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Steve O'Reilly's beloved Vatican II & Francis Effect: A Future Pope Mcelroy?.. [or] a Future Pope James Martin? & Dr. Feser: "If a Pope... become[s] a Heretic (which can happen when he is not speaking Ex Cathedra)?"

A Catholic Monitor Discussion on Sedevacantism


... Fred Martinez said [to]...

Steve [O'Reilly],

Why are you so obsessed with Francis being infallibly definitely the pope to the point you are... afraid of cardinals and bishops correcting your definitively non-heretical Francis on "communion for adulterers" which apparently may be the opposite of your position maybe if Aqua is reading you right and now you are apparently defending his "communion for adulterers" new cardinals? Would you love Pope Mcelroy as much as you love Francis? Would you be against correcting a future Pope Mcelroy? Would you be against correcting a future Pope James Martin? Would you love Pope James Martin as much as you love Francis? []

- LifeSiteNew: "But the Pope’s most radical [cardinal] pick is Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, known to faithful Catholics as arguably the most pro-homosexual, left-wing prelate in the United States.

In recent years, McElroy has sparked outrage for celebrating “LGBT Masses,” rebuking the Church’s position on homosexual acts, urging Catholic funeral rites for active homosexuals, and throwing his support behind dissident Jesuit Fr. James Martin while blasting conservatives’ “destructive” attitudes on sexuality... And on clerical sex abuse, even liberal activists are raising the alarm about his history." [] - The Catholic Monitor

- Next question, is Vatican II in all its teachings infallible defined doctrine or are many of those teachings only non-infallible "pastoral practice[s]"? - The Catholic Monitor

The renowned Catholic philosopher Edward Feser in writing about the 2019 "open letter" to Francis explained that it is possible for any pope including the Vatican II popes to be heretics:

Contrary to what some people suppose, that does not mean that Catholics cannot ever criticize a pope for prudential or even doctrinal errors.  The Church allows such criticism under certain circumstances.  What it means is that there is no one on earth with the authority to do anything about it if the pope ignores such criticism.  Vis-à-vis the governance of the Church, his only superior is God. 

So what happens if a pope really does become a heretic (which can happen when he is not speaking ex cathedra)?  There are different theological theories about this, but no settled Church teaching and no mechanism in canon law for dealing with such a situation.  On one theory, a pope who becomes a formal heretic is ipso facto automatically excommunicated, and thus no longer a member of the Church, and thus no longer pope.  So, if the cardinals or bishops were to issue a finding to the effect that this has happened, they would not be judging a pope, because he wouldn’t be a pope any longer.  They would just be noting a fact, as they would be if they simply reported that a pope had died.  It would then be possible for them to remove the (now former) pope, and proceed to the election of a new pope.

The authors of the open letter appeal to this sort of theory.  They rightly reject the sedevacantist interpretation of the theory, according to which a heretical pope would automatically lose his office even without any intervention on the part of the bishops (such as their issuing a warning to the pope that he is in danger of formal heresy).  As the open letter says, this would throw the Church into chaos. []

Next, Feser asks "How bad can a bad pope get?":
How bad can a bad pope get?  Pretty bad.  Here are two further examples from history.  Marcellinus was pope from c. 296 – 304.  During his pontificate, Emperor Diocletian initiated a persecution of the Christians, requiring the surrender of sacred texts and the offering of incense to the Roman gods.  Marcellinus and some of his clergy apparently complied, though Marcellinus is also said to have repented of this after a few days and to have suffered martyrdom as a result.  Some claim that by virtue of his compliance he was guilty of a formal apostasy that resulted in loss of the papal office, though his purported repentance and martyrdom also led to his veneration and recognition as a saint.

But exactly what happened is controversial among historians.  St. Augustine denied that Marcellinus was really guilty of the sins in question.  On the other hand, other ancient sources claim that he was, and the later pope Damasus I omitted reference to Marcellinus when paying tribute to his predecessors.  Nor is it clear whether Marcellinus really did either suffer martyrdom or lose his office.

However, that Marcellinus could have been guilty of these sins has not been denied by orthodox Catholic theologians, because it is not ruled out by the conditions under which a pope teaches infallibly.  Indeed, in Book 4, Chapter VIII of On the Roman Pontiff, St. Robert Bellarmine judges that it is “certain” that Marcellinus “sacrificed to idols.”  He also thinks that Marcellinus did not ipso facto lose the papal office, because he acted out of fear.

John XII, who was pope from 955 – 964, was one of the most debauched men ever to sit on the throne of Peter.  He is said to have confiscated the offerings left at the altar for his personal use, to have violated female pilgrims to Rome and effectively to have turned the Lateran palace into a brothel, and to have died while in bed with another man’s wife – on one account as a result of a stroke, and on another at the hands of the cuckold who caught him in the act.  John was also said to have invoked the names of the pagan gods while gambling. 

John brought the office of the papacy into widespread disrepute, and the period was marked by bitter factional conflict.  He was deposed by a synod in Rome, in part on grounds of “sacrilege,” and replaced by Pope Leo VIII – though the legitimacy of this series of events was widely challenged, given papal primacy, and in any event John was able by threat of force to reverse this state of affairs and get himself reinstalled as pope and Leo excommunicated.  Those who had accused John were punished by scourging or bodily mutilation.  After John’s death, Leo was restored as pope – though only after another claimant to the papal office, Benedict V, was first elected and then deposed.  (At Benedict’s deposition – to which he apparently acquiesced – he was stripped of his papal regalia and his staff was broken over his head by Leo as Benedict lay prostrate.  They played for keeps in those days.)

These examples illustrate several important points.  First, popes can, consistent with the doctrine of papal infallibility, be guilty even of sins as grave as idolatry.  Second, when their sins touch on theological matters, as they do in these examples (and as they did in a very different way in the case of Pope Vigilius), Catholics have sometimes understandably been moved to question their legitimacy.  This is theologically problematic, and in my view it cannot plausibly be maintained that Marcellinus, Vigilius, or John XII lost the papal office.  However, whatever canonical chaos temporarily afflicted the Church during the times of these popes was ultimately their fault.  Certainly one can lay heavy blame on the churchmen who tried to depose John XII, and on the emperor Otto I, who played a major role in the events in question.  But the fact remains that it is John’s extremely scandalous behavior that prompted this overreaction.  It is the pope himself who is manifestly the villain of the story. []
Next question, is Vatican II in all its teachings infallible defined doctrine or are many of those teachings only non-infallible "pastoral practice[s]"?
In 2016, Francis's Vatican Archbishop Guido Pozzo who was negotiating with Society of Pius X for Francis agreed with the Traditionalists that the Vatican II teaching called Dignitatis Humanae was not defined teaching.

Pozzo said that Dignitatis Humanae "is not about doctrine or definitive statements, but... pastoral practice." (Die Zeit, August 2016, Interview with Archbishop Guido Pozzo)

Feser gives a brief summary of the history before and after Vatican II of the teaching on this subject and the ambiguity of the document:

"That depends.  In the Catholic context, the traditional teaching, vigorously and repeatedly upheld by the 19th century and pre-Vatican II 20th century popes, is that ideally Church and state ought to cooperate.  Contrary to an annoyingly common misunderstanding, these popes were not teaching that non-Catholics ought to be coerced by the state into becoming Catholics.  Nor were they teaching that non-Catholics should be forbidden from practicing their own religions in the privacy of their own homes, their own church buildings or synagogues, etc.  Rather, the issue was whether, in a country in which the vast majority of citizens were Catholic, non-Catholics ought to be permitted to proselytize and thereby possibly lead Catholics to abandon their faith.  It was not denied that there can be circumstances in which such proselytizing might be tolerated for the sake of civil order.  The question was whether non-Catholics have a strict right in justice to proselytize even in a majority Catholic society.  And the pre-Vatican II popes taught that they did not have such a right, and that in a Catholic country the state could in principle justly restrict such proselytizing (even if there are also cases where the state might not exercise its right to such restriction, if this would do more harm than good)."

"This was the teaching which Vatican II seemed to reverse, though the relevant document, Dignitatis Humanae, explicitly taught that it was “leav[ing] untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”  Yet whether the principles set out in Dignitatis Humanae really can be reconciled with the principles set out by the pre-Vatican II popes, how exactly they are to be reconciled if they can be, and which principles are more authoritative and ought to be retained if they cannot be reconciled -- these have all been matters of controversy.  They are controversies most Catholics, including conservative Catholics, have avoided.  The reason, it seems to me, is that the older teaching is extremely unpopular in modern times, and thus whatever its current doctrinal status, most Catholics are happy to let it remain a dead letter and leave its precise relationship to Dignitatis Humanae unsettled.  Yet a question unanswered and ignored is still a real question, and there are scholars who have in different ways attempted to apply to this one a “hermeneutic of continuity,” including Thomas StorckFr. Brian Harrison, and Thomas Pink."
(edwardfeser.blogspot, "Liberalism and Islam, January 7, 2016)

One knows a Vatican II document is a disaster when a defender of Dignitatis Humanae (DR) like Fr. Brian Harrison says:

"The effect DR have been much more harmful than beneficial for the Church, the world and most important, the honor due to Christ the King . . . The form in which it presents its truth is so one-sided, so poorly explained, so perilously open to unorthodox interpretation, and so infected with the spirit of liberal humanism, that its promulgation has turned out to be a cause of rejoicing for the Church's worst enemies: freemasonry and all the other forces which seek to promote the ever more total secularization of society, the ever more complete exclusion of Our Lord Jesus Christ from His rightful sovereignty over the public life of nations, and confusion and division within the Church itself." []

Christopher Ferrara stated why Dignitatis Humanae brought about (to quote The Catholic Monitor) the "[u]pholding Catholic teaching on paper but not in reality has led to widespread corruption... has required a culture of lies... that allowed men like McCarrick to flourish":

"There is no question that the Popes before Vatican II consistently condemned the modern notion of "religious liberty"-----i.e., that everyone in society must have the right, both privately and publicly, to practice, preach and otherwise manifest the doctrines of the religion of his choice, even if that religion is filled with error and immorality. That such a "right" attacks both public morality and the very foundation of Catholic social order (where it exists) hardly needs to be proved. There cannot, obviously, be any "right" as such publicly to deny the Divinity of Christ or to preach in favor of contraception, abortion, divorce[, homosexuality] and other evils. No one has the right to do or to say what is wrong. A right to commit wrong is utter nonsense. Stated negatively, a right not to be prevented by the State from committing wrong is equally nonsensical. The State might for prudential reasons, as St. Thomas observed, tolerate certain public errors and vices, but there is no question of any right to be tolerated in spreading them." [ and]
Finally, might Pope Benedict XVI's apparent Vatican II resignation be in "substantial error"?

Catholic historian Edmund Mazza explains the connection of Vatican II to Pope Benedict's resignation in a interview transcribed by The Catholic Monitor: 
Benedict in his declaratio is stipulating, like a lawyer, that, “Yes, I’m going to give up the active exercise of the papacy. I no longer have the strength to do the active stuff, but I’m stipulating that I’m only leaving to become Pope Emeritus”. Not even Bishop Emeritus, he’s leaving as Pope Emeritus. Then of course he gave talks. After February 11th, he gave a talk at one of his last general audiences, where he says that, “I no longer return to private life.”

He basically says whoever accepts the Petrine Ministry, it’s a forever, it’s an always. So how do we understand that? So I did a deep dive into how does he understand munus. And what I discovered is that Vatican II, surprise, surprise, introduced a new wrinkle into how we understand priesthood, episcopacy and even the papacy. So let me give you a brief quote from Vatican II... Gaudiaum et spes...

... It goes like this “Without higherarchical communion the sacramental ontological munus, which ought to be distinguished from the canonical juridical aspect, cannot be exercised”. Now let me break that down for the average person in the pew. In other words, what Vatican II is saying is that when you are consecrated a bishop you are given a sacramental, which means that you can never get rid of it, ontological meaning it’s transcendent, munus. What does munus mean here? It means a gift that allows service.

How’s the best way of expressing this? Vatican II talks about this in Gaudiaum et spes: Christ has three munira. To teach, to sanctify and to govern. The priests and bishops, and for that matter, the pope, what do they do? They teach, they sanctify and they govern and these are the three munira or the munis’...

... That is distinguished from the canonical, canon law, juridical law aspect. It’s like this. Traditionally the church has understood that there is something called potestas ordinis, which is the sacred power to teach to govern and sanctify; that a priest or a bishop gets when they are ordained or consecrated. That is directly from God. You never lose it, but because you can lose it. Like you said a priest who gets de-frocked, or a pope who resigns. Like Pope Celestine, back in the Middle Ages, they would no longer have their munus, their office.

So there must be something, another aspect to the munus besides the sacramental ontological, or you would never lose it, if you follow what I mean. There are also theologians that tell us, Thomas Aquinas, Bellarmine and Vatican I, they tell us that there is also the canonical juridical aspect. So in other words a bishop becomes the Bishop of Los Angeles, New York, or wherever, Paris. That is a grant of authority given to him by the Pope, by the church, which is separate from the munus that was given to him when he was consecrated a bishop, and somehow the two work together.

Vatican II says that without hierarchical communion, without being in union with the pope and the Catholic bishops, the sacramental ontological munus or the potestas ordinis, which is distinguished from the canonical juridical aspect, which we were just talking about, it cannot be exercised. At consecration you’re given the gift, the munus, to teach, to sanctify and to govern, but you’re not allowed to exercise that unless you’re in hierarchical communion, unless the pope has given you a canonical juridical office. You know, Bishop of San Diego or whatever...

... Through my research what I’ve discovered  is that Joseph Ratzinger, the darling of the parity of Vatican II, and of the post-Vatican II church, he is on record on multiple occasions as saying that what really counts is your sacramental, ontological munus, and not the canonical juridical office, if you will. Let me explain why this is important. The devil’s in the details, so to speak...

... Canon law, as it is generally understood is pretty simple. It says Canon 332 part 2, says “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his office…  “In the original Latin, of the 1983 code of Canon law, the word is munus. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, it is required for validity that the renunciation is made freely, and be properly manifested.” You know, which is why he gave a declartio on February 11th 2013, but not that it be accepted by anyone at all. It’s not like the pope has to turn in his resignation to a superior. He has no superior. The key thing here is, again he has to renounce his munus, his office. But, now we get back to the sacramental ontological munus versus the canonical juridical munus, if you will. Let me introduce a quote from Joseph Ratzinger from Principles of Catholic theology from 1987, available from Ignatius press.  Basically he says, “I disagree with those who teach that “The papacy is not a sacrament that it is only a juridical institution, but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.”

Let me unpack that. Razinger is arguing that what’s important foremost is the sacramental ontological munus not the “office” that perhaps comes and goes. Obviously, Benedict ruffled a number of feathers with his renunciation and his taking on the office of Pope Emeritus, right? For example, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, one of the dubia fathers, was very upset. Roberto De Matei, Dr. Matei was upset and Dr. Matei went on record saying, “look there is no such thing as a sacramental papacy. It is only a juridical institution.” Yet we have this quote. And, why is that? You could never lose it if it was sacramental, but you can lose it if it is just a juridical office...

... What does Joseph Ratzinger say? He says, “No, no, no. “I disagree with those people who say the papacy is not a sacrament, that it’s only a juridical institution. That juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.” Now here is another quote from Ratzinger right after the counsel. This is from his book Theological highlights of Vatican II, Published 1966 by Paulist Press.

 Again another money line. “The ministry of the bishop, meaning munus in Latin is not an externally assigned administrative power, but rather, is itself sacramentally-based. The ruling of the church and its spiritual mystery are inseparable.”


Now here’s another interesting quote, I’ll try to weave this in. The very month, February 2013, when Pope Benedict makes this renunciation. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a Jesuit, the former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a very highly respected doctor of law, in of all publications it was Cattolica Civilta, the Jesuit- [La Civilta Cattolica]...

... He says that Ratzinger”s view of the sacramental ontological munus, when applied to the juridical office of the Bishop of Rome, is going to create major problems. Let me give you his exact words. “The greatest difficulty that arises from the affirmation, that the primacial power of the Roman pontiff comes from his Episcopal consecration and not from the acceptance of the election, would be that in the event that the pope resigned from his office, not because of death, he would never lose the power as it is conferred by a sacramental act, which has an indelible character.” Well, this is precisely what Benedict has stated in his interviews with Peter Seewald, why he’s Pope Emeritus, and not simply Bishop Emeritus, or Cardinal. It’s why he still issues apostolic blessings in his own name and why his proper form of address is still His Holiness, but here’s the wrinkle. Ghirlanda and other candidates and theologians, not to mention centuries of saints and scholars, hold that Ratzinger is just plain wrong and that’s not how it works

He’s just wrong. Here’s the problem, if Ratzinger had ever been convinced of the real truth of the matter, I argue, he likely, would never have renounced the papacy, seeing as how committed he is to fulfilling his Petrine vow and living only for the Lord and his flock. So what do you call this? This is called substantial error. When your will chooses something based on the fact that your intellect has bad information. This is the theory that I personally hold to, why I think his resignation, or his renunciation was invalid. And I can go into more detail on that...

...  Now, if such an ontological entity is metaphysically impossible, it means that his will chose something based on erroneous knowledge in his intellect. Now let me give you an example. Substantial error normally happens when it comes to matrimony and canon lawyers know a lot about this. Let me give you a quick example: if a man, let’s say he’s an aristocrat, stipulates that he will only marry an imperial Romanov descendent, and maybe he sends out a match maker to find himself a spouse. They used to do that in the old days, 100 hundred years ago. In fact, the match maker finds him somebody, a Russian girl named Natasha Romanova. And he marries her thinking that she is, in fact one of the imperial family bloodline, when in fact she is an Avenger...

... the Black Widow. She’s from the Avengers. Well then guess what? The marriage never happened in the eyes of God due to substantial error. Because he stipulated that he was only going to marry this person if they were a Romanov heir, a Romanov bloodline. Now there are other criteria for substantial error. It comes up in contractual law, but this is what I call the stipulation variety, it is the one I think seems to fit in Benedict’s case.

In other words, had he known that the truth of the matter is there is no such thing as a sacramental papacy and when you renounce the office, that’s it. You’re not papal in any way shape or form anymore. I honestly believe based on everything he’s said for the last 60 years, he would not have resigned. You see how he clings to it? How he talks about once you say yes to God and you become a Shepard, a follower of Peter, it’s a forever...

... Here we go with Vatican II. I mean the documents of Vatican II are up for grabs, right? What is the proper interpretation of them? And what I’ve found out, I’ve been in touch with Italian canonists and it’s kind of an open secret that Cardinal Ratzinger, Joseph Ratzinger, didn’t know his law, didn’t know his theology. I could give you more quotes from him where he’s really into this idea that the church before Vatican II didn’t understand the theology of office correctly. Let me throw this in here. This might be interesting. This is from Principles of Catholic theology, published in 1987, Ignatius press. He is talking about Pope Pius XII. He says that Pope Pius XII, in 1947 changed the wording for the ordination ceremony, and he’s talking about what it was before Pius changed it.

Ratzinger says, the medieval rite is formed on the pattern of investiture in a secular office. Its key word is potestas. However since 1947, the key word is now ministerium or munus. “Service and gift.” Then he comes up with a doozy. He says “The most crucial event in the development of the Latin West was, I think, the increasing distinction between sacrament, potestas ordinis and jurisdiction, potestas jurisdicciones.” In other words between liturgy and administration as such. And he finishes by saying, “I think we should be honest enough to admit the temptation of mammon in the history of the church, and to recognize to what extent it was a real power that worked to the distortion and corruption of both the church and theology, to their inmost core. The separation of office as jurisdiction from office as sacramental rite was continued for reasons of prestige and financial benefits.”

It’s all right there Patrick, it’s clear as day. He had an erroneous understanding. You know, thanks to the Nouvelle theologie of what it means to… Like you said peanuts, right? Charlie Brown. If I was Linus I could say to Pope Benedict, as respectfully as possible, “Joseph Ratzinger you’re the only person in the world who could take an easy thing like resigning and turning it into a problem.”


I don’t think myself…I have to do more research. I don’t think he’s guilty of heresy per se. As a matter of fact, what my research has uncovered is that there’s a slight possibility that he might be right, because the church has actually never come down and defined the mechanics of how you are made a bishop in the church. There’s an outside possibility that he could be right, in which case his renunciation was valid. I could send that to you to maybe put in the show notes. But the fact of the matter is he could be in just error. You know just genuine sincere error; if that’s not the way the mechanics of the church, if that’s not a correct ecclesiology.  []

Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis’s Amoris Laetitia.

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

Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He wants you to do now and next. In this silence remember God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost – Three Divine Persons yet One God, has an ordered universe where you can know truth and falsehood as well as never forget that He wants you to have eternal happiness with Him as his son or daughter by grace. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.

Francis Notes:

– 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.”

– “If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?”:

– “Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?”:

– If Francis betrays Benedict XVI & the”Roman Rite Communities” like he betrayed the Chinese Catholics we must respond like St. Athanasius, the Saintly English Bishop Robert Grosseteste & “Eminent Canonists and Theologians” by “Resist[ing]” him: 

 –  LifeSiteNews, “Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial weight behind communion for adulterers,” December 4, 2017:

The AAS guidelines explicitly allows “sexually active adulterous couples facing ‘complex circumstances’ to ‘access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'”

–  On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:

“The AAS statement… establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense.”

– On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:

“Francis’ heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents.”

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.

Election Notes: 

– Intel Cryptanalyst-Mathematician on Biden Steal: “212Million Registered Voters & 66.2% Voting,140.344 M Voted…Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden” []

– Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times “Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003”:

– Tucker Carlson’s Conservatism Inc. Biden Steal Betrayal is explained by “One of the Greatest Columns ever Written” according to Rush:

– A Hour which will Live in Infamy: 10:01pm November 3, 2020:

What is needed right now to save America from those who would destroy our God given rights is to pray at home or in church and if called to even go to outdoor prayer rallies in every town and city across the United States for God to pour out His grace on our country to save us from those who would use a Reichstag Fire-like incident to destroy our civil liberties. [Is the DC Capitol Incident Comparable to the Nazi Reichstag Fire Incident where the German People Lost their Civil Liberties? and Epoch Times Show Crossroads on Capitol Incident: “Anitfa ‘Agent Provocateurs‘”:

Pray an Our Father now for the grace to know God’s Will and to do it.

Pray an Our Father now for America.

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


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