Bouix on the pope heretic

Dominique Bouix, Tractatus de papa, ubi et de concilio oecumenico, vol. II , pars IIIa, cap. iii, p. 653ff.

N.B. With the exception of one instance, marked [Auth.], all footnotes have been inserted by the translator.

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CHAPTER III

CONCERNING THE CASE OF A POPE HERETIC. — NEITHER IN THIS CASE IS THE POPE SUBJECTED TO THE COUNCIL.

Preliminary notes. — 1° The case of heresy regarding the supreme Pontiffs is not understood to be that in which one of them, defining ex officio some dogma of faith, would define error. In this manner, no Roman Pontiff can ever be a heretic, on account of the infallibility conceded to him teaching ex cathedra, which we have proved as certain and absolutely to be held, in the second part of the present treatise. But we speak only of the case in which a Pope, as a private doctor, were to believe and pertinaciously to propound something contrary to any evident or defined article of faith, which is proper to heresy. — 2° This case is confidently invoked by the adversaries, that is, the followers of the Gallican system, in order that they might conclude that the council is superior to the Pope. Thus, for example, they argue: the Pope, even if he cannot teach heresy ex cathedra, at least as a private doctor can become a heretic: but it is necessary that a Pope heretic be able to be deposed by a general council, and hence that the council have right over the Pope: therefore in this case, at least, the Pope is subjected to the council. The major of this syllogism, that is, that there can be a case of a Pope heretic, is denied by many catholic authors, amongst whom is Albert Pighius (Hierarchiæ ecclesiasticæ assertio, lib. IV, c. viii); whose opinion is not at all dependent upon trifling reasons, such that it prevents by itself the argumentation of the adversaries from being destructive. Now, the minor, that is, that in the case of a Pope heretic there belongs to the council a right over the Pope who here and now is Pope, is rejected as certainly erroneous in the common opinion of catholic doctors. Certainly, in the times of the council of Constance, when this question began to be agitated, and even for some time after, one can find in some authors, otherwise catholic, not a few things less considerately said; as customarily happens whenever a question recently sprung up is subjected to disputations. But afterward, all approved authors have with common opinion taught that it is certain and absolutely to be held, that in the aforesaid case (supposing that it is possible), the Pope, unless he should already have fallen from the papacy through heresy, is not subjected to the council. They differ in this, whether the Pope is ipso facto through heresy deposed [depositus], or whether he is to be deposed [deponendus], or finally whether he is neither deposed nor to be deposed [nec depositus nec deponendus]. But in this threefold opinion it is equally denied that any act of jurisdiction can be exercised by the council over the Pope. Regarding the first and third, it is clear of itself; if according to the first, the Pope is no longer Pope, and hence the council, in judging him, judges not the Pope, but an ex-Pope; and according to the third, he cannot be judged by the council, nor deposed. And according to the second opinion, he indeed can and ought to be deposed, but through a mere declaration of his heresy; which declaration is not an act of jurisdiction over the Pope; but, when it has been laid down, the Pontiff is deposed by Christ himself; just as, when he has been legitimately elected, he is created by Christ himself. These things having first been noted down, we shall first explain the various opinions of the catholic doctors, who concord in denying to the council any authority over the Pope. Then we shall confute the erroneous opinion, which subjects the Pope to the council on account of the aforesaid case of heresy.

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