Recently many educated Catholic observers, including bishops and priests, have decried the confusion in doctrinal statements about faith or morals made from the Apostolic See at Rome and by the putative Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.  Some devout, faithful and thoughtful Catholics have even suggested that he be set aside as a heretic, a dangerous purveyor of error, as recently mentioned in a number of reports.

Claiming heresy on the part of a man who is a supposed Pope, charging material error in statements about faith or morals by a putative Roman Pontiff, suggests and presents an intervening prior question about his authenticity in that August office of Successor of Peter as Chief of The Apostles, i.e., was this man the subject of a valid election by an authentic Conclave of The Holy Roman Church?  This is so because each Successor of Saint Peter enjoys the Gift of Infallibility. 

So, before one even begins to talk about excommunicating such a prelate, one must logically examine whether this person exhibits the uniformly good and safe fruit of Infallibility.  If he seems repeatedly to engage in material error, that first raises the question of the validity of his election because one expects an authentically-elected Roman Pontiff miraculously and uniformly to be entirely incapable of stating error in matters of faith or morals.  So to what do we look to discern the invalidity of such an election?  His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, within His massive legacy to the Church and to the World, left us with the answer to this question.

His Apostolic Constitution (
Universi Dominici Gregis) which governed the supposed Conclave in March 2013 contains quite clear and specific language about the invalidating effect of departures from its norms.  For example, Paragraph 76 states:  “Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.”  From this, many believe that there is probable cause to believe that Monsignor Jorge Mario Bergoglio was never validly elected as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter—he never rightly took over the office of Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and therefore he does not enjoy the charism of Infallibility.

What makes this understanding of Universi Dominici Gregis particularly cogent and plausible is the clear Promulgation Clause at the end of this Apostolic Constitution and its usage of the word “scienter” (“knowingly”).  Universi Dominici Gregis thus concludes definitively with these words:  “.   .   .   knowingly or unknowingly, in any way contrary to this Constitution.”  (“.   .   .   scienter vel inscienter contra hanc Constitutionem fuerint excogitata.”)  [Note that His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, had a somewhat similar promulgation clause at the end of his corresponding, now abrogated, Apostolic Constitution, Romano Pontifici Eligendo, but his does not use “scienter”, but rather uses “sciens” instead.  This similar term of sciens in the earlier abrogated Constitution has an entirely different legal significance than scienter.]

This word, “scienter”, is a legal term of art in Roman law, and in canon law, and in Anglo-American common law, and in each system, scienter has substantially the same meaning, i.e., “guilty knowledge” or willfully knowing, i.e., criminal intent.  Thus, it clearly appears that Pope John Paul II anticipated criminal activity in the nature of a sacrilege against a process which He intended to be purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual in its nature. This contextual reality reinforced in the Promulgation Clause, combined with:  (1) the tenor of the whole document; (2) some other provisions of the document, e.g., Paragraph 76; (3) general provisions of canon law relating to interpretation, e.g., Canons 10 & 17; and, (4) the obvious manifest intention of the Legislator, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, tends to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the legal conclusion that Monsignor Bergoglio was never validly elected Roman Pontiff.  This is so because:

1.  Communication of any kind with the outside world, e.g., communication did occur between the inside of the Sistine Chapel and anyone outside, including a television audience, before, during or even immediately after the Conclave;

2.   Any political commitment to “a candidate” and any “course of action” planned for The Church or a future pontificate, such as the extensive decade-long “pastoral” plans conceived by the Sankt Gallen hierarchs; and,

3.  Any departure from the required procedures of the conclave voting process as prescribed and known by a cardinal to have occurred, was made an invalidating act, and if scienter (guilty knowledge) was present, also a crime on the part of any cardinal or other actor, but, whether criminal or not, any such act or conduct violating the norms operated absolutely, definitively and entirely against the validity of all of the supposed Conclave proceedings.

This Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, which was clearly applicable to the acts and conduct of the College of Cardinals in March 2013, is manifestly and obviously among those “invalidating” laws “which expressly establish that an act is null or that a person is effected” as stated in Canon 10 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  And, there is nothing remotely “doubtful or obscure” (Canon 17) about this Apostolic Constitution as clearly promulgated by Pope John Paul II.  The tenor of the whole document expressly establishes that the issue of invalidity was always at stake.  This Apostolic Constitution conclusively establishes, through its Promulgation Clause [which makes “anything done (i.e., any act or conduct) by any person  .   .   .   in any way contrary to this Constitution,”]  the invalidity of the entire supposed Conclave, rendering it “completely null and void”.

  So, what happens if a group of Cardinals who undoubtedly did not participate in any acts of disobedience against Universi Dominici Gregis were to meet, confer and declare that, pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, Monsignor Bergoglio is most certainly not a valid Roman Pontiff.  Like any action on this matter, including the initial finding of invalidity, that would be left to the valid members of the college of cardinals.  They could declare the Chair of Peter vacant and proceed to a new and proper conclave.  They could meet with His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and discern whether His resignation and retirement was made under duress, or based on some mistake or fraud, or otherwise not done in a legally effective manner, which could invalidate that resignation.  Given the demeanor of His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and the tenor of His few public statements since his departure from the Chair of Peter, this recognition of validity in Benedict XVI seems unlikely.

In fact, even before a righteous group of good and authentic cardinals can decide on the validity of the March 2013 supposed conclave, they must face what may be an even more complicated discernment and decide which men are most likely not valid cardinals.  If a man was made a cardinal by the supposed Pope who is, in fact, not a Pope (but merely Monsignor Bergoglio), no such man is in reality a true member of the College of Cardinals.  In addition, those men appointed by Pope John Paul II or by Pope Benedict XVI as cardinals, but who were latae sententiae excommunicated because of illegal acts or conduct causing the invalidation of the last attempted conclave, would no longer have voting rights in the College of Cardinals either.  The actual valid members in the College of Cardinals may be quite smaller in number than those on the current official Vatican list of supposed cardinals.

In any event, the entire problem is above the level of anyone else in Holy Mother Church who is below the rank of Cardinal.  So, we must pray that The Divine Will of The Most Holy Trinity, through the intercession of Our Lady as Mediatrix of All Graces and Saint Michael, Prince of Mercy, very soon rectifies the confusion in Holy Mother Church through action by those valid Cardinals who still comprise an authentic College of Electors.  Only certainly valid Cardinals can address the open and notorious evidence which points to the probable invalidity of the last supposed conclave and only those cardinals can definitively answer the questions posed here.  May only the good Cardinals unite and if they recognize an ongoing Interregnum, albeit dormant, may they end this Interregnum by activating perfectly a functioning Interregnum government of The Holy See and a renewed process for a true Conclave, one which is purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual.  If we do not have a real Pontiff, then may the good Cardinals, doing their appointed work “in view of the sacredness of the act of election”  “accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit” and provide Holy Mother Church with a real Vicar of Christ as the Successor of Saint Peter.

N. de Plume
Un ami des Papes


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. abyssum says:


    Have you read Universi Dominici Gregis? If not, I suggest that a careful reading of it would answer your objections.

    Briefly I will point out that Saint John Paul II spelled out the “improper actions” that would cause a cardinal to incur the penalty of automatic excommunication. An excommunicated cardinal would not be able to cast a valid vote and would not be able to be elected pope.

    A violation of the rules against outside communication or internal collusion by individual cardinals would not invalidate a papal election, but if the number of such violations resulted in the election of a cardinal who himself had violated the rules reached the level of a majority of the votes, then there is no question but that the election would be invalid. In the case of the Conclave of 2013 a sufficient number of cardinals have admitted that they violated the rules that one can reasonably question the validity of the election under the rules of Universe Domini Gregis.

  2. richardchonak says:

    Dear Bp. Gracida,

    It seems likely that there are some flaws in the writer’s interpretation of “Universi Dominici Gregis”. Have you consulted anyone with expertise in church law about the argument? I offer two points:

    1. The writer seems to be contending that if a cardinal elector engages in *some* improper actions during a conclave, then *all* of his acts, including his votes, are null and void. That is a big assumption.

    2. If violation of the rules against outside communication or internal collusion were enough to invalidate a papal election, then no future papal election would be safe from challenge. Any participating cardinal could make an unprovable claim that a violation had occurred. That would profoundly destabilize the mechanism of papal elections, and it is probably not what Pope St. John Paul II intended with this legislation.

    Thank you for considering these points. I am grateful for your efforts to strengthen the Church in these difficult times.

  3. abyssum says:

    j kow,

    It was not me. The author has legitimate reasons for wishing to remain anonymous.

  4. pearl87 says:

    I would also like to point out that rendering Cardinals unfit to vote on the new next pope due to an arbitrary age limit is very destructive to the continuity of Catholic teaching and tradition. This, more than anything else, made the Bergoglio “pontificate” possible and it must end.

  5. The Editor says:

    Your Excellency,

    As the blogger who covered the “Team Bergoglio” scandal (from Nov. 2014 onwards) regarding the irregularities of the Conclave of 2013, I would like to comment on your proposal, if I may.

    Surely one of the habitual graces of office of the Roman Pontiff is that of infallibility. And I grant that if an occupant of the Holy See show himself not to enjoy such a habit of grace, this is facti species admissible to consideration.

    But I submit there are objective canonical reasons, more weighty, to make this consideration.

    First of all, we have the written and oral testimony of Bergoglio’s own supporters, who are unanimous in asserting that there was a conspiracy to have him elected by means of the solicitation of vote promises to obtain 25 votes in the first ballot. This is a formal violation of UDG 81, which imposes an excommunication latae sententiae on such offendors, and all who participated in obtaining those votes are also ipso facto excommunicated in virtue of Canon 1329 § 2.

    Thus,, if Bergoglio participated formally in this conspiracy he would also be excommunciated and thus in virtue of Canon 1331 incapable of validly assuming the office to which he is elected.

    However, even if he did not, Canon 171 §2 would make his election invalid, since it forbids the counting of votes of those who are excommunicate at the time of voting, and thus presumably at least 25 of the 78 votes which he received in the final decisive vote, by which he appeared to be elected, must be struck from the record, leaving the Conclave unconsummated and a sede vacante.

    I wrote about all of this more than 4 years ago, and its extremely disappointing that no Cardinal or Bishop has taken any action on these matters. I also proposed a way to encourage Bergoglio and the Cardinals to discuss this in proper canonical form.

    I am therefore gratified that you have raised the issue, once again. I hope the number of those who believe Canon Law should be followed grows, as it does provide a solution to the present problem, even if an imperfect Synod is not called.

    One could also bring to bear the terms of Pope Paul IV’s Bull “Cum ex apostolatus officio” (never abrogated), which expressly invalidates the election of a heretic, or of anyone who transgressed the decrees of any previous ecumenical council (Trent for example), as Bergoglio is known to have done, by approving the giving of communion to public heretics while Archbishop of Buenas Aires.

  6. Who wrote the article please?
    If it was you Bishop, why the ” N de plume” ?

  7. Ignis Dei says:


    Your Excellency,

    We maintain that Benedict XVI is still our Pope and the present occupant an Antipope. Upon examination of the “Declaratio”:

    It was ANOMALOUSLY declared: “…. libertate declaro me MINISTERIO EPISCOPI ROMAE…. renuntiare…” That is, what was only renounced was a MINISTRY and not the OFFICE – even this, that of the Bishop of Rome which is limited, does not necessarily mean the OFFICE OF THE POPE which in turn is universal and supreme in jurisdiction.

    1) If the Bishopric of Rome was renounced, there would have been no need to state the renunciation of its ministry – common sense apprehends this.

    3) Now, if it were the Office of the Pope (the “munus Petrinus”) that was truly renounced, everything else attached to it (as also being the Bishop of Rome and everything else attached to this…) follows.

    As to the purported reason for the ‘resignation’: “…. VIGOR… in me modo tali MINUITUR….” – his appearance, concelebrating, at the post-Conciliar ceremony of ‘exemplifying’ Popes John XXIII and John Paul II to the ‘liberalist’ Neo-Catholic ‘world’ belies an ‘incapacitatingly’ (“incapacitatem meam”) ‘deterioration of strength’. His last public address in his retirement place did not prove to be “the last time that he would be seen in public.”

    Pope Benedict XVI, in not willingly and freely renouncing formally the Office, remains, before the eyes of God, the visible head of Catholic Church. And ‘Pontifex’ Bergoglio after all this – Ecce! A charlatan indeed – an antipope – installed by the gang of ‘Ecclesiastical Revolutionaries’* to take away the remaining traditional vestiges of the Catholic Papal Monarch. * The Apocalyptic Woman at Fatima returned in 1929 asking for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart to forestall the infiltration of Seminaries and Monasteries in 1930 by bright revolutionary agents who would rise up to the high positions in the Church – revelation before the “Un-American Activities” Committee of the US Congress in the late 50’s by Dr. Bella Dodd, ex-Secretary-General of the Communist Party of America who embraced the Catholic Faith: https://teresiancarmel.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-year-that-was-1929/

    In Christ Crucified,

    and the rest of the Teresian Carmel of Catholic Resistance

  8. Margaret Maines says:

    There are MANY people speaking out to resist the confusion/error/unanswered questions and doing so, by walking out of the Church and going elsewhere – to a Traditional Mass and Priest. Numbers may be down due to poor catechizing, loss of interest but there is also the rejection of what is being forced upon them. Families and singles are travelling quite a far and costly distance to attend Traditional Masses – some by car and some by transit and people would not easily give up their finances if they didn’t have the conviction of their faith and true teachings. These costs for transportation could be put in the collection however are being given to transit and gasoline instead! With all the scandals, lawsuits, and poor leadership or troubled leadership, people are not willing to give up their hard-earned money anymore because of where is it going?? God bless, Penitent

  9. Mary Ann Parks says:

    A validly elected pope can indeed “state heresy.” And some have. A validly elected pope is protected from solemnly teaching heresy. Infallibility does not attach to everything a pope teaches. We need to review Vatican I on this. A conclave would be nice, but we don’t need to verify whether or not the pope is a valid pope. He has been very careful not to solemnly and explicitly teach heresy.

  10. Aqua says:

    So true. You show why this needs to be addressed now, not later. Everything depends on getting the premises of this existential error correct before moving on to the next phase. No other question matters, until this one is resolved properly. All error flows from it.

    Men of the Church, do your duty.

  11. camroyer says:

    Thank you, Your Excellency, for posting this wonderful contribution.

    It’s insight and clarity, just like your leadership, are most appreciated.

  12. Chris Benischek says:

    Many thanks Your Excellency. You are the only bishop in the U. S. with any guts, I have long thought. Out of what like 500 bishops and cardinals you were the only one to sign the Correctio, if I recall correctly. (Even though there, I knew you had for the sake of formality to swallow your misgivings and address the anti-pope as “Pope.”)

    Universi Domenicis Gregis is a potent argument. So to is mistake of fact under Canon 188 based on the ludicrous reconception of the papacy as indicated by the “expanded papal ministry” and “papal dyarchy” theory propounded by +Ganswein, and evidently Benedict himself. So to is the State of Emergency theory of St Armaticus.

    Laymen and other noncardinals including yourself may certainly take up the hue and cry regarding the illegitimacy of ‘Pope’ Francis and his anti-papacy at large. St Catherine of Siena was no cardinal, nor even a religious, when she marched the pope back to Rome.

    Whether Benedict remains, and has remained all along, the only true Pope–as at least I for one believe–is also a crucial consideration for all of us to sort out and come to some sort of consensus on, because if so, then any conclave before his death could only result in another anti-pope. It’s also important because we need to all double our prayers for him, even if this situation was largely one of his own devising. He yet may be martyred for the Faith.

    Happy Easter! Sursum corda!

    Many thanks,

    Chris Benischek

  13. abyssum says:


    Hard to believe, but true.
    If the Church were not protected by the four conditions necessary for the infallibility of papal pronouncements everything that Francs has said in his infamous airplane interviews would have to be considered infallible.

  14. Jcuba says:

    I agree with your assessment concerning infallibility Bishop, but the argument from most people is that the Pope is only protected when making a proclamation ex cathedra. This just doesn’t seem right to me because it would mean that a Pope could conceivably be in office for many years wreaking havoc without ever making an ex cathedra statement. I believe that there has only been two ex cathedra proclamations since 1854. I find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit infallibly kept the Popes from error on only these two occasions in that long amount of time.

  15. Terri Bradley says:

    Thank you so much for this Your Excellency!! I have always thought that because of the narrative you’ve so nicely given, that Benedict the XVI was still the ‘true Pope’. And not only these reasons but the heresy alone that this man promulgates at will were alone sufficient to disqualify him from sitting in the Chair of Peter. Yes, we must PRAY and PRAY INTENSELY that the Holy Spirit lead us and in particular our BISHOPS AND CARDINALS to take steps to rectify this situation. Yes, indeed, it would be a monumental earthquake that would hit the Church if this were to happen, but it’s the only way to salvage the burning and rotting institutional Church. The Bishops MUST BEGIN TO BELIEVE that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was not legitimately elected and take the necessary steps to salvage the Bride of Christ!!

    Holy Spirit come to our aid!! Our Lady of Fatima pray for us!! Sacred Heart of Jesus Have Mercy on Us!! St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in BATTLE!!

  16. paulyfongemie says:

    This is the first clarifying statement that covers all the sticking points that have thus far impeded further efforts to protect the faithful from further harm. Bravo Bishop! Pauly in Maine

  17. Sheepdog094 says:

    Wonderful. Francis is probably the most terrible Pope’s of all time except for the Pope who sold the Papacy three times and had children. Worthless, fake Nu Church Bergoglio. Bergoglio is garbage. He is not the Pope, but a heretical non Catholic Anti-Pope and will be declared such down the road. Washes the feet of Islam but can’t kneel for the Eucharist. Lets get a real Holy Pope. I want to one day meet a Pope!!!!! Yes, the Vatican II Popes were modern, but definitely valid. Lets get a Pope to finish what Benedict started. Young adults like myself are tired of the Bergoglian nonsense. Others go along because they are scared or don’t know through no fault of their own.

    I recall the Papal Inauguration. Very bland vestments. No Red Shoes. Plain rings. Not wearing the Mitre for the Homily. Previous Popes simplified the inauguration the right way. I was only alive to see Pope Benedict’s Inaguration on TV, so I had to read up on the papal ceremonies of previous Popes. I just get the sense that Francis might not actually be the Pope. Can he become layman Jorge Bergoglio since he is so humble?

    It would be interesting if Benedict was too frail to reclaim the Jurisdiction, and wanted a New Conclave. Would he then be able to still be “Pope Emeritus” with a legitimate Successor? Or does he need to give up the Power of Orders? I saw a reference in the comment section on 1P5 to him becoming a Pope Emeritus the “proper way”. Not sure how that would go about.

    True Papal Inauguration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R8h6HdZcyk

  18. Margaret Maines says:

    Pax et Bonum! I am new to your blog and want to say that since I have just read only a few articles, I already feel a sense of increased hope and peace that there is an answer and solution to our current hierarchy problems. I pray that the Holy Spirit will move quickly to turn this around and give us a new Pope who is valid and following the very true teachings of our dear Lord and Savior! *lovely photo of the Holy Face* Thankyou and blessings…..Penitent

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