Universal acceptance falsely purports to be an infallible papal election validator. The flip question is interesting as well: what does it take to invalidate a papal election? This essay will explore that question within the context of the current election rules, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG).
First off, jurisdiction needs to be established. A valid Pope has full supreme power over the Church, which on the surface would seem to include resolving election questions. But it is not reason for a Pope to be the arbitrator of his own election. It is circular to say otherwise since if he was an antipope, he would have no authority whatsoever – which is exactly the question being asked.
As such, the rational stance is the Cardinal electors retain authority over the election. Now, a Pope cannot bind future Popes in purely legislative matters. So while the “elected” Pope isn’t bound by the prior, the Cardinals still are regarding this matter. Thus, it is evident that the “elected” Pope has no authority over the Cardinal electors when they operate to resolve a contested election, a curious situation to be sure.
UDG specifies the rules for handling a contested election. In brief, it is a free-for-all. There is no section describing it. Election contesting is mentioned only once in regards to simony where the election “may not for this reason be challenged” (UDG 78). Fundamentally, the Cardinals are free to choose, subject to canon law, and a few constraints imposed by UDG. However, to highlight a certain problem, a “Contested Election” amendment section is provided below, which lists a few issues the Cardinals might have to decide.
1. A Contested Election Conclavette (CEC) will commence upon request of at least one fourth of the living Cardinal electors. They must assemble within fifteen days at the Sistine Chapel.
2. If the “Pope” was a Cardinal elector, he cannot participate in a CEC, except if called in for questioning.
3. The canon laws applicable are those laws in force at the time of the original conclave.
4. Criminal Cardinal electors who were automatically excommunicated per violation(s) regarding the original conclave are not eligible to participate in a CEC.
5. A simple majority vote suffices to establish election invalidity. The conclave voting procedure is to be used, modified with the electors writing Yes or No to specify election invalidity. A tied vote is to be resolved by a coin toss.
6. If the original conclave result is declared null and void, a new conclave must commence within fifteen days.
7. “New” Cardinals from the voided “Pope” are obviously ineligible. Additionally, the criminal Cardinals per 4) are also ineligible, this being the exception to #35. If no eligible Cardinals remain, the age limit restriction is to be dropped. If still none, the College of Bishops become the electors.
The zinger here is the exclusion of excommunicated Cardinal electors. It is important here to consider how excommunicated Cardinals are handled in election decrees. Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis decreed by Pope Pius X will be considered first.
“34. No Cardinal can in any way be excluded from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff on the pretext or by reason of any excommunication, suspension, interdict, or other ecclesiastical impediment whatsoever; We, in fact, suspend these censures only for the effect of an election of this sort; they will remain in their own force in other circumstances.”
It is striking that criminal “impediments” were suspended, presumably so all Cardinals could vote in their “baptismal innocence.” At first blush, John Paul II’s decree might be shocking as the non-exclusion clause was simplified to “for any reason or pretext” (UDG 35). Namely, censure suspensions were dropped: criminal Cardinals welcome. UDG does add some housekeeping exceptions, e.g. for ill Cardinals. But in short, the decrees are similar though with UDG being stronger: Cardinals cannot be excluded from a conclave for any reason.
One could guess this clause resulted from the experience of Cardinals bickering over such impediments, the wisdom being it is better to include a few bad Cardinals verses trying to determine their canonic status. This also make sense when considering Concilliarism. Namely, the Cardinals should be restricted to elements of the election: not to decide anything else.
The import here is that any Cardinal, excommunicated per violations of UDG, would still be casting valid votes, regardless of their criminal status. The other point is the excommunicated could be excluded from a CEC. While not advisable, it is permissible because UDG doesn’t prohibit it. Hence, the Cardinals are free to punish the guilty in this manner since UDG only provides for their participation in the election (albeit excluding them from a new conclave as stated in 7) would be illegal under UDG) (also “passive” might be construed to cover contested election resolving…).
Those issues aside, a CEC would require a substantive point of contention. Frankly, the election rules are constructed so that an accurate count of the votes results in a valid Pope. There isn’t a whole lot to contest. So unless Bishop Gracida is correct in his interpretation of UDG, or something was wrong with the voting itself, Pope Francis is a valid Supreme Pontiff. But there is one possibility that seems to have thus far escaped consideration: singular non-acceptance.
Popemobile for Sale: Never Used!
UDG 88 reads: “After his acceptance, the person elected, if he has already received episcopal ordination, is immediately Bishop of the Church of Rome, true Pope….” This is critical. The Pope must accept the office where acceptance is more than willing to provide the empty show of driving around in the Popemobile. The direct analog is marriage.
The Supreme Pontiff receives his power directly from God. The electors choose, the electee accepts, but it is God who confers the office. A sacramental marriage is quite similar: the man and woman choose, the priest witnesses, but it is God who establishes the unbreakable bond of matrimony. But there is no sacrament if the couple doesn’t actually commit. The classic example is when one partner has no intension of being faithful. If a marriage tribunal establishes that, the marriage is declared null and void. In fine, God never joined the couple in marriage.
To apply this to a papal election, consider the extreme example of the Anti-Christ being elected Pope. As this man will be the master of deception, and probably won’t “reveal” himself immediately, it is within the realm of possibility of being chosen by the Cardinals. But could God confer upon him the papal office? This is taken to be impossible since the colossal contradiction of the Anti-Christ substantially being the Vicar of Christ is quite evident.
In particular, Anti-Christ will do everything in his power to destroy the Church of God and replace it with a satanic form of worship and belief. The complete obliteration of the moral order is a given. This, of course, is diametrically opposed to the papal office, whose foundational function is to guard and protect the deposit of the faith, and to preach and teach the same.
So far, Bergoglio and the Anti-Christ are on the same page. Bergoglio’s agenda of transforming the Catholic Church into the Anti-Church is quite transparent: it is Sankt Gallen Mafia’s brand of Modernism, it is a systematic attack on central doctrinal teaching, it annihilates the moral order – and the list goes on and on.
Bergoglio does differ from the Anti-Christ, but only in style, intensity, directness and depth. Specifically, Bergoglio’s modus operandi is to act slowly: “a quiet revolution.” The plan of this species of Church “reformers” is a long term project to be executed over decades, just as it took a century (two centuries if measured in terms of Freemasonry) to obtain the papacy. They want to keep the same names, but change their meanings to fit their wretched agenda, but slowly over time. In contrast, the Anti-Christ will quickly establish hell on earth, more or less overnight.
So, is it actually true that Bergoglio never intended to uphold the deposit of faith, but rather intended to undermine it, slowly and subtlety as possible? That cannot be seriously disputed. The operative question is: is his apostasy sufficiently deep that Jesus Christ rejected him and thus refused to confer the papal office upon him?
There are telling signs that this is the case. As several have stressed, Bergoglio doesn’t seem to be able to speak without uttering heresy. A true Pope, while not perfect, will be guarded by the Holy Spirit. Further, the rise of “Benevacantism” (in spite of its problems) is another indication: for it reflects an inner sense that Bergoglio simply isn’t the Pope.
However, this is a question for the Cardinal electors to decide, although they don’t operate in a vacuum. So what did the Doctors of the Church, the Saints, and the great theologians have to say on the topic of singular non-acceptance? Judging from recent articles on related topics, not much. Apparently, proponents of a condemned heresy who perniciously and covertly corrupted the Church from within, for over a century, until putting one of their men in a white hat, was a prospect they didn’t anticipate.
Nevertheless, this is the situation we find ourselves in. John Paul II did not exclude singular non-acceptance as a reason for contesting an election. As such, it remains a valid reason. It is, obviously, an extremely extreme possibility. But not necessarily extremely remote.
The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is imminent. Per La Salette, the Anti-Christ will not come to power until after the Era of Peace. But at this stage of Apocalypse, the power of the Anti-Christ is at an unprecedented level, within the Church and in the world at large. From that perspective, from that very real perspective, the possibility of a pretender pope would not be surprising. Indeed, wouldn’t that be par for the course?
Henceforth, the Cardinals will immediately invoke a Contested Election Conclavette and… well, gee, it seems the lay of the land is another story. The reaction to the open letter’s direct accusation that Pope Francis is a heretic is telling.
Raymond Arroyo didn’t blink when Cardinal Burke spoke of turning the dubia into a formal correction during an interview. But Arroyo had a cow over the theologians who, within their domain, made the charge of heresy, but only after issuing a correction 21 months beforehand. This may come as shock, to the above mentioned it surely did, but this is not an infinite waiting game.
The positions of Cardinal Müller and Bishop Athanasius Schneider are also noteworthy. Both are actively opposing Pope Francis’ multiplying errors, but both stopped short of calling him a heretic. With their rank, this is not surprising as making that charge would have canonic repercussions. Though in saying Francis is not a heretic, they have had to jump through some impossible hoops. While their sincerity will not be questioned, it is clear that neither made it through the rings.
Schneider’s irrationality included “there is no other interpretation” only applies locally to the Argentine Bishops. Since when do Encyclicals have official AAS interpretations per region? This is particularly ironic as truth per geographic coordinates is apparently on Pope Francis’ twisted agenda, which Schneider appeals to.
In Cardinal Müller’s parallel universe, Pope Francis is not a heretic because, evidently, “he doesn’t persist” on a given heresy. The law of physics immediately deducible is: someone who teaches one heresy and then moves on to the next is not a heretic. While Müller’s full position is more complex, trying to pass the blame to the Pope’s “friends” is a theory without a coherent adherent.
Unfortunately, such positions from these heavy weights, unsupportable as they are contradictory, chillingly lends to inhibiting the prelates from taking direct action. Although, perhaps, just perhaps, Müller and Schneider are providing the straw that will finally break the Cardinals’ back.
But there is more straw. Müller’s call for Pope Francis to respond to the accusation of heresy was graciously answered: the “conservative” Pope took it “with a sense of humor.” While actual conservatives probably found greater humor in this self-labeling, just think: if Cardinal Müller is kicked in the teeth, oh say, another dozen times, he might wake up. More substantive are the responses from the open letter signers. Peter Kwasniewski’s wrote:
“It may therefore be concluded that the pope’s strategy of dismantling the Catholic Faith plank by plank in slow motion is working. He ignored the dubia on Amoris Laetitia because he knew he could not answer them in an orthodox sense without undermining his entire double-synod Kasperian project…”
On another front, to those who say ambiguity prevents the conviction of heresy, Professor Claudio Pierantoni countered:
“I maintain… their aim is clear: he [Francis] wanted to permit irregularly married couples to receive Communion in certain cases. And he officially confirmed his intention with his response to the Argentinian bishops, which he ordered to be included in the AAS (Acta Apostolicae Sedis).”
Denying the obvious is a principle formula for comedy, not theology. But the screeching from the Flat Earth Choir does obscure two important questions.
In this moment in history, why would God permit a man such as Bergoglio to hold the title of Pope? More crucially, how could the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Truth itself, confer the papacy upon a man whose raison d’être is subverting His Church? Amidst all of the straw, the Cardinal electors have the mandate, authority and responsibility, to give an answer to this, and all of the questions being raised in this area.
But will they? Professor Pierantoni believes the Bishops generally are “still far from becoming truly aware of the gravity of the situation.” However, as their open letter leads towards deposing Francis, they too have a ways to go. For the penalty of premeditated first degree murder of doctrine universally is not deposition, it is annulment.