Tuesday, December 29, 2020

God's Condescension Answers Man's Autonomous Loneliness

Man's spirit is essentially transcendent.

Spiritual activity is a reference to the encounter with something which is object. This duality of the I and the object together with the effort to save, through understanding, the abyss which separates both and appropriates the other, the non-I, by the will, characterizes the human spirit as such. The "to transcend" of the I beyond itself, which continues to give itself in the consciousness of itself or in the objectifying self-knowledge of the I for the I, is essentially the spiritual life. The "intention" or reference of the knowing and of the willing toward its object is the bridge which the spirit extends between the I and the non-I by means of the acts of the understanding and the will. Only together with the other does the spirit come to be what it is in itself, to grasp itself as a proper being which has a "world." Man can only come to be himself by a singular dialectic, only before that which he is not. (24-25)

Revelation (divine condescension) fulfills man, enabling true transcendence.

The Deist notion of Transcendence is not yet that of revelation. In the latter, the God who hovers over the cosmos is at the same time the God who approaches the world in order to draw it to Himself, while man, not remaining a prisoner to the loneliness of his autonomy, presents himself as the creature who discovers in the law of his essence the idea and the norm of his Creator and gives an obedience to the law of revelation which purifies his humanitas and elevates it toward God. (31)

Theodor Steinbüchel, Die philosophische Grundlegung der katholischen Sittenlehre I, Düsseldorf: L. Schwann, 1938.

"Every Life Matters" ("Toda Vida Vale")

Pro-Life Argentina promotes the defense of the unborn child with this logo and the slogan salvemos las 2 vidas ("let's save the two lives") and toda vida vale.

Simple tenderness and sweet nobility!


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Humanitas is Association with God

In faith a dialogue takes place between the person of God and the person of man. It is the reciprocal community of live exchange between the human I and the divine You, the relation which develops itself in an active and living way between two persons capable of participating and understanding, of communicating and grasping, of speaking and hearing. "To hear" means willingly ready perception, the opening of man himself to God. As such it is already personal reception of the heard, and, consequently, decision in favor of God; and since it constitutes the necessary presupposition for the accomplishment of that which God demands of man, it carries in its womb the seed of every obedience. The Pauline concept of faith holds to the distinction between ἀκούειν and ὑπακούειν, between listen and obey, and it considers it in its unity (Rom. 10:14-16). By "to speak" should be understood what happens on the part of the revealing God upon addressing himself to man, whether his word or his action.

(Plinthos translation.)

Im Glauben findet daher ein Dialog zwischen Gottperson und Menschperson statt. Er ist die gelebte Wechselgeminschaft zwischen menschlichem Ich und göttlichem Du, das aktiv-lebendig sich gestaltende Verhältnis zwischen zwei Personen, die anreden und vernehmen, mitteilen und verstehen, sprechen und hören können. "Hören" meint das bereitwillige Vernehmen, das Sichöffnen des Menschen für Gott. Es is als solches schon persönliches Hinnehmen des Gehörten und also glaubende Entscheidung für Gott und trägt den Keim alles Gehorschens in sich, sofern es die Voraussetzung bildet für die Erfüllung des Anspruches Gottes an den Menschen. Im paulinischen Glaubensbegriff ist diese Unterscheidung von ἀκούειν und ὑπακούειν, von Horschen und Gehorschen vollzogen und in ihrer Einheit gesehen (Röm 10, 14-16). "Sprechen" umgreift alles, was von dem offenbarenden Gott her in Richtung auf den Menschen geschieht, in Mitteilung und Werk dieses Gottes.

Theodor Steinbüchel, Die philosophische Grundlegung der katholischen Sittenlehre I, Düsseldorf: L. Schwann, 1938, 23.

En la fe tiene lugar, por tanto, un dialogo entre la persona de Dios y la persona del hombre. Es la recíproca comunidad de intercambio vivida entre el yo humano y el Tú divino, la relación que se va configurando a sí misma de modo activo y viviente, entre dos personas capaces de interpelar y de entender, de comunicar y de comprender, de hablar y de oír, "Oír" significa el percibir voluntariamente dispuesto, el abrirse del hombre a Dios. Como tal es ya recepción personal de lo oído, y, en consecuencia, decisión creyente a favor de Dios; y al constituir el necesario supuesto del cumplimiento de lo que Dios exige al hombre, porta en su seno el germen de toda obediencia. La concepción paulina de la fe se atiene a la distinción entre ἀκούειν y ὑπακούειν, entre escuchar y obedecer, y la contempla en su unidad (Rom. X, 14-16). Por "hablar" debe entenderse cuanto acontece por parte del Dios revelante al dirigirse al hombre, tanto su palabra como su acción.

Theodor Steinbüchel, Los fundamentos filosoficos de la moral católica I, Madrid: Gredos, 1959, 30.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Immaculata Maria


Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the full acceptance and embodiment of God's act of love for the world.

"God's act of love for the world, embodied in Christ, is already performed; it is a fully accomplished fact. Now it must become fully accepted as such (in the Holy Spirit). It must become fully accepted and embodied in the Church so that the Church becomes his immaculate bride, without spot or taint, as is already the case in Mary (Sion, Ecclesia, Uxor Agni). The believing Christian, therefore, insofar as he can, must bring his existence into conformity with the range of eternal love revealed in Christ. Just as the commandments (Torah) of the Old Testament were the concrete revelation of promised grace--which men were to follow--so the objective mental outlook of the Church (scripture and dogma) is the objective articulation of grace fully revealed and actualized."

Hans Urs von Balthasar, "Truth and Life" in Dogma: Man as Man and Believer, Concilium Vol. 21, New York: Paulist Press, 1967, 89-90.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Boston and Saint Botulf

Saint Botulf (or Botolph or Botwulf) († 680) was of Anglo-Saxon origin. His highborn parents sent him and his brother Adulf to study on the continent, where both became priests. While Adulf chose to stay, Botulf returned home to England, where Anglian King Ehelmund grated him land for a monastery.

The place Botulf was given--a remote, marshy spot--was "just the sort of God-forsacken devil-possessed spot he was in search of," reports his biographer. He countered the disturbances of evil spirits, conquering the land for Christ through fasting and prayer. In 654, construction of the monastery of Ikanhoe began, and soon young men came to join him.

Botulf's reuputation for spiritual leadership spread well beyond Ikanhoe. It is written that Saint Ceolfrid, Saint Bede's master at Wearmouth Abbey, "once journeyed to the East Angles that he might see the foundation of Abbot Botulf, whose fame had proclaimed him far and wide as a man of remarkable life and learning, full of the grace of the Holy Spirit." Afterward, Ceolfrid returned to Wearmouth, "so well grounded that no one could be found better versed than he, either in ecclesiastical or in monastic traditions."

Eventually, Botulf's monastery was destroyed by invading Danes. It is thought to have been at the site of present-day Iken in Suffulk, or Boston ("Botulf's stone") in Lincolnshire.

Magnificat, ed. Sebastian White, December 2020, Vol. 22, No. 10, p. 33.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Plinthos Response to Ubiquitous "Black Lives Matter" Sign



The Unborn Matter
Condoms are Dirty
The Pill is Poison
Abortion is Murder
Technology is not God
Science is Limited
Kindness Needs Truth
God is Real
Jesus is God
God Made Man Male and Female
The Church is Holy
The Purpose of Man is to Be a Saint
Chastity is Necessary

Monday, November 9, 2020

Lectio continua

In his book, The Sense of the Priestly Life, in the chapter "The Ministry of the Word, Louis Bouyer makes two practical recommendations for the continuing formation of the priest in his service of the Word. Lectio continua is the ancient expression he uses to name it.

1. Read the whole of the holy books each year if possible; this habitual reading alone can give the priest the necessary familiarity which will obviate many common and useless questions.

2. Occasionally read any one book completely in one sitting, as quickly as possible, as one reads an ordinary book, as the basis for a profound follow-up page-by-page study with the help of a commentary and taking notes.

Le sens de la vie sacerdotale, Louis Bouyer, Tournai: Desclee, 1960, p. 62.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Deposition of a Heretic Pope --John of St. Thomas

Translated from the Latin and annotated by Fr. Pierre-Marie O.P. (Avrillé. France) and published in Le Sel de la Terre [No. 90, Fall 2014]. Translated from French to English by Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz.
[Plinthos: This article is by the SSPX.]


“John of St. Thomas (1589-1644) is rightly regarded as one of the greatest Thomistic theologians. His contemporaries unanimously called him a second Thomas, a bright star in front of the Sun (St. Thomas Aquinas) and always he was placed, in the company of Cajetan and Báñez, alongside the Angel of the School. His doctrine is none other than that of the Angelic Doctor, profoundly understood and faithfully expressed.” (J.M. Ramírez, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, “Jean de Saint-Thomas”, col. 806)

He was born in Lisbon, was educated at Coimbra University, then at Louvain University, before joining the Dominicans in Madrid at the age of 23. He was long time a professor at Alcalá (Madrid University). The last year of his life he was the confessor of King Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665, king in 1621). It is, moreover, much against his will and by obedience that he accepted this honor while telling his brothers in religion, “This is the end of my life, Fathers; I’m dead, pray for me.”

“His life was a living reproduction of the virtues of the Angelic Doctor, from whom he had taken the name to mark his devotion to him. In fact, he joined to his hard intellectual work, a great love of prayer and a burning desire for religious perfection. Students flocked to his courses, attracted by the depth and solidity of his doctrine.” (Ibid. col. 804)

We give here the first [French] translation of the main passages of his dissertation on “Can the Pope be deposed by the Church as he is elected by Her, and in what case?” (Disputatio II, articulus III, in II-II, q. 1 a. 7, p. 133-140 in the edition of Lyon, 1663) which he wrote while commenting the first question of the II-II of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

This is a matter whose importance will not escape our lectors. However, the book of Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, La Nouvelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu’en penser? [1] often considered the reference on the question on the “heretical pope” does not have this opinion. John of St. Thomas is not even mentioned in the extensive bibliography of the book. In fact, Xavier da Silveira agrees with the opinion of St. Robert Bellarmine, while Cardinal Journet affirms that the studies of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas on this point are more penetrating than those of the Jesuit doctor.

As we have remarked in the report we did in Le Sel de la Terre 52 (p. 205), Father Jean-Michel Gleize [SSPX] thinks that this “thesis [of Cajetan on the deposition of heretical pope] does not hold” since St. Robert Bellarmine’s S.J. studies (1542-1621), and declares not being satisfied with the answers John of St. Thomas gave to the Jesuit theologian. (Thomas de Vio Cajetan, The Successor of Peter, annotated translation by Father Gleize in Courrier de Rome, 2004, n. 65, p. XXII and n. 473, p. 138.)

Nevertheless, a century after John of St. Thomas, Billuart (1685- 1737) also qualified this thesis of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas as ‘more common’. (See the text given in the Appendix.) It seems, to us, to be solidly supported. With the text published here and the appendices that follow, the readers may judge by themselves.

The subtitles and the notes are ours.

Le Sel de la Terre [No. 90, Fall 2014]


“I affirm that the Pope can lose the pontificate in three ways: through natural death, by voluntary renunciation, and by deposition.

About the first case, there is no difficulty.

About the second case, there is an express provision [in Canon Law[2] ], where it is established that the Pontiff may resign, as it was the case with Celestine V; at the Council of Constance, the resignation was asked to the doubtful pontiffs in order to finish with the schism as did Gregory XII and John XXIII. […]

About the third case of losing the Pontificate, many difficulties arise: to make this brief, we reduce all these problems to two main headers: [1] Under what circumstances a deposition can be made? [2] And by which power this deposition should be made?

On the first point, we will mention three main cases in which a deposition can take place. The first is the case of heresy or infidelity. The second case is perpetual madness. The third case is doubt about the validity of the election.”

[COMMENT: Here we are only interested in the first case dealt with by John of St. Thomas: the deposition for cases of heresy or infidelity, as it is the case currently concerning us with Pope Francis.]

Can a deposition occur in cases of heresy or infidelity?

“Concerning the case of heresy, theologians and Canon lawyers have disputed very much. It is not necessary to dwell at length. However, there is an agreement among the Doctors on the fact that the Pope may be deposed in case of heresy: we will mention them in the discussion of the difficulty.

Arguments from authority

A specific text is found in the Decree of Gratian, Distinction 40, chapter “Si Papa”, where it is said: “On earth, no mortal should presume to reproach (redarguere) any faults to the Pontiff, because he who has to judge (judicaturus) others, should not be judged (judicandus) by anyone, unless he is found deviating from the Faith.” (Pars I, D 40, c. 6) This exception obviously means that in case of heresy, a judgment could be made of the pope.
The same thing is confirmed by the letter of Hadrian II, reported in the Eighth General Council [IV Constantinople, 869-870], in the 7th session, where it is said that the Roman Pontiff is judged by no one, but the anathema was made by the Orientals against Honorius, because he was accused of heresy, the only cause for which it is lawful for inferiors to resist their superiors. (MANSI, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova collectio amplissima, Venice, 1771, vol. 16, col. 126)
Also Pope St. Clement says in his first epistle that Saint Peter taught that a heretical pope must be deposed.[3]

Theological argument

The reason is that we must separate ourselves from heretics, according to Titus 3:10: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid (devita) him.” Now, one should not avoid one that remains in the [Sovereign] Pontificate; on the contrary, the Church should instead be united to him as her supreme head and communicate with him. Therefore, if the pope is a heretic, either the Church should communicate with him, or he must be deposed from the Pontificate.

The first solution leads to the obvious destruction of the Church, and has inherently a risk that the whole ecclesiastical government errs, if she has to follow a heretical head. In addition, as the heretic is an enemy of the Church, natural law provides protection against such a Pope according to the rules of self-defense, because she can defend herself against an enemy as is a heretical Pope; therefore, she can act (in justice) against him. So, in any case, it is necessary that such a Pope must be deposed.

Response to an objection.

An objection: Christ the Lord tolerated, in the chair of Moses, infidels and heretics, like the Pharisees: “The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.” (Mt 23: 2-3). But the Pharisees were heretics and taught false doctrines according to various superstitions and traditions, says St. Jerome in his commentary on Chapter 8 of Isaiah. St. Epiphanius lists their errors (Panarion, 1. 1, c. 16), and Josephus (Jewish War, 1. 2, c 7 on the end) and Baronius (Annals, v. 7). So on the Chair of Peter, too, one must tolerate a heretic and an infidel, because he can define a heresy or an error, and thus the Church will always remain free of heresy.

I answer that Christ the Lord did not order that Pharisees be tolerated in the chair of Moses, even if they are declared heretics, or that any heretic or infidel should be kept in the priesthood or in the Papacy, but he only gave this counsel in case they are tolerated there. If they are not yet declared and deposed from their chair, the faithful should listen to them and obey them, because they keep their power and jurisdiction; however, if the Church wants to declare them heretic and no longer tolerate them, Christ the Lord does not prohibit it by the words reported above.

Two conditions.

But we need to know if the Pope can be deposed in any case of heresy and in whatever form of being a heretic; or if some additional conditions are needed without which heresy alone is not sufficient to depose the Pontiff.

I answer that the pontiff cannot be deposed and lose the pontificate except if two conditions are fulfilled together:
That the heresy is not hidden, but public and legally notorious;
Then that he must be incorrigible and pertinacious in his heresy.

If both conditions are fulfilled the pontiff may be deposed, but not without them; and even if he is not unfaithful interiorly, however if he behaves externally as a heretic, he can be deposed and the sentence of deposition will be valid.

Concerning the first requirement, some among Catholics are of a different opinion, saying that even for an occult heresy [Editor: occult = “hidden”, “not visible”], the Pontiff loses his papal jurisdiction, which is based on the true Faith and right confession of Faith; supporting this opinion we have Torquemada (1, 2, 2 p. from v. 18 and 1. 2, c. 102), Paludanus, Castro, Simancas, Driedo […]

Others think that it is necessary that the heresy must be external and proved in the external forum in order that the Pontiff can be deposed of the pontificate; thus Soto (4 Sent. D. 22, q. 2. 2); Cano (from Locis, 1. 4), who believes that the contrary opinion is not even probable; Cajetan (On the Pope’s power, De Comparatione auctoritatis papae and concilii cum apologia eiusdem tractatus; Rome, Angelicum, 1936; c. 18 and 19), Suárez, Azorius, Bellarmine (On the Roman Pontiff, c. 30).

The principle is that occult heretics, as long as they are not condemned by the Church and being separated [by her], belong to the Church and are in communion with her, as like being moved from the exterior, even if they do not receive any more interiorly the vital movement; therefore the Pontiff, if he is an occult heretic, is not separated from the Church; therefore, he can still be the head, since he is still a part and a member, even if he is not a living one.

A confirmation of it is that the priests of a lower order can exercise the power of order and jurisdiction without Faith because a heretical priest can confer the sacraments and give absolution in cases of extreme need […]

The second condition, in order to be able to depose the Pope, namely that he is guilty of incorrigible and pertinacious heresy, is evident, because if someone is ready to be corrected and is not pertinacious in heresy, is not considered to be heretical (Decree of Gratian, No. 24. 3. 29 “Dixit Apostolus.”); therefore, if the Pope is ready to be corrected, he should not be deposed as a heretic.

The Apostle [Paul] prescribes to avoid heretics only after a first and a second correction: if he comes to repentance after the correction, he should not be avoided; therefore, as the Pope must be deposed for heresy under this apostolic precept, it follows that if he can be corrected, he should not be deposed. […]”

On the Deposition of the Pope

“It remains to deal with the second problem: by what authority should the deposition of the Pope be done? And the whole issue revolves around two points:
The declarative sentence by which the Pope’s crime is declared: should it be made by the Cardinals or by the General Council? And if it is by the General Council, by what authority should it be assembled, and on what basis could this Council judge the case?
The deposition itself which must follow the declarative sentence of the crime: is it made by the power of the Church, or immediately by Christ, being supposed made the declaration?

1. Who should pronounce the declarative sentence of the crime of heresy?

The declarative sentence should not be made by the Cardinals

On the first point, we must say that the statement of the crime does not come from the Cardinals, but from the General Council.

It first appears from the practice of the Church. Indeed, in the case of Pope Marcellinus (Pope from 296 to 304) about the incense offered to idols, a Synod was convened, as stated in the Decree of Gratian. (Distinction 21, Chapter 7, “Nunc autem”) And in the case of the Great [Western] Schism during which there were three popes, the Council of Constance was assembled to settle the schism. Likewise in the case of Pope Symmachus (Pope from 498 to 514), a Council was convened in Rome to treat the case against him, as reported in Antoine Augustin in his Epitome juris pontificii veteris (Title 13, Chapter 14. See also Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope St. Symmachus); and the places of Canon Law quoted above, show that the Pontiffs who wanted to defend themselves against the crimes imputed to them, have done it before a Council.

Then we see that the power to treat the cause of the Pontiff, and what concerns his deposition, was not entrusted to the Cardinals. In the case of deposition, this belongs to the Church, whose authority is represented by the General Council; indeed, to the cardinal is only entrusted the election, and nothing else, as can be seen in Canon Law [John of St. Thomas refers to what he said earlier in his works]: see Torquemada (Summa, 1. 2, c. 93), Cajetan (De Comparatione auctoritatis papae), and the Canonists (On the Decretal of Boniface VIII (in 6th), chap. “In fidei de haereticis” and the Decree of Gratian, Dist. 40).

The declarative sentence must be made by a General Council

[…] This council can be convened by the authority of the Church which is in the Bishops or the greater majority of them; the Church has, by divine law, the right to separate herself from a heretical Pope, and therefore she has all the means necessary for such a separation; now, a necessary means in itself (per se) is to be able to legally prove such a crime; but we cannot prove it see legally unless if there is a competent judgment, and in such a serious matter, we cannot have a competent judgment except by the General Council, because it is about the universal head of the Church, so much so that it depends on the judgment of the universal Church, that is to say, of the General Council.

I do not share the opinion of Father Suárez who believes that this can be treated by Provincial Councils; indeed, a Provincial Council does not represent the universal Church in a manner that this case can be treated by such authority; and even several Provincial Councils have no such representation or such authority.

If this is not about the authority under which one must judge, but about the one which has the authority to convene the [General] Council, I believe that this is not assigned to a specific person, but it can be done either by the Cardinals who could communicate the news to the bishops, either by the nearest bishops who can tell others so that all are gathered; or even at the request of princes, not as a summons having coercive force, as when the Pope convenes a Council, but as an “enuntative” convocation that denounces such a crime to the bishops and manifest it in order that they come to bring a remedy. And the Pope cannot annul such a Council or reject it because he is itself part of it (quia ipse est pars), and that the Church has the power, by the divine right, to convene the council for this purpose, because she has the right to secede from a heretic.

2. On which authority is the Pope deposed?

The diverse opinions

On the second point, namely on which authority the declaration [of heresy] and the deposition are to be made, there is dissension among theologians, and it is not clear by whom that statement should be made, because it is an act of judgment and jurisdiction, which no one can exert on the Pope. Cajetan, in his treatise On the Pope’s authority, refers to two extreme positions and two middle positions. (De Comparatione auctoritatis Papae and concilii; Angelicum, Rome, 1936; chapter 20)

The two extremes: one says that the Pope is removed without human judge by the mere fact of being a heretic (Bellarmine and Suárez); on the opposite, the other said that the Pope has truly a power above him by which he can be judged (this opinion is not sustained anymore; Cajetan considered it false).

The two middle positions: one says that the pope has no superior [on earth] in absolute terms, except in case of heresy; the other says that he has no superior on earth, neither absolutely, nor in the case of heresy, but only in a ministerial way: just as the Church has a ministerial power to choose the person [Pope], but not to give power, as this is done immediately by Christ, in the same manner, in the deposition, which is the destruction of the bond by which the Papacy is attached to such person in particular, the Church has the power to depose him in a ministerial manner; but it is Christ who deprives [his power] with authority.

The first opinion is that of Azorius (the church is above the Pope in case of heresy). The second is that of Cajetan who develops it extensively. Bellarmine quotes it and combats it (The Romano Pontifice, c. 20), especially on two points: Cajetan said that the manifest heretic Pope is not ipso facto removed and that the Pope is actually deposed really and authoritatively by the Church. Similarly Suárez (De fide Predisputatio, Sec. 6, num. 7) reproaches Cajetan for saying that the Church, in the case of heresy, is above the Pope as a private person, but not as a Pope. This, in fact, Cajetan did not say: he holds that the Church is not above the Pope absolutely, even in the case of heresy, but she is above the link joining the Pontificate with such a person, and that she dissolves it, in the same manner as the Church has joined it in the election, and that this power of the Church is ministerial, because only Christ the Lord is simpliciter superior to the pope.

Bellarmine and Suárez therefore think that the Pope, by the very fact that he is a manifest heretic and declared incorrigible, is immediately deposed by Christ the Lord and not by any authority of the Church.

The opinion of Cajetan

Thus the opinion of Cajetan contains three points.
1. The first is that the heretic pope is not deprived of the Pontificate and deposed by the mere fact of heresy, considered separately.
2. The second is that the Church has neither power nor superiority over the Pope about his power, even in the case of heresy; never is the Church’s power above the power of the Pope, and consequently above the Pope absolutely.
3. The third is that the Church’s power has for its object:
the application of the papal power to such person, in designating him by the election, and
the separation of the power with such a person, by declaring him heretical and to be avoided by the faithful.

Therefore, although the declaration of a crime is like an antecedent disposition preceding the deposition itself and that it relates to it only in a ministerial manner, however, it reaches the form itself of this dispositive and ministerial manner; insofar as it reaches the disposition, so it aims mediately to the form: in the same manner as in the generation and corruption of a man, the begetter neither produces nor educts the form, and the one who corrupts it does not destroy it, but the first one produces the combination of the form, and the second one the separation, immediately reaching the dispositions of the matter to the form, and through them, the form.

Cajetan’s FIRST POINT: The heretical pope is not deprived of the Pontificate and deposed by the mere fact of heresy considered separately

The first point is obvious and is not legitimately opposed by Bellarmine. His truth appears thus:

- First, because the Pope, no matter how real and public may be his heresy, by the moment he is eager to be corrected, he cannot be deposed, and the Church cannot depose him by divine right, for she cannot nor should avoid him since the Apostle [Paul] says, “avoid the heretic after the first and second correction”; therefore, before the first and second correction he should not be avoided, and consequently he should not be deposed; therefore it is wrong to say that the pope is deposed (ipso facto) as soon as he is a public heretic: he may be a public heretic, but not yet corrected by the Church, nor declared incorrigible.

- Then, because (as Azorius rightly noted) any heretical Bishop, no matter how visible is his heresy, and although he incurs an excommunication, does not lose ipso facto the Episcopal jurisdiction and power until he is declared [such] by the Church and deposed; indeed only the excommunicated “not tolerated” [vitandus] loses jurisdiction ipso facto, namely those specifically excommunicated or those who manifestly struck a cleric (manifesti percussores clerici). Therefore, if a bishop or some other prelate loses not ipso facto his power by the mere external heresy, why the Pope would lose it [even] before the Church’s declaration? Especially since the Pope cannot incur excommunication: on the one hand, no excommunication at all – I suppose – is carried by divine law itself; on the other hand, he cannot be excommunicated by human right, because he is superior to any human right.

The Church has neither power nor superiority over the Pope concerning his power of Pope, even in case of heresy

Thesis to be proved

The second point of Cajetan is proved by the fact that the power of the Pope absolutely (absolute) is a power derived from Christ the Lord, and not from the Church, and that Christ has submitted to that power the entire Church, namely, all the faithful without restriction: that is certain of faith [de fide] as we have shown it above.

Therefore, in no case the Church can have a power superior to him, except in a case where the power of the Pope would be made dependent to the Church, and inferior to her: and by the fact that it is made inferior in this case, his power is changed and remains the same as before, since before it was above the Church and independent from her, but in this case it is made dependent and inferior: thus, it never happened that the Church has [had] power over the pope formally, because in order to have a higher power than the papal power in a particular case, it is necessary that the papal power be formally other, and not so extensive and supreme as it was before.

Argument from authority

And one cannot cite any authority stating that Christ the Lord has given in such a manner to the Church a power above the Pope. Those who were cited in the case of heresy, do not indicate any superiority over the Pope formally, but only speak about avoiding him, getting separated from him, to refuse the communion with him, etc., all things which can be done without a power formally above the Pope’s power.

Lack of foundation of the opposite opinion

There is no basis for the proposition which allows to affirm that Christ the Lord, who gave unrestricted, supreme, and independent power to the Pope and to the Holy See, has determined that, in the case of heresy, such a power would be formally as a power (in ratione potestatis) dependent on and inferior to that of the Church, which implies that it would remain subordinate to that of the Church, and not superior as before.


Theological argument

This second point of Cajetan (the Church has never, in the strict sense, a superior power to the Pope), is widely proved by what has been said above, since the Church must be submitted to the Pope and the power of the Pope did not originate from the Church, as a political power, but immediately from Christ, of whom the Pope is the Vicar.

That, even in the case of heresy, the Church is not superior to the Pope, as a Pope, it appears:
On the one hand, because the power of the Pope is in no way derived from the Church, nor does it come from her, but from Christ, therefore never is the power of the Church superior [to that of the Pope].
On the other hand, because the power of the Pope, which originated in that of Christ, is established as a supreme power above all other powers of the Church here on earth (as we have shown above with many authorities); no case has been excluded by Christ in which this power [of the Pope] would be limited and subjected to another, but always and in relation to all [powers], He speaks of it as a supreme power and as a monarchy. When He deals with the case of heresy, He does not assign any superiority [of someone] in relation to the Pope, but He prescribed only to avoid the heretic, to be separated from him, not to communicate with him, all things that do not show any superiority, and which can exist without it. Therefore, the Church’s power is not superior to the power of the Pope, even in the case of heresy.
Canonical argument

Finally, Canon Law also gives us this conviction when it says that “the First Seat is judged by no one,” and this applies even in cases of infidelity, for the Fathers gathered to examine the case of Pope Marcellinus said: “Judge thyself.”

Cajetan’s THIRD POINT: The power of the Church has as its object the application of the Papal power to a person

Theological argument

The third point follows from the previous two. For the Church can declare the crime of the Pontiff and proclaim (proponere) to the faithful that he should be avoided according to divine law, decreeing that a heretic must be avoided.

Now, a pontiff who must be avoided by this provision is necessarily prevented from being made the head of the Church, for he is a member which she must avoid, and therefore he cannot have an influence on her; this is why, by virtue of such a power, the Church dissolves ministerially and dispositively the link of the pontificate with such a person. The implication is clear: an agent that can induce in a subject a disposition that necessarily causes the separation of the form, a disposition without which the form cannot exist in the subject, has power over the dissolution of the form, and acts mediately on the form, in order to separate it from the subject, and not to destroy it; it is clear in the case of an agent who corrupts a man: he does not destroy the form [the soul], but it induces the dissolution of the form, by putting in the matter a disposition without which the form cannot subsist.

Thus, since the Church can declare the Pontiff as a person to be avoided, she can induce in that person a disposition without which the pontificate cannot stand; the pontificate is so dissolved ministerially and dispositively by the Church, by the authority of Christ, in the same manner as the Church, in choosing the pontiff by the election, she ultimately disposes him to receive the collation of power by Christ the Lord.

Explanation of the words of Cajetan

When Cajetan says that the Church acts with authority (auctoritative) on the conjunction or separation of the Pontificate with the person, and ministerially on the Papacy itself, we must understand it in the sense that the Church has the authority to declare the crime of the Pope, as she has [the power] to choose him to the Papacy, and that what she does with authority in this declaration, acts at the same time ministerially on the form [the Papacy] to join or to separate [the person]: for the form itself, absolutely and in itself (absolute et in se), the Church cannot do anything because the Papal power is not submitted to her.

Canonical argument.

This is congruent with the provisions of the law that sometimes affirm that the deposition of the Pontiff belongs only to God, and that sometimes in case of heresy he can be judged by his inferiors: both are true,
On the one side, the “ejection” or deposition of the Pope is reserved only to God in order to be done with authority and from above (auctoritative et principaliter), as stated in the Decree of Gratian, Distinction 79 (Pars I, D 79, c. 11) and in many other places of the law, which say that God has reserved to Himself the judgment of the Apostolic See;
Secondly, the Church judges the Pontiff in a ministerial and dispositive manner, by declaring his crime and by proposing him to be avoided, as stated in the Decree of Gratian, in Distinction 40, chapter “Si Papa” (Pars I, D 40, c. 6) and in Part II, Chapter “oves” (q. 7 c. 13).

Response to the objections

It is easy to answer the objections of Bellarmine and Suárez against this view.

Objection 1. “A heretic is not a member, so cannot be head of the Church”

Bellarmine objected that the Apostle [St Paul] says that we must avoid the heretic after two admonitions, that is to say, after he clearly appears pertinacious, before any excommunication and sentence of a judge, as St. Jerome says in his commentary, for heretics separate themselves by the heresy itself (per se) from the Body of Christ.

And here is his reasoning:
A non-Christian cannot be Pope, for he who is not a member [of the Church] cannot be the head; now, a heretic is not a Christian, as commonly say the Fathers; thus, a manifest heretic cannot be Pope.
One cannot object that a character remains in him , because if he remained Pope because of a character, since it is indelible, it could never be deposed. This is why the Fathers commonly teach that a heretic, because of heresy and regardless of excommunication, is deprived of any jurisdiction and power, as say St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome.


I answer [to Bellarmine] that the heretic should be avoided after two admonitions legally made and with the Church’s authority, and not according to private judgment; indeed, a great confusion in the Church would follow , if it was allowed that the admonition is made by a private man, and that the manifestation of this heresy having been made without being declared by the Church and proclaimed to all, in order that they avoid the Pontiff, that all should be required to avoid; for a heresy of the Pope cannot be public for all the faithful on the report of a few, and this report, not being legal, does not require that all believe it and avoid the Pontiff; and therefore as the Church proclaims him legally elected by legally designating him for all, it is necessary that she deposes him by declaring and proclaiming him as a heretic to be avoided.

Therefore, we see that this has been practiced by the Church, when in the case of the deposition of the Pope, the cause itself was first addressed by the General Council before the Pope was declared “No Pope”, as we said above. Therefore it is not because the Pope is a heretic, even publicly, that he will ipso facto cease to be Pope, before the declaration of the Church, and before she proclaims him as “to be avoided” by the faithful.

And when St. Jerome says that a heretic separates itself from the body of Christ, he does not exclude a judgment of the Church, especially in such a serious matter as the deposition of the Pope, but it indicates only the quality of the crime, which excludes per se from the Church, without any further sentence, at least from the moment he is declared [heretic] by the Church; indeed, even if the crime of heresy separates itself (ex se) of the Church, however, in relation to us that separation is not understood as have been made (not intelligitur facto) without this statement.

It is the same thing from the reason added by Bellarmine. A non-Christian who is such in itself AND in relation to us (quoad se et quoad nos) cannot be Pope; however, if he is not in itself a Christian, because he has lost the faith, but if in relation to us he is not legally declared being infidel or heretic, as obvious as it may appear in a private judgment, he is still in relation to us (quoad nos) a member of the Church and therefore the head. Accordingly, a judgment of the Church is required through which he is declared (proponatur) as being a non-Christian and to be avoided, and then he ceases in relation to us to be the Pope, consequently, previously he did not cease to be himself (etiam in se) [Pope], because all what he did was valid in itself.[4]

Objection 2. “The Church has no power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person.”

The points of this objection are these:

[a] The Church cannot have power over the conjunction of the pontificate with the person, unless you have power over the Papacy itself; indeed, when the Pope deposes a bishop he does nothing else than to destroy his conjunction with the episcopate, though he does not destroy the episcopate itself; therefore, if the Church has power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person, consequently she has power over the Papacy and the person of the Pope.

[b] A confirmation of this argument is that the Pope is deposed against his will, therefore, he is punished by this deposition; but it belongs to the superior and to the judge to punish. Therefore, the Church who deposes or punishes through the punishment of deposition, has superiority over the Pope.

[c] Finally, one who has power over the united parties or their conjunction simply has power over the whole. Therefore, if the Church has power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person, she has simpliciter power over the Pope, which Cajetan denies.


[a] We answer that it is not in the same manner that the Pontiff has power over the bishop when he deposes him, and the Church over the Pontiff: indeed, the Pontiff punishes the bishop as someone who is subjected to him, [the latter] being invested with a subordinated and dependent power, which [the former] can limit and restrict; and, although it does not remove the episcopate from the person [punished], nor destroys it, nevertheless he does it by the superiority he has over the person, including in this power which is subordinated to him. That is why he really removes the power to [from] that person, and does not just remove that person from power. On the contrary, the Church removes the Pontificate not by superiority over him, but by a power which is only ministerial and dispositive, in so far as she can induce a disposition incompatible with the Pontificate, as it was said.

[b] In response to the confirmation of the reasoning, the Pope is deposed against his will, in a ministerial and dispositive manner by the Church, [but] authoritatively by Christ the Lord, so that through him, and not by Church, he is properly said punished.

[c] Regarding the latter reason, he who has power over the conjunction of the parties has power over the whole simpliciter, unless his power over the conjunction is ministerial and dispositive; we must distinguish between
physical realities when the dispositions have a natural connection to the very being of the whole, so that when the agent realizes the combination producing the dispositions binding the parties, it produces the whole simpliciter;
and moral realities, in which the disposition made by the agent has only a moral connection with the form, in relation to a free institution, so that he who does the disposition is not supposed to do the whole simpliciter; for example, when the Pontiff grants to anyone the power to designate a place to be favored to gain indulgences, or remove indulgences by saying that the place is not privileged anymore, that designation or declaration removes or grants indulgences, not with authority and principaliter, but only ministerially.”

[End of John of St. Thomas’s text]

Some thoughts as a conclusion

The main argument of sedevacantists concluding on the vacancy of the Apostolic See is “the theological argument of the heresy of the Pope,” namely of a Pope who becomes a heretic loses the Pontificate.

In the “Small Catechism on Sedevacantism” (Le Sel de la terre 79, p. 40), Dominicus explained that this argument cannot conclude, on the one side because it would be necessary to prove the formal and manifest heresy of the Pope, on the other, because a judgment of the Church stating that heresy would be necessary.

The text of John of St. Thomas develops this second point: the need for a judgment of the Church for the deposition of a heretical pope.

But at the same time, it shows the difficulty of such a judgment in the present circumstances of the Church. Indeed, it is easy to see that the vast majority of bishops share the Pope’s ideas about false ecumenism, false religious freedom, etc. It is therefore impossible to imagine in the current circumstances, a judgment of a General Council which would declare the heresy of Pope Francis.

Humanly speaking we see the situation is hopeless. We must wait that the Providence, in one way or another, shows the way to overcome this impasse. Meanwhile, it is prudent to maintain the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and pray for the Pope, while resisting his “heresies”.


Here we give some other texts from Thomist authors who share the view of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas: Báñez, the Carmelites of Salamanca, Billuart and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange.


Domingo (Dominicus) Báñez or Bannez O.P. (1528-1604) is one of the greatest theologians of the 16th century, the golden age of Theology in Spain (with Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, Melchior Cano, Bartholomew Medina and Pedro de Sotomayor).

Báñez is regarded, rightly, as one of the most profound and safest commentators of the doctrine of St. Thomas. His style is clear, sober and nervous, without darkness or false elegance. His erudition is abundant, without ostentation or clutter. His logic power and intelligence of metaphysics are particularly noteworthy, and on this ground exceeds his teachers and his most famous colleagues. (P. MANDONNET, D.T.C., “Bañez”)

In his commentary on the Summa Theologica, he defends the view that:

If the Supreme Pontiff falls into heresy, he does not lose immediately the Papal dignity, before he is deposed by the Church. (In II-II q. 1 a. 10)

He explained that a number of theologians believe that the Pope, once he becomes a heretic, immediately loses his power. But the opinion he defends is that of Cajetan, of which he summarizes the arguments:
The other bishops, if they become heretics, retain their episcopal dignity until they are deposed by the Pope. […]
If the Pontiff, once fallen into heresy, is ready to amend, he should not be deposed, as even those who hold the opposite view admit, so he does not cease to be Pope. […]

He then examines an objection against his thesis, and this is the most interesting passage for our study:

One objects that the Sovereign Pontiff ceases to be the head of the Church when he falls into heresy and therefore he ceases to be Pope. Indeed, as soon as he falls into heresy he ceases to be a member of the Church, so to be its head.

One easily answers this objection with the doctrine we have given while explaining the definition of the Church. The Pontiff is not said to be the head of the Church because of his holiness or his faith, because it is not thus that he influences the other members, but [rather] is said to be the head of the Church because of his ministerial office, which aims to govern the Church by defining the truth, by establishing laws, by administering the sacraments, all of which are carried out according externally according to a visible ecclesiastical hierarchy, and almost palpable. Besides, the fact that the Pontiff, because of his heresy, ceases to be a member of Christ, for he ceases to receive from Him the spiritual influence for his own sanctification, does not prevent him of being called the chief member of the Church, namely its head, in relation to the ecclesiastical government. Similarly, the head of a State is said to be the head of the Republic. As the notion of membership is employed metaphorically, we have said above that there may be different points of view of the metaphor: according to one point of view [Editor’s note: from the spiritual influence received from Christ] the Pontiff is not a member of Christ or the Church, and from another [Editor’s note: the power of government] he is a member. (Venice edition of 1587, columns 194-196)

The Carmelites of Salamanca

The composition of the Cursus theologicus salmanticensis extends over seventy years, during the last three quarters of the 17th century. It is a renowned theological course composed by six Discalced Carmelite theologians of Saint-Elias Convent of Salamanca. The convent was founded in 1581, during the life and under the counsel of St. Teresa of Avila.

They ask if the Pope, as an individual doctor, can become a heretic. They cite some authors who think it is not possible (Pighi, Bellarmine, Suárez), and they continue:

The contrary view (which states that the Pontiff as a private doctor can err, not only in secondary objects, but even on matters of faith, and not just with a non-culpable error coming from ignorance or negligence, but also with pertinacity, so that he is a heretic) is much more probable (longe probabilior) and more common among theologians.

Among the reasons they give in favor of their opinion, there is this one:

Because the Church may depose the Pontiff of his dignity, as Cajetan shows in his Treatise on the Authority of the Pope (from chapter 20 to chapter 26) and Melchior Cano in his book De Locis theologicis (book 6, chapter 8). But this power to depose is not vain in the Church, and it cannot be reduced to the act except if the Pontiff errs in the faith: so this error may be in the Pope as a private person. (De Fide, disp. 4 dubium 1, n. 7)


Charles-René Billuart O.P. (1685-1757) is a French Thomist theologian. He composed a Theology course which enjoys a high reputation.

In the Treatise on the Incarnation (De Incarnatione, diss. IX, a. II, § 2, obj. 2) Billuart defends the thesis that Christ is not the head of heretics, even occult.

It is objected that several doctors (Cajetan, Soto Cano, Suárez, etc.) say that the Pope fallen into occult heresy remains the head of the Church. So he must be a member.

Billuart denies the conclusion:

There is a difference between being constituted a head by the fact that one is influencing on the members, and being made a member by the fact that one is receiving an influx in itself; this is why, while the pontiff [who] fell into occult heresy keeps the jurisdiction by which he influences the Church by governing her, thereby he remains the head; but as he no longer receives the vital influx of Christ‘s faith or charity, who is the invisible and first head, he cannot be said to be a member of Christ or of the Church.

Instance: it is repugnant to be the head of a body without being a member, since the head is the primary member.

Answer: I distinguish the first sentence: it is repugnant to a natural head, I agree; to a moral head, I deny it. For example, Christ is the moral head of the Church, but he is not a member. The reason for the difference is that the natural head cannot have an influence on other members without receiving the vital influx of the soul. But the moral head, as the Pontiff is, can exercise the jurisdiction and the government over the Church and its members, although he is not informed by the soul of the Church, which are faith and charity, and that he does not receive any vital influx.

In a word, the Pope is made a member of the Church through the personal faith which he can lose, and the head of the Church by the jurisdiction and the power which can be reconciled with an internal heresy. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars III, Venice, 1787, p. 66)
In the Treatise on Faith (De Fide diss IV to III, § 3, obj 2) Billuart defends the following thesis: Heretics, even manifest (unless being denounced by name, or by leaving the Church themselves) keep the jurisdiction and absolve validly.

He considers the question of the case of a Pope, which is a special case, who receives his jurisdiction not from the Church, but directly from Christ:

It is nowhere stated that Christ continues to give jurisdiction to a manifestly heretical Pontiff, for this can be known by the Church and she can get another pastor. However the common sentence [editor: opinion] holds that Christ, by a special provision (ex speciali dispensatione), for the common good and peace of the Church, continues [to give] jurisdiction to a Pontiff even who is a manifest heretic, until he is declared manifestly heretical by the Church. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 33-34)

In the Treaty on the Rules of Faith (De regulis fidei, diss IV, VIII a, § 2, obj 2 and 6) Billuart defends the following thesis: The sovereign Pontiff is superior to any council by authority and jurisdiction.

It is objected that the Pontiff is subject to the judgment of the Church in the case of heresy. Why then he would not be subject also in other cases?

He replies:

This is because in the case of heresy, and not in other cases, he loses the pontificate by the fact itself of his heresy: how could remain head of the Church he who is no longer a member? This is why he is subject to the judgment of the Church, not in order to be removed, since he is already deposed himself by heresy and he rejected the Pontificate (pontificatum abjecerit), but in order to be declared a heretic, and thus that he will be known to the Church that he is not anymore Pontiff: before this statement [of the Church] it is not permitted to refuse him obedience, because he keeps jurisdiction until then, not by right, as if he were still Pontiff, but in fact, by the will of God and accordingly disposing it for the common good of the Church. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 123)

Another objector remarked that the Church would be deprived of a remedy if she could not subject the Pope to the Council in the case that he would be harmful and would seek to subvert her.

Billuart replied that:

If the pope sought to harm her in the faith, he would be manifestly heretical, and he would thereby lose the Pontificate: however it should be necessary a declaration of the Church in order to deny him obedience, as we have said above. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 125)

If the Pope would harm the Church otherwise than in the faith, some say that one could resist him by the force of arms, however without losing his superiority. St. Thomas Aquinas said it would be necessary to appeal to God in order to correct him or taking him away from this world (4 Sent. D. 19, q. 2, a. 2 q.1a 3, ad 2).

Billuart prefers to think that:

Whereas God governs and sustains his Church with a special Providence, he will not permit, as he has not permitted it so far, that this situation will happen, and if he permits it, he will not fail to give the means and the help appropriate. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 125)

St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), Doctor of the Church, devoted several writings in defense of Papal power against the conciliarist heresy (which gave to the councils a higher authority over the Pope). Collected in one volume by a Redemptorist religious on the eve of Vatican Council I, (Du Pape et du concile; Tournai, Casterman, 1869) these writings have helped to prepare the definition of the dogma of Papal infallibility. St. Alphonsus does not really treat the issue of a heretical Pope, and he excludes it so that it does not disturb his subject. But, without entering into the details, he said repeatedly that the heretical Pope loses his authority only when his heresy has been confirmed by a council. He clearly shares the view of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas.

In an essay on the authority of the Pope, added by St. Alphonsus at the end of the edition of his Moral Theology in 1748,[5] the Holy Doctor vigorously defends the superiority of the Pope over the council, but beforehand he declares:
It should first be noted that the superiority of the Pope over the council does not extend to the dubious Pope in the time of a schism when there is a serious doubt about the legitimacy of his election; because then everyone must submit to the council, as defined by the Council of Constance. Then indeed the General Council draws its supreme power directly from Christ, as in times of vacancy of the Apostolic See, as it was well said by St. Antoninus (Summa, p. 3 did. 23, c. 2 § 6).
The same must be said of a pope who would be manifestly and exteriorly heretical (and not only secretly and mentally). However, others argue more accurately that, in this case, the Pope cannot be deprived of his authority by the council as if it were above him, but that he is deposed immediately by Jesus Christ, when the condition of this deposition [= the declaration of the council] is carried out as required.[6]

After presenting the views of Azorius (viz. that the council is above a manifestly heretical pope), St. Alphonsus nuances it and therefore ultimately follows the position of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, considered as “more accurate”. St. Alphonsus did the same in his apologetical treatise Truth of Faith (1767):

“When in time of schism we are in doubt about the true Pope, the council may be convened by the cardinals and the bishops; and then each of the elected Popes is obliged to follow the decision of the council because, at that time, the Apostolic See is considered vacant. It would be the same if the Pope would fall notoriously and perseveringly, persistently in some heresy. However, there are those who affirm with more foundation that in the latter case, that the Pope would not be deprived of the papacy by the council as if it were superior to him, but he would be stripped directly by Jesus Christ because he would then become a subject completely disqualified and deprived of his office.” (Truth of Faith (1767), penultimate chapter “On the Superiority of the Roman pontiff over the councils”, art. I, Preliminary Notions, 2°)

St. Alphonsus defends again the same idea in 1768 in his refutation of the errors of Febronius:

If ever the Pope, as a private person, falls into heresy, then he would be immediately stripped of papal authority as he would be outside the Church and therefore he could not be the head of the Church. So, in this case, the Church should not truly depose him, because no one has a superior power to the Pope, but to declare him deprived of the pontificate. (We said: if the Pope fall into heresy as a private person, because the Pope as Pope, that is to say, teaching the whole Church ex cathedra cannot teach an error against Faith because Christ’s promise cannot fail). (Vindiciae pro suprema Pontificis potestate adversus justinum febronium, 1768, Chapter VIII, response to the 6th objection)

Father Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.

Father Garrigou-Lagrange examines the question of the heretical pope in his treatise De Christo Salvatore. (Marietti, Rome-Turin, 1946, p. 232) After explaining that Christ cannot be the head of a formal heretic, he concludes:

This is why a baptized formal heretic is not a member in act of the Church, yet the Church has the right to punish him, in so far as he does not hold what he has promised, like a king has the right to punish a deserter.

Bellarmine objects that a Pope fallen into occult heresy remains a member of the Church in act, for he remains the head of the Church, as taught [also] by Cajetan, Soto, Cano, Suárez and others.[7]

I answer that this case is quite abnormal, so it is no wonder that it follows an abnormal consequence, namely that an occult heretical Pope would not remain a member of the Church in act (according to the doctrine we have just described), but he would keep the jurisdiction by which he influences the Church by governing her. So he would retain the reason [= the nature] of head vis-à-vis the Church, on which he would continue to influence, but he would cease to be a member of Christ, because he would no longer receive the vital influx of the faith of Christ, the invisible and first head. Thus, in a quite abnormal manner, in relation to the jurisdiction he would be the head of the Church, but he would not be a member.

This would be impossible if it were a physical head, but it is not contradictory for a secondary moral head. The reason is that, while a physical head cannot exert any influence on the members without receiving the vital influx of the soul, a moral head, as is the [Roman] Pontiff can exercise jurisdiction on the Church even if it [he] receives from the soul of the Church no influence from internal faith and from charity.

In short, as Billuart says, the Pope is considered a member of the Church by his personal faith, which he may lose, and a head of the visible Church by the jurisdiction and power that may coexist with internal heresy. The Church will always appear as a union of members placed under a visible head, namely the Roman Pontiff, although some of those who appear to be members of the Church are internal heretics. Therefore we must conclude that occult heretics are only apparent members of the Church, which [the latter] they profess outwardly and visibly to be the true one.

  1. This book edited in France by DPF (Chiré-en-Montreuil) in 1975 has in fact not been marketed at the request, it seems, of the author. Some copies were circulated and the book is still considered a serious reference.
  2. Decretal of Boniface VIII (in 6th), 1. 1, T. 7, cap. 1 De Renunciatione. In the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the Canon 221 says: “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, neither the acceptance of the Cardinals, nor any other acceptance is necessary for the validity this renunciation.”
  3. We did not find this passage in the 1st Letter of St. Clement to the Corinthians, the only one considered authentic today.
  4. Father Garrigou-Lagrange, relying on Billuart, says in his treatise De Verbo Incarnato that a heretical pope, while not being a member of the Church, may exceptionally continue to be the head. Indeed, it is impossible in the case of a physical head, it is possible (while being abnormal) for a secondary moral head (See text attached below).
  5. Dissertatio de romani pontificis auctoritate super propositionem 29 damnatam ab Alexandro VIII.
  6. Dissertatio de romani pontificis auctoritate …, p. 665 in the Jules JACQUES edition, 1869.
  7. All these authors agree on the fact that an occult heretical pope continues to be head of the Church. Some, like Cajetan, think that a heretic occult continues to be a member of the Church, so there is no difficulty. Others, like Father Garrigou think that an occult heretic ceases to be a member of the Church. Hence the difficult to be solved. (Ed.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Episcopal Bishop of Albany Rejects "Homo-Marriage"

The Right Reverend William H. Love has resigned his position as bishop of Albany, New York, because he rejects and forbids same-sex "marriage" in his diocese, a position opposed by the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Love and all of the Episcopalians in the diocese of Albany should know of The Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter which welcomes them to the Catholic Church while maintaining their Anglican tradition.

Associated Press

Monday, August 24, 2020

American Catholics Read Thomas Aquinas Again --Ratzinger

American Catholicism has nowadays become one of the determinative factors in the universal Church. The Church in America is very dynamic. She is, of course, also characterized by tensions. On one hand, there are groups who are critical of the Church and advocate a more rational and more democratic Christianity. But above all else there are quite new and vital religious manifestations, new religious communities are being formed who quite consciously aim at a complete fulfillment of the demands of religious life. They live this out of a great joy in their faith, also particularly intending to read again the Fathers and Thomas Aquinas, and to form their lives on what they read. This is a Church that is very strongly bringing to bear the vital element of religion: the courage to give one's life to and out of faith, in the service of faith. This is a Church that takes great responsibility in society through her considerable system of education and through her hospitals...

Nowadays...America, on one hand, provides secular fashions and slogans that spread throughout the world yet, on the other hand, also offers ecclesiastical models. What is certainly surprising about this is that these models do away with a Christianity that is seemingly modern but at the same time too rationalistic, insufficiently saturated with faith, and replace it with genuine impulses of faith and also typical forms of the life of faith...

I believe that it is particularly in the American sphere that people are taking up Catholicism as a whole and trying to relate it anew to the modern world.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2002, 447-449.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Deficiencies of the Church --Newman


"[Newman's] indictment of the Church of England is primarily a moral one, and he sums it up under the following heads:

'1. Absence of all system of moral discipline for the poor.

 2. Absence of all system of moral discipline for the rich.

 3. Our Church's total neglect of her duties as guardian and witness to morality.

 4. Our Church's total neglect of her duties as witness and teacher or orthodoxy [and the concomitant banalization of the liturgy].

 5. Powerlessness of our Church to perform her other duties, especially in helping and protecting the poor, while those are neglected.

 6. Rationalism prevalent in our Church.'"

Christopher Dawson, The Spirit of the Oxford Movement, London: Sheed &Ward, 1945, 108.

Though Saint John Henry Newman was referring to the heretical "Church" of England, his remarks should serve as an examination of conscience for the pastors of the Catholic Church. Our strength and relevance are in direct proportion to our promotion of the Truth, Jesus Christ: true faith and true morality.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Oración de Barsanufio de Gaza

Señor, guádame de todo mal, y dame la fuerza para soportar como a Job, la gracia como a José, la mansedumbre como a Moisés, el valor en los combates como a Josué, el hijo de Nun, el dominio de los pensamientos como a los jueces, el sometimiento de los enemigos como a los reyes David y Salomón, la fertilidad de la tierra como a los israelitas. Concédeme el perdón de mis pecados con la curación del cuerpo como al paralítico. Sálvame de las olas como a Pedro, sácame de la tribulación como a Pablo y a los demás apóstoles. Guárdame de todo mal, como a tus verdaderos hijos y concédeme lo que en tu nombre te pido de corazón para el bien del alma y del cuerpo. Amén.

Protect me, Lord, from every evil and give me strength to endure as to Job, give me grace as to Joseph, meekness as to Moses and valor in battle as to Joshua, the son of Nun, mastery of thought as to the judges, victory over enemies as to King David and King Solomon, fertility of the land as to the Israelites. Grant me forgiveness of my sins with the bodily healing as to the paralytic. Save me from the waves as Peter and snatch me from troubles as Paul and the other Apostles. Protect me from every evil as your true children, and grant my heart's desire in your name, for the advantage of soul and body. Amen

Cf. Barsanufio y Juan de Gaza, "Epistolario", 194: "Collana di Testi Pastrici", XCIII, Roma 1991, 235-236, citado por el Papa Benedicto XVI en la Audiencia General del 4 mayo 2005: "El Señor te guarde de todo mal."

Monday, August 17, 2020

Condom Degrades Man --Ratzinger

 ...[M]isery is not produced by people who bring up children to learn faithfulness and love, respect for life and self-restraint, but by those who try to talk us out of morality and who see man only in a mechanistic way: the condom seems to them more effective than morality, but when they think you can replace the moral dignity of man with condoms, so as to make his freedom no longer a danger to him, then they have stripped man of all dignity, down to his most basic self, and have produced exactly what they claim to be preventing: a selfish society in which everyone lives his own life and is responsible for nothing and no one. Misery comes from demoralizing society, not from moralizing it, and the condom propaganda is an essential part of this demoralizing, the expression of an attitude that despises people and that in any case thinks people capable of nothing good whatsoever.

Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2002, 430.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Doctus Doctorem docendo docet!

A Doctor is Doctored by Doctoring A Doctor

The Master Learns by Teaching (by making a master of the student)

"No disciple is above his teacher; but when perfected, everyone will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Traditionalists are Treated Like Lepers --Ratzinger

We need a new liturgical consciousness, to be rid of [the] spirit of arbitrary fabrication... For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is...important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church's whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don't understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliation within the Church.

Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2002, 415-416.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Covid-19 Response Diminishing our Humanity

French philosopher decries corona ‘madness’

Bernard-Henri Lévy believes that our response is diminishing our humanity.
by Michael Cook

Earlier this year the coronavirus pandemic caught Bernard-Henri Lévy, France’s rock-star public intellectual, overseas. He was reporting on the plight of Lesbos, the Aegean island crowded with refugees from Syria, and then of Bangladesh, which was attempting to cope not only with Covid-19 but also Islamic extremism, hundreds of thousands of Royhingya refugees, climate calamities and extreme poverty. 

Much to his surprise, Lévy did not receive a pat on the back and a cheery “well done” for highlighting these crises. (He expected them — Lévy is not renowned for his modesty.) Instead he felt, at first, “icy indifference” and then the hot breath of critics on social media who savaged him for not sheltering in place in solidarity.

There is something mad about this pandemic, Lévy thought, if “solidarity” fails to extend as far as Bangladesh. It shows, he writes in his provocative little book, The Virus in the Age of Madness, that jabber about global solidarity is just “emissions of goodness gases purporting to crown the planet with a halo of sacrifice and abnegation”.

Even in an English translation, Lévy comes across as a bit of a blowhard, a geyser of name-dropping, run-on sentences, news clips and rhetorical excess. But he is an intelligent blowhard and he asks the question that we should all be asking: is the coronavirus changing our culture for the worse? He believes that it is.

First of all, it is hardening us to the woes of others. Lévy tried a simple experiment. He surveyed the media from a single week in April. It was the absence of news which was amazing. Migrants had disappeared; global warming had disappeared; deforestation of the Amazon had disappeared; the war in Yemen had disappeared; ISIS suicide bombings were ignored; the persecution of Uyghurs was ignored. Nothing mattered except the virus.

“The coronavirus had this virtue: that of sparing us from uninteresting, unimportant information,” writes Lévy, “and relieving us of the burdens of following the vicissitudes of history, which had mercifully gone into hibernation.”

World leaders had entered a state of “psychotic delirium”, terrified of being summoned to a “Corona Nuremburg” for having failed to eliminate the disease.

(This includes, by the way, ISIS, which declared Europe a risk zone for its foot soldiers and directed them to wage jihad in “safer” areas like Egypt, the Sahel and Indonesia – so Macron, Johnson, Trump and Merkel are in good company.)

Second, it is making us more selfish. What disturbs Lévy the most is not the inconvenience of lockdowns and the restrictions on individual freedoms that les Americains complain about. It is isolation.

The New York Times is full of lifestyle articles promoting the idea, as Lévy observes, “that confinement is the now-or-never opportunity to do one’s internal housekeeping and rediscover the self-to-self relationship that is supposedly the richest of all human relationships.” This is absurdly narcissistic, he says. On the contrary, isolation drains life of all that is worthwhile. As Aristotle observed, man is a political animal; he is not meant to stay cooped up in a flat for weeks on end.

Lévy is a follower of the French existentialist Emmanuel Levinas (1906-95) who emphasised the fundamental importance of face-to-face dialogue for being fully human, “an ethic not of interiority but of faces”. If we are all wearing masks and isolating in place, what does this do to our humanity? What kind of life is this for a human being?

Lévy describes it in a characteristically bombastic but perceptive paragraph:

“The life that we are being urged to save by staying home and resisting the temptation of reopening. That life is a bare one. A life drained and depleted, as in the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. A life terrified of itself, gone to ground in its Kafkaesque burrow, which has become a penal colony. A life that, in return for an assurance of survival, was ready to give up all the rest—prayer, honoring the dead, freedoms, balconies and windows from which our neighbors, once they had finished applauding the caregivers, could spy on us. A life in which one accepts, with enthusiasm or resignation, the transformation of the welfare state into the surveillance state, with health replacing security, a life in which one consents to this slippery slope: no longer the old social contract (where you cede a bit of your individual will to gain the general will) but a new life contract (where you abdicate a little, or a lot, of your core freedoms, in return for an antivirus guarantee, an ‘immunity passport,’ a ‘risk-free certificate,’ or a new kind of get-out-of-jail-free card, one that lets you transfer to another cell).”

He recalls a touching incident in the career of Charles de Gaulle – not a figure famed for tenderness. In the mid-50s he was visiting Tahiti and his limousine was blocked by a crowd of lepers. Instead of shunning them, de Gaulle emerged, shook their hands, cradled a child in his arms, hugged the organiser and went on his way. He said nothing. It was spontaneous demonstration of genuine solidarity, not a photo op.

Have we seen a remotely similar gesture by a single world leader? Boris Johnson or Donald Trump hugging a coronavirus-stricken 80-year-old clad in PPE? No way.

Third, it is making us surrender our sovereignty to an iatrocracy, a state run by doctors. Reaching back into his philosophical armoury, Lévy recalls that Plato considered this in his dialogue The Statesman and discarded it:

“Politics, [Socrates] says, is an art that, since the retreat of the gods, deals with a chaotic, changing world, swept by storms and rudderless. But, in a storm, what is the point of a Hippocratic nosology of ‘cases’? Do not the difficult times call instead for citizen-guardians possessing the audacity and strength to think through, carve into stone, and proclaim legal ‘codes’?”

In other words, it is not epidemiologists who should run the state, but statesmen. If our politicians are not statesman, so much the worse for us. But the doctors would be worse.

“listening to the ones who know, if we are indeed talking about scientists, is tantamount to listening to a nonstop quarrel and, if the listener is a government, to inviting Fireworks and Chaos to sit at the king’s table. In any case, ‘those who know’ should be regarded with the same caution that we would exercise in the case of any other professional—that is, not blindly.”

Lévy offers no policy prescriptions for combatting the virus. But he makes an eloquent plea for a humane approach to policy – one which privileges solidarity and government by men, not by algorithms. The Virus in the Age of Madness is well worth reading (and mercifully short).

Monday, July 6, 2020

What it Means to Be a Person

"Because God made you [a person], there is automatically a relationship [between God and you]. And, it's God who formed the relationship." minute 52:45

God made you in and for an unique, exclusive and unrepeatable relationship with Him, that only you can fill, and which alone can fill you.

Person means relationship, God in relationship with you. Covenant.

"Espanglés" no "Spanglish"

"Espanglés" es como se denominaría la corrupción del idioma español, introducióndele palabras estranjeras del inglés. La palabra "Spanglish" misma es un ejemplo del espanglés, una distorción del idioma hispano. ¡Barbarismo! ¡Rechacemos el imperialismo inglés!

Enriquescamos nuestro idioma, ¡no lo banalicemos!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Mass-Media Corruption

The newspaper and the cinema have ruined the human imagination. But now they also want to convey religiosity through them. Humanity is sick "unto death" and does not know its Doctor, although it has set up His sign on its churches.

La prensa y el cine han arruinado la imaginación del hombre. Pero ahora también quieren transmitir lo religioso a través de ellos. La humanidad está enferma "hasta la muerte" y no conoce a su Médico, aunque ha establecido Su señal en sus iglesias.

Zeitung und Film haben die Phantasie des Menschen ruiniert. Jetzt aber will man durch sie auch noch das Religiöse vermitteln. Die Menschheit ist krank "bis zum Tode" und kennt ihren Arzt nicht, obgleich sie sein Zeichen auf ihren Kirchen aufgerichtet hat.

"Unsere Zeit" in Aphorismen 1931 in Ferdinand Ebner, Schriften: Erster Band: Fragmente, Aufsätze, Aphorismen: Zu einer Pneumatologie des Wortes, München: Kösel, 1963, 969.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Liturgical Intolerance

A proper understanding of the Roman Ritual needs contact with the ancient form of the ritual and cannot be opposed to it.

Unreasonably divisive, countless bishops continue to ignore, and even persist in attempting to exclude, the ancient form of the Roman Liturgy.

Cardinal Ratzinger criticized that stance on many occasions, even before his motu proprio Summorum pontificum as Pope Benedict XVI.

"For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is...important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church's whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don't understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliation within the Church."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000, 416.
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