Tag Archives: Conclave

Coronavirus epidemic at the Vatican

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

It was reported by Vatican news, on Saturday, that the Coronavirus epidemic has come to the Vatican. Swab tests have been given to 170 individuals, including Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

These massive tests followed the diagnosis that at least two individuals with Coronavirus infection visited the Vatican in recent weeks: a Monsignor from Bergamo, Italy, the epicenter for infection in the Italian Peninsula, and arguably in all of Europe, and a French Bishop, who shook Bergoglio’s hand on an official visit.

Needless to say, Bergoglio himself submitted himself to swab test on a second occasion this last week.

And, in fact, there are now at least 6 confirmed cases of Coronavirus at the Vatican. I say, at least, because, that is what is being admitted. But the infections might even be more prevalent, if one judges by the bizzare Facebook post on the official FB page of the Swiss Guard, which ended by asking Catholics, to avoid infection, not to go to church!

Screenshot_2020-03-30 guardia-svizzera-2 jpg (WEBP Image, 640 × 1136 pixels) - Scaled (60%)

Marco Tosatti, the renowed Vaticanista, discusses in Italian this bizarre post on his website, and provides Spanish and German translations. The final phrase of the post, in English, would be:  During this period do not go to church, but invite God into your homes! — The FB page of the Swiss guard was subsequently shut down by someone. Evidently the post caused an uproar in the Vatican. The language of the final exhortation is clearly echoing Bergoglio.

But more importantly, the recent bizarre ceremony at the Vatican on Friday, which was presided over by Bergoglio, all alone, in an entirely vacant Piazza S. Pietro, is a sign of how great a fear of coronavirus is reigning over the Vatican right now. See photo:

desolation

Ann Barnhardt wrote a very thought-provoking article about this on her blog (see here).

But more importantly, during the ceremony, Our Lady appeared in the clouds over Rome, in the only part of the sky where TV cameras were pointing that day, since journalists have entirely fled the public places as a result of the Health Decrees requiring everyone to work from home.

I had previously commented on how the Coronavirus might effect Vatican politics and the next conclave, in my editorial, entitled:  Trad inc. might soon wake up as Sedevacantists, which at the time I wrote it, was half-jest, but now might even seem prescient.

Oh, and by placing the miraculous Crucifix from the Church of San Marcellino in the rain, it was damaged and now needs restoration, according to Il Messagero, one of the leading daily newspapers of the Eternal City. So Bergoglio sealed his Friday evening ritual with profanation of one of the most sacred relics of Rome. Meanwhile, those burning pots with plants beneath each one, has Social Media abuzz as to the possible Pachamama significance of them.

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The Corona Virus & the Next Conclave?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There has been a lot of speculation by Catholics about the next Conclave.

Will Benedict die before Bergoglio, or Bergoglio before Benedict?

If Benedict before Bergoglio, will any Cardinal Elector break with the others and elect a successor to Benedict? — Only 1 is required.

If Bergoglio before Benedict, will the Cardinals proceed to a Conclave, or will the recognize that Benedict was always the pope?

Who would be the next Pope? Someone made a Cardinal by Bergoglio or someone made a Cardinal by Benedict or John Paul II.

But so far, I have not seen any Vaticanista or even blogger approach the question of what role the Corona Virus might play in the next Conclave.

So here goes.

The Corona Virus was reported in one patient at the out-patient clinic at the Vatican yesterday. Today, the entire office of the Secretary of State was sanitized.

Panic is spreading at the Vatican. If they sanitized the Secretary of State offices, then the infection probably has spread to the entire Roman Curia and all of the Vatican, since the Secretary of State is the beehive, as it were, of the entire Vatican apparatus. Numerous officials go in and out on a hourly basis. Numerous officials go from the Secretary of State to all parts of the Vatican. Not to mention the mail, which is processed by the Vatican Post Office in restricted spaces above and below ground.

So we can be certain that the Corona Virus will spread at the Vatican in the next 14 days.

Before the arrival of the Corona Virus at the Vatican it was widely reported that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has the flu. This years flu is very powerful. Those who grew up in the New World, like myself and Bergoglio, won’t have resistance to it.

Thankfully, I already had the flu. I was sick for 10 days, in bed constantly. And for another 10 days, I was so weak I was in bed most of the time. I had a lot of time to think of eternity, and when I was nearly recovered, I decided to start FromRome.Info as a full time apostolate advocating for Pope Benedict.

Those who catch this influence are likely to be harmed particularly severely if they catch the Corona Virus at the same time. Its not polite to speculate about a specific person dying at the Vatican, so I won’t.

But not only Bergoglio but every Cardinal who works in the Roman Curia might fall sick.

Thus, the scenario of a new Conclave this spring is now very likely.

Pope Benedict XVI is under quarantine and I think he will have a better chance of surviving the Corona Virus, since he has lived his whole life in Europe and has much more robust antibody preparation.

The prospect of a new Conclave this spring probably sends chills of terror down the spines of many Cardinals. They would have to come to Italy, and remain in the confined quarters of Santa Marta and the Sistine Chapel for several weeks, making their infection by the Corona Virus highly likely. Others might already have succumbed at the Vatican, changing entirely the political dynamic of the next conclave.

Many probably will decide not to participate.

Others will have a lot of reasons to think of Judgement of God.

Also, who will want to be pope? He will have to live at one of the major epicenters of the Corona Virus?

You can be sure that all those Cardinals who might have weakened immune systems will opt out.

The ones who do have the courage might very well be inclined to act on the kind of proposal which I based my Letter to the Cardinal Dean on, or upon that which my proposal to relect Pope Benedict contained.

Because the consequences of electing another pope, while Benedict XVI lives, is having another antipope. And who wants to risk the Corona Virus to be an antipope or have a dubious claim to the papacy? That would not be a good ending to an ecclesiastical career which aimed for real achievements.

But on account of the epidemic, the College might simply refuse to convene, and leave the Church with Pope Benedict on the one hand, and a sede vacante in the Bergoglio Church on the other. And that would make the crisis in the Church even more confusing.

In any event, God is in control and this corona virus might be the divine intervention that some Bishops and Cardinals — who refuse to look at Canon Law and — prayed for instead, which is sent in reply, but not quite the kind they expected.

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CREDITS:  The Featured Image is a photo of the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his capacity as Dean of the College of Cardinals, and attended by the entire College of Cardinals. Source and rights, here.

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Where Chris Ferrara goes bonkers

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Frank Walker just published Chris Ferrara’s response to Ann Barnhardt’s claim, that he once told her that he thinks she may be right about substantial error causing the resignation to be invalid. If you do not know who Ferrara is, there is a long Wikipedia article about him, which I presume is mostly accurate, because otherwise Attorney Ferrara would have rectified that.

But what Mr. Ferrara says is such a cartload of natural fertilizer, that I have to respond and put the man in his place. — I admit though, that as regards the man, I am reluctant, because I have been edified by many a thing he has written over the last 3 decades.

Moreover, I will leave aside the argument over the fact of whether he said what she quoted him to say. My experience, inclines me to believe Ann, because she has been a truth teller from the beginging. As for Chris, he is an attorney I think.

In a note to Canon212, Ferrara responds to Ann:

I don’t know who “Chris Ferrera” is, but I, Chris Ferrara, never said anything of the kind.  If I said anything it would be something like “You can certainly make that argument, but we have no competence to judge the matter.”  As I said on Taylor Marshall’s show, a future Pope or Council might determine that the last conclave was invalid, but that is a matter for the Church, not any Tom, Dick or Ann to determine.

Furthermore, the only time I have ever spoken face-to-face with Ann Barnhardt, at least that I can remember, was at Lake Garda, and the entire conversation involved my objection to her claim that the “data set” shows Bergoglio is not the Pope.  We have no competence to assemble “data sets” and declare that the Chair of Peter is vacant.

First, the mention of a typographical error is quite inappropriate, because Mrs. Barnhardt gave her testimony on a Podcast, verbally, here. And, being an Italian, I know that non Italians easily mis-spell or mis-pronounce Italian surnames. You have to get over that in your youth, if you grew up in the United States of America, because it would not be polite to keep harping on it.

So I will respond to what Christ Ferrara does say in his statement to Canon212.com.

If I said anything it would be something like “You can certainly make that argument, but we have no competence to judge the matter.”

Chris may be a fine Attorney of U.S. Law, but he shows here that he has never read Canon 41, or at least, never under stood it. So, he is patently wrong in what he says, here, when he say, we have no competence to judge the matter.

If you listened to Barnhardt’s podcast to understand the context of her testimony, it was in regard to whether there was substantial error in the Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI. It did not regard the legitimacy of the event, called a Conclave, in 2013, out of which poped Jorge the wrecker. — So I will presume Chris is an accurate and intelligent man, who went to the source, listened to the podcast, and then responded to the matter: which is the Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013.

And thus, reading Ferrara’s comment, I say he is dead wrong. Because in Canon 41, everyone with a merely executive ministerium in the Church, upon receiving the administrative act of his superior — the Pope is the immediate superior of us all — has the right, not just the competence, to refuse an act which is juridically nullus, and the right to have recourse to the superior before executing the act, if the act appears to be inopportune, that is include matters which if executed would harm the rights of others or disturb the common good or order of the Church.

So Chris, that is strike one. If you are going to publicly disavow something, disavow it, but if you add a legal reasoning, and you have not checked the law first, you make your disavowal look dubious, because as a lawyer you should not speak unless you first read the law. A lot of Catholics, therefore, especially women, who tend by nature to have excellent auditory memories for when men say shocking or insulting things, are going to conclude that Ann has a better memory than you.

Next,

As I said on Taylor Marshall’s show, a future Pope or Council might determine that the last conclave was invalid, but that is a matter for the Church, not any Tom, Dick or Ann to determine.

I am not impressed by the reference to Marshall. Marshal went so far into absurdity that he said that ministerium and munus name the same thing, and that therefore the Renunciation was valid. Marshall pontificated. He did not even read the law, he could not have, because it never says such a thing. He could not have been answering as a Catholic, because Catholics know that you found what you say on the teaching of the Church, not on your own magisterium. So, Ferrara is in bad company.

Ferrara is also way off in left field. Because Barnhardt’s podcast was not about the Conclave. Strike two, for Ferrara getting his facts right.

As a matter of law, Canon 359 says a conclave is invalid if it is called during the lifetime of the reigning pontiff. It should be obvious to anyone who is sane — I exclude gaslighting apologists — that you do not need a Council to determine if the Pope is still alive, or if he is dead. And the Church does not teach in Canon 332 §2, that you need a council to make a determination. As a matter of law, it expressly denies that in its final clause.

That means, you can only know if a Pope has resigned from objective reality, the facts of the statement, witnessed duly. And how do we know if the statement is of the right genus and species so that it be recognized as a papal renunciation?  Once again, because the law declares that, when in the same canon it says, If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus … .

Did Benedict renounce his munus? No. He said, I declare that I renounce the ministry which was confided to me through the hands of the Cardinals…

Oops. That means he did not resign. AND no one has the right to say otherwise, because to say otherwise you have to make what Benedict said mean something other than the words which he said. And you need the authority to do that. And Chris, you do not have that authority! So that means that Canon 359 was violated in March 2013 by the convening of a Conclave in the lifetime of a pope who had not resigned and was still alive — two objective facts of the real world which do not need a Council or any authority to verify, as they are visible to the naked eyes of all, who have eyes to see.

I will call this one as a foul ball, for mercy sake.

Next,

and the entire conversation involved my objection to her claim that the “data set” shows Bergoglio is not the Pope.  We have no competence to assemble “data sets” and declare that the Chair of Peter is vacant.

Here, I, in charity, have to assume that Chris, being Italian, has got himself into a fluster and simply exaggerated. Because obviously, if I have a “data set” — do we really have to gaslight at this point and stop using the words, “facts” or “evidence”? — that tells me the Pope is dead: namely I see his funeral on EWTN broadcast live from the Vatican; then I think I can conclude that the see is vacant, and that I have the right to conclude the see is vacant.

I must presume he exaggerated, or otherwise I might start connecting the dots in his entire statement and conclude that he has a problem with admitting reality as a basis for evidence in a legal proceeding. But he is a lawyer, and a lawyer would never do such a thing!

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CREDITS:  The Featured Image is of Lago di Garda, the shores of which are the annual destination of traditional Catholic conferences. This photo is used according to Creative Commons License 3.0, and more information about its author can be found here.

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Dialogue with a Cardinal, who refused dialogue

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Christian charity requires that we not refuse to speak with our superiors or inferiors. The Crisis in the Church now is so grave that we should all be seeking to speak with our superiors about it and about how to remedy it. One thing we must discuss is the canonically erroneous declaration of Feb. 11, 2013 by the man who is Pope Benedict XVI.  Erroneous, manifestly, because no one had the respect for his Office or person to point out that the act needed to be redone, IF it was his intention to posit an act in conformity with Canon 332 §2.

For this reason I have written more than 50 Cardinals, I think — I am not sure I have lost count — to raise the issue. And recently one of them had the Christian charity to respond to me in writing. I cannot divulge the actual text, for the sake of my respect for his person and office, but I can divulge my text in reply, because I think it addresses a problem we all are having when we speak with out superiors about Pope Benedict’s Declaratio.

The Cardinal wrote to me that we must presume that Pope Francis is validly elected and holds the petrine munus, and therefore, he told me that he did not want to speak with me in person about the Renunciation.

Here is my reply to this prince of the Church:

Your Eminence,

If you ask any Doctor of Law, you will see that the reason you give, namely, “We must assume Pope Francis is a validly elected pope, who actually represents the petrine munus”, is a statement which compounds several errors:

1. First, that a man is the pope is not a presumption of fact, but the conclusion of law. For example, he is not the pope, whom the Cardinals say is the pope, rather, he is the pope who was elected according to the norm of Universi Dominici Gregis. To say the first, that is, that he whom the Cardinals says is the pope, is the pope, confuses the means whereby we know a canonical fact with the cause of the legitimacy of a canonical fact. They are two different things.

2. Second, in all law, whether Roman, Napoleonic or Common, the cessation of power is never presumed. This is an ancient principle, the ignoring of which would cause chaos in society. The corollary is that the cessation of right is never presumed. Now a Papal renunciation is the first moment in a petrine succession. And a succession of legal right is judged as a cessation of power. As Mons. Arrieta, of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, affirmed in my presence on Dec 11, 2019, such an act of renunciation must be clear in itself, it cannot be interpreted to be valid, because no one has the right to interpret it. This is because, interpretation of a law is the cause of its being understood other than what it is. And the Code of Canon Law does not grant that right, in papal renunciations, since they must be manifestly a renunciation of petrine munus.

3. Third, your affirmation that Pope Francis must be assumed to be validly elected, is the supposition of a conclusion as the first premise of your thought. In other words, you have taken what you should, in virtue of a series of illations based on facts and law, hold as a conclusion, and make it the first principle whereby your mind refuses to presuppose that from which it is illated. This is the logical error called petitio principii.

4. In truth, if you read Universi Dominici Gregis n. 37, Pope John Paul II required that a sede vacante be verified as a legal one. But Mons Arrieta assured me that no such verification was done in Feb. 2013. In fact, canon 40 invalidates everything done by a subject receiving an administrative act, before he verifies the integrity of the act itself. Yet the Vatican was publishing different versions of the Declaratio for many days, so an integral act was never had prior to the announcement minutes after the Consistory of Feb. 11, that the act meant a renunciation of the papacy. Indeed, as a Latinist who has published both a Grammar and translated over 9000 pages of Scholastic texts, I have found more thn 40 errors in the Latin text. There are moreover at least 6 canonical errors in the central act, which render it invalid, null or irritus. Furthermore, canon 41 gives each of us the duty to refuse an actus nullus and requires that we have recourse to the authority issuing the act. As Mons. Arrieta affirmed again to me, in the case of a papal resignation, if the act is null it must be redone, and if it is unclear the recourse to the superior must be to solicit another valid act, since he himself cannot make it valid by an interpretation. Thus, the mere fact that Pope Benedict said he renounced the ministerium, when Canon 332 §2 requries the renunciation of munus, means that the act is also irritus in virtue of canon 188, for substantial error, and irritus in virtue of canon 38 for not containing a derogation of the requirement to name the munus.

I can understand that as a Cardinal you would be disinclined to broach the issue of the legitimacy of the previous apparent Conclave, in which you never participated, but as Catholics we risk the penalty of eternal damnation, if we allow the Petrine Succession to falter for reasons so grave. Words have meaning, and if we reject that, then we will not find mercy before the terrible seat of Judgement of the Divine Word, who said of Pope John Paul II when he foresaw his Code of Canon Law in 1983: Whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven.

Finally, I have not demanded a meeting with Your Eminence, but I have pointed out the grave reasons why you should act, and at least do the due diligence required of you in Canon 41 and seek a private audience with Pope Benedict, before he loses his mental faculties. I assure you that he will tell you that it was never his intention to renounce the petrine munus, only to renounce the petrine ministerium and office. I say this based on a complete study of everything he said from Feb. 11, 2013 to today. And Antonio Socci agrees with me, as he said in his interview with Aldo Maria Valli just last week.

Sincerely in Saint Francis,

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is my own photo of a bas-relief in the Basilica of the Most Holy Savior, here at Rome, showing a Pope kneeling in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Truth Incarnate.

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Re-Elect Pope Benedict!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

On March 13, 2013 a Schism was consummated in the Church by the College of Cardinals, who dared to convene a Conclave during the life of a Pope who had not resigned in accord with Canon 332 §2.  Nearly everyone was drawn into this schism due to the rash and false announcement put out by Father Lombardi on Feb. 11, 2013, when he gave Giovanna Chirri the via libera to publish a tweet at 11:58 AM that morning, just minutes after the end of the Consistory for the Martyrs of Otranto, claiming that Benedict had resigned and would give up the Pontificate on February 28.

During the last 7 years, the Holy Spirit has been stirring up Catholics to re-examine the Renunciation and realize in accord with the right granted them in canon 41 that the Renunciation was never valid, because it never named the thing a Pope must renounce to renounce the Papacy: the petrine munus.

For Catholics loyal to Christ, our duty now is to convince the Cardinals and Bishops to stop adhering to this Schism. Bergoglio never was the Successor of Saint Peter and is not the Pope: Benedict XVI is.

However, I am willing to admit that the Cardinals might not have the intellectual capacity or the moral ability to recognize the truth of what they did (schism and usurpation) and of what the Renunciation really meant: nothing at all but the uncanonical expression of an old man who was tired of governing those who did not obey him.

So I am willing to propose a solution for the Church, which does not require the Cardinals to have any virtue other than pragmatic prudence. And in this post, I will discuss that which regards the possibility that Bergoglio leaves office before Benedict.*

The Solution

The solution would be, that after the resignation of Bergoglio (may God hasten the day!) or after the death of Bergoglio (may he repent before it comes upon him), the Cardinals decide to re-elect Pope Benedict as the pope.

In this way they return to loyalty to the Pope without having to admit their error or sin. In this way they get a superior who probably wont ever correct them in anything, being so old and weak.

While one can argue that the Cardinals cannot validly or legitimately elect anyone during the life time of Pope Benedict, nevertheless, such a post-Bergoglian faux Conclave would serve as a cover for their return to communion with him.

So materially it would be a papal conclave and election, but formally it would me an act of re-submission to the Roman Pontiff. And Benedict does not even have to agree or be informed, because he is already pope and has already accepted his canonical election in 2005!

So I say this publicly now, so that if the occasion presents itself, Catholic bloggers and Clergy might take swift action to persuade the better Cardinals to propose this path of action in the future.  I myself will make it a point to discuss it with every Cardinal I get the chance to speak with, and I encourage all to write every Cardinal and suggest it.

Because, we must keep ever in mind, that what matters most of all is the salvation of souls. And this objective requires that first the College of Cardinals and the College of Bishops and the Clergy return to communion with Pope Benedict XVI, the true and only Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth.

After that, the Church can get to business condemning the individual heresies of Cardinal Bergoglio.

Appendix

For many, however, this controversy has caused them to forget how necessary submission to the true Roman Pontiff is for society and their own personal salvation, so I will reprint here in full the English translation** of the Bull of Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, which is a must read for all Catholics right now in the Church.

Unam Sanctam

One God, One Faith, One Spiritual Authority

Bull of Pope Boniface VIII promulgated November 18, 1302

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, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,‘ and She represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3]. In Her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and We read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.

We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: ‘Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.’ [Ps 21:20] He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot [Jn 19:23- 24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: ‘Feed my sheep‘ [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]. Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John ‘there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.’ We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say: ‘Behold, here are two swords‘ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard‘ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.

However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the Apostle said: ‘There is no power except from God and the things that are, are ordained of God‘ [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.

For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For with truth as Our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: ‘Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms‘ and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: ‘The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man‘ [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven‘ etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by Us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1]. Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

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* In my post tomorrow, I will discuss the opposite case, and what the solution there might be.

** Source, with a few corrections, regarding honorific capitalizations, added by myself here on the pronouns referring to the Roman Pontiff and to Holy Mother Church.

Whether, with all Cardinal electors defecting, the Roman Church has the right to elect the Pope?

28331-cardinal

By Alexis Bugnolo

In High Scholasticism, the Catholic Theologians, Saints and Doctors of the Church often considered many questions which were speculative, either in regard to what was true but unknowable by man (being hid in the mystery of God) or what could be in a special circumstance which may or may not ever come to be. As founder of The Scholasticum, an Italian non profit dedicated to the revival of the Scholastic Method, I believe that the Scholastic Method can greatly assist the Church even in Her most pressing needs and extraordinary crises. For that reason, I present here a Disputed Question, the import of which may arise, if His Holiness Benedict XVI pass to the Lord before Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and then only if, at such a time, the Cardinals holding fast to the faulty notion that Benedict’s resignation was valid, fail to convene within 20 days to elect his successor. For in accord with the current law on Papal Elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, n.37  Cardinals who do not attend a Conclave with that period no longer have their votes counted. (All references are to the new Code of Canon Law, Latin text; and the papal law on electing the Pope, Latin test.)

Whether, with all Cardinal electors defecting, the Roman Church has the right to elect the Pope?

And it seems that she does not:

1. For only the Cardinals of the Roman Church have the right to elect the Roman Pontiff, according to what is stated in Canon 349, where it says cui competit ut electioni Romani Pontificis provideat ad normam iuris peculiaris.  Therefore, since the Roman Church includes those Cardinals, Bishops and Clergy who are not Cardinal Electors, they have no such right. Therefore, the Church of Rome has no right to elect a Pope, even if all the Cardinal Electors fail to elect one.

2. Likewise, since the College of Cardinals has no authority during a Sede Vacante to act other than what is provided for in special law, namely, in the Law for Papal Elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, and this according to Canon 359, which reads: Sede Apostolica vacante, Cardinalium Collegium ea tantum in Ecclesia gaudet potestate, quae in peculiari lege eidem tribuitur; It follows that neither does the Roman Church, because what is denied a superior, is denied also to the inferior. But the College of Cardinals is denied license to act in any other way that what is proscribed in law, therefore also the entire Church of Rome which is inferior to the College.

3. Likewise, since the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, n.4, expressly forbids any variation or alteration in law during a Sede Vacante, when it says: Sede Apostolica vacante, leges a Romanis Pontificibus latas non licet ullo modo corrigi vel immutari, neque quidquam detrahi iis sive addi vel dispensari circa partes earum, maxime eas, quae ad ordinandum negotium electionis Summi Pontificis pertinent. Si quid contra hoc praescriptum fieri vel attentari contigerit, id suprema Nostra auctoritate nullum et irritum declaramus; there is nothing which the Roman Church can do, even if all the Cardinals defect, since there is no provision in Canon Law for such action.

4. Likewise, the ancient right of the Roman Church to elect the Roman Pontiff was abrogated when that right was restricted to the Roman Clergy, and again, when that right was further restricted to the Cardinals of the Roman Church. Therefore, no such right exists.

5. Likewise, the ancient right of the Roman Church to elect the Pope was no more than a custom of the Roman Church. But laws of custom have no force if they have not been observed for 1300 years (cf. Canon 26). Therefore, the Roman Church has no such right.

ON THE CONTRARY:

It seems that she does:

1. By Apostolic Institution of the Apostle Saint Peter, the Roman Church undubitably enjoyed the right to elect the Roman Pontiff.  This right was restricted by special degree in the 7th century to the Roman Clergy, and in 11th century to the Cardinals of the Roman Church. Yet such a restriction which was prudential and a benefice cannot extinguish the apostolic right, in accord with the principle of law, which states that general prescriptions take precedence to special benefices: Generale praescriptum beneficio speciali anteferendum est (Theodosian Code: DEM AAA. VICTORIO P(RO)C(ONSULI) ASIAE). Therefore, in the case that there are no Cardinal Electors, whether in fact or by defection to an Anti-Pope, or to a Heretical or Schismatic Church, the apostolic right of the Roman Church revives. Therefore, the Roman Church has such a right in their absence.

2. Likewise, by the Code of Canon Law, which declares that all rights which have never been revoked remain in force, according to canon 4, which reads: Iura quaesita, itemque privilegia quae, ab Apostolica Sede ad haec usque tempora personis sive physicis sive iuridicis concessa, in usu sunt nec revocata, integra manent, nisi huius Codicis canonibus expresse revocentur; but the right to elect the Roman Pontiff was indubitably granted by the Apostle Saint Peter to the Roman Church, and that right has never been revoked. Nay, it is the very justification and inherent principle maintained when the Roman Synod in the 7th century restricted the exercise of that right to the Clergy, and when the Pope in the 11th century restricted it further to the College of Cardinals. This is confirmed by canon 6 §4, which restricts the abrogation of previous laws and rights to those things which are integrally expressed in the New Code. But such case, of having no Cardinal Electors, is not provided for. Therefore, it is not integrally included. Therefore, the rights to be referred to in such a case are NOT obrogated. Therefore, that right remains in force always to be revived.

3. Likewise, the ancient right of the Roman Church to elect the Roman Pontiff was ever held to have the force of law. This is self evident from history. But as canon 25, teaches: Nulla consuetudo vim legis obtinet, nisi a communitate legis saltem recipiendae capaci cum animo iuris inducendi servata fuerit. But, such is the case with the ancient right of the Roman Church, especially since when this right was restricted, the ancient reason for it was never denied or explicitly abrogated. This is proven by the fact that the Cardinals are still called Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Therefore, in the absence of all Cardinals, whether by bad will or substantial error, the right returns to the Roman Church.

4. Likewise, custom is the best interpreter of law (Canon 27). But, when Pope John Paul II was near death, the Cardinals and Bishops in his presence presumed his consent to use his signet ring to appoint Bishops which he had already considered for nomination. And no one in the Church objected to this. Therefore, it is right to presume the consent of a lawgiver, in cases in which he never foresaw. But such is the case of a substantial error in a papal resignation, when all the Cardinals fail to notice that substantial error and are consequently led not to convene in Conclave to elect a successor, but cleave instead to an Anti-Pope which they elected uncanonically during the lifetime of the Pope. Therefore, in such an unforseen and extraordinary case, the Roman Church has a right to have recourse to the ancient law.

5. Likewise, from the principle of subsidiarity, that, namely, when a higher or more dignified part of the body politic fail, the right to act passes to the subordinate authority. This is based on the teaching of Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno: Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them. It is also supported by Pope John Paul II’s Papal Law on Elections, Universi Domini Gregis, where in the Prologue, the Holy Father says expressly that the College of Cardinals is “not necessary” as an institution “for a valid papal election”. — Thus, with all the Cardinals failing, it would be wrong to deny what the lesser and subordinate organization, the Roman Church, can do. Therefore, if all the Cardinal Electors fail to act on account of an obstruction which they themselves cannot or fail to remove, the Roman Church, as the entity to which they belong by incardination, receives license to resort to the Apostolic right which it has ever enjoyed, in part or whole, of electing the Roman Pontiff.

6. Likewise, from the Code of Canon Law itself, in canon 28: nisi expressam de iis mentionem faciat, lex non revocat consuetudines centenarias aut immemorabiles; hence, since the apostolic right of the Roman Church is of time immemorial, and since that right is not expressly revoked in the present Code, it remains in force, in due circumstances. But the absence of all Cardinals Electors is not only a due circumstance, but one which puts the very constitution of the Church in the gravest danger, since the Office of Saint Peter is not only useful but necessary for the salvation of souls. Therefore, such a right cannot be considered abrogated by the new Code nor by the papal law on the Election of the Roman Pontiff, even if it seems to be expressly abrogated. Therefore, the Roman Church has such a right, in such circumstances.

RESPONDEO:

I RESPOND:  It must be said, that whether by good will or bad, the act of electing a Roman Pontiff during the life time of a validly elected Roman Pontiff is both a crime against God and against the unity of the Church. It is a crime against God, since Christ has ordained only one man to be pope at any given time. Its a crime against the unity of the Church, since it causes a de facto schism between those who adhere to the true Pope and those who adhere to usurper and false pretender.  Now, even if the Cardinals who do this, do so without malice, but operate under substantial error, nevertheless before the law they must be held to be guilty of the sin and crime of schism, whereby they lose every office and privilege in the Church.

Now the Roman Church, which has ever held the right by apostolic privilege of electing the Roman Pontiff, enjoys in a special way the promise and right granted by Our Lord when He declares that “the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against My Church.” But the Gates of Hell would prevail against the Roman Church if she were deprived of a validly elected Pope and forced to submit to a pertinacious public heretic, apostate or Freemason.  Therefore, the Church of Rome has the right to elect the Roman Pontiff, in the special case wherein all the Cardinal Electors fail to exercise their right to do so. But in accord with the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, this right must be exercised within 20 days after the death of the Roman Pontiff.

Therefore, if Pope Benedict XVI dies before Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and after 20 days no Cardinal Elector convenes in Conclave to elect his successor, the Roman Church, composed of all the Cardinals, Bishops and Clergy, incardinated in the Diocese of Rome, excluding those who adhere to the de facto schism, have the right to elect the Roman Pontiff.

For this reason, the arguments to the contrary are to be accepted, which sufficiently refute the arguments which contradict them.

 

 

 

 

Where Robert de Mattei is wrong

This week, Catholic Family News, the traditional private Catholic Newspaper founded by the late John Vennari, publishes an article entitled, “Socci’s Thesis Falls Short: Review of the Secret of Benedict XVI“, an English translation of an article which was published on Jan 8, 2019 online at Cooperatores Veritatis. The translator is a Giuseppe Pelligrino. (Socci’s book details facts and canonical arguments why Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and Bergoglio an Anti-Pope, that is uncanonically elected). I will comment on the English version of the article.

The author, Dr. Roberto de Mattei, I have long admired, and have had the occasion to meet in person. His foundation, the Lepanto Foundation does much good work, and thus I bear him no animus. Nay, if the author of that article was someone unknown or not influential at Rome, I would probably have paid it no attention at all.

Moreover, the purpose of this present article is not to defend Socci’s book.  Rather it is to address the grave errors contained in De Mattei’s article, which on account of his personal reputation are magnified in the minds of many, and thus represent a danger to souls.

Here, then, I will discuss the errors briefly in the order they appear in that English translation by Signor Pellegrino.

The first error of which is that De Mattei sustains that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is valid, because there has been a peaceful and universal acceptance of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

I will put aside the fact that several recent polls (not scientific) have shown that as much as 70% of Catholics reject Bergoglio as pope, because there is a more serious error to address, than disputing whether there is in fact a peaceful and universal acceptance of Bergoglio’s election.

Signor De Mattei is learned enough to own a copy of the Code of Canon Law. So I humbly suggest he read Canon 359 and consider publicly withdrawing his assertion that a peaceful and universal acceptance of an apparent papal election establishes it to be held as valid by Catholics.  For, that canon reads in Latin:

Can. 359 — Sede Apostolica vacante, Cardinalium Collegium ea tantum in Ecclesia gaudet potestate, quae in peculiari lege eidem tribuitur.

When translated into English — here I give my own translation — that canon says:

Canon 359 — When the Apostolic See is vacant, the College of Cardinals only enjoys that power in the Church, which is granted to it in particular law.

This is the reference to the power of the College to elect the Pope.  So, according to Canon 359, when there is no pope, the Cardinals have the authority to elect a pope.

Now, if the resignation of a pope is in doubt, then obviously, there is a doubt whether the Apostolic See is vacant, and therefore the Cardinals have doubtful authority. And when a resignation of a pope has not taken place, or a pope is not dead, the Apostolic See is not vacant, and therefore the Cardinals have NO power to elect another.

So, it should be obvious then, that “the peaceful and universal acceptance of the election of a pope by a College of Cardinals” which HAS NO POWER to elect a pope, because the See is NOT vacant, DOES NOT MAKE THE ELECTION VALID.

Second, De Mattei claims this principal regarding the acceptance of the election of a pope on the basis of commonly held opinion. But if he has studied Canon Law, he should know that Canon 17 does not permit common theological or canonical opinions to be interpretative guides to reading any canon, when the text of the canon expressly forbids an act to take place by denying the body which acts the power to act. For in such a case the mind of the Legislator takes precedence.

Third, what is worse, De Mattei then cites the Vatican translation of Canon 332 §2, where he admits that it denies that a papal resignation is valid on the grounds that anyone accepts it (in its final condition)! How that squares with the theory of peaceful and universal acceptance is impossible to imagine, since it undermines the validity of its application to the case of a disputed resignation. It does so, because obviously a Conclave called during the life of a pope who has not resigned, is called either because that College knows he has not and does intend to elect an Anti-Pope, and then it does not matter who accepts him, his election is invalid; or in the case the College opines that a resignation is valid, and they proceed to act as if there is no pope. But as canon 332 §2 declares, that they think it is valid, does not make it valid. Therefore, even if they think it is valid, when it is not valid, they cannot appeal to Canon 332 §2 to claim the authority in Canon 359 to lawfully elect another. Rather, they must follow Canon 17 and apply it. And so, whether the subsequent election be accepted or not, in the case of elections which follow papal resignations, the principal cited by De Mattei is improperly cited at best because it pertains to another case.

Finally, De Mattei is, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest, when he says that Violi’s canonical study of Pope Benedict’s act of Feb 11, 2013 contributes to the confusion. Because that study, which is cited in the preface of the Disputed Question, published here in November, is a very scholarly well thought out and precise study without any animus or polemic, which gives great clarity to the canonical signification of that papal act. To say that it causes confusion therefore is not based on Violi’s work, but rather seemingly on a desire to advance his own opinion by insulting a scholar who shows greater knowledge of Canon Law than himself.

As for Archbishop Ganswein’s discourse at the Gregorian University, at first glance it does seem to be confusing. But when you research, as Ann Barnhardt has done, what opinions regarding the mutability of the Papacy were being discussed at Tubingen, when Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was a professor of Theology there, then you would rather say its revealing, not confusing at all.

For those who want to understand the correct canonical argument, why Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope and why Bergoglio was never pope, supported by Canon Law and all the evidence, and put in simple terms, see “How and Why Pope Benedict’s Resignation is invalid by the law itself.”