Sunday, April 07, 2019
Are 1P5 Skojec’s Fear of a Cardinal Investigation of Francis’s Validity & the “Skojec Little Book of Insults” Interconnected?
by Fred Martinez
“Semantics: An argument, or a type of guarantee that the outcome of your statement can be taken in two or more ways which will benefit you in either way it’s perceived. The *careful* use of semantics can be applied to situations which allow you to be right in any reverse query.”
The Catholic Monitor received a second comment from the former public relations and (apparent) semantics expert OnePeterFive publisher Steve Skojec that was puzzling.
But before I respond to it I want to say I pray for him. I am praying because I am worried about him and I am worried specifically about his increasing and multiplying of disparagements for what someone is calling the “Skojec Little Book of Insults.”
Before I respond to his second comment it is important to look at the phenomena that has started to be called the “Skojec Little Book of Insults.”
In 2016, the website AKA Catholic was the first to notice to phenomena:
“This morning, a friend called my attention to a post over at One Peter Five wherein Steve Skojec took the opportunity to denigrate the Remnant and Catholic Family News for what he condescendingly called ‘excessive snark and polemics.’”
“’It’s unfortunate that trads can always be counted on to warm up the circular firing squad,’ he wrote. ‘It’s time for us to drop the snark and the sharp elbows and actually gather people in from this storm.’”
“This he offered in reference to the Remnant / CFN recently joint-published three part series: With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis.”
“… The reason Skojec decided to take a poke at two of Catholicism’s finest publications isn’t a mystery; he made his motives entirely plain when he immediately went on to say:
“There are probably any number of reasons why 1P5 has, in just two years, become one of the top three mainstream traditional Catholic publications online (in terms of audience size), but I suspect our attempt to find balance in our approach and not treat those who don’t yet see the point we’re making as the enemy are a part of that.”
“If there is anything amazing here, it’s the shamelessness and ease with which Skojec can engage in cringeworthy acts of self-promotion, and it’s nothing new.”
“Neither is his willingness to exploit an opportunity to bash what he clearly sees as competition (not their ideas) for almighty “audience size” and the benefits presumably derived therefrom; even if it means launching a calculated attack against those who are clearly on the side of the true Faith and have always treated him with every kindness.”
At the time, Chris Ferrara called the as yet unnamed “Skojec Little Book of Insults” a “circular firing squad”:
Reply Chris FerraraSteve Skojec • 3 years ago “Oh, I see. You get to belittle the Remnant for its excessive snark and polemics and boast of your own popularity because 1P5 is just so much more respectable, you see, and when I defend the newspaper I write for against your snide put-down this proves your point?”
“The only one who convened the circular firing squad here is you. We never said an unkind word about 1P5, and I have linked to it many times in articles for the Remnant.”
“That proves MY point.” [https://onepeterfive.com/remnant-cfn-accuse-pope-francis/#comment-2915319150]
Before I get to the first and second comments I believe I owe the Remnant a apology for the headline “Remnant & Skojec are Wrong in saying Francis is same as Benedict & John Paul II” because for the most part only two of its writers appear to take the extreme positions of the OnePeterFive publisher: Hilary White and Robert Siscoe.
Skojec’s first comment at the Catholic Monitor puzzled me because he wrote “You know, Fred, research isn’t that hard. I’m not claiming it as infallible. That would be absurd.”
Here is what he wrote in the pertinent part of the post:
“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. John of St. Thomas explains what universal acceptance consists of:
‘All that remains to be determined, then, is the exact moment when the acceptance of the Church becomes sufficient to render the proposition de fide. Is it as soon as the cardinals propose the elect to the faithful who are in the immediate locality, or only when knowledge of the election has sufficiently spread through the whole world, wherever the Church is to be found?
I REPLY that (as we have said above) the unanimous election of the cardinals and their declaration is similar to a definition given by the bishops of a Council legitimately gathered. Moreover, the acceptance of the Church is, for us, like a confirmation of this declaration. Now, the acceptance of the Church is realized both negatively, by the fact that the Church does not contradict the news of the election wherever it becomes known, and positively, by the gradual acceptance of the prelates of the Church, beginning with the place of the election, and spreading throughout the rest of the world. As soon as men see or hear that a Pope has been elected, and that the election is not contested, they are obliged to believe that that man is the Pope, and to accept him.'”
“I am posting this today as a point of reference. I see a lot of argument over what “universal acceptance” means, but it’s much simpler than people think. And if the explanation of John of St. Thomas is correct — and I have no reason to believe that it isn’t — then we can see that Francis was universally accepted.”
The problem is that Steve says “if the explanation of John of St. Thomas is correct” and he assumes it is correct thus infallible, but the only proof he gives is the John of St. Thomas quote.
Skojec in his post writes:
“This is why the Church teaches that it is infallibly certain that a pope universally accepted is the pope.”
But then tells me at the Catholic Monitor:
“I’m not claiming it as infallible.”
Why is he saying “the Church teaches that it is infallible” then saying “I’m not claiming it as infallible”?[http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-are-siscoe-and-skojec-apparently-so.html?m=1]
Now let go to the second Skojec comment where he says “Fred, this thing where you misread and misrepresent me is starting to be a pattern. I didn’t say they were the same.” But on Twitter he said in answer to the question “You think he [Pope Benedict XVI] agreed with ANYTHING Francis has done?” Skojec said “Everything”:
|Steve Skojec@SteveSkojec Replying to @TheCrushedBones @dhgyapong and 2 others|
|No. I think BXVI could not care less. And I resent him for it. 1:23 PM – 7 Dec 2018|
|Laurence England |
|Replying to @SteveSkojec @dhgyapong and 2 others You think he agreed with ANYTHING Francis has done?|
|View conversation ·|
|Steve Skojec |
|Replying to @TheCrushedBones @dhgyapong and 2 others Everything. [To:you Details |
Skojec thinks Benedict “agreed” with “everything” that “Francis has done,” but apparently for the sake of semantics thinks he has to say “Fred, this thing where you misread and misrepresent me is starting to be a pattern. I didn’t say they were the same.”
Remember what semantics is:
“An argument, or a type of guarantee that the outcome of your statement can be taken in two or more ways which will benefit you in either way it’s perceived. The *careful* use of semantics can be applied to situations which allow you to be right in any reverse query.”
Here is the semantically phrased comment of the OnePeterFive publisher:
“Fred, this thing where you misread and misrepresent me is starting to be a pattern. I didn’t say they were the same. I said we don’t arrive at Francis without JPII, and that their differences are more of degree than of kind.”
“There are certainly incongruities between their teachings, but these are not irreconcilable. As I read somewhere last year, it’s a Mensheviks/Bolsheviks situation. JPII, Benedict, and Francis are all revolutionaries, but the former two were significantly more moderate than the latter.”
“As Benedict wrote in his manipulated, but later fully-published letter about the work of Pope Francis, ‘The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.'”
“The inner continuity is real. It doesn’t make them all the same. It does mean they were all, to a greater or lesser degree, on the same team: modernism.”
Sorry, Steve, but if Benedict “agreed” with “everything” that “Francis has done” then they are the same. Skojec sounds like Francis who said that diversity of religions is only God’s permitted will to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, but on paper says it is God’s positive will. That is why he is called the public relations pope because he know how to use semantics like a public relations expert.
Steve and his close collaborator Hilary White need to know that words are not semantic games we can play with without disaster such as the following:
Did White’s 2017 Twit bring about this Skojec Twit: “I don’t care what that meansfor papal infallibility” which means that he doesn’t care if “Bergoglio lacks the grace of office…[because of] perhaps some violation of conclave rule, or perhaps some deficiency in Bergoglio’s acceptance of the election.”
The Roma Loluta Est website agrees with much that Steve says about Benedict not still being pope, but it admits that it is possible “granting arguendo that it is evident Bergoglio lacks the grace of office, etc., it does not necessarily follow that Benedict is still pope. That is to say, there might be other reasons that Bergoglio is not a valid pope, without assuming Benedict is still pope (e.g., perhaps some violation of conclave rule, or perhaps some deficiency in Bergoglio’s acceptance of the election”:
“6. As Msgr. Henry Gracida argues on his blog, abyssum.org: If Christ did not accept the resignation of Benedict as valid, because the act itself was not canonically valid per canon 188, then Christ would be obliged in justice to deprive Bergoglio of grace, so that his lack of being pope be MOST EVIDENT to all with Faith, Hope and Charity. But it is MOST EVIDENT to everyone, even non Catholics, that he has NOT the grace of God in him or in his actions. Ergo, either Christ is unjust, or Christ is just. He cannot be unjust. Ergo, Bergoglio is not pope!”
“O’Reilly replies: The argument is fallacious. While it may be valid in logic to say that if we accept the premise (i.e., Christ did not accept Benedict’s resignation) as true, then it necessarily follows Christ would deprive Bergoglio of the grace of office, etc. However, the argument in reverse does not necessarily follow. That is to say. granting arguendo that it is evident Bergoglio lacks the grace of office, etc., it does not necessarily follow that Benedict is still pope. That is to say, there might be other reasons that Bergoglio is not a valid pope, without assuming Benedict is still pope (e.g., perhaps some violation of conclave rule, or perhaps some deficiency in Bergoglio’s acceptance of the election (see Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows?, etc).”[https://www.google.com/amp/s/romalocutaest.com/2018/11/25/against-the-arguments-]
In the post “Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows? (See: Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows?)” the Roma Loluta Est website makes the strong case that Bergoglio possibly might not be pope because it appears no one dispensed him of his Jesuit vows.
This gets us to the second point of my article in which Steve claims with Robert Sisceo that it is a “infallible certain[ty]” that despite much evidence of a unlawful conclave election that Francis is a 100% for sure a valid pope the SAME as Benedict and Pope John Paul II.
Why didn’t he didn’t bring this that up in his second comment?
Maybe because he apparently knows his “universal acceptance” claim is falling apart. That may be the reason he seems afraid to argue against all the evidence that his idea is wrong (See: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2019/03/1p5-skojec-claims-that-pope-universally.html?m=1).
The problem apparently is Siscoe, who is Skojec’s mentor in the “universal acceptance” claim, 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 explained:
“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” includes “curing” such “defects” 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.”
Finally, I ask Siscoe and Steve to specifically answer if Francis was not “lawfully elected” then does a “peaceful and universal acceptance” overturn a unlawful election?
More importantly, 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.
TWELVE 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.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
AND OTHER CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL IN COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE
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