JOHN OF ST. THOMAS ON THE REJECTION OF A POPE WHO HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY THE CHURCH



Referring to one who rejects the legitimacy of a Pope who has been accepted as such by the Church, John of St. Thomas wrote:

Whoever would deny that a particular man is pope after he has been peacefully and canonically accepted, would not only be a schismatic, but also a heretic; for, not only would he rend the unity of the Church, just as those do who from the beginning elect two popes, so that it cannot be known which is the true one; but he would also add to this a perverse doctrine, by denying that the man accepted by the Church is to be regarded as the pope and the rule of faith.  Pertinent here is the teaching of St. Jerome (Commentary on Titus, chapter 3) and of St. Thomas (IIa IIae Q. 39 A. 1 ad 3), that every schism concocts some heresy for itself, in order to justify its withdrawal from the Church.  Thus, although schism is distinct from heresy, in most cases it is accompanied by the latter, and prepares the way for it.  In the case at hand, whoever would deny the proposition just stated would not be a pure schismatic, but also a heretic, as Suarez also reckons.”


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