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If Innocent III and Benedict are right that the papacy is like the sacrament of marriage of the pope to the Church, does that mean that Francis's second papal non-sacramental marriage could be adulterous & invalid?

- The infallibility or non-infallibility of Vatican II has NOTHING to do with my argument!! It could be just a non=infallible document like canon 17 in the code of canon law. - Steven O'Reilly, who is a former intelligence officer [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2022/11/the-catholic-monitor-asked-steven.html]

Is Catholic canon law infallible?

Vatican congregations do not have the charism of infallibility. Both Sullivan and Orsy refer to Canon 749 of the Code of Canon Law, which states: “No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless it is clearly established as such.” -  [https://www.stanthony-hughson.org/uncategorized/canon-law-of-the-catholic-church/#Is_Catholic_canon_law_infallible]

- Ten days later, his chief lawyer and likely author of the new papal bull permitting resignation, Benedetto Gaitani, became Pope Boniface VIII. Boniface eventually imprisoned the now ex-Pope Celestine and kept him under close watch until he died two years later. - CNN [https://www.cnn.com/2013/02/11/opinion/perry-pope-celestine]

Is a papal bull infallible?

Today, the Vatican issues bulls mostly to confer the titles of bishops and cardinals or to proclaim the canonization of a saint. Encyclicals are authoritative, not to be criticized or rejected lightly by members of the church, but they are not infallible. - News Share [https://www.newsshare.in/how-many-times-has-a-pope-declared-infallibility-105721.html]

- And this brings us to the most important teachings of the man many consider the most important pope of the High Middle Ages, Innocent III. In a sermon[1] on the anniversary of his election to the papacy, Innocent taught:

The sacrament between the Roman pontiff and the Roman church perseveres so firm and unshakable that they cannot be separated from one another ever, except by death. The Apostle says that after her husband dies, a wife “is released from the rule of her husband.” A husband joined to his wife, does not seek a release, does not leave her, and cannot be dismissed, for “it is according to his Lord that he either stands or falls—and it is the Lord who judges.’[2] (emphasis mine)

   It could not be clearer. Innocent teaches that the papacy is a “sacrament,” a spiritual marriage: “until death do us part.” A pope (husband) is not allowed to resign (“seek a release”), he “does not leave her,” his bride, the Church: “It is the Lord who judges.”

 

   My discovery of this teaching was somewhat “distressing” to this author since a century later Pope Boniface VIII completely contradicted Innocent III, asserting that popes may resign. Though in his case the conclusion was self-serving, for as we shall see, he himself would otherwise be an antipope.

 

   The question, of course, is who should we believe? The recent remarks of Bishop Athanasius Schneider take on increased significance:

Traditional and constant doctrinal statements of the Magisterium during a centuries-old period have precedence and constitute a criterion of verification regarding the exactness of posterior magisterial statements. New statements of the Magisterium must, in principle, be more exact and clearer, but should never be ambiguous and apparently contrast with previous magisterial statements.[3] (emphasis mine) - The Catholic Monitor [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2022/10/pope-boniface-viii-completely.html]

It appears that Church history professor Dr. Edmund Mazza told LifeSite News in the "What happens if a pope is a heretic?" YouTube video that his research shows that it is possible that Pope Benedict XVI may still be pope because the great medieval Pope Innocent III taught that popes can't resign.

Innocent's traditional "doctrinal statement... of Magisterium" had greater weight than Pope Boniface VIII's new fangled teaching which was never taught before that time which claimed Pope Celestine V could validly resign from the papacy. If this is true then Boniface was an antipope until Celetine died; upon the death of Celestine then he became pope. If I follow the new Mazza thesis correctly then Francis may be an antipope not just because of the substantial error in Benedict's resignation, but also because Benedict couldn't resign in the first place because of the teachings of Innocent III.  

The reforming Pope Innocent III, who is best known for promoting the restoration of the Church through St. Francis and St. Dominic, seemingly thought that popes like Celestine V and Benedict XVI couldn't resign. Innocent apparently taught the papacy is like the sacrament of marriage between the the pope and the Church:

The sacrament between the Roman pontiff and the Roman church perseveres so firm and unshakable that they cannot be separated from one another ever, except by death. The Apostle says that after her husband dies, a wife “is released from the rule of her husband.” A husband joined to his wife, does not seek a release, does not leave her, and cannot be dismissed, for “it is according to his Lord that he either stands or falls—and it is the Lord who judges. [lhttps://isidore.co/CalibreLibrary/Innocent%20III,%20Pope,%201160-1216/Between%20God%20and%20Man_%20Six%20Sermons%20on%20the%20Priestly%20Office%20(7288)/Between%20God%20and%20Man_%20Six%20Sermons%20on%20the%20Pr%20-%20Innocent%20III,%20Pope,%201160-1216.pdf & https://books.google.com/books?id=N-tUO77IircC&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=The+sacrament+between+the+Roman+pontiff+and+the+Roman+church+perseveres+so+firm+and+unshakable+that+they+cannot+be+separated+from+one+another+ever,+except+by+death.+The+Apostle+says+that+after+her+husband+dies,+a+wife+“is+released+from+the+rule+of+her+husband.”+A+husband+joined+to+his+wife,+does+not+seek+a+release,+does+not+leave+her,+and+cannot+be+dismissed,+for+“it+is+according+to+his+Lord+that+he+either+stands+or+falls—and+it+is+the+Lord+who+judges.&source=bl&ots=N64pCi_Dit&sig=ACfU3U3H26qGwDcZQdtna_2iZR4rxIhUvw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi0jrTetZT6AhWSKUQIHTI9DlgQ6AF6BAgEEAM#v=onepage&q=The%20sacrament%20between%20the%20Roman%20pontiff%20and%20the%20Roman%20church%20perseveres%20so%20firm%20and%20unshakable%20that%20they%20cannot%20be%20separated%20from%20one%20another%20ever%2C%20except%20by%20death.%20The%20Apostle%20says%20that%20after%20her%20husband%20dies%2C%20a%20wife%20“is%20released%20from%20the%20rule%20of%20her%20husband.”%20A%20husband%20joined%20to%20his%20wife%2C%20does%20not%20seek%20a%20release%2C%20does%20not%20leave%20her%2C%20and%20cannot%20be%20dismissed%2C%20for%20“it%20is%20according%20to%20his%20Lord%20that%20he%20either%20stands%20or%20falls—and%20it%20is%20the%20Lord%20who%20judges.&f=false]

Medieval scholar Dr. Mazza seems to show that Pope Benedict XVI may have thought similarly:

"Through my research what I’ve discovered  is that Joseph Ratzinger, the darling of the parity of Vatican II, and of the post-Vatican II church, he is on record on multiple occasions as saying that what really counts is your sacramental, ontological munus, and not the canonical juridical office... Let me introduce a quote from Joseph Ratzinger from Principles of Catholic theology from 1987, available from Ignatius press.  Basically he says, 'I disagree with those who teach that “The papacy is not a sacrament that it is only a juridical institution, but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.'" https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2021/10/dr-mazza-centuries-of-saints-and.html]

If Innocent III and Benedict are right that the papacy is like the sacrament of marriage of the pope to the Church, does that mean that Francis's second papal non-sacramental marriage could be adulterous & invalid? 


If Pope Innocent was right in what he taught, is it possible that Celestine was in substantial error in thinking he could resign and the apparently evil Boniface VIII only became pope upon the death of Celestine? Here is a brief history of the two from the Yale Law Library:

Some sources say Celestine's decision to resign was his alone, while others say Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani, the future Boniface VIII, goaded and tricked him into resigning. All agree that Boniface drafted the papal constitution authorizing a pope's resignation. Boniface was elected pope immediately afterward, in December 1294. Celestine tried to return to a hermit's life, but he died as Boniface's prisoner in 1296...

... Both Boniface and Celestine make appearances in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. Dante places Boniface in the eighth circle of Hell, reserved for those guilty of simony. Dante's exile from Florence was a direct result of Boniface VIII's political machinations, and Boniface was "Dante's most reviled theological, political, and personal enemy" (Danteworlds

(link is external)

 website, University of Texas at Austin). Celestine V is believed to be the coward beside the gate of Hell who made "the great refusal" by abdicating the papacy and paving the way for Boniface's election as pope. [https://library.law.yale.edu/news/papal-resignations-case-celestine-v

It appears like there are possibly some parallels between the historical Celestine/Boniface situation and the present Benedict/Francis situation with some claiming Benedict was forced to resign and that Benedict may be a prisoner in the Vatican. [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2022/09/is-pope-benedict-prisoner-in-vatican.html]

Finally, If it true that Innocent taught that popes can't resign then does the weight of magisterium authority come into play in this matter as in the case of the "minor... Amoris Laetitia cannot supersede the ['major'] encyclical Veritatis Splendor." Pope Innocent III was an important "major' pope and Celestine V was a "minor" pope.

Villanova University theologian Jessica Murdoch explains magisterium authority:

"Responding faithfully to the trans-temporal magisterium of the Church (and not just to the magisterium of one's own time) requires holding in view two other principals of interpretation. First, 'the minor gives way to the major.' Second, the 'one gives way to the many.'.. Thus, Amoris Laetitia cannot supersede the encyclical Veritatis Splendor... One must privilege the harmony of the many pontificates in union with each other, and their unanimity with the Fathers and Doctors of the Church over the one seemingly dissonant voice." (First Things, "Creeping Infallibility," 9-27-16)

The article shows that to disbelieve papal teachings that are dissonant from every single magisterium teaching in the history of the Church is the only way not to "call into question the teaching authority of previous popes and the entire fabric of Catholicism."

Resisting such dissonant papal teachings, as Amoris Laetitia, is the only way not to bring about "dissolution, confusion, and death" into the Church.

In the same article, Murdoch said:

"By contrast, doctrinal evolution in which a new teaching sublates and eliminates the earlier teaching in a quasi-Hegelian fashion breeds dissolution, confusion, and death. [https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/09/creeping-infallibility]  

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