In the Q & A section of Fallibility of the Pope, Fr Hesse mentions 2 groups of people; those who are searching for truth because they want to know the truth, and those who look for truth in order to prove their point or prove someone else wrong. This comment directly applies to what we see in Tradition in our time.
Based on Fr Hesse’s talk, we recommend people spend more time learning about how to instill true charity rather than spending time arguing about legalistic nuances of arguments. Practical advice is what we need to focus on – Catholic common sense still applies.
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent is perhaps his most important talk for us today in Tradition. Fr Hesse offers an interesting analysis of the third faculty of the soul, one that does not get as much discussion as do the Intellect and Will. This alone is worthy of your attention!
Fallibility of the Pope
Speaking about the Fallibility of the Pope, Fr Hesse gives examples of popes and even canonized saints who made mistakes. We are not to be scandalized but must realize that while the Roman Catholic Church is indefectible, its members are certainly defectible and most fallible.
Fr Hesse gave this talk for 2 reasons: to correct the incomplete teaching given to Catholic laity and to correct those who fall into the error of Sedevacantism.
On incomplete teaching, Fr Hesse says: “First of all, in the 1930’s the universal opinion came up that the Pope cannot err, whatever the Pope says is infallible. People told me that when they still attended school, the Sisters would tell them: ‘Obedience, obedience, obedience, and the infallibility of the Pope, whatever the Pope says, whatever the Pope writes is infallible.’ ”
“I will give you tonight definite proof that that is not the case. I will show you what the Popes did in history….”
Regarding Sedevacantism, Fr Hesse says: “People think that we have no Pope since 1965 or whatever… or that Pope Pius X was an antipope because he changed the breviary….”
Fr Hesse then gives a long list of examples of Popes who were heretics, Popes who were in error, Popes who were undisciplined, and Popes who were criminals.
Fr Hesse says: “Therefore Papal infallibility is very restricted, very limited because history shows how Popes made mistakes. Also even the worst Popes are still counted as Popes in the Annuario Pontificio. So it’s extremely difficult to prove that any one of the recent Popes wasn’t Pope.”
Fr Hesse adds: “Allow me a personal opinion here, it’s short and succinct: …The Church will name John Paul II as one of the many Popes, and some future council would condemn him.”
Fr Hesse explains that Papal power must be regulated by Natural Law:
“The limits of Papal power systematically sink. There is the Natural Law. Can the Pope turn black into white? No. According to St Ignatius of Loyola, yes. St Ignatius of Loyola, I quote him literally: ‘What seems to me white I would believe black if the hierarchical Church so determines.’ That’s against Natural Law. If the Pope says the earth is flat, I will tell him ‘No’ and he is not gonna make me say the earth is flat. And if a Pope says that a tree grows upside down, I will say ‘Not usually.’ And if the Pope tells me black is white, I will say ‘Sorry Pontiff, that’s not true.’ … Welcome to the nuthouse!”
Fr Hesse quotes St Bellarmine’s treatise De Romano Pontifice that lists conditions that limit the Papal power:
“The Pope can fall into heresy.
Unjust laws of the Pope do not bind in conscience.
The Pope is neither the temporal ruler of the world nor the Christian world.
The Pope has the supreme temporal power only indirectly; namely, telling George Bush to obey the Ten Commandments.”
Fr Hesse continues:
“Then there is the limit of Divine Law: The Pope cannot change the sacraments.
“St Bernard of Clairvaux tells the Pope: ‘You are not the Lord of bishops but one of their number.’ The Pope is one of the bishops, except he has the last word.
“Then there is the limit to the Papal power through Ecclesiastical Law: Moral Theology teaches that the legislator is subject to his own laws if not by coercive power, at least in the manner of a directive. Precepts that are unjust, null, harmful do not require obedience, except for the case of avoiding scandal.
“Then there is the Dogmatic limit to the Papal power: Revelation – the Deposit of Faith. [The Pope] cannot define what is in no way related in Revelation. He has to stick most faithfully to Tradition. He cannot introduce any novelty. And he has to follow the previous doctrinal decisions of his predecessors.
“Then there are the practical limits to Papal power: politics, disease, blackmail, stupidity, vices.
“These are the limits of Papal power.”
Fr Hesse then returns to the incomplete teaching given by the Sisters:
“Those poor Sisters who probably meant very well, who in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s taught you ‘Obedience, obedience, obedience, the Pope is infallible anyway’ – they were thoroughly wrong. Obedience is a great virtue, but a virtue is not just what the name says. Not every form of obedience is a virtue – in that case all the concentration camp guards would have been very virtuous because they did obey.
“Obedience is not a virtue as such. Obedience is a virtue in the light of the Catholic Faith, and especially, please, not just the Faith! All I get to hear in the last 500 years is ‘Do you believe it, yes or no? Are you faithful, yes or no?’
“We should start to ask: Are you charitable too?
“What’s the only reason why we study God? Because we are curious, and He is complicated? No! God is absolutely simple.
“Why do we study Theology? Why do we have to study the Catechism? Just to know things? That’s not worth anything.
“It is Whom we love we want to know about, right?”
Fr Hesse then concludes with a sober lesson:
“This is the lesson from this horrible part of Papal history which does not mean that there weren’t many saintly Popes – there were many saintly Popes – but the lesson we have to learn is the Pope is neither infallible [at all times] nor is he protected from sin, and most of the time his foremost sin is not to be a father but a boss….
“Am I a father? That’s what we have to learn: charity.
“That also means – if we meet people who do not agree with us, we will still love them. I mean, everyone here would be proud to convert somebody from a heresy into the Catholic Church, right? Well, I tell you one thing: You cannot convert anybody before you love him.”
Fallibility of the Pope:
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent
The following is a brief synopsis of the talk.
The Council of Trent did not have the time to deal with the Christian virtue of Charity because the Church Fathers were too busy dealing with the problems of Faith and Doctrine. Also it is difficult to define where charity starts and where charity starts to exaggerate.
The question is: Why do we adore the Sacred Heart? Why do we venerate the Immaculate Heart?
King Louis XIV was asked to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. He refused and the French Revolution was the vengeance of Our Lord exactly 100 years later.
The question once again is: Why did Our Lord Himself intervene about 150 years after the Council of Trent and request the adoration of His Sacred Heart? What does the Heart stand for? Does one say: ‘I love you with all my will’? No. Do you say: ‘I love you with all my intellect’? No. ‘I love you with all my heart.’
Charity is a neglected virtue. We constantly sin against charity – that is the normal human state after the Fall.
St Thomas Aquinas teaches that the human soul has 2 faculties: Will and Intellect. But what about Love (charity)? The human soul must have 3 faculties: Will, Intellect and Love. Love is needed to get to heaven.
Will and Intellect are not enough, and that is why Christ came down and said: ‘I want you to worship My Heart.’ He did not say: ‘I want you to worship My Divine Will.’ He did not say: ‘I want you to worship My Brain.’ The Feast of the Sacred Heart has the same rank as the Feast of Christmas. Therefore there must have been a special reason why Christ wanted that feast.
The human soul is made in the image of God. The human soul must have 3 faculties: The Will corresponds to the Father, the Intellect corresponds to the Son, the Heart corresponds to the Holy Spirit.
Do we not talk about the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of love? Where is the fire in us – in the Will, in the Intellect? God forbid!
Love, according to St Paul, is the most important of the theological virtues.
That is why Christ gave us the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. That is why God gave us the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady devotion. Our Lady is immaculate in her love.
Love is the highest of all virtues. Love is the one virtue that corresponds to the highest of all sacraments – the Holy Eucharist, the one sacrament that will survive the Last Judgment, as all the others will be unnecessary: There will be no Baptism in heaven. There will be no Confession in heaven. There will be no Confirmation in heaven. There will be no Marriage in heaven. There will be no Priestly Ordination in heaven. There will certainly be no Extreme Unction because no one will die in heaven.
The Holy Eucharist is not the sacrament of the Will. The Holy Eucharist is not the sacrament of the Intellect. It is the sacrament of Love.
Before Vatican II, there was too much emphasis on Doctrine, Faith. Then the pendulum swung too much the other way, with Doctrine and Faith being less important, and the virtue of Love became exaggerated. In came an uncontrolled, chaotic and rebellious sense of love – we have to be kind to everybody. Charity was degraded, it became indifferent, went wild, lost its purpose.
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent
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As an aside, note that Dante’s Inferno places Satan in the bottom of Hell in a block of ice. Satan definitely has no Charity!