Questions for the Papal Accusers…

…with my answers and their indecision.

1. Was Pope Francis validly elected?

The papal accusers cannot agree; some say yes, others say no. Some claim Benedict is still Pope.

The dogma of the indefectibility of the Church means that God prevents the Church from ever going astray. Therefore, when the body of Bishops accepts a man who was elected as Pope, he must be the valid Pope. For the body cannot follow a false head and still be indefectible. If ever an election were invalid, but the body of Bishops still accepted the elected person as Pope, he would by that very fact become the validly elected Roman Pontiff.

2. If Pope Francis was validly elected, has he lost his validity?

The papal accusers cannot agree; some say he never was valid. Others say Pope Francis lost his validity by automatic excommunication due to apostasy or heresy. Many claim he is invalid without an explanation.

The dogma of the First Vatican Council — that each Roman Pontiff has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith — means that a Pope accepted by the body of Bishops can never lose his validity (other than by death or resignation). For he cannot commit any offense, the penalty for which would be removal from office or (as is claimed) a removal from the Church by excommunication.

3. Is Pope Francis guilty of grave failures of faith, such as apostasy, heresy, or idolatry?

The papal accusers are adamant that he is guilty of these failures of faith.

But such a claim is contrary to the dogma of Vatican I. Therefore, it is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is innocent of apostasy, heresy, idolatry, and any other grave failures of faith. And any claim to the contrary is at least material heresy.

However, it is possible that individual members of the Church on earth, other than the Roman Pontiff, can be guilty of the offenses of which Pope Francis is falsely accused. If you think that the Pope is guilty of heresy — when, according to dogma, he cannot be guilty — then perhaps it is the accuser who have erred or sinned gravely in his regard. Each person should examine his own conscience, rather than presuming to judge the conscience of the Vicar of Christ.

4. Is Pope Francis guilty of teaching heresy?

The papal accusers are certain that he is guilty of teaching heresy.

However, the First Vatican Council taught not only that the Pope has the gift of a never-failing faith, but also that he has the gift of truth. Therefore, the prevenient grace of God keeps the Roman Pontiff from teaching any grave errors, even merely materially (i.e. without formal culpability). The Council intended to teach definitively what was previously the opinion of Saint Robert Bellarmine and Saint Alphonsus Liguori: that the Pope can neither be a heretic (formal heresy), nor teach heresy (material heresy). So it is also a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is innocent of teaching heresy.

5. Is Pope Francis guilty of teaching other kinds of grave errors on doctrine or discipline?

The papal accusers have accumulated a long list of alleged errors on both doctrine and discipline.

Infallibility applies to Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, Papal Infallibility, Conciliar Infallibility, and the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Otherwise, a Pope can err only to a limited extent in his non-infallible teachings and his decisions of discipline. Grave errors on doctrine or discipline are contrary to the charism of truth and a never-failing faith, and contrary to the indefectibility of the Church. The prevenient grace of God does not permit any Pope to lead the faithful or the Church away from the path of salvation by such errors. The types of errors that are possible are less than grave; they are errors that would not cause anyone to lose their salvation, if they adhered to that error in a non-infallible teaching.

As for the Pope’s personal opinions, these can err more so than an official act of his office on doctrine or discipline. Even so, his personal theological opinions cannot err to the extent of material heresy. And neither in his official teachings, nor his official decisions on discipline or prudential judgment, nor even in his personal theology can any Roman Pontiff be guilty of leading the faithful away from the path of salvation. For such a grave error is contrary to the never-failing faith given as a gift of the prevenient grace of God from Christ to each successor of Peter personally. It is a gift to the person, not merely the office, as is clear from the threefold commission of Christ to Peter:

{21:15} Then, when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
{21:16} He said to him again: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
{21:17} He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was very grieved that he had asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” And so he said to him: “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my sheep.
{21:18} Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked wherever you wanted. But when you are older, you will extend your hands, and another shall gird you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
{21:19} Now he said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus speaks to Peter about love, which is of the person, not the office.

{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.”

Faith is also of the person, not the office. Therefore, the single gift (or charism) of truth and a never-failing faith are to the person of the Roman Pontiff, and extends even to his mind and heart. So the Pope cannot teach mere material heresy, even as a personal opinion, and he cannot be even an occult heretic (who never expresses a heresy hidden in his heart and mind).

6. Have the body of Bishops erred by apostasy, heresy, idolatry or by grave errors on doctrine or discipline by supporting and following Pope Francis and by refusing to join the attempted correction of him?

If so, then the Church would have defected — a claim contrary to the dogma of indefectibility. If not, then Pope Francis is exonerated and must be innocent. There is no other possibility. Supporting, obeying, and being submissive to a Roman Pontiff who has committed such grave errors would be such a grave error and failure of faith that the body of Bishops could not be excused by any argument. They are Apostles in and of themselves, and not merely assistants to the Roman Pontiff.

But since the Church is indefectible, the body of Bishops cannot, as a body, teach grave error on doctrine or discipline, nor fail in faith, as a body, by apostasy, heresy, or idolatry. In fact, the dogma of Vatican I that the Pope has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith is firmly based on the dogma of indefectibility. For if the head had gone astray, the Church would have defected; and the same is true if the body went astray. Since the body of Bishops follows, obeys, and is submissive to Pope Francis, neither the body nor the head could have defected.

Notice the last part of Luke 22:32, that after the Pope is confirmed in faith by this gift from Christ, he then turns and confirms his brethren. This implies, in my view, that the body of Bishops also has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith, though only as a body. And this, too, is firmly based on the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church.

7. Knowing the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church and the dogma of the papal charism of truth and a never-failing faith, how can the Pope possibly be invalid, or guilty of grave errors against truth, or guilty of grave failures of faith, when the body of Bishops still follows and obeys him?

Why don’t the papal accusers answer these questions? They cannot do so without exposing the grave errors and grave failures of faith in their own words, deeds, hearts and minds.

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 Questions for the Papal Accusers…

  1. louisdemontfort says:

    Thank you, Ron, for continuing to challenge the accusers of our Holy Father. It is shameful that some commentators seek to place themselves above the Pope in so much as they speak as if they understand more about the faith than the Vicar of Christ – who alone possesses the charism of unfailing faith received from our Lord. What sad times we live in when the laity seek to elevate themselves above the Pope. I don’t understand how or why this should be, but I pray that the accusers will be judged more leniently than they themselves who have dared to judge Pope Francis.

  2. Alex says:

    Question number 6 is maybe the worst for the ultraconservative cult, because the vast majority of bishops accept Pope Francis and his teaching. I don’t have percents infront of me, but the vocal public deniers of the Pope who ate bishops are no more than a dozen. That is less than 1 % yes? Therefore those cultists have no chance whatsoever to win in any election or voting, be it synod, conclave or council. That’s why they use tactics to undermine the pope’s teaching in as many souls as possible, to create church within the Church, to present themselves as the remnant persecuted true disciples (of whom), with threats of going to hell, apostasy, heresy, idolatry, abomination of desolation, and even approval of the medieval Inquisition on homilies…this is a bad work of evil people, first of all, and not of innocent ones, not of angelic teachers, not of church fathers, but of evil accusers for whom the end justifies the means, and who do not count the number of sacrificed souls of humble but non educated people. some of them didn’t know who Putin is(heard them), but equally cursed Pope Francis and all from Vatican II. Frankly the Satan couldn’t dream of better collaborators in the profaning the holy name of God, as it happened centuries back with burning of people for being witches and heretics.
    I pray Pope Francis doesn’t allow more time for that disastrous debate in the church but acts this Christmas with his post synodal message, and removes from ranks everyone who opposes it, even if it is cardinal member of curia.

  3. “We must have confidence in the indefectible assistance promised by God to His Church and in the immense goodness of the Lord toward those who love Him.” – (Pope Pius XI, Dilectissima Nobis).

    On heretics, Pope Blessed Pius IX taught:

    “They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters. Incredibly, they boldly affirm that the Roman Pontiff and all the bishops, the priests and the people conjoined with him in the unity of faith and communion fell into heresy when they approved and professed the definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council. Therefore they deny also the indefectibility of the Church and blasphemously declare that it has perished throughout the world and that its visible Head and the bishops have erred.” – (Etsi Multa, on Further Heresies).

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