Cease to be Pope?


#1

I’ve heard it said that if a Pope teaches a heresy thereby becoming a heretic, he ceases to be Pope and loses his office:

“If however, God were to permit a pope to become a notoriously and contumacious heretic he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori, Church Doctor

Is this true? And if it is, would it conflict the doctrine of Papal Infallibility: if a Pope does teach a doctrine that is heretical, he would cease to be Pope; but because he is Pope, the doctrine would be seen to be orthodox in virtue of the Pope’s office. In short, how does the doctrine of Papal Infallibility deal with the idea that the Pope’s loses his office if he is in error?


#2

Papal Infallibility has to do with ex cathedra pronouncements (dogma). In this case, the Pope must follow Scripture, Tradition and previous Magisterium. So, the Pope has not the freedom to teach anything contrary to Scripture, Tradition and previous Magisterium.


#3

Right, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility says that the Pope cannot err in matters of faith and morals when proclaiming a dogma to be believed with divine and Catholic Faith by all the faithful, that is ex cathadra. Therefore, by this very definition, the Pope cannot become a heretic, and so is the idea that the Pope can cease to be Pope incorrect? What if the Pope was to reject a dogma in his own personal writing, written as a purely personal theologian? Does he commit the sin of heresy, thereby terminating his office?


#4

However St Alphonsus Ligouri (to my limited knowlege) was not himself a pope and therefore his statements are not infallible.


#5

[quote=Church Militant]However St Alphonsus Ligouri (to my limited knowlege) was not himself a pope and therefore his statements are not infallible.
[/quote]

Yes, I understand that individual saints and theologians, even the Early Church Fathers, are not infallible. The Angelic Doctor taught that the Cross is to be worshipped with the worship of latria, which is reserved to God alone.

What about other souces, like the Code of Canon Law. According to Canon 188.4 (1917 Code of Canon Law): if a cleric (pope, bishop, etc.) becomes a heretic, he loses his office without any declaration by operation of law. Is this accurate?


#6

Pope Hormisdas, A.D. 514-523: “The first thing required for salvation is to keep the norm of correct faith and to deviate in no way from what the Fathers have established, because it is not possible to lay aside the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, `You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.’ These words are proved true by their effects because, in the Apostolic See, the Catholic religion has always been preserved immaculate. Desiring in no way to be separated from this hope and faith and following in all things what has been established by the Fathers, we anathematize all heretics.” (Profession of faith prescribed for the Church; Inter ea quae)


#7

I’m no canon lawyer so I don’t know about that.

Also realize that anathema is not designed to be the end in itself, but that it is for the purpose of reconcilliation. Did not some of the early bishops like Nestorius err and get corrected?

Question:

Where exactly is this line of discussion going?


#8

[quote=Catholic Answers tract “White Smoke, Valid Pope”]…the 1917 Code of Canon Law, together with traditional papal conclave legislation, leaves no room for the view that the commission of heresy or apostasy prevents a man from validly attaining or retaining the papal office. This is equally true of the 1983 Code and current papal conclave legislation, but, since the validity and binding character of these documents is not accepted by sedevacantists, I will not appeal to their authority here.
[/quote]

This tract has the exact information you’re looking for. A great read that will surely answer your question.

The rest is here:
catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103fea1.asp


#9

[quote=Fidei Defensor]This tract has the exact information you’re looking for. A great read that will surely answer your question.

The rest is here:
catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103fea1.asp
[/quote]

It is a very interesting article. thank you for that link. with regard to our argument i would like to mention this sentence: “divine providence would never permit him (the heretic Pope) to define his heresy ex cathedra. The dogma of papal infallibility assures us this can never happen.”


#10

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