Suarez ex Machina?: How can we defend Catholic Tradition by rejecting the Ancient Teaching of the Church with Regard to Who is in the Catholic Church and Who is Not. Public Heretics are Outside the Church and Cannot Hold Ecclesiastical Office. Here is the Relevant Text from "Heretic Pope?" by Fr. Kramer --- who is not a Sedevacantist, yet is one who Blows the Clear Whistle of Catholic Doctrine on Salza, Siscoe, and, since they have nearly identical positions, Fr. Chazal and Bishop Williamson. Let's Stop trying to Mimic the Gallicans and Find a Real Solution to the Horrible Situation we are In .

St. Robert Bellarmine teaches most explicitly (De Romano Pontifice, II xxx) that it is heresy by its very nature, (ex natura haeresis), which severs the heretic from the Church, and causes the immediate loss of ecclesiastical office: “Thenceforth, the Holy Fathers teach in unison, that not only are heretics outside the Church, but they even lack all Ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity ipso facto.”  Salza desperately attempts to interpret the Fathers as teaching that the heretic’s severing himself from the Church and the subsequent loss of office result from an ecclesiastical censure or judgment. Bellarmine, in his refutation of the Fourth Opinion utterly destroys that argument: “Nor does the response which some make avail, that these Fathers speak according to ancient laws, but now since the decree of the Council of Constance they do not lose jurisdiction, unless excommunicated by name, or if they strike clerics. I say this avails to nothing. For those Fathers, when they say that heretics lose jurisdiction, do not allege any human laws which maybe did not exist then on this matter; rather, they argued from the nature of heresy. Moreover, the Council of Constance does not speak except on the excommunicates, that is, on these who lose jurisdiction through a judgment of the Church. Yet heretics are outside the Church, even before excommunication, and deprived of all jurisdiction, for they are condemned by their own judgment, as the Apostle teaches to Titus; that is, they are cut from the body of the Church without excommunication, as Jerome expresses it.” (Neque valet, quod quidam respondent, istos Patres loqui secundum antiqua jura, nunc autem ex decreto Concilii Constantiensis non amittere jurisdictionem, nisi nominatim excommunicatos, & percussores clericorum; hoc, inquam, nihil valet. Nam Patres illi cum dicunt haereticos amittere jurisdictionem, non allegant ulla jura humana, quae etiam forte tunc nulla extabant de hac re: sed argumentantur ex natura haeresis. Concilium autem Constantiense, non loquitur nisi de excommunicatis, id est, de his, qui per sententiam Ecclesiae amiserunt jurisdictionem. Haeretici autem etiam ante excummunicationem sunt extra Ecclesiam, & privati omni jurisdictione: sunt enim proprio judicio condemnati, ut docet Apostolus ad Titum3. V. II. Hoc est: praecisi a corpore Ecclesiae, sine excommunication, ut Hieronymus exponit.) Thus, St. Robert Bellarmine proves that it is the teaching of scripture, interpreted unanimously by the Fathers, that heretics are outside the Church and lose all jurisdiction by themselves before any judgment is made by the Church
     It is also shown by reason – by the very meaning of the words schism, heresy, apostasy suapte natura in Mystici Corporis, and and ex natura haeresis in De Romano Pontifice, that what is being spoken of is heresy in itself, in its very own nature, and not heresy considered as a violation of ecclesiastical law; because a thing considered in its nature, is considered formally as a principium motus in eo quod est. St. Thomas takes this definition straight from the Physics of Aristotle (Aristotle, Physics, III, I, 201 a 10 s.); and says, “Naturalia enim sunt quorum principium motus in ipsis est." (Sancti Thomae de Aquino, De motu cordis ad magistrum Philippum de Castro Caeli) Thus to speak of heresy suapte natura, or of heresy ex natura haeresis, refers to it as a principle of motion that is intrinsic to itself, and by which it separates the heretic from the Church, and not by any extrinsic principle such as the force of a human positive law
     Thus, as explained above, it is by faith that one is first united to God; and by the external profession of faith, and the sacrament of faith, that one enters the Church, because it pertains properly to the nature of faith that it unites one to God and to his Church; and it is by the contrary disposition of the sin of infidelity – of heresy or apostasy, by which one, with an external act, rejects faith, and leaves the Church. Such is the motion proper to each nature, as St. Thomas explains, that the natural motion of fire is upward, and of earth downward ([M]otus autem naturalis ad unam partem est, ut ignis sursum, et terrae deorsum); so likewise the motion of faith brings one into the Church, and heresy suapte natura takes one out. 
     Bellarmine explains that even bad Catholics are united to the Church and are members, they are united by the soul through faith, and by the body through the confession of faith and the visible participation of the sacraments. (Nam Catholici enim mali sunt uniti, & sunt membra; animo, per fidem; corpore per confessionem fidei, & visibilium Sacramentorum  participationem); and secret heretics are united and are members only by external union, but a manifest heretic is not a member of the Church in any manner, by neither soul nor body, neither by internal nor external union. (haereticus manifestus, nullo modo  est membrum Ecclesiae, id est, neque animo, neque corpore, sive neque unione interna, neque externa)     
     Applying this doctrine to the hypothetical case of a manifestly heretical pope, Bellarmine explains in what manner faith is simpliciter a necessary disposition for one to be pope; and faith being removed, by its contrary disposition, which is heresy, the pope would straightaway cease to be pope, with the necessary disposition for the form of the papacy not being able to be preserved. (ista dispositione sublata per contrariam quae est haeresis, mox papa desinit esse; neque enim potest forma conservari sine necessariis dispositionibus.) It is therefore on this theological foundation that Bellarmine judges the fifth opinion to be the “true opinion”, and according to it that Bellarmine’s explication of it must be interpreted. [Here Fr. Kramer comments on all the claims that a pope can be deposed by anyone other than by himself, through his own act of public heresy] Thus, when Bellarmine affirms that a manifestly heretical pope can be “deposed”, it is clearly his meaning that he refers not to a pope while still in office, but one who has already ceased to be pope by himself, or; as Pope Gregory XVI expressed it of the claimant Pedro De Luna (Benedict XIII), if ever he was pope, would have already “fallen” (decaduto) from the papal throne for having attacked the dogma “unam sanctam”. 
     The correct understanding of the doctrine of St Robert Bellarmine, which exposes the absurdity of the Salza and Siscoe interpretation of Bellarmine’s doctrine on the question of a heretic pope, is explained by the Jesuit canonists Franz Xavier Wernz S.J. and Pedro Vidal S.J. in, Jus Canonicum (1938) Chapter VII[But they are "just" Jesuit theologians, right?]:
“453. 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 [Dr. Chojnowski: I wish I could make this text even bolder!]. (Per haeresim notoriam et palam divulgatam R. Pontifex si in illam incidat, ipso facto etiam ante omnem sententiam declaratoriam Ecclesiae sua potestate iurisdictionis privatus existit

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. [NB - The term notorious in the expression, by heresy which is notorious and openly made known, is clearly denoting the common meaning of the word, (equivalent to public, manifest, evident or known) in the context that the authors are using it, and not according to the strict canonical definition of the term as it is defined in penal law, as some authors arbitrarily interpret it; seizing upon the word notorious, and uncritically assuming it to denote a canonical delict that a judge has pronounced by a judicial sentence – (something that is impossible in the case of a manifestly heretical pope); or denoting a notoriety that would need to conform to  stricter criteria than those set forth in the 1917 Code of Canon Law of the canonical requirements for a delict to be considered notorious by fact in penal law. Thus it is manifestly evident that Wernz and Vidal do not apply the term in its strictly canonical sense, but in its ordinary sense, because the authors are not expounding a point of Canon Law, but of speculative theology, namely, the loss of office ex natura haeresis, as is manifestly evident from the context. What is canonically notorious is a question of law, and is therefore determined by legislation, jurisprudence, and principles of law. Although in Moral Theology, as far as the moral imputability of the act is concerned, the definition of notorious heresy in the sense of not merely material heresy, but of formal heresy, would be more or less materially equivalent to the definition of notorious heresy in the case of a delict of heresy as it is understood in its penal/canonical connotation of notoriety of fact; the moral-theological definition is nevertheless formally distinguished from the penal/canonical definition by the fact that it is not a question of law determined by legalities, but is determined by the moral object of the act, and according to the nature of that which morally constitutes the sin of heresy as a notorious act. It is in this moral-theological sense, that an act of formal heresy can plainly be considered to be notorious when the act of obstinate denial or doubt of a revealed truth of faith is public, and concerns: 1) a revealed truth that pertains to natural law; 2) a universally known dogma that no Catholic is ignorant of; 3) or if the heretic explicitly acknowledges his belief to be contrary to dogma; 4) or if the doubt or denial persists after correction.]
    “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[It is this Suarez/Cajetan position that Bellermine calls "indensible" that Fr. Chazal clearly upholds in his new book and it is exactly this position which is endorsed by Bishop Williamson in the Preface to Fr. Chazal's book. This is also the position adhered to be Salza/Siscoe --- both of whom, to satisfy the uncomfortable, I suppose offer as a possible solution to the current state of affairs]
    “Finally, there is the fifth opinion - that of Bellarmine himself - which was expressed initially and is rightly defended by Tanner and others as the best proven and the most common. For he who is no longer a member of the body of the Church, i.e. the Church as a visible society, cannot be the head of the Universal Church. But a Pope who fell into public heresy would cease by that very fact to be a member of the Church. Therefore he would also cease by that very fact to be the head of the Church
    “Indeed, a publicly heretical Pope, who, by the commandment of Christ and the Apostle must even be avoided because of the danger to the Church, must be deprived of his power as almost all admit. 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. [In other words, no one can judge the pope, so if he falls from his office he removes himself from his office by means of his public external heresy]

      Thus, the great Jesuit canonists of the Gregorian University explain that Opinion No. 5 of St. Robert Bellarmine is based on the doctrine of Pope Innocent III, who said in Sermo II: "In tantum enim fides mihi necessaria est ut cum de caeteris peccatis solum Deum judicem habeam, propter solum peccatum quod in fide commititur possem ab Ecclesia judicari. Nam qui non credit, iam iudicatus est. (Joh.3 18).", and “I say the less that he can be judged by men, but rather be shown to be already judged.” Thus it is not an exception to the principle, Apostolica Sedes a nemine iudicatur, as many had taught before the solemn definition of the universal papal primacy of jurisdiction by the First Vatican Council made such an interpretation impossible, but rather, as Paul Hinschius explained in his monumental work on Canon Law, a series of Catholic writers, and already Innocent III and St. Robert Bellarmine, see no exception to that rule, because a pope who falls into heresy would already leave the Church and forfeit the Pontificate, so that a council could no longer  depose him (in the proper sense of a juridical deposition of a reigning Pontiff), but could only declare that the loss of office had taken place: «Eine Reihe katholischer Schriftsteller  wollen aber darin keine Ausnahme von der gedachten Regel finden, weil der in Ketzerei verfallene Papst sich dadurch selbst von der Kirche ausscheide, damit weiter den Pontifikat verwirke und also das Konzil keine Deposition mehr verhängen könne, sondern nur die Thatsache des erfolgten Verlustes der Päpstlichen Würde zu konstatiren habe. [3] (Dieser Gedanke tritt schon bei Innocenz III. auf (im Sermo IV. In consecrat. pontiff. opp. Colon. 1575. 1. 197): «Potest (pontifex) ab hominibus iudicari vel potius iudicatus ostendi, si videlicet evanescat in haeresim, quoniam qui non credit, iam iudicatus est» ) Vgl. ferner Bellarmin, christ. Fidei controv. gen. III. De Romano pontifice II. 30. (ed. Ingolstadt. 1605. 1083): «Est ergo opinio quinta vera, papam haereticum manifestum per se desinere esse [papam et caput, sicut per se desinit esse] christianus et membrum corporis Ecclesiae; quare ab ecclesia posse eum iudicari et puniri. Haec est sententia omnium veterum patrum qui docent haereticos manifestos mox amittere omnem jurisdictionem»; Fagnan. comm. Ad c. 4. X. de elect. I. 6. n. 70 ff; Fragosi, regimen reipubl. Christianae lib. II. c. I. §. 2. n. 21 (Lugduni. 1648. 2, 11); Kober, Deposition. S. 585. » (see translation in Part II)
[In the text below, taken from Bishop Williamson's forward to Fr. Chazal's book, he states the direct opposite of everything that has been shown to be the case above]

 “Their favorite theologian is St. Robert Bellarmine who held that any Pope becoming a heretic automatically ceases to be Pope.  But Fr. Chazal opens the books and finds that this opinion is by no means the common opinion of Church theologians, and that Bellarmine himself requires that the Pope concerned be first given two warnings before he is deposed.  For indeed, as many other famous theologians argue, the Pope is not just an individual who can lose the faith personally, but he is also head of a worldwide society which cannot function without a head.  Nor does the personal loss of faith necessarily impede his headship of the Church. [Where this comes from, I cannot imagine since Fr. Chazal argues that Francis is "impounded" and cannot even exercise his papal prerogatives because of manifest heresy. How is this not being "impeded'?]  Therefore they argue, for the sake of the Church as a whole, God preserves the Pope’s headship until the highest competent Church authorities can make a public declaration of his heresy (to prevent chaos in the Church) [How can a prudential concern for "chaos" in the Church nullify the teaching that anyone who publicly defects from the faith loses membership in the Church? A belief which is directly consequent on the fact that faith is absolutely necessary for membership in the Church], and then and only then does God dispose him [This is the 4th opinion that St. Robert Bellermine, Doctor of the Papacy, calls "indefensible"].  No such declaration has been made since Vatican II.  [Well there was the declaration from Fr. Chazal that I need not concern myself with anything Francis says or does. His Excellency says that the Church "cannot function without a Head" (there is always Jesus Christ during an Interregnum), but how about a Head that is "impounded"? How does it help the Body if its Head cannot act by using its Brain? "Contra Whomever?" How is it a consolation to me to believe that I am part of a Brain-Dead Church? 


  1. This is the best exposition of this controversy that I have seen thus far.
    It credits the Catholic Church with being Scriptural!
    Any other contention about the pope other than Bellarmine’s (and those in line with Bellarmine), contradict Sacred Scripture and therefore can’t be Catholic.


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