The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore this week hoping to address the sex abuse crisis. Instead, they made things worse.
By John Daniel DavidsonNOVEMBER 16, 2018
BALTIMORE, Maryland — The one thing the bishops of the American Catholic Church had to do this week at their biennial gathering was to make it clear to a watching world that they take the sexual abuse crisis seriously. They needed to convey that they understand the anger and outrage caused by the alleged sexual misdeeds of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and by the abysmal response of many other bishops to similar allegations. They needed to take action—any action—to ensure that something like the McCarrick case never happens again.
Somehow, they failed to do this.
Not only did they fail, but they managed to convey nothing so much as confusion and impotence in the face of an unimaginably ham-fisted intervention by none other than Pope Francis himself. No sooner had the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops convened Monday morning in the swanky ballroom of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel, than conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo announced that he’d received a letter from the Holy See the day before. It instructed them to delay consideration of two proposals that would have formed the basis for a substantive response to the sexual abuse crisis: a new code of conduct for bishops and the creation of a lay commission to investigate bishops accused of misconduct.
The letter, which came from a powerful office in the Roman Curia called the Congregation for Bishops, explained that the Vatican wants the American bishops to wait until February, when Pope Francis will convene a synod about the sexual abuse crisis in Rome with the heads of bishops conferences from around the world. (It is a testament to Rome’s disconnection from the reality of events in the United States that the Holy See didn’t think this delay, announced in this way, would cause outrage and scandal among the laity in America.)
The bombshell visibly upset many of the gathered bishops, most of whom had no idea such a directive from Rome was coming. After the church’s “summer of shame”—McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the Viganò letter, reports of abuse and harassment in seminaries—approving these two measures, while by no means a cure-all, was supposed to be a turning point for the U.S. church hierarchy. It was more or less the entire purpose of the conference.
However, two American bishops in particular almost certainly must have known beforehand that an intervention from Rome was coming, because they were appointed by Francis to the Congregation for Bishops, which sent the letter. One is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who stepped down as archbishop of Washington D.C. last month after the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed his weak and inconsistent response to sexual abuse claims when he was bishop of Pittsburgh.
The other is Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, a Francis ally who made headlines in September when he told a reporter that the pope shouldn’t get distracted by the letter from former high-level Vatican official Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò claiming that Francis knew for years about McCarrick but did nothing. “He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church,” Cupich said. “We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”
Immediately after DiNardo made the announcement, Cupich rose to inform his brother bishops, “It is clear the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously.”
Except that it is not clear at all. Francis ignored requests from some U.S. prelates to cancel the synod on youth and instead hold a synod on bishops that addresses clergy sexual abuse and the accountability of bishops. Instead, Francis ordered the American bishops to attend a weeklong spiritual retreat in Chicago in January. He also refused DiNardo’s request for a papal representative to be sent to the conference in Baltimore. Perhaps Francis really is taking all this seriously, but he clearly doesn’t want the bishops to take action on their own.
In the end, the bishops failed even to pass a resolution urging the Vatican to release documentation related to the McCarrick investigation. After hemming and hawing over the resolution’s wording, a few bishops began to grumble that the resolution was unnecessary and inappropriate. Cupich questioned what it would even mean to release documents and later told his fellow bishops to just trust that Francis will do the right thing: “The successor of Peter has said he’s going to be truthful about this, and it seems to me we need to take his word on it.” The McCarrick resolution failed by a vote of 85 to 137.
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth unwittingly summed up the entire conference when, complaining about the resolution, he said it “appears like we’re doing something when in fact we’re not.”
U.S. Bishops Are Products Of A Broken System
As a group, the American bishops of the Catholic Church are not very impressive. When they meet together in one place, as they did this week, you don’t get the sense of awe that their titles and vocations would suggest. After all, Catholics believe that cardinals and bishops—eminences and excellencies, as they’re formally called—are the actual successors to Christ’s apostles, imbued with supernatural faith and spiritual authority. They are the guardians of a deposit of faith that’s been handed down intact for 2,000 years and will survive until Jesus Christ returns and makes all things new.
So why is it that but for the collars and black suits, a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops might well be mistaken for a conference of insurance adjusters? Why do the assembled bishops, the vicars of Christ, come off like bland administrators or any other professional organization going about its banal and insular affairs—even in the face of something as grave as the sexual abuse crisis?
Part of it is institutional decay. Meeting an American bishop for the first time is like meeting a general for the first time. You think the man is a general because he is the best, perhaps because he has distinguished himself in battle. But you soon realize that in most cases he is a general simply because he has survived the system long enough.
Often, it’s the same with bishops. That’s not to say there are no good bishops (or generals), but simply that bishops are products of the system that produced them. In America, that system has been compromised for at least a half-century. Many current American bishops, now in their 70s and 80s, were shaped in their youth by the sexual revolution and a “culture of dissent” in the American church that rejected traditional moral teaching on issues like birth control, marriage, and homosexuality.
As a result, some bishops lost sight of moral truth, as well as an understanding of what they are and what their role is in relation to the laity. There’s a reason bishops refer to one another as “brothers” and that parishioners call their priests “father.” For Catholics, those terms reflect the theological reality that priests are living icons of Christ, true spiritual fathers to the faithful. It’s no wonder that McCarrick, in his depravity, referred to his favorite seminarians as “nephews” and told them to call him “Uncle Ted,” rejecting his role as father and shepherd for something vague, confused, and utterly false.
It’s also no wonder that so many bishops, including the pope, now want to quarantine the issue of sexual abuse of minors from the larger question of sexual infidelity in the priesthood, specifically, violations of celibacy with consenting adults. During the conference, there was some discussion of whether the proposed lay review board should examine claims of sexual offenses against minors as well as adults. Cupich was quick to urge that they be kept separate, saying that it’s a “different discipline,” and that, “In some of the cases with adults involving clerics, it could be consensual sex, anonymous, but also involve adult pornography. There’s a whole different set of circumstances.”
As a matter of policy, or the scope of duties for a lay review board, perhaps Cupich has a point that they should be kept separate. But Cupich and the other progressive-leaning bishops, who wield enormous power because of their closeness to Francis, have shown zero interest in confronting the problem of priests violating their vows of celibacy with consenting adults. Indeed, there is a clear divide between the bishops who think the crisis is rooted in the collapse of traditional morality and those who don’t see the connection at all.
At one point in the conference, Archbishop Emeritus Michael Sheehan, who dismissed dozens of priests for sexual misconduct when he became bishop of Santa Fe in 1993, said the crisis was rooted in three facts: 1) celibacy isn’t always easy, 2) the sexual revolution of the 1960s affected the entire world, including the church, and 3) after Vatican II, some priests and lay people “got wobbly” on faith and morals, gave up on prayer and confession, and some priests fell into the abuse of minors. As he was speaking, a number of other bishops were shaking their heads in disagreement.
Conservative Catholics Are Done Being Deferential
A growing number of conservative Catholics are now making noise about the crisis being rooted in the loss of traditional morality, although the role of rabble-rouser is new for many. Sixteen years ago, conservatives tended to be more deferential, reluctant to voice outrage at the church hierarchy for its failures. Liberal groups like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) were front and center in 2002, when the sexual abuse crisis first broke. In some cases, advocacy groups coupled calls for accountability with calls for sweeping reforms that would open up the priesthood to women, married people, and homosexuals.
Although members of SNAP did protest during the conference in Baltimore, standing in small groups outside the hotel with signs and sometimes shouting at bishops as they came and went, conservatives formed the bulk of the opposition. On Tuesday, more than 500 people gathered at a large pavilion just a stone’s throw from the conference hotel for a rally dubbed “Silence Stops Now,” featuring a slate of conservative Catholic speakers like Matt Walsh and Alan Keyes. The rally was organized by Church Militant, a conservative Catholic media organization headed by the incendiary commentator Michael Voris, one of the most outspoken critics of Pope Francis and what Voris calls the “homosexual mafia” in the Vatican and the American hierarchy.
As far as rallies go, it was unusual. The attendees came from all over the country, some of them large families with young children, and they were about as orderly and respectful as the conference of bishops whose resignations they were demanding. To be sure, the rally itself featured fiery speeches and chanting and sign-waving, but it began with the Rosary at noon, paused again for the Rosary at 3 p.m., and ended with a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.
The attendees were nearly unanimous in their disgust with the bishops. “They’re not listening to us,” said Christine Arndt, a woman in her fifties from Sterling, Illinois. “They’re destroying our faith like the political parties are destroying our country, and they’re supposed to be our shepherds.” Fr. Chris Walsh, a priest in northwest Philadelphia, drove down to attend the rally with a group of parishioners. “People aren’t shocked that some priests abused children,” he told me. “It’s the lack of honesty about what’s happening that shocks them.”
The only bishop who ventured out of the hotel to greet and pray with the rallygoers was Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who is widely known as a conservative cleric unafraid to speak plainly about sexual morality, abortion, and traditional marriage. Scores of attendees recognized him and asked for blessings and prayers (and selfies) as they filed past. Earlier in the day, Strickland had exhorted his brother bishops to remember that the church is above all about saving souls and converting people to holiness, and that in order to do that the bishops themselves must strive for holiness and speak clearly about sin.
I asked Strickland about that, and he told me the root of the sexual abuse crisis now facing the church is confusion about sin. “And where does that sin come from? It comes from not really deep down believing this is wrong, what a priest has done to abuse a little boy or a girl—or a teenager or an adult,” he said. “It’s pretending that it’s really not wrong.”
THE VALID CARDINALS, i.e. CARDINALS APPOINTED BY POPES BENEDICT XVI AND SAINT JOHN PAUL II, MUST ACT SOON TO REMOVE FRANCIS THE MERCIFUL FROM THE THRONE OF SAINT PETER BEFORE HE DAMAGES THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH EVEN MORE THAN HE HAS ALREADY DAMAGED IT.
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. The Catholic faithful must look back for an answer to a point from where we have come—to what occurred in and around the Sistine Chapel in March 2013 and how the fruits of those events have generated such widespread concern among those people of magisterial orthodoxy about confusing and, or, erroneous doctrinal statements which emanate from The Holy See.
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. If this is true, then the situation is dire because supposed papal acts may not be valid or such acts are clearly invalid, including supposed appointments to the college of electors itself.
Only valid cardinals can rectify our critical situation through privately (secretly) recognizing the reality of an ongoing interregnum and preparing for an opportunity to put the process aright by obedience to the legislation of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in that Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis. While thousands of the Catholic faithful do understand that only the cardinals who participated in the events of March 2013 within the Sistine Chapel have all the information necessary to evaluate the issue of election validity, there was public evidence sufficient for astute lay faithful to surmise with moral certainty that the March 2013 action by the College was an invalid conclave, an utter nullity.
What makes this understanding of Universi Dominici Gregisparticularly cogent and plausible is the clear Promulgation Clause at the end of this Apostolic Constitution and its usage of the word “scienter” (“knowingly”). The Papal Constitution 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 significance, i.e., “guilty knowledge” or willfully knowing, criminal intent.
Thus, it clearly appears that Pope John Paul II anticipated the possibility of criminal activity in the nature of a sacrilege against a process which He intended to be purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual, if not miraculous, 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:each was made an invalidating act, and if scienter (guilty knowledge) was present, also even 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.
Quite apart from the apparent notorious violations of the prohibition on a cardinal promising his vote, e.g., commitments given and obtained by cardinals associated with the so-called “Sankt Gallen Mafia,” other acts destructive of conclave validity occurred. Keeping in mind that Pope John Paul II specifically focused Universi Dominici Gregis on “the seclusion and resulting concentration which an act so vital to the whole Church requires of the electors” such that “the electors can more easily dispose themselves to accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit,” even certain openly public media broadcasting breached this seclusion by electronic broadcasts outlawed by Universi Dominici Gregis. These prohibitions include direct declarative statements outlawing any use of television before, during or after a conclave in any area associated with the proceedings, e.g.: “I further confirm, by my apostolic authority, the duty of maintaining the strictest secrecy with regard to everything that directly or indirectly concerns the election process itself.” Viewed in light of this introductory preambulary language of Universi Dominici Gregis and in light of the legislative text itself, even the EWTN camera situated far inside the Sistine Chapel was an immediately obvious non-compliant act which became an open and notorious invalidating violation by the time when this audio-visual equipment was used to broadcast to the world the preaching after the “Extra Omnes”. While these blatant public violations of Chapter IV of Universi Dominici Gregis actuate the invalidity and nullity of the proceedings themselves, nonetheless in His great wisdom, the Legislator did not disqualify automatically those cardinals who failed to recognize these particular offenses against sacred secrecy, or even those who, with scienter, having recognized the offenses and having had some power or voice in these matters, failed or refused to act or to object against them: “Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur and be discovered, those responsible should know that they will be subject to grave penalties according to the judgment of the future Pope.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, ¶55]
No Pope apparently having been produced in March 2013, those otherwise valid cardinals who failed with scienter to act on violations of Chapter IV, on that account alone would nonetheless remain voting members of the College unless and until a new real Pope is elected and adjudges them.
Thus, those otherwise valid cardinals who may have been compromised by violations of secrecy can still participate validly in the “clean-up of the mess” while addressing any such secrecy violations with an eventual new Pontiff. In contrast, the automatic excommunication of those who politicized the sacred conclave process, by obtaining illegally, commitments from cardinals to vote for a particular man, or to follow a certain course of action (even long before the vacancy of the Chair of Peter as Vicar of Christ), is established not only by the word, “scienter,” in the final enacting clause, but by a specific exception, in this case, to the general statement of invalidity which therefore reinforces the clarity of intention by Legislator that those who apply the law must interpret the general rule as truly binding. Derived directly from Roman law, canonical jurisprudence provides this principle for construing or interpreting legislation such as this Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis. Expressed in Latin, this canon of interpretation is: “Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.” (The exception proves the rule in cases not excepted.) In this case, an exception from invalidity for acts of simony reinforces the binding force of the general principle of nullity in cases of other violations. Therefore, by exclusion from nullity and invalidity legislated in the case of simony: “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.”
His Holiness made an exception for simony. Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis. The clear exception from nullity and invalidity for simony proves the general rule that other violations of the sacred process certainly do and did result in the nullity and invalidity of the entire conclave. Comparing what Pope John Paul II wrote in His Constitution on conclaves with the Constitution which His replaced, you can see that, with the exception of simony, invalidity became universal.
In the corresponding paragraph of what Pope Paul VI wrote, he specifically confined the provision declaring conclave invalidity to three (3) circumstances described in previous paragraphs within His constitution, Romano Pontfici Eligendo. No such limitation exists in Universi Dominici Gregis. See the comparison both in English and Latin below:Romano Pontfici Eligendo, 77. Should the election be conducted in a manner different from the three procedures described above (cf. no. 63 ff.) or without the conditions laid down for each of the same, it is for this very reason null and void (cf. no. 62), without the need for any declaration, and gives no right to him who has been thus elected. [Romano Pontfici Eligendo, 77: “Quodsi electio aliter celebrata fuerit, quam uno e tribus modis, qui supra sunt dicti (cfr. nn. 63 sqq.), aut non servatis condicionibus pro unoquoque illorum praescriptis, electio eo ipso est nulla et invalida (cfr. n. 62) absque ulla declaratione, et ita electo nullum ius tribuit .”] as compared with:Universi Dominici Gregis, 76: “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.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, 76: “Quodsi electio aliter celebrata fuerit, quam haec Constitutio statuit, aut non servatis condicionibus pariter hic praescriptis, electio eo ipso est nulla et invalida absque ulla declaratione, ideoque electo nullum ius tribuit.”]Of course, this is not the only feature of the Constitution or aspect of the matter which tends to establish the breadth of invalidity.
Faithful must hope and pray that only those cardinals whose status as a valid member of the College remains intact will ascertain the identity of each other and move with the utmost charity and discretion in order to effectuate The Divine Will in these matters. The valid cardinals, then, must act according to that clear, manifest, obvious and unambiguous mind and intention of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, so evident in Universi Dominici Gregis, a law which finally established binding and self-actuating conditions of validity on the College for any papal conclave, a reality now made so apparent by the bad fruit of doctrinal confusion and plain error. It would seem then that praying and working in a discreet and prudent manner to encourage only those true cardinals inclined to accept a reality of conclave invalidity, would be a most charitable and logical course of action in the light of Universi Dominici Gregis, and out of our high personal regard for the clear and obvious intention of its Legislator, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. Even a relatively small number of valid cardinals could act decisively and work to restore a functioning Apostolic See through the declaration of an interregnum government. The need is clear for the College to convene a General Congregation in order to declare, to administer, and soon to end the Interregnum which has persisted since March 2013. Finally, it is important to understand that the sheer number of putative counterfeit cardinals will eventually, sooner or later, result in a situation in which The Church will have no normal means validly ever again to elect a Vicar of Christ. After that time, it will become even more difficult, if not humanly impossible, for the College of Cardinals to rectify the current disastrous situation and conduct a proper and valid Conclave such that The Church may once again both have the benefit of a real Supreme Pontiff, and enjoy the great gift of a truly infallible Vicar of Christ. It seems that some good cardinals know that the conclave was invalid, but really cannot envision what to do about it; we must pray, if it is the Will of God, that they see declaring the invalidity and administering an Interregnum through a new valid conclave is what they must do. Without such action or without a great miracle, The Church is in a perilous situation. Once the last validly appointed cardinal reaches age 80, or before that age, dies, the process for electing a real Pope ends with no apparent legal means to replace it. Absent a miracle then, The Church would no longer have an infallible Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. Roman Catholics would be no different that Orthodox Christians. In this regard, all of the true cardinals may wish to consider what Holy Mother Church teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶675, ¶676 and ¶677 about “The Church’s Ultimate Trial”. But, the fact that “The Church . . . will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection” does not justify inaction by the good cardinals, even if there are only a minimal number sufficient to carry out Chapter II of Universi Dominici Gregis and operate the Interregnum. 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 knowingly and wilfully initiate or intentionally 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 might 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 openly violated Universi Dominici Gregis by illegal acts or conduct causing the invalidation of the last attempted conclave, would no longer have voting rights in the College of Cardinals either. (Thus, 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. May these thoughts comport with the synderetic considerations of those who read them and may their presentation here please both Our Immaculate Virgin Mother, Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and The Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.N. de PlumeUn ami des Papes