Popes and anti-Popes

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.

6 Comments

Filed under Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis

6 responses to “Popes and anti-Popes

  1. Perhaps none of the VII elected were popes, those who elected them had an agenda.
    Simony can be money, gift, profit or benefit etc.
    Fifth Lateran Council 1512-17 A.D.
    SESSION 5
    16 February 1513
    [Bull renewing and confirming the Constitution against not committing the evil of simony when electing the Roman pontiff]
    Inserted constitution
    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting record. From a consideration that the detestable crime of simony is forbidden by both divine and human law, particularly in spiritual matters, and that it is especially heinous and destructive for the whole church in the election of the Roman pontiff, the vicar of our lord Jesus Christ, we therefore, placed by God in charge of the government of the same universal church, despite being of little merit, desire, so far as we are able with God’s help, to take effective measures for the future with regard to the aforesaid things, as we are bound to, in accordance with the necessity of such an important matter and the greatness of the danger. With the advice and unanimous consent of our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, by means of this our constitution which will have permanent validity, we establish, ordain, decree and define, by apostolic authority and the fulness of our power, that if it happens (which may God avert in his mercy and goodness towards all), after God has released us or our successors from the government of the universal church, that by the efforts of the enemy of the human race and following the urge of ambition or greed, the election of the Roman pontiff is made or effected by the person who is elected, or by one or several members of the college of cardinals, giving their votes in a manner that in any way involves simony being committed — by the gift, promise or receipt of money, goods of any sort, castles, offices, benefices, promises or obligations — by the person elected or by one or several other persons, in any manner or form whatsoever, even if the election resulted in a majority of two-thirds or in the unanimous choice of all the cardinals, or even in a spontaneous agreement on the part of all, without a scrutiny being made, then not only is this election or choice itself null, and does not bestow on the person elected or chosen in this fashion any right of either spiritual or temporal administration, but also there can be alleged and presented, against the person elected or chosen in this manner, by any one of the cardinals who has taken part in the election, the charge of simony, as a true and unquestionable heresy, so that the one elected is not regarded by anyone as the Roman pontiff.
    A further consequence is that the person elected in this manner is automatically deprived, without the need of any other declaration, of his cardinal’s rank and of all other honours whatsoever as well as of cathedral churches, even metropolitan and patriarchical ones, monasteries, dignities and all other benefices and pensions of whatever kind which he was then holding by title or in commendam or otherwise; and that the elected person is to be regarded as, and is in fact, not a follower of the apostles but an apostate and, like Simon, a magicianl and a heresiarch, and perpetually debarred from each and all of the above-mentioned things. A simoniacal election of this kind is never at any time to be made valid by a subsequent enthronement or the passage of time, or even by the act of adoration or obedience of all the cardinals. It shall be lawful for each and all of the cardinals, even those who consented to the simoniacal election or promotion, even after the enthronement and adoration or obedience, as well as for all the clergy and the Roman people, together with those serving as prefects, castellans, captains and other officials at the Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome and any other strongholds of the Roman church, notwithstanding any submission or oath or pledge given, 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. To discomfort him still further, if he uses the pretext of the election to interfere in the government of the universal church, the cardinals who wish to oppose the aforesaid election can ask for the help of the secular arm against him.

  2. sanfelipe007

    ” Infallibility is not something positive.”
    I recall reading that infallibility was something negative, in that, say:
    If the Pope were to be given a “test” to complete, infallibility would not mean that he would get any correct, but that he would not get any wrong (e.g. he could leave all questions blank). A most dramatic example is the Pope (or maybe his test paper) would be struck by lightning before being turned in. (nervous laugh)

  3. sanfelipe007

    “Elections are wrought with present legislation.”
    Funny, my brain thought “You go to war with the army you have”.
    —clip from “Black Adder”–
    King Richard III : Fight you with us, on the morrow?
    Edmund Black Adder: Dear me, no, I thought I’d fight with the enemy!

  4. elizdelphi

    I can vouch that Richard Bonomo is not a sedevacantist.

    An interesting fact about him though is that he wrote the bylaws and was thus “sort of” the founder of the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison of which Fr John Zuhlsdorf is “famously” now the president of.

    • Thank you for the shout-out Elizdelphi!
      A bit more accurately: I conceived the idea of having such a society (to take some pressure off of Bishop Morlino to have do things himself, and to demonstrate a certain level of organization), and composed the first draft of the charter of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison while I had my copy of the Code of Canon Law open on my lap, and then mostly stepped back from the process. So Duane Z. supplied the impetus and initiative to get a group together to petition the Bishop, I suggested the organizational framework, and Jacek C. did the heavy lifting of getting diocesan approvals and IRS certification, inter alia. I think Fr. Z. is the 3rd president of the society, if I remember correctly.

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