Is a Man converted, when he is elected Pope?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I detest persons who pretend to be members of a minority, so that they can push propaganda and troll social media accounts. But even so, there are some objections which even though they are ridiculous and are uttered by such villans, touch upon important points of the Catholic Faith, and thus, need to be confuted.

While there were a few medieval theologians who were such papal maximalists that they held, that a man elected to the papacy, after his acceptance, became a living saint, the common opinion of all Catholic theologians has always rejected this absurdity. Anyone with a little knowledge of papal history knows that there have been lechers who were Pope, while they were the Pope. It would thus be blasphemy to assert such a maximalistic position.

But it would also be a grave error to believe that a man, just because he was validly and juridically elected to the papacy, and accepted explicitly before or after his election, to be the pope, had a moral conversion.

This is a grave misunderstanding. Yes, Christ does pray for Peter so that he never fail in faith and that he be converted, if he be a sinner.  But Christ’s High Priestly prayer only guarantees that every Roman Pontiff not fall into pertinacious heresy or destroy the Church by attacking the deposit of the Faith in an irreparable manner, and guarantees that he is offered the grace to repent of his sins.

This is a subtle distinction, between things necessary and things convenient, or rather, between things which pertain to the person of the pope and the person who is the pope.

Christ Jesus being man’s Creator is not going to destroy or take away the liberty of any man. And for that reason, He will pray for the conversion of Peter, but He cannot force any Pope to convert. The liberty to refuse such an awesome prayer and grace remains. And that is why St. Alphonsus dei Liguori held that those Popes who were not canonized, were damned, because of the terrible magnitude of the duties of a Roman Pontiff.

But Christ did promise that His Church will not be overcome by the gates of the netherworld, and thus to keep that promise He does exercise a regal authority over the person of His vicar on earth, preventing him from transgressing matters which pertain to His will in the governance of the Church.

This regal intervention is merely providential, it is not necessarily executed by grace alone. It can come about through other persons, obstacles, error, or even ignorance or bad weather or death. Thus it is an outcome based governance, and can be discerned only in the juridical acts or lack there of, of the Roman Pontiff as they regard the whole Church, not any part thereof. It is like the reins on a horse, which a rider uses when he rides the horse, with an adventurous desire on his part, but not a suicidal one. The horse will not harm itself or the rider, but it will be allowed to gallop hither and thither, avoiding cliffs, snakes, etc..

Thus, except for exceptional graces which regard particular persons who are not the pope, Christ will not prevent a Pope from persecuting this or that person or group of persons. Hey, some popes started wars which killed thousands of catholics! Popes have been followers of this kingdom or that, of this empire or that. They have even shamefully bowed down to this emperor or that. But they have never attacked the Faith or cancelled the ancient liturgy or traditions of the Church.

For this reason, we should pray for the Holy Father, whomsoever he be at the present moment in our life in which we find ourselves. But we should avoid that tendency to canonize him simply because he is our highest superior on earth. While it is true, that as such, we cannot judge him, we can and should affirm in private and when necessary in public, the moral law which all must keep, even the Pope.

For the record, I do not see any information which convinces me that any pope after Pius X lived heroic virtues. I do not hold that canonizations are ipso facto infallible acts of the magisterium. I leave it to God to canonize a man by working a miracle in response to his prayers. And being pope is not a miracle.

As regards the recent events surrounding Cardinal Roche, I have explained the interventions of Christ already, but that does not mean that I believe that bad will towards the ancient mass has been extinguished in certain souls or even that certain souls disagree with what they held several months ago.

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16 thoughts on “Is a Man converted, when he is elected Pope?”

  1. I would love to read your thoughts on PVI and on what he did to the visible Church and the practice of the Faith.

    1. He never abrogated Quo Primum. He never raised Vatican II to the level of authoritative magisterium. But he did pretty much everything he could do to destroy the Church. But the mere fact that you ask me now, shows that the Church survived Paul VI. Who do we have to thank for that?

      As for the practice of the faith. Whose fault is that? The man in Rome or the man in the pew?

      1. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. One leads to another. Question is : how bad were catholics before the council to have led to the council?

      2. The Council was not caused by the faithful, but by the CIA who bribed bishops and cardinals and perhaps even John XXIII and Paul vI

      3. “never abrogated” by Paul VI.
        Although it is true that Benedict XVI himself made that claim, the historical facts reveal that it is not true.
        The 1962 Missal was abrogated by Paul VI’s publication of the “revised” (Novus Ordo) Missal of 1969 — that’s why an INDULT was needed for priests who wanted to use it anyway!

      4. False. It was never abrogated, but Paul VI told bishops that indults were required. That was a false claim. John Paul II kept the false claim. That is why I doubt that they will ever arrive in Heaven.

      5. Brother, i am referring to the arrival of the council because of the sins of catholics decades prior to the council. You know, punishment from God kinda of thing. Pius X warned about the church more than 100 years ago for a reason.

  2. It might help to add that while yes “the Church survived (the destroyer) Paul VI,” there are levels of “surviving” — and the Church today is is gasping for breath as the novus ordo so-called “Mass” prevails universally (and perhaps even more so in the future). Now is the fulfillment of Our Lady of La Salette’s very apt prophecy that the Church will be in “eclipse.” The novus ordo “Church” is a “conciliar” (concession-making) Church, and ecumenical (without a true Catholic identity) “Church,” and one that is barely still Catholic at all.
    So, if all we can say is that the Church “survived” then it would be good to add that we are in fact in serious, serious trouble. Because the “surviving” we see today is like a person’s last minute of life on earth. It will only be God’s miraculous intervention that will bring her back.

    1. The Church exists at every moment by the miraculous intervention of God. That does not mean we have no responsibility. But then again, anyone who reads would know that, because they alone have actually done something to solve the root problem of the crisis of the Church in our day.

      If you want the problem to be unsolvable, then you are merely denying your own responsibility.

  3. Nobody said we have no responsibility.
    We all must work and pray for the ultimate triumph of Our Lady in our day. This is primarily accomplished by doing as she requested at Fatima, living as a child of God day in and day out, observing the Five First Saturdays, and praying the daily rosary, and much more. We all have a very big part in advancing the victory, but the victory will be that of the Immaculate Heart — not ours.

    We note that Our Lady said “Only she can help you” — and the context of this was that we all have the responsibility to do our part, but that the victory will be hers. It is not denying our responsibility to acknowledge this.

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