What Happens AFTER a claimed removal of the Pope?

What would happen if a group of Catholics, including some Cardinals and Bishops, claim to have judged Pope Francis guilty of heresy, and claim to have removed him from the office of the Roman Pontiff? They might declare that his removal is by way of automatic excommunication, or they might declare a judgment against him, under some claim of pretended authority. But what do they expect will happen next?

Certainly, the Pope will not step down, as if they had authority over him. Certainly, his supporters will not turn against him. Certainly, the body of Bishops, in the main, will not accept the sentence against him and depart from communion with him. So he will continue as Roman Pontiff, and he will continue to have the support of the majority of the Bishops and the faithful — not as if the support of the majority were necessary to the validity of his papacy, but because the grace of God supports the Vicar of Christ.

What then?

1. Can these false judges send law enforcement officers to remove him from office? No, they cannot.

2. Can they appeal to judges in secular society to remove him from office? No, they cannot.

2. Will the majority of the faithful subsequently ignore the teachings of the Roman Pontiff? No, they will not.

3. Will the majority of the Bishops reject his authority? No, they will not.

4. Will Pope Francis cease from exercising his authority over doctrine and discipline? Not at all.

5. Can they compel him to resign from office? No, for the valid resignation of the Roman Pontiff must be freely given.

Therefore, they have no recourse. They have no real way to remove Pope Francis or any other Roman Pontiff.

What do these arrogant and ignorant schismatics think will happen? They will triumphantly proclaim that Pope Francis is no longer Pope. But, de facto and de jure, he will still be the Supreme Head of the Church.

And having claimed that the See of Peter is vacant, that is to say, having become sedevacantists, THEY MUST ATTEMPT TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR. Otherwise, they will be taunted (by me), saying: “the one true Church is the Ark of Salvation with Pope Francis as its navigator and pilot, whereas your false and schismatic Church has no one at the helm. It is a rudderless piece of flotsam, a plank floating away after a shipwreck.” And I might add a few choice emoji, along with some LOLs and ROTFLs, to punctuation my taunts.

Many conservative Catholic leaders today are speaking as if the Roman Pontiff were beneath them, and as if they somehow had a role to teach and correct him, and even to remove him from office. Oh, really? And then what?

Truly, they have been pontificating many errors with great self-exaltation for many years. But they have no authority over the Vicar of Christ. He is the Rock on which the Church is founded, and they are the many grains of sand. What happens when you take a handful of sand and throw it at a great Rock? The sand bounces off and falls into the dirt. The Rock is undisturbed.

Before the eyes of God, any Catholic — no matter his credentials or role — who rejects the authority of the Roman Pontiff, is guilty of the grave sin of schism. And when they each face the particular judgment, they will have no throng of internet supporters to help them make their case.

It is just as the First Vatican Council taught: each successor of Peter has the divinely-conferred gift of truth and of a never-failing faith. And this infallible teaching necessarily implies that no Pope can teach heresy, which would be contrary to the gift of truth, and that no Pope can commit heresy, which would be contrary to the gift of a never-failing faith.

Some schismatics argue that a particular Bishop, involved with the First Vatican Council, publicly stated that the teaching of that Council is not to be interpreted to the conclusion that Popes are always free from committing or teaching heresy (even though that conclusion was the opinion of Saint Bellarmine). But when the Magisterium teaches infallibly in a Council, the actual wording of the infallible teaching prevails over any claimed interpretation. For the interpretation is fallible, but the teaching is infallible. One cannot change an infallible dogma by fallible interpretation.

{14:23} Jesus responded and said to him: “If anyone loves me, he shall keep my word. And my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and we will make our dwelling place with him.
{14:24} Whoever does not love me, does not keep not my words. And the word that you have heard is not of me, but it is of the Father who sent me.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to What Happens AFTER a claimed removal of the Pope?

  1. Francisco says:

    “Saint Peter does not cease” Pope Bl. Paul VI (soon to be canonized) quoting Pope St. Leo the Great:

    “…by the fact that Wisdom chose to confide to Peter—who unifies in himself the College of Bishops—the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What remains here, not through the effect of man’s will but through the free and merciful benevolence of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit, is the soliditas Petri, such as our predecessor Saint Leo the Great extolled in unforgettable terms: “Saint Peter does not cease to preside over his See, and preserves an endless sharing with the Sovereign Priest. The firmness that he received from the Rock which is Christ, he himself, having become the Rock, transmits it equally to his successors too; and wherever there appears a certain firmness, there is manifested without doubt the strength of the Pastor…. Thus there is, in full vigor and life, in the Prince of the Apostles, this love of God and of men which has been daunted neither by the confinement of prison, nor chains, nor the pressures of the crowd nor the threats of kings; and the same is true of his invincible faith, which has not wavered in the combat or grown lukewarm in victory.”

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