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A Refutation of Zechariah 4:06's "Canon 751 and Christian Logic"

GTV user Zechariah 4:06 has written a new article "Canon 751 and Christian Logic"

At the risk of overstating the obvious, it follows his usual standards of scholarship on Canon Law along with his understanding of "logic".

Since he's "blocked" me from replying directly, for obvious reasons, I will refute his points here. Unlike "Zechariah" I do not block anyone from commenting. My work can withstand open discussion. His can not.

The author states:

"This is Canon 751:

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholicfaith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."


That is false. "Catholic" and "faith" are two words in Canon Law 751, not one. The passage reads: "divine and Catholic faith"

Citation: (Canon Law Of The Catholic Church Vatican Website)

The author is literally incapable of "cut and pasting" Canon Law without introducing an error. This, sadly, sets the tone for all that follows. Like so:

"So, heresy is not just denial, but doubt."

That is false. Canon Law 751 states: "Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt..."

Citation: (Canon Law Of The Catholic Church Vatican Website)

The author first misquotes Canon Law and then incorrectly summarizes it by removing a critical word. Thus, the author changes Canon Law from what it does say, to something it does not.

This should not come as a surprise: I corrected this same author yesterday when he did the same thing discussing Canon Law 332 §2.

Citation: (GTV article: "A Refutation of Zechariah 4:14's "Why Pope Francis...")

There I stated, "Canon Law 332 §2 states "the resignation". It does NOT state, "the resignation of the office". This is how people lie by subtly re-phrasing Canon Law.

The same criticism applies here

Canon Law 751 states "Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt." It does not state just "denial" or just "doubt".

This is how people lie by subtly rephrasing Canon Law.

Why is this distinction between an obstinate act (denial or doubt) and an act per se so important?

"Obstinate" shows a deliberate course of action in the face of correction, i.e. "stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion."

Citation (Merriam-Webster dictionary entry: "Obstinate")

An obstinate denial or an obstinate doubt shows that:

a.) the accused heretic has expressed a view
b.) The Church has disgreed with that view as contrary to its teachings.
c.) The Church has attempted to correct the accused heretic
d.) the accused heretic has opposed that correction by the Church.

Regarding Pope Francis,
a.) He has certainly expressed his views.
b.)-d.) have not.

Who has the temporal authority to represent the Church in correcting the supposed errors of the Church's highest temporal authority?

The author fails to say, yet this is vital for establishing even a superficial, much less legally valid, accusation of heresy according to Canon Law 751.

The author then commits the fallacy of circular reasoning.

"And Jorge Bergolio has not only issued heretical statements"

The evidence supplied that "Jorge Bergoglio" as the author insists on referring to the Pope has "issued heretical statements" is nothing more than the author's claim that Jorge Bergoglio "has issued heretical statements"

No such statements are quoted.

The author's proof for the claim is the claim itself.

The author does not quote so much a single statement by the Pope. Nor does the author show that statement has been officially decreed as "heresy" by the Catholic Church.

The author then goes further:

"statements that would automatically excommunicate any other Catholic,"

No examples supplied. Again.

No Canon Law cited showing an automatic excommunication would apply.. Again.

As is usual with this author, he is simply making a claim about the Pope's statements, withoutt quoting the man directly and failing to show the Church has issued a ruling of heresy against them.

The author also claims... the Pope "has also planted doubt in Catholics by doing so, leading to the sin of scandal."

This follows the pattern of the author's baseless claims already established.

The author does not supply evidence that Catholics are doubting anything as a result of anything Pope Francis has said.

Proof of such doubts would require, perhaps, a poll of Catholics showing their "doubts" as the direct result of the Pope's statements. No such proof is supplied.

The author also demonstrates a painful lack of understanding of how the Catholic Church defines "scandal".

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2284) Scandal is: "an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil."

Citation: (Catechism Of The Catholic Church Paragraph 2284)

The author has shown no evidence that a.) The Pope's statements even HAVE caused doubts among Catholics much less the Pope's statements "have led another to do evil."

In short, the author has made, yet again, another factually unsupported claim and continues to do so as he continues::

"Since Jorge Bergolio has indicated he doesn't believe in the Trinity, it is also safe to say he has apostasized."

No quotation from Pope Francis on the Trinity is supplied. This is, in any academic context, an utterly unacceptable lack of scholarship.

The author then makes the following claim:

"Now, some hardcore Bergolians make the cowardly claim that Christians cannot judge whether someone is a heretic or not, even though Christ taught us in scripture and Canon Law, by virtue of its existence, tells us how."

Several errors are evident.

1), The author does not quote any "Bergoglians" "hardcore" or otherise. Nor ones making any claims.

2.) Proceeding from 1.), the author does not show any evidence the claims by such "hardcore Bergoglians" are cowardly or not.

Again, it's another unsupported claim by the author

3.) This article the author wrote, by the author's own stated title, covers "Canon 751 and Christian Logic".

Canon Law 751 is how the Catholic Church defines heresy and schism.. "Christians" includes all denominations who claim to believe in Jesus Christ. Not all Christians are Catholics. "Christians" who are not Catholics and who are, in fact, bitterly opposed to the Catholic Church have no reason to follow the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.

This, ironically enough, an instance of exactly the sort of "Christian Logic" the author fails to employ.

4.) Catholic laity do not have the legal authority to represent the Roman Catholic Church in making legal judgements, unless so authorized. Simply put, a formal, lawful judgement of "heresy" must come from the Catholic Church, not the laity. One may opine someone's statements or actions constitute heresy, but it remains an informal and unofficial view, an opinion, nothing more.

5.) The author claims "Christ taught us in scripture and Canon Law"

That is false. Christ did not write or teach the Canon Law for the Catholic Church. Canon Law is derived from Christ's teachings. But he, Himself, did not write or teach the legal code for the Catholic Church.

The author's claim is unsupported either -by- the "Canon Law" Christ supposedly taught or with any references from Scripture which He actually DID teach.

Again, the author displays a consistent preference for making unsupported claims, absent factual support.

The author makes the bizarre claim, "The Church may officially decree Someone (sic, spelling) a heretic, but under no circumstances are we to suspend belief in Catholic dogma just to deny reality."

By stating "The Church may officially decree Someone (sic) a heretic," the author acknowledges heresy is an official decree of the Church. If The Church does not officially decree someone a heretic, then they are not officially a heretic.

Again, this is "Christian Logic" the author should have employed.

A direct parallel applies in secular law. If no charges are filed, no trial is held, and no guilty verdict reached, then no conviction has occurred. Individual opinion is not a substitute for a legal ruling by a court holding proper jurisdiction.

The author is also conflating "Canon Law" which is supposedly what he was initially discussing and a separate concept, namely Catholic Dogma. By confusing the two in this manner, it's questionable whether the author adequately understands the difference between them.

The author further claims, "In other words, according to the previous Law , Canon 750, we are bound to AVOID any doctrines contrary to them."

Doing so is a personal act. Avoiding a doctrine one believes contrary to the Church does not grant a member of the laity the right to claim, on their own authority, either

a.) a cleric or, in this context, the Pope, has presented a doctrine that is heretical or contrary to the teachings of the Church

b.) the cleric, or the Pope, no longer holds office.

Canon Law 750 §1 quoted verbatim by the author simply does not include such provisions.

The author returns to a fallacy of circular reasoning, compounded by a fallacy of repetition:

"Since it is clear that Bergolio spouts heresy..."

What is clear is the author has not quoted Pope Francis even once in his article.

The author's claim here is contradicted by the author's earlier stated view:

"The Church may officially decree Someone (sic) a heretic,"

This has not happened for Pope Francis. Until it does, Pope Francis is not officially a heretic according to the Catholic Church.

This particular point returns to the issue of what constitutes "obstinate denial" or "obstinate doubt" under Canon Law 751.

Obstinancy occurs only "in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion". "Obstinate denial" or "obstinate doubt" as stated in Canon Law 751 of occurs only when The Church has formally attempted to correct that denial or doubt.

This is the central error the author makes.

Who has the temporal legal authority to represent the Church when attempting to correct the supposed denials or doubts of the Church's highest temporal legal authority, namely the Pope?

The author doesn't say. Nor does the author show:

1.) such a hypothetical temporal authority even exists with the power to correct the Pope.

2.) such ah temporal authority has attempted to correct the Pope's denials or doubts contrary to the truths the Church considers divinely held

3.) the Pope has remaned obstinate in those denials or doubts despite correction by such a hypotehtical authority representing the Catholic Church.

The author asks the rhetorical question, "how are we Catholics supposed to submit to the "Supreme Pontiff", the other part of Canon 751." and answers it "The Truth is we are bound to oppose Bergolio's views and resist his heretical statements."

Again, the author displays his rampant ignorance of Canon Law in general. Canon Law 751 does not define "submission" in those terms.

Canon Law 751t does not define "submission" at all. This is, of course, ignoring the fact the author continues to claim the Pope's statements are "heretical" without showing the Catholic Church has ruled them to be so.

In essence, the author is usurping the right to rule on Canon Law and make official verdicts of "heresy" and "heretical" that he is not entitled to make. Then, proceeding from that self-created authority, justifying his refusal to submit to the Supreme Pontiff on those grounds.

Sadly, this what passes for what the author titled "Christian Logic" in his article's title.

It is neither Catholic logic, nor Christian logic, nor logic at all. It is fallacy compounded on fallacy, built on baseless claims and a monumentally arrogant belief that making a claim includes its own, self-referential support for it.

However, regardless of his own motivations for doing so, schism IS "the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff" which the author attempts to justify doing.

As such, the author's own actions, and even basis for defending his actions, do fit the criteria for "schism" under Canon Law 751.

The author builds on his own errors in the following manner:

"We can't be in communion with a heretic, and Canon Law doesn't expect us to."

1.) A person is not officially a heretic until the Catholic Church rules he is a heretic, something even the author unintentionally admitted..

2.) The Catholic Church has not ruled Pope Francis is a heretic.

3.) Proceeding from 1.) and 2.) Pope Francis is not a heretic according to Canon Law 751 until the Church rules he is and it's questionable who, in the Catholic Church, even has the authority to do so.

Canon Law 751 states: "schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

The author is making a dreadful muddle, conflating "the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff" with "communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

Ironically, he's correct entirely by accident: Canon Law 751 indeed does not expect (or require) us to be in communion with a heretic, but the refusal of submission (not communion) to the Supreme Pontiff is defined as schism.

Schism also occurs when one refuses "communion with the members of the Church subject to him." namely those clergy under the Supreme Pontiff's authority.

However, returning to the author's original and incorrect statement, Canon Law 751 DOES define a "refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff" as schism. It does not provide any exceptions based on personal opinion that the Supreme Pontiff's views are heretical and in this case no such ruling has even been made.

The author claims" Does this mean we are in schism? No."

Canon Law 751 shows otherwise. Refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff is schism, regardless of one's own motivations for doing so.

The author then returns to familiar ground from his previous article from last night/

"Because in Bergolio's case there is ample doubt about his election, and has been since the beginning."

Once again, the author shows no evidence of 'ample doubt' beyond his own grandiose claims. By now, it's fair to say this is a consistent pattern of error made by a schismatic.

"As well, there is also controversy over Benedict XVI's resignation, which is made all the more confusing since B16 acts like a pope and didn't resign the office of the pope (Canon 188, etc)."

Aside from the author's pseudo-journalistic syntax, again, the author provides no evidence for his claims or that Canon Law 188 even applies.

Interestingly, the claims ""B16 acts like a pope and didn't resign the office of the pope" are merely restatements of claims the author made yesterday and which I took pains to correct here: A Refutation of Zechariah 4:14's "Why Pope Francis..."

The author then lapses into non-logic about: "If we are Catholic, if we love Jesus Christ, it is our obligation to reisist Francis."

If we are Catholic, we have an obligation to follow the laws of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not grant the laity the right to re-invent those laws and interpret them as the laity sees fit.

Professing a love for Jesus Christ does not grant Catholics the legal authority to defy the leaders of His Church. Again, no Canon Law for this is, or ever shall, be cited by the author. ;-)

After this, the author abandons all pretense of "academic" discourse...

" He has said heretical things,"

At this point, the observation this is a fallacy of repetition absent a ruling by the Church seems obvious.

"Nothing he does is Christian."

Readily disroven whenever the Pope does something as simple as crosses himself or celebrates Mass. Both acts are not only Christian but also Catholic, a distinction the author fails to recognize.

So long as Pope Francis performs ONE "Christian" i.e "Catholic" act, such as celebrating Mass, the author's claim is disproven.

This is, ironically, the very sort of "Christian Logic" the author references in his article's title yet continually fails to use.

"Second, it is clear that Benedict 16 and Bergolio cannot both be the pope."

Benedict is not "Benedict 16" The title "Benedict 16" is not a Papal title or a title Benedict ever held. I defy the author to present so much as one formal Catholic document listing the former Pope's title as "Benedict 16".

Benedict currently wishes to be called Father Benedict. I pointed this out yesterday evening to our ever-erring author and yet, here again, the author simply repeats his falsehood.

This is followed by a stream of conscious rant about: "There is no such thing as a Pope Emeritus, an expanded Papacy. Jesus Chose (sic) one."

"Pope Emeritus"
is a title. The title, by its inclusion of the word "Emeritus", the title defines the holder as one who no longer holds an office.

Benedict himself has already refuted both this title and claims of an "expanded Papacy". Again, I covered this last night and, borrowing a phrase from Canon Law 751 the author is showing an "obstinate denial" of that fact

"Since B16 did not resign the office of the pope, but rather gave it to Bergolio, he is still the pope."

The rampant stupidity of that statement doesn't even merit a repeated correction.

Benedict did not "give" anything. He did not even select Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

Benedict XVI resigned the Papacy and the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who took the name Francis

Even on this last point, the author betrays his ignorance of how even the basics of the Papal succession works.