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The Shrine => The Bookstore => Topic started by: Geremia on November 15, 2014, 06:55:45 PM

Title: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Geremia on November 15, 2014, 06:55:45 PM
Tractatus de Auctoritate Summi Pontificis, Disputatio II, Articulus III: Utrum Papa deponi possit ab Ecclesia, sicut ab eadem eligitur; et in quibus casibus? (Whether the Pope may be depossed by the Church, in the same way as he is elected by the same (the Church), and in which cases?) (https://archive.org/details/JohnOfSt.ThomasOnThePopeHereticQuestion)

(courtesy Cristian Jacobo (http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=17651&sid=16616cac597ea9bd13c6a36ac9051438#p17651))
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 15, 2014, 07:04:36 PM
Geremia,
maybe you could just give us a summary of what John of St. Thomas teaches on this subject.  I don't know when I will be able to get around to reading this book.
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Geremia on November 15, 2014, 07:20:33 PM
Geremia,
maybe you could just give us a summary of what John of St. Thomas teaches on this subject.  I don't know when I will be able to get around to reading this book.
It's an excerpt, 16 pages of two-column Latin.

From Laszlo Szijarto's Angelus article (http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/currenterrors/sifting.htm):
Quote
John of St. Thomas

After I had composed the main body of this text, I ran across the Cursus Theologicus by John of St. Thomas–specifically, the tract entitled De Auctoritate Summi Pontificis [Concerning the Authority of the Supreme Pontiff]. In a surprisingly detailed commentary about the problem of an heretical pope, he ended up making the very same argument that I have proposed. Instead of weaving quotations from his work into their appropriate place within my exposition, I decided to give him a separate section. I felt that the argument would be more convincing if readers knew that the two of us had arrived at the same conclusion independently, i.e., that I have not been merely “rehashing” what he had written. Instead, both of us have simply followed a line of thinking dictated by an inner logic of its own.
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
...[ Depositio ] facienda est post declarativam criminis sententiam... (disp. II, art. III 17).

...[Deposition] is to be made after a declaratory sentence about the crime....
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
...Concilium congregari potest auctoritate Ecclesiae, quae est in ipsis episcopis, vel majore eorum parte; habet enim jus Ecclesia ad segregandum se a papa haeretico ex jure divino, et consequenter ad adhibendum omnia media ad talem segregationem per se necessaria; medium autem necessarium, et per se est ut juridice constet tale crimen; non potest autem juridice constare nisi formetur competens judicium, non potest autem in re tam gravi competens esse judicium, nisi per Concilium generale, qua tractatur de universali capite Ecclesiae, unde pertinet hoc ad judicium universalis Ecclesiae, quod est Concilium generale (disp. II, art. III 19).

...By the Church’s authority, a Council is able to be convened. That authority resides in the bishops, or in a majority of them. For the Church has the right from God to separate itself from a heretical popea and, consequently, to apply all the means that are in and of themselves necessary for such a separation. But it is a necessary means–and in and of it-self–that such a crime be established juridically. Yet it cannot be established juridically unless a competent judgment be formed. In so grave a matter, however, there cannot be a competent judgment except through a General Council. Since this matter deals with the universal head of the Church, it therefore pertains to the judgment of the Universal Church. That judgment is a General Council.
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
Et ex his concordantur jura, quae aliquando dicunt Pontificis depositionem pertinere ad solum Deum, aliquando in causa haeresis posse judicar ab inferioribus, utrumque enim verum est, et quod ejectio, seu depositio Pontificis soli Deo reservatur auctoritative, et principaliter...; ministerialiter autem, et dispositive declarando crimen, et proponendo papam, ut evitandum Ecclesia judicat de Pontifice... (disp. II, art. III 24).

As a result, the principles–which sometimes maintain that the deposition of a Pontiff belongs to God alone and at other times that he can be judged by inferiors in the case of heresy–come to be reconciled. Both are true. To God alone is reserved the casting out or deposition of a Pontiff (authoritatively and principally. Yet (ministerially and executionally) the Church makes judgment about a Pontiff by declaring the crime and proposing that the pope should be avoided...
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
Respondetur haereticum esse evitandum propter duas correptiones juridice scilicet factas, et ab Ecclesiae auctoritate, et non secundum privatum judicium; sequeretur enim magna confusio in Ecclesia si sufficeret hanc correptionem esse factam ab homine privato... Unde sic videmus practicatum in Ecclesia, quod in casu depositionis papae causa ipsa in generali Concilio prius tractata est quam pro non papa habitus....

Nec Hieronymus quando dicit haereticum per se discedere a corpore Christi, excludit ipsum Ecclesiae judicium praesertim in re tam gravi, qualis est depositio papae, sed criminis judicat qualitatem, quod per se sine alia censura superaddita excludit ab Ecclesia, dummodo tamen per Ecclesiam declaretur; licet enim ex se separet ab Ecclesia, tamen quoad nos non intelligitur facta separatio sine ista declaratione....

...[Q]uoad nos autem adhuc non fit juridice declaratus, ut infidelis, vel haereticus, quantumcumque manifestus sit secundum privatum judicium, adhuc quoad nos est membrum Ecclesiae, et consequenter caput. Requiritur ergo judicium Ecclesiae, quo proponatur, ut non Christianus, et evitandus, et tunc desinit quoad nos esse papa, et consequenter antea non desierat etiam in se, quia omnia quae faciebat erant valida in se
(disp. II, art III 26).
The translation of the previous three paragraphs is as follows:
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
In response, a heretic must be avoided as a result of two rebukes that have been made juridically–by the Church’s authority and not according to private judgment. Great confusion would result in the Church if it would suffice that this rebuke should be made by a private individual....Consequently, we see what the practice of the Church has been. When a pope needed to be deposed, the case was treated first in a General Council before he was considered not to be a pope....

St. Jerome–in saying that a heretic departs on his own from the Body of Christ–does not preclude the Church’s judgment, especially in so grave a matter as is the deposition of a pope. He refers instead to the nature of that crime, which is such as to cut someone off from the Church on its own and without any other censure in addition to it–yet only so long as it should be declared by the Church. Although it separates from the Church on its own, the fact of separation does not make itself known to us without that declaration.

...So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church, and consequently its head. Judgment is required from the Church, therefore, a judgment by which he would be proposed as not a Christian and to be avoided. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned. As a result, however, he would not have ceased to be such even in and of himself, since all the things which he enacted had force in and of themselves.
I have translated the expression quoad nos very loosely throughout. In point of fact, it represents a highly technical term–the equivalent of “criteriologically.” Many theologians would probably disagree with the very last assertion in the citation above, i.e., that a manifestly heretical pope would remain pope even ontologically until it had been determined otherwise criteriologically. I maintain, however, that John of St. Thomas was–rather brilliantly– taking to its logical conclusion a principle already found in most of the theologians who had dealt with this question. Few theologians actually held that a secretly heretical pope would be deposed ipso facto, the reason being that membership in the Church needs to be a visible reality (so that it could be verified criteriologically). Otherwise, the Church might fall into chaos if the activities of secret heretics would in reality be null and void. Ontologically, however, even a secret heretic would cease to be a Catholic before God. Yet membership in the Church does not simply represent a visible–though still only ontologically manifest–reality, but a juridically visible reality, i.e., criteriologically manifest–manifest in the true sense of this term. Holding jurisdiction depends upon the juridical reality of membership in the Church. With this principle, John of St. Thomas ingeniously reconciled the long-standing dispute between the papa haereticus ipso facto depositus [heretical pope ipso facto deposed] and the papa haereticus deponendus [heretical pope to be deposed] schools.
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Geremia on October 31, 2015, 12:48:19 AM
depossed (https://archive.org/details/JohnOfSt.ThomasOnThePopeHereticQuestion)
Correction: It's spelled "deposed" (one 's').
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: INPEFESS on October 31, 2015, 11:34:11 AM
Even though his position was a minority position, and the notes from the First Vatican Council indicate the more common opinion was the position endorsed by the Church, the plethora of diverse theological opinions on this question, pre-VII, is one of the reasons I do not consider myself a SVist. There simply is no certainty with regard to which position is true. Neither SVism nor SPism can be theologically certain at this time, given the objective doubt that exists and the permission of the Church pertaining to the various different valid theological opinions saying that he is considered the pope and some saying that he isn't, so to build a position upon either of them as being certain is to ask the wrong question and to pursue a red herring.

I am of the opinion, however, that his argument is sound until he says...
Quote
So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church, and consequently its head.

In the name of safeguarding the Church's unity of government, such a thing would rend asunder the visible unity of the Church, for no provision is in place that would guarantee a council would oppose him enough to depose him, say, were this to have happened during the Arian heresy. Thus, the Church could have a notorious pagan, a Satanist, or even the antichrist himself as the visible head of the Church, but for the length of time that he were not deposed, there would be no visible unity of faith by which she is recognizably the true Church of Jesus Christ to non-Catholics. But this is contrary to the very divine constitution and nature of the Church, and so I do not see how it can be correct. Indeed, it pits the unity of faith and government against each other and sacrifices the former in the name of preserving the latter.

Instead, the more common opinion seems to more appropriately safeguard the nature of the Church. It holds that he automatically loses office ontologically and that, while he may still be legally the pope if he is found to be so ontologically, he may be and ought to be morally considered not the pope pending a declaration (according as we may not, in good conscience, remain in communion with what we morally believe to be heresy), but must also be legally declared deposed in order to (1) bind that fact upon the faithful who were not yet convinced to settle the legal question so as to bind the Church together going forward legally and (2) to canonically clear the way for a new election to eliminate the possibility of two factions following two different popes. This ensures the Church remains one in government and in faith and seems to be the essence of Canons 188.4 and 192 in the 1917 Code of Canon Law: a cleric--any cleric--can automatically lose office recognized by ecclesiastical law itself for manifest departure from the faith. He may morally be considered to have done so, therefore, until or unless a council of the Church declares otherwise. The council, far from removing him ontologically, simply declares the fact of him having been removed. This declararion would hold the theological status of a dogmatic fact, commanding our obedience and being at least infallibly safe. The universal acceptance by all of the subsequent pope would provide the infallible certainty necessary to proceed without any possibility of error.

In a similar manner, a criminal who is witnessed committing murder must be apprehended and removed from his position in society until he is convicted legally. At that time, if proved guilty, he is considered legally guilty by all. Until that happens, though, while he may be presumed legally innocent, no fault or blame is imputed to one who considers him guilty based upon witnessing the murder or the evidence available and, on that account, avoids all association with him and his colleagues until such a time as he is found legally innocent. He may be released on bond, but no one would blame a person from avoiding him or believing him to be guilty in the meantime.

Sure, there is no infallibility in the legal system, but there is security in the ecclesiastical system. The decisions of the Church are binding, final, and can become infallible. In this way, our doubt in relation to the status of the charged pope versus the convicted pope is morally and legally justified, for what begins as a merely subjective moral decision can receive an ontologically objective infallible status. Furthermore, we can see that a pending legal decision does not destroy the government of the Church, while at the same time the unity of faith is preserved by all those who withdraw communion from manifest heresy that we have been morally commanded to avoid for the sake of our own salvation.

Edited for clarity.
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Michael Wilson on October 31, 2015, 11:43:13 AM
INPEFESS,
that sounds like a very reasonable opinion. Also, given the fact that no matter how many of us seds cry out "he's not the Pope", Francis (and his predecessors) remain in office harming the Church; and there isn't anything we can do to change this.
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: Geremia on July 06, 2016, 08:49:44 PM
BTW, this part is expressly contrary to St. Robert Bellarmine's view, in his De Romano Pontifice lib. II cap. 30, (http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/bellarm.htm) that a manifest heretical pope would become an antipope, even before deposition:
From Laszlo Szijarto's Angelus article (http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/currenterrors/sifting.htm):
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
...So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church, and consequently its head. Judgment is required from the Church, therefore, a judgment by which he would be proposed as not a Christian and to be avoided. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned. As a result, however, he would not have ceased to be such even in and of himself, since all the things which he enacted had force in and of themselves.
Title: Re: John of St. Thomas on the Pope-Heretic Question
Post by: INPEFESS on July 07, 2016, 05:38:45 PM
BTW, this part is expressly contrary to St. Robert Bellarmine's view, in his De Romano Pontifice lib. II cap. 30, (http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/bellarm.htm) that a manifest heretical pope would become an antipope, even before deposition:
From Laszlo Szijarto's Angelus article (http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/currenterrors/sifting.htm):
Quote from: John of St. Thomas
...So long as he has not become declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church, and consequently its head. Judgment is required from the Church, therefore, a judgment by which he would be proposed as not a Christian and to be avoided. It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned. As a result, however, he would not have ceased to be such even in and of himself, since all the things which he enacted had force in and of themselves.

Yes, it certainly seems to be, and I would argue that St. Robert has the better argument. After all, as I said above, John of St. Thomas advanced his opinion in the name of preserving the Church's unity of government. But if he remains visibly and externally united to the Church even post-heresy, even if no one does anything about it, then the mark of unity of Faith is destroyed. A non-Catholic wishing to identify the marks of the true Church of Christ amidst all the claimants is going to see a religious body professing Doctrine A but with its leader, who is visibly and externally united to that same body, professing Doctrine B. The same body therefore professes two contrary doctrines at the same time, and so such an epistemology requires that we believe of faith that the Catholic Church considered as not yet the true Church is One in faith a priori to her actually being recognized and distinguished by it as the true Church. It results in a circular epistemology. The Catholic Church is one in faith.  How we do know this when it teaches A and yet its leader teaches B? Because we only know what the faith is by what the pope says it is. But then we have to believe a priori that it is the same Faith, not see that it is so as a condition of that belief, in which case we could as well say the same of every Christian church: visibly United in Faith because it says it is. 

St. Robert's opinion, while not explicitly addressing how it preserves the Church's unity of government, nevertheless can easily be shown to do so. The declaration of fact is still legally necessary before that fact can become legally binding (though fallible) on the faithful, yet the putative pope is not externally considered a visible member of the Church pending that authoritative judgment, as Canons 144.8 and 192 [1917] indicate. Once that judgment is made and his ontological non-papacy is epistemologically ascertained, a new pope's universal acceptance ratifies the legally binding decision of the imperfect council and gives it the same certainty as that attached to a dogmatic fact; for the Holy Ghost would never allow universal acceptance to ratify the papacy of a pope while another yet reigns. Schism is avoided in the meanwhile, for there is no separation of communion from each other, given that the status of the papacy has yet to be declared a binding legal decision; there is simply an objective doubt in the meantime and hence a separation of opinion until the legal status surrounding the notorious fact is authoritatively determined.

That is what I believe we can surmise from the notes of Vatican I, and that is what seems to be reflected in the legislation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. This is confirmed also by the intellect's role in the epistemology of the Faith, for the faithful must be able to know at any given time what the Church actually teaches in order merit from it as a condition of salvation. If the faithful may never recognize what is notoriously not of the Faith due to the absence of the Church's pending legal deposition, then the faithful can't be certain they ever know what is of Faith, for in the name of withholding preliminary and cautionary judgment of the actions of the poppe, perhaps tomorrow the Church might declare both contraries to be of the Faith thereby justifying what the pope did. So while it is true that the Church decides what is and is not of the Faith, this must also be intelligible and reconcilable with reason if it is to act as an object of the intellect. After all, if the faithful can't be permitted to ever believe something to be false, then they can't conversely ever avoid heresy, profess the exclusionary truths of the Faith, or believe in a singular truth; for if the faithful can't recognize heresy from the pope that there is more than one God, then they can't profess that they believe in only one God.