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As I understand it the Church has to depose a pope from his office. But who in the Church has that job and are people still bound to obey a pope who orders heresy? Suppose a pope orders one to pray with people of false religions do we really have to obey him? To what extent does a heretical pope have to be obeyed? Do we obey him only when we feel that what he says sounds orthodox? Who gets to decide what is orthodox and what is not?
The idea of a Pope being deposed is heretical. Because it says that someone is tending over the Pope and judging what he is doing. St Pius X did away with this notion when he required people to conform to his very Will (even non-infallible declarations), on pain of death or excommunication. No one can stand or judge or approve of the Pope. That he could be was the view taught by the Council of Florence and Basle (when they deposed a Pope and set up another one), but was definitively declared anathema by the Council of Trent, and additionally supported by the reigns of Leo XIII and Pius X, and Vatican I, where monarchical nature of th church was asserted for all time.
(11-04-2014, 12:42 PM)ThomasTheDoubter Wrote: [ -> ]As I understand it the Church has to depose a pope from his office. But who in the Church has that job and are people still bound to obey a pope who orders heresy? Suppose a pope orders one to pray with people of false religions do we really have to obey him? To what extent does a heretical pope have to be obeyed? Do we obey him only when we feel that what he says sounds orthodox? Who gets to decide what is orthodox and what is not?



You don't know what's orthodox and what's not?
Were a pope to embrace heresy, he would be automatically excommunicated under Canon 915 since he is, presumably, familiar with that provision and its consequences. This involves latae sententiae excommunication. That means it is automatic and no one has to do anything to effect it. In this day and age, however, my guess is almost no one would understand that and those who pointed it out (which will probably come a year from now) would be considered crazy extremists. His heresy would be followed by most "catholics" and the magisterium who, in turn, would then no longer be Catholics. The Church will always survive. The important thing to remember is the pope--and priests, bishops and cardinals--are not the Church.  The Church is the institution founded by Christ reflecting a set of unchangeable beliefs and tenets.  He might still be wearing a white cassock and riding in the popemobile, but he would no longer be Catholic.  There have been 264 popes (266 pontificates because of multiple times served). He would be among the about 40 pretenders to the Chair of Peter.
You can certainly disobey the Pope if he commands you to go against your conscience.  Newman explains this here:

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/anglic...tion5.html

I think Silouan's post provides a good way to go into your other questions:

(11-04-2014, 03:25 PM)Silouan Wrote: [ -> ]You don't know what's orthodox and what's not?

The issue is it's not always clear or there is a dispute as to what is orthodox and what is not.  Is the filioque orthodox or not? Some argued it was, others it was not.  The Catholic Church holds the Apostolic See to be the final judge in such disputes.

It would be obvious, if say, the Pope said "I reject the definition of Nicea" or went and formally converted to Lutheranism. That could be easy to recognize.  It's another thing where one side puts forth his position as consonant with that definition and the other side argues that its not.  A lot of the disputes here about whether the Council of Pope is heretical deal with theological conclusions, not open repudiation of defined dogma.  This is why many of the medieval canonists limited papal liability to not include "new heresies" since one man's theological conclusion is another's heresy.  It has to be judged a heresy first by the authoritative judges of the Church in this matter.

Plus, just saying or doing something wrong is not heresy, it requires a kind of obstinate opposition to dogma.  So who judges when the chair is vacant due to heresy? First, the heresy would have to be public and manifest/recognizable heresy that dissociates the person from the body of the Church. 

Well, how is it judged vacant when it is otherwise manifestly vacant? When the Pope dies the Roman Church makes that determination in the person of the chamberlain.  The Roman Church is itself considered indefectible (this is more explicit in the Fathers than references to the Bishop of Rome's infallibility) so the Church of Rome should be able to recognize it and provide itself with a new head like it does in other cases when it is headless.  It could not follow a false head into heresy.

Likewise, the whole episcopate would be right in this matter for the following reasons:

Hunters Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 1, #211 Wrote:First, then, the Church is infallible when she declares what person holds the office of Pope; for if the person of the Pope were uncertain, it would be uncertain what Bishops were in communion with the Pope; but according to the Catholic faith, as will be proved hereafter, communion with the Pope is a condition for the exercise of the function of teaching by the body of Bishops (n. 208); if then the. uncertainty could not be cleared up, the power of teaching could not be exercised, and Christ's promise (St. Matt. xxviii. 20; and n. 199, II.) would be falsified, which is impossible.

This argument is in substance the same as applies to other cases of dogmatic facts. Also, it affords an answer to a much vaunted objection to the claims of the Catholic Church, put forward by writers who think that they find proof in history that the election of a certain Pope was simoniacal and invalid, and that the successor was elected by Cardinals who owed their own appointment to the simoniacal intruder; from which it is gathered that the Papacy has been vacant ever since that time. A volume might be occupied if we attempted to expose all the frailness of the argument which is supposed to lead to this startling conclusion; but it is enough to say that if the Bishops agree in recognizing a certain man as Pope, they are certainly right, for otherwise the body of the Bishops would be separated from their head, and the Divine constitution of the Church would be ruined. In just the same way the infallibility extends to declaring that a certain Council is or is not ecumenical.

Here is what St. Robert Bellarmine has to say on obeying a heretic who calls himself pope:

                                    A pope who is a manifest heretic automatically (per se) ceases to be pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the
                                    Church.... This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction. [De Romano Pontifice. II. 30.]

So, no, the pope turned heretic has no more authority over you than your mailman or the Dalai Lama.

Furthermore, Pope Paul IV foresaw the possibility of a heretic being elected as a putative pope. In his bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio  of February 15, 1559, His Holiness instructed the faithful to consider such an election "null, void and worthless", "even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals." Even if "all" should give such a manifest heretic their "veneration" and "obedience," the manifest heretic still would not acquire validity, regardless of "the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation."

Sedevacantism would bethe Catholic response in such a situation.


As I understand the initial question, it deals with a Pope who 'turns' to be a heretic, and not a known heretic who got elected. In such a situation it is impossible for any person, or council to sit in judgment over him. If he committed heresy he would be excommunicated automatically, and/or the Holy Ghost would not have led him to be elected. That was the teaching of St. Bellarmine, and in the Cum Ex Apostolatus cited above.
(11-04-2014, 03:25 PM)Silouan Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-04-2014, 12:42 PM)ThomasTheDoubter Wrote: [ -> ]As I understand it the Church has to depose a pope from his office. But who in the Church has that job and are people still bound to obey a pope who orders heresy? Suppose a pope orders one to pray with people of false religions do we really have to obey him? To what extent does a heretical pope have to be obeyed? Do we obey him only when we feel that what he says sounds orthodox? Who gets to decide what is orthodox and what is not?



You don't know what's orthodox and what's not?

When the majority of clergy, including the popes, say that X is compatible with tradition, and reading of old anathemas declare that X is a heresy who is right, yourself or authorities?
Shouldn't this be in the SSPX Sedevacantist part of the forum?
(11-05-2014, 12:21 AM)Poche Wrote: [ -> ]Shouldn't this be in the SSPX Sedevacantist part of the forum?

Why? I'm not either.
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