Ladislaus said the following on another thread:
I still have questions about this. How much dissent do you need to have before its really not universal anymore? Why do only trads matter, and what exactly counts as a trad? (I could see only counting those who hold to all the dogmas, but the majority of those would still be Novus Ordo, even though the majority of Novus Ordos would not be included, if that makes sense.) On the flip side, how do we *know* that the ordinary magisterium is as airtight as Novus Ordites and Sedevacantists think it is? Usually sites like Novus Ordo Watch cite recent theology manuals, but what if most of the Church has been wrong about even this since Vatican *I* and it really takes centuries of consensus to really know for sure?
I welcome any other thoughts anyone (who actually wants a discussion) has. I'm not sure this is a completed thought. I just wanted to basically pick this up somewhere besides a thread where the OP has asked to be closed.
I just want to say that you have good questions, and also this actually is not at all complicated, but the way the term is used makes it so.
Whenever the Church speak of "Universal", She is referring to all those things which applies and has applied always (since the time of the Apostles) and everywhere to everyone. So in this sense, "Universal" cannot be applied to what Lad is talking about as it is not possible for the Universal Church to have a Universal Acceptance of the election of the pope, much less use it as a criterion for infallible proof that the pope is indeed the pope.
That being said, there is the Universal Church. Sin is a Universal transgression against God. The Universal Mission of the Church is to save souls. The Universal Magisterium are those teachings which the Church has always (since the time of the Apostles) taught. And so on. Then there is the Universal body of the Church Militant - note that in this instance, it applies only to all of the living. So if Lad's idea were to said in an understandable manner, it would have to say something along the lines of: "The universal body of cardinals or perhaps the universal body of bishops or ? must peacefully accept..."
Then there is this, as Pope Pius IX states: we owe our religious assent to certain points of doctrine that have "The common and constant consent of theologians as being of the faith"
- which means simply that certain points of doctrine enjoy the nearly unanimous approval or consent of the Fathers since the time of the Apostles.
So saying that "the dogmatic fact of papal legitimacy must be known a priori
from some external criterion. Theologians all agree that this criterion is the universal peaceful acceptance of the Church" is not only terribly confusing, it's terribly misleading and at least inadequate.
The external criterion he looks for, is right in the Conclave's Legislation where it plainly states that "the man elected is instantly the true Pope, and he acquires and can exercise full and absolute jurisdiction over the whole world".
Nothing complicated here.