Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated?

Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated? No. Never under any circumstances. Here’s why:

1. Pope Francis has been accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff. The indefectibility of the Church therefore guarantees that he is the true valid Pope. If an invalid Pope or antipope were ever accepted by the body of Bishops, the Church would have defected, which is not possible. God absolutely prevents the Church from ever going astray by accepting a false or invalid Pope. So every Pope accepted by the body of Bishops must be the valid Pope.

It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the valid Roman Pontiff.

2. Each Roman Pontiff has the gift, from the prevenient grace of God, of truth and a never-failing faith. This is a dogma of the First Vatican Council.

The Church is founded on the Rock that is Peter and his successors. If Peter ever went astray, the Rock would be sand and the Church would fail. Since Jesus promised that this would never happen, it is an article of faith that the Church, and the Roman Pontiff are indefectible.

Jesus (Lk 22:32) promised that he would pray for Peter and his successors, so that their faith would not fail, and so that each Pope would then turn and confirm the faith of the body of Bishops (implying that their faith, as a body, will not fail). Therefore, the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops each have the gift of a never-failing faith from Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

3. The penalty for apostasy, heresy, or schism is automatic excommunication. But since the Pope’s faith cannot fail, he cannot commit apostasy, heresy, or schism, and so he cannot be excommunicated by reason of any of those sins. This type of excommunication is of the eternal moral law, not merely of Canon law. But it cannot be applied to any valid Roman Pontiff, because he cannot commit those sins.

4. Any other laws of the Church which carry the penalty of excommunication are of changeable dispensable discipline, not doctrine. They are of Canon law per se. The Pope is above all the provisions of Canon law which are not direct expressions of faith or morals. Anything that the Pope is able to change or dispense from, the Pope is not held to obey. He need not change or dispense the law first. By his words or deeds, contrary to those laws, he is thereby dispensed.

Pope Saint John Paul II made a law that there can be no more than 120 Cardinal electors. Then subsequently he broke that law, by his own action. He was not guilty of violating the law, and he is above Church law.

Pope Sixtus V forbid anyone from changing his edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible. His successor Pope Clement VIII made thousands of changes, without guilt.

[Matthew 12]
{12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat.
{12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.”
{12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
{12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
{12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt?

Some Canons are direct expression of teachings, even infallible teachings, on faith and morals. Those teachings bind the Pope, but these are not per se of the law. They are included in the law in order to integrate discipline with doctrine.

5. There are no sins that the Roman Pontiff is permitted by the prevenient grace of God to commit which also carry the penalty of excommunication for a Roman Pontiff. Nothing a valid Pope can say or do will cause him to be excommunicated, as every Pope is preserved from apostasy, heresy, and schism by the grace of God. And when a man is accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff, he is certainly the valid true Pope.

Therefore, Pope Francis cannot be excommunicated. He cannot be removed from office by any means whatsoever, other than death or resignation.

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

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1 Response to Can Pope Francis Be Excommunicated?

  1. Alex says:

    Pope Francis can’t be excommunicated. But those cardinals who rebel, can and must be excommunicated. I just read the recent lecture of cardinal Burke. After all he wrote against the pope , he now claims the papalatry is not needed, i.e. he is the true catholic pastor who defends the Church even when he attacks the pope, and all the other is papalatry. I put it as simple as possible. That is very dangerous. Sarah is even worse. After all his attacks, he dared to say, whoever is against the pope is not catholic. Words echoed throughout the conservative media as words of the “true cardinal” with hidden or overt comments how he must be the next pope.

    Those two, along with some others, do not show they will walk out of the Church rather they stay and destroy the flock from inside. Therefore, they must be excommunicated for the good of the flock. I don’t say they must be anathematized (although in past centuries it would be considered too). They still might save their souls.

    Recently a cardinal was stripped from cardinalate for sins of the flesh. Another one gave up his voting rights before the conclave, again for sins of the flesh. Here a bigger sin is committed. Those guilty ones should be stripped from the cardinalate as well, without any further mercy or delay. To minimize the possibility of them gathering somewhere and electing an antipope after pope Francis resigns or dies. They may do it anyway, but the number of people that will follow them would be significantly lower if they are excommunicated and stripped from cardinalate.

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