The Myths used to defend Team Bergoglio from UDG 81

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)Rome, October 1, 2015 A.D:  Following the revelations, reported by noted Vaticanistas, Edward Pentin and Marco Tosatti, that Cardinal Danneels, in his new biography, admits that a group of Cardinals, in direct violation of the Papal Law, for Papal Elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, organized in 1996 a group which is named, the “Club of St. Gallen” — so called, after the town in Switzerland where it met, and which group Cardinal Danneels called, a “mafiaclub” — formed for the purpose of radically changing the Church and the Catholic Religion, and in recent years formally committed to the promotion of the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergolgio as the next pope:  a series of commentators, notably “Msgr. Athanasius” at the Remnant and Canon Peters have alleged that the penalties of UDG 81, namely, excommunication latae sententiae, on all who violate the proper proceedures of papal elections by canvassing for votes or vote promissing, are not applicable or if they are do not touch upon the validity of the papal election of 2013.

You need to read Latin to read the Law

First, both commentators, writing in the English language, show themselves ignorant of the distinction in Canon Law between an excommunication which is threatened and an excommunication which is declared or imposed.

When the Code of Canon law specifies that a specific crime is to be punished by excommunication, an excommunication is threatened.  In such canons, the law specifies that the maximum punishment, excommunication, may be imposed.

When the Pope or some competent authority by a specific act declares the penalty upon an individual, the excommunication is declared.

But some special laws can impose an excommunication in virtue of the very deed committed, ipso facto. These impositions by special law for all who in the future commit such actions are true impositions, as the Latin language indicates by the use of the verbs, incurrere, irrogare and innodare.

We see this in the Code itself, which specifies in the Official English translation:

Can. 1314Generally, a penalty is ferendae sententiae, so that it does not bind the guilty party until after it has been imposed; if the law or precept expressly establishes it, however, a penalty is latae sententiae, so that it is incurred ipso facto when the delict is committed.

This becomes evident in the Latin text of that canon, which reads:

Can. 1314 — Poena plerumque est ferendae sententiae, ita ut reum non teneat, nisi postquam irrogata sit; est autem latae sententiae, ita ut in eam incurratur ipso facto commissi delicti, si lex vel praeceptum id expresse statuat.

In Latin, Irrogari means “to inflict” or “impose”, incurrere means to run into or upon; innodare, beings to be bound up by.  The metaphors are equivalent, for when one has been penalized for a crime, he has has its penalty bound to himself and has run into or been tied up by the penalty.  Ferendae sententiae means a punishment which “is to be placed” upon the criminal, latae sententiae means a punishment which “has been placed” upon the criminal.  Thus, it is evident that in cases of excommunications which are latae sententiae ipso facto, the penalty has already been imposed.

Pope John Paul II made it clear he was imposing a penalty upon all future violators

Now in the case of the actions prohibited by UDG 81, Pope John Paul II uses very specific language in the original Latin.  As I wrote back on Nov. 28, 2014, but which seems to have been forgotten by the recent commentators:

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.

As can be seen, Pope John Paul II, at that moment IMPOSES the penalty of excommunication ipso facto, and this, not upon the act but upon all the persons who will commit the act.  Thus all who commit the forbidden acts are excommunicated automatically for having committed them and the penalty is imposed not by a written decree after the fact, but by a written decree before the fact, that is, by this his special law for Papal Conclaves, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG).

Indeed, as logic dictates, that if this were not the correct reading of the law, then the threat of an excommunication in UDG 81 would be nothing but a flourish of words, since it would have no effect and the guilty could get away with stealing a papal election by means of vote canvassing.  Clearly Pope John Paul II was not an idiot, who merely threatened a penalty which could only be imposed after the fact by the very individual elected uncanonically by the criminal violators of UDG 81!  To say such a thing would be an absurdity and calumny.

The Myths used to undermine a right understanding of the Law

Canon Peters, for his part, attempts a subtle shell game by replacing the word “imposed” by “formal”, when he writes (I quote from Fr. Z’s blog):

But that same cursory glance at Canon 1331 will not show (unless one is trained in canon law) that most consequences of excommunication become relevant in the external forum only if the excommunication is “imposed or declared”. That short, technical phrase means that, while one who is “automatically” excommunicated labors under the personal burdens of this sanction, it is only when an excommunication is “formal” that actions performed by canonical criminals raise questions for Church life and governance.

As I have shown, the penalty for violation of UDG 81 is already imposed by the promulgation of the papal law itself, on all future violators.  Thus the consequences of that penalty effect not only the liceity but the validity in law of all acts of those persons after the crimes committed. There is no distinction made in canon 1314 of formal and material excommunication. Canon Peters is attempting to alter the law by altering the terms, in a clever shell game.

Msgr. Athanasius, instead, attempts to argue, that since the former papal law explicitly allowed excommunicated electors to vote and be elected, the new papal law, while not explicitly saying such a thing — which is nonsensical in the new Code, if you think about it, since the new Code does not have the distinction between excommunication simplex and excommunication vitandis (simple excommunication of penalty and excommunion which excludes from the Church) — should be read and interpreted as if it did say such a thing.  Msgr.’s opinion is rejected by the noted Canonist, Jesus Minambres, which I reported upon here. The erroneous opinion of the Msgr., is also obviated by the careful consideration of what the new papal law does allow, the voting and election of all Cardinals, regardless of any reason or cause. Because in the CIC 1983, canon 171 prohibits not the voting of excommunicated electors, but the tallying of their votes.  Furthermore, since the College of Cardinals did prohibit de facto the Cardinal of Scotland from attending, because of the scandals he was involved in,  it is clear that their own understanding of whom the Papal Law allows to be prohibited from voting does not correspond to the wide reading the Mgsr. would have it read. Thus since neither the indulgence of UDG 81 can be said to cover excommunication, as the old law did, and since canon 171 does not conflict with it if it did, the argument of Msgr. Athanasius falls flat on its face as contra iurem and praeter rem.

For more on the effects of being formally excommunicated (canon 1331) by the violation of UDG 81, see my article of Dec. 12, 2014 A.D., The Monstrosity of the Allegations against “Team Bergoglio” = Cardinal Bergoglio is not the Pope.

Every Single Cardinal-Elector has right to demand resolution of “Team Bergoglio” scandal

UDG 5 and Canon 1530

The College of Cardinal-Electors convenes for the 2014 Conclave

The College of Cardinal-Electors convenes for the 2014 Conclave

Rome, January 17, 2015:  Ever since the revelation of an organized campaign by 8 Cardinals to promote the election of Cardinal Bergoglio in the 2013 Conclave, which elected him as Pope Francis, there has been a grave public controversy and doubt as to the validity of his election.  This is because the current papal law on elections, the Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, lacked the specific term which would have exempted it from being interpreted according to the general norms of Canon Law: specifically from canons 171 and 1329.

In paragraph 81 of Universi Dominic Gregis (here after UDG), the crime of vote-promising is penalized with automatic excommunication, such that in the very act of promising a vote, a Cardinal elector is excommunicated.  On account of canon 1329, that automatic excommunication is extended to the one asking for the vote promise, even if the one asking is also a Cardinal elector.  On account of the terms of canon 171 §1, the votes of excommunicated electors, even Cardinals in a conclave, cannot be counted in favor of the candidate they name; and on account of canon 171 §2, if they are counted among the number in favor of the candidate in such wise that they cause that number to be sufficient for victory, according to the norms of the election, the election is nullified in all its effects.

Thus the fattispecies, or appearance of facts, in the narrative of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, argue for the invalidity of the election of Pope Francis, that is, that Pope Francis did not obtain his office by a legal, lawful, or legitimate means.  That would mean that Catholics not only could legitimately break off communion with him, but would be morally obliged to do so, under pain of mortal sin.

Thus, the probity of the allegations regard a true scandal.

UDG 5 gives a simple solution to the “Team Bergoglio” scandal

Thankfully, Pope John Paul II provided in his papal law on conclaves an easy solution, which any single Cardinal can take advantage of: the terms stated in the 5th paragraph of that law, UDG 5, the official Latin text of which is:

5. Si quae autem dubia exoriantur de sensu praescriptionum, quae hac Nostra Constitutione continentur, aut circa rationem qua ad usum deduci eae debeant, edicimus ac decernimus penes Cardinalium Collegium esse potestatem de his ferendi sententiam; propterea, eidem Cardinalium Collegio facultatem tribuimus interpretandi locos dubios vel in controversiam vocatos, statuentes, ut, si de eiusmodi vel similibus quaestionibus deliberati oporteat, excepto ipso electionis actu, satis sit maiorem congregatorum Cardinalium partem in eandem sententiam convenire.

Our unofficial English translation of which is:

5. Moreover, if which doubts rise up concerning the sense of the prescriptions, which are contained in this Our Constitution, or about the reckoning by which they should be put into practice, We decree and judge that the power to make judgement concerning these is within the College of Cardinals; moreover, We grant to the College of Cardinals the faculty of interpreting doubtful passages and/or those called into controversy, so that, if having deliberated concerning questions of this kind and/or the similar, excepting the very act of the election itself, it be sufficient that the greater part of the Cardinals gathered together agree upon the same sentence.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshot by From Rome blog, cropped)

In this paragraph, Pope John Paul II establishes several specific things.  The first of which is the authority and jurisdiction of the Sacred College over questions regarding the meaning of the individual paragraphs and about the method to be used to put them into practice; second, about the interpretation of doubtful paragraphs and those about which a dispute arises.  Third, he establishes that the Cardinals are to deliberate about these, and that a vote is to be taken, and that the decisions are to be arrived at by a majority of the assembled Cardinal electors.

In other words, then, the papal law in UDG 5 establishes the Cardinal Electors, gathered together, to be the judge of cases which arise regarding the papal law itself. The only matter excluded, is that they cannot judge the very act of the election, that is, they cannot judge whether the act took place or not, only if the terms of the papal law were properly adhered to or followed.  The papal law, in UDG 4 already establishes that any non-compliance with it terms renders the election null and void, so, thus, there is no need for the Cardinals to decide upon the validity of the act itself.

Thus, it is sufficient that the Cardinals gather together, deliberate the matter of the “Team Bergoglio” scandal, and decide the case.  They would discuss whether the allegations are true and investigate them by asking the eye-witnesses, one another, whether UDG 81 was violated by vote-canvassing conducted by the supporters of Cardinal Bergoglio.

Canon 1530 guarantees the right to investigate charges

Canon 1530 guarantees the right of every Cardinal to have the allegations regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal investigated in Consistory.  This is because it grants to the judge of every contentious trial, the right and duty to investigate the facts of the controversy and rule upon them, at the request of any party to the case.  The text of that canon reads:

Can. 1530 — Iudex ad veritatem aptius eruendam partes interrogare semper potest, immo debet, ad instantiam partis vel ad probandum factum quod publice interest extra dubium poni.

Our unofficial English translation of which is:

Canon 1530 — The judge can always interrogate the parties to draw the truth out more aptly, nay he ought, at the insistence of a party and/or to prove a fact which is of public interest, to put it outside of doubt.

The judge in this case would be the entire College of Cardinal Electors, the parties in the case would be any single and all the Cardinal Electors and those accused of canvassing votes.  Thus any single Cardinal could demand the Sacred College to investigate the charges.  This would be done by interrogating collectively each individual Cardinal.  The kind of questions, that could be asked, are any whatsoever.  Canon 1531 requires that all questioned answer truthfully. The Cardinals could do whatever is proscribed for contentious trials in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (cf. canons 1501 ff.).

The solution is simple. The matter of “Team Bergoglio” can easily be resolved.  Why then is there any controversy at all? or Why do the supporters of “Team Bergoglio” argue so angrily against an investigation?

From Ivereigh to Abdication, the Canonical steps implied by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screen shot by From Rome blog, cropped)

Rome — January 6, 2015:  On the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Catholic Church celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of the Eternal Light over the darkness merited by this world by the sin of Adam, the darkness which is the demerit of sin, the alienation of God, the loss of God’s Light which would have led Adam’s race from its first progeny to a most splendid glory. For on this day, the Church celebrates the revelation of the Eternal Light incarnate in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin, revealed now to the Gentiles who seek Him out; and not all gentiles, but only those who like the Magi of old, seek Him with sincerity and zeal.

This great Mystery which we celebrate today must be echoed in all the choices of life which we make, must be echoed in the entire life of the Church in all the choices She makes, must even be echoed in the governance of the Church by all the choices which the Sacred Hierarchy makes.

A Church which does not observe Her own laws, thus, can never be the Church which proclaims the Mystery of the Epiphany; and for this reason, corruption in the Church is an abominable denial of the truth of all that the Epiphany represents.

Hence, it is most appropriate, once again to affirm that the facts which surround the “Team Bergoglio” scandal and its consequences in law merit in the most extreme and supreme manner the resolution of the doubts and questions raised.

For this reason, the From Rome blog will now summarize the Canonical Case against “Team Bergoglio” and show why the validity of the election of Cardinal Bergoglio is ostensibly invalidated thereby, and this with a high probability that the contrary is not true.  A summary of reports on the “Team Bergoglio” scandal as well as those blog posts from the From Rome blog can be found in our Chronology of Reports on Team Bergoglio, which is updated regularly. The facts contained in the articles listed in this Chronology, will now be summarized for the facility of the reader:

The crime against UDG 81

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, the former spokesman for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, in the ninth chapter of his biography of Pope Francis, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, says that 8 Cardinals conspired to and did succeed in promote the election of Cardinal Bergoglio by means of seeking vote-promises from 25 Cardinal electors to be cast in the first balloting of the Conclave on March 12, 2013.  From the text of Ivereigh, it can be supposed that of the 8 conspirators, 2-3 were not electors.  In accord with the terms of the papal law, Universi Dominic Gregis (UDG) paragraph 81, all pacts, agreements or promises forged under any kind of obligation, however light or strong, merit for the participants who are electors the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae.  The terms of UDG 81 indicate clearly that the excommunication is ipso facto, that is imposed in the very act of the transgression. Dr. Ivereigh, on March 12, 2013 in a BBC broadcast admitted to have met the alleged ring-leader of the campaign, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor; Ivereigh further confesses in the same BBC appearance that all agreements regarding voting are forbidden by the papal law.  The Cardinal in a newspaper interview on Sept. 12, 2013 admitted to being the head of the campaign and that Pope Francis knew this and thanked him for it on the day after the election; the Cardinal also confirmed that as of March 12, 2013 Cardinal Bergoglio knew he was going to be a candidate, and that he would make a strong showing on the first ballot. As regards these claims, none of the Cardinals implicated by name have substantially or totally denied them, since they first came to public knowledge, six weeks ago, on Nov. 23, 2014. (cf. The improbity of Team Bergoglio’s Recent Denials).

The penalties in virtue of Canon 1329 expand to Cardinal Bergoglio

In accord with canon 1329, all Cardinal electors who assisted in suchwise, as the crime could not have not be accomplished without them, are also punished with the same kind of excommunication.  This includes Cardinal Bergoglio, since it is morally impossible that he did not know of the nature of the campaign, when he could have stopped it by merely communicating his abhorrence for the perpetration of a crime.  Dr. Ivereigh in a recent video interview admits that Cardinal Bergoglio came to Rome for the Conclave with the desire to be a candidate. His insistence to purchase undergarments the day after election, may also argue that he was aware that the manner of his election would incriminate him unless he showed himself free of any intention to be elected.  To hold that Bergoglio was unaware of the nature of the campaign would be to hold that he never talked to any of his supporters prior to the closed sessions of the Conclave; that he did not take control of his own election, that he did not seek to obtain the papacy, that he did not expect to be elected.

The election of Cardinal Bergoglio had by 78 votes

According to reports, Cardinal Bergoglio obtained 16 votes in the first round of voting, and won the election on the last ballot of March 13, 2013 with 78 votes, that is only 2 votes more than the necessary 2/3 majority to win (76). The actual numbers are known to the Cardinal Electors and those who assisted them in the Sistine Chapel on March 12-13, 2013, all of whom, however, are bound by oath not to reveal the information, without explicit permission of the Pope. The numbers reported come from apparent indiscretions, made by individuals, following the euphoria of Pope Francis’ election.

Canon 171 invalidates the election by reason of the violation of UDG 81

According to the norm of canon 171 §1, the votes of excommunicated electors cannot be tallied; and if they are tallied as part of the required number for victory, then in accord with canon 171 §2, the election is null and void.  This canon in §1, °3 cites those excommunicated by judicial sentence or decree; canon 20 specifies that all papal laws such as UDG are general decrees; the Latin text of UDG 81 uses the same verb of imposition specified as a condition for canon 171 §1, ° 3 (innodare).  Thus there is no doubt that canon 171 invalidates papal elections in which the number of votes necessary for election (2/3 majority) is obtained by counting 16 votes from excommunicated electors, as appears to be the case in the “Team Bergoglio” scandal.  While it is possible that some of the original 16 votes cast in the first round were not promised, it is morally improbable that less than 2 were.

What must now be done

The case having attained a sufficient level of probity according to its facti species, that is, according to the appearance of the facts, it must be judged by the competent authority.

Since the case regards the invalidity of the election, the validity of such a judgement must itself be secured in such wise that no matter the outcome of the judgement, the result will be obtained by a method in which all parties agree is lawful, legitimate, licit and valid.

If Cardinal Bergoglio was validly elected, then as Pope his authority would be necessary to resolve the matter.  If he was not validly elected, the Sacred College of Cardinals in virtue of the authority granted to them in UDG 5 can resolve the matter.

Hence, to judge the case of the scandal of “Team Bergoglio” it seems wise to propose the following:

  1. That the Pope convoke to consistory all  the Cardinals, both those who were electors and those who were non-electors in the conclave of 2013, with the Cardinals created since the election of Pope Francis in attendance but remaining silent and not voting, by their own free decision.
  2. That the Pope in consistory express, in humility, his willingness to abdicate if it should be found that his election was invalid.
  3. That the Pope in consistory grant to all the Cardinals assembled, release from their vow of secrecy regarding all affairs of the Conclave, so that they might speak freely.
  4. That the Cardinals agree by unanimous vote, that the successor to Pope Francis, in the eventuality of his abdication or invalidation, grant to all Cardinals the same release from their vow.
  5. That the Cardinals be called by the Dean of the College to give individual testimony as to whether they were asked to promise their vote for any specific Cardinal.
  6. That the Cardinals in virtue of the authority granted to them in UDG 5 determine whether the testimony puts in doubt the validity of the election of 2013, and by unanimous decision judge whether the doubt is sufficient to harm the unity of the Church.
  7. That Pope Francis confirm whatsoever they determine.
  8. That Pope Francis, in the case of a positive determination, abdicate his office by written decree in the presence of the entire Sacred College; in the case of a negative determination, publish the findings of the investigation and grant the Cardinals freedom to speak about the entire affair in public, after the consistory is concluded, so as to confirm its authenticity and put all doubts to rest.

If those who know that any of the above facts or canonical interpretations are false or true, now remain silent, they will sin gravely either in regard to a lack of charity for the truth and reputation of those involved, or as accomplices after the fact.  If the competent authority does not judge the undisputed case, the Church Herself will be gravely injured in Her reputation and adhesion to the Mystery of the Epiphany, of the manifestation of the Eternal Light and Truth, incarnate among us.