To act with infallible authority a pope
must morally fill the Chair of Peter
legal – has met the requirements of law
( has authority over temporal church affairs ).
moral – has met the requirements of faith
( he validly exercises the spiritual authority of a priest and his
universal proclamations on matters concerning faith and morals
are guaranteed infallible by the power of the Holy Spirit ).
[ moral, as herein used, does not refer to his being free of all mortal sin. ]
"Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." The spirits include everyone regardless of rank or status. We should trust the word of God (Sacred Scripture) while understanding that it can be further developed but can never be diminished or reversed. There is no more important person to test than the person filling the papal office, the reining pope. [1 John 4:1]
When a man, who has legally been ordained a priest is elected as pope, he is elected to fill two positions, a legal position and a moral position. When he accepts the papacy, even if falsely, he is stating that he is both legally and morally qualified to be the pope. Such need not be the case. He could be either self-deceived or knowingly lying. While he who legally fills the office is and remains the legal pope for the duration of his reign, there is no assurance that a pope morally is or continues to occupy the office. That is, that he is morally filling the Chair of Peter even though he is legally occupying the Office of Peter. The Office of Peter being a legal position while the Chair of Peter is a moral position.
A Pope's legal status is not altered by reason of the moral condition of those who elect him, or even by his own moral relationship with God. Moral, as used in the context of this document, does not refer to his being in the state of moral union with God by reason of acts or omissions of personal human weakness. Reference is only to acts or omissions that have brought about automatic excommunication 1 and to conditions or traits that have disqualified him from occupying the papal office. Legally a pope remains in office until he dies, retires, or is in some effective public manner removed from office.
It needs to be understood that while all legal directives a pope makes are binding, his moral directives are not binding unless he is morally a reigning pope. He is not morally a pope if he is an infiltrator into the Church as an agnostic, atheist, freemason ( or a variant such as communist, fascist, nazi, or socialist ), homosexual, or is a member of a religion, secret organization, or government opposed to Jesus Christ or His one true Church, the Catholic Church. He would also not be pope if he had prohibiting defects.
While disqualification for the papacy would normally be unknown to the general population of Catholics and to the vast majority of those in the priesthood, this would have no bearing on the invalidity of a non moral papacy. Moral declarations made during a false reign are not binding upon those who morally ascertain his unworthy position or have a non self-indulgent faith in God that gives valid inspiration. They are also not binding on those among the faithful who understand the principle that a pope can neither diminish nor reverse any infallible doctrine of the Church concerning faith and morals and recognize that he has attempted to do so. This would include but is not limited to Sacred Scripture and the dogmatic councils of the Church such as the Council of Trent and Vatican Council I. Vatican II is not considered a dogmatic Church council. A future legal and moral pope has the authority to reverse any doctrine of a prior legal pope who was not also a moral pope, that is, one who was not morally occupying the Chair of Peter regardless of reason.
There has been at least one case wherein a pope was posthumously excommunicated. Pope Honorius I reigned from 625-638 AD. After his death, he was condemned as a heretic. Pope Honorius was condemned not because he taught heresy, but because of his permissive attitude toward the heresy of Monothelitism. When Pope Leo II confirmed the anathema borne by the 6th Ecumenical Council ( Constantinople II – 680-681 ) against Pope Honorius, he taught us that the crime consists in this: Honorius did not extinguish the fire of heresy at its beginning as was fitting for Apostolic Authority to do, but on the contrary he fomented it by his guilty negligence. [New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 123; Vol. 8, p. 639].
By his permissive attitude toward heresy and evil within the Church ( omission ), and by his fomenting heresy and committing acts of heresy ( commission ), John Paul II has done enough damage to be condemned a thousand times. In effect he has been the instrument of the loss of thousands if not millions of souls to eternal damnation. ( He is also accountable for the loss of hundreds of millions of lives due to his ineffective lip service actions concerning abortion. ) An example from Scripture of a high priest ( spiritual leader ) not removing his spiritual ( and real ) sons is found in the passages relating to Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas. [1 Sam 2-4]
Subsequent to a prophesy revealed by God to Samuel and reported to Eli, Hophni and Phinehas ( along with 30,000 foot soldiers ) were killed during battle and Eli upon hearing the news fell and broke his neck. The lives of 4,000 men had previously been lost in order to cause Hophni and Phinehas to enter the battlefield so that their lives could dramatically be taken to fulfill the prophesy for greater impact upon future generations. The destruction of lives then associated with offenses against God was high. Should we expect any less destruction of life in relation to the much greater offenses now being committed?
A man who was not morally ordained a priest or morally consecrated a pope can be removed from office by a proper tribunal or even by a consensus of valid public position. This would have the effect of having his ordination and / or his election annulled. Such action would not reverse any legal actions taken during the time of his holding office. However, a subsequent pope could act to terminate them. Nullified would be all of his moral actions. This means that the moral effects relating to his legal acts never occurred. This would have no effect on the legal and moral condition of moral recipients.
A man who, after ordination to the priesthood or consecration as bishop or pope, becomes automatically excommunicated loses the authority and consequently the power to morally exercise his office. His legal acts and his removal from office are as stated above. Standard considerations concerning automatic excommunication apply. 1
Catholics who by moral popular action remove a non moral pope from office should also remove from office those in the electoral college and bishops associated with them who by act or position have demonstrated they are not morally filling their office. To support a pope who has failed to remove immoral subordinates – cardinals ( formal electors and papal advisors ), patriarchs, metropolitans, and lessor ordinaries – should in itself be considered as an act incurring automatic excommunication. ( If a pope does not act against a subordinate –clearly guilty of heresy– then he and all relevant dignitaries, who knowingly fail to oppose his inaction, become tainted with automatic excommunication. )
"Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh* belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus [ the Word of God – the teachings of Sacred Scripture* ] does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world." [1 John 4:1-3] A spirit who passes the test is one who acknowledges
the whole of Sacred Scripture as taught by Jesus.
Jesus, a real person, is the embodiment of Holy Scripture.
"Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not
the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass
from the law, until all things have taken place." [Mt 5:18]
Old Testament Scripture cannot be set aside [Jn 10:35]
* In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. [Jn 1:1]
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw
his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. [Jn 1:14]
Obedience to God rather than obedience to man. One may reject (not obey) unjust directives of legal authorities either civil or religious.
Acts 4:19 "Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges."
Acts 5:29 "But Peter and the apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:40-42 "After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.  So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.  And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus."
Proverbs 8:13 "(The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;) Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate."
Temporal Church law and civil law are always subordinate to moral law.
Numbering of the people wrong as David did.
See: "A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture" -- p. 365-6.
2 Samuel 24:1-2 "The LORD'S anger against Israel flared again, and he incited David against the Israelites by prompting him to number Israel and Judah.  Accordingly the king said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him, "Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the people, that I may know their number."
1 Chron. 21:1-3 "A satan rose up against Israel, and he enticed David into taking a census of Israel.  David therefore said to Joab and to the other generals of the army, "Go, find out the number of the Israelites from Beer-sheba to Dan, and report back to me that I may know their number."  But Joab replied: May the Lord increase his people a hundredfold! My lord king, are not all of them my lord's subjects? Why does my lord seek to do this thing? Why will he bring guilt upon Israel?""
2 Sam 23:5 Is not my house firm before God? He has made an eternal covenant with me, set forth in detail and secured. Will he not bring to fruition all my salvation and my every desire?
1 Chron 20:2 David took the crown of Milcom from the idol's head. It was found to weigh a talent of gold; and it contained precious stones, which David wore on his own head. He also brought out a great amount of booty from the city.
Exodus 30:12-14 "When you take a census of the Israelites who are to be registered, each one, as he is enrolled, shall give the LORD a forfeit for his life, so that no plague may come upon them for being registered.  Everyone who enters the registered group must pay a half-shekel, according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel. This payment of a half-shekel is a contribution to the LORD.  Everyone of twenty years or more who enters the registered group must give this contribution to the LORD."
gerah = 1/20 ancient Hebrew shekel = about 252 grains troy.
The legal authority of a legal pope is valid. But, his moral authority is judged by the Word of God. When there is sufficient consensus that a pope is not a moral pope then he should be legally removed from the Office and Chair of Peter.
Canon 1629 No appeal is possible against: 10 a judgement of the Supreme Pontiff himself, or a judgement of the Apostolic Signatura;
Can. 332 § 1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church
when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and
has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character,
he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate.
If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained
§2 Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.
Can. 333 §1 By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only has power over the universal Church, but also has pre-eminent ordinary power over all particular Churches and their groupings. This reinforces and defends the proper, ordinary and immediate power which the Bishops have in the particular Churches entrusted to their care.
§2 The Roman Pontiff, in fulfilling his office as supreme Pastor of the
Church, is always joined in full communion with the other Bishops, and indeed
with the whole Church. He has the right, however, to determine, according to
the needs of the Church, whether this office is to be exercised in a personal
or in a collegial manner.
§3 There is neither appeal nor recourse against a judgement or a decree of the Roman Pontiff.
Can. 335 When the Roman See is vacant, or completely impeded, no innovation is to be made in the governance of the universal Church. The special laws enacted for these circumstances are to be observed.
Can.1442 The Roman Pontiff is the supreme judge for the whole catholic world. He gives judgement either personally, or through the ordinary tribunals of the Apostolic See, or through judges whom he delegates.
A legal Catholic is a person who has been legally baptized –received water baptism by either pouring or submersion– a moral Catholic is one who adheres to the authentic teachings of the Church and is in submission respectively to legitimate Church authorities, hierarchically organized, by teachings and then persons.
Sacraments have both a legal character and a moral character. In the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist both the legal and moral character rests with the priest alone ( the retention of the moral character likely rests with the moral quality of the recipient ). This is not true with the other six sacraments wherein the moral character rests with the recipient.
1 Samuel 1:3 This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were ministering as priests of the LORD.
1 Samuel 2:12-17 Now the sons of Eli were wicked; they had respect neither for the LORD  nor for the priests' duties toward the people. When someone offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged fork, while the meat was still boiling,  and would thrust it into the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot. Whatever the fork brought up, the priest would keep. That is how all the Israelites were treated who came to the sanctuary at Shiloh.  In fact, even before the fat was burned, the priest's servant would come and say to the man offering the sacrifice, "Give me some meat to roast for the priest. He will not accept boiled meat from you, only raw meat."  And if the man protested to him, "Let the fat be burned first as is the custom, then take whatever you wish," he would reply, "No, give it to me now, or else I will take it by force."  Thus the young men sinned grievously in the presence of the LORD; they treated the offerings to the LORD with disdain.
1 Samuel 2:22-36 When Eli was very old, he heard
repeatedly how his sons were treating all Israel (and that they were having
relations with the women serving at the entry of the meeting tent).  So
he said to them: "Why are you doing such things?  No, my sons, you must
not do these things! It is not a good report that I hear the people of the LORD
spreading about you.  If a man sins against another man, one can intercede
for him with the LORD; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede
for him?" But they disregarded their father's warning, since the LORD had
decided on their death.  Meanwhile, young Samuel was growing in stature
and in worth in the estimation of the LORD and of men.
 A man of God came to Eli and said to him: "This is what the LORD says: 'I went so far as to reveal myself to your father's family when they were in Egypt as slaves to the house of Pharaoh.  I chose them out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priests, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the ephod before me; and I assigned all the oblations of the Israelites to your father's family.  Why do you keep a greedy eye on my sacrifices and on the offerings which I have prescribed? And why do you honor your sons in preference to me, fattening yourselves with the choicest part of every offering of my people Israel?'  This, therefore, is the oracle of the LORD, the God of Israel: 'I said in the past that your family and your father's family should minister in my presence forever. But now,' the LORD declares, 'away with this! for I will honor those who honor me, but those who spurn me shall be accursed.  Yes, the time is coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's family, so that no man in your family shall reach old age.  You shall witness as a disappointed rival all the benefits enjoyed by Israel, but there shall never be an old man in your family.  I will permit some of your family to remain at my altar, to wear out their eyes in consuming greed; but the rest of the men of your family shall die by the sword.  You shall have a sign in what will happen to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: both shall die on the same day.  I will choose a faithful priest who shall do what I have in heart and mind. I will establish a lasting house for him which shall function in the presence of my anointed forever.  Then whoever is left of your family will come to grovel before him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and will say: Appoint me, I beg you, to a priestly function, that I may have a morsel of bread to eat.' "
1 Samuel 3:11-18 The LORD said to Samuel: "I am about to do something in Israel that will cause the ears of everyone who hears it to ring.  On that day I will carry out in full against Eli everything I threatened against his family.  I announce to him that I am condemning his family once and for all, because of this crime: though he knew his sons were blaspheming God, he did not reprove them.  Therefore, I swear to the family of Eli that no sacrifice or offering will ever expiate its crime."  Samuel then slept until morning, when he got up early and opened the doors of the temple of the LORD. He feared to tell Eli the vision,  but Eli called to him, "Samuel, my son!" He replied, "Here I am."  Then Eli asked, "What did he say to you? Hide nothing from me! May God do thus and so to you if you hide a single thing he told you."  So Samuel told him everything, and held nothing back. Eli answered, "He is the LORD. He will do what he judges best."
1 Samuel 4:1-22 and Samuel spoke to all Israel.
At that time, the Philistines gathered for an attack
on Israel. Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.  The Philistines then drew up in battle
formation against Israel. After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the
Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.  When
the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Why has the LORD
permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of
the LORD from Shiloh that it may go into battle among us and save us from the
grasp of our enemies."
 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.  When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.  The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked, "What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?" On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,  the Philistines were frightened. They said, "Gods have come to their camp." They said also, "Woe to us! This has never happened before.  Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods that struck the Egyptians with various plagues and with pestilence.  Take courage and be manly, Philistines; otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews, as they were your slaves. So fight manfully!"  The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.  The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.  A Benjaminite fled from the battlefield and reached Shiloh that same day, with his clothes torn and his head covered with dirt.  When he arrived, Eli was sitting in his chair beside the gate, watching the road, for he was troubled at heart about the ark of God. The man, however, went into the city to divulge his news, which put the whole city in an uproar.  Hearing the outcry of the men standing near him, Eli inquired, "What does this commotion mean?"  ( Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes would not focus, so that he could not see. )  The man quickly came up to Eli and said, "It is I who have come from the battlefield; I fled from there today." He asked, "What happened, my son?"  And the messenger answered: "Israel fled from the Philistines; in fact, the troops suffered heavy losses. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are among the dead, and the ark of God has been captured."  At this mention of the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his chair into the gateway; since he was an old man and heavy, he died of a broken neck. He had judged Israel for forty years.
 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and at the point of giving birth. When she heard the news concerning the capture of the ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, she was seized with the pangs of labor, and gave birth.  She was about to die when the women standing around her said to her, "Never fear! You have given birth to a son." Yet she neither answered nor paid any attention.  ( She named the child Ichabod, saying, "Gone is the glory from Israel," with reference to the capture of the ark of God and to her father-in-law and her husband. )  She said, "Gone is the glory from Israel," because the ark of God had been captured.
1 Samuel 14:3 Ahijah, son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod, who was the son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the LORD at Shiloh, was wearing the ephod.) Nor did the soldiers know that Jonathan had gone.
1 Kings 2:27 So Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office of priest of the LORD, thus fulfilling the prophecy which the LORD had made in Shiloh about the house of Eli.