"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, June 4, 2015



Most Catholics even non-Catholics do not have the 
proper un derstanding of Papal infallibility. A POPE 
Marcellinus, during the persecutions of the Emperor
Diocletian in 303-304, offered incense to the idols of
the pagan gods.  Therefore, he apostatized, left the 
Catholic Faith, and left the Church.  Catholic theology
teaches that it is possible for this to happen with a
pope as with any other man, as a pope is a man and has
freewill to accept or reject the Catholic Faith.
The Catholic faithful were so scandalized by the pope's
apostasy that they accosted him and reproached him 
severely.  Under pressure from the Catholic faith, 
Marcellinus publicly recanted his error and deposed 
himself.  He declared himself unworthy of Christian 
burial and excommunicated all who might presume to bury
him.  His body lay above ground for 35 days 
By his own admission (Letter "Studens Paci"), 
Liberius signed an heretical semi-Arian profession of
faith at Sirmium in 357, during the period of the 
Arian heresy in the Church.  He also excommunicated 
St. Athanasius, who was courageously defending the 
orthodox Catholic faith.
Liberius also signed, in December 359, when he was 
under pressure at the hands of the Emperor, who was 
holding him prisoner at Byzantium, a semi-Arian formula
that had already been accepted by all the (heretic) 
Eastern bishops, 160 in number, meeting at Seleucia,
and by 400 (heretic) Western bishops, at Rimini -- by
all of them except St. Hilary, St. Athanasius, and a
tiny handful of others, whom Liberius went so far as
to condemn and excommunicate.
These facts are attested to by St. Athanasius 
(History of the Arians, sec. 41; Apologia against
the Arians, sec. 89), St. Hilary of Potiers 
(Historical Fragments, Ad Constantium), and St. Jerome
(Chronicle), who wrote:  "Liberius, conquered by the
tedium of exile, WITH HERETICAL PERVERSITY, signed 
[the profession of semi-Arian faith] and entered into
 Rome as a conqueror."
Neither St. Athanasius nor St. Hilary had any problem
resisting the heretical politics of Pope Liberius. 
POPE ZOSIMUS (417-418)
Pope Zosimus, in the presence of the Roman clergy, 
recognized as orthodox the heretical statements of 
Pelagius, which had been condemned by Pope Innocent I
and the two Councils of Carthage.
Pelagianism, which denied the doctrine of Original Sin
and man's need for grace, was a virulent heresy of the
time, against which St. Augustine wrote numerous tracts
(The Remission of Sins and the Baptism of Children, 
The Spirit and the Letter, Letter to Hilary, Nature 
and Grace, Perfect Justice, The Acts of Pelagius, The
Grace of Christ, and Original Sin).
The pope condemned those who held the orthodox Catholic
faith as calumniators (Letter "Postquam nobis," 
November 21, 417; Letter "Magnum pondus") and demanded
a formal retraction from the orthodox African bishops,
St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Aurelius of Carthage.
In response, St. Augustine and St. Aurelian took a 
solemn oath with God as witness (obtestatio), affirming
that the prior Catholic doctrine prevailed over the 
judgment of the pope, which was upheld by a plenary
council of all Africa assembled.  Confronted with 
resistance to his part in perpetuating heresy, Pope 
Zosimus finally recanted and renewed the 
excommunication of the heretic Pelagius.
It was around this time that St. Augustine uttered the
famous words (or something close to them):  
Roma locuta est; causa finita est, in a Sermon CXXXI
of September 417.  Pope Zosimus was waffling on his 
precedessor's, Pope St. Innocent I's, anathema against
the heretic Pelagius.  St. Augustine meant by his 
statement since Rome had already spoken on the matter
(a reference to Pope St. Innocent I's anathema against
Pelagius), the case ought not to be reopened, even by
Pope Zosimus, who ought to give his assent to the 
solemn judgment of his predecessor. 
St. Augustine made his statement, then, at a time when
a pope was in the process of lending aid and comfort
to heretics, when he should have been holding fast to
what his predecessor had decreed.  The great Saint was
not saying that every decision of Rome must be blindly
obeyed; otherwise, he would have supported the reigning
pope.  He was warning people, the Pope included, that
Rome had already spoken on this matter and that it
would be gravely wrong for anyone (even, presumably,
a pope) to attempt to reverse a solid and sound 
judgment on a matter of Catholic doctrine. 

This pope appears held in Hell in Dante Alighieri's
Inferno (Canto XI, lines 8-9):
...Anastasio papa guardo, lo qual trasse Fotin dela
via dritta. 
[...I hold Pope Anastasius,whom Photinus drew from the
straight path.]
In mediaeval tradition, this pope was held to have been
persuaded by Photinus, a deacon of Thessalonica, to 
deny the divine birth of Christ.  Although later 
scholarship has cast doubt on the correctness of this
tradition, the point is that it was a widely held 
opinion of the Church that a pope was a heretic, so 
widely held, in fact, that this pope appears as a 
heretic in one of the most read and influential texts
of the Middle Ages, written by a Franciscan Tertiary 
and praised by several subsequent popes as showing 
consonance with the Apostolic Tradition. 
Vigilius became to all appearances a supporter of 
heresy when, in 553, he refused to uphold firmly the
Church's teaching that Christ had two Wills, against
"Monothelism."  He did not condemn either this or the
older Monophysite heresy.  The Roman deacon Pelagius
attacked Vigilius on this account and charged him with
heresy, for which he was excommunicated by Vigilius. 
It was Pelagius, however, who succeeded him as pope,
only to fall into similar habits of temporizing and
diplomatic duplicity as his predecessor!
The Emperor Justianian had called a kangaroo council
to rescind the condemnation of the heresy of 
monophysitism, a heresy that denied the two natures,
human and divine, of Christ.  Pope Vigilius, who 
wished to return to Rome from exile, in a decree, or
Iudicatum, recanted his former orthodox Catholic 
position, condemned the orthodox decree of the Council
of Chalcedon (451), and excommunicated the 
bishop-authors of that decree (the so-called Three
Chapters of Theodoret).
As a result of this action, he was excommunicated for
heresy by an African Council and forced to annul the
Iudicatum, although he continued to support it 
privately in correspondence with the emperor.   
The Fifth Oecumenical Council at Constantinople (553)
excommunicated Pope Vigilius, and the next year he 
recanted again, saying that he had been deceived by
the devil.  
Having thus succumbed to public and personal heresy,
Pope Virgilus died before he reached Rome.  His heresy
had a great repercussion on the Church of the time. In
the West, it even caused a schism in northern Italy.
Pope Boniface manifested strong tendencies toward the
Nestorian heresy, which denied the correct doctrine of
the two natures of Christ and denied that the Blessed 
Virgin Mary was the Mother of God.  This heresy was 
condemned by the Councils of Ephesus (431) and 
Chalcedon (451) and persists in parts of the East to
this day.
St. Columbanus wrote to the pope vehemently 
reprimanding him for his heretical tendencies 
(Epistula V), called upon the pope to prove his 
orthodoxy and to call a council to clarify the 
doctrinal confusions that the pope had created.
Honorius is, among all the popes in any way guilty 
of heresy, both the best known and the most culpable.
The phrase he used when justifying his compromise with
the heretics has a surprisingly up-to-date ring about
it, for all that it was spoken in 634:  "We must be 
careful not to rekindle ancient quarrels."  On the 
strength of this argument, he allowed error to spread 
freely, with the result that truth and orthodoxy were 
effectively banished.  Pope Honorius wrote a letter 
approving the heresy of the Patriarch Sergius of 
Constantinople, monothelitism, which held against the 
doctrine of the human and divine natures of Christ 
that there was only a single will in Christ.
This heresy was strongly opposed by St. Sophronius, 
later Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Maximus the 
Confessor, and various popes.  St. Sophronius called 
a council to combat the heresy, at which the constant 
teaching of the Church on the two natures, human and 
divine, in Christ was demonstrated.  Pope Honorius in 
reply reproved the orthodox Catholic patriarch and 
enlisted the help of the heretical emperor Heralitus.
The heresy of monothelitism, to which Pope Honorius 
personally held, was condemned by Pope Severinus 
(640-640), Pope John IV (640-642) in 642, Pope Theodore
I (642-649), who excommunicated the Patriarch of 
Constantinople for defending the error, Pope St. Martin
I 9649-655), who died a martyr for defending the 
orthodox Catholic doctrine, and Pope Eugenius I 
Finally, the Third Oecumenical Council of 
Constantinople (680-681) condemned the heresy of 
monothelitism and condemned and excommunicated Pope 
Honorius (after his death) as a heretic, as did 
Pope St. Leo II, who followed the Council, in these 
words: "Having found that [Honorius's letters] are in
complete disagreement with the Apostolic dogmata and
the definitions of the Holy Councils, and of all the 
approved Fathers; and that, on the contrary, they
lead to the false doctrines of the heretics, we 
absolutely reject and condemn them as being poisonous
to souls.
"We also state that Honorius, formerly pope of the 
elder Rome, had been also rejected from God's Holy 
Catholic Church and is being anathematized, on account 
of the writings that he sent to Sergius,where he 
adopted his ideas in everything, and reaffirmed his 
impious principles.  He is shown to be incapable of 
enlightening this Apostolic Church by the doctrine of 
Apostolic Tradition, in that he allowed its immaculate
faith to be blemished by a sacrilegious betrayal."
All the great Oecumenical Councils since then have 
endorsed this verdict. Even while proclaiming the 
dogma of Papal Infallibility, the Church upheld the 
anathema cast many centuries ago upon one of her 
Pontiffs on account of heresy.
Moreover, Pope Honorius admonished the bishops of 
Spain to be benevolent toward the errors of the 
Jewish religion, which had been condemned by the 
Council of Toledo (633), presided over by St. Isidore
of Seville.  St. Braulio of Saragossa publicly 
reproved the pope, charging that he could not believe
that "the astuteness of the serpent had been able to
leave traces of his passing over the stone of the 
Apostolic See."
#1. Honorius was condemned by the Third Oecumenical 
Council of Constantinople specifically as a heretic
who had taught heresy, not just because he was just
negligent and failed to teach the true Faith when it
was in danger of subversion.  The Council's findings
were as follows: We find that these documents 
[including those of Honorius] are quite foreign to the
Apostolic dogmata, to the declarations of the Holy
Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers, and that
they follow the false teachings of the heretics. 
We expel and anathematize from the Holy Church of God
Honorius, who was some time pope of Old Rome, because
of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all
respects he followed his view and confirmed his 
impious doctrines....  
To Honorius, the heretic, anathema!...  [The devil]
has actively employed them [including Honorius]...   
We slew them [including Honorius] with anathema, as
lapsed from the faith and as sinners, in the morning
outside the camp of the tabernacle of God. 
#2. Pope Leo confirmed the documents of this Council 
with a sentence that actually confirms that Honorius
Moreover, [we anathematize] also Honorius, who ruled
this Apostolic Church, not by the doctrine of 
Apostolic Tradition; rather, he tried by profane 
treason to overthrow the immaculate Faith of the 
Roman Church.  Necnon et Honorium (anathematizamus), 
qui hanc Apostolicam ecclesiam, non Apostolicæ 
Traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione
immaculatam fidem subvertere conatus est.” 
(Mansi, Tomus XI. p. 731] 
#3. The Council of Trullo was held just a few years 
after Constantinople III.  It stated that Honorius had
been condemned specifically because he taught heresy:
This council taught that we should openly profess our
faith that in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, our 
true God, there are two natural wills, or volitions, 
and two natural operations; and condemned by a just
sentence those who adulterated the true doctrine and
taught the people that in the one Lord Jesus Christ
there is but one will and one operation:  to wit, 
Theodore of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Honorius of
Rome, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter. 
The Oecumenical Council II Nicea also recorded that
Honorius held the heresy along with the other heretics:
We have also anathematised the idle tales of Origen,
Didymus, and Evagrius; and the doctrine of one will 
held by Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, and Pyrrhus, or 
rather, we have anathematized their own evil will.

Pope Stephen VI (VII) (896-897) had the body of Pope
Formosus (891-896), his second-to-last predecessor,
although not charged with heresy, exhumed, vested in
papal vestments, seated on a throne, formally placed
on trial before the Roman Synod (sometimes called the
Cadaver Synod) for having invalidly usurped the papal
throne.  When he was found guilty, Formosus was then
stripped of his papal vestments, and the three fingers
of his right hand -- the fingers with which he 
conferred blessings -- were cut off and cast away 
contemptuously.  Formosus' body was then thrown into 
the Tiber River.  Stephen deposed the dead pope, 
annulled all his decrees, and pronounced all the 
ordinations conferred by him invalid.  Although several
of Stephen's successors rehabilitated Formosus, Pope 
Sergius III (904-911) upheld Stephen's actions.   
Boniface VI (896), Stephen's immediate predecessor, 
was an excommunicated priest.  Formosus had himself 
been excommunicated in 872.  
POPE BENEDICT IX (1032-1044; 1045; 1047-8)
in 1049 Pope Benedict IX was excommunicated not for 
heresy, but for simony by a Lateran synod.   
He reportedly renounced the papal throne in exchange 
for the income of the annual St. Peter's Pence 
POPE PASCHAL II (1099-1118)
In 1111 Pope Paschal II succumbed to the secular 
power and demanded that all bishops and abbots resign
so that the secular power could make its own 
appointments (lay investiture).  To a man, including 
St. Bruno of Segni, the bishops and abbots refused to 
obey the pope.
Paschal was declared suspect of heresy.  In 1112 Guido 
of Burgundy, Archbishop of Vienne and the future Pope 
Callistus II, with St. Hugh of Grenoble and St. 
Godfrey of Amiens, also acted against the pope at a 
provincial synod.          
In 1116, like St. Peter, the pope in public repented 
bitterly of the error that he had made in undermining 
the authority of the Church and acting against the 
common good of the Church.  

POPE JOHN XXII (1316-1334)          
In three sermons from 1331 until 1333 preached and 
wrote against the common opinion of theologians, 
preaching instead that the souls of the just do not 
enjoy the Beatific Vision immediately after death, 
nor are the wicked at once eternally damned, but that 
all await the final judgment of God at the Last Day.  
The pope was denounced as a heretic and demanded to be 
brought before a council for trial and condemnation.   
Yet he persisted in teaching this error, even throwing 
into the papal dungeon one who accused him of heresy. 
Eventually, however, the pope appointed a commission 
of theologians to examine the question, which easily 
showed him that his teaching was contrary to the 
almost universal opinion of theologians.  On the day 
before his death, December 3, 1334, he issued the Bull 
Ne Super His in the presence of the College of 
Cardinals, formally and solemnly revoking his opinion.
On January 29, 1936, his successor, Pope Benedict XII, 
published this document, along with his own 
Constitution, Benedictus Deus, which declared 
authoritatively and perpetually concerning the matter.
John XXII, upon his deathbed, solemnly recanted every
opinion, every teaching contrary to the Catholic Faith,
alluding to his heretical sermon given on the Feast of
All Saints in 1331, "determinationi Ecclesiae ac 
successorum nostrorum" [submitting all that he may have
said or written on the subject to the judgement of the
Church and of his successors].  
Such instances do not leave any room for doubt but 
that it is possible for a Pope to be guilty of heresy,
except in the exercise of the Extraordinary 
Magisterium, which, alone, is intrinsically infallible.
"Papal teaching authority was not thought of as being
independent of the other teaching authorities in the 
Church.  Scholastic theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas
recognized that the Pope could introduce new formulas 
of faith, but Thomas thought of this in the context of 
papal councils like the Lateran councils, and saw 
papal authority to determine the faith as being 
exercised as the head of such a council, not in 
opposition to it or independence from it. 




 Popes who have fallen into heresy 

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