Tag Archives: Excommunication

Why does Burke insist that Bergoglio is the pope?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Cardinal Burke has for years enjoyed great fame and prestige among Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass and want the faith defended. But there has been growing concerns that Cardinal Burke, besides lamenting the problems, won’t actually do anything to defend the Church. He recently outraged hundreds of thousands of Catholics last fall by calling all those Catholics who doubt that Bergoglio is the pope “extremists”.

So, I think Catholics need to ask themselves, why does Burke insist so much that Bergoglio is the pope. Perhaps we will never know, but here are some facts which might help you discern why.

Cardinal Burke’s pastoral record includes not a few things which many of the Catholics who admire him would also consider extreme and not-Catholic.  Since a number of Catholic organizations have entered into an alliance to never tell the faithful about such things, FromRome.Info considers itself obliged to set the record straight. This is especially necessary since there are so many voices which have called for Burke to be the next pope.

“Sister Julie” Green

I will simply quote from published articles. Here is one by Malcom Gay of the Riverfront Times, writing on August 25, 2004, in an article entitled, Bishop takes Queen:

At times his theological allegiance with these orders placed Bishop Burke in some compromising positions. Most striking, perhaps, was the case of Sister Julie Green, a member of the Franciscan Servants of Jesus:

“Julie Green is living a lie!” writes Mary Therese Helmueller in an October 25, 2002, letter to Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Papal Nuncio to the United States. “[She] is a transsexual, a biological male. He is really Joel Green, who had a sex operation to make him physically appear as a woman…. I fear that The Church in America will suffer another ‘sex scandal’ if Julie Green continues to be recognized as a Catholic Religious Sister, and if Bishop Raymond L. Burke receives his final vows, as a religious sister, on November 23rd, 2002.”

Montalvo forwarded the letter to Burke, who on November 20, 2002, replied to Helmueller. “With regard to Sister Julie Green, F.S.J., the recognition of the association of the faithful which she and Sister Anne LeBlanc founded was granted only after consultation with the Holy See,” he writes. “These are matters which are confidential and do not admit of any further comment…. I can assure you that Sister Julie Green in no way espouses a sex change operation as right or good. In fact, she holds it to be seriously disordered. Therefore, I caution you very much about the rash judgments which you made in your letter to the Apostolic Nuncio.”

Adds Burke: “I express my surprise that, when you had questions about Sister Julie Green, you did not, in accord with the teaching of our Lord, address the matter to me directly.”

Notice how Burke, not only calls a man, a “Sister”, but gives him permission to live with a woman in a community of woman’s religious, which ostensibly takes the vow of chastity. He even scolds the laywoman who denounced the scandal to the Apostolic Nuncio! I will not even mention the grave offense to the Divine Majesty to allow such a man to take vows as a woman religious, vows which by the very fact that he is a man will be asking God to stand as a witness to a lie.

Saint Stanislaus Parish, St. Louis, MO, USA

Four years later, Tim O’Neil, writing for the St. Louis Dispatch, in an article entitled, St. Stan Pastor Refuses to Meet with Burke, says:

The public dispute with St. Stanislaus began in 2004, when Burke instructed the parish to rearrange its assets and the powers of its lay board to conform with the systems used by all other Catholic parishes within the archdiocese. St. Stanislaus had maintained internal controls that dated to its founding by Polish immigrants in the 19th century.

St. Stanislaus’ lay leaders refused. After Burke removed priests from St. Stanislaus, Bozek came to the parish from his assignment in Springfield, Mo. Burke quickly declared him excommunicated. Soon afterward, he declared the parish board members excommunicated and stripped the parish of its standing as a Roman Catholic Church.

In other words, an entire parish of Polish ethnicity, who had built and managed at their own expense, their Parish, for more than a century, were excommunicated by Burke for refusing to give him control of the assets of the private institution!

That is the thanks you get for being faithful and paying your own way! — And as a matter of fact, 10s of thousands of Churches throughout Europe were built and maintained in the same way. This is part of Catholic tradition. It is also a solemn right of the faithful.

And the diocesan priest who was so disgusted at Burke’s attempted thievery and braved the dispute by serving the faithful of the parish, was also excommunicated!

The issue here is of the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not steal. If the Cardinal excommunicated them solely for their failure to uphold the Catholic Faith, why did he not and does he not now excommunicate prelates for their failure? When there is a question of money, Burke acts. There is no other way to look at this. The Catholic Bishops Conference has funded the same kind of organizations for 60 years as this parish is reported to have done, but Burke never separated himself from the Conference or used his episcopal authority to condemn them. I agree that heretics should be penalized, and I agree that private chapels should be Catholic if they want to be places of worship approved by the Church. But there is absolutely no right in civil or ecclesiastical law whereby the Cardinal can tell a private chapel what to do with its funds and assets.

So many Bishops have priests who support, promote and fund non-Catholic agendas, but because they keep the money flowing to the Chancery, they are never condemned. Touch the purse however and boom!

What the parish became after their excommunication has nothing to do with the matter, other than raising questions if Burke’s excommunication helped their souls or harmed them by the scandal it gave to them and the wider community.  Also, what about the faithful Catholics who did attend the parish and whose ancestors built it? Now they have neither the Sacraments nor their parish. And I would guess there are a lot more of them than the members of the board of directors of the parish.

This was a pastoral tragedy, and the responsibility for that is always with the shepherd.

And as a Franciscan, I would remind everyone, that Christian Faith is about saving souls, not saving money.

Burke’s Record on Pedophilia

I quote from Malcom Gay, the Riverfront Times, August 24, 2004:

Burke, it seemed, had tended his garden nicely in La Crosse and was well poised to minister to the fallout of the scandal in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Whereas his predecessor, Justin Rigali, had drawn fire for ignoring victims of abuse, the incoming archbishop was tidily insulated from the problem. So much so, in fact, that when St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris asked him to name the most pressing issue facing the Catholic Church here, Burke replied, “How to organize our parishes and our Catholic schools.”

But some members of Raymond Burke’s former flock paint a far different portrait of the erstwhile bishop of La Crosse. If cases of clergy sex abuse were few and far between, they say, it was because Burke was a master at keeping a lid on them. Several victims who claim they were abused by priests in La Crosse tell Riverfront Times they were stonewalled by Burke, who declined to report their allegations to local authorities. And while some of his fellow church officials nationwide were reaching hefty settlements with victims, Raymond Burke was unyielding in his refusal to negotiate with victims’ rights groups. He declined to make public the names of priests who were known to have been abusive, and he denied requests to set up a victims’ fund. Most strikingly, Riverfront Times has learned, while bishop in La Crosse Burke allowed at least three priests to remain clerics in good standing long after allegations of their sexual misconduct had been proven — to the church, to the courts and, finally, to Burke himself.

His critics say Burke’s ability to conceal the diocese’s dirty laundry was abetted by Wisconsin’s unique civil code, which makes it virtually impossible for someone to sue the church for the actions of an individual priest.

“He stands with his fellow bishops in Wisconsin as having had the ability to just rebuke and ignore our victims,” says Jeff Anderson, an attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota, who specializes in clergy abuse cases. “He has a long history of making pastoral statements that they care, that they want to heal, that they want to help. They are very long on words, but very short on actions.”

“We don’t exist, for him,” seconds Peter Isely, a Wisconsin leader of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “Loyalty to the church is of the highest order for him, and his response to victims’ claims has been lethargic and slow and reluctant and bureaucratic and impersonal.”

Then again, if success is measured in money saved and avoidance of scandal, Raymond Burke possesses a sterling record. At a time when dioceses are reaching million-dollar settlements with individual victims and filing for bankruptcy, Burke reported in January 2004 that between 1950 and 2002 the Diocese of La Crosse paid out a grand total of $15,807.38 to victims seeking counseling for clergy sexual abuse.

It was in May of 1971 that B.V. first met the man she says sexually abused her. She was nine years old, and her family had traveled 45 minutes to the small town of Hewitt, Wisconsin, to attend a relative’s wedding. While at the wedding, her parents befriended Father Raymond Bornbach, pastor of St. Michael’s Parish. (At their request, victims in this article are not identified by name.) “After that wedding he called my mom and asked to spend some special time with my sister and I,” B.V. writes in a handwritten statement delivered to diocesan officials on September 22, 2003.

Her mother agreed, and soon Bornbach was traveling far outside his parish to pick up the girls and take them for drives along central Wisconsin’s rural two-lane roads.

B.V. alleges that during the drives Bornbach would pull over at outdoor rest stops and ask her eight-year-old sister to get out of the car. “She would sit nearby on a rock, while in the car he would have me sit next to him[;] he would rub his hands up and down my thighs,” B.V. writes. “He would always kiss me on the lips and he smelled of cigar breath. He would stick his tongue in my mouth.”

According to the statement, a copy of which B.V. supplied to Riverfront Times, the abuse continued for more than a year, becoming progressively more intense. Eventually, B.V. alleges, Bornbach brought her to his house, took her upstairs to his bedroom and offered her a rosary before molesting her. “[He] asked to see the scar on my left arm and side where I had been burned as a child,” she writes. “He removed my dress and rub [sic] my chest and laid me on the bed, he then laid on top of me and started to hump up and down and rub his body on mine.”

Bornbach didn’t go any further, B.V. states. He was interrupted by his housekeeper. When the bedroom door opened, she writes, “he jumped up and told her we would be right down.”

Afterward, B.V. recalls in her statement, Bornbach took her to a local hardware store and bought her a bike. “[It was] my 1st ever bike,” she writes. “It was purple.”

The statement was penned nine months after B.V. came forward with her allegations in a January 6, 2003, letter to then-Bishop Burke. “They told Bornbach to get an attorney and not to talk to anyone,” B.V. says during an interview in her central Wisconsin home. “So when I called, I asked if I was supposed to get an attorney, too. They proceeded to tell me that if I got an attorney, all communication with them would cease.”

It was the beginning of what became for her a painful eighteen-month saga. “I was really naive in thinking that once they received this letter they would right away do something with this guy,” B.V. says today. “Bishop Burke protects his own.”

And,

Initially B.V. wanted four things from the diocese: She wanted Bornbach stripped of his collar. She wanted his name released to the public. She wanted to meet her alleged abuser face to face and she wanted to meet with Raymond Burke.

“From day one I asked to speak with the bishop. Almost every time I talked to these people I asked how come I wasn’t talking to the bishop,” B.V. says. “How come something wasn’t being done?” Instead of meeting with B.V., the bishop appointed a liaison to meet with the alleged victim. When B.V. asked if her therapist could attend the liaison’s initial fact-finding interview, Burke agreed, though it went against a policy on child sexual abuse he’d set out in 2002. He stipulated two conditions, however, in a letter dated May 6, 2003. “The interview will be confidential. Therefore, no recordings or notes may be made or taken,” he writes. The second stipulation: “You agree that the interview is part of an internal Church process which may not be disclosed, compelled to be disclosed, or used as evidence in or as a basis for any non-Church action.”

B.V. balked. She wasn’t ready to tell her story to a stranger, and she canceled the meeting. “You have to be ready,” she says. “Some days you don’t want to talk about it, other days you do.”

But the diocese wasn’t waiting around. Unbeknownst to B.V., Burke had passed the matter off to the Diocese of La Crosse Child Sexual Abuse Review Board, a six-member group of church and lay officials — including the diocesan attorney — whose duty it is to review allegations of clergy sexual abuse. So B.V. was surprised to receive a letter from the board on August 28, 2003, warning, “If we do not hear from you by Monday, September 15, 2003, we will assume you do not wish pursue to [sic] the matter and the case will be closed.”

“I called them immediately,” she says. “[I] told them, ‘You can close the case, but it will never be closed for me.'” At age 89, Father Raymond Bornbach now lives in a humble single-story home in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Diabetes and a recent operation to replace his aortic valve have restricted his movements. Nonetheless, he continues to put on his Roman collar and visit patients at nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital. During a recent interview, he confirmed that he still draws a pension from the church. He also is still listed in the Official Catholic Directory as a retired priest in good standing. He denies ever engaging in any sexual misconduct and describes his relationship with B.V. as “best friends.”

(When asked by the sexual review board about the abortive assault at the priest’s home, Bornbach’s housekeeper, with whom he still lives, also denied the incident occurred.) It took years of therapy before B.V. finally mustered the strength to bring her allegations to the bishop of La Crosse. What she did not know, however, was that she was not the first to contact Burke regarding Raymond Bornbach.

In a letter dated March 26, 2001, another alleged victim of clergy abuse contacted by Riverfront Times wrote to Burke, stating: “I know I have talked to you about Fr. Raymond Bornbach before, and I thought when you retired him it would take care of the problem of his dirty little hands and his filthy mouth… But it has not since he still goes to the St. Joseph [sic] Hospital in Marshfield, and visits sick people,” the letter reads. “He still goes on the psych unit and tells women there that ‘Jesus loves them and he does too.’ When he was visiting [illegible] there he not only told her that but he was also touching her breasts and putting his tongue in her mouth… I know what he did to her because she told me right after it happened.”

(The letter writer, who supplied Riverfront Times with a copy of the correspondence, blacked out the name of the alleged victim at St. Joseph’s.) The letter writer goes on to detail other instances of alleged abuse by Bornbach, before concluding: “Bornbach even wearing the collar is such a disgrace to all good priests. I’m surprised the other priests don’t strip Bornbach of his collar.”

As with all allegations of clergy abuse, Burke declines to discuss specifics. “Whenever an accusation is brought, no matter what the status of the priest was, it was thoroughly investigated,” he says. “The priest was confronted, and it was thoroughly investigated: That’s my policy.”

The diocese may well have investigated Bornbach, but any such records are strictly shielded from public view. Nonetheless, at least one other alleged victim cited in the letter says she was never contacted by investigators in relation to Raymond Bornbach.

As the months dragged on, B.V. became increasingly frustrated with Burke’s inaction. “It was pointless to talk to the diocese,” she says. “I called one of [the members of the Child Sexual Abuse Review Board] and said: ‘I want a meeting.'” It was not until B.V. contacted the review board that she was finally afforded an interview with Bishop Burke, on January 10 — a full year after she’d stepped forward. Her husband went with her.

B.V. says that during the meeting Burke promised he’d make a decision about the Bornbach matter by the time he left for St. Louis. “We said, ‘You leave on January 24th, that’s all over the newspapers. We know when you leave. Are you going to be able to make a decision in four days?’ He said, ‘Yes, I will definitely call you and let you know what we’ve decided,'” B.V. recalls. “Of course, January 24th came and went with no word from Burke.”

Last week B.V. received a letter from the diocese informing her that the Child Sexual Abuse Review Board had substantiated her claim and that appropriate action would be taken.

“We recommended that action be taken against Father Bornbach,” says one board member, who spoke on condition that his name not appear in print. “[Although] at his age we were told laicization would probably not take place, but it would be recommended that he no longer act or appear with a Roman collar as a Roman Catholic priest.”

B.V. credits the board for investigating her claim and believes that had she not contacted its members, nothing would have happened. “This man is a rock,” she says of Burke. “He is not moving. He knows his laws, and he knows he’s protected. The law protects the church. They don’t have to do anything about these people. Nothing. And this bishop knows that.”

Perhaps you can understand now, why Cardinal Burke thinks that Catholics who doubt Bergoglio, the undisputed Grand Don of the Lavender Maria, is the pope, even after the ritual of satanic worship in the Vatican Gardens, are extremists.

And perhaps you are now better informed about whom you should hope and hope not to be the next pope.

POSTSCRIPT of April 12

Following the publication of the article above, its author was vilified and calumniated by those who claim to be the friends of the Cardinal. But none of them, as of Easter Sunday, has attempted in the least a refutation of the reports cited.

The crimes and sins of child rape, transgenderism, mutilation, sacrilege and theft are inexcusable. If your “devotion” to Cardinal Burke tempts you to excuse such things, I think you need to read the entry in the dictionary called, “idolatry”. A lot of idolaters hate me for what I write, and I thank God for it. But here I simply reported the news and commented on it. I did not perpetrate anything in those reports. Those perps are the real ones that should be vilified. If you cannot see that, I think you need to re-read the Gospels. If your first reaction is to attack the reporters and not commiserate with the victims, then I think you are very sick spiritually and are unwittingly aiding and abetting a culture of the worst kind of clericalism in the Church.

The mature and objective way to respond to the above article is to do your research. The blogger who objects to the article above came commenting in the comboxes with insults not proofs of anything, even though he claims to be an expert on ONE of the charges mentioned above. That simply does not make sense. He has to realize that he is by those actions implicitly condoning the other TWO accusations. I think he should be transparent about any conflicts of interest he may have with any of the actors cited above. And I think he needs to publicly affirm whether he thinks child rape, transgenderism, sacrilege of putting a man in a woman’s habit and letting him take vows as a female religious, etc. etc. are sins. Indeed, the supporters of Burke, like him, repeatedly make some very bizarre comments about this man who mutilated himself and donned a woman’s habit, claiming that the Cardinal was trying to help him with his same sex attractions! But they never deny he was born a man nor that he mutilated himself, nor that Burke publicly accepted his vows aas a female religious or calls him a woman! So the onus is on him now. His manner of reacting to this article is very telling. And still he has refuted nothing in it.

The article above was published 3 days ago. I would think that after 15 years, there would be at least 1 article refuting each false charge, if any were false. Do a google search if you like, and if you find any such articles by reporters, cite their links below in a comment. I have more than graciously allowed a link to the blogger who objects to the above, though its sole purpose was to insult me and attack my public credibility and reputation. An insult and attack which was not preceded by any attempt to communicate with me, publicly or privately.

Finally, the claim by this blogger that these charges have “long ago been refuted” is simply not credible. I am not the first to recite these reports. See here about the Male nun:

From January 2003:

https://akacatholic.com/the-correction-may-never-come-but-judgment-will/  See the comment section.

From 2004:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1200411/posts

From 2005:

http://carrietomko.blogspot.com/2005/02/e-mail-from-lee-penn-bishop-burke-few.html

From 2013

https://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/129565-trandgender-navy-seal/page/3/?tab=comments#comment-2592879

From 2015

http://callmejorgebergoglio.blogspot.com/2015/10/good-news-bruce-jenner-cardinal-burke.html

From 2017

https://www.traditioninaction.org/Questions/B988_Nun.html

Long ago refuted? Hmm.

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Saint Alphonsus: When it is morally licit to receive the Sacraments from unworthy ministers?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Many Catholics, who remain in communion with Pope Benedict, but have no clergy in their area who do so, ask me whether it be morally licit for them to receive the Sacraments from these clergy. I also get this question from Catholics who live in the Mid-East, where many Catholics receive the Sacraments in both the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which for long centuries have not been in communion with the Apostolic See.

Here I will present the doctrine of the Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, C.Ss.R., from his Theologia Moralis, by citing what he says on diverse questions. The Roman Church, by raising Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori to the dignity of a Doctor of the Church in questions of moral theology, gives at least a tacit approval to those opinions. This does not mean that they are the teaching of the Church or that they are, by that fact alone, opinions which form part of the ordinary magisterium. But it is a strong indication that if the Church ever judge such questions, that she will likely side with the opinions of the Saint, even though on one of his opinions, She has expressly withdrawn her approval — I am told.*

Here is Saint Alponsus teaching, which regards clergy who are public sinners or excommunicated or under some censure. He does not speak of heretics, of whom it is the teaching of the Church at all times, that we cannot receive any Sacrament from condemned heretics.

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Theologia Moralis

Tome III, Book VI

Tract I — On the Sacraments in General

Doubt II

n. 88 — There is asked 2nd.: Whether it be licit to receive the Sacraments from an unworthy minister? — Here it is necessary to distinguish between a minister who is unworthy because of some censure and/or inability, and a minister and one unworthy because of mortal sin.

I respond 1st.: If a minister is unworthy through a censure etc., and is not to be tolerated, most of all if he be excommunicated as one to be avoided and/or publicly and by name suspended, or irregular through a judicial sentence, certainly it is not licit to seek the Sacraments from him, except in extreme and/or in the greatest of necessity in which all say it is licit to receive Baptism and Penance … {Editor’s note: here follows a citation of authorities from whom the Saint drew his opinion. I will omit these in this translation with the symbol …}.

Likewise, probably also the Sacrament of the Eucharist as say … . And adhering to this opinion is Tournely, who citing Pope Innocent III, in Gratian, chapter Quod in te, de poenitent. et remission, who though he denied Extremunction to the dying in the time of a general interdict, did not deny Penance and Viaticum.

Likewise, concerning the Sacrament of Extremunction think … by this that such a Sacrament can be the cause of grace. But better do those not admit this with … except when the infirm is not able to receive any other sacrament.

Equally, say … that it is licit to receive the Sacrament of Orders from a Bishop who is excommunicated, when in some remote province, he alone can be found, and such an ordination redounds to the common good.

Likewise, the aforesaid authors say regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony, in the case in which it would be necessary either for the spiritual salvation of one who is dying and/or for the great temporal utility of the children, and when no other minister is at hand.

But whether a  priest who has been excommunicated as one to be avoided can minister the Sacrament of Penance in extreme necessity? This is to be denied, see …

I respond 2nd.:  But if the minister is excommunicated and/or suspended, as one to be tolerated: there is a question among the doctors whether it be licit to receive the Sacraments from him without grave cause. — Some deny this. — But more truly is it to be affirmed, because the Council of Constance conceded in an absolute manner to the faithful that they could receive communion with those to be tolerated. See ….

n.89 — I respond 3rd. But when the minister is unworthy on account of mortal sin, Saint Thomas seems to indistinctly concede that the Sacraments can be received from someone whose sin is hidden from us, saying:  So long as he is tolerated by the Church in ministry, the one who receives the Sacraments from him does not share in his sin. — And the same is had in Gratian, in the chapter, Vestra 7, de cohabitatione clericorum etc., where there is said:  Without a doubt . . . hold that from clerics and bishops, even though they be fornicators, so long as they be tolerated and there not be had evidence of their works (that is, as the Gloss has, they have not been condemend nor have they confessed before the law), the Divine Mysteries are licitly heard and the other Sacraments of the Church are received. But this must be sanely understood, to be valid only to excuse from sin, not to contravene the prohibitions of the Church.

Otherwise, to receive the Sacraments from a sinner, always requires a reasonable cause, in accord with the words in Gratian, Book II, n. 47, v. Secunda et n. 49; and as is otherwise taught by Saint Thomas, where he says: Besides the occasion of necessity, it would not be safe, that he induce him to fulfill anything of his Order, while having such knowledge that that one be in mortal sin.  Moreover, under the name of “necessity” the Continuator of Tournely rightly explains that in this case one is to understand a moral necessity. — Wherefore, to excuse (from sin) there probably also suffices a causae of grave utility; as is most commonly taught by … .

Discussion

As can be seen, Saint Alphonsus speaks of priests who are either public sinners or who have been punished with a decree of excommunication or censure. When he speaks of those to be tolerated, he is referring to the previous discipline, before Vatican II, which distinguished between those who were to be shunned or not to be shunned, on account of the punishment imposed upon them. Holy Mother Church imposed the punishment of shunning, since the time of Saint Paul the Apostle, when She judged that the person was very dangerous or because their conscience required this punishment to bring it back to a right state. In the new Code the punishment of shunning as been abolished, so all excommunicates and censured persons are to be considered to be tolerated, under Saint Alphonsus’ classification.

What is lacking in Saint Alphonsus is any question regarding what is to be done during a schism in the Church.  I think we can extrapolate from the present Code of Canon Law which imposes excommunication upon all schismatics ipso facto, and thus classify them as excommunicated but to be tolerated.

However, the present case of the Bergoglian schism has to do also with public heresy and immorality. And so if the clergy who are schismatic are also heretics, then one should under no condition receive the sacraments from them. The Council of Trent holds as to be excommunicated, also, those who say or teach or practice the giving of the Sacraments of the Eucharist, to those who are public sinners: which certainly applies to the author of Amoris Laetitia and all who accept that doctrine. I would hold such a teaching also to be heretical, but since the Council of Trent did not classify it as heretical, I think we cannot on our own authority regard it as such, until a Council so condemns it.

However, the Bergoglians teach many other heresies. And so the determination if this or that minister is unworthy or not on account of heresy, depends on each individual case of each minister. And in cases in which you do not know if the minster agrees with or accepts any particular heresy, Saint Alphonsus says elsewhere, that you should presume that he is not a heretic.

Regarding, the question of mere schism, however, if a priest has not accepted that Benedict validly resigned, but simply goes by that opinion, he is probably not a formal schismatic, just in error. But if he is shown the evidence that Benedict is still the true pope and examines it, and rejects it publicly or privately to your knowledge, he should be presumed to be formally a schismatic. However, if he refuses consideration without examination, he is more likely just lazy or as of yet psychologically indisposed to consider that such a great lie or error was made, as I was for 6 years. Likewise, if he rejects the arguments that Benedict is still the pope, but does not refuse you the Sacraments, whom he knows publicly or privately to be in communion with Benedict, then he is probably not a formal schismatic, because by his behavior he shows that your opinion is one which can be licitly held.

What Saint Alphonsus does not explain here, is the duty to avoid public scandal. If you are not known to be in communion with the true Pope, and attend the liturgy of schismatics, then no scandal is given, because scandal is only a sin on account of someone knowing of it and being scandalized. But if you are known to be in communion with the true pope and go to the liturgies of Schismatics, and on that account even one poor soul would take scandal and consider it not important for salvation whether they be or not be in communion with the true pope, then you must omit going to those liturgies. Because as Saint Paul teaches in his letters to the Corinthians, we should prefer the salvation of the weak to any desire we have of liberty.

What Saint Alphonsus says here is mostly the repetition of others opinions, though he makes some personal judgement on the questions. However, these principles should be used with prudence and precision, and not taken to be license for the lax or exaggerated in their severity by the super-scrupulous. That is, if you are inclined not to follow rules and do as you please and fudge on definitions of words, then what Saint Alphonsus says should not be interpreted by your conscience, but you should follow the interpretation of a more prudent and upright man of good counsel who respects the Divine and moral law as a minimum duty of every Christians. However, if you are inclined to consider everything a sin or every sin a mortal sin, then you should not follow your understanding of what St. Alphonsus says here, but that of a man with a better understanding of the proper ability to distinguish between what things are and what things might be according to one’s fears.

Finally, what Saint Alphonsus does not discuss is what is the holier or more perfect thing to do. I think that testifying to the truth, right now, in the Church, is a grave necessity for the salvation of all souls. Each of us should do that. How we do it, God leaves to our own initiative. But we should not conceal the truth under a bushel basket, especially on account of only caring for ourselves and the reception of sacraments by ourselves, and not caring for the salvation of priests and our fellow brothers and sisters in the Faith. That is why I write all that I write. And that is why I wrote a Handbook for Converting Priests back to allegiance to Pope Benedict.

That being said, Saint Alphonsus gives us good counsel as to when and under what circumstances we can act without hiding the truth, and avoiding sin, when we have to make personal decisions about receiving the Sacraments.

__________

FOOTNOTES:

* I was told by Fr. Alphonsus Sutton, STD, my professor in moral theology, that Saint Alphonsus at one time held that if one intended out of revenge to burn down the house of one’s enemy and by accident and confusion or ignorance burned down the house of someone who was not one’s enemy, that one would not be obliged to pay restitution. That opinion was censured in his own day, and he withdrew it. The Church holds with the Fathers of the Church that restitution must be paid by all in all circumstances when they are the cause of the damage, either directly or by intended that which is its cause, especially in cases of arson.

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How usurpation of the Papacy leads to the excommunication of the participating Cardinal Electors and Bishops

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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Canon 359 expressly withdraws authority from the College of Cardinals to elect a Pope, when the Papal Office is still retained by another: there being no sede vacante. To call a conclave when there is still a true Pope, thus, is illicit. To elect another is to participate actively and immediately in the crime of the usurpation of the Papal Office.

Usurpation is the crime whereby someone without a legitimate claim, lays hold upon or claims an office which is not his.  In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, Usurpation is discussed under several canons, usurpation of office in canon 1381.

Though the crime of usurping the papacy is not named in the code expressly — since it has not occurred for centuries, those participating in such a crime can still be excommunicated latae sententiae out of the consequences of such an act, and this in two ways: 1) by the Anti-Pope ordaining bishops and collaborating with him in that, 2) by the crime of schism.

The first regards the crime of usurpation itself in the act of ordaining Bishops.

The worse crime of usurpation mentioned explicitly in the code is in canon 1382:

Can. 1382 — A bishop who consecrates some one a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

Pope John Paul II cited this canon to declare that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X, was excommunicate on account of his ordination of their 4 Bishops. Bergoglio cited this same canon to “excommunicate” Bishop Williamson, after he was reconciled by Pope Benedict XVI, who undid John Paul II’s excommunication.

This applies to Anti-Popes, inasmuch as not being the legitimate successors of Saint Peter, their ordaining of Bishops is without true pontifical mandate.  It also applies to Bishops who ordain those nominated by Bergoglio, since they too have no true pontifical mandate to act.

Accomplices of both are also punished by the same punishment, as is clear from canon 1329.

Can. 1329 — §1. If ferendae sententiae penalties are established for the principal perpetrator, those who conspire together to commit a delict and are not expressly named in a law or precept are subject to the same penalties or to others of the same or lesser gravity.

§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.

Since the excommunication leveled in canon 1382 takes place immediately without the necessity of any public declaration by any authority, in accord with Canon 1329 §2 all the Cardinals involved in the uncanonical election of an Anti-Pope are also ipso facto excommunicated, since they participate intimately and immediately in his claim to exercise the pontifical mandate.

While it can be argued that those in substantial error as to the invalidity of Benedict’s resignation ought not be excommunicated, because they had good will, they must confront canon 15, which says in § 2: Ignorance or error about a law, a penalty, a fact concerning oneself, or a notorious fact concerning another is not presumedThus, as soon as any Cardinal Elector sees that Benedict resigned the ministerium, not the munus, and that Canon 322 §2 requires the resignation munus — all the while refusing to repudiate the validity of that resignation — he becomes indisputably culpable of the usurpation of the Papal office by way of consent to uphold Bergoglio’s claim to exercise the pontifical mandate, and as such, merits punishment under canons 1382 and 1329 §2.

The second way to excommunication latae sententiae, is through the crime of schism.

Cardinals and Bishops participating in supporting an Anti-Pope are also involved in the crime of schism, since they formally separate themselves from communion to the true Pope. Thus they are also subject to excommunication from canon

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.

Thus, the controversy over the invalidity of Pope Benedict’s resignation becomes one of the greatest import for Catholics, to know who is truly their pastors and who are truly schismatics and excommunicates.  This is not a joking matter, and any Cardinal or Bishop who treats it as such, should be sternly reminded of such.

Presumption and Silence

Finally, it needs to be pointed out, that whereas there is a presumption of validity of every Conclave, in the event of the death of the Roman Pontiff, however, in the case of a papal resignation, there is no such presumption, and since it is the grave duty of the Cardinals to act in accord with Canon Law in the election of the Roman Pontiff, they had the grave and solemn duty to verify that the resignation of Pope Benedict was in conformity with Canon 332 §2.  If they did verify that, why have they never admitted to having verified it? And if they did not, they ostensibly become culpable of usurpation out of negligence in so grave a duty.

Indeed, the Vatican is full of Doctors of Canon Law, but to my knowledge neither in February of 2013 nor in the following six years, as any Canon Lawyer from the Vatican published any study showing that Non solum propter effects a valid resignation in conformity to canon 322 §2. Nor does it seem that anyone in the Diplomatic Corps asked the Vatican for such a verification.* Nor does it seem that the Italian Government, bound by the Lateran Treaty to uphold only constitutional governments in the Vatican, ever asked for such a verification or explanation. — If this be true, its of the gravest indications that the resignation was never put to any kind of rational scrutiny, but was presumed to be valid by a bunch of giddy men who wanted Benedict out of the way.


For my Scholastic Disputation on the Papal Act of February 11, 2013, see here in English, and here in Spanish translation. For a summary of the Canonical Argument against validity, see Veri Catholici, here in English, and here in Italian translation.

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Image Credits:  Getty Images, Conclave of March 2013.

* For example, Eduard Hapsburg, the Ambassador of Hungary to the Vatican, recently insulted Catholics who question the validity of the resignation. But when asked for a verification of the resignation, remained utterly silent.

The Myths used to defend Team Bergoglio from UDG 81

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)Rome, October 1, 2015 A.D:  Following the revelations, reported by noted Vaticanistas, Edward Pentin and Marco Tosatti, that Cardinal Danneels, in his new biography, admits that a group of Cardinals, in direct violation of the Papal Law, for Papal Elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, organized in 1996 a group which is named, the “Club of St. Gallen” — so called, after the town in Switzerland where it met, and which group Cardinal Danneels called, a “mafiaclub” — formed for the purpose of radically changing the Church and the Catholic Religion, and in recent years formally committed to the promotion of the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergolgio as the next pope:  a series of commentators, notably “Msgr. Athanasius” at the Remnant and Canon Peters have alleged that the penalties of UDG 81, namely, excommunication latae sententiae, on all who violate the proper proceedures of papal elections by canvassing for votes or vote promissing, are not applicable or if they are do not touch upon the validity of the papal election of 2013.

You need to read Latin to read the Law

First, both commentators, writing in the English language, show themselves ignorant of the distinction in Canon Law between an excommunication which is threatened and an excommunication which is declared or imposed.

When the Code of Canon law specifies that a specific crime is to be punished by excommunication, an excommunication is threatened.  In such canons, the law specifies that the maximum punishment, excommunication, may be imposed.

When the Pope or some competent authority by a specific act declares the penalty upon an individual, the excommunication is declared.

But some special laws can impose an excommunication in virtue of the very deed committed, ipso facto. These impositions by special law for all who in the future commit such actions are true impositions, as the Latin language indicates by the use of the verbs, incurrere, irrogare and innodare.

We see this in the Code itself, which specifies in the Official English translation:

Can. 1314Generally, a penalty is ferendae sententiae, so that it does not bind the guilty party until after it has been imposed; if the law or precept expressly establishes it, however, a penalty is latae sententiae, so that it is incurred ipso facto when the delict is committed.

This becomes evident in the Latin text of that canon, which reads:

Can. 1314 — Poena plerumque est ferendae sententiae, ita ut reum non teneat, nisi postquam irrogata sit; est autem latae sententiae, ita ut in eam incurratur ipso facto commissi delicti, si lex vel praeceptum id expresse statuat.

In Latin, Irrogari means “to inflict” or “impose”, incurrere means to run into or upon; innodare, beings to be bound up by.  The metaphors are equivalent, for when one has been penalized for a crime, he has has its penalty bound to himself and has run into or been tied up by the penalty.  Ferendae sententiae means a punishment which “is to be placed” upon the criminal, latae sententiae means a punishment which “has been placed” upon the criminal.  Thus, it is evident that in cases of excommunications which are latae sententiae ipso facto, the penalty has already been imposed.

Pope John Paul II made it clear he was imposing a penalty upon all future violators

Now in the case of the actions prohibited by UDG 81, Pope John Paul II uses very specific language in the original Latin.  As I wrote back on Nov. 28, 2014, but which seems to have been forgotten by the recent commentators:

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

 This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when with a foreswearing, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

As can be seen, Pope John Paul II, at that moment IMPOSES the penalty of excommunication ipso facto, and this, not upon the act but upon all the persons who will commit the act.  Thus all who commit the forbidden acts are excommunicated automatically for having committed them and the penalty is imposed not by a written decree after the fact, but by a written decree before the fact, that is, by this his special law for Papal Conclaves, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG).

Indeed, as logic dictates, that if this were not the correct reading of the law, then the threat of an excommunication in UDG 81 would be nothing but a flourish of words, since it would have no effect and the guilty could get away with stealing a papal election by means of vote canvassing.  Clearly Pope John Paul II was not an idiot, who merely threatened a penalty which could only be imposed after the fact by the very individual elected uncanonically by the criminal violators of UDG 81!  To say such a thing would be an absurdity and calumny.

The Myths used to undermine a right understanding of the Law

Canon Peters, for his part, attempts a subtle shell game by replacing the word “imposed” by “formal”, when he writes (I quote from Fr. Z’s blog):

But that same cursory glance at Canon 1331 will not show (unless one is trained in canon law) that most consequences of excommunication become relevant in the external forum only if the excommunication is “imposed or declared”. That short, technical phrase means that, while one who is “automatically” excommunicated labors under the personal burdens of this sanction, it is only when an excommunication is “formal” that actions performed by canonical criminals raise questions for Church life and governance.

As I have shown, the penalty for violation of UDG 81 is already imposed by the promulgation of the papal law itself, on all future violators.  Thus the consequences of that penalty effect not only the liceity but the validity in law of all acts of those persons after the crimes committed. There is no distinction made in canon 1314 of formal and material excommunication. Canon Peters is attempting to alter the law by altering the terms, in a clever shell game.

Msgr. Athanasius, instead, attempts to argue, that since the former papal law explicitly allowed excommunicated electors to vote and be elected, the new papal law, while not explicitly saying such a thing — which is nonsensical in the new Code, if you think about it, since the new Code does not have the distinction between excommunication simplex and excommunication vitandis (simple excommunication of penalty and excommunion which excludes from the Church) — should be read and interpreted as if it did say such a thing.  Msgr.’s opinion is rejected by the noted Canonist, Jesus Minambres, which I reported upon here. The erroneous opinion of the Msgr., is also obviated by the careful consideration of what the new papal law does allow, the voting and election of all Cardinals, regardless of any reason or cause. Because in the CIC 1983, canon 171 prohibits not the voting of excommunicated electors, but the tallying of their votes.  Furthermore, since the College of Cardinals did prohibit de facto the Cardinal of Scotland from attending, because of the scandals he was involved in,  it is clear that their own understanding of whom the Papal Law allows to be prohibited from voting does not correspond to the wide reading the Mgsr. would have it read. Thus since neither the indulgence of UDG 81 can be said to cover excommunication, as the old law did, and since canon 171 does not conflict with it if it did, the argument of Msgr. Athanasius falls flat on its face as contra ius and praeter rem.

For more on the effects of being formally excommunicated (canon 1331) by the violation of UDG 81, see my article of Dec. 12, 2014 A.D., The Monstrosity of the Allegations against “Team Bergoglio” = Cardinal Bergoglio is not the Pope.

The Monstrosity of the Allegations against “Team Bergoglio” = Cardinal Bergoglio is not the Pope

Rome, Dec. 12, 1014:  The monstrosity of the allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope boggle the mind.  As this blog has noted in its previous report, the text of the narrative in chapter 9 of that book, implicates as many as 30 Cardinal electors in activity which seems likely to violate the papal law on Conclaves, Universi Dominici Gregis (here after UDG), promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

In that law, in paragraph 81, all forms of vote canvassing which include vote promising were punished with automatic excommunication (latae sententiae).  Yet canons 1329 and 1331 expand that penalty and indicate the consequences, even if the validity of the Conclave’s vote for Cardinal Bergoglio is not put in question by means of canon 171 §2, as this blog has speculated from the beginning. Let’s take a look then at these 2 canons.

The effects of Canon 1329: not only Cardinal Electors, but all accomplices

The From Rome blog has noted in its reports that the punishment was leveled only against Cardinals who could vote. However, the monstrosity of the allegation grows from the fact that Canon 1329 § 2 extends the effects of the penalty issued in UDG 81.

Canon 1329, § 2 reads, in the Latin:

Can. 1329§2. In poenam latae sententiae delicto adnexam incurrunt complices,qui in lege vel praecepto non nominantur, si sine eorum opera delictum patratum non esset, et poena sit talis naturae, ut ipsos afficere possit; secus poenis ferendae sententiae puniri possunt.

The official English translation of this, from the Vatican website is:

§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.

Thus, not only are the Cardinal Electors who sought vote-promises and those Cardinal Electors who promised votes in danger of excommunication from UDG 81, but also all those who assisted in this, such as:

  1. The aged Italian Cardinal, whom Ivereigh alleges tallied the votes, since without his assistance the conspiracy could not measure its success and by means of this count were encouraged to engage in the alleged illicit activities.
  2. A Cardinal-non-Elector, such as the alleged ring-leader, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, since in providing direction and organization for a conspiracy, the head of it assists in a manner in which the crimes could not have been committed as regards specific acts or their numerosity.  This is true even if the head of a conspiracy does not do the act which is criminalized.
  3. Any Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, or layman who assisted as messengers or solicitors between those asking for votes and those promising them.
  4.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, inasmuch as if he knew of the conspiracy, could have prevented it by signifying his unwillingness to allow such a campaign to go forward, which he could have done by merely threatening to reveal it during the Conclave; for knowledge of a conspiracy from which one benefits along with omission of all acts sufficient to bring such a conspiracy to naught or gravely obstruct it, is complicity before or during the act.  And no such conspiracy could succeed, without such at least tacit consent, since every Cardinal Elector upon being asked for his vote, could have confirmed the consent of Cardinal Bergoglio to such a campaign by asking him personally and directly.  That the alleged campaign go forward, therefore argues that it had some sort of consent from the Cardinal.

This might explain why in both denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative, the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and the spokesman for the Holy Father, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S. J., have explicitly denied that Cardinal Bergoglio was asked by any of the Cardinals for his consent to the vote-campaigning.

The enormity of this implication is seen when we apply the effects of Canon 1331.

Canon 1331 requires that an excommunicated Pope-elect never exercise or hold office

Canon 1331 explains the effects of all excommunications latae sententiae. In the official English version, from the Vatican website this canon reads:

Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:

  1. to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
  2. to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
  3. to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance.

§ 2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:*

  1. who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
  2. invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
  3. is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;
  4. cannot acquire validly a dignity, office, or other function in the Church;
  5.  does not appropriate the benefits of a dignity, office, any function, or pension, which the offender has in the Church.

Which means, that if Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations are true, and if Cardinal Bergoglio had knowledge of the conspiracy and expressly or tacitly consented to it, then he would be incapable of holding the office of Pope, or making any acts which pertain to that office, such as nominate bishops, call Synods, or name Cardinals!

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* That penalties of excommunication which are leveled automatically (latae sententiae) by a general decree are imposed in the very act of the commission of the criminalized activity, can be had from canon 1314. Some canonists wish to restrict the term “imposed” [imponere] only to penalties leveled by a specific written decree naming the individual(s) — but that violates the signification of the Latin verb, which means “to place upon” (in the same sense as we say in English, “leveled”), not “declared or indicated in by a specific decree” — not to mention it also ignores the patent distinction made in canon 1314.  In any case, the Church could not endure such a situation, and the Sacred College of Cardinals in a special consistory would have the necessity, in virtue of the authority granted them in UDG 5, of resolving the matter and/or proceeding to a new election.

If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?

Denial

London, Nov. 25, 2014 — A remarkable letter to the editor, if ever there was one. A denial, which draws more attention, than the matter would otherwise merit.  In today’s Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, denies a key fact in the reporting by Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who just published a book exposing a concerted effort among Cardinals of the Roman Church to canvass for votes on behalf of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the days prior to the Conclave of March 2013, which elected the latter as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.  The on-line edition of the Telegraph has a short story about this, by John Bingham, which opens thus:

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, helped to orchestrate a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis, a new biography claims.

The Election of Pope Francis has seen a great deal more publicity than any in modern times, especially concerning the remarkable novelty of revelations coming from Cardinals themselves — remarkable, since according to papal law, to make such revelations is punished by automatic excommunication!

The papal law is Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Feats of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 1996 A.D..  The key paragraphs regarding this excommunication are as follows:

  1. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
  2. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.

However, today’s denial regards another requirement of the papal law, regarding Conclaves: the express prohibition of canvassing for votes prior to the commencement of the Conclave.  John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution of 1996 makes that a high-crime, punishable by automatic excommunication.

  1. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
  2. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
  3. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

The Reason for the Press-Secretary’s Denial is now manifest

If Maggie Doherty had not gone to the lengths of issuing a denial in such language, I would never have taken notice.  But now that she has, having consulted the papal law on Conclaves, it appears manifest why she has.  If Austen Ivereigh’s book contains verifiable evidence that any of the Cardinals who voted for Jorge Mario Bergoglio canvassed for votes in the manner forbidden, especially if he tacitly consented to this, then by that very fact (ipso facto) they fell under the penalty of excommunication in the same moment they agreed to do such and/or did such. And, if Bergoglio tacitly agreed (that is, had knowledge, and consented without opposing what they were doing), then he, too, would have been excommunicated prior to the Conclave.

Does this mean that the Papal election was invalid?

But if what  Austen Ivereigh alleges, did happen, would the election of Pope Francis be null and void?  The grounds for this are entirely different from those alleged in Antonio Socci’s best-selling book in Italy, Non è Francesco, (He is not Francis: i.e. he should not be called Pope Francis), which is based on the fact that on March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected by 5 votes, when the papal law only allows 4. Or the challenge now being brought in the Petition to the College of Cardinals, which regards 3 canonical questions which arise from the violations of the penalties imposed by the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Trent, and Pope Paul IV.

Let us take a look at the papal law, again.  It is very important to note, what Pope John Paul II says in the previous paragraph, n. 78:

78. If — God forbid — in the election of the Roman Pontiff the crime of simony were to be perpetrated, I decree and declare that all those guilty thereof shall incur excommunication latae sententiae. At the same time I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision, in order that — as was already established by my Predecessors — the validity of the election of the Roman Pontiff may not for this reason be challenged.(23)

Paragraph 78, regards the buying or selling of votes; which does not seem what Ivereigh has alleged; for when votes are bought and sold, then the validity of the election which would otherwise be worthy of doubt or challenge, is, according to Pope John Paul II’s law, free from ever being so challenged (which he does with the words: “I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision”). Simony is the crime of buying or selling spiritual things, in this case, of votes, with the promise of monies paid in advance.

However, as regards, however, the excommunications leveled for canvassing, Pope John Paul II does not remove the nullity or invalidity of the election.

This leaves the question, whether the election of Pope Francis could be challenged now?

It seems at least possible, since it is not a question of the invalidity of an election on the basis of the fact that Cardinals were excommunicated on account of vote canvassing, but on account of a certain sort of coercion of the process to elect the Pope, which process must guarantee the liberty of the Cardinals to chose a Pope in a manner free from the deceits and maneuvers of worldly politics.

This doubt of the validity of the election is what seems to be implied by the Press-Secretary’s denial.  Because, if it were only a question of a Cardinal’s excommunication for violating secrecy or canvasing votes, he could easily appeal to Pope Francis to be pardoned and the excommunication lifted.  Indeed, what victorious candidate, now Pope, would not pardon the Cardinals who helped him get elected, if they did canvass for votes?  Thus, it certainly seems to the thoughtful reader, that there may be some more urgent reason for the denial. …  Cui prodest?

Addendum of Nov. 26, 3PM GT

I had a look at the general norms in the 1983 Code of Canon law regarding canonical elections and found some confirmatory information.  There in Canon 171, there are these stunning requirements for a valid election:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

1/ a person incapable of a human act;
2/ a person who lacks active voice;
3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

The importance of this Canon, I opine, is thus:  if what Ivereigh alleges in his book, is true, and the manner of canvassing votes is that penalized with automatic excommunication, then the Cardinals who did this, and Cardinal Bergoglio — if he expressly consented, as Ivereigh’s print edition says he did — would be excommunicated prior to the begining of the Conclave; and the election would be null and void, on the grounds that the 32 votes Bergolio received in the first round of voting (as reports allege, which votes are presumably nearly or mostly those who participated in the vote canvassing) would be null and void, coming as they did from excommunicated electors. That would make the 78 votes which Cardinal Bergoglio got in the final 5th vote, to be insufficient to elect him. (I am no canonist, so this is my opinion, though I have studied the tract on Canonical Censures at a Pontifical Instititute at Rome).

Postscript

Having carefully read the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, of Pope John Paul II, and that modification of Pope Benedict XVI, Normas nonnullas, I find it very curious that neither specifies explicitly who is eligible to be elected Pope. Even the 1983 code is silent. This is a serious deficiency, since the Bull of Pope Paul IV does specify this, and thus, if this matter is not included specifically in modern legislation, the terms of Pope Paul IV’s, Cum ex apostolatus officio, seem to remain in force. (If any canonists know, please leave a comment below, Thanks!).

FOLLOW UP REPORTS:

Nov. 27, 2014: Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for Pope Francis

Bergoglio’s Past Catches up with him, with a vengeance

I have intently watched the Papacy of Pope Francis, from the first day of his election as Roman Pontiff.  Though I am a resident in Rome, I did not go to St. Peter’s square to see who would be elected, since I had a chest cold, and did not want to make it worse.

But, I confess to be one of the many who were enthused by his election, especially of his name selection, “Francis”, after the saintly founder of my Order, St. Francis of Assisi.  So much was my confidence, that I am among the first to write him a letter, which he received on the first day of his Petrine ministry, and which one of his secretaries confirmed by calling me — Though I never got a response to my request.

With the loud and clamorous and scandalous happenings at Synod 14, I became more certain that if there were anything about his background which was untoward, that some journalist would reveal it.  Indeed, from the first day of his election, the media have been exceedingly supportive of Bergoglio, and thus there have been almost no reports about his background, childhood, family, upbringing.

Today, on October 14, Sandro Magister, one of the leading Vaticanistas (that is, journalist who reports on Vatican affairs), published a very telling exposé of Pope Francis, with specific reference to the kind of pastoral practice he promoted at Buenas Aires as Archbishop.  You can read the official English translation of that article, here.

The really damning evidence is referred to in this paragraph of Magister’s report (Bold Facing and Coloring not in the original):

On communion for the divorced and remarried, it is already known how the pope thinks. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those “penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop” projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.

The entire affair is outrageously sacrilegious and offensive.  Because to put Our Lord, Who is truly, really, and substantially present in the Sacrament, into the hands or mouth of someone in mortal sin, is to crucify Him anew.  And to order such a thing done, is a horrendous monstrosity.

But, I am particularly troubled that Magister seems to have indicated, in the text I have highlighted in red, that this was done with the omission of any encouragement to attend confession, nay, with the apparent implication that omitting confession was encouraged.

This is particularly grievous, because such a doctrine and teaching such a practice was condemned by the infallible and Ecumenical Council of Trent, in its 13th session, and XI canon, which is found here, the text of which is:

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

I do not see how Bergoglio as Archbishop could habitually conduct such a practice in his Archdiocese if he did not teach or preach to his clergy at least, that such a practice was licit, allowed, or proper, all of which would have put him under the pain of excommunication from the day he first began to teach such an omission of penance before reception of communion by public sinners.

Obviously this needs to be investigated and the testimony of the faithful in the Archdiocese needs to be heard.

Also, experts in canon law need to be questioned, whether this excommunication imposed by Trent is latae sententiae or ferendae, that is, whether one falls immediately under this punishment when committing the act condemned, or whether the Pope would have to impose it.

This is important, because in the decree of Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, an Archbishop who was under the sentence of excommunication could not be validly named a Cardinal, and such a Cardinal could not be validly elected Pope (cf. in particular, n. 2, especially in its final paragraph; n. 6).

It is another, thornier question, whether a Pope saying that communion can be given to impenitent public sinners, without the requirement of confessing their sins and repenting, would be excommunicated by the excommunication handed down in Trent, Session 34, Canon XI.  If he has counseled this even over the telephone, then he would, according to the norms of canon law, certainly be subject to suspicion for its violation.  But the canon established by Trent regards discipline, the mere practice is not heretical, but makes one suspect of heresy, because if one were to do such, either he does not believe in the dogma of transubstantiation or he does not believe in the ecclesiological and theological necessity of faith and penance as prerequisites to receive a Sacrament, any of which is heretical.