asserted in his sermon on the consecration of the Supreme Pontiff that “God was his sole judge for other sins, and that he could be judged by the Church only for sins committed against the faith” [“In tantum enim fides mihi necessaria est, ut cum de caeteris peccatis solum Deum iudicium habeam, propter solum peccatum quod in fide committitur possem ab Ecclesia judicari.”] Rejection of the canon in the Decretum would undermine the canonical foundation for papal primacy itself, since this canon forms part of the legal basis for the principle that the Pope is judged by no-one.
The canon was universally accepted by the Church after the compilation and publication of the Decretum. The heresy referred to in this canon is understood by virtually all authors to mean externally manifested heresy (the thesis that a pope loses his office for purely internal heresy was advanced by Juan de Torquemada O.P., but it has been conclusively refuted and has been rejected by all canonists and theologians ever since.) Neither the 1917 Code of Canon Law nor the 1983 Code of Canon Law abrogate the principle that a heretical pope loses the papal office. This is agreed by all commentators on these codes, who state that this principle is correct.
The early canonical tradition generally requires that in the specific case of papal heresy, the pope must be admonished several times before being treated as a heretic. The Summaof Rufinus, the Summa antiquitate et tempore (after 1170), and the Summaof Johannes Faventius (after 1171) all assert that the pope must be warned a second and third time to desist from heresy before he can be judged to be a heretic. The Summa of Huguccio states that before the pope can be judged a heretic, he must be admonished to abandon heresy and must contumaciously defend his error in response to such admonition.
Sedevacantist authors have argued that a pope automatically loses the papal office as the result of public heresy, with no intervention by the Church being required or permissible. This opinion is not compatible with Catholic tradition and theology, and is to be rejected. Its acceptance would throw the Church into chaos in the event of a pope embracing heresy, as many theologians have observed. It would leave each individual Catholic to decide whether and when the pope could be said to be a heretic and to have lost his office. It should instead be accepted that the pope cannot fall from office without action by the bishops of the Church.Such action must include adjuring the pope more than once to reject any heresies that he has embraced, and declaring to the faithful that he has become guilty of heresy if he refuses to renounce these heresies. The incompatibility between heresy and membership of the Church is what leads to the loss of the papal office by a heretical pope. The Church’s determining that a pope is a heretic, and the announcement of his heresy by the bishops of the Church, is what makes the pope’s heresy a juridical fact, a fact from which his loss of office ensues.
There are some lesser differences of opinion between Catholic theologians concerning the measures that the Church must take in dealing with a heretical pope. The school of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas asserts that in order for the papal office to be lost, the Church, after ascertaining and pronouncing that the pope is a heretic, must also command the faithful to avoid him for his heresy. The school of St. Robert Bellarmine does not reject the step of commanding the faithful to avoid the pope as a heretic, but it does not consider it a necessary precondition for the pope’s losing office for heresy. Both these schools have adherents, up to and including the present day. We do not take a position on these disputed questions, whose resolution is a matter for the bishops of the Church.
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY TO SUPPORT THE CASE MADE IN THE OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ABOUT POPE FRANCIS’S HERESIES
Fr.Robert Dodaro OSA, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church. Contributions by Paul Mankowsky SJ, Dr.John M. Rist, ArchbishopCyril Vasil’ SJ, Walter Card. Brandmueller, Gerhard Ludwig Card. Mueller, Carlo Card. Caffarra, Velasio Card. De Paolis, Raymond Leo Card. Burke. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2014.
John Finnis andGermain Grisez, “An Open Letter to Pope Francis”,
Fr. Thomas WeinandyOFM Cap., “Letter to Pope Francis”,
Fr. Aidan Nichols, “Lecture of to the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius”
Fr. Brian HarrisonOS, “Analysis of Amoris Laetitia”
Fr. Thomas CreanOP, “Amoris Laetitiais not a Thomistic Document”
+ Athanasius Schneider, “Amoris laetitia: a need for clarification in order to avoid a general confusion”.
Dr. Christian Brugger, “Five serious problems with chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia”, The Catholic World Report April 22, 2016
Dr.Josef Seifert“Amoris Laetitia, Joy, Sadness and Hopes”, AemaetWissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie Bd. 5, Nr. 2 (2016) 160-249.
http://aemaet.de, ISSN 2195-173X
Dr.Claudio Pierantoni, “The Arian crisis and the current controversy about Amoris laetitia: a parallel”, AEMAET,Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, Bd. 5, Nr. 2 (2016) 250-278:
Dr.Robert A. Gahl jr.,“Healing through Repentance”, in First Things, 7.26.16.
Fr.Brian HarrisonOS, “Divorced and Invalidly Remarried Catholics. The Magisterial Tradition – Part II”, Latin Mass, Fall 2017, 14-19.
Benito Amado (pseudonym), “Elenchus rationum sophisticarum Rocci Buttiglionis”, in: Adelante la fe(18 de mayo 2017): https://adelantelafe.com/elenchum-rationum-sophisticarum-rocci-buttiglionis/
Dr.Josef Seifert, “Does pure Logic threaten to destroy the entire moral Doctrine of the Catholic Church?” in: Aemaet, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie.Bd. 6, Nr. 2 (2017) 2-9:
Dr.Christian Brugger, “Yes, Amoris Laetitia 303 really undermines Catholic moral teaching: scholar.”
Dr.John R. T. Lamont, “The meaning of Amoris laetitia according to Pope Francis.”
Dr.Claudio Pierantoni, “Le fallacie di Rocco Buttiglione in materia di Teologia morale e Teologia sacramentaria”, in: Antonio Livi, ed., La legge eterna di Dio e l’insegnamento morale della Chiesa di oggi.Discussioni teologiche sulla riforma della prassi pastorale voluta dall’Amoris laetitia. Contributi di Luca Gili, Ivo Kerze, Claudio Pierantoni, Casa Editrice Leonardo Da Vinci, Roma (in print).
Dr. John Lamont“Francis and the Joint Declaration on Human Fraternity: A Public Repudiation of the Catholic Faith”
Dr.Josef Seifert, “Grave Concerns About Pope Francis’ Abu Dhabi Document”:
Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus: https://www.corriere.it/cronache/19_aprile_11/papa-ratzinger-chiesa-scandalo-abusi-sessuali-3847450a-5b9f-11e9-ba57-a3df5eacbd16.shtml?refresh_ce-cp
Gerhard Card. Mueller: Interview with Riccardo Cascioli:
We indicate the heresy or heresies supported by each statement or act, by providing in brackets the Roman numeral of the heresy in the list above.
Cf. Familiaris consortio 84. See also: Dichiarazione del Pontificio Consiglio per i Testi Legislativi: Circa l’ammissibilità alla Santa Comunione dei divorziati risposati (L’Osservatore Romano, 7thJuly, 2000, p. 1; Communicationes, 32 ).
Cf. Card. G. Müller, in: Riccardo Cascioli, “Vogliono far tacere Benedetto perché dice la verità”, La Nuova Bussola quotidiana: http://www.lanuovabq.it/it/vogliono-far-tacere-benedetto-xvi-perche-dice-la-verita: “An emeritus bishop, when he celebrates Mass, shouldn’t he tell the truth in the homily? Should he not talk about the indissolubility of marriage just because other active bishops have introduced new rules that are not in harmony with divine law? Rather, it is the active bishops who do not have the power to change divine law in the Church.They have no right to tell a priest that he must give communion to a person who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. No-one can change this divine law; if anyone does so, he is a heretic, a schismatic.” Cf. http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2019/04/17/between-the-two-popes-there-is-%E2%80%9Cfracture-%E2%80%9D-the-silence-of-francis-against-benedict/
Pope Francis has offered some informal explanations of this statement, but none of these explanations offers an unambiguous interpretation that is compatible with the Catholic faith. Any such interpretation would have to specify that God positively wills the existence only of the Christian religion. Since the statement is a joint statement with the Grand Imam, it cannot be interpreted in a sense that the Grand Imam would reject. Since the Grand Imam rejects theposition that God positively wills only the existence of the Christian religion, it is not possible to give an orthodox interpretation to the statement. We therefore understand this statement in its natural sense as a denial of a truth of the Catholic faith.
See http://www.correctiofilialis.org A selected bibliography to support the case made in the Open Letterconcerning the heresies of Pope Francis has also been made available by its organizers.
See e.g. Thomas de Vio Cajetan, De Comparatione auctoritatis papae et concilii cum Apologia eiusdem tractatus (Rome: Angelicum, 1936); Melchior Cano, De Locis theologicis, book 6, chapter 8; Bañez, In IIaIIae q. 1 a. 10;John of St. Thomas, Cursus theologiciII-II, De auctoritate Summi Pontificis,d. 8, ad. 3, De depositione papae; Suarez, De fide, disp. 10; St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, book 2 ; Billuart, Cursus theologiae, Pars II-II ; St. Alphonsus Liguori, Vindiciae pro suprema Pontificis potestate adversus Iustinum Febronium; Cardinal Charles Journet, L’Église du Verbe Incarné, vol. 1: l’hiérarchie apostolique (Éditions Saint-Augustin, 1998), pp. 980-83
See e.g. St. Augustine, Sermon 181; Pope Pius IX, Bull ‘Ineffabilis’ defining the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception
This principle is applied to the loss of the papal office for heresy by St Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice,Book 2, Chapter 30. Later authors have qualified this assertion by accepting that heretical clerics can exercise jurisdiction in certain extraordinary circumstances, because it is supplied to them by the Church. None of these authors have however accepted that a pope whose heresy is manifest and established can possess or exercise papal jurisdiction. The Church cannot grant papal jurisdiction, and a heretical pope cannot grant this jurisdiction to himself.
See e.g. Jus Canonicum ad Codicis Normam Exactum, Franciscus Wernz and Petrus Vidal (Gregorianum, 1924-1949), II (1928), n. 453; Introductio in Codicem, 3rd ed., Udalricus Beste,(Collegeville: St John’s Abbey Press, 1946), Canon 221;New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, John P. Beal, James A. Coriden, and Thomas J. Green eds. (New York: Paulist, 2000), p. 1618.
We do not reject the possibility that a pope who publicly rejected the Catholic faith and publicly converted to a non-Catholic religion could thereby lose the papal office; but this hypothetical case does not resemble the current situation.
5 thoughts on “A follow up”
Hi Joe, have you read this by Phil Lawler? Inciteful. https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=1344
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I didn’t till just now thank you! I disagree with him but will write tomorrow
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Joe –excellent–points well made! The letter deserves a Vatican response.
The signers are getting flak from all sides but better to speak up-to serve God, rather than man.
And goodness sake if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck at some point we can say it’s a duck!!!!
Finally it was probably a futile effort — but even a futile effort is important to quote the last stanza of a poem “The Last Word” by Matthew Arnold:
Charge once more then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall.
The Victory is Christ’s! And heresy is the ultimate folly!
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agreed. I am not the one to determine it, but I’m not so dumb as to not see the historical precedent!
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