Pope Francis & President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan 

Chapter 50

Student: I believe that if you were to reflect, you would be able to produce very many arguments and authorities proving all the aforementioned conclusions. But omit all of them for the sake of brevity, and state concisely what ought to be our feelings concerning doctors and masters who would strive to defend or to excuse in any way a papal doctrine which was obviously erroneous, while exerting themselves to condemn, misrepresent, and falsify the meaning of doctrines held by others, and above all by Mendicants, doctrines which were arguable and excusable, indeed true and catholic, even if contrary to the doctrines of certain theologians.

Master: The answer is that the moral worthlessness of such doctors could not be easily described, for people of this kind are deeply alienated from any love of and zeal for the truth. Their behaviour clearly indicates that they never rose to the status of master for the love of knowledge and truth, but laboured at the university for the sake of their gullet or for the purpose of acquiring honours or riches.

Student: What vices should we believe such people to be involved in

Master: The answer is that such individuals discriminate about persons for selfish advantage. For it is their ilk that Isaiah addresses in his 5th chapter, saying: "woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him"[Isaiah 5:22-23]. For such doctors who justify a heretic pope 'for reward', that is to say for the sake of obtaining benefices, favours, and honours, and who 'take away the righteousness of the righteous from him', by wickedly misrepresenting the truth of his doctrine, and unethically falsifying its meaning in order to please a heretic pope, they are 'mighty to drink wine', because among the various nasty ends they are seeking to achieve by the status of master, the filling of their belly with food and drink is hardly last on the list. The statement of the Apostle in Philippians 3 truly applies to them "whose god is their belly" [Philippians 3:19], for they labour and learn at the university for the sake of their belly and so as to gain access to honour and to other worldly conveniences, while avoiding inconveniences. Hence it is of any doctor of this stripe that Solomon says in proverbs 28: "to have respect of person is not good: for a piece of bread that man will transgress"[Proverbs 28:21]. He has 'respect of persons' who strives to excuse or even defend an obviously erroneous doctrine simply because it is discovered and popularized by a pope; and who busies himself in falsifying the meaning of a Mendicant's catholic and excusable doctrine, twisting the author's intended understanding in order to please a heretic pope. 'For a piece of bread', i.e. for one good dinner party at which he fears no temporal anxiety, he is ready to abandon catholic truth.

Student: I surmise from these comments that if ever some future pope becomes a manifest heretic, it will be clearly apparent which doctors of that time would have laboured at the university for zeal of the catholic truth and in order to overcome heretics (if such were to arise), and which doctors devoted effort to learning for the sake of worldly convenience.

Master: It appears to a few that here you would be wrong, for as Christ attests: "these for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away"[Luke 8:13]. So perhaps a few doctors, should the pope become a heretic, would at first be active with good zeal, but when persecution for maintaining the faith supervened, these doctors would support the heretic pope most firmly.

Student: Although it now appears to me that at the time of a future heretic pope, should he come to be, one will not be able to know which doctors began to follow the path of learning prompted by zeal of the truth, it will nevertheless be clear enough which of them are sincere and strong partisans of the faith. Return therefore to the matter which is to be discussed in this chapter, and specify seriatim the other vices in which the doctors about whom we are talking are reckoned to be involved. Do not bother to provide further technical proofs.

Master: For excusing or agreeing with the erroneous doctrine of a heretic pope, these doctors are thought to be collaborators in heretical wickedness, eager for advancement, greedy for gain, sycophants. And for the falsification of other doctrines they are thought to be jealous, malicious, persecutors of innocence, disparagers, defamers, slanderers, imposers of false crimes. Hence they are judged to be sinning against the Holy Spirit in many different ways [Matthew 12:31-32]. And for both wickednesses they are believed to be traitors, liars, deceivers, pied pipers, and swindlers.

Student: What penalty should such persons suffer.

Master: The answer is that such individuals should be deservedly afflicted with all the penalties owed to the vices that were enumerated above. Hence it is said that they are excommunicated, and must be deposed from any office. Indeed it appears to some that they are to be handed over to the secular arm or surrendered to perpetual imprisonment.