What are the conditions for a valid Papal election by apostolic Right?

And how the Election of Pope Francis on January 30, 2023 met all the conditions

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo


Saint Peter left to the Church of Rome the right to elect his successors in perpetuity, so that the Church founded by Christ might always have a supreme pastor who by the gift of grace He obtained by His High Priestly prayer, She might be led by one whose faith would never fail and whose conversion would be guaranteed.

This truth, which I just reiterated, is gathered from both Apostolic Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the infallible perennial Magisterium of the Church. But the rules which govern the validity of such an election are extracted from an attentive examination of papal elections throughout history, to see which elections were and are regarded by Holy Mother Church as valid, and which are not.

Anyone can do this. Just read a history of the Papacy. I have read several histories of the papacy, not to mention every biography of every pope in the Catholic Encyclopedia. I am not a grifter who lets my mouth run to pontificate. I base what I say on laws, teaching and facts.

So here goes with a cursory presentation of the observations which can be made regarding Papal Elections by Apostolic Right.

Which elections are by Apostolic Right?

If you ask regarding the principle of the right, that is the authority granted which makes the election have the possibility of being valid, then all papal elections are by apostolic right, because whether they be conducted with or without written rules, or according to Canons laid down by popes, or special papal laws, ordinances, bulls  or apostolic constitutions etc., the authority which grants their capacity to validly elect a Roman Pontiff comes from Saint Peter.

Which elections are by Divine and Evangelical Right?

Since Our Lord per-emptorially confirmed in heaven all the decisions of Saint Peter and His Successors, when He declares, “Whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven…”, it follows that all elections by apostolic right are also by Divine Right and by Evangelical Right.

This means that if one refuses a valid election of the Roman Pontiff, one cannot be saved in this world or the next. It is a most grave matter. It is a sin which God will damn with the entire force of all the fires of Hell, for calling His Eternal Son a liar, by implication.

So it follows that we, as Saint Bonaventure says in regard to the utterances which regard the things of God, “circumcise our lips”, so that we say nothing which contravenes the Divine Law.

When can the Roman Church have recourse to an election by apostolic right?

When there are no papal laws or canons which specify someone else as having this right under exclusive conditions. In the present code, Canon 349 says the Church looks to the Cardinals to elect the Roman Pontiff according to the norms of the special law. The special law is Universi Dominici Gregis, which says that the Cardinal Electors must enter into conclave no later than the 21st day.  Failing do to that, they canonically cannot do anything which will have an effect, as per canon 38 which governs the application of canon 349. And thus only after the death of a true pope, when failing to elect his successor, can such an election, under the present legal arrangements, be called for.

When is the only time a valid Papal election by apostolic right can be undertaken?

After the death or valid renunciation of a valid Roman Pontiff. As can be seen through the examination of the historical record, immediately after the death of a true Pope, within days or weeks the election was held. BUT, this can only be done IF NO OTHER ELECTION HAS YET TAKEN PLACE.

There are cases in which certain factions enthroned someone as Pope without proceeding first to an election. And then an assembly was held and elected the true Pope, who was someone else. See the case of Pope Alexander II and the antipope Honorius II in 1061 A. D..

Can an election by apostolic right be delayed?

Yes, for grave reasons, such as the election of Pope St. Cornelius in 251 A. D., whose election was delayed 14 months, because the Roman Emperor was eagerly searching for Catholics to put them to death and no gathering of any kind could be risked.

Who are the valid electors in such an election?

The Faithful of the Roman Church, without specification, as the right belongs to the Church and to no one group or class or individual in the Church. We can see this from the fact, that in 236 A. D., when a dove landed on the head of St. Fabian, as he returned from working in the countryside, and encountered the Faithful gathered in such an assembly, that the popular acclamation by the laity led to his election.

This is confirmed from a different point of view, by St. Cyprian, who regarded the election of St. Cornelius as valid, because:

… Cornelius was made bishop by the choice of God and of His Christ, by the favorable witness of almost all of the clergy, by the votes of the laity then present, and by the assembly of bishops.

So you see, not everyone need be present, and unanimity was not a requirement. The Church in St. Cornelius day was torn by a schism, wherein the followers of Novatian, who included clergy, religious and laity, held another assembly an elected him. Novatian was the runner-up in the election of St. Cornelius, and his faction took a large part of the Church of Rome into schism, after they consecrated him Bishop and set him up as antipope.

Here, the precise condition for a valid election is seen from special cases not general rules. When the Church is free, a valid election contains all the Faithful of the Roman Church who come to the Assembly.

Can the electors come from different dioceses or Churches?

Not from different Churches, but since all the suburbican dioceses of  Rome are by ancient right considered part of the Roman Church, the faithful in those regions can also participate. This is demonstrated by history, in which the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia since the 4th century A. D., has always participated in the election of the Roman Pontiff, when he was able to do so, and was not part of an antipapal faction. To doubt this traditional inclusion of the 7 suburbican dioceses, is to doubt the validity of all papal elections in the last 1600 years.

Do the electors have to be verified as having residence in the Roman Church to be qualified as valid electors?

There is nothing in the historical record which shows that any election was ever disputed on the grounds that one or more persons voted, who were not from the Roman Church. While this does not mean the elections included outsiders, it means that in past ages in which there was no such thing as a residency permit or photographic identification, persons were identified by their dress and manner of speech.

Obviously in modern times, this does not excuse such an assembly from meticulously avoiding the intrusion of outsiders, since we have such a capacity today, and canon law requires such for ecclesiastical elections (cf. canons 166 ff), it is a sound practice to remove doubt as to the validity of any election.

Do all the electors have to be notified and do all have to come?

In the historical record there never has been any election whose validity was challenged because all the potential electors were not notified or did not come. In fact, from the testimony of St. Cyprian, cited above, we can see that it is sufficient that some come.

That the true pope has renounced or died is a public fact, however, which guarantees that every Catholic know at least the election is imminent. And so responsible electors have the duty to keep informed.

How many electors is too few?

There is nothing in the historical record on this matter, since no election was ever held to be invalid because of too few electors present. Anyone who advances such a theory is proposing a complete juridical novelty out of thin air. But obviously there has to be at least one.

Since the right to elect the Roman Pontiff is for the spiritual benefice of the Faithful of the Roman Church, and the Church exists whenever two or three are gathered, and since this right is more needed when there are no clergy, than when there are many clergy, it follows that it is a sound practice to consider the election valid even if as few as 2 or three laymen come to the assembly.

But where as one can construe an argument to defend the validity, which is reasonable, no one can build an argument to deny validity on the basis of numbers, because there is no evidence in the historical record, nor papal or canon law on this matter. Even in a Papal Conclave according to the present Papal Law THERE IS NO MINIMUM NUMBER OF CARDINAL ELECTORS WHO HAS TO VOTE. The vote of even one Cardinal, in the eventuality that no other cardinals come to the election, is sufficient for a valid election (cf. Universi Dominici Gregis, n. 62).

This is a point which must be taken into consideration, as a sort of precedence or intimation of the correct juridical position on this question.

What percentage of the electorate has to vote for a candidate for his election to be considered valid?

From the historical record there is little evidence regarding how many votes runner-up candidates received. Most frequently we see that the elections are reported as having no internal dissent. And so one assumed the election was unanimous. In disputed elections, the constant theme in the historical record is that the true pope was elected by the greater part. And certain points in the history of papal Elections, the popes required 2/3 majority, to guarantee a united Church after the election. And from this we can infer, that previously, a simply majority of 50% +1 vote was sufficient.

No unanimous elections were ever regarded as invalid.

Who can or cannot be elected?

Any adult male baptised Catholic who is not married, can be elected.

Can an antipope be elected?

Yes, it happened in 964, when the antipope Leo VIII was acclaimed by the Roman Faithful.

Can a heretic be elected?

The correct question is, “Can a person whom I think is a heretic be elected?  And this question has to be specified further, as to whether you are the pope, whether the person is a heretic only in your private judgement, or whether the person has been publicly condemned as a heretic by an authority competent to judge him.

I will assume you are not the pope. And I will reply to the other two cases.

Then if the person has not yet been condemned by any Church authority, with this right to issue a binding condemnation, for heresy, then the person is a valid candidate. Cardinals are immune from all condemnations, except from the Roman Pontiff himself (CIC 1983, canon 1405 §1 n. 2). Pope Benedict XVI never excluded any Cardinal on this basis.

If this irks you, then you are confusing, your own power of discernment, with the authority which alone can deprive someone of his canonical rights. See here for more on this.

The Papal Election on Monday, January 30, 2023, met all these conditions

I testify to the entire world, that the election held to elect Pope Francis by apostolic right, on Monday January 30, 2023, met each and every condition for validity:

  1. It was held 30 days after the death of the Roman Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, who never renounced the munus petrinum. The Death of the Roman Pontiff being a public fact known by all the Catholics of the Roman Church.
  2. The College of Cardinals entirely failed to observe every aspect of the Papal Law for Elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, in total violation of Canon 349, and thus they cannot ever elect his successor as per canon 38. Therefore, there was the extraordinary juridical necessity of having recourse to an election by apostolic right.
  3. The Assembly to do this was publicly announced, to the potential electors, 7 days before and each day thereafter.
  4. No one was admitted to the assembly who was not a member of the Roman Church. — To be admitted each elector had to prove ecclesiastical residency by an official document of the Italian Republic or the Vatican, and membership in the Catholic Church by a document issued by a parish anywhere in the world, regarding Baptism, Confirmation, or Marriage.
  5. The number of electors met the rule of Jesus Christ, for the minimum sufficient.
  6. The election was unanimous in its choice: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Cardinal of the Roman Church never sanctioned by any previous true Pope.

Moreover, unlike other elections, this election was held without the coercion of military forces, as the Assemblies of the past had to suffer, for example in 964 A. D., after the renunciation of Pope Benedict V, when the German Emperor Otto II demanded the Roman Faithful accept his antipope Leo VIII and they consented.

Again, this was also the first such Assembly ever in which every person admitted was authenticated by documentation, recognized as valid by the Apostolic See.

Again, this was also the first such Assembly which was publicized on radio, tv and social media, to the knowledge of everyone interested. More than 250,000 had heard that the election would take place when I warned the Cardinals, and the same number actually came to the official website for the Assembly, ChiesaRomana.Info.  The publicity was aired more than 200 times in the course of  7 days. More than 200 journalists were informed. A press conference was held 5 days before. More than 8 thousand looked at the information at ChiesaRomana.Info regarding the event and the qualifications necessary for participating.

The result was not what many outside the Church of Rome wanted. Even clergy from outside Italy, who recognized the election valid, and I myself, are receiving demands that we stop recognizing the election valid. I believe I have valid grounds to fear for my person. I believe those who came and voted also have valid grounds to fear physical violence and calumny.

But, as I said before, if you doubt the validity of a papal election, which met all the necessary requirements, then you are calling Jesus Christ a liar, and denying Apostolic Tradition. You are also setting yourself up as the authority to determine validity. And all who are doing this, to my knowledge, have never even read a history of the papacy, do not know how to read Latin, and have never studied Canon Law, though there may be a few exceptions.

With Globalist Censorship growing daily, No one will ever know about the above article, if you do not share it.

34 thoughts on “What are the conditions for a valid Papal election by apostolic Right?”

  1. St Bonaventure schooled you well. I’m still waiting to read or hear a refutation that does not reek of pride and factionalism. Your opponents insist on insinuating mockery and insults into their “arguments”. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I was raised to recognise that this is a sure sign that the speaker is on weak ground or simply exhibits ill will and has closed their mind.

    1. I think you will have to wait until the Coming of the Lord. Egomaniacs always want the Church to fit into their little minds. But knowing Catholic History teaches a man humility and helps him understand how wide is the toleration of God for men. If Viganò is elected in the next conclave, many of them will forget all about this election and claim something like tacit acceptance by the Church of Rome made Francis the pope, in contradiction to canon 331.

  2. Is Universi Dominici Gregis abrogated? Will, or should, the next papal election, fall under apostolic right to the faithful of Rome?

    1. No it is not abrogated. The Election of Pope Francis makes all his cardinal electors, valid electors. The next election has to be undertaken by means of the current Papal Law in force, Universi dominici gregis, unless Pope Francis disposes otherwise before his death and in the presence of at least two bishops as witnesses. He can, for example, have a complete conversion and exclude the bad cardinals from voting. Or he can call all the Cardinals together and an earthquake could kill the bad ones and him. Anything is possible. Jesus remains in control, however.

      1. If it’s not abrogated then how can you, with no ecclesiastical authority, justify your conclave in light of Paragraph 33:

        33. The right to elect the Roman Pontiff belongs exclusively to the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, with the exception of those who have reached their eightieth birthday before the day of the Roman Pontiff’s death or the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant. The maximum number of Cardinal electors must not exceed one hundred and twenty. The right of active election by any other ecclesiastical dignitary or the intervention of any lay power of whatsoever grade or order is absolutely excluded.

      2. Read the last sentence of the introduction, to understand that UDG is a law for the Cardinals in a conclave. IT BINDS NO ONE ELSE EVER AT ANY OTHER OCCASION.

      3. Or he may “flee Rome walking over the corpses of his Cardinals and hide in a place far away where he will be discovered and suffer a cruel death” — as some saints have prophesied.

  3. Fra Alexis grazie!
    Finalmente con questa sua ulteriore spiegazione ha reso assolutamente comprensibile anche ai più testoni ed egocentrici la assoluta validità del’ elezione del Cardinal Bergoglio che dal 30 Gennaio è diventato Papa Francesco legittimamente eletto; ora è palese che chi insiste a denigrarla, ad irriderla così come ad offendere il Santo Padre non ha affatto a cuore il bene e la salvezza delle anime ne tantomeno la difesa della Santa Chiesa Cattolica Apostolica Romana Sposa di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo ponendosi quindi fuori dalla Chiesa stessa.
    I detrattori di Papa Francesco che mi pare siano anche chi la ridicolizza, dovrebbe imparare a memoria questo suo eccellente documento e riconoscerle con umiltà i meriti di fine Canonista oltretutto mosso da una profonda Fede ed amore per Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo e la Sua Augustissima Madre
    Preghiamo affinché l’ accecamento del quale sono in ostaggio possa cadere presto e ritornare a vedere con la Luce di Cristo Nostro Signore
    Dio la benedica Fra Alexis

  4. Dear Br Alexis, Thank you for the work that you and others have done to bring about the election of our new Pope and so end the torment of being without the sacraments these last years. Praise be to God.

  5. “33. The right to elect the Roman Pontiff belongs exclusively to the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, with the exception of those who have reached their eightieth birthday before the day of the Roman Pontiff’s death or the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant“

    The vote of any Cardinal, who voted for a man, who they knew , prior to his election to the Papacy, had fallen into heresy because prior to his election to the Papacy, he denied that sin done in private, is still, in essence, sin, is invalid and thus a new conclave must be called and each Cardinal must be question as to whether or not they had prior knowledge of Jorge Bergoglio’s heresy., and having voted for a known heretic, ipso facto separated themselves from Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque).

    1. ND. When you become pope you can promulgate such a law. But no pope has done so, so far. So you can decide to live in a Church of your desires and dreams, or accept the Church of Christ which exists in reality as it is.

      1. In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy: (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless… ” Cum ex Apostolatus Officio” Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul IV, 1559

        It shall be lawful for each and all of the cardinals,…as well as for all the clergy and the Roman people,… to withdraw without penalty and at any time from obedience and loyalty to the person so elected even if he has been enthroned (while they themselves, notwithstanding this, remain fully committed to the faith of the Roman church and to obedience towards a future Roman pontiff entering office in accordance with the canons) and to avoid him as a magician, a heathen, a publican and a heresiarch.” Pope Julius II, Council of Lateran V. 1513

      2. Cum ex apostolatu officio is one of the greatest Constitutions ever published, I my opinion, on account of its precise legislation and respect for everyone’s rights. It is cited in the footnotes of the Code of 1917 as a reference for such things as latae sententiae excommunications and deprivations for office on account of heresy. However it was abolished by his predecessor, and as all previous legislation which regarded Papal elections it was explicitly abrogated by all subsequent papal laws for papal elections. Yet it is a good rule for conscience, if we remember, that in the age in which Paul IV wrote it, there was yet no clear conception among theologians about the power of Christ’s prayer as High Priest for Peter. Thus it would no longer be lawful, licit in the canonical sense to refuse recognition of such a pope, but it remains that for many it may not be a sin, and thus, in my opinion, it would be wrong for ecclesiastical authority to punish such Catholics, because they do not have an errant conscience, they are just scrupulous or are over quick to judge, or they fall into the error of confusing their own personal discernment with the arrogation of a right


  6. Br. Alexis,
    You would have been an excellent lawyer! Or a teacher. You have a gift for elucidating the most abstruse of principles.

  7. Of course Pope John Paul II is speaking only to the Cards because in the previous paragraphs of the introduction, he specifically states:

    Confirming therefore the norm of the current Code of Canon Law (cf. Canon 349), which reflects the millennial practice of the Church, I once more affirm that the College of electors of the Supreme Pontiff is composed solely of the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church. In them one finds expressed in a remarkable synthesis the two aspects which characterize the figure and office of the Roman Pontiff: Roman, because identified with the Bishop of the Church in Rome and thus closely linked to the clergy of this City, represented by the Cardinals of the presbyteral and diaconal titles of Rome, and to the Cardinal Bishops of the suburbicarian Sees; Pontiff of the universal Church, because called to represent visibly the unseen Pastor who leads his whole flock to the pastures of eternal life. The universality of the Church is clearly expressed in the very composition of the College of Cardinals, whose members come from every continent.

  8. What if someone points out doubts that the elected candidate belongs to a secret society? Or, as it became public, is it not for me to judge the objections raised recently that there was political interest, that is, hidden interference in the election?

    1. I pointed out all this long before all others. Nevertheless, Christ said, Whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. Therefore, when JP2 omitted an ipso facto excommunciation for Freemasons, and when in canon 1405 he placed all Cardinals under the pope’s judgement alone, and when he made Bergoglio a cardinal, then Bergoglio had the canonical right to be elected pope, IN THE SIGHT OF THE LIVING GOD. And no matter what he did, unless he was condemned by JP2 or B16, he retained that right IN THE SIGHT OF THE LIVING GOD.

      Hence, those who say that he is not a legitimate candidate for the Papacy, ARE CALLING GOD A LIAR AND WILL BURN IN HELL.

      What more can be said.

  9. I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind, considering the disaster of the last 10 years, would vote to affirm Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis.
    I thought the purpose of this conclave was to nominate/elect a Catholic.

    1. They catholics who wanted a catholic nominated all told catholics not to come. Whose fault is that?

      I was the only want who invited them and signed contracts to let them know and accommodate them.

      1. Copying your reference Brother from your earlier post:

        “When Christ was crucified, at the foot of the Cross stood only 5 or 6 people, and one of them pierced his side, and piercing also the heart. The pagan officer even came to believe after that.”

        The rest were spectators: the repentant thief and the unrepentant thief.

  10. Io da semplice Cattolica, credo che ciò che è stato fatto, guidato dalla Volontà e Luce divina che ha diretto ogni passo, sia, come ho affermato precedentemente, realmente avvenuto malgrado lo scompiglio dei pensieri umani dei soli uomini, Gesù nostro Signore, Giusto, Grande e Misericordioso nel Suo agire, pieno di Amore, ha rimesso ordine nella Sua Chiesa, ancora una volta ribaltando i pensieri degli uomini…Lo squarcio è stato come se si fosse ricostituito…Spiritualmente ho sentito questo e non so spiegare…Seguivo altra via e la confusione spirituale sembrava simile alla nebbia in piazza San Pietro, il giorno del funerale di Papa Benedetto XVI, dove tutto è stato avvolto da nebbia e oscurità. Ho pregato e chiesto Luce a Gesù e Maria Immacolata e testimonio che Loro hanno illuminato non solo me ma tante Anime sul riconoscere la Verità voluta non da uomini ma da Dio stesso. Prego San Michele Arcangelo e Maria Santissima, che la proteggano da ogni male, fisico e spirituale di chi la odia. Non vedendo aggiornamenti sul suo blog, non nascondo che mi ero impensierita ma il rileggerla ora mi fa stare in Pace. Grazie Fra Alexis e che i Sacri cuori la coprano con le loro benedizioni. Pace

  11. Forgive me, but, my modest opinion, would God also be cohesive through prudence, wisdom, and common sense, for a logical and cohesive line would avoid objections and doubts? For if it is something more public now, with so much information, that such a candidate was a member of a secret sect, would it not be prudent to denounce him, as occurred in the election of St. Pius X, as occurred with his competing candidate? I don’t judge anything of your person, but I analyze coldly, seeking only the truth. So they, the critics, coherent in turn, because they already observed that this would be undermined such an election. Hence, the attendance of only 5 people? Would these people also be the result of the same logical line presented?

    1. Bergoglio has been denounced for neigh 10 years and no one in the Church will do anything about it, since they thought he is the pope. The only cure left was giving him the benefit of the omnipotent prayer of Christ. But it takes faith and common sense to see that.

      Maybe an analogy from warfare may help understand why God permitted it. If one’s army does not have the artillery capable of taking down the enemy’s citadel, then the only way to conquer it is to infiltrate in the room of the top commander and flip him over to your side. The Freemasons have taken great pride in their ability to infiltrate the Church and have striven to capture the papacy itself, in the person of the pope. But Christ’s prayer is more powerful that any such allegiance or plot. Which is why the Pope will never be the false prophet or antichrist, but an antipope can be.

      1. Pope Francis now has the prayer of Jesus over him, so this is the litmus test of a faithful Catholic.

        Jesus is now binding Satan and their group limiting what they can do.

        Best use of this short time period is to go to Church, because this is indeed Grace from Our Lord Jesus and Mama Mary.

  12. Brother Alexis,
    So, according to canon law – we have a pope. But have you noticed any change in interviews and texts of the current pontiff? Can you see nothing evidently changed with the hierarchy? Can we really live with a smile observing destruction of catholic teaching?

    1. If you see no change, then it is because you are not trained in theology. He has not uttered any heresy. That is a big change. The prayer of Christ is only protective. So when a pope may be about to veer into heresy, the Prayer of Christ will guide him to chose words which do not go off into that error. It’s subtle. It’s not going to change him personally, unless he is a man very open to the grace of God and one of the elect. If not, it will only be a protection, like a blinder on a jackass to keep him from going off the road, as the cart goes down the road.

  13. The owners of the world are in a hurry to dominate everything, through chaos, whether in the current system, finances, in short, everything and even in the Church. They want to take away the hope that remains in society in order to force what they want. Everything that generates crisis and division is a kind of catalyst. Ask about it. Turning to his brother, I apologize to him for something, but I’m only a supporter of the truth. I don’t think I should, I think, blame the others for five people present, because it wasn’t a collective initiative. Thus, it forces something strange with a coherent result to this, one cannot require the conscience of some. Haste, lack of reflection, no meetings and lack of collective prayer, in the face of such gravity today in the world, I believe that it could only be this result. The fog gets stronger and the black birds fly shallower. God bless you all.

    1. Renato, I think you simply have no faith in the power of Christ’s prayer and promises and simply reject in principle the Aoostolic Tradition in the Roman Church whereby St. Peter gave to the Faithful the right to elect their Bishop. Many Christians do as you do, though most of them were born outside the Catholic Church. I can understand your plight, because without faith it is impossible to be saved, and when you give yourself up to doubt because you lack hope and faith in these things, there is no way back to the light but repentance.

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