Richard Bonomo sent in a question:
Reading one of your recent blog posts on the the Pope (Kryptic call for assassinating the Pope?) this reminds me of the times I’ve said similar things: if a sitting Pope was on the verge of formally declaring something that is not true, to BE true, God would intervene — one way or the other — to prevent this from happening, including, possibly, killing the man (heart attack, collapsing ceilings, meteor, etc.).
However, the case of a potential anti-pope is different. I am no expert on Church history, but I do seem to recall that there have been times when there were multiple claimants to the See of Peter, and that men of good will were to be found lined up behind all of them, believing the one they supported was in fact the Pope, and the other(s) was(were) not
There is no shortage of people who claim that “Pope Francis” is an anti-Pope, and that either Pope Emeritus Benedict continues to reign as Pope, or the See is vacant. I am fairly sure you have read all of the variations of this, so I will not waste your time summarizing them.
Most of this smells like wishful thinking to me. I assume that “Pope Francis” really is Pope Francis, and that Pope Benedict meant what he wrote in his letter of resignation, and that he is treating his retirement in a manner appropriate to an academic such as himself, retaining some of the trappings of being a professor (Pope) without actually BEING a professor (Pope).
However, I DO find myself wondering if a man accepts an office validly who accepts that office with the intention of sabotage.
If your theory that Pope Francis has been (if I understand correctly) putting on an act with the intention of baiting people with the plan of doing a long-overdue house cleaning once malefactors and the confused are out in the open, then this is, of course, not a concern.
However, what if your theory is wrong?
Well, if Pope Francis is a dupe of a cabal of immoral men who wear the robes of cardinals who seek to take over the Church for their own purposes, or to impose a moral regimen that is not of God, then, assuming the election was otherwise conducted properly, I imagine he would still be Pope, that is assuming that his intentions were, in fact, to fulfill the office as it is supposed to be fulfilled.
On the other hand, if Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was a willing member of that cabal, and he accepted his election to the papacy for the occult purpose of enacting an agenda which is perverse, then did he accept office validly? Is he Pope Francis, or “Pope Francis” in such a case?
I, for one, do not know how to work this out, nor do I know whom to ask who could give a definitive opinion. Of course, if this last possibility turns out to be true, I really have no idea what I could do, except to pray and be aware.
In any case, our personal holiness, and the sacrificial and sacramental life of the Church must be maintained and not neglected while these matters are sorted out.
Answer: Benedict XVI is surely after all this time to be held to be willingly NOT the bishop of Rome, therefore not Pope. That’s why Francis rightly called himself Bishop of Rome. Everyone thought he was demeaning the papacy, but only because they are heretics about the papacy.
Even if one is malicious in accepting the election, it is valid. It’s not ordination. Infallibility is not something positive. It will get you dead right quick if you intend to do something supremely wrong.