Mother of God forum leader accuses Pope Francis of heresy

I lead a discussion group at A former member of my discussion group, Padraig Caughey, has publicly declared Pope Francis to be a heretic. He did so in his own discussion group, (the lack of an “R” at the end of mothe is not a typo; that is the correct address of the site).

Here is his post rejecting Pope Francis:

Padraig writes: “I got a prayerful insight into what is happening in the Church at the moment into what is happening in the Church , which I would like to share.

Basically what has happned in the Church currently is that a small group of heretics/ Freemason Cardinals has siezed control of the Church by getting one of their own elected as Pope. They are currently in the mode of preaching pure heresy. The form of this heresy is to ally the Teaching of the Gospel with the Spirit of the World in such a way that the Gospel Turth is lost and buried.

At the intial stages, by which I mean now, ordinary Catholic people are being decieved by these heresies whch cave in to the Spirit of the World because , sadly, they are being preached , first and foremost, by the Pope himself..and yes I do mean that Pope Francis is a heretic and is actively spreading and promoting heresy as fast and as far as he can , ably assisted and promoted by the Heretical Cardinals who elcted him in the first place.”

The above quote has numerous typos, as do his other posts on this topic. The many typos indicate how little time and effort he put into his posts which accuse the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the holy Church, of the very grave sin of teaching heresy. He did not bother to read over his own post, and give his own words some further consideration, before publicly accusing Pope Francis of heresy.

Some of his discussion group members left the group in reaction; some rebuked him, in one way or another, in their posts. Others seem to agree with him, or at least they don’t seem to mind being members of a group led by a schismatic. Yes, to publicly accuse any Pope of teaching heresy or believing heresy is the grave sin of schism, and it carries the penalty of automatic excommunication.

“Can. 1364 n. 1. … an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication”

I won’t judge Padraig’s soul. But the public utter rejection of Pope Francis as a heretic and teacher of heresy is the objective mortal sin of schism and carries the penalty of excommunication. Padraig Caughey is automatically excommunicated for this sin, even if, somehow, the objective mortal sin is not also an actual mortal sin due to a sincere but badly mistaken conscience. Padraig is no longer a formal member of the Catholic Church. He has separated himself from the Church by his own gravely immoral decisions.

In addition to the sin of schism, Padraig is committing the grave sin of scandal by his public condemnation of Pope Francis and his arguments against the holy Pontiff. Padraig is causing grave harm to the souls of the members of his forum and non-member readers.

Ironically, some years ago, Padraig was banned from my own Catholic discussion group — for teaching heresy. Here is the thread at discussing his banning from my group:

Notice what he himself said at that time, when he was accused of heresy:

“But this heretic, mortal sin, excommunicated stuff is not the Mother Church I either know or recognise. It is simply a dreadful distortion of it. Its wrong. Its uncharitable and it has nothing to do with Catholicism, but simply distorts it.”

“I simply don’t believe on a Catholic forum its right to be accusing folks of hersy, mortal sin and claiming they are excommunicated.”

“I have had the pleasure of knowing many priests and religious. It seems to me that none of them ever talked to lay people in terms such as excommunication, heresy , making discussion of the faith a mine field beneath one’s feet. Especially to a lay person. My concience in this matter is perfectly at peace. The Spirit brings life and the law , death. I think there is a great danger in looking at others with a harsh legalistic juridical attitude.”

So when he himself is accused of heresy, either there’s no such thing, or it is terribly wrong to accuse anyone of heresy. But then he makes a public severe denunciation of the Vicar of Christ. His hypocrisy is like that of the Pharisees of old.

If the Pope teaches ideas that are contrary to Padraig’s understanding of Catholicism, he can’t imagine any other possibility than that the Pope must be a heretic. This happens time and time again in the Church. If the Church teaches anything contrary to the understanding of some particular fallen sinner or group of sinners, they immediately assume that they are right and the Church is wrong.

Padraig is adamant that a Pope can possibly commit the sin of heresy and can possibly teach heresy. I’ve made a strong theological argument to the contrary on my blog and in my book (In Defense of Pope Francis). No Pope can fall into heresy or teach heresy at all. The prevenient grace of God prevents it. But like most persons who rail against a Pope or the Church, Padraig has no idea what prevenient grace is, doesn’t know theology well enough to distinguish doctrine from heresy, and makes the arrogant assumption that he himself cannot possibly be a heretic.

Every Pope will seem like a heretic to a fallen sinner who is himself a heretic. Padraig is gazing at Pope Francis through the heretical lens of his own disordered understanding of Catholicism. But in his extreme pride, he can’t imagine that he himself is the one who has fallen into heresy. If Padraig and the Pope disagree, the former can see no other possibility than that the latter is teaching heresy. The Pharisees of old would be impressed with Padraig’s arrogance and self-exaltation. They would see him as one of their own. For they rejected the Christ, and Padraig rejects the Vicar of Christ, and for the same reason: sinful pride.

Then what does Padraig say about himself, in reaction to criticism from his own forum members?

“Even without the typos, why on Earth would anyone pay the least attention to me? A great sinner, theologically totally illiterate and clearly crazy as a bat. The only thing might be said is that I’m a poor sap who is fond of praying…. I know if I visited a place like this and someone out of the blue declared the Pope a heretic I would run from the place as I would from Satan himself.” [post]

He feigns humility. No one who judges and condemns the Pope is humble.

I am somewhat familiar with Padraig’s background, and he is certainly not qualified to judge if any idea is material heresy or not. I banned him from my group for teaching heresy, and since then I have read his posts from time to time. I see no repentance in him from his sin of pride, in the first place, which leads to heresy. He speaks as if he were humble, as in the post quoted above. But if he really considers himself unqualified in theology, why would he think himself qualified to judge and condemn the Roman Pontiff and all the Cardinals who elected him? He has no degree in theology, no published works of theology, and his posts show that his understanding of Catholic teaching is distorted by oversimplification and ignorant on many important teachings of faith and morals.

He complains that Pope Francis has been influenced by sinful secular society to teach what pleases society. I say, in reply, that sinful secular society has taught people to exalt their own opinion over the opinion of experts and leaders, and to criticize and judge everything and everyone, without any qualifications in the subject area. Padraig is the one acting on behalf of sinful secular society, unwittingly, by following it into pride, unjust judgments, and the grave sin of rejecting the Church.

Padraig also wrote these words: “I fully expect that God will strike the Holy Father dead.” [post] Now Jesus said: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, so shall you be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, so shall it be measured back to you.” [Mt 7:1-2]. But Padraig is so certain of his negative judgment of the Pope, and so severe in that judgment, that he publicly proclaims that the Pope is so guilty of such grave sins that God would be expected to strike him dead. It’s hard to even imagine a greater violation of our Lord’s teaching than such an extreme unjust judgment, by a man who has no theological qualifications, against the Father and Teacher of all Christians, the Vicar of Christ.

Update 9/25/16

In a more recent set of posts, Padraig goes even further in accusing the Pope. Commenting on Revelation chapter 13, he says:

“So the two horned lamb with the voice of a dragon is false demonic clerical leadership. As look to the horrific and heretical leadhsip we ar ebeing given from the Vatican at the minute we can see the to horned lamb thoroughly in place in leadhsip postions of the most enormous power and raoring away in the voice of the old Dragon himself. Pople like those demons in human form Cardinals, Marx, Kasper and Schonberg. But of course we have to recall who put these two horned lambs roaring away there in their great thrones in the first place.;) These total monsters of evil.”

He refers to “the Satanic crew who run the Vatican”, and he claims that “God effectively let Stan take the driving seat in the Vatican.” He calls the Pope and the Cardinals who support him “total monsters” and “roaring lamblike monsters” and he says they are selling “total spiritual poison”. And he calls their teachings “Satanic/ freemosanry/ modernist hell spew”.

Then Padraig says:

These Cardinals who spread their heresies can best be described I think as , ‘Soul eaters’. They eat people souls. Those who follow and support such heresies are those whose hearts have already been eaten and walk about already spiritually dead.

It could not be any more clear that Padraig has publicly committed the sin of formal schism by this utter rejection of Pope Francis and any/all Cardinals and Bishops who support him.

To Everyone

Each Pope is chosen by the grace and providence of God. Pope Francis was chosen to put conservative Catholics to the test, and to shake the tree of the Church so that arrogant persons, who have long exalted themselves above the Church, would fall away, freeing the tree from bad fruits.

If the Pope expresses a personal opinion, even on a matter of religion, we are all free to disagree. But even his mere opinions should have greater weight in each of our minds and hearts than our own opinions. For we must be humble and charitable.

If the Pope makes a decision for the Church on discipline, he has the authority to decide the matter, but we are free to disagree, since discipline is not doctrine and is changeable and dispensable. But the Pope is more qualified than any of us to make such a decision, so we should consider that either he understands things that we do not, or that he is being led by God in such matters, beyond our own understanding. For we must be humble and charitable and trust in God.

If a Pope teaches under the non-infallible Magisterium, the faithful have a limited possibility of faithful dissent, because the Holy Spirit protects non-infallible teachings from any and all grave errors. If the Pope’s teaching meets the conditions for infallibility, he cannot be mistaken, no matter how clear and definitive a contrary idea might seem to be.

No Pope can ever teach material heresy. No Pope can ever commit apostasy, formal heresy, or formal schism, because Jesus promised to keep the Church indefectible, and the Church is founded on the Rock that is Peter and his successors. To accuse the Pope of teaching material heresy or of committing formal heresy, is tantamount to accusing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of making a lying promise to the Church:

{16:15} Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
{16:16} Simon Peter responded by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.
{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
{16:19} And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

If you say that Jesus is the Son of the living God, then you must believe that He would never permit a Pope to teach material heresy or to commit formal heresy. And if any Bible passage, or prophecy (supposedly) from Heaven, or any Church document, or any “insight” you received in prayer says otherwise, then YOU HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD!!! People are so quick to proclaim that the Pope can teach heresy or be a heretic, but they secretly imagine that they themselves are entirely immune from heresy and all other errors.

See my post: What Saint Bellarmine really said about Popes and Heresy and my book: In Defense of Pope Francis

Everyone who accuses ANY Pope of heresy is committing the sin of pride as well as formal schism. The heretic cannot imagine that his own understanding could be mistaken, so when a Pope says something that seems to be in error, the heretic immediately concludes that the Pope has gone astray. This has happened countless times in Church history. The more prominent examples are well-known, such as that of Martin Luther and the other founders of Protestantism.

If it seems to ANY person as if ANY Pope has taught material heresy, or has fallen into apostasy, formal heresy, or formal schism, then that person is MISTAKEN, that person has not properly understood the many profound mysteries of the Faith, nor the many intricacies of sound theology. Which is more likely: That a leader of a small forum online has misunderstood something, or that the Pope and a large number of Cardinals have all fallen into heresy, been teaching heresy, and are leading the whole Church astray, despite the promise of Jesus?

Pride goeth before a fall.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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8 Responses to Mother of God forum leader accuses Pope Francis of heresy

  1. santiago chia says:

    thanks Ron for your clear and continuous defense of the Roman Catholic Church and its foundation pillars; indeed schism, as you have mentioned elsewhere is and has been present in practice in the lives of many, its public official announcement will be a formality

  2. King Robert the bruce says:

    well said Ron you have pretty much nailed him with youre truthful and insightful defence of christs representative on earth

  3. Ron Conte says:

    As the schism begins and unfolds, I think we will see more and more Catholic leaders rejecting Pope Francis, just as Padraig did. People do not realize that many popular Catholic bloggers, writers, priests, and leaders of various kinds, are already well along the path to heresy and schism. Soon God will put them to the test — perhaps by permitting women deacons — and the chaff will blow away in the wind, leaving only the good wheat.

  4. Antoinette Barry says:

    You say that God would not allow a Pope to teach heresy but didn’t God give us free will and He will never take that away from us so to say that a Pope will never teach heresy that cant be right.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Prevenient grace is the reply to your objection:
      It is a type of grace that acts prior to free will, with God operating, not cooperating.

    • Francisco says:

      Adding to Ron’s response to Antoinette Barry, it’s also because Jesus Himself said so (Matt 16:18-19), (Luke 22:31-32), (John 21:15-17). Saying that the Pope is a heretic is tantamount of accusing Jesus of having erred, or that Jesus lied (which is worst) to us. But Jesus cannot err or lie because He is GOD. Yes, we all have free will, but God knows all, even our future events (with our free wills included).

  5. Elizmary says:

    francisco I never said that the Pope was a heretic I was debating if Pope could teach heresy. God knows all, even our future events that is true, but that does not mean that He will take away our free will,didn’t Adam and Eve use their free will,Judas used his free will when he betrayed Jesus Christ .Satan will try to interfere with our free will But God never will.Jesus Christ was crucified when he was on this earth don’t you think that they will crucify his Church too.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The First Vatican Council answered that question: the Pope has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith. And your point about free will ignores the magisterial teaching on prevenient grace, which acts independent of, and prior to, free will.

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