Wednesday, February 7, 2018

AS HIS HOLINESS 5TH ANNIVERSARY APPROACHES, THE LOVE AFFAIR THE SECULAR, LIBERAL PRESS AND NON CATHOLIC AND CATHOLIC LIBERALS HAS COLLASPED

We are witnessing not the melt down of the Church, but the meltdown of an incoherent, progressive papacy and progressive Catholicism. This is from Time Magazine:

By CHRISTOPHER J. HALE
February 6, 2018
IDEAS
Hale is a political strategist who helped lead Catholic outreach for President Obama and is the co-founder of Millennial.
This week it came to light that Pope Francis received an eight-page letter from a Chilean man in 2015 that detailed how a priest sexually abused him, and how other priests ignored and concealed the crime, including then-Father Juan Barros, a man Francis had just months earlier appointed to be the bishop of Osorno, Chile.
This revelation comes weeks after Pope Francis called accusations against Bishop Barros “calumny” and said he had received no credible evidence that Barros had covered up abuse. Francis eventually walked back his claims of calumny and sent a Vatican special prosecutor to Chile to investigate the claims of coverup. But the fact that Francis received the letter by hand by from Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of the Church’s top-ranking officials, and either did not read the letter or did not act on it, is a stunning development that represents the biggest crisis of Francis’s nearly five year papacy.
Francis’s surprise March 2013 election as the universal leader of the Catholic Church came on the heels of four-minute speech he gaveat the conclave where he derided Church’s self-obsession. In what many have described as Francis’s Gettysburg Address, the future pope said that “when the Church is self-referential, inadvertently, she believes she has her own light.” Francis called this oversized self-importance that “worst evil” which could befall the Church.
His election was seen as a rebuke of that self-referentialism and he was expected to operate an agenda of reform. In countless ways, he has furthered that agenda. The Catholic Church of 2018 looks very different from the one he inherited nearly five years ago. From everything from the new focus on the environment and the poor to an emphasis on simplicity and sobriety among the clergy, Francis has reformed nearly every corner of the Catholic Church in his image.
But all that is for naught if Francis doesn’t finally address the sexual abuse scandal head-on. I’ve been one of the Pope’s biggest cheerleaders in American and global media the past five years, but I can say with conviction that if Francis doesn’t transform his focus and practice on ending the systematic cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, his papacy will be a tragic failure. Sadly, his record on this issue is worse than his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who despite his many shortcomings on the issue, was the first pope to take the cover-up scandal seriously.
Pope Francis’s legacy is at stake, but more importantly, the viability of the Catholic Church itself and its gospel mission is as at stake. To put it simply, a Church that systematically covers up the abuse of children by its ministers is a Church without a future. It was that way in 2002 when this scandal first exploded. It’s even more so the case in 2018, when the Church’s popular reformist pope has failed to accurately assess the gravity and effectively address this issue.

54 comments:

TJM said...

Stop the hysterics. If we survived Alexander VI the Church will survive Francis. Our Lord promised us that.

Anonymous said...

Here we go with the Alexander VI bit.

Like every other person on the face of the earth Alexander VI had PERSONAL SIN, much of which was exaggerated by a disgruntled priest, but he NEVER taught anything against the Faith.

Personal sins of a pope are different than a pope remaining silent in the face of error and confusion.

No pope can allow a group bishops to teach that acts (adultery) which are objectively evil can at times be pleasing in the eyes of God and another group of bishops stating adultery is always and at all times evil. Both groups can’t be right. How do you not understand the crisis in the Church isn’t about the personality of a pope but a pope’s refusal to teach the Faith clearly and to correct error. That IS his duty. His duty isn’t to be nice to people and get glowing praise from the world but to teach Truth and help people save their souls.

rcg said...

This is the result of loose lips and trying to be hip. People withhold their adulation to manipulate your behaviour. Ironically, Pope Francis may be well equipped to shirk this off with his obstinate nature.

Rood Screen said...

TJM,

But blogs are by their nature 90+% hysterics.

TJM said...

Rood Screen,

Some blogs, not all. However, CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC are 100% hysterics these days.

TJM said...

Anon at 4:19.

Alexander VI's evil lifestyle and misuse of his office (appointed his son, Cesare, as archbishop of Valencia at age 17) probably contributed more to the Protestant Revolt than any one Pope. But your second point is well taken about the current Pontificate.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of hysterics, how about not so sweet Nancy Pelosi, who gave a record 8-hour speech on the floor of the House yesterday in support of "dreamers." Man, Fidel Castro, a notoriously long speaker, must be spinning in his ashes (he was cremated). Pelosi supposedly quoted the Bible and the pope...hmmm, isn't there a passage in the Bible about "thou shalt not kill", and yet she has a perfect, or nearly perfect, 100% pro-abortion voting record. Talk about torture (such a long speech)---but I might have been willing to forgive that had she mentioned the need for protecting the unborn, not just those illegally in this country. Canon 915 should have been invoked her long ago, like when the Berlin Wall was still standing!!!

TJM said...

Anonymous at 10:12,

I almost vomited when Abortion Drooler Pelosi mentioned praying and the Rosary. Archbishop Cordileone needs to grow a pair and excommunicate this wretched excuse for a Catholic. It's a rare demagogue that gets a pass like this one has

The Egyptian said...


After crap like this from one of PF's advisors

The chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences praised the 'extraordinary' Communist state

http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/02/06/china-is-the-best-implementer-of-catholic-social-doctrine-says-vatican-bishop/

I can no longer give this Pope much credence, I just ignore him and hope and pray for a change

even the Lutherans get it

https://youtu.be/lM9BR55nA2U?t=4m28s


TJM said...

The Egyptian,

You wonder if the Red Chinese are't paying this "bishop" or if they have the goods on him. That's the only logical explanation for a bishop to support the Chinese aka the land of government enforced abortions

Conspirator X said...

Soros is paying Pope Francis, didn't you know that?

Henry said...

TJM: "If we survived Alexander VI the Church will survive Francis."

Some historians claim that, however flagrant Alexander VI's personal flaws of character, his papacy left the Church in better shape than he found it. Would you expect as much from the present papacy? (Not to speak of the current pope's personal flaws of character.)

Mark Thomas said...

The collapse of the supposed love affair that liberals had with His Holiness Pope Francis is meaningless to me.

All that matters to me is the following:

-- Jesus Christ speaks through Pope Francis.

-- The Church of Rome has preserved immaculate the True Religion.

-- The more that things collapse supposedly around Pope Francis, then the more that I am compelled to pray for him...surround him in protective fashion with prayers and love...to deepen my communion with him.

I couldn't care less as to this or that faction's (left-wing, right-wing...whatever) opinion of Pope Francis.

God commands that I fill my heart and mind with love and charity toward Pope Francis, who is a child of God, the Vicar of Christ, to whose awesome authority as Pope I submit without hesitation.

May God grant His Holiness Pope Francis many happy and blessed years.

May peace and good health be with Father McDonald, and each person who reads Father's great and important blog.

Pax.

Mark Thomas


The Church of Rome has always preserved the Catholic Religion immaculate.

TJM said...

Conspirator X, well since Francis is pushing Soros' objectives, it wouldn't surprise me.

MT,

If you truly loved Francis you would be praying that he go to his reward immediately, if not sooner!

ByzRC said...

This downward spiral isn't something new. Unlike Benedict who attempted to slow it by re-enchanting the liturgy and freeing the TLM, Francis has gone in the opposite direction. True, the Catholic Church looks quite different from 5 years ago and, IMHO, it looks less Catholic.

Francis shouldn't be worrying about his legacy. Francis should be worrying about leaving that which he sheppards in better condition than he inherited it. I'm afraid his 'humility' (aside from old shoes and wrecked cars) will prevent him from having that viewpoint, however.

I have to agree with TJM, the Church will survive this. It may have to lick its wounds for a good while afterward but, it will survive this.

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas wrote "Jesus speaks through Pope Francis". That is not Catholic teaching in anyway shape or form. Those kinds of ridiculous statements make the Church look laughable. The pope is NOT an Oracle. He is the bishop of Rome who possesses infalibilitu under very struck situations.He is not the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

It is said the Catholic Church thinks in centuries.

How hysterical could each Catholic be if he or she individually thought in centuries?

How insignificant could the papacy of Francis I be in the lives of our grandchildren at the end of this century? With what could and can happen in the life of the Church over the next 70 to 80 years.

Faith, hope and charity.

Hope:

3 possibilities for 2098:

The Church has experienced a revival similar in extent but maybe not exactly the same as past revivals.
A significant and faithful but small Remnant remain led by a new pope who goes on to be a pope as great as Gregory VII or Innocent III.......(looking at fluctuations in Church history and the papacy these are as equally likely as further decline for another 100 plus further years...) OR:
The second coming of Christ has occurred; and (no humour nor sarcasm here) those Catholics like Mark Thomas who continued to love God and His Church and His popes, despite very difficult times and a highly problematic papacy, are rewarded most in eternity for the love and LOYALTY they had, gave and displayed in this life.

KPK.

Anonymous said...

TJM, heck, Pelosi might be canonized some day---think of the treatment Teddy Kennedy got at his 2009 funeral. What a swell guy! If I were a new bishop out her way, I would give her 48 hours to publicly repudiate her support for abortion and same-sex marriage, and if she failed to do so, she would have to find something else to do at communion time. The same thing Biden's bishop should have done when he announced he was in favor of such "unions."

The Democratic party, even in the South, is so wed to the abortion industry, it is hard to think of any chance the two would get "divorced." Even a minor restriction at 20 weeks is too much for 99% of Democrats to support (the percentage in the US House who voted against the 20-week ban recently). I am sure we have noticed, at the state legislative level, pro-life measures never---or almost never---pass a legislative body controlled by Democrats---only Republican ones will do so.

TJM said...

Anonymous,

The irony is that Dems claim they LOVE the "sophisticated" Europeans. What they fail to realize is that in Europe you cannot get an abortion after 20 weeks. IF that had been known, do you suppose they would have voted the way of their betters in Europe?

Henry said...

"Jesus speaks through Pope Francis". That is not Catholic teaching in anyway shape or form.

Indeed, it is not. It's like something one might said in a virulently anti-Catholic Jack Chick comic to ridicule Catholics--as in .. Look how brain-washed those stupid Catholics are, thinking that Jesus speaks through Pope Francis, as though he were some pagan sort of oracle.

Certainly, any Catholic who said any such thing would have to be truly ignorant of authentic Catholic belief. Specifically, ignorant of the fact that a pope cannot legitimately have personal agendas, or legitimately express personal desires or opinions in public papal statements. Because truly ignorant Catholics might take them to be desires or opinions of Jesus Christ Himself. Whereas they actually are no more deserving of respect than the personal desires or opinions of any other man, whether he be pope or pauper.

TJM said...

Henry,

I assume MT is younger than us so he is part of the malformed in the Faith generations which came after Vatican Disaster II

Adam Michael said...

"Mark Thomas wrote 'Jesus speaks through Pope Francis'. That is not Catholic teaching in anyway shape or form. Those kinds of ridiculous statements make the Church look laughable. The pope is NOT an Oracle. He is the bishop of Rome who possesses infalibilitu under very struck situations.He is not the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ."

Indeed. St. Francis de Sales also taught this:

"Under the ancient law the High Priest did not wear the Rational except when he was vested in the pontifical robes and was entering before the Lord. Thus we do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, as some say, or declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric (Acts I)" (The Catholic Controversy, 305-306).

Online source:

(https://archive.org/stream/catholiccontrove00sain/catholiccontrove00sain_djvu.txt)

As did Pope Innocent III:

“The Pope should not flatter himself about his power nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged, In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men’” (Between God and Man: Sermons of Pope Innocent III, 48-49).

Online source:

https://books.google.com/books?id=N-tUO77IircC&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=Between+God+and+Man:+%22Sermons+of+Pope+Innocent+III%22&source=bl&ots=N5-uCe2Bns&sig=ezxAkJDDXFqoo2lLWDpZ2v5uaxs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQlb_8p5fZAhWL2lMKHUL_D3EQ6AEILzAC#v=onepage&q&f=false

Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia affirms that Popes can become heretics:
“The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be Pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church” (1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Entry: “Heresy”)

Online source:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07256b.htm

If Popes can become heretics (it matters not if they ever have - the principle that permits the possibility is sufficient to establish the object and foundation of the Church's Faith), the Pope cannot normally be considered, of himself, a guarantee of the Church's orthodoxy nor can patristic quotes regarding the inviolate faith of the Church of Rome be interpreted as testifying to the automatic orthodox faith of its bishop at all times. A person who may fall into heresy at most times and whose office is conditional on his following of Holy Tradition can hardly be considered of himself alone a guarantee of the Church's Faith. Accordingly, the statements of the early Church regarding the Roman See of which Mark Thomas is fond of quoting, must refer to the general preservation of the Church of Rome in the Church and the general prestige that was accorded this see in early Christianity, and cannot logically be completely transferred to the Roman Pontiff (or else one who can fall into heresy is also confessed to perpetually possess an inviolate faith, which is illogical).

TJM said...

For you fake catholics who post here, how this little nugget strike you?

According to LifeNews, on p. 13 of the Interim Report by Senator Ron Johnson, “The Clinton Email Scandal And The FBI’S Investigation Of It,” released yesterday, there is an "exchange between FBI senior lawyer Peter Strzok, Page’s co-adulterer, and her about pro-life Americans."

Simply put, Page not only dislikes the pro-life movement but “truly hate[s] these people," making it personal.

Aren't the Dems wonderful? Aren't you proud you vote Dem? Ever hear the term "useful idiot?"

Conspirator XX said...

TJM Funny YOU should ask about "useful idiot." While the irony may be lost on you. . .

Mark Thomas said...

Adam Michael said..."...the Pope cannot normally be considered, of himself, a guarantee of the Church's orthodoxy...A person who may fall into heresy at most times and whose office is conditional on his following of Holy Tradition can hardly be considered of himself alone a guarantee of the Church's Faith. Accordingly, the statements of the early Church regarding the Roman See of which Mark Thomas is fond of quoting, must refer to the general preservation of the Church of Rome in the Church and the general prestige that was accorded this see in early Christianity, and cannot logically be completely transferred to the Roman Pontiff..."

Let us compare the above to that which is taught by Holy Mother Church.

The Second Sacred Vatican Ecumenical Council, Lumen Gentium:

-- "The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful."

*******The Roman Pontiff, and nobody else, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful.*******
===============================================================================

Pope Saint John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint:

"The Gospel of Matthew gives a clear outline of the pastoral mission of Peter in the Church: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".

"The Catholic Church, both in her praxis and in her solemn documents, holds that the communion of the particular Churches with the Church of Rome, and of their Bishops with the Bishop of Rome, is — in God's plan — an essential requisite of full and visible communion."

*******The Church is built upon the Roman Pontiff.

*******In God's plan, "an essential requisite of full and visible communion" with the Catholic Church consists of unity with the Bishop of Rome.*******
================================================================================

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRD EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

18 October 2014

-- "So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church...the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334)."

*******His Holiness Pope Francis declared that the Pope is "the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church..."

Pope Francis declared that the Pope is the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful..."

Pax.

Mark Thomas







Anonymous said...

From Mark Thomas

“Pope Francis declared that the Pope is the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful..."


Pope Francis also declared “A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.”

Pope Francis also declared “A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience.”

Pope Francis also declared “Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right or requested or even commanded by God.”

So Pope Francis teaches that although God Himself commanded Thou shalt NOT commit adultery Pope Francis teaches that to commit adultery can at times be not only pleasing in the eyes of God but commanded by Him. Rubbish and heresy. I don’t care what Francis has to say about anything. He has just been proven to be a liar who has shielded men who enabled pedophiles. He isn’t the guarantee of anything except confusion and error.

Marc said...

I recall that one time, when his disciples were arguing amongst themselves over who was the greatest of them, that the Incarnate God declared that the greatest would be the humblest and the servant of all. In a similar fashion, the Apostle Paul, when factions arose as people followed particular apostles singularly, admonished the people, teaching that it is not man that we follow or preach, but Christ crucified, in whose name we are baptized.

By all means, follow Francis as if God speaks through him, but do not be fooled: in so doing, you are following an idol of man and not God. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." Beware any man who asserts his own inerrancy. Only God is perfect.

Mark Thomas said...

-- Adam Michael said..."...the Pope cannot normally be considered, of himself, a guarantee of the Church's orthodoxy..."

*******The Church teaches that the Pope is "the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church..."*******

==============================================================================

-- Adam Michael said..."A person who may fall into heresy at most times and whose office is conditional on his following of Holy Tradition can hardly be considered of himself alone a guarantee of the Church's Faith."

-- Then, based upon your declaration, who is the guarantor of the Church's Faith? Answer: Nobody. There isn't any Cardinal, bishop, priest, brother, or sister to whom we can turn to as the guarantor of orthodox teachings, according to you. Correct?

=========================================================================

Adam Michael said..."Accordingly, the statements of the early Church regarding the Roman See of which Mark Thomas is fond of quoting, must refer to the general preservation of the Church of Rome in the Church and the general prestige that was accorded this see in early Christianity, and cannot logically be completely transferred to the Roman Pontiff..."

The "general prestige" that was accorded to the Church of Rome was centered upon the presence of the Roman Pontiff.

The ancient creed of Pope Saint Hormisdas, which was referenced by the First Vatican Council, declares:

"And indeed the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18], cannot be disregarded; these things which were spoken are demonstrated by the results, for the Catholic religion has been preserved ever immaculate in the Apostolic See."

The fact that the Apostolic See is linked to the Papacy — Saint Peter and his successors — is that which has granted prestige to the Church of Rome. That is Catholic teaching. Do you reject that teaching?

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Inerrancy/infallibility and perfection are not the same thing.

ByzRC said...

Mark Thomas -

To me, there's a difference between unity and orthodoxy. Perhaps, upon reflecton, you will feel the same.

In all sincerity, why must you always have the last word? Is it pride? There are many on this blog who are much more learned regarding this material than both you and I. Assuming you are not a minor and, while you do have a knowledge base and are very good at quoting more recent documents, it is sometimes good to sit back and benefit from the wisdom of these folks. Something to think about, maybe?

Pax.

Adam Michael said...

Mark Thomas,

If Popes can become heretics, whatever position they hold in the Church when they are orthodox is dependent on their orthodoxy and is not to be automatically assumed to guarantee their inviolate faith. Equating the necessity of union with Rome with automatic assumption of the orthodox teaching of its bishop is faulty. If popes can fall into heresy at any time (exempting the rare exercise of papal infallibility) one must appeal to Holy Tradition as the guide of one’s faith not simply the teachings of the Roman Pontiff. Likewise, patristic citations noting the importance of the Church of Rome for orthodox teaching cannot mean that someone who may fall into heresy at most times can be a guarantee of orthodoxy at all times. In fact, barring special circumstances of papal infallibility, the Pope of Rome would be correct only insofar as he chooses to conform to orthodox belief, as would any other bishop in the Church. And like these other bishops, the integrity of his ministry rests with his freely chosen obedience to the Holy Tradition of the apostles that is safeguarded and taught by all generations of the Church. It is this Tradition that not only should ultimately guide all the faithful, but is the absolute foundation upon which the Pope of Rome's ministry achieves its purpose in the Church.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said..."Pope Francis also declared “A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.”

The above is from the so-called "Filial Correction" that a handful of folks addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis.

I am unable to find where Pope Francis declared the statement in question. Please provide the link to the Pope's supposed quotation in question. Thank you.
==========================================================================

Pope Francis said:

"The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly mentions these factors: “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”.343

"In another paragraph, the Catechism refers once again to circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility, and mentions at length “affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability”.344

That is Catholicism 101

Example from the CCC:

2352: "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."'

"To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors

******* "that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability." *******

Yep...Pope Francis' above teaching is 100 percent Catholic.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

ByzRC said..."Mark Thomas - In all sincerity, why must you always have the last word? Is it pride? There are many on this blog who are much more learned regarding this material than both you and I. Assuming you are not a minor and, while you do have a knowledge base and are very good at quoting more recent documents, it is sometimes good to sit back and benefit from the wisdom of these folks."

I don't have the last word here. The Catholic Church has the last word. I am a nobody. I reference Holy Mother Church's teachings.

I responded simply to those who responded to me. I am not permitted to do that on Father McDonald's blog?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ speaks through Pope Francis. Jesus Christ speaks through His Popes. "He who hears you hears me."

That is Church teaching. I am not permitted to reference Church teaching?

That marks me as a man filled with pride?

==========================================================

I responded also to Mr. Adam Michael's claims that "the Pope cannot normally be considered, of himself, a guarantee of the Church's orthodoxy...Accordingly, the statements of the early Church regarding the Roman See of which Mark Thomas is fond of quoting, must refer to the general preservation of the Church of Rome in the Church and the general prestige that was accorded this see in early Christianity, and cannot logically be completely transferred to the Roman Pontiff..."

I produced Church teachings to demonstrate that the above is wrong. Again, I am not permitted to quote Catholic teachings? That has marked me as a man filled with pride?

==================================================================

ByzRC said..."Mark Thomas - There are many on this blog who are much more learned regarding this material than both you and I. Assuming you are not a minor and, while you do have a knowledge base and are very good at quoting more recent documents, it is sometimes good to sit back and benefit from the wisdom of these folks."

1. I believe that everybody here is far more intelligent and gifted that I.

2. That is why I rely upon Holy Mother Church's teachings and wisdom. I am a nobody. A dope. But Holy Mother Church's teachings and wisdom are unassailable.

3. I would "sit back and benefit from the wisdom of these folks" happily should their wisdom reflect Holy Mother Church's wisdom/teachings. That would be beautiful.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Marc said...

Adam Michael, he's not going to agree to your major premise that popes can become heretics.

Mark Thomas said...

Adam Michael said..."Equating the necessity of union with Rome with automatic assumption of the orthodox teaching of its bishop is faulty. If popes can fall into heresy at any time (exempting the rare exercise of papal infallibility) one must appeal to Holy Tradition as the guide of one’s faith not simply the teachings of the Roman Pontiff."

But Mr. Michael, the Church has declared otherwise.

The Church has informed us that the Pope's Magisterium has never failed. Thanks to the Bishop of Rome, whose teaching authority is protected by Jesus Christ, we are certain that Rome will maintain the Catholic Religion immaculate.
=====================================================================

As to you comment about appealing to Tradition: You said that if "popes can fall into heresy at any time (exempting the rare exercise of papal infallibility) one must appeal to Holy Tradition as the guide of one’s faith not simply the teachings of the Roman Pontiff."

We are not permitted to appeal to Holy Tradition apart from the Roman Pontiff.

Only the Church's Teaching Authority — our bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff — has the right to determine that which is Holy Tradition.

Mr. Michael, as Pope Francis declared, the Pope is "the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church..."

In turn, the Church teaches via Her Catechism:

#85: "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone.

"Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome."

Thank you.

Mark Thomas

ByzRC said...

Adam Michael said:

"In fact, barring special circumstances of papal infallibility, the Pope of Rome would be correct only insofar as he chooses to conform to orthodox belief, as would any other bishop in the Church. And like these other bishops, the integrity of his ministry rests with his freely chosen obedience to the Holy Tradition of the apostles that is safeguarded and taught by all generations of the Church. It is this Tradition that not only should ultimately guide all the faithful, but is the absolute foundation upon which the Pope of Rome's ministry achieves its purpose in the Church."

Well said. To me, this ends the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas. You are assuming that Francis is still pope. A pope looses his position the moment he teaches heresy

Marc said...

Told you so.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said..."Mark Thomas. You are assuming that Francis is still pope."

My diocese proclaims that His Holiness Pope Francis is Pope. Is there a Catholic diocese on earth that has broken communion with Pope Francis?

My bishop, as well as his flock throughout my diocese, recognize Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, my diocese is in communion with Pope Francis.

Pax.

Mark Thomas


Adam Michael said...

“We are not permitted to appeal to Holy Tradition apart from the Roman Pontiff. Only the Church's Teaching Authority — our bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff — has the right to determine that which is Holy Tradition.”

If we cannot appeal to Holy Tradition apart from the Roman Pontiff, how did St. Francis de Sales and Pope Innocent III, declare that popes may become heretics? If this possibility is realized (if you argue it cannot be realized, you are contradicting the very possibility that these figures claim could happen), how would the Church recover from being completely deluged by the heresy of the pope? Your understanding of Church teaching leaves the Church completely dependent upon a potentially heretical pope for all her teaching. One quickly sees how this hinders the preservation of the Faith. Reconcile the possibility of a heretical pope with your belief that the Pope of Rome is always orthodox and that the Church in her bishops and faithful cannot know Holy Tradition apart from communion with a potentially heretical pope.

Your citation of Church teaching on the role of the Pope in the Church and the coordinating importance of his Ordinary Magisterium in preserving the faith of the Church only applies if the Pope cooperates with the graces of his office in maintaining the Faith. Pope Leo II said of the famed Honorius: “And with them Honorius, who allowed the unspotted rule of Apostolic tradition, which he received from his predecessors, to be tarnished." If the purity of the Faith is always upheld by the Pope of Rome, how could Leo II make a distinction between the purity of the Faith and its tarnishing by the Pope?

Additionally, the Catholic Encyclopedia, reflecting the faith of the Church, stated regarding Honorius: “It is clear that no Catholic has the right to defend Pope Honorius. He was a heretic, not in intention, but in fact; and he is to be considered to have been condemned in the sense in which Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who died in Catholic communion, never having resisted the Church, have been condemned. But he was not condemned as a Monothelite, nor was Sergius. And it would be harsh to regard him as a 'private heretic,' for he admittedly had excellent intentions.” How could this authoritative source say this about Pope Honorius if the Pope’s role in the Church when he is orthodox (mentioned in your recent citations) is always present? If communion with the Pope of Rome automatically ensures orthodoxy for bishops and laity, did communion with Honorius who was a “heretic, not in intention, but in fact” preserve the Faith of the Church? No, rather communion with the Apostolic Tradition of the Holy Fathers was essential in preserving the Faith in this case.

(Online source for two earlier quotes: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07452b.htm)

As the authorities I have quoted maintain (and regardless of whether you believe them or not, their views are acceptable as Catholic, which would be impossible if popes can never become heretical), the Roman Pontiff can become heretical and not exercise his ministry in the Church. Do you reject the teaching of St. Francis de Sales, or consider Pope Innocent III in error? Or was Pope Leo II uncatholic to state that Pope Honorius tarnished apostolic doctrine? If so, provide evidence that their views have been forbidden by the Church. If you cannot, you must conclude that the idea of a heretical pope is permissible for Catholics to believe – an allowance that the Church could never countenance if such an opinion contradicted the very foundation of the Church’s Faith. And if heretical popes are an ever-present possibility, the Church’s Faith and communion ultimately rests with Holy Tradition and only with the Pope of Rome, secondarily, insofar as he leads and teaches in communion with Holy Tradition. The same Church that provides your quotes has also logically taught this as demonstrated by the above references. Your fidelity to the former is only as good as your obedience to the latter.

TJM said...

MT, You are beyond tedious at this point

George said...


The comments Mark Thomas has made are true enough but it is important to consider how these statements are to be understood. Certain conditions must be met before a pronouncement by the Holy Father is infallible. The Pope must faithfully serve and proclaim the Apostolic teaching and Tradition of the Church. He can lend his voice to certain subjects and topics of the day, and it can be on things about which one can have a difference of opinion.
A judge may give a speech somewhere in which he voices his opinion on a subject ,but it does not have the force of law as the same opinion from the bench.

It is possible for the occupant of the Chair of Peter to be like Honorius, who was not condemned for heresy himself but for negligence in allowing it and not suppressing it. As always, we must ever pray that the Pope exercises his authority in a prudent and wise manner as a trustworthy source of moral authority in the world.

Below is something that Dr Warren H. Carrol, a Catholic scholar, who wrote a six volume "History of Christendom" had to say on the subject:

"The Pope has two kinds of authority, magisterial (when he is speaking ex cathedra, that is, in a way intended to be binding on the faithful), in which he is infallible; and administrative, as head of the Church appointed by Christ to govern it (which would include excommunications). The Pope is not infallible when exercising his governing authority, but still must be obeyed when he does so, as long as his orders apply clearly to the Church rather than to temporal affairs. Popes are not infallible when making excommunications, for instance or any disciplinary judgment, for they are limited by the information they have on the individual or situation in question."

They are of course infallible in making doctrinal pronouncements or dogmatic proclamations ex cathedra. It has also been the position of theologians that a Pope is also infallible in the act of canonization.

Adam Michael said...

“Then, based upon your declaration, who is the guarantor of the Church's Faith? Answer: Nobody. There isn't any Cardinal, bishop, priest, brother, or sister to whom we can turn to as the guarantor of orthodox teachings, according to you. Correct?”

The Church has always operated on the preservation of the Faith by all the bishops and faithful of every age (including the Popes of Rome), not simply the teaching of the Roman Pontiff who may fall into heresy at most times. St. Vincent of Lerins expresses this belief in his Commitorium:

“What then will the Catholic Christian do, if a small part of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the universal Faith? The answer is sure. He will prefer the healthiness of the whole body to the morbid and corrupt limb. But what if some novel contagion try to infect the whole Church, and not merely a tiny part of it? Then he will take care to cleave to antiquity, which cannot now be led astray by any deceit of novelty. What if in antiquity itself two or three men, or it may be a city, or even a whole province be detected in error? Then he will take the greatest care to prefer the decrees of the ancient General Councils, if there are such, to the irresponsible ignorance of a few men. But what if some error arises regarding which nothing of this sort is to be found? Then he must do his best to compare the opinions of the Fathers and inquire their meaning, provided always that, though they belonged to diverse times and places, they yet continued in the faith and communion of the one Catholic Church; and let them be teachers approved and outstanding. And whatever he shall find to have been held, approved and taught, not by one or two only but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently, and persistently, let him take this as to be held by him without the slightest hesitation.”

If your view of the Pope of Rome always guarding knowledge of Holy Tradition is correct, it is an amazing and truly inexcusable omission of St. Vincent of Lerins to not even mention the Pope of Rome in his famed test of how the Catholic may find orthodox teaching. However, if the Pope of Rome exercises his teaching ministry only insofar as he is in conformity with Holy Tradition, St. Vincent’s words that direct the faithful to the ultimate source of the Faith – Holy Tradition universally preserved and taught in every age – is reasonable and expected.

Adam Michael said...

At the 3rd Council of Constantinople in 680, council participants declared without any condemnation from papal legates or anyone else:

“Those whose impious dogmas we execrate, we judge that their names also shall be cast out of the holy Church of God", that is, Sergius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Peter, Paul, Theodore, all which names were mentioned by the holy Pope Agatho in his letter to the pious and great emperor, "and were cast out by him, as holding views contrary to our orthodox faith; and these we define to be subject to anathema. And in addition to these we decide that Honorius also, who was pope of elder Rome, be with them cast out of the holy Church of God, and be anathematized with them, because we have found by his letter to Sergius that he followed his opinion in all things, and confirmed his wicked dogmas".

Explain how any Catholic (much less in a synod) could “cast out” of the Church and anathematize her absolute foundation of knowledge of Holy Tradition (Pope Honorius). Your idea of the pope’s ever-present infallible faith is not reflected in Church history. In fact, if it was nobody could act and speak as did these men. And if they did, they could hardly be tolerated anymore than could other theological deviants, which distanced themselves from the holy Church of God. It is much more likely that you approach patristic citations (and current Catholic teaching) with a wrong interpretation that results in a myopic view of Catholicism and which makes you ignore not only affirmations of the pope’s potential to become heretical, but also refuse to engage with incidents of Church history that would have never occurred if your paradigm is correct.

“The fact that the Apostolic See is linked to the Papacy — Saint Peter and his successors — is that which has granted prestige to the Church of Rome. That is Catholic teaching. Do you reject that teaching?”

The fact that Catholic saints, canonical authorities, and popes taught that popes could become heretical (thus requiring Catholics to appeal to Holy Tradition preserved in the Church for their ultimate guidance) has been a permissible view in the Church from the beginning demonstrates that the Pope of Rome is not automatically assumed to be orthodox at all times. This idea has been preserved in the Church. If you reject this and argue that the pope will never fall into error and Tradition need to be preserved in spite of his error, explain how Catholics of all generations have been permitted to believe in a view of the Papacy that undermines the foundation of the Catholic Church. Has the Church always allowed people to reject her teachings with immunity?

Mark Thomas said...

Adam Michael said..."If we cannot appeal to Holy Tradition apart from the Roman Pontiff, how did St. Francis de Sales and Pope Innocent III, declare that popes may become heretics?"

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION

#85: "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form

*******or in the form of Tradition,*******

has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome."
===========================================================

As the Church teaches via Her Catechism, nobody can possibly interpret Tradition authentically apart from the Roman Pontiff.

Example: In 1988 A.D., when Archbishop Lefebvre, as well as Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, incurred the grave penalty of excommunication, Pope Saint John Paul II declared:

"The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition. But especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishop of Rome and the Body of Bishops.

******* "It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition ******* while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ himself entrusted the ministry of unity in his Church."

========================================================================

1. The Church has declared that the authentic interpretation of Tradition has been entrusted to the Roman Pontiff and those bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff.

2. "It is impossible to remain faithful to Tradition" apart from the Roman Pontiff.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Adam Michael said..."Equating the necessity of union with Rome with automatic assumption of the orthodox teaching of its bishop is faulty. If popes can fall into heresy at any time (exempting the rare exercise of papal infallibility) one must appeal to Holy Tradition as the guide of one’s faith not simply the teachings of the Roman Pontiff."

Mr. Michael, based upon the above...

1. One need not turn to the Pope to ensure that one adheres to the Faith.

To adhere to the Faith, all that one must do is to "appeal to Holy Tradition as the guide of one’s faith not simply the teachings of the Roman Pontiff," according to you.

2. One is free to determine that the Pope has fallen into heresy.

3. From there, to adhere to the Faith, one need only to determine for one's self that which comprises Tradition.

4. In effect, each person is his or her Pope.

=====================================================

Mister Michael,

-- Person "X" has determined that the Pope is a heretic. "Person Y" has determined that the Pope is orthodox.

Does Person "X's" opinion in question carry the day? Or does Person "Y's" opinion in question carry the day?

Thank you.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Adam Micheal,

Please don't feed the troll

Adam Michael said...

Mark Thomas,

I see that you are still not engaging with my citations and mention of historical incidents that demonstrate that the faithful of the Church appeal first and foremost to Holy Tradition and only to the Pope insofar as he teaches that Tradition. Any interpretation of Church teaching that cannot respond to all that has occurred in the Church is weak and dubious.

"One is free to determine that the Pope has fallen into heresy."

No, in my understanding, individual Catholics do not possess juridical authority to exercise such judgment on the Pope of Rome. Nevertheless, if the Pope can fall into heresy, it is evident that he cannot be the forever trustworthy guardian of Holy Tradition. If he is, to whom or what do we turn if he loses his pontificate due to heresy?

"From there, to adhere to the Faith, one need only to determine for one's self that which comprises Tradition."

No, according to St. Vincent of Lerins and all the Holy Fathers, we are to follow that which has been believed and taught in the Church from the beginning. You may argue that this is impossible to verify, but this argument is specious since it assumes that the Pope of Rome will always be a source of clear teaching. The complicated history of Pope St. Liberius and Aranism belies this confidence. Regarding whether Pope Liberius signed an Arian formula of faith during the Arian heresy, the Catholic Encyclopedia observes:

"It should be carefully noted that the question of the fall of Liberius is one that has been and can be freely debated among Catholics. No one pretends that, if Liberius signed the most Arian formula in exile, he did it freely; so that no question of his infallibility is involved. It is admitted on all sides that his noble attitude of resistance before his exile and during his exile was not belied by any act of his after his return, that he was in no way sullied when so many failed at the Council of Rimini, and that he acted vigorously for the healing of orthodoxy throughout the West from the grievous wound. If he really consorted with heretics, condemned Athanasius, or even denied the Son of God, it was a momentary human weakness which no more compromises the papacy than does that of St. Peter."
Read again that last line, Mark Thomas. "If he really consorted with heretics, condemned Athanasius, or even denied the Son of God, it was a momentary human weakness which no more compromises the papacy than does that of St. Peter."

If you are correct and the Pope of Rome is always a sure guide to know Holy Tradition, how could the Church sustain an experience in which a Pope in human weakness denies the Son of God? Would not the Church be left in confusion and doctrinal perversion regarding the truth? No, rather, the Church follows Holy Tradition as given by the apostles, taught the Fathers, and sustained by Ecumenical Councils. St. Cyprian of Carthage observed of the Church’s bishops:

Adam Michael said...


“The bishops who are set over the churches of the Lord by divine grace, throughout the whole world, maintain the plan of evangelical truth and of the tradition of the Lord. They do not depart, by human and novel institution, from that which Christ our Master both commanded and did.”

It is interesting that St. Cyprian’s words were connected to his debate with Pope St. Stephen over the baptism of heretics. Regardless of the nature of this debate, which is outside the scope of this discussion, what mindset could have motivated St. Cyprian to posit a tradition of the bishops that could be opposed to the Pope of Rome? The only mindset that makes this remotely possible is that he believed that the Pope’s ministry is connected to his fidelity to Holy Tradition and is not to be automatically assumed. Alternately, if your view is correct, St. Cyprian was a dissenter against the Church who lacked obedience to the foundation of faith and could hardly be called a saint or father of the Church. Again, why does your view find no reflection in incidents of church history if it is the immemorial understanding of the Church?


Likewise, St. Jerome was recorded as saying of St. Liberius that he, “conquered by the tedium of exile and subscribing to heretical wickedness entered Rome in triumph" – which person who believes that the Pope of Rome is automatically orthodox would dare to say this? The fact that St. Jerome said this reveals that he held a much different view of the Pope’s teaching authority than do you.

"In effect, each person is his or her Pope."

Nope, the Church adheres to the Holy Tradition of the Church whether the Pope of Rome is orthodox or in heresy. St. Maximus the Confessor said:
Maximus the Confessor maintained:

“In no way will I say anything of my own, but what I have learned from the Fathers, altering nothing of their teaching.” Apparently, St. Maximus the Confessor believed one could know and follow Tradition without looking to the Pope of Rome. If no, why did he not reference the papal magisterium?

Likewise, St. Augustine explains how Holy Tradition is maintained by ecumenical councils:

“But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the apostles themselves or by plenary councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church”

The Church is never reduced to complete dependence on the Pope of Rome’s magisterium to know the truth. If so, it is interesting that these Fathers did not reference the Pope when discussing the preservation of Holy Tradition by following the Fathers and the councils of the Church.

Mark Thomas said...

Adam Michael said..."No, in my understanding, individual Catholics do not possess juridical authority to exercise such judgment on the Pope of Rome. Nevertheless, if the Pope can fall into heresy, it is evident that he cannot be the forever trustworthy guardian of Holy Tradition. If he is, to whom or what do we turn if he loses his pontificate due to heresy?"

Who determined that a Pope can fall into heresy?

As you believe that a Pope can fall into heresy, then any Catholic could fall into heresy. Correct?

In that case, to which can we turn to receive the Apostolic Faith.

As I noted a few days ago, if a Pope, Cardinal, bishop, priest, religious, and layman can fall into heresy, then the Church is devoid of a person upon whom we can turn to with certainty to receive the Faith.

As I noted...

Person "X" declares that the Pope is a heretic. Person "Y" declares that the Pope is orthodox. Person "X" declares that the Pope has deviated from Tradition. Person "Y" declares that the Pope has not deviated from Tradition.

Does Person "X" trump Person "Y's" determination in question?
===================================================================

Bishop Fellay and the SSPX insist that they adhere 100 percent to Tradition.

Bishop Williamson and SSPX Resistance groups insist that the SSPX has failed to maintain Tradition.

If one can appeal with ease to Tradition apart from the Pope to ensure that one maintains the Faith, then why is division rampant among so-called "traditional" Catholics?

Why are the SSPX and SSPX Resistance unable to maintain unity with each other? After all, each group in question claims to maintain Tradition?

The fact is that the concept of appealing supposedly to Tradition apart from the Pope results in the above situation. That is, division ensues as soon as one claims to have an understanding of Tradition apart from the Roman Pontiff.

That is why "traditional" Catholics who refuse to submit to the Pope devolve rapidly into division.

"Traditional Catholicism" apart from the Pope is marked by splinter groups.

Where Peter is, there is the Church. That is Catholicism.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

"The Church is never reduced to complete dependence on the Pope of Rome’s magisterium to know the truth."

Truth cannot be maintained within the Church apart from the Pope. Where Peter is, there is the Church.

When one has separated from the Pope, then he or she has separated from the truth.

As I noted the other day, Pope Francis declared that the Pope is "the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church..."

The Second Sacred Vatican Ecumenical Council declared:

"But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head.

"The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.

"The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.

"This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff."
==============================================================================

Thanks to the presence of the Pope, who is protected by Jesus Christ, the Church of Rome has always preserved immaculate the Faith.

To remain in the fullness of Truth, we must submit to, and maintain communion with, the Pope.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Adam Michael said...

Mark Thomas,

You bring up examples of the SSPX and their offshoot, the SSPX Resistance. These small groups retain a remarkably consistent view of Tradition (where do they differ, beyond accusations that one side or the other is too tolerant of modern Popes?), even while disagreeing with the status of the Pope. Your tautology only works if agreement on the Pope is concurrent with a knowledge of Tradition. Apparently for these groups, such knowledge can be retained without full union with the Pope. Additionally, there is a much larger group of Christians who have judged that the Pope is heretical and do not follow him. If your idea that unity of teaching in Tradition is impossible to attain without the Pope of Rome how do you explain Eastern Orthodoxy, which despite occasional jurisdictional disputes, retains a remarkable amount of doctrinal unity that they argue derives from following the principle of adherence to the universality of Tradition? Please discuss the lack of doctrinal cohesion in Orthodox Christianity. If you cannot, how is their unity with an appeal to Tradition without the Pope possible? In your argument, such an occurrence could not happen since every man would become his own authority and thus preclude any form of ecclesiastical unity.

Additionally, your argument that only through union with the Pope can one know Tradition violates the Church’s canonical practice of differentiating between heresy and schism. Under your novel idea, all those in disunion from the Holy See would also be heretics, as every schism would inevitably degenerate into heresy, but this is not the position of the Church toward Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christians (nor is it toward the SSPX or SSPX Resistance). Furthermore, your idea of the preservation of Tradition only through union with the Pope of Rome disregards the evident fact that a plethora of non-dogmatic beliefs pertaining to eschatology (e.g. belief in a personal Antichrist) and sacramental life (e.g. reception of the sacraments only by those in complete agreement of faith) are preserved in the separated Eastern Churches, which most in communion with the Pope do not believe nor are taught to believe. Again under your theory of the essential contraction of Holy Tradition to the person of the Pope, how is this discrepancy in maintaining eschatological or sacramental beliefs of Holy Tradition even possible?

“If one can appeal with ease to Tradition apart from the Pope to ensure that one maintains the Faith, then why is division rampant among so-called ‘traditional’ Catholics?.”

I don’t mean to recommend disunity with the Pope as a matter of course, but your argument that unity with the Pope automatically leads to doctrinal unity is not historically verifiable. Even Catholicism with the Pope has been marked by differences in doctrinal ideas. In the 12th century, the School of Paris argued against physical consummation of marriage making the sacramental marriage indissoluble, while the School of the Bologna argued for the essential role of physical consummation in making the sacramental marriage indissoluble.

Also, Cardinal Cajetan, Benedetto de Nobili of Accia and some of the Council Fathers at the Council of Trent believed that remarriage after adultery of one of the spouses was not forbidden by divine law, while the majority rejected this.

Likewise, St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Bonaventure argued against the Immaculate Conception, while Duns Scotus and some others argued for it (and Pope Sixtus IV in 1483 forbade either side to condemn the other of error).

Adam Michael said...

Furthermore, Melchior Cano and a multiple of theologians following him in the 17-18th centuries argued that the priest was the minister of the sacrament of matrimony, while other theologians argued that it was the couple, themselves and Pope Benedict XIV tolerated both opinions (and currently the Catholic Church permits Eastern Catholics to accept the priest/bishop as the minister).

In a similar manner, Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, Fran├žois-Philippe Mesenguy, Bishop Bossuet and others opposed papal infallibility before Vatican I, while St. Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal Newman, and Cardinal Manning supported it before Vatican I.

Both sides in all of these debates were in union with the Pope and neither side was condemned until later. They were not splinter groups in church organization, but they shared with splinter groups a divergence of teaching, even while being in communion with the Pope. If theological diversity existed with communion with the Pope, you cannot argue that such diversity exists only with those outside union with the Pope.

Besides, it is ironic that you would make this argument since you also do not believe in unity of teaching through communion with the Pope. You are recorded on this blog as arguing that because the Pope has not excommunicated Hans Kung (who denies the dogma of papal infallibility) he remains a Catholic in good standing. A unity among those who agree with and deny the same dogmas is no unity at all. This would result in an axiom of “where Peter is, there is unity in dogmatic disagreement.” This is hardly demonstrative of the essential role of the Pope of Rome in preserving unity of doctrine, no?

“Who determined that a Pope can fall into heresy?”

In addition to the previously referenced St. Francis de Sales, Pope Innocent III, the Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope Leo II, the 3rd Council of Constantinople, and St. Jerome, the following authorities maintained that the Pope of Rome could become a heretic:

Francisco Wernz & Petri Vidal:

“Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact (ipso facto) is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment by the Church... A Pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.” And also: “A doubtful pope is no pope” (Ius Canonicum, Volume 2, p. 453).

Serapius Iragui:

“theologians commonly concede that the Roman Pontiff, if he
should fall into manifest heresy, would no longer be a member of the
Church, and therefore could neither be called its visible head” (Manual of Dogmatic Theology, p. 371).

St. Alphonsus Liguori:

“If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant” (On the Truth of the Faith, Part 3: Chapter 8, p. 9-10).

Arthur Vermeersch:

“At least according to the more common teaching; the Roman Pontiff as a private teacher can fall into manifest heresy. Then, without any declaratory sentence (for the Supreme See is judged by no one), he would automatically (ipso facto) fall from power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess” (Epitome Iuris Canonici)

Adam Michael said...

The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary:

“Classical canonists discussed the question of whether a pope, in his private or personal opinions, could go into heresy, apostasy, or schism. If he were to do so in a notoriously and widely publicized manner, he would break communion, and according to an accepted opinion, lose his office ipso facto. (c. 194 §1, 2). Since no one can judge the pope (c.1404), no one could depose a pope for such crimes, and the authors are divided as to how his loss of office would be declared in such a way that a vacancy could then be filled by a new election” (commentary on Canon 333).

Since Catholics are clearly permitted to believe that Popes can become heretics and lose their office, all the patristic citations that you provide that stress communion with the Pope and the unassailable orthodoxy of the Roman See cannot be transferred completely and automatically to the Pope of Rome without also affirming that Catholics are bound to retain communion with heretics in order to know Tradition – an assertion as erroneous as it is absurd.

“In that case, to which can we turn to receive the Apostolic Faith.”
Provide evidence in Church History that the Church was ever designed to always look to one person to know the Apostolic Faith. All that I am reading says look to the traditions of the Fathers, not only to the Pope of Rome. In fact, if we were to depend foremost on the Pope to receive the Apostolic Faith, it is a glaring oversight for ancient Fathers of the Church to not mention this whenever they discuss the importance of preserving the traditions of the Fathers in order to know the truth. Besides, as I have pointed out, it was also quite daring for St. Jerome to accuse Pope St. Liberius of “heretical wickedness” or the 3rd Council of Constantinople to “cast out” Pope Honorius from the Church if they believed that the Apostolic Faith is always immaculately preserved by the Pope of Rome.
“Person "X" declares that the Pope is a heretic. Person "Y" declares that the Pope is orthodox. Person "X" declares that the Pope has deviated from Tradition. Person "Y" declares that the Pope has not deviated from Tradition. Does Person "X" trump Person "Y's" determination in question?”

The Church has historically been concerned with the preservation of the truth, not the personal status of the Pope of Rome. While it, indeed, may be impossible for you to know the truth apart from the Pope, it apparently was not for St. Vincent of Lerins who observed:

“And whatever he shall find to have been held, approved and taught, not by one or two only but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently, and persistently, let him take this as to be held by him without the slightest hesitation.”

You maintain that this is impossible without a pope who can be condemned at an ecumenical council and called a heretic in fact or in possibility by saints – ok. I believe that it can because God maintains the Faith of the Church discernible in every age, precisely through adhesion to that which is believed by all, in all times, and all places. Your denial of this possibility simply distances you from the faith of St. Vincent of Lerins, St. Basil the Great, St. Irenaeus, and all others who taught us all (not only the Pope of Rome) to zealously guard and pass on the apostolic Faith.