Wednesday, August 29, 2018




While Vatican infighting is nothing new, this feud between factions for and against Pope Francis is playing out in real time on social media. As one Vatican writer put it, "it’s as if the Borgia’s and the Medici’s had Twitter accounts.”

There is no provision in canon law for the removal of a pope. The job comes with lifetime tenure, ending only in death or voluntary resignation.

"He is the supreme legislator," said papal biographer Gerald O’Connell. "Nobody can remove him from his place as pope unless he himself decides to go. That’s the Church law."

There’s also no provision for an independent investigation, unless the pope decides to create one.
"There’s no special counsel for popes, no Robert Mueller," said the Rev. John Wauck, an ABC News contributor.

My comment: But there is Cardinal MUELLER and Cardinal Burke of the SUPREME TRIBUNAL. 


60's Survivor said...

How interesting and appropriate that your new header reads "Passion of the Church".

The pope and the fallen cardinals are causing the passion.

Their resignation could end it.

They will not resign.

What does that say about their priorities?

Marc said...

An important correction: No one can remove a true pope. A pertinacious heretic who claims to be pope, on the other hand, is no pope at all. All that remains is the Church to declare the fact, the papal claimant having already been deposed by God.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But who, Marc, would that be who could declare any pope to be a heretic.Those anti-popes of the past, I think, were declared so after the fact or after their death. Of course, these Anti-popes existed with more than one claiming to be pope, so someone had to decide who the true pope was. Just who was that?

Oddly enough we do have two popes today and while the resigned one isn't claiming to be pope, although not entirely, given the fact that he has said to be excercising the contemplative aspect of the papacy, we could be in another situation of precisely declaring one or the other to be the anti-pope, but which one?

Anonymous said...

"Oddly enough we do have two popes today..."

No, we have one pope and one pope emeritus.

In the same what that we do not have five Presidents in the United States. We have one President and four former Presidents.

rcg said...

The Papacy, the Office of the Pope if you will, would be jeopardised by such a situation by establishing a process by which opponents of any future Pope could be made impotent. That is at least as dangerous as this specific problem.

DJR said...

While, as Marc says, no one can legally depose a true pope, that fact has not stopped our ancestors from doing that very thing.

Several popes have been deposed, but it usually took an army or being "offed."

Suggested reading: The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by Anglican (but very pro Catholic) J.N.D. Kelly.

Marc said...

It is generally assumed that the properly elected cardinals (that is, those selected by the last true pope) could declare a papal claimant to be an anti-pope. In the past, various groups of cardinals ascertained that living papal claimants were actually anti-popes.

And again, as a matter of proper language: it is not some group declaring that the pope is a heretic. A pope cannot be a heretic according to Catholic doctrine. The declaration is that a papal claimant has ceased to be pope as a result of his heresy: that is a question of fact and not a judgment. The question, according to St. Robert Bellarmine and others, is whether the heretic papal claimant is ipso facto deposed by God when he becomes a heretic or whether the Church's declaration of the heresy causes the fall from office. At any rate, the claimant is not a pope since he is, in fact, a heretic.

Marc said...

rcg, the Office of the Papacy is most jeopardized by its apparent usurpation by heretics. The current problem that the heretics also are immoral is a lesser problem and, indeed, merely a symptom of the larger doctrinal problem.

TJM said...

PF, like all good socialists, will only leave facing the barrel of a gun

Victor said...

Francis will not resign. He is here to change the Church to conform to the modern world as he and his Jesuit advisors see it, and will stay until that task is accomplished or his health fails. Dictators a la South America stay and fight to the very end, often fighting their enemies through smearing accusations. Did not this pope accuse the dubia writers of lying when they claimed the pope was personally given the dubia document? Even with the prospect of schism, ideologues do not give up. The Church is in for very ugly times with this papacy.

But, then, the Holy Spirit will not abandon the Church. A real Council will finally be called to settle the raging disputes. By this I mean that all Councils in the past have been called to settle disputes, except for Vatican II which was called as if the bishops had nothing else to do, with their idle minds becoming a devil's workshop.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"The declaration is that a papal claimant has ceased to be pope as a result of his heresy: that is a question of fact and not a judgment.:

This is incorrect. For someone or some group to charge a pope, or anyone else, with heresy, those involved in making the declaration MUST exercise judgment regarding what the person they are accusing has said or written.

Bishops, not lay men and women and not priests, are the ones who make this judgment. No matter how well-read or educated a non-Bishop thinks he or she is, the judgment that must be employed in concluding that a person has strayed into heresy is their, not ours.

ByzRus said...

Self preservation at any cost! Is this is the most clarity we've ever had from Francis?

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Of course, you can take a look at what Bishop Rene Gracida suggests over at his website, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat.

Marc said...

Once again, we are talking here of the crime of heresy, not the sin of heresy. The question whether one, including a papal claimant, is guilty of the crime of heresy involves a question of fact, not a judgment of the individual soul (which is what proof of the sin of heresy would involve).

In the case of a papal claimant, the proper judges of the alleged crime of heresy are probably cardinals elected by the last known true pope.

This is but one proffered explanation of how the Church is to deal with heretic papal claimants. There are other commonly accepted ideas as well. For example, others suggest that determining whether anyone is a heretic or not, including a papal claimant, is the sort of factual question that any person, including a layperson, could make. This supposition is based on St. Paul's admonition to avoid heretics: if the saint can tell us to avoid heretics, it is assumed that ascertaining who is a heretic is possible.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I love when Kavanaugh pulls rank.... :-)

God bless.

Marc said...

Are you suggesting the presence of clericalism among us, Bee? That would be shocking!

(Can a non-cleric fall prey to clericalism? If anyone could do it, it would be Mike.)

TJM said...


Ironic that Kavanaugh aka Mr. Progressive, Tolerant, and Transparent, can't see that he is Clericalism on Steroids like his pal, Cupich

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"The question whether one, including a papal claimant, is guilty of the crime of heresy involves a question of fact, not a judgment of the individual soul (which is what proof of the sin of heresy would involve)."

Having JUDGED that a person is guilty of the crime of heresy or having JUDGED that a person is guilty of the sin of heresy - both include a JUDGMENT on the part of the person making either JUDGMENT.

If one asserts that a person is guilty of the crime of heresy, one has exercised JUDGMENT on what the accused has written or said.

If one asserts that a person is guilty of the sin of heresy, one has exercised JUDGEMNT on what the accused has written or said.

I have not pulled rank because I have not used the power that my position gives me. In this regard, as I stated above, I do not have the power of bishops to judge whether one is guilty of the crime or the sin of heresy.

Marc said...

You don't have any power, position, or rank, Mike.

In this discussion, you also lack knowledge. But that has never stopped you from commenting before, so I'm sure it won't this time either.

TJM said...


LOL, go have a beer and chill.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc -

"The declaration is that a papal claimant has ceased to be pope as a result of his heresy: that is a question of fact and not a judgment."

Who makes the declaration? Declarations don't declare themselves.

A person or group that "declares" that it is a fact that a pope is in heresy and, therefore, not pope, has to use some judgment in reaching that conclusion and making that declaration.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this video calling for PF to abdicate the papacy?

Marc said...

Mike, I know that reality has never changed your opinion about anything before, so I don't expect it to interrupt your false hubris now. But, in case anyone else is perplexed by your intellectual dishonesty.

Consider: has every person who has served as a juror in our court system violated our Lord's command not to judge others?

There is a difference between "judging" facts and "judging" the state of a soul. One can do the former on the basis of facts -- in the same way that every criminal jury evaluates whether a person has some level of guilty mens rea. One cannot do the latter because one can never have perfect knowledge of the state of a soul.

The crime of heresy is a "judgment" akin to the former. The sin of heresy is a judgment akin to the latter.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - To judge facts is to exercise - wait for it - judgment. Judging facts requires - wait for it again - judgment.

So when you assert, "The declaration is that a papal claimant has ceased to be pope as a result of his heresy: that is a question of fact and not a judgment." you are wrong because you have hade to judge the facts in order to reach the conclusion that the pope is not pope due to his being a heretic.

Marc said...

Mike, you’ll have to take up your arguments with St. Robert Bellarmine and others who have opined on this topic. As Francis says, “Study this. It will be good for you.”

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc, opine all you want. Study all you want. That a pope may be a heretic is based on judgment.

TJM said...


With Kavanaugh, there is no objective criteria, but constantly shifting goal posts. That's why I call him the "inartful dodger!"

Marc said...

TJM, I certainly know that. It is interesting to see just how far down the linguistic rabbit hole he was willing to go in this discussion to avoid actually addressing the substance of my comments.

He has now conceded that a pope can be heretic, which is interesting. I guess either Vatican I means nothing to Mike or he's being rather sloppy with his language (which is a little hypocritical, I think).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"He has now conceded that a pope can be heretic,..."

Nope. I didn't and I wont.

Vatican I means as much to me as the other Ecumenical Councils. Unlike you, however, I understand that Vatican I, like the other Ecumenical Councils is neither 1) the last word on any doctrinal point, nor 2) to be taken without reference to the other Councils and the other authoritative statements of the Magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. Kavanaugh: In my comment about pulling rank, I was referring to your comment, "Bishops, not lay men and women and not priests, are the ones who make this judgment. No matter how well-read or educated a non-Bishop thinks he or she is, the judgment that must be employed in concluding that a person has strayed into heresy is their (sic), not ours."

In other words, emphasizing an ordinary Catholic has no authority to make a judgement regarding heresy is the same as reminding everyone of the rank and authority in the hands of a bishop only....and thus "pulling rank" in this regard (like saying, only those of a certain status have the power to judge this issue)...and you are "pulling rank" by insisting on your authority as a priest to make such a statement, and by insisting the laity listen to and obey you....

I guess in Jesus' day the Pharasees and Scribes would have told the common folk, including the disciples, only they have the power to declare Jesus a legitimate prophet or not....

Father, I find it ironic you insist on strict obedience to the Church and the clerical hierarchy only when it suits you... Somehow that strikes me a clericalism...but who am I to judge, right?

(Tee hee....)

God bless.

Marc said...

Right, Mike. That is a fundamental disagreement between us: I am Catholic and you are not. You are some sort of neo-modernist progressivist. That is why our views cannot be reconciled.

I just don’t understand why you insist on putting that “Fr.” in front of your name when you know as well as I do that it’s a lie.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - Your judgment is faulty. I know this as does Fr. McDonald. As do the other readers of this blog. I use the title that the Church has given me.

Bee - I would only be pulling rank if I were using MY position to get someone to do what I want. Plainly, I did not do that since I included myself in the category of those who do not possess the Magisterial authority to declare that someone is a heretic. And I'm not insisting on my position to get anything - I'm explaining how the system works.

If I say to someone who asserts that any priest can vote in a papal election, "You are wrong, only Cardinals can cast votes," I am not pulling rank nor am I using my position as a priest to get anything.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

"Pull rank: To use one's higher position of authority to dictate what one does or to gain an advantage."

Oh, but Father Kavanaugh, you ARE pulling rank...because you are telling us all here to please shut-up, since bishops are the only ones who can name someone a heretic...and by doing so implying we have nothing to say on the topic, and have no say in the Church on the matter. (Gee, where's that synodal Church when you need her?)

See Father, none of us care if only bishops can formally declare someone a heretic. If the actions and words of a cleric are heretical, we don't really need a formal declaration from the bishops to know it. In the same way we know only the House of Representatives can act to impeach a president, that doesn't stop everyone in the press and social media from opining about whether or not the president has committed an impeachable offense, and calling for the House to begin impeachment proceedings. Yet you would remind us time and again we don't get a vote in the Church. Yeah, we know. But that doesn't mean our voices are not heard.

You have used the tactic of of pulling rank numerous times on this blog, saying things that spell out Church teaching in such a way that attempts to silence those who don't agree with you. I contend you often assert the authority of your clerical status and demand blind submission to the authority of bishops in order to silence others in the most punitive way.

Actually, it's quite amusing watching you do this, seeing as how the credibility of the clerical state is in chaos.

God bless.

TJM said...

Bee, particularly a guy who appears to wears a rug on his head.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Bee - I am not pulling rank. I am not using my position to gain an advantage.

A doctor who tells a patient, "No, you are mistaken, the herbal supplement you are taking will do nothing to improve your digestion" is not pulling rank. The lawyer who tells the client, "No, you cannot plead "Guilty By Reason Of Demonic Possession" is not pulling rank.

I've never said or implied that those who want to declare Pope Francis a heretic should shut up or that they have nothing to say. Say what you want, but understand that you are wrong.

I am saying that, according to our Church's understanding, they have no authority to do so if that accusation results in refusing to recognize his legitimacy as pope. That's what Marc is claiming all along.

As Catholics, yes we - all of us - DO need a formal declaration of heresy to know that a person is a heretic or that a teaching is heretical.

Spelling out the Church's teaching is not a "tactic" any more than a doctor correcting a patient's false beliefs about an herbal supplement or a lawyer correcting a misinformed client is "pulling rank."

Traditionalist Catholics are only too demanding that others adhere slavishly to the teaching and practices of the Church UNTIL it conflicts with their preferences and predilections. Then, as you have, some say, "none of us care."