Will Pope Francis’ successor be a Catholic?

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I have entitled this article with a Question which is on the minds of many who were born and baptised into the Catholic Church and who still are trying to figure out what is going on in the Catholic Church. It is a common question and deserves to be discussed.

Many will propose an answer based on speculations about this or that person, how man persons are Cardinals who are in favor of them, or what might happen if Bergoglio dies before or after Pope Benedict.

Putting speculation aside, let us look at what Canon Law says.

Canon 359 says, first of all, that the Cardinals have no authority to change Canon Law and the only authority they have is specified in the special laws which regards a sede vacante. They have no independent authority whatsoever outside of a sede vacante.

The special laws referred to in Canon 359 are contained in the Papal Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II — with a slight modification by Pope Benedict XVI — entitled, Universi Dominici gregis.

The problem with any successor of Bergoglio is the same as the problem with Bergoglio. This problem, canonically, arises from Canons 359 and 17.   Because Canon 359 says there cannot a Conclave until there is a sede vacante, that is, until there is no longer anyone who is the Roman Pontiff, the Throne of Peter must be empty.  Canon 17 says to understand what that means we need to read the Code of Canon Law. Therein, we see that in Canons 331, 332, 334, and 749, the Roman Pontiff is spoken of as holding a munus. Nowhere does it speak of a Papal Office, or of the Office of the Pope. It only speaks of the Papal or Petrine Munus.  The man who holds it is, therefore, the Roman Pontiff.

So on account of canon 17, Canon 359 means that no Conclave can be called legitimately by the Cardinals until the man who held the Petrine Munus says, in accord with Canon 359: I renounce my munus, or words equivalent such as, I renounce the petrine munus.

Perhaps there is some language in which munus has a cognate or equivalent term, but in modern English it does not exist, so I use it of necessity, in my articles. It does not exist in Italian either.

The Code of Canon Law, in canon 17, therefore imposes a clear and certain standard for a legitimate Conclave — to be called during a sede vacante — and a clear and certain standard as when to recognize that a pope is no longer pope — he must be dead or have renounced the petrine munus.

Obviously, you would be insane to play games with words and renounce something else, and leave it to history to find out whether you renounced or did not renounce.  But that is the situation we are in. That is why Canon 332 in paragraph 2, says that the renunciation is only valid if it manifests a renunciation of petrine munus. Even Cathy Caridi, JCL, in her blog post of January 2013 recognized this, as I mentioned the other day.

An unsolveable problem Post Factum

The canonical problem any successor of Bergolio has will therefore be the same. Because, when Bergoglio resigns or dies in power, his death will not cause a sede vacante, because he was never the Pope. And he was never the Pope because he was elected while another Pope still reigned. And Another pope still reigned, because Pope Benedict renounced only the ministerium and kept the office, the dignity, the munus, and the power of the papacy for himself. Therefore, no petrine sucession took place, and hence Bergoglio was never the Roman Pontiff according to the norms of Canon Law. It follows, then, with his departure the Cardinals cannot act.

The College of Cardinals is also compromised. I mean to say, that even if both Benedict and Bergoglio were dead, it could not validly elect a Roman Pontiff. This is because of the Papal Law on Conclaves, by Pope John Paul II, which declares invalid the election of anyone made in a Conclave into which ANYONE WHOMSOEVER who is not a Cardinal Elector was admitted.  But the men whom Bergoglio dared to make Cardinals are not Cardinals, because he has no authority to make them. And Pope Benedict having renounced the petrine ministry, has explicitly posited a juridical act which denies his consent to anything which happened after Feb. 28, 2013. So these man are not Cardinals and if they enter the Conclave the election will be invalid.

So after the fact — post factum, in Latin — there is no cure for the Bergoglian Church. The only true successor will be the one elected after the valid resignation or death of Pope  Benedict XVI.

This article is one in a series studying the Canonical problems associated with the illegitimate claim of Bergoglio to the pontificate, among which are the others:

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9 thoughts on “Will Pope Francis’ successor be a Catholic?”

  1. I don’t see how this conundrum will ever be resolved in line with your analysis. Say Benedict dies and Bergoglio dies soon after. A new Pope is elected by the Cardinals including the false “Cardinals” created by Bergoglio who you contend are ineligible to vote for the new Pope. Accordingly, the conclusion must be that the new Pope’s election is invalid and the papal seat remains vacant. Right? Maybe St Malachi was right and Benedict is the last Pope,

  2. This gives a whole new understanding to St Malachy’s prophecies where the list of popes end with Benedict XVI. Then it breaks with the list and mentions one more pope as Peter the Roman leading the Church through persecution and tribulation. This prophecy lends itself to what is written in this article with the fact that Benedict XVI is the last pope if all ‘popes’ chosen after Francis and by his cardinals are not valid due to the schism caused by invalidly electing Bergolio as pope.

    In this case Peter the Roman is someone from Rome itself chosen by the diocese of Rome as the bishop of Rome who chooses the name Peter as his papal name. According to the prophecy this is bound to happen when the Bergolian Church is persecuting the true Church. This suggests that the persecution of the true Church might come with Francis’ successor after Benedict and Francis are both no longer living or in Rome.

  3. What happens if, Benedict dies, then Bergoglio, and as is happening, that the majority of the College of Cardinals are all Bergoglio appointees, who are illegitimate, but who could form a block to elect another son of Bergoglio. Surely only the Benedict appointed Cardinals have the legal right to vote at the conclave. Aren’t we still in the same mess with the anti church sat on the papal throne? I submit that it would take someone like the Great Monarch to appoint the Good Pope (Marie Julie Jahenny spoke about this) and finally put an end to the anti church.

  4. What are we to make of the occasions where Benedict blesses new Francis cardinals? Does this not validate them? Team Francis says that this is just out of respect for Benedict but I believe that they know Francis’ blessing in impotent.

  5. So it’s true that the Cardinals received a “decisionem”, a cutting away. Their title is pretty much useless now.
    It is possible that Benedict XVI will give instructions about the election of His lawful Successor, probably some form of popular acclamation like the Bishops in the old times.

    1. Sleepy Bear, We cannot exclude that Pope Benedict XVI has left in his last will and testament instructions about what is to be done after his death. Yes. Your insight is very good and correct. We will only know after his death, when they come forward, if they do.

  6. Is there someone in this world evil enough to even be willing to succeed Bergoglio? Then such a man would probably (and might as well) be the Antichrist Himself.

    I wouldn’t doubt that we are in the times in which the man who will succeed Bergoglio will be an ordained prelate, born of a jewish woman, who will contract an illegitimate matrimony under “viri probati”, and will be so laxed in the faith, so lukewarm, that he will not even wear a pectoral cross or a white cassock. He will dress and carry himself like a sort of elite, political, ruler. He will be very cordial, gentile, kind and generous. Politicians, rulers and Catholic prelates will see him as a sort of noble hero, and many will flock to meet him in person. Even Islamic kingdoms and tyrants, along with those of almost every false religion, will believe he is divine. This new successor will have entry way into every religion and nation for his openness and willingness to compromise the Truth and Faith, far worse than Bergoglio ever dared to.

    One could imagine this man being someone like Ganswein who has suddenly disappeared, only to reappear as a transformed successor of Bergoglio (married and so forth – just kidding) – will be interesting to see what comes after Bergoglio. Woe to this world when BXVI dies.

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