St. Robert Bellarmine, a learned and holy man, wrote on the question of whether or not a heretical pope could be deposed.

A lot of people mistakenly think that the doctrine of papal infallibility means that a pope can never be a heretic.

But that is not true.

Briefly, the doctrine of papal infallibility is very limited in scope. Vatican I taught that a pope could not err in his teaching only when certain criteria are met.

This limited scope allows for the possibility of a pope holding heretical views insofar as they are held as his personal opinion and not definitively taught as binding on the faithful.

But that raises the question. What could be done with a heretical pope? Could a heretical pope be deposed?

In this episode of Spiritual Combat, I’ll give you a summary of the theological opinions on this question by focusing on the work of St. Robert Bellarmine.

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