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Catholics/The Limitations of the Papacy and the Error of Papolatry


Fr. Michael, You say that You are Catholic but you reject the Catholic Church and all the Popes since Vatican 2. Who then do you say is the current Pope and who were the Popes since Vat. 2.? Jesus said. " And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." There has to be a Pope for the Catholic Church to exist. Where is the Catholic church? Where is the Holy Father? Thank you.

Actually, I have not made that assertion.  Nevertheless, that does not obviate the very real problem, which as been discussed by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church for 2000 years:  what should Catholics do if a pope should pope should fall from the Faith formally or materially?  The Doctors and Saints of the Church tell us that in that case, we must not obey such popes.  They may hold the office, but they lose the authority of the office.

The Biblical justification for this teaching is found in the New Testament in the second chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, when St. Paul refuses to follow St. Peter when the latter had fallen into heresy.  St. Paul confronts Peter before the Apostles and chastises him for falling into heresy.  St. Peter admits his error and recants.

You may not be aware that there have been extended periods in the history of the Church when there was no pope, so it is incorrect to say, at least literally, that "there has to be a Pope for the Catholic Church to exist."  Moreover, there have been declared heretic and excommunicated popes in the history of the Church.

You need to be very careful that you do not fall into the idolatrous and blasphemous position known as "papolatry," that is, the error that the pope should be treated as tantamount to God.  That position is condemned by the dogmatic Vatican I Council, which stated in conjunction with its decree pertaining to the limitations of the papal office:  "For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles."

It must be remembered too that, as St. Paul teaches in the New Testament in his Epistle to the Colossians:  "And He [Christ] is the head of the body the Church..., that it all things, He may hold the primacy."  No pope can exceed the authority of his principal, Jesus Christ, Who is God.  Popes are men, and their teaching authority is limited to operate strictly within Christ's teaching Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  This is a dogma of the Catholic Church.


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Fr. Michael


A traditional Catholic priest, who provides forthright answers to questions FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF TRADITIONAL CATHOLICISM (not the New Order) on topics pertaining to TRADITIONAL Roman Catholicism, including theology, the Bible, Church history, the Latin language, liturgy (especially the Traditional Latin Mass), and music (especially Gregorian chant), and current events in the Catholic Church.

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