The accusations against Pope Francis have risen to a new high, in response to Fratelli Tutti. The usual suspects have again accused Pope Francis of evil hidden intentions and motivations, of a plot to deliberately destroy the Church and replace it with a one world religion, and, of course, heresy upon heresy.
Pope Francis is accepted as Pope by the body of Bishops; therefore, it is a dogmatic fact that he is the valid successor of Peter and Roman Pontiff. And every successor of Peter has the charism of truth and of never failing faith; therefore, no Pope can teach or commit heresy. In addition, no Pope is permitted by the grace of God to have a secret malicious plan or evil intentions toward the Church. It can never the the case the that Pope wishes to destroy the Church, and God is continually preventing him. Rather, God prevents Popes from even having such intentions or plans by His prevenient grace. So it is never possible for a valid Pope to have the intentions or plans of a freemason or some other persons/group wishing to gravely harm or destroy the true Church.
This is proven by the three-fold Commission of Peter, who is chosen by Christ because he loves the Lord “more than these others”. The Roman Pontiff is prevented by grace from violating this commission by planning or intending to harm the flock of the Lord.
The View of the Papal Accusers
Vigano writes: “In the supernatural order, God’s love for a person is proportional to his state of Grace, that is to the extent to which this soul corresponds to the Gift of God through Faith and works, deserving the eternal reward.” [LifeSiteNews.com]
While we were yet sinner, Christ died for us, out of love. God loved us prior to our conversion, and so He gives us grace to convert. God loved us prior to our prevenient justification, and so He gives us the free unmerited gift of the state of grace. God gives us prevenient actual graces, prior to any holy act on our part. Therefore, God’s love for us does not depend on our faith and works; that is pelagian to its very core. God loves us first, and subsequently, we accept and respond to that love, by grace. So that grace is before, during, and after every good work and every act of faith.
Vigano’s claims are heretical. And his theology is not only in grave error, but also incompetent. The quoted sentence above barely makes any sense, theologically. God is forever unchanging. He is Love by His very Nature. So His love is not proportional to our faith and works, but always far exceeds it.
In a number of places, both Vigano and Schneider make uncharitable assumptions about the meaning of the Pope’s words, giving them the worse possible meaning. So these are strawman arguments.
Freedom of religion was taught by Vatican II, it is taught in the catechism of social doctrine of the Church, it was taught by Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The rejection of this teaching by Vigano and Schneider shows the extent to which they reject the Magisterium. They refuse to be taught by an Ecumenical Council, and multiple Popes, including a Pope-Saint, teaching the same doctrine. They have each placed their own understanding above that of the Church.
The usual reply of the papal accusers is that this has not been taught infallibly. But the faithful are obligated to believe the non-infallible teaching of the Magisterium, especially when taught repeatedly by a Council and successive Popes and many Bishops. It could easily be argued that freedom of religion falls under the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, as it has been taught by the body of Bishops and the successive Popes since Vatican II.
Vigano: “Theorizing an alleged right to error and its diffusion is also an offense to God and a betrayal of the vicarious authority of the Sacred Pastors, which they must exercise for the purpose for which it was established, and not to spread the error and discredit the Church of Christ.”
The problem with Vigano’s position is that he is a heretic for rejecting the teachings of Vatican II, which have been taught also under the OUM. So if there is not right to follow an error, in a sincere but mistaken conscience, then he pleads for his own condemnation.
And the same can be said for the claims of Vigano and Schneider that seem to propose a path of salvation which excludes non-Christian believers. Heretics and schismatics are in the same category, so if Muslims in good conscience are not saved, then neither are Vigano and Schneider saved.
Of course, my opinion is that anyone can be saved by love of neighbor and a sincere but mistaken conscience about religions beliefs. So my view supports the possibility of salvation for the papal accusers, but their own view is one of implicit self-condemnation.
Can a heretic be Pope?
But returning to the title-subject, how can a Pope who is supposedly a heretic be still considered as Pope? You papal accusers must admit that you don’t think that Francis is a valid Pope, and admit therefore that you are schismatics. You cannot claim he is Pope and constantly accuse him, not only of heresy, but of wishing to destroy the one holy Church.