Pope Francis meets with cardinals during the weekly general audience on Nov. 14, 2018, at St. Peter’s square in the Vatican. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)BLOGS | NOV. 16, 2018The Pope Owns ThisThis is no time to be dismissive. This is a time to work together for reform and a new springtime of faith in the Church and in the world.Msgr. Charles Pope
The annual Fall Meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which took place in Baltimore earlier this week, was a disappointment on many levels. Yet there were also moments of light and strength coming from a good number of bishops. They spoke with clarity, acknowledging the seriousness of the crisis both in terms of the need to bring some semblance of justice to the victims and of the faltering credibility of the Church. Some even made the forbidden connection of the crisis to active homosexuals in the priesthood. Still others lamented the collective silence on sexual morality, wondering how many bishops and clergy do not believe what the Church teaches. (The interventions of these courageous bishops were reported in detail in the National Catholic Register here and here.)
Lamentably, the vote to encourage the Holy See to release all documents related to former Cardinal McCarrick’s alleged misconduct did not pass. The debate seemed to center on canonical issues and even wordsmithing. Nonetheless, the fact that more than 80 bishops were willing to issue even a mild-mannered insistence to Rome shows that many are finding a voice that is willing to confront when and where necessary.
The greatest disappointment was Pope Francis’ decision to suppress any vote or action on the abuse scandals by the U.S. bishops. Some bishops remarked that this decision indicates that Rome is serious about reform—a gratuitous claim. To many if not most of the faithful from whom I regularly hear, this seems yet another sad example of intransigence from Rome and the Pope. There is an almost complete tone-deafness in Rome; there seems to be bewilderment as to why these American “conservatives” are so worked up. Even worse, it appears that there is intentional resistance, obfuscation, and outright refusal to grant the legitimate requests of God’s faithful for a full and prompt investigation. These requests by the faithful are intended to ensure that tolerance of sin, violations of chastity, and clerical malfeasance will end. Victims deserve a prompt and thorough investigation and the faithful are right to insist that their clergy live up to the vows they take and observe the Sixth Commandment.
To most Catholics, the Pope’s actions and seeming resistance place the ownership of the scandal squarely in his court; he has increasingly become the face of the scandal. This is due to the credible accusations that he knew of former Cardinal McCarrick’s predatory behavior but even more so to the fact that he has steadfastly refused even to respond to the charges. He could deny them, but he does not. Even if he were to say, “I made a serious error in judgment and I ask the mercy and forgiveness of God’s people,” many people would do so, even if with sadness. Instead, the Pope has declared that he will “not say one word on this.” Even worse, he subsequently referred to those who have asked for answers and investigations as “a pack of wild dogs,” “scandal-mongers,” and “those in league with the Great Accuser.” This is no way to treat God’s faithful; it makes him seem more of a besieged and angry potentate than a shepherd who “has the smell of the sheep.” There is a lot of talk about mercy and accompaniment, but the Pope’s actions, including the recent suppression of the USCCB’s planned vote and actions on the sexual abuse crisis, demonstrate that such terms will be very selectively applied.
Indeed, the response of the Pope to the situation in the U.S. seems eerily familiar to his treatment of the people of Chile: Pope Francis deeply offended abuse survivors by defending Chilean Bishop Juan Barros from what he called the “calumny” and “gossip” of victims of clerical sexual abuse, stubbornly backing his appointment as bishop despite widespread advice to remove it. He even called the Chileans who protested Barros’ appointment “dumb.” So detrimental was this stubbornness, dismissiveness,and unkindness to basic credibility that even some of Pope Francis’ closest associates, including Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, distanced themselves from him. Only when his hand was forced by strong protests and by actions of the Chilean government did Pope Francis alter his stance and finally remove Barros, later issuing an apology.
Americans, both clergy and lay, may well have to learn that it could take strong protest to move this pope to reconsider his seemingly dismissive stance regarding our concerns. While there were some early promises of an investigation and a canonical trial of Archbishop McCarrick, nothing seems to have materialized, and the Pope’s suppression of the planned votes and actions of the USCCB seems to indicate that it he does not consider it a high priority.
It also does not help that many of Pope Francis’ closest advisors are themselves caught up in this worldwide scandal and have at best exhibited poor judgment. For example, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (from Honduras) is seen as highly connected to homosexual and financial improprieties there; more than forty seminarians in his diocese published a letter asking him to root out the homosexual network in his seminary. Cardinal Rodríguez is Pope Francis’ chief advisor, the head of his “Council of Nine,” which works closely with him in bringing about reform in Rome.
Yet another associate of Francis’ in the “Council of Nine,” Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, has stepped down to face legal charges of covering up for abusive priests.
My point here is not to recount every detail but rather to point out that Pope Francis, who was himself tasked by the last conclave with rooting out abuse and corruption, has tended to surround himself with men who are at the very heart of the scandals rocking the Church throughout the world. His credibility as a reformer who will root out scandal and insist upon accountability is nearly nonexistent; the scandal in the United States has landed firmly on his desk as a result of his own behavior. He has said to American Catholics and to our bishops, in effect, “Let me and the Holy See handle this.”
I am not confident that we will see anything close to a full inquiry or a clear adjudication of this matter in Rome. Too many there are implicated and compromised to be able to carry out a clear and forceful investigation. The testimonies of Archbishop Viganò have substantially withstood scrutiny: former Cardinal McCarrick’s misdeeds were known and ignored despite previous sanctions. However, there just seems to be little importance attached to any of this in Rome.
I cannot say strongly enough how uncomfortable it makes me to be detailing all this. Every faithful Catholic—and certainly every priest—has an instinct to support the Pope and our bishops, but this worldwide scandal has forced many of us to speak out. Just like the people of Chile, we are going to have to speak even more forcefully and persistently, focusing much of our attention now on Rome and the Pope. It will feel awkward, and we must be careful in what we say and how we say it, in what we insist upon and how we go about it.
I pray that the bishops who spoke out so courageously at the USCCB meeting will continue to do so and will also direct clear and forceful appeals to Rome and to the Holy Father. Demands for a full and credible investigation and a canonical trial of former Cardinal McCarrick are not out of place or unreasonable. Bishops are not acolytes of the Pope and their dioceses are not mere franchises of the Diocese of Rome. I pray that they will raise their rightful voices as shepherds seeking to protect their flock. May they have the courage to insist, not just request, actions that they deem necessary for the protection of God’s faithful and for a restoration of credibility. Restoration will take time, but God’s faithful deserve to see their bishops fighting for them and will respond well when they do. My intent here is not to bait the bishops; each must prudently consider how best to respond to this crisis. It is clear, however, that they are going to have to show a strong resolve to move Roman officials and the Pope toward the kind of actions the faithful deserve.
As for God’s faithful, pray for your bishop. If he has spoken well and strongly, encourage and support him. If he has been silent, challenge him with love. Find your own voice, too. It may feel awkward to speak forcefully and with concern toward the Holy Father, but it seems that this will be necessary. By his own actions, he has become the face of this crisis, indicating that he wants to be the one to handle it. Our focus, prayers, and insistence must now be directed toward him. Practically speaking, I would advise you to write to the Papal Nuncio in Washington D.C., Archbishop Christophe Pierre. Keep your letter brief, but be clear in stating your concerns and in insisting on the actions that the Holy See must take to begin restoring credibility; ask the good archbishop to forward your concerns to the Holy Father.
Finally, there are some in Rome and even among our own bishops and priests in the U.S. who still see this crisis as a mere tempest in a teapot, largely stirred up by “right-wing” bloggers and Catholics who simply “don’t like” Pope Francis. I know of no one from any sector of the Church who is not heartbroken about this, while also angry and insistent upon reform. This is not a storm created in the “blogosphere.” Every day I am approached by parishioners and contacted by people from all over: young adults in our Bible study and pre-Cana programs, older Catholics in our Sodality and Knights of Columbus, catechists, staff members, long-time Catholics, recent converts, attendees at Sunday Mass, daily communicants, and those frequenting Eucharistic Adoration. They are all concerned; they are on the receiving end of questions themselves from family and friends: “What’s wrong with your Church?” They are dismayed; they are deeply concerned for the Church they still love. These are the people still in our pews, who did not leave during the cultural downslide and have supported the Church through thick and thin. These are the people who look to us. No clergyman should demonize them; they have been too good to us for us to write them off as some fringe element. They are good Catholics and are looking to us for clear teaching, for some return of the love and loyalty they have shown us through the most difficult decades of the cultural and sexual revolutions. They have been exceedingly patient with us. This is no time to be dismissive; this is a time to listen and work together with God’s good people for reform and a new springtime of faith in the Church and in the world. Somebody say, “Amen!”
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