Chapter 17

Student: The arguments in favour of the aforestated assertion appear to be strong. I shall better grasp their merits if you were to recite how one responds to them and how the contrary assertion is supported. Therefore attempt first of all to strengthen this contrary assertion and, secondly, recount how one responds to the aforewritten reasons.

Master: You would understand the contrary assertion better if its constituent parts were explained to you.

Student: I request that you proceed in this manner.

Master: The quintessential explanation of the contrary assertion involves three conclusions. The first is that one is not allowed to appeal directly for cause of heresy from a catholic pope (even a pope publicly slandered of heresy) unless, perhaps, one were deceived into having just cause to believe that the pope is a heretic. The second conclusion is that one is allowed to appeal from a heretic pope. The third conclusion is that is someone were to appeal de facto from a catholic pope, his appeal would have to be legally honoured before it was established that this appeal was not legitimate.

Student: I want to deal with these three conclusions in proper order. But I want the first conclusion to be explained [further] because it seems to contain a number of distinct parts, which I do not quite understand. For instance, I have no idea why the adverb "directly" is appended here.

Master: Your statement that the conclusion we are discussing contains a number of parts is well put, since it involves three such, explicitly or implicitly. The first thereof is that one who is not deceived as to the pope's fidelity (namely because he has no probable cause to believe that the pope is a heretic) must not appeal from him directly for cause of heresy, namely by imputing a heresy to him, or by accusing him of heresy, or slandering him in any way. The second part is that occasionally it would be permitted to someone not deceived as to the pope's fidelity to appeal against him indirectly for cause of heresy, for instance if he knew that a pope falsely defamed of heresy refused to clear his name or to abate the scandal created about him either by submitting to judgement or by some other appropriate means. For in such a situation this person might challenge the pope to judgement for cause of heresy, not by imputing a heresy to him, but by alleging that a pope falsely slandered of the crime of heresy is obligated to abate the created scandal. The third part holds that a deceived individual having just cause to believe that the pope is a heretic may licitly appeal from a catholic pope.

Student: It surely appears to me that you are pouring into my ears theses both new and unreasonable. For the first part appears to me to be true, but I consider the two parts which follow to be false. Nevertheless, I would like to hear arguments in support of all three parts.

Master: This is how one argues in favour of the first part. One who appeals directly from someone for cause of heresy imposes heresy on that someone. But it is not permitted to one who is not deceived to impose heresy on a catholic pope, therefore, etc. Here is the argument in favour of the second part. The safety of the catholic faith is to be preferred to the supreme pontiff, no matter how much the latter is known to be a catholic. Therefore if a catholic pope was slandered of heresy (a disgrace endangering the faith), and if he refused to declare himself a catholic in favour of the Christian faith, it would be permitted to appeal against the pope, challenging him to judgement, so that, namely, he would be forced to declare his innocence for the safety of the faith; and thus it is indirectly allowed to appeal from a catholic pope for the cause of the faith. For the third part one argues thus. He who may appeal for some cause if he is not deceived is allowed to appeal for the same cause if he is deceived through no fault of his own, just as a judge who is deceived by false witnesses or false legal documents may licitly render the same decision which he would be allowed to render if the same cause were proved by legitimate witnesses or authentic legal documents. This is why the deceived church does not sin when it pronounces a false judgement; indeed the church would sin if, when deceived, it would not pronounce a judgement, which is unjust as to its substance though not as to its source. But he who knows that the pope is a heretic may licitly appeal against him. Therefore a deceived individual having just cause to believe that the pope is a heretic (though in fact he is not) may licitly appeal against him for cause of heresy. And in order to prove that one may have just cause to believe that someone is a heretic, although in truth that someone is not a heretic, turn to the arguments presented in book ??? of "The best method of learning".[cf. Introduction to 1 Dial. 6.16-35]