WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO CONDEMN HERESIES?
Student Either they are deviating from their own way of speaking or I do not see that there is a clear distinction between the heresies that they say have been condemned explicitly and those that they say have been condemned only implicitly. But I do not even know, and yet want to know, what utility they assign to that distinction.
Master They think that that distinction is of the highest importance to bishops and inquisitors into heretical wickedness so that they may know against which of those accused of heresy they ought to proceed and against which they do not have the power to proceed. For they can legitimately judge all those pertinaciously maintaining a heresy explicitly condemned in any of the above ways. But they can not judge those maintaining heresies condemned only implicitly, nor judge of such heresies. Although they can discuss them and inquire into them by investigation, nevertheless they can not pronounce a definitive sentence about them. On the contrary, anyone affirming or defending a heresy of this kind should be kept for examination by the highest pontiff or a general council.
Student If they can confirm their opinion with an authority or an argument, do not be slow to show me.
Master They can found themselves on one argument which is the following. The condemnation as a heretic of someone asserting an implicitly condemned heresy about which it has not yet become clear to the church whether it should be regarded as a heresy pertains only to him to whom it pertains solemnly to condemn heresies of this kind; this seems especially to be true when opposing opinions are held among learned catholics well informed about the sacred page about whether an assertion of this kind should be considered heretical. But the solemn and explicit condemnation of an assertion which in truth of fact is heretical yet about which opposing opinions are found among the learned as to whether it is heretical pertains only to the highest pontiff and a general council and the universal church. Therefore it pertains to no one inferior to the highest pontiff nor to any college inferior to a general council to condemn as a heretic one who asserts a heresy of this kind.
The major [premise] of this argument seems certain because he who pronounces judicially that someone is a heretic can solemnly pronounce that the assertion on account of which he judges him to be a heretic should be reckoned among the heresies.
They show the minor [premise] by an authority and by an argument. Firstly, by the authority of Pope Innocent who says, as we find in 24, q. 1, c. Quotiens [col.970], "As often as an argument about faith is ventilated, I think that all our brothers and fellow bishops should refer to no one but Peter, that is to the authority of his name and honour." By these words we are given to understand that a question of faith should not be referred to anyone less than the highest pontiff. Hence the gloss at that place [s. v. fidei; col.1388] says, "It is one thing to determine a question raised about faith, which is not permitted to anyone except the Roman see, as is said here. It is another to ventilate it without determining it, which patriarchs can do." And further on the gloss raises an objection and says, "This seems to be against Extra, De hereticis, c. Ad abolendam. For it is implied there that those whom bishops have said should be avoided, should be avoided as heretics." And in reply it says, "The response is that this should be understood of when they are talking about something that it is certain is a heresy; but this [a case] where there is a doubt."
The gloss on dist. 80, c. 2 on the words "in fide" seems to agree with these, saying "'in faith'", that is faithfully. "See below, 24, q. 1, c. Quotiens where it is said that a question of faith should be referred only to Peter. But here expound 'in faith', that is faithfully. [The alternatives are] either [that the bishops] are able to carry the case on but not proceed to judgment or we can distinguish who they are who doubt: for if they are laymen, it seems that bishops can make a determination (Extra, De hereticis, c. Ad abolendam), if they are clerics, the pope (the same title, c. Cum Christus)." We gather from these [texts] that no lesser person than the highest pontiff can determine a question raised about the faith, especially when learned men are in doubt and offer opposing opinions.
Innocent III seems to think this too in Extra, De baptismo et eius effectu, c. Maiores [col.644]. For he says, "He who notes that Peter replied to the Lord when he asked who the disciples said he was, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God", will understand that the church's greater causes, especially those touching on the articles of faith, should be referred to Peter's see." It is clearly established from these words that a question of faith should be referred to the see of blessed Peter, and so no gathering less than a general council and no bishop less than the pope can condemn any heresy about which there is doubt whether it is a heresy, and can not, consequently, condemn as a heretic anyone affirming such a heresy. For it would seem completely irrational that a bishop or inquisitor into heretical wickedness, who is often ignorant of the sacred page, could condemn as heretical the opinions of doctors of theology.