Yes, a Pope can be canonically deposed

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There is a lot of talk about the Pope resigning, being constrained to resign, or being deposed. So much so, that Reuters (a news agency founded by Jews and allied to Freemasonry) ran a story saying a Pope cannot be deposed.

This of course is a lie.

Let’s consider the question, then, “Can a Pope be deposed?” by first defining our terms.  Here, “pope” means the Bishop of Rome, who ex officio is the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of Saint Peter.

By “deposed” there is meant removal from office.

The first determination we must make is to distinguish the auxiliary verb “can”.  A thing can be done physically, morally and legally.  An enemy of the Church could arrest the Pope, force him under pain of death to sign a decree of abdication. That is a physical deposition.  A moral deposition, is where the Pope is asked to resign and he acquiesces and signs a decree of resignation.  A legal deposition, would be where the Church by trial and in Synod or Council removes him from office.

Clerics can be canonically, that is legally, removed from office by their superiors, generally speaking.  But since the Pope has no superior on earth, being the Vicar of Christ, many think he cannot be canonically removed from office.


Pope Benedict IX

That argument sounds valid on the face of it, but the Synod of Sutri in 1046 argues against it.  In that Synod, which the Church to this day considers canonically valid, the Clergy of the Diocese of Rome, at the invitation of the German King, Henry III, met to decide the fate of Pope Benedict IX and two other anti-popes Gregory VI and Sylvester III.  Gregory VI claimed the papacy on account of having bought it from Benedict IX; Sylvester III claimed it, having been elected after mobs drove Benedict IX from Rome. Neither were canonically elected, nor true popes, regardless of what some historians say, because to be pope you must be canonically elected after the death or resignation of your predecessor.

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.

Thus, The Synod deposed all three claimants to the papacy.*  Gregory VI admitted his claim to the office was “vitiated” by simony. Pope Benedict IX objected,  but the Church has always accepted his deposition as valid. The King of Germany then appointed Clement II as Pope, who promptly crowned the King, Holy Roman Emperor. Benedict IX, after the death of Clement, claimed the papacy again! The Church to this day recognizes Clement II as a true Pope.

That seems to run in the face of the current Code of Canon Law which expressly says a pope’s resignation cannot be forced and must be free.  The relevant Canon is 332, which reads in Latin:

Can. 332 —  2. Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.

And in the official English translation:

Can. 332 — § 2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.


Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor

But from this canon, its obvious, that there is no definition of the freedom required. Thus, just as a man freely resigns by an act which separates himself from the office, as Pope Benedict XVI intended to do, so a man can freely resign by acting in a manner so contrary to the office and the good of the Church, that he no longer wishes to act according to its duties.

Some argue, that since a thousand years have passed, and since we now have a College of Cardinals who elects the Pope, that a pope cannot be deposed like Benedict IX was.

But such an inference, which is by no means supported by anything but conjecture, assumes that the principles which validated the Synod of Sutri are not valid today. I am talking about canonical and theological principles.

Let’s look at what they were:

  1. The Clergy of the Roman Church acting for the good of the Church
  2. Against a corrupt Pope, who was by all impartial observers, unfit for the office.
  3. With the patronage of Henry II, King of the Germans.

I think all can agree, that though Henry II’s intention was Church reform, that his motives were not pure, since He had come to Italy to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor, a thing which only a Pope could grant him, and either Benedict IX would not grant it, or he was of such a degraded morality, that Henry II did not want to receive the crown from him.


Saint Hildebrand, who attended the Synod of Sutri as secretary to Gregory VI and accepted its decisions, going into exile with Gratian until his death in 1048.

Nevertheless, Henry II proceeded by canonical grounds: He convened the clergy of the Church of Rome, whose good was immediately threatened by Benedict IX. The Synod was called by Gregory VI, but deposed all three Popes. Benedict IX objected, but the Church accepted the results of the Synod, inasmuch as it recognizes as canonical the election of Clement II which followed immediately.

I think anyone who argues that the same could NOT be done today, therefore, has a very tenuous argument. He would have to argue that the form of canon 332 overrides the good of the entire Church, the good of the Diocese of Rome, and that it is more authoritative than the canonical precedent of the Synod of Sutri, which for the last 1000 years the Church has considered just and valid in all which it did. Indeed, the fact that Saint Hildebrand, later the great reforming pope, Gregory VII, attended this Synod and accepted its decisions to depose all three popes, argues strongly for its validity. Saint Peter Damnian, though there is no record that he attended, was in Rome the day after the Synod concluded and accepted its judgement. Pope Blessed Victor III also wrote about the Synod and accepted its judgments.

I for one think any opinion in law which has as its authority 1000 years of Church witness, 2 Canonized Saint Reformers, and 2 holy Popes, is much stronger than any interpretation of a canon which appears intended only for enemies of the Church.  Especially since, Benedict IX does not seem to have accepted his deposition, yet is regarded by the Church and historians to have been validly deposed.

But, for those who love the Church, its obvious who the enemy is here.

NOTA BENE;  For historical sources on the Synod of Sutri, look to the original sources and not to historians who were trying to make it appear, after the Council of Constance, that a Pope can never be deposed by anyone. And hold fast to the testimony of John Gratian (Gregory VI) at the Council of Sutri, who admitted his claim to the papacy was vitiated by the objective crime of simony. That Saint Hildebrand took the name of Gregory VII, to honor his patron John Gratian, proves nothing but his respect for the man and what he was trying to do (remove a bad Pope and begin a Reform), since in that age the numbers after a name did not prove or disprove the validity of the claim to the papacy. Those who attack the validity of the Synod of Sutri will run into crucial problems: if they accept Gregory VI as having a valid claim, they must recognize that he both convened the Synod and declared, therein, that his claim to the Papacy was invalid by reason of Simony; if they accept Benedict IX as having a valid claim, and deny the validity of his deposition, then how do they explain that Clement II is regarded by all subsequent Popes as canonically elected? The legitimacy of the Synod, therefore, must canonically be attributed to this, that it convened the Clergy of Rome to judge the man who was the Pope, not the Pope as Pope, so as to end all controversy as to who was pope and to put out of office all those who were morally unfit for office.

The Best Source we have found so far, besides that of Cardinal Newman, is the Dialogues of Blessed Pope Victor III, Patrologia Latina, vol. 149, columns 1004/5, which give the same history as above.

Finally, note, that in the Codex Iuris Canonicis of 1983, promulgated by John Paul II, in canon 188, it is explicitly stated that a resignation made by way of simony is invalid. Hence, it appears the Church never recognized as valid the resignation of Benedict IX, when he sold the papacy to Gregory VI. Which bolsters the argument, that Benedict IX’s deposition from the papacy by the Synod of Sutri, meeting at Rome in its second session, was indeed of epochal significance. A Pope can be deposed for immorality: for simony of his own office at least.

Veri Catholici, the international Association for protecting the faith from Kasperite heresies, is advocating calling a Synod like Sutri to depose Bergoglio, if he won’t resign. See for more information about that.)



*  Synods which depose clerics are canonical trials, where the accusers and accused appear and are interrogated by the Tribunal, which includes senior clerics or all the clergy present. There is a libellus of accusations and testimonies are given. For this reason, there is no reason to call for an investigation in the matter of Viganò’s Letter of Accusation. What is needed is that the witnesses and accused appear and give their defense against what is charged. This is the Catholic and Legal way of ending the controversy.


Archbishop Fisichella, full of hate, attempts a shell game on the word, “tradition”

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As a member of the Roman Church, I cannot remain silent at the gross and vile attack on the Catholic Faithful, given in such a hateful spirit, by one of the formerly chief members of the Clergy at the Vatican: Archbishop Fisichella.  His talk can be read in part here and in full here during his interview.

In this talk, the Archbishop cannot be excused for moral perversion, since he so blatantly attacks the immutability of truth. Truth, of the species of which we speak here, refers to the coherence of signification in a verbal phrase with the relation between the mind and the object known by the mind.

For example:  If one finds a white stone, his mind recognizes it as such, and his mouth says: “This stone is a white stone”, or “I found a white stone”.  Its obvious that the truth of this statement is not dynamic, as the Archbishop claims all truth is, but static, since it exist in the static relationship between mind and object known.

If upon examination, one recognizes that the stone is quartz, then the statement, “The white stone which I found is quartz”, represents a deeper truth, but does not alter or deteriorate the truth of what was said.   However, if one says, “The stone which I found was black” or “I did not find a white stone at all”. Its clear that there is a negation of the first truth, a complete alteration of signification.

What the Archbishop in his interview is claiming is that Catholics are not faithful to Tradition because they hold to a notion of fixism in truth, whereas the true notion of truth means that verbal statements can so change as to morph into negations of what was previous affirmed.

Innanzitutto, quando parliamo della verità, dobbiamo sempre averne un concetto dinamico. La verità non è una dimensione fissista.(1)

What the Archbishop is purporting is is pure crap, using “crap” in the metaphorical sense of a discourse full of lies and deceit. And no one can so attack the truth, without having a great and diabolic hatred for it.

All this discourse is an attempt to play a shell game on the word “tradition”. Because in the Catholic Faith, “tradition” is from the Latin for “handing on”. Sacred or Apostolic or Divine Tradition means nothing more than handing on the truth in an unchanged manner, which we have received from God, Christ, or the Apostles, through Scripture or the deeds of the Lord Jesus, the Prophets, and the Apostles. Tradition includes not only truths to believe, but faith in Scripture, the Sacraments and Apostolic Succession. Tradition is living, precisely and only when the truth which is handed down is unaltered in its content.

Its patently obvious that such a malicious attack on truth, to defend Bergoglio’s heretical attempt at altering the Faith of the Church, must be understood as a pertinacious act of heresy against the Catholic Faith. No Catholic in good conscience can regard Fischella as an Archbishop of the Catholic Church, if he refuses to repent.

Let us pray for Fischella, for he has greatly lost his way, and replaced Jesus Christ in his heart and mind, with Modernist nonsense.

(1) “Above all, when we speak of the truth, we should always have in mind a dynamic concept.  The truth is not a fixist dimension.” — My unofficial translation of the original Italian, found in the link above: Veritatis Splendor, mons. Fisichella: critiche al Papa non fedeli alla tradizione, Vatican News, August, 2018, Interview with Archbishop Fischella.

An Open Letter to all the Faithful, from a Catholic of the Diocese of Rome

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As a consecrated person of private vows. holding my legal residence in the Diocese of Rome, Italy, I wish to publicly declare my adhesion to the perennial Faith of Christ on all questions, and in particular, on the legitimacy of the imposition of Capital Punishment in due circumstances by justly constituted temporal authorities, holding full jurisdiction.

This Faith is what God has revealed in Genesis 9:6, when He warned the wicked that they would be slain in body for the sin of murder.

This authority is given by God, as Jesus Christ Himself taught during His Passion, in John 19:11, when He confirmed publicly that Pontius Pilate had authority to impose capital punishment.  This is the express teaching of the Apostle Saint Paul in Romans 13:4, where he declares that Almighty God has given the temporal authority the power to wield the sword, that is, impose the ultimate punishment of death, upon malefactors.

This has ever been the Faith of the Fathers of the Church.  The Popes too, like Innocent III in his profession of faith for Waldensian heretics to be received back into the Church, required them to confess that capital punishment can be justly imposed without mortal sin. This Faith was practiced boldly by saints such as Saint Pius V, O.P., who ordered 5000 brigands to be put to death.

Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, Doctor of the Church on all questions of moral authority, and approved as such by the Holy Office under Bl. Pius IX, also teaches this.  This is the same teaching of the Catechism of the Council of Trent and of the new Catechism published by John Paul II in its form prior during his reign.

Let us not imagine that this is not a DE FIDE DOGMA OF THE FAITH, that must be held by all the faithful forever.

Let us not imagine that the phrase “is inadmissable” according to the “light of the Gospel” means anything else but “immoral” and “illicit” and “unjust”.

Do not be fooled by a heretic who claims his teaching, which contradicts God, is the teaching of the Church or faithful to the Gospel.

And remember precisely, that Vatican I gave the Pope no authority to teach novel doctrines nor to contradict the Faith, in fact, it expressly said he had no such authority.

With all true Catholics at Rome, I hold the proposed alteration of the Catechism to be a public act of pertinacious heresy against the Catholic Faith.  I recognize that all who posit such acts ipso facto without any needed sentence lose all office and authority in the Church. I also recognize that the Cardinals and Bishops should publicly denounce this heresy and alteration.  I expect them to do so.

I warn them, however, if they remain silent, that they must be presumed to adhere to this heresy, and lose all office in the Church.

The Pope needs to repent, be corrected and publicly recant. If he does not, no Catholic should regard him any longer as the Vicar of Christ or Bishop of Rome.


Open Letter to Bishop Gracida

A few days ago, a Catholic Bishop in Texas, USA, proposed that the Cardinals meet to discuss the invalidity of the election of Bergoglio to the papacy.

You can read his blog post on that here:

As editor of the From Rome Blog, I have written the following open Letter to Bishop Gracida, which I have posted to his blog, as a comment, but which I republish here for the sake of all the Cardinals and Bishops and clergy of the Church:

Your Excellency,

As the blogger who covered the “Team Bergoglio” scandal (from Nov. 2014 onwards) regarding the irregularities of the Conclave of 2013, I would like to comment on your proposal, if I may.

Surely one of the habitual graces of office of the Roman Pontiff is that of infallibility. And I grant that if an occupant of the Holy See show himself not to enjoy such a habit of grace, this is facti species admissible to consideration.

But I submit there are objective canonical reasons, more weighty, to make this consideration.

First of all, we have the written and oral testimony of Bergoglio’s own supporters, who are unanimous in asserting that there was a conspiracy to have him elected by means of the solicitation of vote promises to obtain 25 votes in the first ballot. This is a formal violation of UDG 81, which imposes an excommunication latae sententiae on such offendors, and all who participated in obtaining those votes are also ipso facto excommunicated in virtue of Canon 1329 § 2.

Thus,, if Bergoglio participated formally in this conspiracy he would also be excommunciated and thus in virtue of Canon 1331 incapable of validly assuming the office to which he is elected.

However, even if he did not, Canon 171 §2 would make his election invalid, since it forbids the counting of votes of those who are excommunicate at the time of voting, and thus presumably at least 25 of the 78 votes which he received in the final decisive vote, by which he appeared to be elected, must be struck from the record, leaving the Conclave unconsummated and a sede vacante.

I wrote about all of this more than 4 years ago, and its extremely disappointing that no Cardinal or Bishop has taken any action on these matters. I also proposed a way to encourage Bergoglio and the Cardinals to discuss this in proper canonical form.

I am therefore gratified that you have raised the issue, once again. I hope the number of those who believe Canon Law should be followed grows, as it does provide a solution to the present problem, even if an imperfect Synod is not called.

One could also bring to bear the terms of Pope Paul IV’s Bull “Cum ex apostolatus officio” (never abrogated), which expressly invalidates the election of a heretic, or of anyone who transgressed the decrees of any previous ecumenical council (Trent for example), as Bergoglio is known to have done, by approving the giving of communion to public heretics while Archbishop of Buenas Aires.

For more information about these charges see: A Chronology of Reports on Team Bergoglio.

Get your Lepanto Flag!


This Historical Reproduction of the Banner of the Holy League of 1571

is now available for the first time from Ordo Militaris Inc..  Shown above is the prototype, printed on high tensile nylon and with a sewn sleeve on the left for mounting on any pole during processions.

The reproduction available from Ordo Militaris Inc. will be slightly different:  It will be double sided on 3 ply cloth with gold tasseled trimming.  Click the flag image for more information!

HISTORY:  In 1571, faced with the naval invasion of the Italian peninsula by the Islamic forces of the Ottoman Empire, Saint Pius V called for the establishment of an international Catholic Alliance to meet them in a decisive naval battle and destroy once and for all the Muslim domination of the Mediterranean.

Responding to this call were King Philip II of Spain (Coat of arms at bottom of Crucifix on the Left), the forces of the Papal States (Coat of arms of Saint Pius V at the center), the forces of the Republic of Venice (Coat of arms to the right), and the naval forces of Austria under the command of Don Juan of Austria (Coat of arms at the bottom). Designed by Pope Saint Pius V this flag flew on the Flagship of Don Juan of Austria.