Can A Legitimate Pope Be Deposed?

Originally posted 1/18/2010.

Archbishop St. Avitus of Vienne: “How can the Head of the Universal Church be judged by his inferiors? If any one of the other pontiffs stray from the right way, he can be reformed; but when the Pope is arraigned for judgment, it is no longer a single bishop, it is the whole episcopate, which is impugned.”{1}
Bishops of France (Rome; 800), on the charges against Pope St. Leo III of Rome that they had been called to examine: “We dare not sit in judgment upon the Apostolic See, the chief of all the churches of God. It belongs to that See and to its Pontiff to judge us all, being himself subject to no other judgment, according to the traditions of ancient discipline.”{2}
Eighth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople IV; 869-870), Canon 21: “If anyone, strong in the secular power, seek to expel the Sovereign Pontiff from his See, let him be anathema!”{3}

Joseph Cardinal Hergenröther: “No right existed by which the Pope [if really legitimate, see p. 120, note †, supra] could be deposed; if Gregory broke his word, he sinned, but he did not forfeit his Pontificate. If there was no right to depose the Pope there was no right to appoint a new one.”{4}
Dr. Ludwig von Pastor: “Gallicanism, too, had prepared the ground for the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, since according to the Gallicans, authority to govern is really vested in the universal Church, the Pope and the Bishops only exercising power in its name, so that a General Council may call the Pope to account and even depose him.”{5}
Dr. Warren H. Carroll: “there is no power on earth which may depose a Pope. Any duly elected Pope remains therefore in office until he dies or resigns.”{6}

Anglican scholar J.N.D. Kelly: “The validity of John’s deposition, which violated the ancient principle that the holy see can be judged by no earthly power, has been called in question.”{7}

Notes & References
{1} Qtd. in Darras II:594.
{2} Qtd. in ibid.
{3} Qtd. in ibid.
{4} Hergenröther II:65 qtd. in Pastor I:190-191 n. †.
{5} Pastor XXIV:419.
{6} Carroll, Dr. Warren H. “Anti-Popes.” Eternal World Television Network. 10 Jun. 2010 <>.
{7} “John XII.” The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. J. N. D. Kelly. with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Fordham University. 6 December 2009 <>.

Works Cited
*Darras, Joseph-Epiphane. A General History of the Catholic Church, vol. II. New York: P. O’Shea, 1865. <>.
*Hergenröther, Joseph Cardinal. Handbuch der allgemeinen Kirchengeschichte, vol. II. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1880. <>.
*Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford University Press, 2006.
*Pastor, Dr. Ludwig. The History of the Popes From the Close of the Middle Ages, vol. I. London: John Hodges, 1891. <>.
*–. The History of the Popes From the Close of the Middle Ages, vol. IV. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., 1900. <>.


One Response to Can A Legitimate Pope Be Deposed?

  1. […] a Legitimate Pope Be Deposed?” The Banana Republican. 18 Jan. 2010. 12 Jun. 2010 <;. {5} Huysman, Will R. “Gregory VI Was True Pope.” The Banana Republican. 29 Nov. […]

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