The Papal Accusers May Not Receive Communion

It is a dogma taught by the First Vatican Council, as well as the ordinary and universal Magisterium that each and every Roman Pontiff has the gift of immunity from grave error and the gift of a never-failing faith. Therefore, no Pope can teach or commit heresy. No Pope can even teach a grave error, on faith, morals, or salvation, that would be short of heresy. Here is a summary of this teaching:
The Roman Pontiff: Immunity from Error and Never-failing Faith

Interestingly, the first magisterial teaching on this subject, apart from Sacred Scripture, was in the letter of Pope Saint Agatho to the Sixth Ecumenical Council. The Council wished to condemn Pope Honorius for heresy. Pope Agatho tried to dissuade them:

Pope Saint Agatho, 680 AD: “For Peter himself received from the Redeemer of all, by three commendations, the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church. Under his protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error.”

“And his authority, as that of the Prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Synods have faithfully embraced and followed in all things.”

“but from the beginning she has received the Christian faith from her founders, the princes of the Apostles of Christ, and remains undefiled unto the end….”

“…the evangelical and apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith, which has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error….” [Letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council 680 AD]

And since this letter was accepted by the Council, it is part of their official teachings. Then, when the Council unwisely tried to condemn Pope Honorius for heresy, after Pope Agatho died, the next Roman Pontiff, Pope Saint Leo II — within the very document that approved of the works of the Council — made a change to the charge against Honorius. He changed the accusation from heresy to negligence. And since no Council’s acts have the authority of an Ecumenical Council, until and unless they are approved by the Pope, the attempt to condemn Honorius for heresy failed. It is not truly of the Ecumenical Council, since the Pope who approved of the Council’s acts did not approve of that point.

Subsequently, many Popes and finally the First Vatican Council taught that the grace of God absolutely prevents each and every Pope from teaching or committing heresy. And Vatican I also taught that this dogma is of Divine Revelation; it is the Council’s authoritative interpretation of the Gospels. So it is a formal dogma which must be believed under pain of heresy. Subsequent to Vatican I, all who accuse any Pope of teaching or committing heresy (that is, of material or formal heresy) are themselves guilty of heresy.

Moreover, accusing the current or a recent Roman Pontiff of heresy implies an act of formal schism, for no one submits himself to a Pope as Teacher and Shepherd if he thinks the Pope teaches or has committed heresy. The accusation necessarily implies a comprehensive refusal of submission.

So it is that all the papal accusers, those who accuse Pope Francis of teaching grave error, or of teaching material heresy, or of committing formal heresy, are themselves formally heretics and schismatics. The penalty for heresy and schism is automatic excommunication. And all those who are automatically excommunicated are also forbidden to receive Communion.

In addition, it is another grave sin every time any of these papal accusers receives holy Communion, or goes to Confession without confessing their sins of pride, bearing false witness against the Pope, grave scandal, heresy, schism, and unworthy reception of Communion.

This includes everyone who signed or later supported or approved of the Filial Correction, the Open Letter, and all similar documents, articles, and other expressions, private or public. Rejection of the Roman Pontiff as Teacher and Shepherd is necessarily implied by the accusation against him of teaching or committing heresy.

Ironically, many of these same persons are adamant that the divorced and remarried may not receive Communion because of their grave unrepentant sins. Yet they themselves are guilty of worse sins, since sins against religion have a greater disorder than even sexual sins.

One particular papal accuser stands out above the rest: Taylor Marshall. His book “Infiltration” accuses the Church — the body of Christ, with Christ as Her head, with the Holy Spirit as Her soul — of having been infiltrated by Satan to the extent that doctrine and discipline were altered substantially, the successive Roman Pontiffs could not be trusted to teach truth, and Pope Francis supposedly was chosen by freemasons (a type of Satanist) rather than by God. This extreme false accusation is literally a type of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as it is the same as accusing Jesus Christ of being possessed by a demon.

{12:24} But the Pharisees, hearing it, said, “This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons.”

{12:31} For this reason, I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

{7:20} Why are you seeking to kill me?” The crowd responded and said: “You must have a demon. Who is seeking to kill you?”

{8:48} Therefore, the Jews responded and said to him, “Are we not correct in saying that you are a Samaritan, and that you have a demon?”
{8:49} Jesus responded: “I do not have a demon. But I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me.
{8:50} But I am not seeking my own glory. There is One who seeks and judges.
{8:51} Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone will have kept my word, he will not see death for eternity.”
{8:52} Therefore, the Jews said: “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets; and yet you say, ‘If anyone will have kept my word, he shall not taste death for eternity.’

{3:22} And the scribes who had descended from Jerusalem said, “Because he has Beelzebub, and because by the prince of demons does he cast out demons.”
{3:23} And having called them together, he spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?
{3:24} For if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom is not able to stand.
{3:25} And if a house is divided against itself, that house is not able to stand.
{3:26} And if Satan has risen up against himself, he would be divided, and he would not be able to stand; instead he reaches the end.
{3:27} No one is able to plunder the goods of a strong man, having entered into the house, unless he first binds the strong man, and then he shall plunder his house.
{3:28} Amen I say to you, that all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and the blasphemies by which they will have blasphemed.
{3:29} But he who will have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit shall not have forgiveness in eternity; instead he shall be guilty of an eternal offense.”

Accusing the Church of having been infiltrated by Satan is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. For the Church is the body of Christ. And the same accusation is also schism. For whoever thinks that the Church has been infiltrated by Satan, at the level of Popes and a Council (as the book claims), will not accept the authority of the Roman Pontiff, of that Council, nor of the Magisterium itself. And the same accusation is also heresy, since the claim contradicts the indefectibility of the Church, which is dogma. And the same accusation is also apostasy. For accusing the Church of having a demon is the same as accusing Jesus of having a demon. And no one who makes such an accusation can truly be a Christian. For the accusation utterly destroys the Christian faith; it is literal apostasy.

Therefore, everyone who wrote or promotes or approves of the book “Infiltration” is guilty of all these many sins: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; apostasy, heresy, and schism; grave scandal; bearing false witness; violating the first Commandment (to worship God); pride; and sacrilege for subsequent reception of the Sacraments.

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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2 Responses to The Papal Accusers May Not Receive Communion

  1. Shane Hogan says:

    Hi Ron. Shane Hogan here in Ireland. I came across some writing which is very critical of Pope Francis on a website belonging to an organization called TFP. This organization has affiliated groups around the world, including one in Ireland. They run various campaigns and summer camps for boys. What do you know of TFP? Are they in good standing with the Church? My first impression is negative. Shane

    • Ron Conte says:

      They seem to be one of many groups which claim to be Catholic but who determine for themselves what is and is not correct Catholic doctrine.

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