Monday, December 05, 2016

In-depth Explanation of Dubia Consequences for Pope Francis including "Removing him from Office"

Author Dr. John R. T. Lamont, Ph. D., a Canadian Catholic philosopher and theologian, in the article "Considerations on the dubia of the four cardinals" for Rorate Caeli explains the Catholic dubia process and the possibility that Pope Francis could be removed from office. He said:  

"Some might argue that the dubia and other criticisms of Amoris Laetitia that have been made already suffice as warnings to Pope Francis, and hence that he can now be judged to be guilty of the canonical crime of heresy. These criticisms might be said to make it clear to informed observers that Pope Francis is in fact a heretic rather than simply in error. But for juridical purposes – especially for the very serious purpose of judging a Pope to be a heretic – they do not suffice. The evidence needed for a juridical judgment of such gravity has to take a form that is entirely clear and beyond dispute. A formal warning from a number of members of the College of Cardinals that is then disregarded by the Pope would constitute such evidence.

The possibility of a Pope being canonically guilty of heresy has long been admitted in the Church. It is acknowledged in the Decretals of Gratian, the foundational work of canon law composed in the 12th century. The Decretals were incorporated in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, of which they form the first part.
Gratian states:

If the Pope, remiss in his duties and neglectful of his and his neighbour’s salvation, gets caught up in idle business, and if moreover, by his silence (which actually does more harm to himself and everyone else), he leads innumerable hordes of people away from the good with him, he will be beaten for eternity with many blows alongside that very first slave of hell. However, no person can presume to convict him of any transgressions in this matter, because, although the Pope can judge everyone else, no one may judge him, unless he, for whose perpetual stability all the faithful pray as earnestly as they call to mind the fact that, after God, their own salvation depends on his soundness, is found to have strayed from the faith.[10] (Gratian, Decretum, Part 1, Distinction 40, Chapter 6.)

Various explanations have been proposed of how a Pope can be removed from office if he commits the canonical crime of heresy. The explanations seek to explain how the Pope can lose office without being judged by any of his inferiors in the Church on earth. The simplest and possibly the best explanation that has been offered is that the Pope by pertinaciously maintaining heresy effectively removes himself from office. However, all these explanations agree that a Pope who is juridically guilty of heresy can and must be removed from office. There is no dispute among Catholic theologians on this point – even among theologians like Bellarmine who do not think that a Pope is in fact capable of being a heretic.
 
            It is to be hoped that the correction of Pope Francis does not have to proceed this far, and that he will either reject the heresies he has announced or resign his office. Removing him from office against his will would require the election of a new Pope, and would probably leave the Church with Francis as an anti-Pope contesting the authority of the new Pope. If Francis refuses to renounce either his heresy or his office, however, this situation will just have to be faced."
 
To read the whole article click below:
 

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