26 Aug 2016

A Reply to John Salza and Robert Siscoe IV

By Father Paul Kramer
John Salza
"vae qui dicitis malum bonum et bonum malum ponentes tenebras lucem et lucem tenebras" (Isaiah 5:20)

Salza and Siscoe begin Part II of their utterly dishonest screed against me with an enormous and very deliberate lie: "Fr Kramer Rejects the Common Theological Opinion on the Loss of Office for a Heretical Pope. He Claims that a Pope Loses His Office Due to the Sin of Heresy, Without the Judgment of the Church."

I say the lie is deliberate because even after the falsehood has been thoroughly exposed, Salza and Siscoe remain obstinately entrenched in propagating the two lies that my position 1) misinterprets the doctrine of St. Robert Bellarmine; and, 2) rejects a common theological opinion on the loss of office for a heretical pope.

Salza and Siscoe quote my own words: "The main thrust of Bellarmine’s argument is that a pope who in FACT became a manifest heretic ceases to be a pope, a Christian and member of the Church." Salza and Siscoe then mendaciously comment: "This, Fr. Kramer, tells us is the “thrust” of Bellarmine’s argument (translation: Bellarmine didn’t actually say it), even though Bellarmine not only says no such thing, but says the complete opposite!"

They are saying that St. Robert Bellarmine did not say what I paraphrased him to have said (and I later quoted verbatim) on the automatic loss of office of a pope who becomes a public heretic; but that he said the opposite! So what did St. Robert Bellarmine actually say? Here is exactly what he said: "Now the fifth true opinion, is that a Pope who is a manifest heretic, ceases in himself to be Pope and head, just as he ceases in himself to be a Christian and member of the body of the Church: whereby, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the opinion of all the ancient Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately (or 'soon') lose all jurisdiction, and namely St. Cyprian who speaks on Novation, who was a Pope in schism with Cornelius: “He cannot hold the Episcopacy, although he was a bishop first, he fell from the body of his fellow bishops and from the unity of the Church” [332]. There he means that Novation, even if he was a true and legitimate Pope; still would have fallen from the pontificate by himself, if he separated himself from the Church. The same is the opinion of the learned men of our age, as John Driedo teaches [333], those who are cast out as excommunicates, or leave on their own and oppose the Church are separated from it, namely heretics and schismatics. He adds in the same work [334], that no spiritual power remains in them, who have departed from the Church, over those who are in the Church. Melchior Cano teaches the same thing, when he says that heretics are not part of the Church, nor members [335], and he adds in the last Chapter, 12th argument, that someone cannot even be informed in thought, that he should be head and Pope, who is not a member nor a part, and he teaches the same thing in eloquent words, that secret heretics are still in the Church and are parts and members, and that a secretly heretical Pope is still Pope. Others teach the same, whom we cite in Book 1 of de Ecclesia. The foundation of this opinion is that a manifest heretic, is in no way a member of the Church; that is, neither in spirit nor in body, or by internal union nor external. For even wicked Catholics are united and are members, in spirit through faith and in body through the confession of faith, and the participation of the visible Sacraments. Secret heretics are united and are members, but only by an external union: just as on the other hand, good Catechumens are in the Church only by an internal union but not an external one. Manifest heretics by no union, as has been proved."(I have slightly modified Ryan Grant's translation.)

The plain and univocal sense of these words in opinion no. 5, which Bellarmine says is the "true opinion", is that the pope who is a manifest heretic, by himself, ceases to be pope and head, just as he, by himself ceases to be a Christian and a member of the Church; and it is precisely because he is already ipso facto no longer pope and no longer a member of the Church, that he may be judged and punished. Whether "mox" is interpreted as "immediately" or "soon" is of no major consequence. Most translate "mox" as "immediately", since the context seems to indicate the fully conscious and deliberate act of heresy, which would have the immediate effect of severing the pope from the body of the Church. If the sin is not made at first obstinately with full knowledge and consent, but becomes obstinately only later, then "mox" would be understood as "soon". In either case, the pope would lose office "by himself", and not by any judgment pronounced on him by the Church, because no one in the Church has any jurisdiction over the pope, as Innocent III teaches (Sermo IV), as well as Bellarmine in the same Chapter XXX.

The pope as a public heretic would cease by himself, (and not by or after any judgment of the Church), to be pope, because the heretic by himself ceases to be a member of the Church: "those who . . . leave on their own and oppose the Church are separated from it, namely heretics and schismatics."; and he cites the opinion of St Jerome: "Jerome comments . . . saying that other sinners, through a judgment of excommunication are excluded from the Church; heretics, however, leave by themselves and are cut from the body of Christ, "

The teaching of Bellarmine and St. Jerome on the nature of the sin of heresy by which one casts one's self out of the body of the Church is set forth by Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical, Mystici Corporis.

In no. 22 of Mystici Corporis, Pius XII teaches that those who "separate themselves from the unity of the body" are not members of the Church: "In Ecclesiae autem membris reapse ii soli annumerandi sunt, qui regenerationis lavacrum receperunt veramque fidem profitentur, neque a Corporis compage semet ipsos misere separarunt, vel ob gravissima admissa a legitima auctoritate seiuncti sunt."*

So, those who have been excluded by an act of authority, and those who "separate themselves from the unity of the Body", are not members of the Church. Those who "separate themselves from the unity of the body" are heretics, schismatics, and apoststes, because by the very nature of the sin of schism, heresy, or apostasy, one is severed from the body of the Church: "Siquidem non omne admissum, etsi grave scelus, eiusmodi est ut — sicut schisma, vel haeresis, vel apostasia faciunt — suapte natura hominem ab Ecclesiae Corpore separet."**

The magisterial doctrine must be understood according to the mind of the Church, which is best explained first and foremost by those officially recognized as Doctors of the Church, and by the Church's eminent theologians; such as one who would be recognized as a homo theologus – one who is/was a professor of theology at a pontifical university, and has authored a major work in theology.

St. Robert Bellarmine, and modern authors explain that the internal sin of heresy does not sever one visibly from the body of the Church; and neither does the secret external sin of heresy, which is canonically the occult crime of heresy. The public sin of heresy ipso facto separates one from all communion with the Church, and from any visible unity with the body of the Church; and therefore this is the proper understanding of the doctrine.

The utterly specious objections made by Salza and Siscoe, that a manifest heretic would need to be warned first before losing office; and that the loss of office only would take place after an official judgment is made contradicts the plainly stated meaning in Bellarmine's opinion no. 5, and is based on a faulty and uncritical exegesis of the passages where these things are mentioned.

When Bellarmine says, "For Jurisdiction is certainly given to the Pontiff by God, but with the agreement of men, as is obvious; because this man, who beforehand was not Pope, has from men that he would begin to be Pope, therefore, he is not removed by God unless it is through men", he refutes the second opinion that holds that a pope who would be even a secret heretic would be deposed by God. A pope cannot be deposed, but can be removed, and only by men. A pope could be judged for heresy by men, i.e. by Church authorities who determine that the sin is obstinate, and then they can declare the loss of office; or he can lose office by himself alone by manifest heresy if the obstinacy is patent in a notorious manner. In both cases, the pope would lose office by the notoriety of his own criminal act. In the first case the declaration would make the obstinacy notorious. In the second, the notoriety of the act itself would ipso facto effect the loss of office, before the judgment is made. Having lost office, the former pope could then be judged and punished by the Church.

Let the reader make note of the fact that I quoted Bellarmines opinion no. 5 as the one I subscribe to, but Salza and Siscoe deliberately, maliciously and falsely claimed that I "apparently" hold to opinion no. 2 which Bellarmine refutes. What ruthless and bold faced liars!

The opinion that according to Bellarmine, a manifestly obstinate heretic would have to be warned first before losing office is preposterous. Bellarmine speaks of, "The Authority is of St. Paul, who commands Titus that after two censures, that is, after he appears manifestly pertinacious, a heretic is to be shunned: and he understands this before excommunication and sentence of a judge;" in order to refute the error of Cajetan that a manifestly heretical pope does not lose office ipso facto before judgment is pronounced, but must be deposed by the Church. He explains that if the heretic pope remains in office even after the warnings, then he cannot be shunned because he is still the head. And then he cites the opinion of St. Jerome, "that other sinners, through a judgment of excommunication are excluded from the Church; heretics, however, leave by themselves and are cut from the body of Christ." This is Bellarmine's argument from authority. His argument from reason to refute Cajetan forms the basis of opinion no. 5, which he says is the "true opinion", according to which the manifestly heretical pope loses office ipso facto, and not after deposition by the Church. That argument is, "Now in regard to reason this is indeed very certain. A non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan affirms in the same book [324], and the reason is because he cannot be the head of that which he is not a member, and he is not a member of the Church who is not a Christian. But a manifest heretic is not a Christian, as St. Cyprian and many other Fathers clearly teach [325]. Therefore, a manifest heretic cannot be Pope."

*"Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed."

**"For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy."
The claim of Salza and Siscoe, that I reject "the Common Theological Opinion on the Loss of Office for a Heretical Pope;"is in fact a very cunning lie.
First they quote Billuart who does not speak of a common opinion, but of a more common opinion: “According to the more common opinion, Christ by a particular providence, for the common good and the tranquillity of the Church, continues to give jurisdiction to an even manifestly heretical pontiff until such time as he should be declared a manifest heretic by the Church.”

What they neglect to mention is that Billuart died in 1758, and that opinion is no longer the more common one. With their characteristic truculence, Salza and Siscoe say, "If Fr. Kramer rejects this teaching (and he does), let him produce a citation from a reputable theologian who teaches otherwise – that is, that a heretical pope will lose his office". Here's the citations:

Dominic Prummer: “The power of the Roman Pontiff is lost. . . (c) By his perpetual insanity or by formal heresy. And this at least probably. . . . The Authors indeed commonly teach that a pope loses his power through certain and notorious heresy, but whether this case is really possible is rightly doubted.” (Manuale Iuris Canonci. Freiburg im Briesgau: Herder 1927. p. 95)

F.X. Wernz, P. Vidal: “Finally, there is the fifth opinion – that of Bellarmine himself – which was expressed initially and is rightly defended by Tanner and others as the best proven and the most common. For he who is no longer a member of the body of the Church, i.e. the Church as a visible society, cannot be the head of the Universal Church. But a Pope who fell into public heresy would cease by that very fact to be a member of the Church. Therefore he would also cease by that very fact to be the head of the Church. Indeed, a publicly heretical Pope, who, by the commandment of Christ and the Apostle must even be avoided because of the danger to the Church, must be deprived of his power as almost all admit.” (Ius Canonicum. Rome: Gregorian 1943. 2:453)
Note that Wernz and Vidal interpret Bellarmine as I do, and as did all other experts in Canon Law. Salza and Siscoe attempt to deceive their readers by twisting Bellarmine's words out of context to make it appear like he's saying the opposite of what he intends.

A. Vermeersch, I. Creusen: “The power of the Roman Pontiff ceases by death, free resignation (which is valid without need for any acceptance, c.221), certain and unquestionably perpetual insanity and notorious heresy. 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 fall from a power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess.” (Epitome Iuris Canonici. Rome: Dessain 1949. p. 340)

Eduardus F. Regatillo: “The Roman Pontiff ceases in office: . . . (4) Through notorious public heresy? Five answers have been given: 1. ‘The pope cannot be a heretic even as a private teacher.’ A pious thought, but essentially unfounded. 2. ‘The pope loses office even through secret heresy.’ False, because a secret heretic can be a member of the Church. 3. ‘The pope does not lose office because of public heresy.’ Objectionable. 4. ‘The pope loses office by a judicial sentence because of public heresy.’ But who would issue the sentence? The See of Peter is judged by no one (Canon 1556). 5. ‘The pope loses office ipso facto because of public heresy.’ This is the more common teaching, because a pope would not be a member of the Church, and hence far less could be its head.” (Institutiones Iuris Canonici. 5th ed. Santander: Sal Terrae, 1956. 1:396).
Matthaeus Conte a Coronata: “2. Loss of office of the Roman Pontiff. This can occur in various ways: . . . c) Notorious heresy. Certain authors deny the supposition that the Roman Pontiff can become a heretic. It cannot be proven however that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher, cannot become a heretic – if, for example, he would contumaciously deny a previously defined dogma. Such impeccability was never promised by God. Indeed, Pope Innocent III expressly admits such a case is possible. If indeed such a situation would happen, he would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.” (Institutiones Iuris Canonici. Rome: Marietti 1950. I:3I2, p. 3I6).

See also: A Reply to John Salza and Robert Siscoe (Part I)

A Reply to John Salza and Robert Siscoe (Part II)       
A Reply to John Salza and Robert Siscoe III (continued)
A Reply to John Salza and Robert Siscoe – Conclusion of Part III
Post a Comment