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"Can a pope be a heretic, and can a good Catholic say so?"

Discussion in 'Pope Francis' started by padraig, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    The Pope cannot teach heresy. Francis certainly has not. Give us an example if he has. Not someone else. Him. Scalfaris report was a reconstruction of memory. It was not a quote.
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  2. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Just had a thought. It has been postulated that at the instant of Mary's conception she was so flooded with grace that it prevented the imprint of original sin on her soul. She was, as it were, taken up in the moment. Even as the fall threatened so she was saved, swept up in God's glorious plan.
    Just so perhaps if a Pope were to conceive of heresy and fully assent to it with intent in his heart and mind to its promulgation he would lose all grace of his pontificate: he would in that instant cease to be Pope. And thus the Papacy would remain protected from teaching heresy.
    This is just my thought.
  3. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    To summarize: a pope has taught infallibly that a future pope can indeed teach error, and must be corrected and counteracted if he does so. Therefore correcting a pope, even calling him a material heretic, cannot of itself be sinful.

    "1. In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff,who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fulness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, MAY NONETHELESS BE CONTRADICTED IF HE BE FOUND TO HAVE DEVIATED FROM THE FAITH. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted, We have been concerned lest false prophets or others, even if they have only secular jurisdiction, should wretchedly ensnare the souls of the simple, and drag with them into perdition, destruction and damnation countless peoples committed to their care and rule, either in spiritual or in temporal matters; and We have been concerned also lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place. In view of this, Our desire has been to fulfil our Pastoral duty, insofar as, with the help of God, We are able, so as to arrest the foxes who are occupying themselves in the destruction of the vineyard of the Lord and to keep the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be dumb watchdogs that cannot bark and lest We perish with the wicked husbandman and be compared with the hireling." [Capitals added for emphasis.]

    - Pope Paul IV in the Apostolic Constitution Cum Ex Apostolic Officio of February 15, 1559
  4. Theophobos

    Theophobos New Member

    Pope Honorius seems to be somewhat of a precedent for it. Although not the same, the Patriarchs of Constantinople had done such due to the political influence the Byzantine Emperor had. Although even in Honorius' case he himself was not considered personally a heretic.
  5. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Pope Innocent III (1198), Sermo 4:

    "The Roman Pontiff has no superior but God. Who, therefore, could cast him out or trample him under foot – since of the pope it is said ‘gather thy flock into thy fold’? Truly, he should not flatter himself about his power, nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God.

    "Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory [Minus dico] because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged.

    "In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men'."
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  6. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

    St. Catherine of Siena to Pope:
    Use Your Virtue and Power or Resign.

    Saint Catherine wrote the following to Pope Gregory XI:“Most Holy Father,… because He [Christ] has given you authority and because you have accepted it, you ought to use your virtue and power. If you do not wish to use it, it might be better for you to resign what you have accepted; it would give more honor to God and health to your soul…. If you do not do this, you will be censured by God. If I were you, I would fear that Divine Judgment might descend on me…(Letter to Pope Gregory XI).”This quote contains a number of lessons:

    • It destroys 'papalotry,' the superstition among Catholics that we must defend and excuse whatever the Pope says or does, because it's the Pope who says and does it;

    • It is a reminder that the Pope himself has a grave duty to use his "virtue and power" to strengthen the Church, not misuse his power to undermine the Church and scandalize the faithful;

    • It is better for a scandalous Pope to resign than continue in office – and we have this on the authority of a saint;

    Dear Pope Francis, are you listening?

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  7. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Pope Francis uses his power well every day. Read his homilies. Listen to what he actually says. Look at what he does. Witness his mercy and his justice. He is neither scandalous nor heretical unless the likes of you make him so. "honi soit qui mal y pense." Pope Francis is our shepherd and I am his Crozier - one among many as he is first among equals.
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  8. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

  9. Richard67

    Richard67 Powers

    I think it is possible for a Pope to be a heretic. However, it is not possible for a heretical Pope to make heretical ex-Cathedra statements. The Holy Spirit does not guarantee that a Pope will not commit mortal sin; the Holy Spirit only guarantees that the Holy Father will not make errors in infallible matters. I clearly remember the nuns teaching us when we were young that if a Pope was planning on making heretical statements in an infallible manner that God would strike him dead as a last resort.
  10. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Speaking of Protestantism...

    A Pope Like None Before. Somewhat Protestant

    The idyll between Francis and the followers of Luther. The alarm of cardinals and bishops against the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church. But also the distrust of authoritative Lutheran theologians

    by Sandro Magister


    ROME, July 22, 2016 - In the alarmed letter that thirteen cardinals from five continents were preparing to deliver to Pope Francis at the beginning of the last synod, they were warning him against leading the Catholic Church as well to “the collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation:"

    > Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter (12.10.2015)

    Then at the last moment the thirteen deleted these two lines from the letter that was actually put into the hands of the pope. But today they would put them back in word for word, seeing the ever more pronounced idyll that is developing between Francis and the followers of Luther.

    On October 31, Jorge Mario Bergoglio will fly to Lund, Sweden, where he will be met by the local female bishop, to celebrate together with the Lutheran World Federation the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And the closer that date gets, the more sympathy the pope manifests for the great heretic.

    At the last of his in-flight press conferences, on the way back from Armenia, he sang the praises of Luther. He said that he was moved by the best of intentions, and that his reform was “medicine for the Church,” skimming over the essential dogmatic divergences that for five centuries have pitted Protestants and Catholics against each other, because - these are again his words, this time spoken in the Lutheran temple of Rome - “life is greater than explanations and interpretations”:

    > In-Flight Press Conference…

    The ecumenism of Francis is made like this. The primacy goes to the gestures, the embraces, some charitable act done together. He leaves doctrinal disagreements, even the most profound, to the discussions of theologians, whom he would gladly confine “to a desert island,” as he loves to say only half-jokingly.

    The hitherto unsurpassed proof of this approach of his was, last November 15 during his visit to the Lutherans of Rome, the response that he gave to a Protestant woman who asked him if she could receive communion at Mass together with her Catholic husband.

    The response from Francis was a phantasmagorical whirlygig of yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out. But not because the pope didn’t know what to say. His expressive “fluidity” was intentional. It was his way of bringing everything back into discussion, making everything thinkable and therefore practicable:

    > Responses of the Holy Father…

    Right on cue, in fact, came “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits that has now become the grapevine of the Casa Santa Marta, to confirm that yes, Francis had wanted to convey precisely this: that even Protestants can receive communion at a Catholic Mass:

    > Communion For All, Even For Protestants (1.7.2016)

    It is laying it on a bit thick when Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, says that “we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture of Western Christendom.”

    Pope Francis isn’t even listening to him and is joining the party, indifferent that Müller - who was in fact one of the thirteen cardinals of the memorable letter - sees it as another step toward the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church:

    > How Cardinal Müller Is Rereading the Pope (29.3.2016)

    A pope like Bergoglio, in reality, would not be distasteful to a modern Luther. No more indulgences or purgatory, which five centuries ago were the spark of the rupture. And instead a superlative exaltation of divine mercy, which washes away gratis the sins of all:

    > Indulgences and Purgatory? Francis Has Mothballed Them (19.12.2015)

    It is not a given, however, that the idyll is reciprocated by all Protestants. In Italy, their historical root is constituted by the minuscule but lively Waldensian Church. And its two most illustrious theologians, Giorgio Tourn and Paolo Ricca - both of the same generation as Bergoglio and both formed in the school of the leading Protestant theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Barth - are very critical of the secularizing tendencies both of their Church and of the Church of Pope Francis.

    “The malady,” Ricca said in a recent head-to-head debate in “Riforma,” “is that we are all focused on social issues, something that is sacrosanct, but in the social we exhaust Christian discourse, and outside of there we are mute.”

    And Tourn: “The policy of pope Bergoglio is to do charity. But it is clear that the witness of fraternal love alone does not automatically lead to knowing Christ. There is today not a silence of God, but our silence about God”:

    > Una Chiesa in torpore

    But Francis is moving forward undeterred, and a few days ago even appointed a Protestant theologian who is a friend of his, Marcelo Figueroa, as director of the new Argentine edition of “L'Osservatore Romano":

    > Pope Francis and His Unofficial Spokespeople
    Mac likes this.
  11. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

    Why then Joe does the pope say, who am I to judge, yet immediately turns around and judges certain practicing catholics as Pharisees and hypocrites. I say he can go to ____ and I believe in Jesus words, blessed are they who have not seen yet believe.
  12. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    But this is not the "teaching of the Church" per se. It is a widely held theory, based on hope, and some wishful thinking, that some of the greatest minds in the Church have not been able to settle. It has not been settled at this point still.

    St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy (Tan Books), p. 388 (part II, art. VI, ch. 14)

    "Under the ancient law the High Priest did not wear the Rational except when he was vested in the pontifical robes and was entering before the Lord. Thus we do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, as some say, or declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric (Acts I). When he errs in his private opinion he must be instructed, advised, convinced; as happened with John XXII, who was so far from dying obstinate or from determining anything during his life concerning his opinion, that he died whilest he was making the examination which is necessary for determining in a matter of faith, as his successor declared in the *Extravagantes* which begins Benedictus Deus." (Ib. p. 305-306)

    I think a pope cannot make heretical ex cathedra statements too (i.e., "formal heresy"). Because the moment he does, he ceases to be Catholic and ceases to be pope.

    The question no one knows the answer to yet, and the Church does know the answer to yet, is what happens next. How do we know for certain he taught error? Do the cardinals have to act to depose him? Does God directly intervene in human history and act to end his papacy by whatever means He deems fit? How do the faithful come to know a stubborn sitting heretical pope has taught error? Through old fashioned catechesis following his removal, or heavenly intervention? What about his erroneous teaching prior to his removal (whether by the efforts of men or the hand of God)? And what of the souls who were deceived by his false teaching in the meantime?

    We just don't know because it has never happened.

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  13. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    More official Church teaching:

    • It shall be lawful for each and all of the cardinals,...as well as for all the clergy and the Roman people,... to withdraw without penalty and at any time from obedience and loyalty to the person so elected even if he has been enthroned (while they themselves, notwithstanding this, remain fully committed to the faith of the Roman church and to obedience towards a future Roman pontiff entering office in accordance with the canons) and to avoid him as a magician, a heathen, a publican and a heresiarch."
      Pope Julius II, Council of Lateran V. 1513
    • "Now when [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
      St. Francis de Sales, "The Catholic Controversy"
    • "...a pope who is a manifest heretic by that fact ceases to be pope and head, just as he by that fact ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; wherefore he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the judgment of all the early fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction."
      St. Robert Bellarmine, "On the Roman Pontiff"
    • "If God permitted a pope to be notoriously heretical and contumacious, he would then cease to be pope, and the Apostolic Chair would be vacant."
      St. Alphonsus de Liguori, "The Truths of the Faith"
    • "An heretical pope necessarily ceases to be head of the Church, for by his heresy he is no longer a member thereof: in the event of his still claiming the Roman see a general council, improperly so-called because without the pope, could remove him. But this is not deposition, since by his own act he is no longer pope."
      A Catholic Dictionary, 1951. Deposition
    • "The councils of Constance and Basle, and Gallican theologians, hold that a council may depose a pope...(2) /ob fidem/ (on account of his faith or rather want of faith, i.e. heresy). In point of fact however, heresy is the only legitimate ground. For a heretical pope has ceased to be a member of the Church, and cannot, therefore, be its head."
      Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. [Vol. IV p.435] Councils
    • In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy: (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless... "Cum ex Apostolatus Officio" Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul IV, 1559
    Hopefully this will finally lay to rest the false notions that 1) a pope cannot be a heretic, 2) a layperson commits sin in calling a pope a heretic, 3) popes are always owed obedience and cannot ever be criticized, and 4) anyone critical of a pope is guilty of "attack," "hatred," etc., or is liable to damnation.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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  14. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Who am I to judge that particular type of person in that circumstance
  15. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

    ...but..he can judge fellow practicing catholics who may or may not agree with him? On issues such as global warming?... Hah Joe, I laugh in his and your face.
  16. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    “Why did Pope Francis say, ‘Who am I to judge?’” It must be viewed in context. Context completely changes the meaning of what was expressed. In no way is he endorsing gay sexual activity. The statement of His Holiness is completely in line with Church teaching:

    2358The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
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  17. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    Again i ask...is Our Holy Father a heretic?

    So, either say he is and accept your cross. Or say he is not and accept the church?

    There is no in-between.

    Brother al
  18. Sorrowful Heart

    Sorrowful Heart Principalities

    We had a stations of the Cross under the guise of Laudato Si'. It claimed that the body of Christ suffers in Ethiopia due to Global Warming caused by our burning too many fossil fuels. They then asked for Mercy from Jesus.

    It was put out by development and peace. The next day I made sure to pull my funding for development and peace. I also sent emails to the Priests and Development and Peace. The Priests said that next time they will review the prayers being said.

    Laudato Si' only says we should discuss global warming caused by CO2, not believe that CO2 is actually the source of climate change.
  19. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Sure there is. A pope may well be a material heretic without being a formal heretic. It's for the Church to judge formal heresy.

    But given his statements on contraceptive use for Zika, and that the vast majority of sacramental marriages are invalid, and that cohabitation is often a grace conferring sacrament, he is ipso facto a material heretic.
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  20. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    You dont have the guts to follow all your nonsense. You want to lead this conversation then say it. If not move on.

    Is Pope Francis a heretic?

    You are pushing this battle...then just accept your place. Stop sugar coating.

    Either he is or he is not?

    Brother al

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