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: In this book, Roberto de Mattei steers us perceptively through centuries of Church history concerning both the wise, and the disastrous, decisions of popes and councils: from the role of Pope Liberius in the Arian crisis to the troubled Vatican compromises with the French Third Republic; from the Ostpolitik
and liturgical rupture of Paul VI to the erosion of dogmatic truths and moral absolutes under Pope Francis. In these and in many more examples de Mattei's judgment rings true: popes have been mistaken in their political, pastoral, and even magisterial acts, and the resistance of the faithful to such acts is a duty and a cause of benefit. Along the way we are offered an illuminating catechism in ecclesiology, the nature of the Magisterium, and the limits of papal authority. Especially helpful are de Mattei's discussion of the hypothesis of a heretical pope, his clear explanation of the difference between filial resistance and disobedience to the Successors of the Apostles when they make heterodox pronouncements, and his ample treatment of the significance and profound implications of recent public remonstrations with the current pontificate on behalf of orthodoxy. The author's rich historical narratives, deftly intertwined with dogmatic, moral, and canonical principles, make this work a potent resource for grappling with the current crises of the Church.