A True Pope Can Fall into Material Heresy but Not Formal Heresy

“I demonstrate in this volume that the proposition, that ‘a pope actually can fall into formal heresy’, is proximate to heresy, but it is not de fide; and the first Vatican Council, as the Gasser Relatio states quite unequivocally, did not intend to define on this point. On the other hand, the proposition that a pope can ‘teach false doctrines by way of the authentic papal Magisterium’, has always been generally accepted by theologians, even by Don Pietro Ballerini; and even after the definition on papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council, not only theologians, but even documents of the supreme magisterium admit that pronouncements of the authentic papal magisterium are not infallible, such as Lumen Gentium 25, which distinguishes between ex cathedra pronouncements which are infallible, and “the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ‘ex cathedra’ – which is not infallible.”

Kramer, Paul. To Deceive the Elect: The Catholic Doctrine on the Question of a Heretical Pope (Kindle Locations 3514-3521). Kindle Edition.


A True Pope Cannot Fall into Formal Heresy

“The question of whether a given pope has lost his office on account of heresy is hypothetical, since it has never been proven that a pope can actually fall into formal heresy. The opinion, that a pope cannot be a heretic, (the first opinion outlined by Bellarmine) is the one that is most commonly taught as the most probable by the majority of theologians and Doctors: St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Francisco Suárez, Melchior Cano, Domingo Soto, John of St. Thomas, Juan de Torquemada, Louis Billot, Joachim Salaverri, A. Maria Vellico, Charles Journet, Cardinal Tommaso de Vio ‘Cajetan’, Francesco Bordoni, Pedro de Simanca, Domingo Bañez, and Martino Bonacina – and Bonacina cites others who were of the same opinion. For roughly a century this nearly unanimous opinion has been the most common, even among those who admit only the hypothetical possibility of a pope falling from office due to public defection into heresy.”

Kramer, Paul. To Deceive the Elect: The Catholic Doctrine on the Question of a Heretical Pope (Kindle Locations 3385-3392). Kindle Edition.


“To Deceive the Elect: The Catholic Doctrine on the Question of a Heretical Pope” by Fr. Paul Kramer

I have finished reading Fr. Paul Kramer’s “To Deceive the Elect: The Catholic Doctrine on the Question of a Heretical Pope”.  It is a very enlightening ex​po​sé of the Catholic teaching on heresy and membership in the Church, whether a pope can be a formal heretic, and if it were possible for a pope to be a formal heretic, what can be done about it.  This book is NOT about proving that Jorge Bergoglio was not validly elected in 2013 and that Benedict XVI is still the true pope because of it.  Fr. Kramer does write about this matter in the Introduction, but it only forms a small part overall.  Therefore, those who disparage the content by saying, “Fr. Kramer needed 700 pages to prove that Jorge Bergoglio is not the pope,” show that they don’t know what they are talking about.  It shows they approach this book with bias even before reading it.  That is not exactly intellectual honesty.

There are three major theses that I took from this book:

1. All manifestly pertinacious heretics (including popes if it were possible that they could become such) visibly separate themselves from the Church by the nature of heresy, and not by any juridical act of ecclesiastical authority; and, as a direct consequence of being visibly severed from the body of the Church, they lose ipso facto by tacit renunciation whatever ecclesiastical office they may have held, without any declaration by the ecclesiastical authority.

This must be believed with Divine and Catholic Faith.

2. There does not exist, nor can there exist, even by way of exception, a jurisdiction on earth superior to the pope’s universal primacy of jurisdiction.  Consequently, no one on earth, not even the whole of the cardinals and bishops of the world, can judge a true pope, even for heresy, and depose him from the papal office.

This must be believed with Divine and Catholic Faith.

3. A true pope cannot fall into formal heresy, public or occult.

This must be believed as proximate to Faith.

In my opinion, no Catholic library should be without this book.  I have learned a lot from it.  I encourage readers to buy the book from The Servants of Jesus and Mary.


See here for theological notes.


What Is the Difference between the Conciliar Popes and Jorge Bergoglio? – Fr. Paul Kramer Answers

In defending the position that Benedict XVI is the true pope, I have heard that it does not matter who is pope because all the conciliar popes were Modernists and Jorge Bergoglio is no different.  Some have even claimed that Benedict XVI is worse than Jorge Bergoglio.  Really?  Those who make such statements are simply wrong.  There is a huge difference between the conciliar popes and Jorge Bergoglio and it is this:

The conciliar popes were not public manifest formal heretics; Jorge Bergoglio is!

And this, other than the canonical argument, proves that Jorge Bergoglio is not a true pope because a true pope cannot be a formal heretic.

Let us read the following excellent Facebook post by Fr. Paul Kramer explaining this:


Fr. David Hewko Again Attacks the “Non-Resignationist” Position – February 9, 2020

In the following sermon, Fr. David Hewko again attacks the “Non-Resignationist” position and yet again he fails to provide a substantive argument to support his attack.  As Fr. Kramer wrote about one month ago (see here), “Fr. Hewko has characterized my position on the question of whether Francis or Benedict is the true pope without examining my arguments, but simply by gratuitously labelling it as ‘absurd’.”  We still wait for Fr. Hewko to back up his attacks with some meat.

On another note, Fr. Hewko continues to call Jorge Bergoglio “pope” but without any qualification.  As I have shown in this post, Fr. Hewko’s position must needs be that Jorge Bergoglio is a “doubtful” pope given that he doubts whether or not Jorge Bergoglio’s episcopal consecration was valid.  I hope he will come to speak more accurately in future sermons.


The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 40 seconds long.