Pope Francis: “They are the work of the devil.”

Pope Francis commented on “a large Catholic television channel” that speaks ill of the Pope. Clearly EWTN fits this description. And even if it were the case that the Pope had some other Network in mind, EWTN still fits the described error exactly and therefore falls under the same condemnation.

“The Pope wasn’t accusing us of bank robbery; he was accusing someone else.”
“OK, but do you rob banks?”
“Then you deserve the same condemnation.”

Quoted from the substack blog of Mike Lewis:
One of the participants tells the pope about the situation of the Slovak Church and the internal tensions. “Some even see you as heterodox,” he says, “while others idealize you. We Jesuits try to overcome this division.” He asks: “How do you deal with people who look at you with suspicion?”

Pope Francis: “There is, for example, a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope. I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil. I have also said this to some of them.”

“Yes, there are also clerics who make nasty comments about me. I sometimes lose patience, especially when they make judgments without entering into a real dialogue. I can’t do anything there. However, I go on without entering their world of ideas and fantasies. I don’t want to enter it and that’s why I prefer to preach, preach… Some people accuse me of not talking about holiness. They say I always talk about social issues and that I’m a communist. Yet I wrote an entire apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate.”

Mike thinks the Pope is talking about EWTN, and I’m sure he’s right. And if EWTN is doing the work of the devil by constantly attacking the Pope, then what should we say about those website that speak worse about the Pope? OnePeterFive.com, Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration, Rorate Caeli, Fr. Z., LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, and many others. They do worse than EWTN, and the Pope says EWTN does the work of the devil in so far as they are unjustly attacking the Pope. And these attacks, these accusations are not merely criticisms nor disagreements on noninfallible matters. They are accusations of grave failures of faith and grave errors on doctrine and discipline contrary to the dogmas of the Church on the indefectibility of the Church, the never failing faith of the Pope, and the unblemished Apostolic See.

Notice the distinction that the Pope makes: “I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them.” A Pope can sin, even mortally, though I know of no mortal sins (objectively grave sins) by Pope Francis. So he excludes this from what he calls the work of the devil. If a Pope takes a mistress, like Pope Alexander VI was reputed to have done, then he can be criticized for that personal grave sin. His venial sins should generally not be the subject of anyone’s criticism. Are you yourself are free from even venial sin? No, you are not.

But when you accuse the Pope of grave failures of faith or grave errors on doctrine or discipline, you have no defense. It is dogma that no Pope can fail in faith nor err gravely in exercising the Keys of Peter, even non-infallibly. The Holy Spirit protects the official decisions of the Pope on doctrine and discipline from grave errors in what is non-infallible and from all errors in what is infallible.


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2 Responses to Pope Francis: “They are the work of the devil.”

  1. Sir Sumo says:

    Hey Ron,

    I have been looking at your position on Papal Indefectibility and it makes perfect sense of Vatican 1, especially since quotes from the Bishops at V1 spell it out explicitly what the faith is they are dogmatizing, so that no one can deny what is happening. I do have a question about a claim Michael Lofton made on his show and was wondering if you knew about it (I can’t find it on your site so far):

    He says that Pope Innocent III made a canon saying that the Pope could be deposed called “Si Papa” therefore it is “in our tradition” that the Pope can be deposed and not a problem for Catholics. Now this canon does not concern me, looking into it it seems that there is disagreement on where it is from and people say it actually came from a list of canons by a medieval canon lawyer called Gratian, either that he made it or got it from another place which may very well not be magisterial at all. I can’t read Latin but I know you can so here is the canon and the link: https://geschichte.digitale-sammlungen.de//decretum-gratiani/kapitel/dc_chapter_0_423

    Item ex gestis Bonifacii Martiris.
    III. Pars. Si papa suae et fraternae salutis negligens
    reprehenditur inutilis et remissus in operibus suis, et insuper
    a bono taciturnus, quod magis officit sibi et omnibus,
    nichilominus innumerabiles populos cateruatim secum ducit,
    primo mancipio gehennae cum ipso plagis multis in eternum
    uapulaturus. Huius culpas istic redarguere presumit
    mortalium nullus, quia cunctos ipse iudicaturus a
    nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur a fide deuius;
    pro cuius perpetuo statu uniuersitas fidelium tanto instantius
    orat, quanto suam salutem post Deum ex illius incolumitate
    animaduertunt propensius pendere.

    So the fact that this is likely (in the face of V1) not magisterial or binding makes it not a cause of concern for me, but I looked further and in this book (link: https://isidore.co/calibre/legacy/get/PDF/7288/CalibreLibrary/Between%20God%20and%20Man_%20Six%20Sermo%20-%20Innocent%20III%2C%20Pope%2C%201160-1216%20_7288.pdf) of sermons by Pope Innocent III he seems to agree and disagree with V1 at the same time. Here is the quotation in question:

    “The Roman church can dismiss the Roman pontiff only because of fornication—I mean not carnal, but spiritual fornication, for the marriage is not carnal but spiritual—and this fornication is the sin of heresy. For “Whoever does not believe is already condemned.” In that sentence you can understand what is written in the Gospel you have heard, “You are the salt of the earth, if the salt loses its savor, how shall it be salted?” I, however, can hardly believe that God would permit the Roman pontiff to sin against faith, because he prayed specifically for him in the person of Peter himself. “I,” he said, “have prayed for you, Peter, [that your faith may not fail, and you, being once converted, confirm your brothers].””

    It’s from the PDF page 71 of that book, on the actual page numbering of the book it is page 38 from Sermon Three.

    While he cites the same prooftext that V1 does and the V1 fathers for Papal Indefectibility he gives this possibility in the first part but then says he could “hardly believe” that God would allow this. God has in fact never allowed this and we are 250+ Popes in from St. Peter, Pope St. Agatho before Pope Innocent III said that God would not allow it or else the promise to Peter would’ve been void, so why did Pope Innocent III in the middle of all these people seem to think it was possible? Is this a mistranslation from the Latin? What’s going on?

    I know V1 can’t be wrong, Jesus says to the Father in the Gospels “I know that you always hear me” so I think His prayer here was answered, I know all these other guys can’t be wrong either, and the fact that we have had so many Popes and even the most sinful ones didn’t fall into heresy has to mean something. So what did Innocent III mean here?

    Any help would be appreciated, thank you!!

    • Ron Conte says:

      Innocent III held a similar position to Bellarmine, since at both periods of time, 1198-1216 for Innocent III and 16th to early 17th century for Bellarmine, it was known that the Pope has a never failing faith, as they each assert, but it was not yet dogma. Certainly, IF a Pope were to commit heresy, he would no longer be Pope. This was the common opinion because Bishops did sometimes commit heresy and they lost all jurisdiction. But the never failing faith keeps every Pope from apostasy, heresy, or idolatry. And by the time of Vatican I, in my opinion, this doctrine of never failing faith reached the point of a dogma under the ordinary universal magisterium and under Vatican I. Since Innocent III and Bellarmine write in earlier times, they still consider what would happen IF a Pope committed heresy, but, as Innocent notes, he does not see how that could happen, due to the charism of never failing faith.

      The other quote you gave, I don’t know what the source is. It does not seem to be Innocent III. The decretals were not dogma, and were more like collections of decisions of the Church with commentary on what that might mean. So the authority on doctrine of decretals is limited. The Pope can “deviate” from the faith only in the sense of less than grave errors in what is non-infallible and errors in personal theology. But in any case, his doctrine and discipline is preserved from grave error, and his faith is never failing. This establishes then that there is no reason for deposition. No Pope or Council have ever established a process or approval for deposing a true Pope. Constance removed antipopes only. The Council submitted itself to the true Pope Gregory XII and he then resigned as he had vowed to do prior to his election (once the antipopes were removed).

      Lofton is wrong that Innocent III established or approved the deposition of Popes. There is no such documentation of which I am aware. The claim in the Latin you provided is that Popes can be removed for deviating from the faith. “nisi deprehendatur a fide deuius” unless he is discovered to have deviated from the faith. But this is contrary to what Innocent III says here:

      John Paul II: “Moreover, Peter — and like him each one of his successors and head of the Church — has the mission of encouraging the faithful to put all their trust in Christ and in the power of his grace, which he personally experienced. This is what Innocent III writes in the Apostolic Letter Sedis primatus (November 12, 1199), quoting the text of Luke 22:32 and commenting on it thus: ‘The Lord clearly signifies that Peter’s successors will never deviate from the Catholic faith. Rather, they will help the deviating to return and will strengthen the vacillating’ (DS 775). That Pope of the Middle Ages considered that the declaration of Jesus to Peter was confirmed by the experience of a millennium.”

      Pope Paul IV thought that Popes might deviate from the faith but not to the extent of heresy. So this indicates that deviation is a lesser offense and therefore not deserving of deposition. Bellarmine believed deviations were personal errors.

      Once we get to Vatican I and II, we see that the Bishops have no authority to depose a Pope. And so “the Church” cannot depose a Pope if the body of Bishops cannot do so, for the Church is Apostolic. IN what sense would the Church be deposing a Pope if no Council nor the body of Bishops would be permitted to do so? (LG 22; Pastor Aeternus ch. 3 n. 8).

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