"When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects."
–St. Thomas Aquinas
Which has nothing to do with the present matter. The following is from Fr. Cekada's article, Sedevacantism and Mr. Ferrara's Cardboard Pope:
RESIST A WAYWARD POPE: St. Thomas, St. Robert Bellarmine and the “pious and eminent” Francisco Suarez teach that one may “resist” a “wayward pope.” (p.50-1)
Here Mr. Ferrara reprints and interprets for us three quotes from a larger group first published in 1970 in Portugese by the Brazilian traditionalist Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira.
They are part of Mr. Ferrara’s “direct case” — that is, the system he proposes instead of sedevacantism.
These endlessly recycled quotes are favorites in SSPX/ CFN “recognize-but-resist” circles, and they pop up all over the place. This allows all sorts of unlikely types to offer assurances about, say, Suarez’ teachings, eminence and piety — all without the inconvenience of slogging through about 21,000 pages of his Latin in really small type.
(A) St. Thomas Aquinas: Mr. Ferrara quotes St. Thomas’ justification for fraternal correction of superiors in general, especially when they say something that endangers the faith. (Summa, II-II.33.4)
From this standard nugget of spiritual wisdom, Mr. Ferrara, SSPX and countless others have drawn several rather generous practical conclusions about what the Angelic Doctor is supposedly endorsing:
(1) Catholics are free to decide for themselves on a case-by-case which teachings, laws, sacramental rites and commands emanating from the Roman Pontiff they will accept (very few, thank you) and which they will “resist” and publicly denounce (just about everything).
(2) Catholics are free to pursue this “resistance” to the Successor of Peter on a continuous basis — so far, forty years and counting, with no end in sight.
(3) Moreover, “implicit in St. Thomas’ teaching,” says Mr. Ferrara, “is that the pope who commits ‘scandal concerning the faith’ remains the pope, though he may be rebuked and corrected.”
“Implicit” indeed! So implicit that one cannot find it at all…
(B) St. Robert Bellarmine: Not long ago, I published an analysis of the Bellarmine “resistance” quote, and based my conclusions upon its context in De Romano Pontifice and upon Cardinal Cajetan’s De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii, which Bellarmine cited to support his position.
Among other things, I demonstrated that Bellarmine was talking about resisting a pope who gives morally evil commands — not one who, like the post-Vatican II popes, teaches doctrinal error or imposes evil laws. In his next chapter, the Saint taught that a heretical pope automatically loses his authority. (my emphasis - g_v)
Mr. Ferrara’s “answer” to this is that “nowhere does Bellarmine teach that ‘kings or councils,’ much less isolated members of the Church, can judge a pope guilty of heresy.” (p.51)
Nowhere? Has Mr. Ferrara based this confident assertion on a careful reading of Bellarmine’s entire Opera Omnia in the 8-volume 1861 Neapolitan quarto edition?
Would he care to demonstrate, based on that edition and a comparison with Cajetan’s de Comparatione, where my analysis of the quote in question was in error?
In the meantime, I will deem that he has conceded my conclusion about the quote.
(C) Francisco Suarez. Mr. Ferrara quotes a passage from Suarez stating that a pope who would “overturn all the rites of the Church founded on apostolic tradition” — think Paul VI, of course — would become a “schismatic.” (p.51-2)
Mr. Ferrara takes consolation in Suarez’ opinion that a schismatic pope would retain his office, and uses this to shore up the “resistance” argument.
But Suarez, who tended to lose most controversies with other Catholic theologians, was the only theologian who held that position. The rest all taught that a schismatic pope loses the pontificate automatically because heresy and schism both represented “defection from the faith.”
Mr. Ferrara also provides us with a “nowhere does Suarez teach…” argument.
Again, nowhere, Mr. Ferrara? Will we be swearing you in as an expert witness to testify that you have (a) read the entire 30-volume 1858 Paris edition of Suarez’ Opera Omnia, and (b) based your prior factual claim thereupon?
Finally, Mr. Ferrara quotes Suarez as stating, “If [the Pope]… gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him.”
In this quote too, Mr. Ferrara, like many other traditionalist writers, sees a grand charter for global “resistance” to the post-Conciliar popes laws, doctrines, etc.
However, the translation into English is faulty: It mistranslates bonos mores as “right customs,” implying, perhaps, justification for resisting changes a pope legislates in liturgical traditions, etc.
In fact the phrase really means “good morals.” (See Suarez, Opera Omnia, 12:321: “Si enim aliquid statuat contra bonos mores, non erit illi parendum.”)
So once again, Suarez, like Bellarmine, is saying nothing more than this: if a pope gives you a command to do something contrary to the moral law, you don’t have to obey — something like, “I’m ordering you this time, Monsignor: Bring me a blonde chorus girl, and if the piano player complains, shoot him between the eyes…”