Tag Archives: Siscoe

The theory of Universal Acceptance is contrary to Faith, Law and Fact

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Over at True and False Pope, Mr. Salza has published a reply to Ann Barnhardt full of vile insults, which is most unworthy of any man.

I do not usually comment on blogs, but I decided to join the fray. After soliciting from Mr. Siscoe a clear definition of the theory of Universal Acceptance, I show why that Theory in this case is contrary to Faith, Law and Fact. Here is my reply:

There are major problems with your theory and its application.

First of all, no theory of interpretation trumps canon law, because if it did, then Jesus Christ would be a liar Who said of Peter and the laws of all his successors, Whatsoever you bind upon Earth, shall be bound also in Heaven. Thus if a man were accepted by all in the Church as the pope, when however he had no legitimate claim to the papacy because of the non compliance with any papal law regarding becoming pope, then Christ would be proved a liar.

Therefore, to assert such a theory is applicable in such a circumstance is contrary to the Faith. Therefore, in such a case, if you want to use it, I would have to conclude you are a blasphemer and a heretic, and also a schismatic, since you would thereby adhere to a false pope.

The other problem with your theory is that in the present case, there never was universal acceptance. Bishop Gracida never accepted the renunciation or the election. And I just met about 12 persons at a Conference here in Rome, over the weekend, who told me they did not accept Bergoglio the moment he came out of the Loggia and said, Buona Sera!

The use of this theory of Universal Acceptance in the case of a papal renunciation has been abrogated explicitly by Canon 332 §2, which said that the acceptance of a renunciation by anyone whomsoever is not required for its validity. Therefore, it is not the cause of its validity, nor a sign of its validity. Therefore, to resort to it in the present case is to be a rebel against the papal law, and thus to be condemned by Unam Sanctam, because it is a grave duty of the Faith that we be subject to papal laws and to the true pope.

Finally, you resort to this theory of Universal Acceptance because you manifestly reject to accept the norm of Canon 332 §2 which defines the essential juridical act as a renunciation of munus, which never occurred. Nor can you legitimately read munus where ministerium is written in the Declaratio, because as Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori says in his tract on Interpretation of Law in his Theologial Moralis, that such an interpretation would require a positive additional act of the lawgiver. But such a requirement means the original act is not clear in itself. And as Mons. Arrieta of the Pontifical Council of Legal Texts affirmed for me on De. 11, 2019, such a renunciation which is not clear in itself would be invalid.

Please note, that I have used no ad hominems in my response to you. Unlike the comments you publish here which hurl them at me.

* * *

I add here, not at the other blog, that the use of the theory of Universal Acceptance is the last resort of the willfully blind. Because everyone trained in law knows that the validity of a juridical act has nothing to do with whether it is accepted as valid or not.

I will admit, here, however, that I only read True or False Pope Blog, because the authors of it admitted in substance that they did solicit the financial support for the Fatima Center and that the requirement of the donor was that the center be purged of anyone who held the opinion of Father Gruner, that Benedict was still the Pope.

So, here, I will ask Mrs. Siscoe, Salza and Ferrara a public question: Did any of that financial support arrive in your pockets directly or indirectly? And was it given before you adhered to the theory of universal acceptance?

Finally, it does not surprise me that the authors of the Book True or False pope cannot comprehend the present Church Crisis, in which we have both a True AND a False pope. When you begin with a false premise which you use as a principle of epistemology, then you have blinded yourself from the outset.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a screenshot of the blog mentioned in this article and is used here in accord with fair use standards for editorial commentary.

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Siscoe’s Triple shell game

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Recently at One Peter Five, a website which is subtitled, “Rebuilding Catholic Culture. Restoring Catholic Tradition”, Robert Siscoe has published an article to quell the raging doubts Catholics have about the legitimacy of Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy: the first part of which is entitled: “Dogmatic Fact, the One Doctrine which proves Francis is Pope“, and the second part of which is entitled, “For Each Objection, an answer why Francis is Pope“.

There is nothing much to be said for his article other than it’s a lawyer-esque attempt to convince his audience using 3 different shell games.  As you may know, a shell game is where you put a ball under one shell and then quickly shuffle the shells on a table top so that the onlooker loses track of which of the shells contains the ball, and then you ask the onlooker to guess under which shell the ball is.  In American popular discourse, a shell game, therefore, is a trick whereby you pretend that something is one thing at one time, when it really is not.

Here are Siscoe’s 3 Shell games:

The Church

In Siscoe’s mouth the verbal expression “The Church” has two distinct meanings: the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, AND the mass of those who uncritically accept that the resignation of Benedict XVI is valid because they never examined its conformity to Canon 332 §2.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: The Chuch (founded by Jesus Christ) cannot be deceived about who is the Pope.

Minor: The Church (of all those who have not examined the resignation of Benedict) accept Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

Conclusion: Therefore, The Church (founded by Jesus Christ) accepts Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

This kind of argumentation is a false illation, because the term “The Church” has not the same signification in both the major and minor premises of the syllogism.  Aristotle calls this the Sophism of the undistributed middle term, or the equivocation.

Fallible Private Opinion

In Siscoe’s mouth, the phrase “Fallible Private Opinion” has two senses:  in one sense its a judgement about something wherein the judgement may or may not be correct, because its not based on objective reality but on an interpretation of reality.  In the other sense, its any fact of objective reality which he wants to ignore for the sake of his argument.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: No merely infallible private opinion about dogmatic facts can assert itself as more authoritative than the judgement of the majority of men and women in the Church, since the Church’s sensus fidelium and Her indefectibility protects Her from error.

Minor: That Benedict’s act of renunciation regards the ministerium and not the munus, is a fallible private opinion.

Conclusion: Therefore, no one has the right to sustain that Benedict’s resignation is invalid against the vast majority of the members of the Church.

The error of this illation is found chiefly in the Minor. Because, that Benedict said ministerio not muneri in his act of renunciation is NOT a private opinion, but a fact of history.

Siscoe may not know it, but the Science of Logic teaches that the verity of premises flows down to their conclusions in valid illations.  Thus:

Major: That Benedict renounced his ministerium, is a fact of history.

Minor: That canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus, is not a fallible private opinion, but a fact of law, being the very text of the Law.

Conclusion: That Benedict’s act of resignation is not in conformity with canon 332 is a fact of history.

Siscoe might want to ignore canon 38, which says that any Motu Proprio which runs counter to the terms of the law, EVEN IN THE CASE IN WHICH the one positing the act is IGNORANT of the law, is invalid UNLESS there is an express derogation from the law by the competent authority (in this case by the Pope), but Canon 38 is there and Catholics cannot ignore to apply it to this case.  Thus the conclusion infallibly follows, since the act of resignation contained no derogation from canon 38 or 332, that:

Benedict did not validly resign.

Peaceful and Universal Acceptance

These words mean two things in the mouth of Siscoe: in one sense they mean universal and peaceful and CANONICAL acceptance by the Church (see last quotation in part II). In the other sense they mean peaceful and universal acceptance CANONICAL OR NOT by the Church (see the citation of Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori).

So Siscoe’s usage of both terms can be reduced to this syllogism:

Major: The acceptance (Canonical) by the Church of of a man as Pope requires that all accept him as validly elected.

Minor: Bergoglio has been accepted (even if it be unCanonically).

Conclusion: Bergoglio must be accepted by all the Church as validly elected.

Siscoe’s illation is false because he is using 2 different senses of accepted. If he used the ancient reflex principle in its proper context, as he cites it in the final citation of that article, and did so AT THE BEGINNING of his article it would be obvious that he is beating against the air, because since the controversy regards whether Benedict canonically resigned, the key quality to be examined in the resignation is its conformity to canon law.

In Conclusion

Siscoe misunderstands the notion of infallibility.  Infallibility as a quality is the natural property of God alone as Infinite Truth. Infallibility as a charism of grace is vouchsafed to only a validly elected successor of Saint Peter. But infallibility is a quality of every true proposition, on account of truth being per se infallible, even if the thing asserted be asserted by a non infallible created person without any gift of grace.

Siscoe also seems to not know the distinction between an opinion and a fact. One can have an opinion about whether there is life on Mars, because we yet do not know if there is or is not. But one cannot have an opinion of whether there is life on Earth, since that is a fact.  An opinion can be had when both sides, pro and con, are possibles. But when there can be no truth on one side of the judgement, an opinion is impossible.

NOTE WELL: In this controversy, there is a fallible private opinion which is being asserted by some as superior to truth, reality and law, and it is this: that the renunciation of ministerium effects a renunciation of munus. Those who hold this opinion have yet to prove it, and the only valid proof must be in accord with the norm of Canon 17.