Roma Locuta Est

Commentary and Apologetics

Of McCarrick and Past and Future Conclaves

Posted on September 13, 2018 by Steven O’Reilly

September 13, 2018 (Steven O’Reilly) – It has now been over a couple weeks since the publication of Archbishop Viganó’s testimony. This testimony accused Pope Francis of lifting sanctions placed upon former-Cardinal McCarrick by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Whatever the precise nature of these penalties, Viganó’s second accusation against Pope Francis, in my opinion, is the more troubling. Viganó claims he informed Pope Francis in June 2013 of McCarrick’s history of having corrupted generations of seminarians. Thus, even if Francis had been previously ignorant of either McCarrick’s past or the penalties placed upon him by Benedict, Francis can’t claim ignorance after this date. The implication is: the Pope, ignoring  Viganó’s report, knowingly and willfully availed himself of a corrupt McCarrick’s advice and counsel regarding episcopal appointments in the U.S., and likely other matters related to the care and government of the Church.

Yes, all of this assumes the truth of Viganó’s account. But, the efforts to discredit him have failed miserably; Viganó’s account is very credible. In the face of these allegations, the Pope has chosen to remain silent.  For those with common sense not corrupted by the cult of personality which surrounds this Pope, this silence certainly betokens – if indeed it does not confirm – the truth of the accusations.Aside from knowledge of guilt, there is simply no credible explanation for the Pope’s silence.  And, if the Pope did as Viganó’s accusation alleges, he should abdicate/resign as Viganó and many others have suggested. Roma Locuta Est agrees that the Pope should voluntarily step down if the allegations are true, but believes it is not in his nature to do so (see here).

The 2013 Conclave

Given the current controversy and calls for a papal resignation, the conclave of 2013 which gave us Francis as pope is likely to attract even more attention than it already has – which has been considerable. This past conclave is likely to be one of the most scrutinized by historians. Focus on the conclave over the last five years has already yielded various “Francis just can’t be a real pope, can he?” theories which fall into three broad categories – though there are some others:

Conclave and election of Francis invalid because Benedict is still pope

  • There are those who argue Benedict XVI did not resign of his own free will, and was perhaps forced out by a plot instigated by the St. Gallen mafia. If true, they argue, Benedict’s resignation under duress would be null. While I don’t discount there was a plot of some kind, I do believe it is quite clear Benedict XVI resigned of his own free will (see Thoughts on Free Will and Hypothetical Papal Plots).
  • The other Benedict-centered theory is that his resignation was invalid due to a substantial error on his part. Personally, I think it is the weakest of the “Francis can’t be pope” theories for reasons I have previously discussed (see Benedict is NOT pope and Benedict is STILL not Pope).

Conclave valid but election of Francis invalid due to violations of Universi Dominici Gregis

  • The Italian journalist Antonio Socci had put forth in his book, Non e’ Francesco (“He is not Francis”), the theory a procedural violation of rules in Universi Dominici Gregis (the papal legislation established by John Paul II which governs conclaves) involving the balloting had invalidated the election which gave us Pope Francis. My understanding is Socci has since abandoned the theory.
  • Then there is the theory – in its most recent elaboration by Bishop Gracida (see here) – regarding violations of Universi Dominici Gregis both in and in the lead up to the 2013 conclave.  Specifically, as stated by Bishop Gracida, the “notorious violations of the prohibition on a cardinal promising his vote, e.g., commitments given and obtained by cardinals associated” with the St. Gallen mafia. I find this an interesting theory that points to some smoke, but which has yet to find the fire.

Conclave and election of Francis valid, but his acceptance of papacy was ‘invalid’

  • While I find all the “Francis just can’t be a real pope” theories improbable (this one included), I must say this is the one theory which intrigues me most. It was suggested to me from within Pope Francis’ own Jesuit order – while other Jesuit efforts to defuse it have appeared clumsy and weak. This theory is unique in that while it concedes the election of Jorge Bergoglio was valid, his acceptance of it was not (see Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows?).

While the theories above are improbable, that is not to say there is not much more we can learn about what happened both before and in the conclave. There have been suggestions that the NSA monitored the 2013 conclave as alleged by the blog The Eye-Witness in an October 2013 article (“A Compromised Conclave“). The apparent close ties between the Democratic Party and this Vatican in the years following the conclave led the Remnant Newspaper to publish an open letter [see A Vatican-Democratic Party Alliance (Catholics ask Trump Administration to Investigate)] to the Trump administration in January of 2017 asking a number of interesting questions. In the letter, the signatories ask, for example, what role US intelligence agencies might have played in both the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Francis. It is curious to note that Cardinal Bergoglio was a long shot to win, at least according to the odds makers; but he won the papacy on only the 5th ballot of the Conclave.

The questions are interesting, if for no other reason than that the Francis papacy has been a Democratic Party dream come true as it de-emphasized cultural war issues (e.g., abortion, homosexual “marriage”) and emphasized ‘social justice’ issues (e.g., immigration, the environment). The icing on the cake has been a series of US episcopal appointments (e.g., Cupich, Tobin, McElroy) who willingly follow the new Francis political and social agenda. Another indication of how close the Vatican ties to the Democratic Party have become appears in Henry Sire’s book on Pope Francis, The Dictator Pope. In it, Sire reports that reliable sources state Pope Francis gave funds to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign from Peter’s Pence (NB: I hope U.S. bishops ask the Pope if this report is true – and  if it is, they should ask him to stop using the laity’s contributions for political donations.  Otherwise, many Catholics will stop giving to Peter’s Pence). Sire writes:

“If indeed, money from Peter’s Pence was diverted to fund Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, at Pope Francis’s request, as has been repeatedly rumored from reliable sources, it could be the unraveling of an enormous scandal.” (The Dictator Pope, p. 193)

Sire suggests that Francis did such a thing to avert a Trump presidency in favor of “a liberal president willing to abase himself (or herself) to Latin American claims.” It is difficult to imagine the Obama Administration using any derogatory intelligence gathered during or before the Conclave to publicly embarrass a liberal like Francis – a seeming ally of so many Democratic Party issues. However, President Trump is perhaps another story. Henry Sire in his book on the Francis papacy, The Dictator Pope, writes:

“It is known that the CIA was  monitoring the Conclave of 2013, and the thought that the American government might make use of its knowledge is said to be causing sleepless nights in the Curia.” (The Dictator Pope, p. 193)

If the report in the book of “sleepless nights” is to be credited, the fears in the Curia appear to be centered on what Trump might do with the information gathered back in 2013. If so, what revelations are feared in the Curia? Might the fears relate to the activities of the St. Gallen mafia – or perhaps others – to influence the election?

This brings us back to McCarrick whose role in the 2013 conclave is a curious one. Ineligible to vote in the conclave due to his advanced age, he was able to participate in the pre-conclave discussions. In a talk at Villanova University in October of 2013 (see here) McCarrick relates how he was visited by an “influential Italian gentleman” who asked McCarrick to ‘talk up Bergoglio‘.  Who was this “influential Italian” and with what organizations was he affiliated? Did others affiliated with this Italian lobby other cardinals in the days before the conclave? What special interests led him to lobby McCarrick for a Bergoglio papacy? Why did this “influential Italian” think McCarrick had any special influence with other cardinals which might aid a Bergoglio candidacy?

These and other questions, I believe, will one day have answers. Who can say for sure, at the moment, why this “influential Italian” thought McCarrick had any unique influence with other cardinals. But, with such a question in mind, it is interesting to read a news report, as I did the other day, which suggested former-Cardinal McCarrick was in the habit of handing out envelopes of cash to bishops and cardinals of the Roman curia whenever he visited Rome. In a CNA article (“What Pope Francis can clarify about the Vigano testimony- and what he can’t“, September 11, 2018), Ed Condon wrote (emphasis added):

Viganò’s testimonial asserted that Sodano played a key role in defending Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ who was later revealed to be a serial sexual abuser. The archbishop speculated that “if Sodano had protected Maciel, as seems certain, there is no reason why he wouldn’t have done so for McCarrick, who according to many had the financial means to influence decisions.”

No evidence, or even firsthand knowledge is presented by Viganò for this supposition, though McCarrick’s abilities as a prolific fundraiser were well-known.

While McCarrick was able to produce sizable donations for everything from the Papal Foundation to individual projects in dioceses around the world, the financial support he offered could also be quite personal.

When he would visit Rome, Cardinal McCarrick was well-known for handing out envelopes of money to different bishops and cardinals around the curia to thank them for their work,” a curial cardinal recently told CNA. “Where these ‘honoraria’ came from or what they were for, exactly, was never clear – but many accepted them anyway.”

The world now knowing the true sort of man McCarrick is by the evil he has done, it is difficult to accept these ‘honoraria’ were awarded by McCarrick out of pure motives without any strings attached – implicitly or explicitly – or without any expectation that the favor would be eventually returned. If the reports of these gifts are accurate, then as with the tale of McCarrick’s “influential Italian,” various questions arise.  Who or what was the source of the funds disbursed to the bishops and cardinals in the Curia? Did the funds come from any of the charities with which McCarrick was associated?  If so, were the expenditures properly accounted for and reported? Who received the gifts and what were the dollar amounts? Were the gifts limited only to curial cardinals?

I am not a lawyer, but I do wonder if there are any legal issues involving these gifts. For example, the gifts were apparently given to officials of the Holy See, a sovereign country. Therefore, did the gifts possibly run afoul of any provision of the The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?  Whether the gifts meet the strict legal definition of bribes under the FCPA is up to federal officials to decide and enforce, but – looking at them as a Catholic – these gifts, at a minimum, had the potential to corrupt the individuals to whom they were given and who might be reasonably expected to one day repay McCarrick’s ‘kindness’ in some way.  Presumably, some of these curial cardinal voted in the 2013 conclave. One cannot help but wonder if the alleged gifts (reported by CNA) to curial cardinals over the years improved McCarrick’s “powers of persuasion” with these same prelates as he “talked up Bergoglio” and inclined them more favorably to Bergoglio than they might otherwise have been. Who knows?  But, it seems to me, aside from any interviews McCarrick faces with state attorneys over any potential abuse cases, it seems to me he should not be surprised if he were visited by officials from the IRS or FBI over some of the financial questions posed above.

The Next Conclave

I am not an infallible prognosticator.  But, I do sense that there will be some interesting revelations to come forth about the last conclave in the wake of Viganó’s accusations and the McCarrick scandal. Regardless, the Viganó allegations will definitely impact the next conclave in ways that are not yet clear. That said, at this moment, I expect that the stock of the papabili mentioned in Viganó’s testimony (e.g., Cardinals Parolin, Maradiaga, Ouellet, etc) has plummeted as a result. Furthermore, more episcopal “earthquakes” are in the offing as there is no telling yet how the current round of abuse cases and seminary scandals in the U.S., and now in Germany (see here) will shake up the College of Cardinals. Yes, Pope Francis does get to fill the vacancies.  However, we are not even close to seeing the worse of this crisis, either in the U.S. or elsewhere around the Catholic world. Therefore, I suspect. as is increasingly the case in the U.S., the voices of the Catholic laity around the world – seeing the breadth and depth of the homosexual infestation of the priesthood and episcopate – will rise up in indignation and demand their voices be heard. Let us pray the Pope and the bishops listen – and that the Lord gives us good bishops and cardinals for the future.

I posted an article (see The Historicity of Miracles: The case of Julian the Apostate and a lesson for our time) on Julian the Apostate back in June, before the recent revelations – and things look even more bleak now than when I wrote it.  The article concluded:

“The enemies of the Church, both within and without it, wish for Hell to prevail over it, and are striving for this end – and appear to have little effective opposition. Thus, at such a time, the memory of Julian the Apostate’s failed efforts to falsify the Lord’s words in his day, might serve as a reminder to the faithful at this moment. The Lord is in control of history.  He is true to his infallible words.  They will not be falsified – ever. How the Lord will save the Church in our time remains to be seen.  Whether by tempest, whirlwind, earthquake or by flame, or the rising up of one or more great saints, it might not be for us to yet know – but, that the Church will in the end triumph, there is no doubt. So, keep the faith, ‘always pray and never give up’ (cf Luke 18: 1) – especially in dark times, and do not worry – because it is the Lord who has promised the Church “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Victory is assured.”

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is married to Margaret O’Reilly.  He lives near Atlanta with his family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

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 Plume
Un ami des Papes


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About abyssum

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

    Great repost!!!!!!!

  2. hellenback7 says:

    Well presented thoughts and sensibilities that very much mirror my
    own. All the theories in the world, however plausible, are just that… theories.
    The proof will come as Christ Wills it.

  3. MAUREEN POTT says:

    These are quite long article from Abyssus Abyssum, but very interesting.  Maureen 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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