John XXII, The Heretical Pope
In the first of two blog posts dedicated to a series of beautiful articles taken from the “Remnant”, I will copy the link to four articles dedicated to the grave crisis in which Pope John XXII plunged the Church in the first part of the XIV Century.
The second blog post will be dedicated to a very actual issue: how a Pope can be deposed.
In both cases, I will add my short personal consideration.
The articles will, also, be put in a special “page” (this is how WordPress calls the fixed pages you see at the top) on my blog, in the hope that it will attract, in time, the attention of readers surfing the waves of the Internet in the search for some guidance in the present confusion.
I invite, here, to say the prayers you would think adequate for the author of the articles, Mr Chris Jackson (see below), and for those who run this beautiful site, a bastion of Catholic sanity in a world of fake “c”atholics, Pollyannas, prostitutes, and utter potheads.
The series of article you see linked below (make a tea; put on some music; make the time; you will not regret it) teaches, in my eyes, some very important lessons:
1) Under the pretence of meekness, John was a first-class bully of the most dangerous sort. I am reminded of someone here.
2) John called to an open discussion between orthodoxy and heresy. The discussion should, obviously, never have taken place in the first place. The parallel with today’s situation is striking.
3) Pope John feigned a half-hearted “neutrality”, but in the praxis he clearly pushed his own agenda. Francis does exactly the same.
4) Good Catholics who love truth expressed himself against him with such violence, that one of them was even arrested. If your heart cares, your mouth will show it. I can’t tell you what sympathy I have for those who are inflamed in their anger, because they see the Church they love attacked; or how much I despise the “nice guys” who would not be able to say anything “unkind” to the Antichrist if they had him in front of them.
Nicety is the new religion. Give me the old one.
5) Pope John XXII’s propositions were not in the least less heretical because the immediacy of the beatific vision once a soul has entered paradise had not (yet) been proclaimed dogmatically. This had not happened simply because no Pope had been such a bonehead as to put the teaching into question. To say that every Catholic truth that is not dogmatically defined can be questioned without incurring in the sanction of heresy is the sheer madness, and would simply spell the end of Catholicism. Heretical is what goes against the deposit of the faith. The issue at hand might or might not have been defined dogmatically (this will, generally, be dependent on whether controversies arose about it), but if it has been always believed by the church, to go against it is to commit heresy; which is why John XXII is considered – until his final repentance – a heretical Pope. “The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition as proposed to our belief by the Church. The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval”. This, of course, irrespective of whether the heresy is formal or material.
6) I wish I could share the enthusiasm of the author of the article for the wonderful repentance of John XXII. Whilst I do not doubt his final repentance was sincere – the imminence of death must focus the mind uncannily – I am too much of a cynical not to believe that the man backpedaled because the situation on the ground made the stake appear his most probable final destination if he had insisted, after due warning, in his heretical position. We must reflect that it is very widely believed that a Pope can be formally deposed as a heretic (there will be another post on this, also based on a beautiful “Remnant” article) and, at that point, loses all the protection accorded to him not only as Pope and bishop, but as priest, too. The stake would, at that point, have been a very probable final destination for our dear John, Humble Theologian, considering the gravity of pertinaciously spreading heresy from one’s position as Pope. Alas, Francis does not have the benefit of gentle reminders of the gravity of being a heretic, like John had. Which, if you ask me, is a great pity.
Enjoy the articles. Again, I strongly suggest that you take time to really read all of them, a task you can easily divide in different times if you so wish. The four links that follow, and the one that will be published in the following one, are among the most important ever published on these pages.
A very special “thank you” goes to reader Chris Jackson, who posted these precious sources on my comment box. He might well be the same Chris Jackson who authored the articles. In which case, my gratitude is the more increased, and I consider it a great honour to have such an erudite writer among the readers of my little, but sincere effort.