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?

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Francis became Pope thanks to Belgian Cardinal Danneels

Cardinal Godfried Danneels was a part of Team Bergoglio, a group of cardinals that got the Argentine elected as pope in 2013 :  a new biography about pope Francis claims. — “If that is true, the election might be invalid,” says Vatican expert Tom Zwaenepoel.

by Michaël Temmerman of Nieuwsblad.be —  (English transl.; original Flemish article: source)*

Godfried Cardinal Danneels, retired Archbishop of Brussels, Belgium & Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Anastasia al Palatino

Godfried Cardinal Danneels, retired Archbishop of Brussels, Belgium & Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Anastasia al Palatino

If it’s a short conclave, Bergoglio will be elected pope. You can be sure of that.” Those words were whispered by the British cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor just before the start of the 2013 conclave. He was talking to Austin Ivereigh, his spokesman at that time. Those words are now repeated in The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, a recently published biography about pope Francis written by that same Austin Ivereigh. The author of the book claims that those words prove the existence of Team Bergoglio, a group of five cardinals who would have canvassed for votes in favor of the Argentine. “And the Belgian cardinal Danneels was among those five cardinals,” says Vatican expert Tom Zwaenepoel. “He is mentioned seven times in the book.”

Conspiracy theory

According to the book, the team not only lobbied for Bergoglio in 2013 but also in 2005. “I suppose some of it is true. But how much?” says Zwaenepoel. “Propagandizing and recruiting votes for a specific candidate are illegal and would make the election invalid.  But there’s a big difference between lobbying for someone and expressing sympathy for a certain candidate in an informal talk. According to the book Bergoglio knew about the lobbying in 2013 and would even have given his permission for it. But those statements are being retracted from the newer versions of the biography. Because they aren’t true or because the Vatican pressured the author to do so? We will probably never know for sure.”

Less than two days after the book hit the shops, the Vatican already stated that the accusations were all lies. Toon Osaer, spokesman of cardinal Danneels, also doesn’t believe in a conspiracy theory. “If you see how glad Danneels was after the conclave, you can be sure that Francis was his favorite candidate. But that doesn’t mean there was some sort of a master-plan to help the Argentine to the papal seat. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the cardinal didn’t canvass for votes for Bergoglio in the days and weeks before the conclave.”

_________________________

The Flemish original was published on Jan. 6, 2015, p.  10, by Nieuwsblad, a Belgian newspaper in Antwerp. — Note that Belgian copyright law extends to this English translation (done for the From Rome blog), neither of which can be reproduced for commercial ends. — Michaël Temmerman is a staff reporter for the Nieuwsblad.

Cardinal Napier says there is no evidence for “Team Bergoglio” scandal

Rome, January 15, 2015.  His Eminence Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban South Africa, spoke today regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal, affirming that there is no verifiable evidence and that it is not on the agenda for the upcoming Consistory of Cardinals to be held in February.  His comments were made during a Twitter dialogue with the editor of the From Rome blog, which began after the Cardinal insisted on the recognition of the hierarchy of rights. A hierarchy which the author of the From Rome blog zealously recognizes.

Here is a transcript of that conversation.  Note that the tweets of each participant are repeated to authenticate the thread of tweets.

 

(Ed. note: Here the Cardinal is referring to the importunity of being Twittered on the “Team Bergoglio” scandal in the past, by the editor of this blog).

This is no joke. To ignore the scandal, would be to mock the Catholic Faith.

The Verifiable evidence

Here we must recognize a fundamental, threefold distinction in every forensic consideration regarding the probity of evidence.

  1. the probity of evidence necessary to impute a crime to an individual or group,
  2. the probity of evidence necessary to investigate a crime,
  3. the probity of evidence necessary to prove the crime imputed,

What is had via the published text of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s book, regards the first; the analysis of that evidence along with published statements, documents, interviews, etc., regarding the implicated individuals, regards the second; the findings which the Sacred College would obtain by an inquiry in Consistory, regard the third.

Regarding the first 2 kinds of probity, we have the verifiable evidence, published thus far, which can be found as reported in the following 3 articles by the From Rome blog: the testimony of Dr. Austen Ivereigh, regarding the activities of “Team Bergoglio”, in our analysis of the text of the 9th chapter his book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, and his recent reaffirmation of that narrative’s veracity, in Ivereigh: I am confident of the veracity of my account; the canonical implications of what Dr. Ivereigh recounts are summarized in, From Ivereigh to Abdication, the Canonical steps implied by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal.

And all reports, by news agencies around the world, including our own posts, can be found in our Chronology of Reports regarding “Team Bergoglio”, which is updated regularly.

Ivereigh’s claims appear to be verified by the endorsement of his book by Cardinal Dolan of New York City, an elector during the 2013 conclave, by the 2 Cardinals whom Ivereigh on Jan. 6th, 2015 claimed were sources for his information, and by 3 of the 7 accused Cardinals who have not denied that they canvassed for votes, though they deny asking Cardinal Bergoglio for his consent to do so; not to mention by the other 4 Cardinals who are named by Ivereigh, but who have denied nothing since the book was published on Nov. 25, 2014.

All this leads to a great probity which merits the investigation of the allegations.  But this can only be done by the Cardinals in Consistory, behind closed doors, since they cannot violate the vow of the conclave, and since they alone are first hand witnesses.  Canon 1530 and 1531 demand this.

For the record, we note, here, only that Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his book says “Team Bergoglio” targeted the Cardinals from Africa for vote promises. If any of them, such as Cardinal Napier, gave such promises, it would have been a violation of the papal law on conclaves, punishable by automatic excommunication (cf. Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81).

“Team Bergoglio” and the legacy of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro

Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro

Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro

Rome, January 10, 2015:  It has been a little over 111 years ago, since another controversial Conclave met and elected a now famous Pope.  That was the Conclave of August 1903, and the Cardinal elected was St. Giuseppe Sarto, who took the name Pius X.

Several historians, basing themselves on the testimony of none other than Cardinal Merry Del Val and Cardinal Matthieu in the last hundred years have sustained that that Conclave was marked by a remarkable occurrence, the veto by the Austrian Emperor, Franz Josef I, against one of the leading contenders, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, the Secretary of State of Pope Leo XIII.  The motivation of this intervention has been attributed by Msgr. Jouin and Craig Heimbichner (the latter in his book, Blood and Altar) to the association of Cardinal Rampolla with French Freemasonry.

The curious Conclave of 1903 had a curious consequence: that during the reign of Pope St. Pius X, the followers of Cardinal Rampolla who were raised to the dignity of the episcopate, where ordained by the Pope, and those of the Pope by Cardinal Rampolla.  In the first case, the co-consecrators were either both or at least in one individual, themselves bishops ordained by Cardinal Rampolla.

Does this indicate a sort of compromise in the Conclave itself, by which the Catholic Cardinals and the Cardinals who were Freemasons came to some agreement, not to contest the validity of the election of Pope St Pius X?

Cardinal Rampolla passed away suddenly on Dec. 16, 1913, exactly 23 years before the birthday of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born Dec. 17, 1936.

In any event, it is noticeable that the members of “Team Bergoglio” can trace their episcopal lineage back to Cardinal Rampolla and Pope St. Pius X in such wise as to both seemingly confirm the existence of such a compromise and to mark “Team Bergoglio” as the ecclesiastical heirs of the legacy of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro.

But don’t take my word on it, go to catholic-hierarchy.org and check for yourself.  Here I will summarize what I have found there among the lists of the episcopal lineages of the alleged members of  “Team Bergoglio”.

An episcopal lineage is the list of names of the principal consecrators of each bishop in the line extending from the bishop ordained back to the Apostles.  Episcopal lineages have been traced in the Roman Rite back to the 15th century.  When reading a lineage, the first named is the one consecrated, the next his principal consecrator, the next the principal consecrator of the principal consecrator.  When ordained a bishop, every bishop is ordained by 3 bishops, the principal and 2 co-consecrators, which are normally chosen by the individual to be ordained.  This can, thus, give some indication of the allegiance of the one to be ordained to existing factions withing the Sacred Hierarchy.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

His direct episcopal lineage can be traced thus:  Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained a bishop on June 27, 1992, by

Thus, Cardinal Bergoglio is a direct episcopal “descendant” and “heir” of the Rampolla legacy.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

Next, the alleged ring-leader of “Team Bergoglio”, who was consecrated a bishop on Dec. 21, 1977, by

Cardinal Giambattista della Chiesa was the personal secretary and close ally of Cardinal Rampolla, from the time that the latter was Apostolic Nuncio to Spain. Cardinal della Chiesa was ordained a bishop, however, by Pope St. Pius X.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

Next, one of the members of “Team Bergoglio”, whom Dr. Ivereigh names in his book, but whom is not one of the 4 who have made public denials, is the Cardinal of Vienna, who was consecrated a bishop on Sept. 29, 1991 by

Thus, Cardinal Schönborn is a direct episcopal “descendant” and “heir” of the Cardinal Rampolla legacy.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló

Next, one of the members of “Team Bergoglio”, whom Dr. Ivereigh names in his book, but whom is not one of the 4 who have made public denials, is the Cardinal-Archpriest of Santa Maria Maggiore, who was consecrated a bishop on June 16, 1985 by

Cardinal Giambattista della Chiesa was the personal secretary and close ally of Cardinal Rampolla, from the time that the latter was Apostolic Nuncio to Spain. Cardinal della Chiesa was ordained a bishop, however, by Pope St. Pius X.

Other alleged members of the Team trace back to Cardinal Gasparri

Other alleged members of “Team Bergoglio” are Cardinals Godfreid Danneels, Karl Lehman and Walter Kasper all descend from Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, whose episcopal lineage does not cross Cardinal Rampolla. Similarly, Cardinal André Armand Vingt-Trois of Paris, another named member, who has made no public denials, traces his lineage back to Cardinal François-Marie-Benjamin Richard de la Vergne, who was the principal consecrator of Cardinal Gasparri.

However, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri himself has been accused of being a collaborator with Cardinal Rampolla in opposing the reforms of Pope St. Pius X, in particular, the effort to extirpate the heresy of Modernism among the upper clergy.

Other implicated Cardinals

The text of Ivereigh also implicates Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, and the African Cardinals, such as Cardinal Napier of Durban.  Both of these Cardinals have lineages tracing back to Cardinal Gaetano De Lai, both of whose co-consecrators were themselves consecrated principally by Cardinal Rampolla.

Ivereigh: I am confident of the veracity of my account

and have heard nothing that contradicts it.

Dr. Ivereigh presents his book to Pope Francis: Friday Nov 21, 2014.

Dr. Ivereigh presents his book to Pope Francis: Friday Nov 21, 2014. Screen shot of a Twitter Page viewing his Twitter Feed Time-Line.

Rome, January 9, 2015:  Following the publication of the summary of the case against “Team Bergoglio”, Dr. Austen Ivereigh has confirmed the veracity of his account given in the ninth chapter of his, now famous book, The Great Reformer, in his January 7, 2015 response to Fr. Brennan, S. J., entitled, Setting the Record Straight on Pope Francis, a reply to Frank BrennanFr. Brennan is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University; he had attempted in his review of Ivereigh’s book to discount the probity of Ivereigh’s testimony.

In  response, Dr. Austen Ivereigh, the former spokesman to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor speaks directly of the charges Fr. Brennan makes against the accuracy of his report about the activities of “Team Bergoglio”, saying thus:

Regarding the conclave, Father Brennan is right to highlight the discrepancy between my account and the statement of Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, and I am grateful for this opportunity for further clarification.

While I did interview my old boss, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, for the book, I relied on a number of different accounts, some of which were off the record, as well as stitching together anecdotes from different places, which is standard practice for journalistic reconstructions of papal elections. The quotes I use from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor are ones he has given in different interviews.

I made two mistakes in the phrasing of my account. One was to give the impression that the group of cardinals seeking Bergoglio’s election in some way secured his agreement before the conclave, which they never did; I meant only that they believed that this time he would not refuse. Immediately after that sentence, I wrote: “Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the church no cardinal could refuse if asked.” In fact, that exchange did not take place before the conclave, but during it.(1)

The reason this matters is that conclave rules forbid the drawing up of pacts or agreements between cardinals. (2) But they do not prevent cardinals urging each other to vote for particular candidates – that is how popes get made. When the four cardinals I cited said, through Father Lombardi, that there was no “campaign” to get Bergoglio elected, I assume they mean that there was no such agreement between them and him, and I have been happy to confirm that I never meant to suggest that there was. The issue has been dealt with well by John L. Allen, Jr, at Crux.

Father Brennan asks: “Why will the book still report that ‘Murphy-O’Connor knowingly warned Bergoglio to “be careful,” that it was his turn now, and was told: capisco, “I understand”‘?” Because that is what the cardinal said to Bergoglio before the conclave, and there was nothing wrong with it: such light-hearted yet pointed exchanges are normal in the pre-conclave discussions.

These clarifications notwithstanding, I am confident of the veracity of my account, and have heard nothing that contradicts it – although, as I say in the book, there is still much we are still to learn about that conclave.

with Footnotes & boldfacing added to text by the From Rome Blog

Our Commentary

It is noteworthy that Dr. Ivereigh does not deny explicitly that there was an effort to seek vote-promises, each of which are of themselves violations of UDG 81, and are penalized by excommunication both for the individual soliciting and the individual promising. Nor does he deny that the individuals he mentions played no role at all. What he says in his book, therefore, remains untouched, in our opinion, as regards the intention, nature, and end of the culpable acts. (3)

It is also important to note, that he understands Fr. Lombard’s Dec. 1, 2014 denial as a denial of an agreement between the 4 Cardinals (Murphy-O’Conner, Danneels, Lehman & Kasper) and Cardinal Bergoglio, but not that there was no agreement at all. This was our interpretation from the beginning.

It is also important to note the indirect statements Dr. Ivereigh makes, “I am happy to report that…”, “The issue has been dealt with”.  This final citation to John L. Allen’s report, in which Ivereigh speculates about the non-meaning of the word “campaign”, reflects the conflict which arose between him and the alleged members of “Team Bergoglio” regarding what he wrote in the ninth chapter of his book. Ivereigh stands by what he wrote, even if he is willing to bend to the vocabulary insisted upon by the Cardinals involved, in their public denials, so as not to give the impression of the imputation of any violation of the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis.

Their denials and Ivereigh’s explanations demonstrate that the text of the ninth chapter, as written in the original print edition, was of itself, objectively speaking, sufficient to give rise to the imputation of at least some violation of the papal law.  And this has been the position of the From Rome blog from the beginning.

One alleged member of “Team Bergoglio” is Cardinal Walter Kasper, who publicly denied the racially tinged comments he made in the presence of Edward Pentin during the recent Synod on the Family, until Pentin produced a recording of his comments. That public attempt, by a Cardinal of the Roman Church, to gravely damage the reputation of a leading Vaticanista was received with indignation and horror throughout the Catholic world. The case shows how far even Cardinals can be tempted to go to suppress the truth of what they said or did.

Finally, this recent explanation given by Dr. Ivereigh is important for confirming that his source for his information was Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and another Cardinal, as yet unidentified, and that, given the published reports regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal and the various interpretations given to his text by Tweeters and Bloggers and other commentators, he states, “and I have heard nothing that contradicts” what he claims in his narrative. (4)

Perhaps it is no coincidence, then, that yesterday, January 8, 2015, Pope Francis received in audience one of the accused members, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, and that this morning, he received in audience another member, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

The Cardinals named in the ninth chapter of Ivereigh’s book are:  Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, Godfried Danneels of Belgium, Walter Kasper, the Cardinal-Priest of Ognissanti, Rome, Karl Lehmann of Mainz, Germany, Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, André Armand Vingt-Trois of Paris and Santos Abril y Castello, Cardinal-Archpriest of St. Mary Major, Rome.

____________________________

FOOTNOTES

(1) Here Dr. Ivereigh apparently errs, because Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor in his Sept. 12, 2013 interview, ascribes the mentioned exchange as occurring prior to the call,  Extra-omnes, when the Conclave’s secret sessions began.

(2) Here Dr. Ivereigh errs inasmuch as the papal law, UDG 81, does not limit the penalized activities to only written contracts, but those of any kind of obligation. He also omits that it penalizes even “promises”, not just “pacts” and “agreements”.  These omissions point to the crux of the matter.

(3)  As we have noted in examining the text of the American edition of his book, wherein in ch. 9, we note what he had written and what it seems to signify in canonical terms:

“… Their objective was to secure at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio on the first ballot.  An ancient Italian cardinal kept the tally of how many votes they could rely on before the conclave started.” — This statement which has never been denied or repudiated on point, confirms the charge of a violation of UDG 81, without any wiggle-room, because you cannot tally votes, unless votes have been promised, and if they are promised, then the ones asking have sought them, and both parties have entered into some kind of obligation or pact or agreement to vote for a particular candidate in the first ballot, while not voting for all other candidates.

(4)  This, however, by no means indicates that Ivereigh is in favor of a canonical punishment of the alleged members. He wrote freely, what he wrote in his book, without any intention of alleging anything, imputing any crime to anyone, nor does he believe that the substance of what he wrote has this signification, which makes his testimony, thus, all the more reliable as an objective narration of the facts and persons.

————-

Updated on Jan. 10, 2015.

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.

Canon 171 can invalidate a Papal Election

So Says noted Canonist, Jesús Miñambres

Rome — January 5, 2015:  In previous reports made by the From Rome blog, we have speculated (here & here) that the actions alleged by Dr. Austen Ivereigh as done by the group of Cardinals who promoted the candidacy of Cardinal Bergoglio in the 2013 Conclave might well fall under those penalized by the papal law on elections, Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81 (hereafter UDG 81, cf. canon 1329 which expands its penalties for accomplices), and thus render the election invalid on account of the stipulations of canon 171 §1 & §2.

Now, we can report that the noted canonist, Fr. Jesús Miñambres, JCD — currently an Professor in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, in Rome; and consultor for the Congregation for the Clergy — in his published commentary on the papal law, entitled, “Commento alla Costituzione Apostolica Universi dominici gregis”, supports this canonical possibility.  We cite his commentary as cited in the Italian text of Geraldina Boni, herself a canonist, presented by Sandro Magister at Espresso Online:

«N. 68 La prescrizione di questo numero è più esigente della norma generale applicabile ad ogni elezione canonica (cf. can. 173 § 3 CIC e can. 955 § 3 CCEO), per quanto il numero delle schede potrebbe non corrispondere a quello degli elettori sia per eccesso che per difetto. Pare escludersi in questo modo la possibilità dell’astensione […]. La norma del numero seguente prevede, però, un caso nel quale, dopo un primo conteggio che sembra regolare, il ritrovamento di una quantità maggiore di schede riguardo a quella degli elettori al momento dello spoglio non annulla la votazione.

«N. 69. La nullità di uno o più voti non rende invalida l’elezione, giacché al momento dello spoglio non è più in gioco la validità della votazione ma soltanto quella dei singoli voti; il caso delle due schede piegate in modo strano non è che un’esemplificazione. Infatti, in mancanza di regolamentazione più precisa è applicabile anche all’elezione del romano pontefice il principio generale per le elezioni canoniche stabilito dal CIC: i requisiti di validità del voto vengono elencati nel can. 172 CIC, mentre quelli riguardanti la validità dell’elezione sono ripresi nei cann. 166 § 3, 169 e 170. Il can. 171 § 2 stabilisce l’unica fattispecie in cui la nullità di un voto fa invalidare l’elezione, quando uno dei votanti fosse inabile a norma del § 1 dello stesso canone e, tolto quel voto, l’eletto non avesse riportato il numero di preferenze richiesto» (7).

Our unofficial English translation of which is as follows:

N. 68.  The prescription of UDG 68 is more exacting than the general norm applicable to every canonical election (cf. canon 173 § 3 of the Codex Iuris Canonicis of 1983 and canon 955 § 3 of the Codex for the Oriental Churches), inasmuch as the number of ballots might not correspond to that of the electors whether by excess or deficiency.  In this manner, it seems to exclude the possibility that an elector might abstain from voting … The norm of this number provides, however, for the case in which after a first count which appears regular, that the finding of a greater quantity of ballots than the number of electors, at the moment of the emptying of the box, does not invalidate the votation.

N. 69.  The nullity of one or more vote-ballots does not render the election invalid, since at the moment of the emptying of the ballot box the validity of the election is not put in question, but only that of the individual votes; the case of two vote-ballots folded in a strange manner is not an exception.  In fact, in absence of a more precise regulation there is applicable even to the election of the Roman Pontiff the general principle for canonical elections established by the Codex Iuris Canonicis of 1983:  the requirements for validity for a vote are listed in canon 172, while those regarding the validity of the election are cited in canons 166 §3, 169 and 170.  Canon 171 §2 establishes the unique fatispecie under which the nullity of a vote causes the invalidity of the election, when one of the voters might be incapable according to the norm of §1 of the same canon, and with his vote removed, the elected would not have obtained the number required for election (7).

The footnote (7) in Geraldina Boni’s text reads as follows:

(7) Jesús Miñambres, “Commento alla Costituzione Apostolica ‘Universi dominici gregis'”, in Legislazione sull’organizzazione centrale della Chiesa, a cura di Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Javier Canosa, Jesús Miñambres, Giuffrè, Milano, 1997, pp. 79-81; nello stesso senso Mario Francesco Pompedda, “Commento alla ‘Constitutio Apostolica'”, cit., p. 354.

It is precisely this possibility which the From Rome blog has averred to from the start, which establishes the validity of our analysis from the beginning.