THE FIVE OPINIONS ON A HERETICAL POPE
Fr. Paul Kramer B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div., S.T.L. (Cand.)
|Pentecostals praying for "Pope" Francis.|
The eminent canonists Wernz and Vidal outline the five opinions:
«Concerning this matter there are five Opinions of which the first denies the hypothesis upon which the entire question is based, namely that a Pope even as a private doctor can fall into heresy. This opinion although pious and probable cannot be said to be certain and common. For this reason the hypothesis is to be accepted and the question resolved. »
« A second opinion holds that the Roman Pontiff forfeits his power automatically even on account of occult heresy. This opinion is rightly said by Bellarmine to be based upon a false supposition, namely that even occult heretics are completely separated from the body of the Church. »
«The third opinion thinks that the Roman Pontiff does not automatically forfeit his power and cannot be deprived of it by deposition even for manifest heresy. This assertion is very rightly said by Bellarmine to be "extremely improbable".»
«The fourth opinion, with Suarez, Cajetan and others, contends that a Pope is not automatically deposed even for manifest heresy, but that he can and must be deposed by at least a declaratory sentence of the crime. "Which opinion in my judgment is indefensible" as Bellarmine teaches. »
« 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.»
They state their own position on the question: « By heresy which is notorious and openly made known. The Roman Pontiff should he fall into it is by that very fact even before any declaratory sentence of the Church deprived of his power of jurisdiction. » And conclude, « 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. But he cannot be deprived by a merely declaratory sentence... Wherefore, it must be firmly stated that a heretical Roman Pontiff would by that very fact forfeit his power. Although a declaratory sentence of the crime which is not to be rejected in so far as it is merely declaratory would be such, that the heretical Pope would not be judged, but would rather be shown to have been judged. »
Similarly, 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.”
The doctrine of St. Robert Bellarmine is of the greatest importance the Church’s teaching on the papacy, since the First Vatican Council to a great extent based its doctrine on the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff on his doctrine. Pope Pius XI declared in Providentissimus Deus, «But it is an outstanding achievement of St Robert, that the rights and privileges divinely bestowed upon the Supreme Pontiff, and those also which were not yet recognised by all the children of the Church at that time, such as the infallible magisterium of the Pontiff speaking ex cathedra, he both invincibly proved and most learnedly defended against his adversaries. Moreover he appeared even up to our times as a defender of the Roman Pontiff of such authority that the Fathers of the  Vatican Council employed his writings and opinions to the greatest possible extent. » Particularly concerning the primacy of the pope, Bellarmine’s doctrine during his lifetime on the absolute injudicability of the pope while still in office had not yet been adopted by the First Vatican Council, which definitively settled and closed the question forever in a solemn decree of the extraordinary magisterium; but was still treated as an open question by theologians in Bellarmine’s day. Similarly it can also be said about his doctrine on the loss of office in specific relation to the pronouncement on the nature of heresy by Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, in which is set forth more definitively the doctrine of the universal magisterium, but not ex cathedra, that heresy suapte natura severs the heretic from the body of the Church – in both cases Bellarmine demonstrated that these not yet solemnly defined teachings were already fulfilling the criteria of de fide doctrines of the universal and ordinary magisterium (what Ballerini called “manifest dogma” of the Church as distinguished from “defined dogma” of the extraordinary magisterium). So, while the five opinions were all accorded various degrees of legitimacy by theologians in the Seventeenth Century, and were at least tolerated by the magisterium, the same can no longer be said today of the third and fourth opinions, since there have been subsequent magisterial pronouncements which render them untenable and therefore theologically antiquated. I have already explained the doctrinally problematic nature of the second opinion earlier in this work; so that leaves us with only the first and fifth opinions as theologically viable and legitimate. Thus, having given ample consideration to the fifth opinion earlier, I will focus here primarily on the first opinion, and Bellarmines analysis of the fourth opinion in the next section, in which he provides his theological foundation for the fifth opinion.
First to be considered is in what manner a pope can be considered to be a heretic. The question is whether a pope can properly be a heretic; that is, a formal heretic, since all, Catholics and non-Catholics, says Bellarmine in Book IV Chapter II of De Romano Pontifice, are in agreement that a pope can be materially in heresy due to ignorance: «Posse pontificem ut privatum Doctorem errare, etiam in quaestionibus juris universalibus, tam Fidei, quam morum, idque ex ignorantia, ut aliis Doctoribus interdum accidit. » The Holy Doctor then focuses on four opinions:
«Prima (sententia) est, Pontificem etiam ut Pontificem, etiamsi cum generali Concilio definiret aliquid, posse esse haereticum in se, & docere alios haeresim, & de facto ita aliquando accidisse. Haec est haereticorum omnium huius temporis, et praecipue Lutheri […] & Calvini»
This opinion, says Bellarmine, that the pope can himself be heretical and teach others heresy, even when defining with an ecumenical council, and that this has actually happened, is the opinion of all heretics, and particularly of Luther and Calvin.
«Secunda sententia est, Pontificem ut Pontificem, posse esse haereticum, & docere haeresim, si absque generali Concilio definiat, & de facto aliquando accidisse. Hanc opinionem sequitur, & tuetur Nilus in suo libro adversus primatum papae: […] & Hadrianus VI. Papa in quaest. de confirm.; qui omnes non in Pontifice, sed in Ecclesia sive in Concilio generali tantum, constituunt infallibillitatem iudicii de rebus Fidei.»
The second opinion is that the pope can be a heretic and teach heresy, ! he defines without a general council, because infallibility in matters of faith and morals pertains not to the pontiff but to the Church in a general council; and he mentions that this was the opinion of Pope Adrian VI.
«Tertia sententia est in alio extremo, Pontificem non posse ullo modo esse haereticum, nec docere publice haeresim, etiamsi solus rem aliquam definiat. Ita Albertus Pighius lib. 4. Hier. Eccles. Cap. 8»
The third opinion is of the opposite extreme, that of Albert Pighius, which holds that a pope cannot in any manner be a heretic, nor teach heresy, even when defining by himself.
«Quarta sententia est quodammodo in medio. Pontificem, sive haereticus esse possit, sive non, non posse ullo modo definire aliquid haereticum a tota Ecclesia credendum: haec est comunissima opinion fere omnium Catholicorum»
The fourth opinion occupies the middle ground; the pope, regardless of whether or not he can be a heretic, cannot in any manner define something heretical for the whole Church to believe – and this opinion, says the Holy Doctor, is the most common opinion among all Catholics.
He then pronounces his verdict on each of the four opinions: «Ex his quatour opinionibus prima est haeretica; secunda non est proprie haeretica: nam adhuc videmus ab Ecclesia tolerari, qui illam sententiam sequuntur; tamen videtur omnino erronea & haeresi proxima; tertia probabilis est, non tamen certa; quarta certissima est et asserenda, ac ut ea facilius intelligi & confirmari possit, statuemus aliquot propositiones. »
The first, he says, is heretical; the second, while not properly heretical, because the Church still tolerates (i.e. in Bellarmine’s day) those who follow this opinion; but it appears to be entirely erroneous and proximate to heresy; the third is probable; the fourth is most certain and is to be held. Since the definition of Vatican I on papal infallibility, the second opinion is now to be judged as heretical, and the fourth as de fide definita.
In Book II Chapter XXX of De Romano Pontifice, Bellarmine proposes the solution to the question on whether a heretic pope can be deposed. He first states the thesis: “A Pope can be judged and deposed by the Church in the case of heresy; as is clear from Dist. 40, can. Si Papa: therefore, the Pontiff is subject to human judgment, at least in some case.” (Pontifex in casu haeresis potest ab Ecclesia judicari, et deponi, up patet distinct. 40. Can. Si Papa. Igitur, Pontifex est subjectus humano judicio, saltem in aliquot casu.); and then introduces his response, saying there are five opinions on this matter.
The Holy Doctor’s response to the first opinion is brief and plainly stated in the original Latin, and in the precise English translation of Ryan Grant: «Prima est Alberti Pighii lib. 4 cap. 8 hierarchiae Ecclesiasticae; ubi contendit, Papam non posse esse haereticum, proinde nec deponi in ullo casu; quae sentential probabilis est, & defendi potest facile, ut postea suo loco ostendemus».  What he means by “in its proper place”, is Book Four Chapter Six & Seven of the same work. There Bellarmine explains: 1) «Nam Pontifex non solum non debet, nec potest haeresim praedicare, sed etiam debet veritatem semper docere, & sine dubio id faciet, cum Dominus illi jusserit confirmare fratres suos, & propterea addiderit, Rogavi pro te, ut non deficiat fides tua, idest, ut saltem non deficiat in throno tuo praedicatio verae Fidei: at quomodo, quaeso, confirmabit fratres in Fide, & veram Fidem semper praedicabit Pontifex haereticus? Potest quidem Deus ex corde haeretico extorquere verae Fidei confessionem, sicut verba posuit quondam in ore asinae Balaam: at violentum erit, & non secundum morem providentiae Dei suaviter disponentis omnia. »
The question, «at quomodo, quaeso, confirmabit fratres in Fide, & veram Fidem semper praedicabit Pontifex haereticus? » (How, I ask, will a heretical Pope confirm the brethren in faith and always preach the true faith?), is of the greatest importance, because faith, (as Bellarmine explains in Book II Ch. XXX on the fourth opinion), which is the necessary disposition to retain the form of the supreme pontificate, would be utterly lacking in a heretic, who therefore would be incapable of preserving the form of the papacy in himself, and would therefore cease to be pope straightaway. A heretic would necessarily cease to be pope because even if he were only externally a member of the Church, he would lack faith as the necessary disposition to exercise the charism of Infallibility, since Christ did not confer a magical power of infallibility on Peter (and his successors), but He conferred on him the gift of unfailing faith as the necessary disposition to exercise the charism of Infallibility. Then there is the further consideration, as, Bellarmine remarks, “Certainly God can wrench the confession of the true faith out of the heart of a heretic just as he placed the words in the mouth of Balaam’s ass. Still, this will be a great violence, and not in keeping with the providence of God that sweetly disposes all things”; but such a confession would not require, nor would proceed from unfailing faith as the disposition on which the exercise of the charism of Infallibility is based and in which it is rooted; and it would be contrary to the nature of man which is constituted of free will, and therefore would not be a human act proceeding from the soul as the principle of the operation of the exercise of a charism – the exercise of the supernatural charism of infallibly confessing the true faith, given by Christ as the free and infallible exercise of that charism hinged upon and rooted in the virtue of unfailing faith as its necessary disposition. If God were to wrench the confession of the true faith out of a heretic in whom faith is absent, that heretic would not be exercising the charism of Infallibility any more than the ass of Balaam was exercising the prophetic charism, because the act would not proceed from the soul as its principle making use of the organs of speech, exercising the faculty of speech, but God would be using the mouth of the heretical Pontiff in the same manner that He used the mouth of the ass, which did not possess the faculty of speech. (Numbers 22: 28 – 30)
As I have explained, the "necessary disposition", which Bellarmine says is faith, is necessary, because, the exercise of the charism of Infallibility depends entirely on the grace of unfailing personal faith of the pope, promised by Christ to Peter and his successors. The argument proving this is based philosophically on St. Thomas' doctrine on the operation of the powers of the soul and the necessary dispositions for these operations. The application of St. Thomas' teaching on the operation of the powers of the soul to the exercise of the papal charism of Infallibility is as follows:
Distinguishing between the essence of the soul and its powers, Aquinas explains that the powers of the soul are rooted in the potentiality and act of the substance of the soul, which, in its essence as form is act, but is in potentiality as the principle of the operation of the powers of the soul.  In Article 2, St. Thomas explains that a plurality of powers of the soul are necessary for the realization of a perfection, which requires the proper disposition without which it cannot be brought from potentiality to act, and therefore, is accordingly realized in degrees according to the disposition to operate the powers of the soul and thereby realize the perfection. From what is set forth in article 4 on the operation of the powers of the soul , it can be understood that in the same manner as of the purely natural operation of the powers of the soul, and accordingly as there exists an order between the powers by which one is ordered as a disposition for the operation of another, likewise when those natural powers are elevated by the supernatural grace of infused virtues, and ordered to operate in relation to their charisms – the virtue of faith as a dispositive habit is necessary as the disposition out of which is generated the charism of Infallibility, and is its substrate, the virtus and potentia required as the basis for its operation, and therefore the necessary disposition upon which the operation of the charism of Infallibility is conditioned, and to which operation it is ordered. Thus it is that the charism of Infallibility cannot exist and be exercised in a subject in which the virtue of faith as a dispositive habit is absent, due to the order of dependence of the charism on the virtue.
St. Thomas elaborates in Article 5 on the operation of the powers of the soul, distinguishing between those powers which exist in the soul as their subject, and those which have for their subject the conjoined body and soul, and therefore not proper to just the soul or the body: «philosophus dicit, non est proprium animae neque corporis, sed coniuncti. Potentia ergo sensitiva est in coniuncto sicut in subiecto. Non ergo sola anima est subiectum omnium potentiarum suarum». And he continues in the corpus of the article: «Respondeo dicendum quod illud est subiectum operativae potentiae, quod est potens operari, omne enim accidens denominat proprium subiectum. Idem autem est quod potest operari, et quod operatur. Unde oportet quod eius sit potentia sicut subiecti, cuius est operatio; ut etiam philosophus dicit, in principio de somno et vigilia. Manifestum est autem ex supra dictis quod quaedam operationes sunt animae, quae exercentur sine organo corporali, ut intelligere et velle. Unde potentiae quae sunt harum operationum principia, sunt in anima sicut in subiecto. Quaedam vero operationes sunt animae, quae exercentur per organa corporalia; sicut visio per oculum, et auditus per aurem. Et simile est de omnibus aliis operationibus nutritivae et sensitivae partis. Et ideo potentiae quae sunt talium operationum principia, sunt in coniuncto sicut in subiecto, et non in anima sola. » And finally, «Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omnes potentiae dicuntur esse animae, non sicut subiecti, sed sicut principii, quia per animam coniunctum habet quod tales operationes operari possit. »
Thus, in the manner of the purely natural operation of the powers of the soul: therefore likewise in the operation of those powers in the supernatural order of grace which presupposes and builds upon nature, and acts in conjunction with and upon the basis of nature, and in accordance with the natural powers of the soul; and therefore most necessarily the operation of the charism of Infallibility requires a subject in which is present the habit of faith as the necessary disposition in order that it be operated on the basis of faith, with the soul as the principle of the operation aided by grace – with faith acting as the supernatural disposition in the soul, by which the power of the charism is exercised as a human act, through the powers of the soul acting in the composite of body and soul. Thus it is that for the exercise of the charism of Infallibility to be properly a human act of the Pontiff, faith is the necessary disposition for the form of the supreme pontificate, to which pertains the charism of Infallibility, in which there is not just a participation in the power of the virtue of faith, but the plenitude of power (as Pope Innocent III says): the plenitude of power – in which plenitude there is unfailing faith as the basis upon which depends the operation of the charism to infallibly speak and bind in matters of faith. Thus from reason, from considering the nature of the powers of the soul, one understands the why both Pope Innocent III and St. Robert Bellarmine were correct in their belief that the Roman Pontiff cannot personally confirm the faith of others if that virtue is lacking in the Pontiff himself, because faith is necessary as a disposition of the soul and must be in the soul as its subject for the soul to be the principle of the operation of the charism of Infallibility.
This entire argument is premised on the promise of Christ to Peter of the gift of unfailing faith so that he may confirm the faith of his brethren, and thus that unfailing faith is the necessary disposition for Peter's operation of the charism of Infallibility. Christ did not simply bestow infallibility on Peter to speak through Peter in such a manner as God spoke through the ass of Balaam, but He gave him the unfailing virtue of faith as the basis and necessary disposition for Peter to exercise the charism of Infallibility, thus constituting him as the confirmator fratrum; and thus it is, that the charism cannot be exercised in one in whom the virtue of faith is absent.
The opposing opinion was expressed already by Cardinal Enrico de Susa (a.k.a. Ostienne), and was explained by Cardinal Alfons Stickler, as Roberto de Mattei relates: «Professor Jamin recalls in particular Ostiene’s commenting of these words relating to the Pope, “Nec deficiat fides eius”. According to the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia: “The faith of Peter is not exclusively his “faith” meant as a personal act, but is the faith of the entire Church of which he is the spokesman and the Prince of the Apostles. Christ prays therefore, for the faith of the entire Church in persona tantum Petri, since it is the faith of the Church, professed by Peter, which never fails et propterea ecclesia non presumitur posse errare" (op. cit. p. 223). » This notion of the unfailing faith of Peter not being meant as a personal act, but is the faith of entire Church, is the basis of opinion no. 5. De Mattei continues, « Ostiene’s thought matches that of all the great medieval canonists. The greatest scholar of these authors, Cardinal Alfonso Maria Stickler, points out that “the prerogative of infallibility of office does not impede the Pope, as an individual, from sin and thus become personally heretical (...). In the case of an obstinate and public profession of certain heresy, since it is condemned by the Church, the Pope becomes "minor quolibet catholico" (a common phrase of canonists) and ceases to be pope (...). This fact of a heretic Pope does not touch then Pontifical infallibility since it does not signify impeccability or inerrancy in the person of the Pontiff, [or]inerrancy in establishing forcefully from his office a truth of the faith or an immutable principle of Christian life (...). The canonists knew very well how to distinguish between the person of the Pope and his office. If then they declared the Pope dethroned, when certainly and obstinately heretical, they admit implicitly that from this personal fact not only is the infallibility of the office not compromised, but that it is somewhat defended and affirmed: any ‘papal’ decision whatever against a truth already decided is automatically rendered impossible” (A. M. Stickler, Sulle origini dell'infallibilità papale, "Rivista Storica della Chiesa in Italia" , 28 (1974), pp. 586-587)." »
The fatal defect in the notion of the unfailing faith of Peter being not the personal faith of Peter, but the faith of the entire Church represented in persona tantum Petri, consists in the impossibility of the faith of the entire Church to be represented in the person of Peter through the charism of Infallibility if faith does not exist as a virtue in the soul of Peter as its subject, thus uniting his soul to Christ by faith, and thereby disposing the soul of the Pontiff as the principle of the operation of the charism of unfailing faith, which is Infallibility: «modus actionis sequitur dispositionem agentis, unumquodque enim quale est, talia operatur. Et ideo, cum virtus sit principium aliqualis operationis, oportet quod in operante praeexistat secundum virtutem aliqua conformis dispositio.» (1a 2æ q. 55. A. 1 ad 1) The virtus, understood as the principle of an operation cannot be operative unless there preexist in the soul of the operating subject a disposition by which it is brought into conformity with that active principle. Hence, the charism of Infallibility which consists of the fullness of the power of the virtue of faith, cannot operate in the soul where that virtue, as a dispositive habit ordered to the operation of the charism, is totally absent; and thus, the virtue of faith is the necessary disposition which must be present in the soul as its subject for that charism to be operative; and therefore, the virtue of faith existing in the soul of the pope as its subject is the necessary disposition for the preservation of the form of the supreme pontificate in the person of the pope. It follows therefore as a strict corollary that were it possible for the pope’s faith to fail, then, as Bellarmine says, «ista dispositione sublata per contrariam quae est haeresis, mox papa desinit esse; neque enim potest forma conservari sine necessariis dispositionibus. » (De Romano Pontifice lib. II Cap. XXX)
Bellarmine explains why this would be so: “either faith is a necessary disposition as one for this purpose, that someone should be Pope, or it is merely that he be a good Pope. If the first, therefore, after that disposition has been abolished through its opposite, which is heresy, and soon after the Pope ceases to be Pope: for the form cannot be preserved without its necessary dispositions. If the second, then a Pope cannot be deposed on account of heresy. On the other hand, in general, he ought to be deposed even on account of ignorance and wickedness, and other dispositions which are necessary to be a good Pope, and besides, Cajetan affirms that the Pope cannot be deposed from a defect of dispositions that are not necessary as one (non necessarium simpliciter), but merely necessary for one to be a good Pope (ad bene esse).”
Bellarmine then responds to Cajetan’s objection: “Cajetan responds that faith is a necessary disposition simply, but in part not in total, and hence with faith being absent the Pope still remains Pope, on account of another part of the disposition which is called the character, and that still remains. But on the other hand, either the total disposition which is the character and faith, is necessary as one unit, or it is not, and a partial disposition suffices. If the first, then without faith, the necessary disposition does not remain any longer as one, because the whole was necessary as one unit and now it is no longer total. If the second, then faith is not required to be good (fides non requiritur nisi ad bene esse), and hence on account of his defect, a Pope cannot be deposed. Thereupon, those things which have the final disposition to ruin (quae habent ultimam dispositionem ad interitum), soon after cease to exist, without another external force (sine alia vi externa), as is clear (ut patet); therefore, even a heretical Pope, without any deposition ceases to be Pope through himself. (Papa haereticum sine alia deposition per se desinit esse Papa.”) [Italics in original]
Bellarmine argues here of faith as a necessary disposition for the pope to remain united to the Church as visible member by means of the public confession of faith. The logic of the argument is air tight and unassailable, and as such proves beyond legitimate dispute that if a pope were to become a public heretic, he would cease automatically to be pope. However, faith as a necessary disposition to remain in the Church as a visible member does not suffice to account for why it is that faith, not merely the material and external profession of the objective content of faith, but the virtue of faith as a principium operationis is necessary to be in the soul of person of the pope as its subject in order to receive and preserve within himself the form of the supreme pontificate. As I mentioned earlier, St. Thomas explains that, « Primum est quod per fidem anima coniungitur Deo»; and therefore, «Baptismus enim sine fide non prodest»; and thus, as Bellarmine notes, «ex B. Thoma, qui 3. part. q. 8. dicit, eos qui fide carent, non esse unitos Christo actu, sed in potentia tantum», and therefore, «secundum B. Thomam, solus character non unit actu hominem cum Christo» -- and thus not being united to Christ by faith, a heretic pope would lack the capacity to exercise the function of confirmator fratrum, being incapable of exercising the charism of Infallibility, and therefore, lacking the necessary disposition to retain the form of the papacy, in which is the fullness of power of an unfailing faith. In Bellarmine’s own words, lacking the necessary disposition to retain the form of the papacy, «Papa haereticus sine alia depositione per se desinit esse Papa»; because, «ista dispositione sublata per contrariam quae est haeresis, mox papa desinit esse; neque enim potest forma conservari sine necessariis dispositionibus. »
Simply stated, the charism of Infallibility depends on the virtue of faith as its necessary disposition, because it consists of the fullness of power of the unfailing virtue of faith; and therefore it would clearly be impossible for one to be a valid Roman Pontiff without the virtue of faith; nor would it be possible for a Pontiff who possesses the fullness of power of unfailing faith to fail in his faith and to defect from the faith by falling into heresy.
The virtue of faith as the absolutely necessary disposition for a man to validly receive and preserve the form of the Supreme Pontificate can also clearly be seen to be the basis of the teaching of Paul IV in Cum ex apostolates officio, which, although not dogmatically defined, was the basis of disciplinary canonical provisions set forth in that decree which remained in force until 1983, and as a doctrine remains perpetually valid. The problematic aspect of its teaching would be its applicability, insofar as it appears to be unenforceable. As a pure hypothesis, this doctrine would seem constitute a valid basis for opinion no 2, according to which even a pope who is a secret heretic would cease to be pope, not because he would thereby cease altogether to be a member of the Church, but because the heretic can neither receive nor conserve the form of the papacy. However, since a secret heretic could neither be pope, nor could it be known and judged that he is not a valid pope, and therefore he could not be removed by men, (as Bellarmine points out), the papacy would cease to be a visible institution, because it could not ever be known whether or not the pope is a true and visible head of the Church, or if he is a counterfeit heretic impostor. Thus, the necessity of personal faith as the doctrinal basis of Cum ex apostolates officio would only superficially appear to provide a theological basis for opinion no. 2; whereas in reality, it underscores and confirms the validity of opinion no. one, and manifests the irresolvable problematic aspect of opinion no. 2, which plainly demonstrates it to be utterly inapplicable in reality, and logically incoherent even as a mere hypothesis, since the pope is by definition the visible head of the Church, and that visibility would not exist in the papacy if a man who is not the pope would visibly appear to be the pope. Hence, it is clear that opinion no. one, and not opinion no. 2 (which only superficially appears to be), was the basis for Paul IV’s doctrine in that decree.
2) «Secundo probatur ab eventu; nam hactenus nullus fuit haereticus, vel certe de nullo probari [PK1] potest, quod haereticus fuerit; ergo signum est, non posse esse. »
Dr. Edward Peters, in A Canon Lawyer’s Blog notes, «Beste, (Introductio (1961) 242), “In history no example of this can be found.” And the great Felix Cappello, Summa Iuris I (1949) n. 309, thought that the possibility of a pope falling into public heresy should be “entirely dismissed given the special love of God for the Church of Christ [lest] the Church fall into the greatest danger.” » Not only does St. Robert Bellarmine affirm that no pope has ever fallen into heresy, but Innocent III and Pope St. Agatho had already stated the same: «Et ideo fides apostolicae sedis in nulla nunquam turbatione defecit, sed integra semper et illibata permansit: ut Petri privilegium persisteret inconcussum. » ; and, Pope St. Agatho in his response to Sergius: “Let your clemency therefore consider that the Lord and Saviour of all, to whom faith belongs, who promised that the faith of Peter should not fail, admonished him to strengthen his brethren; and it is known to all men that the apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my littleness, have always done this with confidence...”
Citing the work of Da Silveira, Don Curzio Nitoglia explains that the first opinion, that a pope cannot be a heretic, is the one that is most commonly taught as the most probable by the majority of theologians and Doctors: Bellarmine, Francisco Suarez, Melchior Cano, Domingo soto, John of St. Thomas, Juan de Torquemada, Louis Billot, Joachim Salaverri, A. Maria Vellico, Charles Journet (and Cajetan who is not cited by Da Silveira, but is demonstrated by Msgr. Vittorio Mondello in La dottrina del Gaetano sul Romano Pontefice, Messina, Istituto Arti Grafiche di Sicilia, 1965, cap. V, pp. 163-194 e cap. VI, pp. 195-224) and that the pope as pope cannot fall into formal heresy, whereas he can favour heresy or fall into material heresy as a private doctor or also as pope, but only in the non defining magisterium, which in neither infallible nor binding.
Commenting on Ballerini, Don Curzio explains, “If one studies well the thought of don Pietro Ballerini, one sees that according to him, the pope is obligated to place himself under supernatural faith, and the natural moral law as well as the divine law; there is no human authority over him, but his power is limited to that which God has given to him who is his vicar on earth, which is only when he defines and infallibly binds; but when expressing opinions on manners not yet defined, he can err; and in an eventual and possible case of external heresy, Ballerini is not opposed to the possibility that the pope could fall, not dealing with definitions, but he maintains that it has never happened in all the history of the Church and will never happen.
For a long time opinions have been divided among eminent theologians and canonists between opinion no 1 that a pope simply cannot fall into heresy, and the opinion that a pope could fall into heresy. Peters, observes, « Wrenn, writing in the CLSA NEW COMM (2001) at 1618 states: “Canon 1404 is not a statement of personal impeccability or inerrancy of the Holy Father. Should, indeed, the pope fall into heresy, it is understood that he would lose his office. To fall from Peter’s faith is to fall from his chair.” » An earlier edition of that same commentary says, “Communion becomes a real issue when it is threatened or even lost. This occurs especially through heresy, apostasy and schism. Classical canonists discussed the question whether a pope, in his private or personal opinions, could go into heresy, apostasy or schism.” The footnote refers to S. Sipos, Enchiridion Iuris Canonici, 7th ed. (Rome: Herder, 1960), who “cites Bellarmine and Wernz in support of this position; this view, however, is termed ‘antiquated’ by F. Cappello, Summa Iuris Canonici (Rome: Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, 1961), 297.” The Commentary continues, “If he were to do so in a notoriously and widely publicised manner, he would break communion and, according to an accepted opinion, lose his office ipso facto (c. 194 par. 1, n. 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.” – (James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel; , p. 272) Bellarmine states in his comment on opinion no. one, that he accepted this opinion (no.5) as a hypothesis, but considered opinion no 1 one as the more probable: “Still, because it is not certain, and the common opinion is to the contrary, it will be worthwhile to see what the response should be if the Pope could be a heretic.”
I have already quoted above, Cardinal Stickler (“the prerogative of infallibility of office does not impede the Pope, as an individual, from sin and thus become personally heretical”), and most recently, Cardinal Raymond Burke, “If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.”
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.” 
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.” 
The contrary opinion is expressed by St. Robert Bellarmine, who first states the argument: “Many canons teach that the Pope cannot be judged unless he may be discovered to have deviated from the faith, therefore he can deviate from the faith. Otherwise these canons would be to no effect. It is clear from the preceding canon, Si Papa, dist. 40, from the 5th Council under Symachus, from the Eighth general council, act 7, from the third epistle of Anacletus, the second epistle of Eusebius, and from Innocent III .” He then tersely refutes it: “Therein it is gathered correctly that the Pope by his own nature can fall into heresy, but not when we posit the singular assistance of God which Christ asked for him by his prayer. Furthermore, Christ prayed lest his faith would fail, not lest he would fall into vice.” Thus, Bellarmine answers the impeccability objection.
Not only does St. Robert Bellarmine argue that there has never been any pope proven to have been a heretic, but it was the position of the First Vatican Council under Pope Pius IX, as Archbishop Purcell testified (in the earlier cited passage on the query of a cardinal on a heretic pope), “It was answered that there has never been such a case”. St. Robert also argues that it cannot be gathered from those canons that a pope can in fact become a heretic, but (says Bellarmine in the same chapter VII), “I say those canons do not mean the Pope can err as a private person but only that the Pope cannot be judged; it is still not altogether certain whether the Pontiff could be a heretic or not. Thus, they add the condition ‘if he might become a heretic’ for greater caution.” These words of the Holy Doctor, «sed tantum non posse Pontificem judicari», provide a key for understanding the distinctions he makes in refuting opinion no. 3 and 4, and the basis of opinion no. 5.
Needless to say, St. Robert Bellarmine’s declaration that “the Pope cannot be judged”, directly refutes the interpretation of John Salza and Robert Siscoe, who say that according to Bellarmine, a heretical pope would not lose office unless he would be judged to be a heretic by the Church. In their hysterical article, RESPONDING TO FR. KRAMER'S ERRONEOUS INTERPRETATION OF BELLARMINE , Salza & Co. quote my statement: “Bellarmine does not refute the argument that a pope who is a manifest heretic loses office [by himself] – he is speaking specifically of removal of the pope when he says the judgment of men is required to remove him. The fact of loss of office occurs ipso facto, but the heretic “pope” must be removed by the judgment of the Church.” (Non aufertur a Deo nisi per hominem) Salza & Siscoe then comment, “Fr. Kramer says that the heretical Pope is only ‘judged by men,’ after he has fallen from office. In other words, according to Fr. Kramer, Bellarmine teaches that Christ secretly deposes the Pope (removes him from office) and then the man who is ‘judged’ is no longer the Pope. The ‘judgment of men,’ he claims, simply concerns the Church’s physical removal of the former Pope from office.” I have already explained in the first part of this work, the manner in which the loss of office would take place in the case of a heretical pope, as set forth by Bellarmine, Ballerini, and Pope Gregory XVI; and nowhere have I ever even remotely suggested that “Christ secretly deposes the Pope”, but that according to their doctrine, the heretic pope would by the very act of heresy fall from office “by himself”, having pronounced judgment upon himself; and the fall from office would take place without any judgment by the Church, as Ballerini explicitly states. Thus the only question of law would not be concerned with how the loss of office would come about, (which is a doctrinal question that cannot be settled by legislation), but with the means and procedures by which the Church would declare the heretic’s fall from office to have taken place, so that the vacancy could be filled.
Salza and Siscoe also write most stupidly in their magnum opus of, “Pope Honorius, who has been declared a heretic by the Church (albeit after his death)!” The Church has never judged Pope Honorius to have actually been guilty of the crime of heresy. Salza in particular most ignorantly pontificates that there have been several historical examples of popes who were formal heretics, claiming that there have been “several historical examples”.
Bellarmine deals with the question of judging a pope, and of Pope Honorius in particular in his commentary on the third opinion:
“The third opinion is on another extreme, that the Pope is not and cannot be deposed either by secret or manifest heresy. Turrecremata in the aforementioned citation relates and refutes this opinion, and rightly so, for it is exceedingly improbable. Firstly, because that a heretical Pope can be judged is expressly held in the Canon, Si Papa, dist. 40, and with Innocent . And what is more, in the Fourth Council of Constantinople, Act 7, the acts of the Roman Council under Hadrian are recited, and in those it was contained that Pope Honorius appeared to be legally anathematized, because he had been convicted of heresy, the only reason where it is lawful for inferiors to judge superiors. Here the fact must be remarked upon that, although it is probable that Honorius was not a heretic, and that Pope Hadrian II was deceived by corrupted copies of the Sixth Council, which falsely reckoned Honorius was a heretic, we still cannot deny that Hadrian, with the Roman Council, and the whole Eighth Synod sensed that in the case of heresy, a Roman Pontiff can be judged. Add, that it would be the most miserable condition of the Church, if she should be compelled to recognize a wolf, manifestly prowling, for a shepherd.”
A fundamentalistic interpretation of Bellarmine’s refutation of opinion no. 3, (such as that of Salza and Siscoe), simplistically applies the Canon Si papa like a blunt instrument, with a total disregard for the subtly nuanced understanding of the canon as it was understood by Medieval canonists and interpreted by Bellarmine. Siscoe most ignorantly states, in his Remnant article, replying to those who would «object by saying, since a pope cannot be judged by a council, Bellarmine could not have meant that a council would depose a heretical Pope. They will then insist that this is why Bellarmine taught that a heretical pope loses his office automatically. But this is clearly not the case, since Bellarmine himself defended the opinion that a heretical Pope can be judged by a council. He wrote: “Firstly, that a heretical Pope can be judged is expressly held in Can. Si Papa dist. 40, and by Innocent III (Serm. II de Consec. Pontif.) Furthermore, in the 8th Council, (act. 7) the acts of the Roman Council under Pope Hadrian are recited, in which one finds that Pope Honorius appears to be justly anathematized, because he had been convicted of heresy, which is the only case in which inferiors are permitted to judge superiors.” (79) » . Indeed, if Bellarmine were invoking that canon as a justification for a pope’s inferiors to judge a reigning Pontiff for heresy, then he would have involved himself in an irreconcilable contradiction, having stated in Book IV that “the pope cannot be judged”. Salza and Siscoe completely overlook the critical distinction between deponendus and depositus that Bellarmine and Ballerini make, as I have already pointed out earlier, and as Don Curzio also explains: “the third opinion has been taken into consideration by only one French theologian of the Nineteenth Century (D. Bouix, Tractatus de Papa, Parigi/Lione, Lecoffre, 1869) out of 137 authors, according to which if the pope, as a hypothesis, falls into heresy he retains the pontificate, but the faithful must not remain passive, but should manifest the error to the pope so that he may be corrected, without, however, being able to declare him “depositus” or to be deposed “deponendus” (cfr. A. X. Da Silveira, Qual è l’autorità dottrinale dei documenti pontifici e conciliari?, “Cristianità”, n. 9, 1975; Id., È lecita la resistenza a decisioni dell’Autorità ecclesiastica?, “Cristianità”, n. 10, 1975; Id., Può esservi l’errore nei documenti del Magistero ecclesiastico?, “Cristianità”, n. 13, 1975) This third opinion is not shared by any “approved” theologians”. Accordingly Bellarmine presents the third opinion thus, “Papam neque per haeresim occultam, neque per manifestam, esse depositum aut deponi posse”. Thus Bellarmine rejects this opinion not on the basis of a pope being able to be judged and deposed by the Church, but to be judged as having fallen from office and to simply “be deposed” by his own actions, and thus not deposed by the Church, but per se to have fallen from office. Don Curzio concludes, «In reality, Bellarmine treats of the pure hypothesis of a heretic pope, “admitted but not conceded”, but holding speculatively, as an investigative hypothesis – that the pope would be deposed ipso facto (“depositus”) and not to be deposed (“deponendus”) after a declaration of the bishops or the Sacred College of Cardinals»
One of the great Medieval canonists was Pope Innocent III, whose sermons strongly support opinion no. one, but who at least hypothetically admitted opinion no. 5 as well. It is absolutely clear from Innocent’s teaching that, so long as the pope holds office, he cannot be judged by anyone, and no judgment of the Church pronounced on the pope would be of any effect: «Petrus ligare potest cæteros, sed ligari non potest a cæteris. Tu, inquit, vocaberis Cephas (Joan. 1), quod exponitur caput; quia sicut in capite consistit omnium sensuum plenitudo, in cæteris autem membris pars est aliqua plenitudinis: ita cæteri vocati sunt in partem sollicitudinis, solus autem Petrus assumptus est in plenitudinem potestatis. Jam ergo videtis quis iste servus, qui super familiam constituitur, profecto vicarius Jesu Christi, successor Petri, Christus Domini, Deus Pharaonis: inter Deum et hominem medius constitutus, citra Deum, sed ultra hominem: minor Deo, sed major homine: qui de omnibus judicat, et a nemine judicatur: Apostoli voce pronuntians, qui me judicat, Dominus est (ICor. iv).»  The Pope is the divine pharaoh, he is less than God but more than man, who pronounces with the voice of the Apostle, He who judges me is the Lord. (1 Cor. 4) Being “minor Deo sed major homine”, he is judged by no one – ”a nemine judicatur”.
However, if a pope were to become a heretic, he would, according to the Medieval canonists, (as Cardinal Stickler explains), “cease to be pope”, and thus would no longer be major homine, but as a heretic who is no longer a member of the Church would become minor quolibet catholico: from being more than man, he would become less than any Catholic, since (as Bellarmine would later explain) he would no longer be pope, a Christian, or a member of the Church. Having fallen from office – from the highest position to the lowest, i.e., minor quolibet catholico, he can be shown to be already judged, (as Innocent III says) and having been already judged by God and having ceased to be pope, he can then be judged and punished by the Church (as Bellarmine says). Don Curzio Nitoglia writes, “Monsignor Vittorio Mondello (La dottrina del Gaetano sul Romano Pontefice, cit., pp. 163-194) explains that the hypothesis of the possibility of a heretic pope derives from the Decree of Gratian (dist. XL, cap. 6, col. 146) written between 1140 and 1150, in which is found a fragment erroneously believed to be of St. Boniface, († 5 June 754), a Benedictine monk of Exeter in England sent by Pope Gregory II to evangelize Germany, consecrated Archbishop of Mainz, and martyred in Freising, who is considered to be the apostle of Germany, and whose body rests in Fulda.”  “This fragment,” continues Don Curzio, “has the title, ‘Si Papa’, and expresses the doctrine according to which [the pope] ‘a nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur a Fide devius/ cannot be judged by any human authority, except if he has fallen unto heresy’.” “Basing themselves on this spurious decree erroneously attributed to St. Boniface and accepted at face value by Gratian,” continues Don Curzio, “the Medieval and Counter-Reformation theologians maintained as possible the hypothesis but not the certitude of the possibility of a heretic pope. At this point they are divided in how to resolve the question of a pope who eventually falls into heresy as a private person (cfr. A. M. Vellico, De Ecclesia Christi, Roma, 1940, p. 395, n. 557, in footnote 560 there is an ample bibliography). Cardinal Charles Journet (L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné, Bruges, Desclée, II ed., 1995, vol. I, p. 626) maintains that the opinion according to which the pope cannot fall into heresy ‘is gaining ascendency above all due to the progress of historical studies. Bellarmine (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30) was one of the supporters of this thesis. The opinion that admits of the possibility of papal heresy has its remote origin from the already cited Decree of Gratian, which brings up again a spurious text attributed to St. Boniface’ (cited in V. Mondello, op. cit., p. 164).”
“Now the eventual condemnation of a pope in the sole case of heresy by an imperfect Council (of bishops only),” continues Don Curzio, “is the thesis of mitigated Conciliarism, condemned as heretical and the child of radical Conciliarism, which holds that the Council is always superior to the pope, and which has been condemned per se as heretical. Msgr. Antonio Piolante writes, ‘Conciliarism is an ecclesiological error, according to which an ecumenical Council is superior to the pope. The remote origin of Conciliarism is found in the juridical principle of the Decree of Gratian (dist. XL, cap. 6) according to which the pope can be judged by the Church (the bishops or the cardinals) in case of heresy. […] this error was condemned by the Council of Trent and received its coup de grâce from the First Vatican Council’ (Dizionario di teologia dommatica, Roma, Studium, IV ed., 1957, pp. 82-84, voce Conciliarismo).” I have already quoted verbatim the relevant texts of Trent and Vatican I earlier in this work.
In spite of their protestations that they refrain from holding a position in these matters which have not been decided by the ecclesiastical magisterium, Salza and Siscoe have emphatically stated and elaborated their heretical position on the question of a heretical pope. In their Gloria TV interview, Salza and Siscoe emphatically declare (proximate to heresy) in response to the question, “So, are you saying that heresy itself would not cause a Pope to fall from office?”: (Salza and Siscoe) - “Yes, that is correct. In the book, we use the metaphysics of Thomas to explain why it is that heresy does not directly cause a Pope to fall from the pontificate.” Robert J. Siscoe states with unequivocal clarity his heretical mitigated Conciliarist opinion in his Remnant article (Nov. 18, 2014): “The Church must render a judgment before the pope loses his office. Private judgment of the laity in this matter does not suffice.” — Robert J. Siscoe.
Clueless Robert Siscoe still cannot grasp the simple notion of an automatic loss of office that does not take place by either private judgment, or official judgment by the Church, but by the act of heresy itself, independently of the judgment of others, but pronounced as a judgment by the heretic upon himself, so that he loses office “straightaway”, as Bellarmine teaches: “by himself” (per se), and ipso facto, which means “by the very act itself”, and therefore “immediately”, “automatically” or “straightgaway”, as Bellarmine states with the word “mox”. Cardinal Raymond Burke, unlike John Salza and Robert Siscoe, does not suffer from the hang-up about automatic loss of office for heresy (which Salza & Siscoe repeatedly declare to be “sedevacantist theology” and a “misinterpretation” and “distortion” of the teaching of St Robert Bellarmine), but understands the clear and unequivocal teaching of St. Bellarmine in his presentation of opinion no. 5, so Cardinal Burke simply states, “If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.”
Salza & Siscoe have become so desperately obsessed with their heretical mitigated conciliarist belief that a pope who falls into heresy must first be judged by the Church, that they have resorted to a plainly irrational argument against the plainly expressed position of Bellarmine, which I have interpreted and understood in the manner of Cardinal Burke and all the expert commentators of the recent centuries. Here is Salza & Siscoe’s moronic argument against what is universally understood as opinion no. 5:
«Suffice it to say that not a single theologian has ever taught the laity, or individual priest, are permitted render such a judgment or make such public declarations on their own authority. Before a person can conclude that a Pope has lost his office for heresy, it requires an antecedent (prior) judgment that he has, in fact, fallen into heresy. The antecedent judgment must be rendered by the Church before the consequent judgment can be declared. And if the antecedent judgment is forbidden, as Kramer now argues ("a Pope cannot be judged, even for heresy") how could the consequent judgment (that he lost his office for heresy) ever be determined? If the Church was not permitted to render a judgment of heresy concerning a pope, it would be equally forbidden to declare that a Pope had lost his office for heresy. This explains why the famous axiom "the first see is judged by no one" has been understood to include the exception "unless he is accused of heresy." But only the Church possesses the authority to render such a judgment and make any consequent declarations.»
First, to the statement, “that not a single theologian has ever taught the laity, or individual priest, are permitted render such a judgment or make such public declarations on their own authority.” St. Robert Bellarmine says: “For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, […] for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.”  No authority is required to express an opinion on a notorious fact. That is a basic right of natural law. Now here is the Salza/Siscoe lunacy: “Before a person can conclude that a Pope has lost his office for heresy, it requires an antecedent (prior) judgment that he has, in fact, fallen into heresy. The antecedent judgment must be rendered by the Church before the consequent judgment can be declared. And if the antecedent judgment is forbidden, as Kramer now argues ("a Pope cannot be judged, even for heresy") how could the consequent judgment (that he lost his office for heresy) ever be determined?” [As Kramer now argues? What a load of codswallop!]
Salza & Siscoe speak of those (i.e. “sedevacantists”) who “ have misunderstood (and abused) the quote from St. Robert Bellarmine, who said “the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed,” as if Bellarmine actually meant that a cleric or Pope automatically loses his office when a person privately judges him to be a heretic.” In fact it is Salza and Siscoe who crudely misinterpret Bellarmine, who does not say that a heretic pope loses office ipso facto “when a person privately judges him”, but who loses office “straightaway”, “by himself”, when he publicly pronounces judgment upon himself. It is at this point when, as Bellarmine says, “men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.” As both Bellarmine and Ballerini have plainly stated in the quotations I have cited earlier in this work, the loss of office would take place automatically and independently of anyone else’s judgment when the heretic pronounce judgment upon himself; and the judgment of the Church and that of private individuals would take place after the ipso fcto loss of office. All of the decrees and canons (such as Canon 10 of the Fourth Council of Constantinople) cited by Salza and Siscoe, which forbid subjects to depose their prelates, are clearly not applicable, and were not intended to be applied to such a case as would take place when a holder of ecclesiastical office publicly defects from the Catholic faith by manifest heresy. This is most evident from the clear wording of that Canon 10 of Constantinople, which says, “As divine scripture clearly proclaims, ‘Do not find fault before you investigate, and understand first and then find fault’. And does our law judge a person without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?’” This text clearly does not refer to a person who pronounces judgment upon himself. The Church did not excommunicate those who refused to be in communion with Nestorius, but vindicated them by declaring their excommunications to have been null and void.
Siscoe also makes an errant application of Bellarmine’s words in his Remnant article when he says, “St. Bellarmine himself explained that a heretical bishop must be deposed by the proper authorities. After explaining how a false prophet (meaning heretical pastor) can be spotted, he wrote:“…if the pastor is a bishop, they [the faithful] cannot depose him and put another in his place. For Our Lord and the Apostles only lay down that false prophets are not to be listened to by the people, and not that they depose them. And it is certain that the practice of the Church has always been that heretical bishops be deposed by bishop’s councils, or by the Sovereign Pontiff.” It is patent from the explicitly expressed doctrine of Bellarmine in this text, that he is not treating of matters of opinion, but of acts of jurisdiction – jurisdiction which the faithful do not possess.
The position of Pope Pius IX at the First Vatican Council was quite different, and did not concern private judgment of a heretical pope, but the plainly evident fact of manifest heresy, as Archbishop Purcell related: “If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I”. No ‘antecedent judgment’ is required or even possible, because by the very fact of public heresy, the heretic would have already fallen from office, and thus there can be no antecedent judgment. An individual person or the Church can only understand and judge that a manifest heretic, who openly denies the faith, is in fact a heretic after the fact of the manifest formal heresy and the immediately consequent fall from office. The Church must declare the fact officially, in order to fill the vacancy, and to protect the souls of the faithful from the heretical wolf, but there is no reason why men would be morally forbidden from forming their own opinions in the matter before the Church makes its official pronouncement: “men are not bound or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.”
Salza and Siscoe say, The antecedent judgment must be rendered by the Church before the consequent judgment can be declared. Really? But there is no antecedent judgment made before the fall from office – it is impossible, because the pope remains in office so long as he is not a heretic, and cannot be judged. According to Bellarmine, and all who hold to opinion no. 5, the first judgment is pronounced by the heretic upon himself, who automatically falls from office without any judgment by the Church. This is patently manifest in Bellarmine’s own words:
“Therefore, the true opinion is the fifth, according to which the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the opinion of all the ancient Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”
It is at this point, that, after the fall from office, that, as Bellarmine says, “when they [men] see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple, and condemn him as a heretic.” The Church judges after the fact, and therefore after the fall, and thus judges juridically and punishes the heretic who by his heresy became “minor qoulibet catholico”. Individuals also judge according to their own private opinion, according to an informed conscience, but the private judgment of indivviduals does not have the juridical effect of authorizing a new papal election.
As Gregory XVI (quoted earlier) explained, such a one would have “fallen” from office “by himself” (per se decaduto dal pontificato). Similarly, St. Alphonsus: “After all, if God were to permit that a pope would be notoriously heretical and contumacious, he would cease to be pope, and the pontificate would be vacant.”  And again in the same work, “The same (i.e. “the See would be considered vacant”) would be in the case, if the pope were to fall notoriously and pertinaciously in some heresy. Since then, … the pope would not be deprived by the Council … but would be immediately stripped by Christ, having in fact become an incapable subject, and fallen from his office.” Thus, the very justification for the Church to convene in a Council to judge the heretic pope would be the fact that the See would have already been considered to be having been vacated by a heretic pope, who would have become an incapable subject to retain the papacy, and would have already fallen from office. The proposition that one is morally bound not to acknowledge such a fact, and to believe the falsehood that a heretic is still the pope until the Church will have declared otherwise, is absurd on its face, and is a perverted belief. No one can ever be bound to believe a falsehood until the Church declares it is false; and that would also leave the wolf free to prowl and destroy souls for however so long it would take for the Church to finally get its act together and render a judgment – quod esset miserrima conditio Ecclesiæ, si lupum manifeste grassantem, pro pastore agnoscere cogeretur. (Bellarminus)
As I have already explained earlier, an ipso facto loss of office takes place immediately by the very act itself, by that fact alone, otherwise it is not ipso facto. If such a fall does not take place immediately by the fact itself, but only after judgment by the Church, then it is not ipso facto, because ipso facto means “by the fact itself”, and if the fact of heresy has already taken place in reality but the heretic does not yet fall from office by that fact alone, i.e., “by himself”, THEN IT IS NOT IPSO FACTO. The notion of an ipso facto fall from office that does not take place immediately by the very fact of heresy alone, by itself, but only after the judgment of the Church, is a self-contradictory notion. This is how the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine is understood by all ecclesiastical scholars who comment on his exposition of opinion no. 5 – that the ipso facto fall from office is automatic.
“According to Bellarmine,” explains Don Curzio Nitoglia, “(De Romano Pontifice lib. II. Cap. 30, p. 420), since notorious and public manifest heretics lose jurisdiction ipso facto, granted but not conceded that the pope can fall into heresy, in the eventual case of manifest heresy, he would immediately lose the papal authority. This is the interpretation of the Bellarminian position given by the Jesuit Fathers Franz Xavier Wernz and Pedro Vidal (Jus Canonicum), Rome, Gregorian, 1943, vvol. II, p. 517)” The Don Curzio points out that the same interpretation is given by other eminent authorities as well: “(cfr. anche L. Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, Prato, Giachetti, 1909, tomo II, p. 617; J. Salaverri, De Ecclesia Christi, Madrid, BAC, 1958, p. 879, n. 1047).” 
Against this unanimous interpretation of commentators on Bellarmine made by all eminent theologians and canonists in recent centuries, Salza and Siscoe most stupidly deeclare:
«Bellarmine and Suarez (two Jesuits) disagree with the opinion of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas (the Dominicans). As we explain in great detail in our book, Bellarmine and Suarez teach that the Pope will lose his office, ipso facto, once he is judged by the Church to be a heretic, without the additional juridical act of vitandus declaration. » (emphasis added)
And then they explain what (according to them) is the “erroneous interpretation of Bellarmine” which they characterize as the “sedevacantist interpretation of Bellarmine”, which,(they say), “Fr. Kramer has swallowed hook, line and sinker” (!!!):
«Where the Sedevacantists have erred is by interpreting the ipso facto loss of office to be similar to an “ipso facto” latae sententiæ excommunication, which occurs automatically (or ipso facto), when one commits an offense that carries the penalty, without requiring an antecedent judgment by the Church. But this is not at all what Bellarmine and Suarez meant by the ipso facto loss of office. What they meant is that the ipso facto loss of office occurs after the Church judges the Pope to be a heretic and before any additional juridical sentence or excommunication (which differs from Cajetan’s opinion). In other words, after the Church establishes “the fact” that the Pope is a manifest heretic, he, according to this opinion, is deemed to lose his office ipso facto (“by the fact”). This is clear from the following quotation from Suarez who wrote: . . . »
Incredibly, Salza and Siscoe would attempt to interpret the meaning of Bellarmine, (who said opinion no. 5 is the true opinion), not by analyzing Bellarmine’s own words, but by quoting Suarez, who, according to all the expert canonists and theologians subscribed to opinion no. 4! Salza & Siscoe say they are all wrong, and that Suarez followed opinion no. 5! Don Curzio comments, “The fourth opinion, studied above all by Cardinal Tommaso de Vio ‘Cajetan’, by John of St. Thomas, (De aucttoritate Summi Pontificis, Quebec, Laval University, 1947) and also by Francisco Suarez (who examines the first and the fourth, but maintains the first more probable than the fourth); according to the fourth opinion there must be a declaration of heresy of the pope by the bishops or the College of Cardinals.” All commentators, whether theologians or canonists, distinguish between opinion no. 4 and no. 5 on the basis that in opinion no. 4 a judgment of the Church is necessary for a manifest heretic pope to fall from office, and in opinion no 5 the fall is automatic, without any judgment by the Church. This is the opinion of Cardinal Burke, whom I have quoted earlier saying the fall would be “automatic”. According to Salza & Siscoe, they are all wrong, and their interpretation of opinion no. 5 is “sedevacantist theology”— and they ignorantly insist that both Suarez and Bellarmine were of opinion no. 5, which they interpret to mean that the heretic pope would fall from office after a judgment by the Church.
It is by this fraudulent and grotesquely distorted misinterpretation of Bellarmine, that Salza and Siscoe attempt to make it appear that Bellarmine, Cajetan, Suarez, John of St. Thomas, Billuart, Layman (and others) were all in agreement that a judgment of the Church would first be necessary before a heretic pope would fall from office, and they fraudulently maintain that this universally abandoned opinion is the common opinion today! The opinion that a manifestly and formally heretical pope would remain in office and retain jurisdiction until judged by the Church is proximate to heresy, because it opposes the teaching of the universal magisterium that a heretic is severed from the body of the Church by the act of formal heresy; and it is also contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, as Bellarmine plainly demonstrates. Salza and Siscoe make a desperate attempt to salvage their heretical doctrine by appealing to the teaching of Billuart, who misapplies the provisions of Ad evitanda scandala (Martin V) to the case of a heretic pope. This topic will be dealt with in the next section.
 Jus Canonicum by Franz Xavier Wernz S.J. and Pedro Vidal S.J. (1938) Chapter VII; and, Jus Canonicum, Roma, Gregoriana, 1943, vol. II, p. 517
 Institutiones Iuris Canonici. 5th ed. Santander: Sal Terrae, 1956. 1:396
 Pope Pius XI, Decree Providentissimus Deus (declaring St. Robert Bellarmine a Doctor of the Church), 17 Sept, 1931.
 “The first is of Albert Pighius, who contends that the Pope cannot be a heretic, and hence would not be deposed in any case : such an opinion is probable, and can easily be defended, as we will show in its proper place. Still, because it is not certain, and the common opinion is to the contrary, it will be worthwhile to see what the response should be if the Pope could be a heretic.”
 It is proved: 1) because it seems to require the sweet disposition of the providence of God. For the Pope not only should not, but cannot preach heresy, but rather should always preach the truth. He will certainly do that, since the Lord commanded him to confirm his brethren, and for that reason added: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith shall not fail,” that is, that at least the preaching of the true faith shall not fail in thy throne. How, I ask, will a heretical Pope confirm the brethren in faith and always preach the true faith? Certainly God can wrench the confession of the true faith out of the heart of a heretic just as he placed the words in the mouth of Balaam’s ass. Still, this will be a great violence, and not in keeping with the providence of God that sweetly disposes all things.
 28 «And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said: What have I done to thee? Why strikest thou me, lo, now this third time?29 Balaam answered: Because thou hast deserved it, and hast served me ill: I would I had a sword that I might kill thee. 30 The ass said: Am not I thy beast, on which thou hast been always accustomed to ride until this present day? tell me if I ever did the like thing to thee. But he said: Never. »
 «Respondeo dicendum quod impossibile est dicere quod essentia animae sit eius potentia; licet hoc quidam posuerint. Et hoc dupliciter ostenditur, quantum ad praesens. Primo quia, cum potentia et actus dividant ens et quodlibet genus entis, oportet quod ad idem genus referatur potentia et actus. Et ideo, si actus non est in genere substantiae, potentia quae dicitur ad illum actum, non potest esse in genere substantiae. Operatio autem animae non est in genere substantiae; sed in solo Deo, cuius operatio est eius substantia. Unde Dei potentia, quae est operationis principium, est ipsa Dei essentia. Quod non potest esse verum neque in anima, neque in aliqua creatura; ut supra etiam de Angelo dictum est. Secundo, hoc etiam impossibile apparet in anima. Nam anima secundum suam essentiam est actus. Si ergo ipsa essentia animae esset immediatum operationis principium, semper habens animam actu haberet opera vitae; sicut semper habens animam actu est vivum. Non enim, inquantum est forma, est actus ordinatus ad ulteriorem actum, sed est ultimus terminus generationis. Unde quod sit in potentia adhuc ad alium actum, hoc non competit ei secundum suam essentiam, inquantum est forma; sed secundum suam potentiam. Et sic ipsa anima, secundum quod subest suae potentiae, dicitur actus primus, ordinatus ad actum secundum. Invenitur autem habens animam non semper esse in actu operum vitae. Unde etiam in definitione animae dicitur quod est actus corporis potentia vitam habentis, quae tamen potentia non abiicit animam. Relinquitur ergo quod essentia animae non est eius potentia. Nihil enim est in potentia secundum actum, inquantum est actus. » (Summa Theol. 1.77.1).
 «Respondeo dicendum quod necesse est ponere plures animae potentias. Ad cuius evidentiam, considerandum est quod, sicut philosophus dicit in II de caelo, quae sunt in rebus infima, non possunt consequi perfectam bonitatem, sed aliquam imperfectam consequuntur paucis motibus; superiora vero his adipiscuntur perfectam bonitatem motibus multis; his autem superiora sunt quae adipiscuntur perfectam bonitatem motibus paucis; summa vero perfectio invenitur in his quae absque motu perfectam possident bonitatem. Sicut infime est ad sanitatem dispositus qui non potest perfectam consequi sanitatem, sed aliquam modicam consequitur paucis remediis melius autem dispositus est qui potest perfectam consequi sanitatem, sed remediis multis; et adhuc melius, qui remediis paucis; optime autem, qui absque remedio perfectam sanitatem habet. »
« Respondeo dicendum quod, cum anima sit una, potentiae vero plures; ordine autem quodam ab uno in multitudinem procedatur; necesse est inter potentias animae ordinem esse. Triplex autem ordo inter eas attenditur. Quorum duo considerantur secundum dependentiam unius potentiae ab altera, tertius autem accipitur secundum ordinem obiectorum. Dependentia autem unius potentiae ab altera dupliciter accipi potest, uno modo, secundum naturae ordinem, prout perfecta sunt naturaliter imperfectis priora; alio modo, secundum ordinem generationis et temporis, prout ex imperfecto ad perfectum venitur. Secundum igitur primum potentiarum ordinem, potentiae intellectivae sunt priores potentiis sensitivis, unde dirigunt eas et imperant eis. Et similiter potentiae sensitivae hoc ordine sunt priores potentiis animae nutritivae. Secundum vero ordinem secundum, e converso se habet. Nam potentiae animae nutritivae sunt priores, in via generationis, potentiis animae sensitivae, unde ad earum actiones praeparant corpus. Et similiter est de potentiis sensitivis respectu intellectivarum. Secundum autem ordinem tertium, ordinantur quaedam vires sensitivae ad invicem, scilicet visus, auditus et olfactus. Nam visibile est prius naturaliter, quia est commune superioribus et inferioribus corporibus. Sonus autem audibilis fit in aere, qui est naturaliter prior commixtione elementorum, quam consequitur odor. »
 Respondeo dicendum quod, cum per habitum perficiatur potentia ad agendum, ibi indiget potentia habitu perficiente ad bene agendum, qui quidem habitus est virtus, ubi ad hoc non sufficit propria ratio potentiae. Omnis autem potentiae propria ratio attenditur in ordine ad obiectum. Unde cum, sicut dictum est, obiectum voluntati sit bonum rationis voluntati proportionatum, quantum ad hoc non indiget voluntas virtute perficiente. Sed si quod bonum immineat homini volendum, quod excedat proportionem volentis; sive quantum ad totam speciem humanam, sicut bonum divinum, quod transcendit limites humanae naturae, sive quantum ad individuum, sicut bonum proximi; ibi voluntas indiget virtute. Et ideo huiusmodi virtutes quae ordinant affectum hominis in Deum vel in proximum, sunt in voluntate sicut in subiecto; ut caritas, iustitia et huiusmodi. (Ia IIæ 56 a.6).
 Iª q. 77 a. 5
 Iª q. 77 a. 5 ad 1
 «Ego tamen facile non crediderim, ut Deus permitteret Romanum pontificem contra fidem errare: pro quo spiritualiter oravit in Petro: <Ego, inquit, pro te rogavi, Petre, etc. (Luc.xxii),> Ergo qui habet sponsam, sponsus est. Haec autem sponsa non nupsit vacua, sed dotem mihi trihuit absque pretio pretiosam, spirilualium videlicet plenitudinem et latitudinem temporalium, magnitndinem et multiudinem utrorumque. Nam caeteri vocati sunt in partem sollicitudinis, solus autem Petrus assumptus est in plenitudinem potesatis. » (Sermo III De Deversis); «Tu, inquit, vocaberis Cephas (Joan. 1), quod exponitur caput; quia sicut in capite consistit omnium sensuum plenitudo, in cæteris autem membris pars est aliqua plenitudinis: ita cæteri vocati sunt in partem sollicitudinis, solus autem Petrus assumptus est in plenitudinem potestatis. » (Sermo II De Diversis).
 «Nisi enim ego solidaltus essem in fide, quomodo possem alios in fide firmare? » (Sermo II, De Diversis); «Ego tamen facile non crediderim, ut Deus permitteret Romanum pontificem contra fidem errare» (Sermo III De Deversis).
 «Nam Pontifex non solum non debet, nec potest haeresim praedicare, sed etiam debet veritatem semper docere, & sine dubio id faciet, […] at quomodo, quaeso, confirmabit fratres in Fide, & veram Fidem semper praedicabit Pontifex haereticus? »
 cf. — Christopher Conlon; The Non-Infallibility of Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio.
 “2) It is proved ab eventu. For to this point no [Pontiff] has been a heretic, or certainly it cannot be proven that any of them were heretics; therefore it is a sign that such a thing cannot be .”
 Sermo II, De Diversis.
 A canonical primer on popes and heresy (https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/a-canonical-primer-on-popes-and-heresy/).
 «la prima opinione o meglio l’antecedente, che è quella insegnata comunemente come la più probabile dalla maggior parte dei teologi e dei Dottori: S. Roberto Bellarmino, Francisco Suarez, Melchior Cano, Domingo Soto, Giovanni da San Tommaso, Juan de Torquemada, Louis Billot, Joachim Salaverri, A. Maria Vellico, Charles Journet (ed anche il Gaetano non citato dal Da Silveira, ma lo dimostra mons. Vittorio Mondello, ne La dottrina del Gaetano sul Romano Pontefice, Messina, Istituto Arti Grafiche di Sicilia, 1965, cap. V, pp. 163-194 e cap. VI, pp. 195-224) è che il Papa come Papa non può cadere in eresia formale, mentre può favorire l’eresia o cadere in eresia materiale come dottore privato oppure come Papa, ma solo nel magistero non definitorio, non obbligante e quindi non infallibile (cfr. A. X. Da Silveira, p. 33, nota 1; cfr. B. Gherardini, Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II. Un discorso da fare, Frigento, Casa Mariana Editrice, 2009; Tradidi quod et accepi. La Tradizione, vita e giovinezza della Chiesa, Frigento, Casa Mariana Editrice, 2010; Concilio Vaticano II. Il discorso mancato, Torino, Lindau, 2011; Quaecumque dixero vobis. Parola di Dio e Tradizione a confronto con la storia e la teologia, Torino, Lindau, 2011; La Cattolica. Lineamenti d’ecclesiologia agostiniana, Torino, Lindau, 2011). »
 «Se si studia bene il pensiero di don Pietro Ballerini si vede che secondo lui il Papa è obbligato a sottomettersi alla fede soprannaturale e alla morale naturale e divina; non ha nessuna autorità umano/ecclesiastica sopra di lui, ma il suo potere è limitato da quello di Dio di cui è il Vicario in terra; soltanto quando definisce e obbliga a credere è infallibile; come dottore privato opinando su questioni non ancora definite può errare; infine in caso di eventuale e possibile eresia esterna il Ballerini non si oppone alla possibilità che il Papa vi cada, non trattandosi di definizioni, ma ritiene che ciò non si è mai verificato nella corso della storia della Chiesa e non si verificherà mai. »
 Interview with Catholic World Report, December 8 2016.
 Manuale Iuris Canonci. Freiburg im Briesgau: Herder 1927. p. 95.
 Institutiones Iuris Canonici. Rome: Marietti 1950. I:3I2, p. 3I6.
 «Multi canones docent , Pontificem non posse judicari, nisi inveniatur a fide devius; ergo potest deviare a Fide: alioqui frustra essent illi canones. Antecedens patet ex can. Si Papa dist. 40. Ex Concilio V sub Symmacho, ex Concilioi VIII. Generali act. 7. Ex Anacleto epist. 3.Eusebio epist. 2. Ex Innocentio III. In serm. 2. De consecrate. Pontif. »
 «Respondeo ad primum argumentum: inde recte colligi, posse Papam ex natura sua incidere in haeresim, non tamen posita singulari Dei assistentia, quam Christus oration sua illi impetravit: oravit autem Christus, ne dificeret Fides ejus, non autem ne incideret in alia vitia. » (De Romano Pontifice, Lib. IV, Cap. VII).
 «Canones autem citati loquuntur expresse de haeresi; igitur non loquuntur de errore judiciali, sed personali Pontificis. Secundo dico; canones illos non velle dicere, Pontificem etiam ut privatam personam posse errare, sed tantum non posse Pontificem judicari: quia tamen non est omnino certum, an possit necne esse haereticus Pontifex; ideo ad majorem cautelam, addunt conditionem, nisi fiat haereticus. »
 «semetipsum palam declarat haereticum, hoc est a fide catholica, & ab Ecclesia voluntate propria recessisse, ita ut ad eum praecidendum a corpore Eccleaiae nulla cujusquam declaratio aut sententia necessaria sit»
 True or False Pope, p. 220.
 «Nevertheless, even conceding the possibility that a Pope could fall into formal heresy (which I do, based on the teaching of Pope Innocent III and several historical examples)» [John Salza Replies to Another Sedevacantist] (emphasis qadded).
 «La terza opinione è stata presa in esame da un solo teologo francese del XIX secolo (D. Bouix, Tractatus de Papa, Parigi/Lione, Lecoffre, 1869) su oltre 137 autori; essa ritiene che il Papa se per ipotesi cade in eresia mantiene egualmente il Pontificato, ma i fedeli non devono restare passivi, manifestando al Papa il suo errore affinché si corregga (cfr. A. X. Da Silveira, Qual è l’autorità dottrinale dei documenti pontifici e conciliari?, “Cristianità”, n. 9, 1975; Id., È lecita la resistenza a decisioni dell’Autorità ecclesiastica?, “Cristianità”, n. 10, 1975; Id., Può esservi l’errore nei documenti del Magistero ecclesiastico?, “Cristianità”, n. 13, 1975) senza tuttavia poterlo dichiarare deposto (“depositus”) o deponendo (“deponendus”); questa terza opinione non è condivisa da tutti i teologi “probati”. »
« In realtà il Bellarmino tratta della pura ipotesi dell’eresia del Papa, “ammessa e non concessa” la quale, ritiene - solo speculativamente, indagativamente e ipoteticamente - che il Papa sarebbe deposto ipso facto (“depositus”) e non da deporsi (“deponendus”) dopo dichiarazione dell’Episcopato o del S. Collegio cardinalizio»
 Innocent III, Sermo II, De Diversis.
 Monsignor Vittorio Mondello (La dottrina del Gaetano sul Romano Pontefice, cit., pp. 163-194) spiega che l’ipotesi della possibilità del Papa eretico deriva dal Decreto di Graziano (dist. XL, cap. 6, col. 146) composto tra il 1140 e il 1150, in cui si trova riportato un frammento creduto erroneamente di S. Bonifacio († 5 giugno 754), un monaco benedettino dell’Exeter in Inghilterra inviato da papa Gregorio II ad evangelizzare la Germania, consacrato arcivescovo di Magonza e martirizzato dai Frisoni, che è considerato l’apostolo della Germania e il cui corpo riposa a Fulda.
 «Questo frammento si intitola “Si Papa” ed esprime la dottrina secondo cui “a nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur a Fide devius / non può essere giudicato da nessuna autorità umana, tranne che sia caduto in eresia”. »
 «A partire da questo decreto spurio attribuito erroneamente a San Bonifacio e ripreso come tale da Graziano i teologi medievali e controriformistici hanno ritenuto possibile la ipotesi e non la certezza del Papa eretico. Da qui si sono divisi nel discettare come risolvere la questione di un Papa eventualmente caduto in eresia come persona privata (cfr. A. M. Vellico, De Ecclesia Christi, Roma, 1940, p. 395, n. 557, nella nota 560 vi è un’amplia bibliografia). Il cardinal Charles Journet (L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné, Bruges, Desclée, II ed., 1995, vol. I, p. 626) ritiene che la sentenza secondo cui il Papa non può cadere in eresia “va oggi divulgandosi grazie soprattutto al progresso degli studi storici. Il Bellarmino (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30) è stato uno dei sostenitori di questa tesi. La sentenza che ammette la possibilità dell’eresia del Papa trae la sua lontana origine dal già citato Decreto di Graziano, che riporta un testo spurio attribuito a San Bonifacio” (citato in V. Mondello, op. cit., p. 164). »
 «Ora la eventuale condanna del Papa solo in caso di eresia da parte del Concilio imperfetto (i soli Vescovi) è la tesi del conciliarismo mitigato, condannato come ereticale e figlio del conciliarismo radicale, che ritiene il Concilio superiore al Papa sempre e per sé ed è stato anch’esso condannato come ereticale. Mons. Antonio Piolanti scrive: “il Conciliarismo è un errore ecclesiologico, secondo cui il Concilio ecumenico è superiore al Papa. L’origine remota del Conciliarismo si trova nel principio giuridico del Decreto di Graziano (dist. XL, cap. 6) secondo il quale il Papa può essere giudicato dalla Chiesa (l’Episcopato o i Cardinali) in caso di eresia. […]. Il Papa può errare e persino cadere in eresia, dovrà in tal caso essere corretto ed anche deposto. […] quest’errore fu condannato dal Concilio di Trento e ricevette il colpo di grazia dal Concilio Vaticano I” (Dizionario di teologia dommatica, Roma, Studium, IV ed., 1957, pp. 82-84, voce Conciliarismo). »
 «Tametsi enim Liberius hæreticus non erat, tamen habebatur, propter pacem cum Arianis factam, hæreticus, […] Non enim homines tenentur, aut corda possunt scrutari; sed quem externis operibus hæreticum esse vident, simpliciter hæreticum iudicant, ac ut hæreticum damnant. » (Lib. IV, Cap. IX).
 «Del resto, se Dio permettesse che un papa fosse notoriamente eretico e contumace, egli cesserebbe d'essere papa, e vacherebbe il pontificato. » Verita della Fede, part 3, ch. 8, no. 10. In: Opere dommatiche di S. Alfonso de Liguori (Torino, G. Marietti, 1848), p. 720. (Opere di S. Alfonso Maria de Liguori, v. 8).
«Lo stesso (i.e. “si tiene vacante la Sede Apostolica”) sarebbe nel caso, che il Papa cadesse notoriamente e pertinacemente in qualche eresia. Benchè allora […] non sarebbe il Papa privato dal Pontificato dal Concilio … ma ne sarebbe spogliato immediatamente da Cristo, divenendo allora Soggetto affato inabile, e caduto dal suo Officio. »
 «Secondo il Bellarmino (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, p. 420), siccome gli eretici manifesti, notori e pubblici perdono ipso facto la giurisdizione, ammesso e non concesso che il Papa possa cadere in eresia, in caso di eventuale eresia manifesta egli perderebbe immediatamente l’autorità papale. Questa è l’interpretazione della posizione bellarminiana data dai padri gesuiti Franz Xavier Wernz e Pedro Vidal (Jus Canonicum, Roma, Gregoriana, 1943, vol. II, p. 517). »
 Don Curzio explains that the opinion of Ballerini follows that of Bellarmine, as I have already explained earlier, that the heretic pope would declare himself a heretic and fall from office by himself: «In breve ciò che don Pietro Ballerini mantiene come certissimo è che il Papa nel definire non errerà mai; infine come ipotesi investigativa “ammesso e non concesso” che il Papa cada in errore contrario alla fede, dovrebbe essere ammonito e corretto e dopo due ammonizioni, se si ostina nell’errore, si dichiara da se stesso eretico e decaduto dal Pontificato, ma tutto ciò deve essere opera non di giurisdizione bensì di carità (De Potestate ecclesiastica Summorum Pontificum et Conciliorum generalium, Verona, 1765, cap. 9, nn. 3-8; cap. 15, n. 21; cfr. T. Facchini, Il Papato principio di unità e Pietro Ballerini di Verona, Padova, Il Messaggero di S Antonio, 1950, pp. 126-128). Anche dallo studio testé citato di padre Tarcisio Facchini si capisce bene che l’ipotesi di don Pietro Ballerini segue l’opinione del Bellarmino» The warnings given are of the nature of fraternal correction, and are not canonical warnings (which are impossible, because they are properly the act of a superior), as Salza & Siscoe mendaciously claim. As I have demonstrated above from Ballerini’s exposition on Pedro de Luna (Benedict XIII), since the warnings are not canonical, if the heretic pope manifests his pertinacity sponte sua without warnings, he would fall from office even without being warned. Both Bellarmine and Ballerini speak of the necessity of the warnings not in terms of a canonical procedure, but only for the practical necessity of establishing pertinacity; and at which point the heretic would fall entirely by himself ipso facto without being judged by the Church, and before any merely declaratory sentence confirming the fact could be made.
 «La quarta opinione è stata studiata soprattutto dal cardinal Tommaso de Vio detto il Gaetano, da Giovanni di San Tommaso (De auctoritate Summi Pontificis, Québec, Università di Laval, 1947) e anche da Francisco Suarez (che esamina la prima e la quarta, ma ritiene più probabile la prima della quarta); secondo la quarta opinione occorre che vi sia una dichiarazione dell’eresia del Papa da parte dell’Episcopato o del Collegio cardinalizio»