or How the wisdom of John Paul II will soon save the Church
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
In this article, I will knock out the last Bergoglian argument still standing.
As the truth that Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff sinks into the minds of the whole Church, on account of the fact that it is impossible in any manner to rationally affirm that in renouncing ministerium he did indubitably and thus validly fulfill the requirement of the law to renounce the papal munus, the last refuge of the Bergoglian party, and indeed of the party of Cardinals who think that their consensus is sufficient to transfer the papal office from one man to another — even when this consensus violates papal law and Canon law — has entered the ring in recent weeks. And so, I enter too, to knock it out! This will be a 3 round fight, and bloody. So you are warned in advance, that it is not for Bergoglian babies to watch.
The argument which they think trumps everything is this.
If Benedict XVI is still the pope, when he dies, because none of the Cardinals will enter into a Conclave to elect his successor, the See of Peter would be vacant and the Apostolic Succession ended. But since it is impossible that Peter be without Successors, then that too is impossible, therefore Benedict cannot be the pope.
This argument was recently used on a blog with 14 readers.
If one thing good can be said of this argument it is, that it is an argument which shows that those who deny that Benedict is the Pope do retain the logical capacity to construct an argument which challenges the first premises of thought.
Ann Barnhardt has pounded on this very aspect for 4 years. She argues that if your premise that Benedict renounced validly leads you, throughout these 7 years, to lose faith in papal infallibility, the indefectibility of the Church or even your faith in God, etc., then your first premise must be wrong.
She argues in many articles that if one accept a false premise, then it is impossible to have a valid conclusion in any syllogism. She also argues that those who cannot free themselves of a false premise are doomed, and in this matter in particular, doomed to lose their faith and become agents of diabolic dissension, confusion and delusion.
But here the Bergoglians and Cardinals-know-all party have admitted they can construct an argument which attempts to dethrone a false first premise.
But the only problem is, they cannot argue. Because in that argument there is a missing middle term, that is, the major of the argument and the minor of the argument do not connect. Here, let me show you:
The major of the argument is:
It is impossible that Peter be without successors.
The minor of the argument is:
Peter would be without successors if Benedict XVI dies without being succeeded, since the Cardinals will not convene a Conclave.
The argument is constructed as a hypothetical contrary to fact. One must understand that it supposes for the sake of argument (pro arguendo) that Benedict XVI is the true pope.
But, in attempting to deny that supposition it simply constructs a weapon against itself. Because the minor of the argument contains 2 independent suppositions, one which is pro arguendo and the other which is a future hypothetical (the Cardinals will not convene to elect a successor to Pope Benedict).
I am spelling this all out in detail, because it’s importance will soon be vital to the continued existence of the Catholic Church on earth.
So since the argument arrives at an impossible, by means of a future hypothetical, the conclusion that the first premise must be false is true, but not in the way the Bergoglians who employ it claim.
Because, in an argument which intends to destroy a first premise, that is, falsify the first premise, the first premise must be a single proposition, not a proposition composed by two hypotheticals.
If it is composed of two, as it is in this case (that Benedict is the Pope & that the Cardinals will not enter into Conclave after his death), then the argument succeeds ONLY in showing that the CONJUCTION of both hypotheticals is false.
And I agree.
The Wisdom of Pope John Paul II
Inspired by God or warned by the Saints, Pope John Paul II foresaw — I believe — this false argument and prepared the Church to refute it.
He did this in his papal law for Conclaves, published in 1996: Universi Dominici Gregis.
To be precise, he did it in the Law and in his Introductory Letter or Preface to it.
But before we discuss this, to see its importance, let us review the warnings Pope John Paul II made to the College of Cardinals, in this papal law for conclaves:
First, he warns them of a future resignation, saying:
77. I decree that the dispositions concerning everything that precedes the election of the Roman Pontiff and the carrying out of the election itself must be observed in full, even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 333 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law and Canon 44 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The reference to Canon 333 §2 reminds the Cardinals that the Pope, not the College of Cardinals makes the laws of the Church and that they are obliged to keep them, even if he is dead or has resigned.
Second, he warns them that they have NO POWER in the Church while a Pope is alive to alter his papal law:
1. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the College of Cardinals has no power or jurisdiction in matters which pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office; such matters are to be reserved completely and exclusively to the future Pope. I therefore declare null and void any act of power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office which the College of Cardinals might see fit to exercise, beyond the limits expressly permitted in this Constitution.
Then he warns them finally a third time, in the act of promulgation, at the end of this papal law, that if they fail to keep every part of this law, the Conclave will have an invalid result:
Wherefore, after mature reflection and following the example of my Predecessors, I lay down and prescribe these norms and I order that no one shall presume to contest the present Constitution and anything contained herein for any reason whatsoever. This Constitution is to be completely observed by all, notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention. It is to be fully and integrally implemented and is to serve as a guide for all to whom it refers.
These warnings make it quite clear that the Cardinals have no authority to organize a coup d’etat, and that they cannot obviate this fact, that they ONLY HAVE AUTHORITY TO ELECT THE ROMAN PONTIFF WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THIS LAW.
This is really a sensational aspect of the Papal Law which has not been noticed by many. Pope John Paul II by these declarations actually REMOVED from the College of Cardinals their monopoly of power to elect the Roman Pontiff, because, whereas in the past they had the power to always validly, legally and canonically elect the Roman Pontiff, now they only had the legal authority to do so. This law strips them of the exclusive right to valid election.
3 Terms that must be understood
To understand this we must review with precision the meaning of three terms: legal, canonical and valid.
What is legal is that which is done according to the obligation or norm of a law which is still enforce.
What is canonical is that which is done, in the strict sense, according to the obligation or norm of a canon which is still enforce.
What is valid is that which is in truth done, either according to the norm of a law or canon, or according to the natural, moral, evangelical, or divine laws.
I understand this distinction, because more than 20 years ago, when I was a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, I attended a conference in one of our monasteries, where our guardian explained the Rule of Saint Francis according to a very erudite commentary published before the Council by a canonist of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. This topic arose, because in the Rule of Saint Francis, it binds us friars to “obedience and reverence to the Roman Pontiff and his canonically elected successors”. And the commentary, as explained, pointed out that in Saint Francis’ days the election of the Roman Pontiff was regulated by canons, but today it is regulated by Papal law. So technically, today we speak of legal elections, not canonical elections, and that therefore the proper and sane reading of the Rule of St. Francis today, means that we should regard St. Francis to mean legal in the present system canon law.
For this reason Pope John Paul II speaks of what is lawful in his papal law, cf. n. 37.
And now for the Wisdom
So, Pope John Paul II checkmated the College of Cardinals in his papal law of 1996. And of course, this being a restriction on them, we certainly have not heard them talk about it, and certainly won’t, since they pretend to rule the Church without any law and allow a lawless man to pretend to be the pope.
But it behooves us to open our eyes and see it. And thus let us reveal the wisdom of Pope John Paul II. I quote from the Introductory Letter to the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis:
It has been my wish to give particular attention to the age-old institution of the Conclave, the rules and procedures of which have been established and defined by the solemn ordinances of a number of my Predecessors. A careful historical examination confirms both the appropriateness of this institution, given the circumstances in which it originated and gradually took definitive shape, and its continued usefulness for the orderly, expeditious and proper functioning of the election itself, especially in times of tension and upheaval.
Precisely for this reason, while recognizing that theologians and canonists of all times agree that this institution is not of its nature necessary for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, I confirm by this Constitution that the Conclave is to continue in its essential structure; at the same time, I have made some modifications in order to adapt its procedures to present-day circumstances.
I have prepared you to see the important and key aspect of the Pope’s words, by telling you beforehand to pay attention to the words, legal, canonical and valid.
They key passage is:
Precisely for this reason, while recognizing that theologians and canonists of all times agree that this institution is not of its nature necessary for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff,
Wisdom has its effect, necessarily
So before warning the Cardinals in the papal law itself, that they were being stripped of a monopoly on power to elect the Roman Pontiff, he makes it quite clear to them, in his letter of introduction, that there remains a valid way to elect the Roman Pontiff apart from the institution of the Conclave.
What are the sane and reasonable conclusions which can be inferred from the Papal law, therefore?
- The Cardinals only have the legal authority to validly elect a Roman Pontiff in a Conclave which follows all the rules. If they fail on any rule, the election is invalid.
- The Roman Pontiff can be validly elected outside of a conclave.
- Canonical elections of the Roman Pontiff regard valid elections during a legal sede vacante, which can occur from a valid resignation (cf. canon 332 §2= or a real death of a Roman Pontiff.
Wisdom for our times
Many of you have noticed that in the argument of Bergoglians which I critiqued above, I omitted to respond to another very apparent weakness, namely in their assertion that no Cardinals will enter into conclave after the death of Pope Benedict XVI to elect his successor. While it is just like Marxists to attempt to control reality by asserting that it is or will be as they want, rather than it is in truth or will be, we cannot be sure one way or another, whether Cardinals will or will not enter a Conclave after his death.
If they do, then there is no legal, valid, or canonical doubt that the man they elect will be the Roman Pontiff. Because by such an act they will entirely repudiate the claim of Bergoglio to be the Pope and entirely repudiate their error in entering into conclave in 2013.
However, if they do not, then it causes no problem. Because of the wisdom of Pope John Paul II in declaring that a Conclave is not necessary to validly elect the Roman Pontiff WHILE AT THE SAME TIME restricting the legal authority of the Cardinals to act in a conclave.
So what will happen if no Conclave is convened after the death of Pope Benedict XVI?
This is the precise question. And the answer is simple.
First, the right to elect the Roman Pontiff is of apostolic tradition consigned to the Roman Church, not to the College of Cardinals. The College of Cardinals only vicariously exercises this right in accord with the norm of law.
So if there is no College, whether because the death of all Cardinal Electors or the schism of all Cardinals (which by canon 1364 removes from them all authority to elect the Pope), their vicarious authority to exercise the Apostolic Right of the Church of Rome passes, and the exercise of that right returns to the Roman Church.
While ancient papal laws and canons reserved that to the Roman Clergy, or Bishops of Rome, since Pope John Paul II in the promulgation of his papal law expressly abrogated all of them, then the exercise of the right returns to its original norm, Apostolic Tradition, wherein all the faithful, clergy and lay, of the Church of Rome have the exclusive right to elect the Roman Pontiff. This right pertains to all who are Catholic and who hold canonical residence in the Diocese of Rome (1 year or more).
So Benedict XVI will have a successor, because pro arguendo there is without doubt at least a few Catholics left at Rome, in communion with Pope Benedict.
Certitude that the Cardinals are in schism and have lost their legal right to enter into Conclave is had when they violate n. 37, of the Papal law:
37. I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent; the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.
Thus from the 21st day onward, the Church of Rome has the right to do what the College fails to do.
Other Questions, answered briefly:
Cardinals who recognize that Bergoglio is the Pope, can then enter into a conclave?
No, because by such a recognition they are schismatics, before the law, and thus are not Cardinals.
Are Cardinals made by Bergoglio valid Cardinals capable of electing a pope?
No, because with Pope Benedict XVI’s renunciation of ministry, all acts of the Roman Curia and of Bergoglio were made null and void.
So by Cardinals, in the article above, you mean only those Cardinals who are Electors who were created by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI?