The Papal Accusers have Usurped the Gifts of the Pope and the Bishops

1. Dogma: The Church is indefectible.

The Church can never go astray. She can never lead anyone astray. She can never become corrupt. She can never be controlled by, nor led by evil or the devil. She can never teach grave error, nor make grave errors in decisions under Her temporal authority.

For the Church is the body of Christ, with Christ as Her head, and with the Holy Spirit as her Soul and Guide. Jesus: “I still have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth has arrived, he will teach the whole truth to you. For he will not be speaking from himself. Instead, whatever he will hear, he will speak.” (Jn 16:12-13). Guided by the Spirit, the Church can never go astray.

Error 1

The conservative Catholic subculture has rejected the indefectibility of the Church AND has attributed this very indefectibility to itself. Many persons on the right speak as if conservative Catholicism or traditional Catholicism can never go astray, lead astray, or become corrupt. They speak as if each of their leaders, many though they are, can never teach heresy; commit apostasy, heresy, or schism; or lead people astray. And particularly when an opinion is the majority view in that subculture, they think it cannot err. The conservative Catholic subculture has rejected the indefectibility of the Church and attributed the same gift, falsely, to itself.

For many years, before Pope Francis took office, I wrote article after article proving that various conservative Catholic leaders were teaching grave error, including heresies. And the conservative Catholic subculture refused to acknowledge these heresies, often taught through conservative Catholic media outlets. Then when Pope Francis took office, and the accusations began, the same subculture whose leaders had taught heresy for so many years began to accuse the Vicar of Christ of teaching heresy, because his teachings did not match their heretical understanding of the Faith. The same media outlets promoted schism against the Pope, and refuse to this day to acknowledge the sins of heresy and schism published in their own websites.

The conservative Catholic subculture is not indefectible; and it can, and clearly has, gone far astray.

2 Dogma: Each Roman Pontiff has the gift of Papal Infallibility.

Now Pope Francis has not yet exercised this gift, but I expect him to do so, as it will be necessary to fight against the schismatics who oppose him.

Papal Infallibility is a gift to the Church so that the faithful can be absolutely certain that a teaching is without any error, no matter how controversial it may be. As long as the teaching meets the conditions for Papal Infallibility, it is certainly true. And the faithful need not, and are not permitted to, judge the contents of the teaching. We may not decide if a teaching under Infallibility is in conformity with Scripture and Tradition, and only then accept it.

Neither is it true that a Pope could teach under Papal Infallibility, meeting all the conditions, but teach heresy and therefore lose his authority as Pope, making the teaching then no longer something taught under Papal Infallibility. This proposal would make Papal Infallibility as useless gift, since anyone who disagrees would make that claim and then no one could be certain which truths were of the Faith.

Error 2

The conservative Catholic leaders have issued documents which they claim contain a list of infallible truths. They speak as if they can issue infallible teachings under Papal Infallibility or Conciliar Infallibility, despite the fact that the persons issuing these lists of clamed truths are not the Roman Pontiff and are nothing like an Ecumenical Council (which must have the Pope as its head and must represent the body of Bishops). They have usurped the Infallibility of Popes and Councils.

For example, the conservative Catholic subculture has issued a pseudo-dogma by claiming that women cannot be ordained as deacons, when in fact this is an open question. The subculture has also claimed, as if it were infallible, that the diversity of religions is only permissively willed by God, and is in no sense positively willed — something the Magisterium has never taught infallibly.

Of course, what they teach is not infallible and does contain multiple serious errors. The documents of this type include The Declaration of Truths and the “Profession of Immutable Truths”. The authors of these documents are speaking as if they had the gift of Papal Infallibility or Conciliar Infallibility. And that is schismatic. They have usurped the roles of Pope and Council.

3 Dogma: Papal Immunity from Grave Error

When the Roman Pontiff is not teaching infallibly, his teachings are termed non-infallible; however, these teachings are protected by the Holy Spirit from grave error. And the same is true for the decisions of the Roman Pontiff under the temporal authority. Decisions of dogmatic fact are infallible; but all other decisions of the Roman Pontiff on discipline are non-infallible and therefore free from any and all grave error. Some limited errors can occur in decisions of the Pope on doctrine and discipline. But by the prevenient grace of God these errors never reach to the extent of gravely harming the Faith or the Church or the path of salvation of those who are truly faithful.

Error 3

The conservative Catholic subculture and its leaders speak as if they could never err gravely and could never harm the Church or the Faith. Thus, they have usurped this gift as well. They pretend as if none of their leaders can ever teach grave error on doctrine or discipline. And yet, by heresy, schism, and their rejection of the Church’s decisions on discipline (especially those of Vatican II and the recent Popes), it is clear that the conservative Catholic subculture has erred gravely and is harming the Church gravely. They refuse to be corrected because they believe that they can never err gravely on doctrine or discipline. Yet this is exactly the gift given to the Pope which they are denying by their false accusations.

4. Dogma: The Pope has the gift of never-failing faith

The First Vatican Council taught that each Roman Pontiff has the gift of truth (immunity from grave error) and a never-failing faith. These are dogmas which the Council drew from Sacred Scripture and Tradition (divine revelation).

No matter who the Pope may be — whether he is conservative or liberal or a sinner or is accused of a wide range of faults and failings — he has the gift of a never-failing faith, and so he can never commit apostasy, heresy, or schism. Whoever accuses the Roman Pontiff of any of these sins is himself guilty of heresy for rejecting the dogma of the First Vatican Council.

Saint Robert Bellarmine taught that no Pope has ever taught or committed heresy, and he defended Pope Honorius and other Popes against various false accusations of this type. The Council adopted the teaching of Bellarmine, and made it dogma. Those who accuse Pope Francis of heresy are themselves heretics.

Error 4

The conservative Catholic subculture speaks as if its leaders and the subculture itself could never commit apostasy, heresy, or schism. Yet as a very blatant fact, many of the leaders of this subculture have publicly committed schism by severely openly refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff.

When they have conflict with Pope Francis or even with the body of Bishops — for truly the body of Bishops has always supported each and every Roman Pontiff without fail — the leaders and followers of the conservative Catholic subculture assume that they themselves cannot possibly be the ones who have erred gravely, who have committed heresy and schism, who are harming the Faith and the Church. And yet they are in grave error, they are heretics and schismatics, and they are harming the Church.

They think the faith of the Pope can fail, despite the dogma of the First Vatican Council, and they also think their own faith is never-failing. Their arrogance and their capacity for self-deception is just stunning.

5. The body of Bishops has the same gifts as the Pope, though only as a body: indefectibility; ability to teach infallibly (with the Pope as their head) under Conciliar Infallibility and the ordinary and universal Magisterium; immunity from grave error when not teaching or acting infallibly; a never-failing faith, as a body, not individually. This is not yet a dogma but it is implied by the teachings of the Magisterium on Conciliar Infallibility and the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and by the teaching of Christ:

{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.”

This teaching of Christ was interpreted by the First Vatican Council as implying that each Pope has a never-failing faith. But one of the purposes of this gift is so that the Pope can “confirm his brothers”, thus, the body of Bishops must then have these same gifts given by Christ to Peter and his successors. The Pope confirms the faith of the body of Bishops, and this confirmation comes to the body of Bishops from Christ through the Pope.

Error 5

The conservative Catholic subculture acts as if it were the body of Bishops, as if it could issue decisions of doctrine and discipline like an Ecumenical Council, as if it had all the gifts of the body of Bishops. And then they stand on this stolen ground in opposition to the Roman Pontiff and the true body of Bishops.

6. Anyone accepted by the body of Bishops as Roman Pontiff is a valid Roman Pontiff, and no valid Pope can ever lose his validity (but he may validly resign).

St. Robert Bellarmine held that if a man was invalidly elected, but subsequently was accepted by the body of Bishops as Roman Pontiff, he then becomes validly elected and the valid Roman Pontiff. For though the Cardinals have long elected the Roman Pontiff, they are doing so solely as the representatives of the body of Bishops, in whom resides the gift from Christ to choose the successor of Peter. Thus, any Pope accepted by the body of Bishops — regardless of the circumstances of his election, no matter how corrupt it may have been — is the validly elected Roman Pontiff.

Pope Francis has been accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff, therefore he is the valid Pope. And all fables and lies about his election, tending to discredit him or his papacy, are therefore false accusations against the Vicar of Christ.

This is an important truth to understand. The election of each Roman Pontiff after Peter is entrusted by Christ to the body of Bishops, and does not reside in the Cardinals. The Cardinal electors act solely as the representatives of the body of Bishops. At some point in the future, a Pope or Council
(or the Cardinals after the passing of the Pope) may decide to permit some Bishops to participate in the election of the Roman Pontiff. For the authority exercised by the Cardinals to choose the Roman Pontiff has always been entrusted to them, by Christ certainly, but through the body of Bishops.

Error 6

The conservative Catholic subculture appoints for itself leaders after its own corrupted heart. And it treats those leaders as if they were each the Roman Pontiff, as if each one were the Supreme Teacher and Shepherd over them. They are acting as if they were the body of Bishops choosing Popes. Then they treat these false Popes, each and all of them, as if they could teach infallibly, or non-infallibly, and as if their decisions on discipline could never err gravely. They also consider the subculture itself to be like the body of Bishops and therefore indefectible. They have no only rejected the teaching of the Church on the gifts given to the Popes and the Bishops, but also have usurped those gifts, seemingly, for themselves.

They are liars and thieves. They are guilty of formal heresy and formal schism. Some are guilty to the extent of apostasy and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

I believe that a future Ecumenical Council will condemn them and their errors.

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 have Usurped the Gifts of the Pope and the Bishops

  1. Alex says:

    Ron, it seems our fanatic brothers are heading towards schism. While you can articulate it dogmatically, I see it in a simpler. Why for example they should accuse the pope that he cares for the poor, calling him communist, as he said? As if Jesus never ever cared for the poor! What an elitist society they want to make out of the Church!

    Or why shouldn’t the pope take stance on such important issues as preservation of the planet, of the life on the planet, if the humans are also part of that life, dependent on that planet to live? Isn’t it the destruction of the planet’s climate, animals and plants, de facto killing of humans in long term, and therefore going directly against the 5th commandment? And if the victims of the climate change, and of social injustice, are still not seen on the streets of Washington, they are seen on the streets of Bangladesh for long! But the elitist church cult or sect don’t want that to be any priority, to be mentioned. Rather they would call the pope “antichrist” because he cares for the planet and for the poor on it… The priority must be the fight against the sin…only the way they define it. Do you notice that even the fight against abortion is no more their first priority?

    They are heading into schism sooner than later. Maybe some global event that the pope knows it comes, will speed up that process, therefore his warning words. Maybe it is indeed something around the Climate change? Let say, a discovery of a new kind of energy, that the pope already advocates, that will make our understanding of the principles that rule the material world quite outdated. As in the past it was with Galileo for his time. Because…the principles behind the zero point energy or energy of the vacuum, are similar to the principles one could theoretically use to fly faster than light, with the potential in the coming decades to reach other habitable planets? One can google it more to understand it is nothing like science fiction rather science expressed in a language to be not understood by everyone. science server is a good source for that. Because we all know that the solar panels and the wind generators are simply not enough for that purpose, and the nuclear energy is too dangerous. Therefore, back to the science discovered by the German scientists at the end of WW2 and made secret since then.

    Sorry if it sounds too …sci fi, but seems to me something so big is coming on the horizon, and soon, if the opponents of the pope are frightened to death from his calm talk to preserve the planet, and to care for the poor ones…

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