A Response to Ann Barnhardt

A Response to Ann Barnhardt

By Paul F.


Popular blogger Ann Barnhardt made some waves last summer when she declared to the world that the man elected to the papacy by the Catholic Church, whom the entire Church and the world at large recognizes as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, is, in fact, an antipope.[1]  “It is now clear to me,” she begins, “and I feel it morally incumbent upon me given my position to publicly state that I believe Jorge Bergoglio, ‘Francis’ to be an Antipope, never having been canonically elected, and that Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff.”[2]

More recently, even some well-known, mainstream traditionalist publications have given some sort of lukewarm defense (though certainly no endorsement) of Ms. Barnhardt’s position.

This article will attempt to demonstrate that Ms. Barnhardt’s position is not based on sound theology; in fact, in contradicts the Church’s teachings, at least implicitly, and must be regarded as a danger to the faith, for reasons that will be explained below.


Her essay is split into several sections (which she apparently considers evidence enough to offer at least moral certainty in her conclusion), with prophecy being the first.

She begins this section with the (now!) well-known prophecy of St. Francis of Assisi, in which he speaks of a future pope, “not canonically elected,” who will be a “destroyer.”  Here is a selected portion of what she quotes (I own this book as well):

“Act bravely, my Brethren; take courage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.

The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death… for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer” (emphasis mine).[3]

It is curious that Ms. Barnhardt chooses this passage first in support of her hypothesis, given that it is clear that the great saint[4] was speaking of an actual pope – a man “raised to the Pontificate” – not an antipope.  St. Francis certainly understood that, in terms of Thomistic philosophy, to be “raised to the Pontificate” is indeed to be made pope: This phrase implies the man (matter) being joined to the form of the papacy.  The learned saint would have never spoken of an actual pope in such terms.

But Ann’s thesis is that Francis was, in fact, not raised to the Pontificate (despite what her proof-text prophecy states), but is a usurper antipope.  (As we will see below, being “not canonically elected” is not an insurmountable impediment to being a true pope.)

(Incidentally, it may well be that the Seraphic Father was indeed speaking of Pope Francis in this prophecy; more than one traditionalist author has suggested this.  However, clearly, no conclusive case can be made, especially since we know not what the future holds – we may be in the “dry run” to the true last days rather than the real show.  But, even if so, since he was speaking of a true pope, the subject is irrelevant to her thesis.)

Next up is a quote from Cardinal Manning that says, in part, "...Rome shall apostatize from the Faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism... Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible; hidden in catacombs..."

What Cardinal Manning speaks of seems to be a public action; there is no indication that the "driving away" of the "Vicar of Christ" is something that somehow happens in secret, which is what Ann asserts has occurred (this occult aspect has theological issues in itself, explored below).  More importantly, in any case, there is absolutely nothing specific to tie this to Francis.  This type of prophetic proof-texting is directly analogous to methods that Protestants use to apply passages from Revelation with theological certainty.  There simply isn’t a shred of direct evidence that ties this prophecy to Pope Francis, and, to paraphrase Scripture, no prophecy is a matter of private interpretation. 

To grab hold of such wisps of private prophecy and use them to justify something as rash as declaring the man the Church recognizes as Pope to be an anti-pope, based on one’s own judgment, is rash in the extreme, and not reflective of the Catholic attitude towards legitimate authority and private judgment.

Using Pope Pius XII's well-known prophecy about the crisis in the Church to suggest that Francis is an antipope seems quite a stretch indeed.  We are far along a rather thin branch at this point, are we not?  Pius’ words – incredibly prophetic of our time indeed, it would seem – suggest nothing of any antipope, much less providing the tiniest hint of evidence that Francis is one.

The same goes for the (somewhat disputed) prophecy of La Salette.

And, last, are the words of Our Lady of Fatima.  Except – they’re probably not.  The quote Ann provides, without attribution, is apocryphal, at best.  In fact, I have it on the authority of one of the world’s foremost Fatima experts that it is not legitimate.  But that’s not really here nor there, as it would not help her case if it were authentic.

Now, traditionalists have long attributed Our Lady of Fatima’s warnings to apply to the current crisis in the Church.  In fact, given the critical date, provided by Our Lady Herself, of 1960 for the public revealing of the Third Secret, along with the reports of those few who have read its text, of this there can be no substantial doubt.  However, once again, this does absolutely nothing for Ann’s case.

(It might also be noted that the entire legitimate Fatima narrative depends on their being an actual Pope in the Vatican to both release the missing part of the Third Secret (the words of the Virgin that go along with the vision) as well as to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in concert with the world’s episcopate.)

In conclusion, this collection of prophecy testifies to a grave crisis of faith in the Church, starting “at the top.”[5]  However, not only is there no evidence for the assertion that Francis himself is an antipope, there is contrary evidence, in the form of the very first proof text put forth.

The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

As a preliminary, for the record, I must state that there is no doubt that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was an occasion of profound confusion for the Church – especially when we consider also the shocking statements of his secretary, Archbishop Ganswein, in May of 2016.

Immediately preceding the section where Barnhardt purports to demonstrate that Benedict’s resignation from the papacy was invalid due to a nuance of canon law (by her interpretation), she states this: “After his ‘resignation,’ Ratzinger still wore the papal white cassock, still referred to himself as ‘Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,’ and continued to live in the Vatican” (emphasis mine).

This single, short sentence contains an implicit falsehood: Barnhardt states that Benedict “still referred to himself as ‘Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’” even though it is a plain fact that neither Benedict nor anyone else referred to him as Pope Emeritus until after his resignation.  This is perfectly consistent with the definition of the word emeritus: “one retired from professional life but permitted to retain as an honorary title the rank of the last office held[6] (emphasis mine again –note the past tense regarding the office).  Pope Emeritus is a [singular] title; the first word is modified by the second which renders it “honorary,” and referring to the past.  At the very least, there is no reason to assume the contrary, so this is not helpful to any thesis: It’s just another red herring, though a disturbing one in a sense.

Before beginning the detailed analysis below, it should be noted that it is a maxim of the Church that public judgments are only valid when issued by the Church’s public authorities.  St. Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, teaches that “usurpation of justice” is a perversion of it.[7]   “Now since it belongs to the same authority to interpret and to make a law, just as a law cannot be made save by public authority, so neither can a judgment be pronounced except by public authority…”[8]  Ann might claim she’s pronouncing no judgment, merely giving her opinion, but the difference is academic.  She believes her own private conclusions based on her judgment of canon law extend to the external forum of the Church and publicly influences others to do the same.

Ann asserts that Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from the papacy was, in fact, canonically invalid, and thus null.  She relies entirely on Canon 188 of the 1983 Code for her argument.  It states, "A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself" (emphasis hers).[9]

Archbishop Ganswein stated that Benedict’s resignation and Francis’ election had created an “expanded [Petrine] ministry” with “an active member and a contemplative member.”[10]  It goes without saying that no person, pope or not, has any power over the form of the papacy, which is a divine institution created by Christ Himself.

However: 1) These are not the statements of Benedict himself, and no individual can determine his position without his public testimony (much less in contrary to it); 2) Only the Church could decide if such a belief constituted legal “substantial error”; 3) Canonical issues become moot by the acceptance of Francis as Pope by a moral unanimity of the Church, which did occur.

That, in a nutshell, is why Barnhardt’s position is invalid.  We’ll examine these three facets now.

Ann argues that, "Gänswein stated openly that Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger [sic] considers himself still to be a participant in the Petrine Ministry, which by his 'resignation' he 'expanded,' with his role being contemplative,' while his successor’s role is 'active.' He further stated that Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger believes that his resignation was 'quite different' to that of Pope Celestine V, and that it is specifically for this reason that Pope Benedict XVI did NOT revert to his given name and continues to wear the papal white cassock while living inside the Vatican Walls."

This is an accurate summarization of Archbishop Gänswein’s comments, but, again, this was Archbishop Ganswein, not Benedict XVI, speaking.  (Note, for example, that the Archbishop even contradicts Benedict XVI on at least one matter: The wearing of papal white.  What Ganswein states contradicts Benedict’s repeated statements that he wears white out of “purely practical reasons.”[11]  That was Benedict’s position, regardless of one’s judgment of its sensibility.  One dare not construct theological reality based on interview hearsay.)

After correctly noting that the “substantial error” clause is usually regarded as intending to cover cases such as a prelate (the canon deals with resignations from ecclesiastical office in general, not the papacy in particular) resigning over a mistaken notion that he is required to do so,[12] Ann remarks:

"We now know what ‘substantial error’ is.  Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger made a 'substantial error' in believing that the papacy could be 'expanded' - in this case, bifurcated into a diarchy.  Pope Benedict XVI submitted an invalid resignation not because he was coerced, but because he mistakenly believed and continues to believe that he could at once resign, thus allowing for the election of a successor, and yet still remain a Pope... and thus, according to Canon 188, Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger’s resignation of 28 February ARSH 2013 was 'invalid by the law itself,' and thus, he remains the one and only Roman Pontiff, whether or not he believes it or likes it” (emphasis mine).

First, she places beliefs upon her subject he has not publicly revealed – a clear violation of the Catholic principle of non-judgment of the internal forum.  Then, this assumed, she presumes to declare that this belief would certainly (“we now know”) meet the “substantial error” clause of the law, perhaps obvious to the fact that such a matter of law could only be decided by the Church.

Ms. Barnhardt does not cite a single canon lawyer or other authority in support of her conclusion.  This author wrote two American canon lawyers - one of them very well-known and respected by traditional Catholics - who both expressed the opinion that Ms. Barnhardt’s reasoning on this matter is not sound.  The burden of proof for her assertion falls on her, and she did not make an attempt to provide any, nor cite any authority other than herself.

Others have stated, based on the text of Benedict’s resignation itself, that Benedict did intend what Archbishop Ganswein states above.  However, this is, again, contrary to what Father Benedict – which is how he has said he desires to be addressed[13] - has consistently stated publicly.

We know that Benedict did have the intention to resign, as he has stated publicly many times, even calling assertions that his resignation was deformed by coercion or lack of true intent “absurd.”[14] 

These things are matters the Church might weigh in deciding if the resignation were invalid, but the Church never had cause to even consider the question, which was rendered moot in any case by its acceptance of Francis as pope.  Ann’s argument that Benedict’s resignation was not valid comes to nothing more than a naked assertion – a judgment of law reserved to the Church but made by an individual - based on the words of a third-party commentator.

That his resignation was valid is the public position of the Church, and Catholic moral theology allows an individual to deviate from the Church’s public judgment only when probable doubt in the external forum exists.  There is no such doubt here; all “doubt” relies on speculation and hearsay outside the public forum or on sources other than the subject.

From the theological point of view, we must consider the public good of the Church, as that is a factor the Church herself uses to settle matters of doubt in public fact.  The Church accepted Benedict’s resignation and accepted the election of Francis as Pope – and, now, we are coming to the meat of the matter that really undoes Ann’s position.  Let us look at what the distinguished theologian Louis Cardinal Billot had to say regarding what public acceptance of a pontiff by the Church means:

“…the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately.

Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions” (emphasis mine).[15]

This quote packs a lot of important information.  The adhesion of the Church to a pope is an infallible sign that he is a true pope, and God will not permit that the Church as a whole follow a false pope.  For God to allow such a thing would clearly sow great harm in the Church – a level of harm the theologians have decided is not possible. 

(It might be argued that greater harm than what Francis is doing now could scarcely be imagined.  This is naïve.  Pope Francis, like the modernist popes he follows, has made no attempt whatever to change doctrine – because he cannot - instead making an end-run around it via heterodox praxis.  This is, indeed, gravely harmful to souls, but an antipopewould have no such constraints.  An antipope would be free to issue “binding” doctrine, in formal language, undoing or declaring absolutely anything.  The fact that the post-conciliar pontiffs, including Francis, have done no such thing, despite their quite apparent modernist inclinations, is about as clear a sign of the Holy Ghost’s protection of the True Church, as well as the confines of papal infallibility binding an actual pope, as could be imagined.)

Furthermore, this adhesion in itself “heals” any merely canonical obstacles that may have stood in the way of a valid election (which, in this case, would obviously include possible impediments to the validity of the resignation that preceded the election).

There is no doubt that the Church, on the whole, has “adhered” to Francis as Pope; we will below explore in more detail the criteria thereof, but the vast majority of the laity – and allof the episcopate (including the Traditionalist bishops of the  Society of St. Pius Xth) – have recognized Francis as Pope since his election.

Ms. Barnhardt also opines that the existence of the St. Gallen Group, "...adds to the overall dataset indicating that something is terribly, terribly wrong..." While this revelation was, indeed, disturbing (due to the corruption in the Church it reveals), we see now that such canonical issues – if there were any[16] – were “healed in the root” by Francis’ acceptance by the Church as pontiff.

Dogmatic Fact

As seen above, Ann’s canonical argument falls apart when examined in light of the Church’s teachings on dogmatic fact alone. 

Explains Fr. E. Sylvester Berry, in his dogmatic treatise on the Church, The Church Of Christ:

“A dogmatic fact is one that has not been revealed, yet is so intimately connected with a doctrine of faith that without certain knowledge of the fact there can be no certain knowledge of the doctrine. For example, was the Vatican Council truly ecumenical? Was Pius IX a legitimate pope? Was the election of Pius XI valid? Such questions must be decided with certainty before decrees issued by any council or pope can be accepted as infallibly true or binding on the Church. It is evident, then, that the Church must be infallible in judging of such facts, and since the Church is infallible in believing as well as in teaching, it follows that the practically unanimous consent of the bishops and faithful in accepting a council as ecumenical, or a Roman Pontiff as legitimately elected, gives absolute and infallible certainty of the fact” (emphasis mine).[17]

Fr. Berry here echoes Cardinal Billot in stating that the acceptance of a pontiff by the Church makes an infallible fact that the man is actually Supreme Pontiff.  Fr. Berry also clarifies what is meant by “adherence of the universal Church” and similar phrases: What is necessary is moral unanimity (essentially, a large majority; the Mind of the Church), which has certainly been demonstrated in the case of Pope Francis.

Note also that a papacy becomes a dogmatic fact as soon as this moral unanimity is demonstrated, and, once brought into existence, is not subject to a subsequent revision (facts are not undone).  That is, as soon as the Church (especially the episcopate) accepted Francis as pope immediately following his election, his papacy became such a dogmatic fact.

Do not confuse moral unanimity in acceptance of a pontiff with popularity, as some indeed seem to.  Such a dogmatic fact is not subject to the whims of popular opinion; it does not waver when a pope who appears more akin to an aging hippie than the Vicar of Christ gives another cringe-worthy interview on an airplane, etc.

At this point, let me pause to comment on the general character of the argument Ms. Barnhardt makes.  She suggests that due to a canonical irregularity, the man the entire Church, and the world, treats as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church is really no such thing (and she determines this by her own judgment, which we’ll get in to a bit later).  Those who understand the purpose of canon law – it exists in service of the Faith and is subordinate to divine law – will recognize something inherently very wrong with such an argument.  To put it colloquially, this would be a case of the tail wagging the dog.  Canon law cannot rule the Church to the extent that it makes ignorant slaves of the faithful (laity and clergy alike), in effect tricking them into following a false pope.

(One of the many reasons that Archbishop Lefebvre acknowledged the papacies of the post-conciliar popes was that he recognized that these papacies were dogmatic facts: "But in any case, the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the election by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate it. That is the teaching of the theologians."[18])

Bergoglio’s Litany of Heresies

Barnhardt now goes through a laundry list of materially erroneous (and, in some cases, possibly heretical) statements by Pope Francis, of which all are aware.  No properly formed Catholic (certainly no traditional Catholic) doubts for an instant that Francis has been a terrible pope by any objective measure; calling him a “destroyer,” in reference to St. Francis’ prophecy above, seems fitting.

Ann, however, does not appear to be making any real argument, or one she is specifically informing her audience of in any case.  Is her argument that no pope could make materially erroneous (or heretical) statements?  We know that is not true.  Is it that the sin of heresy severs a man from the Body of the Church, and thus ecclesiastical office, or that “public” heresy as judged by an individual does the same?  These are both sedevacantist errors – in fact, one or the other is the root error of virtually every sedevacantist variant.

She does not say; she states merely what she “hears” – in other words, what she feels.  But this is not relevant.  The Church’s ecclesiastical offices are not regulated by private opinions regarding prelates – including opinions regarding heresy – much less vague, general, observations.

By Whose Authority?

“By Whose Authority Do I Presume to Denounce Bergoglio?” Ann asks, rhetorically – and then answers by quoting Scripture (and nothing else).  Authoritative private interpretation of Scripture is forbidden Catholics, especially in the case where one is taking a position contrary to the Church’s public one.  I do not believe it is necessary to provide references for this assertion.

"The notion that we laymen – the sheep – are NOT to listen and discern whose voice it is that we hear is abject lunacy."  

It seems Ann may not be aware of the simple but critical difference between resisting material error and formally separating from a prelate, or declaring that he does not hold the office that the Church says he does.  Though Ann objects strongly to being called a sedevacantist – and she should, because she’s not a sedevacantist (she believes there is a pope, somewhere) – the arguments and mindset of sedevacantism permeate this essay.  It is not necessary for anyone to extend a judgment about any of Pope Francis’ statements to the question of whether or not he is the Pope, as the Church says he is.  These things are unrelated.

And this is the very crux of the difference between recognizing but resisting prelates who teach error (the true Catholic position), and sedevacantism and its variants. 

Ann comments further that, "The notion that Bergoglio is 'non compos mentis' is a fantasy.  He contradicts himself because in his evil, warped mind, contradiction is not only non-problematic, it is a valuable tactic to deceive, confuse, obscure and provide so-called 'plausible deniability'”

Once again, the Church does not judge internals – this is a maxim of the faith. 

Now, for the record, I also happen to believe that Pope Francis knows exactly what he’s doing; I don’t think he’s mentally ill, incompetent, or anything of the sort.  However, I cannot have moral certainty that he intentionally and obstinately rejects the Church as the rule of faith, which is the critical mark of formal heresy according to the theologians.  Even I had personal certainty of this, there would be no relevance of that in regard to his membership in the Body of Christ and thus his ecclesiastical office. (Again, it’s not clear if Ann intends to assert that Francis isn’t the pope because he’s a heretic, or his being a heretic proves he isn’t the pope, or neither, or...)


"I already know too well what the responses to this will be, so I will answer them immediately to save us all time.”

Yet, clearly – she doesn’t.  She doesn’t address at all the arguments that are most relevant to her position:

·        The fact that the very first prophecy she produces as evidence contradicts her thesis
·        The fact that the rest of the prophecies offer no evidence for her thesis
·        The fact that Catholics are not qualified to interpret canon law, prophecy,[19] or Scripture authoritatively, or in a way contrary to the public judgment of the Church
·        The entire body of theological teaching on dogmatic fact and related matters
·        The fact that private judgment of heresy has no bearing on ecclesiastical office

While Ann is correct that she is “not a sedevacantist,” if Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passes away this evening, she will discover that she’s become one by morning.  (Or will Francis’ invalid election suddenly become valid?)


Ms. Barnhardt’s approach to this issue, in the large, smacks of the mindset of sedevacantism, whether or not she is conscious of that (I suspect she is not).  The spirit of private judgment permeates her essay (to the extent that she does even attempt to offer any justification for her position other than her own interpretation of Scripture and prophecy), she feels free to judge the internal forum of the pope (his soul), she argues – at least implicitly – that he is a [formal] heretic (by her judgment, again) and thus somehow unable to be joined to the form of the papacy; etc.

Though I wish to remain as objective as possible, this essay by Ms. Barnhardt strikes me as much more a product of the will than of the intellect.  Is this position (which some term francisvacantism) borne out of the belief (conscious or not) that Benedict XVI was so vastly preferable a pontiff that we simply must hold on to him at all costs?

This is, of course, a fantasy.  What Francis is doing in the moral sphere, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and Paul VI did with liturgy and theology.  The fingerprints of modernism are as plain on those aspects of the faith as they are on what Francis is now “making a mess” with: Rupture, ambiguity, uncertainty, the faithful confused and scandalized, etc.

The Vatican II Reign of Novelty has enshrined ambiguity as the only true dogma.  Francis did not bake this cake, but is merely providing the icing.  And it comes with a blessing the enemy did not foresee: The peeling of the scales off the eyes of many “conservative Catholics” who have somehow been able, until now, to believe that all is right with the world.

And the truth, uncomfortable though it may be to some, is that francisvacantism and sedevacantism share the very same roots.  It is a rather small step from deciding, personally, that Francis is not really the pope due to issues of canon law and “heresy,” as judged by the individual, to deciding the very same thing about other pontiffs elected & accepted by the Church.  Because there was indeed a material rupture in 1965 (roughly speaking), the dominoes fall relatively easily – in this mindset – up to John XXIII.  But, do not think that all stop there: Not by any means.  (If you doubt me, please devote some light reading time to the list of pontiffs that Steven Speray and Richard Ibranyi have deposed.)

And this mindset undoes the Church in an instant.  If we cannot have moral certainty of the true existence of pontificates, we have no certainty in anything the Church teaches, since every dogma of the Church is promulgated by a pope indirectly (via an ecumenical council) or directly.  This is exactly why pontificates are considered dogmatic facts. 

More broadly, dwelling on the ramifications of private judgment of ecclesiastical office (i.e., anarchy) will also impress upon the mind the reasons why an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church anathematized any individual who would formally separate from his bishop without a formal judgment from the Church.[20]

Hiding from the pope won’t make him, or the crisis in the Church, go away.  The proper path is that which has always been the Catholic response to wayward prelates: Recognizing the authority God has given to them while resisting their material errors.[21]

[2] Ibid
[3] St. Francis of Assisi, Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi (R. Washbourne, 1882), 148-150
[4] St. Padre Pio called St. Francis the greatest saint of all time after the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph
[5] As Cardinal Ciappi famously remarked regarding the still-hidden portion of the Third Secret of Fatima
[8] Ibid
[15] Cardinal Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, Vol. I, p612-613, as quoted in John Salza & Robert Siscoe, True Or False Pope? (St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, 2015) p382-383
[16] Canon law in effect (then and now, via Universi Dominici gregis) states that, “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext…”
[17] E. Sylvester Berry, STD, The Church Of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009), p290
[19] 2 Pet 1:20
[20] The Fourth Council of Constantinople, Canon 10: “… this holy and universal synod justly and fittingly declares and lays down that no lay person or monk or cleric should separate himself from communion with his own patriarch before a careful enquiry and judgment in synod, even if he alleges that he knows of some crime perpetrated by his patriarch, and he must not refuse to include his patriarch's name during the divine mysteries or offices.” As quoted in Salza & Siscoe, True Or False Pope, p207