Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

AustenPresentsBook
(Screen shot, of Dr. Ivereigh’s twitter timeline: Nov. 21, 2014 A. D.)

Rome, Nov. 27, 2014:  Last Friday, His Holiness Pope Francis had the occasion to receive from Dr. Austen Ivereigh, a copy of his new book, the Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope which unbeknownst to both men, would within a week be the cause of great consternation for them both.

As John Bingham, a reporter for the Telegraph, in the UK, reported the next day, Dr. Ivereigh’s book contained the stunning revelation that certain supporters of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio — whom he names, “Team Bergoglio”— canvassed for his support in the days prior to the Conclave of 2013.

The Curious denial of Ivereigh

A key fact alleged in the book, namely, that Cardinal Bergoglio expressly consented to the work of Team Bergoglio, was denied in a letter published on the Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, by Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.  The text of that letter reads:

Denial

As I surmised, yesterday, here at the From Rome blog, in my article entitled, If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, the version of events reportedly asserted in Ivereigh’s book, presents the opportunity of a grave canonical challenge to the validity of Pope Francis’ election to the office of Roman Pontiff.

Maggie Doherty’s statement is remarkable for several reasons.

The first of which, is that Dr. Ivereigh is, himself, a former secretary to Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, a close confident as any Cardinal could have, someone who would be de officio familiar and friendly with all the friends and colleagues of the Cardinal the world over, seeing that it would have been his duty to interact and communicate daily with each and every one of them.  From such experience, Dr. Ivereigh could have legitimately acquired a vast network of contacts from which he could have first hand information of all which regarded the events prior to the Conclave of 2013; information which could be freely offered him, since the Apostolic Constitution regarding the elections of the Roman Pontiff (Universi Dominici Gregis), penalizes only the divulging of information regarding affairs which occurred in or during the conclave itself.

The second of which, I mentioned yesterday, is that if there were no adverse consequences of the facts presented in Dr. Ivereigh’s book, the Great Reformer, then there would be no need for Maggie Doherty to issue a denial, let alone in the form of a letter to the editor!

The third remarkable aspect of her letter is that it speaks only of Cardinal Bergoglio, and denies only that he was approached or consented to the canvassing of votes.  This denial makes it appear that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was acting, in divulging it, to protect the reputation of the Pope, perhaps, even on the request of the Vatican Secretary of State.

The fourth remarkable aspect is that she denied only the activities of Cardinals, and said nothing regarding the activities of Bishops or priests or others who may have been involved.

The fifth remarkable aspect is that Maggie Doherty says, “What occurred during the Conclave … is bound by secrecy”.  This is grammatically and canonically not correct.  All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution are bound to keep secrecy. (Cardinals promise this in n. 12; all participating are bound to secrecy in n. 47; there is an entire Chapter, the fourth, on it; and in n. 47).  And in n. 58 of that document, the penalty of excommunication is imposed for its violation. But if the Pope permits, this secrecy can be broken. So it is not the events that are bound, but the persons.  Her statement is remarkable in this respect, because it speaks of an undue haste in its composition, without the counsel, at least, of an expert in canon law to review it. (This argues for the possibility that she wrote the letter at the personal request of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, which we shall now see, Ivereigh would confirm).

The Thicket into which Ivereigh fell on that account

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, hours after the publication of Doherty’s letter to the editor — and after the publication of my own questioning blog post (If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, which drew out and explicated the canonical problem resulting from the reported claims of his book) —  retracted what he said on his Twitter Feed, at 3 AM on Nov. 25, writing in reference to the print edition of his book, already on sale in the USA/UK:

“They secured his assent” (p. 355) shd have read “They believed he wd not oppose his election”. Will amend in future eds.

Which is Twitter abbreviated speak, I surmise and explicate, for:

Where I wrote, “They secured his assent” on p. 355, it should have read, “They believe he would not oppose his own election.”  I will amend this in future editions of my book, The Great Reformer.

In another tweet, Dr. Ivereigh included the image of Doherty’s letter, with the message:

+CMOC clarifies in today’s Daily Telegraph letters page

Which lets us know that Doherty acted at the express direction of the Cardinal; somewhat reluctantly admitted, with the positive spin therein, by Dr. Ivereigh.  All this within the first week of the books publication!

All this, so far, by way of introduction. Now, I will cut to the chase, as it were:

Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

What Ivereigh has, nevertheless, alleged and yet not denied, and what Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has not yet denied, as far as I know, is that votes were canvassed.

And paragraph 81 of John Paul II’s law, Universi Domini Gregis, makes that an excommunicatable offense.  Yesterday, I erred, when I said “certain” form of canvassing was prohibited. Today, looking at the Latin original of the law, it appears rather than all forms of vote canvassing are prohibited.

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

 This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when with a foreswearing, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

Now, the problem which arises for Pope Francis, from this, I have pointed out in my blog post yesterday, namely, that an election in which those who might fall under excommunication for violation of this law, expressed in n. 81, might be contested as to its validity.  This on account of the general norm of Canon Law (canon 171,  § 2), which expressly declares invalid the elections of those who obtained the required number only in virtue of votes of those who were  excommunicated at the time of the election (cf. 171, § 1, 3°).

Such excommunication could be by special or general declaration, of a superior or by a law.  Thus, the papal Law on Elections.

The sticky wicket, as it were, is that the common objection one hears to such formerly hypothetical discussions is that paragraph n. 35, of the Apostolic Constitution withstands this interpretation.

Let’s quote that here, for the importance that it is due.  The text of this paragraph was slightly altered by Pope Benedict XVI, in his decree, Normals nonnullas, just a month before the conclave of 2013.  The modified text reads:

No. 35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of Nos. 40 and 75 of this Constitution.”

(The small addition of the citation to n. 75, is all that was made.)

Any objection on the basis of paragraph 35, which would counter the claim of an invalid election on account of excommunicated voters, seems very probable at first inspection, but fails the test of a strict reading of papal law.

Because, if paragraph 35 excused doubt of the validity of an election in which excommunicated Cardinal electors participated, as a similar provision in the law of Pope Pius XII did do, then, there would have been no need for Pope John Paul II in his own law, which abrogated all the terms of previous papal laws specifically regarding Papal Elections, to state in n. 78 (see yesterdays report for text) the necessity of indulging an election, in which simony was involved, with validity, to remove all such doubts arising from a general norm of canon law or a specific penalty regarding simony. And thus, if there is a general norm or specific penalty which invalidates elections for other reasons, then one must presume it remains in force (cf. Canons 20 & 21).

Moreso, because paragraph 35 does not regard specifically the validity of elections, only the right of the Cardinals to vote  But Canon 171, § 2 does not deny the right of excommunicated electors to vote, only the validity of elections in which they participate. These are 2 separate things; and according to the norms of canonical interpretation, the distinction must be recognized as that which was intended by the legislator.² This interpretation seems more probable, because of Canon 164, which applies the entire section of canons regarding elections to all ecclesiastical elections,³ and because of the norm of canonical interpretation, that laws which do not expressly or directly conflict, are not to be understood as doing so. Thus, the failure to explicitly include the words “or excommunication” in paragraph 35 of UDG, lends to the credence that it does not abrogate Canon 171, § 1, 3°, the validity of the election in which such voters participating, being apparently annulled in some such cases, consequently, in virtue of Canon 171, §2.

Thus, the allegations of Ivereigh + the terms of Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 81 = a Radical problem for the legitimacy of Cardinal Bergoglio’s claim to the Papacy.

_________________________________

FOOTNOTES

¹ And this without any apparent reference to Canon 171.  For just as it seems incredible that Pope John Paul II in UDC would allow the mad (Canon 171, § 1, 1°) or the schismatic (4°) to vote; hence, similarly, neither those mentioned in 3°, the excommunicated. Thus, it seems more probable that paragraph 35 in UDC is reaffirms the right of the Cardinals not to fall under of Canon 171, § 1, 2° by any claim that might arise during the Conclave from other Cardinals’ accusations.

² However, I remain in the opinion, regarding these matters, as one who is a mere student of Canon Law, not an expert, and certainly not as one whose opinion on how to read it, is anything probative of itself.

³ Including Conclaves: cf. the commentary contained in Codice di Diritto Canonico, a cura di Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Colletti a San Pietro 2004, p. 163.

(Updated Nov. 29 15:15 Rome time)

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If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?

Denial

London, Nov. 25, 2014 — A remarkable letter to the editor, if ever there was one. A denial, which draws more attention, than the matter would otherwise merit.  In today’s Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, denies a key fact in the reporting by Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who just published a book exposing a concerted effort among Cardinals of the Roman Church to canvass for votes on behalf of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the days prior to the Conclave of March 2013, which elected the latter as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.  The on-line edition of the Telegraph has a short story about this, by John Bingham, which opens thus:

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, helped to orchestrate a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis, a new biography claims.

The Election of Pope Francis has seen a great deal more publicity than any in modern times, especially concerning the remarkable novelty of revelations coming from Cardinals themselves — remarkable, since according to papal law, to make such revelations is punished by automatic excommunication!

The papal law is Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Feats of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 1996 A.D..  The key paragraphs regarding this excommunication are as follows:

  1. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
  2. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.

However, today’s denial regards another requirement of the papal law, regarding Conclaves: the express prohibition of canvassing for votes prior to the commencement of the Conclave.  John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution of 1996 makes that a high-crime, punishable by automatic excommunication.

  1. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
  2. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
  3. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

The Reason for the Press-Secretary’s Denial is now manifest

If Maggie Doherty had not gone to the lengths of issuing a denial in such language, I would never have taken notice.  But now that she has, having consulted the papal law on Conclaves, it appears manifest why she has.  If Austen Ivereigh’s book contains verifiable evidence that any of the Cardinals who voted for Jorge Mario Bergoglio canvassed for votes in the manner forbidden, especially if he tacitly consented to this, then by that very fact (ipso facto) they fell under the penalty of excommunication in the same moment they agreed to do such and/or did such. And, if Bergoglio tacitly agreed (that is, had knowledge, and consented without opposing what they were doing), then he, too, would have been excommunicated prior to the Conclave.

Does this mean that the Papal election was invalid?

But if what  Austen Ivereigh alleges, did happen, would the election of Pope Francis be null and void?  The grounds for this are entirely different from those alleged in Antonio Socci’s best-selling book in Italy, Non è Francesco, (He is not Francis: i.e. he should not be called Pope Francis), which is based on the fact that on March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected by 5 votes, when the papal law only allows 4. Or the challenge now being brought in the Petition to the College of Cardinals, which regards 3 canonical questions which arise from the violations of the penalties imposed by the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Trent, and Pope Paul IV.

Let us take a look at the papal law, again.  It is very important to note, what Pope John Paul II says in the previous paragraph, n. 78:

78. If — God forbid — in the election of the Roman Pontiff the crime of simony were to be perpetrated, I decree and declare that all those guilty thereof shall incur excommunication latae sententiae. At the same time I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision, in order that — as was already established by my Predecessors — the validity of the election of the Roman Pontiff may not for this reason be challenged.(23)

Paragraph 78, regards the buying or selling of votes; which does not seem what Ivereigh has alleged; for when votes are bought and sold, then the validity of the election which would otherwise be worthy of doubt or challenge, is, according to Pope John Paul II’s law, free from ever being so challenged (which he does with the words: “I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision”). Simony is the crime of buying or selling spiritual things, in this case, of votes, with the promise of monies paid in advance.

However, as regards, however, the excommunications leveled for canvassing, Pope John Paul II does not remove the nullity or invalidity of the election.

This leaves the question, whether the election of Pope Francis could be challenged now?

It seems at least possible, since it is not a question of the invalidity of an election on the basis of the fact that Cardinals were excommunicated on account of vote canvassing, but on account of a certain sort of coercion of the process to elect the Pope, which process must guarantee the liberty of the Cardinals to chose a Pope in a manner free from the deceits and maneuvers of worldly politics.

This doubt of the validity of the election is what seems to be implied by the Press-Secretary’s denial.  Because, if it were only a question of a Cardinal’s excommunication for violating secrecy or canvasing votes, he could easily appeal to Pope Francis to be pardoned and the excommunication lifted.  Indeed, what victorious candidate, now Pope, would not pardon the Cardinals who helped him get elected, if they did canvass for votes?  Thus, it certainly seems to the thoughtful reader, that there may be some more urgent reason for the denial. …  Cui prodest?

Addendum of Nov. 26, 3PM GT

I had a look at the general norms in the 1983 Code of Canon law regarding canonical elections and found some confirmatory information.  There in Canon 171, there are these stunning requirements for a valid election:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

1/ a person incapable of a human act;
2/ a person who lacks active voice;
3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

The importance of this Canon, I opine, is thus:  if what Ivereigh alleges in his book, is true, and the manner of canvassing votes is that penalized with automatic excommunication, then the Cardinals who did this, and Cardinal Bergoglio — if he expressly consented, as Ivereigh’s print edition says he did — would be excommunicated prior to the begining of the Conclave; and the election would be null and void, on the grounds that the 32 votes Bergolio received in the first round of voting (as reports allege, which votes are presumably nearly or mostly those who participated in the vote canvassing) would be null and void, coming as they did from excommunicated electors. That would make the 78 votes which Cardinal Bergoglio got in the final 5th vote, to be insufficient to elect him. (I am no canonist, so this is my opinion, though I have studied the tract on Canonical Censures at a Pontifical Instititute at Rome).

Postscript

Having carefully read the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, of Pope John Paul II, and that modification of Pope Benedict XVI, Normas nonnullas, I find it very curious that neither specifies explicitly who is eligible to be elected Pope. Even the 1983 code is silent. This is a serious deficiency, since the Bull of Pope Paul IV does specify this, and thus, if this matter is not included specifically in modern legislation, the terms of Pope Paul IV’s, Cum ex apostolatus officio, seem to remain in force. (If any canonists know, please leave a comment below, Thanks!).

FOLLOW UP REPORTS:

Nov. 27, 2014: Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for Pope Francis

No, Francis, what you just said is heresy…

ANSA699342_ArticoloIn the liturgical changes imposed by Pope Paul VI, today, Nov. 23, 2014, is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Pope Francis gave a homily today, on the occasion of Canonizing 6 saints.  The official English text is found at Vatican Radio. In it, Pope Francis says (in the sixth paragraph):

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom.  The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.  In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters.  Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other.  Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom.  But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity.  If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.

Heresy, one must remember, is a post-baptismal denial of a truth revealed by God.  Truths can be revealed by God by explicit affirmations in any text of Scripture, or in implicit ones; since, God speaks in Scripture in a variety of ways.

One of the truths of Scripture is that Faith begins by hearing, proceeds by confession on the lips and lives in good works for the needy.  St. Paul, for example says (in his Letter to the Romans, 10:9):

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This truth is implicitly taught in the Gospel of St. Luke, when at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Our Blessed Mother first believed, then went in haste to her cousin St. Elizabeth; because first She confessed Her assent & consent to the truths revealed by God through St. Gabriel, then She manifested Her consent to the message of salvation in going to St. Elizabeth.

And St. Thomas Aquinas says, in regard to the Question (Summa, II, II, 5, 3), whether one is a heretic who disbelieves 1 article of the faith:

I answer that, Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith.

The reason of this is that the species of every habit depends on the formal aspect of the object, without which the species of the habit cannot remain. Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith. Even so, it is evident that a man whose mind holds a conclusion without knowing how it is proved, has not scientific knowledge, but merely an opinion about it. Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.

Hence, we can say with absolute certainty, that what Pope Francis said, namely:

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. 

Is heretical, because, this proposition denies the salvific merit which accrues from every confession of Christ’s sovereignty. In doing this, it denies that man’s justification begins with Faith, confessed either in mind alone or also on the lips.

This is the direct teaching of St. Paul, the infallible teacher of the nations.  Let us take a look at Romans 10:9 again:

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

In the Greek* we have for “the Lord Jesus”, kurion Ihsoun, a double accusative singular, which signifies not only “the Lord Jesus”, but “Jesus as Lord”.  But to recognize that Jesus is Lord, is to recognize his Sovereignty.   And thus St. Paul links the confession of Christ’s Sovereignty to salvation.  Thus, to explicitly deny that salvation begins with such a confession, directly denies the teaching of St. Paul.  But to deny the truth affirmed in any passage of Sacred Scripture is heretical, the very definition of heresy, for one separates himself from a truth revealed by God, through St. Paul.

Thus, to the homily which Pope Francis uttered today, we must respond:  No, Francis, what you just said is heresy!

But, as St. Thomas says, at the end of the above, quote, merely to say what is heretical does not make one a heretic, unless he is obstinate in his error.

How, then, does a Catholic assist a fellow Catholic from falling into  obstinacy, regarding a heretical doctrine?

First, he should point out to his brother, his sin and the error; then, remind him, that without the truth and authentic Faith it is impossible to be saved.  Third, we should pray for the brother so long as we are not certain of his obstinacy. After that, according to the teaching of St. John the Apostle, we are not obliged to pray for his repentance; however, we may continue to do so, or instead we  may pray to be delivered from him, or for God to punish him for his sin.

Let us, in charity, rebuke the Holy Father for his error, so injurious to the very essence of salvation in Christ.

 

________________________

 

Cf. the Greek-English interlinear text for Romans chapter ten at

http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/rom10.pdf

 

Cf. Also, the Petition to the Cardinals regarding the Grave Improprieties of Pope Francis

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis

 

 

 

Catholics petition the College of Cardinals to judge validity of Pope Francis

imagesEditor’s note:  Here at the From Rome Blog, I have stated that it is not my interest to cover news articles.  Yet, being born and raised in the United States, I have a great appreciation for the right of citizens, subjects and the faithful, to make known to their superiors what they believe is for the common good of the society they belong to.  This is a natural right in every human society, from the family to the State, and even in the Church.  For that reason, I consider it a duty, as the editor of the From Rome Blog, and as a member of the Diocese of Rome, to make known to my fellow Catholics the existence of this petition. I also believe, that I have a grave duty to make known to the princes of the Church of Rome, our Cardinals, who are the chief members of the clergy of my Diocese, the existence of this petition.

Here is the link to the petition, where you can see how many have signed it, as of the present, and read something more about the motives and purpose of the petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis

——————–

Note: I previously published the text of the petition on this blog, but from my stats, it seems that many are confusing my blog post for the petition. The link contains the petition. This post is only reporting its existence.

God’s Will for Catholics in the present Crisis

Creation and the Divine Order of Things:

Truths to Fight against the Errors of our Age

 Listen to Br. Bugnolo give this talk on Audio

INTRODUCTION

If a Catholic historian, moved by and obedient to the Faith, was to take up his pen to write a history of the present age, he could do no better than entitle his book, The Age of open Rebellion against God and the Divine Order of things.

0789204037.interior03On every side we see this rebellion: in the Church against the Rule of the Faith: Tradition and Scripture: where, for example, in Catholics Universities and Pontifically recognized institutions at Rome and around the world, professors openly attack the historical and theological truths contained in the 5 Books of the Bible written by Moses; or in the liturgy, most visibly, where out of some vague necessity of updating everything, the whole Catholic world has been cajoled by the lovers of today who are attempting to reformulate Catholicism in a manner discontinuous with Tradition, without submission to the Divine Majesty’s predetermined course of worship and devotion.

But, moreso, we see this open rebellion against God and the Divine Order of things, outside of the Church: with forms of government which arrogate to themselves the prerogative of God to establish moral laws and order man and his society: which Rebellion was foreseen by the Prophet David when he wrote, They have set their mouths in the heavens, and their tongues dictate to the earth. (Ps. 73:9)

This rebellion against the Divine Order of things was foretold long ago by the beloved Apostle St. John, who in his book of the Apocalypse indicated that after a thousand years of Christ’s reign on earth, the Enemy of Christ would come forth from the abyss to wage war upon His flock.  I like personally to reckon this prophecy in regard to the end of the Age of Constantine, which I mark from the edict of Milan in February of 313 A.D. (which ended persecution of Catholics in the Roman Empire), to the vicious attack upon Pope Boniface VIII on September 7, 1303 A. D. by Sciarra Colonna and the forces of King Philip IV of France, under the command of Guilluame Nogaret, his first minister, at Angni, in Italy.

This attack, which began with the slap of a hand upon the Pope’s face, has morphed exponentially throughout the centuries, up to our own day, when governments now dare to decree the lawfulness of the most horrific abominations as good for man’s liberty.  It is in the frenetic and mad zeal of these modern rebels that is not difficult to hear the rolling thunder of the first rebel’s voice:  Non serviam! — I shall not serve! I shall not submit myself to Christ’s Magisterium.

One could trace the history of this Rebellion, from the slap of Anagni to our own age, more than 666 years later, to recent Supreme Court decisions or to the proposals of Cardinal Kaspar to open the Church to a horrifically false and apostate mercy, but I shall leave that for the historian of ideas and ecclesiastical affairs.  Rather, I wish to serve those of you gathered here today a more meaty dish, a more savory fare, and a more nutritious repast, by recalling and expounding the fundamental truths, upon which all of Creation is founded, including man and the Church, so that you might have in mind, all the more clearly, the knowledge necessary to fight against the errors of our age.  I believe this is apt, because as St. Paul the Apostle reminds us, Our is not a fight against flesh and blood, that is against merely visible powers, our is a fight against the principalities and powers, the workers of iniquity in the air, that is, the fallen angles, who were cast down to our level present of existence, and who go about seeking the ruin of souls.

Angels, as you know, are pure spirits, and when they fight, it is not as the silly and blasphemous shows on television depict them: they have no bodies and use no weapons, they rather go forth into battle with minds filled with thoughts and by striving to plunge their own thoughts into the mind of other angels who think differently, seek to overcome them to their own allegiance or repel them from their stead.

Now, ever since the ancient Deceiver, the Dragon and Satan, was cast out of Heaven by St. Michael and His Angels, the demons have no fights with other Angels that they can win any more, and, thus, are forced by necessity to wage war against the sons of Adam, mere men.

Have no fear, though, little flock, because your Faith is your victory over the world, and not only over the world, but over all the forces of darkness, because if we but assent and attend to all that God has revealed, about Creation and about the Redemption wrought in Christ, we will equip our mind and soul, and thus our bodies too, with the truths necessary to fight against the armies of disorder and against all the men, women, and alas, even children, who have taken sides with them in the hope of destroying the Divine Order of things.  Let us begin, therefore, at the beginning:

To read this entire Essay,on the theological basis upon which true and false obedience is discerned, click here to access the PDF file and continue reading from page 2.

 

Tactics of Manipulation used by Modernists against Catholics

2004-passion-of-the-christ-7I do not claim to be an expert. I am sure that there are many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laymen who have better knowledge of such things than myself. But in my nearly 30 years of personal experience in Ecclesiastical institutions or as a religious/hermit, I have noticed some patterns of deception and manipulation, which I believe in conscience I am obliged to name, explicate, so that Catholic Faithful at Rome and around the world might take guard against them.

“Manipulation”, in the dark sense of the word, is a way of misleading, maneuvering, deforming, altering, etc., the mind, actions or even words or reactions of another, to serve one’s own goals.  When the victim is a faithful Catholic and the perpetrator is a modernist, you have a very evil and wicked malice at work.  Yet, to those who know anything of the history of the Church during the last 100 years or more, the Modernists have honed to perfection many methods of manipulating Catholics to serve their own abominable conspiracy to overthrow the true Church of Christ, from within, using the very institutions and offices of the Church, established by Christ and by ecclesiastical tradition, against Her.

Having studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, I was trained in the methods of participant observation, which is a way of learning about a subculture’s mores, rules, ethics, behaviors, by sharing or keeping company with them.  I never consciously used this method, but now, after many years of fighting against Modernists, I will take a moment to step back and analyze and categorize some of the methods of manipulation I have seen or learned first hand against faithful clergy, religious and laity.

 The Church, being the perfect society founded by the Incarnate Word of God, enjoys an order of society which enables Her to achieve the end which God have Her, the honor and glory of God through the worship of God and the salvation of Souls.  This being the case, the Modernists, who believe in no God, but only in the god of personal sentiments, thus have an upward battle if they are to use the very things of the Church to overthrow the Church from within.

Alas, however, since many modernists have been members of the clergy, and this throughout the last 180 years or so, they have had the ability to use all the forms of clerical and moral corruption, known beforehand, to their end.  They have also had the assistance of the general moral degradation which has been promoted by the Free Masons in the West (and not only in the West), which has led many a Catholic to be disposed to be easily deceived about what constitutes Christian virtue and ecclesiological justice and honesty.

In former ages, we read of the heroic and saintly Bishops who did not dare to threaten unfaithful Catholics, Kings, Dukes, Princes, Mayors, Scholars, even the Pope, with excommunication if they did not stop from their pubic sins or injustices.  There are cases, where immoral bishops, were taken outside of the town walls and hung from a tree by the Catholic faithful, to rid the local church of their vile depravities.  There are cases where laymen shot corrupt priests dead for the crimes they perpetrated against children or families.

In the modern age, with all our institutions of civil and ecclesiastical justice, we are apt to look down upon the Catholics of former ages, who understood that in some cases, waiting for lengthy procedures would only endanger the public good the more. They understood that after some point, the depravity of a man could be such that he merited no longer the customary due process accorded to the merely suspected of a crime. They also understood that obedience to an evil command did not absolve from the sin of collaboration or participation in the evil commanded.  Former ages enjoyed a sense of personal honor and manliness that is rarely admired and even more rarely tolerated in modern times.  Indeed, corrupt and evil men have all kinds of words to lambast such honorable men.

The decline of morals in the West did not begin with the Age of the Enlightenment, yet, Rationalists of that age started a trend which has been greatly exploited by Modernists (even though Modernists are sentimentalists not rationalists): that trend is the use of deprecatory language to subvert the sentiments of Catholics away from admiration of virtue, especially away from admiration of heroic virtue.

You can see that effect palpably in the common and vulgar opinions some men, even clergymen, have of the Saints of old.  The most striking example I know of personally, is the comment made by a priest, now deceased, who remarked to me one day, after he read a very short life of Saint Francis of Assisi, that if anyone did such penances today, he should certainly be locked up in a mental asylum. To which I replied, with not a little shock, “Do you mean that just today, or is Saint Francis any less suspect for having done them long ago”. He replied that he was no less suspect, and added, “I have great difficulty understanding why such a man was ever made a saint”.  (This priest, by the way, died of being too overweight by about 200 pounds.)

 Ah, what has happened to that age of chivalry and honesty, where even a sloucher or glutton admitted that the diligent and abstemious man was virtuous? Is modern man so ignorant, as to not understand, that it is one thing to be virtuous, another to admire virtue; and that if you are not at least the first kind of man, that you can at least save your honor by being the second?

God forbid, however — as the Modernists think and consider the matter — that there even exist in the Church the second kind of man, the man who actually admires the heroic virtue of the Saints of old!

And here we have the first tactic in the tool box of manipulations, used by Modernists:

1. Denigrate what is best, and make it the enemy of all the rest.

You see, if the Modernists are to prevail in the Church, they must put into practice some of the general tactics of the fallen angels, because the Church, being principally a spiritual society, Her strength lies principally in spiritual things.  Now there is nothing more principally spiritual in a believer than his virtue, and the prince of all virtue is the virtue to the heroic degree.  Consequently, to shut out all possibility of this most spiritual enemy of Modernism, the first and prime spiritual goal is to ostracize and exile heroic virtue.  And this is done chiefly by denigration.

Denigration of what is best is the first tactic to employ, because when the best is no longer seen as the best, the soul and the society no longer strives to reach the proper goal by the only methods which can attain that goal. Giving up the only tools to arrive at that goal, one guarantees in the very first instance, that the Catholic side of the battle will not and will never win; and that the battle will continue interminably, without victory for the Catholic party.

This denigration has gone on for many generations now: Rationalists did this by debunking the lives of the Saints, debunking the authenticity and authority and veracity of Scripture; by debunking the normalcy and authority of Tradition; by debunking the sanity of heroic virtue, by recourse to modern false sciences of psychology and psychiatry as the “true” authorities on human behavior.  This could not be done without despising and denigrating Scholastic Theology and Philosophy.

The result of such a campaign of denigration, is a Catechism of Denigration, induction to which is common place in Catholic Seminaries today, throughout the whole world; and especially so in the Pontifical Universities at Rome, where the majority of professors believe education means debunking every historical, theological, moral, ethical, religious, liturgical ideal which a seminarian might bring with him to Rome.

Simultaneous, to this work of denigration, is the work of substitution.  After railing against the ideals which the Church has from Christ, the Apostles or from the Holy Spirit in the Saints, it is necessary but easy to suggest and laud the ideals and criteria which prevail in modern times, and this, in the name of being “acceptable”, “up to date”, “normal”, “middle of the road”, etc.. Thus to virtue, we have sound & healthy psychology; to faith in scripture, the critical historical method of rationalistic interpretation; to Christian charity, social justice work; to preaching, neutralizing rhetorics; to worship of God, worship of self or of man; to Tradition, the modernist reading of Vatican II (holding that it is obligatory and dogmatic just like, nay, better than Vatican I) etc..

2. Identify and root out the “non-compliant”, “intransigent”, “rigorists”, those who take the Faith “too seriously”.

The work of denigration provides the best context for the second method or tool of manipulation: identifying those who have such virtue as to resist or oppose the denigration of the best. Social cohesion and the insistence that one not be divisive, not jeopardize approval of superiors who hold the keys to the formation process, are powerful emotional threats used to cajole acquiescence to the program of denigration.  If this fails, then one moves easily to accusing the resistant of being “rigorists”, “ideologues”, “intransigent”, simply because they resist the process of denigration.  Few, in such an emotionally charged atmosphere as the Seminary or Pontifical University where denigration has replace formation and information, have the spiritual balance to notice that it is precisely in this personal attack of those who resist, that there becomes manifest the actual ideals of the denigrators; ideals which are contrary or opposite of those which Catholics should hold. Many, beholden to a “follow the group”, “don’t rock the boat”, ethic, easily succumb to such an attack, those who don’t, thus, are then easily isolated and separated from the group, when the attacks move from opposing ideals of the Faith, to denigrating those who show loyalty to them.  With all the filters Modernists now have in society and in ecclesiastical institutions today, it will be few vocations who show such fortitude and resistance, it is thus easy then to divide them from the group and from others in the group who would give moral support.

This separation is a necessary part of the re-education program of the Modernists.  Insistence on attending certain Pontifical Universities is a sure sign that re-education is the goal.  It is not that re-education is the necessity, but a seminarian or religious has to be very knowledgeable and virtuous beforehand, to survive without being scathed.  Such a man is a rare breed today, though.

One effective tool in this work of weeding out the virtuous, is the system of falsification of formation and formators.  In seminaries the Modernists most capable of appearing Catholics and most knowledgeable in how to flip a Catholic to a Modernist, or at least to a complaint do-nothing, are placed in the roles of Confessors, Spiritual Directors, and Vocation Directors, Rectors, or other formators.  This is important so that not only the gate-keepers but the counselors of the victims conscience are compromised, so that if he seeks help and guidance, he is guaranteed to get  advice that will do him in; either by advising compliance, silence, or excesses which will guarantee expulsion or exclusion, or serving as pretexts for such.  Indeed, a common tactic, is to propose friendship and sympathy for the victim, with the condition that he compromise in something, which will only prologue his ordeal and wear down his resistance.

These two tactics, Denigration and Identification/Segregation regard individuals. Now, let us consider the cases of groups.

3. Disfavor initiatives aimed at promoting the Faith in a non-compromised manner

In regard to groups, distinct but similar tactics must be employed.  In the age following the diffusion of the errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism, many a person has come to accept in principle that obedience to a superior is never wrong, even when a superior commands to be done that which is wrong.  A whole host of excuses is given, but to the group which is poorly formed in the Faith and immeshed in the errors of the present age, the power of the accusation of disobedience to a superiors commands or disfavor in regard to superior’s wishes is never to be discounted. How many holy initiatives, works of the Holy Spirit’s suggestions, have come to naught since Vatican II simply because someone whispered, “The Bishop won’t like that”, or “the current Pope does not favor that”, etc..!

Mind you, the Catholic Faith aims to please God alone; when a superior’s wishes diverge from what God has revealed to be pleasing to Himself, either in scripture, or throughout the course of the ages in the Saints’ and their works, then the faithful should have the common sense to ignore his wishes, no? You’d think so; but, alas, this sense of integrity is rare today.  Only when Catholics by long years of good works come to understand the profound connection between them and the  Faith which comes from Christ, do they have any interior conviction to question such an evil suggestion as, “the Bishop won’t like that” holy proposal.

The errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism have become so widespread, that many Catholics no longer hold their pastors or Bishops’ to be their shepherds, they now consider them to be their “heads” and “hearts” proper! Content with the satisfaction of their daily lives and common pleasures, and rarely prepared by modern culture to have a sense of personal dignity which is founded in loyalty to Christ first and foremost, few initiatives, even holy initiatives, of Catholics, whether laymen or clergy or religious, withstand a concerted or long process of Modernist manipulation tactics.  The fortitude is simply lacking; the clarity of judgement too poor; the heroic virtue, not something they have every prayed the Lord to give them.

4. Accuse of Disobedience, especially after unreasonable or unlawful requests

Accusations of disobedience are a grave matter, since the Code of Canon Law especially identifies these as a grounds for imposing censures or penalties.  Most Catholics when accused, do not have the clarity of mind or knowledge of the faith to distinguish a just command which should be obeyed, from an unjust or unreasonable one which should not or could be ignored.  The mere stigma of not doing what a superior has commanded, is so strong in modern times (despite the false exaltation of liberty) that nearly no group escapes from such an accusation.  What results is disintegration, internal divisions, which render the group non-effective in its holy proposals, or so divided, as to dissolve; in any event, the mere accusation when leveled is sufficient to guarantee that a group be exterminated from the life of the Church, if the Bishop should so wish, or even, to obtain complete acquiescence to the Modernist agenda in the Church as the penance necessary to remove the stigma.  This is why a reasonable or just request, refused, need not be the basis of the accusation.

Now let me adjoin some commentary on the so-called negotiations which have been required of Catholic groups since the Council, which have “dared” to resist the Modernist reformulation of the Faith.

5. Require negotiations for reconciliation

I have always wondered just why some groups are required “to be reconciled” so as to obtain favor or approval from superiors, where it is rather the superiors who have been known for years, decades, even their entirely priestly lives, for deviations from the Faith or right ecclesiastic practices.

The reason may be, that the opportunities to be had from negotiating the reconciliation of such groups provides a powerful social-psychological force for demanding and obtaining compliance.  Social-physchology is the study of how groups behave and interact in such wise as to influence the behavior of individuals and individuals of groups. The mere announcement of an offer of reconciliation makes the imposition of the requirement of negotiations all the more noteworthy, the object of much emotion and speculations.  The hope that persecution and justice will be granted, is combined with the natural desire of the victim to exit the suffering imposed so unjustly.  It is a powerful magnetic force, therefore, to propose to the abused a negotiation with the abuser to stop the abuse.  It also sets up the context where any discussion of the injustice or abuse appears not to be useful to obtain the needed reconciliation.

For this reason, I ask, just why is it that some groups, and not all groups or all Catholics, are required to accept by written signature the legitimacy, authority, or doctrines of the Second Vatican Council?  If the Fathers of the Council had the liberty to choose to sign or not to sign, and if the  Council did not in any anathema or canon obliged its acceptance or the acceptance of any of its pastoral proposals, why is it then that such written acceptance is required?

I believe the reason is, that such a written document, can serve very ably in coercing and guaranteeing compliance, and in shutting off the ways of escaping from further abuse, when the malice or perfidy of one party might later become evident.  After all, that is the reason for every peace treaty between disputants, is it not, to guarantee compliance of the weaker party?

Thus, if the Modernists simply falsely accuse their opponents of being schismatics, or in danger of schism, as has frequently and recently been done by some Bishops, it becomes very easy to propose reconciliation as a condition for being pardoned of the false charges.

In truth, Catholics need not compromise, reconcile or negotiate with Modernists; they need only to refuse false obedience and false acceptance when and wherever it is offered. Rather, it is Catholics who should preach and demand repentance of the Modernists, their resignations and their removal from office, howsoever high it be.

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Just hours after the publication of this Article, Pope Francis directed AB Parolin, his Secretary of State, to publish a Rescript in which he claims the right, in Art. 5, thereof, to depose any bishop for any reason after a fraternal dialogue.

Cf. http:// press.vatican.va / content / salastampa / it / bollettino / pubblico / 2014 / 11 / 05 / 0821 / 01739.html

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