Jeff Mirus: Prayer in times of papal infidelity

Here is the post by Mirus, called Prayer in times of papal infidelity. By this prayer, Jeff Mirus is publicly accusing Pope Francis of infidelity against the Catholic Faith, which accusation is an act of formal schism. For no one submits to the teaching authority of one who is unfaithful. And this rejection of submission to the Roman Pontiff is confirmed by many other posts by Jeff Mirus, in which he speaks as if he has the role to judge and correct each Pope, and in which he openly rejects the teaching authority per se of Pope Francis. For he speaks as if every decision of Pope Francis on doctrine and discipline were subject to his own review, to judge if it is right and good, and to publicly proclaim his rejection of those decisions whenever the Supreme Pontiff does not speak and act according to the mind and will of Mirus.

Previously, Mirus’ coworker Phil Lawler committed a public act of formal schism, discussed in my post here. Now Jeff has joined Phil as an automatically excommunicated schismatic by accusing the Pope of “infidelity”, in contradiction to the teaching of the First Vatican Council and Doctor of the Church Saint Robert Bellarmine.


As I previously explained, Saint Bellarmine taught that the Pope “cannot in any way be heretical, or publicly teach heresy”, regardless of whether he is teaching alone or with an Ecumenical Council. He also explained two grave errors on this topic:

1. that the Pope may be a heretic and may “teach heresy”, even when he is defining a doctrine with an Ecumenical Council.

2. that the Pope may be a heretic and may teach heresy, as long as he is NOT defining a doctrine with an Ecumenical Council.

He wrote that the first position is heretical, and that the second position is “altogether erroneous, and proximate to heresy”. And yet many papal critics have publicly proclaimed the second error, and have rejected the position of the Saint that the Pope “cannot in any way be heretical, or publicly teach heresy”.

Vatican I

We all know that there are some Catholics who fell away from the Faith by rejecting Vatican II. They are called sedevacantists, because they have rejected all the Popes since John XXIII called that Council. But even today, there are some Catholics who are openly rejecting the teaching of the First Vatican Council.

“that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ (Luke 22:32)

“7. This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine.”

The Council taught from Sacred Scripture that Jesus himself promised to keep the See of Saint Peter “unblemished by any error” and that each and every successor of Peter has the “gift of truth and never-failing faith” which is “divinely conferred”.

Therefore, a Pope is not able to teach material heresy, not even privately, not even unwittingly, and a Pope is not able to commit the sins of apostasy, heresy, or schism, as his faith is never-failing.

The Accusation of Papal Infidelity

The Pharisee praying in the temple sinned gravely against God by his very prayer:

{18:9} Now about certain persons who consider themselves to be just, while disdaining others, he told also this parable:
{18:10} “Two men ascended to the temple, in order to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector.
{18:11} Standing, the Pharisee prayed within himself in this way: ‘O God, I give thanks to you that I am not like the rest of men: robbers, unjust, adulterers, even as this tax collector chooses to be.
{18:12} I fast twice between Sabbaths. I give tithes from all that I possess.’
{18:13} And the tax collector, standing at a distance, was not willing to even lift up his eyes to heaven. But he struck his chest, saying: ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’
{18:14} I say to you, this one descended to his house justified, but not the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

To sin against God by means of prayer is a very grave sin, indeed. Jeff Mirus’ prayer is not a holy act of directing the mind and will to God, in humility and love, faith, and hope. Rather, it is a public proclamation against the Vicar of Christ, accusing the servant of the Lord, our holy Father, of infidelity, and disguising that false accusation by the form of a prayer.

Jeff Mirus is automatically excommunicated for the sin of formal schism, because he has accused the Vicar of Christ of unfaithfulness to Christ. He is not worthy to receive Communion.


For a long time now, I’ve watched as Mirus and many other Catholic leaders spoke with great pride about every topic in Catholicism. This behavior is not new. They have long considered themselves to be the judges over every questions of faith, morals, and salvation, over both doctrine and discipline, as if each one were himself the Supreme Teacher of the Church. And they have exalted themselves not only over Pope Francis, but over each previous Pope, and even over Ecumenical Councils.

Another error, in addition to a great sinful pride, is their assumption that the conservative Catholic subculture cannot err in anything that it teaches, and that the correct answer to every theological question is necessarily always the conservative answer. So it is not surprising at all, that when a liberal Pope takes his office, they would see him as an enemy, to be resisted and opposed in all things. And this attitude is incompatible with, and in fact does destroy, the submission to the Vicar of Christ required of all the faithful. They have long been preparing for this sin of public formal schism. They have long been as if in training for a race. And now they have run very fast, across the finish line of the grave sin of schism. And they have publicly proclaimed themselves the winner of the race, not realizing that they have been cut off from Christ by automatic excommunication.

I cannot judge each person’s soul. But the sin of formal schism is an objective mortal sin, and so is the sin of scandal and the sin of harming souls that accompanies it.


The number of signatories to the Filial Correction is growing, and now stands at 146. All signatories to the Filial Correction are guilty of public formal schism, and are automatically excommunicated. The Foolish Correction accuses the Vicar of Christ of propagating heresies, which is equivalent to an accusation of teaching heresy. Such a claim is contrary to the teaching of the First Vatican Council, a teaching based on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels (Luke 22:32). And it is contrary to the teaching of Doctor of the Church, Saint Robert Bellarmine.

The public accusation of propagating heresies is a grave sin against the requirement that each of the faithful be submissive to the authority of the Roman Pontiff over doctrine and discipline. That is why the accusation is a schismatic act. And since no Pope can teach or commit heresy, the signatories are also guilty of bearing false witness against the Vicar of Christ. How filled with pride do you need to be to stand before the entire world and proclaim that you have understood the Faith better than the Pope, and that he is propagating heresies by speaking and acting contrary to your own understanding?

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

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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5 Responses to Jeff Mirus: Prayer in times of papal infidelity

  1. Guest says:

    I have a question. Since we know that no valid pope can lose the virtue of faith, is it possible that if we could establish with full certitude and no doubt that is a man who claims himself to be the pope is a heretic, he must by necessity be an antipope. I’m not talking about now, where the bishops universally recognize Francis as pope and even pope emeritus Benedict pledges obedience to Francis. I’m talking about the times when there are 2 or more people claiming to be the pope and the bishops are divided?

    • Ron Conte says:

      God does not permit the worldwide Church and the body of Bishops to accept someone as Pope, who is an antipope. None of the historical antipopes were accepted by the Church. So while it is true that a Pope cannot teach heresy or be a heretic, we don’t decide who is Pope by judging each teaching, to see if we fallen sinners think it might be heresy. We rely on faith in the indefectibility of the Church.

      The Bishops cannot be divided, in the sense that you say. Some Bishops can fall away, but not the body of Bishops (which also possesses indefectibility as a body). An antipope can and often is a heretic, but a true Pope might be falsely accused of heresy. So we cannot judge who is really Pope by judging each teaching. We believe the teachings of the Church, not because they are agreeable to our own mind and point of view, but in faith, even when the teachings are difficult.

  2. Camilo says:

    Thank you Ron, you are a gift from heaven.

  3. Maurilio says:

    Just one word of caution, Mr. Conte, in all fairness to the souls of anyone involved or to-be-involved in the so-called “filial correction”.

    You stated here: “All signatories to the Filial Correction are guilty of public formal schism, and are automatically excommunicated.”; however, in your commentary of Sept 24, you wrote: “… the signatories are committing the objective mortal sins of schism and of scandal, yet they do not fully realize that these acts are gravely immoral, and so they are perhaps not guilty of actual mortal sin.”; further, in your article of Sept 25 you asked: “Are the signatories of the Filial Correction, and anyone else who whole-heartedly agrees with its contents, automatically excommunicated for the sin of formal schism?”, which implies that the schismatic act of this “correction”, in order to be formal and produce automatic excommunication, must be adhered to with full knowledge and deliberate consent. Whereas, we should not downplay the possibility that the motives behind some if not quite a few such people do not include full knowledge and deliberate consent.

    One good example is devout Catholic and renowned economist and banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was President of IOR (“Istituto per le Opere di Religione” or “Institute for Works of Religion”, the so-called “Vatican bank”) from 2009 to 2012, when he was irregularly ousted from the post because his proposed transparency and anti-money-laundering reforms threatened deeply rooted interests. He was a notable name among lay signatories, so they interviewed him the day after, and he declared: “I’m not calling the Pope a heretic, I don’t even remotely think that. I would be a stupid if I did, I’m not a theologian”, and added that he loved Pope Francis and he just felt free to criticize him – not really knowing what he was doing, despite his technical expertise and acquaintance with things Vatican. Gotti Tedeschi is no stupid, yet did a very silly thing indeed to sign, but that hardly amounts to formal schism – it’s just worthy of strong rebuke, because of the forseeable negative effects (scandal) of his unwitting yet very bad example and association.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Actual mortal sin is not a requirement for an act to be formal schism. As long as the person knowingly rejects submission to the Roman Pontiff, they are guilty of the canonical crime of schism. Accusing the Pope of heresy is not a requirement for an act to be formal schism either. And a schismatic can still love the Pope and hold him in honor, as the Orthodox Christians do.

      I sincerely doubt that anyone could sign the filial correction and yet have the required submission to papal authority. They might not be guilty of actual mortal sin, but they have publicly rebuked the Pope for his decisions on doctrine and discipline, and that is sufficient.

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