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Cardinal Burke: A Pope Who Professes Formal Heresy Would Cease to Be Pope

In an interview published this week at Catholic World Report, Cardinal Burke (who gave the Interview on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception) sounds like he’s feeling a bit feisty. Referencing a statement he made in 2004 about “always getting into trouble” after confronting pro-abortion Catholic presidential candidate John Kerry on the issue of receiving communion, the interviewer asked if this was still the case. Burke responded,”I suppose that’s true, but I trust it’s good trouble.”

The interviewer then cut to the chase:

CWR: When was last time a Pope was rebuked?

Cardinal Burke: As far as I know, and I’m not an expert in this, it was John XXII. He was corrected for a wrong teaching he had on the beatific vision.

CWR: And who did that?

Cardinal Burke: There was a bishop involved and some Dominican Friars…

CWR: Is there a Scriptural basis for rebuking a pope?

Cardinal Burke: The classic Scriptural basis is St. Paul’s rebuking of Peter [in Galatians 2:11ff] for his accommodation of the Judaizers in the early Christian Church. Saint Paul confronted Peter to his face because he would be requiring things of the Gentile Christians that are not inherent to the Christian faith. And Peter actually agreed with that, but when he was with the Judaizers he would feign the other position and so Paul corrected him, as he said, to his face.

CWR: Why do you think Amoris Laetitia chapter 8 is so ambiguous?

Cardinal Burke: The reason for its ambiguity, it seems to me, is to give latitude to a practice which has never been admitted in the Church, namely the practice of permitting people who are living publicly in grave sin to receive the Sacraments.

After discussing the origins of the dubia and the moral duty he and the others who wrote to Francis felt to dispel the confusion and refer to the Church’s ancient practices when dealing with complex moral situations, the conversation turned back to those prelates who are resisting the errors of the exhortation:

CWR: Are there others, besides the four cardinals who submitted the dubia to Pope Francise, who support what you’re saying?

Cardinal Burke: Yes.

CWR: And they’re not speaking out because…?

Cardinal Burke: For various reasons, one of which is the way the media takes these things and distorts them making it seem that anyone who raises a question about Amoris Laetitia is disobedient to the Pope or an enemy of the Pope and so forth. So they…

CWR They’re keeping their heads down.

Cardinal Burke: Yes, I suppose.

CWR: One prelate has accused you and your fellow cardinals of being in heresy. How do you respond to that?

Cardinal Burke: How can you be in heresy by asking honest questions? It’s just irrational to accuse us of heresy. We’re asking fundamental questions based upon the constant tradition of the Church’s moral teaching. So I don’t think there’s any question that by doing that we’ve done something heretical.

CWR: Some critics say you are implicitly accusing the Pope of heresy.

Cardinal Burke: No, that’s not what we have implied at all. We have simply asked him, as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, to clarify these five points that are confused; these five, very serious and fundamental points. We’re not accusing him of heresy, but just asking him to answer these questions for us as the Supreme Pastor of the Church.

Some have taken his last point — that they are not accusing the pope of heresy — to mean that Burke and his collaborators in the dubia are softpedaling their approach to Francis. But I would counter that Burke is a very precise speaker, and that he is being technically accurate when he says this. They are not accusing Francis of heresy — yet. This is why it is imperative that he answer the questions. It would clarify the matter of whether he is, or is not, a heretic, and whether he needs to be corrected in the manner of Pope John XXII, mentioned by Burke above.

There is evidence for my interpretation in the following section of the interview:

CWR: Bishop Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan and titular bishop of Celerina, who has written an open letter of support for the four cardinals and their dubia, has also said that the Church is in a de facto schism. Do you agree with that?

Cardinal Burke: There is a very serious division in the Church which has to be mended because it has to do with, as I said before, fundamental dogmatic and moral teaching. And if it’s not clarified soon, it could develop into a formal schism.

CWR: Some people are saying that the pope could separate himself from communion with the Church. Can the pope legitimately be declared in schism or heresy?

Cardinal Burke: If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.

CWR: That could happen.

Cardinal Burke: Yes.

CWR: That’s a scary thought.

Cardinal Burke: It is a scary thought, and I hope we won’t be witnessing that at any time soon.

As they say in the movies, “That’s not a threat, it’s a promise.” It’s not up to Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider, or the rest of the faithful alliance of prelates whether or not the pope would lose his office through the profession of heresy. It’s merely a fact. One cannot simultaneously be a formal heretic and a pope.

For Cardinal Burke to be able to answer these questions so openly and without nuance or equivocation means, I would venture to say, that he has already thought this all the way through and sees the path forward. How it will be received and what the consequences will be is not something with which he is concerning himself. Burke made his position on the matter clear last year, both when he said he would resist the pope if it came to it, and when he described the unfortunate situation that defending the “truth of the faith” has placed him in:

“If this means that cardinals will be opposed to cardinals, then we simply have to accept the fact that…that that’s the situation which we find ourselves. Certainly for my part, I don’t look for this kind of conflict, but…if in defending the truth of the faith I end up in a disagreement or a conflict with another cardinal what has to be primary to me is the truth of the faith and to, as a teacher of the faith, as a pastor of souls, to defend that truth.”

Asked about what would happen if the pope were found to be a heretic, Burke was forthright, again indicating that he has thought this through to the logical conclusion:

CWR: Back to this question about the Pope committing heresy. What happens then, if the Pope commits heresy and is no longer Pope? Is there a new conclave? Who’s in charge of the Church? Or do we just not even want to go there to start figuring that stuff out?

Cardinal Burke: There is already in place the discipline to be followed when the Pope ceases from his office, even as happened when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his office. The Church continued to be governed in the interim between the effective date of his abdication and the inauguration of the papal ministry of Pope Francis.

CWR: Who is competent to declare him to be in heresy?

Cardinal Burke: It would have to be members of the College of Cardinals.

CWR: Just to clarify again, are you saying that Pope Francis is in heresy or is close to it?

Cardinal Burke: No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy. I have never said that. Neither have I stated that he is close to being in heresy.

CWR: Doesn’t the Holy Spirit protect us from such a danger?

Cardinal Burke: The Holy Spirit inhabits the Church. The Holy Spirit is always watching over, inspiring and strengthening the Church. But the members of the Church and, in a pre-eminent way, the hierarchy must cooperate with the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is one thing for the Holy Spirit to be present with us, but it is another thing for us to be obedient to the Holy Spirit.

The import of this interview is…staggering. It’s clear, serene, forceful, and completely unflinching. His Eminence does not say more than he should about the matter at its current stage, nor does he say less. There is a process, and he is following it to the letter, as should be unsurprising from a man with his understanding of ecclesiastical law.

Canon law, of course, does not make provisions for such cases. On that matter, Pete Balkinski of LifeSiteNews references American canonist Dr. Edward Peters on the legal questions before Burke, et. al.:

According to Peters, who holds the Edmund Cdl. Szoka Chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, canonical tradition has dealt with the possibility of a pope falling into personal heresy and promoting such heresy publicly and what should be done if this happens.

Peters notes that while it is true that, as Canon 1404 states, “The First See is judged by no one,” thus making it impossible for anyone to remove an erring pope from his office, this does not mean that a pope in error retains his office.

Peters quotes an interpretation of Canon 1404 by famous American canon lawyer Lawrence Wrenn to make the point.

“Canon 1404 is not a statement of personal impeccability or inerrancy of the Holy Father. Should, indeed, the pope fall into heresy, it is understood that he would lose his office. To fall from Peter’s faith is to fall from his chair,” writes Wrenn in the 2001 New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law.

Peters writes that the “crucial question” from a canonist’s perspective is “who would determine whether a given pope has fallen into heresy,” a question he says that canon law is silent about, but not canonical tradition.

Peters finds the canonical tradition expressed by Franz Wernz — a famed canonist who was elected as the Superior General of the Jesuit order in 1906 — who considered the impact of personal heresy on the part of a pope in his work Ius Canonicum.

After laying out various positions dealing with a heretical pope and showing their deficiencies, Wernz speculates that while no one on earth can remove power from a pope since there is no higher office than “Roman Pontiff” that is capable of passing such judgment, nevertheless, a general council could determine that a pope had committed heresy, and in doing so, had effectually cut himself off from the true vine, thereby forfeiting his office.

Writes Wernz in his work published posthumously in 1928: “In sum, it needs to be said clearly that a [publicly] heretical Roman Pontiff loses his power upon the very fact. Meanwhile a declaratory criminal sentence, although it is merely declaratory, should not be disregarded, for it brings it about, not that a pope is ‘judged’ to be a heretic, but rather, that he is shown to have been found heretical, that is, a general council declares the fact of the crime by which a pope has separated himself from the Church and has lost his rank.”

After quoting Wernz, Peters comments: “I know of no author coming after Wernz who disputes this analysis.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a front row seat to history in the making. Keep praying. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

151 thoughts on “Cardinal Burke: A Pope Who Professes Formal Heresy Would Cease to Be Pope”

  1. Bumpy ride indeed. In speaking to a priest about it today he called it “a train wreck we will narrowly avoid”.

    That’s the ticket!

    Our job in this spiritual battle is to “hold until relieved”.

    “And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come.
    It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.”

  2. “In the Third Secret, it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”

    Cardinal Ciappi

  3. If one Bishop dissents, then he could be excommunicated.

    If more than one Bishop dissents, then there is a schism. Well, there are many Cardinals & Bishops who will join the queue if PF hasn’t answered the Dubia by the end of the Christmas season. As Cardinal Burke said at the beginning – it’s not about numbers but about Truth.

  4. Cardinal Burke is wrong. A Pope does not cease to be a Pope automatically after the act of formal heresy. He ceases to be Pope after the Church judges him guilty of formal heresy. This could done either in a general ecumenical council or the college of cardinals. Even after he is judged to have committed formal heresy, theologians are divided if ceases to be Pope right after the verdict or if ceases to be Pope after the election of a new Pope.

    • I think you are playing with semantics here. What the article is saying is that no one has the power to judge a pope but that a pope upon his own actions immediately separates himself from the Church the moment he commits a formal act of heresy.

      This is like a person who commits a murder. The moment he or she commits the murder he or she separates themselves from civil society even though they must still be pronounced guilty in order for them to be officially put in prison and thereby officially separated from society.

      • No it’s not semantics because of the four opinions that Cardinal Cajetan wrote about relating to the Pope and heresy, this extreme opinion is rejected. John of St. Thomas also discusses this. The extreme opinion is that a Pope who commits heresy falls from the office ipso facto without human judgement.

        Cardinal Burke by his words, seems to imply this erroneous opinion. Burke said “If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic…”
        Cardinal Burke is saying he would cease to be Pope by the act. That would be wrong because theologians have said there needs to be human judgement.

        • This seems a good treatment of the historical discussion:

          To your point, there is nothing authoritative on this matter, but a good deal of theological speculation. The four opinions of Cajetan leave room only, according to the article above, for the validity of “the second middle opinion which holds that the Pope has no superior on earth, even in the case of heresy, but that the Church does possess a ministerial power when it comes to deposing a heretical Pope. This opinion avoids the error of Conciliarism by affirming that the Church has no authority over a Pope, nor does the Church herself depose the pope, but only performs the ministerial function required for the deposition. The ministerial function consists of those acts which are necessary to establish that the Pope is indeed a heretic, which is then followed by a public declaratory sentence of the crime. It is God himself, however, who causes the man to fall from the Pontificate, but not without the Church herself performing the ministerial functions necessary to establish the crime.”

          By what action God causes this, and in what way this is to be distinguished from an ipso facto fall from the pontificate, isn’t entirely clear to me. The ensuing explanation from the above text isn’t as helpful as I would like:

          A point that is debated by the theologians is exactly when, and precisely how, the Pope falls from the pontificate. Does it take place immediately after the Pope’s pertinacity has been manifest to the authorities who issued the warning, or does it occur when the Church issues the declaratory sentence of the crime? John of St. Thomas’ explanation of this point is the most erudite I have found. This brilliant professor of Scholastic theology and philosophy, who is recognized as one of the foremost Thomists the Church has known – possibly second only to St. Thomas himself – addresses each point with the precision of a true Thomist, while carefully avoiding the error of Conciliarism. What follows is a summary of his teaching on the effects of the warning and public declaration and how these relate to the loss of office.

          As we have already noted, the warning establishes whether the Pope is indeed pertinacious. Once pertinacity is manifest, the Church issues a declaratory sentence of the crime and informs the faithful that, according to divine law, he is to be avoided. Now, since a person cannot effectively govern the Church as its head while simultaneously being avoided by those he is to govern, the Pope is effectively rendered impotent by this declaration. John of St. Thomas explains it this way:

          “The Church is able to declare the crime of a Pontiff and, according to divine law, propose him to the faithful as a heretic that must be avoided. The Pontiff, however, by the fact of having to be avoided, is necessarily rendered impotent by the force of such a declaration, since a Pope who is to be avoided is unable to influence the Church as its head.” (61)

          Being incapable of effectively ruling the Church as a result of the declaratory sentence, which necessitates that he be avoided by the Faithful, God himself severs the bond that unites the man to the office, and he falls, ipso facto, from the Pontificate – even before being formally declared deprived of the Pontificate by the Church.

          John of St. Thomas goes on to explain that the Church plays a ministerial part in the deposition, rather than an authoritative part, since the Church has no authority over a Pontiff – even in the case of heresy. He employs the Thomistic concepts of form and matter to explain how the union between the man and the pontificate is dissolved. A distinction is made between the man (the matter), the Pontificate (the form), and the bond that unites the two. He explains that the Church plays a ministerial part in the deposition of a Pope, just as she plays a ministerial part in the election. During the election of a Pope, the Church designates the man (the matter), who is to receive the pontificate (the form) immediately from God. Something similar happens when a Pope loses his office due to heresy. Since “the Pope is constituted Pope by the power of jurisdiction alone” (62) (which he is unable to effectively exercise if he must be avoided) when the Church issues the declaratory sentence and presents him to the faithful as one that must be avoided, the Church thereby introduces a disposition into the matter (the man) that renders him incapable of sustaining the form (the Pontificate). God responds to this legitimate act of the Church (which it has a right do to in accord with divine law) by withdrawing the form from the matter, thereby causing the man to fall from the Pontificate.

          Whatever the case, I suspect we are going to find out soon enough how this works.

          • Precisely, Steve. Though I would say just like a soul destined for Hell that they put themselves there, not God. God judges the soul justly, but the actions of the person in question are what put them in that particular situation.

          • Steve,

            From that same article this is found:

            Deposing a Heretical Pope
            One of the difficult questions the theologians have had to sort out, is how a Pope “who is judged by no one” and who has no superior on earth, can be judged and deposed for heresy? How can a pope be declared a heretic, and then deposed for his heresy, without the Church judging him or claiming authority over him? Theologians have had to navigate through these difficult questions while carefully avoiding many errors, especially that of Conciliarism, which maintains that a general council is superior to the Pope.

            Four Opinions
            John of St. Thomas discusses at length the four opinions enunciated by Cardinal Cajetan (41) regarding this question. Of these four opinions, there are two extreme opinions and two middle opinions.

            The two extreme opinions are: That a Pope who commits the sin of heresy falls from the pontificate ipso facto without human judgment. The second holds that the Pope has a superior over him on earth, and therefore can be judged and deposed. Both of these opinions are shown to be false and therefore rejected.(42)

            Within the two extreme opinions, there are two middle opinions: The first maintains that a Pope does not have a superior on earth unless he has fallen into heresy, in which case the Church would be superior to the Pope. This is a variant of Conciliarism and is therefore rejected. This leaves the second middle opinion which holds that the Pope has no superior on earth, even in the case of heresy, but that the Church does possess a ministerial power when it comes to deposing a heretical Pope. This opinion avoids the error of Conciliarism by affirming that the Church has no authority over a Pope, nor does the Church herself depose the pope, but only performs the ministerial function required for the deposition. The ministerial function consists of those acts which are necessary to establish that the Pope is indeed a heretic, which is then followed by a public declaratory sentence of the crime. It is God himself, however, who causes the man to fall from the Pontificate, but not without the Church herself performing the ministerial functions necessary to establish the crime.

            Cardinal Burke’s words imply the first extreme opinion, which is universally rejected. If he meant that opinion, he is wrong. However, he may not have meant that opinion, which means he needs to be careful not to be sloppy with his words because each word has theological implications. Ceasing to be Pope by the act means something theologically.

          • “Universally rejected”? I don’t see that this is explicit in the text. A lot more theologians are looking at this now than perhaps ever have. And what you cited is, in part, what I cited in my own comment above.

            However, the mechanism of the fall from the pontificate, be it one’s own self-excommunication or by some divine but unknowable action seem…well, to be superficially indistinct. It is the act of obdurate heresy which causes the fall, whether self-imposed or divinely so. For our purposes, it’s still something a pope has done to himself.

            Theologically, this matters, but I don’t think the final word is in on this yet. (I concede that I may be wrong.)

          • My two cents:

            Formal heresy automatically deprives a claimant to the papacy of the God-given power to govern and guide the Church validly, i.e. in the matter of the papacy. A further act of the Church is required to deprive said claimant of the power to govern and guide the Church licitly, i.e. in the form of the papacy.

            In short, there is no conflict between the good Cardinal’s claim and the learned opinion of John of St. Thomas.

          • Steve,

            I strongly recommend that everyone read True or False Pope? A Refutation of Sedevacantism and Other Errors by John Salza and Robert Siscoe. This book (plus their articles since publication) are essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid the Scylla of Sedevacantism and the Charybdis of papolatry on the other. Catholic Family News through oltyn library services has it, the Remnant might have it, and if you want to get it directly from the authors, then go to I got it directly from them.

            Hope this helps everyone.

            A blessed Nativity to you, your family and the 1P5 family.


          • I know that various sedevacantists have criticized it. That doesn’t worry me.

            Have to go to church. See you later.

          • We are in the midst of the worst crisis in Church history. It is an extremely mysterious and unprecedented situation. There is almost universal apostasy from the Faith.

            I have read both Salza and Siscoe and their critics, and I recommend you do too. It is not as open and shut as one would like to think.

          • I think there is a huge confusion going on because many commenters are confusing deposition and the judgement of heresy. They are two separate acts. Before the deposition, there has to be a judgement on the crime of heresy. Bellarmine, Suarez, Cajetan, and John of St. Thomas are all fighting it out over the mechanism of deposition, but they are all in agreement that first there must be a guilty verdict of heresy.

            This all started because Burke seemed to be implying through his wording, the extreme opinion that is universally rejected that the Pope ceases to be Pope simply by committing the sin of heresy. Meaning that as soon as he committed the sin, he is not Pope, and we have sedevacatism at the moment of the commission of the sin.

            Deposition of a Pope is step 3. I am saying that I think Burke has gotten it wrong on step 1. There needs to be agreement at the beginning with step 1, which is the Pope committing the act of heresy. Is he Pope after the sin has been committed?

          • It seems to me that the hierarchy — the cardinals — would act to *officially recognize* that the pope has removed himself from his office by virtue of his heretical words and actions and, on that basis, proceed with an interregnum. And, if a pope would refuse to cooperate with this process? Interesting to consider the role of the Swiss Guard in such an event. Yep. Interesting times, indeed!

          • On the one hand, I suspect you’re right and we’re going to find out (party at my place the first day Francis is no longer pope!) but at the same time, I hope we don’t. The very best thing that I think could happen would be Francis coming out and confessing his errors, repenting, and doing what he can to fix the errors. Or perhaps, after repenting, abdicating… It would be best for his own soul, certainly, to repent. It would save us from a potential second Western Schism (which we’re heading towards right now), and potentially disastrous times ahead. I don’t expect this by any means, and I dare not even to pray for it… I just wish this could go down another way. It’s probably far too late for that.

        • Well, let us ask the question then; If someone preaches heresy are they part of the Church or are they not? Have they not by their own actions separated themselves from the Church? And how can you be the supreme pastor of a congregation which you yourself have left?

          Professor Peters, is an extremely well respected Canon Lawyer at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where I happened to attend, and he also seems to agree with Cardinal Burke.

          You need to remember that all of these are simply opinions so to say that Cardinal Burke is wrong is to say that the opinion you hold is the correct one. As Steve correctly points out below there is nothing, as of this moment, authoritative on the matter.

          I would also point out that Cardinal Burke also knows a thing or two about Canon Law.

          • When a bishop or Pope are heretical, they physically hold a see in the Church. A Pope can be a heretic and that effects his salvation, but he only becomes an official heretic, by being declared so by the Church. Just like anyone else. A person can hold all kinds of heresies, but it is up to the Church to declare it official in paper through judgement. His loss of office then takes place because of the human judgment of the bishops and cardinals. Not only do I believe a Pope can be a heretic and remain in office, he can even be an Atheist. The Pope can be an unbeliever and not believe in anything, but he remains in office until death, resignation, or deposition by the Church.

            You are right that these are all opinions, but eventually the Church has to make a judgment as to which opinion is correct. All I am saying is that I believe that my opinion is correct and will prevail in the future. Burke’s opinion will be shown to have been a false one. The majority of theologians fall on the side of human judgment needed for the loss of the papal office. I think the majority has it right.

            Yeah, Cardinal Burke knows about canon law, but this is not canon law. This is theology. An area of theology that Cardinal Burke has no expertise in and might not be as knowledgeable as others.

          • Anything juridical must deal with Canon Law, and just because an opinion is popular does not make it the correct opinion (see Arius). Also, Theology is the main category of a subject matter of which Canon Law is a part.

            I understand what you are trying to state but as I stated elsewhere your argument appears to be the formal dismissal of a pope from his office and not the abdication of that office based upon his own action.

            A pope’s primary purpose is to safeguard the Faith once he fails in that duty you cannot really call him the Vicar of Christ. He is pope in name only, just as a crooked police officer is a police officer in name only the moment he or she commits a crime since he or she becomes a criminal and not the one who upholds the law.

            Again, these are only opinions which is why it is probably improper to state as fact that someone is wrong in their assessment especially when their opinion holds considerable weight.

          • There is nothing in canon law about heretical Popes and the deposition of a Pope. The issue is not part of canon law. Burke can be the greatest canon law expert on Earth, but these theological positions are nowhere part of canon law. These theological opinions haven’t even been judged or defined officially by the Church.

            A Pope who is a formal heretic still has jurisdiction. He hasn’t abdicated his office. He is a valid Pope with the jurisdiction to govern the Church. Faith is not necessary for jurisdiction. Theologians argue about the loss of office occurring either before or after dismissal from the papacy, but the vast majority of theologians acknowledge that the Pope can only lose his office after a judgement of heresy.

            Only one opinion can be right. The fact that I believe in one opinion over the other is because I believe one to be right and the other one to be wrong. That is true of everyone who must choose between opinions. They believe their opinion to be right and try to convince others as to why it is right. It is only with time and history that the right one is known. In the Church, the Church will officially declare which is the right one.

          • This is simply not true, Canon Law has not made an authoritative statement but like any set of rules and regulations it is still in process. To that end, your very first statement was not made to convince others but was made as if it were authoritative which it is not. You stated emphatically that Cardinal Burke was wrong. You cannot say that and your ad populum counts for as much as any other fallacy i.e., nothing.

            I get that you believe yourself to be correct, please accept the fact that others do not.

          • I think you’re making a small mistake here… the Code of Canon Law has no mention of the matter, and there is no Canonical process in place to deal with this matter. However, this is entirely a juridical matter and therefore is indeed a matter for Canon Law. This part hasn’t been foreseen, at least not seriously, and so this part has not been written yet. Regardless of that, though, this is, indeed, a canonical matter.

        • The pope automatically removes himself from office by a formal act of heresy, but the competent authorities must declare to the faithful that this has indeed happened and that the “heresy” in question is indeed “formal heresy”. Otherwise the faithful may not know whether or not the pope is in formal heresy situation, and they are not the competent authorities who can declare him a heretic and remove him from office.

      • He has been a chief canon lawyer, but this has nothing to do with canon law. This is theology. A very small and difficult area of theology dealing with the office of the papacy and heresy. Also there is the theology of the deposition of a Pope. An area Cardinal Burke has no expertise in. None of this is found in canon law. These are all theological opinions and positions. This is not coming from me, but from the expertise of Robert Siscoe who wrote articles for The Remnant on papal heresy and deposition which I read and where I learned all this. Robert Siscoe along with John Salza cowrote an almost 700 page book called “True Or False Pope?” dealing with all these matters.

        • While there certainly is evidence and good reason to believe Siscoe and Salza, in the event of Francis being deposed, Cardinal Burke is going to be one of a very few leading the charge. He, and some other cardinals, are going to be the ones to set any precedent for a future situation to go down (Lord protect us from such a day!)

          Up until now, there’s only speculation and theory forming. Things, if a deposition does happen, are going to be determined with certainty for the first time. If things go down, as Cardinal Burke indicates they would in the interview, would you say “Nope, didn’t do it right! Francis is still Pope and that sucks!” even after a conclave? I’ve read the article by Siscoe on the Remnant, which seems to be a summary version of the book, and it seems to make sense… but it’s never happened. Only after it happens will we really know in this case I think.

          I think it may also be a bit disingenuous to say the good cardinal has no expertise in this area. He does. He’s an expert by virtue of the fact he’s a cardinal. I expect any prelates involved in such a sad situation would be more than willing to consult with various experts like Siscoe and Salza.

          • That fact that he is a cardinal in no way indicates he is an expert in this area and subset of theology. He has had an ecclesiastical career as a priest, bishop, and cardinal. He is not a theologian or had the career of a theologian. He has gotten the general degrees in theology that many priests get. Salza and Siscoe do have the expertise through their scholarship.

          • I find the combination of Cardinals interesting. Burke is the Church’s top expert in canon law, Brandmuller is alleged to be one of the greatest living Church historians, Caffarra a moral theologian with a specialization in marriage and family and a connection to Sister Lucia, Meisner a rare German “conservative” and reported to have been the staunchest opponent of the election of Bergoglio. For his part, though he appears superficially ancillary, Bishop Schneider is clearly deeply involved here, and he is a patristics scholar and liturgical expert.

            These guys are like an ecclesiastical special forces operation.

          • I think we’ve got a false dichotomy going on here: There is no tension between Burke’s statements and the Salza/Siscoe position – and, importantly, the latter is *not* their “position” per se, but only what the theologians have taught which they have exposed. They take no position whatsoever when the theologians disagree.

            As I referred to previously here, there are essentially two theological positions concerned the mechanics of exactly how a heretical pontiff loses his office (the “Jesuit” – Suarez and Bellarmine – and “Dominican,” held by John of St. Thomas and Cajetan) – but there is *no disagreement whatsoever* that a pope must be formally judged a heretic by the Church before loss of office is possible (either ipso facto or after another, explicit ecclesiastic declaration).

            Cardinal Burke’s words are in perfect congruence with the above – with what is under no dispute. When he speaks of a pontiff condemned of heresy, the implication is that there has been a formal judgement of such. There can be no other way, as private opinion counts for nothing here.

          • I am not sure about that. When asked whether a Pope can legitimately be declared in schism or heresy, Cardinal Burke responds that he ceases to be Pope by the act of heresy. This sounds like he ceases to be Pope right at commission of the sin. That he ceases to be Pope before any human response. Before he is even tried for heresy.

          • What you are missing is that formal heresy *by definition* requires a judgement of the Church, more so when an impact upon an ecclesiastical office is involved.

          • Then why would Cardinal Burke say a Pope ceases to be Pope by the act. He could of just said yes to the question. Affirmed that a Pope can be declared a heretic, but instead said he said he ceases to be Pope automatically by the act. That is the end of his response. It was short, but by his choice of words, it sounded like the first opinion of the four opinions that Cajetan wrote about. This first opinion was rejected by Cajetan and considered to be one of the two extreme opinions that are easily rejected.

          • Short responses tend to be simplified – hey, that’s how we ended up with proof-texting of Scripture used to justify every heresy under the sun.

            The “act” does not become one in the public domain until the Church judges it as such – until She establishes pertinacity. That’s what formal heresy *is*.

            The first opinion, that Cajetan immediately rejects, is so extreme that even occult heretics would lose public office. The Church herself has condemned that proposition. There is absolutely no way that Cardinal Burke holds to it.

            So, there is no evidence from a lexical or other standpoint that Cardinal Burke disagrees with every theologian who has ever spoken on this topic, who all agree that formal heresy, by definition, requires a judgement by the Church, and that at least this much (if not more) is necessary for the severing of public office.

      • Asbury just invested a huge amount of time ploughing through a 700 page book which has false attributions of things popes are supposed to have said but did not – a mark of shoddy and poor scholarship, if not plain dishonest.

        Now along comes a Cardinal that says something contrary to TOFP and Asbury either needs to take down Burke’s correct statement, or risk watching the effort of buying and reading the book go it up in smoke.

    • There isn’t necessarily a contradiction here. Being a formal heretic includes being judged as such by the Church. He just didn’t go through all that in the interview. Remember Salza and Siscoe say on their website that their book has been praised by traditional cardinals. Burke has probably read the book and grasped the issues.

  5. Million Dollar Question: If Francis does not answer the dubia, would this failure to affirm the infallible teaching of the Church constitute a contradiction of said teaching thereby rendering him a formal heretic?

    As I have said before, if this is just about ambiguity, why speak of “a formal correction of serious error”? Ambiguity is something that is clarified, not corrected. As such, it would appear that the “serious error” in need of correction is already manifest, first in AL, and then again in Francis’ letter to the Argentinian bishops. I think Burke is speaking in these terms to give Francis the opportunity to do an about face vis-a-via the dubia; kind of a do-over; a to chance to make Amoris NOT say what everyone already knows it says.

    • Very good point. All this talk about ambiguity is odd to say the least. It’s not ambiguous, as the comprehensive challenge and critique from theologians and others to the sacred college had already amply shown. I think you are right that this choice of words represents a diplomatic strategy, offering Francis a chance to turn around – for now.

      • Honest question from a Catholic learning the faith. If this is over ambiguity, why stop with AL? If there are more church documents to be clarified, how many? Furthermore, if there are more ambiguous documents, why were they never clarified? What is the criteria that sets AL apart from other ambiguous documents? Mostly refering to VII.

        • I’m saying it’s not about ambiguity. As Brian also suggests. But more generally, modernists who are committed to the cause don’t relish the idea of clarifying ambiguous documents because they provide the cover they need to thrive. Have you read any of Michael Davies’s work? You might find it helpful in relation to.your question.

          • Exactly, Steve. The whole new order in the Church since 1965 has been built on purposeful ambiguity and vagueness concerning important questions. The work of Michael Davies in particular exposed many instances of this willful ambiguity and vagueness in various conciliar and post-conciliar documents, especially as they pertained to liturgical questions. The very credibility of Church leaders falls when the average guy in the pew can read clear arguments as to how these leaders for the past 50 years have papered over real problems and refused to speak clearly (and rule definitively) about important issues. Now, in the age of the internet, these ambiguities are easier to see and expose. The new order is on shaky ground (at least to those who have an internet connection and the interest to see what is in front of them).

          • Regarding marriage and family issues in particular nobody ever raised a dubium about JPII’s ambiguous teaching in Mulieris Dignitatem on “mutual submission”. This all got a free pass. As you say there’s lots that could be unraveled.

            Another related issue is that this communion issue arguably was undermined over thirty years ago in the new code of canon law. For the bar on reception of communion is based purely on being in an “objective” state of grave sin (even if the person is not in fact in mortal sin because one of the other conditions such as full knowledge is in default). This is necessary because otherwise the minister would have be a heart and mind reader. Now in the old code even those in a state of objective state of separation from the Church even if “erring in good faith” could not receive communion under any circumstances. But now they can if they manifest faith in the sacrament (but not the Catholic faith as a whole) and are in danger of death. Once again, no one kicked up a stink about that at the time. I think all these things are going to need rolling back.

          • I got banned from Lifesite News for saying a fraction of what you just said.

            Now consider that the Church is irreformable and cannot err in matters of law that relate to doctrine. What then do we make of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and the one who promulgated it?

          • She is only infallible in her universal disciplinary laws imposed upon all not exceptions/permissions and other general slackness. A good book to read on this is “True and False Pope” which has a chapter on this topic.

          • I’m banned from there, Catholic News Agency, and a host of other places. Right there with you lol.
            The same also goes that the Church is infallible in matters that pertain to discipline (that attach to faith and morals). What does that say about the one who gave us the NO, doubtful Sacraments, or a false exorcism rite (every exorcist I talked to said the 1999 is awful and doesn’t have the “umph” needed)? If you doubt me, read Auctorem Fidei by Pius VI, which Pope St. Pius X said was a solemn definition. After all, if a true Catholic pope could give something harmful and could change the religion, then the Protestants would be right, correct? Well, we all that isn’t correct, but you know what I’m saying. 🙂

          • It means that evil laws, liturgies, “pastoral” teaching (a meaningless cover name for getting heresy in the back door) and new Sacramental forms for Holy Orders which flatly contradict what was laid down only two decades prior cannot possibly come from the Catholic Church, and a true Pope could never promulgate an evil tree bearing evil fruit.

          • And this unravelling and explaining will need to be honest and easy to understand when it goes back into the Vatican 2 and post era, otherwise the faithful Catholics will just scatter. With no Pope to rely on, who does one choose to rely on ? Kingdoms are hierarchical.

          • Can the Church teach in ambiguity? To deliberately say something that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, is not really teaching at all. It is deception.

            In light of the Great Commission, and the necessary corollary of indefectibility of the Church in teaching all nations, can all the “threads” that make up this post Vatican II apostasy constitute the cloth of something that the Catholic Church has formally promulgated?

            Can the Church choose to teach, and then not teach, when all the usual conditions are met, at a whim?

            Can the Catholic Church deceive souls into damnation by teaching error, such as what we see with the Novus Ordo?

          • The Church, I would say, cannot teach in ambiguity because then it is not teaching. It is some prelate or group opining, but certainly not teaching. And we’ve seen a lot of that over the last 50 years or so. The roots, of course, go back at least a century before that, probably more.

          • I would say what I’ve already said. Vatican II may have technically been an ecumenical council, but it didn’t do what councils usually do: declare and define doctrine. It completely avoided that purposely. So everything there, instead of truly teaching, is just giving opinions and guidelines. Essentially, it’s a bunch of prelates and the pope opining.

            Also, the Church cannot cause apostasy by applying Her principles because all of Her principles are directly opposed to apostasy. The Church fosters and cultivates faith; conversely apostasy is the direct rejection of faith.

            Vatican II was such a disaster because it was simply opining (as I’ve said) but it did so under the auspices of an ecumenical council. The fact that it did not do the very thing ecumenical councils actually do likely has something do with that.

          • So the SSPX are perfectly right in rejecting it, and it’s most obvious bitter fruit – the Novus Ordo Missae. The Roman hierarchy are wrong for attempting them to be bound to Vatican II, the Novus Ordo and the revised rites of the Sacraments, especially Holy Orders, because they are not really from the Church. Is that what you are saying?

          • To oversimplify the situation, yes, I am saying that. The Novus Ordo, as well as the revised rites are not specifically from Vatican II. They are indeed a response to the Council’s call for a reform of the liturgy. The New Order of the Mass and the accompanying revised rites of the Sacraments, while remaining valid, have been stripped of much of the meaning and symbolism that points to the realities taking place when the sacraments are celebrated. They’ve been reduced from the place to where they’d grown organically over the intervening 19 centuries. Such a culling of the fruits of the Church cannot be from her. It’s like a bride viciously cutting away her wedding dress because it’s too beautiful. No, this was not an action of the Church. Heck, the man in charge of the commission doing the work was likely excommunicated latae sententiae for being a Freemason (there is actual evidence to back this up!)

            And, yes, the Roman Hierarchy has made some unjust requirements of the SSPX in order to be made “regular.” That said, the excommunications were indeed made justly (though some here may disagree with me) as they were in done in violation of the specific orders of the reigning pontiff. The exercise of authority against them for all these years now, while unjust, has been legitimate, so there is question about the validity and legality of some of the sacraments celebrated, and so I do not visit their chapels.

            However, the moment the SSPX achieves a regular canonical status in the church, I will be in the chapels and parishes administered by them. They are absolutely right in their questioning of Vatican II, and in their lack of submission to its nonexistent canons and doctrinal definitions. I do not think they’ve made all the right choices throughout the years, but I’m not in a position to judge any of them as that’s not in my area of competence. I do believe their stand, however, is perfectly just and right.

            So, out of curiosity, is there a particular end to this line of questioning, or is it purely for your own understanding?

          • I want to see what you think about the situation in the Church in certain detail.
            I don’t think the changes came from the Church – so I avoid and reject them. This includes clergy ordained in the new rite, or in the old rite by a bishop consecrated in the new rite. I am not certain if these are valid or invalid, but a positive doubt is enough reason to stay away. I wish the situation were otherwise…

        • The ambiguities of VII re: religious liberty and ecumenism were slightly easier “circles” to square than Holy Communion for those who persist in adultery — how ever sorry they may feel about the choices that landed them in such a predicament.

          So of religious liberty we could say that this simply meant the Church can’t coerce those of other faiths into the Catholic religion, and of ecumenism we could say that it was only about finding points of agreement with an eye toward converting others to the One True Church.

          Personally, I find such readings to be strained at best, but ultimately they’re more tenable than any suggestion that AL doesn’t intend Holy Communion for adulterers; such readings aren’t strained, they’re badly broken.

          • That interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae is incorrect, however common, and misrepresents the objections of those concerned. But that’s for another day.

          • Exactly. In other words, these are the Dubia that should have been put to PaulVI many years ago. Though I’m glad the Cardinal is interjecting himself even at this stage, fact is it’s waaaaaaaaaay too little too late. All have been Arch-heretic anti-popes since then.

    • The dubia itself does not constitute a formal warning, and a negative (the lack of a response) cannot be taken as proof of pertinacity.

      He must ignore at least one formal warning, and from there the theologians differ on whether the loss of office (which is a matter of the Body, not directly related to any subjective condition) occurs ipso facto (the so-called Jesuit Opinion) or only after another, explicit declaration of deposition by the Church.

      I think the intent here is that failure to respond strongly suggests serious error (even more strongly, that is), at which point warning/correction commences.

      Of course you’re right that serious error is already plain to see, but intent of will (pertinacity) must be established for the ecclesiastical *crime* of heresy.

      (One thing *all* the major theologians agreed upon, though, is that the possibility of a pontiff falling into formal heresy does exist, since the Holy Ghost’s [complete] protection of the papal teaching office applies to dogmatic definitions & ratifications only, and that the First See, which in most senses can be “judged by no one,” can indeed be judged for the crime of heresy – only.)

      (The best succinct treatment of all this is probably the Salza/Siscoe article in the Nov Remnant.)

      • Well said. If Pope Francis fails to make amends once the Cardinals’ formal correction is made then it can be formally established-announced by the Cardinals that Pope Francis is in formal heresy–isn’t that how it goes?

      • Salza and Siscoe attribute quotes to popes that are completely false, and they lift their dodgy material straight from books that were on the Index. I would be wary of them.

        • Absolute lies & calumny. Support this (false quotes) with an actual example – with facts. You cannot, of course.

          As a matter of fact anyone intellectually honest and informed recognizes that the scholarship behind the work is first-rate, which is why it’s received the almost-unprecedented support from all sides of the Catholic world it has.

          Unlike the amateurish sedes, they:

          – Rely on direct translations by experienced linguists from the original Latin
          – Do *not* take quotes out of context, using ellipses to convenient remove qualifications that undermine their position, etc.

          As a matter of fact, they have shown in their opponents exactly what you attribute to them – using false quotes.

          Like I said, present the evidence you have and it will be taken apart (unless the moderators here would rather not see a tangent like this here, which would certainly be understandable).

        • I posted an extended response to the other post where you made the specific assertion of a “false quote,” which is itself quite demonstrably false (your assertion, that is).

          Here is a small part of that again, which deals with the question of the Index, from R. Siscoe:

          “Regarding the quotation from the book on the index (not what Lane was referring to above). This is referring to a citation we quote from Cardinal Journet’s book, The Church of the Word Incarnate. We included a long citation from Cardinal Journet, who himself quoted (within the portion we cited) a shorter citation from a book that had been on the index. So, we did not quote a book that was on the index. We quote Cardinal Journet’s book, which included a shorter citation from a book on the index. This shows how desperate the Sedes are to discredit us in any way possible.”

          What the intellectually honest, informed person, who is sincerely seeking truth, discovers upon devoting effort to understanding the sedevacantist/anti-sede debate is that it is the former camp that is stumbling in the dark, blinded by putting will before intellect, and willing to do and say virtually anything to keep the charade going.

          • The end of the matter is that Pope Adrian IV never said what they say he said.

            They either don’t know that, which shows poor scholarship, or they do know it, which shows dishonesty.

            The first is a defect of the intellect. The second is a defect of the will.

          • Nope – all that has been demonstrated is your lack of reading comprehension and/or ill will.

            Your opinion is not relevant to me; debate is for the audience.

            I’ll not reply further.

  6. His use of the phrase “cardinal opposing cardinals” is quite interesting and likely deliberate.

    From Our Lady’s third and final message of the Church-approved apparition of Akita, Japan, on October 13th, 1973: “Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary pray for the bishops and priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church. One will see cardinals opposing other cardinals… and bishops confronting other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and condemned by their confreres” (quoted in “Akita”, by Francis Mutsuo Fukushima).

  7. Concerning the details of the mechanism by which a pontiff who been convicted of the ecclesiastical crime of heresy (the greatest sin, according to St. Thomas), it is Christ Himself who performs this action, separating the matter (the former pope) from the form of the office.

    Says Suarez: “Therefore on deposing a heretical Pope, the Church *would not act as superior to him,* but juridically and by the consent of Christ she would declare him a heretic and therefore unworthy of Pontifical honors; he would then ipso facto and immediately be deposed *by Christ*” (emphasis here are mine).

    The Lord will do this only after the public judgement of the Church, according to St. Bellarmine, who argues that just as a a public action of the Church is necessary before a man is joined to the papacy, another is required for deposition.

    • The problem I perceive is in this phrase: “the public judgment of the Church.”

      We know for a fact that the cardinals and bishops do not agree regarding this matter, so there is not going to be a consensus.

      So, how does a person know whether we have “the public judgment of the Church” if, say, 25% of the hierarchy says one thing and 75% says the opposite (or whatever the percentages would be)?

      The bad guys are going to say that they have “the public judgment of the Church” on their side, and the good guys will say it’s on their side.

      Seems like a definite schism is in the works, but the good guys will be the smaller number.

      • I agree that this is a legitimate practical issue. I do not see it specifically addressed in the musings of the theologians on this topic, though it is possible I am missing something.

        We will have to see how things play out.

        • It seems like we’re watching, in slow motion, a disaster about to occur, but we’re unable to do anything about it.

          Austen Ivereigh is right; the train has left the station. What he forgot to mention is that it is headed for a cliff.

          Things will proceed as God permits. Heaven help us.

    • So eventually it will come back to you to decide whether the said declaration of who is and who is not the pope actually comes from the Church, or whether the people making the declaration are just a bunch of usurping impostors, and not speaking for the Church?

      St Robert Bellarmine said that a pope automatically falls from office the moment his heresy is made public, and that we judge heretics, not by knowing their hearts, which is impossible, but by their external words and actions.

      Don’t follow Salza and Siscoe too deep into the rabbit hole. They are unreliable and shoddy.

      If someone does not profess the Faith, they are not a Catholic. It’s not as hard as S&S try to make out. It just means that there are bigger problems in the Church than what we first thought.

      • “Me” to decide? Seriously? What a completely intellectually dishonest argument. No, actually, as we’ve been pointing out, it’s THE CHURCH that decides things such as who is the pope. I know that’s disappointing to those who end up hating a pontiff so badly they just can’t bear to believe yes, he’s really their Father, but that is how things work – sorry.

        “St Robert Bellarmine said that a pope automatically falls from office the moment his heresy is made public, and that we judge heretics, not by knowing their hearts, which is impossible, but by their external words and actions.”

        You guys always stop up your ears to anything you don’t want to hear. You completely ignore the crystal clear parts of Bellarmine’s teaching you don’t want to see, such as the fact that he taught clearly that FORMAL HERESY IS DECIDED BY THE CHURCH. Not by you, and not by Fr. Kramer. The Church – period.

        In addition, you’ve put two unrelated statements together here – the latter isn’t related to *formal* heresy at all. *By definition*, that includes “the heart” – the subjective – pertinacity of will. This is another area of constant, long-term, gross misunderstanding and oversimplification by dogmatic sedes.

        If that were not the case, any individual at any time could assert a pontiff is in formal heresy because he has convinced himself the man has made heretical statements, etc. Yes, it comes down to that very quickly, which is why Steven Speray and others like him have literally gone through the statements of popes for the last two millennia and made decisions on which ones were really popes and which were not.

        A bit of relevant material:

        “If someone does not profess the Faith, they are not a Catholic.”

        Yes, we know that sedes have gross misunderstandings of Catholic doctrine. Actually, the topic is more complex than that. You ignore the Body vs. the Soul of the Church and the fact that ecclesiastical office is attached to the former.

        A very quick, basic sede debunking (and what you are preaching is the sedevacantist line from start to finish) – far from all but enough:

        1) The theologians all declare that at the very least a specific judgement of formal heresy by the Church is necessary to depose a prelate from his office.

        2) An ecumenical council of the Catholic Church has *anathematized* any Catholic who would separate from his bishop, *for any reason*, without a judgement by the Church. (But maybe that council wasn’t actually valid because maybe the ratifying pope was actually a heretic and lost his office – that line of reasoning might work out for you…)

        3) All the theologians agree that once a pontiff is accepted by the episcopate, his attachment to the office becomes a dogmatic fact; he cannot lose this office without another formal judgement by the Church.

        They also teach it is a mortal sin against the Faith to refuse to accept a pontiff proclaimed such by the Church.

        • John Salza goes to an SSPX chapel. From a technically legalistic standpoint, that goes against (2) above.

          Should he just go to his Diocesan-approved Novus Ordo with his family and risk losing the Faith?

          • No, Mike; actually, your statement just provides another example of the fact that your understanding of theology is puddle-thin, as tends to be the case among sede adherents. The SSPX is not schismatic, as any reasonable person – as well as the Vatican – recognizes. That is why the image of the supreme pontiff, Francis, hangs in every chapel.

            I’m not going to bother to offer references as they are plentiful and readily found.

            Study the difference between material and formal separation from a bishop.

            My dialogue with you here is now at an end.

          • Yeah, puddle thin among a “sede adherents” – but compared with what? People stuck in the Novus Ordo? Where is the depth of theological understanding there? Where is the unity of the profession of the True Faith there? Where is the lock step adherence to the teaching of the Church in the Novus Ordo? Where are the Bishops stamping out heresy and re-enforcing the Faith? What a baseless argument!

            I know what I need to know according to my state in life to practice and keep the Faith. I don’t have a degree in theology.

            I have already left the Church once – after going along with the “approved” Catholic education I received, and from the “approved” liturgy in the local parish. All my friends from my youth have gone, and most of my family. I came back by some grace, and have determined to never again be deceived. I know a heretic when I see one, and I avoid him.

            Our Lord said that there come a time that the Elect would be deceived if the time of tribulation was not shortened. Whether this is that time of history or not is beside the point. The point is that for the Elect to be deceived, the source of the deception would have to be subtle and appear to come from the Church, because they would not listen to any other source in the first place. It is certain then that God will one day permit a deception to appear to come from the Church, and many will be taken out by being asleep.

        • Since it is for the Church to decide, then you must necessarily have the obligation to know which institution is the Church and which is not. You are expected to be able to know which institution has the Four Marks.
          Does the organisation in Rome headed by Francis have these Four Marks?

          • The organization is the same it was before 1958. It even has *exactly the same set of defined, infallible teachings*: None have been added since 1958 (or 1965; take your pick). So, the answer to your question is quite obvious, even if it has unpalatable ramifications.

            It’s certainly beyond doubt that no other “organization” bears the Four Marks (and *always* bore them).

            I’m going to have to be done for now. Read “True or False Pope” for thorough answers to your questions.

          • You know you can’t leave it alone.

            So why don’t you go to your local Novus Ordo mass instead of the SSPX chapel that (I gather) you attend? Do you think the latter is better than the former or something?

          • Well, Mike, I actually do make decisions on how to spend my time.

            But now you’ve changed the subject. Yes, of course, the Tridentine Rite of Mass is objectively superior to the Novus Ordo which was, beyond any doubt, never properly promulgated (no one was ever ordered to use it), as Pope Benedict effectively communicated in his Moto Proprio.

            The Tridentine Rite, which has Apostolic origins and is the “received & approved” Rite of Mass of the Latin Church, expresses the core theology of the Mass as a propitiatary sacrifice, the making-present of the Calvary Sacrifice, directly and clearly.

            The Novus Ordo, on the other hand, according to its very architect, was designed to intentionally suppress that truth so as to make the Mass more apppealing to those who don’t care it.

            I’d imagine you’re aware this is the Recognize & Resist position.

            I highly recommend Michael Davies’ books on the subject.

          • It’s still within the same subject, because if the Novus Ordo came from the Church, then we have a problem.

            I agree with you on the Novus Ordo, but would go further and say that it is impossible that the Catholic Church could produce such a hideous smear of a thing, and promote it to the faithful. If I say what I would really like to about it, the comment would be deleted.

            Yes, I am aware of the R&R position. I don’t think it is as consistent as a moderate sede position, but I don’t refuse charity to those who hold to it. It is a very confusing time, and while there are some truly schismatic sedes, I don’t think the moderate, minimalist view should be held in such contempt, and attacked so fiercely, especially with the rise of Francis.

            I attend an SSPX chapel myself, and support and recommend them to everyone and anyone. I keep my view on the pope question to myself in the hall after Mass. It’s not my pet cause, but a way for me to reconcile all the incredible things that have happened in the last 50 years. If someone is holding and practicing the Faith as it has been handed down through the ages, then that is the most important thing.

            I don’t claim to have all the answers, but neither do I see the R&R as holding all the cards. The situation is an unprecedented mystery.

            One of the ways I happened upon all this was by reading John Daly’s Michael Davies – An Evaluation. I had been reading Michael Davies prior to that. It’s going to be hard to read more MD material since reading Daly’s book, although he did do a lot of good and brought many issues that were in need of wider attention to the fore. Have you read the John Daly book?

    • Not at all. We are yet to have holy Pope of the restoration who will reign during the time of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Francis is the punishment we are due as a race. It is fearful thing when the Lord gives his people over to their wishes.

  8. A question I have that I don’t see being addressed anywhere: If a pope deposes himself as a result of formally embracing heresy, what about the rest of the bishops who follow him in his heresy? Are they not also deposed? And wouldn’t that probably be the majority of bishops, at least certainly here in the U.S?

  9. Cardinal Burke can say anything he wishes. It will make no difference to Pope Francis and most of the Cardinals and Bishops. I expect Pope Francis to be even more doctrinally corrupt in the near future, e.g., Communion for Protestants. Divine intervention is the ONLY answer along with lots of prayer.

    • I agree. I don’t see PF being stopped, or even slowed down, by anything Cardinal Burke says. I also don’t see the College of Cardinals assembling and voting PF a heretic. Color me skeptical, but I don’t see the courage there for that. Divine intervention is the only way I see this resolving.

  10. Merry Christmas from Pope Francis!

    “In this process, it is normal, and indeed healthy, to encounter difficulties, which in the case of the reform, might present themselves as different types of resistance. There can be cases of open resistance, often born of goodwill and sincere dialogue, and cases of hidden resistance, born of fearful or hardened hearts content with the empty rhetoric of a complacent spiritual reform, on the part of those who say they are ready for change, but want everything to remain as it is. There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing). This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation; it takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor, and the action.

    The absence of reaction is a sign of death! Consequently, the good cases of resistance – and even those not quite so good – are necessary and merit being listened to, welcomed and their expression encouraged. [so the first two good and healthy but that last ‘traditional’ kid evil and inspired by the Devil]

    All this is to say that the reform of the Curia is a delicate process that has to take place in fidelity to essentials, with constant discernment, evangelical courage and ecclesial wisdom, careful listening, persevering action, positive silence and firm decisions [ so his silence to the dubia is positive and firm decisions coming ]. It requires much prayer, profound humility, farsightedness, concrete steps forward and – whenever necessary – even with steps backward, with determination, vitality, responsible exercise of power, unconditioned obedience [ wrong, one is always obligated to refuse to sin no matter who tells you to, obedience is always conditioned by the Divine and Natural law ] but above all by abandonment to the sure guidance of the Holy Spirit and trust in his necessary support.”

    It’s Christmas time with Pope Francis and it’s the same ol’ calumny and the advancement of liberal progressivism for the Curia and the Church.

    • Do you have the link to this quote? Also, isn’t it funny how the first part of the quote you highlighted in bold is very much what PF and his minions are actually doing? I’ve seen this from the Left time and again especially during the Presidential race, wherein they would blame and castigate and accuse their opponents of all the evils they themselves were either caught doing or perhaps attempting to do.

      Right now we have this ‘fake news’ narrative, which is an attempt to censor the free independent press (secular: Drudge, Breitbart, Infowars/ Catholic:Lifesitenews, OnePeterfive, the Remnant) by blaming them for the very evil tactics that their opponents–the mainstream press– have been engaged in.

      I know there is nothing new under the sun, but is this tactic one of the more egregious errors of communism, i.e. the degree to which it is implemented is new in our era?

    • Psychologists and psychiatrists would all call this PROJECTION. Perhaps the Holy Father really does have a mental illness (sarcasm off).

    • What upsets me is his constant declaration of Tradition as being evil – “it takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities…………..” Does PF not recall that God handed Moses comprehensive minutely detailed instructions as to how He wanted the jewish sacrifices to be performed including what they were to wear! God loves formalities. Formalities by their routine-ness, free the mind to focus on the offering to God. It’s spontaneity which fights against God for people’s attention. This papal address is a jumble of spontaneous thoughts like a stream of consciousness. It’s as if he begins an idea, then remembers that he has infringed his own rule, so doubles back and makes room for exceptions. Exceptions become the norm. We are already on our way to lawlessness. When the Letter of Correction comes, it will probably make reference to the unchanging teachings of the Church – and that concept, is constantly attacked as if in preparation for the Letter when it finally comes.

    • Please don’t talk about the Church like She is some kind of fool. The Church doesn’t have fads. Heretics who are merely posing as if they belong to Her do.

      If there are heretics hanging about the place, and there are, then call them out by every rude and nasty name you like, but don’t say that about the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, His Spotless Bride.

      • You don’t think the Church has a human side, as does the incarnate God? Just who/what do you believe comprises the Church, if not human beings devoted to the teachings of Christ?

  11. I hate to say it, but I really believe a major schism is coming in the Catholic Church. For all intents and purposes, I now believe that the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre had it right all along.
    Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

  12. Continued silence on the part of Pope Francis will lead to the Cardinals’ formal correction which will force Pope Francis to publicly, formally confirm or deny his Catholic faith. Cardinal Burke is not second named LEO for nothing.

  13. Since there is or was confusion in the comments below regarding Cardinal’s Burke’s recent statements, and because he’s been mentioned numerous times now, I am going to post the following comments from Mr. Salza from a private conversation this morning (with his blessing):

    “Your interpretation [referring to my prior comments here – PF] of Burke is plausible and probably what the Cardinal meant. However, it is also possible (although unlikely) that he was referring to some opinions of the 12th and 13th centuries, which held that a profession of heresy, even occult heresy, caused the loss of office. But note that this opinion was abandoned, and clearly rejected by Bellarmine and the near unanimous opinion of the Doctors and theologians. Since Si Papa, the theology developed to the point that now we know the common opinion is that the Church must at least determine the crime of heresy (and declare it) before the Pope would lose his office. Having even said that, the Church herself has not made any of these opinions definitive, which is one more reason why Catholics cannot, under any scenario, declare that the Pope has lost his office before a judgment of the Church. We address all of this in our book True or False Pope. It is irresponsible for anyone to draw theological conclusions from Cardinal Burke’s brief remark, which he didn’t clarify. He either meant a profession of heresy judged as such by the Church (which is almost certain, since he also acknowledged later in the interview that the Church declares the heresy and clearly believes, through the process he himself has commenced, that the Church alone judges heresy and loss of office), or he holds the abandoned extreme position that Bellarmine himself rejected, which is extremely unlikely. Moreover, for Fr. Kramer and his Sedevacantist friends to use Cardinal Burke’s statement in support of their heretical theology is utterly laughable, since Burke rejects their position that Francis is an antipope!”

    My further comments:

    Cajetan’s “first opinion”, if it had a shred of plausibility, should have every Catholic lying awake in bed every night, for if it were true, nothing at all in the Church could be known with moral certainty. That is because we would have no way of knowing if any past pontiff had, at some point, simply lost his office due to occult heresy. If this had occurred, said pontiff’s dogmatic definitions and/or conciliar ratifications would be null – unbeknownst to all in the public sphere. (Did Pius V become an anti-pope one day? So much for Trent’s dogmas!)

    The Church cannot work that way, which is why such hypothesis were essentially rejected about as soon as they were brought up. No theologian of any note ever held them.

    (The same goes for dogmatic fact regarding papal elections: We know that acceptance by a moral unanimity of the Church (particularly the episcopate, the ecclesia docens) is a theological guarantee that the man has been joined to the office, because Christ cannot allow the entire Church to be deceived by a false pontiff.)

    Cardinal Burke has been proceeding, throughout this entire ordeal, with the utmost care, thought, prudence, and theological sensibility. I think that gives us much insight into the meaning of his recent words.

  14. If Jesus gave you the keys to his Beautiful Car to take care of, while He was “out of town”. You better fix all those dings and scratches before He returns….

    So we better hurry up and take it to the
    4 Cardinals Body Shop… before He comes.

  15. If you are not a sedevacantist then you are necessarily a heretic. It won’t be sufficient to remove Francis from the Papacy. The entire facade of renewal of the Church which has been going on for over 50 years must be deleted. Nothing less will restore the authentic Catholic Church. Discussions about the Dubia and all other discussions are an absolute smokescreen and a waste of time.

  16. Cardinal Caffarra received a letter from Lucia the seer of Fatima.

    “The final battle will be against Holy matrimony and the family” hello liberals! So basically every observant Catholic should know that changing the truth of communion, confession and remarriage is where we currently are.

    However, the Virgin Mary clearly says “Don’t worry because those that protect the sanctity of Holy Marriage and family will be okay because The Holy Mother of God has already crushed the head of the serpent”

  17. “CWR: Who is competent to declare him to be in heresy?

    Cardinal Burke: It would have to be members of the College of Cardinals.”

    Then Wernz says “that is, a general council declares the fact of the crime by which a pope has separated himself from the Church and has lost his rank.”

    “After quoting Wernz, Peters comments: ‘I know of no author coming after Wernz who disputes this analysis.'”

    I am not sure the decision of “members of the College of Cardinals” = “a general council.” If am I am correct then it seems Cardinal Burke is disputing Wernz analysis.

    Moreover, I am not sure Wernz’s speculation should be considered Canonical tradition.

    What are the thoughts of others on this?

  18. Here’s your million dollar question:
    If a Catholic pope cannot be judged by any person or power on earth, does anyone need to tell you that there is a papal pretender sitting in St. Peter’s Chair once the argument can be made he is such?
    I know the answer; do you?

  19. This essay has great data on the canonist world but points to the lack of sufficient content in canon 1404 which should have exceptions written into its text. The likelihood of a general Council being called at all by Cardinals who elected Pope Francis is nil unless a minority of Cardinals can call a general Council which won’t agree with them. Arnold Toynbee admired Catholicism for a time but noted it had aspects of an arrested culture. This lack of clear path to solving an heretical Pope is an example of that arrestation. The lay father of young people doesn’t have time for a granular examination of which canonist said what concerning heresy in the formal sense which cannot be present without the process of formal correction according to Aquinas in the Summa T. Fathers can tell their children that this Pope is informally heretical multiple times throughout the year in contradicting Scripture on pacifism, Judas’ end, capital punishment’s legitimacy etc. etc. etc. Fathers who know Scripture could not in conscience leave their young with Pope Francis for an hour of his teaching
    but the formal world of the clergy will take decades to arrive at a similar judgement. Pope Francis is informally heretical often and well read laity who must tell their children something…can say that to them…he is informally heretical as are many modern world Catholics.

    • “Fathers who know Scripture could not in conscience leave their young with Pope Francis for an hour of his teaching” – indeed, you are correct. Even when PF sounds orthodox his pronouncements are to be avoided, particularly by the impressionable – that particular well is poisoned and its water must not be drunk.


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