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Bp. Schneider vs. Pope Innocent III, Trent & the Ancient Fathers

Is Bishop Athanasius Schneider's opinion true or false?

Here is the answer from a POPE to Schneider and all the Francis traditionalists who claim that a heretical pope can't be judged by the Church:

 Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in "Si Papa":

"'Let no mortal being have the audacity to reprimand a Pope on account of faults, for he whose duty it is to judge all men cannot be judged by anybody, unless he should be called to the task of having deviated from the faith. (Si Papa)'"

"Pope Innocent III: 'For me the faith is so necessary that, whereas for other sins my only judge is God, for the slightest sin in the matter of the faith I could be judged by the Church.' (propter solum peccatum quod in fide commititur possem ab Ecclesia judican)"
(The Remnant, "Answering a Sedevacantist Critic," March 18, 2015)

Moreover, the important theologian Dominique Bouix in, Tractatus de papa, ubi et de concilio oecumenico, vol. II , pars IIIa, cap. iii, p. 653ff, responded to Schneider's opinion:

It is objected 1°. — This opinion stands contrary to the more common and ancient opinion of the doctors of the school.

It is responded: That is true. But in questions not yet defined and permitted to the free disputation of the schools, it can happen that a more recent and less common opinion is true and ought at length to be recognized as such.

It is objected 2°. — Moreover, it stands contrary to the authority of Innocent III, whose words these are in the third sermon for the anniversary of his consecration: Faith is so necessary to me, that, while I have God for my judge in other sins, I am able to be judged by the Church on account of the sin which is committed against faith (see Sylvius, In IIamIIæ S. Thomæ, tom. III, q. xxxix, art. 3, concl. 2).

It is responded: Indeed, in that text Innocent III supposes that the Roman Pontiff can, as a private person, fall into heresy. But Innocent III spoke thus, following the opinion which was more accepted in his time; nor did he pronounce it as the Pontiff defining the faith; whence it can be said that in this, he erred. But this error of his is not heresy, because this proposition, the Pope cannot become a heretic even privately, even if it be true, is yet not an evident or defined ARTICLE OF FAITH. Therefore the cited dictum of Innocent III indeed favors the opinion which holds that the Pope can become a heretic privately; yet it does not have peremptory force.

It is objected 3°. — The canon Si papa (from the acta of Boniface of Mainz, in Gratian, dist. XL, c. vi) affirms that the Pope is exempt from the jurisdiction of his inferiors, with this exception: Unless he be discovered to have deviated from the faith. And in a similar document of the fifth council under Pope Symmachus it is read: Unless he should deviate from the right faith. Therefore, even in remote antiquity the doctrine held sway undoubted, that the Pope could become a heretic.
Finally, one of the greatest modern theologian Fr. Ioachim Ioachim whom "Msgr. Clifford Fenton in a March 1953 article of the American Ecclesiastical Review [said] 'holds very much the same position in the theological world of the mid-twentieth century that Cardinal Billot occupied in that of fifty years ago'" appears to disagree with Schneider's opinion. In Salaverri’s De Ecclesia Christi, it says:

1056. The doctrine of the Church. The first part is implicitly defined in the Council of Florence’s decree for the Jacobites: D 714. But concerning heretics and apostates, we deduce our teaching also from the formula of faith “Clemens Trinitas”, from can. 23 of the Second Lateran Council, and from the Bull Ineffabilis Deus of Pius IX: D 18 367 1641.

The second part, in which we hold that those excommunicated by perfect excommunication, which the Supreme Pontiff can determine, are separated from the body of the Church, is taught as Catholic doctrine by Pius XII in the encyclical Mystici corporis: AAS 35 (1943) 202ff.
1057. This whole thesis of ours is clearly taught by Pius XII and the Catechism of the Council of Trent.[16]

Pius XII writes: “But in truth, only those are to be numbered amongst the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true faith, who have not miserably separated themselves from the community of the Church or through most grave crimes been separated by the legitimate authority…For this reason, those who are divided from one another in faith or government are unable to live in the one Body of this sort and in its divine Spirit…Nor should it be thought that the Body of the Church, because it is insigned with the name of Christ, consists, even in this time of terrestrial pilgrimage, only of members outstanding in sanctity, or that it is constituted only of the company of those who are predestined by God to sempiternal felicity…Indeed not every crime, even if a grave wickedness, is of such kind that of its very nature it separates man from the Body of the Church—as do schism, heresy, or apostasy.”

In the Catechism of the Council of Trent we read:

“Only three sorts of men are excluded from the Church: firstly, infidels, then heretics and schismatics, and finally excommunicates: pagans indeed, because they have never been in the Church, nor ever known it, nor been made partakers of any Sacrament in the society of the Christian people; heretics and schismatics, because they have revolted from the Church, for they no more pertain to the Church, than do deserters to the army from which they have defected: yet it must not be denied that they are in the power of the Church, as ones who may be called to judgment by her, punished, and condemned by anathema. Finally also excommunicates, because by the judgment of the Church have they been excluded from her, and do not belong to her communion until they come to their senses. But concerning other men, though they be wicked and criminal, it is not to be doubted that they yet persevere in the Church.”

1058. Dogmatic value. The first part, concerning heretics, apostates, and schismatics, is implicitly defined, particularly in the Council of Florence: D 714. The second part, on excommunicates by perfect excommunication, is Catholic doctrine, especially from the words of the encyclical of Pius XII, Mystici corporis Christi, recently cited by us above.

1059. The first part is proved. Heretics, apostates, and schismatics are not members of the Church...


         


... For the minor. That formal and manifest heretics, apostates, and schismatics formally and manifestly have severed the essential social bond of the Church’s faith or government, is clear from the notions themselves. Thus they are not of the Church, which is the congregation of the faithful, because schismatics are not congregated and heretics are not faithful.
1060. The same doctrine is confirmed by the authority of testimonies of the holy Fathers.

a) On heretics. Tertullian: “If they are heretics, they cannot be Christians” (R 298). St. Hilary: “I am a Catholic; I do not wish to be a heretic. I am a Christian, not an Arian.” St. Jerome: “Heretics pass judgment upon themselves, receding from the Church of their own will.” St. Augustine: “Sever yourselves from the members of the Church, sever yourselves from its Body. But what still might I say, in order that they might segregate themselves from the Church, since they have already done this? For they are heretics; they are already without.” The controversy on the rebaptizing of heretics, which was agitated thence from the middle of the third century, supposed as recognized by all that heretics are outside of the Church.[17]

b) On schismatics. Cyprian: “But what pertains to the person of Novatian…you know that we in the first place ought not to be inquisitive of what he taught, since he taught from without. Whosoever he is and of whatever condition, he is not a Christian who is not in the Church of Christ…he who neither held fast to fraternal charity nor ecclesiastical unity, has lost even that which he was previously.” St. Jerome: “Between heresy and schism, we think there to be this difference, that heresy imports perverse dogma; schism, on account of episcopal dissension, separates from the Church…moreover, no schism does not fabricate for itself a heresy, so that it might seem to have receded from the Church rightly.” St. Augustine: “Heretics and schismatics call their congregations churches. But heretics, thinking falsely about God, violate the faith itself; but schismatics burst free of fraternal charity through hostile divisions, although they believe those things which we believe. For this reason, heretics do not belong to the Catholic Church, because she loves God, nor schismatics, because she loves the neighbor” (R 1562). St. Fulgentius: “Most firmly hold and doubt not at all, that every one baptized outside of the Catholic Church is unable to become a partaker of eternal life, if before the end of this life he has not returned and been incorporated to the Catholic Church. Most steadily and in no way doubt, that not only all pagans, but also all Jews and all heretics and schismatics, who finish this present life outside of the Catholic Church, are to enter into the eternal fire” (R 2274-5). Pelagius I: “Pollute not a mind ever Catholic by any communion of schismatics. It is clear that the Body of Christ is one, the Church is one…our Savior taught: a vine separated from the grapevine cannot be good for anything, but fire for burning…Do not think that they either are or can be called the Church. And indeed since, as we have said, the Church is one…it is clear that there is no other but that which is founded in the apostolic root.”[18]
[https://lumenscholasticum.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/fr-salaverri-on-whether-heretics-apostates-schismatics-and-excommunicates-are-members-of-the-church/]

 Latin language expert Br. Alexis Bugnolo put it best:

"We are left with repeated examples that defy explanation. Those Cardinals and Bishop who have the reputations for being the most conservative, who often speak in the defense of many truths, openly reject catholic teaching on what happens to heretics. To do such a thing is itself a heresy, because it is asserting that entire dogmatic and canonical tradition of the Church on heresy is not true."

"Heretics will never out heretics. I just hope that this principle is not verified in the case of the men of whom we speak, and that they are only cowards, not heretics."
[http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/11/why-is-schneider-apologist-of-franciss.html]

 Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church as well as the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


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