Saint Robert Bellarmine (1), also, said “the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church.”
FIRST PART: ROBERT BELLARMINE’S STATEMENTS
The Five Opinions Dealing with the Hypothesis of a Pope Heretic Expounded by Saint Robert Bellarmine In the analysis of the divers opinions of the theologians over the hypothesis of the Pope heretic, we will adopt the classification presented by Saint Robert Bellarmine. Even today this is entirely valid in as much as the studies about the matter have made practically no progress in the last centuries. For this reason, many recent authors order the matter following in the footsteps of the great doctor of the Counter- Reform (1). When, nevertheless, it appears to us that the division of St. Robert Bellarmine does not distinguish with precision all the nuances which characterize certain schools, we will suggest sub- divisions within his classification. He enumerates five opinions worthy of study (2): 1 - the Pope can not be a heretic; 2 - falling into heresy, even merely internal, the Pope ipso facto loses the Pontificate; 3 - even though he falls into heresy, the Pope does not lose his charge; 4 - the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church; 5 - the Pope heretic is ipso facto deposed in the moment in which his heresy becomes manifest. In establishing this classification, Saint Robert Bellarmine only sought to order the matter in a manner convenient for the exposition of the reasons and objections which can be alleged in relation to each opinion. It was not his purpose to make a complete and systematic presentation of the principal positions which have been taken, in the course of the centuries, over the theological hypothesis of a Pope heretic. He does not refer, for example, to the doctrine of conciliarism, which had enormous importance in the past, and which, although of condemned by the Church, (3) is sprouting up again in numerous progressive writings. The great Jesuit Saint did not set out clearly the logical criteria according to which he ordered the matter. All this creates a certain difficulty (1) See, for example: Wernz-Vidal , lus Cart., tom. II, pp. 433 ff.; Cocchi , Comment, in Codicem..., vol. Ill, p. 25- 26; Reqatillo . Inst. Juris Canonici, vol. I, p. 299. Others adopt the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine, but they introduce small alterations into it: Bouix , Tract de Papa, tom. II, pp. 654 ft.; Sipos , Ench. luris Can., p. 156, item d. (2) De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. XXX. - We will not consider, here, observations which Saint Robert Bellarmine makes about this matter in other passages of his writings. (3) See Denz.-Sch., systematic index, item G4db.
SECOND PART: DIVERSE OPINIONS STATED ON BELLARMINO STATEMENTS
POSITION OF EACH OPINION IN THE CLASSIFICATION OF ST. ROBERT BELLARMINE (*) OBSERVATIONS PRINCIPAL DEFENDERS INDEX (pages of this work in which each opinion is studied) A - The Pope cannot fall into heresy FIRST OPINION in the Classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine In the exposition of this opinion, we subdivide its followers into three groups (pp. 147-148): 1 . Authors according to whom this opinion con- stitutes a truth of faith (Matthaeucci); 2. authors according to whom this opinion is by far the most probable (Card. Billot); 3. authors according to whom this opinion ap- pears to be only more probable that the oth- ers (Saint Robert Bellarmine, Suarez). St. Robert Bellarmine (**) Suarez (**) Matthaeucci Bouix (**) Billot (**) Chapter about this op- inion (146-155); Card.Billot (146-147); Suarez (147,154-155); St.R.Bellarmine( 155); Salaverri(155); refut- ation based on Script- ure and Tradition (148-153); we do not follow this opinion (172 ff.) B - Theologically one cannot exclude the hypothesis of a Pope heretic Stated by Saint Robert Bellarmine on saying that the first opinion is not certain See the following items (***) Explanation by refer- ences (p. 156) I - By reason of his heresy, the Pope never loses the Pontif- icate THIRD OPINION of the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine Of the 136 authors whose positions on the hypo- thesis of a Pope heretic we examined, the only defender of this opinion is Bouix. Bouix (**) Chapter on this opin- ion (158-160); we do not follow this opin- ion (172 ff.) II - The Pope heretic loses the Pon- tificate Expounded by Saint Robert Bellarmine together with the fourth opinion See the following items (***) Saint Robert Bellar- mine (169 ff.); object- ions Bouix (158 ff.); we follow this opin- ion (172) 1) He loses the Pontificate in the very moment in which he falls into internal heresy, that is, before manifesting it externally SECOND OPINION of the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine Opinion abandoned by the theologians today. Torquemada Chapter on this opin- ion (156-157); an abandoned opinion (157) 2) He loses the Pontificate when his heresy turns manifest FIFTH OPINION of the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine In expounding this opinion we subdivide those who follow it into three groups (pp. 170-171): 1 . Authors who understand by “manifest” a heresy merely exteriorized; 2. Authors who understand by “manifest” a heresy which, in addition to being exteriorized, has come to the knowledge of others; 3. Authors who understand by “manifest” a heresy which becomes notorious and publicly divulged (Wernz-Vidal). Some authors do not make entirely clear to which of these three schools they affiliate themselves (Saint Robert Bellarmine, p. 171). St. Robert Bellarmine (**) Billot (**) Cano Chapter on this opin- ion (168-171); Saint Robert Bellarmine (168-169); Pietro Bal- lerini (169-170); sub- division (170-171); evaluation (171); we follow this opinion, embracing the subdiv- ision n. 3 (172-176) 3) He loses the Pontificate only upon the declaration of his heresy by a council, by the Cardinals, by groups of Bishops, etc. Expounded by Saint Robert Bellarmine together with the fourth opinion See the following items (***) Exposition and refut- ation by Saint Robert Bellarmine (164-167); we do not follow this opinion (175) a) This declaration would be a deposition properly so called Saint Robert Bellarmine does not list this opin- ion, because it is here- tical Under the form of neo-conciliarism, this opinion is sprouting up in numerous progressive writings. Conciliarists: Gerson, Pierre D’Ailly, etc. Opinion condemned by the Church (161, note 1); neo-concil- iarism (161, note 3) b) This declaration would not be a deposition properly so called, but a mere act de- claring the loss of the Pon- tificate by the Pope heretic FOURTH OPINION in the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine As to who ought to make this declaration, see the passage of Suarez which we cite on pp. 163-164. Cajetan Suarez (**) Chapter on this opin- ion (161-167); Suarez (161-164); refutation by Saint Robert Bell- armine (164-167); we do not follow this opinion (175) (*) As we have already noted, we refer here only to the classification presented by Saint Robert Bellarmine in De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. XXX. (**) The authors marked by two asterisks judge it more probable that a Pope could not fall into heresy, but do not consider this position to be certain. For this reason, they analyse the possibility of a Pope who would become a heretic and they take a position concerning the problem of his eventual lose of the Pontificate. Therefore, do not find it strange, that the names of these authors appear two times in the column “principal defenders” of the different opinions: among those who follow the thesis that the Pope will never fall into heresy (first opinion of the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine), and among those who make pronouncements concerning the lose of the Pontificate by a heretic Pope (according to the fifth opinion of the classification of Saint Robert Bellarmine). Concerning this subject, see pp. 154-155. (***) In view of the criteria adopted for the enunciation of the “divers opinions”, it becomes clear that position B, B-ll, and B-ll-3 constitute generic opinions, which become more specific from what follows immediately after. This being so, we de not indicate the “principal defenders”, who are obviously those of the opinions that follow.