Bishop Athanasius Schneider has published an essay today on the question of who has the right to judge a heretical Pope, and whether Benedict XVI is still the true Pope.
A big theme of this essay is something Bishop Schneider has stated before: that there is no human solution to a crisis like the one we have now under Pope Francis. He thinks the Bellarmine Option, as it is coming to be known — that the cardinals can declare a heretical Pope to be self-deposed, and then go on to elect a new Pope — is a no-go on several grounds. To what he says, I will add an opinion of my own. If the Bellarmine Option were valid, it would probably never happen anyway, because by the time we get a heretical Pope, we’ve already got a largely corrupt and compromised set of cardinals.
Just because there is no human solution to this crisis, that doesn’t mean there is nothing for us to do. Bishop Schneider:
The Church is ultimately not a human but a divine-human reality. She is the Mystical Body of Christ. Attempts to resolve the current crisis of the papacy which favor the opinion of St. Robert Bellarmine with its concrete solution, or take refuge in the unproven theory of Benedict XVI still being the only true pope, are doomed to fail from the start. The Church is in the hands of God, even in this most dark time.
We must not be lax in proclaiming Catholic truth and warning and admonishing when papal words and actions clearly harm the faith. But what all true sons and daughters of the Church ought to do now is launch a serious world-wide crusade of prayer and penance to implore a divine intervention. Let us trust in the Lord’s words: “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7).