Taylor Marshall accused Pope Francis of heresy. Then they met.

On 15 May 2019, Taylor Marshall met with Pope Francis, and later he posted some photos and comments on Twitter.

In my previous post, I explained how Marshall publicly repeatedly accused Pope Francis of teaching heresy. Marshall also has a video in which he says, about Pope Francis: “I resist him to his face.” That statement along with other assertions by Taylor Marshall constitute public formal schism.

In addition, simply accusing the Pope of teaching or committing heresy is itself a heresy, as it is a DOGMA of the Catholic faith that no Pope can teach or commit heresy.
* Magisterial teachings here.
* Defense of Pope Honorius
* Papal Error? – collection of St. Robert Bellarmine’s defenses of various Popes (by Ryan Grant)

Taylor Marshall was formerly an Episcopalian priest; he left that ministry in May of 2006, and became Catholic soon afterward. Dr. Marshall’s Ph.D. is in philosophy, not theology. He was a Catholic for only 12 years. And then he decided that he understands the Catholic faith better than the Roman Pontiff. He then judged the Supreme Pontiff to be guilty of having repeatedly taught heresy.

Ironically, he still asserts that “The First See is judged by no one.” That is blatant hypocrisy. He is in fact judging Pope Francis to be guilty of teaching heresy. It is also extreme pride. Twelve years a Catholic, and then he accuses the Pope of heresy because the Pope does not teach in accord with his own understanding.

Taylor Marshall is guilty of violating the commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This violation is made all the more severe, as the neighbor against whom he bears false witness is the Vicar of Christ. The only worse way to commit that sin would be to bear false witness against God. He is also guilty of heresy and schism.

And then he met with the Pope.

Today (5/15/19), Taylor Marshall met with Pope Francis, face to face. Did he let the Pope know that he has accused His Holiness of heresy, repeatedly and publicly? No. Did he repeat his public statement “I resist him to his face”? No. Did he in fact resist him to his face? No. Did he take the opportunity to point out where he thinks the Pope has gone wrong? No.

It’s like if Saint Catherine of Sienna, instead of rebuking the Roman Pontiff for his sins and failings, gushed over him and said, “Love your work. Big fan.”

Taylor Marshall really believes that Pope Francis has taught heresy after heresy, grave error after grave error. But when he met him, what did he say on that subject? Nothing. He had his picture taken with the Pope. He told the Pope he and his family are praying for his holy intentions.

Dr. Marshall hid the fact that he has accused Pope Francis of teaching heresy. He did not resist the Pope to his face, as he publicly stated. That is hypocrisy. I wish the reason for this behavior was that Marshall repented of his accusations against the Vicar of Christ. But, no. He simply deceived the Roman Pontiff to his face, instead of resisting him to his face. He pretended to be a loyal subject of a spiritual ruler whom he has publicly rejected.

It’s like if Saint Thomas Moore had said “the king’s good servant” and then converted to Anglicanism.

What’s worse than a heretic and schismatic who publicly speaks against the Roman Pontiff, falsely accusing him of heresy and leading the faithful to reject the Vicar of Christ? Not much. Really, not much is worse than heresy and schism combined. Spiritual sins are generally worse than other sins. And spiritual sins against the Vicar of Christ are worse than most other spiritual sins (other than those directly against God, such as blasphemy).

But I’ll tell you one thing that is worse, a man who publicly says that he would resist the Pope “to his face”, a man who publicly proclaims that the Pope has taught many heresies, and man who sets an example for others also to resist the Pope. And then he meets with that same Pope and pretends to be his faithful servant. He meets with the Pope he said he would resist to his face, and he does not do so. He has his picture taken with him, then he tweets about how excited he was to meet the Pope!

That’s hypocrisy, and this is deception. Taylor Marshall deceived the Roman Pontiff to his face. He deceived him by pretending to be a faithful Catholic, deceived him by pretending to be a supporter, deceived him by hiding his public accusations against the Pope, and deceived him with the following mental reservation:

Taylor Marshall told the Pope: “My wife and our 8 children pray the Rosary daily and pray for your Holy intentions.” Do they pray for all the Pope’s intentions? No. Do they pray for the Pope’s intention to reform the Church? No. Do they pray for the Pope’s intention that Amoris Laetitia be accepted by the faithful? No. Do they pray for the Pope’s monthy prayer intention here, that all believers, in every religion, are children of God? No. Do they pray for his intention that the faithful see the good in the work of Martin Luther? No. Do they pray for any of his intentions which conflict with their own ideas and their own intentions for the Church? Not at all.

That’s not praying for the Pope’s intentions. That’s praying for your own intentions, if they happen to coincide with the Pope’s intention. If you only accept what the Pope teaches if it is what you want to hear, then you do not have faith in anything but yourself. Even an atheist agrees with the Pope when the Pope’s view matches his own thinking.

Worse still, Taylor Marshall told the Pope, falsely, that they were praying for his holy intentions. The most charitable interpretation of this statement to the Pope is that it was mental reservation. They pray for the subset of his intentions which they consider to be holy. Deception by mental reservation is not intrinsically evil, but it is still a sin if you do not have a proportionate reason. What was the proportionate reason for this deception? There was not one, so it was a sin to deceive the Pope in that way.

Dr. Marshall didn’t man up and “resist him to his face”, like he said he would. Instead, he had his picture taken with him, and pretended to be praying for his intentions. The Pope smiled, indicating that he was deceived. And then Marshall bragged about deceiving the Pope via Twitter.

Taylor Marshall falsely accused Pope Francis of teaching heresy, committing heresy himself by rejecting the dogma that Popes cannot teach or commit heresy, scandalized the faithful by promoting his errors, committed schism by stating he would “resist him to his face”, and after all that, Dr. Marshal met with the Pope and pretended to be a loyal supporter. He deceived the Pope by saying his family prays for the Pope’s “holy” intentions. Then he had the gall to brag about deceiving the Pope, publicly on social media! What is wrong with this man? I mean, seriously. Who does that?!

Marshall is all “large and in charge” sitting in his little man-cave, in front of a webcam, proclaiming his every opinion as if it were dogma. He rants about Pope Francis: “You are wrong on Luther! You are wrong on Justification! You are wrong on cohabitation! You are wrong on divorce and remarriage, and absolution and Communion for people living in objective sin! You are wrong on all of these things!” He presents himself as if he were Paul standing up to Peter: “It’s like Paul in Galatians, he could resist Peter to his face, but he couldn’t depose Peter…. I recognize Pope Francis as the Pope. I resist him to his face!”

Then he meets with the Pope and folds like a house of cards. He pretends to be a faithful Catholic. He deceives the Pope with mental reservation. But once he is back on the internet, he’s exalting himself by bragging about having deceived the Pope. I don’t think he should boast about not having the backbone to assert his public complaints against the Pope to his face. What happened to “resist him to his face”? Shameful spineless hypocrisy, on top of bearing false witness and committing heresy, schism, and grave scandal.

This example of Taylor Marshall praying only for those intentions of the Pope that Marshall considers to be holy, is a microcosm of Marshall’s view of the whole Catholic faith. He only accepts the teachings of the Church that he himself thinks to be holy and true. He rejects any and all decisions, on doctrine and discipline, that do not seem right to his own mind. He exalts himself above the Pope and the entire Magisterium, deciding all questions of doctrine and discipline, and accepting only what he himself thinks is best. That is not faith. That is not any virtue at all. It is pride.

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

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3 Responses to Taylor Marshall accused Pope Francis of heresy. Then they met.

  1. David Stuart Jr says:

    Hi Ron.

    I think this also proves that social media itself is a massive vehicle for sin. It’s easy to make all sorts of vile comments from the safety of a social media platform. It’s much different when you meet the Holy Father in person.

    He also has to appeal to his fan base which can be seen in the Twitter comment section. They make truly vile and despicable comments about the Holy Father. I wager not one of them would have the guts to say anything to Pope Francis’ face either.

    Thanks. David

  2. Alex says:

    Ron, please address the Alabama absurd abortion law…I am absolutely against abortion! I have participated on those marches for life! But 99y in prison, could turn even the devote moderate Catholics in the opposite direction, far not only for the abortion law, against the minority of ultraconservatives, be they catholics or protestants. It is just absurd! In Europe one could get 15 years for a murder! Shall we reinvent Inquisition or what?

    I never thought I would ever write against anti abortion law, but I do not write in favor of abortion, I write against the radical extremism under some sort of Christian banner that now wants to get the power of the law on its side. Moreover, as a result, the secular society will start hating everything religious. It doesn’t even matter so much the outcome of 2020 elections in the USA. There are more important questions than that in the world.

    • Ron Conte says:

      You make a good point. We need laws that are sustainable, that can be accepted by as many persons of good will as possible. They designed the law to result in a court case, so that they could appeal to the Supreme Court but they should have designed a law that the court could accept.

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