by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
FRANÇAIS — ITALIANO
Contra factum non est argumentum, as the Latin adage goes: that is, “Against a fact, there is no argument”.
If there is any Catholic who doubts that the Catholics of Rome have the right to elect their own bishop, they need not believe anything I say, they need only to open up any book about the election of the Popes, or in this case, even see the List of Popes over at Wikipedia, to confirm this.
Deny this, and you deny the Apostolic Succession in the See of Rome, and make every pope after Peter a fake. But if you do that, you are anathematized by Vatican I, which declared infallibly that there will always be successors of St. Peter at Rome, until the coming of the Lord.
So, to those who are are reading this or that section of the Papal Law, Universi Dominici Gregis, and understanding none of it, I make this reply.
Yes, there is a stricture in that law, that states that for the election of the Pope in a Conclave only Cardinal Electors can vote (n. 33). That stricture applies only to the manner of election in that Apostolic Constitution, for otherwise the Apostolic Succession would be in jeopardy. Indeed, in the final sentence of the preface, Pope John Paul states explicitly his intention, that the norms of the special law are to bind the Cardinals. He does not impose them on the whole Church.
Those who do not think so, are pretending that John Paul II or the scholars of jurisprudence who worked for more than 10 years on the new Code of Canon Law did not know about what happened in the Church for the previous 19 centuries, or how the Apostle Peter left this right to the whole Church.
For they pretend that John Paul II wants in all times and places, even outside of a conclave, that only Cardinal electors vote.
But if that were the case, then the enemies of God would only have to kill 120 men, to end the Apostolic Succession forever. — But, that would make the Gates of Hell prevail. Which is absurd.
So obviously neither the Pope nor his experts intended that.
Which means, that their argument is false.
And these experts show that this argument is false, because this stricture of n. 33 is placed in the special law UDG and not in canons 349 and 359, which regard the privileges of the College of Cardinals. By placing this in a special law, it removes the stricture from general application. And this is confirmed by canons 5 §1 and 5 §2, which affirms apostolic rights remain in force in special circumstances not provided for in law.
And this was necessary, because Canon Law depends upon Apostolic Right for its authority, not the other way around. Thus, no Pope can abolish anything in Apostolic Tradition, not even the right of the Roman Church to elect his successor.
And to the further argument, that in canon 349, it says the contrary, it is clear that that argument would be wrong, since the Latin says, that the election pertains to the College of Cardinals as to provide for it (provideat) according to norm (ad normam) of the special law on elections. It does not say they enjoy this right per se or semper nor does it use a verb which signifies or connotes that they can obstruct the election by violating the norms of that special law. Indeed, someone who has the right to provide for something which is needed, does not have the right to deny that something when needed, because the right to provide is the right of a servant not of a lord. Otherwise, a mother who has the right to provide for her children’s supper could rightfully starve them to death by not providing for it, and a father who attempted to do so, when she was starving them, could not rightfully act. Which is horribly absurd.
So there are a lot of laymen out there who cannot read Latin or who have not studied law or history, who are saying foolish things. That they do not pause to think what will happen to the Church before they speak, is incredible, after the 10 years of savage attacks on the Faith and the Mass.
And for those who argue against n. 76, I have already replied in a footnote to my article, How John Paul II determined the election of Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.