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Offline Lover of Truth

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Some comments on "Lay" papal elections
« on: February 27, 2010, 08:28:51 AM »
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  • Some comments on "Lay" papal elections


    The "election" of Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher as "pope" has confused some good Catholics. Here is a man who appeared to be basically a sound, traditional, Catholic priest, of some standing in the remnant Church, despite his obvious faults, who has taken the extraordinary step of declaring himself pope. This amazing event was subsequent to an "election" conducted by telephone, by a small number of laymen who selected themselves by the simple process of excluding those who disagreed with them in any significant particular. Not that too many were unhappy at being excluded!

    This schism has now continued for a couple of years and it is producing some further confusion amongst the faithful. It seems worthwhile to present a few basic thoughts on the problem of papal elections in our disastrous times, even if they are both too elementary and too brief, at least they are something. I've done these up as answers to objections, with each objection stated, followed by the relevant answer.

    Objection 1: Canon Law does not outlaw lay papal elections.

    A lack of negative canonical provisions is hardly proof that something is permissible. Canon Law does not state clearly that a heretic cannot be pope, either, but divine law does. But in this matter there is something more. There are the positive canonical provisions governing papal elections. Electing a pope any other way is certainly contrary to ecclesiastical law.

    Of course, I am not arguing that canon law cannot ever be set aside, for grave reasons. But the burden to justify their actions is upon those who wish to do so. The first count against all of the "elections" so far held is that the arguments in favour of them have been entirely too superficial and unconvincing.

    Objection 2: The pope is the head of the Church, which retains the power to provide herself with a visible head. Therefore the members of the Church must have the power of electing a pope.

    The first sentence of the objection is perfectly true. The second is erroneous by lack of precision. The question is how a valid election can and must be done. The divine law is that the election of the Roman Pontiff is, firstly, the election of the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome is automatically the Supreme Pontiff. In other words, possession of the papal supremacy is an effect, a concomitant effect, of possession of the See of Rome. And the rightful electors, by divine law, are the Roman Clergy.

    Ecclesiastical law has reserved this right to the senior Roman Clergy, the Cardinals (the parochial clergy of Rome). That is, those possessing offices in the Roman diocese. A reasonable approach to our current situation would surely be to work from that point down, progressively. Certainly I think we have to show that one thing is impossible before we consider less traditional things. Now there is no difficulty in showing that an election carried out by cardinals is impossible, since the ones which claim the title are all products of the V2 church.

    Objection 3: If there are no cardinals then obviously the laity must and can act.

    Not so fast. It is unCatholic to do anything radical unless it is proved that less radical things are impossible. Therefore firstly we must consider less radical possibilities. For example, we might postulate that in the absence of office-holding Roman Clergy the duty and right of electing a replacement bishop devolves upon the rest of the Roman Clergy. Now at first sight we might presume that there are no longer any such, due to the fact that they have all left the Church through heresy.

    But in view of the seriousness of the allegation (that Rome no longer has a single true Catholic priest remaining), and the implications for the indefectibility of the Church which that allegation has, I would think that a presumption, even one which appears on the surface to be so reasonable, is not sufficient. I would think proof would be required. And for anyone who has been to Rome (or any large, European city), the difficulty is compounded by the fact that Rome is a labyrinth.

    Personally, the idea that various retired priests are living in obscurity in some corner of Rome or other, having remained Catholic, is hardly difficult. Rome has countless suburbs, filled with massive high-rise flats, not to mention almost 1000 churches, most of which had clergy attached to them in the past.

    Objection 4: But in the absence of proof that there are such priests, surely then we can say that there are none, and proceed to other possibilities, such as lay elections?

    Not at all, because there are the Roman priests who have left the Church by heresy and/or schism, who may yet recover their membership in the Mystical Body by public repentance. I have yet to see a convincing argument which proves that a priest who has lapsed into public heresy, and subsequently publicly repented, is not a member of his diocese. He may not be able to reclaim any offices he might previously have held, but does that mean he is no longer incardinated in the diocese of Rome? That seems to be an extraordinary claim.

    It appears that in fact there is nothing to say that a number of former clergymen may not at some point wake up to their errors, repent, and then act to repair the situation. Certainly grace can do anything, and will, if only we pray and sacrifice sufficiently.

    Objection 5: What if it can be proved that all of the above solutions are in fact impossible?

    If no election by the clergy of Rome is any longer possible, then other possibilities may be considered. One possibility, countenanced by numerous canonists and theologians, is an election by an extraordinary general council (an "imperfect general council" - so called because it would lack the pope's sanction, required for any council to be truly ecumenical). Evidently it remains to be shown whether there are any bishops who retain their offices in the Catholic Church, and who could meet in such a council. To deny that there are any such bishops is implicitly to deny a dogma of the faith - that Holy Church will continue essentially unchanged until the end of time. And her constitution includes the office of bishop as an essential element. Certainly we know she has never been without any bishops at all prior to this era.

    Objection 6: What if it can be shown that there are no bishops?

    The election of bishops is reserved to the clergy by right. This would appear to be divine law, however that is not certain, other possibilities would then be considered. But there remains the traditional clergy to consider. One would think that before proceeding to such a doubtful, and therefore hazardous, solution, as a lay election, an election by a council of junior clergy, the traditional priests, could be considered. Even this presents serious problems. These men appear unable, for the greater part, to claim the positive sanction of Holy Church. A great deal of research would be needed before such a solution could produce a clear and secure designation of a pope.

    Objection 7: Why not simply avoid the difficulties engendered by the status of the traditional clergy, and consider a lay election instead? Perhaps it will prove more reasonable and safe?

    A lay election is unheard of in Church history. It is true that on occasion laymen have participated in episcopal elections, even papal elections, but always the clergy also sanctioned the result. Clearly then, these occasions prove nothing - it is entirely possible that the laymen added nothing to the validity of such elections. What would be needed would an example of an election in which the clergy did not participate, and it is not too much to claim that there has never been such an election in the Catholic Church.

    Suffice to say that lay elections must be shown to be both licit and necessary. These are two completely separate points, to be proven separately. And the home-election pamphleteers haven't yet done the work required to prove that thesis, in my humble opinion.

    Objection 8: If any extraordinary solution were adopted, how would Catholics be sure of its validity?

    I think it follows from the loving providence of the Almighty that He would want simple Catholics to be able to identify the Roman Pontiff with some security. So that any extraordinary election must surely be accompanied by some sort of unmistakable signs from heaven, not to give it validity, but to ensure that good men could be certain about so essential a matter as who their pope was.

    None of the "elections" so far conducted have resulted in anything like a public and benevolent sign from Heaven. Instead each of them has tumbled from scandal to scandal, not to mention absurdities of the first order. Fr. Pulvermacher, for example, has gained "episcopal orders" by the interesting expedient of simply declaring a man a bishop, by his own "papal" authority, and then having that newly-created "bishop" consecrate him a "bishop" in turn. One would not have believed anything so infantile could be attempted if it hadn't been actually done.

    John Lane
    July 17, 2000
    St. Alexius, Confessor
    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church

    Offline Lover of Truth

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    Some comments on "Lay" papal elections
    « Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 08:29:32 AM »
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  • Bellarmine on Extraordinary Papal Elections


    Bellarmine's Controversies, De clericis, bk. I, ch. 10. (Translated by James Larrabee, with comments)
    Chapter 10.

    Eighth Proposition.

    If there were no papal constitution on the election of the Supreme Pontiff; or if by some chance all the electors designated by law, that is, all the Cardinals, perished simultaneously, the right of election would pertain to the neighboring bishops and the Roman clergy, but with some dependence on a general council of bishops.

    In this proposition, there does not appear to be universal agreement. Some think that, exclusive of positive law, the right of election would devolve on a Council of Bishops, as Cajetan, tract. De Potestate Papae & Concilii, cap. 13 & 21 & Francis Victoria, relect. 2. quest. 2. De potestate Ecclesiae. Others, as Sylvester relates s.v. Excommunicatio, 9. sec. 3, teach that in that case the right of election pertains to the Roman clergy. But these two opinions can be reconciled. Without a doubt, the primary authority of election in that case pertains to a Council of Bishops; since, when the Pontiff dies, there is no higher authority in the Church than that of a general Council: and if the Pontiff were not the Bishop of Rome, or any other particular place, but only the general Pastor of the whole Church, it would pertain to the Bishops either to elect his successor, or to designate the electors: nevertheless, after the Pontificate of the world was joined to the bishopric of the City [posteaquam unitus est Pontificatus orbis Episcopatui Urbis], the immediate authority of electing in that case would have to be permitted by the bishops of the whole world to the neighboring bishops, and to the clerics of the Roman Church, which is proved in two ways.

    First, because the right of election was transferred from all the neighboring bishops and the Roman clergy to the Cardinals, who are a certain part of the bishops and clergy of the Roman Church; therefore, when the Cardinals are lacking, the right of election ought to return to all the bishops and clergy of the Roman Church.

    Second, because this is a most ancient custom (as we showed above from Cyprian), that the neighboring bishops, in the presence of the clergy, should elect both the Bishop of Rome and others also. And it is unheard of that the Bishops or Archbishops of the whole world should meet for the election of the Supreme Pontiff, except in a case where it is doubtful who should be the legitimate electors. For this doubt ought to be resolved by a general Council, as was done in the Council of Constance. [This is the entire text of chap. 10.]

    It should be noted that in this book, St. Robert treats first of the election of bishops, refuting the Protestant theory of popular election (revived by modern liberal "Catholics") at considerable length (chap. 7). He then deals in detail with the election of the Supreme Pontiff (chap. 9).  The proposition at the head of chapter 7 reads: "The right of electing the Supreme Pontiff, and the other Pastors and Ministers of the Church, does not belong to the people by divine right. But if, at any time, the people had any power in this matter, that was entirely from the connivance or the concession of the Pontiffs."

    Another point to keep in mind in this context is that the neighboring bishops to the see of Rome are actually the Cardinal Bishops, the bishops of the suburbicarian sees. These have been associated in the government of the Church by the Popes from the earliest times. On this Bellarmine says in chap. 9 (in which he is concerned to show that the constituted method of papal election by the Cardinals, while not of divine law, is the best and should be retained): "The second manner [of electing a Bishop] was, that all the Bishops of the same province, or the majority of them, should elect the Bishop, after, however, requesting the testimony and consent of the Clergy and people of the place to which the Bishop is being given: and in the same manner were elected Metropolitans, Patriarchs, and the Supreme Pontiff himself, namely by the neighboring or provincial Bishops. And this was the most ancient manner ..." Further down he says: "The second manner is found in this form [of papal election, that is, election by the Cardinals], insofar as the principle element in it is concerned; for the neighboring Bishops now elect as they then elected, namely the six Cardinal Bishops."

    James Larrabee
    A.M.D.G.

    http://sedevacantist.com/bellarm2.html
    "I receive Thee, redeeming Prince of my soul. Out of love for Thee have I studied, watched through many nights, and exerted myself: Thee did I preach and teach. I have never said aught against Thee. Nor do I persist stubbornly in my views. If I have ever expressed myself erroneously on this Sacrament, I submit to the judgement of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience of which I now part from this world." Saint Thomas Aquinas the greatest Doctor of the Church


    Offline Raoul76

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    Some comments on "Lay" papal elections
    « Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 12:56:44 AM »
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  • L_o_T quoth:
    Quote
    It should be noted that in this book, St. Robert treats first of the election of bishops, refuting the Protestant theory of popular election (revived by modern liberal "Catholics") at considerable length (chap. 7). He then deals in detail with the election of the Supreme Pontiff (chap. 9).


    The clergy have sold us out.  An election of laymen at this point would be far preferable to any election carried out by the bishops, traditional or otherwise, although I wouldn't approve of it.  

    What I see happening, after the Minor Chastisement, is that the world will somehow unanimously know who has to be Pope, and that the bishops will be forced to comply.  They will carry out the election technically, but it will really be by the will of the Catholic people.

    You must understand that, if we do undergo a Chastisement,  anyone with Holy Orders will not be very popular on the other side of that Chastisement.  Basically they will be seen as what they are, largely homosexual heretical conspirators.  They are seen that way now except we all think the next one will be better -- hope springs eternal in the land of the lost.   People don't seem to get that homosexuals and heretics consecrate and ordain other homosexuals and heretics, and they expect this to change by some kind of magic.  It will change when you grow some hair on your chest and act like a man, standing up for the truth.  But God has delivered us to them for three reasons:  ( a ) EENS heresy ( b ) NFP and sexual sins ( c ) Our willful ignorance of our Judeo-Masonic governments and our celebration of Babylon, which involved a wholesale denial of Christ and the truth.  Yeah, more people know the truth about the Republics now, but they ignored it for a very, very long time.  Until people wake up to all these things, they will continue to get the clergy they deserve, traditional or non-traditional.

    If there is a Chastisement, the sort of cringing respect that people have for the clergy now will become a thing of the past, as these clergy have crossed the line in a big way and grievously abused their status.  They will find their churches empty if they don't begin ordaining some good guys, guys who are unacquainted with Brideshead Revisited, and teaching the truth.  

    Quote
    Evidently it remains to be shown whether there are any bishops who retain their offices in the Catholic Church, and who could meet in such a council. To deny that there are any such bishops is implicitly to deny a dogma of the faith - that Holy Church will continue essentially unchanged until the end of time.


    Where is that a dogma of the faith?  What about the prophecy that says the succession of the apostles will seem to be extinguished?  

    People love to quote "The gates of hell won't prevail" without understanding it.  Christ means the gates of hell won't prevail ULTIMATELY.  He never said they wouldn't prevail TEMPORARILY, to a large extent.  If the gates of hell weren't slated by divine providence to come very, very close to prevailing, there would have been no point to have spoken about the gates of hell at all!  

    If the Church is restored this will be the proof of what He means -- the gates of hell will have seemed to have prevailed, everything will seem lost, but then a miracle will happen.  Another interpretation is that the Church will not die in terms of the Catholic faith, that at least some people with the faith will always exist on Earth.

    Those who, like many in the SSPX, say that the gates of hell can't prevail and therefore the Newchurch must be full of true bishops, and the New Rite of Consecration must be valid, have a strange impression of the perseverance of the Church.  This is how the Church survives, this is how it overcomes the gates of hell?  On some kind of technicality where the VII Popes never teach heresy from the Solemn Magisterium?  What if you're wrong and the bishops consecrated in the New Rite are invalid -- which I believe they are?  That means the priests they ordain are also invalid.  Most trads also agree that almost all these clergy are heretics.  No matter how you slice it, we're facing an onslaught of the gates of hell, and my theories are no more apocalyptic than anyone else's.

    Then there is the SSPX itself, and the sedevacantists, but they are peppered with various errors and heresies themselves.  We're in such a fix that we have a gaggle of "traditional" bishops who think Christ-denying Jews can be saved in that condition, the condition of rejecting Christ.  No matter how you slice it, the gates of hell would seem to have prevailed, although we know they ultimately cannot.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

     

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