Is there Papal Problem?

Is there Papal Problem?

Is there a Papal problem or am I becoming geriatric?


I stand rejected by my family and my Catholic friends as a heretic, i.e. a sedevacantist, but I can’t understand why.
I was born a Catholic. I was educated by beloved Loretto Nuns and Christian Brothers. I clearly remember the days before the Catholic Church was invaded by judeo-masons; the sacred beauty of it. There was no disunity among Catholics. Well, I haven’t changed and Catholicism hasn’t either, so where have I gone wrong? Follow my reasoning and show me my mistake!

There has been much talk of Amoris Laetitia. Now in the old days, this Apostolic Exhortation would have been indisputably Magisterial. It was promulgated by the Pope, as Pope, as teaching on Faith and Morals, to the Universal Church and all Catholics would have joyfully accepted it and submitted to it, the Church being Infallible and Indefectible and the Pope teaching with the Authority of Christ, Himself. However, in AL 297 the Pope says: “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”  Now that does not gel with what Sr. Colombo taught me from the Penny Catechism!

Listed among the Dogmas of the Catholic Church are the following:

  1. The souls of those who die in the condition of personal grievous sin enter Hell.
  2. The punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity.

The Pope denies a Dogma of the Faith! It is a one liner; in black and white; there is nothing ambiguous; nothing that requires a long, complicated theological explanation. The Church says punishment in hell lasts for eternity. The Pope says it does not! The Pope utters an indisputable, undeniable, formal (public, manifest), pertinacious (knowingly), heresy!

Am I correct? Let’s check the definition of Heresy: “Heresy consists in a stubborn denial of truths which have been defined and proposed by the Church as divinely revealed doctrines.”  (Canon 1324-1325 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law).  And Pope Benedict XV says: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24)

So, if he’s a heretic and out of the Church, can he still be Pope? Apparently not: The topic of a pope becoming a heretic was addressed at the First Vatican Council by Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, Ohio: “The question was also raised by a Cardinal, ‘What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?’ It was answered that there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself. (The New Princeton Review, Volume 42 p. 648, also The Life and Life-work of Pope Leo XIII. By James Joseph McGovern p. 241.)

The Papal Bull cum ex apostolatus officio of Pope Paul IV teaches that: if anyone was a heretic before the Papal election, he could not be a valid pope, even if he is elected unanimously by the Cardinals. Canon 188.4 (1917 Code of Canon Law) teachers that : if a cleric (pope, bishop, etc.) becomes a heretic, he loses his office without any declaration by operation of law. St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Antonius, St. Francis deSales, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and many other theologians all teach that a heretic cannot be a pope.

St. Alphonsus Liguori: “If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.”

For brevity, I just quoted one Saint and for the same reason here’s one theologian: “Given, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.” (Billot — De Ecclesia, 1927.)

Well, that seems pretty clear to me. An heretic cannot become Pope, because he’s not a member of the Church and if a Pope becomes an heretic, he is no longer a member of the Church and Pope and the Chair of Peter is vacant. Such is my logic and my problem is that I just cannot fault it! Also the Church seems to agree. I must be missing something?

So, what to do about it, the Pope being a heretic I mean? Well, I did some checking up and here’s what I found. (Again only a few for brevity.):

St. Cyril of Alexandria: “It is unlawful, and a profanation, and an act the punishment of which is death, to love to associate with unholy heretics, and to unite yourself to their communion.”

St. Athanasius: “Saint Anthony never held communion with the Meletian schismatics, knowing their wickedness and rebellion from the beginning; neither did he have friendly converse with the Manichees or any other heretics, except only to warn them to return to their duty, believing and teaching that their friendship and society was harmful and ruinous to the soul. Thus also he loathed the Arian heresy, and taught all men neither to go near them nor to partake in their bad faith.

II Lateran Council: “The accursed perversity of heretics has so increased that now they exercise their wickedness not in secret, but manifest their error publicly, and win over the weak and simple-minded to their opinion. For this reason, We resolve to cast them, their defenders, and their receivers under anathema, and We forbid under anathema that any one presume to help heretics or to do business with heretics.”

St. Thomas Aquinas: “To know whom to avoid is a great means of saving our souls. Thus the Church forbids the faithful to communicate with those unbelievers who have forsaken the faith by corrupting it, such as heretics, or by renouncing it, such as apostates.”

Well, as far as I can see, a Catholic must have nothing to do with a false heretical “pope”, or his church and so I don’t. But what about the “Recognize and Resisters” who recognize an heretic as still being a valid Pope and Bp. Fellay and the SSPX, who also do and who offer the Sacrifice of the Mass to God in union with an heretic and who want to join the heretic’s church? What can they see that I cannot see? Why do some of them hate sedevacantism and call me an heretic? Am I not just following the teaching of Holy Mother Church? Why do they ostracize me? I just don’t get it, but I suppose it’s part of becoming geriatric!


  • Nicholas Pastore 03-12-2017

    Dr. Lamb,
    An excellent exposition. I share your thinking.
    I recently read a comment at an R&R site wherein the claim was made that those who hold the sedevacante position are misrepresenting St. Robert Bellermine’s conclusion. To summarize, he claims that St. Bellermine and others say that since a positive action by men was required to select a pope (the vote in the conclave) before God will grant him the Christ’s of the Papacy, a positive action by men (a vote by a Council) is required to remove him. This is supposedly found in De Pontificus #2.
    I haven’t read St. Bellermine’s thesis but I suspect that as usual he’s being misrepresented or misinterpreted by the R&R adherents.
    My intuitive understanding is that the chrism descends upon the person through The Holy Ghost when the chosen candidate says “I accept”. Therefore the voluntary loss of office comes from “I resign”. Now, manifest heresy is an implicit way of saying “I resign”. Those, I believe, are the human actions that God recognizes for the office, though in selecting a Pope, the vote of the conclave is a prerequisite.
    I would be grateful for your thoughts on this.

  • Nicholas Pastore 03-12-2017

    I see that in my comment above I didn’t proofread it carefully before sending it. Instead of “the Christ’s of the Papacy”, it should read “the chrisms of the Papacy”.
    My apologies.

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