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Pope Too Stupid To Be A Heretic

The consistently cranky Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX has once again displayed his dependable dyspepsia. This week's derogatory dig is aimed at the post conciliar papacy.

Bishop Williamson takes issue with the sedevacantist notion embraced by a minority of radical traditionalists which holds that the Papal See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. So far so good. Williamson contends that in order for the seat to be vacant, the Popes would have to be firmly and formally heretical. Williamson quips that these conciliar Popes are clearly and truly legitimate Popes. Why? Well, because these moderns Popes are too stupid to be actual heretics. Yes, too addled to be heretics, so therefore they are legitimate Popes.

I have never believed any of the Conciliar Popes not to be truly popes. Modern thinking turns minds into mush, and I have always held the Conciliar Popes to be too modern to be capable of the clear firm thinking in matters of Faith necessary to make them such clear firm heretics as could no longer hold their high office in the Church.
Yes. Pope Benedict's thinking is manifestly muddled while Williamson's thinking is as unclouded as a Saharan afternoon. Right. After all, it was Williamson who alerted us to the hidden danger of the Sound of Music. He also displayed his preternatural prescience when he picked up on the Jews plot to dominate the world and that the Twin Towers were brought down not by terrorists in planes but by controlled explosions. What has Pope Benedict ever done to display his intellectual prowess? Hmmm...Can't think of a thing,

Yet, in a way akin to a broken clock giving the right time twice a day, Bishop Williamson might actually be onto something. If one displays obvious mental impairment, you cannot fairly judge them to be a heretic.

True Enough. I will never call Bishop Williamson a heretic again.

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Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, Mr. Archbold, before going on a rampage against Williamson. Williamson does not say that the recent popes are obtuse. What he is saying is that their habit of thinking according to modernistic concepts has reduced their ability to see and reason things clearly. I imagine that he is referring to such assumptions as subjectivism. If one looks at reality through a mistaken philosophical lens, it will indeed warp one's perceptions.

Williamson is not accusing the popes of having poor judgement but of being influenced by erroneous systems of thought. We know that the most brilliant people can disagree about fundamentals. Since only one party to such a disagreement can be correct, the other must be wrong. But neither is stupid.

I do see some of the irony you detect, however, Mr. Archbold. It is apparent that the lens through which Bsp. Williamson views the world is also warped. In his case, however, the problem is neither a low intelligence (he was a brilliant scholar, in fact) or having the wrong philosophy. In his case, the problem, I think, is having poor judgement. That is, he seems to be poor at interpreting people's perspectives and motives.

To say that a man has poor judgement is a polite way of questioning his sanity, I suppose. I must admit that his comments about "The Sound of Music" make me wonder about him (Was he referring to the scene with the mother superior?).

Anyway, this distinction between stupidity and insanity reminds me of a great joke I just must tell here. There is this man who blows a tire. He stops his car right outside the garden of a lunatic asylum. While putting on the spare, he drops the four lug nuts into a sewer grating: plop, plop, plop, plop!

"Oh no", he exclaims. "Whatever shall I do now?" This voice from the other side of the fence says, "Why not take one lug nut off each of the other three wheels and put them on the spare? That will get you safely to a garage, where you can replace the others."

"That's a brilliant idea!", says the motorist. "Hey, if you're so smart, why are you locked up in there?"

"Well," comes the reply, "I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid!"

To be serious, however, I think that the pressure on the Society to reconcile with Rome is building. Keep in mind that the hardliners are not the only Society members who might bolt in protest. A group affiliated with the Society, the Transalpine Redemporists, is now reconciling with Rome. In late 2006, it was the I.P.B. that reconcilied. Some of its priests left the Society as early as 2003 over the offer to the Society of an apostolic administration.

In the wake of "Summorum Pontificum", there will be renewed calls from within the Society to accept a personal apostolic administration before the effect of S.P. wipes the S.S.P.X right off the earth. Put simply, most traditionalists, if given the choice between tradition blessed by the Pope and tradition condemned by the Pope, will choose the former.

The S.S.P.X demanded S.P. and the Pope tricked them by actually granting what Williamson, in particular, figuted he'd never concede (in fact, the reason the Society proposed it was that it never expected it to be given). Now the Society is learning what S.P. really means for it: decline. As the old saying goes: Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!

Williamson, I think, sees himself as the hardliner who will 'nevah surrendah' (Churchill) to 'Modernist NewRome'. His position is that the Society should not reconcile for at least a century or two, when Rome repudiates Vatican II.

Hence we shall now see Williamson pull out all the stops to prevent a reconciliation. Until now, Fellay has accommodated him to keep the Society intact. But now Bishop Fellay might have to jettison Williamson to prevent an even larger defection that could decimate the Society.

Bishop Fellay: do what's best for both the Church and your Society: accept a provisional apostolic administration (or its equivalent) while discussions over doctrine ensue. Think big. Think about the future and what the mission of the Society is according to its founder, a man who was willing to accept far less than what Rome has been offering you since 2000.


Anonymous said...

On the Sound of Music:

Thank you, Mr. Archbold, for providing that link on Bishop Williamson' analysis of "The Sound of Music". I encourage others to read it. I was suprised. I saw the film as a child and thought that a condemnation of it must be insane. However, when I read Bishop Williamson' analysis, I found that I agreed with him completely, except that he might be making too much of the entire thing. I would say that his analysis makes sense but that he's making a mountain out of a molehill.

My perpective might be different than Mr. Archbold's owing to my upbringing. My father absolutely forbade television and I grew up without it. Instead, I learned to play the piano and was steeped entirely in so-called Classical music (by which people mean non-contemporary).

I did manage to watch Star Trek and Get Smart by sneaking over to my grandparents' house; and I did see many films at the cinema, but not at home. I do agree with Bishop Williamson that the culture of Hollywood, even in the 1950s, is entirely opposed to the culture of the Catholic Faith.

However, if he is saying that the American Government bombed the Trade Center, then he must be off his head. Look, even if (and that would be a huge if) it were true, it makes no sense to level such a charge when there is no evidence to back it. It only makes one look insane. And a willingness to appear deranged is one sign that one is.


Patrick Archbold said...

I wonder if you ever get tired of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

By the way, I do not think that even with a mushy modernistic mind, one could possibly characterize my comments above as a "rampage"

Although a case might be made that your prose is quite prolix.

Peace out!

Patrick Archbold said...

Mr. Perkins,
Serous question. You write "To be serious, however, I think that the pressure on the Society to reconcile with Rome is building. Keep in mind that the hardliners are not the only Society members who might bolt in protest. A group affiliated with the Society, the Transalpine Redemporists, is now reconciling with Rome."

I think that you are right. But but give Bishop Fellay's recent comments it seems that such formal reconciliations not in the offing. But, in your opinion, what would the leadership of the SSPX do in reaction to a steady loss of members and affiliated groups. If this trickle becomes a trend. Does the leadership of the SSPX radicalize (aside from Bp. Williamson) or realize the jig is up?

Maybe this reconciliation happens not with a bang, but a whimper?

bnwied said...

P.K.T.P.(what does that stand for?):

Great joke!

You said the following:

...the problem is neither a low intelligence (he was a brilliant scholar, in fact) or having the wrong philosophy.

My question for you or anybody else is: What is Williamson's philosophy and what is Benedict's philosophy?--if Williamson's philosophy is sound, is Benedict's (and JPII's) suspect?

Aaron said...

A lot of alliteration from boring blogger persisting in puerile posts.

David L Alexander said...

"A lot of alliteration from boring blogger persisting in puerile posts."

...and yet, you keep coming back for more, dontcha???

David L Alexander said...

"Williamson is not accusing the popes of having poor judgement but of being influenced by erroneous systems of thought."

In other words, merely a specific TYPE of poor judgment. Come on now, you could properly call it that.

But if it weren't this, it would be something else, I should think. Having followed the history of reconciliation attempts between the Holy See and the SSPX for over twenty years now, it is always interesting to notice that every time Rome puts out an olive branch, and SSPX looks like they're going to take it, something manages to get in the way, and the SSPX pulls back. Even when an agreement is reached, no sooner is the ink dry on the accord, than one of their bishops runs back to his followers and gets them all charged up over the "conciliar Church" again.

It seems to me that, whatever merits their arguments present, the SSPX survives to some degree on a "siege mentality." The danger must always be real, the situation always perilous, God forbid it ever be resolved. I daresay that is the biggest fear of all to a man like Williamson. Rome might make him an offer he cannot possibly refuse, and he would be faced with having to give up being a big fish in a small pond. Maybe even take orders from somebody.

Mr Perkins, you yourself have admitted -- basically, okay? -- that Rome has met at least some of their conditions, and that they're running out of grievances. Is the temptation to maintain a state of siege so unrealistic? Or are men like Fellay and Williamson all that immune from the foibles of the human condition?

Anonymous said...


"Williamson does not say that the recent popes are obtuse. What he is saying is that their habit of thinking according to modernistic concepts has reduced their ability to see and reason things clearly."

Oh, that clears things up. Not obtuse, just the inability to think or reason clearly. That's a horse of a different color.

I am not saying that your comment is silly, I am just saying that it is marked by a lack of good sense or judgment.


Rodney said...

Can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

Dear JERK (no stops, because, in your case, it's a word):

What Williamson is saying is that the failure of the Popes to come to correct conclusions proceeds not from a lack of intelligence but from the habit of interpreting reality in accordance with mistaken philosophies.

It's a perfectly reasonable distinction. Grow up.


Anonymous said...

Dear Aaron:

What alliteration? You obviously don't even know what the word means. No wonder intelligent discourse bores you.


David L Alexander said...

"...not from a lack of intelligence but from the habit of interpreting reality in accordance with mistaken philosophies.."

A reasonable distinction, perhaps. But a very fine one, definitely. To put it another way, he doesn't think the Pope has done his homework. That may make for lively academic discussion, but is it grounds for refusing submission to the Holy See?

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Alexander's last comment. I think that Williamson would say (and has said) that the Pope's errors proceed from imbibing the false philosophies and ways of thought that have been popular for the last century or so. I am referring to various subjectivist theories and theologies such as phenomenology. Benedict XVI was known as an extremely intelligent theologian but was influenced heavily by Rahner and others, especially during the 1960s.

When it comes down to the first principles of philosophy, one must make simple choices grounded in judgement. That is not a matter of intelligence but of having a reasonable discernment. Williamson has said on many occasions that Benedict XVI has the heart of a Catholic but does not think like a Catholic. That's what he's getting at here. Given recent repetitions of this, I think that he is building a case against this Pope and any reconciliation with him. It suggests to me that he feels threatened and that some in the S.S.P.X are now considering reconciliation very strongly.

Peter Karl T. Perkins

David L Alexander said...

Mr Perkins, you mention a school of philosophy called "phenomenology." I understand many proponents of the 20th century "nouveau theologique" -- von Balthasar, de Lubac, Rahner, Ratzinger, and the like -- have been proponents of this, and that John Paul II was a follower of it as well. And I've even seen an article in "The Thomist" which attempts to reconcile it with the writings of the Angelic Doctor. Can you tell the readers a little about this school of thought, and why some Catholic traditionalists take issue with it?

I know it's never been adequately explained to me.

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Archbold's initial two postings:

By "rampage", I only meant that you were jumping to hasty conclusions and then trashing Williamson. I agree with you that Williamson probably deserves to be trashed. But I think it important to figure out what he is really saying. The reason is that he is building a logical argument on why the Society should not reconcile with Rome. I think that we should take W. seriously and face his challenges head on. That means looking exactly at his distinctions one by one.

I think that your second posting is very astute. So far, Bishop Fellay, who is more reasonable by far than Williamson, has declined a reconciliation in order to avoid splitting the Society in two. He does not want to lose a very large per centage of hardliners upon reconciliation with Rome. A smaller Society is a weaker and less influential one.

However, in the wake of Rome's continuing offer of a personal apostolic administration and, now, owing to S.P., Fellay risks losing his large per centage of moderates. In order to prevent a defection on one side, he is risking a defection on the other.

If Fellay does not make an arrangement with Rome, he may lose more affiliated religious orders and entire groups within the Society. A large group from within his S.S.P.X might finally ask Rome for the personal apostolic administration for all traditionalists. That is what I have been advocating for years; and it is an idea supported by Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts until earlier this year. Herranz is arguably the top canonist in the Catholic Church.

If Rome does grant a universal and personal apostolic administration (p.a.a.) or its equivalent, this will likely decimate the S.S.P.X. Large numbers of Society members and affiliated orders, plus many independent chapels, would suddenly come over to the Pope. It might leave Williamson, in the end, leading a resistance out of a broom closet.

I think that this prospect would force Fellay to make a deal. It may be the subject of the supposedly emergency meeting of the Society being held in France this coming Monday. After all, they are now losing the Transalpine Redemptorists over this.

Even if Fellay manages to keep the Society together and declines regularisation, S.P. will cause his S.S.P.X to decline because most traditionalists will prefer tradition with the Pope's blessing to tradition without it. Ironically, S.P. was granted by the Pope at the request of the Society. The Pope had the brilliance to grant a request which was lodged by Society hardliners in the first place because they figured he'd never grant it. They made one huge mistake.

I'd say that this shows that the Pope is brilliant and the Society hardliners were outflanked by him. And, in this case, this strategic matter is NOT a one of seeing the world through this philosophy or that. So, if anyone's stupid here, it's the Society bishops--or else they misjudged the character and resolve of Benedict XVI.


Deirdre Mundy said...

Ok.. that Sound of Music Rant was totally insane...

For instance, When Captain von Trapp chooses Maria over the Baroness, he is giving UP his selfish love (glamorous life, put the kids out of the way where they shan't be a bother) and taking a more Selfless view of marriage (family and kids... no governess... dealing with the kids even when they're messy as opposed to exiling them...)

And who on earth could find Maria insidious? And UNmotherly? Good heavens! She makes the children clothes, takes them on field trips, cuddles them when it's raining, and convinces the 16 year old that elopement is a VERY BAD IDEA.

Yeah. She's totally subversive. Because she sacrifices for the children and thus helps the grieving family move on...

Sorry for the rant, but complaining about the Sound of Music? It's so good natured that it makes The Bells of St. Mary's look like a propaganda video for the church of satan!

Anonymous said...

On David Alexander's "siege mentality" post:

Yes, I think that your post is exactly right. Williamson and the other Society hardliners are looking for excuses not to reconcile. I think that
Williamson feels very besieged. At 69, he is, by far, the oldest of the Society bishops. If Rome grants all traditionalists the exempt international and personal ordinary structure I have been advocating (and which Rome has been offering to the S.S.P.X), Williamson is toast. He will end up leading a tiny resistance of contrarians, fascists, some royalists, eccentrics, and people who think they are Napoleon.

If the Pope does not confer the structure I mentioned, Williamson is still toast but the Society will decline more slowly, as "Summorum Pontificum" puts Society chapels out of business one by one.

The Pope may or may not have an unCatholic philosophy, but he's sure as hell not stupid! Right now, the Pope's greatest power lies not in what he can withdraw or forbid but in what he just might grant. Williamson prays every night that the Pope won't grant the universal diocese to others. It would destroy the S.S.P.X in less than a generation.

If Bishop Fellay wishes to help the Church from within and save the S.S.P.X at the same time, he needs to accept the apostolic administration offered since 2000. He cannot justify a continued disobedience. His plausible (but not necessarily correct) argument for a state of necessity has evaporated. There can be no state of necessity and supplied jurisdiction when it is possible to build up the Mystical Body of Christ under the Pope's authority.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Moreover, how can Fellay possibily reject the offer of 2000 when it was MUCH more than Archbishop Lefebvre was prepared to accept in 1988? That makes no sense.


David L Alexander said...

That's a good concise explanation of the "siege mentality" argument, Mr Perkins. Just one area upon which we happen to agree. You can get around to that phenomenology thing whenever you're ready.

Or you can start a blog and explain it in chapters.

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Alexander's question about phenomenology:

I feel that I really can't do justice to this question in the context of this blog.

Just imagine how apes such as Aaron would react over long posts on that topic. They'd beat their breasts and scream, "Alliteration, alliteration!"


David L Alexander said...

"I feel that I really can't do justice to this question in the context of this blog."

Then consider sending it to me, and I'll post it. If a contrarian view would round out the subject, I will find someone who can be the other guest writer. Think about it, because this topic does not get enough coverage in the Catholic press.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Alexander:

A posting on phenomenology would be a major undertaking, one that I'm just not prepared to do right now. Also, this is only one of several philsophical positions which have become popular in recent times and are discounted by most traditionalists. For the purposes of this blog, suffice it to say that there are several philosophical and theological trends (e.g. on the meaning of transubstantiation: a matter directly addressed by Fr. Ratzinger in one of his books) which are rejected by most traditionalists.


Anonymous said...

Several S.S.P.X supporters on this thread and others on this blog have recently continued to insist that the state of necessity perdures, since there is still a crisis in the Church. I would like to address that charge.

I agree that there remains a very serious crisis in the Church. However, not every crisis can trigger a state of necessity to permit a rightful disobedience. Only some crises have that effect. The question is whether or not Rome is today offering traditionalists a way to fulfil their mission to teach the truth as it has been handed down to us, to save souls, and to build up the Mystical Body of Christ. Secondly, given that some of us reject certain non-infallible teachings in Vatican II and question others, are we being forced to accept said teachings? Archbishop Lefebvre didn't think so when he signed all the Vatican II documents.

I note that, according to Fr. Laguérie, the I.B.P., when it reconciled, was not forced to compromise on any doctrinal matter. It was not even required to study the Vatican II documents (as are the Campos priests); it is only required to be respectful when discussing such doctrines. (By the way, there is nothing wrong with requiring the Campos priests to study Vatican II documents: to study something is not to accept it.)

Since 2000, Rome has offered the S.S.P.X a structure that would be exempt, international, personal, and ordinary: a Rolls Royce structure. This would entirely protect the Society's mission from episcopal interference. As for protecting the Society's property, this can be done in existing law by having the real property controlled by a separate corporation which would lease it to the Society for a nominal fee.

Given Rome's offer, plus "Summorum Pontificum", there is no state of necessity to justify any disobedience. There may be still a crisis or several crises (and there are, which is why we could use a regularised S.S.P.X to help combat them), but they are not the sort that can justify disobedience to the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, Moral Law absolutely binds Bishop Fellay to seek a reconciliation. It is high time that the Pope withdrew his requests to them and substituted a command for them to submit.

If Fellay is still worried about the influence of Vatcian II, he could ask that a new society of apostolic life for the S.S.P.X be made provisional, able to be dissolved at the pleasure of either party during the period of discussions. He could at least ask for that. But he has not done even that. It follows that he is now acting exactly as a Protestant.

Objectively, at least, he is acting immorally. As to the subjective aspect, I make no judgements, but I note that others in his Society will come to different conclusions. If he loves his own Society, at least, he should act to protect it from the increasing competition from "Summorum Pontificum" Masses, now spreading like wildfire. This is just like the distinction between perfect and imperfect contrition: if Fellay cannot act out of love of the Church, he can at least act out of the fear of the consequences. But he is doing neither. He is entering a state of rebellion against Christ Himself. Those who oppose the divine power are eventually cast down from the heavens.


Patrick Archbold said...

Wow...I missed all the fun.

Mr. Perkins. Very interesting analysis on the possible internal issues and strategery going on in the SSPX.

What is the deal with this emergency meeting on Monday? Where did you get such scoop?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Archbold:

The rumour about the meeting is from a very unreliable source, although they have been right before. It may very well be entirely untrue, I'm not sure. If it is true, we'll probably hear about it soon, but we shan't likely find out what they are discussing.

I imagine that they might simply be discussing the departure from them of the Transalpine Redemptorists. Naturally, I am hoping that Rome is preparing to grant the personal archdiocese or apostolic administration for all of us, but that is just wild hope and speculation at this point. Still, if the Pope did confer it, it would likely force the S.S.P.X to accept a place in it.

Frankly, I think that the Transalpine Redemptorists won't be the last to reconcile with Rome. Others will do likewise, possibly including a faction from the S.S.P.X itself. The I.B.P. set a precedent, no?


Somerset '76 said...

While much in Mr. Perkins' explanations is good, there are some gaps to fill; I shall try a few words to do so. Having been one of the Bishop's seminarians for several years, I've had the opportunity at length to understand the subtext of whatever he says about things.

The essential issue the SSPX has with all modern philosophies lies in their subjectivist basis: i.e., in contradistinction to Thomist Aristotelianism, which asserts that being (=reality) is external to the mind and imposes itself thereupon. All the systems derived from the Cartesian-Kantian pedigree start with the mind, the subject (as it were), which in effect "creates its own reality" through its perceptions of whatsoever lies outside it. In such systems, "truth" is not an correlation between mind and external thing (as it is for the Thomist), fixed and unchangeable so long as the external being remains what it is, but merely a subjective judgment call that can and does change with circumstances. The notion of an "absolute truth" is anathema to someone adhering to a subjectivist school of philosophy.

The certitude and authority with which Popes Pius XII and his predecessors taught, condemned, and governed, is a direct consequence of their being grounded in an absolute truth that they had no power or authority to change. The subjectivist's instinctive aversion to absolute truth, argues the Society, has shown itself all too clearly with the Council and its aftermath, at which time the leadership of the Church disassociated itself from Leo XIII's dictum that Thomist Aristotelianism must be the "official philosophical language" of Catholic theology, so to speak. For the SSPX, this shift undergirds all of the changes in understanding and emphasis that amount to so many breaks of continuity with what the Church has taught for centuries.

Hence, for Bishop Willamson, the conciliar-era Popes aren't capable of clear thinking because, due to their inability, due to their subjectivist philosophical orientations, to have a real grasp of truth — that is, to correlate their minds to reality. The Thomist, being what is called a "realist," will naturally be more assertive in contending what is "true" than any subjectivist will. He, with the SSPX generally, asserts that the Church cannot begin to right itself without returning wholesale to a Thomist basis for philosophy and theology; for them, all other schools are worthless. Pope Benedict may indeed know the Thomist paradigm, but he has ever been known to believe that it should not be the exclusive point-of-reference for theology. It is that deep level from which the Society judges a canonical regularization as not yet opportune.

Where the Bishop diverges, oddly enough, is in the subjective realm. The Thomist believes in the external reality of things, but the state of "truth" requires the mind to be clear enough to apprehend those real things as they truly are — with all the nuances, subtleties, and complexities that really do exist. The Bishop, for whatever reason, is all too prone to simplified classifications, and in certain cases, dichotomies: e.g., masculinity vis-a-vis femininity; "Newchurch" vis-a-vis "Eternal Rome." In such cases, for him, it is an "either-or" proposition. This tendency to oversimplification and dichotomy accounts for a good number of the more controversial conclusions he reaches in the social, cultural, and political arenas.

Anonymous said...

I emphatically agree with every single word of the previous post. I also commend the writer of it for his clarity. If you look to my earlier posts on this, you will see that I did mention the 'subjectivism' of Roman prelates that the Society rejects. However, I did not want to get into the particulars of the philosophy, particuarly in the case of phenomenology.

I do have something to add to this. Despite the Society's adhesion to Aristotelian Thomism--to objectivism--this does not change the essentials of my argument. The problem is that, while the Church certainly is in a state of crisis today, not every crisis constitutes a state of necessity which invokes supplied jurisdiction.

As objectivists, the Society members hold that, despite a subjectivist perspective on the part of Benedict XVI, he either is or is not the true Pope. That is because it is God who makes him Pope. No man can make himself pope; but a pope can unmake his papacy by formal adhesion to heresy.

Now, some in the Society are sedevacantists, I think, but the Society and all four of its bishops reject sedevacantism. In fact, they have ejected some sedevacantists and have disciplined or threatened others.

So, if Benedict XVI is a true Pope, one can only reject obedience to him in a real case of necessity, to save souls and build up the Mystical Body. One may not decline obedience to him owing to any conceivable crisis but only when necessary to save souls.

Since 2000, the Holy See has offered the Society exemption from episcopal control and a means of fulfilling its mission without risking unduly the loss of its property. While there is no such thing as perfect security under the moon, the offer delivers a strongly probable means of protection. Therefore, the Society must accept this. This is also true because the Society is not being asked to subscribe to any belief which its members must reject. We are not permitted to wait until all problems in the Church are solved before we obey her.

My comments on the errors of judgement of some Society figures, particularly Bishop Williamson, stand. But I think that the previous poster has made an important contribution, showing, as I have argued, that Williamson is not saying that the Pope is unintelligent but that he sees the world through an unCatholic lens, though unCatholic subjectivist philosophy. As I pointed out earlier, two brilliant people can disagree on fundamentals. Only one of them can be right and yet neither of them is stupid. Williamson is not saying that the Pope is too stupid to be a heretic. He is saying that the Pope has imbibed a false philosophy which distorts his perspective in an unCatholic way.


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