How Bad Can A Pope Be? Contra Timothy Gordon

YouTube video: Can a Pope be the Antichrist? w/ Michael Lofton.

In this video, Timothy Gordon makes certain statements about the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis. To be clear and fair, in the video discussion between Gordon and Lofton, they deny that Pope Francis can possibly be the Antichrist. They emphatically deny it. Good.

But their position on Pope Francis is contrary to doctrine on the indefectible of the Church, the Pope, and the body of Bishops. So this article will examine the limits on how “bad” a Pope can possibly be. Any Pope. What is the limit?

That the Pope cannot be the Antichrist or the false prophet is explained in my previous posts. So this post will look at valid Popes, and the limits of how sinful, harmful, or otherwise bad they are permitted to be, as the head of the Church.

Timothy Gordon: “We all know Francis is wicked…. I think he’s the worst Pope ever. I think he’s deeply wicked. I think he’s deeply, deeply, deeply in bed with the globalists. I don’t really know how anyone says otherwise.”

Gordon: “Just because someone’s a jerk. Just because someone’s the worst Pope ever. Just because someone is a wicked Pontiff, that’s quite evidently plainly collaborating with the enemies of the Church at summit after summit, that doesn’t make him the Antichrist.”

Lofton: “I wholeheartedly agree. And I agree with you. I do think he could be categorized as the worst Pope in history. I know I’ve definitely said that before…. Still the more we talk about it, I remain convinced that that’s the case.”

Gordon, agreeing with Vigano: “Has he [Pope Francis] deliberately renounced the supernatural mission of the Church? It sounds like he has…. Has he made himself the servant of the New World Order and masonic type globalism? You bet! Up, down, left, right, every way from Sunday. He’s done this.”

Teachings of the Magisterium

How bad can a Pope be? Is there no limit at all?

First of all, we are speaking of valid Roman Pontiffs. And how do we know if a Roman Pontiff is valid, when anyone who disagrees with his teachings will cast doubt on his election in order to claim he is an antipope? Since the Church is indefectible, the body of Bishops can never go astray following a false head. For then the Church would have defected. So any claimed Roman Pontiff accepted by the body of Bishops is the true Pope. Saint Robert Bellarmine goes so far as to say that if a conclave is invalid, but subsequently the person invalidly elected is accepted by the body of Bishops, he becomes the true Pope.

Yes, a Pope can sin, even gravely. A Pope can commit actual mortal sin. And it is even possible for a Pope to die in a state of unrepentant actual mortal sin, and so be punished in Hell. For being elected Roman Pontiff does not guarantee salvation. And it would be contrary to the Gospel, if the Pope himself could enter Heaven and receive salvation, without obeying the very Gospel that he preaches. However, this does not imply that a Pope is able to commit any grave sin whatsoever.

Pope Francis has been accepted by the body of Bishops as the successor of Peter and true Roman Pontiff. Therefore, it is a dogmatic fact that he is the valid true Pope. And for valid Popes, certain teachings of the Magisterium apply.

Dogma: each Roman Pontiff has the “charism of truth and of never-failing faith” [1]. This is a dogma of the First Vatican Council, and of the ordinary universal Magisterium.

This gift of never-failing faith was promised to Peter by Christ in Luke 22:32. So no Pope can commit apostasy, heresy, schism, or idolatry. These are all grave failures of faith. I know that many persons assume that past Popes have committed heresy, apostasy, or idolatry. And some persons are convinced that Pope Francis has done so as well. But such an accusation is contrary to the dogma of the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff. Therefore, all such claims are false, as an article of faith.

If someone said, “Jesus lied,” or “Mary, the mother of Jesus, had many children with Joseph,” or “the true Church has become entirely corrupt,” you should immediately know, without examining the specifics of the claim, that the accusations are false. For they are contrary to dogma. Jesus cannot lie, and He is Truth. Mary did not have other children with Joseph, because she is ever-virgin (a dogma). The Church cannot become corrupt because She is indefectible (Mt 16:18).

So when a claim about a Roman Pontiff is contrary to dogma, it must be rejected based on faith. It is faithless and heretical to ignore the dogmas of the Church, and use only one’s own reason and one’s own prudential judgment of an accusation against a Pope. The first thing to do, in the face of an accusation against any Roman Pontiff, is to determine if it contradicts dogma. If so, then we must hold it to be false.

First Vatican Council: “Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false.” [2]

Notice also the teaching of Vatican I on the relation between faith and reason. Whenever the two seem to conflict, it only seems so. But in any case, faith must be held above reason. So when a Pope seems to have failed in faith, we must believe that he did not. The papal critics are laughing at this assertion. They assume that their every judgment is certainly correct, as if they themselves were infallible. The humble will trust the teachings of the Faith above their own judgments. Those who are filled with pride will condemn every Pope and Council which is contrary to the judgment of their own fallen reason and that of their peers.

No Pope can commit apostasy, heresy, or idolatry, nor fail in faith in any other grave manner.

What other errors are possible to the Roman Pontiff?

A Pope cannot err gravely on doctrine or discipline. His infallible teachings cannot err at all; his decisions on dogmatic facts cannot err at all. Then for doctrine or discipline which is non-infallible, the teaching or judgment is protected from grave error, but may err to a limited extent.

This limit is established by the teaching of the First Vatican Council on the charism of truth and the Council’s teaching that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any error. Of course, this does not mean that Popes cannot err at all, but rather they cannot err gravely. For a non-grave error in a reformable non-infallible teaching would not be considered a blemish. But a grave error would be contrary to the gift of truth and would be a blemish on the Apostolic See. It would also be contrary to the indefectibility of the Church.

It is not possible for a Roman Pontiff to desire or intend or plan to destroy the Church, to corrupt the true Faith, or to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. For God is all-powerful. So when He promises an indefectible Church, it is not indefectible in the weakest and most limited sense, but rather in the fullest sense. And the Church as the Ark of Salvation is not the smallest most fragile ship that would accomplish the task, but rather is the most seaworthy and unsinkable ship that can be constructed. Then, too, the Church is not merely a human institution, but is also Divine. She is the body of Christ, with Christ as Her head and the Holy Spirit as Her soul. Therefore, the Roman Pontiff, as the visible head of the Church, is not the most sinful and most corrupt person that would barely suffice for the task. Rather, the Pope is one with Christ.

Learn this dogma of which many Catholics today are ignorant:

Pope Pius XII: “That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.” [3]

This teaching is also found in Unam Sanctam, which was approved by the Fifth Lateran Council. It is a dogma which the successors of Boniface “have never ceased to repeat”. Whatever is constantly taught by the Church on faith or morals is infallible.

In addition, it is a condemned error to say that: “An ecclesiastic, even the Roman Pontiff, can legitimately be corrected, and even accused, by subjects and lay persons.” [7]

Given:
that the Roman Pontiff is one head with Christ, not two heads; [3]
that the Church is indefectible; [4]
that the Pope has the charism of never-failing faith; [1]
that the Church is the body of Christ, with the Holy Spirit as Her soul;
“that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people”; [4]
that “To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal Church;” [4]
that the Pope is the Supreme and Universal Pastor;
that “it arises from the necessity of salvation that all the faithful of Christ are to be subject to the Roman Pontiff;” [5]
that refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff is the intrinsically evil grave sin of schism, which carries the penalty of automatic excommunication; [6]
that “our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth;” [3]
that the Roman Pontiff can teach infallibly and issue dogmatic facts;
that the Roman Pontiff is to be judged by no one but God;
that his decisions and judgments are not to be appealed to any other judge [8];
and that the Catholic Church is the sole Ark of Salvation…

it cannot be the case that any Roman Pontiff, even one who may possibly have sinned mortally in personal matters, is — regarding matters pertaining to faith, morals, salvation, or the governance of the Church, to be termed wicked, or corrupt, or is leading the Church astray, or plans to pervert the Faith, or has erred gravely in any teaching on faith or morals, or has erred gravely in guiding the Church by his prudential judgments, or is, in any other sense or way, to be judged and condemned. And anyone who claims so is a schismatic and a heretic. For such a one rejects the above discussed dogmas of the Faith and refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff. Moreover, no one who calls the Roman Pontiff “the worst” or “wicked” or similar terms would also submit his mind, heart, and soul to that same Roman Pontiff as to a Teacher and Shepherd.

And this is the meaning of true submission. Each member of the faithful must accept the Roman Pontiff as their Teacher and their Shepherd, regarding faith, morals, salvation, and the disciplines of the Church. Whoever stands apart from the Roman Pontiff, judging and condemning him, leading others to do the same, and rejecting him as one who should never be trusted to teach or guide souls, such a person is condemned by Peter and every one of his successors, as well as by Jesus Christ himself.

“I have never known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.” (Mt 7:23).

Accusations against Peter Himself

There are those who, wishing to justify their schismatic and heretical attacks on Pope Francis, point their finger of accusation also against Blessed Peter the Apostle himself. Here is what they say:
* that Peter denied Christ three times
* that Jesus referred to Peter as Satan
* that Peter called himself unworthy and a sinful man
* that Paul corrected Peter

First, Peter did not become Roman Pontiff until the Ascension, as Pope Pius XII states in The Mystical Body of Christ — “After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone.” [3] And therefore, any failures of faith by Peter were not failures of faith of a Roman Pontiff. And this is stated by Christ explicitly:
[Luke]
{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.”

Jesus prayed for Peter and his successors, the First Vatican Council teaches us, so that their faith would not fail. But Peter takes up this never-failing faith “once converted”. Then in Lk 22:34, Jesus predicts the betrayal of Peter. Yes, Peter denied Jesus three times. But he was not the Roman Pontiff at that time. What happens before a man becomes Roman Pontiff differs from what happens while he is Roman Pontiff. And this applies to other Popes as well. A Roman Pontiff may have failed in faith or even taught heresy, prior to becoming Roman Pontiff. But once he is in office, he has the charisms of every Roman Pontiff.

[Matthew]
{16:23} And turning away, Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan; you are an obstacle to me. For you are not behaving according to what is of God, but according to what is of men.”

Jesus was not saying that Peter is evil, like the fallen angel Satan. Rather, He was saying that Peter, in this time before he became the first Pope, was behaving like persons in secular society, like persons without faith. And this lesson ought to be taken to heart by the papal accusers. For they reason that the Pope is wrong, but they do not rely on faith. And their reason is that of a fallen sinner. So they are making the mistake of the above verse, not behaving according to the teachings of Faith which are from God, but rather behaving as if religion were merely a matter of opinions and religious parties (comparable to political parties).

[Luke]
{5:8} But when Simon Peter had seen this, he fell down at the knees of Jesus, saying, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Peter acknowledges that he is a sinner. Each Roman Pontiff goes to Confession. God has decided that the visible head of the Church on earth would be also a fallen sinner, like the members on earth. And so every Roman Pontiff can say the same; for they all are conceived with original sin, and have concupiscence.

Paul corrected Peter. But the error of Peter (Galatians 2) was a personal error, eating only with the Christians who had converted from Judaism, and not with the converts from the Gentiles. Peter did not err in faith, morals, or salvation; he did not teach anything, nor issue any judgment under discipline. So it is not a justification for people today to accuse Pope Francis of being guilty of heresy, apostasy, or idolatry, or of being wicked and corrupt. Paul’s correction was brotherly, regarding a personal error. The accusations of the Francis critics are contrary to dogma.

Are the Francis Critics Infallible?

Those who judge and condemn Pope Francis all make the same mistake. They all assume that they themselves have not erred at all in any of the many areas about which they judge and condemn the Roman Pontiff. Whenever he speaks or acts contrary to their own understanding, they assume he is guilty. There is a complete absence of humility, as there is no acknowledgment that the papal accusers may be the ones who have erred.

As for the accusations of Gordon and Lofton, that Pope Francis is “wicked” and “the worst Pope”, these accusations ignore all of the teachings discussed above on the Roman Pontiff. They judge the Roman Pontiff, contrary to the teaching and law: The First See is judged by no one. Gordon goes further than Lofton. He judges not only the Pope’s words and deeds, but his very person, calling him “deeply wicked” and claiming that there is nothing on the other side of this accusation: “I don’t really know how anyone says otherwise.” He speaks as if there is no possible defense of Pope Francis.

Timothy Gordon also accuses Pope Francis of “collaborating with the enemies of the Church.” This is contrary to the dogmas of the faith on the indefectible of the Church, the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, the unity of the Pope and Christ as one Head of the Church, and other teachings discussed above.

Does Timothy Gordon submit to the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, as to his own Teacher and Shepherd? He cannot. No one who thinks a person is deeply wicked also accepts that person as teacher and guide. This type of extreme accusation against the Roman Pontiff, in violation of Canon Law 1404 (The First See is judged by no one.) is the canonical sin of formal schism, made worse by public attacks on the person of the Vicar of Christ.

There is also an issue of indirect blasphemy here, as the Church has only one head, such that the Vicar of Christ and Christ himself are one head of the one Church, and not two heads. Thus, certain types of accusations against the Roman Pontiff fall also upon Christ — He who promised that every Roman Pontiff would never fail in faith; He who is one with every Vicar of Christ; He who guides and teaches the Church through each Pope; He whose teachings and judgments are mistaken for the teachings and judgments of His Vicar, when truly they are of Christ. Calling the Roman Pontiff “deeply wicked” is indirect blasphemy, in that it is directed at the Vicar of Christ. It is also direct blasphemy, as the Church has only one Head, and Her teachings and disciplines are of Christ himself, and the Holy Spirit.

The arrogance of these papal accusers is just astounding. These papal accusers lack even the most basic respect for leaders found in secular society. They ignore the fact that the Church is both human and divine. They treat the Pope as if he were a hated political leader of the opposite party. And that type of behavior is not justified, even in secular politics, much less in holy Mother Church. And they do not treat the Church as their Teacher or Guide or Mother. Instead, they treat the Church as if it were their own construct, like a porch they added on to their house with their own hands. They speak as if they are each and all lords over the Popes, Councils, and Bishops. The sickness and perversion of their behavior is remarkable, as is the fact that they cannot see any error at all in their extremely sinful and numerous acts of heresy, schism, scandal, and malice.

A Happy Future

When the next conservative Pope is elected, the papal accusers will rejoice. Then before they can finish patting one another on the back, the new Roman Pontiff will condemn them for heresy and schism, and they will be excommunicated. No conservative Pope has ever tolerated such open dissent against the Roman Pontiff. And this is not like in politics, where the next conservative President does not mind if his supporters mistreated his liberal predecessor. That is not how the Church works. Instead, the conservative Pope will reject those who treated his predecessor, Pope Francis, with malice, contempt, and false accusations. And they will be stunned. They will be stupefied. They will have no understanding of how this could happen, that a fellow conservative would condemn them for their acts of heresy, schism, scandal, malice, and other sins against the Vicar of Christ.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

ENDNOTES:
1. First Vatican Council, Pastor Aeternus, chapter 4, n. 7.
2. First Vatican Council, Dei Filius, chapter 4, n. 7.
3. Pope Pius XII Mystici Corporis Christi
4. First Vatican Council
5. Fifth Lateran Council
6. Canon Law
7. Pope Gregory XI, Errors of John Wycliffe, n. 19, Condemned in the Letter Super periculosis to the Bishops of Canterbury and London, May 22, 1377, Denzinger 1139.
8. Pope Clement VI, Letter Super quibusdam to the Mekhithar (= Consolator), Catholiciso of the Armenians, September 29, 1351. Denzinger 1056.

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4 Responses to How Bad Can A Pope Be? Contra Timothy Gordon

  1. John says:

    Thanks for a good response to that video. Gordon’s comments in that video were what was wicked. Although as you mentioned he did defend Pope Frances against the charge of being the anti Christ (i can’t believe i point that out as an example of how these guys are somewhat reasonable and balanced) , but also he did somewhat denounced Vigano recently, and he and Lofton seem to accept Vatican II as a valid council that did not teach error (which should not be a question but unfortunately it is). but nevertheless, he seems to be opened to a correction…i will be interested to see if he responds

  2. Alex says:

    Vigano’s latest statement of open rebellion eclipses everything until now. The occasion is the incoming health conference in the Vatican where Dr Fauci will speak together with the CEOs of vaccine makers. What a gross trespass of God’s laws, what a service to NWO! Vigano’s manifesto remembers past centuries of witch hunt and burning books. Not past centuries of glorious cathedrals and divine music, neither Leonardo for certain. Be sure not to fall prey of his cunning deceit! It has implications far beyond what is said. Soon those who buy into his doctrine will bitterly regret the day they believed him.
    God is God of Love and Mercy, not an inquisitor.

  3. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Mathematically, some Pope must be the “worst” Pope. Who do you think this would be (presumably someone in the Middle Ages)?

    • Ron Conte says:

      A Pope could be “worst” by his own personal mortal sins, especially if unrepentant. Pope Alexander VI, often called one of the worst, repented with tears on his death bed and received last rites. Also, no one accuses him of heresy, just of personal sins. Some of the other “worst” popes may have been antipopes, like Benedict IX. I think we should ignore personal sins of Popes; it is not our place to judge the sins of others. Then it becomes a matter of evaluating which Popes did the least good, or which decisions of discipline were not as good. Really, we cannot tell, and it is only for God to judge such things.

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