Brighton’s erudite Fr. Ray Blake is furious with apologist Louie Verrecchio for co-opting his suggestion that Benedict may have abdicated under pressure into an argument against Pope Francis’ legitimacy. Father’s reaction is not unusual, since many clergy and professional Catholics insist the Francis papacy must be taken on faith, and faith in the process. But really, if Francis is our ‘Peter’ then his barque isn’t only storm-tossed, but it’s also full of leaky holes.
I do not maintain that Francis is NOT pope. I simply don’t know for certain. It is not, as Fr. Blake indignantly claims, “irrational” to doubt that Francis is pope. It is perfectly normal under the circumstances. Trying to assert definitively one way or another, however, distracts from the fact that Francis isn’t Catholic and should be corrected, then formally removed. Father uses honest questions as opportunities to hurl ‘sedevacantist’ and other insults at faithful Catholics in order to marginalize them. It’s a strategic piece of rhetoric and it only serves Francis and his faithless court.
Writers have put forth several cases against Francis’ legitimacy. While many may turn out to be conclusive, the sheer number is compelling alone. Altogether, there are several of reasons why we must look at Francis as someone who may not actually be the pope. I’ve included one or two of my own:
1. Benedict abdicated the papal throne
Popes should never abdicate and they almost never have. It immediately casts a shadow upon the next papacy. Popes, whose business is shedding light upon things, cannot function under shadow. There is absolutely NO good reason for a pope to abdicate unless he is forced out by his own heresy. Since Benedict expressed no valid reason to step down, and indeed had none, we must contend with an assortment of bad possibilities. The ones which he gave are clearly dishonest, even ridiculous.
2. Benedict abdicated the papacy while claiming to continue to be pope, but in a different way
Benedict plainly felt the papal charism would continue in him and made that clear to the world when he stepped down. Abp. Georg Ganswein, his enigmatic minder, confirmed this ‘contemplative pope’ invention later. Can one relinquish the papacy while thinking that he remains spiritually pope at the same time? In order to think Francis is pope today, you must believe that one can.
Not only is it unfathomably irresponsible and extremely unusual for a pope to step down, but Benedict did so in this contrived and incomplete way. Furthermore, Benedict’s very weird abdication strikes me as the kind of thing a pope might say if he actually DIDN’T want to abdicate, but felt he had no choice, and wanted to console himself and his heartbroken planet.
3. A lobbying group of cardinals was active for several years prior to the conclave specifically for the purpose of electing Francis
This type of planning is proscribed in Canon law. In order to believe Francis is pope one must assert that Canon law does not apply here or that its violation would not invalidate the election. I don’t think either of those ideas would be true, but I am not an expert. I have not read any convincing material to the contrary, though. Perhaps no authority could be found to prove that the St. Gallen group invalidated the election. Nevertheless God may think it did, since perhaps it is true.
4. Benedict may have been pushed
What happened to that huge dossier of paper, higher than Obamacare, which was compiled to root out corruption, sex abuse, and other illegality? Why did the banks lock out the Vatican just prior to abdication? Why did Benedict say he was too weak to be pope any longer and too feeble to make World Youth Days? What normal person isn’t ‘too feeble’ for those?
Did he have powerful enemies who wanted him gone? Yes. Did he please them by forsaking the Church? Yes. Was he threatened with something apparently more damaging than his abdication? The fact that he has not clearly named the pressures he and his close bishops have alluded to does not mean they didn’t exist. That’s why abdication is a bad idea for popes. Of course they happen under pressure. How could they not? The essence of a papacy is to stand against pressure.
God does not protect the Church from popes being discreetly forced out and replaced by heretic mobs. He will continue to bless the removed pope and curse the mob and their thief. Peter and the many martyred popes understood this.
The scenario is not workable. It’s like the modern practice of permitting mixed marriages so long as they raise the children Catholic. A non-Catholic father is incapable of raising Catholic children, so it simply can’t happen. But one can always pretend like the bishops do. It’s very likely that Benedict quit because powerful forces wanted him gone. That puts his, and any papal abdication in doubt.
5. Benedict’s movements and press releases are restricted and appear compelled
Benedict remains right in the Vatican under close control. He has even admitted that he only goes anywhere when Francis ‘invites’ him. He is rarely seen without Abp. Ganswein. He has only spoken a few brief words on camera in these four years, and some of these sound almost like cryptic cries for help. Statements and publications released in his name often do not sound like him. Instead they sound like people trying to sound like him. No one seems to report accurately or meaningfully on recent conversations they’ve had with him. One wonders what would happen were he to try and take a holiday, perhaps in Germany with only a few friends.
6. A significant chunk of the cardinal electors were heretics
I excerpted a section of Canon Law on elections:
Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:
- 1/ a person incapable of a human act;
- 2/ a person who lacks active voice;
- 3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
- 4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.
Was it legal for Cardinal Kasper to vote in in the Francis conclave? I seem to recall that heretic cardinals are NOT able to vote in conclaves. Many of those voting for Francis were ‘notorious’ heretics. One would hope that such cardinals would be removed prior to conclave, but in the event they make it all the way there, can the Church truly rely upon the results of such votes? The next conclave will consist almost entirely of heretics, and every one thereafter, until such force is applied to eradicate faithless men from episcopal office (in the absence of any remaining formal legal authority to do so).
If you take issue with my assessment of the faith of many cardinals, remember heretics embedded behind enemy lines are cagey about it. A process of ‘inquisition’ must be applied to carefully verify what any normal human can already see.
In short, does a conclave with a substantial block of faithless men, perhaps over half, and separated from the Church militant, have the power to elect popes? Would not a Catholic pope emerging under such conditions require a miracle? Is that our faith?
7. It has been reported (Wikileaks) that the Vatican was bugged by the White House ahead of the conclave
Why then not the conclave too? This means there may have been guidance, threats, powerful influence from the outside as things proceeded. A tossed empty ballot disqualified one of the rounds, suggesting other manipulation may have occurred. Obama and the Democrats were well known for election fraud and exerting pressure, also for toppling regimes. Francis is clearly an element in the Left’s political schemes today. If the White House was a force behind his uncatholic takeover, they would most certainly have wished to influence the conclave voting process. It’s only the matter of a few votes, really, instead of their standard millions.
8. Those who assert Francis’ legitimacy do so on moral and emotional grounds, falling to insults rather than arguments
There have been few straightforward arguments to address these doubts, or assert the unquestionable legitimacy of Francis. Instead they typically resort to moralizing and demeaning deflections. The biggest obstacle to their assurances is Francis himself, who constantly demonstrates his unsuitability and reveals his evil agenda. With their serene acceptance continuously undermined this way, they grow angry and demanding.
Appeals to the ‘universal acceptance’ of Francis as pope are hollow, much like those to the sensus fidei. ‘Universal’ does not mean Buddhists, secularists, and apostates. Very few men are actual Catholics, and many of those are simply too unaware to guess. On the other hand, plenty of Catholics as well as Protestants, even atheists rightfully judge this situation to be highly sketchy.
9. Francis and his party have no respect for due process or rules, and employ dirty tricks as seen in the Synods
If Benedict were to have stepped down under duress, and political outsiders contracted to guarantee as far as possible a man who would work the will of the Church’s enemies, Francis and his regime are exactly the type of men who they would install. They are all imposters, liars, thieves, homosexuals, and ruthless attack dogs. The two Synods were manipulated and misrepresented. Every dirty trick was employed to achieve their goals. If Francis and his backers both in and outside the Church act like that now, why should we dream they were different during Benedict’s abdication and the conclave? They would have to have behaved in ways which were completely out of character.
10. Francis isn’t Catholic
There have been heretical popes, corrected and renounced on points of doctrine, but there has never been one so manifestly foreign to the Christian faith. A Pope this uncatholic has never happened. In light of God’s promises for the Church it might actually be impossible.
11. Francis is incapable of performing the function of pope
To bishops, clergy, religious, Francis does function as a superior, but to lay Catholics, who must only show deference to his teaching and guidance, he means nothing. There is no papal role for Francis to perform and for which lay Catholics can respond. While he may have an official, formal relationship to us, in reality he has no connection since we cannot rely on him for his intrinsic purpose. I would consider that since Our Lord has bequeathed in His Church a ‘functional’ and permanent system, if a pope is dysfunctional like this, then he must not be any true part of the Church. After all, the Church has three tiers, Triumphant, Suffering, and Militant. Outside this there is only heresy, apostasy, and Hell. A true pope absolutely must be capable of being spiritually part of the Church Militant. He must hold the Faith or he is not true.
This is where I stand among all these realities and the questions they engender. Francis is not necessarily the pope. But his formal legitimacy doesn’t really matter so much since he is incapable of performing the task. An apostate or Protestant father cannot raise Catholic children. And such a man cannot be our Holy Father either. Even if he is, formally yet dubiously, he still must be corrected, removed, and marked for posterity, the sooner the better.