Pope Benedict XVI not a legitimate pope?

I’ve been having discussions with a Reformed Baptist and sometimes his logic and reasoning to defend his faith and attack Catholicism just boggles my mind. Anyways he recently invited me to his blog and asked me to comment on his post regarding Pope Benedict XVI.

Here it is: bnonn.thinkingmatters.org.nz/a-simple-proof-that-pope-benedict-xvi-is-an-illegitimate-pope/

I wasn’t expecting him to come at this particular angle. I was ready with Scripture and historical info on the papacy but this one has me stumped? I’m not sure if it’s even worth addressing.

Feel free to look at his other articles regarding Catholicism. He really has an issue with Catholicism and although he does not state so in his blog he was a former catholic who apparently went atheist before being “saved” and joining the Reformed Baptist Church.

I find the assault upon Benedict-16 to be factually unfounded.

But one does not need to seek far to find several Popes who were unworthy and unfit for the Office. Pope Alexander-4 is my favorite example (because I regard him to be the most unworthy of all Popes). It is not necessary to attack (with dubious merit) our current Pope - if you wish to discredit the Papacy, you can reach back as far as 2000 years of Popes and pick the worst of the worst (Alexander-4, in my opinion). If the attack upon ANY of these Popes is valid, you will succeed.

But, as bad as Alexander-4 was, he did not ever (to my knowledge) publicly deny Our Lord.

Only one Pope ever did that - it was the Apostle Peter.

Can we make the case that Peter or Alexander-4 (or Benedict-16) was not a valid Pope because of his actions (or alleged actions)? Let’s drop Benedict-16, and focus on Peter and Alexander-4 (both of whom are undisputed sinners). Are they therefore illegitimate Popes? (never mind that Jesus himself appointed Peter)

Does divine authority require personal accountability? Ideally, it should - but we do not live in an ideal world, and the Church does not either.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat [we would say Peter’s seat]. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. [Matt 23:1-3]

Does Jesus teach that the Jews should obey the Pharisees because the Pharisees follow their own teaching? Or does Jesus teach that the Jews should obey the Pharisees because their authority is of divine origin, even though the Pharisees personally fail to adhere to their own teaching?

OK his argument is:

1.If a man is not above reproach, then he is not qualified to be a bishop and cannot legitimately hold that office (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9)
2.Benedict XVI is not above reproach
3.Therefore, Benedict XVI is not qualified to be a bishop and cannot legitimately hold that office
This being the case…
4.Benedict XVI is not qualified to be a bishop and cannot legitimately hold that office
5.Therefore, Benedict XVI is not qualified to be the bishop of Rome and cannot legitimately hold that office
6.Therefore, Benedict XVI is not qualified to be the pope and cannot legitimately hold that office (by definition)

I am not sure why he fails … because he is not the husband of one wife as Tim states?

But seriously, those SS quotes don’t seem to clearly say that a debauched (or whatever) official cannot legitimately hold office do they? Obviously Protestants voted with their feet over corrupt Popes in the past and its not the ideal…but we aren’t Protestants.

Why is Benedict not above reproach BTW?

Who makes this decision - 0.000001% of (disaffected) Catholics?
But if its the legitimately appointed Cardinals who cecide who is worthy then I think they already made their feelings crystal on this point quite some time ago when they elected him :thumbsup:.


Couldn’t have said it better myself!

The christain faith community is founded on, Fault finding. A mortal sin, which when recognized shows the horrors of denial of the Church of Truth…
Martin luthars whole foundation is based on, faults of others. simple reasoning he was smarter than the whole line of Popes, denial of, Jesus and Peter.

He who is without sin, can cast the first sin (stone).

baptist fault find that not memorizing the Bible is wrong…
protestants fault Mary being Honored, because they dont like she is recognized as Mother of the Church,

fault finding others, the mind of , not a legitiment pope, christian community churchs…

the protestant work ethic is based on fault finding others is the education, and to sever all charity towards others, proves its the path to Hell.

What the writer of the site you shared with us said
is not Biblical and grossly misinterprets Scripture.
Nowhere does Timothy say that a bishop must be
“beyond reproach”, it simply does not say that at all.
What it does is outline the tendencies he must avoid
and speaks of the character he must exibit, then it
1 Timothy 3:6 Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil. *7 *Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Big difference.

If you read his entire posting, you will see why he thinks that Benedict is not above reproach.

My first reaction to this thread was that the papacy is an elected position. There was nothing irregular about Benedict’s election. Therefore, he is a legitimate pope.

Googling around, though, I see that there are people who raise some serious objections, claiming Benedict XVI to be an antipope due to his own alleged heretical writings, and the infallible teachings of Pius IX and Paul IV. They make a similar claim of JP II.

Here is an example: opusdeialert.com/footnotes.htm

So, now I have some questions. Are these people just crackpots, or should each of their claims be addressed? What provisions are there for removing a pope from office? Who would have the authority to make such a determination?

The absolute arrogance of a baptist (a baptist, for crying out loud!) deciding on whether a pope is legitamate or not is breathtaking!

But the, the arrogant heretic thinks the entire Catholic Church is illegitimate. Now, with that dodgy sense & knowledge of history, can he / she be relied upon? I don’t think so.

With respect, Martia, why are you bothering with this dialogue? It would be more fruitful if you were to deepen your own knowledge of the Church so you are not subject to this devilry!


You have to have a potent faith to believe this about the pope. Faith alone can tell you this.

I would terminate my conversations with your friend and leave it where it is.

God bless you in your efforts.

I posted this on the website.

Let’s do this with St. Peter.

Was he without reproach? No – he denied Christ publicly three times on the eve of his crucifixion.

Let’s do this with St. Paul.

Was he without reproach? No – he at least attended the public execution of Christians, and went around actively pursuing and persecuting them, even if he did not put them to death himself.

How about the rest of the Apostles:

Were they without reproach? No – like a bunch of cowards they all ran after the Eucharist had been instituted at the Last Supper, and after Christ had already told them about his death.

As to Pope Benedikt – neither you nor I actually know any facts about any of these cases. All we have are suppositions.

Let’s see if he allows it to be visible.

Let’s just pretend his reasons mean Pope Benedict XVI is not above reproach. Does it clarify if he must have lived “above reproach” his entire life? Or could he have sinned, been forgiven, repented, and then lived a life “above reproach”? Vatican II explained the doctrine of infallibility as follows: "Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly.(from Catholic Answers) If the Pope himself is not free from sin then neither is any member of the clergy. Paul would have obviously recognized this having not lived an early life “above reproach” himself. So I think the fault lies in the writer’s interpretation of “above reproach.”

While there may be individual exceptions, in general, it’s a waste of time to argue with sedevacantists. (And they may be a banned subject here, anyway, I’m not sure.)

Hello, all.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything. I really hate to be gone for a lengthy time and then have my first post be so nasty. But…

That “simple proof” is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. I do hope that the person who composed it is a high school kid in the middle of his first logic class. That would at least make it understandable. If this comes from an adult expecting to be taken seriously, then there’s really not much left to do but shake your head.

To begin with, he simply assumes that Pope Benedict is guilty of serious sin. That’s an awfully big assumption. Particularly when you’ve never even met the person you are accusing. But, even assuming that the Holy Father did exactly as this guy claims he did, so what? People commit serious sin. That’s what people do. That’s what this whole redemption thing is all about. If we didn’t seriously sin, we wouldn’t need to be redeemed. Fortunately, as another poster pointed out, the legitimacy of the office doesn’t depend on the holiness of the priest/bishop. That view is the heresy of Donatism. Google it. The legitimacy of the office depends on the holiness of Christ. And, thanks be to God for that.

As far as his quote from Timothy goes, let me refer that one to another well know sinner, St. Peter. “And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:15-16.

If you wish to respond to this character, I would suggest the above would be a good place to start. But, considering some of his quotes…

I’m not sure exactly what the trickle-down effect is if this is true—I’ll let Catholics work that out—but I imagine it is somewhat debilitating.

And many Catholic bishops are not even Christians…

I don’t hate Catholics, though I do hate evil institutions such as the Catholic Church.

I really don’t know why you would bother with him. He’s obviously an extremely arrogant person, who “hates” the Catholic Church. One is not really interested in discussing with an open mind the merits of what one “hates.” Chances are he’s much more interested in expressing his nasty opinions and “proving” his ignorant points than he is in actually learning something.

So, respond if you feel compelled, but don’t be disappointed if you end up just beating your head against a wall.

Again, sorry my first post back is so negative.


Sedevacantism is a very dangerous ground (and also one banned on CAF). The small groups who make these claims are usually grossly misinterpreting old quotes from previous Popes or from the writings of some saints. The argument sounds overall terrifying if we start finding out more, simply because (a) we are incredibly ignorant about this matter and (b) they hand-pick only what’s convenient to support their point, discarding all that dismisses their argument, and often paraphrasing or mistranslating things around. So it’s better to forget about them and trust Christ, the head of the Church. He takes good care of His mystical Bride.

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