Friday, March 29, 2024

The Context of Cajetan's Comments on Praying for a Pope's Death

There was recently a little kerfluffle online after Dr. Peter Kwasniewski shared a quote from Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534) to the effect that Christians should pray for the removal of a bad pope (and given that popes historically reign for life, this functionally means praying for his death). Hyperpapalists, of course, were hyperventilating about the citation while traditionalists reacted with confusion as to how a quote from one of the greatest theologians of the Renaissance could occasion such vitriol.

Quotes from Cajetan are frequent in debates about papal authority. The renowned 16th century theologian and Master of the Dominican Order defended papal power in two different disputes, first against the Conciliarists in the aftermath of the Fifth Lateran Council, and more famously against Martin Luther. He wrote extensively about the papacy, perhaps offering the most exhaustive study of the subject in the generations between the Great Schism and the Council of Trent.

Cajetan's writings against the Conciliarists are of particular interest today, as he had to address Conciliarist arguements that the model of papal power Cajetan was defending had no mechanism for restraining an abusive pope; in other words, the Conciliarists were arguing that Cajetan was a hyperpapalist. Cajetan was compelled therefore to rebut this attack by delineating the legitimate restraints on papal authority without diminishing the plenitudo potestatis of the papacy. This parallels the dilemma faced by today's traditionalists, who must steer clear of the Scylla of hyperpapalism while avoiding the Charybdis of a Protestantized view of ecclesial authority. 

In this essay, we will study Cajetan's arguments about dealing with an abusive pope, as found in his anti-Conciliarist tracts (including his discussion about praying for a pope's death). The purpose of this essay is not to wade into contemporary arguments about dealing with Pope Francis. Rather, it is to understand frequently-cited passages from Cajetan's work in their proper context. 

I. Understanding the Conciliarist Position

We will begin with a study of the Conciliarist argument that Cajetan found himself compelled to respond to. Cajetan's most notable opponents were John Mair and Jacques Almain. Mair was a Scottish Humanist who taught theology at the University of Paris and the Sorbonne; Almain was a French professor of theology at Paris who was also rector of the university. Both were considered intellectual heavyweights; Almain was deputed by the faculty of Paris to specifically to debate Cajetan on the question of papal deposition. The Conciliarists argued that the Church (specifically, an Ecumenical Council) had the authority to depose a pope. Cajetan, taking the pope's position, denied this.

Conciliarists like Mair and Almain generally structured their argument for papal deposition around a comparison to political authority. The purpose of the comparison was to argue that the right of a body to remove its head in cases of necessity is a prerogative of natural (not divine) law. The principles thus established concerning political authority could then be applied to the ecclesiastical order by way of analogy. Jacques Almain, for example, begins his 1512 Libellus de auctoritate ecclesiae ("Book on the Authority of the Church") with a chapter "in which the origin of civil jurisdiction is treated, so that ecclesiastical jurisdiction may be made known through comparison with it, and so the Church's authority over the pope may be demonstrated by natural law." [1] This argument was foundational to the Conciliarist position and is found throughout the works of Almain, Mair and others.

The argument runs thus:

Most Renaissance political theorists agreed that a monarch ruled by the consent of the people—not in the democratic sense, but rather expressed through the consent of the estates of the realm recognizing his coronation and accepting his investment with royal authority. The monarch exercised supreme power at the head of the hierarchy of state, but his power was delegated by the community, on whose behalf he held authority. This delegation was ratified through the coronaton. If, however, the monarch violated his coronation oaths, the community had a right to depose him and find someone more suitable. Theorists certainly debated who could act on behalf of the community to remove a monarch and what "removal" meant, but there was a general consensus that a vicious, incompetent, or destructive monarch could be removed. This was the right of the community under natural law, as it pertained to the fundamental structure of political authority (you may think this sounds Lockean, but there are important differences between this view and Locke's Social Contract; see the footnote) [2] 

Having established this, the Conciliarists reasoned that the Church, too, must have such a function for removing a destructive pope. The reason was twofold:

First, as explained above, the authority of a monarch over its community is delegated, meaning the community has the right to take back its power if the monarch proves inept, and this by natural law (the Conciliarists had a multitude of complex arguments to get around the fact that Peter's authority was granted by Christ directly, but these do not concern us here).

The second reason was an argument a minore ad maius relating to the Church's superiority to the state, which was affirmed by long-standing tradition. [3] The Church constituted a "perfect community," which possessed all powers needed for government without reliance on any outside entity. Now, if the Church were superior to the political authority, then the Church must possess some mechanism for removing bad popes, otherwise it would be inferior to the political authority, inasmuch as the regnum would have access to a power denied to the sacerdotium. As an example of this, consider the argument put forth by Jacques Almain in his Libellus de auctoritate ecclesiae:

Suppose that power over the whole Church had been conferred on the pope in such a way that, although he exercised it to the Church's destruction and not its edification, and although he were harmful to the whole Church in regard to the achievement of its end, nevertheless, he could not be punished by the whole Church. From this it would follow, first, that the ecclesiastical polity was not as well ordered as the civil polity, because it would be against the good ordering of the civil polity not to be able to remove a member whose conduct might result in the destruction of the whole. Second, this would be to the detriment of the pope himself, for he would be more wretched than all men if he could not be restrained from evil. [4] 

Whereas the estates of the realm represented the community in a civil polity, in the Church, the community is most perfectly represented by the Ecumenical Council. Ergo, an Ecumenical Council could pass judgment on a pope, even to the point of deposing him. Otherwise, the civil authority would be more perfectly constituted than the ecclesiastical, which would be nonsense. 

II. Cajetan's Rebuttal

Thomas Cajetan, O.P. was the most preeminent theologian of the early 16th century. Not only was the Dominican considered an authoritative expositor of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, but he was the foremost theologian on the subject of papal authority. He was held in such high esteem that Pope Julius II selected him to give the opening oration at the second session of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512), a stirring speech in defense of papal prerogatives. Lateran V's decree against the Conciliarists of the quasi-council of Pisa was largely the work of Thomas Cajetan.

Cajetan wrote multiple rebuttals of the Conciliarists' arguments. His comments about praying for the death of a pope occur in both his 1512 anti-conciliar tract De comparatione auctoritatis papae et concilii ("The Authority of the Pope and Council Compared") and his 1514 Apology. Cajetan's rebuttal is complex; we will not explore all of it, focusing instead on the specific question of whether an Ecumenical Council can depose a pope, as well as Cajetan's answer for how Christians can seek the removal of a bad pope.

Cajetan does not believe the Conciliarist analogy from civil government translates to the papacy because of its direct institution by Jesus Christ. He certainly does not deny that the purpose of the papacy is for the common good of the Church, nor does he make all subsidiary authority in the Church into merely administrative units of the papacy, as if the pope were the only power. He does, however, insist that the pope's authority is not delegated to him by the Church, but is grounded in the direct commission of Jesus Christ:

The reason for the difference between king and pope is that royal power is in the people first by natural law, and it is devolved to the king from the people. Papal power, however, is above nature; and, by divine law, it is first only in one person, not in the community, Christ having established the form of the supreme ecclesiastical government in only one person... [5]

It follows, then, that only God is above the pope in things pertaining to the government of the Church. Nobody, therefore, can pass judgment on the pope in any juridical sense. In Book VIII he says:

The pope is not to be punished by any act but is to be rebuked verbally and in public, as Peter was rebuked by Paul [Gal. 2:11], as is gathered from St. Thomas, in a case in which he sins publicly to the Church's peril. In a case in which he can be deposed, he can be punished by an act of deposition. [6]

It might be asked, if Cajetan believes nobody can punish the pope or stand in judgment over him, how then does he speak of a pope who can "punished by an act of deposition?"  Cajetan admits of one case when the pope can be judged and deposed, which is the case of heresy. He reviews these arguments in Book XVII:

A man lacking faith, such as a heretic, is not a member of the Church; therefore, he is not its head. For this reason, then, since the pope is nothing other than the Church's head, insofar as he loses his faith, he cannot be pope. [7]

In this case, Cajetan says, the Church can bring the pope to judgment and depose him:

A case of heresy is the only one in which, according to divine law, the pope can be deposed by the Church. [8]

Why is heresy a unique case? Simply because heresy pertains to matters of faith, which are part of the divine law. Since God alone is above the pope, the pope is answerable to divine law only. Cajetan not only argues the point from theology, but also from canonical tradition. He appeals throughout his treatises to Gratian's Decretals. For example, the Decretal Si papa, which says

Unless the pope is deviant from the faith, no mortal presumes to convict him of his faults. [9]

Another example of a Decretal Cajetan invokes is the teaching of Pope Eusebius, who says that the only time a pope can be rebuked is if he deviates from the faith (c. 310):

The sheep who are entrusted to their shepherd cannot rebuke him unless he strays from the faith, nor accuse him at all. [10]

Cajetan cites many other canons and popes, but his point is summarized thus: 

Only contraries to the conditions required of necessity for being pope render a pope deposable; but among crimes, unbelief alone is contrary to the conditions required of necessity to be pope; therefore, unbelief alone among crimes renders the pope deposable. [11]

Cajetan is firm, however, that the pope, even in a case of heresy, does not lose his office ipso facto; he must be deposed by a public act of the Church. Since a pope is invested with his supreme authority through human mediation, he must be desposed by human mediation:

I conclude that this proposition, "The pope, when he is a heretic, is deposed ipso facto by divine or human law," is false...the position of the pope and the other bishops is the same in regard to the loss of jursidiction derived from God or divine law. Since in both cases it is from the mediation of human judgment, it follows that it is not taken away by God directly, but through the mediation of human judgment. [12]

For Cajetan, this "human mediation" can only be a solemn gathering of all the bishops, or at least a representative number of them. He would thus reject the notion—generally held by Sedevacantists—that the pope loses his office ipso facto immediately upon straying from the faith. For Cajetan, the loss of office must be established in the external forum by some organ of the Church.

The reason heresy alone allows a pope to be removed is because heresy pertains to divine law, and only divine law is above the pope. Furthermore, by adhering to heresy, the pope, in effect, degrades himself by placing himself outside the fold of Christ. In other words, the pope cannot be deposed qua pope, but he can be deposed qua heretic, for while a pope is not inferior to the Church, a heretic is. The possibility of a papal deposition for heresy is not primarily because heresy is such a terrible crime, but rather because by clinging to heresy, the pope downgrades himself, rending himself liableto judgment. Cajetan explains:

By the removal of faith, the state of being a Christian is changed in so far as it was a human matter, which is for that state to be changed by the means whereby it can be changed by a man [i.e., a man can cease being Christian by professing heresy]. Change in the state of being a Christian places a man apart from Christians by its own nature; and, therefore, the crime of heresy requires that a pope be deposed not by reason of its greater gravity but of the change of state; other crimes, however, do not. [13]

Cajetan remains firm on this point that heresy alone allows a pope to be deposed, for, as he says, "no notorious and scandalizing crime, apart from unbelief, leads to the pope's deposition." [14]

III. Praying for a Pope's Removal

Well and good, but what are Christians to do when the pope's bad conduct is destructive and scandalous but not overtly heretical? Cajetan gives some striking examples of what this might look like. A pope could harm the Church by

selling all benefices, exalting the wicked, suppressing the good, exercising tyranny, [providing] a conspicous example of vice, of blasphemy, avarice, etc...[a pope] whose rage leads to the damnation of souls, abusing the sword of papal power. [15]

Conciliarists argued that a pope doing such things was actually capable of damaging the Church worse than a pope who professed heresy. But since Cajetan has argued that a pope can't be removed unless he professes heresy, does this not establish the Conciliarists' main argument? Every secular government has a mechanism for removing a bad ruler. Cajetan's insistence that the Church has no such mechanism would seem to imply that the secular order is superior to the ecclesiastical in that it possesses a power the Church lacks. But this cannot be, since we know the sacerdotium is superior to the regnum. Therefore, the Church, too, must have a mechanism for removing a bad pope.

Cajetan's response to this is simple yet ingenious. He does not deny that the Church has a mechanism for removing a destructive (but not heretical) pope; rather, he denies that it exists in the order of positive human law. The Church has no bureaucratic or procedural means for getting rid of a bad pope, but that does not mean the Church has no mechanism whatsoever. If God is the pope's only superior, then Christians must appeal to God about removing a bad pope. Cajetan says:

A supernatural government, which the papacy is, demands for itself, by its very nature, a supernatural defense and remedy, which the Lord Jesus Christ instituted by authoritatively reserving deposition of the pope to Himself and [granting] to the rest of the Church the ministry of prayers. This is a wise and efficacious remedy, as will be shown below in its place. Therefore, it is false to say that the Lord Jesus Christ ordained the Church's polity less well, even under His vicar, than a civil polity in human affairs, since each was not given the same but a proportional remedy against a bad prince, so that the Church can protect itself against him and depose him with its proportioned vows and works—prayers, fasts, alms; these are more efficacious than other secondary causes, because they are superior to the rest and proper to the Church's universal well-being. [16]

He makes the same argument elsewhere in De comparatione. This passage is somewhat long but worth quoting in full:

Since causes should be proportional to effects, as superior causes correspond to superior effects, and, since, among secondary causes, human providence supported by the Church's authority is a cause of a lesser order than prayer, which is placed by God in the supreme order of secondary causes, which is obvious from the fact that every corporeal and incorporeal creature is subject to it, and since provision concerning a faithful pope is among the supreme effects of the Church, the consequence is that God most wisely provided in the Church a remedy concerning a faithful pope: not human providence, to which He subjected the rest of the Church, but prayer. Nor is the Church's prayer, asked perseveringly for itself things necessary for salvation, a less efficaciius secondary cause than human providence, since it is obvious that in any individual person's persevering pious prayer, asking for things necessary for himself, is a most efficacious and infallible cause, as you have at length in Saint Thomas [Contra gentes, III].

Accordingly, if it is necessary for the Church's well-being that such a pope should be removed, under such conditions, without doubt, prayer would remove him. If it is not necessary that he should be removed, why do we dispute with the good Lord, who denies what we wish and grants what we should prefer? If his removal is necessary, he cannot fail to be removed by the One to whom prayer is addressed, who promised that nothing would be lacking to those who fear Him.

..."It is necessary [the Conciliarists say] for the pope to be punished by our providence, not to be left to divine providence alone and prayers." Why do they say this unless because they prefer human providence to the efficacy of prayers? [17]

We know that the Conciliarists mocked Cajetan's argument here, as he wrote a lengthy defense of this particular text in his 1514 Apology. Judging by Cajetan's replies, the Conciliarists apparently objected that prayer alone was insufficient. Prayer, they said, is a general remedy for all occasions, but what was needed in the case of a bad pope is a specific remedy for a particular situation. In the Apology, Cajetan reiterates the wisdom and fittingness of the recourse to prayer:

It does not follow from the fact that the Church has not been granted the power to depose by human provision that it has not been granted [any] power to depose a pope; for it does so unfailingly by another means, namely, by persevering in prayer.

...Each polity, whether civil or ecclesiastical, can depose one who rules it tyrannically, but in different ways—thr civil one, being perfect and free, by means of power and by human provision, the ecclesiastical, however, by means of the Father's own power, by perseverance in prayer when it is truly necessary. This mode, more excellent and unable to err as the former can, is better, and, therefore, the ecclesiastical commonwealth is no less well but better provided for than the civil in regard to the way of ridding itself of an evil minister.

...There was not a more opportune remedy by human provision than the Church's persevering prayer. First, because human provision can fail, since, indeed, "the thoughts of mortal men are fearful, and our counsels uncertain" [Wis. 9:14]; the Church's persevering prayer, however, cannot fail. We might depose when it is unnecessary, neither foreseeing the future nor scrutinizing what is hidden. The Church's persevering prayer, however, would not depose when it is unnecessary, because the good Lord denies what we wish so that He may give us what we prefer. [18]

Thus Cajetan argues that the Church's polity is more perfect than the civil, for the civil authorities remove a bad ruler by "human provision," but the Church through the provision of God by praying for that pope's removal. Furthermore, while the removal of a secular ruler by human prudence is subject to error, God's removal of a bad pope (or His refusal to remove him) is not liable to error. Thus the Church is more perfect than the political order.

IV. Concluding Observations

A few concluding observations:

First, both Cajetan's arguments about deposition of a pope for heresy and recourse to prayer for the removal of a destructive pope presume that the Christian faithful are capable of objectively identifying when the pope is problematic. He takes it for granted that anyone, using the criterion of reason and faith, can understand when a pope is gravely deviating from theological or ethical norms. In other words, Cajetan is not a papal positivist; he does not believe that whatever the pope says ipso facto becomes the standard by which all Catholics measure themselves.

Second, some may say that Cajetan is not arguing that we should pray for a pope's death, as he mentions only his deposition by divine decree. Granted that Cajetan could also be imagining a sudden change of heart where a bad pope realizes his ineptitude and resigns, it seems obvious that he means deposition by death, since (a) death was the normative means of bringing a pontificate to an end, and (b) Cajetan went to great lengths to establish that there was no human mechanism for removing a pope outside of cases of heresy. If there is no human tribunal that can pass judgment on a bad pope, then it is obvious that praying for a pope's removal equates to praying for his death.

Third, Cajetan not only says it is permissible to pray for the Lord to remove a bad pope but that it is the ideal way for Christians to deal with a bad pontificate, inasmuch as it is an expression of the Church's superiority to the civil order and of the perfect provision God has made for His Bride. Christians not only can pray for God to get rid of a bad pope, but ought to do so. He even goes so far as to say it is a type of unbelief to believe God would grant not these prayers, if we truly trust God's provision. He says: 

[That] the Church's persevering prayer for itself in its true necessity can near to infidelity, if not actual infidelity, it seems in my humble opinion. Indeed, it seems to derogate from divine providence, which has the Church in its special care. If nature does not fail in what is necessary, how can God, who gave Himself to the Church, fail her in necessary things, if the Church has done what it ought to do, as is obvious from the conditions of prayer described? [19]

This is actually his concluding argument in the Apology, suggesting Cajetan sees it as a summation of his entire argument, a coup de grĂ¢ce against the objections of the Conciliarists. If the Church is afflicted with a bad pope, the Church ought to pray for His removal as an act of trust in divine providence.

Fourth, though Cajetan denies that there is any human tribunal capable of judging the pope, he does not believe that we cannot resist a bad pope. One often finds Hyperpapalists trotting out quotes about the Church's inability to judge a pope and then applying them to cases of resisting a pope, as if to judge and resist are one and the same. Cajetan recognizes a clear distinction between the two. To sit in judgment implies a superiority over the one who is judged; as no one is superior to the pope, he cannot be judged in any juridical sense. But to resist an unjust or destructive order implies an inferiority on the part of the one who resists; a superior imposes his will, an inferior either assents or resists. Therefore, resistance to destructive papal governance is proper to the Church in a way that judgment is not. This leads into consideration of Cajetan's famous passage on resisting a wicked pope:

You must resist, therefore, to his face a pope who openly is tearing the Church apart, for example, because he refuses to confer ecclesiastical benefices except for money, or in exchange for an office; and possession of such benefices must be denied to those who bought them, with all reverence and obedience; and a case of simony, even committed by the pope, must be denounced. Without a doubt, secular princes and the clergy could properly take the sword from a madman's hand. There are also many ways by which, without rebellion, the secular princes and the prelates of the Church, if they wish to use them, could offer resistance and impediment to abuse of power. But when princes and prelates act only as if they are sleeping, why do they complain that he cannot be deposed?

...Let them meet with fitting remedies the destructive abuse of power by not obeying the wicked, not flattering, not being silent, by accusing, by arguing, summoning the princes to rebuke, following Paul's example...[If they would do this] he would abuse power little, or not at all. [20]

You will note that Cajetan argues that the "destructive abuse of power" by a bad pope is made even worse when the prelates of the Church do not resist him, when they "act only as if they are sleeping." If a bad pope were to face stiff "resistance and impediment to abuse of power," then "he would abuse power little, or not at all." To resist a bad pope is not the same as to judge him; the latter is impossible while the former is commendable.

Fifth, while Cajetan encourages us to pray for the deposition of a bad pope, he warns against doing so hypocritically; i.e., we pray to be delivered from another man's vices when we have made little effort to overcome our own or to pray as we ought:

How does it come about that, if, in some instance, the pope is deemed incorrigible, subjects, persisting in their own vices, should daily murmur about [his] bad rule, seeking to obtain no remedy through prayer, unless perhaps like sleepers with no faith, they fulfill the Scriptures with their behavior—to wit, that a hypocrite rules on account of the people's sins [cf. Job 34:30].

But we are so stupid that we may not wish to pray as we should and yet may wish for the fruit of prayer, that we might not wish to sow and might wish to reap, so that we might not be named as Christians nor embrace Christ's provision; and yet thus we will overcome a lunatic, a madman, a tyrant, a divider, a waster and a corrupter of the Church, when it might happen that such a one rules. But we who cannot subdue ourselves with our prayers, because we do not offer them as we should, how can we complain that we do not subdue the lives of other wicked men with prayers, which not only do not pass through the roof but do not penetrate the very heads of those who pray? [21]

What a remarkable passage! Cajetan essentially says that if we complain about being burdened with a pope who is "a waster and a corrupter of the Church," the problem is likely that we haven't prayed hard enough for his removal. We should fortify ourselves in prayer, seeking to overcome our own vices so that our prayers will be more efficacious.

Finally, let it be borne in mind that these comments all occur in the context of treatises meant to defend papal authority. Cajetan was the foremost apologist for papal power in the early 16th century, for which he was allowed to open the Fifth Lateran Council, was rewarded with a cardinal's hat by Leo X, and was the first line of defense against Martin Luther. In other words, Cajetan's views about resisting a bad pope and praying for his death are papally sanctioned! While Cajetan's opinions are admittedly just opinions, they are weighty opinions, and we must not therefore assume them to be dangerous or even outside the pale of discussion.

If the Church is afflicted by a destructive pope who seems fixed in his abuses, the faithful, after ordering their own lives as best they can and in all humility, are to pray fervently to the Lord—pray, and fast, and make vows—that this abusive pope would be removed through an act of God's providence, not excluding by his death. In the meantime, we are to resist his abuses by every means we have at our disposal, though without presuming to stand in judgment over him in any juridical sense. So runs the argument of the great Thomas Cajetan.


[1] Jacques Almain, Libellus de auctoritate ecclesiae, Cap. I in Conciliarism and Papalism, ed. by J.H. Burns and Thomas Izbicki (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998), 135

[2] Locke's "Social Contract" posits a vague compact between the ruler and ruled at some time in the remote past, at the dawn of human society; it is a generalized and abstracted notion of political consent that exists outside history. The Renaissance theorists, on the other hand, focused on the specific oaths of particular rulers expressed through the coronation and other rituals of royal investment. Thus, while Locke's theory centers on a primeval and conceptual contract between the ruler and ruled, Renaissance theorists grounded their ideas on the particular, concrete obligations assumed by rulers within history.

[3] See Gelasius Epistola ad Anas. 2; Innocent III, Sicut universitatis conditor

[4]  Almain, Libellus de auctoritate ecclesiae, Cap. VII, p. 161

[5] Tommaso de Cajetan, Apology, Cap. VI, in Conciliarism and Papalism, ed. by J.H. Burns and Thomas Izbicki (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998) 232

[6] Tommaso de Cajetan, De comparatione, Cap. VIII, Op cit., 36

[7] Ibid., Cap. XVII, p. 74

[8] Ibid., Cap. XXVI, p. 113

[9] Gratian's Decretals, Si papa [D. 40 c. 6]

[10] Op cit., Oves [C. 2 q. 7] 

[11] Cajetan, De comparatione, Cap. XXVI, p. 114

[12] Ibid., Cap. XIX, 81, 80

[13] Ibid., Cap. XXVII, 120-121

[14] Ibid., Cap. XXVI, 119

[15] Ibid., Cap. XXIV, 105-106

[16] Apology, Cap. VI, 239

[17] De comparatione, Cap. XXVII, 125-126

[18] Apology, Cap. VI, 282-283

[19] Ibid., 284

[20] De comparatione, Cap. XXVII, 122-123

[21] Ibid, 126


Anonymous said...

I would rather pray that he doesn't fall away. Bishops are right now acting in the tradition of St Paul, I pray for them when I can remember, I count 5.

The recent Easter Mass in Rome was a good example of holy charity, despite the felling of the Icon- which I attribute to short sightedness in the arrangement of wieghts rather then a sign of sort.

Boniface said...


I would pray the same but that doesn't address the issue. The pope can not fall away but still be awful. Cajetan is addressing situations where the pope remains doctrinally faithful but is a bad and destructive pope. So, "Praying he remains faithful" isn't relevant to the discussion because this is all about popes who *are* faithful but just doing incredible damage through their imprudence.

Anonymous said...

In the case of all of the popes since and including Paul VI, all were believers and teachers of the synthesis of heresies, Modernism. Francis is simply the most fervent believer and unafraid to take Modernism to its inevitable conclusion-the destruction of the true teachings of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if the last conclave vote yielded any votes for Cardinal Robert Sarah- his books have a light for the times.

Anonymous said...

Great post, but one erratum:

The pope is not to be punished by any act but is to be rebuked verbally and in public, as Peter was rebuked by Paul ***[Gal. 2:1]***, as is gathered from St. Thomas, in a case in which he sins publicly to the Church's peril. In a case in which he can be deposed, he can be punished by an act of deposition. [6]

It should be Galatians 2: 11 (actually Gal. 2: 11-14 in toto).

Is it possible to fix it ? Thank you.

Margaret USA

Anonymous said...

Coming in late, but I'll offer this.

Barnhardt was correct before she went over the edge. She said "Pope Francis is the Pope of our Punishment."

St. John Eudes nailed it when he blamed bad priests upon the flock as a sign of God's wrath. How much moreso that we have a wolf as a Pope?

We're pretty much doomed. How can the faithful repent, grow in faith, and get right with God, when we have such bad priests? How will priests repent, grow in faith and get right with God when we have such bad bishops? How will bishops repent, grow in faith, and get right with God when we have such a bad pope?

We'll have to do the best we can, individually. That is the way we'll be judged, after all. But the praying for conversion or death probably needs to start with the brothers, sisters, deacons, priest, and bishops, before we get to the pope.

The whole garden needs tending, not just the tree in the middle.