When a pope “speaks”: What if he is not the Pope?


 Cardinals give a clue 

Background information:

A friend (Tony M.) sent me an article: When is a “pope” not a pope?

Posted on July 27, 2019 by Steven O’Reilly


He refers to two statements by Cardinal Müller:

On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon,” (posted on LifeSiteNews)  at https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-mueller-no-pope-or-council-could-permit-female-deacons-it-would-be-invalid

and also

Vatican’s former doctrine head criticizes Amazon synod working doc for ‘false teaching’ posted on Tue Jul 16, 2019 at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vaticans-former-doctrine-head-criticizes-amazon-synod-working-doc-for-false-teaching

 Steven O’Reilly, in the first article, discusses specific statements made by Cardinal Müller in the other two articles.

He discusses the legal situation of an hypothetical “ex-cathedra statement” and the implications of this. He comes to a surprising conclusion.

The post below contains extracts from Steven O’Reilly, but the subheadings are mine. There was so much to take in, that this is how I made it clear to myself.

Click on the articles above to read them in full


Cardinal Müller’s viewpoint:

In the most recent commentary, rejecting the possibility of female deacons, Cardinal Müller writes the following :

The Magisterium of the Pope and of the bishops has no authority over the substance of the Sacraments (Trent, Decree on Communion under both species, DH 1728; Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). 

This means:

“Therefore, no synod – with or without the Pope – and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction to the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid. Independent of this, there is the equality of all baptized in the life of Grace, and in the vocation to all ecclesial offices and functions for which exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders itself is not necessary.” (On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, text posted by LifeSiteNew, 7/26/2019)


A hypothetical scenario –  The implications of an ex-cathedra statement by PF

Cardinal Mueller’s advice to the faithful if such an event occurs:

The first — obviously — what the Cardinal says explicitly, i.e., that such an “ex cathedra” declaration, in the Cardinal’s mind, would be invalid, and thus should be disregarded by the Faithful.


But what about papal Infallibility? (the bad news)

There is an obvious difficulty in that  Vatican I defined the dogma of papal infallibility in the following terms:

“…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that his church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.”  (Pastor Aeternus cited in Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Denzinger, 1839)

In addition, this definition is followed by a canon, which states:

 “But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathama” (Denzinger 1840).


Then why would Cardinal Müller state that such an ex-cathedra statement could be disregarded? (The good news)

“… But, the Cardinal is no dummy as to suggest ex cathedra statements can be disregarded. This suggests, to me at least, a hidden, unstated and inescapable implication in the Cardinal’s statement, as well as being an indication of how he and other Cardinals are now privately viewing Pope Francisthough this is speculative.”


What are the logical implications (according to Steven O’Reilly)

“… Given that a true pope is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching an error ex cathedra, it follows that if a man, seemingly “pope,” were to teach something which denies or conflicts with a known truth of the Catholic Faith it must be either

(1) the man thought to be “pope” was never a true pope to begin with, or

(2) the man thought to be “pope” had, at some point in the past, already fallen through heresy or apostasy from the Petrine office. 


Steven O”Reilly: Reading between the lines

…. It does suggest, along with other statements from the likes of Cardinal Brandmuller, that some in the “resistance” are reaching the point where they can bend no more.”

Lutheran Intercommunion is Impossible!

6 Reasons Why Lutheran Intercommunion Isn’t Possible

From: http://www.onepeterfive.com/6-reasons-why-lutheran-intercommunion-isnt-possible/

Father Brian Harrison, O.S. November 1, 2016

The joint proposal to work towards shared Eucharistic communion, signed yesterday in Lund, Sweden, by Pope Francis and the President of the Lutheran World Federation (whose member churches, by the way, generally support abortion and same-sex “marriage”), is extremely troubling. For the following facts must be remembered:

1) Lutherans do not believe in the Sacrifice of the Mass (which Luther himself constantly and virulently execrated as a diabolical abomination). This disbelief is condemned infallibly with anathema by  the Council of Trent (DS 1751-1759 = Dz 948-956) – a judgment solemnly confirmed by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 Credo of the People of God (“Solemn Profession of Faith”).

2) Nor do Lutherans believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This denial is also solemnly anathematized by Trent (DS 1652 = Dz 884). Again, Paul VI solemnly confirms this point of our Faith in his 1965 Encyclical Mysterium Fidei and in the 1968 ‘Credo’.

3) They believe the Body and Blood of Christ become present in what remains bread and wine, but that this type of presence in any case ceases as soon as the distribution of Communion is over. Condemned with anathema by Trent (DS 1654 = Dz 886), and also again by Paul VI in MF and  the 1968 ‘Credo’.

4) Following logically from the above, Lutherans reject the reservation of the remaining Hosts in the tabernacle after Mass. Condemned with anathema by Trent (DS 1657 = Dz 889), and also again by Paul VI in MF and  the 1968 ‘Credo’.

5) With equal consistency, Lutherans reject Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass and Eucharistic processions. Condemned with anathema by Trent (DS 1656 = Dz 888), and also again by Paul VI in the aforesaid documents.

With at least five anathemas against Lutheran heresies regarding the Eucharist, there is no condemnation by the Council of Trent of the idea ofintercommunion with these separated brethren. But that’s simply because the idea would have been considered so utterly outlandish and totally unthinkable at that time that in fact, well, . . . nobody on either side did even think of it, as far as we know – much less propose it.

Nevertheless, intercommunion with Lutherans (and other Protestants) is indeed strictly prohibited by the present Code of Canon Law. In a ruling which is clearly linked inseparably to divine law about the importance of receiving the Body of Christ worthily (cf. I Cor. 11: 27-30), canon 844 #4 rules that not even in danger of death may any non-Catholic Christian be given Holy Communion unless he/she “demonstrates the Catholic faith in respect of [this Sacrament]”.

Pope Francis’ words and actions yesterday in Sweden therefore raise extremely grave questions. To me they are beyond comprehension. How can they escape the charge of constituting a betrayal of our faith in the central mystery of Catholic worship?