Thursday, March 05, 2015
Can Retired Popes Judge
One of the meanders that seemed to fascinate Canon Lawyers was: who can depose a Pope, if he felll into heresy?
I was sent this article by Jacob Wood, it gives a brief summary of Suarez's and Bellarmine's arguments, Basically Canonists after Trent say that it is possible but there is no power to do it, either God removes him or 'the bishops' somehow do it. In previous age it might have been suggested, at least by certain schools of theology, that emperor could do it or I suppose the Roman mob. The problem was that although the Pope de jure if he fell into heresy might lose the Papacy de facto he remained Pope.
The problem is of course no-one is able to judge the Pope, except the Pope, Up until the last Conclave that meant that only a successor who judge his predecessor. The arguments of the 16th century Canonists never of course envisioned the idea of a retired Pope, does this change the situation?
Though I think the arguments put forward by some Italian authors that Benedict has retained something of the Papacy are more than cranky, the idea that a retired Pope might at some stage intervene in a crisis is an interesting idea.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake