Happy Palm Sunday! Wishing you and yours a blessed Holy Week and Easter.
Pray for the victims of today’s bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, if you will, but do not invoke them as martyrs: “No one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church” (dogma defined by Pope Eugene IV in the bull “Cantate Domino” in Denzinger 714). It may be that before these Copts died they were able to make an act of Catholic faith, hope, and perfect contrition and thus die in God’s friendship; but if they died as they lived (as Coptic Orthodox), they were outside the Church and could not be saved.
Pray the Rosary for peace!
“Pray a great deal for the Holy Father,” said Our Lord to Sr. Lucia. Are you offering your prayers at Mass and your daily Rosaries and Lenten penances for the Holy Father Pope Francis?
Image via Vatican.va
Different bishops propose different interpretations of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” and four cardinals felt it their duty to ask “yes or no” questions (five dubia) of the Holy Father regarding the proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia — His Holiness has yet to answer. Let us pray that His Holiness does answer, because seemingly if no answer comes then certain bishops and priests and laity will think it is OK for someone who habitually fornicates with no purpose of amendment to receive Holy Communion (take the case of a Catholic man who was validly married and then civilly divorced and “remarried” and has intercourse with the new woman — objectively, no matter what the conscience of this man says, his relations with the new woman were acts of fornication, and his priest is bound in justice and charity to tell him to cease having relations with the new woman and resolve to live a good Catholic life before he can receive absolution and Holy Communion).
There is an excellent “The Road to the Dubia” series of sermons hosted on Sensus Fidelium – subscribe today to this outstanding channel. Rather than waste your time filtering through tons of articles and forums on “Amoris Laetitia,” give these sermons a listen, especially “The Road to the Dubia: The Dubia” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDMXLcn5zcg). Remember the priest in your prayers.
This sermon provides excellent food for thought. This priest, very faithful, cautious, and balanced, justly rebukes sedevacantist heretics and those who say that the Holy Father can already at this stage “be judged guilty of the canonical crime of heresy” and, towards the end, draws on St. Robert Bellarmine and Fr. Pietro Ballerini to succinctly explain the traditionally acknowledged possibility of a formally heretical pope (one who obstinately teaches heresy as a private doctor without binding the Church to it, not the impossible scenario of a pope binding the whole Church to an erroneous teaching).
How might such a case play out? Let us draw from the sermon and from John of St. Thomas, O.P.
If there were a pope who publicly made a materially heretical statement (one denying a dogma), “the Cardinals, or the Roman clergy, or the Roman Synod” could determine that the statement is heretical and proceed to do the following as per Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 2:11-14, and Titus 3:10-11:
(1) private correction; if the Pope ignores this, then–>
(2) a first formal public correction; if the Pope ignores this, then–>
(3) a second formal public correction; if the Pope ignores this, then–>
the clergy, assembled in an “imperfect general council” could issue a declaratory sentence that the pope “is guilty of the canonical crime of heresy” and has been deposed “immediately” and “authoritatively” by “Christ the Lord” and must be avoided by the faithful; the Church, properly speaking, is not judging the Pope (“the first see is judged by no one” 1983 Canon 1404), but acting “ministerially” and “dispositively” in pronouncing the Pope to have been judged and deposed by Christ and no longer to be followed by Catholics (John of St. Thomas, O.P. qtd. in Robert Siscoe and John Salza). At every stage before then, the pope is still the pope and to treat the pope as an antipope would be a schismatic act; if one were to die in that schismatic state without repentance, he would be damned forever: “we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff” (dogma defined by Pope Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam in Denzinger 469).
“Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous … I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church” (St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P.).
Sanctus Ioannes Paulus Secundus, ora pro nobis peccatoribus!
Next: the absurdities of the sedevacantist heresy.