In talking with friends who are having trouble accepting the teachings of Pope Francis, I have learned not to discount the serious and legitimate concerns they have. They are torn. On the one hand, they know that the papacy is important and efficacious for Christian unity. On the other hand, they firmly believe that what they are hearing from this Pope is flat wrong. For them, we have headed into uncharted territory for which the limited examples of Pope Honorius and Pope John XXII only offer limited insights.

While not a friend, I think one of the most vocal of the “loyal opposition” is Taylor Marshall, who wrote the following on Twitter.

“Catholic options in 2019:

1) #TeamFrancis = Pope Francis is right. His predecessors are wrong.

2) #Recognize&Resist = Francis is valid Pope who must be resisted w filial respect

3) #PseudoResignationism = B16 is still Pope & PF is Antipope

4) Sedevacantism. No Popes since 1958”

There are only two options available to Catholics: The Pope can lead the Church astray or he cannot. The only correct choice is to believe the Pope cannot.  Taylor Marshall states that he is firmly in camp #2, implying he believes the Pope can.

Why is it important to believe that the Pope cannot lead the Church astray? First, we have to understand why the papacy is so important to begin with.

The Pope wears a lot of hats (except the papal tiara, of course), so that it can be difficult to define the point of the papacy. Popes have engaged in a number of activities that seem hardly appropriate for the office, such as commissioning art or waging wars. In modern times, popes are expected to be head of state and head of government, reforming the Curia and at the same time, being a pastor to a billion souls via his Wednesday audiences, just as one example.

But at the end of the day, what is the point of the papacy?  From Jesus we know that the papacy is the foundation upon which the Church is built. A contemporary phrasing is that the Pope is the guarantor of the unity and truth of the faith.  

There are, of course, strong and weak theories about this aspect of papacy. At either end of the spectrum, perhaps we could encapsulate it like so:

  1. The unity of the Church requires that the Pope be impeccable in all respects.
  2. The unity of the Church requires nothing from the Pope himself.

Where does the truth lie? Perhaps not surprisingly, somewhere in the middle.

Yes, popes do a lot of things better or worse than other popes. Some were brilliant and magnanimous. Others were corrupt and maleficent. But the simple question is this: “Was it better to submit to the Pope?” The answer, invariably, despite political and dynastic interests, through wars and corruption, has been and is “yes.”  This is both a theological point as well as a practical point: whatever you think about the Pope, he has always been a guarantor of the unity of the Church in truth even if he himself did not necessarily live out his papacy in a manner worthy of the task.

Unfortunately, we can’t definitely prove this. How do we know for certain that the pope we have today is the one that it supposed to guarantee our unity in the truth? How do we know the Church of today is even true? Ultimately, it is a question of history and of faith; we trust in the Spirit to guide the Church upon the “rock” of the papacy, which Christ instituted, and we believe that this line of popes is validly carried to Pope Francis today. (As Taylor Marshall himself notes, however, there are plenty of folks who believe differently.)

Assuming that the line of popes advanced by the Catholic Church is indeed valid, we know from clear examples in history that the popes are not impeccable and, certainly on this site, no one is claiming that any pope, including the present one, has been. His teachings may very well be revised or clarified by a future Pope or Council (though this isn’t to say that the Pope has erred in his teachings).    

But what’s interesting to note are those people, like my friends and Taylor Marshall, who believe a derivation of #2. They might argue that the papacy is important. They might argue that it’s also important for all Catholics to respect the papacy. But the critical difference here is that for those who adhere to #2, the pope himself need not be actually effective in preserving the unity of the Church in truth. According to them, he can, has, and does lead the Church astray.

In recognizing both the value of the papacy and the apparent (in their mind) error that has been taught, Taylor Marshall and other dissenters have serious and legitimate concerns. Certainly, one cannot obsequiously follow the pope in his error, because this would imply that the pope is above Christ, which is undoubtedly false. If the pope has taught error, the Church must correct the Pope before he causes disunity in the Church or leads it into irreparable harm. Individuals must speak up to force the Pope into orthodoxy before it is too late.

This opens up dangerous avenues of thought. The line of questions might proceed like this:

  1. Who are these people that must correct the Pope?
  2. Did the Holy Spirit intervene to coalesce these people into his true Church regardless of the pope’s teachings?
  3. How do we identify the true Church?
  4. Is the true Church simply all those who respect the papacy (as an office) and adhere to a specific set of previous magisterial teachings?
  5. What is this set of teachings and who is responsible for determining which are acceptable and which aren’t?
  6. If that responsible party is not the current pope, then what role does the pope serve and what authority does he actually have?
  7. If the pope is merely a figurehead, a type of banner around which “true Catholics” rally, does it really matter at all what he teaches?
  8. Since we know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, could the pope could teach error indefinitely so long as faithful Catholics remain committed to the papacy in theory?
  9. Is the papacy just an unnecessary accessory or invention?

This is merely a rough sketch of the path to schism which has the potential of occurring at any step along the way. Perhaps there is a good answer somewhere in there that prevents that from happening.

No matter what that answer is, however, if the pope can lead the Church astray, then Catholics must believe in some other principle, besides the papacy itself, by which the unity of the Church in truth may actually be guaranteed. What is this principle? So far, in all the apologetics by our site and others for the papacy, we have made claims and attempted to defend them. We have cited Scripture and Church documents to advance our point, including the most conservative “It is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all human beings that they submit to the Roman Pontiff” and the Vatican Councils. It has been unclear, however, upon what basis modern dissenters claim both to adhere to this same Catholic faith and to have an obligation to correct the Pope.  

Is the unity of the faith solely the result of the direct working of the Holy Spirit in each man? Perhaps it is a system based on knowledge and truth as revealed by Christ to individuals, especially in Scripture but also through previous papal or conciliar pronouncements. We don’t know for sure what dissenters actually believe in, but for it to be theologically valid, dissenters must believe God is acting in a special way in each Catholic who opposes the Pope’s teachings. They must believe that God has given them the grace relevant for preserving unity in truth, but not others, and, paradoxically, most certainly not the Pope.

Any principle which rejects the actual effectiveness of the popes to preserve the people in the unity of the Church in truth and which advances an individualistic, charismatic approach to faith and Tradition would constitute a liberal theology that is at odds with the express language of even the “liberal” Second Vatican Council. Such an interpretation would enable individuals with a variety of beliefs to exalt their opinions and false views to the level of divine inspiration and set up the eventual fractionalization of the Church. This is the slippery slope upon which those who adhere to #2, or even a derivation thereof, walk.

Unlike Protestants who, to their credit, frequently maintain a view of Christian unity in the face of the many Christian denominations, Catholics take unity much more literally–a better word might be “incarnationally.” The Church is called to be visibly one, in belief and in practice. And so, while it would be absolutely wrong to assert that the Holy Spirit has no role in bringing unity to the Church of Christ–the Spirit does work to build true and authentic community–such unity does not occur in merely a “mystical” way. The fullness of unity in Christ does not occur apart from visible union under the pope. As explicitly stated in a variety of Church documents, submission to the pope and his teachings is a prerequisite to the unity of the Church won by the Spirit.

Why does the Church make such a big deal about the papacy? Why does it insist that the pope has special graces to perform his ministry?  Because, ultimately, our entire Church rests upon his shoulders–and not so much his but Christ’s. By the grace of God, the pope is the spokesperson for the will of the Lord. He serves the Church by being obedient to the voice of Christ, and consequently he authoritatively leads the faithful in his care to greater holiness in the truth. To put it most simply, the pope is the only visible guarantee that the present Church is the true Church which Christ founded and which the Spirit sustains.

For a person to firmly believe and declare that the pope has led the Church astray would necessarily upend that person’s entire Catholic faith including Catholic concepts of unity and indirectly the entire, “incarnational” apostolic Tradition. Sadly, this is exactly what many have struggled with and have consequently abandoned the Catholic faith because of it. Note that many who leave may still uphold the “theory” of the papacy; they may strongly believe in the importance of apostolic succession; they just refuse to hold that the current pope is the head of the “true Church,” for whatever reason.

While I appreciate the honesty of those like Taylor Marshall who recognize the importance of the papacy in the midst of their protestations, it is not sufficient to support a papacy apart from the pope. It is necessary to be with the pope himself, because to be opposed to him and his teachings means to be against the unity of the Church.  

106 Shares

46 Responses

  1. Avatar Jane says:

    The likes of Taylor Marshall and others who are saying similar things to him, causes me the deepest greatest, most tremendous grief in my heart and soul because of the confusion and rupturing they are causing in the souls of those I love. While I agree that there should be many conversations, I do believe that, at the end of the day, the church is where peter is. . . 🙂 I have to work to love the likes of Taylor Marshall, and others, because of the damage that I believe they are doing to souls.
    The damage they are doing to souls — that is my greatest pain in my heart. Why are these folks doing damage to souls? Let me give you one example. Rebellion towards Pope Francis happens due to a comment of his that they do not like or just rubs them wrong, and like comments to theirs gets aired all over the internet. Later he asks the entire church to do the very thing the Pope asked the church to do at the time of Lepanto, and a comment such as, “It’s about time,” comes out. It’s about time? That is not a comment of loving submission, but of disgust and disdain.
    I always go back to the realization that the Holy Father is the only person in the world who has the graces to be the Pope. Not me, not Taylor Marshall, not etc etc etc. . . like you alluded to, Mr. Amiri, in your article.
    THANK YOU for this. Thank you for giving me and many others, the confidence to go out and love others with our prayers and with articles like these, to bring hope and unity to the whole world. God Bless you

  2. Avatar Chris dorf says:

    Thank you for this essay. Never in my lifetime have I seen Catholics going after the standing Pope in the fashion in which many Catholics are doing that today. it seems that those confronting Pope Francis are clear in their own consciences but they are affecting the consciences of lots and lots of other Catholics who here the negative commentary and do not know what to make of it. Thank you again so much for writing this piece.

    • Avatar The Owl ~ ಠvಠ says:

      There are reams of articles, blogs, comment boxes that went after Pope Benedict XVI. I should know, I posted amongst them under a different name. From my own personal experience, I would argue that Pope Benedict XVI was loved a lot less by his critics than how Pope Francis is loved by his critics.

      The primary difference is that ‘heresy’ wasn’t a term applied to Pope Benedict XVI but it is being applied to Pope Francis. The reason is simple — the critics of Pope Benedict XVI don’t hold to doctrine and dogma as being fundamental but the critics of Pope Francis do. The “fashion” in which the critics of Pope Francis are going after him is really a matter of perspective.

  3. Avatar Kevin Davis says:

    “…dissenters must believe God is acting in a special way in each Catholic who opposes the Pope’s teachings. They must believe that God has given them the grace relevant for preserving unity in truth, but not others, and, paradoxically, most certainly not the Pope.”

    That’s a strange claim. I’m familiar with Taylor Marshall. I’ve probably seen every episode of his show for at least a year now (and I’ve also been following and reading this blog for a while now too). Taylor’s most recent video on errors in AL is a very good example of his criticisms, so I’d encourage everyone to go watch it. Neither he nor Timothy claim that God is acting in a special way for themselves, such that they are able to recognize the errors, and nothing they say would require them to make such a claim. They are applying their reason and noticing that the Church once said this (often repeatedly, authoritatively, and across centuries), Francis says this, and those two things are contradictory. I’m fully aware of how the Francis defenders will appeal to “development,” the magical word that makes contradictions into a matter of lesser versus greater depth of understanding, always upon some greater principal or more primal teaching. Everyone is applying their reason in evaluating Francis and also in evaluating whether the Church prohibits the faithful from dissenting from the pope’s teachings, as this website argues is the case. I don’t see how your reasoning is any more or less subjective than Taylor Marshall’s, Patrick Coffin’s, Ross Douthat’s, Michael Voris, Raymond Arroyo, and the increasingly long list of dissenters.

    A year or so ago, I was still a bit up in the air, desperately wanting to square a circle. I can’t any longer. Francis has publicly taught heresies. Lacking an intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably in a future pontificate, then of course there will be schism, and the centuries-long claim of the Roman Catholic Church, as the guarantor and preserver of truth, will have proven to be a fraud.

    • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

      The problem, of course, is that Taylor Marshall’s interpretation is not the only one and not surprisingly it is the wrong one. There is a reasonable explanation, of course, the question is whether you will accept it. Catholics are obliged to submit to the teachings of the Pope. Simple as that.

  4. Avatar Chris dorf says:

    Last year Pope Francis addressed all of the people that were attacking him has a pope teaching heresy at a meeting with fellow Jesuits:

    “Pope Francis has criticised those who make accusations of heresy and believe they possess the Church’s “true doctrine”, stating that it is not possible to dialogue with them.

    In remarks made in a question and answer session with fellow Jesuits during his recent visit to Chile and Peru, the Latin American Pope said he is willing to have discussions with those resistance to his pontificate but has decided simply to pray for people accusing him of being a heretic.

    Following the publication of his family life document opening the way for divorced and re-married Catholics to receive communion, there are those accusing Francis of breaking with church doctrine. Last September a small group of priests and theologians even accused him of allowing the spread of heresy.

    “When I perceive resistance, I seek dialogue whenever it is possible, but some resistance comes from people who believe they possess the true doctrine and accuse you of being a heretic,” explained Pope Francis.

    “When I cannot see spiritual goodness in what these people say or write, I simply pray for them. I find it sad, but I won’t settle on this sentiment for the sake of my own mental well-being.”

    https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/8569/pope-francis-hits-back-at-those-who-cry-heresy-

  5. Avatar Greg says:

    So if the Pope teaches something contradictory to another Pope in the past which Pope does a good Catholic submit to?

    • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

      The short answer is that they are not contradictory in any way that would require you to hold back your submission to the present Pope.

      • Avatar David Bushey says:

        Mr. Amiri, that’s not an answer, that’s a very polite way of saying, “Shut your mouth and do as your betters tell you, pleb.”

        • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

          The long answer is written throughout this website, explaining in what ways there are differences and in what way there is continuity with previous teaching. Even in their differences, there is no break here in Magisterial teachings that requires dissent from the laity.

  6. Avatar jong says:

    Thanks for mentioning the channel of Dr.Marshall. I have watched all his videos starting from the first one which described who is Ab.Vigano. Afterwards all of Dr.Marshall videos circles around conspiracy theories,speculations,personal opinions and attack on the dignity of Pope Francis and his teachings. And then, most of the videos attacks the Vatican II Doctrines and all the Cardinals.Bishops and Priest loyal to Pope Francis. You can easily tell Dr.Marshall objective how they badly painted the image of Pope Francis and Cardinals loyal to him in their theme and the content of their discussion.
    Dr,Marshall stated he is attending Latin Masses in FSSP. I’ve followed Dr.Marshall channel to defend Pope Francis from so many attacks on the comment section and from Dr.Marshall and his co-host Timothy Gordon.
    St.John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI does not escaped Dr.Marshall criticisms too, as they said Pope Benedict XVI is a coward and had abandon the flock. They also question St.JP2 sainthood as they said he is responsible for the rise of Cardinal McCarrick. with Pope Francis they are saying he is teaching a false theology.
    Dr.Marshall proudly support Ab.Vigano and the Dubia Cardinals arguments.
    I am thankful for wherepeteris timely articles in defending Pope Francis and his teaching as I always cited your website and the ucccr website.
    Dr.Marshall videos even attack the dignity of the dead Cardinal Murphy O’Connor and Fr.Malachi Martin which can no longer defend themselves.
    Dr.Marshall had blocked my account in defending Pope Francis and all Cardinals loyal to him. Dr.Marshall last 5 episodes had been deleting comments that are defending Pope Francis. So, if you go to Dr.Marshall videos you only see posted comments that are negative to Pope Francis and Dr.Marshall liked and loved comments attacking the dignity of Pope Francis.
    I’ve questioned Dr.Marshall obstinate airing of contradictory views on Amoris Laetetia and CCC2267 and asked him if he is aware of Canon750,Canon751 and Canon752. Obstinate contradiction of Church approved Magisterial Teachings is a delict of heresy and can incurs automatic excommunications in Canon Law.
    Also, since they embraced the Cardinal Dubia argumens I always reminded them of Cardina Caffara’s important statement, one of the former Dubia Cardinals who reconciled to Pope Francis before his death.
    «I was born Papist, I lived as a Papist, and I mean to die a Papist! If a Bishop has a thought contrary to that of the Pope» – he concluded: «he must go away, but really he must go away from the diocese. Because he would lead the faithful into a path that is not the one of Jesus Christ anymore. Therefore, he would lose himself eternally and would risk the eternal loss of the faithful».
    https://www.uccronline.it/eng/2018/10/08/card-caffarra-let-who-is-against-the-pope-go-away-he-will-lose-himself/

    I believed now the reality Pope Benedict XVI statement on the Council of Media that was formed to attacked the Spirit of Vatican II Teachings and are now continuing their attack to sow the smoke of satan which are the Dubia of Faith to undermine the Papacy of Pope Francis and the Vatican II Church.
    here’s the link; Pope says media disfigured Vatican II (closed captions)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3-J1deL4BY
    Pope Francis recently stated that the Real Schism is now more visible, and the Council of Media are making it happen by spreading fake news to sow confusions to further the divisions. The end results is a Two Catholic Church.
    One counterfeit who have No Pope and Living Church Magisterium who will exist only to attack the Vatican II Church to destroy it. And they are singing of a New Conclave and discussing who will be the possible Pope. They presented five Cardinals and ofcourse the assasinate the character of Cardinal loyal to Pope like Cardinal Tagle and Cardinal Schonborn and praises the Dubia Cardinals as good candidate.
    This development among the Trads, I believe is the prophecy of Ab.Fulton Sheen, satan will set-up a counterfeit church that resembles catholic tone but with No Pope. St.John Paul II described this as Final Confrontation and Pope Benedict XVI saw it’s leaders inside the Vatican as Wolves in sheep clothing. While Pope Francis exposes all this wolves by introducing controversial teaching to know who are the Disobedient Clergy & Prelates. The bonus is, it also exposes who are their collaborators outside Vatican the packed of wild dogs(church critics & enemies) as Pope Francis described all the groups that are attacking the church who have no goodwill but want to scandalize the Church.
    There is a good book which discusses the evil of Gossiping titled “Sins of the Tongue” by Fr.Belet that mostly quoted Church Fathers and Saints which I send to Dr.Marshall but he deleted it in the comment section.

    • Avatar Jane says:

      wow Jong, I agree wholeheartedly! I was blocked from LifeSiteNews back in 2013, when I was saying in the comments’ section to “trust the Holy Spirit and the one He has chosen for us to be Our Holy Father,” and so I know how you feel re: Dr. Taylor Marshall. I have been posting comments on YouTube to Dr. Taylor Marshall, in defense of Pope Francis and I have not gone back to check if anyone has taken them down.

      It is the salvation of souls that is hurting my heart most deeply in all of this. Can we pray, fast and offer many sacrifices for these souls?

      God bless you

    • Avatar Joaquin Mejia says:

      Well, he privated his video on how St. John Paul II inspired him to convert to Catholicism. I wonder why.

  7. Avatar David Bushey says:

    So at the end of the day, it seems the proper role of the laity is indeed to pay, pray and obey.

    • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

      Just? No. But it’s a start.

      • Avatar David Bushey says:

        It worries me that you take that remark as a good thing. If we are to be passive drones just sitting and accepting whatever is said, no questions asked, was Bl. John Newman just wasting his time in trying to develop a voice for the laity? Why did Vatican II work so hard to develop a theology concerning the laity if we’re just supposed to be the brainless serfs Jack Chick and others have portrayed us as for so long?

        • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

          I understand the history of the phrase but there’s something lost when the laity, as blessed as they are and with all the gifts that they have, refuse to pray and refuse to listen to the voice of Christ through prayer and as explained by the Magisterium. Only through obeying Christ, even in a radical way, can the laity ever become fully alive in freedom.

          • Avatar Jane says:

            I agree and give my well-thought-out and wholehearted consent of faith with reason 100% to the Vicar of Christ on earth.

            Pope Francis teaching heresy? Where? When?

            No, not heresy, but I do believe Pope Francis is laboring to bring us off our Pharisaical high-horses, and I can see how that can rub wrong. I am working this moment to get off my Pharisaical high-horse, and for that I thank my Lord, Who has taught me through His Vicar.

            Thank you for this article. I love learning from the website 🙂

  8. Avatar Peter Aiello says:

    The primary guarantor of the unity and truth of Christianity is the Holy Spirit. All levels of the Church should be under the individual guidance of the Holy Spirit, from the pope down to the layperson; and all should have supernatural discernment (V2’s Lumen Gentium 12). We individually have the responsibility to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thessalonians 5:21). In this way, no single person can lead the Church astray. If the pope is the only visible guarantee of unity and truth, then the pope is the only one that is infallible. This is not the case. Infallibility is broader than this (LG 12 and Acts 15:23,25).

    • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

      Something worth diving into in a future article is the exact sense in which the Church, as a whole, cannot error. The Pope is also a member of that “whole Church” and speaks on behalf of the Church, “as a whole.” Something that wasn’t entire clear in your comment… but note note that LG 12 speaks not of the Church, individually, but the Church “as a whole.” Individuals very much can error. Did you mean Acts 15? I’m not sure how that applies here…

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        At the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the letter to the Gentiles from the council was sent by the “The apostles and elders and brethren” (15:23), and said that “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us” (15:28). Peter, who was present at the council, was not singled out in the letter. If this is a model for future councils, shouldn’t the successors of the other apostles also be present at a council, and not just the pope? Other churches also have valid apostolic succession.

        • Avatar jong says:

          Peter Alelio
          That’s the problem of individual interpretation of scriptures and Tradition. you had been interpreting and scriptures and Tradition based on your finite understanding and fallible language. That’s why Jesus founded a Church with the Primacy of Peter.you mentioned Council of Jerusalem in Acts where the disciple of James had questioned and showed signs of disrespect to St.Peter when he tried to lived out what St.Paul had expressed how to treat the Gentiles. This is the favorite topic thrown to Pope that one can rebuked him and a Pope can commit errors or heresy. But fortunately reflecting on this deeply ,Peter had not committed errors nor heresy but shows the “kindness of heart” of Peter towards the People of God. Peter first showed to the Gentiles that according St.Paul inspired teaching that was ratified in Council of Jerusalem that a Jew can eat with the Gentiles and brotherhood & unity is also an important thing to do to fulfill the Gospel of Christ. Even Barnabas was also seen to follow Peter in living-out the Council of Jerusalem decree.But, since this teaching is only new and acceptance & understanding among the Jews had not yet matured, we expect some hard-core Jews to reject this kind of doctrines as it is totally oppose to their grown-up culture. It will take time for some Jews or even some Jews will never accept this kind of doctrine even if it is approved by a Council as even the Council of Jerusalem is also the first and still have to gain it’s Authority & Respect in the early Church.
          Remember we can qualify this Doctrine of “eating with the Gentiles” as not yet a Dogma if we applied the language of our times.
          St.Peter seeing the “resistance & disapproval” of the disciples of James to that doctrines, perhaps in his prudential judgement think it’s better to explain the doctrine fully to the Jews who oppose it. So, stopping from this moment, the Gentiles was not offended as they had seen the kindness of Peter and the disciples of James was also pacified as they saw Peter also understand their feelings and resistance.
          What is the trigger point of why this scene becomes unpleasant in the eyes of God? It is not because of the action of Peter but the unpleasant action of Barnabas and some Jews whom upon seeing Peter stood up hastily followed that made the act look “unpleasant” in the eyes of the Gentiles. I repeat it’s not the direct action of Peter alone that St.Paul was inspired to correct or rebuked but the focus is more on the Jews who sits at the table and the disciple of James who shows disapproval to the action of Peter and the Jews.
          The Holy Spirit see the situations as a “perfect moment” to put emphasis on the Doctrine that was agreed upon the Council of Jerusalem for all the Gentiles and all the Jews present to understand.
          In a way St.Paul was really not “rebuking Peter directly” but the whole action of the Jews in general with a purpose of expressing the Holy Spirit inspiration to put more emphasis on the Doctirnes. The situation serves as a very good example to magnify the essence of the teaching on “brotherhood & unity”.
          St.Peter did not commit error nor teach heresy in this scenario.But his “kindhearted” attitude as a Chief Shepherd who does not want to offend both the Gentiles and the Jews which the scriptures described as “cowardice” resulted in the unintentional unpleasant behavior of Barnabas and other Jews who followed Peter wrongly not knowing the “pure intention” of Peter why he need to withdraw in favor of pacifying the disciples of James. My personal reflections tell me, Peter withdraw from the table knowing the Gentiles understand or perhaps he gently excuse himself from the Gentiles in order fror him to approach disciples of James to explain the things correctly as a Chief Shepherd. But, ofcourse the uncalculated action Barnabas and other Jews spoiled the good action of Peter with their uncalled behavior.
          You can connect this scene, when the Holy Spirit redeemed highly the Authority of Peter that was tarnished by this incedent in Acts5:4-ff when the Holy Spirit had shown that anyone who disrespect the Papacy of Peter will be strike upon death immediately. From then on all the Apostles and Disciples knew that the Holy Spirit dwells fully to St.Peter and the He is really the Supreme Authority.

          • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

            The Council of Jerusalem was about whether the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law (Act 15:24). The answer from the council was no. The Holy Spirit had fallen on the Gentiles in the same way as He did on the Jews at Pentecost, while they were still Gentiles. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit did not require the Gentiles to become Jews in order to have faith in Christ (Acts 15:9).

  9. Avatar chris dorf says:

    As a cradle catholic whom has seen first hand the mass exodus of Catholics to born again and evangelical churches, I wonder if the detractors of Pope Francis want to invite people to faith and life in Jesus Christ or whether they want to push them away. I saw this occur with the conservative Catholics attitude toward Catholic charismatic renewal and toward Catholic Worker. I saw criticism of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as ‘mere social work’, while these Catholics thought themselves pious and inerrant.

  10. Avatar M. says:

    It is breaking my heart, too, and it is so frustrating that these guys will not allow dialogue or defense of the pope in their comments, no differing opionions allowed, no matter how respectfully put. but censor everything. No free speech in their com boxes, so it just feeds the beast because confused people who read or watch those videos just think there is no other other opinion, and follow hook, line, and sinker. EWTN, Lifesite, et al have become the new magisterium. Then there is no reaching confused people anymore, because apparently I am “the only one” who follows the pope, even those who were always so faithful to the magisterium spend all their time calling it into question. 🙁 I struggle to love Taylor Marshall and some of these other wolves in sheeps clothing as well. Thank you for the reminder to pray for them, and to pray that we might all be one in Christ.

  11. Avatar Ashpenaz says:

    I agree with Taylor Marshall–except about St. Pope JPII! Once Marshall, et. al., say it’s OK to resist the Pope, that means I get to resist the Popes I don’t like. If they don’t have to agree with Amoris Laetitia, then I don’t have to agree with Humanae Vitae. If they don’t have to agree with Laudato Si, then I don’t have to agree with Veritatis Splendor. And what about the next Pope? Do we simply use our “prudential judgment” to disagree with him or not? How is what Taylor Marshall saying different from what Henry the VIII said when he didn’t like what the Pope said about divorce? Taylor Marshall is making a great argument–for Anglicanism!

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      We do need prudential judgment if we are going to live out our proper place in the Church. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12 says: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, (111) [cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27] cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (8*) [Cf. 1 Cor. 10: 17] they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.” The Spirit of Truth isn’t restricted to the hierarchy.

    • Avatar carn says:

      “How is what Taylor Marshall saying different from what Henry the VIII said when he didn’t like what the Pope said about divorce?”

      The difference is – if Tony Marshall commits no logical errors, fallacies, etc. – that unlike Henry VIII the issue is not “like” or “dislike” (or political considerations, which as far as i am aware was also rather important for what Henry VIII did), but “true” or “false” evaluated according to the principle of non-contradiction.

      E.g. if a Pope would suggest that death penalty is intrinsically evil, while a valid council taught that death penalty is permissible under some circumstances, people like Marshall would suggest that what that Pope says about the death penalty to be false, cause the council by teaching that the death penalty is permissible under some circumstances also taught thereby that death penalty is not intrinsically evil (as intrinsic evil things are never permissible, no matter what circumstances); and some of the people raising such an argument even in spite of personally being opposed to death penalty, cause their personal opposition to death penalty does not change the issue of contradiction between what the Pope said and what the council taught; especially therefore it is not an issue of “like” and “dislike”, cause one could even be sympathetic to some Pope’s efforts regarding the death penalty and still consider what he says to be wrong due to the contradiction to what the council taught.

      (I do neither claim that Pope Francis does say that death penalty is intrinsically evil, nor that any council taught that it isn’t; it is just a hypothetical to explain, why the issue is not foremost an issue of like/dislike, but of true/false)

      • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

        Admittedly, these questions are something we struggle with internally too. Never could the Church teach that something is GOOD (or conducive to holiness) that it later declares to be evil. As with slavery, there are some things which the Church tolerated/allowed and some the Church condemned, while it also advocated for better practices and treatment of slaves. Today, we can say that the Church explicitly prohibits slavery in all its forms that “reduce [people] by violence to their productive value or a source of profit.”

        By faith, questions of Magisterium are never presented to us as a matter of true/false. We all must accept the teaching in our own way but always with a certain trust given to the Magisterium to speak truthfully.

        • Avatar padbravo says:

          what ???

          did you ever read the Syllabus ???

          those are CLEAR ISSUES OF “TRUE/FALSE” !!! …

          no “middleground” there

          • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

            My point is that the Magisterium never asks us to make the determination of whether its teachings are either True or False. Rather, it obliges us to assume that they are true.

            “Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals. — Damnatio”

    • Avatar The Owl ~ ಠvಠ says:

      It is very different. Henry the VIII was arguing about judicial, that he, as king, had the juridical authority to declare his marriage nul, and that the Pope did not have sole or final authority in just judicial matters. It wasn’t an argument about the Pope being wrong about the whole concept of divorce but where judicial authority rested in the nullification process. It is more messy of a question as even today the Church sees the need for weighing in of the judicial authority of the State in the judicial process of declaring a marriage nul.

      Taylor Marshall is arguing about fundamental theology, not simply judicial application of theology (Henry VIII). More dicy.

      I don’t wish to speak for Taylor Marshall, but a lot of the issues that people have with this pontificate are not over matters of taste or “pastoral application”, though to be sure this plays into it. Thomists historically have had issue with Jesuit moral theology anyway, going back centuries.

      Let me answer your question though about “how you know”. When you are catechized, when you go through confirmation, you are literally handed the Deposit of the Faith. When something comes along that doesn’t square with what you have been handed, one well catechized will immediately say “STOP this does not fit”. If someone says “Pope Francis is not pope” that does not fit. Likewise, if someone says “On Human Fraternity is in accord with Catholic theology” one wills notice that it doesn’t fit.

  12. Avatar carn says:

    You forgot to spell out your own 5th option:
    “While not a friend, I think one of the most vocal of the “loyal opposition” is Taylor Marshall, who wrote the following on Twitter.

    “Catholic options in 2019:

    1) #TeamFrancis = Pope Francis is right. His predecessors are wrong.

    2) #Recognize&Resist = Francis is valid Pope who must be resisted w filial respect

    3) #PseudoResignationism = B16 is still Pope & PF is Antipope

    4) Sedevacantism. No Popes since 1958””

    Would be probably something like:

    5) Pope Francis is right and any claim that there might be a contradiction between him and his predecessors is false.

  13. Avatar L. Daily says:

    I’ll repeat, this is a result of a legion of unassimilated converts who are still fundamentalists at heart and given an undue megaphone online and through EWTN media. Protestants protest.

    • Avatar The Owl ~ ಠvಠ says:

      As a convert myself, it really needs to be said that the sentiment of the canard, said to every “uppity zealous convert” since the beginning of the Church, really is shameful.

      Be better and perhaps converts will be more “assimilated”.

    • Avatar M. says:

      That’s not very nicely put. Are you suggesting that converts retain their protestant identity, even when they have come back into full union with the church?

  14. Avatar A Voice in the Novus Ordo Desert says:

    Mr Amiri, it has been most enlightening to read not only this article but those who have taken the risk to comment in your thread. I am disappointed that you did not address the objective reality that is the black-and-white substance of the evidence that supports option #3. Namely, the precise English translation of the Declaratio from Feb 11, 2013 as well as the precise English translation of the announcement from Feb 27, 2013. In this way you fall into the same intellectual negligence that Dr. Taylor Marshall still at this time promotes.

    The tell-all key is Pope Benedict’s undeniable resignation of the ministerium and not the munus. For whatever reason and whether he accepts it or not, Benedict remains the only one who occupies the Papal Office. This fact is in accord with Canon 332.2. Munus denotes a state of being, while ministerium denotes the acts that come out from that state of being. In a future article I hope that you would fully inform your readers by at least presenting the evidence at hand for option #3 that you’ve neglected to place on the table at this time.

    This option would be evidence of God’s intervention since through Pope Benedict’s decision, God has safeguarded not only the infallibility of the Papal Office but also the indefectibility of Holy Mother the Church and the immutability of Her doctrines. Again, I encourage you to examine the evidence and then offer that examination to your readers as a matter of full disclosure. Thank you.

    • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

      I’m mostly curious as this point. Theories of the papacy aside and distinctions of munus/ministerium, how, then, do you understand Benedict’s own language declaring that the see will be vacant? There’s no requirement anywhere which would seem to specify the required language necessary to resign, but he seemed pretty clear that his intention is to vacate his position as Bishop of Rome and have a new Pope elected.

      • Avatar A Voice in the Novus Ordo Desert says:

        Mr. Amiri, a detailed, on-going discussion can be found at the blog site From Rome as well as Bp Emeritus Gracida’s blog site Deep Calls to Deep. https://abyssum.org/2018/06/23/pope-benedict-xvi-did-not-renounce-the-divine-office-of-vicar-of-christ/
        https://fromrome.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/the-validity-of-pope-benedict-vxis-resignation-must-be-questioned/

        To attempt to put aside what is key, namely the significant distinctions between ministerium and munusand move to whether the see would or would not be vacant, begs the question. Since the Papal Office has not been renounced, the see has been occupied since 2005 and a conclave need not have been called.

        You are mistaken. The required language necessary to resign is explicitly laid out in Canon 332.2 in it’s three separate requirements the first of which is that the munus be formally manifested. Indeed if Pope Benedict had clearly met the language requirements necessitated by Canon 332.2, Msgr Bux and others would not be calling for an examination into the juridical validity of the words he used. Here is the literal tenor of Canon 332.2 CDC:
        If contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur”. (“If the Roman Pontiff renounces his office, it is required, for validity, that the resignation be free and be formally manifested, and that it be accepted by no one.” I hope your curiosity is sufficient for you to act with diligence and investigate to find answers to your questions.

        • Avatar The Owl ~ ಠvಠ says:

          @A Voice In … Please take the following with respect for your argument and a since wish to see the argument fleshed out deeper. As, there are few theologians of the 20th century that are as careful and nuanced as Benedict XVI, the line of reasoning that you are bringing to the table needs to be mined out to its fullest. As such, permit me to point out a critical error in the argument that you are presenting. A Pope, being the supreme legislator of the Church, is not bound by Canon Law. Therefore, it is not an argument to point to Canon Law and say that a Pope must do X or must not do Y. The Pope is free to what he wills. It is a good idea for a Pope to consult Canon Law, conform himself to Canon Law, and to change the Law before changing norms because this shows that the Pope is honoring his predecessors and the Office, but a Pope need not do this.

          A Pope is bound in his actions by other things, but not by Canon Law. A valid Papal Resignation is not valid according to the Canon Law because the Pope is not so bound. The argument that it was not a valid resignation has to rest upon the fundamental nature of the Papacy and the act being done.

          @Daniel Amiri

          With respect to your argument, I have pondered long and written long and decided the length was too much for a combox. So I will be short. It seems that everyone is making the same fundamental conflation. The Petrine Office has the charism of infallibility NOT inerrancy. It is a big distinction and is what allows for St. Paul to have opposed St. Peter to his face for the error that St. Peter was teaching.

          Since you are a financial individual, let me give you an analogy. If I gave you a coin and asked you to tell me what the value of the coin was, you would answer that the value is the value ascribed to it by the issuer. That is because we live in a fiat currency system. The will of the issuer is the measure by which we ascribe the worth of the coin. This is not what we mean when we say that the Pope is the rule (measure) of the Faith. This is not how rules/measures worked in antiquity. In antiquity, a coin’s value is determined not by fiat of the issuer but by the conformity of the weight by which it is measured to the weight’s standard.

          The Pope acts as a rule of the Faith not by fiat but when the Pope measures according to the standard (which has been impressed upon him in the Office.) If a Pope is not measuring according to the standard (which is the Deposit of the Faith), then his is still Pope, just not exercising the Office. Because infallibility is not inspiration, a Pope remains free to not measure. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of the time a Pope is not engaging the Petrine teaching Office and Papal infallibility.

          This doesn’t mean that we are free to ignore the Pope and do what we want, but it means that we are not to hang on his every word as if he were some Delphi Oracle where what he says is the gods’ truth because he said it. Truth of a thing depends upon conformity to truth, measure to standard, vicar to Lord.

          Please know that I do share your deep concern on the danger of schism, but I don’t think we can ignore the fact that different parishes are using different catechetical standards. We cannot ignore the fact that under Pope Benedict XVI the program was that of “hermeneutic of continuity” while under Pope Francis it is the “hermeneutic of rupture/’Spirit of Vatican II””. You cannot willy nilly flip between the approaches.

          • Daniel Amiri Daniel Amiri says:

            Thanks for your comment. Surely, not everything the Pope does or says rises to the level of Magisterium. The relevant language refers to his “manifest mind and will” which can be articulated through repition or the formality of a document, etc. Dismissing a plane interview is one thing. Dismissing AL, like some have done, is a wholly other thing.

            Whatever I said in my article, I hope it was not meant to convey any sense that a thing is true because the Pope declared it so. The Pope serves Christ and the Truth. We agree on that point.

          • Avatar A Voice in the Novus Ordo Desert says:

            @Owl: Thank you for your reply. You will find that the “deeper fleshing out” of the arguments that are presented has been done at the sources that were cited. You can also find a deeper fleshing out of your position that the Pope is not bound by Canon Law here: https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/what-the-pope-can-do-cant-do-might-do-wont-do/ I do hope you examine this information since Canon Law rests on both Natural Law and Divine Law, it is a mistake to say that the Pope–a human being (although supreme legislator of the Church)–is not bound by it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *