A. The Truth About Papal Claims

The Truth About Papal Claims

© Copyright 2008, T. Stanfill Benns; revised 2014
((This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

What is the definition of doubt in Canon Law? Rev. Amleto Cicognani (“Canon Law”) tells us that the word doubt comes from the Latin root du meaning two. So a doubt of law or fact is withholding assent between two contradictory propositions — such a one was validly elected Pope, or he was not validly elected Pope. This amounts to a lack of certitude, and as Cicognani points out, the common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts. (Here we again encounter Can. 21.) This is especially true since the valid election of a Pope constitutes a dogmatic fact. Rev. A.C Cotter (“ABC of Scholastic Philosophy”) tells us that formal certitude is “Firm assent (or dissent) based on motives in themselves infallible and [which are] known to be infallible.” Cicognani says doubt must be absolutely removed by a reflex principle. Rev. Pierre Gury gives some of these principles in his work, “Dogmatic Theology.” Here we have a doubt of fact, e.g., whether this or that person truly was able to become pope. Gury says that this fact must not be merely presumed, but must be demonstrated. What is provided below will help demonstrate what is necessary to resolve doubts concerning the validity of papal claimants.

Theologians on legitimate papal election

Traditionalists quote the theologian Billot as follows: “God cannot…permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately. Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope 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.” When the Church (bishops, priests, religious laity) once again can reunite and when the hierarchy can elect a Pope, then and not till then can this principle be applied.

From Rev. Francis Connell we read: “What certainty have we that the reigning Pontiff is actually the primate of the universal Church – that is, that he became a member of the Church through valid baptism, and that he was validly elected Pope? We have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly elected in conclave and accepted the office of Bishop of Rome, thus becoming head of the universal Church. The unanimous consensus of a large group of Cardinals composing the electoral body gave us this assurance… For if we did not have infallible assurance that the ruling Pontiff is truly in the eyes of God the chief teacher of the Church of Christ, how could we accept as infallibly true his solemn pronouncements? This is an example of a fact that is not contained in the deposit of revelation but is so intimately connected with revelation that it must be within the scope of the Church’s magisterial authority to declare it infallibly. The whole Church, teaching and believing, declares and believes this fact, and from this it follows that this fact is infallibly true. We accept it with ecclesiastical – not divine – faith, based on the authority of the infallible Church.” Of course all this presumes (in the case of elections after that of Pius XII, reigning when Connell wrote this) that the cardinals are truly Catholic, that they faitfuly followed the laws governing papal elections, and that the faithful accepting the pope as validly elected are truly Catholic, which was not the case when Roncalli was elected.

These two theologians both agree that only when the election itself is certainly valid and the Church as a whole accepts a man as pope (meaning clergy first of all, then people, since St. Antoninus below tells the people to follow the clergy) can he be considered truly pope. There must be at least moral certainty concerning the validity of the election. All this is necessary because we must have infallible assurance that the ruling Pontiff is truly in the eyes of God the chief teacher of the Church of Christ,” in order to be ableto accept as infallibly true his solemn pronouncements,” and infallible assurance comes only from the laws and teachings of the Popes and councils defining. Rev. Journet and John of St. Thomas — as well as others — agree with the theologians above, as shown below.

Rev. Charles Journet writes, in his “The Church of the Word Incarnate,” (under validity and certitude of election):“[The papal] election, remarks John of St. Thomas, may be invalid when carried out by persons not qualified, or when, although effected by persons qualified it suffers from defect of form or falls on an incapable subject, as for example, one of unsound mind or unbaptized [or an apostate, heretic or schismatic]. But the peaceful acceptance of the universal Church given to an elect as to a head to whom it submits is an act in which the Church engages herself and Her fate. It is therefore an act in itself infallible and is immediately recognizable as such. (Consequently and mediately, it will appear that all conditions prerequisite to the validity of the election have been fulfilled.) Acceptance by the Church operates either negatively, when the election is not at once contested; or positively, when the election is first accepted by those present then gradually by the rest.

“The Church has the right to elect the Pope, and therefore the right to certain knowledge as to who is elected. As long as any doubt remains and the tacit consent of the universal Church has not yet remedied the possible flaws in the election, there is no Pope; papa dubius, papa nullus. As a matter of fact, remarks John of St. Thomas, insofar as a peaceful and certain election is not apparent, the election is regarded as still going on. And since the Church has full control, not over a Pope certainly elected but over the election itself, she can take all measures needed to bring it to a conclusion. The Church can therefore judge a Pope to be doubtful. Thus, says John of St. Thomas, the Church judged three popes to be doubtful, of whom two were deposed and the third resigned.” Journet also writes, under loss of the pontificate: “The Pope was considered as having resigned when he was so placed that he could not possibly exercise his powers. ‘It appears that in those times when a bishop was removed from his see…by death, exile or resignation, or an equivalent measure…the see was considered as vacant,’” (Duchesne, The Early History of the Church, Vol. III).

Now by Church must always be understood the Church’s own definition of Herself as established by Christ: bishops, priests and laity. So immediately someone is going to object: only the clergy can determine if a Pope is doubtful. And I answer here that this is not about not any certain “pope.” This is not the same as questioning the integrity of a thing already accepted by many Catholics as certainly existing, as happened during the Western Schism. This is about a candidate’s ability to qualify for election according to Church and Divine law PRIOR to any election event that is being questioned here. Any man can walk up to any person on the street and tell them: I was elected governor by 50 people from three different counties last night and you must follow me and do what I say. Does that make him governor? Wouldn’t you consult the laws of the State to see if he really could be elected this way? Wouldn’t you demand proof of his integrity, expect him to prove his citizenship and to provide proof of previous experience in some branch of government?  Would you follow him as governor without conducting such an investigation and obey his “laws,” even though they were not the same as those observed in your state? (Well you could, but you might land in jail.) All this is simple common sense. This reasoning concerns only secular authorities: how much more must we demand from those who hold our eternal salvation in their hands?! No one goes from desk clerk to CEO overnight, unless Daddy dies and he inherits the business. Every man is answerable to those he intends to represent, or can be made answerable by the people. The Church is a divinely instituted society, so Her laws are a little different. But all the same basic principles remain, as further demonstrated below.

Cardinal Manning’s nephew, Rev. Henry Ryder, likewise writes: “The privilege of infallible teaching belongs only to an undoubted Pope; on the claims of a doubted, disputed Pope, the Church has the right of judging [as occurred at the Council of Constance.]…During a contested papacy, the state of things approximates to that of an interregnum. The exercise of active infallibility is suspended.” This statement only reflects the teachings of Journet and John of St. Thomas, also Cardinal Cajetan, and is the long practice of the Church in the matter of “rival” papacies. It has taken the Church hundreds of years in some cases to decide whether this or that papacy was true or false, even with what would appear to us now as solid evidence. For example, Pope Gregory XII was not determined to be the true Pope during the Western Schism (14th and early 15th century), until the 19th century despite the fact that a) He resided in Rome and b) by accepting his resignation as Pope, the Council of Constance implicitly recognized his legitimacy. The Church demands a high degree of certitude where electing a Pope is concerned. And without the participation of valid and licit clergy in the selection and nomination process, also the actual election, we cannot obtain that degree of certitude.

Cardinal Zabarella, writing in the 14th and 15th centuries, believed that in the event of a contested papacy, a General Council (the “universal Church…or congregation of the faithful”) was to decide which claimant was the true Pope, (“The Origins of the Great Schism,” by Walter Ullmann). Even here, however, Zabarella restricts the actual decision to those at the Council deemed the most capable and senior in position. The Canonist Baldis de Ubaldis, Zabarella’s student, disagrees with Journet, stating that “Canon Law lays down the dictum that in a doubtful situation, the man elected has to be held as Pope,” (Ullmann). But yet another author qualifies this statement. According to “an ancient canon…the first election should be considered valid until the contrary is proved: ‘the Church ordains that the preference shall always be given to him who, at the request of the people, with the consent and concurrence of the clergy, has been first placed by the Cardinals in the chair of Blessed Peter.’ Now Peter de Leone and his party proceeded to the second election without attempting to prove the invalidity of the first which, as not being self-evidently null, gave Innocent at least a presumptive right,” (“St. Bernard,” by Albert Luddy).

We must make several distinctions in what is quoted above. First of all, it must be realized that Ullmann’s quotes came from a cardinal and his student forced to deal with the Gallicanist heresy, then rampant in the Church. Secondly, Rev Luddy is quoting an ancient canon that was extant during the first millennia of the Church, a canon that contradicts what some are trying to say about how elections by the clergy and laity were conducted and who conducted them. The laity may have chosen a candidate; but it was the CLERGY who elected or confirmed him, or not, as the sense of the canon indicates. And finally, it was the CARDINALS who actually elected or placed him, since the first law limiting the election to cardinals was enacted by Pope Stephen IV in 769, although it was not faithfully observed until the 13th century. It must be noted here that nowhere is it stated that the election of the pope was ever limited to the laity; all the laity ever had the right to do is to nominate a candidate to be approved by the clergy and elected by the cardinals or the clergy (bishops and priests) of Rome; the extent of the laity’s role in this bare nomination has been long disputed by various theologians and Catholic historians. So only the CLERGY, assisted to an unknown degree by the laity, ever presented these nominees to the cardinals or senior clergy for election.

In stating that a pope could be cleared of any irregularities save heresy by election and acceptance of the election, Ubaldis (and Luddy) assume it will be the cardinals electing. Even though medieval canonists had considered the case of a layman elected Pope, and Ubaldis was a contemporary of these canonists, no one considered the case of the election of a layman who could not be ordained for an extended length of time.  Ubaldis himself did observe that only a General Council could remove a Pope guilty of  “notorious heresy” who will not abdicate. But it must be remembered that he wrote before the infallible Bull of Pope Paul IV, “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio” was issued, which decrees that when a Pope publicly teaches heresy, this means he was never a pope because he was a heretic pre-election and hence can be disposed of even by the civil power. This Bull removes the necessity of the Church to declare the one elected a heretic and request deposition by stating that the heresy itself deposes. It requires only that the fact of the heresy be demonstrated and the offender corrected and removed.

Journet, citing Hurtaud refers to the interesting case of Pope Alexander VI: “By divine law, he who shows himself to be a heretic is to be avoided after one or two admonitions, (Titus 3: 10). There is therefore an absolute contradiction between the fact of being Pope and the fact of persevering in heresy after one or two admonitions…Savonarola, [Hurtaud says] regarded Alexander VI as having lost his faith…Savonarola wished to collect together the Council, not because, like the Gallicans, he placed a Council above the Pope, (the letters to the Princes are legally and doctrinally unimpeachable) but so that the Council, before which he would prove his accusation, should declare the heresy of Alexander VI in his status as a private individual.” (Journet further notes here that Savonarola’s case is still open.) It must be pointed out here that Savonarola was not dealing with heresy publicly manifested; only with heresy committed in a “private capacity,” as Journet says. Also, once again, Savonarola lived prior to the issuance of Pope Paul IV’s infallible bull, which teaches that anytime a “Pope” appears to commit heresy of any kind, he was never validly elected Pope. “Cum ex…” basically states that whenever it appears that a “Pope” has committed “an error in respect of the faith,” he committed the initial error pre-election and may be judged. This dispenses with any question of private heresy.

Catholic Encyclopedia on doubtful elections

Under “Elections,” the Catholic Encyclopedia states that an ecclesiastical election may be disputed, hence become doubtful “by whoever is interested in it,” (see www.newadvent.com) The article lists the following reasons why an ecclesiastical election can be called into question.

1. Unless there has been a frank and fair discussion of the merits of the candidate(s), “Some maintain that an election without such a discussion is null or could be annulled.”

2. “The principle duty of an elector is to vote according to his conscience…In order, however to fulfill his duty, the elector has a right to be free and entirely uninfluenced by the dread of any unjust annoyance which might affect his vote, whether such annoyance be…civil or ecclesiastical.”

3. An election may be defective…if the electors are not properly qualified.” The Encyclopedia article states that persons eligible for election (including that of the pope) are those who “meet the requirements of common ecclesiastical law, or special statutes, for the charges or function in question; hence, for each election it is necessary to ascertain what is required of the candidate.” This is in perfect agreement with the need for a canonical provision under Canons 20 and 147.

4. If the one elected is unfit or unworthy

5. If all the qualified electors were not summoned, (Revs. Bouscaren-Ellis under Canon 162 state that if one-third of the lectors are not summoned, the lection is invalid.)

6. The election of an unworthy person is to be annulled. (See # 4.)

Doubtful popes and the Church eclipsed

Journet and others were quoted in the book “Will the Catholic Church Survive…?” pre-election on the subject of universal acceptance of the election, which is a means of remedying any possible defects in the election form. In the absence of such an acclamation, the election is still technically in progress, as Cardinal Cajetan observes above. It would be imprudent, to say the least, if the opinions of Journet and John of St. Thomas were set aside because no acclamation could be obtained. So the following facts support the opinion that all other things aside, the papal election is still underway. Therefore, until the hierarchy is located, it is not possible to elect a true pope.

The following quotes under this subtitle are used by Traditionalist opponents, ironically, to shore up their own position. “The pope has [jurisdiction] immediately from God on his legitimate election. The legitimacy of his election depends on the observance of the rules established by previous popes regarding such election…In the absence of legitimate election, no jurisdiction whatsoever is granted, neither de jure, nor despite what some have tried to maintain, de facto…A doubtful pope may be really invested with the requisite power, but he has not practically in the Church the same right as a certain pope — he is not entitled to be acknowledged as Head of the Church, and may be legitimately compelled to desist from his claim,” (“The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” Rev. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J.; from the chapter “The Pastoral Office of the Church,” all emphasis by Rev. O’Reilly in the original. Rev. O’Reilly was the theologian of choice in Ireland for local Irish Councils and Synods, was a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Dublin and was at one time considered as a candidate for a professorship at the prestigious Roman College by his Jesuit superior.)

That the Church should remain thirty or forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be [Catholics reason]. Yet it has been, and we have no guarantee that it will not be again…We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God will permit…We, or our successors in future generations, may see stranger evils than have yet been experienced…contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing.”

Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, D.D., in his seminary text, “The Church of Christ, An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise,” (Herder, St. Louis and London, 1927 & 1941) wrote:

“The prophecies of the Apocalypse show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition to the Church of Christ. Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of Pope, and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church.” (p. 119)

And, “there seems to be no reason why a false Church might not become universal, even more universal than the true one, at least for a time.” (p.155)

And these next excerpts are from The Divine Plan of The Church subtitled, “Where Realised, and Where Not.” by the Rev. John MacLaughlin, Burns & Oates, London, 1901. Chapter VI, on indefectibility. Pp. 93-94.

“We concede, moreover, that there may have been occasions in the past (and such intervals may occur in the future) when, through the opposition of anti-popes and a variety of untoward circumstances, it was difficult for individuals for the moment to tell where the right source of authoritative teaching was to be found.

“This, however, does not change the state of the case in the least; the one true Church was in the world somewhere all the same, and in full possession of all her essential prerogatives, although, for the passing hour – from transient causes – she may not have been easily discernible to the less observant.

“Just as there have been times when some dense fog or mist made it impossible for the ordinary observer to tell the exact spot the sun occupied in the sky, although everybody knew that he was there somewhere; knew, too, that he would in due course make the exact location of his presence visible to all, and that, as soon as the mist lifted, his rays would come straight to the earth again, and every one would see that he was identically the same luminous orb that had shone before.”

On obeying doubtful popes

According to the opinions of seven different theologians, fulfilling the requirements of Can. 20 and the moral prerequisites for establishing true probability, “There is no schism involved…if one refuses obedience [to a pope] inasmuch as one suspects the person of the Pope or the validity of his election…” (“The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics,” Rev. Ignatius J, Szal, A.B., J.C.L.). Of course one would need to offer valid reasons for such doubts, reasons provided elsewhere by this author. Notice that one need only suspect that the man claiming to be Pope is a heretic or invalidly elected, (Can. 2200). What Szal presents, then, is a solidly probable opinion, one which establishes certitude, and according to the laws and teachings of the Church it may be followed at will. Consequently, no one may accuse one following their conscience in this matter of being in schism, since the Church condemns those as heretics who believe that “It is not permitted to follow a (probable) opinion, or among the probables, the most probable,” (condemned as absolute tutiorism (rigorism) by Alexander VIII; DZ 1293).

Furthermore, in his bull “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio,” Pope Paul IV has exonerated all those from heresy or schism who in good conscience denounce an heretical usurper: It shall be lawful for all and sundry who would have been subject to persons so promoted and elevated, had these not first strayed from the Faith or been heretics, or incurred or incited or committed schism; for clerics, secular or regular, and for laymen; likewise for Cardinals, even for those who participated in the election of one straying from the Faith, or of a heretic or schismatic to the Papacy, or who otherwise presented and pledged him obedience and paid him homage; to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs. …All may implore the aid of the secular arm against those so advanced and elevated. Nor shall they be liable to reprisal through any censure or penalty, as renders of the Lord’s robe, for departing, for the reasons set forth above, from fealty and obedience to said promoted and elevated persons…” And Pope Paul IV’s laws on heresy and schism are retained in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

We also have this from St. Antoninus, who in commenting on the Great Western Schism noted: “The question was much discussed and much was written in defense of one side or the other. For as long as the schism lasted each obedience had in its favor men who were very learned in Scripture and Canon Law, and even very pious people, including some who – what is much more – were illustrious by the gift of miracles. Nonetheless the question could never be settled without leaving the minds of many still in doubt. Doubtless we must believe that, just as there are not several Catholic Churches, but only one, so there is only one Vicar of Christ who is its pastor. But if it should occur that, by a schism, several popes are elected at the same time, it does not seem necessary for salvation to believe that this or that one in particular is the true pope, but just in general whichever of them was canonically elected. The people are not obliged to know who was canonically elected, just as they are not obliged to know Canon Law; in this matter they may follow the judgment of their superiors and prelates.”

In the absence of the hierarchy, as Pope Pius XII said, we must assume all those duties we are allowed to assume according to papal and canon law. In the above quote form Cum ex…, Pope Paul IV, unlike St. Antoninus who wrote before him. Presumed us able to discern heresy and avoid the heretics; even to bring the civil power into play to dethrone the usurper. We can only obey the laws and teachings of the Fathers speaking unanimously, all the Popes and the General Councils and especially Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, the last law written on papal election. For this law was the codification of all previous papal election laws and these have always been the measure of Divine Faith. But we do NOT need to heed or obey the dictates of those passing themselves off as “pope” or some other leader, for they have a vested interest in claiming our allegiance, and their deductions, when not in strict accord with Church law and teaching are worthless. Without certainly valid and licit clergy electing, there can be no true pope. Pope St. Pius X’s 1904 election law revised by Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election law abrogates all previous papal election laws, as every canonist consulted in the matter states. Pope Pius XII’s election law stands until a future Pope is elected, as the law itself states.

The laity may not validly elect a pope and have never elected a Pope; this statement contradicts Divine law as expounded in Can. 107 and results in heresy. No such papal claimants elected outside the laws of the Church are certainly valid, and a doubtful pope is no pope unless elected by the cardinals according to the sacred canons.

Some have raised the specious objection that VAS is special law and is not governed by the canons of the 1917 Code. But Pope Pius XII does not (indirectly) mention obedience only to canon law in VAS but to papal law, especially VAS itself. Canons 109 and 219 state that only a legitimately elected Roman Pontiff, on the acceptance of the election, receives jurisdiction by Divine right. The terms of legitimacy however are laid down only in VAS, which Pius XII says is the sole document governing papal elections. Ergo, only VAS could be used to determine such legitimacy. As Rev. Connell stated above: [The legitimate election of a pope] is an example of a fact that is not contained in the deposit of revelation but is so intimately connected with revelation that it must be within the scope of the Church’s magisterial authority to declare it infallibly. The whole Church, teaching and believing, declares and believes this fact, and from this it follows that this fact is infallibly true. We accept it with ecclesiastical – not divine – faith, based on the authority of the infallible Church.”

Roncalli and Montini worked hand in hand to plan and execute the false Vatican 2 council. They agreed on friendly negotiations with the Communists and Montini was the main cooperator in these endeavors. The accounts of several “papal” biographers and others attest to this. These works even backhandedly confirm that Roncalli was elected only to create Montini a cardinal so that he could be elected when Roncalli died. What we saw with our own eyes in those times following the closing of Vatican 2 and the introduction of the new “mass” was a delayed reaction to the completion of the false council and the revision of the liturgy. If Catholics truly accepted these popes and their fruits, why in heaven’s name did they leave?

It is estimated that in some regions as many as 50 percent of the faithful and religious left their parishes. That is when they perceived Rome as a false church, whether they dared admit it or not. But the Masonic elements shepherding them into Traditionalism made certain that they did not dare reject them as antipopes; this would have unraveled their well-laid plans. Cum ex was not really well known until the late 1970s, early 1980s. Sedevacantists per se only surfaced in the early 1980s with the Thucite bunch. Those who left rejected Vatican 2 and its creators. Those who remained — whether through apathy, for cultural reasons or from actual preference — remained in a false church. This includes what then passed for the hierarchy.  Cum ex… is written in such a way that it does not matter when in the course of things one realizes an antipope was never pope. It states in para. 7: “It shall be lawful [for all]… to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons.” Montini was only a continuation of the tradition instituted by Roncalli, created specifically by him to see that the council and liturgical changes were carried to completion.  Roncalli “appointed” him pope on his deathbed, according to a report by Don Luis Villa. This in itself was a violation of Pope Pius XII’s papal election law, not yet “replaced” by Paul 6’s “new” election law, so the “appointment” invalidated any purported “election.”

• “The non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits (ib. c. 26). The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member; now he who is not a Christian is not a member of the Church, and a manifest heretic is not a Christian, as is clearly taught by St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2), St. Athanasius (Scr. 2 cont. Arian.), St. Augustine (lib. de great. Christ. cap. 20), St. Jerome (contra Lucifer.) and others; therefore the manifest heretic cannot be Popethe Pope heretic ceases to be Pope by himself, without any deposition… heretics are neither parts nor members of the Church, and that it cannot even be conceived that anyone could be head and Pope, without being member and part (cap. ult. ad argument. 12),” (St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30).

• “Heresies and schisms have no other origin than that obedience is refused to the priest of God, and that men lose sight of the fact that there is one judge in the place of Christ in this world” (Epist. xii. ad Cornelium, n. 5). No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church. Wherefore Optatus of Milevis blamed the Donatists for this reason: “Against which ages (of hell) we read that Peter received the saving keys, that is to say, our prince, to whom it was said by Christ: ‘To thee will I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the gates of hell shall not conquer them.’ Whence is it therefore that you strive to obtain for yourselves the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven—you who fight against the chair of Peter?” (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, June 20, 1896).

• “Nobody among mortals dare to presume the Pope’s faults, because the one who has to judge everybody should not be judged by anybody, except if he be found to have deviated from the straight way of the faith,” (St. Boniface of Mainz, Decretum, Pt. 1).

•“Faith is so necessary to me that, being so, only God may judge me of all other sins, but if I commit a sin against faith, I could be judged by the Church,” (Pope Innocent III, Latin Patrology).

• “The non- Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits. The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member. Now he who is not a Christian is not a member of the Church, and a manifest heretic is not a Christian, as is clearly taught by Saint Cyprian (Liber 4, Epitle 8), Saint Athanasius (Scr 2 Contra Arianus), Saint Augustine, liber de great. Christ. Caput 20), Saint Jerome (contra Lucifer.) and others; therefore the manifest heretic cannot be Pope,” (De Romano Pontifice).

•“Because of a cause affecting all the Church, a Pope may be judged; but not because of causes affecting only one or a few persons…,” (Canonist Ruffin, 1164).

• “The power of the Roman Pontiff is lost…  By his perpetual insanity or by formal heresy …” (Rev. Dominic Prummer, Manuale Iuris Canonici).

• “Not a few canonists teach that, outside death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy…” (Udalricus Beste, Introductio in Codicem).

• “The power of the Roman Pontiff ceases by…certain and unquestionably perpetual insanity and notorious heresy,” (A. Vermeersch, I. Creusen, Epitome Iuris Canonici).

• “Q. 466 — Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso facto, of the Pontificate

A-1. There are two opinions: one holds that he is, by virtue of divine appointment, divested, ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the Church — i.e., by an oecumenical council of the College of Cardinals.” [Yet Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex…, the old law governing heresy, states that any and all may depart from him, no declaration is needed and he may be removed by the civil power.]

A-2. “The question is hypothetical rather than practical. For although, according to the more probable opinion, the pope may fall into heresy and err in matters of faith, as a private person, it is also universally admitted that no Pope ever did fall into heresy, even as a private doctor,” (“Elements of Ecclesiastical Law,” Vol. one I of III, 1887; 6th edition). Here is the rub, then; Smith is talking only heresy committed in the pope’s private capacity, not public heresy; for as we wrote in /articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/traditionalist-heresies-and-errors/heresies-concerning-papal-authority/why-a-legitimate-roman-pontiff-could-never-become-a-heretic-but-could-only-appear-to-become-one/  ,  following the Vatican Council, this question was settled. The pope as a true pope can never err in matters of faith and morals. If he does then this can mean only that he never became pope for the pope could never err in his formal capacity.

One of the reasons that the infiltrators (and here I include Traditionalists) have insisted that infallible statements can be issued only with great pomp and formality, and the reason they have denied that they can be contained in documents issuing from the ordinary magisterium, is that in this way they then can say that nothing Roncalli or Montini taught was “manifest” or “formal,” So they never tried to teach anything formally. The same rules apply to this that apply to all infallible pronouncements. Even something taught to all the faithful in a radio address can qualify as a statement issuing from the ordinary magisterium and thereby judged infallible.

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