A Sedevacatist apologist forwarded us a paper he wrote that attempted to refute our position and asked us for our thoughts. We are posting the lengthy email exchange that ensued, which contains some information that we have not published..
I have continued to research the points we were discussing a few months ago, and I still must disagree with you. Explanation is in the attached file. Interested to hear what you think of it.
On 5/3/2022 10:49 AM, Robert Siscoe wrote:
Thanks for including me on this email. I will reply to individual points as I read through your paper rather than replying to everything at once.
In your paper, you said: “the key point is that they [Siscoe and Salza] wrongly restrict the scope of notoriety of fact, by saying that as long as someone calls himself a Catholic and doesn't openly split from the visible Catholic Church, he cannot become a notorious heretic before a judicial sentence, no matter how well-known and how obviously culpable his profession of heresy may be.”
Let me clarify our position. Notoriety of fact does not require a juridical sentence. If the fact in question had been juridically ascertained and declared, it would be notorious by law. A notorious fact is one that is considered so clearly indisputable that it is “held as proved and serves as a basis for the conclusions and acts of those in authority, especially judges.” For heresy to be notorious with a notoriety of fact, it would require a public admission of heresy. If a cleric publicly admitted that he knowingly rejects a dogma that he admits the Church has solemnly defined, that would suffice for notoriety of fact. But even a public admission of heresy would have no juridical effect on the office that he holds in the Church, since a declaration from authority is required before the loss of office to takes place. This is clear from Canon 194.2, as explained by the approved commentaries. Let’s have a look.
Canon 194 provides:
Can. 194 §1. The following are removed from an ecclesiastical office by the law itself:
1/ a person who has lost the clerical state;
2/ a person who has publicly defected from the Catholic faith or from the communion of the Church;
3/ a cleric who has attempted marriage even if only civilly.
§2. The removal mentioned in nn. 2 and 3 can be enforced only if it is established by the declaration of a competent authority.
The Exegetical Commentary on the 1983 Code, which was prepared by the Faculty of Canon Law at the University of Navarre, explains that the “declaration of a competent authority” is required for that act of public defection from the faith to have the juridical effect of removing the person from office. The following is taken from the commentary on c. 194.2:
Intervening of ecclesiastical authority for the effective loss of office
Consideration of the general requirement for the loss of ecclesiastical office has indicated that the intervention of the authority is always required for the effective cessation of the titleholder (see commentary on c. 184). The ipso iure [of c. 194] appears to contradict this hypothesis, but that is not the case.
Effectively, c. 194.2 establishes that, in the cases indicated in numbers 2 [i.e, public defection from the faith] and 3, of 1 [cleric who attempted marriage], in order for the removal to be juridically effective, certain intervention of the competent authority is necessary. The act of authority, in these cases, is not directly considered to constitute removal. Rather, it only declares that the situation has in fact been produced that carries the removal ipso iure. This declaration should be made – for juridical security – through a written document, dated, signed, and certified where possible. If the intervention is not done in the external forum, the cessation of an office will not be effective. This is because the appointment of the new titular cannot take place. Furthermore, the current office holder cannot be kept from carrying out the acts proper to the office and receiving the corresponding remuneration. Therefore, the intervention of the authority is absolutely necessary. (Exegetical Commentary On The Code Of Canon Law, Vol 1. pp. 169-175)
Establishing and declaring the fact would not cause of the loss of office; rather, it would serve as a condition that must be satisfied before the act that causes it (defection from the faith) has any juridical effect. Without the declaration from public authority, the person legally remains in office, his acts of jurisdiction remain valid, and he is even entitled to renumeration.
The following commentary on C. 194.2 from New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, by Beal, Coridon and Green, confirms the same:
Can. 194 §1. The following are removed from an ecclesiastical office by the law itself:
1/ a person who has lost the clerical state;
2/ a person who has publicly defected from the Catholic faith or from the communion of the Church;
3/ a cleric who has attempted marriage even if only civilly.
§2. The removal mentioned in nn. 2 and 3 can be enforced only if it is established by the declaration of a competent authority.
For all three situations competent authority must intervene. The clerical state is lost by declaration of invalidity of orders, imposition of the penalty of dismissal, or dispensation (c. 290); competent authority must act for each of these.
In the other two situations of canon 194 [defection from the faith or attempting marriage], competent authority declares the removal. These both involve delicts by the officeholder, and removal has the effect of a penalty. The canon is an exception to penal law, for removal from office is a permanent expiatory penalty (c. 1336 1, 2) which normally cannot be imposed or declared by decree (c. 1342. 2). Nevertheless, competent authority must determine the facts of the case and provide the officeholder with an opportunity to be heard (c. 50) before issuing the decree containing the reasons for removal and communicating this to the officeholder (c.51).”
The commentary goes on to compare the loss of office due to defection from the faith/attempting marriage to the loss of office resulting from the completion of age. Even though the law provides that the loss of office happens by virtue of the fact, in both cases, the officeholder remains in office until the fact that causes the loss of office has been declared:
“In the case of defection or clergy attempting marriage, the declaration by competent authority is similar to the declaration at the end of a term of office or completion of age. The fact on which the loss of office is based does not depend on the authority’s declaration, but its effectiveness does. The officeholder remains in office, and actions which require the office are valid, until the declaration of removal is communicated in writing.” (Beal, Coridon, Green, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, pp. 226-227).
To summarize, in the case of loss of office due to a public defection from the faith:
1) the culprit is removed from office by the law itself; not by a coercive act of a superior.
2) The act that causes the loss of office is public defection from the faith.
3) The declaration of the fact (i.e., the fact of public defection) by competent authority is a condition that the law itself requires for the act that causes the loss of office to have any juridical effect.
4) If the condition has not been satisfied, the culprit remains in office and his acts of jurisdiction remain valid. Legally, it is as if the act that causes the loss of office never happened.
Ipso Facto Excommunication vis-à-vis an Ipso Facto Deprivation (Loss of Office)
In the case of an ipso facto excommunication, the censure and spiritual effects are incurred in the internal forum the moment the act is committed (and the culprit is morally bound to act accordingly), but in the external forum, human judgment and a declaratory or condemnatory sentence are required before the excommunication can be legally recognized and hence before it has any juridical effect in the external ecclesiastical forum. As Pope Benedict XIV said, "a sentence declaratory of the offence is always necessary in the external forum, since in this tribunal no one is presumed to be excommunicated unless convicted of a crime that entails such a penalty".
Now – and this is important - in the case of an ipso facto deprivation (loss of office), the effects relate exclusively to the external forum. Since an ipso facto excommunication requires a declaration before it can be legally recognized and hence has any juridical effect in the external forum, it only makes sense that an ipso facto deprivation (loss of jurisdiction) – which relates exclusively to the external forum – would likewise require a declaration before it had any juridical effect – that is, before it is incurred. And that is exactly what Cajetan teaches.
“On account of this [i.e., internal heresy], such a heretic is not excommunicated. The Church cannot excommunicate what it cannot judge; therefore, much less is he deprived of the power of jurisdiction, which is by man's appointment: both giving it and taking it away belong to human judgment. I said 'much less' because more is required to incur deprivation ipso facto, than to incur excommunication [ipso facto], since incurring the censure does not require a declaration, whereas incurring deprivation does, according to the jurists” (Cajetan, The Authority of the Pope Compared to a Council, cap. xix)
According to Cajetan, that is what the canonists taught in the 16th century. In light of that, let us read what Suarez (16th century) and John of St. Thomas (17th century) taught about an ipso facto deprivation:
Suarez: “Therefore on deposing a heretical Pope, the Church would not act as superior to him, but juridically, and by the consent of Christ, she would declare him a heretic and therefore unworthy of Pontifical honors; he would be then ipso facto and immediately deposed by Christ, and once deposed he would become inferior and would be able to be punished.” (Suarez, De Fide, disp. X, sect. VI, n. 10).
John of St. Thomas: “It cannot be held that the pope, by the very fact of being a heretic, would cease to be pope antecedently to a declaration of the Church. It is true that some seem to hold this position; but we will discuss this in the next article. What is truly a matter of debate, is whether the pope, after he is declared by the Church to be a heretic, is deposed ipso facto by Christ the Lord, or if the Church ought to depose him. In any case, as long as the Church has not issued a juridical declaration, he must always be considered the pope, as we will make more clear in the next article.” (Cursus Theologicus of John of St. Thomas, Tome 6. Questions 1-7 on Faith. Disputation 8. Article 2).
Unlike most theologians who briefly comment on the loss of office for a heretical Pope, both Suarez and John of St. Thomas studied the subject thoroughly, as evidenced by the lengthy treaties that both wrote on the subject; and they both taught that the ipso facto loss of office happens after a declaration is issued, not before.
Regarding Bellarmine, we don’t have to guess how he would respond to those who argued that the Pope and bishops in union with him had defected from the faith and lost their office, since he directly answered the Protestant Sedevacantists of his day who made that very claim. Let us see how Bellarmine refuted the Sedvacantists of his day:
“Yet they [Protestants] object that Papist bishops have departed from the true faith, and therefore are no longer bishops; thus they say ‘pious ministers’ can rightly take up their places.
“I reply to this argument of Brentius. Even if we admit that there is doubt about which side has the true faith, although we are certain that it is with us, Catholic bishops, who have possessed their Sees peacefully for so many centuries, cannot be deprived of them unless they be legitimately judged and condemned. For in every controversy the party in actual possession enjoys the benefit of the doubt. And it is certain that the Catholic bishops have not been condemned by a legitimate judgment. For, who has condemned them besides the Lutherans? But they are the accusers; not the judges! For, who has made them our judges?" (Bellarmine, On the Marks of the Church).”
Do you agree with Bellarmine that bishops who remain in possession of their sees can only be deprived of them if they are first legitimately judged, because “in every controversy the party in actual possession enjoys the benefit of the doubt”? Or do you agree with the Protestants who claimed that each person should conclude and declare that bishops – including the bishop of Rome – lost their office, if they personally judged that the prelates in question had "departed from the true faith."?
 “Notoriety is the quality or the state of things that are notorious; whatever is so fully or officially proved, that it may and ought to be held as certain without further investigation, is notorious. It is difficult to express exactly what is meant by notoriety, and, as the Gloss says (in can. Manifesta, 15, C. ii, q. 1), "we are constantly using the word notorious and are ignorant of its meaning". Ordinarily it is equivalent to public, manifest, evident, known; all these terms have something in common, they signify that a thing, far from being secret, may be easily known by many. Notoriety, in addition to this common idea, involves the idea of indisputable proof, so that what is notorious is held as proved and serves as a basis for the conclusions and acts of those in authority, especially judges. To be as precise as is possible, "public" means what any one may easily prove or ascertain, what is done openly; what many persons know and hold as certain, is "manifest"; what a greater or less number of persons have learnt, no matter how, is "known"; what is to be held as certain and may no longer be called in question is "notorious".
“Authorities distinguish between notoriety of fact, notoriety of law, and presumptive notoriety, though the last is often considered a subdivision of the second. Whatever is easily shown and is known by a sufficient number of persons to be free from reasonable doubt is notorious in fact. This kind of notoriety may refer either to a transitory fact, e.g., Caius was assassinated; or permanent facts, e.g., Titus is parish priest of this parish; or recurring facts, e.g. Sempronius engages in usurious transactions. Whatever has been judicially ascertained, viz., judicial admissions, an affair fully proved, and the judgment rendered in a lawsuit, is notorious in law.” (Notoriety, Catholic Encyclopedia).”
Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Thank you for the reply. Did I understand correctly that you are planning
to send me several more emails as you read my paper? If so, I will wait
to hear more before I reply.
Yes, I'll send you a few more. The next one will be on the case of Nestorius.
Fri, May 6, 2022 3:30 pm Robert Siscoe wrote
Today, no one loses their jurisdiction for heresy without a declaration. In the past, no one who remained in external communion with the Church lost their jurisdiction for heresy until it was declared, whereas those who openly left the Church were deprived before the declaration.
Eric: “For a while I was puzzled about the apparent disagreement between the treatment of heresy in canon law, and the instant and automatic loss of Church membership for notorious heresy as in the case of Nestorius. Canon law, before and after the 1917 Code, contains an automatic excommunication for heresy, but it also spells out a process for deposition from office, implying that in a typical case where a priest or bishop becomes a public heretic, he retains his ecclesiastical office until he is deprived of it by a legal judgment. How can that be, if notorious heretics lose their jurisdiction (because they lose their membership in the Church) automatically?”
Regarding the case of Nestorius, he did not instantly lose his membership in the Church when he publicly denied that Mary was Mother of God (but only the mother of Christ), on December day in 428. The one historical case that the Sedes use to defend their position, doesn’t support their position. Quite the contrary. Here are the sequence of events:
- December of 428: Nestorius began preaching the “new heresy” (i.e., what the early canonists called a heresy that had not yet been the subject of a judgment by a council) that that Mary is not the Mother of God, but only the Mother of Christ.
- This resulted in a division between those who agreed with Nestorius and those who did not, with some of the latter being excommunicated by Nestorius and the bishops who sided with him.
- St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, sent Nestorius a formal warning informing him that his position was heretical.
- Nestorius persisted in his error.
- St. Cyril sent Nestorius a second formal warning.
- Nestorius persisted in his error.
- St. Cyril sent a letter to Pope Celestine to apprise him of the situation, while at the same time letting him known that he would not separate from communion with Nestorius without a judgment from the Pope.
- In response, Pope Celestine convoked a council. The council met in August of 430 during which the errors of Nestorius were condemned. Celestine wrote a letter to Nestorius advising him of the findings of the Council. The letter informed Nestorius that this was his third and final warning, and gave him 10 days to recant. If he failed to do so, he would cease to be in communion with the Church and would be ipso facto deposed. Included with the letter were 12 propositions that Nestorius was required to affirm and profess.
Pope Celestine to Nestorius, August 430: “What words can We address you with, in these questions which are blasphemous even to consider? How does it happen that a bishop preaches to the people words which damage the reverence owed to the Virgin Birth? It is not right, that blasphemous words against God should trouble the purity of the ancient Faith. …
“Therefore, although our brother Cyril asserts that he has already addressed you with a second letter, I want you to understand, after his first and second correction, and this of ours (which already amounts to three), that you will have been completely cut off from the whole college [of bishops] and congregation of Christians, unless you quickly correct the things that have been badly said, and unless you return to that Way which Christ testifies Himself to be (Jn 14:6). (…)
"Know plainly, then, that this is Our sentence: that, unless you preach concerning God our Christ what the church of Rome, and of Alexandria, and the whole Catholic Church holds—even as the most holy church of the city of Constantinople held perfectly up until you—and, with a clear written profession, given within ten days, which are to be numbered from the day on which you receive notice of this, you repudiate this perfidious novelty, which strives to separate what the venerable Scripture joins; you are cast off from the communion of the universal Catholic Church.”
So, after being judged by a Pope and Council, and after receiving three warnings, Pope Celestine still considered Nestorius to be a member of the episcopal college and in communion with the Catholic Church. Only if Nestorius failed to renounce his errors within the time allotted (10 days) would he be “cast off from the communion of the universal Church.”
- Pope Celestine charged St. Cyril with delivering the letter to Nestorius.
- In August of 430, Celestine also sent a letter to those who had been excommunicated by Nestorius, informing them that the excommunications pronounced against them were null and void. The reason given by the Pope was that anyone who was “wavering in the faith” (not “defected from the Faith as the Sedes translate it) by preaching such errors, could not excommunicate anyone.
The following is from Celestine’s letter to those excommunicated by Nestorius:
Celestine to the Clergy of Constantinople, August 430: “The impious disputor has been deserted by the Holy Ghost, since he has formed opinions contrary to the same Spirit. Deservedly, if he persists, he will hear from us the words of Samuel, which he, the priest, once spoke to Saul: “The Lord will reject you so that you no longer rule over Israel” (1 Kings 15:25). …
“Whoever among you have been ejected from the church [by Nestorius] have the example of the blessed and still recent memory of Athanasius of the church of Alexandria, a most prudent priest. Who does not derive some consolation from considering what he endured? … Nevertheless, lest his sentence seem to carry weight even for a time, who had already called forth a divine sentence against himself, the authority of our See has openly sanctioned that no one, whether a bishop, a cleric, or a Christian of any profession, who has been expelled from his place or excommunicated by Nestorius or his partners, from the time that they began to preach such things, should seem to be expelled or excommunicated; for all of these both were and have remained in Our communion even until now; for he who has wavering in the faith [not "defected from the faith" which is how the Sedevacantists translate it] by preaching such things was unable to expel or remove anyone.”
Although Celestine declared the unjust excommunications null, he did not yet believe Nestorius had been cut off by the Lord as a ruler of Israel (the Church). On the contrary, according to the Pope himself, that would only happen if Nestorius “persists” in his error after the 10 days allotted for him to recant had expired, and hence after having received his third and final warning.
When St. Cyril learned this (after delivering the letter to Nestorius and after the 10 days has passed), he wrote to Pope Celestine to ask if Nestorius should be considered deposed. Pope Celestine replied by saying he should not. The Pope agreed that the sentence of deposition should be kept in abeyance until the council judged the matter. Therefore, according to Pope Celestine, Nestorius not only remained in communion with the Church until he was deposed by Ephesus in July of 431, but he also retained his office as Bishop of Constantinople.
The following is taken from St. Alphonsus’ detailed account of the case of Nestorius:
St. Alphonsus, History of Heresies and Their Refutation: “27. St. Cyril appointed four Egyptian Bishops to certify to Nestorius the authenticity of this letter [from Pope Celestin] and two others - one to the people of Constantinople, and another to the abbots of the monasteries - to give them notice likewise of the letter having been expedited. These Prelates arrived in Constantinople on the 7th of the following month of December, 430, and intimated to Nestorius the sentence of deposition passed by the Pope, if he did not retract in ten days; but the Emperor Theodosius, previous to their arrival, had given orders for the convocation of a General Council, at the solicitation both of the Catholics, induced to ask for it by the monks, so cruelly treated by Nestorius, and of Nestorius himself, who hoped to carry his point by means of the Bishops of his party, and through favour of the Court. St. Cyril, therefore, wrote anew to St. Celestine, asking him (23), whether, in case of the retractation of Nestorius, the Council should receive him, as Bishop, into communion, and pardon his past faults, or put into execution the sentence of deposition already published against him. St. Celestine answered, that, notwithstanding the prescribed time had passed, he was satisfied that the sentence of deposition should be kept in abeyance, to give time to Nestorius to change his conduct. Nestorius thus remained in possession of his See till the decision of the Council. This condescension of St. Celestine was praised in the Council afterwards, by the Legates, and was contrasted with the irreligious obstinacy of Nestorius (24).”
Not only did Nestorius remain in communion with the Church after he began preaching his heresy, he remained in communion with the Church and a member of the college of bishops after he had been warned three times, after he had been judged by the Pope at a Council in Rome, and after the 10 days he was given to recant had elapsed. Only when he was formally deposed by the Council of Ephesus in June of 431, did Nestorius lose his office as Patriarch of Constantinople. And if he legally held his office until June of 431, he retained his jurisdiction until 431.
It is difficult to think of a worse historical example for Sedevacantists to cite in defense of their error, yet this is the only one they can come up with. Are you aware of any historical example of a bishop in the past 500 years who was ipso facto deposed for heresy, without having first been warned and declared a heretic by the Church?
Fri, May 6, 2022 4:11 pm
"they [Siscoe and Salza] are condemning a view that is at minimum an acceptable theological opinion" [i.e., that a notoriously heretical Pope would be ipso facto deposed without a declaration] (Eric)
But what is not an acceptable opinion is that the laity - 99% of whom don't know the difference between error and heresy or the meaning of notorious heresy - can judge and publicly declare that a Pope (one accepted as Pope by the entire hierarchy) is a "notorious heretic" and therefore not the Pope. Can you cite any approved authorities who teach that such a thing is permitted?
The irony is that virtually everyone who does take it upon himself to judge and declare that the Pope is not the Pope, ends up becoming a notorious heretic himself. Every Sedevacantist priest and pseudo-Bishop as well as every lay person that attends Mass at a Sedevacantist chapels is, by definition, a notorious heretic, since those who join or publicly adhere to a non-Catholic sect are notorious heretics, and every Sedevacantist chapel is a non-Catholic sect.
What you should be studying is the nature of the Roman Catholic Church. Once you learn what the Church is, you will realize that none of the Sedevacantist sects - or the SSPV - are part of the Roman Catholic Church, which is a visible society that is comprised of the local Church of Rome, the particular Churches (diocese or canonical equivalents) throughout the world in union with it, and the parishes in union with the diocese, etc.. None of the sects that are separated from that governing structure, neither the Old Catholics, nor the Sedevacantists, nor the Baptists or Evangelicals, etc. are part of the Roman Catholic Church, outside of which in re aut in voto there is no salvation. If you disagree, explain why you believe any Sedevacantist sect is part of the Roman Catholic Church.
On 5/8/2022 2:20 PM, John Salza wrote:
Billot is describing a situation in which the heresy goes from occult to notorious, that is, legally recognized. Elsewhere Billot says that external manifestations of heresy are always occult until legally recognized by the Church. Also, when Billot (and others) use the terminology "openly preach," he is referring to a culprit who is making an admission of heresy (publicly declaring that he knowingly rejects Church dogma, and thus, openly leaving the Church). As Robert has proven in his presentation of the Nestorious case, preaching heresy from the pulpit remains occult heresy until it is legally recognized by the Church. And under the 1917 Code, a cleric had to be canonically warned before legal recognition could even occur.
I also think it would be extremely helpful to your study if you read our joint article on Bellarmine and the discretionary judgment, which will help you see the judicial terminology used by the later canonists in a different (and correct) light.
Date: Mon, May 9, 2022 7:48 am
I also wanted to mention that a public heretic is a notorious heretic. Both words have the same meaning. It is true that the crime of heresy can be 1) occult, 2) public or 3) notorious, but the term public heretic (not public heresy) has the exact same meaning as a notorious heretic.
If you check the manuals, you will see that the theologians list four categories of heretics, namely, 1) formal, 2) material, and 3) occult, 4) public/notorious. Some refer to the latter category as a notorious heretic (see Billot) and other as a public heretic (se Ott). Van Noort refers to the last category as a public heretic, but he places notorious in parenthesis, thereby showing that he is equating the two terms.
The phrase "manifest heretic" has the same meaning as a notorious heretic. This is evident from the fact that Wernz-Vidal use the phrase notorious heretic in place of manifest heretic when discussing the five opinions of Bellarmine, and Billot also uses notorious heretic in place of manifest heretic when discussing Bellarmine teaching on membership in the Church. So, the four categories of heretics are:
1) Formal (guilty of the sin)
2) Material (public non-Catholics who are not guilty of the sin of heresy)
3) Occult (Catholics who are guilty of the sin of heresy yet remain externally attached to the Church)
4) Public, Notorious, Manifest (declared heretics, or those who could legally be declared a heretic without requiring a trial, e.g., public non-Catholics including members of Sedevacantist sects).
Regarding the canonical category of public heresy (not a public heretic), the canonist Sabastian Smith explains that heresy which is public but not notorious is "quasi occult." The reason it is quasi-occult is because, like internal occult heresy or external occult heresy that is not public, public heresy has no juridical effect in the external forum until it is proven. Sanborn admits this in one of his articles. Notorious heresy, on the other hand, does have a juridical effect in the external forum, either because it has been juridically proven (notorious by law), or else because it is so indisputably proven of itself that it is considered a legally recognizable fact.
Most if not all Sedevacantists mistakenly believe that a public heretic is someone whose crime of heresy meets the canonical definition of public. Hence, they imagine that just as there are three categories for the crime of heresy (occult, public and notorious), so too they think there are three corresponding categories of heretics, namely, occult, public and notorious. That is incorrect for the reason given above.
To Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Sent: Sat, May 14, 2022 7:20 am
Hello John and Robert,
I am not sure how to answer you about Nestorius. Need to read and think more about that. But I do have two new sources that shed light on automatic loss of office and on the pope heretic question.
Prospero Fagnani on loss of office for heresy:
Bouix on the pope heretic question:
My thoughts on the Bouix passage are below.
Bouix lists four opinions on the pope heretic question: (1) it's impossible, (2) deposition ipso facto by heresy itself, (3) deposition by a general council, (4) do nothing and wait for the heretical pope to die. He holds the first opinion, but supposing it to be mistaken, he prefers the fourth opinion. Here is his brief description of the three opinions that suppose a pope can become a heretic:
…But afterwards, approved authors taught as the common opinion, certain and absolutely to be held, that in the aforesaid case (supposing it to be possible) the Pope, unless by heresy he has already fallen from the papacy, is not subject to a council. In this they differ: whether the Pope is deposed ipso facto by heresy, or should be deposed, or finally neither is nor should be deposed. But all three opinions equally deny that a council could perform any act of jurisdiction over the pope. As to the [second and fourth], this is obvious; according to the [second], the Pope is now not the Pope, and thus a council, in judging him, does not judge the Pope, but the ex-Pope; and according to the [fourth], he can be neither judged nor deposed by a council. Finally, according to the [third] opinion, he indeed can and must be deposed, but by a mere declaration of his heresy, which declaration is not an act of jurisdiction over the Pope; but, it being made, the Pope is deposed by Christ Himself, as the Pope is created by Christ Himself upon a legitimate election.
…according to the [second opinion], the Pope is now not the Pope, and thus a council, in judging him, does not judge the Pope, but the ex-Pope…
1° If a Pope were deposed ipso facto for heresy, this would be either by divine law or by human law. But it is neither.
2º It would be most pernicious to the Church, if on account of heresy the Pope were deposed ipso facto. For this would be understood, either only of notorious and public heresy, or even of external occult heresy, or of internal. As to public and notorious heresy, a doubt would arise as to how great the notoriety or infamy must be, that the Pontiff be regarded as having lost the Pontificate. Thus schisms would follow, and everything would be in confusion, especially if, in spite of the alleged notoriety, the Pope would retain his see by force or in another way and would perform many acts of his office. As for heresy that is external but occult, even greater troubles would arise. For all the acts of a Pontiff thus secretly heretical would be null and void, and this would be known only by a few. This would be even more inconvenient, if the Pope were deposed ipso facto by internal heresy, as is obvious. Thus one cannot suppose that Christ willed for the Pontiff to fall from the pontificate on account of heresy, unless perhaps after the Church should have declared the Pope to be truly heretical.
Here the loss of office is automatic upon the fact of heresy, before any ecclesiastical authority has done anything about it. That is the distinguishing feature of Bouix's second opinion. This is clear because the office is lost in the same way, ipso facto, whether the heresy that causes loss of office must be public and notorious, or if it could be occult or even internal as some Catholic writers have argued. But in the case of occult or internal heresy, clearly no legal judgment has taken place when, according to this opinion, the pope would lose his office. The same should be understood of public and notorious heresy, because it is joined here in the same opinion with occult and internal, all three having the same mechanism for loss of office. And if some Catholic doctors have held that the pope is automatically deposed by occult or internal heresy, then obviously there would be Catholic doctors who hold the much-more-practical position that automatic loss of the papacy occurs only when heresy is public, manifest, notorious, in the broad sense that can exist before any legal recognition of the fact. That position is either stated here, or it is absent from Bouix's whole lengthy discussion of the pope heretic question. Clearly it is stated here.
Arguing against the second opinion, Bouix asks what degree of notoriety or infamy would be needed for heresy to cause the ipso facto loss of the papacy. According to the Salza / Siscoe misunderstanding, there are no degrees of notoriety with regard to heresy: either it IS notorious by a legal decision or by openly leaving the Church, or it IS NOT notorious, no matter how public and pertinacious the profession of heresy. Clearly that is not Bouix's understanding, because he says that everything would be in confusion precisely for lack of a sure and definitive means of establishing notorious heresy as a public fact – that is, for lack of a legal decision.
Thus Bouix says it would be most pernicious to the Church in all three cases, including the one in which the heresy required for ipso facto loss of office must be public and notorious, because even in this case the heresy is only discerned by individuals using their own judgment. That is what throws everything into confusion and leads to schisms.
A lesser point, but worth noting, is that Bouix says that ipso facto deposition for heresy would be by divine law or by human law. That is, by operation of law, before any judgment or sentence. But the pope is above all human law, and Bouix says there's no such disposition of divine law (other authors disagree).
Bouix says that according to the second opinion there's no danger of a council judging the pope. This is because he already ceased to be pope ipso facto, before a council had even convened. That's the key difference between the second and third opinions. If a pope who falls into heresy does not lose his office automatically, Bouix objects to the bishops even gathering in council, at least if it were against the pope's will, because that would be an act of rebellion. But no such obstacle to a council arises in the second opinion because the pope already lost his office.
A heretical Pope can and must be deposed by a general synod; not indeed by exercising jurisdiction over him, which is impossible, as a Pope is superior to a council; but by simply declaring him to be heretical; which declaration being made, the Pope is immediately deposed by Christ Himself.
…the Pope, who before the conciliar sentence was not yet deposed for heresy, is now deposed after the declaratory sentence.
Bouix doesn't even discuss how a council would avoid judging the pope. I think he sees enough other problems with this opinion that there's no need to split hairs about that. His main criticisms are that to convene a council would take too long and would be illegal, and the deposition of the pope as a consequence of its decision would be uncertain. Clearly the council would claim to be judging merely the fact of heresy, not the person of the pope; whether that is possible is another issue that Bouix doesn't address.
Bouix uses the terms “declaration” and “declaratory sentence” interchangeably, to mean the council's first action, upon which the pope would supposedly be deposed by Christ Himself, according to this opinion. He says nothing about a discretionary judgment preceding the council's “declaration;” indeed, the term discretionary judgment never appears in Bouix's 10-page discussion of the pope heretic question. Clearly the declaration itself is a “discretionary judgment” as Salza & Siscoe prefer to say, since Bouix emphasizes the fact that it does not exercise any authority over the pope, but only declares the fact of his heresy. Also because he remains pope until that declaration, which proves that there was no previous conciliar action that caused him to lose the papacy. But, even according to Salza and Siscoe, the council's first action is the discretionary judgment and is the indirect but immediate cause of the loss of office.
Bouix says absolutely nothing about a second condemnatory sentence by a council, after the declaratory sentence upon which Christ Himself is thought to depose the pope. Rather than a key point of the debate, as Salza & Siscoe would have it, it's a non-issue. What is debated, and what matters, is how, when, and whether a heretical pope loses the papacy; what comes after that is going to be messy no matter what.
From Robert Siscoe
On 5/14/2022 2:34 PM, Robert Siscoe wrote:
My replies are below.
Eric: “Here the loss of office is automatic upon the fact of heresy, before any ecclesiastical authority has done anything about it. That is the distinguishing feature of Bouix's second opinion. This is clear because the office is lost in the same way, ipso facto, whether the heresy that causes loss of office must be public and notorious, or if it could be occult or even internal as some Catholic writers have argued.”
Bioux doesn’t say “before any ecclesiastical authority has done anything.” That would certainly be the case if the papacy were lost due to internal occult heresy, but not necessarily if it is lost due to heresy that is notorious by fact of law.
For heresy to be notorious by law, it must be legal declared by the proper authorities. This is what Suarez believed was necessary before the ipso facto loss of office would happen. For heresy to be notorious by fact, it will usually require that the proper authorities issue two warnings or “fraternal corrections” in the case of a Pope (i.e., warnings proceeding charity, not acts of jurisdiction). This is what Ballarini taught. He said that a Pope who publicly denied a “manifest dogma” would fall from the pontificate if he persisted in heresy after “a public and solemn warning” from the Cardinals or a local council.
The fact of occult heresy (the sin of heresy) differs, according to its nature, from the fact of notorious heresy. The sin of heresy (internal or external occult) is a metaphysical reality that happens at once, just as falling into mortal sin is a metaphysical reality that happens at once. One minute the person has the virtue of faith (or is in the state of grace) and the next moment he is not. The “fact” of occult heresy (the sin of heresy) is a metaphysical reality that happens at once, even though only God knows when it happens.
Notorious heresy, on the other hand, is not a metaphysical reality. It is a public fact; and public facts require human judgment: precisely when, and precisely what, is required for a person to cross the line from occult heresy to heresy that is notorious with a notoriety of fact, is not clear - unless the person openly leaves the Church and join a non-Catholic sect (as almost all Sedevacantists have done). Now, since a notorious fact is one that is legally recognized by competent authority, and because canon law teaches that only bishops are the competent authority in cases of heresy, if a prelate is not legally recognized as a heretic by the Church (the ecclesia docens), he cannot be consider a heretic by a notoriety of fact.
Eric: “But in the case of occult or internal heresy, clearly no legal judgment has taken place when, according to this opinion, the pope would lose his office.”
That is because, according to that opinion (which was abandoned centuries ago) a heretical Pope would fall from the Pontificate the moment he commits the sin of heresy and loses the virtue of faith, which is a metaphysical reality that doesn’t require human judgment. Just as mortal sin causes the loss of sanctifying grace, and internal heresy causes the loss of the virtue of faith, so too, according to this abandoned theory, would internal heresy cause the fall from the Pontificate.
Eric “The same should be understood of public and notorious heresy because it is joined here in the same opinion with occult and internal, all three having the same mechanism for loss of office.”
Incorrect, because notorious heresy is not a metaphysical reality; it is a public fact; and for a public fact to be considered notorious it must be legally recognized by competent authority. It is also unclear exactly when a culprit would be considered a notorious heretic with a notoriety of fact (unless he joined a non-Catholic sect). If you disagree, please tell me the precise moment (and the precise act) that you believe caused John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis to become notorious heretics with a notoriety of fact.
Eric: And if some Catholic doctors have held that the pope is automatically deposed by occult or internal heresy…
That opinion was abandoned centuries ago. Moreover, those who held the opinion also admitted that the heretical “Pope” would remain Pope quoad nos (according to us) unless and until he publicly manifested his heresy and remained hardened in it after being warned twice. They also held that if the “Pope” who had (supposedly) already fallen from office repented after being warned once, he would remain Pope. But how would he remain Pope if he had already ceased to be Pope when he fell into internal heresy? This inherent contradiction in this opinion is one of the reasons it was abandoned.
Eric “… then obviously there would be Catholic doctors who hold the much-more-practical position that automatic loss of the papacy occurs only when heresy is public, manifest, notorious, in the broad sense that can exist before any legal recognition of the fact.”
This again begs the question: what precisely constitutes heresy that is notorious with a notoriety of fact? You said there could be “Catholic doctors who hold,” etc. but what no Catholic doctor holds is that anyone who personally thinks the Pope has crossed the line into notorious heresy, can judge that he has lost his office and declare it publicly. On the contrary, the Fourth Council of Constantinople, forbade anyone to separate from their Patriarch before a synod had rendered a judgment.
The irony – and this can’t be repeated often enough - is that virtually all Sedevacantists are themselves notorious heretics with a notoriety of fact, since nearly all have joined a sedevacantist sect. Mario Derkson, for example, publicly defected from the Church and joined the CMRI, which is a non-Catholic sect that was founded, ironically enough, by one of the first Sedevacantist antipopes, Francis Schuckardt, aka Antipope Hadrian VII. Mario, and everyone else who attends Mass at the CMRI, is by definition a notorious heretic with a notoriety of fact. They are all outside of the Church outside of which there is no salvation.
Eric: Arguing against the second opinion, Bouix asks what degree of notoriety or infamy would be needed for heresy to cause the ipso facto loss of the papacy. According to the Salza / Siscoe misunderstanding, there are no degrees of notoriety with regard to heresy: either it IS notorious by a legal decision or by openly leaving the Church, or it IS NOT notorious, no matter how public and pertinacious the profession of heresy.:
There are certainly degrees of notoriety. Mario Derksen’s heresy is more notorious than most who attend Mass at the CMRI, but all who attend Mass at the CMRI are notorious heretics with a notoriety of fact. There is also the distinction between notoriety of law and fact, as mentioned above.
What Bioux is saying is that the opinion, according to which a Pope who falls from the Pontificate due to notorious heresy, contains a defect, namely, that there would be disagreements over the degree of notoriety that would suffice for the ipso facto loss of office to occur. Would he have to persist in heresy after being issued “a public and solemn warning” by the Cardinals or a local council, as Ballerini taught? Would he have to first be “convicted of heresy,” as Bellarmine explicitly taught, or would he have to be declared a heretic before he would be ipso facto deposed as Suarez taught? What degree of notoriety would suffice for the ipso facto loss of office? That is the problem Bioux is referring to.
Eric: “A lesser point, but worth noting, is that Bouix says that ipso facto deposition for heresy would be by divine law or by human law. That is, by operation of law, before any judgment or sentence. But the pope is above all human law, and Bouix says there's no such disposition of divine law
Right, neither divine law nor human law states that a pope who falls into heresy – even notorious heresy - would be ipso facto deposed. All we have are theological opinions. And only a fool would conclude that a Pope who they personally judged to be a heretic had therefore fallen from office, and then separate from him, based on: 1) a disputed theological opinion and 2) his private judgment that the Pope was a “notorious heretic.” The conclusion would be less certain than both of the uncertain premises upon which it was based.
And if the hierarchy continued to recognize the man in question as Pope, the conclusion would be infallibly false, since 1) the legitimacy of the Pope is an object of infallibility (something the Church can judge infallibly); and 2) the charism of truth “certainly is, was, and always will be” in the Church’s episcopate (Oath Against Modernism).
Hene, to deny the legitimacy of a Pope who is recognized as such by at least a moral unanimity of the members of the Episcopate constitutes a denial of infallibility. This was confirmed by CDF’s commentary on the 1989 Professio, which states that those who reject the legitimacy of a Pope who is accepted as such by the magisterium are guilty of denying “the Holy Spirit's assistance to the Church's Magisterium,” and “the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters,” and therefore are outside of the Church.
- The Pope is not the Pope, and/or has lost his authority.
- That there are two Churches, the corrupt institutional Church based in Rome and the alleged “true Church” that the heretics always think they belong to.
- That the sacraments of the institutional Church are invalid.
The same three errors that have led countless Catholics out of the Church and into heresy over the centuries, are leading Catholics out of the Church and into heresy today.
To Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Sent: Sun, May 22, 2022 9:54 am
Subject: Re: heresy & loss of office
I don't know what more I can say about this; in my opinion both Fagnani and Bouix are pretty clear. Fagnani says that ecclesiastical office is lost automatically for heresy, but before a declaration, nobody can forcibly remove the heretic if he insists on acting like he's still in office. However, individuals can act, on their own part and without coercing anyone else, as if the heretic has already lost his office. Bellarmine's opinion about the necessity of a declaration in case of papal heresy can be understood in this way.
The proponents of every opinion on the pope heretic question agree that a heretic pope couldn't ruin the Church. That has a broader meaning than that he couldn't teach heresy ex cathedra. The problem we are facing nowadays is that a string of "popes" starting with Paul VI has actually ruined the Church as a practical and visible matter. You understand that implicitly or you wouldn't have gotten involved with the obviously-schismatic SSPX in the first place. People choose to venture into irregular situations because they KNOW that the Novus Ordo church is the result of intentional destruction of Catholic faith, morals, and liturgy. That is the primary fact, and if it leaves us with a mess trying to explain what happened and to keep up a public practice of the Catholic religion, that's just the way it is. We can't deny the primary fact because it leads to a practical mess.
In my view, your position doesn't deal with the primary fact of the Novus Ordo Great Apostasy, but rather implies that it can't be real because the law says it's impossible. But it is real, and it's nothing like any episode from the past seven centuries during which sedevacantism was totally untenable.
From Robert Siscoe
cc John Salza
On 5/22/2022 8:03 PM, Robert Siscoe wrote:
Eric: "Fagnani says that ecclesiastical office is lost automatically for heresy, but before a declaration, nobody can forcibly remove the heretic if he insists on acting like he's still in office."
I just read Fagani. What he is arguing is that a notorious heretic is deprived of his benefice by law, not by the declaratory sentence. In other words, by virtue of the law notorious heresy causes the loss of office. The declaration serves as is a condition that gives it juridical effect. Without a declaration, he legally remains in possession of his benefice. Here is what he wrote:
"however, [a heretic] cannot be removed from possession, unless a declaratory sentence of the crime has first been promulgated against him, that is, when he shall have fallen into the crime of heresy, as is clearly proved in [citation] where after the text says that the goods of heretics are confiscated ipso iure, it immediately subjoins: But the execution of this confiscation, or the seizing of his goods, must not be done by Princes, or by other secular lords, before a sentence of this crime has been promulgated by the Bishop, or by another ecclesiastical person who has power over this matter."
This is essentially what canon 194.2 of the 1983 Code says. Just as a bishop loses his office by law when he reaches the retirement age of 75, so too does an officer holder lose it by law if he falls into notorious heresy; but in both cases, the act that causes the loss of office has no juridical effect until the fact has been declared. And if the person remains in possession of the office de facto, all his acts of jurisdiction remain valid and he is entitled to renumeration before the declaratory sentence is issued.
Here is how Navarre commentary explains the declaratory sentence and its effect on the loss of office due to public defection from the faith (canon 194.2)
“5. Intervening of ecclesiastical authority for the effective loss of office.
“Consideration of the general requirement for the loss of ecclesiastical office has indicated that the intervention of the authority is always required for the effective cessation of the titleholder (see commentary on c. 184). The ipso iure appears to contradict this hypothesis, but that is not the case.
“Effectively, c. 194.2 establishes that, in the cases indicated in numbers 2 [i.e, public defection from the faith] and 3, of 1, in order for the removal to be juridically effective, certain intervention of the competent authority is necessary. The act of authority, in these cases, is not directly considered to constitute removal. Rather, it only declares that the situation has in fact been produced that carries the removal ipso iure. This declaration should be made – for juridical security – through a written document, dated, signed, and certified where possible. If the intervention is not done in the external forum, the cessation of an office will not be effective. This is because the appointment of the new titular cannot take place. Furthermore, the current office holder cannot be kept from carrying out the acts proper to the office and receiving the corresponding remuneration. Therefore, the intervention of the authority is absolutely necessary. (Exegetical Commentary On The Code Of Canon Law, Vol 1. pp. 169-175)
The declaration doesn't cause the loss of office, but it is a condition that the law itself requires for the act that does cause it to have any juridical effect.
Here is an analogy. Let's say a company employment contract stipulates that anyone who steals from the company will be immediately terminated. This is a company law that applies to all employees. Now, if an employee steals from the company, is he immediately terminated? No. He will only be terminated if a manager catches him stealing, or can prove that he stole. Without the intervention of authority, the act that the law itself stipulates results in immediate termination has no juridical effect. It is as if it never happened. That is exactly how the ipso jure loss of office works.
Here is Beal's commentary on canon 194.2 (ipse jure loss of office due to public defection from the faith):
“In the other two situations of canon 194 [defection from the faith and attempting marriage], competent authority declares the removal. These both involve delicts by the officeholder, and removal has the effect of a penalty. The canon is an exception to penal law, for removal from office is a permanent expiatory penalty (c. 1336 1, 2) which normally cannot be imposed or declared by decree (c. 1342. 2). Nevertheless, competent authority must determine the facts of the case and provide the officeholder with an opportunity to be heard (c. 50) before issuing the decree containing the reasons for removal and communicating this to the officeholder (c.51). ... In the case of defection or clergy attempting marriage, the declaration by competent authority is similar to the declaration at the end of a term of office or completion of age. The fact on which the loss of office is based does not depend on the authority’s declaration, but its effectiveness does. The officeholder remains in office, and actions which require the office are valid, until the declaration of removal is communicated in writing.” (Beal, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, pp. 226-227) (Beal, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, pp. 226-227)
The same law that says public defection from the faith causes the loss of office, also provides that a declaratory sentence from competent authority is required for the loss of office to have any legal effect.
Eric: "Fagnani says that ecclesiastical office is lost automatically for heresy, but before a declaration, nobody can forcibly remove the heretic if he insists on acting like he's still in office. However, individuals can act, on their own part and without coercing anyone else, as if the heretic has already lost his office."
No they can't. If the law of the Church provides that "the officeholder remains in office" until the fact that causes the loss of office has been declared by competent authority, why would a lay person be permitted to act as though the office is vacant, simply because he personally judges that the fact has taken place? Even if the loss of office for notorious heresy did have a juridical effect before it was declared, the laity are not competent to judge cases of heresy. What percentage of the laity even know what heresy is, or the difference between heresy and lesser errors? Hardly any.
Moreover, we have a decree from the Fourth Council of Constantinople stating that the laity are not permitted to separate from their Patriarch before the matter has been judged by a synod.
Eric: Bellarmine's opinion about the necessity of a declaration in case of papal heresy can be understood in this way.
Here’s what Bellarmine says:
"The sixth condition is both unjust and impertinent. Unjust, because inferiors ought not be free from the obedience owed to their superiors, unless first he were legitimately deposed or declared not to be a superior. ... Impertinent because the oath does not take away the freedom of the Bishops, which is necessary in Councils: for they promise to be obedient to the supreme Pontiff, which is understood as the entire time he is Pope, and provided he commands those things which, according to God and the sacred canons, he can command; but they [bishops] do not swear that they are not going to say what they think in the Council, or that they are not going to depose him, if they were to clearly prove that he is a heretic.”
Notice, he says bishops can depose the Pope (declare him deposed), if they can prove that he is a heretic, but he also says inferiors are not to be free from the obedience owed to their superiors, “unless they were first legitimately deposed or declared not to be superior.” None of the recent Popes have been deposed or legitimately judged not to be Pope.
In the next quote, Bellarmine says a Pope will always remain the supreme judge, and cannot be deprived of the authority to convoke a council, unless he has been legitimately judged and convicted of heresy:
"[T]he Roman Pontiff cannot be deprived of the right to summon a Council, and preside over it – a right he has possessed for 1500 years – unless he were first legitimately judged and convicted, and is not the Supreme Pontiff. Moreover, [to the objection] that the same man [i.e., the Pope] ought not to be both the judge and the party [being judged]: I say this applies to private men, but not to the Supreme prince. For the supreme prince, as long as he has not been declared or legitimately judged to have fallen from his rule, always remains the supreme judge, even if he litigates with himself as a party. …
"Moreover, the Pope is not the only judge in a council, but has many colleagues, namely, all the bishops, who, if they could convict him of heresy [discretionary judgment], could judge and depose him, even against his will [coercive judgment]. Therefore, the heretics have nothing, for why should they complain if the Roman Pontiff presides at a Council before he is condemned?"
Bellarmine believes the Pope always remains the supreme judge, and always
retains the authority to convoke a council, unless he has been
convicted of heresy, it follows that Bellarmine believes the ipso
facto loss of office happens when the Pope is convicted of
heresy, and not before.
If Bellarmine believes the Pope always remains the supreme judge, and always retains the authority to convoke a council, unless he has been convicted of heresy, it follows that Bellarmine believes the ipso facto loss of office happens when the Pope is convicted of heresy, and not before.
And since Bellarmine believes a Pope will always remain Pope unless he has been convicted of heresy, it is evident that he would never agree that the laity can separate from a Pope who had not been convicted of heresy, simply because they personally judge that he has fallen into heresy. Even if he has fallen into heresy, he remains Pope until he is convicted. The only exception, according to Bellarmine, is the case of a Pope who publicly separated himself from the Church, which none of the recent Popes have done.
To Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Sent: Mon, May 23, 2022 5:28 pm
Subject: Re: heresy & loss of office
Thank you Robert. I am open to the idea that you are interpreting Bellarmine correctly; however, it still it's a legitimate opinion that a heretical pope would lose his office ipso facto, before any declaration, even if that's not Bellarmine's position. Bouix describes that opinion very clearly, although he disagrees with it.
Could you give me a citation or a link to the two passages from Bellarmine that you quoted?
I don't accept the 1983 Code and I don't trust the commentators on it, especially Beal/Coriden/Green. In fact, out of curiosity about John Salza's article on whether SSPX Masses fulfill the precept of Mass attendance, I dug into the pre-V2 commentators and found that they say the opposite of Beal/Coriden/Green on that point. I wrote it up here: https://tradcath.proboards.com/thread/2274/anti-argument-canonists-precept-hearing
Fagnani gives two examples of juridical consequences of public heresy, that occur before any sentence: (1) the power to grant dimissorial letters devolves upon the cathedral chapter, the bishop being publicly heretical; (2) a marriage witnessed by a publicly heretical parish priest was invalid for defect of form, because as a public heretic he lost his office. I believe these examples came from decisions by the Sacred Congregation for the Council (the Roman Congregation tasked with the interpretation of the Council of Trent). I haven't tried to find the original texts of those decisions.
What do you think of Bouix's opinion, that if a heretical pope does not automatically lose his office, and the Church doesn't fall to ruin before a council can gather and declare the heresy, then it makes more sense to just leave the heretical pope in office, trusting the divine providence to prevent him from ruining the Church or teaching heresy ex cathedra, than to try to fix the problem by the very slow and impractical procedure of assembling a council? Makes sense to me.
Date: Mon, May 23, 2022 8:27 pm
Eric: "Thank you Robert. I am open to the idea that you are interpreting Bellarmine correctly; however, it still it's a legitimate opinion that a heretical pope would lose his office ipso facto, before any declaration, even if that's not Bellarmine's position."
But even the theologians who held the 2nd Opinion - ipso facto loss of office for the sin of heresy - believed that a heretical Pope would retain his jurisdiction until he was declared not to be Pope. They said the Pope would have to be warned twice before he could even be accused of heresy, and before a council could be convoked to judge the matter. If he recanted before the second warning, he would remain Pope. But how could he remain Pope if he had already been ipso facto deposed when he fell into heresy? This inherent contradiction in the 2nd opinion was pointed out by those who opposed it. For example, Cajetan wrote:
Cajetan: "[that a Pope who loses the faith is not ipso facto deposed] is confirmed even from those who think the contrary, since they say that the pope, although a heretic, if he is prepared to be corrected, is not deposed, as Huguccio says in the gloss to c. Nunc Autem (d. 21 c. 7). But if a heretic is deposed from the papacy ipso facto by divine law, how does he become pope again? Or how does he remain pope solely because he has not been deposed? Or how is he not [already] deposed? These points contradict their position that he is deposed ipso facto by divine law, as if obvious.” Cajetan, De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilio, ch XIX. Also see Suarez, De Fide, Disp. 10, Sect. 6, n. 4.
Eric: "I would like to read something very clear about how loss of ecclesiastical office for heresy was handled before the Novus Ordo revolution came along. So far I have been disappointed with the brevity and lack of clearness of the sources I've found."
Below is the teaching of Billuart. He explains that the law of the Church provides, and the praxis confirms, that even manifest heretics (notorious heretics by fact) retain their jurisdiction until a declaration has been issued, or until they publicly separate themselves from the Church.
"I say that manifest heretics, unless they are denounced by name, or themselves depart from the Church, retain their jurisdiction and validly absolve. This is proved by the Bull of Martin V, Ad evitanda scandala, [enacted] in the Council of Constance. The Bull, as it is cited by St. Antoninus (3 p. tit.25 cit.2), runs thus:
'To avoid the scandals and the many perils that can befall timorous consciences, we mercifully grant to the faithful of Christ, by the force of this decree (tenore praesentium), that henceforth no one will be obliged, under the pretext of any sentence or ecclesiastical censure generally promulgated by law or by man, to avoid the communion of any person, in the administration or reception of the Sacraments, or in any other matters sacred or profane, or to eschew the person, or to observe any ecclesiastical interdict, unless a sentence or censure of this kind shall have been published by a judge, and denounced specially and expressly, whether against a person, or a college, or university, or church, or a certain place or territory. Neither the Apostolic Constitutions, nor any other laws remain in force to the contrary.'"Then [the Bull] lists, as the only exception, those who are notorious for having inflicted violence on the clergy. From these lines, we argue that the Church is granting permission to the faithful to receive the sacraments from heretics who have not yet been expressly denounced by name; and, therefore, that she allows the latter to retain their jurisdiction for the valid administration of the sacraments, since otherwise the concession granted to the faithful would mean nothing."Our argument is confirmed by the current praxis of the entire Church; for no one today … avoids his pastor, even for the reception of the sacraments, as long as he is allowed to remain in his benefice, even if the man is, in the judgment of all or at least of the majority, a manifest Jansenist, and rebellious against the definitions of the Church; and so on with the rest."I have said in my thesis, “unless they depart from the Church of their own accord”; for, by the fact that they depart from the Church, they renounce her jurisdiction, and as a result we infer that the Church does not continue to give it to them. Besides, the Council speaks of heretics who intermingle with Catholics. If manifest heretics had to be avoided before their denunciation, this would endanger souls and generate anxiety of conscience, since there would be uncertainty as to who are manifest heretics, some persons affirming, and others denying, as actually happened in the case of Jansenism. It is very difficult for lay people to know with certainty if someone is a manifest heretic or not, since in most cases the subject-matter of the heresy surpasses their understanding. For all these reasons, the Council prudently decided that only those who have been denounced would have to be avoided. These reasons, however, do not apply anymore once the heretic leaves the Church of his own accord."Nor does it follow from this—as if there were parity—that no one should be considered a public sinner unless denounced; or that, consequently, the Eucharist cannot be denied to any sinners except those who have been denounced. The difference is, first of all, that the law and praxis of the Church require that a heretic be denounced before he loses his jurisdiction, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit and tranquility of the faithful. But the Church does not require a denunciation for someone to be considered a public sinner, or to be repelled from Communion, because the welfare and tranquility of the faithful do not require that. Also, it is not the business of the faithful to pass judgment on the jurisdiction of their ministers, and often it is impossible for them to do so; but this pertains to the superiors who grant the ministers their jurisdiction. It pertains to the ministers, however, to pass judgment on those who receive the sacraments." (Billuart, Summa Sancti Thomae Hodiernis Academiarum Moribus Accommodata, Secunda Secundae, 4th Dissertation: “On the Vices Opposed to Faith,” Art. 3 (emphasis added).
If the heretic has not separated from the Church of his own accord, he retains his jurisdiction until he is declared a heretic, which is exactly what Bellarmine held. In fact, in Ecclesia Militante (chapter 10), Bellarmine teaches that is "infallibly certain" that everyone who is in external communion with the Church is a member of the "body" of the Church. He even says that "manifest heretics" who are in external communion with the Church are part of the body of the Church. He also reveals what he means by the term "manifest heretic," namely, someone that is legally recognized as a heretic by the Church. The reason we know that's what he means is because he goes on to say it is possible to find out if an individual is a "manifest heretic" by searching the records to find out if he has been reconciled with the Church.
Eric: "What do you think of Bouix's opinion, that if a heretical pope does not automatically lose his office, and the Church doesn't fall to ruin before a council can gather and declare the heresy, then it makes more sense to just leave the heretical pope in office, trusting the divine providence to prevent him from ruining the Church or teaching heresy ex cathedra, than to try to fix the problem by the very slow and impractical procedure of assembling a council? Makes sense to me."
Without reading Bouix again, I don't think he qualified the teaching that you referenced by saying "if a heretical Pope doesn't automatically lose his office." What I recall him saying is that the opinion that a heretical Pope automatically falls from office is incorrect, and then arguing that it is better to allow him to die in office, rather than to depose him. I actually agree with that.
What history shows, and what our present day confirms, is that the devil uses both the resignation of Popes and the deposition of Popes to divide the Church. In the 13th century, many of the Fraticelli rejected the Pontificate of Boniface VIII, on the supposition that Pope Celestine's resignation was invalid and hence that he remained the true Pope. They then claimed that the true Church consisted of the true Catholics who accepted Celestine as the legitimate Pope, which, of course, excluded Celestine himself, since he recognized Boniface as the Pope (Benevacatism prefigured). Several decades later, the Fraticelli claimed that John XXII had been ipso facto deposed for heresy, and that those who recognize him as Pope "were not Catholic."
Something else history confirms is that when a group rejects one Pope (when there is one papal claimant) and separates from the Church, they end by rejecting all of his successors and never returning to the Church. The Fraticelli, for example, rejected John XXIII and Pope after him. Over the next 200 years, hundreds of these Sedevacantists were burned at the stake, before the movement finally faded away in the late 1400's. St. John Capistrano was one of the inquisitors appointed by Martin V against the Fraticelli. He was personally responsible or having 36 of them burned at the stake.
So, to answer your question, yes, I believe it is better to allow a heretical Pope to die in office rather than "depose" him (declare him deposed), since history shows that the devil will use the opportunity to cause confusion in the Church, with the goal (usually successful) of separating large numbers of Catholics from the Church.
From Robert Siscoe
cc John Salza
Date: Sun, May 22, 2022 4:41 pm
Before I reply, can you clarify what you mean by a heretic? Do you mean someone who has fallen into formal heresy and lost the faith, or do you mean a notorious heretic? If you mean that the latter - i.e., a notorious heretic - is ipso facto deposed (which is what I assume you mean), how are you defining a notorious heretic? Obviously, we have to know what constitutes notorious heresy before we can determine if this or that person meets the definition of a notorious heretic. So, what is your definition of a notorious heretic?
To Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Sent: Sun, May 22, 2022 4:47 pm
Subject: Re: heresy & loss of office
I am defining a notorious heretic as someone who publicly, manifestly, pertinaciously denies or doubts a dogma. I believe that notoriety of fact can exist even if the person has not openly left the Church and has not been judged by ecclesiastical authority. I admit that there's a stricter sense of "notorious" that I believe you quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia, saying that "notorious" means something is so certain and well-known that a judge could assume it without it being proved in court. That is not the sense in which I'm using the term. I believe that theologians commonly have used the term notorious in a looser sense that is basically equivalent to public, i.e. widely known based on public evidence.
Cc John Salza
On 5/22/2022 8:28 PM, Robert Siscoe wrote:
To Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Mon, May 23, 2022 5:37 pm
Subject: Re: heresy & loss of office
I am more certain that Paul VI was not the pope, than I am about the reason why. If he were the pope, then an ecumenical council taught false doctrine on ecumenism and religious liberty, which is impossible. Also, Paul VI's changes to the sacraments could not have come from a true pope because they made some things invalid and they are a huge break from tradition which exceeds the power of the papacy to do -- basically to create a new rite of Mass and call it the Latin rite, which it is not.
I believe that Paul VI was most clearly and notoriously heretical for denying that the Catholic religion is the one true religion, that Jesus Christ is the only redeemer by whom all must be saved, and that all men are obligated to enter the Catholic Church. That is, false ecumenism. His public words and actions indicated his belief that all religions are fine and that the Catholic religion is not actually divinely revealed but rather is a human invention.
· Paul VI, Address to Synod of Bishops, Sept. 2, 1974: “Likewise we cannot omit a reference to the non-Christian religions. These, in fact, must no longer be regarded as rivals, or obstacles to Evangelization…”
· Paul VI, Message to Pagan Shinto Priests, March 3, 1976: “We know the fame of your temple, and the wisdom that is represented so vividly by the images contained therein.”
· Paul VI, General Audience to Japanese Buddhists, Sept. 5, 1973: “It is a great pleasure for us to welcome the members of the Japanese Buddhists Europe Tour, honored followers of the Soto-shu sect of Buddhism… At the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church exhorted her sons and daughters to study and evaluate the religious traditions of mankind and to 'learn by sincere and patient dialogue what treasures a bountiful God has distributed among the nations of the earth' (Ad Gentes, 11) … Buddhism is one of the riches of Asia…”
· Paul VI, Address to Buddhists, June 5, 1972: “It is with great cordiality and esteem that we greet so distinguished a group of Buddhist leaders from Thailand... We have a profound regard for… your precious traditions.”
· Paul VI, Speech, Sept. 9, 1972: “We would also like you to know that the Church recognizes the riches of the Islamic faith – a faith that binds us to the one God.”
· Paul VI, Address, August, 1969: “…Our lively desire to greet, in your persons, the great Moslem communities spread throughout Africa? You thus enable Us to manifest here Our high respect for the faith you profess… In recalling the Catholic and Anglican Martyrs, We gladly recall also those confessors of the Moslem faith who were the first to suffer death…”
· Paul VI, Joint Declaration with the Schismatic “Pope” Shenouda III, May 10, 1973: “Paul VI, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, and Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark… In the name of this charity, we reject all forms of proselytism… Let it cease, where it may exist…”
· Paul VI invited Anglicans to use Catholic altars in the Vatican for their services (a sacrilegious act), and place his papal ring on the Anglican “archbishop” and invited him to bless the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. (The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, updated and revised, 2006, Rama P. Coomaraswamy p. 152)
· For the sake of ecumenism he did not hesitate to even desecrate the Sacred Body of Our Lord, as for example when he personally authorized giving communion to Barbara Olson, a Presbyterian, at her Nuptial Mass (Sept. 21, 1966) without her abjuring her Presbyterian views or her going to Confession.. Not an isolated act by any means, for he also gave Communion under the same circumstances to the Lutherans (Forts dans la foi, No. 47). As the Abbe of Nantes said, “No one in the world, bishop or cardinal, Angel or even the Pope himself, has any right whatever to give the Sacrament of the Living to those who are spiritually dead.” (Liber Accusationis) quoted in (The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, updated and revised, 2006, Rama P. Coomaraswamy p. 152)
· “Paul VI gave back to the Muslims the Standard of Lepanto. The history of the flag was venerable. It was taken from a Turkish admiral during a great naval battle in 1571. While Pope St. Pius V fasted and prayed the Rosary, an out-numbered Christian fleet defeated a much larger Moslem navy, thus saving Christendom from the infidel. In honor of the miraculous victory, Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary to commemorate her intercession. In one dramatic act, Paul VI renounced not only a remarkable Christian victory, but the prayers and sacrifices of a great pope and saint.” (Mark Fellows, Fatima in Twilight, Niagara Falls, NY: Marmion Publications, 2003, p. 193)
Cc John Salza
Mon, May 23, 2022 6:52 pm
Eric: "I believe that Paul VI was most clearly and notoriously heretical for denying that the Catholic religion is the one true religion, that Jesus Christ is the only redeemer by whom all must be saved, and that all men are obligated to enter the Catholic Church."
Heresy requires the direct denial or doubt of a dogma, without any additional steps of reasoning. So, for example, if one were to say, "I do not believe in the immaculate conception," the proposition (the matter), as stated, would be heretical, since it is a direct denial of a dogma. If one were to say, "I know Pius IX defined the immaculate conception, but I still don't believe the teaching," or "I know Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception, but I nevertheless doubt that it is true," the statement itself would be formally heretical, since it contains 1) the matter (denial of a dogma) and 2) the form (knowingly denying a dogma).
None of the quotations you cited from Paul VI are even materially heretical, since none constitute a direct denial or a direct doubt of a dogma. Much less are any of the statements formally heretical, and without a formally heretical statement there is no possible way Paul VI can be considered a notorious heretic. In addition, no one who remains on possession of their see loses their office (ipso facto or otherwise) for heresy without being warned twice. At very most, maybe Paul VI could have been suspect of heresy, but one who is suspect of heresy retains his office.
Eric: "I am more certain that Paul VI was not the pope, than I am about the reason why. If he were the pope, then an ecumenical council taught false doctrine on ecumenism and religious liberty, which is impossible. Also, Paul VI's changes to the sacraments could not have come from a true pope because they made some things invalid and they are a huge break from tradition which exceeds the power of the papacy to do."
You are asserting things that haven't been proven. Did V2 truly teach serious errors, or are a lot of trads in error for rejecting a teaching of V2 that might appear at first glance to be problematic, but on closer examination is actually true? That latter is definitely the case in most if not all instances. In fact, as it turns out, Vatican II’s teaching on collegiality is entirely traditional from start to finish – even without the Nota Praevia. Cardinal Billot even called it an evident “dogma" seven decades before Vatican II taught it, yet every Traditional Catholic has been deceived into believing it is heresy. Sanborn even points to it as proof that V2 teaches a New Religion.
If you will quote the section of DH that you believe is heretical, I will comment on it. The same with the Council's teaching on Ecumenism.
What God permitted at Vatican II are teachings and statements that, at first glance, appear to be erroneous, if not heretical, but which, when examined closely, are actually true. I am not saying there are no factual errors in the council documents, or no ecumenical statements with a liberal flavor that makes your stomach turn, but so far I have not found any serious doctrinal error in the documents.
So, if you will quote the relevant teaching from Dignitatis Humanae and the Council's teaching on ecumenism that you believe to be heretical, and explain why you believe they are false or heretical, I be more than happy to reply.
Regarding the Sacraments, none of the changes come close to rendering them invalid, and none of the changes exceed what a Pope has the authority to do.
The proof that this argument is entirely erroneous is that the word "ut" is missing from the form of ordination in the old Sacramentaries - Sacramentaries that were used in the ordination of priests for centuries. I have personally verified this in four ancient Sacramentaries. Here are the links if you would like to verify it for yourself:
· Gregorian Sacramenary under Charles the Great, 9th century: https://archive.org/details/gregoriansacrame00cath/page/n63 page 7.
· Codices sacramentorum libri 3. Sacramentorum Romanæ Ecclesiæ, Missale Gallicanum vetus (1680): https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_6rVhPJ6sHdkC/page/n51 page 31.
· Gerbert’s Monumenta veteris liturgiae alemannicae (1779) https://archive.org/details/monumentaveteri01gerbgoog/page/n54 page 41.
· Leonine Sacramentary: https://archive.org/details/sacramentariuml00feltgoog/page/n144/mode/2up?q=Presbyterii page 122
It is unclear when "ut" slipped in (some say it was due to a copying error of a scribe), but what is clear is that omitting it does not raise the slightest doubt about the validity.
Every other argument against the validity of the new Sacraments is just as bad as this one, but I would be happy to answer any objections that you have.
From: Eric Hoyle
To: Robert Siscoe, John Salza
Sent: Mon, May 23, 2022 7:39 pm
Robert, I don't want to debate the whole sedevacantist position with you. I think the fact that a Great Apostasy was ushered in by Paul VI and maintained by his successors as fake popes is absolutely clear now.
The authors say that heresy can be manifested by words or actions, e.g. if a man were to pray at Mohammed's tomb (if I am remembering that example correctly). The actions of Paul VI and his successor fake popes confirm the heretical meaning of their words. It's not just one statement but dozens of them, in combination with dozens of actions, that clearly reveal the heretical tenets that I mentioned. These are at the heart of the Novus Ordo apostasy. ...
Cc John Salza
Date: Mon, May 23, 2022 9:40 pm
I have one last reply.
"The authors say that heresy can be manifested by words or actions, e.g. if a man were to pray at Mohammed's tomb (if I am remembering that example correctly). The actions of Paul VI and his successor fake popes confirm the heretical meaning of their words. It's not just one statement but dozens of them, in combination with dozens of actions, that clearly reveal the heretical tenets that I mentioned." (Eric)
This is the problem. Every Sedevacantist I have corresponded with believes if a Pope says or does things that "manifest" to them that he is a heretic (i.e., that he has lost the faith), it must mean he is a "manifest heretic" (notorious heretic); and since Bellarmine said a "manifest heretic" is ipso facto deposed, they conclude that a Pope who does or says things that lead them to conclude that he has lost the faith it must mean he meets Bellarmine’s definition of a manifest heretic and therefore is not the Pope. That reasoning is entirely erroneous.
Without even mention the problems with Bellarmine's opinion (and there are many), a manifest heretic (notorious heretic by fact) is not someone who has lost the faith, nor is it someone who has lost the faith and "manifested" it externally by words and actions. A manifest heretic, or notorious heretic by fact, is someone who either leaves the Church or publicly admits to denying a dogma and remains hardened in his heresy after being warned by the Church It doesn't matter if a Pope or bishop has said or done so many scandalous things that people are convinced he is personally a heretic (lacks interior faith); if he doesn't publicly deny a dogma and remain hardened in his heresy after being warned by the proper authorities (from the motive of charity, not as a coercive act of jurisdiction), he is not a notorious heretic.
So, the reasoning that led you to conclude that the recent Popes had been ipso facto deposed, or were prevented from acquiring the papacy due pre-election heresy, was completely erroneous. Only public non-Catholics or declared heretics who had at one time been Catholic, are prevented from being elected to office in the Church.