From THE CATHOLIC MONITOR
It appeared to me a few days ago that the former highest doctrinal authority in the Church, ex-Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller admitted that Francis could be a antipope.
Remember that only an antipope when he speaks “ex cathedra” can speak what is “invalid” because the false pope’s papacy is invalid.
LifeSiteNews reported that Cardinal Muller said:
“‘[I]f he [Francis] spoke ex cathedra… make[ing] possible the ordination of women… in contradiction to the defined doctrine of the Church,’ he continues”
“‘It would be invalid,’ he adds.”
(LifeSiteNews, “Cardinal Muller: No pope or council could permit female deacons, ‘it would be invalid,” Friday July 26, 2019)
Steven O’Reilly at Roma Locuta Est who always bends over backward to be fair and cover all angles showed the Vatican I background to my assertion a few days ago of the Muller statement. Moreover, he added that it could, also, mean Francis is a heretical pope:
“However, as Catholics well know, this poses an obvious difficulty. Vatican I defined the dogma of papal infallibility in the following terms (emphasis added):
‘…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that his church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.’ (Pastor Aeternus cited in Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Denzinger, 1839)”
“In addition, this definition is followed by a canon, which states: ‘But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathema’ (Denzinger 1840).
Clearly, a faithful Catholic will note the seeming disconnect between what Pastor Aeternus defined infallibly, and what Cardinal Müller said above. But, the Cardinal is no dummy as to suggest ex cathedra statements can be disregarded. This suggests, to me at least, a hidden, unstated and inescapable implication in the Cardinal’s statement, as well as being an indication of how he and other Cardinals are now privately viewing Pope Francis–though this is speculative.”
“There is only one way, in logic at least, for a Catholic to accept Vatican I on papal infallibility but reject a heretical declaration that seemingly meets the formal conditions of being ex cathedra.
Given that a true pope is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching an error ex cathedra, it follows that if a man, seemingly “pope,” were to teach something which denies or conflicts with a known truth of the Catholic Faith it must be either (1) the man thought to be “pope” was never a true pope to begin with, or (2) the man thought to be “pope” had, at some point in the past, alreadyfallen through heresy or apostasy from the Petrine office. Those are the logical implications as I see them. Whether these are intended by the Cardinal or not with respect to Francis, in such a hypothetical scenario as he outlined, I cannot say.”
“If this a fair analysis, it may suggest the Cardinal and at least a few others in the Sacred College are actively considering one of these options to be a real possibility in the case of Pope Francis. If nothing else, it certainly is a shot across the bow of Pope Francis. It does suggest, along with other statements from the likes of Cardinal Brandmuller, that some in the “resistance” are reaching the point where they can bend no more. So, after so many years, we may be reaching a decisive moment.”
If “the Cardinal and at least a few others in the Sacred College are actively considering one of these options to be a real possibility in the case of Pope Francis,” it seemed proper to go over how and why Francis might be a antipope or a heretical pope.
We will start with why he may be a antipope:
Bishop Rene Gracida and others have convincingly demonstrated that there is valid evidence that Pope John Paul II’s conclave constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” which “prescribe[d].. [the] method for the election of his successor(s)” was violated and must be investigated by Cardinals. If, after the investigation, Francis is found to be a antipope then a new pope would have to be elected after Benedict XVI’s resignation is investigated to see if his resignation was valid. If Benedict’s resignation was invalid then he would either have to resign validly or remain pope until his death.
Getting back to the topic of violation of “papal election procedures,” renowned Catholic historian Carroll explicitly says that what matters in a valid papal election is not how many cardinals claim a person is the pope. What is essential for determining if someone is pope or antipope is the “election procedures… [as] governed by the prescription of the last Pope”:
“Papal election procedures are governed by the prescription of the last Pope who provided for them (that is, any Pope can change them, but they remain in effect until they are changed by a duly elected Pope).”
“During the first thousand years of the history of the Papacy the electors were the clergy of Rome (priests and deacons); during the second thousand years we have had the College of Cardinals.”
“But each Pope, having unlimited sovereign power as head of the Church, can prescribe any method for the election of his successor(s) that he chooses. These methods must then be followed in the next election after the death of the Pope who prescribed it, and thereafter until they are changed. A Papal claimant not following these methods is also an Antipope.”
“Since Antipopes by definition base their claims on defiance of proper Church authority, all have been harmful to the Church, though a few have later reformed after giving up their claims.”
Next, why might Francis be a heretical pope:
As Muller asserted “No… Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. [He] would stand in contradiction [of] the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid.”
In other words, if Francis taught heresy that contradicted Church defined doctrine he would be a antipope or a heretical pope. A antipope and, apparently in
O’Reilly‘s view a heretical pope, when he speaks “ex cathedra” can speak what is “invalid” because the false pope’s papacy is invalid. Muller wrote:
“The Magisterium of the Pope and of the bishops has no authority over the substance of the Sacraments (Trent, Decree on Communion under both species, DH 1728; Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). Therefore, no synod – with or without the Pope – and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid. Independent of this, there is the equality of all baptized in the life of Grace, and in the vocation to all ecclesial offices and functions for which exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders itself is not necessary.” (On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, text posted by LifeSiteNew, 7/26/2019)
Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church in such a situation:
“[T]he Pope… WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See.”
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said “the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church.”
The renowned scholar Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira who was one of the top experts in modern times of the subjects of papal validity and heretical popes gave a brief overview of his authority on this matters:
“In the 1970 Brazilian edition of my study of the heretical Pope, in the French edition of 1975 and in the Italian in 2016, I stated that on the grounds of the intrinsic theological reasons underpinning the Fifth Opinion I considered it not merely probable but certain. I chose not to insist on the qualification ‘theologically certain’ for an extrinsic reason, namely, that certain authors of weight do not adopt it.43 This was also the opinion of the then Bishop of Campos, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, as expressed in a letter of 25th January 1974, when he sent my work to Paul VI, asking him to point out any possible errors (which never took place), expressly stating that he referred to the study ‘written by lawyer Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, with the contents of which I associate myself .’”
Here is what de Silveira says in his book “Implications Of New Missae And Heretic Popes (Page 176)” on the subject of heretical popes:
“Resuming: We believe that a careful examination of the question of a Pope heretic, with the
theological elements of which we dispose today, permits one to conclude that an eventual Pope heretic would lose his charge in the moment in which his heresy became ‘notorious and publicly divulged’.”
“And we think that this sentence is not only intrinsically probable , but certain , since the reasons
allegeable in its defense appear to us as absolutely cogent. Besides, in the works which we have
consulted, we have not found any argument which persuaded us of the opposite. ”
“(1 ) The second opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine – See pp. 1 56 ft.
(2) The first subdivision proposed by us to the fifth opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine – See p. 170.
(3) The second subdivision which we proposed to the fifth opinion – See p. 170.
(4) The third subdivision which we proposed on the fifth opinion. – See p. 1 70.
(5) The fourth opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine . – See pp. 161 ff.
(6) We transcribe that long argumentation on pp. 1 64 ff. – See also note 2 of p. 1 64.
(7) One ought not to see shades of conciliarism in the principle that ecclesiastical organisms, as the Council, can omit a pronouncement declaring the eventual cessation of functions of a Pope heretic, as long as these organisms do not claim for themselves any right other than that enjoyed by any one of the faithful. For motives of mere convenience or courtesy, it could behoove these organisms to make such a declaration, in the first place; but this priority would not constitute for them a right of their own, or even less exclusive.” [https://archive.org/stream/SilveiraImplicationsOfNewMissaeAndHereticPopes/Silveira%20Implications%20of%20New%20Missae%20and%20Heretic%20Popes_djvu.txt]
Finally, Dr. John R. T. Lamont, philosopher and theologian, explains the procedures of how Francis’s papacy could cease if he is declared a heretical pope by the Church:
“Some… argue that the dubia and other criticisms of Amoris Laetitia that have been made already suffice as warnings to Pope Francis, and hence that he can now be judged to be guilty of the canonical crime of heresy…”
But for juridical purposes – especially for the very serious purpose of judging a Pope to be a heretic – they do not suffice. The evidence needed for a juridical judgment of such gravity has to take a form that is entirely clear and beyond dispute. A formal warning from a number of members of the College of Cardinals that is then disregarded by the Pope would constitute such evidence.”
“The possibility of a Pope being canonically guilty of heresy has long been admitted in the Church. It is acknowledged in the Decretals of Gratian There is no dispute among Catholic theologians on this point – even among theologians like Bellarmine who do not think that a Pope is in fact capable of being a heretic…”
“It is to be hoped that the correction of Pope Francis does not have to proceed this far, and that he will either reject the heresies he has announced or resign his office…”
“Removing him from office against his will would require the election of a new Pope, and would probably leave the Church with Francis as an anti-Pope contesting the authority of the new Pope. If Francis refuses to renounce either his heresy or his office, however, this situation will just have to be faced.”
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Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church.