Can the Church Depose an Heretical Pope?


Written by  Robert J. Siscoe

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Afbeelding: Pope Vigilius excommunicated by the Second Council of Constantinople, 553

“Indeed the Church has the right to separate herself from an heretical pope according to divine law. Consequently it has the right, by the same divine law, to use all means of themselves necessary for such separation…” John of St. Thomas

“The Church must render a judgment before the pope loses his office. Private judgment of the laity in this matter does not suffice.” Robert J. Siscoe

A recent article by Fr. James V. Schall S.J., which was re-posted as “the article of the week” on the popular Traditional Catholic website Rorate Caeli, has caused quite stir in some quarters. In the short article, which is titled On Heretical Popes, Fr. Schall briefly discusses the claims of heresy leveled against the post-Conciliar Popes, especially Pope Francis, and raises the question of whether a pope can fall into heresy, and, if so, how the Church would go about deposing him. The article was written in a very moderate tone, but the issues addressed were evidently too much for the extreme Left and their newly discovered Ultramontanism.

A writer at the ultra-liberal National Catholic Reporter reacted with outrage that Fr. Schall would dare mention such issues during the current Pontificate. He declared Fr. Schall’s article to be “irresponsible and inflammatory”, and suggested the only response to this “danger” is “to seek even harder to embrace Pope Francis and his effort to renew the Church.”

In light of recent events, even mainstream Catholics are beginning to openly ask if it is possible for a pope to be a heretic, and, if so, what means would the Church possess to remedy such a dangerous situation.

Read on…


 

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