Mistakes of the Opponents of Pope Francis: part two

Here is part one. It covered (A) Rejection of the teachings of Vatican I and (B) Accusing Popes/Councils of grave errors, contrary to dogma. If they would repent of these errors, convert to belief in the Catholic Faith, and speak/act accordingly, they would no longer be heretics and schismatics.

This article covers additional errors, which are largely the result of rejecting Catholic teaching from the Magisterium of Popes and Councils.

In this post:
C. Self-Exaltation

D. Judging Popes, Councils, and Magisterial Teachings

In subsequent posts:
E. Refusal to Love the Popes and Bishops

F. Idolatry of Themselves and their Subculture

G. Appeal to Falsehoods on Tradition


C. Self-Exaltation

The opponents of Pope Francis, who accuse many other Popes of grave errors and grave failings of faith, who also accuse Vatican I, Vatican II, and sometimes other Ecumenical Councils, these papal accusers are guilty of grave public sins of pride. They exalt themselves above every Pope and every Ecumenical Council, to judge every decision of doctrine and discipline. Nothing that has been taught by the Magisterium, from the Ascension of Christ, when the pontificate of Pope Saint Peter began, to the present day, is accepted by them on faith. Rather, they only accept what they themselves judge to be true.

It is extreme self-exaltation, extreme pride, to put oneself above the Church so as to judge every Pope, Bishop, and Council, every decision of doctrine and discipline, and to condemn whatever seems wrong to one’s own mind.

At OnePeterFive, editor Timothy Flanders has judged the Popes and the history of the papacy and then publicly declared three “pornocracies” — periods of time when he thinks the Apostolic See has gone astray from the true Faith. This claim is easily refuted by reference to the following dogmas: the indefectibility of the Church, the charism of truth and never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiffs, and the unblemished nature of the Apostolic See. But the point here is the sin of PRIDE. Flanders exalts himself above the entire Church, so much so that he proclaims, repeatedly, long periods of time when he says the faithful cannot trust the Pope and body of Bishops to teach the faith uncorrupted. No Saint, Doctor, or Father of the Church has ever issued such a judgment. No Pope or Ecumenical Council has ever issued such a judgment. Flanders speaks as if he were above the Saints, Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils, as if he had the role to judge and condemn the Shepherds appointed by the Holy Spirit over the Church. No one but God has such an authority over the Church. And God has taught through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church that the Church is indefectible, that every Pope has the promise and prayer of Christ guaranteeing his never-failing faith, and that the Apostolic See is always unblemished by grave error. Such a claim that the Church has gone through two past, and one current “pornocracy” is heretical and schismatic.

Taylor Marshall in his book “Infiltration” has judged the Church across 150 plus years, and claimed very many errors. These errors are merely decisions on doctrine or discipline which conflict with the understanding of Marshall himself. Whenever the Church teacher or judges contrary to his own mind, Marshall claims it is an example of an evil conspiracy to infiltrate the Church. Such a claim is contrary to the same dogmas mentioned above. The Church can never be infiltrated at the highest levels by evil; She can never have her doctrine or discipline corrupted by any plot or conspiracy, since Christ and His Vicar constitute one only head of the one Church [per Pope Boniface in Unam Sanctam and Pius XII in Mystical Body of Christ], and since the Church is indefectible. But the point here is that Taylor Marshall has exalted himself above many Popes and multiple Ecumenical Councils (Vatican I and II) in order to judge and condemn the Shepherds who represent Christ and who speak and act in His name with His authority.

Peter Kwasniewski is a prolific author of articles attacking the Popes and Councils of the Church. His article The Second Vatican Council is now far spent rejects Vatican I and II, Lateran V, Lyons I and “other councils you’ve never heard of” by saying we should leave them behind. Then he makes the wicked claim that: “In many ways, we are more threatened today by the spirit of Vatican I, which it will take a mighty exorcism to drive away.” In truth, the spirit of every Ecumenical Council is the Holy Spirit, who guarantees by the prayer and promise of Christ [Lk 22:32] that every Pope will never fail in faith and that every Pope will confirm his brethren, the body of Bishops, in the faith. And this truth of Sacred Scripture necessarily implies that every Ecumenical Council is guided by the Holy Spirit. Saying that a Council needs an exorcism and that other Councils should be forgotten is an extreme self-exaltation, in which Kwasniewski puts himself above Ecumenical Councils to judge and condemn them.

It is common among the papal accusers to reject both Vatican I and II. They reject the dogma of Vatican I on the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff, on his never-failing faith, and on the unblemished nature of the Apostolic See. Their self-appointed role to judge Popes and Councils conflicts with the teaching of Vatican I, which is why they oppose it. They reject Vatican II because the teachings of the Council are contrary to their own understanding. Thus, they are exalting themselves above Ecumenical Councils to judge and condemn them. Lateran V taught subjection to the Roman Pontiff, and so it is sometimes also rejected by the papal accusers. So Kwasniewski is not so much leading the accusers of Popes and Councils as he is giving them what they want, a way to put the Church beneath their feet, so that their religion may be of themselves and not of Christ.

Then his article on alleged Papal lapses makes many accusations against numerous Popes, based on the judgment of Kwasniewski. Who has the role to judge the Roman Pontiffs? Only Christ himself. For the Father has subjected all things to the Son, Jesus Christ. So this type of self-exaltation whereby those who reject Pope Francis judge and condemn many other Popes and multiple Ecumenical Councils is a grave sin against Christ himself. For they usurp the role given solely to the Son of God.

Popes can commit grave personal sins, but that is for God to judge. Then Christ himself promises the charism of truth and never-failing faith to every Pope. And the Church has always taught that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error on doctrine or discipline. So the judgments and condemnations of these accusers of Popes and of Ecumenical Councils approved by the Popes is contrary to dogma; it is heretical. In addition, it is dogma that subjection to the Roman Pontiffs is from the necessity of salvation. So they sin by schism and against that particular dogma of subjection who exalt themselves to judge Popes and Councils.

D. Judging Popes, Councils, and Magisterial Teachings

I’ve included many comments on this illicit judgment of Popes, Councils and magisterial teachings above. What I will say here is that the teachings of the Church must be accepted on faith.

In John chapter 6, Jesus teaches on the Eucharist. But some did not accept Him in faith. They exercised their fallen faculty of reason, without faith:

{6:41} Therefore, the Jews murmured about him, because he had said: “I am the living bread, who descended from heaven.”
{6:42} And they said: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? Then how can he say: ‘For I descended from heaven?’ ”

Similarly, some Catholics today see the Church as a merely human institution, not also divine. They only believe what seems right to their own minds and hearts, which have been obscured by concupiscence and personal sin and the influence of other sinners in a certain subculture (conservatism or traditionalism). Refusing to put their faith in the Church results in a situation where they exalt themselves above the Popes and Bishops, rejecting anything they do not understand or agree with.

{6:53} Therefore, the Jews debated among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

{6:61} Therefore, many of his disciples, upon hearing this, said: “This saying is difficult,” and, “Who is able to listen to it?”

{6:67} After this, many of his disciples went back, and they no longer walked with him.

When some of His own disciples were so disturbed by His teaching on the Eucharist, that they walked away and no longer followed Him, Jesus did not explain further. He did not give them an explanation that would agree with their own fallen reason. For Jesus requires FAITH. If you only believe what the Church teaches because it seems right to your own mind, you have no faith whatsoever. Some of those disciples who walked away perhaps lost their salvation. Yet Jesus did not try to save them by reasoning with them about His teaching. No one is saved without Faith. That is why Jesus did not try to keep disciples from falling away by reason alone. No one comes to the Son without the infused theological virtue of faith. And we also know that the state of grace includes all three infused virtues: love, faith, and hope.

Then the judgment and condemnation of Popes and Ecumenical Councils approved by the Popes is contrary to the ancient and constant teaching of the Church that the First See is judged by no one but God.

Pope Saint Damasus I, the Roman Synod of 378, to the emperors Gratian and Valentinian II: “Certain bishops, unworthy pastors, have carried their insolence and contempt to the point of refusing obedience to the Bishop of Rome. If the accused is himself a Metropolitan, he will be ordered to go at once to Rome, or in any case to appear before the judges whom the Bishop of Rome shall appoint.”

Pope Saint Innocent I, in 417, praised the local Council of Carthage for having “kept and confirmed the example of ancient discipline.” He states: “You have referred to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, from which the Episcopate itself and all authority of this Name has come…. You know that nothing, even in the most distant provinces, is to be settled until it comes to the knowledge of this See; so that the decision be established by the whole authority of this See.”

Pope Saint Zosimus, 417-418: “the tradition of the Fathers attributed so much authority to the Apostolic See that no one dared to challenge its judgment and has always preserved it through canons and regulations … such great authority belongs to Us that no one could argue again with Our decision….”

Pope Saint Boniface I, 418-422: “No one has ever boldly raised his hands against the Apostolic Eminence, from whose judgment it is not permissible to dissent; no one has rebelled against this, who did not wish judgment to be passed upon him.”

Pope Saint Boniface I: “there is to be no review of our judgment. In fact, it has never been licit to deliberate again on that which has once been decided by the Apostolic See.”

Pope Saint Boniface I, to the bishops of Thessaly: “It is therefore certain that this Church [the Roman See] is to the Churches throughout the world as the head to its members. If anyone cut himself off from this Church, not being in union with her, he is outside the Christian religion.”

emperor Valentinian III, 423-455: “We must defend the faith handed down by our fathers with all care; and we must keep the proper reverence due to the blessed apostle Peter incorrupt in our time also. Therefore the most blessed Bishop of the Roman city, to whom ancient right has given the authority of the priesthood over all, shall have his place, and power to judge about the faith and about bishops.”

Pope Honorius I, 625-638, to archbishop Honorius of Canterbury (c. 634): “We urge you, beloved, to persevere in the work of the Gospel which you have undertaken, as it calls for effort and perseverance on your part rather than shirking. Bear in mind the Gospel precept which says, ‘I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith should not fail; and when you have come to yourself, strengthen your brothers.’ [Lk 22:32] And again, as the apostle Paul says, ‘Be firm and steadfast, knowing that your work is not in vain in the sight of the Lord.’ [1 Cor 15:58] … Meanwhile, you have asked for the powers of your See to be confirmed by a privilege issued on my authority. This we grant freely and immediately…. But if some prelate with inborn arrogance disobeys our command and, acting otherwise, tries to oppose the privileged concessions made to the Church of Canterbury, he must know that he has been cut off from sharing in the body and blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Pope Saint Nicholas I: “Neither by the emperor, nor by all the clergy, nor by kings, nor by the people will the judge be judged…. The first See will not be judged by anyone….”

Pope Saint Nicholas I, Letter to the Emperor: “Furthermore, if you do not listen to Us, it necessarily follows that for Us you are to be considered, as our Lord Jesus Christ commands, as those who refuse to listen to the Church of God….”

Pope Saint Nicholas I: “Since, according to the canons, where there is a greater authority, the judgment of the inferiors must be brought to it to be annulled or to be substantiated, certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one….”

Pope Saint Nicholas I to the emperor: “certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one…the judgment of the Roman bishop being no longer open for reconsideration….”

Pope Saint Leo IX, 1049-1054: “By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils….”

“As the hinge while remaining immovable opens and closes the door, so Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, since no one should remove their status because ‘the highest See is judged by no one.’ ”

Pope Innocent III: “To him [Peter] the Lord committed his sheep to be shepherded by a thrice-repeated word, so that anyone who wishes not to have him as his shepherd, even in his successors, should be deemed an alien to the Lord’s flock.”

Pope Clement VI, 1342-1352: “whether you have believed and do believe that the supreme and preeminent authority and juridical power of those who were the Roman pontiffs, We who are so, and Those who will be so in the future have been, are, and will be such that They and We were not, are not, and in the future will not be able to be judged by anyone; but that They and We have been, are, and will be reserved in judgment by God alone; and that it was not possible, is not possible, and will not be possible for Our decisions and judgments to be appealed to any other judge.”

Pope Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam: “7. Therefore, if the earthly power goes astray, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual power goes astray, it will be judged by its superior; and truly, if the highest power goes astray, it will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone. And so the Apostle testifies, ‘The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one.’ [1 Corinthians 2:15]”

“8. But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine, having been given by the divine mouth to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by Christ Himself, that is, to him whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: ‘Whatever you shall bind,’ [Mt 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordained by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2]”

“9. Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation.”

Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566: “The Church has but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the eternal Father has made head over all the Church, which is his body; the visible one, the Pope, who, as legitimate successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, fills the Apostolic chair. It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church. This Saint Jerome clearly perceived and as clearly expressed when … he wrote: ‘One is elected that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed.’ ”

Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566: “Should anyone object that the Church is content with one Head and one Spouse, Jesus Christ, and requires no other, the answer is obvious. For as we deem Christ not only the author of all the Sacraments, but also their invisible minister — He it is who baptizes, He it is who absolves, although men are appointed by Him the external ministers of the Sacraments — so has He placed over His Church, which He governs by His invisible Spirit, a man to be His vicar and the minister of His power. A visible Church requires a visible head; therefore the Savior appointed Peter head and pastor of all the faithful, when He committed to his care the feeding of all His sheep, in such ample terms that He willed the very same power of ruling and governing the entire Church to descend to Peter’s successors.”

Pope Pius XII: “After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory [Pope] Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.”

Saint Bellarmine: “The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.”

Saint Bellarmine: “Now our adversaries respond that the Church ought to hear him [the Roman Pontiff] so long as he teaches correctly, for God must be heard more than men. On the other hand, who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off, not even and especially in those matters which are truly doubtful. Nor do Christian sheep have any greater judge or teacher to whom they might have recourse. As we showed above, from the whole Church one can appeal to the Pope; yet from him no one is able to appeal; therefore necessarily the whole Church will err, if the Pontiff would err.”

Pope Pius IX, in 1864, Condemned the Error: “The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church.”

Pope Leo XIII, 1878-1903: “In faith and in the teaching of morality, God Himself made the Church a partaker of His divine authority, and through His heavenly gift she cannot be deceived. She is therefore the greatest and most reliable teacher of mankind, and in her swells an inviolable right to teach them.”

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum: “10. But as this heavenly doctrine was never left to the arbitrary judgment of private individuals, but, in the beginning delivered by Jesus Christ, was afterwards committed by Him exclusively to the Magisterium already named, so the power of performing and administering the divine mysteries, together with the authority of ruling and governing, was not bestowed by God on all Christians indiscriminately, but on certain chosen persons. For to the Apostles and their legitimate successors alone these words have reference: ‘Going into the whole world preach the Gospel.’ ‘Baptizing them.’ ‘Do this in commemoration of Me.’ ‘Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them.’ And in like manner He ordered the Apostles only and those who should lawfully succeed them to feed — that is to govern with authority — all Christian souls. Whence it also follows that it is necessarily the duty of Christians to be subject and to obey. And these duties of the Apostolic office are, in general, all included in the words of St. Paul: ‘Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God’ (I Cor. iv., I).”

Pope Leo XIII: “We have no wish to quote every available declaration; but it is well to recall the formula of faith which [Byzantine emperor] Michael Paleologus professed in the Second Council of Lyons: ‘The same holy Roman Church possesses the sovereign and plenary primacy and authority over the whole Catholic Church, which, truly and humbly, it acknowledges to have received together with the plenitude of power from the Lord Himself, in the person of St. Peter, the Prince or Head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor. And as it is bound to defend the truth of faith beyond all others, so also if any question should arise concerning the faith it must be determined by its judgment’ (Actio iv.).”

Pope Leo XIII: “And [Saint] Optatus of Milevis says: ‘You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was first conferred on Peter. In this Peter, the head of all the Apostles (hence his name Cephas), has sat; in which chair alone unity was to be preserved for all, lest any of the other apostles should claim anything as exclusively his own. So much so, that he who would place another chair against that one chair, would be a schismatic and a sinner’ (De Schism. Donat., lib. ii). Hence the teaching of Cyprian, that heresy and schism arise and are begotten from the fact that due obedience is refused to the supreme authority. ‘Heresies and schisms have no other origin than that obedience is refused to the priest of God, and that men lose sight of the fact that there is one judge in the place of Christ in this world’ (Epist. xii. ad Cornelium, n. 5). No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter, can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church.”

Pope Leo XIII: “”This power over the Episcopal College to which we refer, and which is clearly set forth in Holy Writ, has ever been acknowledged and attested by the Church, as is clear from the teaching of General Councils. ‘We read that the Roman Pontiff has pronounced judgments on the prelates of all the churches; we do not read that anybody has pronounced sentence on him’ (Hadrianus ii., in Allocutione iii., ad Synodum Romanum an. 869, Cf. Actionem vii., Conc. Constantinopolitani iv) [Pope Adrian II, in Allocutions 3, to the Synod of Rome, year 869; compare Acts 7, Fourth Council of Constantinople]. The reason for which is stated thus: ‘there is no authority greater than that of the Apostolic See’ (Nicholaus in Epist. lxxxvi. ad Michael. Imperat.) [Pope Saint Nicholas I in Letters 86 to emperor Michael] wherefore [Pope Saint] Gelasius on the decrees of Councils says: ‘That which the First See has not approved of cannot stand; but what it has thought well to decree has been received by the whole Church’ (Epist. xxvi., ad Episcopos Dardaniae, n. 5) [Letters 26, to the Bishops of Dardania].”

Pope Leo XIII, 1885, Epistola Tua, Letter to the Archbishop of Paris:

“By certain indications it is not difficult to conclude that among Catholics — doubtless as a result of current evils — there are some who, far from satisfied with the condition of ‘subject’ which is theirs in the Church, think themselves able to take some part in her government, or at least, think they are allowed to examine and judge after their own fashion the acts of authority. A misplaced opinion, certainly. If it were to prevail, it would do very grave harm to the Church of God, in which, by the manifest will of her Divine Founder, there are to be distinguished in the most absolute fashion two parties: the teaching and the taught, the Shepherd and the flock, among whom there is one who is the head and the Supreme Shepherd of all.”

~ And from the same Letter, here is a very apt quote from Leo XIII which applies to the papal accusers of today:

“To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor. In this subordination and dependence lie the order and life of the Church; in it is to be found the indispensable condition of well-being and good government. On the contrary, if it should happen that those who have no right to do so should attribute authority to themselves, if they presume to become judges and teachers, if inferiors in the government of the universal Church attempt or try to exert an influence different from that of the supreme authority, there follows a reversal of the true order, many minds are thrown into confusion, and souls leave the right path.”
“Similarly, it is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them; and in some ways they resemble those who, on receiving a condemnation, would wish to appeal to a future council, or to a Pope who is better informed.”

Canon 1404: The First See is judged by no one. [Current Code of Canon Law]

Canon 1556: The Primatial See can be judged by no one. [Previous Code]

Many more quotes on this topic can be found here.


Those who examine every word and deed of the Roman Pontiff, and criticize all that is contrary to their own mind, or contrary to the subculture to which they belong, are denying Christ. For the authority of the Roman Pontiff is only Supreme because it is the authority of Christ given to Peter and his successors [Unam Sanctam 8]. Why speak as if your own judgment were better than that of the Vicar of Christ? Every Roman Pontiff has the papal charisms in full. None of the papal critics holds these charisms. Therefore, we must defend the Pope and rebuke his accusers.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

This entry was posted in commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Mistakes of the Opponents of Pope Francis: part two

  1. Barbara King says:

    Ron ,is it schismatic or heretical not to receive the Covid vaccine seeing as the Pope is speaking more and more strongly about it
    Thank you for all your study

    • Ron Conte says:

      It is not heretical or schismatic to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine. The Pope’s statements on this topic do not say that refusing the vaccine is intrinsically evil (and therefore always wrong). Instead, it is his judgment of the prudential order (regarding the circumstances), with which the faithful can licitly disagree without sin. In general, the Pope is right that the vaccine is very helpful to society in fighting the pandemic. But it can have serious side effects, so individual persons can use their own judgment about their particular circumstances.

  2. Barbara King says:

    Thank you ,is the Pope saying that the vaccine is a moral obligation ?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think he is saying that everyone has to take it or they sin. He is right that there is a general moral obligation, but it can be outweighed by the circumstances in some individuals’ lives.

  3. Adam Medvidović says:

    In one of these last messages in Međugorje it is described that these affairs and restrictions around Covid are not coming from God…

    Međugorje message:
    “Dear children! Return to prayer because who prays is not afraid of the future; who prays is open to life and respects the life of others; who prays, little children, feels the freedom of the children of God and in joy of heart serves for the good for his brother-man. Because God is love and freedom, therefore, little children, when they want to put you in bonds and to use you, it is not from God. Because God loves and gives His peace to every creature; and that is why He sent me to you to help you to grow in holiness. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”

Comments are closed.