Student: The aforesaid has given me the opportunity to investigate many issues. But before all else, I beseech you to show by what arguments and authorities the position just outlined may be defended.

Master: It seems possible to prove the aforesaid claim by arguments founded on holy writ and on the declarations of saintly fathers. And some attempt to initially demonstrate it by what appears to many as a most obvious example. For as was argued earlier, when blessed Pope Marcellinus was defamed of heresy because he had committed a heretical act (namely idol worship), a fair number of bishops gathered together and performed an inquisition about him. Once the inquisition had been completed they did not want to judge him, as indeed they could not, since they had not found the pope to be a heretic. From which we understand that catholics have the power to inquire concerning a pope defamed of heresy, and must inquire whether the rumour reflects the truth.

Student: That blessed Marcellinus had committed idolatry and consequently that he was a heretic was a notorious fact, and there is thus no similarity between blessed Marcellinus and a pope mendaciously defamed of heresy.

Master: They reject this response, saying that although it was widely known among unbelievers and even among certain catholics that blessed Marcellinus had sacrificed to idols, it wasn't at all widely known among the bishops who had gathered in council nor widely known among anybody that he was a heretic. And so the bishops were in doubt as to whether he was a heretic; perhaps they leaned towards the belief that he was not a heretic, as indeed he wasn't. But since they did not know the truth, and he had been slandered of heresy, catholics gathered together and anxiously inquired into the truth. Had they indeed known the truth such inquiry would have been superfluous. For they inquired about what the pope had done, and thus an inquisition about a pope slandered of heresy is mandatory.

Student: There is a further point against this specific example. Blessed Marcellinus was not defamed of heresy but only of idol worship, and thus the proferred example does not prove their contention.

Master: They reject this point, saying that he had been defamed of heresy by the very fact he had been slandered of idol worship, because every idol worshipper concerning whom it is unknown whether he sacrificed to idols in fear of death or voluntarily, is suspect of heresy. And thus to slander someone of idolatry before clarifying that he worshipped idols solely in fear of death is to defame him of heresy. Therefore since blessed Marcellinus had committed idolatry, it was unknown (prior to his return to the fold, performance of penance, and confession that he had worshipped idols solely in fear of death) whether he had lapsed into heretical wickedness. And so it is a certain fact that blessed Marcellinus was defamed of heresy. Further: they claim that even if blessed Marcellinus had not been defamed of heresy, they can by the proferred example establish their contention that catholics have the power to inquire about a pope defamed of heresy. For there is no greater reason that catholics should have the power to inquire about a pope defamed of the crime of idol worship than that they should have the power to inquire about a pope defamed of the crime of heresy. Therefore since catholics have the power to inquire about a pope defamed of the crime of idolatry, it follows that they have the power to inquire about a pope defamed of the crime of heresy.

Student: Some might respond that the idol worship of blessed Marcellinus had been a confirmed fact, and therefore catholics could justifiably inquire about his deed. But if some pope were defamed of heresy it would not on this account be certain that he had endorsed heretical wickedness, and there is hence no similarity between Pope Marcellinus and a pope defamed of the crime of heresy.

Master: They say that this is a worthless point, because an inquisition must be of things doubtful not of things certain. For one who knows does not require to be informed, and consequently one inquires needlessly unless the purpose is to eliminate one's doubts or those of others. Therefore, since it had been certain and well known to the bishops who gathered in council that blessed Marcellinus had worshipped idols, they did not inquire about it, but they inquired about what was unknown to them, namely whether he had worshipped idols solely in fear of death. Thus if the pope were to preach some heresy and this fact was widely known, the inquisition should not be directed towards the fact itself, but should focus on whether the pope had combined obstinacy with error. And thus catholics must inquire about a pope defamed of the crime of heresy.

They also attempt to confirm this statement by many arguments of which the first is this. It concerns every prelate and pastor to know which sheep are his own, and who are subject to him. For otherwise he would in no way imitate the example of the supreme shepherd stating in John 10[:14]: "I am the good shepherd and know my sheep", nor would he fulfill the directive of Solomon stating in Proverbs 27[:23]: "be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks and look well to thy herds". Therefore the prelate must know the identity of his subjects. And so when there is doubt as to whether someone is the subject of a certain prelate, that prelate is bound to diligently inquire and to investigate whether the person belongs to his flock, so as to prevent his possible subject from perishing due to negligence and dragging others into destruction along with himself. But if the pope is seriously defamed of heresy, prelates must have probable doubt whether such a slandered pope might not have become subject to their jurisdiction, for they must wonder if he is a heretic even if they must not immediately believe that he is a heretic. Therefore in this case they are bound to inquire whether a pope thus slandered is under their jurisdiction. But this they cannot do unless they inquire if he has become a heretic. Therefore they are bound to inquire whether a pope defamed in this way has lapsed into heretical wickedness.

The second argument is this. One who is involved in the correction of all his subjects' deviations needs to know who his subjects are. But as the holy canons clearly declare, it is the catholic prelates who are involved in the correction of all their subjects' deviations. Therefore it pertains to these prelates to know who are their specific subjects. It also pertains to such prelates to inquire whether those who have a doubtful status as their subjects are in truth their subjects or not. If, however, a pope is seriously defamed of heresy, there is probable doubt whether he is the subject of catholics because there is probable doubt whether he is a heretic. Therefore it pertains to catholics to inquire whether a pope defamed of heresy is subject to them. Here is the third argument. Catholic prelates have an official obligation to protect their sheep from the ferocity of wolves. Therefore they are bound to preserve their subjects from the snares of heretics. Consequently when public rumour advises catholic prelates that someone is attempting to invade their flock and corrupt it by heretical wickedness, they must scrupulously inquire into the truth of this. The Lord Himself commands it in Deuteronomy 13[:12-15] : "If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, etc." From these words we understand that if the pope or anyone else is publicly defamed by provident and honourable men [saying] that he intends to alienate catholics from orthodox faith, then the truth must be diligently investigated. Therefore an inquisition about a pope seriously defamed of the crime of heresy must take place.

Student: It is not the business of prelates to inquire about any except those who are their confirmed subjects, and so it is not their business to inquire about the pope.

Master: The answer to your point is that every prelate must inquire about all those who assault his flock whether they are his subjects or not, at least for the purpose of resisting them. By the same token a king must repel all those who attack his kingdom (even if they are from another kingdom), and anyone (even someone possessing no jurisdiction) must for the sake of the homeland resist all invaders as much as he can, even though he has no jurisdiction over them. And from this there develops a fourth argument. Catholic prelates must defend their flock against spiritual enemies, and perform all things relevant to such defense with a care no less anxious than that which is incumbent upon kings, princes and their subjects, who must defend and protect their kingdoms, princedoms and countries against their enemies. But kings, princes and subjects must defend their lands from unjust invaders even if the latter are not under their jurisdiction. Therefore much more vigorously must prelates defend their flocks against spiritual enemies and perform those activities which are known to be relevant to spiritual defense. But to investigate with anxious care the identity of the spiritually hostile forces which are attempting to penetrate the flock is known to have defensive relevance, above all if a public rumour has been created by honourable and provident men that certain individuals want to attack the Lord's flock. Therefore if the pope is publicly defamed of heresy by provident and honourable men, catholics must diligently inquire into the truth.

The fifth argument is as follows. One who courts danger when renouncing his right is also in danger if he does not inquire to whom his rights extend when there is doubt as to whether some persons are included within the purview of these rights. But it is dangerous for catholic prelates to renounce or to abandon the right which they received from God to advance His cause, as witnesses blessed Cyprian who states (this is recited in 7 q. 1 c. Quam periculosum)[col. 569]: "how dangerous it is in matters divine for someone to renounce his right and power holy scripture declares. For Esau thereby lost his primacy, nor could he afterwards regain what he had once abandoned". Therefore it is dangerous for catholic prelates not to inquire with anxious care to whom their rights extend in the affairs of God, when there is doubt whether some persons are subject to the power of catholics. But if the pope is publicly defamed of heresy by provident and honourable men, doubt must arise as to whether he is subject to the power of catholics. Therefore under such conditions catholics have the duty to inquire attentively about the truth of the matter, and hence they must proceed to a scrupulous inquisition about a pope defamed in this manner.