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By Henry Sire, Church Militant, November 14, 2019
Principled critics of the pope are being painted as reactionary bigots
On Nov. 10, Ross Douthat published an interview with Cdl. Raymond Burke, in which His Eminence commented on the problem of what to do if Pope Francis published, with his full authority, a plainly heretical document. The cardinal said, “to be honest with you, I don’t know how to address such a situation. As far as I can see, there’s no mechanism in the universal law of the Church to deal with such a situation.”
Cardinal Burke’s perplexity relates to two phenomena: On the one hand the theological problem, which has never been resolved, of how to resist, or even depose, a heretical pope; on the other hand the day-to-day question of how to respond to the ever more blatant heterodoxy of Pope Francis’ papacy.
On the theological question, I would just like to say that a red herring is being drawn by the current talk of schism, as coming from one wing of the Church or another. Cardinal Burke implicitly accepts this language when he says, regarding the contingency of rejecting a papal document that defects from the apostolic tradition, “my point would be the document is schismatic. I’m not.” And he accepts the implication that the Pope, in such a case, would be leading a schism. ….