Can a Pope Be a Heretic?

Recently, Cardinal Burke stated that, if Pope Francis were to endorse a position on marriage and sexuality that were contrary to the tradition of the Church, that he would be obliged to “resist” the pontiff. Although the cardinal clarified that he was speaking of a purely hypothetical situation, he hit upon a nerve that gets struck from time to time among Catholics—in instant messages, in passing, on Facebook, though almost never in print—“What if?” What if Cardinal Kasper’s ideology takes over the upcoming Ordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family? What if the behind-the-scenes machinations of his supporters ultimately win the day? What if the pope lets civilly divorced and remarried Catholics receive communion?

Fr. James Schall identified the dilemma last year, when he pointed out that the elephant in the room is the question of heresy. If Church discipline of excluding Catholics who have obtained a civil divorce and remarriage from Communion is based on infallible Church doctrine about sin and repentance, and if the pope tries to change that discipline, wouldn’t that make the pope a heretic concerning that doctrine?

In the finest tradition of Jesuit discourse, Fr. Schall insisted that we talk about the elephant rather than staring at it. I agree because I know that God is not going to let us down, and neither is Pope Francis.

What is a heretic?
In order to even talk about the elephant, we have to identify it. A “heretic” is someone guilty of a heresy. According to the Catechism, “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.” A heretic differs from an “apostate,” who is guilty of “apostasy” (the total repudiation of the Christian faith, not just some part of it), or a “schismatic,” who is guilty of “schism” (separation from the unity of the Church, without necessarily denying some or all of the Christian faith) (CCC 2089).

In a more technical sense, the denial of some truth of the Faith can actually be two things: a sin and a crime. It is a mortal sin, because it is directly contrary to the theological virtue of faith, “by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself” (CCC 1814). It is a canonical crime, because the Church criminalizes certain, very dangerous sins like heresy, so that the Church can compel those who commit them with penalties to carry out the promises of their baptism (Code of Canon Law, Canon 1311). The penalties for the crime of heresy include automatic excommunication (Canon 1364 §1); for clerics, automatic removal from any ecclesiastical office that the heretic might have possessed (Canon 194 §1, no. 2); for religious, automatic expulsion from their religious order (Canon 694, §1, no. 1).

It is important to remember, though, that not everyone who happens to deny some truth of the Faith is culpable for the mortal sin of heresy; nor is everyone who is culpable for the mortal sin of heresy penalized for the canonical crime of heresy in the same way. To be fully culpable for the sin, a person has to have full knowledge of what the Church teaches in a particular matter and make a conscious decision to reject the Church’s teaching in that matter (CCC 1859), or a person has to willfully fail in his or her duty to seek the truth (CCC 1791). To receive the maximum penalty for the crime, a person also has to be at least 16 years old, be aware that heresy is a canonical crime, and not be subject to a long list of other exclusions and exceptions (Canons 1322-24).

Since believing something wrong doesn’t automatically make you culpable for the sin or guilty of the crime, theologians usually make a distinction between people who aren’t consciously and deliberately rejecting the Church’s teaching and those who are:

  • material heretic is someone who does notrealize that they believe something heretical. Provided that their ignorance is not their own fault, material heretics are neither culpable of the sin nor guilty of the crime.
  • formal hereticis someone who does realize that they believe something heretical and makes a conscious and free decision to believe it. Formal heretics are culpable for the sin, and can also be penalized of the crime provided that they meet the appropriate conditions (age, awareness, etc.).

Can the pope be a heretic?
Most theologians would agree that a pope could be a material heretic, just like any other well-meaning but misinformed Catholic. He wouldn’t be culpable for any sin or guilty of any crime. He could, in fact, remain in a state of grace, and, endowed with the virtue of faith, lead the Christian faithful in the faith delivered once for all to the apostles. His material heresy might even appear in his non-infallible teaching, although God gives him special help to avoid that (CCC 892). But Catholics firmly believe that it could never appear in his infallible teaching. (CCC 891)

Theologians are divided as to whether the pope could ever be a formal heretic, because they don’t agree on two things:

  1. Does the grace promised by Christ to Peter preclude the possibility of a pope falling into formal heresy?
  1. If it doesn’t, would a heretical pope lose his office as a consequence of the sin of heresy, or as a penalty for the crime of heresy?

There were always some people who believed that God would simply not allow the pope to become a formal heretic, because it would be against Christ’s promises to Peter. But from the twelfth century onwards, a lot of Catholic theologians didn’t. That’s when Gratian, the most important medieval canon lawyer, included in his Decretum a warning to errant popes that he attributed to St. Boniface:

If the Pope, remiss in his duties and neglectful of his and his neighbor’s salvation, gets caught up in idle business, and if moreover, by his silence (which actually does more harm to himself and everyone else), he nonetheless leads innumerable hoards of people away from the good with him, he will be beaten for eternity with many blows alongside that very first slave of hell [the Devil]. However, no person can presume to convict him of any transgressions in this matter, because, although the Pope can judge everyone else, no one may judge him, unless he, for whose perpetual stability all the faithful pray as earnestly as they call to mind the fact that, after God, their own salvation depends on his soundness, is found to have strayed from the faith. (Decretum, Part 1, Distinction 40, Chapter 6)

So, no one can convict a pope of being remiss in his duties, because no one stands above the pope in judgment—unless the pope is a heretic, and then… Then what? Unfortunately, Gratian didn’t fill in the blank. But since Gratian’s Decretum became required reading for theologians and canon lawyers, the question became unavoidable for subsequent generations of Catholic theology.

The two most important answers came from sixteenth-seventeenth century Jesuits: Francisco Suarez and St. Robert Bellarmine.

Suarez took it as a given that a pope could be a formal heretic. He then considered two possibilities for what happens next:

First possibility: The pope loses his office as a consequence of the sin of heresy, because people who commit that sin cease to be members of the Church, and God deposes a pope who is no longer a member of the Church. (Suarez, De fide, 10.6.2)

Suarez rejects this possibility for two reasons. First, falling out of a state of grace might mean that you aren’t a member of the Church in the way that you’re supposed to be, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not a member of the Church—otherwise you’d be kicked out of the Church every time you committed a mortal sin. Second, if Catholics are supposed to believe that God deposes popes, then Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and the pronouncements of the Magisterium ought to have said something about it—but they haven’t. Besides, if God deposes popes, you could never be sure if the pope was really the pope—what if he was a secret heretic and God had secretly deposed him? How would you ever know? (Suarez, De fide, 10.6.2-4)

Second possibility: The pope keeps his office if he commits the sin of heresy, but loses his office if he is convicted of the crime of heresy. (De fide 10.6.6)

Suarez thinks that, just like Christ bestows the papacy on the man whom the Church elects, so also Christ takes away the papacy from the man whom the Church convicts (De fide 10.6.10). So, if a pope commits the sin of heresy, all the other bishops of the world have the right to try him for the crime of heresy, even against his will (De fide 10.6.7). If they were to convict him, he could be considered deposed from the papacy by Christ, and the Church could elect another pope.

Bellarmine was more hesitant about the whole question. Unlike Suarez, he did not take it as a given that the pope could be a formal heretic. Actually, Bellarmine considered it “probable” that God would prevent the pope from ever being a formal heretic  (he says it twice: De Romano Pontifice 2.30 and 4.2). Nevertheless, Bellarmine was willing to consider what would be the case if the pope could fall into formal heresy.

If we assume that the pope could be a formal heretic, Bellarmine thinks Suarez’s opinion is wrong. Suarez allows the bishops to judge the pope. But one of Gratian’s basic rules is that no one can judge the pope. Sure, Suarez has Christ carrying out the judgment, but it is only because the other bishops of the Church have pronounced the judgment first.

Instead, Bellarmine adopts the position that Suarez rejected: the pope loses his office immediately by committing the sin of formal heresy, because people who commit that sin cease to be members of the Church, and God deposes a pope who is no longer a member of the Church. It’s true that the bishops could still get together and make a declaration that God had deposed the pope, but their declaration would not be a judgment in any real sense, only an acknowledgement of what God had already done. (De Romano Pontifice 2.30)

Suarez and Bellarmine both have good points, but I think they each show how the other misses the mark. Suarez is right that, if Catholics are supposed to believe that God deposes popes, then Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and the pronouncements of the Magisterium ought to have said something about it. But Bellarmine has something important to contribute, too: if God doesn’t depose popes, then no one can, because no one can judge the pope. And besides, it’s not even agreed that the pope could ever be a formal heretic, anyway.

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.

So what is all the fuss about? About something Pope Francis might do or say but has not actually done or said? Then why don’t we follow Gratian’s advice? Let’s pray for Pope Francis as earnestly as we can, because like Gratian said, our own salvation depends in many ways on the guidance he gives us as members of the flock of Christ. Even better, let’s pay attention to how we pray. Certainly Pope Francis needs our prayers. But prayers motivated by love for him are more meritorious than prayers motivated by fear of what he might do in spite of the graces that God offers him to fulfill his divinely appointed duty. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8), and each one of us—clergy and laity alike—always stands in need of an increase of that love. Not that there will be less to work for—the latest revelations of impropriety at the Extraordinary Synod warn us against such naïveté—just less to fear as we grow in the confidence of Christ, and as we trust in the victory that God has already won in Christ, into which he leads his Church daily through the Successors of St. Peter: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jacob W. Wood

By

Jacob W. Wood is an Assistant Professor of Theology and a Faculty Associate of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He earned his Master's in theology from St. Andrews University and his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

  • Great article! Thank you.

  • lifeknight

    Thank you for an enlightening article regarding our ability and authority to judge the actions of the Pope. We all realize that in times past we have endured “bad” popes. The Faith has survived.

    A Jesuit educated friend smiled when a recent discussion turned to the question, “What do you think of this Pope?” He said that we must take his comments with the understanding that the Jesuits are like modern lawyers. “They are always looking for loopholes.”

  • mortimer zilch

    very timely article, well written and well balanced too. God moves slowly, but always seems to arrive before we are ready. Watching events unfold is like a slow motion movie and we want to get to the end sooner. But the end will come. Certainly, I would say that Pope Francis does not fit St. Malachy’s prophecy of “Peter the Roman” who will lead the Church in great adversity until the end of the present age. But…since the article deals with plausibles…if ISIS succeeds in knocking off Pope Francis, and Pope Benedict is still alive, we can still have the Pope who follows Benedict’s “from the branch of the Olive” be the NEXT Pope…and in a sort of reaction to Pope Francis’ pastoral praxis…choose the name of Peter II. I would say a three-to-five year timeframe for the realization of these events seems…plausible.

    • Rock St. Elvis

      That so-called prophecy is a fake.

      • No that prophecy is not a fake, has been public for 100’s of years (since the 1400? though written sooner.) Some of the earlier predictions (prior to its publication) were called into question however the rest have stood the test of time.

        • Claims of the Loch Ness monster have been public for hundreds of years as well. Still no carcus.

          • LOL! Funny, however no one published an article 100/1000’s or years ago describing when and where Nessie would show up and under what circumstances! Best analogy for that I think… Believe or not, free will and all; but there is ample evidence supporting the predictions of Saint Malachi. Comparing it to Loch Ness is disingenuous at best.

            • I hear the same stuff about Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce. Call me when one predicts the S&P Index.

            • fredx2

              From Wikipedia:
              The Prophecy of the Popes is a series of 112 short, cryptic phrases in Latin which purport to predict the Roman Catholic popes(along with a few antipopes), beginning with Pope Celestine II. The alleged prophecies were first published by Benedictine monk Arnold Wion in 1595. Wion attributes the prophecies to Saint Malachy, a 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland.

              Given the very accurate description of popes up to 1590 and lack of accuracy after that year, historians generally conclude that the alleged prophecies are a fabrication written shortly before they were published. The Roman Catholic Church also dismisses them as forgery. The prophecies may have been created in an attempt to suggest thatCardinal Girolamo Simoncelli’s bid for the papacy in the second conclave of 1590 was divinely ordained.

              Quite frankly, this Wion dude was simply the Dan Brown of his day.

    • fredx2

      Let’s not give any credence to fake prophecies. Let’s just not.

      • ConcernedCath

        Well if Wikipedia says it’s fake, it must be.

        • ConccernedCath

          fredx2, I suppose I should not have put it like that. I thought the verity of this prophecy was ambiguous. Non-Catholic sources had strongly condemned it as false, but among Catholic writers there had been arguments either way concerning its truth. Regardless, I feel that it isn’t a good idea to let any prophecy think for you. None of them are part of the Deposit of Faith.

    • RufusChoate

      The document called the prophecy of Saint Malachy was a completely fabricated forgery done to impact a Papal election. So file it under the more things change the more the stay the same.

    • The prophecy of St. Malachi is a hoax, yet one could make the case that Francis is Peter the Roman. Francis is the successor of Peter, ergo, Peter. But is he Roman? Francis’ family came to Argentina from Italy, more precisely, from Asti, inthe Piedmont region. It’s capital, Turin, was the first capital of unified Italy in the 19th century, becoming, in a way, Rome. So, there, Francis is Peter the Roman! Of course, if I had the time, I guess that I could liken Francis to all the other predictions of the so-called prophecy.

      • mortimer zilch

        your comment is regrettably puerile and non-academic. I cited the “Prophecy of St. Malachy” not knowing it was a hoax. How do you know it is a hoax? (reference pl.) There is an UNDENIABLE correspondence with recent Popes and the Latin phrases…besides, the “hoax” as you claim it is, is at least a few hundred years old already. Be that as it may, we are counseled to pay attention to prophecy. What about Lourdes? and Fatima, are they hoaxes too? In all this, I am more concerned about a possible cabal that elected Francis….one comment attempted to address my concerns by saying casual conversations prior to a conclave do not constitute a cabal or pre-determined voting cadre. But was there one?

        I predicted a quick election, when everyone was predicting a long conclave. Had things been decided prior? If so, Francis, as NICE as he is, is not a valid Pope. However, I am of the opinion Francis is a valid Pope.
        But, if he goes off into official heresy, what shall we say? Already Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Sarah have stated they are watching. Let us watch too!

  • mortimer zilch

    one other point, if I may. There was a Pope who on the morrow was going to declare some heretical dogma…and choked to death on a fish bone at his evening meal. (Or that’s the story I always heard…) Giving evidence that God protects the Church by papal infallibility.
    Of great concern to me – and I wish you would address this (and if you have previously, please refer me to the article, ty.) is the issue of the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ election. If the conclave rules established by Pope John Paul II call for the excommunication of cardinal electors who form a cabal to elect a certain person BEFORE entering the conclave…and such a cabal occurred….then it would certainly SEEM TO ME that Pope Francis’ papacy is non-canonical….and that HE CAN ERR because his is not a valid papacy.

    • fredx2

      But no such cabal occurred. You have to distinguish between a group of cardinals that talk about someone who would be a good Pope, and those who form some sort of formal cabal and bind themselves before the conclave to elect someone before the conclave occurs. Quite simply, let’s not get our undies in a bunch over something that one reporter says, which is subsequently denied, and then retracted by the reporter.

  • bosco49

    “So what is all the fuss about? About something Pope Francis might do or say but has not actually done or said?”

    There are in fact many many many things Francis has said and done (suggesting Mary may have called God a ‘liar’ not the least of which) and has tolerated being publicly said and done by various hierarchy without correction which warrant a mighty ‘fuss’.

    Certainly Francis deserves our prayers but not our mindless credulity.

    • publiusnj

      This is the scary thing about Francis. He has the loosest lips, which does not bode well for the Barque of Peter. It may have started out as a good idea: “why shouldn’t I speak my mind fearlessly and without self-censorship?” Then, though, the fruits of his extemporaneous pronouncements was clearly problematic. So, he needs to pull back and exercise prudence. It’s a virtue!

      • bosco49

        I agree with you that Francis ought be more circumspect, more prudent, when he ad libs.

        He has (to my mind) proven to be a hindrance to Catholic evangelization in the world if by ‘evangelization’ one intends to promote the Truth of Christ as embodied in Catholic Doctrine for 2000 years.

        If one adheres to the papal pronouncements and warnings of Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, etc. on Modernism, Secularism, and the like. then one must admit the moral wisdom of these popes have precious little in common with this Bishop of Rome who has decided to speak “his mind” fearlessly and without self-censorship much less (and I’m trying to be charitable here) with self-reflection.

        For my part I would infinitely prefer a Pope who fearlessly proclaimed Christ in season and out than one whose ramblings (heretical, ‘Jesuitical’, or not) get him on the cover of The Rolling Stone.

        There is something terribly amiss here. A prayerful and discerning read of 2 Thessalonians 2 might be useful.

        • fredx2

          About 75% of the confusion is that the media takes things out of context and reports the quip, and not the other sentences where the Pope qualifies the quip. Once the quip is in context, it becomes unremarkable, (and therefore useless to the media, so they refuse to report the context).

          For example in the famous “Who am I to judge” quip, the Pope made it clear he was actually trying to quote the Catechism on the subject. He turned to his aide and said “how does our Catechism so beautifully say it”? (Referring to Catechism 2358). So rather than saying something new, the Pope was trying to simply restate doctrine. But of course the media wanted desperately to use the man for their own devices and here we are.

          • bosco49

            Interesting statistic you cite, Fred, i.e. that ‘75% of the confusion is the media taking things out of context…’.

            Where did you find that number? In the media?

            I am generally guided by two old adages:

            “Trust but verify!”

            “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

            • fredx2

              The figure is my own, based on my own observation. I see the media report something sensational, then go back and read what the pope actually said, and find he really did not say anything all that unusual. But meanwhile, the people who like to get upset about things go off half cocked and start accusing the Pope of all sorts of things.

              • bosco49

                Laudable of you to try to find an original quote derived from Francis’ off-the-cuff, ad lib, and multilingual remarks and even more so to intuit the meaning thereof in their full textual and situational context.

                If Francis’ statements and actions are so very orthodox and benign, I wonder again why so very many well-educated, multilingual, and faithful members of the cardinaliate and episcopate are signalling this pontificate is moving in a worrisome direction.

                • ChurchWeather

                  Well, it’s interesting that you dismiss Fred’s “75%” figure and then go on to say that “many” are worried over the Pope.

                  I agree with Fred, having read entire articles, homilies, and papal documents with Francis’ signature on them. The greater context always clarifies the Pope’s colloquial language. The problem is that gullible Catholics—and yes, that includes those with collars—have been reading headlines instead of homilies, excerpts instead of exhortations. That, my friend, is playing right into the devil’s hand.

                  In fact, some of the reactions of orthodox Cardinals during the Synod were astonishing, for they only fanned the flames of division. The Pope said he would not speak during the Synod, and that everything was on the table. He meant what he said. And when the day was over, he gave what I think is one of the most powerful papal speeches I’ve heard in decades. He called out the left AND the right, and then reaffirmed the petrine ministry as solidly in the court of Sacred Tradition. Catholics who are still suspicious and speculate against the Pope after that speech are the one who are creating the division now.

                  • bosco49

                    It goes without saying that both you, ChurchWeather, and fredx2 are entitled to form your own opinion however way you choose to derive it.

                    Peace. May God grant all of us his extraordinary Care and Protection in these times.

                    • ChurchWeather

                      Opinion? There is no longer objective truth?

                  • bonaventure

                    Frankly, Francis’ closing speech at the synod was an embarrassment.

                    • ChurchWeather

                      Are you serious? Which part embarrassed you? When he called out the liberal cardinals or when he repeated that he would defend Sacred Tradition?

                      It’s time Catholics like you stopped reading CNN and start reading the sources (because I can only assume you didn’t read his entire speech. It was friggin’ brilliant.)

                  • Indeed, Francis said nothing, just acted: gave preeminence to Kasper and his thesis, appointed the secretary, overrode the choice by the bishops of redactors, overrode the vote of the bishops on what would be included in the final report. Some say that he acted as a Jesuit, more commonly known as deceptive.

                    • ChurchWeather

                      Wow. With respect, your comments are ignorant of the truth. You said he said nothing?? Quite the opposite. After remaining in silence, watching and listening to the Cardinals, both orthdox and liberals, he then pointed out the temptations that they all faced to either be afraid of mercy or afraid of truth. Regarding the liberal camp that you feel he let by with a free pass, he said that they were falling for “The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness, that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” He then added that many of the bishops were entertaining, “The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.” He added that there was, “The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei ”, not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing!” My Lord… have you heard a more clear description of a Pope EXPOSING the lies?

                      Then, at the end of his speech, he concluded by saying, “The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church…”

                      I’m telling you now, any Catholic who says this Pope is closing his eyes to the modernists is either blind, illiterate, or deceived by a spirit of divisiveness that seeks to create a new schism among the “faithful.”

                    • Speeches are cheap. Actions speak loudly.

                    • ChurchWeather

                      Wow. With respect, your comments are ignorant of the truth. You said he said nothing?? Quite the opposite. After remaining in silence, watching and listening to the Cardinals, both orthdox and liberals, he then pointed out the temptations that they all faced to either be afraid of mercy or afraid of truth. Regarding the liberal camp that you feel he let by with a free pass, he said that they were falling for “The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness, that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” He then added that many of the bishops were entertaining, “The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.” He added that there was, “The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei ”, not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing!” My Lord… have you heard a more clear description of a Pope EXPOSING the lies?

                      Then, at the end of his speech, he concluded by saying, “The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church…”

                      I’m telling you now, any Catholic who says this Pope is closing his eyes to the modernists is either blind, illiterate, or deceived by a spirit of divisiveness that seeks to create a new schism among the “faithful.”

                    • gaeliclass

                      The holy laity and ‘remaining’ holy Episcopacy and priests now more than ever must fight the good fight..it is only beginning. The laity like never before are now called to give their life if needed, defend their Faith, like never before and therefore wake up the parts of the Church which are dormant or failing….
                      God help us .

                    • In crisis past, religious orders restored and refreshed the Church. Nowadays, many religious orders are in a crisis worse than the Church. Most can actually be regarded as part of the problem. It is indeed up to the faithful lay and young priests this time.

                      God help us.

                    • gaeliclass

                      yes Augustine… the lay faithful must become the saints of today (I mean that) .. and the young priests must become the ‘holy young and faithful priests’…
                      the Church will gets smaller – no doubt – but lay catholic groups must form and be united to true Bishops and true priests..

                • GG

                  Ha, excellent point. The spinners love to spin.

              • bonaventure

                Can you report on the 25% that you believe to be “remarkable” (in other words, not exactly orthodox)? And how do you account for a pope who is “remarkable” on 25% of the things he says, while in fact he should be “unusual” and “unremarkable” 100% of the time he speaks, if only — as publiusnj wrote — for prudence’s sake?

                • If 25% of the brakes on a train are inoperable, it’s a wreck waiting to happen.

                • Elizabeth

                  But it’s all the media’s fault, or the bloggers, or the …., don’t you know.

              • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                It also doesn’t help that the “non Catholic” media don’t know what the Hell their talking about when it comes to Catholicism to begin with. They have been guilty of taking just about every Catholic speaker out of context due to their own stupidity.

              • Can we focus the discussion on the remaining 25%? The fact is that many of Francis’ statements do breed confusion and disunity, even by your own account, don’t they?

                • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                  Of course they do, but that doesn’t mean the media is stupid when it comes to Dogma. the 25% that your referring to, I assume, are problematic because He’s no Catholic.

            • standtall909

              We only wish Cardinal Burke and others are wrongly alarmed about this Papacy. But when Cardinal Burke is worried, and he knows much more than WE KNOW, then yes indeed, I’m worried too. It’s a valid concern.

          • newportson

            Which is exactly why the holy father should be circumspect in all his comments.

            • MarcAlcan

              That seems to be wishing for the moon at this stage.

          • sweetmusic

            But the other 25% is shocking. The “rabbits” quip looked worse in context. He was pretty nasty toward that mother, holding up her situation for the world’s disdain.

            • standtall909

              Yes, sweetmusic, the ‘Rabbit comment’ is only one of many. I’ve read complete homilies and interviews where in context they don’t sound like solid teaching………..at all. It’s a concern that we can’t close our eyes to.

          • NewbieJames

            So did the Pope assign a raging homosexual heretic to the Vatican Bank or not? That is the context.

            • ChurchWeather

              And how many progressive and liberal bishops have JPII and Benedict brought into existence? There are weeds among the wheat.

              • Marcelus

                Dolan Kasper Culpich McELroy and on and on…..

              • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                A sad amount, brother.

            • Thomas J. Hennigan

              That would seem to be imprudence, not doctrinal error.

              • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                It runs much deeper than Imprudence. By the time a man reaches Bishop an assignment like that is equal to a repudiation of the faith, atleast informally.

          • Mark

            If that were true, fredx2, then Francis or his conferrers would short circuit the media’s ability to have such a field day with this pope’s language. The first place to begin would be to simply cease and desist with his incessant extemporaneous method of speaking. There is a preternatural cunning about this man, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, that allows him to extemporaneously speak in such a layered fashion that he perfectly defines the double entendre, at once soothing the spiritually blinded and shielding attempts to unpack what it is that he is truly saying.

        • MarcAlcan

          Brilliant!

      • Who was it that quipped when the Church is not obligated to speak, it is obligated not to speak?

        • Percy Gryce

          The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

      • Thomas J. Hennigan

        If he is to commit some doctrinal error, it has to be in some official document. Such documents go through filters. What he says in interviews is not Magisterium. Doesn’t he have Cardinal Muller as Prefect for the Congregation of the Faiith who is a very solid theologian? Why do you think that Pope Benedict gave him that job and he has not been removed by Pope Francis? Don’t you think that any doctrinal pronoucement will be passed by him and ohers at the CDF, after all that is part of what it is about. Pope Francis is not a theologian, but he has plenty of experts at his disposal whom he must consult, as I assume he is not reckless. So, in my opinion, there is no chance that he will approve of giving communion to divorced and remarried civilly. What he will do is to streamline the annulment process. Hei s likely also to propose improvements in the marriage preparation process in the hope that fewer who don’t really know what Catholic marriage is about can get though the net.

        • publiusnj

          He will do what he will do, and I won’t speculate about that. Is he reckless? You assume he is not, but his ex temporaneous pronouncements are not inconsistent with recklessness. So, I will wait and see. I certainly pray he will not act recklessly.

          • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

            His ex temporaneous pronouncements are also NOT inconsistant with making an “assumption” to what the heretic actually believes.

          • ChurchWeather

            What is reckless is Catholics who publicly criticize the Pope in the most uncharitable terms. Some of the Saints would have walked up and slapped some of the posters here for not only their arrogance but lack of charity. The Pope, whom the Holy Spirit has chosen, has decided to continue to speak in the colloquial. Okay, fine… not what this generation is used to. It is what it is. In fact, I think what it’s really doing is revealing the liberals in the Church who want to twist every word, and the Pharisees who are so bound by the letter of the law that they have been drained of charity. Neither witness to the true faith.

            • publiusnj

              This Pope is willing to entertain the Kasper Proposal for Divorced-Remarried Catholics to receive Communion while still living in Adultery. That was clearly prohibited by Sec. 1650 of the CCC, which was written under the aegis of Francis’s SAINTED predecessor, JP2. As well as by Christ (Mark 10:2-12), of course. So that scares not just me but even such significant cardinals as the former Chief Justice of the Church, Sua Eminenza Burke and the current Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Church, Sua Eminenza Muller. Enough so that they and three other cardinals contributed chapters to a recent book (Remaining in the Truth of Christ) that condemned Kasper’s proposal. Muller’s piece (p. 166) quoted this explanation for a communal reason why such Communion should never be permitted: “the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of Marriage.”

              So, call me confused, but not reckless. The Church has always understood that any proposal to allow Communion to the Remarried totally undercuts the Church’s Teaching. I had always been comfortable with Christ’s Holy Church SINCE my Baptism during the Cardinals’ next to last successful World Series against the Bosox. The Papacy had always been the assurance of the Church’s fidelity to Christ (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3:3:2). If a Pope wrote an exhortation like Familiaris Consortio on Marriage, it could be trusted. Now, instead, we are being fed confusion. The Synod needs to restate the Church’s historically clear teaching and end this nonsense.

              • ChurchWeather

                Yes, you are confused. The Pope did NOT entertain this position. He merely said that every position was allowed to be posited on the table. That is quite different than saying that every position was allowed to become law. This is the Jesuit style of discernment: put everything out there, let it grind and sand away that which is not of God, and then keep the good. My God, do we think this is the first time that some bishop or cardinal has proposed something that was in error? Even Peter had erroneous positions regarding permissible food. But let’s get to the heart of this. Pope Francis clearly denounced Kasper’s position at the end of the Synod. He said, I quote, that some during the Synod gave in to: “The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness, that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” What more needs to be said??

                • publiusnj

                  Francis did not “denounce” the proposal. Anybody with sense knows that, so stop with this nonsense. Kasper’s proposal is still on the table and will be considered at the Synod. The primary and most out-spoken opponent of Kasper’s propsal, moreover, has been banished to a very secondary position. Hopefully, Kasper’s proposal will be denounced authoritatively at the next Synod. If not, the Pope will be causing grave scandal.

                  And, btw, the Jesuits used to know how to teach orthodoxly without abandoning all discernment. They did so throughout my eleven years of Jesuiit Education.

                  • Tridentinus

                    The worrying thing is that Kasper’s proposal is on the table at all in full view of the public. Now we know for certain the a not insignificant number of bishops and even cardinals agree with Kasper. This nudges the informal schism within the Church nearer to formality.

                • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                  Your missing the point of all the damage that is being done along the way to those who aren’t secure in their faith or those on the fence reguarding converting.

                  • ChurchWeather

                    Really? What damage exactly? The only damage being done is that which others are doing to themselves—those who are already compromising their faith, and grabbing onto the media’s distorted headlines to justify their position.

                    That, and the damage of those Catholics who are going around saying that this Pope is a “false prophet”, a “modernist”, an “antichrist.” This kind of nonsense is what has shaken the faith of many people who, for whatever reason, can’t seem to Google the Pope’s homilies and entire texts to find out for themselves what he REALLY said.

              • standtall909

                Excellent post, and right on the mark. Let’s pray that’s what happens in October.

                Oh and BTW, this business about infallibility that some are putting up as a defense is a little disingenuous. It’s a pretty well known fact that ‘infallibility’ is widely misunderstood, even among Catholics. Pope Francis has not spoken ‘infallibly’ that is true, but there are some who don’t know the difference, and for those who do, he still perpetuates confusion. As I said before, this is still a great concern, and those who are putting all their money on ‘infallibility’ are missing the entire picture.

                • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                  Great point. The reason why the rest of us have to spend time correcting what He says is that younger, less mature sheep are being scandalized when He runs His lips.

            • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

              I don’t think it’s reckless, I think it’s an act of Charity to the young sheep who may not know exactly what the true faith is.

        • I actually think that he’s already made up his mind and, because of the filters you mentioned, Francis is seeking legitimacy to his heretical belief by stacking the deck in the synod.

      • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

        And what comes out of His lips shows His judgement can’t be trusted on anything, must less spiritual matters.

    • Don

      Great point. Did you notice there is little ‘fuss’ over any of this? The contrast between the pre-Vatican II hierarchy and the post-Vatican II hierarchy is undeniable. It’s like light and dark, they contradict, and these things can’t be ignored.

  • It is not about wishful thinking and prayers that any Pope will be persuaded by God through prayers to follow Church’s Traditions, the Bible, etc, because God gave and is giving Man Freedom to oppose God and even to create a Cult that denies the Resurrection (Islam), so where were the Christian prayers at that time to prevent it?

    No, it is not about prayers. God will let things happen because God loves Freedom (which many men don’t and they want to enslave their fellow men, even under the guise of “spreading the wealth” for the sole purpose of controlling and having power, but that’s another story), so, God let things happen freely but guess what, what is wrong NEVER remains.

    Sooner or later it will collapse on itself. Read history. It always does. From men to nations. Those who do things contrary to Nature, to God, to His Commandments (even if they don’t know God’s commandments, they are written in each’s heart, and it is called “Natural Law”) ALWAYS ripe the fruits of their actions.

    By the way, contrary to some of the clerics and theologians say, Hell is populated because there is something called “JUDGMENT” and “PUNISHMENT.” Read the Bible.

    • buzz

      Go back to your bunker in the hills, Paul Ben. You are raving about judgment and punishment in the Bible, but have no faith in prayer and no understanding of free will.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      St Augustine explains this very well: “if you say that it pertains to man’s free will—which you defend, not in accordance with God’s grace, but in opposition to it—that any one should persevere in good, or should not persevere, and it is not by the gift of God if he persevere, but by the performance of human will, why will you strive against the words of Him who says, “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith fail not”? Luke 22:32 Will you dare to say that even when Christ prayed that Peter’s faith might not fail, it would still have failed if Peter had willed it to fail; that is, if he had been unwilling that it should continue even to the end? As if Peter could in any measure will otherwise than Christ had asked for him that he might will. For who does not know that Peter’s faith would then have perished if that will by which he was faithful should fail, and that it would have continued if that same will should abide? But because “the will is prepared by the Lord,” Proverbs 8:35 therefore Christ’s petition on his behalf could not be a vain petition. When, then, He prayed that Peter’s faith should not fail, what was it that He asked for, but that in his faith Peter should have a most free, strong, invincible, persevering will! Behold to what an extent the freedom of the will is defended in accordance with the grace of God, not in opposition to it; because the human will does not attain grace by freedom, but rather attains freedom by grace, and a delightful constancy, and an insuperable fortitude that it may persevere.” [De Correptione et Gratia, Chapter 17 [VIII.]]

    • fredx2

      Yeah, that so called “Father” Barron.

      Pope Michael, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, no one can!

      • that so-called “Father” Barron is an ordained and incardinated priest, who apparently was orthodox enough to receive an Episcopal appointment as late as May 2012.

        That you dislike him or someunspecified position position he took doesn’t remove his title.

        I dislike Father Michael Pfleger, who is a thinly veiled and insubordinate activist-who invited a Jeremiah Wright, who uses the Lord’s Name in vein in his “sermons”- but the hierarchy has not suspended his faculties.

        Given the disposition of the new Ordinary, I suspect he will continue on being a Priest, despite delivering am incoherent 70-minute sermon in which he said the Apostles “had run out on” Jesus, while the women remained and that should cause there to be female priests

        Of his conclusion is errant in that if that were the case, it would be logical to assume that there should be ONLY women priests, so he should quit immediately, but parasites never stop gorging on the host.

  • To answer the title’s question:

    Yes, Popes can be heretics, why not?

    And Popes are humans who can go to HELL as well.

    • Roscoe Bonsweenie

      There is at least one instance when a pope was declared a heretic. Can’t find it in my notes right now. Want to say it was before 1000 AD sometime

      • John Hobson

        Honorius I could not have sent anything to the Third Council of Constantinople, since it was convened in 680 and Honorius died in 638. However, he was condemned by name at the Council for his support of Monothelitism

    • bosco49

      Indeed popes are human too.

      “Meanwhile, Peter sat in the court without; and there a maid-servant came up to him, and said, Thou too wast with Jesus the Galilean. Whereupon he denied it before all the company; I do not know what thou meanest. And he went out into the porch, where a second maid-servant saw him, and said, to the bystanders, This man, too, was with Jesus the Nazarene. And he made denial again with an oath, I know nothing of the man. But those who stood there came up to Peter soon afterwards, and said, It is certain that thou art one of them; even thy speech betrays thee. And with that he fell to calling down curses on himself and swearing, I know nothing of the man; and thereupon the cock crew. Then Peter remembered the word of Jesus…” Matthew 26: 69-75

      • To be fair, Peter wasn’t Pope when he exhibited that lack of courage.

        • bosco49

          True. Even immediately after the Resurrection Peter was out fishing. The Church was born on Pentecost. How about:

          “Afterwards, when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him openly; he stood self-condemned.” Galatians 2:11

    • buzz

      Did you even bother to read the article to find out how the Church defines a heretic? Apparently not. None of your comments seems to have anything to do with the article, but all to do with some kind of fantasy you have of becoming a sort of pope-dictator yourself, deciding to ‘fire’ the pope and ‘fire’ his ‘administration’ and replace them with your own hand-picked people. Do you know the difference between a junta and a conclave?

    • fredx2

      I could have sworn that Popes were angels.

    • RC

      Paul Ben, Angels were not exempt from Hell either, hence we have the Devil & demons (aka Fallen Angels)

  • JP

    Changing doctrine is not the way things are done. If the Church is going to change anything, it will be the “practice” and not the doctrine. Today’s heretics are not stupid. They will just take a page out of Vatican II and the use of artificial birth control. For those who do not remember, there was a Synod for the Family in the very early 1980s. And like the issue of marriage and divorce that rages today within the Church, there was an issue in the late 1970s as to whether Catholics who use artificial birth control should be admitted to Communion. The advocates of allowing these people to communion used the same language that “reformers used today. The words Mercy and Gradualism were often bandied about. The subject became so heated that Pope John Paul II issued his exhortation Familiaris Consortio. In the exhortation, the Pope not only reiterated the foundations of the Catholic Family, but he also reiterated the prohibition against the use of artificial birth control.

    But, it was too late. For, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Bishops and their priests can just passively ignore Church teachings, all the while paying lips service to the doctrine. Today, the number of Catholic couples who do not use artificial birth control is less than 10%. Yet, most couples present themselves at the communion rail every Sunday. Familiaris Consortio is a dead letter. And soon the Holy Matrimony will follow. Yet, the doctrine will stand.

    Watch the Synod closely. Without a doubt Pope Francis will uphold long held doctrines; but, he may rubber stamp a series of “advisory reforms”, which will give Bishops the authority to provisionally grant conditional absolution to divorced individuals under the pretense of gradualism. Or some such poppycock.

    • Nel

      I remember a story I read somewhere… maybe Weigel’s biography of Pope John Paul II. The story goes that he was having lunch with American bishops who were in Rome on their ad limina visits. One bishop spoke up to say that he was sure that if the bishops didn’t teach the faithful what the Church teaches about contraception and marriage, that God wouldn’t condemn those people.

      The Holy Father put down his spoon and said, ‘No, but the bishop will go to hell.’
      I was pleased to read this very careful discussion of what heresy actually means. It is always important to have very clear and exact definitions before talking about anything.

      But I am especially grateful for the last paragraph, because I fear that many or most people who trash Pope Francis or find fault with him or are simply worried about his worrying lack of clarity and his lack of self-restraint when it comes to speaking publicly, simply do not pray for the Holy Father.

      The weaker he is, the more public his weaknesses – and he does seem to shoot from the lip and to be too ‘needy’ of approving people around him – the more he needs our prayers to keep him out of hell.

      All the bishops need our prayers. They NEED us! Let us respond to their need with love and truly charitable prayers, trusting all to God with deep faith.

      • rsnow

        that story about Pope JPII and the American Bishops came from Msgr William Smith who was there and related the story to a meeting of the fellowship of Catholic Scholars of which I was a member and was present. According to Fr.Smith, a bishop asked the Holy Father if it were true that people do not go to hell because of invincible ignorance. Looking up from his soup, JPII replied ‘only the priests who teach invincible ignorance go to hell.’

        • GG

          Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned such a view in a talk he gave:

          “In the course of a dispute, a senior
          colleague, who was keenly aware of the plight to being Christian in our times,
          expressed the opinion that one should actually be grateful to God that He allows
          there to be so many unbelievers in good conscience. For if their eyes were
          opened and they became believers, they would not be capable, in this world of
          ours, of bearing the burden of faith with all its moral obligations. But as it
          is, since they can go another way in good conscience, they can reach salvation.
          What shocked me about this assertion was not in the first place the idea of an
          erroneous conscience given by God Himself in order to save men by means of such
          artfulness—the idea, so to speak, of a blindness sent by God for the salvation
          of those in question…

          …It would not
          be the truth that would set him free, but rather he would have to be freed from
          the truth. Man would be more at home in the dark than in the light. Faith would
          not be the good gift of the good God but instead an affliction. If this were the
          state of affairs, how could faith give rise to joy? Who would have the courage
          to pass faith on to others?
          The almost traumatic aversion many have to
          what they hold to be “pre-conciliar” Catholicism is rooted, I am
          convinced, in the encounter with such a faith seen only as encumbrance…”
          CONSCIENCE AND TRUTH

          Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

          • Nel

            Wow! Thanks for that! One of the problems I have with the Internet is that I read so much ‘stuff’ in such an unstable context (internet pages, not the pages of books) that I no longer remember where I read things. Back when I only had books to read, I could remember where I read anything. Now… it’s like trying to remember every plant I passed by the side of the road while going 60 mph.

            It’s great that two other people have much clearer and better memories and could give more reliable reports. I’m copying and pasting both stories to a Word document for future reference. Cardinal Ratzinger – brilliant and insightful as usual. How I miss Pope Benedict!

        • Nel

          I found this on the page http://www.catholicamericanthinker.com under ‘moral theology.’ Apparently there was a time when this story was ‘going the rounds’:

          “I related the story in current news about the New York Bishops ad limina visit to John Paul the Great in 1983. The visit involved two dining groups with John Paul, one for Breakfast and one for lunch, each with about 25 or so Bishops at table with the Pope. At lunch, during soup, the ordinary Bishop of Long Island was talking to John Paul, who seldom speaks at these events, telling him that there were so many American Catholics who suffered from “invincible ignorance” in matters of Divine Revelation that “invincible Ignorance” should help many of them get into Heaven.

          “At which John Paul II put down his soup spoon and spoke. He said it is true that there is much invincible ignorance in the world, and because of this invincible ignorance on Divine matters, many Catholics will get into Heaven. But the Priests and Bishops who are responsible for this invincible ignorance will certainly go to Hell.

          “And then John Paul the Great picked up his spoon and continued eating his soup.”

      • publiusnj

        We do need to pray for the Pope and for the Synod and for the Holy Catholic Church.

  • I fear for Pope Francis’ s safety while flying, an for the Church every time he flies with a reporter instead of a doctor, an O2 finger sensor, and an oxygen bottle.

    • Jay

      His O2 finger sensor, his oxygen bottle? What??

      • The Pope is not breathing with a full set of lungs. I have noticed a distinct tendency to give odd answers in interviews in jet planes at cruising altitude. Such confusion could indicate oxygen deprivation.

        • fredx2

          Now that is an interesting theory. Most aircraft keep the cabin pressure the same as it would be at 5,000 to 8,000 feet. For anyone who has been to Denver, (the mile high city) you know you usually feel it.

          If you had only one lung, would it affect you even more? Interesting thought.

          • Pope Francis has more like one and a half lungs, but yes. I remember it took me quite some time to get acclimated when I went to college in Klamath Falls, at only 4500 feet.

            Which is why I say I’d be far more comfortable if the Pope would invite his doctor, not international reporters, to join him on his flights.

        • Tamsin

          The Pope is speaking ex carro volante.

          • From flying cars? That’s a very good Latin Pun.

            I must remember that. I am not obligated to believe the Pope is infallible when speaking ex carro volante.

        • ForChristAlone

          He only has one lung so there may be something to what you say.

  • The Vatican is a political machine run as “religious.”

    If you want to avoid the Constitution, then sign “Executive Orders.”

    Or simply, have your Departments bypass Congress and the Supreme Court and the Constitution and run things the way you want it on a daily basis.

    No one will hardly notice until it’s too late. Do it on the practical level, not through official papers and Congress. Keep it quiet as much as you can.

    Sounds familiar?

    Well, this Vatican is learning from the Obama Administration.

    Pastoral Care = Bypassing Church Doctrine.

    • jacobhalo

      Right, liberals like to confuse issues. No doctrine change but pastoral change. What in the world does that mean?

      • GG

        It means you say the truth is not changed but is in an old dusty booked locked away never to be looked at. Then, you do the exact opposite of the truth and claim the new act is consistent with the truth even though it is the exact opposite.

    • Al_21

      oy…please turn off Fox News. And stop conflating the Church with American politics…

      • Yes, by all means watch MSNBC. (More Stupid Nonsense By Communists).
        You can trust Keith Uberman, (who is such a creep that he took a shot at the largest student run charity in the country) Rachel Madcow and Sgt Ed Schultz. Also trustworthy, Brian Wiliams and Dan Rather.

        • Al_21

          Actually you probably shouldn’t watch cable news at all. It’s the 21st century, man, we have the internet now…

          • Actually you shouldn’t watch TELEVISED news at all. That’s why I threw in lyin’ Brian Williams and Dan Blather.

            I don’t. If there is a legislative or executive action that concerns me I get it myself. Economic data is freely available from various Federal Reserve Banks, the BLS, etc.

            As for attaching meaning or context, I find it useful to presume the Democrats will do the wrong thing, and the Republicans won’t do the right thing.

      • Marcelus

        Spot on-. The RCC seems to end in the mexican border here,And we are talking about a 10%? of the RCC?

  • GG

    The most revealing fact is that we even need articles like this. The confusion swirling about is not an accident.

    • A Pope Leo I or Gregory the Great — not perfect men of course, but who could justly accuse them of ambiguity? Could today’s media ever hope to feed off their words like piranha to celebrate an imagined revolution in theology and tradition is looming? To ask is to answer.

      • GG

        What always galls me is that people actually keep blaming the media. As if faithful Catholics who follow the Church closely are so credulous they are influenced by CNN or something.

        Men in the highest levels of the Church, smart men and holy men, are deeply concerned. To deny the obvious is dishonest and frankly stupid.

        Jesus is not a legalist that says we ought to super analyze every single word from the Pope and then bend over backward and close one eye and dance in a circle to fit every unfortunate word into a proper narrative to make Catholic sense of it.
        Then have people say see it is perfectly orthodox.

        Even with that you have to explain away everything else like Cardinal Kaspar having such influence to offer confusion and go uncorrected. And all that is touching the surface.

        • Amen. I don’t expect any bishop to never say something stupid because men have feet of clay. But if there’s a *pattern* of dumb things said, then it ought to concern us.

          • Bravo!

          • standtall909

            This is EXACTLY the point. It is a ‘cumulative’ thing. It’s a pattern. The Holy Father does indeed seem to talk out of both sides of his mouth. And there is NEVER any clarification. At the beginning of his Papacy, I didn’t pay any real attention to his ‘irregularities’ because I fully expected Fr. Lombardi to ‘clarify’, as it has always happened in the past with any Pope. It never came. It was then that I started to pay closer attention If it’s a language barrier, I thought, someone would clarify. Fr. Lombardi would clarify. Never, never came, nor does it come now. ‘Proselytizing is solemn nonsense’? No explanation, no clarification, no elaboration on that idea? Giving the unmistakable impression that it’s ok for people to stay within their own beliefs and not to convert to Catholicism? To ‘stay where they are’? This is only one of many that doesn’t sound like Catholic teaching. Sometimes I just quit listening to him. It’s a real problem that we haven’t figured out how to deal with. But pray and pray hard for him!! Yes indeed!! He needs our prayers!! These ‘irregularities’ are causing widespread confusion among the faithful.

            • GG

              Well said. There is nothing sinful in what you said. In fact it is true charity.

            • TruthWFree

              Jesus said go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations. This Pope Francis (and all of us Christians) should be doing that, not catering to Islam as if it has credibility as an alternative way to the Father. It does not. It cannot. Islam (the allah god of the Quran) denies Christ’s divinity and death on the cross. That is Satanic. See my post above. By the way, I am Catholic, but I consider all who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died for our eternal salvation is a brother or sister in Christ to me.

          • Don

            Yes, especially because of the trickle-down effect. Most Catholics in the pews today know so little dogma and doctrine it’s not even funny. Who will defend the Faith? Or do we leave that to the “professionals”? (And trust that they are, after all, actually Defenders of the Faith?)

          • H C

            Agreed. And what I find equally concerning is the pattern of so many Catholics reaching out to so many places: the SSPX, the SSPV, CMRI, the SSPX-SO, FSSP, “independent” chapels, “traditionalist” groups. Most of these are completely schismatic, but when you see the patterns from Rome, you have to wonder where to go to find the uncorrupted faith. It’s a time of confusion.

        • Buster Keaton

          Just a few moments after being selected by the Highest Authority in the Church, Peter was called “satan” because of his “thoughts of men and not of God.” Perhaps a Pope can be as ambiguous as our first Pope and yet not be a full-time heretic. In any case the words of Daniel, echoed by Our Lord in Matthew 24 worry me: “when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place … know that your liberation is near.”

          • GG

            I was not saying the pope is a heretic. I was commenting on the sycophants who spin confusion and say it is clarity.

        • In the fist year of his pontificate, I tried hard to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. Whenever the media would say something odd, I’d try to find out the context; sometimes I was relieve, other times I was worried. Whenever the media would translate something oddly, I’d try to find out the original Italian or Spanish; sometimes I was relieved, other times I was worried.

          Francis does not only say things carelessly, there is a pattern that certainly indicate that they represent his thought. His thought is very much in the modernist vein, constantly clashing a thesis, a point of doctrine, with an antithesis in order to find a synthesis, a compromise, after which the doctrine is literally compromised.

          Now, when Francis affirms one point of the Faith, I don’t sigh in relief anymore, but rather pay attention to what he says later, usually weakening it, if not compromising it. It should not surprise anyone that the liberal faction finally found a confrère who wasn’t too old to be elected pope, yet not so well known as to show up in the radar of those who are for orthodoxy. I just hope that Francis is their swan’s song.

          As for the Church, the Holy Spirit will remain forever protecting her, which doesn’t mean that she won’t suffer under popes: history demonstrates this to be an unwarranted expectation.

          • GG

            Very well expressed.

        • Carolyn C

          And what is so disturbing about this is that the local parish priests in the US act like nothing is wrong. They are silent or say the media distorts things. This is willful blindness. The Catholic faithful are suffering because of this confusion. So many priests exalt Francis and make him the focal point. While traveling, Francis went to a Hindu Temple to learn about their rituals. I ask you, would Jesus Christ go to Apollo’s Temple to watch a special relic ceremony? Would Jesus Christ, if He walked this earth today, tell Muslims to find comfort in the writings of the Quran? No, He would say, “Come to Me who are thirsty and are hungry.”

          And make no mistake, Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ made it very clear about who the hungry are — they are the ones hungry for the word of God. He told Peter: “Feed my Sheep!” He was not talking about “bread that will perish.”

          • standtall909

            What Pope Francis seems to be doing is ‘meeting them where they are’. This is all fine and good but after that he is required to lead them to Christ in His Church. The danger I see here is falling into the error of false religions with them. Yes we are to go out to the world and meet them where they are, BUT we are to lead them to Christ without confirming them in their error, and falling into error ourselves. I think there is some truth to the Church wanting so much to be relevant to the world that they sometimes fall into the cesspool with them.

            • FreemenRtrue

              just a Jesuit tendency to “Inculturation”. They believe all religions are the same. Is the pope a Catholic is no longer a question. Is the pope a Christian?

    • Carolyn C

      What a profound observation!

  • The only way to avoid the Next Schism is: Francis MUST QUIT.

    He should be forced to quit if he insists on remaining.

    Solution: A Conservative, Catholic Orthodox-leaning-true to Catholic Tradition Pope must replace him.

    Next step: House Cleaning.

    Cardinals, Bishops, Religious, Priests, Deacons and staff who are well-known to be “Catholics-in Name-Only” MUST GO.

    God doesn’t care about “Quantity” but about “Quality.”

    • jacobhalo

      You are completely correct. Cardinal Kasper and Marks should be first on the list, along with the pope.

      • fredx2

        Heresy!

        • sweetmusic

          Heresy requires some doctrine to have been violated. It’s not wrong to say bad prelates need to be expelled–even if that includes the pope.

    • buzz

      And I suppose you appoint yourself to be the chief ‘house-cleaner’? You seem not to be a Catholic. You seem to confuse the United States with the Mystical Body of Christ and your political fantasy of a political ‘house-cleaning’ with Apostolic succession.

      Your remarks are either rooted in deep ignorance or abundant arrogance (YOU know better than the Holy Spirit what is best for the Church? Really?).

      Very bizarre comments. Can’t figure out what planet you are from, but you seem to have no grasp of spiritual realities.

      • NewbieJames

        Blasphemy. The Holy Ghost did not author the heretical synod report that the Pope ordered published by the Vatican.

      • sweetmusic

        I think the house will clean itself–by people walking away from the Church. If the Pope reverses a fixed doctrine, then the whole edifice collapses. If the Church yesterday got it wrong, the Church today can have no more credibility or legitimacy. Nothing taught would be stable. We’d be just another version of Christianity with everything up for grabs–including the doctrine of Apostolic Succession.

        • Thomas J. Hennigan

          Relax, he is not going to do that.

          • sweetmusic

            Don’t be too sure. He’s already playing with fire. It doesn’t seem to faze him a bit that Catholics around the world are expressing alarm. He keeps on doing what he’s doing. At a time when bishops in the West are struggling with “gay marriage,” he introduces appreciation of the gay orientation into a synod on the family. At a time of low birth rates and rampant abortions, he puts down parents of big families who breed like “rabbits.” His concern doesn’t seem so much pastoral as liberal.

        • TruthWFree

          My priest responded with “We all pray to the same God” when I asked him what Pope Francis was doing having Muslim prayers in the Vatican. He got really hot defending Islam. I wondered if he ever witnessed to a Muslim that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the Father…for sure, NOT. Too many priests and higher have a view that Islam is just another Abrahamic faith. There is no genealogy between Ishmael and Muhammad or the Arabs like the Bible has to Israel and the Jews and of course the Gospel genealogy down to Jesus. In the 2600 years from Abraham to Muhammad (600 years after Christ), they worshipped all sorts of gods. I contend the Abrahamic claim is just a FALSE claim to somehow garner legitimacy. See my post above.

          • Don

            TruthWFree, thanks for sharing this. I think that “Catholic” priests who are open heretics and apostates like this need to be called out in public. What a terrible thing to say. And I bet your local “bishop” won’t do anything about it, either. But they need to be accountable for their evil heretical statements that are leading souls astray.

    • fredx2

      Have you been talking to God again?

    • Marcelus

      what happend when you woke up? Do you realize just Latam stands for 50% of catholics who at worst view this pontificate in good light? And the rest of the 3rd world?

    • Marcelus

      I see a schism by Burke comming soon.

  • Roscoe Bonsweenie

    Oh what’s that “a Pope can judge”, hope the pope reads this article.

  • HartPonder

    Commenting on the situation where Paul rebuked Peter, St. Thomas Aquinas stated:

    “There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith.” St. Augustine (Ad Galatas 2.14): “St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4).

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The presumption to which you refer can be traced back to a response given by Pope Gregory IX to the Bishop of Le Mans in 1234.

      The question which the bishop of Le Mans put to the Pope was this—” If a man promise to marry a woman, and subsequently have intercourse with her, what is the legal position of the parties?” The Pope replied, “He who has pledged his faith to marry a woman, and afterwards has intercourse with her, although he marry another in face of the church and cohabit with her, is bound to return to the former woman. For although the first marriage appear merely presumable, yet against a presumption of this kind no evidence can be admitted. From which it follows that the marriage, which in fact came after, is not regarded as a genuine one, or indeed as any marriage at all.” [Decretales Gregorii IX c 30 X. IV. 1 usually cited as IV. 1. c XXX]

      It remained part of the law of Scotland until 1 July 1940, although in that country the promise had to be proved by writing of the defender or referred to his oath.Actions were still be raised in the 1970s for declarator of marriage “per verba de futuro, subsequente copula.”

      • HartPonder

        Michael, thank you. As a convert, this information really enhances my apreceation of context when considering matters faith.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Seriously HartPonder?Since when was the great Apostle Paul anyone’s “subject”other that being subject to the One who sent him,Jesus the Christ?

      • HartPonder

        According to Saint Paul, yes.
        “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:21.

        In light of the above, how much more so to our Holy Father!

        Let us remember saint Augustin writing to a monk who was battling against the Pope on faith doctrine concerning baptism, “THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN WERE NOT GIVEN TO YOU BUT TO PETER. FOLLOW PETER.

  • Nel

    Thank you for clear definitions – that is always the fundamental thing before entering into discussion. Know what the Church says a heretic is, before you start bandying that word about.

    Also thank you for the education in seeing how some deep thinkers and well-trained theological minds have wrestled with this question. It’s a good reminder to us – I’m talking to you Paul Ben – who think that somehow WE have to work out the problems of the Church or who approach the Church like it was just American politics being held in different buildings (again, Paul Ben – you’re talking about the Body of Christ, not the Obama Administration). We have 2,000 years of experience dealing with every single kind of problem that the Church can face or individuals can invent. The Church is literally millennia ahead of American politics in understanding how to solve problems and deal with crises. Let’s look to our best thinkers and the saints to find their wisdom before we go spouting off about our ‘infallible’ solutions for the problems of the Church (yes, Paul Ben – or should I say Pope Paul Ben – I do mean you).

    But especially thank you for the plea for prayers – real prayers, not just ‘change this guy because he bugs me’ prayers – for the Holy Father.

    I find Pope Francis hard to warm up to. I always find it hard to warm up to people who seem to be glad-handers, who seem to need to have everyone around them smiling and cheering them on – and he has said that he needs to be around people. His apparent ‘need’ for company seems to trump the dignity of the Chair of Peter sometimes, to trump the real sacrifices that come with his office, to trump the people’s need to see a man who cannot easily be swayed by flatterers (and living in a ‘court’ environment as he does, instead of in something more… monastic, does seem to be at risk of being surrounded by a cheering section). He doesn’t seem to have a clue how his remarks affect the faithful, confuse the faithful, or play into the hands of mortal enemies of Christ and His Church.

    I find him deeply disappointing, frankly. I find myself thinking, ‘He’s a lightweight, a showman, not reliable’ and not wanting to read anything he says or writes. He ‘turns me off’ as the saying goes, on a personal level. And I know that many people think he’s more than terrible, possibly the anti-Christ or something.

    And that’s what softens my heart toward him and makes me want to pray for him all the more. If he is, indeed, ill-suited to the Chair of Peter because of his inability to understand and sympathize with the concerns of ALL the faithful, if he lacks wisdom, he needs our prayers perhaps more than the most saintly popes we have known. No one has a more heavy responsibility than the Holy Father; God will not hold me or anyone else on this forum to a more exacting account than He will Pope Francis. And for that reason, I pray for him with all my heart.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Are you dreaming,Nel,or do you live in some type of fantasy of your own making? The roman catholic church has been a pseudo – religious political system from the day it married the State in the person of Constantine the Great,and has caused far,FAR more problems among mankind than its EVER solved.Please,give me a break.

      • ColdStanding

        I realize that you do not realize it, but your statements look completely unhinged. Are you feeling OK? Do you have a trusted friend you can talk to? Hanging out with Roman Catholics is only going to antagonize you.

        Have you talked to your physician about your blood pressure?

        Serious.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah…it’s a seriously silly”answer”to the unanswerable questions,Coldstanding, posited by those who are willing victims of revisionist quasi-historians hired to provide maximum spin.Please.

          • You still owe us an explanation about how “Luther got it right”, when he asserted marriage to be a civil contract to be regulated by the state.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Are you still going on about Luther and marriage, DE -173? Haven’t I already explained to you( LISTEN UP!!!) that I am a life-long bachelor,am a celibate of over 25 years standing,and have no idea what Luther thought about marriage,and don’t much care? I’m pretty sure I wrote that to somebody,if it wasn’t you! What Luther got right was Scripture teaches about The Gospel;THAT’S my primary concern above ALL others,PERIOD.Sheesh—Pay attention, dude.Why are you SO obsessed with marriage;what IS that??

              • ForChristAlone

                It’s Hombre’s brother!

              • Are you still going on about Luther and marriage, DE -173?
                Yeah, and you still don’t have an answer.
                I am a life-long bachelor,am a celibate of over 25 years standing,and have no idea what Luther thought about marriage,and don’t much care

                • DE-173, 99% of Baptists who reach into their grab bag of historical curiosities to justify their views will use Luther in their service. They don’t get that Luther would’ve denounced their heresies more strongly than anything he could muster up against the papacy. I’ve met a few honest baptists who keep their distance.

              • GaudeteMan

                “Celibate of over 25 years standing….” Its the heights of charity but this Catholic will let that one go.

                • Laurence Charles Ringo

                  I’m sorry,GaudeteMan…would you mind telling me what you’re talking about,exactly? I’m at a loss,here.

              • You do know Luther believed in baptismal regeneration and taught The Body and Blood of Christ are really present in, with, and under the elements? And that one could lose his salvation?

                What do you agree with regarding Luther?

                • Laurence Charles Ringo

                  The issue is not what Luther believed per se;there was much that Luther retained from catholicism and much he retained;when all is said and done,the question remains: What does the Scriptures say,and what is absolutely necessary for one to believe in order to be saved,and exactly HOW is one saved ? Luther got THAT right,and rescued the Freedom of the Gospel from the yoke of bondage the roman catholic church had enslaved it to.So…

                  • So do you with Luther believe denying an infant the sacrament of baptism is a pernicious evil?

                    Also, where do you stand on re-baptizing?

                    If you think these are not Gospel issues, Luther would have a few words with you.

                    I will hazard a guess about you: you’re an Anabaptist. Luther and Calvin thought you guys were heretics.

              • Atilla The Possum

                Oh, the old Sola Scriptura routine …
                NEEEXXTTT!!! Get this eejit off the stage!

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                Oh yes, the Church Christ founded was in limbo until the great prophet, Martin Luther, arrived on the scene to finally set the record straight. Too bad for Christians of the first 1,500 years.

                • Laurence Charles Ringo

                  Sorry,Dr.Williams,but the church YOU’RE talking about was the one that married the State in the person of Constantine the Great; the ROMAN catholic church is most definitely NOT the church Our Saviour founded,not by a LOONG shot.Your own history testifies against that.Stop submitting your will and intellect to your presumed ecclesiastical masters,i.e.the so-called”magisterium”and do your own research.Almost everything I post on these sites comes from 2 sources (2),honest and courageous Catholic historians who refuse to bow down to catholic groupthink(Does that make them heretics,a pejorative word freely thrown around on these sites?) and, (2),disinterested secular scholars who don’t have an axe to grind. (Although given the usual catholic paranoia,since anyone who doesn’t kowtow to your “magisterium “is automatically labeled as someone who”hates the Church” or is a catholic basher”,these scholars probably evoke your wrath too,no?) At any rate,that’s where I stand,Dr.Williams—Welcome to the site.

                  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                    We are all very familiar with these “honest and courageous Catholic historians” who rewrite Church history. They also “honestly and courageously” support wimmin priests, abortion, gay marriage, serial polygamy… it’s a very old song and dance. Welcome to the world of the Church hating lapsed Catholics.

                    • Laurence Charles Ringo

                      Seriously,Dr.Williams? So let me get this straight…According to YOU and those of your ilk,whatever historian of your church doesn’t toe the catholic party line just re-wrote your history,right? WOW.Seriously,dude? So what about the secular scholars not beholden to any ecclesiastical construct?Do you have any labels to pin on them? Don’t bother; I am done with you.No one held so deeply captive to your kind of bizarre pseudo-theological “Stockholm Syndrome ” is worth engaging with.You didn’t acquit your faith well AT ALL—HUGE FAIL,dude!!–PEACE IN CHRIST.

          • ColdStanding

            Fancy words, friend.

          • fredx2

            Only Pope Laurence Charles Ringo the First knows the truth about history. Only he can see through to the core of things.

      • littleeif

        What does a “pseudo-religious political system” even mean? Oh … nothing!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Surely you are smarter than that, littleeif. It’s a system of political coercion overlaid with a veneer of false piety.Simple,no? It’s been a characteristic of the roman catholic church for since Constantine;study the catholic church’s history more carefully,littleeif.Look beyond the rrah-rah feel good

          • ForChristAlone

            what other aliases have you gone by on this site?

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              What are you talking about,ForChristAlone? An alias would imply an attempt to hide something.Trust me,ForChristAlone,I have NO problem revealing my name. (What a bizarre question!)

              • Buster Keaton

                Lawrence Charles Ringo is one of those Westboro Baptist Church drones. Mental troll by any measure, simply delete his comments and block him off. He just spreads his venom around the net. Pray for him and block his
                account.

          • It’s a system of political coercion overlaid with a veneer of false piety.

            We don’t have televangelists preaching saccharine pablum to viirtual audiences in thousand dollar suits.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Frankly,DE -173,it’s a toss-up as which system/method is worst: roman catholicism or televangelism.There is a certain sense in which the T.V.preachers are way worse;it’s clear to see for anyone with spiritual discernment and the infilling Prescence of the Holy Spirit that these so-called televangelists are hirelings,false prophets,religious racketeers,etc,etc.The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and 2nd Timothy 3 : 4-5 and 2nd Peter 2,chapter describes them perfectly.So…your point is what,exactly? It was prophesied by the great Apostle Paul in Acts 20 verses 29,30 that such would arise and plague God’s people.Wheat and Tares,my friend.My”go-to”passage for such times as these? Proverbs 3 : 5-6. You CANNOT go wrong if you abide in Christ and keep His Way.—PEACE IN HIM.

              • Buster Keaton

                Lawrence Charles Ringo is one of those Westboro Baptist Church drones. Insane troll by any
                measure, simply delete his comments and block him off. To have a life he
                just spreads his venom around the net. Pray for him and block his
                account.

                • Laurence Charles Ringo

                  Hmm…I don’t know who you are”Buster Keaton”,but I’m not a baptist;I have little use for denominationalism per,se,so…Interesting how you would label me an”insane troll”in one breath and ask for prayer for me in another.I’m at a loss.–PEACE IN CHRIST.

                  • Um, yes, I promise you are a baptist. Unless you believe infants are proper recipients of the sacrament of Baptism — but that’d be too icky and catholic.

                    • Laurence Charles Ringo

                      Since the supposed”doctrine/dogma” of infant baptism is nowhere settled in any theological construct I’m familiar with,it’s not an issue I concern myself with particularly;I trust He who is the Judge of all the Earth to do right by infants whether they are baptized or not;your comment inre to whether I adhere to Baptist doctrine or not(Whatever that even is.)is meaningless to me.—PEACE IN CHRIST.

                    • Typical Anabaptist.

                    • Laurence Charles Ringo

                      I’m hopeful,Anglicanae,that the day will come when no particular man-made label will have any meaning for you whatsoever;I think that when said day comes,it will be a breakthrough signaling real spiritual maturity.—The peace of God be with you.

              • A bigot with a bible is still a bigot. Go be with your own kind, if there is such a thing as celibate bachelor bigots, if they’ll have. Just go soon.

          • littleeif

            Hmmm. Sounds to me like a proliferation of words designed to make one sound smart. Doesn’t sound to me as if it reflects a true knowledge of history, despite a reach-back reference to Constantine for the same purpose.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              That’s true,littleeif;it doesn’t reflect a watered down,sugary-sweet,revisionist version of catholic history that YOU and those of your ilk have been spoon-fed,and that’s what makes this whole exchange so bizarre;you should be old enough to KNOW that your church’s history is out in the open,plain to see;even your OWN historians rarely bother to whitewash it anymore.So…what’s the problem??

              • littleeif

                It’s 2015. Input conventions have been in effect for at least a decade. You should know typing in caps call credibility into question. Google it. You’ll see what I mean.

                You have no idea to what ilk I belong, the extent of my education or studies. It would be as if I were to judge your ilk by the fact that history’s assassins are all identified by their full name. But there I go again reverting back to that history thing when you’re having so much fun spitting out words to see where they splatter. My bad.

          • Atilla The Possum

            Oh, dear! Hell is missing another devil…
            By the way – are you anything to do with John, Paul, George and Ringo?

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              “Atilla The Possum”…Hmm…interesting moniker.Do you have anything relevant to add to the conversation,or…

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            Note: Chick Publications – the Mad Magazine of Theology – is not considered a scholarly source.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Note:I’m 60 years old,my funny young friend…I don’t read cartoons.

              .

      • Why don’t you take your ignorant bigotry where it would be welcomed, say a Klan meeting.

      • ForChristAlone

        Are you here solely to taunt us faithful lay Catholics? It seems so. In that case it says volumes about your character.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…I must admit that your comments speak more about your shaky spiritual foundation and your weak intellectual acumen,not to mention your refusal to acknowledge the real history of roman catholicism than your accusations of”taunting”,ForChristAlone. I don’t have to taunt anyone;your history speaks for itself.

          • Buster Keaton

            Lawrence Charles Ringo is one of those Westboro Baptist Church trolls. Insane by any measure, simply delete his comments and block him off. Pray for him and block his
            account.

          • Or… (are you willing to be reflective?)

            Maybe you *think* your cause and mission are inspired by the Holy Spirit to be a stick in the eye of Catholics. You’ve discovered that grace is the only thing anybody has, and so you believe any church that adds sacraments, confessions, saints, etc., is denying grace. Furthermore, you’ve discovered the church has had sinful men at the helm who were jerks, asses, and heretics in some degree or another. By this you have inferred your personal papacy (which you call “being led”) begins and ends with what goes on between your ears and how you happen to feel about the text before your eyes. Because grace has come to *you* you assume the Church has nothing to say to *you* of which you haven’t already been taught by God, right? Am I even in the ballpark here?

            So you are mad at the devil and his agents for clouding the pure Gospel since these poor deluded Catholics obviously think Mary is the fourth member of the Godhead and that their petitions to Our Lady is somehow an admission that Jesus isn’t enough? Am I getting warmer?

            Also…. oh yes, Father Martin Luther was unjustly excommunicated for preaching the pure Gospel, and you’re on his side (though it seems you like to distance yourself from his views on the Sacraments, which I assure you, to him, are Gospel issues — so much so that he refused to call Ulrich Zwingli a brother at their debate over the sacrament of the Altar, because Zwingli would assert Christ’s ascension precluded His bodily presence at the Altar). Is this right? Am I getting really warm?

            Finally, in all your agitation, sound and fury, and accusations against the Church of Rome, you feel eminently qualified to go to the mat with this venerable institution because you’ve concluded some errant souls in Her ranks justify your condemnation based on a Bible she has been reading for two millennia, with the whole Church, and adjudicating key doctrinal questions long before you were a speck on this planet, but conveniently forgetting Her mission has been bringing the Cross to barbarians and peoples far and wide long before your Anabaptist blip was even a wrinkle in history. Am I spot on yet?

            What’s even more disheartening is you *think* the faith is a private matter, blithely ignoring the fact that St. Athanasius belongs to all Christians. Pope Gregory the Great was *your* Pope by default — even if you hate that fact. St. Ignatius of Antioch was speaking to *you* when he insisted rightful authority centered in the Bishops — do you hear him? Do you care? If you say, “No, I have Jesus,” we say, “Yes, and Jesus has His Church.” Do you now divide what God has joined together?

            Wouldn’t the better posture be one of humility even in light of serious concerns? Why not start a dialogue. Strong opinion is tolerated here; but what’s rejected is some self-appointed Zwickau prophet running naked through streets proclaiming judgment is at hand when you’ve only been riding Catholic coattails to get yourself this far.

            Truly arrogant.

            • Sam

              Spot on and brilliantly stated.

          • ForChristAlone

            You haven’t answered my question: Are you here to taunt us or not?

            It’s funny that it wouldn’t occur to me to frequent a website in which I have no shared interest just to “crap” on those for whom the site is intended.

    • kathleen

      To those whom much is given, much is expected. Yes, yes, let us all pray for Pope Francis. Let us pray that he will be led by the Holy Spirit in all things. And. let us pray for ourselves that we will do and say what the Holy Spirit asks of us. Finally, let us ask Our Lady, Mother of the Church, to intercede for the Church in these very difficult times. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  • Dr. Dennis Bonnette

    This is an excellent and timely article. Already some commenters are missing essential points made by Dr. Wood.

    I draw attention to a key point he makes: “But Bellarmine has something important to contribute, too: if God
    doesn’t depose popes, then no one can, because no one can judge the
    pope.”

    This is a critical truth, since ultimately any judgment made against the pope’s teachings by Catholics — be they laymen or clerics — is a private judgment. And, just as in the case of the Protestants, no merely private judgment can be the rule of faith. The only way to convert such a private judgment into an objective judgment would be to appeal for confirmation to the magisterial authority of the pope himself. But that would be to appeal to the very authority one is contesting. That is why no one can judge the pope.

    Hence, there is no way in which the pope can be removed from office by members of the Church against his will. This is also the reason that Pope Benedict XVI did not resign his office as Supreme Pontiff, but simply renounced it. There was no higher authority on earth to whom he could resign. The dogma of Papal Primacy remains supreme.

    We do well to pray for Pope Francis, and to trust the Holy Spirit to safeguard the Church — even until the consummation of the world.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      …”There is no way in which the pope can be removed from office by members of the Church against his will”…Well.That explains a lot,doesn’t it? (1),that’s the reason that throughout the centuries you catholics have put up with,and turned a blind eye to,all kinds of vile,vicious,hateful and UNCHRISTLIKE behaviors perpretrated by these so-called”popes”,and (2),Boniface VIII thought he was God and issued Unam Sanctum to drive home the point.WOW.I KNEW it was something seriously awry with your bogus, contrived, man-centered institution,and there it is.Thank you for pointing it out,Dennis!

      • ColdStanding

        Speak of the heretics, and, low and behold, one pops up.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hiding from the truth again,Coldstanding? You catholics have had centuries of practice doing that,haven’t you?

          • ColdStanding

            No.

          • You still owe us an explanation about how “Luther got it right”, when he asserted marriage to be a civil contract to be regulated by the state.

          • fredx2

            Oh, your stinging revelation of the Truth stings us to the very core of our being!

            Have mercy, oh Great one!

          • ForChristAlone

            Are you not aware that this is a site for lay orthodox Catholics? If you are not one, what’s your purpose here? It certainly is not as one open to learning more about our Catholic faith.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Are YOU not aware that I specify who I send my return posts to,ForChristAlone? This may be a presumed site for,as you say,”lay orthodox catholics”,but it’s still a public forum,so…

              • ForChristAlone

                It may be public but you are abusing its intended purposes. So, please declare what motivates your coming here.

      • fredx2

        Thank you, High Holy Interpreter of the Scriptures for Us All.

        You are just your own Pope, that’s all. Very Christ-like to run around accusing people of “vile, vicious, hateful and unchristlike behavior.”

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          What”people”,Fredx2?? I spoke only of the historically verifiable actions of various so-called ” popes”throughout the millenia,actions recorded by your OWN historians!! You’ll NEVER run away from the unsavory dealings of your church’s history, so do yourself a favor and STOP TRYING.Seriously.Your’re coming off like those bishops who shuffled around the pedophiles;your ecclesiastical ship is STILL SINKING.Grow up.

          • ColdStanding

            If, after 2000 years, a ship you claim to be sinking still has not sunk and does not show any signs of doing so in the near future, is one warranted in maintaining the claim that the ship in question is actually sinking?

          • ForChristAlone

            Untrue. By the way, what ship do you sail on?

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              What part is untrue,”ForChristAlone”? (I trust your moniker doesn’t bespeak unintended irony.) The”ship”anaogy is being used as a metaphor;don’t overthink it.

              • ForChristAlone

                thanks for the coaching

            • It’s half Titantic and half good ship Lolllipop, an odd and unstable craft.

  • littleeif

    To challenge the Pope’s prudential judgement or to contribute opinions contesting his in matters other than those of faith is not the same as identifying him as a heretic. I have had little patience, respect or regard for the defensiveness of large segments of Catholic press, blogs and editorials when it comes to some of the off the cuff, even irresponsible statements the Pope has made. To call him out on those is not disloyalty. It is, in my opinion, a responsibility – loyalty requires you to state your objections and make a contrary case to the decision maker until a decision is made. Then loyalty requires obedience.

    I would love to have Pope Francis as a pastor or spiritual adviser. If I conceive of him saying some of those things that sound irresponsible to me were I in a personal crisis as a person in counselling I think I may find them an amazing comfort. As guidance for the whole church they are just irresponsible. I feel the Church needs a Pope and not a pastor at its helm. Maybe God, on the other hand, knows differently.

    And so when the Pope demonstrates a predilection for Latin American style socialism, disses the pro-life movement, fails to address the spiritual needs of traditional families at a synod on family, shifts the spiritual emphasis of the Church to worrying about the weather, etc. he’s going to hear it from me. I hope he does from every faithful Catholic. Then when the day is done, I’m standing with him.

    • sixlittlerabbits

      Forget about the weather, how about the turning of sexual perverts and predators into “victims” in Francis’s pontificate,? The new “disadvantaged” group for Francis includes active homosexuals, the children in “gay” families and their parents (by whatever means of generation).They must now be welcomed into the local churches, confusing our children, who may well become the “fresh meat” these sodomites seek. Francis has created the mess he said he would, and this “mess” stinks to high heaven.

  • Nestorian

    In fact, Suarez and Bellarmine cannot be regarded as authorities on this question for Catholics, since they are merely private theologians.

    The real authority for Catholics has to be the official Magisterium, especially that of the Popes themselves. What is decisive in regard to questions concerning the papacy’s relationship to heresy are the doctrinal decrees of Vatican I, and their subsequent official interpretation by Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII, Benedict XV, Pius XI, and Pius XII.

    The Sedevacantists come closest to acknowledging the full force of this infallible magisterial teaching and its interpretation, since they are virtually alone among Catholics in even acknowledging the existence of this lengthy history of interpretation of Vatican I by interconciliar popes. For this reason, if you visit websites such as novusordowatch.com and christorchaos.com, you will find a great deal of testimony regarding this tradition.

    Ultimately, though, even the sedevacantist Catholics lapse into inconsistency on this matter, since they too offer cherry-picked testimony from non-Magisterial counter-reformation theologians to uphold their Sedevacantism.

    They merely upbraid the “recognition and resistance”-to-the-papacy Traditionalists, such as the Society of Pope Pius X, for their manifest heresy in resisting a pope whom they recognize – since Vatican I as interpreted by the inter-Vatican-Council popes clearly makes strict obedience and assent to any papal teaching – whether fallible or infallible – morally binding for Catholics. In this, the sede-Vacantists are absolutely correct.

    But, at the critical juncture, even the Sedevacantists place more
    reliance upon what they profess to be mere opinions of men, such as
    Bellarmine and/or Suarez, than they do upon the inter-Vatican Popes in
    their magisterial teachings on the meaning of Vatican I when arguing in
    support of their own position.

    • Nestorian

      It never ceases to astonish me how unfamiliar even very well educated
      Catholics are with their own binding Magisterium, even if it is
      relatively recent. The whole ongoing controversy over whether popes can be heretical or not is merely one of many instances of this prevailing ignorance that I have encountered repeatedly over the years.

      In descending order, this ignorance tends to apply
      most to Conservative, then Traditionalists, then Sedevacantist
      Catholics.

      • It seems somehow appropriate that in a article speculating on heresy, an actual heretic inflicts himself, to provide us with an example.

      • JP

        Please enlightens. Other than throwing around insults, am not sure what your point is.

      • ForChristAlone

        Why would you respond to yourself?

  • ColdStanding

    Popes are corrected by the other Popes that came before them and those that come after them.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      What,you mean like the pope that dug up his predecessor and put him on trial in the so-called ” Cadaver Synod “,Coldstanding?

      • ColdStanding

        Take a powder, deary. You’re overwrought.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          WOW…That’s ALL you got,Coldstanding? It just dawned on me that for all you catholics much-vaunted claims of possessing the”Fullness of Truth”,you’re continuously engaging in a futile attempt to flee from the truth of your own historical misdeeds.Why is that?

          • ColdStanding

            Perhaps it is not, as you say, the truth that I am fleeing? What other factors could be leading me to resist posting something substantive to your, ahem, ideas?

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Do yourself a favor,Coldstanding…try to tear yourself away from the computer screen and hie yourself down to the nearest library.There you’ll find history recorded loong before the advent of the Wikipedia version of quasi-historical revisionists,both ecclesiastical and secular.If you’re not afraid to discover the truth,it is there. (By the way,what “ideas”are you referring to?)

              • ColdStanding

                Ha! Very cute. I have access to and frequently visit a very excellent library from which I have taken out many deeply enriching books to the betterment of my soul. Thanks be to God!

                FYI, there is no need to use “quasi” as a prefix to “historical revisionists” as a “historical revisionist” is already producing fake, aka “quasi”, historical writing.

                I thank you for resisting using all capitals in your last post.

                No, I will not be discussing your “ideas”. Never the less, I thank you for the invitation.

              • Isn’t hieing yourself down a sin? Especially if you do it too loong?

  • TJP

    Professor, you are incapable of discerning truth. You have made a
    herculean effort to be objective in the face of clear and convincing
    evidence that Pope Francis is a threat to authentic Catholicism. He
    confirms this with each public statement and papal appointment. The fact
    that you wrote an article on papal heresy supports the existence of a
    crisis which you refuse to acknowledge.

    Are you being faithful or a coward? Deep down you know the answer.

    • fredx2

      An awful lot of kooks were attracted by this article.

  • bobhumph

    Are catholic politicians who support abortion considered heretics?

    • TJP

      From Catholic Planet:

      Those Catholics who publicly announce their denial that abortion is
      always gravely immoral, or who publicly promote abortion, or who
      publicly argue in favor of legalized abortion, also commit a mortal sin
      and also incur a sentence of automatic excommunication.

      This sentence of excommunication applies to Catholics who are
      politicians, as well as to those Catholics who are political
      commentators, or public speakers, or who write or otherwise publicly
      communicate their erroneous view that abortion can be morally-acceptable
      or that abortion should be legal. This sentence of excommunication also
      certainly applies to those Catholics who claim to be theologians or
      Biblical scholars, but who believe or teach that abortion is not always
      gravely immoral.

      Those Catholics who promote abortion are automatically excommunicated
      for two reasons. First, they have fallen into the sin of heresy by
      believing that abortion is not always gravely immoral (canons 751 and
      1364). Second, these Catholics are providing substantial assistance for
      women to obtain abortions by influencing public policy to make abortions
      legal, and to keep abortions legal, and to broaden access to abortion.
      Those who provide such substantial assistance commit a mortal sin and
      incur a sentence of automatic excommunication (canon 1398).

    • ForChristAlone

      Not at all, they are to be given places of respect at all church gatherings according to bishops such as Wuerl, Dolan and Cupich

  • ColdStanding

    This looks like an erroneous statement by H. H. Pope Francis:

    “Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy…The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving.” (EG 24)

    The Church, the spotless bride of Christ, already possess the fullness of truth with which She needs to preach the Gospel. If evangelization is the preaching of the Good New, aka the Gospel, then how can the Church Herself be evangelized as she already has what the the preaching of the Gospel is supposed to give?

    What is the explanation for this?

    • sweetmusic

      In fact, clergy can’t give to others what they don’t have themselves. If popes and bishops and priests lack the faith, evangelization won’t happen. The Pope himself was not successful in Argentina. Catholics pulled away from the faith in droves and joined evangelical churches under his aegis. Nice-sounding non-magisterial encyclicals don’t prove anything.

    • Sam

      There is more than one sense or meaning of “the Church.”
      As individual members of the Body of Christ, we are in need of further perfection, evangelizing, and the sacraments, to be made “fit and ready”.

      CCC: 798 The Holy Spirit is “the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.”247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity:248 by God’s Word “which is able to build you up”;249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ’s Body;250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ’s members; by “the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts”;251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called “charisms”), by which he makes the faithful “fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.”252

      • ColdStanding

        This is, IMHO, the major error of our times. We are not Church. The Church is the Spotless Bride of Christ, the Teacher of Mankind. If we where actually, as the moderns say, “Church” then we would be teaching ourselves, which is nonsense. What need then for the Church Herself?

        • Sam

          There is the Church as the Body of Christ, also the Spotless Bride of Christ, which acting concretely would be the “institutional Church,” the hierarchy et al, following Christ’s command to teach all nations.

          But the Body of Christ is also made up of individual members. Cf., Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:11-13. Of these individual members, some are priests, some are teachers, some need to be taught, and all under the headship of Christ. The Church does teach her members, which does amount to “teaching ourselves.”

          The point of teaching “mankind” is to bring men into the Church as members of the Mystical Body, not to leave them outside as disparate figures on the landscape. But as individual mortal members, we do not possess the fullness of truth, tho’ the Church as the Body of Christ does, hence the need for continuing evangelization of ourselves.

          But to say this is decidedly *not* identical with the modernists’ “We are Church” slogan, where they are denying the hierarchical order and authority of the Church in favor of a democratized club.

  • Sam Martinez

    It is unclear whether the doctrine of papal infallibility is in fact infallible. It is a relatively recent concoction (1870). Above even infallible doctrine stands the inviolability of personal conscience. Many here will assert their right to disagree with the social justice teachings of the Church. If Pope Francis issues an “infallible” doctrine about climate change, I feel sure many readers here would reject his teaching. That being the case, they must grant the same respect to those who believed that the divorced and remarried should receive communion (or at least that the annulment process should be made more accessible) or that use of non-abortofacient contraception should be a choice. One can’t scream “Heresy!” about the teachings one disagrees with while claiming one’s own choices to disagree with the Church on specific issues are perfectly justified and reasonable. I doubt anyone here accepts the full body of Catholic teaching. The best we can do, imho, is to study each teaching with full respect and then make an informed choice with as much personal integrity as possible. We are a people of conscience, not of blind compliance and pharisaical legalism.

    • “Many here will assert their right to disagree with the social justice teachings of the Church.”

      No, many here assert their right to disagree with the perversion of the social justice teachings of the Church.

      • ForChristAlone

        My, how they love to distort reality. Is this Hombre’s sister weighing in?

        • He has a sister? I wonder if she knows about his position that his family was burdened by the lack of contraception, thus rendering him, and/or some or all of his siblings excess?

    • GG

      Papal infallibility did not begin in 1870. It was always true. Popes and councils do not concoct doctrines and suddenly declare they exist.

  • ForChristAlone

    Isn’t it something that two years into his pontificate, articles such as this are being written about Pope Francis. I would suggest that Cupich, Dolan or Wuerl (any one would suffice) send a copy of this article to the Pope for his reflection. After all, we know from the protestant wing of the Church that there is such a thing as the sensus fidelium.

    And it taken only two short years to reach this point. What has changed?

    • The fundamental transformation of the Church.

      • “Wicca is wrong; I have met good Wiccans.”

        Anybody can be “good”, but that’s just a red herring remark. An evil ideology doesn’t mean its adherents are as depraved as possible.

        • My late Grandmother used to say there was three types of good. Good, no good, and no darn good.

        • mad2002mad

          What’s wrong with Wicca?? My cousin was a Wiccan and after he passed away, we had his Wiccan funeral in a Catholic cemetary. It was very reverant and peaceful.

          • Arians and Manichaeans were good folks too.

          • What’s wrong with you would be a more interesting inquiry.

            • mad2002mad

              Hi DE: Not quite sure of the query? I’m just a good ole American cradle Catholic from an Italian Catholic family. Was even an altar boy when we had the old Latin mass. I also leaned not to make
              “ad hominem” attacks on people. Was under the impression these boards were for exchaning ideas and learning something. Guess I was wrong.

              • “good ole American cradle Catholics” don’t participate in Wiccan activities, let alone do them in a Catholic cemetery. The two things are so diametrically opposed that an adequately informed person cannot be involved in both in good conscience.
                You maybe poorly formed (but I doubt as you keep advertising the duration of your education), or you harbor some animus (which is credible given the following authentic Ad Hominems)

                “Oh, great, this guy is with the Legion of Christ??? What a wonderful example. Once again, same old Catholic guilt the nuns taught us in the 60’s.”

                “Too many traditionalists are caught up in the optics; as a result you come off looking like bigoted, narrow-minded haters.”

                Here’s a real gem:

                “I don’t miss Benedict at all. He was just a cold, uncaring, nasty person who would gladly burn heretics.”
                Your game of coming in an making offensive and provocative remarks in superficially innocuous terms and then complaining that you aren’t be afforded uncritical applause isn’t new, and you aren’t especially skilled at it.

      • GG

        Not only that but how is good defined. Good people do not go to heaven. Only holy people go to heaven. Being good usually means being polite and not committing arson or ax murder. A low bar for sure.

      • Nick_from_Detroit

        Don’t you know of any atheists or agnostics who are decent or “good” people, DE-173?

        • I know a couple, and from all outward appearances, they are benign.
          Why do you ask?

          • Nick_from_Detroit

            If you are aware of a couple atheists who are good people, why can’t Papa Francesco know a couple of marxists who are also good people?

            • Actually, I know agnostics. Agnostics that are content to let me practice my religion and have no designs on my property or world conquest.

              • Nick_from_Detroit

                So, all marxists believe in world domination and confiscation of all property? That’s a gross generalization, in my opinion.
                I consider O’Bama, Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Barbara Lee all to be marxists, in various ways. Would you claim that they all believe in world conquest?

                Ever heard of S.E. Cupp? Penn Jillette? Charles Krauthammer? These are atheists with whom I disagree on some things, and, agree on others. They are reasonable thinkers who are not anti-theist, in contrast to the New Atheists, like the hack, Dawkins.
                But, if these people, who reject God outright, can be “good” and reasonable people, why can’t the marxists referred to by the Holy Father also be good people?
                Plus, I’m sure that there are agnostics who are also marxist in their thinking, would you not agree?

                • “So, all marxists believe in world domination and confiscation of all property? That’s a gross generalization, in my opinion.”
                  Well then apparently you haven’t read the Manifesto. Doing so is your homework for tonight.

                  • Nick_from_Detroit

                    I’m not being acrimonious, DE-173. And, you’re missing my point, I’m afraid.
                    Not all marxists/socialists believe everything that Marx and Engels taught. Mussolini was a communist, and the communists threw him out of the party. The same goes for today’s atheists/agnostics. They don’t believe all of the garbage that Dawkins & Harris spew.

                    So, again, why do you find it so hard to believe that the Holy Father couldn’t know some marxists who are good people? I’m only trying to follow the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 2478, which says that “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it” (quoting Saint Ignatius of Loyola), in order to avoid rash judgement. God Bless!

                    • I’m not being acrimonious, DE-173

                      If not acrimonious, dense.

                      Not every Nazi believed EVERYTHING Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, either. However, they believed ENOUGH to want to be identified as Nazis and to being foot soldiers in the extermination of millions and the destruction of a part of the world. Am I supposed to sit down with a bunch of skin heads and ” be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it”?

                      You know very well that paragraph is not a safe harbor for error and evil, and it doesn’t require me to accept malevolent political ideologies. Marxism is a form of socialism, which has already been rejected by the Church, and given it’s lurid history, I see no reason to give it a personal hearing de novo, just because there’s so many people that have a sensory or cognitive disability that renders them incapable of properly apprehending Marxism as intrinsically evil, an assault on God and humanity, rather than as they perceive-apparently as a warped polity, based on a tremendous charitable insult.

                      Did Maradiaga, Cupich, Trumka and the rest of the hee-haw gang afford Libertarians even a sliver of a readiness to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it, when they conducted that kangaroo court last June? Did they even give them a chance to speak? Did they explore the divergence in belief among that herd of cats? No. From the get-go, it was an assembly of rabid redistributions intent on a preemptive strike.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      And now you resort to insults? Why, DE-173? (By the way, did you serve on the USS Eldridge? If so, thank you for your service.)

                      Now, I agree, socialism has been condemned by the Church. So has atheism and agnosticism. The National Socialists’ ideology was based on hatred and dehumanizing the Jews, so, it would be hard to find a “good” person who held those beliefs.
                      I would equate communists with fascists and nazis. If the Holy Father had said that he knows communists/Stalinists who are good people, you would have a point, and I would tend to agree with you. But, marxists come in a myriad of shapes & sizes. From O’Bama/Pelosi/Clinton to Lenin/Stalin/Trotsky. I think that you’re concluding, without evidence, that Papa Francesco was referring to the latter. That’s why I brought up the CCC paragraph.

                      I was unaware of the Tumka, et al, conference from last June, sorry. Thanks for the h/t. (I can’t stand Trumka, or Big Labor.) I’m willing to admit that Pope Francis is a man of the left in his economic outlook, considering the Argentine situation he grew-up with. That doesn’t make him a heretic, or a socialist/marxist. How many marxists do you know that constantly talk about the reality of the devil? God Bless!

                    • What insult? You are continually trying to redeem Marxism, and it is irredeemable. You point out that Nazism (remember, it’s National Socialism) is so toxic as to impeach the possibility of benevolence of any adherents but you can’t seem to grasp that Marxism is just as toxic, because it too is based on hatred. (By the way, Marx hated Jews as much as Hitler). What is the difference between attributing the evils of the world to a Jewish conspiracy or a Bourgeoisie conspiracy? Labels-it’s the same hatred and many of the same recommendations. Omnipotent state, suppression of the Church, subordination of the family, eradication of voluntary associations.
                      Collectivists and statists might have enough diversity in the nature or depth of their beliefs to be given a presumption of benevolence, but true Marxists (not some college kid who writes a glowing thesis on Che) are dedicated to an evil cause.

                      Pope Francis had nothing to do with the circus last Summer as far as I know. I worry more about his apparent lack of knowledge than any leftwing perspective. Two examples come to mind; one was his speech to accountants last Autumn, it wasn’t very controversial, but it was revealing, because he implored the audience as decision makers, rather than scorekeepers.

                      His comments last year about food prices and speculation, is similarly lacking. Speculators don’t make prices, they reveal them. The only speculators that are affecting prices are sovereign governments and central banks, if that’s who he meant, he wasn’t very clear.
                      This statement “It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous,” reveals a terrible lack of sophistication with regard to logistics.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      When someone calls me “dense,” I take it as an insult. I’m kooky like that. Again, there is no need for acrimony.
                      You didn’t answer my question about serving on the USS Eldgridge, either.

                      I am in no way trying to redeem marxism. If only you knew how off-base you truly are! I just acknowledge the fact that not all socialists believe the same things. Just like not all conservatives, or libertarians, believe the same things. Why can’t you admit this?
                      Plus, I readily equated communists/Stalinists with nazis & fascists. They all spout evil. So did Marx & Engels.

                      But, since the Magisterium (as recorded in the CCC) says that Christians must give people the benefit of the doubt in what they say, I assume that Papa Francesco wasn’t referring to the marxists who believe in world domination, confiscation of all private property, and subjugation of religion to their wills, among other evils. Because, you know, he’s…the pope!
                      Apparently, you do not. You seem to assume the worst in what the Holy Father said. You can’t even admit that some of those who’ve been deceived by the lies of marxism can still be “good” people. Like those agnostics whom you know, who are good, but, who deny the divinity of Christ & the Trinity. Isn’t denying Christ as bad as the evil that marxists believe, DE-173?

                      “Collectivists and statists might have enough diversity in the nature or depth of their beliefs to be given a presumption of benevolence, but true Marxists (not some college kid who writes a glowing thesis on Che) are dedicated to an evil cause.”

                      And you know for a fact the marxists whom the pope was referring to as “good people” are these “true” marxists that are dedicated to evil, right? Come on! How could you know?
                      If you give the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt, you will be better off, trust me.
                      May you, and your family, have a blessed Lent and happy Easter. God Bless!

                    • I answered your question, but to be absolutely clear I wasn’t on board that ship as a civilian either. Since it was transferred to Greece in 1951, any Americans that served would have to be in their 80’s.

                      If you are asking if a person could identify as a Marxist due to a misapprehension of what it entails and remain “good”, I suppose that might occur on a rare and exceptional basis. The vast majority of adherents know exactly what they are promoting. Marx spelled out is his objectives plainly.

                      Likewise, may you, and your family, have a blessed Lent and happy Easter. God Bless!

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Sorry about that, DE-173. Disqus didn’t give me the first paragraph of your reply until I refreshed. You never know, I’m sure there are people in their 80’s in the comboxes!

                      What I’m asking is why you assume the people whom Pope Francis said were “good” and marxist are the kind of people who want to enslave the rest of us and take away our property?
                      If we’re supposed to give each other the benefit of the doubt, how much more so for the Vicar of Christ?

                    • If you are a Marxist you are dedicated to something that is evil-besides, the Pope didn’t say MIGHT be good, he said ARE good. Your version of a charitable presumption is pollyannish.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      No, DE-173, my version is the one that tries to follow the teachings of Christ and His Church. Your version is apparently the one that thinks the worst of everything that the Vicar of Christ says and does.
                      I pray that you see the difference someday. God Bless!

                    • Pray for yourself. It is really blasphemous to dispute somebody else’s prudential judgment with a condescending invocation to prayer, as if that individual lacks your enlightenment.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      blas·phe·my
                      noun
                      the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

                      Are you now claiming to be divine or sacred, DE-173?
                      I wasn’t being condescending, at all. I don’t claim to be particularly enlightened, either. Except, that I can read the plain meaning of both the CCC and the Holy Father’s words.
                      I’ll still pray for you. Please, pray for me, a poor sinner, as well. God Bless!

                    • I stand by what I wrote.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      I’m sure that you do. That doesn’t justify it, though.
                      Don’t take my word for it, DE-173. Ask your parish priest if your comments have been charitable towards the Holy Father. God Bless!

            • I said from outward appearances they are benign. I never said they were “good”. I have no basis to declare them “good”, you know-who am I to judge?

  • mad2002mad

    Rather interesting proposition. Doubt that Pope Francis will change dogma or doctrine; however, he, and fellow bishops, will change the practices around certain issues. The Church is, if nothing else, a hospital for sinners and is there to aid and repair people. Certainly allowing the divorced and remarried to receive communion is a step in the right direction. I want these people back in full communion with the Body of Christ. As Pope Francis says, ‘who am I to judge?” Can’t get over the nasty, hateful attitude of so many “holier-than-thou” Catholics. Today, too many conservative Catholics and JP-II priests are all about “rules & regulations” they know everything about Catholicism and nothing about Christianity.

    • “Certainly allowing the divorced and remarried to receive communion is a step in the right direction.”

      No, it would be a disaster. That you have “mad” twice in your pseudonym seems appropriate.

      “Today, too many conservative Catholics and JP-II priests are all about “rules & regulations” they know everything about Catholicism and nothing about Christianity.”

      Who are you to judge?

      • mad2002mad

        DE-173: I’m not judging, just observing. So, by your take being compassionate and showing mercy is madness?? My, we certainly have different views of what it means to be Chrisitan and Catholic. If I’m “mad” twice it’s probably from going through 12 years of Catholic school with nuns being mean and nasty. I also speak with my younger nieces and nephews who give me a different view of how millenials view the Church and religion in general. Bringing divorced and remarried people back would be the sign of compassionate Church. Not too mention, their money is just as green as other Catholics.

    • ForChristAlone

      “I want these people back in full communion with the Body of Christ.”

      And so do the rest of us orthodox lay Catholics here. Only difference is that there’s a right way and a wrong way. Your path to return unfortunately does not go through the ‘confessional box.’

      Go immediately to jail and do not collect $200.

      • mad2002mad

        Hi FCA: You’re right, I didn’t specifiy a process; but I realize we’d need something which I;m sure the Pope and bishops could devise. Truth be told, none of this affects me because I’ve never been married. However, I repeat, these are mostly good people and why punish them so I can feel good about being better than they are. Actually, if I $200 I’d head for the Casino! Thanks for your comment.

    • JP

      You’re beef is with Christ and not other Catholics. It is no secret that Heterodox Catholics like yourself ignore Christ’s teachings on marriage. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Christ declared that there is no divorce. He added that God allowed divorce in Mosaic Law only because of the hardness of the hearts of men. But, he announced a new covenant was at hand. And this covenant would elevate marriage to a Sacrament, which only death itself could end. It appears it is you that know little about Christianity.

      • mad2002mad

        Hi JP: Actually, I have no beef with Christ or other Catholics. I was raised pre-Vatican II on the Baltimore Catechism so I was only taught rules & regulations Catholicism. However, we live in the real world where people are hurting and to hold such rigid positions does no good. I know that Chrisitanity teaches compassion and mercy, just suggesting that we practice as such. Don’t like to see people hurt just so others can applaud themselves for being such sterling examples of Catholicism.

        • JP

          Rules and Regulations. Is that how you see the Church? Again, Christ Himself set out a new path for marriage, which differed from what the Jews practiced. One cannot elevate marriage by allowing it to be dissolved. Christ said this, not the Vatican. Christ was very explicit concerning the prohibitions for divorce. Are you saying Christ is too rigid? That somehow this modern age is exempt? Again, your disagreement is with Christ.

    • FrankW

      We all want these people back in full communion with the Church. However, the only way to do that without sending them through the annulment process is to remove Marriage as one of the seven sacraments. That is not going to happen.

      The Catholic Church is not a democracy or a representative republic. We do not get to vote on our doctrine or demand that the Church confirm its teachings to the whim of society. The Catholic Church isn’t about rules and regulations, it is about truth. Part of that means that it is the responsibility of the Church to identify sin for what it is; an offense against God. The flock doesn’t get to vote on what sin is because God already determined that.

      • mad2002mad

        Hi Frank: Good point; however, as above believe a process can be implemented that would accomplish reconciliation. Agree, the Church should not be about R&R but too many people see it that way and like to lord over people because they see themselves hewing more closely to what they consider the truth. Thanks for your viewpoint.

        • FrankW

          I don’t see how that process could work without either sending those applicable through the annulment process (which is already in place) or downgrading marriage from a sacrament to something less than that. The teaching of the Church and the Bible is very clear on marriage and divorce. Should that teaching change because it is inconvenient?

  • Marcelus

    Well this is an article worthy of analysis.

    Starts off with a wrog statement:

    “Recently, Cardinal Burke stated that, if Pope Francis were to endorse a position on marriage and sexuality that were contrary to the tradition of the Church, that he would be obliged to “resist” the pontiff. Although the cardinal clarified that he was speaking of a purely hypothetical situation…”

    Cardl Burke again with another interview that needs clarification.Reminds me of PF.

    ,The part where he mentions the Pope it’s not correct and if you listened to the interview carefully you will have noticed that the journalist asked cardinal Burke “if the Pope continues to push this agenda what will you do”? to which he answered:” I shall resist there’s nothing else I can do”, so by assuming that the Pope is behind agenda which seems to be the case in this conversation there’s nothing hypothetical about that I’m sorry that’s the way I think it is .Proper answer to a hypothetical question or even politically correct answer should that be the case ,would have been: first I did not think that Pope Francis it’s behind any agenda but if there is an agenda I will resist. The pope is mentioned clearly and in the affirmative by the woman. I honestly believe Cardinal Burke must consider not taking about the Pope in those terms. he has made his point clear by answering those questions which coming from rorate ,you can expect them to be intentional as far as the Pope is concerned I do not think it is correct for a cardinal to say that you cannot expect clarity or clear statements from the head of the Church.

    PF is a heretic for traditionalists who despise him and at least some have what it takes to say it publically. Best you get from that sector is some toleration.

    .

    • GG

      You are a liberal so your post is the usual. The ones most defending confusion are the liberals. That the left is so happy is proof their is a serious problem.

      I will add that even Cardinal George, hardly a Traditionalist, asked pointed questions wondering where the Pope is going with his agenda?

      To deny obvious problems is not honest.

      • Marcelus

        Again with the liberal argument… Said it before, I’m not a liberal at all. Just defending the unjust but fashionable attacks on the holy father. But ok. Have that way if it pleases you. Whether PF has an agenda that damages the church is the issue and so far nobody can say that. I mean with proof. but they do express it somehow and then get somehow afraid? And clarify :oh it this was just hipothetycal! This is not an attack on the Pope… Either he stands by it or not.

        • GG

          You seem to live in an artificial world. Yes, your posts reveal a liberal.

  • Schroder

    If a heretic is someone who rejects a doctrine, but not someone who wishes to change a discipline, then how could Francis be called a heretic for that? To be honest I see both sides. Someone who has no regret for their divorce and remarriage – understanding it’s gravity – has no business receiving communion. On the other hand, it’s understandable that there are some Catholics out there who strayed away from the faith and remarried and have since returned, but then are then expected to divorce and abandon their new family if they want to receive communion, even if they’ve come to realize and repent of their error?

  • César Pozuelos
  • NewbieJames

    “Jacob W. Wood is an Assistant Professor…… at Franciscan
    University of Steubenville.”

    Saw that coming a mile away.

    “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”
    Uh, yes there is. You remember the report put out half way through the synod? The one that Pope Francis agreed with? The one he has now ordered officially published by the Vatican? NO evidence?? So why is Cardinal Burke concerned?

    The neo Catholics, personalists, JPII groupies had better get their heads screwed on straight. I predict a large chunk of you all will be screaming the loudest for the persecution of brave Catholics like +Burke and +Schneider.

  • Beircheart

    Interesting article. Can a pope be heretical? Sure! Just as with any sin, heresy is a free choice we make. Popes don’t stop being people and they certainly don’t stop being sinners. I recall hearing both JP-II and Benedict admit to being sinners. If asked, I’m sure Pope Francis would admit to being a sinner as well.

    The question is: Has Pope Francis been heretical? Not yet, and I don’t think he will be. Far too many Catholics seem to think that every word that falls from his mouth is an infallible pronouncement. They aren’t! He has made some eyebrow raising comments, true enough, but hasn’t entered into contradiction with the Church.

    At this point, we are tilting at windmills.

  • Jacqueleen

    The solution to the civilly divorced and re-married Catholics to receive Communion is to REVISE/REVAMP THE MARRIAGE TRIBUNAL AND THE ANNULMENT PROCESS. It is too costly and takes too long to process an Annulment…Then, there should be within the process a means to NOT PUNISH the party who does NOT want the divorce. This would not change a thing but make it possible for many to receive Communion.

  • jacobum

    Where there is smoke there is fire. Channeling the deceased Jesuit Cdl Martini mindset, PF appears to be deliberately and continuously acting as “Arsonist in Chief” rather than “Fire-Chief”. For the last 2 years he seems to be always lighting fires rather than dousing flames. You would think that adults would know better than to play with matches and fire…..especially with defined doctrines, dogma, teachings and tradition. It has become undeniably evident that if one has the temerity to believe, accept and support 1,950+ years of Liturgy and Tradition as our rightful patrimony and heritage, PF seems to be react in manner that contradicts his public persona of “humble and charitable”

  • FR. SAMUEL M. WATERS, CATHOLIC

    MR. WOOD, DID YOU READ THE COMMENTS OF POPE FRANCIS AT A VESPERS SERVICE TO A GROUP OF CATHOLIC, PROTESTANT AND ORTHODOX CLERGY?
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/01/no-more-apologetics-then-pope-francis.html#more. “Christian unity – we are convinced – will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions”.

    THE POPE IS SAYING THAT THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES WE HOLD FROM OTHER CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS/ FAITH GROUPS ARE ONLY OPINIONS. THE POPE IS CONVICTING HIMSELF OF MATERIAL HERESY.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?
      Oops! (whispering) Why are you shouting?

  • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

    Francis/Jorge is the False Prophet, and he is about the business of destroying the Roman Catholic Church from the inside. He, and his cohorts, are already preparing the agenda for the Synod this Fall which will undermine settled Catholic doctrine on sexuality, marriage and the reception of the Eucharist. After that, he will begin the process of handing over the Roman Catholic Church to the forces of the Antichrist as they begin to form the One World Religion. Welcome to the Great Apostasy.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      You are guilty of calumny and detraction, sir. Please, go to an orthodox priest and repent. God Bless!
      p.s. The gates of Hell CANNOT prevail against the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.

      • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

        The Gates of Hell will not prevail against the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, correct. But the Church is not Francis, the Vatican, the College of Cardinals or Nick from Detroit. The Church is the Divinity of Jesus Christ, The True Presence, the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments and the Blessed Mother as Coredemptrix. So get yourself straight, Nick. No matter what Francis/Jorge does, or even the Antichrist, for that matter, there will always be the Roman Catholic Church. It will just be driven underground for a period during the Great Tribulation. And this underground Church will be attended by the faithful who have the spiritual courage to refuse to follow the False Prophet, and who will refuse to deny Jesus. No matter WHAT the cost. Do you have that kind of faith, Nick…?

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          Any more straw men you’d like to erect, Duffy? (By the way, you forgot to mention the Body of Christ, i.e., the Church Militant & Triumphant, in your list of what makes up Christ’s Church.)

          Underground church? You sound like the Protestants who claim the “true church” was underground from the time of Constantine until Luther, Calvin, & Zwingli arrived on the scene.
          The Catholic Church has never been underground. Christ said that the Church is visible, that you don’t hide a lamp under a bed or a basket. You let the light shine brightly.
          Great Tribulation? As in the “rapture”? That’s not Catholic teaching, I’m afraid.

          To answer your question: I don’t know. None of us do.
          I hope and pray for that kind of faith, if I should ever be called to chose between my faith in Christ and my life. I would ask for the joy & honor to die for Christ, in imitation of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, as he traveled to Rome. That kind of faith only comes from the Holy Spirit.

          Your calumnies and detractions against the Holy Father are anti-Catholic. You can’t call Papa Francesco the “false prophet” and remain in communion with Christ. Don’t take my word for it, go ask a priest. I’ll pray for you. God Bless!

          • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

            Nick…you are in for the biggest trial of your life this year. You need to listen to the Holy Spirit with your heart, and not your pride. And all your libelous statements against me are like water off a duck’s back. My standing as a Roman Catholic is completely independent of your judgment. And I stand before Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, and will suffer and die before I will ever deny Him, or the Roman Catholic Faith as is embodied in His Mystical Body.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              What libelous statements, Duffy? I asked you some simple questions, which you didn’t answer, I noticed.
              If you wish to call the Holy Father the false prophet, or, the anti-Christ, you should join the Seventh Day Adventists or the Westboro Baptists.

              • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

                Really Nick? It will be a cold in hell when I let someone like you “banish me” from my Roman Catholicism. Why don’t you focus on the real issue here, instead of attacking my Faith. Francis/Jorge has consistently brought into question settled areas of Roman Catholic doctrine by his statements, appointments to influential positions, behind the scenes manipulations at the latest Synod and secret conclaves with his “Gang of Eight”. Pull your head out of the sand and take a long hard look at what his “Papacy” is all about. Or better yet, let’s agree to meet here on the pages of this site in a year and compare notes about where Francis/Jorge has led the Church. But wait, perhaps you are in favor of Church sanctioning of homosexual relationships, easing the rules for reception of the Eucharist, redefinition of the Church’s position of human sexuality, the family and issues of life etc, etc, etc…because that is where he is steering the church

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  I’m not banishing you, Duffy. I don’t have the authority.
                  I’m only blowing the shofar trumpet, warning that the Enemy is at the gates. I told you to go ask an orthodox priest, remember? Print-off our exchange, and ask someone ordained to Christ’s priesthood if what you’ve written is compatible with the Catholic Faith, okay?
                  Papa Francesco has NOT taught any error or heresy. He has constantly affirmed the Magisterium. You have no evidence that he is trying to change Church teaching divorce/remarriage/receiving communion or homosexuality. You are engaging in detraction, rash judgment, and spreading calumnies. Please, for the sake of your soul, stop. God Bless!

                  • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

                    Please, for the sake of your soul, stop hiding from the Truth, and the fact that we are living in the Great Apostasy! God Bless.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      No, we’re not. You are not God the Father. And, only He knows when that day, that great, terrible day will occur.
                      Stop looking for wars, and rumors of wars, earthquakes & famines, and anti-Christs under every stone. Live your faith boldly and happily, reflecting Christ’s Light to those around you.
                      Be Not Afraid!
                      Have a blessed Lent and happy Easter!

                    • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

                      BE NOT AFRAID! OF THE TRUTH, NICK! Have a blessed Lent and Easter, too. I will keep you and your loved ones in my prayers. Pax.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Amen, Duffy! As long as we lean on Christ to carry our burdens, and stay in a state of grace, what do we have to fear?
                      Death? Tribulations? The end of the world? Bah!
                      Christ defeated death on the Cross. Satan has no hold on us, unless we give him the chains to bind us, like slaves.
                      Trust in the Lord, you’ll never go wrong. Praise Christ Jesus!

                    • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

                      Amen.

  • disqus_r2vlGJtrym

    I agree with the first comment…it is a real shame that we even need articles like this. I have no idea what is going to happen at the Synod. And yes, we should all pray throughout each day for Pope Francis and the Church. I think all of this worrying is for naught. The media is in the tank and can’t be trusted at all. Why not wait and see what happens. Really…that is all any of us can do. Certainly discuss with our priest and hopefully our Bishop our concerns. In the end whatever happens…if Church teachings and doctrine change….one way or the other…we will know that the Holy Spirit has prevailed or the smoke of satan has completely overwhelmed the Church and the anti-christ has arrived. I am going with the Holy Spirit!

    • bonaventure

      The arrival of the antichrist does not exclude the continuous action of the Holy Spirit.

      • disqus_r2vlGJtrym

        Yes…I agree the Holy Spirit is always present…however….if any Pope were to change the doctrine and teachings of the Church…then that would not be of the Holy Spirit I think you would agree. Example…a Pope decides to allow and approve of same sex marriage. Not of God! Not the Holy Spirit! Call it whatever you want but that would not be from the Blessed and Holy Trinity!

  • EB

    Some of these comments concern me. Can I share with you why?
    It is unseemly to critique the Holy Father, much less criticize him or accuse him, especially in a public forum. It can be a sin for us (gossip, detraction, libel, calumny, etc., with the possible additional sin of sacrilege because it involves a consecrated person). It can also harm the Church–for example, by giving bad example that makes others think it’s ok to criticize members of the hierarchy at will. Even theologians or bishops who might be called to speak publicly if they ever saw something truly amiss, and private attempts failed, must do so in a spirit of respectful concern and discretion, not criticism and anger. We random laypeople who are tempted to spout off…what legitimate purpose does this serve? I have learned, regarding myself, that often it serves none.
    We can really damage the Body of Christ without intending to if we aren’t careful… Sincere as we all are, I just want to suggest that we weigh our words carefully before we type.

    • bonaventure

      How about testifying to the truth?

      • EB

        Well, by definition, libel/slander and calumny do not involve truth. And I think we should be very careful about possibly trying to justify detraction, which is a sin, under an excuse of testifying to the truth. Similarly with gossip. There is also a lot of rash judgment that goes on in comboxes…people out of fear or irritation presuming the worst motives on the part of the Holy Father. This is sad and also for our own souls, dangerous…especially since, let’s be honest, none of us are in a position to know that much with certitude about what is really going on in these matters, and absolutely none of us is privy to the interior dispositions of the Holy Father.
        We could be spending this time before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament pleading for grace for the Pope and Bishops, crying out to the Lord and Our Lady for the defense of the Faith and sound practice at the upcoming synod…now that is time well spent, and serves a powerful and positive purpose.

        • bonaventure

          Of course, when I wrote the truth, I meant the truth. Not gossip, detraction, etc. And truth is objective. For example, did or didn’t Francis authorize the release of the mid-synod relatio? Was or wasn’t the mid-synod relatio heretical on some points of the Church’s moral teaching? Objectively, the answer is “yes” to both questions.

          • Nick_from_Detroit

            Was the relatio binding on Catholics in any way?
            Clerics & nuns at the USSCB issue stuff all the time that could be considered heretical. It doesn’t mean that their decrees become part of the Magisterium, does it?
            Plus, when Papa Francesco released the relatio, it guaranteed that Cardinal Kaspers views would get voted down. Did that ever occur to you, Bonaventure?

            • GG

              Talk about spin.

            • bonaventure

              Where did I write that the relatio is binding? Having said that, there is an huge difference between some diocesan pamphlet written by some dissenting “nun,” and a synod relatio, whose dissemination is authorized by a pope.

              Interesting spin on the “voting down,” though. Because technically, Kasper’s proposals, as well as the re-written paragraphs on homosexuality, were not “voted down.” They simply did not achieve the needed majority of the voters present and/or voting. While in fact, they achieved majorities.

              Additionally, how do you account for the fact that, though these paragraphs did not achieved the needed majority (as per the synod’s own rules) to be included in the final relatio… they were included in it nonetheless?

              • Nick_from_Detroit

                You very much implied that because Papa Francesco released a document that included what may be called “heretical” statements, that he was somehow teaching heresy to the faithful. Or, did I miss the point of your questions, which you stated the answers to both were “yes”?
                If a proposal doesn’t pass, it was voted down, no matter what the percentage. When the Holy Father released the relatio, to keep the proceedings transparent, the result was an uproar that ended with both proposals on divorced/remarried & homosexuals being rejected. Those are the facts. Not spin. God Bless!

    • GG

      Well, the Pope mentions surprises, making a mess, and is against clericalism.

      • EB

        But to have an appropriate Catholic respect for the Holy Father and Bishops, and to refrain from detraction/libel or slander/calumny, is not clericalism…it is basic virtue. We should, of course, refrain from those sins always, not just regarding clergy.

        • GG

          I hope no one calls for any of those sins. The point is people are gravely concerned and for good reason. Also, the Pope has ushered in a new way of Catholics communicating about things.

          • EB

            I’m very sure no one calls for those sins! The point is that we can commit them at times by not weighing well enough what we are saying, whether we should say it, etc… We can become so convinced that we know what’s what, that we mouth off things that can be inappropriate, unnecessary, and sometimes truly outrageous. It can harm our own souls while accomplishing nothing.

        • Carolyn C

          It is not slander or calumny to ask why does the Pope honor Islam and tell Muslims to find hope in the Quran? The Pope is shown in videos, documenting this event. I ask you, “If Jesus Christ walked this earth today, would He tell Muslims to find comfort in the Quran? Would Jesus go to a non-Jewish temple to see “relics” of followers of Apollo? For the Catholic Faithful, this is very confusing. AS you well know, the Dogma of the Church says: the Catholic Church is the only one true Church and the only way to Heaven. If you disagree with that, then you disagree with every Pope before 1958. Pope Clement V said: ” They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet. ” Pope Benedict XV said: ” We are obliged to lead all Christians back to the way of salvation and to present them to God pure and sincere, walking in the spirit and in truth without stain.” St. Thomas Aquinas: He (Mohammed) Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No Man comes to the Father, but by Me.” Jesus could not be more clear. 1 John 2:23 “No one who denies the Son has the Father” I love our Catholic faith – we must share the Truth with others so they can have eternal life. If we truly love God, we would insist on spreading the Gospel and baptizing in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

      • Marcelus

        “The Pope is our father. We owe respect, affection and confidence (even if the critics do not seem to bother). Through certain documents or statements, one might get the impression that it might not respect the doctrine. Personally, I fully trust him and I encourage all Christians to do the same. You have to be serene and tranquil as he heads into the boat, there was Jesus with him, who said to Peter: “I have prayed for you, that you reinforced the faith of your
        brothers. ” A conclave is an action of God, it is God who gives a Pope to the Church. God gave us François to lead the Church today

        What to say to those who claim that it was not the “candidate of the Holy Spirit”?
        Cardinal Sarah: I ask them this question: are in direct contact with the Holy Spirit?

        Crdl Sarah

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Amen, EB! Amen.
      I’ve been guilty of being uncharitable towards priests, bishops, and cardinals many times in the past. Especially, those I considered dissenters, if not outright heretics.
      I try hard not to do this anymore, and to inform others who attack Papa Francesco not to fall into this sin, on other Catholic blogs. I pray that the Holy Spirit shows these detractors the truth, as He showed me. God Bless!

      • EB

        Thanks. Sometimes it’s hard, it’s true…it’s a pity if we damage our own souls for the sake of posting something on a combox, which is usually not at all necessary.

    • Elizabeth

      Is that you, Michael Voris?

    • Bill Kilgore

      Aaaah, I love the smell of “random laypeople” in the morning…

  • Stephen

    What if Frances is an antipope as he who is the subject of St. Francis prophecy of a Destroyer?

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    “So what is all the fuss about? About something Pope Francis might do or say but has not actually done or said?” My concern is precisely for what Pope Francis has said and done. He has viciously destroyed, and on false pretenses, the only thriving religious order in Italy. He has openly ridiculed and mocked traditional Catholic practices and devotions. He has used churlish and childish language – beneath the dignity of anyone, much less a Pope – to sneer at everyone who does not practice his brand of “low-church” liturgy. He has appointed and promoted to key positions the most liberal prelates of the past 30 years. He has driven from posts of influence a number of key prelates who are known for their adherence to orthodoxy. Some of Dr. Wood’s theologian colleagues are even more alarmed than I am by pope Francis.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Whoa,Dr.Williams!!! Take a deep breath,why don’t ya? I thought you catholics loved ALL your popes…What the what,dude???

      • GG

        Stop pretending to be so credulous. It is silly.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        So in addition to the Bible, you know nothing about the history of the papacy, or Catholic teaching about the role of the papacy? I am not surprised. (By the way, are you sure you are 60 years old? I would have guessed 16 perhaps… dude.)

        • Yeah, that surprised me too. 60 is the new 16. A few wiki articles and a couple of YouTube conspiracy videos, and voila, instant expert.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          For crying out loud…why,oh why,does everyone on these sites (Well,too many of you,anyway),keep acting as though the history of your church is some heretofore hidden secret that just sprang up like noxious mushrooms after a spring rain? Really,Dr.Williams? Are there any libraries in your hometown? Ya think that anyone would find any info on your papacy that YOU would approve of? It it possible that a fairly well-educated person could perhaps peruse this material and actually learn anything about the so-called ” papacy “? I mean,is it remotely possible,Dr.Williams? You people may think you feel superior ridiculing my age,and that’s fine;I’m VERY thick-skinned;your remarks say far more about you than you realize,so…God bless you,and I look forward to hearing from you!

          • Are there any libraries in your hometown?

            Are there any asylums in yours?

          • sweetmusic

            Dante placed some popes in Hell. Dante was a Catholic. Catholics have been complaining about their popes from the beginning of Christianity. Nothing new.

          • Marcelus

            They feel superior??? Omnipotent??? nooooo , it is just your imagination.Please,go away and let us feast on the bone they throw at us daily.Lately these bones are not so tasty, no material for bashing but we manage anyhow.

            Catholicism here is a matter of candles,. latin and beautiful vestment. And that is it.

            Some people I’ve met here, I’ve learned a lot from them, but they do not always post. then there is the usual..

            I think Benedict put it well:

            “What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love”

            Ratzinger said: “the other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…”

        • Marcelus

          Ever thought about the prieesthood? At least you would have made it to Cardinal!

      • Go away.

        • Marcelus

          Reminds me of the movie “Monster House” where there was an angry old man who would chase kids who stepped on the lawn away saying just that “Go Awayyy”

          You need to lern to cool down. And dialogue

          • A a certain point, one tires of a poster who posts the same bilious tirade. You don’t have dialogue with a a child or a bigot having a tantrum.
            Who are you to judge.

            • Marcelus

              You may be right. Shall follow your adult and civilized example and tell you to ‘go away!!! Grow up.

              • Who are you to judge?

                • Marcelus

                  Who are you to judge?

                  • Another opinionated guy on the internet-just like you.

              • sixlittlerabbits

                Why not stop trolling, Marcelus?

                • Marcelus

                  trolling . Not doing that why?

            • GG

              He is a liberal. His business is judging.

      • Marcelus

        Man you have come to the dog pound carrying a bag of bones. You are waisting your time honestly. Good luck. And consider that they are being nice to you

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s a good one,Marcelus;thanks.If they’re being nice,it’s probably a good thing we live in 2015 instead of 1315,otherwise I might find myself being roasted on an upright spit,like Jan Huss.!—God bless you, Bro.Pray for me.

          • Marcelus

            recen por mi

          • Marcelus

            Just follow the goood Crdl Sarah’s advise. You will be on the right track.

            “The Pope is our father. We owe respect, affection and confidence (even if the critics do not seem to bother). Through certain documents or statements, one might get the impression that it might not respect the doctrine. Personally, I fully trust him and I encourage all Christians to do the same. You have to be serene and tranquil as he leads the boat, there is Jesus with him, who said to Peter: “I have prayed for you, that you reinforced the faith of your
            brothers. ” A conclave is an action of God, it is God who gives a Pope to the Church. God gave us François to lead the Church today

            What to say to those who claim that it was not the “candidate of the Holy Spirit”?
            Cardinal Sarah: I ask them this question: are in direct contact with the Holy Spirit?”

          • Wow, those are some serious delusions of grandeur.

            • Marcelus

              I wonder did someone flag Laurence’s comment above?

              • Crisiseditor

                More than one.

        • Erika Allen

          why do you complain about us when you yourself haunt the comment section? And any self-respecting troll would have considered Laurence’s post beneath his noble trade.

          • Marcelus

            Us???

            • Erika Allen

              The commenters on this cite; more specifically, the ones you disagree with.

              • Marcelus

                OK.so disagreeing is trolling in your view. I’ve been around sometime now. I’m no troll. and do not consider disagreement trolling.

                • Erika Allen

                  No you are not just disagreeing. You’re picking fights and being inflammatory. Come on man, your bones and bulldogs comment. I wasn’t born yesterday: You’re trying to insite anger. Jeez….and you’re all over these comments with your little snide remarks…

      • Dick Prudlo

        We do love all our popes, but like Almighty God some we love less than others.

      • Erika Allen

        Way to announce your ignorance of just about everything in marquee lights.

    • sweetmusic

      I agree. He may be the worst pope in history–but the logical culmination of the past 50 years.

      • ChurchWeather

        Some of the Saints would have walked up and slapped some of the posters here for not only their arrogance but lack of charity. The Pope, whom the Holy Spirit has chosen, has decided to continue to speak in the colloquial. Okay, fine… not what this generation is used to. It is what it is. In fact, I think what it’s really doing is revealing the liberals in the Church who want to twist every word, and the Pharisees who are so bound by the letter of the law that they have been drained of charity. Neither witness to the true faith.

        • GG

          The HS does not choose the Pope. Cardinals choose the Pope. Cardinals can work with the HS or against the HS.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Would these saints have “slapped” Bergolgio when he was openly contemptuous of Benedict XVI ? And is the real issue only that “the Pope, whom the Holy Spirit has chosen, has decided to continue to speak in the colloquial” ? Is that really all that the sneering comments, seething with contempt for fellow Catholics, really amount to?

          • Marcelus

            When was he contemptuous?

            • sixlittlerabbits

              To give an example that is recent, Francis was contemptuous of the “woman” in his “rabbit” interview. He couldn’t even bring himself to call her a “mother.”

              • Marcelus

                Ok my friend, with no second intentions.:

                PLease read the interview again, if possible in italian.You will see you are mistaken and just going with the flow

                But never mind:The Pope’s exact words, talking about a mom who already had 7 kids thru CS and was expecting an eight and who , in his view, right or wrong,was risking her life, again this is what he said exactly when telling this story.and also risking leaving 7 orphans:

                “look, some think that in order to be good cathoilcs, we must do like the rabbits”

                Meaning having lots of kids does not make you a good catholic per se.

                Then he recalled how he said this to her and told her to seek the advice of the Church, that there is couselling annd method for this situations.

                You can not seriously believe PF is against moms.

                I’m in Argentina and remember when he , in view of the abortions exceptions (rape & risk of mother life) were approved finally, he called and organized rallies, of several hundred thousands who atttended, he used any means at his disposal since he had the leftwing governament and the press against him, but badly… nothing like you would expect from civilized NAmerica. I recall he summoned pregnant women, around easter, some even with babies, brought the tv cameras in and washed their feet and blessed their wombs for all to see.

              • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                He (Francis) reminds me of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Before they are diagnosed they tend to begin to run at the mouth certain statements that are not only wrong but sins against charity as well. It may not be that we have JUST a matter of Dogma here, he could be beginning the downward spiral of a brain disease.

                • sixlittlerabbits

                  I’ve had a similar thought: Would a neurological examination of Francis reveal some impairment?

        • Elizabeth

          I nominate you to be the official PR/BS Assistant to Pope Francis. The Vatican awaits you. 🙂 Just jokin’, kind of.

        • standtall909

          Some of the saints stood boldly, and valiantly in defense of the faith in confronting Priests, Bishops, and even Popes. Yes, they did so in charity, but firmly. Same thing as we are called to do.

          • ChurchWeather

            Ah, yes, that is one thing. It is another to level judgements against the Vicar of Christ. Not everyone is doing this, of course. But there are some comments here that would make the angels shudder.

        • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

          Some of the Saints would have walked up and slapped some of the posters here for not only their arrogance but lack of charity.

          Really? Which saint for instance? And how is slapping someone concerned for the faith any different than the origina; “lack of charity” to begin with? That’s a bigger sin than the original complaint.

          • ChurchWeather

            A priest is configured to Christ—whether that priest is bishop, cardinal, or pope. The kind of bare knuckle criticisms and judgments against the pope are shameful. Which saints? I can’t imaging Pio, Vianney, or Paul having much tolerance for the disgraceful comments coming out of Catholics mouths. Has the Pope needed clarification? Absolutely. But the point is this: his words DO find context, are NOT contrary to Sacred Tradition, and ARE orthodox.

            It’s sad that some posters are doing the devil’s work of division, to be frank. I’m tired of it, for one.

            • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

              And ARE Orthodox??? Roflmao! Oh, sure we be having a laugh now lads! My forefathers would have died a martyrs death before stepping into a Mosque or Lighting a menorah in a Synagogue! The critique isn’t against the Pope himself, it’s against his actions and words. But I really do think a neurological exam would show early alzheimer’s onset. His blurting this out of “cultural context” happens quite often in those circumstances.

              • ChurchWeather

                How ironic that you accuse me of putting words in the saint’s mouths—the very thing you’re doing with Pope Francis.

                So here you are rebuking Francis’ “heretical teaching”. Really? What would that be my friend?

                • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

                  I’ve never put a word in His mouth, He’s needed no help from me. You were the one who was “so sure” that past saints wouldn’t have tolerated such things. St. Francis, the real one, once said: “Preach the Gospel, and if absolutely necessary use words”. We preach the Gospel by our actions just as much as our words. For you to hide behind he hasn’t used Papal Infallibility isn’t going to fool anyone. As I said above: My forefathers would have died a martyrs death before stepping into a Mosque or Lighting a menorah in a Synagogue! The critique isn’t against the Pope himself, it’s against his actions and words. ” For Him to be praying in a mosque with an Imam is APOSTASY.. He has EXCOMMUNICATED HIMSELF by HIS ACTIONS. Much less Lighting Menorahs In the Synagogues of the “Sons of Satan”. BUT as I said earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if this all was an early “neurological” issue, an early onset of Alzheimer’s. He being in the early stages of “losing His mind” is a much better, and legally unbiased, defense for His apostasy and Heretical actions. God bless!

        • Marcelus

          Just a very loud small number. Never mind.

    • Marcelus

      Like McElroy in San Diego., elevated to auxiliary in SF by Benedict……

      • GG

        Yea, because Benedict appointed so many liberals and everyone thought Benedict was a liberal because of his words and deeds. Right. The comparison is so apt. Right.

        • Marcelus

          ?he did name Mc Elroy or not??

          • GG

            Sure, but is that proof of anything much?

    • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

      it would be better if people thought it was vacant than for those who don’t know the Faith to think this Heretic is correct in His thinking. He is enticing a long line of people to Hell with Him.

    • John O’Neill

      I agree totally with Dr. Williams, and would add that the problem with Francis stems from his strong belief in the socialist/democratic and relativist ideas of the Liberal church. However wherever the liberal clergy have had the opportunity to push their leftist political agenda the Church in those countries has withered away; videlicet USA, France, Germany, Britain, Ireland, etc.

    • sixlittlerabbits

      To add another example to your list, Dr. Williams, Francis behaves like what my dear departed father would call “an old woman,” i.e., a busybody, rather than as the Vicar of Christ. Did anyone notice that after twice “reproaching” the “woman” in his “rabbit” interview, he stated:

      “Another curious thing … is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say ‘God knows how to help me’ and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child” (transcript of interview at http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-transcript-of-popes-interview-in-flight-to-manila-96471/)

      Isn’t it strange that Francis–like a Marxist–seems to view Christians in terms of their social class? After attacking the the “generosity” of the mother with her eighth child on the way, he cuts the “proletariat” and poor some slack in having many children. He indirectly attacks the prosperous and “bourgeois” by his remark “To the most poor people, a child is a treasure.” Nowhere is this view found in the authentic teaching of the Church.

      Finally, it is unsettling (not for the first time) that the author of the article being discussed is on the faculty of University of Steubenville. What a poor representative for a school considered to be a bastion of orthodoxy.

    • ChurchWeather

      “What is all the fuss about? About something Pope Francis might do or say but has not actually done or said?”

      The Pope has moved many orthodox priests and bishops I know to revaluate their worldliness and become more authentic witnesses.

      The Pope has challenged the Church to return to her first love of making the central Gospel message of the love of Christ and repentance known again.

      The Pope has attacked the modernists and liberals who want “Christ to come down from the cross” and who have a “destructive tendency to goodness” (or didn’t you read that speech?).

      The Pope has loudly denounced a throw-away culture that, most grievously, throws away human life.

      The Pope has strongly attacked those “unseen empires” who have dehumanized the economy and those who want to corral the world into a “hegemonic single thought”.

      The Pope has on numerous occasions openly spoken of the tactics of the devil and his deceptions (and some of the “orthodox” here would do well to listen).

      The Pope has criticized the poor homilies that have become a staple of the pulpit, and given explicit instructions on how to approach this crisis.

      The Pope released a beautiful and powerful document on evangelization in the world that is filled with quote after quote from his predecessors, echoing the call to the new evangelization.

      The Pope, like John Paul II, has come down to the people’s level, showing the face of Christ to the world.

      The Pope has rightly challenged those who are more pre-occupied with the letter of the law than making the Word of Christ known and loved in the world.

      The Pope has affirmed not only that he is a “son of the Church” but where he stands on doctrine: ‘The Pope… is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”.’ —POPE FRANCIS, closing remarks on the Synod; Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014 (my emphasis)

      All this is to say that you can see what you want to see and, to be blunt, it appears that you have lost faith in Jesus Christ. For his Petrine promise has stood for 2000 years, and will continue to stand—whether we have a Pope who speaks like a scholar or one who speaks like a fisherman.

      Pray more, speak less.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        All of your examples are easily contradicted, and by Francis himself. Perhaps you can square a round peg, but condemning proselytism one day, and praising evangelization the next day, is par for the course for this hopelessly mixed up Jesuit (who discouraged conversions in the Diocese of Buenos Aires). And you have said an awful lot for someone who believes the rest of us should “Pray more, speak less.” Your suggestion that we (or perhaps just me?) who dare criticize the Pope have lost faith in Christ simply illustrates that you do not know the Faith very well. Papolatry is a Protestant caricature, not a Catholic creed.

        • ChurchWeather

          When it comes to twisting another’s words? Oh yes, I would definitely pray more and speak less!

          For instance, you clearly don’t understand what Francis means by prosyletism. What he said is not novel in the least—he was just quoting Benedict:

          “The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by “attraction”: just as Christ “draws all to himself” by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfils her mission to the extent that, in union with Christ, she accomplishes every one of her works in spiritual and practical imitation of the love of her Lord.” —Homily for the Opening of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, May 13th, 2007; vatican.va

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            I’m afraid this pope has a very clear track record, and looking through your encyclopedia of comments, so do you. You’re on the wrong website. Try America Magazine. You’ll feel more at home.

          • Pickwick

            ChurchWeather — I really like your remarks in this discussion. It is easy to get off track these days. I certainly hope for the best with Pope Francis. We who wish to uphold tradition must constantly examine ourselves as well. Benedicat tibi Dominus et custodiate te, etc.

  • Jesus Gabriel

    Yeah, as if evangelii gaudium wasn’t enough proof of his formal heresy regarding the jews… It all comes down to the family and abortion to conservatives and pseudo-traditionalists… But what about the other matters?

  • Daniel Schmude

    The synod did not pass anything unless it had 2/3 of the vote, and a conclave does not elect a pope unless a nominee has 2/3 of the vote. As long as 2/3 of the cardinals agree with what a pope promulgates ex cathedra, there is little danger of him being tried for formal heresy, let alone convicted of it.

    But if a pope promulgates heresy and 2/3 of the cardinals agree with it, then it is a historic time in which the majority of Catholics have suffered a loss of faith; and the Lord will have given the faithful minority a warning sign at the preceding conclave. At a conclave, the electors do not choose the pope; rather, they try to find the man that the Lord has chosen to be the pope (Acts 1:24-26). A conclave normally ends on the first white smoke signal. If it ends on a gray smoke signal, then this warning sign means that the Lord did not choose any of the nominees on that ballot and the seat of Peter is still vacant (God sends energy of delusion unto the ballot burners believing that wet straw generates white smoke so that the Church can see the sign).

    If the conclave ends on a second white smoke signal, then this warning sign means that the man who the Lord chose at the time of the first white smoke signal is not the man who was elected at the time of the second white smoke signal (at the time of the first white smoke signal, God sends energy of delusion unto the ballot burners believing that dry straw generates gray smoke so that the Church will see the sign). In this case, nobody would know who the successor of Peter is. All we would know is that he would not have promulgated the heresy that was promulgated.

    • BTW, some statements did not pass 2/3 of the votes at the synod, but Francis rammed them in the final report regardless. A harbinger?

      “May his days [in office] be few; may another take his office.” (Ps 109:8)

  • FR. SAMUEL M. WATERS, CATHOLIC

    Nick, Read the article that is reporting the Pope in his own words that express that he is a “material heretic”. You are missing the point if all you are concerned with the caps.

  • jmstalk

    Well, there is a lot of confusion in all of this but one thing came across rather clearly, we lay people have no right to judge the pope.

  • J CC

    He actually is. But we don´t have the jurisdiction to topple him. What we have is the right to desobey and contradict him when he acts like a heretic.

  • Marcelus

    FromCrdl Sarah.. interesting interview:

    “The Pope is our father. We owe respect, affection and confidence (even if the critics do not seem to bother). Through certain documents or statements, one might get the impression that it might not respect the doctrine. Personally, I fully trust him and I encourage all Christians to do the same. You have to be serene and tranquil as he heads into the boat, there was Jesus with him, who said to Peter: “I have prayed for you, that you reinforced the faith of your
    brothers. ” A conclave is an action of God, it is God who gives a Pope to the Church. God gave us François to lead the Church today

    What to say to those who claim that it was not the “candidate of the Holy Spirit”?
    Cardinal Sarah: I ask them this question: are in direct contact with the Holy Spirit?”

    Your Eminence, in your book God or nothing, you mentioned several times the “liturgical war” that divides Catholics for decades. War particularly unfortunate, you say that on this issue, they should be especially united. How to get out now these divisions and unite all Catholics around the worship of God?
    Cardinal Robert Sarah: Vatican II never asked to reject the past and abandon the Mass of St. Pius V, which spawned many saints, nor let the Latin. But we must at the same time promote liturgical reform desired by the Council itself. The liturgy is the given place to meet God face-to-face, bring Him our whole life, our work; and make an offering to all its glory. We can not celebrate the liturgy by arming us carrying on our shoulders hate weapons, fighting, resentment. Jesus Himself said, “Before presenting your offering, first be reconciled to your brother.” In this “face to face” with God, our heart must be pure, free of all hatred, all rancor. Everyone must remove his heart which can darken the meeting. This assumes that everyone is respected in its sensitivity.

    Is it not precisely what Benedict XVI wanted?
    Cardinal Sarah: Yes, this is the meaning of the motu proprioSummorum Pontificum (July 2007, ed.) Benedict XVI has put a lot of energy and hope in this business. Alas, it was not totally successful since both the others are “clinging” to their rite mutually exclusive. In the Church, everyone should celebrate according to its sensitivity. It is a condition of reconciliation. Attention should also be people to the beauty of the liturgy, its sacredness. The Eucharist is not a “dinner with friends” is a sacred mystery. If it is celebrated with fervor and beauty, we arrive at a reconciliation, that is obvious.However, we must not forget that it is God who reconciles, and this will take time.

    In a chapter on the Popes, you mention the criticism that they were the object, even within the Church. Francis is no exception: some Catholics criticize his style, what he does, what he says, his expressions … We feel also a wing of the church does not trust him to keep the deposit faith. What should be the attitude of the faithful against the Pope? Can a Catholic criticizing the successor of Peter?
    Cardinal Sarah: The answer is very simple, it takes these questions: what to think of a son or daughter who criticizes his father or his mother publicly? How could people have respect for him? The Pope is our father. We owe respect, affection and confidence (even if the critics do not seem to bother). Through certain documents or statements, one might get the impression that it might not respect the doctrine. Personally, I fully trust him and I encourage all Christians to do the same. You have to be serene and tranquil as he heads into the boat, there was Jesus with him, who said to Peter: “I have prayed for you, that you reinforced the faith of your
    brothers. ” A conclave is an action of God, it is God who gives a Pope to the Church. God gave us François to lead the Church today.

    What to say to those who claim that it was not the “candidate of the Holy Spirit”?
    Cardinal Sarah: I ask them this question: are in direct contact with the Holy Spirit?”

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Tell all this to St. Paul. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the history of the papacy realizes that Cardinal Sarah’s remarks are fiddle-faddle.

      • GG

        You you gonna believe? The poster or your lying eyes?

      • Marcelus

        Thank God the Holy RCC has you to clarify this and that Cardinal’s comments and guide us in the right direction

        I thought this Sarah was a liar!!

        You need some time off. Will do you good .No offense.

  • Tim

    The question is interesting but ultimately misses the point. The more pertinent question is whether or not God is obligated to honor a pope’s decision to resign. We assume that he does but from where do we draw that conclusion? Lightning striking the Vatican twice (a previously unknown occurrence) on the night of Benedict’s resignation should give us pause.
    The real crisis of the modern age is the crisis of fatherhood. It would be truly ironic if God allowed the Church to suffer this same societal ailment as the authentic pope remains silent in “retirement” while the Church and the world follow an ordinary archbishop. If this is what is occurring at this moment we are truly in a sad state of affairs.

  • Robert Fastiggi

    Overall, this is a very good article. I like the way it ends. I’m not sure, though, whether Prof. Wood is fair to Suarez. He seems to take Suarez’s discussions of various “dubia” as representing the actual opinions of the great Jesuit himself. Suarez, like Bellarmine (whom he cites) believed in the divine protection of the Roman Pontiff from error. According to Suárez the authority of the Pope exists by divine law (i.e. de iure divino). Moreover, God insures that papal definitions can never be erroneous. (De Fide, disp. 10, sect. 6, no. 10; Vivès, 319: “Deus promisit Papam definientem numquam erraturum…”). With regard to the theoretical possibility of a heretical Pope, Suárez believed that even if a Pope, as a private person, might fall into error out of ignorance, God, in His divine Providence, would graciously insure that this heretical Pope would not harm the Church. (De Fide, disp. 10, sect. 6, no. 10 “Quamvis enim efficere Deus possit ut haereticus Papa non noceat Ecclesiae, suavior tamen modus divinae providentiae est…”). In other words, God will never allow such a Pontiff to impose an erroneous teaching on the universal Church. For Suárez, this is a sign of the indefectibility of the Pope as the successor of Peter. As he writes: “For if Peter or his successor could deceive the Church, it would not be a firm and stable edifice.”(De Fide, disp. 5, sect. 8, no.4; Vivès, vol. 12,162). Suárez is absolutely clear that the Roman Pontiff, when assuming the posture of the teacher of the universal Church, can never err or depart from the faith. As he writes: “The faith of Peter was Catholic and unable to fail; but the faith of the Roman Church is the faith of Peter. Therefore, the faith of the Roman Church is the Catholic faith, from which this See can never defect (Fides Petri catholica fuit, et deficere non potest; sed fides Ecclesiae Romanae est fides Petri; ergo fides Ecclesiae Romanae est fides catholica a qua numquam illa sedes potest deficere). (Defensio Fidei Catholicae Adversus Anglicanae Sectae Errores, chap. 5, no.7. in Vivès ed., vol. 24, 22). Suárez, like Bellarmine, believed God would never allow a Pope to lead the Church into error. If these two great Jesuit theologians are correct, we have no reason to fear that our Jesuit Pope will lead the Church into error.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Thank you, for the info on Suarez, Mr. Fastiggi. Do you know of any websites or links that have Suarez’s works in English? God Bless!

    • papagan

      “Suárez, like Bellarmine, believed God would never allow a Pope to lead the Church into error. If these two great Jesuit theologians are correct, we have no reason to fear that our Jesuit Pope will lead the Church into error.”

      Dr. Fastiggi, thank you for sharing that! I hope it will help others to see more clearly.

      AMDG,
      papagan

  • Andrew

    Was not St. Peter’s first ecumenical act as Pope to declare that he did not even know Jesus? If the Holy Father cannot fall into heresy, then why does he need our prayers?

  • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

    I’m surprised that He is a heretic is even up for debate. It’s so obvious we don’t even have to wait for His “ruling” on any synod. Our fore fathers would have been martyred before the stepped foot in a Mosque and “prayed” together with any Imam of that ‘death cult”. Add that to praying in Synagogues with those who have outright rejected Christ, one could go on and on.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Why are you calling Pope Saint John Paul II a heretic?

      • Albee

        Well, if the shoe fits…..and kissing the koran isn’t exactly rejecting it.

        • George

          Exactly.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          So, you’re more Catholic than the pope, eh?
          Who was the last “real” pope? Saint Peter?
          We all know he wasn’t perfect, don’t we?

          • Albee

            Catholics don’t kiss the Koran or any other faith’s “holy book”. And John Paul 2 shouldn’t have kissed it. And I have no doubt, that there are Catholics out there who are “more Catholic than the Pope”, especially in these times.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              Well, Pope SAINT John Paul II did kiss a Koran. And went into synagogues. Get over it!
              The Church says that John Paul the Great is in Heaven now, enjoying the Beatific Vision and worshiping at the altar of the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Blessed Virgin Mary interceded and deflected the assassins bullet, on May 13th, 1981.
              I trust Christ’s Church more than internet concern-trolls. I’m kooky like way.

              • Albee

                At least that is what the Church tells us. We don’t know for sure. His canonization was rushed through. He was a very pious man in the beginning of his pontificate. I was highly impressed. But as time went on, something began to change. He became manipulated by others. Many of his actions scandalized the Church. So very sad. So, pray to him all you want. I’ll pass for now. There are other greater saints, in my humble opinion.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Your opinion is not humble, at all, I’m afraid. You claim to know more than the Church founded by Christ on Saint Peter and the Apostles, Albee. That’s a level of pride and arrogance that cries for reconciliation. If you reject what the Church pronounces on beatifications, you reject the Scripture where Christ gave the power to “bind and loose” to Saint Peter, the Apostles, and their successors.
                  You, in essence, reject the whole Church, the Body of Christ. How can you trust anything the Church says, then? How can you trust the words found in the Sacred Scriptures? It was the Church that kept and guarded them, after all.
                  So, we do know for sure that both Ss. John Paul II and John XXIII are in Heaven, because the Catholic Church, Christ’s Church, protected from error by God the Holy Spirit, tells us so. God Bless!

              • Tom A

                How do you know that who says these things is the Church? Just because these people occupy the Vatican and they say that they are the Church? Also, do you believe the article of Catholic Faith which says that there will be a great falling away and *an apostasy*?

          • Tom A

            Since you asked, I would say Pope Pius XII. The Catholic Church has not had a pope for a long time. It only exists in a tiny remnant. And right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter what popular opinion says.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              And, that would make you a schismatic, Tom.
              Sedevacanists are wrong, period. They make Christ a liar, when He plainly told the first Vicar of Christ, Simon Kephas, that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church. And they haven’t for almost 2,000 years.

              The Church CANNOT be hidden. As Christ said, “”You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”
              The Catholic Church is that city set on a hill, for ALL to see. Nobody sees the sedevacanists, sorry. I’ll pray for you, Tom. God Bless!

          • Tom A

            Another thought: never in all of history has it been easier to be “more Catholic than the pope”! Something to think about….

      • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

        John Paul the 2? we werent even discussing Him? we are discussing Francis

  • CGDoc

    All I know is that I will keep a keen eye on him. If he forges a 7 year peace plan in the Middle East, I’m going in my shelter!

  • ForChristAlone

    Many here have urged prayers for Pope Francis – oftentimes as an alternative to expressing concerns about his leadership. These two are not mutually exclusive. And besides, let’s all remember that every time we assist at Mass, we pray for Pope Francis – at every Mass. Perhaps those calling for prayers for him might just attend Mass more often – perhaps daily.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Excellent. We pray for him with every rosary too.

      • Marcelus

        you do?

        • Marcelus Simplicissimus

          you don’t?

    • Indeed, since Francis, that intention of the Mass has become to me all the more… intentional!

  • LionelAndrades

    Heresy?
    Cardinal Raymond Burke approved Fr. John Hardon’s error
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/03/cardinal-raymond-burke-approved-fr-john.html

  • Tom Swift Jr

    Can the pope be a pied piper, playing a tune on the cliff of heresy while crowds of sheep go rushing over it into the swirling waters below? If so, then what? We tell him to play on and not jump over himself?

  • papagan

    Dr. Wood, thank you for your clear and helpful treatment of the complex theological question of whether the Roman Pontiff could be a heretic. Notwithstanding the benighted comments of certain misguided critics, your admirable essay constitutes a valuable service to the Church.

    Allow me to cite two brief excerpts worthy of emphasis for various reasons.

    “Catholics shouldn’t expect, and shouldn’t go looking for falsehood in the successor of St. Peter. God is always faithful to his promises.”

    Given the various lamentable attempts of individuals who seek to divide the Catholic Church, Catholics should always keep the foregoing excerpt in mind.

    “Actually, Bellarmine considered it ‘probable’ that God would prevent the pope from ever being a formal heretic (he says it twice: De Romano Pontifice 2.30 and 4.2).”

    Clearly you, unlike certain others, appreciate the important semantic distinction between “probable” and “possible.”

    In Eo Matrique Eius,
    papagan

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Nothing works as well as ad hominem, eh?

      • RufusChoate

        It is the truest coin of the realm.

        • George

          Great line there, I’ll have to put it in play. I’m very incensed by that misinformation above — Catholics should be diligent and KNOW the Faith, firstly, in order to keep it. And to say “God is always faithful to his promises” and imply that a pope can never defect is outrageous. Like saying no US President can ever be (or ever was) named “John.” It’s just crazy. There have been dozens of antipopes in the Church’s history.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    I do not know whether Francis, in his own heart and mind, is formally a
    heretic or not. I do know that a pope cannot formally teach or impose
    any heresy on the universal Church, declaring ex cathedra something that
    is manifestly false about faith or morals. However, he can most
    certainly give an extremely poor example of the Faith, and be a
    generally rotten person, or simply make endlessly terrible decisions,
    thereby leading many into error. Two of Dr. Wood’s senior colleagues in
    theology have privately told me that Francis is doing exactly that. My
    own (widowed) mother, who is the Mother Superior at a cloistered
    convent, says all of her sisters are praying for a “brief pontificate.”
    And just for the record, these sisters are not “SSPXers,” whatever that
    is. They are a regular order fully under the authority of their bishop.
    They are in fact quite “Vatican II” with what I consider to be fairly
    dreadful Novus Ordo liturgies at their convent. It says a lot that the
    ordinary faithful – those who KNOW the faith – are deeply alarmed by
    this pope.

  • JMC

    I think the biggest problem in regards to what Pope Francis is saying and doing stems from poor catechesis, and the media’s capitalizing on that ignorance. People don’t know what the true teachings of the Church actually are, so the minute the Pope says something that doesn’t jibe with their feelings, then he must be wrong. And if he says something that isn’t considered “politically correct,” then the media blasts him left, right, and center, only adding to the confusion. Back in the 1960s, it became popular teaching to follow your conscience, even if that led you to a conclusion contrary to Church teaching. That practice continues today, though it has morphed into a monster that even its proponents of fifty years ago wouldn’t recognize.
    .
    A lot of things were done and taught “in the spirit of Vatican II,” things that Council never said. And since the fruit of that spirit has clearly become more and deepening confusion, it’s about time we not only questioned that spirit, but CAST IT OUT.

    • ChurchWeather

      Amen.

  • Jdonnell

    Here is another rant (Crisis, as its name suggests, is of “the sky is falling mentality, to which every issue testifies) from someone who takes a whack at Card. Kasper, without showing the slightest sign of having read his book, “Mercy.” I passed mine on to a conservative priest friend, who finds it most admirable and profound. The sky is just gray and not falling.

    • GG

      Nothing to see here. Everyone is confused except for the heterodox left.

      • Jdonnell

        Heterodox? For you, it might as well be a sexual orientation.

        • GG

          What does that mean?

          The kaspar defenders strain credulity. That his book has some orthodox thoughts does not outweigh the heterodoxy he pushes. We are not utilitarians.

          • Jdonnell

            It means that you throw around accusations without having read his book. Don’t tell me what’s in it, when I’ve read it and you haven’t. That’s called a paradox.

            • GG

              We all know what he pushes as he has said it himself. Many times. Do you think some chapters in one book outweigh his public agenda? You want us to accept some orthodox chapters in one book and disregard his words?

              • Jdonnell

                Must you continue to be such a jerk and make comments about an author without reading his book? Do you think that divorced and remarried couples who may be leading more Christian lives than you should be barred from receiving Communion. I don’t. I think that those of them who do receive it are doing the right thing in just doing it without asking anyone’s permission, etc.

                • GG

                  It is not being a jerk pointing the truth. You just do not like it. To deny what he has been doing is patently absurd and wrong.

                  We are talking about people who left their spouse, and often children, and are in perpetual adultery. They have an answer to their situation. Like you, they do not like the answer and want everyone else to deny the Truth. Guess what? We cannot and will not deny the Lord.

                  • Jdonnell

                    I have pointed out the truth: you criticize an author whose book you have not read.
                    Neither you nor I know the circumstances of people’s divorces. Some involve abusive marriages. If irretrievably broken marriages that are maintained make bringing up children as Christians virtually impossible, and if a subsequent marriage reverses that, I’m all for it.

                  • papagan

                    “We are talking about people who left their spouse, and often children, and are in perpetual adultery. They have an answer to their situation. Like you, they do not like the answer and want everyone else to deny the Truth.”

                    That might be true in some cases. That might be true in all cases. That might not be true in some cases. That might be false in all cases. It helps to know all of the relevant circumstances. Do you know personally individuals in such situations? If so, do you know all of the relevant circumstances? Are you able to read the hearts of others? I know various persons who have gone through the pain of civil divorce, but I cannot say that I know all of the relevant circumstances in their cases.

                    One can safely say, in general, that a valid marriage holds until the death of at least one spouse. It is extremely risky and presumptuous, however, to condemn a particular person (or persons) who has been through a civil divorce and remarried if one doesn’t know all of the relevant circumstances. As to whether they, given their particular circumstances, should or shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion, that’s a judgment one should leave to God and to the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities.

                    If the Catholics in question are persons you know and they haven’t obtained a declaration of nullity, and if you wish to promote the common good, you could consider the option of respectfully encouraging them in a loving way to speak with their pastors to learn more about the annulment process available to all divorced Catholics.

                    Condemn not if you do not wish to be condemned.

    • JP

      Cardinal Kasper spent the better part of 7 months giving a constant stream interviews about his book. Kasper’s point of view (which essentially boils down to upholding the doctrine on marriage, but ignoring the doctrine in practice). There is nothing profound in what Kasper preaches. Every single point he made in his book was taken apart in the “Five Cardinals” book. But, I’m sure you never read that book, either.

      • Jdonnell

        What were you doing? Shadowing him? What you say the book boils down to shows that you haven’t read it. The book’s thesis is “Mercy is God’s Justice,” a noble position and one that Crisis zealots may be unable to appreciate. I have not read the latter book, but I try to read important books, not reactionary stuff, which your comment says it is.

    • Crisiseditor

      As Crisis has already pointed out, Kasper can write a good book on mercy and be wrong on other theological points. It would be nice if you showed an equal degree of fairness and nuance in your criticism: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/kasper-versus-kasper

      • Jdonnell

        It is beside the point that Crisis has approved Kasper’s book if those with whom I have exchanged comments have not read it, yet pontificate against his views. What he has said since the book’s publication is premised on the views he expresses in the book.
        Crisis seems to draw inordinately on commentators who not only share the periodical’s “sky is falling”–and even when it isn’t, sees the sky as less blue than it used to be–and take narrow-minded views they think makes them more orthodox than thou.

  • RufusChoate

    While I agree that this Pope is probably not and can not be a Heretic but that exemption might not extend to everyone around .

    But he might be a power crazed sociopath, a fairly tartuffian pious poseur along with being a coarse and duplicitously vindictive Machiavellian who loves the sound of his own voice uttering empty inanities but aside from those attributes he seems nice.

    • George

      Rufus, anyone can be a heretic. We have free will. Any Catholic can become an apostate, a schismatic, a heretic. The word “heresy” comes from the Greek. It means “choice.” God allows us to do that.

  • Robert Fastiggi

    I am grateful to Dr. Peter Pagan for his support. Here is a link to translations of Suarez in English:http://www.sydneypenner.ca/SuarTr.shtml

    • papagan

      Dr. Fastiggi, thank you for kindly sharing that useful link.
      En Cristo Rey,
      papagan

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Yes, Doctor Fastiggi (my apologies), thank you for the link. It is much appreciated. God Bless!

  • TruthWFree

    This current Pope criticized Benedict for his Regensburg speech where Benedict quoted the 13th century Byzantine Emperor on Islam, that Muhammad brought nothing new, only things cruel and inhuman. And Francis wants to reach out to Islam (my intense study reveals that because of Islam’s denial of Christ’s divinity and death on the cross and that the Islamic teachings of hate and violence against Christ’s followers are 180 degrees opposite Christ’s teachings of love and forgiveness, I conclude Islam is Satan revealed). I want the Pope to reach out to Muslims and all who do not know Christ, that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the Father as He said…I do not want the Pope giving credence to Islam by being PC about it. This aspect of Francis is most disturbing to me. If we Catholics cannot criticize the Pope, then Francis should have been castigated for his criticism of Benedict. I think he is bad for the Church.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Pope Francis’ attitude toward Islam is the single most un-Franciscan thing about him. St. Francis would be dumbfounded by this man.

      • Tom A

        Absolutely. Great comment. St. Francis converted Mahommedans by showing them the truth of Christ and telling them their god was false; this man is acting in an uncharitable way by allowing people to continue to worship false gods and to reject Christ.

    • Marcelus

      Wrong. It was allegedly Fr. Marco of Argentina who is quotes as saying that “against” BXVI, not Bergoglio.Check out Bxvi writting on Islam…you will be surprised.Do not forget he wound up apologizing to them and rushing off to Turkey

  • M.J.A.

    Guess with all the enemies around ( and the article making that reference seems somehow not very caring either !) may be God sees to it that the Holy Father needs blessings in abundance , by his blessing and praying for those , who , if not in outright persecution or cursing , has rather close attitudes to same !
    Was thinking of the reference to the dogs , in today’s readings ..Jewish people AFIK , is prohibited to have such contact with dogs ..and here is The Lord , seemingly stating how a dog seemed more human than the rich ..after having had two good Fathers, who have taken time and pains, to bring the faithful to par with biblical values, free of the confusion of the world , seems Holy Father Francis has turned his attention more to those who could care less about any of this ; thus , possibly the sayings which seems to annoy at one level ( ? possibly the rich , who prides in the strength of their righteousness !) and the remedy for such might be , watching again and again, Holy Father’s address to the E.U at France , on human dignity ,with the heart of a Father ; same might lessen the fears, by helping to see how he might be following in the steps of The Lord, who called Judas ‘my friend ‘ , trusting in the Holy Spirit , that as blessed by The Lord, he can do even greater things , in the power of compassion and hope , towards the sore ridden beggars , which might even be the majority of human race , with all the sin and evils out there !
    Even in case of contraception , with many afflicted by unruly appetites and PMS etc . using same as a medical option ( true ,not ideal ) , getting speedier Church approved annulments for those who so deserve – would it be that the Holy Father is in a hurry , like Peter ,to bring the catch aboard … Peter , who cast off his robe and swam , in the last scene ..the fish and bread that The Risen Lord had prepared – ? of heavenly origin … not of the sinful world !
    Interesting times indeed ..and may the hearts of the children be with those who carry the Father role …who , in turn , do belong to The Mother ..of the Canticles , singing to The Holy Spirit , on behalf of Her children too -‘ I am my Beloved’s .’..a Mother as powerful as an army set in battle array ..to be invoked , to drive away spirits worse than even bestial ones ..thus , to cleanse and purify hearts and minds , to see things in the light of His love , for us and The Church !

    • M.J.A.

      P.S -Has wondered if in our times with its fleshy mind and hearts , it is better to see the Song of Songs , even as a tribute to the perfect love of Anne and Joachim, the human parents of blessed Mother ,during their courtship and marriage , which brought forth an older sister to Mary ( She too is a younger sibling , like The Church to the Old Covenant Israel !) ; The Conception of Miriam , after 20 years of life of prayer and penance by these parents , with more supernatural grace and holiness , in the Pre Fall mode ..which , we too can celebrate and be part of , with every Hail Mary , full of grace – ..thus to counter whatever else might have come in, into our own lines, from Adam on down !
      A very good thing that the Holy Father’s example and devotion, including to The Mother, Undoer of Knots are great blessings for The Church

  • James Scott

    If the Pope can be a heretic then why not say St Pius V was a heretic and join the Protestants?

    • George

      Thanks for the LOL, Jim. I know too many Catholics today who are effectively in that position. It’s so sad. Every Catholic today must read Pope St Pius V’s Quo Primum. It should be posted everywhere, and discussed. Magaines like Crisis should not only focus articles on it, but as readers it’s our duty to bring it up and request it. I guess you touched a hot button, but anyway, yes.

      • JimScott

        cheers brother.

  • James Scott

    The pope is a poopie head and atheists are couch potatoes

    • James Scott

      Pete

      Having been informed of your mental health issues we need too terminate this discussion.

      I am sorry. If I had know about your mental state I would have never picked a fight with you.

      So this has to stop for your sake.

      You need to stop now.

      definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result..

  • a little pencil

    Do we not trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Church? I’m reading a lot of comments here that seem like they’re saying, “I know best.” What does trusting the Holy Spirit to guide the Church really mean? Are we open and humble, or do we jump up in indignation and pride, even though we can’t see as God does? Do we love best that mud-splashed Church, to paraphrase Danielou?

    • The Holy Spirit guides the Church in misterious ways that no one should presume how.

      • Marcelus

        So states Crdl Sarah. quite applicable to some posters around?

  • Dr. Eowyn

    Interesting article, Professor Wood, and even more interesting (and often contentious) comments. Both Wood’s articles and the commenters are arguing, presuming the article’s a priori to be true, which is that Francis indeed is a pope. That, in turn, depends on whether Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is valid.

    If Francis is not legitimately a pope, then Wood’s concluding recommendation to have confidence in and be charitable toward Francis is moot.

    • George

      I enjoyed this comment. It’s one of the better ones. I feel that too many of today’s Catholics are approaching their faith, and the present crisis in the Church, with too many wrong assumptions. That is the reason for their confusion and muddyheadedness. And, since they are the vast majority, it’s also the reason for our present age’s confusion and muddyheadedness.

  • Pope John XXII (14th century) held obstinately the heretical belief that the blessed did not have the beatific vision until the Final Judgment. He also taught such belief in sermons, though not in documents. He
    seems to me to have been a formal heretic, yet never taught his heresy to the Universal Church, protected by the Holy Spirit as the Son promised. His sucessor, Benedict XII, declared the orthodox belief dogmatic as the fist thing in office.

  • Carolyn C

    The question to ask is this – who is the true Successor of Peter? The term Pontifex Maximus was a title attributed to the leader in the pagan Roman Empire, which the Church adopted. St. Peter was never referred to as Pope – the Pontiff Maximus was the High Priest of the Roman Empire. Peter was the Rock. Being called Pope doesn’t necessarily make you the Successor of Peter.

  • John Carter

    The search for clarification can be a kind of illness when it is used to cover the moral ambiguity of the confused listening heart. Peter himself was wrong about his early support for the Circumcision Party and St. Paul corrected him. Is not the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church sufficient? Has not history provided heretic popes? Or do we only consider “real popes” those we agree with … like the Sedevacantists? The difficulty comes from a misunderstanding of what Jesus speaks to in the pericope. It is the confession by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord that is the rock … not Peter. That is not to take away from Peter that he is the first to make this confession … even as Mary Magdalene is the first to witness the Resurrection and for that reason is called Apostle to the Apostles. All men have feet of clay. Our Lord girded himself in a towel to wash these feet of clay and even then the disciples were arguing about who was first among them. The difficulty (and tortured reasoning) is doubled when the Church of Rome declares not only Peter the Apostle but the bishops who follow in that see to be “dogmatically infallible”. Perhaps, like Innocent III said of himself, Popes are mostly in heaven already and just maintain a toehold in this world. Or perhaps you missed something that has been kept in the churches such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople from the beginning.

    • Carolyn C

      I am sorry but what you said about Peter is false and is the opposite of what Catholics believe. Scripture says: Matthew 16:18 “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Peter or Petrus means Rock. And it is the only time our Lord Jesus Christ said: “my Church.”

  • Ed

    The title of this article is astonishing. The article treats the question as if it were purely hypothetical! It seems to pretend that it isn’t a fact that there were popes who were heretics and/or reprobates.

    • George

      Ed, they were antipopes. There never was a pope who was a heretic. It’s impossible. You can’t be a Catholic at all — pope, cardinal, bishop, priest, deacon, laity — and also be a heretic.

      • Ed

        That argument seems like semantic slight of hand. The fact is that there were persons who filled the role of “pope” who were heretics and/or reprobates.

        • George

          Ed, here’s The Catholic Encyclopedia on heresy: “The pope
          himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be pope
          because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”

          You can’t be a Catholic and be a heretic at the same time.

          • George

            Also I think it goes without saying, but it also seems important to say: we are living in EXTREMELY troubling, dangerous, terrible times. We are dealing with pure evil and absolute danger. It’s the Chinese curse about living in interesting times. That we are.

            • Ed

              That is interesting. I’m interested in the RCC doctrine of apostolic succession, and how the fact that there were heretics occupying the office of pope fits with that.

              • James Scott

                I don’t know much about the RCC doctrine of apostolic succession, can you tell me more?

                • Ed

                  Well, I’m not an expert on RCC theology, but my understanding is that it is the claim that all RCC priests have been consecrated by a bishop, who in turn was consecrated by a previous bishop, in an uninterrupted line of succession going back all the way to the original apostles.

                  • James Scott

                    That’s pretty much what I thought, but usually when I try to talk about it in public everyone just mocks me for believing in ancient superstitions.

                    • Ed

                      Has the RCC actually published an apostolic succession “lineage”, for lack of a better word?
                      If there were heretics holding the office of pope or bishop (and we know that there were), could a line of apostolic succession credibly pass through them? So any apostolic succession would have to avoid such persons?
                      That’s what I’m trying to understand.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Ed,
                      No pope has taught any heresy from the Chair of Saint Peter (ex cathedra), ever. And, Apostolic succession doesn’t depend on the sinfulness of the bishop, or, if he ends up becoming a heretic. Ordination is accomplished through the laying of hands by a successor of the Apostles, but, the power of the bishop’s office comes from the Holy Spirit. The laying of hands is the outward symbol of the supernatural power of God the Holy Spirit. Just as Baptism’s water is an outward symbol of the Holy Spirit regenerating the soul from above. God Bless!
                      http://www.catholic.com/tracts/papal-infallibility

                    • Ed

                      Thank you for this reply. So if I understand your response, it wouldn’t matter if there were purporters of named heresies in a lineage of apostolic succession? It wouldn’t mean that a particular line of succession was invalid?
                      With respect, it seems to me that the issue of papal infallibility is a bit of a straw man with respect to the issue of apostolic succession.
                      I’ve looked around online, and have found what are purported to be apostolic succession lineages, but its difficult to determine if they are official RCC documents.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      No problem, Ed. Thanks, for the questions.

                      “So if I understand your response, it wouldn’t matter if there were purporters of named heresies in a lineage of apostolic succession? It wouldn’t mean that a particular line of succession was invalid?”

                      Yes, this is correct. A bishop who ordained a bunch of priests and bishops from his office, and, then, in later life, became a heretic; this would not invalidate his line of succession back to the Apostles. Here’s a link of quotes from the early Church Fathers:
                      http://www.catholic.com/tracts/apostolic-succession

                      Here is a link to a site that has lists of bishops:
                      http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      p.s. I remember reading some time ago about most of the bishops today only tracing their lines back to one bishop in the 1500s. I looked it up, his name was Cardinal Rabiba. He ordained a bishop, who ordained a bishop, down to the future Pope Benedict XII, who ordained a lot bishops! Over a hundred during his lifetime. And, many from big sees (dioceses).

                      Here is a transcript of well-known Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin’s podcast, from a few years ago, thank covers this subject, in depth (Part I):
                      http://jimmyakin.com/037-unbroken-chain-of-apostolic-succession-bible-software-update

                      Here’s the link to the podcast:
                      http://jimmyakin.com/2012/06/037-unbroken-chain-of-apostolic-succession-bible-software-update.html

                  • ~ Catholic++_James_Scott+~

                    @disqus_Whn2anpX8o:disqus

                    FYI “James Scott” is not me so don’t confuse us.

                    Just thought i would point that out for clarity’s sake so carry on.

              • ~+X+James Scott Catholicguy+~

                At best you could be a material heretic that is hold an objectively false doctrine but you either keep it too yourself or you decline to formally teach it as Pope to the whole Church.

                At worst you might express your belief in it in a Homily at Mass like John XXII did in regards to his heterodox belief that those who die in a state of Grace do not receive the Beatific Vision till judgement day.

                A person who is formally but secretly is a member of another religion who gets “elected” Pope is invalidly Pope and upon discovery of this fact ceases to be regarded as Pope.

                Hope this helps.

            • James Scott

              I realize it’s easy to get discouraged and won’t like to hear this but we are actually living in the safest and most prosperous of times.
              http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/28/despite-terror-attacks-and-mass-killings-most-world-is-safer-than-ever/

            • ~+X+James Scott Catholicguy+~

              >We are dealing with pure evil and absolute danger. It’s the Chinese curse about living in interesting times. That we are.

              We are living in terrible dangerous times & it is going to get worst. But hang in there.

          • JimScott

            Hey George,;-)

            That strictly means you can’t be a formal heretic and the Pope.

            It is my understanding that Pope Paul IV, in writing Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was concerned one of his Cardinals (who was very reform minded & a rival of the Pope) was a secret Lutheran.

            He wrote that Bull in order to bogart that guy’s election as a successor (& it worked).

            So this would likely mean if the Pope formally joined another religion he would cease to be Pope or if it was found he secretly converted to another religion before his election then upon it’s discovery he would be declared not the Pope.

            The trouble we get into is can a Pope formally define known heresy as Christian doctrine?

            Also let us talk about the Elephant in the room. The biggest danger at the Synod on the Family is NOT that Pope Francis is going to formally teach people in mortal sin may take communion. Nor formally teach people who are in sacramental marriages may contract bigamous second natural ones and receive communion.

            Rather at worst he is going to allow ambitious language in the Synod that could be interpreted in such a way that will encourage or allow local dioceses to be lax in enforcing rules barring people in acts of public mortal sin from taking communion.

            He is not going to teach heresy. That was never the danger.

            But he might not enforce the law.

            Now I don’t judge him for that. Blessed Paul VI was a great man but maybe banning the Latin Mass wasn’t a great idea.

            St John Paul II was truly great but not the best administrator Pope we ever had (that would go to Benedict and in other areas Francis is giving him a run for his money). He botched the sex scandal and allowed Fr, Marcel to run wild.

            Popes will screw up but don’t despair God can and will still use them for good.

            Anyway I have rambled on enough.

            Peace be with you.

            • Tom A

              James,

              Paul VI told the United Nations organziation that it (NOT Jesus Christ) was “the hope of the world.” John Paul II kissed the Koran. He put a Buddha statue on top of a Catholic tabernacle and told a group of pagans and non-Catholics that “we” all worship the same “god” (John Senior points out that a Catholic has a duty of telling all outside the Church that they worship idols, and that we alone worship the One True God).

              Also, no one, not even a pope, can “ban” a Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. Paul VI replaced God-given Sacraments with man-made ones. We are in a precarious situation now.

              • ~+X+James Scott Catholicguy+~

                >Paul VI told the United Nations organziation that it (NOT Jesus Christ) was “the hope of the world.”

                This reminds me of the Protestants objecting to calling the Pope “Holy Father” as if he where a Father in rival to God the Father. It isn’t reasonable to assume blessed Paul VI meant the UN was a “hope” as a rival to Christ.

                > John Paul II kissed the Koran.

                Which was a mistake.

                > He put a Buddha statue on top of a Catholic tabernacle

                No he didn’t do that at the first Assisi event some Buddists monks thought they could do that. It was corrected by the second Assisi event.

                > and told a group of pagans and non-Catholics that “we” all worship the same “god”

                The native African Religion is monotheistic in that is postulates an Ultimate God “Biggest of the Big” this is in line with the truths of Scholastic theology.

                >(John Senior points out that a Catholic has a duty of telling all outside the Church that they worship idols, and that we alone worship the One True God).

                We have a duty to proclaim Jesus but we can acknowledge common trues we hold with non-Catholics.

                Pope St Gregory VII did this with the Muslim in proclaiming they worshipped the same God as we do.

                >Also, no one, not even a pope, can “ban” a Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. Paul VI replaced God-given Sacraments with man-made ones. We are in a precarious situation now.

                Agreed but of course no Pope has ever done this.

  • John Carter

    Since the editorial staff of Crisis (sorry, I confused you with another) removes any comment that doesn’t fit into the assumptions of the western church, I will assume it’s readership is intended only for Roman Catholics.

    • Crisiseditor

      What magazine are you referring to? Obviously, the diversity of opinion expressed in the Crisis comment sections suggests you are thinking of some other site. So, I’m not sure what your point is.

  • George

    The question is not “Can a Pope be a heretic?” (The answer to that is, of course, no—at the moment of heresy the Pope cedes the papacy.)

    The more relevant and important question is, “Can a heretic be Pope?”

    • Ed

      What does this mean: “at the moment of heresy the Pope cedes the papacy”?
      Is that a Catholic doctrine? Do you mean that a heretic Pope is no longer a Pope, in effect? Even though the heretic Pope continues to remain in office?

      • George

        Almost. A member of the Church who becomes a heretic loses his office completely. Also see Pope Paul IV, Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. That’s Catholic doctrine. What the pope says there is that even should a heretic be elected for an office of the Church (including the papacy), that elevation is “null, void, and worthless.”

        Here is St. Francis De Sales, a Doctor of the Church: “when [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church”…

        • Ed

          OK. Does that mean that when an individual holding the office of Pope becomes a heretic, then the office is vacant until such time as a non-heretic is elevated to that office?

          • Tom A

            Ed, yes, that’s what the Church teaches. It’s happened many times before. At one point the office of the Papacy was vacant for a quarter of a century.

  • rayster

    Francis is just another bad leader just as there is a gigantic deficit of true leadership and competent leaders in the world. Loose ca(n)non.

    • ChurchWeather

      Ah, my fellow Catholic. If he is a bad leader, then that’s precisely the medicine that Christ feels we need. It’s His Church.

      Let us stop bad-mouthing the pope, pray more, speak less, and become the saints the world so desperately needs.

      • rayster

        “Mexicanization of Argentina…”
        Catholics breed like “rabbits”…
        “…expect a punch in return”
        “OK to spank children…as long as its done with dignity…”
        Bad mouth on the Pope!
        Confusion, anger. Schism??
        Bad leader.

        • ChurchWeather

          Oh for pete’s sake. You ought to learn a bit about this Pope. He was a bouncer in his youth! As a cleric, he spent much of his time on the street, taking on the “smell of the sheep”, hanging out with the riff-raff… the sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors (sound familiar)? Whether you like it or not, he has a rather obvious disdain for hypocrisy and careerism in the Church—probably crap that he has witnessed for decades. You know, the kind of stuff that you and others and myself included have been troubled by as well.

          So, now he’s Pope, and he even said in one interview that, at his age, he doesn’t plan on changing the way he does things. And so, he continues to speak as if he were on the street. Alright, it’s unrefined, often needing further context. But it’s who he is… who the Cardinals chose… who the Holy Spirit has anointed as the Vicar of Christ. Do what our Blessed Mother has asked: “Pray more, speak less.” Pray for the Pope. You wish to publicly call him a bad leader? My God, what would you say if you were around when Jesus walked the earth?! I have a feeling you would have disdained his street-style as well.

          Pray more, speak less.

          • rayster

            Though laudable for his humility and remarks on the excesses of capitalism and concern for the poor, being from a small South American country with state-controlled corrupt capitalism his views are skewed and he may not really understand how free-market democratic capitalism has done wonders for the poor and under-employed throughout the free world….more than ANY form of government.
            Francis has trouble relating to the free market style capitalism in the West.
            Francis was made Pope because The Church knows it is shrinking in the US, Europe and the rest of the West. The Church knows that uncertainty and poor economies are centered in South America, Asia and other third-world countries. Just look at which countries Francis focused on when he made his recent round of Cardinal appointments. That is where religion thrives and where the Church hopes to grow.
            He is Pope now, not a bouncer, not a street brawler, not a small town priest.
            Time to watch what he says, he’s not BSing on a barrio street corner anymore. What the heck is he going to say next? This isn’t an MTV interview.
            He’s got liberal Catholics confused…he’s got conservative Catholics confused. That has led to divisiveness. The Vatican is constantly having to walk back the shocking sometimes inappropriate remarks of the Pope. To be trite, the Pope talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Schism is next.
            Pray? PRAY? How about writing some letters…to your parish pastor…your bishop? Problem is and has been…it ain’t your Church…it’s THEIR Church. And so, The Church involutes in the West, and prospers elsewhere. Bad leader? Yes. What’s new? Two in a row now.
            Btw, you can make suggestions, but don’t tell me what to do.

            • ChurchWeather

              I don’t mind telling Catholics who attack the Pope to stop. Where is their faith in the Petrine promise of Christ? That is the real underlying root of comments such as yours. Stop panicking, and pray, for the love of God.

              • rayster

                There have been many, many, many bad Popes.
                This one is not bad…just a bad leader.
                I know, pray, sheesh.

            • ChurchWeather

              “Schism is next”?

              Good grief.

      • rayster
  • James Scott

    The pope is a heretic and a poopie head…but atheists are couch potatoes

  • SnowCherryBlossoms

    Good article! I have read, in context, everything I am aware of that has sent people into a tail-spin and have found absolutely nothing to support that Pope Francis is harming the Church, saying heretical things or going against Church Doctrine. Not one single thing. The Media does use ‘shortened versions’ of what he says to sow confusion and I could post proof if needed. I don’t think Pope Francis is being treated fairly or properly as the Vicar of Christ by some Catholics and some Bishops.

  • James Scott

    Having been informed of my mental health issues I need too terminate this discussion.
    I am sorry. If I had known about my mental state I would have never picked a fight with me.
    So this has to stop for my sake. I need to stop now.
    Definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

  • Stephen

    How do we know when God deposes a pope who is no longer a member of the Church? Who can tell? Who is to say, but the Pope himself? Seems rather circular.

    • Tom A

      Stephen, if someone (pope or otherwise) commits a public heresy, then you can know.

  • KC

    I’m pleased to read so many reasonable comments and see few arguments. But I have a question for the author of this article and any faithful, conservative Catholics concerned about the current state of the papacy.

    What do you think of the vision Pope Leo XIII had of Jesus and Satan? (See here http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm.)

    What do you think of Our Lady of La Salette’s words: “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist”?

    Finally, to bring up something undeniably heretical: what about the statement by Francis (in the book co-authored by a Talmudic Jew) that claims the Jews still have God’s covenant? I am shocked at how many Catholics I have spoken with do not recognize that this is a huge error. Christ died for the Israelites and the gentiles: If the Jews still have God’s covenant, then Christ would not have needed to die for them. This is contrary to what the Fathers and popes have proclaimed throughout history (prior to VII). It is outrageous! This Wikipedia page is so revealing on the matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersessionism#Church_fathers

    Please, I am not trying to incite nastiness. I want sincere and intelligent answers from fellow Catholics. I will provide specific sources if someone desires.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      KC,
      I don’t know the book to which you are referring, but, don’t trust everything that you read on wiki, unless you verify it from a trusted source. Anyone can post anything on wiki, whether it’s true, or not.

      God did not break any of His covenants, especially with Abraham, Israel, and Moses. Christ fulfilled the covenant with Israel as the promised Messiah. He didn’t revoke or abandon the covenant. Even those Jews who haven’t accepted Christ are under the covenant, because God swore upon Himself to keep His covenant with Israel.
      I found a rather lengthy essay from Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., that explains it far better than I could in this comment section. I hope you find it helpful. God Bless!

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/11/the-covenant-with-israel

      • KC

        Hi Nick,

        When we speak of the New Covenant “replacing” the Old, we are not saying that God “broke” His covenant with the Israelites. Christ fulfilled it, and therefore there are not two Covenants nor were there ever. When Christ completed the Old Covenant, it was transformed into the New, so to speak. It now belongs to those who accept the Son whom God the Father sent — Christians. That is the Church’s traditional and true theology plain and simple. This article confuses and attempts to complicate the issue as if it’s up for debate.

        The article draws upon the documents of Vatican II as its basis for getting the Church out of “supersessionism” which he claims the Church “fell into…from which it is today seeking to extricate itself.” This should be a huge red flag for orthodox Catholics. The author is admitting, in a very discreet way, that the Church had a traditional teaching and is now supposedly moving away from it. I write supposedly because it is only heretics who are moving that way; the true Church cannot do so. The Jews are not a new issue. We can clearly see the truth in what the Church Fathers, et al., have taught, but the author tries to work around them and look at VII. He cannot give us a traditional argument for his position because it’s not a traditional, orthodox position.

        My understanding is that another traditional view (though probably not dogmatic) is that God is keeping the Jews alive until the coming of Our Lord because He will convert them. They must be converted. They deny the Covenant offered to them in Christ. Does this make sense? God did not “break” His covenant with them. He sent the Messiah and they reject Him by not becoming Christian.

        “in the light of modern personalism…” This article smells of Modernism. Truly, it is heretical and draws upon feelings and a false ecumenism. “They are not required to profess belief in Christ unless or until they are in a position to recognize him as Messiah and Lord.” What on earth does that even mean? God have mercy on us!

        The following as well is very disturbing. He cannot bring himself to speak the truth and say that unless they accept Christ they will not be saved (not discussing invincible ignorance, etc.). We want them to accept Christ, but if they don’t, they have their own covenant anyway? No! “The Jews ‘still stand within the faithful covenant of God,’ and, we believe, ‘they will in the end be together with us in Christ.’ ‘We are waiting for the moment when Israel, too, will say Yes to Christ,’ but until that moment comes all of us, Jews and Christians, ‘stand within the patience of God,’ of whose faithfulness we can rest assured.”

        About Wikipedia, yes, it can be edited, but it is seriously monitored. Regardless of any of that, when there are sources and quotes there hardly an issue of truth and falsehood. Check the notes. Heretics like Cardinal Kasper are teaching that the Jews will be saved through Judaism. In fact by saying such things he is failing to be truly charitable by speaking the truth and helping them move towards salvation in Christ.

        God bless you too. I hope you consider what I have written objectively, in the desire for truth.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          KC,
          Thank you, for your thoughtful response. Yes, I always search for the truth. I don’t want to be lied to, or, disseminate falsehoods. With that said, I’m not an expert on supersessionism, and, have only read a few articles on the subject, a few years ago. From what I remember, it was against Church teaching to claim that the Church replaced the Chosen People in God’s plan of Salvation History.
          Cardinal Dulles’ essay sheds more light on the subject, for me. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that Cardinal Dulles wasn’t orthodox or taught heresy & Modernism, by the way. Everything I’ve read by him has always been orthodox.

          As he explains quite clearly, the Church has never made any dogmatic pronouncements on this subject. Which means that it is up for debate. He also explains how Saint Paul seemed to teach both/and, rather than either/or. Just because Church Fathers have had opinions, does not mean that they were correct. Everything that Ss. Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Aquinas, etc., ever wrote was not ALWAYS true or dogma. All of the Fathers & Doctors were fallible men, subject to error.

          The Old Covenant didn’t save, that’s why Jewish people, like all of us, need Christ to be saved. But, the Old Covenant moral laws (e.g., the Decalogue) are still in effect, even on Christians. The Old Covenant ceremonies and rituals (e.g., circumcision, animal sacrifice) are not.
          As the Second Vatican Council clarified, all non-Christians need Christ, and His Church, for salvation, but, if through no fault of their own (as Cardinal Dulles stressed), they don’t receive the Gospel, but strive to obey God’s natural law and serve Him and know Him more fully; they can be redeemed, as the Good Thief was redeemed on Calvary, by baptism of desire. Do you assent to the Church’s teaching that Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc., can make it Heaven?

          The Jews in the First Century, A.D., which the Apostles addressed were rejecting Christ when they had the evidence in front of them. They could talk to all of the sick who were healed. They could see Lazarus walking around. They refused to believe, and, paid the price in A.D. 70.
          The Jews who survived throughout the centuries were not culpable for their forefather’s rejection of Christ and were still God’s Chosen People.

          This is a long way to say that we still need to evangelize Jewish people, they still need to hear the Good News, but, God has not abandoned them, either. Their status as the Chosen People still stands. We Catholics are spiritual Semites, as Pope Pius XI said.
          I hope that wasn’t to convoluted, KC.
          I hope that you, and your family, have a blessed Lent and happy Easter. God Bless!

          • KC

            Dear Nick,

            I deeply appreciate your civility and kind wishes. I would like to send you some articles about the Church and Jews historically, so I hope you are still open to a response. First here are some quotes for you to keep in mind in a general way.

            Pope St. Gelasius I, Licet inter: “Mistakes already condemned must not be discussed again… Are we allowed to liberate what was once condemned by the venerable Fathers and to deal again with the criminal dogmas uprooted by them?… What is the purpose of taking all cautions… if we insist in restoring what was already known, discussed, and refuted by our elders long ago?… Are we by chance wiser than them or could we remain on a solid basis if we throw down what they constituted?…”

            St. Pius X, “Lettre sur le Sillon”, 25.8.1910: “…the Church…has nothing to be ashamed in her past and it is enough to start the social restoration again, with the help of the real workers, because the true friends of people are neither revolutionary nor innovators, but traditionalist.”

            I agree with what you wrote about the Old Covenant laws and morals; it does not conflict with what I said about the Old becoming the New. But since you believe that this is open to debate still, I would like for you to consider this according to reason. Christ said he has come to fulfill the Old Covenant. Fulfill means to complete, do you agree? When something is completed/fulfilled, it is perfected. It does not remain as it is while creating another superior thing, but it itself is made into a superior thing. Hence, the New Covenant is the Old Covenant–perfected. This is in perfect accord with the very existence of the Church and her mission.

            From New Advent: “But if an error attacks the whole Church, then antiquitas, quod semper is to be appealed to, that is, a consensus existing before the novelty arose.” Yes, the Fathers are not infallible individually; however, the Church has always looked to their consensus for the truth on matters; and moreover the historical spirit of the Church regarding the Jews makes it abundantly clear that these “ecumenical” questions are novel and depart from the Tradition of the Church.

            If I may be blunt, the Church has always been what is now described as “anti-Semitic” and with good reason. Modern Judaism is simply not that of the Old Testament. Talmudism overtook “Judaism,” as we can firstly see from the Gospels in Christ’s condemnations. The modern “Church” is now immersed in progressivism and insists on apologizing for everything Holy Mother Church has taught and done regarding the Jews (and else). It is tragic to see the widespread ignorance on the part of most Catholics who do not appreciate the glory and beauty of the Church throughout history, particularly in the Middle Ages. As one becomes more and more immersed in history, especially in the Age of Faith, one is shaken awake to see how radically opposed to the Tradition of the Church the Vatican II Revolution is. Please do not shut me out after reading that, for I love the true Catholic Church with all my heart. (This is just one issue, of course.) I ask you to consider the content of the following articles, the first of which is full of quotes:

            Sunningly thorough article: http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/a028htJPII_VisitToSynagogue1986.htm

            http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/a082ht_Jews.htm

            http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A499-Koch.htm

            I believe in baptism of desire, yes, of course. But to the framing of the question about Hindus, Jew, Muslims, etc. being saved, I answer no. That is a dangerous way of explicating the Church’s teaching because it indicates that, for example, a Muslim can be saved as a Muslim, rather than as a man in ignorance living according to the Natural Law. It distorts the truth and leads to religious indifferentism. If a Muslim can be saved, then why would we need to convert him? goes the train of thought. And thus now we have calls against proselytizing from within the “Church” itself.

            I also ask that you demonstrate to me, without relying on Vatican II documents, that the Church has ever taught that the Jews are still God’s Chosen People.

            Again, I send this in a spirit of charity.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              I’m sorry, KC, but if you’re denying that the Second Vatican Council was an authoritative, valid, and legitimate Church Council, I don’t see how we can go any further.
              All the popes since Pius XII, or Saint Pius X, or Saint Pius V, or whoever you believe was the last “real” pope, have been the true Vicars of Christ. To deny this is to call Christ a liar. Since He clearly told us, when he made Simon Kephas the first pope, that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church.
              The Second Vatican Council only clarified what “outside the Church there is no salvation” means. Just like She did with the doctrine of the Trinity at the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus.

              The New Covenant in Christ’s Blood renewed the Old Covenant, it transformed & enforced the Old. Christ was/is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, because the Old pointed to, foreshadowed the New Covenant, which is the Holy Eucharist, Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

              I grew up in the 1970s, when catechesis was terrible in the Church. I received my Catholic education very much from EWTN and Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Mother Angelica, Dr. Scott Hahn. (I’ve read a lot of books and orthodox websites, too.) I don’t know how much you know about the Jewish understanding of the Covenant and swearing a covenant oath (shevah, to seven one’s self, also the Sabbath), but, Dr. Hahn has much to teach about this. Please, check out this 24-page PDF on covenants, and his website:

              http://www.salvationhistory.com/documents/scripture/CBR_Covenant_Research-2005_Updated.pdf

              http://www.salvationhistory.com/

              • Ed

                This is an interesting discussion. I thought that the idea that there were two peoples of God and that Jews were still part of the covenant was a heresy particular to certain protestant sects.
                It seems like you would have to take a tortured reading of whole chapters of mutiple Pauline epistles to come up with something like that. Not to mention Jesus in John 8:39-44.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Ed,
                  Do you have a source for this claim that it was a heresy? And, I don’t see what John 8 has to do with this subject. God Bless!

                  • Ed

                    I’m using heresy in a general sense, I don’t know if there is a particular, named heresy which is relevant, but I’ll do a little research on that. The teaching that I’m referring to is the protestant concept of dispensationalism.
                    I’m not exactly sure the point that Dr Hahn is making from the exerpt above, but it sounds like he is ripping this passage of Romans 11 from the context of the rest of the book. This is the same mistake that confused protestants make when exegeting this text.
                    Romans 11:13-29 exists in the context of Romans Ch 9-10. Paul’s argument from Ch 9&10 then culminates in Romans 11:1-10. He is clearly saying that it is the believing remnant from amongst the Israelites (v5) who are the fulfillment of the OT prophecies, and the means of continuence from the Old Covenent to the New.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Ed,
                      Sorry for the delay in responding. Got a little busy.
                      No, this is not a Catholic version of dispensationalism. I’m not an expert, by any means. Here’s a link that explains the Catholic view better than I can here:
                      http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/colson_eschatology_jun06.asp

                      And, since, Dr. Hahn cited & went over practically ALL of Romans 11, I don’t see how you can make the accusation that he’s ripping it out of context. After re-reading Rm.9-11, and The Navarre Bible commentary on the same, Dr. Hahn’s exegesis was even more enlightening. Thanks for that! (I even learned that there was a Council of Quierzy, A.D.853.)
                      I don’t understand how you can claim that Rm.9&10 culminates in only Rm.11:1-10? That’s wrenching those verses out of context. Saint Paul says that he is using his Gentile ministry to make his fellow Jews jealous (v.14) so that some of them will be saved. He accepts that their (the Jews) rejection was foreordained by God to bring salvation to the world (v.15).
                      God left “remnants” throughout Salvation History (see Gn.6:5-8; Jos.24:2ff; Jer.3:14; Ezk.9:8; Amos 3:12; Is.4:2-3; Mic.4:7; Zeph.2:7,9). The remnant from Paul’s time would have been the Jewish Christians who fled to Pella before the Roman siege of Jerusalem, in A.D. 70.
                      Hope that helps. God Bless!

                    • Ed

                      That is a good article that you linked to above. I agree with practically everything in it, and this paragraph stood out:

                      “Therefore, the Catholic Church has always understood herself to be the New Israel (Gal 6:16; Eph 2:11-12) and the new People of God (1 Pet 2:9-10) — the recipients of the New Covenant given through Christ (Heb 8:8-13). The Old Covenant was not rejected by Christ, but fulfilled and taken up into the New Covenant.”

                      This is exactly what I believe. Jesus Christ fulfilled Old Covenant. The fact that there were many Jewish believers (Acts 2) shows that God did not reject the Jews as an ethnicity (Romans 11).

                      But I don’t see how this squares with what your are arguing above in your exchange with KC.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Thank you, Ed, for your thoughtful reply.
                      I believe that KC was promoting a Catholic form of supersessionism, which seems to be prominent among sedevacanists (i.e., schismatic Catholics who wrongly believe that there have been no “real” popes since Pope Pius XII (or Saint Pius X or Pius V).
                      Some of them believe that the Catholic Church, i.e., the Body of Christ, supplanted the Jews as the Chosen People of God. We are now the elect, and Israel no longer has a special relationship as God’s adopted first-born son among the nations (Ex.4:22).
                      I hope that is clearer. I’m no expert on this subject, so, it’s hard to explain it in the confines of a comment thread, ya’ know?
                      God Bless!

                    • Ed

                      Nick,
                      I appreciate your reply and patience with me. But I’m a little slow, and your last reply has left me really confused, sedevacantism notwithstanding.
                      It seems as though the positions you oppose – that “the Church supplanted the Jews as the Chosen People”, and “Israel no longer has a special relationship….” – aren’t these quite demonstrably historic positions of the Church?

                      Moreover, doesn’t my quotation from the article that you linked to take exactly these positions? The Church IS the new Israel. The Church IS the new People of God. This is the clear meaning of those scriptures – Eph 2, I Peter 2.

                      From the Catechism para 839: “…the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant….”. Doesn’t the Catechism assume that the RCC has supplanted Israel as the “Chosen People”?

                      In what sense does Israel maintain a present “special relationship”? Who exactly are the beneficiaries of this special relationship? Unbelieving Jews? Anyone with a drop of Jewish blood? Those who happen to occupy the geography of ancient Israel?

                      Sorry for the rapid fire questions. I’m trying to understand better your positions.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Ed,
                      No, I’m sure it is my poor skills at explaining things properly. I don’t know how much you’ve studied the subject of covenant in the Old Testament and the Jewish understanding of it? This is Dr. Hahn’s area of expertise, and, I’ve studied his books & tapes for many years. Because of this, I sometimes make the mistake of assuming that others understand the Hebrew covenant theology in the same way as Catholics, who know their faith, do. I apologize for that.

                      Understanding the Jewish concept of the sacred covenant family-bond is crucial to comprehending how radical the Gospel of Christ truly was. A covenant is NOT a mere legal agreement. It brings two unrelated people into a family-kinship bond were each party pledges their lives to the other.

                      Starting with Adam & Eve (the marriage covenant, a type of the Church, the Bride of Christ), through Noah (family covenant), Abraham (tribal cov.), Moses (nation cov.), to David (kingdom cov.), the covenants of the Old Testament/Covenant (the Greek can be translated both ways) were promises to fulfill God’s promises, beginning in Gn.3:15, that He would send a Savior, the Anointed One (Messiah).

                      Christ fulfills and renews these covenant promises in His Incarnation, and by accepting the Cross & Calvary. He makes fresh (anamnésis in Greek) and completes the Old Covenant of Moses/Sinai. All the sacrifices (animal, fruit, grain, wine) and festivals found in the Torah/Old Covenant were types of Christ’s sacrifice during Passover and Calvary. They were merely practice, rehearsals, for the real Passover Lamb, Christ.

                      The number one, most important thing that Christ, the New Testament in His Blood (Lk.22:20; 1Cor.11:25), supplanted from the Old Covenenant was the cult of the Temple, Temple worship (i.e., all of the sacrifices), and the Levitical priesthood. The body of Christ, the Church (the assembly), is inseperable from Christ, therefore, the Church was part of this supplanting in A.D.70. This is when the final curses, from Deut. 19-21, occured.

                      We Christians don’t realize how devastating the loss of the Temple was to First Century Jews. It was literally the end of their world, their way of life, as they knew it.

                      But, the Church is the New People of God…spiritually. Not literally. We, the Gentiles, get grafted on with the old branches (Rm.11) We partake in the inheritance that was promised to Israel. We don’t replace them. The Church replaced the Levite priests, the sacrifices, the High Priest, Temple worship, the Pharisees, Saducees, and scribes.

                      Also, in the O.T., God is referred to many times as the Shepherd who protects and guides His sheep, i.e., the Chosen People, Israel. What was radical about Christ’s message is that He becomes one of the sheep! Christ is the Lamb of God. The Good Shepherd becomes one of the flock. The scribes & Pharisees couldn’t come to terms with this. Plus, Christ says that the pigs, i.e., the unclean, the Gentiles, will be welcomed into the flock. The Gentiles?!?!

                      I’m sorry, that this is so long, Ed. A few last things.

                      In Eph.2, Saint Paul is addressing Gentiles, but, Saint Peter, in his first epistle, is addressing the Jews in “Exile of the dispersion” (1Pt.1:1). So, they are talking to both branches of the Church, the “old” unbroken ones (Jews), and, those “grafted” on with the old (Rm.11).

                      Remember, the first Jewish Christians did not give up observing the laws of the Torah. Christ did not demand it. They observed the precepts of the Mosaic Covenant, e.g., circumcision, clean foods, Sabbath observance. Forcing Gentiles to follow these laws was against Christ. But, if you wanted to keep observing those laws, this was not against Christ.

                      Finally, re:CCC, para. 839, no, that is not saying the Church supplanted Israel. That would be wrenching that short quote out of context from the rest of 839 and 840. Plus, it assumes one has read paras. 60, 761-62, which I’ll now quote (you should also read paras.571-598):

                      60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.[Cf. Rom 11:28; Jn 11:52; 10:16.] They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.[Cf. Rom 11:17-18,24.]

                      761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to God.[Acts 10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16.]

                      762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.[Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6] Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.[Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4.] But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”[LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3.]

                      I hope that helps you understand this a little more, Ed. Pleas, feel free to ask, if it doesn’t. God Bless!

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Ed,
                      No, I’m sure it is my poor skills at explaining things properly. I don’t know how much you’ve studied the subject of covenant in the Old Testament and the Jewish understanding of it? This is Dr. Hahn’s area of expertise, and, I’ve studied his books & tapes for many years. Because of this, I sometimes make the mistake of assuming that others understand the Hebrew covenant theology in the same way as Catholics, who know their faith, do. I apologize for that.

                      Understanding the Jewish concept of the sacred covenant family-bond is crucial to comprehending how radical the Gospel of Christ truly was. A covenant is NOT a mere legal agreement. It brings two unrelated people into a family-kinship bond where each party pledges their lives to the other.

                      Starting with Adam & Eve (the marriage covenant, a type of the Church, the Bride of Christ), through Noah (family covenant), Abraham (tribal cov.), Moses (nation cov.), to David (kingdom cov.); the covenants of the Old Testament/Covenant (the Greek can be translated both ways) were promises to fulfill God’s promises, beginning in Gn.3:15, that He would send a Savior, the Anointed One (Messiah).

                      Christ fulfills and renews these covenant promises in His Incarnation, and by accepting the Cross & Calvary. He makes fresh (anamnésis in Greek) and completes the Old Covenant of Moses/Sinai. All the sacrifices (animal, fruit, grain, wine) and festivals found in the Torah/Old Covenant were types of Christ’s sacrifice during Passover and Calvary. They were merely practice, rehearsals, for the real Passover Lamb, Christ.

                      The number one, most important thing that Christ, the New Testament in His Blood (Lk.22:20; 1Cor.11:25), supplanted from the Old Covenenant was the cult of the Temple, Temple worship (i.e., all of the sacrifices), and the Levitical priesthood. The body of Christ, the Church (the assembly), is inseperable from Christ, therefore, the Church was part of this supplanting from A.D. 30, through 70. This is when the final curses, from Deut. 19-21, occurred, i.e., the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.

                      We Christians don’t realize how devastating the loss of the Temple was to First Century Jews. It was literally the end of their world, their way of life as they knew it.

                      But, the Church is the New People of God…spiritually. Not literally. We, the Gentiles, get grafted on with the old branches (Rm.11) We partake in the inheritance that was promised to Israel. We don’t replace them. The Church replaced the Levite priests, the sacrifices, the High Priest, Temple worship, the Pharisees, Saducees, and scribes. But, She didn’t replace God’s promise to His Chosen People. It is more both/and, rather than either/of. If that makes any sense?

                      Also, in the O.T., God is referred to many times as the Shepherd who protects and guides His sheep, i.e., the Chosen People, Israel. What was radical about Christ’s message was that He became one of the sheep! Christ is the Lamb of God. The Good Shepherd becomes one of the flock. The scribes & Pharisees couldn’t come to terms with this. Plus, Christ says that the pigs, i.e., the unclean, the Gentiles, will be welcomed into the flock. “The Gentiles?!?! Never!”, they might have said.

                      I’m sorry, that this is so long, Ed. A few last things.
                      In Eph.2, Saint Paul is addressing Gentiles, but, Saint Peter, in his first epistle, is addressing the Jews in “Exile of the dispersion” (1Pt.1:1). So, they are talking to both branches of the Church, the “old” unbroken ones (Jews), and, those “grafted” on with the old (Rm.11).

                      Remember, the first Jewish Christians did not give up observing the laws of the Torah. Christ did not demand it. They observed the precepts of the Mosaic Covenant, e.g., circumcision, clean foods, Sabbath observance. Forcing Gentiles to follow these laws was against Christ. But, if you wanted to keep observing those laws, this was not against Christ.

                      Finally, re:CCC, para. 839, no, that is not saying the Church supplanted Israel. That would be wrenching that short quote out of context from the rest of 839 and 840. Plus, it assumes one has read paras. 60, 761-62, which I’ll now quote (you should also read paras.571-598):

                      60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.[Cf. Rom 11:28; Jn 11:52; 10:16.] They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.[Cf. Rom 11:17-18,24.]

                      761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to God.[Acts 10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16.]

                      762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.[Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6] Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.[Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4.] But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”[LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3.]

                      I hope that helps you understand this a little more, Ed. Pleas, feel free to ask, if it doesn’t. God Bless!

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              p.s. Dr. Hahn explains how the Old Covenant wasn’t cancelled in his tape series on the book of Revelation, which I just happened to be listening to, last night. He shows how Saint Paul explained this in Romans 11:

              “13* Now I am speaking to you Gentiles [us]. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14* in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15* For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as first fruits is holy [Christ, Mary, the Apostles], so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches [the Jews] were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness * of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches [the Jews]. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [Christ] that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20* That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others [the Jews], if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree the Old Covenant, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree. 25* Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, 26* and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27* “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are IRREVOCABLE. 30 Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their [the Jews] disobedience, 31 so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may * receive mercy. 32* For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.”

              The New Covenant is NOT “anti-Semetic,” KC. The Jewish people still have role in Salvation History and Our Father’s Plan. Yes, Talmudic Judiasm is different from the Judiasm Christ knew in the First Century. But, so did the Essenes, in those days. If the Jews hadn’t survived, and the rabbinic traditions, there is much about First Century Judiasm we wouldn’t know about today.
              God bless!

    • Tom A

      KC, I was raised in this post-Vatican II church, and fell away from it in college. Later on I studied religion, the history of religion, and so on, and was amazed at what I learned of the Catholic Church — how from its founding until the 1950s it was universally the same, with the same Sacraments and Faith, not at all like what I grew up with.

      I’ve since become a Catholic, and I know what that means. It’s my feeling that if this is not the Great Apostasy warned of in Holy Scripture, it’s a terrible dress rehearsal. Either way, yes, Rome has become — to paraphrase Crisis favorite John Senior — ashes, destroyed by the enemies of Christ. The papal claimants from John 23 through to Francis 1 can’t possibly be popes, the idea is against all Catholic dogma and doctrine. Again, as Senior also thought, right now our only recourse is not what poses as Church hierarchy, but Our Lady. And yes, Our Lady of La Salette is a warning we all should heed, because it’s playing out in our faces.

      I think the vision of Pope Leo XIII is being played out now. Do you have the long form of the St. Michael prayer he wrote? We pray it every day. And we also — as Our Lady asked in La Salette, pray “above all that the church of darkness leaves Rome.”

      I mentioned the late John Senior, whose books are important for Catholics today. But have you read much of Hutton Gibson? Out of all the Catholic writers of our time, I think he’s the best for really penetrating the heart of the matter. All of his books are now free online.

  • Remnant Crusader

    Scripture DOES address this situation in 2 Thessalonians 2. Saint Paul is talking about how the second coming of Jesus will not occur until after the great rebellion/apostasy occurs, which will be concurrent with the revelation of the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition. This man will seat himself in God’s temple and present himself as being God. CCC675 basically says the same thing: “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that
    will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that
    accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of
    iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent
    solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme
    religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man
    glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the
    flesh.” But in verse 6 of 2 Thess 2, something/someone is holding back this man of destruction until the proper time. In verse 7, this something/someone will be taken out of the way to allow the lawlessness one to be revealed. This is also echoed in CCC677: “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final
    Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and
    Resurrection.” The Church will die before it will enter the glory of the kingdom. Or, in the words of scripture, something (the Church) or someone (the Pope) must be moved out of the way so that lawlessness can reign in preparation for the day of the Lord. What does it mean for the Pope to be “moved out of the way”? One possibility is the presence of a heretical pope which will lead the faithful away from the true faith in “an apparent solution to their problems” (such as the divorced and remarried being allowed to receive communion) “at the price of apostasy from the truth”. This would certainly cause the “death” of the Church as we know it.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      The man of lawlessness, son of perdition, God-less men, and the anti-Christ spoken of by Ss. Peter, Paul, & John in the epistles and the Apocalypse were the Herodians, Sadducees, Pharisees, and Romans of the mid-First Century, A.D. Nero, Herod, the High Priest were the anti-Christs.
      And, every generation has had its own anti-Christs to contend with for the past 2,000 years. It is a waste of time trying to figure out the “end times,” since Christ and the Apostles said that only the Father knows. Treat each day and every moment as if Christ was returning.
      Also, “second coming” is really a misnomer. The Greek parousia means “presence,” “advent,” or “appearance.” Its origin was based on the practice of conquering kings obtaining an oath of allegiance from a city’s inhabitants whom he had defeated. The king would leave to conquer other lands, and, then, would appear again, or arrive/manifest his presence, in order to see if the people were obeying his commands, or, plotting against him.
      Christ’s parousia really had/has three meanings in the biblical context. First, Christ appears again at every Mass. He is made present again with the words of consecration. Second, Christ the King of Kings returned to God’s House (the Temple) and its city (Jerusalem) in A.D. 70, to find His people plotting against Him (total apostasy). He destroyed the Temple, which ended the sacrifices forever (the final curse from Deut. 28-30).
      Lastly, Christ will appear at the end of the age, for the Last Judgment, to judge the living and the dead. The specific prophecies from Mt.24 and Revelation were fulfilled in the First Century, A.D. God Bless!

    • Tom A

      It looks like we’re living in the Great Apostasy. I can’t see how anyone can think the new “mass” is Catholic or anything but sappy and false; I can’t see how anyone can take the new Vatican II religion seriously. It’s so vapid. And it’s not Catholic at all. Who takes this stuff seriously?

      • papagan

        It looks like we’re living in the Great Apostasy. I can’t see how anyone can think the new “mass” is Catholic or anything but sappy and false; I can’t see how anyone can take the new Vatican II religion seriously. It’s so vapid. And it’s not Catholic at all. Who takes this stuff seriously?”

        Well, that says it all. No need to say anything more. Time to move on…

  • 2c3n1 .

    Are we sure Francis I was ever a true pope? Are we sure any of the Vatican 2 popes are true popes since all of them have rejected the Divine law on communicatio in sacris, and the dogma on the nature of the Church being one in Faith?

    • Tom A

      I agree with you completely. It’s obvious to any man of good will. All you have to do is look at what the Church taught for almost two thousand years, and look at the 180-degree change since Vatican 2.

      • ChurchWeather

        Funny how the most brilliant orthodox theologians in our times aren’t as smart as you and seemed to have missed this entirely. 🙂

        Time to start your own church, I guess. Martin Luther has a handbook to help you with that.

        • Tom A

          ChurchWeather, you would probably be surprised at how many of today’s orthodox theologians haven’t missed this at all. As a start I would suggest you pray on the matter, and look into the work of these genuine Catholics: Patrick Henry Omlor, Hugo Maria Kellner, Mary Lejeune,Hutton Gibson, Mary Martinez, Franco Bellegrandi, Barbara Linaburg, Simon Galloway.

          Also, it isn’t nice to tell a Catholic to “get lost” just because he’s concerned about what is happening in the heart of his Church. Peace be with you. Tom

          • papagan

            “ChurchWeather, you would probably be surprised at how many of today’s orthodox theologians haven’t missed this at all. As a start I would suggest you pray on the matter, and look into the work of these genuine Catholics: Patrick Henry Omlor, Hugo Maria Kellner, Mary Lejeune, Hutton Gibson, Mary Martinez, Franco Bellegrandi, Barbara Linaburg, Simon Galloway.”

            So, you’re placing Hutton Gibson in the category of “the most brilliant orthodox theologians in our times”? Can you point to any peer-reviewed theological publications by Mr. Gibson?

            • ConcernedCath

              That is a mean-spirited comment meant to stifle debate. Peer reviewed? Come on. The games of academia are part of the problem in the dying West. There’s no need for that. Are you suggesting we let Hans Kung think for us? I’ve downloaded the PDF books from the http://www.huttongibson.com link above and you know, from just a glance you can tell they are well thought out and worth consideration. If you can find some erroneous comments or errors in the work, then post them.

              • papagan

                “That is a mean-spirited comment meant to stifle debate. Peer reviewed? Come on. The games of academia are part of the problem in the dying West. There’s no need for that.”

                Today some people believe that relevant academic credentials count for little or nothing in discussions of controversial theological questions. I don’t share that opinion. Of course, you’re free to hold whatever opinion you wish to embrace.

                “Are you suggesting we let Hans Kung think for us?”

                Not at all. Competent ecclesiastical authorities have determined that Fr. Hans Kung “can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19791215_christi-ecclesia_en.html.

                “I’ve downloaded the PDF books from the http://www.huttongibson.com link above and you know, from just a glance you can tell they are well thought out and worth consideration. If you can find some erroneous comments or errors in the work, then post them.” (Emphasis added.)

                If you find Mr. Gibson helpful in forming your own opinions (which might already be similar to those of Mr. Gibson), you’re certainly free to pursue that avenue. As for me, I’ll seek guidance elsewhere.

                Also, I’d seek clarification with respect to the following: “…from just a glance you can tell [emphasis mine] they are well thought out and worth consideration.” Are you speaking for yourself, or are you speaking for others? If the former, it would be more precise to say: “I can tell…” In other words, “ConcernedCath believes…”

          • ChurchWeather

            Gee, I don’t know Tom. It seems to be okay for the posters here to tell the Pope to get lost, but not for me to suggest that people read the full texts of the Pope, go beyond the headlines, and pray more and speak less when tempted to publicly tear apart clergy.

            Forgive me for overstepping my bounds.

        • 2c3n1 .

          Don’t need to start a new church. Rome already did that with Vatican 2. Yes, they are smart. They knew exactly what they are doing. They fooled you, not us. And Martin Luther is praised by the Vatican 2 popes. Did you catch Benedict XVI bowing towards the Lutheran altar and praying with one of their women bishops?

          • ChurchWeather

            Ah, the “Vatican II started a new Church” crowd. Here we go again….

            • 2c3n1 .

              You didn’t answer the question. Did you catch Benedict XVI bowing towards the Lutheran altar and praying with one of their women bishops?

              Anything wrong with that?

              And yes, a new church has been started with new doctrines, laws, calendar, worship service, etc. It’s not the same church as the Catholic Church.

            • 2c3n1 .

              Ah, the Vatican II support group crowd that doesn’t answer questions or deal with issues. Here we go again…

    • papagan

      On the question of communicatio in sacris, one might consider an essay by Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., “Praying With Non-Catholics — Is it Possible?” http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/thomas-crean/praying-with-non-catholics.htm. If Fr. Crean’s analysis is sound, then the conclusion that “Vatican 2 popes … have rejected the Divine law on communicatio in sacris” is not justified.

  • geoffrobinson

    Pope Honorius, anyone?

    • ChurchWeather

      No Pope has ever held a heretical position as Pope. Honorius held a heresy, but recanted that position beforehand.

      • papagan

        I presume you mean that he recanted before he was raised to the Chair of Peter.

      • 2c3n1 .

        Honorius didn’t hold to any heresy as defined today. The dogma was defined after he died. Therefore, he wasn’t a heretic.

      • geoffrobinson

        Can you show me any sort of academic source that says that he recanted?

  • James Stagg

    Yup. As so many commenters have stated: “The Holy Spirit was WRONG!”

    • papagan

      Yup. As so many commenters have stated: “The Holy Spirit was WRONG!”

      Could you rephrase what you intended to convey?

    • 2c3n1 .

      The Holy Spirit doesn’t guide antipopes.

  • deMOAOC

    Great article. Dr. Wood, aside from the abstract theological discussions, which are important, what about the practical side of the question on whether or not a pope, while pope, can commit heresy? what about the actual 2000-year history of the office of pope, and the reality of heresy? That is to say, what about the case of Vigilius?

    Extremely briefly for those who are unaware, in the sixth century, collaborating with Empress Theodora against the legitimate Pope (St. Silverius, who was banished), Vigilius was elected (anti)pope and held openly heretical beliefs, and as promised to Empress Theodora, did all he could to approve the Monophysite heresy as she requested of him. He never waivered in this while he was antipope. However, when Pope St. Silverius died and Vigilius was legitimately elected pope (only because electing anyone else would have been signing their death certificate), Pope Vigilius denounced the Monophysite heresy and anathematized the very heretics he had previously promised the Empress to support. On orders from the Empress and Emperor, Pope Vigilius was then held captive for many years, all the while standing firm in his orthodoxy. (See Warren H. Carroll, Ph.D., A History of Christendom, vol. 2, The Building of Christendom. Front Royal, VA, Christendom College Press, 1987, pp 165-174.)

  • If the Pope can be a hectic then why not say St Prius V was a hectic and join the Protesters?

  • Cr

    Seems to be some confusion on what infallible church teaching is, and a confusion of doctrine and dogma:

    “If Church discipline of excluding Catholics who have obtained a civil divorce and remarriage from Communion is based on infallible Church doctrine about sin and repentance, and if the pope tries to change that discipline, wouldn’t that make the pope a heretic concerning that doctrine?”

    Would Pope Francis have been deemed heretical for suggesting there is salvation outside the church when he was a young priest?

    • papagan

      “If Church discipline of excluding Catholics who have obtained a civil divorce and remarriage from Communion is based on infallible Church doctrine about sin and repentance, and if the pope tries to change that discipline, wouldn’t that make the pope a heretic concerning that doctrine?”

      Perhaps the moral question is a good deal more complex than the foregoing suggests. I’d let the College of Bishops in union with the Roman Pontiff handle that issue without outside interference. I think a “wait and see” attitude is best in such cases.

      Would Pope Francis have been deemed heretical for suggesting there is salvation outside the church when he was a young priest?

      The important question of salvation outside the Church, about which much has been written, is considerably more complex than it seems at first glance. As you might already know, Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J., ran into serious difficulties on that question https://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/FEENEY.TXT. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has some significant things to say about the question of salvation outside the Church. Another important document to consider is Dominus Iesus http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html. Here one must avoid rushing to some premature judgment.

      • Enoch14

        Extra Eclessiam Nulla salus – outside the Church there is no salvation:
        http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2015/02/25/category-archive-message-board-265-extra-ecclessiam-nulla-salus-2/

        • ChurchWeather

          Yes, as papagan wrote above, what does this mean?

          Let me give you some examples. There are well documented instances of Christ appearing to pagan tribesmen in remote areas, revealing Himself to them. They became Christians—but not Catholics.

          Muslims are converting all over the world today after having visions of Jesus. But often times, they go to what is nearest and most accessible—evangelical churches.

          Scripture itself attests that whoever keeps the Lord’s commandments will remain in Him. Does the one who follows his conscience, without knowing the name of Jesus by no fault of his own, remain damned, even though his life is a perfect fulfilment of Matthew 25?

          Jesus said, “whoever is not against us is for us.”

          So I ask the question: is it possible that one can be part of the mystical body of Christ without being part of the institutional body of Christ? The Catholic Church is the Sacrament of Salvation, but can others be saved and part of the Church who, through no fault of their own, have not been formally instituted into Catholicism?

          I think many of us will be surprised who is in Heaven at the end of time—and who is in Hell.

          • 2c3n1 .

            Baptism of desire brings people outside the Church inside the Church at death. Therefore, there is no salvation outside of the Church in the internal forum, even if in the external forum such persons appear to be outside of the Church.

            • papagan

              “Baptism of desire brings people outside the Church inside the Church at death. Therefore, there is no salvation outside of the Church in the internal forum, even if in the external forum such persons appear to be outside of the Church.”

              “2c3n1,” in order to avoid possible misunderstandings, please explain what you mean by the foregoing. Do you agree that a person could be part of the mystical body of Christ without being part of the visible institutional body of Christ? that others can be saved and be part of the Church who, through no fault of their own, have not been formally instituted into Catholicism?

              • 2c3n1 .

                Yes, you can belong to the soul of the Church and not the body of the Church. I’m sure there are Protestants out there who are really Catholics in the internal forum, but in the external forum they are considered outside of the Church. What is considered by way of visibility is not necessarily actuality. Actuality is what is in the eyes of God. Also, Baptism of Desire is for those who aren’t baptized at all. Outside the Church there is absolutely no salvation in the internal forum. Speaking from the external point of view, Pope Pius IX had the clause “unless excused by ignorance beyond his control.” That doesn’t mean ignorance saves. It means from the point of what we see, one might be saved through not visibly a Catholic.

        • papagan

          “Extra Eclessiam Nulla salus – outside the Church there is no salvation: http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2015/02/25/category-archive-message-board-265-extra-ecclessiam-nulla-salus-2/

          Are you trying to signal that you’re sympathetic to Feeneyism?

    • Tom A

      “Would Pope Francis have been deemed heretical for suggesting there is salvation outside the church when he was a young priest?”

      Yes, that’s absolute heresy. And no one can change Catholic dogma, not the pope or anyone here on this earth. The trouble is that education has sunk so low, most people who call themselves “Catholic” don’t know half of what is in a penny catechism, they can’t defend the Faith if they don’t know the Faith. So when the wolves come around dressed as shepherds, these sheep are eaten.

      • papagan

        “Would Pope Francis have been deemed heretical for suggesting there is salvation outside the church when he was a young priest?”

        Yes, that’s absolute heresy. And no one can change Catholic dogma, not the pope or anyone here on this earth. The trouble is that education has sunk so low, most people who call themselves “Catholic” don’t know half of what is in a penny catechism, they can’t defend the Faith if they don’t know the Faith.

        The statement “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” is interpreted in different ways by different persons, and not all interpretations are sound, as the case of Fr. Leonard Feeney makes clear. You say “that’s absolute heresy,” but you neglect to explain what you consider to be a heretical vs. a sound interpretation of “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.” Are you a disciple of Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J.?

        • Tom A

          No, and I believe that by bringing up Fr. Feeney you are distorting the issue. The Church very clearly states that there is no Salvation outside of Her, and to state otherwise is to commit a heresy. This isn’t an issue of Baptism of Desire or any of that, it’s plain Church doctrine: there’s no Salvation outside the Church. For anyone to say that there is, is just madness. Tom

          • papagan

            “No, and I believe that by bringing up Fr. Feeney you are distorting the issue.”

            I’m not guilty of any distortion here. The well-known case of Fr. Feeney is absolutely relevant in this context. For it indicates that “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” can be and has been misinterpreted.

            “The Church very clearly states that there is no Salvation outside of Her, and to state otherwise is to commit a heresy.”

            You neglect to mention that extra Ecclesiam nulla salus must be interpreted in conformity with the mind of the Church, not according to one’s own private interpretation. And you haven’t clarified what you understand by extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

            This isn’t an issue of Baptism of Desire or any of that, [1] it’s plain Church doctrine: [2] there’s no Salvation outside the Church.

            Regarding 1, it isn’t nearly as simple as you suggest, since the teaching has been misunderstood by some. Regarding 2, simply to reiterate a doctrinal statement is not to explain what one understands by said statement. Of course, there are those who would insist that no interpretation is needed. Such persons are sometimes referred to as “fundamentalists,” and I’ve met several such individuals.

            • 2c3n1 .

              There would be no need for baptism of desire if outside the Church there was salvation. The whole point of the BOD doctrine is to show that EENS is absolute in the internal forum.

              • papagan

                “There would be no need for baptism of desire if outside the Church there was salvation. The whole point of the BOD doctrine is to show that EENS is absolute in the internal forum.”

                So, would it be accurate to say that you accept as true the following statement: “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do God’s will as they know it through the dictates of their consciencethose too may achieve eternal salvation.”

                • 2c3n1 .

                  Of course. How does God grant them eternal salvation? He brings them in the Church mystically.

  • An Orthodox Christian

    It is disheartening to see the slow motion meltdown that is occurring in the Latin Church right now.
    A major issue, is that you have put all you eggs in one basket, and the entirety of your Church pivots on one man….Tradition is whatever the Pope says it is. Everything else will fall into disuse….sure you can “harken” back to it, and perhaps revive it in pockets but the fact is, that the Pope sets the tone for your entire Church. It has become sad and pathetic (and I don’t mean this in a sneering way) to see Traditionalists pining for “one of them” who will tip the balance back….
    There will be no reversal, because as Benedict XVI’s pontificate proved, it is all on the whim of whoever occupies the Papal Seat. Traditionalists and apologists for Rome have to practice double think to reconcile the increasing Cognitive Dissonance …..Examples: (the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated….which while TECHNICALLY true, is disingenuous to the extreme as the reality on the ground said otherwise. Limbo was never “officially” a dogma or doctrine….while TECHNICALLY true, it is disingenuous in the extreme to say this because it was part of the Ordinary Magisterial teaching for centuries, which is authoritative. The constant moving of the goal posts and the intellectual and linguistic gymnastics being done to square these innovations with the Past is heart breaking.
    Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.
    We have a system to remove Bishops who lose their way….the Holy Synod could depose HAH Patriarch Bartholomew tomorrow….and the Church will go on. You have no mechanism to remove a bad Pope….and your position on this is confused, as you declare a Pope to be above a council, and yet it was the Council of Constance I believe who did just that in the juggling act over multiple Popes.
    I make this post with no malice or sense of smugness, as there are problems everywhere….But, it is heart breaking all the same to witness.

    • M.J.A.

      Posted now for 11 hrs and since those who possibly know better have not responded : not wanting to lose what might be a providential occasion to share some perspectives ,as a very ordinary laity member ( conceding possibility of errors , in the views .) ; your grieving at one level and concern for the wellbeing of the Catholic Church is in itself seems to show a heart bent on love and wanting what is best ; these comments also come from same focus .
      Holy Father Francis , in the steps of his predecessors and considering the events in our times , would be very much focused on Church unity and has so expressed his desire , in love and admiration for some of the ways of the Orthodox ; at the same time , by his seemingly free style, could the Holy Spirit be using him, to help the Heads of the Orthodox Churches to recognize , how much freedom there is , when there is the guaranty by the Holy Spirit that he would not be used by the enemy as an agent of error /lies when he exercises his role in his chosen role , as Head of The Universal Church ; that can give peace and freedom and trust , to the children in The Church , to know whom to belong to …there might be storms , as mentioned in some of the examples above ..even there, The Lord might even be showing that , in spite of same , The Bark is moving in the right direction , for the sake of The very Orthodox themselves too .
      A Bishop or Patriarch, operating under the threat of popular opinion to determine his steps ..was it such a pattern of threat and use of authority , that might have drove at least some of them into pacts with the Islamic rulers , thus handing over Headship through such unholy pacts .. the swallowing of the camels ( while straining gnats of fears about Latin influences / .errors ) that The Lord had warned about !
      The error and effects of such wrong pacts , brought on by one man , to be undone, by the trust in one God chosen authority – isn’t God gracious and truthful , holy and just ..
      Thus the Dogma of Papal Infallibility extended as a means to unto such unholy pacts and its effects .. one such effect , as seen in the’ Feast ‘ ( ! ) in honor of the ‘Falling asleep ‘ of The Mother ..and The Church , called by The Spirit , to counter same ( ? an unholy desire , to see death of Mother Church and where it could have come from !) by placing focus on Her triumph , with Her Son, in Her Assumption …. even the historical reality related to The Church of Dormition and the providential discovery of the House at Ephesus , , as ‘signs ‘ of steps in the right direction ..
      May be even the seeming struggles in The Church elicit empathy and prayerful concerns , as it has for you and that too , a good and right means of unity , just as it has been for members of the Catholic Church who too have groaned and yearned for same, seeing what divisions have done , over the centuries and the Spirit , in turn , working in the very depths of hearts , to help each to see , areas where they too and those in their lives are also not in line with the mind and heart of The Lord !
      Glory be !

      • An Orthodox Christian

        I do not question your sincerity, and it is edifying to see the intentions where you come from. I must say, that your understanding of the history is not complete.
        The Latin Church has a hard time understanding how damaging the Crusades was to East-West Unity. The West was not interested in helping us, but establishing Latin dominance in the region and breaking the back of Constantinople, who was a rival and threat to Western political ambitions. The Crusades had many individually pious people, but the geopolitical reality defies the hagiography that apologists put forth. The displaced Eastern Bishops were not restored to their Sees, but replaced with Latin ones….and later, when the Muslims were at our door, the West used our dire situation to strong arm us into a “reunion” at the Robber Council of Florence, using the Turkish threat as leverage. Constantinople fell anyway.
        What does this mean for today? as HAH Bartholomew has said, we have grown apart, become “ontologically different” (for all the photos and feel good statements the EP releases, Latins would do well to read our literature and see what we say to each other…that gives our actual position). The innovations and distance that the Latin Church has strayed from the Apostolic Faith is a source of contention and the dialogue has to continue.

    • ChurchWeather

      Your post, you say, is without “malice or smugness”, but it is not without ignorance. Tradition is whatever the Pope says it is? That is not the historical record in the least. The history of the Church shows, in fact, that despite bad popes, not one of them has ever changed the deposit of faith as handed on through the centuries.

      Second, you seem to not understand the difference between an infallible doctrine and a theory. Limbo was a theory as to where the souls of unbaptized babies go—nothing more. It was never defined as a dogma, and so the Church, after centuries of speculation, put it to rest. That, my friend, was a true exercise of the ordinary Magisterium.

      Again, your comment that everything rests “on the whim of whoever occupies the Papal Seat” is simply unsubstantiated. As Pope Benedict said, “The pope isn’t an absolute sovereign, whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary, the ministry of the pope is the guarantor of the obedience toward Christ and his word.” —Homily of May 8, 2005; San Diego Union-Tribune

      Yes, thanks be to God that Sacred Tradition and the advance of Christ’s promise to lead the Church into all truth does not rest upon men—or your opinion—but upon the Holy Spirit.

      • papagan

        Regarding your four-paragraph reply to “AOC,” we appear to be in general agreement. I would simply add that limbus puerorum, a weighty theological opinion defended by the Common Doctor and other Catholic thinkers up to the present day, has not been condemned by the Church’s Magisterium as heretical. One may still hold that opinion, but it isn’t mandatory or de fide.

      • An Orthodox Christian

        You are correct, it does not rest on my opinion…but there is a disconnect between the Latin Church as it exists on paper and how it exists in reality.
        You say Limbo is just a theory, but that is news to the scores of families who were taught it as an article of faith by the Ordinary Magisterium. It even showed up in Catechisms and was taught with the force of doctrine, even if TECHNICALLY it wasn’t a doctrine…..kind of like TECHNICALLY, an Atheist can baptize or the whole idea of “valid but illicit” in the Sacred Mysteries, which is totally absurd in traditional Christian praxis.
        The Pope sets the tone for the entire Latin Church. Your focus is whatever they focus on. Your bishops TECHNICALLY are independent, but in REALITY they act like suffragans.
        This is the sort of thing that puts Orthodox off, because we have preserved traditional praxis.

    • Carney3

      The problem with Orthodoxy (to which I have married into but not converted) is that arguably a similar doublethink is necessary. What can you do with the ecumenical patriarchs, metropolitans, and leaders of national churches who were PICKED BY the Ottoman Muslims and the Soviets, and who endorsed the authority of those hostile forces, even the Soviet agenda and propaganda?

      • An Orthodox Christian

        What do we do? The same thing we do with the Borgia Popes, Popes hand selected by the Hapsburgs, and other shady characters. You look to your local bishop, your parish priest, and your community….you hunker down, and live out the Christian life.
        Wayward clerics is not the same as doing 180s on Church teaching and then using fanciful language and Scholastic intellectual leaps to say that there was no change, when clearly there was.

        • Carney3

          The difference is that (until, perhaps, Vatican 2 and its aftermath), even the most personally corrupt and dissolute popes did not promulgate false doctrine. They may have broken their vows of chastity, but did not advocate immorality in their pronouncements. That’s different from a church riddled with KGB from top to bottom echoing Communist propaganda.

          • An Orthodox Christian

            What false doctrines did the Patriarchs of Moscow put forth? I am failing to see how the Russian Church, who was under the same constraints that the current Chinese Catholic Church is now by the way (and in some ways worse) taught heresy or otherwise. Some collaborated, some resisted, some took the middle path and tried to stay off the radar of the Communist authorities, focusing on the Kingdom that is not of this world. This was what many Orthodox did behind the Iron Curtain, and what they still do in countries where the regime is not ideal.
            Dark times come. This is where asceticism and the Christian life carries a person forward. What does anyone’s immorality or the flaws of any Patriarch have to do with our salvation? I see all of the handwringing on this board about the Pope, this or the Pope that……if you have the Apostolic Faith, what does it matter? Look to your Liturgy and your Saints….and if that isn’t doing it, than you have big problems.

            • Carney3

              I should probably be more cautious in my statements, in making such a serious charge. It’s simply a fact however that the Orthodox clergy was not merely vetted by the Communists, but riddled with infiltrators and collaborators. The Russian Orthodox church praised the “achievements” of the socialist system, and played a major role as part of the “peace” front groups the Soviets used to undermine Western will in the Cold War.

              Perhaps, with their long experience living under hostile regimes, such as the Ottomans and Soviets, the Orthodox are sanguine about the prospect of their church as a whole being compromised. But Catholics, with the long tradition of the Vatican’s independence, and the Catholic beliefs about the permanent integrity of the Church and fidelity to its teachings, have been either Protestantized, with the idea that dramatic change in teaching in possible, or traumatized.

  • Tom A

    Dr. Wood, are you familiar with the books of Hutton Gibson? He has been addressing the question you ask here for all the years of this “Crisis”; I’m thinking specifically of his book “Is the Pope Catholic?” which is all about papal heresy. If you can’t find a copy, you can read the PDF on his site, http://www.huttongibson.com. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before on this topic. You owe it to yourself to investigate. Tom

    • papagan

      Dr. Wood, are you familiar with the books of Hutton Gibson? He has been addressing the question you ask here for all the years of this “Crisis”; I’m thinking specifically of his book “Is the Pope Catholic?” which is all about papal heresy. If you can’t find a copy, you can read the PDF on his site, http://www.huttongibson.com. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before on this topic. You owe it to yourself to investigate.

      This is posted on Mr. Gibson’s website: “Hutton Gibson is an author, World War II Veteran, Jeopardy Champion and father of Academy Award winning director Mel Gibson. After spending three years in the seminary, Hutton has dedicated his life to Defending the Faith of Our Fathers.” So, do you take Mr. Gibson to be a theological expert on the question under dispute? Or are you recommending his written reflections as simply one of various expressions of private opinion on the question at hand?

      • 2c3n1 .

        What difference does it make? Expert or no expert, deal with the issues Gibson and others write about such as the dogma on the nature of the Church.

        It has always been taught that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church is one and the same thing. Pope Pius XII explicitly taught it twice. In other words, the Church of Christ is one in faith. (Dogma)

        The Vatican 2 popes teach that the Church of Christ is perfectly found in the Catholic Church but other (false) churches also form part of the Church of Christ. For instance, the Balamand statement states: the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. John Paul II affirmed it in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59.

        Paul VI, Benedict XVI, and Francis I have repeatedly called the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs “Pastors in the Church of Christ” who “guide the Church.”

        I’d be interested in hearing how that’s orthodox Catholic belief by one of you experts out there.

        If you don’t have an answer, then keep silent. Maybe bury your head in the sand and pretend everything is just fine like nearly everybody does.

        • papagan

          “What difference does it make? Expert or no expert, deal with the issues Gibson and others write about such as the dogma on the nature of the Church.”

          If “Tom A” is recommending Gibson’s written reflections as simply one of various expressions of private, non-expert opinion on the question at hand, he’s certainly at liberty to do that. In that case, readers would do well to keep the following in mind: Caveat emptor. If, however, he is recommending Gibson as a widely recognized theologian within the community of professional theologians, I’d insist that he provide some evidence of Gibson’s theological credentials. I was responding to this post:

          Dr. Wood, are you familiar with the books of Hutton Gibson? He has been addressing the question you ask here for all the years of this “Crisis”; I’m thinking specifically of his book “Is the Pope Catholic?” which is all about papal heresy. If you can’t find a copy, you can read the PDF on his site, http://www.huttongibson.com. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before on this topic. You owe it to yourself to investigate.

          Clearly there isn’t sufficient time to read everything written on the topic by every person who has written on the topic. Unfortunately, one must choose to read some and skip others. Why should one include Mr. Gibson in one’s list of choices? Is he a widely recognized theological expert on the Roman Catholic papacy?

          «[Pope] Paul VI, [Pope] Benedict XVI, [Pope John Paul II,] and [Pope] Francis I have repeatedly called the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs “Pastors in the Church of Christ” who “guide the Church.”

          I’d be interested in hearing how that’s orthodox Catholic belief by one of you experts out there.»

          That introduces an ecclesiological question not explicitly raised by “Tom A.” In any case, do you mean to suggest that the foregoing four successors of St. Peter are not truly legitimate? Or did you have something else in mind?

          • 2c3n1 .

            You didn’t deal with the issue on the nature of the Church I presented. Answer the question or keep silent.

            • ConcernedCath

              What makes one a “professional” theologian, anyway? Was St Bellarmine, Cajetan, Suarez, any of the authors of great Catholic works on these topics “professionals”? It sounds like someone trying to silence a voice through force.

              • papagan

                “What makes one a ‘professional’ theologian, anyway?”

                A professional theologian is typically a person who earns, or has earned, a living through sustained systematic theological activity–teaching and/or writing–on the basis of specialized academic training in the field of theology, and has received a recognized theological degree from an accredited post-secondary educational institution, or from an ecclesiastically recognized theological faculty in medieval times. St. Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal Cajetan, Francisco Suarez, and St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, were trained and surely qualify as professional theologians. In the case of earlier Christian thinkers, e.g., St. Augustine, no reputable theologian would doubt that he was a theological expert, and he was a brilliant one.

                “It sounds like someone trying to silence a voice through force.”

                It doesn’t sound like you know what you’re talking about here.

                • Don

                  “It doesn’t sound like you know what you’re talking about here.”

                  I don’t think so. Your claims of “professionalism” reek of FUD.

                  • papagan

                    “Fear, uncertainty, and disinformation”? Really? Well, you’re free to believe whatever you wish.

              • papagan

                “It sounds like someone trying to silence a voice through force.”

                Sorry. I hadn’t noticed that that was addressed to “2c3n1.”

            • papagan

              “But to answer your question, yes, the last 6 claimants are not Catholic because they rejected the Catholic Faith. Therefore, they were never true popes.”

              As a sedevacantist, do you consider yourself to be a Roman Catholic in good standing? If so, what leads you to believe that?

              • 2c3n1 .

                What do you think?

                • papagan

                  You can answer for yourself. As for me, I don’t consider any sedevacantist to be the ultimate measure of who is and who isn’t a legitimate successor of St. Peter.

                  • 2c3n1 .

                    Never suggested it. That’s why I presented the issue on the dogma on the nature of the Church which is rejected by those you consider legitimate successors of Peter.

                    • papagan

                      “Never suggested it. That’s why I presented the issue on the dogma on the nature of the Church which is rejected by those you consider legitimate successors of Peter.”

                      You believe that there is a real, not merely apparent, conflict between (1) the official teachings of the six most recent popes and (2) official Catholic doctrine on the nature of the Church. But your opinion is based on an interpretation of both (1) the official teachings of the six most recent popes and (2) official Catholic doctrine promulgated by previous Roman Pontiffs (e.g., Pope Pius IX).

                      Can you explain how you know that the interpretations on which your sedevacantist conclusions depend are perfectly reliable and accurate?

                  • Don

                    And you consider sedeplenists to be the ultimate measure, then? That doesn’t make sense.

                    • papagan

                      “And you consider sedeplenists to be the ultimate measure, then? That doesn’t make sense.”

                      Another sedevacantist? This is what I said: “I don’t consider sedevacantists to be the ultimate measure of who is and who isn’t a legitimate successor of St. Peter.” That’s a negative, not an affirmative, statement.

                      As regards what does make sense to you, that’s not clear. Perhaps you can explain.

                    • Guest

                      “And you consider sedeplenists to be the ultimate measure, then? That doesn’t make sense.”

                      If you wish to insert yourself into this discussion thread, then why don’t you address the question?

                  • 2c3n1 .

                    What is the ultimate measure who is and isn’t a legitimate successor of St. Peter?

                    • papagan

                      “What is the ultimate measure who is and isn’t a legitimate successor of St. Peter?”

                      Don’t you know the answer to that question?

                • papagan

                  “…yes, the last 6 claimants are not Catholic because they rejected the Catholic Faith. Therefore, they were never true popes.”

                  Given your sedevacantist sympathies, to what authority do you turn with respect to the ongoing formation of your conscience? In view of what you have stated previously, it would appear that you do not consider documents like Veritatis splendor or Dominus Iesus to bear any real authoritative weight vis-à-vis orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

                  • 2c3n1 .

                    Formation of my conscience has no bearing on the issue I presented. That being said, I do form my conscience on the teachings of the Church, not by those who claim to be popes whose teaching is exactly opposite to the teachings of the Church.

                    • papagan

                      “Formation of my conscience has no bearing on the issue I presented. That being said, I do form my conscience on the teachings of the Church, not by those who claim to be popes whose teaching is exactly opposite to the teachings of the Church.”

                      In that case, when your interpretation of documents promulgated by the Church’s Magisterium differ from another person’s interpretation of the same documents, to what (living) authority do you turn to discern whose interpretation is accurate and to verify that your conscience is not improperly formed? Do you consult a particular Catholic priest? A Catholic theologian? A Catholic bishop?

                    • 2c3n1 .

                      The same authority you would chose during an interregnum.

                    • papagan

                      “The same authority you would chose [sic] during an interregnum.”

                      First, a papal interregnum, which typically is not of long duration, does not presently obtain. (Are you a sedevacantist?) Second, when you say “same authority,” which authority would that be?

                    • 2c3n1 .

                      We are presently in an interregnum, so a duration of such length has happened. Some theologians hold that the Great Western Schism was an long interregnum.

                      Secondly, the question comes back to you. What authority would you follow during an interregnum? You’re asking me something you don’t know?

                      Thirdly, I already know the answer, but I want to see if you know what authority you follow during an interregnum. Perhaps, you’re avoiding the question. What is it about my turning the question back to you that you find troubling? Could it be that you don’t know what authority to follow during an interregnum, or do you fear that your answer will prove me right?

                    • papagan

                      «[1] We are presently in an interregnum, so a duration of such length has happened. Some theologians hold that the Great Western Schism was an [sic] long interregnum.

                      «[2] Secondly, the question comes back to you. What authority would you follow during an interregnum? You’re asking me something you don’t know?

                      «[3] Thirdly, I already know the answer, but I want to see if you know what authority you follow during an interregnum. Perhaps, you’re avoiding the question. What is it about my turning the question back to you that you find troubling? Could it be that you don’t know what authority to follow during an interregnum, or do you fear that your answer will prove me right?»

                      Regarding 1, I think that your sedevacantist opinion is erroneous, and I’m inclined to believe that you and I probably will not reach a meeting of minds on this issue.

                      Regarding 3, if you have carefully thought through the question that I posed, one can understand why you, as a sedevacantist, would be averse to answering the question.

                      Regarding 2, since I’m not a sedevacantist, the question doesn’t trouble me as it does you. If you would admit that you lack a satisfactory answer to my question, then we can proceed; however, if you refuse to answer the question that I posed first, then you shouldn’t expect me to answer the question for you.

                      So, it would appear that this discussion has come to an end.

        • ConcernedCath

          Well put.

    • Carney3

      If secevacantism is true, then Catholicism is false, and the atheist materialists are correct.

      • H C

        Carney3, I’m not sure I follow the logic. “Sede vacante” means that the seat is vacant. The Holy See is vacant every single time a pope dies. Moreover, while there have been Saints as popes (as well as run-of-the-mill popes and even lousy popes), there have been dozens of antipopes – over 30 in the two centuries before Vatican II. At those times, the seat was vacant. Catholicism has remained true despite all of this. And as long as there are Caholics holding to the true faith – if even a remnant – Catholicism is true and remains so to the end.

        Also, you should know, a dogma of the faith is that at some time the world will end. And before that happens, there will be a great apostasy and most Catholics will abandon the faith.

        • Carney3

          This is an unprecedented crisis and disaster. It’s disingenuous to pretend that, if the Chair of Peter were truly vacant due to deliberate heresy, that we have ever been anywhere near this situation before. And there’s no way out of it, because at some point or other all cardinals in the College will be appointed by whatever pope you deem to have been false, or by his false successors, and thus we can never have a true Pope again. It’s the same trouble with the Old Believers in Russian Orthodoxy – once you reject the hierarchy, there’s no way to keep the priesthood going and everyone scatters to the four winds, inventing their way along in a mixture of Babel and Protestantism, until it dissolves into basically nothing.

          There’s no provision for the Church as a mystical body or spiritual entity to be somehow transferred away from the visible Church that continues to maintain its claims to legitimacy, over to a tiny remnant. Nothing to suggest that situation could remotely be compatible with the promises that have sustained belief in the Church’s authority for its entire existence. There’s no way out.

          • Don

            Agreed, we haven’t been anywhere near this before. Some groups have – the Japanese Catholics and others – but never the ENTIRE Church Militant, and never this long. The See of Rome was vacant once for 26 or so years. Antipope Anacletus II almost destroyed the entire Church in under a decade, during a time when only a tiny remnant rejected him. But nothing has gone on as big as this and for as long as this – since October 1958. It is truly frightening, truly unprecedented.

            Honestly, many people who are aware of the situation now believe this to be the Great Apostasy, spoken of in Holy Scripture. I personally am not sure if it is. It could be. If it isn’t, it’s sure close.

            Right now in Rome, I wouldn’t think there is one cardinal at all who holds the Catholic Faith. And yes the clergy, men with valid orders and who are validly ordained, are few and scattered. As you say, once the hierarchy is rejected (or, in this case, infiltrated to such a point as to appear to cut the majority of its branches), it poses a nearly unsurmountable problem. Because without jurisdiction in the Catholic Church, it doesn’t matter if a man is ordained according to a valid rite – no jurisdiction, no power. This incidentally is why the SSPX is completely invalid. They have no jurisdiction in the Catholic Church and have no sacramental power at all.

            But there are a few possibilities. We don’t know everything that’s going on, for one – there are real bishops out there. That visible Antichurch has always maintained claim to legitimacy (interestingly enough, not formally as “the Catholic Church” but as “the People of God,” Montini’s term). And remember that it has always been Church teaching, from the beginning, that there will be a GREAT apostasy, a falling away. If there REALLY is no way out, then yes – maybe this is it.

  • ralbaii@aol.com

    This is nothing new for the Catholic Church. You can learn about this in the book “Goodbye Good Men” by Michael S. Rose how liberals (communists) brought corruption into the Catholic Church. Moreover, although the bad guys didn’t get their first choice for a heretic they at least got a heretic…”Accuracy In Media director Cliff Kincaid yesterday warned that allies of George Soros and President Obama are attempting to pick the next pope. Kincaid warns that a “group of radicals” in the “left-wing lobby in the U.S.” are trying to engineer the selection of Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson as Pope. ”
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/kincaid-soros-obama-allies-trying-pick-next-pope

    • 2c3n1 .

      The Catholic Church is perfect in law and decree. Corruption can only be found in men, not the Faith. If the Vatican 2 faith is found to have error in it (which it does by law and decree) then it can’t be the Catholic Church and thus the popes of Vatican 2 can’t be true popes.

      • ralbaii@aol.com

        Agreed!

      • Carney3

        And if that’s true, then Catholicism was NEVER true in the first place, and there is no God.

        • H C

          Why would you say this, friend? The new, innovative Vatican 2 religion is certainly not the Catholic religion, but remember that the Catholic Church still exists, even if a priest is false, or a bishop is false – even the bishop of Rome. The Church still exists. And once she again has a pope, these heretics will be formally deposed – as has happened before.

          • Carney3

            And how is a new Pope, who repudiates V2 and all after, supposed to be selected and installed, legitimately, and take power in the Vatican itself?

            • Don

              Carney3, it appears to me also that the See of Rome is vacant. It has to be – the new Vatican2 church born in the 60s is the antithesis of all that preceded it, the enemy of God, scourge of the Saints, the mocker of the Catholic Faith.

              How we will get a new Pope is a mystery. How this even happened is a mystery. I mean, many of the details are there – there were devil worshippers in the Vatican in 1900 already. Pope St Pius X was aware of this. But by the time of Vatican2, it was all over. If you’ve done research on this crisis, you’ll see that plenty of people have tried to take matters in their own hands and have “elections”; that’s not the answer, of course – all it did was give us more antipopes. Like “pope” Michael, “pope” Pius XIII, etc.

              As for how a new Pope will be selected and installed, let’s say that Pope Pius XII has given us clues. He very carefully changed the laws of papal elections. Canon law (pre Vatican2 of course) and other old Catholic sources also give us clues. As for when, I would prefer it to happen right this second, but it’s not my Church – it’s God’s Church, and He will decide. This terrible, historic chastisement is happening for a reason. Two World Wars, nuclear bombs, materialism, so much evil and falling away – what do we deserve?

              Remember a couple things: the Japanese faithful existed without any hierarchy for a very long time. There was a hierarchy, but it existed outside of their knowledge. And remember that the Church has survived 36 or more antipopes before this current crisis. It has survived so much, and it will survive this, and that will be one of its greatest miracles of all time. Please don’t give up hope, but just consider this – and consider that perhaps God is calling precisely YOU to help be part of this great miracle. Please pray on it, give it serious thought. You might make a major difference in the world and for all of us.

              All I know is that there are people who hold fast to the Catholic Faith as it always was before Vatican2. The number is small, but really it’s bigger than you might suppose. There are clergy who hold fast, as well. They are scattered, and the number is small, and they are old, but they are out there. (Sadly, there’s a lot of charlatans and totally invalid clergy too, but that comes with the times.) So long as there exists ONE of us who hold the Faith, then Christ has not let go of His promise.

              Godspeed

              • Carney3

                I appreciate your goodwill. But I cannot agree with your final sentence. The promise is worthless if all it means is that a tiny remnant or even one last believer will hang on while the true priesthood has died out and the visible Church has become a monstrous enemy. The promise is meant, and was always understood to mean, that the visible Church would remain faithful and legitimate, worthy of trust and retaining its authority. That was a big part of what made Catholicism uniquely compelling.

                Protestants believe they are cast adrift, flotsam on the storm, abandoned with nothing more than their Bibles, their individual intelligence and conscience, trying to figure out if the feelings they get as they reflect and pray on this or that ambiguous or difficult passage are coming from the Holy Spirit, Satan, their own whims, or the bad pizza they had yesterday, with nothing less than eternal hellfire awaiting if they choose poorly. Horrible.

                Catholics have been able to say we have something more, and better – an external source of trustworthy authority, superior to the individual human conscience because it has been imbued and infused with divine protection from falling into Error. The uneducated, ineducable low-intelligence peasant doesn’t HAVE to become an expert in ancient Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic; he can just trust his priest. That is, if anything, THE most important difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. That’s why sedevacantism can’t be true in the sense that the historic Catholic faith WAS true but the current Church is a false Church.

                Either the non-sedevacantist traditionalists are correct (which is a bigger and bigger stretch), or the whole thing was bogus from the get-go, just dreamed-up self-perpetuating myths like all the other religions. Because no other faith has any credibility whatsoever. Add in the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible and we have a real problem.

        • 2c3n1 .

          You must be a Protestant, because it’s a heresy to say that the Catholic Church is imperfect in her laws and teachings.

          • Carney3

            No, Protestantism is obvious nonsense. Every man his own Pope, no one able to refute or contradict anyone else, a Babel of endless splinter sects splintering further, inevitably leading to religious indifferentism, relativism, agnosticism, atheism.

            The crushing problem of the last half century has been that Catholicism has, to all obvious and outward appearances, sharply contradicted its own long-held teachings. The sedevacantists and Lefebvrists have an easy case to make there.

            But the problem for them is that the modern Church’s contradiction of Tradition, if true, does not merely discredit the modern Church. It also destroys Tradition and thus the entirety of the Catholic faith, because Tradition never claimed, predicted, or provided any precedent for a crisis of this magnitude and duration. It’s impossible to square the claims and promises that the Church would never fall into Error with what the sedevacantists and Lefebvrists say is happening. It does no good to point to this or that tiny remnant clinging to Tradition, out of power. That’s Protestantism, individuals claiming they are right and the recognized Pope in power in Rome is wrong, destroying the core differentiation of Catholicism from Protestantism which is the superiority of the Church to the individual human conscience. A Protestant could just as well claim that “the Church” (defined as HE pleases, using this or that verse of Scripture or this or that writing from a scholar) agrees with him and not Rome.

            The Remnant-style traditionalists, the Michael Davies types, manfully attempt to bridge the huge chasm between the conciliar and preconciliar churches, with lots of complicated and technical talk. Perhaps they are right, but it’s a stretch.

            Or maybe the obvious is true, and it was all hokum from the start, which the falling away from Tradition beginning in the 60s make clear, and the materialist atheists are correct.

            Those are the options. Non-sedevacantist traditionalism, or the universe of the 4 Horsemen of the New Atheism.

            • 2c3n1 .

              Sedevacantism is the Catholic Answer as the Church has taught. Have you never read Bellarmine or any post Vatican 1 canonists that teaches what happens when a pope falls into heresy?

        • 2c3n1 .

          Can you provide one law or decree that is heretical?

    • ConcernedCath

      Thank you for the interesting information. Crisis Magazine needs to write about these topics. I have heard of Michael Rose’s book and will seek it out.

      • ralbaii@aol.com

        You’re very welcomed.

    • I don’t think that the cardinals need the help of either Soros or Obama. They can inflict on the Church a bad pope on their own.

  • Manuel

    A Pope can be a formal heretic and as such guilty of mortal sin and crime of such a magnitude as to force him to loose his office. Grace is never imposed against will.

  • Carney3

    The single biggest factor that has greatly undermined the Catholic faith I was raised in, pushing me toward atheist materialism, is precisely this factor of post Vatican 2 turmoil, confusion, contradiction, and real or apparent reversal of longstanding previous consensus about what Catholicism teaches and believes. This Pope is hastening the process. There’s only so much stretched, desperate fast talk you can engage in to reconcile the Politically Correct, liberal, post 60s Church with the one before it before people eventually say it’s all bunk.

    There’s no apparent way around the fist-in-face obvious, common-sense impression that the pre 60s Church was emphatic and unmistakeable in aggressively and specifically rejecting things the current Church hints at, openly accepts, or even enthusiastically favors. How can this be reconciled? Are the promises referred to in the article really supposed to be kept by the stretched explanations we are being given? Are the zillions of ordinary, simple, non-intellectual people in the world — peasants, blue collar workers, etc., really supposed to have to disregard the apparently obvious tenor and direction of the post 60s Church based on complicated, technical, and non-intuitive constructs?

  • Segstan

    I was once a Protestant until the denomination I was associated with went snake on sexual issues. I immediately swam the Tiber and thought that Rome would survive the same attack by Satan’s spawn.
    Now the fight is here center stage, just as I warned everyone.
    Can a Pope be a heretic?
    No. No true Pope can or will attack/altar the sacraments.
    God created the sacraments, not man. Only an evil priest would dare it.
    Can a heretic pretend to be Pope?
    Yes. It is foretold as prophesy in the Book of Revelations.

    • H C

      I’m with you 100% Segstan. These so-called “popes” have attacked the Sacraments for decades, but they can’t destroy the church completely. The gates of hell might open, they might surround everything, they might almost prevail, but … the key word is “almost.”

      BTW, as a Catholic now the last book is called the Apocalypse.

  • Colin Corcoran

    I think the REAL elephant in the room is that 60 years of dirt poor catechesis and progressivism has left the church deeply divided and with a great many of only marginal Catholic faith, as evidenced the the number of Cafeteria Catholics and the skyrocketing number of annulments filed. For the traditionalists – they will not accept infallible doctrine being changed in fact, or pastoral practice. For the progressives, they will accept nothing less than the changing of infallible doctrines they no longer think are relevant. In the end – the Pope is left with a choice where no matter how he chooses the church is rent in two. The German Bishops already announced publicly their autonomy if the Synod did not go their way, and infallible doctrine from Christ Himself on the indissolubility of Marriage is what they want to change – not doctrine declared infallible by a Pope. The silence of the Pope is already causing an exodus of faithful Catholics, even now the SSPX is growing each day fed by a trail of tears of faithful Catholics for whom the Pope’s silence spoke volumes after the Synod. The ELEPHANT in the rooms is the coming schism, it is being ignored at the Church’s peril.

    We will have a smaller Catholic Church soon – the question is will it be a progressive church indistinguishable from the protestants, or a faithful traditional church that clings to doctrine and tradition.

    • Segstan

      Colin … the heretics will steal the Church properties and kick the faithful Catholics out on the street. This is how they do it in the apostate Protestant sects, and that is their goal here.
      The True Church will have to rebuild on its own.
      On the brighter side. the heretics will go broke when attendance falls off in their dead churches and we can get our properties back.
      There’s nothing fair about this .. but we are up against the Devil, so we’d have to be naive to expect this to be fair.
      We are being tested.

    • H C

      The faithful traditional church that still clings to doctrine and tradition is still there, it never left, but you have to really look for it. It’s tiny, and demonized by the so-called “Catholic” press. And it’s also demonized by the whole hierarchy for the most part. Any bishop, any priest, who stands up for Catholic orthodoxy is punished severely. This has been going on for over half a century. So no wonder it’s all underground. The SSPX is much more modernist than its members know, the SSPX leaders hate real Catholic tradition, always have, but it’s out there. And the fact that so many people are looking into SSPX, despite their all-around ignorance of the faith, is a good sign I think, because it means that people are investigating and curious and they want the real thing, not this heretical new man-made religion.

    • papagan

      I would concur that for many decades religious catechesis has too often been less than adequate; however, Catholics who choose to go their own way, rather than to follow the College of Bishops in union with the Roman Pontiff, have chosen to abandon the Barque of Peter, acting as if the College of Bishops and the Roman Pontiff have abandoned the Church. These “traditionalists” erect their own private magisterium, one that is founded on something other than Christ. The fruit of their unhappy exodus is not unity but division.

      • Colin Corcoran

        you assume of course that the council of bishops is following the Pope. The synod was a big surprise in that the bishops are not united in following church teaching. How can you lead if you cannot even agree on a direction. It was also a big surprise for the progressives as the traditionalists resisted. Those who are actually threatening to leave are Cardinal Marx and the progressive german bishops conference, not the traditionalists. The pope has spoken out repeatedly against gay unions, divorce, and the importance of the traditional family for children. Most recently he rejected a gay ambassador from France.

        • papagan

          “Most recently he rejected a gay ambassador from France.”

          Thus far the Holy See has remained silent about the nomination of Laurent Stefanini, an openly “gay” Catholic. The problem, of course, is that Stefanini, a Catholic, is openly contradicting the Church’s consistent moral teaching about human sexuality. That’s a serious problem, and I doubt that the Holy See will back down on this. It appears that France is attempting to make a highly controversial political statement, and it seems most likely that France will remain without an official ambassador to the Vatican as long as it insists on nominating openly “gay” Catholics for this sensitive diplomatic post.

          • Colin Corcoran

            Cardinal Marx threatening schism, and Cardinal Kasper and his minions trying to change infallible doctrine. The synod on the family was a masterpiece of dogmatic muckery.

            • papagan

              I don’t believe I have anything more to add to what I stated earlier.

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    “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.”

    http://nov9blogg9.blogspot.fr/2014/05/bergoglio-and-quarracino-neognostics.html

  • zerk

    Prudence dictates working out the “what if” now, so one knows what to do, if the “if” happens. Now, there’s a limit to this, so that we are not working out contingency plans for Attacks by Space Leopards, but given what we’ve seen, an understanding of what to do if the pope commits a public heresy in his teaching is not unreasonable.

  • Thomas

    How is the nonsense this man says and does not manifestly heretical? Maybe God is testing us, whether we will consent to error in lukewarm ness or resist heresy with all our strength. Even Alta Vendita wrote that the revolution in the Church would be accomplished in the name of obedience. Some doctors of the Church have written about disobeying immoral orders from superiors.

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