Student: I am pleased by your abbreviated account of the aforementioned arguments since I shall be reviewing them again in another treatise, and because I have not heard that brother M. of Cesena and his followers (whose statements against the Lord Pope I primarily intend to examine) officially teach or believe that the pope does not possess coercive jurisdiction or is subjected to the emperor. Therefore move on to the second assertion which you recited in the second chapter of this sixth book and give an account of its foundations.

Master: The assertion in question has two components of which the first is that if the pope were seriously defamed of heresy the universal church and the general council as well as some other congregation or person would have the power to question and to coerce him.

Student: With respect to this component I would request that you initially discuss whether the universal church would have power over the pope if he were gravely defamed of heresy.

Master: I have said that on this issue there is an assertion which is affirmative while the assertion of others is negative. The latter say that although a pope who becomes a heretic would be subject to the church, since he would become a non-pope by the very fact of becoming a heretic, yet should he be falsely defamed of heresy he is not subject to the church nor does the church in that case have any power over him.

Student: I shall gladly listen to the reasons of each assertion. Lay down first of all the reasons of the second assertion.

Master: The first reason is this. No false defamation can grant jurisdiction or power to a person, college, or congregation; but a pope not defamed of heresy does not belong to the jurisdiction of the church and is not subject to it: therefore a pope falsely defamed of heresy is not subject to the church either. The second reason is this. He who is superior to others in some cause is not inferior to them in the very same cause, since in that one cause the same person cannot be both superior and inferior in relation to the identical participant or participants. But a pope who remains a true pope is superior to everyone else in the cause of faith, for if all Christians erroneously dissented from him in the cause of faith he would have the duty in law to coerce them all even if in fact he could not. Therefore no false defamation makes the pope subject to the Church in a cause of heresy. The third proof is this. If a pope defamed of heresy were subject to the judgment of the church, the church could proceed to judge him. This however cannot come to pass, for since the universal church cannot be gathered together there is need to convoke a general council so as to decide the cause of the pope. Yet no one may convoke the general council without the pope, nor can the pope be compelled by someone to congregate the general council. For if someone could compel him to assemble the general council that someone would be superior to the pope, and thus a particular person would be superior to the pope, which is not true, they say. Therefore the universal church cannot pass judgment concerning the pope, and thus the pope no matter how much he would have been defamed of heresy is in no way subject to the church

It appears that the aforementioned assertion may also be demonstrated by authorities and examples. Indeed many authorities proclaiming exactly this are provided above in the first chapter of this sixth book. This is also proved by another authority together with an example. For as was recited earlier, where we inquired whether the pope can lapse into heresy [1 Dial. 5.2], Pope Nicholas states (we read it in di. 21 c. Nunc autem)[col. 71]: "In the time of the senior emperors Diocletian and Maximinus, the bishop of the city of Rome, Marcellinus, who later became a glorious martyr, was coerced by the pagans to such an extent that he entered their temple and placed grains of incense upon live coals. A council of numerous bishops was convened on account of this and an inquiry was held, whereupon the same Pontiff admitted he had done the deed. While none of them dared to pass sentence upon him, still they all would say to him repeatedly 'judge your case from your own mouth, not in terms of our judgment' and once more 'do not proceed with a hearing in our court but reserve judgment of your own case' and again 'in that way (they state) you will be justified by yourself or condemned from your own mouth' and once again they say 'the first see will not be judged by anyone'". We are given to understand from these words that blessed Marcellinus was defamed of heresy, nor was this surprising since he had committed an heretical act. For having sacrificed to idols he was strongly suspected of the perfidy of apostasy and therefore could be gravely defamed of heresy. Yet in spite of this none of the bishops dared to pass sentence upon him. Therefore no matter how much the pope has been defamed of heresy he is subject to the judgment of no one.

Student: This argument does not appear to conclude that a pope defamed of heresy is not subject to the universal church and the general council, because the authority of Pope Nicholas does not speak of the universal church and the general council but of certain bishops who came together to inquire about the cause of Pope Marcellinus.

Master: Others say that the aforementioned authority of Pope Nicholas obviously declares that a pope defamed of heresy is in no way subject even to the universal church and the general council, because according to blessed Hilary "the meaning of statements is to be derived from the reasons for uttering them."[Hilary of Poitiers, De Trinitate ,Bk. iv, ch. 14: PL 10, col. 107] Therefore in order to understand the aforementioned words which Pope Nicholas recites reference must be made to the reason for uttering them. But the reason why the bishops, who had come together to inquire into the matter of the pope, said "judge your case from your own mouth, not in terms of our judgment" they explain themselves by stating that "the first see will not be judged by anyone." In these words they openly suggest that a supreme pontiff even in that situation in which they were (namely that of a supreme pontiff defamed of heresy) is absolutely not to be judged by anyone. Thus a pope defamed of heresy is to be judged neither by the universal church nor by the general council because the very persons whose words are given canonical approval did not make any distinctions here and therefore neither must we. Secondly, the same assertion is proved by the example of Pope Symachus concerning whom we read these words in the Decretum (at di. 17 para. Hinc)[ col. 52]: "The bishops meeting in a synod gathered together by authority of the same Symachus stated 'Let Pope Symachus the head of the apostolic see assaulted by such opinions, be exempt and free in the eyes of men; we reserve his entire cause to the judgment of God.'" One gathers from these words that Pope Symachus was not subject to the judgment of the synod even though he had been defamed of heresy, because as the gloss notes in the same context, the opinions by which Symachus had been assaulted touched on a matter of heresy. Indeed the gloss states: "at first he" that is, Symachus "was accused of heresy, but when the accuser's slander became apparent Symachus was subsequently declared innocent as is mentioned here." [ s.v. immunis, col. 72]