Note: The following essay should be considered deprecated. The Bark (Barque) of Peter was always predicted to endure no matter how bad things got to be in the "World", which is why submission to it was "necessary for salvation" for all human beings; you can look in Denzinger online to see many examples of this clear teaching. But, with Francis, the Catholic Church has embraced a contradiction (i.e., public adulterers being admitted to Holy Communion) which is impossible to reconcile with Tradition, which means that Tradition is just a farce.
Pope Boniface VIII's papal bull Unam Sanctam deserves some special consideration. The right-wing liberals would have us believe that Boniface's bull was nothing more than a papal response to a local political conflict with Philip IV, King of France. What they will not tell you is the following:
1) Nowhere in his papal bull does Pope Boniface ever mention the name of King Philip or the nation of France.
2) Pope Boniface begins his bull with these words, "Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins..."
3) He concludes his bull with a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Church's principle theologian, "it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
4) He signs his bull with the following words, "The Lateran, November 14, in our eighth year. As a perpetual memorial of this matter."
5) Pope Bonfiace's successor, Pope Clement V, reaffirmed Pope Bonfiace's ex cathedra pronouncement, stating, “That is why we do not wish or intend that any prejudice be engendered for that king and kingdom by the definition and declaration of our predecessor Pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, which began by the words Unam Sanctam.”
6) Likewise, Pope Clement VI (1342-1352) would state, “We ask if you believe and the Armenians obedient to you, that no man of those travelling outside the faith of the same Church and obedience to the Pontiff of the Romans can finally be saved; [...and] if you have believed and believe that all those who have set themselves up against the Faith of the Roman Church and have died in final impenitence have been damned and have descended to the perpetual torments of hell.” (Super Qibusdam)
7) The Council of Constance infallibly declared the need for explicit faith in the Supremacy of the Roman Church (hence, explicit submission to the Roman Pontiff):
Condemned Error 41: It is not necessary for salvation to believe that the Roman church is supreme among the other churches. (Council of Constance)
8) At the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517) Pope Leo X reaffirmed the teaching of Boniface VIII: “Where the necessity of salvation is concerned all the faithful of Christ must be subject to the Roman Pontiff, as we are taught by Holy Scripture, the testimony of the holy fathers, and by that constitution of our predecessor of happy memory, Boniface VIII, which begins Unam Sanctam.”
A few paragraphs later the Council would declare, "For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith."
9) The First Vatican Council infallibly declared the following:
“If anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole church militant; or that it was a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself: let him be anathema.” (First Vatican Council, Chapter 1, Canon 1)
“If anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.” (First Vatican Council, Chapter 2, Canon 5)
“If anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.” (First Vatican Council, Chapter 3, Canon 9)
10) According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law:
"After the reception of baptism, if anyone, retaining the name Christian, pertinaciously denies or doubts something to be believed from the truth of divine and Catholic faith, [such a one] is a heretic." (Canon 1325)
11) Pope Pius XII taught:
"But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Divine Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the "little flock" Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in virtue of his primacy is only Christ's Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisible, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same." (Mystici Corporis, 40)
12) According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.
Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.
§2. If contumacy of long duration or the gravity of scandal demands it, other penalties can be added, including dismissal from the clerical state.
In conclusion, none of what is contained in Pope Bonfiace's papal bull is "new" theology, and what was stated was reaffirmed, explicitly, over the next several centuries.
13) The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.
. . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the
present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is
governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with
The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is
through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help
toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be
obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head,
that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New
Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into
which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to
the People of God."
87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.
Pope Boniface, in Unam Sanctam, gave a shorter summary of the above:
"If, then, the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ; for the Lord says, in John, that there is one fold, one shepherd, and one only."