Per Rodney Pelletier of Church Militant, the head of the Pope’s Council of Cardinals Oscar Maradiag has told members of the media that Catholics who are calling for Pope Francis’s resignation over the latest US sex abuse scandals are committing the gravest of mortal sins, “a sin against the Holy Spirit.”
Cardinal Maradiag’s charge is so dramatic specifically because the nature of such a sin is unforgivable…unforgivable means “going to hell” in case you are looking for clarity on that…I know, that’s probably self-evident, but in this modernist Sin For Thee but Not For Me era, I just thought I should be specific.
So what then is a sin against the Holy Spirit? I reference Thomas Aquinas here on how such a lethal sin should be defined. Keep in mind that Aquinas devotes great time and effort to this topic and if you have questions or concerns, you should reference Summa Theologica to understand the teachings in their entirety:
Hence they say that when a man sins through weakness, it is a sin “against the Father”; that when he sins through ignorance, it is a sin “against the Son”; and that when he sins through certain malice, i.e. through the very choosing of evil, as explained above, it is a sin “against the Holy Ghost.”
I actually don’t see anything within the Summa that would suggest that asking a pope to clarify his actions is a sin. I don’t see where asking him to resign is a sin if it’s being done without malice toward the truth and light of the Holy Spirit.
A sin against the Holy Spirit comes out of despair, presumption, impenitence, obstinacy, resisting the known truth and envy of our brother’s spiritual good. If there’s ample evidence of cover-up, then I should think it’s well within boundaries to call for a pope’s resignation.
Additionally, the Summa does not appear to grant popes any special authority to lie or cover up criminal acts. Popes have no special protection against inquiry into those matters. I must surmise that if a violent crime is committed, a pope has knowledge of it and allows it to perpetuate, that’s kind of a big deal. Am I wrong? Would Cardinal Oscar Maradiag like to clarify whether a pope is given unusual permissions to act outside God’s laws?
If actual evidence is obtained that the pope has committed a sin of omission by covering up and perpetuating a violent crime, I assume that he must be beholden to truth and come forward. If he fails to do so at the request of the laity and members of Church leadership, then I have to assume that it’s appropriate to ask him to resign.
And in case you require further clarification, I offer Father Spitzer’s Universe on the subject of unforgivable sin.
It is important to note that Cdl. Raymond Burke, former head of the Vatican’s highest court, stated that calls for Pope Francis’ resignation are morally and canonically lawful.