Captains can’t break the law. They is the law as far as I am concerned.
Third Mate Flask’s response to the contention by First Mate Starbuck that Captain Ahab should be removed from command: Moby Dick screenplay by Ray Bradbury.
Over at The Catholic Thing Father James V. Schall, SJ, has an enthralling piece on whether a heretical Pope is a possibility:
Under Pope Francis, columnists from all over the world broach the “heresy” question, which he is said to foment. Cardinal Burke remarked that Pope Francis should clarify just what he stands for. William Oddie thinks that, in recent comments on marriage, Francis has done this. Others are not so sure. I know a man who thinks that the pope should simply resign because his comments have caused so much anguish and confusion.
George Weigel noted that the modern world has waited half a century for the Catholic Church to accept its mores. It has not done so under Francis. A correspondent in Argentina, however, writes that only three views of this pope exist: 1) he is a modernist, but covers himself by occasionally talking of the devil, 2) he seeks attention and power by attracting everything to himself, and 3) he is a confused thinker but basically orthodox. The man adds that this last view is no longer tenable. Still he sent a document that Archbishop Bergoglio wrote on the gay question in which Francis upheld the old Roman Law tradition of marriage that referred to a mother and the sons begotten of her. But I would be surprised if Pope Francis did not have a huge following in Argentina.
Some writers hold that a pope cannot be a heretic. I had a professor of theology who held that, if a pope was about to sign an heretical document, he would be dead the next morning. Others maintain that if a heretic is elected to the papacy, he will automatically convert on accepting the Office of Peter.
The technical issue of an heretical pope goes back to Reformation discussions, led by the Jesuits, Robert Bellarmine and Francisco Suarez, among others. Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, and John Courtney Murray brought up the issue in discussing the difference between political and ecclesiastical authority. We read in Romans that the authority of an emperor, as that of a pope, comes from God, but in differing ways.
Go here to read the rest. Well, in 2000 years we have had all types of popes. A few have been evil men by any standard. A handful have sailed close to heretical winds, although arguably none crossed over into sailing on those heretical winds. Even considering the possibility of a heretical pope should scare any Catholic, considering how absolutely central the role of Peter is in the Church. However, even the Apostles had Judas, and to assume that a heretic could never stand in the shoes of the Fisherman strikes me as presuming upon God’s mercy. If great enough evil flourishes within and without the Church, perhaps God could allow a heretical pope as a chastisement, or as a way to awaken in Catholics a too long dormant spirit of standing up for the teachings of the Church when they are under threat from the highest human authority within the Church. Ah for the days when “Is the Pope Catholic?” was a proverb rather than a relevant contemporary question. Let us pray that each one of us will simply have to consider as theoretical the possibility of a heretical pope rather than a practical concern.