Former Pakistani Minister Paul Bhatti Meets Pope Francis

Chapter 46

Student: It seems clearly proved to me that in many cases a people may wage a public war without the ruler's authority. From this one may conclude, it appears, that preachers and doctors are permitted to wage spiritual war against a heretic pope, and condemn his false doctrine without the authority of any mortal prelate. But I ask nevertheless that you provide some further arguments in favour of this conclusion.

Master: Here is the second main argument which it appears possible to advance to prove that it is not only legal for preachers and doctors to condemn the pope's false doctrine, but that they are obligated to act without asking for the authoritative sanction of any mortal prelate. He who neglects to perform an assumed or assigned official duty merits blame. Such a person may deservedly be compared to the bad servant who conceals the funds entrusted to him [Matthew 25:26; Luke 19:22]. This person also contradicts the command of the Apostle writing in 2 Timothy 4: "make full proof of thy ministry"[2 Timothy 4:5]. But it belongs to the office of preachers and doctors to confirm catholic truth and to refute heretical wickedness. These are surely the two qualities of the wise man: not to lie concerning what he knows, and to reveal the identity of a liar [Ockham, Expositio super libros Elenchorum, I, 1. par.5, in OPh III, 11, citing Aristotle]. Therefore it pertains to preachers and doctors to reject the treachery of a heretic pope.

Student: Although it pertains to preachers and doctors to refute heretical wickedness, it is surely not their business to refute every single heretical wickedness since no one would have the stamina for this. Therefore this argument cannot prove that it is their task to condemn the treachery of a heretic pope.

Master: It seems to many that this reply is unconvincing for the following reason. According to blessed Gregory the speech of doctors must conform to the quality of the audience [Moralia in Job, book 30, section 12 in PL 76 col. 530], and it seems that he borrowed this idea from blessed Peter who states (we read this in 8 q. 1 c. Oportet): "it is proper that he who teaches and instructs uncultured souls be able to adjust himself to the intelligence of the learners, and construct his verbal delivery according to the hearer's capacity"[col. 594]. In similar fashion it is proper for the preacher and doctor to present his doctrine to listeners in conjunction with the shifting requirements of the time, so that when heretics putting forth certain specific errors assault these listeners, they might be specifically protected against those very errors by the doctrine of preachers and doctors. Therefore if a heretic pope exerts himself to transfer the poison of his treachery unto believers, it is proper for preachers and doctors to specifically oppose his treachery and inform their audience with good effect of the contrary truth.

Student: I think that I understand this one, therefore do not delay the presentation of other arguments.

Master: A third possible main argument appears to be this. He who is charged with the official duty of resisting the sinner consents to the latter's transgression if he fails to perform this duty, and must be judged to share the sinner's guilt. And this is the reason why silence and dissimulation are frequently held as proof against prelates and not against subjects, since it is frequently the duty of prelates and of such as wield power to move against sinners, which is a task hardly pertaining to subjects. And it is surely the assumed official duty of preachers and doctors to resist the treachery of a heretic pope attempting to corrupt the faith. And thus, as was mentioned, preachers and doctors must assume their offices in order to teach catholic truth and refute heretical wickedness [1 Dial. 7.42,43]. Therefore if they do not resist a heretic pope when they have the power to do so by condemning his treachery, they consent to his action and are to be reckoned as guilty as he is. Note that a consequence of this approach is that all the authorities introduced earlier in chapter 38 (as well as others which appear to denote that he who does not resist a sinner when he can, consents to the sinner's act) may be utilized to reach the same conclusion.

The fourth main argument is this. Every treachery of the enemies of the faith must be hated, witness the Psalmist who states: "I hated the wicked" [Psalms 118:113], and elsewhere he states: "I have hated every evil way" [Psalms 118:128], and again he states: "do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies"[Psalms 138:21-22]. We gather from these words that every villainy and wickedness must be hated, and that the enemies of God must be hated in so far as they are enemies of god. And the Saviour himself attests to this in Luke 14: "if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple"[Luke 14:26]. We gather from these words that we must hate in the person of every man what is in opposition to God. And the treachery of a heretic pope is opposed to God, therefore it must be hated. But preachers and doctors do not hate the treachery of a heretic pope unless, taking account of appropriate circumstances, they detest it, persecute it, and attempt to repudiate it. Therefore it is proper that preachers and doctors condemn this treachery of a heretic pope. The major premiss of the argument seems evident. The minor is patently proved. For just as, according to blessed Gregory, the proof of love is its active practice [Homilia 30 in Evangelia, ad Ioh. 14:23-31, in PL 76, col. 1220], so likewise the proof of hate is its active practice. And according to the same Gregory love is not idle but produces many effects if it exists [ibid., col. 1221]. And in similar fashion, hate is not idle but produces many effects if it exists. For love and hate are separate causes, which produce separate effects, and therefore just as many effects follow from love if it exists, so also do many effects follow from hate. Hence if the hate of a heretic pope's treachery be true in preachers and doctors, there will follow visible acts. But persecution is an effect of hate, and so is a visible condemnation and detestation. Hence if preachers and doctors truly hate the treachery and wickedness of a heretic pope, they will persecute it with effect. This is what Augustine seems to convey when he states (as we read in 23 q. 4 c. Duo ista): "when we utter these two words, 'sinner man', they are certainly not uttered in vain. Since he is a sinner, rebuke him, and because he is a man, show him mercy, nor will you ever liberate the man unless you will have persecuted the sinner. Verbal precision diligently secures such a process"[col. 915], and further on: "thus mercy is to be denied to no man, just as exemption from punishment is to be granted to no sinner"[col. 916]. We gather from these words that everyone is necessarily bound (to the extent that his office and estate allows) to rebuke and to persecute the sinner. Therefore it is proper that preachers and doctors should proceed with such persecution according to the method which corresponds to their function, namely by condemning the treachery of a heretic pope.

Student: One might conclude from this argument that preachers and doctors would be obligated to condemn the false doctrine of each and every heretic, in fact that they would be bound to persecute every sinner, which is clearly an impossible task for them. And no one has the duty to perform the impossible.

Master: The answer to this is that just as we have the duty to love all our neighbours (and therefore we are bound to love a pope who is a heretic no less than a catholic one), and yet we cannot demonstrate goodness to everyone specifically, but must be prepared when necessary to assist everyone in need as best we can, so are we obligated to hate all the wicked in so far as they are wicked, and we are bound to persecute them all with potential readiness to act. But all Catholics are obligated to persecute more strongly and effectively someone who is more wicked and more destructive to the Christian people, and who attempts to lessen the honour of God with greater force. And therefore since a heretic pope is more wicked and more destructive to the Christian people than others of lesser wickedness, all Catholics without exception must specifically target him for persecution. Therefore preachers and doctors must exercise their office specifically against a heretic pope, condemning both him and his false doctrine with utmost effect.

Student: If you have thought of further arguments, bring them forth.

Master: The fifth main argument is this. Just as the eyes of a material body are reckoned to be useless if they do not see, for their benefit and that of other parts of the body, those objects which are dangerous and harmful to all (for instance pits, snares, enemies, wild animals, and other objects which may cause injury to the body), so the eyes of a spiritual body such as the church are to be judged useless if they do not see and show for their benefit and that of the church the dangers which threaten the universal church. But preachers and doctors are the eyes of the church, and they must see and show to others and to themselves good and bad, virtues and vices, perils and opportunities. And when the pope is a heretic, the greatest of dangers threatens the church of God. Therefore if preachers and doctors neither see nor point out to the church the danger that threatens the church of true believers because of the treachery of a heretic pope, they must be judged useless.

Here is the sixth argument. Just as it is the business of a witness in court to testify to the truth, so does it pertain to preachers and doctors to proclaim the truth in their sermons and lectures, and bear witness to it. Indeed preachers and doctors are perceived as witnesses of the truth. Hence, because the apostles were to preach and teach the truth, they could deservedly be called witnesses of the Truth, according to the statement of the Redeemer in Acts 1: "ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea etc."[Acts 1:8] And as we read in the same chapter, blessed Peter stated: "wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection"[Acts 1:21-22]. Therefore preachers and doctors are witnesses of the truth. But when they are examined in court, witnesses are bound to state the truth against a heretic pope. Therefore preachers and doctors are bound to bear witness to the truth against a heretic pope in their sermons and lectures.

Student: This argument seems to prove that preachers and doctors are only bound to assert the truth against a heretic pope in their sermons and lectures when they are ordered to do this by their superiors, in the same manner in which witnesses are only obligated to testify to the truth against a heretic pope when they are bound to do so by their superiors.

Master: This reply or objection appears worthless to some. For a witness must not only testify to the truth when compelled by his superior, indeed he is frequently obligated to do so by his conscience without any coercion from a superior. Because just as the feeling of charity which everyone is bound to have towards another suggests to anyone that he should never forbid something which is useful to one party and does no harm to another, so the same feeling of charity warns anyone that he do to another what is beneficial to that person and if performed does him, the actor, no harm. In this he would be following the rule of our Saviour by which everyone is commanded to do to another what he wishes done to himself [Matthew 7:17]. This rule is especially appropriate when doing to another what the actor wishes done to himself harms no one either physically or spiritually. But frequently, testifying to the truth even before someone who is not his superior does no harm to the actor and is most useful to another, because it frees the latter from condemnation or danger without detriment to the actor. Therefore in such circumstances a witness is bound to testify to the truth even if a superior didn't coerce him. Therefore in a similar manner preachers and doctors when they can liberate their listeners from falling into the faithlessness of a heretic pope, are bound by necessity of salvation to reveal the truth to their audiences against a heretic pope.

Student: Does any one of the mutually conflicting modern doctors hold that a witness must sometimes bear witness to the truth without being compelled to this by a superior.

Master: Thomas Aquinas appears to assert this in 2.2, q. 70, art. 1 [Summa Theologie] where he states: "if on the other hand his testimony is not required by authority of a superior he is bound to obey, then we must make a distinction. Because if the testimony is needed to liberate an individual either from an unjust death or from any punishment, or from a false defamation, or even from an inequitable fine, then a man is obligated to testify. And if his testimony is not requested, he is bound to do what he can to reveal the truth to someone who might be helpful in this. For it is said in Psalms 81: 'deliver the poor and needy, rid them out of the hand of the wicked' [Psalms 81:4], and in Proverbs 24: 'deliver them that are drawn unto death' [Proverbs 24:11], and in Romans 1 it is said: 'are worthy of death not only they who act but also they who consent to the actors' [Romans 1:32], where the gloss states that 'to consent is to remain silent when you can prove a statement untrue' [Glossa ordinaria to the Bible]". It is evident from this that sometimes a witness is bound to testify to the truth although not compelled to do so by a superior. And by the authorities which he (Aquinas) provides one shows that in their sermons and lectures preachers and doctors are obligated, if they can, to preserve their audiences from falling into the faithlessness of a heretical pope, because it pertains to the same person to liberate someone from a threatening danger, to whom it pertains if he can to rescue someone from a danger in which that individual has already fallen.

Student: Continue to present arguments in favour of the main conclusion

Master: The seventh proof for that conclusion is this. As a lawyer is bound to present a patron's (=defender's) plea on behalf of a just cause, so are preachers and doctors bound to teach catholic truth and to condemn heretical wickedness. But the advocate of the Catholics' cause against a heretic pope is obligated to plea as their legal patron. Note that a lawyer must plead as an unpaid patron in a cause involving the poor, since that is an act of compassion to which everyone is obligated depending on time and place, and taking account of appropriate circumstances. Therefore all the more must the advocate of the Catholics' cause against a heretic pope provide them defence and patronage, given that the cause of faith is more important than the cause of any poor individual. Similarly therefore preachers and doctors are obligated to refute a heretic pope and his false doctrine in their sermons and lectures by providing a patron's plea for the cause of faith.

Student: It is not apparent that a lawyer must always be available as a free patron in causes involving the poor, since it might then be demanded that he abandon all his other causes on behalf of other clients. For the same reason preachers and doctors are not always bound to condemn the treachery of a heretic pope.

Master: These commentators do not argue that a lawyer is bound at all times to provide a financially unrewarded defence to the causes of the poor, nor that preachers and doctors must at all times condemn a heretic pope in their lectures and sermons. Their point is that a lawyer is bound by necessity of salvation to provide a free defence to a poor individual when it is readily apparent that the cause of this poor person cannot be alleviated except through such assistance. In the same fashion it is proper for preachers and doctors to courageously confront a heretic pope when it is readily apparent that there are no others who are willing and able to defend the cause of faith against a heretic pope.

Student: Present additional arguments if they occur to you.

Master: The eighth argument is this. Just as it pertains to an accuser (who has adequate evidence) to lay out before the judge a crime fatal to the public weal, so is it the business of preachers and doctors to condemn deadly errors which arise against the catholic faith. But he who knows that the pope is a heretic attempting to turn true believers away from the faith must accuse this pope if he has adequate proof. Therefore preachers and doctors who know that a heretic pope is exerting himself to corrupt the true faith must condemn his false doctrine. The major premiss seems obvious. The minor is proved by the authority of Gregory who states (we read this in 2 q. 7 c. Sicut): "just as it is worthy of notice and praise to demonstrate respect and honour to priors, so is it a matter of right and of God's honour not to delay through postponement if there are aspects of their behaviour which require correction, lest (God forbid) the disease should invade the entire body if the head's illness be not cured"[col. 499]. We gather from these words that to accuse any prelate who is attempting to poison an entire body is a matter of right and fear of God. Therefore since a heretic pope is trying to infect the whole body of the church with heretical wickedness, those who know this and are able to prove it must accuse a heretic pope.