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Tag Archives: Roberto de Mattei

June 17th, 2017

Papal Purge of Pro-Lifers

In a week when Italian history professor Roberto de Mattei has predicted that  Pope Francis is to “revisit” Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father  has purged the  Pontifical Academy of Life of dozens of  members renowned for their fidelity to Catholic teaching. These include Australian professor John Finnis who had criticised the Pope’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia,  German philosopher Robert Spaemann—a longtime friend of Pope Benedict XVI—Englishman Dr Luke Gormally  who had asked the Pope to remove a problematical section on contraception from the preparatory document for the Synod on the Family,  and three eastern Europeans who were influenced greatly by John Paul II.

[Back in the 1990s Drs Finnis and Gormally spoke at a meeting in Maynooth and criticised in vitro fertilisation. My wife  Stramentaria covered this rather dodgy conference for the old Ballintrillick Review, and editor Doris Manly headlined her article  “Take-Away Babies with Maynooth Sauce”.]

The Pope’s 17 new appointments to the Academy include Nigel Biggar, an Anglican professor of moral and pastoral theology who has expressed support for legalised abortion up to 18 weeks, and qualified support for euthanasia; and  Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, an Italian moral theologian and professor who has openly criticized Catholic teaching on life issues, including Humanae Vitae

Last November the Holy Father  released new statutes for the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which members are no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. He also expanded the Academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.

According to Professor de Mattei a commission has been nominated by Pope Francis to “reinterpret” Humanae Vitae in the light of his own encyclical Amoris Laetitia . Next year will see the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception. The Commission has been ordered to procure from the Vatican archives the documentation on the preparatory work on the encyclical, lasting  three years.  In 1966 the “experts” delivered their conclusions to Pope Paul VI, and suggested  opening the doors to birth control. After two years of wavering, the Pope followed the perennial teaching of the Church and rejected the idea in Humanae Vitae. As the philosopher Romano Amerio said, it was the most important act of his pontificate.

The Commission is to be co-ordinated by Mgr Gilfredo Marengo, who has made it clear in his writings that he supports the view of Pope Francis that  one should “abandon models of of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals”.  Professor de Mattei believes this indicates that praxis rather than doctrine will be followed in this “reinterpretation” of Humanae Vitae. And he wonders whether any Catholic theologian will have the courage to declare “heresy” when faced with this reinterpretation.

 

 

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July 27th, 2016

Catholics Must Fight Islamism

In response to yesterday’s  murder  by Moslem fanatics  of a French priest while he was saying Mass, the Italian historian  Roberto de Mattei has said Catholics must not limit themselves to praying for  their enemies, but  have a duty to fight  them as well. In the newspaper Il Tempo, Dr de Mattei quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the effect that  legitimate defence may be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others.  He writes:
The first martyr in European territory at the hands of Islam, Father Jacques Hamel, was murdered while celebrating Holy Mass on July 26th in the parish church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. Two Moslems, praising Islam, burst into the church, and after taking some of the faithful hostage, cut the priest’s throat, at the same time critically wounding another faithful present. There are no doubts about the identity of the aggressors and the anti-Christian hatred that motivated them. Through the press agency Amaq, the Islamic State called the assailants “our soldiers”.
The name of Jaques Hamel is added to that of thousands of Christians who are burnt, crucified and decapitated every day in hatred of their faith.  However, the July 26th massacre marks a turning point since it is the first time it has happened in Europe, casting a shadow of fear and alarm  over our continent.
It is certainly not possible to guard 50,000 religious buildings in France, and a similar number of churches, parishes and sanctuaries in Italy and other countries.  Every priest is the object of possible attacks, destined to increase, owing to the emulation effect that follows these crimes.
“How many deaths are needed, how many heads decapitated, for the European governments to understand the situation the West finds itself in?” asked Cardinal Robert Sarah.
What is it going to take, we add, for Cardinal Sarah’s confreres in the College of Cardinals, starting with the Supreme Head, the Pope himself, to understand the terrifying situation in which not only the West finds itself in, but the entire Universal Church? What makes this situation so terrible are the politics of do-goodism and false mercy with regard to Islam and all of the Church’s enemies.  Certainly, Catholics must pray for their enemies, but they also have to be aware that they have them, and they mustn’t limit themselves to praying for them, but have the duty to fight them. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which teaches this in n.2266, when it says that legitimate defence may also be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others: “Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm.”
Pope Francis was said to be “especially upset by this act of violence which took place in a church during the liturgy of the Mass and implored the peace of God for the world”, once again refusing to call the assassins by name. Pope Bergoglio’s silence is parallel to that of Moslems from all over the globe who don’t denounce forcefully and in an unanimous, collective manner, the crimes committed in Allah’s name by their co-religionists. Yet, even the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, in his discourse to the nation on Tuesday evening, spoke of France’s open war against ISIS.
During his pontificate, the Pope has beatified with super-rapid procedures some 20th century figures, like Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Don Pino Puglisi* who were certainly not killed in hatred of the Catholic faith. Yet on May 12th 2013, he also canonized in St. Peter’s Square, the eight hundred martyrs of Otranto, massacred on August 11th 1480 by the Turks for not renouncing their faith.
If Pope Francis announced the start of the process for Father Hamel’s beatification, he would give the world a peaceful but strong and eloquent sign of the  will of the Church to defend its identity.  If, on the other hand, he continues to be under the illusion about a possible ecumenical agreement with Islam, he will repeat the same errors of those wretched politics which sacrificed the victims of the Communist persecution on the altars of Ostpolitik.  However, the altar of politics is different from the holy altar in which the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ is celebrated. Father Jacques Hamel received the grace of uniting himself to this sacrifice, offering his own blood, on July 26th.
* Killed by the Mafia in Palermo in 1993

With acknowledgements to Il Tempo, and also to the blogsite Rorate Caeli.

April 22nd, 2016

Amoris Laetitia Is a Bad Egg

 
The above is one of the most famous cartoons ever to have appeared in Punch.  Parts of  Amoris Laetitia are excellent too, or  so we are given to understand. But that’s not really the point, is it?  Taken as a whole, it stinks.

Some neo-Catholics have praised the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia because of its emphasis on “meeting people where they are at” rather than condemning their particular sinful situation.  Seems  commendably merciful, but it makes me very uneasy all the same.   All too easily this policy can be interpreted to mean  tacitly accepting that “where they are at” is where they ought to be. That is what  the Mods—in particular the German bishops— are already doing.

In another of his disastrous mid-air Press conferences, Pope Francis was asked to clarify the  position on “remarriage” and Holy Communion. He made  the confusion worse confounded by pointing to the interpretation of the  devious  Austrian Cardinal Schönborn.  I fear that although the Pope cannot change Church teaching, he can and has changed Church practice, as he clearly intended to do before the “Synod on the Family” was even called. It looks as though from now on, in many European countries at least, permissions for “divorced and remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion will be poured through in ever-increasing numbers.

How should a confused Catholic react? I don’t know, but I don’t think the “We’re all doomed”  response of some Traddy bloggers (following Private Fraser in Dad’s Army) is particularly helpful.

Related image
Private Fraser

Unfortunately, one of those who thinks we’re all doomed is Hilary White, whose blog “What’s Up with Francis-Church?” is usually  realistic as well as caustic.  She believes that  because Cardinal Burke is  simply  pointing out that Amoris Laetitia is non-magisterial, rather than yelling abuse at the Holy Father, the Cardinal has thrown his most loyal supporters under the bus and may as well be some kind of modernist.  But Eccles, whose blog posts are getting progressively funnier, refutes any such idea with this picture and caption:

Burke in Cappa Magna 

Warning – this is what a nasty liberal modernist looks like.

Even though we’re not necessarily doomed, this is a catastrophe all the same. As Professor Roberto de Mattei has commented:

If the text is catastrophic, even more catastrophic is the fact that it was signed by the Vicar of Christ. Even so, for those who love Christ and His Church, this is a good reason to speak and not be silent.  So, let’s make ours the words of a courageous Bishop, Athanasius Schneider:
‘Non possumus!’ I will not accept an obfuscated speech nor a skilfully masked back door to a profanation of the Sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist. Likewise, I will not accept a mockery of the Sixth Commandment of God. I prefer to be ridiculed and persecuted rather than to accept ambiguous texts and insincere methods.
Bishop Schneider made this remark some months ago, but it’s even more relevant today.

 

 

 

November 20, 2015

Kissing the Devil: Islam and  the French Revolution

It is strange but true that Islamic terrorism  and “Republican values”—based on  the French Revolution—seem to have become inextricably linked. Professor Roberto de Mattei explains how this has come about:

All the analysts highlighted the failure of the French security services on that tragic day of November 13th. The primary cause of this failure, more than inefficiency, is related to the  French political and administrative class’s cultural inability to go back to the profound causes of terrorism and of the proper remedies to combat it.
The terrorism that is flooding the world today is the child of the 1789 Revolution as well as the long series of professional revolutionaries— anarchists, socialists and communists who, between the 19th and 20th centuries practiced violence en masse and perpetrated the first genocides in the history of mankind. The so-called fundamentalists have grafted the European experience of terrorism on to the trunk of an intrinsically totalitarian ideology—which Islam is—a political religion which has always imposed itself with violence.
The plan to insert Islam into Republican values can only come  from the mind of those who refuse to understand the historical role of the religious dimension and reduce everything to economic conflicts or politics. This mentality is at the origin of the astounding errors which united Sarkozy’s and Hollande’s France and the United States of Barrack Hussein Obama in their Mediterranean  policies.
At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011  the “Arab springtime” was loudly proclaimed, in the belief that the fall of the “tyrants” in Egypt, Libya and Syria would have inaugurated a new era of democracy, liberty and social development in Africa and the Middle East.  Obama, Sarkozy and then Hollande  were convinced it was possible to pass painlessly from the dictatorial regimes to democracy and that this “democratic revolution” would have delivered the keys of the economic resources in those territories to the United States and France.  In February 2011, France began bombing Libya to promote a  “democratic revolution” actuated by the Jihadist rebels.
The outcome was the ascent of radical Islam, the death of 150,000 people and the explosion of bloody divisions in the Moslem world.  The following year Hollande supported  ousting the Syrian President Bashar al Assad from power.  In 2013, France did its best to ensure that the European Union would remove all embargos which would impede the supplying of arms, instructors and economic support to the Syrian Jihadist rebels.
We have now learned that the Paris massacre had been planned in Syria, in the same spheres that—until a year ago—had enjoyed the French trust.  Yet it needs to be stressed that the terrorists are immigrants of the second and third generations of Belgian and French nationality and  formed in those urban ghettos where utopian multiculturalism is failing.
The only one left believing in this utopia, Barack Obama, declared the day after the slaughter that “the motto ‘liberté. egalité, fraternité’ not only evokes  French values, but values that we all share.” It seems the Vatican authorities do too, since “Moslems may also be involved in the Holy Year”;  as,  “in a world torn by violence, it is the right time to launch the campaign of mercy”.
Mercy is a great Christian virtue, but  emancipated from the virtues of justice and fortitude it becomes the ecclesiastical version of the secularist culture of surrender. This culture today is expressed in all kinds of cultural and moral deviations, including Satanism, an anti-religion in which many young people participate unwittingly through the cult of rock concerts. In a symbolic nemesis, Kiss the Devil was the title of the song being played on the stage at the Bataclan when the terrorists began their massacre. The culture of death, of the Islamic or relativist sort, can be confronted and defeated  only by the authentic light of the Gospel.
Edited by Stramentarius. With acknowledgements to Rorate Caeli and Corrispondenza Romana.
I don’t think genocide is purely a modern phenomenon. For instance, didn’t the Moslem  Tamberlane kill hundreds of thousands of Hindus when he  invaded India?

September 12, 2015

Nullity on the Nod: Catholic Divorce?

The Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei  says Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus has inflicted  a grave wound on Christian Marriage, putting the interests of the spouses above that of marriage. I would like to be able to disagree; but well, I just can’t.  See if you can. Dr Mattei writes:

The indissolubility of marriage is a Divine and unmodifiable law of Jesus Christ. The Church cannot “annul” a marriage in the sense of dissolving it. She can, through a declaration of nullity, verify its non-existence, due to the lack of those requisites which assure its validity. Which means that in the canonical process, the Church’s priority is not the interests of the spouses to obtain the declaration of nullity, but the validity of the marriage bond itself. Pius XII, regarding this, reminds us that:

in the matrimonial process the one final end is the judgment in compliance with the truth and and the law, consisting, within the procedure of nullity, of the assertion of the non-existence of the marital bond” (Allocution to the Roman Rota, October 2nd 1944).

The faithful can deceive the Church in order to obtain the annulment: for example, by using false witnesses, but the Church cannot fool God and has the duty of rigorously verifying the clear and precise truth.

In the canonical process, what has to be defended first of all is the supreme interest of the Divine institution which marriage is. The recognition and protection of this reality are formulated in the juridical sphere with the concise expression favor matrimonii, that is, the presumption, until proven otherwise, of the validity of the marriage. John Paul II explained well that indissolubility is presented by the Magisterium as the ordinary law of every celebrated marriage, precisely because the validity is presupposed, apart from what takes place in the conjugal life itself and of the possibility, in some cases, of the declaration of nullity. (Speech to the Roman Rota, January 21st, 2000).

When the Enlightment attempted to deal a death-blow to Christian marriage, Pope Benedict XIV with the decree Dei miseratione, of Novemeber 3, 1741, ordered that there be nominated a defensor vinculi to every diocese, and, introduced the principle of the necessary conformity of the sentences on two levels of ascertainment, in order to obtain the declaration of nullity. The principle of the double-sentence in conformity [i.e. double confirmation] was consecrated by the 1917 Code of Canon Law and received into the codification promulgated by John Paul II on January 25, 1983.
In Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio this view has been overturned. The interest of the spouses has primacy over that of marriage. It is the document itself that affirms this, by summarizing the fundamental criteria of the reform in these points: the abolition of the double-sentence in conformity, substituted by only one sentence in favor of the enforceability of the annulment; the attribution of monocratic power to the bishop, qualified as sole judge; the introduction of an expedite process [brevior], de facto uncontrollable, with the substantial downsizing of the role of the Roman Rota.
How else, for example, can the abolition of the double-sentence be interpreted? What are the grave reasons for which—after 270 years—
this principle has been abrogated?
Regarding this, Cardinal Burke recalled a catastrophic experience. In the United States from July 1971, the so-called Provisional Norms came into effect, which eliminated de facto the obligatory double conforming sentences. The result was that the Episcopal Conference did not negate one single request for dispensation among the hundreds of thousands received, and, in the common perception, this process began to be called “Catholic Divorce” (Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, Cantagalli, Siena 2014, pp. 222-223).
Graver still, is the attribution to the diocesan bishop of the faculty, as sole judge, of instructing, at his discretion, a short process to reach a decision. The bishop may exercise personally his jurisdictional power or delegate it to a commission, not necessarily made up of lawyers. A commission formed in his own image which will naturally follow his pastoral indications, as already happens with the “diocesan counselling centers”, which still today are devoid of any juridical competence.
The combination between Canon 1683 and article 14 on the procedural rules in this respect has a shocking implication. Upon the decisions there will inevitably weigh considerations of a sociological nature: the divorced and remarried will have, for reasons of “mercy”, preferential treatment. “The Church of Mercy – notes Giuliano Ferrara – “has started its race” (Il Foglio September 9, 2015). It is not racing along an administrative road, but a “juridical one” where there is very little left that remains juridical.
In some dioceses the bishops will try to guarantee the seriousness of the procedure, but it is easy to imagine that in many other dioceses, for example, those in Central Europe, the declaration of annulment will become a pure formality. In 1993 Oskar Saier, Archbishop of Friburg, Karl Lehman, Bishop of Mainz and Walter Kasper, Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuutgart, produced a document in favor of those that were certain in conscience of the nullity of their marriage but did not have the elements to prove it in court (Bishops of Oberrhein, Pastoral Care for the Divorced, “Il Regno – Documenti” (The Kingdom Documents), 38 (1993), pp. 613-622). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied with the Letter Annus Internationalis Familiae, of September 14, 1994, affirming that this way was not practicable, as marriage is a public reality:“not recognizing this essential aspect would mean denying the fact that marriage exists as a reality of the Church, that is to say, as a Sacrament”.
Nevertheless, the proposal has been taken up again recently by the pastoral office of the Diocese of Freiburg (Orientation for pastoral care of the divorced “The Kingdom Documents”, 58 (2013), pp. 631-639), according to which the divorced and remarried, following the “conscience-nullifying” of the previous marriage, will be able to receive the Sacraments and have assignments inside parish councils.
Favor nullitatis comes to be the primary element of the law, while indissolubility is reduced to an impracticable “ideal”. The theoretical affirmation of indissolubility of marriage, is accompanied in practice with the right to a declaration of nullity for every failed marital bond. It will be enough, in conscience, to deem one’s own marriage invalid, in order to have it recognized as null by the Church. It is the same principle with which some theologians consider a marriage “dead”, where according to both, or one of the spouses, “love has died”.
On January 29, 2010, Benedict XVI exhorted the Tribunal of the Roman Rota not to indulge in the annulment of marriages in “compliance with the wishes and expectations of the parties, nor to the conditions of the social environment”. But in the dioceses of Central Europe, the declaration of nullity will become a purely formal act, as occurred in the United States at the time of the Provisional Norms. According to the well-known [Gresham’s] law, that says: “bad money takes the place of good money”, in the chaos that is coming, “quick divorce” is destined to prevail over indissoluble marriage.
We have been hearing talk of a latent schism in the Church for more than a year, but now the one to say this is Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith. In one of his discourses at Regensburg he warned of the risk of division in the Church, inviting careful vigilance, without forgetting the lesson of the Protestant Schism which set Europe on fire five hundred years ago.
On the eve of the October Synod on the Family, Pope Francis’ reform does not extinguish any fire, but feeds it and paves the way for other disastrous innovations. Silence is no longer possible.

February 2, 2015

A Pope Who Fell into Heresy

Fr John Hunwicke draws our attention to  an extraordinarily important piece in Rorate Coeli by the great Italian historian Roberto de Mattei.  It describes a situation which arose in the 14th century, when Pope John XXII fell into teaching heresy.  As Fr  Hunwicke comments, you should  never miss reading a piece by de Mattei. “You never know when, in some future pontificate, you might need the back-up he provides.” (As it happens, I heard  Professor de Mattei deliver a most impressive address to the annual Roman Forum symposium in Gardone when I was there last year.) Anyway, here’s the piece in Rorate Coeli:

By Roberto de Mattei

Among the most beautiful and mysterious truths of our faith is the dogma of the Beatific Vision of the souls in Heaven. The Beatific Vision consists in the immediate and intuitive  contemplation of God reserved for souls who have passed to the after-life in a state of Grace and have been completely purified of every imperfection. This truth of faith, enunciated in Holy Scripture and confirmed over the centuries by Tradition, is an unreformable dogma of the  Catholic Church. The new Catechism restates it in n.1023: ‘Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God forever for “they see Him as He is” (1 John 3,2), “face to face” (1Corinthians 13, 12).’

At the beginning of the XIV century, a Pope, John XXII, contested this thesis in his ordinary magisterium and fell into heterodoxy. The most fervent Catholics of that time corrected him publicly.  John XXII – Cardinal Schuster wrote –has the gravest responsibilities before the tribunal of history (…) since“he offered the entire Church the humiliating spectacle of the princes, clergy and universities steering the Pontiff on to the right path of Catholic theological tradition, and placing him in the very difficult situation of having to contradict himself. (Alfredo Idelfonso Schuster OSB,  Jesus Christ in Ecclesiastical History, Benedictine Publishing House, Rome 1996, pp. 116-117).

John XXII, whose real name was Jacques Duèze, was elected to the papal throne in Lyons on August 7th 1316, after a sede vacante of two years following the death of Clement XV. He found himself faced with a turbulent period in Church history, between the ‘rock’ of the French King, Philip the Fair and the ‘hard place’ of the Emperor, Louis IV the Bavarian, both adversaries of the Primacy of Rome. So in order to reaffirm the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff against the audacious Gallicans and the tortuous secularists, the Augustinian, Augustine Trionfo (1243-1328) by order of the Pope, composed his Summa de ecclesiastica potestate between 1324 and 1328.

John XXII, though, entered into conflict with Church Tradition on a point of primary importance. In three sermons he gave in the Cathedral of Avignon between November 1st 1331 and January 5th 1332, he sustained the view that the souls of the just, even after their perfect purification in Purgatory, did not enjoy the Beatific Vision of God. Only after the resurrection of the flesh and the general judgment would they be raised by God to the vision of the Divinity. Placed ‘under the altar’ (Apoc. 6,9) the souls of the saints would be consoled and protected by the Humanity of Christ, but the Beatific Vision would be deferred until the resurrection of their bodies and the general judgment. (Marc Dykmans in Les Sermons de Jean XXII sur la Vision Béatifique, Gregorian University, Rome 1973, published the entire texts of the sermons pronounced by John XXII; cfr: also Christian Trottman, La Vision Béatifique: Des Disputes Scolastiques à sa Définition par Benoit XII, Ecole Française de Rome, Rome 1995, pp. 417-739).

The error according to which the Beatific Vision of the Divinity would be conceded to souls not after the first judgment, but only after the resurrection of the flesh was an old one, but in the XIII century it had been rebutted by St. Thomas Aquinas, primarily in De Veritate (q. 8, a. 1) and in the Summa Theologica ( I, q. 12, a. 1). When John XXII re-proposed this error, he was openly criticized by many theologians. Among those that intervened in the debate were Guillaume Durand de Saint Pourcain, Bishop of Meaux (1270-1334), who accused the Pope of re-proposing the Catharist heresies, the English Dominican Thomas Waleys (1318-1349), who, as a result of his public resistance underwent trial and imprisonment, the Franciscan Nicola da Lira (1270 -1349) and Cardinal Jacques Fournier (1280-1342), pontifical theologian and author of the treatise De Statu Animarum ante Generale Iudicium.

When the Pope tried to impose this erroneous doctrine on the Faculty of Theology in Paris, the King of France, Philip VI of Valois, prohibited its teaching, and, according to accounts by the Sorbonne’s Chancellor, Jean Gerson [even] reached the point of threatening John XXII with the stake if he didn’t make a retraction.  John XXII’s sermons totus mundum christianum turbaverunt, so said  Thomas of Strasburg, Master of the Hermits of Saint Augustine (in Dykmans,  op. cit., p. 10).

On the eve of John XXII’s death, he stated that he had expressed himself simply as a private theologian, without any binding to the magisterium he held. Giovanni Villani reports in his Chronicle the retraction the Pope made on his thesis on December 3rd 1334, the day before his death, at the solicitation of Cardinal Dal Poggetto, his nephew, and some other relatives.

On December 20th 1334, Cardinal Fournier was elected Pope, taking the name of Benedict XII (1335-1342). The new Pontiff wanted to close the issue with a dogmatic definition, the constitution,  Benedictus Deus of January 29th 1336, where he expresses thus: We, with apostolic authority, define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints […] already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment, have been, are and will be with Christ in heaven […] and these souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.’ (Denz-H, n. 1000 ). It was an article of faith referred to again on July 6th 1439, by the Bull  Laetentur Coeli at the Council of Florence (Denz-H, n. 1305).

Following these doctrinal decisions, the thesis sustained by John XXII must be considered formally heretical, even if at that time the Pope sustained that it was still not defined as dogma of faith. St. Robert Bellarmine who dealt amply with this issue in  De Romano Pontifice (Opera omnia, Venetiis 1599, Book. IV, chap. 14, coll. 841-844) writes that John XXII supported a heretical thesis, with the intention of imposing it as the truth on the faithful, but died before he could have defined the dogma, without therefore, undermining the principle of pontifical infallibility by his behaviour.

The heterodox teaching of John XXII was certainly an act of ordinary magisterium regarding the faith of the Church, but not infallible, as it was devoid of a defining nature.  If we had to apply the Instruction, Donum Veritatis (May 24th 1990) to the letter, this authentic teaching, even if not infallible, would have had to be received as a teaching given by Pastors, who, through the Apostolic Succession, speak ‘with the gift of truth’ (Dei Verbum n.8), ‘endowed by the authority of Christ’ (Lumen Gentium, n.25), ‘by the light of the Holy Spirit’ (ibidem). His thesis would have required the degree of adhesion called ‘offering the full submission of the will and intellect, rooted in trusting Divine assistance to the magisterium’ and thus ‘within the logic of faith under the impulse of obedience to the faith.’ (Monsignor Ocariz , Osservatore Romano, December 2nd 2011).

The defenders of Catholic orthodoxy, instead of resisting the Pope’s  heretical doctrines openly, would have had to bend to his ‘living magisterium’ and Benedict XII would not have had to oppose his predecessor’s doctrine with the dogma of faith which declared that the souls of the just, after death, enjoy the Divine Essence with intuitive and direct vision. But thanks be to God, some good theologians and prelates of the time, moved by their sensus fidei, publicly refused their assent to the supreme authority. An important truth of our faith was thus able to be conserved, transmitted and defined.