A True Pope Cannot Fall into Formal Heresy

“The question of whether a given pope has lost his office on account of heresy is hypothetical, since it has never been proven that a pope can actually fall into formal heresy. The opinion, that a pope cannot be a heretic, (the first opinion outlined by Bellarmine) is the one that is most commonly taught as the most probable by the majority of theologians and Doctors: St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Francisco Suárez, Melchior Cano, Domingo Soto, John of St. Thomas, Juan de Torquemada, Louis Billot, Joachim Salaverri, A. Maria Vellico, Charles Journet, Cardinal Tommaso de Vio ‘Cajetan’, Francesco Bordoni, Pedro de Simanca, Domingo Bañez, and Martino Bonacina – and Bonacina cites others who were of the same opinion. For roughly a century this nearly unanimous opinion has been the most common, even among those who admit only the hypothetical possibility of a pope falling from office due to public defection into heresy.”

Kramer, Paul. To Deceive the Elect: The Catholic Doctrine on the Question of a Heretical Pope (Kindle Locations 3385-3392). Kindle Edition.

6 thoughts on “A True Pope Cannot Fall into Formal Heresy”

  1. “ These matters having been treated with thorough-going exactness, we bear in mind what was promised about the holy church and him who said that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics)….”

    ~ Second Council of Constantinople

    It seems to say a true pope can fall into formal heresy you would have to say scriptures are wrong or this ecumenical council understood scripture wrong. On the other hand if somebody’s false into formal heresy he is not the true pope.

      • The gates of hell are the death dealings of heretics.

        In Matthew 16:18 Jesus calls Peter the rock of Church that prevents the gates of hell from prevailing.

        The opposition between Peter and the gates of hell means that Peter cannot be a gate of hell.

        That means Peter cannot have the death dealing tongue of heretics.

        At least, that is how I grasp it.


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