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Contra Cekadam - Part 1

Frs. Cekada & Chazal

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Première Entrée, Crudités: Doctors, Theologians.

You contend that the opinion stating “a heretical pope still retains his jurisdiction” was abandoned, nay, that all theologians rallied under St Robert Bellarmine’s Fifth Opinion, which is the automatic fall from office vi haeresi. Moreover you contend that there is no sound theological base for any other opinion, that the opinion is now more or less obligatory, and you dare me to quote you “Theologians of equal stature”.

In my simplicity, I went to consult the most recent and renowned collection of Theologians, the massive Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique (henceforth referred to as DTC). Their conclusion is that the opinion of Bellarmine “is in no way [a aucun titre] guaranteed by the Church, nor adopted by the whole body of theologians.” (tome VII, col. 1714 to 1717, Infallibilite du Pape, last article on the specific question of the heretical pope).

So, who is right? You or the DTC? Let’s have a look at the three basic periods of theology, and see if the post bellarminian unanimity you so confidently profess, exists among theologians.

A- MIDDLE AGES

The only unanimity on this question took place in the Middle Ages, until the Great Schism. In all honesty I have not found any theologians, popes or Fathers stating the theory of automated loss of office, except the wicked William of Ockham, quoted upfront of this booklet. But prove me wrong, please.

  • SUMMA LIPSIENSIS (before 1190): The Pope cannot be accused of anything, except for heresy. (Non potest accusari nisi de haeresi).
     
  • RUFINUS (around 1164-1170) “The first see shall not be judged by anyone unless it shall pertinaciously err in articles of the faith.” (Prima sedes non iudicabitur a quonam nisi in fidei articulis pertinaciter erraverit.)
     
  • JOHN OF FAENZA (1187) adds that “this supposes that the guilty Pope would have to be admonished a first and second time.” (… primo et secundo admonitus.)
     
  • HUGUCCIO (+1210) referring to heresy, says that “in that case [ie. Heresy] he is lesser than any catholic.” (minor quolibetcatholico). This is reminiscent of St Gregory, saying that in a proper fraternal correction, the inferior is superior to his prelate only in the field of the committed offense. The New Catholic Encyclopedia adds that he concluded that a pope who publicly professed his adherence to a known heresy could be deposed by the Church and, further, that a pope who contumaciously persisted in notorious crime could likewise be deposed since "to scandalize the Church is like committing heresy”.
     
  • BERNARD OF PAVIA (+1213), same, he is not judged “unless for the crime of heresy.” (nisi in crimine haeresis).
     
  • HENRY OF SEGUSIO (+1271), says the Pope cannot be judged except for the only crime on which he can be accused, (…excipitur solum crimen super quo Papa accusari potest...”) namely, heresy.

All these authorities fit perfectly the famous passage of Innocent III, (which I am surprised to see in your booklet,) and especially the Canon “Si Papa”, which, like Gratian himself, “reigned over the entire Canon Law of the Middle Ages” (dtc. 7,1714). The DTC is usually very critical of the Canons of Gratian, yet here, Gratian plays a central role. In illo tempore, both Paschal II and John XXII were remanded, successfully, for their public heresies, and the memory of Constantinople III and IV and Nicea II, was still in everybody’s mind. Moreover, the Church was in full health. Just as the novus ordo popes benefited from many complicities to attack Tradition sixty years ago, so, in those blessed times, Guardians of the Faith were always at hand ready to intervene against whoever would try to undermine it.

B- RENAISSANCE

The theology of the XIII-th century suffers no modern imbalance, and the role of Authority is not absolute until the next period of History. It started at the time of the Great Schism, and led to Conciliarist theories distinct from the above quoted XIII-th century medieval theologians. Yet the same teaching survives, but I admit, the unanimity in its favor is lost.

CARDINAL TORQUEMADA op. (1388-1468)

“Although it clearly follows from the circumstances that the Pope can err at times, and command things which must not be done, that we are not simply to be obedient to him in all things, that does not show that he must be obeyed by all  when his commands are good. To know in what cases he is to be obeyed and in what not, it is said in the Acts of the Apostles: “One ought to obey God rather than man”; therefore were the Pope command anything against Holy Scripture, or the articles of the faith, or the truth of the Sacraments, or the commands of the natural or the divine law, he ought not to be obeyed, but in such commands, to be passed over, ignored.” (Summa de Ecclesia p.47-48). Torquemada refers to errors, not merely to moral faults. Hence the thesis stands: “The pope can err against Holy Scripture, or the articles of the faith, or the truth of the sacraments, and be henceforth ignored, not deposed automatically”.

CARDINAL CAJETAN op.

On page 11 of your booklet you claimed that Cajetan says that “a Pope may become a heretic and thus lose the Pontificate”. Not only this is false; but Cajetan is the father of a long line of Theologians that states the opposite of Sedevacantism. In his de Comparatione, he is one of the first to prove extensively the (non dependent) papal Infallibility. You do quote the “de Comparatione" on the question of the General Council, but you stay clear from chapter XX that refutes you by proving:

  • (A). Two extremes are false: The Pope is deposed by the mere fact of being heretic – the Pope can be judged.
  • (B). Tertium Datur. The Church can only declare him heretic, separate herself from him and wait for Christ to depose him Authoritatively  (we shall explain this later). I leave it to you, read it up.

Even Bellarmine, your main authority, does not agree with Fr. Cekada's way of reading Cajetan: in the “de Romano Pontifice" (bk. II, lib. XX.) Bellarmine says he disagrees with Cajetan on the way the office is lost after a declaratory sentence… and the Dominicans return the favor of course.

Therefore, the famed Cardinal Cajetan, and great commentator of St. Thomas is set, and at great length, against Sedevacantism in his book "de Comparatione”:

  • “The Pope can be deposed legitimately, because, granted that power to depose the pope resides in the council apart from the pope, it must be able to assemble its scattered members, in order to depose him; otherwise, while a pope who must be deposed refused to summon a council, he could not be deposed.” (p.66)

  • “Three things have been established with certainty, namely 1) that the pope, because he has become a heretic, is not deposed ipso facto, by human or divine law; 2) that the pope has no superior on earth; and 3) that if he deviates from the faith he must be deposed as in Canon “Si Papa” [D.40c.6]. Great uncertainty remains concerning how and by whom the pope who ought to be deposed will be judged to be deposed, for a judge, as such, is superior to the one who is judged.

  • “In case of heresy, the connection between the papacy and that particular person is subject to the decision of the Church and the universal council, so that the heretical pope can be deposed.” (p.94). It is hard to believe that Cajetan knew nothing of the injudicability or immunity of the Pope (St Augustine, Zozymus, St Gelasius, St Leo, Gratian, Innocent III, Florence, Vth Lateran). Nor can the right hand of Leo X be accused to be a Conciliarist.

  • “… but the pope is liable to the penalty of deposition on account of the crime of heresy, as the doctors generally say, influenced by the canon Si Papa (dist.40, ch.6).” (p.102.)

  • A heretic Pope should not be deposed before the admonitions: for he is not excommunicated on account of heresy, but should be excommunicated by being deposed. Therefore the apostle's command concerning the double admonition, which need not be observed in the case of others, who are inferiors, on account of the addition of excommunication latae sententiae, which the Church imposes on heretics, should be observed to the letter with him.”

Cajetan makes it abundantly clear that it is precisely because he is the Pope, that he cannot lose office before the Church warns him, that the highest category of people who must be warned publicly by the Church for heresy, are popes. The expression "should be excommunicated by being deposed" concurs with Bellarmine, and the fact of the injudicability or immunity of the Papal See.

On the question of obedience, which you always raise snidely, Cajetan is very interesting, because for him, we must resist a Pope who would induce us to simony… how much more then if he offends the faith? : “Therefore you must resist, to his face, a Pope who is openly tearing the Church apart, for example, by refusing to confer ecclesiastical benefices except for money, or in exchange for services. […] a case of simony, even committed by a Pope, must be denounced.” (de Comparatione).

SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE sj.

"It is licit to resist a Sovereign Pontiff who is trying to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him, in not following his orders, and in preventing the execution of his will." (de Romano Pontifice, Lib.II, c.29.) Resistance to a recognized Pope is clearly an option in Bellarmine.

In no way does St Robert say nothing should be declared when a pontiff defects from the faith and the papacy: “That a heretical Pope can be judged is expressly held in Can. Si Papa, dist. 40 [note well that Bellarmine himself endorses the authority of this canon of Gratian], and by Innocent III (Serm. II de consecr. Pontif.) [note also that he also pairs the Canon “Si Papa” with Innocent III]. Furthemore, in the 8th council […] we find that Pope Honorius appears to be justly anathematized, because he had been convicted of heresy.” (ibid. c.30).

I concede to you that Bellarmine holds his fifth opinion, of automatic loss of office, but like the manuals of canon law that followed his view, he includes in his argument the necessity of monitions and warnings: “For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority and from reason that the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed. The argument from authority is based on St Paul, Titus III,10, who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate.” (ibid.)

The very (5thopinon) quote of St Robert, that the sedevacantists repeat ad nauseam, states the authority of Titus III, 10 to recall that the deposition of a heretical pope intervenes after two warnings. The above quotes abundantly explain what “manifest heretic” means to St Robert in his “fifth opinion” Even in your own line of thinking, to establish the serious state of affairs that a man has ceased to be pope, warnings are the best idea to evidence the FACT, because it evidences, makes manifest the pertinacity of the heretic. (By the way I can only commend the persistence of Sede websites to manifest the heresies of Francis, while liberal Latin Mass websites understate, minimize or even omit the mention of them).

You, may not like it, you may bypass it forever, but you also have to allow Bellarmine to express his solution to a heretical pope in his refutation of the “second opinion”, it is also very clear: “Jurisdiction is certainly given to the Pontiff by God, but with the agreement of men as is obvious; because this man, who beforehand was not Pope, has from men that he would begin to be Pope, therefore he is not removed by God unless it is through men.” And he goes on saying that secret heresy cannot be judged by the inferiors of a Pope, while public heresy is the only case in which a Pope can be judged by his inferiors. (de Romano Pontifice, II, ch.30).

The second opinion [that a hidden heretic ceases to be pope because of the lack of the virtue of Faith] raises the difficulty of conditioning the holding of the papacy to the holding of the faith (what you contend iure divino), since external but secret loss of faith is not causing its loss while the private loss of faith casts you out of the Church just as effectively as the public loss of faith. Cajetan picked up that problem: it is not the sin of heresy itself that causes the loss of office. Later theologians will pick it up as well.

When Bellarmine rejects the 4th opinion [, the Pope loses office after a sentence,] he states: “In my judgment this opinion cannot be defended”. So, when did a personal judgement, an opinion, mutate into a vital obligation, a solemn dogma, a religion?

The argument of Bellarmine is that no judgment can be passed on the composite (an individual man and the office of Peter); yet it is not ignored by the Dominican theologians, who insist on the strength of the bond established by Christ, between a man and the Papacy, and that the severance of that bond can only be performed by God.

To this day, I am also lacking the precise sedevacantist explanation of the following quote of Bellarmine, which quote reflects very well the position of Archbishop Lefebvre: “The faithful can certainly distinguish a true prophet from a false one, by the rule we have laid down, but for all that, if the pastor is a bishop, they cannot depose him and put another in place. For Our Lord and the Apostles only lay down that false prophets [ie, heretics] are not to be listened to by the people, and not that they should depose them. And it is certain that the practice of the Church has always been that heretical bishops be deposed by bishop's councils or by the Sovereign Pontiff.” de Membris Ecclesiae, I, de Clericis, ch.VII.

The contemporaries of Bellarmine, like Suarez, understood his position, and later Cardinal Journet, not you. He says: “Bellarmine and Suarez, however, believe that the Pope, by the very fact that he is a manifest heretic and has been declared incorrigible, is deposed immediately by Christ the Lord, and not by the authority of the Church.” No pairs of scissors here. Journet, while understanding Bellarmine, is in fact following a Dominican:

JOHN OF ST THOMAS op. (1589-1644).

The “de Auctoritate Summi Pontificis” (Disp III, Art II, XVII to XXVIII) goes to great lengths on the question, and picks up the disagreement of Bellarmine with Cajetan, supporting the latter (XX). John of St. Thomas is a great and famous commentator of St. Thomas, with Capreolus and Cajetan (whose Commentary thrones usually in the reference section of a good seminary library).

Why such blatant ignorance or refusals to even refute him? I would think if you had done so, it would have showed that the unanimity of theologians you claim does not exist: (XXVI): “the Pope does not cease to be the Pope before any ecclesiastical sentence by the fact of heresy itself, and before he is proposed to be avoided”. The Dominican is indeed difficult to refute because, prior to Vatican II, he gave the longest and most argumented exposition on the problem.

His position hinges on two points

  1. “The Church has a right to separate itself from a heretical Pope in virtue of Divine Right, and, as a result can take all the means for such a separation”. (XIX)
  2. The Pope draws his power immediately from Christ. Only Christ can strip him from that power authoritatively.

We more or less agree with you sedevacantists on (1), but total separation is not enough for you. As long as this separation is made, souls are safe, the Faith is safe, and the rest is a point of theological “finasserie”.

John of St. Thomas adds something to the necessity of separation from heretics; the fact that by his heresy, a Pope is disposed to be deposed ministerially, while we await him to be removed from office authoritatively by Christ. He is actually impounded, incapable to exercise his office to prevent him from causing further damage. “He is necessarily rendered impotent from being the head of the Church because he is a member to be avoided by her, and as a consequence cannot have influence on her” (XXIV). Note the different angle: an ipso facto consequence takes place, at the moment heresy is proferred pertinaciously.

Sedevacantists always assume that if we recognize a Pope we must obey him, or we will follow his heresies, unlike St. Paul who resisted St. Peter, and St. Peter who resisted Caiphas. There is an immediate consequence of the fact of heresy: Avoidance.

They also fail to notice that non sedevacantists believe that a heretical Pope loses his office down the line, nay, is set to lose it like a train is set on his rails, but such happy event does not occur before he is declared heretic by the Church in due process; while the duty to separate from him is immediate as soon as one knows him to be a heretic. “That (separation) can remain without a superior power formally above the power of the Pope” (XXIII).

John of St. Thomas gives this other quote of Gratian, different from the “nisi a Fide devius” one: “Eiectionem summorum sacerdotum sibi Dominus reservavit, licet electionem eorum bonis sacerdotibus et spiritualibus populis concessisset”, “The Lord has reserved to Himself the deposition of the Sovereign Pontiffs despite conceding their elections to good priest and spiritual people”. (I, Dist 40, D 79, C.11)

On the question of the separation of a heretic from the Church, because heretics are not members of the Church, John of St. Thomas makes a vital distinction, Per Se/Quoad Nos, which you refuse to consider:

  • Per Se: in itself, yes the Pope is separate, alien to the Church, hence, not its head, like any other heretic.
  • Quoad Nos: “As far as we are concerned such a separation is not understood to take place without such declaration (…..). For us he is not yet declared infidel or heretic, no matter how much he may be manifest according to private judgment. He is still a member of the Church for us [Quoad Nos], and consequently its head. Therefore the judgment of the Church is required by which he is declared as a non Christian and ceases to be a Pope to us”. (XXVI). It is there that he explains the quote of St Jerome “which does not exclude a judgment of the Church, especially in such a serious matter as the deposition of a Pope. He refers instead to the nature of the crime, which is such per se to cut someone off the Church, without any further censure attached to it.” ibid.

Sedevacantists are obnubilated by the reality, the physicality of the loss of office, yet the Catholic Church is ruled by a juridical and public order, that channels and divulgates authoritatively the reality that took place per se.

Billuart will elaborate from this, but I hope that you realize, dear Father, that John of St. Thomas is a whole arsenal against your proposed automatic and immediate loss of office of the Pope without declaratory sentence.

AZORIUS sj. (1535-1603)

.. quoted by John of St. Thomas says “no heretic Bishop, no matter how visible his heresy may be, and in spite of him incurring excommunication, loses jurisdiction and Episcopal power, until he is declared such by the Church and deposed.[…] Only the ‘non tolerated’ and ‘vitandi’, i.e. those who have been nominally excommunicated or have assaulted a cleric, fall under this case”. (the exact reference escapes me but I trust the honesty of  John of St Thomas).

SOTO op. (1494-1560)

“Though some masters of our time sustain that the Pope cannot be a heretic in any way, the common opinion is however the opposite one. For though he might not be able to err as Pope, that is, he could not define an error as an article of faith, because the Holy Spirit will not permit it, nevertheless as a private person he can err in the faith, in the same way he can commit other sins, because he is not impeccable.” (IV Sent, D 22, Q 2, art. 2).

CANO op. (1509-1560)

.. attacks Pighius who exaggerates the impeccability of the Pope, saying “One cannot deny that the Holy Father can become a heretic, since there are probably two examples at least.” (quoted in DTC VII,1714-1717). He also says that the case must be proven externally. (De Locis L.4, ch.2)

SUAREZ sj. (1548-1617)

.. is not of your liking. It does not bode well for sedevacantists to demean such a widely acclaimed theologian.

First he wisely disagrees with Azorius who says that the Church is superior to the Pope in case of heresy. “Therefore on deposing a heretical Pope, the Church would not act as superior to him, but juridically and by the consent of Christ, she would declare him a heretic and therefore unworthy of Pontifical honors; he would be then ipso facto & immediately deposed by Christ” (de Fide, D 10,  S 6, N 10).

“If he were a heretic and incorrigible, the Pope would cease to be the Pope only when a sentence has been passed against him for his crime by the legitimate jurisdiction of the Church. This is the common opinion among the Doctors, and can be concluded from the first Epistle of pope St Clement I, in which one reads that St Peter taught that the heretic Pope should be deposed. The reason is the following: it would be extremely harmful to the Church to have such a pastor and not be able to defend herself from such a grave danger; furthermore it would go against the dignity of the Church to oblige her to remain subject to a heretic pontiff without being able to expel him from herself; for such are the prince and the priest, so the people are accustomed to be […] heresy spreads like cancer, which is why heretics should be avoided as much as possible. This is therefore, all the more so with regards to a heretical pastor; but how can such a danger be avoided unless he ceases to be a true pastor.” (id., D 10, S 6, N 3 – 10)...

“If the external but occult heretic can still remain the true Pope, with equal right he can continue to be so in the event that the offense became known, as long as a sentence were not passed on him.” (id.)

Suarez picks up the problem detected by Cajetan. Heresy, because it was insufficient in its occult form to lose the papacy, is not sufficient in its known form. Like the dominicans, Suarez says “The heretical pope is not a member of the Church, if we consider the substance (the vital per se distinction) and form that constitute the members of the Church; nevertheless, he is the head, if we consider the office and the influx he exercises; and this is not to be wondered at, for the Pope is not the first and principal head, as if he channeled his own power into the Church, but he is something instrumental, and a vicar of the primary head, Who is able to send a spiritual influx to the members even through a head of bronze.”

Dear Father, if this is hysterical yammering to you, why do you put Suarez in page eleven of your “T,I&TP”, right after Cajetan (who also disagrees so badly with you)??

You mock us because amongst the prelates of today there are none who dare to rise, like the cowardly Burke and his three companions, and all the others who are steeped even deeper in heresy. Yet Suarez cannot conceive it otherwise: “In the first place who ought to pronounce such a sentence? Some say it would be the Cardinals; and the Church would be able undoubtedly to attribute them this faculty, above all if it were thus established by the consent or determination of the Supreme Pontiffs, as was done in regard to the election. But up to today we do not read in any place that such a judgment has been confided to them. For this reason, one must affirm that, as such, it pertains to all the Bishops of the Church, for, being the ordinary pastors and the pillars of the Church, one must consider that such a case concerns them. And since by divine law there is no greater reason to affirm that the matter is of more interest to these bishops than to those, and since by human law nothing has been established in the matter, one must necessarily sustain that the case refers to all, and even to the general council. That is the common opinion among the doctors.” (de Fide, X, 6).

In the same place Suarez assess what would happen if everyone started to take the law in his own hands: “there would arise doubts about the degree of infamy necessary for him to lose his charge: there would rise schisms because of this (indeed, for you we are not even Catholics), and everything would become uncertain (look at the proliferation of home alone churches), above all if, after being known as a heretic, the Pope should have maintained himself in possession of his charge by force or by other (which is exactly what the occupiers are doing).” (Ibid). This is exactly our situation and this point is quite important: sedevacantists are diverging among themselves as to the exact moment in which a formal and external heretic ceases to be a member of the Church. For some of you John XXIII is in, for others he is out. Neosedevacantists are emerging now, believing John Paul II was a true Pope… I doubt you shall endorse them.

LAYMANN sj. (1574-1632)

.. is also specific: “It is more probable that the Supreme Pontiff, as concerns his own person, could fall into heresy, even a notorious one, by reason of which he would deserve to be deposed by the Church, or rather declared separated from her. […] but it was the persuasion (of the Fathers) that it could happen that they fall into heresy and that […] it should pertain to the other bishops to examine and give a judgment on the matter; as one can see in the Sixth Synod, Act XIII; the Seventh Synod, last Act; the Eight Synod, Act VII, in the Epistle of Pope Hadrian and in the Fifth Roman Council under Pope Symmachus: “By many of those who came before us it was declared and ratified in Synod, that the sheep should not reprehend their pastor unless they presume they have departed from the faith.” Then he quotes the Canon “Si Papa” and St Robert Bellarmine quoting Pope Hadrian, stating that indeed a Pope can be judged for heresy an only for heresy.

Observe however that though we affirm that “the Supreme Pontiff, as a private person, might be able to become a heretic and therefore cease to be a true member of the Church, still while he was tolerated by the Church and publicly recognized as the universal pastor, he would really enjoy the pontifical power, in such a way that all his decrees would have no less force and authority than they would if he were truly faithful. The reason is because it is conducive to the governing of the Church, even as, in any other well constituted commonwealth, that the acts of a public magistrate are in force as long as he remains in office and is publicly tolerated” TheologiaMoralis, II, 2, ch7, p.153.

THE CARMELITES OF SALAMANCA (XVI-XVII Cent.)

.. refuse the idea that a heretical, and even pertinaciously heretical Pope loses office automatically, but by the Church; and they cite both Cajetan (de Auct. Papae 20-26) and Cano (de LocisTheologicis, l. VI, c. 8).”But this depositive power is not vain in the Church, and cannot be brought to act unless the Pope errs in the Faith: hence this error cannot be found in the Pope as a private person.”

Indeed sedevacantists insist that the Vatican II popes’ magisterium makes them non popes. Not so, reply the Carmelites. If the Pope errs, that will be always as a private person. (de Fide, disp. 4, dubium 1, n.7).

ST FRANCIS DE SALES  (1567-1622)

“St Peter has had successors, has them in these days and will have them even to the end of ages”. (Catholic Controversy, part II, art.6, ch. 9).

The former quote concerns the permanence of the actual succession, yet this passage is more crucial: “We do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Thus when he is an explicit heretic, he falls ipso facto out of the Church and the Church must either deprive him (Cajetan), as some say, or declare him deprived of his apostolic see (Bellarmine), and say as St Peter did: let another receive his episcopate...” Controversy, tan, p.305.

St Francis briefly mentions the Jesuit and Dominican position, both make no difference to him it seems. You fail to note that after he falls ipso facto out of the Church vi haeresi, it is the Church that either deprives him or declare him deprived, not Almighty God from Above, automatically, in virtue of Divine Law. St Francis’ explanation, despite its brevity fits both Suarez and Bellarmine seamlessly… and even understands the Dominican different position as well. Your only escape is a pair of scissors after the word “Church”. At the end of the quote he nails it further, saying that it is, again the Church that says “let him be deprived etc.” The subject of the verb “say” is not Peter, but the Church.

SAINT ALPHONSUS OF LIGUORI cssr. (1696-1787)

.. teaches that a General Council has a certain superiority over the Pope if he were “manifestly and exteriorly heretical (not just secretly and mentally). Yet, other [theologians] hold with greater exactness that in this case the Pope cannot be deprived of his authority by the Council as if it were superior to him, but that he would be deprived immediately by Jesus-Christ, as soon as the condition of this deposition [the declaration of the Council] is accomplished in the required way” (Dissertatio de R.P. Auctoritate, ed. 1869, p. 665). So, No automatic loss of office, even from public heresy, nor from being a non-member of the Church, without a public authoritative declaration of the crime.
Same idea in his book “The Truth of Faith”, Art. 1, preliminary, 2#, and in his 1768 book against the errors of Febronius, (cap. VIII, ad 6): the Church has to declare him such, then he falls from office.

BILLUART op. (1685-1757)

.. is very clear in his own de Fide: “Nowhere is it said that Christ continues to give jurisdiction to a manifestly heretical pontiff, because this can be known by the Church and she can avail herself of another pastor. Nevertheless, the common sentence holds that Christ, by a special disposition, for the common good and the tranquility of the Church, continues to give jurisdiction to a pontiff, even manifestly heretic, until he gets declared to be a manifest heretic by the Church.” (diss. IV, a. III, #3, obj.2).

And in his de Fide et de Regulis Fidei, Billuart pulls the carpet under the mantra of sedevacantism of ipso facto loss of office of a non-member of the Catholic Church: “It is because in the case of heresy, and not in other cases, he loses the pontificate by the very fact of heresy: how could he stay a member of the Church if he is not a member? [I think you would not refuse to quote this part of the sentence, it sounds like you, reverend Father, but bear with us and pay attention to the rest, to what you always carefully omit:] That is why he is submitted to the judgment of the Church, not to be deposed, because he has already deposed himself through heresy and has rejected the pontificate, but to be declared heretical, and thus it may be known by the Church that he is no longer pontiff: before such declaration it is not allowed to deny him obedience, because he keeps until then jurisdiction, not as a right, as if he were still pontiff, but as a fact, God willing it thus for the common good of the Church.” (diss. IV, a. VIII, #2, obj. 2&6).

BALLERINI sj. (1805-1881)

First he goes at length about the admonitions the Pope would receive from all corners, should he fall into heresy, then states that his pertinacity establishes the loss of office. Then he states “Therefore the Pontiff who after such a solemn and public warning by the Cardinals, by the Roman Clergy, or even by the Synod, would remain himself hardened in heresy and openly turn himself away from the Church, would have to be avoided, according to the precept of St Paul [Tit III,10]. So that he might not cause damage to the rest, he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church, making clear that by his own will departed, making known to be severed from the body of the Church and in some manner to have abdicated the Pontificate, which no one holds or can hold who is not in the church. One sees in the case of heresy to which a pontiff adhered in a private manner an efficacious remedy without the convocation of a general Synod; in which hypothesis whatever would be done against him before the declaration of his contumacy and heresy, in order to call him to reason, would constitute an obligation of Charity, not of jurisdiction. But afterwards, his departure from the church having been manifested,if a sentence were to be pronounced against him by a Council, it would be pronounced on him who would be no longer the pontiff, nor the superior of the council.“ and he says like Billot, this is still pure hypothesis, no pope has fallen in the past.  (de Potestate Ecclesiastica VI,2). If you still deny any insistence is made on external pertinacity, read the text again, and again, and again.

“Pedro de Luna, if one believes him to have been a true pontiff, by his own will ipso facto abdicated the primacy and the pontificate, and rightly and legitimately was able to be deposed by the Council as schismatic and heretic. By this means Divine Providence employed the Synod of Constance to end the most tenacious schism, so that the Synod did not need to exercise any power of jurisdiction by its authority to depose any true, albeit unknown, actual pontiff.”(ibid.) Again, the injudicability or immunity does not exclude the necessity of an external declaration.

C- CLOSER ERA (1789-1962)

BOUIX sj. (1808-1870)

.. deals extensively with our precise issue in his well argumented “Tractatus de Papa” (1869). I think his opinion is misrepresented, because for him the possibility that Rome would lose the faith is a pure hypothesis, unimaginable in the life of the Church, and the main opinions of the Dominicans and Jesuits are both erroneous for the almost same reason, since they do not determine what degree of heresy is sufficient to trigger the declarative or non declarative loss office. Fr Calderon, SSPX. points out the same, ie, that to declare a Pope has lost the pontificate through formal external heresy, a judgement on his heresy and its formality takes place.

Like most theologians, Bouix holds that, although it is highly improbable, it is not impossible that the Pope as a private doctor can spew heresies, and indeed it was the opinion of the whole Middle Ages, like in the Fifth Synod under Pope Symmachus.

Hence three opinions on the subject:

  1. He becomes deposed, a council judges an ex-Pope; “Depositus fit, Concilium iudicat ex-papam”.
  2. He is to be deposed; “Deponendus fit”.
  3. Neither “Neuter”.

On 1., he takes apart directly the opinion of Bellarmine. You may not like it, you may disagree with it, but it shows that long after his passing, the opposition to the Fifth Opinion remained strong:

#1 If a Pope were to be deposed ipso facto, that would be either by divine law, or by human law. “Atqui neutrum”: neither says anything on the subject. “Now, because the punishment of deposition is most grave, as to be incurred by divine law, it would have to be expressed in the Divine Law. No such disposition of divine law is found that states anything either generally about heretics, or specifically about bishops, or most specifically about Popes. Neither is there any certain tradition about this. Neither can the Pope incur ipso facto deposition via human law. Such law would be passed either by a Council or by a predecessing Pope. If by a Council, the law would be invalid, because it would be laid by an inferior to a superior. If by the latter, it would still be invalid, since it would be laid by an equal to another equal.

#2 It would be most pernicious to the Church if a Pope were deposed ipso facto […] for public and notorious heresy, there would be a doubt on how much notoriety and infamy would do to consider a Pontiff to have fallen. There would be schisms, everything would become doubtful, especially if, notwithstanding the alleged notoriety, the Pope would retain the see by force or in any other way, and would exercise his various functions. And it would be worse for the external and occult heresy [like the many grievous heresies of Benedict XVI] […]

#3 Faith is not necessary for man to be capable of spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and exercise true acts requiring such jurisdiction. In extreme necessity, a heretical priest can absolve, everybody teaches that, which absolution requires and supposes a jurisdiction. If the power of order, which is greater, can stand without faith or with heresy, so can ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

#4 Faith is lost by internal heresy, and there is not a single one doctor that teaches the Roman Pontiff can be deprived of his jurisdiction for mere internal heresy; hence jurisdiction can stand without Faith.

#5 The texts of the Fathers [like the quote of St Jerome, and others stating that heretics have no jurisdiction], refer to the correct or licit exercise of jurisdiction, or mean that heretics deserve to be deprived.

#6 On the “neither a member, neither a head” argument, Suarez does it best: “A heretical Pope is not a member of the Church “quoad substantiam”, (by mode of substance), and by the form through which the members of the Church are constituted. Nevertheless he remains the head with respect to his office and influence. This is not something unusual because he is not the first and principal head sending an influx by its power, but his action is instrumental and vicarious of the first head, which has the power to communicate spiritual influx to the members, as through a head of brass. In a proportional way, [the first head] sometime baptizes, sometimes absolves through heretics.” (de Fide X,6,5) Thus, one can answer that a heretical Pope is not a member of the Church with respect to the supernatural life that begins with Faith and is perfected by Charity; by which supernatural life all the members of the Church gather in one body, living supernaturally, concedo. But I deny him not to be a member and head according to the power of ruling proper to his office. It is not unfit that Christ wills a Pope (or diocesan bishop), who, while not part of a living supernatural body because of heresy, to retain still the power to rule the Church, as if the head had not lost that supernatural life. Indeed Christ did not will to deprive a heretical priest or bishop of his power of order, even if he defected to be a member of the Church by heresy. Hence it is not unconceivable that jurisdiction should remain in an internally or externally heretical bishop or Pope.”(Tractatus de Papa, vol. II, pp. 658 to 662).

I leave it to you to see how he takes apart the Dominican line of argumentation; but what is interesting is that when he is finished with the Dominicans he says no more. That is very wise. If you don’t know how such an intricate question is solved, better say nothing more and let Christ deal with his Vicar in due time. It is not fair to say that Bouix adheres to the third opinion; no, he states no own opinion on a question he considers totally hypothetic and extremely hard to resolve.

CARDINAL CAMILO MAZZELLA sj. (1833-1900)

“It is one thing if the Roman Pontiff cannot teach a heresy when speaking ex cathedra (what the council of Vatican defined); and it is another thing that he cannot fall into heresy, that is, become a heretic as a private person. On this last question the Council said nothing, and the theologians and canonists are not in the agreement among themselves in regard to this.” de Religione et Ecclesia, p817,n.1045.

BISHOP GASSER (1809-1879)

.. was the Official Relator of the Schema on Infallibility during Council Vatican I; hence his teaching on this matter is crucial. Here is his Address or “Relatio” to the Council of Vatican I: “In no sense is pontifical infallibility absolute, because absolute infallibility belongs to God alone, Who is the first and essential truth, and Who is never able to deceive or be deceived. All other infallibility, as communicated for a specific purpose, has its limits and its conditions under which it is considered to be present. The same is valid in reference to the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. For this infallibility is bound by certain limits and conditions.” The Gift of Infallibility, p.49. The exaggeration of the prerogative of infallibility of the Pope is the common disease of both the novus ordo and the sedevacantists.

BP. PURCELL (1800-1883)

.. is a favorite sede quote, yet, he also says “The Church must declare the fact officially in order to fill the vacancy and protect the faithful from the heretical wolf.” [Note that we are not using opponents to the Dogma of Infallibility against sedevacantism; I am wondering from where you got this idea.]

BERRY, “The Church of Christ”, p.196

“The primacy with all its powers and privileges is transmitted to the successors of St Peter, who form an unbroken line of supreme pastors to rule the Church in its continued existence. […] The Church must ever have a custodian, a supreme law-giver and judge, if she is to continue as Christ founded her.” For you the line is broken, yet this is inconceivable. Hence the conclavist sedevacantists are emerging again, clearly setting up schismatic churches.

WERNZ-VIDAL

While you argue in “Sedevacantism refuted?” that “it is by violating the divine law through the sin of heresy that a heretical pope loses his authority”, say the opposite : “The General Council declares the fact of the crime by which the heretical pope has separated himself from the Church and deprived himself of his dignity.”( Ius Canonicum, II, p.518).

Like all others, he admits that a declaratory sentence for the Pope is not excluded even if it is not that which makes him lose his office: “A declaratory sentence of the crime, however, is not excluded, as long as it is merely declaratory. This does not bring about the judgment of a heretical Pope, but rather shows that he has been judged.” Ius Canonicum, II, p.453. Let us glue back what your scissors cut.

COX

“The visibility of the Church follows of necessity if there exists an obligation to enter the Church. God could not command me to hear a Church that could not be known, nor to enter a Church that cannot be found.” (The Pillar and the Ground of Truth, 1900, p.36.) The visibility of the Church is no small matter, being no other than the four marks we sing in the Creed. My confrere Fr Picot tells me that sedes by taking away its visibility, take away from the Church the last thing the novus ordo was unable to destroy.

CORONATA omc.

It cannot be proven that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher, cannot become a heretic, if, for example, he would contumaciously deny a previously defined dogma. Such impeccability was never promised by God. Indeed, Pope Innocent III expressly admits such a case is possible.” (Inst. Iur. Can., I, p.316).

A Pontiff lapsed into heresy can most justly be deposed […] far be it that the Church should hear a pontiff lapsed into heresy. She who is rather bound to stop her own ears against his violent speech, lest she be infected by the venom of his doctrine; rather his casting out and new election ought to be urged by the assembly of the Sacred Cardinals.”( Tractatus Posthumus Iuris Publici, I, XXI, 2).

THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (1907-1912)

“Apostolicity, or Apostolic succession, means that the mission conferred by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles must pass from them to their legitimate successors in an unbroken line, until the end of the world.” (vol I, p.648).

CARDINAL BILLOT sj.

.. wrote the famed “de Ecclesia” and is at once the clearest, among many, to expose how your theory of sedeprivationism does not makes sense. Billot formulated the following thesis: “The peaceful and universal adhesion of the Church was always the infallible sign of the legitimacy of the person of the Roman Pontiff and the existence of all the conditions that are required for the legitimacy itself.” The proof is extensive (p.623). he states before that “From the moment in which the Pope [like Paul VI at least] is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” (de Ecclesia, I, p.612.) “…God cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff who is not so truly and legitimately (this is precisely what you contend, from John XXIII to 1975 at least). […] this adhesion of the Church heals in the root all vice of the election and shows infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.”

If I mention his refutation of your sedeprivationism first, it is because Billot uses the universal adhesion of the Church to solve the mystery of the heretical Pope: “Whatever one thinks on the above sentences (Cajetan versus Bellarmine), the adhesion of the Universal Church shall be always of itself alone the infallible sign of the legitimacy of the person of the Pontiff, and the existence of all the conditions required of the legitimacy itself” (#3, p.634).

Moreover, on the question of loss of Faith in Rome, if Billot follows Bellarmine’s fifth opinion, (like Naz and the other manuals you quote,) he considers it a pure hypothesis that cannot happen because the tribulations of the Church would be unbearable: “Being verified the hypothesis that a Pontiff became notoriously heretic, the Church would fall into so many and such torments, that it is credible a priori that God would never permit this to be.” (p.632).

He goes as far as even deny the possibility of even internal heresy in the Pope, while most theologian, like the DTC, deny such impeccability in the Faith : “… if, considering God’s Providence, he Pontiff cannot fall into occult or purely internal heresy, much less can he fall into external and notorious heresy. The order established by God demands that, as a private person, the Sovereign Pontiff cannot be heretical, including in the sole internal forum.” (de Eccl). Hence despite his great clarity on other topics, Billot is confused on the question of the Heretical Pope. If you use him on this question, you have either to endorse his specific weakness on this question (belief in the Impeccability of the Pope), or to accept the solution he proposes to the conundrum: Universal and Peaceful Acceptance.

HERVE (1881-1958)

“Given that, as a private person, the Pontiff could indeed become a public, notorious, and obstinate heretic… only a Council would have the right to declare his see vacant so that the usual electors could safely proceed to an election.” (Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, I, p.501).

SMITH

“Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived ipso iure of the Pontificate? Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment divested ipso facto of the Pontificate; the other is that he is, iure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the Church, ie, an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals.”( Elements of Ecclesiastical Law, p.210).

VAN NOORT

It is a fact beyond question that the Church can never fail to have a successor to Peter. […] Since Christ decreed that Peter should have a never ending line of successors in the primacy, there must always have been and there must still be someone in the Church who wields this primacy.” (“Christ's Church”, 1961, p.153).

“The visible form of the Church […] must not be confused with what is strictly its knowability. It is one thing to ask whether the Church which Christ founded is a public society, and quite another to ask whether that society can be recognized as the true Church of Christ by certain distinguishing marks.[...] All the promises which Christ made to His Church refer to a visible Church” (ibid. pp.12,13).

“The present question has to do with the perpetuity of that Church which alone was founded by Christ, the visible Church. Any society can fail in either of two ways: it can cease to be, or it can become unfit for the carrying out of its avowed aim through substantial corruption. The Church cannot fail in either way.” (ibid. p.30).

MAC KENZIE (1932)

“The external enforcement of law against heretics as heretics always involves some juridical process. This process may have various stages marked by the judicial sentences imposed: a declaratory sentence that excommunication has been incurred by the delict of heresy; a sentence of judicial infamy, deprivation of offices, benefices, etc.; deposition and degradation. The issuance of any of these sentences, (save the declaratory sentence), requires canonical warnings and trials, with full observance of the criminal code in all details of the process.” (The Delict of Heresy, p.98). Note the title, note your sleight of hand on all due process.

ZAPELENA sj (1932), and all “de Ecclesia” authors

.. unanimously insist on the visibility and immutability of the Church. The Church is the “prepared Mountain” of Isaias 2,2; it is placed on the candle stand, because for it to be necessary for salvation, its joining must be possible, something that any lack of universal visibility would exclude. The immutability of the Church is the immutability of a kingdom that shall never be dissipated (Dan 2,44), against whom the gates of Hell (or heresies) shall never prevail (Mt 16,18).

Billot confirms: the proposition “The Catholic Church is essentially visible” is necessary as such (de Eccl. 106). Visiblility is inseparable with the Four Marks (128), something showed by the study of each mark separately. For instance, Unity is unity of Faith, but also of rule and communion, which is what is lacking in the schismatic orthodox, whose warring “communions” followed all political vicissitudes (173). [Sedevacantism is a different rule and communion with the rest of Catholics all too often]. Moreover, by Communion, one means union of wills, “Ut sint consummati in unum” (Io XVII). In France, I just learned that the last two sedevacantist priests, Fr Guepin and Belmont, just split; while, as the Capuchins of Morgon are about to join, there is already almost fifty united resistance priests in that country. It is also worrying to see so many sedevacantists argue that the Church needs to go underground, cease to appear to the world, prepare as a for a strong hypothesis, for the end of the world or connive with semi-millenarism (only a miracle can save us now, and it is a direct intervention of Christ).

CARDINAL JOURNET (1891-1975)

.. is interesting, because he pairs Bellarmine and Suarez together (which shows you don’t know what you are talking about when you demean Suarez), and prefers the solution of Cajetan and John of St Thomas (which is totally exclusive of sedevacantism): “Some, such as Bellarmine and Suarez, considered that such a Pope, withdrawing himself from the Church, was ipso facto deposed, papa haereticus est depositus (…) Others, such

Then further, page 625 and following, he is worth quoting in full: “Then comes the very debated case of the heretical Pope. For many theologians, the promised help by Jesus to the successors of Peter will hinder them not only to teach publicly heresy but also to fall, as private persons, into heresy. Then there is no reason to introduce a debate on the possible deposition of a heretical pope. The question is settled in advance. Saint Bellarmine, (de Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. XXX) held this thesis as probable and easy to defend. Yet this thesis was less spread out in his times than today. It gained ground because, for a great part, of the progress of historical studies, which showed that what was imputed to certain popes like Vigilius, Liberius and Honorius, as private lapses of heresy, were no more than a lack of zeal and courage to proclaim, and especially to precise, in certain difficult moments, the true doctrine.

Nevertheless, many and good theologians of the XVIth and XVIIth century have admitted that it was possible that a pope could fall, as a private person, into the sin of heresy, not only occult, but also manifest. The ones, like Bellarmine and Suarez, have then thought that the pope, by cutting himself off from the Church, was “ipso facto” deposed; Papa haereticus est depositus. It appears that heresy is seen by these theologians as a sort of “moral suicide” suppressing the subject itself of the papacy. We return thus easily to the first way we said the Pontificate is lost.

The others, as Cajetan and John of St Thomas, whose analysis seems to me more penetrating, have considered that even after a manifest sin of heresy, the Pope is not yet deposed, but should be deposed by the Church; Papa haereticus non est depositus sed deponendus. Nevertheless they added the Church is not on that account above the Pope. They had recourse to the same explanation we used in the excursus IV1. They remarked that on the one hand, by divine right, the Church must be united to the Pope as a body to its head; and on the other hand, that, by divine right, he who is a manifest heretic must be avoided after one or two monitions (Tit III, 10). There is thus an absolute antinomy between the fact of being a Pope and persevering into heresy after one or two warnings. The action of the Church is simply declarative; it manifests that there is an incorrigible sin of heresy; then the Power of Authority of God exercises itself to disjoin the papacy from a subject who, persisting into heresy after  admonition, becomes, by divine right, incapable to hold it any longer. In virtue of Scripture, the Church designates and God deposes. God works with the Church, says John of St Thomas, a little like a Pope would decide to attach indulgences to certain pilgrimage places, but would leave to a minister the care to specify the places (II-II, Q.1 disp.2, a.3, n.29, t.VII, p.264). The explanation of Cajetan and John of St Thomas – which is not the explanation of the case of a doubtful pope that illuminated the Council of Constance – leads us, in its turn,  to the case of a subject who, from a certain moment, begins to become, by Divine Right, incapable to hold the privilege of the Papacy. It is reductible to the loss of pontificate by loss of subject. It is indeed the fundamental case, of which others will only be variants. ” Then he illustrates the argument with the case of Savonarola, whom, I think, is very pertinent to the problem of sedevacantism as we shall see later. (L’Eglise du Verbe Incarne, vol. I, p.625)

The DTC (VII,1717)

.. concludes the following on the fact that a Pope can err: It is probabilior that the pope can’t err as a private person, yet “none of the proof invoked in favor of Pontifical Infallibility demonstrate such privilege”. Yet, one cannot say either that this privilege is inadmissible. Such a privilege is more conform to the providential order.

None of your arguments based on infallibility demonstrate a Pope can’t err as a private person. Hence you have to resort, against the facts, to say that the Council and its reforms are official sanctions and promulgations. Like bishop Fellay you see all the trappings of a legitimate stamp on the Council and its reforms.

This being a theological, yet erroneous argument, let’s have a look at what the DTC says on the official and publicly sanctioned decrees of popes in general: “The doctrinal decrees of the Roman Congregations, even stamped with the common approval of the Pope, as long as they remain such and published as such, do not enjoy the priviledge of infallibility [… an anterior decision would become an ex Cathedra decision] only if the Pope manifested sufficiently his intention, his will to lay down a definitive, absolute sentence on the question.” You argue erroneously, like bishop Fellay, that, as long as something emanates officially from Rome, it has to be infallible, hence you say Rome is not Rome, while bishop Fellay recognizes the pestilential contents. This is not what Theology states on infallibility. There has to be that specific, definite, absolute sentence, while Vatican I taught that the “Holy Ghost has not been promised to Peter and his successors to teach novelties”. For infallibility is a guarantee given by God only if it refers to the deposit as we shall see later at the core of this thesis.

The instruction Donum Veritatis, of the CDF presided by Cardinal Ratzinger, on 24th May 1990, #24, clearly shows that, for conciliar popes, magisterial decrees are temporary if something better comes later. That is pure modernism, and impounds in the root any possibility of the modernists to teach any definitive, absolute sentence.

We can go further and further on the conclusions the DTC gives on further items of Pontifical Magisterium, in the middle of their Article on Papal Infallibility, if this one is not enough. They can all be placed in front of this constant refusal of conciliar popes to issue a definitive, absolute sentence on a truth of faith or morals.

The object of Vatican II style magisterium is not the truth, but the way the human conscience perceives the truth; it is utterly antinomic with what the DTC and all other good catholic treaties explain about Papal infallibility. Whom do we choose; you or them?

GARRIGOU-LAGRANGE op.

.. (in this passage you may say, talks only about private heretics, which I concede, yet he) explains how one can be cut off from the body of the Christ and remain its head secundum quid. It is very interesting because the key argument of sedevacantism is that Francis is not the Pope, by divine right (so they say), because he is not a member of the Church (de Christo Salvatore, 1946, p.232):

“…a secretely heretical Pope would not remain a member of the Church in act[…] but he would keep the jurisdiction by which he has influence over the Church by governing it. Thus he would keep the reason [or nature] of being the head towards the Church, on which he would have an influence, but he would cease to be a member of Christ, because he would not receive the vital influx of the faith of Christ, the invisible and first head. Thus, in a most abnormal fashion, he would be the head of the Church by jurisdiction, but he would not be a member.

This would be impossible if it would be about a physical head, but this is not contradictory if we talk about a secondary moral head: The reason being whereas a physical head cannot exercise influence on the members without receiving the vital influx of the soul; a moral head, as the roman pontiff is, can exercise a jurisdiction on the Church even if he receives no influence of internal faith and charity from the soul of the Church.

So, as Billuart says, the pope is constituted a member of the Church by his personal faith, that he can lose, and the head of the visible Church by jurisdiction and the power that can coexist with internal heresy. The Church will always appear visible, as the reunion of members placed under a visible head, that is the roman pontiff, even if those who appear as members of the Church remain interior heretics. One must conclude that internal heretics are only apparent members of the Church which they exteriorly and visibly profess as true”.

WHAT ABOUT THE CLASSIC SEDE QUOTES OF WERNZ-VIDAL, BESTE, REGATILLO, Etc.?

  1. Wernz-Vidal especially, but the others as well are way too brief on this topic, says the DTC (unlike the thorough studies of Cajetan, Bellarmine, John of St Thomas and Bouix for instance) and they are not detailed enough on the relation between heresy and membership of the Church, which is the question that torments you most.
     
  2. Otherwise these good authors in the above list still contradict tenets sedevacantism, all you need to do is to quote them in full.
     
  3. The authors you are citing are all referring to the per se loss of office, which non sedes like us, especially the Dominicans, don’t exclude either.
     
  4. And as Bellarmine maintains in de Rom. Pont. II,30, quoted above, they all suppose pertinacity, contumeliousness, notoriety of the crime in the legal sense, which never come about without a trial, or at least an admonition or warning,
     
  5. These authors are canonists, considering the problem in the canonical point of view, something you emphatically refuse to do. Hence it is difficult to understand why you stretch (all too brief extracts of) Canon Law manuals to uphold something that, in your opinion, did not take place by the force of Canon Law itself.

VERY IMPORTANT ALSO: GARRIGOU, VAN NOORT, OTTAVIANI

.. and plenty other authoritative theologians were alive during the pontificate of John XXIII, yet it never ever crossed their minds that he was not the Pope. How can you say then that your theory is obvious, or worse, that it causes a grave obligation on the simple faithful, when even the most renowned theologians of our time never discerned the issue with John Paul II, and even Paul VI? PADRE PIO never raised the question of the validity of conciliar popes, while being very aware of their errors, and perhaps even their appurtenance to freemasonry; telling Fr Villa to expose the connivance and involvement of all guilty prelates. Fr Villa never became sedevacantist.

Sedevacantists have made of their opinion such a super-dogma, that I have to apologize to my other guests for this gross pyramid of crude authorities. They could bypass the whole pile to save their appetite on the other courses, as long as they understand the utter absence of a universal consent of theologians on the matter of the loss of office of a publicly heretical pontiff.