Did Feser claim if Francis was not "Lawfully Elected" his supposed "Universal Acceptance" would overturn an Unlawful Election which was "Invalid by Divine Law"?
It is obvious that the renowned theologian de Silveira does not think that St. Alphonsus taught what Siscoe claims
he taught that "peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not
legitimately elected... nevertheless becomes a true Pope... [by]
universal acceptance... curing any defects that may have existed in the
"a special case of dubious [unlawful] election. For it is a common opinion (3) that the election of a woman, of a child, of a demented person and of someone who were not a member of the Church (a person not baptized, a heretic, an apostate, a schismatic) would be invalid by divine law."
Francis is not "accepted universally" as Bishop Gracida has said. But, even more important, it is obvious that besides "acceptance" a valid pope needs to be "lawfully elected." - The Catholic Monitor [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/11/why-are-remnant-writers-hilary-white.html]
It is also interesting that Cardinal Burke said 'difficult to prove' concerning violations of the stipulations for the last conclave.
He did not at all say 'impossible to prove.'
And by not asserting the latter, one can infer that he knows it is possible. - The Catholic Monitor [https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/11/why-are-remnant-writers-hilary-white.html]
On May 5, Dr. Edward Feser apparently claimed that Robert Siscoe's idea that if Francis was not "lawfully elected" his supposed "peaceful and universal acceptance" overturn an unlawful election:
"For even apart from the specifics of those debates, and a priori, we can know from the very nature of the papal office that the BiP position is simply a non-starter. The reason is that, for the Church as a whole corporate body to accept as pope a man who is not in fact the pope would be contrary to her indefectibility, and thus contrary to Christ’s promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her. This is just standard, traditional Catholic theology. (Robert Siscoe provides a useful overview of the main points and .) Hence the morally unanimous acceptance of Francis as pope in the years immediately following his election is by itself enough to ensure that he really is pope." [http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2022/05/benedict-is-not-pope-reply-to-some.html]
The Catholic Monitor explained the problems with the Feser/Siscoe idea in a :
On November 14, Remnant writer Hilary White twitted:
"The validity of a papal election rests on more than one thing, the most important of which is his acceptance by the Church in the person of the bishops. Even C. Burke, an elector and canon lawyer, has said nothing about UDG affecting validity. Its the reason the question...
... is unanswerable. Only a pope can determine if a person has violated UDG and only a pope can violate UDG. If these are the same person, what have we got? Only a pope can say that a previous pope had been an antipope. So, maybe the answer to your question will simply have to wait."
White is wrong on her claim that Cardinal Raymond Burke said nothing on the conclave constitution:
Patrick Coffin on his YouTube show asked Cardinal Burke:
"I was wondering rather if those [Universi Dominici Gregis conclave constitution] rules [of the 2013 conclave that elected Francis] were violated and rather or not the whole election of Francis may be invalid. Is there any foundation for that speculation?"
Cardinal Burke answered:
"The only grounds that could be used for calling into question the validity of the election would be were the election organized by a campaign beforehand which is strictly forbidden and that would be difficult to demonstrate..."
"... If these persons [the St. Gallen Mafia of liberal cardinals] engaged in a active campaign first to undermined Pope Benedict XVI and at the same time to engineer the election of someone [Francis] then that could be a argument. I don't think I have the facts, and there have to be facts, to prove that. That's all I have to say about that."
(Patrick Coffin show, "141: Dubia Cardinal Goes on the Record - Raymond Cardinal Burke (Free Version)," Premiered 13 hours ago, 19:55 to 21:46)
Next, White is wrong in saying "Only a pope can determine if a person has violated UDG and only a pope can violate UDG":
White is ignoring paragraph 5 of Universi Dominici Gregis which 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 Rene Gracida says and Universi Dominici Gregis said, only the cardinals can interpret its meaning, not a future pope, not White or anyone else.
Again, White is wrong in saying "The validity of a papal election rests" most importantly on "his acceptance by the Church in the person of the bishops" and, moreover, "Only a pope can say that a previous pope had been an antipope":
The 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 a 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.
In 1130, just prior to the election of antipope Anacletus, a small minority of cardinals elected the real pope: Pope Innocent II.
How is this possible?
St. Bernard who wasn't a pope said "the 'sanior pars' (the wiser portion)... declared in favor of Innocent II. By this he probably meant a majority of the cardinal-bishops."
(St. Bernard of Clairvaux by Leon Christiani, Page 72)
How is this possible when the absolute majority of cardinals voted for Anacletus?
Historian Warren Carroll explains:
"[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 Glory of Christendom, Pages 36-37)
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.
In the same way, is it possible that Francis was not elected pope even though he received a absolute majority of cardinals votes and is now as in the case of Anacletus proclaimed pope by the same absolute majority?
As with the case of Anacletus, it is possible Francis is a antipope if his election contradicted or violated the constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II for electing his successor.
The 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."
Finally, Remnant writer White got her idea that "The validity of a papal election rests" most importantly on "his acceptance by the Church in the person of the bishops" from Remnant writer Robert Siscoe who claims that it is a infallible dogma that a man is infallibly a pope if there is "peaceful and universal acceptance" by the Church.
The problem apparently is Siscoe, who is White's mentor in the "universal acceptance" claim, is possibly either a poor scholar or possibly a bit disingenuous in his leaving out the second part of a quote by a Doctor of the Church.
He says "peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected... nevertheless becomes a true Pope... [by] universal acceptance... curing any defects that may have existed in the election... Here is what [Doctor of the Church] St. Alphonsus taught":
'It is of no importance that in the past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterward by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would become the true Pontiff.'"
(TrueorFalsePope.com, "Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope," 2-28-19 & 3-20-19) [read this whole article here]
The problem with Siscoe's quote is he leaves out the very next sentence:
"'But if for a certain time, he was not accepted universally and truly by the Church, during that time then, the pontifical see would be vacant, as it is vacant at the death of a Pope.' 'Verita Della Fede', vol. VIII, p. 720.'"
(CathInfo.com, "Contra Cekadam by Fr. Francois Chazal," December 2, 2017)
Did Siscoe leave it out because he is a poor scholar or for some other reason or because it said "for a certain time"?
What does "for a certain time" mean?
Is that "certain time" immediately at the conclave or is it a few years after the conclave?
Does this possibly mean that since Francis "afterwards... for a certain time... was not accepted universally... then, the pontifical see would be vacant"?
Francis is not "accepted universally."
I am honored to know a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Rene Gracida, who questions the validity of Francis and is calling for the cardinals to investigate if he was "lawfully elected."
Moreover, Siscoe can't have it both ways in his quotes when they apparently contradict each other.
In the above same article he quotes John of St. Thomas saying:
"[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 & 3-20-19)
But getting back to Siscoe's selective quote of St. Alphonsus, a good place to go to find out what the Doctor of the Church really meant is to go to a scholar who quotes him in full.
This is Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira who Siscoe respects as shown by his website:
"'Arnaldo Xavier de Silveira's Endorsement of 'True or False Pope?'" Note: Having recently learned of the passing of the great Brazilian scholar, Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, we are publishing a portion of his endorsement of True or False Pope?, which will appear in the upcoming second edition. (1-8-2019)" [http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/?m=1]
There is good reason to respect de Silveira's scholarship has he himself explained:
"In the 1970 Brazilian edition of my study of the heretical Pope, in the French edition of 1975 and in the Italian in 2016, I stated that on the grounds of the intrinsic theological reasons underpinning the Fifth Opinion I considered it not merely probable but certain. I chose not to insist on the qualification 'theologically certain' for an extrinsic reason, namely, that certain authors of weight do not adopt it.43 This was also the opinion of the then Bishop of Campos, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, as expressed in a letter of 25th January 1974, when he sent my work to Paul VI, asking him to point out any possible errors (which never took place), expressly stating that he referred to the study 'written by lawyer Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, with the contents of which I associate myself .'”
Here is what de Silveira say in his book "Implications Of New Missae And Heretic Popes":
"On this same sanatio in raclice by virtue of the acceptance of the Pope by the whole Church,
Saint Alphonse of Liguori writes, in less heated but perhaps even more incisive terms:
“It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession
of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope,
since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff. But if during a certain time he had not
been truly and universally accepted by the Church, during that time the Pontifical See would have been
vacant, as it is vacant on the death of a Pontiff’ (2).
"4. The Election of a Person who Cannot Be Pope
"The designation, as Pope, of a person who cannot occupy the charge, would constitute a special
case of dubious election. For it is a common opinion (3) that the election of a woman, of a child, of a
demented person and of someone who were not a member of the Church (a person not baptized, a
heretic, an apostate, a schismatic) would be invalid by divine law.
"Among these causes of invalidity it seems to us that it would be necessary to distinguish those
which would admit of a “sanatio in radice” from those which would not. A woman could not become
Pope under any hypothesis. But the same thing would not apply with a demented person, who could be
cured; with a child, who could grow; with a non-baptized person, who could be converted.
"This being laid down, we ask: in the hypotheses of invalidity which admits of sanatio in radice ,
would the eventual acceptation by the whole Church of the invalidly elected Pope remedy the vices of
"A complete answer to this question would require a detailed analysis of each of the cases of
invalidity. And this would exceed the objectives which we have set for ourselves.
"Such being the case, we shall only consider the hypothesis which is most relevant to the
perspective in which we place ourselves: The election of a heretic to the Papacy. What would happen if
a notorious heretic were elected and assumed the Pontificate without anyone having contested his
(1) Billot , Tract de Eccl. Christi, tom. I, pp. 612-613.
(2) Saint Alphonse de Liquori , Verita della Fede, in “Opera...”, vol. VIII. P. 720, n. 9.
(3) See: Ferreres , Inst. Canonicae, tom. I, p. 132; Coronata , Inst, luris Canonici, vol. I, p. 360; Schmalzqrueber ,
lus Eccl. Univ., tom. I, pars II, p. 376, n. 99; Caietan , De Auctoriatate..., cap. XXVI, n. 382, pp. 167-168.
"At first sight, the answer to this question is, in theory , very simple: since God cannot permit that
the whole Church err about who is her chief, the Pope peacefully accepted by the whole Church is the
true Pope (1). It would be the duty of the theologians, on the basis of this clear theoretical principle, to
resolve the concrete question which would then be put: either proving that in reality the Pope had not
been a formal and notorious heretic at the moment of election; or showing that afterwards he had been
converted; or verifying that the acceptation by the Church had not been pacific and universal; or
presenting any other plausible explanation.
"A more attentive examination of the question would reveal, nevertheless, that even on purely
theoretical grounds, an important difficulty arises, which would consist in determining precisely what is the concept of pacific and universal acceptation by the Church.
For such acceptation to have been
pacific and universal would it be enough that no Cardinal had contested the election?
Would it be
enough that in a Council, for example, almost the totality of the Bishops had signed the acts, recognizing
in this way, at least implicitly, that the Pope be the true one?
Would it be enough that no voice, or
practically no voice had publicly given the cry of alert?
Or, on the contrary, would a certain very
generalized though not always well defined distrust be sufficient to destroy the apparently pacific and
universal character of the acceptance of the Pope?
And if this distrust became a suspicion in numerous
spirits, a positive doubt in many, a certainty in some, would the aforementioned pacific and universal acceptance subsist?
And if such distrusts, suspicions, doubts and certainties cropped out with some
frequency in conversations or private papers, or now and again in published writings, could one still
classify as pacific and universal the acceptance of a Pope who was already a heretic on the occasion of
his election by the Sacred College?" [https://archive.org/stream/ SilveiraImplicationsOfNewMissa eAndHereticPopes/Silveira% 20Implications%20of%20New% 20Missae%20and%20Heretic% 20Popes_djvu.txt]
It is obvious that the renowned theologian de Silveira does not think that St. Alphonsus taught what Siscoe claims he taught that "peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected... nevertheless becomes a true Pope... [by] universal acceptance... curing any defects that may have existed in the election."
Does Siscoe think that "peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope who was not legitimately elected... nevertheless becomes a true Pope... [by] universal acceptance... curing any defects that may have existed in the election" includes "curing" such "defects" as:
- "a special case of dubious [unlawful] election. For it is a common opinion (3) that the election of a woman, of a child, of a demented person and of someone who were not a member of the Church (a person not baptized, a heretic, an apostate, a schismatic) would be invalid by divine law."
Francis is not "accepted universally" as Bishop Gracida has said. But, even more important, it is obvious that besides "acceptance" a valid pope needs to be "lawfully elected."
Lastly, I ask Siscoe and White 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 White apparently so afraid of an investigation by cardinals since they continually ignore or avoid addressing the subject by the "universal acceptance" mantra?
I ask both to please give a specific answer to why they are apparently so afraid of an 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.
Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis's Amoris Laetitia.