Are Pope Heresies Possible?


Hello, my name is Aaron and I’m a practicing Roman Catholic.

I heard a radio ad for the following website:

I’ve read all the thread about this site on this forum and a some good responses. The most common refutation was “they just take his quotes out of context”. This is probably true for many of their claims but some seem pretty straight forward if they are taken right from Ratzingers books. They claim they’ve read 24 of his books. So of course I have lots of question based on the little information I’ve seen and read.

  1. Has the Chair of Peter ever been officially empty for heretical reasons? If so when?

I researched a short history of sedevacantism and wanted to post the Pope Benedict videos biggest claims. I know the basics, they are extreme traditionalists, hate Vatican II changes, and believe that only Catholics that agree with them (no one else) will be saved.

At the end of the video they quotes 1 pope and 3 saints that declare a heritic cannot be a valid pope.
Pope Paul IV
Saint Anteninas
St. Robert Bellomine
St. Francis DeSalles (forgive the bad spellings)

  1. Who would make a rule, law or decisoin that removes a heritic from office? Does a doctor of the church or a former Pope have the authority?

The video shows a list of 40 historical antipopes and says some reigned in Rome.

  1. Is this list strictly a sedevacantist created list or does the Vatican have their version?

  2. If it has officially happened (heretical Pope falling from position), why can’t it happen again?

Here’s the biggest claims mainly based on Benedicts quotes out of his own books and his historical outreach to orthodox Jews, Protestants and other religions.

Lord may not be the messiah (as Jews believe, that’s ok, their still saved)
Old covenant still valid
Scripture contains myths
Non catholics are not bound to accept vatican I
Protestant monasterys should be formed
Protestantism isn’t heresy
Mass is valid without any words of consecration
Infant baptism has no purpose
Dogma of the mass is corrupt
Scripture is filled with myths
Islam is noble
Pagan religions are High
Catholic dogmas need to be purged
Resurection of the body will not occur, only resurection of the person
Jews and others can be saved without believing in Christ
Schismatics and protestants don’t need conversion

I know these sound rediculous, the quotes they sight make me want to read Benedicts books some day.

  1. If any of these accusations were true, would they be grounds for his removal from the Chair of Peter?

I’m not here to accuse the Holy Father, the movie does plenty of that and it does disturb me a little. I’m more interested in the history of heretical Popes and lleaders in church history and how the Church / Holy Spirit has dealt with the problem. Please don’t attack me for this post, I really trust the Holy Spirit will always protect the Church from the gates of hell.

I just hope that people don’t say it’s all out of context without providing why. I don’t have time to research it all and I know there’s some very knowlegeable Roman Catholics here. Thanks


I spent about 5 minutes on this website. These people are NUTS.

Please do not spend one more minute on this tripe. It is full of nutty theories and outright slander.


Hello Aaron, and welcome to the forum. I’d just like to advise you, if you’re a practicing Roman Catholic, stay away from those those sites, they are harmful. They have an agenda, they make up outrageous claims. They are protestants at the best. They are not Catholic. Each of their claims could be refuted, but why? I’d rather enjoy the truth than listen to their lies. If they are correct, then the gates of hell have indeed prevailed over His Church. If that is the case there is no Church, because Jesus lied didn’t He? Do you really believe that? Why waste your time on this trash? Get yourself into a good Catholic group, perhaps a good Catholic Bible study program. There are several available online.


Some of those are way way out there. How on earth can a ‘person’ be resurrected without their body being resurrected? Being humans, our ‘person’ necessarily includes the body.

We do of course still hold 100% to the Apostle’s Creed - it’s still in the Rosary after all! Which states that we believe in resurrection of the body specifically, so I don’t know where they got the idea that we don’t.

Non-Catholics don’t have to believe Vatican I? Well if they want the fullness of truth and the best possible chance at salvation they certainly have to believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, including what was proposed at Vatican I.

We’ve never believed that non-Catholics cannot be saved - not even St Paul believed that pagans couldn’t be saved. Although their salvation is WAAAAAY less certain than that of a faithful Catholic.


That response doesn’t answer any of my questions that stem from sedevacantism. I’m asking for other sources of knowlege and research in reguards to Papal heresy and church history. I can accept the shortcomings of man interfereing with God’s will for the church thoughout history.


Thanks for responding, I love learning more about the faith. I have lots of resources to help with that. I posted questions that aren’t attacking the Holy Father, they are historical questions. That’s what I’m here to ask about.


Antipopes are not heretic popes. Historically the antipope were *invalidly elected *popes.

So, I’m not sure what you are looking for.


Are you basing your opinion on what “they claim”? Do you see a problem here? I could show you from Scripture that God hates everyone. Would it be true? Absolutely not, but I could prove it using Scripture. You know that! Why are you falling for this trash? What impression did you get when you read those 24 books? Was it the same as theirs? I certainly doubt it.


Well there is none - the Chair of Peter has NEVER been empty for heretical reasons. Only ever in between election of Popes (which in one case took two years - that’s the longest it’s ever been vacant. That was because the Pope died, not because he was a heretic.)

Bear in mind this theory is just that, a theory, not dogma. And Popes can be sinners privately, all have been and all will be. That includes the possibility that they might privately hold heretical views. But they would be protected by the charism of Papal Infallibility from ever teaching any heresy. To say otherwise is to make a mockery of Christ’s promises that the Holy Spirit would guide the Apostles and their successors.


A former pope? LOL. If I recall correctly, there was only one pope who did not die in office. So there are now none, and have been only one “former pope” in history. Man, you need to get away and stay away from that site, it’s just a conspiracy theory site.


If you’re interested there’s an excellent book, “Triumph: the power and glory of the Catholic Church, a 2,000 year history". It’s by H.W. Crocker. Read it, it will be better than hanging out in sites like you’ve been.


The problem is, from what I can see, that what they claim Pope Benedict is saying or what he “means” is not in fact what he is saying or what he means. They are putting some completely ludicrous interpretations on the plain meaning of his words. I watched the first part of their video and only a person with a pre-conceived agenda could possibly draw the conclusions they do. What they claim simply is not supported in the documents they quote.

And, since you acknowledge you have not read any of the books-- that is where you should start (rather than spending your time on this website)


Which is why you should not be on their website.

And, keep in mind it is the CHURCH that has the power to try someone and declare them a heretic, not some nutcases with a webmaster.

Since the former Pope would be dead when a new Pope is elected, no he would not make a decision to remove anyone. Since the Doctors of the Church are also all dead, neither would they.

A trial for heresy is an ecclesial procedure defined in Canon Law. That is the procedure that would be followed if there were any issue.

You misunderstand the term “antipope”. Antipopes are not heretics, they are invalidly elected.

Although it has not happened, of course it could happen that a Pope, when speaking other than ex cathedra, might say or write something incompatible with the faith. That does not mean they would be a heretic nor does it mean they would no longer be the Pope. They would likely receive fraternal correction from their fellow bishops and amend their statement.

These are just flat out lies. They are making ridiculous claims and are distorting the Pope’s writings and the plain meaning of the texts to fit into their agenda. They are nutcases at best, and libelous at worst.

In and of themselves, no.


Those folks are have nothing but spiritual poison. They wrench things way out of context and twist them to their own destruction. Here’s a refutation:


I have a question.

Isn’t it possible for a pope to become a heretic? I’m certainly no expert on your papacy but I thought various theologians such as Bellarmine (sp?) reasonably laid out a scenario where a pope could be a heretic but yet be prevented from teaching ex cathedra the heresy.


Exactly so - a Pope can privately be guilty of any sin you’d care to name. Popes can be and have been robbers, murderers, fornicators - and probably heretics too. But they will never TEACH that these things are OK from the Chair of Peter.

There’s one often-told example of a Pope who was the favourite of one of the Byzantine empresses. She was an Arian I believe (or subscribed to one of the other heresies maybe), and basically got him into the Papacy thinking he’d turn the whole Christian world Arian.

As soon as he got his behind on that Papal throne he did a complete 180, renounced Arianism and so forth, and stood up strong against the Empress.




Question asked and answered. Thread closed.

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