Saturday, 22 July 2017

Passing the Paternity Test

I am following with interest, though not in an impartial manner, the blog posts of both Fr Ray Blake, (his original post is here) and Louie Verrecchio on the validity of the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis to the Throne of Peter.

Louie Verrecchio, who runs an often interesting and thought-provoking blog points to reasons why he considers there is room for a great deal of doubt regarding the election of Pope Francis and his validity. He very wrongly imputed to Fr Blake that the priest had reached the same conclusion as Louie while citing possible reasons which may have contributed to Benedict XVI's decision to resign. He hasn't actually apologised for doing that, instead choosing to arrogantly 'apologise' for praising Fr Blake's bravery.

Fr Blake's assertion, which I am as a Catholic deeply inclined to agree with, is that Francis is Pope because 'with full freedom' as Benedict XVI himself said, Benedict abdicated the Throne and in his latest piece has written with wisdom on the Catholic understanding of freedom and what it means to be free in Christ Jesus. The whole Church - including Benedict XVI - has accepted his Successor even if Francis has not been universally received with joy as Pope.

Concerning the claims made by various sources - including Louie's own - about the validity/invalidity arguments concerning the election of the Holy Roman Pontiff, I have over the last four years read a great deal, so much in fact, that I have forgotten quite a few of the justifications that many hold for believing or entertaining the idea that Francis is not the Pope. There are so many claims. There are, I believe, quite a few reasons why this belief is persistent, not just a single one, but what leaves most Catholics astonished is most naturally the behaviour of the Pope whose desire to act in an unprecedented manner has surpassed all expectations and rationale, leaving people wondering how this man can be Pope. Our Lord however, did not make the papacy an impregnable fortress against the sad, mad, bad or even evil. History attests to this. Jesus Christ has entrusted His Church to men as custodians. Men with free will.

In the light of events and revelations since Francis assumed the Throne, one reaction for Catholics is to ask why Cardinal Raymond Burke and some Cardinal friends have not tried to make a citizens arrest on the Pope on suspicion of not being the Pope, or even for refusing to act as a Pope of the tradition's understanding, because a body of evidence has over time built up which could be used in an investigation and trial that would charge Francis with being not a Pope but a contender to a Throne taken by force in an illegal manner. Louie hasn't even countenanced the good reasons why this has not happened and is very unlikely to happen, and would put it all down to the 'weakness' of Cardinal Burke and others. Oh, it would be a fascinating trial. Cardinal Daneels could be brought in as a witness, but then he himself would be placed on trial. It's all a lovely fantasy. And they all lived happily ever after...except Cardinal Tagle won the next election legally and completed the work of Francis naming himself Francis II.

Louie, I think (though I could be wrong), believes that Cardinals and Bishops should rise up and 'man up' and, with enough evidence at their disposal, place on trial the man known as Pope Francis who would thence be found guilty of crimes against the Church of God, judged to be a heretic, infidel, or traitor or all three and be expelled from the Christian community until his repentance, if he was granted mercy by the new holder of the Keys.

Unfortunately for traditionalists, there is no tradition of Cardinals placing Popes on trial to be charged with treason or heresy or very much at all. At least not while alive. It would be an invention - a very modern one at that - for this to occur. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Catholic Church simply doesn't overthrow Popes by trial - even those deemed by some to be illegitimate. The problem comes with the matter of who is competent to judge a Pope's legitmacy? St Paul's teaching, 'honour the Emperor' or the 'King' may be supreme here. The unprecedented nature of the situation would not instill many Canon Lawyers - and Cardinal Burke is one - with confidence in the rightness of the course of action to be taken.

This - as well as the text of Benedict's resignation speech - leads me to the conclusion that the whole Church of God must recognise Francis as Pope unless someday the Church Herself pronounces otherwise. I don't know whether there exist any caveats to this, but I doubt it. In the event that he signs off a new Mass that abolishes the Eucharist and excommunicates all faithful Catholics from the Church, I guess those priests celebrating the real Mass in farmyard barns and houses would still pray for 'Francis our Pope' despite how insane that would feel, since they have to say someone's name during the Canon and Benedict XVI abdicated the exercise of his ministry. Does Benedict XVI still celebrate Mass? Who does he pray for in the Canon? Perhaps Louie should ask him in a private audience. He does, after all, still receive visitors.

I find it very unlikely that Hyper-Trad-Pope-of-your-dreams-theoretical-next-Pope will say his predecessor was an illegitimate anti-Pope so forget his strange teachings, but hope springs eternal and if that happens I'm cool with that because I'm completely open to the God of surprises, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived and the Holy Spirit was not given to popes to proclaim new doctrine, but to defend and to put forth the Deposit of Faith, the Tradition received through the Apostles.

On the other hand, if this is God's battle alone, if the whole people of God are powerless against what is taking place save for beseeching God's mercy and Jesus Christ ends this sad and torturous affair with 'the breath of his mouth' then that would be a clincher.

The overwhelming feeling that many Catholics have today is of feeling powerless and fatherless but there are, mysteriously, opportunities attached to the Church's situation today and Benedict XVI pointed very much to the challenge we face. We may be forced to take sides, but there is no question for faithful Catholics that it is Christ, always Christ. At his resignation Benedict XVI said 'Let us entrust the Church to Jesus Christ'. It is Christ's Church, not the possession of the Pope. We are Christ's Body, we do not belong to ourselves. You feel powerless, I feel powerless, we are powerless save for begging God's mercy upon His Church. We find we cannot place our trust in princes. We place all our trust in Jesus. We find ourselves fatherless. We run to the Bosom of God the Almighty Father. I am quite sure that Benedict XVI would say, if you feel powerless and acknowledge that you are powerless: 'Welcome to my world'. We are welcomed to the crucifixion of the Church, an event that must be passed through before the Church's full liberty, exaltation and resurrection takes place.

An unanswered dubia gives a future Pope plenty of ammunition in his solemn review of the Francis years. He might ask whether a Pope who refuses to answer basic questions on doctrine even wished to exercise that ministry entrusted to him. There may be many more things which could eventually be assessed that might include the nature of Benedict's resignation and the ascent of Francis to the throne. Yes, there might, but the Church herself operates under law. Even if suspicion arises as to the breeching of those laws during a Papal Conclave, I doubt that a mechanism exists within the Church to prosecute 'the imposter'. Having bigged up the papacy so much, the next Pope, or a future Pope might be able to draw a line under the Francis pontificate. I am sorry to say that it is for a future Pope, or for Christ Himself to do. I do not think we can choose our Popes according to our good pleasure. If a Pope teaches doctrines which contradict the teachings of Christ our Lord, we do not have to accept those doctrines, but I do not think we can as a Body convulsively say, 'You're not the Pope!' 

Perhaps one day the Church will run a paternity test for the next Pope and analyse the DNA of the current occupant and make a solemn decision. An unanswered dubia may turn to some kind of condemnation of Francis one day but God alone knows the future. It is very understandable that Catholics want this to happen now but unless a suitably large body of Cardinals out there have some handcuffs at the ready and a charge sheet in hand this seems most unlikely. May the Lord grant us holy patience and constancy in Faith even in times of sorrow and distress, even in times of great tribulation.


John V. said...

What you don't say is that Fr Blake is a respected pastoral theologian, what he says in his brief to the point style on Freedom, which you do not mention, is important as it counters Radtrad's (and of other sedevacantists) who claim that BXVI was forced to abdicate.

The Bones said...

You are correct and it is a very important point.

Simon Platt said...

Thank you especially for your point about the unanswered dubia. I pray that the pope will answer them faithfully - if not this pope, then the next.

Michael Ortiz said...

Fr Blake's notion of coerced actions seems too merely physical; if your bride's brother blackmailed you to marry his sister, one doesn't need to be a canon lawyer to see it's not a real marriage.

Anonymous said...

It's well past time to go back and honestly examine what happened at the 1958 Conclave, and the 1963, and the 1978....

Anonymous said...

Even if Benedict XVI's resignation wasn't forced, and I think it was, still Bergoglio was uncanonically elected, by the campaigning of the gang of cardinals, who even have boldly admitted what they did to get their man in. He's not a legitimate pope. Period.

rafferju said...

while I find the was benedict forced to resign impossible to prove the fact that Pope benedict only resigned the active part of the papacy and the passive part of the papacy he retained totally proven in his resignation speech.
if someone can explain how he can claim to be the passive pope but not the actual pope im all ears.

Ademar said...


I've read Louie's writings about Francis not being Pope, as well as Ann Barnhardt's writings contending that Benedict is still Pope.

I would opine that papacy is a charism - a special gift of the Holy Spirit given to a person for the spiritual benefit of others - and NOT an indelible mark - a Pope is not ordained, after all! It is withdrawn once a Pope dies or resigns. The problem with Pope Benedict XVI is that he resigned in writing, but not in actions like all other papal resignees have done in the past. He has not reverted to Cardinal Ratzinger, dressed in black again, and gone home to Bavaria.

Long before Louie or Annie had started writing on the topic, this contradiction between his words and actions led me to wonder from the get-go whether his resignation was real - there can't be a partial resignation. If no real resignation, no transfer of charism to Francis. What Benedict's intentions were or what kind of man Francis is or whether or not most believe Francis is Pope is irrelevant: the required action for transfer of charism - a FULL resignation - did not take place. Therefore Jorge Bergoglio is not Pope.

Domina Nostra de Fatima, ora pro nobis!!

The Bones said...

Who may pronounce upon the legitimacy of the Pope?
Who may pronounce upon whether Benedict resigned freely?
Who may pronounce the Papacy was taken by usurpers?
Interesting that you do it all anonymously.

A clarification on the Benedict theory of a didarchical papacy would be nice. It might have worked out nicely, if someone who was of Benedict's line of thought were elected.

The Bones said...

This I find problematic.

'If no real resignation, no transfer of charism to Francis.'

A hypothetical situation. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is elected Holy Roman Pontiff in a full and free, standard conclave with no suspicions surrounding it at all. This is the man the Cardinals elect. Unfortunately, he wilfully wants to do what he wants to do anyway and has little understanding of his role in the papacy.

Does the Holy Spirit magically make Cardinal Bergoglio, the man with heterodox opinions or no interest in teaching the Catholic Faith, Pope Francis the orthodox Successor of St Peter who teaches faith and morals in a Catholic sense?

Do we really think Popes get zapped?

rafferju said...

sorry bones, but that doesn't cut it, there is no possibility of dual popes, in the chair, its all or nothing, either he is pope or not he cannot be a passive pope.
if he now wants to resign the passive part of the chair we will then of course have to have an election.
its grasping at straws to say if another pope had been pope he could clarify it

The Bones said...

We will get another conclave (God willing) and this is yet another controversy on which a future Pope can pronounce. It really is quite a catalogue of controversies isn't it?

The Bones said...

My point is that upon such matters we require a competent authority. Until that competent authority pronoucnes upon it, it cannot be held as definitive individually or universally. Francis receives the full benefit of the role he has assumed. I have sympathy for most of the hypotheticals posited of course something is fishy but I am not the competent authority. My question to you is whether anybody has the authority to propagate the notion that Francis is not Pope? By what authority?

rafferju said...

no, the question is how did pope benedict stop being pope when he didn't resign the passive part of the papacy, if he is still the passive pope who had the authority to make Bergolio Pope?

justin said...

there is now two people claiming to be pope one claims he is the passive pope the other claims he is the pope, one of them has to be an antipope.

Physiocrat said...

Seeing the picture of the two popes together reminds me of the 1950s Persil advertisment, which in this example would have the caption

Which Pope uses Persil? Persil washes whiter"

Liam Ronan said...

"And we saw in an immense light that is God: "something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it" a Bishop dressed in White "we [the three seers] had the impression that it was the Holy Father."... Sister Lucia of Fatima

There is a thoughtful analysis here by Christopher Ferrara, and attorney, author, and frequent contributor to The Remnant on-line newspaper:

As for who's who, frankly I just keep my powder dry, generically pray for 'the Pope' (whomever he may be), brush up on Church Doctrine (Ott, etc.), speak out when manifest error raises its head, and pray the Rosary daily.

I rather miss "Protect the Pope". Wherever is Deacon Nick these days? Standing four-square with Francis?

Dr. T.T.Coals said...

Louie Verrecchio's wheels fell off last year, when he decided, without any authority whatsoever, to declare that Pope Francis is a heretic, and therefore not really the Pope. He is best ignored until he comes to his Catholic senses (if he ever does). Only the Church can decide if Francis is a heretic, and the only way the Church has established to do that is via a Council. Meanwhile, Louie has turned himself into a sedevacantist.

justin said...

when did pope benedict stop being pope, as he still holds onto the passive part of the papacy? sorry but the heretic side of your argument comes second to this problem. have you decided that pope benedict is not the passive pope and therefore you are declaring him an antipope. the alternative is he is the passive pope and as the papacy cant be split bergolio is an antipope.

Anonymous said...

To Liam Ronan, Deacon Nick is active on Twitter and writing articles for EWTN. He recently changed his Twitter handle to "Protect the Faith" in reaction to what Pope Francis has been doing.


TLM said...

No Liam, I don't believe Deacon Nick is 'with Francis'. He's changed his 'handle' from 'Protect the Pope' to 'PROTECT THE FAITH'. That says it all, I do believe.

TLM said...

Liam.....forgot to add, I am with you on 'keeping your powder dry' and praying for 'whoever' is the real 'Pope'. I actually pray for both of them daily, allowing God to be the all knowing God and just following Jesus Christ in his true Church. It seems with all this 'who is the real Pope' and people clamoring to do something about Bergoglio that we are spinning our wheels, and are at a dead end with no real way out of this catastrophe. What good really, would a new conclave with the election of a new Pope really do when the majority of the Cardinals to choose at this point in Church history, are most likely sodomite masons? The wolves are now in full control of the hen house. The only way, realistically, that I can see out of this mess is Divine Intervention. And, I do see that coming sooner than later.

Edison Frisbee said...

"there is no tradition of Cardinals placing Popes on trial to be charged with treason or heresy or very much at all"....likewise there is no tradition of a "Pope Emeritus" - something is very wrong here.

Fr. Blake comes off as a bit prissy....he clearly didn't think through the ramifications of what he was writing. Louie just takes Fr. Blake's "theorizing" to its logical conclusion. I don't consider Louie or Ann sedevacantists, nor do they claim that title.

Liam Ronan said...

Thank you to all for the update on Deacon Nick's whereabouts. I miss his lucid writing and arguments in defense of the Faith. I will look for him on EWTN.

I have discontinued my use of Twitter, however. I found that the following caution proved true time and again for that medium:

"...'tweeting' is the most direct avenue to the Id. There's no more uncensored, unfiltered avenue to the Id than 'tweeting'." Dr. Charles Krauthammer, FOX News

Deacon Augustine said...

Of course Francis is the real pope. Does anybody really believe that his master is stupid enough to get his progeny on the throne of Peter without ensuring his validity? Satan has a phenomenal intellect which is quite capable of working within the laws of men to achieve his ends.

Even though a cabal worked to put him in place, and even though they might have incurred excommunication latae sententiae, there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that Bergoglio himself was involved in the campaigning - he was probably under instructions to keep himself aloof from all that. Even though the cabal's votes might have been invalid because of excommunication, he was still elected by the great majority of the Cardinals anyway because they were seduced by the serpent's whispers. Look how quickly many of them regretted their decision once they realized what they had unleashed on the Church. They had been thoroughly seduced and they had no clue what they were voting for until after the event and it was too late to do anything about it.

The same mind which was behind a code of law which makes it virtually impossible for anybody to be excommunicated and remain in that state for long has been plotting all of this for a very long time. It is a pointless waste of time to try to find technicalities in the law with which to catch him out - he thought of all of them first.

This is not a game of politics or the Game of Thrones. Our enemies are the principalities, dominions, powers and thrones themselves. We are in a spiritual war and we are powerless to do anything in our own strength. The times of judgement are here - this is our great testing - and all we can do is hold on to Christ, hold on to the true faith, teach the true faith, live by the Commandments, go to Confession, pray, hope and beg every scrap of grace that we can in the knowledge that Christ has won and He will win in the end.

Susan said...

I don't know who the pope is, and I am at the point of not caring anymore. The pastor of the Independent Baptist Church down the street from me is "more Catholic" and "more holy" than the men who are occupying the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. It has been four years of Francis and I am beyond scandalized and beyond disgusted. What I see is evil -- from the very pit of hell -- and I want no part of it.

Francis is poison to my soul. Benedict is a father who abandoned his family. Every day, it is a new insult and a new heresy. I should not have to protect myself from the teachings of Christ's Church (through its clergy) and I should not have to try and sort through conflicting doctrines and statements to try and figure out what the Church actually teaches. That's what Protestants do -- that's not what Catholics do.

Argue on folks. None of this honors Our Lord or Our Lady. I read my Bible. I pray the rosary. I read spiritual classics. I go to a weekly Bible study. I am done.

Ann said...

To adhere to a false Bishop of Rome [a false "pope"] is to be out of communion with the Church." -St. Cyprian

Anonymous said...

I pray daily God protect Pope Benedict, I don't like Francis, but in some way he's pope, a bad one, but no sedevacantism, please. There won't be a new conclave, the last Pope of RCC was Benedict XVI, Francis is the Bishop of Rome, unus inter pares. The Divine Intervention is very very near, let's pray, better in Latin, even I'm not a traddie.

John Vasc said...

Surely the point is not that Francis I may not be the Pope (he certainly is, and the circumstances of his election are not reason enough to depose him - he was voted for by a majority, after all) but that the Pope does not form and determine the magisterium, except when speaking ex cathedra. The problem lies mainly in his bullyingly intimidatory HR management, which cows many into silence concerning his dubious, ramblingly ambiguous theology. But then it takes cowards to be cowed.

Aren't we supposed to have bishops as Apostolic successors? Why have they turned into place-men? Why is it always only the same few who speak out?

N.D. said...

We can know through both Faith and reason, that to deny the Sanctity of the marital act, is to deny that God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, and thus deny Salvational Love, God's Gift of Grace and Mercy. To deny The Divinity of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity is apostasy.

Prior to being elected pope, Jorge Bergoglio, condoned certain same-sex sexual relationships, as long as theyy were, according to Jorge Bergoglio, private, did not include children, and were not called marriage. Prior to being elected pope, Jorge Bergoglio denied the Sanctity of the marital act, and thus denied The True God, The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, and separated himself from communion with Christ, and Holy Mother Church.

N.D. said...

Canon 750 – § 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.

§ 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

If the Novus Ordo (it is their nomenclature) is not Catholic, all that is being discussed here is simply Protestant in-fighting (or, given the deceit on the part of the usurpers, pseudo-Catholic confusion). If being truly Catholic is as important as that which has been openly taught and written by Christ's Vicars in the consistent recognisable uncontradictory voice of the Holy Ghost, then why are the worldling personalities of Fr Ratzinger and Mr Bergoglio such a draw? Neither Ratzinger or Bergoglio teach the Catholic Faith. The fact that they are accepted as faithful is due to what? Amnesia or dementia for those who should know better; ignorance, or persistent ignorance for those too young. Their anti-Catholic teachings and acts, in the same vein as all the VII heresiarchs, are consistently in contradiction to the Church of Christ as taught, believed and practised universally for two millennia. They mix poison in your Sunday outing.

Your 'popes' embrace that which the Catholic Church, under the protection of the Holy Ghost, teaches is damnation. They embrace Lutheranism (the idea - don't be confused, those who reject the teachings of the Holy Ghost, do not care for the immortal souls of Lutherans); Buddhism (the idea - don't be confused, they do not care for the immortal souls of buddhists); they embrace Indifferentism, not the immortal souls of those mired in such error.

The Church of Christ, with Her four marks, continues, even in the absence of a Pope to follow Pius XII.

PS. On that note, honestly, supposing this comment is posted, and supposing anyone then reads it, how many groaned at the memory of Pius XII?

PPS. The Council of Trent teaches that before the Second Coming, the Gospel must be preached to all nations, which the Church acknowledged under Pius XI; also must come the Great Apostasy, which anyone with Catholic faith acknowledges finds its king tide at VII; also the coming of to the flood of faithlessness...God only knows how far it needs to go before Post-Christendom welcomes antichrist.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Excellent post, Bones. Pope Francis is our sole Pope and Bishop Emeritus Ratzinger is not.

Now, there is simply no way to argue a sedevacantist (pull up a side and vacate your mind) out of his ideological obsession but, who cares?

They have free will and they are not likely winning many to their cause because normal Christian Catholics are not enamored of the Scylla of Sedevacantism daily striking at the head of The Catholic Church and denouncing an Ecumenical Council for that is a praxis that objectively puts such men (sedes are mainly men) in the same partisan party Martin Luther established.

Yes, Virginia, there is a tradition of attacking Popes and Council but it is a protestant tradition.

Sedevacantist are advancing chaos and confusion beneath the stalking horse of Tradition and they want ABS and thee to cheer the charade.

No thanks.

Wait on the Lord and maintain the Bonds of Unity (Worship, Doctrine, Authority) which has always been the sine qua non of Catholicism and know that Saint Vincent of Lerins taught that such difficult times are the way God tests us to see if we love Him.

I can't imagine He'd be too keen on those who run oft and refused to drink the bitter Chalice.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Bonds of unity. Bonds of disparity.

Pope Pius VIII said of the enemies of the Church in 1829, in his encyclical Traditi: 'Their law is untruth. Their god is the devil and their cult is turpitude.' This describes all movements in contradiction to the Catholic Faith, which alone, by the See of Peter, is unchanging in faith and morals.

Does anyone recognise the Great Apostasy? Meaning that the majority of folks accept the law of untruth, the devil as god, and turpitude as 'discipline'; even if they disagree with it, they go along - ascribing heavenly authority in such. They accuse the Holy Trinity of infusing lies, diabolicalism and debauchery into His teaching Church.

The Catholic who sees the interregnum since Pius XII, sees clearly.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

PS. To ABS comment. Your pope/s celebrate Luther, celebrate flouting the first commandment, celebrate modernism - the synthesis of all heresies. They, through their new 'revelation', advocate private conscience above the Mind of the Church/Holy Ghost. They discard original sin with the doctrine of religious indifferentism.

"...because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me: and thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children."

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