Sunday, March 31, 2019
1P5’s Skojec claims “that a Pope Universally Accepted *IS* Infallibly Certain,” but is it Infallible or Certain?
The Catholic Monitor received a second comment from OnePeterFive’s publisher Steve Skojec which requires a response.
But, again, before I respond to it I want to say I like Steve. In our few correspondences by email he has being a gentleman. I pray for him and his important work. I have recently been a bit worried about him because lately he has started multiplying disparagements for what someone is calling the “Skojec Little Book of Insults.”
Below is part of the ending of the comment I received from Steve:
“So the point I was making — the point you missed — is that while I was not claiming that John of St. Thomas’s definition of Universal Acceptance was infallible, I *AM* claiming that a pope universally accepted *IS* infallibly certain. The former is the opinion of a very learned theologian with no magisterial authority; the latter is a consensus view of theologians and long understood, if not formally defined, by the Church.” [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-are-siscoe-and-skojec-apparently-so.html?m=1]
So Skojec is “claiming that a pope universally accepted *IS* infallibly certain. The former is the opinion of a very learned theologian with no magisterial authority; the latter is a consensus view of theologians and long understood, if not formally defined, by the Church,” but is his claim infallible, “certain” or does is it have “a consensus view of theologians”?
The OnePeterFive’s publisher is getting his “universally acceptance” idea from Robert Siscoe. Steve in the previous comment to another post at the Catholic Monitor said:
“This is why the Church teaches that it is infallibly certain that a pope universally accepted is the pope. Francis was universally accepted — as Robert Siscoe said, this isn’t mathematical unanimity, but practical universality.” [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/is-skojecs-theologian-of-universal.html?m=1]
A scholar at the Von Veni Pacem website convincingly shows that Siscoe’s idea of “universally acceptance” is not infallible, “certain” nor does is it have “a consensus view of theologians”:
“Firstly, and by far most importantly, it is utterly impossible that a determination of the *present* juridical status of anyone can be a matter of divine Faith. The thing itself is obviously not comprehended among the two primary objects of Faith; matters of doctrine and morals. It is simply a question of present juridical validity. For instance, it is certainly not recorded in either Scripture or Tradition (which obviously concern the past) that Francis is a real pope. Neither has any past pope (again, obviously!) declared that Francis’ election has been valid.
“But your contention is not this, but that it is a matter of the *secondary* object of Faith; that is, you say it is a dogmatic fact. But this does not work for present popes, only past ones. Why? A dogmatic fact is one that is so connected to a *primary* fact of faith that, without it, that primary fact becomes impossible. In the present question, we can take as an example the dogmatic fact that Pius IX was a real pope. Why is this a matter of divine Faith? There are two reasons:
“First and most important is that he himself defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. If he wasn’t a real pope, that is no longer, and never was, a dogma. If the Church were to come to believe a “dogma” through a supposed solemn papal declaration that never occurred because the supposed pope was not a pope at all, it wouldn’t be a dogma, so the Church would be in error on a matter supposed to be infallible, thus the Church would be fallible, which would mean the Church had defected.
“Secondly, the indefectibility of the Church is a primary dogma, but that requires an unbroken line of popes, because a pope is an essential requirement in the constitution of the Church as such, as decreed by Divine Law. If Pius IX were not a true pope, the line of succession would have been broken (especially considering his long reign).”
“But there HAVE been interregnums, and no one knows exactly how long one could last before it constitutes a break in the line. It could be as long as a generation, and probably not longer. But therefore, as long as a *current* putatative pope reigns, there is the possibility that his election was invalid, regardless of universal acceptance. If he is a fraud, and exposed as such, there is no great difficulty in reversing all his “papal” acts. Therefore, none of his acts can be a matter of dogmatic fact; there are no dogmas whatever that depend on *the present pope* being a valid pope. Neither can his standing as a link in the unbroken chain of popes be definitively established, because if he is not a real pope then, even assuming that Benedict XVI is not still the pope, we are simply in an interregnum. Thus the current pope’s validity cannot be a matter of dogmatic fact in that regard either.
“MAJOR POINT: The designation of dogmatic fact as to the validity of a papal election can only apply to *past* popes.”
“Your Assertion (1) is faulty on both counts (both A and B)Re/ 1,A — It was most certainly not defined as a dogma by Martin V that a pope accepted with moral unanimity by the Church is definitely a valid pope, because:
“Firstly, ALL dogmas must be stated in clear terms as to what exactly is being defined (Cartechini, De Valore, ch. 3, part I, Tradibooks ed.). But Dz 674 does not do so. It says that a Hussite recanting of his heresy must be asked: “Whether he believes that a pope, canonically elected, who lived for a time, his proper name being expressed, is the successor of Blessed Peter…”
“What exactly does “who lived for a time” (quo tempore fuerit) mean?
“Literally it means “in the time which he *was* [pope]”. This probably is referring to former popes, excluding the present one. In any case, it is not clear what we are being asked to believe here. As Cartechini says: “Lex dubia nulla est” (a doubtful law is null).There are many other reasons that I could quote from Cartechini to show that Dz 674 cannot be a dogma, but I don’t want to get bogged down in details right now. Let me just add a quote from your own book, True or False Pope, p. 440, footnote 8: “A dogma…means a clear cut proposal, as we have previously explained…”
“Secondly, there is grave question as to whether Francis was “canonically elected”. In fact, that’s the whole thrust of the Substantial Error argument; that he was NOT canonically elected. Dz 674 then, far from militating against that position, actually supports it, since it requires canonical regularity in an election of a valid pope.
“Re/ assertion 1,B — I would like to know how one can speak of the “unanimous teaching of theologians”. You only cite five. How does such a small number constitute unanimity? Besides, excepting John of St. Thomas, all these theologians were active in modern times; there is no real theological tradition on this point, so far as I am aware, and without it we cannot speak of unanimity in any meaningful sense.
“Firstly, your citation of Berry is not to the point, because the context of his discussion concerns PAST popes, not present ones. Scratch Berry. He seems to support my position, not yours.
“Secondly, your citations of Van Noort:The first citation clearly also addresses past popes, not present ones.The second one does indeed concern present popes. His book was published in 1957, and therefore written before that, and Pius XII died in October of 1958. Here, Van Noort claims that Pius XII is guaranteed to be a valid pope by the infallible Ordinary Magisterium, as follows:
“The Church possesses infallibility not only when she is defining some matters in solemn fashion, but also when she is exercising the full weight of her authority through her ordinary and universal teaching. Consequently, we must hold with an absolute assent, which we call ‘ecclesiastical faith,’ the following theological truths:..Pius XII is the legitimate successor of St. Peter.”
“Most unfortunately, there is a completely irredeemable and fatal flaw of fact in this reasoning. What Van Noort seems to forget here is that the Universal Ordinary Infallible Magisterium requires universality not only in space, but in time. In other words, the bishops’ unanimous teaching of a particular truth must be not only something they, worldwide, are agreed on NOW, but also something which they have Traditionally always agreed upon.
“In support of this I have to adduce your OWN exposition of this fact, given in True or False Pope, pp. 439ff, in particular p. 440: “Ordinary acts of the magisterium…to be considered as belonging to the Church’s [infallible] teaching…are infallible only insofar as they fit into the constant teaching…reflect or echo the permanent teaching and unchanging Faith of the Church.” (Canon Berthod)
“I am afraid that this does not at all jive with Van Noort’s exposition. You have to pick one or the other; it’s either Van Noort or your own opinion as supported by other authorities. Since your teaching in ToFP is consonant with the Old Catholic Encyclopedia article, Infallibility (V. 7, p. 800), which you also cite, not to mention many other authorities that could prove that this is the Traditional teaching of the Church on the OUM, I suggest you go with Tradition, and your own previous position, and chuck Van Noort here.So scratch Van Noort too. It seems you aren’t even sure if you agree with him.
“What about your next theologian, Card. Billot?His thesis certainly supports your position. (NVP: perhaps not. It seems ++Billot was selectively quoted)
“Let’s move on to Cardinal Journet.First of all, let’s just note that he’s not exactly a paragon among theologians. And though he had the reputation of being conservative in his day, he went along with Vatican II. Call that an ad hominem if you want, but aside from that, while the quote you give from him does indeed support your position, so far as I can see, it really offers no arguments, or even authorities, just assertions. I find the citation valueless. I could explain why in detail, but I think the reader should not be subjected to such a waste of time.
“Cardinal Journet is on your side too then, though I think his opinion here is worthless.So far, I believe that theologians are *not* unanimous in agreeing with your position. We are about to find that John of St. Thomas most likely is not on your side either. If I am right, we have a grand total of two theologians that support your contention.Now what about John of St. Thomas?
“An examination of the quotes you cite from him reveals that most of his argument hinges upon a seeming presumption that the teaching of Martin v in Dz 674 is de fide.I want to keep this as short as possible, leaving details for later if necessary, so I’m going to stab at the vitals of the matter.
“1) That Dz 674 is simply not de fide, I’ve explained above. It is doubtful if John of St. Thomas even claims Dz 674 is infallible. Since he seems to be speaking of past popes, not current ones, the basic perennially known dogma of the indefectibility of the Church could be the dogma he is referring to, and he may only quote Dz 674 as support for this.
2) If he claims that universal acceptance guarantees validity, John’s whole treatment speaks not of a presently reigning pope, but only of past ones.
“As to the second point, let me give a few quotes:Quote 1: “we discuss whether or not it is de fide that this specific person, who *has been* legitimately elected…”Note the past tense. And please don’t suggest that it is past *progressive*, thus implying something that has occurred and is continuing up to the present. I do not have John’s original Latin text, but I don’t need it in order to eliminate this possibility. I don’t need it because there is no such *thing* as a past progressive tense in Latin. This is past tense, period.Quote 2: “It is immediately of divine faith that this man in particular, lawfully elected and accepted by the Church (past tense), is the supreme pontiff…”
“One may say that the present tense “is” in the last clause qualifies the entire statement as speaking of a pope that *was* elected, but is *presently* pope. That would be hasty. Latin has no articles. Therefore, “is *the* supreme pontiff” could just as legitimately be rendered as “is *a* supreme pontiff”. The first usage would imply that we are speaking of the pontiff currently reigning. The second that we are speaking of pontiffs in general, and thus possibly past cases only. This quote is not clear enough to show anything.
“As an aside, note also that, in the following context, John says “although it [the certainty of validity of election] is made much more manifest…when de facto the pope defines something.”
“And you yourself correctly comment on this: “the Pope acts as the rule of faith only when he defines a doctrine to be believed by faith.” In other words, when he makes a solemn, ex cathedra definition of a dogma.
“This last observation is pertinent to my point above, that it could only be a dogmatic fact that a *current* pope is a valid pope if he *has* at some time already made a dogmatic definition, as did Pius IX or others. Otherwise, all bets are off, since the only other way is for him to pass away and be dead for some decent length of time.
“Quote 3: “…this matter — namely, whether a particular man has been (past tense) lawfully elected and canonically established (past tense) as the rule of faith — is something that the Church can determine as a truth of faith.”
“This clearly means that the Church can determine as a truth of faith (more exactly, as a dogmatic fact), that a *past* pope has been a real pope. Again, I say this is simply because the indefectibility of the Church requires an unbroken succession of popes. It is not because Dz 674 is a dogma; Dz 674 merely gives authoritative support to that dogma, which has always existed in the Church.
“Given the facts about the quotes just given, let’s come back to Cardinal Billot’s teaching.As far as I can tell, he truly does think that the valid election of a *present* pope is a dogmatic fact. As I believe I have definitively shown, that is completely impossible. Therefore, Cardinal Billot is just plain wrong.
“We have to admit that he is one theologian who is clearly on your side.One could speculate that he read John of St. Thomas with an ultramontane prejudice. After all, he was a Jesuit, and of the good old school. He no doubt took very seriously that fourth vow of the Jesuits: to serve the pope in whatever way asked. And he was asked to serve as a papal theologian. It is not at all hard to imagine that he just went overboard a bit here.
“I have completely ignored John of St. Thomas’ discussion concerning whether lack of the necessary conditions for a papal election could invalidate it. This is because I see nothing wrong whatever in his treatment — whether here or elsewhere — PROVIDED we are speaking of a pope who has already passed into history.
“I conclude that it is an extravagant statement to say it is a heresy to deny that Francis is pope. While it is in normal times not prudent to question the validity of a papal election, these are most certainly not normal times, and there are very good reasons to question this one in particular. All the faithful should feel no scruples in doing so, provided they do so with prudence, with serious and objective reasons, and out of a love of the Church.”[https://nonvenipacem.com/2019/03/25/guest-post-a-friendly-challenge-to-robert-siscoe/]
Moreover, Steve you, in the second comment using Siscoe’s writings, claim that “universally acceptance” is “a dogmatic fact, and it comes from more than just John of St. Thomas. St. Alphonsus talks about this”:
“I am claiming that when a pope is universally accepted, the Church offers infallible certainty about his legitimacy. This is why it is called a dogmatic fact, and it comes from more than just John of St. Thomas. St. Alphonsus talks about this when he says:
‘It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff.’” [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-are-siscoe-and-skojec-apparently-so.html?m=1]
The problem is Siscoe apparently is possibly either a poor scholar or possibly a bit disingenuous in his leaving out the second part of a quote by a Doctor of the Church.
He says “peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected… nevertheless becomes a true Pope… [by] universal acceptance… curing any defects that may have existed in the election… Here is what [Doctor of the Church] St. Alphonsus taught”:
‘It is of no importance that in the past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterward by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would become the true Pontiff.'”
(TrueorFalsePope.com, “Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope,” 2-28-19 & 3-20-19) [read this whole article here]
The problem with Siscoe’s quote is he leaves out the very next sentence:
“‘But if for a certain time, he was not accepted universally and truly by the Church, during that time then, the pontifical see would be vacant, as it is vacant at the death of a Pope.’ ‘Verita Della Fede’, vol. VIII, p. 720.'”
(CathInfo.com, “Contra Cekadam by Fr. Francois Chazal,” December 2, 2017)
Did Siscoe leave it out because he is a poor scholar or for some other reason or because it said “for a certain time”?
What does “for a certain time” mean?
Is that “certain time” immediately at the conclave or is it a few years after the conclave?
Does this possibly mean that since Francis “afterwards… for a certain time… was not accepted universally… then, the pontifical see would be vacant”?
Francis is not “accepted universally.”
I am honored to know a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Rene Gracida, who questions the validity of Francis and is calling for the cardinals to investigate if he was “lawfully elected.”
Moreover, Siscoe can’t have it both ways in his quotes when they apparently contradict each other.
In the above same article he quotes John of St. Thomas saying:
“[T]his man in particular lawfully elected and accepted by the Church, is the supreme pontiff.”(TrueorFalsePope.com, “Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope,” 2-28-19 & 3-20-19) [read this whole article here]
This quote of John of St. Thomas agrees with renowned Catholic historian Warren Carroll’s declaration about valid popes having to be “lawfully elected”:
Carroll explicitly says that what matters in a valid papal election is not what some theologians say, canon law or how many cardinals claim a person is the pope. What is essential for determining if someone is pope or antipope is the “election procedures… [as] governed by the prescription of the last Pope”:
“Papal election procedures are governed by the prescription of the last Pope who provided for them (that is, any Pope can change them, but they remain in effect until they are changed by a duly elected Pope).”
“During the first thousand years of the history of the Papacy the electors were the clergy of Rome (priests and deacons); during the second thousand years we have had the College of Cardinals.”
“But each Pope, having unlimited sovereign power as head of the Church, can prescribe any method for the election of his successor(s) that he chooses. These methods must then be followed in the next election after the death of the Pope who prescribed it, and thereafter until they are changed. A Papal claimant not following these methods is also an Antipope.”
“Since Antipopes by definition base their claims on defiance of proper Church authority, all have been harmful to the Church, though a few have later reformed after giving up their claims.”
But getting back to Siscoe’s selective quote of St. Alphonsus, a good place to go to find out what the Doctor of the Church really meant is to go to a scholar who quotes him in full.
This is Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira who Siscoe respects as shown by his website:
“‘Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira’s Endorsement of ‘True or False Pope?'” Note: Having recently learned of the passing of the great Brazilian scholar, Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, we are publishing a portion of his endorsement of True or False Pope?, which will appear in the upcoming second edition. (1-8-2019)” [http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/?m=1]
There is good reason to respect de Silveira’s scholarship has he himself explains:
“In the 1970 Brazilian edition of my study of the heretical Pope, in the French edition of 1975 and in the Italian in 2016, I stated that on the grounds of the intrinsic theological reasons underpinning the Fifth Opinion I considered it not merely probable but certain. I chose not to insist on the qualification ‘theologically certain’ for an extrinsic reason, namely, that certain authors of weight do not adopt it.43 This was also the opinion of the then Bishop of Campos, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, as expressed in a letter of 25th January 1974, when he sent my work to Paul VI, asking him to point out any possible errors (which never took place), expressly stating that he referred to the study ‘written by lawyer Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, with the contents of which I associate myself .’”[https://www.scribd.com/document/374434852/Arnaldo-Vidigal-Xavier-Da-Silveira-Replies-to-Fr-Gleize-on-Heretical-Pope]
Here is what de Silveira say in his book “Implications Of New Missae And Heretic Popes”:
“On this same sanatio in raclice by virtue of the acceptance of the Pope by the whole Church,
Saint Alphonse of Liguori writes, in less heated but perhaps even more incisive terms:
“It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession
of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope,
since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff. But if during a certain time he had not
been truly and universally accepted by the Church, during that time the Pontifical See would have been
vacant, as it is vacant on the death of a Pontiff’ (2).
“4. The Election of a Person who Cannot Be Pope
“The designation, as Pope, of a person who cannot occupy the charge, would constitute a special
case of dubious election. For it is a common opinion (3) that the election of a woman, of a child, of a
demented person and of someone who were not a member of the Church (a person not baptized, a
heretic, an apostate, a schismatic) would be invalid by divine law.
“Among these causes of invalidity it seems to us that it would be necessary to distinguish those
which would admit of a “sanatio in radice” from those which would not. A woman could not become
Pope under any hypothesis. But the same thing would not apply with a demented person, who could be
cured; with a child, who could grow; with a non-baptized person, who could be converted.
“This being laid down, we ask: in the hypotheses of invalidity which admits of sanatio in radice ,
would the eventual acceptation by the whole Church of the invalidly elected Pope remedy the vices of
“A complete answer to this question would require a detailed analysis of each of the cases of
invalidity. And this would exceed the objectives which we have set for ourselves.
“Such being the case, we shall only consider the hypothesis which is most relevant to the
perspective in which we place ourselves: The election of a heretic to the Papacy. What would happen if
a notorious heretic were elected and assumed the Pontificate without anyone having contested his
(1) Billot , Tract de Eccl. Christi, tom. I, pp. 612-613.
(2) Saint Alphonse de Liquori , Verita della Fede, in “Opera…”, vol. VIII. P. 720, n. 9.
(3) See: Ferreres , Inst. Canonicae, tom. I, p. 132; Coronata , Inst, luris Canonici, vol. I, p. 360; Schmalzqrueber ,
lus Eccl. Univ., tom. I, pars II, p. 376, n. 99; Caietan , De Auctoriatate…, cap. XXVI, n. 382, pp. 167-168.
“At first sight, the answer to this question is, in theory , very simple: since God cannot permit that
the whole Church err about who is her chief, the Pope peacefully accepted by the whole Church is the
true Pope (1). It would be the duty of the theologians, on the basis of this clear theoretical principle, to
resolve the concrete question which would then be put: either proving that in reality the Pope had not
been a formal and notorious heretic at the moment of election; or showing that afterwards he had been
converted; or verifying that the acceptation by the Church had not been pacific and universal; or
presenting any other plausible explanation.
“A more attentive examination of the question would reveal, nevertheless, that even on purely
theoretical grounds, an important difficulty arises, which would consist in determining precisely what is the concept of pacific and universal acceptation by the Church. For such acceptation to have been
pacific and universal would it be enough that no Cardinal had contested the election?Would it be
enough that in a Council, for example, almost the totality of the Bishops had signed the acts, recognizing
in this way, at least implicitly, that the Pope be the true one?Would it be enough that no voice, or
practically no voice had publicly given the cry of alert?Or, on the contrary, would a certain very
generalized though not always well defined distrust be sufficient to destroy the apparently pacific and
universal character of the acceptance of the Pope?And if this distrust became a suspicion in numerous
spirits, a positive doubt in many, a certainty in some, would the aforementioned pacific and universal acceptance subsist?And if such distrusts, suspicions, doubts and certainties cropped out with some
frequency in conversations or private papers, or now and again in published writings, could one still
classify as pacific and universal the acceptance of a Pope who was already a heretic on the occasion of
his election by the Sacred College?” [https://archive.org/stream/ SilveiraImplicationsOfNewMissa eAndHereticPopes/Silveira% 20Implications%20of%20New% 20Missae%20and%20Heretic% 20Popes_djvu.txt]
It is obvious that the renowned theologian de Silveira does not think that St. Alphonsus taught what Siscoe claims he taught that “peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected… nevertheless becomes a true Pope… [by] universal acceptance… curing any defects that may have existed in the election… Here is what [Doctor of the Church] St. Alphonsus taught”:
‘It is of no importance that in the past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterward by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would become the true Pontiff. [The rest of the quote of St. Alphonsus is left out.]'”
(TrueorFalsePope.com, “Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope,” 2-28-19 & 3-20-19) [read this whole article here]
Does Siscoe think that “peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected… nevertheless becomes a true Pope… [by] universal acceptance… curing any defects that may have existed in the election” include such as things as:
– “a special case of dubious [unlawful] election. For it is a common opinion (3) that the election of a woman, of a child, of a demented person and of someone who were not a member of the Church (a person not baptized, a heretic, an apostate, a schismatic) would be invalid by divine law.”
– Renowned Catholic historian Carroll explicitly says that what matters in a valid papal election is not what some theologians say, canon law or how many cardinals claim a person is the pope. What is essential for determining if someone is pope or antipope is the “election procedures… [as] governed by the prescription of the last Pope.”
“… But each Pope, having unlimited sovereign power as head of the Church, can prescribe any method for the election of his successor(s) that he chooses. These methods must then be followed in the next election after the death of the Pope who prescribed it, and thereafter until they are changed. A Papal claimant not following these methods is also an Antipope.”[http://www.ewtn.com/library/homelibr/antipope.txt]
On top of all the evidence above even if in a parallel universe “universal acceptance” was infallible or certain then it still doesn’t work. Francis is not “accepted universally.”
I am honored to know a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Gracida, who denies the “universal acceptance” of Francis, questions the idea of “universal acceptance” and is calling for the cardinals to investigate if he was “lawfully elected.” Bishop Gracida declared:
“I am in receipt of an email from Steve Skojec, publisher of the website OnePeterFive in which he defends his posts in which he argues for the validity of the election of Francis the Merciful on the basis of the ‘universal acceptance’ of Francis’ election by the world’s Catholic population.”
“The idea of “universal acceptance” of the election of popes of the past may have had it’s origin in the first centuries of the Church when popes were chosen by acclamation of the assembled citizens of Rome, and perhaps later when the princes and kings of Europe decided on the legitimacy of papal contestants in the time of the Avignon captivity of the papacy.”
“But the idea of “universal acceptance” as the principle determining the validity of Francis’ claim to the Chair of Peter is absurd in this day of instant electronic communication. There is not a world-wide Pew or Gallup poll that can determine the degree of “acceptance” of the Bergolian regime as valid by the world’s Catholic population.”
“From the moment that Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica improperly dressed and accompanied by men of known or suspected homosexual orientation many Catholics besides myself were shocked and dismayed.”
“Almost immediately almost every word publicly uttered by Francis shocked Catholic sensibilities, such as telling the woman with several children to “stop breeding like rabbits.” Many Catholics withheld their “acceptance” and adopted a wait-and-see attitude.”
“Then the Amoris Laeticia debacle unfolded and now an even larger percentage of Catholic around the world began to express reservations about the ‘papacy’ of Francis the Merciful. There was never universal acceptance of the validity of Jorge Bergolio.”[https://abyssum.org/2019/03/23/why-do-intelligent-men-pursue-the-application-of-an-obsolete-concept-universal-acceptance-to-the-problem-of-the-invalidity-of-the-papacy-of-francis-the-merciful-in-this-day-and-age-of-instant-elec/ ]
Francis is not “accepted universally.” But, even more important, it is obvious that besides “acceptance” a valid pope needs to be “lawfully elected.”
That’s the problem with Skojec’s and Siscoe’s selective quotes about “universal acceptance” while ignoring the “lawfully elected” parts of the quotes.
This is why Bishop Rene Gracida’s call for a cardinal investigation is important.
Bishop Gracida is saying what Pope John Paul II’s conclave constitution says about the question of if Francis was “lawfully elected” or not: only the cardinals can investigate it and interpret it.
Siscoe, Skojec, canon lawyers or John of St. Thomas can’t interpret it, John Paul II’s constitution prescribes that cardinals interpret it.
Why are Siscoe and Skojec apparently so afraid of a investigation by cardinals since they continually ignore or avoid addressing the subject by the “universal acceptance” mantra?
I ask both to please give a specific answer to why they are apparently so afraid of a investigation.
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church and for Catholics to not just bemoan heresy, but put pressure on the cardinals to act as well as for the grace for a cardinal to stand up and investigate and to be the St. Bernard of our time.
In fact, please offer Masses, fast and pray the rosary for these intentions during Lent and after the Lenten season.
Steve’s total comment:
- Steve8:31 AM
- Hi Fred,
I can’t escape the feeling that in most of the cases where people are making the claims that Benedict is still the pope, there is a serious issue with misunderstanding something that is written.
In the case of my comment, when I said I wasn’t claiming it as infallible, what I meant was that I was not claiming the instruction of John of St. Thomas as infallible. The reason is because you said, in your March 20th post:
Steve Skojec has been apparently claiming John of St. Thomas’s idea on “universal acceptance” of popes is infallible Catholic doctrine.
My quote from John of St. Thomas was meant to help explain what Universal Acceptance consists of, because it appears that a number of people actually think that if, at some point after a pope’s election, any handful of Catholics begins to question his legitimacy, this somehow nullifies Universal Acceptance.
This is obviously absurd. Universal Acceptance happens at the time of election. If the cardinal electors present a man as validly elected, and there is no protest about the election, it has been accepted. Some appear to extend universal acceptance to all the bishops of the world when they receive news of an election (which would have happened much more slowly in years gone by than it does today) but nevertheless, with Francis, we had not the protest of even one bishop — including Bishop Gracida, who seems now to favor your ideas enough to reprint them.
You go on to quote me saying, “This is why the Church teaches that it is infallibly certain that a pope universally accepted is the pope.”
And then you ask: Why is he saying “the Church teaches that it is infallible” then saying “I’m not claiming it as infallible”?
I am claiming that when a pope is universally accepted, the Church offers infallible certainty about his legitimacy. This is why it is called a dogmatic fact, and it comes from more than just John of St. Thomas. St. Alphonsus talks about this when he says:
“It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff.”
Your blog is making me split this in two, so, this is 1 of 2.
- Steve8:32 AM
- Now, 2 of 2:
The words used by theologians to explain this phenomenon is that any defect in an election is, by the power of this universal acclamation, “healed in the root.”
You can find further support of the idea of this infallibility — known as a “dogmatic fact” — in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, which states:
The following questions involve dogmatic facts in the wider sense: Is Pius X, for instance, really and truly Roman Pontiff , duly elected and recognized by the Universal Church? This is connected with dogma, for it is a dogma of faith that every pontiff duly elected and recognized by the universal Church is a successor of Peter.
It goes on, saying that while theological dispute continues over the nature of dogmatic facts, all parties agree that that the Church is infallible in such definitions:
the definitions of dogmatic facts demand real internal assent; though about the nature of the assent and its relation to faith theologians are not unanimous. Some theologians hold that definitions of dogmatic facts, and especially of dogmatic facts in the wider acceptation of the term, are believed by Divine faith. For instance, the proposition, “every pope duly elected is the successor of Peter”, is formally revealed. Then, say these theologians, the proposition, “Pius X has been duly elected pope”, only shows that Pius X is included in the general revealed proposition that “every pope duly elected is the successor of Peter”. And they conclude that the proposition, “Pius X is successor to Peter”, is a formally revealed proposition; that it is believed by Divine faith; that it is a doctrine of faith, de fide; that the Church, or the pope, is infallible in defining such doctrines. Other theologians hold that the definitions of dogmatic facts, in the wider and stricter acceptation, are received, not by Divine faith, but by ecclesiastical faith, which some call mediate Divine faith. They hold that in such syllogisms as this: “Every duly elected pontiff is Peter’s successor; but Pius X, for example, is a duly elected pontiff; therefore he is a successor of Peter”, the conclusion is not formally revealed by God, but is inferred from a revealed and an unrevealed proposition, and that consequently it is believed, not by Divine, but by ecclesiastical faith. It would then also be held that it has not been formally defined de fide that the Church is infallible in the definition of dogmatic facts. It would be said technically to be theologically certain that the Church is infallible in these definitions; and this infallibility cannot lawfully be questioned. That all are bound to give internal assent to Church definitions of dogmatic facts is evident from the correlative duties of teacher and persons taught. As it belongs to the duty of supreme pastor to define the meaning of a book or proposition, correlatively it is the duty of the subjects who are taught to accept this meaning.
You can see the original article here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05092a.htm
So the point I was making — the point you missed — is that while I was not claiming that John of St. Thomas’s definition of Universal Acceptance was infallible, I *AM* claiming that a pope universally accepted *IS* infallibly certain. The former is the opinion of a very learned theologian with no magisterial authority; the latter is a consensus view of theologians and long understood, if not formally defined, by the Church.
- I intend to continue to explore Church teaching on the matter because it would not surprise me at all if there is some formal definition that would aid us here, but that I have simply not found it yet.[http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-are-siscoe-and-skojec-apparently-so.html?m=1]