When the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, criticized the behavior of Saul, prior to his conversion to Christ, when he had misplaced zeal for the traditions of the Pharisees, the far right Catholics accused the Pope of attacking Sacred Tradition. This type of severe intellectual dishonesty is a mortal sin and heresy and schism.
It is dogma that the Roman Pontiff has certain charisms, divinely-conferred gifts. Treating the Pope has if he had no help from God in his teachings, and in particular denying the dogma of never failing faith, is heresy. Attacking the Roman Pontiff by accusing him of attacking Tradition itself — when you know his criticisms are directed at conservative Catholics — is schismatic as well as dishonest. Some of the Pharisees who had Jesus put to death knew He was the Messiah, and they killed him anyway. These persons accusing the Pope of attacking Tradition itself know that is not true, but they say it anyway, to please their listeners, and because they hate the Pope. I do not say this lightly. I am not judging their minds and hearts, or their souls. But their words and deeds make their malice manifest.
It is not a question of reviewing every decision of every Pope and Council, and deciding whether to agree or disagree. All these video-theologians who spew useless opinions, every opinion predicated on the assumption that the Pope never speaks for Christ, they are only exalting themselves. “I think this, and I think that. Now let’s hear what someone else thinks.” Nothing is considered dogmatic, and the Pope and Councils are treated as under their judgment. They are sinning against the papal charisms.
1. Supreme authority: supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.
We should never speak as if we were above the Pope or above pope-approved Councils to judge and even to reject their decisions. God’s grace assists the Pope and Bishops so that the Church never leads us astray.
Ecumenical Councils have erred gravely in canons or documents that were not approved by the Pope. So a Council, in opposition to the Pope or merely without his express approval for each teaching and decision, can err gravely; Councils approved by the Pope share in his authority and his charisms.
2. Absence of Appeal: the decisions of the Pope cannot be appealed to anyone.
God would not give this charism, if the Pope or a Council approved by the Pope could err gravely. No grave error means no deposing the Pope.
3. The First See is judged by no one but God: this dogma was taught infallibly by Lateran V (in its approval of Unam Sanctam) and Vatican I. Those who rise up to judge any Pope or Council are violating this dogma — acting as if the dogma were not true — and violating Canon law.
You may not discuss what the Roman Pontiff decides in Amoris Latitia or Fratelli Tutti or Laudato si’, in so far as those documents contain decisions of discipline or doctrine, as if it were an open question. These documents require assent. And it is very easy to defend their teachings.
You may not publish or sign documents that propose to correct, rebuke, or accuse the Roman Pontiff of grave error. You may not judge the Pope to be “worst ever” or “deeply wicked” or guilty of propagating or committing heresy.
4. Principle of Unity
The Pope is the principle of unity among the Bishops and in the whole Church. He confirms his brethren in the faith, so that they only have authority while united with and led by him. And the faithful are only formal members of the Church if they remain in union with him on faith and morals, and on discipline.
If you say: “We don’t agree with concelebration, and we have problems with the Novus Ordo Mass” you have departed from unity.
5. Subjection to the Roman Pontiff is from the necessity of salvation.
You may not speak about the Pope, nor, what is worse, speak as if directly to him in open letters, with contempt, denigration, ridicule, or malice. If you do not subject your beliefs on doctrine and your practices on discipline to the decisions of the Pope, you have violated subjection to the Pope. You are at least in danger of schism, which is refusal of submission or subjection (same thing).
Those who accuse Popes of idolatry are in a state of schism and heresy. It is not possible for Popes to fail in faith gravely. Honorius did not fail in faith gravely, though he was negligent in opposing a heresy.
6. Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head
This dogma is found in Unam Sanctam and in Pius 12th’s Mystical Body of Christ (where he refers to it as a continuous teaching of the Popes). Unam Sanctam goes so far as to say that if the Vicar of Christ and the Lord Jesus himself were two heads, the Church would be a monster. And since the Pope, in his exercise of the keys of Peter, is one with Christ, exercising Christ’s authority with the help of the Spirit sent by Christ upon the Church, grave errors are no possible.
What is infallible, is free from all error.
What is non-infallible is free from grave error.
Here’s the list of expressions from Councils, Popes, and Saints on the freedom from grave error of the Apostolic See.
7. The charism of truth and of never-failing faith
Infallibly taught by Vatican I, each Pope has the charism of truth and of never failing faith. No Pope can teach material heresy, as that is contrary to truth, and no Pope can commit heresy, publicly or privately, as that would be a failure of faith.
8. The Apostolic See is unblemished and never wanders from Apostolic Tradition.
No grave errors are possible in the decisions of the Roman Pontiff under doctrine or discipline.
The Apostolic See of the Roman Pontiff:
+ always remains unblemished by any error
+ has never wandered from the path of Apostolic tradition
+ has never succumbed to heretical novelties
+ remains unsullied
+ has neither stain nor blemish
+ Blessed Peter lives in his own See and presides there
+ whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering
+ in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith
+ dangers to the faith are mended
+ there, one cannot think the faith is lacking
+ remains pure and spotless
+ free from all leading into error, or heretical fraud
+ enforces silence, stopping the mouths of all heretics
+ remains free from the heretical stench
+ polluted by no crack of depravity and no contagion
+ Peter is less able to err than the Church herself
+ the truth cannot be falsified
+ the faith of Peter can never be shaken or changed
+ pure from all stain of error
+ has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error
+ all the venerable Fathers have embraced its Apostolic doctrine
+ the holy orthodox doctors have venerated and followed it
+ has always held and defended the true faith
+ has never erred from the path of the Apostolic tradition
+ never yielded to heretical innovations
+ remains undefiled unto the end
+ whose authority there is none greater
+ is to be refused by no one
+ is to be judged by no one but God
+ holds perpetual and divinely rooted and planted privileges
+ the faith of Peter has not failed, nor can it be believed that it is ever going to fail
+ the faith of Peter, which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail
+ whoever resists this authority, resists the ordination of God
+ this authority, given to a man and exercised by a man, is divine
+ every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff
+ Peter is the pilot and navigator of the Ark of Salvation
+ could never teach something against the faith
+ the guardian of dogma and morals
+ the counselor of princes and peoples
+ that Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head
+ guards with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith
+ the refuge from heresy and strife
+ it alone promises safety in extreme crises
+ refuge whenever heresy or internal strife troubles
+ perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit
+ charged with guarding, teaching, explaining and spreading Divine Revelation
+ has divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission
+ homage is most justly due to this Apostolic See
+ and finally: love the Pope.
9. Papal Infallibility: the Pope can teach infallibly on faith or morals; he can also define dogmatic facts. These infallible teachings on faith or morals require full assent.
A group rejects the papal charisms, and accuses the Pope of heresy. They attempt to depose him. He may respond with an exercise of Papal Infallibility, defining his own position as certainly true.
10. The Pope is the Rock on which the Church is founded.
11. The Pope uses the Keys of Saint Peter, who lives and presides in his See, with the authority of Christ. Whatever he binds or releases, is so even in heaven.
12. There may be other papal charisms; this list is not intended to be exhaustive.
All of the above charisms refute the following claims against any Pope:
* that the Pope might commit apostasy, heresy, or idolatry
* that the Pope might err gravely in doctrine or discipline
* than an Ecumenical Council approved by the Pope might teach heresy or err gravely
* that the faithful can rebel against the Pope or refuse his decisions
* that a Pope might be deposed.
None of these claims are possible, due to the above 11 papal charisms.
Please consider reading my new book, Reply to the Papal Accusers: Volume One, available in print and in Kindle formats.