POPE FRANCIS - A HERETIC? ON THE PUNISHMENT OF HERETICS AND ESPECIALLY OF THE POPE WHO HAS BECOME A HERETIC WILLIAM OF OCKHAM Dial. 6 CHP. XXXI
UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon & Pope Francis
Student: After you had discussed as much as I wanted whether someone against whom the pope were to render a sentence that the Christian law is false might appeal from this unjust sentence, you had reported in that context that it was permitted to any Christian to appeal from such a judgement, but you did not provide reasons for the assertion. Therefore I request that you endeavour to strengthen this assertion.
Master: One may prove in many ways, it seems, that a Christian is permitted to appeal from such a judgement. Here is the first reason. Anyone is permitted to appeal from a judgement rendered against someone else if that judgement generates an obvious prejudice to the former (Extra, De sententia et re iudicata, c. Cum super). [col. 401] But a papal sentence that the Christian law is false which is rendered against another generates an obvious prejudice to every Christian, because ( the Apostle witnessing that faith is common to all) [Ephesians 4:5-6] a sentence rendered against the faith prejudices every Christian. Therefore it is permitted to any Christian to appeal from this sentence rendered against someone else.
Student: It does not appear that a prejudice is generated to others by such a sentence, since a matter in legal dispute between specific individuals does no harm to the rest (Extra, De fide instrumentorum, c. Inter dilectos). [col. 348] Therefore an unjust sentence against the faith which is rendered against someone does no harm to the other catholics, and consequently it is not their concern to appeal from such a sentence.
Master: The answer is that the rule 'a matter in legal dispute between specific individuals does no harm to the rest' "fails in many cases", [col. 903] according to a note in the gloss to Extra, De sententia et re iudicata, c. Quamvis. [col. 409] For there is harm done, as the gloss states in this context, "when cases are linked", [col. 903] and consequently all the more when a cause is one and the same as is the cause of faith, which is common to all. Thus when the catholic faith is condemned a prejudice is generated to all catholics, and therefore it is permitted to them all, if they wish, to appeal from such a sentence
Student: Advance some other reasons.
Master: The second argument is as follows. Everyone is permitted, by appealing and defending one's self in court, to pursue a cause for harm done. But such an unjust papal sentence does harm to every catholic. Therefore everyone is permitted to appeal from such a sentence. The third reason is this. Every single catholic has a greater obligation to defend the catholic faith than to defend his sons, his blood relatives, or his parents, because the faith must be preferred to all these persons. It is therefore no lesser matter to appeal or to issue a court challenge in support of the condemned catholic faith than to do this in support of a condemned parent, son, or blood relative. But a mother, even if she is not allowed to represent her son in court, is nevertheless permitted to appeal in support of her condemned son. Here is the relevant statement from 2 q. 6 c. Non solent: "but should a mother appeal out of loving concern, let it be said that she must be heard". [col. 477] Here is the gloss's comment in that context on the word "appeal": "some persons may appeal in support of a condemned son as well as in support of a blood relative". [col. 671] Therefore all the more is it permitted to every catholic to appeal or to issue a court challenge in support of the condemned catholic faith. Here is the fourth reason. The right to appeal from a harmful sentence which catholics must punish to the highest degree is not less important than the right to appeal from a harmful sentence that catholics must punish to a lesser degree, since an appeal is a certain kind of punishment or a certain path towards the imposition of punishment. But the harm inflicted by an unjust papal sentence that definitively proclaims the Christian law to be false must be punished by catholics to a higher degree than any personal injury inflicted on someone by the sentence of a lesser judge. Therefore if it is permitted to appeal from the unjust sentence of a lesser judge by which someone would be condemned to lose his temporal possessions or to be punished in his person, all the more is it permitted to any catholic to appeal from the sentence of a pope who proclaims that the Christian law is false. The major premise of this reason appears evident. The minor premises, namely that the harm inflicted by such a papal sentence must be punished to a higher degree etc. is proved by the fact that this is a direct assault on Christ and on God. And a wrong done to God must be punished to a higher degree than a wrong done to one's self, witness blessed Gregory who states in 23 q. 4 c. Si is: "if a prelate absolves someone without penance of sins against God, he assuredly commits no light offense, in that he dismisses by his presumptuousness what is owed to the Heavenly King and Lord. For the misdeeds done to us we may easily forgive, but those committed against God we may only loosen with great discretion and never without imposing a penance". [col. 912] And here is what Chrysostom says in his Commentary on Matthew: "It is praiseworthy to be somewhat patient about harm done to one's self. But it is very impious to ignore wrongs committed against God". [Ps.-Chrysostomus, Opus imperfectum in Mattheum, homilia quinta, in PG 56, col. 668] Augustine likewise states in 23 q. 4 c. Si ea: "if we delay pursuit or punishment of those things by which God is greatly offended, we surely provoke divine patience into righteous anger". [col. 926] It is evident from these texts that a wrong against God must be avenged more strongly than a wrong against our person, and thus if it is permitted to appeal from the sentence of a lesser judge which causes one a personal harm, all the more is it permitted to appeal from a sentence which does wrong to God, and such is a papal sentence which condemns the catholic faith.