Can The Church Depose An Heretical Pope? Objection Answered + Written by Robert J. Siscoe

At this point, an objection needs to be addressed. Some have claimed that a Pope who professes a heresy cannot be warned. They say that a warning requires a judgment, and since “the first See is judged by no one”, no one is permitted to warn a pope. They further maintain that a warning must come from a superior, and since the Pope has no superior on earth, it follows that he cannot be warned.

Both of these objections fail to consider that a warning can be either an act of justice (which is proper to a superior), or a work of mercy and therefore an act of charity. As an act of charity, an inferior can certainly warn, or fraternally correct, a superior, “provided,” wrote St. Thomas, “there be something in the person that requires correction.” (55)

In the paragraph immediately following the long quotation above, Fr. Ballerini made this very point when he wrote: “whatever would be done against him [a heretical Pope] before the declaration of his contumacy and heresy, in order to call him to reason, would constitute an obligation of charity, not of jurisdiction.”

Scripture itself provides an example of an inferior warning a superior, who, in this case, just happened to be the Pope. In Galatians, Chapter 2, we read that St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face “because he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11). As noted above, we are permitted to fraternally correct a superior, but as St. Thomas explains, “to withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of a fraternal correction”. Yet God willed that this event be recorded in Scriptures for our instruction. And what can we learn from this? St. Thomas explained that this act of St. Paul, which normally would have exceeded what was permitted, was justified because of an imminent danger to the faith. He wrote:

"It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger and scandal concerning the faith." (56)

He then quotes St. Augustine who said, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” Clearly, if a subject is permitted to fraternally correct a superior (which is what the warning would constitute), and if St. Paul was justified in going further by withstanding St. Peter to his face because of an imminent danger to the faith, a council is certainly able to issue a public warning to one of St. Peter’s successors if he is endangering the faith by his words or actions.

In his Commentary on the Book of Galatians, St. Thomas made a necessary distinction regarding this point, as well as an important observation. He wrote:

"[T]he Apostle opposed Peter in the exercise of authority, not in his authority of ruling. Therefore from the foregoing we have an example: for prelates, an example of humility, that they not disdain corrections from those who are lower and subject to them; while subjects have an example of zeal and freedom, that they fear not to correct their prelates, particularly if their crime is public and verges upon danger to the multitude." (57)

55) II-II Q 33, A 4
56) II-II Q 33 A 4, obj. 2
57) Super Epistulas S. Pauli, Ad Galatas, 2: 11-14 (Taurini/Romae: Marietti, 1953) nn 77.


  1. A pope who states heresy publicly ceases immediately to be the pope, before any warning is issued. This is the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine and just about every other theologian. They know more about theology than Robert Siscoe.

    Furthermore, if a public heretic such as Jorge Bergoglio were to be elected pope, the election would be invalid anyway, according to Cum Ex Apostolatus, so Francis was never the pope to begin with.

  2. Siscoe is stunningly confused ... the vatican-2 heretic cult (founded on 8 December 1965) *does not have* the Office of the Papacy. Only the Catholic Church (founded in 33 A.D.) has the Papacy. The Catholic Church has no physical properties in these times.

    If you're at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . . that we *must believe* to get to Heaven . . .

    I list it on my website > > >

    If you only scan the Index ... you won't see the infallible Dogma from the Pope in union with the Bishops of the world ... that alone keeps people from eternal damnation.

    Sources of Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy > >
    and for physical participation in heresy ("vat-2", "lutheran", etc.) > >
    Sources of Dogma that "ignorance" is not a loophole into Heaven > >

    The Catholic God knows . . . what we think and believe . . .

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
    "For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
    "Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."

    Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
    "They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."


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