Bishop Williamson’s Foreword to Contra Cekadam Opposes the Magisterium of Vatican I and Pope Pius XII

For Fr. Francois Chazal’s book titled “Contra Cekadam” (see pdf version here), His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson wrote the foreword.  Here is the quote of interest for our purpose:

“…..for the sake of the Church as a whole, God preserves the Pope’s headship until the highest competent Church authorities can make a public declaration of his heresy (to prevent chaos in the Church), and then and only then does God dispose him. No such declaration has been made since Vatican II.”

Bishop Williamson here essentially expresses Opinion No. 4 of the Five Opinions expounded upon by St. Robert Bellarmine:

“That a manifest heretic does not fall from the pontificate by himself ipso facto, but must be judged by the Church to fall from office.”

(Kramer, Paul. On the true and the false pope: The case against Bergoglio, p. 49. Gondolin Press. Kindle Edition.)

Let us see what St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church and great ecclesiologist, writes about Opinion No. 4:

“The fourth opinion is of Cajetan. There, he teaches, that a manifestly heretical Pope is not ipso facto deposed; but can and ought to be deposed by the Church. Now in my judgment, such an opinion cannot be defended. For in the first place, that a manifest heretic would be ipso facto deposed, is proven from authority and reason.”


So Bishop Williamson’s position opposes the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine.

Let us see what Fr. Paul Kramer, who has extensively studied this subject and written two volumes on it, writes about Opinion No. 4:

“Opinion Number Four is heretical, because it attributes to the pope’s inferiors a power to judge him who is absolutely immune from judgment; and to act as final arbiter in a dispute on a matter of faith, which pertains exclusively to the full and supreme jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff as the supreme judge of all disputes.”

(Kramer, Paul. On the true and the false pope: The case against Bergoglio, p. 51. Gondolin Press. Kindle Edition.)

So Bishop Williamson’s position opposes the scholarly work of Fr. Paul Kramer.  However, please note that Fr. Paul Kramer is basing his commentary on the teaching of Vatican I which dogmatically asserts that the pope has full and supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church.  Therefore, no Church authority, whether singly or together, has jurisdiction over a valid (or presumably valid) pope such that they can canonically judge him for heresy (or anything else).  Fr. David Hewko, to his credit, does not hold this error (refer this post).

In addition to the above error, Bishop Williamson’s position (and Fr. Hewko’s in this case) opposes the Magisterium of Pope Pius XII because it in effect denies Pope Pius XII’s teaching in Mystici Corporis that the public sin of manifest formal heresy per se (i.e., by its very nature) separates the heretic from the Church.  If the pope does not lose his office until the Church authorities publicly declare his heresy, then the public sin of manifest formal heresy does not per se separate the heretic from the Church.  I have written extensively on this matter in this post, so please refer to it.

Now to Bishop Williamson’s credit, he seems to be opening his eyes since writing his erroneous position in the foreword because he has in the past year admitted that it is not certain that Jorge Bergoglio is pope (see this post and this post).  However, he does not explain the reasons for his comments.  Hopefully, he will do so in the near future.

My friends, Opinion No. 4 is the one in my estimation held by most of the clergy and faithful in Traditionalist circles.  It is the position pushed by John Salza and Robert Siscoe in their dreadful work titled “True or False Pope”.  We must reject it.  If you want a solid scholarly work on this matter, please read Fr. Paul Kramer’s two volume set of “To Deceive the Elect”.

To purchase the two volumes of To Deceive the Elect, please see the following links:

Hardcover versions:  see here.
Softcover and electronic versions:  see here and here.

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