Horrible Popes, Heretical Popes, and Antipopes
Stellar blog post from “Catholic Defense” explaining, inter alia, the difference between an heretical Pope and an Antipope.
I suggest that my readers follow the link and take the time to digest its content, because it is of great help in navigating these horrible times both keeping one’s sanity and avoiding abstruse and clearly untenable theories about why a Pope we don’t like can’t actually be the Pope.
Perhaps because of my long habit of loving a Country notwithstanding the quality of both the people governing it and those who send them into power, I never found any difficulty in separating the Institution from the people living in it and/or representing it.
One loves the Fatherland irrespective of who is in power, in the same way as one loves his football team irrespective of his esteem for the manager and the owners. The allegiance goes to the Institution, not to individuals.
The more so this should apply to the Church, an Institution founded by Christ and infinitely more sacred than, say, the Fatherland.
We have a horrible Pope. Bad news, I agree. But certainly not an excuse to escape from reality and declare that, therefore, the Pope must not be Pope.
But can the Pope be a heretic? Of course he can, and the linked article makes the obvious examples of Honorius and John XXIII, both of them often mentioned on this blog. I can’t find the sources anymore, but I am sure there have been several others.
What if you have an heretical Pope? You refuse him obedience in his heretical error, but even then he is still the Pope. One day, he will be disposed of. It happens to everyone.
Our duty as faithful Catholics is, I think, not to undermine the Papacy withbthesecfantasy tales, but to defend the Papacy by exposing those who abuse of their office in order to spread heresy and error.
You live with a horrible Pope in the same way as you live with an excellent one: upholding the Truth, doing your best to live after it, and doing every effort to die in a state of grace whoever is the Pope of the day. A bad Pope may make it necessary to blog, or to have heated discussions with your friends, or he may make persecution more probable. But we were never promised that we would have an excellent Pope, or no persecution.
I direct your attention on point IV of the argument. This truly excellent explanation also shows that we aren’t the first to be confronted with obscenely bad Popes. Plus ça change…
I also do not see any possibility of a credible Antipope, unless Francis were to become mad enough that, say, a couple of dozen Cardinals declare the see vacant and elect a new one. In this case you would have at least a claim to papacy from someone elected by Cardinals, though men of common sense would immediately see the difficulty of this, at least until Francis does not become so stupid that he tries to proclaim an heretical dogma and the Sea can therefore be seen, and is in fact seen, as vacant by righteous Catholics.
An Antipope isn’t really in the card in this day and age. A materially heretical Pope is obviously in charge. I doubt he will ever have the effrontery of a John XXII, and start very officially – though not infallibly – to proclaim an alleged new doctrine.
Francis is an old man badly lived, who has spent his life not caring what he was saying or doing, provided it served his purposes. He wants to be popular, and want to tell people what they want to hear.
This is not like Dr Moriarty had been made Pope.
Mr Bean, more like.