Tag Archives: Synod of Sutri

The Door to Sutri II is unlocking

In an article entitled, Waiting for Gregorian reforms 2.0, published by Polonia Christiana on Sept. 7, 2018 (and reprinted by ChurchMilitant.com, Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk lays out the historical and legal context of the current crisis of criminality in the Church which may lead to another Synod of Sutri.

The Synod of Sutri in 1046 A. D., was one of the most extraordinary canonical events in the history of the Church. It deposed 3 popes and paved the way for the election of Pope Clement II. Our knowledge of the event is confirmed by men of indisputable honestly: Bl. Pope Victor III in his annales, Saint Peter Damian who praised the proceedings and attended the coronation of Pope Clement, and Pope St. Gregory VII, who as an acolyte of Gregory VI was present at the Synod and saw his patron deposed from the papacy.

Later historians, after the Council of Constance, who wanted to defend against the implication that the Pope could be judged by a Council, have fiercely attacked the Synod of Sutri as an aberration, an uncanonical proceeding, an illegitimate act to be discarded to the history of the Seculum Obscurum of the Church, a long period in which the Papacy was ruled by despots appointed by Roman Nobility, without regard to the norms of law.

But the Synod of Sutri was a legitimate canonical proceeding accepted by all parties, save that of Pope Benedict IX, after whose death there were no supporters of his own to continue his opposition. Holy Mother Church by canonizing 2 witnesses and beatifying the third, gives the most certain refutation of this wrong headed papal maximalists, who erred out of excessive zeal in judging the precise nature of the canonical proceedings.

Three popes were deposed. But in truth no pope was deposed. Both statements are true, because both statements do not use the word, “pope”, in the same sense.  In the first, one speaks according to the appearances of their claims. In the second, one speaks according to the truth of canon law.

Popes Sylvester III and Gregory VI were never valid popes. The former usurped the office of the Papacy after an angry mob had driven Pope Benedict IX from the city. The latter, Gregory VI, had purchased the office of the papacy from Benedict IX who wanted to resign and marry, and needed the money.  Pope Benedict IX by the fall of 1046, had publicly resigned the papacy but wanted it back since his girlfriend had rejected his proposals to marriage.

So according to the norms of law, 3 pretenders to the papacy were deposed, not three popes.

The confusion about Sutri lies in the obscurity of history, since it is not known under what kind of precise wording Benedict IX resigned and sold the papacy to John Gratian, who took the name Gregory VI. And for that reason, some have said that Benedict was still the pope, assuming that the resignation and sale were one contract, and others have said that Benedict was no longer pope, assuming the two acts were separate. The sale of an ecclesiastical office and its reception by the buyer were always considered invalid legal acts from the time Saint Peter condemned Simon Magus for wanting to do such a thing (cf. Acts 8:9-24). Whence the name for such a crime: simony.

In my previous article on this, I spoke according to the first assumption, and riled the Sedevacantists. — I publicly admit that my assumption about he contract, there, might have been wrong.

But what Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk says in his article is true. The Synod of Sutri was the consequence of temporal power which required the resolution of a disputed papacy at Rome for its own purposes. Just so, the ongoing massive legal actions by several nations against the criminally corrupt clergy will inevitably lead back to Rome. And then the power that be will find it necessary to clean up the Vatican.

I will add my own observation, here. Namely, that the recent decision of the pro-Bergoglian government here in Italy — which enjoys now less than 15% support in the national polls — to put the most popular politician, Matteo Salvini, on trial for delaying the disembarkation of illegal immigrants in the port of Catania for 3 days, though with the consent of key members of the current government — Salvini will be charged with kidnapping! — will have its consequences. It will produce the certainty that the day the people of Italy again have a government which supports their views on immigration, that that new government will be implacably anti-Bergoglian and disposed to use their rights, under the Lateran Pact, to resolve the problem of a Vatican out of control and operating against the canons of the Church.

In this way, the doors to the Second Synod of Sutri are being unlocked: Christ the King will have His justice executed even in this world!

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Bishop Schneider gets his Papal History wrong

henry-iii-called-the-black-holy-roman-emperor-synod-of-sutri-by-a-picture-id625398302
Henry III (1017-1056). Called the Black. Holy Roman Emperor. 3 Popes Deposed at the Synod of Sutri (1046). Engraving by A. Closs. Colored. (Photo by: PHAS/UIG via Getty Images)

In his recent article at Rorate Caeli, Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider writes a long article to quell the raging doubts Catholics now have regarding Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy.

But in that Article the learned Bishop gets his history lesson wrong, when he writes:

Popes were deposed several times by secular powers or by criminal clans. This occurred especially during the so-called dark ages (10th and 11th centuries), when the German Emperors deposed several unworthy popes, not because of their heresy, but because of their scandalous immoral life and their abuse of power. However, they were never deposed according to a canonical procedure, since that is impossible because of the Divine structure of the Church. The pope gets his authority directly from God and not from the Church; therefore, the Church cannot depose him, for any reason whatsoever.

(Emphasis added)

As I recited in my article, Yes a Pope can be canonically deposed, the history of the Papacy contradicts the Bishop’s assertion, for the Church does recognize as legitimate a Synod which canonically deposed 3 claimants to the papacy, one of which had to be the legitimate pope.

I quote my own article:

The events are summarized by John Cardinal Newman, and summarized in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the events:

The proceedings of the Synod of Sutri, 20 December, are well summarized by Cardinal Newman in his “Essays Critical and Historical” (II, 262 sqq.). Of the three papal claimants, Benedict refused to appear; he was again summoned and afterwards pronounced deposed at Rome. Sylvester was “stripped of his sacerdotal rank and shut up in a monastery”. Gregory showed himself to be, if not an idiota, at least a man miræ simplicitatis, by explaining in straightforward speech his compact with Benedict, and he made no other defence than his good intentions, and deposed himself (Watterich, Vitæ Rom. Pont., I, 76); an act by some interpreted as a voluntary resignation, by others (Hefele), in keeping with the contemporary annals, as a deposition by the synod. The Synod of Sutri adjourned to meet again in Rome 23 and 24 December. Benedict, failing to appear, was condemned and deposed in contumaciam, and the papal chair was declared vacant. As King Henry was not yet crowned emperor, he had no canonical right to take part in the new election; but the Romans had no candidate to propose and begged the monarch to suggest a worthy subject.

Now, its not heresy to say that something happened, even if nutty Sedevacantists fell off their toilets when I wrote my article in September, accusing me of heresy. If the Church did depose a Pope canonically, its clearly not heresy to say that they did, or that the Church holds in practice that the Church can. Why since 2 of the deposed popes are depicted on the frieze of the Lateran (constructed in the 19th century), you could even argue the Vatican endorses both their papacies and their deposition, since Pope Clement II is also depicted there, who replaced all three.

Whether the Divine Constitution of the Church opposes such a notion or not, I think, is a concept of the constitution of the Church which excludes her history. Because if the Divine Constitution of the Church does make that impossible, then it’s also illicit, and thus immoral. But the Church has recognized the validity of the Synod of Sutri for 10 centuries, and the validity of the election of Pope Clement II for 10 centuries. So if anyone can quote a theologian or canonist after Sutri who said otherwise, quote him. But can we rely on his authority and not that of the Church by Her tacit acceptance? If we rely on such an opinion, are we not constrained to say the Church was in error for 10 centuries? And if we say that, are we not heretics?

As I said before, if Benedict IX did sell the papacy to Gregory VI, then the sale effected nothing, since you cannot validly sell an ecclesiastical office. That means that Benedict IX was the true Pope, because even if he did resign after the sale thinking he did sell the office, he was in substantial error and therefore his resignation was invalid. I suppose one could argue the Synod was in substantial error thinking it could depose Benedict or anyone for that matter, and that therefore Clement II’s election was invalid on account of substantial error, but the Church has never said that. The Frieze above the interior columns of the Lateran sill show Clement II as the one true valid Pope during the years of his reign.

I think its more probable, that whereas the Pope cannot be deposed as pope or for being pope, the man who is pope, who sins against the office by Simony or Heresy, can be deposed. But I admit that is my private fallible opinion. The Church’s Magisterium has not addressed such a specific case, to my knowledge, to handle the Synod of Sutri. The probability which causes me to hold such an opinion is that such an opinion avoids contradicting defined dogma and canons, by admitting an exceptional case in which the Law Maker Himself would not want otherwise unbending laws to prevail.