Did Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) say that Francis is a heretic?
On June 3, 2003 the then Cardinal Ratzinger (and future Pope Benedict), head of the Congregation for the Faith, said that the endorsement of "homosex civil unions" was against Catholic teaching, that is heterodoxy:
"Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimatization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil... The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions."
(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons," June 3, 2003)
"Francis made on October 21 his latest declaration in support of [immoral] homosex civil unions, admitting that he has always stood up for them. This is true." [https://www.gloria.tv/post/J4jp2BJtWgpv3s8DiS2ThH2dk]
If Francis is a heretic, what should canonically happen to him?
If it is true that Francis is an explicit heretic then the teaching of St. Francis de Sales comes into play.
Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church in such a situation:
"[T]he Pope... WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said "the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church."
The renowned scholar Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira who was one of the top experts in modern times of the subjects of papal validity and heretical popes gave a brief overview of his authority on this matters:
"In the 1970 Brazilian edition of my study of the heretical Pope, in the French edition of 1975 and in the Italian in 2016, I stated that on the grounds of the intrinsic theological reasons underpinning the Fifth Opinion I considered it not merely probable but certain. I chose not to insist on the qualification 'theologically certain' for an extrinsic reason, namely, that certain authors of weight do not adopt it.43 This was also the opinion of the then Bishop of Campos, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, as expressed in a letter of 25th January 1974, when he sent my work to Paul VI, asking him to point out any possible errors (which never took place), expressly stating that he referred to the study 'written by lawyer Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, with the contents of which I associate myself .'”
Here is what de Silveira says in his book "Implications Of New Missae And Heretic Popes (Page 176)" on the subject of heretical popes:
"Resuming: We believe that a careful examination of the question of a Pope heretic, with the
theological elements of which we dispose today, permits one to conclude that an eventual Pope heretic would lose his charge in the moment in which his heresy became 'notorious and publicly divulged'."
"And we think that this sentence is not only intrinsically probable , but certain , since the reasons
allegeable in its defense appear to us as absolutely cogent. Besides, in the works which we have
consulted, we have not found any argument which persuaded us of the opposite. "
"(1 ) The second opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine - See pp. 1 56 ft.
(2) The first subdivision proposed by us to the fifth opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine - See p. 170.
(3) The second subdivision which we proposed to the fifth opinion - See p. 170.
(4) The third subdivision which we proposed on the fifth opinion. - See p. 1 70.
(5) The fourth opinion referred by Saint Robert Bellarmine . - See pp. 161 ff.
(6) We transcribe that long argumentation on pp. 1 64 ff. - See also note 2 of p. 1 64.
(7) One ought not to see shades of conciliarism in the principle that ecclesiastical organisms, as the Council, can omit a pronouncement declaring the eventual cessation of functions of a Pope heretic, as long as these organisms do not claim for themselves any right other than that enjoyed by any one of the faithful. For motives of mere convenience or courtesy, it could behoove these organisms to make such a declaration, in the first place; but this priority would not constitute for them a right of their own, or even less exclusive."[https://archive.org/stream/SilveiraImplicationsOfNewMissaeAndHereticPopes/Silveira%20Implications%20of%20New%20Missae%20and%20Heretic%20Popes_djvu.txt]
Dr. John R. T. Lamont, philosopher and theologian, explains the procedures of how Francis's papacy could cease if he is declared a heretical pope by the Church:
"Some... argue that the dubia and other criticisms of Amoris Laetitia that have been made already suffice as warnings to Pope Francis, and hence that he can now be judged to be guilty of the canonical crime of heresy..."
But for juridical purposes – especially for the very serious purpose of judging a Pope to be a heretic – they do not suffice. The evidence needed for a juridical judgment of such gravity has to take a form that is entirely clear and beyond dispute. A formal warning from a number of members of the College of Cardinals that is then disregarded by the Pope would constitute such evidence."
"The possibility of a Pope being canonically guilty of heresy has long been admitted in the Church. It is acknowledged in the Decretals of Gratian There is no dispute among Catholic theologians on this point – even among theologians like Bellarmine who do not think that a Pope is in fact capable of being a heretic..."
"It is to be hoped that the correction of Pope Francis does not have to proceed this far, and that he will either reject the heresies he has announced or resign his office..."
"Removing him from office against his will would require the election of a new Pope, and would probably leave the Church with Francis as an anti-Pope contesting the authority of the new Pope. If Francis refuses to renounce either his heresy or his office, however, this situation will just have to be faced."
To read the whole article click below:
Finally, unambiguously, Cardinal Burke, in an interview with the World Catholic Report, said that if a pope "formally profess heresy... he would cease...to be the Pope":
Cardinal Burke: If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.
CWR: That could happen.
Cardinal Burke: Yes.
CWR: That’s a scary thought.
Cardinal Burke: It is a scary thought, and I hope we won’t be witnessing that at any time soon.
CWR: In hindsight, with all of the controversy that has surrounded this, should you have kept these concerns to yourself and just waited for His Holiness to answer your dubia?
Cardinal Burke: No, not at all, because the faithful and priests and bishops have the right to have these questions answered. It was our duty as cardinals, when the Pope made it clear that he would not respond to them, to make them public so that the priests and the lay faithful who had these same doubts might know that their doubts are legitimate and that they deserve a response.
CWR: Some consider you to be an enemy of Pope Francis. How do you see yourself in relation to him?
Cardinal Burke: I am a Cardinal of the Church, and one of the Pope’s principal co-workers. I have absolute respect for the Petrine office. If I didn’t care about him and his exercise of the Petrine office, I would just remain silent and let everything go as it is. But because in conscience I believe he has an obligation to clarify these matters for the Church, I made it known to him, not just on this occasion, but on other occasions. The publication of the dubia was done with complete respect for his office. I am not the enemy of the Pope.
CWR: Back to this question about the Pope committing heresy. What happens then, if the Pope commits heresy and is no longer Pope? Is there a new conclave? Who’s in charge of the Church? Or do we just not even want to go there to start figuring that stuff out?
Cardinal Burke: There is already in place the discipline to be followed when the Pope ceases from his office, even as happened when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his office. The Church continued to be governed in the interim between the effective date of his abdication and the inauguration of the papal ministry of Pope Francis.
CWR: Who is competent to declare him to be in heresy?
Cardinal Burke: It would have to be members of the College of Cardinals.[https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2016/12/19/cardinal-burke-no-i-am-not-saying-that-pope-francis-is-in-heresy/]