Bishop Williamson (inadvertently) supports Fr. Francois Chazal’s error that a heretical pope (if one were possible) would not automatically fall from office by the very fact of public manifest heresy.
“Since it is a work against Sedevacantism, Msgr. Williamson points out that the sedevacantists’ ‘favourite theologian is St Robert Bellarmine who held that any Pope becoming a heretic automatically ceases to be Pope.’ Indeed, according to Bellarmine, if it be possible for a valid pope to become a manifest heretic, he would automatically cease to be pope ipso facto by the act of formal heresy; because, according to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas, the sin of heresy is per se an act of separation by which heretics separate themselves from the body of the Church, and therefore lose office automatically, i.e. ipso facto. But on this point, Bishop Williamson (like Fr. Chazal) is clearly led astray by the fraudulent argumentation of Salza & Siscoe when he says, ‘But Fr. Chazal opens the books and finds that this opinion is by no means the common opinion of Church theologians’. As I document in this work, it is now the virtually unanimous opinion today among theologians who admit at least the hypothetical possibility that a pope can fall into formal heresy – and has been for more than a century, that a pope who would fall into manifestly formal heresy would immediately cease to be pope.
Kramer, Paul. To deceive the elect: The catholic doctrine on the question of a heretical Pope . Kindle Edition.
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