Many of the laity are falling into the heresy of Conciliarism, which was condemned by the Fifth Lateran Council , 1512-1517.
The heresy of Americanism also involves the heresy of Conciliarism, which limits the power of the pope and indicates that people have a right to judge him.
Here are some of the facts surrounding this heresy, under a few bullet points. In other words, as much as we do not like a pope or what he says, the laity cannot judge him, especially cannot judge his soul.
Many commentators on blogs are in error regarding calling the present popes names or labelling him. Beware, your own soul is in danger of not only false judgement, but inappropriate judgement.
• Because of the tendencies of both religious and secular leaders in the 13th and 14th centuries, that is kings and schismatics, the nature of the papacy had to become more defined. For example, the Orthodox, who left the Church, judged the popes, and still do, in error. See the history of the Council of Basel for that information.
• The Council of Constance from 1431-1449, got rid of two popes because of the Western Schism, This was the height of Conciliarism. After the Council of Basel, and finally at the Fifth Lateran Council, then Pope Julius II stated that the authority of the pope was greater than any council.
• However, the question of how to remove bad popes remained, as there were some, of course. This heretical movement gained strength in the obvious heretical movements of Gallicanism and especially Febronianism, both which demanded a limit to papal authority.
• Great saints and theologians plowed into the argument, men such at St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, John of St. Thomas, a great Thomas, and one of my favourites, Francisco Suarez, who all maintained that in case of heresy, the Church is not superior to the Pope and that the Church, in the role of a council, judges and declares his crime, while Christ deposes a pope, not people. This is a fine but keen distinction. The pope can lose his office if declared a heretic, especially by a subsequent pope, but only God Himself, in the Person of Christ, can made a pope a non-pope.
• In other words, and I quote Robert Bellarmine, only the College of Cardinals can judge a pope. Here are Bellarmine’s words on this subject from one of his documents on the subject, De Romano Pontifice: Jurisdiction is certainly given to the Pontiff by God, but with the agreement of men [who elect him], as is obvious; because this man, who beforehand was not Pope, has from men that he would begin to be Pope; therefore, he is not removed by God unless it is through men. But an occult heretic cannot be judged by men, nor would such wish to relinquish that power by his own will.
• The men to whom the great Doctor of the Church refers are the College of Cardinals. Whether an Ecumenical Council can judge a pope is still an open question among theologians and canon lawyers.
• To simplify, we cannot judge a pope as laity AT ALL, and only Christ can remove him from office, AFTER a judgement of heresy, which can take a long time
I hope this helps.
JMJ, pray for us!
God is good,