If I lived in the time of Pope Honorius, I would hold him to be the valid successor of Peter and defend him against any accusation that he has taught or committed heresy.
I suppose I would have realized that Jesus has two wills, not one. However, the question was not then so simple as it seems to be today. Certainly, subsequent to Honorius, the Church definitively taught that Jesus has two wills, his human will and the Divine will. But at the time, opinions were divided, and Sacred Scripture does not offer a plainly-stated answer. The faithful had to wait for the Magisterium to decide the question definitively. As for Pope Honorius, he never taught the incorrect position (one will), and even in his privately held convictions, expressed in private letters, he did not decide the question.
If I lived in the time of Pope John XXII (22), I would hold him to be the valid successor of Peter and defend him against any accusation that he has taught or committed heresy.
I suppose I would have disagreed with his theological opinion on the Beatific Vision for the departed faithful, but it’s difficult to say, since I have been catechized by the Church of today, which definitively taught on that question subsequent to the reign of John 22. But in any case, Pope John 22 did not teach heresy. He expressed an incorrect theological opinion, on a matter not then decided by the Magisterium.
If I lived in the time when one Pope or another was a notorious sinner, I would not immediately give credence to every accusation against the Roman Pontiff. And regardless of what sins the Pope may (or may not) have committed, I would hold him to be the valid successor of Peter and defend him against any accusation that he has taught or committed heresy.
And the same is true for all the past Popes.
So now we all live in the time of Pope Francis, and the conservative Catholic subculture has decided that it runs the Church, and that the Pope should be taught and corrected by them. So whenever the Supreme Pontiff says or does anything contrary to that culture, it speaks out against him via its mouthpieces: various Catholic bloggers, commentators, authors, and a few pride-filled members of the clergy.
I hold Pope Francis to be the valid successor of Peter, and, like all successors of Peter, he is entirely incapable of teaching heresy and of committing apostasy, heresy, or schism. I defend him against any accusation to the contrary. But I also feel free to disagree with his decisions on discipline and his personal theological opinions. Like all Popes, his non-infallible teachings are subject to a limited possibility of error, and he is able to teach infallibly, with no possibility of error.
Soon the conservative and traditionalist Catholic leaders are going to publicly accuse Pope Francis of teaching and/or committing heresy, and they will thereby fall into the sin of formal schism. I will not join them, since Jesus prevents every Pope from teaching or committing heresy.
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