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To Resist a Pope Is Not to Judge Him

In the conservative and traditionalist milieus, we find ourselves between two similarly wrong positions. On the one hand, there are those conservatives who blindly accept and obey everything the Conciliar Popes do or say just because they are Popes, without analyzing the unheard of destruction of the Catholic Church they are promoting. These conservatives accuse anyone who analyzes and resists this destruction of “judging the Pope.”
The act of judging the Pope prohibited to the faithful, however, is the action of any authority - be it religious or civil - who pretends to be superior to the Pope in the juridical level and, therefore, claims the right to judge, punish or depose him.
To refute this first wrong position, we present the text of St. Robert Bellarmine below, in which he clearly instructs that we should analyze the Pope’s actions and resist those that are destroying the Church. This action is not considered judging the Pope.
On the other hand, we have traditionalists who consider that the Conciliar Popes worked so much destruction that they ceased to be Popes. This is the position of the movement called Sede-vacantism. The adherents of this position established themselves as de facto judges of the Popes when they entered the juridical sphere to declare that the Conciliar Popes are not valid. St. Robert Bellarmine also answers them when he teaches Catholics to resist a bad Pope, but not to try to judge, punish or depose him.

St. Robert Bellarmine

Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses the souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior.


Blason de Charlemagne
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(De Romano Pontifice, lib. 2, chap. 29,
Opera omnia, Paris: Pedone Lauriel, 1871, vol. 1, p. 418

Posted on April 2, 2011

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