Historical Flashback: Could Francis be an Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?
Is it possible for someone to be an antipope even though the majority of cardinals claim he is pope?
The historical case of Antipope Anacletus II proves that it is possible for a majority of cardinals to claim a man is pope while he, in reality, is an antipope.
In 1130, a majority of cardinals voted for Cardinal Peter Pierleone to
be pope. He called himself Anacletus II. He was proclaimed pope and
ruled Rome for eight years by vote and consent of a absolute majority of
the cardinals despite the fact he was a antipope.
Again, how is this possible when the absolute majority of cardinals voted for Anacletus?
"[C]anon law does not bind a Pope arranging for his successor... [Papal Chancellor] Haimeric proposed that... a commission of eight cardinals should be selected to choose the next Pope... strong evidence [shows] that the Pope [Honorius] endorsed what Haimeric was doing, including the establishment of the electoral commission [of eight cardinals]."
The majority or "sanior pars," five cardinals out of eight of "the electoral commission," elected Pope Innocent II as St. Bernard said and as evidence shows was the will of the previous pope in what we can call a constitution for the election of his successor.
However, the popular and respected traditional Catholic commentator Steve Skojec on May 7, 2018 apparently rejected Bishop Gracida's call for the cardinals to judge if Francis's election to the papacy was valid calling the validity question itself a "potentially dangerous rabbit hole."
(Onepeterfive, "Cardinal Eijk References End Times Prophecy in Intercommunion," May 7, 2018)
At the time, Skojec referred back to his September 26, 2017 post where he said:
"JPII has removed the election-nullifying consequences of simony... nowhere else in the following paragraphs is nullity of the election even implied."
(Onepeterfive, "A Brief note on the Question of a Legally Valid Election," September 26, 2017)
Bishop Gracida shows that Skojec is wrong in his Open Letter quoting Pope John Paul II's Universi Dominici Gregis' introductory perambulary and paragraph 76:
- "I further confirm, by my Apostlic authority, the duty of maintaining the strictest secrecy with regard to everything that directly or indirectly concerns the election process" [the above which Gracida clearly shows in his Open Letter was not maintained thus making the conclave and Francis's papacy invalid according to the Bishop].
- "Should the election take place in a way other than laid down here not to be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void."
Gracida's Open Letter, moreover, shows that Skojec is wrong above:
"The clear exception from nullity and invalidity for simony proves the general rule that other violations of the sacred process certainly do and did result in the nullity and invalidity of the entire conclave."
On top of all that, Skojec ignores paragraph 5 and contrary to what conservative canon lawyer Edward Peters has said about Universi Dominici Gregis when he suggests canon lawyers have a role in interpreting the John Paul II Constitution, the document says:
"Should doubts arise concerning the prescriptions contained in this Constitution, or concerning the manner of putting them into effect. I [Pope John Paul II] Decree that all power of issuing a judgment of this in this regard to the College of Cardinals, to which I grant the faculty of interpreting doubtful or controverted points."
(Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 5)
Later in the paragraph it says "except the act of the election," which can be interpreted in a number of ways.
The point is, as Bishop Gracida says and Universi Dominici Gregis said, only the cardinals can interpret its meaning, not Skojec, not canon lawyers or anyone else.
The Bishop is saying what the document says: only the cardinals can interpret it.
He, also, says put pressure on the cardinals to act and interpret it which both Skojec and Peters appear to prefer to ignore.
Moreover, Bishop Gracida's Open Letter and Pope John Paul II's document make a number of points which neither Skojec, Peters or anyone else to my knowledge have even brought up or offered any counter argument against.
I have great respect for both Skojec and Peters, but unless Gracida's Open Letter is squarely responded to my respect for them will greatly diminish for they will be neglecting their responsibility to God and His Church.
They are both wrong if they ignore this important Open Letter of Bishop Gracida.
If Peters and Skojec as well as the conservative and traditional Catholic media are ignoring Bishop Gracida because he isn't a cardinal and retired, remember that St. Athanasius wasn't a cardinal (that is involved in the selection or election process of the pope of the time) and was retired.
During the Arian heresy crisis, Pope Liberius excommunicated Athanasius. You don't get any more retired than being excommunicated.
Skojec gave blogger Ann Barnhardt's analysis of the papal validity a long article and podcast. The only bishop in the world contesting Francis in a meaningful way deserves as much. Why is he apparently so afraid of Bishop Gracida?
Skojec and Peters need to answer Gracida's theologically clear and precise arguments and either clearly and precisely counter them or put pressure on the cardinals to put into action the needed canonical procedures to remove Francis if he was "never validly elected" the pope or else remove him from the Petrine office for heterodoxy.
Francis is not orthodox so there are only two things he could be:
1. A validly elected pope who is a material heretic until cardinals correct him and then canonically proclaim he is a formal heretic if he doesn't recant thus deposing him (See: "Unambiguously Pope Francis Materially Professes Death Penalty Heresy: Cd. Burke: 'If a Pope would Formally Profess Heresy he would Cease, by that Act, to be the Pope'": http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2018/08/unambiguously-pope-francis-materially.html?m=1) or
2. a invalidly elected antipope who is a heretic.
The point is whether you think using all the information available 1. is the objective truth or 2. is the objective truth you must act.
You must as the Bishop says put: "pressure on the cardinals to act" whichever you think.
There are many ways to put pressure such as pray and offer Masses for this intention, send the Gracida link to priests, bishops and cardinals, make signs and pray the rosary in front of their offices as we do in front of abortion clinics. Use your imagination to come up with other ideas.
Gracida is calling the cardinals to "[a]ddress... [the] probable invalidity" before they attempt to depose him from the Petrine office for heterodoxy. But, just as importantly he is calling all faithful Catholics to act and not just bemoan Francis's heresy.
Bishop Gracida in a email to me and through the Catholic Monitor to all faithful Catholics said:
"ONE CAN SAY THAT FRANCIS THE MERCIFUL IS A HERETIC UNTIL ONE DIES BUT IT CHANGES NOTHING. WHAT IS NEEDED IS ACTION... WE MUST PRESSURE THE CARDINALS TO ACT. SEND THAT LINK TO EVERY PRIEST AND BISHOP YOU KNOW":
Renown Catholic historian Carroll explicitly says that what matters in a valid papal election is not how many cardinals claim a person is the pope. What is essential for determining if someone is pope or antipope is the "election procedures... [as] governed by the prescription of the last Pope":
"Papal election procedures are governed by the prescription of the last Pope who provided for them (that is, any Pope can change them, but they remain in effect until they are changed by a duly elected Pope)."
"During the first thousand years of the history of the Papacy the electors were the clergy of Rome (priests and deacons); during the second thousand years we have had the College of Cardinals."
"But each Pope, having unlimited sovereign power as head of the Church, can prescribe any method for the election of his successor(s) that he chooses. These methods must then be followed in the next election after the death of the Pope who prescribed it, and thereafter until they are changed. A Papal claimant not following these methods is also an Antipope."
"Since Antipopes by definition base their claims on defiance of proper Church authority, all have been harmful to the Church, though a few have later reformed after giving up their claims."
The schismatic followers of Antipope Anacletus II didn't want St. Bernard to investigate who was the real pope. It was the followers of the real pontiff Pope Innocent II who asked Bernard to investigate.
March 18 & 19, 2019 Note:
I have gotten some push back from Skojec's blog in a post by Robert Siscoe and from someone about a bishop who attacked Bishop Gracida apparently using Siscoe's claim that it is a infallible dogma that a man is infallibly a pope if there is "peaceful and universal acceptance" by the Church.
Was there peaceful and universal acceptance?
In Siscoe's own book "True or False Pope," he mentions the following scholars who questioned the validity of Francis's election: Vatican expert Antonio Socci and "Stefano Violin, esteemed Professor of Canon Law" (Page 390). And there is a bishop and many other scholars who question the validity not mentioned by him.
Apparently, Siscoe didn't get his "peaceful and universal" dogma from a dogmatic statement from a pope or council, but from a good, but a not necessarily infallible theologian John of St. Thomas. Here is his quote from John of St. Thomas:
"[T]his man in particular, lawfully elected and accepted by the Church, is the supreme pontiff."
(Trueorfalsepope.com, "Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope," 2-28-19 and 3-13-19)
This bring us back to the renown historian Carroll statement: "A Papal claimant not following these methods [which is the conclave constitution of a previous pope] is also an Antipope."
Even John of St. Thomas agrees with Carroll when he said as quoted by Siscoe:
Besides "acceptance" a valid pope needs to be "lawfully elected."
Again, Bishop Gracida is asking for a cardinal investigation. He is saying what John Paul II's conclave constitution says about the question of if Francis was "lawfully elected" or not: only the cardinals can investigate it and interpret it, not Siscoe, Skojec, canon lawyers or John of St. Thomas.
I ask Siscoe to specifically answer if Francis was not "lawfully elected" then does a "peaceful and universal acceptance" overturn a unlawful election?
More importantly, why are Siscoe and Skojec apparently so afraid of a investigation by cardinals?
I ask both to please give a specific answer to why they are apparently so afraid of a investigation.
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church and for Catholics to not just bemoan heresy, but put pressure on the cardinals to act as well as for the grace for a cardinal to stand up and investigate and to be the St. Bernard of our time.
In fact, please offer Masses, fast and pray the rosary for these intentions during Lent and after the Lenten season.