CAMBRIDGE, England (LifeSiteNews) — Editor’s note: The following article was submitted by Dr. John Rist, a Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Toronto now residing in Cambridge, England. A world-renowned scholar and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, Professor Rist was one of the signers of a 2019 letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy.
Q. Is Jorge Bergoglio the pope?
A. Yes. Although elected by a scandalously irresponsible collection of Cardinals, the election was valid.
Q. Why was the election ‘scandalously irresponsible’?
A. Because, as admitted by one of Bergoglio’s most active promoters, Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, the electors did not know the character of the man they elected and did not bother to find out.
Q. Is Bergoglio a heresiarch?
A. In my view he is both heretic himself and by his calculated ambiguity encourages heresies in others.
Q. What are his basic errors?
A. By correcting the teaching of Jesus on remarriage after divorce and by encouraging absolution (and reception of Holy Communion) without repentance or intent to mend one’s ways, he holds in effect that Jesus is not the whole truth, and indeed that His teachings must be improved. Unless Bergoglio thinks (as do some exegetes) that Jesus never said what is recorded of Him – an idea which destroys Christianity altogether – that implies a denial of Christ’s divinity, or at least a ‘Nestorian’ view of the relationship between Christ’s human and divine natures. It would seem that Bergoglio is an Arian at best, but more likely an Adoptionist at worst.
Q. How does Bergoglio’s heresy show itself up most clearly?
A. In his contempt for those who attempt to correct his behaviour. A good example was his response to Cardinal Mueller when challenged about a decision: ‘I am the pope and do not have to give reasons for my actions’. Can we imagine St. Peter behaving in that fashion when corrected by St Paul about non-Jewish Christians (a matter discussed admirably by St Cyprian)?
Q. What should be done to rectify the unacceptable situation of an apparently heretical pope?
A. At least one pope has been condemned (rightly or wrongly) for heresy before: namely Honorius I, by an Ecumenical Council. Bergoglio should be challenged and, if identified as a heretic, removed from the Chair of Peter for which he would have been shown to be incapable of holding due to heresy. Canon law does not speak of how a pope may be removed, but it seems not unreasonable to propose that those who elected him, that is the College of Cardinals, would, if heresy were proved, have the obligation to remove him.