Papacy: Elect One Pope, Get One Free?

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I’m finding myself getting short on patience, to put it mildly,with those who keep telling me that “Benedict is still pope” – having me choking on my morning tea – and, as if that’s not annoying enough, I get regular emails containing the same message from the other side of the world. Anything, rather than accept the fact that it is perfectly possible for a pope to be a bad pope. I mean, we’ve argued the Sedevacantist  theory to death, now we’re faced with more Theology For Dummies thanks to the rise of  Benevacantism…  Is there no end to it?  

Anyway, when I complained to Athanasius about this annoyance, he emailed as follows, and subsequently gave permission for me to use his pearls of wisdom to kick start this discussion: note: Pope FRANCIS is the pope, a terrible pope, no question about it, and while we will certainly permit those of a different view to express their opinion, allow me to say at the outset that we are not about to go round in circles with this. The purpose of this thread is to nip this nonsense in the bud, so anyone who doesn’t “get it” reasonably quickly, can expect to be erased from the face of this blog, in due course. Be warned! No more Mzzzz Nice Gal!

ATHANASIUS WRITES…

Below is Pope Benedict’s declaration of Papal Renunciation with highlighted words showing that he renounced both spiritual and pastoral aspects of the Papacy and then confirmed this by speaking of the election of a new SUPREME PONTIFF, where “Supreme” means over everything, not shared. He even stated that he was renouncing the ministry entrusted to him by the conclave and we know that was the Petrine ministry in all its aspects. These conspirators are just trouble making schismatics. 

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.  And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

Comments invited…  

72 responses

  1. Why would anybody want to think Benedict was still pope? He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when he held office, did he? Condoms for prostitutes and his heresy that the Jews didn’t need Christ, are just two reasons why it is almost impossible to put a cigarette paper between Benedict and Francis. Neither of them are truly Catholic.

    It’s obvious from his resignation statement that he resigned the whole petrine office. Anyway, he can’t take it upon himself to divide up the papacy, can he? The whole theory is ridiculous, IMHO. Heavens, you think you’ve heard it all and then something else springs up!

    • Michaela,

      I think the drive to pretend/believe that Benedict is still pope, stems from the fact that he appears as more “papal” than Francis: the Benevacantists conveniently forget the scandals which you have identified and others, including the Assisi ecumenical/inter-religious event.

      In fact, he was every bit as “liberal” as Pope Francis, but somehow, by the workings of divine grace, he did restore the Mass and authorised any priest who wished to offer it, so to do. We know that such permission was not, in fact, needed, but for the sake of those who didn’t understand that, it was good that he removed the authority to grant or withhold “permission” from the bishops and left it to individual priests to decide whether they wished to learn and offer the old Mass. I believe it was this contribution to restoring the Mass, and his lifting of the illicit excommunications of the SSPX bishops, that has led some people to consider him a “traditionalist”. He was no such thing, and his obvious pleasure at the election of Francis and his public support for him, only serves to underline this fact.

      .

    • Michaela,

      I agree – you just have to read his resignation statement and it is clear that he was saying he didn’t have the strength to be pope, end of discussion.

  2. Editor

    You are absolutely right. And let us not forget also that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who, with the authority of Pope John Paul II, masterminded the original Lutheran/Catholic agreement that Francis now brings to its heterodox conclusion. It is also quite interesting, shocking even, to know that Pope Francis revealed to Bishop Fellay that Benedict XVI had a mind to excommunicate him again if he rejected a deal including full acceptance of Vatican II and the New Mass. Bishop Fellay himself recounted this story from the lips of Francis.

    These people who claim that Benedict is still Pope in some capacity or other are deluded and a source of scandal. The entire Church recognises Francis as Supreme and reigning Pontiff in the Church, duly elected by conclave and accepted by the hierarchy. There has never been the slightest suggestion, Cardinal Muller’s misinterpreted statement aside, that some still hold Benedict to be Pope in any way. In fact, Benedict himself has neither spoken nor acted in any way since his abdication that would lend credence to this nonsense.The suggestion is simply ridiculous and schismatic.

    It takes some pride for the armchair theologian to proclaim against the entire hierarchy to be especially enlightened by God to see what they cannot see. The sedevacantists have already fallen victim to this trick of the devil, now the “Benedict is Pope” conspirators have fallen into the same trap, unable to cope with the scandal of Francis’ Pontificate and understand it in its proper context. Very sad and very divisive, but the devil knows well how to use pride on the Traditionalist side as well as the liberal side. We all have to be on our guard against intellectual and spiritual pride.

  3. In hindsight (which I seem to have plenty of, perhaps to compensate for a lack of foresight), much of this nonsense might have been prevented had Ratzinger not taken the novel title “Pope Emeritus,” when in fact he is obviously not Pope Anything.

    And speaking of novel, Archbishop Ganswein didn’t help matters either with his theory of “active vs. passive” ministry. So now we have “active,” “passive,” “pastoral,” and “doctrinal,” none of which have any remote relation to the true and complete definition of the clerical state.

    Athanasius,

    I recall being truly shocked when I read that Benedict had considered excommunicating the Society bishops again, which indicates that I was fooled by his Papacy as well. But he really would have made a fool of himself had he done that, having lifted JPII’s questionable excommunications previously. (She loves me, she loves me not; they’re Catholic, they’re not Catholic…eenie meenie meinie moe, Modernists are a Catholic’s foe…)

    • Daniel,

      When he first “resigned”/abdicated, it was announced that Pope Benedict would return to his status as Cardinal – at least that’s my memory of the speculation at the time. That would seem the obvious thing, anyway. Then some bright spark came up with the entirely novel “Pope Emeritus” as if the papal office were no more important than some university professorship.

      Personally, I always refer to him – as I refer to all the previous popes in history – by their papal name: Pope Benedict. Whether dead or abdicated, I refer to previous popes – whether Pope Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II as “Pope”. But not because they are STILL pope, but because they WERE (past tense) popes. In this case, however, with the previous pope having abdicated and still alive, I think it would have been less confusing, and less scandalous, had Pope Benedict returned to being “Cardinal Ratzinger”.

      I hope that’s a little bit clearer than mud!

    • Daniel

      He should have gone back to being just Cardinal Ratzinger. That’s what happened on the two other occasions in the Church’s history when Pope’s adbicated.

      • His advisors decided he would be called Pope Emeritus and he humbly assented. The only decision he made was to resign after much prayer.

        In his “Last Testament” he specifically denies that he was blackmailed or coerced, and he says has only felt at peace since. He says he only obtained guidance in his personal prayer. He also said when asked he regretted his decision “No! No, no. Every day I see it was right”. Benedict XVl, Last Testament, Page 22 – 25

        • Valour,

          Well, he should not have assented. He should have rejected that novel title and gone back to being Cardinal Ratzinger.

          And note, too, that he has endorsed Pope Francis at every opportunity. The very idea that he was “traditional” is nothing short of hilarious.

    • The reason I ask is that no matter the wrongdoing a priest does, no matter how horrendous (think sexual brutality) he cannot be stripped of his priesthood. He can stripped of his priestly duties, but not of the priesthood itself. The reason being his ordination is a sacrament and a sacrament cannot be undone i.e, one cannot be un-baptized, unconfirmed, unmarried??? Would I be right in thinking that when a bishop is elected, he is Ordained Bishop, and that when a Cardinal is elected, he is Ordained Cardinal, and when a Pope is elected he is Ordained Pope, or is there just one Ordination to the Priestly Vocation. If that were the case, surely Bishops and Cardinals who have done serious wrongs would be demoted to rank of priest, and if my thinking is right, then we do indeed have two Popes.

      • Daniel

        You are absolutely right to say that priestly ordination cannot be undone as it is Sacramental. Spot on!

        As to your question. Episcopal consecration is called “the fullness of the priesthood”, in that it confers the power to ordain and confirm. Priests in emergency situations can confirm by authority of their bishop but they cannot ordain new priests. So Cardinals, bishops and priests are all ordained clergy at the fundamental Sacramental level. Episcopal consecration only compliments that with additional Sacramental power conferred by the Supreme Pontiff. Like priestly ordination, it cannot be undone.

      • Daniel,

        The priesthood is a “three-fold” office, so to speak – deacon, priest and bishop. The office of bishop is the fullness of the priesthood. This is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church here.

        Cardinals are not “ordained” cardinals – that is a role, a dignity (Cardinals are also called Princes of the Church, to show their key leadership roles within the Church) and, of course, the Petrine Office, the papal office, is one to which a candidate is elected, from among the Cardinals. They gather in what is called a “conclave” in order to pray for guidance and vote for a new pope. There is no guarantee from God that they will elect a good or holy pope. The only guarantee we have is that when a pope is teaching what has always been believed by all Christians, everywhere, that the Holy Spirit will keep him free from teaching error. Not when he is speaking in private or writing in books or giving talks. Only when he is teaching formally, so to speak, in a way that either repeats what has always been taught or which formulates a dogma which has always been believed, to make that teaching binding on the whole Church. When he does that, Catholics are obliged to accept his teachings. We are never obliged to accept his opinions or false presentations of doctrine and/or morals.

        That the episcopal office (the office of Bishop) is a very important one, the fullness of the priesthood is underlined by the fact that, if and when a bishop IS “demoted”, there is a ceremony whereby each of the symbols of his office is withdrawn,and the accompanying prayers are chilling, to put it mildly. I read it some years ago, in Christian Order, and I am resolved to ask the Editor if he could email me a copy of that ceremony for publication in our newsletter. Any modernist bishop with a conscience, would be terrified out of his socks. However, having his episcopal office withdrawn does not change the fact that he is an ordained priest – forever.

        But no, we don’t have two popes. We have one, Francis, and he needs our prayers, urgently.

  4. I think there is a difference between being a terrible Pope and an heretical Pope. What we seem to have now is an heretical Pope. We know that from Catholic doctrine that one cannot be a public heretic and be Pope. The present situation would therefore seem to be one of sedevacantism de facto?

    • Pauline,

      I’m no expert on this but I think the answer is that while a heretical pope is alive, nobody can do anything about him except resist his false teaching. Who has the authority? I’ve heard some say a Council, but who would call a Council – look at how Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have gone silent after their first comments at the Synod, and even if a Council was to be called, the same cardinals who voted for Francis because he’s a known liberal, are hardly going to call him a heretic and demand his resignation, LOL!

      The example of a heretical pope often given on here is that of John XXII who preached throughout his pontificate that there was no private judgment, only a judgement at the end of time, the General Judgement. He only recanted on his deathbed, at the insistence of the cardinals around him. Nobody called for him to be forced to resign, although there were protests. I know Francis is much worse because of the number of his heretical statements, but in the eyes of God, one heresy is seriously offensive if not damnable.

      I think we have to suffer this pope as a terrible pope until he either repents, dies or resigns.

    • Pauline Cormack

      Yes, one can be a public heretic and Pope at the same time. A priest does not lose the power of his sacred office when he falls from grace by mortal sin or is excommunicated. Neither does a Pope lose office when he falls into heresy.

      There is also the question of whether the present Pope’s heresy is material or formal, which only the Church’s authorities can decide after having confronted him with his errors.

      It’s much more complicated than people think and very dangerous for the souls of subordinates who are too willing to depose the Vicar of Christ upon their own judgment. Very dangerous indeed!

      • Athanasius, I’m afraid your wrong, you have to make necessary distinctions. By the public sin of heresy one falls from the Faith. It is impossible that the visible head of the Church be a non-Catholic. You will find that trying to console Catholics in the present state of crisis by referring to so-called ‘heretical’ Popes in the past is a dead end. None of these supposed cases amounts to anything like the present situation. Its a device which ends up in the ludicrous notion that you can have at a true Pope who does not hold nor teach the Catholic Faith. Faithful Catholics knew that Martin Luther was a heretic and rejected him long before any formal canonical declaration of heresy was made against him. You have to make a distinction between judgements of fact and legal judgements. The former originate in the intellect and can be made with certainty and the latter only at the end of a legal process. The legal process may not always be possible but that doesn’t mean the judgment of fact is wrong or cannot be made.

        • Fr Robert Mann,

          One of the necessary distinctions you speak of must surely be whether the Pope is actually saying what he is accused of saying. I know he has said terrible things but some denials of doctrine are not true. This article on LifeSiteNews is an example of how the atheist Scalfari claimed the Pope said things which he didn’t actually say. I’m no fan of Pope Francis by a long chalk but we have to be careful when calling him a non-pope.
          https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/about-that-pope-francis-interview-where-he-denied-the-existence-of-hell

          I see where you are coming from when you say the “judgment of fact” may not be wrong, but I think we need to be careful because too many people are keen to depose this pope when they have no authority to do that.

          I just ask myself the simple question – who is more pleasing to God, those who suffer this pope as a bad pope and leave it there, plus pray for him, or those who keep raising the controversy that he is a heretic and not pope, even though they have no authority to say that and can’t do anything about it even if “the fact” is correct, as you say? I can’t see how it can be the second group.

          Personally, I agree with the view often expressed here that at some future date, another pope and council will say all that needs to be said about this awful pope, but until then, we have to suffer him and resist his scandalous statements, agreeing with Cardinal Kasper or any other liberal defectors.

        • “This shows that Rome found no error or inaccuracy in the assertion that a heretical Pope “must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals” to be considered to have lost his office. Hence, with the approval of Rome, this teaching remained in the revised Third Edition, which is the edition cited above. ”
          http://www.cfnews.org/page88/files/d9316b1dfdf813d95b197bee8640f489-219.html

          The above article from Catholic Family News is well worth reading. It is clear that none of us can decide the pope is guilty of heresy, only the College of Cardinals or a Council can do that.

        • Isn’t there a difference between material and formal heresy? I don’t think anyone has the authority to judge Pope Francis as a formal heretic.

          Is it just me that finds this quite simple? Pope Benedict abdicated and Pope Francis was elected. Pope Francis is a terrible pope. That’s doesn’t mean that’s he’s not the pope!

          I understand that people are looking for an answer. The answer is the Secret of Fatima. The diabolical disorientation will begin at the top. There’s the reason for this terrible pope.

        • Fr Robert Mann,

          Much as you are up there at the top of my list of Favourite Priests, 2016, I have to disagree with you … I think… Perhaps not…

          You are distinguishing, if I read you correctly, the fact that a pope may be a heretic, from the legality of thus accusing him: i.e. who has the authority to make that judgment.

          We can all see that Pope Francis is a material heretic, if not a formal heretic (and I tend to agree with those who ask how it is possible for a pope, especially in his age range NOT to know that they spout heresy) – I mean, divorce and “remarriage”? Communion for adulterers? Yes, it’s a rather thin distinction at this stage, I admit.

          I think, though, that Athanasius makes a very important point when he says that Pope Francis has to be confronted with his errors in order to find out precisely the answer to that question of material or formal heresy before anyone can truly know, and that only the Church authorities are in a position to do that. All of this is confounded, of course, by the escalation of the crisis in the Church, foretold at Fatima by Our Lady who, while she always spoke of “the Holy Father”, nevertheless forewarned us of the fact that a “diabolical disorientation” would engulf the Church; a crisis which has resulted in this situation where it’s probably impossible to find enough sound cardinals to call an Ecumenical Council for the purpose of confronting Pope Francis with his errors, in order to ascertain whether he formally adheres to them in the knowledge that they are heresies. We’re in this with Our Lady of Fatima! Which is why we must not allow ourselves to doubt or to lose Faith.

          In summary, then, and at the risk of repeating myself, whether or not WE think Francis is a heretic, material or formal, is neither here nor there when it seems very clear that the authority to institute and execute the legal process, is not ours to make.

          So, on reflection, I think I am both agreeing and disagreeing with you … I may take to voting Liberal in General Elections from now on 😀

        • Fr. Mann,

          I heartily recommend a book recently published which demolishes the sedevacantist theory, “True or False Pope?” by Salza and Siscoe. In it you will find detailed confirmation of what Athanasius, Editor and Nicky have already posted regarding how the Church deals with a Pope suspected of heresy. However, despite its scholarly evisceration of the sv theory, it does not comfort us much when it comes to living through this, the worst crisis of the Church in her history, with our faith intact. I myself can scarcely bear to look at Francis’ photo without getting angry and nauseated. He is most assuredly playing the role of Judas in the Passion of the Church. Playing it to the hilt, in fact.

          For said comfort, we must turn to the messages of Fatima, and the numerous Catholic prophecies before that about these times, regarding a war with Russia in Europe, the emergence of a “Great King” and a good Pope, and the restoration of the Church.

          But before that, even, fervent prayer and reparation…

        • Fr. Robert Mann

          I disagree entirely. I think the mistake you are making is in failing to distinguish between the man and the office.

          Yes, Pope Francis (the man) may well be a public heretic who has fallen from the faith and is therefore no longer Catholic. However, Pope Francis (the Successor of St. Peter) is not automatically deposed on account of this.

          My earlier example was of priests who fall from grace or are excommunicated from the Church yet maintain the priestly power and dignity. This is why apostate and/or excommunicated priests can still absolve a soul in cases of near death.

          If we accept your argument as even remotely true, which it is not, then it could well be argued that almost every Cardinal, Bishop and priest in the Church today has lost office on account of their having fallen into Modernism, “the synthesis of all heresies”, as St. Pius X called it. This in turn means that all of their Masses and Sacraments are invalid, which is patent nonsense.

          You see the problem your theory runs into?

          It has never been the teaching of the Church that subordinates are at liberty to judge and depose their superiors. In fact, St. Robert Bellarmine, while reminding all of the importance of resisting superiors (even publicly) when they err, was at pains to add that they must never judge and depose, as this is the duty of higher authorities.

          So, while it is perfectly legitimate and dutiful to state publicly that Pope Francis has fallen into heresy, it is never licit to go beyond that and declare him deposed. Everyone has a right to basic justice even in a court of civil law, which means he has a right to be first confronted with his errors by the hierarchy and only then judged on what manner of heresy he holds, i.e., material or formal. But even then it is unclear in the speculative discourses of the great saint/theologians whether either form of heresy could result in a Pope being declared deposed by his immediate inferiors, either individually or in Council. Who is the Pope’s superior? Only Christ Our Lord.

          Pope Honorious I was posthumously delcared heretical and excommunicated by two of his Successors, not by any inferior. It’s worth bearing that in mind

          We have to be very careful with these complicated and controversial issues, especially in public. The risk of scandalising some and causing others to fall into a schismatica mindset are very great. Tradition just does not support your case, which I fear is more emotion based than theology based.

          If you disagree with this then I would appreciate evidence from Traditional teaching to support your view. That’s the acid test for all our declarations, can they be supported by Traditional teaching.

          • Athanasius,

            I think Fr Mann is actually just saying that we can opine that a pope is a heretic, whilst recognising that we do not have the authority (“legality”) to declare him deposed.

            That’s what I think he meant. Could it possibly be that I am wrong? Is this possible?

            • Editor

              Maybe I read it wrong. If so then I apologise to Fr. Mann. I thought he was putting the case for Francis to be deposed on account of being a public heretic.

              If I am wrong then I give you full authority to declare here on this blog that my wages have been slashed to junior level and that I have been sent into exile for however long it takes your fancy. I’ll go prepare my staff, desert wellies and napkin on a stick awaiting the formal decree.

              • Athanasius,

                When I first read Fr Mann’s comment I thought the same as your good self. But I think that is to fail to give due weight to his concluding remark:

                You have to make a distinction between judgements of fact and legal judgements. The former originate in the intellect and can be made with certainty and the latter only at the end of a legal process. The legal process may not always be possible but that doesn’t mean the judgment of fact is wrong or cannot be made.

                I interpret that as meaning that just because we cannot make the “legal judgment” – i.e. depose the pope for heresy, doesn’t mean we can’t use our intelligence and knowledge of the Faith to call out the heresy when we read or hear it. Put simply: we know we can recognise the heresy. We (also) know that we cannot depose a pope. That legal judgment is for the Church authorities – probably a future Council.

                I have no problem with that and I’m sure you won’t either.

                No exile! No pay deducted! On the contrary, with things getting worse by the nano-second, we’re going to need you on the overtime rota – thanks to our non-deposable pontiff… (get it? non-disposable.. non-deposable… Get it? It’s the way I tell ’em…)

                • Editor

                  I see what you’re saying but it could also be taken to mean that while we await the legal judgment in we are perfectly free in our intellect to consider Pope Francis deposed on account of public heresy.

                  I think Fr. Mann will have to clarify for all of us what he actually meant when he wrote those words. I’m sure he will do just that in due course.

    • Pauline,

      No. The Sedevacantist route is akin to Protestantism – the belief that Christ is NOT with His Church, as promised. When I listen to those sharing their various theories about the current pope, within my own circle, I’m reminded of discussions with a group of Protestants – each one is his/her own pope.

      None of us has the authority to judge the pontiff. None of us. Only the Church authorities, probably through a future Ecumenical Council, is qualified to do that.

      That takes the burden from our shoulders. All we have to do is to practise our Faith, rejecting all novelties (including the Master Novelty – the new Mass, source of all of this scandal and loss of Catholic Faith).

      We make sure that we know, and do all that we can to spread, the true teachings of the Church; we correct errors where we find them, and work to educate our fellow Catholics about the diabolical roots of the current crisis in the Church and this seriously diabolically disoriented pontificate. We tell them about the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima, AND Quito (17th century) sent to prepare us for this terrible period in the Church’s history.

      Is that not enough for us to be going on with, she asked, sarcastically? “Sarcastic”? Me? NEVER 😀

    • Pauline Cormack,

      But we did have a Pope who was a public heretic, in fact two, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both made public statements about the Jews not needing Christ to be saved. If that’s not a heresy, what is?

  5. Of course Benedict is not the Pope and I echo Editor in wishing these conspiracy theorists / propagators of fables would desist.

    Such speculation (mischief, even?) in some quarters is an obvious consequence of Benedict’s abdication, and it is this aspect of his decision which irks me even more than his “chucking it” in general.

    I agree Benedict was no traditionalist and had very questionable aspects of his Papacy. At the time, when I was in the novus ordo world and much less informed than I am today, he did seem to be traditional leaning – certainly moreso than anything I had ever encountered before.

    What he seemed to represent was so much more appealing than the “christian rock” I remember* from primary school. (*if anyone knows how to forget “christian rock”, please let me know).

    I liked his summorum pontificum move, and his efforts to improve both the liturgy and associated music. He was certainly no ++Lefebvre in his views, but, in his way, he was undoubtedly for me a catalyst in awakening me to the existence of what real Catholicism is. And so I am grateful to him for that.

    I was very fond and protective of him during his time, especially as he was media-cast as the convenient pantomime villain during the whole “gay marriage” nonsense. I was very disappointed when he stepped down, but if one good thing has come out of it then I think a lot more people have had their eyes opened as to the state of the Church, thanks to the antics of Francis.

  6. I found a very good article on the subject, at Crisis Magazine. I’ve copied a bit near the end but the whole thing is worth reading:

    “Where does that leave us?

    First, God has not abandoned his flock to the whims of heretics. Our Lord prayed for St. Peter’s faith (Luke 22:32), he promised Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church that was founding upon him (Matthew 16:18), and, on the day of Pentecost, he sent his Holy Spirit upon that Church, with Peter at its head, to proclaim the Gospel to all nations (Acts 2). Catholics shouldn’t expect, and shouldn’t go looking for falsehood in the successor of St. Peter. God is always faithful to his promises.

    Second, because God is faithful to his promises, there is no evidence that Pope Francis has committed the mortal sin of formal heresy, the canonical crime of formal heresy, or that he is even a material heretic with regard to any of the Church’s teachings, including the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. Much to the contrary, he has said that he considers himself a “Son of the Church” in this regard, he has endorsed a traditional understanding of the relationship between the sexes, and has condemned the “ideological colonization” that breaks down God’s plan for the family. Sure, he has expressed support support for the way in which Cardinal Kasper wrote on marriage and the family, but he has never publicly and definitively endorsed what Cardinal Kasper said.”
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/can-pope-heretic

    Pope Francis hasn’t tried to make any of his heretical views part of the doctrine of the Church. That’s all the promise of divine assistance covers. Those who are hooked on the “Benedict is pope”conspiracy are forgetting that, IMHO.

    • Michaela,

      I agree with your post, but with some qualifications, which are:

      1. On the “traditional relationship between the sexes,” Francis has now stated that so-called “transgenders” must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
      2. He has indirectly, as of Sunday I believe, endorsed the most evil, pro-abortion politician ever to rise to the bottom in the already filthy history of American politics.
      3. He has surrounded himself with homosexual clergy and those supporting homosexual views, appoints them to key positions, and constantly consorts with them and other notorious agents of the NWO/UN who represent and relentlessly promote the LGBT agenda, as well as abortion and contraception (under the guise of “sustainable development.”)
      4. He has done more damage to families, and to souls, with the publication of AL, in my opinion, than the French Revolution and Martin Luther combined – and that, through the laughably-named “Synod on the Family.”
      5. And, contrary to what the neo-Catholics at Crisis claim, he has indeed “publicly and definitively endorsed” the positions of Cardinal Kasper.

      Having said that, here is a quote to support you, regarding heresies and the Conciliar Popes, from the end of Chapter 2 of The Great Facade:

      “…the postconciliar novelties are neither Magisterial nor formally heretical; they do not actually bind the Church to an act of belief in what is wrong.”

      In other words, it is the modus operandi of Conciliar Modernists: use the hierarchy of the Church to make statements, in a variety of spoken and written venues, that clearly contradict the Sacred Deposit of Faith, but which, considering the lack of infallibility of said venues, do not make formal contradictions. In other words, they are relying on a dumbed-down faithful, with the help of neo-Catholic apologists like Jimmy Akin and Michael Voris, to think that the Sacred Deposit has been altered, when in fact it has not.

      • RCA Victor,

        I think you have nailed it (or rather The Great Facade has nailed it!) with this:

        “…the postconciliar novelties are neither Magisterial nor formally heretical; they do not actually bind the Church to an act of belief in what is wrong.”

        That’s at the heart of this issue. Having a pope who spouts heresy is one thing. But until he seeks to make heresy binding (and Pope Francis has come close, admittedly, with AL) then Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of time, prevails.

    • Gerontius,

      I can’t read that article because it’s in a foreign language, probably Italian? Anyway, Cardinal Muller has always been a liberal so it will suit him to have an “extended papacy” as they’re calling it.

      • Laura, if you right click on your mouse when you are on the website page, you should get the option of “translate” – then it will translate it for you.

    • Gerontius,

      I wouldn’t pay any attention to Muller. He is very anti-Tradition and would be quite happy to have two popes. Maybe he’s betting he could get on with at least one of them – LOL!

  7. Well if you really believe that a true Pope can exhort the Church to recognise sacramental elements in couples living together and that there can be faithfulness in adultery then stop all this moaning and resisting and just accept what the Vicar of Christ is saying

    • Pauline Cormack

      You’ve missed the point entirely. What Francis says as a private theologian, even publicly, has no impact on the Church other than the personal scandal he gives. He has never forced those erroneous beliefs on the Church with Papal authority because God would not permit that. Do you see the difference now?

    • Dear Pauline,

      The Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is undergoing its own Passion, as Her invisible Head and Spouse, Our Lord Jesus Christ, went through His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

      Remember: One betrayed Him, the one who He had given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven denied Him three times, the rest all fled and only one was at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady. We have to stay at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady and St. John, the only Apostle at Golgotha.

      Also, not everything the Pope says is infallible. The Pope is ONLY infallible under the exact conditions laid down by the FIRST Vatican Council:

      1) he must speak ex cathedra,

      2) on a matter of Faith or morals,

      3) intending to bind the entire Church (not just a part of it),

      4) by an irrevocable, definitive and final decision.

      If ALL four conditions are not met, then the charism of infallibility doesn’t come into play.

      I strongly suggest that you get (and read) True or False Pope? A Refutation of Sedevacantism and Other Errors by John Salza and Robert Siscoe (www.trueorfalsepope.com). It’s NOT an easy read (100s of pages) but it’s helped me immensely and I hope it will do the same for you.

      I beg you, in the name of Our Lady of Sorrows, please do not leave the Church nor give into sedevacantism. IMHO, leaving the Church and Sedevacantism are simply ways of fleeing from the foot of the Cross.

      May your Apostolic namesake intercede for you!

      In Christ the King,

      Margaret

      • Margaret,

        Amen.

        And since you’re a fellow Yank, let’s start praying for President Trump! As President-Elect, he will very shortly be finding out, up close and personal, what sort of evil there is behind the curtain in America. And its far more than the evil of Catholics who have become Marxists. That sad phenomenon is, unfortunately, well downstream of the source.

  8. Pauline Cormack

    You’ve missed the point. As Editor wrote above:

    Having a pope who spouts heresy is one thing. But until he seeks to make heresy binding (and Pope Francis has come close, admittedly, with AL) then Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of time, prevails.

  9. It really says it all when Catholics, including good priests, are asking if this pope is a true pope or not, that even Catholic laymen like John Salza have to write a book on the matter. It’s ridiculous. I hope this evil-doing pope wakes up soon to the damage he is inflicting on the Church.

    I accept his election as valid and that he is the pope despite his shocking statements, but I can’t say I will be sorry when his time is up. He’s a disaster.

  10. Oh stop jumping through hoops to try and defend this ridiculous position that many of you seem to hold. If the reasoning is followed then a Pope can totally deny the faith but as long as he doesn’t speak ex cathedra then he is still the Pope.
    Oh please…..

    • Pauline, that is not what anyone here is saying.

      What do you think should happen? What can we do to get rid of him? Or are you happy just to pronounce him privately to be not the pope and join the ranks of the sedevacantists, who are no different from Protestants. Where is the Faith in that attitude to the Pope?

    • Pauline,

      The definition of heresy is “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; “

      So, unless someone has confronted Pope Francis with his heresies, and challenged him to publicly defend or retract them, we can’t accuse him of “obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth etc”

      It’s OK for some armchair theologian (as I think Athanasius said) to pronounce on this pope but if we look at the cold facts and definitions, it’s not just black and white.

    • Pauline Cormack

      Then we’ll take it that you belong to that tiny group of people who, for the first time in Church history, and against all the admonitions of the saints, feel sufficiently graced by God above even the hierarchy to declare the Pope deposed. Hmmm! I think I prefer jumping through hoops, if it’s all the same to you.

      I’m not going down the Protestant road in the name of Tradition, thank you very much. I know what Church teaching is, and the difference between the man and the office. You are on the most dangerous ground at the moment, I assure you.

  11. Editor

    Where is the faith in recognising and resisting?
    Why are you resisting anyway?
    If PF is the true pontiff what gives you the right to resist him.

    • Pauline Cormack

      Sacred Tradition gives us the right. Read Sts. Thomas Aquinas and Robert Bellarmine on resisting a Pope who harms the Faith. Read also the Acts of the Apostles and see how St. Paul resisted St. Peter in public “because he was to be blamed”, as St. Paul put it.

    • Pauline,

      I notice that you fail to answer my question. What can be done, legitimately, without (like the sedevacantists) placing ourselves outside the Church.

      You must answer that – Athanasius has explained the teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and St Paul’s example in the very first century of dealing with an unfaithful pope, on the duty to resist, while there is nothing whatsoever anywhere in Catholic Tradition to support any lay movement to depose a pope, so the onus is on your good self to explain what YOU think can be done.

      Maybe, though, before you do that, you might check out this site and order the book True of False Pope by John Salza

      Now, this book has already been mentioned on this thread, and a link given. Unless you WANT to believe that we do not have a “true pope”, you will go to all sorts of lengths to find out the facts of the matter, including purchasing this book.

      I have to be totally frank and say that any Catholic who WANTS to believe that we are without a pope, that Christ has failed in His promise to be with His Church until the end of time, is, simply, no Catholic at all. So, I urge you to look beyond the anger we all rightly feel at the utterances and behaviour of Pope Francis, do the genuine research required, instead of relying on sedevacantist arguments, and then, I believe, you will be at peace. The Devil is making hay right now – it’s awful to watch Catholics helping him in his efforts to destroy the Church, making well meaning Catholics take a deadly road which will lead them right OUT of Christ’s Church. True or False Pope – recommended reading

  12. Editor

    According to Vatican 1:
    “If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema.”

    Your position is ludicrous.

    • Pauline,

      My position is not ludicrous – you appear to believe that your quote means that a Catholic has to accept anything and everything that a pope says. Not so.

      Your quote in fact underlines the truth of my/our position here. Pope Francis has NOT invoked the authority of the Supreme Pastor to impose any of his errors. Not once. Any pope who orders us to believe anything which is contrary to the deposit of Faith must be resisted, according to Sacred Scripture, and the various Doctors and Fathers of the Church, already quoted here.

      And Pope Benedict told the author of his book length interview that he had no INTENTION of invoking the charism of infallibility – just as well. Clearly, Pope Francis shares his resolve. Again, just as well. Hence, nothing, whether his shocking ecumenical shenanigans and statements, nor his shocking endorsement of Cardinal Kasper’s attack on marriage and the family, are binding on Catholics. Those are his personal opinions, and his various statements at odds with Catholic religious and moral teaching, must be resisted – and when possible in company – corrected by Catholics who know more about the Faith than he does – the old joke “are you more Catholic than the pope?” is no longer a joke.

      I’M more Catholic than the Pope. As is any Catholic who knows the Faith, and the teaching of Scripture and the Church Fathers/Doctors of the Church about how to deal with a bad pope; which is NOT to take refuge in yet another error (sedevacantism) or the more formal brand of Protestantism in one or other of the various schismatic sects. No. The answer is to resist and thus remain faithful to the deposit of Faith. Why do you think Our Lady came to Fatima? Why warn of a diabolical disorientation if the answer was simply to abandon ship? No, Pauline, it is not my/our position here that is ludicrous.

      And, still, you have not answered my question about what you see as the solution, NOR have you commented on the link to the Salza book True or False Pope which has been posted on this thread more than once, and which I now link again. That, frankly, suggests bad faith to me.

      If you want to know the Catholic answer to the problem of the Francis papacy, you would do both – give thought to the practical reality and the answer given to us in Catholic Tradition, AND you would, at least, be pleased to know that the issue is addressed comprehensively by noted authors, in a book which confirms that Christ has not abandoned His Church. That you refuse to do either, suggests, Pauline, with all due respect, that you do not WANT to know the truth. In which case, we cannot help you. Not remotely.

    • Pauline Cormack

      You quote out of context with this argument. However, those words of Vatican I are applicable to are those misguided Catholics today who peddle the ridiculous idea that Benedict and Francis are sharing the Papacy.

      Here are the appropriate words: ” …or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power…”

    • My first reaction to read that report was “about time”!

      There is already a schism in place, the schism from the traditional Faith so the sooner it become either sorted or formal, the better, IMHO.

  13. Josephine,

    Regarding your 11.45am post, in the link provided there is a petition which I have signed in support of the Cardinals. That Pope Francis will not clarify ‘serious error’ is beyond the pale. Further, that the Cardinals may have to take our Pontiff to task over it, rare though that is, shows the seriousness of this matter. Each and every time the Pope [opens his] mouth I dread what he is about to say.

  14. Theresa Rose & Lily,

    I posted that story this morning on the new GD thread, but I should have posted it here. (Editor: below is what you wrote on the GD thread, which I have copied to post here…)

    Looks like our four stalwart Cardinals (I sincerely hope there are many more behind the scenes) are prepared to implement the first step in deposing a Pope who appears to be promoting heresy: the two public warnings. http://www.cfnews.org/page88/files/7c93f6b8421efdabea18678989a5fc31-655.html

    As for Francis’ silence regarding the Cardinals’ request for clarification, it is indeed beyond the pale, but not at all surprising. Silence is the same tactic used by Communists when their errors are exposed – usually as a last resort, only when orchestrated ridicule has failed. Silence was also the method used to deal with Abp. Lefebvre during his early struggles over the persecution of Econe, and his appeals.

    Silence – enforced silence – was also the response chosen at VII regarding Communism, because of the hidden Vatican-Moscow Agreement. When an attempt was made at the Council to condemn Communism, which until then was expected of the Church, the attempt mysteriously disappeared. The Church thus remained mute against her mortal enemy.

    In short, silence betrays the Faith, betrays the Church, betrays Our Lord and Our Lady, betrays the Communion of Saints, betrays the entire Heavenly Host. As I recall, silence was also Judas’ response when Our Lord asked him in the Garden “Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?”

    • RCA Victor,

      I’m sure you won’t mind, but I deleted your comment on the Cardinals’ warning, on the GD thread and inserted it with the link above, since I see that this news is already posted on at least two different threads.

    • RCA Victor,

      That link, that news, is pure dynamite: Historically, in the rare cases where popes have taught heresy, Burke explains, “It is the duty…, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”

      I thought nobody on the face of the earth could do anything about a heretical pope until he has gone, and a future pope and Council pronounces judgment on him? Isn’t that what has been said on this blog, over and over?

      • Nicky,

        I think we’ve had a variety of opinions about that on the blog, but there is one chapter in True or False Pope? which makes the deposition process of a sitting Pope (suspected of heresy) explicit in great detail, and these Cardinals have begun to follow it (and they also allude to it).

        First step: two public warnings from the hierarchy. Second step: if the warnings are unheeded, a Council must be convened to determine the guilt of the Pope, and to pronounce sentence if he is found guilty. There is a minor variation among two schools of theologians about the last step: some say that the sentence of guilt is in itself enough to depose a Pope. Others say that a formal declaration of deposition is necessary, in addition to the finding of guilt.

        • RCA Victor,

          That’s very interesting indeed. I think that at some point on one of our discussions about this, the point was made that there is the possibility of the cardinals calling a Council to “pronounce sentence”, but that the problem there is, that the cardinals we have today are mostly of the same modernist mindset as Papa Francis. And it may be that the requirement of “a formal declaration of deposition” rules out that process – time will tell.

          The key thing, I suggest, is that, were he to face the prospect of deposition, the Pope might well be brought to see the errors of his ways, repent and recant his errors. Well, a gal can always live in hope, surely? The key point which we always stress on this blog is that, until there IS some formal pronouncement from legitimate Church authorities, we, as lay people, must simply recognise the Pope as pope, resist all false teaching, and, of course, pray for him. None of us has the authority to pronounce sentence. Say nothing.

          I came in to post the following, reported on Zenit today. Downright hilarious…

          Pope at General Audience: What Should We Do With Those People Who Bother Us? [Ed: you mean, like your good self, Holiness?]
          Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016

          “We dedicate today’s catechesis to a work of mercy that we all know very well, but perhaps do not put into practice as we should: bearing patiently those who wrong us”, said Pope Francis to the thousands of faithful gathered in a sunny but chilly St. Peter’s Square during this week’s Wednesday general audience.

          “We are all very good at identifying the presence of a person who is bothersome: it happens when we meet someone in the street, or when we receive a telephone call. Immediately we think, ‘For how long must I listen to the complaints, gossip, requests or bragging of this person?’ At times, it may be that annoying people are those closest to us: among our relatives there is always one; they are not lacking in the workplace; and even in our spare time we are not free of them”.
          “What must we do with these people?” asked the Holy Father, without neglecting to mention that we too can be bothersome to others. He went on to explain why patiently bearing those who wrong us appears among the spiritual works of mercy.

          “In the Bible we see that God Himself must use mercy to suffer the complaints of His people”, he said. “For example, in the Book of Exodus the people are truly unbearable: first they weep because they are enslaved in Egypt, and God frees them; then in the desert they complain because there is nothing to eat, and God sends them quails and manna, but in spite of this the complaints do not cease. Moses acts as a mediator between God and His people, and he too at times is bothersome to the Lord. But God was patient and in this way He taught Moses and His people also this essential dimension of faith”.
          “A first question therefore comes to us spontaneously”, he added. “Do we ever carry out an examination of conscience, to ask ourselves whether or not we too, at times, can be annoying to others? It is easy to point the finger at the defects and shortcomings of others, but we should learn to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Let us look above all at Jesus: how much patience He had to have during the three years of His public life! Once, while He was walking with His disciples, He was stopped by the mother of James and John, who said to Him, ‘Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine will sit on your right and on your left’. Even in that situation, Jesus took the opportunity to give a fundamental teaching: His is not a kingdom of power and glory like earthly ones, but rather of service and giving to others. Jesus teaches always to go towards the essential and to look further ahead, to assume one’s mission with responsibility”.

          The situation narrated in the Gospel of Matthew relates to another two works of spiritual mercy: admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant. “Let us think of the great effort it takes when we help people to grow in faith and in life. I think, for example, of catechists – among whom there are many mothers and women religious – who dedicate time to teaching children the basic elements of faith. How much effort, especially when the children would prefer to play instead of listening to the catechism!”.

          “Accompanying in the search for the essential is good and important, as it lets us share in the joy of tasting the meaning of life. Often it happens that we meet people who dwell on superficial things, ephemeral and banal; at times they have not met anyone to stimulate them to look for something else, to appreciate the true treasures. Teaching to look to the essential is a decisive help, especially in a time like our own, which seems to have lost its bearings and pursues short-sighted satisfactions. Teaching to discover what the Lord wants from us and how we can respond to it means setting out on the road to grow in our own vocation, the road of true joy”.

          “So, Jesus’ words to the mother of James and John, and then to all the group of disciples, indicate the way to avoid so as not to fall into the trap of envy, ambition and adulation, temptations that are always lurking even amongst us Christians. The need to advise, admonish and instruct must not make us feel superior to others, but obliges us first and foremost to look inwardly at ourselves to check that we are consistent with what we ask of others. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: ‘Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’. He concluded, “May the Holy Spirit help us be patient in bearing others, and humble and simple in giving counsel”.

          On ZENIT’s Web page

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